July 31, 2008

Do your part - Blog the Recession

Kristen at Motherhood Uncensored has come up with a way to put a little more cash in the hands of some of your favorite bloggers, at a time when most everyone is feeling the effects of the current economic condition. She has decreed this August as "Blog the Recession" month and has launched a campaign that starts tomorrow.

To paraphrase her explanation: During August, just make a "pledge" to click through to the blogs you follow from your feed reader. (And since I know there are newbies who stop by, check here for an explanation of what that's all about.) Extra page views can make a big difference for bloggers who could really use the help or, for people like me who don't have a revenue-producing aspect to their blog, it's just a nice ego boost.

If you want to be a part of it at your own blog, go get a button at Motherhood Uncensored, put it on your site (check out the swingin' pig down there to the right), then ask your readers to click through and do the same within a post. Send Kristen the link to your post, she'll put a link to you on her site and you'll be entered to win some prizes.

I have finally gotten into the swing of using feeds on My Yahoo, so this works for me. If none of that is your thing and/or you don't blog, consider doing what I've been doing on a casual basis lately. At the sites of my favorite bloggers who generate income through ads, I've been making a point of clicking on their ads as often as I can to help line their pockets via the Big Business coffers. (UPDATE: Please note, I am not asking you to do this or suggesting you should. I am only mentioning something that I have been doing - for me this is significant because I usually ignore all ads. I am now clicking on to those that have some relevance to me or that intrigue me. In other words, I'm paying attention to them and trying to be a good consumer; I'm not talking about random click-throughs.)

July 29, 2008

Topicless Tuesday

I wish I had something of interest to share with you today, but I don't really. However, if I let too many days go by between posts, I feel bad and get into that "Oh, I'll get around to it..." mentality too easily.

I was glad to see that people clicked through to the First Book voting site, especially after a new friend promoted the post to her peeps. I've been trying to get back there each day to vote, and I happily noted that California had risen from the middle of the pack to #8 as of today. Keep those votes coming for your state!

Speaking of books, you can see over there to the right (at the moment) that one of the books I'm reading right now is Janet Evanovich's Fearless Fourteen. I adore her Stephanie Plum series because they're always laugh-out-loud funny and this one is no exception. I've been reading Janet's books for many, many years, from back when she was writing "Loveswept" novels, pre-Plum, and I was always taken with the twist of humor she brought to them. If you're not already a fan and are looking for a fun new author and some great books to read, I highly recommend her.

Since I'm being pretty random today, I figure I might as well wrap it up with a picture that's apropos of nothing, other than that it's of a pretty flower that's nostalgic for me and reminds me of someone special.

July 24, 2008

Vote Now, Vote Often

Okay, so we all know we have to do that whole voting thing in just a few months. As much as I want change, I'm not looking forward to that time because it means the endless, repetitive ads touting this candidate or that proposition will be back. (If you don't live in California, you may not have the proposition part of the deal, and you may consider yourself extremely lucky in that regard.)

In the meantime, however, there is a vote you can cast right now that will not only be meaningful, but easy and probably enjoyable.

First Book is a nonprofit organization I found out about a few years ago when I worked for a company that had a generous matching gifts program. They came to my attention via a competition for nonprofits in which one would get a big donation for collecting the most individual donations within a certain period of time. First Book didn't win, but I've been a contributor ever since because I'm a big fan of what they do.

First Book's mission is to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. As simple and as wonderful as that. And now through September 15th, you have a chance to help your state receive 50,000 new books for these kids, without spending a dime.

Go here to share What Book Got You Hooked. It asks you to just "Share the memory of the first book that made reading fun for you and then help get more kids hooked: vote for the state to receive 50,000 new books for children in need." You don't even have to do the sharing part if you don't want to, just vote as many times as you can for your state!

They had this campaign for the first time last year and Oklahoma won; I'd like to see another state get the books this year. We all know school programs are suffering everywhere and that low-income kids often don't get a chance for a "luxury" like a new book. No matter what state wins the prize, we all win by helping literacy.

