Zippity-Do-Da-Done!






My Z is for Zippity-Do-Da-DONE! In Word Nerd Speak, that's checkity-check-check-check.

Is this a pitiful way to finish off the challenge? Absolutely. Should I be ashamed of myself? Of course. Am I? Hell, no.






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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.


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GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #50: “The Stranger”






GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #50: “The Stranger”


As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the comment section below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We have over 250 members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE2’s Facebook Page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

Oh, and several people have asked what GBE stands for. It’s Group Blogging Experience. The original GBE was started over at MySpace by a fabulous woman named Alicia. She headed up the group for close to two years before deciding that she’d run her course with it, so she stepped away.

Last year, Alicia and I, along with a few others who’d been a part of that original group, were talking on Alicia’s Facebook wall about how wonderful that experience had been and before I could stop myself, I announced that I was going to start a blogging group in the same fashion as the GBE. With Alicia’s blessing, I swiped the name, added the 2, and the rest is history.

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!


You have until Saturday (5-5-12) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: The Stranger


Ready. Set. Blog!


Happy blogging!
Beth




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One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.


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You Found Me How?! April 2012 Edition





Yep, it’s that time again. I’m rounding up the best of the search terms that brought folks to my bloggity-blog this month. I’m a few days early, but You Found Me How?! starts with Y and I’m not about to pass up such a lovely gift as that, so it’s a go.

A few days ago, I began taking screen shots of my search results page. I’ve got just four panels of searches, but starting now, I’ll take them more frequently. As I’ve been doing for the past few months, I copied and pasted results I found particularly cool (or freakishly weird) into a document all month long, which I’ll continue to do, but the screen shots will also provide me with easy images for the blogs. Double goodness.





Okay, this month’s highlights include:

  • синди джексон: I had no idea what this said, but Google Translate tells me that it says “Cindy Jackson.” I was hoping it said something cool like, "click here for recipe for super-healthy greasy bacon cheeseburger recipe" or "free chocolate," but no such luck.

  • crazy and sexy surgeons: I’m a little surgery phobic, but if I ever find myself on the table, I’d rather a serious, nerdy surgeon, thankyouverymuch.

  • brimley dies: I thought, “Wilford? On, no! He was just such a cool grandpa as Gus Witherspoon on Our House. But nope, Wilford Brimley is still around and probably gearing up for his next diabetes testing supplies commercial, so all is well.

  • and you are? naked wet and soapy: Not currently, no.

  • babies with no swag: Really, is there anything sadder than babies with no swag? There should be a foundation or a walk-a-thon or something. Maybe I’ll head that up.

  • 08 jk wrangler cats vs 2011 cats: I’ve got nothin’.

  • pouty breasts: For the millionth time, her lips were pouty. Her boobs were happily saluting the sun.

  • turn.me.on.goddammit.: Ask nicely and I’ll think about it.

  • arthur krystal who speaks for the lazy: I aspire to be the Queen of the Slacker Universe, but even when I’ve reached my goal, I’ll speak for myself. Sorry, Artie.

  • "my toes" "are" "long" "ashamed": Toes should never feel shame and the only people who need to feel bad about their toes are those who slip some nasty unpedicured ones into sandals and then unleash them on an unsuspecting public. Even old dudes in socks and sandals have one up on the gnarly-toed sandal chicks.

  • i'll pick up dandelions and i'll give them to you: Aww, that’d be swell of you. I ♥ dandelions (even though I’m married to a dandelion murderer).


Okay, that’ll do her. Let’s do this again next month, shall we?






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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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xtranormal: A-Z Blogging Challenge 2012







xtranormal.com is a cool website where you can create little movies. You begin by choosing a set, some characters (they have lots!), and voices for your characters (you can even use your own voice, though I've never tried that feature). Then the fun begins. You type in text, set camera angles, add motions and noises, and before you know it, you've created a fun little animated movie. The computer generated voices sound a little, well, computery, but it's still pretty cool.

My six-year-old granddaughter loves this site and sometimes when she visits, we play with it together. Lately, her movies seem to be about school, dancing, and (gasp!) boys.

You know what else is cool about xtranormal.com? It starts with X. Uh-huh. Checkity-check X off the list. I put together a quickie xtranormal movie in honor of the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Take a peek:


A-Z Blogging Challenge 2012
by: TillyLish






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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.


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World Book Night 2012






I fell in love with the idea the moment I heard about it. Volunteers were needed to distribute free books in the hope of transforming reluctant or non-readers into book-loving fools. That’s the stuff that makes a word nerd’s heart go all fluttery. I signed right up.

On the appointed day, I went to the library to pick up my box of books. Twenty fresh copies of The Lovely Bones were mine to hand out. Excited, I could hardly wait until April 23rd, the official distribution day.

In retrospect, I’m not sure what I expected. I suppose I thought I’d encounter a gaggle of people who’d be delighted to get a free book. I guess I assumed (uh-oh) that with a smile, a personal endorsement of the book in hand, and a sprinkling of magic pixie dust, I’d send twenty lucky people skipping down the road to Readerville.

Almost no one wanted to go to Readerville. Not even with a free ticket. No way, no how.

Deflated and back home with more than half of my books, I sat and looked at my husband. He’s not one to read for fun, so I offered him a book. “I’ll take it if it makes you feel better,” he said, “but I’ll probably never read it.”

I put it back in the box.

I’ve tried several locations on a few different nights, and I still have books. Crisp, beautiful books, just waiting for eager eyes. Last night, the hubs suggested I stand outside the library and offer them to patrons. “At least they’d get read,” he said.

I’m nowhere near that desperate. Yet.

There must be readers out there who simply don’t yet identify themselves that way. Folks who, despite their reservations, will be transported, charmed, breathless, brought to tears—both happy and sorrowful—and hungry for more once they’ve nestled into a comfortable chair with a book. The hard part is convincing them to give it a shot.

“The last time I read a book was when I had to in order to pass a class in high school,” one woman told me. Her friend nodded.

“This is a pretty good one,” I countered. Then in a weak voice, I added, “They made a movie out of it.”

Still, no sale.

I’m not ready to give up. Maybe when I head out again, I’ll stop to buy a handful of candy bars and then attach one to each remaining book. It’ll probably be easy to give away free candy, even if there’s a book taped to the bottom of it.





