Monday, June 28, 2010

Arizona Pros and Cons



I’ll cut to the chase and just start off by asking you to forgive me for not posting in 10 days. I understand that it’s a really long time and you have all come to rely on me for your only source of humor and levity in this crazy busy (sometimes not-too-nice) world. I’m right about at the middle of my “vacation” here in Arizona, the term vacation being used rather loosely. Vacations bring to mind reading piles of books by the pool, sipping frozen girly drinks through pineapple shaped straws, sleeping in, and having people serve you (or at least ordering food out) a majority of the time. While I have had some time by the pool, and I do admit to sucking down a pina colada in my sister-in-law’s fab personal fully stocked bar, the majority of my time has been pretty scheduled, packed full, and ordered according to priority: 1) spend time with grandparents as much as possible 2) spend time with sisters/parents/nieces & nephews as much as possible, and 3) see friends. That’s the honest truth of it, because who knows what tomorrow is going to bring or when I’ll be coming back to the valley and under what circumstances. I’m trying to Carpe Diem. Even though right now the thought of getting hit by a bus sounds really good, if only for the fact that I could sleep in a bed for about a week. It’d have to be a mini bus of course.

While I’m here I figured I’ve give you a little list of the benefits and drawbacks of Arizona through my eyes, and while I generally tend to regard Arizona with some dislike, there are some benefits that I’m reminded of now that I’m here. In no particular order, here you are:

Pros of AZ in June
1. No mosquitos. Ever. Not enough water for much of anything to live on, especially flying insects.
2. Warm summer evenings not requiring even a light jacket.
3. Beautiful sunsets.
4. They sell liquor in the grocery stores. I forgot how much I love one stop shopping.
5. More than two choices of restaurants to eat at.                            
6. Sweet Tomatoes restaurant. A soup, salad, bread, and pasta bar that the East Coast really needs to try to incorporate.
7. Family.
8. Grandparents. I know they are technically family, but they deserve their own line.
9. Wildflower Café iced tea.
10. Good Mexican food twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
11. Shopping with my mom and sisters.
12. Being able to go to a mall that isn’t 30 minutes away.
13. Driving my parents Highlander, which I LOVE.
14. Having all three kids spend an entire weekend with my sister-in-law.
15. More than one place to get ice cream.
16. Spending time in Flagstaff.

Cons about AZ in June
1. Sewer roaches. Although I must admit I haven’t seen that many, thank God.
2. The possibility of scorpions in the house.
3. Swoobies. That’s slang for “sweaty boobies” for those who don’t know. While I’d love to take credit for this fabulous wordsmithing, I must give credit to my friend Liz for using it. Unfortunately, it’s so hot here that you get swoobies on your way out the door.
4. It’s hotter than shit. Which I said to my grandmother today right before I took her home today and we were both melting in the blasted car. It made her laugh pretty hard, so chalk one up for swearing in front of grandma. She agreed, by the way.
5. Everything is brown. Everything. Landscaping, walls, houses, buildings, pool decking, dirt, sand, horizon,   you name it. Life here is beige.
6. Burning your feet if you forget to wear shoes outside. Think it’ll take you “just a second” to get your mail so you forgo the shoes? Fine. Sign up for some foot skin grafts after you hobble back to the house.
7. Hectic pace to life.
8. No farmstands.
9. No rain. I’ve been here 10 days and not only has there not been even one tiny drop of rain, but there are also no clouds in the sky and no forecast for rain anytime soon.
10. It’s hotter than shit. Have I mentioned that yet?
11. Because it’s so warm here, my morning coffee has lost it’s appeal. I’m back to craving iced tea instead, which is no doubt much better for my arse.
12. Dry skin. If the heat wasn’t enough to suck the moisture right from your pores, adding pool chlorine to the mix nails the coffin shut. I’m pretty sure that as we walk we leave a trail of human shaped skin carcasses behind us.
13. Sunburn. Not that you can’t get sunburned in MA, but you usually don’t get one walking to the car or getting the newspaper from the driveway.
14. Swarse. Or swotch. Take your pick. Similar to sweaty boobies, but with your southern hemisphere. This usually causes your underwear to stick to places it’s not supposed to stick to.
15. It’s not home. Even though I fully realize that when I get home the novelty of it will wear off about 5 hours after walking through the door and I’ll be back to missing my family.

