Today in My History
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Who IS this Gilbert person anyway?
19 Oct 2016
I don't know if anybody notices the number at the bottom of these journal entries, but many years ago someone told me that journals like this looked more professional if you numbered them, so potential readers could see how many times you've updated. I don't know if that is still the case. I don't see a lot of journals or blogs that number their entries any more, but I have faithfully done so and it's hard to believe I have written over 6,000 entries since this project started back in 2000.
Over the years I guess you could say it has become my obsession. I don't write a cooking blog or a political blog or a parenting blog or a particularly funny blog, but at various times it has been all these and more. I would be hard pressed to categorize it. I still refer to this as a "journal" and its mirror on Blogspot, Airy Persiflage as a "blog," though the content is identical. (I started Airy Persiflage specifically for Kari Peterson who wanted to be notified by email whenever I updated, which is kind of silly, since I update every day). From the beginning I tried to mix things up so that I would never be boring.
People ask me how many readers I have and I don't have a clue. There was a time when I knew how to check stats, but I don't any more. It could be a couple dozen or it could be a thousand. (I suspect closer to the former than the latter).
When I look back over the past 16 years, it is amazing the various eras of my life it has recorded. With very, very few exceptions I have updated every day, taking my laptop with me when we travel, often typing in the middle of the night when staying with friends, after everyone has gone to sleep so that I can be sociable, but still get an entry written. When we have gone on international vacations, it has been interesting and sometimes challenging to get entries written. At one time I knew all the best cyber cafes in London, I found coin operated computers in a library somewhere along the Thames and in a coffee shop in Scotland (where I mistook the floppy disk drive as a coin slot and put my money in there!). When we had good internet access in our room on cruises, I updated there, but when we didn't, I would write the entry, put it on flash drive and then transfer using the ship's computer--only since the ship's computer, in the days before notebooks, were so busy, I waited until after midnight. On one cruise on the Danube, I padded out to the lobby in my stocking feet and up the stairs to the computers every night around 1 a.m., when only I and the security guard were awake.
When I think back on what this journal has recorded it's amazing to me. I picked up so many readers when I started Weight Watchers and this became a record of my successes (and failures). I took up biking and the entries became a combination of weight loss and exercise, a new concept for me. I lost 85 lbs before I started sliding, and then had the biking accident that ended up biking career. A lot of readers stopped reading me when I started gaining weight again.
There were the SPCA years, when we fostered over 100 dogs in 3 or 4 years. I wrote about all of them, especially the puppies. Ahhh....the puppies! The years of bottle feeding and cuddling and then watching them go off to other families. The "rainbow puppies," so named because they were nearly identical and wore colored string on them to tell one from the other. They were all adopted in Davis and we even had a 1 year birthday for them at the dog park, so we could see how they had matured. The puppy entries were some of my (and others') favorites.
We don't do fostering any more because the four of us--Walt, me, Lizzie and Polly--have become so set in our ways that to go back to the chaos of trying to fit a new dog in with Polly would be difficult. Also, the local animal shelter stopped giving puppies to the SPCA and instead gave them to breed specific rescue groups.
There were the years when I worked for Dr. G and wrote a lot about him and his eccentricities. I was always afraid he'd find the entries, but I kept writing them anyway. I also talked about working for "the psychiatrist," which I did for 30 years. All of those entries ended when I couldn't stand putting earphones in my ears one more day.
The birth of both of our granddaughters (including the days before their birth, when we were all on baby-watch) were recorded here, as has their growth into the 8 and 5 year old girls they are now. I don't see them as often as I'd like, but I write to them, and now Brianna has started writing to me sometimes. She is even learning cursive and her last letter, received this week, was written in cursive. I hope this is something we will continue throughout her life, and Lacie's too, when she is old enough to write.
My entire 11 year friendship, from start to finish, with Peggy was recorded here, with all the joy of our time together both here in this country and in Australia, and then the pain and confusion of her decision to end the friendship for reasons I never knew and never will know now.
