Category Archives: Blogging

This Really is a Post About Blog Comments

Last week something really awesome happened to my son.
I sent the link of a review my son wrote to Tony Hawk via Twitter. I didn’t expect he would actually read it, but of course, I hoped he would.
A few minutes later, I saw this reply:
tonyhawktweet
And then I screamed, ran down the hall and said “OH MY GOD EEEETHAN! You have to see this!”
He read it. His eyes got big. “Is he talking about my review?”
“Yes!” I replied.
He tried to remain cool and calm about it.
Then, he smiled the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. I got up and hugged him. “How awesome is that? Tony Hawk just called your review ‘the best one yet!?’”
“Pretty cool.” he said. “I’m glad he liked it.”
I tweeted it, dm’d a few people, called a few people. I was happy for my Son. He had been nervous about writing the review, wondering if people would like it or not. But he had received great feedback in the comments and then? He got approval from Tony Hawk himself. It meant a lot to him. He was feeling pretty damn proud of himself.
Later that night, I got an email notification of a comment from someone named “Poop.”
If there is one thing I’ve learned in the 7 years I’ve been blogging it’s that any time someone named “Poop” leaves a comment on your blog, it’s not going to be good. (Same goes for “Nunya, Anon and SUCKMYDICK, fyi.)
I opened it up and as I read the cruel words that were meant solely to hurt my son, I could feel the rage rise up within me. I was pretty sure I knew who it was, but hard to know for sure because blogger does not note IP’s. (HATE YOU, Blogger!) I was so angry that I started to cry. I can take all of the assholery in the world directed at me. Call me whatever names you want, but my kids? Aw Hellz Naw.
I panicked because I did not want my son to see it. I deleted it as quickly as I could and immediately turned on comment moderation.
I’m still angry about it. I don’t understand that kind of behavior directed at an innocent child. What is so bad about that person’s life that drives her to do such a thing? And I don’t mean to be all “YOU’RE JUST JEALOUS, HATER!” But to stoop that low, to be that cruel, there has to be something sad about your life. There just has to be.
I’ve wanted to write about this before, to hear the different perspectives on the subject and I feel like what happened on my son’s post is the perfect time to bring this up.
Deleting comments.
I’ve never thought twice about deleting negative comments directed at my children. They come down immediately and the commenter is automatically blocked. But when it comes to comments directed at me? I leave them up. I’ve had friends email me and ask me why I allow such comments up on my site. My answer usually is as follows: I don’t really care if complete strangers think I’m fat or ugly or *insert insult here* It’s meaningless to me. With the exception of a very, very few Asshole Comments (And when I say “asshole comments.” I don’t mean “negative comments” or “disagree with me” type comments. I mean “crazy, obsessive, cruel, has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion” comments.) I don’t delete comments.
I’ve always felt like removing the comments is dishonest. I don’t want it to appear as though I only allow the kind comments and shut out any and all negative feedback. Not everyone appreciates, likes or tolerates my writing and I’ve always been okay allowing people to express their dislike. (Again, with the exception of the extreme assholes and by “extreme assoles” I mean “Christine in Alabama.”)
I have friends who don’t agree with the fact that I leave shitty comments up. Stefanie, for example. “It’s YOUR blog. You don’t have to allow people to be disrespectful or cruel in your comments.” She once said to me.
And I really couldn’t come up with a good response to that. Because it’s true.
Except that I can’t seem to get past the idea that deleting negative comments is dishonest. And please understand I’m not talking about dissenting/different opinions. Let me give an example.
I write a post about marriage and how it can be difficult at times. What I write makes some people upset.
Jessica writes: I think you are being incredibly selfish by not giving your husband blow jobs every night. Maybe if you tried that, he may be more willing to help you around the house.
POOP ON YOUR FACE writes: Your husband is so ugly and so is your stomach. No wonder he likes to have sex with you because your both SO UGLY. P.S. PUT THE BEAN DIP DOWN YOU FAT COW.
One comment is not very supportive, but appropriate in that NOT EVERYONE LOVES THE WAY YOU DO MARRIAGE WITH YOUR HUSBAND. Also? if you put it out there, people are going to have an opinion! And those opinions may not always be something you want to hear! The other one is just… assholery. The other one shouldn’t be allowed to stay, but if it were a real comment on a real post, I’d leave it up.
I’m not afraid of The Hate. The Hate doesn’t control me or effect my life. Like my good friend Jenny once said while drunk and wearing a wig “Celebrate The Hate!” (And trust me, The Hate can be HILARIOUS. See: WINNERS DO THE MATH!)
But the more I think about it the more I wonder. WHY? Why do I allow that kind of negativity here on this blog (that I pay for)? Not sure if I’m doing the right thing by allowing and condoning that kind of ugliness here.
What say you? How do you handle hateful comments on your blog?

