Posts Tagged With: blogging

Where do I begin?

I knew February was going to be insane, and I tried to plan for it.  I didn’t plan well enough.  February was INSANE.  March hasn’t been much saner.

A quick run down on the move and what’s been going on.

  • Two days before we left Finland, I picked Baby J up from daycare and was informed that several of the kids had chicken pox.  (Finland doesn’t vaccinate for it, FYI)
  • We flew to the US on January 30th.  The trip was okay – we were able to upgrade to Business Class.  Hello, lay flat seats!  It was very nice, quite comfortable, and it was great having a “bed” to lay Baby J on.  He took 3 decent naps on our transatlantic flight – if we had been in Economy, his naps would have been shortened because he wouldn’t have been able to get comfortable.  So yeah, that upgrade was totally worth it.
  • We had ordered cars from Volvo to meet us stateside through their expat program.  Mine was due to arrive on February 1st, but it was delayed.  Not going to get into all that at this time, but suffice to say, I am quite unhappy with Volvo right now.  Anyway, we were supposed to get one car, then drive to see family in Texas and Arkansas.  We didn’t get a car until  February 10th, so our road trip was delayed a week.  During that week, we received our household items from the US (that had been in storage for four years while we were gone) and unpacked most of that.
  • We did a road trip from February 11-19.  Baby J got chicken pox the day we left.  We got to see some family, but not everyone we wanted to see, thank you very much  Highly Contagious Disease.  Poor baby was miserable for about 3 days, but then it was better.  Luckily, he’s not quite old enough to realize that scratching made the itchiness feel better, so all he would do is sit there and squirm.  Small favors.
  • On February 22 our goods from Finland arrived.  Stephen was back at work, and my mom had come to help out through February 26th.  We unpacked more boxes, piled stuff on counters and tables, tried to get through as much as we could.
  • My car finally arrived on March 4th, then Baby J started getting what we thought was carsick – he managed to christen both new cars.  But then I came down with a stomach bug and was down for the count for two days, so we figured that’s what Baby J had.  Then when I was better, Stephen got it, then actually ended up in the hospital last week, spent 2 days there.
  • And this week, Baby J got sick and started having breathing issues again, so I took him to the doctor on Wednesday to make sure he got diagnosed and treated properly with a new doctor.  He’s been getting breathing treatments three times a day since then, which take about 10 minutes each.

I’m exhausted.

I still have a pile of linens that were in storage that need to be washed, I still need to sort through most of the kitchen stuff, the office is a complete wreck, and there are still about 10 boxes that need to be unpacked (not including the 6 boxes full of DVD/CD cases that we’re not bothering to unpack).

And, we’ve started looking for a new house – we are in a six month rental right now.  So we have to move everything again in a few months.  I’m desperately trying to reduce our inventory before then.

So I haven’t been blogging.  I haven’t been working on the new podcast I started.  I haven’t really had the equipment to do it until recently, anyways, and now I just lack quiet time without a two year old asking for more food (the bottomless pit).  Baby J will be starting part time daycare in April, so if I can just survive two more weeks without life going sideways – again – I might get some things accomplished.

Meanwhile, this conversation happens:

  • Stephen:  “You really need to-“
  • Me:  “I really need to do a lot of things right now, and whatever you were about to suggest is probably on my list.  Do you really want to go there?”

I have a bunch of thoughts on the move and acclimating back to US customs.  But that’s a post for another day.

How have you been?

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Where I’m at

I’ve been quite out of sorts lately with my life.  I’ve been what I can only describe as numb when it comes to getting my thoughts out, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, writing or blogging, on the computer or on paper.  I’ve been questioning what has been my ultimate dream forever.  Do I still want to write?

I still have stories in my head, but I can’t seem to get them out.  A lack of ability or drive, or something else, I don’t know.

Is it because I don’t talk much most days, have I become locked in my head?

Is it because I don’t use the language as much, living in a foreign country?

Is it because I no longer want to escape my life into an imaginary world?

Is it because I no longer daydream?

Or is it because it’s not meant to be?

Is this a midlife crisis?

