Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Random Tuesday Thoughts- Throwback Edition

Way back when there used to be this girl name Keely who started a blog meme called Random Tuesday Thoughts, and then she passed the torch to Stacy, who now keeps the random alive.  Since my thoughts are all disjointed right now and I can make a single blog post out of one of them, I decided to hop on the RTT train.  Join me in the randomness.

Stacy


So, The Man, put a little wooden cross up in the back garden for Sam Kitty (even though I had him cremated).  I don't know if I should keep it up or take it down.  It makes me sad every time I see it.  On the other hand I don't want to step on my husband's toes so to speak.  

This was an actual conversation the other night when the girls were supposed to be going to bed...

LaLa- "MOM, KIKI BIT ME!"
Hubby going in to see to the situation- "What were you thinking, KiKi?"
KiKi- "I was trying to hug her but she wouldn't wake up!!"

Imagine being married to a girl who bit you every time you didn't give her attention.  Yeah, think on that one a bit.

We went to Great Yarmouth this Sunday.  It was very nice on the seaside.  Parking was easy to find.  Not too many weirdos out.  Kids had a good time.  Didn't break the bank at the arcades and attractions.  All together a win win.






Monday, being Memorial Day back in the States, The Man didn't have to work.  So we spent the day reading, sleeping and did a bit of shopping.  Not a bad end to the holiday (for us) weekend.  Oh, and yes, I sent the kids to school. 

I think I am in love with Starbucks Raspberry Blackcurrent Frap.  IN LOVE, I TELL YOU.  I WOULD MARRY IT.

My leg is asleep up to my cheek so to speak, so I am gonna go get started on my day.  Happy Random Tuesday.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dear So and So...No Clever Title

Dear Readers,

You know what is good about a spectacularly crap week?  It really gives you perspective on the world. I have seen the best of people with their outpouring of support for me in my time of need and I have seen pure deceit and underhandedness from someone I thought was an alright person.  I mean she wasn't an amazingly good person, nor was she a person I would avoid, but I will be now.  Hindsight being twenty twenty and all that.

I guess you have to take the good with the bad and roll with the punches of life, but this week just seemed to blindside me.  My soul is a bit battered right now.  I'm not just a "bit sad" about my cat dying.  My heart literally feels like it is going to burst out of my chest and I get a big lump in my throat when I remember little things about him.  I keep expect to see him greet me in the morning by jumping up onto the sink for his morning drink of water.  It is hell.

The utter rage (not an emotion I am very familiar with) I felt at the other person, well, unfortunately that is something I can't and won't blog about. Even though I REALLY want to shout at the top of my lungs and write the meanest, nastiest, most spiteful rant ever published in the history of rants.  Seriously, I would be filibustering my own blog.  I really do hope karma exists and that someone really craps on this persons parade one day.

Anyways, yes, life it can suck.  Right now it really sucks.  It will get better though.  It will get better because I have an amazing family and friends and people who love me for me.  I have people who will stand behind me and support me when I don't know if I can cope.  Everything will work out for the best and tomorrow is another day to try to make perfect.  And with a little luck, support, and this brilliant sunshine we are having at the moment, anything is possible.

Love, Kat
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If you have any of you own letters please link up.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

For Sam Kitty

It's amazing how the mind works.  How it protects you until what needs to be done is done.  All feeling goes.  You get it together and you get done what needs to be done.  Then your brain gives you permission to break down.

So I did.

RIP Sam Kitty.  Blast those damn cars.  Blast that damn road.  Blast my heart for loving you so much.  I will miss you so much.




Friday, May 18, 2012

Dear So and So...Proving A Point

Dear The Man,

I am so damn proud of you!  MSgt in 10 years!  I know I said I would be happy even if you didn't get the promotion this year.  I know you said you could probably use a bit more time at your current rank.  I knew you could do it though.  I KNEW you could.  In fact, when I used to find you asleep with your study guide for the test, I knew it was probably not a big deal.  You know how I knew?  Cause your absolutely brilliant.

Love You, Kat
-------------------------

For Those Who Aren't Military Types,

Making Master Sergeant in the US Air Force under 10 years is like being the Bobby Fischer of the Air Force.  It isn't done very often.  It is freakin' amazing.

