You’ll never guess what this is about

By Mir
February 23, 2006

I was chatting online with a friend last night and she started… I don’t even know what to call it. Berating me or complimenting me–depending on your point of view–on the fact that I post every day, and generally long entries, at that. I think this was brought on by her own “I should post but I don’t have anything to say and I don’t want to but I feel like I should” issues, but regardless.

This is a conversation I’ve had before. Every now and then someone points to my posting habits as if I’ve stumbled upon the golden ticket.

It bothers me for two reasons. First, it bothers me to think that there are “shoulds” to the mechanics of blogging. I enjoy many blogs that don’t have new content every day. I also enjoy some blogs where there are new posts multiple times a day. The frequency isn’t (to me) the important part. There are also plenty of blogs out there with daily postings that I wouldn’t voluntarily read if they were the last words on earth. (This begs the questions of how, exactly, all the OTHER words disappeared, and why we couldn’t generate new ones, but just pretend it made sense.)

The second reason… well, I’ll get to that in a minute.

I have to tell you a bit of a story, first. So that it will make more sense.

My ex and I met in grad school. It happened that a number of his friends from undergrad were also at that same school, but I didn’t know a soul when I first moved out there. I made new friends, and wrote to my old ones, and adopted my ex’s friends, and that was all fine. It all seemed about right for having moved 3,000 miles from home.

What I began to realize in fairly short order was that my ex’s undergrad experience was very unlike mine. I was not close to many people I’d gone to college with, and that was okay with me. He, on the other hand, had an entire PACK of friends he’d known for years, right there, and ANOTHER pack of friends scattered across the country, all from college. I thought that was pretty neat, actually.

At our wedding, this pack of alumni all clearly shared a bond that I didn’t quite understand. But that was fine.

A short while after we married, a friend of my ex’s from college came to stay with us on a visit. I forget why she was there. But there she was. I think I hadn’t met her before (she missed the wedding, I believe, though again I cannot remember why). I knew she’d been one of my ex’s buddies all through undergrad.

I also knew, within the first 24 hours, that I didn’t like her. It’s a pretty foggy memory–what little I recollect indicates that she was the sort of perky persona who strikes me as annoying and fake. That may or may not be true. If anything, I suspect it was her discomfort/nervousness that caused her to prattle on about things that made me think she was materialistic and pretentious. But I think for the first time I realized that I was just very different than the people my husband had spent the last 6 or so years around, and I think it made me feel inadequate somehow. And I think I probably heaped all of my insecurity onto this woman who was in all likelihood not so bad.

Having both missed our wedding AND, then, coming to stay with us while regaling us with various tales of objects and adventures that suggested she had a LOT more money than our starving grad-student selves, this woman was magnaminous enough to present us with a belated wedding gift. Of a book. A cookbook, actually. Which is a perfectly nice gift, truly. I like to cook. I would’ve been happy with the damn book if she had just given it to us and SHUT UP.

But of course, that’s not what happened. She presented the book as if bestowing the Shroud of Turin itself, and then spent the next eleventy hours talking about how it was THE VERY BEST COOKBOOK EVER. Really! Better than anything else! She has it and uses it ALL THE TIME! Jesus himself used this cookbook!

[Completely unrelated to the cookbook or even any other part of her visit: I also remember, quite vividly, watching her dig for something in her purse one day, and while moving things around she took out a case of birth control pills and laid them on the couch along with some other things, then–after finding the lost item–tucked everything back into her purse. Now, she was married, but she was also Catholic, and appeared to be quite religious (and when I say “religious,” I of course mean “uptight”). I was amazed that she would not only carry the Pill in her purse but fling it around so cavalierly and without embarrassment.]

The visit ended eventually, and I think that in 9 years of married life I only had to see her once more.

The cookbook was this one (although my edition doesn’t feature that slightly Medusa-esque cover graphic, alas). I didn’t use the cookbook for years after I received it. I had flipped through it once, noted that most of the recipes seemed either expensive, or complicated, or expensive AND complicated, and put it aside.

Time passed, and eventually we were no longer poor grad students. We were parents! With jobs! I was cooking “for fun” more often, and at some point I rediscovered the cookbook. I went through a phase where I tried a recipe from it every month or so. I still sort of sneered at dessert recipes that began with her earnest explanation of how you must use only gourmet so-and-so chocolate ordered direct from Belgium or whatever, but some of the concoctions piqued my interest.

