Tag: Writing

No News is Good News?

No News is Good News?

While it has been a while (again) since I’ve posted it seems like little has changed. My blogging life has waned a touch but my online life has not.

There is still a web presence to maintain on a couple sites and since my last post here I’ve acquired the duties of webmaster for a local photo club. This is something new for me but fits somewhat with other ‘net stuff. It does take my attention away from the blogs however. Add to this scanning photos and transcribing printed works to post on my personal site and my hours fill.

I have been writing though, a bit, and just took a one day writing course at the local college. It wasn’t quite what I expected but it’s a start eh? The point is to write, regardless, or so I believe. Just like Julia Cameron said in “The Right to Write”, you need to write every day. I fall down there unfortunately.

I am feeling a bit better lately and am not taking anything but vitamins, and booze of course. I jest about that, the booze, and maybe shouldn’t but it is just that, and it is also something I watch. I’m fully aware of the effect addictions can have on lives.

I do some exercise and am walking most days too, today as an example. My distance today will be over 3k but some days I’ll do closer to 7k. I stopped part way to pen this. I’ll enjoy a nice cup of ‘joe’, blog a bit, and move on.

My next stop will be the computer store. I seem to have developed some computer issues that are impacting my productivity in so many ways. It’s amazing how tied to that damn thing I am, hell any technology. Something to ponder.

Is it True Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

Is it True Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

Is it true that absence makes the heart grow fonder? I sure hope so, I want you to be as find of me as possible, and I’ve been absent for a bit.

It’s been a while since I’ve written. I have missed it, I won’t lie, and there are no excuses, my bad.

You know how sometimes you just never seem to make it to the things you like? Despite your desires things just don’t transpire like you want. It’s kinda like that, and that sounds suspiciously ‘excuse-like’ doesn’t it.

I could talk about the weather (gorgeous), or life with my grandson Madden in it (blessed), or the potentially rich life of a retiree (outstanding), but I won’t. I’ve said enough on that.

I’ll post a couple photos instead, way easier.

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Life is pretty good if we can appreciate it.

Recalibation Required

Recalibation Required

I’m in a quandary, but then you that know me will say “so what else is new?” I believe a re-calibration is required, ‘How’ is the question, the  ‘why’ not so much.

I won’t belabor the point so I’ll cut to the chase.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this blog lately, in fact I talked about it a little in a previous post called Moving Forward, and a number of others. I guess the bottom line, where the rubber hits the road, is that I no longer believe I am suffering from depression. Whether I’m kidding myself who’s to say. This is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Perhaps I am deluding myself, maybe this is somewhat symptomatic of the illness where one feels healed  and so takes on their previous life without medication only to find they are not as ‘well’ as they thought. I suspect a relapse may be a result, quick or otherwise.

Or, maybe, people such as myself think they are fine but their partner or those close to them indicate that the diagnosis is still valid, they are still exhibiting outward signs of the mental illness. I asked, this doesn’t seem to be the case with me.

In fact I asked me wife that very question this morning.

“Have you seen any changes in me lately, some indications that my moods or personality has changed?’

She pondered the question for a moment and then replied,

“No, I don’t thinks so. If I’ve seen any changes is you it’s been only since you’ve retired.”

Well, that supports my perception of the situation as well.

What brought that question up was a deep conversation I had with a friend a few nights ago. He, Dan, has been diagnosed with depression for more than 4 years, and has been on at least 2 different medications. After taking pills for the first year or so he determined he felt better, and as such he wanted to distance himself from the meds. To stop taking them seemed to be the logical solution. Whether he tapered off or went cold turkey I’m not sure, fact is he quit. (Interesting topic for a conversation isn’t it, not sports, not women, but depression meds. Such is my life)

Shortly after that his wife asked him specifically if he was still taking his meds. He was surprised, and answered No, he had stopped some time before. She replied that she thought so, there were changes in him that led her to think that.

Hmm, I thought, I wonder if similar changes have been seen in me? Thus the question to my wife, and in this case No, she hasn’t seen a noticeable change or regression in me.

Back to the topic at hand, is a re-calibration required? I was going to say ‘should I rethink my blog’ but that horse is already out of the barn. So what kind of changes, if any, should I undertake, or do I leave things well enough alone?

