Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Do you still have your blog?

This was asked of me by one of my sons. I don't know how the topic entered our conversation but the answer was simple. "Yes," I said, "and I don't post anything to it."

For anyone who stops by and wonders why there are no updates, here is my excuse. I do not have a moment to myself outside of paycheck-based work hours. Not one. I have two students and a pre-school person in the house, and their education, and entertainment, is supplemented by all things Internet. The computer I use for blogging is most frequently on Khan Academy, YouTube, and yes, Netflix, as well as other content-rich education sites that I wish were available when I was a child. My de facto educators and babysitters in the absence of professionals from either category.

As for my brilliant thoughts? They are rarely completed and often interrupted by the word Mom followed by a request, a question, a need - and I address all of them. And in a very limited capacity, I volunteer my time to the organizations that benefit my children in an effort to better understand an/or help these people I willingly brought to earth.

But another problem I've had with blogging is my inability to maintain a consistent online presence or message. At one point, I declared on this blog my devotion to YA lit. Since that blog post, I've lost interest the genre. I also promised to review a book written by an author I communicated with via another social media platform. That plan fell through shortly after I started reading it. Remember, I want to keep things POSITIVE. I think I posted recipes at one point, but I don't cook or bake anything special on a regular basis, and I kind of get disappointed when other blogs posts I read by other bloggers go off topic and focus on food or recipes. Hey, a discovery - I am not, and never will be, a FOOD BLOGGER.

Oh, I still read blogs, and they seem to go one of two ways - they become semi-successful or completely dormant. The ones that hold on manage to gather some sort of following, and a small group of these bloggers go on to publish books or experience greater adventures. The others just end - often without a goodbye. Those are the worst.

I'm not quite sure what constitutes success as a blogger, but at least I have a formula for how to avoid being the worst!

The posts may not be as frequent as I want them to be, but they will appear from time-to-time.

See, you can have a very full life, but don't expect to also maintain a blog at the same time.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Ends in Online Madness. How Was Your Year?

Last year, I thought it would be best to read blogs rather than write one. This year, I'm ready to participate in blog-chat.

2014 was a year full of online mishaps. People were suspended from, and lost their jobs due to emotional, opinionated posts. The most damaging email communication of the year was the incident involving the Fort Lee entry point to The George Washington Bridge. I've been stuck in traffic on that same bridge over the years, and this action seemed particularly vicious. However, I try to consider that when people have the power to cause a traffic jam, they may feel at ease doing just that.

Should I express and opinion about the SONY hack? Okay. The story about the cyber-attack on SONY is difficult to study because the first part of the scandal involves internal, professional online communication, not public posts. We should expect some form of electronic privacy in a place of business, and this incident proves that we can't. The emails mentioned in news stories were conversations between executives and should not have been published anywhere. As successful as the entertainment industry appears to be, I'm sure it is stressful to work in this environment, for the artists and the producers, and it must be routine to express frustration in-person or in an email. As far as we know, nothing illegal was distributed or expressed in any of the internal emails. I hope this part of the scandal will fall out of our media stream soon.

The bigger problem is the theft of copyright protected content and basic personnel files of the employees. I was disappointed when movie chains chose to give power to the threats against them for showing The Interview, and I also had sympathy. I might have been equally cautious if I owned a large movie theater chain.

A steel factory in Germany suffered from a cyber-attack with serious consequences. We need to consider how companies and institutions can handle online crime. I can't predict what to expect in 2015. Let's hope we can manage our adversities with less hysteria and more reason. Let's continue to be kind online.

All I can say with certainty is that I'll be posting again. So please, continue to stop by.

Things to read

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hold On To Your Delusions

I found a post on Girls of a Certain Age about an apartment in Paris that was unlived in for decades. This unoccupied Paris apartment is owned by the estate of a woman who paid rent every month, yet never returned after leaving to avoid Nazi occupation. Finding this information online makes me doubt its truthfulness, but I appreciate the story behind it anyway.

