Monthly Archives: January 2014

Stay-at-home moms: you don’t owe the world an explanation

How refreshing. Thanks, mistah.

The Matt Walsh Blog

To stay-at-home moms:

Once, several months ago, I wrote this post about you. It was a simple expression of gratitude for stay-at-home moms, particularly my wife.

It got some attention. It was viewed around three million times in two days, in fact.

Truth be told, I never intended to be an official spokesman for SAHMS across the nation. You do not require my services, nor am I equipped to provide them. Plenty of you can eloquently defend your vocation, and because you have experience in the arena, you can do so more richly and convincingly than I ever could.

I’m just a guy who loves his wife and appreciates the sacrifices she makes for the family. That’s really the entirety of my insight into this subject.

So it’s with appropriate hesitancy that I offer just one suggestion to all of you.

Here it is: don’t pay any attention to people like this.

In fact…

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Zero to Hero, Day 23: Git along lil’ dogies!

Today’s challenge: Publish a roundup post that links to posts on at least three other blogs, and tell us why you love the posts — and why we should read ‘em.

(Oh, come on– you thought “rodeo” when you saw “roundup” too! 

…you didn’t? Just me? Well, shoot.)

And it is “dogies”– cowboy slang for orphaned calves. I learned that on “Martha Speaks”… don’t be hatin’.

Anyhoo. It seems a little strange, being asked to single out a couple of blogs. I just nominated some folks for the Leibster Award, as I was nominated. That was a roundup of sorts– tagging some blogs that are of particular interest to me. They might not be of particular interest to other folks, though. This task seems more like a request for advertising/plugging/cross-promotion. 

Why should you read the blogs I’ve tagged? I’m choosing people on a journey. To varying degrees, these are journeys to which I can personally relate. That’s why they grab my attention so much. Maybe they will do the same for you

Made in Toronto: A first-time mom, with about 5 weeks to go until the Estimated Due Date (sooo… any minute now). I do love me some Canada, and I do love me some babies (other people’s, these days). Her serenity is pretty awe-inspiring, so go check her out.

Our Lady of What?: A girl, raised Protestant (with a deacon father to boot), who is in the midst of conversion to Catholicism. That’s huge, and don’t ever discount someone making a decision like that. I am reminded of a quote I’ve been seeing floating around Facebook: “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” –CS Lewis

Thoughts by a young Catholic: Someone who has a pretty good idea of what she wants to be when she grows up, but is already confident in who she is now. There’s a similarity in our spritual histories, I’m not gonna lie. And it’s nice to see a young Catholic person who isn’t all, “woot-woot-Catholics-are-fun-bible-thumpers-too!!!!1!!” It’s refreshing, actually.

So check them out. If you like. I put my blog roll on the sidebar so it’s easier to see. I actually have a larger variety of folks that I follow– and I don’t actually recommend them all, because I don’t actually agree with them all… at least, not all the time. But they keep my attention, which is becoming an increasingly precious commodity. 

Here’s to sharing the love. 

Zero to Hero, Day 22:

 

Today’s challenge: Find a blogging event (try our Blog Event Listings) and throw your hat into the ring.

I used to be the one making these up for students; the tables have turned, and that’s ok. After scanning the listings at the linky-thingy, this is the one I chose.

PICTURE WRITING CHALLENGE

Event Type: Fiction & Flash Fiction, Poetry

Start Date: Sunday, recurring weekly

Description: The ONLY “rule” is that you use the picture I’ve posted to make the story (or poem — yes, yes; I’ll also allow poetry). That’s it.

You don’t even have to do a story as such, it could be a thought, a memory or a feeling that you get from it, basically anything involving words.

Please comment on the photo post with a link back to your story/poem/whatever you wrote, so that I can link the credits on the following challenge.

OrganizerCognitive Reflection

Visit blog on Sundays for a photo and full event details.

At the very least, it’s yet another blog to follow on my reader (which is good, because it’s been looking a little unbalanced in there). 

