Slump

I’ve been having a bit of trouble blogging for the past couple of months. I haven’t even had the enthusiasm to write posts for our doll blog. I can’t say exactly what the trouble is. I’m not tired of blogging. It’s just hard to find something new. I guess after six years of pretty much continuous blogging that was bound to happen.

I remember feeling like this last winter too. The weather does have a bit to do with it. Not only because the dark days affect my moods sometimes. My house is rather dark which makes taking doll photos a bit tricky. I either have to use lights or bring them into the kitchen or wait for a nice day to go outside. The lights are handy but they have short cords so it limits where I can put them. I may have to think of a better set up.

A scene from my Barbie fashion shoot last weekend

With this blog, it’s more about the lack of variety in my life I guess. I rarely go anywhere new to take photos and photos are often the starting point of what I want to write about. Unless the person with me is also interested in taking pictures I really prefer to do my photography alone. I am sure that friends would take me somewhere if I asked but I hate feeling like someone is waiting for me to finish. It makes me rush and I don’t take as many pictures as I’d like to or I don’t spend as much time thinking about what I want to do.

Little Blue Lake Tasmania
Little Blue Lake, Tasmania by me.

So, what to do? Blogging challenges are good. I always try to participate in my favourite photo challenges even if it means editing and reusing old photos. Writing prompts help too although sometimes I skip them because the word of the day leaves me stone cold uninterested.

This month I joined in a music challenge a few times and that has been fun so I think I will have to look for a few more new challenges to try.

I could write about politics, current affairs and opinions. I do that sometimes but I don’t want to turn this blog into a continuous rant. Not fun for me or the people who bother to read it.

Even if I don’t write anything myself I read and comment on other people’s posts. Sometimes a post I’ve read will give me an idea for one of my own. If I find my comment is half a page long that’s usually a clue.

I took this in a park in New Norfolk

I think that one good day out might blow the cobwebs away so I must find a way to do that even though the days are short and I feel guilty when I leave Cindy at home alone on a non-Op Shop day. In the meantime at least I’ve managed to cobble a post out of nothing. If Seinfeld can do it so can I.

1337 Again

Back in 2015 when I was still a relative newbie blogger I received a notification from WordPress for having received 1337 likes.

The number of likes on this blog to date. 18 Sept 2015

At the time I had no idea what the significance of such a random number was so I posted about it. My friend and fellow blogger Dennis was quick to explain that there is an internet language known as “leetspeak” and that 1337 refers to the word “leet”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leet

Leetspeak goes right back to hacker communities using bulletin boards in the 1980s and is well known amongst gamers too. I am not familiar with the TV series “Mr. Robot” but apparently this show used Leetspeak to name each episode.

https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-1337-leet-4089946

Today 1337 popped up again. This time 1337 posts. The WordPress developers are still enjoying their little in-joke but now I’ve been around long enough that I’m in on it too.

1337 Posts 19 April 2019

The Sunshine Blogger Award: Via Marilyn & Martha

This morning as I caught up with blog posts I read Marilyn’s post in answer to Martha’s Sunshine Blogger Award Post. After reading both posts I decided that I would participate too. I’ve been struggling a bit to write anything this week and while I have got a bit tired of Q&A posts recently I decided that I liked these questions and would enjoy answering them.

I decided that I would follow Marilyn’s suggestion to go back and answer the questions from Martha’s original post. I’m not going to nominate anyone else to join in but please feel free to if you would like.

Here are my answers

1. What made you decide to write a blog on WordPress?

I was doing some volunteer work at a local church and one of my tasks was to update the church blog which was on WordPress.org. I was shown what to do but I wanted to understand a bit more about it and I didn’t want to risk messing up the church blog so I thought that starting one of my own would be a good way to experiment. At around the same time, my sister in law commented on one of my Facebook posts that I ought to do a blog. So I thought “Why not?”

