Our Lisbon Meetup Begins :)

Since I work for a distributed company, I only get to see my coworkers in person twice a year. Last year my team met up in Durham, and this year it’s Lisbon. Another team is here at the same time, and another team will be coming halfway to the week so I get to see lots of my Automattic buddies. 

There is just something super exciting about knowing that your friends and coworkers are all on planes and trains and busses, heading your way for a week of in-person collaborations, learning and fun.

This picture shows where James and I are hanging out at our co-working office for the week. We are working outdoors as we wait for our teammates to arrive. 


Grabbing HTML for an Image and Link for a Text Widget

In my job as a Happiness Engineer for Automattic, I often get asked how to add an image with a link into a widget area. This can be daunting if someone doesn’t know HTML. But that doesn’t have to deter you. There is a sneaky way to get that code, even without HTML knowledge. This is how to do it:

  1. Create a draft post and insert your image.
  2. If you want to add a link to the image, click on the image after it’s inserted and click on the paperclip icon to add your link.
  3. Click on the “HMTL” option at the top of your editing page (next to “Visual”)
  4. Copy that code. Note that your code will look similar to what I have in the next image, but the words and links will be different – specialized to your own information.
  5. Open your Customize tool and go to Widgets.
  6. Add the Text Widget.
  7. Paste your code and save.
  8. And you will see your image in your widget areas (click it to test your link) 🙂

2016 WordCamp US

You know I love WordCamps. And this one is a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!!!! Here I am sitting at the registration dest in Philadelphia, trying to catch my breath after 24 hrs of meeting/greeting/dining/drinking/collaborating and learning with fellow WordPress lovers. Best community EVER!!!

I’m keeping this short and sweet because there is still a lot more to do over the next two days, but wanted to check in to say how awesome this is. If you are in the Philadelphia area, come join us 🙂

These pics are a glimpse into the gathering. There were 1,800 super friendly and intelligent WordPress lovers in the room at lunch today, and a lovely jazz band playing. This is a pretty impressive event. #wcus

Where Have I Been? See if You Can Tell

It’s a game for you to play if you want.

** Edited to add that Hudi is definitely the winner in the family category, and Tina is the non-family winner. Great job! You all guessed a lot of these! Answers are now in the captions. **

“Never apologize for not posting in a while. It just calls attention to it.” That’s advice I often give bloggers. And I believe it, but I also relate to the guilt they feel as they put up a post after a long absence. And confession is always a good thing after an action that instills guilt. I get it.

For me, this time, I felt overwhelmed by all the things I wanted to post about.  So many experiences and life events I wanted to share. I got some out there, but ran out of time for the rest. So I’m going to do it all in one shot now. Get the images up and move on, feeling caught up.

So I’m going to make it a game. 

According to Google, I have been on 43 trips so far this year. See if you can:

  • Tell where I was
  • For bonus points – name the event 🙂
  • And for SUPER bonus points – feel free to add a story or anecdote from the occasion 😀

Please describe which image you are referring to when you post your answers. 

To make things a bit easier, I only did occasions from mid-April through October.

Ready? Steady? GO!!!!

I will post the answers in captions next week — or as the answers are given if I have time.

Proms, Grads, and Life – Our Week

I am sooooo behind on my blog reading and writing, and I miss you all! But it’s temporary and for a good cause. We have some really fun stuff going on in life. I’ll do a brief summary  of our past week here, then will post lots of pics in the future when I get more time. Consider these teasers…

In the past week we:

Enjoyed watching Hudi and his buddies get ready for the prom. They had a great time.

We enjoyed having Zeb’s girlfriend’s family stay with us for graduation weekend.


We got to see the girls in our lives graduate (so proud of them)!

We met Lauren’s extended family. I didn’t take any pics during that fabulous meal, but it was really fun.

We took a load of stuff to our new-to-us home with Mom (no pic of that, either).

We went to Connecticut, where we saw some great friends and family, I got to see Kurt’s horse, and Chris sold a few mobiles.

We came home and finished filling out paperwork for college stuff for Zeb and Hudi.

We ran our local WordPress meetup, and got to hear a great talk on Search Engine Optimization from CJ. Although he lives in Utah, he’s home visiting for a few weeks.


Also, I’m on a work rotation so I’m learning lots of great stuff about Jetpack and Akismet.

