Summer

As I have said before, this year it has been difficult for me to find time to blog once a week. Because I don’t have a lot of time. finding topics is harder. Unless I am writing a more personal post like this one, I do have to spend some time  researching and preparing the topic.

Already this summer I have been to New York a couple of times for Yankee games, stayed over for a few days once, gone to a  Jewish retreat and next weekend I am going to an adult skating camp. I also work one day a week at the Take Back the House office in Northampton where I am the office manager. Besides all this, there have been social engagements, regularly scheduled meetings as well as a demonstration against Trump’s immigration policies. I have been making slow but steady progress on my book which is good. In other words I have been living my life rather fulsomely.

Aleph sponsored the Kallah which I went to last weekend. Aleph is one of the branches of Judaism in the United States. It is Jewish Renewal which is a mixture of Kabbalistic or mystical and Hasidic traditions with music and dancing thrown in. The Kallah was a week-long but I only went for Friday afternoon through Sunday morning. Spending Shabbat at Kallah was really a unique and very lively experience.

The Take Back the House office is a coordinated campaign which a coalition of groups is sponsoring. The groups include Swing Left and Indivisible. We are focusing on two races in nearby states: NH2 where there is a Democratic incumbent, Annie Kuster and we are trying to help her hold her seat.

The other race is NY19 where there is a Republican incumbent, John Faso who it would be great to defeat. His opponent is Anthony Delgado. The TBTH office is having its grand opening, July 19 from 5-6:30. It is at 18 Center Street, Northampton. It would be great if any of my local readers  showed up.

The Adult Skating Camp will also be a rather intense experience since I will be doing hours of both on and off ice work. I’ll write more about it after I get back.

 

What’s the Point?

Recently someone asked me, what is the theme of your blog? It is a good question and one that I am not sure how to answer. I started this blog as part of my attempts to publicize my book, Brewing Battles. At first I kept it strictly focused on beer and brewing history. Then, partly because I didn’t think there was anyone reading it and partly because I have varied interests, I started writing about other stuff.

Friends told me I would get more readers if I stuck to one topic. Lots of people who write about getting more blog readership agree. I guess I felt like it was my personal thing and I could write about whatever  I wanted to.

When I changed my hosting from Network Solutions to Bluehost, I did want the website to reflect that I write about more than just beer. That is why the tagline line is beer, history, women, and nursing. These past two years I have written on a variety of topics and that is probably what I will continue to do.

At the same time I am interested in getting more readers and I am still thinking about how to do that. Recently I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos, mostly about makeup application. Besides being a major waste of time, it has made me think about having a YouTube channel. Not about makeup, which would be ridiculous for many reasons, but about beer. More specifically beer history. My husband’s idea is for me to taste a beer and then talk about its history. I don’t know who would watch but it is a pretty amusing concept.

If I did have a YouTube channel, it is entirely possible that the same thing could happen. I would start by talking about beer but eventually move onto other topics. I guess if someone asks me  what is your blog about that I would answer it is about me, me and all my varied interests and thoughts about the world.

Short Week

We were away over the Memorial Day weekend and then went home for two days to New York. I therefore didn’t have time or enough internet access to produce a blog post on any meaningful topic.

Here is a picture of the scenery  on the long hike we took in Newfane, Vermont.

We also went to Hildene in Manchester, Vermont. Hildene was the summer home of Robert Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s son. It was a big house but not ostentatious. It is large property and the views were beautiful.

My favorite room in the house was Mary Lincoln’s study. She was Robert’s wife; the room had a small desk,  a seating area and large windows. The windows looked out on a formal garden. Each square had peonies that were just about to bloom.

On the way home from Brooklyn where we had been visiting our son, we drove past the hospital where I was born. I had never seen the building so it was great to do that. It has been converted into apartments.

Walk to Defeat ALS

On Saturday I will be participating in the Walk to Defeat ALS MA. I am on a team of a local person, Lee Shumway who has the disease. His team is Casey’s Cruisers. I don’t know Lee personally but I found out about his situation on Facebook.

In December 2013, my brother, Fred died from ALS. He was 67. May his memory be for a blessing.

I don’t want anyone else to suffer and die from this disease. There needs to be a cure and that is why I am walking tomorrow. If you want to donate click here.

Insomnia

I often have trouble sleeping. More accurately I have trouble falling asleep. Once I am asleep I can often sleep for a long time; sometimes ten hours. Over the years I have tried a variety of things to help me fall asleep. A few years ago I took an online sleeping course, CBT for Insomnia ,and did well for a while. Then I slipped back.

I have noticed that when I am away, in a hotel or visiting family, I have more of a bedtime routine. That is, I don’t stay up watching TV or looking at my computer. I am more likely to take my evening pills, brush my teeth and go to bed.

In March I went to Florida and did the above night-time routine. When I came home, I tried to continue that. It worked for a while. The stress of daily living intruded and I slipped again. For the last two nights I have decided to go to sleep, proceeded to take my pills, brushed my teeth and gotten into bed. I have then written for a little bit, listened to a sleep meditation on Insight Timer and fallen asleep. It has worked for two nights and I am hoping this will do the trick.

If you have trouble with insomnia, let me know what you have done to solve it. Also if you think I am sharing too much, let me know that.

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.

 

Save

Save

Save