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The 2014 Creme de la Creme List is Now Open for Submissions

It is the ninth anniversary of the little Creme de la Creme, where we celebrate our corner of the blogosphere. 97 bloggers participated last year. If this is your first time hearing about the project, this post should tell you everything you need to know. If you’ve participated in years past, you know how much fun the list is when it’s revealed on January 1st. So, I hereby declare the 2014 Creme de la Creme list open.

I know this is loooooong, but please read this whole post before submitting your entry.

If you didn’t read or participate in this list in 2006 or in 2007 or in 2008 or in 2009 or in 2010 or in 2011 or in 2012 or in 2013, the impulse behind this list is a counterbalance to the ubiquitous award ceremonies that crawl out of their hiding spaces usually around December or January. Awards are nice — it’s good to honour someone and mark big accomplishments. But we all have a best post tucked into our archives. We all have words that have moved another person or ideas that have kicked off a series of musings. Bloggers are writers, and all of us deserve to be celebrated.

And we’re doing just that.

This is the way it works. If you want to participate, read through your archives from 2014 and choose a favourite post. You can leave all sorts of comments below telling me how fantastic I am, but fill out the form to send in your submission (do not leave it in the comments section — the point of this list is also the surprise of seeing the choices revealed on a single day). If you post your link below, I will delete it. Again, feel free to leave love comments below — in fact, please do leave love comments below — but not your submission for the list. Let’s keep it a surprise until the list is ready to go up.

You can only choose one entry. You cannot be modest. Everyone has a best post. There is no such thing as a boring blog. Even if you don’t think you have any readers because you’ve never received a comment, you have a best post. The one that you felt really good about when you hit publish. The one that would be the post you’d put forward if an editor called you tomorrow and said, “I have this great writing job for you that will pay a million dollars an hour. You just need to submit one blog entry to get this job so we can check your writing style.”

Even if you just found my blog because you read about the Creme de la Creme on another person’s blog, you are not only welcome to submit; you are encouraged. It is the best posts of 2014 for the ALI community and that community includes anyone who writes about infertility, adoption, pregnancy loss, stillbirth, neonatal death, assisted reproduction, pregnancy after infertility or loss, and every related topic — from living child-free after infertility to parenting after infertility. Everyone on the blogroll (or could be on the blogroll) is welcome to participate. Really, you don’t need to be a regular reader of my blog to join in. It’s open to everyone in the ALI blogosphere. I can’t say this in more ways than that. Which means you don’t need to write me a note asking if it’s okay to participate. The answer is yes. Okay?

Actually, it’s not only “yes;” it’s “please do.”

The list will be posted January 1st, and I promise that you will use up a good portion of the beginning of the year reading through the most stunning posts you’ve ever seen. We had 97 posts last year, and I’d really like to top that this year. My goal is all 3000+ blogs currently on the blogroll, but barring that, let’s aim for over 150. Which means that not only do you have to participate if you’re reading this, but you need to spread the word and get other bloggers to participate (more on that below). Link to this post, send out a note to other bloggers you like, and suggest favourite posts to bloggers from this past year.

Um… other FAQ-like things:

How many posts can I submit?

You can only submit one. Please don’t submit two and ask me to choose. Submit one.

How will I know that you received my entry?

When you hit submit on the form, you should get a screen telling you that I have my entry. If you don’t see that screen, I don’t have your entry.

I sent in a post last week but I just wrote one that I love more! Can I switch my submission?

The short answer is no. The reason is that I write up the blurbs that appear next to each entry. This takes a lot of time. When you change your post, I have to write another blurb. Therefore, think carefully. But get your post in early so it’s high up on the list. But take your time picking it so you’re positive it’s the one you want on the list. But don’t give this too much thought…

If you just submitted it an hour earlier and realized you sent the wrong link, email me quickly so I can change it. Once I write the blurb, it’s set. I mean, you can pull your blog from the list, but you can’t submit a different link.

How do I know which one is my best?

