mahalo…from my heart

With 2014 well under way, I’ve been remiss in failing to thank all who have made this journey with me. As mentioned in my recent post nurturing thursdays: choices…changes…part 2, I hope to continue writing and blogging for a long, long time. 

As one of hundreds of thousands…more probably millions…of baby boomers “coming of age,” I don’t take my life on earth for granted. Not for one minute.

So before I breathe my next grateful breath for being alive, I’d like to hug each and every one of you for following me…for “liking” me…for leaving thoughtful comments.

Writers care that they are read…and I am no exception.

…from my heart…to yours…with love and gratitude…

………hugmamma.March 2011 00135

twiddling my thumbs…

…and writing like it’s going out of style!!!

IMG_0007

…the apple of my eye…my daughter…

What my daughter knows that you don’t is that I’ve been sitting around twiddling my thumbs…when I’m not churning out posts one after another. My fellow bloggers will agree that this can be addictive, whether they’re avid photographers or passionate writers. I like to think I’m a little of both, leaning more towards the latter.

You see, I’ve got a couple of guys in the house with me. And before you go THERE,… they’ve been doing some remodeling in my daughter’s bedroom. They estimate it’ll take a mere week-and-a-half.

So if you can stand it…I’ll just keep pawing away at the keyboard, elaborating upon every thought that pops into my head. And as those who are near and dear to me know firsthand…there’s a never-ending deluge of words fighting to be let loose upon unsuspecting readers like you.

But as I said before…

…i promise to dry up…sooner rather than…later…

Watching and Blogging

…btw…that’s not me…just someone who looks a lot like me…

………hugmamma.

after all the hoopla…

It never ceases to amaze me what draws huge hits to “hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul.”

When I participated in the “365 photo challenge,” certain posts attracted hundreds and hundreds of viewers. I soon attributed my choice of words  in the caption as to why all the hoopla. I think people expected to see naked bodies frolicking about, or something along those lines. Especially when one “hugmamma” is the blogger. You’d think it read “hot mama.” Makes me laugh, just reminiscing about my naivete in thinking I was being recognized as a…good writer…and better-than-average photographer.

 
Español: Sándwiches servidos a la hora del té.

Image via Wikipedia

Just recently my blog experienced a tremendous number of hits. One day alone saw almost 900 visitors. Now that my numbers are back to normal, I’ve determined that the fuss was aboutDilbert and his creator’s, Scott Adams, articles about taking risks.

I’ve no magic bullet to attracting viewers to “hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul.” I’m certain never to be a candidate for WordPress‘s “freshly pressed.” I’m almost certain I’m not their cup of tea…or coffee.  Anyway, they’ve millions from which to choose. And there are bloggers who’ve got the know how to get chosen; while others just happen into…the right place…at the right time.

 
 
The Dilbert Future hardcover edition front cover

Image via Wikipedia

So as my readership floats back to earth, I just wanted to thank those of you who get me…as a writer…and person. I’m just one of you…up one day, down the next…but still happy…

…to be alive…and writing…

Karma as action and reaction: if we sow goodne...

Image via Wikipedia

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
…and giving…and receiving…
 
………hugmamma  😉
 

10,001, and counting!!!

You’ve done it!!! Just the beginning of February, and you’ve registered over 10,000 viewings, better known as “hits.” And I’m 54 posts away from my goal of 365. So I’ll keep churning them out, hoping you’ll keep riding my catamaran…off into the tropical sunset. Wish I could take you all on a cruise to Hawaii. Maybe in the next life when I return as Maui’s answer to Oprah Winfrey. Never can tell. Anway I can fantasize, I’m great at that!

You can track the number of posts I’ve written, and the “hits” to my blog. Both figures are given in the sidebar, along the right side of my postings. The “hits” are further down, above the “comments” list.

congrats to you…and heartfelt thanks too!…hugmamma.

an impossible challenge? not for a “superior chinese mom”

I usually acknowledge my appreciation to faithful readers, and readers new to my blog, when I pass the next thousand mark in viewings. The most recent happened so quickly, I was caught off guard. Between attempts to fix my body from the onslaught of old age, and wanting to quickly unload my mind of a landfill of words, I didn’t pause to say “thank you.” So here’s a shout out for the 8,307 views of my blog to date. You’re keeping this henna-rinsed, 39-year-old wannabee, self-employed, though not gainfully, since no money’s involved. But in this economy, I’m not paid like a lot of other people. So I’m keeping good company, and I’m not complaining. I love what I’m doing, writing!

