Who needs wiretapping when you have a blog?

Me and Orrin Hatch, Salt Lake City, Utah -- Copyright CrazyUs.com
Me and Orrin Hatch, Salt Lake City, Utah — Copyright CrazyUs.com

Way back when I started this website, if someone were to ask me to name the three people who would make me the most nervous to know that they were reading my blog, I would immediately respond with:

1. My mother-in-law (who we all love)
2. Orrin Hatch (maybe its just a Utah thing)
3. My local LDS bishop (church leader)

Early on I knew that my mother-in-law was probably my most dedicated CrazyUs reader. I also knew that I needed to embrace and make peace with the knowledge that Dave’s mom was learning about our family via my blog. And so I did. Often I wrote my posts, while asking myself the question,

“How would DeAnne (my MIL) feel about this post? Should I warn her about this before posting it?”

And then over time I realized that my mother-in-law will love me even if she doesn’t dig the topics I chose to write. She will also still love me if I have a sentence fragment, comma splice or dangling modifier. And so what if in her comment, she delicately and correctly spells the word I have misspelled. That is why we love her. (She teaches college grammar, by the way).

As far as Orrin Hatch is concerned, I would have thrown him in because of our personal history [wink]. And seriously, the man seems to have his fingers in every political hot topic. When we lived in the DC area, we often flew back and forth from DC to Salt Lake City. One set of grandparents live in Salt Lake City, the other, back in DC. Often on these flights we would see various political leaders. I remember standing next to Mike Leavitt, the former governor of Utah days after he had been asked to be an administrator for the EPA. Another time when I was pregnant with Eli, I walked on the plane holding Kyle, a diaper bag and a car seat in my arms while Dave readied our stroller for gate check, Orrin Hatch was sitting in first class. Sweat was dripping off of my claustrophobic-feeling body. And never missing an opportunity to kiss a baby (so-to-speak), Orrin smiled, grabbed Kyle’s foot and began to talk.

“What a cute little baby. How old is he?”

I didn’t have a free hand to wipe the sweat off of my upper lip and my anxiety was rising as I noticed the huge group of passengers who were trying to get to their seats, forming a line behind me.

“He is eighteen months.”

“He is so cute.” And then Orrin asked my about seventeen more questions in rapid fire succession. “So where are you headed? Are you from Utah? Do you like to travel? How does your son travel? Boy, he sure is a happy baby [grabs Kyle’s foot again]”

At that moment, the heavens opened as a gracious flight attendant asked me as she grabbed the diaper bag that was falling off my shoulder,

“Ma’am, could I help you to your seat?”

“Oh yes. Thank you.”

Since that moment, on the plane, I have paid more attention to the politics of Mr. Hatch. In fact, I have paid more attention to politics in general. My general philosophy, especially since I am a Democrat, living in a predominately Republican state is,

“Can’t we all just get along?”

If that doesn’t work, I ask,

“Can’t you just respect my right to have a differing opinion than yours?”


About a month ago, because of some careful planning between my good friend and his good friend, my world collided with Orrin’s at the Virgin Megastore in Salt Lake City. As I walked into the store, I noticed several eyes starring right at me. I noticed someone motion to this older gentleman, who was wearing a brightly colored Nordic sweater covered in Olympic pins. He walked up to me and said,

“I read your blog.”

He knew the terminology. Orrin Hatch has read my blog. I may get annoyed when he is politicking me on a plane, but here, at the Virgin Record store, he had me [wink]. We posed for our picture with my cheap old camera (remember my D70 is in the shop) and when I didn’t think the first one turned out, I asked if he would take another. He graciously asked Dave to take our picture) (by name — Um let, me get my point across here, Orrin Hatch addressed my husband by name before he was introduced to Dave). Ok, so Dave took another picture and Orrin was whisked away. Not before the Record Store manager blew a gasket because we were taking pictures in the entrance of her store. It was fabulous.

Now to the bishop. I always thought (deceived myself) that CrazyUs was my special, private place to talk and work through my issues, which obviously meant, that people who new me in the real world would not be reading what I had to say. Silly, Silly me.

Over and over and over and over and over and over again, I have learned that CrazyUs is in the public forum. So when my neighbor, who happens to be the local Mormon Bishop, does a Google search for the local market and CrazyUs comes up number one on that search, he may just click on the link. And he did.

Blogging is just another form of communication. The more people who hop on the blogging train, the more mainstream blogging will be. Please be careful, if you don’t want someone to read what you have to say, then write it in a private off-line journal. And seriously count to ten and think before you use your website as a place to vent about your next door neighbor, because you and I both know that within days or even minutes, your neighbor will somehow learn about the computers, then the internet and eventually do a Google search that leads him directly to you.

