Tag Archives: thoughts

My Ruminations: Me A To Z Pt. I

My Ruminations Me A To Z

This post was inspired by another blogger’s post. But, I can’t for the life of me remember who! That is one of the reasons I enjoy blogging as much as I do. I become inspired by what others write.

I have done list posts before about me. The first one that comes to mind is a post titled 40 Impressions of Me. Quite a while ago I also wrote A Few Things About Me. So, if you are crazy-excited about learning more about your humble writer, hurry up over to those posts. Writing Me A to Z really made me think about who I am and what I truly love about living my life in this crazy world. So, without further ado, here is Part I of my list.

apples

A– Apples. I love the crunchiness of apples. Especially in the fall. Sometimes for dinner we will eat just apples with cheese and crackers. Oh, and apples and peanut butter is quite delicious as well! When I was very young-perhaps no older than 7 or 8-I used to climb the fence into the yard of a very scary old man who had a wonderful apple tree. More often than not, I would just freeze at the top of the fence as he came storming out of his back door to shoo us away.

books

B– Books. I have always loved books. I started reading at an early age and I have read thousands of books in my life. I actually have a teaching degree in English Education. The picture to the left is just one of my bookcases. I now collect vintage and antique books; particularly the classics and also unique books. One of my favorites is a book written by one of the Pinkertons, of the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency.

cats

C– Cats. That’s my cat, Misty. I’ve always loved felines. When I was growing up my favorite cat was Blue, he was a bluish-grey Persian cat. I loved that cat. Misty is a wonderful cat, but sometimes she can be a pain in the ass; she will meow you to death if she’s been ignored, even for a short time.

doughnuts

D– Doughnuts. Who doesn’t like doughnuts? I do, but not to the degree that I have to eat them regularly. But it’s the best selection for my letter D. Besides, doughnuts are one of the few things that I can’t overindulge in; just too much sugar at one sitting. My favorite is chocolate-coconut, followed by jelly-cream filled ones.

E– Elvis Presley. I confess to having a man-crush for Elvis. The second highest selling artist in the history of music. Behind only The Beatles. In one of the very few shows I got to stay up late to watch, Elvis Aloha From Hawaii, I was completely mesmerized. He had an incredible voice. He was a beautiful man. He was electric. He was iconic. He was cool. There will never be another like him. Check out the last song he ever sang on stage. So sad to see him in that condition, but the song is still powerfully sung. And this song, Glory, Glory Hallelujah. So powerful. So beautiful.

fall

F– Fall. Growing up in New Hampshire, the Fall was always spectacular. Having gone to Plymouth State College, which is farther up North than my hometown of Manchester, the colors were so vibrant. There’s something about the crisp clean air, the smell of a wood-burning stove, the crunching of leaves underfoot.

ghosts

G– Ghosts. Yepp, I do believe in ghosts. I believe that there are ghosts who refuse to die. I believe that there are ghosts who are trying to get to the other side. I also, for that matter, believe in Guardian Angels. None other than a Guardian Angel could have kept me from killing myself and others as I repeatedly-and foolishly-drove while intoxicated.

hell

H– Hell. I like the concept of hell. I would like to think that hell exists; particularly for child molesters, rapists, and murderers. I don’t care if they repent or not; straight to the pit of Hell with all of them. In college I really enjoyed reading Dante’s inferno. Dante describes the 9 Circles of Hell. I am ok with certain despicable humans spending their eternities in purgatory.

flight of icarus

I– Icarus. I really enjoy mythology. The story of Icarus is one such tale. Icarus and his father attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. Icarus’ father warns him first of complacency and then of hubris (of which I may have fallen victim to a time or two), asking that he fly neither too low nor too high. Well, Icarus flies too close to the sun, and you can surmise the end. Iron Maiden made a great song about this tale, give a listen! As an aside, I really really really like Ice Cream as well!

The Joker

J– Joker. The Joker originated in the United States during the Civil War, and was created as a trump card for the game of Euchre. I have always liked the Joker card. Of course, who can forget Heath Ledger’s the incredible performance of the Joker, in the movie The Dark Knight? Sadly, Ledger died before the movie was even released. Check out the Mob Scene from The Dark Knight, it’s scary good.

K– Keats. My favorite poet is John Keats. What a sad affair that he died at the young age of 25 from tuberculosis! To have created such beauty as he did is just phenomenal to me. Unfortunately, he was not widely accepted as a great poet until well after his death. My favorite poem by Keats is When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be. I wrote As Constant as an homage to Keats’ Bright Star, Would I Were Stedfast As Thou Art, another of my favorites.

