Earlier this week, I attended the first annual Kay Johnson Memorial Lecture. Kay was a Hampshire faculty member who died in 2019. I knew her really well because our sons were best friends from birth to the age of 5.
Kay died from metastatic breast cancer. In honor of Kay, I am reposting a piece from 2009. At that time, my Uncle Norm had a diagnosis of lung cancer. He died a few weeks later. 12 years later, we have still not made enough progress in the fight against cancer. Hopefully once President Biden gets COVID and the economy under control, he can turn his attention to defeating cancer.
As part of my research for my new book, I have been reading short stories from various eras of Harper’s Magazine. One written in 1949, “The Lady Walks,” by Jean Powell, deals with a faculty wife who has breast cancer. Although my original interest in the story was because of the faculty wife character, Ravita, as a nurse I found the description of the cancer treatment clinic she goes to unsettling. The description did not seem that different from clinics I have worked at various times in the past fifteen years.
After reading the story, I have concluded that things have not changed as much as we might think or like in the area of treatment of cancer. Today I participated in a Cancer Care teleconference, “The Latest Developments Reported at the 32nd Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.” It was very interesting; there are new drugs that might prevent bone loss in cancer patients as well possibly prevent the re-ocurrence of cancer. However, treatment for certain kinds of breast cancer is a five-year process, which seems extraordinary long.
Around Thanksgiving, I read a story in the New York Times about a recreational lounge for cancer patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, a hospital in New York City. One of the patients is Seun Adebiyi, a young Nigerian immigrant and a Yale Law School graduate. He has lymphoblastic lymphoma and stem-cell leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. He is also trying to be the first Nigerian to compete in the Winter Olympics in skeleton. His goal is 2014. I have participated in a bone marrow drive but I have never received a call to donate.
I have had friends who have died from ovarian cancer and relatives who have experienced lung cancer. Although we may not have made as much progress in the last sixty years as we would have liked, let us hope that we can make significant progress against cancer in the coming days.
A few years ago, we visited both Bruges and Brussels in Belgium. When I started seeing some articles about Belgian brewing and Covid-19 I was interested.
During this pandemic, things have changed quickly. A good example is the Belgian brewers. When Corona first hit and businesses closed, Belgian craft brewers were doing well. Later, the situation changed.
In April, about month into the pandemic, the New York Post had an article about Belgian brewers developing a delivery process because all the bars were closed. It highlighted one craft brewer whose business was expanding due to delivery sales. At this point the picture might have looked rosy.
By May, the situation ad changed. The Belgian Brewers Federation announced that production of beer had dropped 50 percent in April. The drop in production affected small brewers the most and one third of brewers had ceased producing any beer.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Eoghan Walsh who has a blog, Brussels Beer City, stated a podcast, Cabin Fever. On the podcast where he and other people involved in aspects of the craft brewing industry talk about what they are doing during the pandemic and what they are drinking. I have enjoyed listening to it because it is an easy going way to learn about how the pandemic is affecting the beer industry.
The quarter, if you are counting, ended on March 31 which means I should have posted this review around that date. I had other, more meaningful, at the time, things to write about. Today feels like the right moment for some reflection.
I have been regularly posting. I have been trying to write a draft of my post on Monday and then revise and publish it on Wednesday. A month ago I wrote the blog on Monday and I must have inadvertently published it. I didn’t’ realize I had done that so I did my regular social media notices on Wednesday. It appears my readers look for those notices because 42 people read the blog on Wednesday but only 14 read it on Monday, the day I actually published it. It appears I have around thirty regular readers which is great. Thank you.
Tweeting has been fine. As of Monday, I have 3,907. This year I have tweeted 161 times or about 40 a month. I think I can keep up that pace for the rest of the year. I have 136 followers. My top tweet, in the last 28 days, was a picture of my husband and I out for a walk. I used the hashtag #COVID19 so that means that it showed up in a lot of peoples feed.
As i mentioned last week, I finally finished the chapter I had been working on for a very long time. I have been more productive because I am trying to schedule writing, or at least working in some way on the book every day for two hours. In the next three months, I plan to finish the 6th chapter and begin work on the 7th. I’ll let you know how that turns out.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about my goals for 2020 but I didn’t say anything about my plan around posting and tweeting. I will continue to post every week and tweet at least once a today.
