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So . . . I clearly haven't been blogging much over the last few months. Well, really over the last year. Here's the thing: I've been writing a lot, just not here.

Blogging was important to me for a number of years. It was a way for me to develop a positive relationship to writing after really not being a confident writer for a number of years. It was a first step towards a surprising progression to where I am now. First of all, I have embraced an identity as a writer. I really enjoy writing, not all the time, not every day, but when I feel like it. . . . and I feel like it more and more . . . I've come to realize that I write for me--and if it gets published, that's just a bonus. A bonus I love, but a bonus nonetheless.

So this summer, I've been researching a project that I'm deeply interested in. I traveled to Baltimore and New York to RESEARCH, of all things. Yeah, I loved seeing friends and two cities I love, but it was a trip devoted to deeply satisfying work. I discovered things that I don't think many people today know. It was exhilarating and exciting, and I wish I could go to Annapolis tomorrow and Boston too (though I'll be there in November).

Last week, I went to Lake Tahoe to meet a friend for a Writing Retreat. She was really dedicated--wrote for most of the day compared to my few hours a day. But, wow, I loved what I was doing. I'm working on a more personal essay, not what I really do generally, but it's been a good challenge to try to articulate why something is really important to me. I hope it gets published (and I think it will), but if it doesn't, I've so enjoyed the process.

Today, I was talking to a friend on the phone. He told me that he envisions me as a writer, that he feels like that's my next step. Interesting since that totally fits how I've been feeling for the last few months.

I'm grateful for writing, for friends who encourage me to write, for progress, for not giving up, for having enough time to write, for so many things. As I move towards the school year, I hope I can continue to carve out writing time.

(Just an aside. My deep thanks go to Janet Stevens who drove me all over Baltimore. I owe you.)

I started to feel like my teaching life was taking over this blog. So I decided to start a new teaching (only) blog: smartboard. It has taken me a couple of weeks to figure this all out, and for now, you'll only see recycled blog posts (from this blog and my previous teaching blog) on the site. I'll start posting new material soon, though, including some thoughts on collaboration and technology in the classroom.

I've also integrated my food blog into this site, so that this is all the more personal stuff that I post. I'm going to try to keep this blog teaching advice free, although I still may talk about work in a personal way here.

Please note that both on this blog and on smartboard, you can subscribe to my posts in three ways:
1) if you use an RSS Reader, there's the usual orange widget.
2) if you'd rather receive my posts by email, you can subscribe through feedburner.
3) if you are a Facebook addict, you can have my posts appear on your feed by following me on networked blogs. Frankly, I think this will happen anyway, but if I can get a lot of followers on Facebook, this will make it more likely that people who don't know me will be able to find my blog. So please sign up to follow my blog . . . All of these options are available in the right sidebar and are pretty easy to figure out.

I do hope that you will read the blog entries that interest you--and I always LOVE it when people make comments, so please don't be shy about that.

Lastly, if you have a blog that you would like me to link from mine, just send me your URL.

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It's summer. Classes are over, the grades are in, the temperature is rising. Life is good. Yes, I have work to do, but it's nice to have some free time, as well. With my now more abundant leisure, I've been looking at food blogs. To be honest, I think I'm in danger of becoming a food blog addict.

You should know something about me. During the school year, I rarely cook. I eat salads or soup--or I buy food that's already prepared. Even so, I yearn to fill my kitchen with cooking equipment. I want a Kitchen Aid mixer, an ice cream maker, a new wok. Yet I know I'd rarely, if ever, use such items. I also would love to own a million cookbooks, but how often would I use them? During the summer, though, I actually sometimes cook. And, if my new fascination with food blogs is any sign, I have a lot of cooking in my future.

Food blogs illustrate a passion for food that I completely understand. Bloggers write about the new restaurants they go to and describe (and display beautiful pictures of) the food they eat. One of my favorite entries was about Burma Superstar, a Burmese restaurant in San Francisco that I love. Note the description and picture of the tea leaf salad--I still salivate when I think of eating that dish in February.

Food bloggers also try out new recipes at home and blog about the meal. Sometimes these meals can be as simple as rice, corn, and turkey burgers. Sometimes, they are much more complex--what is lamb mechoui? Yesterday, I finally succumbed to the food blog world and I made a fantastic focaccia with caramelized onions, blue cheese, and grape tomatoes. It was quite yummy as the quickly empty plate at the potluck revealed.

It's summer. Check out some of these sites and try a new restaurant or a new recipe. And if you find something divine, start a food blog and let me know.

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Tonight, I celebrated the 40th birthday of my friend Captain Whiffle. The party was fun--lots of good conversation both with old friends and new.  One of the themes of my conversations was my new found (dare I say it) love for blogging.  Several months ago, I was seriously considering becoming a Luddite.  In particular, I hated the ways that cell phones cause impolite behavior and the seeming inability to be in touch with one's inner life. On campus I noticed how people got on their cell phones as soon as they stepped out of class.  In airports, I overheard conversations in which people had nothing more interesting to say than "I'm sitting in the airport waiting for my flight." Sometimes when I was with friends in public places, conversations on their cell phones took precedence over conversations with me or a larger group.  I swore to never get a cell phone.

So what does this have to do with blogging? Now that I've been a blogger for all of two weeks, I find myself thinking a lot about how this medium makes me feel.  I really like that I can write a short piece and feel pleased with the outcome.  I like the thought of my friends checking in on my blog to see how I'm doing and what I'm thinking about.  I like that blogging gives me time to formulate thoughts as slowly (or as quickly) as I need.  I even like the thought of connecting with people
I don't know yet through my blog. Feeling this way about blogging has made me rethink my relationship with technology.  I still don't have a cell phone, but I'm thinking of getting one--all this time, I've been overlooking the ways that a cell phone could allow me to connect with others. If blogging can be this satisfying, perhaps there are other technologies that can enrich my life.

As I type this, I imagine friends smiling--some of my friends will be smiling because of the huge shift this post represents, other friends will be smiling because they know that they've influenced my thinking.  That's okay with me--blogging helps me understand that a new post today will just be replaced by another post tomorrow or sometime in the future. What I say represents how I think now, but it doesn't represent how I'll always think. Blogging reminds me that the feeling of being alive is heightened when we learn new things.  Excitement, energy, passion--all of these things increase as we explore new worlds, new ideas, new technologies.

What are your thoughts on blogging?