 

 

Categories: On Writing, Writer Sara Johnson | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Thoughts on blogging

Blogging, to me, has always been a very personal experience.  I’ve always looked at it as journal, but one that I may not share my innermost thoughts with.  Instead, I’ve always tried to share thoughts and experiences that others may be able to connect to.  Kind of “You are not alone.”  And, of course, it’s an easy way to communicate the more boring aspects of life to friends and family, the things you wouldn’t necessarily email or call them about.

I’ve kept a blog for more than five years, probably closer to 10, though obviously this one is not that old.  The one I had before this is simply another piece of my life, another chapter.  Although part of me hated to leave it behind, I felt like that was very much a different me.  A me that I moved on from, a me that no longer existed, even though that me made me the me I am today.  Regardless, my blog has always been about me, about what’s going on in my life, about what I want to talk about.  That, to me, is the very core of the blogosphere.

If you read anything about how to write a blog or, even better, how to monetize your blog, you’ll discover the emphasis on niche.  In order to make money, to attract followers, to make it into a business, you must write within a specified set of parameters.  You should have a blog about Finance, or Movies, or Crafts.  You should have a Mommy Blog, or a Writing Blog, or a News Blog.  Although I would love to be able to make a name for myself blogging, I could never pocket myself into any niche other than “Me,” because narrowing it down to one thing seems so boring to me, so anti-blog.  There are people who do it, and do it well, and I appreciate the work they put into them and subscribe to a lot of those blogs, but the format is simply not something I can do.  I’m way too scattered, my mind is always in a million places, and I want to write down my thoughts about all of them.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post.  I have 49 drafts sitting in my draft folder, half written ideas, random notes, things that I would love to get back to but that require more than just typing some words and hitting publish.  Because although I refuse to give in to the commercial aspect of blogging, I still want my posts to mean something, to be well formed and conversational and communicate with people, to be polished and not just crap.  That’s why I’ve never done much in the way of blogging challenges, why I have a hard time forcing myself to blog “three times a week” or “every Friday” or, like lately, daily.  I hate doing posts like I’ve done the last two days, minimal effort, worthless, posts that no one can connect to and that aren’t reflective of my niche – me.

Still, I will continue to do a blog post daily until Baby J is born – I just hope they are of better quality than the last few days.  It’s something I’m committed to, and besides, I’ve already had one person ask if I had had the baby when I hadn’t posted by noon US time.  Hopefully I can flesh out some of those draft posts I have, or find some interesting writing prompts that require some thought, but not too much.  And it will probably help if I get the post written before Stephen gets home, before dinner and the lethargy that comes in the evening.

Or maybe this kid will come early and I won’t have to worry about it much longer!  🙂

Baby J update – 13 Days to go! I’m blogging every day until I give birth, so you’ll know when the baby is born!

 

 

 

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What are you searching for?

I find it interesting to see what search terms people use to find my blog.  I don’t have a lot – most of my blog readers come straight here to read, as opposed to searching for something and finding it here.  But I still have some interesting ones:

  • how to pick up tallinn girls
  • embrace curtains
  • hey give me a break blog
  • heard a pop in a dimmer switch now it doesn’t work
  • the hottib an exepected jourby
  • nothing-butt-sexy
  • verbs in english need reuse inspire pull deliver weed
  • i drove my husband to have a mini breakdown
  • renaissance and medieval faires huge boobs tumblr
  • slutty
  • flung infection in brain
  • bzzzzzzzzzzzz

I can see how some of these terms may have come to me, but others?  Not so much.

Are you a blogger?  What are some funny search terms you’ve gotten?

Baby J update – 14 Days to go!  I’m blogging every day until I give birth, so you’ll know when the baby is born!

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Twist

There I was, walking through the garden at Skansen open air museum in Stockholm, when I stumbled across this gentleman:

Statue holding a flower

Down on bended knee, proposing to any person who walked by.

 

Baby J update – 21 Days to go! I’m blogging every day until I give birth, so you’ll know when the baby is born!

This week’s photo challenge from WordPress is “Twist” – “…something unexpected that surprised, shocked, or startled you.”

Oh, and hey, this photo is available on products in my Zazzle store!  (Yes, I still have one!)

Categories: Photography | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eleven Questions

Yesterday, Stephen’s alarm went off, and I curled up to cuddle with him some before he got up.  He wrapped his arms around me and said, “One month.”

Huh?

With an estimated due date of June 15, yesterday was the one month…pre-birthday?  What is that?  If there’s a word for it, I’m attributing my lack of knowledge to Pregnancy Brain.

