Generation Gap

 Friday, January 31, 2014

I’ve got fifteen minutes before the next PE class starts. Sometimes time limits helps focus me. Sometimes, I just get warmed up when the time is up. We’ll see which is which this time around.

I love tangents. I go in so many directions that I forget where I originally started. Somehow I landed on Michelle’s daily prompt challenge, or it could have something to do with Friday. I’m not sure. But here goes.

Daily Prompt: Generation XYZ: Think about the generation immediately younger or older than you. What do you understand least about them — and what can you learn from them?

I’m a baby boomer. Very end of that generation. Some people may disagree, but for the most part a child born in 1960 is a baby boomer. From my understanding, and correct me if I have gone astray in my thinking, but baby boomers are kids born to parents who served in World War II. My dad served in Puerto Rico. I don’t really know what my mom did during the War. I have this vague knowledge that Syracuse College, her alma mata, closed or did something during WWII. Again, correct me if I am wrong. I pick up strange memories along the way and then they have a way of morphing into other things. Like I really, really thought the Preston side of the family, was related to the Captain or officer that was responsible for the Boston Massacre, but my Uncle Burgess Standley told me that I was wrong. He did, however, tell me I was related to one of the witches in Salem. Wish I could remember her name. I think there’s a statue of her in Salem.

I told you I liked Tangents and sometimes have problems staying on track. I kind of let my fingers do the walking and I just go along for the ride.

Yesterday and today I was at Churchill High School in Eugene. Go Lancers. Well, while they were working on an arts & crafts project, I had some music playing. I was not surprised that they looked at me funny when I played classical music. But when they didn’t like Adele, I was very disappointed. I notice that the biggest difference in generations has been music. My dad hated the Beatles and rock and roll in general. He liked Big Band Music. Buddy Rich. He liked elevator music. He and my mom used to go out dancing, but by the time I arrived, my dad’s career pretty much had a death grip on his time, so they never went anyway unless it was business-related.

Well, I’ve got two minutes. I think I may just do another post later today. Hope you are all having a fantastic and frenzy-free Friday.

 

Peek-a-Boo

Thursday, January 30, 2014

This is going to be a short post today. I had an extra tough time getting out of bed this morning, and as a result, I’m sending myself to bed early. And I’ve not spent enough time reading, so I’d like to do that. But I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t at least give the zero to hero a little bit of attention.

Zero to Hero Day 29 Create an editorial Calendar assignment: Think through your idea editorial calendar. Bonus: develop a regular feature for your blog.

I’ve done some looking at creating an editorial Calendar before, but it didn’t catch my fancy then and didn’t catch my fancy now. I like the idea of reeling in more readers, and having a regular post sounds like a fantastic idea. I’m just not sure that I’m ready to commit to this. I am ready to be committed to write every day, but have a specific topic scares the bejeezes out of me. (Can anyone help me spell that word?)

As I looked around The Daily Post, there are so many different directions I will be taking this when zero to hero ends. Does it end tomorrow or in two days? Guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

Well, I said it was going to be short and sweet; kind of like a peek-a-boo game. Catch you tomorrow.

Do I blame Kinders or the horoscope?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Zero to hero day 28 assignment: Build on Your Popular Content. Today’s assignment is to Find the post that has received the most views, likes, or comments, and write a related follow-up post. 

As instructed, I went back to look at my most popular blog where I had received eleven responses and ten likes. Was it my analogy to batting averages that drew readers in? I’m still batting a thousand thanks to the zero to hero challenge that’s whipped my motivation into shape. For me to write every day is not that unusual as I’ve been journaling almost every day for the past thirty years, though I have to subtract the five years I taught at The Willamette Leadership Academy, a military-style school. It’s rather difficult to journal while investing eighty hours a week into my profession, but when you have to teach all subjects, that comes with the package, and on top of that, that was the only benefit package there was. Anyway, for me the routine of writing isn’t an issue, but writing for an audience is a first for me.

I do recall that I was in a rather strange mood when I wrote last Friday night. I’m sure you can relate when ideas, often off-the wall ideas, come running as if they were going to a open bar at a wedding reception. Now if I were writing after being in line a few times, the peculiar thought-tracks would be amazing, but for some reason people frown upon writer’s secluding themselves to pull out their Kindle or Smart-Phone to blog during a social event, and the last time I checked, my Samsung Note II doesn’t fit into any dress pockets, and backpacks are also frowned upon even if they match and could be deemed as an accessory.

I’m straying. No. I could blame it on the hot chocolate I drank. Better yet, I think I’ll blame it on the kindergarteners. What kind of word is Kindergarten anyway?

Today I substitute taught two classes of kinders. When I got the call at six this morning, ripping me out of a deep sleep, I accepted the job without any reservation because the job was for first graders. The follow up call was to inform me that I would be teaching Kinders and would that be a problem as if it normally is a problem. I hadn’t had the chance to herd cats in a very long time, so I took the job as a challenge. I blame my strange mood on the kinders. I didn’t need caffeine to energize me; all I had to do was be around the energy of the twenty-four energizer bunnies, all marching to their own drumbeat, going in all sorts of direction, and never-ever slowing down. The ride was a whirl wind. At the end of the day, there was this adorable little boy who was crying because he “got cutted and it wasn’t fair.” Typically I tell the older kids that life’s not fair and that they needed to get over it; I even had a sign in my classroom that stated that fact, but for those sweet little angels at five, how could I burst their precious bubble of Fairness and Equality. So, I asked the cutter if he indeed had been behind my poor victim, and when he admitted his crime, justice was served when I sent him to the end of the line. Two seconds later, the little boy with the large saline-drops falling down his face was all laughs and smiles, and life felt good. I almost felt like the hero that this zero to hero challenge was supposed to make me become.

Now, where was I? Oh, bringing those readers in. I’m proud as punch to say that since that column from last Friday, I have picked up eleven more followers. The slow-down from the last few days hasn’t really hurt my average.

Before I started this journal, I was a bit worried. I looked at my horoscope. I do that sometimes. I subscribe to three or four different ones, though I subscribe to so much email that I can’t keep anything straight and I’ve given up trying to manage them. I do have folders that the emails slide into so it doesn’t seem like I have millions of emails on my server, but I currently I have two thousand emails just in my horoscope folder. Makes me cringe. In my junk folder I have 28,429 emails. Really? Damn, I was doing so well with ignorance. So much for that bliss. I’ll probably not be able to sleep tonight thinking about what important email is buried in that rubble. Maybe there really is money in a Swiss Bank Account waiting for me that would cost me that much to get it out.

Anyway, I had looked at my Planetary Forecast by The Astrologer, Kelli Fox. She? He? I’m leaning towards the she on this gender-neutral name. She is referred to as The Astrologer, and not just a lowly lower-case the astrologer. A capital letter makes a world of difference. Listen up my fellow Piscean peeps, this is what today has in store for us or had in store for you if you live in a different time zone and you are now experiencing Thursday instead of me who is still stuck on Hump-Day. Listen up and maybe you can help explain what it means. “The willful Sun forms a positive sextile to brilliant Uranus today. This is a wonderful opportunity to break free of an oppressive situation. Going in a new direction could feel wonderfully liberating. Instead of tailoring our behavior to gain public approval, we’d probably be better off following our own instincts.” Does this mean I shouldn’t be trying to lure readers to my blog and that I should break free from those chains that represent my incessant need of approval and validation? I am not going to make it as a published author if I go down this rabbit hole.

Well, and speaking of holes, I’m clock-watching. I’ve got two classes of high school freshmen health classes and two high school PE classes to look forward to tomorrow, which means in order to be bushy-tailed ready, I gotta get my keister, and I’m really clueless how to spell the word that was supposed to prevent me from saying butt, into bed. Remember that I’m really hoping for some feedback. I’m all ears means I want to hear from you in what’s working, what’s not working. What can I do differently? Did my headline influence you reading this? I didn’t realize how dry and boring my zero to hero headlines were, so I thought I would put a different spin on things.

Second draft of Zero to Hero Day 27

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Today is going to be a great writing day. I can just feel it. I’ve got my Columbian Fair Trade Select medium roast coffee nearby. I have a dog at my feet. Abby the Labby Number Nine isn’t bugging me to play with her and is content to chew on a artificial bone and merely looks at me instead of pawing at me lap. The weather is cooperating since it is raining hard that I have no interest in stepping out into the wet unless I really, really have to. All of these ingredients set the stage for a good writing moment, though I’m noticing my metaphors are a bit mixed and need some ironing out. I’ll see what I can do about that. I’m looking at today’s assignment:

Hero to Zero day 27: revisit a task and a post. Today’s assignment is to Pick your favorite of all the tasks we’ve done so far, and revisit it. How can you continue to grow? (Bonus: revisit a post that’s been on your mind, and make the edits you’ve been thinking about.)

Favorite task. Sometimes the hardest tasks are the best tasks. I have struggled with the mechanics of WordPress, my blog page. I don’t like the menus on my theme. I spent a lot of time yesterday tweaking and changing, and then I had trouble getting a post to stick, to publish, so I wasn’t sure if that was due to something I had changed. But my brain is not in the mood to do logistics. My brain wants to just spit words out and have a good time. It’s like the difference between driving fast in my Mini Cooper, my dream car that I love to pieces, or getting under the hood and messing around, which I would never dream of, but for metaphors, it’s the same the way with writing and messing around with the logistics of my Blog page. When my brain doesn’t want to do something, it’s really hard to convince it to do otherwise.

