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The Thought Bubble Has Moved!

February 14, 2010

Yes, it is with much excitement that I inform you that The Thought Bubble has now moved!

It all happened much faster than I was expecting.  This is because I am much cleverer than I gave myself credit for.  Or maybe it’s because WordPress.org just makes importing your old blog to them pretty darned easy.  Personally, I think it’s the first option.  I know the rest of you wouldn’t dare disagree with me!

So, anyway, we’ve moved!  Along with The Thought Bubble, The Writer’s Bubble and Pictures By bubbleboo have also made the transition.  This is great for me, because it means all my stuff is together at one host, and I now also have all the domains registered under the ‘bubbleboo’ brand!  Yes, I like to think of myself as a brand.  We don’t have a problem with that.  Do we?  Good.

So, all you guys have to do is update your Readers and your bookmarks and you’ll be all set to keep in touch and up to date, just like you were before.  Because I know you were before.  Because we already had this conversation, right?!

These are the new links that you need:

The Thought Bubble now resides at http://bubbleboo-thethoughtbubble.com

The Writer’s Bubble now resides at http://bubbleboo-thewritersbubble.com

Pictures By bubbleboo now resides at http://bubbleboo-picturesbybubbleboo.com

(You can copy/paste those links into your address bar, or just click the names of the sites above, which will get you there in a flash!)

I am also probably going to set up redirects from the WordPress.com sites, at least for a while, just so I don’t lose any of you lovely people along the way!  But until then, those are the only links you need.

Oh, and don’t get a shock because you’re expecting the new sites to look just the same.  They don’t – I decided to have a little…fun!

That’s it!  You can go update your bookmarks now.

BLOGGERS UNITE: Autism Sunday

February 14, 2010

Most of you are probably aware – unless you have been living in a cave for the last few months – that today is Valentine’s Day.  Having been single for eight Valentine’s Days in a row, I am choosing to ignore this fact.

Moving on, you are also probably aware, that it is also Chinese New Year.  This year it is the year of the Tiger.  My absolutely, most favourite beast in the whole world, like, ever.  I myself was born in the year of the Monkey.  I know you’re all stunned by that.  What do you mean, you can tell?!

What some of you may not be aware of, is that today is also Autism Sunday.  What is Autism Sunday?  It is an International Day of Prayer for Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.  It always falls on the second Sunday in February, and I actually think it’s really unfortunate that today is also the focus for two other major celebrations – Autism Sunday doesn’t really stand a chance, does it?  So when I saw it featured on Bloggers Unite, I decided to write a post about it.  Most of you know why – Chipmunk was diagnosed with high-functioning ASD last year, so this is a cause that is very close to my heart.

I’m not asking for much of your time.  I’m not asking you to donate, or do a sponsored event, or go fundraising.  I don’t want you to buy anything, and you don’t even have to read down to the end of this post if you don’t want to.  All I’m asking you to do, is take just a moment to join me and others to remember the more than 60 million people affected by Autism worldwide.  One minute, to send up a prayer either for someone you know, or for those living with this in general, or for those whose lives are touched in any way – by caring for or working with those affected.  If you don’t pray, then please take that moment in quiet thought or contemplation.

If you do happen to have a little more time on your hands, and would like to learn more, you can visit the Autism Sunday page on Bloggers Unite:

If you live in the United States, you might like to find out more about the National Autism Association:

If you’re in the United Kingdom, I implore you to take a moment to visit the National Autistic Society.  They are wonderful and have been such a help to me since Chipmunk finally received his diagnosis.  There are many times I would have gone under, had it not been for them:

However you choose to mark Autism Sunday, I ask only that you do.  There are 60 million people around the world who will thank you for it.

To find out more about Bloggers Unite, what they do and the various causes they support, go here:

Oh, I nearly forgot.  As an aside, I just wanted to thank all of you for your unstinting support during the whole blog-migration thing!  Yes, it went smoothly enough, but if you guys didn’t come with me, then what would be the point?  So, I just want to let you know that you rock my world – in the best possible way.

SEEDED BUZZ: The Beginning

February 12, 2010

Recently, I joined a new website with a great concept.  Seeded Buzz.

Basically, there are two ways to participate.  In the one instance, you ‘plant a seed’ – submit a post that you have written that you think could inspire and connect with other bloggers.  In the second instance, you pick up on somebody else’s seed and ‘buzz’ it.  This consists of writing a post which has been inspired by the original seed, and linking back to that seed in your post.  Then, you let the author of the seed know that you have buzzed it, and so it goes on.

While some people join for the purpose of generating more revenue by increasing traffic to their site, I and some of my friends have joined for the community aspect of the site.  I have been a member for less that two weeks, and already I am connecting with some great, like-minded people.  I am also working on a couple of posts inspired by some of the seeds I found planted there.  I can’t wait to see how the community builds!

