The One About Remembering A Muse, Sharing Some Mundane Moments

INTRODUCTION TO THE MUSE PART

Today I’m going to share photos, but first I’m going to tell you why I’m sharing these particular photos. I have a reason.

A muse, if you will.

People influence you in life. It’s all about where you place your power, but you know that [or at least you should].

Getting to my point…

Many, many years ago when I was newbie blogger [mid-2000s] there was a blogger, Rayleen*, who was a professional portrait photographer. She was into poetry and musings and, of course, photos. The ones on her blog were informal & not necessarily of people.

Her vibe was mellow, her thoughts were straightforward, and her use of light when snapping pics was awe-inspiringShe had a positive influence on me and how I went about learning to blog.

On your journey to be a better blogger ultimately it’s NOT the people who tell you how to blog with their well-intentioned lists and rules, it’s the people who show you how to blog with their own style, allowing you to learn and grow from their examples.

THE MUSE PART CONTINUED

One autumn day Rayleen mentioned that she had begun to notice, and thought it was a shame, that people on social media were only sharing photos of perfection. Nothing messy was going on because it was all staged.

She was prescient on this point.

Have you seen Instagram lately? 

On that day she encouraged personal bloggers to occasionally share photos without deeper meaning or treasured memories. Instead, take photos showing imperfection, mundane moments in time that record the normal messiness of ordinary life.

Focus at least briefly on things around you that you tend to push aside, or ignore, when snapping photos for social media.

In other words, allow yourself to be vulnerable, to be real, by showing the world your own special messiness for no reason other than you can.

So today as a tribute to Rayleen and as a way of saying thanks for her guidance, I’m sharing photos of nothing much in particular. We were ships that passed in the night and because we did I’m a more authentic and open-minded blogger.

THE PHOTOS OF MUNDANE MOMENTS PART

Dirty dishes in the sink & on the kitchen counter

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Assorted stuff heaped on the hutch

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Piles of pillows on the screened-in porch

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Old-fashioned time-wasters on the end table

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Boxes of stuff destined for Goodwill in the garage

THE QUESTIONS OF THE DAY PART

Can you think of someone who came into any aspect of your life who influenced you then disappeared leaving you better off for knowing this person? 

Have you posted photos on social media that show the daily, often overlooked, messiness of your life?

Which of the above photos is your favorite? And why? 

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* I think this is the proper spelling of her name, at least that’s how I remember it. Could have been Reyleen or Raylene– or Reylene, I guess. It’s been a loooong time. I shall not fret if I got her name wrong.

For Love Of Reading, Answering The Bookish A-Z Questions

Earlier this week Deb Carey at Debs Despatches shared and answered these questions. She inspired me to do the same today. Do this on your own blog if you like and/or chit-chat about books [or whatever] in the comments below.

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Author You’ve Read the Most Books From: Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series. I’ve read the ones written by Parker but not by the author who took over after Parkers’s death.

Best Sequel: No answer, I’m coming up blank on this question.

Currently Reading: Underground Fugue by Margot Singer

Drink Choice While Reading: Hot tea or cold wine

E reader or physical book: I prefer a physical book at home, but I use an E reader when I’m not at home.

Fictional character you probably would have dated in high school: I didn’t date much in high school so I doubt that I’d have gone on a pretend date with a fictional character. Just saying

Glad You Gave this Book a Chance: Slade House by David Mitchell. I tried to read Cloud Atlas by Mitchell and couldn’t do it, but Slade House I enjoyed. Sly premise, short read

Hidden Gem: Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan. This is a memoir with a positive message that confirms you can plan your life all you want, but reality will intervene, especially when family loyalty is involved. It’s sweet and funny.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life: As an adult I read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. The novel is meant for YA but while reading it I had a light bulb moment wherein I realized I was like the main character in the novel and had been a writer since girlhood.

Just Finished: The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleton. Set in 1935 during a hurricane the novel is well-researched with a twisted plot. I enjoyed the characters, the odd circumstances that brought them together, and how they persevered.

Kind of Books I Won’t Read: Memoirs *written* by politicians or political hacks;  historical books about sports;  motivational books foisted upon us by grifters;  and any novel I sense will be filled with gore

Longest Book You’ve Read: A guess but I’d say Hawaii by James A. Michener. It’s about a million pages long. 

Major Book Hangover Because Of: If you mean what book stayed on my mind long after I read it, I’d say The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.

Number of Cases You Own: 4 actual book cases;  many drawers filled with books;  piles of books under the coffee table in the living room;  and many cookbooks stashed away in kitchen cupboards + on the counter

One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Preferred Place to Read: a comfortable chair with decent light and a table beside it for my beverage

Quote That Inspires You, or Gives You All the Feels, From a Book You’ve Read“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” It’s the last line from The Great Gatsby.

Reading Regret: I was slow to get around to reading the Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. I don’t know why I hesitated because they’re funny and brilliant.

Series You Started and Need to Finish: Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway mystery series

Three of Your All Time Favorite Books:

  • House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • A Judgement In Stone by Ruth Rendell

Unapologetic Fanperson For: No one I can think of

Very Excited For This Release (More than all the others):  I’m never current in my reading so it doesn’t matter when an author plans to publish, I’ll get to the book when I get to it.

Worst Bookish Habit: Starting one book in one room, a different book in another room, a third book in a third room… then getting confused about what I’m reading. Go figure

X Marks the Spot—start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: Almost French by Sarah Turnbull

Your Latest Book Purchase: Bomb Shelter by Laura Mary Philpott

Zzz-Snatcher Book (the last book that kept you up late): I don’t stay up late reading so the answer is none.

