MMM #18 Round-Up: No Internets!

April 1st, 2011 - filed under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission

It’s spring in Portland. Image by Kristal Passy.

WOW. Wow, wow, wow.

I have to say, of all the MMMs so far, I think this one has taught me the most. Seriously!

First things first, some clarification is required. When I laid out this mission I set some unrealistic parameters. Specifically, I said,

“I’m allowing myself email, twice a day. Otherwise the computer stays closed.”

Um, HA! What was I thinking?? I’m writing a book here, and I my paid work is also accessed online. Clearly, the computer was not going to “stay closed”. And because the computer wasn’t closed, I ended up checking email throughout the day. Not compulsively mind you, but “as needed”. And I’m fine with that.

So, how did it go? Well . . .

I started out extremely disciplined. I closed the many tabs for all “my sites”, whittling my windows down to email and work. It was weird to look at.

Immediately, it became apparent how internet-focused my life is. The thought “Ooh, I should google that!” occurs to me, I kid you not, 100s of times each day. This was an interesting phenomenon to face. At first I thought, “Sure, it’s a lot. BUT, I’m seeking out information. It may “waste” time but at least I’m educating myself. It’s constructive!” But the more I pondered, the more I wondered – do I really need to know that? Is it actually necessary to remember the year the Berlin Wall came down (1989), or to confirm that lepidoptera is in fact the order of butterflies (it is), or to look up some random new word I heard (agrestic)? Is my life truly enriched by filing away these factoids? And more importantly, is it worth the extra time and distraction?

I think, when I objectively evaluate this, that yes – there is a proper place for instant-access information. It’s the age that we live in and expediency has its advantage. However, our incessant interaction with information can quickly interfere with our personal relationships. It is our responsibility to keep ourselves in check. I know that for me, the thought “I should google that” has become like a lush thinking, “I should have a drink”, in that it immediately induces a physiological response. Suddenly, there’s an enormous nagging need to know the answer, and the idea of not getting it . . . makes me very anxious, indeed. THAT IS CRAZY! Like a little addict, I’m twitchy and unsettled and fiending, desperately fiending, to find the name of that one actress from that one movie I saw that one time. Or whatever. Woah! Woah, woah, woah.

That was a wake-up call, and I feel like I gained a lot of necessary perspective regarding my relationship with electronic instant gratification. Honestly, I’d so much rather stay present, and smile at the spring daffodils, than to constantly be sidetracked and staring into my smart phone. So point taken. *Real Life* for the win.

But here’s the thing: I cheated.

Technically. A lot. I’ll give you some examples, and you tell me if you think it was fair (I do) :

  • I did some online banking, when money needed to be transferred quickly. Mostly on my phone.
  • I used Facebook private messaging in order to plan activities – as far as I’m concerned this is an extension of email, since I get the notifications in my email inbox. I didn’t go onto Facebook otherwise.
  • I used the website to check the info on a meet-up I was attending for the vegan families group. I just double-checked the time and location.
  • I googled “measles Portland” and “measles Vancouver” every day for 21 days in order to track a possible outbreak (Waits is not vaccinated) (it ended up being a false alarm, thank goodness).
  • I googled around a bit to learn about radiation, just to make sure I knew what I was potentially dealing with.
  • I did a lot of Internet exploring as part of researching for my book/freelance writing jobs. This was unavoidable and I had totally forgotten to take it into account. But to be honest, sometimes I lingered a bit and let me “research”, um, wander . . . but never very far! (eek!)

Fair? You tell me. I’m comfortable with it.


Perhaps the most interesting observation of the month was this one: I watched a BUTTLOAD of television. I watched more TV this month than I’ve watched in ages. Why?

Because l needed to check out!

We all need to turn off and tune out. It’s totally natural, and totally necessary. And taking away the internet doesn’t change that! It was silly of me to think that it would.

So yes, I see how I was abusing the internet. Distance is great for that sort of big picture overview. But, I was also able to identify A) how my computer serves a very useful purpose: that it allows me to relax in a more engaged, more intellectual way. And B) that there are times when the internet is entirely appropriate.

For example, in the mornings while enjoying my coffee, I’m too sleepy to work and Waits is happily amusing himself. There is no reason not to enjoy this moment for a little free web surfing. This is a place where the Internet totally makes sense, and there are a number of other places (for various reasons) that appear throughout my day as well. Now I’ve identified them, and now I can utilize them (and only them).

