Fun Saturday: Funny Stuff You Notice On Walks

Fun Saturday: Funny Stuff You Notice On Walks

I write whatever I want about at the end of the week. Because I can.

Now that it's finally sping in my corner of the world, I can advocate walking again.

I mean, we all know that it's great exercise and doesn't waste fossil fuels like driving, but these last few sunny days have made me think about the actual reason I enjoy walking: You notice funny things that you never notice when you are driving a car.

I could show any number of lovely photographs of some of Bar Harbor's more famous landmarks at this point but instead here are some things I've driven by a million times but just noticed when I was out walking the other day.

What is this behind the Abbe Museum? An odd building indeed...

Just a few of a bunch of colorful birdhouses, attached to a fence, set far back from the road.

It makes me wonder what else I've missed, and makes me think of walks past, like my walk to school on Vinalhaven, my walk into town from my French apartment, or the nightly walk my dog and I used to go on around the block.

This Week In Business: Helping Out Friends Edition

This Week In Business: Helping Out Friends Edition

This week was all about helping friends (and having them help me out) in both my personal and professional life. Here's how things went.

I attended my friend Ogy's first webinar, and he did a heck of a job.
I love attending webinars but I've never given one myself. Giving one must feel an awful lot like being on the radio. You are talking to yourself and not sure about what your audience is thinking because you can't see their faces or get any other feedback from them. Meanwhile, you are trying to get through your slides and read everyone's questions all while being an interesting and engaging presenter. In short, I'm sure it's way harder than it looks, which is why no matter what, I was going to attend my web designer friend Ogy's first webinar.

Turns out Ogy did a great job, and the good news is he has more coming up. (Did I mention they are also free?) Seeing Ogy do this actually encouraged me to go public with a few projects of my own I've been a bit nervous about.

Matt came over and we set up the screen and projector.
My friends know that while I love the internet, I am completely nervous about setting up anything physically. Everything from operating a dog crate to a sewing machine for the first time, I usually try to get a friend to help me by offering to cook them food. I have a profound fear of breaking things and get easily frustrated.

Too Cute Tuesday: Cream Puffs

Too Cute Tuesday: Cream Puffs

Sometimes, you have to change plans at the last minute. TCT will resume it's regularly scheduled program next week but this week, we're giving one of our own a little TLC and taking the day off. Jodi, a TCT fan who has her own blog Living the Road Less Traveled, was kind enough to share her cream puff triumph as a guest post.

If you are looking for a cocktail, may I suggest a pre-Saint Patty's Day treat of green beer? Just sayin...

This is a recipe I've had sitting in my box for quite some time. It originally comes from my Great Aunt Violet.

Bring 1/2 cup of water to boiling point and add 1/4 cup shortening; stir until melted. Bring back to boiling point and quickly add 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 tsp salt; cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes or until mixture forms small, smooth balls.

Cool slightly. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each. Beat for 5 minutes until mix is thick.

Jodi's cream puff batter in action. I am almost motivated to finally buy a mixer instead of borrowing one all the time...

Shape dough into balls and place 2" apart on a greased baking sheet (parchment paper would also work). Bake at 450 for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 and bake another 20-25 minutes.

Marketing Monday: Unnamed Animal Shelter

Marketing Monday: Unnamed Animal Shelter

Every Monday, a post about websites, web promotions, and how to do it well. Let me know if you have an idea!

I was going to write about something else entirely until the task of transporting 25 pounds of cuteness consumed my life.

To be clear, let's take a look at what all this work has been for:

Corky the Corgi mix, whose life and name will forever be awesomer, if I could just get her within 250 miles of me.

*Sigh* Ok, that was helpful. And gives this whole situation perspective.

Regular readers may be aware that I had to put my dog down in January. She was 15 years old and I had watched her slow decline for almost an entire year. As someone who lives alone and works at home, I've missed the companionship of an animal. And while I am not expecting another Sadie (who was irreplaceable), I know my new dog will add a lot to my life... if only there wasn't the slightest issue.

