"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Monday, May 31, 2010

Come and Get It!

Just got back from looking up a winning comment from Random.org! Wanna know who was selected -- randomly -- as the winner? There were the 45 posted comments + the 15 additional entries for jumping through all my hoops. Random.org selected comment #7, which was from my buddy nikki:
nikki said...
I just want a girls day out, movie and a nice dinner! or maybe a massage. Hope you are feeling better soon, and I am glad you posted this link. I lost my old computer and along with it all my blog sites.
May 24, 2010 3:24 PM
Congratulations, nikki! Maybe you can get some massage accessories and recruit your husband while you watch a cheesy girl movie! (Email me your address, just in case I have an old one.)

While I was being a shrinking flower at the Casual Blogger Conference, I picked up some pretty cool stuff. Amongst my hoard were several business cards from companies who love to sponsor contests and giveaways on blogs. That could be fun! I'll be posting about my experience here shortly.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Join the Club

I am currently at a blogging conference. And I'm blogging. Because I am nothing if not a joiner.
In fact, I'm sharing a room with three other bloggers...who are also all blogging (or on Twitter).

But here's the thing...earlier this evening, I was sitting with a group of bloggers who were chatting away (because that's what we like to do when you can tear us away from the keyboard). Several of my bloggy heros are there, too. And I'm not talking. (Those of you that know me are gasping because you probably can't remember a time when I wasn't talking.)

I'm not really a shy person. I like to talk to people, get to know them, hear their stories (so I can incorporate them into one of my novels at a later time) and become life-long friends. Or at least for as long as we're sitting next to each other. Whatever.

So why wasn't I making with the chit-chat? I think I was intimidated. Here were women who consistently post witty and intelligent things, have followers who are equally as brilliant with their comments, and were selected as speakers for this conference. AND? They had business cards with their blog addresses! I didn't even have a name tag. My readership has taken a nosedive. And I haven't posted regularly in months.

I had nothing to talk about.

What do you do in a social setting when you're feeling awkward and unworthy? (Please? I need the tips, here!)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just Hand It Over

Boo and I were discussing her upcoming Field Day at school. She had a list of treats and goodies available from the concession stand. I told her I'd give her $2 (because she doesn't read my blog so can't get $50) for snacks. Then I tried to explain to her that the items were priced in quarter increments, giving her examples of the different combinations she could get.

Me: Sno Cones are 50 cents and nachos are a $1 so you could get both of those and still have some money left over.
Boo: Can I get a drink, too?
Me: Yep. You'd have enough for one drink because they are 50 cents.
Boo: ...
Me: Or you can get other things. You don't have to get nachos or a drink. There's lots of stuff on here and you might decide you want some candy instead.
Boo: ...
Me: So remind me in the morning and I give you $2 before school.
Boo: Can I have your credit card instead?

__________

And as the voluptuous Boob Nazi reminded me, I never announced a winner for the make-me-laugh-or-at-least-keep-me-from-being-so-dang-miserable contest. Two entries made me bust out laughing:
Mary's Swagger Wagon (because I drive one)
and
the Co-ed's ASL in the USA (the faces he makes are just too funny)

Congrats to Mary, who will get the iTunes card, and to the Co-ed, who will get cupcakes or something equally as carb-laden! (Mary, email me your address!)

__________

I'm wearing white pants to the Casual Blogger Conference...hey, Memorial Day is only, like, two days away...that should be fine, right? Right? Please don't judge me for my fashion ineptitude. Judge me for my split modifiers and dangling participles.

__________

And don't forget to enter my contest for the $50 gift card to CSN's online stores!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Please Read My Blog Again! I'll Pay Ya!

Do you have something special on your wishlist? Maybe a new top? Or something sparkly for the bathroom vanity? Or shoes! Something you've had your eye on but the checkbook won't allow for it just yet?

All you have to do is read my blog. Just read it and I'll give you $50. Seriously. I know I haven't been very good about this whole blogging thing lately but I'm going to make an effort to get posts up more often than on a weekly basis. Promise! Now will you come back and read my blog again?

Okay, well, you have to let me know you read it by commenting. But I ain't lying about the prize! One lucky comment will get a $50 gift card to use at the CSN stores. They've got over 200 stores, including just about anything you'd want. They've even got chocolate!

Here's how to get entries:
  • One entry for commenting, telling me something on your wishlist. (I'm eyeing a pair of brown Mary Jane Skecher Shape-Ups...)
  • One entry for being a follower of Duck Duck Cow.
  • One entry for being a follower of The Cake Cow.
  • One entry for posting about the contest on Facebook. (I'd include Twitter but I'm not on Twitter, sorry!)
  • Five entries for blogging about this contest (please include a link to the post).
YOU MUST LEAVE A COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY!
Contest ends Monday, May 31st at 11:17 AM. Good luck!


P.S.
Are you going to the Casual Blogger Conference? What are you doing for lunch? And what are you wearing? Wanna go shopping with me?

P.P.S.
Thanks to everyone who emailed or contacted me regarding me last post. No longer in the hospital but still a long road ahead. I really appreciate the thoughts and prayers!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dark End of the Spectrum

Hospitals are strange places.

