When a Thank You isn’t Enough

Note: this is longer than a bad Oscar speech, so skimming is recommended. 

This year I am thankful:

 For life, quite simply. For the first time, I’m think I’m actually starting to understand what that means.

For my life. I’m thankful to live a life that has afforded me the luxury of autonomy, freedom, and the ability to choose how I live it. Not many women have the support, resources, education, and power to ensure their own safety and well-being. I always had those things and I never even knew it. The people below are to thank for that life:

For my parents, who have given me every single opportunity in the world to thrive, succeed, and be happy. Who are always a phone call (or a quick plane ride) away, and have supported all my decisions, even when they had concerns. Who have given me everything I needed to cross unchartered waters. Who have taken the load off my shoulders without ever letting me know what that burden meant for them. Who have been my comfort, my warriors, and my keys to a future that wouldn’t be possible without them. Who are worth everything they just continue to give and to give, but also just because they made me who I am and they’re still helping me with that journey.

For Hope, who will share everything she has without even blinking. Who offers up her home, her family, her time, and unwavering support. Who always knows when to listen, and when to talk. Who has literally held me by the arms when I wasn’t entirely sure I’d keep standing. And for both Hope and Chadd, who always looked me in the face (even when it wasn’t pretty), and gave me a safe haven full of love, laughter, food, and fresh-cut flowers.

For Lauren, who was here (again, literally) when I needed her most. For her special blend of pragmatism, honesty, support, and strength. For always being someone I can talk to after any stretch of time and never makes me feel like the distance between us matters. And then for actively striving to bridge that distance. But mostly, for being the only person I know with a soul so solid that despite all of life’s changes, is still so fundamentally the same that I can love her just as much now as I did when she was 14.

For Leah, to whom I still confess all my sins. Who is always there, no matter how near or far. I can stand on a roof with her, or stand on our respective patios with wine and Shermans and feel like I can do nothing too terribly wrong to ever be unlovable. For both Leah and Aaron who made a little girl who I can’t wait to see grow up and become the type of amazing person that they are. For the friend who always takes my call, either when the shit hits the fan, or I’m up the clouds.

For Tamar, who is always a few steps ahead in life, and yet eerily similar enough to be able to impart meaningful advice. Who has been patient, understanding, supportive, welcoming, and entirely without judgment. Who offers both vintage gowns and pajama pants as needed. Who stocks her home with allergy remedies and thinks nothing of offering her guest room as a home and her garage as immediate storage space. And to Randy, who also listened and encouraged me to write again [he is not to blame for the tense-shifting and incomplete sentences in this letter]. Together, you have given me a peek into the ways a life can take the shape of several chapters, all worth experiencing.

For Krystal, who for nearly 30 years, has always managed to be around when I really take a hit, and who always understands the best of the best and the worst of the worst. For bring Rory in the world, a girl I don’t yet know but I’m always ready to take care of in the way her mom has taken care of me. For being the one unchanging force in my life, since I can remember. For being kind of enough to be my friend when I asked in the first grade, and to still be my friend after all these years.

It’s been a hell of a year. But I am still thankful and it’s because of you. I hate that it took my own crisis to bring most of us closer together. And I don’t know how I’ll ever pay you back for everything you’ve done for me. But if I can even come close in the coming year(s), I’ll do whatever I can. I hope you love and trust me as much as I do you, and I hope you know that I’m here for you as much as you’ve been here for me.

Cheers, and to another year with you,




but no, really, you are

I went an entire post without declaring: “You’re welcome.”

is it still insane if it’s predictable?

On Friday afternoons when we don’t have web meetings, I sometimes find myself at my desk in the main office. Maybe I have a video cooking in the other room, but it’s usually because I don’t have anything important enough to start or finish on a Friday afternoon. This is my special time to read blogs. 

First, let me extoll the virtues of Chrome. I love the Chrome bar because I don’t have to write special search terms or use googe. I just type what I want to look at however it’s sub-consciously worded in my brain, and Chrome knows exactly what I’m trying to tell it. Once it’s figured me out, usually a few letters in, I just hit enter and it goes there. It knows me better than I know myself.

Anywhoodle, I often go to Hyperbole and a Half, though now I know enough to save those for when I’m home because i’m trying to cry less at work. I also have read through all her archives and now that her posts are getting more and more elaborate, she doesn’t post as often. So it’s a special treat to go over there and see the top panel of a new cartoon. I click away really fast so that I can save it for a time that I really need it. As a substitute I stumbled upon Today is my Birthday, and it’s usually a very good time. I like the Cake Lady and Aunt Becky and some other stuff. But The Blogess is my favorite. She embodies everything the craziest part of my brain thinks but never converts to language. Many many times I read her posts and try so hard not to laugh out loud that my eyes well up with tears, my cheeks get sore, and my eyes bug out. I try to compose myself when people come in the door but I’m sure that I look like I just saw something dead or my leg is caught in a bear trap. And then the floodgates open and I start thinking in run-on sentences that have extremely odd nouns to use as examples (see bear trap above). My inner monologe is twice as fast as normal and most of it doesn’t have any punctuation which is only made worse by the run-on sentences. My brain loves this; my brain wants to be like this all the time, but if it were I surely wouldn’t be able to work in an office and I might need a padded cell.

