"Hush now don't you cry. Wipe away the tear drop from your eye..."
She stands in the parking lot, right on main street for all the small town to see her. She's there with a friend. She's sixteen, and silly, and so new to matters of the heart.
"You're lying safe in bed. It was all about dreams spinning in your head..."
Her high school is having a dance here under the stars, in celebration of graduation. He had graduated that day, and asked her to stop by the dance - he would be there. She was unsure. Their short past had been... put on hold? She wasn't sure. Not sure of how she felt about him, or how he felt about her. All she knew was that she had taken some space to clear her head, and he had taken it the wrong way. They were friends now.
"Your mind tricked you to feel the pain, of someone close to you leaving the game.... of life..."
She had been told mere hours earlier that her father was transferred and they would be moving before fall. She was leaving everything soon. Her heart was broken.
"So here it is, another chance. Wide awake you face the day, your dream is over. Or has it just begun?..."
Now she's standing on the pavement, searching the crowd. Exposed. She didn't want to be here, but she wanted to see him. Her friend runs off with a former boyfriend to have one last dance. She's all alone now. It's dark, save for the street lights and the stars. The song is familiar, and drowns out everything around her.
"There's a place I like to hide - a doorway that I run through in the night. Relax child you were there, but only didn't realize, and you were scared..."
Most everyone is starting to leave for other destinations. She sees him across the parking lot, helping a girl into his car. He shuts the door for her, and then crosses over to the girl who is standing alone, and wishing she wasn't there.
"It's a place where you will learn to face your fears, retrace the years, and ride the wings of your mind..."
What was said between them is blurry now. Hi, nice to see you, etc., etc. "See you later" he says, and gives her a smile before turning back to his car, and the other girl waiting for him. She doesn't know where they are going next, and yet she does, and pretends not to care. She is alone again - just her, and this song. Her eyes turn to the stars.
"Commanding in another world, suddenly you hear and see this magic new dimension..."
The stars are always crisp and clear here - the best thing this small mountain town has going for it. She stares at them, but doesn't see them. She pretends she's not standing alone in a parking lot waiting for this last song to play out so she and her friend can leave. She thinks about moving, changing schools, changing friends. She thinks about him, and wonders what would have been if she had handled things differently. She wonders what will be now.
"I will be watching over you..."
She and her friend get back into their car. The song still echoes in her soul. Something about her is different now. That song will never sound the same to her. She starts the car and glances at the clock. 12:34.
"I am gonna help you see it through..."
"Wish minute!" her friend says. "Make a wish!" The girl closes her eyes, and without even realizing that she wanted it, she wishes for some kind of a future with him. For a second chance. She's almost surprised by what her heart has spoken to her when she opens her eyes, pulls out of the parking lot, and drives away, sorry she had ever gone to that dance.
"I will protect you in the night..."
She has no clue at that moment what the upcoming summer, and years beyond it, hold for her. Romance and first love, separation, hurt feelings and heartbreak, first times, and then... on the horizon, a promise, and a life - with him.
Three in a bed and the little one said "roll over"
Gabriella is a pretty good sleeper, despite the way she started out. When she does wake up at night she rolls over and goes back to sleep. Come about 6:00 am, though, she has some inner alarm clock that wakes her up and sends her into Mommy and Daddy's room, where she likes to climb up in bed and finish her slumber twisting her mother's hair into knots.
The problem in this is her mother (uh, that's me) is a deep sleeper. (As in an 18 wheeler could run right through the next room and I probably wouldn't hear it.) So in toddles Gabriella, and climbs up into bed and snuggles into me, and I notice nothing. Come 7:30 when Spiral's alarm clock goes off (and no, I don't hear that, either) poor Spiral is hanging onto the edge for dear life, I am squished up against him, and our daughter is sprawled out, snoring.
So it is her fault that I don't get any good sleep! (Please, don't mention to her that I stay up until one in the morning blogging.)
All this talk of music has got me thinking more about it. Last night as Spiral and I retired to our bedroom, ah-hemm.... early, I turned on my "mood music" playlist. It has all my favorite "sexy" songs, and a few of Spiral's, that I don't completely agree with but included them for him, because that's the kind of good person I am. (Spiral, I hear you chuckling, and I don't appreciate it.)
Musical tastes vary widely, and what is good, or fun, or sexy is subjective, so I'm curious - what songs do you find perfect for a late-night rendezvous with your sweetie?
Being the good sport that I am, here are the songs on my playlist:
Close to Me - The Cure
Sanctified - Nine Inch Nails
Whisper - Morphine
I Want You Now - Depeche Mode (You'll see a lot of Depeche Mode here)
Vivi over at Dispatches from France, along with her friend Tracey from Studio Zoe have come up with a fabulous idea to help ex-patriots feel a little closer to home, or for anyone to learn a little bit about another country. They have started the Great International Secret Blog Exchange.
It works similar to a secret santa exchange. They are taking sign-ups until February 10th. Head on over there and get your name on the list!
I find the pizza companies' attempt at reinventing the pizza every three months amusing. It a pizza folks. No matter how you change the shape, it's going to taste like a pizza. Thin crust, thick crust, no crust, stuffed crust, double-decker, square and round in an assortment of sizes. Every time I think they've taken the pizza as far as they can, they come up with a new idea. The latest I've seen is the "dippin' strips". This is simply a square pizza cut into strips rather than slices, and 3 sauces provided for dipping your pizza into. Brilliant!!
Why don't you really push the boundaries of pizza? Pepperoni, onion, and cheese over tomato sauce is good, but it has been done. Here are a few of my ideas...
Breakfast pizza - scrabbled eggs, sausage, bacon, sauteed onion, mushrooms, peppers, cheese on a pizza crust with a holandaise sauce.
Kid's Classic - peanut butter with jelly or honey, and a top crust to keep the mess to a minimum. Served with a glass of milk, of course.
Pot Roast - Slow-cooked pot roast, shredded with thin slices of roasted carrots, potatoes, and onion with a gravy sauce.
Spaghetti - Garlic crust topped with sauce, spaghetti, and parmesan cheese. (meatballs are extra)
Paella - saffron rice with polish sausage, shrimp, olives, shredded chicken - the possiblities go on for days. (Although I think this may be better as a calzone.)
Okay, so they may not be winners, but I'm telling you, Dominos and Pizza Hut will be hurting for ideas soon. If you see any of these pop up on their menus you know who they stole them from!
Welcome to Mommy Matters first Weekly blog round-up. There are really no hard and fast rules here. I will link to posts and blogs that caught my attention through-out the week, the point being to introduce new people, spread the love, etc. (Thank yous go to the wonderful Purple Elephant for this idea.)
Lonna shares with us the picture of a caring, concerned mother. Makes you wonder what some people are thinking!
Have you met Mel yet? She is a wonderful person, and the mother of triplets!! (I could pass out from exhaustion just thinking about it!) She has a fantasic answer to those strangers who take pity on her...
Thank you to Michele for pointing me in the direction of Jinky Art!! I am so in love with these photos!!
Sarah posted this fun find for her readers. I always wanted to know what I would look like through the eyes of Botticelli! (Actually I'm still wondering, because I haven't had time to find an appropriate picture of myself. Once I do perhaps I'll share the result with all of you.)
Because creativity elludes me tonight, and I thought this was fun, I decided to do it here. I set my ipod on random and have included here a few lines from the first 20 songs to pop up. See if you can figure out what songs they are from. As they are guessed, I'll strike out the lines and let you know the song title and artist, along with who guessed correctly first, and a link to their site. (Spiral, you aren't allowed to play - yet.) Have fun!
**Update - All done. Thanks all for playing!
1. "You know I even think that she stared like you. She used to just stand there and stare, and roll her eyes right up to heaven, and make like I just wasn't there."Vanessa got Catch, by The Cure
2. "I will have faith in man, That is hard to understand. Show some humility, You have the ability..."Monique and Goldberry worked together to get Get Right With Me, by Depeche Mode.
