Tag Archives: blogging

Hey, there. Missed you.


I happened to catch up with an old wordpress friend, lahikmajoe, today (“old” as in haven’t interacted in a very long time, and “catch up” as in I saw his post on Twitter, followed the link to his blog, commented, he commented back and visited one of my old posts and commented…it’s the digital-age version of catching up and reminiscing over coffee.) It has been nearly a year since I have posted anything, and well over a year since I posted any of my so-called “normal” material. I was knocked out by how much I have missed this blog and you people (assuming you are still out there.)

Back then I was fearful and busy and struggling to find something to say. The badly-fitting job I tried so hard at collapsed, but more time didn’t mean more writing. There was a long dark night of searching my soul, a reboot of my writing in “Safe Mode,” and finally another iteration of me as a working person. Now I am working furiously (figuratively, but sometimes literally also) and taking a class and doing a project, and all the  family and church stuff, and still searching. Now, however, I am searching more hopefully, gratefully, and with more of an attitude of acceptance and interest than fear.

I ask myself, do I have time for one more thing? Do I have time to formulate my crazy spinning tangential thinking into a coherent message on a semi-regular basis? Probably not, but I am not sure coherent messaging was ever my strong suit. The real question is, will I have time later? No one knows. I am feeling a little fragile upon hearing of Robin Williams’ death today, and maybe that too is moving me back into this space. We can’t definitely say that me catching lahikmajoe’s tweet in that brief moment before it rolled to the bottom of the feed and off the edge of the earth is actually a sign the universe is beckoning me back to the blogosphere. But if it feels like it, a little, that tells me something.

So, I am back, and really curious to see what I have to say. Thanks for visiting.

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An affirmation from a very helpful book, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers

 

Consistency, Surprise, and a Note to Readers

To all of you who read here, you may be wondering what the hell I am up to (especially lately) with the zigs and the zags on topics. It must be very confusing for those who think they have found here a fitness blog, or a photography blog or a quasi-humor blog, only to see the next post and wonder how many different people write here. This is the thing: I have a lot of interests, a nimble attention span, and a low tolerance for  uniformity. I am approaching my two year Blogaversary and have resigned myself to the fact that my “niche” is more of a blanket. This does not bode well for popularity; all the rules say that to be “follow-able” a blogger needs to be consistent with content. Oh, well. Popularity has never been my strong suit anyway. If you are also a member of the quirky, random tribe, and like what you see here, please follow my blog and let’s see where it takes us. If you have arrived expecting something else and are feeling confused and would like to find the nearest exit, let me just say thank you for stopping by and you are always welcome back. (The door is over there.)

I would like to add that there are certain things that I do often enough that it thwarts my no-consistency approach. Granola for breakfast and tea once or more daily, for instance.  Most days I take time in the morning to face east and greet the day. I take an insane number of photographs of sunrises. At least on this count, I can say that doing the same thing over and over doesn’t yield the same results. This morning, I didn’t expect much from the dawn. It is early March, and this time of year gray skies usually win, but today I got a surprise (click on the picture to see a larger version):

Photo by Lynnette Dobberpuhl

Photo by Lynnette Dobberpuhl

Regardless of what you were looking for when you got here, I hope you found something you can use. Peace!

Blogaversary: Annual Review of Who Showed Up and Why

It is blogaversary time. Yes, Wordtabulous is growing older just like the rest of us. As I reflect on the past year I don’t know if I have learned anything that will help me, but I do, as always, have several observations to share.

Experts say that a blog needs a focus to build a following. I think they might be right. I knew starting out that my direction was a little unclear, but I thought my focus would evolve. I think we can all agree that this hasn’t happened. This is my official apology to people who have found their way here, thinking they were coming to a blog focused on: religion, cycling, fitness, product reviews,  cats, photography, food, wine, books, writing, or humor. If you came here for a  little unpredictability, welcome, you have come to the right place. Judging from the shiny statistics page, some came looking for Wordtabulous on purpose, but A LOT more–hundreds–came to get info or pictures of the musical group Walk Off The Earth, or info on the Beard Guy T shirt.  Just as many came for a word about Leah McLean, KSTP  news anchor. Between the searches on Leah and all the other local news celebrities, I can see there is an opportunity for a thriving site featuring personal information and gossip about them. So, there you go, people who want to do that, free idea with documented appeal. Here are a few other searches that brought people to Wordtabulous:

