Recently two amazing fellow bloggers, Big Dog Momma and Curiosity, tagged me with the Stylish Blogger award that has been going around. I am honoured, blushing, etc etc. I’ve taken forever to respond, because it requires the following:
1. Link back and thank the person who gave you the award.
That’s easy enough. I’ll even do it twice! Check out
Canis Majoris Madre – it has dogs, kids, and occasional poop. What else could you ask for?
Emotional Umbrella – Curiosity may be my secret Long Lost Twin. Our brains tend to parallel each other in creepy and inexplicable ways. Except she is much more hilarious than I will ever be.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
TOUGH, because I have to share seven NEW things that I didn’t share before in this meme.
1. I hate my hair. Seriously, I have the worst hair in the history of hair. It is limp, and hangs in greasy strings. It is extremely fine and gets staticky easily. You can’t volumize it. Legions of hair dressers have tried. Conditioner makes it hang in greasy strings. Mousse sometimes works if you blow dry, but the volume only lasts for an hour or so. After that, it hangs in greasy strings. Layering helps a little, because then it hangs in layered greasy strings.
You can’t put it up. It is so fine that it provides absolutely no friction. Pony tails slide out. They managed to get it up for my wedding (hee hee, that’s what she said) but it took over FIFTY bobby pins. PH counted them when he took my hair down at the end of the night.
Also, it only parts down the middle. People have assured me that if I part it elsewhere for long enough, I can “train” my hair to part somewhere else. I have been parting it on the right hand side dutifully for A YEAR AND A HALF, and it still rearranges itself to a middle split within an hour.
2. I like my skin. It’s pretty good skin. It doesn’t get pimply. The Christmas that I didn’t know I was pregnant, I got a pimple. I should have known.
3. Since Babby was born, my toe nails have gone from normal-looking toenails to weird, crunchy, chalky white things. It looks like I painted them with white out. I am baffled, but I assume that my doctor would be of no help to me.
4. I leave empty drink glasses all over the house. I can’t help it. I’m thirsty, I get a drink, I tote it around with me until its finished. I continue moving through the house. I get thirsty again. I go to the kitchen. I get another glass. I tote it around with me… Every now and then Perfect Husband passes me in the hallway with five or six glasses stacked in his arms. He gives me this really long suffering look, says “I love you…” and takes all the glasses to the kitchen. Since I’m supposed to be the house wife right now, I’m really trying to keep this sort of thing down to a minimum, but it’s haaaaaard!
5. I don’t like ice cream. Bleeeeyech.
6. I love apocalyptic stuff and post-apocalyptic stuff. Movies and books about the end of the world… Good, bad, it doesn’t matter (with the exception of Armageddon, which is so awful that I can’t even begin to have fun). I love The Day of the Triffids, as well as Independence Day… Except Independence Day would be better if the aliens won. I like movies that feature famous landmarks getting trashed and people having to start over again. Looooove it. Feel free to psychoanalyze why.
7. I have an extensive Baby Sitter’s Club book collection. It’s sandwiched between Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and The World of Pooh. Hey, laugh all you want, but at least Ann M Martin could use punctuation appropriately and wrote admirable characters, which is better than some drivel I’ve read lately.
3. Award 5 recently discovered blogs.
1. The Salted Tomato. Looking for a bunch of delicious (mostly) vegetarian recipes, often with an East Indian twist? Look no further. The Salted Tomato mixes in recipes with musings on life in an East Indian family, and it’s fascinating and mouth watering.
2. Mommy By Day. Not actually new to me, but stylish for shizzle. It’s a great photography/mommy blog and Natalie’s daughter is totally adorable. If that little girl wasn’t older than Babby (which I find creepy because I’m conventional like that) and if we lived in another culture I would be arranging a marriage between them. I would give many camels.
3. Don’t Mind The Mess. Jess has a super cute little boy who has recently been diagnosed with a form of autism. She knows how I feel when I talk about babies that scream all the time and don’t sleep. She shares my suspicion of what she calls “sack of flour” babies.
4. The Problem With Young People Today Is… Mr. Mills (you don’t get to call him Don unless you are well into your senior years) is cranky and I love it. I agree with everything he says about young people these days, so he has accepted me as an honorary Old Person. My decoder ring is supposedly in the mail. Presumably it will hock Ovaltine.
