The Versatile Blogger Birthday Dinner Party!

Versatile Blogger Award

I have literally been writing this post since the beginning of January, when I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by MJ Monaghan. Link There are rules to awarding the Versatile Blogger award, but I’m going to break them. I really wanted to tie in a “who would you have for a party” kind of post with the Versatile Blogger post. These are hard decisions, and that coupled with the fact that I am constantly finding new blogs to read is why this has taken me so long. But, now that we are two weeks away from my birthday, I think I’ve finally got it covered.

Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order. Maybe someday if I’m awarded another blogging award, I will be able to bring you more!

Beth from 5 Kids is a Lot of Kids:

She totally gets kids, and when she complains about them, if you can even call it that it is totally eandearing and/or funny. She truly loves her kids. But I’m sorry Beth, this is an adult party. I’m sure you need a break, which is why I want you to come and chillax! And you will have no guilt!

Michelle from Buttered Toast Rocks:

Michelle is totally awesome. She loves her life and her family and you can tell. She has the sweetest stories to tell about her high school sweetheart, who happens to be her husband. Michelle, I would love for you to join the party and share with us your secrets to a successful love and marriage!

Robin from Sunbonnet Smart, on BlogHer:

Robin is kickin’ it Old Skool by living simply and eating locally and organically. But you know that Old Skool is the New Skool, and she has a lot to offer those of us wanting to adapt this lifestyle. Oh, and she can weave a story like nobody’s business. LINK Robin we have a lot of strange and wonderful connections, so be there or be square!

KarenLynn on BlogHer:

Karen straight up writes about her life. She is honest and strong, and thankful for her beautiful family – husband, kids, and most especially her grandkids. LINK Her writing is easy to read because it’s like having a conversation with her. Which is why, Karen, I want you at this party, so we can chat for reals! And don’t forget your camera!

Melissa from This n That:

Melissa is wonderfully original, weird, and totally crazy. Her posts are always amazing, and she is an amazing and thoughtful person. She thinks she’s not a writer, but she totally is, and I’m doing my part in convincing her of it. Aside from hearting you, Melissa, I’m counting on you coming and protecting us from any kind of vampirezombiepocolypse that could (will) occur.

Desi from the Valentine Four:

I don’t even know how this woman does it except she is totally amazing, and possibly has super hero powers. She has kids, takes care of other kids, tutors, and is working on her Masters degree. And she is STILL able to not only put two words together, but she is also able to write well thought-out and beautiful posts on a regular basis. Desi, you have to come because I so totally admire you, pure and simple.

MJ from MJ Monaghan:

MJ awarded me with this award, but that is now why I’m nominating him. MJ’s writing is straight up funny and straight up real. He is clever and honest about life, and thankful for his readers and friends. MJ I really think you are going to be the life of the party. But please do not wear a Rod Stewart-esqe bikini.

Melanie from Is this the Middle:

Melanie is a good girl gone bad! Well, at least a little! She sees life and writes about it, which I think is amazing – I can’t say that about myself, or many people for that matter. Melanie very funny, thoughtful and thought provoking, and cares a lot about her readers. Melanie, I want you to come to my party and get a little crazy! And please wear that leather mini!

Jeanine from Rosie Dreams:

Jeanine is a really amazing human being. She claims to not be a natural with children, but you would never know. She is kind and creative, and dedicated to her family, living simply, and preserving the environment. Jeanine, I would love you at my party so I can get to know you better! Also, don’t forget your skates!

Virginia, Home Reared Chef, on BlogHer:

What can I say about Virginia? She is totally amazing. Thoughtful, gracious, and truly thankful for all the good life has given her. But that’s what happens when you are amazing and life gives you bad – you can handle it with grace, and pick up and move on. Virginia also blogs for the San Jose Food Examiner. How awesome is that!? Virginia, please come to my party! We’ll have Prime Rib, and you don’t even have to cook it!

Jane from Jane in her Infinant Wisdom:

Jane’s blog title says it all – she really is full of wisdom. She writes about her life, her friends, and her family, which are all pretty much one in the same. Jane is very funny and has a wonderful way of picking up the extraordinary in every ordinary day. Jane, I would be honored to have you at my party – we can drink lots of wine and talk about podcasting! LINK

Darcy from Belle of the Carnival:

Darcy is one tricky lady. At first she will have you convinced that she is full of purity and goodness (and she is) but she’s also pretty bad ass! Check out her posts about porn faces and stripper moves. Don’t worry, they aren’t X-rated! Darcy is thoughtful and creative, and always a truly enjoyable read. Darcy, when you come to my party, make sure to wear your leather pants!

