• Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
sunshine & unicorns: a blog about love, learning, and life in the upper midwest

10 February 2010

you asked (the second edition)

People asked tons of questions between yesterday and today, which is great because I was worried about today's post content being kind of brief! Ask me more and I shall answer (next Wednesday).

Was becoming a bee easy? Was the experience worth it and what advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in the same steps?

Yes, becoming a Bee was easy for me. I attribute this to a couple of factors: 1) I have been told I am a good writer. 2) I edited for a newspaper in college and feel that I know how to appeal to an audience (VERY important with WB). 3) I have been blogging for over 6 years (see below question about blogging), so I have a feel for it.

Yes. the experience was/is worth it 100 times over. I have become friends with a lot of the other women (through Facebook, etc) and I received a lot of valuable input on my wedding and ideas from the readers (both through comments, and private messages). Big helper: because of the 'bee, I didn't forgo hiring a pro-photographer, as I had originally planned to do. Another big helper: A WB commenter found my dress for me at a site I never would have known existed. And mainly, it's just a really positive environment (much moreso than I have found The Knot and other sites to be) and outlet for a lot of your planning stresses, muses and triumphs that your friends and family may be sick of hearing about! Haha.

If you want to do it too, just a few things to consider:

--Ask your fiance if it's OK with him. Some dudes don't like their picture and personal life plastered on the net for thousands of visitors a day to read.
--Read some posts on WB to see the style the bloggers write in. It's very "wedding" focused, not "individual" focused. You have to make sure your writing's tone is such that it would appeal to others with similar situations. Your posts can't be "all about me, only relevant to me".
--There are guidelines of what they are looking for in a blogger. Read them and take them to heart. If you don't get accepted the first time, you can always re-apply. Usually, your 'rejection' email will have helpful advice on what could make you and your posts more suitable for the site.
--Do you have the time for it? I mean, do you REALLY? The readers HATE IT when a blogger just drops off the planet for weeks or months (or forever!). Try blogging meaningful, relevant posts 4+ times a week for a few weeks and see if it's something you think you could handle over the course of your wedding planning, recap and honeymoon timeline [I'm still not done there, got a honeymoon to plan pretty soon!]. It's a lot of work. (Of course, you can schedule posts; some bloggers just reserve a whole Sunday afternoon and crank out 3 or 4 posts during that time -- enough to keep yourself current for a week on the site.)
--One more thing: you will get criticized by readers. It just happens. I don't care how plain vanilla and perfect your posts are... someone will take offense to something you do, or someone will think it's ugly and not have the good decency to keep their virtual trap shut. It will make you sad. I know I had never blogged for such a large audience before, and as much as I expected the criticism, it still made me sad. Just be ready. Some of the bloggers of WB like to say they have finally 'arrived' as a real bee when they receive their first bitchy or off-color comment. It's a positive way to think about it.

Anyway... good luck to you, if it's still something you want to do! I highly recommend it.

I have been blog-stalking you for a little while now and you seem to effortlessly juggle being a newlywed, a student, and your own interior designer. How do you find the time to blog it all?

Oh my. I don't know. Actually, yes I do. I call it my Procrastination Station phenomenon. The newlywed thing first: that one's not really time consuming. Obviously, Pink Hubby and I really enjoy spending time together... but we always have. We've been living together since prior to our engagement, so we haven't found that we needed to change a whole lot of how we live after marriage. But yes: the school, the work, and the house are VERY time-consuming, all of them. Enter Procrastination Station. Facebook. Google Reader. Flickr. And yes: Blogger. I would be a much more productive person without them, yet I can't quit them. They're my time-wasters -- like staring off in to space, but with the Internet. I open it up and type type type, while my laundry remains unwashed and my term-paper remains half-written.

Sometimes, of course, there are really directed posts that take a long time to write. Especially posts with pictures, instructions or steps. I do set aside time for those, usually pushing some other important thing out of the way (like reading a chapter for class, or taking a shower, heh). Or, I will 'multitask'. For example, I have been known to write 'Home Improvement' or 'Rusty' posts while we're watching a movie I've already seen.

