Monthly Archives: July 2013

Year 3

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary!

I think of the last week in July as my blogging anniversary.  Indeed, WordPress sent me a congratulations and happy second anniversary message late last week.  As I embark upon my third year of blogging I can’t help but consider the larger arc of what I do here.

Last year I wrote a blog Anniversary and expressed my gratitude for all my readers.  I spent that first year experimenting with blogging.  I wrote about whatever struck my interest and I experimented with styles and themes.  This second year seems to have been a bit of an interlude.  There is much more deeply personal material. But I’m not sure I’ve established a direction.

I also started a second blog LisaSpiralReads.  That’s been an interesting exercise in itself.  I challenged myself to write 50 book reviews in a year.  My first real “blogging challenge”.  So far I am very happy with how it’s gone.  Who knows, maybe this year I’ll get ambitious and try NaNoWriMo.

If this blog were a trilogy I would be at the beginning of the final book.  Not to suggest that I’ll quit at the end of the year.  Even long series tend to have the ups and downs of multiple trilogies.  It’s how humans tend to cycle I suppose.  In any case, if I were looking at the last book in a trilogy what would I hope to accomplish in this last year?

Over all my writing is starting to take off.  When I started my first year I was just committing to writing my first book.  The second year started with my Manifest Divinity being released.  My second book When Gods Come Knocking is at the editors and I have a piece in the anthology Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul: Magic Practitioners Living with Disabilities  edited by Tara Miller due out this fall.   I was asked to write a small article for our local Women’s Press and I’ve had a few articles accepted by the Pagan News Collective on-line.  Hopefully it will be a year of expansion.

I’m not certain where this year will take me or my blog.  But I do want to thank all of my readers who’ve joined me this far on my journey.  I can’t express how much I appreciate knowing that my ‘musings’ are being read and enjoyed.  I hope you’ll continue to support me through the ups and downs of the coming year.

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Last week I did a double post so I was hoping I could skip this week.  It’s driving me nuts.  Maybe it’s the guilt I’m hearing a lot of people express.  It’s summer and things seem to move at a little more leisurely pace.   So we guilt ourselves about “not doing enough”.  Silly really.  Who needs a dose of stress along with summer heat and allergies?

Since I felt the need to say something (even if I’ve little or nothing to say) I thought I might take some time to notice a few things.100_3709

1. Stop and smell the roses.  They are gorgeous and in full bloom.

2. Look up.  The moon was full on Sunday and it’s still beautiful in the sky.  If not the moon, then try Fireworks from the county fairs, or Northern lights, or fluffy clouds or watching the summer storm on the horizon.

3. Look down, especially along the sides of the road.  I have a friend who says, “Weeds are just unwanted flowers.”

4. Breathe.  I know sometimes it’s hard because the air is thick and so are the grasses and pollens.  But slowing down and taking a minute to just be in the moment is so much more pleasant than worrying about all the things that didn’t get done.

(last year) A fire circle sounds like fun!

(last year) A fire circle sounds like fun!

Orion and I went and saw As You Like it.   Shakespeare in the park is a summer treat.  I’ve spent an hour outside “saying goodbye” to friends more times in the last month than I can count.  You may not know about Minnesota goodbyes, but we do tend to forget that we’re leaving and get caught up in another conversation on the way out the door. (Or in this case on the way to the car.) I’m debating mid-afternoon naps and lawn chair reading.  Enjoy the summer, there’s not as much left as you think!

Cell phone and distance, maybe I should add batteries for my camera to the list of things I haven't done......

Cell phone and distance, maybe I should add batteries for my camera to the list of things I haven’t done……

Shelter part II

Dad still uses his Timberline.

Dad still uses his Timberline.

I am comfortable thinking of a tent as my home, and my sisters are as well.  When I moved out for good (as opposed to being a student and maintaining a ‘permanent address’ at my parent’s house) one of my first purchases was a tent.   I consulted with my father and ended up with a four man Timberline.   Once I got the tent he said to me, “Now that you have a tent of your own you will never be homeless.”  I believed him.

I camped with my own family too.  We didn’t do quite as much camping and we didn’t have the huge set up.  My husbands were never as interested as my father was.  I did camp with diaper service diapers and an infant, but slowed down after I had the second.  Karina was mobile and I quickly discovered running after a toddler at a campground isn’t fun.

The Timberline became a large Eureka dome tent.  The first one I got was a showroom model of a limited edition design.  I loved that tent.  It was roomy and airy.  We even held a handfasting in it! (Gay marriage wasn’t legal yet.)  It was probably 25 people all told and it was a rainy day.  There was ultimately more room in the tent than under the tarp so we went with the cozy, but dry option.

My second Eureka tent was specifically picked for Orion.  I still had Karina but she was old enough, and savvy enough to dodge family camping.  It didn’t hurt that my second husband refused to camp at all.   This tent was a little smaller than the first and additionally split into a tent section and a porch section.  It gave me a dry place to park Orion’s wheelchair and just enough room for the two of us to be comfortable or the three of us to be cramped.  Karina’s other ploy was to lay claim to the old Timberline for herself.  The girl has always had an independent streak!

