I found AtP's blog in April 2006. I read for about a month, then I finally began commenting. In general, if I comment more than once on your blog it's because of at least one of the following reasons:
1. I like your writing style.
2. You've commented on mine regularly.
3. I'm interested by what you have to say.
If I haven't commented on your blog, but one of those reasons apply it's because of one of the following reasons:
1. I'm backed up at work and am not currently browsing blogs.
2. I haven't decided if I'm comfortable with you yet.
3. Everything I wanted to say was already said by another commenter.
4. I'm pretty sure what I say will be offensive to you.
AtP's blog was unpretentious and largely conversational. He has a way of making you feel that he's actually speaking to you. There's little editing and the occasional typos that find their way in seem to add character rather than annoyance. Also, you can tell a lot about a person if you analyze their typos.
I was charmed by what this young man had to say, so when he began reciprocating my visits, I was somewhat alarmed. At that point my blog was uncensored and had many extremely personal posts about my counseling visits, people I know, even my sex life. I was sort of amazed that he was able to read through those and not only emerge unscathed, but still continued to visit. As time went on and more people began visiting, I moved many of the posts to a different blog and closed it.
AtP and I began emailing in early July of 2006. I was even more charmed by him as our personal correspondence evolved to the chat venue. By August I knew I wanted to meet him, and in September I finally did. He has the distinction of being the first blogger/online friend that I have ever met in person (Well, technically, I met Smurf and Pinetree first, because AtP and I ate at the restaurant where they worked. But I didn't really meet them until the next day). I have the distinction of being the oldest blogger/online friend that he has ever met in person. One might think we would have nothing in common--and I suppose that's possible--all I know is that I have loved being with AtP from the first time we met for dinner, and that his presence and friendship bless my life. I love him.
Tomorrow is AtP's birthday. I am leaving for another trip today, so I am posting this a day early because I definitely want it to be on my blog when his day arrives.
Ten things I adore about AtP:
1. He can laugh at just about anything.
2. Sometimes he reads my mind.
3. He has an amazing smile.
4. He gives really wonderful hugs.
5. He has empathy for others.
6. When he tells me he loves me, I believe him.
7. He listens even when I'm being dramatic and unreasonable.
8. He doesn't seem to understand that I'm ancient.
9. He lets me be myself. When I am with him, I can be spiritual, silly, serious. It's all good.
10. He brings beauty to my life because he is beautiful inside and out.
I love you, AtP. I hope your birthday is wonderful and memorable--just like you!