Here’s one of my favorite moments from the week. Love to see my boys together again and goofing around. You can’t see it well, but they were posing to show off their geek-belts. Zeb highlighted Pokemon while Hudi sported Legend of Zelda, and CJ had his piano keys:


That’s why I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog-world. All great stuff, though, eh? What have you been up to? I guess I can find that out for myself, and hope to be catching up on my blogs soon, but feel free to tell me, anyway, in the comments 🙂

From Meeting to Marco – My Writing Group

IMG_20160330_174106181_HDROnce upon a time, about 13 years ago, I was an aspiring children’s book writer. On my journey through the world of writing and publishing, I discovered some of the best friends a person could have. It all began on a forum.

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: SCBWI forum to be exact.

In the huge, international world of writers, by some random quirk of fate, six of us found each other, and we’ve been close friends and critique partners ever since. Linda Stanek lives in Ohio, Jen Funk Weber lives in Alaska, Linda Covella (we call her Elsie to differentiate her from the other Linda) lives in California, Dale Ibitz lives in Connecticut, Mary Beth Schewitz jumps between Chicago and Florida, and I jump between northern and western NY.

A group does make one stronger. In writing and real life. This week, I have a really special treat. Three of the six of us were able to wend our ways down to Mary Beth’s house on Marco Island in Florida, along with our spouses. We got here the day before yesterday, and I’m blown away by the beauty of this place. There are times when we are out and about, but we women always feel the call of the keyboard and find ourselves sneaking off for a bit of writing.

I hope you don’t mind humoring me by not getting upset by my impending influx of posts this week 🙂 There are a lot of thoughts I want to get out, and lots of sights I want to share with my loved ones.

This is post is part of my leisurely week of writing while on vacation.

A Digital Mini Time Capsule

Last week my friend and co-worker, Pam, posted a cute blog post in which she asked her kids questions, and they answered. She opened by saying it was a meme going around Facebook. Remembering the past, I dredged up a link to the trend from 2009 and pulled up my own kids’ answers (different questions, though). Then I realized it would be fun to see their answers now, many years later. I asked them the same questions, and they hadn’t known I had the original answers so it was pretty much a blank slate. It’s interesting to see how we all have grown. And they pretty much nailed me. Thanks for humoring me, CJ, Zeb and Hudi! Love you guys!

1. What is something mom always says to you?

CJ (15): Don’t eat in your room.
CJ (22): I love you.

Zeb (12): get your grades up
Zeb (19): I love you

Hudi (9): take a shower
Hudi (16): Don’t eat my chocolate!

2. What makes mom happy?

CJ (15): chocolate
CJ (22): Simple, stress-free things.

Zeb (12): chocolate
Zeb (19): Chocolate and family time

Hudi (9) chocolate
Hudi (16): Chocolate

3. What makes mom sad?

CJ (15): when chocolate’s gone
CJ (22): When the rum/wine is gone.

Zeb (12): broccoli (I have an intolerance and it makes me sick, but I love the taste of it!)
Zeb (19): Death and drugs

Hudi (9) when people die
Hudi (16): When I do eat her chocolate

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

CJ (15): when she laughs when people get hurt (disclaimer from Chrissie: it’s an involuntary reaction I can’t seem to control, and I think it’s horrible! Definite character flaw)
CJ (22): When she gets excited over small things that I don’t think she should be excited over.

Zeb (12): being random
Zeb (19): Funny jokes and stories

Hudi (9): jokes
Hudi (16): By trying to make puns.

5. What was your mom like as a child?

CJ (15): a boy in pink overalls (explanation from Chrissie–I looked like a boy and was forever mistaken as one even when I wore pink overalls one time).
CJ (22): Driven and goal-oriented.

Zeb (12): active
Zeb (19): energetic and curious

Hudi (9) nice
Hudi (16): preppy

6. How old is your mom?

CJ (15): 18 (Does anyone else detect sarcasm here)?
CJ (22): 26

Zeb (12): 37 (he got it right)
Zeb (19): like 20

Hudi (9) 36
Hudi (16): still 29… right? 😉

7. How tall is your mom? True answer (5 ft 2 in)

CJ (15): SHORT
CJ (22): Short.

Zeb (12): 5.9 ft
Zeb (19): 5’2″

Hudi (9) 6 foot 1
Hudi (16): 5 ft 2 in

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

CJ (15): Be absorbed into either screens or the sun.
CJ (22): Do things with family; like snowboarding and camping trips.

