Monday, May 31, 2010

Sangria + Frozen yogurt + the future...

My friend Liz is moving to Chicago in less than a month, and I discovered today that she had never been to Pambiche. Portlanders, if you haven't been here, go. It's a fantastic Cuban restaurant, and literally everything is delicious.

After finishing up at Pambiche, we headed over to Swirl on Hawthorne. We talked, in both places, about a number of things, but I started to tell her that last night I woke up panicked about the prospect that I may not get this super job I so desperately want.

And so we started discussing options. Maybe, as my parents have said, I should go back to school again, and become an LPC (licensed professional counselor). It was something I had in mind for the future, years down the line (after seeing the requirements, I understand why most counselors are older!). But I have seen many, many jobs requiring this or an LMHC (mental health counselor), so maybe it's time.

Maybe, Liz suggested, this is meant to push you to commit to your writing, and do it full time. I have to be honest, the prospect of this filled me... with fear. I love writing, don't get me wrong. And I've mentioned here that when it works, it can make me feel more awake and more alive than almost anything else. But the idea of committing to it and making writing my official career choice, with nothing else behind it, is frightening.

For one, I don't know what kind of writer I would be. Would I freelance, scraping up what I could, at least to start? I have one freelance project now, and that hasn't even finished.

For two, I don't know that I'm actually good. I think that I am, and believe that I am, and I know that people who love me and care about me have said that I am very good. But millions of people in this world are fully supported into doing something they, in fact, cannot do well. Who's to say I'm not one of those millions? I know I'm biased; chances are you are too.

For three, melancholy stretches aside, I'm extroverted and highly distractable. I still don't understand how I began to write in the first place. Even with collaborative projects, writing is a deeply lonely practice. It's shared once it goes , but the actual work of writing requires you, and something to write with. That's it. I don't know if I have that in me.

Maybe you need to go somewhere else, Liz said. And this is when the conversation really got depressing. I love Portland. I love living here, and I feel more at home here than I ever have anywhere else. I feel more at home here than I did when I lived in Ireland, and at the time, I claimed that I would live there forever if I could. I would still go back... I just don't know about forever.

Aside from the job market, Portland has treated me extremely well. I have an excellent community of friends here. The city is accessible and welcoming, in its cynical Portland way. I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be. I'm practically an evangelist for Portland. Maybe that's the problem.

Still, maybe this super job will call me, tell me they loved me, and when can I start? But if they don't, I am certainly at a crossroads. Here's hoping the second half of 2010 will provide more answers than the first.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

One little thing.

Dude, you guys, check out what happened to Horatio Sanz, formerly of SNL.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

This is a pre-emptive post.

Robin texted me this afternoon letting me know that Gabe (her husband) was having a 'guy's night out', and was I busy? "I'm thinking this would be a perfect opportunity for Twilight, wine and cheese."

I adore this girl.

I've been telling her for the past year that she needs to see "Twilight", and being an intelligent, grown woman (sorry, serious fans) she's resisted.

"You don't get it." I told her. "We're not watching it because it's good. We're watching it because it's ridiculous. It's a two-bottles-of-wine movie. You drink one together before  the movie starts, then sip on the second while you watch, and the movie becomes GLORIOUS in its ridiculousness."

So she's apparently finally given in. We're each supplying a bottle of wine, and then we will eat cheese and good things, and laugh our faces off.

If you want to see my earlier thoughts on the movie, click here

I mean, he compares her to heroin, you guys. That's not a love affair. That's a recipe for homelessness and death.

Sometime, when you don't have better things to do and have your imbibement of choice handy, watch "Twilight". Skip "New Moon", though. It's boring.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sights around Portland.

I tried editing the pics for text, we'll see if it worked. :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Yesterday, I failed.


I didn't post, for the first time (technically) in 2010 Blogathon history. And you know what? I'm a tiny bit bummed, but I'm mostly ok with it. Because yesterday was nuts, but in a good way.

I had a second-round job interview with a local(ish) company that shall for now go unnamed. This company is amazing--employees have a great energy, the work they're doing is important, and the office has nice views. Different levels of importance, to be sure, but all reasons why I want to work for this company.

I sat down with several people in the course of the interview, and each time, made no small thing of saying, "I want this job, specifically, passionately, this job, I want it."

We'll see if that worked. I felt good about the interview.

I've applied for a LOT of jobs over the past year. I've tried to apply mostly at organizations and companies where I have connected in some way with the work they're doing, but there have also been a fair amount of "Yes, I can run your front desk" kind of applications.

Want to know what the funny thing is? Every single time I have gotten called in for an interview, it has been for a position with an organization I'm passionate about, and usually, in some sense, I'm already invested in the type of work they do or the community they work with. Every time. So much for worrying about taking the wrong job, huh?

So, yes, I need a job. But I really, really want this one. Watch this space for updates.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Um... dude?"

Everyone is talking LOST.

If you're not a fan, don't leave yet. Please. :)

The thing is, LOST (I love typing LOST in all caps and so that's where it will stay) is one of the only shows on television (or was) that actually makes me feel dumb.

I love that. It's why I have such smart friends (partly, anyway). It's also part of why LOST is best watched in community.

Granted, fans, it's a great show no matter what, whether you appreciate it and take it apart, or like me, you overemphasize the ridiculous and just take the ride. But even when I watched Lost alone (thank you, Netflix streaming), I was still barraging friends, Eric and Ashley in particular, with questions, quips and I will now resist the urge to make this sentence alliterative... thoughts. Whew.

Because LOST is better in community, even if that community is behind a screen.

For fans
Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune and B.J. Keeton (who is taking part in the blogathon) have broken in down in ways that hurt my head.

For fans and non-fans alike

This is hilarious. And if you haven't watched LOST, it's so much so fast it won't ruin anything.

I was a LOST late-bloomer. And I still love Sayid.

(Note: The picture was abc,com's April Fool's joke. Get it? You're welcome, Ashley Sue.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's Blogathon Haiku Day!

A cancelled meeting
Means red wine and a noir film,
Pajamas at home.

Happy Monday night. :)

I'm a killer.

I hit a possum coming home from watching the "Lost" finale.

I've never hit anything in my life. Except a curb.

My eyes were on the road. I was annoyed by the radio but not focused on it. And then this little whiteish rodent-looking thing was RIGHT in front of my car. And then it wasn't.

The feeling was worse than the sound. I could feel something--it--bounce along under the carriage of my car.

"Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. I'm sorry. Oh my God," I said.

On the radio, Katy Perry continued to sing about Daisy Dukes.

I only made one left turn the whole drive home, and when I did, I heard it again, ca-chunk, under the car.

The rest of the drive home was unnecessary turns, made sharply but not recklessly, trying to make sure that whatever was under my car was gone.

Heartless. I know.

