Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Zero

I did it. The number of unread posts in my reader as I start writing this is 0. Down from damn near a thousand only two weeks ago.

I know exactly when my reader exploded. The evening of August 14th I was reading and commenting as I watched my TiVoed Olympic swimming, anticipating following it with my women's all-around Olympic gymnastics. I think I had that reader down to single digits, or teens at the most. And then the Cub was born. And then I got swallowed by the new baby tired craziness. And the reader exploded.

89. I remember 89. I thought it was a lot, and I hoped to get some time over the weekend to read and comment. Then it was 200+. 500+. 800+.

I felt horrid. You all have been there for me. And now there I was, having snagged the biggest lucky break ever, a real live take home baby, there I was not being there for you. I wanted to be. I wanted to read, to witness your every word. Because how could I not? Because how would I have survived to where I was if you, collective you, flowing and changing you, weren't there for me through it all? Not well, that's how.

I made a concerted push in early October, and got down to like 400-some-odd. And then I got swamped again. Work (I am working half time this term, which is a lot harder than it was in my imagination; back to full time in January) and life, and just some overwhelming craziness interfered, and I was back to 800+. So two weeks ago I decided that I can't have this hanging over my head anymore. And so I read, and read, and read. Drinking your words like water, pretty much every word I missed. Which means that I read a lot more than 800 posts, because for some I was catching up starting from that night when I didn't get to see women's all around (and the reader only counts the last calendar month of posts as new). I started at the top of the list in my reader and worked my way down, but making sure to keep reading new posts from those I have caught up on. That was my mistake in October-- allowing the new posts to accumulate again, until it was all a jungle again.

So now I am all caught up on everyone in my reader. And I can finally add the new blogs I have been meaning to add. Yay, hallelujah!

But here's the thing-- I read all your words, I witnessed them all. But in large part I was too late. I wasn't there when you really needed support. I wasn't there when maybe an experience I could've shared might've actually been of use. I understand now that I should've declared bankruptcy at some point, marked all as read, and started over. I would've missed things, sure. But I would've been present from then on, instead of the ghost I was in the last two weeks, catching up. The funny thing is that I realized this somewhere around a half way through the exercise, but felt bad doing an all clear then. It wouldn't have been fair to the bloggers whose digs are listed in the bottom half of my reader. Stupid, I know.

So I did it. But I did it wrong.

===========================

An odd request perhaps, after that confession, but please help the girl out. If I am not reading you but I should, or if I left comments some time ago but not in a long while (probably because I didn't add you to the reader right then, and then, you know, see above), please leave me a comment so I can remedy the situation. My blogroll on the right is but a fraction of my reader, so don't go by that. Someday I might get a free second to update the blogroll, but not soon, I think.

I know better now. I will use the mark all as read button if I have to. But when I can, whenever I can, I will be here, reading and commenting in real time. Present, in real time.


P.S. I have a lot of posts that need to come out. On some level I didn't feel entitled to write so much while my reader overflowed, but I was also swamped. I am still swamped, but I also feel the need to write. So, you know... maybe...more posts soon.

27 comments:

Hope's Mama said...

Julia I'm new here and have been lurking around your page for a while. Just as you were welcoming Cub in to the world, I farewelled my first daughter. My due date was August 14 and I went in to labour the next day, only to lose her to a bacterial infection a couple of days later. I delivered her on August 19. Hard to imagine just how different our two situations are, but I have been taking a lot of comfort in your words (here and at Glow). If you think you could squeeze me in to your reader, go right ahead. My blog is all shiny and new.
Sally xo

luna said...

there is no doing it wrong. I might have claimed bankruptcy, get out of jail free, just that once...

but I will say it has been nice to have you around more.

ms. G said...

Julia, Julia, Julia. Do not feel guilty. As you know, I have been seriously MIA since having A. I'm still trying to figure out how to have a living baby and keep up with anything else and she is almost 1! I can't believe you read all those posts. You are amazing.