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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.


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Video Happiness and an Even Happier Welcome Back!






Counting this post, there are just five remaining letters to this year’s A-Z Challenge. Considering this one has been checkity-check-checked off the list, that’s just four more, baby. Can I get a woo and a hoo?

WooHoo!

Don’t get me wrong, I think the A-Z thing is fabulous. I did it last year, happily signed up this time around, and though a few letters back when I felt like I was swimming upstream and losing ground swore I wouldn’t be back for more next year, smart money says I will.

But as this year’s challenge nears its end, I’m doing a little early celebrating. And hey, V is for video and there’s nothing easier than posting a YouTube video or two, so color me doubly happy.



Don’t ask me why I chose this one, but it’s what came to mind first:






This one is my ringtone and I like it so much I sometimes miss calls because I bop a little too long when my phone rings and it goes to voicemail:






Maybe just one more. Sorry. I can’t help myself. This is one of my go-to happy songs, so I can’t very well leave it out, can I?






Oh, and I have super-happy news: cdnkaro is back! This makes me all sorts of smiley. With a gaggle of very little ones, reading her takes me back a few years (Hey! It was so just a few!). She is me, the modern version. Well, except I had three in rapid-fire succession and she has four. And she’s brilliant. And talented. And cool. Okay, she’s not me at all, but she’s back. And I’m twistedly happy about that.




Go see her, won’t you? Tell her I said howdy. And tell her I sent her this song:





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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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Unrealistic Expectations






Like Marisa Tomei’s character in My Cousin Vinnie, she feels her biological clock ticking like crazy. And it’s not just the baby thing, she wants it all: the husband, the house, the white picket fence. With forty knocking on her door (two years from now, but she's certain she hears it coming up the walkway), her anxiety about missing out builds.

When I tell her she can have all of that, she scoffs. “All the good ones are taken.”

Really? I’m not buying that. There are lots of good ones, but she doesn’t want good. She wants perfect, and I’m fairly sure perfect human beings of either gender exist only in fairy tales and fantasies. Take that fantasy man (or woman) home for a while and see how quickly a nice thick layer of imperfection reveals itself.

She has a list (I swear! An actual list!). It’s pretty long, but here’s a small sampling of her requirements, none of which are optional:

  • Financially independent: Not just employed or responsible with money, but “financially independent.” I don’t know what that says to you, but I interpret it as “rich.”
  • Handy around the house: Rich guy who knows how to swing a hammer and turn a wrench.
  • Handsome, but not too handsome: Picky much?
  • Lean and fit: To be fair, she’s lean and fit and she leads a very active lifestyle. My guess is that any guy who’d last would be active, as well. But still, “lean and fit” is actually on the list. A handsome, wealthy man who can build her a dream house with his bare hands need not apply if he has a potbelly.
  • Doesn’t take crap from anyone: We’ve all met guys like this. I can’t imagine living with one.
  • Spiritual, but not religious: Lots of deeply spiritual men are the kicks-ass-and-takes-names type that don’t “take crap from anyone.”
  • Sensitive and emotionally available: See above.
  • Intelligent and extraordinarily well-read: Wow, this guy really does sound great! Well, except for that macho, doesn't take any crap thing.

Those are actual items from her list. She believes this man exists. She further believes that he and his ilk have all been snatched up already by the lucky ones.

I have a terrific husband. I could make a huge list of his attributes, but by her standards, the man who has stood by my side for three decades through all sorts of joy and pain wouldn’t cut it.

Let’s be honest. If the stars lined up just right and the man she describes were to have been born fortyish years ago, would he want to spend his time with an imperfect woman who makes lists of the qualities she requires in a mate? Wouldn’t he deserve someone who spends her time feeding the hungry, curing disease, reading Chaucer, and baking a non-stop selection of mouthwatering treats that never seem to land on her hips?

I mentioned that and she laughed. “Maybe I need to revise my list,” she said.




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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog. Photo courtesy of Morgue File, which offers lots of wonderful, free images for public usage.


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Take Two: A Fresh Look at "Together"






If you have no lasting wounds from childhood that were inflicted (intentionally or not) by one or both of your parents, keep reading.
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If you have warm, loving relationships with all of your siblings, keep reading.
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If you have always been the kind of parent that your children needed and have never let them down, keep reading.
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If you have a healthy body image and focus more on the amazing gifts that your body gives rather than any real or perceived faults, keep reading.
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If you feel at one with yourself and are confident in your ability to handle whatever life brings your way, keep reading.
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If you have unwavering faith and are certain that your spiritual self is on the right path, keep reading.
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If you are able to express your innermost feelings without fear that you'll be ridiculed or abandoned, keep reading.
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If all of your memories bring you joy, keep reading.
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If you never doubt your abilities or worry that you don't quite measure up, keep reading.
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If you don't shelter at least one fact about yourself that you fear would change how people view you, keep reading.
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If you have never harmed another with your words or actions, keep reading.
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If you've never felt like a lost child, long after you were grown, keep reading.
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Is there anyone left reading? Probably not. We've all had our moments. We all have our issues and we all have weaknesses. We are—each and every one of us—flawed.

But we are—each and every one of us—on this path together. We can help one another, forgive one another, heal one another. And we can help ourselves, forgive ourselves, and heal ourselves. We just have to want to.



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Written for this week’s GBE topic, “Take Two: A Fresh Look,” where members were asked to repost something they'd posted in the past. If you’d like to blog with us, just clickety-click. All are welcome!

I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #49: “Take Two: A Fresh Look”






This week, we’re taking it easy (we’ve earned it!). For Take Two: A Fresh Look, just go back through your old posts and link us up to one (and one only, please!). You might choose your all-time favorite, one from before your GBE days, something that didn’t get the attention that it deserved, or one with a message that’s as timely as ever. It’s your call.

For those not doing the A-Z thing, you can link to your old post, right where it is. A-Zers who’ll be using the topic “Take Two: A Fresh Look” as their T post will need to copy and paste the text from their old post into a new one so that it posts on the correct day (T is Monday, April 23rd). That’s it, folks. Take Two: A Fresh Look. Ahhhh.

Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the comment section below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We have over 250 members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE2’s Facebook Page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

Oh, and several people have asked what GBE stands for. It’s Group Blogging Experience. The original GBE was started over at MySpace by a fabulous woman named Alicia. She headed up the group for close to two years before deciding that she’d run her course with it, so she stepped away.

Last year, Alicia and I, along with a few others who’d been a part of that original group, were talking on Alicia’s Facebook wall about how wonderful that experience had been and before I could stop myself, I announced that I was going to start a blogging group in the same fashion as the GBE. With Alicia’s blessing, I swiped the name, added the 2, and the rest is history.

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!


You have until Saturday (4-28-12) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: Take Two: A Fresh Look


Ready. Set. Blog!


Happy blogging!
Beth




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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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Synthetic Marijuana




A few weeks ago, I was passing through the living room where the hubs was watching the news and I heard the term “synthetic marijuana.” Great, I thought, I’ve got my “S” topic.

I intended to write a smart-ass quickie. Something like:
I’m absolutely opposed to synthetic marijuana. Today’s teens (and potheads of all ages) should have access to the nice, natural stuff like their parents and grandparents before them.

That was the plan. I’ve written before about how I believe medical marijuana should be widely available. As I was drifting off to sleep last night, I even thought of a few cute things to add to today’s post:

I’m down with doobies from docs.
I’m pro prescription pot.

There were more, but as has happened (way too) many times before, I was positive I’d remember them so I didn’t jot anything down in the little notebook I keep in my nightstand for just such things. Yeah, always a bad call.

Anyway, when I sat down to write my super-fast smartarse post, I thought I might want to do a quick check to find out what the hell synthetic marijuana even is. Turns out, I really am absolutely opposed to the stuff. I read Alice G. Walton’s piece about the dangers of synthetic marijuana. That’s some nasty stuff. See? I was right. Today’s teens (and potheads of all ages) really should have access to the nice, natural stuff like their parents and grandparents before them. Natural is pretty much always better.



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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers
 
One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo 
 
One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog. Photo courtesy of Morgue File, which offers lots of wonderful, free images for public usage. 
 
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Ridiculously Random






Sometimes not having a specific topic in mind is a good thing. It gives me the perfect excuse to just babble a bit about stuff that’s on my mind. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


  • I’ve been doing my best to get rid of the flub that I’ve collected over the past few years (a delightful little souvenir from my hormonal roller coaster stretch). I’m counting those steps, making better food choices (except for, you know, last night), running, lunging, lifting, and dancing my ass off. The jeans from last month are too big now, but the ones tucked into the back of my closet are still a dream.

    These things take time. I know that. But I wouldn’t mind a little instant gratification. As I was lamenting the unused stash of teeny-tiny denim and wondering how long it might take me to be able to zip those puppies up, I realized that there really is a way to look super-skinny right away. Instantly. Nope, no surgery needed. No crash diets or dangerous pills. I need just two things: my camera and one new pair of jeans. Really, really huge jeans. Jeans so big that I can step my whole body into one leg of them and hold the waistband out as far as my arm will reach. Snap a pic of that and voila! Instant skinny.

  • Why is it that if we want to know what someone thinks, we offer a penny for their thoughts, but when someone wants to stick their nose where it doesn’t belong, they put their two cents in? Shouldn’t something you want cost more than something you don’t?

  • I did something mean the other day. Purposefully mean. To my husband, who I love like crazy. I don’t feel good about it (that’s a big fat lie, I’m fine with it). Here’s what happened:

    I’ve talked about how much I love our Keurig, the fancy-schmancy single serve coffee brewer. For weeks now (well really, ever since we got the thing about 16 months ago, but it was really bugging me these past few weeks) every time I wanted to make a cup of coffee, I found the water reservoir in need of filling. Every. Single. Time. So I mentioned it: “Hey sweetie, if you notice the water level down, can you fill it up after you make your coffee?” nicely—a bunch of times. Still, it was pretty much always on empty. So I’d fill it, make a cup, and then leave it nearly full for him.

    The other day, I filled the reservoir, made my coffee, and then on a whim, I emptied the remaining water from the reservoir into the sink, leaving it empty-bo-bempty. Uh-huh. That’s right. I’m badass.



Alrighty, that ought to do it. A-Z, letter R. Check.




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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog. Photo courtesy of Morgue File, which offers lots of wonderful, free images for public usage.


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Questionable Sanity





When we were expecting our first child, I ached at the idea of leaving her with someone so that I could head back to the job I liked-but-didn’t-love. After she was born and I looked into her gorgeous little face, dropping her off somewhere became an even less appealing option. Yet “option,” while technically the accurate word to describe my choice to return to work, was really more a necessity.

Yes, I suppose I could have stayed home with her. We were in our early twenties and money was already tight with two incomes, but my in-laws owned the building we were living in and had we chosen to be moochy, I’m certain they wouldn’t have kicked us out onto the snowy Midwestern streets. We could have stiffed them on the rent and showed up at their place every night around dinnertime, but eeewww. So I went back to work.

We thought about childcare. We didn’t want a center, where babies are sometimes stacked like cordwood, and weren’t anywhere near the “Our nanny is wonderful!” tax bracket, so a home daycare seemed the best solution. We scheduled an interview with a woman who sounded bright, friendly, and sensible on the phone. She opened the door to her clean and cheery house, and introduced us to her perfectly normal-looking husband and gorgeous toddler son. After we chatted for a while and she gave the appropriate answers to all of the questions that I’d prepared, she showed us around the main level of her house, where she had a very nice and child-safe daycare melded into her already kid-friendly “we have a little guy” home.

She was clearly right for the job. Her house was a flat four minutes from my office, she knew what she was doing, she seemed to have a genuine affection for children, and she had a welcoming, open-door policy. Her price was even reasonable.

The interview was over. She knew it, I knew it, and our husbands knew it. Yet I sat there like a huge immovable weirdo. She asked if I had any more questions. I’m sure she thought I was nuts and just wanted me to go away, whether or not I had decided to utilize her services. To be honest, I probably was a little nuts.

