Sunday, September 27, 2015

Revisiting the Fort

I recently came across a link to my old archive, which I thought was completely lost.  I'm feeling quite nostalgic for my kids when they were little after reading those old posts.  I do not miss the stress that came with my husband's deployments, but that has been interesting to remember as well.

For those who don't know, I started blogging at back in 2009 with a personal blog called Holding Down the Fort.  Babble was a new kind of parenting site when it started a few years earlier, and my dad had sent me an article about it.  After reading that article I contacted them about writing an essay based on my experience as a parent whose husband was deployed.  My piece, called The Home Front, was rated their most inspiring in their first year online.  I did a followup piece when my husband came back from Iraq called Return to the Home Front, which got picked up in various places.

It was a good experience getting paid for my writing and interesting getting feedback from people in so many places.  Babble was quirky and surprising at the time, and the editors I was in contact with originally were great.

When my husband was called up for a second tour in Iraq I approached Babble about blogging my experience during that deployment.  The first deployment was incredibly isolating, and I thought blogging the second time around might help.  It did.  I enjoy the discipline of regular writing, and the personal nature of blogging and direct contact with readers is satisfying.  I loved my blog at Babble, and I'm still grateful for many of the contacts I've made through that site.

Although it started out fine, working with Babble was frustrating.  I was one of about a half a dozen personal bloggers at first.  The bigger names (such as Rebecca Wolf with her spinoff blog called Straight from the Bottle, and Katie Granju) didn't really involve themselves with our little community on the site, but others I felt close to, the way you do when you regularly follow a parenting blog and reach out through email.  Jane Roper I still actively follow on her new blog, and others like Dawn Meehan and Oz Spies are still at Babble in some capacity.  One of the best blogs I've ever read was Divorced with Kids, which was a spinoff of Irretrievably Broken, whose anonymous author is now one of my most cherished friends.  Our little corner of personal bloggers at Babble was a special place for a while.

Then the Voices started.  In preparation for the Disney buyout, Babble decided to create a wall of big name bloggers who were supposed to attract big numbers coming over from their already popular blogs.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Back to Work

I haven't done a lutherie update in a while.  Mostly because I have been distracted from my work of late.  Not so much from my work at the store, but my own building.  I was warned many years ago by another builder that once you open the door to doing repairs it becomes almost impossible to find time to build, and he was right.  As much as I appreciate the work when it comes to paying the bills, most of the time I wish people would simply take better care of their equipment and leave me more time to myself.

For instance, I worked on straightening this cello bridge this weekend:
For those who don't know what they should be seeing, the square I set on that cello top shows where the back of that bridge should be lining up.  When the top of a bridge starts to pull forward (usually from tightening the strings) and it's allowed to lean for an extended period of time, the pressure of the strings warps the wood.  Most of the time it can be steamed out and pressed flat again, but the bridge is left weaker and more vulnerable to warping in the future, so better not to let it get warped to begin with.  In any case, I'm amazed this particular bridge didn't snap.

I'm glad I can do repair work for people and keep their instruments running well, but after not getting much done this summer on the violin I'm supposed to be building (not to mention the one I'm supposed to be helping Aden build) I've decided this week to buckle down and get back to work.  So here's a run down for those who are interested in how my current violin is progressing.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

On the Mend (Booby Trap Edition)

Just a quick update on medical things because I've had several concerned people contact me, so it seems simpler at this point to post about it here.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Good Movies, but Can't Recommend Them

This Labor Day Weekend we've been taking it easy.  We had my niece, Ellora, with us for all of August, which was great fun, but she's back in New York now with her own family and we're getting back into a rhythm of it just being us around here again.  That all gets flipped around soon when Ian leaves for Army stuff out of town and my mom comes to help out, but for a few days we are in our normal state.  It' nice.  We've been experimenting with a new chocolate chip cookie recipe, slowly tackling chores and homework and practicing... and watching movies.

I love to curl up with my family and watch movies.   I love introducing films to my kids that maybe their peers haven't seen but that give them a greater understanding of other references.  At 13, 11, and 8 my kids are old enough that we've been able to expand the range of movies into ones with more mature themes, but Quinn is just young enough that there are still a few things I'd like them to see that we aren't ready to do for movie night yet.