Category Archives: My Boring Life

The Year Without End Ends

Well, 2008 has been quite a year. I got my daughter back from Russia. I made the decision to put my mother in a nursing home when my wife and I could no longer give her the level of care she required, and then said “see you later” when God took her home.

Well, my daughter is a student now, and my son is in a faraway city, and with mom in the hands of the Lord, my wife and I are real empty nesters now. So what am I going to do about it in 2009? Here are some things I’m considering.

  • Get back on the Wii Fit trail.
  • Finish the “clean house and get rid of unnecessary stuff” project – which may take all year.
  • Learn the 10 songs I’ve finished writing and haven’t yet learned – and learn them.
  • Find the 21 songs I singled out into a “haven’t finished writing but should finish because they’ll probably be good when they’re done” list – and finish writing them. Then I should probably learn them, too.
  • Speaking of my songs, I really should play out more. I’ve averaged one gig a year (except for 2006, which I missed completely).
  • I really should rewrite and edit my novel “,,,and that’s the end of the news”. Then I could use it to find a new agent. Or a publisher. Or both. Don’t know if I’ll get to this one, though.
  • I probably ought to fix that broken Christmas play, too. Again, don’t know if I’ll get there.
  • I need to get the two VBS plays into some kind of shape so they can be sold over the Interweb.
  • I’m also scheduled to write my third VBS show this year, and my first Christmas Pageant. I know I’ll get to those.
  • In October/November of this year I designed a game involving Zombies. Playtested it over Thanksgiving with my son, daughter, and assorted relatives. Now I need to tweak the rules and try another playtest. But when?
  • Finally, I need to get back on the reading wagon. Maybe I’ll buy a Kindle and forget about a lot of that unnecessary writing stuff.

It should be an interesting year.


O Christmas Meme, O Christmas Meme!

I’ve been incommunicado for a while. My wife and I have been caring for my mother in various venues that started with her apartment, then moved into our house for three years, and when the level of care she needed became beyond our abilities, into a nursing home last March. She had her ups and downs, with the downs becoming more frequent and lasting longer. It broke my heart when her absentee ballot came in October and she wasn’t lucid enough to understand how to make the choices. I could have filled it out, knowing how she would vote, but with votes being fabricated throughout the state I live in, I just couldn’t in good conscience do it. She took a turn for the worse in November and finally passed away the Friday before Thanksgiving. It’s a bittersweet thing. I’m going to miss her, but she’s with God now, and she’s better than she ever has been. As I said at her memorial service, if they have crocheting in heaven, right now she’s making a scarf of many colors for Joseph – to go with his coat.

In light of all that’s happened this year, it now falls upon me to try and deal with this seasonal thing they call Christmas Spirit. That’s always been a hard sell for me – my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and I’m one of those Scrooges who thinks Christmas has become too commercial. But my wife loves Christmas, so I always try to make an effort.

So this year I’m working hard to jump start things. I’ve strung my traditional Stratocaster Christmas lights in my office, and I’ve started an intravenous infusion of Christmas music via iTunes and iPod in the hopes of perking myself up a bit. And I thought that this might be a good time to revive an Internet meme that I participated in a few years ago when I was blogging about writing. The thing is, I’m not going to go through 1,000 blog entries to find it, even if I know to just look in Decembers, so I’m going to attempt to do it by memory. And I thought of a couple of other things I could add along the way.

Thus, in my attempt to further pump up my Christmas spirit, here is the recreated Christmas Meme – a simple list with one answer each… except you know me. My life and tastes are more complicated than one simple answer…

Like I said, never easy. So I broke it down:
Religious – Silent Night
Secular – One Christmas Catalogue by Captain Sensible
With swearing in it – Fairytale of New York by The Pogues

Traditional – A Charlie Brown Christmas
Non-Traditional – The Jethro Tull Christmas Album

Harry Connick, Jr. The guy gets Christmas, and his three Christmas albums are all wonderful, mixing traditional with jazzy arrangements. He writes original Christmas songs, too, and they’re terrific – especially (It Must Have Been Ol’) Santa Claus.

Another tough choice. Since again I can’t seem to pick one, here’s the short list:
The Polar Express – The spirit of Christmas, and the best vision of what Santa’s North Pole is like.
A Christmas Story – It’s 2008, but as long as there are families, this is what Christmas is really like.
Love, Actually – For Grown-ups. Because at Christmas, you tell the truth.
White Christmas – Great fun like A Christmas Story, and I love the overall theme of sacrifice to a friend.