There you have it ladies and gentlemen. An little pro and con action for those who may be considering relocating to this fabulously sunny state. Sure you can get ice cream on almost every block, but you’ll pay in swoobies and swotch. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Excuses

It’s currently 12:30 p.m. I have exactly one hour to write this blog before I pick up my children from school and our dear neighbor drives us to the airport to catch our 4:45 flight to Phoenix. That is of course, if my youngest stays glued to the TV and doesn’t need anything, whine, or have to pee while I write this. I figure I owe you some explanation of why I dropped off the planet, but if you’re even half as mediocre as me and you have children nearing the end of school, you probably haven’t had time to read my blog anyway. We’ve almost hit the finish line for the end of the year dash, and quite honestly, I’m out of breath.

Top 10 Reasons I Haven’t Blogged Lately

10. I volunteered at Field Day.
Field Day is an enormous event that includes the entire 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade participating in events from field sports to face painting, free lemonade slushes, and bouncy obstacle courses. Parent Volunteers (read parents trying to get in their “school time” with the kids before school lets out) run and organize all the events. I traded a friend for face painting, which I have to say, I’m fairly good at, assuming that you have good paints to work with. Which I didn’t. I think it may have been easier to use Elmers glue, food coloring, and a stick than the paints I was given, but whatever. Next time I’ll just wear a shirt that says, “I don’t suck, the paints do.” Highlights from the event: It was really cold. I had my youngest with me in a tiny tank top and no sweatshirt. Thankfully, due to the amount of crap in our van, someone left a blanket. My youngest was no longer purple, but I was. Another interesting point is that there was one bathroom with two stalls. There were approximately 250 little girls sucking down lemonade slushes like water in the Sahara, and get this…NO LINE in the bathroom. Not one little girl was waiting to go pee. That has to be a statistical anomaly and made me realize I need to frequent events with more young children, and less with grown women who have bladder incontinence. In fact, the only person I passed on my way out was, you guessed it, another mom. Freaky.

9. I had to take my daughter to Karate later that evening and instead of blogging in the car like I occasionally do I, I worked on an essay for an on line class I’m taking.

8. I’m three lessons and four revisions behind in my essay class.

(I’m currently fighting with my three year old because she sniffed out my carbon dioxide like a mosquito and is now BOTHERING ME. Gotta get to 10, gotta get to 10….)

7. I took three kids and walked in the Relay for Life in Mansfield, MA.
This is the third year I’ve walked with a group called “Playgroup Pals,” in the Relay for Life to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Oddly enough, this group of women had a playgroup many years ago when our children were small and we had time to do fun things, like play together. Our team raised over $5300 (I think) which is a pretty good job all in all. The kids even walked thanks to one of the moms and her idea to use bracelent reinforcements, with the kids earning one plastic foot charm for each lap walked. The two kids who walked the most laps could win a $10 gift certificate to Target. You have never seen my children walk harder and faster than trying to earn 10 bucks to Target. Neither ended up winning, but a good time was had by all. We made it home around 11 p.m. and
 my calves and thighs have ached ever since. I’m pretty sure that means I’m out of shape or something.

6. I’ve been trying to prep the garden for my trip.
There are sooo many things to do with that garden, namely pull weeds and stake the peas and tomatoes, thin the corn and green beans and fill in the potato patch. Don’t you worry, I’ve left a long to-do list for my husband so that when he returns from Phoenix and has three weeks all to himself, he doesn’t get lonely or bored because of all the chores I’ve kindly asked him to do. In fact, even this morning I was out in the garden begging the food not to die while I’m gone. Pretty, pretty please.

