Statistically Speaking

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Perhaps I shouldn’t look at the statistics that WP provides. It leads me to thinking weird things.

When I read that back to myself, it is obvious that I had better explain myself.  I am not talking about the total number of viewers, or page views.  I am thankful for whatever I get.  I am also not talking about the statistic that shows my posts about KitKats are the most popular thing I have ever written.  It is something else entirely.

Today, I noticed that someone had clicked on one of my pages; the “What I’ve Read 2018.” Normally, this would make me quite excited.  I love talking about books (I am kind of hit or miss about reviewing them, sadly) and exchanging book recommendations.  However, today, I was a little dismayed (I think that is the word) because that page is empty.  I deleted all of 2017’s books and mini book reviews a couple of days after the New Year started.  Clean slate and all that.  Since I don’t start commuting again until next week, that page is still blank.  I haven’t read anything–well nothing besides blogs, newspaper and magazine articles, and the backs of hockey cards.  I have had nothing to put there.

No harm no foul, right? Actually, now I feel kind of bad.  I feel like I let that person down.  I have no idea what they were expecting when they clicked on that link, but I feel like I missed an opportunity to talk about books, authors, the publishing industry…who knows.

Actually, the thing is, I was seriously considering deleting that page completely. Partly because I think it is time for a bit of a refresh on the blog, but also because it hasn’t been seen or commented on lately.  I am thinking  that maybe I would be better off assigning that information to my Good Reads profile.  Some bloggers seem to really like that.  It kind of left me lukewarm, but perhaps I should give it another chance..

 

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Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, blog, blogging, blogposts, books, comic books, reading, statistics, stats | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walking Tour Possibilities

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Without the internet, we wouldn’t have this blog and we wouldn’t have email. It is truly fantastic.  However, when it gets right down to it, there is something special about regular snail mail.  There is something awesome about opening that mailbox that opening an email cannot possibly hope to replicate.  People throw around words like visceral and tactile, sometimes without even checking a dictionary, but I think they apply.

Today, I checked my mailbox, not expecting anything; not even a wayward package from Amazon. I was greeted by a catalogue of walking tours for the big wide world.  I am only faintly aware of having asked for this.  I must have clicked a box when I requested a cycling tour catalogue.  I probably didn’t even need a catalogue as all of this information is probably available on their website.  I may not have wanted it deeply, but I am rather curious now that it has arrived.

Prior to last year, I always pictured a holiday as getting on a plane, maybe having booked some accommodations, maybe having done some research reading a Lonely Planet guide or two, and wandering around on my own. That I didn’t have anyone to do that with wasn’t a complete stumbling block, but it did get me thinking. Prior to last year, joining a tour of any kind didn’t seem like a good idea.

Last year was a bit of a watershed. I took two cycling tours and had fantastic times.  So now I am thinking that a walking tour might be a good idea.  My legs might have other ideas–certainly my blocked artery would complain.  As for me, I am kind of curious.

A quick glance through the book indicates that walking days have various distances and degrees of difficulty. Based on a quick glance at the photographs, some uphill climbs are obviously part of this.

I haven’t had time to really get in-depth with all this, but at least my mind is churning. Like the new year, Now I’ve got some possibilities to consider.  I’ve got research to do, and it is nice to have something to focus on

What’s rattling around in my head? In no particular order:

  • Maybe I should join a hiking club in my area.
  • Are there hiking clubs in my area?
  • I would probably need new hiking boots…and maybe those ski pole like things.
  • How many kilometres would be too many?
  • Would I have to carry all my stuff or would there be van like on the cycling trips?
  • Would people want to talk and walk or would it be a silent affair?
  • Would I need to drink sports drinks or a big coffee thermos?
  • Those pictures do indeed look awesome.
  • How much gear would I need to buy?
  • Are walkers competitive?
  • Where should I go?

These are just some of the things I am thinking about. I didn’t even put the off topic stuff that is also rattling around in my head.  (Trying to remember the speed of light for example)

Actually, the last question is the most important.  Where would you recommend going walking/hiking?  This is something I have never contemplated before.  Any help would be amazing and appreciated.

I would also love to know if you have had any walking tour experience. There must be some long distance hikers out there.

You’re probably wondering where the Perfect Moment in this is.  Having my eyes opened up to new possibilities, new inspirations, and new ideas is always Perfect.

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, catalogue, Exodus, Exodus Travels, hiking, inspiration, inspiring, travel, walking | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Three Words, Backed by Action, Could Change Everything

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I’ve made resolutions in the past and sometimes kept them. I’ve made lists of accomplishments that I wanted to do, and met some of them.  However, I was often more preoccupied with the failures and this didn’t really seem like the right way to go about it. I read PedalWorks post on not making New Year’s Resolutions and it struck me as a good idea.

