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IComLeavWe: December 2014

Welcome back to IComLeavWe. It stands for International Comment Leaving Week, but if you say it aloud, doesn’t it sounds like “I come; [but] leave [as a] we”? And that’s sort of the point. Blogging is a conversation and comments should be honoured and encouraged. I like to say that comments are the new hug–a way of saying hello, giving comfort, leaving congratulations. Here is the vital information, pure and simple (a more detailed set of rules follows below the list):

  • The list opens the 1st of every month. It remains open until the 21st. You can add yourself at any point. The list is open to everyone in the blogosphere–blog writers and/or blog readers.
  • Add yourself to the list by filling out this form after adding the icon below: December 2014. I will move the information from the form into the post (usually within 24 hours).
  • Click here to cut-and-paste this bit of code to add to your sidebar (if you have the old code from another month, remove it and replace it with this one). You need to add the icon or a link to the current list on your blog (see below) and will not be added until it’s up.
  • Commenting kicks off every month on the 21st. Please mark it somewhere (calendar, post-it note taped to your computer…), though I will be sending out an email reminder on the 20th. Commenting week runs from the 21st to the 28th. Every day, leave 5 comments and return 1 comment for a total of 6 comments. You are highly encouraged to choose the blogs you comment on from the participants list below, but this is not required.
  • I will send a second email on the 28th to remind you to remove the icon from your blog.
  • Read below if you want to find out about Iron Commenters.
  • The commenting ends on the 28th. We catch our breath and the whole thing starts again the next month on the 1st. Drop in and out according to what is happening in your life between the 21st and the 28th.

The December 2014 List

  1. Stirrup Queens (twins, books, writing)
  2. Add yourself by filling out the form after adding the icon…
You have questions…I have answers:

Q: What if I miss a day?

A: Catch up the next day by doubling your comments–12 comments instead of 6.

Q: What if I have two blogs? Can I sign up twice, listing both blogs?

A: Yes, but you also need to double your comments. If you have two blogs listed, you should be leaving 12 comments per day.

Q: What is an Iron Commenter?

A: Not for the faint-of-heart. People who wish to be an Iron Commenter and be entered on the Iron Commenter honour roll need to leave a comment on every blog on the participants list (exceptions are blogs that require you to have a special log-in, such as some LiveJournal accounts or other similar situations). You can spread out this commenting any way you wish over the whole week, but the final comment needs to be left by midnight on the 28th (EST). Reaching Iron Commenter status is done on an honour system. Please email me if you earn Iron Commenter status so I can add you to the wall of honour.

Q: Why do I have to add that bit of code to my sidebar?

A: The code is the latest icon (the icon changes colour every month so you know that you’re on the right list). This month, the icon is red, the next month it will be silver, etc. The reason is two-fold: (1) it enables more people to find out about IComLeavWe and (2) it gives you easy access to the current list once the commenting week actually begins and better ensures that you’ll use it. Too many times, people sign up and forget to actually do IComLeavWe and this icon gives you a daily reminder (with the dates on it) every time you open your own blog. The icon is linked back to the current list. On the 28th, remove the icon from your blog. A new one will be created for the next month.

Q: It’s the 23rd and I just saw this for the first time on my friend’s blog! I want to join the list–why can’t I?

A: Because IComLeavWe happens every month, once the list is closed, it’s closed. If you’re finding out about this on the 23rd, you can’t join the current month. But leave yourself a note to check back in a week on the 1st and you can sign up for the next month.

Q: You said the list closes on the 21st. Well, it’s still the 21st where I am. Why aren’t you moving my information onto the list?

A: All dates and times are U.S. Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT -5 hours). The list closes around 11 p.m. EST on the 21st.

Q: What if no one comments on my blog and I have no comments to return?

A: Well, that really doesn’t happen for the most part, but in that case, simply choose another blog and add an additional comment. The goal is to hit 6 comments daily as a minimum. Going over that is fantastic and encouraged.

Q: Mel, my question wasn’t covered at all. What do I do?

A: Email me; I’m quite friendly. It helps to place “IComLeavWe” in the subject line. You could also check this post which contains the history of IComLeavWe and see if you can glean anything there.

Looking for the comment section? It has been closed on this post. Use the form in the directions to add yourself to the list.

November 26, 2014   Comments Off

The Welcome Table: An Annual Online Thanksgiving Meal

welcome_table

[Melissa stands up, taps her fork against her glass, and clears her throat.  The conversation around the table dies down, and she suddenly knows how Dumbledore feels as he delivers his Welcome-Back-to-Hogwarts speech.  She considers growing a long white beard before next year’s meal.]

