Tag Archives: blog

p.u.b.l.i.s.h.e.d…………………

This is a big milestone for me as a writer – not just a blogger pretending to be a writer – but an actual published writer.

Expat Blog selected one of my articles to p.u.b.l.i.s.h.

You can read it here:
http://www.expat-blog.com/en/guide/asia/india/718-sometimes-it-is-just-hard.html

This is a reprint of “where he draws the line” from my own blog. But it was p.u.b.l.i.s.h.e.d. on another site. Yippee for me! I made some revisions before I sent it to them in final form, so you might notice some slight changes – most likely, you won’t notice anything different about it. 😉

Okay, I have now taken off my bragging hat – sorry to bring you into the self-patting-on-the-back excitement.

Pimp My Font……..

As you might recall, in a previous life I had a handmade stationery business. So, it makes perfect sense that I am always on the prowl for the perfect font. And handwriting fonts are my favorite fontalicious variety of font.

Holy font, batman – if you love fonts, I have great news for you.

There’s a young lady named Amanda and she likes to make fonts out of handwriting samples. No, dear font freak, I am not kidding. And she gives them away for, say it with me, FREE. Seriously. And, yes, I love her! And her fonts are fontfabulous. She has an entire line of “pea” fonts. If you don’t know what I mean, check her and her delicious fonts out at Kevin and Amanda’s Free fonts.

You can thank me later.

Google Me………….

As a relatively new blogger, I realize there is a lot left for me to learn about this whole “blogging” thang. I signed up to get stats via sitemeter and they just look like alphabet soup to me. If someone knows what I should do with all that info, please feel free to speak up. I still don’t know how to post a you-tube video in my actual blog, so you are left clicking on a measely link. I am about to use up all my “free” wordpress space for pictures and am about to have to upgrade and *gasp* pay for blog space. And I still have not figured out how to get paid millions of dollars for my insights and wicked sense of humor – or even $5 for that matter. Talk may be cheap, but apparently writing is free – that is unless you use up all of your free space – but I digress.

Some people blog to ultimately get published – and sure – that’d be great – but sometimes people just blog to blog. I guess I honestly fall somewhere in the middle. I want to capture all of our memories of our great Indian adventure so that I don’t forget the details – but it is also (really, really) nice to know that other people are following along. It amazes me really. I have had people tell me they grab a cup of coffee (I am sure for some of them it is doctored coffee) and sit down to read my blog every day. Wow.

One of the things “real” bloggers talk about is google page rank. So, just for giggles, I thought I would see where I rank. When I entered the key words – a reason to write – into google, I almost fell over. I did not use quotation marks. Does that matter? I do not know. But I did not use them.

Some biotch with a handmade card business called, of all things, “A Reason To Write” ranked number one – oh yeah, that’s me. And then some blogging goddess with a blog called, of all things, “A Reason To Write – India” ranked number two.

Seriously, I am not sure how that happened and it may not last. Maybe my computer remembers it’s me and is empathetic – like a well-intention parent, it doesn’t want to let me down. Hey Data on Star Trek learned to show emotions – it could happen.

How do I know that it might not last, you ask? Well, I don’t want to use up all of my 15 minutes of fame in one place – but also, my blog was linked to a CNN article on prisons for about 20 hours. I (very) excitedly wrote to my family and dear friends to tell them the amazing news – only to find that they removed the link and replaced it with more current blogs on the same topic. Bastards. So, the time difference coupled with the dreaded in-box wait time, it looked like I was a liar, liar pants on fire. And, no, I did not screen print. That would have been the “smart” thing to do – so you can clearly see why I chose NOT to do just that. I had no evidence whatsoever. DAMN, is right.

So, if by the time you read this and google search me, I am no longer ranked as number one and two, rest assured that I have a mental picture in my mind of my success. And I believe me even if no one else does.

The bottom line in all of this is thank you for following along and catapulting me to rock star google status – even if it only exists in my own mind. 😉

Roll Call…….

Not too long ago, I signed up for Sitemeter as a way to gather stats on my blog and its readership. Not that I know what to actually do with any of the info – but it’s cool to see where you are all coming from.

Sitemeter does not tell me that Suzy Q, or any specific person, is reading my blog – but it will tell me where reader “x” hails from. Here are some of the places people are coming to visit me from…..

