Staying Anonymous in the Balance Battles

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

In the past month, we've been treated to a wide assortment of guest columns: a 54-year-old's reflections on fatherhood, a childless employee's tale of discrimination, a Nevada mother's experience with a family medical emergency. Though disparate, these guest blogs shared one notable commonality: they were all written anonymously.

A lot of time and thought went into these pieces (Fred's piece may well have been the best single post I've read on this blog), and they were published by the online arm of one of this country's most storied newspapers. To refuse the opportunity to attach a name to those efforts seem a little weird. (The anonymity in the comments is more understandable but less welcome - an opportunity to escape responsibility - and I'm thankful that most commenters stick with their nom-de-plumes.)

I am left wondering if some of the reluctance to take credit reflects a continued belief that being an advocate of work-life balance -- or even spending much time thinking about it -- is a career liability. If your boss sees you pen a guest blog here, will you get pegged as some sort of under-committed rabble-rouser?

I've struggled with the issue. I pulled my real name off of the "About" page of rebeldad.com over a year ago, during my most recent job search, and I have only recently put my name back up there. The world is not always as I wish it to be, and I figured that I'd be best served if Google-happy HR directors didn't make the connection between "Brian Reid, medical writer" and "RebelDad, flexibility advocate."

Why is it that the quest for balance is best done on the sly, and that talking about anything other than the in-by-9 a.m.-out-after-5 p.m. life style is something to keep quiet? I think it may get back, in part, to the need for better metrics about work performance. When workers fear that they're not being judged on what they do but by when (or how) they do it, it makes it tough to be open about anything out of the norm.

I love the guest blogs, and hope they keep coming, anonymous or not. But I'd be curious to know more about why folks choose to scrub their name from their posts.

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  April 5, 2007; 7:10 AM ET  | Category:  Conflicts
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Comments

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First, but anonymous!

Posted by: First - Anon | April 5, 2007 7:31 AM

I am not so sure it is the workplace where people are concerned about remaining anonymous. Many are protecting their private lives and family.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 7:39 AM

Well, I've never written a guest blog, but I would choose to be anonymous also.

"To refuse the opportunity to attach a name to those efforts seem a little weird."

I think it seems weird to Brian because he is a writer who, naturally, stives to have his name in print.

I am basically shy, and don't like to be the center of attention. When I have to give a presentation at work to more than 5 people, I get sick and actually think I may have to trhow up. My biggest audience has been 20 people who were co-workers, and I still get nauseous.

I would never submit anything to a newspaper, including a letter to the editor, if I have to use my name.

Posted by: anon | April 5, 2007 7:43 AM

Or maybe the anonymity allows us to be more open with what we write. Sometimes, as you have seem with this blog, our ideas and feelings don't go over well with the crowd.

Being able to express our ideas and opinions without fear of reprisals is part of what free writing is about and what draws millions of people to comment.

Posted by: John Q | April 5, 2007 7:48 AM

I think most people are reluctant to disclose their public identity on the Internet, not knowing who can (or will) look up something they may have said weeks or even years later.

Then there's the capability of finding out even more information about someone just from knowing their name and the city they live in. Someone with a good search engine and knowing what questions to ask can find out a -lot- about someone if they know their name and home city.

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 7:56 AM

Anonymity is good if the guest blog sucks. If it's good, add a name.

Posted by: John P | April 5, 2007 8:00 AM

I think people remain anonymous so that he or she can speak freely even if the comments "go against the grain" and also not have to deal with people perhaps recognizing him or her in "real" life.

I find a number of people on this blog to be intolerant of other's views so why would anyone want to reveal themselves?

Posted by: anon today (the original) | April 5, 2007 8:03 AM

we're told to teach our children what a dangerous place cyberspace is. So why shouldn't we follow our own advice and take basic prophylactic measures to protect our own identities?

it may also be an issue of not being nailed using company time and resources to blog. take, for example, foamgnome (for whom i have a great deal of respect BTW.) attaching her nom-de-plume to her guest blog gave it both credibility and depth because we've heard so much from her about her life and views. linking her "real" name to the blog adds nothing, yet increases the chance that someone at her office will notice how much she participates in the blog. no matter how enlightened a particular workplace is, that's not something *I* would want. Would you, Brian Reid?

finally, i suspect rebeldad is coming at this from a slightly skewed prospective - that of a professional writer. you are right - Fred's piece was beautiful, and i suspect anyone would be proud to have written it. but i think many of us coming here, consciously or not, treat this blog as an ongoing conversation, not as a static written text (and yes, I know - no written text is really static!). i know i think of it as a cyber-version of the coconut telegraph... what do you think?

Posted by: 2terrificboys | April 5, 2007 8:03 AM

"Fred's piece was beautiful, and i suspect anyone would be proud to have written it."

Interesting. I had such great expectations from Fred, that I was somewhat disappointed in his piece.

Considering the enormous raw material he has to work with, his piece was surprisingly ordinary and not in an everyman way. It was plain mediocre.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 8:12 AM

Every fool has a name, but only some people have ideas worth expressing.

Ideas with merit stand on their own whether the person uses a "real" name, pen name, or no name at all.

Posted by: Unendlich Namenlos | April 5, 2007 8:13 AM

Hey Brian,

I am only 54. Will not be 55 until later this year!

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 8:13 AM

"Or maybe the anonymity allows us to be more open with what we write."

Survey says: ding ding ding ding!!

Writing a guest blog would be a one-shot deal, and I'd be happy to attach my name to that. BUT then people would know who "Laura" was. And all of the other stuff that I've written here over time is way, way, way more info than I would be comfortable knowing that the people I deal with every day might know about the real me. I mean, if I had some opposing counsel who I'd never met before come up to me and say, hey, hope baby boy has gotten through that rough patch from last winter, that would completely weird me out.

Has nothing to do with being intimidated to talk about balance issues at work -- we actually tend to talk about that a fair bit here. It's just the realization that I have zero control over who sees the info once I post it here, and what they do with it. "Plausible deniability," anyone? :-)

Off-topic to KLB SS MD from last night: nope, that wasn't me -- sorry!

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 8:13 AM

I loved Fred's guest blog!

Posted by: Circle Pines | April 5, 2007 8:16 AM

"Considering the enormous raw material he has to work with, his piece was surprisingly ordinary and not in an everyman way. It was plain mediocre"

This is why being anonymous is good. But then again who really care what this person this about Fred's piece.

Posted by: John Q | April 5, 2007 8:16 AM

I'm with Laura on the 'plausible deniability.' :-)

I think it relates to balance in one way: I think those of us who live in big urban centres, in particular, compartmentalize our lives a lot (this may not be as easy in a small town where everyone seems to know everyone).

At work I share only specific things; I don't often talk a lot about work with my friends and family; I have friends that I share some things with others that I share other things with. With work in particular I do feel that my work culture encourages a certain brand of professionalism where a lot of things are checked at the door.

Those divisions in my life have the potential to be wiped away by the Internet, because my family, friends, and coworkers all have access to Google. Hence pseudonyms. It's a control issue really - I am not /ashamed/ of anything I've written on the web, although there are a few usenet posts from my college days... ahem. Anyway.

I prefer to have some say over which parts of my life overlap. That is kind of the cultural expectation. Sometimes I wonder if the 'net will actually wipe that away.

Posted by: Shandra | April 5, 2007 8:20 AM

This is the best topic you could come up with Brian? Really? zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: thatguy | April 5, 2007 8:21 AM

"Many are protecting their private lives and family." KLB

This is precisely why I use my nom de blog.

There is no google hit for me, my first cousin is the one that comes up with my given name and I would rather not there be one.

I will tell you that Fred has been my nickname since I was in the army many, many years ago.

Thank you for your kind words and to 8:12, I don't mind honest critiques.

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 8:24 AM

I keep writing with my pen name as the anonymity (sp?) helps me organize my own thoughts and when these issues come up on the home front I have a clue on conventional wisdom especially from the F point of view on this blog. Has been really helpful. I am on a trading desk so I can watch markets, trade, reconcile, price - whatever - with the browser window open. I rarely see the outside world during daylight - so this blog and others help me attain balance.

Posted by: Fo3 | April 5, 2007 8:33 AM

Mustang II took a huge beating a few days ago. Her keeping herself anonymous was a good thing for her because it allowed to to be open and honest.

Posted by: John Q | April 5, 2007 8:33 AM

I sought advice here on dealing with DS's school yesterday. I KNOW that other parents at DS's school read this blog. Having my actual identity attached to this screen name at any point could create real problems.

Posted by: allergymom | April 5, 2007 8:39 AM

I use this nickname for privacy reasons, as others have also stated. I'm also pretty sensitive, so it's better for me to have people insult me with a fake name versus my real name (pretty silly, I know).

I did write a guest blog (yet to be published) and used my blog name. As someone else wrote, I thought it was best for the other readers who may have gotten to know me. My real name would have meant nothing to them.

Posted by: Meesh | April 5, 2007 8:41 AM

Off topic,

I just got Peeps and Pez from a co-worker for Easter. It's going to be a great day!

(Is 8:45 too early for a couple peeps?)

Posted by: Meesh | April 5, 2007 8:44 AM

Meesh,
It is never to early for Peeps (pink or yellow?)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 8:47 AM

8:12,

This is why I work as a contracts administrator rather than a writer. Good writing is tough, the talent for excellent writing is rare. Even Fitzgerald had his critics (no, not even comparing myself to him.)

Did you like my verse of last Monday?

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 8:47 AM

Meesh - Go for the Pez. Peeps are for amateurs ;-)

Note to self - Must replenish kids' Easter baskets before Sunday...

Posted by: 2terrificboys | April 5, 2007 8:51 AM

KLB, they're pink! And their herd has now thinned to three.

I didn't have great luck in the pez department, though. Two of the three packs are lemon. :(

Posted by: Meesh | April 5, 2007 8:52 AM

To Fred: Apologies. I always thought you seemed spritely.

To Just About Everyone Else: Thanks for the thoughts. While I keep details about my kids and wife (names, etc.) out for those reasons, I had no idea that concerns about internet privacy ran so deep. And I do appreciate folks like foamgnome and Fred who have kept their posting names out there and consistent, allowing us to build a rapport with them.

Posted by: Brian Reid | April 5, 2007 8:53 AM

what is a pez.?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 8:54 AM

The multi flavored packs are the best Pez (IMHO).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 8:54 AM

You've reached adulthood without knowing what Pez are???? Child abuse.

Posted by: oh my | April 5, 2007 8:55 AM

http://www.pez.com/

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 8:56 AM

Check out The New PEZ Chopper Created by the Orange County Choppers of TV Fame on the USA part of the site.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 8:59 AM

Frieda gave me the OCC Pez for Christmas. She just loves Mikey!

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 9:04 AM

Fred,
OCC?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 9:06 AM

Privacy issues are definitely the biggest.

You just never know who will google you years from now. At least the internet was small and all when I ( and I suppose many of us) were in high school/college). Apparently, many youngsters out there are learning that mistakes they've made as teens will come back to haunt them when they are applying for jobs in their twenties.

Posted by: atlmom | April 5, 2007 9:10 AM

KLB,

Hello! Did you have your coffee this am?

OCC= Orange County Choppers

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 9:10 AM

:pparently, many youngsters out there are learning that mistakes they've made as teens will come back to haunt them when they are applying for jobs in their twenties."

Posted by: atlmom | April 5, 2007 09:10 AM

Boy, I am glad that the internet was not around when I was a teen! Not that I did anything wrong, just saying!

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 9:12 AM

Fred,
Yes I did so no excuse so a big DUFUS award for KLB today.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 9:13 AM

atlmom,
Things are coming back to haunt them now. I have read about companies that check out the myspace accounts before hiring. Those drunken pics or nudes aren't going to help you get accepted to law school or the police academy.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 9:15 AM

KLB, that bike is a trip! How on earth did you find it? I guess you must be really into either bikes or pez. Both are completely acceptable hobbies, IMO.

On topic, now that I think about it, my stage name does have something to do with work. I don't share anything here that I wouldn't share with my co-workers, so that's not a problem. But I wouldn't want all of them reading the blog and talking to me. I think the fact that it's anonymous is what makes it fun. The same goes for friends and family. I talk about the blog sometimes, but I wouldn't tell them my handle. Of course, they'd eventually figure it out after reading for a while.

Posted by: Meesh | April 5, 2007 9:20 AM

I am probably pretty naive/paranoid but I stick with my pen name here because I am worried that a Google search might peg me as someone who's hoping to someday get pregnant. I don't want to give my present or any potential future employers that clue. I know that pregnancy discrimination is illegal but I can't help fearing that it happens pretty frequently. So I use a pseudonym for my own peace of mind.

(That, and I have a harmless stalker from my past who every now and then bugs me. So I'd rather keep my name offline as much as possible, even though it means I can't have a website to promote myself professionally, which kind of sucks)

All that being said, I love the colorful nom de plumes that some of us have adopted -- foamgnome, care to share the story behind yours?

And Meesh -- I could totally trip on some Peeps right about now!! I hope my mom/mom-in-law come through with the creme eggs on Sunday, too. ;) (though my favorite is robins' eggs . . . I hoard those at the after-Easter sales just like I do candy corns in November)

Posted by: NYLurker | April 5, 2007 9:20 AM

Meesh,
I missed my calling. Instead of being a nurse I should have been a researcher. I can find almost anything on the internet given enough time. Pez.com wasn't too hard :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 9:21 AM

Again privacy and work issues rank highest with keeping my identity hidden. This blog started right around the time I found out I was pregnant. Before that I never posted anything online but found an audience here that has been amazingly helpful with certain issues, especially with being a novice parent. Being able to ask personal/sensitive questions without people knowing who I am has been very nice as I am generally a very private person with only a few close friends. Honestly, most people on the planet get on my nerves:) so this blog has afforded me the ability to tune out and in when needed.

Posted by: Nutty Mama | April 5, 2007 9:22 AM

Well, I'm anonymous because my in-laws still think I "made him mentally ill", and the last thing I need is for them to recognize me in print or online.

But in the distant past, I did get a letter to the editor published in the Post, with my name. I was rather excited about it!

Posted by: MarylandMother | April 5, 2007 9:23 AM

I'm actually interested in this topic -- because I've wondered about a lot of the same issues that Brian raises. Personally, I think it may be that people don't give a lot of information because the topic is so sensitive and there's a tendency for people to look for reasons to discredit the speaker when they make a particularly compelling argument. (I.E. All those people who felt that LInda Hirschman was a "liar" when they found out she actually had kids.) If you argue that you "have to work" and give your name, someone here will surely google it and post the stats about how big your house is (using tax assessment records)and how much you paid for it. Nowadays, people can find out your salary, where you went to college, etc. etc. etc. and all that information CAN be used against you, unfortunately.

BTW, speaking of errors that young people make on the internet, I used to work for a nonprofit that mentored minority kids applying to college, and if you haven't done this already, please make sure your child gets ANOTHER e-mail account for all college-related correspondence, which is somewhat professional. (Somehow when "2bunniesonthebeach@aol.com" sends an e-mail inquiring about scholarships, it just doesn't get taken as seriously).
BAck to your regularly scheduled programs . .

Posted by: Armchair Mom | April 5, 2007 9:24 AM

The things people say are personal. I don't think it's unreasonable to want to remain un-named.

It makes the forum better because real experiences, good and bad, get aired.

Posted by: RoseG | April 5, 2007 9:25 AM

In the end, this is the World Wide Web. I once tracked down someone I met on another parenting site. I googled her screen name, and was able to find her real name, where she works, where she went to college, and where she lives. Luckily, this isn't information I was going to use for evil purposes (or any purpose, really). All I wanted was her book review site, where she critiques novels, and I was able to find that. And this isn't even for someone who used her "real" name on a blog...

Posted by: anonymity is necessary | April 5, 2007 9:28 AM

"But in the distant past, I did get a letter to the editor published in the Post, with my name. I was rather excited about it!"

It is a bit of a rush to see your name in print! I have been published before in professional journals and letters to the editor.

I have also been interviewed on TV in Hawaii, Pittsburg and N.O. (all under my given name)

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 9:29 AM

I remember the first time I had a phone in my name I looked it up in the phone book. Does that count?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 9:30 AM

Exactly what I'm talking about klb. I know that there have been pix of me when I was younger out there, but I don't think they are still there and I know they are not googlable (is that a word?).

I'm a big geek, and hung out with big geeks, so this was at least a decade before myspace. And google for that matter.

If you google my name you will find my very respectable volunteer effortrs, as well as some letters to the editor written many many moons ago(when they were written, no newspapers were on line at the time, even).