Led Zeppelin

L– Led Zeppelin. My all-time favorite band, ever. Rock N’ Roll Royalty! To me, their music is just as relevant today as it was when their first album came out in 1969. They are 6th all-time in album sales, with 141.5 million albums sold. Only The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Elton John, and Madonna have sold more. One of my favorite songs is Achilles Last Stand from Presence.

M– My mother. My mother was a cruel and abusive woman. I’m sure it was because she lost two children: Gloria at age 3, then John at age 8. I was 1.5 and 11 yrs. respectively. My mother was particularly cruel and abusive after John died. It certainly didn’t help her being married to an angry, selfish alcoholic. She did eventually marry an incredibly loving man, to whom she was married for over 35 years. After all that was done, I loved her. I would visit her off and on over the years; however, we were not that close. She was a tormented woman. She was crippled with guilt. I am grateful that I made my peace with her directly in my 40’s. No, I didn’t “forgive” her; I don’t have that kind of power. I did grab her by the shoulders one day, forced her to look me in the eye, and told her to let go. That it was ok. That I loved her. After defeating two other forms of cancer, she finally succumbed to lung cancer in 2013. I miss her.

Comments And Community

Feedback and Community
Read Part I: Why Blog Comments Matter

I just wanted to say that I appreciated the thoughtful comments I received on Part I. Especially those from Silverapplequeen, Cindy over at Unique Times, my long-time subscriber Ronnie, and the young lady (who has an amazing blog or two for such a young writer) over at Introverted Thoughts.

Comments and Community

In Why Blog Comments Matter, I was supposed to tell you why, but I kinda never did! Instead, I spiraled off into discussing comment statistics and bashing the WordPress Reader. So today I am going to dive right into how feedback (comments) help to build a vibrant community between our blogs, as I only briefly did in my post from 4 years ago! Which is another way of showing you why blog comments matter.

There are many ways in which comments can affect the author. And, depending on the comment thread, can really have a great affect on the community surrounding the author. Here are some of the ways that comments can affect not only the author, but the communities that author is connected to:

Comments Results In
show appreciationmy work is worthwhile
impart empathy people were touched
supply positive reinforcementI should keep going
provide encouragementI am uplifted
illustrate understandingpeople are getting it
encourage meaningful dialoguepeople are joining in
strengthen community tiesI feel connected
provide words of affirmationmy work is meaningful
Why Blog Comments Matter – In A Nutshell

As an aside, there is a great book called The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. The author basically illustrates that most of us respond to any one of five love languages. That our relationships would all be that much better if we figure out our significant others’ Love Language. Commenting certainly has to do with one of them: Words of Affirmation.

Comments and Community
The 5 Love Languages

People with words of affirmation as a love language value verbal acknowledgments of affection, including frequent “I love you’s,” compliments, words of appreciation, verbal encouragement, and often frequent digital communication like texting and social media engagement. “Written and spoken shows of affection matter the most to these people,” says couples’ psychotherapist Fariha Mahmud-Syed, MFT, CFLE. “These expressions make them feel understood and appreciated.”

Perhaps Words of Affirmation is not your particular language, but I think most of us would agree that using Words of Affirmation in our comments, will most certainly have a positive effect on that blogger; considering that the other 4 Love Languages are not really viable options in the blogosphere, we’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain in supplying them! For me it’s also just an act of kindness to lift a blogger up who has few to no comments on a post that is particularly worthwhile. The reward is in the deed itself.

So When Should We Comment Then?

That’s up to you. Since it is both impractical and unnecessary to comment on every blog post we read, when should we comment then? These are the times that I will more often than not post a comment: Each one links to an actual post I commented on.

