I remember when we blogged because we loved it, before branding, before ads.
I remember the first time someone linked to me and I was shocked.
I remember when we wrote things because we wanted to, not because it would get a stumble or dig.
I remember when I’d be so shocked to get a comment, not shocked when I didn’t.
I remember when Dooce was just a girl who couldn’t spell Dude.
I remember when the community was still small enough you could actually read all your favorite blogs every day.
I remember when I had to password protect my website because I was afraid to talk about Postpartum Depression openly. Before it was OK to be vocal about it. Before there were books and Brook Shields.
I remember blogging in 2003 when each of us had to have some savy in MySQL, CSS, and HTML before XML became the standard and blogs had “widgets”.
I remember when RSS was new.
I remember starting my blog as a graduate porject in Moveable Type because I used PERL and MySQL and PHP all at the same time.
I remember being so proud of this.
And now, six years later, those of us old dogs, the bloggers from way back when, back before kids or pitches or twitter or “social media” sometimes get lost among the shiny new people, the fresh faces, the people who know what they’re doing before they even start.
Tonight my friends and I are going to see The Girl Who Can’t Spell Dude speak. And while you may be jealous of her, you may wish you were her, you may think hateful things because she makes so much effing money doing the thing the rest of us do for free (we’re SO whorish like that!), you have to admit she’s kind of a pioneer.
But we all are, really.
So here’s a shout out in remembrance to those of us who have been around the block a few times, who have since met each other in person, laughed, drank, loved, and re-connected online after years of living together in this small community we call THE INTERNET.
People I read back then:
Read since 2004:
Jumping Monkeys. (My Blog Virgin Experience started here and then took off. I love Megan. I’m sad she’s not blogging anymore. But I am honored that years after she inspired me to blog, I was able to do her typepad template with Karen through Swank and it felt like I HAD ARRIVED. In my very own nerdy way.)
There are more but I’ve lost contact with them, or they’ve shut off their blogs, or switched to be anonymous. But it was a fairly small list of close bloggers in 2004. And then that list grew.
Next I introduced to my list some bloggers who, like, nobody else read. Cough.
(I didn’t start reading these people until later, but that’s only because I’m a nitwit.)
(I also seriously love the word nitwit and may introduce it to street slang.)
Amalah* Read later.
Sweetney* Read later but knew of her.
Her Bad Mother (Ditto)
Trollbaby, Vodkerella, Sugarpants, aka: MAH GIRL. (also later, like 2006?)
Jen and Tonica
And the list, it grows. A lot of these people I’ve found much later, but I’ve read now for 2-3 years.
Still, I honor them as pioneers and people who stuck-it-out through the trolls and stats and fads.
From 2003 (and prior):
Mommy Needs Coffee (From 2005)
Three Kid Circus (From 2006)
Miss Banshee (who I found later as well and THANK GOD I did)
The Palinode (Also started reading 2006ish)
Drowning in Kids (Read since 2008)
Noirtbettie (Blogged since 2002, I’ve read since 2007)
Slack Mistress (She’s blogged since 1997!)
10 16 64.
Kirida (I’ve read since 2007: Found her on SMB!)
In a Bottle (Who has imported her archives three effing times. Dedication much?)
A Typical Life (I’ve been reading since 2007)
Assertagirl (Found 2008, god I’m a loser)
Through all the design changes, the branding, the ads, the writing, the fads, we’ve been here, in this space together. And there’s something comforting about that. So thank you for blogging. For doing it because we love it. For us.
Who do you remember?
When did you start?
Who popped your blog cheery?
*Just for fun, here are some old designs of this website’s past. It’s a little like watching your website grow up through gradeschool and Jr. Hight. Like that one time you had feathered hair! And used TABLES. DearGOD.
*The inspired “Life Shit on Me” template after the miscarriage:
I’m not ready to write some more memoirs exactly yet. I have them, tucked away nicely in my photo box of memories with words spilling off the pages waiting to be published.
I just can’t.
It seems we’re in some state of crisis in our house. Maybe “crisis” is too extreme a word. “Recession?” “Depression?”
Chaos? Uncertainty? Stress?
All the above?
I’m frustrated the “state of the economy” is throwing my daily life in to some sort of tailspin.
I never imagined I’d give a shit what the DOW was or watch with baited breath the AP wire.
Be an influential woman.
Break down here, with us, safely in your tribe.
