Comment thrift (Mom, this one’s for you)

I’m actually pretty embarrassed to recycle my comments from others’ blog posts and combine them into blog posts of my own, for more reasons than I care to enumerate.  FAKE!  Ha ha, like I’d ever pass up a chance to enumerate anything.  Reasons it’s embarrassing to recycle my comments:

1. It’s embarrassing that I’m that talkative in other people’s spaces.

2. It’s embarrassing because I couldn’t be that talkative in other people’s spaces without a somewhat significant time commitment (and yeah it’s time that’s stolen in between very diligent nursing and diaper-changing and child-nagging, but still.)

3. It’s embarrassing that I’m cheap enough to make what I say count twice.

However, there are still at least two reasons that keep me recycling my comments, one minor and one very significant:

1. To put a more positive spin on it, I’m not cheap — I’m thrifty!  I’m honoring my Mormon Pioneer heritage by taking each of my comments and using it up, wearing it out, making it do, or doing without it.  Except for that last one.

2.  My mother likes my recycled-comment posts.  She has a life doesn’t have time to read the blogs I read, but likes reading what I had to say.

3. (There can be three, because I only said there were “at least two,” not “only two.”) I figured out that I can cull-as-I-go by pasting my comments into a post draft right after I make the comments, so I don’t have to go hunt them down later. So it’s efficient!

And away we go:

At DeNae’s “My Real Life Was Backordered” blog, she wrote about how she’d created the blog to use an essay approach to share stories about the unexpected roads her life has taken her down, and asked her readers to share their own “back-ordered” life experiences.  This was my response:

I really relate to the essayist thing — I find I can give a lengthy opinion on. any. topic. at. all. no. matter. whether. anyone’s. asking. for. it.  Today in Relief Society I made a comment that started like this:  “The other day I was listening to a Conference talk from a year ago, by coincidence — or maybe not by coincidence.  I still don’t have 2009’s Conference talks on my iPod so I was listening to last year’s” — and suddenly I thought I saw, very briefly, an impatient twitch by the RS teacher, and I was immediately mortified that I’d just spent that long in a *preamble* to a Relief Society comment.  I really try to edit myself when needed, but I don’t always succeed.  (Oddly, I haven’t yet chosen to take a personal-essay approach to my own blog, and I’m not sure why not — maybe I’m afraid that once I let myself go on at length there, I’d quickly be buried alive in the quicksand of my own words, and would bore off all my readers.)  (I’m not at all meaning to imply that all essay-style blogs are boring, since yours is clearly an example of the opposite, but that my approach to personal essay would be much more likely to be a long-and-winding road through the grayest stretches of my gray matter.)

Anyway, I’m thinking about this question of whether my life has turned out as planned, and am finding the question surprisingly challenging.  On the surface I’d have to say that yes, definitely, in many elements my life is just the one I wanted — but then, there have been near-derailments along the way that tried my faith, and also there are prices to pay for the life I do have, that I couldn’t have anticipated, or perhaps thought I could escape.  I knew I wanted a lot of kids, but hoped I’d still be able to have a mostly-clean home, and I don’t.  I also somehow imagined I could avoid spending my life as a chauffeur, but have had to accept that my kids will miss opportunities that I want them to have unless I surrender to the taxi-driver role.  My marriage is a good, happy, working marriage, but not always the mind-reading soul-mate marriage I’d sometimes fantasized about.  So, yeah, I guess in some ways I’d be thrilled to see how some things turned out even better than I’d expected as an overly-serious, prematurely-mature kid (who used to joke, perhaps accurately, that I was going through my midlife crisis in my ‘tweens.)  But there have still been plenty of unforeseeable challenges and disappointments.

And yet on even further thought I’d have to say that for someone whose “natural man” state is somewhere between a cynic and a realist, my reality sometimes surprises me by how good it is. Even more importantly, my hope in Christ is often stronger than my natural-man pessimism, and when I have moments when I can see clearly through the eyes of hope, I see how my life, especially to the extent that I’ve embraced and practiced the Gospel, is exactly what it’s meant to be (even including un-wished-for challenges.)  And since that hope has been with me since childhood, there’s a continuity between the life I hoped for and the life I actually have, even if many of the specific details have changed.

