10 birthday candles

Remarkably, I started this blog 10 years ago today. 10 years of blogging. Over a thousand posts (this one is 1333), over a million views (1,156,038 at the time I’m writing this), over 3000 photos shared. It has been a wonderful creative outlet for me. Additionally, through this blog and by connecting with others on their own blogs, I have made strong friendships (haven’t really counted how many). In the process, I have grown in my worldview (which I also can’t quantify).

Tonight, I am grateful for blogging. Both for this blog, and for connecting with others. I am so grateful to the friendships I have made through blogging. I am very glad that I have returned to blogging after largely neglecting it the last few years. I appreciate having the creative outlet once more, and the place to share my thoughts. As current affairs have been stirring me to take action, I hope to use this blog as a sounding board, and a way to hold myself accountable.

In case you are wondering, I didn’t light candles for the blog. Conveniently, I have a daughter who is just a few months older than this blog, and so had easy access to photos of 10 birthday candles. In case you were wondering what happens when you put 10 birthday candles into a mini cupcake and light them, you get a tower of flame that threatens to light your daughter’s hair on fire, and melts the candles down to stubs in seconds. Happily, this blog is mostly flame retardant.

Happy birthday, dear blog.

I can’t let the date slip by without acknowledging that today marks the anniversary of my starting this blog. Eight years in, and I still find that I have things I want to share (if not always the time to share them). I still enjoy the process of posting, as well as looking back and seeing what I’ve posted in the past. And as ever, I am thankful for the friends I have made along the way. If you are reading this, thank you for sharing the ride with me!


Waffle aftermath.

Life has been busy the last few days, full of lots of good things, but leaving me without much time to write much of substance here. In my commitment to posting daily this month, it feels a bit like I’ve been dropping crumbs.¹ I have several posts that are brewing in my head, but not yet ready.² One post that will be coming up soon is thanks to my friend Sarah, who has picked me as one to carry on a meme about the writing process. I entreat you to follow these crumbs to her blog³ and sample her words. Her writing is expertly prepared, rich with buttery layers, and baked to a golden perfection.⁴ If you are like me, you will find her blog to be at once satisfying and leaving you wanting more.⁵

¹ Or scraps and the occasional shard. I admit that I do enjoy the sequence.
² Though with my crumb metaphor, a baking metaphor would be a better one. The dough of several posts is rising in my head? Um…I don’t think so. My brain doesn’t like the sound of that at all.
³ And by that, I mean, click the link.
⁴ I totally just made myself want a croissant.
⁵ She also said some nice things about me.
⁶ This post has a very high footnote to sentence ratio. This footnote doesn’t go with anything, really. I just felt like it.

seven years in

When I started this blog, 7 years ago today, I had no idea where it would take me. Over a thousand posts later, I find that this blog has served its original purpose well: as a record of my life and as a creative outlet. What I didn’t expect from starting this blog was that blogging would become an important part of my life. I didn’t know that blogging would be the means by which I would learn and grow and forge lasting and important friendships. So, happy birthday to this blog, and thank you to the friends and visitors who have made blogging a more fun and rewarding experience than I ever would have imagined!


We are all connected;
To each other, biologically
To the earth, chemically
To the rest of the universe atomically
–deGrasse Tyson

I saw this video at Voix de Michèle. (I recently connected with Michèle through the Great Interview Experiment.)

There are times when I feel a bit overwhelmed by the connections.

Facebook has been great for tracking down friends my past lives, and I’ve reconnected with friends from many different phases in my life. But it’s too much all at once. I can’t keep up. There are friends that I’ve wondered about for years, tried to track them down on the web, and yet now that I’ve found them, I haven’t even managed to send a message.

I have other friends who live nearby, but we haven’t managed to stay in touch. Mostly it’s my fault. There are people I should just call.

I owe cards. Wedding cards. Sympathy cards. I owe thank you notes. Emails.

Don’t even get me started on being a just a tiny speck.

a chance for pants

    Every time I have the chance
    While some may think it’s whack
    I’ll write a post involving pants

    Let the kitchen swarm with ants
    Leave the laundry on the rack
    Every time I have the chance

    I give my work a sideways glance
    I may catch a lot of flak
    I’ll write a post involving pants

    Humming lines from Safety Dance
    I’ll type away upon my Mac
    Every time I have the chance

    I’ll not read a bad romance
    Nor journal papers in their stack
    I’ll write a post involving pants

    Though others look at me askance
    I swear I’m not on crack
    Every time I have the chance
    I’ll write a post involving pants


These pants are dedicated, in loving memory, to my friend Elizabeth, whose claim that pants was the funniest word in the English language first introduced me to the humorous powers of pants. Your pants will never be forgotten, dear friend.