I did have one request. I asked if I could see the upstairs level of her house. Even though she’d mentioned when she gave us the tour that the daycare kids never went upstairs, I needed to see what was up there. A child torture-chamber, maybe. A bed of nails, a medieval stretching contraption for naughty children or babies who didn’t stay quiet through naptime. Duct tape, lots and lots of duct tape. She smiled, led the way as we tromped up one carpeted flight, and showed us her bedroom, her son’s room, and their master bath. No gallows. I felt better.

We hired the nice lady who refrained from calling me a whackjob, and she tended to our daughter with loving hands and heart for about the next year. When our twins were born, it was no longer feasible for me to return to the job I’d held. Childcare cost times three was about what I was bringing home. Yet we still didn’t want to be those “how about you support our babies” people, so we looked for a Plan B.

I decided to be the nice lady who refrained from calling potential clients whackjobs. I took a CPR class, we safety-gated the place, and I ran some ads. It didn’t take long for me to have a nice roster of kiddos and a willingness to show strangers through my house—the areas where their kids would play and those they’d never enter.

After years of caring for other people’s children, I know that while I was decidedly a nut when I interviewed our daughter’s caregiver, I was not an unusual one. Parents typically come through my door in one of two ways. Some have a long list of questions they’ve typed up. Others sit and stare before sheepishly admitting that they haven’t a clue what to ask.

The list-makers have asked some interesting stuff over the past decades. Surprisingly, many of the questions I’d most expect to be on the lists have never been raised. No one has ever inquired about our emergency plan, though I think they’d be wise to know exactly what I’d do to keep their kids safe in the event of a fire or natural disaster. Not a soul has asked if there are firearms on the premises. And while some touch upon discipline, it’s the rare parent who expresses any particular preference in how their child is taught to behave.

They do ask about money. Do they have to pay if their kids are sick? (Yes.) How about for vacation time (mine and theirs)? (Yes for theirs, no for mine.) What about if aliens drop down and hang out with their kids on a random Tuesday? Can they get a pay-pass for that? (No one’s actually ever asked that, but the answer would be no. Aliens or visiting grandparents—it’s all the same to me.)

They ask about schedules and outdoor play time and once in a while, religion. One parent asked me to tell them about the worst kid I’ve ever encountered, which I thought was a strangely brilliant tactic. Another said point blank that she didn’t want to raise a brat, so if her daughter got out of line, I had permission to give the girl “a good crack.” I declined. The only cracks I pass out are to Gary and Jo, Facebook friends and retirees who get virtual wallops when they post their happy Monday thoughts on my wall.

Lots of parents ask if I nap in the afternoon while the kids do, and I always chuckle and say that I think the very least they can expect is that I remain awake all throughout the day. I can’t tell you how many shrug and say that they really wouldn’t care if I snoozed, just so I was within earshot of the wee-people and willing to get up and tend to them if they awoke. That’s nice to know, but still. Odd.

One dad (he and his wife were ready-with-a-clipboard types) asked if I drank or did any drugs while the children are present. I stuffed my inner smart-ass down long enough to assure them that I was committed to providing fully sober care. Weeks later, after their child had been enrolled and was doing well, and they’d seen my inner smart-ass come out and dance on several occasions, her dad snickered when I brought up his question and told him that it was a first. He said that though he never expected that his query might get a reply in the positive, he simply wanted to see my expression when he asked. I told him that I’d been tempted to answer, “Of course! How do you think I get through my days?” and he laughed.

I’ve been blessed to have fabulous daycare kids and parents who’ve often become dear friends. I like the serious, normal ones, but I’ll admit a special affection for the kooks—the ones who ask outlandish questions and demand to check the place for baby tormenting equipment. After all, they’re my peeps.



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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog. Photo courtesy of Morgue File, which offers lots of wonderful, free images for public usage.


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Political Activism for the Loud, but Lazy



© Copyright 2011 [Roy Tennant], FreeLargePhotos.com




Righties, lefties, or whatever-ies—I like it when people have opinions about politics. I’m glad to see people care. We should care. But armchair politicking is about as productive as watching the Food Network for days on end but never getting off the couch to head to the kitchen. Both will get you all sparked up but leave you oddly empty inside.

I suppose we all do a little of it. We post the occasional snarky Facebook status about one candidate or another, we mention which way we lean as if it is decidedly the thinking person’s way, or we place blame for our handbasket-to-hell course on a specific party or ideology. We all know who the idiots are. It’s them.

Getting all revved up about the state of things seems pretty commonplace. But follow up—actually doing something about those strong convictions—is a rarer bird. For the record, posting an endless stream of links to prove and support whichever brand of crazy you subscribe to doesn’t really count as activism. It’s more inactivism, the official sport of the “I’ll get the word out and then somebody else will do something with it” crowd.

The thing is, that ‘birds of a feather thing’ is fairly accurate, so what usually happens is one post leads to a dozen reposts which lead to oodles more. All getting the word out. None doing something with it.

Plus, I’d bet a week’s pay that most of the posters and reposters don’t take the time to check the validity of the crapola they click and share. The crazier the claim, the more it gets shared. This guy personally did this, that guy is responsible for that, his brother is an alien sent here to suck out our brains, the other guy drowns kittens in his bathtub for Saturday afternoon fun. Whoever sits in the Oval Office is surely to blame when some low-level worker bee in some tiny offshoot governmental office steals ten bucks from petty cash. Impeach the bastard. He let it happen.

We Facebook, blog, and tweet. And then we take a nap. Yeah, that’ll turn this place around.




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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog. Today’s photo is courtesy of FreeLargePhotos.com, which offers bloggers the opportunity to use any of their thousands of images for free, just so proper credit is given to the photographer and a link is provided to the site’s main page.

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Oh, Please!






She handed me a slip of paper on which she’d written a web address. “You have to check this out,” she said.

I looked at the unfamiliar URL and shrugged. “A blog?” I asked.

“Oh, not just any blog. Remember Poor-Me-Erica*? She’s got a Poor Me blog and holy cow, she hasn’t changed at all. It’s a gripe-fest the likes of which you’ve never seen. Poor me, I’m poor. Poor me, we couldn’t really afford baby #1, but we’ve had a couple more on purpose and we can’t really afford them, either. Poor me, I’ve got three kids and I’m going to school and I’m tired. Poor me, I’m getting a free education, but the professors don’t kiss my ass. Poor me, I’m getting free food from the government, but I don’t like the stuff they give me. Poor me, poor me, poor me.”