Think of this list in sort of the same vein as those “Best American Short Story”-type collections except that it’s blog entries and everyone in the blogosphere should be represented with a link. The idea of the creme de la creme is not to put out there “the best” by someone else’s definition of “best.” It’s to put out the entry that means the most to you. Everyone has a best entry from 2014. It’s the one you would cry about if it was ever eaten by your computer. Even if it’s only meaningful to you.

I’m having a lot of trouble choosing my best one.

Why don’t you give a few choices to a friend and get their opinion? Don’t get hung up on the word “best.” It’s more about presenting a small taste of your blog. A lot of people read the list each January and it’s a chance for them to get to know your blog in one post. The goal, of course, is not only to honour every blog, but to also introduce everyone. Think of it like a cocktail party. You certainly think about what you wear, but everything doesn’t hinge on this one outfit.

I want to submit a post about my dog/favourite recipe/vacation in Hawaii. So … er … it’s not about adoption/infertility/loss. Can I? Or I want to submit a post but it has pictures of my baby in it. Do you think this is okay for an IF list?

Well, this list is sort of a pu-pu platter of the ALI community. Therefore, if your post is about your ski trip last winter, it doesn’t really show any emotion, thought, or event flitting through the community. Still, people have submitted off-topic posts in the past. If you have any part of the post that if ALI-related, all the better though.

The second question is a sensitivity one. Personally, I think that babies are part of the community and territory. The reality is that we’re all working towards parenthood or were once working towards parenthood. And children are included in that. I try to always mention in my blurb if it’s about a baby or if there are photos so people are given a heads up before they click over. So, yes, send posts that have photos in it and I will make sure that people know the gist of the post before they click over if they’re in a sensitive space.

I’m a man. Can I participate?

Are you part of the ALI community? Then didn’t you read above? EVERYONE is invited to participate. Male, female, young, old, married, single, gay, straight, everyone everyone everyone.

I’m a meerkat. Can I participate?

Er … a meerkat with a blog? An infertile meerkat with a blog? I guess … I mean … I did say everyone …

I just started my blog in October. Can I participate?

As long as you’ve had one post in 2014, you can participate. Even if you didn’t start your blog until October 2014. Just choose your best from the last two months of the year.

My blog is password protected. Can I participate?

If your blog is password protected and you want to participate, choose your blog entry and create a free blog at Blogger or WordPress and post that single entry. Then send me the link so I can place it on the list. I can’t link to password protected blogs.

When is the deadline for getting in my submission?

To ensure that you’re on the list, please fill out the form by December 15th. No entries will be accepted after 11 pm EST on December 15th.

In the past, the list didn’t close until January, but as has been the case for the few years, the list will not be updated after it goes up on January 1st. December 15th is the only deadline, and it is a hard deadline. Meaning, no one will be added who hears about this project after December 15th.

Which is why I am asking you, begging you, pleading with you, to spread word now. Tweet it, Facebook it, Pinterest it, blog about it, email about it, talk about it with that random stranger in the fertility clinic waiting room. Spread word now because people will not be able to add themselves after December 15th.

Can you post another link to the form right now because I’ve decided to submit.

Sure, here’s another link to the form. Just fill it out and hit send and it will go into the Creme de la Creme spreadsheet.

If you don’t want to participate, do nothing. With the Creme de la Creme list, I never add a blog or highlight a post unless the author has sent it to me. Therefore, no hurt feelings. If your post isn’t on the list, it’s because you haven’t sent one.

Spread the word with the following button on a post or your sidebar to encourage others to send a link:

The code for adding the link to your blog can be found here. You can also use the social media buttons at the bottom of the post.

Everyone has a best post. It is your personal best. It is not best by any other standard. Stop comparing yourself. Stop feeling shy. Stop thinking it’s immodest to toot your own horn when I’ve told you to toot your own horn. Start reading through your archives. Reflect on the year. And then send me a link for the list.

Wheeeew. Sorry about that last part. But everyone in the blogosphere should be represented and honoured.