And on DeNae’s “Grumpy McGrumpster” post about Mother’s Day, this was part of my comment:

I had to remind my kids to make cards for me this Mother’s Day.  Then I made a card for my mom, and I found a photo of dogwoods for the front (she loves dogwoods,) and then on the inside I wrote down every cheesy nice thing I could think of that I would LOVE to have my child say to me one day.  I thought I had really nailed it, but when I gave her the card she was very nonchalant.  I figured she was just distracted by having so much family over and didn’t have time to get emotional over my card.  Then later that week I stopped by and she said that she’d just noticed the note in the card that day, and confessed, “it made me cry.”  It turned out she’d been so distracted by the pretty dogwood picture it hadn’t even occurred to her there might be words in the card.  I have to admit I was happy to learn that my making-mom-cry skills were still in good form, after all.  🙂

At “If You Give a Mom a Moment,” Erin had a story about a 23-year-old who tried to entice her to marry him when she was 17 by hinting that she’d be privy to secret family recipes.  My comment:

I was just telling my husband a similar story yesterday, because we saw a Hawaiian barbecue place in Provo and Dean said, “There used to be one over there,” and pointed.  I said:

“Yeah, I went there just one time.  My coworker set me up with this guy, so I guess it was a blind date, and we walked to that Hawaiian barbecue place for dinner [I’m remembering now that the guy didn’t have a car, so we walked all over Provo on the date,] and I knew right away that I wasn’t interested, so when he called to ask me out again I said ‘No, thanks.’  My roommates were all shocked because they thought it was horrible to say no to any date — crazy.  And he asked if he could please come over and talk to me, and really, looking back, I should have said no to that, too, but I gave in, so he comes over and he’s all, ‘I thought we really hit it off — I thought we were going to get married.’  I don’t even remember exactly what I said — but obviously I told him I didn’t think so.  So then about four months later I found out he’d gotten married. ”

In a post at Dunhaven Place, Heidi mentioned the kiosk salespeople who accost you at malls.  I said:

I bought a $39 bottle of cleaning stuff from the fast-talking Advantage guy the other day (literally fast-talking — he kept saying “I’m not going to take up a lot of your time because I know how it is for busy moms,”  and then went right on talking and taking up my time.)  Don’t tell my husband.  I’m usually a much harder sell, but the guy said it will clean the hard water off my windows.  (I’m sure my husband would have said to use vinegar, and I’m sure he’d have been right.)

On the other hand, I’ve never once stopped to listen to a kiosk salesperson.  Who does stop?  Or is their time at work an uninterrupted onslaught of rejection? (Shiver.)

At “Frog and Toad Are Still Friends,” Beck talks about wildly unrealistic “budget” furnishings in a design magazine.  My response:

I remember reading somewhere, some time back (yeah, I know, super-specific citation there) that the definition of poverty in the United States has been continuously defined upwards to where it’s meaningless, compared both to the past and to a worldwide scale.  And I have a hard time taking reports of hard times seriously when everyone has cell phone plans, cable TV, larger-than-necessary homes, etc.  Of course, people do need phones to get by in our culture (and make a living) and the homes were bought in sunnier economic times, etc., but I still think that a few months spent somewhere like Haiti could change our idea of poverty a LOT.

It’s also true that people, and especially children, do still go hungry in the developed world, but it’s usually not because food couldn’t be made available to them if their caregivers weren’t neglecting them due to some handicapping circumstance such as addiction.  I’m not saying that cutting back and changing lifestyles aren’t hard things to do, but I still think that most able-bodied, determined people willing to make changes and work hard can still keep their kids fed and clothed — which is not always the case in some parts of the world.

P.S. When it was new, In Style magazine used to show budget versions of designer styles that truly were budget versions and were purchased at places like K-Mart or Old-Navy.  Now the baseline prices of even the budget versions have dramatically increased.

At “Token Asian Friend,” she elucidated why P.F.Chang’s is not actually a Chinese restaurant. I said:

Also, if you go there on Valentine’s Day, be sure to get a reservation, because it turns out that, unlike 95% of local establishments (including chains) they will actually accept reservations on Valentine’s Day. And if you don’t have one then everyone who does will eat before you.

Or so I imagine.

(This is not meant to be taken as a suggestion that you should go there on Valentine’s Day, unless you’re just curious and wanting to know what all the buzz is about, in which case, more power to you, but don’t forget about the reservation. Also, did I mention you might want to have a reservation? I mean, yeah, it’s your life, waste it away waiting hours to eat faux-Chinese food if you want to, but don’t by any means ever say I didn’t warn you.)

On a post about blogs and commenting at “If You Give a Mom a Moment,”

I have a theory that people will get tired of blogs and commenting, kind of like most of us have gotten tired of email and emailing — NOT that blogs will die out, but just that the fervor will die down.

I think I’ve said before (on my blog) that my commenting policy pretty much comes down to: I will always leave a comment, unless I am holding a bowl of cereal or a baby (which means I will comment about 30% of the time.) Once in a while I really just don’t have anything at all to say — for example if it is a cold day in the nether realms.