The One That Should Be Flagged For Excessive Use of the Word “Tagline.”

“How do you come up with the taglines for your blog?” A curious reader asked.
“Mostly from comments left here.” I replied.
I can’t express how much I love the comments that are left here. Some of my favorite things to say in my real life have been things people have said to me here.
And as much as I hate to say it, my favorite are almost always from Random Assholes (aka: TROLLS.)
(Or, like all the cool kids on the internet say “The Haters Who Are Just Jealous.”)
Don’t get me wrong– I don’t dwell on the mean, nasty, negative comments. As another blogger once told me “Ignore those people. Don’t feed into their negativity.” (Weird. That person now has an entire site dedicated to The Hate, but, I’M NOT JUDGING.)
(I’m just jealous.)
Err, what was I saying again? Oh, yes! While I don’t dwell on the negative comments, I most certainly do find humor in them. And some of them have been, as my husband’s Psycho-Ex once wrote in his yearbook, “permanently inscribed on my heart and soul.”
Like these:
“You deserve everything you have… AND LESS!!!!!!!!!”
“I’d slap that cookie out of your hand!!”
“There goes those damn RENTERS!”
“check your ass to see how many pounds you gain watching that Tv.”
“You are all addicted to those lakers and to that Kolbe”
Those are the few that I remember and that I will occasionally use in Real Life Conversations.
I’m not saying every troll comment is “hilarious.” Some have been cruel. Some have been hateful. Some have made me physically shake from anger. (Because, say what you want about me, I can take it. LEAVE MY KIDS OUT OF IT.)
But, for the most part, those types of comments are so absurd, you can’t help but laugh.
Here is The One that inspired my current tagline:

Losers cry and eat/waste money on bean dip/gameshowtryouts etc. , If you love your kids so much, go do something about it. Winners do the math , suck it up and think about what matters and take care of business. If you polled the people that have replied to your post, probably 60% own thier home, they didnt do anything special (like win the lottery or win on some gameshow), they just put thier home/kids above the me, me. $8a day on starbucks/beandip is $2920 a year x (times) how ever many years you have been wasting money on rent/beandip. Not to mention that it had to cost something out of pocket to travel around to meet people from the internet, and interview Elaine from Sienfield. Egocentricity should be thy middle name , if you only got paid $10.00 an hourfor every hour you have spent BLOGGING or reading BLOGS or met other renters who BLOG, I am willing to wager you would have quite the down payment.

The fact that someone actually took the time to write that, to DO THE BEAN DIP MATH, still blows my mind. And it still makes me laugh.
Which is why it’s my tagline, two years later.
I don’t think that turning those type of comments into taglines equals “feeding into the negativity.” I think it’s “turning a negative into a positive” or “making lemonade out of blog comment lemons” if you will.
Is there a point to this post? Because “trolls give good tagline?”
Yes. There is.
I did the math.
2 years+ same tagline= time for a new one.

It’s About Trust, Stupid.

