Weekly Roundup

I didn’t get very far before I ran into trouble. I am going to quit, sort of…

Sarah Arrow has an excellent 30 Day Blogging Challenge program. Daily emails kept me interested and on track with her challenge’s progress. In the 12 or so days I kept up with the reading, I found good suggestions and encouragements. It is a directed progress to being a better writer and blogger. But I’ve decided it’s not the program for me.

And I’d looked at dozens of these before deciding to try Sarah’s program. It’s not her material and expectations, it’s me and my needs and expectations. And I did learn from this short run. Working through this has helped me clarify that I need to admit I don’t have one article a day in my head, but I can keep notes and when I’ve the time, I can churn out 3 or four in a day and schedule them out. I also need to have a mixture of information on my professional website, and that’s the one I need to be working on for income and business growth. So I’ll take what I’ve learned about myself and move forward and make more things happen, some of them here and some elsewhere.

Rounding up the week’s events…well? We had a really nice snow on the eighth and then a couple of others that just whitened it back up out there. It’s amazing how quickly snow becomes dirty, isn’t it? And I went to a meeting on Wednesday that was perfectly timely. It was about HootSuite but more about being efficient and effective with the app. The people are great, the energy awesomely intense and I’ve already made my life easier by applying some of what I learned. If you live in Rochester and use social media, you should consider joining us.

These last ten days have been good. I’ve worked consistently and my energy is up. I’m doing yoga regularly. The future is rolling towards me and I’m not exhausted with worrying about what is going to happen and if I can be sufficient, or who I’m going to let down, or that something awful is approaching. It’s All Good. See you again soon!

woman working on laptop on a mountain top


Nature is making craft supplies!

IMG_1915I went out to try to make a snowman and failed. I just don’t have the patience to learn to roll a good snowball, even a small one. And when I *did* get a base for my snowman rounded out, it sank into the snow so far it wasn’t a base but a basement, and I gave up.

Van is out cleaning out the back driveway. He’d not done this the previous snowfall but it’s fairly warm at 33 degrees F and he’s on a roll. IMG_1923

Here are some happy pictures of things that Nature crafted today. Or upcycled, maybe would be best; the structures were there all along.

This is a fluffy little post for the blogging challenge I’m doing. Post nine – day 13. All good, I think about blogging more consistently now and worked yesterday to get the autoposting connected to the other website. And to get HootSuite to connect Twitter to the right blog, not the wrong one. Still working on that, maybe a bit later today.

I’ve got to get back to work but it was just such a temptation to run outside with the camera this morning and help Van a bit as well. I can shovel just fine. Just can’t build a snowman.

The best of Keeping It Real week one

If you’ve been following along, you know I’m working on a 30 Day Challenge. And I’m behind but that’s what it is; I’m not going to shove paying work to one side while trying to push out some form of a blog post every day. Today’s post is directly from the Challenge and I’m interested in seeing what sort of response I get from this format; a couple of days ago, I did a personal Weekly Wrap Up. Here is a ‘best of’ post to recap the posts from the same time period.

The week started at after I’d just freaking had it with all the ways and places I had to touch in order to update my Apple ID. I still haven’t fixed the iPad’s iCloud account… Never ever change your Apple ID. It’s hard.

I fixed my jeans was a fun little post about accountability. And, I suppose, about fiber. I wrote it AFTER My Three Words but because I’d actually started the draft before, my blogging app posted it in that order.

I love the way the header picture behaves on My Three Words. When the page first loads, the word MY is all you see. Scroll a bit and the woman’s skyward eyes show up. And yes, this was an important post about my intent at exploring concepts and practices of ‘confidently,’ ‘fiber,’ ‘ and ‘accountable’ during 2016. You should read it if you missed it before this.

My Editorial Calendar came in to being with So that’s how this works.

I started a ritual of doing a personal weekly roundup post from this website. Added it to my calendar, too. And the more I look at the title, the more I see weed killer…

And finally, on January 5, I feel a coldness coming on warned you of my cold (KEEP AWAY!) and my busy day on Wednesday. Which it was.

And that was the week’s posts! I’m pleased with the start I have made. If you would like to get this recap as an email in your inbox, sign up below. But I have to warn you, I’m not necessarily going to be creating one of these on a regular basis for this website. So by signing up below, you are also agreeing to receive similar emails from Rochester Fiber, my website about local Southeast Minnesota fiber people, farms, shops and events. That is where I want to return my attention and energy.


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I feel a coldness coming on

I’m sure it was just a matter of time before I came down with the sniffles – I’m surrounded by people who are getting through and over the winter cold. It’s almost nine at night and I’ve been pretty much on task all day (other than meals. I read during meals which is wonderfully recharging for me).  So this is NOT going to be a very long nor very good post for the day.wpid-wp-1424797314478.jpg

It’s OK for this website. This is my vanity blog, my website for whining and crowing and just sharing things. Like this picture of my cat. Meet Boo-Bear, my old man cat that is just a grump with the other cats, and a grump about getting his way, and a grump about me sleeping on my own bed when he thinks it’s past time for me to get up so he can claim that space. He curls up most days right where I sleep, snoring softly. At this moment he’s staring at me; it must be past time to feed him.

I’m not sure this sort of chatty post is going to go well on my professional website unless it’s on topic. I’ve selected the specific keyword phrases for that website now, and yeah…if I have a chatty post about a fiber event or a dyeing experiment, I think that will be fine. It can’t be all I offer. There needs to be meat to go with this salad, right? What do you think? Do you have a professional or business website, and if so, do you allow yourself to be conversational? Sure, no cats UNLESS they are cutely involved in the yarn in some way. Like this one!cats and string

Tomorrow is a pretty long day too. It starts with a WordPress meetup at 7 am and ends at the library at 7:30 pm. And that’s OK, too.



