Tag Archives: blogging

I Blame My iPad

In news that’s likely to surprise anyone who checks in regularly or follows this blog, I do actually have the WordPress “daily post” page in my Google Reader. You know, the one that gives people ideas about how to write daily in their blogs. Having now officially taken a month’s sabbatical from blogging, I clearly do not write daily.

I blame my iPad. Love it though I do, I don’t find it compatible with efficient blogging. Using the WordPress app for composing doesn’t allow me to post links or pictures with the ease of my laptop. I also vastly prefer using a keyboard for typing rather than a touchpad. Even though I can set up my wireless keyboard if an impromptu blogging inspiration hits me, I don’t typically go to that extent in the evening when I’m just running through my Google feed, checking Facebook, and playing a few rounds of Words With Friends. I know. I lead an exciting life.

But today’s daily post, idea inspired me. The topic? How to get more traffic to your blog. While I recommend reading the whole post, I’ll highlight a few points here that resonated for me.

  1. Update your About Page. WordPress suggests keeping the About Me section of your blog up-to-date so that readers happening by have an ideas of what your space is all about. Hmm…my tag line says “Life in general encompasses three kids, one husband, three dogs, and a job in school administration.” That pretty much sums it up, but I realize this blog covers a range of topics. I don’t consider myself a mommy blogger, though I write about parenting and my kids. I don’t consider myself an education blogger, though I certainly discuss that topic as I navigate my way professionally during these trying financial and political times. I also throw in a few book reviews and recipes along the way, reflecting my interest in spending my free time reading and cooking. Did I mention I’m in grad school and about half-way through a doctoral program. Yeah, that keeps me busy too, though I don’t devote much blog time to it.
  2. Take Requests. WordPress suggests asking readers what they want to read more about. So, what would you like to read more about? Are there some things about my scattered life that you like hearing about more than others? More recipes? More books? More specific posts about kids or work. Maybe even more talk about that elusive “balance” category?
  3. Write Well. Yes, this one is a challenge. I know I’ve had posts that are more inspired than others. Here are a few I’m particularly pleased with from the past. I’ll let you find the less-than-stellar ones on your own!

Lately, besides my love of the iPad for reading but not writing, I think my lack of inspiration stems both from the oppressive heat that has wracked Suburbia this summer as well as a work and grad school schedules that made grabbing time off difficult. After all, I’ve spent most of my “leisure” time dragging a sprinkler or hose around the yard trying to make up for the lack of performance from our built-in system, which is failing to keep up with the toll this extreme heat is taking on our trees and bushes. Well, that or throwing blocks of ice into the pool in a futile attempt to drop the water temperature below 95 degrees.

Okay, okay. This is what my backyard looked like in February. (It makes me feel better, somehow, just looking at it now).

Before The Pool Froze Over

And, yes, I remember promising I wouldn’t complain once summer arrived, but back then it was hard to imagine over thirty days and counting of temperatures that top 100 degrees. I definitely didn’t count on witnessing my car thermometer reading 118 on multiple occasions. I must note I do not live in Arizona, and here in Suburbia, we have the benefit of humidity to go along with these record-setting readings.

Now that I’ve made plenty of excuses, and asked for a little assistance in getting back in the game, I really do plan to follow a last bit of helpful advice from WordPress: post regularly. Leave me a comment if you’ve actually hung in here with me. I’d love to hear the things you’d like to know more about!

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Building Community

I first received Peter Block’s Community:  The Structure of Belonging when I spoke a couple of summers ago at a conference sponsored by the GE Foundation.  Upon returning home, I had full intentions of diving into it, but somehow it migrated from my “to read” stack over to my office bookshelf where it sat until the professor in my current Politics in Educational Administration class assigned it as part of our preparatory readings. 

While I understand, I’m supposed to be thinking about building community within All-American Public Schools (and for that matter with the greater community at large), some of what I’m reading resonated with me when I think about virtual community building.

If the essence of community is to create structures for belonging, then we are constantly inviting people who are strangers to us, and to one another, into the circle.  ~Peter Block

When I read that line, I couldn’t help but think back to late 1995 when I spotted an article in The Houston Chronicle about a group of women expecting babies in August of 1996.  They’d signed on to something called a “listserve” and were exchanging emails about their pregnancy experiences.  I found the whole thing quite interesting, considering that I too was due the same month. 

I quickly sent a subscription email to the address listed in the paper and found myself welcomed into a circle of community by people I’d never laid eyes on before, people stretching from across my own city to across the Pacific ocean. Though my August baby is my second child, I learned things I never imagined I would from my interactions with people who thought a little differently than most of my “real life” friends.  And, in recent years–parenting topics aside–they’ve helped keep me sane realizing that I’m not totally alone, living as a “blue” person in a decidedly “red” state.

