Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One more birthday post

It's the last day of May, so it's the last day I'm celebrating my blog's fifth birthday. I say celebrating, but mostly I've just been slacking.

There is still a list of writers to whom I would like to send you, but I'm going to wrap it up tonight with just a few of them.

Janet, who blogs as Izzymom, is a long time favorite. She did the design for my blog (which we were working on updating until I dropped off the face of the internet in January), and she also took a chance on me for my first group blog experience. Back in the day, when review blogs were interesting, Janet started Props and Pans. It was fun while it lasted, and then she moved on to a bigger project: Green Mom Finds, which is now The Green
Mom Review. The Green Mom Review and Cool Mom Picks are the two review blogs I ever read. Occasionally. Okay, so I just don't really like review blogs very much. There. I said it. But Janet rocks. I credit her with making me feel like I belonged here in this land of bloggers. She gave me a shot, and I've always appreciated it.

Some women who I adore and who are also wonderful writers:

Chicken and Cheese: Amy gave me a look into motherhood through the most beautiful, honest, writing before I was even a mother. Also working through the death of her father, she helped me prepare for the death of mine - I knew, as I read her mourning, that I was losing mine. She helped me so much these past few months and doesn't even know it.

Slouching Past Forty: Sarah started out as Slouching Towards Forty. I love that. Her poetry is amazing, and the nonfiction pieces on her very complicated relationship with her mother and the time since losing her is worth an evening of yours. Really. Just go read her whole blog right now.

Magpie Musing: Maggie works in non-profit arts in NYC. She's smart, funny, and I wish some days that I had a job like hers.

Playgroups are No Place for Children: I just love Jennifer. She is someone I wish lived across the street from me like Cyndi does. There are just some bloggers who you know you would like to have playdates with as much as you like to read their writing. That's not as weird as it sounds. In case you haven't figured this out yet - liking someone doesn't mean that you will like their blog. Nor does liking their blog mean that you will like to hang out with them. Jennifer is generous in her writing, artful in her photography, and stinkin' hilarious and I have loved hanging out with her for the 15 minutes we got to.

Miss Zoot: Kim was another of the first few blogs I fell hard for. I found her because she had these awesome Blogger templates that you could use for free. I loaded up one of her templates, went back to read some of her blog, and I was hooked. I'm not even going to try and sum her up - you just have to read for yourself. I will tell you this, however. She made her wedding cake out of Krispy Kreme donuts. Rock on.

I'll wrap this up with an obvious one. Toddler Planet. Susan is the best friend you could ever wish for. Some days, I admit, it's a little tough to share her with so many many many people, but I will. Lucky for me, she has enough grace, love, and wisdom to go around. So I link to her once again tonight. Thanks, Susan, for encouraging me to start this crazy blogging habit. It's been a fun ride, and a great thing to share with you.

There you have it. A little summary. Happy birthday to me and my blog. I wish there was cake.

This is part of my fifth blog birthday party. These are simply bloggers I have been reading for five years and have impacted me. They are being featured in no particular order.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tanis, Daniel, and Jessica

So, I'm still celebrating five years of this little blog. Why, I'm not sure, except that I have more links to share. Trust me, I don't actually think that five years of oversharing on the internet is actually something to get this excited about. Wow. My grammar sucks.

In December 2006, I had my first miscarriage. I was 12 weeks pregnant. It was two days after Christmas. I was in Tennessee visiting my family. It was my first baby. I had to have a D&C in a strange hospital with a doctor I didn't know.

It sucked.

I wrote about it. A lot. I was open and raw.

And then something I would almost call miraculous happened. People found me. Women who I didn't know started commenting. I followed links from comments around the internet and found a whole community of women who were dealing with their private pain in a very public way.

I spent hours in front of the computer, weeping for people I had never met. It was cathartic. It helped me with my own grief. It also helped form a community for me.

Tanis is best known as Redneck Mommy. Her blog has won too many awards to list here. She is a great storyteller and a really funny lady.

She had another blog before Attack of the Redneck Mommy though. I started reading Tanis when she was writing on Missing My Bug. She stopped posting there in 2007, but the archives are still there. If you have some time and a large box of Kleenex, it is so worth reading. Her words about being the mother of Shale, who was born with disabilities and died too soon.

If you don't have a lot of time, I would suggest you read this one post of hers. You only need a few minutes, but you'll still need the box of Kleenex.

There are others with stories of grief. Some of the writing is so beautiful.

I just tried for a metaphor there. I tried like five times, and none of them worked. Some of the writing is so beautiful. That's enough.

Daniel is one of the few male bloggers I have followed almost religiously. I started reading his blog the night we got home from Tennessee after that miscarriage. Kevin tried to get me to stop, because the sobbing was a little disconcerting. But I couldn't stop. And the sobbing wasn't pity. It was sorrow for all the losses. Parents, spouses, children, everyone. Plus, Daniel is the most amazing writer. Sometimes I would just cry because his words were so beautifully woven.

