December 29, 2010

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Brian and I have been discussing lately that no one writes letters anymore. This is somewhat funny because we've been getting tons of Christmas cards, and many of them are stuffed with the annual "here's what we've been doing/experiencing" letter. But really, other than that, who in our generation or the one behind writes letters?

This summer I read Karen Kingsbury's Baxter series, and the mother writes letters to the children and her husband over time. After she dies (yeah, I spoiled that one, didn't I?), these letters become precious to the family members and are even plot devices to move along the story. But, anyway...letters.

I'm spoiled. My hand cramps up when I write more than a couple of scribbled sentences. I type somewhere between 100 and 120 wpm, and writing seems both forced and ugly. I read in the Wall Street Journal, though, that it's very good for the brain - at least learning how to write is. So, while I'm glad I learned to write, I never got very good at it, preferring other modes of communication. Every year after birthdays and Christmas there were the obligatory thank-you's to be sent (hey, I had better do that this week), and I always struggled with trying to get the pen to anywhere near keep up with my brain. Fail!

Still, for posterity's sake, we're back to the discussion of letter writing. I believe there are some programs that'll sample your handwriting and make a font. I should invest in that - a bit of virtual mom/friend to share that's a little less impersonal than Arial, Courier, or Times New Roman. Here's one, btw.

There's something fairly egocentric about writing a letter - almost like...blogging! I mean, who really wants to read that I sit around the house all day avoiding doing work with occasional breaks with the family. I sometimes write about what I can see through my window (margially better and more interesting). In any event, unless the letter is a short query to the other person with the "how are you," it's mostly about some aspect of the letter writer's life or perhaps some shared initimacy with the recipient. I suppose those are the best.

So, letter writing. I need to do more of it. The only letters I've really written in the past couple of years have been to the Editor!


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September 15, 2010

Why Not

Hey, who's still around? Anybody still actively blogging, or is it ok now to just post about once a week.

Brian's still pretty active on his blog and 24th state, but I'm mostly doing the mom, work, and veg thing.

What's new? Well, kids are older - 4 and 2 now. James is in training already to be a lawyer - has a comment for EVERYTHING I say. Little Jack likes to figure things out for himself - a trait I admire.

We moved from what Brian calls Old Trees across the state about a year ago, and we live just to the east of a horse farm. The view is always amazing, and the sunsets are even more amazing. We still have our house for sale in Old Trees, but we're hopeful it'll sell after the third price reduction. I may pop in periodically to make fun of PETA or rant about something. It'll take a good week to clear out all the spam comments from the MT user interface. Bleh.


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July 11, 2007

And Now, the Shirt

The QA Hates You t-shirt. I'm going to be stylin' in my exercise class. Brian'd better work up a Cafe Press onesie for baby James.


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March 09, 2007


You know. I flirt with it - really, I do. I think to myself - self, you really could find 30 minutes to an hour a day to type - in my usual 100 wpm mode - something into this little MovableType box. Become a blogger again.

You could do that, Heather, you know.

But therein lies the trap. It's easy to write. I do peruse the web news occasionally, and there are about 8 blogs I have on RSS feeds that I try to keep on top of, but BLOGGING requires oh so much more than writing.

So maybe I could be just a writer. Or, in my case, a sort of stream-of-consciousness typist. But that seems so narcissississsissstic (too lazy to look up spelling). And I tell myself, self, who really wants to read about the travails of a 34-year-old mom, her 5 cats, and her rapscallion son and his antics? (If you want to hear about the husband, he'll help you out there). And that usually shuts me down every time.

I could write about how to do a successful data integration. But I typically don't geek out here, so who'd want to read that - even though it's more process than technical detail. And, really, is there anyone still reading now - I'm making my point.

So, I'm stopping in to say hi because my urchin should be waking any moment. And then there's the pile of dishes and the several loads of laundry to do (loud chores we suspend during naps). And then I have this marketing website to work on.

I may be back. I may not. I gave it a few good years on a run. And then I took a couple off. And maybe more.


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September 12, 2005

Strange City Planners

This post is under "housekeeping" because it pertains to the area in which I work.

