Rough

It had been almost 20 days since I went out with my camera, for fun or profit.

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Dandelions gone to seed, Alms Park, Cincinnati, May 5, 2015

If it were December, or February, that would make sense; the cold and dark get to me every year. It’s May, though, and there have been a lot of beautiful days in that time. I didn’t even go out with my camera on my birthday, and that day was gorgeous! I was up and dressed; got my license renewed, had breakfast out, stopped in a bookstore, hours yet, before I had to be anywhere, and I came home instead, sitting inside, in front of my computer.

That tells me I’m unhappy.

Not just a little unhappy, either, but shading into depressed. I knew that, if I’m honest, but I haven’t had the energy to deal with it.

Even the weekends weren’t a reprieve. By the time Saturday rolled around, I had just enough energy to get out of bed and make breakfast. I only left the house when I absolutely had to. If my license and tags hadn’t expired last week, and I didn’t have friends who’d invited me to the symphony, I daresay I’d have spent my entire birthday in my house, not talking to anyone. Well, not no one, I’d have answered the phone when people called to wish me a happy birthday.

I’ve had days off here and there, but none of them were vacations; they were all sick days. There was a nasty cold, for instance; it started off like a particularly bad allergy attack, and took out my Easter weekend. Most recently, there was a sharp, sudden back (flank) pain with a slight fever that had me concerned about a possible kidney infection. I felt better by the end of the day, but I was still sore. I do have a real one coming up, a family vacation, and I still have to figure out how I’m getting there. Driving myself seems silly. Not to mention uncomfortable. Besides, I’d want to get my car into the shop to fix whatever makes my car squeal when I turn on the A/C or defroster. Without research, I assume it’s some sort of belt that needs replaced.

Of course, then I have to find someone to take me to work or home from the garage, and back to the garage when my car is ready. We have a concierge service through work that will do things like take your car to the garage, but I wouldn’t make anyone drive my car. No driver’s side mirror, so I’ve had to improvise. It broke off when the F350 hit me and caved in the driver’s-side door back in 2007. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I had to drive that from Tulsa to Colorado Springs. That was a bit nerve-wracking.

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Flowers reaching for the sun, Eden Park, Cincinnati, May 24, 2015

Where was I? Oh, right, sad, tired, depressed, affecting whole life, making things harder than they have to be, sapping all my energy and will. Typical for the winter, very atypical after about mid-March, the vernal equinox. Once again, I do have my suspicions for what is fueling this, and I am trying to figure out how to change, but there are entirely too many times when I feel completely alone. No one to really talk to. Not about this. So I continue to go through the motions of life, and try to recognize the bright spots when they come along.

Easier said than done.

Sunday morning, though, I woke up and felt pretty good. The sun had just risen, and I was alert. I left the house a little after 7, camera bag slung over my shoulder, and decided to look for an early morning vista to shoot. I hadn’t felt that drive to take pictures for a very long time. Even three weeks ago, when I last went out, it was forced. Glad I did, of course, but it shouldn’t have started out as a chore. This is what I do to relax, after all, a way for me to shake off the stress of the day. Instead, I drag myself home from work, maybe stop somewhere to get dinner, generally not particularly healthy, or find something at home that I can stick in the oven and remember before it burns, also generally not especially nutritious, stare at the computer, either hanging out on social media or, more commonly, play some solitary game where I don’t have to interact with other human beings, get to bed, and do it all again the next day.

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The Ohio River from the Eden Park Overlook, Cincinnati, May 2015

The “fake it ’til you make it” school of thought is a valid one, truly. You have to be committed to it, though, and have to be able to recognize when it’s time to do something more, when just pretending isn’t cutting it. The last several weeks – months, really – have been a complete blur. I wrote this during the sermon yesterday at church. I was listening, it was about Pentecost and the origins of the church, and it was interesting, but I had to get this out, and since we would be singing once the sermon ended, I needed to do it quickly. Kinda feels like open verse.