Camarillo, California USA
Alexandria, Virginia USA
Isl*mabad, P*kistan
Rome, Italy
Alblasserdam, Zuid-Holland in the Netherlands
Moers, Nordehin-Westfalen in Germany
Daytona Beach, Florida USA (we are all coming to visit you in person)
Langhorne, Pennsylvania USA
Bristow, Virginia USA
Maple, Ontatio, Canada
Nigeria
Mexico
Jakarta, Jawa Barat in Indonesia
Casablanca, Morocco
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina USA
Brisbane, Australia
Bombay, India
Republic of Korea
Tallin, Estonia
Los Angeles, California USA
Chennai, India
New Delhi, India

And then a million other places – okay, maybe only 35,000 other places – but close enough. So what we have here is a little United Nations of the Blogsphere.

Tell me where you are coming from……………

I am it………….

When we were in the U.S., I used to love to sit on the front porch and watch my kids play games in the cul-de-sac. I loved hearing “not it” when the games began. Which was always followed by a game of bubble gum, bubble gum, in a dish. No one wants to be “it”. But in the blog world, there is always a lovely game of tag going on. And, now I am “it”. This time was bizarre because I got tagged by a mom in India and by a mom in Ohio. Yes, bizarro. The world is indeed becoming smaller.

Monika from Life of Our Darling Prince tagged me first. Then Naomi from Delhi Bound got me too.

I am supposed to share the 5 things I love best about motherhood. Some days 5 whole things would be hard to dream up. It’s a tough job, the pay stinks, and it can break your heart. But most days, I would say “just 5”. That is simply not enough. I am amazed that I have been so blessed with my family. Truly, truly blessed.

But motherhood is always a balancing act. Here is my attempt to balance just 5.

1. I will never forget the day that Bear was born and how I felt when he was put in my arms. It was a long, exhausting day that ended up in an emergency c-section (which you can read about here) and he had a dislocatable hip. He needed to spend some time with the nurses. I had to wait what seemed like an eternity to even see him. I was very worried that something was wrong. Then I was wheeled away to recovery. I just kept thinking “where is my baby”? Finally, they put him in my arms and he was small and squishy and I was completely overwhelmed. I had not done a lot of babysitting and did not grow up with younger siblings in the house. My first thought was seriously, what the hell was I thinking and what the hell am I supposed to do with him? I was laying flat on the gurney and I could not really see him, I was straining my neck. Holy smokes. Then they got us in our room and I was allowed to sit up a bit and look at him. I was completely blown away by the love I felt for him. Someone I had never met, who had never spoken to me – he had not even smiled yet or gripped my fingers. And, I realized in that moment just how much my parents loved me. It was amazing to feel their love through my own child.

And, yes, I knew that my parents loved me very much. I simply had no idea how much they loved me. The potential of their love surrounded me that night.

2. My children are the reason I was willing to move to India. I lived in Germany in 5th and 6th grade and I know it changed my life. I wanted to give them this experience to learn about the world. I love watching them here. They would rather be in the U.S., but they are taking advantage of this adventure fully. They are trying new things – even some new foods – and they are soaking it all in. I love that they have roots and that they are sprouting wings.

I am amazed at how willing they are to try new things and how they have learned to be proud of themselves even if they do not win. And, yet, they try their best to win. Still, they have learned to appreciate the journey. That is truly a gift. And it one of the things that makes me most proud of them. They know the difference between disappointment and devastation and they simply will not give up.

3. I love hosting sleepovers for my kids and their friends. Usually we have about 20 something kids spend the night. They insist on tacos for dinner and then waffles, eggs, and bacon for breakfast. EVERY TIME. There is never a question on what the menu will be. One time I ordered pizza because I just ran out of time – that did not go over well. The sleepovers are super fun. Even with all the different age groups, they all seem to get along well. We had one last hurrah before we left Virginia and I invited the parents to come in for a happy hour. That is another tradition we will continue. Good times and great memories. If you live in the glen, you better get your calendar out – we have some sleepover making up to do.

4. Of course, when you have kids, you have endless blog material. That is definitely a big fat plus of parenting.

5. And, finally, I love that my children give me the gift of being true to myself. This is hard to do as a parent – especially if you are not following the main stream line of thinking. As your kids get older, the rules get a little more loosey goosey. Partly because they are gaining independence and partly because parents simply run out of steam. Parenting stretches you thin. There is no doubt about that. My parenting philosophy is simple — I would rather say, “oh that was a little silly” than “damn, I should not have done that or let them do that.” I am probably seen as a little over-protective and I am fine with that. My children have taught me that it is not only important to beat to your own drum – but to, in fact, make your own drum. I know this will get harder as we reach the teenager years and I pray for the strength to continue to go with my instincts. They have served me well so far.

