April 16, 2010

Getting with it: One Twitter replaces community in One Book, One Community

I really like this idea of Twittering folks reading the same book. I was active in at least four rounds of One Book, One Community in the Flint, Michigan, area. Nothing like discussing a book with total strangers over dinner, on the bus or at the gym.

I picked up some friends and insight after reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham (written by a Flint person), An Hour Before Daylight: Memories of a Rural Boyhood by former President Jimmy Carter and The Color of Water by James McBride and Memories of Summer by Ruth White.

I hope to do both with this new effort: One Book, One Twitter.

From a Flint Public Library release:
"The purpose of One Book • One Community is to encourage a sense of community through the shared experience of reading a book that serves as a stimulus for discussing community issues. "
Not that we need a reason to talk on Twitter :) But it could be interesting to see what's up.

So head over to Wired.com and help choose the book for our summer reading and Twitter chatting for summer. Just posting this idea on my Facebook page helped me get to know someone better, a plus in my book.

From Wired:
"Want to spend the summer following John Joseph Yossarian trying to survive World War II, or with Holden Caulfield on his misadventures through New York City? Maybe you’d rather endure the bombing ... "
read the rest online and vote there too.

Over on Twitter, follow @crowdsourcing and #1b1t for upates. Find me @mcwflint And don't forget to vote for a book. Here are some under consideration, with a link to entries in wikipedia.org

Only three I haven't read - American Gods, The God of Small Things and 100 Years of Solitude. I voted for 100 years, but I'll read what the rest do. I'll even twitter. What about you?

April 15, 2010

On recess and still making me laugh

Some people can't resist making a story better. Count my fellow blogger and encourager Jim of L-Town among them. He's off chasing fun in his barely used RV and shared this in a recent post:

Front page headline in the Canton Repository: "No jail for man who urinated on Walmart steaks." He does have to pay $688 for the steaks and do 100 hours of community service. Here's the link.`

See, even when he's free from "Free from Editors" he's still has an eye for the interesting.

By the way, while fumbling around on the Internet I found some of James L. Smith' Offbeat posts. Ignore my name, it is a quirk identifying who posted the item online rather then wrote it. Enjoy the source that used to provide a weekly laugh.

Looking for ex-employees of Flint Journal, Michigan newspapers, Advance .... you get the idea

waving hand


I'm interested in blogging about where people are after the layoffs, buyouts, etc. from The Flint Journal, Michigan newspapers, heck, even the Advance Publications.

I'll do hello to the new folks who got/get the jobs too.

Drop me a line on Facebook, or email through the address below or call. Or tell all by leaving a comment. Thanks.

April 14, 2010

Brief message leads to obituary, reminder of impact 1 person, 1 journalist can have

I hate catching up with people's lives through obituaries, especially people who are younger then me. I love stumbling across reminders of how important local journalism is.

A friend's note and an Internet search let me know what happened to a colleague who started at The Flint Journal the same day I did. Sadly, I learned:

Mercury News writer Holly Hayes dies of cancer - San Jose Mercury News "

She was 53, diagnosed with a rare cancer in June. The obituary in the San Jose Mercury News, the newspaper she was working for shared just a glimpse of her heart and love for community. A blogger shared the reminder of the impact one person and local journalism can have.

5 on the 5th

Holly was one of the  Sept. 5, 1978 Five  at The Flint Journal. Holly and I were hired in what some called the "real" newsroom and the three other women were hired as lower-tier weekly reporters. Two of us stayed until we were bought out in 2008, changing jobs frequently throughout the years. One returned for freelancing for a short time.

One of her first journalism jobs was at the Flint newspaper, where she covered the United Auto Workers union, among other assignments. She graduated from Central Michigan University in 1978.

I had caught up with her once when she was a features editor at The Fresno Bee, as that is near where my mother was living. In 1990, she moved on to the Mercury News as an assistant features editor.

Still writing

Linda Goldston wrote the obituary that highlights how Holly kept working and writing even after being diagnosed. That didn't surprise me.

Neither did learning that she was still into gardening. We lived in the same neighborhood for a few years and often talked about gardening and art as well as journalism.

I also remember how disappointed, and yet supportive, she was when I decided a trial separation was going to be permanent. She had planned on moving into the house I had, with its neat little backyard and tiny garden. But despite her disappointment, she helped me realize I was making the right move.

