Discovered with 6 Ironic Twists!

Welcome new blog followers! I hope you’ll sit back, relax, and read how a surprising discovery was ironic in six twisted ways when one of my posts was featured on WordPress Discover.

Discover badge

Last week, while sipping coffee and checking my Twitter notifications, I noticed WordPress had tweeted my blog post, 18 Best Blog Tips: New Ways to Promote, Increase Traffic and More! It had been Discovered! The first thing out of my mouth, (second, after the coffee) was, “How ironic is that!” In more than one way. I’m cracking up as I write this.

I’ll get to the ironies, but first I want to thank WordPress editor, Ben Huberman for Discovering me! It has been such an honor. I may have gotten his attention through leaving this post in a Community Pool comment explaining one of the following ironies:

Irony #1.

One of my 18 Best Blog Tips is to try not to spend too much time on blog posts.

That post took hours and hours which turned into days.

Irony #2.

I wrote it for WordPress bloggers.

None of my followers saw it in the Reader. Which brings me to…

Irony #3.

18 Best Blog Tips also dove into mistakes I have made through six years of blogging. Here’s another one to add to the list.

I had upgraded my site to Business back in March, which allows me to use Google Analytics. That has been super interesting. I can check demographics and see which cities and countries are fans. Last week, London was my super fan city. Santa Monica (my beloved surfing spot), was the worst city in the world for viewing my blog. The US was the best country, but Israel was the worst. I have some work to do.

Mistakes were made.

Recently, I noticed I could start using plugins. My daughter, Courtney works in web analytics. She suggested I install Yoast to point out what I need to do for SEO. I attended a WordPress Meetup and was told installing Yoast would be easy and I could uninstall it if I didn’t like it.

When I arrived home, I shook while I pressed the Install button. Instead of getting the notification that it had worked, it said I wasn’t up to date with the basic WordPress Jetpack program. I had to call a Happiness Engineer, who rescued me and installed it. Whew!

The next day, when my scheduled story, A Day in London with Charles Dickens posted, it was to the sound of crickets. Of course, it was another one of those posts that took tons of time. It didn’t end up in the Reader for my followers. Bummer!! I contacted the Happiness Engineers and found out it was because I wrote and scheduled it before I installed the plugin. Apparently, the structure of the site changes after installing a plugin on a Business site.

 

For days, no one followed my blog. I asked my daughter to check her phone and the floating Follow button had disappeared. I had been warned but several other bloggers who use Yoast continued to have the happy little green floating Follow. Not me. Dang!

That was the deal breaker. New followers are more important to me than views from SEO. Someday, I’ll have books to roll out to them. I started blogging to build community.

Once again, Happiness Engineers to the rescue! Several of these angelic and patient computer geniuses jumped in to help over the next few days. My Chuck Dickens post returned to the Reader without likes but with all of its comments intact. Whew!

Irony #4.

I made the same mistake TWICE!

After working on 18 Best Blog Tips for several days, I scheduled it for the following week. It was written while I used Yoast. When it posted after uninstalling the plugin, it didn’t end up in the Reader, again. GAH!

Blog tips from six years of blogging. New ways to promote, increase traffic, grow community, and more.

Cue the sound of crickets.

Luckily, some of my followers click from their email. Fellow blogger, Words from Anneli helped me solve that.

I had written it for WordPress bloggers. Most would never see it. It was my six-year Blogoversary post!

Sharing it on social media made me feel better. When my friends reblogged it, their post appeared in search. That was a relief.

Then I remembered Ben Huberman’s Community Pool. He hosts this event through the Daily Post on Mondays. The next one is September 18th. Bloggers share posts, ask questions, or jump in and help others in the comments. I shared 18 Best Blog Tips and explained how it was written for them after six years of blogging but how it wasn’t seen in the Reader because of my Yoast fiasco.

Irony #5.

Which brings me to coffee splatters on my computer screen. After all the nervous perspiration and lots of tears, it got Discovered. WOW!

Irony #6.

