Dunbar’s Theory of 150 Revisited, yet again…

There are so many in my “Reader>Followed Sites” list that have been there for quite some time –

Folks I enjoy whether reading or chatting via comments, exchanging letters, emails, etc.

Though I’ve tried to be vigilant in keeping my ‘followed’ community around 150 or less for some time, (Dunbar’s Number Theory Take 1, Dunbar’s Number Theory Take 2), so many I follow are, or have become, prolific writers, promoters of fellow artists, etc., that I’ve been re-thinking my life choices and goals for online social media stuff for quite some time, now –

I can log in here or FB and find plenty of souls/perspectives I’m invested in maintaining a connection with…even if it takes me awhile to get good at such things…

Seriously, I don’t think anyone is going to pay me for spending the day keeping caught up with the latest/greatest from every soul in my circle, without the implementation of ads I’ll have to keep an eye on and tweak settings to make sure what you’re shown is something I actually use/recommend –

(NOT!  I only have this lifetime, currently, to work with to avoid errors and I can make plenty of my own, without waiting for auto-this & that to make more for me, doncha ya know….)

And, since I ain’t living off the land in a hermitude, without internet access, and I work many hours in local, in-person, customer service of one form or another – yup, time to re-think my goals….

(Yes, I have successfully logged 60+ hour work weeks for months now – forgot to celebrate that post-stroke recovery level achievement – yes, yes, I’m ramping back – I just wanted to prove to myself I could do it, once more…not as well as I once juggled many tasks/projects, BUT, I have regained some stamina, nonetheless…)

Experiments in Re-Fashioning over past year

I have tried, when not able to log-in routinely, to catch up with my faves that I feel a personal, cyber-neighbor type friendship with, all at once –

This usually results in 3-5 souls awaking to a flood of notifications of “Likes/Comments” and several others wondering just why I couldn’t carve out the time for them… perhaps – perhaps not, but that’s how I see it in me own quest for authenticity –

IF!  IF! I say, others think of my presence or lack thereof,  at all, in their busy, busy lives!  I’m not that arrogant, really!

(Old News Flash that I’ve been watching over the past few months, here in American culture  – The term ‘narcissist‘ and all the hoopla over what, exactly,  THAT term entails is becoming ever more a cultural myth here, with such broad examples given as ‘warning flags’ to watch out for/ protect yourself from – sigh, apparently, I may just be a narcissist – though I didn’t think I was….

You should know, I don’t intend to be so, but in all honesty, I might just be one – you do remember my love of ferreting out me own blind spots, right?  How to Recognize & Avoid Narcissists is the  latest craze to hit here, that has intruded upon my radar in a variety of forums and interactions…

I like to think this trend is riding on the coat-tails of the ever-popular, “You are awesome and center of the Universe, no matter what anyone tells ya; if someone brings a flaw to your attention, they are just jealous of you or a negative person who lives a sad, sad life….” movement that was born out of the Self-Help movement that strove to meet, initially, very real social ills and needs – from some decades back –

-On the other hand, perhaps the Universe is trying to give me a clue….

-Or perhaps, I just need to hang out and observe for another 30-40 years…

Who knows?

My Long-Time Bloggy Pals Suffer Me Kindly –

I follow some bloggers who have stayed the course & really grown in popularity over the years since I first arrived upon WP shores  –

Why, don’t you know, I remember you back from when you first started, or was introduced to me by another bloggy pal – or was kind enough to visit my place here in cyber land, so I could meet you…

And Nostalgia Sets In

I look back fondly to the time when I could keep up with my  reader full of nothing but those I followed (I STILL don’t read “Freshly Pressed” feed, unless I accidentally clicky-clicked too quickly or have a FFMSD (Fat Finger Mistakes Syndrome Day).

My only defense for such shenanigans is…

“Obviously, I have good taste…look how many in my community are growing in talent, skills and appreciative followers who comment on their talents?

…and, more importantly,  haven’t I learned enough to stop myself before adding yet more folks I won’t keep up with, regularly, to my “Follow List”?

It’s all in the small, incremental adjustments we all tend to make, here and there… sometimes we guess right, sometimes we do not … 🙂

On the Other Hand….

