7th blogiversary!

WordPress has helpfully reminded me that today is my seventh blogiversary!

Sending out a big THANK YOU to all my readers, including my 1,400 followers!

Okay, it’s time to calm down and not end every sentence with an exclamation point.

Over these past seven years, I have published 1,383 posts and had over 24,000 visitors from 119 countries. It boggles my mind. I hadn’t really thought about stats seven years ago when I started. Truth to tell, I don’t think about stats that often now, either, but I do appreciate sharing my thoughts with so many people around the world.

I also appreciate that I have been able to keep my blog eclectic. I knew starting out that the recommendation was to target a blog to a specific topic with a regular posting schedule and a plan to build followers, but I chose to take a path that fit my personality better. I have wide-ranging interests and like to be able to bring them up as they become “top of mind.” Circumstances have arisen that have had me writing more about my personal life than I had originally expected, but having an intentionally eclectic blog accommodated that.

For millions around the world, 2020 has been hard to navigate in terms of time. People’s schedules have been disrupted to such an extent that a week can simultaneously feel like forever and a flash. For me, most of the past seven years have been like that, as I’ve lived in a web of intergenerational health problems, moves, on-site and long-distance caretaking, and lots of unpredictability. I didn’t know seven years ago how important writing poetry would become in my life. I didn’t know that we would lose both my mother and mother-in-law. I didn’t know I’d now have two precious and faraway granddaughters.

Sometimes, in writing a post, I need to look back into my post archive to refresh my memory on when something occurred. In reading older posts, I am gratified to find that, in most cases, the writing has held up pretty well. You all have an open invitation to stroll through the posts from prior months and years. You might stumble across something that interests you.

I have never kept a diary or journal going for any length of time, so I am glad to have Top of JC’s Mind as a keepsake of these past seven years.

Which reminds me, I really need to figure out how to do a proper back-up…

Testing 1-2-3

So, here I am, trying out the new block editor, as promised here: SoCS: new editor . Not sure how to make the link show up with text I choose, but at least it is there.

I’ve tried reading some of the introductory articles, so I think this is a second paragraph blog, not just a continuation of the first block. Okay…

When I do my JC’s Confessions series, I start with a block quote, so I am trying out a block quote block. “Block quote block” is an awkward phrase…

So, when I finished that block, it defaulted back to paragraph block, which is nice because I’m sure I will use that the most.

Sometimes I use bullet points. Let’s see how that works.

  • Click on the black plus sign
  • Choose the List block
  • This is the default option, but I could number instead and I think change the indentation?

The other thing I do sometimes is insert images. Hmmm…what should I choose to try that out?

random picture of a strawberry rhubarb pie that B made star-spangled

Okay, it was a bit tricky to get out of my caption of the photo, but I managed to start a new paragraph block. Somehow, though, I lost my sidebar that had the category, tagging, and other post stuff….

Yay! I managed to get it back. It had gotten moved over to having info for just the block I was working on, but now I have gotten it back to Document mode.

While I’m sure this exploration of the basics of the block editor has been fascinating – not – I’m going to try to throw on some categories and tags and get it published.

Fingers crossed…

SoCS: new editor

Change is good.

Change is difficult.

Change is necessary.

Change is easier when you have a choice about it.

Obviously, many of us have made a lot of changes due to the pandemic, but this is not going to be another one of my pandemic posts. (Silent cheering.)

Instead, it is about being faced with WordPress retiring the classic editor in favor of the block editor. Those of you with newer blogs are probably already using it – and, I’m sure, many of the people with older blogs are, too.

I admit to not being especially tech-savvy, but I learned to use the classic editor well enough to be able to keep Top of JC’s Mind going for six years and counting. I admit that it has been frustrating at times, especially in getting poetry to format properly. White space is not a friend of the classic editor. I had to learn to add photos, but I tend to post text only most of the time. My brain processes words better than images and I don’t like having to think about copyright issues and such when I’m posting.

I did do a bit of experimenting with the block editor a few months back when I began to set up a new website for the Boiler House Poets Collective. [Note to self: Get the site public soon.] I found it very confusing, so I swapped back into the classic editor. “It” in the prior sentence meaning the block editor.

Yesterday, when I logged in to post about the first anniversary of my mom’s death, I was faced with the news that the current classic editor is being retired as of June 1 in favor of the ever-so-superior block editor. I was not in the mood to experiment at that point, although I did read the short article about it and opened a tab with a longer article for future reference.

Later in the day yesterday, I wrote a post scheduled for tomorrow, using the classic editor.

And here I am on Saturday morning, writing this post using the classic editor.