Read the obituary and the guest book  for more about her and her generous heart and ways. I like that the newspaper has a tradition of flying its flag at half mast during the days between death and a memorial service.

Be like her

A California blogger also wrote about how Holly, through her columns, had become an inspiration and a friend:
"I would daydream about leaving my high tech marketing job, flipping off the man, and living a life immersed in soil, food, sunlight and writing. I daydreamed about contacting Holly Hayes and asking if I could be her protege. Could I follow her around and learn how to be like her? "
I wonder if Holly knew what an impact she made:
"She was a big piece of my perfect moment puzzle. My peace. My sitting there, coffee in hand, reading about her gardening advice and adventures. She inspired me, made me feel like I could be an even better version of myself. She allowed me to daydream about a life with my hands covered in rich, sweet-smelling soil, digging for worms in my compost, with my son, a life where I provided the perfect, organic eggplants for my family to eat."

There's more in the blog post and comments. But I like remembering this from the blogger:

"This, I realized, is the importance of local journalism. Holly felt accessible to me. She felt like a friend. We lived in the same area, we worked the same soil.

That's the impact a journalist who has friends outside the newsroom, who participates in the community and who loves what they are do can have.

What a wonderful triute.

April 12, 2010

Could jellybeans help me meet new goal?

Help! How many Orchard Fruit Jelly Beans with Real Fruit Juice and enriched with Vitamins A, C and  E equal 1 fruit serving?

That was a recent status update for me on Facebok, where I got answers ranging from three beans to three bags.Or this:
"I would think the correct answer would be .... As many as makes you feel like a fruit. The beans for sure deliver a bigger amount of sugar than a real apple or orange. But the jelly beans are easier to pop into the mount. Therefore reducing the amount of water and soap used to prepare the fruit and cleanup afterword.
Long story short. I have not had a Jelly bean since last year."
"I've had so many jelly beans this season that I"m sure I got a serving or two in."
Seriously, I am trying very hard to eat at least 1 serving of fruit per day. I'm almost into three weeks into this so it should be a habit soon. Right?

I was delighted to find these goodies in the Easter basket at my house: Orchard Fruit Jelly Beans made with real fruit juice. Plus look I get extra Vitamin A, C and E.

The Easter Bunny was smart and brought me the originals, not sour, so I'm eating a few Grape, Cherry, Apple, Strawberry, Lemon and Orange flavored beans.

Healthy is goal

I have always tried to eat healthy but sometimes convenience wins over nutrition. Then, a few years ago I discovered - OK, my doctor and I discovered with the help of prick tests and elimination diets - I am allergic to some food.  Some things I loved almost always triggered a migraine. Other foods made life miserable other ways.

Unfortunately, the list includes about 20 things. I've even stumped two professional nutritionists who tried to work with me on a balanced diet. If you've seen me, you know I'm not starving. But go ahead and try to avoid nitrates, pears, pickles .... I"ll stop boring you.

Cancer changes diet

When my daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer and moved back home, we worked at hard at eliminating as many unpure foods as possible. That meant becoming a regular at Whole Foods and trying to eat as little processed food as possible. We read labels to avoid hormones and preservatives. We tried new recipes. Some very interesting meals turned up.

My daughter even learned to make bread from her grandmother and tortillas from her then boyfriend's grandmother. Unfortunately, she's living 1,000 miles away so we've lost that option here.

Researching our family's history as part of my daughter's care means I've learned that celiac disease runs in the family. From the Mayo Clinic:

"Celiac disease is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten, which is found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye. If you have celiac disease and eat foods containing gluten, an immune reaction occurs in your small intestine, causing damage to the surface of your small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients."

New allergies

Also, unfortunately, I've learned that sometimes when you recover from allergies new ones show up. I'm almost done with a no-dairy diet, where I've learned I eat and cook with a lot of cheese.

Or maybe old ones come back. I've learned I was picky as a baby and finally learned to live with goat's milk. I suspect some of that was because I was my parents first.

My youngest brother's first bottles were filled with a powder we mixed with water to create milk. The doctor assumed after five kids my mom knew what to serve an infant, my mother was too busy to remember formula, or at least, whole milk.

So what was in your Easter basket?