There are places where the Internet is incredibly destructive. I got so much more work done this month. Why? Well, it used to be that if I had a 10-20 minute chunk of time, which I have A LOT OF over the course of my day – I’d think to myself “I don’t have enough time to get into my writing groove, so I won’t be able to get any work done now. I’ll just check my sites instead. . .”

WRONG! When I lost the ability to bum around aimlessly, my boredom drove me to giving “mini work sessions” a try. And you know what? I can *totally* catch my stride in 10 minutes. A couple of 10-minute chunks throughout my day adds up to a lot more work completed come bedtime.

This was a HUGE lesson and something that will change the way I view my time, forever after. Excellent.


As the month has worn on, I’ve become a lot more lenient with myself. I feel like I learned my lessons in the first few weeks, and since then I’ve just been implementing the important stuff . . . and leaving some of the stringency. Hence my Internet “research” wanderings. I do think that a full month away was necessary, and I have made it a point to stay away from any familiar cyber territory. I peeked at my Google Reader today and saw that I have over 450 unread items. OMG THIS WEEKEND IS GOING TO BE WILD!!! But along with catching up, I’ll be combing through and making cuts. It’s going to be an un-subscribing bloodbath up in my RSS feed. I didn’t miss a lot of this stuff, and I just don’t need to go back to it.

And what about you guys? I know a lot of you implemented less extreme versions of this mission, but tell me, what did you learn? I’m so curious to hear all about it!

I’ll be back on Monday with a new MMM, and I’ve got a ton of awesome posts lined up. It’s garden season guys! And the Farmer’s Market is back! The days are getting longer, and spring is in the air!

If you commented on the site or sent me an email, expect a response coming very soon. And to all, have a fantabulous weekend. See you Monday!

  • Jacquelyn

    OMG. My reader gets up to 450 in 3 days. Point taken…. I seriously only read like 1% of it. :-( What a waste! Looks like it’s time to unsubscribe!

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    So I’m going to tweak my mid-month progress report here with final thoughts, since it pretty much summed up my month of very limited internet.


    Here’s what I proposed:

    No more HootSuite (eek!); personal email and Google reader will only be checked from work when I’m on a scheduled break and at the end of the day; and nothing at all after 9pm.

    How did I do? I’m happy to report that I haven’t been on HootSuite once since starting this. I was in the habit of just keeping it open all day, and I would glance over a lot more often than I’d like to admit. It’s disappointing how much my productivity at work has increased with this mission, because I always thought I was good about keeping internet time in check. (And as a supervisor, it is *imperative* that I do so.) As for staying offline and off my smart phone after 9pm daily, I’ve amended it a little; if my husband and daughter are both asleep *and* I’ve gotten anything I need to get done around the house/studying/yoga/etc, then I turn my mobile back on. With the convenience of SMS technology, I practically don’t need a computer. I canceled the data plan on my phone a long time ago, which forces me to actually get on the computer to get online. I do a *lot* via SMS, h ence the 9pm rule. And the most interesting thing is that I’m writing all of my freelance articles out longhand and then putting them online completely polished, in one go.
    I’ve yet to head back over to HootSuite, although I miss the versatility and organization it provides. I think my big internet projects next week will be culling my Twitter and Google Reader lists.

    Glad to have you back, Sayward!!

  • Teany Tiny Star

    Glad that you are back, I’ve been trying to stay off the internet too. I was a little less successful, but I am trying :) I was wondering if you had any tips for an aspiring writer? I want to try and write a book, but I’m not sure where to start. Iv been reading a lot of novels lately, and I started thinking hey I could do this!

  • MaidenOregon

    Well, I’m SO glad your back! I actually don’t use the PC much during the day because I home school and thats way more fun. So, I didn’t really do this MMM.
    I believe that you accomplished exactly what you set out to do. It’s not always how we do things but what we learn from them. Bravo!
    Welcome back darling! Nuf’ said.

