Category Archives: Blogging

There Are Times When You Need To Keep The Snark To Yourself

“Well, you know what they say: if you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!”

One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies. And it’s my favorite for a reason.

Because it’s true for most of us, although, we’d never admit it.

I enjoy a good tidbit of gossip. I try not to spread any but I admit, my ears perk up when it’s being shared. Some people have a higher tolerance for it than others. I’d like to think that I know when to stop, know when to keep my thoughts to myself.

But I’m no saint. And there are not many on this Earth that can prove that they are. Saints, that is.

When friends, family or acquaintances are going through especially tough times, I zip it. Major and embarrassing faux pas? Ignored. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I wouldn’t want my financial or relationship woes savored for entertainment.

But the “What? Not again?” annoyances that pop up? I’ve been known to share with my closest and dearest friends. I’m not proud of it. But apparently, I’m not too ashamed to stop. I call it “unloading” in order to assuage my guilt.

I reign it in when things get ugly or mean.

“There’s never an excuse to be mean” – wise words from my brother-in-law.

Words I try to live by.

Especially in the comment section of a blog post.

A mildly controversial topic that I blogged about months ago, suddenly became popular in the blogosphere. And one individual, who shall remain nameless, had much to say about my take and those of my readers. The comments to my other commenters were just plain mean. Not worth repeating. Not constructive. And frankly, not even argumentative. (Which I may have allowed, if only to encourage discussion.)

And then, after copying and pasting an admittedly, ill-constructed paragraph of mine, little Ms. Snark said:

“Oooooo. Well said. Kudos to you, Oh Great Writer.”

I enjoy a lively discussion. I am not of the ilk who feels if I don’t agree with you, I shouldn’t comment. I like differing opinions. Sharing a point of view that is different from my own is welcomed here. It’s one of the many ways that I grow as a human being.

But gratuitous snark and sarcasm?

That is not welcome here.

Or, anywhere for that matter.

(Yes. The Blogosphere police chief has spoken. Now, run along and comment somewhere else. Constructively. Kindly. And with no malice. You’ll feel much better about yourself afterwards. Trust me.)

13 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Soapbox

School’s Out For Summer, Alice, And I’ve Done Nothing But Blog

This is how I want to feel……

But this is how I really feel…..

Today is my last day of freedom. My last day that I have complete and total control over what I do. And then? Let the summer games begin. School is out in a mere 6 days. Six.

Count ’em.

One – Have to work at my  husband’s office.

Two and Three – Long weekend out of town so the boys can sleep on an aircraft carrier for Cub Scouts.

Four – Daughter home from college (yay!) filled with errands and appointments for her.

Five – Chaperone end-of-year activity for #2son’s class.

Six – School play and party for #1son’s class. And the last day of school.

Where did the time go?

I feel like such a failure.

Closets cleaned out? Zero.

Pictures put in chronological order in fancy scrapbooks? Still sitting in a herd of shoe boxes.

Recipe cards organized and alphabetized and sorted? The same jumbled mess that jumps out and bites me every time I open the cabinet door.

Boxes cleared out that have been sitting in the basement since we moved here 5 years ago? Eight. (Thank God, I’ve stumbled onto some progress. I just won’t tell you how many more I have to go through. Thirty-two. Hey! Who said that?)

Lunches with friends while the kids are in school? Two. Two in ten months. Really people. We need to adjust our priorities!

Garages cleaned out? Zero.

Drawers lined with pretty scented paper? Zero.

Books read? Eight. (My goal was 20.)

Blog posts posted? 131.

Oops.

Looks like I just figured out where I’ve been spending all my time.

Eh. That’s OK.

You people are more fun than clean closets and tidy garages.

Way more fun!

14 Comments

Filed under Blogging

Theycallmejane. It’s Mine. Now Back Off!

OK. So I’m too cheap (and lazy) to purchase my domain name. Go ahead. Start rattling off the comments telling me how wrong I am. I’m listening. Sort of.  (Because remember, I’m cheap and lazy.)