You might think that because you’re “just blogging” that all of your jabs and quips don’t have the same impact as when you’re venting in “real life.” Don’t fall into that trap. When you write something down, it doubles its effect, because it makes it permanent, and when, on top of that, you publish it to the world, and open up your target to public scrutiny, it doubles it again.

33 thoughts on “Who needs wiretapping when you have a blog?

  1. Right on, sister. Cecily recently wrote about this. About carrying, and I quote, “a heavy delete key” and learning, and I quote again “when the fuck to use it.”

    A good lesson for us all. It seems the ones who need it most, exercise it the least. Some people just want to cause trouble. Ah well.

    As you say “Can’t we all just get along?”


  2. “When you write something down, it doubles its effect, because it makes it permanent, and when, on top of that, you publish it to the world, and open up your target to public scrutiny, it doubles it again.”

    So true! Though I am fairly new to the realm of blogging, I understand the power of the publicly written word. We all have to be wise with how we use it. I’ve been reading your blog for close to a year and just want you to know that I appreciate your candid nature and your open style.

  3. Brilliant Post, as ususal!! I recently discovered that even if you don’t try to be found, you will, when a link to my website was put on a page featuring Iowa Blogs. Who knew? All I can say is it’s a good thing I didn’t post about work, because now I think my boss might find my site!! 🙂

  4. OMIGOSH! I can’t believe this actually happened!! How surreal and wonderful. As an avowed leftist Dem, I would have been thrilled, too! (And that sweater of his is dizzying!)

    (Do you know that I’m friends with the guy who’s running against him this year?)

  5. Pete Ashdown is the owner of X-Mission running against Orrin Hatch.

    WriterMama, that is so cool that you are friends with him. Once again how are worlds collide on so many levels.

    And wasn’t his sweater truly fabulous? You should have seen his nearly white leather shoes.

  6. Boy-o-chef-boy-ar-dee boy howdy, your last paragraph nailed the essence of blogging. I understand some of your previous posts on self-censorship a little better, now, as well. It’s tough – a blog can’t work as a virtual diary, because other people can read it & interpret it – and yet speaking from a therapeutic standpoint, there have been times that “putting it out there” and the support I received back was better than group therapy. Sigh. On a lighter note, wouldn’t it be exciting if Donny Osmond was also reading your blog?????

  7. Wow!! The picture turned out great, even if it wasn’t with the D70.

    When you write something down, it doubles its effect, because it makes it permanent, and when, on top of that, you publish it to the world, and open up your target to public scrutiny, it doubles it again.

    So true. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. That’s the cutest photo I’ve seen of him yet. And I can’t believe I’m using the word “cute” to describe Orrin Hatch. . .As for you, lovely as ever!

    Was he hawking his albums at Virgin?

    Since you and Donny also have a history, you might be interested in knowing that Donny sings an Orrin Hatch song on his Christmas album. Or maybe you wouldn’t.

  9. My parents read a post of my fiance’s and weren’t too impressed. It caused a bit of tension but then the moment had passed. Thankfully, it wasn’t too much of a problem, but it made me realise just how powerful a blog can be and just what a small world it really is, especially in the blogging world.

  10. delurking here, and in shock about the Orrin Hatch thing. give us a comment, Orrin–woncha??


    OK, so what about Crispin Glover? Can you make that happen too, seeing as you’ve had a brief history with him too???

  11. Joy,

    I have a freakish knack for celebrity spotting. Ask the Sweetneys or anyone who knows me, for that matter. It’s creepy weird.

    I will definitely work on Crispin Glover. I spotted him three times that night at Sundance. My favorite time was when I made Dave, Trace and Jamie rush so we could follow Crispin and his date to the parking lot. Yes, our car was parked there too, but they were like, “What’s the hurry crazy Beth?” I still feel bad for not asking Bob (Robert Redford) or Glen Close to take a picture with Sweetney.

    And Surcie, I am still laughing about the Orrin CD. If I hadn’t been so stunned by the photo-op, I totally would have looked for it.

  12. Man, I can’t believe he came up and said that to you! Crazy!

    Think if we keep saying Donny Osmond, he’ll stumble across your site too and recognize you from your crazy mall picture taking episode? Donny Osmond. Donny Osmond. Donny Osmond. Marie Osmond.

    There. Just in case Marie is up late at night googling her own name she might find you too. You know, in case Donny is too busy to do such a thing…grin

  13. OMG, Beth, I laughed out loud all thru this post!

    You make some very valid points about blogging. One of my longtime friends told me the other night that when she reads my blog, she thinks I sound like ‘all that is wrong with America! HAH! She told me ‘the Kathy I know is so proper and classy…I don’t know who this other person is”!

    When my parents first started reading my blog (they have since stopped) my dad said he didn’t like that I used four letter words. I told him if it offended him, then he’d better stop reading, cause no way in hell was I gonna change. And you know what!? He agreed with me and told me he was proud that I stood my ground!

