Circles

December Moms (that’s what we call ourselves). We met each other online in 1996, brought together by our December 1996 due dates.

We started as a group of over 200, all over the world. We’ve dwindled to a group of maybe 35 or so now. I’ve met many of them in person, consider some my closest friends.

In 2005 we lost our first mom to cancer. I was the second mom widowed. Sunday, a fourth mom lost her husband. Two widows on each coast. A widower in Norway.

I started blogging in 2004 because of Karine’s cancer. Our blogs were a sort of solidarity—how we stayed connected during her yearlong battle with cervical cancer.

The birth of my first child led me to social media; death made me a blogger.

It's Tuesday: Lazy Tacos And Getting Rid Of Paper

Mishing and mashing is what this is going to be, because I just don't have it in me to make a thematic post. I have three or four incredible well thought out and written posts, all of which are ¾'s of the way completed, which means they'll never see the light of day. In lieu of writing yet another one of those, I'm doing this post. Enjoy.

I made the tastiest whole chicken the other day, and I don't think I told anybody about it except one friend and it was just too easy and yummy not to share here. 

Whole Chicken in Crock Pot

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons paprika (I used a blend of chili powder instead of paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (I was out of thyme, I have no idea how, but I was, so I used some oregano, I think)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper (I used a blend of chili powder instead of cayenne)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large chicken

Directions

  1. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
  2. Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.
  4. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.
  5. Cook for 4 – 5 hours (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone. Don’t forget to make your homemade stock with the leftover bones ! (I fucked up this part, because, well, I did. Shh…don't tell. I'll get it right next time.)

I used this recipe, with some modifications, because rules are hard. Anyway, once the chicken was done, it fell right off the bones as promised. I served it with spanish rice, beans, and tortillas. It was so moist and delicious. To die for yummy. The kids loved it, too. So easy.

I have been playing with some new apps you might enjoy. One is called Typic. It allows you to add typography to photos. It includes a few in-app filters, as well, and exports photos to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, or your phone's camera. Here are samples of a couple of shots I've created. 

Drive

Autumn #typic

Kind of fun, right?

The next apps are actually my secret to a paper-reduced world. I've used them for a while, but they keep improving, and I don't know what I'd do without them. I am severely paper-averse. I hate filing. I hate managing paper. I hate trying to search through the mountains of paper produced by a large family. Our answer is making sure as much of our paper as possible is converted to searchable PDFs and, unless we absolutely need to keep a hard copy, it's shredded/tossed. Better yet, it never becomes a piece of paper. How do we do it? 

First, we use an app called SignEasy (available for iPhone and Android). This allows us to sign and fill out any forms or paper we receive without having to print them out. I know, crazy. SignEasy is my BFF. Once I have signed the forms, I convert them to a PDF or JPG, save them to DropBox or another service of my choice, email them, "fax" them, or print them wirelessly to my Epson printer (God forbid). If it's a document that doesn't arrive in an online format (like something the kids bring home from school or a something received via snail mail, I simply take a photo to "scan" it using an app called TurboScan. TurboScan and SignEasy work well together, and both communicate with DropBox and email. I can literally fill out contracts, sign them, and return them without touching a pen, paper, fax, or envelope. Plus, they're legible. Bonus!

Alrighty, that's all the wisdom and beauty I have to impart on you today, kids. Go stick some words on your pictures and sign some stuff with your phone. Maybe toss a chicken in the crockpot. Until we meet again.

 

 

Goddamn, Facebook: Opening The Gate

Life events are a thing now. I know because I added one today. 

It's called Loss of a Loved One.

I apologize if you were one of my followers who saw a giant update of this life event. See, I also updated my birthplace, hometown, and the date of my new relationship. However those events didn't make it to my timeline. I guess because I didn't attach a photo. Noted for future reference.

I try to be mindful of doing things on Facebook like commenting on my late husband's page or posting pictures of him because I know it flags so many people automatically, and I know that when others do the same, it flags me. And I'm not always in the right frame of mind for that to happen. I'm not always ready. My kids might not be ready to see their dad's face and mine go scrolling by on a Thursday after school. So, I try to plan for things like this to be purposeful and meaningful, not so willy-nilly.

