You may or may not know about how I’ve been the Relief Society President at church for the last two and a half years. If you’re Mormon no further explanation is needed. If you’re not Mormon, take my word for it when I say that it’s pretty much a part-time job. It means that I’ve been in charge of ministering to all the women (and, hence, their families) in the congregation. I help with their temporal needs if they need extra food or help making ends meet, or if they need meals brought in after surgery or having a baby, or help packing to move–you get the idea. I have to be friendly and welcoming to all (which I can do but as an introvert is extremely draining); I have to be a shoulder to cry on or a giver of advice; and I have to coordinate activities, get-togethers and parties for the women (and the entire ward Christmas Party because we all know that men can not pull off something like that). And then there is coordinating and supervising Visiting Teaching which is a beast unto itself.  All in all being President is a lot of work. It’s very fulfilling and I love the women like crazy, though. It’s been draining but rewarding all at the same time.

But my time has come to step aside. When the bishop told me right before Christmas, I cried. Happy tears as well as sad tears. My replacement is one of my counselors and also one of my best friends. We have had a jillion talks about what she needs to be doing and how and with whom and for whom. Fortunately she’s a ton more organized than I am and she already has lots of experience in Relief Society, so she’ll do a great job. I handed over the keys (literal, not figurative) last week and did a happy dance.

Now I have a lovely large hole in my life. All this free time! OK, so by the time I get the kids out the door and do all the little things around the house that need to be done there isn’t all that much free time. But mentally and emotionally I feel so free. Wheeee! Only my family’s problems to worry about!

In order to celebrate being released as Relief Society President I have spent as much time in bed as possible. I have taken a shower rarely. I have gone to see a couple of movies. But I have not done much else because I have seriously needed time to decompress.

Here’s the most excellent part of it all, though: I can blog again! No more worrying about being a respectable figurehead! I can be just as ridiculous as I please. And I will have time to do it! Yippee!

I have so many great plans for my poor little blog that has languished in forgottenland. Stay tuned!

I’m interrupting my exhaustive coverage of my trip to let you know that I’ve got a post over at Segullah about the temptation of the old boyfriend. I’ve been seeing a lot of friends (both men and women) who’ve been getting back into things with a former love interest. Facebook and other social media isn’t necessarily the reason, but it sure is making things easier. Heaven help us.

meaningless friendships

This makes me really angry. Come over to Segullah to find out why.

I was hoping that Google would change their minds at the last minute and not get rid of Google reader. Too bad, so sad! They did get rid of it. But the (semi) good news is that until tomorrow you can export your blog lists to another blog reader. After that you’ll have to find all the blogs you’ve been following from scratch. (That completely sucks! Google, why???)

Most bloggers are going with Bloglovin’, and while I naturally shy away from products and companies that intentionally drop the final -g, I’m going to go with the popular girls and jump on the Bloglovin’ bandwagon.

It is incredibly simple to switch over. But you only have a few more hours! This is what I did:

–Went to Bloglovin’ and signed up for an account.

–The final step said “do you want to import your blogs from Google Reader?” I hit the yes button and it did just that (it took a while though!)

That was it!  If you want more detailed instructions you can go here. She has a super easy step-by-step tutorial.

I hope you stick around and continue to read my blog. I love you, after all. You can always sign up for blog alerts to be emailed to you. Just do that over on the side.

I spent all day Friday and Saturday at The BlogHerFood conference. This year it was in Austin and I had to take advantage of that. Once upon a time I was a food blogger, you know. Here’s the real reason I don’t do more food and recipe tutorials: I’m the worst photographer. You probably know that. I took a bunch of photography classes at BlogHer and I’m super excited to improve my shots. It would help if I knew how to properly work my camera; I’ve got to start somewhere.

As far as the conference in general, it was great getting to meet a bunch of new people. Women are so awesome, and that’s really all I could think looking around the room. I have no idea why anyone would want to be a man, not that you really have that choice, although I guess you do, sort of.  Some of the classes were very good, and some were only so-so. The really great thing about the conference was all the swag. It was like Christmas!  So many great sponsors and everyone had piles of delicious food at their booths. Food blogging is the best! The surprising winner for the tastiest booth? The Canadian Lentil association. I’m not even making that name up, although it sounds like I am. I got an ipad sleeve to prove it.

How about my new mug courtesy of Kozy-Shack, the makers of the best rice pudding next to my mom’s? I thought my kids would be fighting over this but it turns out Mister wants it all to himself.*

I ended up with a bunch of gadgets too. My favorite is the avacado saver. Look! It’s already saving an avocado! I’ve never seen one in the store, but the Mexican Avacado Council was handing them out left and right. The cheese slicer from the Wisconsin Cheese board is pretty nifty too. While I’m not the biggest fan of cheese, my kids eat it every single day.


While BlogHer Food certainly wasn’t the best conference I’ve been to (Most of our meals were pretty mediocre hotel food and the extra-curriculars were lame), it was very fun and I’m glad I went. Hopefully I’ll be able to improve my photography and do some video stuff more often too.


*OK, I know this picture is crap. I’m going to start taking better pictures tomorrow. Today I spent all day with the kids at the pool and I simply cannot walk into the kitchen again to retake this shot.