When I got home, I hesitated opening the door. I kept picturing a tiny pink hand reaching up from under the car, slashing at my ankles. Even in tall leather boots, it's a terrifying thought.

But I had milk in the trunk! Milk goes bad! It must be saved!

Gingerly, I popped the trunk open and set one foot outside. I listened for harried breathing. And, as I always do, I sent a text message--I just hit a possum. :(-- to my mom and two friends I knew would be awake. Mom, I think, is asleep.

Friend one was sympathetic. Oh, no!
Friend two, less so. Oh? Ow. 

Friend two knew about the milk. You should have seen me reach for the milk, I texted. I stood away from the car & leaned in. in case the dying animal reached for me with his tiny mangled paws. :(

Friend one got, I've never hit anything in my life. 
He replied, I'm so sorry. That's awful.

Friend two, whose particular brand of snark you may have seen on this blog previously, said, You were so angry about the Lost finale you went on a possum-killing rampage! which was swiftly followed by You know, sometimes they do take down your license plate and plot their revenge. I heard that I Know What You Did Last Summer was actually based on a true story involving a raccoon. 

i hate you, I texted.

Both friends, in an effort to lighten the mood/offset my guilt onto someone else, received, I'm certain it was a possum. At first my brain said, could that have been a cat? Or a human baby? Because I am nothing if not rational. 

So, possum, I am sorry. I never intended to hurt you. I hope you had a lovely possum life, and that you are not so angry with me that you haunt my dreams or retreat into darkness, working overtime to become SuperPossum and exact sweet revenge on me with a tractor.

I love animals (really!), and I love you.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Happy anniversary!

Today is my parents' 35th wedding anniversary.

That's not a sentence that very many people have an opportunity to type.

I was thinking about my parents today, and realized that I don't have the ability to conceptualize loving the same person for 35 years. If I'm being honest, I'll tell you that it's something I hope is in my future, but as for now, the phrase "married for 35 years" is as incomprehensible as if it were in another language.

I know that it has (probably) never been easy. I know that it hasn't always even looked like they would make it to this point, but they did. And I know that watching my parents' relationship has informed what I am looking for in a relationship as well.

It's too easy to say that I look to my parents' relationship "warts and all", because I know I have never seen the highest highs or lowest lows. I've lived through the extreme sides of the middle. And I know I'm biased, but I do think my parents have either had more extreme high and lows, or at least more of them than your typical couple.

My parents are far from perfect. But they love each other like crazy, and I've been able to see that love wears all kinds of different faces, and rarely looks as lovely as we would like.

Someday, hopefully, I'll be celebrating an anniversary, and I'll carry those lessons into the relationship with me. But if I don't, watching my parents has taught me about living with other people, whether the relationship lives safely on middle ground or trusts enough to reach dangerously on the edge.

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. I know it's a weird little tribute, but it is a tribute, in its way.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Next time you tell me you're bored...

...I may take a swing at you. It probably won't be a real one, and it will almost certainly be both ineffective and in jest, but be ready.

It is 2010. We may not have flying cars yet, but even if we did, someone would be sleeping through the trip. A couple notes before we launch into tonight's posts:

1) My instructions are aimed at adults. Teenagers will always be bored. That's practically your job description from 12-18: be bored or overreact. One or both, at all times.

2) Sometimes a little boredom can be nice (emphasis on little). When life is crazy, it can serve as a bizarre respite. What I'm talking about here is the people who complain/announce their boredom. Ok? Here's your instruction.


If you can't stop it, shut up about it.

Really, boredom comes from selfishness. We've done everything we want to do, or the thing we most want to do is unavailable to us, so we announce that we're bored. God forbid we go engage another human being. God forbid we accomplish something that isn't 110% enjoyable.

Am I preaching to myself as much as you? Absolutely.

I'm not sure if it's a local thing, a hipster thing, a modern thing, a 20something thing, an affluence thing or what, but lately I have heard EVERYTHING called boring.

"Music is boring." So go make some. Or shut up.

"God, tv is so boring." Donate your set and go outside.

"The internet is boring." Really? I imagine if all you do is feed crows on FarmVille and click through pictures from your first cousin-twice-removed's baby shower in Omaha, the internet is boring. However (and I'm sure you've all heard this already, but), I doubt the people involved in this story consider the internet boring.

Boring is not an excuse, and it's not a right to complain. Boring is a luxury, and whining about it is a flaunting of that luxury in front of people who work harder (or at least smarter) than the complainers.

If you're bored, invest in something. Invest in someone. I hope it's clear this isn't necessarily economic investment--it's time, it's value, it's connection. It's not always money. Step outside yourself and find out what someone else wants or needs for a change.

You don't have to change the world. You don't have to champion a cause. You don't even have to believe in anything (though I would recommend believing in something), other than the fact that you are not a self-sustaining island.

You can even stay bored, if that's really what you want. Just don't make me read it on your Facebook status.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Don't text me to say Glee is on."

I was hanging out with a bunch of friends from Emmaus tonight, and eventually, briefly, the topic of my blog came up. I mentioned, half as a joke, that one of my friends could write a guest post for me whenever she wanted.

"Oh, no," she said, "I hate writing."

"What?" I asked.

"I can't stand writing. I avoid it. I'd much rather do math or science."

"Me too," another friend chimed in. "I'd rather do math or science than write."

I looked at the people seated around the table as if they were aliens.

I'm not against math or science, but both are hard for me. And I guess what surprised me most was that I forgot that writing doesn't come easily to everyone. So many of my friends are writers, love writing and talking about writing, that the concept of someone truly hating writing has become utterly foreign to me.

I don't love writing every minute of every day. Anyone who writes will tell you that there are times finding words, and not even the right ones, is like finding a needle in a haystack (to beat the phrase to death). Sometimes it's worse--even when you're searching for that needle in that haystack (and really, who has ever done that?), you know it's there. Writing sometimes feels like digging through the muck of the barn for something that might not even exist.

But when I do love writing, I love it in a way unique to everything else. Words slip out, pour out, burst out and the doors and windows are flung wide open, and the oxygen is new, the world is new and so am I.

Sounds overdramatic, and I know it. But then again, I have a tendency to be overdramatic, regardless of what my caustic nonchalance may seem to show at times.

So, it's ok if you don't love writing. If you're a part of the blogathon, or if you spend a fair amount of time reading blogs in general, you probably do love it. But if you don't, that's fine. There are plenty of other misguided, starry-eyed romantics, waiting with pen in hand.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I promise I sometimes go outside.

A confession right off: I didn't have a topic tonight. Plus, I got home kind of late because I went and saw Shutter Island again (I liked it better than I did the first time).

But then Eric, who (whom? I never remember. I need Grammar Girl--and just a heads up, tonight's grammar will be horrific) you all met semi-officially yesterday, asked me if he should bother watching "V", and I reminded him that it was the season finale, so it would only be the best "V" could do. Also, I said, I need a blog topic.