Should I even continue to blog, period? Should I continue to write but choose another topic(s), and alter the Theme, Name and/or tagline? How about starting a new blog, with a different frame of reference or mindset behind it?

Maybe a photography blog, perhaps just a blog where I can write and continue with thoughts that hold little interest to the general populace. You know, kinda like it is now LOL.

But enough of the self-important, self-indulgent prattle, I think a change is in order and it’s only a matter of  How, or what.

These are the questions I am struggling with. Is a re-calibration required, and assuming Yes, then in what direction?

I’d be pleased to hear any input from followers.

It’s … Hockey Night, in Canada

It’s … Hockey Night, in Canada

It’s hockey night, in Canada anyway. At least in some of our bars it is. Whether that’s a good thing or not I can’t, or won’t, say. For me it’s neither here nor there. I’m not a hockey fan, and I only came for grub.

I’m sitting in a local Kelowna pub called Brandt’s Creek. I really didn’t feel like cooking tonight and thought on the off chance I’d bump into a friendly face I’d step out and mingle. Here I am.

television, flat screen
tv’, tvs, everywhere

The atmosphere in Brandt’s is typically pub ‘ish’, in the sports bar kinda way. It has the cacophony of loud banter between patrons and the associated soundtracks from the ubiquitous big screen tvs. Each of the flat screens are showing the latest (or most popular) shows, in this case it’s, you guessed it, hockey. He shoots, he scores.

Why I’m here is the real question I think, apart from the need to nourish myself and quench my thirst. The noise is not conducive to my mental health, and come to think of it bar food isn’t helping my physical health either. I think I came hoping to be inspired. Maybe if I sat and enjoyed a Guinness the inspiration would float to the top of my mind like the head on the beer. The head was there first, the inspiration came later.

I guess we can all take writing inspiration from strange places, and while this place is not strange n the literal sense it is perhaps a place not typically thought of when one wants to be inspired. Why do I look for that influence here then? Would it not be more conducive in a nice quiet atmosphere, like at home perhaps? Well, I’m not at home, I’m at my daughters place in Kelowna, but the same rules should apply. I’m alone here in her house, it should be more than adequate to write here.

I suspect the reason is that although I am alone I also feel lonely. I miss the warmth of human companionship and will even go to such lengths as choosing a noisy bar over the quiet reflections in my daughter’s home. Such a fickle creature I am. On the positive side at least I think I can understand and accept my feelings, and that’s a good start.

So here we are. I’ve shared, and hockey night in Canada not withstanding I was able to collect my thoughts and said my peace. Writing in a noisy bar may not be the most appropriate venue to prepare a post but the game was good and the Guinness tasty. Could have been worse, right?

Aside:Today is the Day, Was the Day, I’m Upside Down

Aside:Today is the Day, Was the Day, I’m Upside Down

I feel upside down sometimes, need change
I feel upside down sometimes, need change

Something weird happened to my post yesterday. Somehow another blogpost, a reblog from another blogger got attached to this post and it all got mucked up. Things got all upside down.

Here’s the original post….

Today, the other day really, is/was the day to re-connect with Gloria after an absence of, what, a year?

Gloria, is/was, my counselor. She helped me with a number of things, not the least of which was my depressive moods. That is perhaps a polite way of saying I was going through a depression.

I say ‘was’ because I think or hope, and pray, I am through it, at least the worst part of it. That being said my previous post would lead me to question that.

Bottom line is I was a little disappointed by the reunion. If you ever read this Gloria I’ll apologize in advance, it’s likely more my issue than yours and first off I probably shouldn’t be apologizing for my feelings anyway. Just seemed to be the polite thing to do.

My experience in our last session is likely clouded by my interpretation of interpersonal relations, those being of a somewhat coloured point of view which may or not be accurate. I need to temper my perceptions with the realities of life. Not everyone is intrigued with what I have to say, or have said, I had just hoped what I had said and done in past sessions would have been recalled with a little less effort and prompting on my part. Again, maybe I should apologize, this isn’t really the venue for critiquing after the fact, I was a full participant and could have spoken up to lay out my concerns at any time. I didn’t, my bad, ‘nuf said.