  • Emily

    I kinda failed at this one. But a week of March was spring break, which meant I sat at home by myself with not a lot to do.. a lot of my internet time then was watching TV (I don’t have cable so if I want to watch TV it’s either DVDs or online) while doing other stuff, though, so I suppose that’s not all bad. And the days when I did try really hard to limit myself did make me think about the way I spend my internet time. Like, which sites I really care enough to visit when I know my time on the internet is limited. Or which things I really only need to check once a day but will check compulsively just because if I don’t keep myself in check. So I would say it was useful in that regard, but I really wasn’t very good at sticking to it.

  • Cassandra

    I love that you’re back! I’ve been checking back every few hours today to see if you would post! :)

    Waits is not vaccinated? Are vaccinations a n-no for vegans?

  • MorganInJapan

    Welcome back. I hadn’t realized how much I look forward to your posts until there were none.
    I must admit that I did not take part in this mmm, but I did pay more attention to how much time I spend on the internet. It’s shocking!

  • Erin

    Welcome back! I too am curious about Waits and vaccination. We’re planning at least a modified schedule for our little one (due in July.)

  • charlotte

    Glad to see you back. Its amazing how much the internet has changed the way we work and research things. I did take part, although I cheated for a couple of weeks as I was on holiday at Disney World. I can’t say I missed the internet much while at the Magic Kingdom. As a side note the food in the parks is truly awful and it was a struggle sometimes to find something remotely healthy.

    I live far away from home and the internet is an important lifeline for me but I was spending too much time on it. I’ve been making an effort to be more focused and I’m actually getting things done now. Plus I’ve found more time for activities away from the lap top. Part of this mission for me has been to reduce my internet presence. I’ve cancelled memberships of message boards I no longer visit and I closed a little used Twitter account.

    @Erin, we use a modified vaccination schedule for our children and it has worked out very well for us.

  • erosan

    Welcome back!

    It is such a relief to read what you wrote about your MMM. Although I am proud of having failed this MMM having learned a lot about myself(as I explained in another comment), I sort of feared that your success would left me feeling all sorts of ‘dirty’ and ‘innapropriate’…

    But, you came to a very simmilar conclusion!

    It is GOOD to have you back! honestly. I don’t know about the others but I missed ya. Now, get to work! spring is here and you still haven’t posted pics or plans about your garden! (this is going to be the year for mine! I swear I’ll work on it!)

  • Cayce

    Way to go! I think the fact that you learned so much about your habits and daily rhythm is a big deal. I’ve given up desserts for Lent. I’m amazed at how I don’t even really want sugar or chocolate anymore. Amazing. And this time I haven’t had to TOTALLY do without to get to that point. Your writing reminded me of this part of my journey – this has been a type of addiction for me and I’ve happily broken it! Next up for me in personal growth will be more constructive internets time. With 2 kiddos, a husband, a small cottage biz, and a return to my profession…I’m going to need more structure and self-discipline! Thanks for your honesty.

  • sarah

    It’s good to have you back! For the first several weeks of March I would glance at the RSS feed every once in a while wondering why there were no posts… then I would remember ;)

    I didn’t actually do this one. As nice (and hard!) as it would be, it’s impossible seeing as how what I do for a living is entirely on the computer 8+ hours a day and requires using the internet for a MULTITUDE of things. But I love the update on what you’ve learned and it is good to think about. I will be the first to admit I couldn’t live without my iPhone, but fortunately I also know when to put it down.

  • Stephanie

    You’re back!!!!

    I deleted Facebook officially about 6 months ago.
    I only follow a few blogs and check my e-mail for class and work.
    The rest of my internet time I use sparingly: only when absolutely necessary not to go crazy that I google something (like you mentioned), or when I simply want to know how to do something, or lastly RECIPES!!)

    I’m glad your internet hiatus went so well for you! You sound like you’ve got your head on straight.

    again, YOU’RE BACK!!!!!!!!! *sigh with relief from Sayward withdrawl*

  • Sayward

    I MISSED YOU GUYS! It’s so great to hear from everyone. Unfortunately, I am laid out cold with food poisoning, no April Fools! It’s from my favorite restaurant too. So sad. Damian and I are both a pathetic pile of grunts and groans. =(

    I’ll be back soon when I’ve got my energy up. Happy weekend everyone!

  • Minna

    Aw, food poisoning, that sucks. Good thing it goes away fast though!