3. "The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago, Turned around backwards so the windshield shows. Every streetlight reveals the picture in reverse."ViVi got Nightswimming, by REM
4. "Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees. Time can break your heart, have you begging please...begging please."Purple Elephant got Tears in Heaven, by Eric Clapton
5. "Somebody spread the rumor that you had lost your life. 'Least that's the way I heard it and what I told my wife. Now here you're showing up again and talk is getting' round, And I can see that one of us will have to leave this town."John got My Wife Thinks You're Dead, by Junior Brown
6. "I'm sitting by the, Window of your, Thirty-second, Floor apartment, Waiting, For your, Phone calls, All to End,"musikdude got Guitar, by Cake
7. "I try to discover, A little something to make me sweeter, Oh baby refrain, From breaking my heart. I'm so in love with you, I'll be forever blue. That you give me no reason, Why you're making me work so hard..."Purple Elephant got A Little Respect, by Erasure
8. "I built a little empire out of some crazy garbage called the blood of the exploited working class. But they've overcome their shyness, now they're callin' me Your Highness, and the world screams..."John got Kiss Me, Son of God, by They Might Be Giants
9. "So she called home to say she'd be late, He said, he worried but now he'd feel safe. I'm glad you're with your girlfriend, Tell her "Hi" for me"musikdude got I Kissed a Girl, by Jill Sobule
10. "Children put away your toys, All your little children's games. Let the jazz band make some noise. Step up ladies and watch out boys."John got Got My Own Thing Now, by Squirrel Nut Zippers
11. "I just loved to listen as she sang those story songs, 'Bout a Coat Of Many Colors, or a girl named Delta Dawn. When The Lights Went out In Georgia, I would beg for just one more, All about Fancy and the pretty red satin dancin' dress she wore."Cori got Blame it on Mama, by The Jenkins
12. "I'm so ashamed, I've been so mean, I don't know how it got to this point, I always was the one with all the love, You came along, I'm hunting you down..."Monique and Goldberry worked together to get Simple Kind of Life, by No Doubt
13. "Someone holds me safe and warm. Horses dance through a silver storm. Figures dancing gracefully across my memory."Cori got Once Upon a December, by Deena Carter from Anastasia.
14. "Sergeant O'Leary is walkin' the beat, At night he becomes a bartender. He works at Mister Cacciatore's down on Sullivan Street, Across from the medical center."Lonna got Movin' Out, by Billy Joel
15. "Look into my eyes and it's easy to see One and one make two, two and one make three, It was destiny."Grins got Tribute, by Tenacious D
16. "I think I'll take a moment, celebrate my age. The ending of an era and the turning of a page. Now it's time to focus in on where I go from here..."Katie got My Next 30 Years, by Tim McGraw
17. "Let them believe me. Let them wonder if I lie, let them believe me."Carrie got Getting Closer, by Nitzer Ebb
18. "I say, we can go where we want to, A place where they will never find. And we can act like we come from out of this world, Leave the real one far behind."Heatheranne got Safety Dance, by Men Without Hats
19. "When I'm out walking I strut my stuff yeah I'm so strung out. I'm high as a kite I just might stop to check you out."Monique got Blister in the Sun, by The Violent Femmes
20. "Give 'em an act with lots of flash in it And the reaction will be passionate. Give 'em the old hocus pocus, Bead and feather 'em. How can they see with sequins in their eyes?"Katie got Razzle Dazzle, by Richard Gere from the Chicago Soundtrack
Today we went to pick up our rental car. We had decided to spend one day exploring the countryside a bit. Although it wasn't the best time of year for it, we wanted to see some vineyards. We love to take road trips, and were looking forward to seeing more of France than just Paris, and comparing the views to the ones we grew up with.
Spiral was not at all intimidated by driving in a foreign country, which was a good thing because I certainly was. I navigated our way out of the city, and headed south. We had planned to visit the Burgundy region, but never made it that far.
As we're driving down the highway I'm looking out at green fields and trees, and thinking about how much longer people have been living here on this land than in our home country, and about all the history that has taken place here.
We stopped in Auxerre and parked the car. We wandered the streets a bit and found a place to eat lunch. (I failed to write down the name of this place.) I had a rib steak with green beans and cottage potatoes. I remember thinking it was one of the best meals I had had so far on our trip, and also the most like what I'd eat at home. We then drove out into the wine country of Chablis. We got to see fields of vineyards, rolling over the hills in perfect rows, and though the vines were bare and the sky was overcast, it was beautiful. I could just see the vibrant greens that exist on that land during the summer, and the people who care for the land. It was just as breath-taking as seeing the Eiffel Tower.
We then drove through the town of Ligne Le Chalet, and were so charmed to find they had just had the "Saint-Vincent Tournante Du Chablisien" in honor of Saint Vincent. Spiral had to inquire about it, and from what we learned it was an annual festival in honor of the patron saint of the Chablis grape. The entire village was covered in little paper flowers, hundreds of balloons put together to make huge clusters of grapes, and pine trees painted all colors of the rainbow. It truly was an amazing sight! (While driving through the narrow streets in the rain, I had Spiral stop near a tree so I could take one of these pretty little crepe paper flowers. I felt bad about taking it, but I was certain that with every tree in town covered in these charming decorations, it would never be missed, and I hold it as one of my most precious souvenirs from our trip. I look at it and imagine small French school children forming the colorful paper into flowers for the town's festival.) We spent so much time just driving around admiring all of this work.
We then had to head back to Paris. I had no problem finding American songs on the radio - for some reason we heard ACDC quite a bit. That evening we ate at L'Atelier Renault on the Champs Elysees, which seemed to be a combination restaurant, art gallery, and car museum. We ate on a narrow walkway that crossed above the art gallery.
We went to bed that night knowing it was our last night in Paris. Tomorrow we would start our journey north. (This is where my notes end for our trip, so wish me luck in remembering London as well as I did Paris!!)
I love to travel. I don't get to do it much, but I really love it. Usually when we travel we drive. I've driven clear across the United States more than once, and have encountered some interesting places. Here are just a few off the top of my head. (Some of these places I've only visited, while others of these I've actually lived in. I won't bother to tell you which is which.)
Brunswick, Georgia - Look at that - I had no idea there was so much beauty and history there. All that time I just went to the outlet mall and the Krispy Kreme.
So you want to play along with me today? Tell me about some interesting out-of-the-way place you've been to. Or if you enjoy guessing games, guess which of the above towns I've lived in. (I'll give you a clue - there are three of them.)
(This post here over at Michele's (which incidently was inspired by Garrison of Church of Steele - must give credit where credit is due!) inspired this post.)
Night and I are close friends, and we go way back. I remember when I was in junior high school I'd stay up with him and watch Love Boat reruns and have a snack while the rest of my family slept. When Spiral was out to sea, I'd hang out with my good friend, watching TV or reading. Sometimes I'd even get some homework done.
Then I had children, and that put a strain on my relationship with Night. Oh we are still well aquainted, and get together regularly. But I am not as good company as I once was. I sit with my eyes half closed yawning. Spiral tells me to go to bed, and I know I should, but I just enjoy the quiet, peaceful company of my good friend, and all the more so after spending my days with my children, who are not quiet and peaceful.
You see my problem is that I am now forced to socialize with a "new friend", Morning.
Morning and I have known each other just as long, but we don't get along as well. In high school it seemed that Morning was always antagonizing me, hindering my every move. He would tease me as I got ready for school - not letting me get my hair just right, or keeping me from getting ready in time for a good breakfast before going off to school. In my early married days I had a welcome respite from Morning, as I was taking night classes, and only worked in the afternoons, but alas those times are gone.
My children, you see, are the best of friends with Morning. They get right up, so happy to see him, and they laugh and play and sing. "Morning is here! Morning is here!" I tolerate Mornings because of my chidren's love for him. I don't know how much longer this can go on.
As a mother I think it's important for me to watch carefully the relationship my children form with others, and be on the look-out for any bad influences in their lives. But what do you do when your children have a friend who is wonderful to them, who makes them happy, but is a bad influence on you? I must have missed that after-school special growing up.
Remember those Mr Men and Little Miss books? They had a Mr Man or Little Miss for every disposition and personality trait you could imagine. They usually had a nice little lesson wrapped up in the story.
I had some of these books when I was little, and forgot all about them until I stumbled across a table full of them in a bookstore in London, and I had to buy some for Gabriella. I picked out ones that I thought described her, or ones I thought she could learn something from. (I believe among my selections was Mr. Happy and Little Miss Stubborn.)
