Blogger Snippets

One of my blogger friends (and real life friend) Bandobras, aka Dave, has recently been dealt the Cancer Hand by that shifty croupier, Fate. Dave starts his treatments this week and will be blogging all about his journey back to good health in his brand new blog, Dave1949 . He will also continue to showcase his fine photography and has threatened to throw in some crotchety political ramblings as well. So, why not head over to Dave 1949   and give him a howdy-do and argue with his crazy lefty rhetoric.

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One of the most “money-where-his-mouth-is” people I know is environmentalist blogger, Milan. He’s recently come back from a return trip to Vancouver – by Greyhound bus!  Because flying, would of course, generate too many carbon emissions. Gahhh! That’s over 9200 kilometers or almost 6,000 miles there and back.  He recounts his adventures here.  There’s even a video. It made me kind of tired and itchy just to read about it. Milan is very, very serious and passionate about this climate change stuff. Very.

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And speaking of environmentally friendly people, there’s a relatively new blogger on the Ottawa blog scene – Mindful Merchant.  Laura’s only been blogging since November and, as the blog name suggests, she blogs about living a more mindful lifestyle. She’s also a mommy, a bit of a foodie, loves coffee (are you paying attention, Maven?) and is both fun and educational to read. And not at all scary or didactic like some eco-types.

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A couple of weekends ago, I managed to coerce XUP Jr, into going with me to Open Stage afternoon at Irene’s . Zoom and some of her talented relatives  were there, too. So, because Zoom always has a camera with her (and isn’t afraid to use it) she snapped a few shots of me and the kid. XUP Jr. was thrilled with how the photos turned out. She said, “I liked that picture Zoom took of me and you so much I’m even using it as my Facebook profile photo!” All touched and teary-eyed, I said, “Awwww, that’s really sweet.” To which she replied, “Of course I had to crop you out of the photo first.”

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Accidental Humans

Recently, at the Ottawa Bloggers’ Breakfast *** the talk turned, as breakfast conversation so frequently does, to accidental pregnancies.

The theory was posited that most of us wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the accidental pregnancy. We took a quick survey around our table and, indeed, I believe everyone at the table had begun life in a not entirely planned manner.

We decided right off the bat that the term, “accident” was not a nice way to refer to a human life, so we chose to call ourselves “surprises” instead.

And really, an “accident”  is something completely unforeseen and unexpected whereas pregnancy should be assumed as a distinct possibility if a fertile male and fertile female engage in sexual intercourse without adequate contraceptive protection.

Anyway, a surprise baby can occur in a variety of situations. Sometimes, the surprise is so great and so unmanageable that the surprise child is given up for adoption. And, at the other end of the spectrum, a surprise can occur when a couple intends to have a child sometime and then finds that sometime is actually now.

That’s what happened to me. We’d been planning for a summer baby, which we would start working on right after we got back from our winter vacation.

We spend that winter vacation in Tobago. It’s a small island with not much going on, so after a few weeks we got adventurous and decided to spend a day hiking through the rainforest. Around noon we happened upon a small waterfall. It had been a long, tiring morning. We were hot and sweaty and miles from another human being. So, we cast off our gear and plunged into the water.

Of course we’d packed protection against snakes and protection against bugs and protection against the merciless sun and we even had food and water to protect ourselves against hunger and thirst.  We were well protected for all eventualities — except one. And there we were in a very exotic and romantic place with only SPF 15 and Deet for protection.

We had a winter baby.

My own conception was much more prosaic, but also not quite planned. When my parents were dating, they were both still living with their parents and several siblings each. It wasn’t often they had a house to themselves and when they did, I understand they took full advantage.

Sometimes they only had a few minutes. Like this one time when the two of them were over at my dad’s for Sunday dinner. His brothers were in their rooms doing whatever it is young boys spend so much time doing in their rooms. My mum and dad were helping his mother in the kitchen when she realized she needed more butter and popped out to the shop to fetch some.

In those few minutes, my dad managed to distract my mum from peeling potatoes long enough to impregnate her — with me — right there in my grandmother’s kitchen!

Shocking.

They did manage to get married in plenty of time for me to be born “on the right side of the blanket”… though it was a noticeably skimpy blanket.

So, anyway I thought about doing a poll just to see how many of us were surprises, but the variables are so great that I don’t think a simple button-clicking poll would do it justice. It’s not just a matter of planned or unplanned. We’d have to also know, for instance:

  • Were the biological parents a committed couple or just a couple of horny teenagers who couldn’t figure out how to unroll the condom?
  •  Did the biological parents keep and raise the baby (you) together?
  • Were the biological parents planning on having children together anyway?
  •  Were you the first child, a second/third/fourth/etc unexpected child or maybe a late-in-life surprise?
  •  If you were planned, did everything go exactly according to plan?
  •  Do you even know if you were or were not planned? (Apparently, not everyone has had this discussion with their parents. Maybe you could go and call mom right now and ask. We’ll wait.)

Accompanying anecdotes would also be great.

And how about your own kids? If I had to bet, I would say that for various reasons, our kids, overall, were probably  less of a surprise to us than we were to our parents. At least the conception part.  Every day after that is just one happy and sometimes not-so-happy surprise after another, isn’t it?

