Search Terms Revisited

WordPress has a nifty little feature that allows me to review what search terms have drawn people to my blog posts. Sadly, it doesn’t tell me which post in particular it brought the person to, or who did the search, but either way it can be very fascinating.

The most popular search term that draws people to me, by a country mile, is “I hate alcohol.” And indeed, I’ve posted several rants on the subject, so that makes a certain amount of sense. Another popular one is “bridge symbolism,” and that happens to be the title of my most popular post.

Another term that’s more popular than in should be is various versions of “6 inch heels”. I wrote a post once about how destructive high heels are to women, and I included a picture of some 6-inch black stilettos. I strongly suspect that people go to perv on the picture more than they do to read the article. Oh well.

On thirty different occasions, someone has used the search term “stupidity” to find my blog. That kind of hurts my feelings. But I guess I’ll get over it.

People searching for the truth about a scoundrel named Andy Johnson in Jacksonville, Florida often find me, because I’ve posted some inconvenient facts about his lack of integrity on more than one occasion.

“Sex breast” seems to have drawn people to my blog on eight separate occasions. “Breast sex” was the term seven additional times. I have no idea why. I’m not sure I want to know.

For the life of me, though, I’m stumped about “a cat get bitten by diamondback snake”. Why did that bring them to me, and why did they search for such a sick thing in the first place? People are strange.

And then there’s “gas gauge empty pee”. Your guess is as good as mine on that one.

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Caveat Lector

In this blog I do my best not to present my opinions as facts. Would I like to bring people around to my way of thinking? Heck yeah. But I don’t really consider myself particularly persuasive.

I do worry about this, though, because I see a growing trend. Critical thinking seems to have flown out the window. More and more people believe everything they read. People will share memes without even being sure they’re true, for example, and that is causing a whole host of societal problems. (This whole paragraph is chock full of opinions. See how tricky that is?)

I don’t want to lead people down a primrose path. I don’t want to form a cult. I don’t want people to think that I’m smarter than I am. (Well, okay, maybe I do want that last one. So sue me.)

I’d like to figure out a way to promote critical thinking in this blog. I want people to question. I want them to learn. I want them to recognize that there are different points of view, different philosophies of life, and different ways to solve problems. I would love your thoughts on the subject, dear reader.

Until then, let your motto be Caveat Lector: let the reader beware.

Jeez…

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This Is My 3000th Blog Post

Wow. I can hardly believe that I’ve posted a blog every day for the last 3,000 days. I figured I’d be able to come up with 180 posts, at best, and then I’d move on to something else. Basket weaving. Painting. Origami. Knitting. And yet, here we are.

Some fun facts for you. As of this writing, I have 651 followers. My blog has been viewed 317,536 times, by 181,429 visitors. It has produced one book and one stalker. (Not to worry, though, the stalker has long since moved on to, I assume, freak out other bloggers.) I’ve used far fewer semicolons than I should have, and entirely too many commas. By the end of last year, I had written 1,275,316 words.

But the words that mean the most to me have come from comments. That’s my favorite part of the blog. They provide the endorphins that keep me writing. I enjoy interacting with you, dear reader, and hope to continue doing so in the future.

So I will leave you with some of my favorite comments, which I also hope to include in my next book, should I ever get around to finishing it. I debated posting these comments here, because it might come off as a shameless ego massage, but in the end I decided that it’s truly the best way to show how much this blog means to me. That, and culling through all the comments throughout the years reminded me just how many friends I’ve made along the way. Reading these comments brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for reading and participating, each and every one of you.

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From pouringmyartout, (whose comments I dearly miss): “I sort of like this slightly weird side of you. Thanks for letting us get to know you a little better… you freak…”

Bob Hamilton: “As I think about your followers, I visualize their jobs…. those with lonely jobs on perches or boats or night shifts or even truckers; those who may enjoy written words more than conversational dialogue; those who love knowledge for its own sake. That may only scratch the surface of your followers, but I feel like a hobo sharing a daily train ride of the mind. Thank you!”