George C. Scott

The Rankin-Bass version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, home of the line, “Hey, we can be independent together!”

Christmas episodes of established series are baaaaad news. More often than not, they try to rehash A Christmas Carol, with not-so-good results because all of their characters step out of character to fit the story into the series. The exception to this was WKRP In Cincinnati, which put a modern spin on the Scrooge story, kept everyone in character within the Dickens universe, and was eerily prescient about what radio would be like in the 21st Century. Runner up: WKRP’s Thanksgiving episode: “I thought turkeys could fly!”

The loud, raucous Christmas Eves spent at the home of my wife’s maternal Grandmother.

That was either The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, or the Spy Christmas. When I was in junior high and my favorite show was Mission: Impossible, my much-older brother sent me on a spy mission one Christmas eve, running all over his house finding my presents from him and his wife. And the gifts were all spy-related – like a kit with a camera that turned into a pistol, code wheels, etc.

I much more enjoy giving, and I’ve got a lot of memories of folks opening presents from me. The topper has to be my nephew when he was just a toddler. I got him a Tuneyville Choo Choo, a train that went in circles and played nursery rhymes on little geared records. He opened it first, and every other present he got that Christmas eve, he unceremoniously dropped and went right back to playing with that train. Cool uncle status sealed!

Apricot fried pies. From my dad’s mother to my mom to my wife. And now my children are learning how to make them…

Florida State of Mind

Let me preface this by saying that I never really had any desire to go to Florida. Muggy heat, retirees, expatriate Cubans, hanging chads. I had some friends who lived down there, but hadn’t talked to them in a couple of decades other than some passing emails. If there was a state in the union I wanted to visit less, I couldn’t think of one.

Then my nephew fell in love with a Florida girl.

Well, it looked like I was going to Florida. In June. I decided to just bite the bullet and go. I didn’t want to be the Bad Uncle, and besides, it’d be a vacation with my wife. We’d just happen to be part of a party of twelve family and church members.

So off to St. Augustine we went. We got my nephew all weddinged off. We even got a couple of days to play tourist after the wedding.

And I, much to my surprise, fell in love with the place.

Some of the highlights:

  1. That 8 pound flounder my father-in-law caught on his Father’s Day fishing trip on the Intercoastal… and the way my wife cooked it.
  2. Anoles and lizards… everywhere.
  3. Watching egrets and sandpipers feeding on the beach.
  4. Going to the nearby pond to check out the turtles… and having 25 in three different species show up hoping for bread crumbs.
  5. Watching egret chicks hatch at the Alligator Farm.
  6. The Alligator Farm, period.
  7. Standing alone on a beach… and seeing a whale offshore.
  8. Other Florida flora and fauna too numerous to mention.
  9. Finding a box kite at a local kite store.
  10. Tacos in a Bag.
  11. The 2 am beach walk with our son.
  12. The wedding itself, beautiful on a patio above the beach. Best. Wedding. Food. Ever. And the most crying was done by… the groom.
  13. Driving around town at 10 pm looking for a seafood restaurant that was still open and discovering The World Famous Oasis.
  14. Going back to The Oasis with our in-laws the next morning for breakfast.
  15. St. Augustine… the nation’s oldest city.
  16. The wit and wisdom of the sightseeing train drivers.
  17. The scandalous picture my wife and I took at one of those “old timey photograph” places.
  18. Chocking up some good face time with my wife.

Not bad. Not bad at all, even when you factor in that incident where I went into the Atlantic with my cell phone in the pocket of my swimsuit.

Yeah, Florida. It’s a good place to stop.

Update, or, When I Have Nothing To Say, My Lips Are Sealed… Mostly

In the last two weeks, two people have told me that I really should post to the blog more often. So I guess it must be time for an update, even though I don’t have much to report, and what there is is probably insubstantial if you’re sitting on the other side of the screen reading.

For example, my mother has been in and out of the hospital again, draining time and energy. She’s okay for now, thanks, with specialist appointments coming up to see if they can figure out what is causing these spells of hers.

The Darkest Month is over, but I don’t know if my mood has changed any. My wife had me taking B Vitamin Complex, saying it might boost my mood. I didn’t notice any difference, so I quit taking them. She says she noticed a difference. I started taking them again. Then we ran out. I still feel about the same as I did when this whole enterprise started.

