The Old Woman

An elderly woman lives across the street. Her house is shabby looking, the yard is overgrown, windows are dirty and paint is peeling and worn in many places all over the outside of the house. You’ve never been over to see how it looks inside. You imagine hundreds of cats, stacks of newspapers and other garbage all piled up and dust bunnies running wild to say the least.

You’re outside one day and see her trying to trim some weeds along the path from the house to the sidewalk. She isn’t moving very well or easily. You go over to help her out. What happens from there? What do you find out about her as you work and talk with her?

The Solitary Vagabond Blues

You’ve been vagabonding around, exploring other cultures, other planets and learning a lot of new and interesting things. The most interesting thing was on the planet you visited just last Spring the natives had some custom where if a woman and man touched skin to skin they became promised in that planet’s version of marriage. Since then you’ve had a really interesting alien guy following you around, declaring himself to belong to you forever.

Kind of nice in a sappy, romantic way. He’s not so bad really. He pays his own way too. Once he learned you are from Earth he began learning all your customs too. So now he opens doors, buys flowers and even makes attempts at writing poetry to your eyelashes. It’s not all bad. But, he does get in the way. After all, you weren’t planning to take on a partner any time soon. There are so many more planets to be explored. He really wants to make a home, with you.

So what do you do with him?

You Would Know

An old woman sells you a cheap ring. It looks like something out of an old fashioned gumball machine. But you thought it was pretty.

The weird thing is that each time you put the ring on your finger you get psychic powers. You can see into the future for people you touch or yourself. How do you use your new power? Do things end well for you? You would know.

Don’t Stress About It

What brings you stress? Kids, your job(s), spouse, parents, deadlines, or any of a hundred other things. For me, people give me the most stress. Also, one that will seem odd, my name. You will think it odd that I’d stress out over my name but I do. I gave up my maiden name when I married, the husband wanted me to and I did it to make him happy. Then, we got divorced and I decided to keep my married name, like a marker to show that I had at least gotten that far. Now, I don’t feel I have a last name at all. I get stressed when I have to fill in my last name cause I don’t want to be that name. Anyway, it’s a long winding story.

What odd things bring you to the stress breaking point? Have you ever written about them. Just a freestyle, brain storming type essay to vent your feelings. It’s amazing how much you can discover about yourself and your feelings when you vent on paper. You know you control who reads it, if anyone so you can type things you’d never say and not even dare to think in public. Vent your stress. Maybe all it really needs is an outlet, a chance to let off some steam.

Stressing about family and friends – personal relationships, is something we have to live with. You just can’t get rid of people. I think of various Twilight Zone style stories I’ve seen and read. Those tales of the last person on Earth or the only one, somehow, even for just a day. Doesn’t that just seem like paradise sometimes? I wrote about my adventures as the only person left. It was such a blast, I did so many things I’ve always wanted to do, went to all kinds of places and tried all kinds of things I’d be too shy to do if anyone were watching. But it was great fun to write it and see it all happening in my mind as I wrote.

The best way I handle family stress is to give myself a day off, even if I have to lie to get it. When necessary I tell them I’m working (my day job) and then go out just as if I were working. Then I drive. Most of the time I don’t even have a real destination in mind. I might not have much spending money either. It doesn’t matter. I just go for coffee and read a book in one of those coffee shops where all the soccer Moms hang out. It’s a nice break. I start to feel like I’m really part of the world again and not tightly fitted into my little space squished between family and work. It’s nice to just be me in the world.

Deadlines are another big stress. I have a bad habit (for lack of a better word) of taking on too much. I just seem to think I can never do enough. As if I have to compare myself to some perfect woman writer who probably doesn’t exist outside of my own mind. I have begun to realize this about myself. I handle it by admitting I am not super woman. If I have dug myself in too deep I allow myself to decide what stays and what goes. I’ve learned to make better decisions about what projects I do take on. Rather than saving the world I am just doing what will work for me. (I only save the world every other week now).

Anyway, everyone has evolved different stress management techniques. Do what works for you. Find something that does work though. Don’t wait till you have steam coming out of your ears and you’re yelling and screaming at everyone in your vicinity. That’s not good for anyone’s stress level.

Get Thee Blogged

21 21 21 Great Blogs to Read a New Zealand blogger has given my blog a review.

If you assume everyone who has a blog wants (in some way or degree) to be famous… that’s a LOT of people around the world who want to be famous. Or do we all just really want to find someone who will faithfully listen to us, like a great fan.

I would like to be famous. Not for something stupid or horrible like a murderer or someone who rips off a bank and is caught cause I asked them to transfer it all to my account before I left the scene. I’d like to be famous for some kind of good, positive and optimistic reason. I can be the woman who has that great blog, the one you actually enjoy reading and remember to come and check more than once a year or when something else jogs your memory to remember that I actually exist.

It’s sad how we don’t want to be just another one of the unknowns. Yet, the unknowns are important and we really, truly need the unknowns to know us. How can you be famous if everyone is famous. There have to be a bunch of the great unknowns who bother to make us famous.

It’s funny, but I don’t want to be popular, just famous.

