Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #New Bloggers on the Scene – A Place at the Table for All (Aging Parents) by Linda Thompson


This series of Posts from Your Archives is exclusively for blogs that are under a year old. It is an opportunity to meet new readers and to show off your writing skills.. All the details are in this post along with some tips on how to make your blog more reader friendly.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/28/new-series-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-new-blogger-promotionand-setting-up-your-blog-for-accessibility-readability-and-sharing/

Delighted to showcase another new blogger on the scene… meet Linda Thompson who blogs about Life lessons. Through anecdotes, memories or stories (some funny, others serious), several posts are about lessons learned because of something that happened in her life. Linda has selected four of her posts to share with you in this series.

Linda’s first post is a wonderful, nostalgic look back through the years to special family dinners and how it is so important that our elderly parents are given the opportunity to still feel useful in our lives.

A Place at the Table for All

I stopped to watch from across the room as my 92-year-old mother carefully wiped down the silverware. She rubbed a knife gently with the soft cloth clutched in her arthritic fingers, then held it up to the light for inspection. Her shoulders are stooped, her fingers gnarled, and cataracts have formed like invisible spider webs in both eyes, but her expression was one of such intense contentment it almost hurt to see.

I had picked her up from her seniors’ residence for a family lunch at my home. I went to get her early because I know the pleasure she gets in the preparations of a family meal. Her life is slowly winding down, and with it her sense of purpose is dwindling badly. Though simple, the tasks I asked her to help with made her feel needed and useful.

For me, it brought back a memory of a Christmas at my grandparents’ home when I was a child. Dinner was over and my mother and her two sisters were washing and drying dishes. They, along with my grandmother, had worked hard preparing the meal: peeling, cutting and cooking carrots and potatoes, checking the turkey and setting the table. Close to 30 people including children, husbands and cousins – had sat down to the holiday dinner. Now, while everyone else relaxed in other parts of the house, the three sisters continued to work.

I had come back into the kitchen and could see them standing at the sink with their backs to me. High heels had been discarded and they stood in stocking feet. They had tied aprons around their waists to protect their holiday outfits from gravy splatter, carrot stains and other remnants of the meal. The number of special-occasion plates, glasses and silverware they handled was staggering. Yet they talked and giggled like school girls and the sound of their laughter was like tinkling glass – pure, clear and joyous.

Now, all these year later, I observed my mother without her knowledge again. She moved slowly, as if extending the task for as long as possible, carefully laying the silverware at each place setting. The family has shrunk – her husband and parents are gone, and she is the lone surviving sister. As she held the knife up to the light, I think she saw more than a spotless stainless steel blade. I think she saw their faces and the memories of other meals when they had a place at the table.

©Linda Thompson 2019

About Linda

Writer, fundraiser, mother, wife, owner of one stubborn Canadian mare and one orange tabby and bona fide introvert who finds it easier to express herself in ink than out loud. For extroverts and Type A personalities, expressing themselves is a natural part of their charm and we mostly love them for it. It’s hard to know what goes on in the head of an introvert or how he/she perceives the world. Follow me to see the world through the eyes of this introvert and share your thoughts with me. Extroverts welcome too!

Connect to Linda

Blog: https://lindathompsonsite.wordpress.co
Twitter: https://twitter.com/inkplume

My thanks to Linda for allowing me to share her posts and I hope that you will head over to her blog to follow and enjoy her archives.. thanks Sally.

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Jazz, Winter Soups, Chocolate, New books, reviews and funnies


Welcome to the weekly round up of posts the you might have missed during the week on Smorgasbord blog Magazine.

You might have noticed that the round up has a new header. Apart from looking to give the post a bit of a freshen up, I also wanted to emphasise the theme that I have developed over the last seven years, of a magazine style blog with a wide range of subjects. You will see from this round up that there are a number of regular contributors and guest writers.

Currently on a fortnightly or monthly basis I am lucky enough to have William Price King (music column), Carol Taylor (Food and Cookery Column), D.G. Kaye (Travel Column), Annette Rochelle Aben (Numerology) and Silvia Todesco (Italian Cookery) and I write the (Health Column). Jessica Norrie wrote a wonderful (Literary Column) last year which I am currently repeating.

Do you have an area of expertise that you would like to share and promote your blog or books at the same time?

If  you have an area of expertise that you would like to share here on Smorgasbord and can write a column of between 1000 to 1500 word every two weeks or once a month, then please get in touch. It could be care of elderly parents, Cooking by nationality – French, Indian, Chinese etc, Writing or Editing guidance, History of where you live etc.. contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com so we can chat about it..

If you do not have the time to commit to a monthly column, perhaps like baking, chocolate expert and author Robbie Cheadle, you might like to do a short series of guest posts.. Check Robbie’s latest post on The York Chocolate Story later on in the round up and get in touch if you would be interested in doing something similar @sally.cronin@moyhill.com

From sun tan to wellies

We have had a wonderful week weather wise and we were lulled into a false sense of security. I checked the ten day forecast which predicted rain for until after October 5th and beyond so exchanging my bikini (thank goodness there are no drones in the area) I legged it to the garden centre and bought all my wintering flowering plants, some new potting compost and dashed back to spend the afternoon changing out all the pots.

This may be the last recorded sunshine of the year!  So this week I am just going to share this special moment, and the new mini cyclamens and winter flowering pansies.

Now on to the posts from the week, and as always a huge thank you to the contributors, this week William Price King, Carol Taylor and Robbie Cheadle with some special mentions.  And also for your support every week and generosity.

And a special thank you to D.G. Kaye who devoted her regular Writers Tips post to all the three Cafe and Bookstore book marketing posts so far…What an amazing thing to do. Debby has been part of the support team for the blog for five years and every night, even when she is on her winter break in Mexico she comments shares all my posts from the day across her social media. Thanks Debby and sorry they are not real…

You can find Debby’s Writing Tips: https://dgkayewriter.com/writers-tips-special-edition-author-tips-for-promoting-your-books-by-sally-cronin/

This week William Price King celebrates the life and music of Mary Lou Williams – American Jazz Pianist, Arranger and Composer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-mary-lou-williams-american-jazz-pianist-arranger-and-composer/

Carol Taylor shares the joys of soup which can be eaten whatever the weather as a starter or as a snack even as a main meal if it is a substantial one served with lots of fresh crusty bread or with the addition of rice or noodles as it is served here

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/18/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-soups-in-25-minutes-smoked-mackerel-and-tomato-and-cannellini-bean-with-cavolo-nero/

Carol Taylor is another friend that I owe a bouquet of flowers to. Not just for the wonderful posts that she brings us throughout the year but also the support she offers every week by sharing my posts on her eclectic and fascinating blog. Healthy eating, conservation, Thai foods and cookery and down to earth commonsense.  Next month it will be the second anniversary of the food column and I am very grateful for her generous contribution. Thank you Carol.

Here is the link to Carol’s own roundup this week and please follow if you are not already doing so: https://carolcooks2.com/2019/09/22/carolcooks2-weekly-roundup-health-recipes-and-more-so-much-more/

Part two of The York Chocolate Story from Robbie Cheadle.. not sure how much more temptation I can take lol.. find out more about The Terrys and the Cravens.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/16/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-robbie-cheadle-the-york-chocolate-story-part-two-terrys-of-york-and-cravens/

My guest this week is regular guest to the blog, author Darlene Foster who has recently released another book in her successful Amanda Travel Series. Later in the post she shares an excerpt from Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/22/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-sunday-author-interview-darlene-foster-and-an-excerpt-from-amanda-in-holland-missing-in-action/

Delighted to share my review of the third book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries Flower Power Trip.. by James J. Cudney

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/21/smorgasbord-book-reviews-braxton-campus-mysteries-book-3-flower-power-trip-by-james-j-cudney/

Twitter – New look and and step by step guide to Book Marketing useful functions.

