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Category — Friday Blog Roundup

593rd Friday Blog Roundup

I recently received an email from an airline, let’s call it Flights-R-Us.  So Flights-R-Us tells me that I need to use my frequent flyer reward points or lose them.  I go on the site and see that I can either apply those points toward a future flight or use them on hotels, restaurants, or gift cards.  I decide to make things simple and get myself a gift card.

I click on the item and it tells me that in order to use my rewards, I also need to open a special Flights-R-Us credit card.  This doesn’t sound quite right in terms of how loyalty reward programs usually work, so I call Flights-R-Us and explain the conundrum to the representative on the phone.

Flights-R-Us: The numbers you see on the site are the number of points you’ll receive if you buy that item.

Mel: But I’m on your reward website.  There are no prices.  There are only points.

Flights-R-Us: That’s right.

Mel: You’re going to tell me that if I click on the… let’s say… Kindle Paperwhite, I will pay an undisclosed amount and receive 80,000 points in return?

Flights-R-Us: Yes.

Mel: And where do I use all these points I’m collecting as I purchase items from your reward program website?

Flights-R-Us: You use them on the website.

Mel: Okay, so that’s what I want to do.  I have all these points, I would like to use the points.

Flights-R-Us: So click on the Kindle Paperwhite to use the points.

Mel: So I use points to get the Kindle Paperwhite?

Flights-R-Us: No, you get points by buying the Kindle Paperwhite.

Mel: For an undisclosed amount since there are no dollar amounts listed anywhere on the site.

Flights-R-Us: Yes, that is correct.

I ended up calling a different number and speaking to a different representative who informed me that my first understanding was correct.  I could not use my frequent flyer rewards on anything other than flights unless I opened up a credit card.  Since this exchange (1) inspired no confidence in the airline itself and (2) sounded like a complete scam on the part of the airline, I decided to let the frequent flyer miles expire.  If brands wonder why customers don’t have loyalty in the future, this exchange above is their answer.

*******

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.

*******

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.

IF Pomegranate has a post pointing out our similarities and differences.  She asks: “Anyone else feel like even though you are surrounded (virtually) by people who are going through IF in their own way, you are still alone in this?”  She has a unique situation, and she is looking to connect with someone who has a similar story.  Click over and see if you connect.

Torthúil has a great story about what can happen when you silence your inner monologue and just show up.  Go over and read what happens when your anxiety and dread doesn’t come true.

My Path to Mommyhood has a great post about turning 40, which seems to be a bit of a theme this week (see below).  She writes: “Things turned out differently than I originally thought they would. But…they turned out more beautifully than I could have ever imagined, even with all the twists and turns and pain and losses and setbacks we never could have seen coming. Maybe in some ways BECAUSE of those twisty parts.”  It’s about honouring where you are now rather than focusing on where you wish you would be.

On that note, Anabegins also has a post about turning 40.  Her point about age being tied to hope blew my mind.  She explains this so much better on the post (hence the ellipses removing all of the brilliant points you need to click over and read), but she states, “I’ve been mourning the loss of possibility that comes with aging; and since possibility amounts to hope, I think its worth mourning, at least in a controlled and limited fashion … I don’t daydream anymore  — I’ve tried — there just isn’t anything big and GOOD* left that isn’t already set … If I think too hard about the future I realize that people I love may be gone, my children will be TEENAGE BOYS, my joints will be creakier & my hair grayer and oh my god this is terrifying STOP. Life, and circumstance, and common sense have taken all the FUN out of daydreaming.”  Go over and read it.

Inconceivable has a post tying organizing into tidying the mind after infertility and loss.  It is a very moving post that will stick with you for a long time, forcing to think about the thoughts you’re keeping.

Lastly, CD1 Again returns with an update after 3 years.  I love the magic of the rss feed which makes posts on dormant blogs pop up as if no time has passed.  It’s a post that is both proof to the desire to keep hearing each other’s stories, as well as the fact that life goes on.  She writes that she is going to repurpose the space, and I, for one, am happy to hear those words.