6. Did you really think I could only do 5? So sorry. Six – I love it when I hear Mommy quietly whispered. I will never forget when I went from Mommy to Mom. It was a tough day and it came much earlier than I thought it possibly could. But when I hear Mommy spoken softly – I know I am needed in a way that only a Mommy can be needed. (And Mommy whispered softly is not to be confused with “MAAAAWWWWMMMMY” yelled by a child running full speed at you – that is another story altogether.)

So now I am to tag others. I would love to hear from

Lola – she is my favorite blog smart arse – so hers will probably be funny – if she does it – I know you might take a pass sassy! She’s not a big fan of being tagged.

Miss Grace – I enjoy hearing her perspective

Kristen – although she just had a baby so she might be a little busy

Black Hockey Jesus – who says men can’t love being a parent too – I might just be a blip on his radar screen – he has a huge audience – so we’ll see if he has time to do it

Mrs. Smith – she has been looking for blog material – so here is an idea – she has 7 kids – it should be good.

Donna – she is recently separated and on a new adventure as a parent

And of course, anyone else who wants to play along is welcome to do so! There are some people I did not tag because I know they have a lot going on – but if you find the time – you are now officially “it”.

Old Habits Die Hard………..

Okay – is it ADHD or Alzheimers or just very simply jet lag – I really am not sure – but somewhere in the middle of that riddle you will find my ailing brain.

I went to the school today and had a meeting. Well, I thought it was just a parent coffee. It turns out that it was a technology seminar on dealing with middle schoolers and technology – well, mostly Facebook. Hmmmm. How close am I sitting to the door? The topic of blogs came up, too. I think my blog is calling. Maybe I should go now. I am a repeat offender. And, no, I did not introduce myself as the Facebooking, Blog-Everyday New Mom in Town. So shhhhh, don’t tell. Let’s just leave it between me, you, and oh yeah, the internet.

Seriously, though, it was interesting. Very interesting. About half of the 6th graders at the school have a facebook page. The school staff was very careful to not encourage or discourage – it is a parenting decision. But they did explain that this is quite simply the way of the world. And letting them try something new while they are still listening to what you have to say – well, that is something to consider. And, when they are a part of the working world, they will need to be able to network on a number of levels – personally  and technologically. Mostly though, Facebook is at least interactive, it is better than watching the idiot box we call t.v.

However, there are pitfalls. Many pitfalls. The main one being that whatever you post has a carbon footprint that will last for at least forever.

One of the moms did offer one tip – let them do it only on the weekends. This means it will not interfere with homework or other school activities. Note to self – weekends only. Good idea.

Bear has not asked to be on Facebook yet – he is still happy with his newly acquired email account – and I am of the parenting persuasion that if he isn’t asking, well I am just not telling. So, we’ll cross that teenage bridge when he brings us to it.

Then I did a couple of other quick things – met the Athletic Director – my kids are really, really missing their sports. Got some info. Then I went to the cafeteria – it turns out the cafeteria has a bakery. Oh, I did not know that. But, I do now.

Then off to the library. I am allowed to check out books at the library. So I got Five People You Meet in Heaven. I mentioned it here and would really like to re-read it.

Then it was time to go. So I go out the to picnic table by the library and earnestly start searching for my keys. Yes, I do mean my car keys. And, yes, I pulled out my wallet and my notebook and was very puzzled as to where I could have possibly left them. Say it with me – possibly the United States. Over there – across that big body of water called an ocean. Perhaps that is where my keys are. If you are new here it might be helpful to know that I don’t have a car – I have a driver. A lovely man named Kahn. He has the keys – yes, in the car. So what I really need is my cell phone – which has been in my hand the whole time. But honestly, it took me about – oh, I dunno – a full minute and a half to realize I might be completely losing my mind.

I am standing the middle of the campus of the very new school my kids are attending with books from the library and bread from the bakery – yes, many, many reminders that I am no longer on U.S. soil – and I cannot find my car keys because they just happen to be at my dad’s house in the United States. I wonder if this is what Ronald Reagan felt like.

Going Fishing…….

One of my dear friends wrote this for me – and I am at a loss for words at this crazy time in my life – so I share her words with you. She once wrote an article called a Matter of Miles – I always wanted to use that title. So, when I land in India I will borrow steal that title from her. I have never asked her if this is okay – but I know she won’t  mind – she always forgives my indiscretions. She takes me as I am and she is one of the many reasons I am finding it very hard to get out the door. But in the meantime, we are busy getting busy to get out the door. I will write again soon – hopefully with good news of cats and luggage. Until then, I am going fishing…..

My son really wants to go fishing. My husband, who is not a fisherman, agrees to take him. It is one of those fatherly duties. All week long, they prepare for the early morning outing.