Maybe I should save this for the other blog I never update, but a family of raccoons has again moved nearby, making attempts to pillage the goat and chicken feed, the chicken eggs, and the chickens themselves (relax, the chooks are okay, just so frightened they want to live on our front porch). The racs don’t like the layer mash, which has brewer’s waste in it (kind of beery smelling), but they go for the sweet feet and chicken scratch. Picked up a new set of traps at Tractor Supply over the weekend. Have capped two young racs since, and will have to dispose of a third when I get home from work tonight. If it goes like it did last year, I’ll run out of the kids and pretty soon momma will blunder into the trap.

If it hasn’t been finished already – I don’t keep count, and just check every now and then – I’m about to complete my 50th song. Still no progress on recording it or the 49 that came before, and no progress playing out. Between mom and the raccoons, where’s the time?

My son and daughter are having adventures. Son is being laid off with two months’ notice by the giant corporation he works for. They’re giving a generous severance and retraining package, so he’s changing career course while he’s still young enough for his bones to bend. Daughter is still in Russia and faced getting run out a couple of times due to changes in their Visa policy. So recently she had to step out of the country long enough to get her Visa stamped, and now everything should be spinning in its bureaucratic groove. I’d tell you more, but she has been adroitly chronicling her adventures here.

I have a work colleague who thinks I should turn one of my novels into a graphic novel. I’m poking at that idea with a sharp pencil.

Meantime, the big project on the plate is this year’s Vacation Bible School adventure, which will feature a wild west theme. I haven’t told any of the principals at church this, because they won’t understand it, but I don’t have anything on paper yet. That’s because I’ve been working on it in my head. I’ll start typing hopefully soon, with an eye toward having a finished script at the end of April/beginning of May, Mom and Raccoons permitting.

Finally there is that novel that needs a final draft and that play that needs another draft. Sheesh, you look at all of the above and tell me when that is going to happen.

So there’s the update. Told you it wasn’t much. Y’all sure you want more frequent updates?

What I Have Learned from Keeping Fish

I’m slowly getting back into keeping tropical fish again. I just restocked the betta vase in my day job office with a Crowntail Betta1, and on my bookcase is an Eclipse 6 aquarium that I’m slowly setting up to house a few White Clouds and Guppies. If the bug of my youth returns as a result, I may have a large tank in my house by fall. We’ll see.

I’ve kept fish on and off for a long time, and started thanks to Tide laundry soap. I had had turtles and a goldfish bowl in my early youth, but they went the way of all things. Then, when I was in junior high, I went to the grocery store with my mother one day to see that there was a huge, shallow tank of goldfish just inside of the checkout aisles. There was a promotion – buy a box of Tide, get two free goldfish. Mom was buying Tide anyway, so I picked out a gold and a calico goldfish, named them Patton and Rommel (yeah, I was that kind of a kid), got a bowl and some food and took them home.

After a couple of weeks the calico died2. For some reason, instead of taking it in stride after the Flush Funeral, I got it in my head to do some research of why that happened. That’s when I discovered the world of tanks, filters, gravel, pumps, and heaters.

So I saved up and got a five gallon tank that I wisely decided would be heated by the incandescent bulb in the hood. Into it went Patton, and eventually he was joined by a Cory Cat, a pair of Kissing Gouramis, and a handful of plain guppies – a fish I still have a lot of affection for, even though my fish of choice are cichlids.

Though my high school years the hobby grew until I had three or four tanks up to about 20 gallons in size. I went on hiatus for college, and after returning to Wyoming as a married man, our mobile home had a 29 gallon tank whose principal occupant was a large Jack Dempsey cichlid that I raised from tiny size. My young son called it a “Jack Fish.”

The hobby went on hiatus when we moved to Ohio, and I didn’t get back into it until someone at the marketing company where I worked abandoned a 29 gallon tank and hood in his office that I claimed, rehabilitated, and filled with cichlids. When the company got rid of me the tank followed me home and stayed around until time and space limitations crowded it out of my life.

So now things are slowing a bit and fish might be coming back into my life. That’s good. I’ve always enjoyed keeping them, and while they don’t seem to have the intelligence of or the emotional return of a cat or a dog (although some cichlid fans I know of claim that an Oscar or Dempsey is more of a pet than a cat), they do bring a certain serenity into your life3.

Besides that, you learn things from fish. No, this is not going to be “learn the responsibility of caring for a dependent living thing, blah blah blah” – I’m talking about lessons with a real life analogue4.

