For anyone to whom I owe a post, a review, the start of a giveaway, or any other blog business-my laptop is unavailable, which means I don’t have access to Microsoft Outlook where all of my email folders, contact addresses, and Calendar reside. If it is critical that you get in touch with me today, please email me at table4five at gmail dot com. I apologize for any inconvenience this causes anyone.
From the Friday, April 18 Chicago Tribune:
The Illinois House on Thursday unanimously passed legislation that would allow judges to order GPS monitoring for those who violate orders of protection. The proposed law is modeled on the statute in Massachussetts…”It’s really what the technology does to the mind of the batterer more than anything else, and if they realize that there will be very concrete evidence of their violating the restrictions, they are less likely to do so”, said Edna Erez, head of the criminal justice department at the University of Illinois at Chicago…Massachusetts has been using GPS monitoring for sex offenders since 2005, and in late 2006 started using it for those accused of domestic violence or stalking.
While the Tribune doesn’t mention it specifically, the technology created by GTX Corp. that I am freelance writing about is the first thing I thought of when I read this article. In my considerations of potential uses for a miniature GPS unit that provides a continuous, real-time tracking signal, I hadn’t even thought of domestic violence or stalking victims. In the case of the State of Massachusetts, the offender is fitted with an ankle bracelet that connects wirelessly to a GPS-fitted cell phone. The ankle bracelet transmits location data for the cell phone to tracking centers every five minutes, even warning authorities if the phone’s batteries are low. If the person fitted with the ankle bracelet moves into an area from which they are barred-say, a certain distance from their victim’s home-an alert is set off and a probation employee contacts the person being tracked on the cell phone. If that does’t work, a parole officer can be contacted and an arrest warrant issued.
I would like to see more states, including my own, adopt this program. Victims of abuse or attacks should be free to get on with their lives, not have to constantly be afraid that their attacker will find them and hurt them again. It’s the criminals that should have their lives inconvenienced and monitored, and I hope technology like that of GTX Corp. can be part of that solution.
As much as I have loved this giveaway (250 comments! Awesome!), all good things must come to an end. I used random.org’s sequence generator, set the values at 1-250 (two of the comments on the post are mine), clicked get sequence three times (I always shuffle the numbers three times), AND…
The winner is #231, Ellie from Confessions of a Proud Young Parent!! Yay!! I really wished I could have given free Reddi-wip and ice cream to each and every one of you. Thank you so much everyone who commented, subcribed to my feed, faved me on Technorati, added the blog to your blogroll, and/or wrote a post linking to the contest! You gave me serious cravings with your suggestions to put Reddi-wip on waffles with strawberries, on warm chocolate cake, and in my coffee. And I’m pretty sure I gained five pounds just from reading your comments about your favorite flavors of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Thanks again to everyone who entered!!
Thank you so much to everyone who has commented on the previous post. Even though the comments I was referring to weren’t aimed at me personally, we are a community. I can’t just stand by and let other bloggers be called ugly names because they are invited to go to events and have products sent to them by P.R. firms in exchange for reviews. There IS NO CONSPIRACY, I promise. And that’s the end of that.
So, in the interest of remembering that this is MY blog, I’m going to write something about something with some links, and maybe get something for it, and you can choose to read it, and if you do, maybe you’ll click one of the links because they sound interesting and won’t that be peachy? Yes!
So. Katherine Heigl. The lovely lass from Grey’s Anatomy. I’m picturing her on the set of the show, sixteen hours a day, wearing her scrubs costume and thinking to herself “geez, why can’t this be, you know, pretty? If nurses and doctors have to wear these as clothing, why can’t they express some individual personality?” Of course, I have no idea if she actually thought that, but, you know, I’m taking some artistic license here. So ANYWAY, Ms. Heigl has created her very own line of, you guessed it, scrubs, for the website Scrubs and Beyond.
Remember Dickies jeans? There’s a line of dickies scrubs, in classic red, black, navy and white. The pants look really comfortable!
You know the Cherokee brand that is carried at Target, right? Well, you guessed it, there is also a line of cherokee medical scrubs, and most of the pieces don’t look at all like medical wear. I mean, if you saw a top, with this description-
* Sweetheart neckline.
* Mock-wrap styling.
* 2 side pockets.
* Lace trim at hem.
and it looked like this:
would you think hey, that looks like it comes from the cherokee medical scrubs line? Well, I wouldn’t!
So there you go. Everything you wanted to know about Katherine Heigl’s line of scrubs for Scrubs and Beyond, plus more. Because I like learning new things and sharing them with you. I’m a giver
Why? Because, as I have learned from reading posts and comments here and here the last few days, all is not well in BlogLand. The question of whether “We” should be getting free trips and interviews on the news and pieces published in books and magazines is once again up for debate, and it makes my heart feel very, very heavy.
