Thursday Bitchslap

Why is it that when you’ve sucked it up, vowed to make the best of things and just want to go with the flow, does life then throw yet MORE curveballs at you just to see if you’re REALLY up to the challenge (hint: I’m not)?  Are the fates truly that cruel?  (Answer: YES.)  Of course, any complaint I have here is painfully minor and I am well, well aware of that.  But they are complaints.  And if a blog isn’t for complaining once (or twice) (or more) in a while, then I don’t know what it’s for.

Item #1: Remember that whole thing where the tan van has been parked for the month because it’s not registered and Kile’s white van that, while older and rattles as you drive around in it, is legal so it has been our vehicle?  Yeah.  Well, yesterday the tread split from the tire (the tire that was causing the rattling and that we were HOPING and PRAYING would just last through the month and we would replace it next month) and now it is UNDRIVEABLE.  Oh ho ho… I couldn’t make this stuff up.  And of COURSE Kile doesn’t have a spare to put on because it too is busted or somesuch nonsense and I’m not entirely sure WHY or WHAT.  But long story short: Kile had to take the tan van today.  We are hoping that he doesn’t get pulled over for driving with expired tags but that would be just like The Fates to arrange that so I’m not holding my breath.

I think the long term plan here is for Kile to see if the spare from the tan van will fit the white van or some such.  I’m not entirely sure and I don’t know if I really want to know anyhow (ignorance can be bliss).  But, OMG, doesn’t it just FIGURE?

Item #2: Liam’s high chair, apparently, has been RECALLED.  What makes me laugh is that the very reason it is being recalled is something that has happened to us (in fact, it happened several months ago) but because we are lame, negligent cheapskates, we have continued to use the chair anyhow.  According to the site, we shouldn’t be doing that.  OOPS.  But I’d like to know how else we are supposed to feed the Tiny Wonder since we have no booster or anything else and this child needs to be RESTRAINED in order to eat.  The more straps, the better.  If he can’t escape, he has no choice but to eat.  (It’s called the Imprisonment Method, look it up.)  So we gotta contact Evenflo and get a repair kit or somesuch goofiness.  Blah blah blah.

In the meantime, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when Kile told me about this this morning.  Of COURSE our highchair is being recalled.  What the heck took them so long??  And also: JUST OUR LUCK.  (Hint to big PR companies: Now would be a great time to send me a high chair to test out for review purposes.  Just sayin’.)

Do I need more items than that?  I really don’t think I do, but I know if I thought about it hard enough, I think I could.  Or, you know, I could just wait ten minutes for the roof to cave in, the power to go out, the DSL to give up or something.  And again?  WOULD NOT BE SURPRISED.

It's in the bag

Warning!  If you are a brother or sister to me (via blood or marriage), I advise you to skip this post.  Unless you really want to have your Christmas gift spoiled.  Turn away now and save the surprise for Christmas morning!

There.  Now that that’s out of the bag, I wanted to share with you the contents of the gift bags we put together for our siblings and their families this holiday season.  Partially so I have a record of the awesomeness we put together this year (direct quote from Harry: “We’ve worked harder on Christmas this year than we ever have before!”), and partially so that if there are any of you who are looking for ideas for homemade, handmade and inexpensive gifts, then maybe this would be an interested read for you.  Anyhow, sorry for the lack of pictures but I was uber-lame and didn’t take pictures of anything before we got it all bagged and boxed up.  Whoops. I’ll try to find links where I can though to make up for it, deal?

