Sunday, February 19, 2017

Annoying Things Bloggers Do

I've been blogging for many years now. I think I started when I was in high school. I started off on paper and then I graduated online. As I've written, blogging has evolved. It used to be about the writing. And it still is, sort of, but it also involves networking, having fabulous photos, and quality stories. There are thousands of bloggers out there and while most are perfectly friendly, there are some who clearly forget about having proper etiquette. No one is perfect, but there are some things that have bothered me. I know I'm guilty of doing some of these at one point, but I quickly learned, and hopefully other bloggers will too:

1. Not reading the rules of Facebook groups properly. For example, some state that a thread MUST be completed at a certain time the following day. But a lot of people don't bother. So then when people tag them about finishing, they come up with excuses. Look, life happens. But if you think you can't abide by rules, don't leave your link. Sometimes a thread will be forgotten now and again--it has happened to me--but finish it as soon as you see the tag and try not to let it happen again. Make a list of threads you have participated in or you can even click SAVE POST from the toggle on the right side.

2. Leaving comments like, "Great post!" or "I really like it!" on a blog. This is not cool. It basically means you didn't read a thing. It's okay to start with GREAT POST--I mean, I do it--but continue on. WHY is it great? What do you like about it? Likewise, don't just leave "Cool" or "Wow" or "This is really informative."

3. Not following through. Oh man, I see some bloggers leaving their links all over blogging groups and not completing. There are some names that I know won't reciprocate, so I skip them. Trust me, you have a reputation online. If you think people aren't noticing you not following through or constantly being late, you're wrong.

4. Leaving a comment on a blog or social media pages asking others to follow their blog. Stop it. If people like your blog, they'll follow it on their own. Don't be tacky.

5. Messaging people on Instagram or Twitter asking if they want to buy their product. Many do not. And do not start with "Hi Hon!" like we're old friends. Who are you? I once had to reply, "Hi Hon! No, I don't want your diet pills, I believe in carbs and chocolate!"

6. Having those annoying auto messaging if I like a Twitter page. I never read them and I find them irritating. I almost dread joining a Twitter Follow thread because I know I'll get those automated messages thanking me for following them and oh, if I like their Twitter feed, how about following them on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.

7. Linking up to my Hey, It's Okay post to a NON Hey It's Okay post. One chick had hers linked to a post about floors. I mean ??? It had nothing to do with Hey, It's Okay. Stop doing that. Link up a PROPER post. When you join link ups, make sure you are following the rules. (If interested, I have Hey, It's Okay up every week!)

8. Leaving previews up when links are left on blogging Facebook threads. It clogs up everything. Many threads have rules saying to REMOVE PREVIEWS but people ignore it and say, "I don't know how." Well, Google is your friend. If you don't know how, perhaps stop leaving your link? I'm part of some groups who will simply delete your link with previews and people get so worked up over this. "Why was my link deleted?" Um, read the rules?

9. Blogs that have CAPTCHA or music can come across as irritating to readers. Most of the time I get the CAPTCHA wrong, and I won't try to figure it out more than three times. Not everyone has the same taste in music as you. Plus, some people forget to turn their speakers off, so please don't give a stranger a heart attack. Also, PS, don't have dozens of pop ups. If I have to click close more than two times, there's a problem.

Being a blogger can be difficult. People think all we do is write and reply to some comments, but it's not true. Many of us get paid to do this. We research, we edit, we take hours making sure a post looks as fabulous as it can be. But remember that other people are doing the same as you, so take the time to do the right thing.

Do you have something to add to this list?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The First School Dance

"This is ridiculous," Natalie said, digging underneath the cabinet of the bathroom sink. "Why can't I find a curling iron?"

"Probably," I spoke up, "because we don't have one."

Her head emerged from the underneath the sink and her jaw dropped open.

"I never use one," I explained. It's true. I am not girly. I have unruly thick hair that I simply toss back into a ponytail. Sometimes I will straighten it, but it's rare because it takes ages, and frankly, I'd rather read.

"We need a curling iron!" Natalie insisted. "I wanted my hair to be curled for the dance and now I'm stuck with this." She flicked her straight hair behind her shoulder. She does not have my thick hair. She has her Daddy's thin hair. She sometimes gets her hair curled at her friend's house and I must admit, she does look precious:

But I wouldn't know how to do her hair like that. Her friend's cousin did it. I am terrible with hair, much to Natalie chagrin. She once asked me to French braid her hair and I stared at her blankly. Then she asked me to make a shape out of little braids and I blinked at her. Sure, there are YouTube videos, but it doesn't matter. I am terrible with hair.

"I'll brush your hair out. Or I can straighten it," I offered.

Natalie sighed and gave me one of her famous tween I-can't-believe-you're-my-mother Looks. "No," she replied. "I'll just leave my hair as it is. Boring."

"Great," I said cheerfully, because going down a Tween moodswing hole is not wise. I've learned that the hard way.

At least Natalie approved of her dress. This is because she picked it out. The ones I pick out are either too itchy, too weird, or "ugly."