Welcome, everyone, to our annual pre-Thanksgiving online meal.  Let’s just put it out there bluntly: sometimes the holidays are great, and sometimes they suck, but everyone deserves to have a nice meal around a table (even if it’s only a virtual one) where they feel comfortable and know that the other inhabitants at the table have their back.

For some people, this pre-meal is what gets them through their real meal later in the week.  People have written that they’ve printed out this yearly post and comments and left the paper in their purse because it helped to have a tangible reminder that there were people out there who got it.  Who weren’t going to ask them when they were going to hurry up and have children.  Who weren’t going to cringe when someone spoke the name of a child they lost.

We are all so different.  All of us.  Around this table.  But we have this one facet of our lives — and yes, even though it may be a big, overpowering one for you right now, it is only one facet of who you are — where we overlap: infertility or adoption or loss.  And I am so thankful, so grateful, that I found all of you.  Everyone needs a You-shaped space where they can be themselves.  And that’s what I have here.

So every year, I ask people to bring a virtual dish to our meal.  Place it in the comment section, explaining what you brought and why.  And say anything else you need to say before sitting back down to enjoy the company.  Update about where you are; your emotional state.  We’re an international group, hailing from countries all around the world.  So while Thanksgiving is an American tradition, I hope that everyone around the world feels as if they can participate.  (Especially our Canadian neighbours who celebrated Thanksgiving weeks ago.)  I’d love for your dish to come from your culture or country.  Don’t worry about the contents on the table clashing.

So I am bringing Mary McCartney’s English pea soup.  I know, not exactly traditional Thanksgiving fare, but it’s warm and filling and it makes me happy.  Plus I can make it ahead of time because it freezes beautifully.  In the summer, I like salads.  But cold weather calls for vegetable-based soups.

So what did you bring and what do you want to say to the community?

And please, start eating as everyone is introducing their dish.  We don’t want the food to get cold and there are so many of us at this table.  Thank you so much for coming, and I’m going to carry the warmth of this meal with me for the rest of this week.

November 25, 2014   27 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 13: Keep or Toss

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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Lifehacker had a timely (for me) article on how to decide whether to keep or part with sentimental items.  You ask yourself whether you’d buy it again at full price, if the object has happy memories associated with it, of if you’d still want it if someone you disliked gave it to you.  All fine questions, though I’d personally never use them to cull out the mess in my storage room.

It was timely because I had reason to go through three boxes of old papers this week — stuff from high school until graduate school.  Old stories, autograph pages that were supposed to go in yearbooks, letters, notes that friends passed me in the hall, photographs.  None of Lifehacker’s questions obviously applied to those papers.

If Lifehacker showed up at my house and told me I could only keep ten things, those three boxes of paper would make the cut.  As would photographs of the twins.  The family tree.  The most important things to me seem to be made out of paper.  What tangible objects would you save if Lifehacker told you that you had to clean up your storage spaces?

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored posts.

1. No Baby Ruth 20. Solo Mama 39. Kasey
2. lostintranslation 21. Infertile Girl 40. Dubliner In Deutschland
3. Jen (Days of Grace) 22. S 41. Laurel Regan @ Alphabet Salad
4. articulation 23. deathstar 42. Microblog Monday: Wear a Hat
5. Uma S 24. Rain 43. queenjohnsonclan
6. Gil (The Hardest Quest) 25. Amanda 44. Emma
7. Corinne Rodrigues 26. Shail 45. Fran
8. Waiting for Baby 27. Good Families Do 46. stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
9. Persnickety 28. apluseffort 47. My Path To Mommyhood (Jess)
10. D 29. Amber 48. Kimberly
11. earthandink 30. Elizabeth Project Progeny 49. AHalf Baked Life: Liminal
12. Mary Francis 31. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 50. With love, Tania
13. Turia 32. Mali (No Kidding) 51. Middle Girl
14. Geochick 33. Mali (A Separate Life) 52. Clothes, Control & 2 Books @ Nabanita
15. Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles 34. Parenthood Diaries 53. sharah
16. Non Sequitur Chica 35. torthú il 54. Ke Anne
17. Buttermilk 36. Running Nekkid 55. Heather
18. Losing itty bitty Liddy 37. Cristy 56. Tara
19. Isabelle 38. Mina

November 24, 2014   39 Comments

Introverts, Unite!

Josh recently forwarded me an article about introverts and extroverts and how they respond physically to the world.  At first, it was just a “hey, they described you!” sort of thing.  But after a day or so, I think he started to realize, “oh… if that describes you, then I now get why you hate X, Y, and Z.”

