August 24, 2004

It’s all a Blur

The first time I heard about Heather was at a weekly soccer game in the mid-1990s. I had married and graduated from BYU. I stayed in Provo, Utah to support my first wife through school and to make an attempt to be a rock star. Towards the end of my time in Provo on Saturdays, I played soccer with a bunch of guys that I had become friends with through my music and publishing interests. One of whom was Sam. Sam was a gateway person who had a significant role in my life. We had worked together making ads and t-shirts for a CD store that Sam co-managed. Of that era, the crowning glory was a t-shirt that read “provo rocks topless” with logo of the store on the back. The beauty of that shirt was timeless. Provo, doesn’t in any way rock. It was not ever, nor currently is topless. At least as far as BYU’s PR team will admit. It was in this environment that the soccer games took place.

The men (women seldom played) would talk about their lives in snippets between plays and who their roommates were seeing and not seeing anymore and it was only in brief, guy geek/jock talk that I heard about various women my friends knew or didn’t know or wanted to know. Heather came up briefly, and only in a funny story where one of the women just called her “Tiger” because she couldn’t remember Heather’s name. I believe this is the first time I had heard of Heather B. Hamilton.

These soccer outings were in 1994 and later that year, Sam and I gave birth to grid magazine. We existed on the freelancers that wrote for nothing and did it because they loved music. Heather became one of them towards the end of the magazine.

I had read her writing when I would proof the layouts for any typos, usage errors or text mangling that often happened during the layout of the magazine. There were a few writers on the masthead who had a distinctive style and Heather was in that group. Her writing, even then, was excellent; full of personality and charm.

I didn’t meet Heather until the summer of 1997. The magazine was part of a radio station festival featuring a ton of bands, and the magazine was sponsoring a Chill Out room (wasn’t the electronic trend of the mid-90s awesome?) featuring several DJs and offering an alternative to standing in the sun. We purchased a bunch of thrift store couches so people could sit down and listen to the DJs. What we didn’t bargain for was that the environment would enable young women to take off their shirts and dance in their bras.

Towards the mid-afternoon, as word spread and it got hotter outside, more and more people came in to check out the underwear. I think there were several strippers in the room as they were pulling moves _this_ shy of a lapdance. I watched in bemused silence. Heather showed up at the table we had set up to distribute the magazine and offer water (which ran out after about two hours).

Heather was supposed to interview members of Blur that day, and we were supposed to take some pictures to accompany the interview. Most bands of Blur’s stature insisted we take no photos and use approved images that every other media outlet used. It was always tricky negotiating pictures, particularly the day of the show. Sometimes bands would allow us a few minutes to shoot them (Beck, Blur) and sometimes they would not (Luscious Jackson). I always preferred using images that we made, so that we looked different than our competition. I wanted non-live images, as compelling live shots usually take several shows to get a great image and we didn’t have the budget to send a photographer to go on the road and send us back the great stuff.

On a show day, you never knew what could happen. Sometimes interviews would fall through due to scheduling or band issues and one had to adopt a kind of hyperaware laid back approach. If the interview didn’t happen, could we at least take a few shots and do a phoner later?

Such was the day that Heather and I met. Typically, Sam would contact the road manager, publicist or label person at the show and make the final arrangements. Sometimes, the road manager would find us and have band members in tow. That day, Sam had airport shuttle duties with the DJs and also had our table to staff so it was left to me. Heather and I went backstage to get the process started. It was highly unusual for me to follow-up on the interview side of things, because Sam was always on top of it. I approached Alex James and introduced myself and Heather. He directed us to their road manager. Heather couldn’t believe that I just walked up to him and started talking. I knew Blur was hot shit in England, but at this point in the history of the magazine, I had met so many bands, one more didn’t seem like that big of a deal. I’m not sure, but I think Heather said, “Fucking A, Armstrong. You just went up to him and started talking…”

I noticed Mr. James was reading a book on mathematics, and I instantly saw that as pretentious, however had to give him credit for trying to appeal to the ladies in a more cerebral way. I believe I shared this observation with Heather, but I can’t remember.