  • When someone has deeply affected me
    Ever lost a friend?
    This is a poem I wrote while thinking about some of the friendships I made in my life, which as years went by, simply faded away. Perhaps something went wrong, or we simply grew our own separate wa…
  • When someone has worked hard on a post
    The Unruh Effect
    Every Time You Accelerate, You Create An Event Horizon To begin with, that just slows down their approach speed. Then that constant acceleration brings them to a halt, and further, they start movin…
  • When someone has shared something deep and personal
    The winding road of therapy.
    As I was looking through my posts of last October I saw that it was then when I decided to write my experiences with therapy down. I did that for quite a while and I’ll link the other parts of my ...
  • When someone has shared something I am passionate about
    Musings
    There is so much strength in surrender to the moment.  Whenever we accept our current circumstances, we can spot clues and directions with a calmer eye.  They may not detail a straight-line path ...
  • When someone has taught me something
    Passwords: Part 4
    You can check if you have had a security breach with an email account, by going to haveibeenpwned.com and inserting your email address. You may have had a security breach even though you have been …
  • When someone has taken the time to comment on one of my posts
    Just Sayin':  Why Blog Comments Matter - RecoveryWise
    Bloggers will tell you why blog comments matter! Comments help bloggers know if they are writing content that matters. Post those comments!
  • When I want to chime in my two cents
    Saturday Caturday
    I knew as soon as I took the large screen off of the front door & put up the heavy storm window, it would get warm again! I propped open the door with a box of books to let in the warm southerl…
  • When I see a post with 30 or more likes and few to no comments
    Leavittation
    how to climb off-widths in Poland!
  • When the folks I follow post something (whenever possible)
    With Cycling, the Toys are Fun, the Fitness is Great, but What Really Make the Pedals Go ‘Round ...
    My friend, Chuck, was excited. He was all set to ride his 25th century (100 miles, not kms) for 2020 yesterday. The weather was going to be perfect, too. Sunny, 65 at the start, 75 at the finish (1…

What does your list look like?

A Simple Comment Structure

Framing a comment doesn’t have to be difficult to be impactful. Here’s how I try to frame each of my comments whenever possible:

a. Expression of gratitude: “I really enjoyed what you had to say about…”

b. (optional) Empathetic Statement: I could identify with you subject matter because…”

c. Compliment: “This post was very well written. I particularly liked…”

d. Gratitude: “Thank you for taking the time to share such a great story.”

Or something along those lines. It doesn’t have to be a novel. It doesn’t have to be some great work of art. It just has to be genuine with the aim at making the author feel appreciated and heard.

Now go out and build your community! PS: Linking to other blogs within certain posts is a terrific way to encourage others to do the same! Even if they do not, it’s a great way to build interconnections between blogs, and to introduce to your community, blogs they may be unaware of but should be!

Just Sayin’:  Why Blog Comments Matter

Why Blog Comments Matter
Why Blog Comments Matter
They Don’t Send Us Comments Anymore

Why Blog Comments Matter is a very important topic to address.  However, before I get into the WHY matter, I want to share with you a brief story about a virus.  This virus, (let’s call it Like-20, and no I am not making light of our current pandemic, lighten up), is responsible for the dumbing down of us all.  We should have seen it coming.

In contrast, it wasn’t always like this.  From about October of 2016 to April of 2017 I was blogging regularly.  Myself and my followers had one hell of a community.  A community that not only liked what we had to say, but spirited commenting abound.    I even used Robmoji to get my point across.  I then stopped blogging from April of 2017 until this past September.  Since then, I am astounded at the serious lack  of comments around our community..  

But We Just Kept Hitting The Like Button!

Now I’m not just talking about my own blog here.  That would be selfish and self-serving.  Many of you who have been following me know that I may be abrasive, but I’m not self-centered (most of the time anyway).  The underuse of the comment feature really strikes a blow to our ability to grow and prosper on this medium.

And that just sucks.  Take a look this microcosm I from the reader, and you can see what I’m talking about (yes, I do love Flipbooks! :).  On average, when we like a post, we comment only 6 % of the time.

Please wait while flipbook is loading. For more related info, FAQs and issues please refer to DearFlip WordPress Flipbook Plugin Help documentation.

The Nitty Gritty

That’s 584 Likes and 34 Comments.  What the heck!   The last two pages are statistics from my own blog:  805 Likes and 61 Comments.  That’s also at 6%.  And don’t forget, that’s counting our comments as well.  While there are a small sample of blogs with higher numbers, those numbers are actually working with that same 6% comment rate.receiving an abundant number of comments, that usually correlates to a huge number of likes.  That is one pithy number!

Change The WordPress Reader Now!
I Hate You Reader!

The reader doesn’t help.  The WordPress reader sucks!  I absolutely hate the reader.  Why?  Its design makes it easy to simply click on the like button, and move right along.  Buh Bye. 

At the very least, the previews of posts in the reader should not show the likes and comments; I feel we should click through straight to the blog that created it. Therefore, not only would more of us see each other’s blogs, it would encourage a full reading of the post. Wouldn’t we all love that!