As an author with books to market, getting as storefront on Twitter is important. It is a networking site and whilst you may not want to use for social media, it is great for connecting with other authors, reviewers, bloggers, all of whom are likely to be readers too. Here is a step by step guide to getting your books front and centre.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/21/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-book-marketing-online-watering-holes-for-authors-twitter-step-by-step-set-up-for-authors-sally-cronin/

Chapter Eleven – Imogen spends the week before Christmas working in a funeral home, with a very dishy funeral director....

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/21/just-an-odd-job-serialisation-chapter-eleven-the-funeral-home-by-sally-cronin/

Chapter Twelve sees Imogen join an advertising sales team for a local newspaper and responsibility for one of the more cash only columns!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/22/just-and-odd-job-girl-serialisation-chapter-twelve-advertising-sales-by-sally-cronin/

For this week’s Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 145 Colleen Chesebro has provided us with a photo prompt.. in a new twist the previous month’s poet of the week for the photo prompt gets to choose the image..This month that honour falls to Jane Dougherty. I have selected a #Tanka for this week’s challenge…Adrift

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-tuesday-tanka-challenge-tanka-adrift-by-sally-cronin/

This week the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills prompts us to write in 99 words, no more, no less… a story about ‘an interlude’ – mine is A Musical Interlude

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/21/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-a-musical-interlude-by-sally-cronin/

This is the final post from the archives of author and poet, Patricia Furstenberg who as you can tell from some of her books is a dog lover. Children and pets can be magical and bonds are formed that ensure a child never feels unsafe or alone throughout their early years. In this post Patricia explores this in more details. Pets — Understanding Your Child’s Affinity Towards Animals (2018) by Patricia Furstenberg

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-pets-understanding-your-childs-affinity-towards-animals-2018-by-patricia-furstenberg/

This is the final post from the archives of author, fitness advocate and photographer Terri Webster Schrandt. In her post Terri offers four reasons to attend the next one you are invited to. Four Reasons to Attend a Blogging Conference (2017) by Terri Webster Schrandt

Four Reason to Attend a Blogging Conference

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-four-reasons-to-attend-a-blogging-conference-2017-by-terri-webster-schrandt/

This is the final post from the archives of Jim Borden who blogs on ‘Borden’s Blather’ across a variety of topics. I know that my computer can be funny weird… frequently but have not so far seen it be funny ha ha!  So I decided to end Jim’s short series for this season with this post. Can Computers be Funny? (2018) by Jim Borden

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-can-computers-be-funny-2018-by-jim-borden/

This is the third post from educator and author Pete Springer who began blogging in April this year. I am sure you will agree that he has made a fantastic start to his new project.  Pete shares some incidents that could have been a lot worse if laughter had not been the outcome.. and there there is the mystery of the knocking in the pipes! The Importance of a Good Sense of Humor by Pete Springer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newbloggers-the-importance-of-a-good-sense-of-humor-by-pete-springer/

Delighted to welcome Melanie Stewart to the series.. In Melanie’s first post she shares some of the wisdom she picked up from author Judith Viorst who is almost 90 years old and the joy that her mother who is in her 80s, has found in following Tiger Woods…. Finding Joy in your 80s and 90s (2018)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/18/smorgasbord-blogs-from-your-archives-new-bloggers-on-the-scene-melanie-m-stewart-finding-joy-in-your-80s-and-90s-2019/

This is the first post from Peter Mohan who blogs at Cheers, Govanhill as his alter ego .. Boy David…I thought in this first post I would let Peter introduce Govanhill to you to set the scene for the other posts Thou shalt buy thy round

Photo of the mural at the Clutha bar, with Glasgow people including Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Billy Connolly, Alex Harvey, Gerry Rafferty and Frankie Miller

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-new-thou-shalt-buy-thy-round-cheers-govanhill/

New Book on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-memoir-mennonite-daughter-the-story-of-a-plain-girl-by-marian-longenecker-beaman/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-a-bit-about-britains-history-by-mike-biles/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-love-on-track-rivals-in-love-book-three-p-c-zick/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/21/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-childrens-a-tractor-named-wilbur-by-deanie-humphrys-dunne/

Author updates – Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/16/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-c-s-boyack-lizzie-chantree-and-mae-clair/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-updates-reviews-amy-m-reade-tony-riches-and-barbara-silkstone/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/18/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-wednesday-18th-september-2019-sue-vincent-ellen-hawley-and-stevie-turner/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-thursday-19th-september-2019-bette-a-stevens-d-wallace-peach-and-gloria-smud/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-friday-20th-september-2019-brigid-p-gallagher-john-rieber-and-carol-taylor/

I repeat this series in particular every year, in the hopes that those who are new to the blog will find it interesting and useful. I worked with couples who were planning on getting pregnant and it was important that both understood how each other’s reproductive systems worked. Also if you know your body well, if something is even slightly different from the norm, it encourages you to have it checked out. The Female Reproductive System.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/smorgasbord-health-column-major-organs-and-systems-of-the-body-the-female-reproductive-system-part-one-sally-cronin/

After 45 years of working in the food industry and then in the last twenty as a nutritional therapist, I explore where in the life cycle we can intervene to prevent the current obesity crisis.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/smorgasbord-health-column-creating-tthe-obesity-epidemic-part-one-finding-a-point-in-the-life-cycle-to-intervene-by-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-comedian-in-residenced-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-11/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-comedian-in-residence-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-5/

Thank you very much for dropping in today and for your support.. it is much appreciated.. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #NewBloggers – Thou shalt buy thy round – Cheers, Govanhill


This series of Posts from Your Archives is exclusively for blogs that are under a year old. It is an opportunity to meet new readers and to show off your writing skills.. All the details are in this post along with some tips on how to make your blog more reader friendly.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/28/new-series-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-new-blogger-promotionand-setting-up-your-blog-for-accessibility-readability-and-sharing/

This is the first post from Peter Mohan who blogs at Cheers, Govanhill as his alter ego .. Boy David…I thought in this first post I would let Peter introduce Govanhill to you to set the scene for the other posts

Thou shalt buy thy round

Photo of the mural at the Clutha bar, with Glasgow people including Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Billy Connolly, Alex Harvey, Gerry Rafferty and Frankie Miller

What makes Govanhill unique is being part of Glasgow.

Same with Oatlands, Easterhouse and Blairdardie.

The best thing about them all is the city they’re attached to.

Glasgow’s like an independent city state and I’m like a partisan. Cheers, Ruchazie. Cheers, Barmulloch. Cheers, Partick Cross. You too, Govanhill.

The great villages of Glasgow and the grand thoroughfares that run through them.

Victoria Road, Alexandra Parade, Paisley Road West, Duke Street.

Unmissable day trips on your doorstep.

The art deco cinemas and Victorian burgh halls, municipal parks and swimming baths. And public libraries too, havens for self-educated men and women, a place of silence away from the noise and the clutter of the house.

These great villages had their own football teams, Benburb, St Anthony’s, St Roch’s. Sometimes their own newspapers, Springburn Herald, Govan Press, Rutherglen Reformer.

The same rows of boutique shops, cafes and bars and diverse populations, just like Govanhill.

Indian and Pakistani in Ibrox and Pollokshields, Irish in the Gorbals and the Garngad, Italians in Dennistoun and Yoker, Chinese in Garnethill.

And the people. Salt of the earth, rough diamonds, cracking jokes singing songs, ready to pick a fight at a moment’s notice.

And our most important commandment.

Thou shalt buy thy round.

So cheers, mother Glasgow. And welcome home, Govanhill.

©Peter Mohan 2019

About Peter Mohan

My name’s Peter Mohan, I live and work in Glasgow, Scotland.

Cheers, Govanhill is a semi-fictional blog from Glasgow’s most cosmopolitan and endlessly-fascinating neighbourhood.