Meanwhile, I’m challenging myself. I’m working feverishly to accomplish a goal which I’ve set, to publish 365 posts long before my one-year anniversary! The thought of achieving this within the next month gives me an adrenalin rush, not to mention an anxiety attack. I would have liked to have achieved my goal within 6 months, but the holidays, my daughter’s recovery, and my debilitating bout of senior moments sidetracked my writing efforts. You’re probably saying all my excuses are blah, blah, blah. You may be right. Nonetheless, here I am.

With 268 posts, this being the 269th, under my belt, I’ve got a little less than 100 to write. I’m heading to see my daughter’s performance in a couple of weeks, so my fingers are going to be glued to this keyboard until then. I’m hoping my laptop goes with me on my trip, but going through security at the airport is such a hassle, I’ll decide what to do about it later. If I don’t take it, I can’t access my library of photos. And you know how I love to decorate! Even my posts are not exempt. I never waste an opportunity to hone my skills at interior design.

So “gracias,” “mahalo,” “merci beaucoup” and huge “thanks” for making my blog world so much fun! Having you along doubles, no triples, the pleasure of writing. So I’m counting on you to stay tuned as I try to outdo myself in writing a year’s worth of posts, 365, in approximately 210 days…or less!?! My husband calculates that I’ll have to have published 13 posts a week to meet my goal. Think I can do it? Any bets?

watch and see…keep your eye on me…hugmamma.

meanwhile, our house is going to the cats and dogs, in other words, it’s looking like s–t! thank god i have a great hubby!

downside of “tweeting,” “stumbling” and “facebooking”

In an effort to attract readers to my blog, I’ve spread the word on Twitter, Stumbleupon and Facebook. Wordpress.com makes doing so very easy. They provide “buttons” which when clicked, take me to those sites where I can share my posts. First, I “stumbled,” then I “facebooked,” and more recently, I “tweeted.” Traffic increased, in each case, sizeable at first. Then those who liked my writing continued to return, while the browsers went in search of “greener pastures,” more to their liking, whatever that was. But an in-between category of visitors to my blog has surfaced, and they can be a nuisance.

It may be that “tweeting” brought many more of these folks to my blog. Fortunately WordPress.com spams all comments left by these readers. I mention this in case you decide to start a blog, and would appreciate this information beforehand. Many of the comments left for me to read and approve, make little sense relative to what I’ve written in a post. Furthermore, they seem scripted. Many times several of the comments read like duplicates, with a word modified here and there. They also contain information directing readers to their websites. These have included dog grooming, financial loans, stock purchases, drug purchasing, exercise regimens. Like me, they are attempting to attract readers, but they do so by latching onto the efforts of others.  But, hey, ours is a capitalistic society, so I guess if people can think it, they can try it. None of them further my blog’s message, so their comments are being “returned to sender.”

Fortunately WordPress.com provides their bloggers with a way to empty out all the spams with one click. Thank you WordPress!  Credit should also be given to my family who advised me that these kinds of comments are self-serving. So I wish all who are trying to sell something, good luck doing it “on your own dime.”

 for my spam “button,” huge hugs…hugmamma.

“thanks,” readers

I hadn’t intentionally set out to write numerous posts on giving thanks. But they seem appropriate, since Thanksgiving is almost upon us. While my previous post of thanks for your faithful readership was celebratory, this one is more low-key.

Many in our society are suffering, unable to look forward to the holiday season with joy, and traditional good will toward all. I’d like to think I contribute some small measure of hope, in an overwhelmingly negative environment. The 5,003 viewings my blog has received to date, leads me to think that I’m able to touch some with my words.

Sincere thanks for continuing to read what I write. With the immense inventory of material from which to make your selections, I’m grateful you’ve chosen to make mine one of them. While other blogs may number their readers in the hundreds of thousands, even millions, I consider myself lucky to have the faithful following I do.

wishing you a thanksgiving spent with those you hold dearest…hugmamma.

interests, so varied

As with the surge in readership that I got from “stumbleupon” traffic, my recent posts “put a ‘face’ on the ‘unknown,’ and to a lesser degree, “an expert, in my opinion,” sent views “through the roof.” Where a day or 2 before, I had reached 3,027 views, 2-3 days after these postings, views are up to 3,470. It’s pretty heady to think that my words can draw so many to want to read what I have to say. I must admit to returning to re-reading what I wrote a number of times, trying to discern what it was I said that might have made such an impression. Whatever it was, I’m humbled to know that I struck a chord. I was moved by comments telling me as much, including one from Janice Langbehn and her children.

