Guest Post Four- All Things Phil

July 20, 2008 at 3:44 pm | Posted in 20 Something Bloggers, Blogosphere | 6 Comments
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Ed. Note: Continuing in the spirit of accident themed guest posts, as well as an attempt to pump some testosterone into my blog without allowing Hubby to give away all of my “Tipp” secrets and exposing all of my flaws (oh yes, he would!), I give to you Phil from All Things Phil. He is a fellow 20sb, who I became acquainted with a few months ago! It has been great getting to know him and you should too, pop over and say hello and a big thanks for the help in my absence. I will be back tomorrow to relay to you all or, eh, most of what has been going on in my life. Oh, the suspense, you can cut it with a knife. (sarcasm). Miss you all!

It seems our Tipp had a minor accident this week and injured her hand. Having done the same thing myself in the not-so-distant past, I (perhaps inappropriately) volunteered to write a guest post about a certain misfortune that befell a certain digit belonging to an extremity of my own. Needless to say, I was delighted when Tipp expressed curiosity and, dare I say, excitement at the prospect of this guest post. So here we are.

It’s the summer of 2006. I’m working at summer camp for my third summer. Three summers of escape to the wonderful state of Minnesota to surround myself in the outdoors. The woods, the lake, the cabins, and of course, the campers. It’s speech camp, which means that in addition to regular camp stuff, all the kids receive speech services during their stay. Having never once attended residential camp myself growing up, I’m understandably proud that I had become a successful camp counselor. Better still, I discovered I loved it.

It’s July, and I’m working as a “Speechie” this summer. With Bachelor’s degree now in hand, I’m able to provide speech therapy services. Perks include nights off every night and weekends to myself. On this weekend in July, my services as a veteran counselor are requested for an offsite camping trip fifty miles away, on an island in the center of a rather enormous glacially-formed lake.

It’s Saturday. The two-night camp-out has one night left. With the exception of a slight lapse of good judgment on my part, in which I steer the pontoon boat right over a sandbar and nearly break the Honda engine, everything is a great success.

It’s mid-day. There’s a nice public beach I remember, and we head there to spend the morning and then enjoy a picnic lunch. Lunch has been eaten, and after waiting for fifteen minutes, everyone heads back to the water. Everyone except for one girl, who decides she wants to play on the swing set. Never one to leave a single camper out of the care of any staff, I decide to join her.

She’s sweet, this girl. Lonely. Grateful to have a companion join her on the swings. I love swings. The “staff” label is a poor cover for the fact that inside, I’m just a big kid. I climb onto the swing beside her, and start moving back and forth. Public beaches have the best toys in the world. In this case, a swing set big enough for a 6’1″ kid to play on.

The swing set gives in playfully. It taunts me to swing more. Freedom. The only way in the world to feel the rush of wind through my hair, resounding in my ears. The girl’s voice reminds me where I am. “I bet I can swing higher than you!” Thoughts of freedom evaporate. A competitive streak takes over. No camper in the world can swing higher than me, and I’m going to prove it to her.

A simple bend at the knees, followed by extension. Bend. Extend. Bend. Extend. Bend. Extend. Higher. Higher. Bend. Extend. Whoosh. Whoosh. Extend. Bend. Reaching a point of near weightlessness, followed by a G force that tells me walking on the ground is boring by comparison. Eyes want to close, to allow pure feeling take over and envelope my being completely. Bend. Extend. I hear the sound of my own voice. “I’m swinging higher than you!

Bend. Extend. At the end of possibly my highest extension yet, my knees instinctively move to bend. Except this time, they don’t. My body moves backward with the rhythm of the swing. There’s no give this time. No time to think. No time to get my bearings. Whoosh. Not the sound of air. Eyes closed. Contact. Coughing. Dust. Sand.

Eyes open. Blink several times. Tear. Focus. Looking upward at the tree-lined sky. No swing set. Lift my head. Hear my name shouted by several voices. “Phil!” “Phil!” Catching my breath. “Phil!” Unable, for the moment, to speak. Lying still. Unable to move.

Dazed. My back aches. I lift myself up, try to stand. Aside from knocking the wind out of myself and being in shock, the only injury I sustain is in the form of a slight amount of blood oozing from my left middle finger. I notice the swing. The leather seat torn in two, each side swaying slightly, nearly at rest.

