The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Blog Roundup

Edited to add that I obviously moved the search engine to the very top of the right sidebar.

You may have noticed that my right sidebar looks different (if you're reading this on Reader or Bloglines, you're probably not wondering that, but now that I've mentioned it, could you pretend to wonder?). It was sad to get rid of my badges and streamline the information, but I've heard too many times that it's hard to navigate all of the information on the site. Therefore, I've put together a handy guide to using the site that is linked on the sidebar and I'm going to explain the latest bit right now and why I needed to clean up my big visual mess.

It's the new searchable blogroll's fault.

I have been creating a custom search engine (CSE) specifically for the 1500 adoption/infertility/loss blogs on the blogroll. You will find it at the top of my right sidebar with a heading called "The Stirrup Queen's Searchable Blogroll." It's the little white box above the blogroll link. The search engine can also be accessed on the LFCA under the BlogHer Ads.

Any blog currently on there is being added and all blogs in the future will be added automatically. It takes a long time to add blogs because they need to be added by hand (that is the only pain-in-the-ass thing about it). I am listing in that top permanent post on my blog where I am in terms of adding links. I started at the top of the blogroll so everything from adoption is in and then I've been traveling down the sidebar, adding in one category at a time. Io has been working her way up from the bottom and got to parenting multiples after IF. Therefore, over half the blogroll is currently added. About 800 blogs.

Which means that you can start playing with it. Go on--type in MTHFR. If you do that in Google, you get a bunch of random links to medical sites and wikipedia entries and blogs and spam sites.

Do the same search on my search engine and it takes you only to blogs on my blogroll that contain any mention of MTHFR.

How freakin' cool is that?

I have to admit, I did this selfishly. When I write a post on BlogHer, I try to link to several blogs to support my point. When I would use Google blog search, it brought up tons of non-blog sites. I was taking up so much time picking through page after page trying to find blog posts on a certain topic. So I started this. And now that the work is done, everyone can use it too.

Let's say you want to find a post that you read once but you can't remember who wrote it. Type in a few key words in that search engine and it should bring it up (only from a blog in the infertility/adoption/loss blogroll--it obviously doesn't include book blogs and food blogs, etc). Let's say you want to talk to someone about DHEA--search for it in my search engine and connect with that person via their blog.

People who get lost in search results on Google at large will float up to the top of this search engine because you're only competing with blogs on the list vs. every website on the planet. Which means more people will find your blog if they use this search engine for all of their ALI blog needs.

The only sites not being added are blogs that are part of an organization. I am fine letting some good ones on the blogroll, but if I add their site to the list, it no longer turns up personal, bloggy results. It means posts by doctors are mixed in and while I'm happy to have them on the blogroll, I wanted the search engine to only show the results from regular bloggers like you and me who are not part of an organization no matter how large or small.

I recommend once everyone is entered that you search for your own blog name. Because here's what this search engine CAN'T do: it cannot find your blog if you're not listed on it. If you delete your blog, you won't come up in searches anymore. If you have your blog unlisted, you won't come up in searches. In other words, if Google cannot find you via their own search engine, you will not be found via this search engine. You may not know that you have inadvertently checked off a box on your blog dashboard that lists your blog as un-Googleable. So...if you want to be found, make sure you're finding yourself in search results and if not, poke around your dashboard to make sure you have yourself as being listed in search engines.


That's why I had to clean up the sidebar: I didn't want this feature swallowed by all the badges. It took so long to make and I love it so much--I love it as much as the blogroll. I wanted you to love it too. And it made sense as I am streamlining things to streamline the blog information and make it more user-friendly. So that is what I've been up to... I hope to have the whole thing up-and-running by Sunday night, though you can play around with it right now because about 800 blogs have already been added. But it's taking about 30 hours to get the whole thing up and running just to give you a scope of why it is taking me so long to add people. But it is so cool. Throw in any search terms and see what comes up.

While everything on my site is free and I do all the upkeep on this site out of the goodness of my heart because I actually give a shit about you, I do ask that if you are so moved and are beyond excited at this new invention, that you make a small donation--as in a dollar or two--to the current U.T.E.R.U.S. project. There is a direct donation button on the sidebar. This is not a requirement at all, but I felt like it was worth asking if you were really excited about this. With this community-based project, it would mean a lot to me if community came together to support those three members of our community. Though, seriously, no pressure. And can you believe how many times I just used "community" in that last sentence?

