Tag Archives: VIrtual Dinner Party Guests

Are You My Mother?

Remember that virtual dinner party from way back when? (No? Well check the link if you want to know what I’m talking about.) I’m slowly making my way through the list and I have another “virtual guest” visiting The Big Piece of Cake this week.

Anna from An Inch of Gray is my very first blog crush. I happened upon her site months before I started my own blog, and immediately fell in love with her humor and candor. The first post I read was an absolutely beautiful tribute to her mother. I became her first stalker.

Luckily – I didn’t scare Anna away with my enthusiastic commenting, and we’ve actually gotten to know each other in “real life” (as it turns out, we live in the same area).

Thank you Anna for inspiring me to start my own blog and not getting a restraining order once you found out that I live within 10 miles of your house.

Are You My Mother?

I look older than my husband.

Growing up, I was always told I acted older than I was and I liked it. I hovered on the fringe of adult conversation, hung out with grown ups, and, as I reached my teen years, dressed “older.” My best friend and I would wear pencil skirts, high heels, blouses and pearls to high school to project an air of sophistication.

When I lamented the fact that I didn’t look like quite grown-up enough, my mom told me to be careful what I wished for. She said that girls who matured later often still had cute, girlish figures in their 40’s, while those who matured early often flamed out. I didn’t know anyone still used the phrase “girlish figures” anymore, but I did listen. My mother was a buxom homecoming queen and I guess she’d seen her share of pubescent pixies blossom later in life.

The high heels and wool suits followed me to college, however, and when I started teaching high school to kids who were in some cases less than 5 years younger than I was, I was happy to look as mature as possible.

Now I wish I could turn back the clock. My husband, Tom, looks the same as he did in high school. No signs that his thick black hair is going anywhere, or going gray for that matter, while I’ve been covering my roots since age 18.


Getting a little thick around the middle? Not Tom. And his Italian heritage shows nary a sign of wrinkles on his face. And seeing his dad still romping around in short shorts at age 70 with his trim young body (did I just write that??) is like looking into a crystal ball. Tom is not aging. See that wedding picture up there? He hasn’t changed. One. Bit.

And me? Decades of sun-worshipping, and not a few instances of zit-picking have started to reveal my true age. Aversion to exercise and fondness of Girl Scout cookies haven’t helped either. Please don’t think I’m fishing for compliments here. It’s not that I think I look OLD, but I do look my age. My other half just isn’t keeping up his end of the bargain.

I’m just going to hate being one of those couples. I think of friends of friends I met recently. The husband looked so young I thought the wife was his MOTHER. Yikes. We’re not there yet, but the future looms large. Hello? George H.W. and Barbara Bush?

Sure, the former prez was tottering a bit at the recent inauguration ceremonies, but that’s probably because he hurt his leg jumping out of an airplane or something. His face remains tanned and unlined whereas hers has been, ahem, grandmotherly, since the early 70’s. The 1970’s, not her 70’s.

If Tom gets a sports car in his 50’s it won’t even look like a mid-life crisis, but I’m screwed no matter what I do. If as I age I try too hard to look young next to him, I’ll end up a desperate, grasping cougar. But not trying at all seems like just pulling on my comfy pants, crawling under the covers, and throwing in the towel.

Not that that sounds so bad. Could someone pass the Thin Mints?

Amy Turn Sharp says, "Write yr life."

Last summer, I decided to ask everyone that I invited to a virtual dinner party to guest post on my blog. I thought I’d randomly ask the people from that “guest list” to guest post for me – probably once a month. Because I honestly think that everyone should love them as much as I do. So far, we’ve heard from Kacy, Anastasia, and Jozette. If you missed those posts I highly suggest reading them.

This month’s guest is Amy of doobleh-vay fame. I can’t tell you how much I LOVE Amy. She treats every day like a new adventure in her life. She writes a lot about her family and her quest to make each day a creative experience. But at the core of every post is a powerful sense of self. And I think that’s what I love most about her (that and the way that she always writes “yr” instead of “your”). I’m thrilled to introduce her to anyone that isn’t already a fan.