I remember there was a recipe for Neen’s Peanut Sauce, complete with a commentary about how this was her sister’s recipe and she (the author) would “cheerfully eat it on slices of two by fours” because it was just that good. I bought coconut milk specifically for this recipe. I also made it with soynut butter rather than peanut butter, because Monkey was still allergic. It yielded an enormous batch of… glop. Which I deemed passable and no one else in the family would touch. Most of it ended up being thrown away, after a prolonged stay on the bottom shelf of the fridge.

At some point, we were having Chickadee’s former preschool teacher over for “tea” (a delightful ritual which allowed Chickadee to feel very grown-up) and I’d made some cookies from a recipe in the book. Our guest went on and on about how much she loved the cookies, and I told her about the cookbook. Well, one thing led to another, and pretty soon I had the book out and was sharing the recipe. She liked the book so much, I offered to let her borrow it. “Are you sure?” she asked me, obviously pleased.

“Of course,” I replied. “I know you’ll get it back to me when you’re done.”

She never did give it back, and we haven’t seen her for years. I kept meaning to call up and ask for the book, but after a while, I guess I just didn’t care. I would fight tooth and nail for a book that’s precious to me, but that one… really wasn’t, I guess. I hope she’s enjoying it.

Okay. NOW.

The second reason I dislike that sort of “you are so completely fantabulous for posting so much every single day” comment is because–as my chat friend and I decided in the course of this conversation–I am the Seinfeld of blogging. This is a blog about nothing. Don’t confuse my inability to shut up with “actually having something to say.”

To wit: A normal person with less mental illness than myself would come here and make a two-sentence post that said, “Hey, have you ever made french toast with split english muffins for the bread? It’s AWESOME.”

But me, I come here and tell you the entire preceding story, and conclude by mentioning that you know, the ONLY thing I now remember from that stupid cookbook was the author’s suggestion to use split english muffins when making french toast. I did it for dinner last night and the children couldn’t get enough of it. Perhaps there is purpose in all things, somehow.

Just not in my blog. I post every day because I’m an OCD motormouth. The end.

But try the english muffins. You won’t be sorry.


  1. Carolyn R.

    That is too funny. You may not have a lot of substance like neuroscience or astrophysics or metaphysics (see, I can SPELL) but you are FUNNY about daily life. WORTH A LOT to all us people slogging in the daily grind. Thanks for the laugh.

  2. dad

    I’ve been watching people ski off a jump, get fifty feet up in the air, do nine twists, four double sitzspins, two sombersaults, catch the partridge in the tree and land perfectly.
    You have the God given ability to write in a way that makes the most mundane experience into the ride of a lifetime. Add to that the two straightpersons who seem to provide you with unending material with only a modicum of editorializing and I’ll bet you have the more important gift.

  3. Belinda

    Well, I spent hours last night reading your archives, so I’d say you’ve got something going on.

    I also read in blogging “rules” that your blog should have a definite “theme.” ha-HA. If it crosses my mind, I talk about it.

    Cain’t help it, don’tcha know?

  4. Jennifer

    I’ve no idea if you know who I am or what I’m about, or not. But this post? It’s my favorite of the nanonillions of words you’ve ever written. And I mean that with all sincerity possible.

  5. danelle

    The best compliments I ever get about my blog are the couple of folks that say “I feel like I’m listening to you over a cup of coffee.” and “You write just like you talk.” I don’t post as often as I used to, I’m about to have my 6th blogiversary and I think I’ve pretty much talked about everything.

    Anyway..I think everyone that comes here feels like we’re sharing a tiny table at Starbucks – I think you have that effect on people, and that’s the draw.

    Your stories might be long sometimes, but most of what you write is necessary for what else you’re writing, know what I mean?

  6. buffi

    First, your dad kills me.

    Next, I am in awe every night when I come to read your post. You tell your day-to-day with such…well, whatever it is I love it. Chickadee reminds me so much of my daughter (I know you must get sick of me telling you that) and Monkey gives me a glimpse of Bear in a year or two.

    And the English muffin French toast. Sounds yummy. We’ll be trying that tomorrow!

  7. DebR

    You couldn’t pay me to try the French toast thing because the whole concept of soaking bread in eggs until it’s squoooooshy and then frying it and pouring sweet stuff on it is so bizarre to me that I’m truly baffled that it ever occurred to anyone to try it in the first place, never mind that it became popular.

    BUT, I totally get the blog about nothing dealie and you’re very good at it! I love stopping by to see what thoughts are making their way through your brain and out your fingertips.

    PS…Ok, that first part isn’t entirely true. I COULD be paid to eat French toast. But it wouldn’t be cheap.

