Saturday, May 31, 2008

Los Angeles, San Jose, or Elk Grove - Take Two

Here's what I like about living in Elk Grove, which is a suburb to the south of Sacramento.

1. It smells like the country. Last thing at night, when I take Molly out, if the wind is blowing my way, I can smell cows. That should surprise no one, since the dairies are still just up the road Not all of them; actually very few survived the land grab that has turned farms into housing tracts in the past five or so years. The Machados, for example, sold their dairy and now they have a little park with swings and a slide and I think there's a basketball hoop as well named in their honor. As a proud member of the Board of the Franklin Reserve Neighborhood Association, I attended the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon at Machado Park. It is a lovely little site (have I said little enough?), a splotch of grassy green in the middle of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds (have I said hundreds enough?) beige houses. The green is a welcome sight because so many of those beige houses are fronted by dead lawns and wind-whipped For Sale Bank Owned signs. But I digress: what I actually started out to say was that I couldn't stop myself from asking the current Mr. Machado what his grandfather would think to see what had happened to his dairy. I got no response. Still, when I go outside my beige house in the evening, I can often smell cows, and that pleases me.
2. When I actually leave Elk Grove to journey into the nether reaches of Sacramento, the freeway I take is picturesque beyond belief. Sacramento is the City of Trees, so they say. Not to mention creeks and rivers and the odd pond or two. Driving along Interstate 5 is often breathtakingly beautiful and how many city freeways can that be said of? This is not insignificant if you consider the stress levels that most freeway driving produces. When I'm driving on 5 and I take in the scenery, I can feel myself getting calmer. This, I imagine, can only add to my years of life, not to mention its current quality. No small thing, right?
3. I like that this area is still in a state of becoming, as opposed to LA, say, which is darn near finished. I feel as if the Sacramento area, which includes Elk Grove, is waking up, getting with the program, feelin' alive. That I'm here now means that I have the opportunity to be a part of creating the area. I've become involved in organizations in a way that I couldn't have in LA. Here, if a job needs doing and I say I'll do it, it's mine. In LA, I would still be passing the pretzels.
4. I like my house. It's mine. All mine. I can do with it whatever I want. Even if it is beige. Hey, I could paint it some other color. Or glue bits and pieces of broken crockery to the outside lintels. Or grow morning glories up one side and down the other. Okay, I tried that already, and for some reason the morning glories were not amenable. Despite my nicking the seed casing and soaking them in water, the little creeps did not sprout. The same thing happened with the moonflowers that I planted in along the back fence (the one I share, should you be interested, with DeathChic(k) who recently fed her morning glory seeds to her daughter, but that's her story, not mine.) However, all manner of other things do grow in my garden, and I love that. It is a veritable wealth of flora, etc. etc. etc. Roses, roses, roses like you've never seen or smelled before. And a huge peach tree that bears luscious white Freestone peaches in great number. A Meyer lemon tree, as well, which was so prolific that I ended up freezing a good number of lemons just to throw down my garbage disposal when it needs a bit of deodorizing.
5. Speaking of garbage disposals as we were, here's another thing I like about living here: my kitchen.
6. And I like the fact that there are seasons in Northern California. As a Pennsylvania girl, born and bred, I was offended by the puny little drop in temps to 62 degrees that passes for winter in Los Angeles. I like my Winters robust, requiring the wearing of many layers and the laying of many fires. I love that the trees do get Fall colors up here, and they bud out in Spring. We will not speak of that other season, because this is a list of all that I like about living here.
7. I like the fact that despite the enormous growth that overtook Elk Grove, nature will out and much of the landscape is returning to fields. Along with the things I planted in my garden, the wild flowers and grasses that were in what was formerly pasture are insistent on claiming the land as theirs.
8. I like that I'm just 10 minutes or so from the Delta which is, as well, wild and free.
9. I like that my backyard faces West, so that every single evening I get a sunset that is a Kodak moment.
Next I'll do what I like about LA. Or should I do what I don't like about Elk Grove/Sacramento. And what about San Jose? What's with San Jose anyway; why is it even in this headline? Ahhhh, tune in tomorrow for Take Three.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Los Angeles, San Jose, or Elk Grove

The subtitle for this post could be, "To move or not to move; that is the question." Not exactly Shakespearean, perhaps, but vexing all the same to me. The other day Karen of MidLife's A Trip posted a piece on Choices on MidLifeBloggers. It spoke to me because I've got this whole where shall I live thing going on.

