You know, when I say the word "Blog" aloud, and I do, all the time around me it's "blog, blog, blog", anyway, when I say the word "blog" aloud, it always makes me think of bog.
I know. Not terribly original, I'm sure. I mean, probably all of you say the word blog and have images of strangled, tanned mummies, with emaciated, smooshed faces. You say the word blog and Paris Hilton comes to mind. I know, it's old, I'm sorry.
But still, besides seeing the face of Paris Hilton when I say the word "blog" and hear the word "bog", I also think of Florida. Because of all the swamps. I've never been to Florida, but I understand that it's just chock full of swamps. Or maybe that was Louisiana. Oh well, they're both peninsulas, right? Same thing.
I don't know if the following bloggers all live in the bogs I think of them in (people on flat-bottomed boats with the big fans in the back, all hooked up to little wireless laptops, typing away with moisture-wrinkled fingers while dogs' barks echo strangely through the creepy moss-covered mandrake trees) but they all live in Florida, so they may as well, right? (I speak facetiously here, I don't really equate ALL of Florida to swampland. It's just it's so humid there and it's just so dry here, that I really do think that if I were ever to go there I would need a diving helmet to be able to breathe. Seriously, do you people all have gills???)
Kiker of I Wonder as I Wander definitely does not have gills. Unless they're located on places other than her head, neck, and feet. Because I have seen many pictures of her head, neck, and feet and there are no gills there. There are, however, cute toes, sparkly eyes, and an infectious smile. Which is appropriate since Kik is very cute, sparkly, and infectious. And I mean infectious in a good way. She is also my hero. Because she biked 75 miles through the hot syrup air of Florida. Even though she wanted to quit. Even though for a good chunk of that she was alone. Even though no one would have thought badly of her had she quit. She didn't quit. I was not surprised, though, because Kik is a fighter. A fighter of the best kind. A woman who fights for her beliefs and her God. And the fact that I (Wiccan, sometime Unitarian, bearer of uncountable scars inflicted by "Christians") can write in praise and (platonic, internetian) love of a woman who is a passionate Christian soldier should speak volumes about what kind of passion, Christianity, and soldiering this woman does.
And she does it by the side of Amy. Amy Elizabeth Kellogg maintains Squirrelly.org. And she maintains it well. It purrs. It preens. It blinks. Ok, I was just kidding about the first two. But the site does blink. It blinks its beady, little eyes at you. If you don't believe me you should go check it out for yourself. But don't come crying to me when the blinking eyes give you nightmares later. I warned you. Amy also takes lots and lots of pictures. Sometimes of strange things. So many pictures that one feels as if one is there in the festivities. And thus, though Amy's pictures, I really don't understand why all of those people in Florida don't come to my parties, because I go to ALL of theirs. I think they're stuck up, is all. Whatever. Anyway, Squirrelly also has random strange sites (which is where I found Utter Wonder: The Idle Thoughts of C. Monks) and she introduced me to the wonder of bentos and backpacks. If you want off-beat and playful, loving and political, Amy's the first you should head for.
Speaking of amazing photographers... Amanda. Amanda of For the Byrds. Holy crap, can the girl shoot. She is capable of conveying such emotion. No, not conveying. I'm sorry, that was a poor choice of words. She is capable of CAPTURING emotion so exquisitely through her lens. Her photography exhibits the same qualities that make her blog such a joy to read: generosity, honesty, clear vision, humor, love, and (at times) rage and indignation. Amanda was one of the first blogs I stumbled across, and I found her right as she and T went on a trip to Prague. They were gone for the longest time, and I nearly gave up on her. But I used the time to read her archives (they weren't long, though, she hadn't been blogging for long) and I decided to keep checking in until she was back. It was worth the wait (and the energy I expended clicking my mouse on her little link in my favorites list, too, can't discount that!). She was also one of the first people to let me know that they were reading on the Speckled Frog and her unabashed flattery of my daughter won her my heart forever (I am a SUCKER for compliments). Amanda and T have had a twisty journey -- starting out TTC, taking a break, working through some relationship issues, coming back together only to be separated again due to work. They are about to be reunited, and I can't wait to see where the next stage of their journey places them. Now if only I could figure out where the unique spelling of Byrds comes from.
Then there's Betsy. Betsy, Betsy, Betsy. For the longest time I thought she was the other Betsy (who is also awesome and who I will get to in the bloglove in good time). But no, she was this Betsy. Betsy of From Sunshine... and states beyond. And I get it, cause Florida's the Sunshine State, right? And yet the title also makes one think that Sunshine is a state of mind. Cool, huh? What I love about Betsy is her cut to the bone commentary. Her fierceness. At times, like too much sun, she burns. I like her questions. I like her moxie. I like how she speaks up. I like her energy. I like her terseness. Maybe she's not really edgy and sunburny and terse in real life. The pictures of her at parties make her look like she's real easy going and fun. So I love the fact that she's both. A little bit of everything. A lot to appreciate.
And then there's Ramer. I don't really read Ramer. I just know her through all the other women. And all the pictures of her that Amy takes. And the fact that she sent me a South Park version of herself for my fridge. Which was perfect. Because how can I have my little swamp corner of the fridge without Ramer? So, I'm linking her here, and I'm going to sub to her with bloglines, and get to know her through her own words. And I challenge all of you to do the same.
Finally, how can we visit the Florida Bloglands without taking a trip to see the Faggots on the Third Floor? It took me a while to click over to the Faggots because I thought it would be a guy writing, and though I like guys -- particularly gay guys -- at the time I was looking for lesbian moms. When I clicked over, I was so happy that I had because not only was Estelle a lesbian, but she was also about to become a non-bio mom. In fact, Estelle was the first lesbian non-bio mom I connected with. Though I had discovered The Other Mother weeks earlier, Robin felt more like a mentor and guide. Estelle felt like a sister or a best friend. Her son was born only a week before Julia. We've been going through the stages of new-motherhood very closely. For months I thought she hated me because of a hasty (and assvician) comment I left on her blog, but then I just found out that she didn't hate me: I didn't register as important enough on her radar to hate. So I remedied that. I left a LOT of comments. Many, many comments. And finally I got her attention. And then I won her over with my witty banter and my knowledge of animal behavior in Africa. And now we are friends. Even though we've never met. Estelle's life is always exciting, but right now it's also pretty emotional. Family stuff. Hard stuff. Go give her a big hug.
Oh, oh, oh, I almost forgot Jean at In Search of Light Chop! Jean is Estelle's partner. She started blogging a few months ago and it's been wonderful to get an alternate view of life on the third floor. I love, love, love it when I can compare and contrast stories. I feel like a detective. Like my soul is wearing a trench coat and sporting a lazy eye. Did you know that Light Chop is a boating term? I didn't. For the longest time I wondered why anyone would search for a glowing piece of pork! I'm so glad that someone explained it to me before I did anything embarrassing like admit my assumption to the entire internet. I mean, I'm admitting it now, but it's ok because you all know that I know differently. Whereas if I had admitted it before it would have just been awkward as you all figured out that I was serious when I wanted to know what was so cool about electrified meat. So that kind Samaritan saved you all a good load of awkwardness. Yay.
Ok, well that's it for Florida. I think. There are people on my blogroll who live in mysterious places. If any of them live in Florida and are put out that I forgot to include them well that's just too bad. If only they weren't so mysterious...