When I write about a topic, I am intensely passionate about what I’m saying. My feelings are genuine. Those who know me know that I am candid, only given to expressing my honest beliefs. Sometimes it’s integrity gone amuck. I’m not prone to do “battle” in person because my emotions can tend to twist my tongue, better known as being “tongue-tied.” And so I blog.

As a blogger I can say what I want, in a responsible way. Any writer will tell you that readership is key to sustaining the motivation to continue. I’m no different. When I first started, I thought I’d be content merely floating my “voice” out in the internet universe. I published 38 posts on blogger.com, never knowing if they were read, with the exception of a handful of friends who told me they had. So I went in search of another platform from which to launch my voice, and found Oprah.com. 

For the most part, I was a happy blogger in Oprah’s universe. There I honed my writing skills further, and began learning about the technical details. When that site changed its format to being more about OWN, Oprah’s upcoming, new venture, I gradually ceased blogging. I rediscovered my passion for it after taking a Blogging 101 class with Cat Rambo. The information she shared inspired me to look into WordPress.com.

One of the main things Cat told the 9 or 10 of us in class was that we’d need to write “something of value,” whatever that meant to each of us. A guy wanted to start a small business, an Asian woman wanted to post photographs, an Indian woman was a total novice but wanted to share her thoughts and feelings, another woman works for a nonprofit and was looking to increase its visibility. Cat thought sharing the details of my life experiences was an interesting blog. So I bought several “blogging for dummy” books, including “WordPress.com for dummies,” and proceeded down the path leading to the magical, yet mysterious, kingdom of Oz, or Blog-dom.

So here I am, happily residing in a “cottage” of words, offering shelter by the “side of the road” to passersby in need of a boost, as they continue their journey through life. My interests are so varied, that I am passionate about many things. But the mainstay will always be my compassion for people, especially the downtrodden, and more especially, children. Humor and laughter are also very important to me, and is often reflected in my “tongue-in-cheek” style of writing.

I blog, hoping what I post will be enjoyed, but I don’t write to increase my readership stats. Just as some “stumbleupon” readers have continued life’s journey with me, I would welcome having HRC, Johnny Weir, and AARP devotees along for the “ride” as well. But just as my interests are varied, everyone must pursue whatever catches their fancy.

so go chase some “butterflies,” hugs…hugmamma.

another milestone, “mahalo” (thanks)

Not even 2 months since I began blogging on July 17, views are already at 2014. I owe a sizeable thanks to readers who visited from “stumbleupon.” Feeding my posts to that site garnered more than 300 views in 2 days. That certainly caught me by surprise. Visits have returned to normal, now that the “lookers” have left for “greener pastures.” And so while I appreciate their contribution to the spike in my blog, I’m forever grateful for my constant readers, which now include some “stumbleupon” regulars.

Once I return to my own computer, I plan to once again embellish my posts with favorite photos, and perhaps some other tidbits to spice things up a smidge. But for those of you who have religiously followed me, you know that the heart of my blog will always be my passion for writing. Gimmicks are good, but they’ll never be a mainstay for me. Rather than look for greener pastures, I prefer growing and grooming my own lawn.

A celebratory thanks to you who have remained on the receiving end of my blog. Without you my journey wouldn’t be as much fun. So I raise my sour apple martini in toasting your good taste. ha,ha. Actually, I sip to your continued good health, prosperity, compassion, positive energy and to always living life large…in the moment.  

hugs for readers, friends…hugmamma.

discipline and community

My mind may wander during Mass, I may glance around looking for familiar faces among the congregation, smile when a friend recognizes me, admire Father Brian’s recently purchased vestments, puzzle over the types of flowers arranged in vases around the altar. But when we sit and Father begins the homily, he has my undivided attention. My husband agrees that our pastor has a gift for public speaking.

I’m sorry to say I’ve no idea what the Gospel was about. I was lost in thought attempting to make sense of the previous reading, the Epistle. The woman seemed not to understand what she was reading so she stumbled over the words, saying “disciple” instead of “discipline.” I’m always impressed by these volunteers who must appear to understand the words set in front of them, even though they may not grasp their full meaning. Some may take a few minutes before Mass to familiarize themselves with their task, but it’s not always possible to do so, I’m sure. So while Father was reading the Gospel, I was probably feeling sorry for the previous speaker, and thanking God that I had not been in her shoes. Unlike her, I would have been blushing to my white roots.