This is how my mind usually works. 

Too hard sometimes. Not hard enough others, apparently. 

But this post today of this particular life event gathered quite a bit of attention, which even I wasn't expecting or ready to see. I was just absentmindedly updating my life events on Facebook, as you do. It's just that my life story includes the loss of a loved one (whose doesn't, I hear you ask). So, I added that life event. And opened a tiny gate. Some people needed to see him, I think. Others offered supportive comments. And some of it felt good. Some of it felt unexpected like I hadn't realized what I had put out there into that space, which is so strange for me because, as I said, I am typically hyper-aware of how much a single photo or post about him can attract attention. I guess I was really just in my own little world for those few seconds it took to post that life event.

I do not regret adding my life event, but I do hope I didn't disrupt someone's day in a way that was hurtful for them or made their day more difficult. I know it can be hard to see your loved one scroll past in a space you don't control. It's one thing to choose to read a blog post about them on a site belonging to somebody else, which you choose to visit, but to see them pop up as a status out of the blue can be a bit of a shock. So, if that happened for somebody today, I am truly sorry. That wasn't my intent. I just wanted it noted that at one point in my life I lost my somebody I loved very much. And I haven't forgotten him. Even if my relationship status says other than widowed. That journey is still mine. 

My Office: Let Me Show You It

I don't do desks. It's not that I haven't tried. I have had desks. I have sat at desks. I have tried fancy chairs. I have tried fancy desks. I have tried fancy computers at fancy desks.

I always end up sitting on my bed.

I did my homework on my bed from the time I started having homework. I had a desk. I used my bed. I would sit with my very long legs dangling over the sides of my very narrow twin bed doing my homework. Sometimes my dog would join me. She sucked at math. I didn't. We were a good team.

I realize that using my bed as my desk and office is a colossal faux pas for somebody with chronic insomnia. I don't care. I didn't sleep any better when I sat elsewhere. I probably slept worse because of the pain I had from sitting at a desk. The ergonomics of desk life don't work for me.

So, a bed it is. This can lead to some confusion amongst people who reside outside my home. They think I spend ALL DAY IN BED OH MY GOD.

Mah Desk

Me at "My Desk"

Well, I sort of do. I spend a number of hours sleeping and a greater number of hours working and getting shit done online. I process photos, I respond to the colossal cesspool of email I receive, I manage my ad networks, I do the social network thing, I dick around a bit, and I MOSTLY do the other stuff that is my private business that I don't talk about here because, well, it's my private business not your private business. It's what ultimately pays the bills. This gig buys the lattes and the shoes, for the most part. Math is hard or that's what the dog said, anyway.

Pretty fucking exciting, eh?

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Sometimes I use a fancy-ass pillow for my neck!

This is the fancy neck pillow I like to use when I have to spend a rather long bit of time on the Interwebs. It makes my neck feel so very loved. Desks do not offer this option. Let's be honest, desks are assholes.

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Just like a desk-dweller, I can enjoy a cup of coffee in my office space. Look at me go! (Duck face optional for those of you attempting this advanced move at home.)

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My office has some sweet art. It has deep meaning in my life. I like that about my office and my art. It inspires me.

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Phone

I can talk on the phone in my office—can, but don't. I don't do phone. We've already reviewed this.

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Phone is icky. It is only good for the texting and the porn.

Thank you for joining me for this tour of my office. Tune in next time for a tour of my "other office" where I read the Twitter and think fondly of you all. It has the loveliest porcelain accouterments and softest two-ply. You're going to LOVE it; I just know you are!


Watcha Doin'?

Teenagers are awesome. I mean, they smell and stuff, but aside from that...well, they're also moody and have "issues," but really...aside from THAT, what's not to like? AMIRITE?

Except, you see, sometimes MY TEENEAGERS forget that not EVERY TEENAGER has a mom who blogs and monitors her child's online life LIKE A FUCKING HAWK and has SINCE THEY WERE WEE LITTLE ONES.

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In The Fishbowl, Looking Out: Who's The Fish?