“Really?” I asked, setting the paper aside. “It can’t be as bad as all that.”

She picked up the sheet and set it squarely in front of me. “Read it,” she said. “Oh, and get a load of the comments she gets. She’s got a big following and while many offer sympathy and support, some disagree and when they do, she rips into them. Really, read the thing.”

So I read. At first, I was amused. We knew PME a handful of years ago when she had one adorable child, a sweet and very tolerant husband, a full-time job that she was itching to quit (last I'd heard of her until now was that she had quit the job in a bit of a huff), an I’m-always-right attitude, and a huge chip on her shoulder about a government that she thought should provide handsomely for her because she’d popped out a kid and the medical community because her birthing experience wasn’t as she’d envisioned it. The world, to hear her tell it, was out to stomp her down. Back then, I chalked it up to youth and immaturity, though she wasn’t a kid. She was probably 28 or 29, but some people cling to immaturity and a sense that the world owes them something just for breathing, longer than others do.

Apparently, some cling to it forever and their resolve deepens with time.

As I read, my amusement changed to annoyance. My friend was right. PME has gone from a little pitiful to insufferable. She is still in school, still choosing not to earn any money, and still angry that the level of direct financial government assistance and indirect financial government assistance (through government-paid grocery supplementation and free medical coverage) that her family receives isn’t, in her opinion, sufficient and tailored directly to her preferences.

PME has always been opinionated, and that’s a good thing. But she’s stepped it up now to being full-out obnoxious. A self-declared champion of women, she vehemently supports the right of women to choose freely and be both respected and honored for their choices regarding work, relationships, sexual freedom, pregnancy care, birthing options, and the subsequent care and guidance of their offspring. That’s good, right? Well, usually.

The thing is, PME champions the rights of women to do things in the exact way she believes they should be done, but for those who follow other paths, she is comfortable to ridicule and demean them, both in general terms and directly, woman-to-woman, when someone comments on her posts with an opinion that differs from hers. If a reader cites a study to support her beliefs, she tells them the study is invalid. When they relay their personal experiences, she tells them they are uninformed, ignorant, or simply unwilling to see the truth. Her truth.

And yet for all her self-declared brilliance about knowing exactly how everything in this life should be done, she admits that she is unhappy. She’s posted repeatedly about how she screams at her husband if he doesn’t do exactly what she wants, when she wants—and sometimes, even when he does. She writes that her family and her in-laws offer continual emotional support, cash so that she and her hubby can take the kids on little getaways, and free, regular child care. They jump when she needs them to so that she can get to class, study, or tend her blog, yet she bad-mouths them on that same blog if in conversation, they dare to say something she finds unenlightened. She genuinely loves her kids—that much I don’t doubt—but they appear to be very low on her priority list when it comes to allocating her time.

She states that she’s stressed, miserable, anxious, depressed, and overwhelmed. She wonders what she can do to alleviate some of her problems, both personal and financial. She asks readers for their input. Those who tell her that she’s perfect and it’s the rest of the world that’s effed up get patted on the head, but those who give her what she specifically requests—advice—are belittled.

One reader suggested that maybe PME might want to postpone the completion of her advanced degree until her children are all in school full-time and her financial situation eases up a bit. The reader noted that since she already has her Bachelor’s and free childcare, she could get a job and maybe go to school part-time to finish her education. That, to me, sounded like very sound advice, and it was offered in a kind and supportive tone. I’m sure you can guess what kind of reply that poor reader got. It wasn’t pretty.

Really—and this opinion may or not be met with approval—I think that since she’s getting educated and fed on my dime (and yours!), I’d like to see her get her ass to work. I work. I’d rather not, but I do. I have bills to pay, so every night, I set my alarm for an unholy hour and when the damn thing goes off, I drag my sorry ass into the shower.

A few days after she handed me the paper with the blog’s URL, my friend gave me a call. She wanted to know if I’d read it. I told her that I had. “Did you comment?” she asked.

I hadn’t, and I told her that. I added that I didn’t see any point. She agreed and said that she hadn’t, either. “Weren’t you tempted, though?” she wanted to know. “Wasn’t there a part of you that wanted to spell it out in plain, direct, cut-the-bullshit-and-grow-the-hell-up English?”

Oh, yes. Just as my friend had been, I was certainly tempted. But neither of us had the time. We both had alarm clocks to set.




*Not her real name.



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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog. Photo courtesy of Morgue File, which offers lots of wonderful, free images for public usage.


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N.O.W.






Next time I purposefully and knowingly decide to add something to my already


Overcommitted schedule, I’m hoping you’ll give me a good


Wallop in the hope of knocking some sense into me.


Thank you.



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Written for this week’s GBE topic, “Now.” If you’d like to blog with us, just clickety-click. All are welcome!

I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #48: “Now”



GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #48: “Now”















As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the comment section below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We have 250 members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE2’s Facebook Page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

Oh, and several people have asked what GBE stands for. It’s Group Blogging Experience. The original GBE was started over at MySpace by a fabulous woman named Alicia. She headed up the group for close to two years before deciding that she’d run her course with it, so she stepped away.

Last year, Alicia and I, along with a few others who’d been a part of that original group, were talking on Alicia’s Facebook wall about how wonderful that experience had been and before I could stop myself, I announced that I was going to start a blogging group in the same fashion as the GBE. With Alicia’s blessing, I swiped the name, added the 2, and the rest is history.

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!


You have until Saturday (4-21-12) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: Now


Ready. Set. Blog!


Happy blogging!
Beth



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My Favorite Things (with a Nod to Oprah)





Remember when Oprah used to do her annual Favorite Things episodes? Those were arguably the hottest tickets in Chicago, with people doing all that they could to secure seats in her audience all through November. After all, no one knew exactly which audience would get there to discover that the guest they thought they’d be seeing wasn’t in attendance. Instead, they were treated to a variety of yummy goodies and sent home with a pile of loot that rivaled what really rich kids likely get for Christmas. It was fabulous.

Oprah would take the stage and spend an hour introducing a bunch of her favorite things. As she spoke, helpers dressed as elves worked their way through the studio, passing out gifts. Every audience member got every single thing Oprah mentioned, with items ranging from cookies to expensive gadgets. Screaming and crying were common (and there was the occasional fainter) as the packages stacked up. All sorts of cool.