But while researching another post idea (Yes, I research. Don’t act all surprised.) I stumbled across something weird in my stats. Upon further investigation, I discovered that someone else (whose name is also NOT Jane) is calling her blog…..

…wait for it…..

…wait for it…..

Theycallmejane.

Yep.

Written just like that. All one word.

On another free blog site. But still.

I’m trying to remind myself that imitation is a form of flattery. Or trying to give her the benefit of the doubt that maybe she’s never been here.

But when you started your blog, didn’t you Google the name you wanted, just to make sure no one else had it? I know I did. And just to make sure I’m not buried 17 pages deep when you Google me, I Googled me. There I am. Front and center. Very first thing that pops up.

Is she that lazy?

Now, I know the name of my blog isn’t all that creative. And, in a way, I stole it, too. From the lyrics of a Ting-Tings song.

“They call me Stacy. They call me Jane. That’s not my name. That’s not my name.”

I thought it was funny. You know. Because Jane isn’t my name.

But I like Jane. Jane represents a common voice. A connection to all the other women I was hoping to meet. Jane could be anyone’s thoughts, opinions, feelings. I was just the one who said them. For all of us Janes out there.

I still like Jane. Make that, I love Jane. And I love what she has evolved into. A blog about nothing and everything. And I don’t want to give her up or change her in any way.

And besides. I was here first. Back in August of 2009. Closing in on my third year in Blog World. And this impostor has had her blog, what? All of two months?

Crap.

I’m going to have to bite the bullet and purchase the domain name, aren’t I?

If it isn’t too late.

16 Comments

Filed under Blogging

I Need A Pinterest Intervention. STAT.

Hi.

I’m Jane.

And I’m a Pinterest addict.

They say, recognizing your addiction is the first step. So, I suppose I’m on my way to recovering. But what if I don’t want to recover? What if I like this Pinterest mania that I’m drowning in?

Pinterest is my latest obsession. Kind of like the way blogging was in the beginning. My daughter tried to get me interested in Pinterest about 8 months ago. But I was like, what’s the big deal? Ooooo. Pretty pictures. I don’t need pictures of things I like or things I want to remember. Bookmarking pages is fine for me. And I have a full and active imagination. The pictures I need are stored in my head.

But one lazy afternoon I was bored. And had a bit of writer’s block. I decided to check Pinterest out, hoping for a little inspiration.

A new obsession was born. I was hit, square between the eyes, with a full-blown Pinterest addiction.

Pretty pictures? It’s more than just pretty pictures. There are links to the pretty pictures. To other pretty blogs. To items I must have in my home or closet. Recipes. Yummy, mouthwatering, drool-worthy recipes. Cute hair styles. DIY crafts and projects that I’m all thumbs to be able to do but I pin them anyway, hoping I will one day confront my crafty fears. There are pithy quotes. Dreamy photos of exotic, far-away places. Clothes that beg to jump into my closet. Images of adorable puppies, kittens and kissable babies.

Funny pics. Silly pics. Pics that bring a tear.

Pretty pics. Goofy pics. Pics I think are weird.

But I pin them. All of them. In my cleverly titled categories. And I search for more and more and more. Filling my boards with projects and recipes and shopping vows that no one in their right mind would have enough time or money to fulfill.

“This Pinterest is a major time suck,” I lament to my daughter.

She just smiles.

And as if I already don’t have enough time to read all of your wonderful blogs and the blogs you recommend, I’m finding more and more and (oh-my-God!) more blogs to follow. It’s like I’m Dorothy and I’m not in Kansas (my little Blogland) anymore. There’s a huge, massive, enormous Blog World out there that I didn’t even know existed. My Blogland is a mere tiny little unincorporated village compared to what is really out there.

Yes.

I am a Pinterest addict.

I need help.

I need an intervention.

STAT.

 

9 Comments

Filed under Blogging, How We Roll

Jane Cures Head Lice And Other Blogging Mysteries Solved

Apparently, I’ve cured head lice.

Single handedly.