Been in a fog, a coma, for several months, now.
Days passing unheeded, unrecognized, slowly, quickly.
Life continues apace while my oblivion persists.
Occasional flickers of life appear –
here, a smile, there, a tear, a touch of joy, mirth, grief and pain,
only to slither away just as the veil begins to lift.
I am not happy right now.
There are many things conspiring to keep me where I lay,
leave me to rot on my own,
life ever so close, and yet, just out of reach.

Bit dark. Dramatic, even. Like I said, verse.

I really did go out with my camera yesterday, though, before church. And it was therapeutic. For a moment, to use my own overblown words, the veil was lifted, and there was peace. Even though the park was trashed – there are grills there, and every weekend, especially when it’s warm, it’s packed – it was peaceful. There was one lone city employee attempting to make a dent in the garbage strewn about the place, poking his pointed stick at things and lifting them to the trash bag in his hands. He must be efficient, though, because that’s the worst I’ve ever seen it look, by a long shot. Usually it looks nice there. The city puts out extra trash cans for people to use, and they still leave garbage all over. Granted, the trash cans are also full, but still. Complete lack of respect.

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The smog dome – significantly less than even ten years ago – makes for some interesting colors. Eden Park, Cincinnati, May 24, 2015

Enough of that rant. Suffice it to say, I need a change, and it needs to be big. I have an idea of what that may be, I just haven’t yet figured out how to make it happen. Well, that’s not completely true, I have laid some groundwork, it just hasn’t paid off yet. I’m back in a holding pattern, with few viable options at hand. The trick is not letting that get to me. Today’s plan – it’s the final day of Taste of Cincinnati. I haven’t been, yet. The family members who would go have already gone, so it’s just me. Not as bad as it sounds, it’s usually just me. I almost prefer it that way.

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Nine

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Lazy summer evening in Colorado. Memorial Park, Colorado Springs 2010

Busy, busy, busy! It’s been a busy week. Mostly taken up by work, but it was also a good busy. It was my birthday yesterday, and while I didn’t have something going on every night, I did have things to do. Tuesday it was dinner with the family, Thursday a friend took me out to a restaurant in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, Friday was my weekly wine tasting/happy hour, and yesterday, the day itself, was full of exciting things. I started off by renewing my license and car tags. They both expired. Still, I did it nice and early at a location that doesn’t seem to be too ridiculously busy. The person who helped me was working toward becoming the world’s fastest talker, but when she wasn’t being angry at working for the BMV, she was nice enough. There was laughter. Not even mean-spirited.

It did get better than that, I took myself out to breakfast, and then I stopped at a bookstore. I bought some much-needed reading material. Well, maybe “much needed” is a bit strong, since I already had two bags of books that don’t have homes and haven’t been opened, yet. Nah, that’s the right word. I have a few hundred books in my home, not all of them have been unpacked since I moved. I didn’t have the space for them. Then I bought a new shelf and had more space. Still not quite enough, though, I used one of the shelves from a 3-shelf case and moved it to a 5-shelf case. Paperbacks don’t take up as much room as hardcover. I could fit more. Still not enough. I do re-read my books, and I’ve been through I’d say 85% of them at least twice. I do also use the library if it’s a book I’m not sure I’d want. The ones I bought yesterday were either part of a series, or from an author I have a hard time putting down, so that’s how I justify those.

Last night, though, was a beautiful end to my birthday week. Friends from church, in the choir, a couple who keep me in mind for things like this, were going to the final CSO subscription concert, and they had two extra tickets. They invited me and another friend from our choir. The other person plays French Horn, so she’s also a musician. They were playing Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsokov, and the Polovtsian Dances by Borodin. The latter is actually part of an opera, but the music stands well on its own. There was a guest musician due to perform a third piece in the first half, a percussionist, but he had to cancel due to illness. So, we were treated to a late substitution, another Scheherazade by Ravel, with a vocal soloist. It was lovely. Interesting translation in the program. Mostly accurate.*

This same couple brought me along for a tour of the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center a few years ago, a time when I didn’t have any extra money to spend. I hadn’t had a job in 4 years at that point, so no, there was no money. It was a church outing, and we had a Jewish scholar – can’t remember if he was a rabbi or just studied – leading us. Our tour picked up a few stragglers, since he had some seriously good information about the scrolls.