My bank account is a few bucks leaner than Oprah’s, so I won’t be sending Fed Ex trucks to your houses to deliver my current favorite things. If I was loaded, though, that sure would be fun.

  • The VitaMix Blender: If you took a regular blender and hopped it up on steroids, you’d have the VitaMix.
  • Gel Bed Pillows: They maintain a nice, even temperature, never getting too hot. Mine may have saved my head from bursting into flames a few years ago, so it deserves a shout out. That’s the least I can do.
  • DevaCurl Hair Stuff: I love their No-Poo cleanser, One conditioner, and Heaven in Hair deep conditioner. Happy curls.
  • CoverGirl Natureluxe Lip Gloss, in Pinot: Great color, not goopy, and just shiny enough.
  • Fitbit: Fabtastic.
  • Retro Kitchen Appliances: Brand new, but with a terrific vintage look. Perfect for the cottagey little house I want next time. Way too expensive, but I likey,
  • Brita Squeeze Water Bottle: Water on the go without using a zillion disposable bottles. Just fill with tap water and the mini carbon filter takes care of making it yummy.
  • Wall Words: We have some on the wall of our bedroom. Aren’t they snazzy?
  • Keurig Coffee Maker: We love the thing, but I fear it is dying. A bunch of reviewers on Amazon say the thing has a 14-18 month lifespan, and ours is right in there. So very sad.
  • A Bitchin’ Treehouse: This is my dream office. Oh, in answer to your question, I’m 50. And your point is?




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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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Label Crazy





She sits in on the assessments and meets the children who will become her students in the fall. Three- and four-year-old kids are being interviewed to determine their pre-school readiness. Surely, even the most outgoing of them feels a little intimidated. Strange place, being questioned by a panel of strangers. Hell, I’d have a few butterflies and I’ve got a half century’s worth of life experience to call on.

The classroom is colorful and kid-friendly. A small chair is placed beside a low table, along with five bigger chairs. The teacher sits directly across from the child, and the nearby seats are filled by a speech pathologist, social worker, and a set of proud parents. Everyone is smiling except the child, who scoots a little closer to her mother. Mom touches the girl’s hair and then rests her hand on a small shoulder and gives it a reassuring squeeze. She feels her daughter relax a little, but only a little. When the teacher asks her to identify colors on a sheet of paper, the child looks down and silently twists her finger in the hem of her dress.

The girl is three years and two months old. At home and at the homes of her grandparents and her parents’ friends, she is bubbly and outgoing, but in this strange place surrounded by strange faces, she withdraws. Her refusal to talk or even make eye contact for more than a fleeting moment is noted on the social worker’s clipboard. After eleven minutes, the woman has decided the child’s behaviors indicate that she is on the spectrum. She writes her opinion down in ink and closes the folder.

The teacher is uncomfortable with the process and she voices her concerns in a private meeting with her colleagues at the end of the day. She points out that many perfectly healthy children are shy around strangers. Some, she says, go the opposite direction and get a little wild when they’re out of their element. Some hide behind the legs of their parents, some pick at their fingernails, and a few cry. None of this indicates abnormality, she says, and adds that she thinks it would be wise to meet with the more hesitant children a number of times before making any assumptions. She points out that although the girl from earlier in the day didn’t give them much to go on, her parents indicated that she knows her colors, can count to 15, and has begun to recognize some letters of the alphabet. She sings songs, has fun at her Saturday morning tumbling classes, and most of the time, they can’t get to stop talking.

The social worker nods to show that she understands the teacher’s perspective, but doesn’t change her recommendation. The speech pathologist concurs—the silent child is certainly in need of intense therapy. Together, they decide on a plan and both sign off to it. The teacher adds her own notes to the girl’s file, but she’s younger than the other two women and has less experience. Plus, they are in agreement and she is but a single opposing voice. When they leave the table, two of the three feel good about the decisions that were made.

This sort of thing happens all too often. Children—very young children—are being labeled and then enrolled in programs designed to address their special needs. For some of these kids, the need is genuine and in those cases, identifying the problems early on really is important. But for a host of others, one off half-hour can alter the direction of a child’s first school experiences.

Many parents don’t know that they have the right to refuse the interviewers' recommendations and enroll their children in mainstream curriculum. Some even second guess what they know to be true of their own children, telling themselves that they should respect the views of those who have specialized training in recognizing early warning signs.

The media reports an astounding increase in the occurrence of autism, ADD, ADHD, ODD, attachment disorders, and anxiety disorders in children over the past few decades. It might well be that environmental or other factors have, in fact, caused an increase in these and other developmental or behavior disorders, but that might be only a partial explanation of the dramatic rise in reported cases. The trend of pigeonholing every child who is a little meek, highly energetic, somewhat introverted, prone to dramatization, or easily upset into a diagnosis requiring intervention must, in my opinion, take at least partial credit for the increase.

Kids are people, and just like their older, taller counterparts, each is unique. Some are loud while others are quiet. Some like working with numbers and others prefer being outdoors, working in the sunshine. Some cry at sad movies and others make Bruce Willis look like a big sissy. That’s okay. It’s good to be different, to love what you love, and to celebrate your individuality. It’s okay for adults and it should be okay for children, too.



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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog. Photo courtesy of Morgue File, which offers lots of wonderful, free images for public usage.


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Keep Your Readers!






Most every blogger adds links to their posts at least occasionally. Many do it almost every time they write. Links are terrific. They can provide readers with in-depth information about the blogger’s topic, cite sources, or just open the door to meeting new friends. All sorts of good.

Here’s the thing, though. I’m happy to send you to meet my friends, but after your visit, I really want you to come back to my place and hang out some more. I like you and I don’t want to lose you. My guess is that you feel the same way about your readers.

Have you noticed that sometimes when you click on a link, the page you’re on changes to the place the link sent you while other times, a new tab or page opens up? That distinction matters. It matters a lot.

If you set up your links so that when your reader clicks, the page they’re on (your page!) is replaced by the new one, you just lost them. You don’t want that. Sure, they might click their back button to revisit you when they’re done checking out the place you sent them, but they might not. They might get distracted or become so enthralled with the fabulous new destination that they plumb forget they were at your place just a few minutes before.

