If I Had a Do Over

“I want to have another baby.”

That’s what I texted my husband yesterday from work.

His response?

Crickets.  Oh…and he probably now has the local psychiatric hospital on speed dial.

There seems to be an epidemic of pregnant women in my city this week and they all seem to be at that 6-7 month time frame where you look beautiful and all is right with the world.  Not the 1-4 month time frame when you’re not really showing and you just feel fat not to mention exhausted and maybe sick.  Or the 8-10 month time frame when you pee 400 times a day, you’ve developed cankles, you can’t catch your breath and every time you look in the mirror you see a big, sweaty, puffy faced pregnant woman staring back at you.


Maybe all I want is a do over.  Maybe I just feel the last of my kids slipping away into adult hood and I’d just like to go back and do some of it over.  Okay…all of it over.  Not just because I miss being their “mommy” instead of their “mom” (or “mother” when they’re exasperated), but because I really would do some things differently if I could do it again.

First, I’d slow the hell down.  I wouldn’t be so worried about being on time and I’d stop to appreciate them trying to dress themselves, or tie their own shoes, or cut their own food.  I’d stop and help them rather than just doing it myself because we’re late.  So what if we’re late, no one ever died because they waited for their toddler to figure out there’s nowhere to put his head if he tries to wear his pants as a shirt.  But oh I wish I had slowed down long enough to take a picture.

Second, I’d get messy more often.  I was never a mom who worried about how dirty her kids got or how much of a mess they made while doing a project.  I once told a preschool teacher who expressed concern over the fact that I hadn’t sent in an overshirt on paint day that I bought clothes for children not models and if they got paint on them then that’s okay.  It just meant that shirt needed a little paint that day.  But I would have had even MORE messy moments.  More erupting volcanoes.  More big leaf piles.  More mud pies.  More rain dances.

And speaking of messy.  I would have lightened up drastically about how clean my house was.  I never made them clean their rooms and I didn’t harp (too much) about putting things away but every Saturday morning for most of their lives I cleaned the house.  If I had a do over I’d let the house go and spend Saturday morning watching cartoons or eating cereal or playing video games with them.  Sleepy morning kids are the best and I missed a lot because my toilets weren’t clean enough for me.

Here’s a biggie – I wouldn’t be so concerned with what other people thought.  There were often times when they were younger that I insisted they do something or say something because I was worried about what other people thought. Times when another parent would tell me something my child did and I would immediately believe them instead of talking to my child first and really listening to their reasoning.  Those moments brought back feelings from my own childhood and rather than recognizing that and correcting, I reacted badly.  

I finally came to my senses once when another parent told me that she didn’t call me to pick up my son from a party because she was going to “break him” of his habit of fleeing social situations that made him uncomfortable.  In that moment I realized that I had been more worried about what she thought than what my own child was experiencing.  I won’t repeat what I said to that woman but I never, ever made a mistake like that again.  If I had a do over I’d have never sent him to that party in the first place…I would have respected and honored his feelings.  None of those times (there were more – not many but some) would have ever even happened.

If I had a do over I wouldn’t have worried one single moment about whether or not I had “mommy time” or whether or not dad and I had “date night”.  I would have spent every single second with them that I could.  When our kids are young we have no idea just how freaking FAST time is going to fly.  We become overwhelmed with everything we have to do and seek the peace that a little adult time provides.  Doing it over I would realize that there was going to be plenty of time after they’ve grown to have adult time.  In fact, there is way too much adult time now.  I would have savored every bedtime, every dinner time, every bath time, play time, tv time and mommy time and I would have stretched them out as long as they would last.

A do over would allow me to seek out a job that didn’t require travel.  I spent a lot of time when my kids were little on the road for my career.  If I could do it again I’d make different choices about my job so that I would be home and not tucking them in via cell phone.  I’d be sure I was there for every recognition ceremony, every play, every game, every performance.  I would never let a “career” get in the way of my family.

Which brings me to my next point.  If I had a do over we would have led a simpler life.  I would have been an English teacher with crappy pay but great hours.  Following that dream I had would have allowed me summers with my kids.  I would have still sent them to camp but I would have been the one driving them and picking them up.  I would have been the one taking them for Slurpees after a hot day on the soccer field.  I would have been there to put ice on an arm after a baseball ran into it. 