Tell them three things "V" could improve, he said.

I pondered this for a split second and said, Make it better, lose the bad CG backgrounds, and make it better.

I felt helpful, but it made me think of the number of tv shows I watch regularly. As usual, I blame the internet.

With Hulu and Netflix at my fingertips (and many months of insomnia) I have watched a ridiculous amount of tv without ever turning on the set.

Here's what we're currently working through:

"V" and "Lost"--both are ridiculous, but one is much, much better than the other. Guess which?

"Modern Family"--seriously, tied in my head with "30 Rock" for the funniest thing on TV right now. And for those of you who are asking, my favorite character is Mitchell. He's a gay straight-man (comedy-wise, folks), and I find that hilarious. Because I am a total dork for words.

"American Idol"--I don't actually watch this, usually. I just let my friend Lauren text me who gets booted every week, and as long as Crystal Bowersox wins, the world will be ok for me.

"Kitchen Nightmares"--I love Gordon Ramsey, probably to a pathological degree. Anything he does, I will watch. How boring is "Hell's Kitchen" by now? SO BORING. But he's on it, so I watch.

"The Office"--I hate to admit it, but "The Office" is losing steam. They're grasping at straws for plot points, but they still make me laugh, and I still love Toby Flenderson, so I'll watch till it's done.

"30 Rock"--You already know. Please don't make me tell you again.

"Community"-- Yes, at times, it's a little too clever and tries too hard to push the envelope within the bounds of a network. But it's still funny, and I love that each episode works within the context of a memorable movie.

"Parks and Recreation"--Amy Poehler is funny, no doubt. But the best part of the show isn't her, it isn't Aziz Ansari or even Rashida Jones. The rest of the cast, most of whom I had never seen before, are fantastic. Whoever it is that plays Ron Swanson is hysterical, mainly because we've all met that guy. And I would watch an entire show around April the intern. But no spinoffs yet, please.

"Party Down"--This is a goofy show (on Starz, of all places) about struggling actors and writers in Hollywood making a living as caterers. It's Starz trying (and failing) to be HBO, but it's still good.

Speaking of HBO, last two:

"The Wire"--Everybody loves "The Wire", right? And everybody who doesn't has to hear about it from somebody who does. One of these days, "The Wire" will have its own post here, but not today. I'm just barely into season 4, so DON'T TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS (especially not to Omar or Bubbles, thanks).

"Six Feet Under"--I haven't watched this in months because I promised not to watch it until I finished "The Wire", and then my watching of "The Wire" was delayed by someone. Ahem. But it's a great show, and just a brilliant concept, and I kind of can't wait to get back to it.

Like I said, I don't watch all of these in a row, or even all of these once a week, and they often pop up when I'm unable to sleep. And there will be a post on "The Wire" at some point. Promise.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Guest blogger: Eric Gerhardt

Some of you may know my friend Heather, who recently - quite graciously, and in a move which I think demonstrated the pivotal role faith plays in her life - invited me to consider writing a guest post for her blog.

Heather and I met some years ago at a coffee shop here in Portland and we've been pretty good friends ever since, perhaps in part because the number of things we have in common is eclipsed only by the number of things we don't.  Both of us love to write, for example, though only one of us is disciplined enough to do it regularly and consistently and (horrors) actually commit to doing so publicly.  My own blog is in a sad state of lonely disrepair.  I need only a Wordpress tumbleweed plugin to complete the desolation. But I've been enjoying following Heather's blog and even a little envious of all this writerly stuff going on over here, so the idea of contributing a bit was pretty appealing to me.  At the time I was flattered and intrigued.  Flattrigued, even.  At the time.

Time passes, as it is wont to do, and then today came of course (the deadline, I mean) and all of that time between "Sure, I'd love to" and now, all of that time I was going to spend thinking up clever and thoughtful things to say here, got sucked up by me watching bad horror movies and playing Space Miner on my phone.  And while I could certainly talk for many, many paragraphs about bad horror movies and Space Miner, I have a feeling Heather would be disappointed.  (In case you're wondering, by the way, Space Miner is pretty awesome.  There's asteroids *and* robots. And Session 9 was actually pretty good, as was The Skeleton Key, now that I think about it.)

But no!  I was going to write a Serious Writerly Post.  In fact yesterday night I actually wrote a pretty involved bit about poetry and life and meaning.  And then I actually read it, and lo, it was bad, like spectacularly bad, and not even a little bit good, so I eated it.

So then earlier this evening I was sitting by the river telling Heather how abysmal my blog post was, and how it gave me a bit of indigestion after I eated it, but not to worry, still plenty of time.  (Right around here is when I first tried on a fixed grin. You know, the "What, me worry?" grin.  I'll spare you the picture.)  "No worries!" I said.  "I'll just write about Lost!"  Lost is a regular fount of ideas.  Ideas were stumbling over themselves in their hurry to present themselves.  "Top Ten Loose Ends That I Bet They're Not Going to Get Around To Answering on 'Lost'" seemed really promising for a while.  But the more I thought about that, the more I realized - man.  Lost is giving me a headache and I'm not even watching it.  Besides, Lost was coming on at 9pm and my post would be immediately obsolete unless I watched this episode first.  So I waited till 9pm, at which time I promptly fell asleep.

But now I'm up!  And now it's 10pm on Deadline Day!  "Two hours to go, right?" I texted her.  (I added a basic 

smily emoticon because I'm not sure how to make a 'fixed and slightly desperate grin' emoticon.)  

"Right :) have a topic?" she texted back.  It's hard to make out here but I think there was a hint of the fixed grin in Heather's emoticon too.  I know she's not really worried though.  Heather actually has a stockpile of amazing blog posts all lined up.  She's had today's post ready since February at least, and somehow she manages to still make them feel topical.  I'm convinced she only posts late in the day to keep the other Blogathon participants on their toes.

So there I was - deadline looming, no topic, fixed grin &c.  But then I had that magical realization: what do I need a topic for, anyway?  I'm a guest blogger, and I can always fall back on the secret weapon of every blogger: a moderately amusing writer's block anecdote.  I mean, sure, it's the blogging equivalent of the 'very special episode' of your favorite 80s sitcom where all the writers were on strike so they basically strung together a bunch of old clips and wrapped them in a 'Hey remember when that one thing happened? Let's remember it together' pretext of a story.  

A copout?  Sure.  Intellectually bankrupt?  Maybe a little.  Endearingly reminiscient of the end of The Muppet Movie, when the story of the making of the movie becomes the movie itself? 

Still, it's the kind of trick a blogger can really only get away with once.  More than that, and you've violated a sacred pact with your readers, assuming your blog supports the 'sacred pact' plugin.  But see, that's the brilliant thing about being a guest blogger - it only has to work once.  Because tomorrow, folks, I'll be back to watching bad horror movies and playing Space Miner, and we'll return you to your regularly scheduled Heather.  And I expect that will be a relief to all of us. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Three things I love.

