I don’t really leave comments on blogs any more. Most of the stuff I read is via RSS and if I am on an actual site, well, I guess I’ve gotten used to the threaded discussion features of social media platforms and writing something in a comment section feels a bit like throwing a bottle out to sea. But as a person who continues, for some ill-advised reason, to keep her own ancient blog on life support, I still love comments. Even the spambots get me briefly excited, especially the weirdly poetic ones (actual excerpt: You can see wells in many fairy tales where you make a wish, push people into them,Womens Paul Hornung Jersey, and consume it for bathing or drinking purposes.)

Anyway, if you’re out there, stop and say hi, will you? Just because … why not. Tell me where you’re spending your online time these days (me: Instagram, Reddit, Facebook, whatever’s still trickling into my Feedly, Google News, a game called Subnautica). Tell me how old your kids are (10 and 12). Tell me what job you’re doing now and whether you enjoy it (freelance writing still, marketing articles, and yes — but I really miss working with people and I keep looking for a good volunteer/part-time-something that will offer more in that department). Tell me about the last book you could not put down (Behind Closed Doors; it wasn’t the best writing in the world but it sure kept me interested). Tell me, are you doing okay? (Yes. I mean: mostly? Mostly yes. Ugh, mostly looks like MOISTLY. I am MOISTLY doing okay, MOIST of the time.)


224 Responses to “Checking in”

  1. Andrea on March 12th, 2018 4:03 pm

    Hi! I’m Andrea, an almost-40 year old mom of 2 in Massachusetts. I work in IT. I found your blog years ago and just really enjoy your writing. Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your life with us!

  2. Jo on March 12th, 2018 4:36 pm

    I’m late to the game (the email alert for today’s blog reminded me!) but…
    I’m Jo. I have a 19-month-old daughter who delights and frustrates me in equal measure, as I think is normal for a toddler! I love me some Instagram, a bit of Facebook and some news sites. I work in marketing at a university. The last book I read (I want to read more but…toddler) was ‘Still Me’ by Jojo Moyes. I found your blog years ago (must be 12+ as I remember you announcing you were pregnant with Riley!) and love your writing.

  3. Mandy on March 12th, 2018 5:26 pm

    I’m Mandy. I’m 48; my son is 13. I think I found your first blog when I was pregnant with him, and went back and read it all from the beginning. I’m mostly on Twitter and Facebook. I work for Medicaid in Texas, a mostly frustrating endeavor. The last book I read straight through was The Woman in the Window, which I found entertaining but I figured out right away because I read too many thrillers. I’m so happy you still write for us. You have a real gift and it is a really a pleasure to read your writing.

  4. Kate on March 12th, 2018 7:49 pm

    I’m super late but I hope you’re still interested in responses, because here goes…

    I’m Kate and I’ve been reading your blog since it was an online journal (am so old). I think I started right about the time Riley was born. I’m so glad you’re still writing, by the way. I have two daughters, they’re 12 and 3 (a nice, and also challenging age gap).
    My time online is spent futilely refreshing Twitter (which stresses me out a lot, tbh, with the state of the world currently), Facebook, Instagram, and Buzzfeed. As for job, I’m a stay-at-home mom and this 3-year-old takes all of my energy in a way her big sister didn’t, and not just because I’m 9 years older. The last book I could not put down was Hazel Rowley’s biography of the Roosevelts, ‘Franklin and Eleanor.’ It was a great read; they were a fascinating couple and Rowley has a really engaging writing style.

    Am I doing okay? Mostly. We’ve moved to a different state and I’m adjusting, but it’s hard and I’m lonely. I feel okay admitting that here, but not to people I actually know in real life. I’m not sure why that is.

  5. Laurelie on March 13th, 2018 11:34 am

    Late to the game as well, but I’ve been reading for longer than I can remember. Like before you even had kids…god that makes me feel old. I’m on the tail end of my 30’s and a mom of 2 boys…we lead kind of parallel lives except my boys are a few years younger and we get more snow here and have a Prime Minister instead of a President.

  6. Karen on March 13th, 2018 2:19 pm

    Linda, I’m on a macbook, and maybe it’s my crazy machine that is on its last leg, but I can’t go back to see all of the comments. Bummer! I would love to read all of them!

