When the cranberry sauce on my Thanksgiving plate started to ooze over toward the mashed potatoes this year, I gave thanks instead of quickly shoving the potatoes down my throat before the sauce “ruined” them. Why am I so grateful? I’m grateful for many, many things including the new blogging community I’ve finally joined. Since February, I’ve followed, liked, and commented on a wide range of blogs that have made me laugh, smile, learn, and reflect. Blogging-following-wise, I’ve definitely mixed the cranberry sauce with the mashed potatoes and I think I like it.
I’m also thankful because I’ve been nominated, by some generous bloggers, for a couple of awards. I was nominated for one award in September and I just found out about it now. The other is fairly recent. So, I’ll use this space to respond to questions and nominate other bloggers.
Blogger Recognition Award
Blogging is heart pumping, stomach crunching, muscle-building work and no one knows this better than Beth Lavis, author of the À La Fit Blog. Thank you, Beth for the nomination! Fellow bloggers, get over to her site as soon as you crawl out of your Thanksgiving coma because she is one motivational blogger who has plenty of practical advice for staying physically and mentally strong.
According to the rules, I have to thank the person who nominated me (see above), give a brief history of my blog, offer two pieces of advice, and then nominate others. (I’m supposed to nominate up to 13 or 15 blogs I think, but I’m going to nominate more than that. Stay tuned.)
Brief History of My Blog:
Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks was once called “From Hammers to Ales While Breaking Some Nails: One Mom’s DIY Journey.” It didn’t do very well at all. I posted on Blogspot for several years and, while I heartily enjoyed my hilarious posts about beer making and pink tool kits, I didn’t get any followers. None. Actually, I take that back. My mother-in-law would tell me that she read a few of my posts and she thought they were funny, but she wouldn’t “follow” the blog or leave comments. (She’s very shy.)
In those days, I didn’t post very often, either. I had a full-time job as an associate professor of English and Spanish at a community college in Springfield, Ohio. I would teach 6-8 courses a semester that included English Composition I or II, British Literature to 1700, Regional Studies of Latin America, and all levels of Spanish. Then, all faculty members were expected to advise students and serve the community. (I ended up on the school board for Alex’s elementary school at the time.) Finally, we were required to serve on committees, so I served on the curriculum committee, which involved an extremely thankless review of grammar, spelling, and course content for any and all courses at the college including, but not limited to, firefighting, the police academy, landscaping, nursing, chemistry, math, other English courses, and so many more I can’t seem to remember right now. One day though, back in 2016, Nate applied for a job in the state of Washington and neither one of us believed he would get the job, but he did! I couldn’t take my job from Ohio with me, so I moved here “without a net” and pursued part-time work as a writing tutor. Now I have plenty of time to take on “hilarious stunts” and pursue my bucket list until I figure out what I want to do next.
“Why not revive the DIY blog?” I asked myself one day. So, I read a book about blogging “the right way” and I fell asleep. When I woke up, I just started my blog on WordPress, but not the WordPress that involves a knowledge of coding—the other kind that other people help you with. In February, I wrote posts in which I “plugged” local businesses and then sent them the blogs to hopefully gain followers and perhaps a job. I received some kind comments, but no followers or jobs. Then, one day in the spring, Susan from the blog Rhythm in Life followed me. A spark went off in my mind: If I follow others, then they might follow me! So, I started following people and—just like that—I’m following over 800 blogs in order to get just over 370 followers. That’s like a 300% increase since my first blog several years ago. (My husband Nate, who is a CPA, says I should not recklessly use percentages the way I just did in the previous sentence. I apologize to all people educated in math and especially, all CPAs, but “wild” percentages are just my way of spicing things up a bit.)
Two Pieces of Blogging Advice:
- Make sure everyone can join in on the fun. You may have noticed that the picture captions on my site carry some very literal messages: “Ginger cake in an 8×8-inch glass pan, resting on a white table, with multicolored fall leaf clay serving trays that Alex made in his art class.” You might have seen these captions and said to yourself, “Well, that’s silly! I can plainly see what is happening in this picture.” However, some readers can’t see what’s happening in a picture. Those who are blind or who have difficulty seeing, often use technology to help them read words on a page, but that technology might not be able to pick up images. Providing captions can help. I’m not sure if my captions are useful, but I read an extremely helpful blog post from my nephew’s spouse, Dr. Arielle Silverman. The post is titled: “What’s That? Explaining the Who, What, and Why of Your Social Media Pics.” This post has made me more aware of my pictures and captions, though I need to go back to my earlier posts and do a better job. Silverman effortlessly combines personal experience with interesting research and insights from other experts in the field. She offers an enjoyable and informative read for all bloggers, I believe. Please check out her site.
