Category Archives: blogging

Quietly booming

Well, the Blog Awards were on Thursday night and I didn’t win, but it’s all right because Fionnuala did, with her lovely blog from Germany, and I’m happy that the judges went for a catch-all parenting/lifestyle blog not so unlike my own (though clearly superior), because in previous years I always felt that they wanted something very touristy or “diaspora-y” for the Diaspora category, which I couldn’t possibly give them.

Anyway, head over to Three Sons Later and give her some love, not least because she was kind enough to give me a shout-out when she won, and I’m pretty sure that has something to do with the way WordPress has just informed me that my “stats are booming!” (Booming for me is more of a gentle nudge. But appreciated nonetheless.)

While I’m at it, you should check out The Airing Cupboard and Office Mum and also Department of Speculation because I’m giving them my very own Awards For Being Excellent At This and Robbed and also Very Supportive Commenters and Lovely People. Not that they need my puny referrals, but for what it’s worth.


We’ve been talking about introverts lately. I finally picked up a copy of Quiet, by Susan Cain, which had been recommended by a friend ages ago, and though I’m not far into it yet, it’s fascinating and illuminating reading.

Labels are something that I’m wary of giving my children, because I don’t want them to become self-fulfilling prophecies, to create self-imposed limits – but sometimes it’s important to feel that you have a tribe, and that you’re not just a lone outlier. (Oh, the irony, if you’re talking about introverts.) And it’s been clear to me for a long time that Mabel is an introvert. Dash is an extrovert, that’s not hard to divine; and B and I are both on the introvert side of the scale too, but fairly social ones.

Mabel, I think, is more than that. She’s shy as well, but it was the way even as a toddler she’d need to decompress after a social event with a good old solo imaginary-play session at the dollhouse that really clued me in. She couldn’t just head to bed, no matter how late we’d been out – she had to spend a while playing first. These days she gives me the evil eye if I’m in the same room, and likes to keep the TV on so that I can’t hear the voices she’s doing, but the compulsion to play is just the same.

Yesterday we went to a start-of-year potluck picnic for Dash’s school. Dash was in his element, happily buzzing around with his classmates, old and new, and B and I were chatting quietly to a few parents and teachers. I was happy that Mabel had headed into the fray of children, rather than hanging out of me the whole time as she had done last year. But she wasn’t really enjoying herself, and after a reasonable length of time we ducked out. She was tired and tetchy and I was on the alert for a meltdown, so nothing untoward happened. But in the car on the way home I started telling them about the book I was reading.

A short description of the characteristics of introverts and extroverts had Dash and Mabel instantly placing themselves, and wanting to know more. When we got home, Mabel wanted me to read bits of the book to her. We talked a bit about how our society favours extroverts and tries to make everyone think they should behave in the most outgoing way possible, but that it’s perfectly good and excellent and fruitful to have a more quiet, withdrawn, thoughtful personality.

I think, just as much as finding out we could say Dash was dyslexic was a good thing, letting Mabel define herself as an introvert will be helpful too.

And it’s so much more socially acceptable than saying you just don’t like people very much.

2016-09-10-10-55-37

Connect

Blogging ain’t like it used to be.

I don’t know why. Well, I do. It’s not it, it’s me. It’s me, and it’s my kids. They’re people now. I can’t go whining about them on the Internet, because what they do is no longer unconscious behaviour, it’s not just because they’re a baby, it’s not all about me. It’s about them, and I can’t write about it if it’s not fun and funny, entertainment, light and fluffy and a quick boost for the reader on the bus. Don’t bring anybody down. Keep it easy. Take it handy.

Maybe I don’t have any readers on the bus. Maybe all my readers are people who know me anyway, who care about what I’m doing and how I’m feeling – but in that case I certainly can’t go airing my dirty laundry in public. Anonymity only goes so far.

When my daughter has a screaming fit of rage over something inconsequential, it drains me.

When my son ignores my request – telling – demand – shout – to stop doing the thing he’s doing until I physically remove him from the situation, it makes me angry. And guilty. And angry.

When I’m the one who always picks up the giant mess, I feel like a crappy parent because I got it all wrong.

When I make three dinners for four people, night after night, I wonder when they’ll grow out of it, and at what point I was meant to make it be different, and how that was meant to happen, and whether it was easier for everyone else or if I’m just particularly bad at it.

