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Nicole Ludwig

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Rise of the Parent Blogger

There’s something about going to Northern Voice that makes me look at blogging (although Kemp Edmonds says we should call it “digital publishing”) over again. I’ve been to a couple of conferences and although the big ones are interesting and all, there’s something about a more intimate setting like Northern Voice that brings it back home.

The first time I attended Northern Voice, I was sitting in a session about blogging controversy. This was a few years ago and one of the panelists, Lorraine, made a comment about “mommy bloggers”. At this point, my friend Amber piped up with, “Can we use the term ‘parent blogger’ instead?”

When I became a mother, I swore I’d never become a mommy blogger (of the stereotypical variety). The “mommy wars” made me uncomfortable and I always wondered why we couldn’t just support each other rather than slamming each other.

Somehow the concept of “parent blogging” was different. If you look at how Amber treats it, it’s very accepting – she doesn’t push her views on others and its very inclusive. So I started to experiment with it. And my readership grew and I got a bit more popular. As it was said at Northern Voice this year, “Mommy blogging is hot.”

But, my blogging/digital publishing is still unfocused. I lost perspective, especially after I went to BlogHer. The difference between Northern Voice and BlogHer is important. NV is run by volunteers; they’re not necessarily in it to make a buck. BlogHer is -it’s a business. NV is run by people who love what they do and want to share what they do.

Later that year, I was seconded in my job to another organization. It was so totally different from what I’d experienced before in work. I met my supervisor (term used very loosely), also a mom. She took our small team out to lunch the first day and had us go around the table saying what our passion was. Her passion was her two kids.

What I learned there was not only good for my career, but it was good for me. I learned it’s okay to be passionate about your child(ren), which I am. I finally figured out that my passions had fundamentally shifted. My family is my passion, especially the Poptart. And that’s okay.

And at Northern Voice, it always came back to this: blog your passion.

So what does this mean for this space? A little more focus on kids and family; how to blend parenthood with partnership. You’ll see a return of Water Safety Wednesdays, at least for the summer. You’ll see Good/Bad/Ugly Fridays again. You’ll see more posts about my kid and her antics and how I’m keeping up with her and making it easier to keep up with A Very Busy Preschooler.

Hi. My name is Nicole. And I’m a parent blogger.

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Empty promises (or why I haven’t been blogging except on the rare occasion. Also, the Christmas update and why my new ereader is a pain in the butt).

I promised, awhile back, that I’d be blogging more by taking my laptop to work on the train. But then I realized that I had ONE COURSE to take through UVIC to complete this Diploma I’ve been plodding along on for a few years. ONE. So it turned out that the blogging more thing was an empty promise.

So I registered for the course (and oddly, my term paper ended up being about social media and its potential uses for volunteer recruitment and YAWN, you’d think that’d be good blog fodder but really, it wasn’t because I just wasn’t into it). And then all my time on the train became about reading and writing for the course because it was distance education and there were assignments every week plus a term paper which required weekly assignments that we didn’t get marked on per se, but needed to complete to be eligible for a mark in the course.

So I completed the course with a B+ which I would normally be not-so-happy about after not getting anything lower than an A- in all of the courses, but I was just so glad to get it done.

And aren’t you glad it’s done and you don’t have to read any more drivel like that?

So I submitted the paper and then it was Christmas and I was swamped at work and ended up missing my train home no fewer than 7 times. Right before I went on vacation a situation sort of blew up on me due to a database error and my boss made me take vacation with a “Fuck it. It can wait til the new year. Merry Christmas.”

(Have I mentioned I heart my boss?)

(Really, it was minor with few repercussions and then the situation unexpected sort-of resolved itself without any help from me in the new year).

So then it was Christmas and we hosted. Two sets of grandparents, nanny, Darren, myself and the Poptart. My parents at least stayed in their condo in Chilliwack. And the Poptart had some gastro-intestinal thing which we all passed around and it was great (not).

But the Poptart was spoiled and there are no words to explain how much her grandparents love her. She got her very own digital camera, table and chairs, rocking chair, various toys, and a large tin of Pirouline cookie things that we are not allowed to touch because according to my mom, they are for the Poptart and no one else.