On November 2nd I wrote about head lice here. And then, mysteriously, on November 19th, 17 days later, my blog stats took a gigantic leap and readership soared. Through the roof. So, I wrote about it here.

I’ve been riding that gravy train of popularity ever since. That is, until today. As suddenly as my readership soared, it plummeted.

Crashed.

Deep nose dive.

Everyone must have taken my advice, cured their head lice problem with simple tea tree oil solutions, thus wiping out head lice across the globe.

And I’m lonely.

Don’t get me wrong. I knew my popularity was fake. But that doesn’t stop a girl from pretending there are lots and lots of people out there reading her stuff, educating themselves and coming back for more.

But now, my stats are back where they used to be. And I want to know.

Was it something I said?

WordPress has this handy little year end feature where they put together stats on your blog. There was a little button so that I could share it with all of you but I chose not to. Then you’d all see how few truly read me and I didn’t want you few who do to feel like total losers. Just trying to save your tender hearts, that’s all.

WordPress told me that I should write more about head lice, burkas and Toddler’s & Tiaras. That’s what my readers want, apparently. But I can’t. Head lice makes me squeamish. Burkas make me lose readers because they think I’m a racist. And Toddler’s & Tiaras doesn’t deserve any more publicity. (So erase those last few sentences from your memory banks. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.)

I have readers (all 44 of you) from six of the seven continents. Most from the US and Canada. That means that 21 of you are from North America. Nine of you are from Europe. Six from Australia. Five from South America. Two from Asia and one from Africa. (This is just a guess. An uneducated one. And 44? Just the number of hits I had at the moment I began writing this post. But I like playing with numbers. And pretending, apparently.) 

Here’s where it really gets interesting….

One of my greatest referral sites, besides Google and WordPress, is the sweet Bibliomama from up yonder. (That means Canada.) So, thank you, Bibliomama. I have a feeling it’s because Blogspot has that handy dandy feature that you employ on your sidebar. You know, the one that advertises the latests blog post titles of the writers in your Blogroll. Thank you for using this feature. I love it, myself. And I’m grateful that I have an honored spot in your Blogroll.

I, like any other blogger, like comments. Here on my blog, that is. Finding the time to read everyone out there that I want to read and then comment – that’s another story. But comments here? Welcomed and encouraged.

My top 5 commenters are:

1. Big Little Wolf at Daily Plate of Crazy

2. Dawn King from Dawn King

3. Faemom from Faemom

4. Katy Beth from My Odd Family

and last, but certainly not least….

5. TKW from The Kitchen Witch

You ladies are the bomb! Thank you, a million thank yous, for popping in here to see what I’ve written and then commenting even though I seem to have a hard time getting around to that myself. It’s nice to know I’m not writing to wind. I promise to make the effort to do a better job of commenting. I promise.

My little WordPress annual report was entertaining. And it reminded me to thank the readers who read me, which I should do more often.

Thank you! All of you!

And to the readers who are no longer coming here because, through my humble blog, I’ve cured your head lice situation?

You’re welcome.

14 Comments

Filed under Because I'm Curious, Blogging

Where In The World DO They Find These Spam Writers? I Mean It. I Want To Know WHERE.

My spam cracks me up. It can even turn into a pretty entertaining blog post. I’ve written about spam so many times, I figured you were all bored with the topic by now.

But I recently received this:

“I’m a recurrent audience of one’s blogs. My partner and i liked the recent one and other content on your weblog a lot that I have subscribed to the blog’s Feed throughout Thunderbird. Even considering thieving some thoughts and place results. Retain every one of the great going by posting far more helpful content. Time well spent about this submit. Thank you.”

Nothing out of the ordinary. But it made me giggle all the same.

“Recurrent audience of one’s blogs” – Recurrent and one’s? Love it!

“Even considering thieving some thoughts and place results” – Thieving. Cool usage. And they spelled it right. (I didn’t when I first typed it here.) And what the heck is a place result?

“Retain every one of the great going” – Huh?

