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Showing posts from July, 2007

It is because I love you that I tell you this

Ping, grand chancellor (Bass), Pang, grand purveyor (Tenor), and Pong, grand cook (Tenor) from Act 2 Scene 1 of the opera Turandot by Giacomo Puccini, This is from the 2002 coproduction of the Mariinski Theatre St. Petersburg and the Festpielhaus Baden-Baden. In my youth, the only ping was table tennis or Puccini's opera.
One simple word to show my deep, abiding and loyal love for you:

Ping-O-Matic

When you post, please ping. I know Technorati is a fickle mistress, so I understand your disdain and distrust. (However, they assure me via impersonal note that they are "upgrading spiders" tonight.)

But Ping-O-Matic...this is a third party, and hits multiple spiders.

If you post then ping? I get an adorable little notice, almost as cute as You've Got Mail!

I know, it's not all about me, but this benefits far and beyond me, honestly.

Con mucho gusto, Julio Down By the Schoolyard


copyright 2007 Julie Pippert

School Supplies for disadvantaged kids...and the Supah Stah Sell Out Club

Help out disadvantaged kids by buying extra school supplies

It's that time of the year...for some lucky people. School is back in session! Except, not here. We have one more entire month to go. God help me.

Nevertheless, we are purchasing our supplies.

I love buying school supplies. Notebooks, folders, pencil cases, pencils, crayons...the lot. Selecting styles, quantities, colors.

But most of all, I love pens. In fact, one might say I have a pen fetish. In Cambridge, across from Harvard, there is this stationary shop that has rows and rows and rows of pens. On days when my friend and I were stressed (which was often) we'd skip across the street to this shop and test out hundreds of pens, finally selecting The One, and leaving happily. Retail therapy. But I digress.

Not everyone has the same ability to purchase or access necessary school supplies.

So when you are out shopping, and buying school supplies for your family, or if you already bought them but pass a row in a store (in ever…

Hump Day Hmm for August 1: Too much of a good thing

Emily kindly suggested some future Hump Day Hmm topics.

For this Wednesday, August 1 (and I know, I know...I'm late late late, sorry!) the topic is:

(A) Too much of a good thing

and/or

(B) Continuation of the PC topic from last week for those who have more to say or who asked for a raincheck.

Don't miss my post below! Even if you already read it...by request, I added in the "Rules" of the Kindness Campaign game.

Thanks!

copyright 2007 Julie Pippert

Empathic failure and the advent of the Kindness Campaign

Last night, after shutting off our computers, my husband and I dragged ourselves into the messy kitchen for a good cleaning. It was late, we were tired and it had been a trying day with the kids.

As I scrubbed the dinner dishes, and he scrubbed the table and counters, instead of talking about the big stuff (read: the children), I vented about a writing project I am working on.

My husband offered several suggestions, to which I said nothing.

Finally he said, exasperated, "Well, of course, I've given up you taking any advice from me. I'm not even sure why you ask."

And somehow my irritating situation had shifted focus, turned into something else, and got lost completely.

I said, "You know what? When I talk to you? I think there is a misunderstanding about what I want."

He said, "Sometimes I think all you want is sympathy."

I said, "You say that as if it is a bad thing."

Empathic failure. In the above conversation, you could so easily switch our r…

Comparative Analysis of BlogHer vs. My Weekend

A Friday night at BlogHer in Chicago:


Some lucky people---not me!---on Friday, at BlogHer. Doesn't it look so fun? Lovely and sophisticated? I bet not one person there started a flood or fire, whined, or came down with the croup! Photo blatantly and repentantly stolen from Jenny.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...an ill wind blew...


This photo needs no caption. But just in case a picture isn't worth a thousand words, I included a thousand word post below for your edification and enjoyment.

Friday:

BlogHer Bloggers---Attendees at BlogHer begin the exciting socialization, networking and learning the conference uniquely offers bloggers, except for me. Blogosphere friends and fans (and maybe foes, who knows) come together in corporeal life...sometimes with shocking results. There is much gabbing, some yakking, a bit of thinking and discussion, and many intriguing panels. Allegedly there is much eating and even more drinking. All in all, tremendous levels of fun and enrichment.