Replaying the event in my head. Trying to figure out what happened. The seat snapped in two with me still on it. I made contact with the ground, back first, and skidded a solid six feet backward in the less than forgiving sand. After a few minutes’ time, I got up and walked away.

My left middle finger throbs in pain. Within an hour, it changes color. A plum that’s about two weeks from being ripe. The lifeguard wraps it in tape, using my ring finger as support. By the end of the day, my middle finger is twice its normal size. The pain remains intense. The more time passes, the more I seem to feel numb to it.

The next day. Sunday. Thrilled to be returning to camp. Packing up and loading the pontoon. Setting off for the first of two trips to prepare for the drive back. My finger has turned a variety of colors, but is still attached. I’m able to drive the pontoon, the motor roaring behind me as I guide it with the single handle. It cuts out suddenly. Trying to restart it is useless. Pull it out of the water. Fishing line. No knife on hand to cut it loose. Rescued by a local guy who happened to witness our plight. He expresses concern over my colorful bird.

It’s Tuesday. I at last convince my director to let me get x-rays. I’m at the hospital emergency room. My hand is under the machine. The physician’s assistant returns. He explains that I just barely managed to not break any bones. Rather, the topmost knuckle’s tendons are torn. All of them, and significantly.

A five-inch splint is fitted to my finger. Gauze holds it in place. I’m not to move my finger for at least three weeks. The PA discerns that I’m very active, and use my hands a great deal. He asks about this, and I point out that, among other things, I interact regularly with deaf and hard of hearing people. He tosses a sling around my neck, fits my arm in it, and warns me not to remove it lest I cause myself any more harm.

The word ‘improbable’ comes to mind. People ask if I tried to catch myself as I fell, if I held out my arms and tried to break my fall. I reply that I never even knew I fell until after it was over, and in all likelihood, had I tried to stop myself, I would have broken a lot more than just my finger.

It’s July 2008. Two years have passed, almost to the day. I remain unsure exactly how I managed to walk away from my swing accident with nothing more than a broken finger. The nearest I can guess is it got caught in the chain somewhere along the way. But that remains a guess, because honestly, I have no clue.

Guest Post Three by Chickbug

July 19, 2008 at 9:35 am | Posted in 20 Something Bloggers, Blogosphere | 13 Comments
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Ed. Note: Today is another one of my favorite bloggers, Chickbug! We became blogging friends through our fabulous web designer Jess at Delicious Design Studio, when she did both of our blog designs! Chickbug is a great blogger who lives in NY and lives to tell us about it! Serving jury duty with Mark Consuelos certainly counts as exciting in my book! Go read all about her and her many other stories!

They say blogging about blogging is boring and unnecessary.  Sorry. I’m breaking that rule.  I have a lot to say about blogging, especially during this weekend of BlogHer.  Thanks to Tipp (and her hand) for allowing me the space to sort out my feelings. 

I have five quick questions for you.  Questions I’ve pondered over the last year since I started my own blog. 

1- Is blogging selfish?
When I started chickbug I wrote a few posts and then emailed my friends and said “look, I started this blog…you should read it!”  I needed an audience and they seemed like the obvious group.  But really, how self-centered was I?  Maybe they don’t have any interest in reading about my life everyday…they can just pick up the phone and call me.  I still feel uncomfortable talking about my blog a lot with my friends.   I know they all read it but I feel a little self-conscious about it.  And I’m very sensitive to make sure if I have news to share or a funny story, I tell them about it first.  Am I the only one who is concerned with this type of stuff? 

2- How do you decide which blogs to read?
When I started to branch out to the world of “networking” with other bloggers (20something bloggers, BlogHer) I was so excited to add people to my google reader.  But soon this task became overwhelming!  20sb has over 1,000 members!  And it became this weird superficial game. Who has a nice profile picture?  Who was apart of the same groups I was?  I’d click their link to their blog, read an entry…and if it didn’t grab me…off I went to next blog.  How horrible is that?  How could you ever judge a blog by one entry?  I’ve become a little more “savvy” with my blog reading….going through the blog rolls of bloggers I read, clicking on links when someone I haven’t seen leaves an interesting comment. How do you add people to your list? 

3- Do you ever get jealous?
When I blog about my inner-most thoughts and get 5 comments…and someone else blogs about their dog and gets 45 comments I stop and thing, what am I missing?  First, let me say, I know I’m not suppose to “blog for comments” but sometimes it’s hard not to be jealous of other bloggers who seem to attract such a huge readership.  Am I the only one?  But, I’m about to contradict myself in question #4.

