Saturday, May 14, 2011

That's What SHE said!! BAM!!...hey, wait a second...actually...That's What I Said. Damn.

 Alternately Titled:  High Road? Low Road? ... Low Road? High Road?

Alternately Titled:  Duelling Squirrels

The other day I'm minding my own bloggy business, checking in on my Stats and something out of the ordinary catches my eye..

FYI- The Stats function on Blogger tracks several things, including the number of page views your blog gets as well as  the various 'traffic sources' of these views - where they come from, be it the virtual world - referring sites/URLs/key search words... or  the real live world -whichever country the page-view-er is viewing the page from. It is super cool and super crazy addictive (and for me, kinda super crazy daunting/scary...but that's just me) to see these numbers and locations ... I have had my pages viewed internationally by page-view-ers in the US, Germany, Singapore, Turkey, Russia, Australia, India, Italy, Netherlands and, of course, the vast majority of views are generated in Canada. I know, awesome is that??

So, to get back to my story...

...something out of the ordinary catches my eye. One of the Referring Sites listed, apart from the usual Facebook and friends' blogs, is a site called  She Writes. Since I am a She and I Write, I decide to check it out... also... I'm awfully curious as to how a link to my blog got onto a site I've never ever heard of. I navigate around a bit but since I don't find anything, I decide to file it away as a curiosity and carry on about my aforementioned bloggy business.

The next day, I check in on my blog to see if there are any new comments on any of my posts (another rather addictive feature) and I read this:

Nice to meet you through SheWrites! This blog is already making me laugh out loud, and I look forward to exploring it further... :)

So, I says to myself, "Self, this LisaAnn person has some fabulous taste in blogs and obviously has an extremely clever sense of humour" (She also has a very cool blog, and perhaps the neatest job on this beautiful planet. When you have a minute you should check it out).

Then, whilst still basking in the glow of being complimented on my writing, I also says to myself, "Self, again with the She Writes. Hmmmmm ... I must investigate further."

And so, I do.

And, gleefully, I discover a referring URL that links directly to my blog. LisaAnn, had obviously stumbled upon this:

"She Who Must Not Be Named"*(named changed in order to take the High Road)  replied to the discussion 'Our Blogs' in the group Blogging about Books and Writing!
My blog today is about my laid back approach to child rearing :) Tiger mom or Chimp mentor
April 28

My conversation with myself continues...."Hmmm...Why does You-Know-Who *(named changed in order to stay on the High Road) have a link to my blog in a description of what her blog of the day is about?"

I have no readily apparent answer to that question and I conclude that this woman must've accidentally added my link instead of her link. A slip of the cut and paste, perhaps? So, in a slight haze of befuddledness, I let it go as a sort of strange one off and carry on.

Then ...

The next day, in my Referring Sites, there appears a link to an actual person's profile, so quicker than you can say "WTF??" I click on the link which brings me to this:

"Hi there, tell us about yourself! We want to learn all about you (and also make sure you're a real human). If you have a website, blog, or twitter handle, please enter those here too. [*Please note that you must fill out this section to be a member.*]
 My name is Lord Voldemort* (name changed in order to take a quick jaunt on the Low Road). Im a cheeful mom of 3 and wife of 1. I just started blogging, the title of my blog is Musings from the Squirrel Cage. I like to find humor in the everyday.

OK. So, now I says to myself, "WHAT THE F@#K, Self??!!! This f@#king Lord Voldemort*(still on the Low Road) seems to be claiming my blog as her own and I'm not entirely sure if I'm cool with that."

Swiftly and rather surprisingly, my outraged shock and excessive use of the profane simmer down into a gentle state of bemusement. Obviously, You-Know-Who likes my stuff enough to cite it as hers and don't They always say that stealing someone's intellectual property is the highest form of flattery? ... or something like that. And maybe, just maybe, one day, this story can be turned into a screenplay for a movie that will be critically acclaimed and win a bunch of fancy awards following the trail blazed by "The Social Network". Excellent!!!  I resolve to contact the moderator of She Writes and ask for her opinion on how to best deal with this situation.