“What should we pack?” asks my son, curious and excited.

“Um…two fishing poles, fishing line, and bait,” my husband answers, in a rather uncertain manner.

“Just two poles. I think we should take ten.”

“Ten is way too many. I don’t know much about fishing, but I think it is better to catch one or two great fish then to catch a school of scrawny fish. We should go for quality, not quantity.”

“But more is better, right?”

“Not always….”

More is not always better when it comes to many things that happen in life. For the most important things that happen to us, more is almost never the best option. This is never more true than with friendships. At different points in our lives, we “fish” with different goals and different results.

In preschool, it takes great bravery to even put out one line, and we hold our breath to see if anyone will bite. When a tiny counterpart takes the bite, she is our friend for life. (“Let’s hold hands all the time.”)

In elementary school, our pond grows. We may throw out three or four lines and get good fish with each attempt. (“Let’s have a sleepover this weekend.”)

In high school, we go for the scrawny fish. It is the more the merrier, quantity over quality. We put out as many lines as we can and reel in all that bite. (“Let’s have a party this weekend. We are so popular!”)

In college, we take many of those lines from high school out of the water. It is more about finding out, and fishing for, those who work best with us. Selection is the key here. If you catch something that doesn’t work, you throw it back in the water. Something about living on your own makes you want to find those you will support you and help nurture your spirit. (“Will you help me study for the test? I’ll meet you at the library.”)

In adulthood, in the real world, many things interfere with our ability to fish at all. Old lines that we may have kept in the water since high school start to weaken and may eventually break. Time to launch new lines is hard to find. Sometimes we take stock; we look at the lines that remain, those that have withstood the tumultuous weather or the dangers in the sea that have tried to severe them. We see what we have left, what has never left us, and what hangs on in good times and in bad times. Those fish were meant to be lifelong, and one thing is always true of these fish: they are never many. They are always few. These fish are as strong as the lines that hold them.

One of my fish heads for India this week. She is taking the daring swim across the ocean for the adventure of her life. I need to give her lots of line so that she can reach her destination. Her line has been a constant for me. It is the most dependable line I have, so I am not worried about it breaking. Watch out Atlantic Ocean. This line’s made of steel.

Give that fan a contract……………..

These are the people who I don’t think get paid enough.

My husband – not really – but just in case his boss reads my blog. You never know. There is always room for improvement.

Teachers – obvious.

Preschool teachers – even more obvious.

Preschool teachers who do not require their students to be potty trained. No brainer.

Janitors at schools. If you have ever stepped one foot in an elementary school cafeteria, this requires absolutely no explanation. None whatsoever.

Let’s just say all janitors. I am especially sympathetic after visiting several public restrooms recently.

Maids at my house – oh, that’s me. I am going to triple my own salary – hey I deserve a raise – let’s see 3 times zero is – I’ll have to ask my son the answer to that one – it involves math.

Policemen – obvious.

Firemen – obvious.

Nurses – they really are so helpful. And if they can give a shot without having to rake me off the ceiling – they deserve a bonus.

Office staff at the doctor’s office – if they can figure out the insurance payment procedures, they not only deserve a raise but also an honorary doctorate from Harvard.

Coaches – not professional coaches (like NFL and NBA coaches – they are just fine) and not psycho, screaming parent coaches – but you know, the ones (some are parents – some just love the game and want kids to love the game). They spend hours of their free time helping our children become more coordinated, knowledgeable, and sportsman-like athletes – giving you time to run to the grocery store unattended. Yeah, we could pay them more.

Trash collectors – seriously – would you want to do it? In the rain and in the snow and the cold and the hot. One weather day is worse than the next. Ick.

Stay at home moms. Wait, is nothing too much to get paid? Oh yeah, we get paid in peanut butter kisses and laundry and funny stories to blog about. But compensation that has tax implications would not be so bad. Alas, my fine unpaid friend – 3 times zero is still zero (Bear clued me in) – but the peanut butter kisses – they are free. No 1040 required.

Okay, working parents don’t paid enough for their parenting expertise either.

Bloggers – yep, that’s me, too – yep, we do it for the love of the write. Apparently some bloggers get paid – but I have not figured that one out yet. Give me time.

The tooth fairy and Santa Claus. If you have ever been “forgotten” by one of them, you know their jobs are critical. And Santas at the mall should get a little bit extra. Can you imagine doing that all day? Bah.Hum.Bug.

Crafters – hand-making anything and trying to sell it – now that is a job – either put those poor crafters out of their misery or double their pay immediately.