A few months ago, someone pointed out a comment made about me on another blog. I don’t remember the exact words, nor do I care to go try to find it, but it went basically something like this:
“Can we talk about bloggers who favor one child over the other? Like, I didn’t even know Y from Joy Unexpected HAD two sons because she only talks about her daughter! I feel sorry for her boys, because clearly her daughter is her favorite!”
From what I remember, someone jumped in to defend me, but that comment was quickly followed up with something like “No, she’s a wacko who clearly loves her daughter more. I mean, have you seen her flickr account? Almost all of the pictures are of her daughter! The proves that she loves her daughter more!”
After 7 years of blogging, after numerous hateful emails/comments, after entire posts dedicating to mocking me, I’ve learned to ignore assholery on the internet. I don’t think that every negative comment directed at me is assholery. Sometimes people have valid points, however, most people who have valid points don’t find it necessary to leave comments like “Your husband is ugly and your fat! No wonder you’re sad!”
Anyway. My point being that I’ve learned to not react when I read Mean Things about myself on my blog or elsewhere. It may sting when I first read it, but I take a deep breath and remind myself that it isn’t really about ME, but about the other persons issues. However, this particular comment (or should I say “accusation?”) was most definitely about me.
And IT PISSED ME OFF SO HARD.
Do you know why?
Because it couldn’t be farther from the truth.
It is the opposite of the truth.
Liiieeessss.
The reason I don’t write about my boys much here anymore is BECAUSE I love them so very much.
Let me explain.
I started this blog 7 years ago. My boys were 7 and 11 years old. And oh my God, they were so hilarious. Most posts on this blog were about them, about funny things that they said or did. I would point you to my archives, but I’m kind of ashamed of how awful my writing was when I first started this blog. There were some really great stories I had to tell of those wonderful little guys who loved to talk about farts, boobs and balls. But then those boys started to grow and so did my audience. I had to start thinking about how the stories I told about them could affect them in real life. I began to feel as though some of the stories were not mine to tell. I even went so far as to delete and or put posts in draft that I thought were out of line to have ever told in the first place.
As Andrew approached his teenage years, I began to worry about losing his trust. I never wanted a story I told her to betray his trust in me.
Some of the things that he said or did were worth sharing on this blog because of the entertainment value, but they weren’t worth risking losing his trust.
So I stopped telling his stories.
Same with Ethan.
I told myself that I’ll always write about my feelings about my sons, I’ll always right about experiences that I feel are worth sharing and yet, at the same time, do not betray their trust. I make sure that every thing I write here is something I’d be comfortable with if one of his friends from high school stumbled across it. Any story that I write here now is something that I feel they could read and would not feel betrayed in any way.
Writing posts about my love for my children, or my struggles with learning to let go as they grow older will never be off limits. But most day to day stories of their life will be, because of their ages. I’m not saying I’ll NEVER write about my boys. There are things I believe are okay to share. But, being a teenager (or a tween) isn’t easy and I don’t want to do anything to make it harder on them.
I don’t ever want my sons to be afraid to tell me something for fear it will be blog fodder.
I am telling this story now because the other night The Teenager walked into my room and asked me if I had posted something about him having a girlfriend on facebook.
I hadn’t.
But, I had mentioned him having a girlfriend on a blog post.
And apparently, someone from my Dad’s church (Hi, You!) reads my blog. That person approached my son after church and asked him about his girlfriend.
It could have been an awful situation. If I hadn’t carefully thought that post out, if I hadn’t written it knowing he could read it if he decided to log onto my blog. Or that a friend from church could possibly find it and read it. I told him that yes, I had mentioned a girlfriend in the post, then proceeded to tell him what I had written in the post. He wasn’t upset with me at all, because what I had written did not betray his trust. Nor had I written anything in that post that I wouldn’t have said in a room full of people with him standing there. However, what had just happened confirmed what that choosing to limit what I write about my boys is THE RIGHT CHOICE for me and my blog.
Can you understand now why I am so careful about writing about my boys WHO I DO NOT LOVE ANY LESS THAN MY GIRL?
I feel as though my daughter’s stories still fall into the “okay to share” category. Because she is 5 and honestly? Who is embarrassed to read stories about what you did when you were 5? Who hates your parents for telling stories about funny things you said/did in Kindergarten? I mean, my parents have pictures of me standing buttass naked in my grandma’s front yard in a photo album that THEY SHOW OTHER PEOPLE. I think it’s hilarious. Wouldn’t be so funny if it were pictures of 16 year old me naked, right?
I suppose I can understand someone who just started reading this site questioning why I write more about my daughter than I do my sons. I hope that this post helps clear things up a bit. And if after reading this, you still believe that I LOVE MY DAUGHTER THE MOST, well, you’re kind of an asshole. An ignorant asshole.

