I Want my Blog To Look Like Your Blog When It Grows Up!

When I turned twenty-eight, I decided I wanted to be a photo journalist. I couldn’t quit my day job (Middle School English Teacher) as I had a mortgage to pay. So, my good buddy, Greg, a former Green Beret, talked me into joining the Army Reserves where I could train on the job to be a journalist. As I explained in one of my earlier posts, “The best laid plans of mice and men gang oft astray.”(Wisely put, Mr. Burns)

When you join the army, you first must go to Basic Training (Boot Camp). My training was ill-timed. July at Fort McClellan, Alabama. You have not experience heat until you have gone on a five-mile forced march in new, stiff shiny, black army boots, thick woolen socks, carrying ten tons of gear on your back while canisters of tear gas are tossed at you intermittently along the route. I should stop to explain. This is so you can practice pulling on and sealing your smelly, rubber gas mask around your already slippery, sweaty face in nine seconds (the estimated time it would take you to fall dead in your tracks if this were something more lethal.) At the three-mile mark in our little trek, death would have been welcomed with open arms, had I not been carrying a nine pound tent in my back pack and an M-16 slung over my left shoulder. My arms were indisposed, so surrendering to anything  with arms opened was not an option. I will not bore you with any of the other details of boot camp. Suffice it to say it is not where you want to find yourself at age twenty-eight (Did I mention I was the oldest one there?) in the hottest July on record down south.

During the next three years, I would be sent on active duty with other reservists to train in such exotic places as  Indian Town Gap, Pennsylvania doing such exotic things as avoiding rattlesnake nests (the baby rattlers are the most lethal); using an entrenching tool to make sure the rain did not  enter my tent and engulf me in my sleep; eating meals from green tins dated back to World War I and brought to a perfect boil in large garbage barrels; setting off Claymore mines; qualifying with M-1’s; grenade throwing; marching, marching to Pretoria or some such place. “Ah, the horror!” (Well put Mr. Conrad) And all of this culminating at the end of our week of camping in the woods with a ceremony fondly referred to as “The Burning of the Skivvies”. At this point I could press “Add Media” to display my photos of men grasping tree limbs with  tattered underwear dangling pitifully off  the ends over campfires, but I torched  them all.The memories, however, are still etched firmly in my own mind, unfortunately.

A clerical error was discovered much later, just before my three years were up. I had been given the wrong MOS (Military Occupational Skill). I was assigned an MOS of 84B20 – COMBAT PHOTOGRAPHER, not photo journalist. The mystery of why I kept being placed on active duty with a couple hundred guys from New England had been solved. But the damage had been done. I did not re-up (no mystery there) but used my combat training expertise to take administrative classes and become a vice principal. How ironic is that, I ask you?

When I came across Bob Ramsak’s Blog, Piran Cafe   http://pirancafe.wordpress.com I stared in amazement at the pages. This is what I had wanted to be. A photojournalist who roamed the world documenting events, sharing stories, experiences, music, videos. And then it struck me – this is what I wanted my blog to be. I wanted my photos to move around on the page like his. How did he do that? I wanted Tunes du Jour to burst forth from my tuneless pages. How did he do that? I wanted to take fantastic  photos of people doing great things; doing ordinary things. Damn! How did he do that?

But I realized while writing this post, that I had other things to learn before I came anywhere near to the quality of his Blog. Case in point: I pushed “publish” instead of “save draft” before it was even completed. Sorry for those of you following who couldn’t figure out why this post ended mid sentence! Please bear with me for one more week.Combat training seems easier to me right now then getting this blogging stuff straight. Now to figure out Blogrolling……..

 

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72 thoughts on “I Want my Blog To Look Like Your Blog When It Grows Up!