Me---Awok…

Live Oak Dead: An Arboreal Tragedy

If a tree falls in a yard, will anyone look up from their Harry Potter books to see it?

I really hadn't intended a botanical series this week, but the theme has been chosen for me.

Yesterday, a tragedy occurred here. It may sound silly but I am devastated about what has happened. Let me back up and tell this from the beginning, in photos.

I may have mentioned the incessant, unceasing, neverending, beyond Biblical rain we've had here. I may have mentioned it is every day, and has been, for months.


This is a dreadful photo, one I had never planned to do anything with other than keep for history. It's from about a week ago, on a day when my children---all of us sick with cabin fever---decided to suit up and go play in the rain. Can you see much? This is the back half of our yard. The small pink object is Persistence, standing shin deep in water. The yard had drained off earlier that day, but then we were hit with a storm and pounding of rain so fierce that about five inches of ra…

Things you need to know about this world we live in

Let me tell you a funny story.

Moving down here is like moving into the subtropics. Oh, or, wait, it's not like it, it is moving to the subtropics. It's an adjustment as I learn about new and different timing for seasons, plant care, different sorts of plants (all of which appear to be some variety of weed/allergen or hibiscus, oh except for the plethora of azaleas).

My husband and I have always believed in xeriscaping and water conservation, which is no problem here where it rains every day during the growing season and everything grows really well, almost jungle like. It's a daily battle to keep the vegetation from taking over, actually.

We have a very large lot. The first half of the backyard is lovely flat grass---St. Augustine, God Help Me---a perfect soccer field. Halfway back the tree line begins and the rest of the yard vanishes into dense growth. Last fall I noticed all of my neighbors doing something called cutting back. This is where you trim things back to nubs.…

Trepidation: The Hump Day Hmm for July 25, 2007

Edited to add caveat and clarification:

1. I want to be clear that by challenging the notion of political correctness, I am not advocating saying whatever one wants however, whenever and wherever one wants. That's not what PC is in my mind. Perhaps I ought to define what it is in my mind better than I have. There is judiciousness and wisdom in speech---which is weighing what one thinks and wants to say against the other people involved and the situation at hand. There is courtesy in selecting how one approaches a topic and addresses it with others. I'm a big fan of this, of respect and consideration. Then there is PC, which includes empty and meaningless buzzwords; the idea that by editing language we have cured the problem; and a culture of conformity and repercussion for nonconformity of not just words, but ideas. That's PC and that's what I am challenging.

2. I want to be clear that I do not mean to harangue anyone about not participating. If you are busy, or this isn…

Blog Makeover: Very, very geeky post

As I get more sophisticated, I get more tempted to get more complicated templates and then GASP! recode them to my own specs.

I know.

Get a life.

LOL

So this is the new look...so far. What do you think?

I have a few links and kinks to work out.

And a few words:

1. Clicking on the tabs will move you to a new site. I'd rather it default open a new window or tab, so I have to work on that. But for now, if you want to click, right-click and open new window or tab manually. Sorry to ask you to work.

2. One of the tabs (About Me) isn't working. I'll have to muck about to figure out why and fix it. I'm sure it's obvious and I'm just tired.

3. There are more bells and whistles that I will slowly add.

4. Fair warning: I may be moving my blog to my own domain. Summer seems to be a good time to do this as numbers and stats are running a bit lower than usual.

5. Some of the linked sites, such as Awards, are a little quick and dirty. It's a make-do for now. My sidebar is going to …

We can't all be the American Idol, and few of us have a Fairy Godmother

Forethought: I've been working on many drafts (so far) of blog posts about blogging, the value therein, community, rights, obligations, limits, etc. These ideas are all gelling in my mind in a way that I'll be working out in posts. Some of these topics are being covered at BlogRhet by other bloggers who are fabulous, so check it out. Others are being worked out in upcoming Hump Day Hmm topics. Don't forget this Wednesday's Hump Day Hmm topic is political correctness and communication, outlined in more detail in this post. I've had some excellent topic suggestions so I'll create and post a schedule soon.



I recently finished reading Nick Hornby's latest novel, A Long Way Down. It's a dark comedy about four suicidal strangers who meet on the top of a building, where each had gone to jump. Their impulse to save each other forces them to realize their own self-preservation instinct. After walking down, the four bond into an unlikely band of friends.