4- Can you ever have too many readers?
I might be jealous of the blogger who gets 45 comments, but I also think that might be a little overwhelming!  Does that mean you read 45 other people’s blogs and comment on them? Do people really read ALL 45 comments?  If I see a blog entry has a gazillion responses sometimes I don’t comment myself, because I feel like what I would have said, has already been written.  See, clearly I have jealous issues.

5- Blog friends in real life?
If BlogHer was on the east coast I might have considered going, but I would have felt awkward, out of place and a little shy.  I love all my blog friends. The little community formed online is pretty amazing.  But I don’t know how I would fair in a real-life situation. Maybe these are my insecurities coming out…because in reality, my blog friends know ALL about my life. I just don’t know how I would do in a “meet-up” or attending BlogHer.  Have you met a blogging friend in real life?

Guest Post 2 – EP of Stylish Handwriting

July 17, 2008 at 8:30 pm | Posted in 20 Something Bloggers | 8 Comments
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Ed. Note: Below is a post by the lovely EP of Stylish Handwriting, one of my first and favorite friends in the 20SB crowd. Pop over to her and say hello and a big THANK YOU for filling in for me. Thanks to all who have asked, my hand is healing, a bit numb at the moment. Should this concern me? I am tweeting again. It’s a nice start. I should be back in the mode again soon, but I am sure you will miss all the great guest posts! Enjoy!

 

Since Tipp is currently out of commission due to a wrist injury, I thought I would tell y’all a little story from my past that involves a significant injury — one that ended my high school basketball career (and any career that would have happened after that).

As a child, I dreamt of playing varsity basketball at my high school. I practiced hours per week on my dribbling skills, shots and lay-ups. I played on numerous teams, went to multiple basketball camps and did all in my power to ensure that I would be good enough to make the team.

My sophomore year, this dream came true when I was asked to step up from JV to practice with the varsity team. I was ecstatic. And while I spent most of my time riding the bench, it was incredible simply being a member of an esteemed team and practicing with the girls who lead us to a semi-regional game at the end of the season, something that hadn’t been done for a few years.

Junior year rolled around, and after volleyball season ended, I was ready for basketball. I was ready. But when the games started up, I still wasn’t playing as much as I should — so much so that the assistant coach and the head coach had numerous disagreements about me and other girls not being subbed into the game when the team was up more than 30 points. (I learned this later on, not when it happened.)

I became increasingly frustrated. Like most girls my age, I began to have doubts about my abilities since I was not seeing results from all my hard work. And while I tried to shake these thoughts from my head, it became more and more difficult as I saw teammate after teammate substituted in while I sat the bench, cheering for my friends on the court and praying the coach would look down the bench and notice me.

Somewhere along the lines, I began dreading going into the games because if I went in and screwed up, the coach would have even less reason to play me in another game.

January rolled around, and the more games that passed while I sat on the bench, the more I dreaded going into the game.

My new basketball shoes that the coach had ordered earlier in the season had just arrived, and my teammates and I loved them — they were the new stylish black and white Nike basketball shoes. The only problem was they were in men’s sizes and mine were a little too big.

I shrugged this off and wore them every practice and every game without fail. About a week after I started sporting them, I noticed an ugly blister had reared its head on my right heel. After consulting my coach (who told me we would wrap the blister with athletic tape and gauze, much like an ankle, and it would go away), I didn’t think much about it.

Another week went by, and my heel still wasn’t feeling any better. In fact, it looked worse.

Still, the coach told me to wrap it up, and it would be fine.

About a week later one Friday evening before a game, I was having major issues running during warmups and the assistant coach (bless her heart) told me to consult the physical therapist who worked with our boy’s team.

The PT was surprised I could even walk when she saw my heel and demanded I not wear the shoes again or even play until the blister had healed. Apparently, it was incredibly infected. And I hadn’t really noticed. (How disturbing is that?)

My injury — lame, I know — kept me out of practice for a month. I still attended practice, but instead of running suicides with the girls and shooting foul shots to determine how much we ran, I sat on the sidelines. Most of the time, I worked on homework or read books while occasionally cheering my teammates on or chatting with them and other students during downtime.