Here’s to keeping a commitment to myself and my audience (which still humbles the heck out of me). 

Zero to Hero, Day 21

Today’s assignment: publish a post inspired by your post from Day 19, and publicize it on one or more of your social networks.

I publicize on Facebook and Twitter already, each time I post. And I don’t know if my Day 19 post ‘inspired’ me all that much other than to make me giggle. 

But I will mention here (as I did in a reply to one of my own posts) that the picture ‘inspired’ a negative comment. I have the power of moderation, and used it. As I said the other day– I want to maintain a reputation of being positive.

That being said, I’m happy to report that I’ve actually caught up with the Zero to Hero Assignments (I’m having trouble activating the ‘Zero to Hero’ badge, but I’ll get it in the next week, I’m sure). I’ve found a lot of great blogs (and some really strange ones…) and have really come to enjoy this blogging thing. My dream is to someday have a post go viral, and to that end I have followed a couple blogs that had been passed along on my Facebook. Perhaps I can learn from them in terms of style and subject.

Here’s to standing on the shoulders of giants!

It’s your day, sweetie

(Pint Size Genius’ birthday was Monday. I’ve posted birth stories for two other kids, and I shouldn’t quit now).

I had packed up everything I needed, gotten all the boxes of stuff that would be useful and prepared myself as much as I possibly could. I started my maternity leave from my teaching job expecting to have about a week at home before my due date.

Well… when you let nature take its course, stuff like that doesn’t go according to plan.

I woke up at about 1 o’clock in the morning and all I could think of was the classic episode of “I Love Lucy” when Ricky was doing the dry run of taking Lucy to the hospital by walking into the living room and declaring, “THE TIME HAS COME.”

But the time hadn’t come– not exactly. I already had a 3-year-old and an 18-month-old, so this was all quite familiar. I realized the contraction wasn’t very strong, and my water definitely wasn’t broken, so I went back to sleep. It was Sunday and I was determined to have as normal a time of it as I could. I still remember when I was pregnant for the first time, a co-worker said that she always labored at home as much as possible (“Why go to the hospital where you’re stuck in a bed and getting poked at the whole time?” It makes so much sense). When we all woke up to go to church, I told my husband that the contractions were starting. He, having way more sense and experience than Ricky Ricardo, helped me get my bag together and dress the kids.

While at Mass, the contractions got stronger. The hubs’ sister and the Legal Lawyer’s wife noticed and had a sense of awe about the fact that I was in labor right in front of them (my sister-in-law isn’t married yet, and Mrs. LL goes the C-section route).

After Mass, The Hubs called his mom and had her meet us at the hospital to pick up the other kids. I checked into the hospital and got situated in the delivery room. The one L&D nurse informed me that I HAD to have the baby before 6pm. I told her that I would, because I wanted to watch the Giants playoff game, too. Then I told her that my first delivery included an epidural which was awful, the second had nothing, which was quite awful as well, and asked if there was something in between. She came back with a needle. Suddenly everything was just fine… unless there was a contraction. Then I would look to my husband expecting moral support… to find him watching TV. (Afterwards, he told me that I was dead asleep between contractions, and that it was getting kind of boring.)

I had been going to an OB/GYN group of about 4 doctors… and NONE of them were on duty that day. So a guy I had never met was checking “under the hood”. Faboo.

And then he had a look of concern. Like, a real one. The Giants fan nurse suited up in surgical gear and had to help the doctor, whose face still showed concern. (I don’t do mirrors and the doctor might have explained it all but the drugs would’ve prevented me from grasping any of it.)

My Pint-Size Genius was born at 2:16 PM. He watched the Giants win the NFC Championship that evening.

I won’t go into detail about what caused the concern, but there was swelling involved and 24 hours with an icepack took care of it with no further issue. We went home two days later and have been having a wonderful time of it ever since.

