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Thank you for the kind words about work.  I’m not good with change in general, and I’m especially not fond of endings.  There’s nothing after an ending, you know.  It’s like a period at the end of a sentence.

I finished The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close, and there was one paragraph I really liked that came to me at the right time:

Here’s what I still hate about DC: the way that nothing is permanent, the feeling that everything and everyone you know, could (and does) wash away every four or eight years.  All of these important people, so ingrained in the city — you can’t imagine that this place could exist without them.  But one day they’re gone and everything keeps moving just the same.  Who can get their footing in a place like this?  It feels like quicksand to me (page 299).

That is a decent summary of what makes DC different from other cities.  Things change here, often.  There were classmates who were with me from Kindergarten through senior year, but there was always a chunk that would move here because their parents got a government job and move out by the next administration.  That is the story of a lot of our friends from early in our marriage.

Sometimes a friend will move to a new place, and they’ll tell me how hard it is to break into the community.  How most of the people have lived there their whole lives.  That is not DC.  It is fairly easy to slip into this city, and it’s fairly easy to slip out.

There are people who are fantastic with transitions.  They love starting new jobs or moving to a new place.  Or, if they don’t love it, they are at least fine with the idea.  They see the positives in change, and they get itchy when they need to stay tied down to one thing for too long.

That is not me.

I am incredibly loyal and long-lasting and unchanging.  I don’t like moving or switching jobs or even ending finite projects, like books.  (I cry at the end of every book.  With the last one, ChickieNob walked into the room while I was lying on Josh’s chest, sobbing, and she sighed, “Mummy must have put the book to bed.”)  I like eating the same foods for the same meals, day after day after day.  I shop at the same stores, buying the same products, even if it is less expensive at a different place.  I even like to drive in the same lane on the road every time I am traveling to a local spot.  Same same same same same.

Sameness is what makes me happy, and maybe it’s because I come from a place where change is part of the atmosphere.

Do you think the place where you grow up shapes how you deal with the world as an adult?

September 27, 2016   12 Comments

#Microblog Mondays 109: Goodbyes

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


Today is my last day at job, and I am the last person on the editorial team.  It’s been a little like the Martian for the last few weeks.  I’m just planting potatoes by myself, and it’s a little lonely.

I love the site so much, and I feel lucky that I got closure and featured great content right up to the end.  Before you ask, I have no clue what will happen to the site after this point, but I believe it will continue as informational support for the conference.  Anyway, if we worked there together, thank you.  I love working with writers, talking about writing, and learning something new every single day on the job.

I don’t want to talk about my next step right now; I want to say goodbye to a place that meant a lot to me.  I think we’re conditioned to always look ahead, but I really need to look behind for a moment as I gently close the door.  I am really proud of the work I did over there — that we all did over there.  I will always be grateful to Denise for bringing me onto the team.  I still have the original email from 2007 inviting me to work there.  Denise, it was everything you promised in that original exchange.

I’m not good with goodbyes, especially to inanimate entities like websites.  But I feel like I need to say goodbye to this one.


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 posts.

September 26, 2016   30 Comments

Different Kind of Smart (Episode #98234)

I’m at the library, and I see a sign for a huge used book sale happening in the basement.  10,000 books!  Most of them only 25 cents!

I think I will mosey on down there.  Perhaps the book I’m looking for — an older Curtis Sittenfeld novel — will be in the fiction section.

I clomp downstairs and immediately find the book sale room.  It’s the room they use for story time with the librarian or special programs at the library.  Currently it is packed with books, arranged by genre, and patronized by two elderly ladies.

I slip into the room, and they both look at me curiously but go back to shopping.  They must be wondering what a hip, 40-something year old woman like myself reads.  I browse the fantasy section, science fiction, and horror before I head back to literature.  The women keep looking at me, and I keep looking at them, thinking about how wonderful it is that these 80-something year old women are browsing sports encyclopedias.  Perhaps they were Olympians in their youth.  No… wait… they are staring at me… perhaps they were NOT Olympians but they wanted to be and now they are staring because they are jealous that I grew up in an age where girls played more sports.

I turn the corner and spot a copy of Flatland by Edwin Abbott.  I immediately snatch it off the shelf, which causes one of the elderly women to turn around in alarm.  I hold it up triumphantly, grinning.  “I CANNOT walk by a copy of Flatland without buying it, you know?”

“What are you doing?” the woman asks.

“I’m…  I’m buying this copy of Flatland.  It’s a math story… about dimensions… flat… land.”

“The sale isn’t open until Saturday,” she admonishes.  She looks at the other woman for backup.  The other woman picks up another stack of books and starts sorting them.  Like… putting them out on tables, sorting them.  Not browsing sports books for herself.

“Oh,” I say in a small voice and put back the book.  “Well, I will definitely be back next Saturday because… you have Flatland.”

I duck out of the room and race upstairs, checking the sign on the way out which — indeed — states that the sale is days away.  But even worse, as I run to my car, I realize that a smarter person would have pulled a crisp dollar out of her wallet and offered 4 times the asking price in order to get the slim novella.  But, as we all know, I’m a different kind of smart.

