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, August 07, 2009

Friday Blog Roundup

Some of you know because you are very careful readers that Josh was a blogger long before I was a blogger. He started the site right after the twins were born and he called me the MOWA, the minister of wifely affairs. And I loved it. I mean, I lived it, but then I got to experience the day all over again from his blog. And I met a bunch of cool people via his blog and thought that it was amazing that people all over the world read his thoughts and knew about me (at least in the form of the MOWA) and left comments about our lives.

A while back, a reader of Stirrup Queens started noticing the similarities between Josh and this old blogger who disappeared into the ether one day. And the ChickieNob and Wolvog and the twins he used to write about. And this kosher, vegetarian wife and the MOWA. And she wrote me as if she were whispering the password at the speakeasy--"are you the MOWA?"

And I am.

The Stirrup Queen is also the MOWA. By which I mean, my name is Melissa and I write at Stirrup Queens and I am the MOWA.

It came up this year at BlogHer because Josh was there and it was fun to see some people's faces when we'd say that. I mean, no one knew where Josh had disappeared when he stopped his blog and suddenly they realized that he had been in front of them all this time, just in a different form as I had been for them so many years ago when they stepped into our lives and I was the MOWA. case you are currently gasping and remembering an old blog you read many years ago about a family living in D.C...well, that is us. And yes, feel free to write and get that old vegetarian pho recipe--we still make it from time to time. And if you didn't read blogs prior to 2006 when his ended, ignore this section because his old site is currently defunct and this story is probably not as interesting.

Though one single post still exists out there that was reposted on another person's blog. 10 points to whomever finds it?

We went on holiday this week and though I am back, I am very behind in answering emails. I started labeling them "Answer This" and cleared out my inbox by placing hundreds of emails in that file. So the inbox looked great and I felt organized and then I'd remember that I had to answer all the emails that were filed under "Answer This." And then I'd panic. And then go read Twilight. And then I'd repeat the whole thing the next night and the next night and the next night.

Each time forgetting that the clean inbox didn't really reflect reality.

But liking the clean inbox nonetheless.

I am behind on reading blogs, behind on leaving comments, behind on's always strange how vacations can leave you feeling as if you have more things to do in the end.

On holiday, we read on the beach and build sandcastles and saw Harry Potter in a theater that held two busloads of teenagers. I held a hermit crab for the first time and ate ice cream and teased my siblings. I worried and slept restlessly and stressed about everything from the food that was not being eaten in the refrigerator to the unknowns of the future. We watched Twilight and played board games and worked on sticker mosaics. And like every visit to the beach, it ended with me making Josh promise me that he'll bring me to the beach again before winter.

I am still digesting the thoughts on Gentle vs. Wicked blogging. I posted it and then left and then came back to see this response I hadn't expected. With so many good additional thoughts raised. It had been something I had noticed for a while, and hadn't even known that others were thinking it too.

Just to be clear because this came up in the comments; the idea was about the impulse behind the action. Leaving a lot of comments isn't Gentle blogging and there are plenty of Gentle bloggers who don't leave comments at all. Or write very often. And sometimes drop out of the blogosphere and come back from time to time. Gentle blogging or Wicked blogging cannot be measured in outside actions; only in internal impulses. Meaning, if you're leaving a comment, are you doing it to connect with the person, make them feel good, answer their question? Or are you doing it with the hope that they'll comment on your posts, read your blog? Do you see the difference in the reason behind the action, even though the action itself looks the same?

And in the end, is it wrong--Wicked?--to want the person to visit your blog too, leave you comments, connect with you?

It's all an open question.

I just wanted to make that clear because some people thought they weren't doing Gentle blogging simply because they didn't comment a lot or write a lot, but they are. And I wanted them to know so.

One last thought from this beach trip--I brought two things with me that I got at BlogHer. The first one ended up in my bag and I'm not really sure where it came from. I will be very sad if by writing about it here, I learn that I ended up with it by mistake and it was not really intended for me and there is now a child crying somewhere in America because I accidentally scooped up her DVD. But I have to proclaim my love for Prima Princessa.