For the record, I have awesome kids and a great and unique relationship with all six of them.  When the holidays arrive they all want to be at our house which I take as the highest compliment a parent could ever receive.  They are confident in the fact that they are loved with a fierceness unparalleled in the Universe and they wear that love everyday in the form of self-confidence, happiness, pride and self-esteem.  They come for guidance and advice now and my husband and I try our best to provide it while still letting them grow.  They are just plain good people and I’m proud to know them.

So if I had a do over would they be better people?


But I would.


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If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Pastor/Parent


Awesome blog post by an awesome man, pastor and father.

Originally posted on john pavlovitz:


Sometimes I wonder if I’ll have gay children.

I’m not sure if other parents think about this, but I do; quite often.

Maybe it’s because I have many gay people in my family and circle of friends. It’s in my genes and in my tribe.
Maybe it’s because, as a pastor of students, I’ve seen and heard the horror stories of gay Christian kids, from both inside and outside of the closet, trying to be part of the Church.
Maybe it’s because, as a Christian, I interact with so many people who find homosexuality to be the most repulsive thing imaginable, and who make that abundantly clear at every conceivable opportunity.

For whatever reason, it’s something that I ponder frequently. As a pastor and a parent, I wanted to make some promises to you, and to my two kids right now…

1) If I have gay children, you’ll all know it.

My children won’t…

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In Search of My Next “Universe Moment”…Uh…Book

God has a way of dropping books in my path just when I need them.  When I’m feeling like I am now, I find a book store and just browse.  Usually I end up staring at a bookshelf, having no idea how or why I’m in that particular section (whatever section that might be) when my eye lights on a book.  I pick it up.  I read the back.  Something clicks and I go home with the book and spend the next several days reading, still unsure as to why I’m reading it.

And then it changes my life.

I remember once being in a Barnes & Noble near work.  I thought I was killing time at lunch but I suddenly found myself in the “self-help” section.  Just at eye level was “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” by Dr. Karyl McBride.  I didn’t even know what a narcisssist was at that time in my life but the description on the back did something to my heart.  So I bought it…and read it.  It’s hard to put into words what this book did for me except to say that it helped me tap into and begin to heal wounds I didn’t even know I had.  I recommend it to any woman who’s ever had issues with her mother even if mom isn’t a narcissist like mine was. 

During my final relapse, I found “iWant: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life” by Jane Velez-Mitchell.  This is from one of my former posts…

“During the time I was struggling with getting sober (in other words I was chronically relapsing), I saw Jane Velez-Mitchell on Oprah (I think) talking about her book, “iWant: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life“.  The more she spoke, the more I knew I had to read that book even though I didn’t want to read that book.  I really, really did not want to read that book.  I read it.”

This is the one that solidified in my mind that I HAD to quit drinking.  I still had no idea how I was going to do it…but this book nurtured the seed that had been planted with “Dry”.  I knew I had a problem.

By the way, that particular post has a list of the books that helped me in the early days in case you want to take a look.  There are some raw, honest and very brave authors out there who do really good work.

Anyway, that feeling I get when I know there’s a book out there just waiting for me to find it, is back.  I’m doing some really profound work in therapy and I think that might be why I’m feeling this itchiness since it usually comes along just before I have a really life-changing “ah-ha” moment. 

I’m also really restless when it comes to reading right now.  Usually I devour books and lately I’ve been feeling…well…meh about them.  I have several in my Kindle that are either unread or half read and every time I try to read them I get bored and detach.  Which is weird because when I read a book I ATTACH.  I dive head and heart first into them and soak up everything they have to give, barely coming up for sleep or sustenance.  I do not side glance at them and think, “Yawn…ugh…maybe tomorrow.”

So I guess it’s time to get my ass to an actual bookstore and see what the Universe has in mind for me.

I hope that whatever it is…it’s in paperback.


UPDATE:  In searching for a picture for this post, I Googled “books on a path” and up popped (among other things) a picture of Jack Kornfield’s book “A Path With Heart”.  I have no other words except to say that it happened again…so I ordered it. 

In paperback.