Posted by: atlmom | April 5, 2007 9:32 AM

1) for work and personal reasons. Why would you want your employer reading something you wrote pro or con about the work enviroment. Personally, I don't want to be identified or my family.
2) I think you can be more honest if you remain anonymous.
3) I often wondered if you wrote another guest blog with another pen name, how it might be perceived.
Part of the beauty of blogs in anonymous forum and the other part is on going dialogue using pen names.
4) short story on foam gnomes: I know I have posted this a couple of times but one more time. When I was in college one of my friends liked to steal gnomes off of people's property. He called it liberating the gnomes. I felt so bad one time, that I went the next morning and left a foam gnome at the house that he had just swiped from. Just a funny reminder of that care free time of life.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 9:33 AM

People choose to be anonymous on this blog for several reasons.

1) They should actually be working instead of surfing the net or participating in an online discussion.
2) They don't want people to know their true identity based on what they say.
3) For safety reasons---they don't want complete strangers being able to tag them and find them, visit their home, workplace, etc.
4) Some people don't feel the need to disclose every piece of information about themselves.
5) They simply don't care.

The internet in general is an anonymous "ring" where some people feel more comfortable giving details about their lives by not fully releasing who they are. Check out any chat room, blog, etc. and you will see anonymity at work.

Posted by: Anonymous Unknown | April 5, 2007 9:36 AM

Brian - It's all been said already, but people use this forum as a release - anonymity gives them more freedom with their expressions and opinions. Most Blogs are anonymous - it is not something new and unique so I am not sure whay the question is being asked now after 7-8 years (9-10, maybe more) of blogging.

Now, if Fred (or any guest writer)wanted to start thier own Blog I am sure the question would be more relevant. To provide a daily dose of anonymous writing on your own blog, then to expect a loyal following is a very different story.

Fred - if you ever start your own blog - will you reveal your secret identity??

Posted by: CMAC | April 5, 2007 9:37 AM

Exactly what I'm talking about klb. I know that there have been pix of me when I was younger out there, but I don't think they are still there and I know they are not googlable (is that a word?).

I'm a big geek, and hung out with big geeks, so this was at least a decade before myspace. And google for that matter.

If you google my name you will find my very respectable volunteer effortrs, as well as some letters to the editor written many many moons ago(when they were written, no newspapers were on line at the time, even).

Posted by: atlmom | April 5, 2007 09:32 AM

But...if you google your screen name, which I just did, it comes up on other sites. Of course, someone else can have the same "nick" as you.

Posted by: TO Atlmom | April 5, 2007 9:37 AM

Now you guys have me craving Easter candy, and my family doesn't do baskets anymore. My MIL does, but last year I got earrings and towels.

Can't eat those!

Posted by: dlm79 | April 5, 2007 9:39 AM

If I wrote a guest blog, I would certainly put my name on it. For one thing, an anonymous poster's opinions can only be given so much weight. If one truly stands behind what one writes, that person will put their name behind it.

Further, most reputable newspapers and organizations require a full name before printing similar content, such as a letter to the editor. It is just good journalistic practice.

Allowing anonymous guest blogs just allows whiners to vent with no accountability. I tend to think some of the lesser-quality guest blogs would have been more insightful if their authors were required to lend their name to their work product.

Using one's real name is about accountability and quality control. If I cared enough about an issue to submit a guest blog, there's no way I would use my somewhat corny moniker. I would proudly attach my name because I take pride in my work. And as a former journalist, the fact the Post even allows this makes me cringe.

Anyone can pick a screen name and go off on a rant. I don't care much to hear from those people. I care to hear from those who take ownership of their work and of their thoughts. In fact, I've never read an anon guest blog worth reading.

Posted by: catmommy | April 5, 2007 9:40 AM

Klb: yes, that counts. Raise your hand if you also looked up your name in the phone book.

(Raises hand)

Posted by: atlmom | April 5, 2007 9:41 AM

visit www.foamgnome.com

Posted by: yahoo'd | April 5, 2007 9:41 AM

Approximately 60,000 posts have been made to the comment section on the Onbalance blog.
There are 8848 different names.
Over 10,000 posts contain blank names.

Although there exists 553 regulars who have contributed over 10 posts, 61 individual have posted over 100 times and account for 28,137 submissions or slightly shy of 50%.

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 5, 2007 9:43 AM

But...if you google your screen name, which I just did, it comes up on other sites. Of course, someone else can have the same "nick" as you.
TO Atlmom | April 5, 2007 09:37 AM

Never really thought about that. Just googled "2terrificboys" and discovered that apparently i'm an ebay pro. Of course, i've never had any luck buying anything from ebay, but hey - if it's the same screen name, it must be me, right? Right?

Oh no, i think i'm having a existential crisis of cyber-being...

Posted by: 2terrificboys | April 5, 2007 9:46 AM

The paradox is what Brian stated. When we write we want to be known. When we comment we would rather be unknown. As a screenwriter, my name is all over my scripts, but commenting on blogs and other things like that I am John Q. I hide because I have the freedom to say what I like. When the world knows what I am saying I would rather have the world know who I am.

foamgnome, I never get tired of that story. Save the Gnomes!!

Fred, this place would be a less funny place without you. Fred is always good for a chuckle. I credit him with the lawyer jokes that brought Mona back to us.

Posted by: John Q | April 5, 2007 9:50 AM

visit www.foamgnome.com

Posted by: yahoo'd | April 5, 2007 09:41 AM

That is hysterical. And no that is not my website.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 9:51 AM

To to atlmom: well, it is not me- it is a pretty generic nick. In any event an employer can't find it anyway...

Catmommy: I understand your unhappiness with the practice- but I think sometimes people put more personal information in the blog than they would if they were to reveal their name.

Posted by: atlmom | April 5, 2007 9:52 AM

Well, I used my real name on my guest blog and did so for some of the reasons outlined by catmommy. I think it is perfectly reasonable to stick with an anonymous name, but for me it felt right to go out on a limb. Marc and I have made the championing of work/life balance issues of central importance in our lives, and at some point it just made sense to put our names behind our activism. Just as someone trying to build a reputation in any career field, we're trying to do so as spokespeople for a particular type of work/life balance. It is a risk, surely, but one that we felt was worth the increased ability to make a difference. Being an anonymous activist is possible, but it is limiting. If prospective employers Google us and find our comments and work, that is okay with us. At this point, if employers don't want to consider us for jobs because we believe in balanced lives, we probably wouldn't be happy working for them.

I definitely want to protect my children's identity in a global way, and so draw the line there. And when I post on topics other than parenting/work (here or on other websites), I'm happy to remain anonymous for all the reasons listed by others above.

Posted by: equal | April 5, 2007 9:56 AM

Shandra and Laura expressed most of what I would have said, but far more eloquently. I have 2 additional points.

First, I am part of a business in which my poor judgment could reflect poorly on my colleagues. They have a right to expect me to keep my web presence limited to professional info, for the good of the business. Clients and potential clients google me on a weekly basis (they tell me, comment on my photo, educational background, whatever) and I can ill afford to have them bump into personal details, political opinions, etc. in the process of conducting what for all intents and purposes is an online background check.

Second, my husband, kids, and friends have no control over my comments, and I have posted much personal information about them in the context of discussing various topics. It would be a betrayal of their trust for me to post information that would permit someone to identify them.

I see a tremendous benefit, though, for readers when submissions are consistently posted using a single moniker because past posts provide context for the positions various people take. That is enough, without names or other personally identifiable info, to make the content of value to readers.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 10:03 AM

Catmommy you are full of catpoopy. Since you are former journalist and your standards are so high, I wonder why you even visit this blog. Maybe to make yourself feel superior. We is just regular folks here, yup-yup........

Posted by: anon for several reasons | April 5, 2007 10:05 AM

"I'd be curious to know more about why folks choose to scrub their name from their posts. "

Because many of the posters here are cruel, snarky, sarcastic, threatening, and condescending. Like I want them to know what my real name is.

(G'head, say it, because I know it's coming - "like we want to know what your real name is.")

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 10:12 AM

"Second, my husband, kids, and friends have no control over my comments, and I have posted much personal information about them in the context of discussing various topics. It would be a betrayal of their trust for me to post information that would permit someone to identify them."

MN, that's another really good point. My family doesn't have a voice here, so full identifiers would be unfair to them.

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 10:14 AM

A couple of friends of mine pulled photos of their children and deleted their names from the family blogs (both myspace and stand alone) after I mentioned to them that they were providing anonymous viewers way too much information on their families.

That may be paranoia, or it may just be simple caution. After all, no one has any idea who is looking at a website via the Internet, or to what purpose they intend to do with whatever info they can get off of it.

I've got no problem with people wanting to remain anonymous online, especially if they are disclosing personal information that could be used against them by an employer or someone else. It's why I avoid using my actual name; I doubt I'd be as forthcoming about my life and my friends' lives if people knew who I really was.

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 10:15 AM

What is the difference between catlady and catmommy?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 10:16 AM

Catlady and catmommy two completely different people - do not confuse them.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 10:18 AM

I thought catlady was an engineer professor person and catmommy was obviously some sort of journalist at one time.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 10:18 AM

Because many of the posters here are cruel, snarky, sarcastic, threatening, and condescending. Like I want them to know what my real name is.

(G'head, say it, because I know it's coming - "like we want to know what your real name is.")


Posted by: | April 5, 2007 10:12 AM

It's not coming from me. I like to speak in complete sentences.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 10:19 AM

What is the difference between catlady and catmommy?

Posted by: | April 5, 2007 10:16 AM

This question cries out for the Logan airport test, e.g., if you were stuck at Logan for 4 hours awaiting boarding, with which poster would you rather spend that 4 hours? It's not a close call.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 10:21 AM

One thing about secrecy is that many of you have disclosed more than enough information for a person to figure out who you are and where you live. When you starting naming towns, schools/homeschooling, occupations, cars you drive, etc., you really narrow the field. Some of you who think you are anon may not be, especially to those who read this blog regularly. Such is life on the information superhighway.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 10:22 AM

I haven't read the comments, so maybe this has already been said, but I would NEVER send anything to this blog, except anonymously b/c the commenters tear people to shreds. I will never forget one of the guest bloggers getting totally ripped to shreds (and her husband too) last summer. I thought it was absolutely awful, and frankly I wouldn't want to put myself through it. You never know how the commenters are going to take something (or misconstrue or whatever.) Not worth it to me.

Posted by: Emmy | April 5, 2007 10:22 AM

Spurred by foamgnome: "I think you can be more honest if you remain anonymous. "

I think this i san interested and sometimes true point-- but as another poster said earlier, anonylity allows people to also be less than honest-- i.e. say "I have to work in order to live" and no one can dispute that-- but if they did provide an actual name, then they would have have to tell the truth "I work because I think that is the best thing for my family/ society."

I think both points are valid, even though they are opposing. I would prefer that the posters who takes offense at those who say mothers should stay at home be honest about their situtation rather than get defensive and say "But I HAVE to work!" but on the other hand, forcing people to use their real names woudl certainly stifle personal revelations. So in the end, we all just have to take everything we read hear with a grain of salt.

(Watch how this post is going to spur hundreds of anonymous people to say-- "no, when I wrote that I really need to work to live, I really meant it!" Listen, if that's the case, then this isn't directed to you. It's directed at people who get defensive rather than honest about working mothers, and sadly thereby set back the women's movement by accepting the argument that mothers should only work if it is necessary for food and shelter. I wish more mothers were strong and proud of their working circumstances rather than defensive about it.

Posted by: Sam | April 5, 2007 10:23 AM

Of course the Blog would be named "Fred's Fabulous Forum of Feeding." (breast that is) But I would not want to embarrass Frieda that way!

No blog for me as I am not a creative writer. Also, I really do not want my entire life under a microscope as many public people's are.

Fred and only Fred

I will specifically address Catmommy's point to say that all papers allow "name withheld by request" Blogs are conversation not hard news.

I think the difference in the anon or pseudonym vs. given name issue is dependent on what is written. If a person is writing non-fiction, news accounts, professional papers, scholarly research, etc, of course the given name is used. If a person is writing fiction, a strong desire for anonymity is sometimes desired. Consider that Mark Twain and many other writers of fiction write under an assumed name.

As to the internet, blogs with noms de net are quite common, probably for any and all reasons posted above.

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 10:25 AM

Fred

"Consider that Mark Twain and many other writers of fiction write under an assumed name. "

As do writers of non-fiction sometimes wrie under assumed names.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 10:29 AM

Some of you who think you are anon may not be, especially to those who read this blog regularly.

Posted by: | April 5, 2007 10:22 AM

You or someone who agrees with you posted a comment akin to this in the last several weeks. For most of us, its poppycock. Certainly it's possible that someone could reveal too much, particularly if she or he disclosed a job title shared by few, e.g., "I'm CEO of the number 1 laptop manufacturer in the U.S.". Most of us are cogs in one or more employer machines.

On the other hand, you and many of us have an exaggerated sense of our "uniqueness," for lack of a better word. To synthesize the key details of my virtual disclosures into a neat laundry list, if you or anyone else had access to all perfect information and made a list of the IP transactional lawyers residing in Cary NC and working in Raleigh NC who drive a Maxima, are Episcopalian ACC fans, married and have 2 kids (a boy and a girl), one of whom is ADD, you'd have a list of about 50+ female attorneys and for someone who doesn't read carefully, 150 male attorneys. Because of the unusual level of candor to posts on this blog, frankly, I'm not even sure my husband could identify me if he read every one of my posts for a couple of months.

My personal and professional details are not unique. My story is shared by many. In real life, my feelings are known only to me. In light of the plausible deniability Laura mentioned, few of us have any realistic fear of exposure.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 10:37 AM

"One thing about secrecy is that many of you have disclosed more than enough information for a person to figure out who you are and where you live. When you starting naming towns, schools/homeschooling, occupations, cars you drive, etc., you really narrow the field. Some of you who think you are anon may not be, especially to those who read this blog regularly. Such is life on the information superhighway."

To clarify my earlier point: I don't have any illusions about others' ability to identify me and track me down based on what I've said so far. I just don't think anyone would care enough.

I'm more concerned with things going the other way -- for ex., as MN noted above, someone googling me under my real name and coming across the blog.

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 10:40 AM

I like being anonymous on this blog because it's a sounding board for decisions I haven't made yet, and issues I haven't formed a position on. I don't really want my employer to know I'm thinking about adopting yet--there will be plenty of time to share that information when I've made up my mind. Heck, I don't even want Mr Bee to know how often I think about it--we talk about it reasonably often but we have a pretty different decision-making style and I am pretty sure he'd take my level of interest as an indication that I want to go for it, which isn't totally the case.
Also, as Shandra said above, it's a natural thing especially for a city dweller to have a pretty compartmentalized life.

Posted by: worker bee | April 5, 2007 10:40 AM

Wake me up when there's a real topic.

Posted by: Snore..... | April 5, 2007 10:42 AM

worker bee said, "I'm thinking about adopting"
Best wishes. I hope you go for it. Adoption is a beautiful way to build to a family.

Posted by: adoptee | April 5, 2007 10:44 AM

tick tock. tick tock.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 10:48 AM

Like in "Primary Colors, A Novel of Politics" by anonymous.

I just wonder how Joe Klein cashed the royalty check made out to anonymous?

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 10:48 AM

"Wake me up when there's a real topic.

Don't count on a real topic today, Sleeping Beauty. Soon the discussions will center on cocktails and breastfeeding!

Who has time to give flying f**k why someone is anonymous????? Get a vacuum cleaner for your navel lint!

If Brian had the slightest inkling that his kids/wife could be in any danger from pyschos using Internet info, he would instantly become anonymous.


Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 10:50 AM

"Although there exists 553 regulars who have contributed over 10 posts, 61 individual have posted over 100 times and account for 28,137 submissions or slightly shy of 50%."


Posted by: Blog Stats | April 5, 2007 09:43 AM


OK, I will bite, who are they other 60?

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 10:52 AM

another Brian column completely exhausted after 2 hours.

all the problems and dilemmas relating to balance and encountered by millions must have been solved overnight.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 10:53 AM

A lawyer and a blonde woman happen to be sitting next to each other on a
flight from LA to New York. The lawyer leans over to the blonde and asks if she would like to play a fun game.

The blonde is tired and just wants to take a nap, so she politely declines and turns over to the window to catch a few winks.

The lawyer persists, saying that the game is really easy and a lot of fun. He explains how the game works. "I ask you a question; and, if you don't know the answer, you pay me and vice-versa."

Again, the blonde politely declines and tries to get some sleep.

The lawyer figures that since his opponent is a blonde he will easily win the match, so he makes another offer.
"Okay, how about this. If you don't know the answer, you pay me only $5; but, if I don't know the answer, I will pay you $500."