That would slow down those who simply click on the like button in the reader, and never actually read your post.  Don’t think it happens?  Guess again.  I am convinced there are certain folks shotgunning their way down straight down the reader, to whatever end. These actions inherently reduce honest reads, and reduce the overall number of blog comments. For them it’s not about integrity, and contributing to the greater good, it’s about the likes, likes likes.

You Could Just Remove The Like Feature, Right?
Why Blog Comments Matter
Please Like Me

Considering the statistics, do you really want your blog to go the way of an old west town?  Anyway, the other thing that super-sucks about the reader is that it dissuades folks from actually visiting our blogs!  How absolutely stupid is that?  Some of us have invested in Premium and Business Plans, so that we can use many different mediums to get our messages out on WordPress (Click to see my site snapshot), only to have the majority of our posts viewed in the reader.

Publishing Your Posts As Excerpts

There is a way for you to encourage visits to your site: simply set your blog to publish excerpts (summaries rather than full text) of your posts. That way, folks have to click a link to get the full post. However, given the fact that it seems clear that most folks are merely clicking on the like button, I wonder how many are even bothering to click into our sites. How many folks, when seeing in the reader only an excerpt, are actually clicking through? I could go on and on about this, but moving forward.

Scratch My Back Will Ya?
Yikes!  That Is A Bit Strong

Likewise, there are those who either do not bother to respond at all to likes or comments, never bothering to reciprocate and like or comment one of your posts. It’s vexing. It’s ok that we expect reciprocity. Commenting is important in helping each other to grow our audiences.

I understand that there are some folks who will never comment, and some that always comment. Surely we can do better than commenting on 6% of the posts we actually like. Why not spread the love, and grow our community this way?

The Comment Tab In The Admin Panel

You may have inadvertently ignored some of your readers without even knowing it! That’s because most of us view and respond to our likes and comments from the notification panel. That’s not the place to see everything.

One of the best way to engage folks who have commented on your blog is to go into your Admin Panel.  In the left column click on “COMMENTS.”  You will then see a listing of your comments, and link backs.  In each comment space, in the upper right corner, you will see an exclamation point next to “user info.”  When you click on that, you will see the commentator’s email and the link to their actual blog!  Now that’s a great way to return the commenting favor. 

Blog Comment Page on WordPress
Your Comment Page In WordPress

Another reason why you want to review your comment page everyday is this:  If someone reblogs something of yours, or links to one of your posts, the only way you will know is from this screen.  Instead of the blogger’s picture in the upper left, you will simply see the link icon.  The second comment on the image above is a notification of a blogger who linked to one of my poems.

Coming Soon: Part II of Why Blog Comments Matter

I hadn’t intended on blabbering on so much in this pot! In the next part, I am going to deliver on WHY blog comments matter! I’ll share my tips on how you can generate more comments on both sides of the aisle. I’m also going to share the strategy I use to manage my likes, follows, and comments. For now, here is my number 1 rule of engagement:

Always, always, always respond to your likers by leaving a like AND a comment whenever possible. If you are blessed with 50 million likes, try to get to at least 10 blogs per day.  It’s not as time-consuming as you think!  Then, take note of what happens over the next few days.  They will thank you (and hopefully leave a memorable comment as well, and our community will grow, and we can stop the spread of this Like-20 Virus once and for all!

Quick 5 Minute Video On How To Write Great Comments

Just Sayin’: Presidential Proclamation

just_sayin_on_recoverywise

I for one, don’t get why there are annual special months recognized by presidential proclamation. U.S. law provides for the declaration of selected public observances by the President of the United States as designated by Congress or by the discretion of the President.

Generally the President will provide a statement about the purpose and significance of the observance, and call on the people of the United States to observe the day “with appropriate ceremonies and activities”. These events are typically to honor or commemorate a public issue or social cause, ethnic group, historic event or noted individual. 

In case you need to know, according to Wikipedia, here are October’s special observances:

My Ruminations: Kicked out of Sobriety Group

my_ruminations_recoverywise

Just after I was ‘accepted’ into The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober group on Facebook, I was unceremoniously deleted from the same. Although they claim that all viewpoints are welcome, apparently that doesn’t apply to ones that are not presented in such a way as to promote harmony. Apparently, and I knew this when I posted it, a viewpoint that goes against the mainstream, is a viewpoint that receives swift retribution.

Let me illuminate you. Posts from the group inundated my newsfeed, and I started noticing a perturbing trend. Folks were playing around with their sobriety date; for me the Holy Grail of my recovery. I’ll explain that in a moment. The post that finally got me to post something was from a woman who did some creative math with her sobriety date.