To join, you have to apply and be approved, but really it hardly takes any time at all, and the development of this site should be something to watch.  This time next year, it could be one of the most-used community blogging sites on the web.  I look forward to all the interesting discussions to come!

So, if you see a ‘Seeded Buzz’ headed post on my blog, now you know what it’s all about!  Read it, you might just find it as interesting as I do!

Image courtesy aussiegall

Chipmunk – A Budding Writer?

February 11, 2010

When I walked into Chipmunk’s classroom today, I was greeted by a smiling Mrs Jones.  She couldn’t wait to tell Chipmunk how fantastic his writing from the day before had been, how much she had enjoyed reading it and declared in front of the rest of the class that he was her “star writer”!  Needless to say, he was chuffed to bits.  When I picked him up this afternoon, I found that she had taken the time to photocopy Chipmunk’s work for me to bring home and read, so pleased was she with the quality of it.

So here, for your reading pleasure (and with Chipmunk’s permission) is the story that got her so excited!

Little Cat Goes to the Moon, by Chipmunk


“Mummy, please may I go to the moon?” asked Little Cat.

“No!  Anyway, you need to find a rocket first,” replied Mummy.

Soon, Little Cat found an old cardboard box in the shed.

“It’s perfect!” shouted Little Cat.  Afterwards, he found a blue plastic bowl for a space helmet.  Next, he looked in the cupboard and found a lovely strawberry cake, a can of Pepsi, a packet of salt and vinegar crisps and a can of coke.  Then he put all his stuff into his spaceship.  After that he went out into the garden, and with a BANG! and a ZOOM! he flew into the air.

A little bit later, a bat flew by.

“Where are you going to?” clicked Bat.

“I’m going to the moon,” replied Little Cat.

Then Bat climbed in and off they flew to continue their journey.  On and on their journey went.

After a while, they saw the moon.  Soon they arrived, and with a big BUMP! they landed on the moon.  After, one by one, they got out of the spaceship.

“Would you like to play football with me?” asked Little Cat.

“Yes, please!” replied Bat.

So they played football nearly all evening.  Sadly, it was soon time to go home.  So they said goodbye to each other and hoped to see each other again soon.  Then, they took off and headed back down to Earth.

After a long journey, he landed with a big BUMP!  Then, he went into the living room.

“Where have you been?” asked Mummy Cat.

“I’ve been to the moon,” replied Little Cat.

“You and your stories,” giggled Mummy Cat.  “Whatever next?…”

© Chipmunk, 2010

The picture above is of the original (well, photocopied!) manuscript.  The little hearts in the margins were drawn not by Chipmunk, but by Mrs Jones.  They show all the bits she was especially pleased with.  A couple of sentences even have a heart and a star!  Chipmunk is over the moon (no pun intended!) and I am really happy for him, and that she went to the effort of sharing this with me.  It looks like things are going to be ok now.

Incidentally, for those of you who missed it, or who don’t follow me on Plurk, Mrs Jones and I had a quick chat yesterday morning.  She thanked me for ‘the letter‘ and said it was “very good, very nice”.  She told me she often feels as though she puts her heart into her work and it is never appreciated, and that this was just one of those times.  The apology, while not spoken, was definitely implied – which is probably as good as it gets, and is certainly enough for me.  If it serves to improve our relationship, and therefore improve things for Chipmunk, then I’m happy – and so, I think, is Mrs Jones.

What to Do With My Cottage Pie?

February 10, 2010

A fly-by post today, as I don’t have very much time to play.

*Boo, Hiss*

No, it’s for a good reason – Chipmunk has swimming tonight, and he is really, really excited about it:  “Swimming tonight?  Yay!  I love swimming!”  Try getting that reaction out of him a few weeks ago!  So yes, while I will miss you all horribly, the lack-of-blogging-time is a good thing, for once.  Try to cope without me for the rest of the evening.

Before I go, I just wanted to ponder something with you.  While reading the cooking instructions for the ready-made cottage pie I’m heating up for dinner…Sorry, what?…Do.  Not.  Judge.  Me.  I told you, time is of the essence!  Anyway, I was reading the instructions when I got to the final one.  And couldn’t quite believe what I was reading:

“Once cooked, serve.”

*Blink*

*Blink*

I’m sorry, but is that really necessary?  Are there actually people who wouldn’t serve it up when it was done unless explicitly ordered to by the cooking instructions?  What would they do with it?  Stand and stare at it for the next ten years?  Wait for it to grow legs and take itself to the table?  Die of starvation while waiting for someone – anyone – to tell them what to do next?  Because, seriously, if you need instructions like that, I would gently suggest that maybe you shouldn’t be using potentially dangerous appliances such as the oven in the first place.

