Miscellany

The British Royal Family gossip Superbowl is almost upon us!

January 9, 2023

When I was young, my grandmother used to mail us her weekly copies of the Star and Enquirer. I didn’t bother watching The Crown because I read Kitty Kelley’s book and it could get no better than that.

cover of Prince Harry's memoir, Spare
Burn it down, Harry.

My homeschool PhD in the affairs of the Windsor-Mountbatten family makes me eminently qualified to say I believe 90% of what Prince Harry is saying to the press, in the Netflix documentary, and in his upcoming memoir Spare. Which I have, of course, preordered.

It is truly a gift to have lived long enough to watch Martin Bashir’s Diana interview and read her son’s tell-all. Camilla IS an evil stepmother? William IS an asshole? A frostbitten penis? Privileged rich families with secrets is one of my guilty pleasure fiction genres. But this isn’t fiction! TELL ME EVERYTHING, HENRY.

Is Harry blameless? Nah. I think he could have done a much better job prepping Meghan for the role instead of playing a hide-from-the-press game. I also think Harry only hates the cameras he can’t control. But it stinks to have lost your (equally messy) mother in such a public way at the age of 12. He’s done a lot of work to get himself to the functional-ish point he’s at now.

But the sidelining of Harry started years ago when George was born and all of a sudden Charles was talking about streamlining the monarchy to just the direct heirs to the throne. It’s hard to find those stories now because the Queen’s death and Harry’s projects have cluttered up the online searches.

If anything good (other than my own shameless titillation) can come from the Netflix documentary and Spare, I hope it dampens the narrative that Meghan is some evil puppetmistress that tore innocent Harry away from his family. I think Harry had been looking for a way to break off for years and the racist behavior toward his wife and son was his way out.

When Spare is released tomorrow, I will evolve into my glorious final celebrity trashgossip weasel form.

the legendary Pizza Rat
(actual image of me consuming this book)
I love the Internet

Friday 5: In with the old

January 6, 2023

Hello and huzzah from my sofa, where I am languishing with my third cold in three months. Lately I feel like if someone sneezes three houses down, I get sick. There’s some chatter in scientific circles about Covid possibly knocking down immune systems by destroying T-cells. It’s no fun, but it could be worse.

Anyway, welcome to the Friday 5! This week’s theme is In with the old. Let’s get to it.

kim cheesily pointing at a Walt Disney World 50th anniversary product
I let nobody forget that I turned 50 during Walt Disney World’s 50th celebration
  1. How did you celebrate your most recent birthday?
    I WENT TO WALT DISNEY WORLD! I never traveled on my birthday, because when you’re around teachers a lot, vacationing during the first week of school is verboten. But WM arranged the time with his vice principal in advance, and I spent my big-ass golden 50th birthday in Epcot and the Magic Kingdom.
  2. What was the subject of a list you recently composed?
    Groceries, quite unexciting. This was the list: bread flour, popcorn, birdseed, yogurt, chicken, and bananas. I’m getting into the habit of baking bread again. I’ve given up on sourdough because I had a terrible time keeping my starter alive. Instead, I use this no-knead bread recipe and it has never failed me.
  3. What did you most recently use vinegar in?
    Sometimes I’ll take a ramen soup packet and doctor it up with whatever leftovers we have in the refrigerator, and add sesame oil and rice vinegar to give it some more flavor.
  4. What can sometimes get you out of a bad mood?
    Food, which is a terrible but true reality. A full belly has always made me feel better.
  5. How do you feel about shrimp?
    Love it. Boiled, fried, sauteed, chilled – it doesn’t matter.

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Life

What I want in 2023

December 31, 2022

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m watching Svengoolie (don’t ask) with WM and Murphy with a belly full of (slightly stale) Christmas cookies and a heart full of warmth. It was a good year, the best this decade. 😉 What do I want 2023 to bring? Let’s manifest!

Kim and WM, in Lego form.
Lego WM and Lego me wish you a Happy New Year from the balcony of our Lego castle.

At Home:
I would love to have a new back patio poured because ours is crooked and cracked and I trip on it at least once a week in the summer. But I think we’re going to get the driveway extended first to fit the three cars. And I want my garden to be ABUNDANT. I didn’t have abundance this year, and I think I’m going to rig up the little plastic greenhouse in the garage a month earlier than usual (February instead of March) so that by the time the frost date passes, I’ll have larger plants ready to go into the ground.

Financially:
I’m doing good work getting my credit cards paid down and paid off. This year I want to start making extra payments toward our mortgage principal.