After yesterday's "Woe is me, tires flee from me" post, I figured some positivity was in order. And so, here are three things I love.

1. My Dad. 

My dad called me today and offered to buy me a set of new tires, something I never could have afforded on my own. Because of thing I love number two, I ended up not needing them, but still. It was a reminder of how good my dad is at always coming through. I forget really easily how many people either don't have dads at all, or don't have dads who are really good men. And my dad is a really good man.

Not having a job this year has been really brutal. But my dad has always been a voice of calm, reminding me "We all know you're working really hard, and we all know how tough it is to get hired right now." Also, not having to be at work has afforded me the chance to be at my parents' house more, especially when my mom got sick. And I got to spend more time with Dad, and really get to know him as a whole person, not just "Dad".

2. Les Schwab Tire Centers

Yep. I love these guys. A bit of promotion for them: If you don't live in the West, you're out of luck. And it's a shame for you, really. because they are amazing. I've visited their stores in several towns, and the service is consistently exemplary. You can drive in and have them check your tire on the spot, and their warantees are fantastic. If something goes wrong with something you bought there, they replace it, no problem.

They also don't try to sell you stuff you don't need. I told you about the generous offer from my dad--asked them to check out all of the tires, even told them I was willing to buy a whole new set. They let me know that my tires were in good shape, and then they fixed the one that went flat. You all saw the photo from yesterday. Repaired. No charge. Amazing. Their website.

3. 30 Rock

 Why aren't you watching this show? It's the best thing on network TV. The writing is brilliant, the jokes are fast, self-aware and unpredictable, the cast is perfect, and Tracy Morgan makes me wish every week he had been this funny on SNL. That is all.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Know how to change a tire?

So, this is kind of a picture of my day.
Originally, I was rolling away from my house and instantly heard the thunkathunkathunk that told me something was wrong. Stopped my car where it was, and saw that the tire was flat. When I rolled the car back to the curb (a distance of maybe seven feet), I found what you see--the tire had actually come off the wheel.

I'll call somebody tomorrow, and it'll all eventually work out fine. But in that moment, my brain did the dramatic thing it always does, and I thought, This is pretty much like your life right now. 

Shut up, brain, I said. Stop being dramatic. 

It's true, though, the brain said. Things are sort of flat, and they're slipping.

Grr, I said.

And it's not like it's life or death, I mean, you'll be okay--fine, even. But it's not exactly good. 

As a result, I am in a bit of a pity party today. And really looking forward to something good happening soon, whenever soon is. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shutter Island: Scorsese's vacation home.

Spoiler alert: They're possible, but actually I don't think there's many...

For those of you who are new to this blog, you need to know that I am a) poor, and b) living within reasonable distance of multiple theaters that not only show movies for three or four dollars, but also have beer and pizza available.

This means that there is virtually NO movie I won't wait to see. And so, today's review, months after everyone else's, is "Shutter Island".

A couple more things you should know about me: I'm a wuss. I don't watch spooky movies if I can help it (When I originally texted a friend saying the movie looked good (way back in January), they responded with "YOU want to see Shutter Island? Who are you, again?"). And I like older Leonardo DiCaprio a lot. Also, I read tons of reviews. All the time.

So I had heard the twist, most of the reviews I read were bad, and my friend Ashley announced that it was ridiculous--so ridiculous, in fact, that she wanted to watch it again, just to see me respond.

All I need to tell you is this: Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo are federal marshals sent out to remote and treacherous Shutter Island, which was formerly, in part, a Civil War fort and now serves as a penitentiary for the criminally insane. The writers never let you forget the 'criminally insane' part--characters repeat it endlessly. One of their patients has gone missing, even though her cell was locked and she had no shoes! And there's a shocking twist!

That's all you need to know. What follows is two hours of dramatic music when nothing dramatic is happening, silence from the score when dramatic things ARE happening, and approximately one billion allusions to the twist. So many, in fact, that when a character finally commits the twist to real words, I leaned over to Ashley and said, "At least he finally said it! They've only told us eight times over."

Granted, I knew the twist going in. But for a Scorsese film, it just wasn't very good. I got the pulpy mystery quality, and the importance of the time setting, and the film looks good. But it ended up feeling longer than two hours, and I ended up not caring one bit about any of the characters.

When I came home, I discovered via the wonder of the internet that plenty of people LOVE this movie and think it's brilliant. So perhaps I haven't given it a fair shot. Perhaps I looked at it too simplistically.

Have you seen it? What did you think? What's another movie that you had to give a second try to appreciate?

Friday, May 14, 2010

less is more (sometimes).

I don't feel funny today. I had blogs in my head earlier that were funny, and I just don't think they'll work. Back on the shelf they go. 

1t hasn't been a bad day by any means. I got to spend some time with Laura, who I hadn't seen in months (her blog, something new, is intermittent, but lovely), for example.

But I also have a lot of friends who are experiencing deep sadness right now, and an acute loneliness. The situations may be different, but the root feelings are the same. 

The blessing for me, and maybe this is selfish to admit, is that they have shared this loneliness, this sorrow with me. I am a champion of holding things down til they leak out the side, usually in the most opportune time and place. So when someone is open and honest freely, I cherish that. 

I only hope I answer it well. I know I haven't always done so. My words are often working to hard for my ears to be fully open. So tonight, I'm a little quieter on purpose. 

I need a blogging mentor!

I'll tell you all a secret. 

I don't really know what I'm doing. 

I like writing, and I like writing about what I know. 

I like that people seem to enjoy reading what I have to say. 

I like that the internet exists, as it allows me to hear from people I wouldn't otherwise be aware existed, and it allows these same people to hear me. 

I like that the internet allows me to have lots of options and ways of doing things, because it helps me look like I know what I'm doing. 

But I don't.

The WordCount Blogathon has been fun, it's been fascinating, and it's also made me keenly aware of how new I am at this. I see buttons and things on other people's sites, and I think, perhaps that would be helpful. 

And perhaps it is. But I don't really understand what I'm doing still, and so I have only a vague idea of how to do it better. 

What I need, I've decided, is a blogging mentor. Not a writing mentor (though I'll always take the advice), not a social media mentor (I like to think I get it--pompous, I know), but a real nuts and bolts, "here's how to fit this in this box, here's why a move to WordPress would be good for you, here's why having a Digg button is worth it or not" kind of mentor. 

There are thousands of terrible, amateur, lazy bloggers out there. I am tired of being one. 

There are also thousands (yes, I think thousands) of brilliant, talented, savvy bloggers out there. I would like to glean wisdom from one. Or a dozen. And I'm poor, so I can't pay $150.00 for your blogging class. But I can buy you a cup of coffee, probably, or offer general comic relief. 

Send help. :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Grab your Snuggies and run!

