Springtime fun

Tonight we had the first nice weather we’ve seen in days so we hightailed it outside. Fun was had by all.


(Photos taken with Hipstamatic.)

Winter is still fun, but spring would be welcome any time

This video was taken last Sunday, which is an eternity in the world of online videos. I’m posting it anyway because looking at us having fun in the snow reminds me that winter isn’t 100% terrible.

I am so sick of winter. Fortunately, I’m not sick of making a jackass of myself for my family and the internet in general. You’re welcome.

Snow Angels from Melissa Price-Mitchell on Vimeo.

When I told Flora that I’d make snow angels with her, Sean wanted to be sure to capture it for posterity.

My experience at Blissdom Canada 2010

I attended my first blogging/social media conference last week. I’m finally starting to catch up with the cool kids on the interwebs!

I even lived to tweet about it.

I went to Blissdom Canada 2010 here in Toronto. Billed as “Canada’s first social media conference for women” it came with a lot of hype, and some high expectations. Tickets sold out very quickly so I was extra grateful to get my earlybird tickets. I would have been kicking myself if I had missed such an event taking place in my own city.

The conference ended on Friday so I’ve been processing it for a few days now. I’m struggling with how to put my feelings into words outside of “I had a fabulous time and learned a lot“.

It was great to be able to meet women who care about writing – and writing online – as much as I do. Matching faces to Twitter avatars is always fun – I joked that people would recognize me if I turned my head a certain way. I met and spoke to so many people I hoped to meet. I met and spoke to people I didn’t know of until we met, and now I have tons more blogs and tweets to follow.

Watching the smartphones and laptops going nonstop during the conference was a neat thing to watch. Some people are really great at live-tweeting or live-blogging an event or panel, which is really valuable for those following along at home. I tried to keep that to a minimum because I’m not great at it – I find I tweet one thought and miss the next one. I wanted to be sure I heard everything so I tried to keep my communications to a minimum during panels. It was neat to check my email and discover that my table mates had already started following my Twitter account. An extra bonus is that I’m already finding that I’m having more conversations on Twitter. I hope to keep that up. The fact that so many people are still using the #BlissdomCanada hashtag days after the conference ended says a lot about how much people got out of it.

What I wish that I had done differently

I wish that I had spoken up more! I have a tendency to speak less and listen more when I’m around people or situations I don’t know well. This is not a bad thing but listening to a conversation without contributing more than the bare minimum doesn’t show my best side. Once I warm up a bit, I can usually jump in and out as necessary, but I may end up saying something stupid or awkward. I know everyone does this, but I’d love a few less facepalm moments in my life.

I wish that I had asked more questions at the panels! This is related to my first point. I tend to not ask the questions I want to ask until close to the end or not at all. I want to listen to everyone else and see if they ask – or answer – my questions before I have to ask them. That doesn’t always happen so I need to learn to speak up for myself, whether it’s a question or a point I’d like to make.

I wish that I had a better “elevator pitch”! People would ask me about hellomelissa.net and I would say “I’m a personal blogger”. The next question would be “how long have you been doing this?” and my answer would be “over ten years”. I’m a dinosaur by blogging standards (and to a lesser degree, by Twitter standards, seeing that I started tweeting in 2007), and sometimes it shows. I was a little embarrassed that I depended on my longevity in the medium to try and legitimize myself. (I’ve struggled with this for awhile now as the link to a post from earlier this year mentions.) I struggle with the whole “elevator pitch” thing in real life too though so this is not a new thing for me.

I don’t want to be completely negative on myself so here’s some good stuff.

What I’m glad that I did right (for me)

I’m glad I mingled. I tried to sit with different people for each session. I came alone (and got a smiley face sticker to prove it) so it wasn’t like I had a group of friends I could hang with by default. Since I wasn’t staying in the hotel (hometown advantage! or disadvantage depending on how you look at it), I didn’t have roommates or travel mates. That left me free to sit with and talk to whomever I wanted. I spoke to lots of people – many of whom I may not have gotten to meet if I had sat with the same people all the time. When I went to the panels, I always sat at an empty or near-empty table and welcomed anyone who wanted to sit with me. That’s probably a passive form of networking, but it was networking  nonetheless. If I wanted to go lone wolf and do things on my own, that didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings either.

RockersI’m glad I dressed up for Halloween party. I was having a hard time trying to figure out a costume for the closing party. A frenzied trip to Value Village on the Wednesday before got me the stuff I needed. It wasn’t a fabulous costume, but I made an effort and that’s what really mattered. The fact that I ended up accidentally meshing with a couple of other costumes was a happy accident. Rockers unite!

I’m glad I sang karaoke at the party. I love karaoke, and I don’t get to do it often. I could have taken the easy way out and let everyone else do the singing. I’m fine once I get up there but I spend the time until they call my name super nervous and wishing I had never signed up. Once I’m done, I’m dying to go up again. I’m not the best singer by any means – I follow the “if you can’t sing it well, sing it loud”  school of thought. But getting out of my sometimes shy, take a while to warm up, listening self to get up in front of people and potentially make an ass out of myself is a great way to get out of my comfort zone. That and I have a secret rockstar living inside of me.

