I didn't promise anything worthwhile; I only promised huge and ambitious.
You may or may not have noticed, but my blogroll has grown substantially over the last while. It seems more and more people are jumping on the blogging bandwagon and that's fine with me as it gives me stuff to read when bored at work.
I occasionally get the "So how do you know [whoever]?" comments. And I'm sure there are those who are just looking for something to kill time with occasionally wonder if any of the blogs I have on the list are worth reading. So, as a public service, let me introduce you to all of those on my blogroll:
Aaron and Brandy: Brandy is my first cousin on my mother's side of the family. Yes, that's the side full of hunting stories and fart jokes. They're great. When I was young, Brandy was the cousin a few years older than me that I was always like, "Man, if I could be as cool and pretty as she is..." (I suspect every girl with older cousins had someone like this). Now she is married to Aaron and they have a couple adorable children. Their blog consists mostly of family happenings, which I suppose it what happens when people have children (not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that). Blog recommended for: fellow Davenport relatives who like to keep up with family; people who like pictures of adorable children (including a recent picture of "grumpy eyes" that I think is precious); people who like being disappointed when they go to a blog that had the phrase "fart jokes" in it's description but then find there isn't a single one on the site.
Allison: Allison has been a dear friend and on-again-off-again roommate over the last four years of my life. She is probably the absolute most unique person I have ever met. Seriously. And I've known some doozies. I would try to describe her, but I've never been successful at this. If you know her, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, you won't get it anyway. She posts fairly regularly, which is appreciated, and the posts generally fall into one of two categories: 1) something randomly embarrassing/hilarious or 2) deep discussions about the purpose of life, etc., that are generally fairly insightful. Blog recommended for: those who know and love Allison; those who are interested in random cultural facts about India (she spent a semester there last year and is going back in the semi-near future and she always has great posts about the people there); people who think there are no truly committed Mormons in the world anymore.
Becky: Becky is a dear friend from back when I lived in Indiana. We both came out to BYU at the same time, but I haven't hung out with her much since high school. However, we will always have making sarcastic comments in seminary. Blog recommended for: those who like to know they aren't the only people who are very single, very broke and unsure of what to do with their lives; those who love Jane Austen (not that she discusses Jane Austen much, just that kind of person...you know who you are); single men looking for a hot Mormon girl (thought I'd throw a plug in there for you, Becky).
Brian and Kristy: Brian is another cousin on my mother's side (fart jokes!). Brian was just a little too old to be my cousin crush (who was obviously Jason Prisbey), but I always liked him because he's a funny guy. And Kristy is his wife who I have always liked quite a bit (and I don't just say these things because you're reading this). When Trevor and I got married, I remember going through the cards and all of them had some sort of mushy something or other on them and the card we got from Brian and Kristy said simply "Rock On!" This, in a nutshell, is why they are great people. And if you are ever unsure if you want to have kids or not and want to be persuaded, read nearly any entry on their blog and you're guaranteed to fall in love with their children and need some of your own. (most recent entry is a perfect example). Blog recommended for: see "Aaron and Brandy"
Cassie: Cassie is another cousin, on my father's side of the family. She is a few years older than me and I spent much of my childhood in her hand-me-down clothes. We've always gotten along splendidly, mostly because we're both smart, fun-loving women (go us!). Shortly after Trevor met her for the first time, I remember he kept on talking about different friends of his he wanted to set her up with, which I think is a great compliment to any girl (it was, of course, mostly because she has excellent taste in music). She has recently gotten herself married though, so sorry to the single friends of Trevor's who are reading this. Blog recommended for: anyone who wants to know what's going on in Cassie's life (fellow Wonnacotts and people with an unnatural fascination with relatives of mine); lovers of good taste; people who like the kind of blog with a wide variety of topics discussed.