Being popular seems to be about snobbery, being part of some clique/ group who look down on all others in order to feel they are all something better. That really peeves me, that kind of attitude. So, I don’t want to be popular. I want to be famous and yet unpopular. I can be that famous woman everyone thinks they are the only person to have discovered. I will always be the new thing. That way I can always be fresh.

Not fresh in the way of being slutty. Though, I’d do that too. It could be fun. If I was feeling pretty one day and walking along and saw a nice looking guy in a suit… I wouldn’t put it too far past me to give him a pat, a little brush against him on the street. Something like that. Being fresh isn’t all bad. If you’re nice about it. You can go too far and cross the line into being obnoxious. Don’t invade someone’s personal space too much at a time. Even better if you can be mysteriously fresh. Just give that nice looking guy a pat while you’re in a crowd and he won’t ever know who did it, unless you grin and make sure he is suspicious.

Anyway, I was thinking about how many people are blogging and how many of them seem to feel it’s important to have readers, to become popular and be part of various other sites and groups. It’s like we are all digitally socializing. No more messy face to fact meetings, like a blind date. Now you can enjoy your social circle of friends and acquaintances without every leaving your computer. Glue yourself down into your chair, make your own coffee and put on whatever cyber face you like for that day. No fuss, no muss, just go ahead and be interpersonal.

Are we going to end up like some weird science fiction experiment in human behaviour? When was the last time you met someone new? Was it virtual or out in the real world? What happens when people begin to avoid even the virtual world? What happens if someone shrinks their world down to the size of a peanut and they no longer go outside into the real world and no longer dare to step into the cyber world either? That would be a true hermit. I expect they would just have to die out or invent some kind of time machine so they could send themselves backwards or forwards in time to a place where there are no other humans. Perhaps somewhere after we have blown ourselves up or suffocated with our own pollution and such. No doubt there will be an end to humans eventually. It would be kind of ironic if that hermit wasn’t the only one to do the same thing. What if everyone got hermitized and they all sent themselves ahead in time? Suddenly everyone would be back, together on the planet even after the human race had officially annilhated themselves.

It would be interesting. I doubt I will be there. I still smile at people on the street. It’s more likely I will be picked up by some mass killer and stuffed into a shallow grave. I won’t be there with the hermits at the end of time. Well, time as counted by humans. I don’t think the planet itself really counts time at all. It’s been around too long to want to think about how many birthdays it’s had.

Navigation, Style and Content

What are the keys to a good website? I think there are 3 main things. I have created this list from many years (since 1998) spent reviewing websites.

Navigation, style and content. You can adapt that to NSC, or not. Not works for me, I’m not even sure how to say that.

Anyway, navigation is probably the most under rated website building thing. But, if people can’t find your content… what’s the point? Navigation needs to be simple, easy to use and easy to find. Some people hide navigation in graphics. Some of them hide it in text. Have you ever seen a site where you click on your browser type to enter it? There is nothing there to say “hey! this is how you enter my site!” Unless it’s a site for psychics, it’s not very useful and it’s a navigational flop. Not to mention pretty annoying for someone who spends time trying to find access to the site and gives up eventually.

I put content ahead of style because content is what people actually came to your site for. It wasn’t a demonstration of frames, flash or pop up ads. Hope that didn’t come as a shock to anyone. Content should be spelled right, proofread for typos and at least a little fact checking is a good idea. It’s also a good idea to change your content now and then. Ideally you should update your site as often as you want people to come in and visit it. If you want daily visits a blog is a good way to go. But, blog everyday with something at least a little unique and interesting. Focus is a good thing too. Being too diversified makes it hard for readers to know your voice and understand what you believe in, who you are. People like to see pictures of the people they read because they want to know who is behind the words.

Last, style, it’s kind of the buffer between your content and navigation. It’s what makes your site colourful, unique and gives it an attitude that people can see even before they start reading your content. But, style should not take over your site. After all, you want them to read your words too. Things like flash or a ton of graphics will drown you out. Also, people are not likely to wait for an unknown site to load. Especially when it’s just a bunch of graphics, not what they came for.

So, off you go. Put up your brilliant websites, make the rest of us green with envy. That, or you know we’ll be there to borrow your best ideas and adapt them for our own sites. Did I just type that… ignore that woman behind the curtain she knows way too many of my secrets.

My Secret Shopping Fetish

Why does a 40 year old woman play at Neopets? Well, you see… it’s a shopping fetish. I can spend neopoints (dollar value of zero) on as much junk as I can stand. How can you pass that up? In reality I am squeezing pennies so hard the poor things squeak. But, on the Neopian side of things I am a shopping diva, a window shopper without the pesky windows in my way.

It is my secret little side trip when I should be writing. I’ve actually been late for work (once) cause I was shopping on NeoPets instead of scraping snow off the car.

Want to visit? Sure you do. I’m not the only old woman there. I may not even be the oldest, though I suspect it’s close. lol

Don’t let me stop you from joining, get a pet of your own, a neohome become addicted and join a Guild. Become a neoshopoholic. It’s fun.