“what did Laura Ingalls fear the most, pa, animals, the winter, strangers in the long winter.” I LOVE that people seeking Laura knowledge have come here, but I am dismayed that someone seems to be trying to cheat on a multiple choice test. Read the book, cheater! The Long Winter was awesome!

you’ll trust you hate, you believe you tabulous this reality” This person is either drunk/stoned, or just free flowing with the searches. Maybe this is a misspelled song lyric? It seems very poetic. I am sure tabulous is a whoopsie in this context, but I’ll take it. Thank you.

dag yolu” According to a Google search of my own, this is a windy mountain road, or a place near a windy mountain road in Turkey. I once wrote about climbing a mountain road, but this seems very specific. Weird.

small particles in abyss” I am sure this searcher found this site and was all, “Gah! This isn’t what I was looking for!” but now I know I get to claim a portion of the abyss searches on the web so I am happy. Sometimes I think we are all just small particles in the abyss, how about that? Think of the odds of us finding each other!

“shadowtale how to make it night so that lady dances” At first I was all, oooh, dark and vivid, I like! and then I found out that shadowtale is a free online role playing game and so evidently someone just wants to find out how to work the game to get a free show. I am not a gamer in any sense of the word; I literally DO NOT HAVE GAME. I don’t even click on these things because they seem…unhygienic to me. So it is majorly confusing how this search connected here.  Although I do like to talk about nighttime, especially when the insomnia wants to play, so maybe? Seems thin.

naughty nurses with huge racks” hahahahahaha! I don’t know, I truly don’t, how this sad person found Wordtabulous, but I hope they were so entranced with what they found that they gave up their search for titillating eye candy and moved on to higher things, like cat blogs and charity bicycle rides.

I secretly dreamed that blogging would open doors of writing opportunity. I hoped that people would read what I had to say and ask for more. And a few did! Which was awesome. I have met some really interesting people here (check out the blogroll on the right,) and while I don’t want to assume anything, I think some of them would consider themselves friends of mine, as I do them. When I follow a blog, I take it seriously. I don’t “like” blindly. I try to read regularly and comment thoughtfully. But this makes it time consuming, and when I don’t have time to keep up I get way way behind. I am horrible about going out and finding new blogs to check out. It almost makes me wish I could emulate those folk who do the “like” hit-and run. There is a cynical efficiency to zipping around, clicking “like” and hoping that you hit on some people who will “like” you back and stick around long enough to draw their friends. And there are the freaks. There was one blogger, who shall remain nameless but who claims to be a marriage therapist, who “like”d a post I wrote and WordPress was all “Hey, Lynnette, check out some of this blogger’s posts; maybe you’ll like them!”  And all the posts’ titles had to do with the successful performance of a particular sexual act involving swallowing. No thanks, and I will NOT be clicking. Still, good for a (derisively snorting) laugh.

It takes talent and dedication to continuously draw followers and keep them. I admire those who are successful and wish them well. I suspect I will continue off to the side, musing and observing and throwing the occasional post out to see what you think. Thanks for visiting and being part of Year One of Wordtabulousness. Come back again, and comment any time you have something to say!

To Err is Human, to Post is Feline.

In 2002, when I read the writing on the wall, I knew one of two things was going to happen. Either I was going to drive my growing sons crazy chasing after them and wailing, “Hug me! Why won’t you cuddle anymore?” or I was going to get a kitten and transfer all my neediness onto it. No-brainer. Mr. Wordtabulous has always been miffed that he was not consulted, only informed of the cat acquisition, but to my memory I have only brought three major things into our home without discussing it with him: garage sale dining room table (epic win,) garage sale loveseat/hide-a-bed (epic fail) and Catabulous (epic win, with allowances for noise, midnight bed stomping and litterbox maintenance.)

