Back to Blogging…with Some Fun Changes

After mentally chewing on things (ew!) for a few weeks, I’ve decided where I want to take things with Nerd in the Brain…the blog and the business.  And where do I want to take things? Well, I think this little list of verbs says it all:

blog words

Those are the very things I want for my life, so, of course, I want my blog to reflect those ideas and activities.

I want to do what I can to put some kindness and happiness and appreciation out into the universe.

I want to inspire grown ups (with or without the little ones in tow) to go outside and play and learn and explore.

I want to encourage and support other bloggers in their creative and nerdly pursuits.

I want to have my own kind of fun.

And that, my friends, is the direction the blog will be going.

To keep your interest all tweaked and piqued, I’ve decided to add a “This Week on Nerd in the Brain” widget over there on the left…it’s an easy way to see what’s ahead for the week.

I’ll also be integrating some new and exciting features and activities over the next month…but I’m not going to throw spoilers out just yet. ;)

Oh, I also (finally!) updated my “About” page…you know, so that it actually reflects some current form of reality. :) (Speaking of pages, I’ve done away with just about all of them other than the Reading Program info…it’s an effort to simplify.)

I’m excited to get things going on this not-totally-different-but-not-quite-the-same path…I hope you are, too. :)

 

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One more note: I currently have a quite serious family situation happening (John, Grace, and I are all fine, I promise!) that may require some sudden/intermittent absences. If I’m slow to respond to comments or miss a day of posting (even if something was supposed to be published) or fail to read as many other blogs as I’d like, please know that I’m not just being a slack, jerk-faced weasel. ;) I love my blog family dearly, and I promise not to do a long-term disappearance. <3

If We Were Having Coffee: July 25, 2015

*I originally stumbled across this concept at Part Time Monster, and I love, love, love the idea of having a chatty post once a week. I do hope you enjoy my ramblings.* ;)

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I would tell you that I was having a grumpy sort of week earlier, but things certainly swooshed over to the happier yesterday.

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I would tell you that part of what made for a grumpy week was our car breaking down, but we found an awesome new (to us) mechanic, and that should be all situated and dealt with on Monday…without costing 50 bajillion dollars.

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I would tell you that, speaking of yesterday, I got a super-nifty and exciting (to me) surprise! I was at the grocery store…you know, minding my own business and doing the food thing. (I was actually on the way back from the mechanic…since I’m supposed to drive the car as little as possible, I decided to stop in the store on the way home even though I didn’t have a list prepared or anything. This is most unlike me, but I figured not starving was the best choice to make. ;) ) Anyway, I gathered up enough sustenance to get us happily through the next week and headed to the cashier. After ringing up my groceries, the cashier gave me a ridiculously low total. “That can’t be right!” I thought and said. And then she said, “You’re our instant winner for the day!” Yeah! I totally got $100 off my groceries!!! A very nice surprise, indeed, when we’re staring down the barrel of car repairs interfering with the budget. :D

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I would tell you that I had another lovely surprise yesterday in the mail. One of my Secret Santa gifts arrived! (I say “one of” because I’m participating in two Secret Santa exchanges…the one here and the one that Kate is hosting.) That bit of fun will have to wait for Three Things Thursday though…yeah, it was that cool. :)

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I would tell you that I’m excited about unleashing the new (but not really new because it will be quite similar to how things were before) blog happiness on Monday. I’m glad I waited another week…it gave my brain time to settle down around some ideas. :) I think it will be good for me to get back to blogging on a daily basis…I really do much better at keeping up with things on a social level (reading posts, responding to comments, interacting, etc.) if I blog each day.

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I would tell you that I’ve been tinkering and playing with some Nerd in the Brain products a lot. I’ve landed on something that I’m having a lot of fun with….periodic tables that look a bit different from the norm. For example, I shared this sample on Facebook yesterday:

pink chevron elements

Sorry for the lack of sharpness here. I was slack for this picture and just did a screen shot…not ideal for picture quality on this sort of thing.