  • The first thing is the picture of the three kids in wallet size.  We then matted that on some fancy red and white paper and then put it in a wooden frame that we painted white and decorated with little Christmas baubles.  I also painted wooden “phrases” (such as Believe, Hope, Joy, Noel…etc) and those were glued to the top of the frame.
  • Chocolate molded Christmas tree pretzel rods and chocolate molded Santa Claus’ on a candy cane.  Wrapped up in little candy bags and tied with a bow.
  • Plastic bin filled with homemade peanut brittle
  • Plastic bin filled with homemade fudge
  • Various and sundry handmade ornaments, mostly made by Harry.
  • A Christmas Mix CD compiled by yours truly.  It features some seriously awesome Christmas songs.
  • In the bags that are going to houses where there are little kids, we’ve included the appropriate number of craft kits.  One bag includes a ‘Snowman Making Kit‘ and another includes a couple of flower fairies that I made at a craft day event.
  • Most of the bags include a book or two.  I got a lot of free books this year, some I barely cracked the spine on.  I sent these on to homes I felt were appropriate for them.
  • A fancy-schmancy Christmas card, including our fabulous holiday letter.
  • Each of these items were packed into a new reuseable shopping bag from our local Whole Foods store.  As a bonus, Whole Foods had a special holiday edition of their shopping bag so we got those.

The whole thing was then wrapped up in cellophane and tied closed with a golden ribbon.  Voila!  So what do you think?  Will these make nice presents?  Will the recipients appreciate the effort?  A lot of work though it was, it was kind of fun putting these together.  Maybe we’ll do it again next year.  Maybe we won’t.  We’ll see how these go over first!

Days of Grace – Day 8

I seem to have established a routine of doing these at night.  I’ve been finding it’s a nice way to wind down after a long day.

  1. Rockstar Energy Drink.  I would stock a whole second refrigerator with this stuff if I could.
  2. My new knitting project (a baby hat).  I’m impressing myself with all my straight stitches and minimal slipups (BTW, my Ravelry invite came through so look me up if you belong!  marilynsp!)
  3. Watching my oldest play Wii and have such a good time with it.  Makes the darned thing so worth it. (Also BTW, check out my review of Harry’s latest favorite game.  It is WAY fun.)
  4. That it is December.  I love this month (usually) (mostly).  Now, if only it would SNOW.
  5. Having our outdoor Christmas lights on and working again (not that they were ever taken down from last year!).  Makes me feel so much more festive!

My Twilight Review

I got to see “Twilight” last night!  No thanks to my loving husband.  My dear mother in law offered to go see it with me.  And it was so exciting to get to go see it on the opening day.  I didn’t even know what to expect, actually.  I was almost afraid to get my hopes up too much.  I know how hard it is to fullfill fan expectations in book-to-movie situations such as this.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much.  But I also didn’t want to be stubborn and dampen any thrill of actually seeing the movie either.  So I felt oddly keyed up, sitting in the theater, waiting for the movie to begin. 

There was a good crowd there, a lot of pre-teen girls, quite a few 30-something women.  But there were men too.  Most likely dragged by their significant others.  But they didn’t have a long-suffering look to them, so one can only figure that they weren’t entirely opposed to seeing it (unlike some people I know).  everyone was feeling rather festive.  There were a lot of smiles.  The line waiting to go into the theater was long, but orderly and the crowd wasn’t actually that obnoxious.  I was pretty pleased.  

The Harry Potter trailer?  Awesome.  Of course.  I’m still annoyed that it’s been moved to July, but it looks as though it will be worth the wait.  And hey, at least now we can go see it in the drive-in.  Bonus!

Okay, so here’s what I thought of the movie.  I’m going to put it behind a “more” tag, so if you haven’t seen it and don’t want to know, don’t click through.  Mmkay?  

Continue reading

Temperatures

I was reading a post over at Lost a Sock yesterday where she talked about how warm she liked to keep their house.  And, I swear to you, my jaw about hit the floor.   There are actually lots of people, apparently, who keep their thermostats at 74 degrees.  Or higher!  I think I would probably burst into spontaneous flame if we had our thermostat set at that for more than about, oh, 30 minutes.  

And I realized that there are people who are just plain intolerant to cold.  Much like I am intolerant to heat.  I hate hate hate being hot.  HATE IT.  I have an actual adverse physical reaction to being too warm.  Seriously!  The worst is getting into a car on a sunny but slightly cool day and it’s already warm in the car from the sun coming through the windows but then they turn the heater on?  ZOMG.  My skin crawls and I feel an overwhelming urge to PANT, I kid you not.  I cannot stand being warm.  Why I don’t just migrate to the Arctic Circle, I have no idea.  