When you choose to share your personal life in your writing there's an assumption that you've opened yourself up to a one-way critique by your audience. In some ways, that's true. My readers can form opinions about me based on what they read on my blog, pictures they see that I've posted, or things I've shared online might lead people to believe certain things about me.

The same could be said about the author of a memoir, an actor who's interviewed, or a celebrity photographed by the paparazzi.

However, bloggers have something at their disposal that an author of a memoir, an actor or a celebrity do not: blog statistics. Sounds boring, right? Not really.

Consider this scenario. I notice someone from company X has started to show an interest in reading my blog over the past few days. I can see which posts this person reads, how long she spends reading them, what she downloads, clicks out onto, what type of computer she's using, her browser type and version, her operating system, etc. If she clicks on my email link, I'll be notified. I'm also told how she found my site: Facebook, google search (what the search string was), an RSS feed, etc.

In this way, a blogger can learn a lot about their readers. It's what allows us to get to know the people who don't comment. We can use this information to mitigate situations with stalkers (as sometimes happens) or target ad campaigns (based on blog traffic). For example, there's been a huge rise in smartphone use in my stats over the past year. This means I need to be aware of my blog's formatting for mobile browsing. Stats are essential for observing both trends of individual browsers of a blog and the group's trends. I'm a keen observer of both.

In The Fishbowl Looking Out: Who's The Fish?

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PR Pitch And Miss: Eat What?

As a blogger I get pitches for products. Companies want space on my blog. They want me to link to their latest whirligig in hopes that my readers will clamor to their site and eat it up. They usually go about this by sending me an a heartfelt email that begins:

Dear Califmom Blogger

Of course, this wins me over, immediately. Who wouldn't be touched by such a personal approach.

But today, I got one that topped all others. It linked to a video. Here's why you should be interested in their offering:

1. You already eat boogers.
2. You already eat your cuticles.
3. You already suck blood from your wounds.

Therefore, it follows you'd want to eat yet another product produced from the human body's fluids/parts and pay money to do so. Somebody else's in this case.

Pardon me while I go vomit. And no, I'm not providing the link.

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Hanging Out With The Internet ChicagoIsh Style

The train arrived in Chicago Friday after only about an hour-long delay due to a freight train breaking down ahead of us. Oops.

No worries. We checked into the hotel, once our rooms were ready, and headed out to eat some deep dish pizza with the INTERNET!!!

IMG 5217

Well, Peanut and I did, anyway. Bug was a little too enamored with having his own hotel room to get out much during the weekend. Give a teenage boy his own room and access to room service, and you don't see much of him. He was in heaven. It was his perfect vacation.

He did manage to get a roaring game of Yu-gi-oh going Saturday night with another one of the kids after they went swimming, but I digress.

After pizza, there was a cupcake extravaganza, brought to us by Flirty Cupcakes. They drove up a truck full of tasty goodness just for us! Oh, the yum.

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Next, we had to get our sing on. Cuz, um, duh. But, you can't do that in Chicago unless you experience the Barbie bathrooms. Ladies and Gents, I give you the bathroom so pink that the camera can't handle it:

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You saw it here. Yes, that's INSIDE the women's restroom. I know. It's wrong. And right. And I peed. Literally.

There was some YMCA thing that happened. Jon got a bit enthused and forgot that he's straight.

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The next morning, we had breakfast at Steve's Deli, because why wouldn't you? It's awesome. Mathilda was totes hungover. Just look at her. What a lush.

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Then, we met in the hotel lobby for a Louboutin playdate. Duh. Shoes.

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After that, it was off to the big CHSH tweetup. The main event!

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Chicago Knows How To Treat A Girl (And Her Kids)

We arrived in the Windy City last Monday, unscathed. We were welcomed by our hosts, Toni and Dan, and their lovely children, who made us this cool sign for our bedroom door:

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They also made us these a plate of cookies, and by the second day, allowed Bug to commandeer their basement as his personal man cave. In fact, by the middle of the week, Bug as asking if he could rent their basement out at some point in the future. I'm pretty sure our next living situation will need to include some kind of basement/man cave accommodations for Bug. What fourteen year-old wouldn't want that?

