I am turning the comment moderation back on. I was going to leave it off, because it's nicer to have the comments just appear than to have to wait for me to approve them, but then I remembered that I have been meaning to turn the "CAPTCHA" feature off in my comments, and the moderation will still give me a bit of a spam-screen.
The reason I'm turning off CAPTCHA (the crazy letters you have to type into the box to prove you aren't a computer) is because ages ago, Lisa mentioned that those little things were virtually impossible to deal with if you are disabled and using various gadgets to read and comment on websites. (I am too lazy to find the exact post or the exact explanation, but it was in there somewhere.)
Anyway, in spite of the fact that sometimes those things have little wheelchair icons that supposedly make them disability-friendly, Lisa says they usually just aren't so I'm going to see how it goes to moderate the comments for a while and watch for spam in person.
Far be it from me to keep the lovely and brilliant Lisa or any other disabled lurker from conversating on my blog!
At the moment it's mush. Crazy week this has been. Some bad-crazy, some good-crazy, but nonstop, sleep-deprived crazy all around.
Still, I don't want to lose another second before I thank Half Changed World and Third Mom for putting me on their "Thinking Blogger" lists.
Now I'm supposed to name five of my own and I am filled with junior-high-style angst about leaving people out. Because my blogroll is really One Big Thinkfest. Still, I feel pressured to pass the torch in proper form. So here's the thing, if you're on my blogroll (and heck, quite a few of you aren't on it and still fit the bill), you're in. But I will take this opportunity to draw my readers' attention to some of the blogs I'm not sure the bulk of you are as familiar with as others.
Five More Thinking Bloggers
A Letter to My Children
Thinking about disability justice, single-parenting twins, and the occasional cloth diaper thesis
A panoply of folks thinking about race in America and other interesting things
Republic of T
Black, gay, lefty, DC-dad with an interracial family
A few weeks ago, I had to pay all the annual fees for my various internet habits. I decided it was time to stop waiting for someone to invite me into blogads and make a move myself. So, after consulting Lisa, I signed up for google ads.
Immediately, ads went up on my blog, the text of which was in more or less direct contradiction to the content of my writing. I looked in vain for a way to control this while also watching my "profits" tick steadily up day-to-day at a rate that, annually, would most certainly cover my internet expenses and then a little extra for other extraneous hobbies like the whole bead thing.
But I couldn't stand the content of those ads for more than about ten days, and I had to take them down (with the exception of the little search box, since people do sometimes write and ask me to dig up an old post they can't find). I didn't even reach the threshold required to get paid by google, so I was just their boob for ten days for free.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Sports franchises sell the naming rights to
their stadiums. Baseball's San Francisco Giants play at AT&T Park, for
instance. Then there are the parents who've sold the naming rights to
their unborn children on eBay. Inspired by these precedents, I'm thinking
about selling the naming rights to the astrological signs. Instead of just
"Aquarius," I could maybe convince Nike to invest in calling it "Nike's
Aquarius." Better yet, maybe I could hawk the rights (at a lower rate, of
course) to organizations whose cultural influence I actually respect:
Burning Man's Aquarius or Greenpeace's Aquarius. Given your current
astrological omens, you should entertain an idea like this. Maybe you
could add a corporate sponsor as your new middle name or as the name
of your blog or your pet or your genitals. Consider it, Aquarius. It's the
perfect time to think outside the box in regard to bringing more money
into your life.
And I have to say, help! Help me sell out! I just can't cope with google tossing any more "speedy domestic adoption agency" ads my way without my consent. And yet, Rob is right. It's really time this blog at least covered its expenses.
We had a blizzard last week. We got 14-16 inches of snow in the first dump, then 4 more two days ago. Given the unchecked, driving wind, there were 8-10' drifts in some places. Out our back window, you can see a parking lot. Some cars were buried. Others could just drive away and you could see gravel under the light snow beneath them. It looked like a moonscape. They canceled classes at the U. for the first time since Cole has been here--15 years. David got a sled for Nat--the baby kind with high sides and a seat-belt. He took her up and down the shoveled piles while Cole and were getting haircuts. I think she liked it. David did!
