Category Archives: Blogging

My Absence, Pictures Of My Kids, And How The Internet Can Ruin Your Life

Anyone who knows me well, knows my struggles.

Okay. To be honest, you’d have to know me really, really, REALLY well because I’m not one to shout my struggles from the top of the internet waves. But, suffice it to say, I’m struggling and making some progress.

Some.

Slowly.

Not quite as quickly as I’d like but we’re on an upward swing instead of a downward spiral. So that’s a good thing.

Because of my struggles, I don’t have the focus and patience to write as much as I used to. But I do peek in here from time to time and when I do, I enjoy catching up with you all. And watch my stats slowly decline because as you all know, the less you write, the less people check in with your writing.

One day, about two months ago, eager to write, with so much to say, I sat down at my computer and logged on.

Only to find a comment, a very creepy comment, about a picture of one of my kids.

My brain turned to mush. If I had anything to say before I sat down, it had evaporated. If I had any focus or attention span….POOF! Gone.

I quickly deleted the comment (which never reached my blog, thank God, because it had to be “approved” by me first) and then scrolled back, over 6 1/2 years of blog posts, and systematically deleted just about every single picture I had ever posted of my kids.

Now, I have hundreds of posts that make no sense at all because the post was crafted around a funny picture — at least, a picture I thought to be funny. Not provocative. Or sexual in any way.

But apparently, I was wrong.

I know there are creeps out there. I watch Law & Order: SVU. I read the headlines. I just never thought that a completely innocuous picture could be construed in such a creepy way.

This picture deleting task took me about four days of what felt like every free moment in front of my computer. Between track and swim practice, making dinner, and doing laundry, I pretty much sat at my computer and deleted pictures.

Exhausting.

There are many of you out there who never, ever, ever post pictures of your kids. There are many of you out there who post pictures all of the time. Then, there are those of you, like me, who post pictures when the story warrants.

There are pictures of kids playing. Or eating. Or shot only from the back. But a picture is a picture and I’m here to tell you, as innocent as you feel your picture might be, some weirdo out there is going to find a way to get all excited about it.

Ewwwww.

Last night, channel surfing, I discovered a show on the SyFy network called The Internet Ruined My Life. Compelling stories about people, like you and me, who posted something online and social media ran with it in a direction that was never in a gazillion years intended.

A speculative tweet about a popular TV show. A picture, taken in public, turned into a bully-worthy meme. An erroneous emoji.

An emoji!?!?! (She thought it was the crying emoji and she had put the laughing emoji with tears by mistake.)

All of these things invited death threats. Pleas asking the victim to kill themselves. And did I mention death threats?

Some victims were actually hunted down and the threats of violence became real.

WHHAAAAATTT?

I’m not so naive as to think that the world is a completely safe and happy place. But when in the world did it become okay to threaten the life of another human being because she guessed right on a plot twist for a TV show, happened to be in public when his picture was snapped or mistakenly used the wrong emoji? (I kid you not. A misplaced emoji turned this poor girl’s life upside down.)

The laws protecting all of us need to catch up with this rapidly changing use and misuse of technology. And frankly, I’m confused. I have no idea what is safe or unsafe anymore. On my Disney blog I have plenty of pictures, that I have taken, with innocent and every day poses, of people in public. All perfectly legal. But all possible fodder for the sick and twisted mind.

I don’t take huge risks in my life but I don’t live in fear, either. I lock my doors at night. I am savvy to phone calls trying to extract personal information. I guard my pins and passwords. I (now) am reluctant to post pictures of my kids. I avoid traps of identity thieves.

But, I’ve always lived my life, with relative piece of mind, that the odds of horrific things happening to me are pretty slim.

And so far, I’ve been right.

But, it seems, that narrow, slim chance is getting wider and wider with every keystroke.

SMH.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Blogging, I'm Baffled (And Because I Love The Word Baffled), Observations

Happy Anniversary To Me!

When I logged on this morning, a handy-dandy little icon was illuminated. I had no idea what it was, so I clicked on it. It was WordPress wishing me a happy 6 year anniversary. Six years! Really? That long ago?

dandy

Here it is. My first post on August 13th, 2009……

Hello blog world!

