Monday, January 18, 2010

Psst... It's That Time

My sensitivities are heightened.

Highlowaha's familiar monthly ritual feels especially important this month. As I watch the devastation in Haiti I am reminded, that despite how busy our lives get, there is always time to be interested in the well being of other people.

Those of you new to our community should applaud yourselves for your impeccable timing. You joined us on the one day of the month when we replace regularly scheduled creativity, inspiration, and personal development with "highs," "lows," and "ahas."

Rules of play are easy.

Join our comment section and share you "highs" for the month (best things that happened to you); "lows" for the month (worst things that happened to you); and "ahas" (things you've learned).

That's it. Easy peasy.

I'll get us going...

Highs: Temperatures in the high 60s and sunshine; exciting professional opportunities for me... (and actually for my husband too); visiting with my parents and sisters; seeing the musical, Memphis; showing New York to our German Exchange Student; Christmas through the eyes of my children; finally ordering drapes for our kitchen; sharing exciting news and coffees with friends; preparing for ground to be broken on the infamous Beeny pool; American Idol, season 9 has started; finishing a project I've been working on for quite some time; and the Yellow Envelope Project.

Lows: The obvious devastation in Haiti; thinking about all the Haitian orphans; my youngest son moves on from his favorite teacher, beginning today; Our German exchange student leaves on Wednesday; bottomless laundry baskets; a sick family friend and aging parents; life's inevitable disappointments; and dry feet.

Ahas: We have three brains and our emotional brain will sabotage our thinking brain if it thinks it can keep us from discomfort or pain; history of Festivus; a GREAT book I can't wait to share with you!; I am disciplined and good at managing my own time; and I have way more "highs" than "lows" in my life.

Your turn. Hope to see you in the comment section.

Signing off until tomorrow...


Mandy said...

Highs: one year with my boyfriend (whom I've known for about 25 years), becoming re acquainted with old school friends who have become WONDERFUL friends again, attending my cousin's wedding and learning that my BF and I are perfect dance partners!

Lows: divorce, trials and errors of raising a teenager

Ahas: discussions with family members- things aren't what I thought they were, discovering myself hidden behind the wife and mother (still in progress!)

Cheryl said...

High: A successful Christmas season with a good trip home, Drew's school making it very easy to have him tested for dyslexia, a good first date, and yesterdays 65 degree weather was completely awesome.

Low: Watching my son struggle through school, Not having enough time in the day to do everything and those days of freezing weather. Gross!

Aha: I really do have a good life.

Katie said...

High: beginning my last semester of grad school; seeing family and friends over the holidays; going to Disneyworld with friends; enjoying some personal reading time over the holidays; returning to Harrisonburg to all of my friends.

Low: 2 family members sick with cancer; being ill during my last days at home; a close friend with a tough family life right now.

Aha: "We've all heard the proverbs, heard the philosophers, heard our grandparents warning us about wasted time, heard the poets urging us to seize the day. Still sometimes we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today's possibility under tomorrow's rug until we can't anymore. Until we finally understand for ourselves what Benjamin Franklin really meant. That knowing is better than wondering, that waking is better than sleeping, and even the biggest failure, even the worst, beats the hell out of never trying."

Peggy said...

Wow, this seems like a longer 30 days of HLA.... than 'normal' with the holidays in there.

High: Getting through the Christmas holidays and stresses, going to downtown Chicago with Sissy and meeting my mom and my friends on their train down from WI, deciding to keep our Kujo (cujo?) Pomeranian Tucker, pretty snowfalls, talking to my kids like they are adults

Low: DH hitting a deer on his way home from work, the day before his birthday,(6 days before Christmas)- ending of yet another temp job (what is my purpose?)- the sadness of a neighbor losing her mother on Christmas Eve and other losses friends have had to endure

AHA: is, and will probably always be...learning... new recipes that turn out delicious, new blogs that are fun and inspirational, new topics (right now it's coffee, hot drinks and why people enjoy it)balancing, not juggling things!!!

Heather said...