I thought it would be fun to look at what were most viewed posts in 2019. By far, Methylated Spirits, which got 1,948 views, was the most popular. I posted this on July 8, 2013. Next was HomePage/Archives with 831 views. This is actually always my most current post.
My most viewed post that I wrote in 2019, besides the Home Page, was Schlenly Distillers Corporation with 295. A post, Skating, that I wrote about a test my coach gave me got 37 views while the post I wrote prior to competing, Skating Competition, Part 1, got 33. The post I wrote after I competed, Skating Competition Part 2, only got 9.
I don’t really know how to evaluate these statistics so I will probably just continue to write about what interests me and what I am doing. In April I am giving a paper about Faculty Wives Cookbooks at the Popular Culture Association annual meeting so maybe I will attend a session that will generate as much interest as Methylated Spirits did.
I did it. I switched my hosting company from BlueHost to SiteGround. It took a few days for everything to get into place but now it is done. SiteGround was helpful during the process; BlueHost was less so. As in past experiences, the best way to contact BlueHost and get results was via chat.
My goal in making the switch was for it to be seamless and invisible so no one would even know I had changed hosts. That worked so I was very happy. As far as logging in to work on posts, I do that through WordPress. The login is the same.
For the first year, I got a special Black Friday rate so it is cheaper than BlueHost would have been. If I stay with SiteGround, next year it will be more expensive. However, I am stopping SiteLock because SiteGround persuaded me that my site would be secure without it. Because SiteLock was so expensive, I will be saving a lot by discontinuing it.
My main concern in choosing a new host was security. BlueHost was useless when my website got hacked. Hopefully I won’t get hacked again. If I do, I am hoping SiteGround will be helpful in fixing whatever problems occur.
This week I was going to write about beer, for a change, but, I had another BlueHost issue. I got an email that said the server for my BlueHost email was being “decommissioned in the next week. In order to ensure full email functionality after this server’s shut-off date, you will need to update the server name in your email client settings.”(their bold). This was pretty anxiety provoking and reading the rest of the email didn’t alleviate my panic.
I looked at my current email settings and I couldn’t really understand what they were talking about so I decided to contact BlueHost for help. When I went to their website, the most immediate form of help was a live chat so I did that. Twenty-nine minutes later, I was still completely perplexed about what I was supposed to do.
I did tried changing the settings to what the emails suggested but then my email didn’t work so I changed them back. The person chatting with me was no help so I decided to call. Ray, the tech support person I reached, was helpful. After ascertaining that the email was legitimate, he concluded that I didn’t have to change anything since my email was working.
This is the fourth time since my website was hacked in February 2018 that I have had a problem with my website and BlueHost. In October, my website was offline for two days or so because BlueHost had changed servers and SiteLock, my security provider, couldn’t access my site and therefore shut it down. Again chatting was useless but a real person did help me by contacting SiteLock and getting my website restored.
In looking over the various posts I have written about website problems, a common theme is that I would like to make a change but I still have not managed to do that. In June I renewed for six months. The six months have come and gone and I am still with BlueHost.
Since I was hacked, the main issue has been security. I pay SiteLock $70 a month to prevent my site being hacked again. If I switched to WordPress.com, I supposedly wouldn’t need SiteLock anymore which would save a lot of money. The problem is I don’t believe that. Not being sure about the advantages of WordPress has kept me with BlueHost.
I was having trouble finding a topic for today’s post. The end of last week was very stressful if not traumatic and I am still getting my bearings. I feel like I have been on a roller coaster for the last twelve days.
From November 8 to November 10, I attended a writing retreat in Northampton, MA. Nerissa Nields runs writing groups and retreats under the rubric, “Writing it up in the Garden.” This retreat was women only; the Kali Retreat. The group was 11 women, including Nerissa.
The retreat was a great experience both for my writing and my psyche. Thinking about a retreat was most enticing; the idea that I would be able to focus on my writing and nothing else was incredibly appealing.
My feelings about the writing part were more mixed. I write non-fiction from an academic background and I thought most of the people would be creative writers. I feared that my work would not resonate with the group.