I am so glad Al Gore invented the internet! This is amazing. Sitting here, at my computer, sending messages to……..? Who will read this? Who are you? What caught your eye to visit this page? I am so new to this blogging concept. And what is so amazing is before I ever entered my first blog I did a little research on you other bloggers out there. Did you know that there are grandmothers out there who blog? Seriously! Grandmothers! Now I am REALLY feeling behind the times. I’m somewhere between 30 and a Wal-Mart greeter. Not yet a grandmother, thank God!

So. Welcome, Me! Looking forward to seeing exactly where this will all lead.

…………………….

Wow. How green I was. And enthusiastic about starting. And in awe of all of you.

And that has remained unchanged. I am still in awe of all of you.

The grandmothers. And mothers. And chefs. And teachers. And DJs. And sons. And daughters. And curmudgeons. And travelers. And writers. All amazing writers. All of you.

Sure, I’ve dropped to the wayside, hung back in the shadows, lately. I’m distracted by other things…many other things, that have turned my attentions elsewhere. For now.

But I still peek in here. I still get motivated to vent or whisper or chuckle once in a while with a post.

I’m still glad that Al Gore invented this crazy, amazing internet thing.

I’m still somewhere between 30 and a Wal-Mart greeter.

I’m still not a grandmother. Yet. (And I still say, thank God to that!)

I still am not so sure where this all will lead. It’s still a journey. Still interesting. Still fun.

And I’m still here.

Wow.

Happy 6th Anniversary to me!

And thank YOU ALL for peeking in from time to time. I’m so very grateful that you’re still listening.

 

 

 

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Minimalist Word Wednesday: I Know Many Of You Can Relate

cookieblog

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June 4, 2014 · 1:01 pm

This Is My Feeble Attempt To Toot My Own Horn

French_horn_back

My daughter is a junior in college. A marketing major. And she’s chomping at the bit to test her chops. My self-employed husband has listened to her unsolicited advice. Employed some of her suggestions. Even “hired” her for future projects. She’s excited to be applying what she knows. An ambitious, energetic, bright, young woman, she’s been pushing her mother, too.

They say you write best when you about write what you know. I’ve found that here, on this blog. My best posts are the ones when I write about something I’m passionate about. And I know I’ve mentioned it a few times, but I’m really passionate about Walt Disney and visiting Disney World.

I’ve been a little scarce here but that’s because I’ve been cheating on you all. I’m writing somewhere else. I love helping others plan their trips to Disney World and my husband encouraged me to put myself out there, by way of a blog. Scary thought for an introvert like me. You see, this blog was a tester blog to eventually create a Disney blog. And that was 5 years ago. I just got too comfortable here. Afraid to branch out. Afraid to face all the competition out there. But my husband said, “You don’t have to be the best. You just have to do what you love.”

So a few months ago, I finally took the plunge. And while I’m writing about what I love and know, I’m not entirely happy with the writing. It’s different, putting out fact based material. Staying away from the silly and the uninformed opinion and the random inspirations. But it is what I’m passionate about. And it will improve. I just have to keep at it.

“But Mom, you haven’t told anyone about what you’re doing. Sneaking a link on your other blog doesn’t count!”

I know. But it’s not that great yet. It looks and feels like a rookie blog.

“You have to start somewhere. You know more about Disney World than anyone I know. It’ll come. But you have to tell people about it or no one will find you!”

So.

This is me.

Telling people about it.

(My stomach just jumped as I typed that last line. It actually jumped. Is there a support group out there for people like me?)

If you’re so inclined, if you’re even mildly interested in tips, tricks and info about Disney World – please visit. A comment if you’re so moved. A share if you know someone who may need some help planning a visit.

And because I value all of my readers here so very, very much, if you have any suggestions – please send it along. You all have such successful blogs of your own. I truly value your opinions.

So.

This is me. Tooting my horn. Shouting it from the blog-tops.

Thanks for listening.

Mouseter Planner: Walt Disney World – When to go. What to eat. Where to stay. What to do.

www.mouseterplanner.com

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More Writing Tips From Jane

I’m not quite sure to whom to attribute this little gem – Frank L. Visco, Grammerly.com, various bloggers across the net-waves. But, this list has been making the Facebook/Twitter/Blog rounds and I’ve only just discovered it.

It made me laugh out-loud.

On the off chance you haven’t seen it yet, or you need to be reminded of this funny list poking fun at our funny ways…

You’re welcome.