When D left, much of my reason for living in Northern California slithered out the door as well. We moved up here because he hated LA. I didn't; I loved it. But dutiful wife that I was (so sayeth I!), I went along with the selling of the LA house and the buying of the Elk Grove house and the subsequent moving of much shit and a few good things to our brand-spanking new Elk Grove house, where we were supposed to live--tra la!--happily ever after.

I don't want to rehash the whole thing, but suffice to say the happy part was very short-lived. For him and for me. I never feel like one of The Gang anywhere I go, but up here in what is basically a suburb of Sacramento (which, forgive me, should really be considered be suburb of the Bay Area), I am that proverbial Sore Thumb.

However, I am a determined Sore Thumb and so I have, over the past almost three years, worked hard to make a place for myself here. And I have not been unsuccessful. Thus, when D left and everyone thought I'd hightail it immediately back to LA, I didn't. I bravely stayed put. I earnestly believed I was DOING RIGHT by make a new life for myself here, in my house, with my stuff. Then the housing market tanked and my new house was right in the middle of the implosion. Now it seemed important to me not to sell my house at a significant loss. So I've kept on keeping on.

Except that along with the housing market, the economy has now tanked and my house just sitting here minding its own business has lost considerable, VERY CONSIDERABLE value. That's equity, people. And speaking of same, that's what I'm living on, basically, 'cause the job, she is not coming. I'm starting to get a wee bit concerned. (I'm also starting to sniff Molly's dog food to see if I could actually eat it if I had to.) The fact is, I need to be earning money, and while I did cash my first BlogHer check the other day (hooray!), it wouldn't keep Molly herself in dogfood for a month. So what to do, what to do, what to do....

I'm not just telling your all this to entertain you (you're laughing at my misfortune, are you?). Rather, I'm telling you all this because in the next couple of days, I'm going to lay out the pros and cons of moving and not moving. I'm doing it because I believe your collective wisdom is exactly what I need right now. So will you please come along for the ride? It will be a short one, and while there's no prize at the end (okay, I could come up with something if you insist), you will have the tremendous satisfaction of knowing you've helped a pal along the way.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wordpress, templates, blog design and other things I should be doing

I spent most of today hunched in front of my computer trying to make the template I'd chosen for MidLifeBloggers do what I wanted it to. I learned any number of things about CSS and such, but not enough to be able to make the freakin' thing DO WHAT I WANTED IT TO. Then I put up another template that I had waiting in the wings and--while it isn't exactly, voila! it's a lot better than what was there before. I think. I hope. Oh fuck it, it better be.

I suppose I should be a little gentler with myself since it's only been a month since the first post went up. But gentle with myself is something I've never been. Are you????

New Post Up at

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day: Thoughts, in no particular order

  • I was married, the first time, on Memorial Day. Funny, but I didn't remember that until just now, after I wrote the title. Of course, the year I was married, Memorial Day was not on May 25th, so I suppose I could be excused for not remembering my anniversary. Since it wasn't.
  • I was about to say that mine was not a military family. Until I thought about my Uncle Bert, my dad's brother, who served in World War II. And my Aunt Teddy, my mother's sister, who was a WAC in World War II. And my brother-in-law who served in no war, having enlisted and gotten out just before Viet Nam.
  • My dad was exempt from World War II because he was Needed At Home. That is, he worked in a job in an industry that had priority. He had extra gas rations because of whatever that priority was, but the story my mother always told was that my father hated not being in uniform during those years.
  • One of the careers that I contemplated during that period in my 20s when I didn't know what to do with myself was joining the Navy. It is a good thing that I didn't because I now realize that I would have been a Court Martial Waiting To Happen.
  • Dateline had an excellent (except for Keith Morrison's delivery) hour long segment called "Coming Home." The gist of it was that to have killed someone during war marks these soldiers forever and is often the precurser of PTSD.
  • When I was in grad school, one thing I hoped to do with my MFT degree was work with vets who had PTSD. I was all geared up to do that until I learned that you need a doctorate to work for the VA. I don't know if I would have been good at it or not, but the urge is still strong.
I don't think it's appropriate to say Happy Memorial Day, but I want to thank every soldier, then and now, who fought for our country. Hokey? I don't think so. Or rather, I don't care.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Life Under The Table At Knitique