I’m promising myself to read more about the block editor later today. I’m really hoping I can learn to use it without a long and painful learning curve.

If push comes to shove, though, I do have the instructions to revert to something that is very close to the classic editor.

I’ll try not to wimp out and use it, though.

Promise.

Change is good. Right?
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is basing the post on a word beginning with ch. Join us! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2020/05/22/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-23-2020

2019-2020 SoCS Badge by Shelley!
https://www.quaintrevival.com/

missing notifications

For some reason, my WordPress notifications are refusing to load for the past few days. I’m trying to watch out for comments manually so I can reply. I’m sorry if I miss something. I’m hoping that, whether it is only a problem for me or whether it is more widespread, it will be back to normal soon.

Sixth Blogiversary!

(I enjoy the way spellcheck corrects my spelling of blogiversary, as though it were a real word.)

WordPress helpfully reminded me that I started Top of JC’s Mind six years ago today.

Six years ago feels like a different world, in ways both small- and large-scale.

Six years ago, B and I both still had our moms.

L and daughter E were in Hawai’i, still in their first year of marriage, never dreaming that the first two years of their daughter’s life would be spent at our home in upstate New York while L worked in London toward getting a spousal visa for E. The visa should be arriving soon. B and I will have an eerily quiet home when E and ABC leave at whatever point in the coming weeks…

During the last six years, daughter T has completed a master’s in conservation biology of plants – and has faced an administration that has ignored her field of study at a time when it is most needed.

Six years ago, Barack Obama was president of the United States. Even though the Republicans in Congress blocked a lot of things that would have been helpful for the country, we, at least, had a sense of pride in our nation on the world stage and an absence of scandal. With Donald Trump as president, there is a general sense of fear and apprehension and the United States has lost its leadership position; there seem to be multiple scandals every week.

Six years ago, we were fighting in New York for a ban on shale fracking. Amazingly enough, New York instituted a regulatory ban, which is still holding. Given that New York has just recently enacted the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, it would fly in the face of our climate goals to begin fracking, even under a future governor.

Meanwhile, the global climate situation is becoming more and more dire. While I was encouraged by the Paris climate accord, the time since has been difficult, with DT ready to pull the US out of the accord in November, 2020. Many states, cities, companies, and individuals have stepped up to continue working toward net zero carbon goals. Our family is doing its part by changing to LED lighting, increasing our insulation, buying panels in a community solar installation, and driving a fully electric Chevy Bolt and a plug-in hybrid Chrysler Pacifica.

Some things have stayed constant over these six years, though. I am grateful for my loving family and safe home, for a faith that remains despite challenges, for music and poetry, and for the opportunity to share my thoughts here.

My hope is that I will be able to continue writing – and that, at least, a few of you will continue to visit me here at Top of JC’s Mind.

stats and followers

I am mostly oblivious when it comes to my blog stats. It’s another of those things that I am supposed to keep track of but don’t. It’s also something that I should be methodically trying to grow, but I haven’t been paying attention to for months and months. I honestly don’t know if I will ever pay proper attention, concentrating on my writing instead of the searching, reading, commenting, and promotion it takes to accelerate growth of followers.

I did just happen to go to my stats page, though, and found that at the top it says I have 1,000 followers, which is my WordPress.com followers plus my email followers.

On my blog itself, it lists 1,168 followers because it adds in my Facebook and twitter followers, some of whom overlap with other categories.

Thank you to all my followers and all my readers. I appreciate your stopping by, whether it is occasional or on a regular basis, whether you comment or keep your thoughts to yourself. It humbles me to know that you think what I have to say is worth reading.

~ JC

SoCS: ellipsis

I am very fond of using ellipses.

(I resisted the urge to end the prior sentence/paragraph with one.)

I find myself using them quite a lot on comments on Facebook or here at WordPress. I like that they are more open-ended than periods, when I mean to be less conclusive or expect continuing discussion, although it doesn’t always work out that way.

I probably use them more often than is warranted for that purpose. I do sometimes still use them when I have left something out of a quote, as I was taught to do by Mrs. England in sophomore English class at Drury High School. And, yes, I did have an English teacher named Mrs. England…

(You know I had to put an ellipsis in this post!)
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week was the word “lip” or a word that contained lip. Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2019/04/12/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-13-19/

Why Top of JC’s Mind?

When I wrote about Just Jot It January on New Year’s Day, I said that I didn’t usually use the #JusJoJan prompts from Linda’s blog except for One-Liner Wednesdays and Stream of Consciousness Saturdays, but I decided to set aside what I had planned to post today in favor of Linda’s prompt, which was to write about your blog.

