Wednesday, February 20, 2008

She wears her heart on her sleeve.


Of course Koi don’t have four eyes, silly. Those are olfactory organs called snares, or nostrils.

Wearing heart on sleeve. Yeah, that’s me.

Since I started keeping this on-line journal, I’ve posted about my reasons for blogging here and here. I need to evaluate my blogging addiction occasionally and now I have good reason to contemplate again. Read this blog once and you’ll see it’s all out there folks, slightly guarded in details and subjects, but anyone can read one of my posts and know who I am.

Me, a young girl, never a stand-out, was not the last poor kid picked for sides in a ball game but never the first, either. I sat on the sidelines and watched my elementary school friends roller skate and receive academic and athletic honors in high school because I never had good enough balance for skating and only had a B-average. I could have done a lot better. And I cheered for my friends and shared their triumphs, yet, I always, sometimes sadly, yearned to join them and to feel that natural high and a few moments of fame, too. Always ordinary Mary, seemingly content with mediocrity but possessed a well hidden competitive spirit. I wanted to be an athlete but never had the physical size or confidence to play organized sports so I exercised my skill at basketball with the neighborhood boys in the allies of Baltimore City, and I have the scars to prove it. Loved badminton, too. You can laugh all you want (Gina), but Badminton is a sport.

During Gina’s twelve years of competitive swimming I applauded her and was constantly amazed at her strength. No one can make an athlete swim miles every day. She made it happen. The sport is grueling and caused her tears, disappointment and weariness, but I'm so thankful she heard the sweet, sweet sound of hundreds of people cheering for her and that she felt the thrill of receiving the gold, silver, and bronzes at championship meets from elementary school through college. These joys in life are what we wish for our kids, especially if we never had them. My husband has been recognized nationally for excellence in electrical construction. So, I’ve been their cheerleader, never knowing how it feels to own a plaque, ribbon, or medal and never feeling anything close to that until recently. This is not a pity party. I'm reasoning with myself here.

Two weeks ago I joined the Nature Blog Network. Just curious, I was. I saw many blogs I know well, respect and admire, and joined the NBN but never, in my wildest dreams, expected to rise in the ranks from the bottom of the barrel. My ranking skyrocketed in a week to #27 and I felt giddy, shocked and amazed... People like my blog? They really like it? I’m nothing special – no great talents here in comparison to these nature-loving greats. I had 10th grade biology and don’t remember squat about it. Last week I became feverishly addicted to the rankings to the point I wanted to post more often and agonized over subject matter that would be more suitable for a “nature blog”. What’s worse, I started to feel competitive in a pool out of my league and I didn’t like it. How pathetic. Oooo…ugly, Mare.

A few days later, a friend and mentor, Julie Zickefoose, produced the most honest, overwhelmingly heartfelt post on human nature and her own thoughts on this same subject. Thanks to her, I felt alright. If you haven’t met Julie, please do because she is, hands down, the best out there and loves Boston Terriers, too.

So here I sit, still wondering what I’ll post about next, before I finish this post.
Wait, Mary. Back up and think a little harder about what you enjoy about blogging most of all and what you have to offer.
I love to make people laugh or cry. I love to take photographs with my point and shoot. I love writing about nonsense and my dogs. I love reading comments I receive. I love reading other blogs and forming relationships with people - not necessarily loving what they know. I love to photograph nature but, for the most part, I don’t have a freaking idea of what I’m seeing in front of me. A bug is a bug. I love the excitement I feel when I have a terrific post all ready to go and click “publish”.

So that’s what it’s all about, man. It’s been a wild ride for a little while and now it’s over. I did my best and had my fame. Now I'm back to doing things to float my boat, like


Sneaking outside at midnight in my nightgown and discovering pond sex.


Kathie Brown said...

Mary, Mary, you made me laugh with that last line (and photo)! Pond sex? Well, you are definatley not ordinary. Your talent lies in making others feel special! And though I am new here, I am not surprised to hear that your blog is so popular. I'd love to open my Blog and see 21 comments on one of my posts! Congratulations to you and don't let that pond sex go to your head!