The last time I was Freshly Pressed (the antiquated term for Discover), I was heading to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference for the weekend. The word got out that An Open Letter to My Boobs (an irreverent letter to my fake boobs after double boobectomies), had gone somewhat viral. Writers introduced me as The Boob Lady.

grabbing my boobs

This time, I was on my way to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Colorado Gold Conference. What were the chances? I became the Blog Lady. (Not as popular as boobs, by the way.)

So, good for me. Whoopie ding dong day.

How does this article help you?

  • Upgrading to a Business site with the ability to install plugins is perfect for a blogger who knows their way around the back end of websites or is willing to learn. You’re still a part of the WordPress community and have the interactive black bar at the top of your site. When I have books to sell, I may try plugins again. Like I said, the Happiness Engineers are super talented and are one click away. (It always amazes me how fast they are!) They hope to fix the Reader Search and make plugins easier and more compatible for Business sites and community bloggers like me.
  • I would highly recommend following the Daily Post. They have daily prompts and share helpful information for WordPress bloggers. Leave a link, once in a while, in the comments of Community Pool and be sure to help others. You might get noticed!
  • There’s an About option on the top right corner of the Discover page. This is where the editors describe what Discover is all about. Scroll down and you’ll see a form. You can fill it out to nominate other bloggers for Discover. I discovered that yesterday!

Thank you again, Ben, the Happiness Engineers, and my followers. It’s time to clean my computer screen and get back to writing books.

Have you ever won an award? Have you ever made any mistakes here on WordPress? Are you willing to experiment or are stories like mine terrifying? Ha!

Click for more misadventures on the Wild Ride!

Related posts:

18 Best Blog Tips: New Ways to Promote Your Blog, Increase Traffic, and More!

An Open Letter To My Boobs

An Open Letter From My Boobs

An Open Letter to New WordPress Bloggers

 

A Gym Where Nobody Knows My Name

Chances are, you’ve been a member of a gym or fitness club sometime in your life. You probably made some friends and they helped motivate you to work out. What do you do when you burn out even though everyone knows your name?

My gym experience started in an auspicious way. I snuck into Vic Tanny – the first fitness chain in the US – a few times with a friend to use the hot tub for my notorious knee injury in the 80’s. One day, I got busted. I threw up my hands and signed up. Best thing I ever did. I’ve continued to belong to fitness clubs ever since. I joined the last one to meet others from my neighborhood. I played competitive tennis as a member until diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer and subsequent double boobectomies in 2013, but it was a partial knee replacement a year later that really slowed me down. I tried physical therapy, fitness classes, and yoga, but nothing made the impact I needed to get back into fighting shape.

Typical day in 2016:

“Come on, let’s go to class,” I said to myself.

“But I’m in the middle of writing,” myself countered.

“You’re always writing,” I said.

“In a minute.” I adjusted my focus back on the computer and another day passed.

In January, I set reasonable goals for myself. All are within my own control. Priority #1 is to become fit and strong once again. How would I accomplish my goals if I couldn’t motivate? After being a member for sixteen years, I needed a change.

My kids are members of 24 Hour Fitness, so I checked it out. I looked forward to a gym where nobody knows my name. It would be fun to start fresh and meet new people. Maybe I’d learn something new.

During a three day trial, I checked out a few classes including yoga. The gym filled with Boulderites. I rolled out my mat between a middle-aged woman who had a lot of plastic surgery and a cross-dresser complete with blond wig. I had found my people!

My membership came with a free hour of personal training. After a wicked session with TRX, (straps used by Navy Seals when stationed on ships), free weights, and dead lifts, my muscles groaned. But it felt good to wake up with sore muscles. I hadn’t considered weight training, but remembered hearing how it strengthens bone. My anti-cancer medication, Anastrozole, obliterates estrogen which is what my cancer ate, but also dissolves bone. I don’t want to become shrinky dinky because of skeletal fractures. That would not be good, at all. I’m short enough at 5’4″.

With the help of Brian, the fitness manager, and Sam, a personal trainer, I am officially locked and loaded with sessions bought through a package. Soon, they’ll set me loose to train on my own. Oh, wow… That’s coming up soon. Scheduling me for gym time started a new habit. Endorphin addiction will keep me going.