It’s a humorous, sometimes dark, account of inner-city life by fictional narrator, Boy David.
He casts an affectionate, surreal eye on the area from his tenement, with stories of gentrification, brontosaurus cutlets, the filthy habits of west of Scotland dead man and how New York stole all its ideas from Govanhill.

It’s all true, although I might have made a lot of it up.

Connect to Peter

Blog: https://cheersgovanhill.home.blog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/petemohan1

I am sure that you are going to enjoy Peter’s posts over the coming weeks.. please head over and check out his archive.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday 20th September 2019 – Brigid P. Gallagher, John Rieber and Carol Taylor


This series is an opportunity to showcase posts from around our community and the brilliant bloggers who share with us. It would be amazing if you would follow the links to the post I have highlighted and whilst visiting follow and support the blogger.

The first post is from inspirational author Brigid P. Gallagher who has been taking a course in Beekeeping.. this post from last week is the second part, but there is a link to the first.

My beekeeping studies continue – this post follows on from An Inspiring Introduction to Beekeeping

A big thank you to my teachers at The Glasshouses, Killult http://www.natithegloine.com
Smokers

Smoke is puffed over the top of the frames, to calm the bee colony when inspecting a hive.

Scraps of newspaper are first set on fire inside a metal container in the smoker, before adding pine needles to create smoke for the inspection.

The smoke is then dispensed using the small bellows attached to the main metal container.

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Hive Inspection

The roof of the hive is removed gently to allow for close inspection, before smoke is puffed over the top of the frames.

You will see that these outer frames are beginning to get covered in wax comb by the bees. You can also see small residues on the inside cover.

Head over to read the rest of this interesting post: https://watchingthedaisies.com/2019/09/11/an-inspiring-introduction-to-beekeeping-part-2/

Brigid P. Gallagher, BUY: https://www.amazon.in/Brigid-P-Gallagher/e/B01N8UCYYD
Blog: https://watchingthedaisies.com/  – Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16119226.Brigid_P_Gallagher

The next writer with a post that I am sure you will enjoy if from John Rieber.. and in this week’s Bookmobile takes us to the sunny and very beautiful Provence.

Time To Celebrate The Terrific Cookbook Author Patricia Wells!

This Wednesday’s Bookmobile is heading to France to hang out with one of the greatest and most prolific Cookbook Authors ever – Patricia Wells, who along with bestselling cookbooks also wrote a terrific memoir about her life, along with her husband Walter!

“We’ve Always Had Paris…And Provence” by Patricia and Walter Wells.

Wednesday’s Bookmobile is going on a delicious journey to Paris and Provence, as Patricia tells her fascinating story and love of food.

Here is the Amazon writeup of their memoir:

Patricia Wells, long recognized as the leading American authority on French food, and her husband, Walter, live the life in France that many of us have often fantasized about. After more than a quarter century, they are as close to being accepted as “French” as any non-natives can be. In this delightful memoir they share in two voices their experiences—the good, the bad, and the funny—offering a charming and evocative account of their beloved home and some of the wonderful people they have met along the way.”

Head over and enjoy the rest of the post and take your appetite with you: https://johnrieber.com/2019/09/18/the-delicious-life-of-patricia-wells-wednesdays-bookmobile-heads-to-provence-for-her-memoir/

johnrieber

About John Rieber

I love great food, interesting books, fascinating travel, outrageous movies, and bacon, especially when it sits on top of a great cheeseburger! I work in entertainment – and I have been lucky enough to interview some really talented Artists – that guides my posts: interesting and provocative movies, music, social media and of course, food, since I believe strongly in the maxim, “everyone eats!”

And finally today, our resident food expert Carol has a very whimsical post on Wednesdays and here is a snippet from this week….everything from National Cheeseburger Day (and one in a can), The Royal Opera House and the upcoming Oktoberfests…something for everyone…

Thank you once again for joining me on Whimsical Wednesday when anything goes..wherever my thoughts take me or when something stops me in my tracks and makes me think or when something just wows me…

So come with me and see what has astonished or wowed me this week and what memories have been evoked…Wednesday is the day when I leave controversy at the door…It is the day I can reminisce and indulge myself..generally about things past…Yes, I get maudlin…But memories are good..sometimes they make you a little sad as you wish you could see that person or be in that place and that time again and for a moment or two you are….Enjoy!

Today there are two National Days…Actually more than two but none which piqued my interest…National Play-Doh Day…Yes, mums, dads and grandparents…

Do you really love Play-Doh as much as the kids? I blimmin didn’t… it got stuck everywhere…In the hair, in the carpet, on the clothes, the dog and it stuck fast…

Fast forward….It is National Cheeseburger Day

Head over to find out more about cheeseburger in a can and much more whimsy: https://carolcooks2.com/2019/09/18/whimsical-wednesdays-with-carol-2/

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog and enjoy posts on healthy eating, conservation, waste management, travel and amazing recipes: https://carolcooks2.com/

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you will head over to enjoy the posts in full…more Blogger Daily posts next week.. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Thursday 19th September 2019 – Bette A. Stevens, D.Wallace Peach and Gloria Smud


This series is an opportunity to showcase posts from around our community and the brilliant bloggers who share with us. It would be amazing if you would follow the links to the post I have highlighted and whilst visiting follow and support the blogger.

The first post is from award winning children’s author Bette A. Stevens, an advocate for the beautiful Monarch Butterfly.. in this post she urges our support during their migration.

The Great Monarch Migration

Image Bette. A. Stevens

Each year from August through October, masses of monarch butterflies embark on a journey from the southern reaches of Canada that takes them 2500 Miles to remote mountain treetops in central Mexico. Millions of overwintering monarchs were discovered roosting there for the first time in 1975. Here at the farmstead in central Maine, monarch butterflies visit us from early June through mid to late September. As a citizen scientist, I report my sightings to Journey North . I invite you to visit their website to find out more about our amazing monarch butterflies and find out how you can help.

Hubby Dan and I have sighted sixty (60) monarchs so far this season. The monarch chrysalis in my photo collage was spun by a caterpillar Dan discovered on a day lily leaf when he was cleaning the garden on August 13, 2019. We transferred the caterpillar and part of the leaf to our back porch.

Head over and read more of this fascinating post about the Monarch Butterfly and how you can help: https://4writersandreaders.com/2019/09/17/celebrate-the-great-monarch-buttefly-mirgration/

bette-crop-201651Td5gvAJEL._UY250_51X5ZRwOLhL._UY250_51jdrgaOEaL._UY250_am-highresolution-bw-border

The next post is from Diana Wallace Peach with a very helpful tutorial on how to set up your book trailer with Powerpoint. A book trailer is a terrific book marketing tool and well worth heading over to read the complete post..

 Make a Book Trailer with Powerpoint – Diana Wallace Peach.

I’m a cheapskate.

I’m also technologically impaired.

So when it came to making a book trailer for Sunwielder’s audiobook pre-release hype, I resorted to the old familiar standby from my years of selling office furniture – MS PowerPoint. The program’s been updated over the past 2 decades, but I still figured it out with some trial and error. And error. And a little more error.

The main thing I learned is regarding sequence:

1. Start with your text: Keep it pithy. I used my book blurb and pared it down to its bare essentials. That gave me about fifteen slides to populate with images.

Please head over to read the rest of this helpful post: https://mythsofthemirror.com/2019/09/10/book-trailers-with-powerpoint/

D. Wallace Peach, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8
Website/Blog: http://www.mythsofthemirror.com – Goodread https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7068749.D_Wallace_Peach

Please visit Amazon or Diana’s website to view all her books.

book photo51om2I6e0kL._UY250_61abvx-feql-_uy250_

Last week on September 10th was World Suicide Prevention Day 2019. Whilst reading through blogs, I visited Trev Jones blog and I came across this poem by his wife Debbie Jones that resonated with me.  I am sharing the first few lines but I do recommend that you head over and read the rest of the poem and the accompanying post. Many of us have been in a dark place, and for one reason or another, a loving hand, a guardian angel or something deep inside us that pulls us back from the brink.