Lily is growing up one day at a time, Celebrating the new baby that will be here in August, time to think about the possibilities and future of HLA, a good trip home spent with family and friends, spring is almost here (in Texas anyway), finding out that my job reclassification went through, anticipation of moving to a new house.

Lily leaves Miss Psasha's class today (it was so sad dropping her off this morning!), the stress of closing on our house is getting to me (one week to go!), being disappointed in the path some people have chosen to take

Aha: Thanks to Chaotic for this:
I am only one,But still I am one. I cannot do everything,But still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

Cristine said...

Highs: Having a fun, relaxing Christmas, finalizing our trip to NY and winning another big contest right before Christmas (which helped pay for Christmas), getting my writing/blog started again

Lows:A good friend of Matthew's moving away, trying to explain to a 5 year old about the loss of a friend, losing Matt's step mom's father, having a bad hangover on New Years - what was I thinking

Ahas- kids find joy in the simplest things - their sense of awe is inspriring.

lindsaymarie said...

highs: having an incredible time with old friends and new ones on new year's eve, doing well grades-wise for my first semester of grad school, enjoying a relaxing christmas at home.

lows: feeling pretty lonely in my new hometown.

aha: i don't have to go abroad to do important work, there are tons of opportunities right here at home.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure where to post this, so I will try here. I almost don't feel that this comment will be taken seriously, but I feel I must speak my mind. I have been following this process from its beginning and have noticed the fairness of this contest dwindling away. I am particularly concerned with the judging of the foods offered by both participants. The criterion for a food contest, I believe, should have something to do with the actual TASTE of the food. Apparently, the photographic prowess of the participant is more important than the actual food. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't take pictures of my food, I eat it.
Just pondering...

Cheryl said...

We take all comments seriously Anonymous.

I know I speak for everyone when we I say we're glad your following the contest.

Yes, it would be great if we could ALL taste what is being made each week but it's just not possible since we all live in different states. I think the rules of the contest were outlined to the contestants before they entered. I know I've enjoyed seeing the recipes and just as soon as I get a boyfriend, I'll be trying some of them out. jk. :)

BeeKayRoot said...

High - Definitely the 2 weeks I spent with my family in Pennsylvania over the holiday. Wit a baby neice and a baby nephew at home, how could this not be the highlight of my past month.

Low - Being too far away from family.

AHA - When the huge snowstorm hit SW Virginia, it really made me appreciate the technology and electricity we have nowadays. I was without electricity for a few days, and it really bummed me out.

Karlie said...

Highs: house full of friends and kids running everywhere; 'normal' test results - no cancer; spending time at home with family playing games; The year of CALM; first ever bedroom set being delivered! Lows: Haiti and sheer devastation; gray hair
Aha's: my daughter's new found bold sense of humor and how it cracks her up - and us!; clutter does distract from my productivity; Cherish moments and don't get caught in hands of time; Our Pom (Tucker too - like Peggy's!) continues to pee everywhere and I've accepted it - although continue training! :)

Jessie Freeman said...

High: Starting a new year! 2009 was rough and I was ready for 2010. I gladly welcomed 30 last week! Several of my dear friends are expecting!

Low: My heart breaks for the people of Haiti. I have been having some health mysteries and I wish they would hurry up and get solved.

Aha: Growing up can be fun :)

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michelle said...

The rules of the contest were outlined...but have been changing..

The rules said there would be results posted on Monday (not Friday) and that there would be a reader vote (which has been removed).

The rules have been changing as we go...

Claudia @ Highlowaha said...

Michelle and others...

Thank you for being active members of our community and not silent, but disgruntled viewers. Your willingness to speak up is exactly the kind of thing upon which healthy communities are built.

Let me take responsibility for those aspects of the Super Bowl Snack Throw Down for which you have been most frustrated. I was the (half-baked) brains behind the idea and the other three pitched in as I requested assistance.

I wish I could speak in greater detail to the discrepancy between announcing on Monday's and announcing on Fridays. I think we settled on Fridays because it gave the judges time to review the recipes and it would allow visitors to our site the chance to (1) see winner announced and, (2) vote on the next week's ingredient all at once.