I have a deep mistrust of online, sorting algorithms on any social media site – Yes, online world, it’s never ending updates / improvements, coupled with some of the ‘marketing’ advice I see repeated over and over, continually transports me to yet a new level of cynicism …

I’ve come full circle, many a time, to the ideas expressed in the long-ago published work, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”  by Dale Carnegie.

It is full of sage advice on human nature and a cadre of choices for  inauthentic behaviors (dependent upon how it is applied and with what motivations….)

I revisit in my mind this work, which I consider, simultaneously, to be a great sociological work AND the entire reason why the Selfie movement took off and a trend that is touted as an item on the Top 10 lists of  both

‘Narcissistic Warning Signs’

AND

‘Effective Marketing Strategies’

that simultaneously flood search search engine results to the uninitiated searcher, who wants to learn the value of the Selfie –

I’m still sitting on the either/or, both/and fence on this particular, broad, generalized, topic….

Until further clarity arrives

I confess to still being stuck in the stubborn mindset of-

If I have time to spend learning online social media algorithms to use to my advantage, or figure out how to manipulate human nature,  I’d much rather spend that time on reading/chatting/connecting with those in my circle who make a profound difference in my life, thank you very much…

Maybe they read, maybe they don’t, but if I want them to know I thought of them today, I’d better tag ’em or read/comment on  their stuff, so they actually see my warm wishes in their feed – 🙂

(Please note, I understand, fully, my personal quotes are too long to be considered viable for Click to Re-Tweet Quote tagging – Wait, do I even still have a Twitter account? I used it extensively in 2012 to keep abreast of the Waldo Canyon Fire…have I even logged in since then?  🙂 Are you starting to grasp the enormity of my Social Media Ineptness?)

In the End…

I’m reminded of my pleasant surprise when my brother acknowledged my introvert qualities, even when I’m the Family Mascot for “Chatty Kathy, Social Butterfly, Can talk to total Strangers” status

“Yup, Sis, You’re an Introvert – you’d rather have a deep, meaningful conversation with one person, than a superficial one with every person at the gathering…”

I was pleasantly surprised to know someone else saw me the way I saw myself, and stated my prefs as a trait, not some flaw to be fixed… 🙂

And yes, for those who put up with my inept fumbling around online, I am appreciative of your patience….

As Sunset approaches…happened…is long past…

I struggle with deciding whether to cook supper or fix a plate of crackers, peanut butter and cheese – I’m rather hungry – I may take the time to fix boiled eggs for supper & quick snacks for the week – – or maybe not – –

Funny, I cooked for the dog the last 48 hours (via crockpot/soaking/planning) do you think I thought about such things for moi?  nope!

Cheese, Eggs and Peanut Butter – the Staffs of Life when the garden ain’t yet ready for in-field human grazing – (Haven’t evolved to eating native prairie grasses via grazing, just yet, and dandelions not yet making an appearance….)

? Shall I stay up late to re-pot some plants, or spend some time with them tonight in order to figure out if they can wait on me, for new, roomier, composted digs,  for one more day –

Thank goodness it ain’t Earth Day –

I (unofficially) dub today as

“The Day I Tried to Catch-Up with my WordPress community – and failed – again…”

Thanks for being kind while I read, commented, liked and tried to ‘catch up with you” –

And, given my…now…let me see…how long has it been?

22 month Social Media/Copywriting/Real Marketing for dweebs journey?….

I, through sheer stubbornness or wisdom, as you see fit, am rather sticking to my ways, for now –

Perhaps it’s just my preference for giving focus to what I love and the beauty I wish to promote, as it shows up on my radar –

Never mind there are so many things beautiful things showing up online, each day, I can’t keep up with it all – in personal touch way…

I hope, someday, in the time/space continuum, to be shown whether this tendency is my shining glory or my deep-set flaw –

Until then….

I sure enjoyed spending time with my WP Community today!

Thank You!!

