Time

8 Year Anniversary Achievement
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 8 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.
Eight years ago I had no idea what a blog would come to mean to me.  My original concept was very different.  I wanted to write about psychographics, but nobody seemed interested, except my sons.  After awhile, I decided to try again.  Sometimes I’m more serious about blogging than other times.
These days I am not exactly burning up the keyboard.   What am I doing?  Processing!
If you aren’t from my area of the world you may not even realize what is going on here.  Between current events in my area, and personal events, there is a lot to process.
We had a very contentious election in 2016, and the divisiveness continues.  We have this Russian investigation into Russian attempts to interfere in our election, and possible collusion with candidates.  There is also a special prosecutor investigating obstruction of justice related to the Russia investigations.
Our outspokenly provocative president has done nothing to heal the divide in the electorate, and has participated in a war of insults with any opposition, including, most notably, North Korea.  This discourse includes such memorable comments in tweet form such as, “My button is bigger than yours!”
Trade agreements have been tossed.  Tariffs have been instituted.  Regulations are rolled back.  The Environmental Protective Agency is barring new organizations from meetings dealing with clean water concerns.  The Government has opened park land to business interests and has put up for sale large tracts.  There are scandals in various government departments.  There are also politically motivated accusations of improper procedures being followed by anyone who has anything to do with the various investigations.
Some of this “politics” continues to spill out into daily life.  Political topics quickly lead to arguments, and sometimes violence.  Demonstrations seem to be a part of daily life:  Against guns/for the Second Amendment, kneel for social justice for black people and minorities/stand for the flag, white power (complete with tiki-torches)/unity of all people.  Plus we have Women’s March, Not One More rallies against gun shootings, and the Me Too movement against powerful men.  As I write, Harvey Weinstein is being taken to prison after being arrested and charged for violence and abuse against women in His business under him.
All of this can be overwhelming.  It is mesmerizing!  It is upsetting, no matter which side of the politics you are.  I now limit my news viewing.  I need to give some thought to my real life.
There are changes going on in my life.  Doctors are now a big part of life.  Answers need to be found.   Adaptations have to be made.  Plus there is our house.
Our house is being painted!  I know I picked them, but I have to say, I love the colors!  I am so relieved.  Those tiny little swatches look great as a room.  I still have some anxiety about my other selections.  They are so different from anything else I’ve ever had.  It is exciting and fun.
While I am processing all this stuff, time just gets away from me, and yet another day goes without a blog posting, but I’ll do better.

Follower Throwdown

Kids fight.  I fought with my siblings when I was a kid.  My children fought.  My grandchildren fight.

The internet has brought today’s children a thing to fight about that their parents and grandparents never fought about.  Followers.

At least two of the three grandchildren we stayed with have a blog or vlog (video blog).  The effort of combining their talents and working together on a vlog ended in screaming, stomping, and waving arms about.

“You’re just trying to steal my followers,”  he yelled at his sister.

“Who wants your stupid followers.  I have my own followers,”  she screamed back.

A short time later my grandson asked for Mom’s credit card number to upgrade his site with a goal of monetizing his vlog.  His plan is to become so successful vlogging that he can drop out of school and quit studying science and history.  According to the internet, a kid can drop out of school at age 14 and have several million dollars by the time he is 21 years old.

You gotta love a kid with a plan.

Mom refused to give him her credit card number.  Hopes dashed.  But why?  For only a small amount of money he would be set.  He did not believe the small fee would be recurring.   Clueless Mom didn’t understand.

Lucky there was a blogger with over a thousand followers there.  My followers gave me cred!  I am legit!  Yes, Mom is correct, you do have to pay every month.  And monetizing takes more than 45 followers.  The idea of dropping out of school to get rich blogging is strongly vetoed.  I suggested he make some money first, then talk about quitting school.  The poor kid can’t get anyone on his side.

He doesn’t know all the creative opportunities that await a young man with a high school diploma.  W doesn’t know you can get a degree in college in videograghy, or film.   He doesn’t know the thrill of using a professional camera, instead of his phone, to make video, nor the fun you can have with a green screen, not to mention the value of editing.  He doesn’t know the joys of film making, and the challenges of collaboration on a big project.