First, everyone is 100% okay over here. No worries. But last week, Nat had her first trip to the ER and Cole and I had our first trips to the ER with our dependent child. It seems that early on Thursday morning, while I was still in bed and Cole was in the shower, Nat managed to grab Uncle David's just-that-minute-freshly-made coffee off the kitchen counter with the tips of her fingers, spilling it down her chest and tummy. She has 2nd degree burns on same. It looked awful at first, we were all emotional messes for two or three days afterwards, but Nat was and is a real trooper about it. We are still changing the bandage daily, but she doesn't even cry when we do this. She does say, soberly, "Coffee hot! Hurt! Cry!" which is all true and to which I add, "yes, the coffee was very hot and it burned you and you cried and cried. We had to go to the doctor so they could give you a bandage. And now you have a burn on your tummy, but it's getting better!" And it is getting much better, much more quickly than I would have anticipated. Everyone tells us baby skin heals well and fast and leaves few if any scars. That said, please leave any and all scar-prevention advice you have in the comments. Dr. Dr. Uncle Wayne, whose complexion is quite similar to Nat's says 100% coco butter is the way to go. The folks at nappturality.com say coco butter and aloe (we have a lovely, healthy aloe plant so that is easy to come by). There are a number of special scar-prevention or fade products online I found via google. Any further thoughts? Thanks!
How to Get Free Stuff:
The folks at Get Them Blogging! have revamped the site, moving it from Beta, to launch! If you signed up before, you need to sign up again, but it's totally worth it. And if you haven't signed up, do it! Free stuff and a chance to help others make purchasing decisions based on advice from people they trust (YOU) rather than marketers.
This time, it was Elswhere who came to Uncle Davis and Uncle Wayne's election returns party with her daughter, Mermaid Girl, who looks even more like a Pre-Raphaelite painting in real life than online. Elswhere insisted MG had been having a meltdown only moments prior to meeting us, but I certainly wouldn't have guessed it. It seems she can perk up for company as well as Nat. I asked her if she was a dancer (having been tipped off by her mommy's blog that she was) and she said "I used to be" which is quite the statement coming from a six year-old. She informed me that now she is a circus performer. She had been to circus class quite recently in fact, and she told me all about it.
I also got a great tip from Elswhere herself, who is a children's librarian. Nat's favorite book, Chicka, Chicka, ABC which we have only in board form comes in paper form with more content! There's a sequel! Cole was very excited to hear this, as it's her favorite book (of Nat's) too.
Meeting bloggers face-to-face is gonna be my new hobby. Love it!
Ever the comer-upper with great ideas, Dawn has started a little business in which she collects bloggers' information and puts it in a database and then PR people from companies that make kids' stuff pay her to go through her database and select blogs they like to send free stuff to in exchange for product reviews on the blogs in question.
I know it works because I already got an email from a company that said if I'd just tell them Nat's precise age and my address, they'd send me some free products for her demographic and I could keep them in return for a blog review. Mind you, the review doesn't have to be good.
I am starting a new category called "Solicited Product Reviews" for doing these. They will be distinguished from the "Baby Stuff We Love" category (unless we happen to love them enough to cross-list them) so you'll know what I love enough to recommend by myself and you'll know what was sent to me to judge.
Meanwhile, please sign up at Get Them Blogging!. Dawn is not going to give your info out to anyone but interested companies, of course. You can sign up and change your mind later and un-sign up, and you need not have a "big" zillion-hit blog to register. What will happen is that a company who has access to the database will decide to send you a pitch about their product at the email address you have given Dawn. Then you can decide whether or not you're interested. You don't have to do anything at all if you don't like the pitch. And when I signed up, minimum real-life information was required. You can use your blogging name instead of your real name (if they're different) for example.
I think it's a terrific idea and I can't wait to see the free stuff winging its way to me as we all type...
I was talking to some non-bloggers about blogging yesterday and it occurred to me that I have never really written an obligatory "my blogging philosophy" post here, though I've commented extensively on others'.
My Blogging Philosophy:
In a nutshell, it's the Internet. Everyone I ever met or ever will meet whether they love me or hate me or something in-between WILL read it. I choose content accordingly.