He doesn't post often anymore, but I'm always so happy when he does. I think he feels as though he owes it to the internet to occasionally update. Of course he doesn't, but I'm not going to mention that - because selfishly, I hope he will start writing more again.

If you have followed those links, then I owe you a funny one. Luckily, I've got one. Jessica at Oh, the Joys, was the first blogger who got me laughing again in early 2007. One morning in January, I sat and read her entire blog. I needed Kleenex for her writing, but the tears were from laughter.

She is not just funny though. She's a really great person too. Dig around a little bit, and you'll see that she works tirelessly for the gain of others. She's the kind of person you would be lucky to have on your side.

This is part of my fifth blog birthday party. These are simply bloggers I have been reading for five years and have impacted me. They are being featured in no particular order.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gail Anne Photography and A Little Nosh

Two of the first bloggers I developed strong friendships with have both moved into a different type of blogging. I still enjoy reading their work, and I'm proud of them for their strong business sense and drive.

Gail is an artist. She is an artist whose medium of choice happens to be photography, but I'm not one to call her a photographer. She is far far more than that. She is a true artist.

She has combined her blog with her business now. I can't stop looking at her pictures, and as always, I love to read what she has to say. Gail Anne Photography

Then there is Amy. If I remember correctly, Amy didn't cook much when I first met her. Maybe I'm dreaming that up, but I think it's right. Regardless, she cooks now. And bakes. And writes about it. I love reading her food blog. She tries things that are out of her comfort zone, but she also will do posts on some tried and true meals.

She is getting serious about it, and recently made it into the Top 50 Mom Food Bloggers list that Babble put out. I'm so proud of her. A Little Nosh

This is part of my fifth blog birthday party. These are simply bloggers I have been reading for five years and have impacted me. They are being featured in no particular order.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bloggers I would invite to my birthday party

In July 2006, I took a trip. I jumped on a plane and headed to Blogher in Chicago.

There were more than a few moments that I thought I might be crazy. I didn't really know anyone, except for interacting with them online.

Then the first session started, and sitting just a person over from me was Liz, who wrote Hilarities Ensue. She was on my dream list to meet in person, and there she was, sitting almost right beside me.

Since then, Liz has stopped blogging, but thanks to Facebook, we are still keeping up with each other.

That same year, I met the trifecta of mommybloggers. Kristen, Julie, and Liz (Mom 101, not the previously mentioned Liz) had all met each other at BlogHer the year before. They then spent the next year taking over the internet. I'm only partially kidding.

Kristen, who was the first blogger I ever read, still posts regularly on her personal blog, Motherhood Uncensored. If you are from Mississippi (read, from, not "still living there and think it's the bee's knees"), then you should definitely check out her posts regarding our fair state. Start with this one about playing weddings there. Be sure you pee first.

If I tried to list all of the other places you can find Kristen now, I would surely leave some of them out. But I can mention her book, The Mominatrix's Guide to Sex, and the website that she runs with Liz, Cool Mom Picks.

Julie was Mothergoose Mouse when I started reading her, rebranded as The Mom Slant, but now simply blogs at Julie Marsh. Comments are closed, and she doesn't track stats. She stopped drinking six months ago, about nine months after I did. I'm very proud of her and love the way she has been able to talk about it. She is also a VP at Cool Mom Picks, and does a bunch of other cool stuff.

What keeps me coming back to Kristen and Julie though is not their internet domination. It's their writing. The stories they tell, and the way they tell them. They are another couple of bloggers who keep me blogging.

This is part of my fifth blog birthday party. These are simply bloggers I have been reading for five years and have impacted me. They are being featured in no particular order.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bloggers I would invite to my birthday party

Today is Kevin's birthday. Let's get that out of the way so we can talk about something far more important. (Kidding, of course. Happy birthday to the love of my life.)

Today this blog is five years old. Usually blog milestones fly right past me because, you know, who really cares? However, since a lot of my favorite bloggers started up all around the same time, I've been noticing five year anniversaries a lot lately.

Instead of talking about me, which is of course, what usually happens around here (What? It's a personal blog. What do you expect?), I have decided to celebrate my five year blogging anniversary by sharing it with the bloggers who have impacted me. The women in my blog reader who make me want to keep reading and keep writing.

The bloggers I love tell stories. They are deeply personal. They are brilliant writers. They are funny. They are smart. They aren't trying to sell me anything. They are authentic. They long to be heard - really heard. They are women who I consider friends - in a 21st century kind of way.

Because one of my favorite things about blogging is the community, I've decided to celebrate five years of blogging by sharing some of those bloggers with you. You can thank me later.


I'm starting with Bon because she has the most beautiful post up today about her grandfather. Her last living grandparent who died last week.