    It’s great that you’re back again! I was getting used to no-Bonzai, but it always felt like something important was missing in my life :D So I was really happy to see a new Bonzai post in my Google reader!

    And speaking of my reader… My reaction to your “450 unread items!” was the same as Jacquelyn’s. I need to do some unsubsribing. The sad thing is that LOLcats, comics and design pages are always read, whereas I couldn’t say the same thing about the news and blogs… :)

    I think your so-called “cheating” during the last month was definitely fair. Come on, you googled for measles and radiation!

    I was seriously hoping to be motivated enough not to visit my Facebook or check forums that often… but I wasn’t. I’m a freaking addict and it’s not nice! And it seems to be one of the toughest addictions to get rid of. When I come online to check my email for work/school, I always end up checking my FB and signing in to MSN/Skype. One thing I’ve realised, though, is that signing off Skype, MSN and FB chat helps a lot. The Internet automatically becomes a much more boring place.

    Ah, I seriously need to work on my addiction :(

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    @Erin – we used a limited and delayed vaccination schedule for our daughter and it has worked out very well for us.

  • Sayward

    Okay, food poisoning vanquished! My first time ever, and man it SUCKED. Grr, moving on.

    Did I mention, I MISSED YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    @ Jacquelyn – Haha, yeah I think most people do like you, subscribe to lots of blogs but don’t read everything. I’m *super* selective about what I subscribe to, because I read them all, compulsively (having too many unread in my reader makes me anxious). But now I’ve cut down even more – yay!

    @ Monika – It’s good to BE back! And – damn girl, you did great. Seriously, you took this mission head on and it sounds like you kicked it’s butt. That’s so awesome and it seems like we learned similar lessons, too. =)

    @ Teany Tiny Star – Hmm, totally depends on what route you want to go, but bottom line : the only thing separating writers from not-writers is that writers just sat down and did it. By which I mean, the actual act of writing a book is so much LESS work than getting over the initial, seemingly overwhelming, mental block that makes it seem enormous/impossible. So if you want to write a book, just do it. If you’re like most people, the only thing stopping you is yourself. (I had the same issue, but was lucky enough to get some really solid support right when I needed it) Does this make sense? It’s like everything – there are [most] people who sit around talking about doing things, and then there are [the few] people who actually do things. You just have to make yourself be one of the do-ers.

    So, convincing yourself that you can do it really is the hardest part. Then, actually making yourself find the time to do it, that’s the next challenge. After that, getting it out there is easier than you’d think. This is where you have a ton of options. You can go the traditional route and shop publishers. You can go the modern route and self-publish, which is really a lot easier than you’d think. Anyone can sell their book on Amazon. You can also do it all online, selling ebooks. There are people making millions (LITERALLY) selling crappy, grammatically awful “serials” on Amazon. It’s a different sort of world now and there are all sorts of options for authors. So it really depends on what you had in mind. What did you have in mind?

    @ MaidenOregon – Thank you, and I think you’re exactly right. I learned just exactly what I needed to.

    @ Emily – It sounds like you learned and you said it was useful, so it wasn’t really a fail. It’s all a process!

    @ Cassandra – Waits is not vaccinated (yet). It’s not a vegan thing though. I really should write a post on this – I’ve been meaning to do that forever. But the short answer is, we’re doing a delayed, selective schedule.He won’t get anything until after he’s 2.

    @ MorganInJapan – Aww, thanks. And yes, shocking!

    @ Erin – See my response to Cassandra above, but I’ll get to work on a proper article about vaccinations.

    @ charlotte – I agree, I also live away from most of my loved ones and so the Internet is invaluable there. Like you said, it’s about staying focused.

    Didn’t a vegan cupcake shop just open in Disneyworld? (not that that’s remotely healthy, haha)

    @ erosan – yes! Your other comment made a lot of sense to me. What you said about looking up something wehn you were with your friends – that’s a way that the internet/instant access is SO helpful, and it’s awesome to live in that sort of modern world.

    I can’t wait to share my garden! I’ve got a million sprouts going in my window sill. And I think you can do it this year. Im rooting for you. =) (but even if it doesn’t work, you can just forage for stuff that’s better than anything I can grow, and I will always be jealous of you for that!)

