Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Secret passwords

Tuesday and the teenage kid and I are home alone for the week; K is in Texas for business training. For the first time in our 21 years as parents, we'll have an overlapping of obligations that take us both out of town at the same time. The kid cried out, "Don't worry. I can stay home alone!" I say quickly, "It's against the law to leave a kid under 16 home alone." I have no idea if this is true but it settled him down some. "Besides," I say, "you can't cook all your own meals for a week."

"Who says I would cook? 651-488-8888. Pizza Hut is really great."

Isn't it mind-boggling how many numbers we have to remember in our lives? Used to be that our parents made us remember our phone numbers once we reached a certain age. It helped to remember the sequence of three digits, imagine the dash, followed by four digits. Drove me nuts when some smart aleck grown-up changed the rhythm of that sequence to this: XXXXX-XX. C'mon!

It was a big deal to remember my social security card number for use in college. Because by then I had already committed my bike lock combo to memory, too. 36-6-8. There, now you have it. If you ever recognize my old blue bike and have a yearning to steal something, you've got my number.

Now I have a three-page cheat sheet with all my secret passwords. And for security purposes I have to change those passes at the institution's request to prevent identity theft.

For some time I was using self-invented labels for myself as cornerstones for my passwords. When I turned forty I had the partial password 'newgirl' with some combination of symbols and numbers. When I was forty-three I felt the impulse to write stronger than ever before and so I became 'scribeXX!!' And for that year when I felt I was just trying too hard at everything I changed to 'aimlow101.' How hilarious to see my cheatsheet looking like a listing of all those MySpace IDs: dizzyup girl and brobrau and child of the korn. If hackers could detect my secret feelings--and from the look and sound of me over the years this might not be too hard to do--they could raid my bank account, my Netflix subscription, and my blog sign-in.

But now I'm just sticking with the straight stuff, some unrelated combination of letters and symbols and numbers. My feelings about life still change with the seasons but there's no need to track it through secret passwords anymore. There is no reason to be so covert about my general state of mind. I have friends. And family. And co-workers there for me. I am human, hear me roar.

Sincerely yours,


Monday, April 13, 2009

Why not start the new year with spring?

I'm off on furlough today, my unpaid holiday and debt service to my organization in this rough economy. Though I was itching to do it, I did not check my work e-mail account all day. I woke early, drank tea and browsed through the newspaper, made scrambled eggs with spinach and parmesan, ran some errands, and brought my son in his spanking new white baseball pants to catch the bus for his baseball opener. Opening day! I could tell he was nervous. He went up to brush his teeth and came back down pointing to his upper lip and saying, "I think I might have to start shaving."

I haven't written here for a year. I left this nearly daily practice to pursue a new job. I devoted all my free time to that job application and subsequent seven interviews and after having won it (the job) in May 2008 I took over on July 1. It's a big job with a lot of responsibility and has kept me running ever since. I have lots of ideas to test out, a busy and creative staff, and a challenge to pull our traditional business into the new millennium, despite this rotten economy, which began its downturn right about the time I took over as director. Timing is everything, so true.

I've been keeping a handwritten journal this past year but I found writing this blog to be a better discipline. My journal often is made of scraps of thought and lists of daily activities--not so well-formed--and my blog posts always felt more polished than that. Knowing that there might be a reader out there kept me in line and away from the self-pitying prose my journals often harbored.

But there is this thing about revealing too much of my personal life when I have a relatively public position. What can I easily write about? What lines must I not cross between the personal and the public?

I've been sharing on Facebook but, as a writer, I find it unsatisfying. My life is already filled with bits and pieces and disjointed conversations. Why would I seek more?

So quietly I aim to start back into a few things I used to enjoy so much. For instance, using my body beyond the bent S-shape of an office worker and running, hiking, dancing, gardening. (I really have been devoted to my workstation. Oi vay!) Music. Reading full-fledged novels again. And writing this blog. If you happen to stumble upon Night Editor by chance, say hello. It'll be good to connect again.