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#MicroblogMondays 156: Looking Ahead

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


If you are not doing anything for today’s eclipse, don’t despair.  You get another chance on April 8, 2024.  That’s only seven years away.

It’s traveling through places that I would go to even if there wasn’t an eclipse, such as Montreal or Newfoundland.  But it’s also going to be much closer to home, passing through sections of Pennsylvania and New York.

It helps me to feel okay with missing out on something knowing that it will happen again in the future and I’ll get a second chance to do it right.  I know that’s pretty optimistic believing the world will still be here seven years from now.  But crossing fingers, right?

Do second chances help you to feel okay about missing out on something the first time?


Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored post.

August 21, 2017   16 Comments


There was a partial eclipse back in college that I somehow missed hearing about until it was happening.  I stepped out of the Humanities building and it was dark even though it was the middle of the day.  I knew enough not to look directly at the sun (okay, I probably didn’t know enough but I’m sure a smarter student shouted that out), and we sort of just walked home, not thinking too deeply that we were witnessing a moment in history.

We decided not to travel to the totality zone for tomorrow’s eclipse.  The closest spot is far enough away that we had to weigh out how much it meant to us to see it.  Instead we’ll remain in the partial zone, tossing on our eclipse glasses in the afternoon so we can stare directly at the sun.

Do I want to see a total eclipse?  Sure.  Do I want to see a total eclipse enough that I would be totally okay if we traveled to South Carolina and missed the eclipse because it was cloudy and raining but we got to spend time with other eclipse enthusiasts?  Nope.  Asking myself that helped me to put into perspective what I was willing to do to witness a total eclipse, and it wasn’t drive 8 hours.

Still social media (and, to be fair, the regular media) has a way of fomenting FOMO over these sorts of things.  It’s as if Twitter is collectively asking in the most incredulous tone, “What do you mean you gave up the chance to see the totality?”  And Facebook is rubbing it in your face: “Look at me!  I am loving on this eclipse so hard!”  And Instagram is like, “Look at these aspirational eclipse glasses that I made out of recycled pallets and mason jars.”

So I’m trying to be okay with it tomorrow.  I’ll see what I can see.

Are you doing anything for the eclipse?  Are you in the totality zone?

August 20, 2017   15 Comments

658th Friday Blog Roundup

ChickieNob started a blog a few months ago, giving commentary on royal family news.

Any time I see something interesting about a royal family, I pass it her way.  (And she usually rolls her eyes and says, “I already knew that.”)  One morning this week, I saw a picture of Denmark’s Prince Vincent, clearly upset on his first day of school, and I sent it her way.  She had already written about the Danish royal twins going to school the day before, but I told her that it was worth writing a second post; a public letter to Prince Vincent.  Maybe he would read it.  I was sure she had some advice to pass his way as an elementary school graduate and fellow worrier about going to school.

When I read it, my heart exploded.  Not just because she told him about our necklace trick (we’ve since graduated to matching typewriter key necklaces), but because kids comforting kids makes my heart melt.  She knocked it out of the park with the post.

So if you know someone who is struggling with a new beginning, maybe her words would help.


Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.


And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Jewish IVF has a post that moves like a roller coaster, ultimately moving through the heart dropping, is-the-world-going-to-hell moments to the soft hush of the ride coming to a stop.  Yes, it’s tied up in her next IVF cycle, but I love this ending: “I said I literally live a few houses down but thanked her for stopping. It was such a nice gesture. Maybe the world isn’t all complete garbage. Kindness goes a long way – she didn’t even do anything, just the offer was enough to cheer me up.”

Pages, Stages, and Rages said what I have been saying since news broke about Charlottesville: no one should be surprised.  This did not come out of nowhere.  As she writes: “Now look, I’m for blaming Trump for anything but people aren’t getting this. Trump is now in the Oval Office because of people like this.”  It is a wonderful post about not shutting people out or shutting down.  Just moving forward because it’s the only direction to go.

Lastly, Lavender Luz has a post about adoption called “Everybody Owns a Scar.”  She turned her blog over to a guest writer who told a story about her relationship with her children’s birthmother.  I’ll admit that I cried reading this.  But make your way all the way to the end.  You’ll be glad you did.

The roundup to the Roundup: ChickieNob wrote a great post.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between August 11th and 18th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

August 18, 2017   4 Comments

The Spot Between Yes and No

Some people are excellent with boundaries.  They take on only what they know they can do without making themselves miserable.  They don’t feel guilt when they can’t volunteer.  They say “yes” when they can, but they have no compunction about saying “no.”

I am not one of those people.