5. Reasoning With Vampires. You all know how much I love Twilight. This lady notices the things that I noticed – bad grammar, sentences that make no sense, Bella’s insufferable personality, and her tendency to lose track of things (such as where she is, what is happening around her, whether she is breathing, and where her lips are). Every day multiple SCANNED bits from the Twilight Saga appear, along with brilliant and incisive commentary and highlighting of grammatical errors. It’s hilariously nitpicky. Right now Dana is working her way through New Moon. I can’t wait until she gets to the part where Bella is “literally” up to her elbows in Comet while cleaning the bathtub.
4. Contact them and tell them about their award.
Yeah, I’m far too lazy to get around to doing that. They’re smart cookies. They’ll figure it out.
1. Did you attend Blogher10?
No. Because I’m lacking this thing. It’s called money. I’d love to go to a Blogher some day. It should really come to Vancouver.
2. Are you attending BlissdomCanada this fall?
Never heard of it. Is it in Vancouver?
3. When are you at your blogging best – a.m. or p.m.?
I’m a pm person. I don’t do mornings. My metabolism doesn’t even kick in until noon. Before then I’m a groggy, shivering mass. Babby is the same way, right now. I almost never feel him move before lunchtime, unless I get in the car with music playing.
4. How many blogs do you have? (Include the links)
I have my old LJ, which I still post in occasionally but there aren’t very many people checking LJ these days, so I don’t bother much. Not linking to it because it includes the personal details I tend to avoid giving out here. I’m also thinking about starting another blog – based on an old website I had which was an obscene, verbally abusive guide to dog training. Is anyone interested in seeing that?
5. What technical skill would you like to learn to improve your blog?
It would be cool to know how to do my own CSS, so I could make my own blog design instead of relying on templates. But I’m also unwilling to spend any money to get the rights to do so, because I have none (see above).
6. Do you prefer the sound of silence or does action abound while you blog?
Mostly silence. I’m a silence kind of person. But I do like peaceful background music. I was reading downstairs last night and PH was upstairs on the compy and the sounds of the Bandenburg Concertos started wafting down the stairs, I guess because he felt that playing those while reading GraphJam would enhance his compy experience. It was great. So peaceful. My speakers also pick up CBC 2 involuntarily so often while I blog I have peaceful background classical music playing anyhow.
7. Do you include the names of your family in your blog?
Yes, some. Like, my first name. And my pets’ names aren’t secrets, I just avoid using them much because they’re unusual enough to get paired with my name if stalkers were searching for me, and I really don’t want ex-coworkers and in-laws finding this blog. My husband is namelesss because his name is unusually spelled, and again, don’t want ex-coworkers and in-laws putting two and two together. The name we’ve picked for our son is not unusual, so I’ll probably use it, but won’t be giving his full name for obvious reasons.
8. Do you post pictures or videos of your children?
Fur babies yes, children, yes in the future. Although apparently not my son’s genitals. Those won’t be posted.
9. What’s the grossest thing you’ve spilled on your keyboard?
I don’t spill things on my keyboard.
10. Ever posted something you wrote while intoxicated?
No, but then the last time I tried to drink in any kind of sizable amount, this happened. So I don’t think it can happen at all, any more.
11. Do you go back and edit old posts just because you can?
Yes, if I see something I could make better. Like grammar.
12. Have you ever suspected somebody took something you wrote and pawned it off as their own?
No. Why would anyone do that? It’s not like I have talent.
13. Does your spouse read your blog? What do they say about it?
Yep, he checks it at work. Which means that he comes home and I say “Guess what happened?” and he says “the diaper service couldn’t find our house and had to call?” and I say “Uh… yeah.”
14. What’s something cool/positive/unexpected for you, that has resulted directly from blogging?
The fact that I’m actually starting to develop friendships with other bloggers – people I would love to have coffee with if I could just get into the same time zone as them.
15. Link to a post (or two) which demonstrate your writing style:
Hmm. It depends on how silly I feel that day. I can write very lightheartedly or very seriously, depending on my mood. Actually, if you scroll down a bit, there’s a Top Posts section on the little menu on the left, with links to some of my more popular posts. They display a pretty good variety of my writing styles – serious, silly, dialogue, etc.
