Category Archives: Internet

Lenten Challenge: After Nine Days

I’m currently on Day Nine of my Lenten Challenge. Nine days without using Facebook or Twitter. I wanted to share a little bit about how that’s been going.

First, Twitter. This one has been easier to give up. Not many of my close friends use Twitter, and most of the ones that do also duplicate their posts on Facebook. So I’m not missing a lot of valuable content. Sure, I’m missing out on a lot of conversations I might have missed otherwise, but most of them don’t really concern me, and are nothing that I really need to spend my time thinking about. The thing I’ve missed most about Twitter is the ability to easily contact some of the brands that I use every day, for example Roku and Comcast. These days, Twitter is one of the best ways to get support for products and services. I’ve also missed Twitter’s ability to bring people over to read my blog entries. Although we do offer an RSS feed of our blog entries, many people have abandoned RSS newsreaders these days in favor of gathering their news from Twitter. If I’m not posting updates on Twitter, then many people probably don’t know that I’m blogging. Yes, I do know that many of my friends from Build Guild have daily conversations on Twitter, and although I’m probably missing out on some of that, I’ll be looking forward to seeing them even more at next month’s event.

Second, Facebook. This one has been harder. More of my close friends and family are on Facebook. Rebecca and I and our friends and family rely more on Facebook to share family news and information. So I’m definitely missing the ability to stay up to date on what’s going on in everyone’s lives. To be fair, I did keep two Facebook features active – I’m a member of the Ericsson’s baby updates group, and I elected to continue receiving updates from that group since I really did want to know when their baby was born and what his name was (welcome, Levi!). I also get messages sent to a Facebook group for the young married couples group I’m involved with at Dane Street. I’ll also look over Rebecca’s shoulder if she wants to show me something specific on Facebook. But other than that, I haven’t visited the Facebook site on my own.

So far, I think the biggest benefit this challenge has had has been the reduction of distraction in my daily life. I already have enough to handle, with my responsibilities at work and at home. I already have social groups to interact with in a face-to-face setting at work, at home, and at church. Throw into the mix scanning updates from hundreds of people dozens of times per day, and I’d be getting far more input than I can really handle. Sure, I might get an endorphin boost from scanning all of that news, and it may create a feeling of excitement, but after that, it’s a bit of a letdown. I feel mentally quieter, and I feel that I’m able to give more attention to my immediate responsibilities: my work during the day, and my family on the evenings and weekends. I’m still searching for more ways to enhance the time that I have taken back from Twitter and Facebook, although I think the biggest realization has been that there is plenty for me to do already, if I’d just stop and take notice of it.

Rebecca has pointed out to me that giving something up entirely, especially something that isn’t required for survival, is much, much easier than doing it in moderation. It’s easy for me to simply say that I’m giving up Facebook and Twitter entirely. It makes decisions much simpler. Do I check Facebook or Twitter now? No. How about later? No. However, I do think that it’s a good starting point to clear the decks and make a fresh start after the Lenten challenge. At that point, the new challenge will be how to reintegrate these media into my life in a meaningful and balanced way. I hope to be more intentional about how I use them, and I’ll definitely have to exercise more self-control and discretion.

I also think that I’ll probably end up unfollowing some people on Twitter and unfriending some people on Facebook. Not because I dislike these people, but because I simply feel the need to focus more on the people who are really more a part of my daily life. I am a bit worried about doing this, however, because it seems that people have really started to believe that followership on Twitter or friendship on Facebook are as weighty and important as real-life friendships. I think this point is still up for debate, and the way people use social media is constantly evolving. But for my own personal usage, I’d rather start to see Facebook and Twitter more as extensions of real-life, face-to-face friendships, something that is added on to what I’ve already experienced and cultivated. I realize that for people who have been raised on Facebook, there may be less of a distinction there – you probably *don’t* have many friends who you met in real life first, and didn’t friend on Facebook until after you got to know them. You probably friended them on Facebook as soon as you met them, and it’s been one and the same ever since. And in the past two years or so, there are quite a few people who I’ve met in real life for the first time, only to add them to Facebook shortly after. Perhaps I’ll try to delay the friending process until I’ve had some more time to get to know them. Who knows, I may even end up *adding* some new people to my network – people who I’ve known for a while but haven’t connected with online.

I still have 36 more days to go in this challenge. Quite a long time, to be sure. Perhaps my feelings will change during that time. Maybe I’ll have more revelations, or try some new things. Maybe I’ll change my opinions or backtrack on some of the grandiose statements I made above. I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of this Lenten season brings.

I’d love to hear from my readers. Are you fasting from anything for Lent? Do you have any thoughts on my challenge? Do you miss me on Facebook and Twitter? 🙂

Spread the Love

Over the past couple of months I’ve used Vegetable Oil to stir fry veggies, but Sara, Matt and Bella Janssen have been using it to drive across the country. No, really! The Janssens are a month and a half into a one year tour of the country in their veggie powered RV. Their goal is to educate folks about sustainable living and alternative fuels.

