Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pleasant Surprises

The radiologist did finally return from the long weekend and confirm that Petunia's arm was broken. However, when I took her to the orthopedist, we got some good news. Her arm was indeed broken, but it was not a bad break, and he thought she'd only need to wear a cast for 2-3 weeks, and she can go straight back into her activities once the cast is off. Since one of those weeks is Thanksgiving week and gymnastics and soccer class are canceled that week anyway, this greatly simplifies the decision of what to do about our classes. We do nothing and just start up again in December.

Petunia is doing fine with the cast. She puts up with the inconvenience it introduces without complaint, and likes showing it off to her teachers and friends. She runs around just like usual- so much so that I find myself having to remind her that her balance is a bit different with the cast on. I don't want her to fall and break the other arm, after all.


My Tungsten Hippo post this week is about how the site got its name. If you were one of the people who wondered about that, now you can know- just click over and read the story!

As I say in the post, I'm currently trying to work my way up a steep learning curve about using social media to market a website. Facebook gave me some advertising credits, so I used those and now have enough likes on my page to get to see analytics. So far, that hasn't been particularly informative, but it is nice to know that some small number of people are seeing my posts there.

I clearly have a lot left to learn about using Facebook to reach people, but I have at least started to make some progress. It will be interesting to see if my number of followers continues to grow now that my ad campaign is over. I suspect not. I am currently thinking about how much money I am willing to invest in this little project. Regardless, I think the next thing to try is some Google ads, so my Facebook followers will probably remain at 42 for the time-being. Since I am a Douglas Adams fan, that amuses me.

I've also accumulated a small number of Twitter followers, and am slowly working to add more. I have a plan of sorts for how to do that. It is taking time, but at least I have some direction. Twitter is the social media platform I actually use the most, so I guess it is not surprising that it is the one I feel most confident about using for Tungsten Hippo.

On Tumblr and Pinterest, I'm really lost. I don't think my content is currently visual enough to be a natural fit for either of those platforms. I am browsing around, trying to get my head around how people use those platforms, and trying things out to see if I can land on something that works. Given my theory that short eBooks should appeal to parents with limited time to read and the statistics about women reading more than men, Pinterest seems like the better fit for Tungsten Hippo. But there are a lot of fun book-related Tumblrs out there, so I stay somewhat active on Tumblr just so I can follow those. Also, I sometimes find interesting things I can use as content on one of the other networks.

I obviously don't have enough time to really work these networks. I miss a lot of great things, I'm sure. However, one of the pleasant surprises about the Tungsten Hippo project is how much cool stuff I've found just by growing my social network in a new direction. Here are some of my favorites:

Mr. Snarky left on his business trip yesterday. So far, the kids and I are doing OK. My sister came over yesterday to accompany us to Pumpkin's cheer event, and while I'm glad she came along, I think I could actually have managed on my own if I'd had to. Pumpkin and a bazillion other little girls (the cheer school runs programs at several elementary schools) ran onto the field waving their pom poms and proceeded to do a cheer and a dance routine. It was cute. Pumpkin was proud of the high kicks and forward rolls she did. I agreed they were good.

As I sat watching the first half of the game, waiting for Pumpkin to do her thing so we could go home, I was struck by the fact that this was my first ever college football game. My college wasn't a sports powerhouse, and I was never big on sports. My grad school didn't even have undergrads. It amuses me that the thing that finally made me go to a college football game was my six year old's love of cheerleading.

My sister stuck around for awhile after we got home, which gave me time to go do the grocery shopping without having to drag the kids along. That was a major help. In fact, let's call that another pleasant surprise, because I was dreading the shopping trip this weekend. The kids loving grocery shopping with me and actually behave quite well, but the amount of time it takes to shop increases exponentially with the number of kids accompanying me, and anytime I shop with both of them, sometime around the dairy section I just want to scream.


Thanks to my sister's help and the kids' good behavior, I was able to get most of our chores for the weekend done yesterday, so we had time to go do something fun today. After some deliberation, they decided they wanted to go to the zoo and ride the Skyfari. So that is what we did. Despite what seemed like an eternity spent getting everyone dressed and sunscreened, we got there so early that a lot of things weren't open yet.

This amused me
As promised, we rode the Skyfari.

We rode it both ways, because there was no line at the top station.

This is not posed. They both spent both rides peering over the side.

We also saw some animals, climbed on some animal sculptures, ate lunch, and rode on the Balboa Park Railroad just outside the zoo.

Metal animals are the best kind
I drew the line at the merry-go-round, though, and said they'd have to wait for some other weekend to do that.

So I'd have to say that so far, the temporary solo parenting is going better than I expected it would. I end the weekend more tired than usual, but not unusually frazzled. We'll see what I say after tomorrow (swim lessons) and Tuesday (parent-teacher conference day).

How about you? Had any pleasant surprises recently?


  1. Glad to hear the break will heal quickly - kids heal so fast.

    Good luck with the rest of the week solo parenting - I am an over thinker, so for me, the anticipation is usually worse than the actual event (somewhat by design - I like being pleasantly surprised...).

    I am in the middle of an interstate move so hoping that it goes better than expected - I will be very relieved once Saturday rolls around.

  2. Welcome to solo parenting! I had help this weekend (husband was back) but next weekend, like the one before and the weeks in between, it is just the three of us. When they were younger, I found having a schedule/plan of activities for the weekend really helped. Now we can be a bit more relaxed, which is nice. I hate grocery shopping with the boys, too - though they too are well behaved and like shopping. But I spend too much money and it's stressful to constantly monitor them and try to keep track of what I need. It was definitely easier last year when I was on leave so my work days were more relaxed than they are now. I've been working late a lot and I'm exhausted.

  3. Anonymous8:59 AM

    Using social media to "grow your audience" is definitely a tricky thing. Even mainstream authors are having to do more of their own marketing, and it is quite a bit of work. I find it hard because it's not the skill set I went into blogging for, but it still needs to be part of the process. Good luck getting Tungsten Hippo off the ground and growing like a weed!

  4. Anonymous6:12 PM

    O/t. Was it you who had the over active letdown? Esperanzasays needs advice:

  5. Anonymous8:43 AM

    I went to UT Austin, most certainly a football powerhouse. We just moved back here after 15 years away and I went to my first football game since then. The spectacle was fun: people-watching, enjoying the band, being able to watch the plays develop more comprehensively than can be done on TV. The team looked awful, but you can't have everything.


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