George from Rough and Rede:

Don’t let the name fool you, George is one of the kindest gentlemen you will ever get to know. And he is so worth getting to know. He is one of the only male bloggers on BlogHer, and he fits right in. I credit that to him being a hard working family man. George understands men and women alike, and writes amazing stories about life, love, and happiness. George, join the party so the West Coast can finally meet the East Coast!

Jim from the Wordslinger:

I just met Jim recently in the Facebook group, We Blog..A Blogging Community. So I don’t know a LOT about him, as I have just started reading. What I do know is Jim is one of the only “daddy bloggers” out there. He is really reaching out and finding his place. And I’m so glad he is. He is a funny (REALLY FUNNY), insightful, and loving dad and husband. Jim, come yuck it up at my party, and don’t forget the chicken suit!

I have been honored to read these blogs and get to know these writers. So go check them out and spread the love!

Who do you want at YOUR birthday party?

Stream of consciousness Sunday – writing in the bathroom

I’m sitting in the bathroom writing this. I wonder if they are worried about me. Must be not or else they would be knocking. No, actually they would be barging in.

I’m so easily distracted these days. Maybe I’m on media overload. But I kinda have to be. You can’t be a graphic/web designer/blogger/podcaster/master social media without being on your media.

And these kids want my attention every second. Every.second. No wait, I take that back. They don’t want my attention when I want to give it to them. They wait until I’m just almost able to start concentrating on something and then they want me. Mom. Mom. Mom. Hey mom!

So I’m in the bathroom writing this. Because between the momming, constant banter, yelling over iCarly yelling at us, I’m, well, distracted.

I wonder if they would notice if I stayed in here all day.

#SOCsunday

I’m not that kind of blogger

Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt is: Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scenes surrounding a particular event. I’ve been kicking it around all morning.

I mean, I usually post really early and it is now almost noon and I’m just about done. I just could not decide what to write. Do I go with the trauma theme or do I skip it? Well, I’ll skip it because my trauma is not solely my own and I’m not going to dig into someone else’s wounds. Not today.

Okay, so, what to write about. Do I address the subject or write about how I want to make an infinity scarf? I decided to at least address the subject of trauma. TRAUMA. What is it? It’s what happens when you live your life. What makes mine anything anyone would want to read about? My trauma is generic and boring. People die suddenly. They lose houses. They lose babies. They lose half of their reproductive system. Life goes on.

Ultimately this has made me think about blogging and what kind of blogger I want to be. I read these really emotional posts and I think – holy shit, that person just bared their soul in the most beautiful way, and with millions of people. I want to be that kind of writer. If  I’m even capable of being that great of a writer.

But you know, it’s really not about that. My writing is fine. Not outstanding, not horrible, but it’s me. People seem to enjoy it, and I don’t feel the need to analyze my trauma. It happened. I lived.

I’m just not that kind of blogger, and I don’t think I ever will be.

Writing lists and writing-writing: how I get through life

The other day, as I was feverishly plotting and planning out my week and writing in my planner, my husband was all like, “you spend a lot of time writing in that planner. Don’t you think you would have more time if you used a computer-based program to list all your to-do’s?”

Maybe. But to him I say, “No thank you, sir.”

Before you say, “Just give it a try!” you should know that I HAVE tried it. I tried Google Lists or whatever you call it in my Gmail for about three days, thankyouverymuch. And I hated it. And here is why.

There are many feelings for me that are associated with writing a list. The number one reason is it is very soothing to me. It takes me from crazy-worry-panic to ahhh now I can relax and it will all be okay. I have a plan. I know what to do. At least in theory. I simply cannot analyze and process my life any other way. Lists make the shit in my brain real, and it’s not real if I don’t write it. And re-write it, and re-write it, and re-write it. You see, I ALWAYS start with a preliminary list of things that need to be done, or plans I have made, and then I move on to the actual list, which is always in red. Red makes real even real-er. So, this is how I stay on task. How I stay (somewhat) worry and stress free. And so there is your dose of crazy Laine. I hope you enjoyed it, and you are very welcome.