The Storm that Approacheth has Arrivedeth –

Picture of Storm Rolling in
The blessed wind brings the storm our way – the light white is the wall of clouds approaching

Late yesterday afternoon, after managing to untwist and untangle the dry, clean laundry from the sagging clothes line, I took a stroll around my place to see what changed during the two lovely weather spring days I spent holed up and hobbling around the house –

*Note to self – remember to tighten the clotheslines before next laundry day – –

Even with Oakley’s digging, rooting and completely successful transfer of nearly all the mulch I placed over the Jerusalem Artichoke bed last fall, into the house (over the course of the entire winter, one or two pieces clung to shaggy coat at a time) I see signs of new Artichokes rising amidst the decay of last years stalks (which I didn’t get trimmed close enough to the ground…)

Jerusalem Artichokes - 2015
Jerusalem Artichokes – 2015

I admit I’ve rather forgotten what these fellas look like when they first poke their heads through to air, but these 3 are in the right spot and don’t look the same as the weeds I pulled nearby, so keeping my fingers crossed they are what I hope they are – 🙂

To my delight and then dismay, I see that one of the tulip buds unfurled –

Picture of yellow tulip
That is Yellow! Yellow I Say!

Delight because the few dips in temperature had not sabotaged the dream of tulips this spring…

Dismay because the bulbs I purchased last fall were clearly marked “purple” and “white” – this is yellow – maybe yellow is the new purple….

*Note to Mom -Thanks for helping me plant these bulbs last fall –  it’s perfectly okay if you did, in fact, drop a bulb outside the rock border area – we’re pretty laid back in regards to perfection around here – 🙂

Alas, I will wait to see what the others reveal during their unfurling – granted, this area did contain existing tulips before I accidentally weeded too vigorously the first year – then left entirely alone the second year until the wild poppies were done and I knew where to be careful, so as not to disturb wild poppy seeds.

Perhaps, one of the old existing bulbs decided to make an appearance, now it has been assured of a proper backdrop and doesn’t have to fight with foot high weeds –

You don’t always know, for sure, what you’re Sowing

I’ve planted seeds before that ended up not producing what was indicated in the packet picture – –

One year, some round squash, tiger-striped dark and light green, appeared right in the middle of the oblong, yellow, spaghetti squash patch –  we knew not what to do with it and was unable to identify it or a relevant recipe, so it simply became a fall decoration – –

Sh – ahem, correction, Things happen –

**********

I can picture it now – dedicated heirloom seed saver is in workshop, patiently putting together seed packets for internet orders –

The door flies open, wind whirls across the neat seed piles waiting to be packaged –

Hubby stomps in, manages to close the door before it blows off its’ hinges and gustily exclaims:

“Man!  That wind is a blowin’ gangbusters today….What?! Why are you looking at me in that tone of voice?”

🙂

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And now I’ll share the real storm that arrived –

The storm of my outraged sense of justice, compassion, tolerance

For Pete’s sake, I’m not even sure what part of me has been outraged, but here I sit, dealing with it….which means if you continue to read, now you are part of the process…

These past few days I’ve been told of or witnessed several instances of someone declaring,

“I don’t really think you can be a (fill in the blank with trade or talent) without formal (fill in education, training, expensive equipment) and anyone who says you can, is wrong or lying to you…”

Now, while that may be true for some things (being an astronaut or brain surgeon come to mind) the occupations, activities or trades that graced the ‘fill in blanks’ in these recent statements were not either of the aforementioned, highly specialized, endeavors –

They were, instead,:

  • Author
  • Gardener
  • Builder of Dwarf Cars

Poppycosh!

On Being a Writer (someday to be Paid Author)

Yes, I had some ‘training’ for writing – I went to state mandated school for 12 years and had to take some form of writing, reading or English class each and every year – I also was raised by those who loved to read, in a house full of books –

And no, I’m not (yet) a paid author – and neither do I have a Master’s or Doctoral degree in any such related studies –

Yet here I sit, boldly and brazenly writing and publicly publishing – as most every one here in the WordPress community does.

While I agree that education and practice can enhance a writer’s craft, I do not believe it to be the must-have ingredient in the making of a paid author –

What is necessary?  To my mind?