This one is probably a good medium example of a mixture of serious and silly: Fear The Paint
This one is more serious and descriptive: Lift Me Up
Then there are posts like this.
16. Name a blog(s) that makes you exclaim, “Damn! I wish I’d written that!”
Pfft. MOST blogs? I really admire the bloggers who can talk about the most painful subjects in the most hilarious ways – A Little Pregnant and Dooce, for example. Probably why they’re so popular. People like a bit of humour in even those most miserable of situations. But pretty much every blog I read, I read for a reason. Usually a combination of humour and heart is what catches me – that balance that I am always trying to achieve.
Thanks to Blahggy for tagging me in this meme blog award!
•Thank the blogger who awarded it to you (isn’t it sad that they have to put basic human politeness in the RULES?)
•Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using five words (what does that even mean?)
•Pass it on to 10 other blogs which you feel have real substance (10? Hmm…)
The Philosophy and Motivations behind If By Yes:
That’s as close as I can come.
It’s tough because I’m not even sure what all that means. Is my philosophy/motivation about what makes me write (love of writing, love of sharing good stories, love of feedback), or what I write about (dogs, babies, biology, boobas)? Is it about the things that are important to me (my husband, my pets, my fetus, my family, books) or the things that are important to write about (things I’ve learned, information to be passed on, truth)?
So now I want to turn it around on you – why do you read If By Yes? What brought you here, to read the confused ramblings of a nerdy lefthander with self esteem problems? Is this your first time, and will you come back? If this is a return visit, why? What makes you comment, when you comment? What posts do you like to re-read? Do you have a favourite post?
And now I will list blogs with substance, in no particular order.If any of you actually read my blog and want to post your award, go ahead and do so. But mostly I’m just posting recommendations, because I believe in promoting good reading materials of all kinds.This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a start.
1. Daycare Daze. This blog is about the life and experiences of a child care expert who runs a daycare out of her home. It’s funny, it’s true, and it’s refreshingly full of information which meshes well with everything I’ve learned about dogs. Babies don’t seem so different.
2. Blahggy. Yes, she gave me the award and someone has already passed it on to her, but I’m still mentioning it because it’s a good read. She is very honest about her personal experiences, and her posts give you something to think about.
3. Emotional Umbrella. Frequently funny, always very open, Emotional Umbrella chronicles the struggles of someone trying to find the right balance of anti-depressant medications while navigating real life.
4. Built-in Birth Control. A heartbreakingly honest blog about living with endometriosis and the struggles of trying to bear children.
5. Sweet Salty Kate. A lovely blog by a talented writer and photographer who lives in the best place on Earth – my home turf of Nova Scotia. While she sadly is best known for losing one of her twin boys several years ago, Kate’s writing is a celebration of life.
6. A Little Pregnant. Frequently hilarious, always thought provoking, this blog covers the years of struggle of IVF, premature birth, egg donation, and the raising of two active little boys after the struggle of infertility, all with a fiendishly irreverent wit.
7. Bub and Pie. Bea hasn’t updated in a while, which makes me sad, because her posts were always awesome. I still encourage you to go and read through the archives if you like thinking about books, parenting, and autism.
8. Are You Sure This Is A Good Idea? This blog is just starting out, but I can tell already that it’s going to be a good one, not the least because the author shares my adoration of good grammar.
9. Mommy By Day. A good Canadian mommy blog that discusses real parenting issues, and shares my philosophy of parenting (which I find comforting, since I’m not actually a parent yet, and Mommy By Day is proof that it isn’t *all* impossible fantasy.)
On my first day working at Sketchy Vets, back before I got my current job, a vet arrived late and heavily pregnant. She was clutching a photo in her hand. It was her 3-D ultrasound pictures. We immediately swarmed the lady, exclaimed over the baby inside her, and responded suitably to her comments about the baby’s lips and ears, and who the baby would resemble. Eventually, I caught her eye as we looked at each other, rather than at the baby picture, for the first time.
“Hi,” I said awkwardly (I don’t know why I bother with that modifier. I do everything awkwardly. If I don’t add an adverb to something I describe myself doing, you can assume the awkwardly) and sticking out my hand with a grin, “I’m Carol. I don’t know your name, but I’ve seen pictures of your insides.”
Last night reminded me of that moment. But times a million.
