What’s it mean? Wednesday

Magniloquentspeaking or expressed in a lofty or grandiose style; pompous; bombastic; boastful.*

What a great yummy word!

Say it out loud – it starts with that hard ‘g’ at the back of your throat, then a roll of the tongue, and ‘oh’ and then softens off at the end with a gentle ‘t’.

Mind you, you’d probably be guilty of that very thing if you threw it into a conversation or bit of writing.  I must say, I hope I’m not magniloquent.  I like to think that anything I write is fairly simple, readable, and concise, and I do tend to use pretty basic language (let’s be honest here, I’m not actually sure I could use anything but simple words even if I wanted to).  Sadly though, even simple words can easily be misenterpreted, or not interpreted at all, and as bloggers, of course, we should be very considerate of that.

I often write verses the meaning of which is perfectly clear to me. Yes, of course I use metaphors and similies and all that stuff, but I always think they’re obvious not just to me, but to any other readers too. Clearly they are not. Well, not to everyone.  Our minds work in different ways.

For instance, I changed the name of a recent poem I posted.  The original name was ‘Suicide Son’ which is kinda what came to mind as I was writing it, but I thought it was a bit of a horrible title, both shocking and unpleasant, so I changed it to ‘Why?’ (you can read it here).  From the comments I’ve had both on the blog and from family and friends, it is obvious that this has several completely different interpretations to the one in my head when I wrote it.

Not that I mind. Perhaps the original title would have made the intention clearer, but I think poetry should be open to interpretation, and it’s just as well that not everyone has a macabre mind like mine. And after all, I can console myself with the fact that I find even the most famous poets work pretty mystifyi ng sometimes.

Anyhow, I guess making things a bit ambiguous isn’t quite the same as being magniloquent, so I’ll just keep on keeping on for now.

Toodle-ooo!  🙂

*definition courtesy of Dictionary.com

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It’s a goal!

P1020220

That’s me up there on that parachute, that is!

Oooohhh.,..yay, yay, and triple yay!!  Had to just tell you…Today I’ve exceeded my goal as set out in writing 101 challenge a little while ago (you can read my goals here) and got over 220 followers – and it’s only mid November!

Sorry, I’m sure it’s unseemly to get so excited over what may, to some, seem so few, but it only seems a little while since I was struggling to get into double figures. It has been amazing how taking part in a couple of events has helped transform my blog and the way I feel about it.  Although I’m spending (too many) hours working away at it, it’s no longer a slog and I look forward to producing new posts regularly as well as seeing what everyone else has been up to.

As I feel like a bit of a winner today, in the time honoured tradition of winners everywhere, I’m going to have to say a few thank you’s:

Ah hem!…

Thanks to Writing 101 for:

*Giving me some great, mind jiggling, prompts
*providing the opportunity to share and get feedback from lots of lovely folk
*getting me in the habit of posting every day

Thanks to Blogging 101 for:

* Getting me to set some goals in the first place
* teaching me to tweak my blog to make it look pretty (ahh..)
* For having a great common room where I’ve met lots more lovely folk.

Thanks also to the ongoing Photo 101 for:

* Setting me new (and frankly, quite challenging) challenges every day
* Helping me reach an even wider band of lovely folk
* And for keeping up my enthusiasm for posting daily.

Of course, its mainly thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and comment, especially if you clicked on the ‘follow’ button – love to you all mwah, mwah

errrmmmmm…..you’d better not leave… 🙂

P.S.  I’m looking for the next 220 now, so tell your friends…!! x

Tweaking the blog on Thirsty Thursday

Wine_GlassesYep, I’ve been fiddling about with the blog again.  Following a prompt at the beginning of blogging 201 I set up a new feature, with the category of ‘Today’.  This, it seems, has been confusing to my loyal followers (well follower… my mum if you must know) as she thought it meant ‘my latest post’. Well, for once, I can understand the confusion, and that, together with the pressure of posting every day (thought I was up for it. Not sure I am. Not sure you can cope with me rambling everyday either), so I’ve changed it to ‘Asides’. It was hard finding the right term, but I think that might cover it. Basically, I’m just going to bung all the random, shorter, day to day stuff on here that doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the site. We’ll see how it goes!

