Category Archives: Blogging

New Blog: A Complete Library of Entertainment, Amusement and Instruction

Another item I brought back from my mom’s house is a book called A Complete Library of Entertainment, Amusement, and Instruction. This book is all one needed in 1903 to be entertained, amused and instructed. For instance, it gives detailed instructions on how to throw dozens of socials, from an advertisement social to a bird social to a beheading social. It also provides guidance on throwing parties including a progressive soap bubble party, a children’s Valentine party and a brownie party. It gives instruction on how to play ping-pong, how to do various exercises and explains both American football and English football rules. Several of the socials, parties, and instructions are accompanied with “full-page half-tone images” and others are paired with simple line drawings.

Three women dressed in warm clothes for a "Northern Social"
An example of the images from the book

I remember looking at this book various times in my life, but it never caught my attention until I took a closer look at the images and some of the content.

So, thought I, what a great idea for a NEW BLOG! Maybe I will actually keep this one going beyond a few posts!

I’m slowly adding content to the new blog, with little, if any commentary. So far you can learn how to put on a Carnival of Nations or a Reunion of Characters from Charles Dickens’ novels. You can also learn how to host a Cat Social, a Bird Social, an All Fools’ Social and a Broken Hearts Social.

To Indigo Bunting on the occasion of her birthday

in 2006 I discovered a group of people who wrote snippets about other people they knew using the number of words they’d been on Earth. I thought it sounded like fun and began my own 365 blog. The very first person to comment on my work went by the nickname “Indigo Bunting”. For those of you who are not familiar with common bird names, an indigo bunting is a beautiful blue bird (often mistaken for a bluebird).

Indigo Bunting said there were a couple of reasons she was interested in my posts. One was that she’d lived in my hometown in the 1980s. Another was that she knew two other women who spelled their name the same way I did. A third was that she once lived in a town a couple towns over from where I know live. I was in awe of her way with words and immediately began reading her 365 from the beginning. The way she shaped her sentences and phrases taught me a thing or two about short-writing.

Eventually many of the core group of the original 365 group started new blogs and we followed each other to those. Indigo Bunting is slightly less prolific on her own blog than she is in commenting on other people’s blog posts. I don’t know how she does it — nearly every time I read someone’s blog post, Indigo has already been there and written the perfect comment.

Her blog is so well written — usually humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always highly readable.

Not only is Indigo a remarkable writer, she is also a birder, an editor, a skater (ice and roller), a fly fisher person, and expert on fly fishing, a lover of roller derby and she can still turn cartwheels like a kid.

Happy Birthday Indigo Bunting! Best wishes for the coming year. Live long and write lots of blog posts.



The Internet insists on reminding me that my oldest is no longer a teenager. My email told me when I logged on this morning:

Skype told me after enticing me to open it with a notification in my taskbar:

And of course Facebook told me it was Clare’s birthday.

It’s not that I feel old or anything — it is just that now I need to change my “About me” statement.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Clare. You’re still my little girl.



I’m still here

Yes, I’m still here and still blogging (in my head, that is). I’ve got a couple of drafts written, but cannot seem to finish them before I’m distracted by something else….SQUIRREL!

I want to talk about my 25th wedding anniversary and the day we were married (in a cemetery). I want to talk about my recent trip to Illinois. I want to talk about what I’m reading and what I’ve read.

I also brought a bunch of photos back from my mom’s house that I want to scan, upload and write about.

It’s not that I don’t have the time — my “work” workload is way down, but there is just something keeping me from actually finishing posts, scanning photos, and organizing my thoughts enough to put something in blog form.

Bloggers block? Perhaps.

See you soon, I hope…


The New Adventures of an Old Bird

Ok, not really new adventures, but I’ve begun a couple of new blogs — one a photoblog — updated a few times a week and the other a 365 project (haha, I know — I never finish those, do I?) in which I write about books I’ve read — hopefully updated daily. (shut up)

I’m most likely doing all that because I’m avoiding something. Work perhaps? Maybe life in general. I’ll post here of course.

Anyway here are the links — they are also in the link section of my sidebar.

Up Close and Personal

Cedar Waxwing Reads

Rupert and the God Cod

Indigo Bunting, Cedar Waxwing & Lali
Indigo Bunting, Cedar Waxwing & Lali

Rupert was happy that his American family remembered to take him on their trip to visit colleges in the Northeast. Sometimes they forgot to take him along on their journeys and that always made him sad. He especially wished he’d been along for the Ireland trip.

Rupert was also happy that he had a warm and cozy place to ride when his American family toured colleges in the cold rain. While they were soaked, Rupert stayed dry — although he does regret not seeing Diane Lane. He thinks she’s hot.

On Wednesday, April 1, Rupert and his American family visited Middlebury College in Vermont. The day was cold, but not rainy, which made them all happy. At this point on the tour, at least for Dean and Dona, the schools began to blur together. They all had lovely campuses, lots of trees and perky and overachieving tour guides. Andrew liked Middlebury, but it is not at the top of his list.

