On Today’s Wal– er, Bike Ride

I’m going to start substituting bike riding blog posts in place of walking ones, on occasion. I’ve had Frieda (my bicycle) for a few weeks now. My rides are getting a little longer, as weather and time permit.

Sure, I had stuff I should have been getting done around the house. But the weather couldn’t have been better. So Frieda and I boogied down the trail out of town, just far enough to see some cows.


Having a mid-life crisis? Forget the ridiculous sports car. Get yourself a bicycle!

Guy Talk

With the current brouhaha over recordings from a certain candidate, I’m flashing back to memories from my own life, as I’m sure most women are. Here’s a flash memoir.

When I was twenty, I got an office job where I was the only female in the department. Some of the guys engaged in pretty rough talk (though actually not speaking of assault — not to the Donald’s level), but fairly sexist, fairly objectifying. Either they forgot I was there, or didn’t realize I was close enough to overhear sometimes, or they didn’t care. They’d talk about the women in the front office, comparing physical attributes. They’d look out the window and “rate” women passing by on the street.

Not all of the guys, though. One of the younger ones, near my age, didn’t engage in this behavior, ever, and that was easy to notice. If he ever talked about a woman, it was just as a human. I ended up dating him. I met his mom and sister, who were big influences in his life, both of whom he treated with respect. Reader, I married him.


November Numbers

I squeezed in twenty minutes of novel writing tonight, the last official day of NaNoWriMo. And my total word count for November is 5,461. I didn’t leave out a digit. I also didn’t sign up for NaNoWriMo.

I consider 5,461 respectable, given all of my other responsibilities. That’s 5,461 words and Thanksgiving dinner for ten people. And a home improvement project. A refinanced mortgage. A daughter enrolled for the spring semester of college. Two doctors’ appointments with my mom. Dental appointments for both me and my son. Winter coat shopping for my younger child. And more than 100 pages worth of manuscript critique for my writers’ group.

Oh look. I managed to compose a blog post before midnight. 5,581 words.

Local Travelogue One

“I have traveled a great deal in Concord.” – Henry David Thoreau

My husband, kids and I have taken two major vacations and several minor road trips. (The kids are 16 and 13.) The first major do was a drive to the Grand Canyon in 2006. That trip involved a lot of camping and one tornado. The other was a trip to Florida this past November, marking our first experience of flying together as a family.

I’d love to travel more, but in the past month, my life has taken a turn that promises to keep me anchored for the foreseeable future. So I’ve decided to take Thoreau as my inspiration and travel my hometown. To that end, my first hyper-local travelogue in photos.

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A Year of Gratitude

What kind of awesome was 2011? All kinds of awesome. This past year, I decided to use my Twitter account (I’m @damari19 if anyone’s interested) as a sort of personal/public gratitude journal. My goal was to tweet about something I found awesome every day for a year.  I missed a few days, but very few. I highly recommend doing this, whether via twitter or post-it notes or a silent thought right before you go to sleep. Getting in the habit of noticing one specific good thing each day has helped my mood and attitude tremendously.

I tried to find something new each day, though sometimes I forgot I’d already counted something as awesome earlier in the year. Omelets got three separate mentions. So did Dr. Who.

Looking back over my year in gratitude tweets, certain themes are prominent:

My top category seems to be food, which might explain what’s happened to my waistline. See omelets, above. Pie got two nods from me, once on 3/14 and again at Christmas. But I was also grateful for lettuce from our garden, basil from our garden, and the salsa I made using jalapenos from our garden. Halloween candy. A falafel dog from Mutt’s in Oklahoma City. Also drinks – coffee and tea come up, tea more than once.

Family and friends garnered many mentions. My husband cleaned the windows. I noticed when my kids did chores without being nagged. Got to visit my mom. My brother and sister-in-law knocked themselves out as hosts when we visited for Thanksgiving. Coffee with a friend. Inside jokes with old friends. I am immensely and always grateful for my various relationships.

I notice I commented a lot on the trouble don’t last category. Getting over a cold. Kids getting over colds. Rain after a drought. Figuring out how we’re going to pay for unexpected expenses. Cicadas went away. It’s all good.

Then there was nature. Crocus. Daffodils. Peonies. Autumn leaves. Goldfinches who visit our yard every day. Playing in the snow.

I had lots of comments on internet stuff, either cool websites or links to inspiring stories. Here are a few.:
1,000 Awesome Things – my inspiration
– my daughter does her homeschool math through ALEKS.
Khan Academy – another educational resource
TED Talks
Fictiondb – near-comprehensive lists of fiction series.
Newsreel footage of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan.
Project Gutenberg – free ebooks

Literature plays a big part in my life. This past year I’ve found awesome in authors’ birthdays – e.g. Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut. Various books. Meeting with a new writers’ group. Meeting writing goals. Getting paid to write blog entries and newspaper articles as part of my day job. My son asking to go to the library because he’d read everything he has in the house. A student running a banned books library from her school locker.

Events, small and large:  Corn maze. 4th of July fireworks. Biggest family vacation ever – a trip to Florida where we visited Universal Islands of Adventure (one a side note, the Forbidden Journey is the best amusement park ride I’ve ever experienced) and my kids saw the ocean for the first time.

Those that defy categorization:
2/24/11: W. Shatner singing Mr. Tambourine Man & L. Nimoy singing Where Is Love on same CD
3/7/11: Using the large almost-vintage paper-cutter at work, with its dials and wheels. A combination of meditation & steampunk.
7/19/11: Seeing the interior lights come on when I click the unlocker in the direction of my van. It looks so happy to see me!
10/17/11: Curly hair being considered cool again. Thanks Alex Kingston and River Song!

And finally, one from a category I think of as “In Retrospect, the Joke’s on Me.”
“10/22/11: Procured winter coat for son at a great price.”  Yeah, he’s already outgrown it.