In addition, he doesn’t realize the value of science and history to such endeavors as broadcasting and film making.

He has a future ahead that he doesn’t know enough about to dream of.  What is clear, is that I’d better step up my game, before this very motivated young man steals my followers.

 

 

 

 

On the Edge

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NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The unknown can produce massive feelings of uncertainty.  Starting a blog was nothing like approaching the event horizon of a black hole, but it was new, and I wasn’t sure if I would get likes, or regular readers.  There were voices, some of them in my head, that said, “No-one cares what your thoughts are, no matter what shade of lipstick you put on that pig.”

I know!  Harsh! ( Note to self:  find a picture of a pig and put lipstick on it, these anxieties will hit again.)  I’ve been a newspaper correspondent!  I have had editors that like my stuff!  How much reinforcement do I need?  Quite a bit actually.

My grandson is excited about the 10 followers for his videos, and the videos the family like (his 8-year-old self doing a tie tying tutorial) are not included.  His aunt said,  “How are you going to monetize  your site?”  A  high-achiever, his aunt’s question is probably a good one.  I’ve been thinking about it in relation to my blog.

I have thought about monetizing my blog from the very beginning, if in fact I attracted readers.  Am I ready yet?  I’m not entirely consistent.  My readership grows with every post.  I have over 1000 potential readers if you include Facebook, and those I have invited to read in addition to my WordPress followers.   Friends in the area have started introducing me as a fine writer.

I know I need to invest some money into my monetized blog, but I’m not sure how  it works once I upgrade to the premium package.  Do I even know enough about the mechanics of blogging to be self hosted?

A couple of months ago I had no clue about SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  I have looked at a few SEO sites, but will stick to the free ones for now.  I’ve also been playing with customization of my blog, found some great sites for open source (free) photographs, and incorporate many  of my own photographs.

Yes, my premium blog would need all this, plus a way to make money.  I don’t have enough readers to earn much money from the ads that will be run.  No!  Something else is needed.  I need something to sell.  What I need is a book!  I’m sure a few people will be willing to pay a few bits for a book from an unknown, unproven author.

There I am coming up to the event horizon again.   Actually putting words down isn’t even half of writing a book.  Cover art is needed!  Formatting for Kindle or Amazon is needed, and there are programs for that.  Writing a book is one thing.  Getting a book to the reader is the other half.

Friends and fellow bloggers, what say you.  Am I ready?  Should I make the jump?  Do you have any advice?

 

They Keep Coming

Picture
Olivia de Havilland in Swarm, 1978

They wing their way through the air.  Hundreds upon hundreds without stop.  Birds, bees, grasshoppers all swarm, and a swarm is never a good thing.  A swarm drains available resources.

I love my computer and all it allows me to do.  I can get an instant answer to just about any question.  Feeling down and want an answer to life, the universe and everything?  The computer will quickly give you the answer:  42.

Email is a wonderful feature of the computer.  Email allows family and friends to contact me with news from around the globe nearly instantaneously.  I would love it if I logged on to email to greetings from family and friends, with pictures attached, but that doesn’t really happen in our Facebook world.

What I get are a swarm of emails.  On a normal day, a few hundred emails come my way.  I feel stress!   If I miss a few days, because I’m sick, visiting the grandchildren, or communing with nature off the worldwide web, the emails turn into thousands.

Once, while doing research, I clicked on Railroad Jobs (no, train engineer was not listed). I have received listings of ticket sales and loading jobs, which I hopefully have not blocked.  Hot Brazilians pop up regularly, and I am told there are hundreds of these types of sites, and I just need to keep blocking them.  Every store, every website that I have ever shown any interest in also sends me emails, and I unsubscribe only to get a new round the next time I actually complete some business with them.  There are also the emails from my husband’s recent job search.  (I have begged him to unsubscribe, but there is apparently a delay.

I’ve finally managed to turn off my Facebook notifications that had my phone whistling at me repeatedly during the day.  The phone is another place I have to deal with email, as is my tablet.  After spending hours just getting rid of advertisements on all my devices, I’m not even sure I want to read anything.