After the information session and tour, Rupert and his American family had lunch at a cafe in the town of Middlebury. Andrew and Dona liked the food, Dean was not happy with his soup. Dona liked the friendly people who were behind the counter. That kind of thing doesn’t usually impress Dean.

After lunch Rupert and his American family took a slight detour to the town of Parts West, Vermont to visit with Dona’s blogging friends, Indigo Bunting and Lali. Rupert was excited about this visit. He’d met a few other of Dona’s Internet friends as well as Dona’s favorite singer-songwriter, but he’d never met another blogger.

Rupert could tell that Dona was excited, but nervous, about meeting Indigo Bunting and Lali. He thinks Dona was nervous because she felt she was overstepping an unmarked boundary — that some people like to be more anonymous than she does online and that Indigo Bunting and Lali might only be agreeing to the meeting because they were too nice to say no. He suspected Dona was also nervous because Dean was never comfortable meeting Dona’s Internet friends.

Rupert and the God Cod
Rupert and the God Cod

As soon as Dona phoned Indigo Bunting and heard her voice, Rupert knew that Dona was no longer nervous. It was exciting to turn that last corner and see Route 153 for real. She saw the post office and other landmarks she’d read about in IB’s blog posts.

Rupert and his American family arrived at Indigo Bunting’s house at exactly the same time as Lali did. When Indigo Bunting opened the door she hugged everyone, saying “I hope you’re huggers!” It was exactly how Dona hoped it would be.

Dona, Dean and Andrew had (delicious) coffee, cookies and pie with Indigo Bunting and Lali while enjoying a lively conversation about everything from college visits to birds to coffee to towns in Vermont. Rupert got a thrilling ride on the God Cod, some photos were taken and everyone drove over to visit Lali’s home where they met Bisou, Lexi, Wolfie, Lali’s husband and the chickens. They admired the wattle fence as well.

Indigo Bunting gave Rupert and his American family a loaf of Rupert Rising Bread which they tasted about an hour later as they drove to their next college town. It was delicious and they planned the meal it would compliment when they got home the next evening.

On the way back to Bethesda the next evening, Andrew answered Dona’s question, “So what did we learn on this trip?” with “We learned that blogging friends are really nice!” Rupert, Dean and Dona all agreed.

New Comment Software

I’m testing a new comment software to see how I like it. It might be more annoying than not because a pop-up box will always ask if you want to log in to disqus. You do not need to log into anything to comment here. Let me know if it is too much bother and I’ll go back to the old way.

Favor requested

If you visit my blog and it acts weird when you load it or try to comment, please email me at and let me know. If you get an error, send that too. I’ve heard from two people that commenting seems to be broken for them sometimes and that the blog just acts strangely. I need to troubleshoot it and any help I get is good. (also tell me what OS you are using — mac / linux / windows).

Thank you!

Senior Project Meme

msmazzola wonders why people blog. She’s conducting informal research on the topic and asks folks to respond by posting their answers to the following questions and then posting a link to their post in her comments. (thanks Bridgett)

1. How long have you been blogging?

I began blogging June 21, 2001.

2. Why did you start blogging?

I was looking for a way to create a journal online — I’d been keeping a journal since I was in 9th grade and wanted a way to journal and make it public. I eventually found Blogger.

3. What have you found to be the benefits of blogging?

I’ve found a community of people that seem to enjoy reading about my life and I enjoy reading about theirs. It gives me an outlet for my writing. I enjoy writing and having someone else read what I write makes it all the better.

4. How many times a week do you post an entry?

It depends. I average about 2 times a month. I’d like to post more, but real life gets in the way.

5. How many different blogs do you read on a regular basis?

I’ve got at least 75 blogs on my feed reader, but don’t read them all the time. I do, however, make sure I read the 15 or so under the label “friends”. I’ve only ever met one person on my “friends” list, but I feel like I know the others just as well.

6. Do you comment on other people’s blogs?

Yes, I try to comment many of on the blogs I read.

7. Do you keep track of how many visitors you have? Is so, are you satisfied with your numbers?

I do tend to obsess on my stats sometimes, but other times I forget to check. I’m never completely satisfied with my stats, but there are so many blogs out there, it is understandable that mine doesn’t get checked very much. I always love it when I get a new comment though. It kind of validates my writing.

8. Do you ever regret a post that you wrote?

I don’t regret much of what I write because I try to not write anything that can hurt. I did have a blog a few years ago that I did write some regretful things. I removed it.

9. Do you think your audience has a true sense of who you are based on your blog?

Yes, I think I am pretty honest about who I am — even in the blog I removed.

10. Do you blog under your real name?

Yes and no. I have a few blogs and some don’t have my real name.

11. Are there topics that you would never blog about?


12. What is the theme/topic of your blog?

A couple of my blogs are about everything. One is about birds. One is about accessibility. One is about my trip to Ireland. One is about our favorite recipes.

13. Do you have more than one blog? If so, why?

Yes, I have several. I blog about what interestes me at the time. Some go nowhere. Some go on and on.