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Be My Valentine

We do not celebrate Valentine’s Day, but it’s not like we hate love.  It’s sort of like Arbor Day — we don’t celebrate Arbor Day, either, but it’s not like we hate trees.  (Arbor Day is for celebrating trees, right?)  We don’t do anything to mark the day, though I can’t really tell you why.  It isn’t a protest.  It isn’t a putting our foot down.  It just isn’t, and we just don’t.

But if Josh decided he felt like giving me a back rub tonight, I wouldn’t say no.

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I really do like an idea I’ve seen echoed around the Internet this week about declaring it a day of self love.  Taking a half hour to do something you really enjoy, or buying yourself a particularly good piece of chocolate.  THAT is something within your control.  You can choose to take a small amount of time for yourself.  It can be five minutes.  It can be thirty seconds of deep breaths.  But it’s yours, and no one can stop it from happening.

I am a big fan of things within my control these days.

So I am going to have a piece of chocolate.  I am going to read a chapter in my book.  And I am probably going to end up with a new game from the app store.  Because damn it, I’m worth it.

Happy Valentine’s Day.  What are you going to do to show yourself a little love?

February 14, 2017   9 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 129: Pranks

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

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The ChickieNob insisted that you can send a blank text.  “Watch,” she said, opening up her messaging app and making a single blank space using the space bar.  She hit send.

A moment later, Josh sent back a question mark.  She sent another blank text.  Thus began a long thread of blank texts met by increasingly confused return messages, including a screenshot of the conversation in case the ChickieNob didn’t understand that all of her texts were showing up as blank bubbles.

She laughed and laughed and laughed.

Okay, it was funny on our end.  And no one got hurt, though I told her that she wasn’t allowed to do this to other people.  That’s sort of the thing about pranks: they’re usually only funny to the giver and not the receiver.

But keep that one in your back pocket for April 1st.

Best prank ever pulled or seen?

Our favourite SNL sketch (Maya Angelou pranks Cornell West!)

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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 post.

1. Let’s Talk About Periods Today | Naba 12. Modern Gypsy 23. Mali (A Separate Life)
2. Parul Thakur | Happiness & Food 13. Risa Kerslake 24. Mali (No Kidding)
3. Anamika 14. Isabelle 25. Virginia
4. Turia 15. Raven 26. Traci York, Writer
5. Unpregnant Chicken 16. Dubliner in Deutschland 27. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled)
6. Different Shores 17. Ms. Infertile 28. Jess
7. Shilpa 18. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) 29. Cyn K
8. Lori@ Laughing IS Conceivable 19. 35jupiterdrive 30. Empty Arms, Broken Heart
9. Pom 20. Journeywoman
10. Tina Basu 21. Daryl
11. Karen (River Run Dry) 22. Chandra Lynn (Pics and Posts)

February 13, 2017   18 Comments

The Unspoken Secret of Online Dating

I’ve been trying out new podcasts, and I downloaded a December episode of Gimlet’s Undone because it sounded interesting.  It was the story of online dating, beginning with Operation Match in the 60s.

The episode opens in the here and now with a woman talking about her frustration with online dating:

[Man’s voice: We live in this moment in history when computers seem capable of finding basically everything we want.]  If you have a problem which is like, “I’m hungry,” you can open up Seamless and food arrives.  If you have a problem like, “I need a bed frame,” you can open up some apps and just do some online shopping and find a new bed frame.  Get it delivered.  No problem.  But I have this problem, which is that I am looking for someone to love.  If I wanted to, I could fill an entire page of my phone with dating apps, but I don’t think that’s made dating better.  I actually think it might be getting worse.

Replace dating with infertility and you can see why I sat up straighter in the car as I listened.  Here are two problems that are seemingly straightforward — find someone to love, build your family.  Situations that are commonplace and experienced by nearly everyone; either without trouble or with great difficulty.  There are so many obscure problems out there with good solutions.  And then you have dating and infertility that have solutions, but they’re mostly hit or miss.

Later in the episode, one of the founders of OK Cupid admits the secret of online dating.  Those questionnaires you fill out?  They’re sort of pointless.  They don’t really encapsulate a person’s personality or what they’re looking for.  Those things all fall in the je ne sais quoi category of life, unable to be touched by an algorithm.

What online dating does is get you out there, dating.  That’s it.  That’s the whole point.  And the idea is that if you keep doing it, keep plugging away, keep meeting someone, statistically, you will most likely meet THE person, though some people may never find their mate. So that’s the point of dating apps; they’re just to get you out of the house and connecting with another person so you have the chance of finding them.

Okay, so perhaps that wasn’t the most profound idea to you, but it blew my mind.  Because I really thought there was a point to the algorithm and the questionnaire and all of that stuff.  Nope.  Not really.  It’s all spaghetti thrown against the wall, and the point is just to get you to keep boiling pots of spaghetti vs. sometimes have spaghetti but most of the time feeling frustrated and staying in to have rice.

In some ways, that thought is freeing.

Because it’s actually helpful to not be given an unrealistic promise.  To hear that it’s just about getting you out of your house.  Because THAT I can get behind.  What has always made me upset is the idea of promise: If you’ll sign up for the dating site, you’ll meet someone. (Or the equivalent “if you do treatments, you’ll have a baby.”)  It filled me with peace to hear someone say, “It may happen or it may not happen, and the solution only covers nudging you on your way so you can see if it will happen.”