I don’t think there’s any reason not to pretty up the information. :) Of course, I’ve also got some things going that are more “cool” than “pretty,” but I’m sure I’ll be sharing those soon.

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I would tell you that my Facebook avoidance (on my personal account) has been going really well. Other than a lot of unfollowing, I’ve only been interacting if someone has actually tagged me in a post. (It just seems rude not to.) I’ve been focusing more of my attention on the Nerd in the Brain Facebook page, and I’m having fun over there. :D (Feel free to join us!)

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And I would tell you that I hope you have an absolutely wonderful week until we meet for coffee again next Saturday. :D I’m off to go find out what my blog friends have been up to this week!

Three Things Thursday: July 23, 2015

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

To be honest, I’m having a really spectacularly grumpy week. (With reason, I promise!) Looking at my silly pictures certainly helped to put a smile on my face though. :) Check out some of my goofiness, won’t you?

I absolutely adore my new dragon mug that I ordered from Goldfish’s RedBubble shop!

dragon mug

And I thought everyone would like a little front-door-wreath bird update. We had a really bad thunderstorm the other day, so I went to check on our little bird family…I wanted to make sure the nest didn’t get blown to bits or anything. Mama bird wasn’t around, but I did see that we definitely have eggs in the nest! (Sorry for the picture quality…the nest is actually above the viewing level of my shortness, so I have to hold my phone camera up and look at things that way. This doesn’t make for great pictures…especially when I’m trying to be lightning fast so as not to upset any winged friends.) :)

eggs in nest

And this fantastic postcard from Kate! I was so happy to pull this little guy out of the mailbox! :D

snake postcard

Want to see more of the silly and/or pretty things I spot throughout the week? You can follow me on Instagram! :)

So, what made you smile this week? I’d love to hear about it!

The Round 3 Winner Is….

Welcome to the end of Round 3 (and the start of Round 4) of the Summer Reading & Writing Program!

 

As we finish up the third round of the program, I have diligently tallied and ciphered (okay, my spreadsheet added for me) to determine that y’all have committed 114 acts of literacy! That is so fantastic, and I can’t wait to see what the numbers are up to by the end of Round 4! :D

dusk dragon

This Book Dragon is pretty darn excited that y’all have hatched 114 baby Book Dragons!

And now it’s time to announce a winner!

Continuing with our very official system, the dragons had me put little pieces of paper for each egg hatched into a treasure box. The dragons, still lacking in the area of fine motor skills, thought it would be best if John pulled a name from the box this time. :)

treasure box

The box is actually much fuller than this now…I’m just too lazy to take a new picture. ;)

And the winner for Round 3 is….

Kat!

(Kat of The Cat’s Cradle fame!)

And what did Kat win???

 

discovery of dragons

Her very own shiny and new copy of The Discovery of Dragons! (Click the picture to learn more about this book…the stories and artwork are amazing!)

Congratulations, Kat!!!! :D I also want to mention that Kat is currently in the #1 spot for number of challenges completed…she’s managed to hatch 22 dragon eggs so far!

 

And so begins Round 4 of the Summer Reading & Writing Program! Here are some important bits of information for you…

***Keep reading and writing! I am so impressed by all of you!

***Round 4 will end at 11:59 pm (EST) on August 4, 2015. Prize winner will be announced on August 5, 2015.

***The prize for the Round 4 winner will be…

paper dragons

This craft kit/book looks soooo amazing…it’s about all I can do to keep my paws off of it. ;) Somebody will be having lots of fun flying dragons all about the place. :D

Okay, now go get your reading and writing on! You have two whole weeks to hatch baby dragons before a winner of that awesome book is chosen. :D Even if you haven’t been keeping up and/or turning in challenges, it’s not too late to get started!

Enjoy!

Dear Facebook,

I need a break. Probably a rather long one.