  7. Nicole on March 13th, 2018 6:07 pm

    I’m Nicole I’m 41, I live in Arizona and have an 11 year old daughter. I have been reading your blog for years and just enjoy your writing so much. You inspired me to train for a triathlon years ago so even though this is late I’d like to say thank you!

    I work part-time as a Dietitian in the ICU at the VA hospital and while I love my work and believe wholeheartedly in the mission of the VA I can’t help but feel a little unfulfilled. I ask myself often what else should I be doing? Who knows.

    I cycle through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter incessantly and just started playing HQ even though it gives me anxiety.

    I’ve been reading a lot lately – I joined the Book of the Month Club and the joy of getting a box of new books each month is amazing!

    Thank you for sharing a little of yourself with all of us, I appreciate it and hope you know how talented you are.

  8. T on March 13th, 2018 9:00 pm

    Late on this one but I’m spending way too much time on Facebook these day, I also enjoy Instagram and the occasional Pinterest time suck. I used to be on livejournal in the old days and really miss all the blogs that used to be out there. I started reading yours around year 2002, way back before kiddos. I myself don’t have any kids. I have a cat who keeps me company. And I’m working in insurance. I used to really enjoy what I did til I was moved to management a few years ago, which I despise. I’m doing mostly ok most of the time. I just read Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley” & enjoyed it. My iPhone won’t let me read the other comments but I hope to catch them on the laptop later for some new book suggestions!!

  9. Eve on March 13th, 2018 9:18 pm

    Hi there,

    Piping up to say hey from Australia. Just about to turn 37, no kids yet, live with my partner in Sydney but planning a move out of the city onto 5 acres we just bought.

    I’ve been reading for a long time and am so pleased you’ve been writing regularly lately. I’ve been reading since diaryland days so for quite a while.

    How have you been doing?

  10. Anu on March 13th, 2018 9:42 pm

    I don’t date all the way back to Diaryland-I started reading you right around the time Riley was born and I’ve left you comments before.

    I’m not online very much anymore and I literally typed your blog address into the bar to see if you were updating…I think 8 months ago? I was so excited to see new posts and I check in to old blogs I used to read in the early to mid 2000s in the same way. I have a low engagement Facebook and an Instagram. Other than that, I occasionally peruse Reddit Asian Beauty and Skincare Addiction. When Game of Thrones is on air, I also check into that subreddit.

    I haven’t had kids yet. I did get married but it didn’t work out. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it.

    I quit practicing law and went back to school to get an MBA. It was the best decision I ever made. Also I’m going to sound like a total tool…but I majored in “Strategy.” Yup, I quit being a lawyer with a tenured federal job at an exec agency to work in strategery. Anyway, it did work out extremely well for me.

    I blazed through Columbine, though I know some of the victims take issue with the book and reporting. Also, The Wife Between Us.

    I would say I’m great. I’m not jumping for joy every day but I would say I’m content-ish. Getting divorced really sucked but also gave me perspective, on so many things. Like how we have these goalposts we think we need to hit in life, we obsess and worry about them for a long time and then things don’t go as we expect. And yet, I picked myself up and moved on with, frankly, equanimity and class. It made me realize…hey you’re strong. You’re capable of grieving and moving on and focusing on other things. Quitting law and doing well in my second career boosted my self esteem in an incredible way because I found something I was great at AND enjoyed, and that filled a professional hole that I had before. Not as great stuff? It turns out that I’ve had ADHD my whole life-I am finally on medication for it and it’s good, but I haaaaaaate that I have a learning disability/mental illness. Still some shame around that. I am still not hugely extroverted. I’ve lived in NYC for 6 years now and I don’t have a huge friendship circle…and I’m still not sure I care. That’s a whole screed but basically, I’m okay, I continue to figure myself out and I think I will be the type of person who tries to figure herself out till death. I’m okay with that. Wishing you well, Linda…I love popping in and seeing your writing. It’s as warm and human as when I first started reading you.

  11. Martha on March 14th, 2018 7:33 am

    Late to the party, as usual. I have been reading your blog since before you had Riley and adore your writing style. I find you refreshing and inspirational.

