Blog Archives

Happy Blog-versary to me!

“show your work” The cook is taking the creamy yolk photo. Duck eggs, poached.

I got a notice from Word Press congratulating me on my blogging anniversary.  Go figure.  I can’t imagine going into this with any hope of writing for 7 years, this is my 338th post.  Funny how time flies when you’re having fun.

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To celebrate, I had coffee and scones with a friend rather than actually posting this.  Hoping when I do get around to it it’s still Monday.  Lol

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Eating well at Mom and Dads. The pesto with scallops leftovers was the perfect side dish for the lamb chops.  https://lisaspiral.wordpress.com/2018/07/09/summer-holidays/

I’ve been doing quite a bit of out and about in the last week.  Karina had me over for breakfast.  I spent the weekend with my parents.  Did some cooking and shopping with them.  The cooler weather has made a difference.   They get the new furnace/air conditioner in later this week.

This time I made the salmon on the stove. Not so far to carry it without dropping.

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It’s felt a little like fall in the air.  Maybe that’s why I’ve been thinking about Lammas.   I’ll refer you to past posts and take a little anniversary vacation.    Thanks for reading!

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Sacrificial King 2017

Ducks Geese and Corn 2016

Bad Example 2015

Corn Mother 2014

First Fruits 2013

Lammas 2012

Corn on the Cob 2011

 

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Social Media

I’ve been neglecting my blog.

Mom sitting in the sun (I’m reflected in the glass door)

There are a multitude of reasons for this, and even more excuses.  It’s summer, no one reads blogs in the summer.  I’ve been spending a lot of time up at my parent’s and they don’t have the internet.  I keep forgetting to take pictures.

The truth is that social media is a double-edged sword.  Addictive and depressing, narrowing the information bandwidth, and allowing us to pretend we’re connecting with people, creating an illusion of a network of friends.   At the same time it really does help keeping track of our loved ones at a distance.  It can be an efficient way to organize, or spread information.  It can be a meeting ground and a place to begin new, real, relationships.

Like most things, making social media work for us rather than against us requires work.  Hitting the like button and sharing the facebook generated and suggested birthday meme isn’t really work.  Counting how many “friends” you have and playing games across a social platform doesn’t build relationships.

My daughter (I got to hang with her friends for her birthday) doesn’t read my blog. Ever.

I have friends who read my blog.  I know this because they’ll comment, or call and ask for follow up.  (Or message me to alert me to a gramatical error.)  When I see them they’ll be fairly up to date on what’s been going on in my life.   I have friends who don’t read my blog.  They are surprised at old news and entirely unashamed when I comment that I talked about it on my blog.  (If you really wanted to keep up……)

I also have regular readers who feel like friends.  I’ve read their blogs, and made comments.  They’ve read my blog and made comments.  We have some things in common.  We keep track.  But it’s hard to read all the blogs and maintain all the long distance, never met you in person relationships.  Bloggers come and go, getting caught up in other aspects of their lives.

Orion is really good about liking and sharing my posts. But I suspect he just reads them to see what I’m saying about him. 🙂

I am truly grateful for all the people who take the time to check in.  I am delighted by the little likes and shares, and genuinely appreciate the support.  I am thrilled and if I’m honest intimidated by the comments.  I try to check in and respond back.  Sometimes it’s overwhelming.

Thank you for taking the time to participate in my social media outpourings.  Thank you for being that oddity that is an on-line friend.  Thank you for your likes, your shares, your comments, your patience, your continuing checking in and checking up on me.

Ducks, geese and corn

This was not as fun as it sounds.

This was not as fun as it sounds.

I skipped my blog last week.  No notice.  No excuses.  No nothing.  Just didn’t write.

I hit that overwhelmed point.  I had things to say.  Too many things it seems.  I couldn’t find a focus. I couldn’t find a focus in the rest of my life either.  I missed a doctor’s appointment.  I discovered I hadn’t gotten in my time card when no check came in the mail.  I had laundry (and water) in the basement.  I had boxes (empty) all over the house.  I was a mess.

In all fairness, I’m probably still a mess, but it’s getting better.  I got out the calendar and started writing things down (rather than relying solely on the cell phone, which seems to drop appointments for no good reason.)  I let go of an obligation that was the “one thing too many” that sent me on this spiral.  I got the boxes out of the middle of the living room and into a “staging area” so I can fill them one at a time and put them back.

