Friday, January 30, 2009

Blogroll and Linky Love Extravaganza

I haven't touched the small blogroll on my sidebar in years. I know, it's pitiful. It's not just inaction due to laziness, it's the fear that I'm leaving people out, it's the fact that if I am going to display the blogroll as part of my template, I need to add a third column and I haven't figured out how to do that. I could list a dozen reasons to justify my inaction.

But this year is all about change and moving forward, so I'm taking my first step. I'm in the process of updating my Yahoo reader with loads of new blogs and I'm sharing the linky love with a wild sense of abandon.

Here's my first shot at the new blogroll. For now, it's a post. I'll create a permalink on my sidebar and someday I'll either figure out that third column or hire a blog designer to jazz up this joint.

Places I blog:

Chicago Moms Blog

Momformation

Scrambled Cake

Traveling Mom

The Full Mommy (coming soon....)

My friends and faves:

BlondeMom

Bonggamom

ChefDruckMusings

CutieBootyCakes

Jessica Gottlieb

Jodifur

Justice Fergie/Mamalaw

Kristibug

Kristina Sauerwein

Marketing Mommy

Mom’s Favorite Stuff

Never a Dull Moment

Numbum

Sprite’s Keeper

Sugar my Bowl

SuperdumbSupervillian

The Eclectic Writer

Viva la Feminista

We all Fall Down

Are you a regular reader? Do you list Hormone-colored Days on your blogroll? Or did I just plain forget about you? Let's talk! It's never too late to share the love.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Marketing mavens miss the point

Is it me? Or have you also noticed a proliferation of mavens lately? Marketing mavens, tech mavens, blog mavens.

Maven is an increasingly popular term of Yiddish origin. Yiddish, the language of the ghetto. Well the Eastern European Jewish shtetl-ghetto. You know, the boychicks in the hood?

In the popular lexicon, a maven is someone who's smart and influential. And maybe "popular" is my sticking point. I haven't caught up with the times and I'm weighed down with the cultural legacy of the word.

For example, I was cool when Method announced their Method Maven program blogger outreach program, but I didn't take it kindly when Chicago Mavens* hosted a party on Yom Kippur, the holiest of all Jewish Holidays. Tacky, tacky.

I don't have a problem sharing my cultural heritage with the masses. I mean, I think it's great that we can all get big, fluffy bagels at our corner Dunkin' Donuts. But just as bagels have doubled in size over the last 20 or so years, the term maven is being stretched beyond traditional limits.

You see, traditionally, the term maven not only means smart, it means smartass, someone who's bit too big for their britches. It's a cheeky term, often used with sarcastic overtones.

Sticking with the mama loshen for a little ethnic flavor, I'd like to suggest that that those top-notch influencers, the sharp ones who not only know, but make it a priority to share their knowledge, toss the "maven" and consider the word "mensch."

A mensch is more than just a smart person; a mensch is a good person. Unlike the left-handed compliment of maven, being called a mensch is the highest praise.

A mensch does the right thing, shares the credit, plays fair, educates others even if those others don't buy their ebooks or sign on for their PR services.

Call yourself a maven if you want. But don't call yourself a mensch, because anyone who uses that term self-referentially is not one.

It is, however, perfectly acceptable to say that you strive to be a mensch. So let's all work on that. Shall we?

There are many mensches in social media. Tell me about your favorites!

* I shared my concerns with the agency reps. They explained that's just how they roll. If a client requests a party on say, Easter Sunday or Christmas Eve, the agency will host it. It's just that, "no one asks for those dates." Hmmm.

Guess where I'm headed this week?

<span class=BlogWell - How Big Companies Use Social Media - Chicago, IL - January 22nd


According to the sponsors, I'll ask questions, network with lots of smart people and walk away with fantastic, actionable ideas for [my clients'] social media programs.

I'm looking forward to it.

In other news about going places, my Punta Cana story is up at Traveling Mom.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Profoundly Gifted round-up

Carol Fertig has posted links to several articles on PG kids over at her blog on the Prufrock Press site.

I'm reading Carol's new book, Raising a Gifted Child, and will post a review when I'm done. I'm a couple of chapters in and liking it so far. I feel like she's supportive and offers good advice. I'll be back with a review in a couple of weeks.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Fun: Obamicon me!

The inauguration is coming! The inauguration is coming! Are you ready?

Make your own here.

Thanks to Nancy Martira for the tip!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

KenKen giveaway at Hormone-colored Reviews

I'm giving it away once again over on my product review blog. KenKen is the new sudoku. Check it out.