The end is near, you guys. I know, I know. Somebody's been saying that for the last 2,000 years, but now there's a new fiction series out about it, and that MAKES IT TRUE.

If any of you, like me, were blessed and cursed to grow up surrounded by Christian commercial culture in the 90s, you probably remember the "Left Behind" book series. For the unfamiliar, the 264 or so books (I think there were actually 12) chronicled a fictionalized account of the time described Revelation from the Rapture, through the tribulation to the second coming of Christ on earth. When I was in junior high or high school, I read the first four or five books and then gave up (or grew up... I think the two went together). 

Maybe you've been thinking, Gee, I wish there was a new series of fear-mongering, dread-inducing but creatively-bland and therefore Christian bookseller-approved books I could jump into for the summer. You're in luck! Tim LaHaye has returned, and they made a preview for the series! 

Please, please watch the trailer on YouTube. Shame his publisher couldn't get his name right.

We're living in the end times, also frequently called last days! Yes. this is true. People in the 1960s lived in the end times, too. As did people in the 1860s, the 1200s and the disciples, one week after Jesus took off back to heaven. The end times are nothing new. 

Don't get me wrong. I love Jesus. I believe in the truth of the Bible. I went to an evangelical seminary, for crying out loud. But these "prophetic" novels drive me nuts. Jesus could return at any moment! But probably not before you have a chance to pick up LaHaye's latest book. Still, you never know. Better get it soon, just in case. 

But what concerns me most about this is when LaHaye says, 'People intuitively believe the Bible...when push comes to shove, like it did on 9/11, people en masse turned to God.'

I have a few problems with this. One, I don't think people intuitively believe the Bible. I do believe that people intuitively believe in God, or at least often want to, but the Bible is another matter. Maybe it's just that I'm too cynical--maybe I've been in Portland too long. (Evidence of this: Portlanders, remember the PDXBoom last month? Classic tweet from that night, via @msfour: "best #pdxboom theory: it was the Rapture, which is why all of PDX is still here")

Two, I am really tired of 9/11 getting invoked for absolutely everything. 

Two-b)(or not two-b, haha) the fact that people turned to something en masse is not an evidence of its validity. 

To wit, here are some other things people have turned to en masse, just in the past, oh, century or so:
  • the Macarena
  • pet rocks
  • sea monkeys
  • goldfish swallowing
  • bowler hats
  • the Twilight saga 
  • perms
I don't offer up this list to mock God. But what I do offer it for is to show that the fact that people can turn to something in large numbers doesn't mean anything if it doesn't last. I'm sure some people had life-changing spiritual experiences on 9/11/01. Others prayed because they panicked. And a week later, when their city wasn't attacked, they forgot the prayers. 

We don't pray to sea monkeys for protection, and we don't carry pet rocks as talismans to predict the future. Yet, if this video is to be believed, we can treat God that way. 

Third and final thing: LaHaye has built a career based on fictional stories about future events, and, again, from what I see in the video and my knowledge of the Left Behind series alone, has built a theology around a very difficult and obtuse section of the biblical text--a theology that states that your fear is warranted, and that God exists to pluck us all from peril. 

Time and time again, the Bible showcases stories of people who are in terrible shape.Their lives are falling apart, sometimes as consequences of their actions, and sometimes by no fault of their own. And what we see time and time again is not a God who raptures His people away to set them on streets of gold, but a God who refuses to abandon them, even when they have cursed and denied Him with every breath they have been given. And we have. People don't intuitively believe the Bible, they don't run to God instinctively. They (we) run away, and because He's good, He pursues us.

Whew! That got a bit more preachy than I had intended, but like everything, I think it's all connected. Please don't be sucked in by end times paranoia. It's unnecessary, it's typically commercial, and it's designed to frighten you into belief, which is no belief at all. 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, especially if you come from a different background than I do. What do these kinds of stories do for (or to) you?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"So, basically, you just swap witty text messages all day long."

I'll be honest--I've been scrambling for a topic today. I even popped over to this Netvibes list, created by Blogathoner Dylan, of discordianZen, to see what other people were writing about. Here's a broad sample:

  1. their kids
  2. their social media-influenced business
  3. their garden
  4. their cooking projects
  5. their crafty projects

Being single, childless and currently unemployed (see the donate button? Ok, I'm done), I don't have some of those things. And being largely useless & woefully untalented at almost anything requiring the use of my hands (not by any real physical malady, just pure awkwardness) those other things are out for me too. And I thought, Heather, what are you good at?

You're looking at what I'm good at. I'm not claiming this is the best work I've ever done, or that the work, in this moment, is even particularly good. But this, this writing thing, and telling people what I think about things, is what I'm good at. Sometimes I even get to be funny in the middle of it.

Another couple things I'm good at are more difficult to translate into this form. I'm good at drinking coffee for long, slow periods of time, and I'm good (I hope) at listening. In the last couple weeks I've had the opportunity to hear several of my friends share their hearts, and while it's an absolutely brilliant way to spend your time (almost the best), I doubt they'd appreciate if I divulged the details here.

So... writing, coffee-drinking and listening. I hope I'm as good at those things as I think I am. When that doesn't work, I can always resort to the snappy text exchange.

What atypical or overly common thing are you surprisingly good at? 

Monday, May 10, 2010

My favorite blogs.

Before we get to the blogging goodness, some housekeeping. Look to your right. See that yellow thing?

That's a donate button. In a sense, it's shameless self-promotion and groveling. But as many of you know, I am currently unemployed, and money is in short supply. If you like this blog (and I hope you do), please consider making a donation to the Heather Has Time to Write Because She's Jobless fund. Of course, I'll never know who all comes by here and DOESN'T click it, so the pressure's off you. :)

As part of the WordCount Blogathon 2010, (most) the participating bloggers are taking today to highlight other blogs they love. So far, I've noticed a lot of people highlighting blogs that help them work, help them write, help them succeed. And those are great. But most of my blogs focus on one or both of my favorite things...

I love God, and I love laughing. These blogs help me in that in some way. In no particular order:

1. Go Fug Yourself

This is the first one...the first blog I ever got addicted to. It's two girls, Heather and Jessica, talking about celebrity fashion. I don't know much about fashion, but I visit this site nearly every weekday, and these girls make me laugh ridiculously hard. Also, last fall, via Twitter, they tried to dissuade me from wearing leg warmers. I told them I would be the poor man's Chloe Sevigny, and they told me to go forth with boldness, or something (see the blog, you'll understand). I'm sure they don't NEED more readers, but...

2. BizChick Blogs

I love finding blogs this way...a friend of mine from high school saw (via Facebook) that I was blogging, and put me in touch with her friend. This is the only business/work-related blog on my list, but I love her style. It's accessible and practical for newbies like me (or maybe you).