Anyway here is part of the poem by Debbie JonesMy Best Self

If my best self could take my hand,
Guide me safely through troubled lands,
The only thing I’d need is me,
Rough seas would part, so I could see,
That life won’t always be like this,
I’d give me a reassuring kiss,
A tender touch upon my shoulder,
To give me strength & make me bolder,
A gentle thought, a caring deed,

Please head over and read the rest of the poem and post: https://gloriasmud.com/2019/09/10/my-best-self/

About Debbie Jones and Gloria Smud.

Welcome to my poetry blog, & thank you for visiting! Hello! My name is Debbie Jones, and I write original poems and post my own accompanying photographs under the name of Gloria Smud..a play on the words for “Glorious Mud.”

I hope you’ll enjoy walking with me to experience some of the sights, & my inspirations from the beautiful, Welsh countryside in & around the village of Llangunllo, in Powys, where I live, with my husband, Trev.

Read more about what you can find on the blog: https://gloriasmud.com/2019/02/28/about-me/

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read these posts in full and follow the writers if you do not already do so.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogs from Your Archives – New Bloggers on the Scene – Melanie M. Stewart – Finding Joy in your 80s and 90s (2019)


This series of Posts from Your Archives is exclusively for blogs that are under a year old. It is an opportunity to meet new readers and to show off your writing skills.. All the details are in this post along with some tips on how to make your blog more reader friendly.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/28/new-series-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-new-blogger-promotionand-setting-up-your-blog-for-accessibility-readability-and-sharing/

Delighted to welcome Melanie Stewart to the series.. Melanie blogs at Leaving the Door Open: A Daughter’s stories about an aging parent. Sharing Tips and facts learned along the way.

In Melanie’s first post she shares some of the wisdom she picked up from author Judith Viorst who is almost 90 years old and the joy that her mother who is in her 80s, has found in following Tiger Woods….

Finding Joy in your 80s and 90s (2018)

Today I’m in the mood to pull the curtains back from a darkened room and find the joy. Living through aging parent experiences is draining, it goes with the territory, but witnessing pure joy sure brings in a lot of light.

I found an example of just such a joy when reading a Glamour article about Nearing Ninety – a book written by the well-known author Judith Viorst who is indeed, close to 90 years old. (That very fact is joyful! A woman turning 90 has the energy, mindfulness and desire to write a book. Can I have some of that please?)

Here’s a quote from her book:

There’s a quote from philosopher George Santayana, whose proposition all of us should heed: “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” I believe he’s telling us that instead of wistfully looking back at what we once had, or anxiously imagining what might come, we ought to be seeking what satisfactions, what pleasures, what meaning, the season we’re in has to offer us.”

She is almost 90 and she wants to live in the moment. Find the best joy in the moment. Who’s kidding who? That’s an enviable goal for all of us.

I recently discovered the extent of joy my own 88-year-old mother Ginny has found in the most unusual of places. She is mesmerized by Tiger Woods and watching him play golf.

My mother has neither golfed in her life nor did any family member of her generation, but she adores watching Tiger. My husband Dennis (who is a golfer) will call her and tell her that there is a major tournament on a particular weekend and that Tiger made the cut. He’ll also tell her which network is carrying it. Given her interest, she is usually aware, but not always and she’ll thank him as she heads to the television.

I have made the mistake of calling Ginny during a tournament. She’ll answer the phone, but after a couple of minutes, I’ll realize that I’ve lost her as her play-by-play begins.

“Wait, Tiger’s up, he’s looking at something, oh what’s happening here (suddenly I hear the crowd, so I know he took his shot) and she continues “Ohhhh, he got it close to the hole” and on and on. There’s no competition to who is capturing her interest.

I love that she loves Tiger. And when he won the Masters this past April? Look no further for a sign of her devotion than this newspaper clipping collage that my own mother placed on a wall in her condo. I have never seen her do anything like this in my entire life. I was dumbfounded when I turned the corner and saw it.

“What do you think?” she asked grinning.

“I’m blown away” was my truly honest answer.

What speaks to her about Tiger? I really don’t know because she has never been able to verbalize it. His strength? Sheer will? She has both qualities. Somehow she seems to lock into the challenges right there beside him – living vicariously through his struggles and his triumphs. And he’s a champion. And the camera loves him. Ultimately, I guess her reasons for her joy don’t really matter. The bottom line is she has it.

Ginny’s birthday will be here soon and she’ll be receiving a throw pillow with Tiger’s golf swing in silhouette. When the 2019 tournaments end, she can sit by the pillow and contentedly look forward to the seasons changing once again; to the golf season of course.

How does (or did) your parents find joy? What inspires them? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

@Melanie M. Stewart 2019

About Melanie M. Stewart.

Many years ago, I worked as a freelance writer for a local paper in suburban Chicago. I covered everything from cloning & measuring the risk of heart disease to my “Day in the Life” series where I spent the day with a veterinarian or watching “behind the scenes” at a popular restaurant.

Then I went to work for Legacy.com (online obituaries). I stayed there for almost nine years. I enjoyed helping customers navigate the site and at times, offer support during a highly emotional time.

This blog combines these two experiences. They are non-fiction stories pulled from my own experiences navigating the aging parent years. I also provide informational links and tips as well as the opportunity for you to share your story.

I have no professional background in psychology or senior healthcare. I’m just in it day-to-day. I’m married and a mom who enjoys a good laugh, a good mystery/thriller and watching the Chicago Cubs.

Connect to Melanie

Blog: https://leavingthedooropen.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/storiesonaging

It would be great if you would head over to Melanie’s blog and follow her there and on Twitter.. Thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #NewBloggers – The Importance of a Good Sense of Humor by Pete Springer


This series of Posts from Your Archives is exclusively for blogs that are under a year old. It is an opportunity to meet new readers and to show off your writing skills.. All the details are in this post along with some tips on how to make your blog more reader friendly.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/28/new-series-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-new-blogger-promotionand-setting-up-your-blog-for-accessibility-readability-and-sharing/

This is the third post from educator and author Pete Springer who began blogging in April this year. I am sure you will agree that he has made a fantastic start to his new project. Humour is one of the elements of my life that I would miss if it disappeared. Thank goodness that around here laughter is always a daily shared activity. Pete shares some incidents that could have been a lot worse if laughter had not been the outcome.. and there there is the mystery of the knocking in the pipes!

The Importance of a Good Sense of Humor by Pete Springer

You’ve probably heard the saying, “laughter is the best medicine.” My experience has taught me that this is one of the wisest pieces of advice. A study done at the Mayo Clinic showed that laughter is one of the best ways to relieve stress and puts us in a better overall frame of mind.

The funniest things to me are the humor which I find in human nature rather than watching a stand-up comic perform—although some comedians base much of their act on this concept.

When I was still teaching elementary school, I found that laughing about some of the absurdities of the job was a healthy way to handle the ridiculousness of a situation. How could I ever forget the time when one of my students smuggled a garter snake on a field trip without my knowledge? The only reason I found out about it was that the snake decided to make an appearance at the museum and scared a poor lady half to death. Of course, I wasn’t exactly happy with my student, but I also found myself laughing when I retold the story to my colleagues.

Then there was the memorable time when a student’s parent showed up uninvited to my classroom during the middle of class to do a chemistry exhibition. Not only had the nervy adult bypassed the office, a requirement of any person on a school campus, but she expected me to drop everything for her demonstration. After recovering from the shock that anyone could be that brazen, I told her that she was not allowed to hijack my class. I suppose I could have responded with anger, but the whole situation was far too bizarre for that. Laughing about the entire thing later with a friend was a better solution.

Part of having a good sense of humor is being able to laugh at yourself. Aren’t we all guilty of doing things that humble us? Last month I had one of those moments that is too priceless not to share.

