Googling myself

Periodically I Google myself (hey AP Stylebook, is “google” a verb now?)

When I see pages and pages of results that are actually about me and not some other Laura Wormuth, it feels like a vain endeavor, but it serves as a significant confidence booster.

I love to see all of the work I’ve done, culminated into search results, and I’m proud (as opposed to embarrassed) by what I find there, especially when I find not only work by me, but commentary about my work.

Today I came across this link:

http://www.southbethany.org/pdf_slrss/2013-10-03-Unsinkable%20Eastern%20Shore%20Regional%20Resilience%20and%20Prosperity.pdf

which talks about a keynote speech I gave on behalf of The Star Democrat for the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s 2013 Planning Commission. I was called “dynamic.”

Awesome!

I feel super cool when I find photos I’ve taken on other people’s websites, like this one from the Environmental Film Festival at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History:

http://www.videotakes.com/news/

or my photo collection from the Andy Harris Bull Roast on the Maryland Reporter: http://marylandreporter.com/2013/09/23/state-roundup-september-23-2013/

Or when I find my alma mater storified my tweet: https://storify.com/syracuseu/thankcuse

Or when I find my eHow articles translated into Brazilian: http://www.ehow.com.br/morfologia-fluxo-agua-info_173493/

Yeah, awesome.

So YOU should google yourself – see what’s out there about you – what will people find when they type your name in?

Will you be mortified or honored?

Sunflowers

 

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All-Terrain Feet

All-Terrain Feet

 

 

These are my feet. They’re special.

Yeah, they’re funky looking, with their long, skinny and broken toes; they’re flat, and pigeon-toed.

But they’re strong, diligent, willing to take on a challenge. They’re not afraid of sharp rocks or itchy grass, they’re not afraid of mud or bugs or water. They are fearless feet. They can cover any kind of terrain, from mountains to beaches, in fields and back yards; these feet are All-Terrain Feet.

IMG_2149Fearless All-Terrain Feet.

Last weekend they took me to Elk Neck State Park in North East, Md. I camped on the beaver marsh, on a 2-mile loop trail that wound east down to this beach on the Elk River, and then continued through the woods and around the entire marsh.

Where river and marsh meetThere was no one on the trail or the beach this particular Saturday morning, but there were signs of people everywhere — Styrofoam food containers, plastic bottle tops, a forgotten sand-covered shoe, red Solo cups…

At the far end of this beach I encountered an obstacle where the river and the marsh meet. Luckily, the tides had conveniently pushed a pile of logs into that spot. It looks sturdy but it’s not. I climbed out but all of the logs rocked back and forth, putting my camera in a precarious situation. I also decided I didn’t want to spend the rest of the hike in wet boots, so I took my shoes off to wade out to the big log and jump over to the other side, my All-Terrain Feet no worse off from one side to the other.

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In the murk of this area, I saw this cruddy little spot where flotsam has collected and the strangest thing was the number of butterfly wings that accumulated here. I couldn’t fit them all into one photo, floating like little yellow flower petals on top of the stagnant water.

The other side was reinforced with riprap, where I sat to let my feet dry before putting my boots back on, and I could see the swamp — where you’re not supposed to swim…swamp swimming

This was an ideal spot for a quiet rest because the birds use that area like a main highway. I saw and heard a lot of herons. I tried to take the photos but my equipment isn’t right for fast-moving birds.

However, I caught this heron sitting in the tree behind me — only for an instant, before he flew off to go fishing.

IMG_2195I saw eagles, red-winged black birds, ospreys, countless ducks and hundreds of little birds I wouldn’t be able to name, all singing and calling to one another like a symphony, punctuated by the rhythm of croaking frogs and toads.

The cacophony was a soundtrack to the peaceful walk around the marsh, which boasts a working beaver lodge in the center.

I found all sorts of wonderful things on the hike, like lonely mushrooms, flitting bugs, fern-carpeted forests, deep ravines and aged trees.

IMG_2207 IMG_2210 IMG_2247

I stopped more than once to take pictures and just listen to the sound of life, absent of humans.

My favorite spot was almost directly across the marsh from my camp, where I found this bench, carved on by countless boys and girls with declarations of their love, markings of their existence in this spot at some lost time in history.

IMG_2223

I almost forgot my stick there, but after walking into one spiderweb, returned the short distance to get my trusty friend. That stick, although functional for balance on the tougher parts of the difficult trail, truly served its purpose as a get-these-darn-gross-sticky-spiderwebs-out-of-my-face stick, and I walked much of the two miles waving it around in front of my face. Being the first person on the trail can have its disadvantages. It was also repurposed through some sections as a oh-jeez-ouch-that’s-a-thorn-bush stick.