5. I’ve been making a garden to-do list for my husband while I’m gone.
It’s taken quite a bit of time. It’s a long list.

4. My husband and I got a babysitter and actually went out on a date.
This was to celebrate his new job, even though he’s going on week four. The girl? Young woman? that used to babysit for us is now back from college so she came to sit for the kids while hubby and I drove out to Sudbury and ate at Bullfinches. Always great food, great drinks, great service. Not inexpensive, but worth the occasional splurge. It’s also always a good idea to have a date night and pay for a babysitter right before you go on a long vacation, have many things to do, and plan on forking over a pretty penny for the next four weeks. We so live on the edge.

3. I’ve been cleaning the house like I’m never coming back to it.
While I’m excited about our trip to Phoenix, one thing has me a little stressed. We have company coming to stay with us a day before I get back with the kids. Yep, that’s right, my husband will now have to make sure the house is clean and the toilet isn’t pee speckled when they arrive. I’ve done my best to make sure the guest room and downstairs are good to go, but there will be last minute things he’ll still have to do: a basic dusting and making sure that the little spiders that live in all corners of our house have been booted out. The sheets are clean. The floors are clean (at least in the guest room). Don’t worry, I’ve left a list of household to-do chores for my better half as well. The good news is that our guests are very gracious people and will not judge us based on how our house looks (or at least that I’ll ever find out about) but still, you hope to make a good impression, if for no other reason than maybe two more people will think you don’t live in filth and squalor. It’s an illusion, I know. But don’t tell them.  

2. I’ve been making a to-do list of household chores for my husband.

1. I’ve been doing laundry for five days and there is still crap in the hampers.
The last time I washed this many loads of laundry in consecutive cycles was when we were dealing with the “L” word. I can’t even type it outloud, lest those little buggars hear me and attach themselves to my children’s heads again. I’ve washed clothes. I’ve washed bedding. I’ve changed sheets, because I can’t remember the last time I changed the sheets and four weeks seems like a long time to let those delicious smells lay in the beds. I’ve washed jackets and scarves that go in the attic, I’ve washed towels and bath mats and blankets. In addition to all the washing, I packed the suitcases with all the clean clothes. I mention this because I had actually contemplated packing dirty clothes and just washing them when I got to my parent’s house, but that felt a little user-ish. Not that I’m above using my parents occasionally, but not right at the beginning of the trip. I’ll give it a couple days.

It’s 1:17 now and my daughter has arrived (again) to climb on my back while I finish this up. It’s my intention to blog while I’m on vacation, but it probably won’t be every day and maybe not even every other day. But I’ll still be here so tune in occasionally to see how my trip is going. Triple digit heat and three kids for four weeks should provide me with lots to talk about. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Potty Paper Pile



This is what I found in the bathroom last night after I came home from a meeting. It’s an innovative new take on leaving the toilet paper off the roll. Normally, I’d find the brand new roll sitting behind the pot, next to the pot, or on the floor in front of the pot. But in all of those cases the toilet paper was still attached to the cardboard tube.

Unrolling the toilet paper from the tube and leaving in it a big pile within stretching distance of the toilet is creative. I hadn’t thought of this. While unsightly and inviting of germs, hair, and bits of debris that live on our floor, reaching out to grab some from the pile on the floor is a lot easier. I’m guessing that it’s my three-year old who decided to make modern art out of butt-tissue, because if it’s anyone else, I need to have a serious talk with him or her.

Sadly, I did not re-roll the toilet paper onto the tube. It’s still sitting in the pile on the floor, although the pile is shrinking a little with each visit. I have tried to have the talk with my youngest about how much toilet paper is appropriate to use for wiping. I don’t think much in sinking in.

I remember my mother having the same talk with me. Many, many years ago.

“Rachie. You are using too much toilet paper. You do NOT need to use THIS much to wipe your little bo-bo. (Bo-bo was my mother’s word for our private area, and generally bo-bo worked unless you were having trouble with your bo-bo and needed to clarify the 'front bo-bo' or 'back bo-bo.) If you go pee-pee you only need two squares.”

“But what if I go poop?” I remember asking.

“Then you can use a little more,” she conceded. “But you girls are wasting toilet paper because you’re scared of getting a little pee or poop on your fingers.”