After a glorious few days in the Chicago burbs,

IMG 5192

eating deep dish, taking a drive out to Lake Geneva, and enjoying a little shopping in the cutest town square ever,

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we boarded the train for Chicago.

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Next stop: Chi Town! and The Internet!

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I Don't Do Phone

Can you hear me now?

I don't do PHONE. I don't. As a wise friend said, "What is PHONE?" I do not enjoy talking on the phone under most circumstances. There are a handful of people I will willingly chat with on the phone. Chances are, you aren't one of those people.

I don't answer the phone. Nobody in my house does with any regularity. It rings, we check caller ID. If it isn't a very short list of acceptable callers calling during a period of acceptable times, we don't answer the phone. Hell, we don't answer the door. Why would we answer the phone?

I text. I tweet. I rarely answer Facebook. I email, occasionally. I will almost always IM, assuming I'm not hiding. Come to think of it, I'm rather anti-social for being such a social media junky.

And I know it's not just me. I have a long list of friends who are phone-avoidant. Some of my closest friends. We NEVER speak via phone and it's BEAUTIFUL.

One theory I have is that with children and their prying ears, texting is just the logical way to go. But, it's more than that. It was easier to text when Bob was in the hospital, too. It didn't interrupt him resting. And, frankly, with an iPhone, one never knows when AT&T is going to drop your call. We have such crap coverage in our house, it's not worth answering the phone.

So, tell me world, do you do phone? What's your preferred method of communication?

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They Aren't Imaginary: My Friends

I was talking with a good friend about social media, Facebook, online friends, Internet dating, and this world that’s new to him since he’s become single. He wanted to know if I was feeling that same kind of angst about the foray into uncharted waters in an online world.

The thing is, I don’t feel like social media is a new world for me. I was in a documentary for the Discovery Channel in 1996 about social media when I was pregnant with my son. It was about women who met online through a pregnancy forum. I have friends from that time, friends I met online, who are still an important part of my life today. In fact, that’s where I was this weekend.

I spent the weekend visiting friends I met online. That’s weird to some people, but not to me. They are still real people, people who’ve seen me through intense periods of my life, the birth of my children; depression, death, celebration of joyful moments, and we can pick up right where we left off, even after years, like no time has passed. 

And some of my online friends are newer friends, people I’ve met in the past six years who know me through my blogging or twitter. Again, they’re still real people. If you look at my twitter profile, you’ll see pictures of their avatars in the background. Of those people, you’d probably be shocked at how many I’ve met in person. A lot. I like that connection. I like knowing the people behind the online persona. Because, as I’ve said here many times, what we share online is only a slice of what and who we are—just a glimpse.

As we’ve become more geographically dispersed from the people who matter to us, we’ve found ways to stay connected through social media, but we still crave that physical connection. So, I travel. And, beginning next month, my children and I will embark on our homeschooling adventure of travelling together. First stop, Seattle. Stay tuned. We’re about to go meet the Internet.

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BlogHer Or BUST

Well, there are going to be a lot of busts there, actually. A couple thousand, to be exact.

IMG_6391Today, my butt (and my bust) will be boarding a flight for New York City. (Please say that with your very best Pace Picante Salsa commercial voice. It makes me feel special.)

And, if you see me in NYC, be sure to ask for one of my GORGEOUS new cards, made by the talented Alina Smith of alinasmith-art.com. (psst…you should have her do your design stuff. She’s the shiznit. And, like, affordable…cuz that’s how I roll.)

Let’s do this!

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Look What Came In The Mail Today: The Internet Says, Fuck Cancer!

Look what came in the mail today! on Twitpic

Two hundred twenty-four photos grace this poster with a message of “Fuck Cancer!” That’s a lot of middle fingers telling the big C to get out of town.

Fuck Cancer Poster for Bob

You made Bob’s day and you made mine, friends and family from around this third rock. Your love is large.

picnikfile_opxcWf

Looking forward to hanging this on the wall at Stanford.

Fuck Cancer Poster for Bob

A special thank you to marleymarley and gorillasushi for their work on this project. Marley, I love you more than many flavors of stinky cheese. I haven’t smelled gorillasushi, so I can’t be sure, but I’m guessing he rates higher than say, a stilton.