Heather was very blown away by how nice I was being to her. In retrospect, there were a lot of unusual things about the day, but because I wasn’t looking for those things, or trying to necessarily impress her, I just did stuff to make the interview happen. Looking back, there was never another time in the history of the magazine where I did more to make an interview happen. That Blur was one of Heather’s favorite bands made it all the more special for her, and I got to be a hero.

I remember feeling a distinct sense of being an older brother to Heather that day. There was something oddly familiar about her but I felt, even then, that she would be like the other characters surrounding the magazine. She would be someone I would watch over the years like Maugham’s narrator in _Razor’s Edge_. I had no idea then that five years later we’d be married and almost seven years later we’d have a child. Life is strange and wonderful, and I can’t imagine being with anybody else, or starting a family with anybody else. I’ve found my best friend and someone who loves me for all of my geekery and the attendant Medusa’s head of cables and detritus that comes with it.

Heather, I love you. Thank God for Blur. Thank God for grid magazine. Thank God for you.

(photo taken August, 2001)

Happy Second Anniversary!

p.s. Read her account here.

  • http://none stella

    yall rock. my comment can’t do either blogs justice. cute pic and happy anniversary! here’s to many more.

  • http://anna.typepad.com/diary A N N A

    i am a swooning addict of BOTH of your blogs. i adore all four of you, though i feel like some stalker-freak for doing so. i thought to myself, there’s NO WAY i could dig this family more.

    wrong.

    she met you before! and she had the sweetest crush on you! and then you met again…and, and, and…

    *swoon*

    the greatest love story on the blogosphere actually got *better*. unbelievable. i don’t know how you guys do it, but the blurbodoocery rocks. topless. :)

    happy anniversary, and may you have a million more.

  • lindsay

    happy anniversary!

  • http://mikao.blogspot.com michelle

    thank you for letting us all know that true love does indeed still exist for some and maybe it will some day for all of us.

  • http://www.pretendingsanity.com pretendingsanity

    Ditto to every thing that Anna said, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

  • http://n/a Jonna

    Happy Anniversary! Another swooning Disciple of BlurboDooce. I’ve always wanted to hear this story. Thank you for sharing – this story, and all the others you share with we strange strangers every day.

  • http://n/a Jonna

    Yes, I spelled disciple wrong. Anal-retentive geek that I am, I can’t let it lay there.

    Happy Anniversary! (why NOT say it twice?) :)

  • http://korijane.typepad.com Kori

    OK, I don’t know if its both of your stories or the medication I’m on for the post partum headaches (Frankie was born 1 day before Leta), but you guys just made me shed a tear.

    Happy Anniversary.

    –Kori

  • http://www.blurbomat.com Dave Thomas

    Meanwhile, no one gives a shit about the crush I had on you all those years. That Hamilton woman will pay for what she done to me.

  • zchamu

    Sometimes I wonder if you two are really real. That’s how cool you are.

    Happy Anniversary.

  • http://www.no-regrets.com Linda

    You guys make me smile. That is probably the greatest “how we met each other” story I’ve ever read. Happy anniversary!

  • http://www.brochstar.com Broch

    I’ve been reading both Dooce and Blurbomat for quite a long time, since your wedding to be exact. I always enjoy the snarky and in your face writing, and your pair of posts today has left me speechless. I usually don’t go for sentimentality, as a matter of fact, I just outlawed it in my own life. I’m deeply touched by the story, and wish you all the best in the world.

  • Cat

    Happy Anniversary!

  • http://www.agirlandaboy.com Leah

    I’m so glad you two found each other. Happy Anniversary, lovebirds.

  • velia

    what, no pictures of sam?

  • http://blueshoediaries.com Angie

    Sweet Jesus. I never thought I’d EVER say this, but between the two of you and god-damn Oprah, my heart HURTS (but in a GREAT way).

    You two (four actually!) are really, really amazing, and very REAL, which is why the Blurbodoocery World Domination begins NOW.