One of the challenges of being a homeowner is we must be able to deal with the unexpected expenses that inevitably occur. Six weeks ago, my wife and I began to hear what appeared to be the rattling of the water pipes under the house. In the beginning, the noises seemed to happen at intermittent times. Sometimes we didn’t hear it for several days.

When the sound resumed, and with greater frequency, I decided to do some research before calling a plumber. After searching on my computer, I learned that this occurrence is quite common. The articles I read indicated that most of the time, the problem was a minor fix, but it also could be a symptom of a more severe situation.

The next time it happened, I decided to play detective and see if I could figure out what was going on. I crawled under the house (something that is getting a little harder to do with age) to investigate. By the time I was scurrying around like a mole, the noise had stopped. There were no signs of a leak or other apparent problems.

After a few more days of silence, a new pattern developed. The metallic sound started up every morning around 6:30, while we were still in bed. The other curious thing was the noise now appeared to be coming from somewhere in the backyard rather than under the house.

By now, I was baffled but determined to discover what was going on. The following morning the noise came back right on time again. I got out of bed, went out the back door as quietly as possible, and tried to track the sound. Sure enough, my hearing was correct—the pipe rattling was no longer coming from under the house.

I tracked my prey the way a mountain lion pursues its next meal. I tried to be as silent as possible because I was concentrating on the location of the noise. The other problem was our two yellow labs. (They spend the night in our three-car garage which has a dog door to their pen). If they heard me lurking about, they would most likely start barking.

I followed the noise to our back gate at which point it stopped. Okay, what gives? Just then, one of our neighbors drove down the alleyway between our properties as he was going to work. I’m sure that I was quite the sight standing there in my pajamas with a mop of disheveled hair. He stopped his truck, and I explained that I wasn’t losing my marbles. He said that he was unaware of any noise, but he would keep his eyes and ears open. (By the way, how do you keep your ears open?)

By now, I was fully invested and determined to figure out what was happening. I went back into the house and reported my findings to the other detective (my wife) assigned to the case.

The following morning the noise started again at precisely 6:30. I shot out of bed like a cannon ready to get to the bottom of this mystery. I went out to the back gate again and heard the metal sound coming from the top of a nearby telephone pole.

As I looked up trying to identify the source of the sound, a bird swooped down from the pole and landed on the neighbor’s roof. I didn’t think the bird was the culprit, but then the little bugger gave himself away. He tapped his bill rapidly against the small metallic satellite dish atop the neighbor’s roof. As soon as it struck the object, I recognized the familiar sound. I had found the mischievous scoundrel.

What else could I do at that point but laugh at my stupidity? I got all worked up over nothing. That bird got the best of me, and I felt embarrassed for not figuring out what happened sooner.

In retrospect, there was no need to be too hard on myself. My previous experiences with woodpeckers involved watching them drill into trees in search of insects. That was a much different sound. I could only deduce that the noise, which appeared to be coming from under the house, was the vibration from the metal vents that run vertically from the roof.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time I am forced to laugh at my gullibility as life provides us with so many opportunities. Instead of being privately embarrassed about it, I’m hoping that you get a chuckle and can also laugh at yourself from time to time. Maybe we can bring a little more laughter and joy to a sometimes troubled world with a good sense of humor

©Pete Springer 2019

About They Call Me Mom

Who Will You Inspire Today? Teachers face this challenge and responsibility each day, but in the process, the author discovers that his students can also have a profound influence on him. Pete Springer takes you on his memorable thirty-one-year journey in education as an elementary school teacher and offers the many valuable life and teaching lessons he learned along the way. Get ready to laugh out loud at some of the humorous and memorable experiences that all teachers face, feel inspired by the inherent goodness of children, and appreciate the importance of developing a sense of teamwork among the staff. Learn valuable tips for working with children, parents, fellow staff members, and administrators. This book is ideal for young teachers, but also a reminder to all educators of the importance and responsibility of being a role model. This book is a must-read for all new teachers and those teachers that need a reminder they are human! Mr. Springer educates others in his easy-to-read, story-like, first-hand manuscript. You will laugh, cry, and get motivated to be the best educator you can. After reading this, I have a better outlook on relationships with my colleagues and am reminded to savor every moment. -Tami Beall (Principal, Pine Hill School)

One of the reviews for the book

Bradley Livingston 5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring Story! February 2, 2019

I personally love this book. Peter Springer was my second grade teacher in my elementary school days and I have to say he was one of my favorites no doubt. You could tell that he truly valued the significance of early education. I can’t think of a single one of my friends that were not excited about going to Mr. Springers class everyday!

When I was informed that Mr. Springer was finishing his lifelong dream of developing a book to pass down his experiences, I knew I had to get a copy of the book. It was no surprise that the book was absolutely inspiring. Reading his book brought back some of those wonderful memories of growing up and being excited to go to school everyday. Peter Springer really has a way with kids and the story of how he found his passion for helping kids reach there dreams is a story that everyone must hear!

It is crucial to provide a foundation for kids to dream, learn, and grow. In this book, Peter Springer emphasizes how important it is to give kids this type of environment to ensure that they reach their dreams and goals in the future.

Peter Springer inspired me as well as many other students throughout the years. If you read his book and learn his story, I’m sure you will be inspired as well!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/They-Call-Mom-Difference-Elementary/dp/1977200052

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/They-Call-Mom-Difference-Elementary/dp/1977200052

Other buy links: https://petespringerauthor.wordpress.com/buy/

About Pete Springer

My name is Pete Springer. I taught elementary school for thirty-one years (grades 2-6) at Pine Hill School in Eureka, CA. Even though I retired over two years ago, my passion will always lie with supporting education, kids, and teachers.

When I came out of the teaching program many years ago, I realized how unprepared I was for what was in store for me in the classroom. My college education focused mostly on learning theory rather than the practical day-to-day challenges that all teachers face. Thankfully, I had some great mentors to lean on to help support me in the early part of my career.

I have made it my mission to pay it forward to the next generation of teachers. I was a master teacher to four student teachers, and I have several former students who are now teachers, including one who teaches at my former elementary school. That is pretty cool!

Connect to Pete

Website: https://petespringerauthor.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peter.springer.5876

My thanks to Pete for allowing me to access his archives posts and share them with you.. Please head over and explore Pete’s blog further.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – Can Computers be Funny? (2018) by Jim Borden


This is the final post from the archives of Jim Borden who blogs on ‘Borden’s Blather’ across a variety of topics. I know that my computer can be funny weird… frequently but have not so far seen it be funny ha ha!  So I decided to end Jim’s short series for this season with this post.

Can Computers be Funny? (2018) by Jim Borden

image from KS2 teacher resources

It’s a question that artificial intelligence researchers are asking themselves with greater urgency.

If one of the goals of AI is to allow humans to converse with computers in a way that is as natural, intuitive, and frictionless as conversing with people, then AI systems need to master irony, sarcasm, ambiguity, humor, and puns—aspects of conversation that humans handle with ease but that still baffle even the most sophisticated AI.

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal James Geary looks at recent developments in trying to teach computers to be funny. Geary notes that puns point to the essence of all true wit: the ability to hold two different ideas about the same thing at the same time.

He goes on to state that the human brain is really good at this, thanks largely to what neuroscientists call the “default network,” which kicks in during mental states such as daydreaming and free association. At these moments, our attention is diffuse, and the brain gleans information from a broad array of sources. True wit will most likely be found by modeling the default network. In contrast, the brain’s “executive network” specializes in specific goal-directed tasks, like reasoning, planning and problem-solving. Current AI systems perform best when modeling the executive network.

Geary concludes by claiming that endowing AI systems with the element of surprise is perhaps the ultimate technical challenge.

I’ll share some of the jokes from the article that were generated by computers, and I’ll let you be the judge as to how funny you think the jokes are.

  1. “What kind of tree can you wear? A fir coat.”
  2. Here’s a one-liner overlaid across a picture of a bespectacled, bow-tied feline in front of a blackboard: “Come stay at Chemistry Cat Inn: Great day rates and even better nitrates.”
  3. “Your mate Johnny is a hard up deer-keeper. He really needs doe!”

