Tuesday, August 11, 2009

back from vacation, and some blog changes

Hey, sorry for the long absence. I never seem to remember to mention when I’m going on vacation. We spent about ten days in Iowa and Wisconsin, and it was lovely, in spite of us both getting colds and schnotting up the homes of our gracious hosts. I washed my hands about a million times, but I still managed to inflict my illness on Suze’s kids, because really, what am I supposed to do, never pick up the baby? (Suze wrote about our visit here, with, as usual, more photographic evidence than I ever provide.)

Also, I learned that it is a bad idea to go running while under the influence of cold medicine, which I should never take anyway, because it is, essentially, speed, and my heart responds to the mere suggestion of ephedrine or caffeine by going like a racehorse. I went to the doctor not long ago because my heart was pounding and/or racing pretty frequently. This is not terribly out of the ordinary for me, and it isn’t the first time I’ve had it checked out, but it never comes to anything serious. After a normal EKG, multiple checks for mitral valve prolapse, and blood tests that proved I am neither anemic nor over-amped in the thyroid, we concluded that I am probably just going bonkers due to starting a PhD, and should probably stay away from caffeine and cold medicine. And I have barely noticed my pulse since then, which means I was probably going bonkers less because of the PhD and more because of the mere suggestion of the possibility that I was going bonkers, which will probably only make sense to you if you have ever had tachycardia issues.

But then I had to up and catch a cold. And I tried to stay away from the medicine sauce, I really did, but I was on vacation and sick of feeling like shit, so I succumbed. I felt better immediately, and decided to go on a run with Suze. A half-mile into it, I felt like a gerbil that had espresso injected into its jugular. Oops.

So if you ever meet me and happen to notice visible palpitations shaking my clothing, don’t flatter yourself that you make me nervous. It’s probably just the fumes coming off your skin from the Nyquil you took last night.

Let’s see, what other business? I set off a bit of a supernatural blogging trend when I wrote about the spooky river thing last month, here and here. So anyway, because everyone loves to have the piss scared out of them in the safety of their own homes, here is the Grand Assemblage of recent ghost blogs—and believe me, these are very engrossing and even creepier than mine:

Jessi: Here, here, and here,

Jenn: here, here,

and Strangeite: here.

Jenn also has several extremely powerful and affecting stories about the presence of her late sister interacting with her and her son. Bring Kleenex.

And finally, some blog business. As regular readers know, I’m about to start school again. Classes start next week, orientations are the day after tomorrow, and I’m already fretting over stuff like getting my student ID, which I was going to do this morning but didn’t because I decided I hate my hair. The point is, I’m going to get a lot busier than I have been for most of the life of this five-year-old blog. I have a teaching assistantship, a full course load, and a resolve to maintain a balanced home and personal life and continue eating right and sleeping and exercising. I’m a little nervous about keeping all this afloat, but I keep reminding myself that this isn’t like the last time I went to graduate school, back when I didn’t know a thing about balance.

All this doesn’t mean I want to stop blogging. But I think I’m going to have to change how I do it. I can’t imagine just shutting down shop at SWJ; if nothing else, I just like the people who comment here too much, and since I don’t know all of you personally, I’d completely lose touch with you if I stopped. So maybe you can help me out a bit, because I have two issues I’m trying to figure out, blog-wise:

1) There is no way I’ll be able to post with the same frequency as before. And it’s not like I’m a frequent poster to begin with; I probably average about one blog post per week. Less than one post per week and people tend to stop reading. And if people aren’t reading, frankly, I’m not interested. There’s a reason why I keep a blog and not a personal journal.

2) I don’t really want people in my academic life—people who don’t know me already, that is—to find this blog. I keep my full name out of here so as not to be too Google-able, but there are ways to figure out who I am, and I don’t know, I just don’t want to have to worry about that. It’s not that I write anything I’m ashamed of (at least, not usually). It’s just that I’ve written the majority of this blog during a time in my life in which I haven’t had huge concerns about the things I write here following me professionally. Plus I’m going to have students. And I have zero desire for my students to find out I’m a blogger or read any of this.