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Who Are You People? Allow Me To Tell You, Then Ask One Question

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I said I’d be back in August, and true to my word, I’m here again, ready to tell you a little bit about you, the cool kids.

Intrigued, aren’t ‘ya?

For no particular reason, on a whim really, I decided to analyze who follows this blog & comments regularly.  WP tells me I have thousands of followers, but most of those followers don’t bother to engage with me, and other bloggers, via the comment section of this blog.

[This is fine by me. Speak up when you feel so moved. I’ve always had many kind lurkers who eventually join in.]

Welp, it turns out there are about 110 cool kids who make a habit of consistently checking in here, chit-chatting in the comments, AND who also write personal blogs of their own. The whole megillah, as they used to say.

[There are many other delightful commenters who say something once in a while and I love you for it. Spammers, on the other hand, make me say, “I hate those meeses to pieces.”]

Granted my methodology here is more subjective than objective: I’m telling you how I categorize/perceive your blogs. But, be that as it may, here are four things I’ve figured out about you, the cool kids.

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I.  How often do you post to your blog?

  • 34% post Multiple Times Per Week (more than twice, less than daily)
  • 25% post Monthly (or less)
  • 20% post Once A Week
  • 14% post Twice A Week
  • 7% post Once A Day (or more)

II.  Where do you usually find your muse?

  • 76% are Independent Thinkers
  • 24% are Joiners who use prompts or challenges, always or most of the time

III.  What do you primarily write about regardless of the source of your muse?

  • 37% write about Family
  • 22% write about Ideas or Questions
  • 22% write about Hobbies or Special Interests
  • 12% write about Books or Writing
  • 7% share Photos

IV.  Where do you live?

  • 79% are Within the US
  • 21% are Outside the US

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When I started my analysis I had a fifth question in mind, but quickly realized I couldn’t answer it on my own, so I’ll ask you. I’d like to know:

HOW DID YOU FIND THE SPECTACLED BEAN? 

  • did we do a challenge together?
  • did you see a comment I left somewhere?
  • did a friend point you this way?
  • did you find me on Twitter or Instagram?
  • did you surf by one day and stay?
  • did you get here some other way?

I await your comments below. 

Taking A Break From Blogging + A Tally Of YOUR Favorite Ice Cream Flavors

QOTD: how many words did I use in this post? Hmmm…? Care to guess?

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I’m tired.

My home is in chaos with no end in sight for these remodeling projects. The country is going to hell in a handbasket courtesy, most recently, of the Supreme Snort Court. And the world is a dumpster fire thanks to Mr. Putin.

I am almost without words.

Thus I’m going to step away from blogging for the month of July, maybe longer, so that I might REGROUP. Perhaps RECONSIDER what I want to do here. RELAX, even.

But before I go, let me share the following with you. 😋

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AND FINALLY READER COMMENTS IN THE FORM OF A TALLY…

About ice cream flavors. You told me your favorites. Listed below in descending order of preference are the flavors with two or more votes:

  1. VANILLA
  2. CHOCOLATE
  3. STRAWBERRY
  4. MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP
  5. MOOSE TRACKS
  6. COOKIE DOUGH
  7. ROCKY ROAD
  8. PRALINES AND CREAM
  9. COFFEE
  10. DARK CHOCOLATE SORBET

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Inspired By A *Sincere* Spammer, Here Are Photos Of Pretty Spring Colors

I was wondering how I was going to introduce these photos then inspiration arrived in the form of a spammer. No doubt he’s a sincere dude, offering me unsolicited advice.

You see, kids, this spammer believes I’m too verbose to create good content, as evidenced by my last wordy post*. He mansplained graciously suggested that by using more photos in my posts, and fewer words, I could become a GREAT blogger.

Thus with a hat tip to this fine fellow, and a hope that this picture-filled post doesn’t burden him with the need to read & comprehend too many words, I give you seven pretty photos that showcase spring colors in the garden.

Also, Zen-Den wants me to wish spammer dude well completing fourth grade. We both think this might be a challenge for him… all. those. words.

BLUE sky smiling above

RED geranium in a terra cotta pot

PINK astilbe in dappled sunlight

GREEN trees as backdrop to screened-in porch

BLACK petunias [that are actually as very dark purple but are sold as black] in a terra cotta pot

PEACHY PINK drift roses

PURPLE salvia by a stone path

AND FINALLY THREE READER COMMENTS…

About hypocrisy versus sound judgement:

“I don’t know this woman but I think you’re protecting your personal boundaries. I think her response to your very thoughtful and honest suggestion speaks volumes. Sure, people can change. But that doesn’t mean they get to be let into your life. No thank you.”

~ Nicole MacPherson

“Boundaries, baby! Yes, Ally, I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion/schtick/whatevs, but that doesn’t make them right or smart or even decent people. If there’s anything the I’ve learned since we’ve entered the aughts is that there are a whole lotta people out there I wouldn’t want to have dinner with…”

~ Pam Lazos

“Nothing hypocritical about avoiding people who aren’t good energy. I have to say I feel a little bad for Zelda. Not bad enough that I think you should follow her. Just sad for a person who seems to know something of the world, yet remains so self-focused.”

~ Crystal Byers

* The analysis of my word to photo ratio on the previous post shows 246 words per 2 photos. On this post, excluding this footnote and the captions on the photos, there are 42 words per 7 photos. Make of this what you will.