About the Blog

I have dozens of blogs all over the cyber-world. I thought it was about time to settle down and, if not gather them all into one spot, at least connect them in some way. Hopefully I’ll do that here.The name of this blog, Clutch Cargo Lips, for those of you who don’t know, is a reference to the creepy animation technique, Synchro-Vox, used in the Clutch Cargo television show. To make the animated characters “speak” the talking lips of a live actor were filmed and then superimposed over the area where lips would be on the animated character. This completely freaked me out, but I watched the series nonetheless. It was like an accident – I had to look.

Not completely sure why I named this blog Clutch Cargo Lips, but I’m sure it will be apparent at some point in time.

About Me
I’m Dona. I pronounce it the way Donna is pronounced, but you can pronounce it however you like. I was born in 1956 to Elvin and Patricia Patrick of Elgin, Illinois. They’d met while my dad was in the Navy. My dad’s brother-in-law knew my mom’s parents and it was suggested that mom write letters to dad while he was away. She did, they fell in love and ended up marrying a couple of years later, after he’d gotten out of the service.

I was born two years later (mom was only 20) a whopping 3lbs 9oz. They said I was the size of a baby doll.

I grew up in Elgin, going to public schools and the community college there. I didn’t stray too far when I went to a university in a town not too far away.

Probably the most exciting thing I did between surviving birth and leaving Elgin was to go to England with several people from my high school. I ended up going back a few more times to visit a boy who lived there.

At the university I studied education and received a dual degree in special education and elementary education.

Not long after college I started teaching learning disabled students at a private school in Bartlett, Illinois.

I finally left Elgin in 1981 when my then boyfriend, now husband and I moved to Pittsburgh so he could continue his studies in statistics. I taught in another private school in Pittsburgh, this time for students with mostly emotional problems.

After Pittsburgh we married and moved to Alexandria Virginia where I taught in a third private setting – this time to learning disabled students again. A few years after that I moved on to teach special ed students in a public school in Fairfax County.

We had two children while I was teaching in Fairfax County. My life was becoming complete. In fact it was too complete and I worried I had nothing to look forward to.

We moved to Bethesda when my youngest was 9 months old to be closer to my husband’s job (he wanted to be able to bike to work – and does regularly). We remain in Bethesda – a town I’m slowly getting to like.

About Me Online

Our first home computer was made up of castoffs from a couple of friends. My husband connected it to the Internet through a work connection and I remember looking at some newsgroups about Kate Bush.

In 1995 we bought a brand new Dell with a Windows 3.0 operating system. We connected to the Internet using a browser called Slipknot. At the time it was amazing seeing images on the monitor. Back then words like Gopher and Veronica were important in the online world. Yahoo was just starting out, and the Next Big Thing. I never really understood it and had no idea I’d be so hooked in a few years. I also had a Juno email address and corresponded with a few people that way, including my brother. I think that connection helped us get to know each other better.

I got the graduate degree itch in 1997 and applied and was accepted into a now defunct Educational Technology Leadership program at GWU. My rationale was that I wanted to learn how to use technology as a tool to teach. It also helped me with my “what do I have to look forward to” phase. (I guess I went through mid-life crisis pretty early)

I needed a new computer and dedicated internet connection for the coursework since a majority would be done online so we bought a mid-range Gateway with a Windows 98 operating system. That computer and Internet connection opened up a whole new world to me. I discovered IM, online groups and chat rooms. I learned to search (Google was in its infancy, so I preferred a search engine called Northern Lights).

In grad school we needed to learn HTML and a little CSS and JavaScript. I fell in love. As a person who could not sing or draw, being able to create beautiful things with a pretty simple code just filled me with joy. I started to get a new career goal. Maybe going back into the classroom was not in my future. Perhaps web design was.

When I graduated with a Masters of Arts in ETL I sent out dozens of resumes and received either letters of rejection or silence in return. After nearly a year I was very frustrated and considered going back to special ed again when I got a lead on a job with my current company. I was hired to do quality assurance evaluations on websites created by the company and to research the new accessibility laws and eventually do accessibility evaluations as well.

The first few months at this job were heaven for me. I made friends, felt useful and important and was learning a lot about a subject I found fascinating. It was during this time I discovered blogging. I’d been looking for electronic journaling tools and a search lead me to Blogger. On June 21, 2001 I wrote my first blog entry.

A sporadic blogger at best, I felt the need for a focus. Not sure I have found it yet.