Zeb (12): eat chocolate
Zeb (19): read, work or play

Hudi (9) play Rock Band
Hudi (16): spend time with her boys

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?

CJ (15): go online
CJ (22): Works, watches movies and talks about traveling.

Zeb (12): work
Zeb (19): work and hang out. Snowboarding in the winter.

Hudi (9) exercise
Hudi (16): watch movies

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

CJ (15): writing
CJ (22): Helping somebody.

Zeb (12): writing
Zeb (19): Helping a bunch of people on the internet.

Hudi (9) writing
Hudi (16): cooking…… 😄 no no I kid. she would be a famous writer

11. What is your mom really good at?

CJ (15): not being on the same page as everyone else (note from Chrissie – not sure if this is a compliment or not)
CJ (22): Putting thoughts into written word.

Zeb (12): writing
Zeb (19): Happiness Engineering and mothering

Hudi (9) Rock Band
Hudi (16): writing

12. What is your mom not very good at?

CJ (15): Skiing
CJ (22): Being observant.

Zeb (12): guitar
Zeb (19): Some cooking

Hudi (9) video games
Hudi (16): cooking

13. What does your mom do for her job?

CJ (15): write
CJ (22): Helps people.

Zeb (12): write
Zeb (19): Helps people with website problems

Hudi (9) write
Hudi (16): she is a happiness engineer

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?

CJ (15): chocolate
CJ (22): Cold strawberries coated in dark chocolate with whipped cream.

Zeb (12): chocolate
Zeb (19): chocolate

Hudi (9) chocolate
Hudi (16): strawberry rhubarb pie or lamb

15. What makes you proud of your mom?

CJ (15): When she lets me eat in my room and keep the laptop in it.
CJ (22): Sticking with snowboarding even though it’s tough for her.

Zeb (12): being there when I need her
Zeb (19): she puts up with all my crap

Hudi (9) her new dresses
Hudi (16): her love for everyone and everything. she’s not negative about most things

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

CJ (15): Takeshi Saehara… but that’s a guy. (Note from Chrissie – I just asked him about this now in 2016, and he said it was because he wrote and always stuck to his deadlines).
CJ (22): –

Zeb (12): Elmer Fudd
Zeb (19): Smurfette

Hudi (9) Bugs Bunny — (Note from Chrissie in 2009 – He said I make him laugh, and I’m sneaky like when I go into his room at night and he doesn’t know it)
Hudi (16): Wanda from the Fairly Odd Parents

17. What do you and your mom do together?

CJ (15): Facebook
CJ (22): Troubleshoot technology and snowboard.

Zeb (12): Rock Band
Zeb (19): Snowboard and talk

Hudi (9) play games
Hudi (16): watch movies especially Les Miserables and Across the Universe

18. How are you and your mom the same?

CJ (15): Same hair color.
CJ (22): We’re both able to talk to anyone about anything, and can make something happen out of nothing.

Zeb (12): we like Rock Band and cooking
Zeb (19): we like extreme sports like snowboarding

Hudi (9) we are both in the same family
Hudi (16): we’re both usually happy about everything we do

19. How are you and your mom different?

CJ (15): Everything else.
CJ (22): She likes getting up early.

Zeb (12): she’s a girl
Zeb (19): Different opinions in lifestyles

Hudi (9) she is a girl i am a boy
Hudi (16): well she’s a lot more wise then I am

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

CJ (15): When… she tapes my concerts and puts them on Facebook.
CJ (22): Somewhere between raising me, helping me through early adulthood, giving me countless opportunities, and telling me that she loves me.

Zeb (12): she says so and is always there for me
Zeb (19): she puts up with me and my brothers and always cares

Hudi (9) she told me
Hudi (16): she tells me constantly

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?

CJ (15): I don’t know
CJ (22): His hair. In all seriousness, probably his rational thinking, abstract thoughts, and ability to accomplish anything.

Zeb (12): He protects her
Zeb (19): His ability to do whatever he puts his mind to

Hudi (9) You like everything about him.
Hudi (16): his humor

22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

CJ (15): Places with sun, chocolate and a massage.
CJ (22): She just likes to travel. She tends to like beaches and mountains, but I don’t think she’d be content staying in any one place. If I did have to pick one though, I’d say Southwick Beach.

Zeb (12): Disney (or the bath tub)
Zeb (19): Disney World

Hudi (9) Disney
Hudi (16): Disney World