In the early days of widespread Internet access, I remember the fear that its use would lead to isolation.  I still hear that on occasion, but my own experiences prove otherwise.  Over the course of the last fourteen years, those strangers I reached out to have morphed into some of my closest friends.  The lines between online and real-life blurred further once we began meeting up for annual “reunions”–sharing dinners, shopping trips, museum visits, and hotel rooms.  Yes, with people I met online.  Even that doesn’t seem as strange these days as it did early on in our list’s history, back when I’d just say I was going to meet a “group of friends” rather than adding in the “online” part.

And, though blogging is at once both a more personal and a more public pursuit, isn’t building community what that’s all about too?  I’ve been getting tweets most of the week about the mom2.0 summit in Houston, and, of course, we hear all about Blogher every year.  Those ladies are doing, on a larger scale and sometimes for profit, what the August Moms did back in 1995.  They’re sharing their experiences as mothers, becoming a unit, though sometimes an amorphous one, known as mommy bloggers. 

Though, clearly, I’ve jumped on the blogging bandwagon (as have a number of other August Moms), I haven’t felt a need to label myself a mommy blogger or to seek out participation in those circles.  I find myself looking in on many of the blogs, enjoying the bird’s eye view of other moms’ lives.  But, I haven’t put myself out there to invite participation.  As Block also mentions in his book, reaching out invites not only acceptance but also rejection.

And rejection is hard.  So, I think I’ll continue to be content with my little blog, along with its low traffic, knowing that the invitation it’s sending will be unnoticed by most but accepted by some.  And that the “some” is the most valuable part.

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Top Spots in Suburbia

After passing on NaBloPoMo last year, this year’s challenge not only has me blogging regularly again but also provides the inspiration to check out some new blogs from the blogroll.  Most evenings, I’ve dropped by a new blog or two. 

Check out these blogs I”ve just stumbled on recently.

Becoming Kristin

I’m Not THAT Pregnant

emzeegee and the hungry three

Or visit some favorites I’ve read for a while now.

Spynotes

The Queen of Shake-Shake

These Little Moments

Plus I’m really excited about some of my fellow moms from our August 1996 birth list who’ve taken up the NaBloPoMo challenge.

Old Blue Socks

I Love April, I Love You

Tales From The Testosterone Zone

Are We There Yet?

One Feather Tail

Happy reading!

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I’ve Got A Question

Dear Readers,

For those of you reading this through a reader rather than by clicking through to the blog…do you see the entire post or just an excerpt?  I’m curious about feed settings since I can read some blogs completely from my Google reader and others I need to click through to the actual site for the full post.

So, let me know.  And, if you’re a WordPress user, let me know where those settings are.  Inquiring minds want to know.

LSM

 

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A Night In The Big City

Last night’s conversation here in Suburbia went something like this…

Adventure Guy: Now where are you going tomorrow night?

LSM:  To dinner with some friends and then to hear The Pioneer Woman talk about her new cookbook.

Adventure Guy:  Now, remind me again about The Pioneer Woman.

LSM:  You know, she lives on a ranch and blogs about it.

Adventure Guy:  Well, you blog.  How come you don’t have a cookbook deal?

LSM:  Well, I don’t have millions of readers every month.

Adventure Guy:  So, how many do you normally have?

LSM:  mumble, mumble, mumble…not millions.

Adventure Guy:  What do you think you could do to get your totals up?

LSM:  You could wear chaps and let me take pictures.  That seems to be a real draw.

Adventure Guy:  Maybe you don’t need more readers afterall.

So now you know what’s standing between me and millions of readers.  But tonight I managed to put aside the bitterness brought on by the prospect of never seeing Adventure Guy in chaps long and instead comforted myself with an evening out with friends. After a good dinner and a better pomegranite martini, we squeezed our way in to hear The Pioneer Woman personally–if not so “up close” thanks to the standing-room-only crowd.

Though I’ve been blogging for several years, I’ll admit tonight’s event marked the first time I’d ever met a blogger I’d not known previously.  After a brief introduction from the event organizer, Ree answer questions from the audience and introduced friends and family members in attendance, including her brother Mike, sister Betsy, and yes, even Marlboro Man (sadly,  he was not wearing chaps).

It must be a bit strange to stand up in front of a room filled with people who know all about you and your life.  One of the comments alluded to Marlboro Man’s disinclination to have chickens on the ranch; another asked what Ree was doing in that smoky bar the night she met her husband-to-be.  Someone asked her where she bought her sushi. And Ree answered every one of those questions with the openness and spirit of fun that comes across so clearly on her site. 