One piece of advice I took notice of was to write about something I knew so I decided to write about dolls. Soon after that, I realised that I wanted to write off topic so I started a second one, both are still going nearly six years later.

2. You’re writing a blog post and you find it taking on a direction of its own. Do you assume control or do you follow it?

From time to time, particularly with writing prompts, I’ve sat down with an idea in mind but found that the post is going another way. More often than not I follow it if I find it is going somewhere other than where I intended. Sometimes if writing is hard going I think it is better to just keep writing and then go back and take out all the parts that don’t fit or move them around as I did in this answer after rereading it.

3. What are your goals as the writer of a blog? What do you hope for?

My first goal is to keep blogging for as long as it is fun; and secondly, to get better at it. I admit that I like seeing the number of views and the number of followers growing but it’s not just about that. The important thing with the doll blog is that I may help to preserve knowledge by having a place people can share information and that maybe reading it will encourage others to become collectors themselves. Mostly I hope that I am not boring.

4. Describe the best day you’ve had in the past twelve months. 

This type of question is always hard for me to answer, partly because it’s hard to choose just one thing and partly because I have a memory like a goldfish these days.

My birthday last year when we cruised on the Huon River and had lunch at the local hotel was a good day.

My birthday treat for 2018, a trip on the Huon onboard Yukon.

Christmas Day, that’s always a good day. Another good day was the day that Naomi brought the Triang 61 dolls house down for me to see because this was a childhood toy that we had hoped to replace one day.

Triang Model 61 on the left and CEX on the right.

The day I was able to go home after the bushfire scare was another. I was so happy to be back in my own house again.


  1. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? What experiences would you hope for?

There are still places I’d like to see although sometimes I think that I would need a time machine to experience them the way I’d like to. I’d like to see London again although I know it won’t be the same as the last time I saw it. I’d like to go back to see more of Scotland and Wales and Ireland which I missed entirely. There are a lot of rail trips I’d like to experience, the Glacier Express in Switzerland, the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada, the Blue Train in South Africa, the California Zephyr or the Indian Pacific to mention a few. I’d like to spend time in New Zealand exploring it by road and rail. I’d still like to see the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia. Why? These are all places I’ve dreamed of seeing, even if the reality doesn’t match the pictures in my head. There are places in Scotland, Wales and England that were special for me and I’d like to see them again one more time. I’d like to have a chance to meet some of my blogging friends and see their home towns with them.

On the slopes of Ben Nevis pretending to be a mountain climber.

  1. What was the worst road trip of your life? What happened?

I can’t recall having a really bad road trip as an adult but some childhood trips with the family to the beach or a national park were horrible. Imagine a hot day, a car with no air-conditioning and three adults, four kids and a baby packed inside. Two of the adults smoke, two of the kids won’t stop fighting; everyone wants to sit next to the window. I actually needed to sit there because the combined smell of petrol and cigarette smoke and the motion often made me feel sick but mum usually wanted the windows closed while my aunt and uncle, the smokers, wanted them open. We were usually late getting away from home and when we arrived at our destination we’d only have a short time there before we’d be told it was time to go home because the baby had to be fed or one of the adults was tired or there was school in the morning. In the end, Naomi and I would often just say no thank you when invited on these outings.

7. How much time do you put into your blog? Do you write every day?

I don’t post every day. Some weeks I’m good and manage one or more posts a day but at other times like the past week or so I haven’t felt as motivated. I do comment and reply to reader’s comments every day though even if I have no inspiration to write.

8. Do you write to a daily prompt? Why or why not?

It depends. I guess I write to them if they fit in with the type of things that I like to write about. I do if the subject interests me but if it is an obscure word or a subject I have nothing to say on I don’t. I do enjoy photo prompts though and do quite a few of those as sharing photos is one of my favourite things about blogging.

