2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Dear Friends,

This blog was started as an experiment.  Without you my experiment would have fizzled.  But as you can see, it lights up the night sky exploding with my joy to you for making it so much fun.  I had a goofy contest for the commenters with the most comments on my blog, which came about as a result of an ongoing comment chat in my wee hours with Eternal Traveler.  It immediately worked its way into a post before the end of the night.  I’ll let WP make the announcement of the winner of that contest because they did a summary for me, so I didn’t have to.  Scroll down, and you will see the winners.

The prize is my never-ending appreciation and love which I gladly give you every day, talking about you to my geographic as well as cyber friends.  I don’t mean that lightly.

I especially want to thank my top five commenters.  You will meet them in a minute.  These people are special because they didn’t know me, and had only my words and a few pictures to make a judgement about me.  Yet they came to my site faithfully.  If they were to stop writing tonight, I would be devastated, lonely, and dejected because they are so much a part of my life now.   Even if you weren’t among the top 5, you have no idea how much you have contributed to my life this year, and how lost I would be without you now that we are friends.  I am crushed when I lose friends.  Friendships are my most valuable treasures.

I want to thank my husband, who reads every post, sometimes suggests changes.  V would be the first to agree that I AM A BLOGAHOLIC!!! This patient man puts up with me coming to bed at all hours, sometimes hearing a 2:45 a.m. ding on my phone when a comment comes in from Australia or Europe, getting up and checking my blog first thing in the morning, spending hours creating a new post, and talking incessantly about y’all.  I also want to thank my geo friends: Paula, who reads every day and encouraged me right from the start, Mary, Cindy, Jennifer, Ivette, Carmen, Saul, Elo, and many others who I may not realize are reading.  Many of my geographic friends are too shy to comment, but I know you are there.  Thank you for lighting up my life.

Best wishes to ALL of you in 2013!!!

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 15,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

January – Thirty years ago student teachers HAD to be a member of a professional organization as part of their graduation requirements.  Although it is no longer mandatory, social studies teachers who join California Council for the Social Studies become the leaders in their field as they meet colleagues from across the state, and make friendships that last a lifetime.  In January the CCSS Executive Board asked to serve as the First Vice-President, replacing a member who had moved to Colorado. In May CCSS members voted me in as President-Elect, and in June, 2013 I will serve as the President of this organization.

Marsha Lee - Soon to be VP
Picture taken at the 2011 50th CCSS Anniversary Conference exemplifies the serious nature of the soon to be new VP.

February – In 2011 I become officially involved with the Tulare County Historical Society (TCHS) as their recording secretary.  This year TCHS decided to adopt a broken-down caboose, remains of the old Visalia Electric Railroad, as its project of the year.  To kick it off the Society held an event at the museum so that people could take a look at the caboose, and see how much work it needed.  It had definitely seen better days, but its good bones, charm and appeal made it the best project ever.

Year of the Caboose

March  – At the 2012 California Council for the Social Studies Conference I enjoyed some amenities as the new First Vice President.  Although I shared the room with the Conference Chair, it WAS a HUGE suite.  With size came responsibility.  Several parties important meetings took place in this room.

Party with me, First VP, Marsha Lee
Party with me, First VP, Marsha Lee

April – I started blogging April 17th just as this busy month got into full swing.  Our San Joaquin Valley Council for the Social Studies Banquet honored our County Superintendent, Mr. Vidak, my boss.  Most teachers, and in our case social studies teachers, seldom receive recognition for the hard work they do, so this banquet is the highlight of our year.  Instead of being serious and boring, this year everyone played the part of stand-up comedian.

Banquet6

May – National History Day California or State History Day.  Set in historic Riverside, CA at the Mission Inn and Convention Center, this was a photographer’s dream.  Now that I was officially a blogger, I appointed myself the official photographer of this huge event with nearly 1,000 students aged 4th-12th grades attending.  Unfortunately I didn’t know how to focus my camera at this point, and with lasik vision – one eye distance and one eye close, nothing ever looked in focus, and often wasn’t.  One of the participating students taught me how to focus my camera.  Students from all over the state display their year-long theme-based projects:  exhibits, documentaries, performances, papers or websites for 6-12th grades, and posters for 4-5th grades.  They present to a team of 3 judges who have the difficult decision of determining which of these amazing projects will advance to the National Competition in Washington D.C.