Maybe it’s not just the chaps that account for those millions of readers!

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I’m Back

I’m not going to write about Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, or even Jon and Kate.  All those things seem awfully far away from where I’ve been this week, though the news infiltrated even through the spottiest of Internet connections.

For the second time in a month, I managed to get away without benefit of my laptop.  Certainly my recent move to the iPhone has emboldened me in this area.  I’m reachable for work now in a way I haven’t been by phone in the past.  Blogging by iPhone, though?  While possible, I’m afraid I don’t have it in me to plod through texting out a post.  And, unfortunately, my stats show the neglect.

I’m hoping, though, that these little blogcations help make this spot a little fresher in the future.  Recently I’ve wondered if this blog has run its course.  Maybe it’s that my life hasn’t seemed all that noteworthy of late or that the creative juices haven’t been flowing quite so freely as I’d like.  While I communed with nature this week, on the lake and in the woods, the ideas flowed as freely as the current (and a lot more freely than the wind, which was MIA).  I hope to capture some of those for future posts.

But that will have to wait.  While I’m thrilled that my children are home safely after another great term at camp, they bring with them their annual present–piles of laundry!

Unloaded trunks

Unloaded trunks

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Shh…I’m Not Really Blogging

So I’ve been know to say things like, “Look, see all of us?  We’re real people ready to talk to you.  You might want to have an actual conversation rather than text,” and, “You know, if you just put things back where they belong in the first place, you won’t have to do a major clean up job.”

And, since clearly I’ve shared these pearls of wisdom with my children as words to live by, I’m wondering how I’ve found myself in the position of having to distract my company by suggesting a game of Clue with the grandkids so I can sneak off to the bedroom to blog, not to mention needing to do significant closet upkeep now that my mother will be staying in our room while Adventure Guy and I are out-of-town the first part of this week.

Yes, my mother and grandmother arrived in Suburbia today, having kindly signed on to stay with the kids until Tuesday.  Adventure Guy left today on his way to the Boston marathon, and I leave tomorrow to speak at a conference in Washington, D.C.  He’ll run on Monday then fly home on Tuesday, and I’ll be back on Wednesday.

Are you tired yet?  Because I am.  I’m tired thinking about the schedule, and I’m tired from getting up earlier today than I typically do on weekdays.  As the alarm blared this morning, Adventure Guy looked at me and said, “There is something really, really wrong with this.” 

But wrong or not, we arrived at the soccer fields by 7:40 a.m. ready to warm up.  I almost typed “bright and early,” but the game played out under cloudy skies and a constant threat of rain.  Rain wasn’t the only threat around, either, as the team we played today proved to be one of the most challenging we’ve met this season.  We ended in a tie–a moral victory since Soccer Boy’s team trailed until late in the second half. 

While I should have returned home to do the aforementioned closet cleanup, I went to the gym instead, taking in a Pilates class and putting in some time on the elliptical machine.  I followed that up with making lunch for the kids, putting in some studying time for my class next weekend, and doing laundry.  Somehow, organizing my shoes just didn’t make the cut today.  Hopefully my mom just won’t look!

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LSM Is Open For Questions

This morning, Adventure Guy asked me, “So, what is an Oxford comma anyway?”  You know, ’cause we’re fun like that.

I managed to find this excellent and entertaining explanation of the term.  I have some fabulous former English teacher skillz in operation here. 

Why did he want to know in the first place?  Too much Vampire Weekend listening going on in the mid-life crisis fueled  jeep these days. 

But, since I seem to be drawing a blogging blank more often than not these days, and since I tend to pride myself on having the right answer, I’m throwing open the Suburban pages to questions.

What do you want to know?  Leave a comment, and I’ll follow up with a new post.

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Wordle, Wordle Bo Burdle…

Somewhere In The Suburbs

Isn’t this cool? Click on the picture above for a full-size view, and then check out wordle to create a cloud of most commonly used words for any website.

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Is Anybody Out There?

Okay, so I’m home from work this afternoon with my little patient who still needed a bit more time to recover from her appendectomy last Thursday.  Adventure Guy took the morning shift while I went in for a meeting, and now he’s out at a client lunch and some meetings of his own.  Fortunately, DD2 feels better today, so she doesn’t need constant monitoring, just some overall supervision so she doesn’t do too much or mess up the pain med schedule.

And all that is a long way of saying that I’ve had time for some mid-day blog reading which led me to discover that it’s Delurking Day ’09!  So, if you’ve been reading but not commenting, drop me a note.  I’d love to hear from you.

delurking2009-760826

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