And then get up, brush it off, work, care for your family, and be brave.
I’ve blogged before about how I am not brave.
I think about these words, of being strong and supportive for your family in tough times, and I notice my flaws, my failures, my tears. I wonder why we as women are so determined to be respected every bit as a man but don’t readily feel strong enough to be the emotional support for our families. I think of my Grandmother, the woman who inspired this memoir, and I wonder what she would say to me now.
And so I open her memoirs and I begin to read:
“We saw medics carry [my mother] out of the house and down the walk to the ambulance. We never saw her again before she died two days later in the hospital. Her last words to my dad where, ‘Keep the kids together’. .... She died at 30 from pneumonia. Dad tried to [keep us] together but it was during the depression and everyone had their own problems of survival. During the next two years each of us stayed with families that wanted one more child, not two or three or five. Patricia was adopted by a family at 18 months old and Sherri, 3yrs old, was adopted to another family. The three older kids, Naomi (5yrs old), Me (7) and Jimmy (9) stayed with Dad while he worked at getting us an apartment with indoor plumbing.”
There is more. I read and I read. My grandmother worked at ten years old to help her family survive. She learns lessons about staying close to her family because they are all she has. She writes about the occasional donut. She has new shoes at the start of each year but puts cardboard in the soles when they wear out.
My mother has similar stories.
By the time I finish the chapter of my grandmother’s memoirs during the Great Depression I know what she would say to me.
She would tell me to Persevere.
Be an influential woman.
Break down with my tribe, my friends, my fellow women.
Then get up, brush it off, work, care for your family, and be brave.
Just like she did sixty years ago.
And so, I do.
As a little girl, I wanted to be a famous ballerina. All little girls want to be famous ballerinas. We dance and twirl and pretend we’re beautiful and light as a swan.
Then we grow up.
We graduate college with a single task in mind: Make a living.
Maybe we add on there to “Have a house! Get married! Make babies!” and then we happen to meet someone who has the same dreams and you work together to make them come true.
We work hard, we save our shackles, we scrimp and eat in and make our own coffee.
We purchase a Townhouse because we live in one of the most expensive places in the US. (Aside from California which we all know is completely outrageous and OHMYGOD how do you people do it?)
We’re ok with this until…
The economy tanks leaving us upside down in our mortgage.
We have another baby and cram him in the girl’s room.
The new neighbors vacuum at 11pm.
They wake up said baby.
They get a dog.
Who yaps at 1AM.
And wakes up aformentioned baby.
They have loud sex.
At 11 AM and this? This is the last straw.
Welcome to your mid-life crisis.
Grab some beer.
The mirror is not as kind, the scale is a bitch, the neighbors have more sex in two days than you do in a month and your children spend an hour soaking up what little sun they can get on your 2x2 porch.
I know I KNOW, woah-is-us. Boofuckinghoo.
It’s just that when I was writing in my journal at 21 year old thinking of the future I just didn’t really expect to end up here.
I’m sure nobody does.
My 21 year old liberal hippie self is so very disappointed. “Suburbia?” “But it’s what we can afford,” yells back my conservative mid-thirties self. “A barn? A field? Anything?” “Too much of a commute!” “You’re just like everyone else aren’t you? Ants. You’re just like the ants.” “We’re doing the best we can. Taxes are hard. Cost of living is hard. We have an ARM that comes up in six short months.”
Dear god we have an ARM mortgage and I know what that means.
My liberal 21 year old self just shook her head.
I’m sure you’d change something.
*Today’s post soundtrack is Dream by Priscilla Ahn
Growing up in south Houston, we had manicured lawns and sidewalks connecting each house. Most evenings the kids would ride our bikes (or hot wheels) up and down the sidewalk and in and out of the driveways while the parents stood and laughed, talked, and drank tea. I remember coming home from a friend’s house one night and seeing the parents out talking without my mom. “Mom!” I yelled breathless as I came in the house, “Mom! You gotta go outside and talk. Lindsey’s mom and Paul’s Mom and Beth’s Mom are all out there!” Then I’d grab my bike and start cruising Castlewood Dr.
I always thought it was just a coincidence that my mom liked my friends’ moms. I just sort of figured parents liked each other. I mean, hey, they were PARENTS, right? They were born that way: never young, never without kids and never without tea in their hand and conversations on humid nights.
I never stopped to think maybe I was friends with their kids because my mom was friends with their moms.