This catches the blonde's attention and figuring that there will be no end to this torment unless she plays, she agrees to play the game.

The lawyer asks the first question.
"What's the distance from the
Earth to the moon?"

The blonde doesn't say a word, reaches in to her purse, pulls out a 5-dollar bill, and hands it to the lawyer.

Now, it's the blonde's turn. She asks the lawyer, "What goes up a hill with 3 legs, and comes down with 4?"

The lawyer looks at her with a puzzled look. He takes out his laptop computer and searches all his references. He taps into the air-phone with his modem and searches the Net and even the Library of Congress.
Frustrated he sends e-mails to all his coworkers and all of his friends;
all to no avail. After over an hour of searching for the answer he finally gives up. He wakes the blonde and hands her $500.

The blonde politely takes the $500 and turns away to go back to sleep.
The lawyer, who cannot imagine what the answer is, is going nuts trying to figure it out. He is more than a little frustrated. He wakes the blonde and asks, "So? What does go up a hill with 3 legs and comes down with 4?" !

The blonde reaches into her purse, hands the lawyer $5, and goes back to sleep.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 10:53 AM

and the moral of the story is: don't carry cash and you won't be tempted to wager it on a really stupid bet.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 10:56 AM

MN-but to me, you are unique!

I've definitely spent way too much time teaching kids not to give specific information over the internet.

Then there was the time I found a picture of #1 son (now 26) semi-naked with a guitar strategically placed on the internet...and another picture, evidently from the same night, where he was downing a beer bong...I advised him to remove the photos, but even now, 4 years later, I can still find them...everything lives forever on the internet...which is my reason for being dotted.

Posted by: dotted | April 5, 2007 10:57 AM

"Wake me up when there's a real topic.

Don't count on a real topic today, Sleeping Beauty. Soon the discussions will center on cocktails and breastfeeding!

Who has time to give flying f**k why someone is anonymous????? Get a vacuum cleaner for your navel lint!

If Brian had the slightest inkling that his kids/wife could be in any danger from pyschos using Internet info, he would instantly become anonymous.

Posted by: | April 5, 2007 10:50 AM

pATRICK? Is it you, honey?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 10:58 AM

I just ate two rows of purple peeps and feel sick to my stomach... good thing that I am anon

Posted by: single mom | April 5, 2007 11:00 AM

"Fred's piece may well have been the best single post I've read on this blog"

Huh?? I don't remember there being any big revelations about how to achieve balance that day. Fred loved his dad. If we're lucky, most of us love or loved our dads. Okay....what's to talk about?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 11:01 AM

Then there was the time I found a picture of #1 son (now 26) semi-naked with a guitar strategically placed on the internet...and another picture, evidently from the same night, where he was downing a beer bong...I advised him to remove the photos, but even now, 4 years later, I can still find them...everything lives forever on the internet...which is my reason for being dotted.

Posted by: dotted | April 5, 2007 10:57 AM

dear God, dotted, and this is how well they listened? I fear the future as my children strategically ignore all of my carefully transferred wisdom, LOL.

and thank you - to me, you are unique as well.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 11:04 AM

"Catmommy you are full of catpoopy."

Very clever, oh secretive one. I stand corrected.

Posted by: catmommy | April 5, 2007 11:05 AM

Well, I will leave the name what it is, not out of fear of anything in particular (I share Fred's age) but because I consider these sorts of internet discussions as casual and not formal.

Anyway, I could not work for a firm that sought out information about me from the Internet search engines. If they are so stupid as to take anything known to be out of context, perhaps incorrect and certainly outdated, as worthwhile, I do not think I will be able to do anything constructive in their company.

Secondly, every once in a while I will google my name and very little comes of it, mostly information on technical papers written by another fellow in another part of the country also so named.

About the only thing worthwhile to be considered is that, from reading the comments of the intelligent people here, I often don't know much about the subjects at hand. So, I might retain my elusive identity in an effort to hide my lack of knowledge. I'm not sure I want my wife to know just how clueless I am. Though I think she might already.

Posted by: Dave | April 5, 2007 11:06 AM

Actually, I have thought about this, as I contemplated writing a guest blog and in that context, my inclination is to use my "real" name - but I agree with everyone who has pointed out that it would have less context if regular readers didn't also know my handle ... but I haven't decided if that's a good thing or a bad thing! It might be interesting to see if I was responded to differently if people didn't make the connection :)
Like most here, I don't particularly want the casual acquaintenances in my life to be able to read everything I've written on this blog (yeah, yeah, for the slacking at work aspect too!). I have an unusual name, and when I am googled, the results are pretty much all me, so I try to be extra careful in monitoring what can be printed by and about me - there isn't the shred of doubt there might be if my name was something common and thousands of results came back.

Posted by: TakomaMom | April 5, 2007 11:09 AM

You should re-read Fred's column with the viewpoint that he was speaking of balance of a entire life not just a particular day, month or even year.

Posted by: to 11:01 | April 5, 2007 11:10 AM

Foamy, I googled your posting name and got 246 hits and your guest blog came up 2nd on the index followed by other Onbalance blogs.

Then I googled Father of 4 knowing the words were so common that anything I had to do with this blog would be buried way, way deep. I'll be darned if the guest blog I submitted back in September didn't get indexed 4th out of 126,000.

Leslie, I have a sneeky suspicion that your column generates a significant amount of advertising revenue.

As far as keeping anonymous, I'm sure there are people that read this blog and know me personally. But, so what? If anybody tried to hold what I've written or shared against me, it would be laughable. But hey, everyone could use a good laugh now and then I suppose.

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 5, 2007 11:14 AM

"You should re-read Fred's column with the viewpoint that he was speaking of balance of a entire life not just a particular day, month or even year"

That's why it is so disappointing. Think of what it could have been!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 11:14 AM

TakomaMom, Whether anonymously or with your name, I hope you follow through and submit a guest blog.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 11:15 AM

I've tried Googling myself, to no avail. I have the plainest, most ordinary name in the world. There are thousands of Google pages that come up, and anyone who feels like paging through all that to find me is welcome to my information (assuming that they guess correctly which one is me). My friends can't even find me on MySpace, even when they change the parameters for city and school. I might as well be John Smith.

Now, if I'd ended up marrying the BF-ish, I'd have a MUCH more unique name and that would be a lot easier to find. But I didn't, so I feel relatively safe.

Posted by: Mona | April 5, 2007 11:16 AM

To Foamgnome, who wrote: "I thought catlady was an engineer professor person..."

Dear Foamy (if I may be so personal), I only wish I had such an awesome profession. However, if you're ever job-hunting, I'd like to hire you as my agent, because considering how good you made me look good the blog board today, I can only imagine the benefits to my actual career (especially on my website!).

(Hearts), catlady.

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 11:16 AM

"I thought catlady was an engineer professor person."

that's dotted, among others.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 11:20 AM

My children are now 10 and 7. Five years ago I basically demoted (sp?) because I was perceived to be too concerned about my children! It was done in such a way that I could never sue. I was allowed to keep my salary and my supervisory duties, but I was put on a low-profile project with one day notice. Every time I complained, I was told that I should be happy! I've spent five years working to change my reputation. I don't dare link my name to this blog!!!

Posted by: SLP | April 5, 2007 11:24 AM

I've actually gotten into trouble at work for something I said on my own time, on a public discussion group, months after I said it.

A particular legislator got mentioned in a news article about how he wanted a particular alternative considered on a particular bridge project, and all I did was provide the link and some quotes from the news article to the discussion group.

However, this particular legislator apparently has some of his staff do nothing but search for his name on the internet, found my comment on the discussion group, and before I knew it, I had my branch manager telling me to not do that again, months after I actually did it.

Even though he agreed with me that I didn't do anything wrong, when legislators have thin skins that isn't always enough (especially when I work for the agency responsible for handling that project).

Apparently, because I work for that agency, anything I say in a public forum about any project can be construed to be an "official statement", which I said was 100% bovine fecal matter.

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 11:26 AM

"You should re-read Fred's column with the viewpoint that he was speaking of balance of a entire life not just a particular day, month or even year."

Is that supposed to be a big, shocking, unique point of view? Maybe that's why so many of you are not balanced, if you're trying to balance individual days instead of your entire life.


Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 11:26 AM

#1 son didn't listen to well....actually he did, but heck, he was 21 and an adult at the time of the errrr...photo op. He was also p*ssed from too much beer. Never mix beer with cameras with internet. Wise words that.

Posted by: dotted | April 5, 2007 11:26 AM

And a special "Thank you" to KLB SS MD, too!

Since I believe I came to this blog board after catmommy, perhaps it behooves me to change my nom-de-blog. Several other regulars already have, so it wouldn't be unprecedented, and might avoid future confusion (although the cat will be insulted).

FWIW, I agree with SOME of catmommy's points, but disagree with others. Even in the MSM, occasional commentaries are published anonymously when the writer has compelling reasons -- although the publisher knows the identity of the work's author, which I believe also to be the case for Leslie WRT this board's anonymously-published guest bloggers. But I'd have to write a veritable essay (oh, no!) in order to discuss my views in the necessary depth, for which I lack the time today -- so you all get at least a one-day reprieve (whew!).

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 11:31 AM

"Never mix beer with cameras with internet."

I aspire to your reason and rationality over the next several years, and will keep the above quoted phrase in my shorthand of guiding statements to my kids.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 11:32 AM

Aren't we all anonymous? I don't know any of you. You don't know me. Nom de plumes aren't any better than "Anonymous" or leaving the name space blank. It always kills me how people get all up in arms because someone makes a posting and leaves the name space blank. As if "Dilbert's Mom" or "Dad of 6" gives you any more information. We're here to share ideas and stories, not identities.

Posted by: No nom de plume | April 5, 2007 11:33 AM

Each member of an interview team at my company googles each applicant. It's not a policy, but it's become a habit for professionals in our industry. Last week, we declined to make an offer to an otherwise (on paper) stellar applicant, because he runs a blog and has posted many, many comments on legal and political topics. Some jobs require judgment. This is one of them. You never know when you will be seeking a new job and your personal comments and activities on the Internet will turn off a potential employer.

Posted by: OR Dad | April 5, 2007 11:34 AM

Aren't we all anonymous? I don't know any of you. You don't know me. Nom de plumes aren't any better than "Anonymous" or leaving the name space blank. It always kills me how people get all up in arms because someone makes a posting and leaves the name space blank. As if "Dilbert's Mom" or "Dad of 6" gives you any more information.

Posted by: No nom de plume | April 5, 2007 11:33 AM

Apparantly, it hasn't killed you yet.

I don't want to know you. I want to consider alternative viewpoints, along with whatever context and qualifiers help me to fairly assess the value of those viewpoints.

Comments "Dilbert's Mom" posts today are understood in the context of comments "Dilbert's Mom" posted last week. If Dilbert's Mom says something that only makes sense because of information or comments she's made in the past, I get more substance out of knowing that context than if she, he or it throws an unsubstantiated, context-less opinion onto the blog. Her, his, or its comment may have value, but since there's no point in following up with the spineless and snarky, I'll have no efficient way in which to assess that value.

In short, if you post with a moniker, readers may give your comment more attention. If you consider that your posts have value, you may want to consider whether they are reaching as large an audience as they do when you post them with no moniker. It's your call, of course.

Posted by: smurf | April 5, 2007 11:42 AM

catlady: I knew I wasn't crazy. You wrote a lot about Dr. Susan Burns (guest blogger -engineering professor). So I assumed you must be a prof of engineering because you seemed to know a lot about the tenure track position.
I know John L and dotted are engineers. I think there was a lot of engineering jokes going around some time ago.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 11:44 AM

If you don't regularly use the same name for your posts, or leave the name blank, then it is hard for anyone to keep the comments in the context of what has come before.

Plus, since there appear to be multiple posters not putting any name at all to their comments, confusion results when they post to the same thread.

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 11:46 AM

smurf

"In short, if you post with a moniker, readers may give your comment more attention."

Or less.

Posted by: smurfette | April 5, 2007 11:47 AM

Yes, engineers, attorneys and those in the financial industry appear to be well represented here. Of course, engineering covers a lot of territory.

BTW, are sensitivity to certain smells and extreme fatigue symptoms of very early pregnancy?

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 11:50 AM

Why do I always seem to have spare time at the office on Thursdays when the Boring Brian Blog is on???

Posted by: Ajax | April 5, 2007 11:51 AM

Ajax - save us and start a new topic.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 11:52 AM

I say yes to extreme fatigue as a symptom of early pregnancy. I was part of a carpool and someone got a new car. I thought it was the most comfortable car ever because I couldn't stay awake in the morning or the afternoon. When I had the same problem the next week with a different driver, I knew it had to be something more than the new car.

Posted by: to John L | April 5, 2007 11:54 AM

John L - Yes, but they're also symptoms of early stomach flu!

Posted by: worker bee | April 5, 2007 11:55 AM

JohnL: I know that extreme fatigue is definitely a sign. Has your wife taken a home pregnancy test yet? They are effective up to two weeks from conception. It that reads confirmed, go to the doctor (internist or gp) and you can get a blood test. I know I had my pregnancy confirmed in less then 8 hours with blood work from my doctor. It sounds like you guys hit a home run with this one! Best of luck.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 11:58 AM

"BTW, are sensitivity to certain smells and extreme fatigue symptoms of very early pregnancy?"

YES!! My first pregnancy I knew I was pregnant when the smell of peanuts on a plane made me throw up -- on day 28 of my cycle, before a test would even show anything.

Ditto for the "hit by a bus" feeling -- early pregnancy you could count on me to fall asleep in my office chair every morning and afternoon, and in my chair at home by 9 PM.

So back to the guarded congrats (I hope I hope!!).

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 11:59 AM

Well, that's what I figured, too. I love baking chocolate cookies for my friends, and the smell last weekend was filling the house. My wife shut the door to the library because she said it was making her sick and giving her a headache. She's been a lot more tired lately too; she's been sleeping more and waking her up in the morning requires dynamite and a prybar now.

We'll probably do the ept this weekend and see what it tells us, but so far everything sounds promising...

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 12:05 PM

New topic... would love some advice... I'm on my one billionth cold since my "dd" was born just over a year ago. She's had a few colds and seems to fight them pretty well; she eats/sleeps well, acts normal, etc. Me, on the other hand... whenever she gets a sniffle, I get full blown boogers! Did this happen to anyone else the first year of parenting? I know I'm not sleeping as well as I used to, but I'm not sleep deprived. I eat well enough and am moderately active. Not fun. Anything help any of you with this in the early years?

Posted by: Bad Mom | April 5, 2007 12:07 PM

I stay "anonymous" to keep the angry psychos from hunting me down and killing me for my awful sense of humor and pointed remarks. :-)

Posted by: Chris | April 5, 2007 12:08 PM

DH happens to have the same name as a couple of other people, one of whom runs a very weird blog, with strange pictures posted. So now DH is worried that potential employers will google him and think he is this other person (which would be a decidedly bad thing). Is there anything he can do? His name is not that common, so people might expect to find only him.

Posted by: Kathrina | April 5, 2007 12:09 PM

John L - knew i was pregnant with DS#2 when just about everything started smelling nasty. i had a terrible time with smell during both pregnancies, but it's definitely an individual thing.

suggest you get your wife something with a nice citrus odor that she can pull out at a moment's notice. badger balm tins work great because you can smear a little right under your nose and cover up the offending odor. best of luck!

Posted by: 2terrificboys | April 5, 2007 12:09 PM

"If you don't regularly use the same name for your posts, or leave the name blank, then it is hard for anyone to keep the comments in the context of what has come before."

Perhaps this is exactly why some people post anonymously - they don't want the context of what they've said before to come into play. There are people here with long memories, and they never pass the chance to slam something based on what they said 6 months ago.

"Plus, since there appear to be multiple posters not putting any name at all to their comments, confusion results when they post to the same thread."

And then there's what happened yesterday - I was bashed for being anonymous because someone confused something that a named poster said with something I said. It wasn't a case of mixing up anonymous posters, it was a case of making assumptions instead of looking back to see exactly who said what.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 12:12 PM

Kathrina,
When he writes a resume or applies he can write:
John Brown (and not the one at www.johnbrownpopszits.com)
:-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 12:12 PM

BTW, are sensitivity to certain smells and extreme fatigue symptoms of very early pregnancy?

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 11:50 AM

Yes. But they aren't the only ones. A home pregnancy test could tell you more...

Posted by: to John L & wife | April 5, 2007 12:13 PM

Is there a reason your wife won't just take a pg test?

Posted by: to John L. | April 5, 2007 12:14 PM

John L et al, the pregnancy tests from the dollar store are cheaper (at, get this- $1!), and actually more accurate. This is especially helpful if you are trying and need lots of tests and kits.