I could write a dozen posts about how important reading is to me and what role it has played in my life, but I'm going to spare us both by not doing that! Suffice it to say that it has been huge from the time I was very, very young. Being able to help another young child find the same kind of connection I've had to books is a very satisfying feeling.

The book I picked as the one that got me hooked? Harriet the Spy.

July 21, 2008

Wanna Be on Top?

Wow. This has been quite a month, blog-wise. A year ago I was still on hiatus, and the time of being nominated for stuff had long passed. But somewhere along the line of getting back into the swing of things this year, I rediscovered my enthusiasm for blogging and it has been fun again. Then along came Five Star Friday and finding and joining the wonderful women over at AllMediocre.

(And, before I forget, please go over there and enter The Great AllMediocre Giveaway of '08. Lots of prizes, lots of great blogs, lots of fun and all for the price of a few comments!)

Now, though I can scarcely believe it myself, I have been added to Alltop, in the Life category. Along with the likes of Schmutzie, Pioneer Woman, Blog Nosh, and I Am Bossy, among others, there's the Ping.

Alltop, the creation of Guy Kawasaki, a well-respected blogger, entrepreneur and internet guru, is an RSS aggregator that Guy envisions as "an online magazine rack" for everyone, updated every ten minutes - "All the top stories covered all the time." In other words, it aims to be the go-to place for people who want to read good stuff but aren't interested in tracking their areas of interest (and there are already more than 125 different topics) via individual RSS feeds; it's all there in a very straightforward format. What's your thing? Politics, golf, crafts, geek stuff, food or tea? All there. What's important in your life? Diabetes, homeschooling, career, nursing, kids or adoption? Also all there, along with other more specialized, more broad and unusual topics.

So, as happy as I am to be included in this company, it means I can't be an AllMediocre member anymore. Sadly, the rules say so, and I'm not about to cross Meghan! It doesn't mean I can't join in all the fun they're having over there, though, especially as there's nothing I like better than a giveaway. So now I'll proudly be "Formerly Mediocre" and might even blaze a new path called "Used to be Alltop but actually Mediocre." Keep my seat warm, ladies, that's all I ask.

July 17, 2008

Food Network Haiku

Ace of Cakes

Wheels won't spin today
Duff must accept this truth now
My crush on Geof grows

Photo by sugarfreak

July 16, 2008

Flicker Meme, Take 2 - The Dark Side

Apparently I didn't get enough of this last week. I was looking at the questions again while checking out someone else's result and thought, what about the flip side? Would the mosaic look just as interesting and/or compelling if the subjects were a little less positive, perhaps darker?

1. Andora the parsley monster 1, 2. Pineapple Infrared, 3. Untitled, 4. underground symmetry II, 5. abre los ojos, 6. what is it?, 7. Sea Power Glass Wall Wave, 8. Sugar at work, lessens the pain, 9. What ‘New Years’ remind me of, 10. There is always the other side !!!, 11. all work and no play : (, 12. Lonely

The concept is the same as detailed below. Only the questions have changed to expose the not-so-innocent. If you're interested in giving this one a whirl, I hope you'll let me know.

The Questions:
1. What has been your least-favorite nickname?
2. What is your most hated food?
3. What was your worst subject in high school or college?
4. What color looks most dreadful on you?
5. Which celebrity do you never want to hear about again?
6. What drink gives you the worst hangover?
7. Worst vacation spot?
8. What is your “I’m having a crappy day” stress snack?
9. What was your worst job?
10. What is your biggest pet peeve?
11. One word to describe your most annoying trait.
12. What is the first name of the person you like the least?

July 15, 2008

Gettin' a little foxy

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) has long been one of my favorite flowers, ever since I went to Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania during college and saw a massive display of them in one of the conservatories. In full bloom, there's nothing like foxglove and they photograph so beautifully. The fact that they're all in the range of colors I favor doesn't hurt.

I took this picture this past weekend when I unexpectedly came across an area where they were beginning to bloom. The symmetry and contrast against the dark background made one this a keeper, so I thought I'd share.

