A new beginning

I was inspired by my BNA colleague John Schappi’s blog, “Aging and Parkinson’s and Me,” to start this blog. Like John’s blog, mine will be a personal website where I will share what’s going on in my head – whether about the health topics that are raging in there right now; or website design and implementation using Drupal, an open-source content management system that is being employed to produce this website; or journalism, retirement, grandparenthood, or any other subject that pops in there from time to time.

I’m using a new Drupal 7 website to produce this blog, as a vehicle to learn about the latest release of the website production system I’ve been using for the last few years. Eventually I’ll move my business website, now appearing in Drupal 6 at www.by-words.com, into Drupal 7 at this URL (www.hazelbecker.com) as an archive of my work as a publication consultant and freelance writer, and possibly as an active business site. I’ve set up the site (with installation help from my husband, Robert) and begun to design it. I will likely write about my D7 learning experience on this blog, and I’ll tag those posts “drupal” so that those of you who have no interest in this subject will know to ignore that post.

My impetus for beginning a blog right now has been change. The first domino to fall was Robert’s diagnosis with metastatic melanoma, which I found out about on May 14. I will write more about this experience in other posts, but for now let me just say that this discovery was transformative. I know that others who are close to cancer survivors understand how this transformation might have played out. For those who are interested in knowing more, I’ll write some blog posts and tag them “melanoma.”

After the initial diagnosis, and facing work deadlines for two stories due June 1, I found that I couldn’t concentrate – my quest for knowledge about melanoma was all that my brain could handle. Knowing that we would be facing challenges over at least the next few months, including periods of uncertainty and discovery, I decided to stop working, at least for the time being. I may change my mind after things settle down here – however that happens – but for the moment I consider myself “retired.” If I decide to write more about this change in my life, I’ll tag those posts “retirement.”

So, I’ll start my D7 blog with three taxonomy terms. I plan to build the site a little before I invite my family, friends, and colleagues to sign up. If all goes well, I’ll set it up with enough flexibility that people who want updates pushed to their inboxes can sign up for them. For the moment I’ll keep it all behind a curtain since Robert isn’t ready to “go public” with his health status.

And with this, my new project is launched.