Having neglected my blog lately, I was racking my brain for a topic to post on (yes, preposition, I know) and all I could think of was how adorable my cat is. One of my simple but guilty pleasures is looking at pictures and videos of cats online. They are funny, and often beautiful, and sweet. I like how people caption the photos. I am amused when people dress their cats, although that is going a bit far. The thing is, people LOVE cat pics and they get a LOT of hits. So “Cynical me” posed a question to “Deer-In-The-Headlights me” (she is my default–the one who is wandering around taking everything in and hoping to make sense of it all before the screeching crash.)

Cynical: Would you ever write a cat blog?

DITH: What do you mean, like a single post, or a whole, like, themed blog?

Cynical: Don’t play coy with me. Would you ever start a blog strictly around cat images, cat care, and cat love? Just to get the hits?

DITH: Let me think. I do really love my cat. If I did start such a blog, it wouldn’t be just for the hits.

Cynical: Oh, please.

DITH: Stop it. I don’t think I have enough material.

Cynical: That isn’t an answer. And seriously? About a fourth of your posts have something to do with a cat anyway. You aren’t far off from being a cat blog. As for material, what did you just buy?

DITH: A leash. For my cat.

Cynical: And if we looked in your photo gallery on your phone, what would we find?

DITH: Cat photos…lots of them. But he’s very photogenic! And everyone else I take pictures of look like they’re in pain!

Cynical: So you have the material, you have the obsessive interest, and you have the attention-seeking personality that would dangle tags like “cat,” “cute,” “funny,” and “playful,” with the objective of luring people in just to raise your stats. Why don’t you start taking pictures of your cat next to photos of movie stars, or of him watching trailers of new release movies so you can work those into your tags, too?

DITH: I don’t like your tone. And I don’t think people who write cat blogs are only interested in hits, they are sharing the joy of cats.

Cynical: Now you are just pandering to the cat bloggers.

DITH: Wow, you’re mean. Look, the answer is no. I wouldn’t write a cat blog just for the hits. Also, I don’t have the attention span for a single topic and I lack commitment. That is why my blog is the whack-a-doodle mishmash that it is. I write what I want to (yes, yes, PREPOSITION.) Besides, if I were really cynical, I’d write about Walk Off the Earth T-shirts and local news anchors because according to my stats THAT is where the action is.

That being said, here is a funny picture of my cat sitting on top of the novel A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. If only he was wearing my WOTE t-shirt and sitting on Leah McLean’s (from KSTP) lap.

A Note To Those Who Stop In

I am not trying to blow up my own blog or anything, but for those of you who blog here, there or anywhere, do you ever get the feeling some bloggers “like” your posts  just to get your attention and lure you to their site? And then their site is nothing more than the reproduction of other people’s posts? Or  images from other sites? I don’t want to be overly harsh, here. I mean, some of these images are clever and funny and I am glad I saw them, but they weren’t original to the person who posted them, and it was hard to figure out where they originated…which I am sure was a total accident. One time? (At band camp? sorry–I just heard that in my head.) I posted on my blog and within ten literal seconds of uploading my post I got a “like” from another blogger? It was a longish post, one that would be hard to even read in under a minute, let alone ten seconds. It was pretty good though, don’t get me wrong. Totally “like”able. Just maybe not that fast?

When I first started blogging, oh so many months ago, I was just a teensy bit raging against the void. I was having some trouble with pitching a manuscript to agents and publishers, and struggling with my voice and how tiny it sounds in the vacuum outside my head. I found friendship here and built some confidence. I stepped wrong a time or two, and owned it. The world didn’t shatter. I discovered others struggling with some of the same and some different issues and I found myself caring about them and what they have to say. In this time I have also been slammed with spam, and culled through tag-trawling in a most cynical way. I have built a following of real people, spambots and the hapless google searchers seeking information on the musical group “Walk Off The Earth” (yes, I totally love you kids and you can sleep on my couches if you come through town–you kids in the band, not the searchers, sorry,) and the ones who want to know what’s the latest on KARE 11 news anchor Rena Sarigianopoulos (I know, she’s awesome, I love her too, but I have nothing further on her since the Home & Garden Show.)  So speaking in terms of gross vs. net, I have increased my gross following. Do I have more net readers? If I do, what does that, exactly, signify?