Today I couldn’t keep hte laughter inside. The strangled sound burst fouth and I had to cough several times to make sure my lungs were still in the right location. For the record, the post was about a new web tool that makes predictions about what your next tweet will be based on former tweets. When Ally did it, the predictions were funny, but mostly nonsense. Jenny’s predictions were eerily accurate. Not only was the sentence structure correct, but so was the syntax. She really could take a month off and just run the generator. But I don’t really want that, of course.

I love her conversations with Victor. I know that if I really said all the things I think about to AK, he might have to learn to be more Victor-esque in our conversations.Or maybe he would just leave me. I really don’t want to take that kind of chance.

So I just read and don’t comment and then write about it on my own blog which I realize is kind of creepy but what can you really expect from me on a Friday afternoon?

oxford comma is the way, the truth, and the light

Persephone Magazine has raised again the perpetual question: Oxford comma- for or against? I will defend in a pistols-at-dawn duel to the death. People, seriously; it just makes sense. 


answers are for newbies

Upon reaching my Terrible Twos, my father vowed that he would always answer my questions truthfully and to the best of his ability. Two year olds are best known for their barage of ‘why?’ questions. was a talker. I loved to explain things and I couldn’t imagine why anyone else wouldn’t want to. My dad tried to keep up. I would grill him about cloud shapes, rules about noise in libraries, the decline of the 2 dollar bill, and the logic behind bedtimes for little girls. If it existed, I needed to know why.

He tried his best. I don’t remember the exact question that pushed him over the edge and compelled him to spit out the dreaded answer: “Because I said so!” Since it never became a deeply ingrained memory I could later tell my therapist, I probably accepted it as a valid response. But for him it was a slippery slope. In mere seconds, he became like all other parents.  

Despite this, my curiosity was not squelched. 27 years later, I became a PhD student, a martyr who eschews a normal life in a quest to answer questions that no one else can or will. Of course, the cruel truth of scholarship is that truly good work raises more questions as it answers. Sometimes all you have to do is ask; there may not be an answer, or it may not matter. The asking alone is an art and a skill.

Now that I’m a grad student, it’s my job to ask (preferably new) questions and at least seek (preferably creative) answers.  I’m reading more of Tarleton Gillespie, whom I admire and am envious of. He’s the guy who raised questions, provided answers, and set a framework in which I can follow. I read his book and wish I had the chance to write it. But I have to remind myself that there’s room for me to try to answer his questions and ask more of my own. All it takes is the willpower to  face the empty page and write all the words in my head that seem content to stay there. Even in small steps, the Big Project is scary, overwhelming, and not for the faint of heart.

On another note, blogging is also not for newbies. I’m tempted to write a blog about blogging, but I can’t do something so unabashedly “meta” when I’m extremely sick of the word. So far, I can’t even title the damn thing because I’m not entirely sure of the point. But if I write anything worth reading, even if it’s by 2 people, (hi mom) then I’ll consider it a successful endeavor. I have plenty of blogger-crushes, and I can only hope to provide a small percentage of what they do.


How funny you should ask. I answered that question during my first month on tmblr, and read the post today for the first time since then. It’s still accurate: http://kristenchamberland.tumblr.com/post/10711504/question

Tags: diving, travel

a few things have changed since my last post

a few things have changed since my last post

Thank you, Nick Denton

Welcome back—

I’ve never opened a time capsule, because I was the kind of kid who would spend days collecting and archiving the perfect representations of contemporary American culture, researching a weatherproof container, convincing my friend’s dad to dig a hole in the backyard, ceremoniously bury the box, and then promptly forget about the whole endeavor. If the new owners of Amanda’s house ever take up hardcore gardening or try to lay a pet to rest, they’re going to unearth a whimsical, magical key to the late 80’s. I hope they have a working cassette player.

But now all of our backyards stay intact. As the media loves to warn us, the internet never forgets. Googling past screen-names yields a frighteningly accurate chronology of my life: Tori Amos fan sites, geocities, high school projects, fluxcapacity, university awards, my livejournal… So I may have forgotten tumblr, but tumblr did not forget me.

I stopped blogging two years ago when I ran out of steam and limited my my self-love, world commentary, and internet goodies. But scrolling through this little time capsule made me determined to re-embrace the madness.

How did all of this even happen? On a fateful day in February 2011, Gawker Media unveiled its new design, and there was a collective meltdown in my corner of the internet. The slow decline of quality content on Jezebel had led me to FuckNoJezebel and STFU Jezzies, which led me to Persephone Magazine. Like so many other lost souls, I fled to Persephone and found myself in a warm fuzzy place. When the mistress of STFU Jezzies retired the blog and created a personal blog, caitastrophejane, I realized I’d be spending plenty of time back on tumblr. 

So, essentially, if Nick Denton were less of a jackass, I probably wouldn’t have found my way back. Now that I have, I can give my facebook friends a rest without resorting to tweeting. Obviously, brevity is not my strong suit. But rambling commentary is, so stay tuned.

Do you want to watch President-elect Obama’s inauguration tomorrow, but don’t want to be tied to your TV set? Neither do we. That’s why we found a few resources that will let you follow the goings on…

Tags: media, tv

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