Category Archives: Blogging Highs and Lows

Stuff from my blog that makes me say “Yay” or makes me sigh and turn off the computer for a while.

Security Alerts and Scammers

Last year I wrote three articles on this site. In 2015, I also barely wrote three articles.

So even though I LOVE what I’ve created on this site, I know it has been stagnant.

So imagine my dismay when I began receiving messages from a website security company. There was a scan on my account and a security alert went off.  There have been over 11+ messages, same guy, just different variations of the message.

Bottom line:  I need to call him immediately to make sure we get things resolved so that there is no disruption in service.

The messages sound serious and scary.

But, rather than call back, my first instinct is to google:

xxxx website security company scam

Terrible stories…scam…fraud…malware extortion…people spending hundreds of dollars…sites closed down!!!

But you can’t always trust the internet. So I texted my brother, who knows all computer things. “SCAM” was his reply.

But how do I stop the calls?  Do I just call them back?  I don’t really know anything about website security.  They can tell me anything, and I won’t know if it’s true or false.  All I know is that I cannot spend any more money on a website where I’m only eking out THREE posts a year.

I don’t sell anything here.  There are no pop-up ads or links to buy anything.  I am just a writer, “trying to make my way to the next stop.” (p.s. I’m still working on that “by line”)

It’s so hard to tell what’s a scam and what’s real.

Is website security as serious as when the IRS left me three phone messages informing me that they were filing a lawsuit against me?

Last week, I got two emergency messages saying, “this is from Windows Microsoft your windows license key has been expired all services has been suspended on your computer.”  Seriously, there were no pauses, just one run-on sentence.

If somehow my lack of action to this security alert really does ruin this website, then I’m going to take it as the final sign from God that this wasn’t for me.

But let’s see where this goes.  I’ll continue to research this thing.

Any thoughts on how to proceed?

2 Things I Learned My 2nd Year (Not) Blogging

I have not posted an article in almost one year.

At first I was actively participating in a group for bloggers and sticking to a writing schedule. But I just couldn’t seem to write an article “good enough” for me. Group members were writing about surviving cancer, starting businesses, and saving the world. How could I share a post about the struggles of cleaning my basement?

I wasn’t really having any success with the things I wanted to write about. As an aspiring minimalist, I was struggling with the second layer of stuff to toss. As a gardener, I lost my enthusiasm when I found cat poo in the soil of my vegetable garden. And even though I really enjoyed running those 5K races, I did not have fun training and putting in the work.

As the weeks turned to months, I began to think maybe my website was just another phase. I didn’t like anything I was writing. Documenting my failures seemed too whiny. Writing about success seemed as unrealistic as posting only gorgeous selfies. And so I didn’t post at all.

I recently got an email reminding me that the renewal fee for my domain name was due. Did I really want to keep up this blog? After a lot of back and forth, I’ve decided to try for another year.

Here are the 2 things I learned (not) blogging this year:

  1. My fear is paralyzing. Is it a fear of failure or success?  Whatever…I have to find a way to move past it and just write. I will post and if you like it, tell me. If you don’t like it, tell me why not and offer advice on how to improve. I would love to hear either way.
  2. This is MY blog. Why am I so stressed? No one pays me to do this.  I have full creative control. I want to write good articles and establish a relationship with my readers, but it should be fun. It’s not that serious. So I will try to just write.

So, I’m back!  I’d love to hear from my readers who have stuck around.  Tell me, what’s new?

3 Things I Learned My First Year Blogging

To celebrate this blog’s 1st birthday, I’ve put together a list of the three things I learned my first year blogging.

1. I love working in my garden. YES, I stress out about what to plant, when to plant, and what bugs might eat the plants…BUT, I also love sketching new plans in my marble notebook, seeing buds peep out from the soil, harvesting lettuce for a salad, and sharing my “crops” with my sister. Starting my garden last Spring took a lot of time, but the whole process was so rewarding. I learned I really love to garden.

These first daffodils of 2015 peek out, despite the snow flurries today.  Spring must be near!
These first daffodils of 2015 peek out, despite the snow flurries today. Spring must be near!

2. I love trying to be a minimalist.  My house is filled with 16 years of stuff that I’ve bought, saved, or inherited. This past year, I started small with my closet. From there, I shredded old bills, letters, and kids’ school paperwork from several years. I’ve thrown away most of the “one-day-I’ll-fix-this” junk in my garage. My basement and garage are still filled, but it’s easier deciding what to toss. More importantly, I avoid bringing new junk into the house. I hope to show you the progress I make with my basement this summer.

3. I love taking time for myself again. When the kids were younger, I read their books, watched their shows, and planned their activities. Now that they are more independent, I love spending time on me. Cliché, I know.  But it’s really fun. I read (and finish) books. I watch scary or adult shows. We’re busier than ever, but now I feel good about making time for myself…and I feel healthy.

So…would I have done all of this anyway, without a blog? Possibly. But writing about my projects motivates me to actually follow through with them.

With each post, I get braver. This blog is scary to maintain. I easily talk myself out of new posts. There’s always that voice that whispers, “who cares???” I am constantly worried that something will crash and that the blog will just vanish into thin air.

But still, here we are, one year later.