July 11, 2008

Wanna know?

Do you know what I'm doing right now? Right this moment in between bouts of tap, tap, tapping on the keyboard?

No, of course you don't because you're not here to see me.

And, I must selfishly admit, I'm glad you're not here because you might want to do what I'm doing right now this very minute and that would mean I'd have to share. I'm a generous person in most cases, but I don't want to share. Not with you, not with anyone. Seriously.

To paraphrase and misquote a very young Brooke Shields: Nothing comes between me and my Reese's.

Photo by Cybele

I've had a love affair with Reese's peanut butter cups since I was a child and, while over the years I've had many pricier, "better," high-end chocolates and people may sniff at Hershey's products in our age of sophisticated palettes, it's still the one I'll choose when it's offered to me.

And, oh, does it take me back. I remember the joy of unwrapping the foil wrappers from the miniatures and feeling like it was the most special of treats, debating with my favorite cousin whether the name was pronounced REE-sis or Ree-sees (it is, of course, the former), trying to peel off the tiny brown cups without breaking off the "teeth" along the edge, and figuring out my own personal way of eating them. (For the record, with miniatures I'm a fan of biting off the entire cup, leaving the thicker chocolate wafer, which I then let melt on my tongue. For regular-sized cups, it depends on my mood.) I remember having the money to buy a fancy gift box of miniatures when I was about 10 years old and treasuring them like the gold they were wrapped up in. I've had most every variation they've come up with, when I can find them, and have even ordered them direct from the factory. Major yum.

I guess you could say I'm a very devoted Reese's fan, and I was recently invited to join a place that recognizes people like me: Devoted to Reese's. It's pretty new and the content is still being developed, but there's a possibility that it will be more interesting in the future. If you're a fan, too, I invite you to check it out and sign up. If nothing else maybe we'll find out about giveaways and specials before the masses.

Right now they're having a big tie-in with the upcoming Batman movie, The Dark Knight, and have a sweepstakes (though you can't enter online) and some unique branded products which they made in both milk and dark. I have yet to find the individual bat-shaped pieces, so that's my current quest. I did find the medallions and look forward to trying them soon. There's a whole bag of each so I might consider sharing. Maybe.

July 07, 2008

Flickr Meme

It has been ages since I did one of these, but it fell right in line with my recent interest in Flickr. I saw this recently on Sheasy's site, though I've elected to let the pictures just represent the answers (you may have to use your imagination in a few instances!) and not insert them below.

1. un Fiore ... per un Fiore: MAURA! Auguri, stellina!!!, 2. Gnocchi with Thyme Vinaigrette and Lemon Cashew Cream, 3. The bench, 4. Purple fingers, 5. Daniel Craig as JamesBond in QUANTUM OF SOLACE,009, 6. Ice Tea Splash, 7. An Irish Sunset, 8. Flourless Chocolate Cake with Espresso Whipped Cream, 9. don't worry be happy new year, 10. Alien-being or Mochi?, 11. Dependable, Loyal, Late and Lazy, 12. Father Daughter

The concept:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste the URL for each of the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your Flickr name

If you decide to give it a whirl, I'd enjoy it if you come back and leave a comment with a link to go see your results, too. (And I hope it takes you less time to do than it took me.)

July 05, 2008

Food Network Haiku

Throwdown with Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay comes by
Doughnut guy is a poor sport
Want a treat but not his now

Photo taken by roboppy

July 04, 2008

Happy 4th!

Just a quick post to wish you a happy holiday weekend for those of you in the States. We enjoyed a front-row seat to a local fireworks show that was really well-done. The finale lit up the sky so much that it seemed like daylight! I forgot to bring my good camera so I just snapped freely with my small camera. This was one of the few shots that came out well enough to use and even then it's pretty blurry, but I like it.

I also wanted to mention that Dara Torres is now my own personal hero. She is flippin' amazing. I'll be rooting her on during the Olympics, which are fast approaching.