Driving and Biking in the Big City

Posts Tagged ‘WordPress

Thanks for the Facebook love

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FB as Barbie diaryDear Facebook friends: Thanks for all my birthday wishes, and, more importantly, thanks for coming back into my life. As a writer and diarist, Facebook is one of my favorite activities. Reminds me of these blue, green, purple books with hearts and keys that I have in my writing chest and I have kept since sixth grade, writing on every single page in most years. I have shelves and shelves of diaries/journals/
notebooks/whatever you call them until I got onto Facebook.

I make time for FB – morning and night — just like I journaled all those years before Facebook. I’m not too busy. I’m not embarrassed. Yes, I have a life, but I’m a writer, formerly a reporter, and I continue to report. Every day, I do this.

The other best thing about Facebook besides reconnecting with friends is: No editors. Ha!! Take that you Texas magazine editor who wanted me to change and change my Rayburn Dam story about growing up on the Angelina River until I couldn’t recognize it and – even I who love to get paid for what I write – refused to let it be published.

Even better, I can take photos of what I see and post. Yes, I was that kind of reporter, meaning I was the kind of reporter who worked at many small-town dailies and biweeklies so that I can get as good of a tornado shot as anyone. My eye sees the action in the crowd, just like my mind knows who the story-maker is in the room.

Because of FB, I don’t have to try to get my husband or kids or friends to come see the . . . sunrise, sunset, moon, Orion, Venus, Blood Blue Moon, four-leaf clover, turtles in the gully, deer, trashy graffiti, misspelled graffiti, bad punctuation on signs, snakes, Madonnas in the back of the pickup, terrible traffic on Texas 59. Or especially Ben doing something incredibly cute; Lucy doing something incredibly cute; their over-the-top cuteness when they do something together that just makes my day.

What I wanted to say today, on my birthday, as my friends write on my timeline is how proud I am of my life because of my friends and the people along my way. They are different and they are the same – these days we certainly know their differences but we don’t often talk about their sameness.

Most of my friends have pets, adore their pets and seem to love them more and more as they age. All the grandparents understand my doting adoration of Ben and forgive me for the over-sharing of his photos.

You wouldn’t believe the number of writers on my friends list including, naturally, folks from my reporter days but also from my girlhood. Port Neches, Groves and nearby were ripe for gritty stories. Heck, I even have two Pulitzer Prize winners among my friends, one of whom has won two Pulitzers.

FB keeps me in touch with my longest ago friend, Pattie, who I met the first day of first grade. And my bestie from teen-age years, Cyndy, who helped me meet my husband when she was being so charming at freshmen orientation at Lamar University. And my lifelong friend Lynn who has been in every part of my life from girlhood carpool, to living behind me at Lamar University, to now, now. We even spoke on the phone this week.

My friends include my babysitting co-op from 30 years ago when I was first in Kingwood, had only Laura and was freelancing without many friends. I’m even friends with many of my kids’ friends from their teen-age days. I really like them all better as adults.

My very favorite friends from our life in Michigan are on my list including Lynne who was the angel sent to be by my side when Trav was being diagnosed with his childhood heart problem – now cured because we moved back here to go to Texas Children’s. Without that huge glitch, we might still be wearing snow shoes and digging out our driveway.

Then, I’ve managed to reconnect with far-flung family members and watch my niece’s adventures in Alaska and my nephew who is living a nomad life as a photographer and driver in North Carolina. And, even if they don’t post every day, I get a glimpse into their lives, find out they are OK and the most important events happening with them.

Via Facebook, I’ve found out about the deaths of three good friends and my beloved niece who was named for me. I know that sounds cold and isolated from society as it used to be, but I’m so glad I found out so soon after their unexpected deaths. I wonder and worry about my wild family pretty routinely and start reaching out when I don’t hear from someone or something new is happening with them.

I have excellent cooks in my repertoire who share great and easy recipes. I have crafty folks including several quilters. Friends are building homes, raising chickens, running marathons, lifting weights, sitting by pools and beaches and drinking wine with me many evenings.

My tennis friends, my work friends, my new friends, my old friends. Wait!! I’m starting to sound like Dr Seuss.  So, I’ll stop now. Thanks for the birthday wishes but thanks more for being on Facebook and keeping in touch. I love every one of your posts and read you daily. You make my life fuller and my journaling easier. Thumbs up, heart and emotional face.


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

February 6, 2018 at 5:39 pm

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

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