Facebookers – no wait, that’s just me trying to turn my hobby into a pay check. Sorry.

Tagged again……

There seems to be some trend going on with my friends with blogs: A questionaire pass on. Shaggie Maggie  passed this on to me – a list of questions to be answered with one word. So as no to offend my dear friend here goes: Disclaimer (I am not a “one word” kind of person, as my friends all know)

1. Where is your cell phone? unanswered
2. Where is your significant other? India
3. Your hair color? brown (mostly)
4. Your family? wonderfully complicated
5. Who you miss the most? grandfather
6. Your favorite thing? not big on things
7. Your dream last night? bizarre
8. Your dream/goal? peace on all levels
9. The room you’re in? office
10. Your hobby? writing
11. Your fear? sometimes writing
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Virginia
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you’re not? hateful
15. One of your wish list items? peace
16. Where you grew up? Still in the process of doing that
17. The last thing you did? laundry
18. What are you wearing? pjs – we call them jammers
19. Your TV? mostly off
20. Your pet? 3 cats
21. Your computer? HP laptop
22. Your mood? thoughtful
23. Missing someone? yes
24. Your car? popcorn all over
25. Something you’re not wearing? makeup
26. Favorite store? Geoffrey Beene
27. Your Summer? can’t wait for it
28. Love someone? Many people
29. Your favorite color? right now brown
30. When is the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? about 2 hours ago

Passing is the thing to do with these – so Lola, Badass, Loco, and Miss Grace – Game on. Oh yes, and Kristen.

Just in case you are wondering………..

Queso has a place to go for the next four months. Thank you Chris and family! This makes me very happy – even more sad – and very, very thankful. If I ever re-open the doors to A Reason To Write – you will have free cards for life. Queso Peso – I am going to really, really miss you. Maybe you can start a blog so I can keep up with what you are doing. I know, I know, it’s hard to type with paws. Sigh.

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This arrived yesterday. I heart Orvis. Yes, that was (extremely) fast. They are serious about this whole keeping the customer happy thing. They mean it.

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United Airlines has not responded to my email. I do not heart United Airlines. One suitcase has arrived in Delhi. That’s great – except – wait for it – number one hubby left the U.S. with two suitcases. I was no math major but I am still pretty sure that one plus zero does NOT equal two or 🙂 me.

United Airlines in Delhi would like to meet with Number One Hubby. They are very concerned about our experience. (Remember they tried to help us – it was their sister station in the U.S. that was more than unhelpful.) I am sincerely impressed with their concern.

Our passports arrived today with our Visas. It looks like Delhi (India) will allow live humans into the country.

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My children discovered that my laptop has a camera. This was because I waited to take a picture of my new sweater until after they got home from school. That was (not) a brilliant move.

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Left to their own devices, my children are perfectly capable of entertaining themselves – without killing each other and without the assistance of electronics. Ripley’s might actually believe it – or not – so I took a picture. Please notice nothing is plugged in and everyone is alive.

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This is what my cats think of their future trip to India. I am exploring the possibility of them riding under the seat with us on the plane. I wonder, do they make kitty diapers? They must. If not, maybe I can invent them.

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I have been spoiled by my blogging friends who are both funny and write well. Not all blog writers are creative equally. Some are really bad. And they have books published. This bothers me on a number of levels. Someone is making them think they are good, so now they are going to continue writing. I have not figured out what to write a book about (details) or how to get this unwritten masterpiece published. More details. But I really, really want to. Isn’t that enough? Maybe I should be encouraged. If she can do it…….   And, nope, I won’t tell you who they/she are/is because she has gotten enough attention already. I will give you a hint – she is not on my blogroll and she is not nice. So even if someone kindly sprinkles magic writing dust on her and she suddenly gets all Shakesperian on me she still will not appear on my blogroll. That’s how I choose to impose my own little poetic justice.

Apparently my -ER friend does have time to read my blog after all. Well, let me be fair, her two-year-old most likely read it to her while she was baking 500 dozen homemade (decorated by hand) sugar cookies for the school bake sale. And, yes, she will buy them all back – she is generous like that. Anybake, she called me yesterday. Holy moly you say – oh, have no fear. None whatsoever. She thought it was hysterical – who is she, she asked? Oh yes she did. She asked who it was. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she is (nearly) famous. She knew it wasn’t her because she HATES people like that. That really makes me laugh. A lot of people have asked me how I think of things to write about. Oh the heavens rain ideas upon me all the time. It really isn’t hard – with friends like this, who needs life experience. I can write vicariously through the insanity of others. Thank you writing gods! And, please keep it coming.