October 21, 2014   11 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 8: Last Name

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

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I read a bunch of stories last week concerning Amal Alamuddin taking her husband’s last name, as if this was earth-shattering news.  For example, The Stir wrote, “She, arguably, has an even more successful and lucrative career than her new husband, but that hasn’t stopped newlywed Amal Alamuddin from changing her last name after marriage and becoming Mrs. George Clooney.”

Beyond the judgment in the author’s word choice (so if you have a high salary, you should keep your name, but if you’re a poor, unknown sales clerk, it’s understandable if you want to head on down to the social security office?), it made me wonder why anyone is astonished by anyone else’s choice of whether or not to change their last name.  My friends are a pretty even mix of three options (keep last name, change last name, or create new last name that both people in the marriage use).

If you’re married, did you (or your partner) change your last name with marriage?  If you’re not married, do you know what you would do?

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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. Persnickety 25. Cristy 49. Liz
2. articulation 26. Isabelle 50. Running Nekkid
3. Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles 27. Stacie 51. Mary Francis
4. Mina 28. Elizabeth 52. Laurel Regan @ Alphabet Salad
5. Just Heather 29. Rain 53. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
6. Turia 30. Baby, Are You Coming? 54. Amber
7. D 31. S 55. Trisha
8. Jen (Days of Grace) 32. Daryl 56. Lisa
9. No Baby Ruth 33. Heather 57. m. (the maybe baby)
10. Inconceivable! 34. Sadie 58. gradual changes
11. Vinitha 35. torthú il 59. Shannon
12. Bio Girl 36. dennasus 60. Justine
13. Mic @ Raising Mavis 37. Infertile Girl 61. sharah
14. Shail 38. LAM 62. Amanda Goe
15. Non Sequitur Chica 39. Emma (Muddy Boots & Diamonds) 63. Queenie
16. lostintranslation 40. Jen 64. the lewis note
17. Loribeth 41. Herbal Tea 65. Nabanita
18. Corinne Rodrigues 42. Waiting for Baby 66. Karen
19. earthandink 43. Jamie @ Sticky Feet 2 67. Ke Anne
20. Geochick 44. Mali (No Kidding) 68. Kasey
21. Rachel 45. Mali (A Separate Life) 69. Cindy
22. Mrs T 46. Lachelle
23. Karen (River Run Dry) 47. awomanmyage
24. JB 48. Tara

October 20, 2014   71 Comments

I Made a Sonic Screwdriver Out of Toilet Parts…

…And it looks fantastic.  Plus it lights up.

sonic_screwdriver_1

At least, I think it looks fantastic.  And the Wolvog flipped out over it.  I would love to be able to tell you how I made it except that I don’t know the names of any of the parts I used beyond washers and toggle bolts.  And a lot of super glue.  And random parts from the plumbing section at Lowes.

I love it so much that I’m making two more — the parts cost me next to nothing and the whole thing took me about 10 minutes to assemble.

By which I mean 10 minutes of assembling while wearing a shit-eating grin:

sonic_screwdriver_2

Trying to have a good Halloween and spend very little money at the same time.  Putting that MFA to good use.  Finishing the TARDIS t-shirts next…

tardis

Look at this post!  It’s tiny!  Miniscule!  And it’s not even Monday.  But what are you doing reading this?  Go prepare your post for #MicroblogMondays!

P.S. I fashioned the screwdriver using these two images, but I couldn’t find a template.  So it’s a little wibbly wobbly.  But also took less timey wimey than following instructions.

October 19, 2014   22 Comments

516th Friday Blog Roundup

Last year, I opened the Creme de la Creme for submissions on October 15th to give you (and me) two full months to create the list which goes up on January 1st.  This year, the task has been on my to-do list with a little question mark next to the word.  Creme?  Yes?  No?

I think all things run their course.  Certainly the Lost and Found has fallen by the wayside from lack of use.  I post it as often as I have stuff to post.  I am trying to get that project to a nice, round number, and then I will shutter it.

And I wondered if the Creme had reached a similar fate.  If you got enough out of it anymore to make it worth doing the work, and if I got enough out of it anymore to make it worth doing the work.

