Saturday, May 26, 2012

Internet friends

I often hear people decry time spent online as taking away from "real" relationships. I was reminded of that again this morning as our house and church basement are full of young people who we almost certainly would not have known without the internet.

These are my daughter's best friends. She met them ten and more years ago. They live in Wisconsin, Texas, Indiana, and Ohio. When she first started getting to know them we lived in Illinois. I originally met all of their parents online through a homeschool email list or two.  During their high school years they kept in touch via email and chat, seeing each other a couple of times a year. She has been lucky enough to live in the same town as one or two of them for a year here and there, but if they hadn't already known each other, their paths wouldn't likely have crossed. Due to the cliquish nature of the homeschool community we found when we moved to Fort Wayne, the hours she spent chatting and emailing kept her from being a very lonely girl.

Earlier this week my friend Jenny was here from central Illinois with her husband and daughter. I met Jenny on an email list a few years ago, and, when she came with a group of other moms for a visit, she met Bethany and decided that her brother needed to, too. So she brought him for a visit. Bethany and Evan kept in touch while he was in Iraq. Now they are looking toward their first anniversary in August and their first child in September. He graduated from college in Minnesota and was in the army. She graduated from college in Indiana and was working as a paralegal. But for the internet, their paths weren't likely to cross.

Email and message board friends saved us in the early years of homeschooling when I had no in-person homeschooling contacts. Most of my closest friendships have come about because of the internet. And old friendships have been renewed through Facebook. And even local friendships are enriched by sharing pictures, activities, and the little ups and downs online.

I have lots of in-person friends and "real-life" activities, but the value of the time that I've spent online--from the early social network of AOL, to later message boards and email lists, to Facebook and Twitter now--has paid me richly in relationships and quality added to our lives.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Books and reading

I am having a lot of fun with my various reading challenges this year and have started doing a few book reviews again. I also have some mini-reviews in my monthly progress report posts. Now that I'm writing again, my genealogy blog may be next to rise from its moribund state.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Can we talk about bicyclists?

Drivers are constantly being told that we need to be aware of bikes. And this is true. But I would like to see an emphasis on bicyclists knowing and following rules and safety tips to go along with the chiding of drivers and the spending of tax money to give them bike lanes, racks, etc.

I like to ride my bike, too, but, in my awareness of bikes, in just one day yesterday, driving very little--just between the south side of Fort Wayne to downtown and back thrice--and mainly on busy roads, this is what I saw.
--An adult male cutting catty-corner across a busy street causing one car to have to brake quickly.
--A teen in the bike lane--bike lanes that caused a busy four lane road to be narrowed to two lanes with a suicide lane in the middle--popping wheelies and leaving the bike lane repeatedly.
--A cyclist going the wrong way in the same bike lane talking on his cell phone. (For my purposes, cyclist denotes someone in biking attire.)
--A cyclist running a red light.
--A cyclist riding in the suicide lane to go around a stopped school bus.
--A woman riding her bike down the sidewalk, on that street with the bike lanes, almost taking out a group of kids who were walking home from school.
--A woman riding her bike, pulling one of those baby carriers, at 9:15 p.m., in the dark, on the street, in dark clothes with no reflectors. ANYWHERE.
--A man in dark clothes about 20 minutes later, when I was on my way home from downtown riding hands-free down a busy street. Again, no reflectors at all.

All of this is just a little taste of the bike antics I see everyday. So yes, we watch out for them. but don't they have some responsibility, too? A lot of the riders I see are riding on either the wrong side--against traffic--or cutting in and out, using suicide lanes, etc. Saturday night the hubby and I were treated to the sight of about a dozen inebriated riders leaving a bar and climbing onto their bikes. That sure looked safe. Ummm. Maybe not.

So yes, ride bikes.  But do it safely.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pack it in

The next three weeks is going to be crazy. Cuh-ray-zee.

Wednesday and Thursday I'll be off on a road trip rescuing my daughter from behind the cheddar curtain. Friday I'll be busily preparing for the baby shower that a couple of friends and I are hosting on Saturday for another friend who is pregnant 12 years after her last one. We have ballgame tickets for Saturday night.

Sunday is an out-of-town trip for a shower for Bethany. Next week we will have out-of-town-company Monday through Thursday as we prepare for more out of town company Friday through Sunday. And another ballgame Saturday night.

Then there will be three days respite during which I will work frantically to get my at-work work done and my house somewhat sane before I leave for four or five days to take my Precious back to Wisconsin and help her and Evan make their first of two moves this summer.

In the midst of this I need to keep working on my pool, continue reclaiming my house from the great storage expulsion,feed people, and work on some web/social networking/marketing stuff for a friend's new business. And do my job that they pay me for.

When I come back it will be June. It will be four days until Jonathan's graduation party and five days before we begin demolition on our main bathroom.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

...and it was still hot

Patrick posted about the death of Maurice Sendak. I am not surprised. In Patrick's childhood, which was in many ways an exercise in self-limiting of stimuli, the Wild Things cut through. They were admitted to his inner space like few things were. So I loved them, too.Reading him that book was a way that I could reach this child of mine who was so closed off.

R.I.P. Mr. Sendak.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Book club

It has been several years since I've been part of a book club and I have really missed it. I've been lucky to have an informal book group in my house--my kids and I have read and discussed many books over the years--but with Bethany gone even that is dying off. I read voraciously, but it is usually a solitary pursuit, and I'm not exactly the solitary type.

So you can imagine my excitement at having a book group again.

We met for our first discussion tonight. It was good: thoughtful, respectful, insightful. A couple of us liked the book better than the others, which is always going to be the case. That generally makes for more interesting discussion. I think we have a good mix of people. Everyone is well-educated, but in different areas. We range in age from mid/late 20s to late-ish 40s. We are all moms, but our kids range from 3-25. Most of us know each other, but there are a few people who aren't part of our usual group, and that adds something, too.

I think this is the start of something good. I like it.

The need to write

I've been scribbling on scraps of paper, doing scrapbook journaling--sans pictures--and working on a couple of posts for someone else's blog. Sometimes lately I feel that I am about to explode with pent up words. So I return to my neglected blog. I don't know if this will be for a day or a season, but for now I will write.