Emilee: Emilee and I were randomly assigned to be roommates during our first year at BYU. Good work BYU housing department, you created a monster. We have since had many an adventure together, and I will always consider her one of my best friends. There are really not that many genuinely funny females in this world. I have been blessed to have known a few great ones, though, and Emilee is right up there. She moved to Texas this last summer, and as she is pretty much the opposite of Texas, you know there is going to be some good commentary. Blog recommended for: people who squeal just thinking about how cute cats are; lovers of all things luxe; those interested in a woman of well-rounded intelligence.
Erin: I used to work with Erin back in the Heritage days. We have been dear friends since the day when she confessed to me: "Andrea, I saw your blog on facebook and spent several hours last night reading it and now I know everything there is to know about you." I, not to be outdone, soon did the same, and came to work knowing everything about her. It's one of those friendships that would probably have been more of an acquaintance if technology wasn't there to aid us. Ah, technology, how I love you. Anyway, Erin is the most-often-posting-est person on this list, and for that she ought to be congratulated. Most of her life now consists of taking care of her newborn child, so...good luck with that Erin. I do not envy the lack of sleep you are experiencing. Blog recommended for: friends of mine who like to whine about me not posting enough (Go look at Erin's blog! There's something new there! Pretend it's me if you like!); those interested in the daily ins and outs of being a young new mother; lovers of witty commentary on music, family, etc.
James: James is the only ex-boyfriend of mine who I still have amiable relations with. We went to Prom in high school together when I lived in Indiana (how cute are we!). He's typical of a boyfriend of mine: into music and computer stuff and sweeter than you'd think upon first meeting him. He lives in Seattle now, because he has a smart computer person job there. His blog is pretty basic and fairly "this is what's going on in my life" and not updated as often as it could be, but otherwise amusing. Also, I love that the link to my blog on his is called "mormons having fun". Blog recommended for: anyone who appreciates a random (and I'm talking random) youtube music video from some song you haven't heard for a while embedded in a post; nerd boys; people who appreciate the charm of a lot of "uhh...", "hmmm...", etc.
Jason and Kris: Jason is a high school friend of Trevor's and Kris is obviously his wife. They also have a tiny daughter, who is pretty cute. Whenever I think about Jason, the first thing that comes to mind is "Jungle Japs". Though I was not there on the occasion when he misread the "Jungle Japes" Smash Bros level, the story is told pretty much every time we play on that level. He will forever live in infamy. Blog recommended for: people interested in what life is like for a young Utah family (...I know, these are getting lamer by the second, but you try to come up with three things for 20 different blogs); people who really like exclamation points (notice every single post title ends in one...); those who want more material to make fun of Jason with (aka Trapper).
Jenn: Jenn is another dear coworker from the Heritage days. Loud, sassy fun-loving sort, but not brash by any means. While I was dating Trevor, she was always the one to ask "How're things with your boy?" And was always a good person to talk about the ups and downs of a relationship with. Also, I'm pretty sure she likes every kind of music. Which is something some (aka my husband) may scorn, but since I'm like that as well, I say "good girl." Blog recommended for: people who hate Utah; people looking for a good blog meme; those who appreciate a loud-burping woman (not that you'll get to hear her burp on her blog, unfortunately, but she's definitely that sort).
Jonny and McKenzi: McKenzi is a friend from the BYU days (and roommate during one of those years). She and her husband Jonny are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. I'm not kidding. The very nicest. Their blog isn't updated very often, but I've just noticed that they have another blog they run, http://lifeofmormonfamily.blogspot.com/, that is more interesting. On that site they answer questions about the LDS church that readers submit. While this kind of thing generally makes me wary, Jonny and McKenzi are both intelligent people who give well-thought-out answers and are also very clear that their site is not in anyway connected with actual church leadership, so more power to them. Blogs (both) recommended for: people interested in what life as a Mormon is really like (and would rather ask them than me, I guess); people who had lost hope that there are good people in this world; BYU students.
