New year, new direction

January 02, 2011 by barbara

barbara writes

The Queen of Procrastination (she sucks in her cheeks, peers down her patrician nose, and waves stiffly to the small people – though not until tomorrow probably) wishes you a happy new year. And if that’s not looking likely from where things stand today, then I hope you can enjoy periods of contentment and random moments of delight.

I have been chunking away at this blogging thing for nearly five years. It began as a bit of a lark, and it was fun when life wasn’t infuriating. Sometimes fun, even then. The gift of Bush was the ultimate source of blogginess.

The insurgence of the Tea Party has taken us to a whole new level of weird street drama, rooted in me-me-me and disturbingly twisted agendas. NIMBY has morphed into NIMUNOE (Not in My Universe Now or Ever). It’s difficult to make a case for it being the best of times when the worst of times has become so noisily dominant.

Anyway, I am neither sufficiently organized nor disposed to keep on keeping on. It’s really not fun any more.

So I’m taking an extended, and possibly permanent, leave from the Clothesline. It’s definitely time.

If anyone is out there, thanks so much for hanging in there, so to speak. Really. Thanks. It’s been an interesting ride, eh?

Happy New Year!


Posted in


lilalia (not verified) | January 2, 2011 - 12:56pm

Dear Barbara,

I can well sympathise with your despondency. Much of what I read in the media and particularly US media leaves me shaking my head and feeling truly indignant at the stupidity of the masses. Your blog was always a good counterweight, and, at times, a rant that let me laugh and breathe out at the same moment. I will miss you and do hope you will return. Thank you.



barbara | January 11, 2011 - 12:45pm

Well, if we were despondent when you wrote on January 02, what are we now, I wonder? I am literally shaking my head as I write these words. I don't recognize my country any longer, and that is definitely not a good thing.

Thanks for your encouragement!


Barb (not verified) | January 2, 2011 - 2:06pm

New Years resolutions are made to be broken. Come back soon, my friend.
I'll keep checking on you!! Don't go too far, otherwise I'd miss you.
Be good to yourself, or else, I'll have to.


barbara | January 11, 2011 - 12:43pm

: ) Thanks, Barb.


Susan Lenfestey (not verified) | January 4, 2011 - 1:09am

Well, gulp, I have to cop to my part in Barbara's departure, namely, not writing here anymore, aka abandoning her. Despite numerous claims on my part that I'd be back, I just couldn't recover my writing mojo. I don't know where it went, and it doesn't matter.
And to be honest, blogging never quite suited me. I liked writing op-eds in the Strib (some of them stored in the "linen closet" above) and I liked writing long raw emails to my friends (it's why they encouraged me to be a blogger) but I never quite found the right tone for the Clothesline. Barb did, she was a natural, but I can't say that anything I ever wrote here was something I much wanted anyone to read. Sad but true.
I loved the early days of writing with Barb and the hopes we had for making something of this and I'm so grateful to her for those good times and for soldiering on as I faltered.
Who knows, maybe her pulling the plug will finally locate my mojo. That'd be kind of nice. Now, if I could only remember the damn html codes. Or how to post a photo. Sheesh.
Thanks to those who read and wrote regularly. We may be back when there's a pile of fresh linen to hang on the line. Meanwhile, here's to a healthy and sane 2011 for all.


Dave G. (not verified) | January 10, 2011 - 3:27pm

Hi Barb,
Though I haven't replied often to your blogs, I have always been enlightened and entertained by them and will miss them. I envy your perspective on current events as well as your knack for expressing yourself about them. Hopefully, you'll reconsider, since this year and the next should continue the deplorable political circus now in progress.
The Christmas video - pleasant departure from the usual.


barbara | January 11, 2011 - 12:42pm

Hey, Dave G., thanks for your kind comments. I appreciate them. I appreciate you.


barbara | January 11, 2011 - 1:24pm

Well, it's getting harder and harder to discern the difference between fresh linen and deeply-disturbing crap, isn't it?

I dunno. I have so much to say about this. But why? Really, why?


Joel (not verified) | January 26, 2011 - 8:32am

Hi Barbara and Susan,

I used to look in back when I would see you on FDL, partly as a connection to my first 53 years as a Minneapolitan. Been gone 22 and things have gone downhill...oh wait...Franken...Dayton.. Maybe the light in the tunnel is not an oncoming train.

I don't recall January in MN fondly.., frozen pipes, hoping the car will start, dark, dark, dark. But there were those days after a snow when the temp dropped and the low hanging sun lit up the world again.

It's almost February, a short month thankfully, and then March wet snows and thaws. By April it's worth it again. May is for green shoots for full blossoming June. Usually only about two weeks in July or August when it's really too hot. The excitement of the summer thunderstorms, the warm steady drizzles in September, leaves turning, dry October. I miss the smell of and ceremony of neighbors and burning leaves in the street. It's all very sweet from this distance.



barbara | January 28, 2011 - 9:06pm

Hey, Joel, thanks for this! You sure as heck nailed MN, even at great distance of time and place.

When one lives in the belly of the frozen beast, there seem to be only two options. (1) Whine and flee, which is a somewhat harsh description of snowbirding; or (2) Man up and live with it. In my case, I must woman up.

I've lived here all my life. There are very few surprises about MN weather at this point. The surprises are those to which you allude in your wonderfully descriptive summary of seasons.

When David was alive, our kitchen window and deck faced west. And over the dozen or so years, I can't count the number of times I would call him with some urgency. "David, David, come quick. You have to see this!" He knew. He'd been seeing it for more than 30 years. But he came. The peach-and-crimson sunsets were spectacular. And each one of them was a surprise somehow. Go figure!

Maybe that's a small clue to what it means to find contentment in sameness, rather than boredom or tedium. Or fed-upness with MN winters. Much of our winters -- maybe even most -- is spectacularly lovely. Until the Big Thaw comes, and by then, we're anticipating a different kind of lovely.

But you know all of this, because you've lived here.

Thanks again for stopping by.