Anyway, this got me thinking. If I were a Mr. Man or Little Miss, what would my name be? Here are a few of my better ideas:
Little Miss Persnickety
Little Miss Pessimistic
Little Miss Mommy
What would your name be? (And here's a bonus for you. If you are terribly bored, you can go here, and actually create your Mr. Man or Little Miss character. Have fun!)
This morning after breakfast we went to catch the train to Versailles. On our way we encountered an open-air market next to the Metro station. We didn't have much time, but we couldn't resist, and wandered among the merchants. We bought some scarves to keep us warm in the cold winter air, and then continued on to the train station.
While we were freezing sitting and waiting for our train, an older couple walked passed and asked us about the train schedule. They were Italian. She didn't speak English. He spoke it a bit. Spiral speaks a bit of Spanish (similar to Italian), so between his English and working things out in Italian and Spanish, we had the nicest conversation with them. They were from Venice, and also on their way to see Versailles. They asked us about Denver (where we were living at the time) and the weather there. They were very sweet, and this is one of my favorite memories from our trip.
When the train arrived we separated from our new acquaintances, and sat down for our ride. I enjoyed watching all the houses and apartments hurry by. I forget how long it took to get there - not terribly long. Once we left the train station we had a short walk up to Versailles, although it seemed long because of the cold. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that many attractions are free on Sundays during the off season, so we saved some money on tickets today.
The one word that stands out in my mind when I think of Versailles is extravagance! It was amazing. I really wished I could have seen it in the spring or summer, because the gardens would have been glorious. I remember at one point in our tour looking out of the window down at a reflecting pool and acres and acres of gardens, and I could just see us walking about them, Gabriella skipping around behind us. There were some brave souls wandering around the gardens, but I value my ears and nose a bit too much, so we decided to just see inside the estate.
We spent several hours there, and then headed back toward the train station. We found the cutest little crepe place to have lunch. This place only served crepes, and in every imaginable way. I remember looking at the menu thinking some of the combinations were very weird! I had a buckwheat crepe with an egg over easy, salad, tomato and bacon with a cream sauce. It was different, but good - I enjoyed it.
We took the train back to the city and decided to spend the rest of the day at the Louvre. We knew before going that half a day to spend at the Louvre was not nearly enough, but like I said, we didn't have much time. Once again, we lucked out and got in free. We saw the Egyptian artifacts, the Greek sculptures, including the Venus De Milo, and of course we then went to see the Mona Lisa.
The building is beautiful, and art in itself. I regretted not having time to see the exhibit on the history of the Louvre.
I spent a lot of time finding restrooms, and luckily there were plenty of places to sit through-out the museum, because all that walking took a toll on my pregnant body. I so enjoyed feeling my tiny boy moving and kicking at me. I sat there looking at these amazing paintings, and I rubbed my belly lovingly, hoping that there was some way that he was getting something out all this history and culture we were experiencing. (Maybe this is why he's an old soul!)
After the Louvre closed we did a bit of shopping. Due to all the time we spent on our feet I wasn't up for much more. We decided to get some sandwiches at a corner bakery, along with some AMAZING strawberry and custard éclairs, and eat in the hotel. I called home to my parents and Gabriella. Up to this point Gabriella called me "Mama", but also called her Grandma "Mama". When I talked to her on the phone she called me "Mommy" for the first time. I'm sure after spending all the time with her grandma, she was finally differentiating between the two of us. My heart melted as I heard her call me Mommy, and then my mom took the phone to tell me she was reaching out for me. (long sigh)
It was then lights out for us, for tomorrow we were going to explore the French country-side!
My "community" post (see below entry for details) is a new find of mine, Grows Online. I have found this blog to be a fun read! She is the mother of teenagers, so there is no end to her inspiration for funny. To give you a sampling, she has a great post here about a public restroom incident. My favorite, though, is a hilarious brother/sister story here - don't miss it!
Recently I challenged all of you to post a comment on a blog that you have never commented on before. I have found the world to be less than polite and kind a lot of the time. We keep to ourselves, and are too busy or jaded to break out of our shells and pay a compliment to a stranger, or give out a simple smile or hello.
Sitting behind the safety of our computers makes us brave. We are (hopefully) more friendly with each other; more likely to open up to another human being.
You all followed through with my challenge fabulously! I'm very proud of all of you. I would like to issue a new challenge to you, and I have to throw some credit for this toward Buzz (who sadly has moved on from his blog recently.) He came up with the idea of Blog It Foward, which basically means that if you find a post on a fellow blogger's site that you think is wonderful, link to it on your site and send your readers there.
Once again, this is a way to help others find new blogs. It "spreads the love" so to speak. It also makes it easy for you on those days when you have nothing to blog about yourself.
So here is your challenge: Sometime this week I want you to "blog up" a fellow blogger, linking to them in a post on your blog. Tell us how you found them, or what you love about them or their post. (Once again, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.) I hope you will also leave me some way to find your post (comment, trackback, or email). I'm sure there are some wonderful blogs out there I haven't found yet, and I know you can point me toward them.
Go ahead - make someone else's day! It will make you feel good!
We woke up early (but not too early!) to get started on our first sight-seeing day in France. We had decided to split our 9 days between France (mostly Paris) and London, so that only gave us a few days to see the sights. Our hotel offered breakfast so we enjoyed cereal, fruits, croissants, tea and coffee. (We had croissants every day of our trip, and they were fabulous!!!)
Our first stop of the day was to head back to the Eiffel Tower and catch the view from the top! They had one fee to the first deck, and slightly higher fee to the upper deck, or for just a small fee you could climb the stairs! Can you imagine climbing all those stairs in that cold weather? Neither could we! We paid the extra charge to go the higher deck, and we were so impressed by the view. From every direction as far as the eye could see was the city. Just incredible! We spent some time admiring the view until I got too cold and we came down. We had to buy a hat for Spiral, as he had left his at home and found the weather a bit too cold. We walked across the street and watched the carousel go round and round. Gabriella would have loved it.
We made our way to the Arc de Triomphe and took the required pictures. We then crossed under the street to get a closer look. We were told that normally you can go to the top, but I forget why you couldn't this day. It didn't matter to me - after freezing my... ears off atop the Eiffel Tower I wasn't interested in spending more time outside.
We walked down the Champs-Elysees, and found a little Bistro for lunch - Bistro Romain. I had mussel bisque, which I enjoyed more than I thought I would! I loved the little water carafes all the restaurants used to serve water at the table. I'm sure that's one of those things the locals don't even think about, but I thought they were cute. After lunch we strolled down the street and browsed a few shops. I couldn't resist Natalys, a children's shop. The next day I would come back and buy a little dress for Ella, and a matching outfit for her unborn brother.
Then we took the Metro to go tour Notre Dame. Before making it there I, of course, had to use the restroom, so we stopped at a little cafe to get something to warm us up. It was while we were there that we discovered that Spiral had left his debit card back at the bistro, so it was back we went to try to get it back. We were very confused when we were told that our waiter had taken it, but he had gone home... it seemed that this was a perfectly normal thing to do. We never did find out what exactly happened, but we canceled the card, and luckily had mine to use for the rest of our trip. (That took a nice chunk out of our day.)
Back to Notre Dame, I would have loved to see its face lit up by the sun, but even with the over-cast, gloomy day Notre Dame was spectacular. By now it was snowing lightly, which only added to the beauty. We walked in and were very surprised to find a wedding going on, right there in the middle of all the tourists! I felt very out of place, like I was intruding upon this couple's special time, and here around me were hundred of people just milling about and walking around - some with the self-guided "earphone tour". I found it difficult to fathom all the history in that building, and was just in awe. (Here in America, as you may know, anything over 50 years old is OLD as far as we are concerned.) The stained glass was amazing, as was the architecture. (J would have loved it!)
In general, I was terribly impressed with the Metro. I found it so efficient, and we had not one problem getting around. (I am not a stranger to big cities, but I've never lived in one that had a subway system, and generally when we want to get somewhere, we drive.) I was also only slightly surprised at the culture shock I experienced. Spiral kind of just rolls with things and deals, but I'm much more... uptight. Even though it was rare we had to communicate with someone who did not speak English, the language barrier really intimidated me.
