So I spent Mothering Sunday in a sports hall. A cold sports hall. My Sunday lunch was a houmous and carrot sandwich that I'd packed myself before I set off.
I was there for five hours, watching children do gymnastics. It was a bit spectacular, but long. Very long. I'm pretty sure that the local sports centre could put on a pretty good closing ceremony at the Olympics. Swirly lights. Opera. Two hundred children all doing the same moves at the same time.
But still. Five hours. I did English paper piecing, though I could barely see my needle because of the lighting.
I've been making this quilt since August. I've pieced on holiday, in front of the TV, on trains, on weekends at the in-laws, at Christmas: everywhere. I pieced the other weekend, constantly, whilst chatting and laughing and eating with an amazing bunch of bloggers, hosted by Tracy. We talked about socks, about food, about - lord, I actually can't remember what - and about blogging.
I wore my lovely handknitted socks - a gift from Kristina - during the five hour gym display. My feet were the only part of me that were warm.
Have you read this post, on Maxabella Loves? It's about when blogs become websites; about when SEO takes over, and the number of page hits matters more than the relationships behind them. And it's how we all exist in cliques, and how we get less able to step outside them. And about how we should read more blogs. It's really good.
Am in a clique? It might look like it. I have blogging friends whom I've met; they know blogging friends whom they've met. But even though my blog is over five years old, I still came late to the party, and their community welcomed me with open arms. Now, when I search for new blogs, I find it harder to find my way. Blogrolls are losing popularity: being edited down, sometimes even being ditched altogether. And it's a huge world out there now, in Blogland - it's getting harder and harder to navigate.
It's also hard to spot your child in a darkened hall, with swirly lights, surrounded by 199 other children in almost identical leotards.
Is that why we read less blogs? Because they're getting harder to spot? And what makes us form the communities we do?
A while ago, a very influential UK blogger told me that no-one, NO-ONE, replied to comments by email. NO-ONE. AT. ALL. But we do. Most of the blogs I read - we all do. Blogland is massive. We do different things.
There are children doing gymnastics on the assymetric bars. Then, later, a class full of girls waving ribbons. There are some very, very tiny children wiggling their toes in a circle.
I've been to blog events where we've talked about Effective Use of Social Media, about Branding. But around Tracy's table, we talked about writing.
The thing is, even though I know about how to best title my blog posts in order to maximise their search potential, I shall continue to write things with headings such as How the Stuffed Became the Stuffing and Just Get On With It. It doesn't help my traffic, so why do I do it? Because it makes me happy. Look at this! Monica's blog, with its numbered headings. Tell me that's not the right way to do it. Go on. Try.
So who is in my 'clique', my community? Bloggers who've never acknowledged me, bloggers who've politely responded. Bloggers whom I've met, whom I've never met but learned things from, bloggers whom I could text right now at ten past ten because they're actually friends. Chances are - since you didn't find me today via an anonymous google search for 'miserable cow' or 'stapling together an ottoman' - you're in there too.
You, over there, on the balance beam. I'm over here waving a ribbon. I know what I'm doing. You're doing fine too.