    Here’s to another 52! Congrats!!

  • Kim

    I’ve only been reading dooce for a short time and now I find there is ANOTHER amazing writer in her family. And then to find out that your story is similar (though written with much more pizzaz than my engineer brain can manage) to mine and my dh. We celebrated 12 years last weekend. He is 9 years my senior and we met and were friends for 6 years before dating. We are both the geeks of all geeks as well. I’m awaiting delivery of the 6th computer for our home today. Yes, 6. That there are only 2 adults and one child over 1 in this family is of no concern.

    Happy Anniversary. So glad you found your mate!

  • http://www.sherbicide.com Amanda

    This has to be one of the most riviting stories I have ever read!

    So when do we hear the next installment?

    Yay for you both (and Leta and Chuck), and yay for for internet for bringing your story to us.

    Happy Anniversary!

  • http://www.oipom.com/ Meggan

    I’ve also only been reading the blurbodoocery for a short while, but I’ve become addicted to *both* blogs. What a wonderful “getting together” story! I wish all of you the best! Happy Anniversary!

  • http://www.9moonsago.com Amy

    Congratulations!! Great story..it’s awesome to have the 2 points of view!
    Sweet picture too…aww, so much love and coolness in the air. Thanks for sharing it!

  • http://www.9moonsago.com Amy again

    Hmm..part of my comment seemed to get deleted..but after Congratulations there was supposed to be: !!! Great story, and awesome to have the 2 points of view!

    Sorry to have this uncool thing thrown in the mix. I’ll make up for it:
    *Little Pink Treat* Yay for Leta and Chuck!!

  • Sunny

    You two are the cutest, coolest, hippest couple ever. Thank you for allowing us into your lives and Happy Anniversary!!!

  • Amy

    Maybe you should delete these? I don’t know if it’s me, my comp, or what?

  • http://dawn-unplugged.blogspot.com Dawn

    Sob! Gulp! Mazal Tov and wishes for many more.

  • http://blurbomat.com/wordpress Philadelphian

    Wow, some things are just meant to be. Nothing in your lives comes quickly, easily, or conventionally, does it? All the better; Fate brought together two amazing individuals and we’re all so lucky that you both chose to share your lives with us. Oh, and the adorable chubby baby with the kick-ass genes is a nice plus, too. =)

    Congratulations, beautiful people! May the honeymoon continue!

  • http://thesymposium.us missarrow

    LOVE getting the story from both points of view.
    Fantastic, thanks for sharing it on TEH INTERWEB.

    xoxo

  • http://www.3hive.com sam

    you make music journalism sound so romantic… happy anniversary, you nutjobs.

    p.s. thanks for spelling my name right

  • http://www.lizincorporated.com Liz

    That was such a wonderful story! You two give me hope that the perfect person is out there for me somewhere. I’ve been reading both Dooce and Blurbomat for over a year now, and I just LOVE them both so much! Keep up the good work!!! Oh yeah… and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

  • http://www.battybaby.com battybaby

    aawwww :)

  • http://www.home.earthlink.net/~witchywoman218 Nicole

    You tow really are the coolest couple ever! I have been reading dooce for a while now and have been hooked! I am thrilled to find this site as well! Thanks for sharing your stories and your lives!

    Happy Anniversay!

  • Dana

    thank god I am not alone in my adimiration of you both – as a total dooce addict I am SO excited to discover you have a blog too??? could this be any better?

    happy anniversary and many more to a completely beautiful couple.

  • Mchelle

    What a beautiful entry :)

  • http://www.schismatic.com/ Sarah

    Happy 2nd and many, many more. Your twin stories are beautiful. All the best!

  • http://alittledistraction.typepad.com Carrie

    Man, I remember bringing up Dooce.com out of habit during Heather’s 2002 hiatus and being shocked yet completely thrilled to see your beautiful wedding photos. Hard to believe two years have elapsed since then! Many congratulations!