By the time I was ready to play again, I had lost a lot of time and was scrambling to catch up physically.

I never enjoyed running, but it was even more challenging because I had spent a month of the season sitting on my butt instead of sprinting with my teammates. My shot was off because I didn’t work on it — I would have been standing on one foot taking the shots with this blister. And, all in all, I was having a really rough time keeping up with everyone else.

A few weeks after trying (and failing miserably) to get back into shape, I made the ultimate decision to quit the team. I wasn’t playing, still, and it didn’t look good for the rest of the year since I had fallen significantly behind. And while I wanted to pull out the rest of the season, I just didn’t have it in me.

I had given up and for the first time in my life, I was OK with it.

I told the head coach first, who told me he didn’t understand why I was crying as I uttered the words. (He didn’t know of the lifelong dream I was giving up.) The assistant coach told me she didn’t blame me and would have done the same thing if she was in my place. My teammates understood, too, knowing just how frustrating it had been for me to be on the sidelines when everyone else had gotten to play.

Something as simple as a blister — an aggravated, infected blister — was the turning point of my basketball career and led quickly to the closure of a lifelong dream for me. It wasn’t the numerous sprained ankles I endured or the countless bruises, scratches and scars I carry still today from rough play on the court. It was a blister. A BLISTER.

The next season, me and a few friends (all of us actually played varsity basketball) formed a church league team. We goofed around the ENTIRE time, and it brought joy back to basketball for me — the reason I wanted to play the sport to begin with. And it was much needed, too.

I had fun playing basketball again, something my coach had sucked out of the game.

And while I still find the story of that life-changing blister amusing today, I’m thankful it happened. I’m thankful I learned my limit. And I’m thankful that I finally came to the conclusion that some things just aren’t worth fighting for because I was a lot happier and at peace when my tenure on the varsity team had come to an end.

Women Who Blog and the Men Who Love Them

July 17, 2008 at 5:51 am | Posted in 20 Something Bloggers, Blogosphere | 13 Comments
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Hi, there! I’m Ashley. I normally write over at my blog, Our Little Apartment, but seeing as how our friend Tipp is currently unable to write (Those steel rods at church will get ya! Watch out!), I’ve come over here to chat.

When Tipp’s husband emailed soliciting guest blog posts {An aside: I know! Is that not adorable! How sweet is he?}, I immediately thought about sharing tales of my own unfortunate injuries. How about that time I was go-karting too fast, spun out, crashed through a wall, and sprained my knee? Or when I was riding a bike and fell into a thorn bush? Or when I got a black eye from my wisdom tooth surgery? Sharing stories about our scars, injuries, and mishaps can be fun, right?

However, inspiration didn’t strike. Plus, that’s such an obvious subject, right?

Rereading Hubby’s, I mean, the Dukemaniac’s email, I laughed when he expressed his bewilderment at this whole blogging thing: “Learning all of this stuff is like another world.”

I don’t know about you guys, but I know my husband sure does NOT get this blog stuff. Or get blogging friends. Or why I care about getting to know people I may never meet in person.

“You just tell the whole world your feelings?!”

Honey, don’t flatter me.

It makes me wonder, though: What is it about women and blogging? Why aren’t more men getting into this enjoyable creative outlet? How come 99% of my readers and the blogs I read tend to be females?

Women are largely relational creatures – we love being social, developing relationships, and having friends. We know little girls are more likely than little boys to define friendships, be social, and express their emotions. And I remember reading a study that showed when at least one woman is present in a conversation, the depth of the conversation increases, because there are more meaningful, probing questions asked. So, maybe we love blogging because it’s another avenue for meeting and caring about some fantastic people. (Because, um, I’d definitely like to think it’s more than narcissism and self interest!)

Girls rule, right?

Guys (it there are any reading), you don’t know what you’re missing out on.

So, my husband may continue to laugh when I update him on my blogging friend’s lives, not understanding my weird hobby*, or he can create his own little blog world and enjoy the friendships created. (He actually just talked about creating a blog for “Men Who Love Blogging Women,” although I think he was planning on commiserating with other guys who don’t understand this whole thing.)

How about you ladies, does your boyfriend, husband, lover understand? Or are they as bewildered as mine is?

And any guys want to stand up as a man who blogs and is proud of it?

*Disclaimer: My hubby is actually quite pretty supportive. I love him. Mwah!

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