I’d like to give a shout out…

I’ve been neglecting my blog again.
Not purposely. Just overwhelmed with work, kids, LAUNDRY. You know, life.
Until I have a few minutes where I can sit down and concentrate on writing, I think you should go read the blogs that I am currently in love with.
Sesame Ellis- (My photography hero.)
Oh Joy (preeeetty things)
Mommy Melee (because I appreciate good writing.)
Better Now (Beautiful woman, beautiful soul. Oh and Beautiful boyfriend. OMG.)
Bonus: Because you need to laugh…
videogum
I hope you visit at least one of these blogs and man, it sure would be nice if you left a comment. Everyone loves comments.

Top 10 List: BlogHer Edition

BlogHer 09 is less than one month away. Everywhere I go, I see posts and tweets about how nervous people. Will they feel left out? Will they get snubbed by The Populars? What will they wear? Oh, the anxiety!
I remember how nervous I was the first year that I went. I worried about the same things I’m seeing pop up on twitter. But decided I wasn’t going to let those fears keep me from having a good time. I was going to MAKE MY OWN FUN! And do you know what? That’s exactly what I did. I made the experience my own. When a friend had to ditch me to go to the Super Exclusive Hotel Room Part-ay, I didn’t allow myself to feel hurt or bitter. There was entire group of interesting people I could mingle and get to know outside!
I ended up having the BEST time, meeting fabulous women. And I know that sounds so cheesy, but it’s the truth.
After that first year, I realized there was nothing to be nervous about. (Well, with the exception of THE PLANE RIDE BECAUSE OH MY GOD JESUS HELP ME IN THE SKY!!) Each year I have made new friends, hung out with old friends and made memories that will make me smile and, in some cases, Make Sweet Pee Pee, for the rest of my life. So, I’d like to share my Top 10 BlogHer Memories with you. If you’ve been to BlogHer and would like to do the same, please do and make sure to link back to it in the comments so I can come read yours!
#10 Getting punched by Jen Lancaster.
I had known Jen (online) for a couple of years before I met her at the 2007 Chicago conference. I was more than just a little bit excited to know I would finally get a chance to meet her in person. At the first cocktail party, I kept asking everyone that I talked to “have you seen Jen Lancaster?” It was kind of sad, because I had “bulging discs” and literally could not turn my head, so I had to rely on others to be on the lookout for her. I was on the “dance floor” watching Oh, The Joys, Bossy and Casey dance it up when out of the BLUE, I hear someone say “OH MY GOD, YOU ARE SUCH A LIAR, YOU ARE NOT FAT!” followed by a “POW” right on my arm. It was Jen. And she had just a) called me a lair b) punched me. I love telling people that Jen Lancaster punched me!
The Mighty Jen Lancaster
#9 Getting a text message from Heather B (also, discovering my phone had texting capabilities!)
It was my first BlogHer experience and I was nervous as I walked through the doors of the conference room after just having arrived from the airport. I received a text, so I opened it up. I didn’t recognize the number… the message said something like “OMG I just saw you walk by.” I was all “um, hi! who is this?” And she was all “It’s Heather B” and I was all “OMG. where are you at?” And she was all “by the pool!” So I ran out the door, headed for the pool where I not only met Heather, but also Chris, Mir and Carmen. Who knew that would be the beginning of the kind of friendship where we were comfortable doing things like this:
Because that's what you do when you love each other.
#8- The Unexpected and Terrifying “Ride” Elevator Ride at the St.Regis Hotel.
When Lindsay and I first stepped into the elevator, I may have said something like “Oh, look, it’s glass, you can see outside!” I think I was so in awe of the pretty view, that I may have forgotten to push the button to choose a floor. WHOOPS. All of a sudden, the elevator shot up, then came flying back down again, then back up again, then down again. I was trying to hold my shit together (had I been alone, I would have been all “JESUS SAVE ME I’M SORRY FOR EVERYTHING!”) so as not to look like a jackass, but then Lindsay, Ms. CoolCalmAndCollected kind of started freaking out so I was all “What the hell? THIS IS THE WORST!” We realized we hadn’t chose a floor, corrected our mistake and all was well with the world again.
#7 - Kicking back in the FURNITURE DEPARTMENT at MACY’S drinking wine and talking with Glennia and Maria and many, many others.
No, seriously, there was a part-ay INSIDE OF Macy’s. And the party moved from one floor to the other, one of the floors was the home furnishings floor. They had the book signing for Sleep is for the Week there. I can’t even express to you the panic I felt in my soul watching people sit on the white couches with their glasses of wine. NUTS, I tell you.
Immoral Matriach Maria.  LOVE.
#6 Getting my hair and make up done by a professional. Named Jesus.