I have blogging for five years now and much like a marriage, the conversation starts to lag after a while. Life gets busy and things happen and blogging seems like more of chore than a joy. Also, I love posting short funny little things on Instagram that I might have posted on my blog a few years ago. You can’t really blame me, though, because Instagram is so quick and easy. (Not following me on Instagram? Shame on you! I’m @heyhildie. Follow me and I’ll follow you too. Unless all you do is post pictures of your kids or dogs. Not that I hate your kids/dogs but if I don’t know the kids/dogs, it’s not so interesting. Even if I do know your dog, I still don’t care because dogs looks the same in pretty much every picture. Kids at least can have a funny expression.)

Jenni over at Story of My Life came up with a challenge to post every day in May. Even on the weekends (I’m going to need to find an app for that). She was clever enough to include writing prompts, since everyone knows the hardest part of blogging is coming up with an idea of what to write about.

Today’s prompt is to tell you my life story in 250 words or less. I don’t even know how long that is. About a paragraph? Oh, look! There’s a word counter right here in Word Press. Fancy! So here we go: Day 1 of the Every Day in May.

I was born and raised around Detroit, Michigan. It’s a grimy place and I never liked it. I have one younger sister and one younger brother. My sister was my worst enemy growing up but now she’s my best friend. We talk most days. My mother is pretty weird and eccentric and I think a lot of who I am is both because of and despite her. That’s true of most mothers, though. But my mom is particularly bold and strange.

I am pretty smart and have always been proud of that. Sadly I am also lazy. I always had terrible grades because really, who cares? Now that I’m grown up I realize I was spot on. Grades have nothing to do with anything when you’re a grown up. Confidence is about a million times more important but you can’t teach that in school. Good thing I’m confident too. I went to college and majored in Art History and Geography. I met my husband when I was 19 and we got married when I was 21. I was a tiny child and had no business getting married so young, but it’s worked out pretty well. We celebrate our 21st anniversary next month. That’s as long as my parents had been married when they split up.

I graduated from college when I was enormously pregnant with my first child, India. I adore being a mother which surprised everyone because I was a pretty mean person growing up. But you know how it is when you have kids: your heart cracks open and love floods your soul. I ended up being pretty decent at motherhood and decided to make the world a super awesome place by having lots of offspring. There were many complications along the way but I finally ended up with three boys and three girls.

Now everyone is in school all day and let me tell you, it’s the best. If you’ve got toddlers just keep going. You’ll get there and it will be wonderful. I spend my days now doing I don’t know what. Lots of church stuff and service. Guess I wasn’t really a mean person after all. I still try to learn things all the time. Grades may not be important but nobody likes a dummy.


Hey, that was way more that 250 words! Easy peasy! If you feel like perking up your blog, join in the Blog Every Day in May challenge. Even if you get a late start, just do it!


Today is How-To Tuesday. And all my photographs for tutorials are stuck on my hard drive. The hard drive that is having an existential crisis and simply won’t start because even though it’s less than a year old, what’s the point. What is the point of it all? That’s what I imagine my hard drive is saying because why else would it not behave itself? It could also be evil. That’s another possibility.

We have been an Apple computer family since way back in the early 90s. Way before ipods or even those really brightly colored Macs. Mister liked Apple products so much he would go to MacWorld every year and wait excitedly to hear Steve Jobs (We shall not remark on the nerdiness or non-nerdiness of my husband). Eventually he started his own Mac store. And then a second one. (Those were the good old days. We always had new computers.) But he has since sold both stores. And so now I have my Macbook Air which is almost four years old. And it’s kind of a lemon.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am extremely hard on my computers. My computers have always taken a beating. But this MacBook Air has had more than its share of problems (you will recall this post where I personally replaced the speaker wiring a few months ago. Yet another repair!) But I got it the first year it came out and that’s always an issue with any product; it takes a while to get the kinks out.

The first year we were married we got a brand new VW Passat. I was so excited, having never gotten a brand new car in my entire life. Unfortunately it was the first year the Passat was being made and there were issues: the windows would spontaneously roll down on their own, it would stall as we were driving, and their air conditioning was seriously messed up. It was terrible and I swore I would never again get a car in the first year of production. And I never have.

Now I’m having that realization about computers too. And I had to remind Mister about our bad luck when he was making me watch the entire multi-hour announcement about the new Macs and drooling all over the place (Ok, they’re super thin. I get it).

I’ve given my computer several days to get itself together and have an attitude adjustment. (That and Mister has finally taken pity on me trying to write blog posts on my phone.) We shall attempt to fix my laptop again today. Please keep us in your prayers.

Last weekend I went up to Utah for the Snap Conference: a get together for bloggers who craft or DIY. Before I get into how fun it was, let me apologize for not contacting anyone who lives in Utah. It was a quick trip in and out. I plan on coming back to Utah this summer and will hopefully see every friend or relative I have. Let’s move on.