I was reading a blogger that I love yesterday and she was talking about how we should blog authentically. How we should blog for ourselves and stop worrying about what others may think. She wrote about being true and unabashed and unapologetic and I freaking loved it. I feel like I had a click last year where I really stopped thinking so hard about what I was doing with my blog and just did it. I wrote what I wanted and people stayed. Those people that I thought might leave when I talked about the underbelly of my life stayed and even others came by to hang out. It has been a great lesson. I don’t have to box myself in by just talking about art and creativity and short people. I can also talk about sex and binge drinking and my lust for Wellington boots. I can talk about my whole self and make this space what it was really meant to be: mine.

In this click I found my place, my room of my own. I do want readers and connections (I am writing a novel for heaven’s sake. It is one of the reasons I started a daily blog: for practice and networking). I just want the connections and blogosphere interaction to be real and true. I want to love my blog at the end of each year. I need to want to make out with all of my archives and not be upset with myself for writing for others. I need to not worry.

I like how one of my friends calls my blog “more pub than blog”. I am cool with this. I love going to the pub. I feel like it took me a bit, but my blog is really my own blog now. It is named doobleh-vay which is W in French.

That W stood for “whatever” to me and a friend in high school. We would use it like slang.

Someone was a bitch to us? We would shake our heads and say “doobleh-vay”.

We were late somewhere? “doobleh-vay.”

You get it? So anyhoo. I named my damn blog doobleh-vay.

It really was like a gift though right? I should never have boxed myself in because it was really meant to be about whatever.

Just like so long ago in high school the person I thought I was supposed to be was killed by the person I was meant to be anyway. I am just like I was. I am about everything and friends with the diverse. I am the everyman blogger and I am just fine with this (finally.)

Back to my soul sister (at least I think so) Maggie. I also saw in her about me section that she likes Gloria Steinem. She has a photo of her and the wise one.


Once in college Gloria came to speak and when it was time to have the Q & A portion of the lecture I stood up and raised my hand.

I walked to the microphone and said:

“Hello Gloria my name is Amy Turn and I just want some advice. I am graduating soon and I just need some advice. My mom says to ask for it from those you admire.”

I stepped away and she smiled at me and leaned down and said:

“Amy Turn, be a woman that takes no shit!”

That has been many years back but it is really starting to resonate in my adult life again.

So readers. Take no shit this year – not even from yrself.

Just write. Write yr life.

Guest Post from Jozette of Regardez Moi

*Don’t forget to enter my giveaway from Stacy Cakes! Click here for details. Send me an e-mail letting me know that you’ve posted about my December giveaways on your site and I’ll give you a second chance to win!

Remember my idea about asking everyone that I invited to my virtual dinner party to guest post on my blog? Okay stop laughing about the virtual dinner party nerdiness and listen to what I’m saying. Remember that? No? Well – I thought I’d randomly ask the people from that “guest list” to guest post for me – probably once a month. So far, we’ve heard from Kacy and Anastasia, but got derailed in October when Jozette from Regardez Moi postponed. Twice.

Now I think I’ve given her a hard enough time about this, so I’m just going to be happy that she FINALLY got her loosey goosey act together and sent me the damn guest post already.

Seriously though – I do love Jozette. She funny and quirky and not afraid to be honest. She’s had a tough year. One of those years that makes us look back and say, “how did I do that? I should be dead by now.” But she’s so lovely and deserves a great year to make up for it. So I’m hoping that 2009 will be the year that Jozette “got her groove back” (possibly with the hot young guy from work). She deserves it!

Welcome Jozette!

I am not a mother. Well, a motherfudger, maybe, but I have no children to speak of. So why-oh-why did Kate pick me to guest post on her blog? I have no idea. (It’s because I’m awesome.) But I am more than flattered and happy to oblige. Even though I, um, you know. Bailed on her. Twice. Because I was uh. Busy.