In the meantime, I’m learning all kinds of torture chamber methods to wake up my minuscule muscles. I trained today and can feel them crying out for mercy. They are total wimps and woosies.

“Pipe down,” I said to my whiny muscles, “You need to be exercised. It’s good for you! We can try new adventures again knowing that I won’t hurt myself because of your puniness.”

“All right. You don’t have to yell.”

I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, two people know my name at my new gym and that’s A-okay.

Clowning around at 24 Hour Fitness

Do you belong to a gym? Do people know your name? Are you a gym rat or a occasional user? I’m striving for the rat category.

When Destiny Packs Your Bags

ducks in a row

Doesn’t it always seem when you get your proverbial ducklings to trot single file, Destiny senses your achievement and watches like a lurking bully? Just as you hit your stride it jumps from the bushes and scatters them. Yup. Big D loves to mess with us. We can’t predict what life has in store for us, EVER!

“You think you’re in control of things? Ha!” says Big D, “You crack me up, Susie Lindau.” Destiny always has other plans in order to teach us life lessons.

This was the year I wanted to hunker down to finish projects, enter contests and get into super shape. Most important to me was to start a regular routine to balance my life and accomplish more in less time. Destiny buckled over it laughed so hard.

When my brother, Joe, died in March, shock pulled more than five weeks from my stellar equation to reach 2017’s goals. During that time I shelved most of my writing, but made some positive changes. I write in a gratitude journal every night and refocused my goals after finally learning about the fragility of life. You’d think breast cancer would have taught me that.

Destiny crosses its arms and shakes its head.

But Destiny also taught me to take opportunities presented NOW. I won’t wait for a better time in the future. You never know what’s ahead. Since adventure’s my thing, I decided I wanted to travel a lot more, but I wasn’t sure how I would balance that with hunkering down. I figured once things settled down after the funeral, I could get a ton done and plan an adventure sometime next fall. Ha! In hindsight, Destiny and I both share a laugh over that naive thought.

My husband and I returned home between Joe’s death and the funeral and discovered water pouring through the ceiling of our house from my demon washing machine. I took it as a cosmic joke and cliché moment about how life goes on and most of the setbacks are fixable. I figured we would patch up the ceiling and move on.

“Gotcha, Destiny.” I clucked my tongue and winked.

Big D shook its head. It had other plans.

So we’ve been inundated with workers since March 14th. Driers, contractors, drywallers, painters and soon the wood floors will be redone. My routine has been blown to hell. Instead, I carve out a few hours each day while workers come and go.

Then we heard from our insurance company. Are you sitting down? Because the water leaked out of the room into the hall, ALL of the wood floors on our first floor will be refinished along with my son’s room. The furniture has to be moved out. I threw up my hands and shook my fist at the Destiny. “Quit screwing with us, Destiny!”

My stomach has been knotted while waiting to get back to a normal life.

Then I discovered we need to move out of the house for almost THREE WEEKS! Another setback. We planned to drive to Breckenridge and stay at our second home. That’s cool, I guess.

One night, we picked up where we left off with Outlander. I had been so inspired when we started watching the historical fantasy about a woman who travels back in time to the 1740’s. My 100% Irish dad shocked us a few years ago when he said he had a Scottish grandmother. I did some research and she immigrated to America from the Melville Castle area. I wondered if my love for fish tropical in tanks and of the edible variety had anything to do with a connection to Herman?

“Wait a minute,” I said to my husband, Danny, after turning off a gruesome episode where a duke becomes headless, “See if there’s anything available in Scotland!” We bought a dinky timeshare unit in a lodge at the bottom of Peak 7 in Breck to use the amenities and park our car. We always forget to trade it and are about to lose two weeks.

After Danny researched availability, he came out of his office, smiling. “There’s a place in Dailly, Scotland.”

“What?” my eyebrows rose to my hairline and I took a look at his computer. We couldn’t find a trade in the US. It must be destiny.

A small smile curled in the corners of The Big D’s mouth as it peered over my shoulder.