    I loved reading your stories about how you first met. I spent the summer of ’97 enthusiastically following Blur around England and it makes me smile thinking that one of my most beloved bands had a hand in bringing the two of you together. Awesome.

  • http://scott.littlemeanfish.com/wp Scott

    Ack! I read her account, then clicked the link through to yours, and then read your account and clicked the link back to hers, and read her account and clicked back to yours and now I’m trapped!

    Happy anniversary from all the way up in Ogden.

  • http://ladymadaysia.blogdrive.com Amber

    Happy Anniversary to the coolest two on the web!

  • Amity

    So fantastic my eyes are watering, that just made a dull dark day bright :)

  • http://www.secretwalk.blogspot.com/ karen

    Happy Anniversary!

    I’m a regular reader of Heather’s blog. And now of yours. Hello to the one-who-hums-while-eating-her-feet Leta. And oh yeah, Chuck-who-beheaded-the-green-dinosaur rocks.

  • http://historyagent.com joel

    made me smile anniversary here today too :)

    cheers

  • Sara

    Great story! My husband and I just celebrated our third anniversary and first baby as well. Congratulations to your family! Keep up the great work. If I had a business, I would hire you. :)

  • http://www.notitleyet.com no name yet

    Happy Anniversary guys. It’s been fantastic watching your lives evolve over the past couple years, that is, the parts that you both so generously choose to share with us. Thank you for that.

  • http://cinderellablues.blogspot.com Gia

    Wow! Fantastic posts you too. Makes my marriage look even more glaringly off in the ditch…

    Happy Anniversary! :)

  • leigh

    Happy Anniversary, guys … you do, indeed, rock!
    And it’s great for us all to read.

  • http://www.ankegroener.de Anke

    Happy anniversary from over the ocean and thanks for sharing your life with us.

  • http://kimba-bremen.diaryland.com kim

    happy 2. jahrestag from another blurbodoocery-fan overseas.. you guys seriously rock and, dude, does your life sound cool (and i MEAN it – despite all the every-day-crap).. hope all is well and to another 102 or more..

  • Beanie

    For someone who is about to announce the intention to divorce my spouse and move on, your story is so uplifting. I am vehemently anti-relationship right this minute, but it’s great to see there may be something better out there. Happy anniversary, Armstrongs!

  • beachgal

    Wow. Just wow! Happy anniversary to my favorite bloggers. I love reading Heather’s accounts of motherhood, they never fail to make me laugh. I am so envious of the relationship you guys share. I love my husband, and I know he loves me, but man, you guys just blow me away.

    Again, Happy Anniversary, and lots of cuddles to Leta and a big treat thrown at the head of Chuckles.

  • Dez

    Congratulations to you all- what a cool family you are. I talk about you to people I know (because the Chuck and Leta and cabbage boobs stories are too good not to share) like you’re my next door neighbors.

    And especially, I take comfort in how you’ve shared your struggle through the not so good times. As someone who’s been through similar stuff, it gives me hope my own relationship will weather the storm.

    Thank God for Blur indeed.

  • http://eyesaverted.blogspot.com/ Wicked H

    Thanks for sharing the story, both of you.

    Happy Anniversary!!!!

  • http://littlesambook.typepad.com/littlesambook samantha

    happy anniversary to the coolest couple in the world. This was such a treat to read both sides of the story. We are all rooting for you two and Leta, your gangstah chef.

  • Bre

    Happy Anniversary, Armstrongs!

    When I grow up, I wanna be like you.

  • erika

    Aww! Congrats! YOu 2 are so adorable…wish my man were home so I could hug him!
    Its contagious

  • http://journals.aol.com/hope5555/AmIThereYet/ Laura

    I really enjoy both of your blogs. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sashinka

    Aww, that’s wonderful. Congratulations on your 2nd Anniversary.

    -Sashinka

  • http://jalepee.diaryland.com Jme

    Wishin’ you many many more happy days to come. I’m so in love with you guys I’m currently erecting a shrine in Armstrong honour. :D

  • http://aredeaf.blogspot.com Coelecanth

    Too much talent for one family. Too much love for one family. Care to adopt a 38 year old? I’m sure I could pull the talent/love index down to the national average.