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Turning Point

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how and when I began to know I had a problem with alcohol.  I guess it’s because my youngest are “about that age”, or maybe it’s that I’m “about that age”.  Who knows? But the thought has been rolling around up in the old gray matter so you know what that means?

Yep – Imma be writin’ about it here.

As I’ve mentioned before, my very first alcoholic drink was Sloe Gin.  I have no idea why that vile substance was even invented and why it remains on the market (does it remain on the market?) but I was dating a guy who wanted to get in my pants and he thought the best way to do that would be to get me drunk.

Yeah I know – class act.

Fortunately his brother was the more virtuous of the two and he volunteered to take me home AND I wasn’t so drunk that I would have consented – but something tells me that consent was the last thing on this guy’s mind.

So ANYWAY, from my very first drink I didn’t know when to stop.  I was 16.

Go figure.

In my twenties I remember the thought popping up in my head from time to time (as I recall I was either very drunk or very hungover at the time) and I even voiced it on occasion to either my husband or some very close friends. Those concerns were always met with, “Don’t be silly! You’re fine!” Or, “Oh stop! You’re just having a good time.” Or my personal favorite, “You can’t have a drinking problem because if you do than I do and I KNOW I’m okay.” Really.

So I would file it in the back of my brain until the next time things got out of hand when I would begin to think about it once again.

As the kids started getting older and I began to really drink again, and things with my mom went to shit and then things at work went to shit and I started doing even more stupid shit when I was drinking, the thoughts went from whispers to full out screaming in my head. I was usually able to quiet them by getting them drunk or just sticking my fingers in my ears and singing “lalalalalalala”…you know, mature stuff like that. Sometimes I could even manage to ignore them. For awhile anyway.

They’re persistent motherfuckers.

Then. Then one day I was reading “Dry” by Augusten Burroughs. It was my first real “Drunk Book” and I thought I was reading it as a follow up to “Running With Scissors” cause I’m OCD like that when it comes to books. What I didn’t know was that the Universe brings you what you need if you just pay attention.

There I was, minding my own business when I find myself reading about August’s first AA experience. There in the middle of a perfectly harmless meeting some woman gets up and starts telling her story.

And her story was my story.

As I recall she was a highly functioning alcoholic who held down a job and all the responsibilities of life without anyone outside her own head knowing she had a problem.  She had never been arrested.  No DUI’s.  No job lost.  Some of it’s fuzzy in my memory but what I remember most vividly is the her saying that she was always the first to arrive at a party and the last to leave and that she always drank the most.  Ouch.

I read that little part of the book over and over trying NOT to see myself in those words. I did not want to be her. I did not want to be reading about me in this book about an alcoholic coming to terms. But it was too late. You can’t un-see something.

I think I read that book in 2004. I didn’t quit drinking until 2010.  Those inbetween years were filled with many starts and stops. Many late night discussions. Much soul searching. Lots of tears and even more prayer.

And a lot more denial.

But those words never left me. They stayed with me and nibbled away at my resolve until I was strong enough to battle what was left and put down the wine bottle.  Even though I was that woman at the AA meeting, I didn’t have to stay that way.  I, like she, could get sober.  I could be THAT kind of woman.

Even today, at almost five years “dry” those words cause my stomach to lurch. They still have impact.  I can still see “her” image (the one I conjured while reading) in my mind when I think about it.

I am so grateful to the Universe for putting those words in that book in my path.  I think I’ll read it again and see what my stomach does this time.


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Think Pink

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month and all of those other wretched diseases that lay waste to our loved ones and their families…

pink hair

Consider giving your time, money or prayers.  (Or just do something stupid like dye your hair pink for the month to raise awareness.)  There are so many ways to fight these ugly and heartbreaking diseases (which includes alcoholism and drug addiction to name but a few).


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Demonizing the Wino in Me

A friend and I had an interesting conversation yesterday evening about how people drink.  She’s not a drinker because both of her parents are/were alcoholics (her father has passed away but mom continues to drink).  We started pondering all the reasons people drink and how and why it affects so many people in so many different ways.

She stated that she doesn’t mind being around tipsy or even drunk people who are happy but that people who are mean or sloppy are no fun at all.  She asked me about my experience with alcohol and did I identify as an alcoholic or did I just decide to quit drinking.