Somehow hearing the stark reality of life makes me feel better instead of worse, even if it means that not everyone will meet their life partner or build their family.  It acknowledges that some things are beyond our control, and our job is to put ourselves out there so things may happen but also realize that when it doesn’t, it wasn’t because of something we did or didn’t do.

In fact, maybe we did all we could humanly do.

Thanks for making me think, Undone.

February 12, 2017   12 Comments

633rd Friday Blog Roundup

Linus has been in our family for about two weeks now.  He has settled in nicely, and isn’t shy about his likes (kale, shredded carrots, romaine lettuce) and dislikes (carrot chunks, sugar snap peas, apple).  He is mad for barley cookies, enjoys rolling around in his hay bowl (eating is a full body experience), and will nibble his dry food.

He wheeks nonstop when the twins come home from school.  He gets himself worked up, frantically jumping until they pick him up.  He wants to be held pretty much 24/7.  He’s happy enough to sit in my lap while I work, but he prefers for one of my hands to be stroking his back.

I love this pig so much.

I miss Truman, but it is nice to have a pig to cuddle while I miss him.  It helps that his personality is so different from Truman’s personality and that the two pigs look nothing alike.  Look at that little piggy face:

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Has anyone ever tried (or know someone who tried) NaProTECHNOLOGY?  That’s their capitalization… not mine, just in case you thought I was shouting that last bit at you through the screen.  I was speaking with a journalist who is looking to connect with anyone who tried it.

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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.

Grumpy Rumblings has an interesting post about whether you should go broad or deep when it comes to activism.  Is it better to spread yourself out over many issues, or to focus all of your energy on a single issue?  There’s a benefit and drawback to each approach, and the comment section is just as interesting as the post itself.

ANDMom has a moving post about feeling overwhelmed.  She writes, “I’m empty, and I don’t know exactly how one goes about filling back up again – and even if I did, I’m not sure I have it in me to try.”  It’s a gorgeous post about how even once things get better, it can be difficult to return to filling yourself when the care has flowed out towards others for so long.

Lastly, My Path to Mommyhood has a post about an offensive text from another person who states that she feels like she needs to tiptoe around them due to their infertility.  She writes, “And now apparently all we’ve done is make her feel like shit for her life and her job and she has had to tiptoe around us, and she basically equated scrolling past an offensive political post to SCROLLING PAST OUR PERSONAL TRAGEDY.”  Being kind is not that difficult.  Following someone’s lead to the best of your ability doesn’t remove your happiness.  I do not buy the argument that being sensitive towards another person is a hardship.

The roundup to the Roundup: Linus is settling in.  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 February 3rd and February 10th) 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.

February 10, 2017   8 Comments

Newsletters and Reunions

A newsletter used to come from my graduate school department twice a year.  The front of the newsletter was information about the program — visiting writers, major accomplishments of faculty — but anyone could add an update about their life to the back page of the letter.  Most of them were announcements about novels or poetry books, but sometimes people mentioned random life stuff like getting married or having kids or moving or a particularly memorable evening of getting drunk.  There seemed to be few guidelines for what was back page worthy.

I loved reading this newsletter, and it even moved me to travel eight hours to go back to campus for a Grace Paley reading.  And then it stopped.  I guess the department decided it wasn’t the best use of anyone’s time since it only came out twice a year and Facebook held those sorts of announcements in real time, every single day.

I miss the newsletter.

I didn’t go to my last high school reunion for the same reason.  Everyone I wanted to know about was reachable via Facebook or Twitter or their blog.  But those first two reunions at the five-year and ten-year mark?  I loved hearing what everyone was doing, where everyone had ended up.  There was something about getting a clump of information, a deluge of news in one evening, that felt different to the here-and-now; the drips and drabs of updates and pictures and announcements in a scrolling feed.

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Atlas Obscura had an article a while back about Chap Records and the switch from courting (in which the families of the two people arranged their meeting and hopeful marriage) to dating (in which random people met and decided whether they liked each other enough to spend eternity together).  Chap Records, in this case, were small books where women could write about their male suitors.  (Presumably, everyone in ye olden days only liked the opposite sex.)

But towards the bottom of the article, the writer talks about the contents of the remaining Chap Records:

Perhaps most telling about the Chap Records that survive on the dusty shelves of the small museums throughout the country are just how unexciting they are. The entries are always brief, seemingly rushed, the work of people who feel obligated to write something but can’t quite muster up the enthusiasm. As such, they reveal only unimportant slivers of the writers.

The Facebook memories feature bubbles up my old updates from random years, and while some of them are funny things that the twins said as babies, most of them are boring reminders of old blog post links or notes about something I ate.  Why did I post these things in the first place?  Because I feel obligated to write something when there is really no obligation at all?

Whereas here, in my own space, I think I provide something a little deeper than the online equivalent of the high school reunion/dinner with current friends.  At least, while I don’t go back and re-read many posts, my perception (perhaps just due to the number of words?) is that it goes a little deeper than whatever ends up on Facebook.

I think, even if it’s a short post — only one sentence long — it still feels a little deeper over here.  I don’t know if it’s just that I’m more comfortable in my own space, or if blogs feel less like a Facebook, a space where I write something because I have the account and I should probably fill it out.

February 8, 2017   6 Comments

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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