Sunday, April 29, 2012

Things I did elsewhere: Week 13 recap

How the hell did it get to be Sunday night already? I do not know! It was less busy than last week, but just when I thought I could rest on my laurels another one of those wicked kid bugs blew through the house and knocked me on my ass. Good times! I still managed to find the the time to do some stuff elsewhere.

Over at The Facebook Page I shared this week's meal plan. We had company for dinner last night and served Chicken Parmesan Rollatini with polenta and Caesar salad for dinner, and tartufo for dessert. The Rollatini was pretty good, but if I were to do it again I would have added a few chili flakes to the sauce and topped it with some shaved parmesan to bring a little salt to the party. That may be because I used salt-free soup stock, so YMMV.

At The Wine Fund, I talked about Incentria (big, fat fucking waste of time - that's my two cents worth, which is literally all I have earned there) and Favors and Flavors, a one stop shop for breastfeeding support and supplies. I also submitted posted an article on parenting honestly on Circle of Moms.

Have a great week!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

He's minding the bollocks

It has been about 30 years since Johnny Rotten did anything meaningful. No, PIL doesn't count, with the possible exception of "Rise." My days as an adoring fan dictate that I must click on every article I see about him. When Johnny's at his cantankerous best, it's truly something to behold. But age changes people, makes us think of silly things like the future and reputations. Johnny has to eat so he has to consider things like the Sex Pistols brand. He can't let just anyone drop the c-bomb on Duffy.

Anyway, it seems he has a beef with the London Olympics. He thinks the games will bring on a ton of debt to a country that's already in the hole and the money could be put to better use. Reasoned points, one and all. To be fair, the organizing committee is hopelessly out to lunch. In addition to wanting the Sex Pistols to take part in the closing ceremonies, they also wanted The Who to perform - including Keith Moon. I'm sure he'll get right on that.

I know this because I read an article about it in Forbes today. OK not the Keith Moon bit, I already knew he was dead. Yup, the girl with the punk rock roots read an article about the Sex Pistols brand in Forbes. No need to rub it in, I'm already hanging my head in shame.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One, two, THREE!

OMG, you GUYS! Three years ago today my life changed forever. I have always considered three the definitive line between Baby and Not A Baby, and now we have crossed it. Where did the time go? I do not know. I do know the twos are over, and they were not so terrible. True to form, we started off the morning adorable. The Parasite woke up before 6:00, chock full of excitement. "I'm THREE!" Yes you are, sweetie.

"And tomorrow I'm going to turn into FOUR!" Um, no. It's going to be a fun year!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Things I did Elsewhere: Week 12 Recap

Made with love. By The Husband. Because I can't bake worth a shit.

It's Birthday Week! The Husband and The Parasite have birthdays less than a week apart. If you think that means a busy week, you're absolutely right! The big girl's party was yesterday. She was too excited to nap and was still pretty darn tired today, which led to a 2+ hour nap. Curled up with me. Which she hasn't done in ages. Not gonna lie, it was totally awesome.

Anyway, it means I didn't get around to doing a whole lot of stuff elsewhere. I did post our meal plan which includes a plea for help on what the fuck to do with pounds of leftover lunch meat. Any ideas?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The one where she talks about what she's watching

Right now, I'm watching Grey's Anatomy. It's more out of habit than loyalty now. I could probably figure out what was going on with whom if I'd, you know, look up from my laptop and pay attention. But then I'd have to care and, you know, look up from my laptop and pay attention. That's what I'm doing now, and I suspect I'll be doing more of the same later.

I wonder how many of the "nows" in my life are filled with not much of anything? "What are you doing?" "Nothing." I have to be careful not to get too introspective, because then I'll start thinking about everything else I should be doing right now. And then I'll feel lazy or guilty because something like another load of laundry would be a much more productive use of my time than sitting here half watching a TV show that I don't really care about anyway.

Oh good, we've gone from Grey's Anatomy to fart jokes on South Park. There's no chance of introspection now.

This post is written as part of GBE2 - Week #48 word prompt: Now. For more info about GBE,  click here.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lost and Found: BlogHer Book Club Review

One of the great things about book clubs is the opportunity to read books you normally wouldn't. Most of the time, this is a blessing. In the case of "Lost and Found: One Woman's Story of Losing Her Money and Finding Her Life" by Geneen Roth, it was not so much a blessing.