    @ Cayce – So true! So, so true. I am in the process of giving up a number of things, and it’s amazing how it can be so difficult at first, but after a while you really become detached from the wanting. I guess that’s the nature of addiction. It only seems hard to live without it until you’ve broken the spell.

    @ sarah – Haha, for the first few weeks of March I would think “Oh I need to post!” . . . and then I would remember. =)

    Sounds like you’ve found a good balace.

    @ Stephanie – I’m back, and breathing my own sigh of relief from Bonzai-community-withdrawal! =D

    @ Minna – Hey lady! Man, I hear you. It’s hard! But it’s a process, all a part of living mindfully, which I know is something we both work on. Chipping away, little bit by little bit, right?

  • @tishushu

    I’m so late but so what!:) glad to have ya back!

    I haphazardly had my own MMM when I attended a 10-day Vipassana retreat a couple of weeks ago ( No phone, no internet, and no verbal communication; i renunciated the world and lived the life of a monk/nun, right down to the veg meals served us everyday, all for free! There was no communication, verbal or otherwise between meditators. The one thing I forgot was that I kept time with my watch, and since I had no phone, I was at the mercy of the bell they rang to announce meditation sessions. Lets just say I thouroughly enjoyed it. But I missed my family. I would say I missed TV and movies, but every show, movie, AND song I’ve ever heard or watched came out on my meditation mat… Truly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life! Plus, i learned to really meditate. Before I was trying to get away from my mind. In the Vipassana technique, you work with your mind! :) what I truly learned was the importance of quiet. I experienced mental clarity and true silence… Wooosaaaaaah…

  • Ginger Baker

    @ Teany Tiny Star I highly HIGHLY recommend The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, the only book I have ever wanted to purchase multiple copies of for the sole purpose of giving away to friends, acquaintances, coworkers, random people I meet on the street… It’s much about what Sayward mentioned, about the DOING, my favorite quote is at the front of the book: “There’s a secret the real writers know that wannabe writes don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”

    @Sayward I ended up participating in this in an unanticipated way: I got deleted from Facebook. Someone decided to report a bunch of my pics :shrugs:. I was really upset and annoyed for two days (while they were sexy, burlesque pics, there was not a one I wouldn’t show to my grandmother), and then…I stopped caring. I’ve been meaning to set up a new account, but haven’t gotten around to it. Honestly, if I didn’t use it to promote performances, I likely wouldn’t bother.

    One huge benefit I hit was that I stopped doing much personal interwebz at work – which, sadly, really had been a HUGE time drain and kept me from being nearly as productive as I should be. I’m particularly glad to have broekn this horrible habit now, as I *just* last week accepted a job offer for a new position within my company :-D which I start April 18th. So now I am all set to ROCK that out!!

  • StMongo

    welcome back. :)
    okay, so I didn’t really read everyone’s comments, so I have a feeling that I may be the only one who may have anything sort of negative-y to say, but here goes.
    first off though, if the internet is your crack, then so be it. no harm, no foul, it makes you happy, so it’s all good. however if you wanted to try and step back from it, I think there may have been a few different things you could have done to make it more “successful”. from your list of cheats, as far as work goes, that’s fine. I mean, that’s work, so what else are you supposed to do? other stuff though, like using fb to private message or…I think stuff like that could have been done over the phone or text message. research about radiation could have been done at the library using books. the potential measles outbreak…I’m more curious as to why Waits isn’t vaccinated. I know people babies are not the same as animal babies, but we get a lot of people in my clinic who think that getting their puppy or kitten vaccinated will make them sick, and 9 times out of 10, we see them again when the pet has caught something they weren’t vaccinated for.
    anyhoo, that’s my schpeel…time for some wine. :)

  • Katie

    First off, welcome back! One thing this month did was weed out blogs and things that are obviously totally pointless, and this blog was definitely not one of those.

    This was a learning experience, for sure. The first thing I already mentioned – I read a lot of dreck in the name of “relaxation”, and it’s not actually relaxing, it’s just draining in a different way than the work I do, as if it seems to take effort to stay caught up on whatever pop culture thing is circulating. Another thing, though, is that I realized that I use the internet for what I consider to be sort of positive escapism, meaning this: my studies/work call for a very specific focus for the majority of my day (10-14 hours, usually) and sometimes I need a brain break, and the way that I do that is to focus intellectual energy on anything that isn’t related to my field. Basically, I relax more reading about, say, the possible origin of the feather or the administration of Teddy Roosevelt than I do watching bad television or reading about the various exploits of any number of wayward starlets, so I sort of feel like if we’re all using the interweb as a tool rather than a crutch, it’s not so bad.