I am terrible at setting and enforcing boundaries.  People make assumptions about what I’m willing to do and rather than correct those assumptions, I go along with them.  I say “yes” even when I know that saying “yes” means that I will give up sleep.  I am the type of person who boldly declares that I’m about to start setting boundaries, and then doesn’t set them.

I want to say “no” but it comes out more like “nuuuuuuuuuuh” and then the other person assumes that guttural moan was a “yes.”  Not their fault; I need to learn how to enunciate and mean it.

Cheryl Strayed gave advice recently to someone who described themselves as a recovering “yes” addict who has found that people are cranky with her newfound “no” (which is probably my fear — that people will be miffed if I say “no.”):

I know many men struggle to say no, but there’s another layer of complexity for women. We’re culturally conditioned to be the nurturing ones, and there’s also a smaller field we get to move in when it comes to what’s considered selfish. Women are accused of being selfish for acts and qualities we deem perfectly fine in men. I’d say that’s where at least some of your guilt comes from, Ghost. When I’m feeling guilty about saying no, it helps me enormously to ask myself, “What are my intentions?” Answering that is so clarifying and calming to me.

The problem, of course, is that if I’m honest about my intentions, it’s just to get back a little down time.  It’s to get in some book reading and video game playing.  I’m not saying “no” in order to make room in my schedule for saving ducklings.  I’m making room in my schedule to jump over virtual mud puddles as Pitfall Harry.  And this is my right: we are all entitled to down time, and we get to use that down time however we choose.  But it does complicate the “no” when I think about the instead.

Some people achieve that sweet spot between yes and no, and for whatever reason, they never deal with the ire that the woman in the article expressed once she started saying “no.”  I’m not talking about the guilt — I think there are many people who feel zero seconds of guilt over saying “no.”  What I’m talking about is the people who don’t attract any ire over their “no.”  They say “no” and everyone accepts it without a second thought.

That is what I want to understand more than the lack of guilt over saying “no” in the first place.

August 16, 2017   12 Comments

Are You Stressed?

The New York Times loves to write articles about stress, and we keep reinforcing their production of articles about stress by reading and responding to their articles about stress.  It’s a nasty cycle.

But I did love this fact from one of their recent “how to manage stress” articles:

The researchers looked at death rates in the study group over nine years. The results are startling. The study found that having a lot of stress in your life was not linked with premature death. But having a lot of stress in your life and believing it was taking a toll on your health increased risk of premature death by 43 percent.

Simplifying this to annoy all the scientists reading this post: as long as you don’t believe stress is negatively impacting your health, it will not negatively impact your health.  Love this and looking in the other direction.  What stress?


The New York Times gave a lot of advice on how to manage stress, but they did not include any of MY ways of managing stress, all of which I believe are superior to eating well and exercising:


Chew on ice.  It’s as simple as that.  The sound will annoy everyone around you, but you will be filled with laser sharp focus and peace of mind.  I chew upward of 8 to 9 cups of ice per day.  I pour myself water just so I can quickly finish the water and then get to the good stuff: the ice.

You know how not thinking that stress is negatively impacting your health will stop stress from negatively impacting your health?  I believe the same is true for ice.  I believe that chewing on ice makes my teeth stronger.  Therefore, it makes my teeth stronger.  Please do not tell me otherwise.

Take on More

There is an old Yiddish folktale involving goats and chickens and stuffing your house full of new stressors so the original stressors don’t seem as bad, and I think the rabbis were onto something.  When work seems untenable, I take on more work.  Then I look back and think, “I had so much free time before I took on this extra work!”  It doesn’t help me in the moment since I now need to do the extra work, but it’s great for retrospection.

Crying in the Shower

Really, New York TimesAn entire article about managing stress and not one mention of crying in the shower?

Fine… and now some things they left off that actually help:

Write Everything Down

This seems like a no-brainer and yet no one ever puts it in a managing stress article: write everything down.  Half of my stress comes from not knowing which direction to point myself so I can take care of what needs to get done and get back to the ice chewing.  The times when I don’t feel stressed?  When I write everything down that needs to get done, create a manageable to-do list, and then move down the list.

Having it written down means that you don’t have to think.  And speaking of not thinking…

Make Decisions Once

The other half of my stress is constantly needing to make decisions.  I’m not talking about the big, life changing decisions.  I’m talking about things like “what are we eating tonight?”  So I sit down and make a bunch of decisions all at once.  Like I plan all the meals for the week in one sitting.  And then I put the list on the refrigerator and know exactly what we’re going to consume at various points in the day.  No on-the-fly decisions to make, and I never schedule complicated meals on complicated work days.

How do you manage stress?

August 15, 2017   8 Comments

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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