Let’s see…do you have a month for me to explain?  Nevermind…here’s the link to my blog.

Just kidding.

I shared some more of my story with her and my feelings about why I quit and that sometimes I call myself an alcoholic and sometimes I bristle when I hear the word.  No matter because the facts are that I will not drink because I value my peace of mind more and that, if I drink, one is NEVER enough and I will always end up shit-faced.

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…


She asked if it was always this way for me and I said yes but…and here’s where it may get controversial…I had a crap ton of fun before everything went sideways.  And when I say a crap ton…I do mean a crap ton.

In my youth (my 20’s) the hubs and I drank like fish.  We traveled and partied and had parties and went to formal functions and a whole host of other activities and all of it included alcohol.  I didn’t ALWAYS get drunk (most of the time but not always) but we had a really really good time.  Most people who drink have a period like this in their lives but they grow up and passed it.  They know that life is about more than where the next drink is coming from and whether or not there will be enough.  They can have a glass of wine once every two or three weeks and then not think about it for months.

Me?  Not so much.

Here’s the thing though, I refuse to deny that I had a good time.  I refuse to believe that just because I can’t drink that no one on the planet should drink.  I won’t demonize alcohol just because it bit me in the ass.  Honestly?  I should have known better.  It’s not like I didn’t have enough data.  I did – I just chose to ignore it and fall face first into a bottle of wine.

The farther I am into recovery, the more I realize that the blame lays directly and completely on my shoulders.  I was fully aware of the risks, I was “of age”, it was legal and taxed, and no one held a gun to my head and told me to drink.  It was the same with smoking.  I knew the risks and I did it anyway.  My bad.

If I blame that bottle of Chardonnay, then I turn over my power to the bottle.  Alcohol only has power if we give it power.  When I put down that wine glass and entered recovery, I chose to take back my power.  I’m not letting go of it ever again.

Don’t get me wrong.  We have issues in this country (and the world for that matter) that are alcohol related and need to be addressed.  According to the National Institute of Health on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,  in 2012, 87.6 percent of people age 18 or older reported using alcohol and of those, 24.6 percent engaged in binge drinking in the past month and 7.1% reported that they drank heavily in the past month.

Even more frightening,  the study states that approximately 17 million adults over the age of 18 had some form of an alcohol use disorder in 2012.  This included an estimated 855,000 youths between the ages of 12-17.  Almost 88,000 people die from alcohol related causes annually in the U.S. which puts it up there as the third leading cause of preventable deaths.  DUI’s?  They accounted for over 10,000 deaths in 2012 which was 31% of all driving fatalities.

In spite of MADD and other organizations designed to educate the public on the dangers of alcohol, alcoholism and over indulgence, a study by Gallup performed in 2010 found that 67% of adults over the age of 18 reported using alcohol and 58% of 17 years and younger used alcohol.

The numbers are going UP not down.

I think that instead of blaming it on the bottle, or the bar, or the brewery, we should be educating on the effects of alcohol.  Educating on genetics and how alcoholism runs in families.  Removing the stigma of mental illness and addressing a host of other conditions that exist and have people looking to the bottle to help the take away the pain.  In other words, let’s uncover and treat the causes of our alcohol issues in this country rather that transferring the blame and then treating the symptom or result.

Of course I can only speak to my own experience but I have six kids, four of whom are of legal drinking age and the other two are only two years away.  I fear for their alcohol use.  I’m afraid I’ve passed down the gene.  I worry.

But what bothers me the most is the lack of truthful information that would help them make informed decisions.   AA remains shrouded in mystery and, many time unfairly looked upon, “rehab” remains a dirty word or something celebrities do to get out of trouble, mental illness and alcoholism are spoken of in hushed voices with the proverbial “tsk-tsk” clucking of tongues.  My kids still picture an “alcoholic” the way I used to, that of a skid row homeless person who had lost everything and was lying in a gutter.  No matter how many times I call myself an alcoholic, they persist in thinking I’m some kind of “exception”.  Let me assure you, I’m not.

In fact, if the sober blogging community is any indication, I’m in excellent company.