I take this view even with people in my face-to-face life who I know for a fact will never find my blog. I assume in that case that someone they know will find it and tell them all about it.
So if you read it here, it's something I would say to the face of "everyone I ever met or ever will meet whether they love me or hate me."
For some bloggers, this is too stifling, but for me? I'm a loudmouth and always have been. The teachers at back-to-school night used to say to my parents "she's smart, but opinionated." It took me a long time to understand why they used "but." I always thought opinionated was a good thing. And I still do, but I try (most of the time) to be kind, as well. So if I ticked a reader off,* I probably thought long and hard before I wrote whatever and decided I was willing to tick some people off. I prefer not to tick anybody off as it is usually alienating and not helpful in my pursuit of decency and respect for all, which is high on my blog agenda.
I do strive to be the same person in every aspect of my life. So my blogging isn't hampered too much by my imagined audience of "everyone." But there are some things I just don't blog, because I don't want everyone to know them, or because they intertwine too closely with the stories of others.
When it comes to my kid on the internet, I fall between the extremes of parents who put pictures up and tell about their kids' most embarassing moments and parents in deep anonymous mode who never post pictures. I decided that one year of baby pictures, free to the public was fine, since babies are pretty generic little beings. But I decided not to keep posting pictures into Nat's early childhood just because I'd rather not be in an airport somewhere and have a stranger run up and go, "hey Nat!" If you do think you see us in an airport (or wherever) by the way, please DO come up, just talk to me first! I still post photos with a password. That way the grands and other interested parties can see them, and you can to, if you send me a friendly email. I'm pretty liberal with the password. I'd just like to have a sense that the folks who want to see her love her (or at least wish her the best).
If you blog, have you ever been in a highly public place, like a library or an electronics store, and brought your blog up on a computer and walked away? We were in Chicago, checking email at the Apple store and I did this. I felt really nervous about the strangers in the store seeing my blog. I had to sit with the feeling and decide what that meant. Because that's what blogging is. I think bloggers often feel that we are an intimate little group of folks having friendly chats. I know when I imagine my audience, I imagine those who've commented or sent me email. But my stats tell me that only about 5% of folks who come here and stay long enough to read leave a comment. So those strangers milling around in the Apple store are my audience too. That is: unknown strangers.
Again, it's the Internet.
I've had face-to-face acquaintances come up to me and say in a kind of "gotcha" voice "I found your website!" I have to say my reaction is just, "so?" It's the WORLD-WIDE-WEB. It's not my private journal hidden under my bed. I put it here. Of course you found it.
As far as the axe-murderer thing goes, I have never understood it. Frankly, the Internet, being virtual and all, doesn't seem dangerous to me at all (short of identity theft issues). If someone wants to harm me, following me home from the grocery store would be a lot easier than figuring out where I live from my blog and coming to my house. I see the Internet as just another anonymous public space in our world, like the grocery store, the park, the Apple store in the middle of Chicago, the airport or where ever. And when it comes to meeting other bloggers or blog readers face-to-face, I think that's safer than talking to a stranger at the art gallery. After all, you've had a chance to vet them through some email conversation before coming into physical contact with them.
I like the Internet, because it gives those of us who are reader-and-writer types a strong platform in which to hang out and meet each other. And that is my blogging philosophy!
* For my international readers: "ticked off" is U.S. English slang for making someone angry.
The doctor fixed me up with some kind of nuclear antibiotics for the next two weeks because I just can't shake the remnants of this stupid year-long sinus infection. Now the drugs are making me feel as bad as the illness, but at least they will be finished in two weeks. No telling when I would have actually recovered from the infection.
Speaking of health and wellness (or not), Nat's Aunt Nancy just started acupuncture school. She was a federal lackey for many long years and finally got fed up (har har) with it and decided to become a healer instead. She has been blogging about the whole acupuncture journey (and sundry other things) at The Point of it All. I think many of you will enjoy her perspective.
In other new blog news, here is a lovely blog about the adoption from South Africa of a lovely boy!
And finally, for your adoption reading pleasure, this site has a number of rss feeds of recent adoption blog posts. They are looking for folks to add to the list, so let them know if you have a blog you'd like to see included!