Molly and I spent a couple of hours this afternoon at Knitique. Usually Molly amuses herself by searching for any crumb of food she can find. Today, however, she had a playdate. In the lower left corner is a black and white mop called Baya. Molly has never spent so much time with another dog, and really, they got over smelling each other's butts pretty fast. I thought perhaps they would do a tear up and down the shop chasing each other, but Baya's mom had TREATS in her
knitting bag. Greenies to be exact, and frankly, there is nothing that will get Molly's attention quite like Eau de Greenie. In fact, this dog, who is usually glued to my side and would prefer that I NOT shut her out of the toilet when I'm in there, refused to come when called. She lurked, instead, in the general area of the knitting bag that that had once held the Greenies. Even when I threatened to leave her, she would not move. She plunked her curly white butt down as close to the knitting bag as she could get and stared at me, with great meaning. In fact, she might still be there--!

EDITED TO ADD: I entered this post in a weekly meme called Camera Critters. You can see the others here.

Camera Critters

Friday, May 23, 2008

You Will Not Be Surprised...

...if I tell you that I spent no little time today pulling out all the cards and envelopes from the trash. I just couldn't go through with it, dear and gentle reader. Perfectly good cards, which I shall now add to my stash awaiting the day of Sitting Down To Create Collage.

MidLifeBloggers: a new post is up

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cleaning Out My Parents Desk

Now, isn't that a fascinating headline? They say--you know They, the SEO people--that one's blog titles are crucial, critical and direly important to what kind of traffic one gets. So you can see, what with the creativity that's just burbling out of me, why my blog traffic is so, so, so-so.

However, I couldn't think of any jazzier way to announce what I have spent the day doing. Yes, absolutely. Cleaning out my parents' desk. It's a lovely desk, mahogany, with a drop down writing surface,
and multiple cubbies as well as several small drawers in the top. And three drawers in the bottom. It has, for as long as I can remember, been the repository for the flotsam and jetsam of my parents' life. Once my mother died and bequeathed the flotsam and jetsam to me, I just kept it as it was, allowing it to grow a bit with my own stuff--dead cell phones and the like--shoved into the top drawer. But I've long known that one day I would have to deal with My Parents' Desk, and I've known as well that it would be difficult. None of us--my father, my mother, nor I--liked to throw things out. My mother was, in the early years, probably better at it than my dad and I. But once he died, she seemed to inherit all of his pack rat traits and then some. Thus, the Macy's receipts and Screen Actors' Guild cards from the 90s. Thus, it is left to me to make the hard decisions about what to toss.

That carton you see contains but one, the smallest, drawer and the top cubbies of the desk. It is, you will note, half full. What I threw most easily were my mother's bills and receipts, circa 1998. A twinge or two at tossing all of the Lee C. Gassner address labels, but none for the all the dessicated ballpoints, souvenirs of CPAs and insurance companies and, of course, now-defunct motel chains. I did experience some feelings of guilt at getting rid of stacks of perfectly good, albeit dreadfully dull greeting cards that my mothers gathered from somewhere or other. These are not of the Hallmark genre; think more along the lines of Birds of the World and Flowers of Fall. And with them went the handsful of perfectly good envelopes. It was hard to throw them as I know my father is flipping in his grave at the sheer wantonness of my waste. But if I did what my every instinct is telling me--put them in a box to keep and use some day--then they would become my flotsam and jetsam, and I have no daughter to will them to.