So, I fire off a quick and diplomatically worded email and sit back to eagerly await the news(and when I say "So, I fire off a quick and diplomatically worded email", I mean "It takes me a good chunk of the morning to toil labouriously over a painstakingly and diplomatically worded email"). That afternoon I receive this reply:

Hi Harry*(name changed to keep with the Harry Potter theme I'm working on), 
I'm the Social Community Manager at She Writes, and am going to help address the situation with your "Musings from the Squirrel Cage" blog.  I'm sorry to hear about this -- how strange!  I will have a look at what's happening on She Writes and will be in touch letting you know the outcomes of any action I take.  Any content that you've clearly authored of course belongs to you, and we take creative copyright and plagiarism seriously on She Writes.
I'll be in touch!

How strange, indeed.

I congratulate myself on handling things like a rational grown-up and, once more, sit back to eagerly await the news.

Two days later, I receive this reply:

Hi Harry* (I'm still a brilliant young wizard),
Looks like we were able to clear that up -- Lord Voldemort*(still zippin' down the ol' Low Road) had a similarly titled blog which she has now changed and corrected the URL for.  Please feel free to let me know if you have any further troubles or questions...and we hope you'll join She Writes!
All best,

Ahhh, the old "Similarly Titled Blog" trick. Of course. How could I not have picked up on that? Silly, silly me.

Faster than you can say "Strangely Disappointing Explanation", I rush to check out Lord Voldemort's profile.  Once there, I discover that the link to my blog had, in fact, been removed and the blurb in her profile had been changed to say this: 

Hi there, tell us about yourself! We want to learn all about you (and also make sure you're a real human). If you have a website, blog, or twitter handle, please enter those here too. [*Please note that you must fill out this section to be a member.
 My name is Lord Voldemort*(same old same old). Im a cheeful mom of 3 and wife of 1. I just started blogging, the title of my blog is Thoughts from the Squirrel Tree. I like to find humor in the everyday.

Huh. So that reply from She Writes was right after all...Her blog is totally similarly titled and I can totally see how Lord V could've mixed up our URLs.

Oh well, I figure I can live with that and chalk it up to a super funny, super interesting adventure and... more importantly...provides me some absolutely beautiful blog-writing fodder... and... she wasn't really claiming my stuff as hers... really... She only just "unwittingly" swiped my charmingly witty Blog Title. No harm. No foul. I am ok with the outcome.

We actually have a little bit of fun with it and come up with some other Similar/Interchangeable Titles ... "Observations From The Squirrel Bush" or "Reflections From The Squirrel Shrubbery" or "Contemplations From The Squirrel Sapling" or "Meditations From The Squirrel Topiary".

Hee Hee Hee ...Sticking firmly to the High Road, I am able to laugh/shrug it off....


The next day, a member of my covert investigation team uncovered/Google'd "Thoughts From The Squirrel Tree" in order take a peek at The Dark Lord's work and guess what popped up!!!

"Musings From The Squirrel's Nest"

Well, that kinda sucks.

... even though it is Google-listed after MY awesomely titled blog "Musings From The Squirrel Cage" (Score 1 for the Good Guys!!), that cheeky little Lord Voldemort has managed to come up with an even more "Similarly Titled Blog" than "Thoughts From The Squirrel Tree".


And so ends the harrowing and gripping tale of how a small piece of my Intellectual Property was swiped  right out from under my unsuspecting little squirrelly nose.

The beloved squirrelly squirrels of my mind/squirrel cage are arm-wrestling back and forth on how to deftly manage all the conflicting emotions I'm experiencing.

High Road?? Low Road??
Bemused?? Grumpy??

Although, I'm happy to say that the simple act of writing my story down, coupled with the intention of sending it out into The Universe, has had a nice calming and cathartic effect. The squirrels seem to be at peace.

Bemused it is!!

....for now ;)

Edit #1: Just did a little Google Fact Checking, and it would seem that She Who Must Not Be Named has had a nice change of heart and has reverted back to the initial less similar title of "Thoughts From The Squirrel Tree" ... There yesterday. Gone today. That woman must have the decision-making abilities of a ... of a ... of a SQUIRREL!!! Oh yeah.