Love, Kat
--------------------------

Dear Student Loans,

Do you know every time I pay you I feel a bit ill.  What's worse is I was talking to someone here in the UK and out of curiosity they asked me how much I pay each month...it was more than her mortgage.

Just Sayin', Kat
----------------------------

Dear Student Loans (again),

Do you want to know the worst part?  I only went back to school to prove a point to myself.  I knew I was smart, but I needed that damn piece of paper to prove I wasn't a quitter- even though I had a 3 year old and a 6 month old baby at the time.  Now me would kick then me's ass.

Once Again Just Sayin' Kat
----------------------------

Dear KiKi,

This thing you are doing lately where you completely lose your temper and lash out to get your point across.  Yeah, that's not cool.  In fact, it will land you in time out for extended amounts of time with me completely blanking you until you calm down.  That doesn't sound like a lot of fun does it?  So maybe you can figure out how to express yourself other than raging at the people nearest you, mmkay?

Love, Mom- Keeper of Time Out
----------------------------

Dear Readers,

If you have your own letters, please link up!  Have a safe and wonderful weekend.  Remember, don't run with scissors and no, we aren't there yet.

Love, Kat
---------------------------

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Organically Growing Your Audience

I suppose all bloggers by nature, even if they are introverts in person, are people who want to be noticed.  We're all metaphorically screaming with our posts "Look at me!  Aren't I the greatest.  Aren't I special?  Don't you LOVE me?  My opinion is important, dammit!", and that is just those of us who aren't the middle child in our families.  I have never met a blogger who doesn't want their posts read.

I thought maybe since I have been doing this blogging thing for a while I might be able to help other bloggers increase their readership without resorting to any fancy blogging techniques.  Lord knows, I don't know any of those.  Also, I know I am breaking a blogging rule by blogging about blogging.  Didn't you know, blogging is like Fight Club?

The first rule of Fight Club is that you don't talk about Fight Club....


Anyhoo... Here are some of the things I have done over the years...

When I first started blogging, I found a group of bloggers that commented on each others blogs.  This wasn't like a special organized group mind you.  It was just a small group of people who were in a similar stage of blogging as me, who had children near my children's ages, and seemed sort of a natural fit for me.  I left a comment.  I don't mean a comment that said "LOL".  I mean an engaging comment.  A comment that commented about what that person was going through and then left a snippet about myself, so that maybe if they liked my comment they might come visit my blog.  Guess what?  It worked AND I made life long friends.  Some of these friends of mine don't even blog anymore, but we are still friends through emails and Facebook.  Most of them still read my blog.

Then, I started clicking on other commenters they had on their blogs.  I figured if their commenters commented on their blogs, then they might be interesting too.  I left comments.  Good comments.

Take Capcha/Word Varification off your comments system. NOW.

For the most part I avoided blogs that had a huge established audience (like The Bloggess) when I was leaving comments.  Not that I didn't comment there, I just never expected anyone to say "hey I made my way here via The Bloggess", because she is a freakin' legend.  It is too easy to get lost in the comment mix over there.  I leave a comment for my own satisfaction there and hope it puts a smile on her face.

I then found FeedBurner.  If you don't know what FeedBurner is, google it and install it.  Go ahead.  Do it now.  I'll wait.  Enable people to read your blog through RSS and email notification.  Make reading your blog as easy as possible.

The number one tip I have for building an audience is be authentic.  Write in your own voice.  As you are reading this, you are hearing me.  You know, that American chick living in the UK.  That mom who loves her kids, but also pulls her hair out when things start going off the rails.  You know, that woman who loves her husband, but takes the mickey out of him at least once a day to keep him from getting too high in the instep.  You are reading me and really all your readers want to read is you. An authentic you.

So go out there and read and comment.  Keep plugging away.  Don't stress yourself out and most importantly, do it for you.  You are your most important reader.

Monday, May 14, 2012

CybHer- Ask A Blogger Geek Session (Or Why I am A Nickie O'Hara Fangirl)

I very rarely want to get onto a table top and shout someone's praises, but this year at CybHer I might have become a Nickie O'Hara fangirl.  You see, at most blogging events that I have been to everyone bangs on about Wordpress this and Wordpress that, well you know what?  I don't have Wordpress.  I am on Blogger.  I like Blogger.  I know how to use it, I've never properly broke it, and it works for me.  So, when Nickie did a session on the technical side of Blogger and all the new nifty features, I was all ears.