I had low expectations for it because I frankly have low expectations for all children's DVDs. But Josh and I seriously love this movie. It intersperses ballet "lessons" (a loose term) with scenes from Swan Lake. It helps that I love the ballet Swan Lake and have a high tolerance for saccharine enthusiasm (unless the voice belongs to one of the My Little Ponies). Battynurse warned that I may not be saying this after 100 viewings, but we're nearing 20 showings and I'm still not annoyed by this movie. We watched it at least three times at the beach. Please don't take it away from us.

The other thing was something I picked up and by "picked up" I mean that I accosted a woman who had one in the lobby and gave her a long story about why I needed it. I carried it in my beach bag all week. It's...and I'm not ashamed to admit this...a Go Girl. It gave me so much confidence to know that even if I'm not the sort who would pull over to the side of the road and pop a squat in the bushes, I could be the sort who pull over and pop a squat. And no, I didn't use it on the trip, but I was so damned pleased with myself at being prepared for any possible scenario. Including emergency peeing.

The Weekly What If: If you were at the beach and were told that there was either a Great White shark or a mermaid in the ocean (there was definitely one of the two in the water, you just didn't know which one and if it were a mermaid, you'd be able to leave with evidence and pictures from the encounter) and you would come face-to-face with it/her, would you take the risk and go in? Would you take the chance that it was the shark just to come face-to-face with a real mermaid? Um...this what if obviously holds my deep-seated belief that mermaids exist.

And now, the blogs...

Maybe Baby has a post that ties in to her friend's announcement. She writes: "Sometimes I’m so proud to have shaken the shackles of my grief, to have moved forward towards a hope filled world but just as I feel myself escaping grief’s clutches she finds me, pulling me back into her lair. Is it possible to be hopeful yet at moments filled with the sharp stabs of grief?" I love the term she quotes: "season of grief" and it is such a truth of the calendar, anything cyclical that keeps bringing the same dates back into the forefront. It is just a moving, simple post.

Semi-fertile has a post about the evolution of women into different roles. Working in a veterinarian's office, she describes an evolutionary path she notices again and again. "The single girl with a boyfriend and a dog announces the name change, the evolution into married woman. Months later, she comes in with her gloriously swollen belly, looking for advice on the seamless integration of baby into the family. More months later, and she comes in with kid and pet, looking exhausted but marvelling over how well the pet and baby get along." It is a post about wanting, noticing, and the quiet moments that are taking place inside the mind during the unfolding of a day.

Are We There Yet? has a post about giving birth after adopting a child. There are no words I could say that could do this post justice, but suffice to say, it should be required reading for everyone. Literally everyone. I just loved this post intensely.

Lastly, Bottoms Off and On the Table has a post that may be difficult for some to read, but I respected her honesty. She explains what she feels about seeing the blogs in her Reader move from infertile to pregnant as she remains in the trenches. And I love that she ends the post not with a neat answer, but just with an admittance and that admittance is understandable to those on both sides of the situation.

The roundup to the Roundup: Yes, it's true, I am the MOWA. I was on holiday and now I feel like I'm running to keep up. More on Gentle vs. Wicked blogging. Answer the Weekly What If. And, as always, excellent blog posts to read.


TeamWinks said...

Thank you so much for the mention Mel! I will have to update at some point that our RE made a special exception to hold our embryos in office for an additional year. So, they are with those I trust for two years from now. I'm so thankful!

Briar said...

Hell no, I wouldn't go in that ocean for all the money in the world. Sharks eat people. There are no mermaids. End of story. Just call me Scrooge.

I am terrified of sharks. I am more terrified of sharks than of anything else in the world. Seriously.

I also kind of love Prima Princessa, probably because I also love Swan Lake. Beck made it through about half, which is good for him on a first viewing (he needs to warm up to new things).

The Wicked blogging thing is giving me pause. I will be curious to see how it unfolds. I know my intentions but I am not sure they are clear to others. Which makes me feel wicked and like I need correcting. But then when I examine myself I always come back to my good intentions. This is probably related to what Cali said about me, that I am someone who simultaneously cares deeply and yet doesn't give a flying f*ck.

N said...

