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616th Friday Blog Roundup

Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature.  When I saw the news, I said, “Oh, look, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature.  I didn’t know they gave it to musicians, but… okay.  That’s cool.  He’s a great writer.”  Then I went on the Internet.

Instantly I was swept up in a river of rage as people needed it known that (1) Bob Dylan didn’t deserve it, (2) Bob Dylan totally deserved it, and (3) certain writers deserve to win Grammys, and… well…  a lot of other stuff because this is the Internet and the Internet is a passionate rage machine.

I like Bob Dylan.  I only listened to one tape for all four years of grad school, and it was the first tape of Biograph.  If you got in my car, you were going to listen to “Lay Lady Lay,” and you were going to like it because it was the only tape in the car.

Moreover, we named my guitar Bob Jackson partially after Mr. Dylan and partially over the fact that he didn’t die taking bad medicine.  So I am pro-Bob Dylan.  And anti-bad medicine.

(P.S. I still think Peebles St. Ives would have been a great name for the guitar)


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.

On one hand, the only introduction No Kidding in NZ’s post needs is “amen,” but I will promise you that if you click over, at least one (and probably all) the paragraphs will resonate with you.  You may even cheer.  This is the one that got my hands clapping in agreement: “I am furious that so many men only feel personally feel offended by poor treatment or attitudes towards women if they think that their ‘wives and daughters’ might be treated badly, but didn’t feel any concerns or were not motivated to do anything about it previously when their wives and daughters or all the other women around the world were and are still denied the right to make decisions about education, or family building, or their own bodies.”  So well said.

Travelcraft Journal has a post about a mug that was purchased on a trip with her grandmother.  She writes: “I wish there was a word for the opposite of regret, to describe things that, even in hindsight, you are 100% glad you did.”  Isn’t that so perfect?  I wish there was that word, too.  Someone invent it, please.

Lastly, An Engineer Becomes a Mom has a post about an adoption-themed dance that occurred on the show So You Think You Can Dance.  I ended up watching it.  You know what would have nipped that whole dance story in the bud?  Having an open conversation about adoption from day one so the child grows with an understanding of her story.  Go jump into the conversation on AEBaM’s blog.

The roundup to the Roundup: Bob Dylan wins the Nobel Prize. 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 October 7th and 14th) 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.

October 14, 2016   10 Comments

The Scapegoat

Leviticus 16 is the section of the Torah read every Yom Kippur.  It’s not the most exciting portion, and it’s not one that normally gets under my skin like all the infertility talk on Rosh HaShanah.  (That service is like navigating a land mine.  I don’t think I’ve ever gotten through it without crying at some point.)  Leviticus 16 is the story of Aaron and the two goats.

Two goats are chosen from the herd.  They must be exactly alike, practically indistinguishable.  For instance, you cannot take one healthy goat and one unhealthy goat, or one fat goat and one thin goat, or one unblemished goat and one blemished goat.  Exactly alike.

One goat gets sacrificed as an offering, and there are strict rules for how to use the goat’s blood.

The other goat has a very different fate.  It is told all the wrongdoings of the community and then sent away to wander the desert, far away from the people whose sins he is forced to figuratively carry on his little goat shoulders.  (Do goats have shoulders?)  He is — as you probably guessed — the scapegoat, forced to own everyone else’s terrible decision.

But here’s the thing: Those two goats are exactly alike.  Their fate is determined by a lottery.  Each has an equal chance of being driven out of the community.  And, frankly, as much as it would suck to wander around the desert without water and likely die in the wild, it would suck more to definitely be killed as part of a goat sacrifice.  In one situation, you have a fighting chance for your life, and in the other, you don’t.  And, let’s all be honest, as we read this, we think these outdated ideas are a little odd, right?