At any rate…….

My car is in the Honda hospital this afternoon and I thought I’d take the opportunity and alone time to have a beer while I waited (not at the garage) and do some blogging. Being that I go most places with some type of electronic device capable of posting that would be pretty easy, you’d think.

I arrived without incident at the pub, a short walk from the shop, and sat down to do my business. It just didn’t come, the words never arrived. And they never came with me, I was alone with my thoughts and without the ability to articulate them. No words, no post.

I did have my journal with me as well, and that’s something that doesn’t occur that frequently. This day it did. Perhaps paper writing would fit the bill.

A few words created with pen to paper must’ve started the creative juices flowing because I was able to put down some thoughts in my morning/afternoon pages but not the words I had trapped inside me. Many of those are still there, waiting to be broken free and see the light of day. But some did make it to paper and the inspiration to post as well came through.

So here I am, no epiphanies, but some thoughts nonetheless. As the previous post “What’s Wrong With Me?” impled, original post here, I am in a bit of a funk. Words are not free flowing, perhaps disjointed, but the words are here regardless.

Today was the day, it IS the day. I plan to enjoy it regardless.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Today is the Day, Was the Day, I’m Upside Down

Today is the Day, Was the Day, I’m Upside Down

I feel upside down sometimes, need change
I feel upside down sometimes, need change

Something weird happened to my post yesterday. Somehow another blogpost, a reblog from another blogger got attached to this post and it all got mucked up. Things got all upside down.

Here’s the original post….

Today, the other day really, is/was the day to re-connect with Gloria after an absence of, what, a year?

Gloria, is/was, my counselor. She helped me with a number of things, not the least of which was my depressive moods. That is perhaps a polite way of saying I was going through a depression.

I say ‘was’ because I think or hope, and pray, I am through it, at least the worst part of it. That being said my previous post would lead me to question that.

Bottom line is I was a little disappointed by the reunion. If you ever read this Gloria I’ll apologize in advance, it’s likely more my issue than yours and first off I probably shouldn’t be apologizing for my feelings anyway. Just seemed to be the polite thing to do.

My experience in our last session is likely clouded by my interpretation of interpersonal relations, those being of a somewhat coloured point of view which may or not be accurate. I need to temper my perceptions with the realities of life. Not everyone is intrigued with what I have to say, or have said, I had just hoped what I had said and done in past sessions would have been recalled with a little less effort and prompting on my part. Again, maybe I should apologize, this isn’t really the venue for critiquing after the fact, I was a full participant and could have spoken up to lay out my concerns at any time. I didn’t, my bad, ‘nuf said.

At any rate…….

My car is in the Honda hospital this afternoon and I thought I’d take the opportunity and alone time to have a beer while I waited (not at the garage) and do some blogging. Being that I go most places with some type of electronic device capable of posting that would be pretty easy, you’d think.

I arrived without incident at the pub, a short walk from the shop, and sat down to do my business. It just didn’t come, the words never arrived. And they never came with me, I was alone with my thoughts and without the ability to articulate them. No words, no post.

I did have my journal with me as well, and that’s something that doesn’t occur that frequently. This day it did. Perhaps paper writing would fit the bill.

A few words created with pen to paper must’ve started the creative juices flowing because I was able to put down some thoughts in my morning/afternoon pages but not the words I had trapped inside me. Many of those are still there, waiting to be broken free and see the light of day. But some did make it to paper and the inspiration to post as well came through.

So here I am, no epiphanies, but some thoughts nonetheless. As the previous post “What’s Wrong With Me?” impled, original post here, I am in a bit of a funk. Words are not free flowing, perhaps disjointed, but the words are here regardless.

Today was the day, it IS the day. I plan to enjoy it regardless.

Happy Valentine’s Day

7 Reasons My Underwear Feels Too Tight

7 Reasons My Underwear Feels Too Tight

Ever have one of those days where you seem to be just a little out of phase with the rest of humanity, where the best laid plans seem to go astray?  A day where after breakfast you put the milk in the cupboard and the cereal in the fridge. I’m experiencing that today. It’s seems as if everything I touch, anything I do, falls just short of being ‘right’.

morning pages, journal, journaling, writing
Morning pages

Today is a Dad’s day, a day where I take him out and we go to the doctor, optometrist, or in this case to the lab for blood work, and then we go out for lunch. I had planned to leave home a little early so that before I picked him up I could go to Walmart or one of the many electronics type stores to look for a phone case for my new iPhone 5 (and that’s a whole ‘nuther story).