Professionally:
Last month I was promoted to Assistant Director, Membership (not Assistant to the Director of Membership), fulfilling one of the three goals I had set for myself in 2022. I’m really excited about the role and I have three goals which for obvious reasons, won’t be blogged about here.

Blog:
Once a week, at minimum. I’m still on Twitter (don’t look me up there, I’m a menace) and I love it but I should at the very least expand on some of my terrible takes here on my own platform, right?

For My Physical Health:
In 2022 I joined a gym (and then a second one when the first gym closed.) That was my second goal for 2022, by the way. I want to stick with that and build stamina and strength. I want us all to be healthy in 2023 and if we do catch Covid again, I want us to come out unscathed.

For My Mental Health:
Your girl needs some in-person friends. I have always relied on my jobs to create friendships (the downside being they usually wilt when you leave jobs) but without that in-person connection, my social tank is hovering around E. To fix that, I want to take some in-person classes in 2023. Maybe an art class? We’ll see.

For Fun:
I want to travel someplace new, or at the very least someplace I haven’t been to in a while. Maybe it’s time to get back on a cruise? Or maybe not. And learn to juggle. That was my third goal of 2022 which didn’t pan out.

For Everyone:
I want everyone to be safe, loved, and warm.

Happy New Year to all of you who still stop by to read! 🙂

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Blogging

Twenty years of blogging!

December 30, 2022
me, december 2002
December 2002 – TWENTY years ago. Digital photos were tiny then.

I loved the concept of the Internet from the first moment I learned about bulletin boards and email in college. At that time I didn’t have a real computer at home, opting instead to write my papers on a portable Brother word processor which, as a JCPenney catalog associate, I bought for 50% off because it was returned merchandise. In 1994 we bought a real PC, a modem, and the Prodigy software which introduced me to the World Wide Web. My Prodigy username was KYFX39A, but I was Gypsy72 in the chat rooms.

I built a small web page on Prodigy, and when we ditched Prodigy in 1996ish for a local ISP called InterNET-GATEway (net-gate for short), I built another HTML web page on that platform. By then I was tired of telling people that I was a woman and NOT 72 years old, so I changed my username to LadyGypsy. My net-gate webpage was at www.net-gate.com/~ladygypsy.

In late 1999 I began work at the Courier-Post and before I returned home on my first day of work we had an appointment to switch from dial-up to broadband internet access through Comcast (now Xfinity.) The webpage moved to Comcast for a spell and then in 2001 I registered ladygypsy.net as my domain name and pointed it to the comcast page.

By then I was updating the site a few times a month with what I was doing, what I was listening to, and links to other sites that I read. But I was getting a little bored of all of the HTML-ing so I signed up for the Blogger service and on December 30, 2002, I wrote my very first blog entry.

That, friends, was twenty years ago tonight.

screenshot of ladygypsy.net from February 2003 where I mention my blog for the first time.
The Wayback machine’s earliest capture of my blog’s appearance on my site – February, 2003

I would never select a username like LadyGypsy today – I wish I knew in the late 90s how sensitive the word was.

Over the decades I blogged about my meals and dieting (too much dieting), my job anxieties, television, music, politics, life, love, moving, video games, pets, and dozens and dozens of cookies. If you read between the lines, you’d see the slow decline of a local newspaper, the joy and stress of owning a home, the sad failure of a marriage, a broken woman, the whispers of new love, self-acceptance, and many courageous leaps along the way as our cast of characters changed and grew older.

Twenty years of blogging, by the numbers:
2 employers (Courier-Post and TNP, which we all know by now as SHM)
2 husbands (not at the same time, omg jeez)
2 domain names (ladygypsy.net and kimberussell.com)
2 blogging platforms (Blogger and WordPress)
3 website hosts (Comcast, Lunarpages, and my friend’s server)
3 last names (married name #1, back to Dowd, and then to Russell)
3 cats (Noelle, Misty, Charlie)
3 hair colors (brown, red, blonde)
4 cars of my own (Dodge Neon, Saturn Ion, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Patriot)
4 dogs (Mickey, Max, Ollie, Murphy)
5 home addresses (Voorhees apartment, House #1, Dee-luxe apartment in the sky #1, Dee-luxe apartment in the sky #2, House on Literary Lane)
2,070 published posts

And most importantly, the many bloggy friends I met along the way, many of whom don’t even blog anymore but we’re still in each other’s Twitter feeds, Facebook friends lists, and Instagram likes.

While the days of blogging 4 times a day are far behind me and I can go months without anything important to share, this blog is an absolute treasure to me and I hope to be writing here for another 20 years.

photo of me a few days ago, in a Jersey Devils hockey jersey - fifty years old and happy!
December, 2022. Fifty years old and happy!