Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Time Out!

Is it pathetic commentary on my health that a virtual game of Tug of War could leave me worn out?!?  I'm guessing, YES! 

Either way, I'm putting myself in time out today.  It's just as well.  There is a ton happening on this busy blog of ours and every once in a while I feel the need to provide an update.  Veteran higlowaha-ers can get info on the many projects we having going and new comers can use it as a chance to get filled in.

First a quick story and then the announcements.  It's separate from the announcements because... well frankly, because it's a little unbelievable!  Last week we determined that highlowaha surpassed the projected 5,000 views in 77 days by 1,765 (35%).  Because I don't have the means to send you all a dividend check for helping to make this happen, I determined that one lucky reader would receive Dividend Cookies.  The currency... chocolate chips.  Stacie, from Louisville made lucky post number 18 (the winning number as determined by me) and won the Dividend Cookies.  That's the background... now the story.

I'm a stickler for rules (ask my sons... ugh!).  Having NO idea how many mini morsels are in a Semi Sweet Nestle Toll House bag, I bought two bags.  Finally on Sunday, I cleared the kitchen table and set out to count the number of chips in a bag.  I know you think I'm crazy.  My husband could not believe that I was actually going to count out exactly 1,765 mini chips.  But I told him... "That's the whole point."  Round it to 1,700 or 2,000, or worse yet... simply 2 cups and the whole deal is off.  The whole point of the Dividend Cookies was to acknowledge the exact number of views we've had over the last 77 days.   I won't dwell.  He thought I was crazy and I was intent on sticking to my word.

1,765 morsels is not that many when you're talking mini morsels.  As it turns out... it only filled 1 cup.  Can you believe that?  Here I thought I might need two bags to make one batch of Dividend Cookies and instead one bag was enough to make two batches.  Crazy.

The craziness didn't stop there.  I counted the chips on Sunday and then was so bleary-eyed, I decided I would leave the baking to Monday.  I carefully swept all 1,765 counted chips into a zip lock back for over night.  As I was transferring them from the bowl to the bag, three fell - two on the table and one on the floor.  Five second rule immediately went into effect.  Every chip counted and I couldn't take the chance my count would somehow get messed up.  

Yesterday I baked the cookies.  I swiftly moved them to the mixer and then carefully made sure each of the 1,765 chips was neatly tucked into a cookie.  Richard swung past the house on his way to the airport.  He came in while I was in our back bed room and when I walked back into the kitchen, he was standing huddled over the freshly baked cookies... with a cookie in his hand!!!  "Drop it," I immediately yelled.  Startled, he literally dropped the cookie on the brown bag lining the kitchen counter.  "Are you crazy?," I ask him.  To him, a cookie.  To me... upwards of 30 chips!  Disaster averted.

Once Stacie's 1,765 chips were baked into her 45 cookies, I decided to bake a second batch.  What after all would I do with the remaining chips?  These cookies, I decided, would go to a reader smart enough to submit a postcard for the Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) box.  

Nicole A. from Louisville Congratulations!
Nicole's chips were more densely packed into her cookies, because her batch only yielded 44 cookies!

Still, I have another bag of chips.  Do I go for it and make two more batches?  No way.  

But then... at exactly 8:25 a.m. Jenny D. posted the 2008th post in the year 2008.  I've been watching the posts for weeks now and yesterday was the big day.  Just as I am in the midst of baking cookies.  What do I do?  Bells?  Whistles?  Big check?  A new 2008 model car?  I'd love to, but just isn't going to happen... not until I strike it rich.  So I decide to go back to the drawing (or counting, as the case may be) board and count out 2008 more mini chips!  If I remember correctly, 2008 chips translated into 58 cookies.

Only a handful of chips left and, at this point, I'm so into this thing... there's no simple way out.  So, yes... I bake the remaining chips into one final batch of cookies... 38 cookies, to be exact.  They also went to a lucky RAK participant.