The roundup to the Roundup: Bizarre reward programs.  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 April 22nd and April 29th) 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.

April 29, 2016   11 Comments

592nd Friday Blog Roundup

Pesach starts tonight.  It’s a little easier this year because for the first time in hundreds of years, Conservative Jews are allowed to eat kitniyot.  You see, there are the things you definitely can’t eat during Pesach, such as pasta or bread — anything with wheat, oats, or barley — but then there is another category called kitniyot, which contains things like rice and beans and corn and lentils.  You can’t eat those, either, which made it very difficult to eat during Pesach if you’re a vegetarian.

It has always been a holiday that has made me fairly miserable.  I’m better at fasting for a day than giving up rice and beans for 8.

But this year, Conservative rabbis overturned the rule, which means we can have garbanzo beans in the salad and rice and beans during the week.  It makes things a lot easier.

Still, I was thinking about MLO Knitting, a child-free after IF blogger who died back in 2013.  I can’t link to her blog anymore because it looks like it has been taken down, but she had a corn allergy, and she loved Pesach because it was a chance to stock up on corn syrup-free products.  It’s food for thought: every change that makes things easier for one group of people may make it harder for another.

*******

On the other hand, I finally, officially, beat gluten’s ass.  My friend’s child needs gluten-free cookies, and I tried to make her hamantaschen this year.  What a freakin’ mess.  I hadn’t accounted for the fat in the almond flour when adding the butter and the end result was a gooey mess that spread across the cookie sheet.

This time, I got the ratios correct, and I managed to reverse engineer a Twix-bar and figure out hamantaschen.  Oh, it’s on, gluten, it’s on.

*******

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.

*******

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.

Notes from the Ninth Circle has a tiny, breath-holding post about hope.  It’s really too tiny to even describe without ruining the effect.  Just click over to see what she has done with 4 lines.

A+ Effort’s post about her foray into Whole30 cracked me up, especially: “I’ve been mostly gluten-free for almost two years, and I still cannot pass up a donut. I mean, I pass them up in the store, but if a box is sitting in the office, you better believe I’ll be there napkin in hand.”  As someone who struggles against cravings, too, I raise my mushed up banana to her.

It Is What It Is is back with a post summing up life before she turns 50.  I love this: “At my last birthday, I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of turning 50 in just a years time, yet, here I am and I must say I am thrilled to be approaching this mid-century of my life with such gusto and gratitude.”  It’s a great post about marking the milestone.

Outlandish Notions has a post about a run.  It’s almost poetry as she passes through her town, first forward and then in reverse.  My favourite part: “The air conditioners, all of them, already.  The cars, all of them, rushing by on the street, the sound dipping and sliding around walls and fences and trees and earthworks, weaving in and out of the background noises of living things.”  I felt like I was there.

Lastly, A Half Baked Life has a post about bridgetenders that made me smile, not least of which due to the online project eons ago that I ran called Bridges (remember that site?) bringing together various niches of the blogosphere.  As a watcher, I love the idea of sitting in the same place, day after day, observing the water and surrounding area.  The whole post just made me feel good.

The roundup to the Roundup: Rice and beans on Pesach!  Take that, gluten.  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 April 15th and April 22nd) 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.

April 22, 2016   9 Comments

591st Friday Blog Roundup

Happy Tax Day. Actually, I’m sure you’re NOT happy about Tax Day, but hopefully your taxes are done and filed.  So there’s that.

*******

Josh made me recycle Old Minty.  Old Minty is… was… my laundry basket.  I got him before I started college.  I filled him with my dirty clothes and dragged him down to the basement laundry room.  Old Minty followed me to grad school, where he helped me take my clothes to the sketchy laundromat.  Old Minty was there for me at my first grown-up apartment, my first job, my second job, my engagement, my marriage.  Old Minty gave rides to the twins around the living room.

And then Josh started saying things like, “Don’t you think we should replace the laundry basket?”  And, “Don’t you think I should be able to carry clothes to the laundry room without getting my hands cut up by the jagged remains of your basket?”  And, “Melissa, it doesn’t even look like a laundry basket anymore.”

