Thoughtful ThursdayI’ve met lots of bloggers in person after reading their blogs, but this week I had the rare experience of knowing someone in person then subsequently learning that they have a blog.

I mentioned something to the mother of one of Burrito and Tamale’s classmates about their blog (not BabySmiling; their non-anonymous baby blog). She said eagerly, “Oh, you have a blog?”

I explained, “Well, it’s <i>their</i> blog. It’s about them.”

“Oh. I have a blog too! But it’s not about my daughter, it’s about me.”

Part of me wanted to exclaim that yes I have one of those too, and it’s such an important part of my life, but no one knows!

Part of me was curious and wanted to read her blog.

Part of me, the part that won, wanted to respect her privacy even though she clearly opened the door. Because so many of my online friends use secret identities and don’t share their blogs with people they know, my instinct was to let her keep her two lives separate, even though I don’t think she actually has two separate lives. But then again, maybe she does. Maybe she’s one of us. Maybe she’s reading right now.

Has someone in real life ever revealed to you that they blogged? How did you react?

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Thoughtful ThursdayI am good at a lot of things, but I am horrible — horrible — at going to bed.

Biologically, I am clearly a night owl. In 2nd grade, I can recall being shocked at how early all of the other kids went to bed, and in turn how much it shocked the other kids that I stayed up to watch Saturday Night Live on weekends. (They were also shocked that I was allowed to watch SNL, but that’s a post for another day.)

For much of my adult life, I’ve gotten away with going to bed late, because I’ve had flexible enough hours that I could sleep in and then work later than everyone else. Sometimes I’ve kept hours like 11-7, sometimes 12-5 and then more work at night.

Now, I have to go to work at a normal time, and Burrito and Tamale wake me before 7 a.m. No more sleeping in, no more napping. Yet, I can’t get myself to bed at a remotely decent time. Most nights, I go to bed between midnight and 1 a.m., and then only because I make a point of putting myself to bed “early.” I make it to bed before midnight about once a month, and well after 1 a.m. more than once a week. Sometimes I am working, sometimes not. Even though I am a zombie almost every afternoon, by the time night rolls around, I am wide awake. Even when I know I’ll pay for it the next day, even when I mean to go to bed at a decent hour, I just don’t. I am truly horrible at going to bed.

What are you truly horrible at?

Thoughtful Thursday

Welcome to the May Intelligentsia.

#31: Elana from Elana’s Musings
#27: Lost In Translation from We Say IVF, They Say FIV
#23: Strongblonde from Strong Blonde
#17: Ernessa from Fierce and Nerdy
#15: Tara from Turkey In My Oven
#13: St. Elsewhere
#11: Lori from Write Mind Open Heart
#11: Rebecca from Get Lost With Me, Darling
#10: Mel from Stirrup Queens
#6: Sara from Aryanhwy

Thoughtful ThursdayLori wrote eloquently a few days ago about attending the estate sale of her childhood piano teacher. I noted in my comment on that post:

Some of my favorite random items in my house are from the kinds of estate sales that involve loved ones clearing out the house after the funeral — the napkin holder that DH’s grandmother always had on her kitchen table; ramekins from my college roommate’s grandmother; a Shabbat candleholder from a great-aunt that I find wonderfully kitschy but which she clearly enjoyed without irony; a never-used purse from my mother’s closet that I can imagine an avant-garde teenage Tamale carrying someday. I also have a few that would qualify as actual heirlooms, some taken from the houses posthumously and some given to me while the people were still alive; the needlepoints and handmade sweaters mean so much more to me than the gold watch or diamond rings.

Buying things from a stranger’s estate sale seems icky to me, but having objects from someone special feels like keeping a piece of them alive. Using that napkin holder puts me right back at DH’s grandmother’s kitchen table, folding napkins into triangles with her.

I’ve written before about the heirlooms, items owned by loved ones that are either valuable or valuable due to sentiment. This estate sale idea brings up something else, though: having items owned by a deceased person who isn’t dear to you. The ramekins from my college roommate’s grandmother qualify here: I never even met the woman. She was close to someone who was close to me at the time, but when my roommate cleared out the house, she ended up with a bunch of stuff she didn’t need and decided to find good homes.

The Shabbat candleholder from the great-aunt also qualifies here. That great-aunt was actually a step-great-aunt-in-law, the aunt of DH’s stepmother. She met me many times and rather liked me despite despising almost everyone, but truly we barely knew each other. Again, though, she was close to someone who is close to me, close enough that I helped her clear out the house.

There are some other similar objects I didn’t mention in my comment on Lori’s post nor my heirloom post. My favorite high school teacher was also a close friend of our family. When he retired and he and his wife moved out of their home of almost 40 years, he needed to downsize his library significantly. Dozens of those books ended up at my house; my dad still has a few. The best thing about the books is that they are highly annotated, in his distinctive handwriting. I had a great fondness for him, so even though he wasn’t quite a loved one, the books do evoke wistfulness and good memories.

Having objects from strangers is, for me, another story. I just don’t like the idea of estate sales. It’s not that I object to antiques, and I clearly don’t object to used objects — the vast majority of Burrito and Tamale’s clothes are pre-owned, either by friends or strangers. What creeps me out is the idea of rummaging through a dead person’s belongings, looking for bargains. I’m sure I’ve bought something for myself at a second-hand shop that was donated after someone’s death, but at least there’s an intermediary. Going to a dead person’s house to buy their stuff feels like bad juju. There was a vintage clothing store near my old house that got most of its stock from estate sales; also feels like bad juju, as if a ghost might follow you around every time you put on her clothes (though I must say, there were always some marvelous clothes in the shop’s windows). I also get bad vibes from pawn shops, based as they are on stolen goods and drug addiction and desperation. There obviously needs to be someone out there shopping at estate sales and vintage clothing stores and pawn shops, and I’m fine with that, just not me.

In sum, I love having things from dead people that the person would have wanted (or did expressly want) me to have — me, specifically. I can tolerate having things from dead people that someone close to the dead person wants me to have. I want nothing from dead strangers, nor from sad strangers.

What’s your stance on acquiring objects from dead people? Estate sales? Other types of used goods?