Skip to content

Archive for

28
Sep

What to do when Not Writing

Not really…writing is my life, and it stays above everything else. So that means that if I am not actively engaged in writing/blogging/photographing/researching…but pursuing any other interests, time is spent on avoidance of the thing I want to do most.

What else is there?, you ask.

Well, there is gardening, which involves good intentions, wishful thinking, jungle-conditions, drought, over-watering, lack of energy, and weeds.    I don’t really enjoy the labor parts of gardening any more, because my poor knees refuse to cooperate…once I’m down, getting back up is painful chore.

There is Beading, which is something I really enjoy.  I love beads (boy, do I love beads…I never met a bead I didn’t like) but one of the joys of making lovely things from beads is playing with the beads: sorting them out by color and/or size, admiring the vast array of shapes and possibilities for projects.  Related to manipulating the beads themselves, is reading books about beading…bookmarking specific examples of fabulous creations that are, 1. too difficult, 2. too time-consuming, 3. too expensive to make, or 4. on second or third look at the project–ugly.

Crocheting is another thing I like to do.  Choosing yarn, buying yarn, combining colors, finding the right crochet hook…deciding which stitch to use for a certain project, ripping out mistakes…   One of the main things I like about crocheting is that it is relatively compact, the project consists of only the yarn, crochet hook, and the scarf-in-progress, in a bag to hold the lot.

I say scarf because scarves are the only thing I make and actually complete.  Oh yes, I make hats, but they are usually not any that anyone would wear.    Once I was going to make a gorgeous full-length evening cape of dark blues and purple variegated yarn.   Let’s just say that project fizzled out due to the enormity of it, intricate stitch, and the realization that I would never wear it because it would have looked dumb.  Who wears evening capes to the grocery store?

Then there are my books.  I am an online book dealer, and have a couple of thousand books listed and organized numerically (according to date sequence, so they can be found quickly.)   Invariably the particular book that I have an order for is lost, misplaced, or hiding.  Really I almost always locate the book in question fairly quickly, and get it out to the person who ordered it the same day.

To be fair, and accurate, I must say that my books operation is very close to Writing at the top of my list of things to do.    For one thing it makes a small contribution to my over-all state of reality on the brink of poverty, and provides a certain satisfaction at the existence of this business that I have created and maintain single handedly.  (Except for my son, who takes the packages to the mailbox, and my dear mail-lady, who whisks them away for their travels to far distant reaches of the book market in the United States.

Much more satisfying to me personally is my personal book collection.  I have thousands of books of my own, noteably History classics, and books on virtually every country of Latin America.  But I could easily digress here into book-heaven.   Yesterday I went downstairs and retrieved my big binders containing every notebook (and exams) from every course I ever took.  That includes my unpublished doctoral dissertation, which was what I was really looking for yesterday.

Talk about diversion…I spent two hours going over my notes from every class I took at the Community College twenty years ago–classes in United States History, World History, Sumerian History, World Civilizations… and I was much intrigued by this information.

So to make a long story shorter, all of the time I was fighting the cobwebs downstairs holding my bookshelves together…I had this nagging feeling I get from procrastination of the one thing that I really really want to do, which is to WRITE.

I have decided to publish some of my things that I wrote back in the day.  However, one of the drawbacks is that although everything I wrote was done and printed out with my computer.  I am afraid that the originals of these works of art are on discs and floppies that I may not be able to access.     So…I may have to scan some paper copies into my computer, or YIKES, type/keyboard stuff in.

Thank goodness I am a luddite that still believes in paper…reams and reams of it…and never throw anything away.  I won’t bore anyone here with my far-out views on the safety of preserving things on cyberspace.   Not here, anyway.   🙂

25
Sep

Would you ever, if you never… (reblogged from OM)

 

23
Sep

Photographing the Invisible–Year of the Spider, Part Two

DSC03894.jpg

This is how the web looked during the end of the construction phase.

Obviously she wants to ward off visitors until she is ready.

DSCN3050_thumb.jpg     DSCN3049.jpg

DSCN3048_thumb.jpg                                                                      Almost ready to welcome visitors.

[ All photos and other content in my blog, Sometimes are original to me, Gradmama2011 …and remain my property under copyright laws.]

23
Sep

A Bee working a yellow-orange flower

Hi… I’m working, really, trying out Windows Live Writer.   I discovered there is a way to post directly from Photo Gallery, but I’m not sure if it takes the place of posting through the regular publishing page on WordPress.  I have SO much trouble with pictures on many levels, and spend lots of time messing around with my photos and the darn camera.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not a newbie, just a mediocre photographer.   I’m using a little Sony DSC530.    It has a steady-shot feature, which helps some, but I still get too much shake when holding the camera and besides, my eyesight has never been really good for taking pictures.    But hey, that’s a story for another time.

If this post really…er, posts…I will be very happy.  