You really don't want that.

When you add links to your blog posts, you want to code them so the destination site is opened in a new tab or window. Done that way, your reader will click, head off to wherever you sent them, read, and when they x-out of that page, they’re right back where they started, reading your utterly brilliant post. Much better, right?

You can tweak your html code so that you can keep your readers. It’s easy! I’ll show you how.


link code tutorial



Easy-peasy-lemon squeezy, right? Oh, and you can edit the code for buttons and other stuff you might add to your blog, too. Add the four magical words and keep your readers!




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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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Just Come Back Tomorrow



I opened my notebook and numbered the page from 1 to 30, and then I wrote down a letter of the alphabet next to the appropriate dates. Potential topics were jotted next to each letter and the list filled up pretty quickly. Only two letters gave me trouble. No, they weren’t X and Z, although those would be the most logical guesses. I’m good to go with the oddball letters. The two that remain blank should have been some of the easier ones.

One is J.

I thought for a while. Joy? Jealousy? Jumping? Juxtaposition? Nah. How about Jeepers-Creepers? That had potential. But not really.


I’ve been trying to write one day ahead and schedule my A-Z blogs to go live early in the morning on their appropriate days. As of last night, I still had nothing for J. I grabbed a dictionary. Jalapeño? Jamboree? Jackpot would have worked nicely the week that ginormous MegaMillions loot was up for grabs.

I walked though my morning mulling J words. Nothing sparked. I made lunch and actually looked in the fridge for J foods. Jelly? Well, sure. Jelly is a fascinating topic and could absolutely provide fodder for a very fine blog.

Finally, it came to me. I’d write this post—the one where I apologize for being a big j-loser, but what to title it? It had to have a J name. I just wanted to check it off the list and be done. I have a really good topic for tomorrow (No, really, I do!). Maybe I could just ask everyone who reads this to come back tomorrow. So that’s the plan.




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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

Oh, one more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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Image Ethics





Anyone who reads me regularly knows how I feel about the practice of right-clicking and saving images from the internet and then using them to pretty up blog posts. I see it happen all too often and it bugs the daylights out of me. Folks who would never swipe a shirt from the mall seem comfortable to “use” the work of photographers and graphic artists. Some justify this by adding a quick sentence such as, “Image courtesy of Google Images.” Here’s the thing: Google Images doesn’t own the images. The same applies to most of the places bloggers find these images--the sites typically do not own the rights to the photos or other artwork. The folks who created them do, and they may or may not be okay with their work being reproduced all over the web. It’s not like you can take that shirt from the mall and then pin on a little note that says, “Shirt courtesy of JC Penney.”

To comply with copyright law, you must receive permission from the copyright holder before you download any content. The exception to this is “fair use.”

To be clear, fair use is a huge exception. The fuzzy definition of fair use can make it very difficult to determine which side of the law you are on when you grab and post an image that you didn’t personally create or for which you have not secured definitive permission to use. This stuff goes to court specifically because the laws are hazy, at best.

Sometimes it’s easy. Some websites, artists, and agencies offer the use of their images—free for the taking. Many stipulate the conditions under which you can use their work, typically requiring that you link back to them. That seems reasonable enough. Some are fine with users altering the image (changing it to black & white, utilizing just a portion of the image, etc.) while others offer it up only when used exactly as is.

Frequently though, determining whether or not you’ll be a thief if you use an image that you didn’t create isn’t quite that simple. Again, we can thank our buddy fair use for that.

Before we go any further, let’s clear up a common misconception about copyright. Copyright is in force the moment you create something. You put words to paper, snap a photo, or doodle a bunch of crapola using Paint and Voila! You’ve got yourself a copyrighted creation. Just. Like. That.

You don’t need to file any paperwork, pay any fees, or register your work anywhere, although you can (and some say you should). Your work is copyright protected the moment you create it. It belongs to you.

Then, as most of us do, we unleash our creations and send them out into the world. That’s where things can get messy. That’s where fair use might step in and allow Joe Blogger to take your photo and paste it right onto his latest post. He may or may not mention that you snapped that lovely shot of the lake. He may or may not have to. And you might not really care if he uses it. You might even feel a little flattered that of all the gazillion images out there, J.B. chose yours. What a talent you must have!

But what if the photo isn’t of the lake? What if it’s a shot of the front of your house? What if it’s of your five-year-old, blowing out her birthday candles? What if it’s your wedding picture?

What if J.B. takes your wedding picture and posts it to a ranting vent-fest blog he wrote about how marriages are all doomed to fail or cites it as proof of his theory that not all brides are beautiful? Still flattered that he chose your photo?

Exactly.


Section 107 of U.S. copyright law lists the various purposes for which the reproduction of a work may be fair. Examples include teaching, research, news reporting, scholarship, commentary, and criticism. Section 107 also lists four factors which are to be considered in determining whether a particular use is fair:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes: Nonprofit, educational purposes and generally favored over commercial uses. As stated above, teaching, research, news reporting, scholarship, commentary, and criticism are specifically mentioned as examples of fair use. It’s important to note, however, that all four factors must be considered, and not merely this one. Also, courts (as these things do end up in court) have historically leaned toward approving of uses that are “transformative,” rather than full reproductions.
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work: Greater protection is generally given to creative works, so art, music, feature films, and fictional literature are less likely to be deemed available under fair use than nonfiction might be.
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole: Typically, the less you use of another’s work, the more likely you are to receive the benefit of the doubt in terms of fair use. For images, that means that a thumbnail of an original might be okay, while swiping the whole picture is likely not. Bloggers might want to pay special attention to this distinction as most of us who use images incorporate a pretty decent sized image in our blogs.
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work: This one can be tricky. Essentially, it means that if you take something that the owner/creator could have potentially licensed and/or sold, you are not likely operating under the terms of fair use. Considering that selling images and photographs for use on blogs and websites is a commonplace occurrence, my gut says that taking them for free is in opposition to this factor.

Please note: It is only acceptable to use photographs or other artwork (with the obvious exception of your own work or work that you have secured permission to use) when ALL four of the above factors can be properly applied. In my opinion, that makes a large percentage of the images that are out there off-limits, and I’m not alone in recommending caution.