I'm sure anti-clutter mavens would have fun tearing apart this beauty of a space. I also wonder if the books on the shelves have e-book counterparts yet. And the stuffed ostrich is especially appropriate. They are known for burying their heads in the sand, though this is not true. When an ostrich needs to defend itself, the neck is bent closer to the ground to appear invisible. This technique must work for them most of the time.

The thought of this space being unused for years, yet paid for monthly reminds me of my blog. I haven't taken it down, yet I don't write here often. Why? Well, I have many good excuses, and I don't beat myself up for having them. Life is full, is that such a bad thing?

It takes a great amount of delusion to hold on to some beliefs. I think the renter should have given up on the apartment long ago, but she did not want to. It is possible she deluded herself into believing she might return. This isn't as sad as it seems. She never gave up on her dream, and the dream died with her didn't it? I can always imagine that my blog will become useful resource. Keeping our beliefs, even if they may never become fulfilled, keeps us motivated. And if I live the same 91 years as the person who owned the apartment, I'm going to need a few things to always strive for. And hope for a useful blog is a fine thing to want.

Ostrich Struthio camelus Tanzania 3741 Nevit

Photo of this ostrich is By Nevit Dilmen (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What Value is a Blog?

First, this is NOT a swan song, a goodbye or a declaration to change anything.

What inspires this thought is a blog post I read by Sté Kewar at Dukeo titled "Stop Blogging Now"

Isn't this a bold thought?

The comments at the end of the post are of equal interest. One comment suggests making your blog a true resource. Don't struggle to write 1500 editorial words of "killer content"

I never liked the term "killer content." Too negative. Yet, it is the standard advice among bloggers who wish to be successful. Rule #1, create killer content.

I do like the idea of providing resources, however. State your interests, then back them up with a series of links.

So, in lieu of killer content, following is a list of three blogs that interest me, and why.

Hercules and the Umpire

I learned of this blog while listening to the writer, Richard G. Kopf in an interview on NPR. I like the writing style, and the judge's admission in some of his posts that blogging is difficult.

The Daily Connoisseur

The blog's writer, Jennifer L. Scott, provided a link to this blog for a post about the time I worked for an American company with French employees. To this day, it is my most popular post, and this amuses me because it is a fairly gossipy piece with no links. Since her endorsement, her self-published book, Lessons From Madame Chic was re-published by Simon & Schuster and she is currently under contract for one more book. I feel like I discovered her before anyone else did. Fans tend to feel proprietary, don't they?

Mr. Money Mustache

I have nothing in common with this blogger, yet I read him often. I always feel as if I learn something when I read blogs written by people I share no traits with. The writer left paycheck-based employment at the age of 30 due to well-paid jobs and his ability to save and invest his earnings wisely. Now he does whatever he wants whenever he wants to.

Please don't think this is all I read. There are so many other blogs of note, and no need to plug them all. Blogs have the flexibility to inform and entertain and shift. For me, it's been a different way to communicate. What value is a blog? Maybe you can tell me. Thank you for stopping by, please visit again.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Conversations With Strangers

It's still summer, but for the working folk with children, it may as well be fall. The blogger hiatus is over. My summer was a little more than a whirlwind. I covered lots of territory, most of it with family. It was good.

Although many pleasant indoor and outdoor locations were travelled, the people I met on the way are what stay in my mind as much as any garden, old house, wild horse, or ocean waves.

One conversation was unique because I opted to speak rather than listen. It was about why I am happy to visit the place where I grew up and equally pleased with the place I decided to live with and raise my own family. No point in repeating the details here. I recommend you go out in the world and have a conversation like this on your own.

Conversations with strangers help us articulate our thoughts. People we don't know are not vested in our interests and are likely to forget us anyway.

