Sunday, November 23, 2008

Love Letter to My Readers

I rarely respond to comments. Somehow it always seems a little arrogant, like I’m assuming that my readers are checking back in on my blog every five minutes. Although I LOVE it when other bloggers respond to my comments, and I myself often check in on the blogs I read (very nearly) every five minutes. So that is something I probably need to start doing. Responding to comments on my blog, I mean. Not checking blogs more often.

But until I start responding to comments, I want to send out a general thank you: I love all of you wonderful people that comment on my blog. You make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, because you say such nice things and because this space here is the only place where just about everyone I love gets together.

My friend Jenny recently wrote a lovely post about moving around and how she wants to gather everyone she has ever known into one place. Now some people are not like this. My husband, for instance, probably thinks that this is a possible version of hell, everyone he has ever known gathered in one place, yammering at him and distracting him. For me, though, this is what my heart yearns for: a place where everyone I love and have ever loved—and I’m using the term love quite freely here—is gathered together, getting acquainted, sharing food and drinking coffee until about three in the afternoon and wine after.

There have been a few times in my life where I have experienced just a hint of this. When we were visiting our families in Alaska and our good friends Troy and So Yung came up to visit, for instance. All of my family and all of Craig’s family and these dear friends all were gathered together for a few days. Or when my friend Jenny moved into the same condo building as my friend Marji in Chicago, and we began to have afternoon kid free-for-alls in their backyard, often including other close friends of mine like Nancy or Molly. Really, to me, these experiences have been a taste of perfection.

And this space here, too, is a glimpse of how I think things should be. Everyone I want in my life meeting in one place. So yes, here’s what I’m saying, cheesy though it may be: my blog is, to me, a little bit of heaven on earth. Until the day that I can convince everyone that I hold near and dear to move onto a big farm somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, this is as good as it gets.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

VIPs for a Night

So on Thursday night, Craig and I got to go to the grand opening party at Martini Park courtesy of Dawn, who, thanks to her work in blog marketing and web strategizing, was asked to invite some Columbus bloggers. You can see some pictures of the evening at Pepper Paints and Doobleh-Vay. I unfortunately forgot my camera, so I only have this wonderful picture of us crashed out on the futon at the end of the night. Don’t we look hip?

I was somewhat mistaken when I said it was a trendy bar for hipsters. It is more a club for those thirty and up. But still, when I looked on the website, most of the people in the photos looked pretty hip to me: let's call them midsters. Really, Martini Park seems to be geared toward those thirty and over people that actually go out and also that pay ten dollars for a drink. We are more of the take the kids to happy hour at the local pub for the half off pints sort of folks. But my sister just arrived to stay with us for a while, so we got to leave the kids with her for the night.

I had a very busy and somewhat stressful day, and Craig and I had to go straight from Luke’s school conference to the party. I don’t know if his teacher even recognized me as Luke’s mom, since I was wearing makeup and (cheap fake leather) awesome black boots, while she usually sees me in workout clothes and a headscarf.

Driving from the school to the party, I did what all glamorous folks do: I dried out my armpits by blasting the heating vents in the car. I sometimes have a little bit of a sweating problem, especially when I’ve had a stressful day. At this point, I wasn’t feeling particularly enthusiastic about the evening.

After we got there and each had a martini, however, we both began to have a lot more fun. Craig, usually a beer and whiskey kind of guy, surprised me by ordering a pomegranate martini, which he maintains, even today while sober, was delicious. I had something called the Martini Park #10, which was fabulous. Craig also had one of those. And a cosmopolitan, at which point I knew he was getting a little tipsy. I mean, come on, a cosmo? I ran off to talk to Amy and the PR guy hosting the party for a few minutes, and by the time I got back Craig giddily informed me that he had sampled the mango martini and another cosmo.

So really, we had a great time at Martini Park. It was a different sort of evening than we would normally have. We got to have free food (also quite good) and drinks. And apparently my husband likes fruity mixed drinks. “I love that place!” he told my sister when we returned home. “I want to go back!”

Maybe I ought to take him there for a cosmo on Valentine’s Day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Second Anniversary, Blog!

I’ve been feeling a little discouraged about my writing lately. Ever since our summer vacation, I can’t get back into any kind of rhythm. I thought that with both of the boys in school I would have more time to write, but the opposite has happened. I honestly don’t know how anyone can be a soccer mom because it is all I can do to get Luke to and from school, get Henry to and from a different school, stay moderately on top of the household chores, and exercise enough so I’m not a sad crazy lady.