It’s been years since I’ve been able to set up that Eureka tent by myself.  Camping was restricted to group events where I would have help.  Last summer the tent got put away wet, and I had to wait for help to dry it out.  By the time we finally got it up the old tent had time to start deteriorating from the damp.  It was a windy day on top of it.  Karina and I managed to get it almost up, but the wind caught the tent.  The poles broke, the tent ripped.  It was a goner.

Orion was very proud to help out.

Orion was very proud to help out.

Last week I broke down and finally bought a new tent a Kelty.  This is a new and innovative design and it hasn’t had a lot of field testing.   It’s a large tent that can, in theory, be put up by one person.   There are actually two Kelty tents with the same footprint.  The Mach 6 is the one I really wanted.  Two rooms on either side of an enclosed porch.  That’s this year’s new design model.   No one has it in their stores and it costs $100 plus more than the already expensive Sonic 8.  The Sonic 8 is the same tent, without the separators.  It’s one BIG room.

I can live with that.  I’ll just use it like it’s got two rooms and a porch.  I can’t put it up by myself, I don’t have the stamina to pump that much.  However, Orion is entirely capable of being coached through the use of a pump and loves having some responsibility for setting up camp.  It’s Orion who is the camping enthusiast these days.  It’s his desire to go that motivated me to replace the tent I’d lost.  If he would do the haul and carry (which he really can’t) we’d be camping all summer.

100_4514The funny thing is that once I got a tent my stress level dropped instantly.  I didn’t realize that I’ve been living all year with a low-level stress because I didn’t have that “second home”.  I guess I really do need a tent in my life.  I hope to get much use out of this one.

Shelter part I

That canvas bag we had to climb over to get into the van was the army tent.

That canvas bag we had to climb over to get into the van was the army tent.

I tell people I grew up in tents.  We were a family that liked to travel, but had limited means.  Most of our family trips involved cars and camping.  But that’s not the whole of it.  We would camp when we visited my Mom’s old roommate in Duluth.  We would camp when we visited my mother’s side of the family in Wisconsin.  We would camp on the weekends in the park reserve an hour (back then it was closer to an hour and a half) away from the house.

I’m guessing we started camping as soon as the three of us girls were all out of diapers.  Mostly because I can imagine my mother putting her foot down about diapers in the camp.  These are the days before disposables.  I do remember camping with the playpen.  When unruly toddlers got out of line or Mom really needed her attention on getting a meal together the playpen was the solution.

My Dad had a four man umbrella tent from his army days.  (He served in the Korean War.)  We used that for the five of us until we acquired a canvas 12×12  wall tent, immediately dubbed the “big tent”.  I remember the army tent, because it wasn’t “decommissioned”.

If we planned to pack out early or were only staying one night on those family vacations we were all squeezed into it again.  The army tent was much faster to take down and was often last in/first out in the packing scheme.  At 12 or probably 13 it became “my” tent.  I was old enough, and responsible enough, not to have to stay in the same “room” as the rest of the family.

In those days campsites weren’t quite as restrictive as they often are now.  People called us the ‘Besnett traveling circus’ because we would put up so much canvas.  We had the big tent, the army tent, a tarp, a screen tent and later “The Tent” (a custom design, hand-built affair and handy for ice fishing or summer camping).  Occasionally there was a second tarp and eventually a backpacking tent for the third sister.

By the time I was in Junior High we were pros.  We started the season with Memorial Day and camped weekends in September until it snowed.  We all went to summer school, back then you could take recreational classes.  As soon as school was out the tents were pitched at the local park reserve and we girls were left at camp while Mom and Dad commuted to work.

In August the allergy season is at its peak.  We would go home long enough to wash everything and repack and then head up into the “allergy free zone” in Canada.   That’s where I was, listening to BBC radio, when Nixon resigned.  We’d get back in time for labor day weekend camping closer to home and then weekends again once school started.

Camping on the road often meant Dad was scheduled to be out of town for a business convention.  Rather than fly and hotel it, he convinced work to pay for gas and camping fees and brought us all along.  I remember camping in New Orleans in November and being sad the pool wasn’t opened.  It was almost 70 degrees and we Minnesota girls wanted to swim!

 

WordPress

People who use WordPress seem to love it or hate it.  Love it because it’s a simple, easy, accessible format.  Hate it because it’s formatted and hard to customize beyond rather narrow parameters.  Love it because it gives them easy access to other bloggers.  Hate it because it’s not easy to access bloggers in other systems.

I’ve been doing this weekly blogging thing for two years and mostly I’m content with the system.  I don’t have to bother with things I don’t want to worry about.  I’ve managed to learn to use the tools I need and the rest don’t get in my way.  I appreciate the editing check before publishing (even when I don’t agree).  I occasionally find a gem of a site in the recommended links.  I’ve also found some wonderful “blogging buddies” several of whom have since left the WordPress fold.

However, this week I’m apparently on WordPress’s “watch list”.  They closed down my second blog.  I’ve posted about it.  lisaspiralreads.wordpress.com   where I took on the challenge to write 50 book reviews in one year.  Apparently they think I’m either selling something or in serious copy-write violation.  Who knows?  They don’t actually say what the offense is, other than somewhere in their list of rules and guidelines a rule has been broken.  Or at least bent to the point of needing some checking.