I allowed myself to be swayed by his arguments that 23 years is a long life for a plastic laundry basket.

He placed Old Minty with the recycling pick up.  He was taken away from me and churned into plastic bits.  I bought a new basket.  It has zero personality.

I miss Old Minty.  I ask the other family members if they miss Old Minty, too, and they stare at me blankly while saying, “What?”  Old Minty loyally served this family for decades, and now they’ve all forgotten about him and attached themselves to the new laundry basket.  “Oh, new laundry basket, you’re so great because you don’t collapse under the weight of a few pairs of underwear.”

New laundry basket is NOT so great.  He doesn’t even have a name.  But Old Minty does… did.

I clearly have not mastered the Kondo method.

*******

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.

*******

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.

Bent Not Broken has a post about being stuck between two expectant grandmothers in an unexpected place — her own living room.  She writes, “Two expectant grandmas.  In my living room.  Talking about their excitement about becoming grandmas.  About planning and throwing baby showers.  About buying things for their new grandbabies.  I had no escape.”  It’s about the pain of infertility still stinging, and also the ability to rebound faster from these moments as time goes on.

Bereaved and Blessed reveals the 9 words that she has used to define her year during each of her 9 years of blogging.  I love the idea of setting one ahead of time, though I’m terrible at (1) figuring out my word and (2) sticking to it, but even more, I love the idea of looking back and summing up the year.  Go wish her congratulations on almost a decade of blogging AND see the word that defines her 9th year.

Lastly, as much as blogging has made life easier, allowing us to pool our collective knowledge as well as give comfort from afar, Non Sequitur Chica points out the other side: that sometimes we worry needlessly based on what we’ve read on other people’s blogs.  It’s a story about moving her daughter to her big girl bed, but it’s also a good reminder that YMMV (and all those acronyms the kids use these days).

The roundup to the Roundup: It’s Tax Day.  I miss Old Minty.  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 April 8th and April 15th) 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.

April 15, 2016   12 Comments

590th Friday Blog Roundup

I went to the White House Media and Toy Summit this week, and I’m still trying to process all of the statistics and discussion I heard from the excellent panels.  Some of it will make you shudder and want to take immediate action, some of it will make you hopeful for the future.

In the meantime, while I didn’t take many photos from the day, I did take this one of a slide from a panel.  It’s from Meredith Walker of Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls.

White House Toy Summit

“Change the world by being yourself.”  Isn’t that a great sentiment?  I mean, everyone can do it, since the only thing you need to do is be yourself vs. trying to be someone else.  It’s so simple but brilliant: For kids, certainly, but also for every adult.

I posted this on Facebook, but I also wanted to post this here.  I was feeling a little out-of-sorts at the beginning of the summit.  I don’t often venture out of my comfortable little bubble of home and yoga pants.  At the first break, I was standing by myself, staring off into the middle distance while I ate a bag of Cheerios, when LISA FREAKIN’ STONE walked up to me.  She was at the summit, too.

And suddenly I felt so grounded.  It was the best hug ever.

Lisa Stone

It made me realize I go through the same thing every single time I go to the annual BlogHer conference.  I feel so nervous going, and then I either see someone from the community in the lobby of the hotel or get to the opening keynote and see people like Elisa, Jory, and Lisa on stage, and I suddenly remember: “This is where I am supposed to be.”  This is home, too; albeit without yoga pants.  But those people are home, and those ideas are home, and being part of a supportive site that nurtures writers is home.

I’m so grateful Lisa was there because it brought me out of my shell, and I ended up meeting so many cool people during the day.  I’m so grateful that Lisa, Elisa, and Jory started BlogHer and that Denise brought me to the site to write.  Because it is such an awesome space, and whenever I’m feeling a touch lost, it guides me back and reminds me that I have a voice and I should use it.

A side note: If you haven’t been to the annual conference and wonder if you should go, the answer is yes.

*******

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.

*******

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.