The decision to change voting during the play off weeks was intended to keep the competition suspenseful. Albeit a flawed decision, that was the only motivation. You will be relieved to know that for the last three weeks (last week and the next two), the recipes are being made and tasted - as opposed to simply photographed.

While it was impossible to taste each recipe during such a virtual competition, I think the participants knew their recipes would not be tasted and that they would be judged on the recipe's appeal to judges, presentation of dish, and creative use of the secret ingredient.

More than anything, I appreciate your feedback and apologize for the unnecessary frustration. There is a certain amount of risk taking one must do when coordinating an activity such as this.

Michelle and anonymous... Maybe I could convince you to be a "Resident Consultant" in developing rules of play for next year - should we decide to give it another whirl!

We appreciate you.

Anonymous said...

I so appreciate your addressing my concerns about the contest...I agree with seems that the rules have been changing...
I understand that it is hard to coordinate a taste test with you all being in different states...however, it just boggles my mind that in the criterion you do judge by, the guest judge, the one that we are privy to her comments, finds no real difference between the two contestants and in the case of the last ingredient, had a tie in every category except for the photography. I am sorry, but I don't see how that should be the factor that decides the vote. I know that both contestants have provided great entries each week but believe me, I would have a hard time eating a sloppy joe slider at a superbowl party without my host kicking me out having dripped it all over the floor. I think the practicality of certain foods is lost on a pretty picture.
I believe in order to make future contests "believable" you should have the hosts of the site actually taste the recipes....they are after all, supposed to be easy to reproduce...and think of will benefit from having tasted such wonderful goodies!

Lauren said...

I hope you lovely ladies don't mind me commenting (I usually watch but stay out of contest-related conversations), but I'd like to just publicly state that you have always been up front with me and Kate, and quite frankly, isn't that what matters? I've been behind pretty much this entire time, so I don't feel subjective when I say that everything has always been fair and genuine.

Of course I would LOVE to actually be feeding you my recipes, but I think I would go broke on the gas expenses. You have outlined everything from the beginning, and we knew what was ahead of us.

Regardless of the outcome, this is a competition I would enter again and again, and I'm thrilled to have been a part of it!

Michelle said...

Ok Lauren...I think you missed the point of said it was outlined from the beginning...tell me this..

where in the beginning did it mention changes in voting for the playoffs?

Lauren, could you please tell me the rules for the Super Bowl cookoff? Voting, etc? Exactly...soon to be determined...not in the rules from the beginning...

Claudia @ Highlowaha said...

Let us all take some time out and decide we are going to manage our frustrations and disagreements with the Snack Throw Down in such a way our children would be proud and we would know we were setting a good example.

There are winners an there are losers. People, like me, (and I'm hoping you too) make mistakes and when we do, we appreciate a little bit of grace. Not all competitions are fair and rules of play do not always remain the same (as so many trusting employees discovered in the downturn of our economy).

All of that being said, we are allowed to disagree. Some will think the Snack Throw Down was a complete failure and others, I hope, will have enjoyed getting a new collection of recipes (I know I will).

In the end I hope this can be a lesson in civility. I hope it is proof we can disagree and still participate in community.

Lauren said...

Michelle, I appreciate your dedication to the competition!

But really, this is all for FUN. No one is winning a million dollars or their own holiday or a personal maid. It's just for FUN.

There are so many other issues plaguing our world this very minute that deserve so much more thought and worry and concern than whether or not you (a general "you") were aware of the "rules" for a fun blogging competition.

Now... back to kielbasa cooking!

Lauren said...

Michelle, I appreciate your dedication to the competition!

But really, this is all for FUN. No one is winning a million dollars or their own holiday or a personal maid. It's just for FUN.

There are so many other issues plaguing our world this very minute that deserve so much more thought and worry and concern than whether or not you (a general "you") were aware of the "rules" for a fun blogging competition.

Now... back to kielbasa cooking!

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