Since quite a few people have asked for a poster of their own, there are plans in the works to make a version of this poster available for purchase on Zazzle. I’ll let you know when it becomes available.

Filed under “yet more weird ways cancer has touched my life”: My blog was recently featured on CBS 5’s Eye on Blogs by Britney Gilbert: Matters of Life and Death.

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Surprise For Bob

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THE FUCK CANCER POSTER for Bob’s Hospital Room

We’re creating a poster that will hang in Bob’s hospital room to inspire him. It will be a collage of all the magical Internet people who keep us going, pray for us, support us through laughter, love, and kindness…and dick jokes, let’s be honest. We also want to let cancer know it’s not welcome ‘round here no more.

Here’s the deal, and we have to move quickly, kids.

If you want to participate: we need a picture of you taken with a digital camera (no iPhone/Blackerry/cameraphone/photobooth shots) with you flipping off the camera – that’s your middle finger, giving cancer the big FU. The picture should be of your bust/head area (no full-body shots).

Also: The person doing the project is going to be cropping your photos down to a square aspect ratio, so feel free to take them in either landscape or portrait orientation. Also: hotshot photogs: feel free to size your files down – she doesn’t really need raw format. The final size of each of these, depending on how many she gets, will likely be around 3”x3” or 4”x4”.

Then email her your photo – marleymeowmeow at gmail.com. Please put ‘fuckcancer’ in the subject line.

Deadline: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24. Midnight Pacific time.

Now GO.

Let’s go Fuck Some Cancer!!!

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2009: The Year I Maybe Could Have Done Without, Or Not

Nuclear Medicine

Image by califmom via Flickr

This past year handed us a fuckwad of undesirable stuff. We did our best to keep the hospitals, doctors, legal and pharmaceutical industries hopping. I cursed God (when we were speaking). I prayed. I sat in silence. I sat in tears. I curled up in the fetal position on the shower floor. We nearly lost some of our loved ones. We did lose others. We lost my husband’s brother-in-law on the final day of 2009. Many things about 2009 were just plain wrong. Unexplainable.

But like life, this past year had a flipside. We loved. We were loved--sometimes by perfect strangers, people we’d never met extended their kindness and generosity our way. We laughed, inappropriately, uproariously, during chemo. I laughed with my friends—my girlfriends, my husband, my children, my blogging friends in Chicago, my online friends in the L&T&J comfort on my pjs. I listened to the laughter of my children as they discovered Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for the first time—those belly laughs that melt a mother’s heart. We felt the love and caring of friends and family who cared for us and continue to care for us in more ways than we can enumerate.

Without the pain of 2009, I would not have experienced all of its humanity.

As we move through 2010, we will again test the duality of the universe. In the next 3-4 weeks, walking into StanfordBob’s blood with be tested against that of his five siblings to see if any of them are a match to be a donor for an allogeneic stem cell transplant. The doctors at Stanford and Kaiser feel that given how aggressive his cancer has become, this is type of transplant has the best chance of success. In an allogeneic transplant, the donor’s cells help to attack the cancer—sort of the reverse of an organ transplant where the recipient’s body tries to reject the organ, in a marrow/stem cell transplant the marrow/stem cells of the donor attack the recipient. (Layman’s explanation, there.)

There’s a 1 in 4 chance a sibling will be a match. In the event that none of his siblings are a match, Bob will undergo an autologous stem cell transplant (where they use his own stem cells) to buy time while they look for an unrelated donor. Once a donor is located, a mini-allogeneic transplant will be done. (In case you’re wondering, as we did, only siblings are screened. Children, parents, other relatives, are not screened as they don’t share enough DNA, which makes them, at best, only a 50% match and the donor registry would produce a donor with a higher % match.)

Logistically, this means that Bob and I will be moving to the Palo Alto area for the next 3-4 months as Stanford requires us to be within a predefined Safe Zone distance from the hospital during the transplant process and our city, while in the Bay Area, is outside the Safe Zone. The kids will stay behind with family coming to take care of them. Thank God for grandparents. Although, I’m not sure what they did in their past lives that they had to live through my angsty teen years and now have to endure them again with my children. Do say some prayers for the grandparents. Or send booze.