So, to pull out the threads from the fabric that’s been sewn with this Zero to Hero Thirty Day challenge, the assignments that I would consider my favorites all have to do with connecting with other bloggers. I enjoyed messing around with the Reader and following blogs. I’m following quite a few and can’t keep up, but that’s a different matter. I’ve definitely enjoyed leaving comments. I have a few people that we’ve got a pretty good dialogue going and hope the conversation continues. I haven’t noticed that activating social networks has done anything for my readership, but perhaps that’s because I’ve not been active in those other social networks. Starting a new blogging challenge was fun for that first day, but I’m not sure how I can find the time to do more than one challenge at the same time, and it sort of feels like cheating if I use the same post for two different assignments. It doesn’t sort of feel like cheating. It is cheating. I was all set to write about sliced bread last night, but I was spending so much time trying to get a zero to hero post to publish in its entirety that I ran out of time and had to go to bed.

And since my brain is in a writing gear, I’m thinking that I would like to combine this assignment with another writing challenge, so it’s not really cheating; it’s just being efficient.

As I was reading about blog hopping, I came across  “it can help you fill your blog’s editorial calendar with new post ideas.” I’ve seen the phrase your blog’s editorial calendar, and I have no idea what that means, so perhaps this is the rabbit hole I’ll do down for this post…

“It’s about Time: On Editorial Calendars (and Why You Might Need One)

by Ben Huberman on October 17, 2013

When it comes to building a healthy following, nothing is more important than publishing quality content regularly. Keeping a steady pace isn’t always easy, though.”

While looking at the WordPress Blog page, I’m very jealous at the layout; it’s tidy; things fit together. The page is full. i want something like this. I’m just not sure how to make that happen. I tell myself, “Little Grasshopper, give it time.” But I’m impatient. I want to be an expert now. Better yet, I want to be an expert yesterday.

My brain must not be absorbing or processing written information since I read or mostly read Ben’s article and didn’t come away with an understanding of what an editorial calendar is. I think I was expecting a step-by-step list that would put a physical item called editorial calendar on my page, and maybe it’s there and I missed it. Moving on.

I did just learn that I can schedule my posts to publish at a later time. I can’t wrap my head around why I would want to do that, but it’s a curious idea. I’m still thinking about that post that refused to be published. Perhaps I had changed the schedule setting somehow. I know I changed way too many things and there’s no way I an backtrack and undo what I’ve done, especially not while my brain is in this kind of mood. The rainy and foggy weather out my window represents my brain’s mood. It doesn’t really know what it wants. I’m actually using this blog to figure it out. Hopefully I am not boring anyone. Hopefully there are people out there in the blogosphere that can relate. I am writing to find myself. What tag words should I use for this concept?

I will say that there are a lot of tunnels in this rabbit hole that I’m traveling. I’ve now meandered over to the forums, a place I’ve never been before. At least the paths are well-lit. I have to admit that I do not know how a sticky works, though I’m still kind of clueless on what the purpose of a page is and how to get pages and posts linked. In my mind, I would have a page for zero to hero, and all the posts would go there. I didn’t realize that I would get so OCD about how my page looks, but it really is bugging me how messy it looks. My blogs are not lining up, and I’m a very sequential person and want my zero to hero posts to line up from latest to earliest, but for some reason one day, day 21 or day 22, is the alpha.

So, I’m reading Hero to Zero Day 27 forum post to see what stirs my fancy. I think I’ve gotten the hang of links, though I just read this passage about links: “Please refrain from posting links to your blog unless you’re seeking feedback — this is a place for discussion. Irrelevant comments and spammy links will be deleted. Instead, give your posts the “zerotohero” tag to enable other participants to find you.” Hopefully, since I am looking for feedback it’s okay that i do these links. I’m sure someone like Michelle, will tell me.

I am enjoying the forum, though I notice that some members names are clickable, they are in blue, and other names are not. I stumbled upon a great blogger the heart of a southern woman, or something like that. I hope it’s okay that I link her page. I like the looks of her Blog page and I enjoy what she has to say.

I suspect that this random blog of this and that could go on forever, and since I’ve been writing and reading for over an hour, I think I will call it good and get it out into the world. Yesterday’s post that said I was all ears did not get a nibble. But since I had such great trouble getting it published, it hasn’t really had time. I think the bait is still on the hook. Hard to tell. So, I’ve got another fishing line out and hope I can catch something.

I guess I’m not done. The only thing that this fishing line caught was “unauthorized.” I’ve never gotten this response before.

Maybe, I just need to walk away and go soak in the bathtub and then see if I can solve this problem. I’m also hoping that someone from the forum will reply to give me a clue what to do about this strange dilemma. Have I somehow been blocked or banned for being too annoying?

Second draft of Zero to Hero Day 26

I have no idea why this post is being so stubborn. I’ve tried umpteen times to get it published, and even though the computer says I’ve published my 60th piece, it doesn’t show. I’ve messed up my settings and I don’t know if I have the patience to go back and fix my menus and pages and widgets and whatnots. Instead, I will paste in yesterday’s post and hope it publishes as I am at the end of my rope.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Zero to Hero Day 26 assignment: look back over what you’ve published. What have you been most proud of? What are the common threads? Which have been most popular? Create and save at least two draft posts with ideas that come from those.

I’m not exactly sure why I am saving two draft posts. I’d rather create one published post. I love re-reading things I have written. I do this on a regular basis with the journals I’ve created over the last thirty years. This is a fantastic way to spark a thought when the embers have gone cold. I think I have used that metaphor already this year and will have to put it on the back burner for next year.

I agree with the Zero to Hero Guru’s who created this assignment “because we often don’t know what we truly think about a subject until we’re explored it by writing about it.” (I think they mean, we’ve explored, but that’s okay.) Often times, if not most of the time, I don’t have the slightest idea what I am thinking until I sit down and write. But when it comes to opinions, writing will never change my opinion of not liking Brussels Sprouts. Nothing is going to change my mind about liking Brassica oleracea gemmifera. I only know the latin because I had to look up how to spell this distasteful little veggie.

I hope it’s okay that I have only two drafts; one of which is a duplicate of a published post just because I forgot that I had started a post already. I like the idea that the ideas need to steep, need to stew to let the flavors really come to the surface, but I choose to publish these ideas. Everything I write is a work in progress. Life is a work in progress.

I love the Raymond Chandler quote added to the why we should do this assignment: “Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.” ~ Raymond Chandler. I can’t remember the author who advised writers to hold back a little of the story so it would be easy to pick up where you left off. I suppose if I were writing something long this would be the case, but for these assignments, there hasn’t been any need to pick up from where I left off.

I’ve got to say that I’m most proud of creating some chuckles. If I could make a living writing humorous essays, I’d be all over that job in a heart beat, but funny doesn’t always come waltzing into a piece of writing; it takes its time; sort of saunters in at its own will. There’s nothing like forced humor; it will come out stilted and without much flavor. Basically, at least in my experience, humor has its own agenda and its own schedule.

Because of this, I’ll definitely be holding onto my day job. Which isn’t such a bad gig i you don’t mind being a target. I’m a substitute teacher. Today I was at Page Elementary School in Springfield. I’m known as the bird lady because I used to be a bird in a previous life and can still chirp a nice little tune. I don’t have the slightest idea what I am saying as I’ve lost the ability to translate, but the kids respond. Well, elementary age kids respond. I don’t even attempt to impress middle schoolers or high schoolers. With middle schoolers, I just try to not show my fear and frustration with them. I try to remind myself that they are still forming and in a way, they really aren’t quite human. Sometimes the same thing can be said for high schoolers, especially freshmen.

But in elementary school, I get to let my inner child out, especially when I get to teach PE. I got quite a workout playing Ninja Dodge Ball. Today we had the battle of the sexes, and even though the girls were outpersonaed, we won the first game, though there was some scuttle about the girls cheating. The second game the boys won. The third game was a tie. I had a blast. If I had my choice, we would have played longer and skipped math. Who needs to know the circumference of a circle? How is that piece of information going to help fight obesity?

Why don’t more communities have dodge ball leagues? Talk about a fun way to get into shape. I wonder if there’s a dodgeball game on the Wii. Wouldn’t the be cool?

So, I’m at the end of another post, a work in progress. If there’s something that strikes you as funny, let me know. If there’s something that I could expand or expound on to make it better, let me know. I’m all ears.Image

Going around in Circles

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I wrote a fantastic post yesterday for the zero to hero day 26, but I can’t seem to get the bloody thing published. And what is worse, the draft edition that seems to stay is only half of the story. I’ve gone in to the revisions and I have updated it to the longer one and then I hit publish, but it doesn’t publish. I have tried copying and pasting. I’ve tried refreshing. I’ve logged out. I’m going crazy as I’ve tried at least a dozen times to get this post posted.