  8. ozma

    I’m a new fan so I can’t say I noticed you post more than others but I find myself reading and engaged by everything you’ve written I’ve come across so you won’t hear me complaining.

    These are all about nothing. I thought they were supposed to be about nothing. Lots of things are, in the sense that Seinfeld meant (I think, maybe I don’t know what Seinfeld meant). You do nothing amazingly well.

  9. Mom


    For your information, ozma, she does a surprising, nay shocking number of things amazingly well.

  10. Karen

    I have both Beat This! and the sequel, Beat That! I haven’t cooked too many things from either, although the few recipes I’ve tried have worked out OK. I also bought her (Ann Hodgman’s) book of recipes for picky kids called One Bite Won’t Kill You! There are some good ones in there. What sticks out most about her cookbooks, though, is that at first I thought she was so very clever and so very humorous, but after a while I ended up wanting nothing more than to knock on her door, smack her, and tell her to shut up already. And, for the record, this never happens when I read your blog. :-)

  11. David

    French Toast! *swoon* I TOTALLY volunteer to eat any french toast DebR doesn’t want. *sticking out tongue in pesky, little-brotherly fashion*

  12. Bob

    Your blog isn’t about nothing, it’s about you. That’s why we come back, it isn’t (just) for your wit and sense of humor, or your ability to articulate the trials and tribulations of parenting, or that you do so (practically) every day. You’ve become a part of our lives by sharing yours with us.

    And I am (we are) the richer for it.

  13. diane

    Mir, I understand your feelings. Just last night I was debating taking my blog down again because I feel like all I ever write about is I’m sick/I’m over being sick, I met a guy/I just got dumped again. And I feel this must be painfully boring for my audience.
    BUT, my point (and I do have one) is that we are our harshest critics. There have been days when I’ve been down and I made a point to come to your blog because you always make me smile. Even your more difficult stories always have such moments of clever wit. So, keep on writing profusely, or I’ll have nowhere else to go when I’m blue. ;)

  14. Contrary

    Theme? Who needs a stinking theme?

    I love comin here and seein what the Woulda family is up to today.

    You just keep rambling on and we’ll just keep soaking it up, as if we were english muffin french toast and you were Mrs. Butterworth.

  15. Hula Doula

    I came with a different intention today but to hear of your OCD on posting made me thrilled.
    See I’ve been in a slump with posting. I will go a day without doing it. I will go a week without reading anyone elses only because I normally get interrupted by a little boy that thinks I need to spend my time playing Rescue Heros instead!
    Oh anyway back to the reason I stopped by in the first place. Kira’s wedding was beyond words. It was open and loving. It was purely beautiful. I wish you could have been there. (damn the fender bender) At least I would have “known” someone else there had you come.

  16. AuntieRob

    I start each work day by reading your blog. I have to tell you that your blog is an absolute delight to read EVERY DAY no matter what the topic or non-topic may be. When finished, I always feel as though I have touched base with an old and dear friend. Thank you very much.

  17. Melissa

    Your blog is absolutely hilarious. Who cares about sticking to the rules. I thought blogs were supposed to be an individual expression of the person writing it, not some formula written according to “Blog Rules”.

  18. Aimee

    Rules, schmules. There may be plenty of people out there in the blogiverse who write about their every day lives, but nobody else does it with such wit and humor.

  19. Neellocmarie

    I love the Seinfeld reference, which happens to be my favorite rerun show. And I absolutely love your posts and have been reading them faithfully since I began my own blog. I cannot even come up with one word to describe how much I enjoy what you write. You make me laugh (so loudly that sometimes people think I’m laughing at conversations that are happening in the other room) and some days I really need that. THANK YOU!

  20. Deborah

    I discovered your blog about three weeks ago. I became so enthralled, I visit most everyday now.

    Your nothingness is golden.


  21. chris

    Finding the humor in the mundane everyday events, that is what you do best.

    And that’s why people keep coming back.

    My husband had a pack of friends too, but they are from high school, which makes them infinitely worse I think. One woman, who was a cheerleader, so very UNLIKE me, kept telling me stories about when she dated my husband. God I hated her and her perky self.

  22. halloweenlover

    Are your parents looking to adopt another daughter? Because they are too cute.

    I’ll be trying the english muffins.

  23. liz

    So why didn’t you try to Beat Her with the Beat This cookbook? It just begs for you to beat something.

  24. Stephanie

    For someone who seemed very materialistic, that was a very cheap wedding gift. Just saying…
    I, too, start each work day by reading your blog. If you hadn’t posted, I would be 1) worried about you, and 2) feel like something was missing from my day and keep checking back until you do post. OCD? Who’s OCD?