That weekend, I caught up with a few blogs before skiing. Sacha Black announced the Bloggers Bash in London. One of our goals is to travel around and meet my virtual friends. “We could meet my friends!” I said.

I bought two tickets to the Bash and Danny booked our stay in Scotland for a week. We still needed to book the second week.

Why don’t we go to Paris the second week?”

“Really?”

“We can go anywhere, but that’s your favorite place, right?”

I would let it sink in over the weekend.

I attended the Pikes Peak Writers Conference and had several mind blown moments thanks to Donald Maass and several other knowledgeable writers. Between classes, I spoke to my son, Kelly. “If you want to visit me this quarter, you should come out next weekend,” he said. “I have to work hard the last few weeks of school.” He’s attending Icon Collective Music Production School in Burbank. He graduates in June.

I LOVE visiting Kelly in California, but I would come home late Sunday evening and would have to repack to fly out again. Thing is, my mom comes for a ten day visit over Mother’s Day. Would I ever have time to do revisions after those mind blown moments? I remembered my new thoughts about opportunity and booked flights for early Friday morning. With the pressure of a trip, I wrote a brand new, much better first chapter and revised the second. Maybe cramming in writing between workers coming to the house was a good thing.

Monday morning I checked AirBnB’s in Paris surprised at how many lovely apartments near the heart of Paris only cost around $100 per night. I made a list of favorites. Then I noticed the walls in the Parisian apartment photos. I needed to pick a color for the bathroom that had been damaged. Most of the French rooms depicted neutrals in gray, taupe and tans. We have a very French house and I was sick of the green paint in the bathroom.

I drove to the paint store and picked out a few colors, then asked the decorator, “Is gray still a popular color?”

“It is,” she said, brown curls bouncing as she walked toward me from her desk.

“I was thinking about warm gray,” I said. “Something with a little brown in it.”

She pulled a few colors from a new line of paint. They all looked pretty much alike. When I returned home with a fist full of paint chips, I selected a taupey color called “Quicksand” and called the painter.

Destiny chuckled in the background.

I didn’t pay attention to its giggle.

Another cosmic joke came the next day. The house filled with painters. They spent the day painting the guest bedroom and the adjacent back sink area and bathroom.

After they left, I checked out the rooms. “Are you kidding me???” The walls were a light shade of green. It made the tumbled marble tile look pink. I screamed. “No!” Then I checked the code for the paint on the chip against the can. Exactly the same. How? How?

I figured this had to happen to other people and spoke the contractor. Nope. This NEVER happens.

At this rate, workers will be around for a while. I predict a lot of travel in my future. Quit scattering my ducks, Destiny!

Related posts:

A Cosmic Joke After Trauma

I Celebrated a Birthday, but Failed to Save a Life

When Death Sits on My Face

My Demon Washing Machine is Haunted

5 Things You Must Do for Your Birthday!

5 things to do for yourself on your birthdayHate celebrating your birthday? Always disappointed? I had a very Happy Birthday on the 11th and celebrated it BIG time this year. How? Easy. I depended on myself to have fun.

5 things you must do for your birthday:

#1. Take control. Plan your day in advance.

Waiting around for someone else to plan it is too much pressure on friends and family. Make it easy. Do it yourself.

Me – I didn’t want to exhaust myself with appointments and running around all day. Instead, I planned two outings and dinked around with a new toy I bought for my birthday. My son, Kelly, picked it out. *hint, hint* You’ll find out soon enough.

#2. Lower your expectations.

Oh, sure it would be great to be asked out to lunch or walk into a surprise party, but what if it doesn’t happen? Don’t let disappointment ruin your day.

Me – I didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary. I stuck to my plan. Continue reading

I Celebrated a Birthday, But Failed to Save a Life.

Have you ever taken a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation class? I took one for a babysitting badge when I was in Girl Scouts. I remember the plastic dummy and going through the routine while hoping to God I’d never have to use it. Flash forward a few decades.

On March 9th, I flew back to Wisconsin for my mom’s eighty-seventh birthday. My brother, Joe McCartan, ordered a cake and I picked up flowers. Mom was so surprised! Over dinner that night, she told us she planned to live a long time. For her one-hundredth birthday, she wants a stylist to dye a blue streak in her hair. I love her attitude.