Anyhoo… back to Thirsty Thursday.

Actually hungry(ish) Thursday today, because I’m on a ‘sort of’ fast day (5:2 diet, remember?).  Had a liquid lunch. Not one of those nice alcoholic ones either.  Nope, I’ve been a good girl.  I’ve bought me a juicer! So for lunch today I whopped in a couple of carrots, a couple of parsnips, a few sticks of celery and a red pepper and whiz, bang, out came the juice. Actually, it was quite nice, more like a smoothie than veggie juice, and four of my five a day right there, so I’m feeling all healthy and holier than thou.

Fuelled with all those vitamins and goodness, I set about making some wine this afternoon.  Ok, not quite so healthy, but I like to think of it as fruit juice of sorts. So now I’ve got five gallons of Merlot, a gallon of Elderflower, and a gallon of Elderberry on the go.  Should be ready in about three to four weeks.  My goodness, I love those kits!

The other day we had some of the Peach that I bottled recently, and I have to say it’s rather yummy, though it would be extra nice if we were drinking it in the garden on a lovely summer evening instead of snuggled on the sofa in the darkness of late October.  Haven’t tried the Chardonnay yet, but that’s pretty reliable as a rule.  Might have a sip or two this evening…

Cheers!

Between the posts

Well, Writing 101 is finished (boo…)

But hey….Blogging 201 is just starting (yay!!)

First challenge is to post at least three goals for my blog.  Hmm… that’s dead hard that is.

They’re asking me things like ‘why do you blog?’ and crikey, I don’t know.  I just do.  I like it, I like writing, I like interacting, I like reading other people’s blogs and pinching their ideas (not really, just getting inspiration, honest!), and I like seeing my stuff looking pretty. I like my friends and family to see how I’m keeping myself busy, and making them laugh, and wince sometimes (hehee).

Sooo…that’s why I blog.  Now I know.

The blogging 201 pixies are also asking me to set myself three goals for my blog.

So, what might they be…?

Ooh.. I’d like some more followers please.  It’s so lovely to see the dubree in the corner light up with likes or comments, but it really makes my day when I get an email saying ‘so and so is now following your blog’.  That’s splendid.  Yep, lets have some more of those, say reach 220 by end of November. Sitting at 180 as of this morning, so doable I hope.

Of course, to get more followers I’m going to have to do some work.  Have been publishing daily through the course of writing 101, so I’m going to give myself a break here, and just endeavour to post something at least three times a week.  Perfectly doable I think.

Thirdly, for your delight and entertainment, I’m going to establish a new feature.  No idea what.  I could do with your help if I’m honest.  Have come up with one or two ideas:

  • Madness on Monday – plenty of madness in the world to talk about methinks
  • Terrible joke Tuesday – hmm… know plenty of those too…
  • Wordy Wednesday – my ‘word of the day’. Today, by the way (ok I know it’s Monday, smarty pants… I’m just sayin’), it’s Balter, which apparently means ‘to dance gracelessly, without particular art or skill, but with some enjoyment’ – I do it all the time!
  • Thirsty Thursday – actually this one already exists in our house, but not in a bloggy way, more in a ‘time for a glass of wine’ way.
  • Fabulous Friday – well, I’m fabulous every day of course but not blingy, more sophisticated and genteel (hmm..!) but there is plenty of bling out there that catches my eye and makes me gasp with wonder at what people are prepared to wear.

What do you think? Any of ‘em any good? Well, I’ll leave it for now, and surprise you!

Anyhoo…there you are.  Three, perfectly achievable goals.  Better get off and start doing something now then.

Rebooting my blog

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed a bit of a change to my blog this last week or two. You see, I had a ‘moment’ a couple of weeks ago when I was feeling a bit lonely, a bit unloved and unwanted.  I wasn’t getting many visitors, no comments, no activity.  Apparently not even good enough to include advertising. I felt left out.

