Driving and Biking in the Big City

Posts Tagged ‘blog

I resolve in 2018 to simplify and blog

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Happy 2018: This last-century hippie girl thinks that year sounds so futuristic. Guess we knew we’d get here if we stayed healthy but who knew it would sound so magical. Been thinking about what I’m going to do with this year and I want my theme to be “make life easier.”

Simplify, spend less, worry less, focus on the moment when I’m in it, the place where I am now. Spend more time with friends and family. Go home often and visit all the streets and good memories of my girlhood.

Get outside in nature more. See new birds, find snakes and wild flowers.


Look into Ben’s face often and watch him discover. Learn from him.

Spend more time with my adult children, speaking to them about their adult ideas and experiences. My life changed when I had these two. This uptight competitive career woman and longtime police reporter became an uptight and Type A mom who knew and had reported on everything that could go on. I even wrote “Parenting Challenge” during their upbringing — a Sunday column for the Houston Chronicle. Oh how none of that helps prepare them or me for the world we have now lived.





Nothing like having adult children — one with a child behavior degree and the other with philosophy and communication — to tell their ol’ mom a thing or two. And she tries to listen. Tries to be wrong. Tries to say, “she tried and tried really hard.” I love them both so and my first pediatrician said I couldn’t go wrong if I simply loved them.

Lucy and TuckerHold Lucy longer. Look at her silly under bite and laugh at her. Throw her skunk for her more often. Make a place for Tucker on the couch, at my desk, in a lawn chair, anywhere beside me because he loves me more than life and I need to appreciate and honor that.

Hug John more often, listen to his ideas, agree with him when I can. Keep it to myself when I can’t. Tell him what a good man he is, how lucky I am to have him on this long journey. Remind myself often that I am good, I am smart and I am strong. I can help.

I am a writer, have been all my life and have made a decent living if not much fame at doing it. I resolve to spend this new, relaxed time, thinking profound thoughts and writing them down. I will blog more. Love, me.

John and me

John and me, ready for 2018


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

January 14, 2018 at 9:51 am

A reporter must report, even without a daily newspaper

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Tucker and SambaAs a lifelong journalist now with no newspaper in this age that has changed the Fourth Estate forever, I am still a reporter at heart and must report. Now, I’m a one-person shop – like I was at my first biweekly. I report, edit, take photos and write columns. I also get to choose what is reported and how high the play is.

No longer am I reliant on a city desk to decide if I’ve made Page 1 or if I get to cover the big story. No longer am I an insecure writer with low self-esteem, dependent on the judgment of the editors who were always the boss of me in my daily days. Well, maybe still in need of approval like all writers but that’s another story.

Facebook, Twitter and this blog are my outlets, and my iPhone is my Nikon.

Social media also has saved my marriage and made me easier to tolerate for friends, my children and especially my husband. In 40 years of marriage, I can’t even tell you how often I’ve asked my husband to come see something – a beautiful sunset, deer roaming the woods, perhaps a man who’d hanged himself from a tree. John actually believed me this time; we turned the car around and discovered my imagination had been at work. Now that I think about it, this may be why he isn’t always willing to come see what I want to report.

As a longtime police reporter, I’ve actually discovered a few bodies in my day so I can understand why he’s a bit gullible. But we’ve had at least three incidents where I’ve convinced him I’ve seen a crime in progress, and it turned out to be an over-reaction on my part.

Then, there was the time I wanted to report child abuse in my neighborhood because I kept hearing the kids shout, “Daddy, Daddy, please stop.”.” When John urged me to check it out one more time, I approached the house cautiously, prepared to knock on the door and save the children. “No, no, no, Daddy,” I heard. Then, splash after the cries. “Daddy” was horse-playing with the kids in the backyard pool. Cops were not called; my reputation remained intact, except with my husband.

One of my favorite halfway points.

One of my favorite halfway points.

In any case, I no longer holler for family or friends when I see something exciting or different in my routine commuting travels or my bike rides. I just post. Now, I may be an over-sharer, but I try to pace myself a bit.