I generally do not schedule time to blog. I mean, my night does not go:
7:15 get home from class
7:30 eat supper
8:00 blog
I just kind of do it when I can, and when I feel like it.

Sometimes, I really don't have time for a post even when I have the 'itch' to write one. That's why I love 'draft' mode. I'll come in to blogger, open up a new draft and type something like:

"Title: porch is ugly, lime
Porch is a really ugly color. clash barf. attacked by epileptic painter with penchant for chartreuse. wanna fix this.
"

I have five or six drafts like this in my inbox right now. I post-date them to next year so that they always stay at the top of the list. Then, when I need something to write about, I can pick from them and fill in the deets.

Speaking of drafts, scheduling also rules. If I have a ton of stuff to blog about, I can bang out 5 posts in one evening and schedule them to show up on the blog over the course of a week or two. [I wrote the answer to this question last week during my lunch break from work, actually!] Or, I can 'prewrite' posts, knowing I'll probably be changing it a bit before it actually goes up. For example, I wrote most of the text for the yellow room painting posts several weeks before I actually painted it. All I did before publishing them was to fill in the details regarding the photos and problems I encountered.

Another factor with blogging has to do with whether or not you really like blogging. I have found, over the years (I started my first blog -- which ran until 2007 -- in 2003), that I really do like it. It's an outlet for me. I never did write a diary or journal growing up, and could never wrap my head around the idea even now (without a well-meaning, concerned mom possibly peeking under my mattress). But broadcasting to the whole damn internet? That's fine! An interesting note to ponder: I rarely ever read my old posts unless I need to reference one. I think they sound stupid, even stuff I just wrote a week or two ago. Yet, I still do it. It's like my Internet crack. I went a whole 3 or 4 months without having a blog to my 'name'. Then I just had to create a new one: this one. I am simply compelled to share. Perhaps my moniker should be "Pink Narcissist."

What can I do to make Turbo less fat? He is fat fat fat.

These questionnaires are supposed to be anonymous, but I know who wrote this one. And that person has a cat named Turbo. Behold:

turbo

My answer to Turbo's weight problem is: severely reduced portion-size. I really don't think cats should be given enough food that their bowl is full all day long. They do exactly what I would do if I had piles of food sitting in front of me all day long. nom nom nom. If Turbo isn't an over-eater (but, methinks he is!) he probably has a health problem (aside from being so fat!) and needs a doctor.

Fat fat fat fat fat.

22 lbs, am I right?

FAT.

Yep. He's fat. Personally I think that the owner has to deal with their pet's weight to keep them healthy and give them a long life. However, I have met others who have the philosophy that animals should live the happiest life we can give them. If they like to eat, and they're fat, so be it. I swear my grandma fed her dog a steak every day of his life, and he still lived to be 14. Not a skinny dog, but a very happy one!

One of life's biggest questions: toilet paper roll - over or under?
Honestly, it does not matter to either of us. Generally I think it's on the roll in the "over" fashion, but we're not TP Nazis.

When you do go out, what do you do for entertainment? Does [your college] sponsor a variety of events that you're interested in?

The honest answer is: we don't go out. Neither my husband and I are particularly interested in sports, though he has been to a few hockey games with his brother. The U does host/sponsor/take part in a variety of events (including cultural and sports-related), but we are generally either not interested, or else we do not have time. The city has art and wine walks and a Saturday farmer's market in the summertime, but we have not been to either. In the winter there are various events also. A lot of people here enjoy cross-country skiing, ice fishing and snowmobiling. Pink Hubby and I did go snowmobiling for about 10 minutes back in December while at his parents' house. It's be nice to go on a longer trip sometime, but eh, busy. Grand Forks is one of the top (I think it is THE top, actually) cities for binge-drinking in the nation. That means we have a lot of bars. A. Lot. But Pink Hubby and I don't go to them either. We're homebodies.