My brother is the king of joking around. I couldn’t get a picture of him when he wasn’t mugging for the camera.  When I left Colorado it was seventy degrees. Check out the temperature on my brother’s iPad.

Two days later, Joe drove to the butcher to buy steaks to grill and went to a chiropractic appointment. In February, he slid on black ice and crashed his car into a telephone pole. It exacerbated an already sore back.

Later, the three of us watched the UW Badgers cream Northwestern by thirty points. Being a yawnfest, Joe texted on his phone. He’s a highly sought after, free-lance, on-location sound technician for major networks, television, movies and corporations. Very excited, he read the thread out loud. It regarded a commercial he had been hired to record. The company wanted to shoot tight shots of musicians playing the oboe, violin and cello. He had texted the high school music teacher, who had all kinds of ideas.

“The kids will love being in a commercial.” Joe was stoked.

“Sounds like you contacted the right person,” I said and yawned. “I think I’ll take a quick nap.” I walked upstairs to my room.

When I returned downstairs, Mom played Words with Friends in the kitchen while the steaks thawed in a pan. I had planned to walk the dog, but Joe had already left with Charlie. I opened my laptop and wrote my last post about daylight savings time. After dinner I thought it would be fun to play a game and take some group selfies.

Always pretty high energy, Joe burst through the door led by their Collie.

“I just missed you,” I said, looking up from my computer.

“Yep,” was all he said. Then he ran up the back stairs to his apartment behind my mom’s Victorian. I heard his footsteps overhead and then settled in to proof my stupid post.

He moved in a year before my dad passed away and has been taking care of Mom. He’s been a godsend, taking her to appointments, shopping and the little things, like setting the table for meals. He brings her tea and puts her eyedrops in before bed. My mom is super sharp, but has glaucoma and hasn’t been able to drive for years.

When Joe didn’t come downstairs, Mom said, “What’s taking him so long? We need to get the steaks on the grill.”

I shrugged and more time passed. Continue reading

My Crazy Mind and Eating Without Inhaling

My Crazy Mind and Eating Without Inhaling.What if there was a way to slow down and enjoy what we eat? I would love that. Sometimes, when I’m hungry, I inhale my food. I look at my empty plate and think, “When did that happen?”

You might have heard about mindful eating. It means savoring each bite by setting down your fork to chew your food and really taste it. That would be swell, but when I think about what I eat, it hardly deserves the time.

  • A piece of toast with coffee.
  • Granola, fruit and yogurt between 9:00 and 10:00.
  • A half sandwich and soup for lunch.
  • Something cooked quickly for dinner or leftovers. I love using the crock pot and made enough beef stew last night for a family of eight. 

So this morning, I ate a bowl of cereal – I have no idea what kind – and had an AHA moment.

This is how my crazy mind works. See if you can follow along…

Continue reading

Twelve Reasons To Use Twitter

I was shocked to read an article by the Associated Press about Twitter. Few have signed up for an account since the US election. I assumed with political tweets making worldwide news, people would be curious to see them first hand. Nope.

People use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. It remains the social media of choice. But Twitter has an expansive reach. We have the opportunity to connect with just about everyone with a public account. How cool is that?

According to Alexa website ranking statistics, Facebook is #3 in the world and in the US. Twitter is #18 in the world and #8 in the US. It seems this social networking site has become even less popular after the election.

Twitter Traffic Statics from Alexa

Twelve reasons to try Twitter:

1. You can follow anyone.

I can follow anyone with a public account. Although non-follower’s tweets won’t show up in my feed, I can check out their tweets and can tweet to them by using their Twitter handle. @susielindau is mine.

2. You can communicate with celebrities, politicians, athletes, comedians, best-selling authors… from around the world.
  •  A few years ago, a blogging friend wrote a satirical piece about Roseanne Barr. I tweeted the article to her along with my friend’s Twitter handle. Roseanne responded and they had a conversation on Twitter. How cool is that?

Continue reading