Little did the History Gals realize this would be our last NHD-CA event together.
Little did the History Gals realize this would be our last NHD-CA event together.

June  As the school and fiscal year ended, we came to the last year of a three-year cohort of teachers who participated in the Tulare County Teaching American History Grant.  Each year we had a one week institute during which time teachers went on a short field trip, worked with primary source materials, received scholarly lectures each day, and translated all of this learning into a lesson plan.  This was our last week together with this group of teachers.  For their final project teachers presented their lesson plans to the new cohort of teachers.  We toured the Railroad Museum, Old Town Sacramento, and the Bicycle Museum in Davis.

TAH1

July History Ladies go to Shell Beach  May was our last official meeting as County History Consultants, and three of the four friends moved on to different responsibilities.  We decided that instead of loosing touch, we would travel somewhere in CA once a quarter.  Our week-end at Shell Beach cemented the already strong friendship with crazy dancing in the kitchen of the rented house, cinnamon rolls, pictures of a walk in San Francisco where clothes are optional, feeding baby animals at Avila Barn, roasting marshmallows over the stove after the barbecue ran out of charcoal, and sun bathing on the beach.

July History Ladies' Vacation

August – Retirement  Once I made the decision to retire, that’s all I could think about.  My last day was funny because I fought with my poor secretary about why I dressed casually that day.  She knew I was having a party, and I didn’t.  Paula took me in hand, and took me get a new dress for the party I didn’t know I was having.  Ivette was already dressed for the party, so we posed when I got back from my spree.

IvetteMarsha

September -V and I decided to start taking advantage of retirement right away with a trip to the beach.  Lots of walks with Kalev until one day it started raining, and it didn’t stop.  We scurried back home.

Family Beach Trip

October – We arranged a week-long trip to our timeshare in Hawaii to Ka’anapali Beach Club.  It was almost like coming home.  We preferred October to December which was cold and rainy last year.  We had a great time rolling around in the surf, horseback riding, and eating.

Hawaii_109

November – The National Council for the Social Studies Conference took me to Seattle.  We really did go to meetings, sessions, and had a chance to socialize.  I finally went to the dance they have on Friday nights.  I walked all the way back to the hotel to change into a dress.  Walked back.  Got to the dance.  Where were all my friends? Felt really hot – had my dress on backwards.  Went to the rest room to change.  Got back to the dance.  No friends.  Cajoled poor Joel into letting me teach him the West Coast Swing.  One dance.  Left.  My friends got to the dance just after I left. Leslie and I went to see Twilight Part 52 or something like that.  Then I walked home after midnight.  Got lost, helped a lost soul find HIS way in Seattle (that’s a switch), and finally made it back to the hotel safe and sound.  Had a $65 dinner at the Space Needle for two rotations of the restaurant.  Had a great time!!

December– Home At Last  For the first time all year I hardly traveled during December.  Oh whatever would I find to occupy my retired time?  Hmmmm How about an online birthday party for Renee?  Christmas with PT and the kids, started going to Kiwanis Club, read some great books, blogged, blogged, blogged, and ……

…..poof the month was gone!!! Woah!!!!  What happened???  Did anyone else have that problem???

December 26, 2012

What a whirlwind party we had over the holiday/birthday.  In two days WE, Renee and I, had — 517 visitors!!!  That’s almost a quarter of a month’s worth for me!  WOW!  Renee, I never knew you had SO many friends!!!!!  Many of my blogging friends stopped by as well, and I thank you ALL for making our party so enjoyable.  I think Renee was up for two nights straight answering comments!  She said she didn’t sleep, and I believe her.