Yesterday morning, before heading out to the BMV, I tried to come up with some topic or other to write about. I thought perhaps I’d try something serious. There’s been a lot of discussion about poverty and what appears to be an attack of the poor, at least, from a certain perspective. It made me think.

There are those who like to discount poverty in this country by saying it’s worse in India or Bangladesh or somewhere else considered to be part of the developing world. That’s true. It’s also true that this isn’t a developing country, this one is supposed to be a first-world country. That attitude shows a complete lack of respect for other human beings, telling them it could be worse. Yes, they could be so much poorer economically, spiritually (not speaking religiously), mentally, if they lived in one of those countries. Guess what? This isn’t one of those countries.

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Andre Flanagan near Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine. Stop for a listen and leave some folding money, for he’s earned it. Cincinnati, OH 2014

I could go on about that, about how it’s not just money but environment that makes a difference. When your life is second-hand and almost – almost good clothes, almost decent housing, almost nutritious food, almost good education – there’s more to overcome than just not having money. There’s an attitude to overcome, a behavior. There has to be a willingness to believe there’s a way out, and there has to be a hand somewhere, extended to help. Maybe it’s a tutor who believes, or parents who want more for their children. Maybe it’s a life where you don’t have to worry about your next meal, or where you sleep. Maybe it’s someone who tells you you can’t. Not everyone is motivated by the same thing, not everyone succeeds the same way.

There are those who are convinced this is a Christian nation, that we’re a theocracy. Many of these same people talk about the Constitution like it’s a sacred text written by God. They forget the bit in the First Amendment about the government being prohibited from establishing a state religion.† They also forget Matthew 25:34-40 –

34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

There’s a bit about sheep and goats◊ in there too, which provides a great way to shock someone who believes the Bible is the actual word of God, as opposed to an interpretation by man. Especially when you point out defunding programs that aid the poor make them goats and not sheep in this story. In the old testament, there are a number of exhortations for people and the poor as well, some listed here.

Pope Francis summed it up nicely, I think. He was speaking of the economic impact of large families, but it’s applicable in many situations.

“…I can say that the main cause of poverty is an economic system that has removed the person from the centre and replaced him with the god of money; an economic system that excludes and creates the throwaway culture in which we live. …” – Pope Francis

That got a bit rambly. I was watching CBS Sunday Morning while writing. I should know better than that. I leave you with this: Be kind; you don’t know what someone else has been through.

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The calm before the storm. Colorado Springs, Colorado 2010

_________________________

*It was in French. I may no longer be able to carry on an intelligible conversation, but I can still piece together meaning. Yay, Latin.

†Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.‡

‡Further elaborated on in a 1947 case that went to the Supreme Court, where a statute about student transportation to schools both public and parochial was under fire:

The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between church and State.” – Justice Hugo Black, 1947

Justice Clarence Thomas has been working to say otherwise.

◊Not a fan of that particular comparison. Sheep tend to blindly follow; goats have to be led.

Save It

It’s snowing again. Starting to feel like I’m in that hotel where Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall were trapped in that novel, that I can never read again. If nothing else, this is serving as a reminder of why I didn’t move to Chicago. They may be used to this, but I’m not. Not even after living in Colorado for a decade, no. I didn’t live in the mountains, so I didn’t have to deal with much snow. I did have to deal with snow in May and June, and if I went into the mountains, July, but not much.

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The Stanley (merged) in Estes Park, Colorado

I’ve already written about winter’s crush, though, so I won’t do that again. I’ve also written about sunnier places, where I wish I were now, basking in the warmth, the sun kissing (and then burning, but whatever) my skin, my hair all fuzzy in the humidity. People complain about how hot it is, how they can’t wait until winter, but not me; no, I prefer the summer. Always have.