The form of this post is a villanelle, a style of poetry, and the assignment of today’s Monday Mission. Please pay a visit to Painted Maypole to see who else has chosen to accept this mission. Painted herself has told me that she has a poem up, also with the theme of pants. (Painted penned a poem of pants.)

Today also marks the third anniversary of this blog. It seemed only fitting that it should wear plenty of pants today.


Sevilla Tapas tour

Three glasses of Manzanilla sherry being poured at El Riconcillo, the oldest bar in Sevilla.

I’ve been meaning to share some more stories and photos from our trip to Spain, which was (shockingly) now over a month ago. I have largely given up on sharing a detailed chronlogical account of the trip, so I’ll dive in here.

In Sevilla, my mother and I had the fantastic opportunity to go on a tapas tour with azahar, Sevilla blogger extraordinaire of casa az and Sevilla Tapas. (Yes, you should be jealous. It was an absolutely fantastic evening: the company, the sights and the food could not have been better.)

To make you even more jealous, I thought I’d share with some highlights of our evening. With photos.

We met up with az around 9:30 p.m. on a Friday, after I got Theo settled in for bed. (John was kind enough to be the one to stay home with Phoebe and Theo.) We arranged to meet at a little park near our apartment, which was bustling with folks heading out for dinner, and then walked through Sevilla’s maze of streets and alleys to our destinations. We went to 3 very different places for tapas, each with a distinct charm and menu.

Our first stop was El Rinconcillo, which az tells us is the oldest bar in Sevilla. I loved the decor of the place, which was dominated by dark woods, patterned tiles, and shelves well-stocked with bottles. (Not to mention hanging hams.) We stood at the bar.

Our second stop was Modesto, a more modern, bustling bar-restaurant with friendly waiters and lots of outside tables. (We sat inside at the bar, though.)

Our third and finally stop was La Sal, a charming and elegant small restaurant specializing in fresh seafood dishes. We sat inside at a table by the window.

Peering in through the wide open window of El Rinconcillo from the sidewalk.

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The bartenders wrote the tabs on the bar in chalk. They’d cross out the numbers once the tab was settled.

My glass of sparkling water at Modesto.

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Some olives and az’s beer, and a really big bowl of really big capers.

The Land Squid.

One of the waiters at Modesto gave us red carnations. Az put one in her hair.

Tuna tataki at La Sal. I think the stuff on top was something leeky. The sardines, which az cut in 3 for us to share, are in the background.

The very yummy goat cheese salad with carefully halved (not roasted) tomatoes.

I liked the way this wine rack glowed, but felt a bit awkward about taking a picture of it while there were people sitting at the table in front of it. Happily, we stayed so late (enjoying the food and conversation) that we were the last ones there!

Az also posted about this night, though in a more timely manner! In case you missed her post back in September, check it out: “girls night out.”

If you want to be tormented by photos and descriptions of delicious food about daily, you might want to follow Sevilla Tapas on twitter. (Or join the Facebook fan page.)

This post is trying to pass itself off as a Monday Mission. The assignment for this week was to write a post in the form of a menu. I actually did such a task once before about 2 years ago, and you should totally go read what I wrote before, because I re-read it, and I cracked myself up. (“cereal: it’s what’s for dinner“) Also, go check out the other Monday Missions at Painted Maypole. The illustrious Painted herself has a brilliantly creative menu posted that I would have liked to have written myself!

mmmm: on the blogroll

mmmmWhen I come across a blog that is new to me, one of the first things I do is look for a blogroll. It gives me some insight into the person behind the blog: tastes, humor, worldview and whatnot. It’s fun to see if I recognize any blogs on the list, and to see if we share common interests. It reminds me a bit of my tendency to go right to the references section of an article I’m reading when I’m in research mode.

Why I have a blogroll

I see the blogroll as a courtesy feature of a blog. Potential visitors can get insight into who I am by way of who I know. It’s a courtesy to the bloggers on the list, as I am potentially sending them traffic, whether directly through people who like to explore blogrolls, or by adding to their rankings for search engines or Technorati. Foremost, my blogroll acknowledges that I read and enjoy those blogs (and/or that those people read and enjoy my blog). Like a references section in a journal article, it lists the bloggers whose voices have influenced and inspired my own writing.