Which brings me to my favorite bloggers.  I have found that using the reader, liking pictures and visiting blogs when I want to comment is much more expedient, and I’m even able to catch up where I’ve fallen behind with my favorites.

A recent tip was to read only five other blogs a day.  Okay bloggers,  what do we think of this idea. Is that five currently followed blogs, new blogs, or split between the two?   How do those of you with followers in the thousands deal with your comments and those you follow?

Please give me some help here.  I have been feeling overwhelmed.

Try My Retreat

Reading has been a lifelong retreat, from the bullies of school, from problems at home, through adult problems and relationship problems.  Diving into another world, either fiction or factual, is as easy as turning the pages of a book, or these days, flipping through the pages of a reading app.

When I don’t have the time to get into a book, I look for something shorter to read.  Our fellow bloggers offer just the thing.  I would like to take this opportunity to share just a few favorite bloggers.  These are the people I turn to for knowledge, inspiration, wisdom, beauty, and fun.  You can share a favorite or two in the comment section.

lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

The Zen Hiker 

Kimberlee K.

Lost Property Respository

The Blog Propellant

artifiswords

The Phil Factor

Covert Novelist

helen meikle’s scribblefest

There are many other excellent bloggers, but I wanted this to be a brief post.  I look forward to your recommendations.

Dealing with Disruptions

The best plans often go awry.  My plans to post a blog every day, for example.  I start with the best of intentions, but then I go on a trip and off the net, attend family gatherings, come down with illness, or fall into emotional chaos.  Looking ahead, I see the December calendar, complete with back to back social engagements, including a couple of travel days, and holidays.

While I agonize over the difficulties of posting once a day, several people post more than once a day.  Multiple posts may be a picture, or a quotation, a three or four line poem, a re-blog of another person, or even a re-blog of their own work.  No reason the rest of us can’t use these same techniques, at least to fill in during times we are crunched for time.

So I now construct a plan for December!  I am so excited to share this plan with you.  Feel free to use this plan as your own.

  1. Spread the love by sharing the blogs of others.  So many talented people, and I’d hate for you to miss amazing bloggers.  I would be delighted to introduce readers of my blog, to the blogs I love.  If you have a blog you would like me to share, just let me know.  I’ll do it as my Christmas gift to you, no charge.
  2. Re-blog favorite blogs from the past.  I have been reading my old blogs, and I have many new readers.  This sounds like a win/win to me.
  3. Post a holiday picture.  Happy Holidays.  Our own holiday pictures are totally free to share.  Paired with a short poem, it’s a perfect post.
  4. Share a quote or season greetings.

Okay.  That is my plan.  There is one other thing I need to do for this plan to be successful.  I need to plan ahead.

My Radical Idea

Is this what retirement is like?  I really hope not.  Hubby hasn’t had a job to go to for three weeks.    I thought it would be wonderful to have my husband around all the time, and maybe it will be, once we get a few things worked out.

I’m trying to work on my blog, and Hubby calls from the other room.  “April, you’ve got to see this,” campaign updates, news tidbits, organizational tips.   “April, you’re interested in this,” new hairstyles,  fashion and makeup tips.  Really?  Does he know me?  Has he seen what I wear.  I look more like a What Not to Wear before rather than after.  What I am wearing is perfect for working around the house and garden, or sitting and writing.

I finally tell him, “Writing requires uninterrupted time, focus, concentration.”  Apologies are extended.  I have a sign for the door that says, April’s Special Alone Time,  Do Not Disturb.  A lot of good that does me.

As boring and simple as my routine was, it gave me plenty of time to think, contemplate, research, and review whatever captured my interest.  It was great for producing posts.  It was great for reading the posts of others, not to mention the comment sections.  Plus, I still had time to take care of my wifely duties.  You know, housekeeping, letting the dogs in and out, and making sure everyone gets fed.  Now I have no idea how that stuff is going to get done.  Do I just vacuum around Hubby?