The truth is, I really was busy. And also? I was drained. I didn’t have any idea what to write; what could I possibly say that her blog audience would appreciate? And… I’m really bad with deadlines. (I originally type-o’d ‘dreadlines’ which is so apt.) When I know there’s something due, I completely put it off. Even if it’s something that I would normally look forward to doing. I shut down, fold up. Like the cheap extra table you bring down from the attic only at Thanksgiving. I’m the kiddie table covered in a sticky vinyl tablecloth from the 70s.

I tell myself I’m unreliable (which, I can admit, I tend to be.) Not on purpose. I’m just, you know, emotionally unstable. And sometimes just the slightest bit of pressure can render me utterly useless. Straight to the couch in my crusty old sweatpants with a plate of cheesy refried beans. (Note to the single male readers: pipe down, I know how hot you must think I am right now. Try to keep it in your pants, please. This here is a family blog.)

This post is going nowhere really fast.

Oh, I never introduced myself. Hi. I’m Jozette. I’m the flaky non-committal blogger who loves words but sometimes has difficulty putting them together. A 30-year old emotional roller coaster on the verge of divorce. A real keeper.

Now to the meat of the story: Kate commented on my blog not too long ago and her words have stayed with me.

She said:
You were one of my first non-mommy blog readers. You’re one of the people I think about when I’m writing and say, ‘I don’t think every poopy diaper needs to be documented. There’s more to me than just that.'”

And that really touched me, you know? Cause I’m all sentimental and sh*t. And that was really nice.

Oh.

Were you expecting something deeper – more eloquent than that? Yea. You’re barking up the wrong tree.

I think my point here, although deeply hidden and camouflaged better than um, you know, an army guy wearing camouflage, is that her comment made me think about how mired we become in our daily existence. How our WHOs often get lost in the WHAT of our lives. How important it is not to lose your WHO. (Who shot who in the what now?)


WHO are we really? WHO the filth am I? That’s the question I asked myself when I read her comment. It’s something I try to figure out on a daily basis. It is partially the catalyst for my blogsistential crises numbers one and two.

Caterpillar: Who are YOU?
Alice: This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.
Where was I going with this?

Um….

Oh. I am not a mother. But the majority of blogs I read are written by women who are. I delight in their writing and their honesty about not only their children, but about themselves. Who they are as women. Women who lead completely different lives than me; women who live scattered all over the world. Wildly intelligent, strong, hilarious (to the point of involuntary pants-peeing), take your breath away, wonderful women and mothers whom I worship. Whose words I devour every day. Who teach me about the kind of woman, the kind of person, the kind of mother I would like to someday be. (Oh no. Now I’ve gone and ruined my street cred. Let’s just keep this last paragraph between us, okay?)

So, thank you. Thank you for being an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your lives and for allowing me to share mine.

Or something.

Now I feel awkward. Like I just had semi-stranger sex and am having difficulty making eye contact. Like I’m sitting on my hands at the edge of bed, biting my lip. Ummm.

You guys are great.

*Slaps you on the ass*

Now hit the showers.

*Jozette is currently on a blogging hiatus – whatever that means. Hopefully she’ll be back soon! You can do your begging in my comments section or e-mail her directly at regardezmoiblog@gmail.com.

The Way We Were

Several weeks ago, I posted a list of bloggers that I would like to invite to a virtual dinner party. Then I came up with the genius idea of asking them all to guest post for me. I mean – great content that I don’t have to write myself? It’s a win win. Well maybe just for me since I win the good content and the not writing it part…but whatever.

My first guest post comes from Kacy, one of the funniest women I know (for those of you who would be impressed by this, Jenny The Bloggess invited Kacy to HER virtual dinner party as well). Kacy writes Every Day I Write the Book (but not actually every day). She also contributes to Light Refreshments Served, where I have actually guest posted – making me an honorary Mormon for the day (or at least that’s what Kacy said – and as a Mormon, she knows all of the rules and stuff).

Sometimes Kacy writes really clever posts like The Irish In Ikea, sometimes she writes really random posts like Wishful Thinking, and SOMETIMES she writes truly bizarre posts like This is How I Really Feel About Our Hamster (it’s like #1 on Kacy’s Greatest Hits – at least it is for me…)

So what do you think? Should I actually let her talk?? I know – I’m not very good at handing over the microphone…but here you go Kacy. Take it away:

The Way We Were

I just noticed that Kate and I were both born in 1972. This has got me feeling a little bit sentimental about the past. Don’t get me wrong, I think now is great—probably even better than then. And I am completely psyched about the future. Still. There are a few things I remember fondly.