We ate dinner at Hippopotamus Citroen on the Champs-Elysees. This was the only time (I remember) having trouble communicating with "the locals". They brought us bread with our meal, and Spiral wanted butter to go with it. Our waitress, (in my opinion) just refused to understand us, both in English and in French. (I realize when I "speak" (I use the term loosely) French I do so with a horrible American accent, but I'm sure I could utter the word "beurre" well enough to get some sort of understanding.) Other than that, we enjoyed our meal, and headed back to our room for some sleep.
When we got back to the hotel and turned on CNN (the only English channel we got) we found out that while we were enjoying the amazing beauty and wonder of Notre Dame, the Space Shuttle Columbia had broken apart on re-entry, killing all seven astronauts onboard. We watched the footage from Texas for the rest of the evening before going to sleep.
It's no fun being sick. I shouldn't have called in my sick day last week. I'll be back to blogging when Spiral brings the laptop home. Until then, I'm going to try to make the best of playing dress-up while laying on the floor.
(*Author's note: Written for my children, Gabriella and Alexander, by me - Christine. I'm not a poet, and only very rarely am inspired write a poem. I had this idea for a post about my kids, and the only words in my head were "slow down". I just decided it would work better as a poem. For not being a writer of poetry, I'm proud of this one.)
Slow down babies, wait for me.
What is it you can't wait to see?
Down that road you're rushing so
to things that soon enough you'll know.
The sweet smell of your skin brand new
still lingers like the morning dew.
You are busy growing tall,
but yesterday you were so small.
Sitting in your little room,
barely here, just from my womb.
I nursed you there night after night,
There my heart you did ignite.
Soft lullabies to you I'd croon,
of one day living on the moon.
Of fluffy clouds and edelweiss,
unfettered dreams and sound advice.
Now I watch you jump and play,
Couldn't you just stop and stay?
Stay my tiny little one,
For me you surely will outrun.
One day you will be far ahead,
Remember dear, the things I've said.
Growing up is over rated
and something time for you has slated.
Stay here with me to laugh and dream,
of baby dolls and baseball teams.
Slow down babies, wait for me,
for all grown up you soon will be.
Today is my birthday, and if you've been paying attention you'll know that it is a milestone birthday for me. I am turning 30.
I am not a big party girl, and I don't have a wide circle of friends. (We move around too much for that. All of my friends are spread across the country, and unfortunately I somehow lose touch with a lot of them.) I can expect a small gathering with my family, and a dinner out as celebration.
But as you know I am finding the blogosphere a very friendly place, so in honor of my 30th birthday, I'd like to throw myself a little party right here, and you are all invited!
The bar is stocked, and because I'm lazy I'm having the affair catered by Spiral's restaurant! (You won't be disappointed!)
Come on in and mingle. Don't forget to let me know what glorious gift you've dropped off for the birthday girl! (Oh now come on, since we are talking hypothetically here spare no expense - spoil me!)
Oh, and on your way out, there are some little gift baskets by the door that would make any Academy Awards presenter jealous - be sure to pick one up before you leave!
I wiped my tears away and tried to focus on the fun ahead of us. My unborn son demanded I use the bathroom often, and while up I was careful to follow doctor's orders by moving my legs around a lot. I surfed the radio stations, browsed the Sky Mall catalog, tried to get into the book I was reading at the time, and when they turned on the movie, decided to try to sleep. The flight really seemed to go quickly considering it was about 10 hours, and soon we landed in Frankfurt, Germany.
There was a fresh dusting of snow on the ground, and everything looked beautiful. Now we've been to Canada, and Mexico, but other than Spiral seeing the coast of Africa from the periscope of a submarine, we've never been to another continent, so just imagine our excitement walking through the Frankfurt airport. We didn't have any problems getting to our connecting flight, and learned that we must look very American, as we found most people started right out speaking English to us.
The connecting flight to Charles de Gaulle was short, and soon we found ourselves in Paris France! We had barely slept (isn't amazing how exausting travel is!), so it was almost torture to get down to baggage claim and have to wait forever for our luggage. We finally got our bag and Spiral got us a cab into the city.
That cab ride was so fun, seeing how big Paris is (although I wouldn't see just how big until later.) It didn't take the cab driver long to start talking about Bush and our forgein policy. (Remember this is just a month before we went to war in Iraq, and the French were not on board with us on that one.) Spiral did a wonderful job keeping the conversation neutral.
After arriving at our hotel we stole a quick nap, changed our clothes and went out to explore our new surroundings. Our first stop was an eye doctor's shop so that I could buy a contact lens case, because I had left mine at home. We were relatively close to the Eiffel Tower, so we headed that direction, taking in all of the little shops and pubs along the way. My eye of course was caught by several children's stores. I was also taken with the specialty shops: les boulangeries, les bouchers, les magasins de fleur! We browsed through a toy shop as it was getting dark, and then continued on to the Eiffel Tower.
It was dusk, and as we walked through the trees into the park there were several groups of older men playing petanque. We walked around and there in front of us was the Eiffel Tower, all lit up against the darkening sky. I had just been reading to Gabriella a few nights ago from her Madeline book, and pointed out the Eiffel Tower to her in the illustrations, and now here I was. It was surreal.
Spiral took a photo of me, freezing and bundled up, looking up at the landmark. (A couple of sidenotes here. 1) This is February in Paris, and during out entire trip it was cold, with the occasional snow mixed in. Every picture of us is bundled up in winter coats with all the accessories. There isn't one picture from our trip that you can see that I am pregnant - a regret of mine. 2) We decided when packing to leave behind my digital camera, as well as all of Spiral's camera exquipment so as not to risk them getting stolen or broken, and instead toted along disposable cameras. Spiral's big hands + little disposable camera = 75% of our pictures contain his finger. Lessons learned.)
We stood and admired the world-famous structure, and then wandered back toward our hotel, exploring the streets. We bought a few souvenirs, and then stopped in at Pizza Amalfi for dinner, located right across the street from our hotel.
Being pregnant, combined with not remembering much from my two years of high school French, I had to be careful about what I ordered, because there is a good-sized list of things pregnant women should not eat. Unfortunately for me, that meant no soft cheese (I missed out on brie!), no wine (a crime while in France!). I also had to be careful about seafoods, and any raw meats. I ate a lot of pasta while I was there.
We had heard about the more laid-back culture there, specifically pertaining to meals, but it didn't hit us until we sat down in a restaurant to eat. We could be sitting there still if Spiral hadn't finally asked for our check. It just goes to show you the differences. I'm all for a slow, laid-back meal, but this seriously was a long time to be sitting. (Or maybe it's just that after being married for almost 10 years at the time, we don't have anything new to say to each other.)
After dinner it was back to the hotel for a good night's sleep, for tomorrow we would explore the Eiffel Tower in all it's glory!
Spiral's schedule has been hectic since the restaurant's opening, and I don't see it slowing down anytime soon. I've been handling the kids almost single-handedly for over a month now, and I have to tell you, I am tired of brushing two sets of teeth every night. I'm tired of coming up with new and interesting things for lunch. I'm tired of playing Ella-fun, and reading McDuff, and watching Max and Ruby, and telling Gabriella how lovely she looks in her dress-up clothes. (Besides, I turn 30 on Sunday, and I really should start taking it easy in my old age!)
So I took matters into my own hands and gave my Mom a call, and told her I need a day off! I need a day to nap and lounge and catch up on laundry and email. (My mom loves me, and even at almost 30, I'm her little girl!) So she has taken my kids from me for the entire day! Yippy!! (Join me now in a happy dance!)
It's just me and dogs today. I'm going to NOT watch kid's shows. I'm going to eat junk. Maybe I'll even get to that laundry. I'll pick my kids up at the end of the day a new, refreshed mommy. Right now I have an appointment with my pillow and blanket - that happy dance is exhausting!
After reflecting a bit on all the good I've had in my life (and I choose to try to forget the bad), I started to think about what is to come. I mean, here I am leaving my 20s behind. Somehow you can get away with crazy things in your 20s (although I was never a crazy girl). In your 30s you're suppose to be more settled, more focused. Anyway, I've compiled a little list of things I'd like to achieve in my future (which is in no way complete).