Prior to leaving I was doing my morning pages, you know, that’s ‘writing’ in a book with paper pages and using a pen or pencil. These days I’m not sure how many people still do that…, but I was and before I completed one of my sentences part way through the exercise I became distracted. Well, not distracted at that time really, I put the journal down to check on something I was writing about and that’s when I got distracted. My wife had a question about her ‘new’ iPhone 4s (my hand-me down). There I went, off task, and so far today I’ve not made it back to the journal.

Well that put me behind schedule, not only did I not get to finish the sentence or entry in my journal I never made it away in time to go look at iPhone covers before picking Dad up.

So off on my way I went. I picked up Dad on time (amazingly) and we went to the lab. Fortunately the handicapped parking right in front of the lab was available so we slipped right in, and interestingly enough the lab wasn’t too busy so we waited no more than 5 – 10 minutes to get called. Seems like my day wasn’t a right-off after all, so far things were going well. Lunch was next.

Now that I’m recounting the days events it’s seems like maybe things weren’t so bad after all, lunch went well and Dad paid so life is good and things were looking up. We had a nice visit, he was feeling pretty good and I got him back to his home without further ado. It didn’t stay that way however, or didn’t feel like it anyway.

After dropping Dad off I hit the stores to look for my case, and if I learned anything during that exercise it’s that nothing is cheap, particularly quality iPhone cases. To get the case I wanted, an Otter Commuter, was going to cost between $44 – $50 bucks depending on the store. That’s in addition to any screen protector I bought. My stress was in a holding pattern. A quick look at Amazon (on my phone of course) made me realize that online is where I’ll get them, way cheaper.

As I think about that experience it dawns on me perhaps one of the reasons I feel so stressed and out of sorts is that I am so worried about dropping my phone, and have been ever since I picked it up. Perhaps that is the underlying cause, the reason for my ‘out of sorts’. Whatever the cause….. I feel how I feel and it continued through the day, that ‘skin don’t fit’ kinda feeling.

After arriving back at my home I had to turn around and go back out to run a couple more errands, one of which was to pick up quilt batting for my wife at the local fabric store. I’m afraid I scared the lady in the store, I feel like I went in there with a chip on my shoulder and although I don’t think it’s true I felt like I was surly and abrupt. Damn underwear starting to crawl again.

Next stop was an auto parts store to try and replace one of my malfunctioning wiper blades, that I paid $40 bucks for no less. I went in through the door and must’ve looked like I was ready for bear as the attendant approached my apprehensively and quickly passed me off the reps at the service counter. I suspect he wanted nothing to do with me, if he could see how I felt he was probably wise to defer me. The counterman listened somewhat sympathetically to my plight. I explained the driver’s side wiper leaves a streak in front of my eyes and when I just paid $40 bucks for 1 blade I had hoped it would last longer than 3 months. He murmured back “Well, I guess I could replace it”. Well, thank you very much. Perhaps he could see I was itching for a fight too.

So that sounds like another win doesn’t it? Hang on, not so soon.

Unfortunately when I went outside to swap the bad blade for the good I must’ve touched the fender of the car with my jacket. As I pulled back after installing the blade I noticed a nice brown smudge of dirt/mud on my nice clean black jacket. Argggh, %$”*”&#*, use your imagination to translate. Now I’m fussed and I’m dirty, and if you know me you know I don’t like to get dirty. Especially on tight underwear day.

All I can do is wipe the mud off my jacket and try to wipe my mood clean at the same time. I was relatively successful, nothing damaged and nobody hurt in the process, and proceeded to the next stop. Fill up with gas.

Things went relatively smoothly after that, although getting out of the car prior to filling I noticed yet another blotch of mud, this time on my pant leg. Will it never end I thought (how about wash the car dummy). I exited the car and holding it together somehow inserted my credit card into the gas pump. Perhaps I was too fast, perhaps too forceful, the pump would not accept my card. Another ARGGGH.