I decided that yes, it still had enough juice in it to make it through this year, the 9th time constructing the list.  So I will open the list for submissions on Tuesday, October 21st.  A few days later than I would have liked, but still plenty of time.

I know there are people who like to be towards the top of the list, so I give you this heads up so you can peruse your archive this weekend and choose a post.  If you’re new to this blog and have no clue what I’m talking about, you may want to familiarize yourself with the Creme de la Creme by looking at old ones.  Because it would rock if we got a wide range of voices on the list.

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Raise your hand if you read this section.  Okay.  Now raise your hand if you ACTUALLY DO A BACKUP.  People, it doesn’t help to just think about doing it.  Go do it.  Make your backup.  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.

Persnickety Chickadee has a brief post that packs a punch about books.  She always worried that she would have a child who wouldn’t love books as much as she does.  She didn’t realize she had to worry about whether or not she would have a child at all.  It’s a moving post in its brevity.

Another small post: Days of Grace has the most absolutely perfect response to the idea of whether or not you should blog: “Write for the future you.  She won’t let you regret it.”  Go read the whole post.

Small is big this week: Created Family has a heartbreaking post on processing her loss while still under the anesthesia for the D&C.  With four small words, she sums it up perfectly.

A Little Bit More has a post detailing her Thanksgiving weekend that looks at the good in between the hard.  She talks about a moment when she was starting to feel down, and then she observed something that brought her back up.  And I love this line: “So God has a sense of humour and was reminding me that there is so very much to smile about, laugh about, love and be thankful for.”

Lastly, I love the distinction A Fifth Season makes when she says she isn’t blessed, and why she has a problem with that word.  She bluntly states: “Blessings, you see are relative.  One knows to call something a blessing when one knows the antithesis. I live the antithesis so that others know what to call their blessings.”  It informs how she views the world, and why she refuses to look at her life as a comparison.

The roundup to the Roundup: The Creme de la Creme opens this week.  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 October 10th and 17th) 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.

October 17, 2014   14 Comments

Eyes

I’ve written before that I don’t go to the mikveh every month.  I’ve only been twice: once before my wedding and once after a miscarriage.  When I went for my wedding, it was a joyous, somewhat raucous event.  I remember laughing a lot.  When I went back a few years later to try to reclaim my body after a miscarriage, I sank under the water, sobbing.  I remember opening my eyes underwater and watching my body float, my knees drawn towards my chest.  A little ball.  I was so lost.  So lost.

I can’t even get through thinking about it now without crying.

We were out running errands on Tuesday when Josh broke the news.  A rabbi in town — not our rabbi — had been arrested on charges of voyeurism.  He was being accused of rigging up a camera in the mikveh.  Not our mikveh, but one that family and friends use.

Danya Ruttenberg said it perfectly in the Forward,

Picture a woman returning to the mikveh for the first time after a miscarriage. She’s swimming in grief, still, maybe. Judaism doesn’t traditionally have a formal ritual to mark the loss of a pregnancy — except the mikveh. Her first immersion after first a time of hope, and then one of what’s all too often an unnamed bereavement is her ritual to mark what’s happened inside her body and her heart, everything she’s feeling and everything that’s different now.

Now picture a woman coming back to the mikveh after her third miscarriage.

I don’t know what percent of the water in the mikveh is actually made up of women’s tears, but I suspect it’s a lot. The mikveh is meant to hold vulnerability.

There has, understandably, been a lot of discussion of the event here in town, and beyond my feelings about the situation itself is the comment — made thus far entirely by men — that it is lashon hara (gossip; literally “evil tongue”) to speak about another person in this manner and we should stop.  Even worse than having a sacred space desecrated is being silenced.

Especially when I think rabbis and congregants need to hear how women feel about the mikveh.  They need to read Danya’s piece and understand how miscarriage affects their congregants.  They need to hear what women say when they feel violated.  We need to talk about this so there can be comfort and guidance.

Eyes have certainly been used in this case and others to violate.  I’d love to have all of our words read so that eyes can contribute to having women heal.

Especially on a day like today, National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

October 15, 2014   9 Comments

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