Getting my ducks (or in this case geese) in a row

Getting my ducks (or in this case geese) in a row

I’m working on my sleep schedule.  At least I’m sleeping, even if the hours are still a little odd.  I’m putting away laundry and watering the poor, sad plants.  I had my corn for Lammas* and decided I am not in a hurry to dig out the harvest season decorations.  I’m trying to be kind to myself – one step at a time.

Last week I got a notification from WordPress saying “Happy Fifth Blogging Anniversary!”  My goodness, has it really been that long?  I spent some time this last week wondering if I was done, if I needed a serious blogging break.  I decided that I’m still good, as long as my readers will forgive an occasional dropped post like last week.

Because it's Lammas and that means corn

Because it’s Lammas and that means corn

Having a weekly blog is one of my touch points in a rather unstructured life.  I need those now and again.  Once a week is not so high pressure I can’t handle it.  It’s not so infrequent it doesn’t matter.  It holds me accountable to take time to reflect on my life, my choices, my spirituality, my vision.  Those are good things.

So, dear reader, I may be a mess but if you’ll still have me I’ll still be around on Mondays.

 

*Previous Lammas posts:

Lammas – dog days and olympics

Bad Example – apparently a meltdown this time of year is not unusual

Corn Mother – because Corn!

First Fruits – harvest season has begun

Corn on the cob – it’s REALLY important

 

Procrastination

12969427_1087938171226430_1176227532_nThere’s a blog that’s been spinning around in my head for the past week.  It just won’t seem to come out.  I’ve had time to work at it, and have found plenty of other things to do instead.   I have tried to make it coalesce in my head, and have found myself dozing in my chair.

Now it’s Monday and I’ve got, nothing.  The problem with procrastination is that it adds stress to what’s usually already a stressful situation.  It anticipates things will get easier, but there is no basis in empiric evidence.

I’ve been putting off getting Orion a haircut.  I keep thinking it will be nice enough to walk.  Then it snows.  This week there are temps predicted in the 70’s.  (There are also temps predicted in the 30’s).  If I wait, will that happen on the day when I have time?  Will I feel up to it physically?  Will I have overbooked myself?

I’m trying to get through my list of things “to do” without putting things off so long.  Inevitably something slips through.  I don’t get enough sleep and something falls off the list.  I get stuck in traffic and time runs short.  I am faced with something that HAS to be done RIGHT NOW and so the thing that’s been put off gets put off again.

What happens the most often is that I just plain forget.  I get so used to putting something off that it not only drops off the list, it drops off my radar.  This week that was Orion’s weekend program.  Orion at Samba

He loves going on Weekend Ventures.  They’ve changed their notification system for registering.  I no longer have a piece of paper lying around that I have to keep moving (and therefore am continually reminded).  I get an email and in less than a day it’s no longer on my screen.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I didn’t do it IMMEDIATELY and now I hope I’m not too late!

Anniversary

Throwback selfie

Throwback selfie

I was thinking this month was my 3 year blogging anniversary.  I actually started blogging in 2011!  Typical of me.

My “history” has never been strong on the numbers.  I often don’t even know how old I am.  (I’m not willing to do the math.)  My children keep track, and I’ll ask them if I need a number.  Orion is happy to tell anybody how old I am.  Not sure I appreciate that as much as I could.

I was 23 for 3 years.  Really, it was a number I could remember and an age I believed in.  I even had an argument with my ex about it.  I was filling out a form, or he was, and needed my age – 23.  We went back and forth at some volume in public.  He finally turned to me calmly and said, “Which one of us knows how old we are?”  ooops.

Blogging is getting harder to do.  I am not looking forward to writing the way I was at the beginning.  I often find myself struggling for a topic.  I don’t think I’m ready to give it up, but in this next year I may be more willing to take an occasional break.  Maybe not.  I’ve been surprised before.

Readers have come and gone.  Not many of you comment, and so sometimes I wonder if I’m making sense.  On the other hand I continue to get more likes and followers.  I’m really grateful for my readers.  It’s been delightful getting to know those of you who take the time to write little notes.  It’s been encouraging to see small shifts in readership.

Blogging has been part of my daily practice routine.  Writing it requires being aware of what is happening in my life.  It requires being willing to step back and refine those moments, magical and mundane, into words.  It requires being challenged to open up and share my actual thoughts and feelings.  It requires being vulnerable and present.