Leah Hurley: “I needed this! Exactly this!”

Paula Ross: “This might be your best blog entry. You were talking for me and about me. Thank you.”

Norm Houseman: “And the congregation said, ‘AMEN!’”

Jen: “An excellent, thoughtful essay. Thank you.”

Cupitonians: “I missed your posts for 2 weeks. I mean, I was in exotic travel mode and I still wished my phone worked so I could read your posts. Crazy, no? I’m all caught up now! I don’t know how you always manage to inspire. xx”

Paulette: “Way too personal…you have touched me at the heart of my life’s problems. I will ponder this blog all day. This is a good thing. Thank you.”

Kramer: “Thanks for letting me know that I’m NOT the only one in the world who feels this way.”

Deborah Drake: “I appreciate all your brave, vulnerable, vivid, colorful, compassionate, and genuine posts. How you see what you see blows my mind wide open every time.”

Helen: “Congrats and keep ’em coming! Always look forward to reading your point of view which often coincides with mine.”

Elaine Lorefield: “You have entertained me and let me into your life.. thank you.”

AvalancheOfTheSoul: “At last, the thoughts inside my head eloquently expressed in a post.”

Kappaloca: “Whoever you are, you have no idea how I needed this today. THANK YOU”

Mountainstroh (Tony): “You make it worth visiting, lady!”

Lyn Sutton: “Look out evil! Barb is armed with guerrilla warfare weapons. She shines a ginormous light. Your blog touches my soul so often that I have embraced you as a positive force of balance amidst the chaos.”

Amy Sassenberg: “Thanks for sharing your stories, Barb. You are a healing force in the world.”

Vicky: “This may seem random, but I love you, Barb. I just do.”

Julie: “Your openness, honesty and clear sense of self is refreshing!”

Liz: “I can’t believe that you have written every day for years – and that each of your posts is so well done.”

Amelia Isabel: “Loving your posts. They’re giving me the encouragement I need. Xoxo”

Sam: “You inspire others with your words and kindness…and I’m proud to know you.”

Carole Lewis: “Finding your Blog has been a bright spot in my days. Whether provocative, thoughtful, soulful, or hilarious, I find something I can relate to on many levels, and I know I am connected in this great universe. And that’s a good thing. Thank You! Carry on, Dear Friend. Keep speaking for those of us that can’t or won’t. Tell us those stories of places we will never visit. Open our eyes to seeing ourselves in a mirror and liking what we see. When I read your blogs, I like myself much better, believe that more things are possible and that I can also make a difference. I am forever grateful to the Cigarette Girl, and the Waving Man, and all the gifts you have sent my way. Your heart flows through your words. Just don’t ever quit doing this blog. I would never survive the withdrawal.”

Richard Williams: “I love your blog. It’s a daily tonic for me.”

Forrest Brakeman: “Even through you’re venting, you have exposed me to a new world. Thank you.”

Kevin: “Cranberries are evil.”

Lynn Fitz-Hugh: “You are the only person I know who can make a story like this funny. Hat’s off.”

Jay: “You’re a writing inspiration! (seriously) Thanks!”

Raquel DeHoyos: “Oh Barbara, I think I love this one the most of all your stories. Thank you for your courage to live it, write it, and share it.”

And this one really made me laugh:

Angiportus Librarysaver: “Get your mind out of the gutter!” But in fairness, he also said: “Sing it, sister. Any @#$%&* can vituperate, but it takes brains to call someone out using Reason. You’re one of the lights in the garbage. Even when I don’t agree with you, which is once in a while. Long live boundaries.”

The ultimate form of recycling: Buy my book, read it, and then donate it to your local public library or your neighborhood little free library! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Revisiting Delirium

Blogging is a labor of love. It can be stressful, finding something new to talk about every day, then actually carving out the time and motivation to put it into writing. Some days I’m much better at it than others. Some days I’m in the zone, and other days the zone eludes me entirely.

