Erin go bragh! Posted by Picasa

I Paid My Dooce Long Ago

Alright, I’ve had enough. I have to speak out about this. Don’t be mad. I’m not going to go as far as making her the star of a Monday post, but I’m getting really frustrated with Dooce. Once upon a time it was my favorite read of the day. It was the first blog I ever heard about, and the one that inspired me to start my own. Heather’s writing, at its best, makes me cry and laugh at the same time. I think I even went back and read her blog from the very beginning, like I did with Sarcastic Journalist (which I finally finished and man, that took a long time. I am so glad I did it though – it’s a great site.)

Now, I always say I’m not one to judge. So here I am not judging her. I am writing because I know a lot of you enjoy her site as well, whether you’ve read for a long time or just recently jumped on the bandwagon. (Because it IS a big bandwagon, what with all that publicity she’s gotten over the past year for being fired for her blog, being depressed and writing about it on her blog, and being a mother and writing about it on her blog.) I think I even hooked up with some of you via the comments section of Dooce. I appreciate her writing and the permission she gave the world to be so open and honest on the internet.

In the past few months, though, the quality of her posts has changed enormously. That isn’t a big deal – it is her blog, after all, she can do what she wants with it. But the fact that she says she’s making a living and supporting her family with her blog because now it has ads on it is what bothers me. If it’s her full time job now, and the primary breadwinner for her family, why then is she posting less often and much less about her family and their everyday hijinks which is what made her blog so popular in the first place? This feels reminiscent of a great band that made great music and then they became famous and started churning out crap (like U2. I know lots of people would disagree with me but really, U2 hasn’t been truly great since “Achtung Baby,” in my opinion).

I have been thinking about writing about this here for a while but I was conflicted. Who am I to say what makes a blog good or bad? I’m just doing this for me and my family, who love it automatically, and it gives me a great thrill when internet friends read and comment and share links to their own and other blogs, too. But I know what I like, and I miss the old Dooce. Today she told us she’s too busy to write a post but please go fill out a survey about the ads on her site. In other words, she doesn’t want to work but she wants us to read her site and keep the dollars coming in from her advertiser. That doesn’t seem fair.

Again, I feel conflicted writing this because who am I to complain? Well, I am now one of the people who visit her site and generate advertising dollars, that’s who. And there may be a time in the near future in which I won’t come back if all I get to read is how drunk she got with the other cool bloggers at SXSW. I was in it for the snot, the poop, the hemorrhoids, the developmental challenges, and the farting. I am not in it for the popularity and the getting rich and the meetings she gets flown to all over the world so companies can consult her about blogging, which she doesn’t even really do that much anymore.

So, Dooce-lovers, hate me. I still love her, but I miss her.

P.S. I emailed Heather directly a few months ago letting her know how I feel about this. Not that she cares, but at least I was up front about it, so don’t go getting your shorts in a bunch because I’m using my blog to complain about her blog.

Is he trying to tell me he needs a little Chapstick? Posted by Picasa

Happy Birthday to The Gradual Gardener

Amy, otherwise known as The Gradual Gardener, is the one in the upper left hand corner. My memory told me that SHE was the one wearing striped Dr. Dentons, but alas, it was not her. However, she WAS wearing a baby blue colored sleeper but I cropped the picture because Striped Dr. Dentons girl’s ass was showing and this is not a site for creepy pedophiles, even if the girl is now in her 30′s.

That’s me with the cheesy grin and the big “thumbs up” sign. I’m sure I was thinking, when this photo was taken 25 years ago, that someday I’d be using it on my blog on the internet to make Amy blush 3,000 miles away. Not hard to do since her cheeks are almost always red anyway, but still.

The event was a sleepover for my 10th birthday, apparently. Sleepovers were big back then. I remember I had one for my ninth birthday and there were more girls in attendance but apparently we all gave my parents a heart attack so I only got to have 3 girls over the next year. But on my ninth birthday someone gave me Billy Joel’s “Glass Houses” (on vinyl, I’ll never forget the matte cardboard album cover) and thus began my lifelong love/confusion with Tom Hanks of Billy Joel.

Anyway. So Amy and I have been friends since kindergarten. I don’t remember much but I will share some memory snapshots that I do remember:

-I loved her and envied her from day one. I always tried to copy her. She had a Snoopy lunchbox with a ribbon tied around the handle. I made my mother get me the same lunchbox.
-She was really creative (=weird). She inspired me to be creative, too. We were both in the Gifted and Talented Program that they started in our school system when we were in third grade (the same year they introduced Computers…with an Apple IIe that was as big as my dog) and we would go off to a neighboring school in the little yellow bus and try to solve logic problems and design imaginary planets.
-She used to walk home every day for lunch which I always thought was so great so every now and then my mother would write me a note and I could go home with her for lunch.
-She had really cool toys and a fun house to play make-believe in. We would create treasure hunts for each other, leaving little pieces of paper hidden in places all around the house and yard, with clues that led to the next one. There would be prizes at the end, but I don’t remember what they were. Looking back, that seems so touching that I remember the journey but not the destination.
-She always had the BEST Halloween costumes. Her mom was very talented with the crafts so she would make Amy’s costumes and all kinds of other cool stuff.
-We went off to the same middle school, which is where we started to drift apart I guess, because I don’t seem to have any pictures of her from that time. They are all of me and my other oldest friend Christine.
-We definitely lost touch after high school when we both took very different paths in life. I would hear about her from time to time when someone I knew ran into her. I vaguely recall running into her when she was pregnant with Amazing and Already So Grownup Daughter. Amy had to grow up fast back then, when I was still just running around like an idiot with no true responsibilities and a crazy notion that I wanted to live 3,000 miles away from everyone who mattered the most to me.
-Then last fall my mother ran into her at Joann Fabrics. Instead of telling me about it, she gave Amy my blog address and there she was in my comments section one day! We reunited when Kyle and I went back to CT in October. It was such a profound experience to see her again. We have known each other for almost 30 years.
-She is NOT allowed to post anything remotely similar to this post until MY birthday. Because I’ll totally cry.