Posted by: Chris | April 5, 2007 12:16 PM

John L, please let her sleep. Good luck!

Posted by: experienced mom | April 5, 2007 12:18 PM

To John L.: I'll be sure to put ice cream on this weekend's shopping list, in anticipation of good news to celebrate. Or to drown my sorrows, if there's disappointment.

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 12:20 PM

catlady,
Don't forget the pickles!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 12:21 PM

"I'm on my one billionth cold since my "dd" was born just over a year ago. She's had a few colds and seems to fight them pretty well; she eats/sleeps well, acts normal, etc. Me, on the other hand... whenever she gets a sniffle, I get full blown boogers! Did this happen to anyone else the first year of parenting?"

Hahahahahaha!!!!! Let's just say my son is nicknamed "Typhoid Jakey." Last time he got a sniffle and a one-day fever; the entire rest of the family (including uncle and grandparents) was laid up for the next 2 weeks. Except, of course, his sister.

Feel free to try zinc, ecinachea, OJ, whatever your preferred prevention method is. But in my experience, the only thing that helps is time.

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 12:23 PM

Oh my, yes! I could smell that the milk was going to go bad two days in advance and I couldn't stay awake past 8 p.m. for MONEY.

I thought that I would avoid the morning sickness...until week 8. I remember thinking, "This child has to be a boy, a girl wouldn't poison her mother this way!"

Ha-ha-ha. Nature has a sense of humour.

Clean joke:

What's the definition of a son-in-law?

The man who isn't good enough for your little girl, but the father of the world's BEST grandchildren!

Psst....JohnL....Mother Nature's revenge on fathers...is daughters. It is amazing to watch this happen, first-hand. (Boys are pretty special too, of course.)

Posted by: MarylandMother | April 5, 2007 12:24 PM

bad mom: I never seemed to contract my child's illnesses. Best of luck.

Posted by: adoptee | April 5, 2007 12:25 PM

No, no, I'M not pregnant. Now, Mrs. L. may need some with HER ice cream...

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 12:25 PM

No, there's no reason why my wife wouldn't want to take an ept. We thought she may have been pregnant last year, and she waited until she was over a week late before testing then.

It's not like there's any hurry; if she is pregnant we'll know soon enough, and if she isn't, we'll know that too. I don't want to be hovering over her shoving ept packages in her hands, after all!

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 12:26 PM

To john l:

Why yes, extreme fatigue is a huge symptom.
I would go to work, get home, eat my dinner and whatever I could get off my husband's plate, then tell dh that I was tired and going to bed. At 7:00. I was completely exhausted.

Posted by: atlmom | April 5, 2007 12:29 PM

"Psst....JohnL....Mother Nature's revenge on fathers...is daughters. It is amazing to watch this happen, first-hand. (Boys are pretty special too, of course.)"

What's wierd is I am convinced that, when we do get pregnant, that we'll have a daughter. If we have a son I'll be thrilled as well, but for some reason I 100% believe we'll have a daughter. Maybe I'm just being stubborn; my family and my father's family was almost exclusively made up of sons, so it's not like there's a big history of girls being produced.

Everyone have a great weekend; mine just started!!

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 12:29 PM

If you mean the list where some people talk to each other in even more detail about blog subjects, you can write me at

Fred_and_Frieda@hotmail.com

Thank you Fred!

Posted by: MarylandMother | April 5, 2007 12:30 PM

JohnL: You and your wife are very patient. I would be dying to know. But I guess infertility teaches you the depths of waiting. How early can a home pregnancy test be accurate? I thought it was a week of being late. But I am not sure. I was two weeks late when I took mine.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 12:30 PM

"the only thing that helps is time."

Or not exposing your baby to the crud that every other child in town has.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 12:33 PM

"JohnL: You and your wife are very patient. "

Actually, they're not. If they were patient he wouldn't have said anything here and he wouldn't be asking questions like "are sensitivity to smells and fatigue symptoms of early pregnancy?" Perhaps he could quit monopolizing the blog with the discussion (read a pregnancy book or look it up at a website - it would take 30 seconds of your time) or just take the test already.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 12:35 PM

"the only thing that helps is time."

Or not exposing your baby to the crud that every other child in town has.

Posted by: | April 5, 2007 12:33 PM


Children build up immunity through exposure. So unless you plan to keep your children hermits all their lives, they will benefit from a reasonable (note use of word reasonable) amount of exposure to childhood illnesses.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 12:36 PM

"I would go to work, get home, eat my dinner and whatever I could get off my husband's plate, then tell dh that I was tired and going to bed."

Atlmom, that is exactly how I was, your description really made me smile.

On early pregnancy tests, I was convinced I was pregnant pretty much the day after we did in fact conceive, but I did not get a positive test until more than 2 weeks later. I kept trying the early ones and was so disappointed because I was just sure I was pregnant, my husband thought I was nuts. After two weeks I had one test leftover from a three pack and I thought, well, I'll just try it one more time since I've got it, and that was the one! So just remember you can definitely get false negatives with those ;)

Posted by: Megan | April 5, 2007 12:37 PM

foamgnome, some of the tests advertise that they can detect even as of the first day you miss your period. But it all depends on how much of the pregnancy hormone you make -- some people have very little, so would need to wait longer for the levels to increase enough to register. I made a lot, and invariably got a positive response no later than one day after my period was due (by which time I would have been having some minor symptoms for 3-4 days). I suspect that, if you are to the point of having some noticeable symptoms, you're likely far enough along to register on a home test.

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 12:37 PM

the only thing that helps is time."

Or not exposing your baby to the crud that every other child in town has.

Baby in a bubble.

Posted by: DC lurker | April 5, 2007 12:38 PM

Whoops, reading Laura's post made me realize I wrote that wrong - I didn't get a positive until more than two weeks after I missed my period, not after conception. Derrr...more coffee please!

Posted by: Megan | April 5, 2007 12:41 PM

Okay, this may be weird, but I dated and hung onto the home pregnancy test I took that confirmed I was pregnant. It's in the kid's memento box, along with the baby album. Yes, I cleaned it up first!

Emily, John L, (have I overlooked anyone--sorry),

I don't know what you have planned, but I wrote a note to my child, the day I delivered, and have stuck those in the baby books too. They don't know this, nor do they know that every birthday since then, I have written them another letter. Maybe someday they will want to read them.

Posted by: For the expectant posters | April 5, 2007 12:42 PM

"BTW, are sensitivity to certain smells and extreme fatigue symptoms of very early pregnancy?"

I have both of those right now. I slept 10 hours last night (I'm used to six) and it's not enough. Smells make me gag, and I have a cast-iron stomach. I have about half the symptoms on the "early pregnancy checklists" I've looked up. But my symptoms could also be explained by flu, right? Especially since I'm on the Pill and had what seemed like a normal period last week.

Help!

Posted by: anon this post | April 5, 2007 12:44 PM

Note: these are the same symptoms I experienced the first time around, and I was on the Pill then too, and using prophylactics.

:-(

Posted by: anon this post too | April 5, 2007 12:46 PM

anon for this post, I think your second post just answered your own question -- if you got pregnant once while using two forms of birth control. . . .

Seriously, yes, your symptoms could be either. If you're worried, try a home pregnancy test (yes, you can be pregnant and have a normal-seeming period).

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 12:49 PM

I stay "anonymous" to keep the angry psychos from hunting me down and killing me for my awful sense of humor and pointed remarks. :-)

Posted by: Chris | April 5, 2007 12:08 PM

And your crappy rap!

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 12:49 PM

"So unless you plan to keep your children hermits all their lives, they will benefit from a reasonable (note use of word reasonable) amount of exposure to childhood illnesses."

A BABY who has had a cold for the majority of her one-year-long life is not being reasonably exposed to childhood illnesses. And if immunity is built up from exposure, how does that explain the 4 year old who still has constant colds and other illnesses or the baby's 35 year old mother who has had 35 years to build up immunity but is still constantly sick?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 12:49 PM

Blog Alert!!

Could there be please be some kind of boredom early warning system/alert before each of the the pregnancy discussions ?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 12:50 PM

A BABY who has had a cold for the majority of her one-year-long life is not being reasonably exposed to childhood illnesses. And if immunity is built up from exposure, how does that explain the 4 year old who still has constant colds and other illnesses or the baby's 35 year old mother who has had 35 years to build up immunity but is still constantly sick?

Posted by: | April 5, 2007 12:49 PM


Well, either you can go see your doctor or you can whine endlessly on this blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 12:52 PM

One aspect of today's society continually amuses me.

Noone can ever be bored. Boredom is the enemy. Continual excitement/stimulation means you are alive and okay mentally and physically. Boredom is to be avoided at all costs.

To Anon at 12:50, just because a particular topic doesn't interest you, doesn't mean the topic is boring/shouldn't occur/whatever. In other words, get over it and enjoy life a bit, even the parts you deem boring at the time.

Posted by: dotted | April 5, 2007 12:54 PM

Blog Alert!!

Could there be please be some kind of boredom early warning system/alert before each of the the pregnancy discussions ?

Posted by: | April 5, 2007 12:50 PM
Just check the time stamp. Usually this blog goes down hill by noon. Definitely by 2 and it is just a free for all after 5.

Posted by: adoptee | April 5, 2007 12:54 PM

False alarm. She was just late, probably from the stress of dealing with her mom's estate a week or so ago.

Man, this is going to be one downer of a weekend for me.

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 12:55 PM

As for using a pen name on this blog, I should say that it doesn't mean you won't be recognized by those who know you and your life... my sister-in-law caught one of my postings a few weeks back and emailed to ask if that was me.

I used my real name when I wrote a guest blog in January, and it is the first thing that comes up on google -- for better or worse, I guess. Now the entry seems kind of whiney. But for a long time that first story up on google was one I wrote about breast implants several years ago...

Posted by: writing mommy | April 5, 2007 12:56 PM

I can remember falling asleep on a visit to a relative's house, all the female relatives in attendence apparently nodded knowingly to my DH while I slept. Lucky John L. and spouse!

On topic, I would never use my real name on a blog. It just seems too risky. I keep telling my kids about all the younger people trying to get jobs who are railroaded by unfortunate texts and pictures that they posted in their college/high school days or that someone else (a friend?) posted without their permission.

Posted by: Pink Plate | April 5, 2007 12:57 PM

Ah, crap, really sorry, John L.

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 12:58 PM

John L,
Bright yellow tulips (or some other colorful flower) are in order. Along with a bottle of wine that she can now indulge in. Sorry.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 12:58 PM

JohnL: I am so sorry for you. I will continue to hold up hope that the next one will be the good one. Relax and pamper yourselves this weekend. You deserve it.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 12:59 PM

Actually, they're not. If they were patient he wouldn't have said anything here and he wouldn't be asking questions like "are sensitivity to smells and fatigue symptoms of early pregnancy?" Perhaps he could quit monopolizing the blog with the discussion (read a pregnancy book or look it up at a website - it would take 30 seconds of your time) or just take the test already.

Posted by: | April 5, 2007 12:35 PM

Ri - ight. Because who'd want to read about a poster's potential happy announcement, real-life relationship and spouse, and re-live the happiness of confirming a first pregnancy when she could have an opportunity to read 50 more posts saying, using more words, I don't post my name on the internet because to do so is foolhardy?

Help us out here, anon at 12:35 and anon at 12:50 and identity your anonymous posts with a "BORING, WHINING POST AHEAD" alert. It would be ever so helpful.

Posted by: you get what you pay for | April 5, 2007 12:59 PM

I'm so sorry (((John L & wife))).

Posted by: MarylandMother | April 5, 2007 1:00 PM

And I do remember-*very * early on, putting on some pants, and thinking-hmmm-these are getting snug. Wonder what is going on.

We'd been trying, and I didn't even think about it. Just thought I needed to lose some weight or something. I think about it and laugh now.

Posted by: atlmom | April 5, 2007 1:00 PM

To John L.: Just hold her close, be kind to one another, and let yourselves grieve.

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 1:01 PM

I'm sorry to hear that, John. I understand it's going to be about 40 degrees around here this weekend -- a good weekend to stay in, drink some wine, do the Sunday Times puzzle together and enjoy the company of your spouse. I'd add, pop Monty Python and Three Stooges DVDs in to lighten the mood, but that's my perverse reaction to most of what sucks in life, and your mileage may vary.

There seem to be one or two women around here for whom an Easter basket assembled by the sort of awesome guy who bakes cookies would be a special treat. Or perhaps just the peeps.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 1:05 PM

John L., condolences..... :( A gift certificate for a manicure and pedicure....perfect for a stressed out person.

Does anyone else look forward to those black jelly beans in the Easter jelly bean bag?

Posted by: Pink Plate | April 5, 2007 1:07 PM

Pink Plate - I use all jelly beans as trade bait for chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. The best starting point is the ears of any hollow chocolate bunny.

ahem. What would you trade me for all my black jelly beans? Yum.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 1:09 PM

Just to update my data for accuracy:

Emily used to be "Rockville"?
Neighbor used to be "MS L"?
Meagans Neighbor used to be "NC Lawyer"?
Nutty Mama used to be "formerly soon to be mommy"?

Meesh, are you the porn star?

Catlady, please don't change your name to prevent confusion between you and CatMommy. CatMommy has 139 submissions and you have 376. You are always nice, but CatMommy rides a high horse and always submits a post that is condescending to somebody. It is very easy to tell you and CatMommy apart.

Fred, if anything changes in the next few months, I will update the top 40 list and post it on a slow day.

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 5, 2007 1:10 PM

WARNING, WARNING!!!!
BORING, WHINNG POST AHEAD!!!!!

Some people find some subjects to have endless triviality that drains their minds & souls.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 1:10 PM

Pink Plate,

Hi, how are you?

John L,

You might want to ask if she wants to watch anything special as per MN suggestion. For some reason, most women do not see the humor in Gilligan's Island.

Like in what is funny about seeing Gilligan hit in the head with a coconut?

Seeing him hit with two coconuts!

Although I think that MN would like GI

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 1:12 PM

Some people find some subjects to have endless triviality that drains their minds & souls.

Posted by: | April 5, 2007 01:10 PM

Such person might find that if, instead of whining and labeling other posts as "boring", she posts an interesting comment, she might start an entirely new and interesting thread.

As a general proposition, taking action is more satisfying than *itching and moaning, particularly if one's soul is almost drained dry.

Posted by: anon for Thursday | April 5, 2007 1:15 PM

Megan's Neighbor....hmmm...that is a question, I would definately give up some chocolate (milk but not the dark) and certainly all of the malted eggs that periodically end up in my basket! Lucky for me, no one else in my household likes the black jelly beans!

Posted by: Pink Plate | April 5, 2007 1:15 PM

"Meesh, are you the porn star?"

Dude or Dudette, do you really think anyone would admit to being porn star, puppet master or Chrissy?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 1:15 PM

To Blog Stats: Hey, I'm not always nice; in fact, I got flamed so badly at first for some strongly-held views that I nearly went away permanently (and we're not just talkin' protracted solitary confinement in that infamous sage-green cave here, either!). While there's much to be said in favor of expressing oneself civilly, I reserve the right to be as assertive as I deem any occasion to require ;-)

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 1:15 PM

John L, too bad. Good luck in the future.

Posted by: Meesh | April 5, 2007 1:16 PM

Has anyone tried the Starburst jelly beans? They are the bomb.
You can have all my malted milk balls - free - they suck. Give me your black jelly beans and I will consider sharing chocolate as long as it isn't Dove dark chocolate.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 1:17 PM

Blog Stats,

No, I wanted to see the top 61!

Brian did change my age to 54 in the opening article! Not necessary but I find it a bit amusing.

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 1:18 PM

Thanks everyone. I have tried and tried to avoid getting too enthusiastic, since I know at our age it's not all that easy to conceive. This month was so different, though, I began hoping that perhaps, this time was it.

Obviously my wife knew better, as she was (and has been) the patient one between us. I've always been the one to jump right in and get a project started and see some results, so this emotional roller coaster is torture for me.

BTW, those chocolate cookies has 32 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate in them, including 9 oz of Giradelli (sp) "intense dark-72% carob" chocolate. I gave a batch to my single mom friend before she took off for a vacation to the beach; I should have put a "for adult use only" sticker on them so her girls wouldn't be bouncing off the hotel room walls...

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 1:19 PM

Normally, I hate jelly beans but I agree with KLB that starburst are very good. Don't care for the black ones. I am chocolate eater myself. I love Dove dark chocolate.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 1:19 PM

KLB SS MD -- Oh, curse this anonymity! I would happily trade all my black jelly beans for those luscious malted milk balls!

