Busy

This year blogging every week is not going that well. I was away at the beginning of the year, there was a death in the family and I was hacked. All that has conspired to make it difficult to maintain a schedule. This week is more of the same.  I left Thursday on trip concerning some family issues and I didn’t have time to write much more than what you are reading before I embarked.

The disruption to both my daily and weekly schedule has been difficult not just for blogging but also for writing my book. After we come back on Sunday I  will have 31 days with only two interruptions. I hope I can get back on schedule.

Thanks for understanding.

Hacked

I have been sick on and off since December and last week I had a really bad cold. I still don’t feel 100 percent. Last Wednesday there was a death in my family; I had to travel on Friday and attended the funeral on Sunday.

On Thursday I realized I had neither the physical or emotional energy to write an actual post. I planned to tell you this and link to a post titled Death that I did in August when another family member died.

I had written most of the post when my website stopped working. There was a big red screen that said the site was dangerous. If you clicked through that screen you were redirected to a PayPal log in. After a few minutes of trying to figure out what was wrong I called Blue Host, my network provider. I wasn’t very confident that they were be of any help because when I called a month ago about my Twitter problem, they were useless.

When I called Blue Host I somehow wound up being directed to Site Lock. I previously had a poor interaction with SiteLock and my website worked fine for many months after that. This time I got a nice guy, Antoine, who explained what was going on and didn’t try a hard sell. Of course, this time it was easier to convince me since my website didn’t work at all.

That was the good news. The bad news was that I have to pay $70 a month indefinitely to fix the hacking and prevent it from happening again. That is a lot of money. Antoine also said it could take up to 72 hours to fix my website and maybe longer to fix the twitter issue. Because of that, for the first time in over a year I didn’t post anything on Friday.

 

New Year Goals

My goals for 2018 are pretty similar to the goals I had last year. I plan to blog once a week and tweet every day. I am off to a great start in tweeting because I attended the United States Figuring Skating Association National Championships in San Jose last week. I had a lot to say about the event.

While at Nationals I posted to Instagram several times and that’s probably something I will do more of this year. I don’t think It will be regularly schedule it like the blog and twitter because I don’t always have picture I want to post.

One reason I started blogging more frequently last year is I hoped it would help with writing my book. It did help but not as much as I would have liked. In two and a half years I have written three chapters. I would like to pick up the pace.

I wrote a similar post at the end of 2010 and I found it interesting to re-read it.  At that time I had one chapter of my book on faculty wives written and I was hoping  to complete three more. I did in fact do that but then I got stalled. The three chapters I have written since the summer of 2016 are new or rewritten chapters.  Still I have been working on this project since 2009 so I would like to finish.

My personal goals  are pretty typical and include eating better, losing weight, improving my ice skating and organizing my house. These are perennial goals which I make some progress on each year but never as much as I would like.

Year End Review

Since I always post on Friday, I am doing  the recap of my year today. My goal for this website was to post once a week. I started on January  6 2017 so this is my fifty-first post.  I feel I met my goal. Blogging once a week was hard but I managed. I think I will keep to the same schedule for 2018.

When I post this, I will have  247 post for my WordPress blog. I previously did thirty-eight posts on a different platform. My total is 285. Only fifteen more and I will have 300 which will feel like a big accomplishment. In February I will have been blogging for ten years.

I wanted to give you some statistics about my most popular posts and such but Jetpack seems to have stopped tracking that information for the last week. I reactivated it today and it seems to be working now. I guess the lesson from this is to check that everything is working more frequently.

My most popular post, by far was Methylated Spirits which I published in July 2013.  My top post of the year was Louis’s Pyjamas.  I averaged 17 views a day.  I have some ideas for new topics that I didn’t get to this year but I hope I will be able to write about them in 2018.

As I have said before, tweeting every day was much easier that  blogging once a week. I started with 1938 tweets and if I had tweeted every day I would have had 2,303 on Dec. 31. It is two days before that and I have 2.517. I tweeted  579 times which equals 1.59 times a day. Many of the tweets were political; this year of Trump provided a lot of material. I have 130 followers which is three more people than I follow. I think that is a good ratio.

My top tweet was on the night of the Alabama senate election and it was a retweet . I always include #ResistTrump and #ResistFascism with my  tweets about politics.

I plan to continue tweeting and blogging this coming year. I will be on vacation so I will resume posting on January 12. Happy New Year!

 

 

Gratitude

On Monday I started the 11 Day Anxiety Challenge. Wednesday’s task was to find five things you are grateful for. Here are my five things:

  1. My family – My husband and sons mean everything to me.
  2. My house – I am so happy I am able to afford my home. I have worked very hard over the years to make it a lovely place to live.
  3. Exercise – I am very glad I am physically able to exercise since I have interstitial cystitis which is so debilitating for so many people.
  4. Ice skating – The reasons for being grateful for exercise hold true for ice skating with the additional thought of  being able to do it at my age.
  5.  Birds – Wednesday morning I heard them chirping and it was a beautiful sound.

The black-capped chickadee is the state bird of Massachusetts.

What are some things you are grateful for? Please tell me below in the comments.

 

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Death

There was recently a death in my family. Several other people I know have also lost members of their families recently. In honor of all these losses, I offer two poems that I have found comforting and meaningful at times of sorrow. I read this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay at my brother’s memorial service several years ago. She is one of my favorite poets. 

Dirge without Music
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the
love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not
approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the
world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

I saw the following poem on a subway in New York City. I find it very moving.

Heaven
by Patrick Phillips

It will be the past
and we’ll live there together.

Not as it was to live
but as it is remembered.

It will be the past.
We’ll all go back together.

Everyone we ever loved,
and lost, and must remember.

It will be the past.
And it will last forever.

“Heaven” by Patrick Phillips, from Boy. © The University of Georgia Press, 2008. Reprinted with permission.

Not Remembering

I am sorry that I didn’t blog yesterday as scheduled. I was dealing with a family emergency in Virginia and just got home on Thursday. My father-in-law died there last Saturday at the age of 95.

Losing a parent is a very difficult thing to experience. When both are gone, you feel like an orphan, no matter how old you are.

My father died following heart surgery when he was 65.  I was 29. My mother developed Alzheimer’s when she was 68 and died ten years later.  When you mourn for your parents you are partly mourning for the lost opportunities and experiences. My father never saw my children which is one of my greatest regrets.

My mother having Alzheimer’s has left me with a fear that I will also get the disease. This is a poem I wrote about that fear several years ago:

Not Remembering

Not remembering frightens me.
Not remembering the spelling of a word is scary.
Not remembering what happened fills me with dread.

When someone is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s
They look in the mirror and do not recognize themselves.

I am afraid of not remembering.
Not remembering is painful.

I do remember my mother when she was whole,
When she spoke, laughed, cried.
She was beautiful and strong.

Then she stopped speaking, laughing, crying,
But she followed the baby on the bed with her eyes.
Was she still there?
Did she still know?

When I don’t remember
Remembering her is what makes me afraid.

 

 

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