I want to make something crystal clear to all my readers-I do not think I am “better” than any other blogger. When I write posts about being invited to blogger events, about what I’m packing for the trip, about what gifts were bestowed upon me, I am NOT trying to make anyone else feel bad, and if I have, I am sincerely sorry. I don’t look at it like bragging, I look at it as me sharing good news with my readers. I am just as happy when other bloggers get invited places and get free stuff as I am for myself. And sure, it bothers me when I read that other bloggers think that the bloggers I look up to are “pimping’ themselves out. Good gods, people! Why can’t we be supportive of each other?
There was a comment left on Rita’s post at Surrender, Dorothy that really upset me. Rita is publishing an anthology of stories written by a terrific group of bloggers, and the commenter referred to that group as “tired, pimping whores”. My GOD. I don’t know if that blogger is upset that she wasn’t chosen to be included, but she sure felt the need to say some pretty mean things about it. It’s like I can close my eyes and feel the collective eye-rolling, the groaning about how Mommybloggers are SO narcissistic, that we are all just marching in a huge “you’re pretty, no, YOU’RE pretty” parade. Well, SO WHAT?
I’m going to give you a list now of the bloggers that I PERSONALLY have admired for years, whose blogs I subscribe to, for no other reason than because I want to spread some love their way. Ready?
Sweetney (and please read her post Mom Pimps ‘R Us because it is much more eloquent than this one)
State of Grace
Jen and Tonic
Are those the only blogs I think are worthy of mentioning? Hell no! But if I listed every single blogger whose writing kicks major ass, this post would be two pages long
Now, I don’t expect you to run right over to Bloglines and change all your feed subscriptions. There are ONE HUNDRED MILLION blogs, and it is statistically impossible that everyone will like all the same blogs. Some of the bloggers on that list have never, EVER even visited my blog let alone left me a comment. But I don’t care about that, because I like THEM. THEY like other blogs. THOSE bloggers like a different bunch of blogs, and so on and so on.
If you read this blog with any regularity, I assume it’s because you like what I have to say. You know that sometimes I write personal posts, and sometimes I write reviews. I tell you about DVDs I’ve watched, I post photos of my kids. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I wouldn’t still be here almost three years later if NO ONE was reading. Yes, I have a separate product review blog, but the traffic on this blog is good enough that advertisers sometimes prefer this one. I’m careful to only choose products and websites that I think are a good fit. And that’s what the comments are for anyway! If I ever post something that you think is just completely bizarre, SAY SO. I can’t learn from my mistakes if no one points them out.
I started this blog because I wanted to share my experiences with other Moms. And I still do! Do I have a responsibility to protect Table for Five and what it stands for? Absolutely. Should I let every other blogger on the planet dictate what I can and can’t publish here? No freaking way. If I am going to declare myself to be a Mommyblogger, do I have a responsibility to that group to contribute to it in a positive way? Yes, I believe I do, but not at the expense of changing who I am.
So what’s my point in all of this? It’s to say that yes, I sometimes get free trips because I am a blogger. I get free stuff from companies who want my opinion and hope I will blog about their product and get some of you to click through and maybe buy that product too. Does that make me a “pimp” or a “whore”? Well, I certainly don’t think so, and I hope you don’t either. I have worked and continue to work very, very hard on my blogs, harder than most people probably realize, and if that means that I’m starting to get a little recognition and a few rewards for it, then I say, YAY ME.
If that makes me a whore, well then, pass me the hooker heels and get. in. LINE.
My apologies to all the lovely ladies with whom I hung out last weekend, I forgot to write a post introducing all of you! Maria Bailey, who organized the event, and is the CEO of Blue Suit Mom and BSM Media, brought together some of the most interesting, creative, talented, friendly, and fun Mom Bloggers for the Disney Mom Blogger Mixer, and I am beyond honored to have been included in this amazing group!
- Meet the ladies:
Marybeth, Cheaper by the Half Dozen
Amy P., Long Island Parent Source
Tracey, Suburban Diva
Cooper, Been There
Stephanie, Adventures In Babywearing
Jo-Lynne, Musings Of A Housewife
Amy M., Ladybug and Blogging Mama
Lori, Just Pure Lovely
Kris, Clever Parents
Jennifer J., Mommy Too
Gabrielle, Design Mom
Mia, Main Street Moms
Kim, Stop A Moment
Darcie, Such The Spot
Erin, Manic Mommies
Christine, Boston Mamas
And these are just a FEW of the many, many blogs and websites I could list for these prolific bloggers!
I’m still in the process of uploading my photos to Flickr, but you can see the Group photos by going to http://www.flickr.com/groups/wdwmombloggermixer/. Here’s a group photo we took outside of our hotel on Sunday morning. Big thanks to Cooper, who hand wrote all of those signs with the names of all the Disney cast members that helped make our weekend memorable and magical! Oh, and I just now noticed that the bush behind us is in the shape of a butterfly
Left to Right:
standing-Cooper, Jennifer J., Mia, Steph, Marybeth, Christine
Middle row, kneeling and sitting-Kim, Darcie, Kris with Charles, Jo-Lynne, Lori, Jennifer, Erin, Gabrielle
Kneeling in front-Tracey, Me, Amy P. (missing, Amy M.)