Corky the Corgi lives in Georgia. And I live in Maine. (Unrelated: Yes, I am changing her corny little name the second I get her.)

I have spent days investigating how I can get this animal to where I am, and would like to offer the folks who run animal shelters a few tips to help people adopt more animals, as I have been ridiculously patient throughout this process in a way that others might not be.

If you're going to offer it, be ready to know what that entails, and how much it costs.

On the front page of the shelter's website, they say transport is available to the northeast. The transporter I talked to (an affiliate of but not exactly connected to the shelter) could only get my dog to Rhode Island. Last I checked, there is still a lot of the northeast to go after RI.

I Did It For Science And Fun Friday: Chat Roulette

I Did It For Science And Fun Friday: Chat Roulette

On Fridays I write about (almost) whatever I want. Because it's fun.

Like everyone else on earth, I've been hearing lots about 'chat roulette'. I give my friend Ogy credit for 'breaking' the story because right after he mentioned it, all of a sudden everyone was talking about it... to the point where Jon Stewart had to create a parody.
For those of you who also don't spend way too much time on the internet, here's what it is: You go to www.chatroulette.com, enter your birthday for age verification, and you get to a simple interface. You can turn your webcam and microphone on or off. Random strangers show up in the other video camera window. If you want to talk to someone else, click 'next'. That's it.

So you hear about all these terrible or weird things you are going to see. And I'm not telling you I didn't see anything inappropriate but I didn't see nearly as much bad stuff as I was expecting. A few observations.

Chatroulette is like that chatrooms of way back, except now better looking people have an advantage.
It's oddly insulting when someone takes one look at you and clicks the 'next' button. That said, it's nice when a hot girl tells you you're 'sexi'. By actually seeing the person, there is a bit more of feeling like you at least know a bit about who you are talking to.

Aren't good looking are are afraid people won't talk to you? Try to be memorable. Wear a mask, play an instrument, be a puppet listening to people's emotional problems (all have apparently happened). Take a cue from the Chinese who are having much more zany fun with this than the average American like myself.
Eddie, one of my chat friends, and I decide to look investigatory as we both stick pencils behind our ears for my screenshot (with his permission, because I am not a jerkface).

Other people seem to also be investigating.
I won't say I didn't run across a few naked people but I ended up having nice conversations with an Egypian business student and a New York book publisher, two people I would have never otherwise talked to.

This Week In Business: The Open Minded Edition

This Week In Business: The Open Minded Edition

Sometimes, I catch myself thinking in terms of black and white. I'm sure this comes from making my own decisions (most of the time rather quickly) as a business owner. "I don't buy that." or "I always do this." The truth is, of course, a little less simple than that but it's easy to convince yourself one way or the other when you are the only person there is to convince.

I've spent this week beginning to really work with other people as peers. And while this is a sign things are growing, it also means this is no longer all about me, and my snap judgements are no longer going to work. Here's what I've been up to this week, besides realizing I'm not the center of my own universe:

The workshop organizing continued.
I apologize to those of you who are probably sick of hearing about Matt and my upcoming workshop. I keep telling myself that the first one is taking so much planning because, well, it's the first one. We fielded questions over email (and put them in an FAQ on the website, work once use twice I say!); got a few more registrants; and put up a website at www.onedayworkshop.net. I also created and sent out a press release and Matt made a Facebook page for the event.
Since three people have registered and a few more have said they'll come, I think we might actually have enough people to *gasp* break even!
I began life as a paid blog contributor at Almost Frugal.
When my friend Kelly posted that she was thinking of selling her blog, I sent my condolences. Thinking about ending a blog seems (at least a bit) like ending a long term relationship. It takes more time than you'd expect and you care way more about it than you'll publicly admit as your ego gets pretty tied in. (Full disclosure: I won't even date a guy who doesn't read my blog.) And while I haven't dated Kelly (she's married and in France), I have been reading Almost Frugal since the very beginning so I was a bit sad about the end of an era.
A few days later, I got an email from her.