I hope that I have, at least occasionally, succeeded.

Thank you for reading!

Walking

Photo from AndraWatkins.tumbler.com  This is Andra, Tori and Lisa on the Trace in Tennessee

Photo from AndraWatkins.tumbler.com This is Andra, Tori and Lisa on the Trace in Tennessee

My blogging buddies are walking.  Tori at The Ramblings and Lisa from Woman Wielding Words are joining Andra Watkins (The Accidental Cootchie Mama)  on the Natchez Trace.   Andra has spent the month walking the 444 mile Trace to promote her book: To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis.

Yes, that’s the Lewis from Lewis and Clark.  He died, under questionable circumstances, along the Natchez Trace.  Andra’s book is an engaging character study in a genre that defies description.  In some ways it’s a historical novel, given the main character of Meriwether Lewis and a few guest appearances from people who could be his contemporaries.  In flashbacks we learn about the parts of Lewis’ story that don’t get as much attention in grade school.

Much of the motivation of the story comes from what happened to Lewis after the expedition that put him in our history books.  He was made governor of the Louisiana Territory, replacing a career politician who wasn’t happy about losing his post.  A desk job didn’t suit him as well as leading an adventure into the wilderness.

In some ways this book is a ghost story.  It is set in 1977 and Meriwether Lewis is sent back to “make things right.”  The afterlife mythos is curious and complicated.  Meriwether truly believes that because his death was deemed suicide he is forgotten by history. He was traveling the Trace in part to take his journals from the expedition to a publisher, but he never made it.  But there is also a mission, something he is sent back to do.  It seems he is destined to intervene in the life of a little girl.

Check out Andra's book!

Check out Andra’s book!

Em is a plucky and precocious young girl.  A native of New Orleans, her parents were recently divorced and her father forbidden to contact her.  He’s a musician and Em’s hero.  Her mother is not a nice person.  She’s running a brothel and has essentially sold Em off for her divorce.  When Em learns her mother’s plans for her future she becomes determined to find her father who has moved to Nashville.  Running away she literally runs into Lewis and the partnership is formed.

The Natchez Trace runs from the Mississippi river in Natchez to Nashville.  It was an important trade route, It aided the western expansion, it was a supply line during the 1812 war and it was a road familiar to Meriwether Lewis.  Em and Lewis making their way along the Trace is the setting for the bulk of the story.  It’s a road trip adventure novel.

I really enjoyed the book and I don’t care that it doesn’t fit neatly into a single genre.  Andra’s writing style is clear and witty and well crafted.  Her research into Meriwether Lewis and the history of the Trace is apparent but not intrusive.  The pencil sketch illustrations by Helen Rice are beautiful and very reminiscent of the kind of sketches Lewis made in his own journals.  I highly recommend it.

Oh, and if you get a chance get out and take a walk.  I’ve threatened to take a walk in solidarity.  Andra is going 15 miles a day and has been for a month.  Tori and Lisa are going to do what they can, but don’t really expect to make it half way.  I’ll be lucky to make it to the mailbox, but we do what we can.   Have a great week!

 

#toliveforever

 

 

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.

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.

100

Many of my earliest image postings were clip art.

Many of my earliest image postings were clip art.

This is my 100th post on this blog!  That may not seem like such a big deal, especially for those bloggers who are writing something every day.  But I’m posting once a week, which means it’s been almost two years of posting on WordPress.  I’ve made mistakes and I’ve had plenty of opportunities to learn.

I still have to get a handle on the whole writing process thing.  I find myself making amazing misspellings and bad uses of there’s and it’s ( inevitably pointed out to me by my readers).  I know how to use these words, but apparently my fingers don’t care when I type.  I don’t always catch it in editing, especially when I’m a little sleepy or rushed to hit ‘publish’.  I’ve had to learn the discipline of meeting the weekly commitment .  (Sometimes a day late, but still….)  I’ve worked hard at learning to be open and authentic both with the personal posts and when I am posting about a larger event.

One of my most popular posts was inspired by a book I read about Great Apes.

One of my most popular posts was inspired by a book I read about Great Apes.

I’ve been disappointed in my expectations.  Who knew that hundreds, no thousands of readers who would love this blog are having so much trouble finding it?  🙂   I’ve never been Freshly Pressed.  I haven’t gotten a blogging award.  Some of my friends, the one’s who ask “what’s new with you?” are clearly not even checking in.  My Mom doesn’t read my blog! (But then, she doesn’t have a computer so I suppose that’s to be expected isn’t it.)