    Following that, however, I am a news junkie, and there was a lot of news to follow this month, and I couldn’t resist. There is a lot of news to follow every month, of course, but this month it seemed especially pressing.

    To sum up: I think changing my relationship with the internet is an ongoing process, extending beyond this mmm, and I am glad to continue with it. Thanks for getting it started!

  • Olivia Jean

    So glad your back! Although it gave me a chance to peruse other posts and give some of your ideas a try….like coconut yogurt :D I think my little one is going to love it! and green smoothies…yes! (can you tell I have a little one just about ready for food??)

  • Pat

    Hello! so glad your back! I missed your posts!
    I didn’t go the full way with your mmm, but I said I would cut back drastically on facebook! which I did manage! and strangely I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would… I only like you, answered the messages I got.
    I don’t think you cheated! I think it was fair use of available information!
    hope your last remains of food poison are over soon, enjoy rest of weekend

  • alison

    I didn’t succeed as much as I would wish to in keeping my internet sessions to two short periods per day – as in, some days were better than others. Overall, though, I definitely improved and caught my impulses to google things, check the news, or troll random blogs. Happily, I did notice a different in my concentration, especially related to work. I plan to keep going with this mission and hope to keep improving!

  • Meghan

    I did really well for the first few days. I am a hopeless internet addict. I’ll break my addiction some day. But not yet.

    I missed you!

  • erosan

    Garden planning time is here, and I just found this:

    Just in case it interests anyone

  • Meghan

    Thanks, erosan! My garden is mostly planned, but I will do some tweaking with this info.

    My basement is full of baby plants, my husband built me a planting table. Wheeee! I have lettuce growing outside, and I planted fruit trees. Grapes go in this afternoon!

  • Sandra

    Welcome back my dear! I did not participate with your MMM last month but I did pay attention to how much time I really do waste on the nets. I was a little surprised at first, but then I started asking myself if I absolutely had to go online. I unfortunately wasn’t able to cut down on my usage because I am working on a huge school project, but I was able to use my internet time more constructively. : )

  • Amanda

    A couple of months ago I was getting tweets sent to my phone via text message from like 12 different people, and some of whom I didn’t really know! It was crazy! I was constantly checking my phone!! I decided it was stressing me out and I was always anxious about what texts I had missed. I just went cold turkey. I blocked all twitter updates to my phone and life felt normal again, though it took a week to get back out of the habit. It is scary how technology sucks up life. I plan on using my phone and internet much less now that it is getting nicer. I hope to even leave my phone at home *GASP* some days this summer! :]

  • Sayward

    Thank you EVERYONE for all the comments, it’s so neat to read about how everybody had their own experience with this mission, and all the different perspectives.

    @ Ginger Baker – Oh man, that’s hysterical about Facebook. That site is so ridiculous about that stuff. I had a few photos deleted too (granted they were from the World naked Bike Ride, but still) Hey, at least it worked out in your favor!

    @ Katie – I love your comment and I feel the same way, especially the whole concept of things we do in the name of relaxation that are actually more stressful than they are relaxing! I learned a lot abou that this month and have a much better sense now of where *not* to go on the internet. Great insights!

    erosan – That is a seriously excellent graphic.

  • Teany Tiny Star

    First of all thank you so much for all of that wonderful advice! I think I definetly would want to go for an actual publisher. I really would want it to be done up well and not just something with a bunch of typos. I still haven’t really figured out what I want to do for a living and I’ve honestly thought about doing this for two years now. I’m definetly gona go for it. Again thank you so much for your advice :)

  • natashia

    I didn’t set out to fully join you on this mission, but i did take some steps in the right direction – i made a lot of cuts to my google reader and stopped opening it every day and i stopped checking email and fb first thing at work in the mornings, and you know what? i got a lot more work done :)

  • natashia

    and i must just also say, ‘i’m SO happy your back!’ This month i have hardly checked my google reader (maybe 5 times) and more than all the other blogs i read put together, i missed your blog the most :)