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 1:20 PM

Here's a balance question for Easter weekend.
Mr Bee and I have to have Easter dinner with both of our families. My dad is severely ill. His family has out-of-town relatives visiting, who we only see a couple of times a year. We're trying to split the weekend down the middle and of course both families feel shafted and want us for the whole weekend.
While it's nice to be popular it's a constant tug of war between the families. How do we explain ourselves better? Are we handling it incorrectly--does one family really have a better claim to us this weekend?

Posted by: worker bee | April 5, 2007 1:20 PM

Am I the porn star? Well, if you ask my husband...

Just kidding. Nope, I'm not. I just defended her and others in her industry. I'm interested in knowing who it is too, but I respect her privacy.

Posted by: Meesh | April 5, 2007 1:22 PM

worker bee,
IMHO, seriously ill trumps visting unless he isn't up to company (but your mom might need it).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 1:22 PM

workerbee:given your dad is severely ill, I don't see why his family would need an explanation. And vice versa, your family should be understanding of out of town guests. Could a compromise be reached? Like invite your inlaws to celebrate with your family. I really don't understand why more families can't be sympathetic about those situations. I hope you work it out. Since DH comes from a divorced family, we have 3 houses to split our time with.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 1:24 PM

worker bee, sounds like you're doing the best you can in a tough situation -- personally, I'd lean toward extra time with your dad, but I could see that would be hard since his relatives came from out of town. Any chance you can maybe split up and spend some one-on-one time with your own relatives?

Oh, and give up on trying to explain yourself better -- if you've got grown adults who are actually giving you a hard time because they don't get 100% of your time (especially under these circumstances), there's pretty much no "better" way you can put it. Some people just aren't happy unless they get everything they want exactly when and how they want it. Usually, we call those people children. But sometimes, we call them family. :-)

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 1:27 PM

Worker Bee,

Is one family more religious than the other? Would one side appreciate you being with them more on Sunday rather than Saturday? (or vice verse if Jewish)

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 1:27 PM

While we're trading, you guys can have my jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, peeps, and malted milk balls if someone forks over a creme egg.

Wait, four creme... Okay, 30 creme eggs. That's all.

My kingdom for a creme egg!

Posted by: Meesh | April 5, 2007 1:29 PM

John L I'm so sorry- I know the ups and downs each month can make one crazy. It is easy to say don't dwell on it, but that is just what one ends up doing.

Take advantage of the couple time tho. My husband has always said that he only wanted 2 kids since we are both one of 3. When we talked about it recently he said one reason not to have more is that he wants 'me' back. He loves the kids and we all have fun together, but he is looking towards a time before kids and fewer responsibility and the ability to go on trips, etc, and do different stuff.

So take advantage of the you two together time as much as you can.

Posted by: atlmom | April 5, 2007 1:31 PM

Thanks, Guys. I think I'm going to load up on Vitamin C and try to go to bed early. We've tried to keep her away from other crusty kids, but have found that now that she is toddling around any hopes for any kind of bubble is useless. We've got Purell all over our house, and yet... sniffle, sneeze sneeze.
John... Sorry you guys weren't successful this time. Like Foamgnome, I was so impatient when we were trying. Took tests the day the package said I could .Your wife is going to be an excellent mom when your time comes; patience is so key!
Re: candy... Jelly bellies all the way.

Posted by: Bad Mom | April 5, 2007 1:31 PM

Meesh,
You can have all my creme eggs too (esp those sicky sweet cadbury ones).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 1:32 PM

Megan's Neighbor....hmmm...that is a question, I would definately give up some chocolate (milk but not the dark) and certainly all of the malted eggs that periodically end up in my basket! Lucky for me, no one else in my household likes the black jelly beans!

Posted by: Pink Plate | April 5, 2007 01:15 PM

oh, Pink Plate, I'd LOVE your malted eggs and milk chocolate. We should have been sisters so we could do an even up trade and both be thrilled with the outcome. sigh.

Worker bee - I am on the opposite side of the fence from KLB, so you have support for whatever choice you make, LOL. I subscribe to your plan to split your time between both sides of the family and let everyone feel as though they had less time than they wanted. That's their problem. Who knows what tomorrow holds? Seriously ill dad could be here next Easter. Horrible as it is to consider, and as you know, seemingly healthy visiting relatives could be gone tomorrow. Easter is an opportunity to share the good news with everyone you love if you have the opportunity.

Background explanation: I come at this from the perspective of being part of a family who always travels to visit both sides. No one travels to us. When we make the effort, take the time, buy the plane tickets, stuff the kids in a car for 14 hours and drive, and one of my husband's brothers can't seem to stop by and see us over a 4 day period, or my sister doesn't choose to reschedule a kids' activity such that we have to plan Saturday's agenda around a 1:30 p.m. violin lesson, it makes us roll our eyes. We won't stop going, but please reward the traveler for their efforts in coming to see you.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 1:33 PM

Has anybody seen the experiments some non-peep group does on the peeps every year? They roll over them with steamroller and tires of all sorts - poke them with sharp objects and nasty utensils. Something like 7/10 times the poor peep comes back to it's original form.

Peeps are like little tykes toys, I think they will survive a nuclear blast and the winter that follows.

Posted by: cmac | April 5, 2007 1:34 PM

MN,
And we all agree to disagree. I see your point as I used to be the only one who would drive 7 hours then run around like a crazy person to see folds. Now the folks are almost all gone and I regret my years of complaining about it.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 1:35 PM

Black jelly beans - blech! My dad always got all of those - for free! I second the starburst kind - takes care of that problem :)
Laura - love your 1:27 post - couldn't be more true!
My son and I have spent the last three Easters completely alone because it hasn't been a convenient time for cross-country visits and his friends' families are typically on vacation somewhere ... I only wish I had people fighting over us :)

Posted by: TakomaMom | April 5, 2007 1:38 PM

Thanks, all of you!

Laura, thanks for the vote of confidence!

Fred, neither family is very religious, luckily (sometimes we get around the split-weekend by having a whole other Easter on some non-Easter day).

foamgnome, 3 houses--wow! I don't envy you those logistical conversations. Do they get along?

KLB SS MD, the visits are in some ways a burden on my mom even though she needs the support. So many people come by that she feels on the hook for a lot of extra meals and tea and cleaning. So, I'm arriving with lots of Easter food. This is one way where the in-laws are great--my MIL will send a whole basket of baked goods with me to my parents' house.

Posted by: worker bee | April 5, 2007 1:38 PM

Megan's Neighbor: So true about the seemingly healthy folks not being guaranteed to be there always.
You've reminded me that when my dad first fell ill Mr Bee and I had this exact same split-holiday situation, and later that week one of Mr Bee's visiting uncles passed away very suddenly. If we hadn't split that weekend we would have missed our last chance to see him.

Posted by: worker bee | April 5, 2007 1:42 PM

John L. you don't know how lucky you are. Stop all that drivel about comforting each other. You should be doing a happy dance.

Birth control pills will also skew your sense of smell. When I was on BC pills the smell of cigarette smoke made me throw up more than once. This was when people could, and would, smoke anyplace they felt like it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 1:44 PM

Worker Bee,

Would your dad like to see any of your in-laws? Perhaps there could be more round-robin visiting this weekend? What a difficult position to be in.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 1:47 PM

"John L. you don't know how lucky you are. Stop all that drivel about comforting each other. You should be doing a happy dance."

This one is a jaw-dropper. Why not stand by your statement, and sign your real name?

Posted by: to 1:44 | April 5, 2007 1:50 PM

M-N I know how you feel. My dh and I would go to visit relatives and they'd complain about this or that. Or would *never* pick us up at the airport. My sister had the gall to say: oh of course I'm coming when you have a baby! -for the *second* one, when no 1 was 3 and she had never visited. So we don't visit, they complain, and I'm happier (oh, and yes, they pull the whole-sorry can't see you we have dinner plans or whatever crap). Other sister complains that there isn't enough to do here. Oh, sorry, I'm not entertaining enough for you.

Posted by: atlmom | April 5, 2007 1:51 PM

WARNING, WARNING !!!

BORING, WHINING POST ALERT!!!

The cause of the high divorce rate in the U.S. has been found!!!

Domestic conversations of endlessly tiresome details!


Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 1:53 PM

My parents live far away, so that is not a problem. We get on a plane and visit them two or three times a year. In laws are a whole another story. For the most part, his divorced parents do get a long. But it is weird. We have to eat two thanksgiving meals, go to two homes at Christmas etc... Luckily, Easter is just us at home. For whatever reason, the inlaws do not make a big deal out of Easter celebrations. I don't understand why divorced parents of adults can't just split a holiday. Like one take Christmas eve and the other Christmas day. Or one do thanksgiving the other do Easter. But that is how they are. I put my foot down after DD was born and refuse to go for Christmas. I got tired of spending the whole day driving around to different people's houses. One year we had to go to 4 different houses on just christmas. It was 10 Pm when we finally got some food after everyone else had eaten. It did not help that his Dad has been twice married and twice divorced. So on Christmas, we used to visit both of his divorced parents and his half siblings at his ex stepmother's home (their mother's house).

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 1:54 PM

Worker Bee, are you in a situation where you can ask your father what HE would like in terms of your visiting this weekend?

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 1:58 PM

John L. you don't know how lucky you are. Stop all that drivel about comforting each other. You should be doing a happy dance.

Birth control pills will also skew your sense of smell. When I was on BC pills the smell of cigarette smoke made me throw up more than once. This was when people could, and would, smoke anyplace they felt like it.

Posted by: | April 5, 2007 01:44 PM
Are you working hard to be a jerk or does it come naturally for you?

Posted by: adoptee | April 5, 2007 2:00 PM

WARNING, WARNING !!!

BORING, WHINING POST ALERT!!!

The cause of the high divorce rate in the U.S. has been found!!!

Domestic conversations of endlessly tiresome details!

Posted by: | April 5, 2007 01:53 PM


Speak for yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 2:00 PM

John L. you don't know how lucky you are. Stop all that drivel about comforting each other. You should be doing a happy dance.

Birth control pills will also skew your sense of smell. When I was on BC pills the smell of cigarette smoke made me throw up more than once. This was when people could, and would, smoke anyplace they felt like it.

Posted by: | April 5, 2007 01:44 PM
Are you working hard to be a jerk or does it come naturally for you?

Posted by: adoptee | April 5, 2007 02:00 PM

I will venture to say that it is probably a "gift".

Posted by: to adoptee | April 5, 2007 2:04 PM

catlady, it's funny but it really didn't occur to me, as my mom is always the social convenor for the family. I will definitely ask my dad.

anon at 1:47, my dad finds my in-laws pretty tiring right now as they're high-energy talkers--but we're planning to do a cottage weekend with both families for one of the summer holidays, assuming my dad's well enough to go.

Posted by: worker bee | April 5, 2007 2:05 PM

Hare Krishna: Sh*t happens, Rama Rama.

Posted by: Everybody knows... | April 5, 2007 2:16 PM

"Are you working hard to be a jerk or does it come naturally for you?"

And people wonder why women hate women!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 2:16 PM

Oh, and give up on trying to explain yourself better -- if you've got grown adults who are actually giving you a hard time because they don't get 100% of your time (especially under these circumstances), there's pretty much no "better" way you can put it. Some people just aren't happy unless they get everything they want exactly when and how they want it. Usually, we call those people children. But sometimes, we call them family. :-)

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 01:27 PM

Laura, I am printing this comment out and posting on my refrigerator at home, and in my laptop bag, for future reference. It's one of your all-time best.

TakomaMom, I'll introduce you to my mother, then you can begin the cycle of never visiting enough, never visiting for long enough, not sending enough pictures, etc. - this from a woman can't tell you how old either of my kids are :>)

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 2:17 PM

"Are you working hard to be a jerk or does it come naturally for you?"

And people wonder why women hate women!!


Posted by: | April 5, 2007 02:16 PM


The original poster's sex was not stated.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 2:18 PM

to MN: What's a mother to do except dish out guilt? Jewish, Catholic, Italian, Greek, Espiscopalian, it comes in 31 flavors... ask any of my friends.

to Laura: LOL on the family comment. In "drama" moments with our family my mother always reminds me that you get to pick your friends. It's God's reward to you.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | April 5, 2007 2:23 PM

John L. you don't know how lucky you are. Stop all that drivel about comforting each other. You should be doing a happy dance.

Birth control pills will also skew your sense of smell. When I was on BC pills the smell of cigarette smoke made me throw up more than once. This was when people could, and would, smoke anyplace they felt like it.

Posted by: | April 5, 2007 01:44 PM

We don't know if the original poster is a man or woman, not really, but the second paragraph would indicate that this is a woman.

Certainly not one I would care to consider an intimate, but that's just me.

Whoever this person is, gender notwithstanding, I agree with the characterization of "jerk".

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 2:27 PM

The pope is making his first trip to Chicago and is being picked up at the airport by a driver with a stretch limo. As the chauffeur escorts the pope to the passenger compartment, the pope says that he would like to drive. The driver says no your holiness, it is my great honor to drive you. The pope replies that he is a humble man and he wished to serve his fellow man besides he never gets to drive. The chauffeur thinks how can you refuse the pope and then hops in the back. With great relish, the pope gets behind the wheel and starts off. Pretty soon they are on the Dan Ryan Expressway. The pope is driving 50 then 60 then 70 then 80! A motorcycle cop sees this limo blow past him and begins pursuit. The pope pulls over and the cop approaches the driver's door. When the pontiff rolls down the window, the cop is shocked to see the pope and stammers I will be right back. The cop radios his supervisor sergeant to receive instructions how to deal with this delicate issue.

Cop, "Sarge, I have a problem here, I have stopped someone very important!"

Sarge "How Important?"

Cop "Very, Very Important!"

Sarge "Who is it? The mayor?"

Cop "No, more important!"

Sarge "The governor? Please don't tell me you stopped the governor?"

Cop, "No, much more important!"

Sarge "Well, who is it then?"

Cop, "I don't know but he has the pope driving for him!"

Posted by: not the jokester | April 5, 2007 2:27 PM

Hi Bad Mom:
My kids were a walking germ factory for the first two or three years and I got everything! Personally, I think it's probably because sleep deprivation depresses your immune system and most new moms are sleep deprived. and no, in our case, echinacea and all that herbal stuff really didn't help. Eating healthy and staying well rested does help marginally.
For me the absolute worst was getting that 'hand foot mouth' disease thing as an adult. It's much worse than having it as a child. Made me wish I'd been sick more as a kid so I wouldn't have to get these things as an adult.

On the other hand, I think it probably HELPED my immune system because now that they're older I don't get sick at all!
The endless years of creeping crud will pass -- but I definitely don't miss them.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | April 5, 2007 2:29 PM

John L - I am so sorry for your disappointment. You sound like such a sensitive husband.

Posted by: Becky | April 5, 2007 2:32 PM

Product of a Working Mother - I agree wholeheartedly that no belief system has a monopoly on guilt, although some have elevated it to a high art.

2:16, speak for yourself. Other than my immediate family, the women in my life -- and several virtual friends - are a wonderful, interesting, loyal group. So are the men in my life. I'm sorry for you if you're limiting yourself to half the population, although in light of your post, you may not be the sort of new friend any woman -- or man -- needs to meet.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 2:33 PM

worker bee, I feel your pain. I have no advice, just sympathy.

In our family, the four parents each live in different states (PN, MD, TN, NC) and the two siblings do too. Now the one in PN is moving to CA, so that will change things a bit.

The divorced parents don't want to see each other, so we have to split holidays. One gets Christmas, one gets Easter, etc. Invariably, we'll get the puppy dog eyes when one misses out on Christmas a couple years in a row.

We try to be diplomatic, but you can't please everybody. We're lucky, though, because all we have to do is drop the dogs off at the dog spa and hit the road. I bet that if we had kids, we'd tell them that if they wanted to see the kids, they'd have to come to us. Who wants to travel EVERY holiday with kids?

Posted by: Meesh | April 5, 2007 2:33 PM

Speaking of children as the vectors of illness:

I still remember when my doctor's inaccurate comment had me running around to the vets on campus, asking whether or not foot and mouth disease was, indeed, the same thing as HOOF and mouth disease.

I didn't think it was, but the panic I felt at the time--oh my god--did my child somehow re-introduce this disease to the U.S.? Were we somehow going to be responsible for the premature slaughter of millions of animals, a nationwide quarantine?

I can weakly laugh about it now. It wasn't so funny then!

(Yes, I did correct my PCP that there WAS a fundamental difference and that he almost caused me a heart attack. He felt very badly about it and I bet he has remember this ever since.)

Posted by: anon this time | April 5, 2007 2:34 PM

I thought Fred's piece was really wonderful--I thought it was extremely eloquent and seriously one of the best things I'd read in a long time. I'm not just saying this now--I distinctly felt that way when I read it.