 

Bee at work

22
Sep

The Year of the Spider

[These photos are of spiders at work in my tree garden.   As far as I know, the spiders in the first and third photo are NOT the same.     For all my spider enthusiast Readers out there–I have more spiders and webs to show you in another post.      All photos and other content in my blog, Sometimes are original to me, Gradmama2011 …and remain my property under copyright laws.]

web with spider

web in the Boxwood (tree garden)                                     ©Sometimes,2015

this piece of fluff should work...

this piece of fluff should work…

different spider, front yard

different spider, front yard

side of web in forest garden

side of web in forest garden

20
Sep

This was originally posted in December 2014.

19
Sep

What Do Readers Really Want?

So far I’ve published 105 posts, covering all kinds of subjects from poison ivy to politics.

Hmmm…do I see a pattern here?   Just kidding.  Poison Ivy is real and annoying, and Politics–surreal and ridiculous sometimes.

I’ve written about myself…mostly adventures and quirks.   Other posts featured butterflies, Cuba, TV shows, Will Smith, the Aztec Calendar, and the Word Police.   Even after studying the list of posts, I am still at a loss to say what my readers really want.  Articles that I personally like are almost never the ones that Readers like….or at least leave comments about.

Computers, specifically my personal love/hate relationship with  the “machines,” seems to be something a lot of readers relate to.  I think this is due to the us-against-them attitude most of us have.  Most readers, as most writers, use computers these days.   Few comments (or posts for that matter) are of the type of people that are embarrassed to say they love computers…or for that matter make the ridiculous claim — “I am not computer literate and proud of it!”   Or even more idiotic–“what would I do with a computer?  I have no use for one.”   This last comes regularly from acquaintances–and relatives or occasional friends–who actually in real life would get the MOST out of surfing the net and communicating with friends and family on email.

Well, ok—I should talk.   I resisted getting rid of my wringer-washing-machine, and had “no use” for a microwave oven.   That lasted for about two minutes each (20 years apart) before temporary sanity took over.

Now and then I post a politically-oriented comment.   I admit to having strong opinions, and like my Grandma Myrtle,”– always have something to say.”   OK.  I admit it.  I am as Abe Lincoln would say “four score and one years old.”   (I don’t want that silly “young” applied.)    I am an Historian, specifically Latin America, and United States History.   My degrees and advanced study qualify me to comment on historical matters, in my humble opinion.

I have had very few, if any, comments to my political posts.  Other current events are also things I post about now and then.   But these are usually not the posts my readers comment about.

I love to write about and post photos about lighter issues–like my garden, and my great-grand-kids.   Flowers are especially popular–and I do understand why.  My own favorite blogs and posts from the people that I follow, are travelogues, adventures in wild places that I can no longer hope to visit, and the flowers, birds, trees, sunsets, miscellaneous subjects.

Raising children….I no longer have any young children that I am personally responsible for.  My grandkids have kids, and they do a fine job of raising them.  But I LOVE the mom’s who write about daily adventures raising their children.  These blogs have stories and issues that I can personally relate to–even back in the day.   Being a Mother is not easy, and part of raising future generations is a great job.   I know…from experience.  Many of the worst problems of the world could be, or can be, solved by the Moms’ addressing of such things as male dominance, and general respect for women as equals.

I like to read about other bloggers adventures in Blogging, too.    There is a lot of camaraderie among bloggers, facing the same triumphs and tribulations.

In other words–I am personally and as a blogger interested in just about everything…and my own Blogging reflects that general interest.

14
Sep

Goals for Blogging

Blogging 201…Setting Goals

Starting a new class is always a challenge, with new goals, new classmates, and a new box of crayons.

Meeting new people and saying hello to familiar bloggers in The Commons, where members get together and chat about our blogs, still has something of that First Day of School excitement. .

My three goals are continuing…re-stated every class, and part of my general attitude and views on life.

Expand traffic to my blog..  Invite fellow bloggers to “Follow” my blog, and to follow theirs.   Actually I have been working on this goal…I just got a notice that September 14 (today) is my best day for “follows”….and yesterday was my best day so far ever for “likes.”    That is a mutual accomplishment there I think–I followed several other bloggers and they followed me.  That’s sweet!    According to my Stats, there is a total of 274 of you guys following me.  I’m not sure how many I’m following, probably more.

Start new features.   Share some of the thousands of photographs that I have taken over the years, when I was traveling regularly.   I love travel sites…and some of my favorites take me vicariously to all kinds of exotic and wonderful places.   I have some wonderful photos to share, myself.  So this goal could also include  stop talking about it and doing it.
Organize, Organize, Organize.     My Menus are badly in need of reorganizing…they are really mixed up.   My Categories need refining.  I need more Pages (as opposed to Posts) and get more photos off of my computers and into my posts.   If I’m waiting for “perfect” pictures…well, let’s just say they are as good as they are likely to get.     I have been yakking about the need for organization for ages, and it is about time…I was saying it was urgent back when I passed the 50 Posts mark way back when, and now I have 103 or 104 posts.    This is fine, except that even I can’t find some of my posts, and I have even forgotten that I ever wrote some.   I hate it when I find errors–like who cares?   I do.
So another goal which is sort of iffy is to write every day, and try to not spend so much time reading other people’s blogs.  I love doing that, and I really read — no skimming (well, hardly any) of posts.   And comments….I always make comments, and I try to help when I think I can.
So see you all in class…by the way, do you happen to have an extra  RED crayon?
13
Sep

Time to Try a New Theme….Ta Da

[Updated version of this post.]