I spent the rest of the weekend swimming in the Chesapeake Bay, wading through the Bay grasses and floating on the water, relaxing at my site with a good book, kayaking the Elk River with the park rangers, and biking out to the Turkey Point Lighthouse. That trail was rated as an easy beginner trail, but actually turned out to be quite treacherous with steep, rocky runs in both directions.

IMG_2292At the lowest point, the land met the Bay where I meditated on the water for a while. I sat by this log and noticed this little tuft of grass growing from a crack, and I was struck by the way life can take root anywhere, surviving in the strangest places and oddest circumstances.

Getting back on my bike I realized I blew out my back tire on the rocks. I ended up walking my bike up the other half of the trail.

Of course, I didn’t mind, I have Fearless All-Terrain Feet — it was just one more leg in the journey. And I can’t wait for another opportunity to put my Fearless All-Terrain Feet to the test and see where they will take me next.

 


Adventures on DelMarVa

Idylwild trails

I haven’t spent much time blogging, doing social media, or anything outside of my work sphere on the computer lately. This summer I refuse to let the computer dictate my days.

Of course, I still browse posts on my lunch hour, retweet when I’m bored, and I’ve just started using Instagram to share some of my photography (come find me @laylow_laura), but most of my time has been spent outside, exploring this diversely interesting place and seeing it in ways I never have in the short few years I’ve lived here.

I guess after so many years of moving about and trying to find a place for me, I’ve finally come to think of Maryland’s Eastern Shore as home – and maybe it’s time to learn a little bit more about home…

Dewey Beach, DelawareI’ve been from the Chesapeake to the Atlantic, from the Virginia state line in the south to the uppermost reaches of Maryland and Delaware. I’ve been on trails, in the woods, on the beach, on the boardwalk, and I’ve found lots of strange places and characters that have made me realize this is a really great place to live.

Like this guy (who is not “Ed” but who did hook me up with one of Ed’s famous ices with an incredible mix of flavors I’ll never be able to recreate). This retired merchant marine named his boat “Listener” because, he said, when he’s on the water, that’s when he can really hear the universe talking to him.

I hear the universe speaking…I’m LISTENING!
Off Season Ocean City
I also met this guy, who even on a chilly day was out making kids laugh with his dinosaurs on the boardwalk in Ocean City.

How cool it is to live in a place where random talent finds its way to entertain and enlighten people.

 

 

My favorite places here though, are the ones without people. 2014-07-10 10.29.18

I grew up in a rural town, built on agriculture and the Susquehanna River, and here I find that same peaceful tranquility. Whether it’s hiking through the forest or biking by the beaver pond, or finding a secluded beach that no one (?) seems to know about, I find a sense of calm here, a private oasis.

When I find something I love, I don’t want to leave…

When I find myself in a place I don’t want to leave, I know I’ve found home…

When I’m standing on this little deck, somewhere near the end of a bike ride, and the herons are wading through the water, the eagles and ospreys are calling from above, and the beavers are busily carrying sticks to their simple lodge amongst the grasses, I can’t help but to be happy with what I’ve found…all right in my own backyard.

2014-06-05 11.57.16

There’s more to this adventure — places I haven’t mentioned, journeys I have yet to take — I’ve only just begun to discover the little things, the secrets and magic that makes the DelMarVa Peninsula a really cool place to live.

 

Tuckahoe Tree

 


Devil in the Hole – A Review

I don’t typically read crime drama, but when I heard my favorite journalism professor published a fiction novel, I was more than interested. Because while crime has never really been my thing – writing style has ALWAYS been my thing. So here is a review of his book, Devil in the Hole, by Charles Salzberg.

* * *

devil

Storytelling, as the old adage goes, is an art. It should be experimental, verging outside of the box, pushing boundaries and exceeding limitations, and that is what Charles Salzberg has done in Devil in the Hole.

Salzberg commands the power of voice in this compelling novel about John Hartman surpassing his role of normal, modern business and family man, and entering the realm of criminally insane.

Told from the perspective of the many individuals surrounding Hartman’s life, Salzberg demands attention by creating a uniquely interesting and appropriate persona and voice for each character.

While this isn’t a typical who-done-it mystery, the wonder and suspense is crafted throughout using the interplay of people and their roles. We’re not wondering who did it, but we’re kept on the edge of our seats wondering why and how, will Hartman be caught? Is Hartman a mild-mannered gentleman in the midst of a breakdown? Or is he truly a mayhem-inducing psychotic on the run? And will he get away with murder?

