Hello, yeah, it’s been a while…

Last post: October, 2011.

Yikes.  I really gave up on this place, didn’t I?

At least this is still here.  I somehow managed to keep it alive, even though I haven’t posted anything.

So I guess my first question is, what’s the purpose of having a blog anymore, especially if you’re an independent, personal blogger?  Blogging is very different today than it was in 2004, when I first started blogging.  Back then, it was the “new thing” that everyone was doing.  This was pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter, heck even pre-MySpace.  There were no Social Networks around to keep everyone connected.  They were in development, to be sure — I think Friendster was just starting out at the time (remember that?) — and old-time bloggers will remember Tribe, which was a very early precursor to all that came later.

When Facebook started, you had to keep your posts to the (fairly common) standard of 140 characters, just like Twitter.  However today, you can post full articles.  Most bloggers prefer to do their blogging on Facebook– it’s easier to maintain, all of your readers are already “friends,” and you don’t have to republish anything.  The drawback, of course, is that you can’t attract new readers from outside your friend ‘circle’ unless you make your posts public and hope that it gets shared to the point it goes viral.  It’s a rare thing, but it does happen from time to time.

I decided to use Facebook in this way for the last year.  I grew tired of having to bounce back and forth from platform to platform when I wanted to get long-winded about something.  My friends who read this blog (there aren’t many of you left) will probably back me up when I say I let my long-windedness fly free on Facebook lately, and that’s exactly why.

But all the while, I thought about my lonely blog, sitting here, still getting hits (occasionally) and waiting for me to come back and write again.  I tried to restart it a few times.  I currently have seven draft posts that never made it past the third or fourth paragraph sitting my in my drafts folder.  Titles included:

  • Dusting it off
  • Re-Launching… AGAIN.
  • I still own this blog.
  • What Whitney Meant (started right after Whitney Houston died)
  • Back on the wagon (about starting back at the gym)
  • 2011 – A Better Year (a year-end post that got way too long-winded, so I gave up on it)
  • 41 (about my 41st birthday)

So I guess I didn’t completely abandon this blog– I just never really got through a post to get it going again.  I’m hoping that I finish this one.  It’d be nice to hit “publish again.

After I lost my job in July, I figured it’d be good to restart the blog so I could write out my frustrations and feelings.  Or just have a place to let my creative juices flow again.  Didn’t quite pan out that way at the time, but now, six months later, I need it again.  So here we are.

So where will we go from here?  Hard to say.  Now that the writing cherry has been popped (sorry for the visual), hopefully ideas and words will flow more freely.  I’ll take less space on Facebook and more space here, and simply express myself.

And hopefully, I will figure some things out in the meantime.

Oh, by the way… Happy New Year!

The twists of life

A few years ago, my sister and I came to blows.

I was very much down on my luck. I was despondent and feeling very sorry for myself. I backed out of plans to see my family over and over again, and they’d had enough. After backing out of yet another gathering– probably just for dinner at my parents’ house– my sister called me and read me the riot act.

In hindsight, I deserved it. I was being a total putz and I had it coming. But instead of taking my blows and apologizing, I fought back.

It was the only time (other than when we were kids) that I ever yelled at her like that.

“It’s easy for you to berate me,” I shouted. “You have the perfect house, the perfect husband, the perfect job, and the perfect life. I have none of that. I’m a loser compared to you, and you flaunt in front of me. So thank you for being my second mother, but I don’t need your advice!”

She hung up on me.

The words were awful. They were mean and terrible. I knew that then and I know that now. It took us a while to rebuild the bridge I had nearly burned, and we eventually patched things up. But I’ve regretted those words ever since I said them.

Lately, the tables have turned for my sister. While she has been blessed with two beautiful daughters, she has also been besieged by a terrible streak of bad luck. Starting with her Celiac Disease diagnosis, then dealing with infertility problems; including four rounds of IVF and three failures. Then, when she finally was pregnant, she faced ten weeks of bed rest so she could safely deliver her twin daughters.

Since delivering the twins, she has been in and out of the hospital with numerous complications– nothing serious, but each one a setback.

Then on Monday, they took Abby home. They were thrilled to finally get at least one of their babies home. Things were finally looking up.

Today, though, it all crashed again. Abby’s temperature dropped during the and they had to rush her back to the hospital. She’s doing fine, but it was another unnecessary scare.

But the worst wasn’t over. Later that day, a call came in from my sister’s boss. She works at the same hospital where she delivered the babies. She had been laid off.

I knew how hard all of this has been on her, but this constant barrage of bad news and setbacks has been slowly eating away at her. I can hear it in her voice on the phone. She seems distant and afraid. Usually she’s confident and sure. I think any strong-willed person would feel defeated after all she’s been through.

Mom and I are hopeful that things will work out for the best. We actually view this as a blessing in disguise for her. She’s been worried about this for some time now, and now that it’s over, she can concentrate on taking care of her girls.

She’ll be fine in the job arena, too. She’s got a lot of experience and a great education to back it all up. If someone gives her trouble for taking time off to have babies, it’s their loss.

In the meantime, however, she is very, very down. I spoke to her tonight and she sounded so incredibly depressed. I told her that we all loved her, and she will come out of this just fine. And whatever happens, she has a family that wants nothing but the best for her. And, of course, we will do anything we can to help out wherever she needs it.

Life goes in strange cycles sometimes. We have high points and we have low points. And though hitting rock bottom really sucks… the good thing about it is, the only way to go from there is up.

Please think of my sister if you can… send her some good wishes and good love. A great way to do that is by visiting her blog: The Road to Parenthood. Just leave her a comment and let her know things are going to be okay. She needs that more than ever right now.

I wanted this post to be about my mom and I visiting the babies on Saturday instead of this… but I thought this was too important not to touch on it. So, in closing, here are some pictures of my Mom, my sister and her husband with little Abby and Emily. I was lucky enough to go into the nursery to take these… and I love every one of them. (There are even more on my Flickr account.)
Abby's BIG YAWN!
Abby screams!

Grandma and Abby
Grandma with Abby

Emily is content after her feeding
A sweet smile from Emily.

Sweet love
Beth snuggling with Abby

Abby and Emily
Abby and Emily, head to head.

Grandma and Emily
Grandma with Emily

The whole family
Beth with Abby and Geoff with Emily