Julie Zickefoose said...

Yep, the thrill is gone. We've all figured out our respective places on the blog pecking order and that's just the way it is for now. To thine own self be true.

If I've figured anything out about writing, it's that you have to reveal who you are to connect with people's souls. The number of comments you garner on this thoroughly addicting blog is solid evidence of that premise. Many bloggers have good reason to be guarded about what they reveal about themselves. We should all be a bit guarded. But it's hard to befriend a wary person.

For a moment there I was petrified you were announcing that you were giving up your blog. Then I realized that you were giving up, at least for now, on worrying about the pecking order. Hey, me too. Cream floats to the top, Mare, and you're floating.

Enjoy AI tonight! And for the farmers out there, I am NOT referring to artificial insemination!

Q said...

Dear Mary,
One of the joys of blogging has been meeting you and your doggies.
Keep pointing and shooting.

RuthieJ said...

Mare, you'll always be #1 in my ranking (no matter what NBN readers think). Please don't ever change.

thailandchani said...

Well, I consider your blog to be one of the best for a very simple reason:

I can only say for me, for what I respond to, but it makes me feel peaceful.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

!GULP! I thought for a second there you were leaving us (blogland)too! I love your honesty too May, and I agree with kathiesbirds- you make us all feel special. You're one of my very first blogging friends and I consider you one of the dearest.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Mary, you and therefore your blog is great. Just relax and let it flow. Love reading and seeing what all you post. I didn't realize that you were on the NBN. I didn't really know about the NBN. Just keep pointing and shooting. Now the sex part...well that is up to you. ;)

Kathie Brown said...

Mary, I had seen the Natureblog network button on other blogs but never investigated. Reading this post encouraged me to check it out and as a result, I signed up also. But, I am totally illiterate when it comes to computer stuff. It took me a few trys to figure out how to add the button to my page, but I finally did! I'm so proud of myself! Thanks for informing me of this site!

NatureWoman said...

Mary, you're at the top along with the other very few blogs I have time to read every time you post!! Ohh, love the froggy sex.
And Badminton is the world's fastest indoor court game and that is the one thing besides weight training I love and excelled at in college along the sports time (okay, laugh your brains out now).

Beth said...

What a great post and pictures and I laughed out loud at the end. I love reading your blog and Julie's and lots of others. It makes my day to know there are other people out there who like the same things that make me smile.
Now, back to the eclipse.

Carol Michel said...

Count me as one of the Fan's of Mary's View. It's a fun day when I get to read one of your posts because there is always something new. Like tonight... "pond sex". Those frogs need to take it to a motel!

And I don't care what you say about that koi, those look like four eyes to me and I might just have nightmares now, seeing that picture again!

Your are a "top of the heap" blogger in my book.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

I really enjoy reading your blog. Your writing touches people, and to me, that's the greatest gift.

I laughed out loud when I read "pond sex!" :)

Anonymous said...

Scared me there for a minute, Mary...I am totally hooked on your blog and thought you were leaving us! You just keep being you and your blog will great. I still haven't seen a tufted titmouse but I'm looking everyday...LOL...I'm is SC


Sherry said...

Mary, your blog is my favorite! While I don't always leave comments, I read every post. I enjoy your writing style-- you always make me smile or laugh out loud (pond sex?!), and I enjoy viewing all your great photos. Keep on being yourself. :)

Chrissie said...

From the first time I found your blog I have loved every post :-) Your wonderful photos of your life at work and home and garden are so honest I can't help but log in every day to see what you have been up to :-) See you tomorrow :-)

Jayne said...

I also was scared you were saying you are "done" and was about to pick up the phone and call you at 6:40am to say, "WHHHAAAAT?" :c)

I love that you are so vulnerable and human Mare. I love that I can smile and rejoice in your words as I see myself so often in you. Ratings, schmatings... in the grand scheme of things, it so matters not.

