One year old today

A year ago I posted my first blog. This little milestone is particularly meaningful to me because this has been the most challenging year of my life. I’d never thought about blogging until October of last year, and within a couple of weeks of deciding to try it, I was up and going.

20111025-200343.jpg There are a number of sites that offer free blog hosting, with a variety of support and features built into the programming. I use, but this is only one of many options. The point is, you too could start a blog. You can write about anything, as often as you want. You can spend a lot to add bells and whistles, or pay no money at all and still create a site with a professional appearance.

Blogging can be a digital diary, but it can also be much more. I’d be willing to bet that there’s no subject you could name that doesn’t have at least one blog devoted to it. There are photo blogs, list blogs, aggregate blogs. Endless variety!

My goal this next year is to migrate my blog to, the sibling of The .org platform requires more user knowledge, and you pay a fee for a web hosting service. But the .org platform offers other possibilities, and I’m ready to explore the next steps.

I also want to attend a blog trade show. I know, I know, there’s a lot of noise and chatter at these types of events. But I don’t know what I don’t know, and I think it would be entertaining, at least, and possibly instructive, to see what exists in the blogosphere that I haven’t stumbled across yet. I’m pretty sure there’s enough to fill a convention hall or two. My usual method of discovery, accidentally tripping over something online, typically while looking for something totally unrelated to my real find, is just not efficient.

I don’t have a clear plan in mind for “next.” Mostly, I’m just curious about what I can do. The reality is that this little blog has played an important role in my life, giving me a positive and energizing outlet during a time that has otherwise felt more than a little daunting. I think I’ve rounded the corner on that, moving from fear to excitement. Oh, it’s good to reinvent myself in some ways at this stage of life!

But this is not about celebrating me. This is about celebrating new. Celebrating learning and joy.

I’ve known for a long time that I’m not a pioneer at heart in a physical sense. I would never have made it crossing the plains on a wagon train. I have no interest in going to the moon, or exploring the ocean depths. But the digital world?! Yes! See you out there!

Thoughts for a Thursday

So I told you about my new favorite site, Pinterest? It is wonderful! One of my favorite things about the site is that everything you see is shown as an image, so you can literally see at a glance if the posted item is of interest, raises your curiosity, starts your taste buds watering, or brings a smile to your face. The site showcases the items “pinned” to virtual bulletin boards by site members. The whole thing is free, fun, and a great way to collect ideas, quotes, inspiration, recipes…whatever you’re looking for. I highly recommend it as the most fun way to stash “next” ideas!

So for today, a few fun quotes, gathered from the bounty available through Pinterest:

A smile is the most beautiful curve on a woman’s body.
We never really grow up. We only learn how to act in public.
Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.
Go the extra mile. It’s never crowded.
Dear Math, I am not a therapist. Solve your own problems.
Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. {J.K. Rowling}
May the bridges I burn light the way.

Check it out for yourself! Enjoy!

With a capital “N”

The subject for today, ladies and gentlemen, is passwords. I’ve grown quite a list over the years, and as long as I have my trusty planner in hand, I’m good. That’s where I keep my log of who’s who, and who I am on each site I frequent. I can see changes in pets, addresses, vacation sites, and a few other patterns when I look at my login history.

Have you had a password rejected because it’s not secure enough? I love to see the little gauge showing that my selected password is strong. I get miffed when my choice is rebuffed as weak, and even more miffed if I have to change it or add to it. I particularly hate having to put numbers or characters in my passwords. At work, there’s this really annoying requirement that you change your password every couple of months, and you can’t just bounce between the same two words, switiching back and forth. There are also layers of passwords. There’s the login combination to get into the system initially, then to get into some specific programs, there’s another login required, another user id and password to remember. Did I mention this is annoying?

Like a lot of people, I recycle my choices. If you ever crack one of my accounts open, you’ll have the key to about 95% of my logins. But that’s just a risk I’ll have to take. At least I’m down to four or five combinations. If I can’t remember what I used, there’s a good chance I’ll figure it out before I get locked out for multiple failed attempts.

My husband calls to me from the living room. I’m deep in kitchen world, mixing up banana bread. He needs to know my password for a website. I tell him it’s one of our pet names. I wait. I know what comes next. “Is that with a capital ‘N’?” Yes. The answer is yes. Unless a site won’t allow capitals, I always use them if I’m creating a password from a name.

I know what comes next. Why do I make it hard on myself? Who uses capitals in passwords? Sorry, can’t help it. It’s like writing an email and not using punctuation. I have these things built into my head, and they won’t leave me alone. If I type a name, it’s going to be capitalized. You’d think by now he would know that. Hey, I figure if I’m one of the few people using capitals, it adds to my online security.

Well, security can be over-rated. I don’t always have my planner with me, and if my login is too secure, I’ll have to go through the whole “forgot my password” game…log in, admit that I lost or forgot or gave away this VERY IMPORTANT PIECE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION, and then wait to get the reset link emailed. And then reset myself, which I already know is going to be a variation on the theme I’ve had established for some years now…so really, do we have to go through all of that? Can’t we just all click a button in the registration process that swears us to absolute best behavior when browsing internet sites? Really, is there anyone out there so bored with their own life that they need to see my buying history or my bank account? (Neither is interesting, trust me on this.)

But no, even though credit card companies promise to make it easy on the customer if ever someone illegally lifts someone else’s card number and goes on a spending spree, we’re still scared. So we all have passords, logins, etc., etc., etc., to protect us online. Problem is, sometimes I’m the one that’s kept out, inconvenienced, irritated, frustrated, and finally, embarrassed if I have to acknowledge to another human being out there in support world that I can’t remember my password, or, even more shocking, was careless with it!

At work, there’s a little reminder message that pops up when I’m in a secure program. It reminds me to NEVER share my login information with anyone. As if! Someone is waiting to haul me to JAIL if I do that. I work in a hospital, and patient records are right up there with sacred writings. I might give up my personal information with the right persuasion. But you’re not going to pry the work goods out of me.

Passwords…private, deeply personal, a reflection of what’s important to us…or what we can remember from day to day…humorous, playful, random, repetitive, bizarre…well, mine begin with capitals, whatever else they may be. Just remember that, if you’re every trying to crack my code.