Happy Birthday, Pint Size Genius. May your height, your personality and your vocabulary continue to grow. Love you always.

So very appropriate… (Zero to Hero, Day 19)

So very appropriate... (Zero to Hero, Day 19)

Today’s assignment: publish a post using a format you’ve never used before.

I loved this picture so much that I want to save it in my little corner of Teh Interwebz. And it’s so true: Pope Francis says things that are not the least bit radical, but because the world wants to hear him say something different from his predecessors, they interpret them to mean what they want it to mean. If that gets more people listening, then that’s great. But I fear folks will be very disappointed.

Zero to Hero, Day 16: Off like a prompt dress!

Today’s assignment: publish a post based on your own, personalized take on today’s Daily Prompt.

Well, let’s ‘ave a butcher’s at the Daily Prompt, shall we?

Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is it accurate? What do you think about it?

Woah.

I’d like to think that I have a good reputation, a positive one. I try to project that out to the blogosphere. I’m a mom, and I’ve already posted about finding Mom negativity a major turn-off. I’m Catholic, and I recognize that some folks are much more willing to seek negativity in religion in order to disparage religiosity. There have been times where I have been told, “All Catholics are [bigoted, angry, snobbish]… except for you.” I want a chance to tell them, “I’m the norm– please look at us again, more closely. See what we are, and not what you want to see.”

My biggest concern moving forward is that I get trapped with the reputation for being less than a great teacher. I was laid off from teaching jobs three different times in four years, though no fault of my own. But I will have to answer to that when it comes time to re-enter the workforce proper. And don’t even get me started on all the professional development I’m missing out on by not being in a classroom right now. There’s a very good chance that my career in education is effectively over, and to a certain extent I feel as though it never started. 

So no– that part of my reputation, if indeed it exists, is not accurate. And that pisses me off. So now I’m trying to parlay my expertise into something more useful.

Here’s to doing the best with what I’ve got, where I am.

Oh wait! I got something!

Today’s assignment: write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!

I totally forgot… I was putzing around the Internet (as one does) and came across a post from an old friend… well, *friend* might be overstating things. I like and respect her very much, but we are not terribly close. She was part of my RenFaire life (which, by the way, is factoring into my blog way more than I thought it would!) and she is a refreshingly blunt talker. What I respect most about her is that she is extremely non-judgmental when it comes to art (isn’t that what art should be? The term “art critic” has always felt like an oxymoron to me.)

The other day she posted this. And I responded to it. I asked if she might be able to trace her unhealthy focus to an addictive personality. I only say that because I have had no sort of issue like this and I know without a doubt that my personality is anything but addictive. To my naive brain, that’s the only conclusion I could ever come up with.

I remember in college, when I was pledging participating in New Member Education, the University required us to attend seminars to make sure we were mentally healthy. One of the ones I attended (because it didn’t conflict with classes and got my ass out of the Greek Room for a while!) was on eating disorders. On my way back to the Greek room I picked up a slice of cake and happily chowed down while talking about the warning signs I had just learned about. My big sister said, “thank God we don’t have to worry about that with you.”

Some girls would have put the fork down immediately– I laughed and finished off the cake. Because she wasn’t making fun of me. And I don’t have an easily damaged body image. So it’s unfathomable to me to have to face any sort of eating disorder. I just can’t wrap my brain around it.

And this is not meant to downplay the struggle that some people go through. I have had friends and students who have had to get serious help. I just wish to declare my limitations by saying I don’t get it. And that usually means I keep my mouth shut when people talk about it– because the nothing that I have to say about it wouldn’t help anyway. And I’m ok with that.

Here’s to knowing when to hold your tongue when it matters.

It was an honor just to be nominated!

I got what is probably the bloggiest compliment a blog can get: A nomination for a Liebster Award. Which means other folks are noticing what I’m doing, and I get to see even more blogs and notice how awesome they are. So a special thank you to Complexity Through Joy for the nod, and I hope to do you proud.