I had been a reader of Sara’s blog, Walk Slowly, Live Wildly (which was full of inspiration for a simple life) when she mentioned that they were downsizing from their apartment to an RV. They spent a while refurbishing the interior with earth friendly, sustainable materials (bamboo flooring, sunflower seed counter tops, etc.) and now their on the road, “spreading the love”.

living lightly in Boston

Peter and Catherine and I met up with the tour on Tuesday evening and our families got to know each other over Thai food and pie. On Wednesday we all hopped on the train and zipped into Boston. We walked a good chunk of the Freedom Trail, had lunch in Quincy Market, visited the ducks in the Public Garden, checked out Harvahd Yahd and grabbed some Vietnamese noodles for dinner.

We were glad to show our visitors around our fair Capital and were thrilled with a tour of their rig. I’d highly suggest checking out their tour site at Live Lightly Tour. If it looks like they’re coming to your town keep your eyes peeled for the big blue bus!

Our photos are here and don’t forget to Spread the Love!


I was tagged by my friend Katie to post six weird things about me. Here goes!

1. I check the mail obsessively. If I go out and it hasn’t come yet I will listen for the mail truck and then run out as soon as I’m sure the mail lady has moved up the street. Usually there’s nothing good…unless Jennifer has sent something!

2. I name my cars…”Otto Marius Ahenobarbus”: Red 1984 Saab, “Hedwig”: White 1998 Subaru, “Stewart”: Green Volkswagen Golf.

3. I think Purell is evil. (except in certain instances)

4. I love to shovel snow. This winter has been such a disappointment!

5. Peter and I grew up several states apart and didn’t meet until college…but I went to high school with his first cousins!

6. I’ve seen every episode of ER… probably twice.

I’m tagging:Jennifer, Bethany Joy, Amanda and Jenny


Our Canadian friend and fellow blogger, Michelle, has taken on the third edition of her wildly popular “Random Interview Project.”

My interview was posted today, here.

To read interviews with some of her other readers, make sure to check out her blog Mikao’s World daily.

Site5 Frustrations

I’m glad that Becky has been blogging quite a bit recently, because even though there are a lot of things I have to blog about, I haven’t been able to get any of them worked into an actual post. So here’s an attempt at covering just one of those things: some of my frustrations with [Site5](, the web hosting provider for

Continue reading

meme x2

Peter and I have been tagged by [Michelle]( for the ever popular “4 things” meme. We decided to fill it out together, with both our responses.

Here’s the first category to whet your whistle, click below to read the rest!

4 jobs I’ve had in my life:

1. Bank Teller/Mailroom Worker
2. Museum Teacher/Helpdesk Assistant
3. College Teaching Assistant/Paperboy
4. Museum Head Guide/Web Developer
Continue reading

Hometown Six: Beverly, MA

Peter mentioned the other day that our friend [Michelle]( was organizing a year long, blog project called [the Hometown Six]( Basically, the idea is to introduce her (and her readers) to our hometown via 12 monthly challenges.

The January challenge was to post 6 pictures of signage bearing the name of your hometown. Peter went on a walk around town to capture some local signs.

Beverly has been our ‘hometown’ since 2002. I moved in in the summer and Peter joined me in October when we got married. We’ve been in the area, however, since we started our freshman year at Gordon College…one town over in Wenham. It is a decent sized city; big enough to have some industry, but small enough to sponsor a ton of hometown events like ‘first night’, the ‘Santa parade’ and outdoor movies in the park during the summer.

It is also very convenient for us. Peter’s commute is a 15 minute drive and I either drive 5 minutes to the YMCA or a quick walk to the MBTA commuter train for a 40 minute train ride to Boston.

Here is the gallery with our six [Beverly Signs](

Favorite Blogs of 2005

Peter and I collectively read over 200 blogs and websites every day (thanks to [Bloglines]( Out of all of those blogs, there are a couple that stand out this year as our favorites. Whenever we view one of these blogs, they make us laugh, smile, think, and wonder. We keep coming back to them day after day because of their interesting insights and observations.

**[(a)musings](**, by Christine

Christine is a fellow North Shore dweller, [Gordon]( Grad, Oregon Extension alum and blogger. (We have alot in common!) Her musings center on her family, their adventures in life and geocaching, her love of [Barenaked Ladies](, and some trials and tribulations associated with all of the above. We also love perusing her [flickr albums](

**[Mikao’s World](**, by Michelle

Representing the Great White North, Michelle blogs from chilly Canada. She talks about faith, travel, crafts, work and daily life…and her Hot Rod. We’ve been following her blog for almost 3 years now. Wow! I am pretty impressed at her artistic ability and creativity.

Congratulations to our favorite blogs of 2005. Keep up the good work!

I’m it.

I have been tagged to complete a survey. I’ve been remiss in responding. Without further delay…

***Jennifer|*** tagged me for the ‘Movie Meme’.

1) Total number of films I own on DVD/video: seventy two (based on Peter’s count)
2) The last film I bought: I honestly can’t remember. It was THAT long ago!
3) The last film I watched: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
4) Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me (in no particular order):
Sound of Music
Pirates of the Carribean
Henry V
French Kiss
Napoleon Dynamite

Ten Things I have NOT done:
1. Danced on a bar counter 2. Hang glided 3. Been to Kansas 4. Dyed my hair 5. Met ***Michelle|*** in real life 6. Had stitches 7. Drunk a Double Light Sweet Mochachino 8. Changed my own oil 9. Shoplifted 10. Gone on a cross-country road trip