9. What’s your favourite post? Why? Please share. 

I can’t really pick just one but I always enjoy reminiscing about the past, writing about childhood, my love of railways, or places I’ve visited. A lot of these have been for the Times Past monthly challenge run by Irene Waters, but some have just popped out of nowhere, like “The Best Times of Our Lives” about our early days as railfans. I also like writing about my favourite places in Tasmania. I love my adopted home state and want everyone to know how beautiful it is. The all-time favourite post for readers is “Superstition: Unlucky Plants” which still gets views. I rerun it every year or so. I don’t know what it is about that particular piece. It must have some keywords that search engines like.

  1. Is there a book, film or person (or animal) that inspired you and changed your life? What or who was it? How did it have such a profound effect on you?

Naomi and I often talk about the way that our mother took the time to teach us to play with our dolls creatively. I think that it helped us to develop our imaginations and our attention spans. We would happily play with the same toys or dolls all day so we were bored a lot less often than

Mum in the 1980s

children who always needed something new to do. She was also a great storyteller and letter writer and very good at drawing. I think she passed some of those skills on to us. I enjoyed writing to pen pals when I was younger and Naomi inherited mum’s knack for art. I took up photography partly because I can’t draw. Perhaps mum indirectly turned us into bloggers.

 

11. What advice do you have for someone who has just started writing a blog? What rewards has it given you that might inspire someone else?

The same advice I read when I started. Write about something you know and care about. Post regularly and don’t get hung up on the statistics. Proofread your work, if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing properly, that’s mum talking again.

I’d also add to make it your own work. Everyone has something interesting to say. Be yourself.

I have found blogging very rewarding for a number of reasons. I’ve come to know other bloggers through their writing and I think of them as friends now.

I think it has improved my photography. I see photographic subjects that I would never have thought of before doing photo challenges and I think I’ve become more creative in photo editing. I was never really interested in black and white photography before I became a blogger.

spider web

As a doll collector, I’ve learned about different dolls and found that there are other collectors who enjoy doll photography and do wonderful creative things restoring vintage dolls houses, customising dolls, creating dioramas and writing stories.

Since Naomi joined me in writing the two blogs it’s also become something we can do together even though we are not able to meet up very often as we live quite far from each other. It can be very rewarding to share a hobby with a friend or family member.

New Domain

View of the Tasman Bridge from the Domain, Hobart.

As we were rapidly running out of storage space for our photos with two of us uploading them every week I decided that now was a good time to purchase a plan that would give us more storage space and a domain name of our own. You can now find us at the following address.
https://two-sisters.blog/
To celebrate here is a photo of The Domain in Hobart.

Name Change

As you may have noticed from the header “My Other Blog ” has had a name change.  As Naomi is now writing it with me it seemed appropriate to change it to “Our Other Blog”. There will probably be a few cosmetic changes over the next few weeks but essentially it is still the same blog  but with two of us sharing our photos, stories and opinions.

Google Translate Widget

Map of the world coloured by type of plug used.png
By Taken with full permission from Electricity around the world by Conrad H. McGregor.
Resized (50%) and converted to PNG by User:Chameleon.
See Talk:Mains power plug for full information., Public Domain, Link

This evening as I was checking my blogs I noticed that WordPress had included the Google Translate feature in the Widget menu. I know that many people who read both my blogs have English as a second language so incorporating this widget into them seemed like a great idea.

Take a look on the top right hand corner of the sidebar of each blog and you will see a drop down box with the Google logo. It will translate this blog into many languages.  I checked it out and was fascinated to see how my doll blog looks in Japanese!

 

1,337

Today when I came home I checked my notifications as I do a couple of times every day and I found one from WordPress informing me that I had 1,337 Likes.
This amused me because it’s such a random number. I thought you only got these for milestones like a hundred, five hundred or a thousand although I don’t remember getting a notification that I’d reached a thousand likes now I think about it.
Anyway it’s all good. Thank you to all those people who liked my pictures or what I wrote. It’s nice to know that someone is reading them. 🙂

Number of likes on this blog to date.
Number of likes on this blog to date.