- Invent a “commenting policy.” I have not invented such a policy yet, but it goes without saying that I will delete, block, and/or report any discriminatory or pornographic material. However, what will I do with readers who simply don’t agree with my opinions or who just don’t like what I’ve posted? I’m not going to block or delete them because these opinions are still important. However, depending on the tone and attitude of the reader/commenter, I will provide a “crappy craft” that I’ve done myself and that this reader/commenter will now have to view. Example:
Angry Reader: I thought this was a DIY blog, yet I’ve read this entire post and there are no projects here. It’s almost Christmas! Did you stop to think about that? Some of us are busy preparing for Christmas and we need good, quality content about crafts. You’ve just wasted my precious time. Thanks a lot!
My Response: Thank you very much for your comment. I realize that time is precious, so to respond to your concern, I am providing you with this craft that I made myself. It’s pasta shapes glued to a paper plate. The configuration of pasta forms a “smiley face.” I can assure you I didn’t waste a lot of time in making it. I hope this remedies the situation. Cheers!
Unique Blogger Award
A serious “DIYer” who crafts delicate, colorful, useful things and then cooks scrumptious-looking meals, has nominated my blog site for the Unique Blogger Award. I’m truly humbled—thank you, PS Spiceinthebox. For some great ideas, go straight to PS’s website. You won’t be disappointed. At the heart of this blogger’s endeavors is the motto, “Be Creative and Keep Experimenting.” With that motto in mind, no project could ever truly fail. Thanks for the reminder, PS!
According to the rules, I have to provide a link to the person’s blog who nominated me (see above). Then, I have to answer three questions, ask three more, and nominate up to 13 people I think. (I’ve nominated more than that. Stay tuned.)
Three Questions I Have to Answer:
- Chocolate cake or red velvet cake? I will answer this question with another question: Can I have red velvet cake wrapped in chocolate cake?
- How would you like to celebrate your birthday? Usually, Nate and Alex take me out to lunch and then we go shopping for yoga pants and running shoes for me. I can’t decide though if I want to go to the Woodland Park Zoo and lunch at this great Cuban place that’s nearby, or if I really just want to go to lunch and then shopping. I don’t know. My wardrobe is still from Ohio from two years ago and when we go to Victoria or Vancouver, BC, I realize how incredibly unfashionable I’ve become. I might invest in a good outfit or two for when I actually do leave the house.
- What is your favorite book/movie that you would watch again and again? Every Christmas season, I watch The Juggler of Notre Dame on YouTube and cry my eyes out. This movie was made in the early 80s and has never been remade. I will write a blog about it soon.
My Three Questions:
- What is the worst meal you’ve ever eaten or made?
- What is the worst “sin” a blogger or writer could commit?
- Seriously, I need to know the answer to this question: Are there ever any off-line “blogging conventions” that take place in “real time”—where people actually meet up with one another and swap pins/buttons from their blogs/states and such? I would love to attend one of those. I don’t want to organize one though, so I am declining such nominations immediately.
I am nominating 40 bloggers for both awards. The nominees may accept one or both or none of the awards. My goal in nominating is just to spread the good news about the blogs below that have caught my eye in some way. Each one has a unique voice. There are many, many, many more blogs out there that I follow and adore, so I will make it my duty to spread the love if any more nominations for awards come my way. If you don’t want to accept the nomination, I completely understand. I tried to avoid “Awards Free Zones,” but I’m pretty sure I might have messed up and nominated people who don’t want awards. My sincerest apologies if that happened. Just contact me through the “Contacts” link and I’ll cross you off my list for future awards.
So, here is my list of just some of the “cranberries” and “mashed potatoes” that mix together so beautifully on my “Wordpress reader.” They are in no particular order. (No, I don’t know which ones are the cranberries and which ones are the mashed potatoes, but I guess that’s the point.)
- Elizabeth Drake: Elizabeth Drakes’s Site.
- Madelyn Griffith-Haynie: ADD And So Much More.
- Susan from Rhythm in Life
- Michael Seidel
- Priorhouse blog
- Rose Osman: Your Personal Motivator
- Wendy Bloom: Late Bloomer
- Coffee and Captured Moments
- Sally Cronin: Smorgasbord: Variety is the Spice of Life
- The Monochrome Reaper
- A. G. Moore: Rhythm Prism Publishing
- Steve Simpson: Inconstant Light
- Jina S. Bazzar: AuthorsInspirations
- Books, Books, and More Books
- Cynthia Reyes
- Grandma Pat Cooks
- Olives and Feta
- M.C. Tuggle
- Gianna Iannucci: Reflections on Existence
- Reviews by JC
- Chris Graham: Story Reading Ape
- My Dang Blog
- Betsy Kerekes: parentingisfunny
- slowpoke1977: THETONBEINGME
- Book ‘Em Jano
- Organic Article
- Kevin Ashton
- Trev Jones: Silly Old Sod
- Koolaidmoms: What’s for Dinner Moms?
- Robert Parker: Up State & Away: Waterlooseneca.com
- Thoughts of Sheryl
- Sheree: View from the Back
- Go Healthy Ever After
- Mitch Goldfarb