Take a deep breath, try again, success this time. The gassing up exercise completed with few casualties, only my spirit.

Two Slurpees in a car cupholder.
Two Slurpees in a car cupholder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Home I went. But wait, I had to get my wife a Slurpee (Slushy). I don’t understand her penchant for ice cold ice based drinks on a cold winter day but hey, who am I to argue with the light of my life. She wants a Slurpee, a Slurpee she shall have.

Knowing that this stop would be part of my day I came prepared, I had her refillable Slurpee cup at hand. The Slurpee machine operated flawlessly and I proceeded to check out. It was when I went to pay that I was met with a surprise.

Now it’s not like I’ve never used the plastic refillable cup before but when I paid and found the tab higher than expected I gasped.

“Are you sure”, I asked? “How can it be that a Slurpy with a re-usable cup can be more expensive than if I’d used one of the disposable cups?”

“Well”, she said. You never told me it was YOU’RE cup”.

I guess she had me there. And mentioning to her that I ‘assumed’ she knew it was my cup did NOT help the situation. She only replied “when you assume you make an ass out of you and an ass out of me.” She sighed heavily, refunded my money and then charged me a more appropriate, smaller, amount. Personally I think her underwear didn’t fit either, or maybe it’s the moon.

With my chores pretty much completed I forged home, stewing all the while about how I was out of phase, how my skin didn’t fit, how my knickers were too tight, and in my mind plotting what I would write here. It’s a good thing an animal didn’t bolt or a car pull out in front of me, my attention was not all there. I was too busy thinking of what I’d say here.

I did arrive at my home safely though, I don’t think I maimed anyone in transit, at least as far as I know.

After backing into my driveway I did notice a couple beer cans laying on the snowbank in front of my hedge (not mine, I have enough decency to toss mine in the neighbours yard). Here I go again, I feel that familiar tugging sensation near my private parts.

Knowing it’d be futile to pick up the beer cans and carry all my acquisitions (quilt batting, Slurpy) and Dads’ medical history file (that I try to take every time I see him), along with my camera bag and sweater etc., I choose the smart avenue. Pick up the cans, drop them in the recycle, and make not 1 but 2 trips back and forth to the car for the rest of the stuff. That way I can be sure not to f*** up and either drop half the stuff or wipe my clothes OR the new quilt batting on the side of the muddy car. Mission accomplished, all goods arrived in the house unscathed.

Once inside I dropped everything (not literally) and quickly logged on to my WordPress account to quickly disgorge my thoughts into a post, to try and enlighten you to my day and what made it ‘special’. I hope I didn’t bore you too badly and you arrived, like I did at the end of my afternoon, with underclothes that fit. I know the constricting feelings were all just fleeting experiences, tomorrow will be another day and hopefully one where I am in alignment with the universe. Until that time, if your underwear doesn’t fit go without.

Cheers

I Have to Ask…

I Have to Ask…

Does anyone….sorry that’s kinda negative… how many people really follow a blog for any length of time? I ask because I am quite curious. The question could really be put to any type of social media.

I’ve been blogging for a relatively short period of time in the big picture, lets call it 2 years for arguments sake. Certainly many bloggers/writers have hung in longer, many almost as long as the medium has been available, and my question would also be put to them. Do you know many followers have hung in there for the duration, ie how many of the xxxx number of followers one might have are :

  1. current, still reading/following your blog
  2. real, living, followers, ie not dead links or bogus accounts that somehow slipped through the cracks,
  3. still a follower/subscriber, but never (or seldom) read the posts

When I look it up on my ‘Site Stats’ I have a little under 80 followers listed and yet when I review the list on an a person by person basis a number of them are either invalid sites or no longer show as a current WordPress account. Now I’m not really that hung up on readership numbers, it’s just nice (great) to have people interested in what you say. The only real way I can measure what I’m doing is by the followers or subscribers, or any ‘likes’ or comments. I do essentially write for my own needs but let’s face it peer acknowledgement is better, heck it’s awesome. We all like to have our ego’s stroked.

mappa_blog
mappa_blog (Photo credit: francescopozzi)

While on this topic of readership, the idea of which was sparked by my most recent interest in SEO, I came to think if we can’t trust the number of ‘followers’ how do we really know how well we are doing? Of course if I ask questions in the body of my posts and those are answered by some number of readers I will know immediately if I’m reaching anyone. That’s good blogging (according to most ‘good blogging’ practices), and I know I don’t do that well. Partially that’s due to the type of posts I usually generate (journal entries) and partially because when I do create questions they come off as forced, at least to me. I don’t want my stuff to be forced. So I guess I’m stuck, either ask questions, intelligent questions hopefully, take the number of followers at face value, or just not worry about it.