I felt like doing something with this last month of non-parenthood, commemorating each day with…something.  But I’m kind of at a loss as to what.  I mean, I pretty much do what I want to do most days.  I wish I could say “Pamper myself every day,” but pampering to me is mostly baths (I don’t have a bathtub) and pedicures (I can’t reach my feet), so that doesn’t really work.

I started looking into 30 day challenges – most of them deal with fitness (not happening right now) or photography (not a lot going on around here, I fear most days would be photos of the sun at or near the horizon) or things I already do, like journaling or reading or writing every day.  I still have some things to do pre-baby, but they are things that take more than a day to finish.

Then, today, perfect timing, my friend Jen tagged me to answer 11 questions.

So I decided to spend the next 30 days, or however many days until Baby J is born, blogging.  I’ve always wanted to blog every day, but motivation and blog topics have not been on my side.  To combat the topics issue, I will randomly pick topics from challenges I find online.  Some days may be photos.  Some days may be flash fiction.  Some days may be more journal type entries.  You never know what you’re gonna get.

And when I miss a day, I guess that means I’ve had the baby.  So that will be my motivation to blog every day – because if I miss a day, I’ll have people asking questions.

Genius.

Or stupid.

So, first up, with 30 days left, answers to the 11 questions Jen asked:

1. A is for…?  Ankles, which currently have tennis balls attached to them.  Under the skin.

2. What did you eat for breakfast? What do you wish you had eaten for breakfast? As usual, I had an apple for breakfast.  I wish I had had French Toast – kind of been craving it lately, since making it a few weeks ago.

3. How do you take your coffee? Unbrewed, and preferably not within 25 feet of me.  Not only do I not drink coffee, I don’t like the smell of it.

4. What’s the last book you read?  I always have a couple going at once, a fiction and a nonfiction.  I just finished Brain Rules for Baby and Transparent.

5. How would you characterize your decorating style?  Nonexistent, especially now, living in an apartment and not wanting to buy a bunch of things that we’ll just need to cart back to the US in a year or two.

6. What’s one blog or website that you never miss reading?  I read all my blogs through a Reader, so I don’t normally go to any blog every day.  I do check the YLE news site every morning, followed usually by facebook and pinterest.

7. What’s your go-to meal to prepare when you’re having people over for dinner?  I don’t think I have one.  I have people over often so I can try something new.

8. You are granted three wishes. What are they?  Forgetting the money, health, and World Peace wishes…  I wish I could run again without knee pain.  I wish I could finish writing a damn book.  I wish I had some artistic (drawing/painting) skills.

9. If you had to give up salt or sugar for the rest of your life, which could you live without? Sugar.  Definitely.  I am a salt fiend.  I put salt on sweet stuff to counterbalance.  🙂

10. What is the weirdest thing you believed as a kid? Two things, actually.  One, I believed North was actually vertically up.  I grew up in the hills of Southern California, so we were always going up and down hills, and I thought when we went uphill we were going north.  Two, I thought the stars were kept in the water tower at the edge of town during the day, and at night the roof of the tower opened up and let the stars out.

11. End of the world scenario – which do you prefer: vampires or zombies? Why?  Zombies.  They’re supposed to be slower, right?  Easier to get away from.

I’m not going to tag anyone else, but if you want to answer these questions on your own blog, please link back here to let me know!

 

Categories: Random | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Kids deserve privacy, too

Recently, Stephen sent me this Slate article about the privacy of children in today’s online world.  The author says she posts no photos or videos of her child online, and she and her husband went so far as to run their name selection through a google search to see what came up.  They also set up an email address, a domain name, and social media accounts for their daughter when she was born.

It’s true that anything we post online is, or potentially will be, available to the public at large someday, even if you keep a tight reign on your privacy settings.  We (society) have been trying to drill this into the heads of young people for years now.  We admonish them to think about what they post, what photos they take.  Teachers and parents have tried to prove to kids how quickly things can go viral (and wrong!) by using “Like this photo” posts on facebook.  Of course, some adults should probably think twice about what they post, as well… (No, dear, not you!)