The Things I Did Not Throw (and yes, the allusion to The Things They Carried is intentional):
  • the collection of perfectly good, not-been-cancelled stamps that my father maintained through the years. Not that he collected stamps, but for the actual postage, you know. I'm sure I'll use them. It would be a sin not to, a waste of perfectly good money. Of course, I do wonder if there's a statute of limitations on postage. I know we now have Forever Stamps, but will the 5cent Washingtons and the 3cent Liberty's fly as well?
  • their passports, each in its own leather case, initial-stamped in gold--HG...LCG. I don't know why I'm keeping them. They just seem too good, too fresh to throw out. But still...
  • medical reports, because that's now the only record my sister and I will have, and we may need it some day
  • a letter from my first husband, to my parents, written after I left him, in which he told them how much he loved them--and me.
Tomorrow I'll go through the other two drawers.....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How To Be A Better Writer

I have just finished writing the fiftyeth million response to a blogger who feels she is frittering her life away on line. Okay, it wasn't the fiftyeth million, but it seems like I'm saying the same thing to a lot of people. So I'm gonna say it here too. But first, my bonafides: I have been a writing teacher. People, universities even, have paid me to teach students of all ages and capabilities to write. I've taught elderly ladies and male felons, but those are stories for another day. I tell you this so you'll know I know what I'm talking about. And believe me!

All the desire in the world won't make you a writer. For that, you have to work. And working for a writer is reading and thinking and writing and rewriting.

Blogging is just another genre of writing, not inferior or superior to any other in and of itself. You can practice writing the Great American Novel by writing on your blog. You can learn how to write by reading other's blogs. The work involved is this: when you're reading blogs, try to figure out what it is you like (or dislike) about a particular writer. Try on techniques that they use. See if you have a like-sounding voice that you can fool around in. Figure out what you don't like about a blog or a writer's voice or...or...whatever. You figure it out. Think about it.

Then, when you're writing your blog, don't just hit publish and let it go. I've had years of experience at writing fast, but I NEVER do a blog post that is first draft, final draft. I preview my drafts and reword and rewrite and--goddamit--REVISE the thing until I deem it publishable. That doesn't mean it's perfect, because God knows I'd never publish if I held myself up to that. But it does say what I want it to say clearly and in a way that makes me proud. At least for that day.

All the talk about blogging being inferior and self-indulgent is just so much hoo-hah. It's genre-ist, if I may coin a word, coming in somewhere under racist and sexist and ageist and ist-ist. Don't let Them--be they friends, family or artful critics--get away with it. Don't allow blogger to become another word that must be known only by its initial.

BlogWriters of the World--unite! Stand tall and stand proud. When you're asked what you do, answer "I'm a writer." And when the followup question is, "Oh, what do you write?" Look them in the eye and say, I publish my writing on-line. Because that's what a blog is: writing that is published on line. It's neither better than nor worse than writing that has been published on paper. It is what it is, and that's the best we can say about any creative work.

MidLifeBloggers: a new post is up

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

This Post Was Meant To Be About Something Else

Today Nanny Goats In Panties and I had coffee. Well, she had coffee and I had some strange iced tea blend that was a little more jasmine-y than I would have liked. Jasmine. What is jasmine doing in iced tea? Is this a cultural thing that I'm just not getting. And should be. Because God knows, Elk Grove is nothing if nothing not bi- and multi- and many-cultural. Despite this, it is not what one would call cosmopolitan. That is, to meet and have coffee, Nanny Goats in Panties and I met not at some sidewalk bistro but at the local Raley's. Raley's is a supermarket. This is what we have come to in Elk Grove, sipping our brew while relaxing in leather armchairs at the local grocery store. Nanny Goats in Panties went food shopping afterwards; I came home.

While we were enjoying our drinks in the, okay, pleather armchairs, we discoursed on:
the lack of interest our friends and family show in what for us is our passion, our blogs; the lack of salon-worthy companions in our separate circles of friends; the intellectual energy, the very zeitgeist of Manhattan, where we both wished we were; the fact that save each other, we had no friends off-line who also had an existence on-line.

Do you ever feel this way? Or are we the only sad sisters in the group and the rest of you have burgeoning and budding on/off-line relationships with multiple fascination geeks? Or do you too feel as if sometimes the people who understand you the best, who hear you the clearest, who give you the most of what you need are people you know solely through your blog? And if you do feel this way--how close are you to Sacramento??????

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Monday...

Just pretend it's Monday, okay? Humor me.

Last night when I sat down to post, my !@#$%^&*()_+ WiFi was out again. So this is Monday's post, just a shade over the dateline late.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wanted: One Dog Shrink

Why does my dog go under the bed to sleep sometimes? Like last night and the night before, when it's just marginally comfortable temperature-wise on top of the bed without any covers on.