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*** If you are an Ottawa area blogger and would like to take part in life-affirming conversational topics like this, please send an email to: bloggersbreakfast@gmail.com with a link to your blog and you’ll be added to the mailing list and kept informed of upcoming Ottawa blogger events.

Be There or Be Square, Daddy-O

The charming Lynn, of Diary of a Turtlehead, fame has been furiously working behind the scenes to organize the first ever Ottawa Bloggers BLOG OUT LOUD event.

It’s an opportunity for Ottawa bloggers to get together in a local coffee house and read some of their favourite blog posts to each other. We’ll all be wearing black form-fitting turtleneck sweaters, black skinny jeans and black berets. We’ll be smoking French cigarettes in long cigarette holders and I’m sure someone will be playing the bongos. We’ll be snapping our fingers a lot.

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Okay, I totally made up those last 3 sentences. But I am supposed to read something from my blog. I was going to read my blogroll, but that wasn’t approved by management. I have some things in mind, but I’m not 100% sure.  Maybe you could help??

Here are a few that I sort of like, but I’m open to suggestions if for some reason there’s a post that stuck in your craw mind. Or maybe I could do something new and I’d welcome ideas for that, too.

 Immortality: The 12-Step Program

5 Mysteries of the Universe Explained

 How to be Cool Over 40

 Avoiding the Doolallies of Living Alone

How to be Cool While Dying of the Rhinovirus

Thanks and have a splendid weekend!

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Blog Out Loud: Thursday, July 23, from 7-10 p.m., at the Raw Sugar Café on Somerset. Contact: lynnturtlehead@gmail.com or check out the BOL link above if you want to participate or just hang out.

Meeting Bloggers

A huge part of the fun of blogging, at least for me is connecting with a whole bunch of different people from all over. We discuss things on each others’ blogs; argue about stuff; give and receive advice; find out about one another’s’ families, jobs, friends, life; share photos; exchange ideas — have a laugh.

Sometimes I find bloggers with whom I seem to have a real connection. We have a lot in common – the virtual conversation is easy and fun. Maybe we go on to exchange emails or connect further on Facebook. Maybe we even have a telephone conversation or two.

You’re in touch with these people almost every day. Sometimes you tell them things you don’t tell anyone else.  Inevitably you’re going to want to take the relationship to the next level, as they say.

This Saturday I had the privilege of meeting up with 18 other Ottawa area bloggers for brunch. A few of us had met previously, but most of us were strangers except in the blogosphere. We had an Ottawa bloggers brunch a few months ago as well, but with a smaller and almost completely different group.

It’s so fascinating to have an actual conversation with someone whose blog you’ve been reading forever. Unless you’ve seen their photo they never look like you pictured them looking and most of the time they’re not even like you imagined them being.

You form an image of their personality from their blogs, but they can surprise you. For instance, Nat comes across as very philosophical,  staid and laid back on her blog; but in real life she is one crazy-haired ball of energy — interesting and fun, while still maintaining her philosophicalliness.

Jobthingy, on the other hand, I was expecting would be dancing on the table before the second round of coffee, but she was actually very subdued compared to her blog image. Maybe she gets wilder later in the day?  I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to her or to The Maven because they were way at the other end of the table but they seemed to be keeping the conversation going pretty well down there. And I did get to hug them both.

I also didn’t get to talk to Alison or Meanie very much, but they had been wanting to meet each other for a while, so they had a lot to talk about. Alison is a lot taller than I thought she’d be, but otherwise the same lovely, strong, funny person she is on her blog. Meanie, I’d met very, very briefly once before and is just so adorable it’s impossible to imagine her puking up Doritos.

I managed to talk to everyone else for at least a short while — except Jo, who always seemed to be talking to someone far away from wherever I was at the time.

David requested more cleavage from the female participants next time. Zoom and the GC were very late (we didn’t ask) and sat in the corner snogging, eating, snogging, talking and snogging. Everyone at some point mentioned Robin’s fabulous photos. Newsguy Bob was working, but flew in, scarfed down some food and flew back out so quickly I only managed to get a very blurry impression of him. And while he was there his Blackberry wouldn’t leave him alone. Guillermo was charming, though anxious to get back to his family whom he’d abandoned at the Santa Claus parade, in the cold. Hella Stella and Lynn found out they had a lot in common and, I think, swapped photos of their “children”, human and canine.  A&J are as cute as we thought they’d be and can’t imagine how their neighbours could be so mean to them. And Woodsy, who I have also met before, I just want to run away and elope with.

Next time perhaps we’ll manage to combine the people from last time with the people from this time and maybe even add a few others to the mix. (If you’re an Ottawa area blogger and would like to be on the mailing list for the next Ottawa Blogger breakfast/brunch, send us an email at bloggersbreakfast@gmail.com. Please include a link to your blog.)

As I mentioned, I wasn’t too happy with Saturday’s venue – the food took FOREVER to arrive and the really, really long table was not conducive to good mingling, so we’re on the look-out for a place that maybe has some round tables in a cluster and/or an environment that encourages wandering around. And it should be fairly central.

Anyway, this post is just to say how great it was to meet everyone.  And, to see if anyone else out there has regular events – formal or informal, large or small with bloggers in their area and how they’re organized. What do you do? Where do you go?