5000 followersStatistics are a hot topic among bloggers. Some of us obsess over them. I don’t obsess exactly, but I’m aware and interested. I take a daily look. Usually.

Over all, things are looking up at Serendipity. There has been a slow but steady increase in readership over the past 7 months. It’s encouraging — and today I breached a threshold.


I’ve got 5,000 blog followers, the only followers I feel I can (more or less) accurately count.

I have no idea how many Facebook “friends” check out my blog. I suppose a majority of them occasionally check out a post, but most are linked to me because we play (or played) the same game(s). A few hundred more follow me via Twitter and Tumblr. I have no idea how actively they follow. I have no idea how actively anyone follows unless they comment or otherwise make contact.


I’m sure at least half of my 5,000 blog followers are no longer actively following me or were never really following me at all. Some are spammers and con artists, pornographers, trolls and troublemakers. I don’t hear from the real weirdos … and there are a few of them, too. The conspiracy nuts, the ones who are planning to overthrow the government but hopefully lack the skills to do more than rant.

Many followers sign on hoping I’ll do a reciprocal follow. I don’t. Won’t.

For anyone who wants me to follow them, I often check out sites because a comment catches my interest. Don’t send your link if you haven’t read a post or two on my site. I’d just as soon you not send your link at all. If you comment, I’ll have all the information I need to find you. Sending your blog’s link as a comment is rude.



Everybody’s numbers fluctuate. They go up and down without any obvious reason. Unless it’s a multi-week nose dive, I don’t worry about it. Usually, there’s no apparent reason. Or, it can be a seasonal thing. Holidays, the weather, political stuff — all these and dozens of other factors will change what people do online. I used to fret over it, but my recent life has been so stressful, I decided to make blogging a stress-free zone.  I know if things get slow, they will pick up. Eventually. Blogging on the same site for three years has taught me patience.

And, of course, I’m a wild card, maybe the biggest wild card. Because I’m the primary writer. I post every day and have for more than two years, only missing the period when I was too sick to do it.

Even at the best of times, all my posts are not brilliant. I have inspired days and blah days. Sometimes, I think a post is terrific, yet no one agrees. Other time, I think a post is dull, pedestrian — but it gets tons of hits. Go figure. I’m definitely better at gauging my work than I used to be, but that brings me up to maybe 50%. The rest of the time, I think I’ve got it nailed, but I don’t.



I keep hearing that there are “cool” bloggers who are hyper popular and garner all kinds of awe and adulation. Everyone (apparently) wants to be one of the cool kids. I don’t actually know who the cool kids are because I avoid extremely popular sites. They are so busy, it’s impossible to have a dialogue with anyone. Or at least, I can’t. I’m not going to line up to be heard.

I think there is a tipping point when a blog becomes an enterprise. It gets too busy, too professional. I’ve seen blogs morph from personal blogs to businesses. I wonder if the bloggers even realized what was happening.

The first symptom? They stop responding to comments … or only respond to a particular group of followers. If I comment but never get a response? I will stop reading and following. I don’t require 100% reciprocity, but I need some acknowledgment. If you are too busy to ever answer my comments, you are too busy for me.


I prefer to take a long view of statistics. I have yet to match, much less exceed, the numbers I made in November 2012. I had a lot of help that month. We had a highly controversial presidential election and a super hurricane which conspired to make the Internet a wild and crazy place.

I’m getting back up there gradually, month by month. Statistically speaking. This time, maybe it won’t be a fluke and it will stick.

Then again, maybe not. I’m sure I won’t post every day forever. I’ll get tired someday. Not soon, but eventually. Nothing is forever. Definitely not me.


Marilyn Armstrong:

Doobster says it better than I could.
There is no joy in Mudville.

Originally posted on Mindful Digressions:

Red Sox World Series ChampsBack on April 1st of this year I published a post, From first to worst. In that post I wrote:

This is an unmitigated disaster. It’s almost the end of the baseball season and my beloved Boston Red Sox are in last place.

Of course, if you know anything about baseball, you know that my post was tongue-in-cheek. After all, it wasn’t “almost the end of the baseball season.” In fact, it was the very beginning of the Major League Baseball season and the Red Sox had played just one regular season game, which they lost to the Baltimore Orioles, 2-1.

The Sox won the World Series in 2013. That put them at baseball’s pinnacle — the top of the heap. They were the best team in professional baseball last season. So I was highly confident that, despite losing their opening game of the 2014 season, they would do…

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Mouths Wide Shut (Unless the tedium overwhelms you. Then you are allowed to yawn.) A culinary Q & A from the people who brought you (yawn) all those other great prompts …

Are you a picky eater?


Share some of your favorite food quirks with us (the more exotic, the better!).

I don’t think I have any exotic food quirks.

There are a few foods I don’t like. Olives. Milk. I will eat eggs, but only if they are made a particular way. Otherwise, I’ll eat most food. Hardly any red meat  … less and less as time goes on. It’s a combination of it not agreeing with my digestion and a guilty conscience about how horribly meat animals are abused. It’s hard to sanction such cruelty when there are other sources of nourishment available.

I once tried escargot (snails) and while they tasted okay, the texture was a bummer. Also, alligator and crocodile as food give me pause. They do NOT taste like chicken. They taste more like squid. And every time I nibbled on a piece, I got a distinct “man bites dog” flash. It just didn’t work for me.

Garry and I have quietly stopped consuming pig products. Pork has gone and not reappeared. Bacon, included.

Omnivores: what’s the one thing you won’t eat?

I think I covered that. I love vegetables and fruit, but won’t touch anything I suspect has been genetically modified. My passion for sweets is long past, though I remember fondly orgies of chocolate. I like most fish, especially shellfish … but have to be careful of the cholesterol.