September 25, 2016   4 Comments

613th Friday Blog Roundup

Pottermore has finally posted its patronus test, but I haven’t taken it yet.  Part of it is because I want my patronus to be a black cat, so if it’s not a black cat, I’m going to have to do some major mental shifting.  Part of it is because I’m not really in the mood.

I think the Cursed Child got under my skin because, for the first time, I felt like a piece of the supplemental puzzle didn’t fit with the original Harry Potter world.  Everything else — the films, Pottermore, the spinoff books — supported the original world.  And then the Cursed Child wiggled in and… made the world feel different.  And not in a good way.  It feels like a puzzle piece that doesn’t snuggly fit, that you suspect really comes from a different set.

So I guess I’m worried because — I’ll admit it — I care what my patronus is.  I care which house I’m in and what my wand is made of and which animal is offering me protection.  Yes, I am aware this is silly and that it is fiction, but it’s my heart and I get to make decisions for it.  So I’m going to take the quiz, but I’m going to take it when I’m in a different frame of mind.

Until then, consider me protected by a little black cat.


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.


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:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Slaying, Blogging, Whatever has a post about how you can appreciate what you have while still mourning the otherwise.  She wistfully thinks about the experiences other kids have but also celebrates her son and all of his accomplishments.  It’s a wonderful post about perspective, and I love this line: “Sometimes grief is not just about the loss of a person. It is a loss of something less tangible.”

Dear Noah has a post about how the lens through which she sees the world made her mind jump to the worst conclusion when a mother showed up at a class without her new baby.  It made me think about how deeply our experiences affect us, making us see everything else from a new vantage point from that moment on.  Like how a twist of the hand forever changes a kaleidoscope.

Lastly, Ask Polly in New York Magazine has a great answer to a woman who asks about those desperate infertile women who blog all day about the fact that they can’t make baaaaaabeeeeeeees.  I love her because she writes: “Do you know how it felt to try and fail to get pregnant month after month? It fucking sucked. I’m telling you this not because this was some horribly dark passage in my life that I have a right to bitch about.”  And this: “They are not being obsessive and dorky. They are surviving hell.”  Read the whole thing even though it’s long.  Her answer will (I hope) make you get over any frustration you feels over reading the original question.

The roundup to the Roundup: I don’t know my patronus yet. 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 September 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.

September 23, 2016   6 Comments

Why I Really Am With Her

There is a lot I could say on my feelings about Donald Trump, but continuously going that route becomes problematic because… I’m not with Hillary Clinton by default, I’m with her by choice.  I mean, it would be equally rude to go on about all of my ex’s and finally end with, “And that’s why I married Josh,” as if he’s the only option left that makes sense.  No, I chose Josh and he chose me because we saw something in each other that said we’d be a good partnership.

So, politically, I choose Hillary Clinton.  I don’t choose her because she’s not Trump.  I choose her because she is Clinton.

It begins with her being the most qualified candidate ever.  She has already spent 8 years in the White House with a front row seat to the presidency and all the job entails.  She has been a senator and Secretary of State.  She knows, without a doubt, what she is getting into, and that makes a huge difference in the possibility of her success in the office.

I’m with Hillary because of her stance on responsible gun ownership.  I’m with her because she supports background checks and will work to close loopholes that allow guns to be sold to people who, frankly, shouldn’t have guns.

I’m with Hillary because she is working to keep legislators’ hands off my reproductive organs.  She supports Planned Parenthood and has publicly said that she will stand up to Republicans who want to defund the organization that brings critical health care to so many women.

I’m with Hillary because she has sensible, realistic ideas about immigration, taking into account that immigrants are human beings with the same wants and needs as citizens.  That the goal should be moving more people towards becoming legal citizens rather than punishment.  She makes it clear that immigrants are just people, part of the “us”, rather than an amorphous “them.”

I’m with Hillary because she is going to continue with education reforms and tweak the ones in place, reducing the number of tests children are expected to take to prove their teachers’ worth.  She has a plan for making preschool accessible to all children, not just the ones who can afford it.  And she’ll continue the work of making college affordable.  So many things are interconnected including strong education plans and a reduction of crime.  By giving more people more options, you will create a future generation that doesn’t feel backed into a financial corner.

I’m with Hillary because I believe she cares about work-life balance.  That she wants families to succeed and for people to have the space to care for children, elderly parents, or ill relatives.  That she’ll do everything in her power to influence that change in the workplace.

I’m with Hillary because she knows the limit of her position and doesn’t make promises of what she’ll do as president that ARE NOT POSSIBLE FROM THE POSITION OF PRESIDENT.  No one should have this position without understanding the requirements and restrictions of this position.

Those are the immediate reasons that pop into my head.  I’m sure that if I sat here with this post open for another hour, I could yank twenty additional reasons for why I support Hillary Clinton.  But at the end of the day, just as with Josh, it’s a gut decision.  I look at her and think, “Yes, I would like her to lead our nation.”  I don’t need her to be my friend or make me laugh or make me feel like I want to grab a coffee with her.  I just need a smart, calm, rational person to lead our nation.

That’s why I’m with her.

September 21, 2016   25 Comments

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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