    Happy anniversary and here’s to many, many more!

  • http://www.simzgirl.com Carrie

    Happy anniversary. Thank you for sharing both of your stories with us. Its an amazing inspiration so see what brought you two together. To many more years together!

  • http://www.raptorblog.com Scott Carefoot

    I’m getting married in 5 days, and I hope my marriage is as great as yours. You two rock.

  • http://wildrose.rpgraphics.net Lisa

    Happy Anniversary to one of the coolest couples on the blogosphere! :D

  • http://chloeishere.diaryland.com/ Chloe

    I love the dual perspective thing. Happy belated anniversary! I love you guys (in the non-creepy, non-stalkerous sort of way)!

  • http://buymediamonds.blogspot.com/ Emily

    Awesome. Y’all give me hope I will find my boy with cables one day soon.

    Happy Everything!

  • Daisy

    Great story from both of you! Happy Anniversary!

    Cracks me up that Heather NEVER mentions strippers in her account of your meeting…why is that?? But you devote a whole paragraph to it…haha! Goes to show what guys remember…haha!

  • http://internalstorms.com/notes/index.php storm

    many many happy wishes for all of you!!!!!

  • tdneel

    Wow, this post brought out all the females…

  • GERRYBIUCK

    HAPPY ANIVERSARY!
    The strength of dual blogality is truly amazing!
    Your story has zipped me in places I didnt know I had! [I get misty just reading your blogs]

    you guys do the internet proud, write on…

  • http://www.shananegins.com/blog shannon

    Happy Annivarsary!

    In the world of “not everyone is happily married” you two give me hope of finding ‘the one’ and having a very happy marriage!!!!

    Leta is vey lucky to have you both as parents!

  • http://kimbofo.typepad.com kimbofo

    That is just the coolest love story ever. I’m always intrigued about how people meet and get it together! I think it must have been destiny, given how many times Heather met you!!

    Best wishes to both of you.

    Oh yea, and by the way, Blur rock! ;)

  • http://www.talkingcrow.com/blog/ rosebaby

    i know – everyone else has said it, but the whole progression of your lives (at least the online version that we get to see) is really so sweet and fabulous. it’s sort of funny the way that events in your lives are geek news out here. “they got married!” “dooce got fired!” “dooce is pregnant!”.

    y’all are sort of invisible friends. although that may feel like stalking to you. :)

    happy anniversary. all the very best.
    -r

  • Zeek

    You two have got to be one of the coolest couples on the planet.
    Congratulations and happy anniversary!

  • http://www.asinine.demon.co.uk/beth Beth

    Happy anniversary! :) Thanks for sharing the story!

  • http://no steven

    i think that’s sweet and it warmed my heart. but? how come everybody thinks you’re both so cool? when you’re obviously dorks.

  • http://www.shellybeans.org Michele

    Clink, Clink–you two were made for each other. (I mean that in the nicest way possible!)

    Happy Anniversay!

  • http://www.jujubeejenny.blogspot.com JuJuBee

    Congrats on your two years ! Thanks for all of the awesome writing. Between the two of you, Leta will grow to be one beautiful geek full of wit and splendor.

  • http://www.lifeandthensome.com Michelle

    Hi Jon (with no H) nice to meet you. I read your wife’s site daily but since she is not nice enought to always let us comment I will say this here. You two are amazing wonderful and grand. Almost as grand a Chuckwith spaghetti around his nose. Almost as wonderful as your daughter screaming her head off. Almost as perfect as my husband.

    Keep being great and great to and for each other. Happy Anniversary!

  • nun-o-yer-bizness

    Yeah, yeah… congratulations and all that rot.
    Whatever.
    It’s the ex-wife I want to know about.
    Where’s the dirt?

  • http://catharsis.novelese.org rowan

    I wonder if Blur know they played such a crucial role in you two getting together…maybe one day when your e-power is great enough you can get them to come and play at your anniversary.

