Posted in A Bit of That, A Bit of This, Art, Blogging, Friends, Holidays, New Year's Day

Back From the Dead…Or Headed That Way

Sparkler
Lighting the Dark

I was planning to give up on wordpress.com. The interface became bogged down with multiple ways to add posts and pages. I was becoming more enamored of just plain ol’ WordPress, the kind you install on your own web host and customize from there. While WordPress.com kept getting slower and less efficient, wordpress-just-wordpress was becoming easier and easier to use.

So, why am I back? Maybe I just need to talk, to re-enter the forum I’d deserted so long ago. Maybe Facebook posts just don’t do it for me anymore. They’re not enough. Maybe the ready-made community here was the better option, at least for now.

I use WordPress a lot for my work. I even run a multisite network and learning how to manage that has been a trip and a half. But, maybe for some things anyway, I just need you.

Maybe it’s the new year. I’ve left a lot of my artistic inclinations on the floor as I’ve dealt with work-related issues which are always harder for someone who’s self-employed. I’ve had some medical issues, some of which seem to be retreating and others of which are somewhat more stable than they were before. Maybe 2018 will be kinder than 2017, 2016 and 2015. I’m looking forward to it, at least.

So…HELLOOOOOO out there. I may have nothing but my own voice echoing back to me in a vast, empty cavern. But, maybe some of you are still here. Maybe we can get a little something going that doesn’t include visits to medical specialists and therapists from a number of different backgrounds. Maybe 2017 taught me a little something about reaching out and finding another hand taking mine.

Posted in Blogging, Food, Seasons, Spring

Pop-Up Colors

As I’ve mentioned before, color is a challenge this time of year. Everything from the sky down to the grimy snow banks is a very dull gray.

I went to my local supermarket to do some shopping and to find some colors. You think they’d be there? Nope. I think it was the lighting, or maybe that plus the exhausted state of the vegetables that turned the whole place gray. I couldn’t believe it! If you couldn’t find color in a food store, where could you find it? I eventually came across something that might suit for this challenge: string bags filled with different types of fruit.

image

Well, okay, color! And I do like that tumbling down linear quality of it.

So, for your viewing please, here my pop of color for the day.

Posted in Blogging, Home, Nature, Photography, Photography 101

Water

We have a lovely park not far from where we live with a pond full of ducks in the spring and summer. The Town spruced it up a few years ago and added a canoe launch and a little beach. It’s a lovely little walk with water views that refresh my spirit every time I go.

I use both landscape and portrait orientations when I take pictures. It depends on the subject and the story I’m trying to tell. For example, I used this picture to give folks a sense of what the pond and park looks like as you approach it from a small parking lot:

spy pond
Here We Are at Spy Pond

The photo really captures the peaceful nature of the park, even when it’s full of little kids using the playground to the left of the bike. The paths are lined with gravel and bordered by rocks. All in all, it’s a very small place but its benefits to me are enormous.

I took this picture with a different orientation, since I wanted to give people a sense of depth and the feeling that they were walking to the water on the same pathway:

Spy Pond Pathway
Spy Pond Pathway

This orientation really lets you see the gravel and the border leading to that lovely, sparkling blue. In some places you can actually walk down one or two steps to the water. Or, like me, you can set yourself on one of those comfy stones and look over over a goodly helping of peace and tranquility.

Posted in Blogging, Fantasy, Fiction, Writing

Unlock the Mind

So, from Blogging 101 to Writing 101. You’re in for it now! I joined this writing challenge to get my fiction muscles back in shape. I haven’t worked them out for quite some time. I joined in a NaNoWriMo challenge last November, but stopped when my mother passed away early that month. I really didn’t feel like doing any fiction writing until earlier this year, but got sucked into some life challenges that dropped me in my tracks. Now there’s another NaNo challenge in July and I’m going to try it again. In the meantime, I’m going to see what I can do during this challenge to prepare for that.

I have a book I’ve been trying to finish for years. I started it during the worst part of the recession, when both my husband and I were pretty much hung out to dry. I suddenly started thinking about two travelers in a ravaged countryside, two people who had lost some very significant things. One person, the female protagonist, lost her entire family and village and the other, the male protagonist, a soldier who was blinded in an attack. I set this up as a fantasy, set in some pre-industrial era. I started it, then stopped, then started, then stopped. I signed up for NaNoWriMo in 2012 and got my 50,000 words in, but the novel still wasn’t finished. Since that time I’ve written about another 2,000 words.

So, I’ll give Writing 101 a try – if you guys can stand it. I may also post chapters and plot synopses, to see what you guys think about it.

So, here we go again!

Posted in Blogging, Gardening, The Weekly Bean, Writing

30 Days of Margy

Oh, boy, just what you wanted! Now my Blogging 101 mentors have directed us to create an editorial calendar to schedule posts over the next 30 days. Hey, no fair guys – that’s work! They have a point, though: discipline, discipline, discipline! My blog isn’t going to write itself. That being said, I still want to have fun. Remember, I Majored in English in college. I had to write lots and lots of term papers. Even though I was quite good at cranking them out, I really didn’t enjoy the experience.

It’s different with blogging. Here I’m just talking and sharing stuff with friends. I’m having a good laugh, not analyzing Shakespeare (or Ralph Waldo Emerson). True, the analysis did help develop my communication skills, but not as much as just plain old writing.

So, in that sense, a calendar makes sense. I’ve already committed to a weekly feature (The Weekly Bean), so there’s that to plan for. Yes, good practice. And especially useful for my business writing which is a challenge to keep from being so dry it’ll float away.

Posted in Blogging, Bouncing Tigger's Vegetarian Recipe Challenge, Food, Recipes

Death by Chili Pepper

I’m trying to knock out a few posts while I have the energy and before my desire to run downstairs and finish my book finally overcomes me. I’ve been meaning to spend some time with Tigger’s Veggie Challenge and I think I may have found a fun post for this one.

I really like Indian food but my tastes, all with all westerners probably, are pretty calmed down compared to the real thing. I also love to watch cooking videos and came across a chef who I can’t stop watching. He’s a really nice, respectful guy and at the same time brimming over with enthusiasm about the dishes he demonstrates. He calls himself the VahChef (prounounced “Wah Chef”) and he cooks stuff from throughout India. Yes, I know there are a lot of different cuisines and there’s really no such thing as “Indian” food, just like there’s really no such thing as “curry.”

The VahChef invites people to upload their own cooking videos, too, which is rather cool. He also prepares some western dishes, but doesn’t seems as excited about them as the “Indian” stuff. My favorite part, though? This dude is NOT afraid of hot peppers. It’s hysterical: “first you add some chili, then you add some chili powder and then you add more chili if the dish is not tasty enough.”

Yow! It sounds great and deadly. I might try modifying his recipes so that I can actually make them.

On another note, I’ve been following some really ugly issues regarding women and women’s right, not only in India but in Nigeria, too. I know women in both countries have gone into the streets to protest these atrocities and I stand with them. I want those kids in Nigeria back and I want women in all parts of India to be able to walk the street unmolested.