Check out all the photos on my Flickr page and in the group pool for even more from the weekend!
When I left off, we had just seen the still-under-construction Toy Story Mania attraction, and after that, we split up to walk around Hollywood Studios for a while. Cooper and I left the line at Pirates of the Caribbean (I rode it in California) to go shopping for souvenirs, which we found in the Pirates gift shop. From there we walked back to the beginning of Main Street to meet up with our group and go back to the hotel. We had just over an hour to freshen up and change our clothes for the next phase of our adventure.
We met in the lobby and walked outside to find that instead of our motorcoach bus, there were LIMOUSINES waiting for us, and the drivers were standing there holding bottles of champagne! We all squealed like high school girls, and I said it felt like we were going to the prom! I hadn’t rode in a limo since I went to my WEDDING. I climbed in with Tracey, Jo-Lynn, Stephanie, Lori, Mia, and Maria, and we drank a toast to Disney and to Maria, our wonderful host! The limo took us to the Contemporary Hotel, which was the first hotel built on the property, and now is the site of the amazing California Grill.
We walked into our private dining room to find an open bar (yay, Cosmos!), a waiter passing trays of deliciously fresh sushi rolls (ever had shrimp tempura sushi? delicious!), and we met Karen Hanes, head of Food and Beverage Marketing for the parks. Also dining with us were Christine Weissman, the first female Executive Chef who works at Epcot, and Joel Schaeffer, Master Chef and head of Special Diets and Childrens’ Dining. I heard there was another Disney person there, Julianne, but I didn’t meet her.
Our menu was chosen for us by Michelle and Leanne (the Disney P.R. ladies who hung out with us and got us where we needed to be all weekend and who are also beautiful and fun and should totally be bloggers if they had time for it). We started with goat cheese ravioli in broth with shitake mushrooms and sundried tomatoes, then a salad made from shredded hearts of palm, avocado, and oven-cured tomatoes. After a small, palate-cleansing scoop of Mango Passionfruit sorbet, we were served the main courses, which were delicious Snapper with julienne vegetables on beds of jasmine rice cake, slices of beef tenderloin with roasted potatoes, onions, and asparagus, and pork loin over cheesy polenta. All three were absolutely divine!
We were then served coffee and dessert, which was molten lava cakes with raspberry puree and blood orange sorbet, but we had to hurry up to get to our next destination, so there wasn’t much time for dessert. There were groans all around as we had to leave that beautiful chocolate cake! BUT, we got back in our limos, and were driven to Downtown Disney, to go to…
CIRQUE DE SOLEIL! I could not believe it! I have ALWAYS wanted to see a Cirque de Soleil show, and I was beyond excited about it. The show we saw is called “La Nouba” which means “the party”, and it was a dazzling spectacle of funny clowns, performers on tightropes, swinging from trapeze bars, men running on giant wheels and doing amazing stunts on bikes, and trampoline tricks that had us all gasping. Everyone’s favorite part of the show were these four tiny girls who were holding what looked like jump ropes, with big wooden spools in the middle, and they were tossing the spools back and forth and in the air, doing flips and somersaults and catching the spools, they got a huge ovation at the end.
When the show was over, we were treated to something very special-two of the performers came out and sat on the stage and talked to us about how they balance being Moms with working in the show! If you’ve seen “La Nouba”, the performers we met are Sassandra who is the Singer, and Natalya who is the Ballerina. They were both so sweet and friendly, and we had lots of questions about how they manage their jobs and their families. It was very kind of them to take the time to talk to us.
After that, we rode the limos back to the hotel, finishing up the champagne on the way. I know I went straight to bed when I got back, I assume everyone else did, too. I could hardly believe everything I had done in just one day! It was sad that it had to end, too. Every single person I met or encountered at Disney gave off this vibe of positive energy that left me feeling happier just for being in their presence. Disney truly does want every guest to have a “Magical” experience, and I know I certainly did!
Coming up next-Sunday’s character breakfast, hanging out at the hotel, heading for the airport, and the beginning of my “airport adventure”. Thanks for reading!
What do you think? I just need to replace the header with my personal one, although I have to admit, this header is pretty too
Not surprisingly, I had a huge pile of packages waiting for me when I got home from Disney, including the DVD “How She Move“. Set in Toronto’s Jamaican community, this movie stars Rutina Wesley as Raya, who has to leave private school and return to her neighborhood after the death of her sister. As she struggles for acceptance from her sister’s friends and works to earn a scholarship to pay for private school tuition, she finds herself drawn into the world of competitive Step Dancing.
If you aren’t familiar with Step, it’s very popular in colleges, especially among African-American fraternities. The scenes that show Raya learning the dance moves so she can join a crew preparing for an International competition are fierce and fun. The soundtrack features Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes and will get you moving as you watch. While this movie doesn’t have much in the way of plot, the dance sequences are electrifying and you’ll find yourself cheering during the big competition finale. You can get both the movie and the soundtrack on Amazon.com.