How do they even figure this stuff out?  Maybe one of the authors or publishers of one of the book reviews I wrote googled themselves and didn’t like what I posted?  Three people this weekend posted questions to Facebook about books I’ve reviewed and I commented referring them to the site, was there a sudden spike in traffic?  (One NOT caused by being “freshly pressed”.)

I do use an Amazon affiliate link to post links to Amazon.  I mean it’s a book review site!  Where else are people going to find the books?  Anyone reading book reviews does not NEED an Amazon ad to know they are there!  Posting links this way is easy (it’s how I figured out how to DO IT.)  Posting links to the library (where I get most of the books I read) is HARD, and probably counts as an affiliate too since it would be MY library and not at all useful to readers.

I put up lots of links to Wikipedia too, but apparently that’s okay.  The “recommended links” at the bottom of the page are often paid sites as well, but I guess since I’m not getting a cut……..   Anyone on WordPress knows their spam folder is full of WordPress sites actively promoting “getting rich off your blog.”  Somehow there is a serious disconnect here and I don’t think it’s really mine to fix.

I’ve never actually been issued any money from Amazon since I never told them where to send the $0.33 credit on the account.  The obvious conclusion based on the evidence is that I’m running a business here without buying the business site!  Add to that I’m in Minnesota and Amazon (leading the pack)  has terminated payment to all affiliate accounts linked to the State because of a new tax law.  What a threat I am to profit-making.

Of course after this post they could close this site down as well.  I don’t think I did any name-calling, but I know you all heard the tone.  I probably did more “advertising” for Amazon affiliates in this one post – without any links to Amazon even the “recommended” one – than in total at the other site!  Hopefully this is all in error and the “surely you must be mistaken” email I sent will result in a quick return to access.  How else am I going to keep up with those reviews?In the meantime,  WordPress, you’re on MY “watch-list”!

 

****   Look, they got back to me before noon!  It’s nice to know that the review team is almost as on top of things as the automated “close down the blog” system.

Hi there,

Thank you for getting in touch.

Your site was flagged by our automated anti-spam controls. We have reviewed your site and have removed the suspension notice.

We greatly apologize for this error and any inconvenience it may have caused.

Late

I feel like the white rabbit this week.  I’m late, I’m late.   Some of it I suppose is doing “catch up” now that the electricity is back on.  I am thrilled to have the laundry done.  That I was already a little behind when the power went out and by the time it came back on I was digging for socks should tell you that it took me a bit to get through it all.

I didn’t lose any of the food from the deep freeze, which I’m very grateful about.  I also didn’t go to the grocery store (what was the point) so there was no milk, no eggs, no lettuce, no vegetables, you understand that this might pose a problem don’t you?

I had things to do, places to go.  I made arrangements for Orion to go to his father’s for the weekend.  (They had a great time and actually did some fun things.)  Since I wasn’t babysitting the generator I could take off.  If I could only get out the door!

My cousins on my mother’s side organize the family reunion.  But I’m not the only one who’s been having a rough spring.  Apparently invites didn’t go out until the last-minute and scheduling was a little haphazard.  I wasn’t sure I would be able to attend until the last-minute.  Once I knew I could I had to get groceries and put together something for the pot-luck.

It’s been awhile since I’ve made one of my mother’s recipes per her instructions.  Somehow I forgot that everything she makes feeds an army.   I started in one bowl, then needed a bigger one, and finally my biggest bread bowl.  I cook for hordes as well.  That’s not a small bowl!   Then I had to figure out how to carry a salad that needed refrigeration in the car for the weekend.  That meant another run to the store to buy a cooler bag.  (The bowl was too big for any of my coolers.)

I could get on the road except with all the damp we’ve had my screen door decided to fall off the house as I was loading the car!  It was truly a comedy of errors.  I even left the house and then turned around and came back because I didn’t grab fresh batteries for my camera.  I never took the camera out – so you have the post not only late but without photos.

I did keep the salad cold, and several cousins said they appreciated it as it’s a favorite.  I don’t get to these reunions often.  It’s been at least 8 years since I’ve been out to central Wisconsin.  The cousin who’s actually my age struggles with that as well, he’s coming from Omaha. It’s been at least 15 years and finally we were in the same place at the same time!

Due to the crazy (apparently its epidemic) only one set of my Aunts and Uncles were there.  Several families were not represented at all.  None the less it was really great to spend the day catching up with family.  A few of them are Facebook friends, but most of them I only get seasonal updates about from my Mom.

I was late getting back as well.  Orion’s Dad had to wait for me to get home, even though he was late dropping Orion off.

Somehow over the course of the weekend it’s become July!  How did that happen?!?   More running ahead for the 4th.  Bills need to be paid.  Time cards are due.  I really need to post a blog for the week.

So I throw up my hands and decide there’s no point resisting.  I’m embracing the crazy.  I’m posting late.  And I’ll wish you an early safe and joyful 4th of July, just so I don’t have to be late for that!

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