Bob will be an inpatient for a number of weeks, but once he’s an outpatient, I’ll be his Nurse Ratched, responsible for preparing his low-microbial diet (he’ll have no immune system), administering his outpatient meds, being his gatekeeper, and a big list of other shit that’s in the 3-ring binder we got from Stanford that Bob’s required to read but refuses to read because I asked him to. That’s how he rolls. From what I can tell so far, his diet’s going to be even more limited than the neutropenic one, I’ll be boiling a lot of water for him to drink, and we’re going to need an apartment with good cooking facilities because we won’t be eating anywhere but in for a LOOOOOONG time.

And hey, if you’d like to help: register to be a donor. You might save my husband’s life. All it takes is a swab of your mouth. They mail you a kit. Super easy. And donating is easy, too. They don’t drill you in the bone like the old days, it’s done with an IV in your arm now. Out one arm, back in the other. If you don’t save Bob, maybe you can save someone equally awesome. Or a total asshole. How the hell do I know? I don’t think they screen for that. Stick a post-it in your kit. Tell them "no assholes, please."

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Please Hold...and Shoe Porn

Business Time

Image by califmom via Flickr

It’s that special time of year when I pack my bag, my laptop, my stack of business cards, and my sexy comfortable cute shoes, and head off to BlogHer’s annual conference.

Last year’s conference was in my own back yard, San Francisco. This year, I get to ride on an airplane all the way to Chicago. The last time I was in Chicago, it was the coldest winter they’d had in decades. I was there on business, just flying in to rent a car and drive to Joliet, where I spent a week in a motel that offered a delicious room service menu offering of chicken fried steak. Mmm, mmm, good. The driver’s side door of my rental car kept freezing shut. So, I had to climb in through the passenger side to kick it open. Fun times.

This time, I’m going to have more fun. Way more fun. Boat loads more fun. So much fun, I’m going to take pictures of the fun and post them right here for y’all to see. I’ve already started taking pictures of some of the fun. See, it’s my personal project to take pictures of all the sexy, cute, comfy, and downright adorable shoes that make there way to BlogHer. Then, I collect them all into a Flickr Group called BlogHer Shoe Porn. Here’s what’s been uploaded into this year’s group, so far:

If you’re going to BlogHer ‘09, you can upload your shoes to the photo pool by clicking here.

One thing I won’t be doing much of while I’m at BlogHer ‘09, ironically, is blogging. No time. I will be microblogging—Twitter and Tumblr, mostly, maybe a little Facebook. Otherwise, I’ll “see” you when I get back. No wild parties while I’m gone! That’s my job.

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The Changes in Iran

Neda's photo - June 20 Iran election protest i...

Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

I haven’t talked about politics here in a long while, but I wanted to take a moment to give you all a link to a great resource for information about what’s happening in Iran right now. It’s some of the best coverage available, both from the people on the ground, and from professional journalists.

Andrew Sullivan The Daily Dish at The Atlantic

Truly amazing footage, commentary from journalists, bloggers, raw feeds from Twitter interspersed with articles about the events as they unfold. It’s written in a blog/diary format. So, it’s easy to find the most current information. Text that highlighted in green signifies tweets written by Iranians.

I urge you to utilize this is a resource for your information gathering. I don’t necessarily recommend watching all of the videos or images of the violence unless you feel you need that information to understand the situation.

I do not know all of the most effective ways to support the Iranians, but I do not the kind of support I am able to provide, which is the dissemination of information. That is what I am trying to do here with the link to Andrew Sullivan’s work at The Atlantic. Hopefully, from that point, you’ll be able to figure out what you feel called to do to help our fellow humans on this planet.

Please share any ideas or suggestions you have in the comments section. I’m always looking for new resources I can pass along to my readers.

 

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Comments are Curative: The Village Voice

Blogosphere

Image by coyenator via Flickr

As usual, my readers have been able to say what I was trying to say, but with fewer words and greater clarity. Hey, I said I was a writer, not a great writer.