But those zone days, when everything clicks and I feel inspired and am proud of the writing, are some of the best days of my life. As long as I get one of those days every once in a while, this blog seems worthwhile to me. It’s all the reward I need.

Without further ado, I urge you to go and check out a blog post, entitled Gently Down the Stream. I wrote it a year ago when I was as sick as a dog. So, naturally, I wrote about being sick as a dog. But there’s something about the flow of this post, the descriptions, the mood, the depiction of my delirium, that really makes me happy and proud.

Enjoy, dear reader, let me know what you think, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Delirium by Feeriee13 on DeviantArt

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N-N-1 Autumn 2020

For several years now, I’ve participated in a delightful photography/creative writing experiment that was created by two of my favorite bloggers, Anju, who writes This Labyrinth I Roam, and Norm, who writes Classical Gasbag. They thought it would be interesting to see what people all over the world were doing/seeing/experiencing at the same point in time. As Norm explains it, in N-N-1 the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (they should be the same), and the 1 stands for one time.

Norm hosted this edition, and the subject was Autumn 2020. We all know that this has been a crazy year, and as we transition into a different season, all the participants had the opportunity to reflect on the insanity. The results are bittersweet, but in the end, there’s always hope, and that was reflected in many of the write ups. That’s what I cling to.

Please check out the really beautiful photos and the thoughtful, accompanying writing at Norm’s blog. (My photo appears below, but you’ll have to visit Norm’s blog for the write up.)

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Diddly-Squat Again

True confessions: I like to read my own blog. I like to read it way too much, if I’m honest. It’s my version of gazing wistfully into a mirror.

But every once in a while I’ll come across a post that I wrote when in a completely different situation, and yet it will be so applicable to today that it gives me the shivers. So it is with On Doing Diddly-Squat.

I wrote that post back in 2018, long before this pandemic. Long before doing diddly-squat was the norm for all of us. It talks of rich people riding stuff out. It talks of leaders not taking responsibility. It talks of bolting one’s doors.

I hope you’ll check that post out. It’s a heaping helping of déjà vu.

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I Missed My Blogiversary!

December 1, 2019 was the 7 year anniversary of this blog. Seven years, writing a new post every single day. That’s an amazing accomplishment, even if I do say so myself. When I started, I assumed it would be a 6 month project at most, because how on earth would I come up with a new topic every day? Surely no one has that much to say. And yet, here I am.

So you’d think I’d have remembered on the day. I should have taken myself out to dinner or gotten a massage or something. But no. It totally slipped my mind. WordPress had to remind me with their automated congratulations. I celebrated by eating apple pie for breakfast the next morning.

This blog has been a major part of my life. I spend at least 16 hours on it every week, and even more than that if you count the hours of stress over writer’s block and utter lack of inspiration. It’s been the source of great friendships and fascinating feedback. It has also been the source of my first book. I’ve also halfway cobbled together a second book, but I can’t seem to get motivated to finish it. (I was about to say that follow through is not my strong suit, but if that were the case, this blog wouldn’t exist. So the lack of a second book is due to basic laziness. Ouch.)

The bottom line is that I can’t imagine who I’d be anymore without this blog. I’m grateful that you’ve taken the time to read it, dear reader. I’ve marked my calendar so that I won’t miss this anniversary in future years. I hope there will be many more celebrations to come.

I can’t help but wonder, though, why it’s so easy to overlook our own accomplishments, even for those of us who wouldn’t think of overlooking the accomplishments of others. That sounds like the topic for a future blog post. Hmmm…

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Just My Opinion

Well, it seems I’ve ruffled more than a few feathers of late. Most of those feathers seem to be firmly attached to Trump supporters, and that’s perfectly okay with me. I can’t imagine that we’ll ever see eye to eye.