I don’t want to dwell on these feelings, because I’m mostly a positive person who doesn’t find it so hard to look at what I have done, at the good things, at my kids’ accomplishments and the times when they exceeded my expectations… but it’s all valid. The coin has two sides.

I feel this, and if I do, quite possibly you do too. My blog is not Pinterest perfect, Facebook happy, more than chirpy holiday snaps and snippets of hilarity as I show off my kids for their comedy charm and cuteness.

My blog is where it all hangs out – I tell you how insecure I’m feeling about my writing (hey, guess what, there are two spelling mistakes in the print version of the book, and I’m done with uploading corrections now) or how I worry about Dash’s dyslexia and how it will affect his future, how Mabel bit someone or how much of a double-edged sword tandem nursing is.

Because my blog is for connecting, and if everything’s perfect I can’t connect, except with all the other people pretending everything’s perfect for them too.

That’s not the connection I’m looking for. That’s not why I’m here. Why are you here?

Upside-down "Detour" sign by water.

I knew this would come in handy.


I wrote a book. It’s fiction for children aged 9-12, mostly, with a nostalgic Irish twist. If you want to know more about it, drop me a line at awfullychipper@gmail.com or tweet me at @awfullychipper.

Order

Sometimes the point of the blogging is simply that it’s nice to have one thing in my life that is within my control. My blog has no ulterior motives, it won’t do things and refuse to tell me why, it will eat its vegetables when presented with them, and if I tidy it up, it damn well stays tidy.

Other times, the chaos takes over and I’ve no energy for extras, even if they’re the extras that make me feel better.

So much for my lofty (that is, minimal) spring break plans. In the event, Mabel had a short-lived bug and then I had one that lingered, so that today is really the first day I feel like I can tackle things normally again, and the whole week is over. We got through it with a few playdates and a lot of television and minecraft time, and it’s just as well I didn’t really have anything pressing on my list of Things We Could Do, which were mostly just Things To Pass The Time Somewhat Usefully rather than Things That Had To Be Done. The kids got a break from schoolwork and homework, and we got a break from the school run and packing lunches, and the trees are in bloom and everything’s fine.

You can tell I feel better because my world-view has righted itself again. Yesterday that paragraph might have been a lot gloomier.

I think I can impose enough fake order on my life again to write things down about it now. Maybe a list of the blog posts I could write but won’t would be the best way to bring things swiftly up to date:

How to Host a Harry Potter Birthday Party for a Ten-Year-Old Extrovert Who Insists on Inviting Everyone He’s Ever Known. (Contents to make themselves known after the fact, in a few weeks’ time.)

How to Lose Those Pesky Five Pounds Before Summer (MyFitnessPal is helpful or you could just catch a virus, so long as you weren’t wanting to use energy for anything, ever)

Casual Misogyny, Classism, and Racism in the Works of Neville Shute; But I Still Like The Stories

Packing For Dublin in April (Layers. It’s always layers. Maybe a wetsuit.)

That Time I Was Briefly And Expensively Paranoid And Now I’m Getting New Glasses

Dressing For A Black-Tie Wedding in Twenty-Four Simple Steps of Buying And Returning Dresses, Shoes, And Support Garments

Being Sick Is Crap And It’s Much Nicer When You’re Better

15 from ’15

It is now that vague time between the One Thing and the Other Thing when we forage in the fridge for the rest of the cheese and are mildly surprised that the need to do laundry and buy milk continues just as before. Surely one of my Christmas presents should have been an invention to take all those tedious things off my hands forever more. But no.

Anyway, the other thing that happens now is people taking stock, looking back, reviewing the year, to get all that out of the way before the looking forward and making resolutions that will be happening in a few more days. So this is my 15 for 2015, part of a linky with Sadhbh at Where Wishes Come From. Pop over there and see everyone else’s 15s when you’ve read this. (Here’s mine from last year, just to see how far we’ve come.)

  1. Most Popular Post
    My most popular post, according to the stats, was the Yoda Cake one, followed by Weaning and then banana muffins. The Yoda and muffin hits come from Google or Pinterest searches, and the Weaning post was part of a Carnival of Parenting linky that gets consistent visits. But my most popular new post this year happened when I discovered a new term to judge and be judged by: Lawnmower Parenting.
  2. Favourite Post
    Once again, this category gives me trouble. Do I have to pick just one? Here’s a selection, chronologically:
    A stormy night
    Why I love New York City
    Dash turning nine
    Baseball
    Faith
    Fireflies
    Trust, which it turns out is very much like Faith
    Mabel turning seven
  3. Favourite Photo
    My favourite photo is often just my most recent. This is especially true now that I’ve taken delivery of my lovely new Christmas-present DSLR camera that takes such beautiful crisp shots. But I do have a few other faves from the year:

    Mountains and a beach and a big sky with clouds

    This one of the Kerry mountains at Clochane strand

    Dash and Mabel walking through a painted tunnel

    Or this one of the kids looking like an album cover, about a week ago

  4. Best Adventure
    Our biggest adventure this year was a three-week trip home to Ireland where we got to travel quite a bit of the country (and see some lovely Irish bloggers) as well as spending time with family in Dublin.