Click and comment to win a set of three KenKen books.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Facebook philosophy

Do you have a Facebook Philosophy? What is it?

I joined Facebook just before the new year and I'm still figuring out what I want out of it.

Blogging on several sites, I have quite an active online life. I don't think I said anything (much?) that bad, incriminating or mean spirited (other than my Walmart posts), but my online life has been pretty separate from IRL, or real life.

Facebook seems like a dramatic collision of online life and IRL. Well, not as dramatic as tectonic plates smashing together and causing earthquakes, but there could be reverberations.

Certainly, anyone with internet access can read my blog, but let's face it, only a teeny-tiny fraction of plugged in folks do, and an even smaller fraction of my IRL peeps do. I know this because if I'm in a group of friends telling a story that I posted on my blog the week before and no one expresses a hint that they've heard said story, they're not reading. This happens every month in my book group.

But I feel like being on Facebook makes it all more visible.

And Facebook presents users with an odd mashup on people. I've heard more than one user complain that the mix of folks on their wall: ex-college boyfriend, spouse, current babysitter, kids and work colleagues- is just too weird.

I heard about a newish feature called Super Friend (or something like that) that allows you to friend everyone, but create a separate space for the truly special ones. That's getting a bit complicated.

And yet, I have almost a dozen invitations that I haven't responded to because I'm paralyzed. I don't know what to do.

This is why I need a Facebook philosophy. But then, I pause and think, WTF? I must have way too much time on my hands and or I'm taking this all much to seriously. And then I understand my Smartypants is so picky about who he calls his friend (IRL, no FB, yet).

And then there's the whole issue about losing control of my online identity. People start writing about my past-just mundane stuff--so far at least--but it's fairly public and I find that odd. I'm happy to tell you about my education or career path, but I don't need, I don't want it, laid out for everyone to see along with notes from former co-workers or roommates about the time we did this or that.

On my blog, I tell my stories and share my thoughts. If I'm going to share someone else's story, I ask permission. I don' t think FB works like that. And that makes me uncomfortable.

It's not that I have much to hide, it's just that I don't see a need to have it archived all in one spot, viewable by anyone who my FB "friend." My digital footprint is large enough already.

So if you've got an outstanding FB invitation to me for a me to friend you, play a game, fan your blog or product, you're just gonna have to wait until I've found my Facebook philosophy and decide ho to respond.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Profoundly gifted and selectively mute. Where does a child thrive?

I don't have a lot of firsthand knowledge of this, but that won't stop me from posting about it, LOL.

I know a mom with a Profoundly Gifted child who was selectively mute. He could talk, he just chose not to. Of course, this caused a lot of problems, especially at preschool.

Skipping the many important details I don't know, ultimately the boy was placed in a school for gifted kids and he thrived. And he spoke.

What does it take to help a special needs-whether highly gifted or physically or leaning disabled- child to blossom? I'm wondering about that a lot because right now one of my boys is thriving and one is not.

The issue is not as obvious to my son's teachers as the mute boy was to his teachers. I do hear comments from them about my son not applying himself (and yet coming home with A's? Am I the only one who senses a disconnect here?), but that's it. He's not completely withdrawn. Nor is he silent. And he's not failing.

Am I trying to convince myself that public school is the right place for him? The gifted school was a good move for a while, but as glad as I my boys attended the "Gifted Academy," I'm equally glad they left.

I want to be reassured that we are doing the right thing having him at public school at his age-grade level, yet I know there is a body of evidence suggesting otherwise. And I don't mean to suggest the issues are all due to IQ. I think that EQ, or emotional intelligence, and temperament also play a role in finding the best fit for a child.

I've got some thinking to do.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Today I become a woman

Actually that day is 1.5 years away. Remember that fabulous 2009 horoscope that talked about my travel adventures this year? Well, very soon I'm going to start a weekly blog for TravelingMom with a focus on educational travel. I'm excited about the new gig in part because I get to work with a great new group of women including my former editor from Chicago Parent- Cindy Richards. She's da bomb.

The horoscope, or should I call it a hora-scope also predicted I'd "grab more of life in terms of knowledge, experiences and understanding or religion, politics and philosophy."

Well, tonight I star my class to become a bat mitzvah. Yeah, by traditional standards I'm a few decades late, but in May 2010, I will become a woman.

Let's see. I've had my period for several decades, my virginity is long gone, I've birthed two babies and held a variety of jobs, but in one sense I am not a woman. I was never called to the torah as a bat mitzvah.

While a bar mitzvah has long been an important, nay crucial, rite of passage for Jewish boys, the equivalent ceremony for girls is a more modern phenomenon.