The article is on, the online version of the Post-Dispatch. A woman in my community choir and I were chatting about this because she knows I work on the street. Said article articulates (maybe) the plans of Creve Coeur, MO to make Studt Avenue (I still don't know how to pronounce that after 5 years of working in a building that resides on that street) the "main east-west street through the downtown." WHY? It's this tiny road. Hear the toll of the eminent domain bell, citizen.

I'm truly boggled. Pertinent info:
Matthew Brandmeyer, Creve Coeur's planning director, said the downtown plan "provides the framework for how this part of the city will be redeveloped in the future, if and when the property owners choose to rebuild."

Note the phrase "when the property owners choose." It reflects early opposition from some residents and business owners who feared the use of eminent domain. The final plan discourages that approach.

For example, the Plaza Shoppes at Olive and New Ballas will remain. As for the people of Old Ballas Village, a condominium development, "Their future will be in their hands," Brandmeyer said.

The plan has residents and civic leaders pondering how it will change the character of their community.

Mayor Harold Dielmann has lived for 75 years on the same piece of ground his grandfather and father farmed. "Now we're getting a downtown," he chuckled. "We didn't move downtown, so we're building one."

"I think we've got a great community, but we think it will get even better with a new downtown," he said. Diane Deutch has lived with her husband in Creve Coeur for 30 years. "When I first read about it, I thought - a downtown Creve Coeur?" she said

" I guess it could be very pretty and fine," she said. "There's a need for apartments and condos in Creve Coeur, loft living would be good, and I'm all for having more eating options. I just don't want to add traffic to my quiet neighborhood."

Deutch said she liked the idea of making an area more pedestrian-friendly.

Other people have expressed a dislike for buildings being built right up to the sidewalk. Streets would be in a grid pattern and as narrow as possible to handle traffic at a slow pace.

The plan envisions Studt Avenue as the main east-west street through the downtown and Ham Avenue as the main north-south street. Some buildings could be several stories tall, but skyscrapers are out, Brandmeyer said. The downtown could contain about 400,000 square feet of commercial space, 400,000 of office space and 500,000 square feet of condominiums.

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August 24, 2005

MuNu Back!

A big thanks to Pixy Misa for his gallant recovery of MuNu in such an expeditious manner. I've been at MuNu for nearly two years now, and he's just awesome.


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July 05, 2005

Think I'm Done with the Redesign

Good enough - different. Thoughts? hln

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July 03, 2005

Redesign in Process

I got tired of the lavender. So over the next few days I'll be modifying this and that here and there until I'm pleased with it. Consider it a work in progress...


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September 28, 2004

Absent this Week

Spent the weekend with Brian in Kansas City, so no blogging. Out today to Ft. Lauderdale area for business. (Thankfully post Jeanne). I'll blog if I's been a while.


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July 09, 2004

Happy 2nd Blogiversary, IMAO

That Frank J. and his monkey posse are celebrating IMAO's 2nd Blogiversary!

National holiday. I'm going home now.


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July 07, 2004

I'll Be Back Soon

I've been ill, vacationing, and in hermit mode for the last week. But I'll be back to post at least a recipe tonight.


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April 13, 2004

Missed My Own Blogiversary

It was yesterday. One year.


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April 09, 2004

We All Missed It

Brian's one-year Blogiversary was April 5th!


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March 24, 2004

Where's This Thing Going?

Darned if I know. Cycling season's here, really, though I learned today when I tried to take a ride that I lost a glove and need to buy a new pair before this weekend. Warm but windy weather should lurk here for another week at least. I have to get outside and off my duff sometime in the meantime.

But, yeah, good question. I've not really put the heart and soul into the blog that I did in 2003, and I, like Brian, wonder whether I should keep it. It does take some time. I'm way behind on those aforementioned book reviews, and I'm starting to spend more and more time exercising (very necessary), and, thankfully, less and less time working.

There are so many blogs out there. I can't even keep my stinking blogroll up to date.

I think today (at least for now) I'll share my one piece of self insight. I really like being a woman, but there are two times I'd like to be a man.

1) Everytime I eat.
2) Everytime I exercise.