    Small harbour and island with tower

    Dalkey Island

  5. Favourite Craft
    My knitting fell sadly by the wayside this year: I got a lovely craft bag for Christmas last year so that I could keep it somewhere safer than a shopping tote, and somehow putting it away sounded the death knell. Also, I tried and failed at socks and didn’t do anything after that. I did (re-)learn how to crochet but I didn’t actually make anything after a few exploratory squares. But I’m planning another trip to Joanne’s any day now.
    Mabel and I made some nice melty-bead Christmas tree ornaments, though.
    IMG_2586
  6. Favourite Food I Blogged About
    I didn’t do much food blogging this year, but this post from the summer covered a lot.
  7. Most Common Theme
    Ireland, America, ex-pat, and parenting are my most oft-repeated tags. But I’d say the most consistent theme this year has been writing, if that’s not too meta.
  8. Favourite Comment
    Emily and Tric were my most frequent commenters. I love all my comments. No favourites.
  9. Favourite Celebration
    My birthday, I think. I spent it introducing my children to my the rock pools I played in as a child.

    Mabel on a small Irish beach

    Sandycove at mid-tide

  10. My Best Move
    I probably should say “Writing a book” but I’m going to say “Sending Dash to a new school.” He’s where he should be, progressing instead of just treading water. We haven’t sorted out his reading difficulties yet, but now I feel like I have a team of experts on the case, instead of just me, floundering.
  11. Best Blog Moment
    Did I have blog moments this year? Did my blog have moments? My blog isn’t that sort of blog, most of the time. I made the shortlist in the Blog Awards Ireland, but not the Finalists this time. I was in the running for Best Writer for the Irish Parenting Blogs Awards, though, in very good company. Tric won, more power to her.
  12. Favourite Thing I Wrote Elsewhere
    Aktcherly, I had an article published in a national newspaper this year; but that was as myself so I won’t link it here. The only other writing I did elsewhere was right at the start of the year when I wrote a few pieces for the brand new HerFamily.ie website. Here’s one: Six degrees of crunchy parenting.
  13. My Favourite Title
    Let’s take this one, even though it’s an old joke: Praise Cheeses
  14. Favourite blog-series or linky
    I joined in on a few linkies this year, but I’m going to nominate my own ongoing Transatlantic Subtleties series here, because it always brings out the word geeks in my readers, and I love you all for that.

    Map of Ireland showing provinces and counties

    Source: http://www.spirited-ireland.net/map/_counties/

  15. What My Blog Did For Me in 2015
    My blog was the place I came to talk about how the writing was going. I haven’t really told people in real life what I’m doing with my days when the kids are in school at the moment; I’m still holding out for that moment when things come to fruition and I can announce a triumph in public. But when I couldn’t keep in the impatience any more, when I had done something and needed to tell somebody – my blog was there. Thanks, blog.Head on over to Sadhbh’s place and see the rest of the linky!
    15 from '15: a recap of 2015 on Where Wishes Come From

Blogging crisis post

Argh. So hackneyed. If I publish this, my faithful readers (lovelies, all both of you) will leap in to say that they don’t care what I write about, they like to read it anyway. And the rest of the world will respond with resounding silence because they don’t read my blog, and that’s fine because I don’t need them to.

But if I don’t need them to, then why not just post whatever I want? Why do I keep saving half-written drafts and then letting them just die?

I can give myself all the advice, because I’ve given it to others over and over. Write what you feel, write from the heart, write for yourself, write what you know. Write as if nobody’s reading. Decide on your direction and don’t lose focus. Take a break and wait for your mojo to regenerate. Don’t force it.