I longed for the day Hubby would retire and take over the cooking.  I imagined long walks, intimate conversations.   Its been three weeks, and I miss the TV.  The TV that kept the house from feeling so empty and quiet.  Cooking is negotiable, but I can’t get out of it, apparently.  Hubby sits with his book, and the house is quiet!  I fear my checking the weather on TV will disturb him.  So I sit down to give my blog some attention, and Hubby calls from the other room, “April, I have to read this to you.”

Hubby is a fungi fun guy.   His mind races from one thing to the next bouncing all over the place, from jokes to puns to random ideas.  He makes connections I can’t even follow, and it is exhausting.

An Example

“I should write something funny.  When have I written something funny,”  I ask as we were traveling to the shoe repair.  It is a radical idea, I know.

“You mean on purpose?”  Hubby said.  I am as weird as he is, and we have been married since the beginning of time, so I thought this was hilarious.

When I spend too much time on the computer he asks,  ” You aren’t getting paid for this, are you?”

“No, but it makes me happy.  Notice how I am not depressed!” I tell him.  But I have to wonder if I get paid would that make a difference?  Maybe I need to go to go play Mahjong with the girls.

 

This Blog has Grown

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I am always amazed at the fact that I have followers, friends who I know better through their writings than I know many passing through my life.  With regular writing, this collection of friends has grown.  I decided my friends deserved a little extra hospitality.  I have therefore, changed my theme, and used a picture of the Ohio River and the blue and green bridges between Ohio and Ashland, Kentucky.

Welcome, I hope you enjoy what I have to offer.

If you have been blogging for a while, you may have noticed that some blogs just quietly disappear.  Some fight their way back, like me.  I had a false start six years ago, writing a few posts, read by a few family members.  I had no idea how to attract readers.  I had no idea what to write about.  Time and a little patience did not occur to me.  I wanted results now.  Of course, my aging parents and their declining health may also have had an influence on my desire to write.

After a long 4 year break, just as I was re-awakening to the world around me after my parents’ deaths, Robin Williams died and I was moved to write a post.  There were a few posts about events in our country and from around the world, but the personal was still tender.  This was two years ago.  I wrote close to 80 posts, and was found by some followers that I now think of as friends.

That was last year, and this year I nearly fizzled out again.  My postings dropped from a couple of times a week, to only a few a month from November through June, without a single posting in March.  I ran out of safe topics, and world events were going crazy.

I am digging up the bones of my life and putting them back together, into more personal posts.  The twinkle has returned to my eye and I play with my words, and experiment with styles and types of writing.  At times I am amazed by an elegant turn of phrase.  World events are still crazy, and perhaps they always are crazy, but now I am writing most days.  I am finding joy in my writing.

 

 

Writing

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I plop into my chair before my computer and pull up a blank page.  Okay, I’m writing. Now.  Time for creativity.  My blog has followers, waiting for the next gem.  Nothing.  Just write, what?  Anything, anything at all.  I can’t think of a single thought, my mind is totally silent, unlike at 3 am when I would rather be asleep.  What did I think of then?  I am clueless.  Apparently, nothing was keeping me awake.

So maybe if I just get my fingers moving, so I type the alphabet: abcdefghijklmnopqristuvwxyz  abcdefghijklmnopqristuvwxyz  Okay, now what?  ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRISTUVWXYZ!  Okay, my fingers are loosed up.  I’m ready to go.  Nothing, but silence.

I practice meditation and then the noise in my head jumps from one thing to another, going on and on, a free association of all that is going on, right and wrong, negative and positive, personal and world events.  So I mediate for a while, and time passes, and still nothing.  Nothing except, what ever made me think I could be a writer!  Writers have stories, things to say.  I’ve got nothing.

Writer’s block.  The inability of a writer to think of anything to write.  This state can go on for days, weeks, months, and years.  No inspiration.  No solution.  Nothing but grocery or chore lists.  We are out of mayo I write to Hubby.  This is the level of creativity I’ve been reduced to.  Give up?  Though in the towel?  (Great!  I’m reduced to cliches.)  Quit!

But wait.  The daily prompt triggers a memory. “Plop, plop.  Fizz, fizz.  Oh what a relief it is.”  Another thought, families have trouble just plopping into a chair to have a dinner together.  Another thought, about Fizzy’s on a picnic with my family plopping into a glass of water.  Another thought, about plopping into my chair and writing.