    I am 52, married, and have a 9 year old boy. We live in NH where we just experienced our THIRD nor’easter of March with over a foot of snow.

    I spend far too much time on Facebook and Instagram. I never “got” Twitter and since November of 2016, I am glad I don’t frequent it. I also watch WAY TOO MUCH Netflix (not social media, I know, but still).

    I feel screen time has taken over from my actual reading of books. I have so many books started on my Kindle, but I rarely take the time to read them. It’s pathetic, really. I used to be a voracious reader. The last “hold in your hands book” I read, on your recommendation, was “Hunger” by Roxane Gay. It was brilliant.

    My current job is as a paraprofessional at a middle school. I work with kids with learning disabilities. Before becoming a Mom, I had been working toward getting certified to teach Language Arts, grades 6-12. I thought teaching was my calling. With the current climate in U.S. schools, and for a multitude of reasons, I am no longer certain of that.

    I am going through a long period of not being OK, after suffering a series of losses and questioning so many things about my life. I am clawing my way out, struggling to find my purpose. The truth is, I need to stop being so freaking ungrateful.

  12. Gillian on March 14th, 2018 10:44 am

    Hi. I’ve been reading you forever – almost 15 years I think? I’m 41 and married. My best friend (she’s here in the comments somewhere) have occasionally emailed you and a response always elicited a squeal of joy, like seeing a celebrity :) Internet ‘knowing’ you and a handful of other bloggers has truly felt like it’s own little special friendgroup. I cheer for you like I do the friends I see everyday in real life. I work as a therapist in private practice and I truly love it. I can’t believe I get paid to do it. I have an 8 year old daughter and 4 year old son and that’s just all the stuff everyone else has said about parenting. The best, the worst, exploding joy, tedious crazytown ( remember that thing you wrote about angry toddler boys with sharks for arms? Super accurate). I don’t spend too much time online anymore. Took FB off my phone because all the news coverage gave me too much anxiety. I still read a few blogs and follow the writings of people I admire. Just trying to be in my own life more but the ease of which to check out using the web is strong. I am okay? Good? My marriage is a mess and I don’t know what the outcome will be. That’s the most stressful part of my life. I think we broke it 5 years ago and have been paddling ever since. It’s scary. So. Moistly okay. Here. Thanks for being you, Sundry.

  13. Erica on March 14th, 2018 5:23 pm

    *wave* I’m here. I also only read through RSS (I use Inoreader), and I read in batches and clumps – which is why I’m late here. I have two boys, one turning 4 this weekend and one who’ll be 11 months next week. I remember when your kids were little(r??), and it freaks me out that they’ve become such fascinating and independent people. But then, I already feel that way about my own big kid (seriously, he’s not yet 4 and tonight he said “I can clean that up – no worries!” I’m still on mat leave (Canada yay!), but I can feel this weird full-time momming year slipping away. It is both gut wrenching and thrilling to think about going back to work – I loathe big changes, but I know enough to crave the next phase when I’m settled into the newness.

    Just a wee hello to say that I’m here and I’m reading.

  14. N on March 14th, 2018 8:46 pm

    I’ve read you since before R was born. I talk about you like we’re friends IRL and I do love you so. In a non creepy way of course.

    My boys are 22 and 20, I’m a banker not currently in love with my life. It’s fine. I’ll figure it out. Thanks for asking.

  15. Chloe on March 14th, 2018 9:19 pm

    Hi. Mostly baby center- I have a 10 month old. I work in regulatory, and mostly I don’t like it much right now. Too many responsibilities, not enough time, and I want to have more energy for my son. I look forward to reading books for pleasure again someday. I’m not great right now. I just lost the one member of my childhood family that I liked and trusted and could depend on. But, I know life goes on.

  16. Bree on March 15th, 2018 4:49 pm

    Tell me –

    Where you’re spending your online time these days: It was mainly Instagram and Twitter; I took Facebook off my phone around the start of Lent, but I just removed Instagram too. I’ve only been off for two days and it’s amazing already how much better I feel. I love social media, but I’m not good at limiting my time.

    How old your kids are: 10, 9 and 6.

    What job you’re doing now and whether you enjoy it: I’m in corporate communications for a financial services company. The job is fine, but I feel drawn to trying something different or new. Maybe related to ministry or service. Not really sure yet, but it’s been on my heart for years.