I guess this Torah portion got under my skin because we are in an election season where the scapegoats are being named, left and right.  Whole genders, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, and physical situations have been blamed for amorphous issues such as unemployment, terrorism, and crime.  The people in those scapegoat groups are going to have their lives as they know it obliterated, more akin to the sacrificial goat than the wandering one.  If Trump comes into power, families might be separated, marriages might be taken away, more violence might errupt.

But here’s the thing that goes back to those goats.  With the goats, everything was equal.  Each had a chance to have to carry the burden of the community.  But there is a lot of inequality with the groups targeted as scapegoats this election.  There is a lot of privilege being abused in the name of bettering the country.

It is so easy to blame other people for your problems. It is so much harder to sit with your own role in creating that problem or admit that there are problems without clear-cut solutions.  I am terrified when I hear Trump speak.  When I think about the direction his rhetoric is taking the country.

This country needs fewer scapegoats and more people willing to work together to take care of the herd.

October 13, 2016   8 Comments

SuperBetter: Setting My 3:1

I really wish I had paid better attention when this thought was introduced at the beginning of SuperBetter, but the general idea is that you think up three things that you really love; things that can be experienced in quick succession.  And then whenever you encounter your “bad guy” (oh… you have a goal when you set up SuperBetter.  I chose anxiety because… yeah… I’m a worrier), you do those three things in quick succession.

For instance, let’s say that I’m starting to worry, and my brain is traveling really far away from the problem into chest-tightening what if territory.  I stop for a moment and acknowledge this is happening.  Then I do my three things.  And the idea is that after getting the good feelings from doing those three things, I can return to whatever I was doing beforehand and hopefully feel calmer.

Choosing my three things was really hard.  I wanted them to be quick because I don’t have a lot of free time in the day, and if I ended up losing 15 minutes of work time, I was going to become even more anxious.  I also wanted them to be portable because I don’t just get anxious at home.  Oh, and I didn’t want it to involve food (because that would just be a new disorder waiting to happen), money (because I shouldn’t need to spend it to feel happy), or exercise (because I’m lazy.  And I already workout every morning.  And I’m not dedicating one more second of my day to exercise).

I decided my first thing would be to listen to five minutes of a Dungeons and Dragon game.  I’m following two games at the moment.  People record their campaigns and then put them online.  So I would listen to five minutes of one of the two Dungeons and Dragons games.

My second thing would be a chess task.  A chess task is like a chess puzzle.  The board is set, and you have to figure out how to put the king in check or how to get a piece out of trouble.  It’s like chess warm-ups that you can do to keep creative between games.  So I would do a chess task.

My third thing would be to play one board in Desert Golfing.  Desert Golfing is the best worst game in the world.  I find it very relaxing.  So I would quickly drop the ball in a hole and move on.

My three things were set.  It was now time to live life.

So far, I’ve only had to use them once.  I started feeling anxious, going deep into the what ifs, and I said to myself, “Melissa, stop.  This is not a good use of your time.  Do your three things and move back to work.”

So I queued up the Dungeons and Dragon game and listened for 5 minutes.  The people sounded like they were having a great time.  I then did a chess task.  It made me really happy to open the app in the middle of the day and visit the pieces.  (Oh — I have chess tasks I do on an actual board and others that I do via three different apps.  I went with one of the app ones for now.)  I solved my task and closed the app.

I realized as I opened Desert Golfing that I was feeling better and probably didn’t need to use up time on this third item, but I did it anyway in case it was like antibiotics and you needed to finish the whole course or end up getting sick again.  Desert Golfing also only takes a few seconds, so it was time well-spent.  I set down my phone and got back to work, no longer anxious.

Was it a placebo effect because I was told this would make a difference so it made a difference?  Perhaps.  But it really did change my mood to see chess pieces in the middle of the day.  And the Dungeons and Dragon minutes were just fun — like reading a magazine in the doctor’s office.  And Desert Golfing always makes me feel calm when I play, so it had its natural effect.

I’m going to keep at it.  If you’re doing this, too, what are your three things?