And here’s a couple of jokes that were not generated by a computer program:

  1. A skeleton walks into a bar and says, “I’ll have a beer and a mop, please.”
  2. “What do you get when you cut a comedian in two?” “A half-wit.”

I think I’d have to say that the last couple of jokes are the cream of the crop, which shows that us simple humans are still better than computers in at least one thing.

But I am worried about the day when computers spend their time making fun of us with “dumb human” jokes. Once that happens we’re doomed.

Who’ll be laughing then?
©Jim Borden 2018

About Jim Borden

Husband, dad, brother, uncle, nephew, friend, teacher, ex-swimmer, blogger, vegan, juggler, learner, introvert.

Now that I’ve reduced myself to a cultural stereotype (with a hat tip to Woody Allen), who am I when I take away all the labels?

This blog has given me a chance to think more deeply about many things, and to share those thoughts with the world (well at least a really tiny part of the world). And in sharing those thoughts, I’ve started to understand a little bit of who I am.

A 60-something guy trying to figure out the world, and his place in it.

Emerson’s words capture perfectly the kind of life I hope to live:

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Connect to Jim

Blog: https://jborden.com/about-me/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jimborden
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jborden119
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimborden119/

My thanks to Jim for allowing me access to his archives and it would be great if you could head over and explore them further for yourself. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – Four Reasons to Attend a Blogging Conference (2017) by Terri Webster Schrandt


This is the final post from the archives of author, fitness advocate and photographer Terri Webster Schrandt. I did enjoy the Blogger’s Bash in 2017, however distance and family events have prevented me from attending the last two. One of the great elements of a blogging conference is meeting your online friends face to face. In her post Terri offers four reasons to attend the next one you are invited to. Having attended many conferences in my previous existence this guide to getting the most out of the experience applies across the board.

Four Reasons to Attend a Blogging Conference (2017) by Terri Webster Schrandt

Four Reason to Attend a Blogging Conference

In September, I had the pleasure of attending not one, but two blogging conferences in my hometown of Sacramento, California.

Wordcamp Sacramento 2017 focused on WordPress developers and website design, but had an entire bloggers track. This alone brought in over 200 more attendees than previous WordCamps.

The International Food Bloggers Conference, aka IFBC, spent three consecutive years here in “The Farm to Fork” Capital of Sacramento, and travels to New Orleans in 2018.

Last January, I shared some preliminary thoughts on attending blogging events in Need More Inspiration? Attend a Blogging Event

Before I share my four takeaways, here are some general thoughts on choosing a blogging conference.

Choosing a Conference

Having a blogging (or writing) conference come to your town is a huge gift.

Through a Sacramento Bloggers event in 2016, I discovered the IFBC conference would be offered the following year. Although I wasn’t a food blogger, past attendees assured us there was enough general information that it would be wise to attend. Although the IFBC was pricey, at over $300 for registration, the IFBC offered a deeply discounted rate to “Citizen Bloggers,” who agreed to share three blog posts before, during and after the conference.

At a price under $100, I registered well in advance, not knowing what the sessions or agenda would be.

In April, again through my association with Sacramento Bloggers, we found out that Sacramento was hosting its third annual WordCamp, this time with an entire track devoted to beginner bloggers, and how to use WordPress tools.

In case you don’t know, there is a difference between WordPress dot com (through Automattic, Inc), the free blog platform many bloggers use, and the WordPress dot org platform used on self-hosted websites. I have two sites: this one, Second Wind Leisure Perspectives, (you are reading here now) and my self-hosted website for my business Windigen Consulting

Registration for WordCamp Sacramento was an unbelievable $40 for the entire weekend. This is attributed to the amazing and generous sponsors! When I applied for and was selected to present on the bloggers’ panel “Blogging Success and Monetization,” my registration fee was FREE! Plus, all attendees received conference t-shirts, swag and a useful printed program.

There was enough general information shared at sessions that I could apply to both this blog and my consulting website. Attending two local conferences almost back-to-back was a little tiring, but my drive to downtown was only a few minutes and parking rates for weekends were dirt cheap!

Without further adieu, here are my Four Reasons to Attend a Bloggers’ Conference:

Easy to meet others at a conferenceEasy to meet others at a conference! Image from WordCamp.

1. Meeting other Bloggers

The main reason I attend conferences is to meet other bloggers in person, the actual folks with whom I have developed an online blogging relationship. Oftentimes, the world of a blogger can be a lonely place. It is a special treat to engage with other bloggers in person, who “get” you! And so nice to not have to type your reply for a change!

Before the conference:

Once you are registered for the conference, plan ahead and make some business cards for your blog, even if you just print them yourself.

At the conference:

  • Network with others. Most conference-goers are easy to spot with their name tags. Do not be shy about introducing yourself to another blogger. Exchanging those new business cards is helpful and useful.
  • At your table, say hello to those seated beside you. This may be difficult for some folks, but you can simply ask, “Are you a blogger,” or “What is your blog/website about?” Be prepared to answer this question, too.
  • In one session, the presenter asked for everyone’s cards so she could send us her slides and information. Many folks had awkward slips of paper rather than cards, which could be mistaken for trash and did not present a professional look. I was glad I had mine!

After the conference (or during):

Find your new blogger friends on social media and follow them.

2. Networking the Room In-Person and on Social Media

  • Use your time to walk around and explore all the conference areas. At the IFBC, there was a huge swag (gift) table where we selected one of each item to take home at the end of the first day. There were some leftover goodies the next day and we were encouraged to take them.
  • Be sure to meet and thank the conference organizers and sponsors. Most of these folks donate their time to put on these events. The sponsors and vendors also donated in-kind services and/or money to make the conference happen. One way you can also acknowledge them is by sharing their names and hashtags on Social Media.
  • Most conferences encourage social networking during the sessions. While this practice is beneficial, I find it rather distracting to the presenters. Use this at a minimum while the person is speaking, besides, how are you listening to what they are saying, while your fingers are tapping away on the screen? There is plenty of time in between sessions to share.
  • Do take photos of interesting conference items, like logos, t-shirts, session signs, displays, food, etc. Those make great sharing options for Instagram and Facebook where images are the key. Use the conference hashtag where possible while sharing. This is also a great opportunity to build your social media following, while following others. Some of these photos I used for this post!

Images of WordCamp Sacramento 2017 Conference
Attendees at WordCamp working alongside the presentation.

3. Learning New Skills

Attending a conference provides an opportunity for professional development and learn the blogging best practices from the experts. Both conference organizers sent e-mails on a regular basis with up-to-date information as the conference dates approached.

Before the conference:

  • Read the agenda and look at the sessions that interest you. Have a back-up plan if one gets cancelled (it happens).
  • Ask yourself what you hope to get out of attending the conference.

During the conference:

  • Attend sessions. Have you ever been to a conference and didn’t go to the sessions? Back in my work days, I saw this practice all the time. I never understood the point of spending money, then not actually learning something.
  • Take notes. Conference attendees take session notes a variety of ways, whether by pen and notepaper, recording with a device, or by typing on a laptop.
  • Talk with the presenters after the session, and take the opportunity to thank them and ask questions.

After the conference:

Watch for follow-up e-mails from the conference organizers. Many presenters offered their slide shows in a shared format that all attendees could access.

At WordCamp, professional photographers took lots of photos and shared them with attendees (that is how I got many of the images in this post). I’m told WordCamp images are public domain, so no need to attribute them to the photographers.

Taking notes at WordCamp Sacramento 2017Taking notes at WordCamp Sacramento 2017

4. Putting What You Learned into Practice

This is often neglected, especially if you attend a conference out of town. Traveling home, you may be tired or needing to catch up at work, and you may be tempted to put your bag of notes and goodies away for a few days. Those nuggets of great ideas can easily be lost or forgotten.