    Tell me about the last book you could not put down: Honestly, I think it was when I devoured the Little House series in 2016. I’m still reading, but nothing has grabbed me in the same way.

    Tell me, are you doing okay? Mostly, yes. I’m in the early months of therapy and am at the point where I know many of the changes I need to make, and I don’t really want to make them. But I do. But not yet. But I really do.

  17. Danish on March 16th, 2018 5:29 pm

    Linda I’m so glad you’re blogging again. I was a reader for years and years and when you left the internet I was bereft. Silly, right? I just caught up on your 2018 entries. I still miss you on twitter where I spend most of my time online, lurking as I’ve always been a lurker.
    I have reg Facebook which mostly infuriates me, had to block so many people after the election and cannot believe the seemed lack of concern about the state of the world. and a secondary Facebook acct as I am a reseller and learn so much from reselling groups.
    My boys are almost 12 and 7. I loved reading about Riley bc he and my son are so much alike.
    Glad you’re back and hope you’re doing well.

  18. Jenny Hoffman on March 17th, 2018 6:20 am

    Hi Linda!

    I’ve been reading your blog since before you flew the boys to DC and were looking for advice on how to keep them occupied on the plane! I spend my time online trying to keep up with all the political emails I get, which is why I’m just now commenting. I always keep your emails until I get a chance to read the blog post. I also use Facebook to keep up with my far-flung family and friends (Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Wyoming, and I live in Maryland).

    My daughter is 12 now and she’s getting boobs. !!! I’m still waiting for mine at 42, haha. We live with my boyfriend of three years and have his 17-year-old son around a lot, too.

    I work in email marketing for colleges, and I just got the worst review of my life. Well, maybe the second worst. I might not be cut out for this. Before I was more writing and editing, which I’m awesome at.

    I haven’t read much since we moved in with the bf. other things to do at bedtime! But I do really enjoy zombie apocalypse stories.

    Am I okay? I was, until the aforementioned work review. But my manager is fighting for me, and I’m determined to learn what I need to know and rock this job. My boyfriend is the love of my life and makes everything worth it. And my daughter is her own quirky talented person who inspires me and worries me all at once. My life has become amazingly good in the past few years and that’s how I’m determined to keep it.

    Thanks for asking!

  19. Jessica on March 17th, 2018 3:02 pm

    Hey there!

    I’ve been reading you for years it seems, since well before you moved and have always loved your humor and honesty. As I got too busy to keep up with all the blogs I followed, yours was/is one I’ve made a point to stick with. I live in Texas with my 12 yo girl and 9 yo boy and work part time at a variety of things. My husband passed away recently, but we’re doing ok, considering. My brother lives in Eugene and I visit there about once a year. Planning my next one for may.

    Glad to see you writing regularly.

  20. Megsie on March 17th, 2018 6:55 pm

    Hi Linda,

    I am a lurker here, but I absolutely LOVE your writing. In fact I have written to you before (YEARS ago about using one of your essays in my classroom–“Pieces”–and I still use it every semester. It is one of my students’ favorite readings).

    I check Facebook once in a while, but I still read my favorite blogs (who still write). People who are writing are: The Book of June (used to be Bye Bye, Pie), Amalah, Lizardek Obiter Dictum, Do Today Well, and once in a while A Diamond in the Window and Momastery. (Oh, and YOU, of course.)

    My kids are 16 & 14 & 14.

    I teach at a local Community College. I teach reading and freshman comp courses. I love my job, but it is exhausting!

    The last book I couldn’t put down? I am a reading teacher that doesn’t have time to read whole books. I am still in the middle of The Late Homecomer…excellent…but I started it before this semester began and it is sitting on the dining room table. Last summer I read The Grave Yard Book by Neil Gaiman and I LOVED it. And The Book of Ove. And Ordinary Grace. Okay, I’ll stop.

    I am doing fine, and I am so glad you are too…moist of the time! Hawaii sounded awesome by the way!

  21. Lori on March 18th, 2018 10:33 am

    I, too, have been reading you for years. I wrote you a number of years ago when we were considering a move to Seattle. Nope, still in Georgia. Still longing for a change.