I’m kind of taking my cues from Feral Mom here, who, when she felt her public blog wasn’t serving her needs anymore, went underground, so to speak, and did an invitation-only sort of thing. (Which is why I’m not linking to her original blog here, although you can check out her new public venture.) I’m thinking about doing that. My fear, of course, is losing readers, some of whom may have never commented or identified themselves, who don’t want to go through the fuss of asking me for a special pass for the incredible privilege of reading my occasional posts. But at this point I’m starting to find that risk more palatable than the risks listed above.

So here’s what I think I’m going to do. I’m going to research my options in terms of having a private and/or password-protected blog. Anyone who has information, experience, or advice on such matters, please share! In the meantime, I’d like to start assembling a list of e-mail addresses of people who are interested in continuing to follow me once I go underground. Seriously, as long as you’re not a malevolent bastard or a mean person, if you are interested, please do contact me. If you’ve never commented before, it’s okay; as long as you don’t seem creepy, I still want to hear from you. My aim is not to restrict my current readership, which I think is probably pretty small already. I just want to get out of Google-able territory. You can contact me at sweetwaterjournal (at) gmail.com, and I will start making up a list. (Those of you who know my personal e-mail address can feel free to contact me there instead.)

So please keep reading Sweet Water Journal! I may be struggling to post in the next few weeks, so if you’d like to stay on top of my plans, please consider following me through Google Friend Connect (I put a link at the top of the page) or subscribing to the RSS feed. That way you’ll know when I post, and in the meantime, you won’t have to waste your time checking the site needlessly. I promise I’ll give a lot of advance warning before I do anything drastic. And again, I’d like your advice/thoughts/ideas.


mayhem said...

I'd like to still be able to read... My email is mayhem.mama@yahoo.com.

Good luck with school!

katie said...

me too!

Suze said...

me, too.


Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

Hey, count me in! I just sent you an e-mail to the same effect. After I sent it, though, I had the horrified thought: "What if that's the wrong e-mail?" So I decided to leave you a comment, too.

Strangeite said...

I also would like to continue reading the blog but I urge you to reconsider the idea of password protecting the site.

I recognize that my dislike for password protected sites stems from me being a dyed in the wool liberal geek.

There is a powerful movement on the right to restrict internet content and to slowly convert the internet from the free-for-all flow of information to a system that corporations control what information you can and cannot access.

Yes, I know that comparing the password protecting of Sweet Water Journal to the greater Net Neutrality fight is a stretch, but I really do fear that the battle will be lost by bleeding to death from a million paper cuts.

Have you considered simply starting a new blog that you remain completely anonymous? You could then redirect your current readers to the new blog, be as witty and snarky as you want about your school life, not worry about being identified and still have the potential to reach a larger audience that might stumble upon your blog.

You need to do what is best for you and your writing, but please consider the value of openness versus restricting access to a select few.

Jessi said...

Count me in. I love your oh-so-infrequent posts!!

One thought about password protecting: my daughter's teacher has a password protected blog where she posts pics of the kids and classroom announcements and all. Anyway, it doesn't seem to work in any of my feeders and I am 99% sure it's the password thing. Just a consideration. I'm in no matter what you do, though.

Animal said...

Oh, ayuh, y'can count me in! Strangeite made some good suggestions…I'm hung up on reading YOU, not what the site is called. Do what you deem best for your overall security.

Call me naive (many do) but I blog freely with no forethought to my real name, and haven't yet had the college police come a-knockin' on my door. Just sayin'.

P.S. (My word verification was "butlent." Heh-heh. "What are you giving up for Butt Lent?" "Oh, I thought I'd go without dingleberries for those weeks, what do you think Mom?"

Rachel said...

Hey, I want to read, too!

Zeina Huynh said...

me too

fungua mlango said...

me too...

Liz said...


Anonymous said...

me too... good luck with the start of school :)