Feb 23, 2010

Puppy Play on Snow Day

Puppy Play on Snow Day
Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425
We had a snow day! In Texas! And I got to try Flickr's video uploading function for the first time. I think its been an all-around success.

For the record, Lexi hates rain but loves snow. She wanted to go outside all afternoon and play! As you can see from the video, she's a very cute snow pup.

I think at the little house in P-ville we got 1-1.5 inches. Definitely more than I've seen in the southern part of Texas ever before. I even saw people's pics of snowmen around town. Talk about crazy!

Now time for pilates since the roads are too icy for the hubby to let me drive to the gym. It's pretty cute how protective of me he is. Actually his protectiveness is what got me a full snow day since he insisted I don't drive in to work today. (I worked from home instead which is never a problem at my very flexible job.) GSCTX calling it a half day took care of the rest.

Feb 17, 2010

I want to break up with Twitter today

I use Twitter, both professionally and personally. Some elements I like such as getting headlines from my favorite news sources or reporters. I enjoy staying up to speed with my handful of girlfriends who are on Twitter via Twitter. All fine and dandy.

But it is kicking my butt professionally at the moment. Currently the GSCTX account http://twitter.com/GSCTXcouncil) has 645 followers which I'm pretty content with but has very little interaction. Generally I tweet about 50% Girl Scout specific information like camp registration dates or a new volunteer tool and 50% interesting, relevant information like stats on girls' health. I've been taking that approach for 4 months, give or take. We've seen a steady increase in followers, re-tweets and click-throughs. Until now. Now my follower growth is just a mere 4% over last month...which while a step in the right direction is a dramatic difference fromt he 16% growth we experienced December to January. And the worst stat of all is click-throughs. I'm just ashamed. I might not even be able to tell you.

It's 159.

More than halfway through February and links we've shared have only been clicked on 159 times. For a little perspective, in January we had more than 1,000 click throughs. This is shameful! Why the dramatic decrease? What am I doing wrong? Part of me says "I haven't moved away from my historically successful approach" and part of me says "if you don't adapt, you die and Cheryl, your strategy has not adapted in a few months."

So while it seems a little absurd that I need to tweak my strategy every 3 or 4 months, maybe that's what needs to happen. The problem then becomes how to adapt? I'm thinking I mis-determined our audience. We had been envisioning an adult Girl Scout audience. While I think we got the "adult" part right, maybe it isn't adult Girl Scouts. Maybe it's just the techno-happy general public of adults. What part of Girl Scouting interests them? This is the question I need to answer. And shy of cookies...right now, I'm not really sure.

I think shocking stats like only 65% of Texas high school juniors pass the TAKS math test is interesting. I tweeted it. Literally only one person followed that link to read more. OK what about Girl Scout Cookies keeping a soldier safe? Tweeted, 6 clicks. Better but still, just 6? This seems too low. So I asked a question "how many times to teens and tweens text per hour?" and linked to the answer. Just 2 clicks! What the heck!? I've tried shock and awe, I've tried a cliff hanger, I've tried the rhetorical question.  None of them really worked.

As you can probably guess, this entry is becoming me talking myself through this professional dilemma. What I haven't tried enough of is "what can Girl Scouts do for me now?" as an approach. I suppose for the rest of the month I should tackle that question. I now get to struggle with what immediate, helpful action can Girl Scouts offer the general public at this exact moment. I hope I can think of a variety of things and that I'm right about this different approach.

I'm not going to think about it too much now though. I'm still a little sick and I need a head that's not full of snot (gross but whatever) to really think this through effectively.

But if I can't figure this out, someone will have to remind me why breaking up with Twitter really isn't the best alternative because trust me, I'll be tempted.

Feb 15, 2010

B's celebrate Valentine's Day

When we had our first Valentine's Day we decided not to give gifts but to spend the day together. That year we went to the San Antonio Zoo and had dinner on the Riverwalk. Last year we were flat broke on Valentine's Day but went to a movie and had a special dinner at home.

