This year, BlogHer is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its annual conference and in honor of that milestone, there are lots of activities going on around the Selfiebration hashtag. Last week, BlogHer’s Executive Editor Julie Ross Godar asked, “Where were YOU ten years ago?”
If that’s not a great blog post prompt, I don’t know what is.
Ten years ago, it was 2004.
(See? I can do math.)
My life was completely different in so many ways from what it is at this moment. Let’s start by talking about me and the internet ten years ago. I used it only for email and…well, I think that’s about it. I had no idea what a blog was. Facebook and Twitter? Nope. Could I have imagined in my wildest dreams that, ten years later, I’d be a social media researcher (what? no.), have friends all across this country and a few on other continents (nope), or that, because of the thing called blogging, I’d eventually be able to co-produce a show about motherhood on an actual stage in downtown Chicago (huh? Absolutely not!)?
It’s funny; the internet and social media are so ingrained in my life that I truly have a hard time remembering what day-to-day life was without them. Anyway.
In 2004 I had just left a health club where I had worked for nine years to work as a part-time manager of a nail salon. It was a big change for me, and I loved my new job. I had a flexible schedule and the environment was much more casual. This job eventually led to the publication of my first article in NAILPRO magazine.
The summer of 2004 was also when I started unknowingly doing research for my book; my kids (who were ten and twelve at the time) and I made all kinds of plans for our own family summer camp that year, sticking strictly to a predetermined budget and filling three months with fun activities all around Chicagoland.
Perhaps the biggest thing going on around here, though, was THIS:
We had said goodbye to our first beagle, the Late, Great Bijoux, the year before and although I swore I never wanted another dog, by this time in 2004 I had done a complete turnaround and wanted another dog with every fiber in my being. I saw this adorable beagle puppy at the pet store (one that worked directly with breeders) and asked to play with her for a few minutes. She was extremely feisty and I fell completely in love with her. I decided to do a temperament test that I had read about: I put her on her back and gently held her there. The idea was that if she relaxed and just laid there with no fight, she had a very desirable and agreeable personality. If she struggled and fought to flip herself back over, I should run the other way and not bring this dog home because it showed a stubbornness I wouldn’t want to deal with.
Of course, she fought me.
Of course, I decided that the temperament test was stupid and how could a dog this cute be stubborn? Trouble? No way.
I couldn’t just take her home that afternoon; I hadn’t introduced her to Jim yet. I told the woman at the store I’d be back later as she put the puppy back into her display area.
That puppy barked her head off at me as I left the store—she barked with her whole body, actually—and I nearly cried. When I got to the car, it occurred to me that I should have asked the woman in the store to put a hold on the dog for me, so I headed back in. The puppy was still barking, until she saw me open the door. At that moment, she stopped barking and just stared at me. Silent, she watched me walk across the store to the register so I could ask the woman my question—to which the answer was “no, no holds”—and she remained quiet as she watched me walk back to the exit, not removing her gaze for a second. The second my hand touched the door, the barking started again. It broke my heart and I was nearly ready to spring her and surprise Jim, but I kept walking.
Two hours later, I dragged Jim to the store and we walked out with that puppy, a crate, a collar and leash set, puppy food, and assorted toys.
On the way home, she bit into and broke one of the glass beads on the bracelet I was wearing, which set the tone for her life with us. Trouble.
But I wouldn’t change a thing.
Okay, maybe a few things. Like the time she electrocuted herself, biting through a wire. Or the time she got into the box of cocoa when my sister moved in here for a while. Or the summer habit of rolling in rabbit poo.
OTHER THAN THAT…man, I love her. Ten years later, I can’t remember my life without her, either.
Now it’s your turn to join the Selfiebration! Link up your look-back to Julie’s post on the BlogHer site; I can’t wait to read it!