As for anonymity, I learned my lesson when I was a guest on Oprah once (true). I figured who watches Oprah but a bunch of people I don't know; as it turned out dozens of people I'd know at various stages of my life who were NEVER home at that time of day happened to be home and watching it that day. Go figure. That was enough airing of my dirty laundry for one lifetime!

I forget who said it, but I feel the same way about criticism--it is easier to stomach if the basher doesn't know who you really are! I also tend to be a TMI person and don't think about whether or not I'd want my parents or boss or neighbor reading stuff about me that I don't want them to know. I tend to write to a specific audience and it's always jarring when I realize someone other than that intended audience has read what I've written and learned something about me that I purposely had never revealed to them--probably for good reason.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 2:36 PM

I thought foot in mouth disease is when you say stupid things.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 2:36 PM

Megan's Neighbor, are you sure you're not my sister-in-law?

Some visits the first words out of my MIL's mouth on our arrival are "I know you were only planning to stay until Sunday night but we're having some people over for dinner on Monday who I know you'd love..." Despite the fact that she knows we both have to work Monday. She'll prolong Sunday dinner until eight pm even though we have a four hour drive home. Mr Bee is getting much better at standing up to her, though (and so am I, with time!)

Posted by: worker bee | April 5, 2007 2:38 PM

Read 'Queen Bees and Wannabees' to see what women are like. I really dislike women immensely (these blogs are proof of why) and I'm not terribly impressed with men.

The more I see of people, the more I like my cat.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 2:46 PM

I thought foot in mouth disease is when you say stupid things

KLB,

Good one!

Upon reading this, I see why my doctor was confused. Actually, so was I, as I had heard it called Hoof-and-mouth when it was found in animals.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common illness of infants and children. It is characterized by fever, sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters. HFMD begins with a mild fever, poor appetite, malaise ("feeling sick"), and frequently a sore throat. One or 2 days after the fever begins, painful sores develop in the mouth. They begin as small red spots that blister and then often become ulcers. They are usually located on the tongue, gums, and inside of the cheeks. The skin rash develops over 1 to 2 days with flat or raised red spots, some with blisters. The rash does not itch, and it is usually located on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It may also appear on the buttocks. A person with HFMD may have only the rash or the mouth ulcers.


Is HFMD the same as foot-and-mouth disease?

No. HFMD is often confused with foot-and-mouth disease of cattle, sheep, and swine. Although the names are similar, the two diseases are not related at all and are caused by different viruses. For information on foot-and-mouth disease, please visit the web site of the US Department of Agriculture.

Posted by: anon for today | April 5, 2007 2:47 PM

Baptist: We'll wash the sh*t right off of you!

Posted by: Everybody knows... | April 5, 2007 2:48 PM

Anon at 2:46. There are plenty of queen bees in this world but like Megan's Neighbor I have managed to find true friends of both genders. The older you get, the less you tolerate other people's BS and the better you are seeking out meaningful relationships.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | April 5, 2007 2:50 PM

worker bee, I wish, LOL.

Rule 1 in our family governing Family Destination Travel is: the spouse whose mother is unfamiliar with appropriate boundaries and familiar with manipulative behavior is responsible for addressing same, and any other travel-related problems, in order to preserve marriage. To summarize: my crazy, demanding mother is my problem, and his sane, but even more demanding mother and sizable family is his problem.

Rule 1 comforts me because I know I will get a decent night's sleep when we visit his family. I can rely on him to nix the idea of us sleeping in the basement family room, the one with the bad sofa beds, no pillows, and where the teenagers congregate and, until 3 a.m. watch flicks like, Epic Movie. It comforts him because he knows he will get decent meals when we visit my family. He can rely on me to nix the concepts that: (a) lunch is a non-essential meal, and (b) a Stouffer's product microwaved for our convenience constitutes an acceptable dinner for guests.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 2:52 PM

KLB wrote: "I thought foot in mouth disease is when you say stupid things.

The official name of this disease is Orthopedontia.

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 2:55 PM

Product of a Working Mother,
You told anon at 2:46 "The older you get, the less you tolerate other people's BS and the better you are seeking out meaningful relationships."

It seems that 2:46 is either incapable of having a meaningful relationship or is uninterested in attempting to have one as they speak of disliking all people, not being unable to tolerate them the boorish ones.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 2:56 PM

Brian's topic was dead as a doornail some time in the vicinity of noon.

Leslie can do better than give this guy a weekly forum to waste.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 2:57 PM

HELP WANTED:
A topic that is refreshing and worthy of hundreds of posts. Must be relevant and new. Not afraid to be dissected by bloggers of every political stripe, background and temperament. Please inquire at the ON BALANCE WEBSITE C/O Leslie Steiner. EOE, vacation benefits, nice dental. no travel

Posted by: pATRICK | April 5, 2007 2:58 PM

Hi Fred.... I've been lurking for a while but as you can see the Easter candy topic drew me out. I also don't like those orange jelly beans that come in the little carrot-shaped bag....they have no taste. Megan's Neighbor my siblings and I always fought over the black jelly beans....we also made sure that no one got more Spagettios than anyone else!

I don't believe there is truly anyway to appease family when they are all vying for your attention or actually want you to be attending them. I've learned the hard way that one does not always need to offer an explanation. Whew! Good luck with the juggle.

Posted by: Pink Plate | April 5, 2007 2:58 PM

"KLB SS MD -- Oh, curse this anonymity! I would happily trade all my black jelly beans for those luscious malted milk balls!

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 01:20 PM"

Oh man! Laura I looooove malted milk balls, we will have to duke it out! I always knew you were a woman after my own heart...

John L, I join in the condolences, that must be disappointing. I hope you both have a great weekend of snuggling and induling in whatever guilty pleasures you have.

Anon this time, that story is a riot.

Posted by: Megan | April 5, 2007 3:00 PM

Megan's Neighbor - I know, I know - actually my mom IS like that - and she has admitted she doesn't like to "share" me, even though I pointed out that the alternative was that, instead of seeing me a few days each trip, on some trips she wouldn't see me at all - I dread what will happen when any of her precious children get married and actually miss a holiday because they're spending it with a different family (as opposed to missing it because flying is too expensive, which she tolerates) :)
But as KLB pointed out, I try not to grumble because eventually we really won't all be together.

Posted by: TakomaMom | April 5, 2007 3:02 PM

PN - is there a new state in the U.S. that I'm not familiar with?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 3:02 PM

KLB wrote: "It seems that 2:46 is either incapable of having a meaningful relationship or is uninterested in attempting to have one as they speak of disliking all people, not being unable to tolerate them the boorish ones."

Excellent observation, to which I'd add that the anonymous poster at 2:46 seems to harbor a downright infantile need for attention, of the sort analogous to a small child repeating a naughty word until provoking a reaction from adults. B.F. Skinner would probably recommend that we hereafter ignore such snarkers. It'd sure drive 'em crazy not to be able to receive the attention they crave, while rewarding posters interested in civil discourse (whether on- or off-topic).

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 3:04 PM

Actually, the Easter candy discussion started at 8:44, which means that Brian's topic only lasted an hour and 34 minutes from when he posted it. It also means that people have been talking about candy for 6 hours and 21 minutes.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 3:06 PM

And show by a raise of hands who has actually eaten candy in the last 6 hours and 22 mins.
None here.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 3:07 PM

"And show by a raise of hands who has actually eaten candy in the last 6 hours and 22 mins.
None here."

And this is relevant how?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 3:08 PM

To pATRICK: Is there flex-time, and can I telecommute?

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 3:09 PM

Anon this time, that story is a riot.

Posted by: Megan | April 5, 2007 03:00 PM

Thanks.

I like black jelly beans, dark chocolate and malted milk balls. I will happily give away any creme eggs that are found in my basket!

I reserve the right to hoard the eggs that are filled with chocolate truffle though. I'm hoping the kids don't appreciate them (prefer quantity over quality) so I can snatch theirs.

Posted by: anon this time | April 5, 2007 3:09 PM

"It also means that people have been talking about candy for 6 hours and 21 minutes."

And this is bad why?

"And show by a raise of hands who has actually eaten candy in the last 6 hours and 22 mins."

Guilty as charged, thanks to unknown provider of Cadbury chocolate caramels to the office this afternoon. (milk, not dark, but beggars and choosers and all that).

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 3:09 PM

It'd sure drive 'em crazy not to be able to receive the attention they crave, while rewarding posters interested in civil discourse (whether on- or off-topic).

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 03:04 PM

Time to dig out the Field Guide to Trolls!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 5, 2007 3:10 PM

Read 'Queen Bees and Wannabees' to see what women are like. I really dislike women immensely (these blogs are proof of why) and I'm not terribly impressed with men.

Posted by: | April 5, 2007 02:46 PM

If your source for what 50% of the population is like is a book or a blog, you might consider exiting the front door and meeting some real live specimens. Valid opinions tend to be based on direct observation.

No man or woman was put on this earth with the sole purpose of impressing you. Think about someone else for a change, perhaps a homeless person, or a victim of domestic violence, and you might stop dismissing and judging and start living life.

Posted by: anon for now | April 5, 2007 3:11 PM

Actually, the Easter candy discussion started at 8:44, which means that Brian's topic only lasted an hour and 34 minutes from when he posted it. It also means that people have been talking about candy for 6 hours and 21 minutes.


Posted by: | April 5, 2007 03:06 PM
I had to go back and check on this. Yes, 3:06 is correct. A discussion on pez started at 8:44.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 3:12 PM

Maryland Mother wrote: "Time to dig out the Field Guide to Trolls!"

Good one! And Fred, do you have your snipe-hunting book handy?

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 3:14 PM

"And this is bad why?"

It's not necessarily "bad", it's just an observation.

Although for people who claim to be such great employees and who can't stand to be home with their children because they're not mentally stimulating, you sure waste a lot of your work time talking about inane things.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 3:15 PM

Back when my wife's parents were alive, they would complain unendingly about how unfair it was that we didn't spend 'equal time' with them when we visited my dad. They lived 90 miles from my dad's home, so if we visited him we'd have to visit them.

The straw that broke the camel's back was when we saw my dad on Labor Day. My MIL had the nerve to complain that, since we saw him on a 'holiday', we had to spend extra time with her!

My wife exploded and told her that we were not going to divide visiting time equally down to the hour when we came over (it was a 10 hour drive to either home), and if she didn't stop complaining we weren't coming over for --any-- holiday again.

She complained some more, and we didn't go over for any more holidays to either my dad's or her parents' home. When we visited, it was on non-holidays.

Becky, my wife says I am an unusual man; I am empathic and very observant as to how a woman is feeling, based on her body language, tone of voice and manner of speaking, as well as how well I know them. I'll also complement them when they make changes to their hair (style, length, color), notice when they are losing weight or if they're wearing nice earrings, or if they just smell nice. I always figured if a woman is going to the trouble to look nice, they'd like someone to notice and complement them about it.

Fortunately she never feels threatened by this, or I'd be in constant trouble with her!

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 3:16 PM

"To pATRICK: Is there flex-time, and can I telecommute?"


Of course! That is what ON BALANCE is all about. One more requirement..... a thick skin.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 5, 2007 3:20 PM

"To pATRICK: Is there flex-time, and can I telecommute?"


Of course! That is what ON BALANCE is all about. One more requirement..... a thick skin.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 5, 2007 03:20 PM
We can't seal the deal unless there is emergency sick child care.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 3:22 PM

"Becky, my wife says I am an unusual man; I am empathic and very observant as to how a woman is feeling, based on her body language, tone of voice and manner of speaking, as well as how well I know them. I'll also complement them when they make changes to their hair (style, length, color), notice when they are losing weight or if they're wearing nice earrings, or if they just smell nice. I always figured if a woman is going to the trouble to look nice, they'd like someone to notice and complement them about it."

That old ploy huh? Some men will do anything to get laid. ;) Shameful!

Posted by: pATRICK | April 5, 2007 3:22 PM

John L. wrote: "I am empathic and very observant as to how a woman is feeling, based on her body language, tone of voice and manner of speaking, as well as how well I know them. I'll also complement them when they make changes to their hair (style, length, color), notice when they are losing weight or if they're wearing nice earrings, or if they just smell nice. I always figured if a woman is going to the trouble to look nice, they'd like someone to notice and complement them about it..."

I do NOT generally like for men -- other than DH, of course! -- to compliment me on such things. For some of us, it verges on the stalkerish side. I hope you're empathetic enough to be able to tell when people (not just women) feel that way, so you can hold off on such compliments when that's the appropriate thing to do.

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 3:23 PM

Some of you have brought up an interesting point -- how, as a parent, will you or do you handle "sharing" your children?

Most will get married and have to give time to their in-laws. Do you resent it? How do you handle this?

I have had to deal with it from my mother and hope never to inflict it on my son!

Posted by: Rebecca | April 5, 2007 3:25 PM

Am I the only one to find JOHN L's post kinda creepy?

Posted by: pATRICK | April 5, 2007 3:26 PM

Rebecca: I hope to just express that our DD should split the time between both families and her own little family with her spouse and children. I think extended families can be so demanding that people do not have time to spend in their own nuclear families. I will try hard not to lay on the guilt and be patient when it is not our turn.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 3:28 PM

No, pATRICK, you're not. Plus, divulging name of spouse is unusual.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 3:29 PM

John L, your story about your wife's dealing with her mother reminds me of my father. It used to be that if it took me a while to call him back after he left a message for me, he would spend the first five minutes giving me a guilt trip about it, until one day I said in a very pointed voice it made me much less inclined to call him at all if I know I'm going to have to sit through all that crap, so maybe that wasn't the best way to go about trying to get me to call him. Thankfully he actually listened and doesn't do that anymore.

Posted by: Megan | April 5, 2007 3:30 PM

D'oh! I meant PA, not PN. Oops. Where's my wet noodle?

"Read 'Queen Bees and Wannabees' to see what women are like. I really dislike women immensely (these blogs are proof of why) and I'm not terribly impressed with men."

I think I can tell what women "are really like" by meeting them and talking with them. It's true that some women are nasty. But so are some men. Being an a** is not gender specific. I always wonder about people who don't like one gender or the other. How do you not get along with half the population? Ever consider that you might be the problem?

I know two women who profess to "hate" women for several women and would rather hang out with men. They claim it's because women are mean. But in reality, they are the stereotypical "*itches". They prefer the company of men because they like to flirt and get attention.

Posted by: Meesh | April 5, 2007 3:31 PM

I don't think Becky is JohnL's wife. Notice it said : Becky, my wife says. He was addressing an earlier poster named Becky.

John L - I am so sorry for your disappointment. You sound like such a sensitive husband.

Posted by: Becky | April 5, 2007 02:32 PM

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 3:31 PM

I have a topic. How men and women act differently interacting with the other sex. My wife doesn't agree with me but she is not as cynical as I am. I think that women act differently with men than around their girlfriends. I can't speak to men but it is probably true also. Any thoughts?

Posted by: pATRICK | April 5, 2007 3:34 PM

catlady,

I only complement women I know and who are my friends, not total strangers or casual acquaintances. I like to see people smile, and found that noticing and saying something to them often produces that result. I'd never make such a comment to someone I only knew in passing, or realized would be uncomfortable if I said something.

And yes, I also hold doors open for women, give up my seat on public transportation, and offer to hold an umbrella for them so they can get to their car in the rain without getting wet. My wife finds my actions adorable (especially since she's the primary recipient of such attention).

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 3:40 PM

Some of you have brought up an interesting point -- how, as a parent, will you or do you handle "sharing" your children?

Most will get married and have to give time to their in-laws. Do you resent it? How do you handle this?

I have had to deal with it from my mother and hope never to inflict it on my son!

Posted by: Rebecca | April 5, 2007 03:25 PM

I know you're right, Rebecca, that most will marry, but I don't even want to put our kids in that box. Maybe they'll marry; maybe they won't. Maybe they'll have kids; maybe they won't. Maybe they will marry someone whose parents are deceased. There are so many variables that, I agree with your end-thought, all I can hope for is that they are reasonably fair in their allocation of holidays and other time, and I don't ladle the guilt on and heaping doses.

Honestly, I have known couples who visit her in-laws 80% more than his, or they visit the wealthier, or the perceived-to-be-more-fun set of in-laws more than the other set(s). This is just so wrong, IMHO, even moreso if there are grandchildren involved. Our kids love visiting family and much prefer family-travel over vacations to destinations at which there are no family members. I hope that they will want to encourage the same close relationships between their kids and their respective families, as we have encouraged. We will see, won't we?