What blogger would ignore the chance to write about their own blog?

I started blogging after several friends suggested that I should. At the time, I was writing a lot of comments on articles about fracking as part of the fight against fracking in my home state of New York, our neighbor Pennsylvania, and in the US and around the world. I also would post on Facebook about a range of other topics, including feminism, progressive politics, and (also progressive) Catholicism. I knew I couldn’t contain myself to write about just one topic, so I decided to be eclectic and name my blog Top of JC’s Mind. I set up on WordPress in September 2013.

I am not particularly tech-savvy and hadn’t really studied blogging, so I didn’t know what I was doing at first. I learned a lot from Opinionated Man and through him, connected with our beloved Linda. While never one to obsess about stats, for a while, I managed to spend a considerable amount of time on blogging – writing my own posts, reading other blogs, and writing comments. I was slowly but steadily gaining followers and enjoyed reading a number of blogs on a regular basis.

Then, life happened and I wound up in maximum sandwich generation mode without much time or mind leftover for proper blogging etiquette.

While I have kept Top of JC’s Mind alive over these past many months, I haven’t been able to read or comment at anywhere near the rate that I used to. I am very grateful to the stalwarts who continue to visit Top of JC’s Mind, even though I only sporadically visit them.

Linda asked in her prompt for today if blogging had changed your life and I think it has. I have met and interacted with many people, both bloggers and commenters, that I would not have otherwise. It has also encouraged me to write more often and given me a platform for sharing poetry. I started blogging near the beginning of my re-engaging as a poet after not having written for decades, so the two writing disciplines have intertwined.

While I think that blogging has changed my life, my life has also changed my blogging. I didn’t think I would write so often about my family, but, because that is where a lot of my heart and time reside, I have written a lot about them here at Top of JC’s Mind and also in my poetry.

As the political and social divisions here in the United States have intensified over the last several years, I have tried to preserve my blog as a respectful place to exchange ideas. I don’t name-call or slam groups of people; I will, however, delete or edit comments that do because it is important to me to keep Top of JC’s Mind a civil space. I don’t delete comments if someone disagrees with me, but will dialogue in comments and use supporting links for backup, as needed, something I learned to do when I was writing commentary about fracking, renewable energy, and climate change. I admit that I get annoyed when people misunderstand science, misuse statistics, or deny facts and history, so I always try to be as accurate as possible with data and be clear when I am giving opinions.

See what happens when you invite a blogger to write about their blog? They go on and on…

Okay. Time to do categories and tags and hit publish before January 3rd turns into January 4th. Thanks, Linda, for the opportunity.
*****
Join us for Just Jot It January. Today’s pingback link is here: https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/02/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-3rd/
More information and prompts here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/31/what-is-just-jot-it-january-2019-rules/

1000 followers!

Today, I reached 1000 followers!

And, yes, usual caveats of how followers does not equal readers, and some people are counted twice if they follow by email or on WordPress and also like or follow my Facebook page, etc.

This does give me an opportunity to thank all the visitors to Top of JC’s Mind, whether you visit once or often, follower or not, commenter or not.

For the record, 1,023 posts since the first on September 13, 2013. I know many bloggers would find almost five years to reach 1000 followers unconscionably slow/lazy/unacceptable, but I am more shocked to have made it this far. I am not one to check stats very often. Or someone who has been able to blog the “right way.” While I have had periods of diligently reading, commenting, and following other blogs both for edification and to garner more readers myself, as life has gotten more complicated, I have had to concentrate on posting myself and haven’t even been able to do that as consistently as I would like.

All this makes me that much more appreciative of my readers, especially the handful that have reached out and told me that it is all okay, that they believe I am worth waiting for. So, I will keep blogging, however imperfectly, with your encouragement.

With thanks,
Joanne

blog problem – again

Well, the problem had righted itself and I was very happy – but now it has returned. Please use the previous and next buttons at the bottom of posts to navigate. I especially hope that people will visit my recent post 64th!

Top of JC's Mind

Hello, Friends! Just wanted to let you know that I am having a bit of a problem with posts showing up correctly. At the moment, when you go to the Posts listing, you may see just the most recent post or two, followed by a post from early March, skipping over several other posts. To access those posts, go to one of the posts listed and use the “previous” and “next” posts at the bottom of the page to be able to read the ones that aren’t listed. I’m in the midst of troubleshooting with WordPress to figure out what is going on, but wanted you to know that I haven’t fallen off the face of the blogging world quite as much as it seems when you click on Posts.

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