(Oh, thank you so very much for asking, I’ve been bustin’ a gut, waiting to proclaim the answer, sans a paper certificate that comes attached with a $120,000-$200,000 price tag…I trust you to forgive me my sins…)

Necessary:

  • A mind that observes reality and wants to know what the possible back story leading up to the ‘observed now’, might actually be
  • An imagination that can come up with many varieties and flavors of said back story
  • The curiosity to ask, “What motivations, life experience, problems to be solved, led up to this moment?”
  • Compassionate room in the mind for all the possible answers that present themselves

Add to that a love of the ebb and flow of words – whether said love was gained through years of reading, or a simple born-in ‘hearing’ for such things…

The great writers I love and appreciate know how to craft each line –  first as a small tributary –

One that flows and then joins another, and then another, until the whole, massive, roiling, moving torrent bursts through the delta and joins the calm of the ocean –

Or spills over the edge of the cliff and lands with an impressive display of mist, rainbows and thundering applause at the bottom of said cliff, which, in the end, wasn’t so steep or deadly, after all –

These things are, to my mind,  necessary to graduate from Beginner to Master –

Take the classes – perfect your craft – learn the rules so you can break them at will –

But don’t ever, EVER! EVER! believe the person who tells you your natural way of seeing the world and your love of sharing said vision via a river of words isn’t good enough for you to be dubbed a writer.

It is…And You Are…And you’ll only get better as you move forth in your journey…

Next on the list of things reported as ‘you simpletons can’t do’…

…is Gardening

If you have been waylaid/lambasted by such feedback, I simply refer you to two resources that applaud your courageous, gambling heart:

First – Mr. Gardener Extraordinaire’s wise musings, which I will re-cap below, to save you the strain of clicking yet another link:

(If you like the following, you might find the linked story useful; otherwise, know the important points of gifted-to-me wisdom are listed below).

  • A few years back, the Master Gardening certificate was big doing’s around here.  So he bought the book, read it, and found out he’d been gardening wrong for 60 years.  Since he raised a family and kept many of the residents here in fresh veggies for the same amount of time, he threw the book in the dumpster and went back to his ‘wrong ways.’
  • Every year, something will go wrong – something won’t grow, or won’t keep good or will end up dying.   Doesn’t matter how long I garden or how good I get at it, every year, something will let me down.

And, secondly, if you would like to start gardening without taking a college or Master’s course, but are rather scared silly by those who say you can’t just jump in and do – I encourage you to check out Sophie’s Free Super Simple Guide to Growing your Own Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs eBook

Yes, technically, reading about such things does mean you’ve done some ‘learning’ but what comes across most in her guide is

“Don’t Worry – You Can Do It – It’ll be Fine!”

Though I’ve read many a book and blog about gardening over the years, nothing touches the great gush of support and confidence one feels just from reading Sophie’s take on the matter.

Since I’m more than happy to experiment and try…

…whether I actually know anything or not…

…gardening is just a life long exercise in observation and experimentation, to my mind.

I do feel bad…

…when my clumsy attempts or wrongly pursued ‘good intentions’ end up killing something –

I confess – I’ll have many mass murders to answer for when I reach the Pearly Gates…

I trust those Dandelions who find safe haven here will be in massive enough numbers to speak up for me and tip the scales at my eventual trial…

On Building Dwarf Cars

Take a few minutes (4:35 to be exact) to marvel at the talents of one Ernie Adams.

(You will find the statement that raised my hackles around 2:19 if you’re in a hurry and just want to know what dwarf cars have to do with writing or gardening)

Barcroft Cars Presents – Ernie Adams & His Dwarf Cars

In Conclusion –

Yup – it is satisfying to work at your ‘craft’ in order to journey from Apprentice to Master.

A yearning to try, the confidence to laugh at mistakes and a sincere joy in the doing of said craft is all that really counts –

Pepper in the education, degree, public approval or expensive equipment when and how you see fit.

Unless

You’re going to be an astronaut –

(you really do need some pricey protective gear and rocket scientists to aide your quest, otherwise, you could die while trying…)

Or a brain surgeon

(yes, I confess, I’d really prefer you have some formal training, else I might die while you’re taking a stab at your new career…)

If this is the case, for You – Right Now!…

…disregard all the previous ramblings and go find someone who writes knowledgeably about such things, cuz, seriously, you won’t find much helpful advice here – 🙂

I can be ME Again!

My morning routine these past few weeks has been:

  • Stumble to kitchen, make coffee
  • Return to kitchen to find I forgot to turn on coffee pot after adding grounds/water
  • Open up my email, read, add customer requests to my “To Do” List
  • Pour first cup of coffee – and click over to whatever posts regarding WordPress, Plug-ins, Security, etc., arrived in my inbox news feeds –
  • Read and learn (sort of – remember I’m still on my first cup of coffee!) about neat tips & tricks to make me a better website designer – bookmark the ones I think are wonderful, so I can revisit when I’m actually awake and ready “To Do”
  • Drink 1/2 a pot of coffee, then get down to work….