Fred? dotted? Others with adult children? Are you proud of how you have you handled this?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 3:40 PM


Stealing gnomes, student pranks...
Once at a conference we were coming back to our hotel and a sidewalk was blocked by a carelessly parked snowmobile. 4 strong students picked it up and put on a roof of a nearby shed. Still smiling thinking what was the frst reaction of a snownmobile owner. Bringing (male) students with me: lots of formal signs of respects from other profs, but -- alas! -- no flirting or hitting on. They all projected "that's your Prof, treat her respectfully". Even the students caved in, what a bummer. Lesson learned: take students to company retreats, not VIP workshops.

Posted by: good old times | April 5, 2007 3:41 PM

Oh, pATRICK, You're so-o-o-o smart (flutters mascara'd eyelashes seductively).

Seriously, though, I think it's something that we all have to continue trying to rein in, especially in the workplace. In extreme cases, it can verge on sexual (or gender-based, if you prefer) harassment -- whether toward someone of the opposite or same sex.

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 3:41 PM

No, Becky is not my wife. I was responding to her earlier comment.

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 3:41 PM

JOHN L, I finally placed you! You are Judith Martin's husband. Now it all makes sense! ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | April 5, 2007 3:43 PM

FO4, are you a Blog Stats? You seem to know too much.

Posted by: Numbers | April 5, 2007 3:44 PM

"I finally placed you! You are Judith Martin's husband. Now it all makes sense!"

Miss Manners??? You have GOT to be kidding; my wife would laugh herself silly if she read that. I'm hardly a saint; as I said, that is how my wife sees me, and I believe she may be a wee bit biased.

However, I do feel that kind actions and thoughtful words go a lot further than being insensitive and brutish, especially around women. At least the ones I wanted to be my friends, anyway...

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 3:48 PM

Before it gets too late, I wanted to wish everyone a happy holidays (if the celebrate one this time of year). If not, then have a great weekend.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 5, 2007 3:49 PM

Re visiting parents-in-law: Among our friends, the general rule seems to be:
a) A larger number of brief visits with those who live nearer; and,
b) A smaller number of longer visits with those who live farther away.
Assuming no extenuating circumstances (say, family illness on one side), the total number of days visited to the two sides should work out roughly equally over a period of a couple of years.

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 3:56 PM

You too, Foamy :-)

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 3:57 PM

I have a topic. How men and women act differently interacting with the other sex. My wife doesn't agree with me but she is not as cynical as I am. I think that women act differently with men than around their girlfriends. I can't speak to men but it is probably true also. Any thoughts?

Posted by: pATRICK | April 5, 2007 03:34 PM

In my experience, this behavior doesn't divide along gender lines, it divides along lines of people who believe that women are a certain way, and men are another way, and they are more comfortable seeing and acting in the world on that basis.

I don't act differently depending on the gender of the person with whom I am inter-acting, but I do act differently in a work-related or networking setting vs. a setting in which only my most trusted friends, of both genders, are present, the sort I can trust to know that what happens in X, stays in X.

Frankly, I don't strike up friendships with men or women who base their interactions on the gender of either the witnesses or the participants. For example, if a joke is funny, it's funny. If you tell one set of jokes when you are with your same-sex friends, and another set of jokes when you are in a mixed-gender crowd, we likely will not become friends. If a woman's favorite topics are how fat she is getting and the location of a great consignment sale for childrens' clothes, and if she likes to giggle with her girlfriends, we likely will not become friends. Fortunately, there are lots of men and women in the world who are comfortable in their own skin, can have fun in a variety of ways and discuss a variety of topics, whether they are hanging out with persons of their same sex, or in a mixed crowd. Senses of humor, sharp wit, an appreciation for good beer, and similar values cross gender lines.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 3:57 PM

I second that, foamgnome! I'm off to happy hour (oh no, I'm giving all childless people a bad name now!). Enjoy your weekend and candy!

Posted by: Meesh | April 5, 2007 3:57 PM

John L. wrote: "However, I do feel that kind actions and thoughtful words go a lot further than being insensitive and brutish, especially around women. At least the ones I wanted to be my friends, anyway..."

Really, being gracious is something one should try to do toward everyone, not just the sex of one's preference. Insensitivity and brutishness are always inappropriate, but determining the appropriate opposite isn't always so easy. Some of us really do NOT much enjoy the sort of personal compliments from friends that you seem to enjoy giving, because we derive our self-esteem more from our ideas than our exterior. So you need to be sensitive to that as well.

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 4:02 PM

Kudos to Megan's Neighbor, who said it so much better than I ever could.

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 4:05 PM

I find a lot of truth in a foxworthy joke: A man is at a bar with his friends and calls his wife. "Yes honey, jim wanted to go, i couldn't help it, I will come home as soon as possible. Love ya". He then goes back to the bar and his friends say what did she say? "Aww, I told her to kiss my a$$."

Posted by: pATRICK | April 5, 2007 4:05 PM

"However, I do feel that kind actions and thoughtful words go a lot further than being insensitive and brutish, especially around women. At least the ones I wanted to be my friends, anyway..."

John, I agree that kind and thoughtful is a major plus, and I hope you expect the same treatment from all of your friends.

Enough with opening doors and giving up your seat on the bus, though. The key question is, do you leave the commode seat up or down?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 4:07 PM

Does anybody feel kind of weird biting the tail off a chocolate bunny? It seems like such a mean thing to do.

Posted by: Easter Candy | April 5, 2007 4:09 PM

"Does anybody feel kind of weird biting the tail off a chocolate bunny? It seems like such a mean thing to do. "

Not if I promise to call the bunny later. haha


Posted by: pATRICK | April 5, 2007 4:11 PM

Easter Candy wrote: "Does anybody feel kind of weird biting the tail off a chocolate bunny? It seems like such a mean thing to do."

No, because all candy is fungible.

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 4:12 PM

"Does anybody feel kind of weird biting the tail off a chocolate bunny? It seems like such a mean thing to do. "

Not if I promise to call the bunny later. haha

Posted by: pATRICK | April 5, 2007 04:11 PM

Okay. That was good.

on the other topic - the foxworthy joke - lots of us postured with our friends about how tough and unconcerned we were when we were 25, but, geez, do you still know guys who act like this, e.g., talk dismissively to their guy friends about their wives, or act like their spousal relationship is different than it is? I think the nature of our marital relationship is so transparent to our friends that I can't even relate to this - I don't even know anybody who talks like that about her or his spouse.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 4:20 PM

Enough with opening doors and giving up your seat on the bus, though. The key question is, do you leave the commode seat up or down?"

I must confess that I always thought this was a stupid woman thing until the time I had the flu and stumbled into the bathroom at 3 am and nearly fell into the toilet. Put a whole different perspective on it and now I at least try to put it down.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 5, 2007 4:21 PM

Does anybody feel kind of weird biting the tail off a chocolate bunny? It seems like such a mean thing to do.


Posted by: Easter Candy | April 5, 2007 04:09 PM

stick to those jelly beans if it makes you feel better. That'll leave more chocolate bunnies for ME.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 4:24 PM

Then is it OK to lick the bunny?

Posted by: Easter Candy | April 5, 2007 4:26 PM

"Senses of humor, sharp wit, an appreciation for good beer, and similar values cross gender lines."

Ain't that the truth, M-N! I totally agree with how you describe your own approach.

But I do know people who, as pATRICK suggests, act differently with the other gender and it does sometimes create a quandry as to how best to handle it. I can think of a couple men I've worked with who have gone out their way to be nicer and more helpful to me based in large part on my gender, and I've never really been sure of the best wy to respond to that, it sometimes gets a little creepy. It's funny, because when I've felt that I've been treated inappopriately in a negative way based on my gender I've always spoken right up, but the type of thing I'm describing now is subtle enough that I cannot really figure out what to do about it. I don't really like it because I think other people notice it too and it makes for weird dynamic in the workplace. Eurgh.

Posted by: Megan | April 5, 2007 4:26 PM

One bunny with tail bitten off "My butt hurts"
Second bunny with ears bitten off "What did you say?"

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 4:26 PM

Frieda already ate the Easter Candy last night. I did not get one bit of it!

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 4:28 PM

Megan, It might either be that some men aren't really confident in treating women as equals so they over-compensate, or else that they're trying to manipulate women by patronizing them.

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 4:29 PM

Actually, another thing I come across that drives me nuts is men that make a big deal of acting like they know the woman in a relationship wears the pants. It's so weird.

My husband and I met with an insurance agent to talk about life insurance and he kept making joking remarks about how he wants to hear both of our views and then he'll do what I say; and how the men always say one thing but he always listens to the women. It was incessant and it irritated the crap out of me - I hate that kind of garbage. It's so artificial and such a clumsy play on awful gender stereotypes - blech.

Ok, no more rants, sorry.

Posted by: Megan | April 5, 2007 4:31 PM

I have been very lucky as far as work. Most of my work life I have worked with more men than women. I have always been treated the same. Maybe because I was a tomboy and have never expected different treatment. The only time I get something special is when something is on a high shelf - I am vertically challenged. I call in the tall guys.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 4:31 PM

Catlady, it could be. I don't really know how to characterize. I'm generally pretty sensitive to being condescended to and nothing in their behavior sets off that particular alert, but it is unsettling to me nonetheless, I just can't quite say why.

Posted by: Megan | April 5, 2007 4:33 PM

Megan, That is so condescending.
I read in one of the on-line chats the other day about advertisers ignoring anyone who doesn't fit into the male age 18-34 bracket. One woman wrote in and said that she had gone into a chain electronic store and was buying a high end item. The clerk had the audacity to ask if her husband knew she was there!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 4:34 PM

Why's everyone eating holiday candy NOW? Day After Easter isn't until Monday! Buy it then, at 50% off!

Posted by: Mona | April 5, 2007 4:35 PM

catlady - thanks!

megan - Your point is well taken. The behavior you descrive is so subtle, I find it easier to avoid these guys. They creep me out as well. Honestly, at work, my test is the joke test - does he have one set of jokes or two? If he has two, then I'll always be the girl lawyer, and not just a colleague, and over time that will not serve me well. I still avoid the guy in another office who complimented my choice of toenail polish every time I changed color. In NC, that means that approximately 10 months of the year, on Monday, I could count on a comment. He also was a philandering snake, and this was just part and parcel of how he treated all women. I wasn't going to change him. I wasn't going to change my shoe attire to avoid his problematic behavior. Everyone in management is well aware of his sliminess. I no longer work for him :>)

I think you have to decide who you are going to fix and who you are going to structure your life to avoid, and keep the first list blessedly short. Your thoughts?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 4:36 PM

"My husband and I met with an insurance agent to talk about life insurance and he kept making joking remarks about how he wants to hear both of our views and then he'll do what I say; and how the men always say one thing but he always listens to the women. It was incessant and it irritated the crap out of me - I hate that kind of garbage. It's so artificial and such a clumsy play on awful gender stereotypes - blech. "

WRONG!WRONG!WRONG! I GUARANTEE you if the wife is NOT on board you will NOT get the deal. I can't tell you how many times I have had men tell me "I make the decisions" and then the NEXT day come back with their tails between their legs trying to get out of it because their wives VETOED it. I always want the wife on board because ultimately she will torpedoe it and he will cave in. Men are phonies.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 5, 2007 4:36 PM

Megan, the best revenge here is that you and DH can take your insurance money elsewhere :-)

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 4:36 PM

ML, re: leaving the toilet seat up/down.

I've been married a long time; putting the seat back down after I'm done has become an ingrained habit with me by now...

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 4:38 PM

Even though I don't think I treat people differently based on sex, I know I'm the beneficiary when others do so, and I'm not sure how to stop them (or if I really want to stop them).
I deal with a number of older men in business and it's quite obvious they negotiate with me in a different way than some of my older male competitors. I'm pretty sure I have an advantage because some of these gentlemen are too softhearted to play hardball with me. It's funny because I'm actually as tough as you please, but I don't look it, or sound it (I'm young-looking and small with a soft voice).
I might be wrong--maybe they're letting me think I'm getting away with things when I'm not--but it is funny to think that it's not only my skills that make me good at my job, but also my appearance and things beyond my control.

Posted by: worker bee | April 5, 2007 4:38 PM

If one of the guys swears in front of me (at least a new guy) they almost always apologize. They don't do it in front of a guy. Do I care? Not really. Is that sexist? Probably. Do I care? Not really. Any other women care about cursing and/or apologies for it?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 4:39 PM

"To John L.: Just hold her close, be kind to one another, and let yourselves grieve."

OK - I know they are disappointed and I do feel bad for them but...

no one died. She is not pregnant, she did not lose a baby, she is just not pregnant --yet.

I have miscarried at 7 weeks and miscarried again at 13 weeks. I felt awful, and cried, but I would not say that I grieved - I wasn't even wearing maternity clothes. I knew I was pregnant and loved the idea, but I didn't feel any real connection yet.

Losing my mother was far, far more devastating than losing a baby in the early stages of pregnancy. Please do not compare the disappointment of not being pregnant with grieving for the loss of an existing person. There is no comparison.

Posted by: anon for this | April 5, 2007 4:41 PM

I might be wrong--maybe they're letting me think I'm getting away with things when I'm not--but it is funny to think that it's not only my skills that make me good at my job, but also my appearance and things beyond my control."


Maybe the are afraid of your cagematch kick boxing skills? ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | April 5, 2007 4:42 PM

To worker bee: I used to be just like you. It's a self-correcting situation, though.

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 4:44 PM

I guess it would depend on how well I knew the woman and the severity of the swearing. I was always brought up to try and be considerate of others when you spoke to them, and swearing was not considered acceptable language around anyone.

As I got older I realized that wasn't really true, but I still apologize when I think the intensity of the word might have offended someone; usually though I get a response similar to "you should hear me when I stub my toe!", and I'd realize they weren't bothered by it at all.

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 4:48 PM

To KLB SS MD: I don't tolerate profanity in the workplace -- it's so unprofessional. I shoot the curser a look that makes this very clear, and is scary enough that the person almost always apologizes promptly.

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 4:48 PM

pATRICK, it's one of my favourite things to bring up in conversation... just when someone thinks they have me pegged as a sweet girl-next-door type.
KLB SS MD, I like to drop cussbombs for the same reason--to shake up someone's perception of me. I'm pretty sure that in business, people with prissy attitudes are taken less seriously. I tend to deal with old-boys-club guys by being one of the guys with them (drinking single malts, etc). While of course they never really think of me as one of the guys, I think they find it cute or something. Or possibly they find it relaxing that they don't have to watch their mouths around me.

Posted by: worker bee | April 5, 2007 4:49 PM

John L,
That is just what I say! To be honest, I try not to swear in front of anyone but esp not strangers - men or women.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 4:49 PM

I should have said "in my business".
I realized right after hitting "post" that there are probably much more conservative industries where the exact opposite would be true & swearing would be seen as unprofessional.

Posted by: worker bee | April 5, 2007 4:50 PM

pATRICK - see now, if I hear a man say with swagger "I make the decisions" I think he's just as full of s*** as the insurance guy I'm describing. Any major decision like that should be a joint decision with BOTH "on board." My sales guy is acting like he knows it's really going to be all the woman's decision (which I think is totally an act anyway to suck up to women he thinks are dumb) and those guys act like it's going to be all theirs. Why can't we just treat each other like we're all adults?

Posted by: Megan | April 5, 2007 4:53 PM

"I think that women act differently with men than around their girlfriends. I can't speak to men but it is probably true also. Any thoughts?"

pATRICK, not true for me, at least -- well, I won't necessarily talk about personal female things (cramps, pregnancy) with my guy friends, but that's more out of respect for their feelings than anything else. :-)

I did know some women back in law school who were that way, but I was just never good at playing the games -- plus I just figured I didn't have the energy to keep up the facade for the next 50 yrs, so might as well not even start. Not so good for the dating thing. :-) But I tend to think it helped in the long run -- at least, my husband tells me he knew it was love when he called me on a Monday night and I was voluntarily watching Monday Night Football.

But doesn't that kind of game-playing seem to dating? I mean, I'd flirt with a guy if I was single and looking (well, and knew how), but not with any other male friend or coworker. It just seems creepy and out of place if (a) you're already married, and/or (b) you're in an environment where you're not supposed to be looking for dates (business, neighbors, etc.). The few guys I've run across since I got married that gave off that vibe really gave me the creeps -- it seemed to signal that they only saw my gender, so my only potential worth to them was as a sex object, which was completely NOT what I was looking for.

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 4:53 PM

Grieving? For what? A non-pregnancy? No, I'm not that far gone about this. Disappointed, yes. Frustrated? Somewhat.

It's not the end of the world, or our attempts to start a family. It just means we'll have to try again in a few weeks.