“By posting far more helpful content” – Hey! I thought you said you liked my blog. Now you’re criticizing the helpfulness of my content?

“Time well spent about this submit” – What’s a submit?

The sometimes firm and not so firm grasp of the English language has me stymied. Obviously, English is NOT their primary language. So, which is it? Mandarin? Portuguese? Punjabi? (Yes. This is a language. Native to about 109 million people.)

So, I lay awake at night wondering about the grammatical errors and misuse of words, trying to figure out which language in the world would have the most trouble with these English idiosyncrasies. And because I’m not a linguist, I never come to any kind of conclusion.

But that’s OK.

I was sufficiently entertained. And pondering the origin of the material was akin to counting sheep.

So, no worries.

I’m just glad I could be of some help to a far-away spammer.

“Thank you.”

You’re welcome.

9 Comments

Filed under Because I'm Curious, Blogging, Spam

Getting Your Blog Posts Via Facebook: The Ultimate Lazy Writing Move

One of the things that annoys me about television journalism is “man on the street” interviews about important subjects. First of all, I live near a big, metropolitan city in the south. Oh heck, I’ll just say it. I live near Atlanta. Watching the evening news is painful. When the Michael Vick story was big every stereotypical impoverished white person or black person was on the news giving their often inarticulate opinion. And then, because the station is based in Atlanta, their clip would make it on CNN.

So embarrassing.

I sometimes wonder if the producers are just having a little fun, spicing up their already boring day, by choosing the people with the heaviest southern accents, or poor grammar, or ridiculous comments regarding les news du jour.

And then, of course, there’s Fox News (not based in Atlanta, thank God) with their inane banter and shallow commentary on newsworthy events. I don’t want to hear from the man on the street. I certainly don’t want to hear the opinions of news journalist wannabes who got the job because they looked good on camera.

Just give me the news, for God’s sakes. Give me the facts and let me decide how I feel about it. I’m not a lemming. I don’t need to hear how Joe Blow feels before I can decide what I think about the situation in Iran.

So, I read most of my news. But even that can be tricky. I’ll be reading along and mid-way through I realize I’m reading opinion, thinly disguised as fact. By the end of the article, I’m both sure that it’s opinion and I’m disgusted. If the topic really interests me, I’ll Google it and sift through fact and fiction until I get a clear picture. But what a pain in the fingers.

Imagine my surprise when I find an article, online, promising The 13 Things That Blah, Blah, Blah (I’m not going to name it. It wasn’t that great of an article and I don’t want to hurt the blogger’s – dare I say writer’s? – feelings.) 

The article gave a cursory overview of the topic in one or two paragraphs and then……

…wait for it……

…wait for it…..

Facebook fans wrote the rest.

Oh, sure. The writer (I use this term loosely) compiled the responses. But items #1, #2, #3 and so on were quotations via Facebook.

An entire article based on Joe and Jane Blows from Facebook. Their opinion. Not even a collective study of the most 13 Blah, Blah, Blahs. Just 13 random opinions that were gathered from a Facebook page.

Now that’s the ultimate lazy writing move.

And if I ever get a case of terminal writer’s block?

Hmmmmmm……..

She might be on to something.

8 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Observations

Giving Thanks For My Fake Popularity

For unknown reasons, my blog spiked in readership…no, make that hits, on November 19th. Exactly 17 days after I published this post on head lice.

News Flash! If you want a lot of hits on your blog, write about head lice.

But 17 days later? It took that long for people to find my expert opinion on head lice?

Find me, they did. And I’ve never been more popular. But I know what is happening. People are Googling head lice images and intrigued by my picture, they end up clicking on my blog. All for this picture:

And it isn’t even a very good picture. I used that pic to illustrate how difficult the little buggers are to identify. But no matter. People have been clicking here anyway. Horrible picture and marginal writing and all.

Wild.

But I haven’t gained any new readers from it. And I haven’t discovered any new bloggers.

Just hits.

Empty hits.

Lots and lots of empty hits.