So I’m at a loss, now, about what to write. Things have happened in the world, interesting things and ridiculous things – where does Justin Bieber get off comparing himself to Michael Jackson? He’s as deluded as Kanye – and it snows. We’re getting all the snow that should have fallen in California. A good chunk of that state is going to burst into flame this year, and that is going to really suck.

I suppose there’s only one choice left – writing prompts.

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Countdown to spring, my favorite season

Writing Prompt 64 – List 10 – 15 things worth saving, then choose one of those things and write about it

  1. Money
  2. Time
  3. Water
  4. Health
  5. Food
  6. Historic sites
  7. Archaeological finds
  8. Forests – temperate, rain
  9. Fauna we’ve endangered
  10. Flora we’ve endangered
  11. Union Terminal
  12. Original OTR architecture

I couldn’t think of anything to write, so I had to resort to the writing prompts. Sometimes that’s enough to get something started. Sometimes. This list was hard to write for some reason. There are plenty of things that need saving, but it’s not as black and white as it seems. For instance, saving your soul, that’s important for some, and a joke for others who don’t believe we have souls.

Saving life is a big one, a really big one, and even that isn’t so simple. First, you have to define life. Life is a being capable of breathing on its own, surviving on its own, or someone who can be brought to that state. Me personally, I support legal and safe (the two are not mutually exclusive) abortion. I also support sex education, and an emphasis on prevention through abstinence or birth control. I’d much rather see a woman not have to make that choice, or give birth to a baby than to see it terminated; no one is pro-abortion. Not anyone who values life, anyway. I know others believe in their hearts that this is murder, for whatever reason, usually religious. It’s a medical procedure that, depending on your view, does or does not result in a death. It’s a medical procedure that can save a life, too, either directly or indirectly. If the mother’s life is in danger, especially if the fetus is going to go with her, why would you want to make her suffer, knowing that not only is she going to die, but the child she was carrying will too? Then there’s the other end, death as punishment and assisted suicide. Both are, in the long run, choices, usually, but the death penalty is less-so, and sometimes it’s handed out unevenly.

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Water and a child. It had to happen.

This wasn’t supposed to turn into a controversial post. I try to keep this as peaceful as possible, saving my personal politics for relevant conversations. I’m not interested in changing someone’s mind. Well no, that’s not true, I am, but that’s not my purpose in sharing things like that; I provide information, and trust people to use their brains. Doesn’t mean they’ll agree with me. Nor do I necessarily want them to; I just want them to think. Changing a belief that is part of your being is hard. Really hard.

Even saving fauna (animals) is a tricky thing – evolution happens. Sometimes, an animal dies out because the niche it filled no longer exists. Sometimes, it dies out because of something we did. So how do we know, with some of the endangered species, if they’re dying out is our fault, or just evolution? Well, killing alligators and buffalo, elephants and tigers, wolves, that’s us, putting those animals on the endangered species list. With the buffalo, there’s the added benefit of them being able to interbreed with cattle, a creature that was introduced here by settlers. There are insects and animals that are dying out because rainforests are being destroyed. Bears and lions being killed because humans have continued to encroach on their land. That’s not all of them, of course, there really are species that have died out because they serve no more purpose. I’m baffled by pandas – they don’t seem particularly interested in continuing their species. They’re losing their environment, too, so that’s not helping.

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Summer morning on the beach

There’s also the climate. The earth has gone through cycles since the beginning, sometimes trending toward warming, others toward cooling. These are normal and natural. Currently, the planet is in a transition where it is warming. How much of that, though, is the natural cycle, and how much of that is human intervention? That’s the real question. Those who hold up this current winter as evidence the globe isn’t on a warming trend should probably spend a little more time in a science class. Warmer air holds more moisture. Moisture, when it freezes, becomes sleet or snow, or my personal favorite, freezing rain. There’s also a matter of scale. From far away, a glacier looks smooth, almost flat; up close, it’s obviously not flat or smooth. Globally, the temperature is going up. Locally, there are good seasons and bad seasons, although the trend is still toward warming.

Once again, not intending to create controversy, it’s just what happens sometimes.