The story culminates with a surprise ending that this reader certainly didn’t see coming, and Salzberg has a gift for applying new techniques to an age-old style to make for a new and refreshing read.

salzbergCheck out Devil in the Hole at http://www.amazon.com/Devil-Hole-Charles-Salzberg-ebook/dp/B00G5K7VYW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384796504&sr=8-1&keywords=Devil+in+the+hole.

Read Charles Salzberg’s other books http://www.amazon.com/Charles-Salzberg/e/B001IXO1TE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1384796540&sr=8-2.


Perfect

I’m perfect.

It’s true. I am.

Yeah, I make bad decisions.

I have a little extra weight here and there.

I have terrible skin.

I have scars – inside and out.

Sometimes I say the wrong things.

And my teeth could have used some orthodontics.

But I’m perfect.

I’m perfect because I am the way God made me. I’ve accepted what I’ve been given and I’m thriving on it.

So He didn’t want me to have skin like a peach.

So I wasn’t meant to have a perfect smile.

For some unknown reason, I was meant to have flat feet and pigeon toes.

I’m okay with that. Not just okay…I’m happy with that.

I think it’s sad that so many people – men and women both – feel the need to change themselves. Plastic surgery, makeup, eating disorders and drug use to be smaller or bigger.

Yes, I would like to have a “Victoria’s Secret” body, but not so much that I’m willing to live without cheesecake. Yes I’d like to be a bit stronger, but not so much that I would sacrifice time with my kids to be at the gym.

I don’t want to change. I like me.

I’m already perfect.

Thanks God, you hooked me up.

Read this poem and be happy with you – I AM ME  by Virgina Satir

Perfectly imperfect

Perfectly imperfect


Online all the time

I’ve been away for a while, not from the internet (is that still capitalized AP?), just from my blog. I’m thinking about using that pertinent science degree that I have to run an experiment on just how much time I spend online.

You see, I’ve been away because of my new job as Digital Editor for the Star Democrat – our local daily newspaper here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I manage the websites and help with the social media. I have a degree in Information Technology and Journalism so it’s perfect for my skillset.

I also find myself reporting a lot, using that Master’s degree in Earth Sciences (if you want to read some of the most recent work I’ve done, click here).

So that’s been really great.

I’m also writing some fiction and have some short stories published in a couple of books with a group of writers from LinkedIn (check them out – BUY them and READ them – here and here). I love doing this, and we’re working on a round robin right now.

So I’m writing. I’m online. And I’m working at being the best mom I can be.

All of these things are time consuming.

And none of them the point of this post.

The point is, I seem to be online ALL THE TIME!

If I’m not working for work, I’m working for freelance. And if I’m not working, I’m looking at Facebook, reading other people’s blogs, reading news, looking at YouTube, or even just finding music online. I’m online all the time.

I have to have access. I NEED access. What would I do without the Internet?

I’d like to start documenting how much time I spend online for: 1 – work, 2 – freelance “work”, and 3 – personal social media and fun.

This sounds like a silly experiment, but I feel like I need some way to get out from under the internet. Here I am again. I write in Google docs., transfer to the blog, add a photo, push it out on social media…

What did we do before the internet?

Avoiding the internet

Avoiding the internet


Making Lists

I’m infatuated with making lists – grocery lists, things to do, work assignments, kid to-dos…

Places I’ve been, concerts I’ve seen, books I’ve read, words I like…

I list story ideas, marketing brainstorms, character names…

I have notebooks littered with these lists, reminding me of things I’ve finished, things that remain undone, things that will forever remain undone.

Recently I came across a writing exercise that involved lists – yay!

The assignment was to list ten things that made you happy during the day and ten things that you made you angry or sad – all without explanation of why.

So here’s mine:

 

Ten Things That Made Me Happy

1. Morning coffee with BJ

2. Being on time

3. My new job

4. Getting asked to go out for drinks with my new teammates

5. Picking up my kids

6. Talking about Mika

7. Listening to my boys laugh out loud in the car on the way home

8. Xander’s picture of me walking on the moon

9. Diapering and tucking in the monsters

10. Late night board games

 

Ten Things That Made Me Sad

1. Missing the park at lunchtime

2. A screw-up at work

3. Jen said she’d never been to a funeral or seen a dead body before

4. I couldn’t go have drinks with my team

5. I didn’t volunteer for a work project

6. I spent too much money at lunch

7. I picked at my face

8. I was bored

9. I was jealous of the responsibilities and pay of other people

10. Xander cried when he found out Ethan wasn’t coming home that night

 

Now the next step in this exercise is to choose a few of these statements and write a story based on those one or two elements.

I haven’t done that part yet, but when I do, I’ll post those stories here 🙂


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