When I came up with the idea to host an online party for Renee, I had no concept how an online party would work.  In the real world, a party might have a theme, or focus on the things the planner knows that their loved one would like.  I had some research to do in that respect, so I spent about 5 – 6 hours building the post going back and forth from Renee’s site, listening to different music, looking for pictures, etc.  Fortunately for me, a stranger, Renee is very expressive.  She writes extensively, and she shares lists of things she likes, and she is a girl of MANY interests!

Visualizing a real party helped me figure out what I could include.  When people arrive, they greet the hostess, then other guests shake hands, hug, or kiss.  Then they are off to enjoy the ambiance created: eat, hear music and interactions – bits of verbiage all over, coming randomly, so much so that it’s hard to concentrate and listen to the conversation at hand.  Music blares, smells intermingle, lights or no lights accost the eyes – candles maybe, depending on the party.  Additionally, there are games, cards and gifts at a birthday party.

I tried to merge as many senses as I could to make the party interactive.  I wished that I could do more to decorate the post itself with glitter or hanging lights, animation, something to catch the eye, but either I don’t have the technological experience, or it couldn’t be done.  I linked to an online card, and thought maybe others might do the same, but that was a lot to expect.  I thought about games, but I think my games were much to academic, and difficult.  To answer any of the questions one would have to go back and forth from her website to mine – which was possible with all the links provided, but online party goers don’t want to take the time to do that!  I think next time, I would have a simple game like make as many words as you can out of Renee’s country or something like that.  Maybe visitors would take time to write an interactive story where everybody writes a line.  Games were a bust on the site.

I have no idea how the music went, or whether people even clicked on things or not.  The important thing was that MANY people stopped by and wished Renee a happy birthday, and I think she really enjoyed it.  That was the ultimate purpose of the party.  I’m pretty sure it achieved my purpose for having it, and without all of you, it wouldn’t have happened!!!

Company for Christmas

Meanwhile I also had the wonderful experience of posting and monitoring another blog, C4C (the red circle in my sidebar).  This was the brainchild of Rule of Stupid.  I got to know several people in the blogging community that I would never have met if it not for this new site.  There were about 32 or so volunteers that had access to the dashboard and could write a post including me, a last-minute newbie.  If nothing else, we responded to each other a bit!

C 4 C

It was interesting to have control of another dashboard of a post that didn’t belong to me!  I found myself watching the stats almost as much as I watch my own!  The notifications came on my own site notifications, and so I was never quite sure if I was responding to my site, Renee’s site, or Christmas for Company’s site, but respond is what I did.  Lots of fun!

Dashboard

Again, I want to thank all of you for participating in my experiments.  Without you this Vanity Blog of Marsha Lee is nothing but a mirror on the wall, and that would be a cracked mirror at that!  🙂

Featured Blog

Last night I was going through my featured blogs to make a page of them.  The page isn’t finished yet, but so far I have featured 17 blogs.  My latest I think I met on Ralph’s site.  Rarasaur is the one who mentioned Rule of Stupid’s great idea the Company for Christmas website.  Rarasaur http://rarasaur.wordpress.com/  Great organization, community minded, fun, does things for others.  I also had a chance to chat with her husband on the C4C site last night, and he seems just as fun-loving and interesting as she is.

She doodles, and you would know that I like this doodle!  WAIT……

Whoa!   She’s talking about ME!!!!  WOW!!!  I think she did one for every one who participated in the C4C.  OMG what fun is that!  She even mentioned the party!!!   I’m featured on her site!!!  YEAH!!!  Who knew???  So now, you have to go to her site!!! PLEASE, Pretty Please!!!

Isn’t blogging fun?

Renee’s Online Birthday Party

It’s Christmas Day, Renee’s 16th Birthday.  Welcome everybody  Come on in.  

Welcome to Renee's party.
Welcome to Renee’s party.

In honor of Renee’s country _______________________, all the print will be in green,  because in ______________________, it’s __________________.

Happy Birthday, Renee
December 25, 2012

Renee copy

prs-mike-akerfeldt-guitar-530-85

Renee, it’s your 16th birthday, and below you’ll find lots of things you love, and maybe some things you don’t know about.