Before creating the post, I was tinkering with the behind the scenes things, changing things. I’m one of those computer users that I know enough to get myself into a jam and then my skills run dry and I get stuck. If only I would learn to not paint myself into a corner. Hopefully someone can come to my rescue. This is actually a test to see if I have messed up something so bad that I can’t publish anything. I’ll soon find out…

Zero to Hero Day 25: Adapt a custom detail for your blog

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I’ve been sitting on this assignment for about six or so hours. Monkeying around with my blog page is not something I feel comfortable with, but I’m a gamer. I’ll give it a try and see what happens.

Today’s assignment: Browse the blogs you follow and note a custom touch you love. Tell the blogger you love it, and interpret it for your own blog.

I’ve been playing around, though it seems as though I get to a place via different routes that I can’t keep track of what I’m dong. So, I thought I would do some step by step this is what I did, this is what I saw, and this is what happens. I am content with the header and picture, but I really don’t know anything about navigation or custom menus. So, I’m going back to appearance and menus to see if there’s something there.

I was told to go into my Dashboard and go to appearance and go to custom. Right off the bat, I get confused because there’s custom design and customize. We’re going for customize. And now I’m looking for ways to help me “Make changes to theme settings using the control panels on the right.”

I don’t really have a clue whether the menus came out the way I want, but I titled it as experimenting to see what would happen. My blog page is in need of some serious re-tuning since the page order is not even close to what I want, so I’m going to follow these instructions for creating a home page. 1. Okay, I added new and I titled it home, but don’t I already have a home page. Type the content you want displayed on the front page of my blog. And what content would that be? I clicked out by mistake, but I don’t want to create another home just in case there’s one floating out there.

I think I’m done with this task. I would much rather spend the rest of my evening looking at the number 26. I did give the Zero to Hero assignment a valiant try. Hopefully I didn’t mess up my blog too bad.

Eventually my goal is to have my menu’s line up with my categories. I’d love to have a zero to hero link to all of the zero to hero assignments, not just the one I created on day such and such. I don’t know what sticky’s are for. If there’s anyone who knows how to straighten my blog page out, please let me know, I’m all ears.

Zero to Hero DAY 24: VISIT OTHER PARTICIPANTS IN THE NEW EVENT YOU JOINED

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Setting the table. I’m not feeling great today. I don’t think this has anything to do with bowling or the beer I had last night. It might have something to do with the perhaps slight concussion I gave myself while playing with the dogs. Imagine Charlie Brown and Lucy when she takes the football away from him just as he goes to kick the football. Even though I almost slipped on the ball I was playing with with the dogs, I just had to tempt fate and do it again. The fall was very slow motion. There wasn’t anything I could do after I lost my balance. The last time I wiped out, which wasn’t that long ago, perhaps two weeks ago, I slipped and landed on my back. This time, it was more like a sideways slip. Left side of my body took the brunt of the force, but I hit my head hard enough that my glasses popped off. The dogs came rushing over to me to give me resuscitating dog kisses. Mostly I was worried about them stepping on my glasses. I did have a headache, but a couple of generic migraine pain pills helped. I made sure that my eyes weren’t funny looking. I quizzed myself on current events and I knew the President’s name, so I was good to go. But I have been fighting low energy all day, even after extending my getting up time. Moving on to the task at hand, which I have been doing, though I don’t know if my conversations i’ve had are with people from the Zero to Hero challenge or the other challenges. I’m going to consider that the conversations are more important than from where I met these people. I have had a great time getting to know people.

Today’s task: visit five other participants in the event your chose on Day 22. Leave at least two comments. (Read and comment more if you can!)

There has to be a way to track the conversations I’ve had today. I’d probably guess that I’ve conversed with at least seven people, perhaps more. The challenge I find is what do I do with this information. How can I share it and making this blog provocative. Can’t say that there have been many times in my life where I have had the goal of being provocative. Wait, I’m the youngest of four, I spent my life provoking my sisters, especially my sister Deborah. And I’m a teacher, so I spend a lot of energy trying to provoke student conversations, though that would be more like evoke. Is there such a word as evocative? Sounds like a word to me.

In a way, this assignment reminds me of yesterday’s assignment. I feel a tug to not just make some comments on other blogs, but I want to share, at least give a synopsis of our relationship or what I’m learning which mean motivate or instigate readers to investigate those I’m building community with.

If there’s one thing that people learn quickly about me is that I love food. My favorite corny joke is that I’m on a seefood diet. I see food and I eat it. (For future reference, do you think that I should spell the word seafood or seefood?) It’s definitely an oral joke, especially with the moans that follow. I do enjoy cooking, and I’m rather good at it, but if I had my choice in cooking or eating well-cooked food, I’d go for the eating. And I’m talking about good food. No boxed mac and cheese for me.

I’m not sure when I first came across Made by Steven’s blog. I enjoy the simplicity that Steven uses to lay out his recipes, cutting and sifting the instructions with pictures. Yes, all of those spicy metaphors or in other’s opinions clichés, are all on purpose, especially the real bad ones. Do you think this warrants a humor for a keyword? Other than food, what really fascinates me with this American guy who happens to live in Japan is that this guy from Hollywood has experienced so much. It’s easy to come up with questions after I read that he studied cooking in India. (I hope I am remembering correctly)

The quest for commonality. Maggie Wilson, for some reason why I want to call her Maggie Smith, aka The Zombies Ate My Brain, found commonality in our both being in our fifties and that she was a premature baby that wound up being an Aries and I was a premature baby that avoided being an Aries. I’ve got nothing against Aries. Some of my best friends are Aries. I don’t know if it has something to do with star formations, but there’s a bit of synchronicity going on between Maggie and I? As she was writing to me, she mentioned Mercury in Retrograde, and perhaps simultaneous, I was reading something she wrote earlier in the month about Mercury in Retrograde. I wonder if something is in retrograde now because I accidentally lost a very witty comment I was preparing to send her. Darn computers. If it weren’t for computers losing my work, I would have been a Pulitzer Prized novelist already.

If I could figure out how to do it, I would insert a picture of a woman kissing a horse. Now, this is one connection that happened because of Day 22nds challenge to take on another challenge. Running Brook Reflections had added to the Daily Lunch Challenge, I mean the weekly lunch challenge. I know I will not be sorry for connecting with Rev. Jeny Running Brook Covill. I wouldn’t describe myself as being a religious person, but I am spiritual, and I do believe that everything happens for a purpose, so in many ways our paths crossed for a celestial reason.

For all of the people I am meeting, these are exciting times for me, and hopefully for them. I get goose bumps with anticipation of taking this blogging adventure with such remarkable people. Thank you Zero to Hero creators for creating such an amazing obstacle course.

Zero to Hero Day 23 Challenge

Friday, January 24, 2014

My batting record is a thousand. I’m not sure why they say that a perfect batting record is a thousand and not a hundred and that if I got a hit every other time at bat I would be batting five hundred. Hopefully some baseball fanatic will get back to me. Guess this means I need to give this post a baseball tag. How many baseball fans are also bloggers? I’ve not figured out how to search for topics. I can search on my blog and I can search on someone that I follow, but I haven’t learned on how to search the blogosphere for baseball, but I’m learning. Last week I didn’t know what blogosphere is. Now it’s in my everyday vernacular. Should I tag vernacular? I can tell that you and I are in for a strange ride during this post. Since I never really know what I am going to write until after I write, it’s a surprise to everyone involved. At my last count that number is 46. Me and 45 followers. You should hear me whoop it up when I get another follower onto my list; you would have thought I won the lottery or that the Celtics have won two games in a row. Yes, we’re definitely in for an interesting session. Too bad that in ten minutes I have to leave the confines of my domicile and head out to bowling. Not that I’m not looking forward to bowling, but sometimes when the writing bug bites it doesn’t necessarily carry over to when I sit down and write again, though who knows I may write from Strike City Lanes in Eugene. I think I’ll tag bowling just for the heck of it; I picked up a follower once because of that and I hadn’t even really written anything about bowling. I am starting to sound desperate for followers. That’s because I am. This leads me into today’s assignment. (A few hours have passed and the embers aren’t quite cold, but pretty darn close. It may have been the beer…)

Zero to Hero Day 23 challenge: Publish a roundup post that to posts on at least three other blogs, and tell us why you love the posts — and why we should read ‘em.

My main reason for blogging is to become a better writer, and so I gravitate towards writers who have the same goal. Chris Musgrave, refers to himself as a writer in training. Training for what I am not sure. From my perspective, Chris’s twenty years of apprenticeship has paid off as he’s a very talented author. No, he’s not paid me any money for this endorsement, but perhaps next time I’ll ask for payment in exchange for plugs. I don’t know anything about Urban fantasies, but perhaps us WordPress Bloggers, his fans from self-publishing, and who else may see this, can become his groupies and he can quit his day-job and focus on his writing. The satisfaction that I would feel for helping a dream come true. At least I think this is his dream.