'If Ca…

Political Corrrectness: The Hump Day Hmm topic for Wednesday, July 25, 2007

When I was in college, a sensitivity movement began...a movement that has developed into a new overlayer in our culture.

The idea began in the 1970s, my childhood, my development years. Its origin is allegedly Marxist-Leninist, intended to support the party line.

In 1991, President Bush I issued a serious warning against this movement during a commencement address at the University of Michigan.

By 1992, the year I graduated college, it had deteriorated into satire.

Now, in 2007, it has only escalated in authority, tying our tongues.

The movement is political correctness.

In Wikipedia, I learned a little more about the history:

The often quoted earliest cited usage of the term (in the form "not politically correct") comes from the U.S. Supreme Court decision Chisholm v. Georgia (1793), where it clearly means that the statement it refers to is not literally correct, owing to the political status of the United States as it was understood at that time.
Not correct due to the political …

Nebraska...that's a joke, right?

Somebody from Nebraska's board/department of tourism hired the Jay Leno advertising agency to attract people to their state this summer.

Ummm...??????

I see their plan: let's draw all those tourist dollars to Nebraska.

I mean, after all, how many times can you go to hotshot destinations like Orlando and Williamsburg? So...might as well go to Nebraska!

I get it, and I know there are lovely parts of Nebraska.

But tell me...does this commercial draw you in?



I still feel a wee bit suspicious, like someone is having me on at my expense.

While on the topic of nothing much whatsoever...

And after weighting this blog down with the unbearable heaviness of being all week, I have some bloggy business to take care of that is much lighter.

About a month ago my buddy Roz tagged me for a meme, and since things are a little heavy there now too, this is one silly thing I can do in support of Roz.

1. What were you doing ten years ago today?

Today exactly? July 20? Uhhh...??? How about generally?

Let's …

Rebel without a cause

I recently had one of those days. You know, the sort that the next day you wake up with Big Mouth Regret.

First, a bit of honesty: I have a sad inclination at times to not trust people very much when it comes to me. This ties back to the Hump Day Hmm theme this week of letting go, which---when it comes to believing that people can and will accept me as I am---I haven't done. I haven't let go of all those times I wasn't. Times, by the way, that are not in the past, which is probably why the letting go bit is so hard.

I have learned that people are generally more comfortable with me when I put on the Facade, you know, the old "scarf over the lightbulb to dim the wattage" trick. I'm not fooling them; people aren't stupid. They can tell I am a wolf in sheep's clothing. But as long as I act like a sheep rather than a wolf, we can all be okay.

I make it sound like I think that's a bad thing---it's not, and I don't. We all do a degree of masking in …

Never Let Me Go: Hump Day Hmmm

Kazuo Ishiguro, I've noticed, always incorporates elements of letting go, self-sacrifice, and sense of self in his books. He usually explores the line of where one person ends and another begins by creating dysfunction and imbalance in both the situation and in the characters, who usually are in a position of serving others to the point of near or total self-loss---although, that might be a misunderstanding, perhaps instead it is our issue of trying to understand how a person can be whole when his or her identity is formed through serving another/others.

He continues that theme in his book, Never Let Me Go (Random House, 2004).

Reviewers describe this book with terms like, "devastating," "quiet desperation," "deceptively simple," "existential crisis," and "emotionally shattering."

The book doesn't hide anything from you. It opens with the main character, Kathy H., telling the story of her life. She states the facts in the first s…

Dealing with autism: A mom who gives them something to think about

About a decade ago or so, my husband and I stepped trepidatiously into the land of infertility.

We'd been married about five years when we decide to try to conceive. This was, actually, a master plan. While my husband and I were still dating I went to my friend Julie's sister's wedding shower and she shared her master plan for marriage. I thought Holly was about as cool as it got, so I paid attention to every word she said, and logged it in my head like gold.

Later, my husband liked the five year plan: play for five, then settle down.

And it's true: for five years we played...and played...and played.

One day, it felt like time.

Let's have a baby.

Only it didn't at all work out that way. I've gone through it before, the infertility saga, a la Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. The latest installment I haven't shared because...well, I am still processing. I want to, though, because sharing is what got me through infertility, and I feel like sharing might help someone …