We are misers around these parts and have been long before the current financial crisis ever hit.  I guess it’s just lucky that I like to be on the cool side anyhow.  During the winter, we have our thermostat set to 62 or so during the day.  I bump it up if I need to, like when we get a storm and it’s cooler outside than usual.  Generally, the house keeps it’s heat pretty well since the majority of the windows face the south side of the house and if the sun is shining, that goes a long way to keeping the place warm.  The thermostat goes up to 68 for a couple hours first thing in the morning to warm up the house and then again in the evening.  At night, we set it back to 58.  Because if there’s one thing I hate, it’s when the heater runs while I’m sleeping.  Even unconsciously, while I’m sleeping, I will toss and turn and wake up and sweat.  It’s awful. 

I generally wear my fleecy pajamas, slippers and a cozy robe during the day.  Sometimes I put a blanket on my lap when I’m watching TV.  The little kids too wear fleecy, cozy jammies during the winter months and when we dress for the cold, well, it works in the house too.  We’re not the sorts to wear shorts and t-shirts during the winter months.  If it’s 30 degrees outside, I figure I should be wearing a sweater.  It’s not worth the heating bill just to be able to wear a t-shirt when at home.  

I like it cold when I sleep so I can wear cozy pajamas and snuggle under a down comforter and flannel sheets.  The boys both wear cozy pajamas and snuggle under a pile of covers.  They haven’t complained about it and both have their favorite blankets.  I always make sure Evie is wearing warm pajamas and even then she gets tucked under a double-width fleece blanket.  Her room, like ours, faces the north side of the house so it’s cooler than the rest of the house.  As such, we’ve put a space heater in her room and we ran it last night to great success.  She stayed warm and cozy all night long.  I’ve already mentioned that I like it cool when I sleep and we even have the ceiling fan running on low in our room at night so that things don’t get too stagnant.  

So tell me this: Are we crazy?  I promise, if you ever came to visit we would bump up the heat for you.  But in the meantime, we sure do enjoy the comparatively small heating bills!  What do you keep your thermostat at?  And aren’t electronic thermostats just THE BOMB?  Makes life SO much simpler. 

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In other, completely unrelated news, I have a new review up over on ye olde review blogge.  PBN saw fit enough to send my nine year old a Wii game to review and I think it’s safe to say that he thought it was the coolest thing to ever come in our mail EVER.  What can I say?  The boy likes video games.  So yeah.  Go check it out.

This one is for Cagey

So in the comments on yesterday’s uber-whiner post, Cagey said she hated posts like that (and so did Michelle, for the record), where I beat myself up (but I’m such an easy target!).  So in an effort to balance everything out nicely, I thought I’d do a post wherein I detail everything that is Totally Awesome about yours truly.   Because while I still believe that in some, way, shape or form that I am a la-hoo-ser, I do recognize that I have some good traits.  Somewhere.  Maybe there in the corner under that layer.  Ahem.  Here goes!