Posted by hln at 07:49 PM | Comments (4)

March 18, 2004

Two For One

This is a dual-purpose post. One, I received my Tour de Cure packet today - the first cycling event I have. Saturday, June 19, 2004. I'm in woeful cardiovascular shape, and I'm in the dreaded ball-of-lard stage from too much work and too much food. Too much of everything but exercise. All fixable, though. (I still lift religiously, of course).

So, what's that - wow, tomorrow that's 3 months. Can I get in good enough shape to do my 100 miler? Of course! So, here I am, begging asking for small donations to support my efforts.

In case you need extra enticement, part two's in the extended entry. Not all of me is lard.


The pic was Brian's idea. This is our convertible in Florida. Members of the New York Coast Guard got a good gander of the photo shoot (which I was almost unhamlike enough to not do).


Posted by hln at 06:47 PM | Comments (8)

February 28, 2004

Outta Town Housekeeping

Monday - Bonfire - here, in royal purple glory.

Send your tidbits to bonfire at wizbangblog dot com. And send them NOW. (Please). Can't have a small Bonfire in the middle of winter.


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January 06, 2004

Blogging Update - PETA request

I'm way behind on blogroll updates and site maintenance and all of that other stuff that's supposed to gain one new readers and retain the current.

I'm sorry. I miss it. I'm just so dang busy, and it doesn't look like it'll abate until late this month or early next. I won't add a foreboding "if at all" because I'm an optimist.

Even the workouts have suffered. Only two sets of everything tonight.

I have an idea. I haven't done a PETA post in ages. But I've seen a bunch out there in passing. Please send me links to PETA posts on other blogs that you've seen (or ones you've written). And then I'll need a name for the linkfest!


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December 07, 2003

A Break?

Well, I really haven't managed to post this week. Or read. I'm miles behind, and I think I may take a bit of a break until I get my feet back planted on the ground. See you...sometime soon?


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November 11, 2003

Blogroll Fixes

I was a week behind on noting moves in the Blogroll. I'm pleased to report that I have fixed two typos (Suburban Blight and Electric Venom). I think I just subconsciously wanted to be in Hawaii. Makes sense.

Robert Prather has moved his site to, which means he probably won't be switching the blog name again.

And, Matthew Stinson put up a beautiful blog at, so goodbye to Fearful Symmetry for now.

Now I just have to spiff up the sidebar - Wish list (when I display the link, it gives me a Wish list all right, but it ain't mine...), Corner of the Bar Babes logo, Front Line Voices, etc. I hope to accomplish that this week. Oh, and I promised Victor that I'd put up the Blues' logo, so that, too. I'm just so afraid I'll jinx 'em; they're playing so well.


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November 06, 2003

I Said I'd Write

But I didn't say it wouldn't be inane. I'm afraid all I have the gumption for is a couple of short paragraphs. So, on with it.

My life's been strangely non-routine for two weeks. First, there was the trip, during which I got next to no exercise. Then, I returned and thought I'd use my hiatus to my advantage by lifting heavy. By doing so, I pulled a muscle or strained my neck on Saturday.

So no real lifting - just light weights until tonight (which was almost normal), and very little cardiovascular work. This combination makes me a bit edgy and quite a bit out of sorts. I hooked the bike to the trainer and put in about half an hour this evening while watching the hockey game. It'll all be okay. But this whole "out of sorts" thing has left me out of words, too. Not good.

No linking even. Tomorrow? Ugh.


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October 30, 2003

You Know You're Tired When

You lose the entire "I'm home, and I promise to read you all" post that you've kinda carefully crafted because you merely shut down the browser. Ugh.

So, briefly, I promise to read you all. I cringed when I saw the Bloglines totals of what remains unread. Cringed. I promise two large linkfests, and one will pertain only to the goodness coming out of MuNu.

I have mixed feelings about the cancer posts, so that's why I turned off comments. They're timely in that I can write them without needing reference material, and so that did make them good for the business trip. I find I remember things I leave out - like today's. I didn't mention that I lost quite a bit of hair on the right side and in a funky pattern. So, there you have it. It grew back normally, and life goes on.

One piece of advice from this business trip: Don't drink your dinner. In San Francisco, all of the restaurants and bars are non-smoking. This means I don't have to vacate the premesis in 5 to 10 minutes when I start to feel absolutely lousy because I'm chewing the air and each bite assails all of those lovely tissues that have been thus irradiated. It also means that I spent from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday at the hotel bar, in effect drinking my dinner. Yes, this from someone who advises my gentle readers to severely limit liquid calorie intake. Blush.