Love and hugs to you and your sexy frogs!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

I, too, felt my heart skip a beat when it seemed you were bidding the blogging goodbye. Phew! Glad that's not the plan!
I've been watching the rankings, too--just to see what people "like"--thinking that if I could change MY post, more would be interested.
But, I'm not about snails--so what I am about will have to do!

Your witty remarks and open, honest thoughts are what I look forward to here. Your 10th grade biology served you well--if I need more I can look it up.

Keep at it--doing what you do and what we love so well!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that ranking thing made us all think, didn't it? I take comfort that many of the highest ranked bloggers are people who have jobs that include nature or who are freelance or small business owners who can treat blogging as part of their life. On the other hand, I still am meeting new people - like you - through blogging and if I had hundreds and hundreds of readers I don't think I'd be able to connect in that same way.

So I'll pass on to you what advice was given to me: be yourself, blog for yourself, and enjoy who and what comes your way as a result. In other words, carry on as you have been.

Naturegirl said...

MARY WHAT A WONDERFUL POST TO READ!Your blog has always made my heart sing whenever I come by for visits!It is wonderful that many others are regocnizing your blog as a wonderful place to see and read about nature! What I love about you is the hunor..always humor and today it's the froggie sex!! LOL..
You GO GIRL!hugs NG xo

Naturegirl said...

OH MY..should have re read before posting...I meant HUMOR!!

Mary said...

Kathie, I'll show some pigeon porn in a few months. Stay tuned. And welcome to NBN!

Julie, I didn't intend to mislead anyone but now I see what you mean! Me? Give up the blog? Never.

Sherry, I'll keep pointing and shooting and continue to dream of my new camera with a 12-inch lens, dear.

Ruthie, thanks. I can't change who I am.

Chani...peace ;o)

Linne, Ooops. Didn't mean to scare ya.

Lisa, NBN is loaded with wonderful blogs. It's a real treat but the ranking part of it got my feathers ruffled. Oh, well.

Pam, LOL! You are too funny. Do you still play? I grew up callin' shuttlecocks birdies.

Beth, thanks for your kind words. It's been nice getting to know you.

Carol, and YOU are the one who amazes me with your well thought-out posts every single day. I don't know how you do it.

Sandpiper, thanks. I, too, think a good nature blog should include some good human nature.

Hi Angie in SC! I take breaks from the blog but I'd never quit! Keep your eye out for the titmice...

Terraincognita, you're very kind. I do like hearing from you.

Chris, glad you came by. Now where are the beach photos?

Jayne, ..."Ratings, schmatings... in the grand scheme of things, it so matters not." I like that.

Nina, I've been cheering for you at NBN - you're blog, as yourself, is classy and top-knotch. You keep it that way.

Wren, a blog that gets 10,000 hits a day really isn't a blog. We are the real deal.

YEP, ALL. We ARE the real deal.

Unknown said...

Mary your very last picture and comment is why I have to come her every time you post. 'pond sex'
you have found your nich in this blog. It is delightful, charming, and funny. i also joined the nature blog network and for a few days looked at my slow moving rank. But you and Julie are right just keep doing what you love. i will always stop by for some smiles.

Peg Silloway said...

Adding my voice to the chorus of "Oh no!" and then "Whew!" - you had us all worried there for a second. You and Julie are my two must-read blogs every morning because you are both genuine. I know I'll find something interesting and entertaining or just something to think about. However, today you trumped Julie - Pond Sex had me hooting out loud!

Thanks for all the four-eyed fish, amorous amphibians, and assorted other critters.

Mary said...

(the other Mary)I only recently discovered your blog, but I enjoy it very take great photos, you are funny and I find myself coming back....which is the real test of a good blog! Who cares if you don't know all the answers...I'm like you, I just shoot what I like and post what I get excited about. Parts of your story felt like I was writing them myself :-) Keep posting!

Anonymous said...

Mary, my imagination got the best of me, you in your nighty slipping out to the pond to photograph, FROGGY POND SEX in the middle of the nite, just to much for me. What a hoot! Laugh every time I think about it.
Nature Knitter's Mom [Betty K]
P S Keep on Blogging

beckie said...