"Take a picture!" Natalie insisted. "Of me like this. It's what the models do."

Then we headed for the dance. It wasn't anything terribly fancy. Grades PreK-5th could show up. I came armed with two very important items:

The drink is full of Diet Coke because if I had to be in a room filled with screeching kids for two hours, yes, I was getting a Diet Coke.

Natalie found her friends. She danced. I read. Or tried to. Whenever I'd start, she'd come over with girl drama. Someone felt left out, because someone talked to someone else. I dealt with that. I reminded the girls that they could talk to others and that it would be okay.

I went back to reading.

"Mommy," Natalie said and I inwardly groaned. I set down my book.

"My friend is in the hall crying."

I rubbed my temples. "Why?"

"A boy called her smelly."

"Where's her parent?" I mean, seriously. Why was it my problem?

"They left."

I blinked. The rules of the dance stated that parents had to stay.  But I guess rules don't apply to everyone. I sighed and went out to the hall. I found a child in the famous "tween drama" position: on the ground, legs bent, with her face pressed against her knees.

"Here's my Mom," Natalie called out kindly.

I stood awkwardly. I never know what to say or do to other kids. Do I get down to their level? But in fourth grade, they might find it offensive. Do I treat them like teenagers and go, "What's with the tears, yo?"

"Well," I said, scratching my cheek. "Well." I peered around, hoping for another adult. No luck.

"She doesn't smell," Natalie said firmly.

"You don't smell," I confirmed. I sniffed. I didn't smell anything but floor cleaner.

The girl peeked up. "But he said I did."

"Boys can be..."

"Dumb," Natalie finished.

"Let's be kind," I reminded her, even though I sort of wanted to cheer and go, "Yes! Yes, they can be!"

"Come on, let's dance!" Natalie said, trying to grab the girl's hand.

The girl was back to hiding her face in her knees.

Then Natalie's other friends came over. "I knew it! Natalie is with her and is ignoring us!" one girl said.

For the love of--

"She's just helping her," I spoke up.

Pairs of tween eyes glared at me.

"She's upset," I said meekly. I was a little afraid.

"You don't smell," Natalie tried again to her tearful friend. "Let's go dance!"

"Yes, go dance. There's only..." I checked my phone and whispered to myself, "Please let it be only a half hour left.." But nope, there was still AN HOUR left of the dance. Dammit. "You only have an hour left," I sighed.

The girl finally agreed to dance but ONLY if they stayed away from the boy who called her smelly.

"If he comes near you, I'll punch him in the balls," one of Natalie's friends said.

All the girls giggled.

"That's not kind," I felt obliged to say as the adult even though I wanted to laugh.

I'd like to say I was left alone but no. There was more girl drama.

By the end of the night, I was spent. I had only read maybe three pages of my book. The songs that were played were terrible so my ears were ringing. (Ariana Grande. One Direction. Some weird mash ups of clean rap songs. Puke.)

But then Beat It by Michael Jackson came on, so I got out of my chair and started dancing with myself. Because if you can't dance with yourself, you have problems.

"Mommy!" Natalie snapped, coming up behind me.

I kept jiggling my hips. "Yup?"

"What are you DOING?"

"Dancing!" I wiggled my butt back and forth.

"That's dancing?" Natalie asked, eyebrows raised. Her friends ran over. They giggled.

"This is old people music," one said. "I overhead a teacher say that they had to put it on for the old people."

So I basically spent the night dealing with other people's problems. And I was insulted. But you know, it's okay. My daughter ended up having fun. She even thanked me for taking her.

"And Mommy," she added as I walked out of her room after kissing her goodnight.


"Your dancing wasn't so bad." Natalie gave me a tiny smile.

"I'm glad you think so. Because I plan on chaperoning all your dances in middle and high school. Goodnight!"

And then I left before she could protest.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Hey, It's Okay

I got this idea from Glamour magazine. You can link up any day of the week. All you have to do is make a list of what you're okay about. Simple! Please do not link up a post that has nothing to do with Hey, It's Okay. It's rude.

Hey, It's Okay....

...To be glad Natalie had fun at her first school dance. I'll be writing more about it on Thursday!

...To have gone to see The Lego Batman Movie. It was amusing! There was a preview for Despicable Me 3 before it and we'll be going to see that this summer, naturally.

...To be going to Natalie's Valentine's Day party at school.

...To have gone out on a date with my husband on Monday since he had off. I'll order pizza for Valentine's Day.

...To be grateful that my husband put together the desk in Natalie's room. I'm terrible at putting things together. I mean, I can do it, but it takes me MUCH longer.

...To have not watched the Grammys because The Walking Dead was on. Also, because I really don't watch award shows.

...To have been so thrilled when I saw Shamrock Shakes were back at McDonalds. I think I freaked out the worker because I started jumping up and down when I saw the photo of one flash across the menu. "Is it back? Is it back?" My husband told me to calm down and the worker stared at me with wide eyes and went, "I think...??" They have CHOCOLATE Shamrock Shakes this year and of course I had to try it:

And don't tell me about healthier versions. I don't WANT a healthier version. I want this.

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