Category Archives: blogging

Saved by The Borowitz Report

Double Rainbows really look like this!
Like April weather, my moods have been changing unpredictably and frequently these days. Things that are pretty much routine, like reconnecting with my inner-blonde, have not been happening lately.

I’ve tried to find causality, the reasons-why, in all kinds of places. Too much bad news in the news. The tsunami in Japan. American fundamentalists’ growing influence in Congress. My missed-trip to Paris. Too many cancer diagnoses among people I know. One of our dogs keeps on spite-peeing in hard-to-find places. Rolled up together, things large and small have taken their toll on my usually optimistic, though slightly twisted, outlook on life.

On the worst days, I try to hike, get refreshed and focused by the glories of spring in northern California. The end of rainy season brings countless rainbows — and lots of double rainbows! — as well as trails lined with bright green mosses, ferns and stunning, delicate wild flowers. The trail, enjoyed with my friends, usually sets me right for a while.

When things stubbornly remain crappy, there’s the Borowitz Report, Andy’s always clever, amusing and in-the-moment newsy blog. I drop whatever I’m doing when his latest scoop arrives.

Today, Andy spoofed the idiocy of the “birthers,” reporting on antagonistic “balders” who rant that The Donald can’t be President unless he proves his coiffure’s country of origin.

The Donald's Do, Borowitz Report, 4-25-11

The Borowitz Report never fails to remind me that humor really does make everything — even the worst of things — tolerable. Thanks, Andy! Love you.


Looking for My Voice

When I was in elementary school, I was placed towards the back of the girls’ alto section when we had chorus or practice for  school performances. At that stage in my singing life, height was the determining factor in where you were placed. Progressing through junior high and high school, my height stayed pretty much average, but I found myself standing in the no-man’s land of vocal outcasts, a mix of lip-synchers and earnest-but-tone-deaf crooners. (People in this music-loving group grow up to be the people who belt out hymns in church, testing the charitable spirits of people in adjacent pews.)  When public singing is called for, I’m an enthusiastic lip-syncher, mouthing the words to nearly every song I love.

Maybe that’s why the topic of “voice”  fills me with a hobbling mix of insecurity and longing. I long to be a freely expressive singer, but I self-limit to solo car travel, road bike rides on windy days and shower-time. Now, I’m faced with finding my “voice” in writing.  For me, the idea of voice, sung or written, is fraught with anxiety. Continue reading Looking for My Voice

Blonde is Back

I’m back, but I can’t figure out where I’ve been. Or why I went missing. All I know is that the last time I opened my head to you was two months ago.

Going missing for two months isn’t supposed to happen.  In mid-August, I was fired up and writing posts. Then I was fired up but not writing.  Then I was fired up, period.  I took notes about topics for the blog. I jotted down ideas that made me laugh. There are cryptic scribbles that made sense at the time but need decoding now.  None of them made it to the page. I just needed some high-quality mental space, a good block of quiet time. The idea of writing was appealing, but the will-to-action became elusive.

The really wierd part is that I was avoiding doing something that I actually enjoy. Unlike eating an extra serving of soft ice cream, there’s no guilt or remorse that follows writing. For me, writing is rewarding. Still, I couldn’t get back to it. Nothing was really stopping me, either. At first, I told myself that I’d start up again in a few days. Or, “next weekend.”  When the house guests leave. Or, after the trip to Maine. When the second round of house guests leave. After Labor Day. Before Halloween…

Maybe it’s happened to you.  You have great intentions to accomplish something.  Like making your exercise program a habit:  you know you’ll feel great when you “just do it.” (Thanks, Nike). So, why aren’t you doing it? That’s the question. Somewhere along the procrastination process, the “to-do” task morphed into a spectre that now greets you when you’re waking up and spooks you when you’re trying to sleep. That nasty, grinning, nagging spectre is in your head, at your back, staring at you in the mirror and sitting next to you in the car. Continue reading Blonde is Back

Lumbering around BlogLand

My nearest and dearest have been nagging at me for the past few years to start a blog. I finally relented when I saw Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program course catalogue for this summer’s session. The perfect course appeared: English 167: Writing Online, An Introduction to Blogs and Blogging.I’m taking the course and it is way more fun than I imagined. And it’s way, way more challenging than I anticipated.  Not the writing… but figuring out the design and construction and management of my own little piece of real estate in Web 2.0.

Not so long ago, in simpler times, I had people who did these things for me.  When I had to create something techie, someone in my professional life took care of it for me. I thought that was a terrific arrangement. It was so easy and quick. Never had to chip a nail in the process. Now, I have to learn a lot to get through the course. There are words that I’ve never heard before. They stand for things that mean zilch to me. Worse yet, tools and commands and choices for building a blog do surprising things. I want to go one way; they take me somewhere unexpected and strange.  It’s a slow, frustrating process, but the challenge is perversely satisfying.

I feel like a dinosaur, a virtual Brontosaurus, lumbering around, crashing into things, stumbling awkwardly and heavily into unknown territory. I bump my too-small head into hard, inflexible things, and get stunned for a while.  When I get back on my feet, I lose track of where I want to go. Much of the time, I’m dragging myself along paths that lead nowhere. Then I’m forced to back up and start over. Not so fast! I can’t even find my way out of the swamp.

My eyes are fixed on the monitor. I forget to blink. I forget to go to sleep at a reasonable time. Talking to my husband is out of the question. Phone calls go to voice mail and I’ve silenced the arrival sound of texts. The glass of water next to the keyboard is looking funky.

On Wednesday evenings I go to class. Like I said, it’s great fun and my classmates are friendly, bright and engaging. They represent a surprising variety of careers and interests. Every Wednesday I ask the man seated next to me how long it took him to do the week’s assignment. He’s a nice guy, relaxed, smart, with kind eyes and a warm smile. He’s not me when he replies, “Oh, about an hour.” Some weeks, though, I am sure that his true elapsed-time to get the job done was actually measured in minutes, but my slack jaw and rolling eyeballs trigger his mercy-response. “Oh, about an hour,” he says politely.

Well, I’m currently slogging from the Jurassic to the Neolithic age. The tools are working. My actions are less random. Results are rewarding. Success is an addictive experience.

I am beginning to walk upright in BlogLand.