My first job was at the fish store where I bought all of my supplies and livestock. I was there on Saturday afternoons, doing light tank maintenance and waiting on customers. It was my introduction to the joys of working retail and the exposure to working with the public that it entails.

Fortunately, most of the Saturday crowd were other dedicated aquarium keepers, and I learned a lot of practical information.

But that’s also where I had the eye-opening experience of seeing that adults were fallible. Not only that, but I also had the experience of realizing for the first time that I knew more than a grownup did.

And it wasn’t just keeping an adult from making a beginner mistake like putting a couple of cichlids into a tank full of Neon Tetras. That’s part of why I was at the store. No, this was my first up-close and personal with an adult who should have known better – an adult who was just plain wrong.

It played out something like this. A guy comes into the store. In the course of conversation, I learn that he keeps Angelfish (a popular cichlid that I never had much interest in). He asked me what I liked. I said I was enjoying guppies, which were so prolific that I always had a stable population in my tank.

“Oh no,” he said. “I hate guppies.”

“Why?” I asked. Not that I cared, but it was polite.

“There’s too much protein in guppies.”

I gave him a funny look.

“I bought a bunch of feeder guppies and put them with my Angels. But there’s too much protein in guppies, and it went right to the Angels’ fins. Their fins started looking ragged after eating guppies.”

And that was the moment when I knew that I knew more than an adult.

See, it wasn’t that there was too much protein in a guppy for an Angelfish to handle. I knew from my research that guppies had one flaw (some people consider their prolific breeding habits a flaw as well, but let’s move on). They are notorious fin nippers. They can’t resist taking a bite out of something long, wavy, and slow moving, which is why you don’t want to put them in with Bettas or, yes, Angelfish.

Now I suppose I should have politely told him that, but I also had the feeling that he wouldn’t have believed me. I was just a kid who kept guppies, for crying out loud. So this was also the first time that I kept silent to let someone bask in their own wrongness.

That’s a trait I’m trying to relearn, and it’s interesting to me that it comes at a time when fish are trickling back into my life. I seem to be going through a phase of my life where I am being ignored. No, check that. I’ve been ignored all of my life, but at this particular juncture, I have just become exceedingly aware of the extent of it.

I’m fascinated by passages in the Old Testament when it is prophesied about the life of someone as they are born – Ishmael being a ‘wild ass of a man’ and how Esau is lesser than Jacob, all of that. And I can’t help wonder if when I was born that it was said, “His name will be Joe, and he will be full of great ideas. But lo, nobody will heed them, let alone listen to them, and he shall be unappreciated for all of his days.”

Perhaps it is fortuitous, then, that fish are slowly coming back into my life. Maybe I need to re-learn the fact that it is probably better to keep one’s mouth shut and let others continue to eat protein-heavy guppies.

  1. Before some of you die-hard enthusiasts freak, let me assure you that, when my wife gave me this vase as a gift several years ago (she felt bad that I no longer had an aquarium), I had enough fish smarts to know that the fish would not live off the plant roots and the plant off of the fish’s waste products. The fish is fed regularly and the vase gets regular water changes and complete cleanings. The original betta lived happily for 18 months (their life span is two years) and was comfortable enough with his environment that he built a bubble nest on a couple of occasions. I expect this one will do the same.
  2. I can’t recall if the Calico was Patton or Rommel. Since historically Rommel died first, we’ll say it was Rommel. Not that it really matters.
  3. And no, fish are not the low maintenance pets of myth – but you can determine how much time you want to spend on them by the fish you choose. I’ve always wanted to keep Discus cichlids, but they are almost as much trouble to keep as a saltwater aquarium – and saltwater setups are for people with no other life).
  4. Although I did also learn that I didn’t like goldfish. Wait, scratch that. Goldfish are great pond fish. I just don’t like them in an aquarium.

Overdrawn at the Memory Bank

After probably 10 years of having a Palm PDA in my pocket, I’m quitting.

It’s not so much any kind of idealism, or some kind of neo-ludditeism. I don’t think that the Palms available now have the integrity of product that they had when I first got one.

The first Palm I owned was a IIIx. A nice little unit that was easy on AAA batteries unless I overused the backlight. It lasted three years, until I dropped on the last night of a long camping trek that took our family through Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois. The face cracked. I bought a used one on eBay and fixed it myself, but it wasn’t the same after that.