October 12, 2016   6 Comments

I Am Getting SuperBetter

I was listening to my best friend Manoush Zomorodi’s podcast (by the way — she doesn’t know she’s my best friend and that I talk to her while the podcast is running, so please don’t tell her), and she had on Jane McGonigal, a game designer and the author of SuperBetter.

I decided to download the app on a whim.  Here’s the thing: I have a lot of issues with self-help apps or books .  If you have a specific problem you want to address, and you seek out help through a specific app or book, I think the self-help world is a godsend.  But the general thought that we can all be “bettering” ourselves is a dangerous message, no healthier than airbrushed models on the cover of magazines.

The general self-help world is constantly screaming at you change change change.  Actually, it’s more like CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE.  And maybe… well… that’s doing more damage to your self-esteem than if you never sought out self-help materials in the first place.  I don’t believe the vast majority of us need to change.  I think the vast majority of us are a mixture of positive and negative traits, and the key is to use your positive traits and to acknowledge your negative traits and move on.  The only time you need to address those negative traits are if you can no longer live with them.  Since… you know… you have to always live with yourself.

Anyway, I did not think I would like this app and thought it would languish on my phone for a few weeks until I deleted it.  But that’s not what happened.  The pretty rainbow icon sucked me in.  I started chugging water and giving myself hugs.  I WAS HUGGING MYSELF, PEOPLE.  I am not a hugger by nature, and it was damn awkward to wrap my arms around myself, but I’ve been giving myself hugs every single morning.

I guess I like it because it’s self-help that fits firmly within my belief system above.  I don’t feel like the app is telling me to change.  It’s just telling me to be myself and to use my positive traits rather than only focus on the negative ones.

If you like games and you’re okay with using up a ton of post-it notes (there was a day that I had to leave positive affirmations around the house for myself), download SuperBetter.  I’m going to write about a few of the things I’ve learned from the app… and about myself.  So join along if you’re inclined or just read my experience if you’re not or skip any post that mentions SuperBetter because you just hate the idea of me being my best self.  That’s okay.  You can feel that way because I’m awesome.


I am simultaneously reading her book, and will also refer to that from time to time.  So… I guess I’m saying… if you kind of want to make this a club and become allies for one another (SuperBetter’ers will get that ally lingo), grab the app or the book and join me in talking this out.

P.S. When I’m not mistakenly calling it SuperBad, I am thinking of myself like a Saturday Night Live character who wears unfashionable clothing and reads self-help books and pumps her first in the air as the punchline shrieking, “SuperBetter!”

October 11, 2016   6 Comments

#Microblog Mondays 111: The Crown

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


The ChickieNob and I have been waiting forever for the BBC to release The Crown, and it will finally be here at the beginning of November.  We are going to devour that series while speaking to each other in British accents and eating scones and wearing sweater sets.  So excited.


What gave me pause was wondering how the Queen — who is still alive — processes art made about her life.  It’s one thing to have a show made about you after you’re gone, but it’s another to have your life dramatized for entertainment or educational purposes.  I know she lives in the public eye, but it gave me pause to think of her bothered by (or maybe she loves it?) the show.

What do you think of biographical movies made about people while they’re still alive?


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. How Women Are Forced To Quit Jobs Post Motherhood 12. Modern Gypsy 23. Shail
2. Mali (No Kidding) 13. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 24. Who Shot Down My Stork?
3. Anks 14. # Infertility Not ATaboo | An@ mi 25. Amber
4. My Basa Story 15. Jess 26. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
5. Lori Lavender Luz 16. Isabelle 27. Virgí nia
6. Obsessivemom 17. Corinne 28. Geochick
7. Middle Girl 18. Dr. Amrita Basu 29. Just Heather
8. Unpregnant Chicken 19. Darshana Suresh 30. Failing at Haiku
9. Apluseffort 20. Journeywoman 31. the OCD infertile
10. Conceptionally Challenged 21. Traci York, Writer
11. Accio Babies 22. Cyn K

October 10, 2016   24 Comments

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