The week before Christmas, I’d been out shopping for Darren’s present: a Kinect for the Xbox. And everyone was sold out. I kid you not. After doing some research, I realized that people were having issues with the old Xbox plus Kinect, so we bought a whole Xbox-Kinect package and it’s pretty cool. Kinectimals is pretty cute too.

I got a Kodak Video Camera (and it’s WATERPROOF so I can use it for contracts in the pool). And a new ereader from the Poptart. It’s an iView EB 700. Its backlit so I can use it at night without a light on (for which Darren is eternally grateful to the Poptart for getting it for me J). It’s also colour, which is nice for graphics. However it’s got some real issues with the battery (and don’t even get me started about trying to contact the company). But I still like it, mostly. Darren is working on exchanging it for me and trying to find out if there’s going to be a firmware update which might solve most of the issues (we think it’s misreporting the actual amount of charge in the battery). Of course, I loaned my old one to my mom to take to Mexico for 2 months so I have to use this one now.

(yes, yes, first-world problem. I am shallow, what can I say?)

So if you know anyone at Google who’s working on Android (because it’s an Android operating system), let me know and I’ll bake you some cookies or something in return for showing me how to pester them (I now have the world’s best butter cookie recipe. Seriously. Gobs and gobs of butter).

Update! They actually got back to me! Not satisfactorily, but at least I know the company isn’t run by hamsters. Or at the very least, the hamsters can type and write in mostly comprehensible English.

I have, in other words, been a reading fiend. Since the new year, I’ve read at least 5 books. Possibly more. To the point that I haven’t updated goodreads in awhile. I’m currently working on James Rollins’ latest Sigma series book “The Doomsday Key” and recently finished the previous one “The Last Oracle” which I thought I’d read, but it seems I’d only read the preview of it in the previous book. And those two books are just in the last week. I’ve also read several more which I can’t recall at the moment.

SO ANYWAYS, this is my really long and convoluted way of updating you and saying that I’ll be updating more frequently. No, really! I have a schedule done up, and three (THREE!) theme days planned.

Aren’t you lucky? Now you can read my drivel more!

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Administrative Note/Navel gazing

I am alive. Really. I promise.  But the whole working-full-time-and-having-a-baby-at-home-while-partner-is-quitting-smoking*-and-finding-some-sort-of-work-life-balance thing is putting a cramp in my blogging time.  And since I spend all day in front of a computer, it’s kind of the last thing I want to do when I get home.

ANYWAYS, what we’ve been up to lately:

Thing the Firste

One set of grandparents were visiting last weekend for father’s day. It was great. We went to the Greater Vancouver Zoo and I have a ton of photos on my camera, but don’t have time to get them posted right now. The Poptart walked most of the way. What I want to know, is: how the hell did I become mother to a toddler?

Thing the Seconde

I attended a networking session yesterday and my old boss was there (really my former boss’ boss, but whatever).

The problem with seeing someone after not seeing them for awhile is realizing how much you miss them. I nearly started crying when she hugged me. I miss her terribly, both as a person and a manager. She always inspired me to do better, and she managed to do it again at this event.

And she said it was okay to have other things to prioritize, especially when you have a family. Specifically, she said, “You can have it all, you just can’t have it all right now.”

Thing the Thirde

I have been doing a bootcamp for the last 5 weeks. Apparently, it is a beginner bootcamp, but when we’re doing deadlifts and then I can’t walk properly for a couple of days, I question that. Especially when I start eyeing the Poptart’s stroller at the Zoo and wonder if it’ll hold my weight.

But I liked it and will probably sign up for the summer session as well. I’ve also been shredding for the last couple of weeks and have made it to level 2, and ohmygod. My obliques. They hurt.

So, what have you been up to? You’re probably in my reader, but I have over 300 entries to read. So it’ll be awhile before I get to that.

*It has been a week since he had a smoke, so we’re over the worst of it. And I am so proud of him.

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Welcome to the new digs!