This is what I’m not writing about, and how I’m not writing it:

  • My lifestyle blog would be posting about our finally made-beautiful new shower and all the muffins I’ve baked recently.
  • My social conscience blog would be posting about abortion, and the relative situations in Ireland and the US.
  • My literary blog would be posting a lyrical description of the dappled sunshiney autumn outside my kitchen window right now.
  • My parenting blog would tell you how school is going for Dash and Mabel, some challenges we’ve faced or are facing or are muddling through, the way everyone does all the time, with no great insights.
  • My special-interest blog would tell you about the dyslexia-related book I’m reading and how it might or might not help you or your dyslexic loved one.
  • My ex-pat blog would … oh, I don’t know, come up with some subtle differences in language or accent or tone or signage to symbolize my sense of displacement and/or growing acceptance of life in America.
  • My hilarious humour blog would tell you a couple of vaguely amusing stories about the time when I texted the wrong number about a bike for sale, or thought Dash was on a conference call when it was actually one of his teachers, or how the guy who did our shower thought he’d found a paper bag of fifties under our floorboards. All of which were funny/mortifying at the time, but really, can I muster the energy…?
  • My writer blog would talk about what I’m writing, or not writing at the moment, and how that’s going and how I approach it and all that stuff that’s only interesting if it actually turns out I’m writing a book that will really be a book, not just a bunch of words on a computer that took a lot of time when I should have been contributing to the household finances.
  • My lazy blog would stick up a bulleted list or a bunch of pictures and call it done.

Which blog will I be today?

Mabel by a lake

Random photo. A walk on a proper Irish grey day. No dappled sunshine to be seen.

New beginnings

It’s done. The book sale is over and both of my children are at school. Summer is over.

Now I have to make good on all those plans and whimsical notions of greatness I fermented over the long hot break. (It’s still hot. Heat index of 100 F forecast today.) So far I’ve thrown out a plethora of pine cones, magnolia seed pod things, sticks, stones, scraps of paper, abandoned art projects, and bits of broken plastic from the family room and the kitchen that I couldn’t seem to muster the energy to move until now.

If I pick up some more things tomorrow, and the next day, by the end of the week I might reach the carpet, and then I can hoover.

Meh. That sounds hard.

Dash headed off to school today. I feel as if today really is the first day of the rest of his life; that’s how much hope and confidence I have in the new school. I think this will change everything. It certainly changes my nice lazy morning routine into a more demanding one, but we’ll roll with that. I’m sure there are advantages to spending almost an hour stuck in traffic every day, when it’s an hour I’d otherwise have merely wasted on sleep.

IMG_1904

 

I forgot to take a first-day-of-school picture, but this was this morning, showing off the ribbons their entries in the photo show won. (Mabel got a first; Dash got a third.) First day of Fourth Grade, then.

——

Oh, I’m supposed to ask you something. If you’re so inclined, I’d be delighted if you’d click that button over there – the one that says “Vote for Us!” which must be the royal we or something because there’s only one of me, and then select Awfully Chipper, which is handily right at the top of the list, thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the alphabet. But only if you want to. No pressure, now.

——–

 

 

An interview with myself

It’s just possible that I have one or two new readers, thanks to the Irish Parenting Blog awards (hint, hint: see my lovely new badge and go check out the other great blogs); so first I thought that a good way to break the ice would be to say “Ask me anything” and then answer all the questions people might leave in the comments.

But then I decided that was tempting fate and it would look really quite pathetic when nobody asked me anything except possibly my husband saying “Do we need milk?” so instead I will ask myself some questions and answer them too. And you don’t have to lift a finger. See, I’m just thinking of you, lovely reader-person.

Hi, Maud.
Hi, Maud! (See, interviewee Maud is more chipper than interviewer Maud. Interviewer Maud is quite staid and boring, but interviewee Maud keeps trying to find the fun.)

That’s not such a common name, Maud. Is it in fact your real name?
Why no, Maud, it’s not. It is in fact a totally fabricated name that I came up with off the top of my head. My totally fabricated last name is Gonne.

I see. Why would you do that?
Because Maud Gonne (this bit’s for the Americans) was allegedly a great beauty (though she always looks a bit funny in the photos) and the love of poet WB Yeats’s life, though she done him wrong and married Major John McBride instead, as every Irish Inter Cert student knows who ever studied “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven,” which poor Yeats insisted on laying under her feet even though she’d probably just washed them and now she’d have to wash them again. No wonder she didn’t take up with him.

But why do you not just use your actual name?
Because it’s more fun this way.

And Dash and Mabel, are they your children’s real names?
Well, no. Which is mostly why the blog is anonymous, though with Facebook offering to tag everyone without my telling them anything these days, it’s quite possibly all moot, since I do have plenty of photos of them.