My ears perk up when I hear Father speaking “regular” English for it makes comprehending simpler; narratives in the Bible require that I focus. And as I’ve said, my mind is multi-tasking. When Father begins with some personal anecdote everyone seems to straighten up, and tune in to what he’s saying.

Father spoke of his early days as a seminarian, and how difficult it was to learn discipline. He did not relate well with the first person charged with instructing the novices. He did better with the next person, the “student master,” who would explain the reason for leveling discipline upon those in his care. When students at the UofW Newman Center asked Father Brian to join them for a weekend retreat, the ‘student master” denied the request. When Father asked if he might attend the wedding of friends elsewhere, he was again denied. The explanation given for the denials was that he needed to focus on the vocation he had chosen, and the community in which he lived. He needed to learn discipline, understanding that he could not have his way in everything. As Father’s words washed over me, I pondered their meaning for me.

Over breakfast my husband and I discussed the homily.  I explained that as Father spoke, I could feel myself turning inward, humbling myself as Catholics of my era are wont to do. Talk about “glass ceilings,” I think Catholicism cornered the market on that centuries before it ever occurred to feminists trying to work their way up the corporate ladder.  Throughout the 12 years I was schooled by nuns from Boston, we students were constantly reminded about our need for humility. So I wondered if I was confusing the need for discipline with the need to be humble, as taught by my religion. 

I was interested in my husband’s perspective since, having been a seminarian, I assumed he’d had more theology than me. Ever the pragmatist he replied that his theological schooling had not exceeded mine and furthermore, every person needed discipline within himself, that it had nothing to do with religion. He was right.

Without self-discipline, we usurp the rights of others, including other species which share our natural resources. Without self-discipline, personal happiness eludes us because we are never satisfied unless we have more. Without self-discipline, we set ourselves apart from our community. Without self-discipline, we are unable to teach our children the values necessary for their evolution as good citizens. 

I think having humility might make it easier to learn self-discipline; but having self-discipline doesn’t guarantee humility. Being a Catholic raised in the 50’s and 60’s, I have to be careful not to mistake being humble with self-reproachment. Catholics of my generation bought into the guilt trip, “hook, line and sinker.” So while I humbly acknowledge my gift for writing, I realize that with it comes the need for discipline, knowing that I have a responsibility to my readers in what I say, and how I say it. I think all writers have that responsibility, though some may not think so.

While I paid no heed to God’s gospel, I think I got Father Brian’s homily. I think I’ll need him as a middle-man to gain entrance to Heaven. Father speaks my language, “regular” English.

pray for me…hugmamma.

another book suggestion

More wonderful readers suggesting I’m a “blooming author in their midst”, and “a writer, not a blogger, needing to publish a book.” Again, from their lips to an agent or publisher. Maybe someday I’ll take their advice and supportive words and do something more with my writing. Until then, I’ll continue scribing for you, faithful readers, people who care what I say. No matter the size, an audience is still an audience to be appreciated. 

and I do, tremendously…hugmamma.

not so easy

I’m flattered that a couple of readers have suggested I write a book. As I told them, blogging brings me instant gratification. I choose a topic of pressing interest to me, I pour everything I have into it, I click “publish”, and it’s out there for everyone to read. I’m then onto another topic of concern.

I admire authors of books. They must remain focused for whatever period of time  is required to amass enough pages to put between two covers. The commitment consumes their days, weeks, months and sometimes years. They have to sell their book to an agent, a publishing company, or self-publish to have it read. Too many middlemen come between the authors, their book and their readership.

At the beginning of 2010, I polished off 5 manuscripts of varying lengths and topics. Happily sending them along to magazines I thought might be interested, I sat awaiting their responses. The first response came from an east coast magazine that I’d hoped would run my piece. Returning it, they politely informed me that their publication was not the right medium, that I should try another that was more appropriate. In retrospect I agreed. Thereafter, it became apparent that I’d also matched my remaining pieces inappropriately.

In my haste to write and be read, I failed to fully familiarize myself with the publications, before directing articles to them for consideration. Lesson learned, I hope. Several days ago I emailed the editor of our local newspaper asking if I might write “small stories.” A more common description might have been “human interest stories.” I’ve not heard back, so I’m thinking I again “missed the mark.”

I plan to get back in the “saddle,” and once again send my writing into publications. But for now I can write as much as I want, on a topic of my choosing, and put it before you immediately. No fuss, no muss.  So once again I reiterate my appreciation for your taking the time, and allowing me to write what you are reading.

from your lips to a publisher…hugmamma.