  25. Stephanie

    BTW, I’m wearing my shirt to work today. I intend to have someone take a pic with our digital cam later. My husband took one look at me and said, ‘You can’t wear THAT to work!’ I’m keeping my jacket on while the boss is around.

  26. Jon

    I’ll be trying the english muffins….

    As for blogging…there are no rules…rules are meant to limit people and that’s the opposite of what blogs are supposed to do….allow people to escape!!!

    – Jon
    – Daddy Detective

  27. Jenn2

    And I thought I was being SUCH the rebel by not posting on my blog everyday. Dang it. Still not gonna post everyday. Just because.

    But I do think you’re a great writer and one of the leading wits of our time. And sooooo pretty.No, I don’t want anything. Random bootie kissing.

  28. margalit

    Your blog is about something. It’s about you and Monkey and Chickadee and your ex and your lives and how fricking funny you see the world, even when your boobs are leaking pus and you’re feeling like crap. If you didn’t post every day, I don’t think I could go on. I count on your humor that much, and I think that we’re blessed to have you as an OCD obsessive poster.

    I post more than you do, because my mind goes in spurts, but I don’t have your talent or your humor. I wish I did.

  29. Holley

    Dangit, I came up with the English muffin French toast thingie on my own, when I was out of bread, and I thought I was a culinary genius, and very, very original. Not so much, I guess.

    Even if your posts are “about nothing,” they always tell a story, usually with a punchline. That’s neither easy nor common, and is largely the reason why I haven’t posted squat lately (my life is sorely lacking in punchlines at the moment.)

  30. Janis

    Gotta tell you, I totally enjoy your daily posts and sometimes even wonder if I should have had some children at some point. Now at the wizened old age of 46, I think it’s much better to read about other mommy’s adventures. Your take on the daily business of living is fab.

  31. alala

    Anybody could blog every day. That’s not what makes you so completely fantabulous. What makes you fantabulous is that you make me laugh out loud every day. Every! Day! That’s what I wish I could do on my blog, and why I admire your blog so immensely.

  32. brenda


    You are pretty and wonderful, and write really, really well, even when it’s about boobpusalooza.

    When I first started reading your blog, I selfishly worried that you would get a real job writing full-time and not keep it up. Thank you, thank you, from selfish me.

    BTW, the best French Toast I’ve ever had was from a deli that made it from thick-sliced, braided challah. *swoon*

  33. Mom101

    Not every memoirist has to have been raised by his neglectful mother’s crazy psychiatrist in Northhampton where he spent his free time alternately documenting his fecal matter and having gay sex with the pedophile living in the shed out back.

    Some of us just try to make the everyday worth reading. You do it well. Don’t ever apologize.

  34. sweetney

    that was hilarious.

    and what is this whole ‘figuring out the secret of blogging’ crap about, anyway? seems like some sort of brain disease people are catching of late. personally, i think if you’re trying to find some magic formula for blogging YOU NEED TO STOP BLOGGING AND FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO DO. like, maybe knitting.

    i’m not talking about your friend of course, but there are people out there who are frankly creeping me the fuck out with their talk of ‘becoming an A-list blogger in 10 easy steps’, etcetera. its not like playing bridge or poker — something you can master through practice and learning the rules and how to manipulate them and others playing the game. you can write or you can’t. you have shit to say or you don’t. you’re interesting or you aren’t. and the shit you write doesn’t have to be profound or life-altering or *anything in particular*, except genuine and coming from YOU and your experience.

    did that sound bitchy? sorry, i’m just, well, irritated by the current climate of blogdom, i guess.

    crap, i really just wanted to say “heh, that was funny” and look what i did. talk about OCD motormouthism. gah.

  35. Mom

    halloweenlover – You are too sweetl But NO!

    And dad and I? We (now) deal with our problems by being divorced. It works well for us.

    But another daughter? No!! How could we possibly do better than we have already done?

    Yay, Mir!

  36. Cele

    I think you get it from your dad (no slur mom you rock too.)

    I never understood Seinfeld, but I get you. And my days (when time allows) are not complete without a dose of Mir (we should spell that Myrhh – and then it would be of Biblical propotions.) I had the early morning shift all week so I am catching up on my reading, I always save you for last – what a delightful Saturday morning. I hope your (jealous) friend isn’t someone I adore, because here is a rassssssberry to her. Etiquet schmediquet

  37. Heather

    I’m totally trying that! :-D

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