____________________________________________

How To Write Good

  1. Avoid Alliteration. Always.
  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  3. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than is necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  5. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
  6. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  7. Be more or less specific.
  8. One word sentences? Eliminate.
  9. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  10. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
  11. The passive voice is to be avoided.
  12. Profanity sucks.
  13. It behooves you to avoid archaic expressions.
  14. Avoid archaeic spellings, too.
  15. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  16. One should never generalize.
  17. No sentence fragments.
  18. Eliminate quotations. As Emerson once said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  19. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  20. And always be sure to finish what

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Filed under Because It Amuses, Blogging

From Point A to Point C to Point X, Y, Z and Finally To Point B. Or Not.

I have 17 drafts in my draft folder.

Seventeen posts that I started and never finished, dating back to October, 2009.

Considering that’s only 4 posts a year, on average, that I start and don’t finish? I’m feeling pretty good about myself. But that statistic doesn’t include all the other posts, the amazing, captivating, change your life posts that never make it to my computer screen. The ones that dance in my head for 2, maybe 5 minutes before another distraction sends them spiraling into the lost post abyss.

My life is a series of crooked lines. I’m sure many of you can relate. We sit down to begin a blog post. That brilliant idea that we had just moments ago, just itching to get down on the screen. We struggle with a title. Or not. A couple of my drafts are just brilliant titles that actually stayed in my head until the computer booted up.

And then, it happens.

The dryer buzzes and we get up to hang up those few things that dance the rotten-apple-wrinkle in two minutes flat. We dump the rest of the laundry on our bed, promising to get back to it and then throw another load in the washer. The dog is standing by the door, so we let him out. Someone left syrup on the breakfast bar so we wipe it down. We remember we forgot to take our herbs so we pour a glass of water and wash them down. We sit down at the computer only to have our son come downstairs, wanting a snack. We point him in the direction of the pantry but we realize he really just wants to connect with us, so we stand in the kitchen while he eats and talks about summer vacation plans and playing minecraft and how he misses his friends from his old school.

Then, we finally sit back down at the computer to write and that stellar title means nothing now or the brilliant blog post idea has lost its fire.

And by “we” and “our,” I mean “I” and “my”. Because all of that just happened, moments ago when I sat down to write a dazzling post about my ever growing draft folder.

poin

Ahhh, to go from point A to point B without any detours. Some nights, I just want to go to bed and not put the shoes and backpacks by the door and load the dishwasher and jot down the errand I will most surely forget by morning. I want to sit up and say, “I’m tired. I’m going to bed.” And do just that.

Or write a blog post without interruption. (No, it’s almost lunch time. You may not have another snack.) Or take a shower and get dressed with answering 20 questions from my husband. Or clean a room from top to bottom without starting another more pressing project in between, leaving both chores unfinished.

Or…

Wait.

What’s that?

Sigh.

The dog is barking to be let in.

I’ll be right back.

Or not.

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Filed under Blogging, Observations

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

Desperate for blog material, I did what any other self-respecting blogger would do.

I procrastinated.

I flitted about in Yahoo, learning about home invaders busted on Facebook, what Lady Gaga looked like at age 9 (Don’t click. Really. A waste of time.), and a gutsy woman who chases a bear from her home.

I did a little online banking. The good news? Beginning tomorrow another credit card balance will be at zero! The bad news? Bank account balances are fast approaching zero.

I goofed around on my favorite Disney message board site and learned about crowd levels between Christmas and New Years (Horrendous), next must try snack at EPCOT (Norway’s School Bread), and yet another awesome cast member story (Click here for original post.)

And I checked my email.

I found this interesting note in my inbox.

“I work with blahblahblah and we recently published an article you might be interested in.”

The title of said “article” was interesting and feeling a little lazy today, I actually entertained re-posting it.

“After following your blog for awhile now, I felt this article would be something that would interest your readers. Here’s the link…”

Hmmm. Following my blog for awhile? I’m flattered.

“Either way, your blog has been a sincere pleasure to read. Thanks for your time!”

A sincere pleasure to read. Always good to hear.

So, I scan my followers list. Nope. No Miss C. Maybe she has me bookmarked another way.

So, I click the link to the article. Yes. It’s a bona fide  article. And interesting, too.

But it is plastered on a website that is an advertisement for something completely irrelevant to my readers. In fact, every link, sidebar and highlighted clicky thingy is unrelated to the article that drew me there in the first place.

I have half a mind to republish the article, without a link back to their site, and capitalize on the free material.

But that’s against my principles.

And besides.

Look at that.

Without even realizing it, I just got a free post.

Ha!

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