Tag Archives: Blogher

Seeking the Details of My Ancestry

Bear with birth announcementEven decades after her birth, I still marvel at my daughter. Her genetic makeup covers the Caribbean, South America and at least three European countries.

That we know of.

I’m certain that I inherited my coarse, curly hair and need for eyeglasses from the birth mother who left when I was a toddler. I’m kind of sure of my ethnicity but feel sad that I passed the uncertainty to another generation. Continue reading Seeking the Details of My Ancestry

The Summer of Firstevers: Connecting the Events

Saint John, NB. Canada (8/26/15)If last year was the Summer of Free Music, this was The Summer of Firstevers.

Leaving Halifax

I took my first cruise to my first visit to Canada. I was happily shocked that the huge ship was so stable that I often forgot that we weren’t in some landlocked resort, but rather, in the Atlantic Ocean. I will revisit the cities of Saint John and Halifax because a few hours is simply not enough time to experience a culture. I loved what I did see: the rugged coast, the historic structures, the friendly people, lighthouses. Even the rain, though inconvenient, seemed appropriate.

At the Reversing Rapids in Saint John, NB, Canada

I did my first Manhattenhenge, the event where the setting sun lines up with Manhattan’s crosstown streets. I have worked in Manhattan my entire adult life and only this year thought to view this phenomenon.

After exhaustive research (ok, mostly Pinterest searches) I discovered keratin products to to tame my curly, coarse hair. It’s laborious, and the blowing out will probably result in nicely defined upper arms. That would seem like a shallow accomplishment but we are often treated according to our appearance. It’s easier to leave the house knowing that I look my personal best.

I attended my first blogging conference and enjoyed it more than I anticipated. It’s still daunting to know how much technical, creative and monetary potential a blog has. I would love to find an in person, college-level, certificate granting course to make me a blogging expert.

school sign in Brooklyn

For the first time ever, I saw what it takes to set  up a classroom. I was honored to help my daughter clean and arrange the disorganized schoolroom that she was assigned. She did most of the work days before I arrived but there was plenty to wash and sort and hang on boards. I had no idea how many learning tools exist, from math manipulatives to finely-leveled readers, many of which had been haphazardly stored in very large bags.

So many disparate experiences, all connected by the chances to do and learn new things.  To be sure, I have spent a fair amount of time doing nothing of interest, but I am so grateful for the past few months’ growth opportunities.

Destined to be a Blogger

Today is my grandfather’s birthday, and he would have been amused at how I spent it.

I’ve been attending the Blogher conference; this year it’s right here in New York. There are speakers and breakout sessions, networking and parties. The days are long but interesting. It’s great seeing a multitude of women immersed in new media and self expression.

Grandpa had three sons. When his first grandchild turned out to be a girl, it didn’t occur to him to treat me as unintelligent. For a few of my early years I lived with my grandparents. Grandma taught me sewing and food prep and how to set a proper table. Grandpa let me watch the news with him and shared his political opinions with me. He was stern but believed in his grandkids. While some anti-education folks married into the family, he announced that I was going to college. I was still in elementary school. Was this an edict, prophecy or call to battle?

My grandfather left Ecuador as a teenager. Back then you could work hard to improve your economic status, and he did. He retired a tool and die maker, a skilled tradesman with a love of the English language. He died a few years ago just shy of his 103rd birthday. In his last year or so he started reverting to his language of origin, but always pronounced my name in English.

I remember him asking me about words: where did this word come from, why does that bank have its name? Two generations later, I’m using words with a platform and technology he could never have imagined.

Happy Birthday to a man whose thinking was a generation ahead of his time.

My Style: Trim Nails as a Show of Strength

I was a nail biter.

You wouldn’t know it to look at me, with trim, tidy nails in a usually understated color. But I was a skittish, nailbiting kid who kept up the habit through adulthood. When my teenaged daughter wanted nice nails for events like proms and sweet sixteens, I gladly paid. It occurred to me that I deserved just as nice but rarely spent the time or money on my own extravagances.

In 2006 I made the decision to no longer be that nervous kid and start treating myself as I wanted to be treated. After wearing tips for about a year I pretty much broke the habit and stopped wearing the fake nails. I learned how to do them myself, although not nearly as professionally as they do in the nail salons. It’s like I made up for lost time, buying more nail polish than I could ever use.

Continue reading My Style: Trim Nails as a Show of Strength

BlogHer Mania and Some Thoughts on Selfies

Hat Selfie 5-3-15Happy May everybody! I’m going to attempt to post daily for BlogHer’s “NaBloPoMo” (I think it’s National Blog Post Month or something like that) since their theme this month is photo. Yep, we may get a little self-revelatory in this, my favorite month of the year.

Continue reading BlogHer Mania and Some Thoughts on Selfies

Making Social Media Really Social

We are all aficionados of social media: we blog, read publications on our devices, follow Twitter and create inspiration boards on Pinterest. Ideas and thoughts, experiences and images are shared worldwide. These are good times for voracious readers.

Most of these activities are done alone. It’s cozy to connect in my ancient, broken-in jeans and soft, comfortable tank tops. But some social media are designed to get us out of the house, away from the comfort zone and into the world.

COURTESY MEETUP HQ via Instagram_10838874_673719246082414_705021925_n
Courtesy MEETUP HQ

My favorite is Meetup, a worldwide organization of local groups that share interests and activities. The hub is the website where members can search for groups (called meetups; why invent a new word, I guess), sign up for events, then discuss and post pictures after the events have taken place. I’ve had good times and met great friends through Meetup.

I’m pretty excited that I’ve signed up for the Blogher 2015 conference. I will see a multitude of bloggers right here in New York City. It will be like seeing blog faces pop off the screen and into the ballroom with me.

I know some people have had success with online dating, a major example of meeting an online person in person. Now  that’s social.

I like the trend of inviting people online to in-person parties. The website  gives all the details,  takes your rsvp and adds it to your calendar. No more posting paper invitations on the fridge.

There are creeps out there, sure. There are people who post inaccurate pictures on dating websites. There was the guy kicked out of Meetup because he was harassing some female members. There are cyber-bullies. Just like in analog life, we have to be careful, listen to instinct and try to weed out the predators.

Recently I searched for some kind of bloggers’ group in my area. I know I have so much to learn and there’s a wealth of wisdom out there. I didn’t find any groups that resonated with me so I am now considering starting one of my own. The main problem is logistics: I need an accessible, pleasant space near me with wi fi.

Last weekend I ruled out one spot because it was too crowded, and that made me sad. They had a fireplace. I imagined a throwback to the days before electricity, when people gathered ’round the fire and told stories.

iPhone and car keysNow, though, we would gather around the laptops, readers and smartphones. Illuminated by their screens, we’d share ideas and thoughts, experiences and images.