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Slow Down, You Move Too Fast…

Slow down, you move too fast,  

You’ve got to make the morning last,  

Just kickin’ down the cobble-stones,

Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy,

Feeling groovy  ~Simon & Garfunkle, 59th Street Bridge album

That has always been one of my favorite songs…I can’t tell you why but when I hear it, it just makes me feel good.  It’s a happy song, and we all know how I feel about my happy. 

As I’ve gotten older (and sober) it’s taken on new meaning.  Life moves so fast.  Don’t blink.  (I love that Kenny Chesney song too.)  Slow down.  Breathe.

Yesterday my son sent me this text…

“Do you realize that there is a point at which you and dad put us down as kids and never picked us up again?”


So I sent him this text…

“I hate you so much right now.”

Followed immediately by…


Here’s a fact.  I live to embarrass my children and they live to make me cry sentimental tears.  Well played my son…well played.

These are the times when I feel blessed that my drinking didn’t interfere with the time in their lives when I could pick them up.  Snuggle them and make it all better.  Run to greet them when I returned from a business trip and swing them around in my arms.  Turn them upside down and listen as they screamed with joy.  I was present then and when I read a text like that, I thank the good Lord that I was.

I just didn’t realize how quickly time was passing.  I was too busy being in it.  I tried to slow down, to make memories, to capture moments.  But it was hard.  When the girls were young it wasn’t too bad.  Two young girls, one I only had part-time, the other an old soul who never gave anyone a moment’s concern.  Then the boys came along.  All of a sudden I had a house filled with Legos and Pokemon and things moved very fast.  Some days it was all I could do to fall into bed, exhausted, only to wake and do it all again the next day.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

I’ve never regretted one single second of time since the day the first one came into my life and I never took it for granted (okay, maybe a little with my “old soul girl” but I was young and really stupid).  When people would stop me and say, “Wow, you’ve got your hands full,” I would reply, “Yes and they are filled with love.”  I meant it too.  But time still went way too fast.  It marched on in spite of the roadblocks I put up.

Now I sit, as an almost, empty nester, shaking my head and wondering how I missed that moment.  If I had been aware that it was the last time I would ever put them down, would I have done it differently?  Would I have held on just one more minute and savored the moment just a little more?  Tried to stretch the time?

No.  I would have put them down and stepped away and let them stand on their own – because that’s my job.  And I’ve done it well. 

Still sucks though.

Unless you’re my husband.  When I read him the text yesterday his response was, “Oh yeah and when I put them down I said thank God you can walk by yourself and I don’t have to fucking carry you anymore!”

Sometimes I hate him so much right now too.

Seriously. ;)


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On Writing

I have always loved to write.  Back in the day, I used to write letters to penpals and friends that had moved away.  I would write pages and pages and then get back…a paragraph.  It didn’t matter.  Undeterred, the next time it was my turn I’d do it all again.  I just loved putting the words on the paper.  Telling my friends all about my day to day life and conjuring pictures in their minds.  Staying connected.

Blogging before there was blogging. 

Well, I was blogging.  They were tweeting.

I took a slew of English courses in college (it should have been my major but…well…whatever) and decided that I should take both a journalism class and a creative writing class.

To say I royally sucked ass in both classes would be kind.  I was that bad.

The journalism class had too many rules.  Too many “don’ts”.  It didn’t give me enough room to really say what I wanted to say.  Duh Sherry – that’s what journalism IS you idiot!  I really did know that but it took that once class to let me know that the reporters at the Washington Post had nothing to worry about.  Their jobs were safe.  So were those on the Editor’s desk.

The creative writing class was even worse.  I discovered that I have no imagination.  None, zero, nada, zilch.  I’m way too practical and pragmatic to think up stories and plotlines.  I’m not even kidding.  You know how you look up a the puffy white clouds and call out what you see?

My kids, “Look mommy!  I see a duck!”  “I see a horse!”  “I see a table!”

Me, “Um…I see a…um…a…cotton ball?”

Yep…that bad.  It’s actually a running joke in our house.  “Hey mom look!  There’s a Q-tip!”  Yeah…my kids are hi-LAR-ious!

I go back and read my short stories and poems from that class and cringe.  I actually feel sorry for the teacher.  Poor woman had to read that crap and then give it a grade without crushing my spirit.  I’m glad she didn’t crush my spirit – I was doing enough of that all by myself.