PedalWorks got the idea from a filmmaker (read the blog here) to select one word or phrase to summarize or categorize what you want to accomplish in the new year. He called it his mantra.  It sounded like a better idea than making resolutions, so I have adopted it for this year.

For 2018, I have chosen three words.

Better, Bolder, Active

Better

I want to do everything better. I want to eat better, live better, write better, deal with things better.  I want better things in my life.  Of course, this means putting in some actual effort.  It isn’t magically going to happen (sadly) but I think the results will be worth it.

Bolder

I want to take more chances. I want to be braver.  This is not just for my love life, but for my writing, my work, and the diversions I choose to engage in.  Bolder financial decisions might also be a good idea.

Active

I want to do more things. I want to explore.  I want to try.  I want to see what’s out there.  I want do the things I have been talking about doing. Despite the obvious need for the gym, this is meant to be more than that.  I am hoping it will mean more doing and less thinking.  It am hoping it will mean choosing engaging rather than being passive.

In truth, I think, 2017 was a lot like that.  While it had its challenges, 2017 also had its triumphs.  That being said, I don’t want a mere continuation.  I want 2018 to be even better, bolder and active.

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, blogging, Happy New Year, love, making money, money, New Year's Resolutions, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

So That’s It for 2017

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Around this time, people are either summing up last year, or thinking ahead to the new year. If I am actually being honest, most people summed up last year by the stroke of midnight last night.  Kudos to them.  I thought about it, but couldn’t come up with anything.  That’s why I am writing now.  I am hoping the words will magically appear in my head or my typing fingers.

Maybe this will do the trick. If I had to pick words to describe last year, they would be as follows.

Traveler

When I started my Japan adventure so many years ago, I thought I would be a rootless traveler.  I thought I would spend a couple of years in a place and then move on to another place.  I did managed to visit a several other countries and see some amazing things.  This desire never died, but somehow it hid itself in the mundaneness  of real life and those allegedly real life goals.

This year, I rekindled my love of travel. I took two significant trips and enjoyed them thoroughly.  I cycled over some beautiful landscapes, tried some new food, and saw things in person that amazed.  I came back with a smile on my face that took work a long time to grind out of me.

Adversity

This past year threw up lots of adversity. I won’t call them roadblocks because they didn’t stop me.  I don’t know if I am stronger for it, but I am definitely surer of myself and recognize that being selfish is sometimes important.  I didn’t manage to always look out for myself, but I definitely learned an important lesson.  This doesn’t mean not helping other people, but means remembering to help yourself as well.

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Doing

I got tired of people talking, making plans, and then not doing anything. In my head I was shouting at them, but realized that I could have been shouting at myself.  I won’t lie and say I did everything I planned to do, but I would judge this year as being better than others in this regard.  Yes, the house could be neater.  Yes, I could be thinner and have gone to the gym more.  Yes, I could have marked those student papers faster.  It would be easy to pick the things I didn’t managed to do, but instead I did complete some tasks.  I blogged more.   I read more.  I worked harder.  I enjoyed more.  I laughed more.  I was more positive.  I listened more.  I noticed more.  I lived more.

……….So that’s 2017 done and dusted.

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, beverages, bicycles, blog, blogging, blogposts, cycling, drinks, food, Happy New Year | 6 Comments

Spreading the Word

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Being Awarded the Liebster Award

It has been a while since I have participated in these blogging based awards. That is true if you don’t count my attempt to create my own award.  Sadly, that effort fell flat on its face.  It is rather sad because I think that one had a lot of potential to spread joy in the world.

I was nominated for this award by the Cheeky Cyclist. Thank you for this, and thank you for your kind words.  I hope my blog is interesting, or inspiring, or something….

The Rules of Accepting The Liebster Award:

The Liebster Award is an award that dates back as early as 2011 and exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by bloggers, whose work they find interesting, to motivate them, and to promote them. Liebster is a word with German origins and has several meanings: dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

The instructions of accepting the award and passing it on:

  • Create a new blog post on your blog thanking the person that nominated you, link to their blog and put in a graphic of the award.
  • Answer the questions that were provided, and then share some facts about yourself.
  • Create a new set of your own questions for others to answer.
  • Nominate 5-11 others and share your blog post with them so they can accept their awards

Answering the Questions

  1. Why did you start blogging?

This is kind of a tough question. I have conflicting memories of this.  I want to be a professional writer, but procrastinate writing.  I guess I thought writing a blog would exercise those muscles.  I also had dreams of striking it rich with a blog that was super popular and generated a lot of income.  I started a blog on hobbies, but it never really got a following.  I imported it to WordPress and I continue to write it, but not as frequently as I should. The first post is still one of the best edited pieces I have written.