Here’s the thing. I’m not a journalist. I’ve never claimed to be one. I’ve never wanted to be one. If you’re looking for facts, you’ll want to look elsewhere. What I write are for the most part opinion pieces.

My whole life I’ve been told that I have strong opinions. For decades I took that as a character flaw of some sort. I tried really hard not to have opinions, but it just wasn’t in me. Those failed attempts caused a great deal of self-loathing and wasted time.

Then, with maturity, I realized that everyone has opinions. I just tend to express them more than the average person. So why not turn that into an asset by way of writing a blog? Well, that isn’t going to make everyone happy. So be it.

I think the confusion occurs when people assume that I insist that everyone should agree with my opinions. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. After all, who the hell am I to dictate what anyone else thinks? I don’t consider myself an influencer.

I speak for me, not for anyone else. My opinions are mine. This blog is mine. It’s therapeutic for me. If this were the 19th century, I’d probably be writing a diary. It’s wonderful to have a broader forum. But rest assured that your participation is voluntary.

I’m writing it for me, and if my readers enjoy it, I view that as a delightful side benefit. Many times you give me broader insight, or inspire other posts, or get me interested in topics that I would never have thought to pursue. I’m grateful for that.

But if in the process of writing this blog I step on a few toes, I’m guessing those toes will take themselves elsewhere eventually. I hate to say this, but I really couldn’t care less either way. That’s one of the few facts I’ll lay claim to.

Namaste.

Ruffled Feathers
Ruffled Feathers

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A Brief Ego Blip

Last month I wrote a post about the Little Free Library that we built for our front yard, and my blog got 670 views that day. Clearly the subject resonated with people. I was really, really proud, because I’m currently averaging 107 views a day.

Throughout the day, I kept visiting my statistics page to watch the numbers go up and up and up, and it was such a rush. I didn’t want the feeling to ever end. But I knew it would, because this isn’t the first time this has happened on this blog.

One time I wrote a post that got 762 views in one day at a time when I was averaging 45 views a day. Ironically, it was called “Holy Screamin’ Cats! I’m Trending!!!” and it was about yet another viewing blip of 376 views. So the post about the trend exceeded the post itself. It will be awfully hard to break that record. Fame, however, is fleeting, as you can see by my statistics below.

I think that how someone deals with that says a great deal about that person. I could have mourned the loss of all that attention. I could have gotten bitter about the return to the status quo. I could have suffered ego withdrawal. But instead I’m choosing to look back at it and smile.

I’ve learned over the years that it’s impossible to foresee which of my posts are going to be popular. And in a way, that makes it fun. Roller coasters that are predictable are not nearly as exciting.

Thanks to all of you who have been along for the ride!

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My Blog Can Bite Me

I’ve been writing a post for this blog every day since December of 2012. That’s more than 2,400 posts so far. One thing that didn’t occur to me when I started all this is that a great deal of my life experience is now on record. All my opinions and memories and reactions and interests… they’re all out there for the world to see (should the world be extremely bored on, say, a Sunday afternoon).

Any chance of my running for public office has been destroyed. (Not that I have any aspirations along those lines. I’d probably be the first person voted off the island in Survivor.)

This archive of my personal points of view can be convenient if I’m trying to remember something. I’m sure my friends and family get sick of hearing me say, “Oh, yeah! I blogged about that once!”

But it can also bite me in the butt, and has on more than one occasion. Memories can change. Opinions can change. When you write about them, they sort of get cast in stone. “Oh, is that what you think, Barb? Well, that’s not what you said back in May of 2013…”

That certainly makes it hard to waffle, hedge, or equivocate. The more I write, the more my life seems to be black and white. The shades of grey are fading away. That’s great when my memory fades, but not so great when I want to hide in the mist like most people can.

Blogging is a double-edged sword.

And by the way, I’m well aware of the dual meaning of this post’s title. It was intentional. After all these years, sometimes I feel both ways.

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