Sometimes I begin to follow a blog because of a name that catches my attention or perhaps a picture. When I saw this gorgeous cat portrait, perhaps drawn in pen and ink, in today’s Fresh pressed, I had to read the blog since I am myself a feline aficionado, having four furry friends of my own, though I think they have me. I also can relate to the Blog handle of Never Stationary, though I’d have to look it up to see if the homonym means staying still or what a letter is written on. Either way, I can relate. If you are looking for an author that reflects your interest in using writing as a means and method for self-growth, Catherine, who is wiser than her seventeen years, is someone you will be interested in reading her blogs even if she doesn’t write about cats, at least none that I’ve seen. Was that deliberate on her part? Are we talking about falsifying or misleading? Her smooth writing style makes up for this short-coming by a lot, especially since the word cat was one of her first words she learned how to scribe. One of my first words was monster. I’ll have to tell that story at another time. (I hope it’s okay that I put that wonderful cat picture in this post, though I have no idea who created it. cat-2Sometimes all it takes is a well-crafted line to alert me to an author’s talent. For example, how great is this sentence: “But silence is curiosity suppressed and I look up.”

Perhaps it’s the English in me or my father’s insistence on being proper, but when someone likes my blog or especially when someone follows my blog, I feel that it is only right to take a look at their blog. Ninety-Nine point Nine percent of the time, I will like their blog. The Strange Stray, if I am remembering correctly, and I can’t ever really depend upon that, is a blog I came across because of that. My favorite blog is “Being a Grown Up.” Instead of a particular line that drew me in, the first paragraph was artistically choreographed that it begged for the rest of it to be read: “My entire childhood I viewed adults as seperate from me, like we were living in two different dimensions that just happened to be side by side. In my dimension I could feel sunlight washing over me like a blanket, every dog being walked down our street needed to be petted by yours truly, and most importantly, in my dimension, asparagus tasted at least 200,000,000,000,000.99x as bad as it did in the dimension my parents were living. Where they lived bills and brushing your teeth and getting things done was much more important then running through the sprinkler in our lawn, or how many pieces of candy I was allowed to have before dinner. Even more amusingly when I became a teen I was waiting for that moment when I would ‘become’ what my idea of an adult is, like I was buddha and at any moment I would reach my own nirvana and suddenly I would understand politics, and my room would always be clean, and I would always know what the right answer was.”

Well, and speaking of wells, I’ve run dry.

Reading People of the Book

January 23, 2014

Even though I haven’t gotten much of a response or picked up any more followers, I had a blast reading and writing People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. I do believe I left Hanna in Bosnia where she was anxiously waiting the delivery of a fifteenth-century manuscript, and ask she gazed out the window, high above the war-torn city, she contemplates her life. Just in a page or two, I know she’s got a strained relationship with her mother in Sydney, though I’m assuming that her mother lives in Sydney with Hanna. I’ve also learned that the author, Geraldine Brooks, really stuffs a lot of information into a small space. I wonder if she packs her suitcase the same way.

Hanna hands reflect how invested she is in the art of working with old manuscripts and she learned this all from her teacher, Werner Heinrich. “He said you could reading about grinding pigments and making gesso all you like, but the only way to understand is to actually do it. If i wanted to know what words like cutch and schoder really described, I had to make gold leaf myself: beat it and fold it and beat it again, on something it won’t stick to, like the soft ground of scoured calf intestine.”  I guess I’m

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 going to have to do some pounding to really understand what cutch means because even after looking it up using three sources, I’m confused cuz what does cuddling up have to do with manuscripts unless you are talkin about my favorite way to read. Am I going to have better success with schoder? Nada. Zip. Zilch. 

Hanna doesn’t work with just any kind of manuscripts; she’s a specialist and works on the conservation of medieval manuscripts. Ooh, I got an itch to throw in a picture since that’s what this time period is most noted for. 

Well, Big Bang Theory is on, so I’ll come back to this later. Is anyone enjoying this or am in a party of one?

Taking my writing into a different direction

Friday, January 23, 2014

6:50 p.m.

A nap after subbing today at Churchill High School has me somewhat refreshed and ready to tackle today’s zero to hero thirty day challenge.  Day 22: Draft a post for (another) blogging event

Today’s challenge: Find a blogging event (try our Blog Event Listings) and throw your hat into the ring. After poking around, I asked myself the basic question: what kind of commitment do I want. Even though we’re more than half way through with January, there’s a daily blog over Blog Her: at http://www.blogher.com/feel-pressure-januarys-nablopomo. Just read the fine print on that and the deadline was the fifth…Perhaps they will do it again in February…It did get me to join yet another blogging group. This is where I scratch my head and say, “Does that mean I have to write on two different sites or can the WordPress link to http://www.blogher.com/

And then there’s the Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts

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p>For this the assignment is called, Take a Bite Out of This Week’s Challenge

For this week’s writing challenge, take a cue from O’Hara and write a short(er) post during your lunch hour. During this limited period of time, take a look at your surroundings and document what you see.

It is 12:10 in New York and I am wondering
if I will finish this in time to meet Norman for lunch
ah lunch! I think I am going crazy
what with my terrible hangover and the weekend coming up

The instructions are rather straight forward for the weekly writing challenge. To participate, read the challenge instructions and write at least one post in response. Tag your post with DPchallenge and include a link (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/category/writing-challenges/)

 to this post to generate a pingback. Make sure your post has been specifically published in response to this challenge. We might just highlight some of our favorites on Freshly Pressed on Fridays, or in our monthly newsletter.

I’m finished up another cup of coffee, though every cell in my body screams

Don’t do it. It’s too late. You know what happens

When I drink coffee too late

Meanwhile, Lucy, the Lovely Yellow Labrador snores loudly

American Idol. Guess I’ll call this done.

Zero to Hero Day 21

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Today’s assignment: publish a post inspired your post from Day 19, and publicize it on one or more of your social networks.
I am very confused with this assignment. The other day I took the time to extend where my posts were going. Every time I post, my message hours out to Facebook, Google, and four other social media forums. So, aren’t I doing this assignment already?
According to the zero to hero folks, this assignment will allow me to: “you can weave together posts in a variety of formats to emphasize a point, unpack an argument, and keep readers interested. Today, you’ll explore how that can work for your blog — and how to let the world know what you’re up to.”
I would love this ability, but are they talking about weaving a post on Facebook to a post on tumblr or are they talking about weaving posts just on WordPress? Because right now with the way my posts are all scattered about just on WordPress that the posts are not connected at all.
Well, it is 11:38 p.m., and I just accepted a teaching job at Churchill High for tomorrow, reporting time 8 a.m. I won’t be getting my eight hours of sleep.

Words and images that cause me to say, “huh?, Say what?, Wow

January 22, 2014

I’m in the middle of a large experiment. So far, it’s not really turning out the way I wanted. In my mind when I created a new page about reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, I thought that I could add new posts to that page, but that’s not how it works. I guess in the future I’ll have to create a new Blog that is solely dedicated to a book or an author, but I’m learning how to “do” WordPress as I go along.

I hope it’s okay that I create posts that I can go back and add onto. I’ve already created a post with characters. I love words. I love the way an author can spin them and make my head cock, kind of like the way a dog does when they are trying to figure out what I’m trying to say. I want to be able to pull out those images in the book and turn them over in my brain.

For example, in the very beginning of the book, People of the Book, the main character Hanna is waiting for the fifteenth-century manuscript to be delivered from the National Museum. Oh, I forgot to mention that she’s in Bosnia at a bank. She’s staring out the window of the top floor and describes the bank as “an Austro-Hungarian wedding cake of a building whose stuccoed facade was speckled with mortar pockmarks just like every other structure in the city.” Why an Austro-Hungarian Cake? Is there some political reference that I’m clueless about?

I am about to find out if going from one post to another will cause any problems. I have noticed that the order of posts isn’t chronological as I would expect, so I must be doing something wrong. Anyone with more experience than I, which is almost everyone, can put their two cents in at any time.

I have noticed that I have two posts saying basically the same thing; i thought I had lost the post, forgot to save it, and so I created another. Yes, this is turning out to be an interesting literary experiment.

As Hanna is looking out the window of the bank, she notices her hands on the cold glass and it causes her to think about her mother and an argument they had. She doesn’t say if the argument was about Hanna’s hands, but her mother referred to her hands as those of being of a charwoman and that they were wattled. From then on, Hanna wore gloves from the Salvos. The relationship between her mom is described “the pair of us brittle as icicles.” I suppose it could have been cold when they met, but she also refers to “when I had to meet her at the Cosmopolitan for coffee.” Had to doesn’t describe a want to. I’m assuming that the Cosmopolitan is a fancy hotel or such, but I’m lost in the wear the location would be. Probably not Las Vegas. The only Cosmopolitan that I’m familiar with is the drink. I am well-familiar with that. I should have kept reading before I started to meander in thought as it refers to it being in Sydney. She got the gloves at the Salvos, but I have no clue what a Salvos is except perhaps a high-end store perhaps. She wore the gloves to make a statement, a rather offensive statement, “I wore a pair of gloves from the Salvos as a sort of piss-take. Of course, the Cosmopolitan is probably the only place in Sydney where someone might miss the irony in that gesture. My mother did.” Now help me out. Is the insult in wearing gloves, regardless of where they came from, or was the insult that they came from the Salvos. I love irony, but not if I don’t understand it. Perhaps  it has to do with classism.