I started a blog to teach my students some more things about English. Some of them appreciated it, but I had to go on facebook and nag them to read it all the time.  I started a blog to rant about the injustices of the world.  While it was satisfying in a cathartic kind of way, it didn’t spur a lot of discussion or reaction. Both of these were on other platforms.

When I came to WP, I wanted to write something new. I also wanted to feel more positive about things.  I wasn’t depressed, but I was unhappy.  Self help books didn’t help.  My friends were full of positive comments that seemed to lift me out of my stubborn funk.  I reasoned if that worked, thinking about positive things every day would be a good idea.  Since I usually wrote the blog before going to sleep, it was nice to have something positive in my head before sleeping.  It definitely made for better dreams.

Unlike the hobby blog, this one has grown. I have about a thousand views a month and a decent bunch of followers.  I would still like more comments and questions, but that will happen over time.

I continue to blog because of the positive response I have received.

  1. How do you get inspiration to create your blog posts?

When I started, I had to go back over the day and find something positive. That wasn’t easy in the beginning, but has gotten much easier.  Also, since my creative muscles have been exercised, it is less difficult to find inspiring things….or at least things I want to write about.

The blog has evolved. Some days, it isn’t about positive moments, but rather moments I want to capture.  Sometimes, I want to reflect on a moment, even if it wasn’t the most positive part of my day (meeting attractive women, but not talking to them or asking them out comes to mind).

Sometimes, I don’t know where it comes from. I find sentences, phrases, or single words in my head and I just want to play with them.  Sometimes, I see something, and I want to write about it.  Sometimes, I hope to inspire someone.  Sometimes, I hope to provoke someone.  Sometimes, a little voice inside my head says write about it.

  1. What is your favorite dessert that everyone should try?

My grandmother use to make palachinka (I never asked her how to spell it, so I write it to phonetically sound like she pronounced it). These were thin pancakes (crepes I guess) filled with a dry cottage cheese and sugar.  When they were warm, they were fantastic.  Like much of her cooking, we never learned to make any of it, and now we are worse off for it.  Perhaps there is a Donaushwaben cookbook out there, and one day I will be able to make some of them.

  1. What is your favorite memory?

I cherish all my memories. In fact, most people would accuse me of living in the past.  Perhaps they are right.

  1. What is your favorite book or series and why?

Robert B. Parker’s Spenser is a good one. Butcher’s Dresden Books are also awesome.  Connelly’s Bosch series is awesome too.  I read a lot, so I could never just pick one series.  If I had to pick a favourite book, I would probably choose Waterland by Graham Swift, or A Prayer for Owen Meany by Irving.

  1. What is your favorite way to prepare an egg?

I like it when I am at a breakfast buffet and they make me an omelette. On my last two cycling trips, I ate an omelette almost every day.  That was fantastic.

  1. Where do you want to travel most, but you’ve never been?

I suspect that this is Chile.  It is such a fascinating place.  I’ve had quite a few students from Chile, and I liked them all.

  1. What is your top blogging tip for others?

Comment on other people’s blogs. Open up the conversation.  Liking a blogpost is great, but it isn’t feedback.  I have met some remarkable people on this platform, and I hope to meet more of them.

  1. What is your spirit animal?

I pick the Thunderbird?  Actually, I am not entirely clear on what a spirit animal is.

  1. What is your favorite post that you have written? (Link please!)

My favourite posts probably are ones, like I mentioned above, of beautiful people I have met, or at least crossed paths with, that I have never seen again. Having written 600 posts, It is difficult to choose one.  Of those 600 posts, these stand out to me.

The Woman Who Loved Chopin

Ghost Blue Eyes

All The Colours of Red You Know

Black  Lipstick

Anime Eyes

My nominees

I could nominate a lot of people, but I have selected some of my newer discoveries.  These people deserve more followers and more views.

Sarah Warsi

Relentlessly optimistic, Sarah is someone who is doing her best to change the world.  Her voice should be heard.

rootchopper

This person has had a bit of a rollercoaster ride as of late and I think a bunch of views and comments would be very helpful.

BookNerdTravels

A new voice that should be encouraged.

Three Kids and a Backpack Travels

Imagine traveling in southeast Asia with three kids.  It will definitely be an unforgettable experience.

PetiteActivist

Small but powerful.  I find her writing to be honest and brave.

My Questions

  1. If you could have dinner with one famous person, who would it be? You don’t have to cook it, but you do have to supply some of the conversation.
  2. What book can you read more than one time?
  3. What toy from your childhood do you remember as being fabulous?
  4. How and where do you drink your coffee or tea?
  5. What would people from your high school be surprised to know about you now?
  6. If you had your own music band, what would you be called?
  7. Which movie character most resembles you? (not physically, but from a character standpoint)
  8. If you could have a double cone right now, what two flavours would you like?
  9. What language would you like to speak that you don’t already?
  10. What genre of book would you like to publish?

