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#MicroblogMondays 48: Solo Vacation

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


CNN had a great article about alone time a few months ago; its importance and the reason why we’re reluctant to take it: “The not-so-fun part comes in when you’re thinking about how others are perceiving your aloneness and worrying that they simply think you have no one to hang out with.”

I like doing things alone.  I mean, I like time with Josh or friends or the twins, but I also like going out to eat by myself or to the library by myself.  I am equally cool doing something with other people and doing something alone.

I once took a vacation by myself to Norway.  I saw friends while I was there, but I was mostly on my own, day in and day out.  It was an odd experience, traveling by myself.  I wonder if it would be different if I went to the beach or somewhere where the point isn’t to learn and explore but instead to plop down and relax.

Have you ever taken a vacation by yourself?  Does it sound appealing if you haven’t tried it?  Where would you go?


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 14. Non Sequitur Chica 27. Laundry Girl
2. Jessica 15. Teacups & Typewriters 28. S
3. Middle Girl 16. deathstar 29. Journeywoman
4. Mali (No Kidding in NZ) 17. Junebug 30. Sweet are the uses of Adversity
5. Mali (A Separate Life) 18. Just Heather 31. Failing at Haiku
6. Anks 19. Rachel 32. Charlotte
7. Solo Mama 20. Traci York, Writer 33. Rachel (the lewis note)
8. Mahathi Ramya 21. Geochick 34. Mary Francis
9. Isabelle 22. Mrs. Gamgee 35. Shilpa
10. Parul | Happiness & Food 23. Lacey Bean 36. Naba
11. Mom, Eventually? 24. Good Families Do 37. Kasey
12. Unpregnant Chicken 25. torthú il
13. Jen B 26. Amber


July 27, 2015   29 Comments

Asking and Taking

Director Ava DuVernay spoke about something at BlogHer that I’ve been turning around in my mind ever since.  She made the point that women are taught a culture of permission.  She said,

Women have been trained in our culture and society to ask for what we want instead of taking what we want. We’ve been really indoctrinated with this culture of permission.

It’s part of a larger speech about going after what you want instead of waiting for someone to guess at what you want and hand it to you.  And, moreover, not listening to that little voice inside your head that tells you to wait because you’re not good enough.  That talks you out of taking action and turning your ideas into reality.

I love that she tempers the message by saying that we don’t have to take what we want with a sense of privilege but we can act from a sense of personhood and own that every single person on this planet is entitled to go after their dreams. (As long as their dreams are not to harm other people… but does that really need to be said?)

It’s hard because sometimes I think the asking of permission is not just about hanging back and thinking that you’re not worthy.  I think it’s sometimes about gathering feedback, about gauging a multi-source reality with the goal to save you time and heartache in the long run.

But I am thinking hard on what I’m asking for instead of simply taking.  And whether taking is always the route to go, or if asking sometimes opens more doors in the long run.  Knocking and waiting vs. twisting the knob and entering both get you through the door, but I worry at times that if one always enters without knocking that people will, over time, lock the door.

What do you think?  Are you more a taker or an asker?

I think I may be more of an asker.

Side note: tomorrow is #MicroblogMonday.  Get working on your post.

July 26, 2015   14 Comments

555th Friday Blog Roundup

This is it.  Last day to get Life from Scratch for 99 cents.  Measure of Love is also on sale.  (I believe on all platforms.)  Please help me spread word.

Please Tweet about it. Or throw up the announcement on Facebook. Or email a friend about the sale. Or buy a copy for a friend and send it to them. Or Pin the book cover. Or… Instagram yourself reading the book… I will be eternally grateful.


How am I wasting time now? With the app WordBubbles. I am really not digging this new trend to offer the removal of ads as an in-app purchase (vs. offering a free and paid version of the same app with ads or no ads), so I haven’t yet removed the ads.  But I am on level 111.  And I like that you get a daily puzzle, to boot.

The game makes me feel smarter than I actually am.


I found this explanation from author Robert Munsch of Love You Forever to be very moving.

I made that up after my wife and I had two babies born dead. The song was my song to my dead babies. For a long time I had it in my head and I couldn’t even sing it because every time I tried to sing it I cried. It was very strange having a song in my head that I couldn’t sing.

I’ll never read the story the same way again, and I’m so grateful that he shared that story.


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.

Lavender Luz has another installment of her adoption advice column, and I thought addressing the adopt-a-baby-fast mentality was of utmost importance.  Without shaming the asker, she points out the problems inherent in this mindset, especially in doing what is best for the child.  I especially loved the wedding/marriage analogy.

It Is What It Is has a picture post that packs a punch.  (So much so that I need to write with alliteration.)  With a single image, she speaks volumes.

Inconceivable has a gorgeous post about parenting after a loss, marking the moment of a first unbirthday.  I started to highlight the sentences that made me catch my breath, but really, it’s the whole thing.  It’s the whole, brief, beautiful post.

Lastly, Mom, Eventually has a post about fighting to find happiness.  I love when she explains, “My happiness is like a house of cards – so hard to build and yet so fragile and quick to fall down.”  I think this post will resonate with a lot of people.

The roundup to the Roundup: Please help me promote the Life from Scratch sale.  Waste time with WordBubble.  The real story behind Love You Forever.  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 July 17th and 24th) 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.

