#MAYkingItWork: If You’re Not Having Fun, Then Why Are You Doing It?

Pansy, from the French word Pensie, means Thought or Remembrance.

~ ~ ~ ~

Having fun? 

Thinking about my personal blog…

Wondering how it fits into my life. At this point.

Not daily, but at least weekly.

Ideas expressed. Information shared. Observations noted.

Adding value is fun.

Never mocking or mean.

Photos and images to add a cheerful vibe. Pretty.

Quirkiness a given.

Lest there be no fun. 

No ruts, please. Keep it varied. Can you say eclectic?

Do it or delete it. Do it or delete it. Do it or delete it.

[The academic ‘publish or perish’ concept adapted to the personal blogosphere.]

Kindred spirits are fun.

Looking for people who are curious and thought-filled. Creative. Sincere.

Well-developed sense of humor a plus.

No one self-absorbed &/or uptight need apply.

No fun there.

Follow me. Follow me. Follow me.

Welcome. Nice to meet you.

Comment when you got ’em. I’ll do the same thing for you.

And please, for the love of all that is good, remember to have fun.  

~ ~ ~ ~

H/T to #MAYkingItWork hosted by Isa-Lee Wolf  and David.  Read about it here.

#MAYkingItWork is a commitment to making something come to fruition in May by finishing a writing/blogging project/post that you’ve let slide/been thinking about.

And lately, my gentle readers, I’ve been thinking about the effort I put into keeping this blog and what makes it worthwhile for me.  In a nutshell, I blog because it’s fun.

~ ~ ~ ~

How about you? Why do you Keep a blog? Why do you read someone else’s blog?

~ ~ ~ ~

No Stories Here, Only The Remains Of My Inspiration File

It’s spring and you are on a tear to clean out your inspiration file. You have a vague idea about writing something about four cute images but you can’t get your head together to write anything.   

WHAT’S A BLOGGER TO DO?

Well, kids, may I suggest that you put together a post about the stories that you couldn’t figure out how to write, add the cute images– and call it a Tuesday. 

~ ~

One

I took this quiz and got 11 out of 12.  

NO STORY HERE… just something fun that you, too, might want to do if you’re curious about how much you remember about baseball in the TV shows you watched as a kid.

~ ~

Two

This is the color that Zen-Den painted our home office walls– and ceiling.

NO STORY HERE… other than to say that this a lovely warm gray color that when natural light reflects off the golden oak floor the walls look gray with a slight aqua cast to them.  Me likey.

~ ~

Three

I did a screen save of the emojis that I use the most.

NO STORY HERE… except that it seems like there should be a story here in which my inner-most self is revealed through my use of emojis.  But, alas and alack, my inner-most self remains a mystery.

~ ~

Four

This is a tweet in which I shared how to kill a scorpion.

NO STORY HERE… because I’ve only seen a scorpion in the zoo– and even though the zoo sells alcoholic beverages, those zoo people are fussy about visitors not murdering the zoo residents.  Go figure.

Revisiting The Strawberry Shortcake Controversy, Asking For Your Preferences

I READ AN ARTICLE that said one of the best approaches to writing a blog post is to write about something controversial. Readers will respond. Discussions will ensue.

Give attitude, get attention.

I believe there’s a truth to this approach.  I say that because years ago [like maybe 10-12?] I wrote a post about making Strawberry Shortcake for dessert.

Welp, my small readership at the time went bonkers telling me how I was doing it wrong. That my preferred Strawberry Shortcake combination was not the amazeballs that I thought it was.

I got comments disagreeing with me on that post for over a year. No exaggeration.

~ ~ 🍓 ~ ~

NOW THAT IT’S MAY, I’m thinking about making Strawberry Shortcake.  In fact I’m going to stop by a local farmers’ market today where I might find some delicious local strawberries to use in said dessert.

Thus, in an attempt to make the perfect Strawberry Shortcake ever, I have created the following three polls in which we will determine what you, my gentle readers, consider to be the perfect Strawberry Shortcake.

Yes, I’m crowdsourcing this recipe.

To wit, considering your own preferences please complete the sentences that begin each poll.  Then if you, my gentle readers, care to chat about Strawberry Shortcake, or anything else, leave a comment below.

As usual, thanks in advance for your prompt attention regarding this matter.

~ ~ 🍓 ~ ~

POLL # 1

POLL # 2

POLL # 3

In Which A Forgotten Friend Sends Ms. Bean An Email

The following experience is not how I do things, but there’s an odd sweetness & humor to this story. Plus, you can’t take things like this personally. You gotta laugh.

• • •

Hosta starting to grow in the stones underneath the deck, early spring.

I got an email from someone, let’s call her Pebbles, who I last heard from when I was in my 20s.

Pebbles had gotten my email address from someone on FB who knew where I was. I’m not on FB, but Pebbles was looking for me because, as she explained in her email, she wanted to re-connect with me.

To be my friend again.

Pebbles’s email was filled to the brim with newsy tidbits about her blessed life as the wife of a successful businessman and her role as a granny of a parcel of fabulous little ones and her passion, which was either going to the beach or playing golf.

I can’t remember which.

Surprised, but happy to engage, I replied to Pebbles’s email asking a few questions about that which she had told me and sharing a few details about what was going in our lives now.

• • •

The other day I got a reply to my reply to Pebbles’s email.

In it she answered my questions about her life and commented on my life.  Like a friend might do, right?

But here’s the thing that makes this communication exchange odd– and like none other that I have had.

Pebbles replied back to me, using the email that she’d initially sent to me and I’d replied back to her on; that’s normal enough. HOWEVER, her response came five years after I wrote back to her.

Yes, I said years.

