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Back to School

I am terrible with languages.  I know that sounds strange since I have a translation degree, but my brain moves like a seven-year-old computer; still functioning but annoyingly slow.

I am helping the twins prepare for their B’nai Mitzvah by translating their Torah portion with them, going through the etymology of each word and how they’re connected to other words.  We sit at the kitchen table with five dictionaries fanning out across the table.  It is painful watching me translate.  Once upon a time, I skipped through short stories, nimbly transforming them into English.  We now focus on maybe three words per day.

It’s their work, but because they’re still learning this, it’s also my work.

They’re starting French in the fall.  I’m also supposed to help them with that, so I downloaded a language app so I can review intro level French.  They’re also using the app, absorbing all the vocabulary and spitting it back out at me while I’m trying to chop lettuce for a salad.  My brain spins like the cursor on the computer, buffering buffering buffering, trying to remember conjugations so I don’t tell them the wrong thing.

I am dreading being the person linguistically in charge when we travel.  I’m mostly fine reading French.  But people expect you to speak it when you enter their country.  They don’t want to help you by writing out everything they’re saying so you can read it from a piece of paper, and then wait until you write back.  I’ve always been terrible with organizing my thoughts verbally, whether in English, Hebrew, or French.  It doesn’t help that I haven’t used two of those languages in the last 20 years.

It is hard to switch back and forth between three languages in one day when your brain has so little RAM.  My brain is like a computer that still has a slot for floppy discs.  That has a dusty modem on the side that sputters to life, tying up the phone line.  That is my brain.

Wish me luck.

June 25, 2017   4 Comments

651st Friday Blog Roundup

I am not normally (1) a napper or (2) into crystals, but I want to take a nap on a $75/half hour crystal bed.  I want to awaken in a perfect state by lying down on what amounts to “a baby bouncer for adults.”  I could do without a pine-scented eye mask — I really don’t like the smell of pine needles — but if they had one that was the scent of sunscreen?  And the sounds were beach sounds?  And the cost wasn’t $75?  I would be all over that.

Maybe I just want a nap.  Period.  I am feeling really burned out and could use a few hours of down time.

Which makes it sound like that old commercial for Polly-o string cheese.  I want a nap on a crystal bed.  But hold the pine-scented mask.  And hold the vibrating crystals.  Hey, Jimmy, give this girl a nap with nothing.  Nuttin’?

Yeah, like just a nap.

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Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

  • None… sniff.

Okay, now my choices this week.

No Kidding in NZ has a post about Mother’s Day (and by extension, Father’s Day).  She writes, “There was, of course, the usual onslaught on social media, as there is today for Father’s Day, where the curse of social media is that people seem to place importance on being seen to recognise their parents or partners. I will admit that I was a bit fed up that my normal feeds this morning were clogged up with northern hemisphere people cheerfully wishing their fathers or husbands a good day, and even resented* those people who tagged on wishes for ‘those who find today hard,’ and wondered why, if they acknowledge that today is hard for some people, do they post about it at all?”  Additionally, in a world that marks the same idea on different days on the calendar, social media means you’re living it again and again and again.

My Path to Mommyhood writes about telling people that she’s not adopting.  She’s doing it slowly, and she’s doing it with a lot of justification, feeling like she needs to explain their decision to stop their family building plans.  In trying to protect her heart, she’s causing herself more stress.  The fact is, she shouldn’t have to protect her heart.  Her heart is already raw; it’s up to the rest of the world to just lean in and hug.

The Road Less Travelled is my Canadian twin.  She has a post about splurging for better seats on an airplane, and I nodded through the whole post.  It pains me to needlessly spend money, and I’m fairly bitter about air travel, but I agree wholeheartedly: “We didn’t get the child we wanted so much — but we CAN have some of those little luxuries that make life more fun and pleasant. So why not?  Life is short… pay for the preferred seat!”  Good advice.

Lastly, Non Sequitur Chica has a post about diversity that was a perfect parenting moment of kids not following the script.  I will probably spend the rest of the day humming, “Hi ho the deerio we all have different skin” to myself.  It’s hard work and it’s important work, but talking about big ideas doesn’t always go as smoothly as you hope.

The roundup to the Roundup: Give me a nap with nuttin’.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between June 16th and 23rd) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

June 23, 2017   7 Comments

11 Years

I am currently in a prime number birth year, and this space is in a prime number blogging year: eleven.  Eleven years ago, Josh set up my blog for me.  This place on the web has been his best gift.  (I mean, beyond always supporting my half-baked ideas and giving me space to be myself.)

Thank you, Josh.

I get a little teary when I talk about the Internet because — at least for me — it has done exactly what it was supposed to do.  It connected me.  I was over here, in this tiny bubble on the side of life, and it brought my bubble in contact with millions of other people’s bubbles.  We’ve knocked into each other and drifted apart from one another and stuck together and merged into bigger bubbles from time to time.