This is not only one of my top Blogher Memories, but one of the best memories of MY LIFE. I was doing an interview with Leah Peah for Alpha Mom. I had no idea there would be someone there who would do my makeup. Nor did I have any idea his name would be JESUS. And it wasn’t pronounced like every other person who I had ever known in my life named Jesus (Hey-Soos.) It was actually pronounced “JESUS!” I can’t even begin to describe the joy I felt in my soul when I got to say “Thank you for making me look so pretty, Jesus.”
Me and Jesus.
#5- Crashing a Part-ay!
We had heard that Rhymes with Meal Pimple was having a party. So, we were all “let’s go check it out.” When we got there, The Meal Pimple people were all like “this was an invite only party.” And we were all “oh, we weren’t invited, we just came to check it out.” And they were all “that’s okay! Go ahead and grab a name tag and write your name on the back.” And so we were all “OKAY! Awesome! Thank you!” We entered the room and were immediately served a delicious dinner that I still think about every now and then. After dinner was over, we sat in an area in the back of the room where we quietly sipped on drinks from the Open Bar. I began to suspect that EVEN THOUGH they had invited us in, they weren’t happy about us being there. Something about them picking up the Swag Bags and HIDING THEM FROM US just made me think that MAYBE, we weren’t as welcome as we were led to believe. The hiding of the Swag Bags was followed by a not so loving suggestion that we were “FREE TO TAKE OUR CONVERSATION OUTSIDE.” and also by a very personalized announcement that “Ladies? THE BAR IS NOW CLOSED.”
"Real Simple!"
#4 Sleeping with Amalah
It’s not as sexy as it sounds. After the cocktail party, I joined Amy in her room for a little after party with HeatherB, Jen and Becky. (If I left someone out, I’m sorry!!) I remember ordering pizza and wine. I remember laughing, A LOT. I remember being forced into doing The Worm. And the next thing you know, it was 4 am and I woke up in Amy’s bed in a pool of drool and with severe After Too Much Alcohol Shits. I was seriously like OH MY GOD THIS CAN NOT HAPPEN IN AMALAH’S ROOM. THIS SIMPLY CAN NOT HAPPEN. But it was happening and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I ran to the bathroom, where my ass proceed to explode. I must have done 20 Courtesy Flushes, but they were not “helping” if you know what I’m saying and I think that you do. I needed air freshener (and quite possibly towels to lay in front of the opening at the bottom of the bathroom door.) In a moment of panic, I reached for one of Amy’s hair products and began to spray. SPRAY SPRAY SPRAY. It helped a little, but not much. As soon as I felt like the worst of it was over, I knew I had to make a mad dash out of there before she woke up. I washed my hands, closed the bathroom door behind me. I crawled on my hands and knees to feel the floor for my shoes. Once I found them, I took off RUNNING from her room, barely making it back to mine to finish what I had started in Amy’s bathroom.
#3- Drinking a beer with Miss Zoot.
I don’t like beer, but I love love LOVE Miss Zoot, so when she told me she wanted a beer, but felt awkward about having one (because everyone else was drinking Girly Girl Drinks) I was all “I’ll have a beer with you!” I loved being able to do something with her, that made her feel at ease. That’s what friends are for, man. For drinking beers with.
n625381102_1751087_496
#2 CheeseburgHer Party!
If you’ve not heard the story, you can read how it all started here. So many memories from the first and second one. People eating bean dip WHILE SITTING ON OUR PILLOWS. Serious Conversations With Bags on Heads. “We’re just writers, sir.” security threatening to EVICT US, but then laughing about and posing for pictures in the hallway while trying to get rid of the 100′s of people in our room. There isn’t anything I haven’t loved about those parties. I can’t wait for this years.
#1 Reading at the First Annual Community Keynote.
I was stunned when I received an email informing me a post of mine had been submitted and chosen for this event. I hadn’t submitted it. (Thought about submitting something, but was terrified at the thought of reading in front of 1,000 people.) I was flattered to have been selected, but also terrified. I had absolutely no idea that it would be a life changing event. I know that sounds Very Dramatic, but it’s the truth. I stood up there, barefoot and trembling and read words that were deeply personal and painful. The paper shook as my hands trembled. I felt a lump rise in my throat and tears form in my eyes as I read. I also felt the love and support of every single person that room and that is what kept me from losing it entirely. When I finished, people cheered. I couldn’t see the faces, but numerous people approached me after it was over to tell me that they had cried as I read. That they related to the words that I spoke. It was amazing and I am grateful for having been given the chance to be a part of such an incredible event.