Thus, this weekend I’ve captured some photos of the sights I’ve seen along my bike rides. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the two brother Batmen, complete with masks and capes nor did I get my iPhone out in time for the convertible with the kid in the backseat with a butterfly net.

Fishing and paddling

Fishing and paddling



Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

September 28, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Road Warrior: Beyond Astrodome

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New Road Warrior

New Road Warrior

The day finally arrived last week when it became clearly time for a new Road Warrior to join me on my commute. Vinny has been a good and loyal companion, but the days are gone when I feel secure he will get me to Houston and back without a problem.  Frankly, such a trooper deserves a break from the concrete and the crowds. He will remain in my family forever but needed help carrying the load of the day to day.

I went with my favorite mechanics’ recommendation and stayed in the Nissan family, this time with a midnight blue Rogue that I expect will get a bit better gas mileage than Vinny. I drove him home for the first time on Friday and will begin the commute with him right away. He’s a magnificently sleek piece of machinery with all the bells and whistles. Of course, I’m not for sure what that means – considering it’s been 10 years since I drove a new car and don’t quite know what is standard these days.

For instance, I mentioned to some friends that my airbags will disconnect if there appears to be a child in the front seat and may do so even if my purse or briefcase is too heavy.  One of them laughed that this has been true for a while and is now pretty standard. Vinny was among the first with airbags on all four sides, and “they” hadn’t decided what to do with the too small person sitting nearby. I was amazed to know how behind the times I am with car equipment.

The huge differences so far appear to be the speaker system that hooks up to my cell phone, the satellite radio and the keyless entry – something I haven’t quite figured out as yet. Of course, I’m just getting started with my new friend and have plenty of time for discovery.

I am pretty loyal and trusting with my car dealer like I am with my mechanics and have come to depend on having regular people like this in my life. There’s quite a bit to be said for return business, and I believe I get a good and honest deal with the folks I have come to admire in their line of business. This particular Nissan salesman has sold my family now six Nissans, starting with sweet Vinny back in 2003. That’s been followed by two Sentras and two trucks – taking into consideration that both of my children totaled new vehicles and went back to the same  dealer for the same purchase a few months later.  Wow! That’s scary, and we’re lucky for those airbags.

And so, he spent about 45 minutes with me on Friday explaining all the perks in the new Rogue – enough that I was so overwhelmed that I almost couldn’t find my way to work, even with the built in GPS. Yikes!

Of course, I was quite melancholy when I removed my parking pass from Vinny’s rear view mirror and grabbed out of the center overhead my electronic card that lets me in the gate of my parking lot.  But once I got close to my new wheels and the door opened at my presence, I knew this new guy “gets me.”  Then, he recognized my phone, turned on some jazz and called my family members at the sound of my voice. Yes, I say, he feels like family. Now, he just needs a name.Vinny in the stable with his new friend

I am waiting for him to speak to me, but, while I do, I thought I’d offer a naming contest for you regular readers. Just like television shows today allow you to choose an ending, vote folks off the island and create the next superstars, I’m going to tap into the power of social media. If you have a name you’d like to suggest for my new Road Warrior, just send it along as a comment.

Do I have a prize? Of course, I do. The prize is your own guest blog in Commuter Chronicles. And, if you’re not much of a writer, I will help smooth it out and make it wonderful. And, if you’re still not interested in writing, I will buy you a meal and hear your stories first-hand.

How’s that? You know from my blog what books I read, what movies I see. I’ve attached a photo in case he speaks to you visually. I’d love to see your thoughts in these first weeks while we get to know each other.

Vinny in the stable with his new friend

Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

February 3, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Commuter Chronicles had 3,500 views in 2012

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WordPress has been a very intuitive blog vehicle for me, and I’ve enjoyed the experience of being a regular columnist again. I tell folks who think about blogging how easy it is, and I know they don’t always believe me. But, in this day and age, everyone can be a blogger. I can start a million more blogs if I want to and change the look and appeal anytime. It’s just that easy. I love our new technology and recommend we all embrace it. I’d read what you have to say.