Oh crap.  You see?  I start rambling on and then I make myself late!  And with that, I bid you goodbye.  Don’t forget to serve up your meals when they’re done…I’ll be checking!

Image courtesy jules:stonesoup

Bring Me Sunshine…

February 9, 2010

Oh my gosh, I won an award!  And what’s more, it’s an award from one reader to another – in my eyes, far more important than the kind given by anonymous panels!  Oh, and it’s also my very first one, too!  It is a ‘Sunshine Blog Award’ and it was given to me by the lovely Mandy from I Am Java Mama.

Positive. Creative. Inspiring.

Here are the criteria for accepting this award:

  • Put the logo on your blog or within your post (right click and save),
  • Pass the award on to 12 bloggers,
  • Link the nominees within your post,
  • Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

I think this is great, because it encourages people to read, as well as write.  To encourage others, and to show appreciation for the blogs they love to read.  Choosing 12 people to pass this award on to was really tough.  I know there are people I love and I missed, I’m really sorry – you’re all great!

Here, in no particular order, are my 12:

They are all fantastic, well written and sincere.  And they all make me smile.

When I started this blog, it was meant to be a diary.  A place where I could just write, be myself, and if people actually wanted to read it then that was a bonus.  And you know what?  That hasn’t changed.  Yes, I am now aware that there are some wonderful people who do take the time out of their day to sit and read my ramblings, and I am very grateful to them.  But I am not going to change my writing or my aim, just because my readership is growing.  It just means there are more people with whom to have discussions about my opinions and various subjects – and that can only be a good thing!

Through my blog, I have also come across some other wonderful blogs.  Isn’t it just amazing the way communities grow?  The way you can come across something that changes your perspective completely, and which you could so easily have missed.  That is why I love blogging – sharing with others and being part of a community.  And that is why this award from a reader and fellow blogger means so much to me.  Thank you, Mandy.  And thank you to all of you who are sharing in my journey – you mean more to me than I could possibly say here!

BOOK REVIEWS FOR KIDS: Kaspar Prince of Cats, by Michael Morpurgo

February 8, 2010

Where to start with the review of this book?

Chipmunk and I had never read anything by Michael Morpurgo before, although I had heard of him, and Chipmunk’s Friday teacher recommended that we give one a shot.  So we did.

Wow.

That about sums it up really.  You want more?  Ok.  Let me think.

Alright then.  This book is one of the most outstanding children’s books I think I have ever read.  The story captures the imagination from the moment you start reading the first line.  Michael Foreman’s illustrations are utterly beautiful, and capture the mood of Morpurgo’s words perfectly, without becoming a distraction from them.

The plot concerns Johnny Trott – a young bell-boy at the Savoy hotel in London, Lizziebeth – an American heiress, and, of course, Kaspar, Prince of Cats – “a Muscovite, a Londoner and a New Yorker, and as far as anyone knows, the only cat to survive the sinking of the Titanic”.  Yes, the story is set in the early 20th Century, but Morpurgo’s descriptions of this era are as vivid and fascinating as to make the reader truly believe they are there.  The way the story is written means that it is easily identifiable for today’s children, while capturing the feel of a time almost one hundred years ago.

The book deals with some big issues for children, such as death and destruction – and, of course, the sinking of the Titanic.  But these issues are dealt with sensitively and carefully, while also prompting discussion.  The characters are wonderfully created and so real – no child could fail to identify with at least one of them!  For Chipmunk, Johnny Trott was the hero of the story – while Lizziebeth could have been written just for Miss Fifi.

Morpurgo draws the reader in and makes them live every second of the story with his characters.  You can see the opulance of the Savoy, hear the bustle on the streets of London and smell the sea air from the decks of the Titanic.  While we were reading this book, Chipmunk could not wait for bedtime and the commencing of the next chapter.  Every new chapter began another adventure, with every turn of the page a surprise lay waiting to excite and delight.  I am not going to tell you any more than that – to do so, would be to spoil all of the book’s wonderful moments.  This is an adventure you need to live for yourself, and I urge you to do so with every fibre of my being – whether you have children to share it with or not.  This is a story we will be returning to again, and again, and again.

Chipmunk is now fascinated with the story of the Titanic and cannot wait to conduct his own research on this subject.  Both he and I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  We are now on a quest of our own to seek out and read every available Morpurgo book we can possibly get our hands on!

Rating:  ★★★★★  5/5 stars

Chipmunk’s Verdict:  Definitely 5 stars, because it’s so good.

Overall Verdict:  A fantastic, wonderful read.  A true delight.