Final note about the cookies... I swept the floor after dinner, so as not to leave Jack's bread, pasta, and salad sitting on the kitchen floor over night.  Imagine my despair when I spot LAYING (not lying) in the bottom of the dust pan ONE lone mini chocolate chip.  I surrender!

Other Announcements:
  • Taste of USA:  This is the final week to show what your state is made of.  Today Maryland, tomorrow New Jersey, Thursday is Contest Day for this week's states and then comes Friday.  FRIDAY is Free For All Voting.  If you missed your state's voting day, have no fear.  You can vote on Friday!!!!!  Just click on Taste of USA to find out more.  The winning state enjoys a high-energy, prize-winning, laughing, and idea-generating day with me (AND CHERYL).  Yes, that's right.  We'll fly to your state for a fun-filled day of adventure!
  • Welcome Ray to highlowaha.com:  Thanks for participating yesterday, everyone.  We will see more of Ray, as I am working with the very talented Peggy to try and develop a blog "mascot."
  • Altoid Table:  I could do a whole entry about this.  Suffice it to say... I am learning as I go.  Cheryl has been kind enough to be my partner in this endeavor.  Here's what I will say... there was lots of tiling, then grouting, then sanding going on.  Now there might be some chiseling going on and then some more tiling, grouting, and gluing.  Too painful to talk about.  Here's what I will say... when it is done... it will be a show stopper!  It's been in our side porch for the past two weeks and neighborhood kids flock to it!
  • Project Captains:  There has been some great leadership emerging from the readership.  Some of you have made suggestions for things we could/should try.  I would love it.  Therefore, I am seeking readers who might be willing to serve as Project Chairmen (or women).  Two examples that immediately come to mind are: (1) adopting a family at Christmas and doing a highlowaha.com service project, and (2) starting a highlowaha book club.  Any takers?  Post a name in the comment section if you are interested.
  • Never Eat Alone:  Weeks ago I wrote an entry about a book I just finished.  A premise in the book was that most progress is the result of successful relationships.  The author encouraged readers to develop three lists and to invite people from the list to lunch.  The three groups are: (1) people we know (keep your current network well oiled); (2) people we don't know (attainable, but currently don't know them); and (3) aspiration people (i.e. Maria Shriver).  Please let us know how you are doing with your lunches.  Me... still waiting to hear from Maria.  A follow up letter might be in order soon.
  • Bigger or Better:  I have an "ask" out right now.  I am scheduled to have a follow-up phone call mid week.  If it works (trading miles for something our readers can provide - no problem, then we are home free).  I will wait until I know one way or the other before going into too much detail.  As of now, though, Maureen mailed Heather the wine and Heather is looking to trade up for her chock-full box of scissors, edgers, hole punches, etc....  A dream for anyone who loves crafts, has kids, or is a teacher!
  • Community Introductions:  Kat and I used the Community Introduction segment to arrange a phone meeting.  We talked about our mutual interest in learning to sew (it sounds like she is further ahead than I am).  Have any other readers connected apropos of things we have in common or that we can learn from one another?  Share.  We'd love to hear from you.
  • Peanut and the Shell:  Some of the readers are participating in a four week game of Peanut and the Shell (similar to Secret Santa, where treats are anonymously exchanged).  If you have a Peanut and the Shell story or a "shout out" you would like to make, please feel free.
That's it for announcements...

Final creative thought...dating back to Heidi's "Freebead" Friday.  Heidi talked a lot about color palettes.  It occurred to me that a fun and meaningful Christmas present for someone might be a pair of earrings or beaded jewelry in their Colorstrology color.  Is today your birthday?  If so, you might order a necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings in...

Opaline Green.  Moneymaker, Powerful, and Influential.  If you were born on this day people look to you for ideas and inspiration.  You are a powerful force and can be an inspirational role model.  You are meant to be an expert in whatever profession or goal you choose to pursue.  you have the ability to build your dreams and integrate your imagination into a concrete reality.  Compatible Birthdays: January 8, May 2, September 20.

An item of jewelry, coupled with the Colorstrology description, has the potential to be a fun gift.

Signing off until tomorrow...

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