    I have a high school senior and a kindergartner. One of them makes me question my sanity almost daily.

    I do finance stuff for work.

    I spend most of my online time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the Mr. Money Mustache forums.

    I’m currently reading Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen. It speaks to me on some level.

    I am mostly fine. Striving to be better. So glad that you are mostly fine too. <3

  22. allison on March 19th, 2018 11:17 am

    Hey Linda,

    Still here. I don’t get around to commenting much either. My boys are around the same age as your boys, my oldest is to be 13 in June and is in the 7th grade, and my youngest will be 12 in September and is in Fifth grade. I left my job of 9+ years last year and now work for a nearby City in the law dept. Life is good, we got our first dog ever (I have seriously never owned a dog, nor has my husband) and holy cow, how great are dogs?! This former cat lady now loves the canines as well. I spend most of my time on Instagram, then facebook… I occasionally head over to buzzfeed and reddit. I am obsessed with my favorite murder the podcast and the podcast we’re no docs. Last great book was probably the one written by Tiffany Haddish. Though I listened to it, not actually read it. Highly recommend!

  23. J on March 19th, 2018 11:46 am

    i am late to the game but I loved reading these, and I love how many people have been around for the long run. I started reading from Diaryland when I would click the “next journal” link. Or was it random? I remember when Riley was born and I think about the “first cagey expression” picture fondly. I don’t remember if I’ve left any comments. My kids are the same ages as yours now. I am working in a minimum wage part time job that I have a love/hate with so I can stay home and do things with them but still pay for those very things. And honestly I spend a lot of time on facebook but I have been trying to get out of that habit. I miss blogs, because blogs don’t really exist anymore the way they did way back when, and I’m old and set in my ways. I like to read.. so I have been getting offline and reading actual books these days. The last book that I couldn’t put down was Heart Shaped Box.. I recommend it! I also read The Road in one sitting and that was pretty depressing, but I’m glad I read it, if that makes sense. I am doing fine these days.. finally out of the baby/toddler fog and into the “I’m old, and I don’t give a crap what you think about me” stage, haha. Anyway I am glad to see you keeping on keeping on.. it’s been a joy!

  24. Eilis on March 20th, 2018 11:12 pm

    Hi Linda! I’m consciously trying to spend LESS time online, particularly Facebook, which began as a forced situation due to a falling out with my family with the super fun added bonus of them threatening to sue me (Love you too, Mom)—But has turned out to be super good for me so I’m letting it ride. I checked in last week because I was going to be meeting my idol (Weird Al!) and everyone knows what a big event it was for me so I had fun keeping them posted on that. But then I found myself mindlessly scrolling again for no reason and remembered what a time suck it is and ditched it again. My kids are 9 (boy) and 8 (girl) and we have a ball together so not being a Facebook zombie definitely gives me more time with them. I love catching up on my blogs on nights like tonight when I’m making the conscious horrible decision not to put myself to bed at a decent hour—and yours has been a favorite for many years.
    I work as a Physician Assistant in an Ear, Nose, and Throat office, a welcome change from the Emergency Room which I did for 7 years. This job is one of the reasons I can honestly say that I’m pretty happy right now. Well, it was the catalyst for many positive changes I’ve made over the past year. When I finally got up the nerve to bust out of the golden handcuffs and familiarity of the ER I started a whole personal “Boss Up and Change Your Life” revolution and the outcome has been epic so far. New job that brings me home to my kids and husband every night, weekend, and holiday. Dinner at the table together every night. I coached both kids’ basketball teams this year, a dream I’ve had since they could pick up a ball. I found the sources of some neck and jaw pain and now go for twice monthly therapeutic massages. I got back into an exercise routine and lost a bunch of weight. I made the startling yet not surprising realization that my family is super dysfunctional and manipulative and decided that shit’s not my bag anymore. That last one has been the hardest emotionally but hot damn life is so much better when you aren’t allowing yourself to be manipulated all the time! Especially when it’s been going on your whole life!
    So, all in all I’d say life is pretgreat on my end right now, and I’m actively trying to change anything that’s NOT great.
    I’m glad you’re doing moistly well and will continue to be your quiet champion cheering you on from the inter-webs.
    Much Stranger Love,

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