In Summary

A+++, will attend again. You should come too.

Playing with Posterous

So, as you’ve probably figured out, I’ve opened a Posterous account. As the title of the site indicates, I’m using it as a junk drawer section for hellomelissa.net, my main site. You can access it from this site by clicking on the Junk Drawer link at the top of this page.

“Junk drawer” to me means: items I want to save for myself (like all those recipes I posted last night), pictures that I want to post but not necessarily post on my Flickr page (I’d like to keep all the pictures I’ve been posting on various twitter picture hosting sites in one place that is searchable.), and thoughts/links that are too long for Twitter but too short (or inappropriate) for this site.

What I like so far about Posterous:

it really is as easy
as they say it is.

The bookmarklet
– I posted all those recipes last night by going through my Read It Later list (where the links to those recipes were originally stored) and highlighting the recipe. Then I just clicked the bookmarklet and it picked up the formatted text and included the attribution link. I did some cleanup in a couple of spots to get rid of “Send to a friend” type links, but on the whole it was really smooth. I only had issues with autoposting (which I’ll go into detail on below).

What I don’t like so far about Posterous:

I really wish I could put this functionality on my own (WordPress) site. Not sure if a self-hosted Posterous would work like a self-hosted WordPress site, but I like having control. I like knowing exactly where my files are and being able to access them via FTP. Given that this is for my junk drawer stuff, this doesn’t bother me as much as if it was for my entire site. This is my issue though – many people prefer that Posterous does all the heavy lifting. I may also prefer it too someday, but I love my plugins!

I want Autopost to be SometimesPost
. I added all my services so I could have the little icons under my profile. Then people can visit those places easily. I don’t want to autopost to those sites all of the time. I changed my autopost settings to say no one can autopost at all. My icons are still there, which is what I want. The problem with this is then I can’t click on a post after it’s been posted and autopost it because my services aren’t configured to autopost.

Then there’s the bookmarklet. Before I turned my autoposting off, I made a few posts last night with the bookmarklet but forgot to turn off the autoposting. Those posts then went to my various services in ways I didn’t want them to. Then I ran around (figuratively) deleting all the crossposts. The turn off autopost box is on the second page of the bookmarklet so it’s easy to forget to uncheck it.

To sum up I want to autopost some of the time, but I want to also be able to do it after a post has already made it to Posterous. I think I need to work on fine-tuning my Autopost options but any insight you have is totally welcome.

On the whole

I think Posterous will be lots of fun to play with. Any tips and tricks you have are totally welcome. For now, I’m going to look for Greasemonkey scripts to see if I can do some tweaking.

Update: See my update post (which was updated itself) to see how I figured out how I plan to work with these sites. It took some fiddling, but I think I can establish a good workflow now.

There is a two year-old running around my house!

Flora turned two on Saturday. It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years. Sometimes the time goes quickly and sometimes it feels like the boring, lather-rinse-repeat parts will go on forever. (For the record, the boring, lather-rinse-repeat parts aren’t so much family-related as they are maintenance and logistics-related.)

The last few weeks leading up to Flora’s birthday have brought small, but noticeable shifts and progression in who this kid really is. She’s been talking quite well for a while now, but she’s really starting to talk in full sentences and answer questions clearly and in ways that make sense.

She has her own little jokes and remembers things someone said to her and repeats them when they talk to her next. An example: Sean’s mum was giving Flora some orange pieces for breakfast. Grandma started teasing her that they were peaches. Flora said “No, oranges” and the conversation quickly turned into giggly shouts of “Oranges!” and “Peaches!” at each other. (At least we know where Sean gets his sense of humour from.) Every time Flora talked to her grandma, the argument could be started again just by grandma saying “peaches”. Sean and I could also get her going ourselves if we started the conversation.

(Click on the pictures to view larger versions)

Princess dress and Bills hatThe birthday girl in her new princess dress and Daddy’s hat.

The imagination switch has also been turned on. It is so much fun to watch her play with her toys now. She’s talking to them and bossing them around. We did some helium balloons for the party and she (and our other young party guest) couldn’t get enough of them, even when they flew away to the ceiling.

Balloons are cool

Balloons are coolFlora and Thomas get a big kick out of the balloons

I know that this stuff is perfectly ordinary and that all kids go through it. It’s still amazing to watch your own kid go through it for themselves. The changes are so big when they are so little.

Here are some more pictures from the party:

Birthday girlThe birthday girl in the party dress that Grandma made. The winter boot accessorizing was all Flora’s idea.

Presents!Grandma really liked that present

TricycleThe tricycle Sean picked out for her. It was a hit.

TricycleThomas gets a turn on the tricycle

Birthday cakeFlora wasn’t sure about what to do with the candles, but she had some helpers to show her what to do.

Everyone has their own laptop nowFlora now has her own (toy) laptop. No one is allowed to press her buttons (since she’s not allowed to press ours).

TricycleTricycling with Grandma the next morning.

Flora and GrandmaI don’t think they were arguing about oranges and peaches here, but you never know.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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