i have been remiss. or at least a little slow.

the older i get the more i seem to unable to be quite as mannerly as i’d like to be…and it’s not just my ornery genes at fault, either. i am, inevitably, slightly out of step with the etiquette appropriate to a given situation. after two years back in the fine fishbowl that is my hometown, i’m still feeling like a permanent newcomer…benignly on the margins of this culture on display, mildly confused by the locals and unsure what to do with my hands. it took me a few months, upon return from years in Asia, to stop bowing at my former elementary school classmates when i happened upon them in the grocery store aisles. i still don’t know how to negotiate the intricacies of small talk…in English, which is the only language i speak. i say and do odd things at the wrong times, and i bumble through perfectly ordinary encounters completely unprepared.

all in all, it’s probably best that i stay at home a lot, these days.

but unfortunately, i’m pretty much the same when it comes to my interactions here in the blogosphere. i still feel like a new kid…and am, really, when it comes to realizing that the rest of you are out here too. so i tend to agonize, in those quiet moments on the can of reflection whether i’m trodding on anyone, or committing sins of omission, or just generally exposing myself as horribly gauche by how i comport myself here.

the other day, when Christy and Mrs. Chicken so kindly bestowed on me the bounty of not one but two Thinking Blogger awards – and i know some of you have had hundreds of the damn things rain from the sky but hey, to me it was cool and i really felt honoured – i inferred that at the time of blowing my own horn i was also supposed to pass along the honours to others with whom i’d like to share the happy.  or more seriously, others who provoke and move me, who enrich the internal dialogue that spins in my head and keeps me company.  others who make me less lonely in this journey of learning.

i didn’t.

not that there weren’t a big bunch of worthy people to choose from. i’m just, as ever, a little out of step…a little uncertain about how to proceed. i wanted some time, you see, to check out new blogs and try to go back through my favourites’ older posts and, all in all, just see if i could find people who hadn’t been tagged before, who – like me – might be fresh to this interactive element of blogging and kinda psyched by being chosen. because being chosen doesn’t mean so much, i don’t think, when you’re chosen all the time. and i’m not sure there’s a meritocracy at work in the so-called blog world, anyway.

but then, of course, this is coming from me. who can barely talk about the weather. all this overt socializing that tickles me so damn much here in cyberspace also paralyzes me, because i don’t really know yet what the norms are for this community, and how to negotiate them while still appearing moderately sentient…and neither Stepford-blogger nor insulting eejit.

everyone i read, i like. or i wouldn’t read them. but i’m probably not supposed to give awards to my entire blogroll.

and i read some great blogs that aren’t really momblogs…even if the writers are moms.  so much metaconversation has been had over the past week on the topic of whether mommybloggers are marginalized by the very terms used to delineate our writing that i hesitate to step outside this community for awardees.  because i don’t know.  i don’t know the politics of this new neighbourhood very well.  i don’t know how to avoid causing slight.  i obviously can barely figure out how to give kudos where due.

so in the end, i’ve just chosen five writers who make me feel happy to be stumbling my way through this community, however awkwardly…because they make me think, and laugh, and nod my head not only in agreement but with wild respect for the beauty with which they use the English language. they make me forget that i don’t know what i’m doing out here, in the social sense, and make me just want to interact, to comment, to communicate…even if i do it a little off-balance. or a little belatedly.

every one of them has given me pause at least once in the past couple of weeks.  i thank them all.  and the rest of you too.

please raise your mouse and clap for Kate at Sweet / Salty.

for Wordgirl at Half of the Sky.

for Ovagirl at L’eggs Up and Laughing.

for the already repeatedly honoured but so outstandingly thought-provoking and articulate i just can’t help myself Bub and Pie.

and for Christy at Cakerwakers.

and from the other Christy, who tagged me, i copy the rules of this particular meme with great delight.   if any one has any other sets of rules they’d like to send me so i can figure out what the hell it is i’m supposed to be doing and where…fill yer boots.  but the thankyou cards for your offering will probably come late, i’m warning you. ;)