This next paragraph is so full of things that make me say huh that it probably deserves it’s own post, but I don’t want to confuse myself anymore than I already have. In her discussion of scouring the fat off cow gut with a pumice stone, which is what is ruining her hands, she goes on to say, “When you live in Sydney, it’s not the simplest thing in the world to get a meter of calf’s intestine. Ever since they moved the abattoir out of Homebush and started to spruce the place up for the 2000 Olympic, you have to drive, basically, to woop woop…I like the fact that I have a reference of time, the year 2000, but other than that, I’m a litle lost. I don’t know if it is easy to get calf intestine around here. I imagine not. I used to know the term that’s used in reference to eating it, perhaps it’s an Italian word. A neighbor tricked me into eating this cheesy casserole of…because I would not have eaten it otherwise. come on WordPress people, you gotta help me out. I’m hoping that as I write, the word will come to me…And no, I am not thinking of foie gras… I still haven’t come up with the term, but I have come up with a few more things to say that really have nothing to do with the book, but they are interesting tangents and that’s what I love about writing. The mention of the slaughterhouse, which is what an abattoir is, caused me to think about the slaughterhouse that was near the Willamette Leadership Academy, the school I taught at when it was on Central Road in Veneta.  At least I don’t have a reputation of being a brilliant intellectual, as this story will destroy any chance of that. The first time I passed by Bartlet’s Packing company, it was right after Christmas, and I remember thinking to myself that next year I would have to go there to send packages. Well, there was one day I was following a truck that was well vented. I could see breaths of air coming out of the truck, suggesting that the cargo was alive. When that truck turned into the packing company parking lot, I had a “Ah ha” moment. It’s that kind of packing place. From then on, I found an alternative route to drive because this carnivore couldn’t handle the feelings of guilt I experienced driving by the business. In this passage I learned that woop woop is like Timbuktu, our equivalent to out in the boonies.

I better publish this so I can get the answer to what the name of a cow intestine dish would be called.

Character’s in People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

January 22, 2014

This will be a post that I may be coming back to as I work my way through the book, People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. I had hoped that I could tie new posts into new pages, but that doesn’t seem to be the way this works. Next time, I’ll create a new blog, but for now I’ll just muddle my way through this experiment. The posts will be scattered.

Hanna is my first character. I don’t know much about her except that she works in a lab sometimes; she travels the world.  She says that her hands are not one of her better features. “Chapped, wattled across the back, they don’t look like they belong on my wrists, which I am happy to report are slender and smooth like the rest of me. Charwoman‘s hands, my mother called them, the last time we argued.” She’s from Sydney and enjoys irritating her mother with irony.

Hamish Sajan is a Scottish Sikh. From Hanna’s point of view, “he is very dapper in Harris tweed and an indigo turban.

Fifteenth-century manuscript. Property of the National Museum

Where they have…

Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.

Christian Johann Heinrich Heine (December 131797 – February 171856) was a journalist, an essayist, and one of the most significant German romantic poets. Jewish by birth, he converted to Christianity as an adult. (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Heinrich_Heine)

This quote can be found on a entry page to People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. Since I’ve not read the book, I’m not sure where it ties in, but I hope to find out soon.

 

Zero to Hero Day 19

Today’s assignment: publish a post using a format you’ve never used before.
Monday, January 20, 2014
I learned something new today. While I knew that I could share a photo onto Facebook by clicking on the share button, the ball with the two arrows, I did not know I could get that button to bring up this program. What’s it called? Word something. My brain is not spitting out the word, holding it for ransom. All I need to do is find out what my brain wants. A jet to the Bahamas? I bet my heart, soul, and body are on board and would happily join my brain. The idea of Bahamas must have been good enough as I now remember. Press. WordPress.
What baffles me is I wrote a caption asking the question if I am sharing my green over-sized recliner with my dog, Ricky, and my cat, Yang.
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I can’t see those words, but my friend Jan could because she answered my question.
I went in and fiddled, changing the format from picture to something else. (I have a brain like a sieve, and words just fall out of those holes just when I need them. It is like the brain asks for a word, the synapse fires that word, and sometimes that word hits the target and sometimes it doesn’t. Perhaps my brain is like the Bermuda Triangle metaphor is better suited. There I go, thinking of the Caribbean again.)
I also noticed that my brain wasn’t satisfied with just writing a one-line caption. There was no sense of quenching the thirst that writing provides, no strange zig-zag tangents that cause me to laugh. Is it just me or is this blog slightly amusing? I would love to be absolutely hilarious, but my ego has a hard time calling my own writing hilarious.
Hilarious writing is what I am going for, but I suppose I need to read more David Sedaris. Okay faithful followers, since only one of you answered my question from yesterday, what humorous author do you recommend. Humorous essayist would probably be a better direction. By answering my Question, I will also know who is reading to the end of my blog.

Zero to Hero Day 18: Social Networking

January 19, 2014

Day Eighteen: Time to enter the wild world of social networks! Plus two options for folks who’d like to write a post. Check out the Zero to Hero main page for more details.

So far, I have found the Zero to Hero a bit on the irritating side, but once I get through these learning curves, I’m finding the benefits outweigh any of the negatives. Before I started the zero to hero thirty day challenge to make a better blog page, which is not the same as making me a better blogger, I had tried to independently challenge myself to write every day. After a week or so, my motivation started to 

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slide down; the want to transformed into a have to. I’m not good with have to’s in any aspect of my life, and this especially true with doing things for fun. Now if I were getting paid to write these blogs or if I were getting paid to write anything, the have to’s would have more weight behind them. But until that happens, I want to avoid need to’s as much as possible.

Have I lost any of you yet? (I do tend to meander.)

The reason my motivation took a skid in continuing to blog on my own was that I was just writing to myself; I already do this in the form of a journal, though the motivation is very high just because I’ve done it for so long, and the blog hadn’t become a habit yet or part of my routine. 

When I started the zero to hero, I started to get likes and responses. Talk about stoking the fire. I have been jazzed. When I saw that I had 40 followers, I was ecstatic. Yes, I know that there are many of you that have thousands of followers, but forty seems astronomical.

And some of you are wondering if I am ever going to get around to the assignment. I’m dragging my feet and drawing out my words because this assignment doesn’t really involve writing, and writing is what I love to do.

I was apprehensive about adding any more social networks. When I started Facebook, I went hog wild. (Is that one word?) I have a thousand friends. I have spent oodles of time on Facebook, posting my status updates, and responding to friends and looking at their pictures. I was starting to think that I needed a 12-step-program for Facebook. But now I’ve transferred that all or nothing mentality to the blog. Adding another social network feels like I’ll be opening either a can of worms or Pandora’s box, and neither of them are good.

Yet if I get so jazzed at having forty faithful followers, what emotions will I experience if I get 400 followers? It

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 makes sense that if I extend where my posts go, statistically my readership has to go up. Does this mean I have to spend any time on those sites? I hope not.

It helped that I had signed up for a few of these, but the accounts have been dormant. Twitter was one that I signed up for a long time ago, but have avoided throwing myself into the mix, though there’s been a lot of tempting tweets, though I’m not sure why the name isn’t tweeter or why comments are not called twits.

And because I go for all or nothing, I linked for everything that I could. I even went for Tumblr, though I really have no idea what it does.

My fear is I am going to be

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 inundated with messages and emails and that will be just one more thing that will distrac

t me. Perhaps the want to respond to everyone who has written to me or ever

yone who has liked my posts will fade and I won’t let the need to do these things come into the picture.

I guess we’ll find out when I start struggling to get my blog assignments done. Doesn’t that t font look too similar to the Facebook F? I would think that there’s a copyright misdoing going on, but how can someone copyright a letter?

For those who know me, which isn’t that many so far, I’m in a sad state right now. My New England Patriots got blown out of the water against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. There was no Bronco Busting going on today. So, it’s time to put away the coat and spend my time cheering for the Boston Bruins. I’ll try to give a hip hip hooray for the Boston Celtics, but they are not winning very often this year, and I’m irritated that they let go their best players. I don’t have too long to wait to get my Red Sox coat out. I may bring it out prior to Spring Training.

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Day 17: Increase Your Commenting Confidence

Saturday, January 18, 2014
Zero to Hero Day 17. We are more than half way done with the thirty day challenge, though I know I will embark on another challenge after this.
It wasn’t until after I started to peruse other zero to Hero bloggers that I realized I had misread the assignment. I thought that I was to come up with my own prompt. When I re-read yesterday’s day 16 assignment I then realized I was supposed to go to the daily prompt about my reputation. Yesterday’s blog was all over the map, so perhaps accidentally I hit a vein that could be loosely translated as writing about my reputation.
I love it when I am on the same page as those who create the assignments see I did look to see how others had done the assignment. Since I have the time, I will look at a few more.
I noticed that quite a few people distinguished between their work reputations and personal reputations. I enjoyed reading http://2020hines-sight.com/2014/01/18/it-precedes-me/
Blockader is one I’ve been following. It’s odd that at this moment I have no idea what gender the person is. I have no image in my head of who the writer is. It’s interesting to consider how much gender plays a role in those expectations of reputation. http://blockader.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/reputations/#comment-1180
Even though it’s late, 10:52 p.m. is very late for this old dog, I’m interested in learning more about links. I’ve noticed that some people have linked to my post, which in a way is what Day 17 is asking me to do. According to the directions, I’ve got to be in Visual.,,

http://en.support.wordpress.com/links/

This is a really cool thing to learn. I had been just inserting the addresses instead of linking. This just proves that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Now, who can tell me how to change the default time stamp? It’s telling me I am writing this at 6:59 a.m. on January 19th. I’m on the West Coast, aka the Left Coast, and we’re still working on Saturday…

When it comes to reading blogs, I gotta admit that I’m a defensive blogger. I’m a defensive emailer and facebooker as well. Chances are what I write is in response to what someone else has written. If someone has taken the time to like my blog or comment on my blog, in triage, those folks are the ones that get my attention first.

