Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
You can also find Monica's writing here:
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All the names! I didn't think anyone would post one that might sway me from my choices but someone brought up a girl name I hadn't considered and I absolutely love it. I'll also say that my top choices for both a boy and a girl are there somewhere in the comments. I think the name Serge likes for a girl is there too.

You guys better stop enabling me with all the life help. I can totally see myself unable to make decisions until I "workshop" it on my blog. Should I quit my job and move? Hold on, hold on! I gotta ask my blog. What should I name my baby? Let me see what the internet thinks. Sandwich or burrito for dinner? One second! Let me ask the internet. I may never have to make major life decisions again!

Okay then. Will you guys be my life coaches?


Listen. Perhaps you've noticed some changes here on The Girl Who. Last month I decided to run ads from Blogher. I started this blog five years ago and it ain't free. I added up all the money I've paid over the years to maintain this here corner of the internet (Squarespace isn't free) and I about shit. I figured, what the hell? Maybe I can make enough off ads to pay for the blog. Who knows?

So yeah, there are the ads. They don't really bug me as much as I thought. More importantly, Serge and I have decided to merge. Oh you. Get your head out of the gutter. We maintain separate bedrooms, remember? Ain't no mergin' going on up in here as of late. The blogs, we're merging our blogs.

And we want to know what you think. I know, I know, I'm asking a lot of you lately. Baby names and now this and then I'll require you to side with me in every single argument we write about. But you'll come through, I know you will! I think. I hope. Seriously, we hope it will be a dual look at parenting and marriage from two VERY DIFFERENT perspectives.

You can still type in or and you will be brought here, to Serge's section of The Girl Who. Or you can just click on the Thunder Pie graphic there next to the aforementioned ads and see what's shaking in Serge's world.

We have a couple projects in the works. Okay, Serge has a couple projects in the works. Me? My projects are alternately gaining weight and projectile vomiting and oh yeah, CREATING LIFE but it makes me feel important to say we have a couple projects in the works. So WE have a couple project type things underway and we may sometimes indulge in a little He Said/She Said action here where you'll get both perspectives of the same situation. Particularly if we have a fight. And of course you'll side with me, right?

I also wanted to direct your attention (picture me standing in front of you waving rigid, directional fingers like a flight attendant) to the story of how we met. I plan on finishing it very soon. Really, it was written years ago when we lived in Brooklyn. I just need to dust it off and polish it up a bit.

This Across The Miles section contains all the emails we sent to each other from the moment we met. At a bar. While he played with his band. And then spent the night - uh - *awkward throat clearing* - um - spent the night talking in my car. You know, when we secretly got married a couple weeks later and then there was three years a spot of drama with an ex-girlfriend in London? So that's there. Warning, it's, um, how do I say X RATED? A little bit. Yeah, a little bit X rated. You probably don't want to read it. In fact, don't read it. It may make things awkward between us and that would just be... well, that would be - uh - awkward.

So there you are. Oh yeah! And here are the stories from my life. All that growing up Mormon angst including the very public abortion I had at seventeen, the affair with Older Married Dude and some other stuff. Geez. I'm kind of a hooligan. But anyway, it's all there.

But you already know about my tendencies toward hooliganism. What we're really wondering today is what do you think about the blog merge? Any suggestions while we're in revamping mode? Keeping in mind that I'm kind of a ghetto blogger and make all the changes myself. Domain mapping, blog importing, coding and all sorts of crazy shit! I mean, seriously! Do you know how much it costs to pay other people to do that? I could pay off a student loan or buy a new car. So ghetto blogger it is, with me at the helm.

Reader Comments (36)

I think it's a great idea. I read both blogs anyway and it's easier to find them in one spot. Can't wait to read more.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara

Can't you just give us a tiny hint on the names? A clue, like the girl name you like is in the first twenty comments? Come on!

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinsey

Oh! And I didn't even know Serge had a blog. Where have I been? Excited to check it out!

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinsey

Hi Monica! I love that you are merging and forging ahead with the blogs. It was such a bummer when you both went dark. Also I wanted to share my kids names cuz, I think they are rad. I have a 2 year old girl, Rosabelle, and a 3 month old boy we named Sonny.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

It's a great idea! My only suggestion, is that Serge mention it on too (the original one) so that people who follow him via rss feed know to come on over here and update their rss n' stuff. :)

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

I think the blog merging is a fabulous idea!! very much looking forward to it, and I bet the "Whole" will be greater than the sum of its parts.

I have a double-crush on you guys anyways.


September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra

I'm glad you two decided to merge. Even if, at the present time, you're not, you know, *merging*.

I started following both blogs a few months ago and love having you both in one place.

