Should I upgrade?

Hey WordPress blogging world!! I have a dilemma.

I am considering an upgrade offered by WordPress. Has anyone else done this and how has it helped your blog experience? There are the two upgrade options of premium or business so if you did one of these why did you choose that specific upgrade? Did you go to another blog hosting site?

I have 60+ following my blog and would like to make my blog reach an even wider audience (I am totally grateful for my followers by the way!!) and wondered if one of the upgrades would really help expand my blogging reach.

This blog has inspired my fiction writing and I love coming up with stuff to blog-imagining what people think while reading my often rambling prose.

Another question I have is about an author page on Facebook and if it would encourage traffic to my blog? Anyone done this or some other option to promote blog readers?

I sit here in my library/office wondering if anyone is really reading this. Please share your experiences.

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Cheers!

-N

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Old wheels

When my Air Force father was stationed in northern Japan at Misawa Air Base I absolutely loved it. It was 1966 and coming from Tucson, Arizona half way across the world to this distinctly different and unique corner of the globe was a shock and a thrill. I was unsure, enraptured and enamored with my surroundings.

It was cold in Misawa, with a snow accumulation of almost twelve feet and blizzards that blew in off the northern Pacific. It was the first time I had participated in any kind of winter fun like sledding. It was also the first time I had seen Christmas lights reflected on the snow. That is a picture I will never forget. Trudging through the snow to and from school, level both ways, was not so fun but an open field of pristine snow to play in couldn’t be beat.

It was hilly and green, with forests of trees that surrounded the base. In the summer we would go down to the bay to swim and picnic. I remember we had, what seemed to me, a huge hill we had to drive down to get to the water. We would find little glass globes which were the floats for the fishing nets the Japanese fishermen used. I remember we had a basket full of various sizes and colors of these treasures. I don’t know what happened to them once we left.

The base had those big navy blue Air Forces buses that would carry me to the base exchange, movie theater, commissary and other places I would want to go, but when my parents purchased a bicycle for me my freedom was complete. I could go wherever and whenever I wanted. It was a beautiful Japanese bike that rode like a dream. I would take off on it and only when I realized it was time to go home did I return to our apartment on base.

This bicycle was to be the cause of one of my most wonderful and scary adventures into the Japanese countryside.

When we first arrived our housing was off base, near the main gate. We lived in “B” battery and then moved to the “W” housing further away. B Battery was small, a bit run down and very close to the main gate. We lived there for a few months and then were transferred to the W housing. This was a much bigger house, with three bedrooms, a very American feel to it except it was freezing cold in the winter. After we moved on base the apartment we lived in was like a palace to us, warm, large and carpeted!

After a while I starting taking rides off base and into the town of Misawa. I always carried my military ID just in case. Misawa was so quaint and rural with beautiful little businesses where I could spend my allowance and be greeted by smiling Japanese shop owners who lived above their stores. I was never afraid to be on my own. Sometimes I would have a friend with me but usually I was on my own. I am still like that to this day.

One adventure would take me further than I had gone before and I became a bit lost. I was trying to find our old house in W housing but made a wrong turn somewhere and before I knew it I was in the Japanese countryside. I decided to turn around and retrace my path when the chain on my bike came off. Now understand the chain was completely covered in a housing that protected it so I couldn’t even get to it. Well being lost and walking my disabled bike down a narrow paved road somewhere in northern Japan was more than this seventh grader could handle.I started crying.

I know I hadn’t walked too far when I passed a very traditional Japanese home, thatched roof and all. There was a Japanese man standing in the yard watching me. To me he seemed old, but he was smiling at me and pointing to my bike and his house. I wasn’t sure what to think and I remember shaking my head “no” but he came out to the road, still smiling, and waved me over to his yard. At this point a beautiful older woman came out and just like the man was dressed in very traditional garb. She was smiling and took my hand to take me into her house. He took my bike away and I cried. She brought me inside and I am sorry to admit I don’t remember too much about it aside from the large fire place in the middle of the room. She had cookies and water for me, and I remember her showing me some pictures. I know I probably cried some more but she kept feeding me and smiling. They spoke no English and I spoke very little Japanese, enough to say please and thank you and greet someone. I don’t know exactly how long it took but in he came and waved at me to follow him. As I walked outside there stood my bicycle. He had fixed the chain and I was ready to go. I had some Yen and wanted to give it to him but he shook his head and waved me off.

I road back to the base and never told anyone what happened for years.

I still have that bike and plan to clean it up and start using it again. I’ve never had a bike I was as comfortable on as that one. Old wheels will feel new again and my warm memories of our time in Japan and those two beautiful people will come alive for me.

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-N

I want humans to find me

I have been blogging for a while at blogspot and here at wordpress. My ideas and inspirations have been a variety of things that come to me in big splotches of thought. I was reading a post on Facebook that was talking about what would be the highlights of my life story.

Shit!@! I don’t have highlight’s of my life story. Not something I think anyone would want to know.

Ok, my dad was in the Air Force and my family lived in lots of places in the US as well as Japan and the Philippines. When he decided to retire I was kind of pissed because there were tons of places we hadn’t been to and he seemed to think he was done with his military career. What!! We hadn’t been to Europe and I really wanted to go to Greece and Italy.

Watching food and travel shows make me jealous.  I know I would be a great host on one of those shows.  Let me go from northern Italy to the Mediterranean eating local cuisines and drinking wine while taking along the viewers on an intimate visit and it would be a blast. Sitting in a provincial kitchen or a picnic by the sea sharing olives and cheese while locals tell stories about they way their families established themselves in the area is enchanting and fulfilling.