You see, when it comes to the technical side of blogging, I'm a big ol mess.  I can write a post and add a few pictures, but when it comes to the coding and all that technical stuff, well not so much.  The thing I like about Blogger though is, I don't need to be.  I can be as into figuring out the technical bits, or not, as I see fit.  There however, are some really great new features that have been added to Blogger with the new interface and I would have completely ignored them if I hadn't gone to Nickie's session at CybHer.  No, seriously, I would have just stuck my head in the sand and completely ignored all of them.

One of my favorite tricks that I learned was how to imbed a message into a photograph, so that when you hover your cursor over the photo you get a little text box with a message.  I had seen this before on other blogs, but I just figured that it was entirely too hard for me to learn.  I did learn how to do it though!  In fact, on Sunday morning when I was barely awake I managed to post a picture and embed some text into the photo using the Title Text feature.  You would have in fact called this amazing if you saw me on Sunday morning.

I also learned more about the posts and comments section of Blogger.  I have waffled back and forth for a while now about if I want to change the way that posts are displayed on my blog.  Mostly I have been waffling because I didn't know if I had the technical know how to make the changes I wanted on my blog on my own, or if I was going to need to beg my lovely techie friends to help me.  Now, I have the confidence and the basic knowledge I need to make the changes I want.  So if you see some changes at the Bungalow, don't worry, they're probably on purpose!

So, do you want to know the best part?  If you are a Blogger blogger like me, you can find out all the same information I learned and more on Nickie's new Blog/Pet Project "Ask A Blogger Geek".  You want to know the even better part?  She is going to be adding new parts and you can ask her your own questions!

So, now you know why I am a Nickie O'Hara fangirl.




CybHer Weekend By The Numbers

1 weekend.
1 tenth wedding anniversary.
1 CybHer blogging conference.
1 incident with a SatNav with no sense of direction.
1 feisty train buddy
1 foodie train buddy
1 amazing roommate
1 stomach doing flip flops
1 amazingly brave conference organizer
300 bloggers
20 amazing sessions  (Seriously, I haven't even heard one complaint!)
2 trains
1 Mother's Day

times that by....

countless laughs...nay cackling
too much booze
a huge hangover
a swearing cabbie
an invisible cash point
and more stories made than can possibly be posted (and some that shouldn't be...)

equals...

An absolutely amazing weekend that I will never forget.  I have walked away feeling that this community that we, bloggers, have formed can inspire, support, and cultivate creativity and friendship.  Thank you, Sian for organizing CybHer.  Thank you to my blogging friends- old and new- for being some of the most amazing people I have ever met.  I will carry all the little moments in my heart forever.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

That's So Straight!

"That's so gay!"  is what LaLa heard in school.  So, during bath time she asked me, "What's gay?"  

Three of my best friends are gay, but I have never felt the need to discuss with an eight year old what "gay" meant.  They are my friends, just like any of my straight friends are my friends, so it isn't exactly like I have said "oh this is my friend and they are gay" and explained it.  I was a little unprepared for this conversation to say the least.  

I asked her to repeat the question so I could get my thoughts straight and then answered her as honestly as I could.

"La, gay is when a man loves a man or a woman loves a woman."

"So are me and my best friend gay?  Cause I love her, cause she is my best friend."

"It isn't like best friends loving each other, it's like how boyfriends and girlfriends love each other.  It isn't a word to use as an insult.  You can say something is silly or stupid, but gay isn't a word you should say as an insult."

"Oh, alright then.  Well, this boy in my class said it."

"Well, you don't need to say it, and next time tell your teacher, OK?"

The subject was then dropped.  I, however, was seething inside.  

Having been around my friends when this insult has been hurled, muttered, or whispered at them- well, lets just say when I hear it now my blood boils.

It is NOT OK to call something or someone "gay" if is stupid, lame, silly, uncool, or not to your liking. It is not cute for a kid to say something is "gay", it's disgraceful.  

