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28 Feb

They Said Shut Up

Last year, I received the following Facebook message:

Catherine –

I know I probably shouldn’t say this, but I have to ask you, how did you end up a “stay at home mom” with no job after all the university you took? … I have to take you off (my Facebook) as it is such a disappointment that you never did anything with your life and you do this all day… it was not what I would have imagined for you Catherine… so sad.

That’s an awesome message to receive, obviously, and – again, obviously – I wrote about it, because when the universe hands you that kind of awesome, you blog the hell out of it. This is what I said:

10 Jan

What Happens In Vegas

… actually doesn’t stay in Vegas when you’re a blogger.

(I need about sixteen naps before I recover my ability to write English in complete, grammatical sentences. Until then, I have nothing to say about Las Vegas and CES but this: SHINY. VERY SHINY.) (Which, as it happens, describes Ms. Alli’s sequined beanie in the photo above. It is always good to match your headgear to your surroundings.)

*****

Catching up on my kindnesses and random generosities:

13 Dec

If A Christmas Tree Falls On Your Kid, And You Don’t Film It, Did It Happen?

I’m not a professional photographer. Nor am I professional filmmaker or documentarian. But I do tell stories, and a lot of those stories are about my kids, and telling stories about my kids involves using photographs and video. So I am, if you will, a Semi-Amateur Multimedia Documentary Artist and Chronicler Of Family Narratives, and I do an acceptably decent job of it, if I do say so myself.

But it’s a job that has had a somewhat steep learning curve. Capturing the most narratively interesting moments of family life is only slightly less complicated than filming meerkats, not least because small children are less predictable than meerkats. Capturing the movements of children on film during the holidays is considerably more complicated than filming meerkats,  because during the holidays children tend to be jacked up on candy canes and Santa, and meerkats, to the best of my knowledge, don’t get all that excited about either of those things. But it’s not impossible, and well worth the effort, because although meerkats are awesome, they are not nearly as funny and adorable and documentary-worthy as your own children. You can make an awesome photo collage or montage or video that captures the awesomeness of your family during the holidays, and you should.

So, herewith, and humbly, some tips from me on how get adequately amazing footage of your family, whether on digital film or video or sketchpad, and use it to craft some remarkable holiday memories. (Or, Tips For Being An Awesome Documentary Filmmaker/Photographer/Auteur And Creating The Best Family Holiday Video/Photo Album/Virtual –Slideshow-For-Your-Mom-Blog EVER, Even If You Have No Idea What You’re Doing At All, Really. Or, Failing That, How To Get Just Enough On Film So That You Don’t Forget What Your Kids Look Like.) (Read all the way to the bottom! There is music! And PRIZES! And other feel-good things!)

22 Nov

Nerd At Work

So I’m trying to renovate this old blog, but it turns out that knocking down walls and building extensions onto virtual spaces isn’t all that much easier than doing so in brick–and-mortar spaces, so there you go. If I could, I’d just set up a few extra chairs and throw a sheet over them and say hey guys! I made my fort bigger! but it seems that there’s no HTML code for ‘sheets’ and ‘chairs’ and that a virtual blanket fort isn’t really a thing, so I kinda have to go with the whole complicated hire-a-professional enterprise and hope for the best. I should probably figure out how to do this stuff myself, shouldn’t I? I don’t even know that I could if I wanted to. I’m about as technically skilled as a drunk Luddite. So.

18 Nov

Ceci N’est Pas Une Mommy Blogger

20100910-PMN-Proudfoot-Vanier0020.JPGOh, hi! Can I tell you something about myself? I am not a mommy blogger.

Yeah, I know. There’s a baby in my header. There are lots of pictures of my children here, including that one, right there, on the left. (Aren’t they cute? I let them call me Mommy.) But still. I am not a mommy blogger.

I am mother, yes. I blog about my children, sometimes, and about motherhood, frequently, and about other things here and there (including but not limited to: religion and spirituality, grief, social causes, my nephew, cupcakes, social media, feminism, and zombies), and I do have the word ‘mother’ in the title of my blog. But I am not a mommy blogger. You can call me one, if you want, and I won’t, like, have to restrain myself from punching you. But I’d prefer that you didn’t.

8 Nov

A Word Cloud Is Worth 49 Words

wordle proper

My One Word, wordled. Or rather, my 49 One Words, as decided by you (duplicates were eliminated) and then transcribed into Wordle for the purposes of making a word cloud, which is so last-month-media, but still. Note that I opted to include the word ‘moist,’ despite my deep aversion to it, for the simple reason that a) it was suggested, and b) human beings are 98% water, so it’s probably accurate.

There were some words that were suggested a few times over – open, honest, impassioned/passionate, smart, strong – and I love those words. I also love Catherine J‘s suggestion of ‘Catherine Wheel‘ – which strictly speaking isn’t one word, but two, unless you hyphenate it, which I think that you can do with any words, really – and Annie‘s coinage of ‘philoso-activista,’ which I – being a transliteration-of-ancient-Greek geek, tweaked as ‘philosopho-activista’ – and Alli‘s sensible insistence upon ‘complex’… I love all of these words, really, with the obvious exception of the word ‘moist,’ and can see using all of them. But after reflecting upon all these words, and the ones that I had jotted down, secretly, in my Little Black Notebook Of Words That Don’t Go On The Internet, I settled upon this:

4 Nov

One Word

her bad wordsThere really aren’t words to describe the awesome that was – that is – Blissdom Canada. Unless that word is, actually, AWESOME, in which case we’re off to a decent start.

We spoke a lot about words over the three days that we spent together, even in sessions that you might not have thought would draw heavily upon the verbal and the literal and the rhetorical. During the closing keynote panel, we discussed personal branding, and our opening keynote speaker’s assertion that we are, all of us, marketing ourselves all the time, and what words have to do with this. Every every time that you put yourself out in the world and participate in social life – he said – every time that you open your mouth (use your words!) or put your fingers on a keyboard (use your words!), you’re marketing yourself. You’re saying: oh, hey! This is who I am! I am THIS guy! I am THAT girl! Which is kind of a crazy way to think about social like and interpersonal relationships, but you know what? It’s kind of totally true. And so by the end of our two days, we wondered what that had to do with the totally over-used and amply abused idea of The Brand, especially in the context of One’s Personal Brand, as in, oh, hey! WHAT’S YOUR BRAND? as the latter-day equivalent of ‘what’s your sign,’ except much less obscure, and, perhaps, slightly creepier if misused.

blissdom canada rocks

The word you’re looking for here is ROCKSTAR.

Anyway.

At some point, I asked my co-panelists if they could summarize their ‘brand’ – which is to say, describe themselves as they see themselves putting those selves out into the world – in five words. “Do it in one!” someone shouted from the audience, and my co-panelists (the divine women that you can see in this video) nodded furiously and said yes, yes and I shook my head and insisted, into the microphone, that I couldn’t do it in one, and everyone shouted back, no, no: ONE WORD, and so I conceded and asked my co-panelists: “what’s your one word?”