Well, it’s January, and it’s cold. Less cold than yesterday – we’re in the double digits! – but still cold. I’m wrapped up in my Snuggie (actually warm), a sweatshirt, a t-shirt, sweat pants and thermals. Oh, and socks and fuzzy slippers. And a hat. A pretty red one that looks like an elf hat, that my father made. And I’m watching Freaks and Geeks, so concentration isn’t the best right now. Incredible how nearly all of the main characters have had a career after this show. A big one.

It Didn’t End

Well, here we are, 2013. The world was supposed to end on December 21st, but it didn’t. I know there are people who are disappointed, people who got rid of all their worldly possessions in preparation of a world-ending meteor or sudden nuclear war,  or a host of angels flying down and smoting to their hearts’ content.

So now what? Well, if you’re triskadekaphobic, you’re gonna have a rough time this year. Your dates, when written in full, will always end with 13, and both September and and December have a Friday the 13th, which could be bad if you’re a Templar Knight. Although, really, it’s only October 13 that’s bad for them.

On the other hand, if you’re a triskadekaphiliac, well, that’s a whole ‘nuther story. Lots of cool things with 2013 in store. The numbers in the year can be arranged to make a natural sequence (0123), for instance. Lots more at that website I linked. I mean, it’s not so good if you’re having an OCD moment, because it takes a while to get to 13 (not to make light; I’ve got a few compulsions myself. I’m just lucky enough that I can still function with them), but if you can handle it without obsessing, there’s lots of cool stuff in store for 2013.

Okay, look…last year, well, maybe it wasn’t so good for you. Overall, it was good for me. I started off the year living off the generosity of family and friends, and I’m ending it with paying my own bills, and finally replacing my point-and-shoot with a DSLR. It’s just a T3i, nothing spectacular, but what I can do with it, ah. Don’t get me wrong…I love my SX120. It takes excellent pictures. But I’ve done all I could with it. Now, I eagerly await spring, and the blooms of the magnolia trees, so I can really see what I can do.

What do I see for myself in this new year? Further growth, further change, further challenges. The challenges I’m not looking forward to – some of them are pretty big. But no matter what, it does help you appreciate the good more, when you deal with the bad.

 

So Happy New Year to you. May you find the joy in the small, the challenges that help you grow, and the beauty of the world around you.

WEverb12: Reflect And Renew – 1

This is an interesting thing – a website that is providing writing prompts throughout December. Now, this is probably not for everyone, but me, I’m stuck. I get so worn out with work, I don’t always have the energy to do the things that actually relax me, so I get more worn out with work, and have even less energy, and then I’m even more worn out…you get the picture. Having some external force reminding me of the things I enjoy doing, and more importantly, to do them, well, maybe that will allow me to relax a bit more, and maybe be less worn out.

I saw #WEverb mentioned on one of my friends’ blog, so I thought I’d give it a shot. It’s been a while since I’ve used writing prompts, but maybe that’s just what I need to really get me going again. I’m a bit late to the party – it’s already the 15th, so I have a bit to catch up on.

Let us begin:

Eden Park Overlook
Eden Park Overlook

Day 1: Write a Haiku for 2012

A haiku is a poem with three lines – two verses with five syllables and one with seven – that is traditionally about the natural world. This won’t be.

Struggling for cash
My health suffering greatly
I found security 

Pretty much sums it up. At the beginning of this year, I only had gas money because of the generosity of a friend, and a place to live because of the generosity of my family. Now, as the year closes, I have an income. It’s not a huge income, but I only have to support myself, so it’s enough.

Day 2: What movie did you see this year that you would recommend to a friend?