I had the wrong code for the October IComLeavWe list up for a while so if you added yourself on the first day, please click here to get the correct code. Yes, I am an idiot and distracted.

Speaking of IComLeavWe, I have a badge for Iron Commenters if you would like it for your blog. If you were an Iron Commenter in the past and are on the wall of honour, email me and I can send it to you.

If you haven't joined the October IComLeavWe, you are missing out because I am going to try for Iron Commenter this month. And it is in your best interests to make this task unusually difficult for me by making the list very long. Truly, answer this: who doesn't love to receive comments? I would say no one, but if you can come up with a person or type of person who does not like to receive comments, please leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Because I do love comments.

And speaking of U.T.E.R.U.S., things are trucking along. We have about $800 in hand and many items donated for the auction. I am leaving updates in the LFCA and on the sidebar. We'll have the eBay auction ready to go soon and we're kicking off a new idea on Monday. So stay tuned...

And now, the blogs...

Still Passing Open Windows has a post about her pregnancy through a surrogate called "Coming in from the Cold." She writes: "The first couple of days I was so happy. It would hit me suddenly as I was driving along and I would smile goofily for the next few kilometres at the knowledge that we were pregnant. Being newly pregnant has such magic to it, knowing that this tiny life is starting. Now, though, I am just scared. We haven't even seen the heartbeat yet and it feels like pregnancy weeks are moving at half the pace of normal weeks. I feel like I have known forever but it's only been a week." There is a heaviness and a lightness to her words: the bitter and the sweet of a new life. I'm just sending her all the good thoughts in the world.

Thinking Miracles has a post about her fear of needles despite her penchant for tattoos. The post is about how she is going to deal with the stress of the injections, but you will need to click over to read about the very ironic solution.

My Sanctuary has a quiet, sad post about a spreadsheet she invented when she first began IVF. She writes: "Many, many moons ago, I made myself an IVF spreadsheet. On Excel. Yes, really. I was that anal. I was a newbie, all perkyturd and bright and shiny and hopeful." It is a short post but the last line left me staring at the screen for several more minutes.

Lastly, Bloorb has a post about whether or not to continue with a third IVF cycle and what they ultimately choose. But the lines that truly gutted me, that made me burst into tears for them and wish 1000 times that this could just be easy: "THAT'S the part that has us still considering the game. THAT'S the part that leads the husband during dinner, to look over at me laughing, and have him say, 'That laugh? THAT'S what makes it hard to stop'." Tell me that you didn't cry with that line (even Josh was blown away by that line).

The roundup to the Roundup: go play on the new search engine (though I warn you, it's addictive); lots of IComLeavWe info; and plenty of blog loving. Catch everyone Saturday night for Show and Tell. Off to add blogs to the search engine and google things such as "fuck" which brings up thousands of posts, you saucy things.


Geohde said...

I'm impressed with all your remodelling, Mel :)

Of course I immediately rushed over to the search bar and looked myself up, but I'm not in yet. Serves me right.....


Jen said...

oh my gosh. YOU HAVE BEEN BUSYYY!!!

AND, those were some kickass blogs you referenced. I had a huge egg hit my throat about the IVF cycles. Ugh. I still want to cry myself to sleep.

Keep up the good work! (I AM NEW but I AM DEVOTED;) totally hooked!)

nancy said...

The CSE is incredibly cool Missy.

calliope said...

oh wow. that searchable thingie is GOLD. truly thankful and amazed.

Lori said...

You rock.

BTW. I put out a call for U.T.E.R.U.S. at

Forgot to tell you.

loribeth said...

This is very cool. : ) Thanks, Mel!

Jen said...

I have SO been wanting this searchable thing! I love it! My donation shall be forthcoming.

kate said...

Cool new search engine! Neat-o!

You are one very, very productive chickadee. Do you ever get to sleep???

Chelle said...

Nice search engine! You are one hell of an organizer. I am impressed.

Susan said...

I've said this before, but I will say it again ... "You are awesome! I don't know how you do it" I can't even keep up with my snail mail and my house is trashed. I wish I had your focus.

the searchable blog roll is ingenious!

chicklet said...

awww, thx for the mention, and for being so sweet about it upsetting you - you get it, you really really get it.

bleu said...

Mel this is SUCH an amazing feature. I never even thought it possible. Thank you so much!!! said...

Wonderful search function! And amazing resource.

I wish I could figure out this Bridges thing though....

m said...

Thanks Mel - for getting it. Totally. And being awesome. And organised. All the things I struggle with....