July 24, 2015   9 Comments

The Start of the Next Health Crisis

It turns out that when you get rid of vaccines, you bring back infectious diseases that otherwise wouldn’t rear their ugly heads.  For instance,  we’re seeing outbreaks once again of diseases such as measles or whooping cough.  While the conversation around vaccines is complicated, seeing the benefits of vaccines is not: vaccines protect individual and public health by eradicating harmful diseases.

So that’s where this starts.

I was reading an article recently on the anti-vaxxer movement, and I started thinking about all the shitty advice individuals and the media dole out when it comes to fertility and whether we are witnessing the start of the next health crisis.

Because we’ve definitely moved from the Louise Brown, IVF-as-a-last-resort phase into an you-can-always-do-IVF ideology.  In fact, it’s become so commonplace — this thought of getting assistance to conceive — that we now have egg freezing parties.  Egg freezing parties.  I mean, I’m all for egg freezing, especially if you need egg freezing because you’re not currently in a space for family building or you are engaging in a therapy that will compromise your fertility.

But when did we take our fertility out of the doctor’s office and into the cocktail bar?  Or to a random woman’s living room as if our ovaries are a Tupperware container?  Is the casualness we’re bringing to the discussion creating the next anti-vaxxer-like situation; where we’re going to need to live the outcome of our choices down the road?

It’s one thing for a doctor to discuss the possibility of egg freezing with a patient, knowing her situation.  It’s another for a business to encourage women to freeze their eggs so they don’t feel that silly pressure to… you know… build their family.

Is all of this — the mainstreaming of IVF or egg freezing — really going to ensure that more people can become parents?  I really don’t know.  I think that it will help certain individuals become parents whom without egg freezing or the like would find the task impossible.  But I think collectively, in terms of public health, we’ll see lives changed by this conversation.  And not in a good way.

At least, that is my fear.

Did we know how those first celebrities would affect public health when they first took to Twitter or gave interviews with their anti-vaccination comments?  Probably not.  And I don’t think we know now how articles like this one will inform a woman’s decision to delay child-bearing.  (Really?  “Whether it’s a case of art imitating life or the other way around, the over-40 baby boom shows no signs of stopping. Check out which celeb mamas haven’t let their biological clocks get in the way of important family business.”)  Or whether celebrities like Maria Menounos are helping or hurting when they actively promote egg freezing.

It’s complicated, and the two situations are not comparable.  But I do think that we should look hard at the messages of yesterday and how they affect the reality of today.  It will help us to speak carefully today in order to not negatively affect tomorrow.

There is enough infertility in this world without adding more people to the statistic by making them believe that their biological clock will keep ticking as long as they wish it to tick.  Fertility has a shelf life, and we need to talk about that, even if I love the fact that Kim Kardashian can talk about doing IVF and no one bats an eye.  That is a good side to the you-can-always-do-IVF ideology.  Sometimes it feels wrong to kiss one cheek while slapping the other.

July 22, 2015   12 Comments

Everyone Was Once a Child

I got some fantastic parenting advice from a woman who called herself not-a-parent before she delivered it.  She was sitting on a panel, and I asked a question about a problem we had encountered with one of the kids.

The first panelist gave some advice, and it was sound advice, but we had already tried that route and it hadn’t worked.  Even when I told her that it hadn’t worked, she continued to emphasize the same thoughts.  The second panelist repeated the words of the first panelist, giving the exact same advice.

But the third panelist looked at me thoughtfully and said, “you know, I’m not a parent, but…” and then she launched into the most helpful take on the situation that I’ve heard.  A combination of tough-love and realism coupled with supportive and nurturing warmth.  Her words just clicked with me.  She got it.

Afterwards, we spoke for a bit so I could thank her for the advice and also point out that one doesn’t need to be a parent to know how to parent or to give other people advice on getting out of sticky parenting situations.

Because here’s the thing: there are plenty of places in life where being an outsider to the situation means that we probably can’t give very good advice.  For instance, she cannot give advice on what it is like to navigate the world as an African-American woman because she’s not — and never was — an African-American woman.  She can’t speak to what it’s like to be an Asian man, or what it’s like to be deaf.

But everyone was once a child (unless you’re still a child whereas this post will be applicable to you in a few years).  And everyone knows what resonated with them when they were a child; which words permeated their goldfish brain and which ones bounced off the surface.  Every person can sit with the situation for a moment and consider what they would have wanted to hear from an adult when they were a child.

If she were giving me advice on how I feel as a parent, that may be a different story.  Then her life situation would matter a bit more; it is hard to give advice on something you haven’t experienced yourself.  But she wasn’t.  She was giving kid advice.  And since she was once a kid, she was completely qualified to give kid advice.  Obviously — since it was kickass kid advice.

I’ve been very cognizant lately of times when I negate my own expertise in order to couch every word in some polite version of “but I could be wrong!”  Well, yes, all of us, at any point, could be wrong.  But we’re usually not.  We’re usually spot-on when we’re speaking from a place of knowledge.  And when we’re not right, there will be plenty of time to apologize and correct ourselves.  But… you know… no need to do that beforehand.

So, yeah, I take parenting advice from anyone who was once a kid.  They’re experts based on experience.

July 21, 2015   10 Comments

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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