A friend of mine was so excited to find herself pregnant she told everyone before she began showing. Then she miscarried. When I spoke to her afterward and offered my sympathies, she was actually more composed than her husband was. He was a near-wreck, but she had done her grieving and was already determined to succeed the next time.

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 4:55 PM

pATRICK,

Don't you think the key to closing the deal is you need them both on board? 'Cause if you only have her on board, and she wants to back out, she'll blame her husband. Seriously, spouses of each gender blame their folding like a cheap deck of cards on the non-present spouse ALL THE TIME. I haven't been in a traditional selling environment for awhile, but . . .

A couple who used to be friends of ours did this socially until they stopped getting invites: each one would accept all invitations, then he or she would always back out blaming the back-out on the spouse not responsible for the initial acceptance. It was clear that neither of them considered a commitment by the other to be binding. I suspect they have only themselves left as friends.

Mona, Mona, Mona. The prime Easter candy sells out. What's on sale on Monday often is crap. Raise your standards, LOL.

worker bee, catlady may well be right, but it happens to me and other female transactional attorneys, as well, and most of our client relationships and negotiations are conducted over the phone. I doubt most of them are aware of my stunning beauty and mesmerizing charm. In talking about this phenomena with colleagues, we suspect what happens is that the absence of needing to prove whose appendage is more substantial takes a whole lot of time-wasting, inefficient, posturing out of a negotiation. I'm not sure that I get a better deal than any of my male colleagues, but I get there faster with no raised voices, no threats, and blessed little testosterone on display.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 4:56 PM

Laura,
I agree. There is a totally different vibe when you are "looking" vs sitting and joking with the guys from work. What is funny is that they do make comments about appearance. Things like "feeling like Alex Haley today?" which mean my roots are showing or "going grocery shopping?" which means I have bags under my eyes. We have worked together for 10-15 years so there isn't much we can't say and don't know about each other.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 4:58 PM

"We're trying to split the weekend down the middle and of course both families feel shafted and want us for the whole weekend."

What selfish families. Why shouldn't you divide your time to see both? This wasn't a problem for DH and I since we consider in-laws our family as much as our blood relatives so we split the time.

Another alternative is to have everyone together - in-laws and blood relatives. Invite them to your house. My mother/mother-in-law were always included in any holiday gathering the other was hosting.

Posted by: to worker bee | April 5, 2007 4:59 PM

MN,
"absence of needing to prove whose appendage is more substantial". Love it! (got that blog stats?)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 5:00 PM

"Probably. Do I care? Not really. Any other women care about cursing and/or apologies for it?"

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 04:39 PM

KLB, I believe you mentioned that you were in the army once. This would give you a different perspective on this cussing thing.

I try not to use "bad words" in the presence of anyone that I do not know well. I also know that certain people of long standing acquaintance do not want to hear "bad words" so I try very hard not to use them. This includes my boss, a male and most of my female friends. I view this as respecting the individual.

I do have 2 sets of jokes. I would not tell a dirty joke to a person that I don't know very well. I would not tell one to any female unless I knew her really well. Some women will say that it is OK but truly be offended by it. Conversely, women do tell me a dirty joke occasionally. This is usually preceded by a warning, saying that if I ever told anyone that she told me the joke, I would be on her permanent "stuff" list.

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 5:01 PM

"I think you have to decide who you are going to fix and who you are going to structure your life to avoid, and keep the first list blessedly short. Your thoughts?"

Totally agree, M.N. And I definitely just avoid the male attorneys who treat me like "the girl lawyer," or the equivalent in other jobs. There's just no point, and those are people I just tend to just write off. But the men I was thinking of when I posted originally are not quite like that. As I'm thinking about it they are almost all also significantly older than I am and it's almost like they feel like they're taking me under their wing somehow, it's weird. Those are the ones who I can't say there's anything to fix exactly, and it seems wrong to try to avoid them because they are genuinely being helpful, and yet it still seems weird to me. But maybe it's just me being a little nutty, who knows.

Posted by: Megan | April 5, 2007 5:01 PM

MN, that's very insightful--and of course I really hope you're right as I don't want to become ineffective at my job as soon as I lose my youthful good looks! :)

Posted by: worker bee | April 5, 2007 5:02 PM

Megan,
"it seems wrong to try to avoid them because they are genuinely being helpful, and yet it still seems weird to me."

I am prepared for the flaming that may come from this but...do you think that we are overly conscious of any perception of needing assistance/guidance by men in a "male dominated" field?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 5:04 PM

M-N, I think what we have here is a perfect example of the phenomenon of different work situations having different rules/customs/expectations/cultures/etc. So what's true of one person's situation isn't necessarily the case for someone else's, at least not as much.

Posted by: catlady | April 5, 2007 5:05 PM

"In talking about this phenomena with colleagues, we suspect what happens is that the absence of needing to prove whose appendage is more substantial takes a whole lot of time-wasting, inefficient, posturing out of a negotiation."

LOL. You remind me of one of my all-time favorite TV lines, from Murphy Brown. Two guys (I suspect Eldin and Miles) are arguing in front of her. As best I can remember it, Murphy steps in between them and says "Both of you just shut up and drop 'em, I'll whip out a ruler, and we'll settle this right now once and for all."

Must say I've used that a couple of times myself. :-)

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 5:06 PM

"do you think that we are overly conscious of any perception of needing assistance/guidance by men in a "male dominated" field?"

KLB, I do think that's possible. I know I am in particular sensitive to control issues, so it could be that. But I also know other people in the office/organization have picked up on it so it creates some awkwardness in those other relationships, which is a large part of the concern - in part because then I don't know how they're interpreting it and it just gets awkward.

Posted by: Megan | April 5, 2007 5:10 PM

Ut oh - it is after 5 and we are still having intelligent discussion. Who forgot to announce Happy Hour?

Megan,
Recognizing that you have an "issue" for lack of a better word is half the way to finding a way to deal/work with it.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 5:15 PM

Laura - Oh, that is good. I can hear her voice saying it, too.


Megan, I understand and have a couple of the nice, older guy types around as well, and it is a different category of creepy, well-meaning. Sometimes, though, it's just plain old mentoring and they are trying to do the right thing and not yet entirely comfortable with it themselves. Ya think?


Re: cursing - in my firm, if they are not comfortable cursing around you, they are not going to want to play golf with you, refer good ol' boy clients to you, or hang out with you at the bar at 2:30 in the morning during the out of town retreat. If you are not part of any of those activities and conversations, you'll always be an employee and never an owner. You also will not be mentored by the most successful guys because they don't have time to shift their personal style to accommodate the shy and /or cordial and personally conservative. The guys with whom, and for whom, I work want to relax with, and own businesses with, colleagues with whom they are comfortable on a personal and professional level. Different businesses, industries and personal goals will mandate, well, different tolerance levels and behaviors.

Where is that danged chocolate bunny when I need it?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 5:17 PM

MN - bunny is in kid's basket - have you ever unwrapped a bit, taken a bite and put it back? We tried as kids but always got caught.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 5:19 PM

When I came to work back in the 80's, there were very few women in our workplace. It was definitely an "old boys workplace", but as women began entering my profession in greater and greater numbers, the older men had to change their attitudes or leave.

The women now get treated like any other worker in our office. I've worked for and had all sorts of women working for me, some were like "one of the guys" at the start, others were more prim and proper and were offended easily. It just took time to find out how to behave around them, just like anyone else.

There were some who I could talk to about nearly anything, and others who I'd confine my conversations to business related issues only. Many of the former group are still friends of mine, in fact, even though they don't work directly with me now.

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 5:19 PM

John L,
I bet there have been some men whom you wouldn't be comfortable swearing and telling jokes or talking about certain things either. You have to know your audience for everything.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 5:23 PM

Another alternative is to have everyone together - in-laws and blood relatives. Invite them to your house. My mother/mother-in-law were always included in any holiday gathering the other was hosting.

Posted by: to worker bee | April 5, 2007 04:59 PM

HA HA HA HA!! Assemble the in-laws and blood relatives at a single event?? We high-fived when the wedding reception ended and all our relatives were still alive, and no one on my side of the family had shared with any one on his side of the family that their eternal destiny was in question unless they found the Lord.

I am shocked, but heartened, that there are in-laws out there in the world who are interested, even willing, to gather together with The Other Family.

Posted by: amazing | April 5, 2007 5:25 PM

"Re visiting parents-in-law: Among our friends, the general rule seems to be:
a) A larger number of brief visits with those who live nearer; and,
b) A smaller number of longer visits with those who live farther away.
Assuming no extenuating circumstances (say, family illness on one side), the total number of days visited to the two sides should work out roughly equally over a period of a couple of years."

Number of siblings might also factor in the decision. My mother only had me, but DH is one of six children. There's no way that I would not see my mother on a holiday. Luckily, we are all in the same place, so we actually see both. I did think my MIL was a little unreasonable the year that she wanted to see all 6 children at the same time of day for a sit-down dinner. There was no thought given to the 4 children who also had in-laws to visit. I thought that pot luck buffet with everyone bringing food on a flexible schedule was fine. She could still see everyone that way. On the other hand, my mom always said that she would plan around my schedule since she knew I would also be visiting others.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 5:28 PM

Amazing,
For years after my parents divorced we had two separate holiday celebrations. Mom and her parents in the am and dad and his in the pm. After the grandparents died we said the heck with it and had mom and dad together. They were fine and it was easier for the rest of us. Time heals many wounds.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 5:30 PM

KLB, oh definitely. In fact, one of them is my boss. I made the mistake of saying something was bovine fecal matter in front of him, and he got so upset he told me he didn't know if he could work with me any more. I had no idea he'd react like that, or I would have curbed my language around him.

Anyway, he got over it eventually, but I felt like he had really overreacted. I've worked with him for over 10 years, BTW, and that's hardly the most pungent swear word I've used at work (just around him).

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 5:31 PM

John L,
So he had the vapors huh?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 5:33 PM

"HA HA HA HA!! Assemble the in-laws and blood relatives at a single event?? We high-fived when the wedding reception ended and all our relatives were still alive, and no one on my side of the family had shared with any one on his side of the family that their eternal destiny was in question unless they found the Lord."

Really, really funny. But your comment reminds me of my wedding, where it was the in-laws who were absolutely amazed that divorced parents could get along so well, even -- gasp -- act like they LIKED each other! (The fact that all parties involved had been happily remarried for 20+ years was, apparently, irrelevant). As we discussed regarding a certain movie a while ago: "Inconceivable!"

Posted by: Laura | April 5, 2007 5:33 PM

Whoa, Nelly, John. I fear I would have assumed he was putting me on.

KLB, Since you asked about apologizers, here's my take. If a man apologizes for inadvertently cursing, and he does so to hearers of both sexes if he is not yet aware of their tolerance for cursing, it's considerate. If he only apologizes to the women he swears in front of, it's a likely indicator that his brain is so compartmentalized by gender, e.g., a believer in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, that we are unlikely to work well together.

and you can always tell when someone has messed with the chocolate bunny foil. Lightening strikes those people, doesn't it?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 5:41 PM

"it's just plain old mentoring and they are trying to do the right thing and not yet entirely comfortable with it themselves. Ya think?"

Probably. I've also had some fantastic male mentors who didn't creep me out at all, so maybe it is just a matter of knowing how to do that...

Posted by: Megan | April 5, 2007 6:17 PM

"it's just plain old mentoring and they are trying to do the right thing and not yet entirely comfortable with it themselves. Ya think?"

Sorry, hit submit before I finished which is to say that the only thing is, and this is where we started, that they never mentor the young men. They seem to treat me and other women differently.

Posted by: Megan | April 5, 2007 6:20 PM

M-N, no, it was obvious he was upset. He said I was "crass" and felt like he just couldn't work with me any longer. Like I said, he eventually got over it but it was definitely odd behavior from him.

I don't recall ever apologizing for cursing around men, but the times I've apologized for doing so around women it was because I didn't know them well enough yet to know if they'd be upset or not. My wife can curse with the best of them, and her and her friends can tell dirty stories and jokes that would make my male friends blush, so as long as I know my audience I won't apologize for my language.

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 6:22 PM

John L, That must have been very uncomfortable. btw, one of the most difficult things about parenting for both my husband and I is editing our sailor's vocabulary. It takes some lead time if you want to start attempting to develop a kid-vocab filter, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 6:35 PM

Yeah, knowing who is ok with swearing and who isn't is usually one of the first things we try and find out from new coworkers...

My wife just sent me this; she must have read my mind about needing something to smile about:

http://joe-ks.com/archives_may2005/Elastic_Baby.htm

Posted by: John L | April 5, 2007 6:38 PM

"If he only apologizes to the women he swears in front of, it's a likely indicator that his brain is so compartmentalized by gender, e.g., a believer in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus..." MN

I disagree with you on this point. In my experience, no guy has ever seriously objected to the occasional use of a certain word that has one vowel, an "u". Many women, no matter how much they may be a sailor mouth, hate that one word above all others and never want to hear it.

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 7:33 PM

Man I have been wanting to add all day 'cause I forgot (and was busy!) to say that I ALSO recognize that anonymity on the 'net is not the same as privacy/secrecy; it can come out at any time, and I'm aware of that whenever I put things up.

Some things about me are pretty identifiable no matter what.

BUT that is not the same as making them immediately accessible to Google. If someone is determined to find out who I am well gosh! okay then! But really I am mostly filtering out the casual sweep someone might make while bored at work, or while Googling their OWN name (in the case of family members:))

I hope that's sort of clear. It's a balancing thing, not a black-and-white thing, for me. From there I have to say that I sort of agree that it's best not to say anything you /absolutely/ couldn't live with having attached to your real name.

Posted by: Shandra | April 5, 2007 7:50 PM

I disagree with you on this point. In my experience, no guy has ever seriously objected to the occasional use of a certain word that has one vowel, an "u". Many women, no matter how much they may be a sailor mouth, hate that one word above all others and never want to hear it.

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 07:33 PM

Sorry, Fred, we'll have to agree to disagree because your experience and mine are inconsistent. The f-bomb is one of the faves of women both in my past and present workplaces, my gym(s), (lord knows in law school, LOL), even my church (when we're far, far away from the building and our rector -- as if somehow God doesn't hear it, I know, I know), across office locations, regardless of background, age, etc. It expresses certain emotions better than any other word and can be a noun, verb, and with minor tweaking, adjective and adverb. It's the all-purpose communication tool. In my experience, only, of course.

The only curse word from which I've seen otherwise sailor-chatting women recoil is *itch, but then I don't know any men who use it either.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 7:52 PM

For some reason the f word doesn't bother me as much as G.. damn it.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 7:58 PM

KLB - That makes sense. Profanity and vulgarity cross very different lines. Since you mention it, I am much more circumspect about profanity especially in the workplace.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 8:02 PM

Wow - after 8 and still a resonable discussion. Who woulda thunk?

My dad always just used G D'd and left it at that. He knew that we knew what he meant.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 8:06 PM

MN, Fred,
One other word I think is the worst of all - the C word. It is just plain crude.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 5, 2007 8:09 PM

I once swore in front of a coworker whom I didn't know very well -- I was speaking to someone else at the time and didn't realize anyone else could hear -- and she told me, "Because I have daughters, that language is very offensive to me."

Can anyone explain this?

Posted by: psj | April 5, 2007 8:37 PM

PSJ,,

did you use the c word or the witch word?

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 8:42 PM

I once swore in front of a coworker whom I didn't know very well -- I was speaking to someone else at the time and didn't realize anyone else could hear -- and she told me, "Because I have daughters, that language is very offensive to me."

Can anyone explain this?

Posted by: psj | April 5, 2007 08:37 PM

Without knowing the precise words you uttered, maybe this colleague found vulgarity to be intrinsically more offensive to women then to men. I might have been tempted to ask, but then again, most likely I would not have asked but would have crawled on my belly to the coffee pot and pretended the encounter did not occur.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 5, 2007 8:44 PM

It was the f word, in the context of "I f'd something up, sorry." Spoken to someone else entirely. And fwiw, that kind of language is pretty common in that lab.

Posted by: psj | April 5, 2007 9:48 PM

PSJ,

Well, in that case, "F" if I know!

But like I say (pointing finger towards MN), some women just detest that word!

Posted by: Fred | April 5, 2007 10:45 PM

John L, (and every other male creature lurking on this blog) why do you put the toilet seat down for your wife? Why doesn't she lift the seat for you? She's been married as long as you. That courtesy should be ingrained in her as well. I just don't get women getting hissy over a toilet seat. For Pete's sake, there are worse things in the world.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 6, 2007 8:38 AM

"I have read about companies that check out the myspace accounts before hiring."

I've heard of companies that even ask you for your myspace ID and/or want to read your blog before hiring - and count it against you if you don't have a myspace account and/or blog!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2007 10:11 AM

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