Thank you, everyone else.

I don’t have a lot of advice left to give about blogging; it’s really been the same thing year after year.

WAIT.

I have one last thing to say. (Until next year, when I will say another one last thing.)

Don’t look at your stats.  Platforms try to make those numbers easily accessible, but you should do everything in your power to NOT look at them.  At all.  Don’t peek at them from time to time.  Don’t think about them.  Don’t Google what is a good amount of page views.  Don’t think about numbers at all.

Because here’s the thing.  You will be happy if you never look at them.  If you write and assume that there are people quietly reading from their phone, not commenting but still thinking about your words all day.  You will be happy if you don’t know your stats AND you don’t know anyone else’s stats.

I really think Buddha had it right with the Four Noble Truths.  Expectations hinder us.  Expectations throw us off our game.  Expectations make us feel disappointment.

I once dated a guy who tried to teach me this.  We argued about it all the time because I didn’t think you could live without expectations.  I was an expectation-centric person, and the concept of going through life without facts and forecasts was unfathomable.

But I think I get it with this blogging thing.  Every once in a while I need to peek at my stats because someone else needs the number.  And it either makes me feel like shit if the stats are not where I thought they’d be, or the numbers inflate my ego and distract me if they’re higher than I thought they’d be.  So I don’t look at them.  I don’t think about them.  I just write.

And I hope you just write.  There are fewer and fewer of you out there, writing.  I wish you would open your blogs again and jot down a post.  It doesn’t need to be high art.  It doesn’t need to happen with regularity.  It just needs to happen enough that you feel that release of your words going out into the universe.  So that your bubble knocks up against everyone else’s bubble.

I’m floating out here.  I hope you are, too.

June 21, 2017   21 Comments

All the People Out There

This is it.  The last post about Matthew Quick’s book, Every Exquisite Thing. You have to be impressed by a single book that has generated 8 blog posts. (You can find the other ones here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)  As always, you don’t have to read the book to follow these posts and have an opinion because I’m using the book as a springboard to other mental spaces.  But it makes a damn fine beach read.

There are times in your life when you feel like you’ve met everyone.  I rationally know that there are thousands of people around me — right here in this town — that I don’t know, but… it also feels like I rarely connect with new people.

The same goes with interests.  It feels like I’ve already established all of my interests, even though rationally I know that I can scroll back through the blog and see things like video game genres or guitar lessons — interests that were new at one point or another.

There is always a chance that a new friendship or interest or opportunity will pop up on any given day.  Which is why I appreciated this sentiment from the book, and it feels like a perfect end point to all the navel-gazing.

On page 253, Nanette asks, “Is there anyone worth admiring in the world? Or does everyone let you down eventually?”

She receives an answer on page 254 from her therapist:

There are seven billion people in the world, and you have only experienced twenty thousand at the most. And those twenty thousand were fairly homogenous. Your experiences with people have been largely dictated by your parents’ choices. The neighborhood in which they chose to purchase a house. Where they sent you to school. And maybe those choices weren’t the best for you. Maybe you don’t fit in where you are now. But you still managed to survive four years of high school and have a few meaningful experiences along the way. There are seven billion other people out there. Seven billion. Are you really pessimistic enough to believe that you wouldn’t get along with any of them?
Remember that next time you’re in a funk.  Something (or someone) really could be just around the corner.

June 20, 2017   2 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 147: Vacation Anxiety

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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This article is about spring break (vs. summer break) AND it’s about millennials, but other than those two facts, it totally resonated with me: I have a problem taking off of work.

It isn’t shame.  Or guilt — I don’t feel guilt over saying that I need time off.  But I do have trouble figuring out how to take off so that no one else is inconvenienced and all the work gets done.  Sometimes I can work ahead or catch up after I’m back.  But I usually end up checking in at least twice a day while I’m away, answering questions so other people can complete tasks.

This isn’t a problem because I don’t mind doing it.  It’s me setting the expectation rather than having someone else tell me how things are going to be.  And I do it both because I appreciate it when other people check in while they’re away and answer my questions, plus it makes returning to work a little less stressful at the end of the vacation.

Do you fully check out when you’re on vacation, or do you still check in with work (if you work) while you’re away?

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored post.

1. Inexplicably Missing 10. Isabelle 19. Virg� nia
2. Circle of Daydreams 11. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 20. Turia
3. Modern Gypsy 12. Raven 21. Jess
4. Mali (A Separate Life) 13. Counting Pink Lines 22. Chandra Lynn (Pics and Posts)
5. Mali (No Kidding) 14. Lori @Laughing IS Conceivable 23. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
6. Jivf 15. Geochick 24. Laughing IS Conceivable 2
7. Persnickety 16. Journeywoman
8. A Focused Journey 17. Empty Arms, Broken Heart
9. Jenn P 18. Failing at Haiku

June 19, 2017   28 Comments

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