Honorable Mentions:
Singing in the bathroom with Jenny (The Bloggess)
The cab ride to the airport after BlogHer07 in which Lena was a liiiiiiiiittle sick and not in the mood to talk, but I couldn’t help myself and kept talking anyway. EVEN AFTER she turned her head away from me and said things like “please stop talking.” Also, the plane ride home, in which we argued about whether the creature in the ocean on the tv screen was a whale or a shark and I was all “OBVIOUSLY, you’ve never been to Sea World” and some business dude couldn’t help himself, turned around and corrected me. But, you had to be there, I think. Actually, pretty much EVERY SINGLE MOMENT with Lena. I love her.
Pre Party Fun with Lena
Meeting Amy Sedaris AND making her laugh.
Walking into to the lobby of the W in Chicago and seeing WOMEN DOING THE WORM. I’m looking at you, Jessica.
I could go on for hours– so many wonderful memories. So many beautiful people.
In conclusion: BlogHer is kick ass fun and you really don’t have anything to be nervous about. You WILL make friends, you will find Your Tribe and have a good time. I promise you.

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I said I would choose the winner of the raffle for the camera this morning. I had Ethan help me this morning and we recorded it, but it is now 5 minutes until noon, and I do not have time to upload the video. SO, I’m going to go ahead and just tell you that the winner is Matthew. I will post the video later on today.
When I set this up, I didn’t think it was tacky, nor were there any selfish motives involved. I was hurting for a friend who had lost her only child. I didn’t want her to have to worry about how she would pay for the funeral. I knew she had been laid off from her job a few months ago– I know the expense of the funeral would be overwhelming and I wanted to do whatever I could to help. If I had $1,000 to help her, I would have given it. Instead, I thought “how can I turn my $100 into $1,000?” I’ve participated in car washes and bake sales to help people who needed to raise funds to bury a loved one. You can’t do that on the internet. I thought this was a good alternative. And the fact of the matter is with your help, we raised over $1,800 to help a mother and father who suffered a sudden and tragic loss. That’s what matters to me.
Thank you to everyone who donated to The Spohrs. You are wonderful and I appreciate your generosity more than words could ever express.

The Winner is

Things are crazy busy here this weekend. (See: PAINTING. Also see: FUN!)
But! I didn’t want to keep you waiting to find out who won a copy of Understanding Exposure.
The winner:
winnerue
Jessica of The Hunter’s Prize.
Tonight I’m going to pour myself a glass of Blackberry Wild Vines and look at all of the photos you so kindly left links to in the comments. You are the best, You Guys. :-)