Why is my dog under my desk right now? At my feet.

I'm guessing that this has something to do with security, but what makes her suddenly feel insecure? Does she have PMS?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

MidLifeBloggers on Flickr

Yes, indeedy, we now have our very own Flickr group where we can post our very own photos from midlife and before. I've put two of mine up: one is a very soulful photo in which I am trying to look like a BEAUTIFUL THING THAT SEVENTEEN MAGAZINE WOULD WANT TO PUT ON THEIR COVER. Obviously, I was not successful. The other is a photo of my left foot, which is much the better of my two feet in that it has aged well. My right foot, unfortunately, is not now and never will be ready for a closeup.

So--if you're a MidLifeBlogger and are on Flickr, go and join the group and upload your photos. When we have more than my two, I'll put a widgety thing on MidLifeBloggers, that will give a rotating show of all our pix. If you're not on Flickr, join. It's free.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ice Cream & Me - BFF

I just ate two of the three scoops of ice cream that I bought at my local Rite-Aid. Do you have one of those drug stores where you can get three scoops for $1.99--and they give you the penny back? Poor you, if you don't. Poor me, that I do--because ice cream is my drug of choice for anything that ails me. Others may drown their sorrows in alcohol; I prefer to smother mine in frozen flavored cream.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why I'm Wired in a Wireless World

I am writing this so delicately, my fingers barely tap tap tapping on the keys. I don't want to disrupt the incredibly tenuous, don't breathe on it connection between my laptop and the world. It is, right now, jerryrigged more or less. I am hooked into the modem for my wireless service. Which means that I'm not wireless anymore. It also means that logistics being what they are, I am playing Mother May I with the cord every time I want to leave the room.

Oh woe.

Yesterday late morning my wireless went kapuey. I spent many hours on the phone with the Comcast techs in Canada (yeah for speaking English!) and the Toshiba techs in whatever offshore third world country they're in (boo for mangling English). The problem seems to be within my little laptop. It doesn't want to maintain the wireless connection. I enable and enable and enable and--pfffft! it disables. To figure it out and hopefully maybe please God fix it, I have to run all sorts of Restore shit. And of course, you know what I have never done on this laptop: begins with a B and ends with a P.

I must have known this was coming because for the past couple of weeks, I've been feeling Backup urges. But I ignored them, of course. So much else to do: websites to create; blogposts to write.

First order of the day this AM was to transfer some of my files onto CDs. But whatever ails my wireless adapter seems also to be ailing my D drive. And then, I remembered. One of our MidLifeBloggers, Carolyn Bahm, has an ad or something way down at the bottom of her blog. I went, I got the url, and I am now, even as I write having all of my hard drive sucked up into Carbonite where, for a mere $49.95 a year it will reside along with regular, I-don't-have-to-think-about-it Backups.

And tomorrow, after I am well and truly BACKEDUP, I can figure out what the flippin' deal is with this computer.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Iron Chef Sacto-style

Chef Yossi Ben Dayan, Head Teaching Chef at Hadassah College's Culinary School in Jerusalem, made a whirlwind tour of the West Coast. I was there! I prepped for him. Molly was there. She supervised him (look to the right side of the cooking table). Tomorrow I will report on this exciting event with RECIPES!!!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Film for the MidLife Folks

So while I was being all silent, I was watching a movie. A Previous Engagement, a new film starring Juliet Stevenson, Tcheky Karyo, and Daniel Stern. It was written and directed by Joan Carr-Wiggan and all awards for producer will be going to David Gordian. Okay, now that we've got the basic credits out of the way, we'll go right into the critique. It's a comedy. Think An Unmarried Woman crossed with Same Time Next Year. The premise is this: a man and a woman had such fantastic sex on a beach in Malta when they were young and foolish that they vowed to meet on the same beach twentyfive years later. We don't get to see the sex, but they both agreed the earth moved, etc. etc. Okay, fast forward to twentyfive years later and a middle-aged librarian travels to Malta with her boring, bored husband and two whiny twentysomething daughters. The other half of the equation, the now middle-aged publisher of a literary journal, travels to Malta with his secretary, who he occasionally bonks. Meet cute, cute meet: what's going to happen? Will they fall into each others arms? Will they even meet again? Will they have sex? Will it be good? Will she leave her husband? Will her daughters stop whining?