At the conference:

  • While taking notes, give yourself 1-2 actionable items from each session that you can implement within 24-48 hours.
  • Put it on a to-do list, your day planner/calendar or sticky note or somewhere you can access it quickly. I sent myself a list in a calendar event with a nagging reminder so I wouldn’t forget.

After the conference:

  • Following up with these notes is important, or why did you bother to attend? Get as much as possible out of your conference experience.

At the IFBC, I heard two excellent speakers. One presented on “Massive Instagram Growth” and gave us actionable how-to items to implement quickly. Another speaker talked about SEO and provided excellent examples, as well as her slide deck at the end. I saw lots of folks snapping photos of these slides for later use!

Those were my top four reasons. Here are some additional nuggets for you to consider.

The Conference Speakers

Have patience with the presenters. Although they are sharing their expertise on a topic, he or she is unlikely a seasoned speaker. Using a microphone and managing a laptop while speaking is frightening to many folks! Speaking from experience, it can be extremely nerve-wracking to stand in front of 100+ people and present, so take that into consideration and try to jot down the best nuggets of information they have to share.

Many conferences provide a sharing link for all the slideshows used at the conference.

If you just don’t enjoy a session and there is another offered concurrently, do not be afraid or intimidated to walk out of an uninteresting or irrelevant session and move on to another one if possible. You paid for this information when you registered and you have the right to move around.

WordCamp speaker engages with his audience.WordCamp speaker engages with his audience.

Take Time to Evaluate and Perhaps Volunteer

Be sure to evaluate the conference and offer your feedback. If you were disappointed with something, take a moment to describe the issue in detail. At the end of the survey, there might be an opportunity to sign up to volunteer or present for future conferences, if that is something in which you are interested.

If you do have to opportunity to present, you will likely get comped for the entire conference, so that is always a good incentive.

My Overall Impression of Two Blog Conference Weekends

I am glad I went. I hadn’t been to a professional conference since Bloggers at Midlife in 2016, and before that was when I presented at a work conference in 2013.

I learned several actionable items and concepts as well as met many people I could ask for assistance if needed. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend a blogging conference in person. Keep checking your WordPress admin panel for updates on WordPress events in your community.

Network with local bloggers, if possible, to see if other events are being planned.

I also have an opportunity to meet with several fellow bloggers over Veteran’s Day weekend in mid-November as we converge in Southern California. I am very much looking forward to spending some quality time with these special friends..

©Terri Webster Schrandt 2017

About the Book

There is truth to the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. As a blogger, are you weary of constantly hunting for images to illustrate the subject of your blog posts?

Perhaps you are a new blogger struggling to get more readers. Or a seasoned blogger continually seeking inspiration for quality blog posts.
This guidebook is designed to help you utilize your own images on your blog or website.

While free image sites abound, there are limitations to using so-called “free” images. Gone are the days when bloggers can innocently copy and paste an image from the web and paste it into their blog post.

What will you get out of this guide?

In each chapter I give easy but important tips for maximizing the use of images on your blog’s website and within each blog post.

Seven informative chapters walk you through–

  • the importance of using images;
  • the real dangers of using others’ copyrighted images;
  • easy ways to edit your images using free programs and apps;
  • building unending inspiration and content around your own images;
  • attracting readers with images used in quotations, blog link-ups, and other tools;
  • how social media sites link your images, and why you need them;
  • a list of image resources available.

After reading this short guidebook, you will want to grab your smart phone or inexpensive digital camera and start taking photos!

One of the recent reviews for the book

As a teacher author, I spend lots of time worrying about the legal and practical use of photos in my blogs (I have three of them). I’ve heard horror stories from efriends who ended up paying $thousands for photos they thought were free and ended up with someone’s copyright. Getting permissions and using public domain images–that’s the smart way to handle blog images but not as easy as it sounds. I have my own photographs but they usually look amateurish.

That’s why I picked up Terry Schrandt’s Better Blogging With Photography: How to Maximize Your Blog Using Your Own Images (Second Wind Leisure Publishing 2016). I use tons of pictures in blog posts, social media, and books I write. Making sure they’re all legal is a challenge. I know just enough about copyright law to worry that despite my best efforts, I’m breaking the law. Terry points out the solution is pretty simple: Make your own pictures.

The book starts by asking one simple question:

“Are you a new blogger struggling to get more readers? Are you a seasoned blogger continually seeking inspiration for quality blog posts? Do you feel there is something missing from your blog or website?”

She explains that any online writing goes better with pictures. Your blog must include the image that will attract an audience, make them look twice, and then announce it appealingly on social media platforms.

Here’s how Terry unpacks this (the chapter titles):

Why use images on your blog or website
How to curate and use your own images
Editing your images
How to use your images to generate blog ideas and readers
Cresting readership with your images
Photo-friendly social networking
Resources

A few of her suggestions I liked are (with quotes when taken directly from the book):

“I started taking photos of everything, just in case I needed it for a blog post.”
“…if you write a blog post with no images, you may as well not even bother to publish the post.”

“According to Katie Paul: ‘When I blog, I usually spend more time finding and formatting a photo than I do writing the post. I pay careful attention to my pictures because I know that 63% of social media is made up of images and engagement with images is…'”

“Why use your own images? Can you say ‘copyright infringement’?”

“Even posting the following so-called disclaimer on your blog is basically useless. ‘This blog claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted.'”

“Creative Commons sites do not guarantee that they have the right to give you permission to use the image at all. You are using the images at your own risk.”
A nice use of images is as background for quotations.
Good online image editors (both freemium) are PicMonkey and Canva.

I teach a lot of classes that touch on the legal and professional use of images online. The safest solution is to create your own. With a few adaptations, this book could be a text for those classes. As Terry says, “…a thousand words (in a blog post) are worth a picture!” 

 Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Better-Blogging-Photography-Maximize-Images-ebook/dp/B01I2NNLRU

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Better-Blogging-Photography-Maximize-Images-ebook/dp/B01I2NNLRU

Find more reviews and follow Terri on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31356910-better-blogging-with-photography

About Terri

My name is Terri Webster Schrandt and I blog about the fun things in life from my perspective. I take leisure very seriously because it involves one-third of our lives…really!

I am lucky to have an active lifestyle that involves windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), camping, reading, writing, teaching, walking the dogs, traveling, and…

Most of my posts reflect my leisure places & spaces and my reactions to them. I share a variety of stories all related to a healthy leisure lifestyle.

I use all my own images for my posts and participate in several photography challenges.

My summer weekends are spent in the Sacramento delta windsurfing and stand-up paddling (SUP) with my husband of three years (we knew each other in high school and found each other on Facebook—read about that here).

WHY DO I BLOG? These are my goals:

The ultimate goal with this blog is to educate people about the importance of leisure, one blog post at a time!

I love photography and constantly take pics with my Lumix FZ-300 and my Samsung Galaxy mobile phone. Sharing these photos in posts and on Instagram is a much-loved hobby!

My ultimate goal? To continue to write and self-publish non-fiction e-books.

Connect to Terri

Website/Blog: https://secondwindleisure.com/about-me/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SecondWindLeisurePerspectives/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/leisureprof
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/terri.websterschrandt/

My thanks to Terri for allowing me to share some of the posts from her archives.. Please head over to her blog and explore further.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round-Up – 9th-15th September 2019 –


Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

Things have been relatively quiet around here which I am grateful for. We have had some lovey sunny days and I have taken advantage of those. We both have some projects that are nearing completion so that has taken up a fair amount of time.