And in the end, is it wrong--Wicked?--to want the person to visit your blog too, leave you comments, connect with you?

I don't think it's wicked to want that, or hope for it. It's when people expect it that you run into trouble - or worse, in a far different way, when people base their own value on it.

Kate said...

This will sound silly but I'm honored you read my post and that it meant something to you. Thank you.

So since your husband was a prolific blogger pre-2006, does he write this blog with you or assist with day to day operations like updating the LFCA? I'm always fascinated by how you juggle all these sites, e-mails, etc. It's impressive and speaks to your passion.

Kristin said...

I couldn't find the post but I found a bunch of comments Josh left on other blogs.

"And in the end, is it wrong--Wicked?--to want the person to visit your blog too, leave you comments, connect with you?"...absolutely not. However, it is wrong if that is the ONLY reason you do it.

As for the shark/mermaid dilemma, I would definitely go in but I would go in armed to the teeth to keep myself safe.

Goodyear Family said...

I just want to say thank you for posting so many other blogs of people who are going through the same feelings and emotions as I am. On days like today, it really helps. Thank you!

Jendeis said...

The mermaid will have to be undiscovered by me. I'm not doing anything involving sharks. :)

kate said...

Even though I wrote a lengthy response on your Gentle v Wicked post, I also wrote a lengthy blog post on the topic (wait... kate wrote something lengthy? you don't believe it. I know.). And in that post, I think I kind of answer the question, for me at least, of whether leaving a comment with an expectation is wicked. And I think that in some ways, it is wicked, but then again, I don't think that's a bad thing, necessarily. While I will continue to strive to be selfless, there will always be the impulse to leave a comment, hoping that I am fostering a future friendship, and in part I will always be disappointed if that friendship doesn't grow.
Here is the post where I wrote about it (On The Eve-- you can skip the first couple of paragraphs, unless you want a play-by-play of my fears regarding having an HSG). But there it is. It sparked some great comments on my blog, and (I hope) it directed some people over here to read that post that hadn't already read it.

I think that's what I love about your blog, Mel. It's the pebbles you drop that cause ripples, that sometimes turn into waves. But regardless of the size, your posts just spark so much thought, so much examination of a topic, that even if someone doesn't necessarily agree, at least ideas begin to be exchanged. And I love that.

Chickenpig said...

I think the fact that someone told me that there was a chance that there was a real, live mermaid out there would be enough for me. I wouldn't have to meet her. I think with my luck she would be hugely pregnant with her 15th merbaby and she would want to tell me "I don't know what to do. My merman just LOOKS at me and I get pregnant."

I hope that people don't read my comments and actually go to my blog. I never have the time to put anything up there, and I feel bad about it. It's like a big empty room with only a coffee pot in it. "Please come in and stay, help yourself to some coffee...but it isn't very good and it's been sitting there a long time." The idea of leaving comments so people will come never entered my mind. Now I'm scared. Maybe if my husband actually gets me a laptop that will change? Maybe I'm a wicked blogger who just doesn't have the opportunity.

Lorza said...

humm...I don't think it is wicked to want people to come and comment on your blog after you comment on theirs. To me it is kinda like having a conversation- you say something, you want that person to say something back. Sometimes you are in a huge group and that person simply can't answer all the questions....but it is nice when they do. :) Another reason for ICLW!!

LOL about the go girl. I don't know if I could just "do it in public"..but definately in a car in a traffic jam in Atlanta. UGH!!!

What if...I would go in the water to meet a mermaid. I have this idea that nothing can touch me. Besides, I want to meet the singing lobster too!

Does Josh blog on here, or help with LFCA? I couldn't imagine just stopping blogging. I would feel like I lost a lung or something.

{{HUGS}} You are just awesome Mel- I love seeing your posts and how you put everyone's info out there for support.

Beautiful Mess said...

I don't think it's wrong, per se, to be a Wicked blogger. I do believe that if you're a gentle blogger, you'll get more from it. It's a true act and usually true acts get more "attention", so to speak.

