Is It Civilization if There is No Internet?

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Every year we travel to my mother-in-law’s for Thanksgiving. We visit with her and my brother-in-law and see my brother, sister and nieces on the weekend. It’s wonderful and a lot of fun, and we hang out and play, watch the parade, take pictures, visit the cemetery as people are wont to do on the holidays, and go shopping. It’s all very civilized. We actually did pretty well this Black Friday. We started at 1pm, finished and home by 3. Gotta love Target’s two day sale! We did a proper Black Friday once. It was actually a lot of fun. The kids were little, and we were finished before 7am and went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. It was still barely light out.

The one challenge we do have every year is that all of us are connected. My daughter wants to video chat with her new friend. My son wants to watch You Tube. My other son wants to keep in touch with his friends who were home from college and catch up on his medical/paramedical podcasts. My husband and I also have our digital vices.

Unfortunately, my mother-in-law is not connected. To anything. No internet. In fact, all her neighbors have password protected wifi. I’m usually against ‘borrowing’ other people’s internet, but this might be classified as an emergency. Sadly, we do not know their passwords.

It’s almost impossible in this tech centered world we live in to gauge the amount of time we spend online or attached to some sort of social media site. Our friends are so far flung out that we almost forget how far they really are because they are always so present in our daily lives.

Well, during Thanksgiving week, we do know. Apparently, I check my Facebook and Tumblr first thing when I wake up. I post about my day all throughout the day, and I attempt to blog here every day. Every. Day. This is not usually such a challenge except for the pesky writing bit, but during Thanksgiving week I am finding it next to impossible and have to adopt a new writing ritual.

I spend my afternoon thinking about what I want to write about, and then I spend the evening typing and editing and rewriting, and then proofreading, saving, etc. I can set it up and find my photos in the gallery from earlier that day or the day before that goes well with my words on the page…er….screen, and then there is the frantic attempt to find wifi the next morning. The kids ask constantly – do they have wifi wherever we go They do, but can you use it is the real question.

The first place I posted from was the local Starbucks. I had a free drink waiting, so it didn’t cost anything, but we did look kind of stereotypical, out of touch, constantly attached to the digital world, forgetting about the “real” world or meatspace. It’s Thanksgiving morning and all five of us were crammed into a small booth, each with our faces buried in our various smartphones and/or tablets/Kindle Fires. At one point, I noticed the family of three sitting next to us. They had a coffee and the boy was on a smartphone. I can almost always tell when someone is watching me (although I think they were checking out my keyboard), so I looked up and caught the mom’s eye. I laughed, she laughed, and then I even said, I know we look ridiculous but my mother in law has no internet. She laughed. She seemed to understand our predicament.

The second day I was more ready. I had everything set up as a draft in Word Press and as soon as we got to DQ (Dairy Queen) for lunch, I connected and hit publish. Easiest five minutes I’ve ever spent.

At this point, my kids were having trouble connecting their devices. Mine remembered from our visit in the spring, so it just automatically connected. I was online in a matter of seconds.

Today, this will be posted from my brother’s dojo. He has internet, wifi, but he hates that we come to visit and use it and go online, but it is our only opportunity to get our stuff done. Yesterday when I connected at DQ, I had fifty-eight emails waiting to be read, and that was with checking them on my 4G phone earlier. (The 4G kills the battery, and I can’t post to WP with that – that’s why I don’t use it as often as my keyboard and kindle.

We go home tomorrow for The Walking Dead and Pizza Hut’s Triple Treat.

The question in the title must still be answered:

As civilized as we’ve become and continuing to become, is it really civilized if there is no access to the internet?

The answer remains to be seen.

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Nanowrimo and Blogwrimo

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Well, it’s that time of year again. Nanowrimo. NAtional NOvel WRiting MOnth. Every November, several hundreds of potential writers huddle around their writing implements and write. The goal is 50,000 words before November 30th. All new. Begin writing on November 1st, put your pencils (quills or keyboards) down, time’s up on November 30th and you should have the makings of a real novel, ready for the editing process.

This works for some people. I’ve done it twice officially, and for the first two weeks, I went like gangbusters. Eventually, I slowed down, but we all have our paces and our non-writing lives to put up with. In my case, I have a family with three children and my blog and church responsibilities, and even with an extraordinary amount of help from my husband, it can still be a handful to get the incentive to just sit down and write.

Hence, why today I am at the library where there is no television and no bag of Doritos calling my name.

I hesitate to sign up for Nanowrimo officially this year. One of the benefits of signing up are the weekly emails I would get from published writers with their own versions of hang in there. They are less intimidating and more inspiring and some days that’s all you need to get on the writing train.

My Nanowrimo this year is me working two times a week on my books. I have one on my home buying experience – very bad, and one on my visit to Wales and what Wales is to me – very good. Guess which one I’d rather work on? This fall, beginning this month, I’m going to carve out periods of my day where all I do are those two books. Thoughts, outlines, quotations, research. Some of that I may share here as book excerpts.

Another goal for November is to redesign my weekly format here. For example, I think I’m going to make Thursday Travels a regular weekly feature. I am going to have weekly features M-F, possibly adding odds and ends on the weekend. Please, please let me know what you like and how you feel about the format. If you’re not reading, I’m not doing my job, ad I’m willing to accept feedback and suggestions to make this site better.

Vocabulary is something else. You may notice that I usually refer to this as a site rather than a blog. I’m more comfortable in this Word Press format, but I’m trying to make this more of a website, a go-to place. I try to have pages for information and topics like my Crisis Intervention Page, my Photo Credits page, and a new page I’m opening up for my Books Read and Movies Watched. There are many things I want to do with my time here, and one of those is becoming a resource. After years of people coming to me to find out where kids eat free or how to make that smiley face on a text, I think I might create that kind of a resource here, especially for the things that I love and that I love to share like traveling, my spiritual journey and writing.

I’m also including more of my own photographs as well.

This fall season has been phenomenal for family viewing and fandom communion (in a non-religious sense). My two main shows, The Walking Dead and Supernatural are in supreme shape. I’m loving every episode and I have meta coming out of my ears. This will benefit those of you who like the fandom posts. I will probably add a weekly fandom feature, possibly more than once a week if the shows warrant it. I’m also working on some reviews of those lesser known shows like iZombie and Major Crimes. If you love fandom stuff or don’t like it as much as me, I still want to know how you feel so I can include all my readers into the most posts.

All in all, I’m hoping to make a site that people enjoy coming to and sharing.