The Internet and Me
How it Started and Where It's Going
In the hazy summer of 2003, I started a blog. I was a newly minted PhD with two newly minted babies living in a four-floor walk up in Washington Heights with an evening professor gig at Columbia. After Steve introduced me to the wacky world of the young blogosphere, I quickly signed up for a free blogspot blog.
At first, I didn’t expect anyone but my husband to read it. My posts were intended to amuse him as he scrolled through his blogroll during his lunch hour. Weirdly enough, other people found me, and I became part of several online communities. I couldn’t quite decide if I was going to write about academics, family, society, dresses, or whatever blew my skirt up that day. Some days, I was a mommyblogger. Other days, I was an academic blogger.
That random decision to start a blog, named after my actual address (pro tip: don’t do that), led to many marvelous adventures, jobs, academic and mainstream publications, and permanent friendships. (Want to hear those war stories?) It helped me become a faster writer who doesn’t sweat over perfection. It enabled me to transition from academia to journalism - a massive mid-life career shift. It was a place for comfort and human contact, when our son’s unique disability isolated us from others.
But the eclectic nature of my blogging and tweeting and instagramming and newslettering meant that I’ve never made much money from social media. I never developed a brand or influencer-level readership. From the beginning, I knew that I needed to be more disciplined and structured, but I never cared that much. Blogs were my secret hobby. I wanted to be free to write about whatever amused me that day without worrying about audience and all that.
But change is coming.
Apt. 11D — in both the newsletter and blog form — will stay the same. It will be free and undisciplined. I’ll write about whatever I like and post links to serious and fun stuff. But I’m going to start other newsletters on very specific areas of expertise. Those other ventures will be free, for a while.
The first new project will be a newsletter called “The Great Leap: From Autism to Adult.” After Ian graduated from high school last year, he and I (it’s truly a joint effort) have worked REALLY hard to go from the world of high school – a venue that Ian had mastered – to the world of adulthood, a scary and exciting place with no road signs. I’ll tell some stories and give tips to others who are on this road. I’ve been able to utilize my deep background in higher education to help him take classes at the local community college. Nobody prepares you for what’s waiting after high school, if you’re a parent of a special needs kid. But I’ll tell all.
I am creating this niche newsletter in part, because I want to get really detailed about disability and education and employment stuff. I will to continue writing occasional pieces for a mainstream audience about disability issues, but most people don’t want to hear all the nitty-gritty. This newsletter will have the nitty-gritty. I do hope that this newsletter will appeal to a broader audience, but it’s not my primary objective.
Sign up, please! First one will appear next Wednesday.
On the blog this week, I give a little more explanation about why I am making some transitions with my writing.
The Daily Mail has a fascinating series on the Russian oligarchs hanging out in the UK.
More research on how graduate degrees, even MBAs, are a complete waste of time and money.
I’m a long-time following of Human of New York. Their latest series on the real estate agent with the scummy husband is inspirational.
Masks have been really tough on kids with speech disabilities. Actually, any kid with autism and social skills issues has been really crippled because of masks.
From the WSJ: “Jack Sweeney, the Florida teenager who garnered attention for tracking the private jet of Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk, is now publicizing the movements of planes owned by Russian oligarchs and aircraft associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
Parents with special education children spend an unbelievable amount of money getting help for their kids and trying to force schools to actually educate their kids. One example of the money that we shell out is for outside evaluations, which go for around $7,000 now. That money is not reimbursed by the schools or by health insurance. It’s just $7,000 out of pocket. Good-bye money. I spent $10,000 during the pandemic to pay for tutors, because my kid didn’t have school for 18 months. I’ll never get that money back. I’ve been looking at programs to help high functioning autistic kids after high school. Those programs cost $80,000 and you can’t supplement those costs with student loans or health insurance.
Cooking and Picture: Lemony White Bean Soup with Turkey and Greens
Shopping: I’m going down to Florida at the end of month with my mom to visit a sick relative. And we’ll be in North Carolina in early April. So, I need some cute spring dresses. I’m liking these at the Gap.
Picture: Above - A few months before I started blogging. At Ian’s christening. Below: Last weekend’s dinner with extended family to celebrate my dad’s 85th birthday. Nothing says, “I love you,” like a thick slab of veal and some calamari. #JerseyItalian