Well, duh, mom. Pee and poop on your fingers is just gross when you're a kid.

And two squares? Was there some scientific reasoning that helped come up with that number? Was three way too many and one simply too difficult to hold onto? I know we lived paycheck to paycheck, but were we rationing the butt paper too?

As fate would have it, in a beautifully illustrated case of what comes around goes around, I’m now having the same discussion with my little one. While she is extremely adept and using the toilet ALL BY HERSELF, she is also quite skilled at filling the toilet with mounds and mounds of tissue. I've come in after she's finished, to find a toilet bowl with no water, but a white soggy mass overtaking the bowl. Kind of how the kids cereal looks in the morning after they've left it to go to school. No milk, only a bowl of soggy mush. With trepidation I flush while holding the plunger just in case the water level should start to rise threatening my safety on the floor. Like tonight. After I flushed and the bowl overflowed again. I hate to admit this happens quite often at our house. I called for my husband to come and fix the issue. This is one of those times it really pays off to have a husband. The other bit of good news is that the large pile of toilet paper on the floor helped soak up some of the sewage water. Mmmmm. Brownies, anyone?

I did illustrate how many squares Child C was supposed to use to wipe her bo-bo. We counted them together. One. Two. Three. Four. I'm doubling my mother's offer and letting her have four squares to wipe with . 

I don’t want her getting pee on her fingers. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sticking it to my garden

                                                     This isn't the brand I used. But it is organic.




 One of my many, many faults is that not only am I stubborn, but I can also be spiteful. Just a little. But don’t talk to my husband about this because I’m betting he’d be pushing that level more towards “completely.”

 I’m going to blame this on my therapist from some years back, who did such a good job convincing me not to be a door mat, he pushed me to not only stick up for myself, but also to stick it to them. Them being whoever is annoying me or angering me at the time. Maybe he didn't really teach me that per se; maybe it was just one tiny side effect of very effective counseling. Whatever. It’s a terrible cross to carry, truly it is.

But carry this cross I do, because as any good Catholic knows, life is not worth living unless you have many, many crosses to carry, and lots and lots of baggage to go with it. Not only does this give you things to write about, but also a reason to get up in the morning just to prove to people for the rest of the day that you don’t suck. That, and the priests need someone to talk with every Saturday at 4 p.m. during confession.

The latest root of my anger is my garden.

A few days back I walked out to check on the status of my organic seedling transplants, only to discover that three more tomato plants died. Two out of 20 corn seeds came up. Three of my 15 Italian beans sprouted, and are currently being eaten by an evil chipmunk. All my cucumbers died, and one of my healthy looking pickling cuckes just ate it as well. This on top of the devil ants that are consuming an entire bed, pushed me to the max.

I’m pissed. I’ve never lost so many plants before, for reasons I cannot explain. What’s a spiteful gardener to do?

I understand that a garden isn’t a live being, capable of plotting growing failure just to push my buttons, but that’s how it feels to irrational people like myself. That my garden is out to get me. Thumb it’s leaf at me and snicker as if to say, “Oh, yeah? You thought you were doing something right? Ha! Looks like you’ll be spending twice the money at the farmer’s market this summer, cackle, cackle, cackle. Organic-shmanic.”

Well, it just so happens that I have saved all my extra seeds from last year, CONVENTIONAL seeds purchased at Ocean State Job Lot for about a buck each. Not the fancy pants organic seeds I got sucked into buying this year because the catalog was shiny and colorful and full of optimistic potential. I also payed a visit to my local nursery and purchased four different types of tomato plants, already strong and tall. I went home and grabbed those seedy-low-class-unused packages, my new transplants, and headed to my garden. Come hell or high water, I’m going to get something to grow.

In one of my empty beds I planted an entire package of romanesco cauliflower. 8 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart like they suggested? Hell no. In three rows, right next to each other, so the seeds don’t get lonely. And crammed in next to that I planted an entire package of brussel sprouts. Close together. Willy nilly.