Weekly Roundup

Today just seem like a good day to start a new ritual. Slept in (as long as the cats let me), had a cup of coffee, did the yoga routine, and am now typing up a quick blog post here on Keeping It Real. This will be a reflective look back at the past week.

The New Year rolled through this week. NYE was a quiet time at home, sharing time with Van. We lit 27 candles to remember a lost friend and then almost started a fire when one of the candle holders broke apart from the heat. We’d left them burn – our own fault – next year I’ll remember to add a bit of water to each holder first to help prevent that.

Last Sunday, I shared a meal with friends. Van was at work and couldn’t make it. I had a good time catching up and hope we do it again soon. Which just goes to say that I should do something. I’ve been thinking about having a monthly meal here, one that leads to people having conversations and meeting new people….but I’ve been thinking about that for several years and haven’t pulled the trigger on doing something about it.

Gah. Indecision.

I fell into a series on Netflix. Empresses in the Palace, a historic drama about a harem. It’s in a Chinese language so you actually have to watch it; I have started taking my laptop and earbuds down to sit with Van in the late evenings, getting more time with him while watching my own shows and not his gold shows or shooting shows or wrestling shows. Sometimes I’ll watch the history shows with him but since most of them are about battles, meh. They just don’t interest me as much as they once did. That over, I’m listening again to Rosemary & Thyme, a British cozy mystery that has two women about my age doing gardening and solving mysteries. I’ve watched it several times now so I don’t even have to watch it but can do work while I’m listening.

I’ve been getting into a routine of yoga and writing – but don’t get excited for me yet. I’ve only been doing this a week and we all know it takes about a month to settle a new habit into place. Today was the 8th day of yoga and the 7th of blogging. And the blogging took a bit longer than it will next week – I needed a banner pic for the Winter months! Canva and then Photoshop and I’m done.

Writing groups have come to my attention this week as well. Sarah Arrow’s Sark Emedia has kept me on target. So far, the daily emails have not delivered anything I didn’t already know but then I’m not new to this process. And I’m really enjoying the interaction on the Facebook page she has set up for our daily posts. Reading people’s comments as they post their latest links, I know that there is more challenging tasks in the days to come! Looking forward to it.

Weekly Roundup



So that’s how this works

Editorial CalendarRemember this commercial? Three women, one of them posting pictures to her living room wall and her more savvy friend trying to explain how Facebook actually worked? Well, I’ve walked around the last couple of years feeling like the third woman in the room, the one that is initially nodding about how wonderful the wall posts are and then is looking slightly confused. I’ve not ever gotten an editorial calendar to work for me.

It’s clicked. I had installed an editorial calendar plugin onto this website but hadn’t been able to get into any sort of rhythm with it. Instead I was mindmapping or roughing posts out on paper and then half the time never getting back to them. But this week and thanks to committing to a 30 Day Challenge, I’ve started making those notes within this website and saving them as drafts. The calendaring feature lets me know what saved drafts have not been posted and allows me to drag drafts around to fill up my empty days, and it’s making sense to me this time around.

I’ve just got to do my part and consistently start that draft within the website. Plus I have to come back and finish that draft! It’s not a guarentee nor a quick-fix. But I have started developing a better blogging habit and feel that having an editorial calendar that I will use is going to be key to keeping this going.

Do you have an editorial calendar? Tell me in the comments what you use, OK? I’m interested in hearing about other people’s real experiences with this writing tool.

My Three Words

It’s a potentially powerful self-awareness exercise that I’m doing for 2016. You can read more about it on Chris Brogan’s post here (borrowing one of his 2015 words, btw). And catch up with Deb Brown’s words here.

So this is a new exercise for me, and I’m concerned that a year might be too long. Like I’ll get halfway into February and realize that 2016 can’t be all about *this* and needs to be about *that*. Or maybe it’s like being a vice-president of the local club before you get to be president; the past experiences of other people have shown you need time to grow into the roll and even so you barely get comfortable and effective before your term is over. And I’ll get out of it what I put into it, I know.

Yearly Focus Words

Confidently. As in: ‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.’ — Henry David Thoreau. I have many talents and skills, and I have experience that I can apply to new opportunities. I’m capable and want to walk more confidently through  each new day.

Fiber. As in: “There you go, Harry!” Ron shouted over the noise. “You weren’t being thick after all — you were showing moral fiber!” –J.K.Rowling. Also as Chris says (I might as well borrow all of it since it fits): ‘everything is connected. Pull here, and it will get tight there.’ And yet another thing you might not know about me, but I own 12-15 drop spindles, two wheels and …geeze, more than several small looms. I can work that word ‘fiber’ on three different fronts!

Accountable. As in: “The only way we succeed as a group is not simply following directions, but in keeping each other accountable for our actions.” A.J. Darkholme. There is a statement out there in the rest of the world that has always bothered me; I am always a bit confused when people say “you aren’t responsible for anyone else’s actions, just your own.” Except that my actions may have caused a reaction and that’s what I’m seeing in front of me. Except that whole “it takes a village” statement follows us throughout our lives, not just when we are children or raising a child, and most of our happiest safety nets are put into place because of village mentality. Except that I always feel so alone when someone says that, as if I’m not supposed to be influenced by anyone else. So I’m adopting this word as a keystone word to better understand how I apply it, and how I can be available to other people who want to be part of my village.

Growth Happens

If you are also doing the three little words exercise, and are inclined to do so, drop me a comment and I’ll follow you.

I’m open to whatever changes these three little words inspire me to make, to whatever paths my feet are guided to travel. I’ll be watching for you along the way, OK?


Three Words