Hilarious Edit #2: Last night I was logging into my Blogger account and three times in a row my password wasn't accepted...interesting. I then realized what the problem was ...The password was right but I had typed in "Musings from the Squirrel Tree" as my login name.
 BAHAHAHAHAHAHA ...  I seem to be having some sort of identity crisis :D

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fr'i' your 'Friend' and that's the 'e'nd of them

I am a lucky kid.

I have a bunch of kick ass, wicked cool friends...and when I say 'friends', I mean 'friend' friends not 'Facebook' friends... but when I say 'friend' friends, I mean 'just friends' friends not like 'friend friend' friends.

To simplify: These are people that I really really like... but I don't necessarily really really like like them ...I just really really like them. A lot.

~An aside- Have you ever noticed that there are certain words that if you write/type a few too many times they stop looking like real words and start to look like more of a peculiarly random grouping of letters? I have.~

As much as I enjoy Facebook (mostly), I feel that its very existence has diminished the sanctity of the word 'friend'. However, even as I put that thought into words, I might have to contradict myself(weird)... Maybe, instead of taking away from the word 'friend', it actually adds a new dimension to the concept of Friendship...a whole new sub-category, I guess. Sorta like "Oh yeah, I know Flappy McHappypants. He's a 'Facebook' friend."

FYI-This post has just taken on a life of its own and I refuse to be held accountable for how much it might suck. The post I had originally planned on writing ...until half-way through that last paragraph ...was spectacular. We'll have to wait and see how this permutation shapes up...but I'm not promising's on its own from here on in...

I have all sorts of different friends who belong to all sorts of different categories.

Most friends would start off by fitting in some categories that are pretty typical and defined by life stage: ...'Childhood' Friends, 'Public School' Friends, 'High School' Friends, 'University' Friends, 'Teachers College' Friends(Don't blink!! Ah man, you missed 'em), 'Adult Life:Phase I' Friends, 'Adult Life:Phase II' Friends, 'Adult Life:Phase I/Phase II Combo' Friends ( nice that you guys stuck around), etc. etc...

Or, I can divvy everyone up into geographic groupings: 'Orillia' Friends, 'Whistler' Friends, 'Fenelon Falls' Friends, 'Toronto' Friends, 'World Wide Web' Friends, etc.etc...

Then there are the ever-evolving situational slots: 'Neighbour' Friends, 'Work' Friends, 'Our Kids are at the same Preschool' Friends, 'Our Kids Take Piano Lessons &/or Play Soccer &/or Wrestle &/or Go to Elementary School &/or Go to High School &/or Drink Watermelon Smirnoffs Swiped from My Cupboard Together' Friends, etc.etc.

Now, I'm getting closer to the heart of things (btw ...neither here nor there but I just had an super brief but super awesome Geddy Lee musical interlude in my brain)...The grouping of Friends that you really have no role in choosing: 'Family' Friends. They are people you are blessed/saddled with through either genetic or marital bonds...Lifelong emotional relationships/friendships that are solidified by the gift of unconditional love. No matter how often their quirks or actions may drive you bananas or how many dinner table discussions regarding current events/life philosophy/religion/child-rearing technique(ohhhh that's always a good one)end in tears or raised voices, these friendships remain intact ...

...'cause they have to.

The Universe kinda makes us be friends.

I'm referring, of course, to our sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins...OR ... That sometimes tricky and convoluted/sometimes wonderful world of In-Laws . You have to deal with all the same quirks/actions/bullshit as you do with your own family but withOUT that Universe-decreed unconditional love.

Oh Beautiful Universe, why do you mess with us so??

So, in short, 'Family' Friends are like squirrels can't live with the bastards. You can't live without 'em.

*Disclaimer: I have a fantastic family... nuclear and extended ... current and erstwhile. I adore you ALL ... well, most of you all, anyway :)

O.K...Here we are!!!

Hello, Actual Whole Point of this Post!!

I made it!!

The pinnacle...The cream of the crop...The brass ring of friendships ...

The 'Best' Friend.

AND... (and this is what I've wanted to talk about from the very beginning) ... I am exquisitely fortunate to be able to lay claim to not one or two ...but, indeed, several 'Best' Friends.