As the blog grows, I will share better photos — thanks to the things I will learn from a photography class I’m taking.

Bojangles (March 2015) - the photography teacher says to get down to the level of my subject.
Bojangles (March 2015) – the photography teacher says to get down to the level of my subject.

I will also try to improve my writing using the tools that I’ve learned from this mini-course called, “Define Your Blog Voice,” by Daniela Uslan.  It’s quite a leap for me to join a facebook group and get feedback from strangers.

A special shout out goes to my sister, mom, husband, and kids who indulge me by reading and commenting on all my posts. I am also thankful for my readers who occasionally drop in to say hello.

Happy Birthday to! Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts with me!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to my readers!

It’s too late to write a post about how I struggled with minimalism and shopping for gifts. I wanted to write about my favorite ornaments and the stories that go along with them. And of course there’s a “year in review” draft sitting here, too.

But, as I wait for my coconut custard pie to come out of the oven, I know there is no time for any of that.

The new year always brings hope and excitement of what is still to come. Thanks for still hanging around.

Wishing you all a happy new year filled with blessings, peace, and joy!


First Rejection

I got my first rejection email for a press badge for New York Comic Con.  An excerpt from the email reads:

“Due to the growth of the Show and demand for tickets, NYCC relies on a more intensive application process for qualifying members of the Press. We are sorry to report your application cannot be approved after this more sensitive screening.”

Even though I knew my application was a long shot, I was surprised at how disappointed I was when I read the email.

A few weeks ago, when I was feeling really good about the posts I was writing, I began dreaming big.  Imagine if, as a blogger, I could get press passes to events.  This could eventually lead to a two-minute interview with Prince at his next concert tour.  Dream big or go home, right?

Can bloggers, who want to write about special events, get press passes?  The application seemed easy enough (three links to my writing samples).  Shame on me for thinking 25 posts about my garden and failed-workouts would get me into the largest comic convention in the world.

My initial reaction was to close up this blog and never write again.  A month later, I’m thinking this could be the turning point (like the training scene in movies), where I start banging out weekly posts to get some real writing credibility.

Perhaps I should take a refresher course in writing or join a writers’ group?  Maybe I should actually go to an event and actually write about it?  Did I really think writing would be so easy?

I can feel this blog slowly coming to a halt.  My 30-Day Ab Challenge was almost done, but I didn’t finish.  The 100HappyDays Instagram project is way past its finish date, but I’m still on Day 93.  But, at least my garden is producing delicious produce.  Today, my first sunflower is in full bloom.

First sunflower of the summer.
First sunflower of the summer.

Not really sure where to go from here.  Summer makes it so easy to put everything off until the Fall.  But I knew I had to get this post out, just to get back on track.

After a setback, how do you get back on track?  Share with us your success stories 🙂




Blog Status

Captain Compost has nothing to report.

As much as I love this name given to me by one of my favorite readers, I feel I haven’t earned it.  My compost bin just sits there.  I think it’s working–it doesn’t stink and isn’t slimy–but there’s just nothing to report.

When I first started this blog, I had plans to post twice a week.  I bought a new binder and filled it with schedules and possible post ideas.  Seven weeks later, I’m questioning if I can really keep these posts interesting.

My projects will take time.  As much as I would love to embrace this whole minimalist movement, I really am having a hard time throwing out my junk and buying less stuff.

I’d love to start my new “raised garden” project but there’s heavy lifting involved and not many strong backs around here…so now I have to add delivery costs to my budget and the project starts getting tricky-er.

I don’t want to keep writing about the things I’m NOT doing.   Eventually even my devoted mom will stop reading.  At the same time, I don’t want give up just because things are getting uncomfortable.

So, I’ll keep working on these projects until I can share with you my progress.

In the meantime, I’m also going to try to learn more about blogging. There’s just so much information out there.   I’ve downloaded a course by Courtney Carver called “Zero to 100: a Microcourse for Beginning Bloggers,” and Becca Ludlum’s book “Everything But the Posts.”

I’m determined to get better at this.  How do you handle slow moving projects?  How do you stay motivated?





Not found

NOT FOUND – It looks like nothing was found at this location. Maybe try a search?

That’s the error message I’ve been getting all morning.

Do I call my computer genius big brother to quickly bail me out?  I read somewhere that’s like asking a dentist friend to quickly give me a root canal.  My writer/director friend, Patrick, once posted on fb that he hated it when people asked him to quickly “read their scripts.”

So what now?  Do I deactivate this blog and call it a day?  Go finish the laundry?  Walk the dog?  Empty the dishwasher?  Find my pile of almost-due bills?  Cook dinner? These are all the things I’ve neglected today, while trying to solve this problem.

Did I check the FAQs on the WordPress sites?  Of course.  They lose me as soon as they start talking about FTPs and Permalinks and deleting and re-installing plugins.  Huh?

So bear with me as I figure this out…or help me come up with a way to sweet talk my brother…OR if by some blogging magic you see a “Tell me something good” box at the end of this post, then please tell me how to fix this thing!

**UPDATE:  Since I only had 6 posts written, I just decided to cut and paste them to new posts and magically, they’re fixed.  I don’t know how or why…but I found all the posts.  Yay Me!