When I first started hanging out with you several years ago, you were really cool. Catching up with friends that I hadn’t seen in ages was amazing! I loved seeing their families and hearing their news. It was lovely to be able to connect with people who lived too far away to visit. It was beautiful to see the lives of more people than I could ever hope to keep up with through phone calls and coffee dates. I even thought the dippy games were pretty awesome.

But then you changed.

I began to see an ugly side of you. A side that bullies and shames and instigates. A side I want nothing to do with.

And that side keeps growing and strengthening like some sort of mythological beast, and I have no space in my life for creatures who wish to consume my soul with anger and hate.

I know this isn’t the trendy thing to say right now, but I actually liked seeing the pictures of new babies and beloved dogs and frisky cats and dance recitals and basketball games and family holidays. I don’t find it bothersome to see people put their best, happiest face forward. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with focusing on the positive.

I like knowing that people have happiness in their lives.

I do also want to know when sorrow or hardship has befallen a friend. How can I possibly help or sympathize or listen if I don’t even know something is happening?

But that is not what you give me anymore, Facebook.

Well, not much anyway.

For every picture of a fuzzy puppy, I have to endure political rants and lengthy diatribes.

Political rants that tell me what I “should” be believing, doing, and fighting for.

For every post about a wonderful holiday or vacation, I have to scroll through snarky memes.

Memes that mock people for this, that, or the other…in a rather hateful way.

For every update on a family’s loss, I have to wade through pushy declarations that have been shared from goodness knows where.

Declarations that tell me I’m probably not “brave enough” or “good-hearted” enough to share them further. (And the truth is, even if I agree with a declaration, I won’t share anything that uses those sort of bullying tactics.) Sometimes they even come with a glorious and totally unfounded statistic that states that “98% of people won’t be brave enough to share this on their own page” or some such nonsense, and my very essence weeps.

For every post about ball games and recitals and trips to the zoo, I am bombarded with other people’s religious, political, and social beliefs…and why I am dumb, uneducated, immoral, and/or naive if I don’t agree.

I am actually none of those things. And I have absolutely no problem learning about someone’s beliefs and views (if I agree with them or not), but I’m not particularly keen on being insulted for disagreeing. And being preemptively insulted for not agreeing? I think that’s taking things down a very uncivilized and frightening path.

And speaking of insults…

There is no longer any room for open discussion of topics. Even topics that used to be considered pretty benign. It seems that every post breaks out into some sort of insult slinging contest between conservatives and liberals. Regardless of who you vote for, I am unimpressed if all you have to offer is rude behavior, foul language, and stubborn resistance to dialogue.

When did the world decide that well reasoned opinions, responses, and ideas were too much trouble? When did it become productive in any way to call people names and insult people’s intelligence for simply holding a different point of view?

More importantly, why am I still encouraging this in my own life? No, I don’t hurl insults, but the very fact that I continue to partake in your madness, Facebook, makes me culpable to some degree because I am providing an audience. In a weird way, I feel like I am voting “yes” to all of this just by showing up.

I’ve tried the method of not adding to the madness. I’ve tried only posting positive things and refusing to engage in arguments and avoiding the hate. But I don’t think it’s enough. I think I need to step back and remove myself from the nastiness. To be honest, I’ve recently found myself tempted to walk down this dark path with you, Facebook. And that lets me know with all certainty that it’s time to take a break. It’s time to avoid the influence of so many loud and angry voices.

To those of you who are Facebook friends with me personally, you won’t see me around much for a while. The Nerd in the Brain Facebook page does not seem to be plagued with the same problems, so, for now, I’ll still be partying over there. ;)

So, what about you? Have you ever found Facebook (or any social media) taking you down a road you weren’t comfortable with? If so, how did you handle it? Do you unfriend/unfollow people who offend? (Not my favorite method of dealing with things, but I know it works for others.)

