11 February 2009

West Coast Blog Thing

Despite the fact that BlogHer is the pinnacle on my annual social calendar, I'm not going.

Airfare is almost $600, y'all! Plus 3 night hotel plus BlogHer pass at coupla hundred...plus my Master Plan to Become Debt Free.

Can't do it. I will be back in 2010, Goddess willing.

So how about an alternative West Coast Blog weekend? Somewhere airfare-free. I am thinking just a get-together, no panels, no classes, no learning, lots of hugging.

Here are my questions:

1. Same weekend as BlogHer or something different?
2. Where?
3. Would you come?

I have all kinds of crazy ideas rattling in my brain including:
A big cabin that sleeps 35 in Big Bear
Rent a bunch of RVs (or get them comped because we are so cool) and party at some group campsite
The 3 day Ensenada cruise (runs about $400 pp)
Hotel with a big pool/bar area

Any help, suggestions, ideas are appreciated. Christopher, I KNOW you can steer me right!

10 February 2009

Everybody's talkin' at me

I have spent most of my life not being very good at communication. I either say too much or too little or make assumptions or put my foot in it.

I don't know if it the phase I'm in or what, but every single day I learn something about communicating that I did not know before. When I look at my family background, my role models, is it any surprise that I feel like I am catching up at my late age?

My mom clams up if she feels she has been misunderstood. She goes into Silent Pout mode and retreats with tears in her eyes.

My dad? Also not much of a talker. He loves to tell stories but isn't big on the interpersonal touchy-feely stuff. Or the details. Here's last night's sample conversation:

Here. Turn off the TV.
(Hands me the remote. I don't think twice about this since he is blind and often forgets which buttons go to what. He is perpetually turning the sound up to SIREN LEVEL when he means to change the channel. I try pushing the button about 20 times. Nothing happens.)
Sb: I think this remote needs a new battery.
Dad: We put a new battery in today.
Sb: Maybe it is in wrong.
Mom: We looked at the little picture.
Sb: Let me see.
I take the remote to the kitchen to find something to pop the little lid off with.
Mom: Turn on some light!
Dad: What?
Mom: Turn on the light, she can't see!
Dad: A light?
Sb: It's ok
Mom: I don't know why she went to the kitchen.
Sb: I needed to get something to get the battery lid off with.
Dad: The light is right over there.
Sb: The batteries seem fine. Was it working when you put new batteries in?
Dad: No

OK then. Let us stop there. Would that not have been valuable information for me to know when he first handed me the remote? Can you see how differently the incident would have proceeded had he just said, "Hey, the remote doesn't seem to be working, can you take a look at it?" rather than "Turn off the TV"?

Every day I have to remind myself that many other people see more communication as comforting, not as "bothering" as I have grown up thinking. They LIKE knowing the details. They like being kept in the loop.

Next conversation, immediately following the remote control problem:
Dad: So you're taking me to the doctor tomorrow?
Sb: Doctor? Tomorrow? You don't have an appointment tomorrow.
Dad: Yes, at 4:15
Sb: No, that was last week.
Dad: No, I just made this appointment today because we didn't have anyone to take us this morning.

Ok, here we go again. How about "I made a last-minute doctor's appointment today for tomorrow. Can you take me?"But no. It is just "So you're taking me to the doctor tomorrow?" Sigh.

And no one had ever mentioned the appt he cancelled because he didn't have a ride, so I never offered to take him.

Learning. Every day I'm learning. By the time I'm 80, I might be good at this.

09 February 2009

Sisters are doing it for themselves

I am not quite sure why making my own dog food seems so empowering.

It might be because I never thought I could make something so cheap and easy that would be so good for my dog...I trusted pet food manufacturers to know what was best and somehow did not trust myself.

Then came the melamine contamination, the problem that pushed me into super-premium pet food brands. Soon I was spending upwards of $3 per day on dog food.

I have been making Goldie's food for about 3 weeks. She loves it. I love to cook, so cooking for my dear girl isn't that onerous, even if it does contain ---ewwwww--- meat.

My only concern is that she likes it too much. When she was eating commercial food, she was always a diffident eater, often skipping meals, sometimes for more than a day.

Now she bugs me for food all the time. It's quite gratifying.

What's next? Laundry Soap.

08 February 2009


I hate to be criticized. Ha-aa-aaa-te.

If you say anything about me, even hint that you aren't perfectly delighted with me in any way, I may not say anything, but I will be hurt to the core.

That's the bad news. The good news is that I am a thousand times better than I used to be.

Back in the day, I would have cut you.

If someone criticized me, there were repercussions. They might never find out about them. They would just find themselves inconvenienced in some way...something would not work out how they had planned. When they least expect it, they should have been expecting it.

Because that's how I rolled. Like a cat that you leave outside all night and who pooped in your shoes six weeks later.

It wasn't effective, or mature, or helpful. But I figured that I was playing my part in passing the karma around.

What helped me?


You can't be too thin-skinned as a journalist, because someone is always all up in your bizness.

If it isn't your sources complaining about how you wrote the story, it is some freaking reader complaining that you have a liberal/conservative/anti-City Hall/anti-citizen/anti-business/anti-Ron Paul bias.

And if they are all happy, your editors are busting your chops about something.

I remember one day in a crowded, busy newsroom. Doug the copy editor's voice rang out above the din.


He then held his arm straight out, pointed at me, brought his arm up at the elbow to a 90 degree angle, and gave two sharp "come here" waves of his hand, so that anyone had missed the yell could clearly see the sign language.

I scampered over to his desk like a timid little mouse.

"What is this "On the corner of Main and Fifth Streets?"" he barked.

"Um, the protestors were on the corner..."

"If something is at Main and Fifth it is not necessary to point out that it is on the corner," he said. "Those are three wasted words."

"Yes, Doug," I admitted. "You're right."

Chops. Busted. Again. Lesson learned. Another one. Ihave never again said in a newspaper story "on the corner".

And I didn't even poop in his shoes.
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