So I bought a IIIc, which was a color unit. This one had a rechargeable battery, so no more feeding AAA’s. It ran about five years and then started showing symptoms of impending doom. I was proactive and bought a newer Palm, but the IIIc wouldn’t die, so I gave it to my wife so she could try out Palmdom. It ran for another year or so before completely giving out.

The replacement, which I bought around 2005, was a Zire 72. Had a camera in it that I didn’t care about, and a feature that played mp3’s that was useful but superfluous since I had an iPod Shuffle. But it did have a nice screen, and a voice memo feature that I used a lot less than I thought I would. It lived less than two years before giving me trouble and dying.

So earlier this year, I decided to take a step backwards. For $99 I bought a vanilla Z22 that was a starter model, a step or two back on the evolutionary scale from where I had been. Less resolution on the screen, bare bones features, but all the stuff I depended on the Palm for – calendar, address book, memos, Bible. I had gotten one for my wife to replace the IIIc, and it seemed to work fine.

Mine worked for less than a year. Last Friday it decided not to turn on in spite of being freshly charged. Attempts were made over the weekend to charge and revive it, but it was dead, Jim.

I did a little quick arithmetic and concluded I’d gone through two Palms in as many years after having had two models that gave me nine. Well, they’ve changed hands at least once; maybe Palm isn’t the company it used to be.

So I dug out my old DayTimer binder, printed out my remaining 07 date book and contacts into pre-formatted pages, cut them, punched them, and presto. I am low tech once again. Thirty bucks a year on refills is cheaper than $99 or more a year on new Palms.

However, there is a bigger issue. This thing has gotten me to thinking about my brain. I had heard someone talking on the news or somewhere (and this is symptom one – I can’t remember where), and they were blaming modern technology for what they saw as the softening of our brains. Calculators perform mathematical functions for us (instead of… slide rules? An abacus? Fingers? Stones in a pouch?). Pocket phones remember phone numbers. PDA’s and Google and Yahoo have calendars and alarms. It’s no longer incumbent upon us to remember anything.

As opposed to long ago, when oral tradition was everything, where tricks like adding rhymes and then meter helped the storytellers remember the story, the birth of both poetry and song. And even 100 (well, say 150) years ago, when folks would memorize and recite poetry for each other in one another’s parlors. Or even as recently as when I was in the third grade and had to memorize one poem a month (I still remember the opening lines of the one about the Village Smithy, written by, I think, Longfellow).

Now what do we have occasion to remember? I’m saddened to think that I can name all of the members of Yes from their start up to about 1988 or so, but I still can’t remember my son’s cell phone number.

Or to put it another way. At my work, there are 7 fax numbers that I use once a month. Each month I look at my list and write them down,, then punch them into our fax machine, so that’s two exposures. I have been working directly with the client that uses these numbers for seven years. So that gives us 12 x 2 x 7, which means I’ve run every number through my brain 168 times during that time. How many do you suppose I know? Only one, and that was a number I already had memorized from when I worked for the company that owned the number. And I know the last four digits of another number because it’s 1350, the frequency of their AM radio station. Other than that? Pffft.

How critical is it that I know all of these numbers? In the long run, probably not that. I suppose I never learned them because I never had to. They’re on a sheet on a bulletin board that overlooks my desk. I don’t know the regular phone numbers, either, though I use more often. On my phone, each has a four-digit speed dial code. And I don’t know those codes because, you guessed it, they are all on that chart, too.

Basically I never memorized this stuff because I never had to.

Well, maybe I ought to start exercising my brain a little more. Apparently, a lot of other people feel the same way, judging from the rising popularity of brain-building games like Nintendo’s Brain Age for the DS and Big Brain Academy for the Wii (where the worst I do is on the memory games). And now I’m similarly inclined because I recently realized that, while I can spout all of those Yes-ites and what instrument they played, and probably which albums they were on, I’m pathetic when it comes to doing more practical things like quoting Bible verses (usually I paraphrase and say, “This is from the Joe Standard Version”).

(Although maybe I never memorized verses because I never felt the need since I try to read frequently – and, of course, part of my Palm software included two translations of The Bible.)

So what am I going to do about all of this? I’m not sure. I’m still getting over being ticked off with myself for letting my brain get so lazy. I suppose I can work on memorizing Bible verses again. Maybe I should memorize a poem a month like back in third grade. Although it might be enough if I memorized some of my own songs (if I could just play them with any confidence at all, knowing the words might do me good someday).

I suppose the best place to start would be to memorize my son’s cell phone number.