Look! It’s my very own domain and blog. Not self-hosted this time because last time I got hacked and that was just Bad. Since my theory is that most problems can be solved by throwing some money at them, I threw some money at hosting, and voila! Update your bookmarks, feed readers, etc. please. The new feed is available for posts (not comments) either on the sidebar or in the upper right hand corner.

Now, who wants to make me a pretty template?

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So where the bleep have you been?

Today is May 21. I have no idea when this post will actually be published. Over the weekend sometime, my blog was hacked and the database is gone. Last night, I was hanging out at the Momocrats’ live chat about the Kentucky (boo!) and Oregon (yay!) primaries, and mentioned my blog was hacked. John J. was in there and said this has been a recent problem with wordpress.

Note to other wordpress users out there: IF you are using WordPress 2.5, upgrade to 2.5.1 IMMEDIATELY. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. It’s a free upgrade – just do it.

(Do you think Nike will come after me for that now?)

Oh and one of my gmail accounts also got hacked. If you got an email from me about cheap electronics, please disregard and delete it. My apologies.

Yes, the passwords on both accounts were the same. Coincidence? Maybe, but maybe not.

Did I mention ALL of my posts are gone? I’ve been trying to retrieve them from Google’s cache, but its tedious and time-consuming. If anyone knows a quick and dirty way of doing this, please let me know.

But, enough about idiot hackers.

I’m using a new feature in Word 2007 to compose this – they actually have blog templates which you can upload later. So once the blog is back up, I’ll see if it actually works.

* * * * *

May 27

Today, I got an email from Katie  asking me where the blog is. So I thought I should get off my duff and get this thing set up. Its now set up on WordPress’ free hosting whatsit. I wrote the above in Word on the 21st, published it directly from there and OMFG it worked! Hopefully at some point, I’ll get the archives back up. So for those of you in using readers, you may see a whole bunch of posts all at once.

And it seems to work – well, mostly. I like it anyways. It makes life much easier.

(Yay! Apparently 2006 and 2007 are in the wayback machine!)

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And, we're back

Blog is moved over to a new server now – it should run a bit faster and just generally work a bit better. The new version of wordpress seemed to clog the old one a bit. Oh and the blogroll is updated a bit. Like adding Huckdoll to it. Among other things. Go there to see.

Moving the blog also seems to have cleared up some other issues – like mybloglog actually links to it. Technorati, not so much and they seem pretty slow about doing a manual activation.

Yesterday I had to work for a couple of hours – well, my apprentice did most of it. Then they found poo in the pool so we cut that bit short. Seriously, one tiny little turd that no one noticed for at least an hour and then they superchlorinated the entire pool (because the turd was there for an hour) and shut the pool down.

Bet you want to go out to your public POOl now, don’tcha? :) Don’t worry, the superchlorination takes care of everything. Really. Trust me. I did this for 15 years  :)

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And it seems I have successfully upgraded and girly bits


I hope, anyways. I shouldn’t say that *I* upgraded – Darren actually did the work. Except my rss feed still doesn’t work – there’s an error on line 5 apparently. If anyone knows anything about this error, any help would be appreciated:

An invalid character was found in text content.
 Line: 274 Character: 5


I fixed it. Am brilliant. Amazing. Divine and gorgeous.

Also, I have reactivated Akismet in the hopes it might work and turned off the requirement to have a previously-approved comment. Hopefully, there will be no spam and I will be able to free non-spam messages from it.

I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel: I have one section on a paper to write and hand it in tomorrow, and the course I’ve been teaching is 2/3 over.

I have a bunch of stuff burbling around in my brain, not the least of which is my doctor’s appointment tomorrow. Its time for the annual poke ‘n prod, and she’s going to offer a refill on my birth control, which, well.

After 15 or so years on birth control, almost continually, I think its time for a break and let my body regulate itself for awhile. So we’ve discussed and we’ll just see what happens.

There are other benefits too. It means I actually have to drag my flabby butt to the gym a few times a week. The entire reason I went on birth control in the first place was because of The Cramps. Like just about passing out from the pain type cramps. The only things that make them manageable are birth control and exercise.

So that, as they say, is that.

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