  1. What is your comfort food? I’m a sucker for casseroles. My mother never made them, aside from the occasional baked ziti. I am thoroughly convinced that someone could present me with shredded shoe leather in a creamy sauce and topped with bread crumbs and I’d still have at least two helpings. 
  2. Is there someone in the media who really makes you laugh?  Who is it? Graham Norton (has his own show on BBC, and The Hubs and I watch on BBC America). He sits all 3-4 of his guests together on one couch, gets them  any drink they want, and lets them run with the conversation. Close second is Jimmy Fallon because he gets famous people to crack eggs on their head or play charades. Both of them show us that celebrities are real people who are here for a good time, not for a long time. 
  3. What is your favorite time in history? Wow! That made me stutter-step for a second. The first answer would be the Middle Ages Renaissance, like a good little RenRat… but actually all of history fascinates me (that, and the average Renaissance Faire is about as accurate as an Oliver Stone film). Ancient Rome is amazing, and so is the Roaring 20s. The real Middle Ages, of the Canterbury Tales and the Decameron– love that. 
  4. Why? People don’t change: they still want love, they require something beyond themselves. They choose right or wrong, and live with the consequences. 
  5. What’s your favorite season? Early Fall. Aside from an October birthday, it’s the season most of my wardrobe suits best– dresses, jeans and t-shirts, stuff like that.
  6. Pie or cake? Yes, please! Actually, I think pie is better, but nobody makes birthday pie (maybe that should become a thing…) and there are a LOT of birthdays in my family. 
  7. What was the last book you read? Princess Baby On the Go! I have a 15-month-old, after all! Seriously, though… I’m reading The Red Badge of Courage with a tutoring student, and I’m catching up on my magazine subscriptions (I now have Archaeology–woot!)
  8. To where do you most want to travel? Back to Rome– honor the promise of the Three Coins in the Fountain. Also Ireland, because every time I see pictures I just want to dive into them. 
  9. When do you most feel in your element? You know, I just went for an interview in Manhattan, and I think it was the first time I was there by myself… and I just loved it. I was able to kill three hours in Rockefeller Plaza, walked through Times Square, and wasn’t the least bit fearful of it. To be honest, I’m not sure if it was the City or the Alone Time that I embraced the most, but if anything is going to take me away from my kids and home, it’s a fat paycheck and a MetroCard.
  10. When do you most feel out of it? When I have to get a crafty item put together. My sorority sisters would always joke about who was “Queen of the Crafty Item” when we had sisterhood events, and I was totally NEVER in the running. I have a box, a bag, and a basket filled with attempted craftiness: cross stitch kits, crochet hooks and yarn, acrylic paints, and scrapbooking paper. I don’t think I suck at it, per se… I just can’t seem to follow through, and I think that kills my enjoyment of it. 

OK… so now to pass this fun along….

Da Bridgie
The irrepressible Harvey Millican
Ars Gratia Artis
Domestic Vocation
Wellfesto
Bad at Cleaning…. aw heck, me too!

Um… yeah. It’s supposed to be 10. I need to follow more blogs before I have 10 that I’m willing to nominate. But here are your questions, you lucky folks!

  1. What is the one thing you must drink daily?
  2. What would you say you are most likely to take pictures of (phone or camera)?
  3. Do you remember your First Grade teacher? Tell us about him/her.
  4. What book that you read would you say was a real accomplishment to finish?
  5. Are you one to engage in debate on social media? Why or why not?
  6. Do you have a consistent bedtime?
  7. What do you think is the difference between and actor and a star?
  8. How many phones do you have in your home (not including cell phones)?
  9. What song do you consider your theme song? (Bonus if you can post it on your blog!)
  10. What is your most favorite city in the world, even if you’ve never been to it?

Just a review of the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
2. You must answer the 10 questions given to you by the nominee before you.   liebster
3. You must nominate 10 of your favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers and notify them of their nomination.
4. You must come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer.