Tip-toeing back into the room, brushing away the cobwebs.

Yeah, so, gonna give this another go.  It’s time, right? I happily wrote for several about topics from favorite songs to parenting challenges.  Stayed fairly light. But then my dear MIL came to us to die and die she did: with the wonderful and caring support of Beaumont Hospice, Dianne lived out her last days happy and sneaking the occasional smoke until finally the morphine took her smiles, her smokes and eventually, softly, her last breath.  i wrote a lot about that. Deep stuff.  And then my son ended up hospitalized for other stuff just a month later.  And I wrote about that, too.  And it became a chore. And chores aren’t fun.

So I stopped. And I feel bad.  So I’m back.        Hi. (Waves)

I truly don’t want to make any sweeping statements other than I want to do this again, I liked it when I did, so I’ll give it a shot.  Ok?  And it won’t be all rainbows and water sprites – I still work 65-70 hours a week at a place that makes me nuts and I still have teenagers, one of whom is at MILITARY SCHOOL (there, I said it). So will have much to opine there too.  Anyways. No promises, no commitments.  I’ll just wander in occasionally and spout off, ok?

 

Cat on ledge jumps funny

Here we goooooooo….

..

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Enough with the false starts already!

Blogging is harrrrd, she whined.

animated gif of cat hit by toy train to illustrate my repeated false starts at blogging

I think I can I think I can I think I can….

It isn’t, actually.  The hard part is getting past the arbitrary filters in my own mind long enough to get something down on paper. (Well, screen, but you know what I mean.)  What was hard was this past year.  What was easy was venting about it here. So easy, in fact, that talking about the hard stuff – hospice, mental health, loss, etc., became the norm. It felt like cheating when I’d see a silly cat cartoon or have a funny observation to make – why, I can’t do that here! This here’s a serious blog for serious-like stuff.  We’ve got dying to talk about and psychotropics to expound upon. This is not place for memes!  But yeah, it is. It’s my place to do with as I please and if I choose to use an animated gif of a train repeatedly hitting a fat grey cat in order to symbolize the number of times I’ve attempted to post but not quite gotten there, well then dammit, I shall.

So yeah. Enough with the declarations. I miss this place. *looks around, blows dust off the dragon* And I may still get heavy ’cause shit still gets real, more often than I’d like.  But I also shall grant myself permission to post the light as well. I laugh more than I cry, after all; even if much of that laughter is slightly inappropriate. So that’s going to happen here too.

Now this is exciting news…

I’ve been sitting on this one for a little while…

Check out the new Parents-space.com!

Check out the new Parents-space.com!

There’s a new home for parents on the web.  Parents Space is intended for those of us who aren’t perfect, who don’t have all the answers. It’s a collection of parents of every stripe, from all over the world, talking about the issues that are meaningful to them and supporting each other. The brainchild of fellow WordPresser, Einat Skaked, this is the site for parents who have “lost their manual” (or, as in my case, was never issued one in the first place.)  And I’m pleased to say that I get to be one of a whole host of contributing writers.  It’s a wonderful and talented group I get to hang out with here.

I do hope you’ll come check us out!  And hey, we’re just getting started so why not tell a friend or two?  Maybe read a few posts, click a few likes, Tweet a bit?  You know, help us settle in and feel loved.

Thanks – and please, I’d love to hear comments!  Tell me what to write about!

 

In which the new blogger asks advice from experienced bloggers

Hi There, O Experienced Ones!

As you’ll note from my very short archive list, I’m awfully new at this blogging thing.  I’d really like to make a go of it so I’m looking for advice, help, to-do’s, warnings or general whatever-you-do-don’t-do-that sort of assistance.  I’m not necessarily looking to make into the big time here – I have a great job that is mostly rewarding – but I am looking to create a true outlet for myself (think: sanity preservation) and hopefully, some enjoyment for those who share it with me.  (Naturally, I’d like to have folks actually share this with me – i.e.: readers).  So, I’ll get the ball rolling here with a couple of questions and I’m hoping that this post will come to the notice of a few of you with some time under your belts who won’t mind giving me a few pointers.

1. Etiquette question:  I write about my life, stuff around me and quite often, my family.  When I’m writing about myself, it’s easy to know where the line is between what I’m willing to put out in public and what I’m not.  That’s the easy part.  When it comes to my family, that’s tougher.  So far, I’ve refrained from using their names – not that I’m under any illusion that that affords them much in the way of privacy.  I haven’t yet written too much that either child would be embarrassed by – at least, no more than the natural level of association-with-mom embarrassment innate in any teen.  How do you handle what’s appropriate and what isn’t?  Do you use photos of your kids or family in your blogs?