Every possible range of the emotional spectrum is taking place somewhere within the sterile, white walls. There are the beaming, blurry-eyed new dads taking the brand new carseat up to it's newborn occupant. Nurses are contagiously optimistic about everything from therapy schedules to jello selections. Children look bored, uncomfortable in the whispered atmosphere. Estranged relatives arrive with flowers and determination to make things right. Relief and joy at good results. Devastation and heartbreak at the unexpected. Walking or wheeled out, grateful to be going home. Staff and visitors smile, even laugh, as they go about their business. Those moments of happiness seem to make the bleak faces more stark in contrast, those that are carrying out labeled plastic bags containing the personal belongings of a loved one that no longer has need of them. Their cried-out eyes barely registering the presence of others, with minds already running ahead to changes to be made or lingering on last conversations, things left unsaid.

It's those faces that I can't help but watch. What is their story? What is their loss? Would a hug from a stranger help? Keep your distance and don't make eye contact. Pretend that you will never be in their shoes. At least not today.

Then there are those that are waiting. The waiting are left in limbo. Good news? Bad news? No news. A doctor is looking around at the assortment of friends and family. He looks weary, maybe a little grim. Is he looking for me?

Hospitals are strange, strange places. And I really wish I weren't in one.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

LOL

I could use a laugh. I've been listening to far too much moody music lately. It's time for a change around here and I think some levity is way overdue. Laughter is the best medicine, right? You know, the really good kind of giggles. The kind of laughing that's so hard, your jaw locks and you drool on yourself. When milk shoots out your nose and you might wet yourself a little. Some of that.

So here's the deal: Make me laugh and I'll send you an iTunes gift card.

Yup. I have a $15 gift card for the winner, whom I shall select. I might let the kids help, too.

In your comment, include the link to a particularly funny YouTube video, blog post, or photo, whatever. As long as I can access it online, it counts. Keep in mind that Boo and the Boy will see it, so keep it relatively clean. I'll announce the winner one week from today, so if you have a particularly funny friend, pass the word along.

To get you going, here's a little something that I discovered earlier today, while procrastinating doing the laundry.



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Leggo My Legos!

I saw a friend's post about her son's birthday party and realized I never posted about the Boy's party! Oops!

Since the Boy is mildly obsessed with Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, and Lego Batman games on the Wii, it was pretty easy to get him excited about having a Lego party. And they have some really cute shirts out right now so he got one to wear for his party. He asked me every day if he could wear, maybe thinking he'd catch me off-guard. He didn't.

This party, I was ready. The treat bags were filled and ready to go. The table was covered. My floor was even vacuum well before the guests arrived. I was dressed and wearing makeup; the kids were dressed and didn't have peanut butter smeared all over their faces. I was in rare form! And I have to brag a little bit...most of my plans for the party came from sites online, except for this little piece of genius:


It's a plastic table cover with matching plates from Wal-mart. I wish I had more plates so I could have made all the doors into Legos!

When the guests arrived, they got a seat at the table (now big enough that kids didn't have to share chairs!), a Lego coloring page, and lots of crayons.


I knew this would be tricky because some kids use lots of colors, take their time, and really enjoy coloring. Others stab at the paper with a crayon once or twice and call it good. So for the fast ones, I had them try to write their name or draw a picture on the back. That held their interest long enough for everyone to arrive and get a chance to color.


Next, the kids got a bag of Lego bricks (I got the big 650-piece set and used less than half for the party). They could build whatever they wanted using as many or as few of their Legos. Originally, I intended to give everyone an award for their creation, like "Most Colorful," "Tallest," "Most Deadly If It Were Real," etc. But at the last minute, I couldn't find my award ribbons, so we just skipped over that portion.

After building, it was time for the pinata!


I got this one from the local party store and thought that if we used our imaginations, squinted our eyes, and had recently suffered a head trauma of some sort, then it would look like the 5 was made from Legos instead of whatever stuff was leftover from making those Mexican llama pinatas.

And why is it that store-bought pinatas are impossible to break? We were heading into our fourth round of taking swings -- and I didn't even blindfold the kids or make them dizzy! -- before the Man used a box cutter to weaken the integrity a little. These ought to be recycled for a new maximum security prison facility. Inside, I had filled the pinata with Starbursts, Tootsie Rolls, and more Legos. 'Cuz it's not a real party unless I've worked the theme into every nook and cranny.

After using all their energy to break the pinata-that-wouldn't-die, it was time to refuel with some cake and ice cream!


For better pictures of the cake, check it out on my cake blog. And once again, there's diversity amongst eating styles but I was prepared! Each kid got a handful of candy building bricks (sold in bulk at my local grocery store). These went over so big that we spent more time at the table so they could build with them/suck on them until their tongues turned colors.

And I have to show you the lemonade:


I made these using the ice cube trays from the Lego stores.

After cake comes presents!


What a surprise...he mostly got Lego sets.

With almost perfect timing, the parents started to collect their little ones. Each guest was sent home with a balloon and a goody bag. This is what was inside the bags:



Homemade soap (which was surprisingly easy), molded crayons (which were agonizingly tedious), with more building brick candy and their Lego creations. Oh, and there was a kazoo, too. I'd like to apologize to all the parents...the Boy insisted.

While I didn't feel like the party was chaotic and out of control, I was still exhausted at the end. I really ought to consider changing these to every other year...

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