I watched this movie because I was asked if I wanted to see it to possibly talk about it on my blog. I said yes, and now I'm talking about it on my blog. Okay, now I can tell you what I really think.

I really think A Previous Engagement is a sweet little movie, but over-long. The twists and turns of the will she/won't he/do they seem to go on forever. It's been a long time since my British film-watching credentials were polished, but it seems to me that this is an example of a particular genre of British comedy that has some name, except I'm blanking on it now. It's farce meets meaningful subject, which is a bit of a contradiction in critical terms, if you know what I mean, but saved by superior acting. The Brits do that, you know. Except Daniel Stern is American and Tcheky Karyo is Turkish. The former is quite good (isn't he always) and the latter is not bad, albeit no Alan Bates (where is Alan Bates these days, anyway?) But Juliet Stevenson is really quite, quite good. Quite. She's a bit mannered, in a quirky manner, but she pulls the character off.

The problem for me with this movie is that, well, how long ago was An Unmarried Woman? Twentyfive years, you say? Then the concept of beleaguered wife being sucked dry by a dull husband and LEAVING HIM was revolutionary. Today, it's not. So the movie is cute; it's sweet; and it definitely made me laughoutloud (LOL!) from time to time. Thus, I say it is worth whatever the hell they're charging at your Cineplex these days. Just in time for the summer blockbuster, we've got a movie for us midlife folk, and if we go to this one, maybe they'll give us some more.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I'm not here.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Blah blah blah blah

So--another day, another dollar. Oh, no, that only worked when I was earning a living. Now I'm just--not.

Last night I had one of those nights where my tiny little brain would not stop racing. It may have had something to do with the several ounces of chocolate I had right before turning out the light. But surely the milk chaser should have had some sort of soothing effect. One would think. Wouldn't one?

Today was one of those days when I suddenly realized at about 8:22 pm, that I had not spoken to another human all day. I talked to Molly, and she seemed to listen. But maybe not. I tried to work up a bit of a pity party for myself, but I just couldn't get there. I am realizing these days how much of my isolation is, well, it's My Isolation. It's how I like things. I do like to be alone. I like not having places to go and things to do. Except when the point comes, as it did about 8:20 pm, when I really wish I had SOMEWHERE TO GO AND SOMEONE TO SEE.

Tonight I watched Wednesday night's cooking shows: Hell's Kitchen and Top Chef. I find the incessant screaming in Hell's Kitchen a tad wearing. And the male egos always on display there a tad pitiful. Top Chef, on the other hand, offers a relatively calm kitchen (relatively, I said!), but there too the male egos--why, sometimes they're being exhibited by the women.

Tomorrow (are you beginning to pick up the theme here?) I will continue my ambidextrous machinations of the now two new websites that I'm creating. Me, Wordpress and Liquid Web--we're just like THAT.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Life Is Too Short

Sunday is Mother's Day, the tenth one that I've not had a mother to celebrate. Yes, I get sad around this time, but it is what it is.

That's not a philosophy my mother ever subscribed to. She was more of the 'figure out what you want and then go get it' sort, an Action Figure in miniature, since she was barely five feet tall. She was a remarkable woman and a remarkable mother, albeit one who's mark is still impressed rather more heavily than is good for me. I started a blog about her several years ago, and then I choked. I'm still choking, a Kudzo kind of choking, though, one where the roots and vines and tendrils of what I want and need to say are too ingrown still for me to see them clearly. But this year BlogHer has a series going of posts about what your mother taught you; I can, I think, handle that.

My mother taught me, Life Is Too Short. Life is too short to put up with a job or a mate or a way of life that is bad for you. Life is too short to accept the status quo. Life is too short to live on 'what ifs.' Life is too short to wait to for the situation to be right. Life is too short to say "maybe next time." Life is too short to hang around waiting for it to happen. Life is too short to save dessert for later.

New post up at

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wasted Effort

I keep tryin' to write a juicy post tonight or at least one of my more or less pithy ones, but frankly, I'm just not up to it. And frankly, I'm disappointed in myself. I haven't any explanation, or maybe I do but I don't feel like giving it. Yeah, that's it: it all seems like too much of an effort right now.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

We Built It Because We Needed It

If you want to see why had to come into being, go check out the comments that the post on plastic surgery is generating. I crossposted it from ByJane. Compare the different conversations the two sites are evoking.