Kymberli said...

You are goooood, Julia. I honestly don't know how you did it! Once, my reader got up to over 200 and I nearly choked on the guilt. I had to clear everything, then put up a post on my blog apologizing profusely for getting so far behind and begged everyone to leave a comment with any important updates so that I could start over again. And you - you even commented! Wow. You rocketh much.

CLC said...

Don't feel guilty for not reading. We all knew you were busy with the Cub, and no one would begrudge you that.

serenity said...

I'm reading, and you're most definitely not alone. I often find myself swamped with new posts that I don't have time to read, and end up clicking on each one of them, merely scanning, and then clicking to the next. But then there are times where I'm able to offer support in real time.

So anyway. You're not alone.

yummysushipajamas said...

I hope you're feeling better. You have no reason to feel guilty. Life being what it is, it is going to get in the way sometimes and we all understand.

Snickollet said...

Oh, Julia! You give when you can and you take when you need it. You've been taking care of yourself and your family and that's the most important thing you could ever be doing with your time.

Post when you can. Give when you can. There will be friends here for you when you need them. The time will come back when you are the first to give to others.

Ya Chun said...

I'd much rather have you taking care of the wee one than reading my drivel! Your success instills hope, and that is worth a lot here in dbl.

Lori said...

I don't know too many people more generous than you. No guilt, Julia, no guilt at all please.

I am excited to hear though that you have some posts in the works! Can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Catherine said...

I'm sorry...but this cracks me up.

Don't worry so much. We love ya!

Jenny F. Scientist said...

Honestly, if you had other things you had to do, that's fine! I figure one can't be there for everyone all the time; it ebbs and flows.

Magpie said...

Hi honey!

"Mark all read" is a good thing. And November was hard because of that NaBloPoMo thing.

misha said...

Welcome back, Julia!

janis said...

My respects to you, Julia! I don't think I would have been able to catch up! I still have many unread posts in my Reader... a lot from the NPR sites... urgh.
You've been missed, and we're glad to have you back, but no guilt, no worries, as others have said! xoxo

Heather said...

800+ posts??? Wow!! You are super woman. I thought mine was bad when it got up to 300. I, like you, just spent the last week digging out from that and might I say... doesn't that Zero look wonderful?

Caro said...

I'm really impressed you read them all. I'd definitely have hit mark all as read.

Amelie said...

I'm very impressed, Julia. My reader hasn't been close to zero in a long time, and I probably have much less to do than you have.

Wabi said...

Can I just say the fact that other bloggers rate on your to-do list AT ALL at this stage strikes me as incredibly sweet?

Life with a newborn is tailor made for "mark all read," IMO! And nobody knows when you do it, right?

My Reality said...

Congrats on the accomplishment. It really is ok to use the mark as read feature. Promise. :)

loribeth said...

I can't believe you read them all either!! Definitely do NOT feel guilty. You had the best "excuse" of all!!

That said -- I look forward to reading more posts from YOU in the near future! ; )

areyoukiddingme said...

I'm new here too, but I've gotta say - reading late does not mean you aren't offering support. Sometimes people still need support after everyone else has forgotten about an incident.

Karen said...

wow! I can't believe you did it. I don't know if I could have. hope your reader stays more manageable, cub & all.

c. said...

Julia, you're a sweetheart. Really.

Betty M said...

I never got up to that many but 3 weeks away- right around when Cub was born which I did catch - and my reader into overdrive. I did catch up but my blog has suffered as a result so no posts since August. Resolving to post before the year is out though...

Lori said...

No guilt. We all face the same challenges, and we should all know that we all do the best we can to balance all that goes on IRL and in Blogland.

I'm SO impressed that you were able to catch up.

I'm going to remember about "declaring bankruptcy" and starting over again. In case I ever need to do it.

Hugs.

wannabe mom said...

i'm scared to look at my reader. i haven't done so since july was born. you've been amazing for commenting, especially since i've been so absent. you are and will continue to be awesome. :)