I headed over to the defunct corn that never surfaced and reseeded the entire bed with my cheap-ass corn seeds from the bump-and-dent-store. Three to a hole, so I can thin them as they grow? Absolutely not. I stuck five or six corn in every single dirt pocket. I figure at my rate of losing things this year, if one comes up from each plant, I’m doing well.

I also planted an entire package of green beans, four to a hole; two rows of spinach seeds, two rows of butter lettuce, and also a row of romaine starters, just to be pissy. As luck would have it, yesterday I went to check on the garden, and some creature has already dug up some of my lettuce seeds. Looks like the garden is going to be pissy right back.

I’m curious how my organic seeds and plants will feel growing next to such low-life genetically modified (no doubt) seeds. I’m thinking that socio-economically mixing the seeds and plants is probably a really good thing, and may encourage those hoity-toity organic ones to start producing something, if just to be competitive and snarky. Maybe the organic seeds smelled the mediocre middle-class status on my hands and refuse to grow just to put me back in my place. Who am I to require such non-tainted, pure food? Please.

 Right now it’s the waiting game. By the time I leave for Arizona in a week, those seedling should have germinated, and hopefully will be peeking their little red necks, excuse me, green necks out of the soil. I’m curious if I’ll have better luck with conventional seeds versus the organic…you know how hearty salt-of-the-earth things are. And if that’s the case, if my conventional seeds grow like weeds and provide me pesticide free food all summer, while my organic seed lay on their garden beds complaining how hot it is, while pooping out one or two things to eat, I know what I’m purchasing next year.

Mediocre seeds and plants. Ones that sing the same song I do.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

All Monkeys are Not Created Equal


It’s really true that the last kid gets the short end of the stick when it comes to….well, almost everything. Our first born children get the best of us, the middle children get the rest of us, and the last children get what’s left of us. And usually, it ain’t much.

Child C’s birthday (as in A, B, C is my third) was last week and we are celebrating the big day tomorrow. I did not send out cute Smilebox cards with music-I sent out a generic email invite. I did not give people 4 weeks notice-I gave them about two. I am not having it at a park, indoor gym, or Chucky Cheese-we are having it in the back yard if it doesn’t rain. Depending upon how clean the house gets by tomorrow, we may have it outside even if it does rain.

To add insult to injury, Child C has never had a party with kids before. Last year doesn’t really count because I’m quite sure she doesn’t remember it, and the kids who came were the same ones who are at my house almost everyday and very often the weekends. Same ol’ same ol’. Last week on her actual birthday we didn’t even have a cake. We wished her happy birthday a lot, but that’s about it. Sadly, my goal for tomorrow’s birthday is get ‘em in, feed ‘em cake, and move ‘em out. Break out the slip n’ slide, some water balls, two hours start to finish, done.

It’s terrible I know. I recall very fondly my son’s three-year birthday when I invited the entire family to a huge park in Chandler, Arizona, everything themed Elmo, replete with a huge Elmo shaped cake I baked from scratch, including the red-dyed coconut I used to make Elmo look hairy. I’m old now. I just don’t have that kind of energy (or time) anymore. I suck, suck, suck.

And though I suck, I’m not particularly mad at myself, because I’m reasoning that she’s only three and the chances of her remembering her mediocre birthday party are slim. I could be wrong about this, but fortunately for me I won’t find out if this damages her for at least 10 or so years. And by that time you can be damn sure I won’t remember a thing about this party. By then I can play the senility card.

But something is bothering me quite a lot. The girl loves Curious George, so at the very least I wanted to have a few things that represented the darling monkey; plates, ineffective cute napkins, maybe a cheapy plastic table covering. Curious George is pretty popular so I’m thinking it shouldn’t be too hard.

Well, Michael’s craft store has nothing George. Nothing monkey. Nothing even banana. Besides getting some frosting bags, frosting tips, and a tube of black icing, the entire trip was a bust.

I know that if I headed to iParty I could find an entire section devoted to Curious George, with little plastic tumblers, party favors, monkey masks, and maybe even some banana flavored candy. Artificial banana flavor, yummm.

But iParty is a 15-minute drive from my house and in the course of the last few days, I did not have the time to spare. At all. I headed to Target to get what I could, crossing my fingers that some corporate buyer also had a child who adores George.

