Google Reader. Seriously. As soon as I get a chance to log onto my computer, after reading my email, I go straight to my reader to check my favorite blogs. To date, my reader keeps track of 229 subscriptions. I don't read them all every day, but there is a growing number of favorites that I do make sure to visit with every new post.
No matter how grey the day is, or how dreary I feel in response, I always find something there to cheer me. It might be Elise's wedding plans and mini-books, Dooce's hilarity, Ali's style, or Cathy's simple, streamlined approach to scrapbooking that I find most engaging that day. It could be Tara's stunning photography and eye for beauty or Em's loveliness and approach to life. All of these blogs are daily favorites and have been since before I began blogging myself.
Lately I have been finding new favorites and adding more daily stops to my blog path. I adore Wendy's frank, honest style, the way she records even her blunders in crafting with no apology, the way she plugs onward to finish a project. And the bento boxes she packs for her preschooler's lunch are nothing short of art! I love checking in with Amy to see what's going on over at her place and with Monica, whose philosophy about keeping it real so closely matches my own. I enjoy traveling to Suzyville and getting Kerry'd Away. Nancy always inspires me with her paper view, and Sharyn makes me a wee bit jealous with her gorgeously designed blog.
All of these lovely ladies have touched my life, even though I've met none of them in person. All of them have been willing to share their lives, to put themselves out there into this mass of 1's and 0's.
This blogging thing is a weird gig. It's both intensely public and strangely private. It suits me. I've always been the one to hang back, quietly observing everyone around me, tiptoeing cautiously around the edges of the party. Then again, I crave attention like mad (Psst..it's a middle child thing.) So blogging and reading the blogs of others allows me to exercise both parts of my contradictory personality. I can yell my opinions and thoughts from the treetops with no one near to laugh at me. But I can also lurk and spy and observe others from the safety of my own quiet space. In my pajamas and slippers, if I want! I can be both timid and brazen, shy and reserved, yet open and gregarious.
Somehow, I think those of us who blog share a little of each of these qualities. There is that within us which holds reservations, which needs the anonymity and the buffer zone of the web. But there is also that within us that craves connection and community.
You all have given me that, and I will be forever grateful.