When we *do* go someplace, it's usually to the movie theatre in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. It's a new theater with the best popcorn we've ever had. It's quite busy most of the time though, so when we do go we try to go at off-peak hours. (For example, during the Superbowl and accompanying snowstorm would have been a great time to go, but Pink Hubby was/is fighting a cold so we decided to skip it.)

Are there any genres of music you refuse to listen to?
Umm... I generally don't like Jazz music (or any, but Jazz is the biggest culprit) if there are a lot of horns (i.e. Saxaphone, Trombone, Trumpet). Horns grate on my brain. I haven't particularly been impressed with the small amount of Opera I have heard either, but I can't judge. Not a huge fan of religious music, mainly because I'm not religious. Other than that, there are songs in most other genres that I like and know the words to, including Heavy Metal, Hard and Soft Rock, Punk, 'Oldies', Grunge & alternative, Folk-rock, psychedelic, old and current Pop, Funk, HipHop, Rap and old and current Country. I also like some 'world' music and many classical selections, especially while working/studying.

Now that you're a homeowner, are you thinking of purchasing a snowblower? I hear Honda makes good ones.

Definitely. I think I've shoveled about 40 inches of snow this year. Gawd, am I ever sore. We do want a good one and they don't come cheap, so we are waiting on this purchase (and suffering through this winter) without one. So far I have broken one shovel and bent a garden hoe (trying to chop up an ice-berm with it)... only 2 months more of this to go!

What do you think you'll be doing (career and personal) in 10 years?
Oooo, tough one. I'd like to be an associate professor somewhere in 10 years. Would love to have flexible hours, teach classes both on campus and online/distance, be an adviser to students in my program, and have some things published for my own self as well.

We may have one or two children by then if we have decided we're ready to do so. I hope we'll both be successful and happy in our careers, and that our children (if they exist) will also be enjoying their childhoods.

How do you survive those god awful winters without going crazy?

Really all you have to do here to "survive" the winter is to be smart. You should own a long, well-insulated coat with a hood. You should also have a very warm pair of boots. (Uggs or similar are alright for work on the coldest days, but I wear Sorels when I shovel.) Most winter days, it's above zero degrees. That's not bad at all. Just totally fine. When it's below zero, you just don't stay outside for longer than necessary. Cold temps above zero are more about comfort level. Cold temps below zero are about injuring yourself. You can really feel your skin starting to get damaged if you're outside with no gloves for more than a minute or so on a -20 degree day. That kind of temperature just sucks the moisture right out of you.

Consider also that Grand Forks is not very pedestrian-friendly at any time of year. The vast majority of pople do not walk or bike to work or even to bus stations here. Everyone drives, including teenagers over age 14. So we're either in the house, the office/school, or in our cars most of the time.

Which brings me to my car: It has heated seats. Very important. It also has a remote control car starter called an Astrostart. I can start my car from up to a mile away. This allows the car (and the heated seats!) to warm up before I get out to it. That way, after shuffling 200 yards in 30 mph wind and a -40 F windchill, I arrive [with tears frozen to my face and the chapped-est lips ever] at a somewhat warm vehicle. Yay for technology!

Pink hubby has these same features in his car. His has all-wheel drive, also. I don't particularly think all-wheel drive is necessary. 95% of days, I get along fine without it. Front-wheel drive saves me money at the gas pump, also. All-wheel drive is a lot easier to handle with a few inches (or several) of snow on the roads, however.

That's pretty much it. I kind of like the snow, and winter driving isn't hard. Shoveling is cheaper than going to the gym, and there is just something really cozy about sitting by the fire while it snows and blows and does its worst outside. (And in the summer, we can get tornadoes. So I definitely prefer winter!!)

How did you decide how many of the letter O to put in your blog name?

Ooooooh that's an easy one (see what I did there?). When signing up for Blogger, one, two, three, four, and five "O's" were already taken. So I have six. :)

Have something else to ask me? Ask, and I shall answer next Wednesday!