Not bad for a hermit with raging Social Anxiety Disorder .

Now, I have to admit that several of these several 'Best' Friends may not rank me as one of their BFs...and I'm OK with that. (Need be, I can always create a new sub-category 'Unreciprocal Best' Friend. I'm flexible)

You see, in my advancing years, I have come to accept the fact that there exist only a few people on this planet who I can be my complete self with. Historically, I've not been a real superstar at forging ... and/or... maintaining new friendships. Actually, I really really suck at it, so when I meet someone who I can be at ease with it's cause for celebration.

WAHOOooOooOoooOoo !!!

I believe I probably cherish these rare 'connections' more than the average bear.

I absolutely adore the idea of 'kindred spirits'...(Thank You, Anne Shirley) and I think maybe in my case that's perhaps a more appropriate handle than 'Best' Friends. It's so magical and cool to meet someone for the first time and almost immediately enjoy that "Hey...I know you!! You're kinda just like me!" feeling.

It's all about being able to share...To share a twisted goofy sense of humour, likes/dislikes, life philosophies, a love of books/movies/music/food/nature/dogs. To share a name. To share dreams both a figurative sense and a literal sense. To share your deepest/darkests without hesitation...or fear of judgement. To share DNA.

I was 16 when I first became consciously aware of the remarkable existence of  Kindred Spirits. I had been blessed with 3 beautiful childhood friendships but this was the first time I experienced that aforementioned "Hey...I know you!!" lightning bolt. She is still, to this day, my most Fravourite Friend.

I'm exceptionally pleased and, truth be told, happily surprised, that I've made the vast majority of these wonderful connections just in the past few years. I had a bit of a dry spell through the ages of 16 to, let's say, ohhhh ... 35 or so, acquiring only one more, so my  KS count held steady at a whopping 2. But then a funny thing started happening...these really cool, really neat people who seemed to really "get" me started cropping up, sometimes out of the most interesting of scenarios(and when I say 'interesting', I really really mean 'interesting". Really really. You'll just have to take my word on this) and my KS count jumped from 2 to the "several" that it is today. YAY ME!!

(I know I've used the word 'really' a whole bunch of times in this post but I wanted to 'really' emphasize a whole bunch of things ... so please bear with me and my temporary  lapse into redundancy)

My Kindred Spirits come in all shapes and sizes. I've known one nearly my whole entire life (minus 26.5 months)...One, I've known only a few months. I have KSs I'm able to see on a weekly basis ...  A few I see every few months .... and  the Internet has allowed me to have connections with one KS who I haven't seen or spoken to since high school and one KS I haven't seen or spoken to ...ever. I'm even lucky enough to wake up with one - each and every morning  :)

I find it absolutely amazing how beautifully powerful the energy of this "kinship" really is. It manifests instantly and lasts a lifetime. It transmits through cables and through signals in air. It defies time and distance.

It's really really wicked cool.


To wrap this up on a supremely cheesy note, here's a blast from the past and I'm sending it out to all my 'Friends' ...and when I say 'friends', I mean 'friend' friends.

p.s. I f#@king LOVE Elton John's voice. BAM!!

p.p.s. And, in case anyone is wondering what the hell the title of this post is all about ... It's the "How to Spell Friend" trick my Grade 4 teacher taught me ... it kinda stuck with me

p.p.p.s. And his hat. His voice and his hat.

p.p.p.p.s. And his mullet. His voice and his hat and his mullet. All are awesome.

Important Update #1 (May 26, 2011): Last night, my sweetie and I went to see the uproariously hilarious "Bridesmaids" ... Loved it!! I was absolutely tickled when the girls started to sing "That's What Friends Are For" as a weapon in their fantastic "I'm better friends with the bride than you are" battle ... and in light of my recent post regarding Intellectual Property Theft ... and to stave off any possible jeers or cries of  "Hypocrite!!!" aimed my way,  I checked the Canadian release date of the movie and compared it with the Global publishing date of my post and ... I was here first!!! I didn't inadvertently (or advertently for that matter) copycat the crazy women in the movie... Phew!!  :)