There's supposedly a pic of me from last night (another poor example of following my own advice, but I did manage to eat) where I'm trying to coax one...more...drop of wine out of the table's second bottle. And I trumpeted feeding the homeless with the leftover pizza. Yes, THAT much alcohol. Matt would've been highly amused. I stopped short of howling in public, though. So no hangover.

Ah, business trips.


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October 20, 2003

The Interview's Up!

Jennifer posted it today - learn all about me (well, what you asked, anyway).


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October 19, 2003

Enclave Housekeeping

I've found some more trolled blogs/bloggers - those offended by the Offender.

$ - (it posted under the name MacDiva) on this post.
$ - Winds of Change.Net it denigrates Misha after Misha apologizes.

This troll has been plauging Usenet since 1996. I don't find anything from it before then. It likes to lurk around political groups and bite the unsuspecting.

And, if you have no idea what I'm talking about when I mention the Enclave, read this.

Last, but not least, I offer you two logo possibilities for your blog. I'll be making my link list today. If you do borrow a button, please link it to the original post.

Image design by Jennifer Larson.
Image design by Cherry of Cherry's Ramblings.

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October 16, 2003

Gold Enclave of Privileged Capitalists

I'm not sure I can properly categorize this post, so I went for the generic.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to present to you the Gold Enclave of Privileged Capitalists.


Why, ask you? Well, it's sort of a long short story that I'll make even shorter with a few lovely links. The Nickel and Dimed threads on this post are the result of the Nickel and Dimed thread on another blog, where I commented that I thought the assertions made by said blogger were erroneous. This prompted some general dis-ease and, well, name calling by another visitor of the other blog.

It deteriorated from there.

In my post My First Endorsement, I quoted the "other visitor of the other blog," hereafter to be known as "the troll."

It is from these words that reader Harvey decided that I am "a shining example of the Great American Success Story." Amen.

As are we all.

As we sit here today privileged reading and writing blogs from computers (as TheYeti pointed out), most of us from within the United States of America, surely we must realize that we are, indeed, blessed. Most, if not all of us, have functional, working bodies and minds, temperate homes, and access to nutritional food. I recognize and embrace this. We are Americans - lucky citizens of democracy and capitalism, proud purveyors for our families, and generally good people (at least the bloggers who read me).

No troll with its unfounded personal screeches of "oppression" and "racism" can change this.

And so, in dual purpose of recognizing our great individual wealth (spiritual, mental, and material), I present to you again the Gold Enclave of Privileged Capitalists.

Why Gold? The troll's name is JadeGold.

Why Enclave? Because I like the word. Don't confuse it with Autoclave.

I think I've covered Privileged. But if you want more trolly discussion of the word in a negative connotation, feel free to visit any of the trolled blogs.

And Capitalists? Well, I'm guessing most of us are conservatives - economic conservatives. I certainly am. Cha-ching.

I am putting "founding" people in the enclave if I find they have been harrassed by said I'm going hunting. I'm happy to take joiners, too. E-mail me. I'll have a list of links with the Enclave logo in the left-hand side of my blog. (You can also e-mail me if I have you in here and you think I'm off my rocker and you want to be removed.)

Without further commentary, here are the founding members:

$ - Uh, me (even though it wasn't my blog - that isn't a qualification).
$ - Mister Green, for this post.
$ - Susie of Practical Penumbra (in the Nickel and Dimed original thread)
$ - Ted of Rocket Jones (also in that thread)
$ - TheYeti of Tales From A Yeti Suit for this post
$ - Dean Esmay for being scored in the comments of TheYeti's above-mentioned post.
$ - Steven Taylor of Poliblog for this post.
$ - Robert Prather of Insults Unpunished for this post
$ - North Georgia Dogma for this post.
$ - John Cole for this post
$ - Matthew Yglesias for this post.
$ - Outside the Beltway for this post.
$ - Just One Minute for this post.

I'm not done yet, but I am out of time at lunch, so I'll have to recommence at a later time. If I've missed you, let me know.