Sometimes I gravitate towards posts because I like what they stand for or what they suggest they stand for. Peace would be nice. http://seekingsomepeace.wordpress.com/author/seekingsomepeace/

Another assignment in the books. Time to curl up around a book. I’m still working on Raven’s Shadow by Patricia Briggs. Anyone familiar with this author?

Day 16: Make a writing prompt your own

Friday, January 17, 2014

“Writing prompts can be a blogger’s best friend: on days when inspiration levels are low and fresh ideas are few, responding to someone else’s question can do get you out of a slump. Even if they were created for consumption by thousands of bloggers, they’re most productive when you personalize them to fit your own interests and perspective.

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p>Today’s assignment: publish a post based on your own, personalized take on today’s Daily Prompt.”

As my eyes are trying to turn inside my head with exhaustion, my first thought is to create a post as quickly as possible so I can go to bed. I’m also hoping that I will get a second wind to extend my writing time, but so far fatigue is winning the battle.

I had looked at today’s prompt earlier and ideas have been stewing, simmering. I’ve kept the burner low to avoid any boiling over and haven’t had to be concerned about burning anything.

All good recipes require spice, unless it’s dessert, though isn’t cinnamon a spice? Nevermind that analogy or at least nevermind that this analogy doesn’t work with desserts. In order to spice things up, I spent time reading how other bloggers attacked this assignment. I started to ask myself questions. What kinds of things do I want to write about? What kinds of things do I want to read about? Now that I’ve become part of a writing community, the zero to hero, has become a two-way street. I write to be read. I read to write.

My first idea, write about why you write, was immediately rejected when I deemed it as being an easy out. This is a topic that I’ve touched on a few times; other bloggers have done this as well; it’s like I go down this avenue to justify the time I spend writing.

What seemed like a zillion years ago, I worked at a small newspaper in Eugene, The Register-Guard. I was a grunt. I wrote weddings and anniversaries. Tonight I struggle with the spelling of anniversaries, though that second wind did come around. I started my clerk-typist job with vigor and enthusiasm, believing in the American Dream that if I worked hard, I could advance up the  ladder. I remember asking Jim Godbold, though I have forgotten his title, but he was the man that could say whether I could go to a writer’s conference. His answer: “Sending you to a writing workshop would be like sending you to a a welding workshop.” Even though this conversation and in turn a slap in the face happened a long time ago. I lost my job in 2003, after I had been employed for a decade. The math suggests that this reminder that I was not a writer happened in 1993.

Rejection. I think the soup is ready. Maybe it’s more like a stew where the simmering has created a thicker base. I have a lot of insecurities when it comes to writing. I dream of becoming a writer. I dream of being a writer. I dream that my writing pays the bills, and teaching is something I do because I love to teach. So what keeps me from reaching these goals? What keeps us from those goals?

Voices in my head say I don’t have what it takes to write. That writing is a competitive business and it’s very hard to make it, and those odds are only going down.

So the bus has finally arrived at the stop. Don’t you just love mixed metaphors. I could have said that the food’s on the table and it’s ready to eat. What I’d like to know is how many of you are struggling with the the fear of failure with writing that that fear has kept you from reaching your goal and becoming a published writer? And how many of you out there in the blogosphere have overcome such fear and have been able to life the legs of lead and learn to fly anyway and have become published writers?

So, what do you say my blogpeeps, what do you say about writing and failure?

Zero to Hero Day 15: Learn more about how visuals influence content

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I’ve written about the baby-steps I’ve been taking putting this blog together. I’m much better with writing than the technical components of creating the blog page. It’s like learning how to tune up a car when all I want to do is drive, and drive fast is what I want to be able to do. Put the petal to the metal; this is why they used to call me Lead Foot when I would come screaming down Pinecroft Road in my dad’s Buick Rivera. Loved that car. Wasn’t crazy about the color; I think it was green, but it was a V8. See, I told that I can do the writing part.

But, with the hopes of attracting more readers and creating community, I’ve faithfully followed the Zero to Hero tasks given to me. If you build it, they will come kind of thing. This is sortof happening. Yes, I know that sortof isn’t a word, but I’m also working on the sound of language. Who knows, I may sneak in a gonna one of these days.

I played around with themes. I went from Flounder to Typo. On day seven I worked on backgrounds and headers, messing around with fonts. I’ve been working on widgets, though there’s more room for that as my page is rather boring. Today I threw in a picture that would give a splash of purple, though a picture of a bee being consumed by a spider is kind of disturbing, though I’m fascinated by those kinds of things.

Today’s assignment: open the Customizer and try out some new fonts and colors (and backgrounds and/or headers, if you’re still undecided).

At least I’ve managed to get this assignment done early, which hasn’t been the case the last two days, and that’s made getting up before the sun’s up very difficult for me. I sure hope tomorrow’s assignment is a writing prompt. I can’t imagine another two weeks of tweeking , or would that be tweaking, my blog page design. Yeah, it’s tweaking.

As I stated yesterday, I was looking forward to working with fifth graders at Camus Ridge Community School is Eugene. This was my first day with this group, and they did not let me down at all; I had a blast. Tomorrow I return to Thurston High School in Springfield. I think I confused a bunch of Sophomores a couple of days ago. I knew I was returning, and I thought I was going to be subbing for the same teacher, and I told the students that I would see them Friday. I was so wrong. I’m subbing for a different teacher, so I won’t get to see the kids I met Wednesday, which is really too bad because I really liked them.

Oh well. Good evening all.Image

Zero to Hero Day 14: Blogger’s Choice!

“We’ve got our suggestions for what you should do today, but everyone’s blogs move at a different pace. In recognition of that, today’s task is your choice!”

I think I need a 12-step program for blogging. I’m obsessed with reading and commenting on blogs. I’ve noticed that my page count for journaling has dropped.

 

 

zero-to-hero-badge
Step one is to admit I have a problem. I am addicted to reading and writing, though the addiction leans strongly in favor of writing. The main reason I read, especially blogs, is due to my desire to become a better writer.
A few of my blogs, prior to taking on the Zero to Hero Challenge, have been about why I write. I have mentioned that I write so I can remember. My brain is like a sieve; retaining information, experiences is hard to hold onto. Perhaps not the major experiences, though I only am able grasp general ideas; time anchors are like images in the sand. As time goes, the waves of passing years slowly erodes the specifics.
For example, A few years ago or so, my three sisters and I gathered in Massachusetts for a Christmas reunion. Someone remembered that all of us hadn’t been together for Christmas since 1977, my Sophomore year in high school.
In order for me to nail the year down on this event, I would have to look at journals. When it comes to dates, I don’t remember when my father died, though I know it was July because we celebrated my sister Deb’s birthday. I don’t remember how old my animals are.
The only reason why I remember my mom’s death date is because it was the night that Richard Nixon was elected, but I only remember that it was November 1972. Had to have been on Tuesday, but other than that, I have no clue.
In addition to writing to remember, I write to kill time, to entertain myself. And this is where I find I do a lot of writing. Today, after arriving at Thurston High School in Springfield, Or., and after reviewing the teaching plans for the day, I found myself with about an hour and a half of time. When the students were deep into their journaing, I snuck some more writing in. During the last class of the day, when the students were supposed to be studying, I had another hour and a half to write, though I did have to stop once in a while and prod the students to get some work done. I should have brought my cattle prod as my encouraging words fell on deaf ears.
Basically I write when I can. If I am a passenger in a car, I’ll write. I send emails to myself and then stick them into a document for the month. I’ll write while walking the dogs around the property, which doesn’t include leashes, but it does include watching where I walk if you catch my drift. So, sometimes I talk my writing and let my Smart Phone record my journal.
Well, I have an early date with fifth graders at … darn it, I’ve forgotten the name. I bet the name will come to me as soon as I finish writing. Nope, got it sooner than that. Camus Ridge Community School in Eugene. I think that’s right. The most important thing I need to remember is where the school is located.
Earlier this week I worked with another group of fifth graders, but this time I was at Page Elementary School in Springfield. The best part about that experience was that I got to play Jedi Dodgeball twice. Good times were had by all.
I love being able to kill two birds with one stone; writing this assignment while journaling.
Goodnight all.

Zero to Hero Day 13: Build a (Better) Blogroll

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I’m so tired of hearing about Tim Christie. I swear that is all the news that’s been on. This assignment will be a nice distraction. Maybe.