    So I say let it rip…speak from the heart and apologize to no one…it’s your life and your perspective. And no one put a gun to their head and forced them to read your blog!


  14. So, did he pinch your butt? My first thought was, hey, good photoshop effect. But then your expression was so triumphant, like, “I got it.”

  15. Way to go on getting the photo with Mr. Hatch! That’s a keeper for sure. 🙂 I wonder if other people would still find your blog if you didn’t mention the names of your family. I’m not suggesting that you do that — actually, I’m wondering how “findable” my blog is, as I don’t mention names. I am aware, though, that my blog can be found, and I take that into account when I write about my life. It would be a joy to write without censoring myself, but I don’t feel like that’s a safe option for me. Maybe I should start keeping a separate journal offline. Hmm.

  16. EXACTLY what happened to me the first time trying out the ‘blog’ thing. You live and learn I guess..

    What a great couple of pictures of you and Orrin 🙂

  17. My parents (and in-laws) still don’t know about this blog. I doubt that any of them would do research enough to even stumble on it accidentally, but you never know.

  18. I learned that lesson when my brother found my blog.

    (And wasn’t too happy about it, either.)

    I’m curious, how did he know about your blog? (Because I have a very short attention span, you may have already said and I may have accidentely skipped over it, if that’s the case, ignore my question and I’ll go back and read.)

    p.s. you’re SO damn cute, Beth!


  19. Awwwwesommme! I am hugely opposed to the policies of Orrin Hatch, but I still think it’s sooo cool that he recognized you and called Dave by name! Come on Donny – pony up!

    My two cents (and it may only be worth a penny) is that you seem to strike an awesome balance between sharing and not hurting those you love. Please don’t self-censor any more than absolutely necessary. You are an inspiration.

  20. Orrin Hatch????!!! Beth, only you. Being the CSPAN junkie that I am, here in DC, I’ve actually become a fan of Orrin Hatch. He’s a real gentleman. I’d love to meet him. He’s fun to watch on the Senate Judiciary, very respecful, but humorous.

  21. Surcie, I have seen hatch music. It is AWESOME!

    Steph, I never knew yo has a thing for Orrin [wink wink]. He is a genuine old school politician and very entertaining in person. I mean, come on, did you see all of his Olympic pins? You can’t beat that.

    Now about censorship. I feel like I have hit my stride as far as censoring myself goes. There are days when I still unwittingly offend someone out there, but it is never my intent. And I am not going to change myself even more because of the unintentional hurt.

    That said, When I first started blogging, I embraced the idea of having an “online” journal. I wrote things that I would probably only write in my “personal” offline journal, fooling myself that no one would ever find it or if they did, they would have the perspective to know who I am offline. When I was feeling sorry for myself, I would write about it. My writing is so full of energy when I am blue, you know what I mean?

    But anytime my posts involved someone else I knew in the “offline” world, the person would always read my words over and over again, making the sting all the worse. I want to be honest, but I really am not into intentionally hurting others. And to complicate things, by the time I would post my vent, I usually had moved past what was bugging me. But when a vent post involved someone else, they could hold on to my words forever.

    I personally don’t think it is bad to be completely honest in your words. In fact, I hope you are. When I read your words, I want to be reading the “real” you. Sometimes, I just don’t think we have to write about absolutely everything. That’s just my opinion.

  22. The dangers of blogging and how it can bite you right in the ass are all too familiar to me. My recommendation to anyone who blogs is to be very careful about what you say, what you put out there. Because, believe it or not!!, there are people who will take what you say and twist it into the ugliest possible shape to make you look as awful as possible.

  23. I’m guessing Mr. Hatch found your blog by Googling his own name (or having someone else do it for him). An author I had lunch with several years ago found my blog when I mentioned his name in ONE blog entry. He must be Googling his name regularly. Heh.

  24. I’m de-lurking, and want you to know that I really enjoy reading Crazy Us, but also that this post was exactly what I needed to read right now. I was just thinking about closing my blog because it was just getting too complicated trying to censor what I write for myself so the people in my life enjoy it or aren’t hurt by it. After reading this post, I know my family and friends reading my site are just something I’m going to have to embrace. Thank you for pointing this out to me!

  25. I love this picture! Classic! I have a picture of me shaking Bob Dole’s hand about 10 years ago when I worked for a local university in the news office. I love it, even though I wasn’t necessarily a “fan” of his. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on blogging…I’m relatively new to it and I use the mom-censor as my mother frequently reads my blog. (I also use the “would I be mortified if my boss were to find my blog” meter.)

  26. Oh my gosh! You’re famous! And this puts me at two degrees of separation from Orrin Hatch! And from a Mormon Bishop! I’ve gotta go tell all my friends about this one. 🙂

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