This is what community is about, and I am so proud to be a part of it.

Monday, May 05, 2008


1. My computer is behaving itself again, thank you very much...


2. There is a new post over a MidLifeBloggers. Menopause Has Stolen My Brain, by Janis Smyth of Jan's Sushi Bar


3. The "About" page, titled Who Are We, and Why is also up at MidLifeBloggers.

Go have a look.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

WTF, Again


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Blogging: It's Where We Get Community

In my diatribe the other day against those who get off on the Dump on Dooce bandwagon, I did not link to her site. Normally, you reference a blogger, you link to their blog--that is, I believe, the etiquette. But I didn't after thinking about it for a while for this reason: I have heard that some bloggers try to up their ante by linking to A list bloggers. It gets their stats going, I guess, not to mention their hearts. I didn't want anyone to think I was writing that WTF post defending Heather Armstrong for any collateral reason (I'm not sure that even makes sense, but I trust you will know what I mean). Thus, I left off the links. However, this post I am linking to her site, to the monthly letter she has written to her daughter. It's here; go read it. In it, Heather is answering those who criticize her and other bloggers for writing about their lives. This is the bit that I want you to get, to think about, to really know:
"I know I am not alone when I say that when I sit down to update my website I do it to connect with other people, I do it to reflect on the absurdity of everyday life with the hope that the people who read it will find similarities in their own routine. I did not know that wanting to be a part of a community qualified as egotism."

For much of the time that I've had a stat counter on ByJane, it registered an average of about thirtyfive readers a day. In the time that I've had Google and BlogHer ads on my site, I haven't seen a penny. So why do I spend so much time at my blog? Why is it the one thing I do without fail every day (okay, I brush my teeth as well)? I do it because that I have a community of readers, however few or many, means I am not hollering into the wilderness.

Life is pretty lonely these days, for all of us. If you've taken a psych or soc or polysci course, you've heard the term anomie. Our society has fragmented and our connections have frayed over the past century or so, and we are each of us left along with a very personal drive for meaning, for community. It's a human urge to search out others of the same ilk, to be not-alone. Some wrap themselves in the vestments of their work or hobby. Others find it in their church or athletics or political causes. Bloggers, particularly those of us who write about our day-to-day lives, find it on-line.

Recently I moved beyond the confines of ByJane and started a whole new community: The site is barely operational now, but ultimately it will be a gathering place for all of us who consider ourselves to be in the middle of our lives. It is growing out of the same need that motivated the Mommybloggers to band together: the urge for a community that speaks to our particular interests and gives us a voice. That's what blogging is about. It's not an ego trip; it's a conversation.

Friday, May 02, 2008

And furthermore....

I have nothing left to say. Well, I do. I always will. But I won't.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


In my trip round about the blogosphere today, I came across a number of posts in which the blogger was taking to task other unnamed bloggers for being critical of another unnamed blogger because she--I dunno, there was so much not naming that I couldn't really tell, but it seemed to have something to do with success, or some such thing. From all of this, which I won't link to because, well because you can easily find these posts yourself, I gather that there is a small swell,if not a tidal wave of miseryguts aimed at Heather Armstrong YET AGAIN.

There have been several well-reasoned posts written about the sin of envy and there being room at the Inn for all of us. Mine is not of the well-reasoned ilk. Mine is the fucking pissed off and disgusted genre.

Dislike someone for better reasons than that they are succeeding at something that you wish you were doing. Don't you realize how small that makes you seem, those of you who say, Oh, I just can't stand Dooce; she's so, so, whatever. I remember at Blogher'o6 after Heather's session listening to several women bitching about the fact that she had copped to feeling real anxiety that her family's well-being was a function of her being able to come up with a short essay every couple of days that would keep people entertained. God, they said, she's complaining about being successful. Give me a break. What she was doing, assholes (see I told you I was pissed off), was sharing herself with you. That's what she does in the blog. That's why so many people are regular readers. And if you're going to dislike someone simply because they're better than you, at least have the balls to admit it.