And B. Is he really called B?
His name starts with B. I couldn’t come up with a clever name for him. I should call him Marathon Man, but that takes longer to type and might lead to some queries about what exactly his credentials involved.

But he runs marathons. That’s obvious.
You have no sense of double entendre, do you, Maud?

Excuse me, who’s asking the questions here? And why is it called Awfully Chipper, for that matter?
That’s lost in the mists of time. I’ve been blogging since 2003, which is when I first moved to America, and it was some time before that that I thought to myself, “If I ever had a blog, which is a thing I would never do, I would call it Awfully Chipper.” I think it’s a quote from Buffy, but it’s not the one I thought it was. I stick with it anyway, because nobody else’s blog is called it.

Why do you think Americans might be reading this blog anyway? Aren’t you as Irish as the fillet of cheddar?
I am certainly just exactly as Irish as the block of Kerrygold Dubliner I have in my fridge. Which is to say I originated there and now I live in the USA.

Why would you leave the home of your ancestors and the greenest place on earth to go and live with a bunch of hippies?
Okay, that’s just a bit rude, now. I have to consider the feelings of people on both sides of the ocean when blogging. I don’t want to offend anyone. Which is a bad way to run a blog, really, because giving offense guarantees readers. And just writing the word offense is taking sides, because the Irish would spell it offence but WordPress is putting a red line under that.

Well sure aren’t you the authority on how to spell things? And you didn’t answer my question.
I am a copy editor, sometimes, yes. I like accuracy in writing. But I don’t actually judge my friends on the grammar of their Facebook posts. I really don’t. Hardly ever.

I left Ireland for the oldest reason in the book: I followed a boy. He left Ireland first, it’s all his fault. Now I’m married to him and his job is the sort that is in a niche area that’s all but impossible to get employment in at home, so we’re here. And we have children who think they are American (it’s just a facade) and speak with an American accent (I don’t really hear it, so it’s not as weird as you might think) and have two passports each. I also have two passports now.

And are you a crazy hippie because you moved to America? 
Nope. I’m a crazy hippie because it turns out that so-called crazy hippie childrearing things like low-intervention birth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, and extended (super extended) breastfeeding either appealed to me or to my babies and I went along with it. But as their babyhood recedes into the distance, my hippieness is no longer so obvious to the naked eye.

Are the people in America actually all crazy hippies? 
Nope. In fact, they think Europeans are much crazier-hippier than they are. This worked to my advantage because I could think Americans would give me a pass for my odd behaviour because I was European, and my Irish friends and family would think I’d been infected by Americans and their strange ways.

So what are Americans like, then?
They’re people, you know. Some of them are crazy and most of them are normal. Just like everywhere else.

This is very long and I have to go and pick up the kids soon. Can we stop now?
I suppose so. If they have any more questions they can ask me in the comments, but probably they won’t.

I’ll let them know. Thanks for talking to me.
Any time. It’s been real.

Sarkyboots.

16 to nothing

Dash at bat

All those reds look a bit threatening

Dash’s baseball team lost 16 to nothing in their first game yesterday. It was, I suppose you could say, a rout. He didn’t seem terribly put out, though. The commentator had said “nice swing” for one of Dash’s three fruitless swings at the ball, and Coach said the other team’s pitcher was unusually good. Mabel and I spent the afternoon moving from the sunny side of the field (too hot) to the shady side (too cold), chatting to acquaintances (me), making new friends (her), and respectively bugging and being bugged for things to eat. It was pretty nice, really.

The “shack” at the baseball field was open selling chips and candy and ice pops and also burgers and hot dogs, so it was a good opportunity for me to give her a dollar and say she could ask for a thing and remember to bring me back the change. Since it was being staffed mostly by 3rd and 4th graders (and also sometimes their parents) Mabel wasn’t shy, and I think she finished the afternoon feeling pretty good about herself.

I’m sorry if it’s all baseball here for a while, but (a) it’s a novelty, right? and (b) it’s going to take over our lives for a few weeks. Just go with it. I’ve decided that what we need for these busy evenings are to have those hearty main-course salads in the fridge that you can eat cold (or heated a bit) whenever you need them, so that when I have to get Dash from poetry club at 5 and have him at baseball at 5:30 and then bring Mabel to T-ball and stay there with her until 7 and then go back and get Dash at 7:30, there’s something quick and easy to guzzle in the five minutes we have to turn around at home.