Res Cogitatae has a moving post about life forcing you to your knees.  She has a particularly moving part about her stillbirth fears, pointing out that, “The odds of stillbirth are 1 in 100. The odds of being born with one kidney are 1 in around 1,000. I don’t know what the odds are of having colon cancer that doesn’t behave like colon cancer, but I imagine they’re pretty high. And my father’s accident defies belief.  So why wouldn’t the baby die? It would actually be a more likely outcome than anything else that’s happened in the last couple of months.”  Yes, but is all I can manage as a response.  Because I don’t want it to be true?  Because it is easier for outsiders to hold your hope?  It is a very moving post.

Wild and Precious Life has an update about living as a family of five when others see you as a family of three.  It is about the exhaustion and elation of early days, and she explains: “Perhaps it’s obvious from this rambling post, I am so in love, exhausted, filled with wonder, worried about being the best parent I can be, and keeping him safe that I feel like a jumble. A fortunate jumble.”  I smiled through the whole post.

Lastly, Page, Stages, and Rages has a post to her mother to mark the two year anniversary of her death.  She writes, “I’m getting along — like you told me to, but you never taught me how to get along without you so I’m winging it most of the time.”  It is such a bittersweet post, and I sobbed heavily reading it.

The roundup to the Roundup: A really good quote to live by and seeing Lisa Stone at the White House Toy Summit.  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 April 1st and April 8th) 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.

April 8, 2016   4 Comments

589th Friday Blog Roundup

As I said over on BlogHer, this is my least favourite day of the year.  I know a lot of infertile women struggle with Christmas or Mother’s Day, but my worst day is April Fools.  It’s a day that turns otherwise thoughtful, kind people into jerks for 24 hours.  I hate all pranks, but especially fake pregnancy announcements.

I could write off everyone who posts something asinine on social media today and say, “Well, it is April Fools, and I know it’s a joke.”  But here’s the thing: It isn’t funny.  It isn’t funny to see someone mocking fertility (or in the case of the video I linked to in the BlogHer post, mocking adoption).  It isn’t funny to wade through picture after picture of pee sticks.

So I’m mostly offline today.  I’ll be on social media when I need to be for work, and I’ll read the blog posts in my feed reader since I feel pretty certain that no one I read would post a fake pregnancy announcement.  But other than that?  Avoid avoid avoid.

*******

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.

*******

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.

Sad in the City has a gorgeous post this week called “Letting Go of Biological Motherhood.” A walk with her dog places her in the path of a child, and while the exchange would normally be welcome, it comes during a time when they have decided to stop treatments.  She says this so perfectly: “I am mourning the lost bit of living I feel like I have missed out on.”  This post… You just need to read the whole thing.

Anabegins has a post about applying the Kondo method to her life, which is brilliant.  The idea of tidying up your time: “I suspect I’m spending my time and energy on  things that don’t bring joy or utility to my life. I am squandering my precious minutes and hours on things that don’t matter, that suck away my joy and satisfaction and don’t bring me any closer to my goals.”  I’ve seen more than one person this week trying to put this into practice.  It is such a smart idea.

There is also Twangygirl’s post about getting the call, the one from the adoption agency.  There is so much giddiness in this post that I actually got chills down both arms reading it.  My favourite part: “Actual Baby is awfully, awfully sweet. The JB held him for three hours straight, until his arms hurt. That’s a kind man. And here I am, over Newfoundland, catching up with them, and now you are now caught up, too.”  Go wish her congratulations.

Lavender Luz has a post on the third anniversary of her book about how the project emerged from an unflattering blog post someone wrote about her.  She could have shut down and lost her voice, but instead she listened, considered, and reworded her thoughts.  And what came out of that experience is something incredible.  It’s a great story.

Lastly, Searching for Our Silver Lining has posted two very pretty pictures of herself, and it’s fitting that she is putting a face to an infertility story this week on a day when so many people need to remember that infertility affects real people.  Have I mentioned how much I really dislike fake pregnancy announcements on April Fools Day?  But I do love this.

The roundup to the Roundup: I really dislike April Fools Day.  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 March 25th and April 1st) 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.

April 1, 2016   11 Comments

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