LB runs through scenarios while we drive to her friend’s house. “Your friends are with MY friends,” she says sounding a wee bit like Raffi. “Your friends are my friends Moms!” “That’s right!” I tell her giving her the illusion she totally came up with that herself. “Isn’t that neat?” I say. “Yes! It’s very NEAT.” Then she’ll go further, “My friends are with YOUR friends. Your friends are my friends mom!”
Yea, this is what driving is like for me. Repeat that conversation a few (hundred) times and you got a 15 minute car ride.
So I explain that yes! It’s great! I get to hang out with my friends while you hang out with your friends and it’s just TRA-LA-LA awesome.
Baby O spits something.
Last week we took this concept to another level. Now? My kids are friends with my internet friends’ kids. Wow, did you follow that?
The 704 Gals had a reunion of sorts in Seattle last week on Lake Washington. It was a lovely reunion with babies! And booz! Possibly mixed!
We hung out together, the moms, and the boys, and realized how similar our seperate lives are to each other. How much alike our kids were. How the boys played and loved and laughed and fought just like real life friends.
And so they are.
It’s strange to think back to the days of social networking as the sidewalk BBQ. It makes me sad that my children don’t come inside and yell at me that Trev’s mom is outside watering the flowers and can I go hang out at T’s house? I’m sorry that we didn’t make a better purchase and get in a neighborhood with kids and bikes and parents. But I’m thrilled with the opportunities that are here now, through this magic box that talks to me through twitter and comments and email: Friendships as real as those here.
For us all.
**This .gif is of mah betchez and I dancing on stage to “Baby Got Back”
***The soundtrack to the post today is Jonathan Coulton - Baby Got Back and it’s dedicated to Mah Girl @Vdog and her Oakland Booty.
This is going to sound a little .. new-agy? Like we’re strung out on acid wearing tie-die with seven inch sunglasses on? Or like we’ve totally gone over the deep end.( Which is very possible.)
Today’s Sunday Reflection is on Harmony and why we’re struggling to keep it.
The mister and I talk about the piece of string that holds us all together, this tether, in our family. Each of us pulled and tugged and influenced by the emotions of each other. When one person is off, we’re all a little off. There is no self in the continuum that is our family.
It’s just the nature of family.
Growing up, I can think of times when our harmony was on, and times when it was off. You can do the same, I’m sure. The times you each notice and adjust for the moods of the other until one person is so off balance they fall and pull all of you with them like a tug-of-war.
As a young child my dad went back to school for his MBA and then later his PhD. He worked to provide for the family while pursuing his education in hopes of getting all of us to a better place. He showed us love by working. As a child, I didn’t get this. I just knew he was gone a lot and didn’t understand the bigger picture.
This is the nature of children.
Mr. Flinger and I talk about this often, knowing our children, while effecting the harmony of the family, will not understand the bigger tug. They will not get that we’re working extra hours to ensure a better life, find a bigger house, get out of certain debt. They don’t know the love we have for them while we sacrifice our wants for their security. They can’t. They’re children.
But the weight, it tugs at the Mister and I. It pulls each of us differently and we begin to tip in opposite directions wondering why the other can’t see what’s going on.
So we talk and try to fix the string, the harmony, the family. I’m starting to realize how often my parents must have done the same thing to keep that string for so long. How easy it would be to let go sometimes. To want to not work so hard at holding the other people’s string and pull, pull, pull.
Until you remember that Harmony is possible. It’s yours. And so are they.
(Today’s soundtrack for this post is One Day by Meiko.)
I just went back up to my daughter’s room where I expected her to be sleeping. Scratch that, where I wanted her to be sleeping but had my doubts by the “thump thump thump” I suspected was coming from her room. I opened the door, ever so slightly, and saw my toddler’s little hiney shining in the crack of light streaming through her room. “LB!” I open the door further to see her butt naked crouching in the corner of her stripped crib.
Apparently she pulled the sheet off, unzipped her footy PJs and pulled off her diaper. When I walked in she was huddled in the corner like Ape Man picking through leaves or rocks. I still don’t know what, exactly, she was doing but I suspect she was thinking of peeing on something. I foiled her plan just in time, though.
If you don’t believe in evolution, that’s ok. But when you walk in on your daughter hunched in the corner of her crib butt naked? Well, you resolve real quick to never let her wear her PJs to nap again and stock up on snap onsies. “MUHAHAHA” you think. Survival of the fittest. And mommy always wins.
