care and feeding of a neighborhood

these things take some tending over time. and due to recent trends, it strikes me that the time has come once again to go poking around for a few new neighbors– to infuse fresh insights and energies into a rather flagging field– which is by no means to insult the field or to suggest that I’m not completely enamored of and devoted to my core vox community, which, thank goodness, is still pretty well intact. just that I take the long, cyclical view, a natural process of wax and wane and wax– and in the waning periods it can help to supplement.

so I’m on the lookout for some new ‘hoodies. pretty much this amounts to browsing via Explore, searching for things tagged “chicago” since I do believe in the merging of virtual and actual worlds to some extent, or poaching my existing neighbors’ ‘hoods (which has yielded some real gems in the past, lemme tellya). so feel free to throw your thoughts my way– who brings you joy? let us celebrate this.

and if I’ve just added you to my neighborhood, and you’re all, who the heck is this navelgazer person and why is she adding me?— this is why. hi. :)

xoxo to my friends and neighbors and the silent folks watching from the wings. I am especially grateful to the ones who speak to me in whatever capacity you can manage, helping to keep me feeling vitally connected in this world.

really liking people

I’ve realized something about myself– I have always gravitated toward love affairs and best friends– it’s the really really digging people, getting excited about other people, that gets me up out of myself. it’s kind of adolescent, maybe, and maybe exhausting and maybe difficult at times, but by and large the way I tick. it’s envigorating– and I think, I hope, the vigor I put into the world increases. whatever it takes, perhaps.

it is good to enjoy other people and to feel connected.

it’s kind of odd what a largely solitary experience moving to a city can be.


1. the telephone is a most excellent device! and weekends! I love free talk minutes weekends! I’ve had some absolutely delightful catchup sessions with a couple of friends yesterday and today, and this makes me feel that indeed there may be some speck of hope for happiness in my glum existence.

2. my friends with serious phone phobia, and you well know who you are, had better get right over it. because, A., some of you are in the process of making babies, and once kids are in the picture, that shit’s no longer gonna fly, and, B., I give great phone, yo.

3. when you’re traveling? and trying to connect up with people, you know? awesome.

4. the old free-with-2yr-contract samsung flipphone has been a real trooper– we’re well past that initial 2yr contract period at this stage, and now, finally, I come to retiring it– even though it has stood up to repeated cat abuse from charlie tuna upon its ring of my morning alarm, even though it has been the trustiest of devices, because now the battery is failing to keep its charge– and I jump on this as an excuse, at long last, to procure a qwerty keyboard. oh sms joy coming my way! no, not an iphone– dodgy reviews from a few owners conspired with that big ole pricetag ultimately to make me swerve on over to a crazy deal on a cute orange lg env through amazon. new phone number going out soon in email to friends and family.

5. scheduling friend catchup sessions can be difficult when you’re just not sure how you’re gonna feel on any given day (listen, phone phobes, I get it, I do)– the prospect of giving a thumbnail rundown on Things can be a little daunting when all that springs to mind is I hate my life and everything sucks— though you may well know it to be the farthest thing from the truth, sometimes it feels like it, yknow?

6. it is good not to feel so alone in the world.


in honor of the woo woo big night in hollywood– a random selection of sarah’s recent rental faves.

#1: michael clayton. damn, damn, damn good.

and then, because I am a chick and confess it, yes, I do like chick flix: feast of love. morgan freeman really has that sage narrator thing down pat.

and finally, because all things even remotely dealing with jane austen must be observed (with one hideous exception): the jane austen book club and becoming jane. oh, that dreamy james mcavoy.

gadget fatigue & the view from here

there’s been a lot of talk around my neighborhood in recent weeks about people’s dissatisfaction with recent vox interface design releases, culminating lately in some notable member defections– by no means the first or last of their kind, simply the latest, though sizable, wave– which can feel to those of us who remain behind like vital rents in the communal fabric we’re engaged in weaving. I’m not altogether certain how I feel about the current sea-change– I mean, the departures do affect me, I feel, like others, the ozone remaindered in their wake, but I’m undecided entirely how worked up I care to get about it all.

because I’ve so been here before. and before and before and before. in web years, I am one thousand years old.

the persistent problem with new media is that “new” modifier. after awhile the hot new thing cools off, and geek exodus ensues– bright and engaging minds inevitably depart in pursuit of the next compelling venue. the avant garde ebbs and then… well, after that only time will tell what happens next– if the business plan is sufficiently well-grounded, the userbase broad and stable enough, the gadget perseveres and becomes the norm, customary tool of the masses. to some extent the tenor of the conversations may change, a general and perhaps subtle proletarianization of the media. inevitably this affects our relationship with the medium, because what we do here is integrally connected to the company we keep. but better or worse I for one cannot say. the writing we do here may be organically interwoven with the words of the community in which it dwells, but we also write for ourselves, as individuals, down through the small hours of the night or in the quiet bright of afternoon. while it’s true that much momentum is made by reference back and forth and the subdural conversations threaded through comments, it is still, as it has ever been, just another skin on that thing we have been doing online for so many years now: writing our thoughts into the ether.

for me this remains a good place and way to do it. for me, whispering into the dark and half-light continues to have its appeal. this skin, this vox incarnation of the micromegaphone for thought, continues to feel elegant, easy, and right– for me, for now.

microbeasties begone!

and, lo, I am well again. worked a full day, if not entirely at full throttle, at least upright and largely functional. thank you for all your kind well-wishes– they indeed helped me to feel less alone and self-pitying in the midst of viral misery. and thank you for bearing with these posts from the depths of kvetchdom– it also helped immensely to have an outlet for rampant spleen during hours in a close room. and now– onward into brighter and disease-free tomorrows! may all your immune systems persevere, nasty contagions pass right by, and spring bring in its warmth and bright resurgence swiftly to us all. xo.

I am fetid

after the day of airline shenanigans and then two-now-going-on-three days in bed with the sweats/chills/coughs/bodyaches/fever dreams of flu, I am one rank typhoid mary. this virus is having its way with me, and I seem able to do little more than let it. occasionally summon my energy reserves to take the dog down the block, and then back to the sickroom. thus far have ingested one bottle nyquil, assorted packets theraflu and advil tablets, approximately one gallon juice, about half a gallon soup, and numerous cups of hot water with lemon and honey. I have hopes of actually making it in to work tomorrow. for the time being standing unclothed and letting water of any temperature fall on my unprotected skin sounds about like the least appealing activity I can imagine. so I stink. cough and stink. at present I totally get why flu is life-threatening for the elderly– being no walk in the park for those of us in the prime of life. I realize how entirely normal and prosaic all this is, but experientially it feels a whole lot more significant– like one day soon I shall look back on this as the week of some great purgative event.