Not the first time in my life.  I was always one of those kids.  The left out ones.  The odd-bod, the loner whether I wanted to be or not.  As I got older, I found meetings and conferences uncomfortable, feeling as if I was an imposter, not good enough to hold my own. Not clever enough to hold a conversation with all those important, intelligent folk. And that exactly sums up how I was feeling about blogging. Now, my usual response would be to give up –

‘Face it, you’re not good enough, you’ve given it a shot and failed, might as well find something else to do with your time’

But if being part of this on-line community has taught me anything, its that well, anything goes.  Your blog is your own, who really cares if anyone reads it, as long as you enjoy writing, posting, sharing.  So I decided to pull myself up by my bootstraps, and start shoving things on here pretty much for my own amusement.

My ‘ditties’ for instance (still can’t bring myself to call them poems – seems pretentious).  I’ve been posting them in the ‘poetrysoup’ community for some time, but always blushingly. Posting them on my blog seemed scary, as if I’m inviting criticism and ridicule. However, on one of my braver days I went for it, and hey, d’ya know what…they’ve got likes…lots of likes.  It’s great!

Likewise, with the photos. I’ve got a pretty good camera, and I really love taking photos and have thousands knocking around. Some of them are ropey, some of them seem quite good to me (fair enough, I’ve an untrained eye..) I’d never call myself a photographer, but, you know, we’ve travelled quite a lot and, well, why not share them I thought.  And yes, they’ve got likes too. Gosh, I’m on a roll…

I started my blog pretty much as a journal type thing, a diary documenting what I’ve found to do with my life since retirement, and up until now I felt I should stick to that formula.  But I’ve found diversifying is a real treat, and eye-opener.  I’ve found lots of other poets and poetry blogs that I hadn’t come across before, and some wonderful photography sites that I can learn from. I’m starting to write a bit about each photograph I post – blimey, you never know, maybe it’ll become a travelog!

I can post a picture or poem much quicker than I can write an article, so I’m able to keep the whole thing more active. And, through necessity, I’m learning a lot more about utilising the tools available to make my site look and behave better. Best of all, I’m getting a lot more visitors to my site (still not enough…come on you slackers..) and the number of followers is going up daily (yay! Hellooo and hugs to you all…)

I’ve got lots more ideas, and things to share, and I’m still learning, so over time, I expect the blog to morph some more. It’s all a bit of an adventure then, and thinking of something to post has stopped being a chore and has become exciting and fulfilling again.

The best laid plans

Apologies to my armies of fans who are waiting on tenterhooks for my next words of wisdom.

Ok, though I do like to kid myself occasionally, I know I neither have armies of fans nor words of wisdom to divulge. But I do owe apologies, at the very least to myself, that I’ve been a bit tardy in writing on here lately.

You may remember, that this blog was supposed to be about my life as a newly freed-from-employment lady. When I left my job I had three and a half months of glorious freedom that I could write about, and I promised myself I would post at least once a week.

Then I picked up a couple of little contracts working from home, which have taking over my life a bit recently. Not that I’ve minded. I’ve met some lovely new people, both real, and twitter folk, surprised myself by writing about fashion accessories (like I know…), and had fun building databases, and finding IT solutions for stuff – what can I say, I am a geek.

Now though, it’s all slowing down. My little social media contract has come to an end, and I’m down from three to just one day a week for the other one. Slowly, I’m beginning to get used to having a bit more time again. It’s great. But I have to agree with the old cliche, I don’t know how I had the time to work.

I will never be a fantastic housekeeper, cleaning is soul destroying – you do it and five minutes later the dog has walked across the newly hoovered carpet with paws that have come directly from digging through to Australia (only a little bit of an exaggeration I assure you), but anyhow, my home has never been cleaner. I’m tidying and polishing, chucking stuff away willy nilly, and generally going all housewiferly. Who’da thought?