This year we kept with the tradition of doing something nice together instead of buying gifts. We caught an early viewing of Avatar in 3-D at the theater around the corner. It is a beautiful movie! I don't mean that it has some sappy plot; not it's just pretty. So many amazing colors. It actually kinda reminded me of the cartoon movie Ferngully from my childhood with the lush plant-life and corporate nature destroying bad guys. So think of it as Ferngully on 15 years later and kinda on sterroids...in a good way. After our movie we treated ourselves to dinner at Gumbos of Westlake. There are a couple Gumbos locations in Austin, including one downtown and one in Round Rock. The downtown location turned us off because of parking etc and the Round Rock location just doesn't look very fancy from the outside. But the Westlake location is in a pretty spot in the hills and since it's in Westlake, you can count on it being a little upscale. Which it was and which I loved. Beautiful simple decor in cream, red and black. It actually reminded me of the restaurant version of our own house. And the food was tasty! I had trout stuffed with crab and shrimp. DELICIOUS. Ross had their one-and-only chicken dish. To be fair, I probably enjoyed the meal more since it was a mostly seafood menu and I love seafood 10 or so times more than he does. But he said the chicken was delicious and I think we both left pretty happy. I know if nothing else, we both left very full. We came home, played board games, read in bed and crashed. Such a relaxing weekend with my honey!

Today I went on my first adventure to the Town Lake Hike & Bike path. Having lived here going on three years it was a crying shame that I hadn't visited this very Austin-y spot yet. Nikki raves about how nice it is for a job and since we had the day off, she took an hour to show me her favorite part of the path. It's really nice! It reminds me of the Esplanade in Boston...which was only my favorite place to go rollerblading so to say it reminds me of that location means something.

And tonight we tried a new recipe from Rachel Ray - Blush Pasta. It smelled delicous cooking but wasn't as flavorful as I expected. I'm brainstorming ways to pump up the volume next time because I think it has great potential. In fairness to RR, I didn't have crushed Italian tomatoes so did the regular plus a pinch of sugar option. I'm hoping if I use crushed Italian tomatoes next time, maybe that will give it the punch I'm looking for.

Ross is now at Sam Bass for his weekly volunteer training and I'm enjoying a glass of wine while I bake cookies and watch The Bachelor. Yes it is a night of our individual favorite things.

Things are going great with us, our home and our family. However there are some parts of our lives in limbo right now but nothing that will shake our very strong foundation. And we're optimistic that "limbo" can transform into awesome opportunities. For fear of jinxing it, I won't share any more but as soon as it's out of limbo and in stone, you'll be the first to know.

PS And for the record "limbo" in no way refers to babies. No way man! I have vacations I want to take and margaritas I want to drink before we go there.

Feb 7, 2010

El Rincon, Greenbelts & Superbowl

On Tuesday night we got wild and crazy and tried out a new restaurant: El Rincon in Pflugerville. If I said it was something to write home about, I'd be lying. But that's not to say it was bad. It was your typical small-town-Texas Mexican restaurant. Well typical except for the fact that the tortillas were deliciously and obviously homemade. They were so thick and warm! The salsa was also noteably tasty, just enough kick but not so much that you immediately doused your mouth in milk. What I liked best about this place though was not the food or the frozen margarita I indulged in, but its local homey feel. They embraced the local flavor and had a cozy unpretentious feel to the whole place.

And on to the greenbelt section... Lexi loves to play there! Not much else to say really but that was one of the highlights of our weekend.

And shortly we're heading out to start another highlight: the Superbowl. Neither of us is much concerned with who wins but we're looking forward to seeing friends. I'm especially looking forward to seeing the newest friend: Blake, the itty bitty baby of friends Nick & Kristy.

Feb 1, 2010


We filed our taxes yeterday. It was EXCITING. We qualified for the first time homebuyer tax credit and it made our return lovely. I know it's tacky to talk about money so I'll just leave you with this sentiment - my car and his student loans = about to be paid off.