Her words sit right down on the couch with me. I know that relationship. I know that love between grandfather and granddaughter. I cry with her because my heart hurts for her, but also because she took me right back to my own losses.

It is what powerful writing does. It involves you.

Go. Read. Get involved.

This is part of my fifth blog birthday party. These are simply bloggers I have been reading for five years and have impacted me. They are being featured in no particular order.

I love Abandon Kansas loves me

Kevin and I had a date last night. We went to see a band. The last time we did that, it was 2008, we went to see Liam Finn, I posted about it before we went, someone read that info, showed up at the show, harassed us, and we had to go get a restraining order.

Good times, good times.

Last night's date was no less weird, but far more pleasant. And look! I'm not telling you about it until AFTER the fact. I'm so smart.

There is this band that I love. Really love. They are called Abandon Kansas.

These days, it's hard for me to find new music that reaches my heart. That's a cheesy way to put it, but it's true. There are a lot of bands and musicians that I hear and like, but very few that draw up the intense desire to listen and absorb the music.

I'm talking about a feeling I got a lot in college and right afterwards - a time when I woke, ate, slept, dreamed, breathed, lived music. I was majoring in music. I was working in a CD store. I was playing in a band. I was the pianist at a church. It was nothing but music, and I was constantly finding music that resonated so deeply with me that it became part of how I would identify myself.

Anyway, back to present day. I found this band, Abandon Kansas, on Amazon when they released a free mp3 of "O Come All Ye Faithful." It is the most beautiful arrangement I've ever heard. I barely breathed through the entire first listening.

I immediately searched for more of their music and found an EP which was also stinking amazing. Flat out fabulous.

Soon after that, they released a new full length CD. I went over to their tour page to see if they were playing anywhere near us, and to my complete surprise, they were opening their tour - wait for it - - - in a church.


If I hadn't rambled on so long already, I would enter into a diatribe about the disdain I hold for Christian music and the industry that drives it. I could go on a bit about the fact that the word Christian isn't a very good adjective, and how there are plenty of musicians who are Christians, but who make good music that doesn't isolate itself by using bone tired imagery of being on your knees and writing lyrics that make it sound like Jesus is your boyfriend. Not to mention the times I've been told my music wasn't "Christian enough."

Oh, sorry. Did I just make that personal? Hmph.

Here's the funny thing though. It's not the first time that a band or artist has hooked me with their music before I realized they were "Christian artists." Buddy and Julie Miller. Sixpence None the Richer. Just to name a couple.

When the only date in North Carolina on Abandon Kansas' tour was at a Baptist church in Pittsboro, I was skeptical. I have to admit, I was worried there would be a love offering and an alter call. Hand raising, swaying, and lots of people pretending to look at the ceiling but whose eyes were really closed.

The whole idea made me shudder.

But we went anyway. That's how amazing this band is.

And we were not disappointed.

There were four bands playing in a tiny sanctuary complete with lights, a really really crappy PA, and a fog machine. The first band, a local group, moshed about, did that growly scream thing that is supposed to be metal, and generally played too damn loud. The second band was in the middle of the most annoyingly long sound check I have ever endured, so we left and went to get a bite to eat. Third band was actually pretty good. They claimed to be from Tupelo, MS, but I think they are actually from Booneville, not that it matters.

FINALLY, Abandon Kansas went on, and the entire experience became worth all of the weirdness. Even playing through a PA that was shot early on in the evening, they sounded amazing. They were tight. Really tight. And they played in sync with their own videos, which were being shown on monitors behind them during the show. If you aren't a musician, you might not know how hard that is - but let me tell you - it's really damn hard. And the result is very cool.

In the midst of all of that, we got to hang out with the bass player a good bit. He is adorable and was great fun to talk to.

So, yeah. Weird. Hanging out in a small Baptist church with about 20 teenagers to hear a great band.

Not your typical date, but can I just say how much I love my husband for putting up with my bizarre plans and outings? Because I do.

Monday, May 02, 2011

One nation united

"I believe that as people of God, we must answer evil. Sometimes that answer is prayer, sometimes that answer is force. Is killing ever justified? Possibly as an appropriate response to unfathomable evil." ~Karen Wells

Osama Bin Laden is dead.

It is good for our country. It was the right thing for our military to do. Hopefully, it is a giant step to the end of this long war.

But our military is still there. Men and women are still separated from their families. Innocent lives will continue to be lost. It's not over yet, and I'm left wondering what exactly comes next. It's not something that makes me feel like breaking out the bubbly.

Sobering is the word of the day.

I do find it incredibly sad that one the day after the most significant event in this war, that our country isn't standing together. That people are actually infusing inflammatory politics into what should be a battle won together. 

Will nothing ever give us pause to just be Americans for one day? To just be united for even 24 hours?

If that is the case, then Bin Laden is still winning from his watery grave.