Well, guess what. No George. No banana stuff either. But wait! They do have some monkey things but nothing resembling the cuteness of the curious one. 
This is that creepy looking Paul Franco monkey design that seems to be all the rage these days. This is a George monkey knock off. I’m thrown back to my childhood when my mother forced me to wear Lee brand jeans instead of Levi’s because they were cheaper, and they “look just the same.” No one wore Lee jeans. Everyone wore Levi’s. Just because they both use denim doesn’t make them interchangeable. Turns out, a monkey isn’t just a monkey either.

What bothers me most about the Target monkey—and I’d hold onto your seats because I’m going to get a little inappropriate—is that the mouth really bothers me.

A lot. It’s just too…vaginal for me. Labial if you will. I know Freud would have a field day psychoanalyzing why I must turn that stupid monkey’s mouth into a vagina, but I’ve said it. It’s clearly the same part of me that thinks Muno looks like a big, bumpy, one-eyed dildo. Judge me if you will.

I know Child C will not think that anything is wrong with knock-off monkey, but it bothers me that over 10 little children are going to be eating chocolate cake off labial-monkey faces. It’s just gross. And even though I have a problem with this monkey face, do you think it encourages me to get my ass in the van and drive the 15 extra minutes to get REAL Curious George monkey paraphernalia?

Of course not. Because I do not have the time. Because she is my third child and this is what’s left of me. So tomorrow while the kids are inhaling cake off inappropriate plates and wiping their little innocent mouths with primate porn, I’ll just have to grin and bear it. I suppose it could be worse. That funky monkey could be eating a banana. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blogathon Brilliance: Things I've learned


Well, two days after the blogathon is over, and I’ve finally had time to process what I learned and have given my fingers a break. And my mind. My creative mind was becoming soggy cereal mush trying to come up with things to write about. Yes, even when I wrote about nothing. That takes energy too.

During the blogathon I tried to visit all the bloggers who were participating in the ‘thon, and I’ve almost made it. I’ve promised myself that I’m going to get to each one. Even if the blogathon is over.

But there are many lessons to be learned from this experience, little nuggets of take away wisdom that helps people like me gain perspective about my own blog, effort, writing skills, et al. And after which I have determined: I am appropriately mediocre. I’m right there in the middle. I’ve determined the middle place is a good place to be. So- things I’ve learned:

There are people out there who have fabulously designed blogs.
Reading many other blogs is a little like window shopping: you get to admire all the goods and then go home and try to replicate them yourself. I now know there are many different places to get blog designs, like The Cutest Blog on the Block, and many bloggers who are just really good at designing their own stuff. I love the look of Blogging About Boys, and Parenting By Trial and Error. Very homey and scrapbook-y, which I find darling. I also ran across Western Gardeners.com, which has to be one the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen. From a design perspective, it’s easy to use, the photos and graphics aid the reader and don’t hinder it, and everything from the colors to the fonts are cohesive. Looking at these beautiful blogs and then going to visit my own, leaves me feeling a little bit like I’m wearing baggy, faded, plain, straight-cut jeans, while those around me are sporting low waisted, butt-affirming, boot-cut, rhinestone studded, embroidered pockets, haute couture denim, but my content is good, so I’ll focus on that. I can always get butt-affirming designs later.

There are blogs on just about anything. And everything.
One of the things that us bloggers fear, is not having a community with whom to share our passion. Having no readers feels like failure, and makes you ask the question about whether falling trees make a sound in the forest if no one is around to hear it. But blogging classes (and famous bloggers as well) stand by the rule that to be successful, you must blog about what you love. The readers will find you. Three blogs I found interesting and unique (and just go to show you that you can find a blog on just about everything) are: The Boom Boom Room, a blog about folk music and the hippie generation, that also include some fabulous clips of old tv commercials; About English Idioms, a blog dedicated to the history of idioms and why we’ve come to coin terms like “Takes the Cake,” or “The Cat’s Meow.” And lastly, there’s even a blog for people who’d like more information on how to get stoned correctly, and possibly even make money by selling marijuana to people who medically need it, on the blog Stonerprenuer.com.  Her mission statement reads, “Do you want to be a healthier, happier, more productive stoner? You’ve come to the right place. Let me show you how…” Oddly enough, Sami (admittedly) had trouble blogging every day in May, mainly because she is “extremely forgetful” and subscribes to the “less is more” view of communication (which includes blogging), and she’s not going to “beat herself up about it.” (All those quotes are her words, not mine.) I’m thinking that maybe she should take the “more productive stoner” line out of her mission statement and hit the hash pipe again. But like I said, there’s truly a blog out there for everyone.