The retreat exceeded my expectations in both areas. The two and half days were a wonderful escape from real life stress and the group couldn’t have been nicer and more supportive about my work. I was incredibly productive; writing almost ten pages during the retreat. Another great benefit of the retreat was that the motivation it engendered lasted into the following week.
On Thursday I had to go to New York City to attend a legal hearing, concerning a civil matter on Friday. I spent the late afternoon on Thursday prepping with my lawyer for several exhausting hours. Thursday night my husband and I had a lovely dinner with our son, his fiancée and her parents.
Friday was the hearing, which was definitely not a pleasant experience; it did not go my way. Because of privacy concerns I cannot say much more about the proceeding. However, my friends and family know the judge’s decision was wrong. I appreciate their love and support.
Earlier today, I sat down to write a blog post. As I tried to access my website, I got an account suspended error message. I was puzzled since I knew that I was all paid up. I got worried that I had been hacked again.
I called BlueHost and also tried to chat with them. I eventually got through and a nice tech support person named Casey told me Blue Host had changed the server ip address. I don’t completely understand it but the upgrade or change meant that Sitelock couldn’t search or contact my website anymore. This led to my website being suspended.
Casey contacted SiteLock, which provides security for my website, and the problem got fixed. It appears, from my Jetpack Statistics, that the website was probably down since Friday. I asked Casey why I wasn’t notified of this change. He said they has wanted to send out an email to all the customers who were affected but somehow it never got sent.
That was very disappointing and had made me think once again about changing my hosting situation. If any of you have any advice, I would love to hear it.
I am posting this today because tomorrow night is Kol Nidre and then Wednesday is Yom Kippor. L’Shanah Tovah.
I wrote the following last week but then I completely forgot to actually publish. This debacle accurately proves that it has become very hard for me to maintain a once a week schedule for posting. The result is that you get two posts this week. Here is this one today and there will be another one tomorrow, as scheduled.
It is September so I thought this would be a good time to look back and see, if, so far, I have been meeting my goals for the year. As I have said many times, this year it has been hard for me to post every day. When I came back from my twenty-three day break, (I know you all missed me) I came up with ideas for the first six weeks back. That has been a big help. The strategy of pre-planning so you don’t have to spend time thinking of what topic to write about, is a good one that I will try to use more in the future.
Tweeting, as always, has been easier. Politics gives me most of my material as well as tweeting picture of my travels. Of course, I still can’t tweet my URL. I have given up trying to get it fixed. Recently Jack Dorsey’s Twitter account was hacked. At least he felt some pain also.
My actual writing is going the least well. I haven’t really worked on my book since June. I got stuck in what is probably a diversion from the main project and then life intervened. I am hoping that I will get back to my writing next week. I will keep you up-to-date on my progress.
John Hickenlooper, erstwhile presidential candidate, is also a former craft brewer and former Governor of Colorado. He has an online only ad that highlights his career as a brewer. In 1988, he co-founded Wynkoop Brewery.
The ad is full of brewing references; comparing the country’s polarization to debates in the brewing community over “hazy IPA and pastry stout.” You can read more about the ad here.
In 1988, Hickenlooper and three other men including brew-master Russell Schehrer started a brewpub with pool tables in Denver. The brewery did produce beer for retail but stopped that in 2016. Hickenlooper divested his holding when he ran for governor in 2010.
Wynkoop and Breckenridge Brewery merged in 2011, forming Breckenridge-Wynkoop. The company sold Breckenridge Brewery to In Bev Anheuser-Busch in 2015. Colorado has over 400 breweries and is fourth in in the country for number of breweries.
Although Hickenlooper has been successful as a brewer, businessman and Governor, his presidential campaign has not gained much traction. The New York Times has an article, “The Extraordinary Humbling of John Hickenlooper ,” which details his lackluster performance. I would be very surprised if he was on the debate stage in September.
As you may have noticed, I failed to post a blog last week. We had been traveling and my life has been really hectic; dealing with various personal issues. I am posting today because I will be out of town on Wednesday. I will also be unable to post the following two Wednesdays. I hope to and have every expectation of resuming my regularly scheduled postings on Aug. 21. Thanks for your patience and understanding.