I have written of my sponsored kids through Compassion International and my passion for elephants and dogs and their plight. I can't write eloquent political commentaries like some bloggers, but sometimes I just have to put in my oar when I can't stand it any longer.
I've touched on many of the stage shows I have reviewed, a "career" which parallels the history of this journal, since I first began reviewing in 2000. I even started a separate blog on Blogspot to keep all the reviews, which I have found extremely helpful over the years. The name, "Bitter Hack," came from an angry letter from a reader who accused me of being a bitter hack after a review she didn't like. I decided to embrace it and make it my own.
Over the years I have enjoyed blogging the Emmys and the Oscars. I love awards shows and though I haven't done it in a couple of years, it was fun taking notes during the show to produce an entry when the shows were over.
In the last ~4 years, I have written about working at Logos. I sometimes think those entries are boring, but I'm surprised at the comments I get from people who really love them. Those entries are coming to an end, now, too, when the store closes at the end of January.
I've always loved doing memes, and have answered lots and lots of questions through Sunday Stealing and more recently Saturday 9. I sort of consider those as my "days off" because content of Funny the World is directed by others and I just have to comment on the questions.
Now, of course replacing weight loss and puppies and other things I have written about is my mother and the progress of her dementia. I wanted to keep track of her so that if I ever needed to look back and see what she was like xx years ago, and compare it to today, I could. It has been helpful when I get feedback from people who have traveled this road before me.
I have made wonderful "imaginary friends," as my friend from CompuServe used to call people with whom you felt a real friendship but might never meet in real life. People whose blogs I read religiously, like Rob Rommel-Hudson, who has probably never read a single entry of Funny the World, but I started reading him before his daughter Schuyler was born, through the trauma of learning of her "broken brain" and then watching her grow into a lovely teen ager, who cannot speak, but who uses a box to speak for her.
I have written far too many memorials, both for people I knew and loved in my real life and people I knew and liked in my imaginary life. People like Jim Lawrence of Jim's Journal and Sill in Corea, both of whom commented regularly and were good at keeping my feet to the fire if I got carried away and wrote something not quite true. Jim said he started getting in shape while he was reading Funny the World, but he took it to extremes. Slimmed down and became a real athlete, sadly dying during a triathlon.
There was Dougri, who lived in Providence, RI and was a strange man who once told me I should watch "Sunday Morning" because he thought I'd like it. I've been watching it ever since and think of him every Sunday morning. Sadly, after a cancer diagnosis, Doug took his own life.
And I can't overlook "l'empress," whose life seemed so similar to mine. She kept a blog too and it was not until shortly before her death that she let on that she had cancer.
Writing memorials is my way, I guess, of coping with the raw emotions of losing a friend. Some were more painful than others. Writing a memorial for Mike, Char's husband, who died on a cruise in Germany, was so difficult. He had been a friend for more than 50 years.
And then there were the memorials for my cousins, Kathy and Peach, who died within a few years of each other. So hard. I dragged my computer with me to Iowa when Peach was undergoing chemotherapy and stayed with her and her husband for six weeks, recording he struggles and my first experience of a Midwest winter.
Though it sometimes may seem that my life is an open book and that there has never been a thought flitting through my head which has not made it to these entries, I do censor myself, more now than in the early years. There are subjects that are off limits and I have religiously held to that.
When I began writing Funny the World, it was with the idea that if I ever had the chance, I would love to be a new Erma Bombeck. Could I actually produce a newspaper length column every day? Well, after 6,050 of them, I think I answered that question, though I have never, ever reached the level of even the worst of Bombeck's columns. It's much harder than it looks!
But as I said, this has become my
obsession and as long as I am physically and mentally able to do it -- and
still enjoying it -- and Yahoo is still letting me post! --it will go on, whether for a dozen people or a thousand
people. Mostly, for me.
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