Rock on, Violet's parents.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

I love the idea of you two merging!!! I click on both of these blogs everyday.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWendi

Merge away. Put more ads in - you could make some real money! Name your kids after rock stars, authors or favorite characters. Boo Radley Bielanko?

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjls

This is a great idea- the his and hers approach. That's how you live life anyway too. I like Wordpress so far- seems easy to use. Good luck with the merging and creating

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphoto

I do like the new look, but I wonder if it's just me but there is almost no left margin and the blog posts are right up against the almost non-existent left margin.

I am using Safari (4.0.5), Mac OS X (10.5.8) - if that helps at all.

The ONLY way to fix it is to make the page GINORMOUS instead of just normal big and maybe I'm just being a baby but I don't like my pages that big!!

With you merging, now I'll remember to read more of Serge's stuff - yeah!

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGreenInOC

I have four girls. All the names but one were a compromise between me and my husband. Her name is Skye and it is the perfect name for her.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdc

@GreenInOC - I adjusted the margins a little bit, can you tell? Did it make a difference?

September 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterMonica

OK, we have a Joslyn Elaine. The 'J' because that is what hubby wanted and Elaine is my middle name and I like it. Hubby is a Jim. Not James, just Jim. And if you say Jimmy do not expect him to respond. As for the merging. Love it! I just went through and read ALL the chapters on your courtship, then all the e-mails, then the 2 other posts you linked too above. All before actually reading the above. I have accomplished little else this evening. J did get a snack and dinner though so all is not lost. Just know that you now have another person who will be checking in often.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRKaff

I'm having the same problem as @GreeninOC, just for the record. The main page itself looks relatively normal and if I copy paste an entry URL, it's also fine, but clicking on any link in a post or in the sidebar seems to do something to the frames. When I look at the main page, there are three frames - the main one with entries, a second to the right of that with basic information/links, and then a third on the far right with ads, flickr stream, and RSS feed links. If I click on a link within a post, the two sidebar frames merge into one, and then a portion of the entry shows up at the bottom of that frame on the far right; it's extremely narrow, most of the main page is white, and the right portion of the entry itself is cut off. I'm also using Mac OSX, but I've got Chrome.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMadison

Hell. So I viewed the site in Safari and I'm not seeing that. I wonder if it's a Mac thing? Are all Mac users having that problem?

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who

Dang! That was like a summary of your whole blog in one post!

Ad away! You are an awesome story teller and should make some dough off of it!

No great names here. They got blocked out when I birthed a houseful of testosterone.

But, while I was speed scrolling down I kept thinking people were suggesting Safari as a baby name. I kinda like it. :)


September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

I have a mac/safari and I don't have any margin issues, but it I make my window smaller the posts do go right up to the left. I guess the solution is....get a bigger screen!

LOVE the merging of the blogs idea! You two have such different writing styles and I think are a good contrast to one another. It wouldn't be so good if you both weren't good writers, but since you are it'll be great!

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHanni

I don't care what you do to the site as long as you keep writing. Your entries are continually some of the best things I read on a daily basis.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjeneria

My first thoughts, "Oh, wow - the margins are fixed, yippeee! Oh my gosh, that means that my comment was read - I hope I wasn't an a-holio!!!"


It's still right up on the margins on the "Reader Comments" line and then again starting with the "Enter your information below to add a new comment.", up through the Copyright info which, for me, is a non-issue - just providing the info in case you wanted it.

If you want me take a screenshot & email it, just let me know.

Thank you!

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGreenInOC

I've been reading Thunderpie for a few months now, and because of the merge I spent some time on Monica's Flickr yesterday.. my goodness, but you've got a beautiful baby girl. Those curls! Wow.

-Just another achey womb

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterInez

I like the idea of a merging of blogs....I try to read you both regularly anyway and you both are terrific, if not very different, writers. I think Serge's new blog posts should show up on the home page tho, rather than having to click on a side link every time...

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChrissy

@Chrissy - every time Serge posts a new blog I will set that to be the front page of the website. You can also subscribe to his blog via the RSS feed down on the right.

September 30, 2010 | Registered CommenterMonica

My name isn't "serge" ! It's THUNDER PIE!


September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThunder Pie

OK, these emails... the correspondence between you and Serge and the way you connected, is seriously just blowing my mind. I can't even imagine what that was like (well, I can through the words I read, but not to the point where I actually FEEL what it was like for you).... but in any case, HOLY HELL, it sounds like a damn awesome adventure and I WANT a love like that some day.

Don't even know why I'm writing this comment. Guess I just wanted to let you know that your story is having an impact on me, and that you both are such amazing writers.