  • I have some really cute kids.  As evidenced by the MONDO picture we picked up yesterday from Sears.  Seriously, ya’ll, it’s adorable.  And you should check out my full review of Sears Portrait Studio while you’re at it. Our Beautiful Kids 
  • I have a fondness for writing that makes up for it’s lack of talent with an excess of enthusiasm.  I may never be a literary genius, but maybe someday I’ll get published.  That’d be awesome. 
  • I love animals.  I always have.  When I was little, before the days of Animal Planet, I used to love to watch those wild animal safari type shows on PBS.  I’ve always loved having pets too.  For a long time, I was a big cat person, but thanks to Tiger, we’re taking a bit of a cat-break right now.  We have our hands full with the dogs now anyhow. 
  • I like to think that I have a decent sense of humor.  This might not be the funniest blog out there and I’m in no way implying that it is.  But I do know funny when I hear (or see) it.  My dad used to always say I had such a great sense of humor.  I love to laugh.  I love to surround myself with funny people. 
  • I love Christmas.  There, I said it.  I know it’s sorta fashionalble anymore to be something of a Scrooge, but I can’t help it.  Tis the Season to be Jolly.  I don’t love the stress associated with the holidays but I absolutely ADORE the wonder.  And I love sharing that wonder with my kids. 
  • In a related vein, I love cold weather.  I love snow and rain and clouds.  I don’t love wind (but then, after living in Nevada you realize it doesn’t need to be cold to be windy).  I can’t wait until this mild weather is gone and we get some real good snow storms.  
  • I’m loyal.  I’m not the sort to ditch out on someone when a “better offer” comes along.  Once I’m a friend with someone, it takes quiet a bit to shake that.  I give my friends the benefit of the doubt in iffy situations.  This has, in the recent past, led to me getting walked over, but I think it’s an important trait to have.  Because if you can’t count on your friends to back you up in times of need, then who can you count on? 
  • I have awesome taste in music and movies.  If I do say so myself.  And I do.  Cuz this is my blog.  And I’m not talking about artsy-fartsy, alternative taste.  Yes, there are some awesome indy movies out there and some fabulous unknown musicians out there.  But I tend towards the mainstream and I love popular movies and music.  It’s the great equalizer.  And look at it this way, I’ll never make you feel bad for loving “Armageddon” (cuz I do too) (but I will hold “The Fast and the Furious” against you because that movie and all it’s spawn are CRAP).  

There you go.  Some of the things that make me awesome.  Don’t you want to be my friend now?

Christmas is Nigh

Try as I might to deny it, Christmas is upon us.  It’s knocking on the door and rattling the windows.  It’s calling my home phone every hour and leaving voicemails on my already-crowded-and-never-listened-to inbox.  We were out and about all day on Sunday and if there’s one thing I noticed it is this: Christmas is Here.  It don’t care that temperatures will be up near 70 degrees today (Seriously, WTF, Nevada??).  It doesn’t care that I haven’t even begun to think about decorating (at least our exterior is mostly done already, since we never took down last years decorations) (don’t you want to be our neighbor??).  It doesn’t even care that we haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet.  The fact of the matter is that Christmas is rapidly approaching and if you aren’t shopping your guts out by now then you totally FAIL.  

So in the spirit of Yuletide and all that rot, I’m going to share with you my Holiday To-Do List.  Because don’t we all have one of these?  At the very least, this little exercise might help organize myself so that I can at least hope to get some of these things done.  

  • Compile and burn Christmas CDs for Holiday Gift Bag.  I THINK I know what songs I want to put on there.  But I should probably stop putting this off and just get it done.  This is an EASY task. 
  • Finish making the ornaments that Harry burned out on making after he made 1/2 of one.  SIGH.  
  • Paint and decorate the remaining picture frames (we have one done.  Sort of. 
  • Make holiday candy and treats for Gift Bags.  This could be dangerous for my waistline.  Especially the fudge part.  So I think I’ll make Kile do it.
  • Purchase Whole Foods reuseable grocery bags for the Gift Bag.  It’s sort of an important component, actually. *cough*
  • Dig Christmas tree out of the garage and assemble.  Then decorate it.  Then pray to Baby Jesus that Liam doesn’t entirely dismantle it.  
  • Do the Santa gift thing.  We (sorta) know what we’re going to get.  But we probably won’t be making any purchases until after Thanksgiving.
  • Find presents for Kile.  GULP.  Since I’m pretty much a hermit and never leave the house alone with the kids, this could be… interesting.  Hellooooo online shopping!!
  • Make more fudge.  For myself.  (Who am I kidding??)
  • Do the post office thing.  *shudder*  Hmm.  On second thought, delegate that task to Kile.  
  • Oh crap!  Christmas cards!  I almost forgot.  Yeah, since I actually have some to give out this year, I should probably do those too.  
And that’s it.  So far, at least.  I’m sure this list will expand and grow and change and shrink and then grow again before it’s all said and done.  Don’t mind me, I’ll be the one in the corner drinking hot cocoa laced with schnapps.  

