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650th Friday Blog Roundup

Linus has learned a fun little trick.  Sometimes I need to use the phone’s speaker when I’m on a call so my hands can be free to take notes.  Several times I’ve given him an extra treat before these calls so he’ll be quiet in the background.

He has now learned to wheek whenever he sees my hand reach for the phone.  He stands at attention, watching my hand, and the moment my fingers close around the plastic, he happily wheeks as he runs back and forth.  “It’s time!” he cries as he kicks into the air, popcorning across the cage.  “She must talk over speaker phone!  She is my hostage!  I am going to keep doing this until she reinforces this terrible behaviour by giving me another treat to get me to be quiet.  I am so smaaaaaaart!”

But this is where you’re wrong, friend.  The twins are now home for summer and can take you out of the room when I need to make a call.  I hope you enjoyed that extra lettuce because the treat train is pulling into the station.  Or out of the station.  Whichever phrase makes more sense in cutting off my guinea pig from his piggish ways.

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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.

Different Shores has a post about bringing children to the workplace (and the comment section is hopping — dive in there!).  I’m in the camp where it makes sense if you’re visiting an individual at the workplace and bring along the kids, but not for the sole reason of introducing your co-workers to the kids.  I gave the example of visiting Josh at work.  I brought the kids to his workplace to have lunch with him.  Other people swung into his office to see the kids, but the reason to bring them to the office wasn’t to have his co-workers meet them.  If the intent was introducing the kids, we did that outside the office.  If the people weren’t close enough to see outside of work hours, then they probably didn’t need to meet the kids.  Feel free to disagree with me — I want to hear the other side of this.

I love Anabegins post on feeling like something has changed and that she has become more herself.  I have felt this sensation before, too, and she describes it perfectly.  She begins, “Lately I feel like I’m a different, but vaguely familiar, person to who I have been for the past decade or so. I think I’m rediscovering the real me, buried under years of working too hard, sleeping too little, being too anxious and sad and exhausted, to really have much of any personality at all.”  Go read the whole thing.

Lastly, I love reflective blogoversary posts, and Kmina doesn’t disappoint with her musings at eight years.  It is about writing for eight years (and reading blogs for eight years) but it’s also about living eight years since the start of the blog.  She writes, “I am also kinder than I used to be and I hope I can hang on to this. I hope life allows me to remain kinder than I was before. This is not really a matter of choice, life can drive you to places you had no idea you could end up into, so I can only hope for the best and cross the bridge of worst if I get to it.”  A good reminder.  Here’s to eight more.

The roundup to the Roundup: Undoing Linus’s bad habits.  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 June 9th and 16th) 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.

June 16, 2017   5 Comments

Where are the Boys?

It occurred to me this morning that many years ago, there was a thriving male blogger population.  There was Eric and Max and the DI-Dads.  There was Smarshy with his own bag of ass.  There was Fertile Frank, XBox4NappyRash, and Elm City Dad.  They weren’t guest posting on their wife’s blog or splitting the writing duties with a partner.  They were bloggers, on their own, full stop.

I guess I thought about them because Father’s Day is coming up.  Actually, I think I thought about them because Julie from A Little Pregnant was in my dream last night.  Not that Julie has anything to do with male bloggers.

Anyway, there are a lot of posts in the ALI community right before and during and after Mother’s Day about the difficulty of that Hallmark holiday.  But I rarely see a Father’s Day post.  The men who used to write about it are gone.

I’m still friends with Eric on Facebook (hi, Eric!).  Max died many years ago.  And the rest of the boys drifted away from blogging.  Some stated they were shutting their blog — I remember one writing that his wife was uncomfortable that he was writing about IVF — but most just stopped updating.  And then no one came to fill those missing slots.

Or maybe they did and I just haven’t found them.  Maybe they’re out there, a new, connected mass of male infertility and loss bloggers, all writing about their experiences.  They don’t know about me, and I don’t know about them.

I kind of like that idea, similar to the concept that in other solar systems, there are planets just like earth in their own Goldilocks zone.  We don’t know them, and they don’t know us.  But we both move in our respective orbits, little rocky balls floating in the sky, teaming with life.

Do you guys remember the male infertility bloggers?  Are you in touch with any of them?

P.S. Speaking of trips down memory lane, I went on DI Dad to see if he still had up Max’s Don’t Be a Wanker badge, and I saw the badge from the 2008 IF Film Festival!  Which led me to Cyclesista.  Do you guys remember Cyclesista?  I’m really down a wormhole this morning…

June 14, 2017   7 Comments

Finding Out What You Love

I am almost done with these posts about Matthew Quick’s book, Every Exquisite Thing.  You don’t have to read the book to follow these posts and have an opinion because I’m using the book as a springboard to other mental spaces.  If you want to read the other posts I’ve written about this book, you can find them here, here, here, here, here, and here.

It’s sometimes hard to know what YOU want and what you think you want.  Or what you think you should want so you try to make yourself want it.  I think everyone who gets a surprise diagnosis of infertility goes through at least a few minutes (some people marinate a lot longer) asking themselves if they really want to be a parent or whether they’re doing it because they think they should be doing it.  If you’re about to go above and beyond usual family building protocols, you’re going to do a gut check.

(Personally, I think even if a person doesn’t experience infertility, it behooves them to really sit with the decision for a while before committing to an answer.)