Still I love to write.  This blog has been a way for me to take the written word, crunch it, craft it and play with it until I put it on the page and then, hopefully, it touches someone else.  It’s perfect for me.  There are no rules (except my self imposed ones) and since I write about things that happen in my world, I don’t have to make any shit up…thank God.

Not being able to make shit up means I don’t dream well either.  Not the snoozing kind of dreaming, I’m extremely proficient at that, but the kind were you wonder what and who you’ll be when you grow up.  You know that question people ask, “If you could be anything you wanted to be and there were absolutely no barriers, what would you do?”  Or, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”  Yeah, I usually end up stumped.  Uh…duh….I don’t know.

Except when it comes to writing.  That part is easy.  If there were no barriers (including a lack of talent), I would write for a living.  Not novels – again…I’d need an imagination for that – but blogs or non-fiction or articles or cookbooks or diet and fitness books or self-help/sobriety kind of books or all of the above.  THAT is my dream.  To make a living sitting at a computer, researching, writing, editing, re-writing and submitting…full time.

I think that’s why I got so excited about the Florida Rehab article.  Someone thought my work was good enough to be used on another website.  I’ve written another for another site on which I’m waiting to get approval.  It’s a long shot but I’m taking it.

One day, when I grow up, I think I’ll be a writer.


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Problem Solved

As you can see, I’ve removed my blogroll. After working on it for several hours last night (that is NOT sarcasm – it’s for reals yo) I realized that there is no way I can single out just 50 of the blogs I read AND I’m clearly not inclined to pay much attention to the blogroll to rotate or change them up from time to time (if past history is any indication).

So even though it pains me, I’ve taken them off for now. However, if you’re new out here and you’d like to know about some awesome blogs from some of the most wonderful people on the planet, just email me and I’ll be happy to send you the links.

Maybe one day I’ll become adept enough at WordPress to be able to manipulate my themes and make them bow to my will!!!

For now, not so much.


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Blogroll Drama

Do you guys get as excited as I do when you see your blog in someone else’s blogroll?  I don’t know about you but I get downright giddy when I look and see that someone who I respect and admire has me in their “Bloggers Who Inspire Me” or their “Blogs I Follow” or their “A Few of My Favorites” or their “whatever-they-call-it”.  It’s a rush.

Hell…even if I don’t particularly like a blog I get a rush if I’m in their blogroll.

I also admit to being disappointed when I don’t see my blog in a blogroll.  Small and petty yes but it is what it is.  It’s middle school all over again and no one wants me for kickball (trust me, I wouldn’t have picked me either).

So when I saw my blog NOT in a blogroll today I started thinking, “I wonder when they last even looked at their blogroll,” which then led to…

“OMG!  When was the last time I looked at my blogroll?”

Which made me look…which made me cringe…which resulted in this post.

See, it’s like this…

I was once on Blogger with one blog and then decided to stop that blog and start a new one on Blogger which I then decided to shut down and focus on the first but then I decided to pop on over to WordPress which I found too complicated to so I went back to Blogger and the original blog except that spam became awful and I didn’t want to have my readers do the word verification thing so I moved over to WordPress again and this time made it work except…

(deep breath)

…except that I don’t really like their reader and it doesn’t work on my work computer so I can’t read from there even if I wanted to so that’s when I went back to just reading on Blogger except that some of the feeds won’t work on Blogger so someone told me about Feedly but I didn’t like that either so I’m back reading on Blogger every day except for those feeds that won’t work in which case I’ve subscribed to their blogs if possible and I read them from my email or I go back to WordPress once I get home and read them from there.  So…

(deep breath)

…by my calculations I’ve got about eight different blog rolls going and I read approximately 495.3 blogs a day and comment on most so please don’t get your panties in a wad or your boxers in a bunch like I did if you don’t see your blog in any of my eight…no make that ten blogrolls because I promise that if you comment on my blog and you have a blog – I’m reading because I can’t make it through a day without my friends/therapists/writers out here in blogland.


I do realize that blogrolls are a great way for all of us to discover new blogs and increase our readers so I’m going to make a concerted effort to update my blogroll soon.

The problem is it only holds 50 blogs at a time.  That still leaves 445.3 out there…maybe I’ll rotate them.  ;-)


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