In my attempt to write a perfect blog post for September, which I planned to do about two weeks ago, I've been reading other people's blogs. Even though I don't post comments on any of them, I feel like I am a part of a conversation anyway. Some bloggers have cordial relationships with their readers, and it's nice to observe. I haven't had a comment from a reader since last August, and in part it's because I didn't respond to it. Why? Well, I needed to think of a response, and was at a loss.

What blogs do you review regularly? Please share, I'm always on the lookout for something to read.

Thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Another Year, another 5K

Last year I ran a 5k with no goal and a miserable result. It was a Rebel Run, and with all the obstacles, I completed it in 98 minutes.

After that poor performance, I decided my next 5k would be on firm land, without walls or ropes to climb or warm algae ponds to walk through. I also believed I would follow this Mayo Clinic training plan. Regarding the 2nd goal, the best I did was print it out and look at it often. Reading is usually more useful to me than a trot on a treadmill.

Sure, my enthusiasm going into this year's 5k was low, but I did complete the race. Despite a lack of training, I pledged to complete the race in 45 minutes, and I did it in 43:33. Not bad for a person who views HIIT workouts with skepticism. This whole idea of setting a goal and achieving it might actually be worthwhile. Completing the race on my terms made me think about this blog, and its future.

As much as planning, training, practice and consistency work in fitness and blogging, so does doing the best you can when you can. I've never read advice of this nature anywhere. Do type "B" people write advice books about successful planning, or are they busy achieving their goals and interests on their own haphazard schedules?

The next post will be another book review, or a Reader's Advisory, a new term I learned today when someone endorsed me on my LinkedIn profile with this label. The book is Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals by Jacqueline Whitmore. There is a funny story about why I chose this book to review - I will share it with you at the appropriate time. I need to finish the book first.

Thank you for stopping by.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Toltec Wisdom - A review of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

Hello! Thanks for stopping by. I gave myself a vacation from blogging, and realize now what a huge mistake it was to stop.

In my last post, I declared my next post would be a review of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz. Once I hit the publish button back then on June 1st, I realized I would have to read the book again. This is when I decided to give myself a break.

Not much is known about the Toltec Empire. They emerged prior to the Aztecs in a region now known as Hidalgo. Uncertainty about this group is what makes them intriguing.

The four agreements are :

Be Impeccable With Your Word. This coincides with the mission of this blog. The author emphasizes choosing your spoken words with care. I think you need to extend this to your online words as well. Enough said.

Don't Take Anything Personally. No one will ever see the world the way you do, so you must forgive them when they say terrible, thoughtless things about you or any person or issue you care about. Good advice for followers of politics. I think most politicians have figured this one out already.

Don't Make Assumptions. This is also difficult. Just as others may not understand you, you may not understand others. We don't know what the strangers we deal with have been through, and we don't even know what those closest to us are thinking at any given time. The ability to accept people and circumstances is tremendous. Good luck with this one.

Always Do Your Best. This is a nice way to wrap it up. Humans are fallible. Forgive yourself when you fail, and strive for the best.

The Four Agreements is a fine book, and Toltec wisdom is acceptable. You can't argue against a philosophy that promotes self-esteem, compassion, and loving kindness. My only disagreement was a comment in the 2nd chapter regarding the strength of words. The idea is that if a person suggests you have cancer, based on your pallor, then in one year, if you believe what you are hearing, you will have cancer (page 29, Kindle edition.) I am still stunned by this thought. No citation was given to support this comment. However, this was a perfect situation for the me to put Toltec wisdom in to practice by trying the "Don't take this personally," item.

Maybe I expect too much from philosophers. They are not scientists.

The book was published many years ago, and mentioned once by Oprah Winfrey. I hope the author has enjoyed great success with its publication. My inclination towards scientific facts should not discourage anyone from reading this book.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhhig provides research and citations. If you desire measurable change in your life, the suggestions in this book are better.

You can view and read other reviews by clicking here and here.

P.S. - If you have ever been to Hidalgo, please let me and my readers know about it - the comment section is open.