I hope all you silent readers out there are gleaning valuable information. I hope none of you actually have head lice. Hopefully, you’re just educating yourselves. And that’s fine by me. I was a teacher, after all.

And while I know this new popularity is as empty as the hits I’m getting, I’m thankful anyway.

Even if it is fake popularity.

6 Comments

Filed under Blogging

Oh! The Pressure To Write So That I Can Become Famous!

On WordPress, I read about David McRaney, a WordPress blogger who garnered a book deal based on his blog.

I thought, Yay! Good for him!

Then, I read on msn.com about a writer over at cracked.com who wrote a piece about Hollywood’s inaccuracies about the work place. The piece garnered much attention, enough to be mentioned again on msn.com.

I enjoyed both articles. But it got me thinking…..

Oooooo. What if something I wrote got noticed by someone big?  How cool would that be? Oh, the hits my blog would get. I wonder how many new people would find me? How many would click that handy-dandy little subscribe button so that they could read what I’ve written every single time I post?

Every.

Single.

Post.

Oh God. They would click back here and expect another stellar piece. What would I do then?

I enjoy this writing outlet. I love sharing my inconsequential thoughts on the controversial and the mundane. But the majority of my posts are pretty boring and only interesting to a select few (other nuts) out there. And I have typos. And grammatical errors a plenty. Shoot. I’m willing to bet my former English teachers roll in their graves every time I click publish.

But I’m famous now. And I have a public to appease. So I’ll agonize and write and delete and write some more. I’ll spend hours searching the internet for new post ideas and the perfect picture to illustrate my point. The laundry would pile up. We’d eat Chef Boyardee or take-out Chinese every night. My kids would start going to school with mismatched socks and lollipops stuck in their hair. The dog would never get a walk. Dust bunnies the size of tumble weeds would turn our breakfast bar into a wild, wild west saloon.

Nope.

I can’t do it.

You’re stuck with the mostly average and the occasional stellar blog post.

So, go away you fancy, schmacy editors, you.

I just can’t handle the pressure.

11 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work, Blogging

Thanks For Reminding Me, Andy Rooney, That Writers Never Die

A crotchety curmudgeon. A war-time journalist for the U.S. Army. A humorist. A somewhat reluctant television personality.  A former news correspondent. A husband. A father.

Andy Rooney 1919-2011

A writer.

I had a love/hate relationship with Andy Rooney. He made me laugh. He annoyed me. But always, he made me think. And I love a person who makes me think.

I’ve been watching him on 60 Minutes for as long as I can remember. There are some episodes, thanks to the invention of TiVo, where I’d skip to the last 10 minutes of the show just to watch Andy Rooney.

I’ve tried to copy his style. To no avail. But when I’m a bit down about my own blog and how I don’t seem to have a direction, I think of him.  It annoys me that I can’t find some niche. That I’m a female who blogs but it’s not a “mom blog” or a “writer’s blog.” I sometimes feel like a square peg in a round hole. It’s  just a blog. And I write about the serious and the mundane.

Hey. Kind of like Andy Rooney.

So, I secretly convince myself that I’m more of an Andy Rooney blog. Although, I’m not sure Andy would appreciate the comparison. But that’s ok. He’ll never read me. He hasn’t read me. Not that I know of, anyway.

But some people have read me. And they like what I’ve written. And that is what is important. To get the written word out there, hopefully to be read. But just get it out there.

My readers are kind of like my friends from high school. A mixed bag. I was friends with jocks, nerds and the artsy fartsy types. Today, my readers are executives, homemakers, chefs, musicians and teachers with a few artsy-fartsy thrown in for good measure.

But writers.

Every last one of them.

And am I honored to be in their presence. They inspire me. They make me laugh. They make me think. Together we get our thoughts out there to share, to see and be seen. We do our part to shift the cosmos a little, to shake up conventional wisdom. And I love that about all of you.

Our words are read. Some are preserved on paper. Some words are preserved on the internet. But they live on. And they touch souls. They open minds.

Yes, Andy Rooney. Thank goodness that writers never die.

9 Comments

Filed under Blogging, People