I would like to travel again to Europe, and hopefully have more time to explore! (Okay, truth be told, I would love to have the opportunity to live in Europe for a short amount of time - a year or two. I don't see that happening, but oh how fun that would be!)
I would like to travel more in general
I would like to have one more child
I would like to spend more time playing the piano
I would like to learn to speak another language
I would like to become a more organized person
I would like to watch my children grow up healthy and happy (This one, of course, is most important to me)
It still isn't my birthday quite yet, so it doesn't have to be all about me. What is it you would really like to do or see or make happen for yourself? Dream big, and please share.
Sometime in December 2002 Spiral came home from work and said he could get us round-trip tickets anywhere Lufthansa flies for $100 a piece. Talk about a deal! We have always wanted to go to Europe, and decided this was our chance. We offered to J and A to go along with us, but unfortunately they couldn't get off work, so it was just the two of us. Spiral had one week of vacation he could use for this. One week isn't much, but it was all we had.
So he bought our tickets for the first week of February, 2003. I was to be 5 months pregnant for our trip, so our next step was to clear it with our doctor. I had had a normal, uneventful pregnancy, and I was in my second trimester, so there was no problem with me traveling. She gave me a copy of my file to take with me just incase I would need medical care while I was gone, and instructions to get up and exercise my legs regularly on the plane to avoid blood clots.
My parents were happy to drive the 5 hours down to stay with Gabriella while we were gone, as we just couldn't see taking a 22 month old with us. It would disrupt her schedule too much at such a young age, with the time changes and sight seeing. She wouldn't get anything out of the trip at her age. She was safer at home with her grandparents, and we would enjoy our first real vacation together.
Gabriella was of course my main concern. The longest I had ever left her was a weekend, and I certainly had never been so far away from her before. Coupled with the fact that I was hormonal and emotional, I knew this would be the hardest part for me. I dictated that we redo our wills before we go to be sure that she would be taken care of if anything should happen to us. (You have to remember that September 11th was only 18 months in the past, and the war in Iraq was just on the horizon.)
Wills done, papers signed granting my parents permission to seek any medical care Gabriella may need, and a last minute emergency filling at the dentist's office for me, we arrived at the airport about 2:30pm on January 30th. We said our goodbyes, and I leaned over Gabriella's carseat to kiss and hug her, told her we would be back soon, and Grandma and Grandpa were going to take good care of her and have so much fun with her. Tears in my eyes, I walked away to hear her crying out for me, for it was only then that she realized we were leaving.
I got it under control though, and Spiral and I walked in and took our place in a very long line at the Lufthansa counter. I was nervous, for even though I had flown quite a bit I had never been on such a long flight over the ocean. I was excited anticipating our week (9 days). I was saddened by my seperation from my baby. I was also annoyed by the song stuck in my head. Standing there I hear Spiral singing under his breath "Barbara Manatee (manatee, manatee), You are the one for me (one for me, one for me)." We both laughed, and he leaned over and sarcastically whispered in my ear "I'm so glad that was the last song we heard!"
We got our baggage checked, got our boarding passes, and got on the plane without incident. I remember looking out the window of that plane. The sun was setting over the beautiful Rocky Mountains, and I was imagining how far this plane was going to take me. As we sped down the runway and took off, I started to cry, for it would be thousands and thousands of miles before I saw my baby girl again.
I don't usually make a big deal about the getting older aspect of birthdays. Although I do at times think "I'm that old now?!", I don't generally get depressed or freak out about another year passing. (Well, not yet anyway.) With this birthday being my 30th, I thought I would reflect just a bit on some of the better times I've had, and the blessings in my life (in no particular order).
Things of which I'm most proud and thankful:
That I have a close relationship with my brother, who was always my best friend when we were kids and moving around so much.
That I have worked to make my marriage work, despite everybody's expectations.
That at the age of 19 and living far from home with my husband out to sea, I was able to take care of myself, going to school and working. (I'm not as independent and confident as I once was, but I'm so proud of myself for that time in my life.)
Graduating college (because as you may know, a lot of work goes into a college education.)
The work I did with foster kids in Florida while going to school.
My musical ability
Each of my children
The close relationship I have with my parents
That I decided to start writing again after all these years, even if it is just a blog.
Having the courage to seek help for my depression, and to talk about it with others.
My wonderful husband
Living several places all over this country
All the wonderful people I have met over the years (including those of you I have recently met right here - yes, I'm sappy!)
Now since you've taken the time to make it this far, before you move on take just a moment and think of one thing that you are especially proud of and/or thankful for in your life. (And if you are so inclined, please share!)
Depression is like an ocean. Sometimes it can be so tranquil and quiet you hardly notice it's there. Other times it rages, thrashing about and taking out everything in the way.
I am currently floating on this ocean. The boat I am in (sponsered by Lexipro) isn't bad, and most of the time I can count on it. It hasn't let me drown yet. When the weather (hormones) gets rough though, that ocean starts kicking up waves, and I know I'm in for a ride.
My little boat seems to morph, although I don't notice it happening. It's like a collapsable lifeboat. There are times that the sides of the boat expand upwards, and I don't even see the ocean around me. I am happy, and patient, and calm. There are other times the sides of my boat fall down, and the water is almost lapping up at my toes. Those are the times I feel helpless, and hopeless. My patience is turned to zero, and my kids have to live with an irratated, crabby mommy.
This is a double-edged sword, because at these times not only am I experiencing the depression at it's finest, but I also go through tremendous guilt for not being able to hold myself together for my children. This is not the mother I want to be - not the mother I want my kids to have.
I should say that my depression comes in many forms, and only rarely is it actually depression. I lovingly refer to lexipro as my "anti-irritant", because that is usually how I feel in my down times. Irritated, and very easily so.
It is "postpartum" depression that I have. I read somewhere that postpartum can occur up to two years after giving birth, so I suppose that still puts me in the "window". It was only within the last four months that Little Man was weaned, so my hormones are still adjusting from pregnancy and breastfeeding. I often wonder though, when postpartum depression turns into just plain ol' depression. This is the thought that scares me.
I have always looked at postpartum depression as coming to an end at some point. There must be a time when those hormones balance out and you can be yourself again. I really hold this hope tightly as I bounce around on the ocean. I don't see land in sight, but I truely hope it's out there somewhere. If I can just stay afloat.... I would really like to put my feet on solid ground again.
*Author's note: I want to give credit to Sleeping Mommy, who inspired me to write this with her post here. I saw myself so much in what she was saying, and it made me feel better. It's comforting to know that we aren't alone. Thank you, Ammie!
Two years ago Spiral and I got a fantastic deal on round-trip tickets to Europe, and decided it could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so we jumped on them. Even though our finances were a bit tight, and even though I was pregnant with Little Man, we just couldn't pass it up.
I vowed to put together a journal of our trip, and while we were there I saved every last ticket stub and cafe napkin and brochure to go in it. Of course when we got home I had a 2nd birthday party to plan, a nursery to paint and decorate, and... Oh yeah, about 24 hours of labor followed by pushing a human out of my body. I got a little busy, and it never got done.
I am now trying to piece together this journal, because what else am I going to do with two dozen metro tickets, and because I don't know if I will ever get to go back there. It's going to be a bit more difficult seeing as two years have gone by, but I'm going to do my best. Be looking for Chapter One sometime in the near future.
I have decided to write it out here on my blog. It will come in several segments, and they won't appear in a row. I hope you enjoy reading them.
Have you met Greg yet? Greg runs a great website called California Hammonds, which honors the memory of his wife Cheryl, who passed away last April after battling breast cancer. His site is inspirational, and well worth your time.
Greg has been looking for a way to raise money for a cause that would honor his wife, and when he saw the wonderful success of Michele and SC&A's efforts for Tsunami relief, he decided he would do the same.
Please go over and post a quick comment here. For every comment he receives today (up to 500), Greg himself will be donating $1 to the programs of the National Breast Cancer Foundation. He has also found several sponsers who will be matching various amounts, so this has the potential to really do some good. At the same time, Cheryl's story will be shared, and if you take the time to read it, I think you will be truely touched.