According to The U.S. Copyright Office: The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material. The Copyright Office cannot give this permission.
When it is impracticable to obtain permission, use of copyrighted material should be avoided unless the doctrine of fair use would clearly apply to the situation. The Copyright Office can neither determine if a certain use may be considered fair nor advise on possible copyright violations. If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney.


So, bottom line? For me, it comes down to the sentence that I post at the bottom of all of my blogs: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.




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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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Home






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she’d open the door and her smile
made their journey seem small, every mile
she’d spread her arms wide
as she called them inside
holding back was just never her style

she was grandma, and mom, many’s friend
loved us deeply, and did ‘til her end
we’d gather around
and her love would abound
every hurt, she was able to mend

my sister’d show up with her two
the rest would pop in, ‘cause they knew
of her wisdom and grace
kindness shone on her face
in her presence, all happiness grew

the little ones giggled and shared
their adventures—they knew that she cared
about schoolwork and fun
all the tales, every one
kids and grandma were happily paired

a job called one daughter away
and she answered, had her bills to pay
but at every week’s end
travel time, they would spend
to head home, and wish they could stay

lots of hugging, some laughs, happy tears
it had been just a week—felt like years
for the time spent apart
about broke every heart
but each weekend she’d see her sweet dears

to me, she was mom, she was love
surely sent straight from heaven above
to show me the way
she still does, to this day
especially when push moves to shove

she was the first home of my heart
and she gave me a wonderful start
I owe all that is good
to the way that she stood
firm but kind, never shirking her part

her lessons were simple, but true
start with love and then be your best you
look within for your guide
and don’t ever hide
the light that demands to shine through

it’s not bricks or mortar or wood
though all of those things are quite good
my home is inside
and will always abide
tides of change, celebrated not merely withstood




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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #47: “Home”



GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #47: “Home”















As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the comment section below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We have over 250 members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE2’s Facebook Page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

Oh, and several people have asked what GBE stands for. It’s Group Blogging Experience. The original GBE was started over at MySpace by a fabulous woman named Alicia. She headed up the group for close to two years before deciding that she’d run her course with it, so she stepped away.

Last year, Alicia and I, along with a few others who’d been a part of that original group, were talking on Alicia’s Facebook wall about how wonderful that experience had been and before I could stop myself, I announced that I was going to start a blogging group in the same fashion as the GBE. With Alicia’s blessing, I swiped the name, added the 2, and the rest is history.

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!


You have until Saturday (4-14-12) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: Home


Ready. Set. Blog!


Happy blogging!
Beth



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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.


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Going Gray





That's me with my grandmother. She had a head of gorgeous white hair. I hope mine ultimately comes in that same color.









The first time I dyed my hair, I was still in my twenties. At that point, I was just playing around, but a decade later, the coloring was helping to conceal a few errant grays. Initially, the difference was subtle—the grays were a small minority—but as their numbers increased, grow-out resulted in a distinct brown/white root-line. Super-snazzy. In retrospect, I wish I’d accepted and celebrated the changes, rather than spending well over a decade in the bottle (In the bottle! I like that!).


Me (with Mr. Nerd), dependent on the bottle:


















Two years ago, I’d had enough. It was time to stop fighting the inevitable. I left the gray untouched for as long as I could stand it and then went in to see Nan. “Cut off everything that has artificial color on it,” I said.

She ran her fingers through my hair and squinted at me. “All of it?” she asked.

“Yep. All of it. I’ve had enough.”

Against her better judgment, Nan snipped and snipped until I was left with just a few inches of hair. My hair hadn’t been that short since it was growing in for the very first time, some 48 years before. She spread a little gel over her palms and worked it into my teeny-tiny curls, then tilted her head. “It’s cute," she said. "I had my doubts, but it looks good!”

I looked like an elderly librarian. Short hair is cute. Gray hair is cute. Curly hair is cute. Put them all together and it adds up to elderly librarian.

I went home and tried to like the new look, but every time I glanced at myself in the mirror, I had an inexplicable desire to extol the virtues of the Dewey Decimal System. I bought a box of haircolor—the kind that “blends away the gray” and is supposed to last through just 28 shampoos. Its go-away-gradually feature means that in theory, there is no distinct (and distinctly ugly) brown/white line. I don’t know how it works on other women, but on my noggin, the stuff grabs hold and like my brother when he comes for a supposedly short visit, refuses to leave.


Nan's handiwork, after I'd gone back on the bottle (You didn't think I was going to post one of me in full elderly librarian mode, did you?).






















Dammit, dammit, dammit. I was running out of options. I didn’t want to grow a couple of inches and ask Nan to librarianitize me again, though that would have been simple. Cut it and then grow it out, big girl style. I didn’t want to go the big girl route.

Option B was to just keep on coloring it until, well, until forever, I guess. Not for me, although that’s what I did for more than another year. Every six weeks or so, I touched up my roots with supposedly-but-not-really temporary color and then boo-hoo’d as the cycle repeated itself.



Still touching up the roots, but not happy about it.





















Finally, there was Option C: Find a professional to help me through the transition. Not Nan. Nan is a sweetheart and good with scissors, but I’ve seen enough of her regulars to know that I wasn’t about to let her near me with a squeeze bottle, bowl of goop, brush, and pile of tin foil squares. Trading one kind of nasty for another seemed pointless.

I went in to meet Brittany. Brittany knows her goop. We met, I explained the goal (gray, baby!) and when I saw that she understood what I wanted and knew how to get me there, I put her in the driver’s seat. I’ve been a happy passenger ever since, and I think I’m approaching my destination. When I’m all done, I’m sending Brittany a bouquet of flowers. A really, really big one.


Post Brittany: Visit #1























When I was ready, she lightened it up a bit and increased the highlights so the gray guys would feel more at home. I loved this color and told her to note it on my chart because on the off chance that I get all the way to gray and hate it, this will be the color I'd return to.
























This was two hours ago. Lighter again, with a crapload of highlights. This one yells, "Gray is welcome here!" Oh, and it's not nearly as colorless as it looks in this photo (and neither am I). Too much flash and no time to toy with the pic to fix the exposure.























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I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.

One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~