If I come up with a plan, I’ll let you know. I’ll even do progress reports. Unless I forget.

My Baby’s On the Other Side of the World and Other Stories

1. My Baby’s On the Other Side of the World. It’s not my wife or girlfriend baby. It’s my youngest child. And she really is on the other side of the world, 14 time zones away1 in Siberia. Actually, she’s in what is called “Far East Russia,” but we all say “Siberia” because people give you a blank look if you say “Far East Russia.”

How did she get there? The Rotary Youth Exchange program.

Why did she go? She took some Post Secondary classes in Russian and fell in love with the language. She wants to major in Russian Translation. Why Russian? She has a gift for languages. And she saw a Russian copy of one of my books and thought it would be neat to be able to read it. So on a whim, she took a class that turned into several classes and is now the direction she wants her life to go in. So now my baby is on the other side of the world, and I’m responsible.

And if I hadn’t raised her to want to go, and If I hadn’t been willing to let her go, I’d have been a rotten father.

It’s been an ordeal getting her prepped and away. And now, in the space of six short months, my wife and I have become empty nesters (my adult son took a job promotion and moved from Ohio to Saint Paul in February of this year). We’re still adjusting.

So if you’ve sent me an e-mail in the last six-to-eight weeks and haven’t gotten an answer yet, that’s the reason. Our lives were uprooted trying to get everything in order. But now things are calming down, and I’m making my way slowly through the list of unanswered emails. Hang in there.

2. He Had a Voice Like an Angel and He Could Have Been a Star. No, his name wasn’t Johnny. It was Clifford. That’s where my middle name came from. He was my uncle and he passed away over the weekend. Now both of my namesake relatives (I was also named after his oldest sister, Jo) are gone.

Clifford had a boxer’s nose, the result of early and primitive surgery during childhood to correct a deviated septum; it turns out to be a genetic trait that I also have. I’ve opted to keep mine as a souvenir.

In spite of the compromised sinuses, Clifford had a beautiful singing voice. But he had more than that. He had an exquisite sense of phrasing and timing. He didn’t sing songs, he acted them out, played them, became the narrator. Most singers have to learn it. He did it naturally.

Once upon a time, some men heard Clifford sing and approached him with a deal. “We know people,” they said. “We have record company connections and concert hall owners and promoters. We can make you rich and famous. All you have to do is tell people that you’re one of us.”

They were from the Communist Party.

Clifford told them to take a hike.

So you’ve never heard of Clifford Faust, the pop singer who was famous throughout the 50’s and 60’s, and had a variety show like everyone else in the early ’70’s. That’s because he went to war instead, as a radio operator in a plane that dropped bombs over Italy. His plane was shot down so many times they called him and his colleagues The Hard Luck Crew. On one trip back his oxygen was shot out and he had to be revived on returning to base.

Instead of being a star, he carried the invisible scars of his service to his country throughout the rest of his life.

And I should have written this while he was still able to appreciate it.

3. Everything Must Go. I’ve about got Version 8.0 of this web site finished. When it is, I’m going to do something that I should have done long ago. I’m going to have my host company wipe out everything currently on my server space before posting it. After 9 1/2 years of this site, there’s an awful lot of clutter out there. So I’m cleaning out the cellar and starting all over again, fresh.

A lot of stuff isn’t going to come back, including the archives of the writing blog. I’ve seen the stats, and all it is doing is wasting server space – it’s not even wasting bandwidth.

I have it all backed up, and I have a couple of ideas of what to do with the material, including nothing. A few highlights will be recycled into v 8.0, but for the most part everything must go. If you want to make a stab at reading my literary mind, do so now while the stuff is still up.

4. HappyBlogiverary to Me – This and $3.10 Will Get Me a Grande Skim Latte at Starbucks. Still recovering from sending my baby to the other side of the world, I missed the actual anniversary date. I started on September 6, 2002. This is my fifth year of blogging. A lot has changed. There’s been a bust in the blog audience all over the net. I’m not the same me I was five years ago. Funny how much can change. Wonder if I’ll even be around in another five years. Maybe nobody will.

Ah, such morose thoughts. You’d think I was Russian or something.

There’s lots I have to be cheerful about. I’m just out of writing time right now.


  1. Okay, technically I suppose she’s only 10 time zones away if you go west. But there are only two portal cities into Russia, and she had to travel east through Moscow, which means instead of going the short way, she had to go 2/3 of the way around the world to get to her destination – through 14 time zones.