3. Sarah Hoopes (Diary)

Sarah is a Portlander who had a brilliant idea. Since "15 years is a great filter", she posts a page of her diaries from "this day, 15 years and older." The thing I love about Sarah's blog is that I think we can all see some of ourselves in her teenage tales of lust and longing, and the general injustice that is adolescence. Plus, I am almost certain she performed at "Mortified" with my friend Molly a while back, and how can you not love that? She's also been more than generous in regards to this here little blog, and I'm grateful.

4. Blog One Another

The joys of Twitter are, I think, endless, and I happened upon this blog here. Jon Reid is in San Jose, CA, which was the "big city" next to where I grew up. His thoughts on faith and life and what it means to have the two irrevocably intertwined have made me think, and he has been kind and gracious, even when I have disagreed with his perspectives. He's also been very generous toward me and my blog. I love Twitter!

5. Jesus Needs New PR

This is the blog of Matthew Paul Turner, who used to write exclusively about Contemporary Christian Music for magazines, is a bit of a cynic, now has a few books to his credit, and is very, very funny. He and his wife also blog for World Vision, Be on the lookout for the "Jesus Pictures of the Day".

BONUS BLOG! Hyperbole and a Half

I don't know who this girl is, where she comes from or what she eats for breakfast, but she is FUNNY. This blog is a celebration of all those stupid things you probably think about but would never actually voice, coupled with terrible (sorry), hilarious illustrations. NOTE: This blog is not advised for you if you are strongly anti-foul language, as it tends to be pervasive. But you will laugh, I promise.

Grammar nerds, look back about five posts for her post about the use of the term "alot". It's heaven.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My mom is better than your mom.

You can fight me on this one, but it's Mother's Day, so we all have to decide we're right.

I do know one thing about my mom, something that has gotten clearer as I have gotten older: She had no idea what was coming.

I don't say this because I was such a horrible kid (in my own, insensitive way I still think I was probably awesome, as kids go), but because when I look at old pictures of my parents, it's what I think now. How could they have known what was waiting for them?

I'm sure in some sense this is true of everyone, but here's the crude, rough cliff's notes of my mom's story:

She married my dad in 1975, when she was just 17 and he 22. They're still married (a feat in itself).

When I was born in 1981, following a healthy pregnancy, I was blue, not moving and almost written off as a lost cause. Even when I revived, my parents were told I wouldn't see, hear. walk or talk. My mom was 23 (I have since done all of those things).

Eight years later, my sister Tara was born, and despite every measure being taken to ensure a safe pregnancy,   Tara had massive oxygen loss that has caused her to have severe physical and mental disabilities, epilepsy and other concerns. She remains a happy, beautiful kid.

So when other mothers experienced the stress of balancing ballet class and soccer practice for their kids, my mom balanced physical therapy, doctor's appointments and the host of shocks and surprises that followed. This is not to say that other mothers have it easy. But I think it's fair to say that when you have kids, there are stresses you can anticipate, and others you can't.

Throughout all of this, my mom has continued to work as a nurse, serving others when she is not caretaking at home. I have been out of my parents' house for a while, but Tara remains there, and requires round-the-clock care from both my parents.

My mother is the best juggler I have ever seen, and she manages to keep things running with grace, and humor, and a desire to serve others that can't be quieted. I know this is just a simple blog post, and bloggers all over are writing similar praises of their mothers today, many of them far more eloquently, but I have to say it: for me, my mom is the best, and I can only hope to glean some of her fortitude, her wit and her compassion for my life.

Love you, Mom. :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ireland is ruined for me.

Before you (or mainly, my mom) freak out, you should know that the title of this blog is mostly a misnomer. (Long-time readers will also have noted by now that the whole 'titling-every-post-with-a-funny-quote' thing didn't really last. It wasn't working. But don't worry--they'll still pop up.)

When I was about 12, I made a list of things I wanted to do before I die. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not entirely certain this list was ever committed to paper, but it definitely lived in my head. And at this point, the only things I can remember being on it were "live in Ireland" and "swim with dolphins, but not somewhere they make you wear a safety vest with a logo on it".

Since then, the list has become a half-joke with myself, and I add celebrity things to it, like "kiss John Cusack on the cheek" and "give Michael Stipe a hug". But I still haven't swum (swam? swimmed? Swommeled?) with dolphins.

In 2003, from January to May, I participated in a semester abroad in Galway, Ireland. I relished every minute of it, and while other students were consistently travelling to Rome or Athens, I was consistently sitting around talking to locals and falling deeply in love with one or two or three Irish young men who may or may not have been attractive, given the amount of alcohol consumed, but who were witty and hilarious and quick and I loved them.

After graduating college in 2004, I went back to Ireland from September to December, lived in Dublin and worked at the Irish Film Institute, in their archive. The job wasn't as sexy as it sounds, and being in Dublin was much lonelier and less personal than Galway had been. The point is, though, I spent a fair amount of time in Ireland.

This means that, in my small, American outsider way, I kind of know what Ireland's like, or at  least what it was like til the end of 2004. And that means that, in America, Ireland is ruined for me.

Before I lived in Galway (which is a great town and you should visit--Dublin could be any big city anywhere, for the most part), I was an aficionado for all things Irish. I had those obnoxious Putamayo Celtic music cds, I had read "Angela's Ashes" three times, and I told myself I loved Yeats and the movie "The Commitments", even though neither of those things were true.

 As much as Americans want to tell you that we are culturally sensitive, there's a small-to-large part of us that thinks and hopes that Irish people are actually leprechauns. Americans get off the plane at Shannon or Dublin International shouting "Erin Go Braaaa!" and "Top o' the mornin' to ya!!!" without realizing a crucial fact:

No one in Ireland talks this way. No one. 

They also don't have Lucky Charms for sale in the supermarket. Most of them don't live in thatched-roof houses and sit by the fire, staring at the sea and talking about silkies, either. 

Dublin made me bitter and angry toward tourists in the extreme. In Galway, I was constantly getting mistaken for Irish by the American tourists ("Oh, God, Hal, she's American!" I remember one woman saying, with the strongest midwestern accent I have ever heard.), but I didn't watch them interact with the culture much. Most of the tourists who made it to Galway seemed to be a little more aware, anyway. 

In Dublin, one of my bus stops was also a bus stop for those obnoxious red sightseeing buses (my other bus stop was in front of a strip club). And one day, the bus driver/tour guide was talking the last of his passengers off his bus. They were a middle aged couple. They were very fat. They were carrying eight shopping bags each (this is the equivalent of wearing a target across your face). They were taking their sweet time. 

The man was asking the driver about more shopping. He responded in a strong Dubliner accent, his speech peppered with all sorts of clever and expected "Irish-isms". And I looked at this man, and thought, "Wow, he's literally jolly." And he chortled, and the Americans laughed loudly, and shuffled down the street, weighed down by their Aran sweaters and Irish linens. 