I remember hand signals for turning. Weren’t those great? It fostered such an old-timey sense of community. It seemed really important to learn how to signal that you were turning left or right in case your blinkers didn’t work. Did cars have less reliable blinkers in the olden days? I remember my mom signaling to go right or left all the time, but I don’t know why. I’m sure she had blinkers. Maybe blinkers were cutting-edge technology back then and we didn’t really trust them yet. At any rate, you never see people signaling with their arms any more. And I miss it. I get the same sense of community now when everyone pulls over to the side of the road to let an ambulance or fire truck pass. I love that. It’s like we’re all in this together. I hope pulling to the side of the road never goes out of style.

Another thing I miss is collect calls. You could always make a collect call if you needed to, which was reassuring. But what I really liked was accepting collect calls. The call was probably coming from someone in crisis and it seemed so noble to accept the charges before you heard the person’s voice or knew how expensive it would be. It was an act of trust and intimacy. I need more moments of nobility, don’t you?

Something else I think about a lot but don’t necessarily miss is the Bandaids that you ripped open with a red thread. Wasn’t that a weird way to open a Bandaid? I guess it’s pretty sanitary. But if it’s so sanitary, why don’t they still open like that? That’s what I wonder.

Is it just me or do you remember Kentucky Fried Chicken being a really awesome treat? You could get burgers or KFC (of course we would never have called it “KFC”—we had no qualms with the word “fried”). I don’t know about you, but I never ate Mexican food until I was in college. And when I finally did, Taco Bell blew my mind! But I never went there with my family as a kid. We weren’t so much racist as we were suspicious. Anyway, I was born in Kentucky so eating at Kentucky Fried Chicken was special. I picked some up for dinner last week after the first day of school and my kids couldn’t even figure out how to eat it. I handed my daughter the coveted drumstick and she dangled it downward between two fingers and stared. Then my 11-year-old son exclaimed, “I’m going to sue KFC—Look at this bone I found in my chicken!” They picked off the skin. It was sad.

And finally, remember tucking shirts in? There was a real art to it. The right shirt and the right pants and the right amount of pulling it out after it had been tucked in could camouflage a lot. Of course, when I was tucking shirts in I had nothing to camouflage. I’m way too fat to tuck in now so I’m glad that we don’t have to anymore but I’ll always have just a twinge of nostalgia for tucking. You have to tuck in occasionally in order to enjoy the comfort of being untucked. And that’s a life lesson you can take to the bank.

But enough about the past! We all know it sucked because there were no blogs. Thanks for sharing The Big Piece of Cake, Kate. Have a good day and never look back.

I’m Having a Party and Everyone’s Invited

Actually – that’s not really true, but “I’m having a Party and Only Ten People are Invited” didn’t have as much of a ring to it. Barking Mad has started a virtual dinner party trend. You can view the details here, but the general idea is to list 10 blogs you read and why the writing makes you think they’d be fun and/or interesting dinner companions.

This was really supposed to be more of a community building exercise and not the usual exclusionary BS that makes people so angry, jealous, insecure or any other number of unproductive reactions. Unfortunately – it’s kind of impossible to avoid this. If someone has the inclination to feel left out, a disclaimer or mission statement won’t make a difference. So I find myself conflicted about how to proceed (I know – so just don’t do it – but I really like the idea!)

I saw Anymommy struggle with this last week as she invited something like 50 people and managed to get them all drunk and topless in the process. She decided to be a rebel and break the rules with unlimited invitations. Since I don’t like to be a copycat (and I’m just too PG-13 for that Girls Gone Wild action), I am unable to increase the head count.

Instead – I’m going to increase the limitations. I am only going to invite people that I don’t think will be on anyone else’s guest list. This doesn’t mean that I think they aren’t well loved of course. I’m thinking more about blogs that may not be read by the people who are participating in the dinner party planning OR blogs that are still somewhat undiscovered (I can particularly appreciate this second one since I’m fairly new myself).

