Somehow, on Tuesday night, I found myself back in school.
After earning my Bachelor’s in 2004, I never thought I’d go back.
Homework is for suckers, am I right?!
Yet there I was, on my merry way to a web design certification class.
Okay, technically it’s a continuing education class for old farts like me who want to broaden their skill setschange careers eeny-meenie-miney-mo between Pottery 101, How to Interpret Your Dog’s Dreams, and House Plants for People Who, Sorry Mom, Are Never Having Kids.
There’s a teacher. There are students. There are rad new school supplies:
But then I got my hands on Dreamweaver (HTML editor software), and well, I think I’m gonna like it here.
There’s just one thing.
I need your help.
For my first homework assignment, I have to create a basic HTML webpage. It must contain a header, intro paragraph, a picture and a few bullet points.
The actual “content” doesn’t matter.
Like I’m going to write about the weather!
This is far too much temptation.
The possibilities are endless!
So, please have at it in the comments section. What weird, random stuff can I pull into my web page to make the entire class uncomfortable? (And don’t worry, I’ll report back and show you the final product. You know I live for this shiz.)
Who cares that it’s Friday, all that matters is: It’s ‘stache glasses giveaway time!
This month is EXTRA chipmunkalicious, because Sun-Staches sent me ‘stache glasses to give away for free! That’s how awesome you are!
To win a pair of Sun-Staches glasses, tell me in the comments section below about the funniest way to quit a job. What would you say? How would you make your grand exit? Whether or not you’re a disgruntled employee, I encourage you to go all out, and use some part of a current or previous job as inspiration. Extra points for puns and creative use of office supplies.
I’ll choose a favorite and announce it on Monday, October 1, 2012. The winner can pick a pair of ‘stache glasses from the below and I’ll have them shipped faster than you can say, “Does polygamy really only apply to multiple wives? Because I’ve looked this up and frankly it’s unclear. And, P.S., polyandry is not nearly as fun to say.”
Deadline: Midnight EST, Friday, September 28, 2012.
Print that’s way less fun than this video (thanks, Darla!): This giveaway is open to anyone who’s willing to enter and provide their mailing address in the event that they’re the winner. If you have any trouble leaving a comment in the comments section below, you can enter via email: Julie(dot)Davidoski(at)yahoo(dot)com. One submission per person.
A few months ago, I wrote a post called, “On Blogging & Bacon,” which covers the top three things I’ve learned about blogging. Essentially, I said in a super charming and funny way I got out of blogging what I put into it.
Ironically, shortly after that, I realized I’d put too much time into blogging. I wasn’t able to write new blog posts, respond to comments, and read and comment on other blogs without devoting several hours a day.
I’d been eating way too much bacon (is that possible?) and neglecting other responsibilities and relationships. It wasn’t healthy.
Between working full-time as a project manager, part-time as a freelance writer, earning a web design certification, maintaining personal relationships, a marriage, home, and dog, I had to find the right balance between blogging and the rest of my life – fast.
But one thing was certain:
I needed this blog.
I needed you.
You were, and are, my Jack Dawson (go with it). You opened my eyes to a whole new world, and if you jumped, I’d jump. And I think we all know there’s enough room on this blog for both of us.
Rather than struggle alone, I reached out to some of the busiest bloggers I know. Bloggers juggling kids and/or full-time jobs and/or other writing gigs. I wanted to know how they struck the balance, and where blogging fell on their priority lists.
How, for example, did they make time for both family and blogging? Angie from Childhood Relived shared her 9pm cut-off rule, at which point the computer goes away and she spends time with her husband. Darla, from She’s a Maineiac, took a hiatus for part of the summer to spend more time with her children.
And what about how often to blog? How important is it to post regularly? Would I lose readers if I started posting less, or more sporadically?
Nina Badzin posts once a week. “If I’m guest posting elsewhere,” she says, “then THAT is my post of the week.” Deb Bryan blogs 1-2 times a week in the hopes that it will allow her to “maintain an online presence without doing so at a huge cost to [her] offline life.”
One of the most comforting pieces of advice came from a phone conversation with Renée Schuls-Jacobson. In a [chipmunk] nutshell: No one was going to stop following me because I didn’t publish a certain amount of new posts every week. Her words reminded me that while I want to hold myself accountable to writing goals, I never want to stop having fun. And ‘forced and rushed’ don’t equal ‘fun.’ For anyone.
One of the biggest struggles for me was finding the balance when it came to reading other blogs. If I tried to keep up with more than a few blogs a day, minutes turned to hours and Peppermeister (Husband #1) got that puppy dog look.
The bloggers I interviewed also agreed that they had to get real about how many blogs they tried to read each week. Following more than 30 blogs was unanimously impossible, though some of us had, at one point or another, tried to follow over 100.
Renée shared my desire to want to get to everyone, but she also reminded me that using all my time to follow the same blogs meant denying myself the opportunity to meet new people. I decided I didn’t need to read and comment on every post. Even my favorites.
It’s still a hard pill to swallow. I still worry people will take it personally.
After all, we bloggers rely on our community.