**********

So why the long back story?  Because this a.m., I visited an article link in my wpMail.me newsletter, titled, “WordPress On-Page SEO: How to do it Perfectly” by Nick Schaferhoff.

(sorry, Nick, I never have figured out how to get the little dots over the a – sure it’s on the keyboard somewhere….)

Did you visit and read?  You really ought to, but if you don’t have time, here’s why I’m happy – about 2/3rds the way down the article – or 4 1/2 scroller rolls, you will find the heading Create Longer Content.

Which states that position in Google searches is enhanced by long word count – optimally, 2500 words.  Which I used to be Queen of, but tried to tone down some after reading numerous “Become Blogger Extraordinaire” articles that often contained “in today’s high distraction world – try to keep your posts short” types of advice.

So, this a.m., as I finish my 2nd cup of coffee and prepare to dive back into the work needed to launch my new business –

(oh, yes, remember I told you about the calvary arriving in form of a graphic artist?  Yup – that’s my new business partner and we’re expanding my biz to bring even more cost-effective solutions to rural businesses/non-profits/organizations – and yes, I’ll announce here when we’re up and running! 🙂 )

– I just had to log-in and tell those of you who cannot stem the flow of words, back stories, musings and side tangents on how the story you’re telling is connected to everything else in the world…well, today, we are vindicated!

I will need to retrain myself – – I’ve gotten very good at saying things in 400 words or less….  386, to be exact – 🙂

Catching 400

After my little Housecleaning venture, I realized what a fool I’d been – Though I follow many, I do have favorites and it occurred to me that it’s very simple to go to my “Blogs I follow” list, clicky-click and work my way back through those I love and hold dear – –

Meaning, some of you have already had to log in and see umpteen Likes/Comments waiting approval from TamrahJo – I imagine a scene of sighing and eye-rolling, “Why can’t she just keep caught up?” you exclaim in frustration!   My bad, yet you all are so talented, you trigger memories, quotes and such that I, in my childlike state, simply must share about!

This is a blanket apology, I guess…. If you haven’t logged in to find me cluttering up your notifications box yet, count your lucky stars and know your day is coming – – 🙂

**********

I started sweating what to blog about earlier last week, when I found life quiet enough to once again take frequent sojourns here in WordPress land and discovered I was nearing my 400th post mark – – for those of you who are frequent posters, you are free to laugh  – – for those just starting, truly, it’s no big deal since this coming August, I’ll have been blogging for 4 years – – or, more accurately, I’ve had a WordPress account for 4 years – – which breaks down to less than 10 posts per month and is by no means anything to brag about – since I quite frequently do 60 posts on one day and go deep undercover for months at a time – –

Here’s the Highlights:

Apparently, if I ever want to take blogging seriously and establish a niche, I really should limit myself to reviews and How-to’s as they are my most consistently popular posts – I”ve decided against taking this seriously because reviews and how-to’s require remembering to take pictures before/after – hours spent in Photoshop labeling parts and different stages of construction step-by-step lists and really, just what could I say I was an expert in, given my God-given nature of flitting from one brilliant idea to another with no time spent learning the fine art of mastery on any of them….

Since first starting my blog here I’ve moved from writing about self-help/healing and social/political causes to nattering on about all the different perspectives, observations and silly nonsense that is catching my attention this week, day, nanosecond.   A friend once laughingly said to me:

“You know, in various circumstances, it’s appropriate to say, “That’s so last year” or “So last season” – For you, you’re safe in saying, “That’s so one minute ago”

Since BallyBin’s inception, I’ve moved 4 times (only once due to my own planning and volition) navigated a divorce and recovered from a stroke.    I’ve gone from a workaholic to someone who celebrates when I can work 4 hours at a time without needing to rest.    I’ve shared the heartbreak and distress over the loss of my son/dad which precipitated the 7 years of massive changes and challenges (I started blogging mid-way in the journey).