A lot of my posts are not really conversation-starters, so, while I still like to tell the funny story about my kid (which is 85%-90% of my blog content, by a precise scientific measurement,) I don’t really expect every person who stops by to say “Funny story!” (Not that I wouldn’t like that — just that I don’t expect it,) but sometimes, if I’ve posted, for example, a really bad pun (not that I would EVER do that!) and I’m feeling insecure about it (not that I would EVER feel insecure about a bad pun!) then if anyone happens to comment, it’s comforting and reassuring.

After much cajoling from me and others, my sister recently started a blog, and she’s expressed a little disappointment that she envisioned having a blog to be a more social experience than it turns out to be. The thing is, I think there’s not necessarily usually much overlap between one’s existing group of friends and the kind of people who like to spend time commenting on people’s blogs. It can make one feel like one’s friends aren’t really one’s friends, unless one is able to step back and look at the big picture, which might cause one to see the (not entirely pleasant) reality that some people have lives, and that some of those people’s lives don’t revolve around having conversations online. (I didn’t say that I can understand being that kind of person, just that I’m led to believe that such persons exist, in the “real world.”) I don’t think my sister really comments a lot on others’ blogs, and I do think she realizes that her hope that blogging would somehow be social was kind of a flawed concept, but I also see what she means — and, while I still ostensibly keep my blog for the sake of family and old friends, I’m in fact often more motivated by comments from new friends who are comment-leaving types.

I’m sorry this comment has to end already when I was just getting going, but all those references to “real life” kind of got me thinking about some things I should maybe be doing in my so-called one.

Oh, P.S. — I do think that with the school year ending and summer beginning, a lot of mommy-bloggers aren’t getting the same amounts of computer time, and that one shouldn’t take dying-down blog traffic very personally. I know I’m starting to get a pretty big backlog in Reader, and it’s probably just going to be that way for a while.

At “Seriously So Blessed,” TAMN was bemoaning the cruelty of having been called narcissistic (er, narcicistic.) I assuaged her thusly:

TAMN, first of all, calm down. We’re here for you! (What else do we have to do with our time? Right!) Patpatpatpat theretherehoney.

Second of all, of COURSE you have to put yourself first — how else are you going to keep your bucket all full to take care of those babies (remember the babies? Over there with Queenie and Glamma? No? Here, let’s just take those earplugs out for a teensy second? Hear that? That’s the twinsies.) So, as I was saying, if you don’t keep your own bucket totally, perfectly filled-up (Anthro! Pal! Cruises!) then how are you going to make sure that your sweet twinsies’ buckets never ever leak, even a little? Remember: If momma ain’t 100% completely happy at all times, ain’t nobody 100% completely happy at all times!

DeNae’s post on dreams at My Real Life Was Backordered included this tidbit:

DeNae: “I imagine that even people as far removed from humanity as Kim Jong Il and Brittney Spears still wake up gasping for air and wondering how they made it all the way to the Lone River Mall wearing nothing but a ‘Hello Kitty’ shower curtain. Gosh, who hasn’t?”

My reply: “I think in Britney Spears’ nightmares, she’s wearing too much clothing.”

This entry was posted in Me thinking about stuff, Metabloggish, Taking self-deprecation to a remedial level. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Comment thrift (Mom, this one’s for you)

  1. Kristina says:

    I love these posts. And I really don’t know where you find the time to leave these amazing comments!

    I think I’ll send Britney a Snuggie.

  2. the MomB says:

    THANK YOU! 🙂

  3. Lili says:

    I just read it all.
    Loved it all.
    “really relate to the essayist thing — I find I can give a lengthy opinion on. any. topic. at. all. no. matter. whether. anyone’s. asking. for. it.” –love it.
    Wanted to reply to each comment, but then the topic would turn and it was too much to keep track of. Suffice it to say, Amen.

  4. Jen says:

    I thought those provo guys were legendary, until I met Mike the Math Lab stalker who also showed up married pretty quick around campus after I told him I needed to homework instead of talk to him on the phone one too many times.

    I own a bottle of advanage that is 5 years old. It is great because now I can always tell the door to door-ers that I have a full bottle and I never use it.

  5. Acheté says:


  6. Jason says:

    Chauffeuring children is yet another job we undervalue. Do we not value holding pink infants? Do we not carry pre-toddlers places they still can’t reach, but can scream about?

    Every ten years or so, we have new bodies, and someone has to speak for us and walk for us until we acclimate to our novel organism. Chauffeuring children is driving–and, by reverse-extension, walking–on children’s behalf.

    Chauffeuring children is at least as important as serving in the military.

    Hats off to you, major mom.

  7. Jason says:

    Not that you seem to call for these essays, but I can also argue in justification of a less-than-perfectly-orderly house–by reason of child-raising–by analogy to the beauty of some stretch marks.

    Let me know your interest level.

  8. I think recycling comments is a stroke of genius. I never take the time to go back and read other people’s comments even though I’m curious, so you’ve satisfied my curiosity. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s