I took these motorcycle pictures on one single summer afternoon at the bike show in Mendon. A funny way to take pictures. The show was at a huge car dealership on Route 16.
It’s a major road, the only way to get to a lot of our towns and is Main Street in many places. Never more than a single lane in each direction, it passes through the middle of dozens of little (and not so little) towns and villages as it meanders into Boston. It jams up easily and regularly.
The show brought in a lot of traffic. Route 16 was at a near standstill. With little else to do, I took pictures, hanging out of the car window as we inched along. Much to my surprise, I got a few nice ones.
We are in a slow news period. It’s not as if nothing is going on. It’s just that nothing is going on in which anyone is especially interested.
2014’s elections were the usual vicious, contentious, nasty business. We used to get outraged, upset, furious about elections. Now, they come. They go. Everything changes, but nothing is different. This time, when the elections ended, it got quiet in a hurry. Bring on Christmas.
The holidays came and went. All through February, the weather (pardon the pun) has been the hot topic. And who Prince Harry is (or isn’t) dating. “Deflategate” is being beaten to death on the sports networks, but is anyone listening? Do we care? As memories of the Super Bowl fade, spring training begins. Can the Sox pull themselves out of the tank? Is there hope for 2015? That’s the most interesting question on the news horizon.
We’ve had a lot of snow.
I’m sure a national calamity was predicted for this year, but I forget what it was. Rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, the sky isn’t falling, unless that’s really what all that white stuff is … the sky falling, I mean.
So there are no fresh disasters. Whichever huge controversies were with us last year and the year before are still lurking, along with a few tired, sleazy scandals. It’s the same old, same old. Back to the everyday struggles of a tired population hoping things will get better and suspecting they won’t. A new year is rolling along. Oo-bla-di, oo-bla-da.
Until this morning when I saw this prompt, I was feeling pretty good about the friends and relationships I’ve formed during the past three years of blogging. Now why would you go and ask this question? The people who write these prompts must be very young. They are forever bringing up depressing topics that are real downers. Only the young think it’s fun to explore bad times.
But here’s a real, no kidding, response. Because Garry and I were talking about this very thing last night before bed.
Years ago, when I moved to Israel, I was suddenly a single mother in a new country with no friends, or acquaintances. Most people spoke English only a little and the customs were different. Emigrating to another country and culture is hard, but that’s what I signed up for. I wanted culture shock. I wanted something different, new. I wanted to tough it out and discover I could do it on my own. I was just 30 and I was ready to take on the world.
It has been a long time since I felt that way. Nothing I could do in my native land and language, could match or exceed the isolation of being on my own on foreign soil.
Of course I felt lonely and isolated. I really was isolated. It wasn’t a mood I was in, or a feeling. It was reality, even though it was in a place I had chosen. With all its perils, change is healthy.
I am not lonely anymore. Being physically challenged, if this were even 25 years ago, I probably would be. The Internet lets me reach out and find friends all over the world. You — yes, you with your pot of tea and crumpets — have rocked my world. You are my friends, my support. How can I be lonely with wonderful friends like you?
Across continents and oceans, from every corner and culture around the globe, you are my friends. I have a whole world full of friends. What a wonder this blogging thing has turned out to be!
Your favorite blog post that you have written? (add link)
My personal favorite is not my most popular, but I think it’s the funniest. It makes me laugh each time I read it. “Oy Vay! Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” was written in response to one of the Daily Prompts.
For those who don’t remember, back in the good old days, WordPress issued writing prompts every day. They were fresh, sometimes clever or funny. A bunch of us enjoyed writing them, then seeing what others had done using the same prompt.
What do you feel is the most enjoyable way to spend $500? Why?
I’m absolutely, completely, totally, and redundantly torn between a weekend somewhere with Garry or a piece of camera gear. Maybe a lens. Or, if I shop carefully, a whole camera. Making this choice would be delightful. I would be happy with either outcome. Rarely in my life has my problem been how to dispose of money. It has always had a way of disposing itself, quickly and effectively.
If you could know the answer to any question, besides “What is the meaning of life?”, what would it be?
Um … can I take “the meaning of life,” for 500, Alex? I think I already have the answer. In the immortal words of Bill Belichick, “It is what it is.”
Where do you eat breakfast?
Like so many of us, I plead guilty to drinking my coffee and munching a few cookies while checking my email and comments. In my defense, I only use cups with screw-on lids and have a sealed keyboard so crumbs don’t become permanent residents.
I wrote when I hit 200,000. Then vowed I’d wait until I hit 250,000 before I’d write again. I got here faster than I expected. During the past few months, Serendipity had lots of traffic, even during holiday periods which are typically slower.
Meanwhile, my third blogging anniversary was February 4th. Oops. Missed it. I guess I’ll have to wish myself a belated anniversary. I’m nothing if not fair. I forget everything and everyone equally.
It would have been delightfully symmetrical if I’d hit a quarter of a million on Serendipity’s third anniversary. I came close, just 16 days later. It’s hard to predict precisely.
Views come in bunches. The first year was slow starting, yet I finished my first year with numbers I wouldn’t duplicate for two more years. The whole second year was about steady growth. Not many big days, but few bad ones, either.
