(Balcony) Garden Variety Magic

The WordPress Daily Post’s photo challenge for this week is Magic.

When sunlight kisses green leaves… There is no other logical explanation for the resulting glow. Magic.

Water, air, sunlight, and living soil. Seeds. Combined, green stems push through and leaves burst forth. Flowers follow. Then a bulge of fruit swells and ripens.

The magic of mother nature, God, and living things and sunlight.

I had a balcony garden again this summer.

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The glowing leaves. The tasty peppers.

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Sun Gold, Orange cherry tomatoes and powerful strawberries.

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It’s not dead yet even with last night’s frost. The balcony stays a bit warmer. Though most plants are limping. They’ve reached the end of the marathon still bearing a few small fruits across the finish line. Some plants tripped and fell on mites. They didn’t fair so well.

Dragonflies visited again this year. They are always welcome to perch and rest. I get to see their wings sparkle. An insect that looked like a leaf was here too. He was new this year.

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It’s a leaf. It’s a bug. It’s leaf bug. Greetings friend. (At least he seemed friendly.)



A squirrel with more gusto than his pals made the giant leap from a nearby tree to our balcony. We scared each other. He leapt back to the tree nearly missing his branch. And the sway nearly launched him back. It’s not an easy leap. I’m glad he didn’t eat many of the tomatoes. One year they ate them all. Every single one.

Somebody visited again recently. A squirrel? A bird? I only saw evidence. Not the critter. A pumpkin had been nibbled.

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Nibbled pie pumpkin and winter squash. (I didn’t grow these, but I like them.)

This post was also for NaBloPoMo Day 21.

 
NaBloPoMo November 2016

The Sleeping Fishes

The WordPress, Daily Post’s Daily Prompt is Fish.

This works out almost perfectly since I was just thinking about our pet fish. 

We have quite a few guppies. All of them are descendants of fish we got many years ago at my daughter’s after-school-care program.

They had both male and female guppies. Only they called them Glowfish. Again with mislabeled items. I think they purchased them someplace that had the wrong fish in the tank or vice versa. But actual Glowfish reproduce by laying eggs. These fish produce live young. Glowfish also glow. These do not glow, not even under special lighting, but they can be colorful.

Along with producing live young and the lack of glow, many parents commented, “oh, they look just like guppies.” 

And, indeed, they are guppies.

With all the live young, the after-school program had a fairly steady supply of fish for the kids to see and also for feeding to a small pet crab (of some sort) that lived in their aquarium too.

They also had extra fish that the kids could take home with them from time to time. So we did. And we got both male and female fishes because somehow I thought that would be such a cool thing.

It was. For a while.

Many, many fish later, I’ve tried to separate the females from the males and put a halt to the fish population (that also bread at least once with a pet-store guppy that gave all the subsequent offspring more color variations). 

So we still have lots and lots of fish. And, what a lot of people may not know is that fish sleep. 

I walked in on them again earlier this evening and got a little weirded out. 

At night when it’s dark, they stop moving and just hover in the water. It can be a little disconcerting to flip on a light and see a whole tank full of fish not move. They seem so lifeless. It can easily feel like we’ve had a mass die-off. But they gradually wake up if I leave the light on for long enough.

During the day when I walk in the fish are ready for food, so they swim all around and back and forth, much like our cats do when it’s dinner time.  It’s like a feeding frenzy. 

Life is a lot like that. We have times we’re so lively and thrashing about and other times when we just need to be still. And sleep. 

Be Daring

 

The WordPress Daily Post’s Daily Prompt is Daring. Ha, that makes sense as a sentence.

WordPress bloggers dare to put it out there. They don’t just say they’re going to blog. They blog. Be like WordPress Daily Prompt bloggers. Be daring! Blog.

And dare to do other stuff too. At our recent back-to-school night, one of the teachers had this single slide up on the screen through the entire presentation for the class.

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Other teachers had PowerPoint presentations that covered lots of stuff. Each was many pages long. Class schedule. Topics covered. Projects. Grades. Contact information.

I took a few photos of information that I thought may be of value. But I liked what this single slide said the most. And it was for a math class no less! The teacher also said that when kids told her that they didn’t know how to do something, she corrected them by saying, “you don’t know how to do it YET.”

I hope the class goes well for my daughter. I’d hate to like the presentation so much only for her to have a bummer of a class experience. But I’m not going to worry for now.

So far, so good. The year is early. I’m sure not everything will be perfect. I’m going to enjoy these ideas while fresh on my mind. And perhaps my daughter may even learn more than just math in this class.

Students learn so many new things every day. I need to bust out of my own comfort zone more often!

I need to try some new ways.

I need to be daring!

 

Of Value

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt is: Value.

I always like adding that a post came from a Daily Prompt and what the prompt was. Sometimes, I read other posts linked from the Daily Prompt pages, and I’m thinking, “wait, where did this come from? Why did they write it.” Some posts tie-in so beautifully. Some, you can find the inspiration easily, but the blogger really took it and ran with his or her own idea. They made something unexpected but really good. Other times I have no idea what a post had to do with the prompt, but the link in there. So, okay.

Value

The idea of value has a lot of variety too. We could be talking money … time … emotion. You could have a valuable car or antique vase. Well made clothes may be a better value than cheaper, poorly made clothing. They last longer.

There’s the value of words. Of lessons. Maybe that’s one of my favorites — learning a valuable lesson. Do we ever learn lessons that aren’t valuable? Maybe, I’ll look at that farther on down this page.

Valuable lessons are often those that are hard earned. “Wow, you really earned a valuable lesson there,” implies that something bad happened first. Then a lesson was learned. The valuable lesson is usually the knowledge needed to prevent oneself from having the bad thing happen again.

Touch a hot stove. Get burned. Know not to do it again. That is something of value.

It starts when we’re old enough to remember stuff, and hopefully it keeps happening until we reach a ripe old age. We learn enough to help us to get to that advanced age. Get the tough lessons out of the way when we’re young. That way once we’re old, we can avoid lots of crap and hot stoves. But we may still learn new things too.

Some days, I’m still working on the hot-stove lesson. (Pot holder, Deb, pot holder.)

I took a class in basket weaving one time. When I was a teen that was a running joke among parents, “she’s studying underwater basket weaving in college.” (I wasn’t. It was a community class.) But the sentiment implied that it was a completely useless course of study. No value. The expression could be used to refer to any course of study that was considered to be useless. Film making and art weren’t far behind.

Underwater basket weaving does not require that the weaver should spend time submerged in water (maybe a little part of me was hoping for scuba tanks). The materials are soaked in water. Not sure that this knowledge has much value except that I giggle when I picture people wearing scuba tanks and weaving baskets at the bottom of the sea. I like to laugh.

I’m sure basket weaving is valuable for folks who make a living as artisans who sell fine, handmade baskets at arts & craft shows. 

Lots of people will only give value to something they can measure with money. But the basket weaver (who may also scuba dive, it could happen) probably, hopefully, really enjoys making baskets. So it’s a valuable way for them to spend their time, it makes them happy, and folks might pay a lot for a beautifully handmade basket.

But basket weaving is probably not so valuable for accountates or math majors. Unless, say, the math major loves basket weaving as a form of fun and relaxation. Then it, once again, has value. (And you do have to count in basket weaving, so there’s that. Crochet is the same.)

So value can take a monetary form, be a good use of time, emotionally pleasant, or be the lessons that get us through life. It is what we make of it. I can value that.

 

jump, Jump, JUMP!

Today’s prompt from WordPress Daily Prompts is, Jump!

Just jump right in.

I think I will.

Jump for joy.

Dance a jig.

Avoid the bridge.

Take a leap of faith.

And jump. Jump. Jump!

Stylish?

I thought I’d take another crack at WordPress Daily Prompts. They are now doing single-word daily prompts. Today’s word is “stylish.” 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/stylish/

A while back they had prompts that entailed more of a scenario — such as to write about “cats, towels, and soup” or “howl at the moon.” Now blog

I liked those because I’ve always found it to be somewhat of a challenge and inspiration to fit creativity within a set parameter and see what can come of it. 

So maybe I’m overly challenged by a one-word prompt. I guess one word is kind of specific, but it also seems so wide open too. It’s like saying, “write whatever you want, but make sure you are inspired by the word ‘stylish.'”