2. Content question: So far, the topics I’ve covered run the gamut from the viola to my cat’s ass – and a few stops in-between.  Now I’ve read a few posts out there on “getting started in blogging” and many of them caution that the burgeoning blogger should choose a theme or a topic area and stay somewhere within those boundaries.  Okay, I get this.  And I’ve seen this on many a blog I read as well – where the content is centered around the writer’s career, for example, or a favorite hobby.  Mine seem to center mostly around my family but I absolutely don’t want to be bound by this.  Maybe I’ll talk about my work life (it’s absurd enough to qualify as interesting, that’s for sure) or other things I find interesting.  How do you determine what is blog-worthy or not?

3. Audience question: No, I’m not a professional writer and no, I don’t fancy myself one of those so-called mommy bloggers with sponsors elbowing each other out of the way to get to first.  I would, however, like to have an audience, however modest.  Folks who might find what I write interesting or entertaining and might even be driven to comment, like, or even – gasp – follow this blog.  When I write about issues I’m wrestling with, it’d be great to hear from others in the same situation.  I haven’t done a lot to really publicize this blog yet.  Sure, it’s hooked up to my Facebook and Twitter accounts so every post is pushed to at least that audience.  I’m also seeing a bit of traffic from WordPress itself, also appreciated.  I haven’t started truly pestering friends and acquaintances to please read and share – frankly I’m still feeling a bit insecure about my writing and whether it’s of interest beyond immediate friends and family (who have to say nice things).  I’d like to bring in a wider audience – how have others done this?  How did you reach beyond your immediate circle, bring in the readers and build a loyal base.  Did any of you use paid media to jumpstart things?

Those are the biggies for now. But there’s more – I’m new enough at this I don’t even know what questions to ask!  Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated!

And as an advance thanks, here’s a gratuitous photo of my cat Mac in a too-small shoebox:

Kitty in a shoebox too small for him

Mac is never one to turn down a good box sit.

I shall now begin to get ready to prepare to initiate a blog post

Time to write a post today.  As all writers know, this is not something to be taken lightly, nor entered into without the proper preparation. In particular, without the careful arrangements of one’s workspace and surroundings, all efforts to produce quality work will be for naught.  As I also have several work assignments to catch up on over the weekend, therefore much writing to do, this is even more important.  So, without further ado, here’s how I get ready to write:

  • First, ensure I am rested and my mind ready to focus:  This morning, I slept in a bit, played with the cats (relaxation is key!), showered (proper hygiene is key!), tossed on some sweats and ate a bowl of oatmeal (comfort and nutrition are key!).
  • Second, mentally prepare for the writing experience: for me, this might take the form of a period of meditation on my topic, allowing the ideas to flow in my head – and later on to the paper (or screen, as it turns out).  Because I’m a multi-tasker, this meditation took place while also sorting, washing, drying and folding laundry, trying to drag two stubborn teenagers out of bed and feeding an assortment of animals (the teenagers fend for themselves).
  • Third, prepare my work space:  unpack laptop, arrange papers, grab refreshments (writing is thirsty work!), and pillow to make chair tolerable.
  • Fourth, fire up laptop and begin: this means first checking Facebook, Twitter and email to ensure entire world is operating as it should.  Play a few games of Solitaire Blitz – you know, to loosen up the fingers for more efficient typing.  Check movie listings for time of movie to see with husband this evening as a reward for all of my hard work.  Open up WordPress, log in; log in; log in; hit reset password key; log in, click new post and stare at empty box.
  • Clearly, I am not properly prepared.  Revert to second step by doing more laundry, exhorting teenagers to clean their rooms and changing sheets on bed.
  • Sit back at computer.  Sigh.  Drum fingers.  Dart eyes around room to see what else might need cleaning.  No doubt the dusty baseboards are ruining my groove.  Play 3 more games of Solitaire Blitz.
  • Notice cat encroaching on workspace. Pesky cat. Dramatically exclaim to cat that writing is difficult and he isn’t helping.
  • Scratch cat.

Mac helping me write #1 Mac2 Mac3 Mac helping me write

 

What’s your “routine”?