Well, many, actually. Once I was working regularly, but not the hours I work now, I saw a lot of movies. Ones I’d already seen, ones I owned, and ones I saw in the theaters. Nearly all of them I would recommend. I have recommended. I suppose Under the Tuscan Sun is my surprise recommendation. I don’t care for romantic comedies. It’s not my preferred genre at all. I had to be talked into seeing that one, and once I did, I was hooked. It is a romantic comedy, technically, but it’s nowhere near as vapid or predictable as the typical RomCom is. A woman finds out her marriage is ending from a catty writer who didn’t like her review of his work. Her friends give her their trip to the Tuscan countryside in Italy, and she meets a slew of interesting people, and has interesting adventures that are, on the whole, not beyond plausibility. I found the ending satisfying, and the movie enchanting enough that, if I’m not on my way out the door, or don’t have something else I planned to watch, I will watch it when it’s on the air, whether I caught it at the beginning or half an hour from the end.

Setting up at Balluminaria 2012
Setting up at Balluminaria 2012

Day 3: How did you stay in the moment this year?

This one is hard. I think because in most of my everyday life, I don’t stay in the moment. I think of the moments that have passed, and I think of the moments to come, but I don’t stay in the moment. Most humans do that, really. By the time we recognize a moment, realize its significance, it has passed, sometimes quite some time before. It’s not easy for anyone to do. The only time I’m really in the moment is when I have a camera in my hands. For instance, at Balluminaria last month, I wandered among the ballonists, while they were busy setting up. After a while, the park cops started cordoning off the crowd from the balloons, guiding those who didn’t belong in the area to other parts of the park. I lingered. I made an effort to look like I belonged, because I didn’t want to leave yet. I wasn’t ready. I had a few more shots I wanted to take, so I took them. I wasn’t really thinking about what would happen if someone challenged me, I was only thinking of the photos I had in mind, the moments I was trying to capture. I did leave the area eventually, after they’d already roped everyone else off, and I’d found my own space to stand. I got lucky there, too. I happened to be standing in a space where there were people who gave up their prime spots to me. I didn’t ask; they offered. I wasn’t so foolish as to refuse. I think I got some decent shots that night.

One more.

Day 4: What did you do in 2012 that you had never done before? Will you do it again?

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. What have I done that I had never done before? There has to be something. Well, I’m sure there were plenty of things, but they were effectively of little consequence, so I don’t remember them. I’ve been involved in political campaigns and activities in the past. Heck, I’ve been involved in protests at the city, state, and national levels. I’ve worked as a temporary employee before. I’ve babysat young children. I’ve taken pictures of random strangers, with and without their permission. I’ve written blogs, driven too fast, taken recommendations, asked questions I couldn’t answer. I’ve admitted when I was wrong, and fought for myself when I was right. I’ve been to movies alone and with friends, and I’ve even organized a gathering, although that one, well, it’s close to never before. I’ve even acted as a tourist in the city where I lived, because when I first moved to Colorado, well, I was a tourist. So what have I done this year that I’ve never done before? I bought a used cell phone. I started wearing bifocals. My astigmatism has always been horrible, so my adjustment period was pretty short. With severe astigmatism, there’s always a longer adjustment period for new glasses. This wasn’t really any different. There’s more – there has to be more. I just don’t know what it is.

Alright, since I’m so behind, one more.

Day 5: What community has engaged you most this year, and what did you get out of your participation?

I have two answers for this one, but only one I wish to share publicly. If I’m honest, the Facebook community I have created has engaged me most this year. What have I gotten out of it? So very much. I’ve had intelligent debates and stupid fun, I’ve met new friends and reconnected with many old ones. My birthday party this May, in fact, included people I hadn’t seen in a few years, up to 20 or more years. People I had known since college, since high school, were there, along with people I had known for a year or less. They didn’t know one another, for the most part, when they sat down, and that made me nervous. I was worried I would have to make this happen, make everyone get along and talk, and that is a role I do not relish. I was wrong. So wrong. It took maybe ten minutes before our little group sounded like they’d known each other for ages. It made me realize I know some pretty fantastic people, even if I’m *really* bad at keeping in touch.

Hello world!

Well, I finally did it. I finally set up a WordPress account. I’ve had multiple friends recommend it, talking about how much easier it was than Blogger, and how they could add media and so forth. The jury is still out. I’m familiar with Blogger. I have two blogs there now – one public, one not. I understand how it works.

I’ll give this a chance, see what happens.