Okay, not the most exciting of posts, but not every day can be a winner.  At least my readers can relate.  Posting every day is an ambitious goal.  One I have yet to maintain for long.  But one more thing.  A good picture could save this.  Yes.  I may get lucky yet.

Now to go read some really great posts by others.

 

 

Breaking the Chain Rant

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Green Ridge State Forest, Maryland Monday, August 29, 2016 taken by April E. Sutton with her tablet.

I finally got the Facebook messenger app.  I haven’t even sent my first message to anyone.  I have gotten a couple of chain messages promising the best day of my life, with two big problems solved, and karma will be righted, if only I forward the message to 14 friends in the next 10 minutes.  The chain message also says I must not think of the sender as a friend, if they don’t receive the message back.

I do not normally forward chain messages.  I do not want to tie up the internet with stuff like this.  Sometimes I will respond to the person sending the message and just say I don’t forward these things, so please skip me in the future.  But when I saw the following message and response, I had to blog about it.

  • Sunday
  • 8/28, 5:40pm

     

    BKD

    I guess chain-mail will never go out of style (unfortunately) I am so sick of these types of posts that feed off of people’s fears, or hopes. I will NOT advance your stupid, threatening, fear mongering posts! Get a life, people! Send this to 5 thousand people in the next 10 minutes, and NOTHING will happen!

     
     
  • Sun BD left the conversation.

     
  • 8/28, 6:19pm

     

    MH

    Sounds you feel the same as me.

     
     
  • 8/28, 8:11pm

     

    CM

    Oh for gosh sakes it’s all in F’n Fun🙄 You’re not some enlightened,smarter than all human… Your simply being pessimistic & trying to act as if people who have fun playing along are ignorant & below you🙄🙄🙄 Let me clue you into truth 💯💯💯 Your pessimistic attitude proves you are FAR from the smart know it all you believe yourself to be…. Get off your boring high horse & stop having delusional,self righteous,pointless ugly attitudes!! I PROMISE the ONLY PEOPLE Who may give a damn about your ugliness has to be your mother,father & Maybe a sibling… No one else !PROMISE !! YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL,NOT SMARTER & definitely have an ugly pessimistic attitude… Get over yourself 💯💯💯 And keep your negative comments about people you don’t know to yourself💯💯💯

     

I removed the identifying pictures and reduced names to initials to protect the identity of my friends and relatives.  (Can anyone explain the unusual punctuation?)  When I read this exchange I thought, “Really?  Are you kidding me?”

While not as enthusiastic about it, I do agree with BKD.  I’m not superstitious.  These chain messages are a waste of a little time, since we no longer have to write them out long hand and snail mail them to their destination  My loving relatives and friends will send these messages with the most awful promises of doom and gloom if I don’t follow through.  I have been known to write back, “Thanks for starting my day with a curse!  I don’t forward these.”

While not an expert in such things, I’d say CM went off the rails!  WOW!  The enlightened don’t argue with people about stuff like chain letters or other matters of personal opinion, because they have learned it really doesn’t get them anywhere.  Because they have learned this lesson, they are in fact smarter than most people.  If you feel like you are looked down upon because of this, you may be feeling a touch defensive.  The response says more about your feelings of your own self-worth than the words or actions of anyone else.

If there weren’t a boring high horse, and delusional, self-righteous, and pointlessly ugly attitudes, I wouldn’t have been motivated to write a blog in response, after a 6 hour car trip.

Whether or not I am also pessimistic and ugly I will leave to the reader.  As to who might think I’m special, my family and a few close friends are all that count.  I don’t have to have the approval of every friend of a friend on Facebook.  I can assure you that BKD is loved by his family, and they accept him for all his mistakes and flaws.  I advise you, CM, and anyone else, to tread lightly, because if his family bands together in his defense, the mass will trample your fragile ego into oblivion.

In closing, I can only say:  “YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL,NOT SMARTER & definitely have an ugly pessimistic attitude… Get over yourself.   And keep your negative comments about people you don’t know to yourself.”

And thank you for removing me from the group.

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