I’ve spent countless hours in front of my computer, discovering other bloggers and chatting at all hours of the night because I wasn’t well enough to work or confident enough with my stroke Elmer Fudd voice to socialize in person – those of you who were my only social contact during this time kindly refrained from pointing out all the typos my right hand made during my stroke recovery process, offered your support and ideas when I struggled with an obstacle and made me feel not so alone and despairing as I watched many of you deal with your own struggles and come up with some really awesome solutions –

Over the past 4 years and 400 posts, I’ve made friends in countries I didn’t even know existed – I’ve learned to be very grateful for where I live and to understand even more fully the strength of the human spirit –

I’ve virtually visited and seen sights I may never get to in person, through your talent with a camera and willingness to share.

I’ve learned that my story, as rocky and unsophisticated/un-enlightened as it is, seems to hold value for some – that what I get excited about is a shared passion by others and reminds me there are always, always some birds to flock with when you’re feeling alone and out of sync with the rest of the world.

So I guess, instead of attempting to write some in-depth analysis of our current economic system, or plumb the depths of the human soul, or tell you once again about building a Garden of Eden in my backyard, I’ll simply make my 400th post about you –

Thank you from the bottom of my heart – I may have made it to this point intact, anyways, but not as inspired, comforted and joyful as I did by being allowed to share in your journey.

Happy 400th to all of us.

Housecleaning

I missed spring cleaning this year due to furiously whipping out websites for launch – I’m now into summer activities that result in lots of dirt, mulch and other wonderful things being carried thoughtfully into my domicile by both the dog and me.

Dishes are rinsed and stacked in the sink until 3 meals have passed, at which time, I must do them in order to serve the next meal.

(Ain’t I clever?  I have just 6 of each: plates, glasses, bowls, saucers, cups – my own way of controlling how messy my kitchen counter gets… Only problem with this is it limits how many people you can invite over for a dinner party…)

But this morning, another kind of housecleaning is on my mind – I’ve been down and cranky lately – tis the time of year for anniversaries I’d rather forget and I’m trying to cut myself some slack over the whole deal, but once again, I find myself trying to grind out the season from mid-May to mid-June.

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As I scrolled through my WordPress reader this a.m., I realized that my reader reflects my journey these past few years – in it I find the bloggers who chatted with me when I was recovering from my stroke and didn’t have much in-person social interaction –

There are those in the community who have also survived the loss of a child and I watch as both they and I overcome stumbling blocks to our healing.

A good handful of energy healers, astrologers, comedians & philosophers for when life hurts so bad you must simply immerse yourself in works that promise there is hope, Saturn will quit retro-grading at some point and you have the power to make it all better – and if you don’t know how right now, they’ll at least tell you a joke, share a quote or warm your heart with a story.

Sprinkled throughout are those creative artists and photographers who sometimes grace their artwork with snippets of poetry – a quick journey to the world of beauty and a reminder that I really ought to ‘point and shoot’ my camera more carefully –

The published, self-published and getting-ready to publish writers who share their tips, tricks and challenges so the rest of us don’t have to reinvent the wheel, should we ever decide to write for a living.  From these folks I also learn about new software and technical how-to.

When I’m feeling snarky about things I don’t like, I have a whole cadre of folks who keep me informed about why the economy is like it is, what social justice arguments are taking place in their neck of the woods and how to survive a zombie apocalypse or build my own fortress should I ever take the next step in becoming a hermit…

Right next to them are the folks who know how to grow their own food and how to turn some barren, sandy soil into a work of art with a shovel, some garden soil and xeriscape plants.  They show me how beautiful I can make my recycled tires with just some power tools and paint as well as a 1001 uses for discarded wood pallets and plastic 2 liter bottles.

My reader is actually my life story – it’s a tale of where I’ve been and what interested me at the time – it’s a indicator of how I’m doing today (jokes, inspiration and gardening ideas, please, I’m too depressed to save the world or care what a government across the sea is doing, at least for today – – )

And it’s a story of letting go, too.

I noticed this morning that subjects I used to follow avidly, I now skip over – that conversations that used to amuse me no longer do and some grass-root movements no longer seem as viable as they once did.

So I did some housecleaning on my follow list – and sat here pondering how much I’ve changed these past few years – which was rather cheering, since I awoke to pain and longing for my son this morning and railed against the fact that I still take a nose-dive every year around this time.

Once again, the WordPress community is owed my thanks – whether we journeyed together via the reader for a short or long while, you did make a difference for me.

Thank You.

 

 

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