I want to wander slowly through the bluebell fields of Kent, stroll the tumultuous shore line of Wales, drink the best cappuccino at an alfresco cafe in Paris, let the sun toast me while I eat olives and drink orzo in Greece, and drinking wine and eating my fill of Parmesano Reggiano in Tuscany.

I can’t even tell you of all the other places I want to experience around the world.

But first and more importantly I have the absolutely coolest kids in the entire world.

My daughter, Melissa, is amazingly brilliant. She is sophisticated and cultured with an understanding of the whimsy of humans and their eccentricities. She went from being an expert in the retail culture, to immersing herself into the high end real estate of Beverly Hills to becoming a teacher and mentor for high school and middle school students. She is over the top so cool. Her students are in awe of her and she is a wonderful friend. I take no credit for the outstanding human being she is. Her genius is unique.

Then there is my son, Aaron. When God decided to make a template for a human with a heart of gold and a musical gift that those in the music industry would covet, he made my son. He is a person who makes you feel special and important. He is affectionate and compelling. He is overwhelmingly talented. Oh and my God can he sing! His voice is soothing, perfect and comforting. I love having him hug me and tell me he loves me. He married a woman who encourages him to be the best he can be and she is his perfect match.

I want to live in a place near water. I would prefer the ocean, salt water and I are simpatico. I also could handle a lake I could float around on. How the hell do I make that happen? Give me a place filled with every green in the world and water, with incense burning and candles lit, a kitchen I can cook anything I want in and a filled wine cabinet.  Give me prisms and crystals, fairies and dogs, my husband who loves me more than I deserve and I can keep going.

I would love for my readers to encourage others to follow my blog.  I would love to have my blog start trending!! Yes, I want to be trending. Let’s make it happen.

-N

Give me a bit of green

After I came back from North Dakota, once Chuck was transferred from Tioga to Dickinson, I was disappointed to be stuck in the Arizona desert once again. I prefer cooler temperatures. I didn’t want to be reminded of where I was and how long I was required to be here. I was able to endure the winter since we managed to have a few days of cold weather and some rainy days. We had a wonderful Christmas in Disneyland.

However once the heat began I closed the windows, curtains and blinds to shut out the light and heat. I stayed indoors, in the cool darkness of my virtual cave reluctant to go outdoors or into company. I have described this in previous blogs. I watched movies and television shows set in winter or the English countryside. I believe I’ve watched every Miss Marple, Jane Austen, Wallander and Midsomer Murders there are to watch. A Christmas Carol and Grumpy Old Men have lots of snow in the scenery.

Then last month the temperatures took a drop and rain came in. Chuck was at home at the time and for my birthday he bought me several nice house plants, at least twelve of them. When I had left for Tioga I gave all of the ones I had away, and there were quite a few. I cannot tell you how having those new plants scattered around my home cheered me. It was as if I could now breathe again and the house took on a cheerful attitude. I now had reason to throw open the curtains and blinds and let the light in.

Millie and I enjoy walking around the house in the rain. Being wet doesn’t bother either of us. This has prompted a renewed effort in my writing. My soul is dreaming.

Last week we were able to sell the piano and this opened the living room up making room for some furniture re-arranging. With the cooler temps and a few days of rain the outdoors had greened up so looking out of the windows was a joy. Chuck got the spa working and the water was clean and fresh.  The green inside and out comforts me. Chuck noticed how improved my attitude had become since it had cooled off and my house is full of plants.

Millie and I journeyed into Catalina State Park this morning where morning glory was blooming along the trails and the grasses have come back since the fall rains. Water is running in several places which Millie loved romping and splashing through and I didn’t hesitate to get my feet wet. She is maturing with these adventures, her behavior was very good and several people praised her along the trail.

I hope to see the ocean again soon. I plan to see Melissa at Thanksgiving, bringing me close to the Pacific. Too close not to visit the shore. I hope that a home near the water is in my future, whether a lake or ocean and if there are mountains nearby that is a bonus.

Cool air, running water and green. I relish these.

-N

I’m cruising

This has been a day for writing. The thoughts are flowing and I am loving these people I am finding. I have a glass of wine and great music playing. Perfect writing atmosphere. I have laughed at their conversations and look forward to finding out their story.

Humans are strange and interesting. How they become who they are is the best part of developing a story-line. I know they come from me but they are people with their own loves and hurts. Experiences mold us. I have personal knowledge of them based on what has gone on in my life. That is all I can give them to start with and then they grow like flowers in a well tended garden. I write and then I re-read what I wrote to know more of their minds. This is the cultivation.

Teasing out their reactions can be the best part of this cultivation. Writing a scene that has nothing to do with me personally is exciting. This means they are forming into individuals. They are real to me. One thing that is fun to create is the town they inhabit. In the case of this story it is fictional but I know it already. I know what it looks like, which way the roads run and where the business and home are located. I took some time to draw the town on paper. This gives me a reference in the same way my notes about the characters flesh out who they are. I make notes along the way. I love finding names for them. They must fit the character. In my office/library I have hundreds of books that I will refer to for names. What a thrill.

The conflict I already know about, but giving voice to this and when to do it is a process in revealing it in a natural way. Deeply felt conflict doesn’t jump out and grab you. The story is learning its way into this, at least that is what is happening now. My mind runs in circles sometimes. Is it strong? Is it real? It is there, but what is the defining act?

My heart is happy and my fingers are getting tired. It’s late and I’m at that point of reflection on the words.

Cheers!

-N