With admiration,


September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErin

I love the love story, I have read it before, but I wanna read all the emails and how you met again. Your words are beautiful and so heart felt, honest. I love you for sharing those with us. It inspires me to believe in love.

I am totally behind the shared site. I think you both have such a natural talent for writing, and I check in on both your sites everyday. Can't wait to read the he says/she says!

You have such different styles, but I get swept away into your world, and feel as if I can share a little bit of your life with you, vicariously obviously, across the deep waters of the Atlantic. You guys rock! Violet is the most adorable girl ever. Makes me so broody.

Baby names, I always like Seren, Sky, Summer, Blue, Amber, Tallulah, Lila for a girl. Amongst many others.
Boys - Kieran, Dylan, and cant think of any other right now!

Enjoy your pregnancy, and thanks for allowing us into your world.

October 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSM

1. love the changes!! smart.

2. my daughter is lulu, short for talula. current favourite names are: cecily. suki.

October 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteralex

yes yes yes...when you two merge, it's like fireworks and cotton candy and baby lambs. and juicy stuff. it can only be a good thing.

October 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchristine from canada

Do you know what's awesome?
This idea!
Love it.

October 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle

i hear you. this is my third pregnancy and i'm fatter now at 165 than i was during my ninth month with my other two!!!!

my husband and i are thinking along similar lines for my blog. after our baby girl is born- her name is Ever, by the way :)- we are going to have him do a weekly or bi-weekly blog on my page.

i think it sounds awesome.

naming is an OBSESSION of mine. everyone round this house knows i name all ( ok almost all ) animals we own, and our kids are Dakota, Ian, Lola and now Ever Elizabeth.

other names i love:


October 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermaggie may

I love both of your blogs, so it's odd that I'm not fond of the idea of a merge. Here's why (and I'll sound like a total freak here -- brace yourself).

I only have a few blogs I follow faithfully, and I've followed most of them for many years. These writers (mostly women), have no idea who I am. I've never met them. I rarely post comments. It's sort of like having real imaginary friends. I log on and think, "I wonder if Wendy's all moved in to the new apartment yet?", or "I hope Amy posted more photos of her cold frame garden." As if we all know each other. Erin doesn't post for a while and I get worried -- after all, she did have that cancer scare a while back. LIKE I KNOW ERIN.

There was only ever one other husband/wife duo I followed, and I stopped. There are a couple of reasons why.

First, the site was a mess. It was split down the middle, his-n-hers. Of course the two sides were stylistically different: colors, format, fonts. It was awful to look at, difficult to read. They increasingly engaged in conversations with each other (down the middle, so three sections to the page now), and I found it cutesy and annoying. But I'll bet you can conquer the styling better than they did.

Second, returning to the imaginary friend concept. Though I read both of your posts, I find myself checking The Girl Who more often. Not because I think it's better, but because my imaginary bond is stronger with you, Monica. I can imagine you and I grabbing a cup of coffee, meeting for lunch. I'm not gonna hang with Serge -- he's a married man! I mean, I read his blog and I think he's awesome (really -- I adore his writing style, I read every single post). But as imaginary friends go, we're just not as tight.

You know how you visit your real married friends, and you love the times you can just hang with your girlfriend? Like you did before you all got older and married and life got complicated? You may love the husband, think he's a great guy, but when he's ALWAYS there it's just..... well, it's annoying. And though you're in her company, you find yourself missing your friend.

Reading a blog is a one-on-one experience. Though the writer is broadcasting to the world, it can feel intimate, even conspiratorial. I like that about it. I like the feeling of being alone with the author. I'm not the type to dig on crowded rooms. And I sure as hell don't want to go visit friends just to listen to them talk to each other: I want them to talk to me. At least most of the time.

I'm sure you will merge the sites. You're exited about it, you've got a lot of fresh ideas to explore and a lot of support. Maybe what I'm afraid you'll do with the site is nothing like what you've actually got up your sleeves. All I ask is that you keep oddballs like me in mind as you work your concept.

October 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

I do like the idea of merging the blogs, but that's a great comment Amber!

October 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

Amber, I really love how you've expressed your thoughts on the merger!

October 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSM

i love a good merger. The perfect blending of two creative souls, your new styling gives the impression of .a unified front while provides a protective hedge about your marriage. It is sensible, smart, organized, fun and allows for expression of individuality within the sphere of a closed system. Nice work!

October 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergina

is there any way you could put a small banner link to your blog from his site?

October 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGina

Hi Gina, all you have to do is click the main banner at the top of Thunder Pie (the one that says Thunder Pie) and that will take you to The Girl Who home page.

October 6, 2010 | Registered CommenterMonica

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