Yep, its that time again…a brand new theme for my blog.    This one is called Colinear.

The main reason I looked for another theme was that I wanted to show off the photo of this gorgeous cloud formation, and a small header space just didn’t do it justice.  I wanted the whole cloud surrounded by blue sky, and some tree tops.

A nice bonus was that the theme allows the background of the text to be a color…this is a feature that I have wanted.   Mainly I like the soft color tint instead of stark white, which hurts my eyes.    Perhaps the cloud picture is too big, and maybe I will make it smaller.

Photos of the sky and clouds are a favorite of mine.

DSC03511

                                                                           Taken from my back deck.

 

ocropped-dsc03343.jpgDSC03347

The two photos above are in the same cloud formation.  The sun is setting (Left) and the clouds are moving toward the East, over Lake Erie about ten miles to the North.  Taken from an Ohio parking lot.

 

13
Sep

Say What? Overcoming Language Differences…

You know what I’m saying?

Sometimes understanding is difficult to achieve.   I have been in situations where I have had to or wanted to make myself clear.  Conversations that come to mind are often hilarious, although at the time miscommunication was not one bit funny…but frustrating, or even frightening.

I can read Spanish, but speaking it is very difficult for me.   I still translate the words from English before writing or speaking in Spanish.     The first language other than English that I learned was when I was in my twenties, trying to teach myself German before I went to Germany to live.      I bought a copy of Berlitz German, and proceeded to study and write sentences.   I will say that I learned some rudimentary proununciation and grammar rules, the vocabulary words were harder.

The first Germans that I met were in the  railway station, and on the train taking me from the port at Bremerhaven, to Frankfurt, where my army husband met me at the station on Christmas Day,1955.      When I got on the train, to my small compartment, which had a tiny washroom in it, I prudently barricaded the door with my assorted baggage…When the train reached my destination stop, the conductor opened the door…outward.   So much for closed doors.

We moved into a brand new apartment in  U.S. Army quarters, where our neighbors in the building were all U.S. soldiers.   But then almost everyone we met spoke English…so my German sort of languished.

Strange as it seems, the first foreign language that emerges from my brain is, to this day, German…which doesn’t help much in countries where Spanish is called for.

I did have some not-so-funny at the time but humorous adventures.  The one that comes to mind as both amusing and embarrassing was when I hired a taxi to drive me up a giant mountain to the city that was my destination.    I was able to figure out that the taxi fare would be the equivalent of US$20, so I knew that I could pay the driver in twenties…which was all I had at the time.   I did not have any Mexican Pesos, only US dollars…which contrary to popular belief, are not always welcome.

On the hour and a half trip up the mountain, I tried to chit-chat a bit with the driver.  He was a young man, and was about as conversant in English as I was in Spanish.   He asked me if I had any candy, but I thought he was talking about a kiss.  So idiot that I am, I got worried…it was highly unlikely that this good looking young guy would be making a pass at an old lady…but well, ya never know.

By the time we got to the city I had something new to worry about…the $20  bills.   I think the driver was wondering if I knew where we were going, as it was dark, and I had forgotten the name of the street where the hotel that I was headed for was located.   (duh…)     But he followed my directions: right, left, left, right, etc.  and we stopped in front of the hotel.   The owner answered the bell, and responded.

I explained in Spanish that all I had was 20 dollar bills…and that I intended to pay the driver for the fare, plus give him another twenty for his work…..which was a lot of money in pesos.   The hotel owner understood me…and convinced the driver that the company would be pleased with the US dollars, and that he would be able to convert his twenty.   Meanwhile I was holding my breath…I had no desire to meet the local policia … but all was well.  I got to my room and slept like a baby.

That issue about the candy was just ignorance on my part.

On the trip down that mountain, two weeks later, I was as usual…car sick.   I hoped to make it to the airport, but ….. Not knowing the words…. I just reached over to the taxi driver and tapped his arm…he glanced at me…and had no trouble understanding my   “senor…” and my impromptu  upchuck-gesture, which needed no words, and he pulled over to the side of the road to let me out.

During the two weeks I was there I did not meet any English-speakers, but it was possible to get by with my rudimentary Spanish.   Part of the issue there was that outside of town officials and shopkeepers, most of the people around did not themselves speak Spanish, let alone English…but an indigenous language.