But it’s hard to know.  You think you know, but do you really know?  The same with college and marriage and every big life commitment; are you doing it because you get a sense it’s what is supposed to happen next, or are you willing it to happen because you love the idea?

Nanette struggles with this in the book.  In a conversation with her therapist, June, on page 172, she learns what every adult knows: that your first goals are rarely your last goals, and sometimes we don’t realize what interests us or who interests us until we’ve gone down a lot of dead-end streets.

When she’s asked what keeps her going (in other words, what she loves), June volunteers that she loves ice cream and the idea of going to Japan.  Those are the things that keep her going.

Nanette doesn’t know what she wants or loves, so she remains quiet.

June says, “I didn’t know I wanted to go to Japan when I was your age. I didn’t know I wanted to be a therapist, either. I thought I was going to be a surgeon, mostly because my father was a surgeon. You pick up goals and hopes along the way. Don’t worry, there are more in your future. You’ll see. And you will change. Change can be good. Caterpillar to butterfly.”

Later on page 254, Nanette asks:

“But how do I move forward? I have no idea!”

“Sometimes you just have to pick a direction and make mistakes. Then you use what you learn from your failure to pick new, better directions so you can make more mistakes and keep learning.”

It’s so simple. And yet it’s so scary. You’re only on earth for a short period of time. You don’t want to mess it up.

What did you think you wanted to do when you were younger?  I thought I wanted to go to Oberlin and become an oncologist.  Life turned out a little differently, which upon reflection, was a good thing.

June 13, 2017   11 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 146: What’s for Dinner?

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

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I was reading an old Modern Mrs. Darcy post and she asked about dinner staples: recipes you keep making again and again because can throw them together quickly without having to think deeply.

Pasta with tomato sauce immediately popped to mind.  We eat spaghetti with tomato sauce (with a side Caesar mostly following Alton Brown’s recipe) at least once every other week.  We also do huevos rancheros about once a week.  In the winter, we eat a lot of vegetarian chili (served over spaghetti) or English pea soup (from Mary McCartney).  My hummus and pita is also pretty mindless.  Oh!  And I make pizza from scratch once a week.  None of those things require me to read a recipe.

What are the meals you have over and over again in your home?

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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. Circle of Daydreams 10. Modern Gypsy 19. Risa Kerslake
2. Questions Asked To A Working Woman | Naba 11. Empty Arms, Broken Heart 20. Mali (No Kidding)
3. Inexplicable 12. Turia 21. Mali (A Separate Life)
4. Lori@ Laughing IS Conceivable 13. Rain 22. Middle Girl
5. Shilpa 14. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) 23. A Focused Journey
6. Laughing IS Conceivable 2 15. Failing at Haiku 24. Different Shores
7. Traci York, Writer 16. Journeywoman
8. the OCD infertile 17. Chandra Lynn (Pics and Posts)
9. Isabelle 18. Jess

June 12, 2017   26 Comments

Quiet

Last weekend, we took a day trip to the beach.  Our normal beach is too far away for a day trip, so we opted for a closer beach.

The closer beach isn’t ideal.  It has a lot of bars and a younger crowd.  The beach is smaller, so people sit closer together.  It feels a little chaotic when you’re there on-season, though that feeling dissipates during the off-season.  Still, it’s a beach.  It’s in driving distance.  All I wanted was a place to plop down with a book for a few hours and eat greasy Thrasher’s fries.

With the sound of the ocean.

That last part is important because all the other things could take place anywhere else.  I could read anywhere else and French fries are easy to come by in this country.  But I wanted to be by the water.  Other people wanted to be by the water, too.  The only difference was that they wanted to listen to their music through enormous speakers.

Imagine a person sitting down next to you with a guitar amp.  A big, black box that is about the size of a small file cabinet.  The person begins playing their music.  Loudly.  It’s not terrible music, but it completely blots out all the other sounds around you.  Like the ocean.  You move.  Another person settles down next to you with another amp.  Frat boys.  Techno music.  You move.  And you move again.  And you move again.  And finally you decide that you’re not having fun.

I’m not bothered by talking around me.  I’m in a public space, and there isn’t another option for having a conversation.  I’m not bothered by people playing a game next to me.  If they want to play a game or build a sandcastle, it means they’re going to run around next to me.  But I’m annoyed about the music thing because there IS another way to listen to music.  With headphones.  There is an option that impacts no one around the person, but they’re not taking it.

The worst, the absolutely worst, are the people who turn on their music AND LEAVE.  They go take a walk.  So we all have to endure their music and they’re not even there, enduring their music.

I am getting really cranky in my old age.

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I love quiet.  I love driving in silence.  I love sitting in silence for hours.  I recently read about a sound-absorbing art exhibit.  I would love that art exhibit.  Similarly, I think I would enjoy being inside Microsoft’s silent chamber.  Did I mention that I’m a fan of quiet?  Love it.

I can’t think with music around.  I can’t read with music around.

We will go to our normal beach this summer, which can be noisy at times, but there are plenty of music-free stretches and empty beaches if a person wants to listen to the waves and not EDM.  There is quiet there, which is good for a sound-free lady like myself.

Do you like it quiet when you’re reading, or do you listen to music at the same time?

P.S. Please don’t bring speakers to the beach this summer.  Seriously.

June 11, 2017   11 Comments

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