  • Curious

    So, I’m curious. If it weren’t for the Blur interview, would you still have met four years later?

  • http://www.twosittingducks.com Hannah

    Do you guys have any idea how much so many people LOVE YOU! Including me!

    Happy Anniversary!!

  • http://daddytypes.com greg from daddytypes

    long live The Student Review! congratulations

  • http://www.yrth.net PixelFish

    Awwww.

    (Coincidently, my bf and I celebrated out second year together–our fifth as friends–this weekend. I hope our course runs as well as yours and Heather’s, even if as the saying goes, the course of true love never did run smooth, it always seems to get there in the end.)

    PS. More stories like this one, please. I like reading how other people got together. Well, I do if they are both good writers and/or storytellers.

    PSS. I have envy for your elopation to Yosemite.

  • http://HOWCUTE!! danielle

    I’ve only been reading for a short time but just found out today that theres another blog for me to read EVERY SINGLE DAY! Hey, thanks for not saying anything bad about Green Bay people! We already think bad enough about ourselves!

    Happy Anniversary!!!!

  • Julie

    I have been addicted to dooce.com ever since Beth Adams linked me to it nine months ago. I just now travelled over to your site and put the dates together. Student Review. BYU. Did you know Jason Echols? He is my brother and worked on the Student Review during the late 80’s. Just curious.

  • http://photoengrave.blogspot.com brenda

    like nun-o-yer-bizness said..we want the dirt! I want to know how you met up again…and what happened to that ex of yours?

  • http://sharp-eyed.us/ Ryan

    Great post. The photo is also a great one (feel the love…). You’ve just earned a spot underneath Heather’s blog on my blogroll.

  • http://serialblogonomy.blogspot.com/ Katie

    Ohhhh, man. I was already unnaturally addicted to Dooce. Little did I know Jon had a blog, too! But, you know, that’s a good thing. ‘Cause I ought to know as much about your delightful, enchanting family as possible, since I’m raising your future son-in-law. Seriously! My son rocks! He’s got a dowry!

    No, no. Enough with my pathetic attempt to be NEXT TO a cool gene pool. :)

    Happy late Anniversary, already! Yay!

  • http://growingpains.blogspot.com julie

    best anniversary story ever! you guys are too cute. i already love dooce’s site, and now i can read her other half’s as well! have a fabulous anniversary!!

  • http://www.ifiam.org Shan

    Since Heather never turns comments on, I guess I will leave my comment here!

    Happy Anniversary. I agree with what everyone else is saying. I feel a bit stalkerish as well. I’ve been reading Dooce for years, and yours on occasion. But friends and co workers will see me reading and ask who Dooce is. And I ended up babbling on about bowl moments and cabbage breasts.

    ;)

  • annie

    a) jonna is hysterical.
    b) leta is hysterical as a chef and chief.
    c) you both brighten my day you’re so hysterical.
    thanks.

    ps. happy anniversary.

  • http://craniata.net Robert

    Happy anniversary. I’m both proud and jealous, if those two emotions can occupy a single container. And I’m still stealing your css, one div at a time. Ah, finally, I have a table-less page or two. Thanks to you both for the brilliant design and words.

  • http://eringonzalez.com erin

    it’s nice to get to read your take on that day, and to hear (read) the voice behind the man She Loves So Much..

    i read your wife’s entries like a crack addict; your family life must be quite fulfilling.. if only everyone had the love and humor you both experience..

    congratulations!

  • cdang

    groovy love story… but i think you yada yada yada’ed over some significant parts, probably out of respect for the other party involved…intriguing, mysterious, yet decent.

  • Jo

    Your child will most certainly be a gifted writer with you two as parents…and will have a cornicopia of passions and hobbies, as well! As a spouse of 26 years my advice to you both is.. don’t get off the rollercoaster even when it gets scary (and there are always scary, questionable times in a marriage), because your track is obviously strong enough to carry you to the end. Enjoy the ride!