 

 

Posted in accomplishment, adventure, adversity, advice, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, award, blog, blogging, blogposts, followers, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

White Christmas

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It would seem we are going to have a white Christmas. From the depths of my closet, I have dug out my boots, my gloves, my scarf, and my toque.

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Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, clothes, snow, weather, winter | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

An Award Update and Encouragement

spirit award

I just wanted to do two things.

  1. Thank everyone for their positive comments on the Promotion of Positive Spirit Award.  I want to especially thank Quinn, who selflessly created a fantastic graphic that you can now post on your site.  In recognition, please check out her blog.
  2. I also wanted to encourage more people to actually answer the questions, and leave comments in the comment section to let people know that you’ve done it.  I think a bit of positivity would go a long way and I want all of you to do your best in encouraging other to be positive and giving them positive comments.

Thank you.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, award, encouragement, positive comments | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Promotion of Positive Spirit Award Created–A Challenge To All Of You

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I am not sure how this fits the theme, I just liked the picture.

 

I was reading another blog where the person asked her friends and family to comment on her. The people responded with a slew of positive words and phrases to describe her.  She then realized that no one is harder on anyone than they are on themselves.  This I think is true.

I have known for some time that I am very much like this. My friends and family are often there to tell me positive things, and while I am grateful, I don’t often fully absorb these things.  I have stopped deflecting (what I thought of as being humble) and now say thank you.  However, I don’t always absorb these compliments and fully take them on board.

Since this blog was created to make me feel better about myself (and has largely succeeded) I want to spread it about. So, I am creating the Promotion of Positive Spirit Award.
Thank you to Quinn for her awesome graphic skills in making this.  Please check out her awesome blog.

 

spirit award

How it will work is that I challenge all of you reading this to answer the following questions about yourself. As you can see by my responses, I don’t want this to be a labour intense kind of thing.  Short and sweet, but definitely positive.

  1. Write three positive adjectives about yourself or your three best characteristics
  2. Write three positive things you have done this year.
  3. Write three things you’ve become better at/three ways you’ve grown.
  4. Write three things that make you feel positive/happy.
  5. Ask your readers/followers to write positive comments about you in the comments section.

Feel free to tag your friends and encourage them to answer.  Feel free to post the image on your blog.

1 Positive adjectives about myself

funny, intelligent, good listener

2 Positive things I have done this year

I’ve traveled to foreign countries to experience new cultures

I’ve remained calm when in a slow checkout lane with a cashier in training

I’ve remained positive despite health issues

3 Ways I’ve grown

I’ve learned to accept compliments without deflecting

I’ve learned to give compliments to those deserving

I am less stressed about money.

4 Things that make me happy

The smell of coffee being made

My bike weeks spinning fast across a smooth road

The crunch of snow underfoot.

5 Appeal to Readers

Any of readers of this blog, whether you are a regular reader or you just happened across this blog, whether you know me or feel like you know me through reading my blog, I invite you to say something positive about me or this blog.  Thank you in advance.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, award, blog, blogging, blogposts, challenges, positive comments, tags | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Vacation Beer

Whenever I travel, I try and sample the local brew.  I am not here to review it, but rather show you a collection of pictures.  It isn’t fair to review vacation beer because it always tastes better than regular beer–don’t even get me started on stress beer, celebration beer, birthday beer….

I have not included any beer from Vietnam because I didn’t sample anything new this time around.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, beer, beverages, Cambodia, photography, Thailand | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Waiting In My Mailbox

I just got back. The laundry is in a pile, the bags are rudimentarily unpacked (i.e. clean stuff is scattered about on one side of the bed), the effects of lack of sleep have largely abated, my cat has acknowledged my return, and my photos are downloaded to my computer.

When I left my companions, most of them said that they weren’t planning their next vacation to be a cycling trip. Of course they are British, so they said things like, “I’ll not be on another cycling holiday soon.”

I didn’t make any pronouncements. Whether or not I take another cycling holiday really comes down to health and fitness.  If the leg feels better and I can cycling without terrible foot cramps, I would love to take another cycling holiday.  Of course, money is another issue entirely.

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Call it fate, call it coincidence, call it whatever you want, but I checked the mailbox on the day I arrived home and the catalogue for Exodus’ cycling trips for 2018 was waiting for me.

Call it vacation mentality, but whenever I get back from a vacation, I am supercharged to keep going. I want to take another vacation.  I want to keep up the momentum.  A body in motion wants to stay in motion, a body at rests, wants to stay at rest.

Laos is looking pretty good. Costa Rica is looking good, Chile and Argentina are looking amazing…..I could basically say they all look good.

The bags are rudimentarily unpacked. If I did my laundry, they could be repacked rather quickly….

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, cycling, Exodus, Exodus Travels, mail, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments