Blissdom 2011

It always feels a little odd to start a post without Heather says:. It’s total muscle memory. I open a post and my fingers start typing.

For the past few months I’ve been helping out the Blissdom Crew with the website. There hasn’t been anything crazy hard, but I’m actually quite proud of the layout for these two pages: Blissdom Conference Schedule and Blissdom Wisdom Workshops. Sure tables are old school, but sometimes they are the only real option for visually organizing the information. Megan is the speaker coordinator, she selected the speakers, figured out the schedule, and wrote the copy. I’m just happy with the final result.

I’ll be presenting at two Wisdom Workshops and naturally they are back to back, because I am some sort of pressure junkie. At first I could just get by with the pressure of one presentation, now there must be new and exciting twists in addition to the whole get up and talk in front of others pressure.

I’ll be presenting with Rachel Matthews of A Southern Fairytale, for the Food Niche workshop. If you’re heading to Blissdom and you write about food, you need to find and glom on to Rachel and me, we’re supposed to herd you into some sort of cohesive tribe by the end of the event. We’ll have a blast. We’re there to answer questions and help make you feel welcome. It’ll be fun.

I’m also joining Molly Thornberg of Digital Mom Blog on the Ultimate Toolkit presentation. I’m stoked as this is right up my alley. I love the tools that make online life easier.

I’ll be heading up to Nashville, probably with Kelby Carr and  Margo Millure, if our schedules all coordinate. Hopefully Margo won’t kick my seat the entire 9 hour drive, but you never know when you take on a virtual stranger.

The Opryland is a lovely hotel; it’s lush and beautiful, and balmy. The perfect humidity, but if you look closely, you may be reminded of the compounds in Oryx and Crake. After all, there are no bugs and it never storms.

I’m stoked and it’s over a month away.

Because this Is My Scrapbook

First of all, if you’re waiting for an email from me, here’s why it’s late. Thanks @rww

Really though, I just wanted to save this tweet from the iSocket team.

Thanks guys!

If you’re actually wondering what the heck is iSocket? They are an ad serving platform. They take care of all the piddly aspects of selling your own ads. It’s a monthly fee, not commission. You can also backfill what you haven’t sold (yet!) with AdSense or  something similar.

You can reclaim your self-worth and break up with your ad network, whenever you’re ready.

I’m happy with them.  If you do check them out, let them know I sent you. They don’t pay me, they just make and send pictures like the one above and that makes me happy.

You like it when I’m happy, right?


My kids all have big personalities.

They are constantly on top of me.

In my face.


They need something.

They are hurt, they need fixing.

They need to be fed.

They need to be held.

They need to be wiped.

Then there’s their messes.

Their bickering.

Their noise.

I forget how small they are.

Until I see them as others do.

Let’s Talk About Me

That’s what this is for, right?

I was interviewed on Monday by Srini Rao of BlogCastFM. Feel free to check out the podcast.

Heather Solos on Book Deals, In-Person Events, and Building Your Speaking Resume.

I think it went decently, of course I can’t listen to it objectively. All I can do is cringe every time I say uh.

I Didn’t Shoot the Messenger

But I was sorely tempted.

If you hang out on Facebook, you probably already saw this.

My oldest is 7, he attends virtual charter school which is funded by the state of South Carolina’s public school system. Today I sent an email, through their obnoxious proprietary mail system, to the teacher to make sure everything was up to date and that we were we needed to be.

My kid isn’t a genius. He’s bright, he’s inquisitive, and can almost rival me in the stubborn department.

Last year my son started kindergarten and finished the 1st grade curriculum for phonics and math. They don’t let children complete more than one year in the other subjects: history, science, art, music, and PE.

That was fine, his favorite subjects are history and science and he’d do those all day long, if I facilitated it. Don’t worry, it’s not like I restrict learning activities after school is done for the day, I just don’t force them or do the ones provided by the school after our work is completed. Maybe that means I’m not “up to the task” or not cut out for this. Whatever. He’s ahead, he’s happy, we’re getting through. I think that means we’re doing ok.

What ticked me off is this. The response to my email was, “your son is progressing too quickly in math and will run out of lessons.” They won’t release the third grade curriculum for him until he is in the 2nd grade. She suggested instead of progressing, he should “play learning games.”

Our daily math lesson usually consists of handing him two assessments. If he makes a 100% he’s got the concept mastered. If he doesn’t we go over the lesson(s).  Sometimes we play a math game, he loves the games.

Is it crazy to want to reach a point where my child is challenged by the curriculum? I don’t really think that’s out of line.

What I’d like is to progress to a point where the lesson is actually needed, so he can learn how to learn. I was a lazy student, I didn’t get that skill until well into college. I relied on my ability to absorb the information from half-listening to my teachers. I coasted with good grades, without doing homework, until after graduation.

My husband? Same story.

What I hate is that each week we have to sit through a one hour online lesson geared toward where the 1st graders should be in the 1st grade curriculum. He’s bored, I’m bored, but we sit through it. I’m sure review is great, yada yada yada. (We also have the same deal for Language Arts, makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a pencil, but I plaster on a smile and redirect his attention to the computer screen every 25 seconds for 45 – 60 minutes)

As far as Language Arts, he’ll finish the 2nd grade program this year. We’ve reached a point where he has to work to remember the spelling words, but he gets them. His reading and comprehension are great. His grammar is good. I’m ok with this. He’s still developing the fine motor skills for good handwriting (and the patience to write is another story entirely, but we’re getting there). So I don’t push him in Language Arts, we’re moving at the expected pace.

Next year he’ll be labeled a 2nd grader, but take 3rd grade English and 3rd grade math.

I need the structure of a program like this one. Where there is a laid out curriculum and some oversight, it helps keep me on track. What I don’t like is this arbitrary crap preventing his progress.

We Did. Again.

Tim and I finally were married within the Catholic Church.
Many thanks to Father Ed for the pictures.

And tomorrow?

There’s turkey.

I Have Fun.

Heather, Allie, me and Catherine

Sneak Peek

Tomorrow I’ll be creating an email list for those who want to be notified of the book launch. My editor was kind enough to shoot over a jpg of the cover. I thought some of you might be interested.



I look like I know what I’m doing.

You have to click through for the full version, sorry.

Don’t be fooled, I missed the shot.

Thank you for the pic, Dave.

The Great Big Name Drop Post 2010 Style

I’ve spent the past few days in Las Vegas, a surreal version of life. There’s a whole lot of glitz, sparkle, and glam but don’t look too close or you may notice the veneer, and the carefully placed marketing.

Does that take away from the fun?

Heck no. I’ve enjoyed seeing fancy hotel suites and being treated as though I’m a VIP, but it’s not real. I get that. Do I mind the occasional free drink or schmoozing? Not one bit, it’s fun.

This list isn’t complete, there are several more names I need to add, as I internally match names with contact info, but so far I’ve had the pleasure of meeting or catching up with:

Angel Djambazov

Annabel Candy


Dave Griner

Dave Taylor

Howard Greenstein

Jeffrey Powers – who says I have a familiar face. Uh huh

Jordan Cooper aka NotaProBlog

Kelby Carr

Lucretia Pruitt

Ryan Hupfer of iSocket (on a side note, my kids call my sister Aunt Teppy)

Ryan Wynia

Shawn Christenson aka The Canadian

Srini Rao

There’s still a lot of fun to be had, sessions to attend, and people to meet and then time to kill in the airport. Hopefully I can squeeze in another trip to In and Out.