So here is my list:

Anastasia from The Gift. This will come as no surprise since I have mentioned her on other occasions and she is a good friend of mine in the “real world.” She likes to talk about everything and anything (which is lucky for her since she challenged herself to write every day for a year), and loves a good debate. She is also incredibly funny and will regale us with great anecdotes about growing up among the cast of outspoken characters that she calls her family.

Anna from An Inch of Gray. Anna may be starting to think that I’m her stalker. I comment on almost every post and I act like we’ve just known each other forever. This is probably because she has managed to provide somewhat of a window into her life. While she’s quite witty – she doesn’t hide behind humor. Her posts are funny, poignant and – again – funny. I often think that if Anna and I lived near each other, we would be really good friends. That is, as long as she didn’t request a restraining order…

Kacy from Every Day I Write the Book. If you have been reading my blog for the past couple of months, you will have seen this one coming. How could I ever have a dinner party without the funniest woman in the blogosphere. I have already provided an excerpt from her post of hate mail to her hamster. But if that isn’t enough for you – check out this and this. Although – I might not want to invite her to my party since it would be one of those things where she’d be “discovered” and then everyone would be inviting her to their parties and then I wouldn’t see as much of her. Which would be really sad since blog life has gotten so hectic lately and we never just talk anymore.

Jozette from Regardez Moi. I think that if I rescued a genie from his bottle and could make some wishes, I would wish that Jozette was my little sister. This of course, is based on unlimited wishes since I would have to be a bit more practical with just three. Three would require a lot of thought, and I’d probably end up agonizing over making the third one for world peace or a vacation home in Andalucia. But I just love Jozette. She is funny (guest post on Petunia Face) and she would never let me leave home wearing bad shoes. Plus it looks like she’s outnumbered by boys – so she kind of needs me.

Winona from Daddy Likey. Like Jozette, Winona is younger than me. And I think it’s refreshing to have child-free people at a party. They tend to keep the conversation from stalling at potty training and precious anecdotes. Winona has some definite thoughts on fashion, but she can laugh at herself too. And her travel stories alone would keep us on the edge of our seats.

Suzie from Up the Hill Backwards. I decided that I would be a Suzie fan forever when she commented on a post about my son being big for his age, by saying, “My son is really tall for his age and physical. He towers over the other boys at school. People tend to think he is a bit slow because he’s only three but he looks like a six year old with a pacifier and wearing mommy’s shoes.” She also comes up with gems like this. I can’t imagine that things could get boring with Suzie around.

Amy from Doobleh-Vay. Okay – this is strictly based on the fact that I haven’t seen her on a list yet. The truth is Amy is well loved (and read) by many. And for good reason. She is kind of a role model for the less conventional mother. She puts creativity first and greets each day with her kids as another opportunity to learn and grow. I love that she has just as many dreams for herself as she does for her boys. In the end this will make their bond all the stronger. Plus – she might arrive in a pirate hat – which in my book is an immediate conversation catalyst.

Heather from Dooce. HAH! See, I can invite her because I don’t think anyone else will. She’s like the really pretty girl in school that doesn’t get asked to prom because everyone assumes that someone else already asked her. But see, I’m the geek with borderline Aspergers who has no sense of fear. I want her to come – so what the hell, I’ll ask. And because it’s my theoretical dinner party, she is absolutely delighted by the invitation. AND she brings really good wine. She and Kacy can make Mormon-related jokes that no one else understands, but we’ll all laugh because they are just that funny. And because we drank too much of the wine Heather brought – except for Kacy, because she’s Mormon.

That’s it for the invites. And no – there is no mistake in falling short of the required head count of 10. I think that my dinner party would be particularly interesting if we had a couple of crashers. So what do you think? Want to come? Leave me a comment and let me know what you can bring to the party. Anyone can crash (since this is theoretical, I’ll just pretend that only two of you come) – even if you are read by millions and invited to all of the other dinner parties. I think you’ll like mine the best.