During this third year, I doubled the average daily views. The end of 2014 was a roller coaster. Big days then slow days. Bursts of views, then nothing. Followed by another big day.
250,000 feels like a lot of views. I know there are lots bigger blogs, for whom 6,200 followers is no big deal. Where a quarter of a million hits is a drop in the bucket. Considering that I expected nothing, I’m amazed I got here. I started blogging knowing nothing except that I could do it. I learned along the way using the best tutor in the world: trial and error.
Each time I think I’ve worked out “the formula,” I discover I haven’t. I’m pretty sure there is no formula, at least none which works for everyone. The best part of blogging is its lack of structure, the freedom to be whatever (whoever) you want. To keep redefining yourself without answering to anyone.
A note about followers: Until about a couple of weeks ago, follower totals included WordPress blog followers, plus Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. In January I had almost 8,000 followers. At some unknown recent moment, WordPress stopped including all but blog followers.
I don’t mind the new formula. This is how it should have been from the outset. It is, however, a bit jarring to see ones followers count drop like a rock for no apparent reason. A warning would have been nice.
I’ve written more than 3,200 posts. So many, I can’t remember most of them. Or find them in the archives. I’ve posted I-have-no-idea-how-many pictures. I keep waiting for my blog to collapse under the weight of all those posts and pix. So far, so good. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Serendipity blew up tomorrow. If I disappear, remember me kindly. I’ll always be out there, somewhere.
I’ve had a difficult year. For me, this journey has not been about popularity. More about perseverance. About writing even if I’m sick and can’t find my muse. No one is more surprised — and pleased — than I am to have survived and done pretty well.
I’ve been blogging long enough to know each post won’t be a winner. It doesn’t mean I should quit. Writing is important to me in ways I can’t explain. If I stopped blogging, I don’t know what I would do with my days. Blogging is communication, networking, self-expression, and a focus … all wrapped up in a pretty bundle. And I don’t have a boss (YES).
I know — because I’ve done it — it’s worth hanging on. Numbers go up and down, but when you stick with it through the valleys, eventually, you get to the peak.
It was an ordinary day. A sunny day in southern New England. Cool. Almost crisp. The leaves had changed and shone bright yellow and orange. Autumn. The best time of the year.
An ordinary day. Except, we ran out of half-and-half.
In most homes, this would have been no big deal. It would surely not have been an emergency requiring an immediate trip to town. But in this household of addicted coffee drinkers, no way we could get through 24 hours without half-and-half for our coffee. Someone — okay, Garry — would have to buy half-and-half.
The nearest shop only sells tiny containers and sometimes, has none at all. So it was off to Hannaford’s.
Hannaford’s is our grocery store. We don’t own it (I wish), but it’s the one we patronize. Not big or fancy. Even for Uxbridge, it’s a modest store, but that’s one of the reasons we like it. It’s part of a small Maine-based chain. Prices are pretty good and the produce is usually fresh. They offer locally grown products in season. You don’t need a special card to get discounts and they offer a 5% discount to Senior Citizens every Tuesday. Most important, they are close to home, easy to get to, and have ample parking.
I was in the middle of a book — I usually am — so I didn’t pay a lot of attention as Garry went out. Not a big deal. Just half-and-half. Maybe pick up something for dinner. He came back a couple of hours later, a bit longer than an errand like this should take. Garry looked amused. Maybe bemused.
“There is shock and confusion in downtown Uxbridge, today,” he announced.
“Shock and confusion?”
“Yes,” Garry said. “I thought it might be delayed PTSD from 9/11 or changing seasons. Everyone in Hannaford’s looked stunned.”
“Stunned? Because?” I questioned.
“The credit card readers were down. You couldn’t pay with your bank or credit card. Everyone had to pay cash or use a check. They looked shell-shocked. Thousand-yard stares. Stumbling, vacant-eyed around the store.”
“Holy mackerel,” I said. “I can only imagine.”
“You could see them mumbling to themselves. They kept saying ‘cash!’ I could tell they were confused and unsure what to do.”
“Wow,” I said. “How dreadful! What did you do?” I asked. Garry seemed to have survived with his sense of humor intact and brought home the half-and-half.
“Oh, I paid with cash. I had enough on me.”
He went off to the kitchen chuckling to himself. I hoped everyone would be okay back in town. A shock like that can haunt people for a long time. Cash. Imagine that. Everyone will be talking about this for weeks.
The day the machines went down at Hannaford’s. That’s huge.
Like about 99.99% of women, I gained a few pounds as my 50th birthday approached, with most of the weight settling into the inches around my belly button. I like to think that I am a self-confident woman who knows that beauty is more than skin deep, but something about this newfound roundness just ate away at me.
I started using a phone app to “track” my diet. In principle, this seemed like a grand plan… enter my weight, set a goal, then eat the number of calories necessary to get to the finish line… how simple is that!?! Super simple… except that I now spent every minute of the day thinking about food. It is impossible not to obsess when every bite that goes in your mouth has to be entered into your “food diary”.
Most mornings, this meant that by 9am I was already stressed because a slice…