The Alphabet of Me

I saw Cagey do this meme the other day and knew I had to snag it for myself.  I also knew I was going to feel like a warmed-over pile of poop today, recovering from our trip to Elko and such.  So having a comfy meme to slip on and cozy up to is just what the doctor ordered.  You might not learn anything new about me.  But then again, maybe you will.  If you wanna do it, just snag it for your own self and let me know in the comments so I can come peep at your answers.

A is for age: I’ll be turning 33 in exactly a month.  I think I’m at the point now where it’s all just OLD.  I’m OLD, ya’ll.  OLD.  Sometimes I wonder where my 20’s went.  And then I look at my nine year old (!!) and go, “Oh yeah.”

B is for burger of choice: In ‘n Out Burger.  Hands down.  Easy choice.  There are a lot of burgers I like, though.  I’m an equal opportunity burger-lover.  It’s just that In ‘n Out’s is the absolute best bang for the buck.

C is for the car I drive: A 2003 tan metallic Dodge Grand Caravan.  It’s paid off, you know.  That makes us both insanely happy.  Maybe in a year we’ll get a new vehicle but right now, we’re happy with the van.  And it still blows my mind that I actually NEED a van now.  We have actually had to tell people we don’t have room for them in our van because of all the kids.  BLOWS MY MIND.

D is for your dog’s name: Beetoe.  Short for “Mistletoe”.  Harry couldn’t pronounce Mistletoe when he was little so Beetoe it is.  Then there’s Holly.  Formerly known as Poptart.  And commonly known as Pup.  Yeah.  All our pets have nicknames.  Someday I’ll have to tell you all more about the cat we named Cheyenne but called Stinky.

E is for essential item you use every day: Yeah, that’s gotta be my iPhone.  I have an all new appreciation for it after this last weekend.  There are just so many ways in which that little gadget makes my life better.  Seriously!  I know, a lot of people poo-poo the cost of the data plan… whatever.  IT’S WORTH IT.  Let me repeat that: IT IS WORTH IT.  I would marry the damned thing if I could.

F is for favorite TV show at the moment: I’ll have to go with “Fringe” for now, even though not a week goes by that it doesn’t freak me the heck out.  I cringe every episode at least once.  Other than that, I would have to say “How I Met Your Mother”.

G is for favorite game: Gah.  I would have said “Halo” once upon a time but I haven’t been playing a lot of video games.  I have been playing an embarassing amount of “Make Me A Celebrity” on Facebook, though I’m starting to lose interest.

H is for home state: California.  I know, I know.  Heh.  It’s a nice place, don’t get me wrong.  But too warm and mild and crowded and expensive for my tastes.  Nevada isn’t much better (waaaaay too warm) (and brown) (and Republican), but it’s a step in the right direction.

I is for instruments you play: Yeah…. no.

J is for favorite juice: Oh dear, I have to pick a FAVORITE?  So hard!  I love grapefruit juice.  Love it!  I also have a serious fondness for Simply Apple (even though I generally don’t enjoy apple juice).  But to be honest, I love pretty much all juice.  I’m a juice fiend.

K is for whose bum you’d like to kick: Hmm, where’s my list?

L is for last restaurant at which you ate: I take it you don’t mean fast food (McDonald’s, FYI).  Let me think…  I guess it’d have to be Chili’s.  I know, not terribly exciting.

M is for your favorite Muppet: I used to love watching The Muppet Show.  I think Kermit had to be my favorite because he was a) the star and b) humble.  And he was also on Sesame Street, which I watched.  So he was the first “super star” I really knew.  I can remember listening to “Rainbow Connection” over and over and over.

N is for number of piercings: Two.  I tried on many occasions to get my ears double pierced but they kept healing back up again and getting infected and bleh.  I finally just gave up.  I think I still have the double holes though because I just remembered that I was able to get earrings in them last year.  Huh.  I’ll have to go check.

O is for overnight hospital stays: Let’s see.  FOURTEEN.  GAH.  Yeah, I’ve had four c-sections.  Some of them I stayed four nights, some I stayed three.  FOURTEEN.  OMG.

P is for people you were with today: Hmm.  Today has barely started yet.  So just Kile, Harry, Liam and Evie.  And the dogs.  But they don’t count.