Click on the balloons and see what happens.

Click on Renee’s picture to see what happens.

Birthday Game #1

Answer at least one question about Renee in the comment box, and write Renee a happy birthday greeting.  Psssst, the word Renee is hyperlinked.

  1. Renee is my youngest blogging friend.  Name at least one of her friends.  Blogging friends are ok to list, too.
  2. The name of Renee’s horse is Br______k, and the name of her pony is ____or___n.
  3. Name a one of Renee’s favorite musical groups besides Pink Floyd.
  4. If Renee could be a dog, what kind would she be?
  5. Name one award presented to Renee.
Who am I?

Write your guess in the comment box to win a free photo.

Open Renee’s card

Time for birthday cake.    Click on cakes to discover other things Renee likes.   Which kind of cake would you like?

Chocolate cake, white frosting
Its fondant covered…chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and chocolate fondant.
Fondant frosting, strawberry cake

Thanks so much for coming to Renee’s birthday party this Christmas day.  Wishing you and yours the best Christmas ever, and wishing Renee the best birthday ever.

Free Gifts specially selected for Renee and her guests.

Sunset from Tulare County

Horses in corral

Bill Van Scyoc #3 copy

Happy Birthday Renee and friends from Marsha Lee  🙂

Sunday Post: Christmas

water-dragon-poster1Jake has done it again – a post to challenge my photographic abilities.  I haven’t been too successful with night pictures or inside pictures.  So here is my trial.  Thanks to Leanne Cole and Russel Ray Photos for the tutorials on Photoshop to spruce these up!

SFW Christmas 2012005

Most of our Christmas ornaments stay packed in the boxes each year because one of us doesn’t like them, and because V likes simplicity.  I have to agree with him on that when I see it.   He is our decorator.  I play on the computer.

SFW Christmas 2012003a

The question is do you prefer the pictures with or without frames?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With or without snow?  Oops, I got carried away with the snow.  I just couldn’t help myself!!!  I resisted until I had the frame made, then poof, out came the snow!!!  Thanks VERY much Leanne!  Now I’m hooked!

Snowman 1

So do you like the heart, the bell, or the snowmen ornaments best?

SFW Christmas 2012002

So I’ll TRY on this picture to lay off the snow can!!  Wish me luck!!  Whew, I did it!!!  🙂

SFW Christmas 2012012

What else can I try?  Remember that on my own, I am not creative.  I HAVE to copy people.  Here I managed to insert notes, but when I tried to insert a second set and make it a song, the first set disappeared.  I couldn’t change color either.  So I guess I need a tutorial on that skill.

SFW Christmas 2012015

When I was little, my grandma and I would decorate her windows with sponge on wax which was supposed to look like snow. We used stencils, and when we finished, we made taffy.  I felt like I was decorating the windows with this picture.  I got carried away with the tree, and totally snowed on it, too.  I probably should have put ornaments on it, too, while I was at it.

So welcome to our simple Christmas.  The table is set ready for you, but the food is not made.  Are you coming tomorrow for Christmas Even dinner with Paula and the kids?  Since V is Italian, we are having lasagna tomorrow, then going to our neighbors’ on Christmas day.  The day after we will celebrate with Cindy, V’s sister, since she is working both Christmas and Christmas Eve.

When I was growing up we had turkey for every holiday.  Grandpa or Dad was in charge of the roaster oven and carving the turkey.  Mom ran interference with the grandmas in the kitchen.  Grandma Golda was a LITTLE bossy.  Her mother, Grandma Newkirk said, “Golda, I think I know how to put butter in the refrigerator!”  Randy and I stayed out of the way, playing outside, testing the turkey as it was being carved, playing with new presents –  if Dad wasn’t already playing with them.  And, of course, we posed for pictures.

So from our home to yours,  Merry Christmas, and Happy New Years.

Lots of love,

Marsha Lee & V 🙂

For more ideas and beautiful pictures of Christmas take a look at Jakesprinters.  He always welcomes everyone to share with him.  He’ll tell you all the rules.  🙂