“About About”

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After I answered the Liebster questions posed by waterforcamels, I looked back to my initial “About” page on my blog. I wrote it 18 months ago and have never changed it. I realized that the “About” page is one I regularly read when considering following a new blog. Many times there is simply a WordPress place marker saying something along the lines of “this is an example of an about page.” Usually that means that the blogger is just starting out with a series of posts and hasn’t yet added some other useful features. I ordinarily wait to see if that writer fleshes out their blog further before deciding to sign on.

Other times, I get a good sense of the intentions of the writer and often some autobiographical details such as location, gender, age and professional background. Peoples “About” pages vary dramatically, but I find them a good entry into their blogs.

So what has changed between my original intentions for this blog and my present writing? Does my “About” page still ring true? How about my “Home” page? Does it reflect my actual writings? Does it give a potential follower an accurate idea of what she will find if she follows me?

I would say that I have done much less poetry writing than I thought I would and almost no genealogical writing since I began. But I recognize that my poetry writing has always been unpredictable, so I still want to leave a section on the Home page to share it. Similarly, my genealogical individual portraits are still an intention, so I am not ready to remove that heading from my Home page.

But “About” is no longer an accurate description of what I am doing. Tomorrow I will tackle an edit and share the results when I post. Have any of you had to rework your introductions to reflect your actual blog?

“Answering waterforcamels”

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Angela, who writes the blog waterforcamels, nominated me for a Liebster award. While I don’t participate in these awards by passing them on and nominating others, I wanted to respond to her thoughtful questions. I think it is always interesting to learn more about someone you read, so here goes.

“Who was an early influencer in your life?” My next door neighbor Grace  introduced me to hospitality and sewing. Both have been important in my life.

“How did you realize you wanted to become a writer?” Clarissa Pinkola Estes says it best when she says, “We do not become writers. We came as such. We are. Some of us are still catching up to what we are.”

“Do you prefer writing poetry or prose?” I seem to alternate. While I thought this blog would have a lot of poetry, at the moment it is pretty prose heavy.

“Who is your favorite poet?” Too many to choose. Perhaps today Adrienne Rich. Tomorrow maybe Robert Frost. Tuesday T.S. Eliot.

“What is the hardest barrier for you to overcome in order to write your blog?” Boundaries about what I should include and what is either too private, involves someone else, or is too unnecessarily upsetting.

“What current social crisis is near to your heart?” General ignorance and a willingness to ignore truth. Today probably the truth of racial injustice and its history in this country.

“What would you like to be remembered for most when you are gone?” An open, loving, listening ear and heart.

“If you could have dinner with anyone who would it be and why?” Pope Francis. I don’t speak Italian or Spanish, but I would like to pray with him. And then laugh.

“What is your kryptonite food?” Cookie dough ice cream.

“What is your birth order?” First. Obviously.

“Why did you start your blog?” I was tired of talking to myself.

Thanks Angela. That was fun.

 

“Raw? Water?”

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A new craze has hit California–raw water. I wish I could say that I was inventing this, but a long article in the New York Times confirms that I am not. Apparently some people have decided that the only water fit to drink comes from mountain streams, lakes, rooftops, and other places and is unfiltered, untreated and therefore “raw.”

I grew up in Oregon and knew better than to drink from “clear” mountain streams. As pictured above, wildlife drink from these same water sources and are not particular about where they leave their “waste products.” The most common backpacking acquired illness–giardia–comes from such animals. A nasty bug, and no one who has ever endured it would be naive enough to tout the advantage of untreated water.

I think the supreme irony is that 900 million people on earth have to drink “raw” water because they have no access to safe water. They get to “experience” the health benefits of “raw” water, including cholera and dysentery.

“It’s New England”

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They have come up with even more horrifying terms for the snow now coming down in New England. The phrase “bombcyclone” was used on this one. Apparently the official term is bombogenesis, but that must not be frightening enough. Anyway, we are having a snow storm. A lot of snow is falling, the wind is blowing, and it is very cold. When you live next to the Atlantic Ocean with winds that move in a circular northeastern direction you get the familiar “nor’easter.” Which is what is happening now and has happened as long as there have been people inhabiting New England.

Instead of gluing themselves to the television, early New England farmers thought about how totally unpleasant it was to have to go out to the barn to feed the stock and go out in the yard to get more firewood. One on of their countless trips outside in a nor’easter, the thought must have come to CONNECT THE BUILDINGS!

Above is a schematic of one such arrangement, so common in old New England that a song celebrates it, called, plainly enough “Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn.” New Englanders don’t like to waste words either.

Anyway we are fine. Just snow covered. And the wind is blowing. And it’s cold. Stay warm wherever you are. Especially in the Southern Hemisphere. LOL!

“Not So Easy”

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I am determined to get my own drink, but even on my toes it is a stretch. This came to mind reflecting on a thoughtful comment on my post about resolutions. Debbie pointed out that even accepting oneself takes diligence. I have been pondering that and realize she is right.

There are many forces telling us that we are not all right the way we are. Mr. Rogers used to tell his audience every day, “I like you just the way you are.” But his voice is drowned out by a myriad of others. In American culture women are constantly told they are too fat and too old. Any weight must be “attacked.” Any sign of aging—and at 70 I assure you there are many—must be camouflaged, botoxed, sliced or filled.

Then there are all the reverberations from our childhoods. It could be the parent comparing children, a teacher shaming a learning struggle, or bullying from other kids. All reinforced the message that we were not all right.

No wonder we can all join in the activity of self improvement, knowing we will find support. It’s harder to find Mr. Rogers in our life. But we can start by trying to accept ourselves, stretch though that is. And then we can try to find people in our lives who, even if they aren’t wearing Fred Rogers’ sweater, are truly glad we are ourselves.

 

“Resolved!”

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I imagine that I am writing some very serious words here on the beach. I am unconcerned that they will be washed away by the incoming tide. I feel that way about New Year’s resolutions. They may start out serious, but I am well aware that they are ephemeral at best.

I think that the seduction of New Year’s resolutions is the fantasy they provide that down the road we will be a different sort of person than the one we know so well today. Whether that person will be more organized, better read, less judgmental, thinner or more fit, we can easily imagine that person as we declare our resolution. It’s a fun exercise and one that millions of us seem to enjoy indulging in.

But the trick is the effort that would be required to get from who we are on January 1 to who we imagine we will become later in the year. Effort takes away the magic of resolutions which we tend to see as having supernatural power. Despite some television evangelists’ promise that we just have to declare it to see it come to pass, that has never worked for me.

So I resolve to accept myself for the slightly messy, pretty judgmental, overweight, reluctant exerciser that I am today. I wish the same for all of you. Happy New Year!