Roth, who frequently finds her way on to the bestseller list, was one of many who lost everything in the Bernie Madoff scandal. I was curious to learn just who were these people who had enough money to be unwitting participants in a billion dollar Ponzi scheme, and yet were totally clueless about how to manage it. Roth attempts to explain it by describing the deep psychological issues with money that led to her financial demise. To be frank, the process she guides us through isn't an interesting one. 

At one point early in the book, Roth wonders if "spirituality was a fancy description for self-indulgent navel gazing." Given that shortly thereafter she spends 17 pages in a petulant state about a $1,000 pair of glasses she wants to buy to fill the void, I'd say in this case yes it is. Later on, when she tells the reader what chapter they need to read in another one of her books for more information, I feel a bit ripped off. Why should I have to go read another book for you to elaborate? You just wasted nearly 10% of this one whining about a pair glasses you wanted but couldn't have.

There was silly, grand sweeping statements like "soon we'll be running out of planetary resources, so there will be nothing left to hoard or kill" that I could live with, but when she talked about the risk of being eaten by dinosaurs being slim with respect to human evolution, she lost any shred of credibility she may have had. After all, dinosaurs and even the earliest of hominids were separated by over SIXTY MILLION YEARS, so I'd say the odds were always pretty slim.

This was the first Geneen Roth book I have read. I found "Lost and Found" trite, condescending and boring in equal measures. Would I recommend it to a friend? Um, no. Would I read another one of Roth's books after reading this one? That would also be a no. For more discussion on Lost and Found, follow the discussion at the BlogHer Book Club.

This is a compensated review as part of the BlogHer Book Club. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Things I Did Elsewhere: Week 11 Recap

It would seem I'm a little behind on posting things I did elsewhere. Meh. Shit happens. I made a goal to submit articles to online publications at least twice a month and have sent in one so far, so I'll find out if it gets picked up for publication soon. See, I told you! Goals are good

At The Facebook Page, as usual I shared our weekly meal plans for last week and this week. It's possible I fucked up the order of those links. It probably doesn't matter, and I'm really hungover tired so if I did screw it up I might get around to checking and ultimately fixing it later. So if they are screwed up and you saw it, you'll be like one of those people who have one of those dollar bills that are printed upside down. If they're right, it's just like a plain old dollar bill here. Now you have to ask yourself... do you feel lucky?

At The Wine Fund, I shared a review of the hotel we stayed at for our Easter weekend getaway. A nice, clean, reasonably priced, family-friendly hotel mere blocks away from all the attractions in Niagara Falls, Ontario and minutes away from the border crossing. If a trip to the Falls is in your future, you should stay there. Later this week I'll share the review of a book that I... didn't love. Come back and see my feeble attempts at diplomacy!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Well played, Universe!

Earlier this week, an errand over lunch took longer than expected, so I hopped on the subway to get back to the office. As I allowed my mind to wander (public transit survival mechanism) I thought about the long road ahead of procedures and fertility treatments. Hello, Square One! I had so wished I'd never see you again!

I'll cop to a little bit of feeling sorry for myself. There might even have been a "Why me?" or two mixed in there.

And then I was instantly cheered up by a peal of giggles, the kind that can only come from a little girl. That sound always makes me smile. I turned to get a look at my cheerer-upper. It was indeed a little girl. One with beautiful eyes and a smile with warmth that could melt an iceberg. A little girl with the unmistakeable patchy hair of one undergoing chemotherapy.

Well, shit. Duly noted, Unseen Forces... Duly. Noted.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Finding Nemo

SEASter Egg Hunt - Aquarium of Niagara
He's in there... somewhere. I think. Behind the Easter Egg? Or maybe he was in another tank. You know, after a while they all kind of look alike. But let me tell you, to a three year old, the sight of seal (sea lion?) swimming around a pool with a ball on his nose is officially The Funniest Thing Ever.  If you're in the Upstate New York/Southern Ontario area, the Aquarium of Niagara is just the right size for little people and a great time can be had by all. If you happen to be suffering from a devastating hangover because you and your partner dipped rather heavily into the wine the night before your kid decided 5:30 was a great time to start the day, you can be in and out of there well before the decibel level of hoards of children makes your eyes bleed. Feel free to file that one under "Good to Know" and you're welcome.

Also, since the souvenirs aren't the "officially licensed" ones, you can get a clown fish that a little kid will swear is Nemo for $15. I don't know if that's a good deal or not, but I do know it got us the hell out of the gift shop before I completely lost my shit, so I consider it money well spent.