How much fun did I have? A ton. This has got to be the nicest and friendliest bunch of people anywhere. I stayed with two other Austin bloggers, Kristen Duke, who woke up at the unhumanly crack of dawn early every day to teach a photography class and Lorie from Be Different Act Normal. Kristen is quite possibly the most outgoing person I’ve ever met and Lorie is hilarious. It made for a fun hotel room.

Classes were offered. Among those I took were SEO which means Search Engine Optimization. Also known as How to Get Google to Like You. I wrote things down but I have no idea what they mean. The guy who taught the class was Dutch and had really cool blue and tan saddle shoes.

Also somewhat mindblowing was the class on Photoshop. I can do a few things in Photoshop–zit removal and such–but I need to improve my skills tremendously.  The teacher, Amanda Padgett, happens to be brilliant and a very good teacher. I am an utter dunce at most things computer-related but I learned how to do a bunch of super useful and generally awesome things in Photoshop Elements. By the end of this year my pictures are going to be so stunning you’ll cry!

The other classes were more crafty; things like party planning and flower arranging. One of my favorite classes was about growing your handmade business. I don’t have a handmade business and the main thing I learned was that I never want to have one. What a pain! I also enjoyed a class about developing your own style taught by, among others, Shelley from House of Smiths. She is one of the funniest people ever.

I forgot to take any pictures but fortunately Kristen did and I stole this from her blog.

This is a photo of Kristen Duke, Kirsten from KoJo Designs who is simply gorgeous in real life, me (contrary to appearances I am neither pregnant nor obese; just wearing a flowy shirt that wasn’t behaving itself), and Heidi from Sew.Craft. Create (who is way cuter in real life).

Such a fantastic trip. I feel energized and excited to get back into a creative groove. Now I just have to put this stuff away (remind me again why I thought it was a good idea to unpack in the family room):


We are everywhere.

Unless you are one of us you do not understand the trauma of being one of three girls with the same name in every class you’ve ever been in. You don’t comprehend the pure suckiness of always having to follow your name with an initial because Jenny C. is one side and Jenny F. is on the other.

Sure, our mothers claim that they had no idea, none at all, that the name was so mega-popular. In my case I was named after my great aunt Jennie (Jennie was in the top ten in the 1870′s. Weird!).  But none of that matters when people are trying to figure out which Jennie’s phone number is written on the stall of the middle school bathroom.

It’s kind of a non-name, like having beige walls in a house. You don’t even notice them because they’re so not interesting; so dull; so bland.

In high school the Jennie situation got completely out of hand. In our class of 90 girls there was me, Jennie Davis. Then there was her, also Jennie Davis. So it came down to middle names: her Lyn to my Hildegard.

Yes, that is right. My middle name is the clunkiest of clunkers. The name they give Hippos in children’s books.

When you have one name that is the ultimate yawner you start to love the brazen uniqueness of something completely wacky. I started going by Hildie off and on because of high school. Mostly just to make it easier for myself. Also because I loved being the only person with that name.

Oh yes, except for my mother, Hildegard. She has always gone by Lorie (not sure where that came from) to differentiate herself from her mother. Also Hildegard. It’s the name of an oldest daughter of an oldest daughter of an oldest daughter*. Here are the three of us shortly before my grandmother died (I’m the baby, obviously):

Hildegard means something to me. I was thrilled to get rid of my last name when I got married but there was no way I was getting rid of Hildie.

So what’s the point of all this?

I’m dumping the name Jennie.

I can’t stand it. It’s just not me. Or rather it’s just everyone.

I’m sorry if you think this is completely bizarre. I’m simply trying to explain to you the reason behind it. I will probably remain Jennie in real life. I mean, it’s not like I’m having a mid-life crisis or anything. It’s only that on the interwebs, where you are nothing more than a name and a tiny avatar picture, it’s kind of hard to figure out which Jen/Jenn/Jenny/Jennie/Jennifer goes with which blog. If I suddenly become famous and have to be Hildie all the time, that’s fine too. I am just as much Hildie as I am Jennie.

So, hi there, my name is Hildie! What’s yours?


*I gave Hildegard to my oldest daughter too. But I gave her a buffer middle name in case she couldn’t handle it. So India Jane Hildegard she is.

I had to throw in this cute picture of my grandmother Hildegard waitressing in her hometown of Vienna, Austria.

Hello and welcome to my newest blog feature: How-To Tuesday (or maybe I should call it “How-Tue Tuesday”. No? Too obnoxious?) I am going to spill my brain every Tuesday and show you how to do something that might just be new to you.  I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve but if you have any requests, just holler (via comments, of course).

This first How-To Tuesday is especially for my mother. It is how to get an avatar. No, Mom, not like the James Cameron Movie. You will still be living on Earth. Sorry to burst your bubble. I’m talking about an avatar as in the little picture next to your name when you comment on a blog.  Most commenters to my new WordPress blog are faceless. This happens pretty often if you comment on blogs other than those on the Blogger network. You guys, the world wants to see your loveliness! Here is what you need to do:

Go to Gravatar. Register and upload your photo. In about three minutes you will have a universal picture that will show up all over the blogosphere when you comment. It is super easy and quick.

There are a few blogs that don’t recognize Gravatars, but for the most part you’ll be all set.

From now on I want to see the gorgeous faces of all you witty commenters!