Category Archives: Blogging

Because I Am Such a Contrarian

I’m not sure when I became a contrarian—I don’t think I
started out this way, but my parents could speak to that better than I
could—but I cannot deny that the pattern in my adult life has been that
if I sense myself being ushered toward a box, I make a sharp left—or
right, you can’t pigeonhole me that way either—and dash away from the
box as fast as I can. Even if—no, especially if—I’m the one who created and announced the box.

So it shouldn’t have surprised me that the very moment I declared on Bonny Glen Up Close that my fabulous new notebooking system
had rendered that poor little side-blog obsolete, I would find myself
compelled to post there more than ever. Big long chatty posts such as
I’ve not written there in a long time, or maybe ever. And now that I’m
calling my own attention to this shift, it’s entirely possible the
chattiness will dry right up. Except that now I’ve called my own attention to that possibility. So there’s no telling what will happen.

Why We Blog

The wise and gentle Ann of Holy Experience has a post up this morning
about some blog-related questions I, too, have grappled with, am always
grappling with—this summer more than ever, as I’ve wrestled with the
question of how much to say about a new diagnosis my son received, one
that was not exactly a surprise and yet was certainly a lot to take in,
and which I very much want to write about (can’t imagine NOT writing
about) for a number of reasons, but I have made myself tread slowly
while I ponder the question of where the line is between frankness and
invasion of privacy.

(Boy, how’s that for a run-on sentence?)

Ann explains why she shares secrets.
Her reasons are very much akin to my reasons. Examining our lives helps
us see them more clearly, live them more joyfully. Recording our
stories is how I know I’ll remember them: the small moments that are so
important because they, like the tiny pieces of a mosaic, are what come
together to form the big picture of our lives.

And sharing the struggles, the successes, this is how we mothers
help each other. Seeing the ways other women handle the broken tiles,
the sharp corners, the dropped pieces, helps me to better discern how
to sort through the jumble of tiles in my own hands and scattered at my

Thanks for articulating it, Ann, and thank you for welcoming us into your kitchen, your fields, your good times and bad, so that we may be inspired by the mosaic you are piecing together with such tenderness and love.

Well, Well, Well: Another Bonny Glen Birthday

This blog is three years old today. I guess that means I’m entering my senior year of blogging?

I was going to do a whole big retrospective thing, but I can see I’m not going to have time. So I think I’ll just commemorate the occasion by pulling some highlights out of the archives. Oh, but first, I wanted to mention a few changes in the sidebar. If you read Bonny Glen in a feed reader (I just typed "feader"—is that a word yet? Nope, looks like it’s just a surname) you may not have noticed the tweaking I’ve been doing. I moved all the stuff about me, my family, or this blog itself to the left sidebar, and below that are some link lists and booklists.

In the righthand sidebar I’ve added a section called "Recently Read," which is subdivided into Books (my GoodReads widget), Links, and Posts. The Links section is a widget that posts my links. More on that in a sec. The Posts section is my Google Reader "recently shared posts" widget. These are posts from blogs I subscribe to, posts which have particularly caught my eye.

So if you want to know what I’ve read on the web lately that I found especially thought-provoking, moving, funny, or interesting, the Recently Read links and posts section of the sidebar is where to look.

But I know most people nowadays seldom click through to the actual blog! I know I rarely do, for blogs to whose feeds I subscribe in a reader. The reader is what makes blog-reading remotely possible for me in these days of many demands on time and too much good stuff to read. There are a few blogs that are such tranquil, lovely spaces I do always click through to read "in person," but for the most part, I am glued to my Google Reader.

(Of course some of you bloggers out there don’t publish full feeds, only excerpts, so I have no choice but to click through to read your entire posts. I don’t hold that against you. When I blogged at Lilting House, ClubMom required me to publish excerpts only. They needed the page views to generate revenue; ad sales, of course, were what funded their whole MomBlog program. So I understand about blogging for income and needing those click-throughs, and I’m happy to click through and help. If you’re a for-love-not-money blogger, however, and you choose to publish full feeds to the readers instead of excerpts, thank you thank you thank you.)

Anyway, since I know many of my readers probably only click through once in a while, I’ve decided to try out daily auto-posting of my links. That way I can share good stuff quickly, easily, and no one has to actually click through to find out what interesting web-goodies have most recently jumped out me. Enjoy!

Back to the sidebar. Below the Recently Read bit is my big category cloud—and yes, I know my categories are something of a mess right now; when I imported Lilting House into this blog, I realized I’d used slightly different category names over there, so now I have redundancies like "Special Needs Kids" and "Special Needs Children"—doh!) and below that, some assorted tidbits including the Cybils widget. Below that comes the Tidal Learning nearcircle widget, and that’s pretty cool because it updates regulary with chunky excerpts from all the blogs in the circle.

So there you have it. There are lots of other odds and ends tucked into these old sidebars, but the Recently Read section is my favorite.

When I began blogging here three years ago, my intention was to have a central place to share answers to the questions I was getting swamped with via email—questions about my books and questions about homeschooling curricula and methods, mostly. I quickly discovered, as so many bloggers do, that this medium is wonderful for capturing family memories: the quick funny story, the poignant moment, the killer one-liner that you would never remember if you didn’t write it down. So it wasn’t long before my children took over this space: more than anything, this blog is about them. Us. Our family.