Mary, Mary, Mary! If you and I were face to face...I would tell you that part of what you are feeling is your age. Now don't get your nose in a knot! I am much older than you! It's that mid-life crisis thing were we wonder is this all I'm going to do, have, be? But you did the right thing. You wallowed in it,let it surround you, thought it was the be all do all. And now you have stepped back and said, " I am fine, life is fine, and I am going to enjoy it wherever it takes me!!" Good for you. Keep up what I consider to be excellent blogging. After all, you and Lisa from Greenbow are the reasons I started blogging! (okay, enough ranting!) Just hang in there!

possumlady said...

How you can think up so many things to post about in a week (and make it entertaining to boot)is beyond me. And, I remember you saying once you took over 40 photos a day!!

You are a treasure.

Kerri Farley said...

OH are absolutely the funniest! Those frogs look like they are having lots of fun....Uh, maybe I need to ask hubby to put a pool in the backyard (hee hee hee):)

You definitely write from the heart.....I CAN FEEL your emotion and it makes me happy!

Cheryl said...

Mary I say to you in all truth when I see that you have a new post, I can't wait to read it. You never fail to make me smile.
I always feel you invite us all in and what we see is what we get. I like that.
To me you are the tops and if there was an award I would give it to you.
Love the toads, I thought we might see them after the comment you left on my post.

JeanMac said...

Your blog is always a highlite for me - those turtles are enjoying the full moon we had last night, I guess.
Cograts on a wonderful rating - you do put a lot of effort into each post.

Alan Pulley said...

Hey Mary,

Is that what you call a horny toad? HA HA!!

Larry said...

Mary-your blog is really something special.-You are so unguarded in what you say and think.-It's great.I find it hard to be that open.-The other day-I used the click on the follow up comments option from your blog.-I checked my e-mail and thought-holy cow! Look at all these new comments I have!-they all turned out to be comments posted to your blog.-

Mary said...

Toni, Yes! Just keep doing what you love. Your art.

Peg, you know, I check on you now and then. When are you going to wow us with your writing? Huh? :o)

Mary (the other Mary), glad to hear from you, lady. So you can relate to what I'm saying. Makes me proud, because sometimes I have a hard time finding the words.

Hi Betty! Whenever I see my photos of toads in love at night, I remember what I must have looked like and laugh at myself, too!

Beckie, you are right on the mark! It's the age... You told me how I feel better than I described myself. Thanks so much!

Possumlady, I don't post as often as I used to. I put so much into one post... A few times a week is good for me. And, by the way, out of 40 photos, 2 of them might be worthy of saving! LOL!

Kerri, now and then, I put it all out there. When the planets are in alignment - that's when it happens. Or perhaps I can blame it on the lunar eclipse.

Hi Cheryl, yep, that's me. What you see is what you get. Toad porn and all.

Jean, I'm so glad you like it here. You are very real, too :o)

Alan, horny toads and pigeons love it here :o/

Larry, hey, once in a while you lighten up and I enjoy it so much. Your dry sense of humor makes my day. Keep trying to let us know who you are. It's fun.

Cathy said...

You are beautiful. I knew that little girl on the sidelines. I was sitting right beside her - having the same dreams and longings.

Julie has it right. You will just drift to the top in your own way - on your own schedule.

Now get out there and give us more pond sex!

Anonymous said...

Mary, with all these comments . . it should be even more proof how much we love you! Keep doing what your doing because it's what makes this blog as great as it is!

Nora said...

I am the last to arrive at Mary's coming out party. What a great post Mary!! Look how popular you are many comments!!! I guess we are all connected in a blogging web of kindred souls. Thanks for sharing and don't scare me again. Thought you were giving up or something. Keep taking more pond photos at midnight.

Seabrooke said...

It's so easy to get sucked into that competitive stats thing, and when a good chunk of the reason you're writing is for your readers, it's not surprising. Glad yours went up - I signed up at #63 and have slowly sunk to where I hover at about #90 as more popularly-followed blogs have joined the NBN. :)

I think I found your blog on the NBN, and you'd just posted the lizard post. And I read through it and a couple of the previous ones and promptly added it to my bookmarks. Always an enjoyable read. :)

KGMom said...