If We Were Having Coffee: July 18, 2015

*I originally stumbled across this concept at Part Time Monster, and I love, love, love the idea of having a chatty post once a week. I do hope you enjoy my ramblings.* ;)

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I would tell you that I’ve been really backing off on the blog this week, and it has been a good thing! I’ve got a lot of decisions to make (about so many things!), and it’s exciting, but also brain consuming. I think I have finally come to a conclusion about where I want to go with the blog, but I haven’t decided if I want to start with the new and slightly different version next week or give myself one more week to line up my ducks. ;)

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I would tell you that, regardless of when I switch things up, I’ll be introducing a new thing this Fall. (Probably at the start of September.) It will be very similar to the Summer Reading & Writing Program in how it operates, but the premise and challenges will be really way, way different. :D (You have John to thank for this one…it was his idea.) ;)

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I would tell you that, if you’ve been keeping up with our “bird in the front door wreath” saga, you’ll be glad to know that we now have evidence that the bird (a wren, we believe) has finished construction and taken up residence:

bird in nest

We suspect there are eggs in there, but we’re certainly not going to get close enough to check…we’d hate to stress our little friend. :)

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I would tell you that the monster stack of forms for Grace’s new school was completed and returned! As many forms as there were, it actually only took a couple of hours to get everything filled out and gather all of our “we really live here” evidence and stuff. Now we’re on to slurping up the book that the school requires all incoming freshmen to read before school starts:

the last lecture

While there are certainly bits of life wisdom in there that I agree with, I haven’t been gobsmacked and inspired by Mr. Pausch’s words. I don’t know if that’s more telling about my own life experiences and philosophies or his. I wouldn’t say I dislike the book or anything…I just haven’t found it to be magical so far. It will definitely be an excellent discussion jumping off point with Grace, so I’m glad I decided to read it (even though, strictly speaking, it was only required for Grace). ;)

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I would tell you that we have a pretty quiet week ahead. I actually have a pretty quiet Summer ahead. Since Grace will be here for the school year, we’re all working together to make sure she spends most of the Summer at her mom’s house. She’ll be here for a few days next week so she doesn’t miss piano class or the special effects make up class at the library (she’s really looking forward to that one!), but then we’ll be a grown-ups only house for over a week.

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I would tell you that I’m really glad I didn’t convince John to go camping this weekend. It’s not even 11:00, and the “real feel” temperature is already over 90. Yick. Add the 60% chance of thunderstorms, and the idea of being in a tent sounds even less fun. We made the right choice. :)

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I would tell you that you might see a lot of wacky changes and editing going on around here over the next couple of weeks. Just know that I’m up to my usual tinkering and futzing and feel free to ignore my chaos. :D

 

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And I would tell you that I hope you have an absolutely wonderful week until we meet for coffee again next Saturday. :D

Three Things Thursday: July 16, 2015

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

You may remember the beginnings of a bird’s nest that I posted last week in Three Things Thursday. Well, things have since escalated in that area. :) The bird continued to build, but seemed unaware that the wreath doesn’t always stay snug against the door. When the wind blows, it sometimes lifts the wreath away from the door. Well, I couldn’t be at peace worrying about eggs or baby birds falling out of the back of the wreath in a thunderstorm, so we took measures:

nest 4

The white backing may not be the most attractive thing, but it will help prevent the loss of eggs or little ones. :)

 

And I have a second picture related to the birds. Because the bird (and family) have actually moved in to their new place, we wanted to be sure not to disturb or injure them. Worried that we might forget and go crashing through the front door without thinking, John implemented a plan that was sure to remind us not to go through that door:

you shall not pass

Hehe…I’m certainly letting the decorating go in the name of keeping some little chirpers safe. :)

Archery is still bringing me much joy! :D

archery

And my very most favorite thing of the week? The other day, I walked into the kitchen, and John said to me, “I made you tomato hearts!” John’s not normally a “mushy” type person, so these moments are cherished. :D (He had already salted them for me and everything! Awwwww!) <3

tomato hearts

Want to see more of the silly and/or pretty things I spot throughout the week? You can follow me on Instagram! :)

So, what made you smile this week? I’d love to hear about it!