My favorite posts are the funny ones. Those are the ones I go back and reread quite often. These people really do crack me up. The woset in the cwoset thing makes me burst into giggles at random moments.  Of course "Who’s on Surp" is probably the funniest of my funny kid stories. "Ha! I surped!" is still an oft-heard triumphant exclamation around here. (Along with the aggrieved outcry, "Mom, she’s smugging again!"—as in, ‘she ‘surped my spot and is looking smug about it.’)

This post narrated one of my favorite Rose and Bean moments.

This was a pretty exciting moment.

I see I’ve been complaining about long doctor’s-office waits since 2005.

Once, just once, I served cherry cobbler for breakfast.

Sniffle. I just got all nostalgic over this "day in the life" post from March of 2005.

I answered people’s questions about writing here

I went crazy for strawberries.

I dazzled the world with my awesome homemaking skills.

I melted over this picture by Beanie.

I rhapsodized about quiet time.

I started the Carnival of Children’s Literature. (New one goes up tomorrow, by the way. Check it out at Wizards’ Wireless.)

I gabbed about lots of other things, but if I don’t go get ready for Mass we are going to be late and it will be all my fault and I’ll have to write another post about embarrassing moments at church. So I’ll just end this with a big THANK YOU to all of you who keep on coming to visit me here in the Bonny Glen!

A Neat New Way to Connect: Nearcircle

I read about nearcircle at Rebecca’s beautiful Faerie School blog and couldn’t resist popping over to check it out. It’s pretty cool, I must say. Nearcircle takes the old webring concept and improves on it in a big way—it’s like a webring, a blogroll, and a feed reader all in one. With chat thrown in!

A webring, as you know, is a group of topic-related blog all linked together with a bit of code. You can click your way from one link of the chain to the next, all the way through the ring; this has long been a good way to discover new blogs on topics that interest you.

Well, nearcircle is like that, only better. You can join circles that interest you—I joined Rebecca’s Waldorf Homeschooling circle, for example, and I set up circles for Charlotte Mason Homeschooling and kidlitosphere blogs.

When you join a circle, you can enter your blog’s URL, and after that, every time you post on your blog, the people who visit that circle will see a link to your new post. You can put a circle’s widget into your sidebar if you want (see down there on the right, under the list of ClubMom blogs?) and new posts in the circle will automatically appear as they come in.

What’s the point? As with a webring, it’s a way to encounter new blogs on topics that interest you. It’s also a way to keep up with reading your favorite blogs (if they’re in a circle)—a kind of topic-focused feed reader.

Both on the circle’s individual pages and in the sidebar widgets, there’s a chat box. You can disable this in your widget if you choose, but it’s fun to be able to say a quick hello to your friends.

Nearcircle is very new, so there aren’t many circles set up yet, and the ones that are there don’t have many member blogs. I imagine that will change quickly. This technology is a HUGE improvement on webrings. I’ve maintained webrings in the past (and am still a member of many), and running one can be a pain in the neck: so much code to manage. What I’m seeing with nearcircle is that it’s easy-peasy and has more functionality. Coolio, as my hubby would say. 

The Big Summer Giveaway


Have you heard about the latest brainstorm of Shannon from Rocks in My Dryer? It’s the Dog Days of Summer Bloggy Giveaway.  All over the blogosphere, people are holding drawings to give away things they just never got around to using themselves: a cookbook here, a notecard set there, and so on.

Shannon’s got a Mr. Linky up so you can click through to all the participating sites. And count me in!

Somewhere along the line, I wound up with two copies of the amusing and useful book, Amo Amas Amat & More. It’s a collection of commonly used Latin words and phrases—common, I say, yet not quite common enough that those of us who were not classically educated necessarily know what all of them mean.  It’s a good book to leave by the phone so you can flip through and con a phrase or two while the health insurance company has stranded you on hold again.

Leave a comment on this post anytime this week to be entered in a drawing for a free copy (my spare, never used!) of Amo Amas Amat & More. I’ll draw a name on Friday (the 27th) at 6pm Eastern time. And scoot over to Rocks in My Dryer to see the ever-growing list of other giveaway items!

Apparently I Rock

Speaking of rockin’ girls


Coffeemama says I’m a rockin’ girl blogger. Awesome!

Little-known fact: I do a fabulous Cyndi Lauper impersonation.


You never noticed the resemblance before, did you?

That’s because I never wear more than eight bracelets at a time anymore.

Anyway, thanks for the compliment, Coffeemama.

I am now supposed to name five Rockin’ Girl Bloggers of my own. What’s hard about this is narrowing it down. I decided to tag only people I’ve never tagged before, but whose blogs I read regularly and who do, in fact, rock.

Sarah rocks, and this I know not just from her blog, which delights me, but from having been so fortunate as to live in her neighborhood for five years. She’s got funny kid stories to rival Karen’s  Ramona.

Mrs. MoneyDummy
rocks very large. She is rockin’ her way right out of debt, and that is totally tubular.

Beck. I wish I rocked the house like Beck. If I am Cyndi Lauper, she is Chrissie Hynde: smart, wry, oozing cool.

Patience.  I utterly dig her gentle, thoughtful vibe.

Sister Mary Martha. I hope she will not think me disrespectful for saying that I think she is one of the rockingest bloggers out there. Her deadpan style will make you howl, and the truth she speaks just might rock your world.