I tried to start this assignment earlier, but the link I created has disappeared into the netherworld. Perhaps because I was using my cell phone. There was a really good comment I wanted to use for a reply, but I couldn’t get the message to “Take.” It just wouldn’t send. And now I don’t have the slightest idea who I was commenting to. Perhaps I’ll throw it down and see if it resonates with anyone. I thought it was rather entertaining. It was to someone’s post that I had a hard time reading since it was written in a different language. The Blogger, a fellow Northwesterner, was baffled, and replied that he only writes in English. And that experience of seeing a different language only happened once.

“It may have been a fluke or a once in a lifetime cosmic event. Thanks for trying. I comprehend everything you write more, so we are out of the woods. The lyrics, “I can see clearly” has just popped into my head. And the rain is gone, at least momentarily.”

Anyway, has anyone else experienced that? Earlier today, I wanted to respond to gogi6666, who was responding to Cheri Lucas Rowlands posting on how to expand our bloggership, and when I clicked on gogi6666, all I got was Russian text. What am I doing wrong? Is there a setting that’s off.

Anyway, today’s assignment: Create, edit, or expand your blogroll. Really? I don’t know if I have enough energy to even delve into something so cryptic. I know what a bedroll is. I know what an eggroll is. I definitely would love to be on someone’s payroll, but blogroll? What’s the learning curve on this little activity? I’ve got a hot date with my pillow since my alarm is set for the God Awful time of 6:15 in the bloody morning. As you may gather, I am not a morning person. And to top it off I’m going up against high schoolers. The last two days have been a breeze with fifth graders. High Schoolers are a different breed. Different species. Not quite human and tend to be on the annoying side.

I suspect I’m deploying or employing distraction tactics and that if I write enough, I can write right out of this assignment.

I still haven’t learned how to navigate in this program to find the Zero to Hero page yet alone a page that can help me expand my blogroll. Isn’t there like a search field for these kinds of things? When I search, I only find my Zero to Hero pages. The only reason why I know the assignments is that I have the page bookmarked on my phone, but Lord help me, I can’t do the same thing on the lap top. I’m definitely feeling inadequate or something along those lines.

The one thing that I have going for me is that I’m willing to be curious and push buttons and look behind closed doors to find out what’s around; I did that with WordPress and came across a potential link. But I’m really not sure if I link it in this page or go to the link on the margin, and if I do that, where do my links show up? Maybe I’ll just do both and see what happens.

Since I’m having trouble getting to the Zero to Hero page, I’m gonna link it. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/zero-to-hero/

But when I put those web pages in the other day, they seemed to link without my using the link button, but maybe they didn’t.

Well, I think I am coming up short in this assignment as I don’t have any more energy to investigate how these links create a blogroll. A procrastinator’s famous words, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Zero to Hero Day 12 — Be inspired by the community

Monday, January 13, 2014

“Today’s assignment: write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog.”

I keep thinking that every day I’ll finally figure out the mechanics of this blog page. I experimented with a page, but now I have a page with an About Me on it. I’ve got no clue. I heard that there’s an actual WordPress for Dummies. I’m seriously thinking about getting something like that. Meanwhile, I have an assignment to do. This has got to be a short assignment as I have a date in the morning with a class of fifth graders, and I’ll need all the energy I can muster.

One of the many blogs that I followed yesterday, one that I didn’t mention yesterday is written by Cylithria Dubois. The blog that caught my attention, Almost, but not quite, drew my attention because of it’s creativity and the cliff-hanger ending.
Today’s assignment caused me to return to The Ghostly Writer, the name of her Page, to write some more. This is what I wrote:
As you may know that for today’s Zero to Hero assignment, we’re to be inspired by the community. For all the blogs I made comments to, I chose you to be inspired before.
I really like your writing. I like the range of your writing.
Heck, I don’t even know what a ghost writer is; actually, I think I sort of do. You write, but someone else gets the credit. Or you help someone write. What was his name, Dan Quail, would have to use a ghost writer. I’d love to hear more about what it takes to be a ghost writer. I’d love to know if you write under your own name.
Thanks for helping me out on Day 12 of the Zero to Hero Challenge.
If you are interested in her page, check out.
http://cylithria.me

Zero to Hero day 11

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Day 11: Be a good neighbor — leave comments on three new blogs.

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p>What a strange coincidence. Today I spent the day at Firs Bowl, a bowling alley in Eugene, Bowling in an eight-game tournament. This tournament requires teams to bowl position rounds where first place bowls second, third bowls fourth, and so on. Calculations require time and in turn, I turned to responding to emails in between games.To make a short story long, I get a lot of emails regarding WordPress, and typically I don’t spend much time attending to them, but today I was drawn like a moth to the flame. I hadn’t even realized that my responding to the posts would be the assignment. How cool is that: to do an assignment before even knowing.

One of the sites I enjoyed was the ranting chef. I especially liked how he stirred in stories of his kids’ eating history along with recipes that caused my mouth to water.

Maggie Monday: Scallops and Shrimp Casserole

 

Being a tangential person, often times one blog will lead me to another blog and that will lead me to another. I came across this one that demonstrated evocative and creative writing. 

 

 

http://cylithria.me/

 

I have always had a fondness for photography, and this blogger, Sonya Lira Photography, has recently earned a few awards, like the Sunshine Award. 

 

http://sonyaliraphotography.com/author/captureyouphotography/

Image

 

 

 

 

Day 9? Zero to Hero challenge

Saturday, January 11, 2014
I had momentarily lost track of how many days I have been doing the Hero to Zero, I mean Zero to Hero thirty day challenge, but WordPress keeps me on track.
Day 10: Dress up your blog with widgets.
At least this time around I know what a widget is, so I accept this assignment:
Today’s assignment: add and customize two widgets.
I am a little confused about the placement of the widgets. Hopefully I have not displaced my About Me Widget. There is nothing worse than a homeless widget, especially this time of year. It is so windy a widget would get blown to timbucktwo. (Obviously, I can’t spell that. Anybody want to get back to me on that?)
The second widget I worked on was the author grid. Huh? The description didn’t help: “Show a grid of author avatar images.” Double huh. What the beech is an avatar? (beech was not my word choice. Sometimes my Samsung Smart Phone thinks it has a better word. I was going to say heck…)
Anyway, I have no idea if my Blog page looks any better, but I have done my best. Now I need to close shop because I have a bowling tournament very early in the morning. Wish me luck.

Zero to Hero day nine

Friday, January 10, 2014
Day 9: Head a Little Deeper into the Blogosphere. Today’s assignment: Follow five more blogs and/or topics.
Since I was reading Bob Welch’s newsletter, it was easy for me to start with his blog. I also thought it would be fun to explore different blogs.
http://bobwelch.net/
The second blog I chose drew me in because of the pictures and writing about food. If you know me, you know how much I love food. Last week I made a Spinach and sweet potato soup that was one of the best soups I have ever made. I have also been having a blast making smoothies almost every morning. The spinach makes the drink ugly, but very tasty. Second blog I followed:
http://anewyearsresolutionchallenge.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/its-january-11th-it-must-kagami-mochi/
For the third blog I chose from the freshly pressed: The title of an entry, “What you don’t see” by Madame Weebles jumped for attention. I enjoyed the writing, but I also notice that if a writer depends on cursing for emphasizing their point, it is a definite turnoff.
The fourth blog I was curious because of the name of BrainRants. A bit heavy on the F-bombs.
I am looking for a really good one for the fifth. That wasn’t hard. Springboarding from one blog to another from the comments. “Aiming for Simplicity Our journey to a simpler life” hit the target, the bullseye. The rambling style of writing resonated with me.
Well, it is no longer Friday. It is so past my bedtime.

Zero to Hero Assignment Eight

Thursday, January 9, 2014zero-to-hero-banner

The Zero to Hero focus for Day 8: Make Your “About” Page Irresistible.

Today’s assignment: create an About page, or revisit and improve the one you have.

In accepting this assignment, I spent time fishing around Word Press to see what other people have done to make their About pages more attractive, more alluring. I can’t say that what I saw impressed me to the degree that I experienced goose bumps. Mostly I felt like I was going off on different tangents, and this is extremely dangerous waters for me to travel. I can get so lost in time when it comes to tangents. One link leads to another link and so on and so on, and before I realize it, hours have passed and I’ve got nothing to show for my efforts. Nothing tangible.

I can’t say that I was bored. Obviously if time went by that quickly, it goes with that adage of “time flies when you’re having fun.” This was definitely not the case yesterday when I was substituting at a high school. The majority of the classes were tough, a lot of complaining and whining. “Our teacher always let’s us use our notes on quizzes”…So, why didn’t your teacher tell me this? Or, “Our teacher always let’s us listen to music and play on our cell phones” yet there’s a large poster with no cell phones and electronics posted.” Anyway, the last three minutes of the last class of the day I experienced a time shift. Well, it was more like a time stall. Time didn’t move. It felt like the class would never be over, and that’s what Hell would be like. Spending an eternity with unruly and uncaring students. That image alone will help me lead a better life.

