Friday, April 17, 2009

Duggar Tots, Networking and More Networking, the Tea Parties (Friday Roundup)

Smells like the Duggars 'Round Here ... I mean, it smells like the Duggars are cooking! After a long Easter Sunday, we sat on our screened porch with friends, discussing everything under the sun. And among the information we shared and delighted in was a recipe that apparently causes our friends to suffer such anticipation that they form a semi-circle around the oven, just waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting. They made it sound so enticing, in fact, that I demanded a list of ingredients right then and there: tater tots, ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup (you read correctly) and a can of evaporated milk.

Curiosity bubbled inside me like a can of cream of mushroom soup simmering at 350 degrees for a full hour. So I gave the recipe a try Thursday.

Some bloggers post photos of their food, but I don't think a photo would do this dish justice. In fact, it might be a real turn-off. What this casserole offers in terms of animal protein and cream soups, it sort of lacks in visual appeal.

From the dinner table:

"What is this?"

"Duggar Tots."

"What's a Duggar?"

"A family on TV."

"The midgets?"

"No, they're the people with 18 kids." Pause, awkward glances, more pause.

"This lacks ... color. It's sort of ... gray. Maybe next time you should add some vegetables, or some bell peppers."

Or just MAYBE I should leave it AS IS because everyone enjoyed a heaping helping -- some of them, even two heaping helpings. Go, Duggars and your innovative casserole recipes!

And more networking ... I may have pointed out earlier this week that networking can be such a drag. But so can empty pockets. Everyone around me is having to reinvent the way they do business, so here I am, networking away. Under the category of "shameless self-promotion," you'll find me on http://www.vulcanmediateam.com/ and on the blogroll of http://www.birminghambloggingacademy.com/. And I'll not complain about networking any more. At the risk of sounding like a Miss America contestant, this is sort of fun -- making new friends, exploring new opportunities, stepping off well-traveled paths and wandering onto new ones. God bless America. And now, for the talent portion, I will be twirling a baton of fire while playing the harmonica and clanging cymbals strapped to my knees ...

If I had attended the Chicago tea party Wednesday ... I would have dumped an entire kettle on Susan Roesgen's head. Even if I agreed with her political views, which she made so crystal clear, I would say her work on Wednesday is among the best examples of bad journalism a person could hope to see. If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here.

It reminds me of a morning a few weeks ago when I was watching The Today Show and Matt, Meredith and Ann were standing behind canvases and easels, and a nude model stood in the front of the art studio. One of my kids walked in and asked, "What in the world are you watching?"

"The news."

And then she laughed. Then I realized how stupid I sounded.

There's bad news all around us. We shouldn't have to put up with bad reporting, too. Yowsa.

Everybody's workin' for the weekend ... and here it is! Turn off the TV, make some new friends, and host your own tea party. Tots are optional.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Little Blog Detour

If you're looking for a new blog post, I put it here Tuesday. I like to keep you guessing . . . and hopping . . . like I'm running some sort of weird scavenger hunt or something.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Caving in to Social Networking and Stepping Outside the Crappy Box

Apparently Facebook has a professional and businesslike cousin named LinkedIn. But it's not just another of those social networking opportunities that makes people drool and bang away on the keyboard all hours of the night as they stalk other accounts and post things like, "Sure is cold today!"

Indeed, LinkedIn may be the missing link between staying in business and experiencing a full-tilt mid-life crisis.

But first, a confession: I hate networking. Oh, Amy, "hate" is such a strong word. I know, and that's why I chose it. I prefer for work just to land in my lap, on my screen, in my mailbox. To go out and find it can be a pain, and you fear rejection and neglect and all those things that make you feel like you're in high school all over again.

But in a crappy economy overwhelmed by technology, networking has taken on a different, albeit 24-hour, form. You have to connect and reconnect and use words like "connect" and "reconnect." Those are difficult tasks to master, when all you really want to do is write and earn a paycheck.

But this is still good news: If you hate cocktail parties and meet-and-greet sessions where you have to wear things like shoes and figure out how to balance a dessert plate and glass in one hand in order to shake someone else's hand, tools like LinkedIn may be part of the solution. That's right -- I caved. I resisted long enough and ignored too many invitations to LinkedIn to believe it's totally useless. So far, so good. No weirdos, no stalkers.

This just in from a fellow freelancer during an e-mail exchange re: social networking: "I prefer it easy too, but I'm thinking those days are over. I saw a story about all these publishing folks our age taking unpaid internships to learn new aspects of the biz. I think I'll just try to write a novel instead."

She may be on to something. Or on something. I have no desire to take on an internship. And I really don't want to learn new aspects about much of anything. I just want to do what I do. On the other hand, can a person just up and write a novel, and all is right with the world?

I'm not a novel-writing kind of girl, but maybe it's high time to step outside the box. Or go running and screaming outside the box. Or to allow the crappy economy to repossess the box so that I can add other things to my workload.

The cat is still in the bag, and he is doing his darndest to get out, but let's hope he doesn't suffocate before 2010. That's when Project No. 1 will be complete. He will love that his name is mentioned again in this space (because that's the way he is), so my friend DAVID and I are finally going to collaborate, after talking about it for some 20-odd years. I just hope we don't kill each other in the process. It would be a shame for a 25-year friendship to go up in smoke simply because he won't give in to my creative thoughts and admit that my visions are sometimes better than his. Besides, he needs me, and he knows it. I'm a much better speller.

So, that's Project No. 1. There it is. I'm committed.

Project No. 2? It's on the backburner, simmering away. I hope it doesn't boil over and cause a big distracting mess.

Updates to come via LinkedIn. Because that's what networkers do.