The man walked up to the window of the sandwich shop behind me, leaving his bus, and sat heavily at the outdoor counter with a sigh. "Is this day over yet?" he said to the shop owner wearily. Or, I should say, he said to the shop owner in a completely different accent. Still Irish, but mellower, less campy. 

Now, you can either get frustrated at this man for faking these people out, or you can think about the fact that he gets tipped by Americans, and the more he gives Americans what they want to see, the bigger his tips will be.

Working at the Irish Film Institute, I also got to see movies like "Adam and Paul" (view the trailer on YouTube here), about two heroin addicts in Dublin. It's a really good film, but it will never be distributed in the states, because it ruins the image that Americans have of the Irish. We might know there are heroin addicts everywhere, but we don't want to see it. Incidentally, most of "Adam and Paul" was filmed either in the neighborhood I lived in, or in the section of Dublin where I worked. 

So now, whenever someone suggests something "Irish" to me, I all but recoil. Movies are overdrawn, most of the music either makes me painfully nostalgic or just puts me in pain, and most books, shows, stories and the like are either too overdrawn to be tolerated or are too spot on to be endured. 

There are, of course, exceptions. If you haven't seen "My Left Foot", you should, mostly because Daniel Day-Lewis is in it and Daniel Day-Lewis is in the business of Changing Your Life. 

And for the dozens of people who have said, "Oh, you have cerebral palsy. Yeah, I've seen 'My Left Foot'."--I have cerebral palsy, but I don't have it like that.  Okay? 

I will probably go back to Ireland at some point, but it won't be for a while. I have never liked being a tourist, but maybe if I wait long enough, I can go back and be that woman on the bus, buying green and orange trinkets for everyone she knows. I might even love it.

Do you have places or memories like this, that have almost spoiled an idea over time? What do you do with it? 

It's late!

I have officially missed my deadline for the WordCount Blogathon 2010. Technically, this is the second time I have missed my deadline, since I didn't officially write a post on the first of May.

Call me lazy (go ahead, do it), but I think sometimes the act of missing deadlines is important.

I visited with a friend today who, for reasons both in her control and out of it, has been struggling with anxiety. As we talked, I heard her saying that every activity she had, every bit of time she spent, had a purpose.

For the record, I am all for having structure and purpose and a plan for your day. But sometimes you just need to hang out and be dumb. My advice to this friend was to find some women she could hang around and not have to grow with, not have to learn from, not have to work her brain over.

"Sit and talk about purses if you want," I said.

And tonight, I could have stayed home and written one of those deep, thoughtful posts that has been brewing, but I went to Eric's and watched The Wire instead. And the time, I think, was well spent. I brought key lime pie.

You can't (or at least it's not wise to) be lazy every day. But by the same token, you can't have every moment scheduled and planned and full of opportunities for growth. Sometimes things have to calm down, lay still, and chill out. And as luck would have it, we grow in that.

What about you? What's your favorite way to be lazy? What do you wish you worked at less?

And by the way, the Bipartisan Cafe, on SE 78th and Stark in Portland, makes the best key lime pie I've ever had.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Single Man (2009)

I just came from seeing "A Single Man", for which Colin Firth and Julianne Moore both got Oscar nods (neither won).

The plot is basically this: It's 1964, and Firth, an English professor at a small college, is grieving the passing of his partner of 16 years. Moore is the best friend, and the two of them have a history as well. But, basically, it's a movie about grief.

Actually, it can be said better than that: the movie is about many things (being gay in 1964, for example), but it is really about this man moving through his grief: how he does it well, and how he maybe doesn't do it as well as he should.

And of course, Firth is amazing. I mean, come on. The man's a stud.

One of his students in the film is played by Nicholas Hoult, who most of us probably remember from "About a Boy" (2002). And he does a fine job, but the really remarkable thing is that, in seven years, Nicholas Hoult went from this:
to this:   

Yep. There's our boy Nick. 

So, see "A Single Man". It's well-done, it's stylistic, it's totally gorgeous, it's sad, and you'll get to sit there now going, I can't believe this is the same kid who sang "Killing Me Softly" for his mom at the school talent show. 

2010 WordCount Blogathon

As you may have seen, I am taking part in the 2010 WordCount Blogathon (a post a day for the month of May), and so are a bunch of other people. They've been generous enough to list everyone on their site, and I figured it was time to do the same. So...Blogathon 2010 (hosted by Portland's own Michelle Rafter)! 