And no furry friends. No dogs, horses, kitties. These are pals, not dinner.

This is dull stuff, isn’t it? Like a “share your world,” but without the quirky humor. Please feel free to vote with a yawn.

Since the Daily Prompt is Deadly Dull today, I’ll include a few nice pictures of autumn in New England. I took them yesterday at the dam and by our home.

foliage on the Mumson

I am of the opinion that anyone who cannot take a good picture in New England during peak foliage should give up all forms of photography.

Welcome Home, Autumn 2014

It gets so incredibly photogenic around here, that you can just about aim your camera anywhere and what comes out is gorgeous. Right?

Autumn road to home



I needed an airing. My cameras needed exercise. So, finally, I got my act together and we went out to take some pictures. Where to go?


Sometimes, the path of least resistance works out best. We went into town, parked and walked to the Mumford River and the dam. With trepidation. I didn’t know how bad it would be. As it turned out, better than I had hoped, at least for photography.

Because there, right in front of the dam where it used to be deep with a powerful current, stood a blue heron. So still he might have been a statue. Garry spotted him and we dove for our cameras.


We had nothing to fear. He stood there, unmoving, for so long I thought maybe there was something wrong with him. Then, he started to move. Walked over to the spill way … and grabbed a fish. And swallowed it. Then, in his new position along the side by the spillway, he again went still. I guess he was waiting for another fish. He was still standing there when we packed our gear and headed home.

Mr. Heron catches a fish.

Mr. Heron catches a fish.

The Mumford is very low. It’s no more than a few inches deep, but at least it’s wet. I guess, from the heron’s viewpoint, it’s better this way. Because when the river was “normal,” a wading bird couldn’t fish there.



No Excess – “Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little.” – Edna Ferber

What is this supposed to mean? Like too much money? I have no idea what it would be like to have too much money. I’ve rarely had enough and now I have way too little. Too much power? I’m sure people who have it don’t think it’s too much. It’s the people who don’t have any who think others have too much — because they have too little.

Too much good health? Is there such a thing?

Too much luck? Too much fun? Too much laughter? Too much love? Too much joy? Too much learning? Too much tolerance, freedom, democracy?

I’d love to see the context from which this quote was taken. Because it’s out of context and doesn’t make sense to me.


As far as I’m concerned, you cannot have too much good in your life or in the world. But too much evil, pain, suffering, want, and misery? Easily done. There never seems to be a shortage of bad anywhere, any time.

Right now, the popular whipping child — the thing everyone says is “too much” is political correctness. Too much political correctness is cramping our style, making us into a nation of wusses. Call me a knee-jerk liberal (I’m okay with that) because this sounds to me like a lot of folks want to get back to the good old days — when you could call a spade a nigger, call a Jew a kike.

If these words shock you, remember — this is the stuff political correctness takes out of your daily life. It makes it a social and legal no-no to use these words and many others like them. Political correctnesss equals social restraint. Not spewing hatred and insults publicly or privately.

At the foundation of political correctness is civility. Not treating people as inferiors. Not insulting others because of how they look or what they believe. Or where they come from. Not laughing at them because they limp or don’t talk properly. Or don’t speak English.

It’s not merely tolerance. It’s acceptance, equality, and democracy. It’s what we supposedly stand for in America.

Too much of everything? I’ll worry about that when everyone has enough food, shelter, medical care, water, and freedom. There can never be too much when so many have nothing.


From The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (text of 1834)
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

I’ve been talking a lot lately — for obvious reasons — about the drought we are not officially having. I thought it was time to show you what I see and how I know we are having a drought. And why I wonder how come no one except me seems to find this alarming.

All these pictures were taken at the same location: Manchaug. At the dam and the lake formed by the dam. And the river that used to feed this waterway, except that now it’s more like a puddle than a river.

Manchaug, September 10, 2011

Manchaug, September 10, 2011

This was shot on September 10, 2011. My granddaughter and I were wandering around and there it was. We both shot a lot of pictures that day. I called these “The Crystal Falls” because of how it glittered in the sunshine. Of all the local waterfalls, these were the most lovely.

Manchaug above the dam, April 2012

Manchaug above the dam, April 2012

A mallard at Manchaug

A mallard at Manchaug

All the way through the spring 2013, everything was fine at Manchaug. There were fish, turtles, ducks, geese and lots of water.

Flip the calendar to this year, 2014.

I have not seen a swan since the beginning of May. Whitin’s pond where they have always nested, is showing its bottom. The dam at the foot of the pond is dry as a bleached bone. The swans used to battle the geese for nesting room on the pond.

Now, neither geese nor swans are to be seen anywhere on the pond. I’ve only seen a few geese anywhere … and they were on the Blackstone River itself. No herons. No schools of baby fish along the banks.

Manchaug - July 2013

Manchaug – July 1, 2013

Manchaug above the dam, June 2014

Manchaug above the dam, June 2014. The dam is completely dry.

The stream that fed the lake is gone.

The river that fed the lake is dry. On the right is where the river was. Gone.

So we don’t have an official drought, but all our dams — there are 43 of them on the Blackstone — are dry. The rivers are mud, drying in the sun. I wonder when the someone will “officially” notice we have a water problem? Because if they officially acknowledge a problem, then “they” have to do something about it. As of right now, they have even issued low water warnings. I don’t understand why they haven’t at least issued warnings to well owners to go easy on water usage, to not water lawns, wash cars, fill hot tubs and swimming pools!

Where are the water fowl? Have they flown off to places that have more water? I hope so. The alternative makes me a little bit queasy.

You’d think someone would do something, wouldn’t you?