My Life Ate My Homework

My intentions were to be a sterling student in my #blogging101 class.  I did the preparatory steps on Sunday per the instructions and was all set to go for my first assignment on Monday.

Cold weather descended on central Virginia complete with dead car batteries, low tires, an unexpected near medical crisis with my granddaughter (all turned out well), a choir concert, and a travelling husband testing positive for flu and on bed rest in his business hotel room.

So, here I am attempting to catch up.  I know I will, I know I will, I know I will, I know …

I now begin my Monday (last) assignment.Carol's madmen avatar

My Twitterverse

My Twitterverse, the Creation:  I began tweeting in 2009 I believe.  My first tentative tweet was something like “Hello world.”  Then my twitter account was dormant for a couple of months.  I think I wanted to be sure I presented myself as I wanted to be perceived.  Finally, I realized I just wanted to present the person I am and find some like minded twppl and to follow twppl who were writing and doing interesting things.  Now I am totally out there … Rotarian, atheist (or antitheist as Hitch would say), Democrat, grandmother, lawyer, wife … not in any particular order.

My Twamily:  Each twitter community is self selecting.  Ican choose to follow or not follow based on any criteria I establish and I can change my mind.  Early on I started using certain tweeters to help me learn my  twitiquette.  @sandinbrick was one of my unwitting twutors and now, I believe, we consider each other as friends.  I have lost twppl who passed away, lived through illness and adversity with others and just had a lot of laughs with still others.  Here are some of my “rules” for selection —

I will follow commercial tweeters if they don’t sell, sell, sell in all of their tweets.  Love it when they throw in a joke, good quote, or something historical.  Also I don’t respond to DMs (tweeters know what this is) trying to sell me something.  To me DMs are personal.  I follow some commercial tweeters because in this post 2008 world many ppl are trying to make a living or supplement an income through social media.

I also will follow twppl who post often in a foreign language as long as they have posted some tweets in English so I get a sense of who they are.  I’ve bought a Spanish dictionary and am about to buy a French dictionary so I can do my own rough translations when time permits.

I will follow some twppl on the opposite end of the political/philosophical spectrum just to learn their views, logic, basis for belief and so on.  Occasionally, I’ll make the mistake of trying to carry on civil discourse with a Tea Partier, a libertarian or a religious zealot only to get ganged up on and insulted.  So much for the art of civil discourse and the exchange of ideas.  Don’t make the mistake of believing they can converse intelligently or politely.  In the end you can block them so they don’t send any dark tweets your way.

Sex Bots and extreme profanity have not place in my twitterverse.  From time to time I cull who I follow because they eventually work their way in by changing identity and showing their true colors.  Other tweeters may want a community of these twolk but there is enough profanity in this jostling world for me.

My Twitter Benefits:  If friendship isn’t enough there are other benefits.  Education, breaking news, blog access, links to more articles, youtubes and other sources than there is time to enjoy fully.  And yes, there are times the twitterverse is a brief respite from all the work on my desk.  I take a short break and dip into the twitterverse to refresh me so I can go back to work.  I also sometimes have the opportunity to inform others.  This is especially true in the political junkie world.  You can find tons of information by following @vademocrats if you want to be informed on Virginia political events or @VAhistorical if you are interested in Virginia history and then there is @VAStateParks for outdoor activities.

Some caution must be addressed here.  When a tweet is limited to 140 characters it is inevitable that misunderstandings can occur.  Recently when I followed back a great tweeter, I told her that I had FB.  She took that to mean that I was inviting her to join me on Facebook (I’ll deal with Facebook another time.)

It is also a very good idea to view a conversation before you join-in.  Without doing that you may have tweeted a totally irrelevant, ridiculous or just inane comment on something you didn’t understand.  It’s like that in real time face-to-face communications also, isin’t it?

Finally, despite the lack of complete or comprehensive exchanges, tweets are like poetry at times in their precise communication.  When that happens the tweeter is rewarded with a fav or RT.  Don’t know RT?  Join Twitter and find out.

Follow me on #twitter @CarolDWoodward.  I #followback.





How Do I Know Summer is Passing?

I know summer is passing because …

Granddaughter Emma has returned from summer with her father in the mountains of North Carolina.  She is 10 now, but somehow, older than ten — an inch taller, 2 shoe sizes larger and with pierced ears.

Elections are 60 days away.  Virginia has an election every year.  Does that happen elsewhere?  Being a Democrat in Virginia is tough going.  I know there are a lot of closet Democrats, but why?  The Republicans I’ve seen aren’t that scary, not necessarily very bright, but not scary.  Prince George County has 10 precincts in its 267 square mile footprint.  Xena gets a lot of miles on her every election day.

Acorns are dropping.  People with a lot of oaks know what I am talking about.  Sadly, we lost many of our oaks in Irene last year and subsequently had a few more taken down.  Broke my hear tto have them felled but watching oaks bending over double through my skylights is somewhat anxiety provoking.

Speaking of storms — I know it is Fall because it is hurricane season.  I am afraid of all storms that begin with “I” such as ice storm, Isabel, Irene.  I heard a couple of weeks ago about Hurricane  Isaac and thought oh, s****.  Thankfully, Isaac only threatened Republicans.  Of course, by now I know and have experienced a derecho so must add “d” storms to my scared-of storms list. Let’s not talk about the Louisa earthquake.

Finally, I know Summer is passing because I am longing for sweater days even though it is in the 90s most days.  But, Jack’s Aussie undercoat is starting to grow in so sweater days are not far away.

Where is that LL Bean catalog?  Image

“A World On Fire”

Jack & Little Wilson Creek

Rarely do I get enough time to read, that is until I vacationed near Grayson Highlands State Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western Virginia.  We had rented a lovely cabin and, yes, a stream ran through the property.  While there was satellite TV, there was no cell coverage and no internet.

Fortunately, when not hiking or napping, I had “A World on Fire” by Amanda Foreman to read.  This lovely book, in excess of 700 pages, explores the diplomatic relations between Britain, the US and the Confederate States during the Civil War.  There are also side stories about France and other European relations, but the focus really is  on that tempestuous triangle of the US, the CSA and Britain.

Every battle win, lose or draw, seemed to swing the pendulum as to whether or when Britain would recognize the Confederate States as a sovereign nation and puncture or ignore the Northern blockade of the South.

The South believed that “King Cotton” was its ace up  its sleeve and that out of economic interests alone Britain would side with the South.  The South also counted on its “cavalier” connection with Britain as an emotional pivot point in CSA/British relations.

Of course, the North feared both of the above but quietly and in a belabored fashion plied the slavery card and the underlying, unassailable deterrent to Britain supporting the South.

There are intrigues in espionage, Canadian schemes and Parliamentary tricks which all add to the confused state of diplomacy.

In reading the book I was again reminded that those of us who love history know that no given outcome of the past was inevitable.