Some of us write for attention. Okay, all of us here write for attention. If we weren’t, we’d be writing in a journal and it would never occur to us to “put it all out there” where anyone can see. Some of us write for the possibility of being discovered, hoping someone will find us on our counter stool at the soda fountain and say, “Hey, kid, I like your style! Why don’t you audition for a role with us? We’ll make you a big star!” It could happen. I would be swimming in my lottery millions, statistically speaking, before it does, but it has happened. Some of us simply write trying to make that ephemeral connection, thought to thought. The connection where something we think, then write, hits another’s neurons like the 4 ball into the side pocket, when just a second before the 4 ball was perfectly stationery there on the green felt. This next statement is important. We. Never. Touch. Each. Other. Not physically. Google it. It has to do with electrons and electromagnetic fields and the kind of stuff that simultaneously attracts and repels (like my brain and physics,) but we never never physically touch anything or anyone. But an idea can be transmitted from one brain to another and a connection made in that transmission. And that…that is what brings me back time and again to the words and the page and the endless frustration and joy that is writing.

So to all you real people out there, the ones who are here on purpose and the ones that just want to know if Leah McLean from KSTP 5 is pregnant (yes, she is, send her a note with your best wishes) and even the ones who are hoping I will click on your link to see  your plagiarized images or your digital cookie death traps, I want to say thank you. Thank you for checking in. Thank you for letting me know you are there. I hope you find what you are looking for, or at least something worthwhile. I hope you find a connection in this world and that it warms your soul, as you have mine. Thank you.

Excuse My Mouth

I have a habit that mortifies Mr. Wordtabulous. I fully admit to it and can only hope he is wrong about how  noticeable and offensive it is to others. Because I can’t help it. And I am not alone. Maybe you, too, share this annoying and socially repulsive aberration: Sympathetic Elocution. In other words, the involuntary mimicking of someone’s accent, verbal rhythms, and intonation when one is in conversation. I do it all the time. I spent most of my life until my mid-twenties in rural South Dakota and Minnesota, where we have our own small variations, including cowboy twang and Norwegian lilt, but there isn’t a lot to try on in terms of exotic audibles. I wasn’t really aware of doing it until my husband pointed it out in a taxi from the airport to our hotel in Rome on our first international trip. I was answering a question our cabdriver asked, and was trying to keep it simple, since he was speaking somewhat broken English with a considerable accent. I know he probably understood a lot more English than he was comfortable speaking but I was trying to be considerate.  “Why are you talking like that?” hissed Mr. W in my ear. “Like what?” I asked. “You sound like you’re making fun of the way he talks,” he returned, actually turning a little pink with embarrassment. I was astounded. I wasn’t doing the thing where I was over-enunciating, or using volume to make up for shared language, but there I was anyway, an ugly American. I became  self-conscious, but still got caught doing it.

In Mexico, in Germany and Austria (where at least I had some language skills) and at home, where I had friendships with people from Rwanda and Sudan, my husband continued to shake his head when listening to me deep in stilted conversation and using words that sounded perfect spilling off others’ lips but clearly sounded odd on mine, at least to him. Not long ago, after spending some hours with a woman about half my age, I heard it myself: a slightly nasal drawl with a questioning lift at the end of sentences where none was needed. I had picked up a hint of Kim Kardashian via  my younger friend. I vowed to be more disciplined.  I would not be seduced into affecting other people’s speech patterns, consciously or unconsciously, regardless of how interesting or beautiful or at least different I found them. I am myself, after all, why wouldn’t that be enough?

I was at work recently, listening to a colleague finish up a call to Tennessee.  She hung up the phone and exclaimed, “Southern people’s accents are so addicting! I was talking to that man, and I kept catching myself starting to talk like him.” I was delighted. “You TOO?” Sympatico. What a relief. Ignominy loves company. But seriously, is the crime an innocent verbal quirk, or the embarrassment it causes myself and others? Because I am not so embarrassed…until the day I get caught on tape, then I will wither with humiliation. Actually, just imagining that gives me the armpit prickles of  mortification. (That’s NOT just me; I know at least one other person, not related to me, who gets those.)