Parenting is hard, parenting on your back foot trying to find the right words because someone else has backed you into a corner is harder.  Stand up for what you believe in, don't bull shit your kids and keep it real with them.  That being said, don't give them too much information, just enough for them to make correct decisions.  Also, let's give them a bigger vocabulary to use so they can find some better insults.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I Should Get Paid For This Stuff

So I was minding my business catching up on the television shows that I had missed over the past week when I heard my husband swearing- loudly.  Not an unusual occurrence around here, but this time  I could tell that something was seriously amiss.  So, I finally figured out that my husband was swearing because the door on the washing machine was locked and would not open and his uniform was inside.  No bueno.  No bueno at all.

So I did my fiddle with the controls thing- turned the machine off then on, waited a second and the door opened. The uniform was completely still soaking wet and the machine was still half full of water.  Odd.  So I decided to run it again for another cycle to see if it had been some sort of fluke.  At the end of the cycle the machine got stuck again.  So I fiddled with the knobs turned it off then back on, the door came open, same result.   This point The Man was completely losing his temper because the only uniform he had left to wear is filthy from last week.


Me to self- "Think, Kat!  Think fast.  This has happened before...kinda.  Yes, I shall try to empty the filter and see if that fixes the problem.  Now...how to I do that?"

I grabbed the screw drivers and pried the kick plate off.  Ha!  See this isn't so hard.  Then I tried to open the filter and when I did water started pouring out of the washing machine.  CRAP!  * grabbed a bowl and started collecting the water*  Only, the water kept coming, so I started yelling at Tom to get me another bowl.  Second bowl started to fill up to the brim.  So I dumped the first bowl and slid it under the machine and caught the rest of the water that came out of the machine.  Who knew there was that much water in a washing machine. Go figure!  So, I emptied the filter.  By the way, at this point my husband assessed that I had no idea what I was doing and had left while water was still pouring out of the machine. Oh ye of little faith.  I screwed the filter back in, reattached the kick plate and then restarted the machine.

An hour later I had one freshly washed uniform, perfectly spun out and ready to go into the dryer.  I think I have retained my title of reigning domestic goddess.  I still might not be able to sew, but I can fix a washing machine.  Take that, Martha Stewart!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dear So and So...Bon Voyage!!

Dear LaLa,

So I am having a bit of a mild panic attack because of your school trip this weekend.  This is the first time you will be away from home for more than one night not in the company of a family member.  I trust your teachers and the camp that you are attending, but I am still freaking out.  I keep running over the packing checklist and adding more items to make sure that you have everything that you could possibly need over the weekend.

Remember:

You have a snack in your bag
Your disco clothes are not with your other clothes, they are in the rucksack not the suitcase.
Brush your teeth!
Try to brush your hair more than once a day so you don't look like a heathen.
Listen to the adults
For heavens sake BE GOOD!

Love you, Mom
------------------------

Dear KiKi,

We're gonna have fun this weekend.  Promise.

Love, Mom
--------------------------

Dear Readers,

If you have your own letters link up!!

Have a Spiffing Weekend, Kat
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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Failed Brownie Mum

In 8th grade when I was 13 I took a home economics class because it was considered an "easy A".  I got the A, but I think it was mostly due to my ability to follow a recipe and not muck up the end result too much, not my ability to wield a needle in thread.  I remember that we made a t-shirt using a sewing machine and that mine was at best a bit wonky with uneven seams that wanted to split.  To this day I can only in theory sew on a button.  In fact, I had to consult both my mother and granny when they were in town to make sure that I had the premise correct on how to accomplish this so called simple sewing task.  I still haven't put in into practice, mostly because I am a lazy moo, but also because I have a fear of absolute failure.  I can just see myself yelling "Drat!  Foiled by a button!" I really should try to mend my winter coat though, because I look a bit like a hobo walking around with every other button missing.

This brings me to my current failure as a mum.  LaLa is in Brownies.  She has memorized the Girl Guiding Oath and the Brownie Promise.  She is so proud of herself.  She has also earned her first badge in crafting (oh the irony), and expects me to sew it onto her sash.  The enthusiasm when she announced my task was so genuine that if I didn't know how serious she was I would think she was taking the mickey out of me

So now I have a persistent kid, a sash, previously unsewn badges, and a new badge.  Wonderful.  So my goal this weekend is to look up Youtube videos and teach myself what an entire semester of home economics could not- how to sew.  Watch out Martha Stewart and Kirstie Allsopp I will be kicking crafting asses and taking names.