UPDATE: I just stopped by there and noticed he is at 413 comments. Come on people - let's make sure they hit that 500 mark!!
UPDATE AGAIN: He is now over 500 comments, but please don't stop! He has sponsers willing to donate up to 1000 comments. Please go over and help them out!
I'm gonna be the birthday girl, I'm gonna be the birthday girl...
My birthday is coming up within the week now. I am the worst birthday girl in the world. I am impossible to live with, and here is why. I love that I get one special day a year that is all about me! (In my little world, that is.) In fact I try to stretch it out a little bit. I believe I get "birthday rights" for the week prior to my birthday, and a week following.
So I'm warning you all now that I may be a little insufferable for the next week or so. (I'm not looking for lots of "Happy Birthdays" from you all. If you'd like to hand out birthday wishes, hang on to them until my actual special day. Don't worry - I'll let you know when it is!)
Another true story (so as to redeem my husband in the blogging public's eyes).
Long, long ago before the "age of children" entered their lives, there lived Husband and Wife. They had been married for several years, and they were ready to take the next step and start a family. They had decided that when summer arrived, they would start trying.
Husband was in the military, forcing the couple to live far from their families. One spring Wife decided to take an 18 hour road trip so she could spend a week with her family. While there, she was able to spend Mother's Day with her mom. As she enjoyed Mother's Day brunch and watched the requisite opening of the Hallmark cards, she thought about her future baby, and hoped that next Mother's Day she would receive a card of her own.
When she arrived home, Husband was there to greet her at the door. She walked in weary from her long drive, and from the corner of her eye caught glimpse of something out of place. There in the center of the living room was a mission-style glider. Husband explained to his sweetheart that this chair was to go in the nursery of their yet-to-be conceived child, so that she would have a comfy place to sit and soothe their baby, when the time came. "You are going to be a wonderful mother", he said to her. "Happy Mother's Day."
I've been a lazy bum this morning, having gotten my 3 year old to go back to bed with me and sleep until 10:45am!! I'm just now finishing my own breakfast (lunch?) and checking out what's new in my little blogging community. I would have liked to post about this sooner, but better late than never.
The good doctors SC&A have teams up with our good friend Michele to put their money where your mouth is. Go over to Michele's site and make a comment on this post. SC&A are donating $1 to Oxfam International to go to the relief efforts for the Tsunami disaster for every comment Michele receives today.
Go on - get! Oh, and please tell Michele that Christine of Mommy Matters sent you!
Spiral came home a few weeks ago from work and told me that the former GM of the restaurant had bought some black dresses for the hostesses at a store in the mall, and later decided to "go another way", so had to return them. Of course he was givin store credit in the form of a gift card. Spiral went on to say that the company had no use for this gift card, it had been sitting around for quite a while, blah blah blah.... would I like to have it?
Would I? I *so* need some new clothes, and without going into too much detail with you about my undergarments, let's just say I could use some new ones. I was so excited. It was like having someone hand my $185.00! I looked at the gift card and didn't recognize the name of the store, but didn't think too much about it. Certainly I would be able to find something to spend free money on!
Fast forward to today, when we decided to trek the family through the wind and cold to the mall, and I decide to go check this store out. I have never been in there before, and I knew they targeted a bit of a younger crowd than I currently run in, but beggers can't be choosers.
I walk into this store, and the first thing I notice is bright colors and obnoxious music. Everything appeared to be on sale.
I'll spare you all the boring details of overly tight jeans, gossipy teen girls, and how every last bra in the store had some sort of cheap-looking "jewel" attatched to it. They didn't even have normal, solid-colored socks in there.
I couldn't find one thing in that store to purchase with my free money. Not a bracelet, not a picture frame, not even a simple T-shirt. I left that store elated to be out of all the adolecent hormones floating around in there.
I'm thinking of selling the gift card on ebay. Even if someone is willing to pay $20 for this $185 gift card, I come out ahead.
I know, I know, I talked about adding Haloscan commenting ages ago. I finally decided it was time to do it. While Blogger is well within my budget (free) therefore allowing me to keep on blogging, Blogger comments are a pain in the... well, you know what.
I'm leaving Blogger comments in my template as well, for now. I will probably take them out down the road. If you run into any trouble commenting on my site, please let me know.
Now go ahead - post a comment with ease and grace. Try it out! You know you want to!
This is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
One upon a time there was a young lady, who was very much in love with her husband. And her husband loved her very much as well. As the young lady's birthday was upcoming, husband wanted to get a fine gift worthy of his lovely wife.
Two days before her big day, it was decided that Young Lady would travel north to visit her family. As Husband had to work, they agreed he would join her on the evening of her birthday for a celebration dinner.
After Young Lady's departure, Husband learned at work that there was a ticket available for a local hockey game. Not just a ticket, but a front row, on-the-ice once in a blue moon kind of ticket. But alas, the game was to take place on his beloved wife's birthday.
After discussing the predicament, the very understanding, extremely gracious lady told her husband that EVEN THOUGH it was her birthday, that after all only comes but once a year, she knew how much he loved to watch hockey, and she appreciated that this was an extraordinary ticket. Young Lady told Husband to enjoy the game, and the family would hold the festivities until the following evening, when Husband could join them. (She put her birthday on hold people - for a hockey game.)
Husband went to the game and enjoyed it very much, and rushed to his very understanding wife's side just as soon as he could. The family delighted in a charming evening of dinner and merriment. When the time came for opening of gifts, Young Lady excitedly reached for her dear Husband's gift to her, knowing that no other person on earth knew her as he, and certainly he would choose the perfect gift to commemorate this day.
She tore the paper off of the small garment box and tossed it aside. Smile on her face and love in her heart, she opened the lid and unfolded the delicate tissue paper to find... pajamas. Pajamas emblazoned with the logo of the local hockey team. (As in, he did his only shopping for her AT the game that he went to INSTEAD of being with her on her birthday!!)
Young Lady and Husband are still together today, and still very much in love. Ever the charming, understanding, UNBELIEVABLE woman that she is, Young Lady has forgiven her darling Husband, Forgiven, yes, but never forgotten.
*Author's note: To answer your questions, yes, while they were very nice jammies, they were SUMMER jammies, and we're talking about January here. Not only that, but I was 5 months pregnant at the time, so either way I wasn't going to be wearing them for a while. I wrote this story not only because, well, it's classic, but also because once again my birthday is approaching, and I wanted to plant the seed in my darling husband's mind that he really should try a little harder.
Similar situation: Fiance goes out with buddies, ends up buying himself a nice warm wool coat while he's out. Fiance comes home at 2am. Noting the look of discontent on Young Lady's face, Fiance smiles and says, "I bought you this coat."
Fiance asks for the coat back the very next day. Young lady decides an appropriate decision, in consideration of his lie about the nice warm wool coat's true owner, and of his coming home in the wee hours of the morn would be to keep the nice warm wool coat.
I would have done the same thing and given the "once in a lifetime" chance for my hubby to see something but then I would have run out and bought myself something nice and given him the bill if I received PJ's.When is his B-Day?
On my last birthday my wife asked me if there was anything in particular that I wanted. Being sure that she would find something wonderful for me anyway, I replied, “As long as I have you that day, I will be happy”. Guess what? She took my words literally and didn’t buy me a single thing! Not even a birthday card!
Just goes to show that women can be just as insensitive as men sometimes.
Tell Husband to come to the computer. Go ahead, I'll wait..... :whistles to self: Ah! There you are. Hey, Husband, come closer to the screen. Come on, now. Closer...closer...closer...FWAP!!! Now don't you ever make that mistake again. This year's birthday gift will be something studded with diamonds. Got it? Not cubics, mister. Diamonds.[Do you think I was too gentle?]
It's now 11:30 here in Wintery Wyoming, and I have spent my entire evening visiting sites and saying friendly hellos. Not only have a commented on many sites that I never did before, but I tried to hit everyone on my blogroll, and everyone who commented on my last post. This was no easy task! (There were a couple of sites I couldn't access, so if I missed you I'm sorry, and thanks for stopping by!)
Imagine my surprize to see that the same day I posted my "be kind to a stranger" post, it was also de-lurking day! There certainly was a lot of love going around!