Oh, I never for a minute thought you were giving up blogging.
I did wonder, though--you give us the list of "I love. . ." then you throw in pond sex? I thought--uh oh--here it comes, Mary has lost it. She is going to reveal all (or something) standing out in her nightgown.
Whew--only frog sex. I was really worried there for a minute.

kate said...

It doesn't matter about the rankings and standings because, in the end, what matters is that you remain true to yourself.

The world's a competitive enough place without having our blogging turned into some sort of popularity contest ... how we connect with people isn't something easily measured and to bring a smile to even one person's face is enough for me.

Interesting and topical post for me...

Susan Gets Native said...

Well, Hell yeah. Pond sex is the best.

That Nature Blog Network has brought out the neurotic in all of us, ain't it?
I've been chastised by family for what I say about myself on my blog. But it's those gritty, raw posts that has connected me to others here in the Blogoshere.
Love ya bunches, Mare.

kate said...

Oops ... and I also meant to tell you how much enjoyment and fun I've had here Mary. I hope you'll continue on doing what you are so good at doing - giving us glimpses into your life.

You have a definitely kinky pond!

Love ya, Mary ox

Alyssa said...

Hi Mary, I know exactly what you are saying. I would love to have the time and inclination to write these fantastic, intelligent, amusing and heart-warming blogs. But, I don't. So most of the time I write about small and pretty mundane things that make me happy and hope maybe others will like them too. Blogging is a somewhat double edged sword. It is very rewarding, but can also be pressure and frustration. You've found the secret of enjoying blogging - just do your own thing and have fun. Everyone else will follow you like the Pied Piper!! (At first I really thought that those were a special type of Koi that had four eyes - I'm very embarrassed to say!!)

Anonymous said...

Mary, you write that your blog is nothing special - ahem, 43 people beg to differ! We love seeing through your eyes, laughing or crying with you, reading your wonderful wit, and sharing a little bit of your life.

Dawn said...


I love your blog! And I love the fact that you are a kindred-spirit. I was right there next to you (in spirit) cheering on my friends who were the sporties and the geniuses. Except I was wearing a 30 lb body-cast after my scoliosis surgery my first year of high-school,(Yikes)! Now my son will be experiencing the same surgery this summer; sans the bodycast, thank heaven! So there are a lot of us non-sports-types out here and that's okay.

Congrats on your Natureblog Network Ranking. But don't forget the Pond Sex. Remember: Priorities!


Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one who went into panic mode when I thought you were going to give up your blog- I really and truly froze in my tracks for a second there! What would we do with out you, Mary? You have now idea how much joy you bring to your devoted readers! But I can understand your mini obsession with your ratings on the NBN- heck- I was over the moon with excitement when I saw that my very first comment actually showed up on your blog! I stared at it with a smile on my face thinking "hey, I did it!" (obviously no computer wiz here!) SO I can only imagine the adrenaline rush of watching your own blog ratings!! wooo! Please know how much you are loved! warm hugs, gretchen

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

I absolutely adore this post and your sincere honesty. I often ask myself why I'm blogging. Is it creative? Competitive? Some people seem to spend an extraordinary amount of time on it. That could never be for me...too many other commitments.

Still, it is nice to be noticed and appreciated. I enjoy your honesty and willingness to be "out there."

Robin at Bumblebee

Mary said...

Gretchen, you're so sweet. Hey, listen. If you ever want to start a blog, e-mail me. I'll help you out with it.

TR Ryan said...

Here's to late bloomers and finding our voice and having a pedestal to stand tall and be noticed by so many wonderful people. Here's to you being the 27th most read nature blogger in the world -- if only for a moment. Here is to the humor and grace that finds its way weekly to your blog. And here's to 10th grade biology teachers that inspired a lifetime of curiosity. And here's to Mary the one I'd pick first for my team. And here's to many, many more years of Mary's View!!!!