You know, this all sounds lovely and idyllic and domestic goddess-y. And maybe it was and will be, in retrospect, like much of parenting. It was also annoying, what with the constant being bugged, and concerning – do we need sunscreen? Will he be very disappointed? And where is my hat? – and since B was off at a conference there was an element of single-parenting put-upon-ness to it all as well. And the rest is all hellishly overscheduled and hopelessly optimistic and doomed to failure and dinners of breakfast cereal and ice-cream.

But if I tell you about the downsides instead, to show you how real and authentic I am, am I not just being a whiny bint, with my first-world problems? Who wants to read someone else’s list of complaints? How do I craft it into a story that’s beautiful and true and tugs at the heartstrings and strikes chords with the reader without betraying all the other people whose emotions and actions my descriptions might be trampling all over? How do I turn it into a parenting epiphany or a moment of self-discovery or a brave exposure of my darkest shortcomings or some other thing that blog posts are supposed to be all about? What will make you want to read it?

—-

The Blog Awards Ireland aren’t happening this year, so the Irish Parenting Bloggers decided to fill the gaping hole in everyone’s social calendar with some awards of our own. I can’t go to the event, of course, being on the wrong side of an ocean, but everyone in the group is reading and voting and writing and voting some more, and of course it makes you extra self-conscious about what it is that you are flinging up against the cyber wall of your bloggy home to see what sticks. Is it entertaining? Is it niche? Is it too niche? Is it the wrong niche? Is it well-written and funny and homespun and beautiful and inspiring and also perhaps of special interest?

Time, and the shortlists, will tell, I suppose.

Mabel in a baseball cap pointing at the field

Mabel would like you to know where the baseball is happening

 

Not filed under “sick children”, but it could have been

My blog was sick. Just vaguely sick, the sort of thing you could ignore mostly and just let niggle, like a cough that wasn’t going away. But it was getting worse. I thought maybe updating to the new version of WordPress (as all good bloggers should do when they’re told to) might help. I even took the heretofore unprecedented step of backing up first.

Then it turned out I couldn’t download the backing up widget. I got another one instead, and that worked okay. I clicked the “Automatic upgrade” button, and nothing happened. I kept trying for about a day, just in case the internet stars were misaligned, but they didn’t realign on their own.

I even contacted my hosting company and asked for help. The nice man couldn’t replicate my problem and suggested I clear my cache. That seemed to help, and I felt silly. Then it turned out it hadn’t helped at all.

I decided there was nothing for it but to do the update manually. I started copying over files. It appeared I could only do them one at a time. I soldiered on. When I came to folders within folders, I had to make the new folders and populate them, one file at a time. I suspected this was not what I was meant to do. As I clicked on the folders and saw what was in them, I realised it would probably take me a week. Without sleeping.

I finally asked for help. On a more local level. It’s such a cliche, but my husband does know more about this stuff than I do, even though he doesn’t have a blog. He knows what FTP means and how to make it happen. Thank heavens for husbands, and similarly enlightened people. Transferring the whole thing at once, in three batches, was but the work of a few minutes and not nearly as hard as the instructions made it sound.

Hooray! said I. A whole new day of functional blog was dawning with the advent of WordPress 4.1. But no. The glitch was still there, and getting worse. Now my Jetpack (which minds my stats and various other widgets) was no longer connecting. WordPress.com no longer recognized me. My blog was still there, still working, but I felt as if some insidious termite was breaking it down pixel by pixel.                                 .

Finally, last night, I tried my hosting company’s chat help again, and this time they agreed that there was something wrong. When the tech guy you’re chatting to replies “Hmmm,” you know you’ve presented them with something interesting. In the end I had to pay real money for an unique IP address that I need because something happened to their server. (I shouldn’t need it for long, and then I’ll get most of the money back, but it’s hardly ideal.)

And this morning I logged on and there was my blog – instantly, not after ten seconds of a page not found message – and my stats were back and WordPress.com knew me and I had to fix up all the things that had gone astray and everything was shiny and working the way it should.

And it turned out that I really do care a lot more than I thought I did about this blog and I’m glad the backup widget worked because if I hadn’t done that I’d definitely have been freaking out because as it was I was surprisingly tetchy and stressed about the whole thing. So the moral of this story is to back up your blog, boys and girls. And that if something seems wrong, you should get to the bottom of it before it gets worse. Which is probably a perfectly good metaphor for life, too.