I do it here, too. I can’t blog after reading anyone else’s work or I’ll sound more like them than myself. If I try to write after reading Lucy’s Football, for example, I am all CAPS and attempted hysterical, confrontational, witty zigs and zags and cascading asides. When the wuc  posted (and her thing is more dark poetry and rated M for mature smackdown satirical descriptions of her life,) my comments would come out like this (in response to a bad relationship twist and it’s purported cause of her lack of mojo,) “I am frequently reminded that the seismic shifts of life that leave us unbalanced is material. I also believe that mojo is like a slow-motion heartbeat, expanding toward the brilliant, then contracting like a fist, only to unfold again. The dog days are over, wuc…” And I kind of love that, but while it’s me, it is more like me on my third tequila shot at 1:00 in the afternoon, not me everyday. And after reading Hot Off The Wire, my prose gets tighter and with a particular highly focused energy that is hard to describe but easy to identify. I can always tell when I have Kelly in my head.

Overall, I tend to think of it as an emulation, sort of an “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” I enjoy the people I speak with, whose verbal vibes I inadvertently copy. I HOPE I wouldn’t slip into a writing style I didn’t love. So, if you and I ever get to chatting in the verbal or written sense, and you hear me starting to sound a little more like you, please, please don’t be offended. I would never make fun of you. (For sure not to your face, because that is rude.) I just dig you, and am feeling the connection. I promise to respect our differences and keep it real.

List of My Best New Things from 2011, and a Look Ahead to 2012

All in all, 2011 was an amazing year. I have here a short (by no means complete) list of things that made this year special to me.

Honda CR-V: Yes, I still love my car and am SO happy I am no longer driving the truck. However, I think the better gas mileage I get is being offset by the fact that I no longer try to avoid driving, which is not very environmentally conscious of me. In 2012, I will try to respect my environment by riding my bike more for quick little trips. I will shoot for at least one trip by bike per week,  beginning when the temps hit 55+ degrees again.

Manuscript Submission: As my dad was overly fond of saying about anything unpleasant (hard work, unimaginable filth to be waded through, mind-numbing tedium,) “It’s good for you! It builds character!” Submitting manuscripts has been really good for me. It turns out that rejection didn’t destroy me after all. Finding agents to submit to, and sending queries out was so stressful I literally shook. All the craziest voices in my head rose in a chorus to tell me what a disaster the whole enterprise would turn out to be. I was on the verge of a collapse, and then, guess what? I got some form letters that said “not for us” and it was no big deal. I propose that in 2012, I will shoot for three times as many rejections for Hollywood University, and maybe a bunch for Sleepers as well.

Novel Revision: Speaking of Sleepers, I am really happy that I still want to work on that manuscript. I didn’t do a lot with it in 2011, but I know now that it is standing the test of time, at least with me. I am in LOVE with most of what I do, when I am doing it, but after I’ve worked on a small piece even 12 hours of  downtime between the writing and the re-reading is illuminating. Once the heat and energy dies down, I find a lot of what I’ve written to be boring and/or embarrassing. Some of it is salvageable, some is not. I still love Sleepers, although there are some kinks to work out and 2012 is the year, baby!

She Said Writer’s Retreats: So much fun! Friendship and photography and technology and old haunts and haunted houses and therapeutic conversation and giggles and shopping. And wine and food. Oh, and writing–I said that, right? More in 2012, please!

Coffee: It isn’t like I had never had coffee before, but my interest in it certainly grew this year. In 2011, coffee was demonstrated to diminish the occurrence of depression in women and prostate cancer in men. I also got a good coffeemaker. Coffee makes me feel smart and lively (and do stupid things faster with more energy!)  I still love tea and will continue to drink that occasionally, but I think 2012 will see me embracing the bean buzz with both arms.

Blogging:  Wordtabulous has been a superfun adventure. I’ve met people, shared some info, registered some opinions, figured out some things, had some meltdowns, and hopefully given cause for a chuckle or a “Yeah, sister!” once in awhile. I have also had a riot finding and following other blogs which have expanded my world quite a bit. Thank you wordpress, and bloggers and followers (and especially you commenters and “likers”–there is a special place in my heart for you!) I hope 2012 sees continued blogging, perhaps with more focus and punch (or not, as the shotgun approach seems to be my natural inclination.) I hope to see more of you, dear reader! Thanks for dropping in, and all the best to you and yours in the New Year!