I’ve learned to be a bit more reasonable about expectations.  Now I write as much for myself as anything and am delighted when others find something useful, or inspiring, or entertaining in what I have to say.  I recognize that winning those blogging awards often requires things like writing a post with 24 things about yourself – one for each letter of the alphabet.  I’m grateful to have avoided that.  As for freshly pressed, on the few occasions when I’ve checked “this weeks list” I’ve not been impressed.  It seems that photography blogs are popular and occasionally a humor piece.  I’m delighted when my blogging buddies make the list, but even they seem confounded by the selection process.

The post that generated the most comments (July 2012) was about Trolls

The post that generated the most comments (July 2012) was about Trolls

There’s another thing I’ve learned.  I really can have friends on the internet who I’ve never met, but feel I’ve truly gotten to know. The blogs I tend to read are like mine, a little personal, a little day to day, observations and perspectives on life.  I’ve found several “blogging buddies” who I’m sure would be delightful to spend time with in the real world as well as on-line.  Someday I may just  drop in on them.  (Well, there would be discussion and planning and schedule checking and making arrangements for Orion, but you know what I mean.)

So thank you for going on this journey with me.  I hope you will continue to enjoy my posts and will share with your friends.  Who knows.  Those thousands of potential readers may find me yet!

The post that I continue to get feedback on (not always in this forum) is my post on Prayer Beads.

The post that I continue to get feedback on (not always in this forum) is my post on Prayer Beads.

Little Stories

I watched I Remember Mama the other night.  The accents are off.  The audio was a little rough.  The movie itself is in black and white.  I loved it.   It struck me that this is a little story. I Remember Mama clip

from I Remember Mama

from I Remember Mama

I remember little stories growing up.  Rascal is a little story about a racoon.  There was another with pet skunk named Betelgeuse.  Erma Bombeck wrote simple stories, funny ones, about being a housewife.  The Little House on the Prairie series is really a collection of  little stories about growing up.  Even Profiles in Courage, whose author goes on to a large and dramatic life, tells a story simply.  (If you’re not smiling click the link and find out who that author is.)

We don’t see these little stories much any more.  There is still a human need for them, a demand.  The Chicken Soup for the Soul books are filled with stories that could be little, if they weren’t so dramatic or inspiring.  Reader’s Digest still prints an occasional “I’m just a normal every day person” drama with a rescue or recovery at the end of a great trauma.  Memoir has become a publishing niche.  That’s what I Remember Mama is, a memoir.  But the memoirs I have read seem written to highlight the unusual rather than the ordinary.  Every day, even painted with vivid colors and glorious language, is just not enough any more.

Are we part of someone else's little story or have we made it our own?

Are we part of someone else’s little story or have we made it our own?

But we all have our little stories and we still want to know we are not alone with them.  Where do we turn?  To the bloggers.  It is on-line in these blogs where our little stories play out.  They may not be as carefully crafted.  Time moves at a different pace in the blogosphere and the pressure to put something, ANYTHING, out there on a regular basis is pretty high.

The blogs we choose to read let us know that we are not alone in the world.  Other people have struggles, just like we do.  Other people have wonderful insights and moments of clarity, just like we do.  Other people can make us laugh, or cry, or reach out in sympathy.

The advantage of the blog is that most of them allow for comments.  The dialog is short.  But over time friendships form.  This is especially true when bloggers read and comment with their fellow bloggers.  There are several that I read regularly, a few I comment on pretty often but only one or two where I feel I’ve made a real friend.  That’s typical for me of friendships.

I know other bloggers who count everyone who’s a “regular” as a friend.   I feel that way too, but that’s a different kind of friendship.  Those are friends like a good book is a friend.  They are there to snuggle up with when I need a reminder that maybe my life isn’t so different from everyone else’s after all.  They are there to make me laugh or to remind me to look at the sun shinning through the clouds.  There are days when those commenters, those other bloggers, are my lifeline to the world.

I treasure the little stories.  I am grateful to share them, as well as my own.  I only hope that I can be that ray of hope, or little laugh, or small reassurance for someone else sometimes.  I like the idea of giving back when I have gotten so much from this blogging world.  So check out the other bloggers on my blogroll, and leave a comment here and there like breadcrumbs to a possible new friend.

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