Who is on my blogroll?

If I list a blog in my blogroll, it means that I regularly read that blog. I may miss a post here and there when my life gets hectic, or may skim over a long post on a topic that is alien to me (such as about a TV show I don’t watch). But if a blog is up there, that means I am a loyal reader.

I admit that there are blogs in my feed reader that I have not put on my blogroll. Usually it’s because I haven’t established a rapport with those bloggers. Sometimes I’ve just forgotten to add a blog.

Some of the blogs there are fairly dormant. This applies especially to a few of my near and dear real life friends who started blogs, but didn’t keep them going for long. (But they should have!)

I’m considering paring down the list, and removing blogs that have not been updated in, say, 6 months. (So post something if this applies to you!)

Removing blogs from the blogroll

It makes me sad to remove blogs from my blogroll, and I’ve done so only a few times. Mostly this has been when a blogger has deleted the blog or made it private. In at least one case I took a blog down after faithfully reading a blog and leaving comments for an extended time, and never getting back any sign of a visit back from that blogger. Another time I noticed that my own blog was removed from a blogroll, so I responded by removing that blog from my own.

Adding to the blogroll

I usually will add to my blogroll if I find my blog on a blogroll, and/or if I get regular comments from the blog author. I used to be fairly stubborn about not adding blogs without these happenings. Now I’m quicker to add if I find a blog I like (and if I happen to be in the mood to add links).

I’ve been rather hesitant to add big, high profile blogs to my blogroll, but I have started to do that more. There are now several big blogs in my sidebar whose authors don’t read my blog, though they have at some point been courteous enough to come by for a visit and leave a comment (or otherwise acknowledge my existence).

to blogroll or not to blogroll

I’m not quite sure why some people don’t have them. (Well, laziness I understand, if that’s the reason.) Some prefer instead to share favorites from their feeds, some prefer to link to blogs in posts. I think these ways of expressing appreciation for other bloggers are great, but for me don’t supplant the blogroll.

It seems that some people find blogrolls quaint and outdated. Well, call me quaint and outdated. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)

Still others prefer to keep their reading lists to themselves.

Where I stick it

My blogroll has gotten a bit unwieldy, but I still like having it on my front page. In fact, I like having a theme that keeps the sidebar showing for all pages. Some people think a gigantic blogroll clutters the page, and detracts. But I like giving it the extra exposure. Call me cluttered. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)

Blogrolling by numbers
And to demonstrate my compulsive tendencies, I actually counted up the blogs currently on my blogroll, and tallied up how many had blogrolls. I made a spreadsheet. Call me a dork. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)

    blogs on my blogroll: 78
    blogs on my blogroll with blogrolls: 58
    blogs on my blogroll with blogrolls with my blog: 47

Blogroll me, baby!
In case you haven’t guessed it, I like being listed on blogrolls. It feels like support and validation. Also that acknowledgment of existence, which I seem so partial to.

So, what are your thought on blogrolls?

This was the first post of the metablogging series I threatened to write as part of my self-declared Merry Merry Month of Metablogging.

No, not really.

Okay, so I’m not on Twitter. I was kidding with that last post. Ha! The joke was on you.

But more people took me seriously than I expected, so I guess the joke is on me.

The fact that several people took me seriously could mean that:

    a) My faux tweets were convincing.¹
    b) People did not actually read them.
    c) People who Twitter are used to filtering out the sort of decontextualized response that I put up in “reply” to my imaginary friends.

The even bigger joke is that having made this joke, I’ve come terribly close to actually signing up for an account.²

The truth is, though, I really can’t afford another online timesuck. I’ve been so tempted, with various friends seeming to all be playing together off in Twitterland. So I stop by people’s Twitter pages.

Then I feel like I’ve stepped into a cocktail party full of people continuing a variety of conversations that I can’t quite follow. And I can’t even get a drink or find the cheese platter. My head spins around a bit, and then I leave.

Anyhow, my Tweetybird friends, I’m afraid I can’t come out to play with you now. But if I do, I promise that I will take every opportunity to write about ceiling tiles.

¹ But come on! I talked about cupcakes with exploding olives! I crack myself up!
² But I haven’t.³
³ Or have I?