I had already sworn to myself that  I would not be one of those people on facebook that only posts photos of their children.  I have friends who do that and I have to say, I’d like to see more of YOU, and less of your child than what I currently see.  (No, no, dear friend, I’m not talking about you!)   My facebook account is about my life, and, hopefully, there will be far more going on in my life than just my child.  Yes, you can laugh at me now, but I do not want my child to become the only thing in my world.  I hope to still have my own passions outside of my child, and I hope to have other things to talk about.  I figured I would post a few photos here and there, though, since he will be part of my life, and it’s the easiest way for extended family and distant friends to see the baby.

I had also already decided to keep all distinguishing photos of Baby J off my blog, and to continue referring to him as Baby J, even after we do have a name for him.  What I mean by that is, I might post a photo of his foot or his head, but not his face.  Private photo sharing and video accounts will be accessible only to those people who have the full link.  I don’t want cute/funny videos of him to go viral, and, especially as he gets older, I don’t want strangers to have access to pictures of him to do God Knows What with (if you know what I mean).

Stephen and I discussed it, and he agreed that the author of the original article went a tad bit overboard, and he’s okay with my current privacy plans.  They may evolve.  I admit, I may end up being one of those parents whose whole lives revolve around the child.  My facebook friends may be wondering what I look like in a year, because the only photos I post (including my profile picture) are of my child.  But I seriously hope not.

What are your thoughts on this subject?  Is it completely okay with you that strangers may be able to access photos and videos of your kids?  Are you just as privacy minded as the author of the Slate article?  Let me know by commenting below!

Categories: Here Comes Baby | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

2013 in Review (and why I haven’t posted in a while)

The year started out quite mundane – we were settled into life in Finland about as much as one would expect after a year.  I was intent to work on my kitchen challenges, learning more about photography, and writing, and I was looking forward to more traveling.  We visited Riga, Sicily, and Barcelona, and our parents came to Finland and we visited Stockholm (and I went to Tallinn again).  We were planning a trip to Vienna and Prague for the holidays.

Things were going well through the summer.  And then, I know, I dropped off the face of the blog.

You see, I had no desire to sit in front of the computer and craft words into sentences.  Not only when it came to the blog, but when it came to writing anything.  Part of it was just a creative drought on my part.  But part of it was something more.

I spent about 6 weeks in an almost constant state of sickness.  I was nauseaus pretty much full time from the moment I woke up until I went to bed.  I had headaches, including a couple of lovely migraines, one of which lasted for three days.  Thinking  (and cleaning, and cooking) became a luxury I didn’t have the energy for.

Then, when I finally felt moderately better, I was still suffering a creative drought, but I also had some things going on in my life I couldn’t share at the time.  And that is, after all, the point of this blog, right?  Sharing?

As you may have guessed, the nausea was actually morning sickness – which I knew was a misnomer but now have proof.  More like all-the-time sickness for me (although, I never, not once, actually threw up – I just constantly wished I could).

Yes, for those readers who aren’t friends of mine on Facebook, I’m knocked up.  Preggers.  With child.

There was quite a bit of stress regarding that in the beginning, and some roller coaster issues with our living situation, which I’ll get into in a later post. (Nothing bad or anything, just a lot of decisions to be made, some of which were beyond our control.)

But here we are, the end of another year, a bright, shiny, exciting year just around the corner.  Once again, I’m promising myself (and you) that I’ll be better next year, do better, set and achieve goals and revel in living.

Wishing you a Happy New Year-

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Categories: Here Comes Baby, Random | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Sum Sunday, October 6, 2013

Thoughts:

  • I had a little bit of a blog hiatus, due to the vacation in Barcelona.  We spent 10 days there, got back this week, and had a wonderful time.  I’ll be blogging about it soon.  🙂
  • I’m playing around with a wide-angle lens on loan, to see if I want to buy it.  Wish I would have had it to play around with in Barcelona!  Anyway, I don’t know if it was my location of choice, inexperience, or the lens, but so far I’m not in love.  I’ll do some research, pick another location, and then make a decision.  Anyone have any tips for using a wide-angle lens?
  • The government shutdown disgusts me.  It’s not the shutdown itself, although yes, obviously it sucks and people are hurting and things are awful.  No, what’s really making me sick is all the bullshit that’s flying around it.  Blame on both sides, blame that has nothing to do with the price of caviar in Russia.  Grandstanding.  Twisting words, flipping rhetoric, idiotic sound bites.  It’s not reading the news that’s really getting to me, although that’s bad enough.  It’s some of the disgusting things I’ve read on my Facebook feed.  After four days, I’d had it.  I’m off Facebook, or at least off reading my news feed, until the shutdown is over.  I just can’t take anymore – it’s literally making me sick to my stomach.
  •  The fall leaves here in Finland have been beautiful this year, and it’s lasting longer than I would have thought.  When we left for Barcelona, I thought all the color would be gone before we got back, but it’s not.  I swear it wasn’t this pretty last year – in fact, last year I remember being quite disappointed in the colors.  But this year:
  • Fall leaves in Rauma, Finland

    Fall leaves in Rauma, Finland

Writing Progress:

  • Recent fun search terms:  “Side effects of Ecstasy” (as in the drug)
  • I didn’t do much writing on the trip, which wasn’t a big surprise.  But I’m back now, and back to writing with a specific prompt on Sunday mornings.  I’ll be starting back on the WIP tomorrow.

Small Victories:

  • A new addition to my Sum Sunday list.  I got this from Jenny Lawson’s blog, a post in which she says she’s going to concentrate on the small victories in life in an effort to stave off that feeling that you’ve accomplished nothing, because you didn’t succeed at the Big Things.  The idea is to forget that you didn’t, say, cross off all the items on your to-do list, but you crossed off half of them.  Better than nothing!  Or, I may not have cleaned the bathroom today, but at least I…um…got dressed.
  • I actually posted photos of our vacation to Facebook while on vacation, something I normally don’t do because of a poor wifi signal.  It was nice being able to go through the photos each day, pick out my favorites, do some quick editing, and get them up for family and friends to look at.
  • I’ve been making salads to go with our dinner most nights this past week.

What’s Making Me Happy:

  • (I don’t know that I ever said this before, but this category is inspired by the Pop Culture History Hour podcast.  At the end of each episode, they go around and say what’s making them happy, anything from cat videos to interesting news articles to personal victories.  I loved the idea so much, I had to do it myself.  Like the Small Victories category, it’s a nice reminder of the good things in life.)
  • While in Barcelona, we rented an apartment with a washing machine.  We were able to do laundry while on the trip, so I didn’t immediately have to do eight loads of clothes when we got home.
  • Because I’m not living in the US, I don’t have to keep track of all the businesses I’m boycotting. Chick-fil-a, Hobby Lobby, Walmart…
  • The Leidenfrost Maze (more about the Leidenfrost effect):
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Sum Sunday, June 23, 2013

(A few days late, because our internet wasn’t working so well…)

Thoughts:

  • I’ve really sucked at blogging lately, haven’t I?  Which is sad.  I have a couple of Sicily blogs half written, at least 3 kitchen challenges to post, a couple of crafty posts, and I still have half written posts from our trip to France and Ireland (a year later…).  I really need to get to posting…
  • I did an image search for “bread aisle” this week (another weird writer search) and this guy “Asher Roth” kept coming up.  Who the hell is Asher Roth?  According to wikipedia, he’s “an American born rapper from Morrisville, Pennsylvania.”  His debut studio album is titled “Asleep in the Bread Aisle.”
  • Is the use of third person pronouns in front of the person you’re talking about rude? By this, I mean something like the following scenario:  You and your spouse are eating dinner with another friend.  Friend says he likes your favorite TV show, which your spouse doesn’t like.  You turn to your spouse and say, “Now, see, he likes that show.”   I watched the MSNBC interview with Russell Brand and read several comments about it, and some people say that yes, this is very rude.  I do it all the time, and I’ve never considered it rude.  I’m wondering if it’s an American thing?  Or maybe it’s just a case of it being rude because you invited this person to the studio to interview him, and instead of talking to him you’re talking to other people. Please log your view on the poll:

Writing Progress:

  • Not much to report this week.  New story idea popped into my head, and I’m trying to decide what direction to go.  I know it’s wrong, but we have family in town the next couple of weeks, so I doubt I’ll get any writing done, mostly because my head is too busy with other thoughts.  We’ll see.

What’s Making Me Happy:

  • Is there anything in the world more uplifting than a baby (or two) shrieking with laughter?  These two are having entirely too much fun with their new found “toys”:
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