Friday, November 25, 2005

Behind the Scenes As A Blogger.

I finally got my knowledge act together and my blog is looking more professional. It seems easy, but like with most things in life - "It Ain't necessarily So"! Blogspot does a fine job of keeping the technical end of publishing a blog out of the novice's way. I have no complaints with them at all. I am learning a lot about a diverse range of topics, now that I'm a blogger with an audience.



First. A definition of Blog. Blog is short for web log. A web log is technically any page on the internet, but blogs are updated much more frequently then say a business web log, or web site.



Indented because I'm going to get geeky, technical and use computer-eez. So, skip the rest of this indented material to avoid techno-speak.



Now, that its just us geeks and geek-want-to-bes, here is the deal. I had no clue about HTML, CSS, RSS or UFO's (sorry, I couldn't resist!) Now, that I've made a passing acquaintance with HTML tags, I have line breaks between my paragraphs. It's not perfect, but it now looks like I have some scant hope of becoming a professional! This wysiwyg editor seems to not like paragraph indenting, or line skipping. So, with the handy 'paragraph' command, I've solved that problem. Now, other more professional-looking blogs list their back posts. I finally got around to the hour or so of reading necessary for me to find the courage to mess with my blog template. That means I'm still only a geek-want-to-be, as I am not real happy about messing with anything I don't really understand, when it isn't broken!



The completely embarrassing moment this week was when I sent a detailed and researched email to a game developer who was waxing wishful about learning something. Well, I remembered a terrific tutorial on HTML and set out to find it. I did and made sure he had everything he needed. (Oh, God, did I feel stupid) when he politely and humbly informed me that he knew HTML, as he'd constructed his own web site! But was vaguely interested in XTML! Oh man, talk about feeling stupid! I haven't divined how to draw margin boxes around things yet and I'm telling a man who constructed an entire website about HTML! (And people ask where I get my sense of humor! That's it for techno-talk - CG.



Welcome back to the rest of you. I really enjoy the process of blogging, when I have something to share, I am well rested and I'm not up to my hips in alligators (forgetting my objective was: drain the swamp! There is a state of ignorance and self-delusion, that can be awesome in its lack of relation to THE REAL WORLD! I just didn't understand, oh dear MacPhilly. In theory, needing an entire month to post was ridiculous! I knew I could handle once-a-week, just because I'm an arrogant fool! I got my first grousing remark the other day. I was on day three of some serious housework, for Thanks Giving. I knew I was going to do a major blog overhaul and get it up to snuff, so I hadn't started that dreaded process. I was sweaty, tired and perhaps a bit peevish. Also, I'm pre-menopausal - and THAT truly is a trip to the Twilight Zone!



"Where's your new bloggy stuff?" The sweet voice of my substitute mother floats to my brain, after finishing my work on her home. We have been both boss / employer and friends for years. I don't play around when I work, and I've had the joy of working for many friends. I felt my entire body droop, as I remembered WHY I hadn't been blogging. The short answer: I didn't feel like doing it. The long answer is just like the short answer with the various excuses thrown in. You know, like: need to sleep, eat work, read email, news feeds, ebooks, listen to pod casts and have some time to do NOTHING! I wrote to Macphilly privately to apologize for being an ignorant fool. I have a suspicion that if I'd received a sarcastic email, like the email I invaded HIS inbox with, I wouldn't have been at all so nice! Props, props and more props to Macphilly. (That is short for Proper Respect, etc).



Now, on to the Holidays! I had a real pity party this last weekend. I had party favors and everything. See, I got twisted out of shape because I couldn't be included in on a friend's family get-together. It took me several hours to realize, that Thanks Giving wasn't created to hurt my feelings! Its not personal. There are private things and public things. A couple celebrating ten years of marriage isn't going to bring their two-year-old with them to THAT PARTICULAR dinner. I had a beautiful private moment recently with a close friend. We did a very lavish dinner at a wonderful restaurant. We have history together and it was special for US TWO people. Once I figured that out. I didn't feel bad any more. I have to remind the three-year-old part of me, that I can't have every cookie, everywhere and all the time. Yeah, I'm 52 and still wrestling with that three-year-old part of me.



Sometimes, if the holidays really bring you down, you have to do what YOU want to do. I used to be so upset by the entire time from Halloween through New Years Day, I'd take to my bed. I'd just stay sick for most of the season. I truly couldn't face some of the real grief work around this difficult season. Its all about unrealistic expectations. We all have 'em and we all do it.



I still have to guard against hearing an unexpected Christmas song, say, in late September. I'm likely to tear-up, if I'm not ready for it. There were some seriously sad times. Jesus wisely said to look ahead and not backwards. That is great advice, but it can be very hard to put into healthy practice. For those of you with the horror stories...



People see you are sad, (or worse). They get the scrunchies around your emotions, as they don't want to inquire too closely into their own emotions. So, they begin to 'advise' you on how to make the best of the holidays. Let old CyberGal save you some time, money and frustration.



None of the following will 'magically' cure depression:

  • taking a hot (or) cold bath
  • buying something
  • eating something
  • dealing with a pet (walking, grooming, etc.)
  • cleaning up your house
  • doing vigorous exercise
  • taking a walk
  • watching 18 hours of television
  • listening to 18 hours of radio, audio books, etc.
  • having more or less sex
  • radically changing your diet: as in, living on brown rice only
  • getting drunk / stoned / high
  • going / not going to church
  • being around people
  • being alone
  • volunteering

Sometimes you are going to feel crummy, and during and / or after all of the above, you may still feel crummy!



All of the above have their place, but I had to learn there is no magic to life. Some days are harder to get through than others. As my female-ness is departing my body, my hormones are going nuts. When they do, I become a bit over-dramatic, touchy and more immature than normal. I had to learn to start trusting my own judgment about when I had enough physical and / or emotional strength, to apply the tried-and-true methods of dealing with depression.



Sometimes, for me, the best answer was to let my body rest and sleep. If you really feel better and have some positive energy after a stint in bed, go to sleep. If it isn't getting better, or is getting worse, seek help. There is no shame in asking for help, from counselors, pastors and even scary professionals like psychologists and psychiatrists! So, I've given you my experience with this thing we call the holidays. I try to do something constructive each day, like putting money in my future bank account. I may feel crummy, but I'm actually learning programming and things I'll be able to use in inventing the product I want to invent. When tomorrow shows up, I have something to show for my not-so-hot, yesterday. Do I make it through like this all the time, Heck no! I refer you to my Ground Zero and The Terror of Relapse posts!



This year I really didn't want to be the only non-relative at a family get-together. I knew someone at my church would probably invite me somewhere. I had to figure out what I wanted to do with this very 'family' day, without a family. I chose dinner at my beloved Marriott Hotel in downtown Oakland. I've been eating there for years, and have become friends with some of their staff. So, when asked what was up for me today, I laid out my Marriott plan. I was all dressed-up and ready to feast, after church. It was just what I wanted and expected. My waiter and I engaged in lovely silliness. He shared how he loved waiting on me, because, he knew it was safe to really joke around and play. Sometimes they have to be careful with humor. Some customers can dish it out, but can't take it coming back at them. It was a lovely meal, some good laughs and once full of salad, rolls, mashed potatoes, asparagus, turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and coffee with some Baily's Irish Cream. I came home and took an absolutely magnificent nap. Which is why I have created not one, but two posts for you all this week.

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