Laura: A good example of how awesome Laura is: her two most recent blog entries have been about freaking Buffy the Vampire Slayer and they're both highly amusing and more insightful than you would expect. Laura and I have been friends since early elementary school and she has always been one of the most intelligently hilarious people I have known. She also deserves the largest share of the blame for my blog's existence. Nearly four years ago, I started a blog that she was pretty much the only reader of. And now well look at how far I've come: I get about 20 visits a day on this site, and only 18 or so of them are me (me thinking "maybe somebody left a comment...please...need...validation"). But enough about me. Laura is great. She is now adventuring in Australia, because she's just that cool. Blog recommended for: people who believe life is epic, if a little dull; review readers; anyone who can appreciate that after a photo tour of her apartment, comes: "Now, the question I know you are all thinking is 'Well, this seems fine and dandy but how will you fare in the event of zombie apocalypse?'" followed by a complete analysis (aka anyone who would be friends with me).
Mark and Heather: Heather is my cousin, and Cassie's sister. I also wore a lot of her hand-me-downs as a child. She's married (to Mark, obviously) and has a baby that's pretty much adorable (I know I keep saying everyone's children are adorable, but it's just true every time). Also you should note that on a recent post they totally used the date idea I gave them (go me!). Blog recommended for: Wonnacotts and Wonnacott lovers; single people who secretly enjoy the agony of reading about an adorable happily-married couple; people who like pictures of cute children and still have the energy to look at more after all the other friends that have them on their blogs.
Melanie: This is up there on my list of highest-recommended blogs. Melanie is very good at taking everyday events amusing/interesting/meaningful. We have been friends since a fateful game of Jenga in late 2004. We were roommates during a ridiculously fun period of my life, and she was a major contributor to it all. She is now a psychology graduate student at Utah State, I don't see as much of her as I would like, and her blog is a nice dose of Melanie for me. Blog recommend for: those of our generation who enjoy hearing about other's experiences with facebook, Twilight, Outkast...all the important things we live with every day; people who enjoy playing the "guess what song this blog title is taken from" game; fans of the Muppets.
Monique: Monique was my roommate for the last semester before I was married. She's a total sweetheart and pretty to boot! My favorite feature of her blog is that she starts with a quote every time. These quotes are sometimes from famous people, sometimes from literature, sometimes from scripture, sometimes from The Office, etc. She is a woman of varied interests. Down-side is: she hasn't posted in a couple months (Where are you, Monique? You think you get a boyfriend and can neglect my need for things to read on the internet? What do you mean he's more important?). Blog recommended for: people who appreciate a well-balanced blog (good balance of pictures and writing, good balance of topics...she's actually done this better than pretty much anyone I know); lovers of old school glamour; friends and family of Monique (duh, I know...).
Nishi: Nishi has been my friend since that fateful day when I was asked to help the new kid make her prayer rug in Mrs. Campbell's 7th-grade world history class. The new kid turned out to be a fun girl who had just as horrible of a fashion sense as I did in those days. But I don't want to talk about that. Or think about it. Ever. We have grown up into beautiful, successful women, thank you very much. She's a really good friend, and somehow always knows better than anyone else what's going on in my life even though we don't speak nearly as much as we ought to. Blog recommended for: people who would definitely buy tickets if N'Sync ever reunited to tour; 22 year-old girls who thought life would be simpler once they moved out of their parent's house, but found it's much more complicated; those that think 3-4 months is fine between postings.
Rachael: Rachael wins the silver medal for the Andrea's friend who most often posts on his/her blog contest. This is in part, I'm sure, because we both share a strong tendency to procrastinate. We've been friends since junior high and spent many a good time...uh...what do we even do? Like...quizzes in Seventeen or something. Anyway, she's a dear friend and one of the few people from the high school days that I keep in regular touch with. She has also recently gotten engaged, so it's wedding plan time in her life. Blog recommended for: people who appreciate a regular poster; people who, while Mormon, can't quite understand the BYU lifestyle (she goes to the one in Idaho); sarcastic people.
Trapper: This is not on my blogroll for obvious reasons. But deserves an honorable mention.