Now that we have that out of the way, let us discuss writing-writing.  I’m still a child of the computer age, so of course I never do my writing-writing with a pen. Unless I’m in a pinch and I HAVE to outline, or write down a witty line that comes to me. Generally my brain works much faster than my one hand can write, and I have horrible writing when I am in a hurry. It’s so bad I can barely even read it. Thanks to the typing class I took in high school (by FAR the most useful class I have ever taken – like EVER) I am a fab-u fast typer. When I write my feelings are generally less intense than my feelings when I am compelled to write lists. So I am able to process my writing feelings gently while I am reading my writing.

So, two types of writing, two types of feelings, two processes. And this, my friends, is how I get through life.

What writing means to me

I am not a writer, but I do write.

When I was a teenager I used to write angsty poems about boys. I also wrote said boys intense love letters that I would never send. I wrote in journals at this point. Journals I still have. Journals I hide. I still feel embarrassed to let anyone read them. I guess it’s because somewhere inside of me I am still that chubby girl who feels the sting from loving and never being loved in return. So when I was a teenager my favorite part about writing was having a place to put these feelings of sadness, loneliness, and rejection.

When I was first in college I wrote many an essay on feminism and women’s lives. Believe it or not, at age 19 I knew all about what it was like to be a woman. Sometimes I discovered a little something about myself, but self-reflection was not really my goal. I was too busy with the important work of being a young feminist and making my mark on feminism. I didn’t realize I had to know myself in order to be a good feminist. As I worked toward my bachelor’s degree at Ithaca College, my focus had switched from feminism in general to the broader reach of sociology. I wrote a lot of heady work about the connection between race, class, and gender oppression. I became interested in politics, and I really thought I could change the world. At this point I wrote of course because I had to. But my writing really made me feel powerful. To be studying these concepts and being able to effectively break them down to people who knew nothing about them made me thirst for more. I wanted to go to grad school and write and talk about race, class, and gender oppression forever. I wanted to be a writer.

And then I didn’t get into the grad school I wanted to go to, and I kind of gave up hope. And then I got married. And then I got pregnant with a surprise baby. And then all I wanted to do was be home with my surprise baby. So now, somewhere between five and ten years post-college, I have done a lot of things that do not include writing. I brought two beautiful babies into the world. I have crafted countless amounts of baby clothes, tutu’s, and greeting cards. I have schooled myself in graphic and web design and marketing so I can have a career that is satisfying and that will allow me to stay at home. I was fortunate to land a job as a freelance researcher and blogger, which got me back into writing. It was boring and I don’t do the blogging part anymore. But just getting back into writing every day gave the confidence I needed to blog for myself. I thought I wanted to rediscover myself as a witty, self-effacing mommy blogger. And I still kind of do, but after doing some writing and reflecting on my life I have realized that I don’t really know myself at all. Life has happened, and I’ve lived through it without giving it much thought. Writing for me now means a lot more because I have the confidence to discover who I am and share it with the world. Writing now is about having a conversation with myself and with my readers. It is about storytelling; telling the gory details about what it is like to be a wife and a mother, and still hold myself and everyone else together. Writing is about connection; being part of a support system and a cheerleader for other women. Writing for me now is about self-discovery.

I am a writer, because I write.

Why you need to save your soul on your desktop – probably every couple of minutes

I lost a blog post. Like, my first significant blog post. Gone. Forever. Deleted when I broke my blog (I still don’t know how that happened), and not saved to my hard drive, for some mysterious reason.

I can remember some of the words, some of the hilarity, some of the pain. It goes something like this.

I’m a freak and my kid knows it; expects it. I am an organized, disorganized mess. I have a lot of grand plans and most of the time I am so caught up in them that I cannot get it together enough to do the super-simple mommy no-brainers. So I fail. Epically. Except it was funnier than that. And now it’s gone. The embarrassing mom moment, from which I learned a lesson and hoped others could to, is gone forever.

And so that is why when I realized I had lost the post I felt like I had been stabbed in the heart with a white-hot dagger.

I am sure it seems dramatic to some, and I’m having a hard time finding the words to express the kind of sadness I felt and why. All I know is there is a small piece of my soul that is lost to the cyber goddesses of cyber space. I guess I just need to leave it at that and not obsess about it. It is how it is supposed to be. I will take heart in knowing I’m not the first and I certainly won’t be the last person this has happened to.

And I have learned yet another lesson.

SAVE YOUR DAMN WORK!