 I really like the three column layout and need to try and put that into my site.
Another thing I discovered is that I really like the three-column layout for blogs. I’m liking Blog Salad and Lost in the View, the latter actually being a blogspot blog. Which means it’s possible for me to do this, event though Heather warned me that it took her “4 hours and 10 beers” to figure it out. It’s always bothered me that my blog has a ton of wasted space in the sidebars, which makes my blogs run super long (not that I tend to ramble on about things) forcing people to scroll to read my stuff. I’d also like to include more links, and other interesting things in that wasted space, eventually even (possibly) trying to monetize my blog. Could you imagine making like, $5.32 cents a month just because people clicked through to see advertising? That’s one free latte. Or one day of late-fees for my library books. Or five things from the dollar store, which keeps my kids busy for 30 minutes while they peruse the crappy, chemical-laden products. Regardless, I must get myself three-columns.


Everyone has days when they are too tired-so we repost, ask questions, and link like crazy.

At the beginning of the blogathon, Michelle Rafter, host and organizer of this fabulous event, blogged about “10 Sure Cures for Blogger Burnout,” which include, reposting old blogs, having people guest post, and also using photos and You Tube clips as postings for a day. I hated having to post lame blogs about how tired I was or how I didn’t have anything to say, but that’s honestly how those days were. Even pro-blogger and parenting author Jen Singer has days when she just can’t get out a long blog. So you can imagine how happy I was to read her post entitled, “I Got Nothin.” Yeah Jen! Thank you for having nothing. If for no other reason than I feel better about myself when I have nothing. During this thon I used all the aforementioned tricks and they can be lifesavers. I’m always left wondering though, would people rather read my blogs about nothing, than nothing itself?  

There are people who make me laugh. Out Loud.

Probably the best thing about this whole blogathon, was that I found my alter ego living in Ohio and blogging at Two Hands and a Roadmap. I love that she’s slightly embarrassed of living in the town known for it’s Polka Hall of Fame, and that she swears more than me in print. I swear plenty in person but not as often in print, and Tara swears plenty in the written word. And she’s funny. She hides cookies in the oatmeal container in her freezer. Her husband also does not read her blog. It’s truly freaky how similar I feel we are. And her pic on Facebook makes her look a little edgy and neurotic. I love that even more. She also has a gift for being really funny within a really short blog post, which I need to learn to do. Perhaps writing a thesis-length blog posting every time is not necessary, and I could swear a couple times and get the same effect. I’ll have to practice being short. To the point. Concise. Without losing the funny. Tara does this brilliantly. Thanks Tara!

All in all, it’s been a great month. Sure there were other teeny, tiny bits of blogging information that I picked up, like the differences between Wordpress and Blogger; the importance of having your very own domain name, and the necessity of marketing and cross linking yourself between Twitter, Facebook, your blog, your email, your personal website, Digg, and Stumble, which for the most part, wafted over my head like a thick, heavy, breeze on humid July afternoon, leaving me feeling sticky and confused. Everything in it's time. The biggest lesson for me was that making blogging a priority makes all the difference. Taking the time every day to write a post has done wonders for my dedication and self-discipline. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from readers and friends who like reading the posts everyday, and are actually tuning in pretty regularly. Now all I need to do is transfer that skill set over into other areas of my life: writing my novel, cleaning the house, staying organized, and making dinner to name a few. And speaking of the latter, the kids need to eat. Dangit.