Training Wheels

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I still get more space between paragraphs than I would like, and when I look at my blog page, it’s not even close to the way I want. I so need to be using training wheels while learning the art of blogging. Or perhaps a flashlight. I’m so lost that while trying to do my from Zero to Hero Assignment today, I couldn’t even find where the assignment was written. I have this vague recollection that it had something to do with really owning my blog page, which is what got me tinkering with the appearance, but as I said I’m so lost that the only thing I really know how to do is hit the button that says new post and hit the button that says publish. Sometimes I remember to throw in tags.training-wheels

I feel like I’ve fallen off my bike and that I’ve scraped my elbow. Once I brush off the pebbles and dirt and the little bit of blood, I’ll be fine. I’ll get back onto my bike and figure out just what the hell this blog is supposed to look like.

One of these days, my blog is going to look awesome, but until then, please be patient with this wobbly writer, and unfortunately that pun was painfully intended, and if you have any words to the wise, let me know.

Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles in 2010 at the Lilith Fair

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Day 6 for Zero to Hero. I’m to publish a post that includes a new element. Throwing in a photo into my journal or other forms of writing isn’t something new.  But in this venue, it is something new. What I want to know is if I can add other forms of media at the same time? Wouldn’t it be cool if I could throw in the YouTube of Sara Bareilles’ singing the song “Brave.” How about the lyrics of the song?

For a project, I am learning Sara’s song, Brave. The first stanza of the song

You can be amazing

You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug

You can be the outcast

Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love

Or you can start speaking up

(I’m having a fight with a end quotation mark. If I use the quotation button imbedded in this program, the last quotation falls off. Can I only end the paragraph with a paragraph with a quotation? And if I have a picture and a quotation, what format do I use? Standard? Quote? Image? I can’t choose all three.)

Oh, I see that I’m chasing that end quotation mark…When I hit the return, I see the quotation mark sliding down. I can’t get the cursor and the quotation mark to match up.

Back to the song. You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug. I love analyzing songs. I think about my own tongue. I grew up in a sarcastic household. As the youngest daughter of four, I learned quickly that the best way to be on the defensive is to be quick-witted, to be on the offensive. If someone gives me an opening, it’s really, really hard to resist plugging in something that is very funny, even though what is funny is cutting and the words have sharp edges. Sarcasm for me is a bad habit. It took me a long time to realize that some people just don’t get sarcasm, and if I do sarcasm well where my persona is stoic and serious appearing, one can’t really tell if I am being sarcastic.

For those of you who watch Big Bang Theory will know what I mean by using Sheldon as an example of not being able to read sarcasm. The dude can’t read regular facial expressions or basic verbal intonations, so how’s he supposed to know if he got zinged or not, or in his case, Bazinga.

I think I could go on and on about sarcasm and about the song Brave, but I’ve got choir practice to get ready for and I wanted to get my Blogging Homework done before. I never did get to practice putting in another medium…

Zero to Hero Day Five

Monday, January 6, 2014

Today’s Zero to Hero thirty day challenge was rather interesting. The assignment: Day Five: Try out three different themes — even if you love the one you’ve already picked. I didn’t even realize what theme I had used nor had I an image of my page in mind. The majority of the time I use my Samsung phone to write these posts, so I don’t see what my page looks like.

This reminds me of how I present myself to the world. I don’t really pay attention. The other day I was in the Eugene Public Library seeing a woman about my being accused of damaging a book. I knew I looked a bit disheveled. I had been outside cutting and digging blackberry roots. I knew that my jeans were slightly muddy from being on my knees. I didn’t really think much of it. I was just talking to a person about a fine; it wasn’t like I was going to a job interview. While I am waiting to speak to this woman, Sylvia whipped out her comb and handed it to me. I waved it away. She made a statement that I really was clueless when it comes to social protocol. I felt like I was someone like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. (I love that show.)

Back to the assignment at hand. I did what was required. I played with a few different themes. Tried to change colors, but I wasn’t about to pay money for a color. I changed my title name, though I’m not sure if that was a good thing or not.zero-to-hero-banner

Zero to Hero Day four

Monday, January 6, 2014

One of these days I will learn how to make my text double space when I begin a new paragraph. Another day I will practice using parentheses as that first sentence could have used them. I am not much of a dasher for that matter.

When I first read today’s zero to hero thirty days of blogging assignment about community, creating community, I took the assignment literally and thought I would be having to go and meet people in my community. Not that that would be a terrible assignment, but it works be time consuming. I got this idea because the title of the assignment is to explore the neighborhood, but in actuality, the assignment is to read five blogs in the reader. (One of these days I will learn how to get words pasted in the correct spot in this program, as I tried five or six times without success. I hate it when  the cursor has a mind of its own. Probably why the Damn thing is called a cursor.)

I started this assignment on a Sunday, but because I chose to  read in bed, it is now Monday. I have a tendency to fall asleep. Not that the blogs were boring, not by any means, but it was close to my bedtime when I started to read a very long story. Details escape me at  the moment, but I will return to the adventure of Sereth. I think that is the character’s name.

I have been reading a lot of blogs. I could relate to being a student. I can relate to a lot of blogs, and look forward to using other blogs as a spring board to future blogs I write.

Meanwhile, it is one in the morning, a Monday morning. This substitute teacher does not have 

a job in the morning, but needs to be prepared for an early morning emergency phone call. Goodnight.

Zero to hero day three

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Today’s Zero to Hero in thirty days assignment: write the post that was on your mind when you decided to start a blog.

When I started to write on Facebook, I had friends and family members who advocated that I blog instead. I kicked around the idea, but thinking that Facebooking and blogging are the same thing. I write. People read it. Same thing. Or is it? The only differences are my intention and purpose. 

An updated status of I made Sweet Potato Spinach Soup would have been something to Face book about. I wouldn’t care if my grammar or spelling were correct. Heck, I would not spend much time contemplating the words  chosen. 

But, when blogging, I wear a different hat to write. My purpose is to write to entertain. The topic and the words used to convey the message are more important. I want the reader to taste what I have to say.

I am a prolific writer. I write all the time, whether I am emailing, journaling, blogging, instant messaging, or merely updating my status. If I could get paid for the words penned, I wouldn’t have to worry about working. 

And now as I enter a new year, wouldn’t it be grand if my writing takes me somewhere so I could get paid to do something I am compulsive about?  Last month I had 160 pages in my journal. Now granted, I did have pictures illustrating my writing, but that is a lot of writing; writing that no one else will ever see, except for the blogs.

I think I have answered the question for day three of Zero to Hero. I sure wouldn’t mind if anyone wants to reply to how I could become a stronger blogger.

Day Two of going from Zero to Hero in thirty days.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The thing that I most enjoy about writing is that I never really know what I am going to write until I finish writing. Today’s assignment feel’s a bit fuzzy to me. The assignment for Day 2: What’s your name? I thought at first I was to weigh in on my name, Susan Honthumb. A name without a middle name; if I ever get around to adding one, I would take Preston as my middle name, a name from my mother’s side of the family. I thought that perhaps I would write about how Honthumb is a dying name and that my sister’s and I and a couple of nieces are the last of the line, but upon further inspection, that story will have to wait; this story is requiring me to question the name of my blog. What are the things that I can say to lure readers into my fold? What are the things that I can avoid saying to turn a quick negative judgment that would cause readers to conclude that my writing wouldn’t interest them.

“Today, you’ll name your blog and expand on that with an “About this Blog” widget, drawing on the introductory post you published yesterday. Let no reader click away to the next site because they were unsure of your focus!”

I predicted that this assignment was going to be a challenge. Not that I’m having trouble coming up with words to put down on this white space, but that I don’t have the slightest idea where to find  my About this Blog widget. Does this demonstrate my age or lack of experience in the internet world to be ignorant of a Widget. I suppose I’ll have to do some more hunting around…I do recall writing about me, but with so many menus and places to choose, I’m dumbfounded right now.

I did find the widgets, and I did fiddle with About me. Talk about hoops to jump. I’ve never been very good at following instructions. I did the best that I could do. I may attempt it again, but since I’m now sitting in the dark with cats on my lap, the Cotton Bowl on the television, it is almost time to get read for league bowling.

Zero to Hero day one.

January 2, 2014

Last month or so, I challenged myself to write  daily blog. The first five or so blogs weren’t that hard. I even found some followers.

But then I struggled with motivation. I had people say they liked the work I was doing, but did not respond. I am used to posing  questions on Facebook and getting oodles of replies, but the blogging did not stir the pot. I wrote about Barbara Walters’ ten amazing  or fascinating people. I wanted people to tell me who their choices would have been.

I love to write. Except for letters, emails, Facebook, I write for myself. I had hoped that blogging would be a way to practice writing for an audience.

Once I skipped my first blog, after I think thirteen consecutive blogs, I slid into not writing at all.

When I saw the Zero to Hero thirty day challenge, which starts today, I thought that this could be the spark I was looking for.

The first assignment is to tell you something about myself and why I am writing  this blog. If you like cats and dogs, especially Labrador Retrievers, you will like my blogs. While I write this, I have a Fred Cat on my lap along with Ricky, a seventy-five pound Chocolate Labrador. Yang Cat is at my head.

I write about books, about sports, about gardening. If I write about politics, it must be a very important issue see I tend to stay away from that and religion. I may write about teaching and education. I probably will write about gardening, but since Winter just started, that won’t happen for a while.

My hope is that a year of blogging will provide enough experience and practice that I will become a published writer. I am ready to do the work.

Day one done. Can’t wait to see what day two assignment is.