  1. WordPress seriously needs to change the default from “Publish immediately” to “Draft.” Who is EVER ready to publish immediately?! (I’ve made that mistake a couple of times!)
    As to your post, that had to be terrifying, but kudos to you for bringing humor into it! I don’t suppose you have a picture of you in uniform? I bet you made a lovely soldier. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Actually,I was pretty ruthless and went along with everything whole-heartedly. I liked challenges. And I do have some photos of me in uniform. I think my husband has tucked them away somewhere in case he is ever in need of blackmail material. I’ll ask him. There’s one of me in tattered uniform pointing my M-16 at the guy taking my picture. It could make a great Gravatar. Caption: “Visit my blog or I’ll hunt you down!” So, I finished and edited but still have not done the blogroll. Thanks for making me feel better about my mistake. It’s not the first and it won’t be the last. I promise you.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ha! Well, I have to say I like the photo you have now. You look like someone I’d have lunch with or a cup of tea. The photo would have served you well as a school administrator though!
        By the way, interesting you should mention Piran Cafe. I discovered his blog yesterday when I got a message that he liked my post. As soon as I saw his blog I thought, “Someone with a blog like this likes MY post?!”
        I’m sure we’ll get there someday, Claremary. In time.

        Liked by 4 people

      1. Ha! I thought I was the only one who got those emails! Somehow when I went into the commons all of the posts there showed up in my email the next day! You can imagine how many that was in a 16 hour time frame. I woke up going “WTF.???” There is definitely more to this blogging than just writing. Oh and we follow you Claremary because you are heartwarming and endearing and are a wonderful storyteller. 😊

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That’s what I say when I wake up every morning! We are kindred spirits! And I am truly touched by your encouraging words. I hope the rest of your weekend is filled with everything wonderous! I owe you a big cone of your favorite ice cream if ever we meet! Now, I’m hungry. Off to the fridge!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ha! I thought I was only one! Somehow,after I first entered The Commons, I ended up receiving an email for every post that was entered after my visit. Needless to say that was quite a bit after a 16 hour time frame. It made me realize there was more to blogging than just writing. Oh and Claremary we follow you because you are heartwarming and endearing and a gifted storyteller. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, I was wondering where you were today. How’s it all going up in your neck of the woods? I’ll be checking in with you later. But I have a short story that needs some serious attention. Have a lovely day and again, thanks for all the encouragement you send my way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. I have been heavy on the tech side at Morse Farm. Missing my reading of Wendell Berry. I have started another book that might catch you interest, “Code Name Pauline, Memoirs of a World War II Agent” by Pearl Witherington Cornioley with Herv’e Larroque, edited by Kathryn J. Atwood. Pearl said that she wanted her story to be read by young adults. So I didn’t want to miss it.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I enjoyed this so much. Yes, I can believe the military experience was priceless as you moved on to the vice principal position. I love your honesty. I’ve wandered down some strange corridors (a year spent almost completing a Masters degree in Speech and Theatre) but none so colorful as three years in the Army Reserves. I’ve liked all your posts and your “About” piece on your plans. In my experience so far, the depth of the content far outweighs any minor glitches in presentation. I’m happy to keep on reading.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for saying that, Ann. I love to write and am very happy being emersed in the sharing of it right now. This audience has been so appreciative and I am encouraged to keep going in spite of my mistakes. (They, are also a very forgiving bunch .)

      Like

  3. What a fantastic post! I started at the beginning and stopped at the end. I even read the double ellipsis. Sometimes, fate has other plans for us. Whether your training of combat journalism helped you along the way and how isn’t easy to determine. Similarly, whether or not a super photoblog is your destiny or not, we can’t say – at least not now, but what I can tell you right now and with certainty, is that you are a great writer and your blog will find many happy readers 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Shafali, Thank you. And please know that I feel the same about your art. It is truly wonderful and makes many people happy. I will be ordering your book today and look forward to leaving it out for all to see. Perhaps someday we’ll meet and you can inscribe it for me. I read a post last night from a young woman who stated that it doesn’t matter if a blog reaches one or thousands of readers, as long as it touches or helps someone along the way. I fully agree with that sentiment. Your blog is outstanding and one that I would love to emulate. You’ve made this course better for me in many ways with your help and your kind words. Thank you for touching my life.

      Like

      1. Ok. Actually, I had disappeared too. A couple of comments made me feel sort of sad…and I was thinking of dropping out of the course…but that was yesterday 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, I had missed you. I was going to drop out on the very first day. But I didn’t and am glad now. Only one week left and I couldn’t bear to think you’re not in there with me! Erase those comments from your mind and listen to the wise old people like me. (One other thing – we both have husbands who support and encourage us – big hugs to them!)