Coming up next week

  • Robbie Cheadle with the second part of The York Chocolate Story on Monday
  • Tuesday William Price King shares the life and music of Mary Lou Williams – American Jazz pianists, arranger and composer.
  • Carol Taylor’s food and cookery Column on Wednesday
  • The regulars will be here with book reviews and new releases for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore, The health column, funnies and afternoon video..
  • The health column continues with the major organs and systems in the body with the start of a series on the female reproductive system.
  • Some new bloggers who have been writing for under a year start their new series from the archives and some great posts to showcase.
  • The book marketing series on Saturday covers more of the online watering holes that are useful elements in promoting your work.
  • Just an Odd Job Girl with two more chapters Saturday and Sunday.
  • My guest next Sunday in the author interview is Darlene Foster.
  • And through the week the Blogger Daily will share some exceptional posts from the blogging community
  • And there will be some responses to poetry and flash challenges.

Just a reminder if you are in the Cafe and Bookstore and are planning to put any of your books on offer in coming weeks to let me know so that I can include in the updates. You can email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com or leave a message on Facebook.

On with the posts this week

As always a huge thanks to those who contribute with guest posts and columns…. as well as to you for dropping to read them.

My guest this week is author and proofreader Jo Elizabeth Pinto who has recently released her latest book Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark. Jo Elizabeth shares the inspiration behind her love of books and her own writing and lets us peek into her latest book with a humour filled extract that definitely entices you to read more.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-sunday-author-interview-jo-elizabeth-pinto-with-an-extract-from-daddy-wont-let-mom-drive-the-car-true-tales-of-parenting-in-the-dark/

Jessica Norrie explores the legendary first lines of books we have read….Authors need a rocket, or at least a hook, right at the start. Dickens has the best opening line ever: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times” (A Tale of Two Cities). What scope he gives himself, with that, for anything at all to happen, in any possible way

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-the-literary-column-with-jessica-norrie-blast-off-opening-lines/

Delighted that over the next five weeks, author Robbie Cheadle will be sharing the The York Chocolate story with us, following her recent trip to the UK..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-robbie-cheadle-the-york-chocolate-storypart-one/

Chapter Nine – The Isle of Wight pub life and Skinheads prove to be both interesting and at times dangerous…Imogen recalls her adventures..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/14/just-an-odd-job-girl-serialisation-chapter-nine-the-isle-of-wight-pub-life-and-skinheads-by-sally-cronin/

Chapter Ten – Imogen and Peter’s relationship hits a bad patch and a cat burglar does not help matters.. and then there is the matter of the insurances cheques.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/just-an-odd-job-girl-serialisation-chapter-ten-cat-burglars-and-insurance-fraud-by-sally-cronin/

A new series of the top songs from the movies in my book at least…..and the first song is Shaft by Isaac Hayes.. a blast from the past.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/smorgasbord-music-column-my-favourite-songs-from-the-movies-shaft-by-isaac-haynes/

This week the importance your blog has as part of your book marketing strategy. And a checklist to make sure you have certain elements in place to be effective.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-book-marketing-online-watering-holes-for-authors-part-one-your-blog-sally-cronin/

I was born on Friday 13th (February) and it has always been lucky for me… there are a number of variations, including Tuesday 13th and Thursday 13th, on the theme around the world and for various reasons..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/smorgasbord-something-to-think-about-paraskevidekatriaphobics-have-no-fear-friday-13th-is-lucky-for-some-sally-cronin/

This week, Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills was to create a story in 99 words not more, no less about the greatest gift of some kind… here is my response.. Life’s Greatest Gift….

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/smorgasbord-short-stories-the-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-challenge-lifes-greatest-gift-by-sally-cronin/

This week’s prompt words for Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 144 were ‘Enchant and Fly and I have used the synonyms Charm and Soar for my double etheree

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-tuesday-tanka-challenge-no-144-double-etheree-the-charm-of-fairies-by-sally-cronin/

This is the third post from the archives of author and poet, Patricia Furstenberg . I love medical conditions.. not necessarily when afflicting me personally, but the causes, symptoms and treatments.. I know I need to get a life. However, some conditions have a literary origin…. 5 Medical Symptoms Named After Literary Characters (2017) by Patricia Furstenberg

Sleeping Beauty painting by Victor Gabriel Gilbert

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-5-medical-symptoms-named-after-literary-characters-2017-by-patricia-furstenberg/

This is the third post from the archives of author, fitness advocate and photographer Terri Webster Schrandt. I could not share some of Terri’s posts without including a photograph…. so whilst short this is also sweet, particularly as that is the favourite taste sensation of the subjects of the photograph. Photography – Never Ending Quest for Food (2016) by Terri Webster Schrandt

Male hummer finding food

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-photography-never-ending-quest-for-food-2016-by-terri-webster-schrandt/

This is the third post from the archives of Jim Borden who blogs on ‘Borden’s Blather across a variety of topics. This post from Jim reminds us all of what there is to life we might be missing out on. The Benefits of Having a Purpose in Life (2017) by Jim Borden

(copyright World Economic Forum),

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-benefits-of-having-a-purpose-in-life-2017-by-jim-borden/

This is the final post from the archives of the eclectic blog of writer Marilyn Armstrong and I have selected this one from a series of posts in 2015 – Sharing my World..Hugging the Dogs: Sharing My World 2015- Week 2 by Marilyn Armstrong

Bishop

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-the-archives-potluck-hugging-the-dogs-sharing-my-world-2015-week-2-by-marilyn-armstrong/

This is the final post of author Antoinette Truglio Martin who began blogging in 2018.. I am going to share four posts from her archives that were part of her A-Z challenge last year.  Pasta is a favourite in our household.. and Antoinette has a story about Pastina…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-blogging-a-z-challenge-2018-antoinette-truglio-martin-p-is-for-pastina/

This is the final post from the archives of Anne Copeland, writer of nonfiction articles, books, and poetry, as well as a mixed media and fiber artist. This post is a poem that sums up how I feel about the world at times. Weltschmerz (2018)

pexels-Statue of Liberty

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-poetry-weltschmerz-by-anne-copeland/

This is the final post from author and designer, Valentina Cirasola I have chosen this post because my mother was a Libra born on October 5th and I am sure several of you will have your birthdays in the coming month. #Astrology Born A Libra Under Venus (2018)

(Photo: https://www.123rf.com/clipart – Artist: Kisslilly)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-astrology-born-a-libra-under-venus-valentina-cirasola-interior-designer/

This is the final post of author Ellen Hawley who has enjoyed a wonderfully varied career before leaving the United States to settle in Cornwall. The opioid crisis in the USA and increasingly in the UK and other countries is not the first time in history that an addictive substance has become concerning. In this post Ellen explores Tea and opium.. care of The East India Company. History – Tea, opium, and the East India Company (2018)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-history-tea-opium-and-the-east-india-company-2018-by-ellen-hawley/

This is the second post from educator and author Pete Springer who began blogging in April this year. I am sure you will agree that he has made a fantastic start to his new project. I know how many of you are dog lovers, and this one is for you… My Buddies by Pete Springer

Jake and Lulu

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newbloggers-doglovers-my-buddies-by-pete-springer/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-wednesday-11th-september-2019-m-j-mallon-with-frank-prem-bette-a-stevens-amy-reade-with-andi-cumbo-floyd/

New Books on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-childrens-space-dust-by-eloise-de-sousa/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-memoir-gardening-twigs-in-my-hair-by-cynthia-reyes/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-abby-holly-series-book-3-secrets-of-the-trunk-by-janice-spina/

Author update – Reviews and books on offer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-m-j-mallon-mary-adler-jacquie-biggar-and-deborah-jay/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-darlene-foster-jan-sikes-teagan-riordian-geneviene-and-jack-eason/

I wanted to describe the passage of a very common and tasty snack that many of us enjoy. Usually with only one thing in mind. The taste.. However, perhaps after following this chicken sandwich through your digestive tract you might think about it in a different way.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/smorgasbord-health-column-major-organs-and-systems-of-the-body-the-digestive-system-the-immune-system-and-a-chicken-sandwich/

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-comedian-in-residence-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-2-2/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-10/

Thank you for all your support this week and look forward to seeing you soon. Thanks Sally.