To be honest, I’ve been feeling a bit like giving up on the writing. Because this spring, when I was going out of the house in the evenings to write several nights per week, I might only have gotten one piece published, but I felt like I was making some progress. Now I just barely maintain my blog, my small following of mostly friends and family being my current motivation. I put up a post once per week, whether I feel like it or not.

Today is the second anniversary of Just Another Mama Blog. I started it on a sleep-deprived whim, and I’ve plugged along for two years now. I’ve been thinking about this date for a week or two, knowing that it was approaching, wondering what I could say. Because I didn’t feel like there was a whole lot to celebrate with my writing.

But it is shaping up to be a sort of magical bloggiversary. Last night, a couple of new neighborhood blogging friends that I have mentioned before, American Family and That Patti, invited me to go out with a group of local blogging mamas: Milkweed, Amy, Karen, and even the fabled, well-connnected Dawn. Not only did I get some great tips and leads, I also scored my first free blogging perk! Craig and I get to go to a swanky (free!) party at a hip new bar tonight. I’ll write more about it tomorrow, since I’m sure it will provide me a great deal of material. You know, since Craig and I will fit in so well, being the posh hipsters that we are.

And today, my story is one featured on the new Highlights site celebrating former contributors. A poem of mine was featured in the magazine when I was six years old, which was my first publishing experience.

So all in all, I would say that it is shaping up to be a not-too-shabby bloggiversary. Not too shabby at all.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Weekend Update

It is not even seven in the morning and I am currently enjoying a “jam magnificent.” It is the drink I have ordered, having opted for this over the “blueberry surprise” at the internet café that I am at. I took a time machine here. The café is run by pirates. Two pirates named Luke and Henry. I have obtained the secret recipe from the chefs: it is a cupful of jam with sprinkles mixed in.

Craig is out of town with the car, and the weather is cold and rainy. I think this might be a long weekend.

This is a rather strange café. The options are so very limited in some ways, and yet the chefs/owners/operators are so very accommodating in other ways. While my main entrée must involve yogurt and there are no bowls available, I have my choice of a red, blue, pink, or green cup.

Ooooh! I’ve just been given a complimentary appetizer since my entrée is taking so long. Chips with a whole cup of Sriracha hot sauce. For those of you not familiar with Sriracha, it is basically the asian version of Tabasco sauce.

Last night I slept in Luke and Henry’s room. In the middle of the night, Henry sat up in bed and started crying and crying. I kept asking him what was wrong, but he wouldn’t answer me. Finally he said something that sounded like “Forgive me!” and promptly lay back down and was immediately asleep. And a few minutes later, Luke yelled out, “Slimy!”

Oh, I’ve just been informed that the kitchen is out of the yogurt entrée. I must now choose between nachos and “yuckness.” I went with the former. Chef Pirate Luke just told me that he needs a candle so he can roast the nachos.

Nothing like candle roasted nachos with Sriracha and jam to start the day off right.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Slasher Butterfly

I conducted several highly scientific experiments this weekend in pursuit of this elusive question: just what is the difference between the Snickers and the Baby Ruth? Wikipedia helpfully points out that the nougat found in the Baby Ruth is more fudge-like than that found in most American candy. So that is probably it.

I feel sort of awful today, and I was thinking that it was due to the time change, but it is probably more due to the 25 fun sized candy bars that I ate yesterday. Yes, the boys made out like bandits, what with trick-or-treating and class parties and secret happy phantoms delivering treats to our house. If you are reading this, Happy Phantom, thank you.

Henry decided, at the last minute, that he no longer wanted to dress up as Frankenstein’s monster, but instead dug around in the dress-ups bin and devised a costume that he dubbed “alien butterfly.” It was rather fetching if I could ignore the Jason mask part of his costume. (The boys bought the Jason mask for a dime at a thrift store. How could I say no when they have no idea what it is and it was only ten cents?)

I’m glad Henry still gravitates toward more “girly” things now and then, otherwise I would be simply overwhelmed by all of the masculinity floating around the house. The boys are currently preparing their fort outside, a fort designed, Luke says, for “eating, fighting war, and building contraptions.”

Luke tells me that my job will be cooking the food. I think I’ll make seven-candy stew.