Hmmm, don’t think ‘not worry about it’ is an option. May be a good idea but it’s not my nature, I’m more the type that’ll perseverate over the smallest thing. Just who I am.

So I’ll dig into it a bit further, try to improve the site(s) to generate more notice, and then ponder the results. I might even throw in a few questions, just to mix it up.

If you do have the answer, or would be kind enough to comment anyway, I’d love to hear what you say. I just have to ask…..

Mediocrity Breeds Contempt

Mediocrity Breeds Contempt

I thought of this comment, and that it would make a good title, after I wrote my last post. It seemed appropriate somehow, I wasn’t pleased with my last effort, that’s the mediocre part, and I had some contempt for myself. I had such high hopes, I anticipated feeling more fulfilled once I was done writing it but it was not to be. I felt empty.

My reason, my excuse for the mediocrity, was haste. I was in a hurry to complete the post and move on.

I had written the bulk of the post while sitting in Barnes & Noble and unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) my wife finished shopping earlier than expected and I had to catch up with her. I left the post virtually in mid-thought, closed up my notebook and went to meet her.

From there the evening was pretty much a blur. There was a little more shopping, checking into the hotel, dinner, and then back to the hotel to power down.  It was then I made the fatal mistake, I tried to finish the post while being tired. Really tired. Not a good combo.

So apologies are in order by friends, I hope I can learn from this and ensure there is ‘no next time’. This is all in the light of knowing that all good blogs, those that attract readers and followers, have as a basic element “good content”. That’s something I’ve always tried to deliver, I’ve let you down.

Time to say good-night, it’s late again and I’m tired, still.

Cheers

I Came Here to Write

I Came Here to Write

I have some time, I’m making time, I am waiting for my wife.

We escaped our small town today and ran away to the big city to shop, relax, eat, try and relax, eat, shop.  Something tells me the relaxing part may not come to fruition but likely the others will.

Once we arrived in Spokane our first stop was one of the largest malls in town, good planning or what. I knew it would be a good place to begin, the wife can limp around (another story) perusing all the sales etc. and I can scoot over to Barnes & Noble to look at books, and perhaps do some research.  My current ‘interest’ you see is SEO, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization.

This interest in SEO maybe a fixation, will likely fade over time.  Heck, it may be gone by the time I leave the store, but it is with me now and with me strong. Seemed the least I could do was write about it.

It began when I read a post written by Lesley Carter at Bucket List Publications called “7 Great Ways to Improve Your Alexa Ratings”. I guess it really didn’t start there, but it was re-inspired when I read her numerous posts on ways to improve hits on your site and increasing your readers and followers. I don’t personally subscribe to that particular SEO service but I have taken part in Google’s Analytics and another service called HubSpot, a web marketing service.

I don’t proclaim to know if one site is better than the next, you’ll have to do the research and find that out for yourself, but the concept is sound I think. If you can improve your site by making small changes, by increasing links or putting the name of your site out there on other sites it can only help. I am just touching on the very basics here and there is certainly much more to it than that.

seo, books, bookstore, learning
All you wanted to know about SEO

So this bring me full circle. Here I am in Barnes & Noble, waiting for my wife and spending time searching the shelves for an appropriate book(s) on SEO.

Unfortunately I quickly become overwhelmed. The sheer number of books (and the cost) takes the wind out of my sails and I rapidly decide I will endeavour to learn most of what I need to know by getting library books and reading free articles on-line. That’s not to say the books aren’t beneficial, only that for me, right now, they are too much and too soon.

So, as the saying goes, if you can’t do something, you can write about it. Here I am, I came to write.