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I loved writing it and giving you a shout out. Your blog posts are informative, entertaining and have afforded me an education I could not have gotten in school. (I hated school, but that’s a post for another time.) Return Thanks, to you, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh! my dear @Claremary,

    What a fabulous story!

    It is so interesting story with many exciting events. I always say one can make use of any training he or she has experienced in a way or another. You seem so great vice principal with many talents!:)

    For blogging, you are doing so well. You have a great blog with consistent content and you have a huge community reading and commenting on your posts. That is it. For the tricks, you can learn them bit by bit by visiting others’ blogs or searching for them using WordPress forums, or even asking about them ….

    I am so happy to be part of your blogging world.
    Keep up the great work!
    🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You know how strongly I feel about the support I have been given by the bloggers in our class. A large part of my motivation during the last 3 weeks was to keep up with everybody as I read their daily posts. I still keep learning by studying how their sites improve day by day. I work hard at being a good writer but if I can’t market my work properly, than it is for naught.Thanks, Azhar. You are one of those people at the top of my list.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh! What an honor to be one of your list! Yes, we keep learning from each other. This community of blogsphere makes the whole blogging experience enjoyable and interesting through their reading, commenting, and getting feedback. Believe me, you market your work so beautifully. Just go on and never stop 🙂

        Wish you the best always!
        🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I just wondering if there is another color for this theme!
    Can you add colors to your sidebar? You can create an image using PicMonkey and put it on your sidebar using a custom image widget. Just a suggestion!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. i my dear friend,
        What colors? Have you tried to change to another color? What about changing the titles of your widgets using pictures and words? I mean choose an image, drop it in PicMonkey, then choose a font for it. Once you finish, go to your blog, upload your image with the font, copy its link, then go to your widgets and drag image to your sidebar, in the image url, paste the link and hit save. And that’s it ….! What do you think?

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t know what a blogroll is, but you had me rolling, with laughter! I was in ROTC, so I can relate to some stuff! I wanna learn how to do that stuff too! (making the pictures move.)
    Thanks for the follow. I look forward to reading more of your posts. BTW, I’ve done that too, with the hit publish!
    Melinda

    Liked by 2 people

    1. OK, so I finished Blogging 101 2 weeks ago and didn’t flunk it, but I’m still shaky on this blogroll topic. That doesn’t mean didn’t learn what it is – I may have just forgot by now?????? AND some lovely people have put my name in for new blogger awards and I can’t do anything about it because I haven’t figured out ping backs yet??????

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bless your heart! I’ve been blogging for a whole year now, and I still feel like I only know enough to be in blog Kg!!
        It’s ok. We’ll make it!!
        Janice from mostlyblogging.com is a great resource. It seems to me she knows everything!! Go check her out and please tell her I sent you. When you accept an award, you just have to put a link back to their blog in your post. I go to their blog and hilight the url, then copy and paste into my post.
        Hope that helps.
        Melinda

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Peggy. You’ve been catching up! I’ve been learning about the art of blogging for the past few months mostly from the kindness of strangers who have become fast friends in the blogging world. I have a lot of reading to do, myself, in the new year as I’ve begun to follow blogs that go back a ways. I’m enjoying yours. I must say, I did love teaching middle schoolers. They have a vitality that makes you run as fast as you can to keep up with them. My retired life is very sedentary without them, but the new experience of reading my book to 1st and 2nd graders this past year is adding spark to my days.Life can take you to lots of fun places!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. When I come upon a new blog, I try to track back and forth over some earlier posts. Not having quite as much time to do it over these holidays. Glad I found yours. School kids are fascinating. I do some volunteer work at the local primary school—especially for the out-of-hours care service—and at a nursing home. Talk about extremes. Anyway time to do the dinner dishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the army helped with my understanding of how to keep order. Middle schoolers seem to have a sixth sense about how much they can get away with. Even though I was small, they knew enough to tow the line. Glad I found you, too. I’m so caught up in your travel posts, but admit that I love the Poor John ones the best so far.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He’s relentless when it comes to getting a cheap haircut. He’s at a bit of a loss for the moment because the hairdressing school in Canberra is closed until February. He got his hair cut on the last day it was open before Christmas, but can that get him through?

        Liked by 1 person

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