The HuffPo article does a good job explaining the difference between shyness and introversion — it comes down to how stimulated you get from social interactions.  Extroverts want a high level of stimulation; introverts need a low level.  It also points out how life outside your home is structured with extroverts in mind: “most of our societal constructs cater to the former — from open office spaces to loud bars to the structure of our educational system.”

The reason I love working from home is that I really don’t thrive in an office space, especially one where I’m going to have to keep interacting with people throughout the day.  If you put me in my house with a task, I will get it done efficiently.  If you put me in an office space with that same task, I will take twice as long to complete it.  I don’t like eating out in crowded restaurants.  I would much prefer to watch a movie on our tiny screen at home than in a crowded theater.  I’d love to go to ComicCon, but when I hear the number of attendees, it fills me with dread.  I always have to sit on an aisle.  I love being alone.

I need a lot of alone time.

I liked the article because it does a good job explaining how I could have no anxiety about being a lecturer at the university, addressing 400 students at once, or speaking at BlogHer, but it can take me two or three hours of mental prep time to get myself to go to a small party.

So… yes… so while it isn’t my first choice to go out to the movies, I go because it means a lot to Josh.  While I need lots of down time in order to function which cuts into Josh’s activity level, too.  But I love being married to an extrovert who leads me to stimulating situations that I would have otherwise never forced myself to experience.  And he probably gets some benefit from being married to an introvert.  (I think?)

Are you and your partner matched on the introversion/extraversion spectrum?  Or are you in an introvert/extrovert relationship?

P.S. While you’re contemplating this, you could also be prepping a post for tomorrow’s #MicroblogMonday.

November 23, 2014   23 Comments

521st Friday Blog Roundup

Happy IComLeavWe!

So I kept checking the IComLeavWe form daily, but I never saw anyone to add. Which was odd, but I thought maybe people were caught up in Thanksgiving plans.  But then I started to get emails from people wondering why they weren’t being added, and I kept saying, “well, because you never added yourself to the list.”  Finally, I got enough emails that I tried the form myself and realized that my entry wasn’t showing up, either.

I Googled around and saw a piece of advice to scroll down on Google forms if you’re not seeing entries.  Sure enough, there were dozens of entries about 200 spaces down on the list.  I would have never seen them if I hadn’t scrolled down.

So thank you to everyone who wrote!

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I am so cold.  I’m sitting in the living room wearing my Ravenclaw robes.  Not because they help me think but because I am so cold.  Did I mention that I’m cold?  And that we had the windows replaced so there is no draft?  And I’m hugging a hot water bottle, which is giving me terrible posture while I type?  And that the heat is up as high as Josh will let me take it before he starts rolling his eyes and talking about my wimpiness.

Maybe I am a wimp.  I wear jeans all summer.  And sometimes long sleeves, too.  I am perpetually cold, even in summer.

And then we have a frigid November and my body whispers, “I’m giving up, okay?”

This is just the start, people.  Just the start.  5 more months of coooooooooold.

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We are under one month away from the Creme de la Creme list CLOSING.

The 2014 Creme de la Creme list is open for entries until December 15th.  No one will be added after December 15th.  Read the post to see how to be a part of the Creme de la Creme, which is open to every member of the ALI (adoption/loss/infertility) community.

Consider that your weekly reminder.

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Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

No Baby Ruth writes about how things are different this time around with her second child.  She reaches the same milestone — 9 months outside the body — and she looks down at the words she wrote years ago when she had reached this point with her first child.  While she honours that she felt that way at the time, she can’t believe that was what she thought when she was in that moment.  It’s a wonderful post about reflecting and how things are not always as we fear.

Infertile Girl in a Fertile World has a post about not being able to cry and wonders if she’s saving her tears for something else.  You’ll have to click over and read the whole tiny post to find out what that is…

Lastly, River Run Dry has a two-part post about teaching her child what to do in case of an emergency at his school.  While his school is leading them in drills, she worries that he doesn’t get how far he needs to take hiding.  Sure enough, she writes, “So I ask him, neutrally, what he’d do if a stranger came into his classroom during lockdown – not a teacher, not a fireman, not a police officer.  I think, he says, I’d whisper to him.  He has no idea what could happen.”  Is it a difficult read?  Yes.  But it’s an important read about talking to your kids about what to do if the worst thing happened.

The roundup to the Roundup: Happy IComLeavWe.  It is so cold!  Your friendly Creme de la Creme reminder.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between November 14th and 21st) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

November 21, 2014   13 Comments

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