She opined that, having had 50 days sobriety, she actually was on a new day 38. This was because, she reasoned, she had “lapsed” (relapsed) recently for 12 days. And, as you might expect from the folks at The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, the support for her newfound sobriety was effusive.

Wait, what?!

I should have left well alone. I did not respond to her, or any of the others playing rubber band with their so-called sobriety dates, I posted a fresh thread. I can’t recall the exact thread because I was deleted for it. Basically, I rather pointedly expressed the idea that a sobriety date is not Original Sobriety Date – Days Using = New Sobriety Date. I pointed out that the Sobriety Date = Date Since Last Use. I pointed out that the Sobriety Date is quite linear, and that those who practice this method are fooling themselves; and perhaps using this method to justify relapses. Oh, sorry, “lapses.”

At the end of the post, I specifically stated that this was, in a sense, my version of Tough Love. That, for some of us, the sobriety date is sacred ground; it’s not everything to our recovery, but it’s a measurement of time that is a point of pride for those of us who know better than to fuck with having even 1 drink. I also remember specifically stating: You do not have to like this viewpoint. You do not have to agree with this viewpoint. It’s just my opinion. Well, dear readers, a shit-show ensued. There was no Unexpected Joy of Being Sober. Oh no. I was lambasted well and thoroughly.

Of course, being who I am, I danced toe-to-toe with many of them for a good while. The “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” militia came out in droves. I was called names. Folks were asking me how could I be so callous, what gave me the right to dictate someone’s journey, my post was an example of hubris, I was a pompous ass, this isn’t the forum for these kinds of posts. On and on it went. After awhile I got bored, and my wife was getting pissed at me (rightfully so, I might add) for ‘fighting’ with these people–I for one, like a good fight–but I did finally delete the post without fanfare.

Admittedly I knew the post was going to piss some people off. So what? Isn’t that what a forum is for? What has happened to the ability for folks to have healthy debates? Whether or not I presented my opinion in the manner which others deemed ‘acceptable’ is a moot point: I said as much to one commenter, when she told me I ought to have written it more from the ‘I’ point of view, rather than the ‘you’ point of view. I told her I would write and express my personal opinions the way I wanted to. I further explained to others that their reactions were just opinions too.

I am proud of the fact that I did not shred folks too badly. The old Rob would have really engaged in unruly name-calling, sarcasm, and venom. Well, to be honest, I did send some images of Kleenex boxes to some commenters. I also did, now that I think of it, make a comment that it was only a matter of time before the “karen’s” showed up. But, overall, I am proud of the fact that I held the line until the assault got too vast and my wife had had enough of me with my face buried in my phone. So I simply deleted the post. But not before I noticed a whole bunch of commenters referring my name to the admins; thus I was deleted.

I was disgusted and aggravated to the point that, my normal attitude was soured until I got a grip with mindfulness. I knew from the onset that my opinion would not be popular. I just didn’t expect the surge of venom and disdain that followed. I received a lot of unhappy emojis. I don’t care that only a few folks agreed with my position; it wasn’t the purpose of the post. The purpose of my post was about what I viewed the entire purpose of a sobriety date to be. I do confess to knowing beforehand, that this post was a tad passive-aggressive, that it would ruffle more than a few feathers; does that make me a bad person?

I wonder how many people in sobriety actually post how long they have been in recovery, or sober? It has to be in the 90+ percentile, wouldn’t you say? I say, if you are going to use a sobriety date, use the one that is the date after the last time you had a drink. I told one woman who said that she had been sober for 6 months, consciously decided to have ONE drink at a friends wedding (for some of us 1 drink can be fatal), then was sober for 6 more months, that I would never get up in front of my peers and collect a 1 year medallion if it were me.

Maybe that’s why I have 52 months clean time? I dunno. Maybe I was too hard on these folks. Or, just maybe I was trying to get through to some of those folks with a dose of reality; even if it were just MY reality, even if I presented it like it should be everyone’s. Regardless, the admins were spineless to simply delete me for stating a strong opinion. It was not directed at an individual, it was not a direct attack on anyone at all. There is SO MUCH more I could comment on regarding censorship, society, the milieu surrounding recovery, forums, yada yada yada (think, Elaine!)

But I should know by now to Live and Let Live. Imagine had I stated my opinions on relapse and so-called ‘triggers.’ I’d be swinging from a tree in backwoods Kentucky by nightfall.

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