Not five months. Not five weeks. Not five days. Not five hours.

Five years.

• • •

Knowing me as you do, my gentle readers, you can imagine that my inner Nancy Drew is curious.

Questions abound: where the frostbite has Pebbles been for five years? Do I want to know?

And why did she keep my response email for five years? If she wanted to get back in touch again, why didn’t she start a new email to me– like, you know, people do?

And what prompted her to think of me to begin with? I’d really like to know the answer to that question.

• • •

Nut shells discarded by squirrels on the stones, late winter.

So here’s my plan.

I’ll follow Pebbles’s lead and reply back to her recent email… in five years. I’ll ask the above questions.

Then when she responds back to me, presumably in another five years, I’ll tell you what she says in answer to the above questions. In fact, you, my gentle readers, will be the first to know after me.

Because I have no doubt that ten years hence we’ll all still be here reading and commenting on each other’s blogs. We bloggers are a reliable group of people who tend to live in the moment. We like to keep things current.

But as Pebbles has shown me, not everyone does.

Because You Asked: My 5 Basic Blogging Guidelines

When it comes to blogging, I know things.

I have, after all, written a personal blog [most years] since 2004 so I have experience + I have a couple of college degrees about words and ideas and communication and images and branding.

Yes, I know a thing or two about keeping a personal blog, while not losing your mind in the process.

But what I do not have is much of an ego, so over the years I’ve been disinclined to put together any “how to” blogs posts in which I tell everyone what to do.  

I fear being pedantic.

That would never do. 

• • •

However, talking with an acquaintance got me thinking.

The acquaintance confided that she knew the practical aspects of writing and blogging platforms, but she was uncertain about how to envision, then maintain, a personal blog.  She wanted guidance.

From that conversation I got the idea to share my blogging guidelines in a pretty little informative image that sums up my experience on the topic. 

These are not blogging rules, if such a thing exists.  No, these are general guidelines that I’ve learned over the years, and adhered to as a way of centering myself and my thoughts when I sit down to do that bloggy thing that I love to do.

• • •

• • • 

Questions Of The Day

If someone were to ask you for guidance about how to keep a personal blog, what would you tell them?

How have you envisioned your blog? How have you maintained it?

If you were to start over, what would you do differently?

• • • 

At The Pharmacy: But I Don’t Like This Answer, Said She

Never ask a question until you are prepared to hear an answer.  

That’s basic communication theory and common sense, I do believe.

Lawyers know this.  Teachers know this.  Police detectives know this.

Bloggers come to know this, usually the hard way.

Ask a question you assume you know the answer to: “Don’t you agree that Muskrat Love is the worst song ever?”  You may think that everyone will say: “Yes!”  But I’ll guarantee you that someone in the comments will say “No” and then explain why it’s their favorite song of all time.

• • •

Anyhoo, getting to the point of this post, I found myself laughing at myself because I asked a question to which I was not prepared to hear the answer.

OH. NO. I. WASN’T.

You see, I was at the pharmacy picking up my prescription.  It was the first time this year that I had it refilled.

The worried look on the pharmacy tech’s face probably should have warned me, but when she said: “oh, your prescription has gone up in price” I instantly said: “how much?”

Trust me when I say I was not prepared to hear the answer to my question.  An answer that was: “oh, 200%– or a little more.”  

HUH?

I didn’t throw a hissy fit, nor did I get upset with this pharmacy tech, she’s just the messenger of bad news.  I went ahead and bought this medicine that technically I could live without;  I need the script to see straight in a comfortable way, not in a life or death way.

But I will say that I was shocked by the answer to my question, and kind of startled into remembering that no matter where you go, or what you do, the answer to your question may not make you happy.

COMMON SENSE, RE-LEARNED.

Oh The Irony. White Paint, Please. And A Few Good Thoughts, If You Don’t Mind.

• • •

One of my all-time favorite quotes that makes me smile no matter what.

• • •

This past week has been a doozy.  Not in especially good ways, either.

I’d planned on, well– planning, then doing, during the week. Using my free time to go shopping at the mall for some spring clothes. To go for a walk outside. To be less here in the blogosphere, even.

But the Universe laughed at me.

Scoffed in fact.

“Ally Bean you shall stay at home, connecting with bloggers* by leaving comments** hither and yon***, whilst you await your next house calamity,” said the Universe.

“And your house calamity will manifest as your husband leaveth the house to drive 4 hours north in a snowstorm to check-on his 80-something ailing parents, one of whom is in the hospital.”

The Universe can be difficult at times, you know?

“And further, Ms. Bean,” the Universe said, “you shall be forced to look at said house calamity whilst your husband dealeth with his parents’ woes, because there will be nothing you can do to repair a roof, and subsequent ceiling damage, until the snow endeth and spring cometh for real.”

Oh yes, the Universe can be a trickster.

So this is where I find myself today.  Looking at water damage on the ceiling in the… [wait for it]… newly remodeled master bathroom.

Because, I guess, the Universe thinks that I need to stay home worrying, then waiting for various people to start traipsing around this house as they fix things.

Again.

• • •

Photo of ceiling damage [shown at a jaunty angle] that will need to be repaired inside the house after we have the roof repaired outside the house. Obviously.

• • •

* To be clear I enjoy connecting with bloggers and have used this week to organize my feeds.  All 70+ of them.

** I’ve also been systematic about leaving comments on all the blogs that I follow, because while “lurking” and “liking” are nice, as a blogger I believe that comments are wonderful.

*** If by chance I’ve left a comment on your blog, and you’re one of those bloggers who doesn’t like comments, then mea culpa.  Also if my comment made little sense to you, please forgive me;  my heart’s been in the right place this week but my mind’s been scattered.