As Darla put it, “I am grateful that I have a chance to show a slice of my world to people and they respond in a positive way. So over time, we are able to form a relationship that’s full of laughs and tears. That is my favorite part of blogging. Making a genuine connection.”
“The best part of blogging,” according to Angie, “is friendships with the other bloggers.” Deb said, “Thanks to blogging, I’m able to see life through the eyes of so many other observant, compassionate eyes.”
And if you’re still wondering why I called you my Jack Dawson, I’d like Nina Badzin to speak for me: “I love that blogging has allowed me to just be more ME. …Even in real life now I feel more confident and have a stronger sense of self.”
Thanks to all of this wonderful advice, I feel much more comfortable reading blogs and writing new posts when I genuinely have the time, and hope that this approach won’t alienate the community I’ve come to cherish.
But if there’s one thing I could change about my blogging experience? I’m with Darla: “I’d have WordPress install a button so that every time I clicked ‘publish’ I’d get five bucks. Or some beer. Or Skittles. Something.”
A heartfelt thank you to Darla, Renée Schuls-Jacobson, Nina Badzin, Deb Bryan and Angie Z. for taking time out of your busy lives to openly share your experiences. I look forward to blatantly misquoting you in the future for my own amusement. My blog and I are the better for knowing you!
How do you strike a balance between blogging and everything else? To non-bloggers: How do you balance work/family life with your other passions? If that question bores you: What’s the coolest bacon-themed product or website you’ve ever seen?
A little trip to Maryland for a family retirement party. Pretend it’s this past Saturday and your friend Jules is looking very cute overdressed in her lacy black dress…
Peppermeister (Husband Number Uno) and I headed down to Maryland in the morning and made great time – under 4 hours from western New Jersey.
We were staying overnight, but didn’t have time to check into the hotel first. No matter, because once at the party, I got to do one of my favorite things:
I had to keep a safe distance from my other adorable nephew, who brought just one toy. Yes. A scorpion. The only thing I fear more than a world without cheese.
After the party, Peppermeister and I headed a little over 20 miles north to Baltimore to check into our hotel. We paid to park, and dragged our luggage (complete with cooler full of beer, natch) a long distance through the parking deck. We anticipated issues at the front desk, because Peppermeister and his dad have the same name.
Sure enough, they didn’t have us on record. Peppermeister called his parents, who had somehow gotten to the hotel before us, despite having left the party after us.
It all soon made sense, though.
Because we were at the wrong hotel.
We’d driven 20+ miles away from the party and the correct hotel because, like Peppermeister and his dad, both hotels had the same name.
We hauled everything all the way back to the parking deck, where this happened:
Thirty minutes later, when we walked into the RIGHT hotel lobby, Peppermeister’s family members greeted us with snickers.
“How was Baltimore?” they all chortled, one by one, as we passed. (“A gauntlet of chop-busting,” Peppermeister would later call it.) I shook my head warningly in Peppermeister’s general direction, and wondered how Second Husband would have handled this situation. Probably with a sense of humor. And a song and dance routine.
I made a mental note to recommit to finding Second Husband’s cell phone number.
We got to our room and changed into casual clothes. Where were we headed for dinner?
Baltimore! A few blocks from the “wrong” hotel!
Yes, I was still laughing. And no, Peppermeister was still not. Okay. Maybe a little.
In the end, we both had a lovely time, but I called it a night after dinner and drinks.
Peppermeister and I were sound asleep by 12:30.
That’s when the fire alarm went off in our room and throughout the hotel.
We stumbled to get dressed and evacuate, but found out it was a false alarm (literally). Sound asleep once more, the alarm went off again, accompanied by a seizure-inducing strobe light.
By now it was clear the alarm system had gone Charlie Sheen. If we weren’t totally sure, we would be by 5:30am. Because the alarm would go on and off for the next five hours.
“This never would have happened if we’d stayed at the wrong hotel,” I said for the hundredth time, still finding it funny.
Though Peppermeister and I were living dead by lunchtime on Sunday (don’t worry, I’ll explain everything in the prequel), meeting Rache and her hub at a Cheesecake Factory in Delaware was a calorie-laden thrill.
“Peppermeister has officially asked me five times if I remembered the peppers,” I texted Rache as we pulled up. “P.S. – I never said that.”
I recognized the dazzling, scarlet vision as soon as we walked up to the restaurant. Rache and I hugged and immediately ordered drinks. Then it was on to handmade cards and peppers and ‘stache glasses.
Rache is a locavore (i.e., eats only locally grown/produced food), but doesn’t deny herself the occasional avocado egg roll and Snickers cheesecake. In fact, it was one of my greatest ‘enabler’ moments of all time.
When I was leaving my job to run away with my husband, they threw a little farewell party for me for my last day. One of the board members I barely knew shook my hand and said, “Nicole, just remember you’ll always be welcomed back here, should your husband hit you for any reason.”
By the way, if you’re not reading Nicole’s blog, you’re seriously missing out. Even the WordPress Editors recommend her blog on their short list, and for good reason. She makes absolutely amazing, handcrafted comics.