I love sharks! A very strange, disturbing love! I've been watching shark week all week and there is NOTHING more I would love to do then go to South Africa and swim with sharks. South Africa because they jump OUT of the water to catch their prey. It's beautiful! So, YES I would take the opportunity to come face to face with a shark, even if it ends up being a mermaid. I get giddy just thinking of the possibilities here!

calliope said...

I would only go into the ocean if I was traveling in a one man submarine. wait-is this one of those metaphor questions where we say something and then you tell us that that answer is also how we feel about sex??


I like to leave comments when I can because I want everyone to feel and be heard and know it. I also try to let people know via e-mail, when I can, that I appreciate their commenting on my site. So I guess I do it for the feeling of community.

caitsmom said...

I wouldn't go in the water; not interested in sharks or mermaids--now if it were the mountain top and a bear or wizard, that's different!

I like to comment. I like to let people know that someone heard them.

JuliaS said...

Hmmmm, I don't know - if both were possible and I really really really wanted to see a mermaid - I'd probably wade in. Heck, I kind of did - 13 times. More of the time I met the shark, other times the mermaid. Yes, the times I met the mermaid were worth the times I met the shark.

But, I would really really really REALLY have to want to see that mermaid . . .

As for wicked to want a return comment/visit? I like what N said. Sometimes I hope someone will comment back and this is often dependent upon the circumstances under which we "met".

Io said...

HAHAHAHAHA! I was wondering when you said you were on vacation, if you used the Go Girl. I have mine in my purse and have showed it to all my friends because it makes me giggle uncontrollably every time. (I have not used mine either and won't - people might be creeped out if I showed them a USED Go Girl...)

angie said...

I often feel like I can't read and NOT comment. I am grieving the stillbirth of my daughter, and I click for the stillbirth and neonatal loss.

A few weeks ago I was musing on my blog at how hard it is to comment some days. How mired in my own grief I am that everything I write sounds so impotent. So, though I am moved and touched by the post I have just read, I end up deleting my comment and moving on. I feel like I have nothing positive to add to the conversation on those days. It all sucks. That is not an engaging philosophical position to have. I want a stock comment that says, "I am here listening. You are not crazy. I love you." That is the opposite perhaps of what you are talking about, intention, engaging and connecting, but sometimes every blog I read seems to just want acceptance and understanding. Don't we all? I do some days.

But I don't get jealous or upset by the amount of comments one blogger might get vs. me. Some people are better writers to me, better communicators, some are better marketers. I think the closest I feel to jealousy is when someone comments on all the blogs I read BUT mine. I think it just touches all those insecure buttons. Why doesn't she like me too?

battynurse said...

I would only go in the ocean if I could see the mermaids by only going in knee deep. Cause then I could still run for shore. And probably fall thrashing around like an upside down turtle or something and still get eaten by the shark but it's the illusion of safety.
Ok so I am totally fascinated by that go-girl thing. Although I still don't know if it's something you could just whip out in the car and stick the end in a bottle and whiz as you drive? But still, it could greatly reduce my need to find something to lean against if I'm ever again out in the boonies needing to pee.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stirrup Queens,

I was so happy to read in your blog that you loved Prima Princessa Presents Swan Lake! My name is Stephanie and along with my partner Mary Kate we are the mom-entrepreneurs that created the new kids ballet dvd series Prima Princessa. I have 4 little children myself and we created the show out of necessity, because we wanted our kids to watch real live ballet shows that would inspire our own kids to get up off the couch and dance! Thanks so much for enjoying it with your kids and please do encourage them to put on their tutus and dance along! FYI, we also just released Prima Princessa Presents The Nutcracker this week, so check it out on Amazon. Have a great rest of your summer!

All the best,
Stephanie Troeller
Prima Princessa Productions, LLC

Anonymous said...

Surely there's some solution that involves a plan for keeping safe from sharks whilst still going forward with the investigation.

I am so sorry I wasn't reading blogs prior to 2006. Mr Bea was also doing the blog thing but nothing personal, thoughts on various Big Topics... nobody would trace it back to me.


Minta said...

I love holiday at the beach! Sounds like you guys had a great time. As to the weekly what-if... I don't see taking chances with a great white to maybe see a mermaid. Too chancy for me. I'd want to go in, but be too chickenshit to do it.