Also, if you have babies and need diapers, you can enter to win a YEAR of diapers and wipes. Peeps, that’s like a small house in New Mexico. Or a second mortgage. Or a shitload of diapers.. uh.. literally. So go sign up to be a member of The Bump and you can win a year of diapers and wipes. (Contest details here.
I promised to write about some past religious experience each Sunday to reflect on a part of my life that a) was a huge influence in why I didn’t get pregnant before I was 28 and b) helped mold me in to the kind and gentle hearted non-sarcastic woman that I am now.
Well, A, anyway.
So I grew up, as previously mentioned, in the Catholic Church. I attended mass and CCE (Continuing Catholic Education) for most (all) of my school years, which pretty much means I have a hellofalot of blog fodder from my childhood in this topic.
One such story goes something like this:
“Mom! Mom! My Teacher said if we go to seven first friday masses in a row we’re automatically going to heaven!”
“She did, did she?”
“Yea! And I don’t want to go to hell. So can we go to mass every first Friday for seven Fridays?”
“um. Ok, dear. If it’s important to you.”
“YES! Our salvation is important to me! Let’s do that.”
(Read: I was TEN)
We attended mass for probably three first Fridays in a row. Then something happened. I dunno, maybe I had school or some inconsequential shit that Jesus wouldn’t really “get” since he was a carpenter and stuff and never had to attend PUBLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. (The horror) So I get all sorts of pouty because “OH MY GOSH MOM! We have to START ALL OVER WITH OUR SOULLLLSSSS.”
Mom glances at her watch and wonders if she has time to take her first born daughter to a psychiatrist. Or a exorcist. Or a drug store.
Years later I asked my Mom and she agreed it was a little weird. But she let me believe it because it was something I needed at the time.
Of course, also? I believed my Dad couldn’t change the toilet paper by himself because my Mom said so.
Apparently.. I was one fucked up ten year old.
*The winner of the Flat Belly Diet
Book is! ... dundundunnnn….
FRUIT LADY! Give me your addy, chick! It’s all yours!
Thank you for playing, peeps. I’m still here to shred with you. Together we CAN fit in to our jeans.
I’ve been athletic my entire life. I started with ballet at 4, moved in to gymnastics, dance, track, and cross country. I did crew, mountain biking, hiking and kayaking in college. I never really stopped to consider being fat. I wasn’t ever the thin girl, but I was athletic. Muscular. At worst: “thick”.
Well, I’ve had two c-sections and two gigantic babies.
And a lot of wine.
Having such an athletic history, I tend to get strong quickly. All I have to do is, you know, work out. Or I thought.
I’ve been doing my usual workout for about a year and a half now. The weights, walk/run/jog, eliptical alternatives. I’ve hit a solid 156 and stayed there. This isn’t great. But it’s not bad, either. It’s my pre-Buddy weight. So what if it’s ten pounds more than I was when we got married? I mean, ten pounds? That’s not THAT bad, right?
Apparently those are Dog Pounds. Like dog years. Ten Pounds on my body at 33 equals 30 pounds on any other body.
I recently started “stepping it up a notch” by doing Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred. And HOLYEFF that bitch is good. I was so sore the first day I used muscles I hadn’t felt in months. No, years. And I also felt abs again. ABS! People! I HAVE ABS. Somewhere. In there.
So then I got REALLY motivated. I thought I’d try a class at the gym. The class is a 30 minute interval training. I always see a ton of skinny women going to that class and I have a strict “when in Rome” policy with workouts. It goes something like this; “Attend classes with fat old ladies: Look like a fat old lady.” (Which is pretty much why I don’t do aqua-arobics regardless how many times my knees might sieze up on me walking up the stairs.) So this skinny bitch class seemed perfect. Go in a fatty and come out a skinny bitch.
But LO! THE PAIN. DEAR GOD THE PAIN.
*Yes, I’m glowing as a thousand suns from my face because I DID STAIRS. OHMYGODHELPMEEeeee.
Think about your Jr. High gym class. Remember lines? Remember push-ups? Remember your lesbian gym teacher? (shudder) Well, think of the girl struggling to pull her weight through air. That girl? That girl is me. In this class: I AM the fat girl. I’m the one hanging on the climbing rope with raspberries on my thighs from my short shorts chafing. The one so red you think her neck popped.
The loser that needs an inhaler for her exercise induced asthma.