Q is for what you do with your quiet time: Read blogs, write, read.  I might watch a movie.  A lot of times, I just sit in the quiet and read a magazine or read blogs on my iPhone.  Sometimes the quiet is very relaxing.  And if I feel so inclined, I might take a nap.

R is for biggest regret: It’s hard to have regrets when you’re content with your life as it is.  Because all the mistakes helped bring you to where you are today.  I do regret the way I treated the guy I went to the prom with.  And I do regret getting myself into credit card debt in my first couple years of college.

S is for status: Just ate breakfast, Kile’s getting ready to leave and so is Harry… The day is getting started and I’m getting my wits about me.  I have a quite a bit of laundry to do today.

T is for time you woke up today: I’m not sure since I no longer possess a working watch and I don’t have a clock on my side of the bed and I didn’t have my iPhone upstairs with me.  But I think it was 7:30.

U is for what you consider unique about yourself:  I’ve sat here for a loooong time trying to think of what is unique about me and I have come up blank.  Maybe what is unique about me is that there is nothing unique about me.  Wow, that’ll freak you out if you think about it too hard.

V is for vegetable you love: Broccoli is probably my favorite.  I love it made just about any way you can think of.  I also like asparagus in limited quantities.  Corn is nice too though I sometimes don’t care to eat it off the cob.  (Too messy!)

W is for worst habit: I’ll give you a hint: it’s in the title of this blog.  I think I’m too lazy a lot of the time.  so that one thing stems out to a lot of other things, like housecleaning and such.

X is for x-rays you’ve had: Besides dental x-rays, I’ve had x-rays of my broken ankle.  And let me just say that getting a broken ankle x-rayed when they don’t really believe you’ve broken it is akin to torture.  Of course, afterward when they had proof I’d broken it they were a lot nicer to me so there was that.

Y is for yummy food you ate today: Again, today just barely started.  So all I’ve had is a bowl of bran flakes with some sugar sprinkled on top.  Wee!  *sigh*

Z is for zodiac: Sagittarius.  Woot woot!

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In other news, I’ve reviewed some super nifty, sorta spendy and completely awesome Christmas cards over on my review blog.  Go have a look, will ya?

NaBloFoSho

Yeah, yeah.  I haven’t posted yet today.  Three days in and I’m already doing horribly at my own un-written, self-imposed rule of “Posting by 10am”.  Whoops.  But Kile called in today and you know that it throws off my entire day whenever he’s home.  It’s not like the weekend, but it’s completely unproductive anyhow.

Yesterday was fun though.  We had an appointment to get our pictures taken at Sears Portait Studio yesterday morning.  You might recall a couple weeks ago I mentioned that we had an appointment there and the pictures DIDN’T get done and I left out a lot of details but left in disparaging comments about Sears Portrait Studio.  Well, I guess it pays to grouse because I was contacted by someone at Sears Portrait Studios and they wanted to “right the wrong”.  Without even asking for any details!  I’ll have to do a more in depth review in a couple weeks on my review blog (stay tuned!), but the long and short of it is: It went well.  VERY well, in fact.  Yes, Liam made me wish I’d kept a flask of Jack Daniel’s on me on more than one occasion.  But considering that he’s basically a Tasmanian Devil in human form, I think we did pretty well.  And the women we worked with were SUPER patient, which helped.

We got some GREAT pictures.  I mean, really GREAT.  I’m so happy that I have some nice pictures of my kids.  We even got a couple of US and they turned out pretty decent too.

We did some other shopping too and decided to get a leg up on our Christmas shopping.  We decided to go ahead with the homemade gift-basket idea, at least for our immediate families.  We picked up a bunch of stuff at Michael’s for a great price and we’re pretty excited to put everything together.  I’ll have to take pictures of it all when it’s all done.  Nothing is too hard to make, since I don’t possess much artistic talent and we don’t even have a sewing machine.  But I love what we’ve chosen to do.  And it feels good to be able to check that off our list, too.  One less thing to worry about!

Of course, life being what it is, when there is one less thing then about ten more pile in to fill it’s place.  Naturally.