I’ve also got into sewing, not only making cushions, clothes, and tablecloths, but cross-stitching and crocheting too. My tidy home is being taken over by craft paraphanalia. As with all things, I’m a bit rubbish at all those things – far too impatient, but I’m learning and enjoying, and feel as if I’m growing a bit too. And it does tear me away from my beloved laptop, which is probably a good thing, as I could easily spend all day, everyday, sitting tapping away in a little imaginary world of my own, which I realise probably wouldn’t be at all healthy.

Of course that doesn’t mean I’ve given up writing all together, but just been busy doing other stuff lately.

Like volunteering. I applied to the local hospice as soon as I left work, I thought it would get me out of the house, and working in a team, all that sort of stuff, as well as helping me to be a useful member of society. Well, they didn’t have a permanent regular position open, so I’ve been doing odds and ends of admin for them. Now, guess what? I’ve got a project going for them. I’m working from home. Building a database. And a spreadsheet. On my laptop. Hey ho…

p.s. No, I’ve not been gardening. Our lovely patch is awash with weeds as it waits to have its makeover. And that’s another story…!

Little white ones

Its taken me a long time, but over the years I have come to realise that pretty much everyone spends their working lives ‘blagging’.  From the moment they put pen to paper to write their first CV to the moment they give their retirement speech.  Politicians might call it ‘spinning’, others might call it ‘white lies’ or ’embroidering the truth’.  Come on, admit it, you’ve done it.

Just a tweak here and there on exam grades perhaps.  Or a ‘yes of course I’m very experienced with that programme’ said confidently at an interview, when inside your saying ‘what the..!’ And somehow asking for a raise can feel more morally acceptable if you add one or two additional skills that you’ve acquired since starting.

Yes, you know you have.

My own blagging comes into it’s own at conferences and meetings.  I generally dread the things.  Making small talk with strangers is not my forte.  Nonetheless, I’ll stand and chat, nodding sagely at appropriate moments, filling in gaps with a ”oh yes, dreadful’ or ‘yes, that’s what I’ve been hearing’ without having the first clue about the subject, and hopefully, without the chattee catching on to my ignorance.

When I told him this, my ex-boss and friend, who is a high profile professional, confided in me that he only has a very vague idea about some of the subjects when he’s chairing conferences, and another, very high profile colleague has been known to nod off on stage when chairing, wake up, and then carry on as if nothing has happened. You just need the ‘front’ to do it.

A lady I know owns a successful antiques dealership. She knew nothing about dealing in antiques when she started, but she told me

‘I just said I was an antiques dealer and people believed me, so I was’

Of course, I’ve been blagging for a while about being a writer.  Ok, I blog. I write short stories. I have self-published poems on a poetry website that lots of people say they enjoy.  I’ve done a creative writing degree. I even wrote a radio play that the BBC only just rejected – they gave me a really good critique! (I’m very proud of that! Anyone that’s submitted anything to the BBC will know what I mean) but I haven’t been paid for anything yet.  One day…

My latest blag is listing myself as a ‘Social Media Consultant’.  Fair do’s, I am doing exactly that for the company I’m working for, but only because I can use Twitter, and Facebook, and Linked-in, and Pinterest, and WordPress, and all the other social sites.  It’s not rocket science.  Let’s face it, most nine year old’s could do it with their eyes shut.  But still, I suddenly find myself spending an awful lot of time marketing the company through these sites, having never done any marketing in my life before.

But, do you know what?  Having blagged my way in, I now find that is exactly what I am.  I’m learning on the hoof.  Gaining knowledge and experience rapidly. In a round about way, I’m even being paid for writing.  Just the tweets and blogs and stuff, but it is still writing. After all, I do have to think creatively about what to write, and sometimes that’s no mean feat.

And that is why all the best people blag.  It pushes you to do new things, to find ways of picking up skills fast. To achieve more than you thought you could.

Of course, I’m not condoning it – entirely.  We should all be truthful.  But if a little bit of embroidery on your CV can get you a job that you know you are capable of when otherwise you would be at the bottom of the pile (obviously, you have to have some confidence that you can pick things up quickly) then perhaps it’s not such a bad thing to do. Is it?