Apparently a single visit to Niagara Falls can make a trip to Build a Bear a "thing." The Parasite picked the bear's name herself, and we have the birth certificate reading "Teddy Bear Queen Falling Bear" to prove it. I know, letting it become a "thing" was a newbie mistake, but watching her try to carry the box back to the hotel herself was worth its weight in gold.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Goals are good

If you found this post as part of a search for self-help type info, I'm afraid you're going to be very disappointed. I'd apologize, but I wouldn't mean it and really, insincerity harms us all. Better luck next time? Like most Type A people, I make a lot of lists and I set a lot of goals. One might think I relax this mindset when it comes to my kid. That would indicate one does not know me very well at all...

While at the zoo one day when The Parasite was very small, I noticed that the fish tank held her attention better than the mammals could ever hope to. I attempted to test this theory with a trip to Seaworld when she was a little older and was very disappointed to learn that the "aquarium" they speak of on the website was really a couple of large fish tanks in a gift shop. I'm sure the whale show is fascinating, but the wait was too long.

No matter, I had another opportunity a year later in the Bahamas. The fish-fascination held and an idea was born. A quick Google showed there are about 50 aquariums in North America. I resolve to take The Parasite to most, if not all, of them before she leaves for University. We're going to do a lot of traveling anyway because we love to, so seeing some fishies while we're at it seems as good a reason for a trip as any.

Last summer's road trip took us to the Aquarium of New England. A trip to Southern California one day will cross about eight off the list, and we'll hit the others as it strikes our fancy. Like the one we'll see tomorrow on our Easter mini getaway. Will the fascination with the fishies hold for long enough to see all 50? Only time will tell!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Money for Nothing

I've been getting a lot of inquiries from PR firms as of late, and while the attention is flattering, I'm rather stunned by the lack of professionalism displayed by some agencies on behalf of their clients. Pitches asking me to do something for nothing are particularly baffling. Oh, I see. You'd like me to run a campaign including a blog post of a few hundred words with links, keywords and several pushes on my social media properties - activities that will take somewhere in the neighbourhood of two hours of MY TIME - in exchange for a sample of your client's product. One which has an approximate retail value of $5.

Just so we're clear, I assume you're going to pass the savings from the donation of MY TIME on to your client, who will in turn pass those savings on to the consumer. Therefore you're asking this altruism of me for the betterment of society, right? No? Yeah, that's what I thought. You're working the cost of MY TIME into your proposal to the client and then asking me to work for free. That's just not cool.

Look, I have a full time job that actually pays pretty well. I spend my days launching products with campaigns including several promotional pieces, links, keywords and multiple pushes on social media properties. Sound familiar? I do this in exchange for MONEY, because at last check that's what babysitters, stores, banks, utility companies. etc., are dealing in these days. If I want your client's $5 doodad, I'll buy it. If I think it's great, I'll tell the whole world. If I think it sucks, I then have the option of returning it or petitioning the manufacturer for a refund. I might choose to blog about the experience, but I have the option of not blogging about it too. The best part is that I'm not beholden to anybody but me!

I found this article interesting. It states the average parent blogger earns less than $1,000 a year for their efforts. The 64 cents per hour quoted in the article is a bit misleading because it assumes all blogging activity is intended for commercial purposes, which I expect is not the case for many bloggers. For example, I prattle on endlessly here because it's cheaper than therapy and because I want to show the world how adorable my kid is as I do my best to ply her will ALL of my neuroses. It's a hobby, not a means to feed, clothe and house my family.

However, it does mean there are a whole lot of people out there doing something for nothing. If you are one of those people working for free or something close to it, it's none of my business what you do with your time. I happen to think I deserve to be paid for ANY work that I do at the request of someone else (The Husband and The Parasite aside), but maybe you don't agree with that sentiment. Therefore you're welcome to take the following advice with a grain of salt.

I would recommend that every blogger that reads this post and is approached by a brand or an agency estimate how much time will be spent working for that brand or agency. Then compare that time spent to the minimum wage for your province/state/country/whatever as a starting point. If the agency or brand you're thinking of working with is offering you less than that amount in actual cash money (i.e., not product, unless your local phone company happens to accept shampoo samples as payment), SAY NO!

I ask for compensation that is in line my hourly rate at the office, because I'm doing similar work and I know I'm worth it. And so are you. Demand payment for your time, because every minute you spend doing something for nothing for somebody else is another minute you don't have to yourself.