So ends my obligatory NaBloPoMo post.  I hope you enjoy it.  I promise that there won’t be as much drivel in the weeks to come.  And expect a fabulously political post from me tomorrow wherein I urge you all to go VOOOOOTTTEEEE.  I bet you can’t wait for that.

How to get me to read your blog post

I subscribe to a lot of blogs.   A LOT.  And, to be honest, I simply don’t have the time (or patience) to read everything.  I don’t know who would, without spending 100% of their life on the computer.  So there are some posts that I skip.  And some that I don’t.  I thought I would share some things that I look for when scanning through my reader and what generally catches my eye, versus what I generally mark as read and move past.  WIthout further ado, here’s how to get me to read your blog post:

  • Publish full feeds.  I cannot stress this enough.  When I’m crunched for time, the blogs that publish partial feeds are the first ones I skip (and that’s if I’ve even subscribed to them in the first place).  If you don’t care enough to put up the full feed, I don’t care enough to click through to read the post.  Simple enough.
  • Avoid long chunks of text.  This means long paragraphs that aren’t broken up.  I’ve been known to do this myself, so I apologize.  But when flipping through reader, trying to get things read, I tend to skip over the posts that are just large blocks of text because, quite frankly, they take the longest time to read.
  • Don’t post about sports.  Or music.  I don’t care.  I’m not a sports fan.  And I’m not a music fan.  So post your fantasy football picks and your favorite You Tube videos all you want, but I’m gonna pass.  It’s just not my cup of tea.
  • Don’t start off a post by warning me that this is a long post.  Because I will glance at the clock and say to myself, “Oy, I don’t have time for a long post.”  And I will skip it.  And then I’ll go back a week later and mark it as read because I still don’t have and now the post is hopelessly outdated.
  • Include pictures.  I love to read posts that have lots of pictures.  The pictures are not only interesting to look at but break up the monotony of the text.
  • Post little snippets.  Not every post has to be a super-long narrative.  A small conversation from the day, a picture you took, a thought that made you stop and think again… I love these.  They’re interesting, quick to read and then I can move on to the next post.  I often don’t follow this one.  I’m sorry.
  • Vary the tone of your posts.  You may be going through a rough time, but if EVERY post is depressing then I’m going to want to skip over them.  I’ve tried to be particularly mindful of this and that’s why after a couple of “woe is me” posts, I’ll try to post something light.  If I see the fifth whiny post in a row from someone I subscribe to, that post gets put on the chopping block.  And if it keeps up, I unsubscribe altogether.
  • Don’t post a lot about an issue that I am opposed to.  This is particularly true during election season.  Now, this isn’t something that a lot of people can (or should) help.  But the fact of the matter is, if I subscribe to a blog and then they start ranting about liberals or how McCain is the Second Coming?  I’m not going to read it.  NOPE.  I guess this is why I’ve TRIED (not always successfully) to tone down my own political posts.  Because I know half of everyone wouldn’t want to read that.
  • Don’t just put out posts full of links to your other blog gigs.  If I open up a blog and see that the latest post is full of links to their paying gigs and nothing else?  I skip it.  If I want to read their other blogs, I’m already subscribed to them and hence already know about the posts over there.  A better way to promote your other gigs is to throw a line or two in at the bottom of a regular post with a link.  I’m far more likely to actually read that.
  • Keep review posts to a review blog.  Even if you aren’t a member of BlogHerAds and don’t need to separate the two.  Because when a blog I subscribe to publishes a review for something I don’t care about (or worse, that smacks of “pay per post” type deals), I skip the post.  Again, like I said above, put a link in a regular post to your review blog.  If it’s something I’m interested in learning about or if there’s an associated giveaway, I’ll go check it out.   I do subscribe to some review blogs and some of the posts I read and some I don’t.  But I like to know, going in, that that’s what I’m going to find.

That pretty much covers it for me.  So I want to turn the question on you guys.  What posts do you generally skip when you’re trying to burn through your readers?  What makes you more likely to read a blog post?  Do you have any hot-button issues (like the full feeds thing is for me)?