Growing up in a fairly nonobservant Jewish home, my brother was forced to attend Hebrew school. I, however, was given a choice as to whether I wanted to commit to the twice weekly after school classes and Sunday school.

Like any normal third grader who was busy with more exciting activities and classes (horseback riding! gymnastics!)... more

Saturday, January 03, 2009

In which the blue bird of happiness takes a dump on me

Did you see yesterday's post? The one in which glow over my fabulous horoscope for 2009 and all the great things that my future just might hold? Well, despite tossing a virtual bit of salt over my shoulder, the Evil Eye stared me down and humbled me.

First, a quick recap on 2008. DH has been unemployed since the fall, we had a gazillion dollars in medical bills last year, we a now spending buckets of money each month on COBRA and we have no dental insurance. Just so you know it's not all sunshine and roses at Chez Moldofsky.

We have a $5K deductible on our health insurance and I've been hoping we can keep our doctor visits down this winter because every visit- cha-ching!- means more money out-of-pocket until we meet the deductible. But I've already got two appointments on the books. Ugh.

But the proof the the blue bird of happiness took, well almost took, a huge dump on me, was that Smartypants came from from a Friday night sleepover with a tooth hanging by a thread. It was one of the six(!) teeth the orthodontist we decided not to use recommended he have extracted. ($150/tooth in case you're wondering). We had two extracted because of a pressing issue and encouraged him to wiggle out the rest.

Before leaving for his friend's house, he was wiggling away at the loosest of the bunch. We'd offered him $20 to pull it himself, which would still leave us $130 richer than using the dentist. He wiggled and wiggled and told us he heard a crack.

I learned that his tooth had been hurting and bleeding during the sleepover, so when we got home, I took a look and realized the tooth had cracked in such a way that the root was still embedded in his gum, but the rest of the tooth had come loose.

This post is getting long, so I'll summarize. Quick call to the dentist, who ordered us to the office. Right. Away. My mind was racing with thought of potential infections, oral surgery and oy, the bills! First and foremost my kid's health, of course, but oy, the bills!

It turns out I'm a complete idiot. It was not his root sticking through the gum, but the adult tooth already poking through. They pulled out the baby tooth, something I could have done myself had I not freaked out. To my defense, one of the previous extractions involved a molar that came home with one root missing, so it gave me the idea that a root could get cracked off. Turns out, the cracking sound my boy heard must have been a supporting ligament.

Fortunately the kind dental assistant waived the emergency charges and the bill *only* came to $110. (I think of it as $90 since we'd already placed a $20 bounty on the tooth. And no, the tooth fairy does not pay a reward for teeth that already cost mom and dad an arm and a leg.)

So, I'm still looking forward to some great times ahead, but I've got to slog through a bit of muck to get there.

Musts for 2009: Breathe deep. Eat healthy. Exercise. Get enough sleep.

It's such a short list, but if I can do these four things, I bet I will see the blue bird of happiness again, only he'll be wearing diapers.

Predictions for the year ahead

Happy new year!

I'm opting out of resolutions this year. They tend not to stick and only leave me feeling like a loser. That said, I do hope to be a loser this year. Three days into the year, I'm eating healthy and exercising. Yeah, we're only three days in.

I picked up a copy of Carol Lay's book, The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude, at the library. It's motivational and informative. Most importantly, it may be the only graphic novel dedicated to weight loss and healthy living, making it a fun read.

But an even better read is my horoscope for the year courtesy of Georgia Nicols and the Chicago Sun-Times. I'm not a big believer in astrology, but sometimes a bit of magical thinking can be a good thing. Right?

Here are the highlights: This is a more exciting year than last year. Travel opportunities and chances to explore adventure and thrilling new experiences are yours. This is influence is the strongest it's been for about 12 years (note: that would be shortly before I was pregnant with Smartypants).

It's not just travel. Any aspect of education with get a lovely boost. 2009 is your chance to reach out and grab more of life in terms of knowledge, experiences and understanding or religion, politics and philosophy.

Publishing and the media... are exceptionally favored....


This seems like a good time to let you know that not only will my Club Med Punta Cana experience be posted soon at Traveling Mom, but I'm going to join their blogging team, too. Something I agreed to just a day or two before this horoscope came out.

Bring on the travel! And the knowledge! And the money! (Yeah, that was mentioned, too.) I'm crossing my fingers, poo-pooing the evil eye, tossing a bit of salt over my shoulder and hoping that maybe there is something to this astrology thing.

What are you hoping for in the year ahead?
Any predictions? I usually stick with boring ones and I'm usually right.