I’ve actually written Commuter Chronicles longer than this year and this blog because I started it when I first started commuting to Houston about 15 years ago. I would write columns about my travels and experiences in Houston and send it back via email to my tennis team, book club and other friends in the ‘burbs – just for a laugh. It felt natural to me because I had been a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Houston Chronicle and Detroit Free Press in my newspaper days. And that easiness of writing my thoughts stems from being a diarist starting when I was a kid. I would write every day in my Barbie diary about the events of every single day.  I may have mentioned before that I have written on every single page of three diaries from all three years of junior high. Should I ever become known for my serious work as a writer, my first act will be to burn those very shallow pages.

It is quite notable that in my hometown of Port Neches in the year 1969, Jesus’s image appeared on a screen door of the home located behind the Western Auto. As unbelievable as that sounds, it is true and people who lived in the area remember it well. It was huge news, made national television and Parade magazine. Like folks for miles around, I pilgrimaged to the newly formed shrine with the also recently invented Polaroid camera to take a photo of the image of Jesus. That proof remains in my wallet and on my person at all times to this day.

I tell you of this weighty event to create juxtaposition with my junior high diaries. There is not a single mention of Jesus on those pages. Instead, you can find every girlfriend and every boyfriend who called me that night, what we talked about and what I was thinking about wearing to school the next day. Those diaries are just that embarrassing.

Now that I can blog, it’s especially better than my old newspaper days. The reasons are

  • I have no editor. I was an editor and a writer and always a control freak. As a reporter, I didn’t love being edited. As an editor, I didn’t love not being the writer. The current symbiosis that everyone can be a writer is fine with me.
  • I get to write about anything I want to write about.
  • I get to take my own photos like I did in the Beaumont Enterprise days. (Or else the famous Big Johnny gets to take even more beautiful photos with his fancy, smancy lens.)
  • I have no deadlines and can arbitrarily post whenever I feel like it.
  • Folks can immediately respond to anything I write, and we can start a dialog about something we’re thinking.
  • And, thank Jesus, I have no editor.

As an old-time journalist, I’m very intrigued by the easy statistics provided by WordPress. For instance, I can tell how many folks view the blog and how many different individuals read behind me. I worried for a while that most of my views were from me looking at the column myself but then figured out that I didn’t count. So, in the olden days, I knew my work was coming to your doorstep, but I didn’t know whether or not it immediately went into the birdcage or whether you just read the sports section.

I am reminded all of this because, at the beginning of the year, WordPress automatically sent me an annual report about how Commuter Chronicles went in 2012. Here’s the roundup:

  • Biggest news is that my blog received more than 3,500 views last year.
  • Also huge is that about 320 folks follow me on a somewhat regular basis.
  • Interestingly, viewers were from 31 different countries – mostly the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. But still, others. Who knew?
  • In 2012, I posted 61 columns; not bad for the first year and considering I didn’t start until March.
  • There were 220 pictures uploaded. Some in slideshows; some in galleries.
  • The busiest day of the year was July 24 when 100 different folks looked at my post on the same day. That most popular post was “Advice from my teen-aged self” that I wrote during my high school reunion and trip to Port Neches.
  • I got the most comments from readers on my column called, “A mystic passage home,” also written during my reunion week.
  • My regular readers get email messages when I post, but most others come from LinkedIn or Facebook.
  • Some people find me when they look for my name, bicycling columns or even the term “road warrior.”

I’m looking forward to more blogs in 2013 and plan to keep it light and fun. Life is too short to take it too seriously.  However, I do, in fact, have a few serious reflections in me and hope you will ride along with Commuter Chronicles through thick and thin. Sign on to follow; don’t miss out. Then, sign on to WordPress and start your own. It’s truly fun.

Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

January 11, 2013 at 8:47 pm