I would love to be able to post something wonderfully entertaining for you, but after all of that commenting I'm just wiped out! I'm off to bed. If you didn't catch my last post, scan down and read it, and play along! If you did, well... it never hurt to play again!
Thanks again for all the kinds words, and for "paying it forward"!
I always try to visit those sites that have made an impact on my day. It's only common courtest to let the writer know his words have sparked something inside of you. Huzzah for you for trying to hit everyone who made a difference in your time on-line.
I'm trying to comment more on other people's blogs, too. It's really time consuming, isn't it?! Not just the commenting, the reading, too. I feel like there is never enough time. I wish I had a better "system" for commenting so that I could always get to everyone.
many kudos to you for motivating everyone the way you did! commenting is a double-edged sword - (warning: run-on sentence coming up) the more you comment the more you read and the more people come to read you, but the more you comment the less you post so the people coming to you don't find anything so you have to post more but then you comment less, so then you start to feel bad so you read more and comment more and your own posting drops off and... well, you get the idea.
See what happens when you get popular? It takes alot of work. Thank you for stopping by my blog.You were actually the first blog that I ever came to and I asked you how how to get started. I followed you to Cioa Bella and Emily did my blog. I found you on California Hammonds blog. He is a neighbor and friend.Our kids go to the same school and helped out when Cheryl his wife was dying.So sad. So I wanted to say "thank you". PS I love that movie Paying it forward.
Have you ever watched a young child at play? I am amazed at the way they will walk right up to each other, introduce themselves, and are instant friends. Occasionally my daughter while we are waiting at a restaurant or meandering around the mall will just walk up to a child she sees and just give them a hug! And more often than not, they hug back. How weird is that? And then I realized that the only reason this is amazing is because we adults are not like this.
What is it between childhood and adulthood that suddenly makes it not okay to start a conversation with someone? To smile at each other and say hi? I know that there are some people like this, but they are not the norm. In fact they are so rare that the rest of us think they are foward and "loony". Why? Because they are friendly?
The blogosphere is less like this. You can stop by someone's site, hear what they have to say, and just leave them a casual comment. (Unfortunately it also makes some people more comfortable with be hateful towards others.)
I have been visiting Michele for some time now, and have been watching her. Her posts are usually short, and also usually interactive. She is highly popular, and I have read that if you are the target of her comment game, she sends more traffic to your site than Blog Explosion. So what is it about Michele that everyone loves?
"Michele's blog is like a improv theater stage. Michele provides the ideas, and you and I, her readers, pick up the ball and run with it. Every commentator... gets to take the stage and be the star. In other words, Michele offers us all the chance to show the very best of ourselves- and almost all of us do, everyday. Our words, ideas and humor bring out the best in our fellow readers, and so on."
I think the problem with the world (well, one of them) is that we aren't friendly with each other. We go about in our own little bubbles and for the most part keep to ourselves. We are quick to judge others without information and are cruel to each other without considering the other's feelings. We are all different, but that is what makes this world so interesting and wonderful. Why can't we accept that? (And seriously, would you really want everyone in the world to be and think just like you? Then what would make you unique?)
Michele's site is different because whether she knows it or not, whether she means to or not, she is making the blogging world smaller and friendlier. We are getting to know each other because Michele is here introducing us to each other.
So in the great spirit of Michele, I am giving you all an assignment for today. All you have to do is comment on one site today that you've never commented on before. Easy, right? Yeah, that's it. The only other rule I have is if you can't say something nice, move on until you can.
You blog explosion users have it easy - comment on the next site you come to. Click the "next blog" button at the top right of my site and it will take you to a random site. Or click on one of the sites on my blogroll.
Leaving comments makes others feel good. It makes this world seem a little less harsh and a little more close-knit. (It can also increase your traffic.)
i'm cheating a little because i've been here before just never commented. i found you through BE but have been reading you "on my own" for a little while now. but i guess i'll have to go on over to M's site... i've heard great things about her and she's new to me!
there's an ongoing conversation in our house about the same type of thing... my son is very social, social to the point that i joke he's not mine. we're finding two main problems with his sociality... he's very tall for his age (he'll be 3 in Feb) and at least a year behind on speech. because he's as tall as a 4-5 year old, people expect more from him. because he's behind on speech the other kids his age don't understand him and tend to shun him. what shocks me is that this doesn't stop him from continuing to try. if only i shared his lack of fear for failure and rejection!
Heh, ok just kidding. I have seen many accounts of people being mean on the internet because they can get away with it, but I didn't think those types of charecters would be in the blog community. I haven't seen it yet, but then again I am fairly new. Here is to hoping that I don't see it!
People must think I am looney because I talk to everyone all the time. In the store on the shuttle everywhere. I am not one of the annoying people who keeps talking like on the airplane but I just comment all the time. I think i even talk to myself. Wow what a dork!! or maybe just childish.
Do you know how wonderful you are? I hope so because many other people know it. Your remarks about me are so very appreciated. I do indeed encourage as many people as possible to comment on a regualr basis and to mix and mingle at any given oppourtunity. I love that you have just encouraged friendliness....and who better to encourage that then YOU.
Now I will play along and comment on a site that I have never commented on before (which of course I do all the time) but today I wil return to your site several times and visit YOUR new friends. (clapping hands in glee)
Your assignment has spread like wildfire! Everywhere I go today its Delurker day!
Thanks for coming by my site. I always enjoy reading yours. :) And I must have felt your spirit because before I saw the trend earlier today I had already posted on several people's sites I had never been to and some that I lurk at. :)
I have returned from visiting and saying hello to everyone that commented here. Well, except for Beth because I could not open her site (if you have a different URL please send details so I can drop by ot say hello).
You certainly do have a lovely bunch of friends. This was very kind of you.
This is an excellent post. In fact, I was just thinking something like this when I left school today. Normally I'm shy till I get to know someone, but not with blogging. I also notice I'll act "like a blogger" when I feel I have to. I met one of my best friends in college that way actually, by just going up and saying hi. It sucks that we don't do it more often.:(
When I started my little game I had no idea it would catch on, but I'm glad there's so many more people around who think the same way. Call me an incurable optimist if you like, but maybe the world isn't such a terrible place after all.
Since I joined blog explosion, I've become familiar with a great many blogs [and some bloggers ;)] - seeing everyone so friendly and welcoming puts a smile on my face everytime I turn on the PC.
To the blogosphere - thank you for just being there. All of you individually, and everyone as a group. I love you guys!
But to address your post...
I think the reason we become "less friendly" has nothing to do with how we perceive others, but rather how we think they see us. As we grow older, we think we become wiser, but in fact the only things we gain are more insecurities. We become more selfconscious, more closed in.
Blogs strip away that shell, and expose the softside of every cynic, the coolness in every geek.
And people who leave bad comments on blogs are probably still living behind that barrier... inside that closet.
Stumbled upon you thru blog explosion. I'm not a very friendly person, I guess that's the wall I've put up to protect myself. I know I've got a number of insecurities. It takes a while for me to warm up to people. But once I do, I get really friendly and nice. However, today, your post has inspired me to try to be friendlier, even if just thru blogs.
So, here's my baby step...
I like your blog. I'm looking forward to coming back.
I wrote a post a while back about my dear Little Man, and so as not to be accused of playing favorites, I'd like to write a bit about my daughter.
Gabriella is my first born, and I think that there exists a special bond between a mother and her first baby. Unfortunately as a mother you can never give the same kind of attention to either one of your children once you have a second that you could when you only had one.
In our early days together, I was a typical new mom. I was up all night, worring about how much she was eating. Every move and sound she made was amazing to me. I would sit and watch her for hours. I would hold her while she napped, even though she would have been perfectly happy sleeping in her crib or her swing. Some people would say I spoiled her, but I don't think it's possible to spoil a newborn baby.
It's funny the perspective life gives you. I remember being at home alone with baby Ella and struggling to get a shower some days, or make myself something to eat. It was difficult sometimes, but that's because it was different from what I knew before. Being a mother of two now, there are times I look back at how easy I had it then I wished I had seen it that way at the time.
I gave all of my attention to Gabriella, and many people have said that it's obvious how much. She's a very smart little girl, and remembers everything. I was amazed at her about a year ago that after casually going over a map of the US with her, how much she remembered.