Blogging is a very personal thing. Whether you are quite private about yourself, or whether you let everything hang out for the world to see, your blog takes on an essential part of your soul. Blogs have an atmosphere, like the smell of someone else’s linens, which reflects something about that person’s personality. Are they tidy, or slap dash? Do they have a sense of humour about themselves? Are they happy, or unhappy? Are they thoughtful, or judgmental?
When you find a blog that you like, you begin to feel like this person is your friend. Even if you never make a comment, you feel like you know this person. You remember key moments in their life, and you have struggled with them through their various tribulations. You have seen their insides.
Last night I met bloggers. I did a totally uncharacteristic thing which was completely alien to my introverted nature, but I actually walked into a bar, openly admitted to two waitresses that I didn’t know who I was looking for, peered into the faces of a lot of strangers, and then approached a couple of women at a table and said (awkwardly), “Excuse me… this might sound odd… but is one of you named Kate?”
Sweet/Salty Kate is a blogger who (whom?) I have followed for a while now. I found her through Hannah’s blog. When she posted that she was coming to Vancouver, and that she wanted to meet random readers who might live out this way, I knew I had to go. Since I know that Hannah knows Kate in real life, I felt fairly certain that she wouldn’t turn into a mass murderer or sell my kidneys over Ebay (on top of the fact that I have been reading her blog and have therefore seen her insides and there was no mention of kidney resale in there.) It was like hearing that a celebrity you like wants to meet random fans and is inviting them to dinner.It’s scary to go, but if you don’t you’ll just kick yourself for the rest of your life, right?
I didn’t go alone. OH, no. I of course had to drag Perfect Husband along.
“I want to do something kind of weird tomorrow night.”
“No, I mean I want to go to a bar to meet a bunch of people I’ve never met.”
“Who are you, and what have you done with my wife?”
Once I explained, he accepted immediately that he would meet me downtown and we would go to this thing. By the time I got downtown, I had worked myself into a real lather. I wouldn’t recognise them, and would look like a fool. I mean, more so than usual (Perfect Husband bet against this happening. I owe him 20 bucks). I would find them and they would be really uncomfortable with a total stranger whose blog they hadn’t even read actually showing up, and would call me a stalker. I would realize what a total loser I am. I mean, more so than usual.
Perfect Husband knew I was nervous. When I met him in Gastown, he handed me a small, black velvet bag and I found a string of natural pearls inside. “I bought a clasp, but it isn’t attached yet,” he said apologetically. Then he told me how awesome he thinks I am, took me to dinner, and then it was time to risk looking like a moron (I mean, more so than usual).
Hi, I’m Carol. You don’t know me, but I’ve seen your insides.
The oddest thing is, Kate looked and sounded just as I expected her to look. How did I know what her voice would sound like? Thankfully, she and the other bloggers had had more experience with meeting fellow bloggers, and didn’t find it nearly so weird. Kgrrl told me that she had also felt really weird the first time she did this. I think the worst part was that we weren’t meeting on equal footing. If two bloggers have been reading each other, they told me, your first conversation could skip right over all that small talk (the stuff I hate) right into “so, how is it going with such-and-such??” Plus, since I only knew East Coast bloggers before, I was meeting most of these other women for the first time, both inside and out. Kristin of Better Now I had looked up since Kate first linked her, and I had peeked at the other people’s blogs. There was Hillary of Two L’s Please, and Gwen… but what could I talk to these people about?
Well, it turned out that Perfect Husband grew up not five minutes from Kate. They started talking about mutual acquaintances. Then Gwen turned out to know Kate from back when they were in Junior High. They had been following each other, but not recognizing each other, for so long. I asked questions about Blog Her, and was amazed and charmed by the little blog business cards that serious bloggers carry. Blog cards. It’s so dorky that you just have to love it. I mean… come on. BLOG CARDS.
That was the craziest thing about last night. Most of these women were slim, sophisticated looking people, beautiful and… totally alien. When you yourself are chunky, left handed, bespectacled and constantly coated in dog hair, you don’t really approach thin, blonde, laughing people. They remind you of the girls who made your life miserable in high school. But here I knew that these women were dorky too. Still cooler than me. Much cooler. They, like, exercise and stuff. But I had something in common with them. We like to open ourselves, and let people in.