Rebecca I. Allen - 356 No More, A journey from couch to fit
Christa Avampato - Christa in New York, Curating a Creative Life
Anjuli - bhulbhulaiyan, a complicated entanglement of zigzag pathways
Joan Lambert Bailey - PopcornHomestead, Gardening, place and my life in Tokyo
Karen Bannan - Natural as Possible Mom, Because natural isn't always possible — or easy
t.a. barnhart - Left Coast Foodie, Damn, that's good: a foodie blog by someone who knows what he's doing
June Bell - Enough is enough! Advice and support
Athena l. Borozon - The Desert Rat Dialogues
Jane Boursaw* - Film Gecko, Cool movie news and reviews 
Alisa Bowman - Project Happily Ever After, Marriage advice from a recovering divorce daydreamer
Carson Brackney - Carson Brackney, Consultant, Copywriter, Content Provider, Factotum
Ben BradleyBen’s (Not Quite) First Ever Presence on the Interweb, Blog of an aspiring human being
Sheena Brockington – Greenhouse Advertising, Cultivating ideas for small businesses
Danielle Buffardi* - Horrible Sanity, Going into the mind of a mother and freelancer
Beverly Burmeier - Going on Adventures, Travel stories from near and far
Diane Calhoun – Violet is My Color, Life just happens, deal with it
Danielle Carter – Live and Love Life VA, Helping you do more of what you love, and less of what you don't!
Fiona Chan - Candy Prison, A typical teenager
Joy Choquette - One Year. 156 Fears. Life Changing. One woman tackles her fears
Bernard Chung - Green Tea World, It's more than just a cup of green tea here
Caroline Clemmons - A Writer's Life, Writing tips, interviews and miscellaneous ramblings
Shelley Clunie  - ShelCluzo’s Blog, Healthy, wealthy and wise at 62
Cocotte - Leaping into Life, Uncommon stories to nurture body, mind & soul
Christianne Cook – A Day in My Mind, The world through my eyes
Sue Dickman – Life Divided, Food, garden, books . . . and India
Jackie Dishner – Bike with Jackie, Using my special brand of BIKE to teach you how to turn obstacles into opportunities
Tracy Doerr – Tracy Doerr, A chronicle of ideas and things that inspire me
Ron S. Doyle* – Blog Salad, All the blog that's fit to eat
Dana DuGan – Chick with a View, It's good to live on the edge. The view is better.
Dan Eldridge – Labor Party, A Young Pioneers Media blog for Creative and Alternative Entrepreneurs
Cindy Elsberry - Doodle9, Paddling down the stream…of consciousness
Heather Faesy – Blame it on the Full Moon, My kids, writing and reading
R. Jill Fink – My Opera, Musings about writing, food, weight loss and other hilarious things
Jennifer Fink – Blogging Bout Boys, All about boys -- raising them, educating them, learning with them
Damaris Fish – Damaris Fish on Genealogy, Researching my family history and helping others with theirs
Dylan Fogle – Discordianzen, The map is not the territory
Katie Foote – Littlefoote’s Lab, A chronicle of what the unemployed girl in NoPo is up to.
Heather Frendo - Thrifty Knee Socks
AndreaGenevieve – Andrea Genevieve, Where social medium, technology and higher education meet
Alexandra Grabbe – Chezsven's Blog, Life as a green innkeeper on Outer Cape Cod
Elyse Grau – My Garden to Table, Growing what you eat, eating what you grow
Wendy Korn Heppt – Budget Style on a Shoestring, Budget savvy fashion, beauty and related news and ideas
Katie Hinderer – Write Beyond the Cubicle, A freelance writer’s thoughts on the industry
Amanda Hirsch – Tastee Pudding, In the search for creative life, the proof is in the Pudding
Lisa Jaffe Hubbell – Eat, Read and Be Harried, Making it through life one book at a time
Nancy Mann Jackson – Growing Food and Kids, Gardening, harvesting, cooking and preserving with kids in tow
Robert Janelle – Without an Apostrophe, Ottawa freelance tech journalist
Elizabeth King Humphrey – The Write Elizabeth, Writing. Creativity. Play. Life.
Walter L. Johnson II – Georgia News Beat, An inside look at what’s happening in the state of Georgia
B.J. Keeton – Professor Beej, Pop culture commentary with an academic slant
Amy Kocur – AmyLizK, Maryland/ DC Metro area arts and analysis
Courtney Koschel – Finding My Muse: A New Writer’s Journey
Sara Lancaster – No.2PenBlog, Resource for my clients and others interested in marketing communications
Bill Lascher – Lascher at Large, A contemplative, pondered and unrushed thought banquet.
Mary Dixon Lebeau – In the Boom Boom Room, Remember staying out until the street lights came on?
Pooja Lohana – Brown-eyed Mystic, On writing and more!
Sarah E. Ludwig – Parenting by Trial and Error, The learning curve in raising kids
Jenny Lynes – Welcome to the Good Life, A student environmentalist exploring responsible, cheap, and fun living
Su-sieee! Mac – This and That. Here and There. Now, Sometimes Then., Rambling about anything and everything that interests me
Harry Marks – Curious Rat, Chewing at the tech industry's wires...nom nom nom...
Joanne Mason – English Idioms, What they mean, how we use them, where they came from
Kim McNeill – Kim’s Play Place, An active parent trying to make sure my kids are educated
Teresa Mears – MiamiOntheCheap, Discounts, deals and free events in Miami
Rose Medlock – RFM, Rose Flores Medlock
Heather Minton – Stumbling into Grace, The adventure of following God and figuring it out in Portland
Kathy Murray – Out and Employed, News, career advice and job resources for ex-offenders
Alexis Neely – Life, Business and the Pursuit of Truth, A blog about the intersection
Charles Newbery – Pine Tree Paradise, The life of a work-at-home writer and father of three
Eric Novinson – Costing a Green Future, A green business blog
Tracy O'Connor – I Hate My Message Board, Humor, crankiness, a museum of snack foods and the odd motivational piece
Andrea Parker – Autism Fundraising Guide, For parents of children with autism
Lilac Penafiel – What Have You Learned Today, Life lessons learned everyday...
Tara Phillips – Two Hands and a Road Map
Jennie Phipps – WalletPop, AOL's personal finance blog
Ed Pilolla – Ed Pilolla, What the f*** is love?
Sue Poremba – I Breathe, Therefore I Write
Michelle RafterWordCount, Freelancing in the digital age
Kate Reilly – Polka Dot Suitcase, Family fun through creative living
Meredith Resnick – The Writer’s [Inner] Journey, Bestselling authors, professional creatives and emerging voices in quirky dialogue about how they write and why it works
Vanessa Richardson – Way Out West Texas, City girl from California moves to Way Out West Texas, what will happen?
Rebecca Robinson – Rebecca Robinson, Updates on freelance projects, reflections on journalism innovation in Portland and beyond, and brainstorms from the wee hours
Carey Rossi – Thank You Everything, Appreciate the little things
Natasha Rogue – The Writing Blues, Little tips on how I find motivation to get past the difficulties of writing life and the road to publication
Andrea M. Rotondo – Luxury Cruise Bible, Your source for unbiased luxury cruise reviews
Melissa Sais – Digital Mom, Raising kids in a digital world
Lisa Samalonis – Single Parent Savings
Sami – Stonerpreneur, Stoner antics as they relate to my business and personal growth
Dina Santorelli – Making Baby Grand, And I thought giving birth to real babies was hard...
Lacey Savage – Tips and WIPS, Talking about writing fiction
Lilian Schaer – Food and Farming Canada, A blog about the farming side of food
Kristie Sloan – mkBeautyZone, Skin care and makeup information training and products
Matthew Smith – Smidgen PC, Big news about tiny PCs
Michelle Smith - Law Office of Michelle R. Smith, Because it’s your life, your family and your choice
Stephanie Suesan Smith – Stephanie Suesan Smith PhD, Information Central
Claire Splan – Alameda Garden, Gardening issues in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond
Margarita Tartakovsky – Self-ish, {Sorta} Sage Advice on Being a Better You
Thinkingtoohard – Thinking too hard, This is where I empty my head
Blake Thompson – Black Thompson daht Net, “I'm just saying..."
This is my first year!
Jodi Torpey – Western Gardeners, Your online guide to gardening in the West
Paul Tullis – Grim Tidings- True/Slant, My rants about politics & policy
Jan Udlock - Imperfect Mom
Brandi-Ann Uyemura – Brandi-Ann Uyemura, Rather be freelancing: tips for the beginning writer
Beth VanHoose – Writing in Sand, My adventures in freelance writing, and other stuff
Rachel Vidoni – East Coast Musings, A humorous look at kids, family and life
Jen Walker – My Morning Chocolate, Writing, experiments, culture and adventure in food
Katie Jett Walls – One per Week, 52 posts on things that matter to me
Sarah Webb – Webb of Science, Connecting science and life
Rebecca Weber – Newstilt SAfrica
Susan Weiner – Investment Writing, For investment and wealth managers who want to communicate more effectively with clients and prospects
Rashida Williams – Really Rashida, Urban lit author blogging about my life and times
Jennifer Willis – Jennifer Willis, Thoughts on religion, sustainability, media and culture
* These awesome participants are also WordCount Blogathon 2010 sponsors.