She is the same now as she has always been - happy all of the time. Although she is a challenge (and what 3 year old isn't?), she's a very good girl. There is a sparkle in her eyes that is rare, and I think that because of her spirit and her drive she will be a success no matter what she does.
She has inherited her looks from her daddy. She has gorgeous natural curls in her hair, and the most kissable cheeks in the world! She is absolutely beautiful. (I bet you can't tell her mother is writing this!)
From me she has inherited all the worst parts of me. Perhaps this is the critical side of me, but it is a humbling experience to see some of the behaviors you hate about yourself reflected in your child. She has my temper and impatience. I'm hoping that in the long run this will help to make me a better person.
Ella-bear (as we call her, because everyone should have a Care Bear name) floats through life. She is whimsical and care-free. She is a loving little girl, who crys when she sees her mother cry. She is exactly like a little pixie - you can almost see the tiny sparkles trailing off behind her as she skips through life.
Princess too has all of my worst traits, and some of my good ones. She is stubborn to a fault, and quick to anger. But, she is loving, warm, caring, and the stubborness will come in handy as she gets older. As quick as she is to anger, she is as quick to forgive and forget and move on. I wouldn't change one iota of her complex and wonderful personality! Children are the best things in the world!
I can admit it to you, internet (seeing as we are great friends and all) that I enjoy watching reality tv. I'm not a fanatic, but there are several shows I enjoy. When I saw the ads for "Who's Your Daddy?", I knew I was going to end up watching it. (Besides, who can beat a show that's over in one night - no strings left hanging to rope you in for several weeks, keeping you a slave to your tv once a week until it's over?)
By the end of the show I had tears in my eyes watching this woman meet her real father for the first time. It made me wonder what it is about the human race that makes us voyeuristic? I admit to it, but I don't quite understand it. Are we trying to escape our own world? Does it let us "live out" situations we wouldn't normally get to experience? Or is it just an evil side to the human mind that we enjoy watching others?
I can't pinpoint exactly why I enjoy watching these shows. Survivor is my fav, and I suppose I enjoy that one because of the game itself. It's so interesting to see the combination of control one has over their fate, and then on the other side the total chance that is involved in it. The manipulation - it seems to bring out the worst in people, and yet at the end of the day, they seemingly come away friends, because hey - it was just a game.
So is that what we are looking for in these shows? Are we really popping the popcorn and settling in on our sofas to watch the worst part of human nature rear it's ugly head?
I don't know that it's that. At least for me. I think I enjoy seeing the best of people shine through all of the that. Either that, or at the end of the day I just really desire to watch someone who lives a more interesting life than I do. (On the other hand, you don't need "reality" tv for that.)
So I'm throwing this one out to you. What is it, do you think, that makes us love watching other people. (And I'm not limiting this to just reality tv. You there, with the telescope - we know you aren't really interested in the stars!)
*Author's note: It was pointed out to me by Cat that using the term "real dad" is not entirely appropiate here, and I am ammeding this because I whole-heartedly agree with her. Let it be known that I believe a "real" parent is one who parents. I hope I did not offend anyone, for it wasn't my intention. Thank you, Cat.
Hmmm. I do like to watch real people in real situations. I do NOT, however, like "reality" tv. In fact, I can't stand it. At all. And that's the reason my tv set rarely gets turned on to the network stations. Ick!
Anyhow, I think we like to compare and contrast ourselves - our actions and reactions - to other people. It is a way to judge ourselves, I think.
Hmmm, how can I say this tactfully on my very first visit to your blog? (I came across yours on Michele's "Great Gush" where you were right below me.)
I can't answer your question since I have no idea why people watch reality shows. My idea of reality TV is sports. Of course, that means I get to see a lot of promos for reality TV, and as an adoptive mother, I have to say that I thought "Meet Your Daddy" hit an all-time low. Can I ask you as a favor to avoid calling birthparents "real" parents? My daughter's real daddy is the one who's been there for her throughout her life, not the one who wanted her birthmother to abort her.
OK, I'm off my soapbox now, and I promise to behave better next time I come by.
I lOVE reality t.v. I also love stupid Lifetime movies. (someone is always having more problems than me.) As for reality t.v.- it helps me escape just that... the reality of my own life! Sitcoms are ment to entertain us and reality t.v almost requires our particiaption, usually emotionally. (sometimes physically-we get so worked up we jump on the furniture). My boys and I watch Extreme Home Makeover every Sunday night.
Shortly after Gabriella was born, I started getting the same comments from all those I pointed my new baby at: "She looks just like Spiral". I could never see it. She didn't look like either one of us to me. She just looked like my baby.
The funny thing I found in these conversations was not the words, but the expressions I got as they spoke the words. Whether Spiral was standing at my side at the time or not, I always got one of two looks.
One look was a look of "Did you know this?" Well, after hearing these words from every person who ever laid eyes on the three of us, yes, I had a bit of a clue that perhaps she looks like he.
The other look was almost a look of asking permission. As if they were saying "Is it okay I say this?", or "I'm sorry I can't say she looks like you".
To those people I would say, yes, it is just peachy with me if you think she looks like my husband. After all, he is the typical "tall, dark, and handsome", while I am much more plain. I happen to think my dear hubby is rather gorgeous, and seeing him in my daughter warms the cockles of my heart. And please, don't feel sorry for me about it! I'm confident she will get my superior intelligence, witty sense of humor, and charming charisma. (Ignore the man snickering in the background.)
Then my Little Man was born. (Have you ever noticed how often I lay claim to these children, calling them mine? This is due to my very strong opinion that once you carry a human around inside your body for 9 months and then you push it out of your vagina, it belongs to you. Forever.) Little Man looks different to me, and I had finally decided that even though I didn't see it, he must look like me.
Guess again, Christine. According to the rest of the world population, Little Man is a male clone of Gabriella, and looks like his daddy. Again, I'm not complaining. I just thought I had it figured out. It turns out I don't know what I or my husband looks like, because I can't recognize either one of us in our kids.
And then, if my kids looked like me, I may not get these commical looks from people when they tell me who they look like. A mommy has so little to laugh at some days.
(Author's note: This post didn't end up where I wanted it to. I really wanted it to be more about the funny gazes people cast on me during these conversations, and not about who my kids look like. I guess that's why I'm just a college journalism has-been and not a published writer! Anyway, perhaps I'll work on it in the future, but for now I'm posting it and going to bed. Seven a.m. comes mighty early.)
Funny, we get the same thing. Except people never look apologetic, and they always say my son looks JUST LIKE N!! N is the step-dad.... oops! And I can never tell who looks like who, though my boy's baby pictures look eerily similar to mine, bald head and all! Does that mean I look like N?? This is a mess!
Princess looks like me in the face, but her coloring is so not me. So I get half responses of "oh she looks just like you" and half that say "she doesn't look anything like you", so I guess that means she looks like herself :-)
Our daughter is a mirror-image of me, one of our sons is a mirror-image of my husband, our other son...well...he doesn't look like anybody, but he's perfect all the same. :)
To most people it seems obvious who they look like, but for some reason it really seems to irk me when people say she looks like my husband or that our son that looks like my husband looks like me. I know that's so silly, but it confuses me I guess when people don't see what we see.
As for your 'Author's Note,' I understand where you're coming from. Sometimes I think the entries I write in my head while lying in bed at night are way better then what I actually type in. It never seems to come out right once I've posted it. I'll write something that is obviously tongue-in-cheek to me, but then I'll get a comment where someone thinks I was serious...then I panic! haha!
On a side-note, for some reason I have problems when trying to comment on your site. The system runs slow or something... :(
It is amazing how different people see different characteristics in children. I have never been able to see myself in my children, they just look like themselves to me -- but oddly enough, I am convinced that my granddaughter looks just like me. (Poor kid!)
Yes, it's from Dave. It's when he's meeting Sigourney Weaver for the first time and his "coaches" tell him to only say that to the First Lady. She keeps talking to him and that's his only response. It's hilarious. Good quote.
To all my new friends here in blog-land, I wish you the happiest of new years. I appreciate all of you who read my blog, and all of you who write as well. Thank you. Wishing you much health and happiness...