That’s the beauty of the village. So, if my last post left you wondering what the hell I was talking about, what my point was, or why I appeared to be attempting to enforce Marshall law on the blogosphere, skip what I wrote and just read the comments. Read them all, because every person added something of value—those who agreed, disagreed, or saw things in a slightly different light.

You were all great at helping me clarify what I was trying to say, and rethink the way I said it. Again, the kickass thing about blogging.

When you write for print, you miss out on the conversation about what you’ve written. Personally, I need that dialogue.

If you were one of the people wondering what this specific incident was about, that story has been told by the subject. It was her story to tell. Not mine.

 

It IS a Village: The Blogosphere

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It IS a Village: The Blogosphere

The Internet is a great big place. Huge. More sites, more people, more blogs go online every day.

But, just like everything else in this universe, the large is composed of the small.

So it is with the blogosphere.

This week, there was another incident of a blogger disregarding the Blogger’s Code of Conduct. (Honestly, I didn’t even know there was a Blogger’s Code of Conduct, but it was developed to address situations like this. Apparently, common sense isn’t always as common as we’d like.)

Even within the blogosphere, there are niches. One of those niches is Mommy Bloggers. Whether you turn your nose up at Mommy Blogging, feel your blog is more than that, or embrace it by tattooing it on your ass, it exists.

Mommy bloggers are a vocal and influential force, often wooed by corporate suitors to attend conferences, act as spokespeople for their products, or serve as the voices that advise them on their foray into social media, and so much more.

Quite a few of the people who read my blog are not bloggers, not moms, and wouldn’t know Dooce if she appeared in their living room. They’ve never hung out in the pisser with The Bloggess, and they couldn’t pick Sweetney out of a lineup.

But, I can guarantee, each of those women will see this post. If I say something crass, they will know. If I say something fabulous about them, they will know.

Is it because I’m a big time mommy blogger?

Hell no.

Do I even have to link to them in order for them to know I included them in this post?

Hell no.

Is it magic?

Nope. It’s the Internet. If you write it, they will come.

Who will come?

First, the people who regularly read your blog will come. That’s one slice of the pie. Then, the bots that cruise around the Internet cataloging content will come. People googling village pissers will come. (I shit you not.) Finally, the people who have an online presence will come because IT’S THEIR WORLD.

It’s where they work. It’s where they play. And, if they are any good at what they do, they keep track of what is written about them, whether you use their name, a link to their site, or just allude to them in rather specific terms like where they were when you saw them performing a distinct behavior you found offensive.

And, that brings me to the title of this post. The blogosphere is a teeny tiny village, especially when you narrow it down to one of the specific niches within it.

Does this make for junior-high-style drama? It can, but it doesn’t have to if we all remember that THIS IS OUR VILLAGE.

So, in case you don’t already operate with the common sense contained in the Blogger’s Code of Conduct (as proposed by Tim O’Reily), I’ll restate the rules for you below (emphasis mine):

  1. Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.
  2. Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
  3. Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
  4. Ignore the trolls.
  5. Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
  6. If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
  7. Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say in person.

source: Wikipedia

And to close, I’ll leave you with a quick summary and a visual of why this is so important. It has to do with making assumptions. We all know the rule about that, and it’s played out exquisitely in this instance.

An assumption was made that by not using a person’s name or linking to the person’s blog, that the readers of a post would have no idea to whom the writer was referring.

Here’s why that assumption was wrong:

WhoFollowWhom1 

This handy tool, WhoFollowsWhom, allows you to enter the names of Twitter users to find out who their common followers are, and whom they both (in this case) follow. Since Twitter is a tool of choice among bloggers, it’s an important place to go to check for overlapping connections should you decide to express your opinions about them in what you assume will be an anonymous fashion.

For those of you who aren’t bloggers, I apologize for this tech-heavy rant, but the lessons learned here are universal.

We are a community, no matter how geographically dispersed, varied of opinion, or lacking of tact. Therefore, it is up to us to call each other on our shit, hold one another accountable, and stick up for our fellow citizens when they are being wronged. It is also our job to learn from our mistakes, which is what I deeply hope will happen here.

 

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