And yet, I keep going back. I keep being the fat girl who has to stop and breath. I keep muttering, “ohmygod” when the trainer says we’re doing stairs, or sprints, or one more circuit. I keep showing up hoping I’ll not suck this time but I always do.
I will keep going back.
I didn’t realize just how far my belly has taken me. How much of a tire its become. How far it can lay if I bend over. My ab muscles are still crying out for some help. Shhh, listen:
They’re drowning under all that fat.
So I’m promising to save my abs. I’m promising to move the fat off so they can touch my skin. I’m promising to stick with this god-awful class and to shred on the non-gym days because of this one fact: If I work so hard in a workout, why would I fuck that up with my eating? Suddenly a brownie doesn’t seem nearly as appetizing next to Jillian or my trainer yelling at me to GO GO DO NOT STOP.
And, just for being her with me through this hell, I have a teeny som’n som’n for one lucky commenter. Lemme know if you’re interested in reading and/or trying the Flat Belly Diet I have one book to give away. (I got two accidentally. Long story… but it’s a good read and something I’m working in to my normal diet now.) So, join me!
By BlogHer I wanna be in those cute new clothes my SIL got me that currently sing on their own accord “Fat girl in a littllleeee coooaattt.” And I don’t want to have to wear a girdle. But I will buy a new bra. (Details coming up shortly on Room 704 of course.
Also, it’s opening week at Room 704 so go join in with some fun giveaways, ok? OK.
*No, we don’t have alcohol giveaways. We drink those.
**Yes, I really did take a picture of my gut laying on my lap.
***No, I will not get laid after he reads this.
***Wow, that was a move of utter intelligence. I named to blog posts the exact same thing and my website blew its brains out when you tried to comment here. Sorry ‘bout that. All is well now. Commence Commenting!
I was raised Catholic. This pretty much means I went to church every Sunday (or Saturday night, which was shorter and thus preferable) and left shortly after Communion because THAT was the part God wanted us to attend. Communion.
A little girl’s first Holy Communion is a little sacred. Not because you’re entering a more “mature” faith in the Catholic eyes, but because you get to wear a white bride dress. I never did know WHY I got to wear the bride-dress but I did count down the days until I dawned my white veil and pretty dress and looked holy as Mary and all virgin fresh innocent. Lord knows I wouldn’t wear a white dress to my wedding nor be all virgin-fresh so this was my one chance to walk down an isle floating as a Christ-bride.
We waited excited for that part of the mass where the Priest turns Styrofoam in to the Body of Christ and the grape juice in to the blood. Literally. As in LITERALLY. Telling this to an 8 year old sorda makes her freak out a bit. Because didn’t we just do a study on cannibalism and don’t they, like, eat people and stuff and wasn’t Jesus a person-non-person and isn’t that sorda, um, gross?
Except it’s not gross as long as He doesn’t touch your teeth. Then it’s all cool. Just DO NOT BITE JESUS.
I ran down the list of things to do: 1. Do not trip in front of the alter.
2. Hold my hands out for the Christ-bread with my left over my right.
3. Shit, remember which one was left and which was right.
4. Say amen after the Priest presents the Body of Christ.
6. Take the right hand from below and pop the bread in my mouth but DO NOT BITE JESUS FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY.
7. Do the sign of the cross and step aside for the assembly line of Christ eaters to finish.
I remember sweating every Sunday after this first run of communion. I remember always freaking out WHICH HAND, DO NOT BITE, DO NOT BITE. I remember Jesus sticking to the roof of my mouth and my tongue tired as it pushed Jesus along to mush Him up enough to swallow. I’d mush and mush Jesus and He would take my spit and make it disappear like the red sea shortly after it was parted to dry land. Or something like that.
I attended Catholic mass until I was in college. At that time I chose the churches that people could clap their hands and shake a bootie and maybe cuss sometimes. Because I was sure Jesus cussed. Or maybe he didn’t. Or maybe he took his name in vain sometimes. “Oh Me. H. Christ.” Or maybe not.
But I was sure Jesus wasn’t the sort of guy to condemn an 8 year old girl to everlasting hell-fire because she accidentally bit him that one time in Communion. Or at least I hope so. Otherwise? I’m so totally screwed.
*This post is part of a new goal of mine to reflect on some sort of religious-ish portion of my life.
**Also, for Sundays, please enjoy Serenity Now! at room 704.
13 guests here now.