Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mysterious Blogging: Why I Suck at Twitter

Have you ever been caught short of funds at the grocery store and then someone behind you said "here - I've got it"? That was me. Have you been at the bookstore and found yourself stumped over which book to choose and then had someone say "try this"? That was me, too. Have you stood in line for a movie and found yourself in discussion with a total stranger who seemed genuinely interested in your thoughts and opinions? That was most likely me, as well.

I'm one of "those" people who seem to wander the world and want to befriend those who seem in genuine need at some moment in time. We come in, help, and then walk away with no expectations (ok, some of "those" people are way too needy...but that's not me). I love to distract kids while standing in line at Disneyland. I've nudged fellow customers with spare change to help them pay their bills. I've straightened many a messy display at various department stores simply because I know what it feels like.

That's the key to "those" people: we've been there, done that, know the feeling. We've been short at the register a time or two. We've been lost or confused in various stores or in various locations. We know what it's like to be on a tight budget and can only choose one or two of something and worry about the right choice. We've stood in line, lonely and bored, hoping for a conversation or a time killer. We've been where you are and want to make your life a bit better.

Unfortunately, you may not want help and that's why I suck at Twitter.

Twitter, that lovely social network, enables people to reach out to one another. It also allows those who feel the need for expression to do so. I can't tell the difference. I have a few people I follow who reach out and then reach back. I've mis-stepped a time or two, though and that's where I get in trouble. Which just ruins my day...

I still love Twitter...but it's a social minefield for people like me. Sigh.

Mysterious Wanderings: The Little Road Trip Handbook

I love Twitter. I meet interesting people, I have great chats, and I get free books from time-to-time.

Being a lover of road trips, I delightedly responded to author's Erin McHugh's offer for a free copy of her newest Sterling Publishing release, The Road Trip Handbook

Not necessarily for the faint of heart, road trips can bring a family closer to the US of A while driving them farther apart. After two years of marriage, hubby and I went for a three-week tootle around the country. While I tend to run to the plan-it-out, David really yearned for the the "let's just go where the road takes us". We ended up compromising and did a bit of both.

Erin recommends - and I concur - planning your trip as far as getting the car checked out, stocking it with essentials (hadn't thought of packing my own TP, thanks Erin for that tip!), and leaving certain things behind: like emotional baggage (Yes!). However, we disagree on one thing: she says leave a camera behind and I say "bring it on!" we took over a thousand digital photos on our trip and I confess I still get misty eyed when I see my photos of Laura Ingalls Wilder's home (my heroine!). 

She's also correct in suggesting that you watch a few road trip movies prior to leaving as a way of getting "into the mood". I'd even go so far as to suggest that you pick a few American-made films and plan a hunt for the shooting locations. 

There are practical chapters: speed limits, suggested radio stations, silly laws (no musical horns in Kansas!), and even some classic road trip suggestions for those new to the "sport". 

I'd like to take another car trip this summer: traditionally we pack a variety of tour books to keep us amused along the way as well as suggestions for possible stops. Erin McHugh's Little Road Trip Handbook is one we'll pull out earlier and definitely pack in the car.