Extra special thanks and mention to Jennifer Larson of Jennifer's History and Stuff for the graphic.

And have a good day.


Posted by hln at 12:30 PM | Comments (23)

October 11, 2003

Housekeeping, Blog and Otherwise

Today is a "do" day instead of a "write" day, so I'll be pretty much absent (as I have been already). But, tomorrow should be good.

Tomorrow's my 6th month blogoversary, if that's how you spell it. I plan to finish the 100 things about me I've been working on and put that up on the About Me page. I'll put a post up and link it when it's done. Also, I'm going to pull together some of my best posts from the first month (ones that no one saw because, well, I was under the radar). So, that's the deal.

In the meantime, Brian posted today about the phrase "Sanity Check." I told him he misused it, but he said the project manager from whose lips those words were spoken used it in that manner. The post is amusing, nonetheless.

If by some odd chance you've not caught John Cole's post yesterday about The New Definition of Quagmire, please visit. John's Balloon Juice is one of my early discoveries. Blackfive also links to this (as did a myriad others, so you probably have NOT missed it.

Munuviana's own DFMoore educates us on selenium

And, finally, the grocery strike (I have a post about it below) means most of the main stores are sparsely stocked, says Brian. What a fabulous excuse to do this week's shopping at Whole Foods. Insert maniacal laughter here. (I like Whole Foods a WHOLE lot.)


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October 05, 2003

Proper Use of a Gun 101

In St. Louis on Friday, two men attempted to rob Larry's Last Stop Liquor store.

They failed.

I cannot think of a better illustration of "there are consequences for your actions."


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September 30, 2003

Well, Here We Go...

This is live as of now.

Pixy Misa's in possession of my monolith export from Blogger, and that'll go into MT in the next couple of days. But I'll be posting here from now on, so get used to the purple.

And welcome to my new home.


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September 13, 2003

My Review of this Week's New Blogger Showcase

Over at Truth Laid Bear, there's this little thing called the New Blog Showcase.

The Alliance is helping to rank the blogs, and so I am involved. Check out these posts.

Incidentally, here are the lyrics for Ani DiFranco's Pixie, which is where I got the little line about the Emperor. Ani's a libertarian liberal, but gosh can she sing and write. She rails on capitalism (big business, specifically) some, but she owns her own record company, Righteous Babe Records, and she gets some points for that.


i'm a pixie
i'm a paperdoll
i'm a cartoon
i'm a chipper cheerful free for all
and i light up a room
i'm the color me happy girl
miss live and let live
and when they're out for blood
i always give

the man behind the counter looks like he's got
a half a dozen places he'd rather be
and furthermore it looks like he's prepared
to take it all out on me
buddy, i don't really care what your problem is
just don't make it mine
come on kids, let's all hold hands
and pretend we're having a good time

maybe you don't like your job
maybe you didn't get enough sleep
well, nobody likes their job
nobody got enough sleep
maybe you just had
the worst day of your life
but, you know, there's no escape
and there's no excuse
so just suck up and be nice

all the privileged white kids on tv
playing at death
brandishing their cold cuts
with their ghostly makeup
and their heroin breath
and all the little fishes are flapping wildly
on their hooks
while all the top critics find great meaning
in the telephone book

the little emperor he has no clothes
so he can't come out to play
and besides which life is suffering
and he likes it that way
and the little guy is not so friendly
but you know life has been cruel
so wipe that smile off your face baby
and try to be cool

maybe you don't like your job
maybe you didn't get enough sleep
well, nobody likes their job
nobody got enough sleep
maybe you just had
the worst day of your life
but, you know, there's no escape
and there's no excuse
so just suck up and be nice

yeah, i would like to perfect the art
of being studiously aloof
like life is just a boring chore
and i am living proof
i could join forces with an army
of ornery hipsters
but then i guess i'd be out of a job
so i guess that's out of the picture

cuz i'm a pixie
i'm a paperdoll
i'm a cartoon
i'm a chipper cheerful free for all
and i light up a room
i'm the color me happy gir
l miss live and let live
and when they're out for blood
i always give

This is off of Little Plastic Castle.


Posted by hln at 08:58 PM | Comments (2)