Travis: Travis is one of Trevor's old roommates. Technically he was never Trevor's roommate during the period of time when Trevor and I were dating, but you'd never know that by looking. We'd come home from church every Sunday and there would be Travis, who had obviously just let himself in, sitting in the living room watching football with something cooking in the microwave. I always liked him; he's a funny guy. His blog is rarely updated, but there are definitely treasures in there. It's generally more philosophical than anything else, which can be interesting. Blog recommended for: those who enjoy rather personal revelations about how someone else sees the world; people who only read blogs every few months and enjoy the relief of "oh, I didn't miss anything in all that time"; girls who like the sensitive type.
Trevor: Trevor, as I would assume you know by now, is my husband. He's great. And his few blog posts are great. But few. Every once in a while we have the "Why don't you post more?" "Because nobody reads it." "That's because you don't post often enough." discussion to no avail. I just skimmed over all of his old posts, though, and each one is a treasure. And to comment on his most recent post: we had even gone so far as to skim through the Wikipedia articles on the major Australian cities to decide where to live (and decided on Perth) (this was decided before Laura was living in Australia, but she would have been the first consulted upon a McCain victory). Anyway, if you want to do your part for humanity, I would encourage you to post a comment on Trevor's blog to let him know that people do care what is on that site. And then he'll probably be more disinclined to post because he hates being told what to do, but so be it. Blog recommended for: people who like to hear a furious young man rant about the majority of things around him; those who enjoy an epic tale of bravery, romance, betrayal, and glory over a tankard of ale; lovers of fine cheeses.
Valerie: Valerie is an old friend of Allison's who I had heard many great things about before I met her and seen a few times, but didn't really get to know until we ended up roommates the summer of 2007. Valerie will always be a part of the Trevor and Andrea love saga, because he totally asked her on a date when I was her roommate. But that is a tale for another day. Valerie is the sort of soft-spoken sweetheart person that is always nice to have around. And then every once in a while she pops out with something utterly hilarious. She has since gotten married, moved to Canada, and gotten knocked up to boot. Blog recommended for: those who think a certain woman named JuDene in Mesa, AZ is the greatest thing to ever happen to this earth; people interested in the details of day-to-day pregnant life (This used to be Erin's role, but her child has been born. Luckily Valerie got pregnant just in time that the all important position of Andrea's blogging pregnant friend was never vacant...way to take one for the team, Valerie); that group of guys who think anything having to do with Canada is hilarious for some inexplicable reason.
Note #1: If anyone reading this blog is a dear friend and/or a person craving attention and has a blog not represented on this prestigious list, please let me know and I'll be happy to review your credentials and make a decision from there.
Note #2: Family/couple blogs are all represented with the male's name first and the woman's name second. This does not mean I'm some sort of sexist. My initial thought was to put the name of the person I was closest with first in each case, but that provided two problems: 1) some would have a man first and some would have a woman first and what if someone thought I was just being sloppy? and 2) someone might be offended that they were not first in the list. (I do realize that in reality the chances of someone noticing these things are slim and the chances of anyone caring is even slimmer, but better safe than sorry.) I also thought that perhaps going with a last name might be appropriate, but the mix of first and last names on one list seemed like a full out crime against organization. I needed uniformity and the only other option that would provide uniformity was putting the woman's name first, which makes me feel like some sort of radical feminist. So, tradition ruled. Though now that I think about it, on all of the couple blogs represented, the woman definitely does more posting than the man. Oh well. Remind me to avoid ever making friends with a gay couple with a shared blog.
Note #3: Blogs are listed alphabetically so that nobody accuses me of favoritism.
Note #4: One can be removed from the blogroll by doing one or more of the following: 1) Provide me a written request. 2) Go longer than one year without posting. 3) Consistently write posts that are mean-spirited/offensive (this has only happened once). 4) Change your blog to a private setting (which I realize Aaron and Brandy are about to do, at which point they will be removed).
Note #5: This quote kept running through my head as I wrote this, since it describes several of the people on this list: "It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both." But I've realized that's pretty much a really dumb line. Charlotte wrote what in the book? Three words? Does it kind of sound to you like E.B. White just wanted his friends to read that and think "Oh, I know someone else who's a true friend and a good writer! I better appreciate him!"?