I almost feel like I could just open a dictionary with my eyes closed and point. So many options then. I’m one of those don’t-give-me-too-many-options people. I’ll have a harder time making up my mind.

Plus I’d probably open my dictionary to “Napierian logarithm.” Just try working that into a blog post. 

I could also go with “napoleon boots” which I saw nearby in the dictionary since I’m typing the letter N and A into a online version. (N and A seemed pretty middle-of-the-road.) Boots can be stylish, right?

Maybe my problem is that I see the word “stylish” and I think of clothes or fashion. I generally feel like I have no style as far as clothing goes. If it fits. If it isn’t inappropriate for where I’m going. If it isn’t uncomfortable. That’s my style (mixed with a few geeky T-shirts on weekends). Okay, done. 

But then my brain kicks in and says,”style doesn’t have to have anything to do with clothing.” There is writing style. Parenting style. Styles of art. Learning style. Styles of baskets. Conversation. Gah!

But the word is Stylish. Can one be a stylish writer? Maybe. There are stylish social trends and trains of thought. A stylish parent? I’m not sure that I’d want to be one of those. I just want to be good. I think.

See, can’t make up my mind. Maybe I should stick with Napoleon boots. They would have been perfect for Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19.

Tra for Tuesday: Bananas

One of these days I’m gonna post exactly what what goes down the first time around without fixing the many typos that proliferate from typing in WordPress on my phone’s tiny keypad. 

As it is now, each time I type I feel I have a one-in-three chance of hitting the letter I wanted. 

I’ll bet you’d never guess but this is actually supposed to be a post about tea (and on Tuesday) — Tea for Tuesday. But I made one typo then another and another and, combined with autocorrect, pretty soon the topic completely changed. 

It’s like 100 monkeys in a room with 100 typewriters. Something’s bound to happen but not what I planned. My fingers are the money’s, wait, see … My fingers are the m-o-n-k-e-y-s, monkeys.

Somebody needs to give my them a bandana, no a banana. No, that wouldn’t help either. 

Wait, I know what I want.

Perhaps you’ve seen spikes or horns? Some people have objects surgically implanted under their skin. (Do they find tattoos and piercings too blasé or mainstream?) Either way, useless fluff!

I want a stylus tip implanted in my finger! If that goes well, maybe I’ll do all ten. (Actually, maybe three or four would be good — thumbs and index finger. See, I’ve put some thought into this.)

Release the monkeys!

(I’ll drink more tea and write about it again soon, maybe even on a Tuesday.)

WordPress Strangeness

Along with several other strange things about WordPress lately, I updated the WordPress app on my phone, and now it’s creating alternate universes (not actual universes that I know of but …).

It shows two duplicate listings of my blog and any other blogs I’ve signed up for such as Writing 101 or 201. So there are three listings — two impostors and one actual — of alightningbug and each of the others. The list in “My Sites” is huge. The impostor links don’t work (only give error messages when clicked), so I can’t actually use them.

I feel like I’m on Let’s Make a Deal or in this case, it’s wordier cousin, Let’s Make a Blog. Every time I try to visit my blog from the app on my phone (which is often) Monty Hall asks me which of three identical “doors” to click to find the one that works.

If I accidentally click the wrong link then the order of the links will (invisibly) change. If the third one down worked before I can keep clicking that one, and it will work. But if I choose another “door” by accident, and it’s wrong, the order of all of them will change. I’ll have to get lucky to figure out which one works again. Sheesh. I like games, but not this one.

The app is also having problems when trying to sync my drafts.

I’ve tried quitting the app completely and restarting, but it’s not fixing the problem. Maybe I need to delete the app entirely, and download an all-new copy, but I’m worried it will loose some of my settings or the blogs themselves.

Other WordPress stuff I’ve noticed is that there are blogs I’ve Followed that no longer show me as Following. I’ve actually had to re-Followed blogs that I know I already Followed in the past. Weird.

I don’t know if those blogs changed somehow causing me to be dropped as a Follower, or if it was something else. I’m pretty sure my Blog lost a Follower or two also but don’t know if people just unFollowed me or, again, if something else happened.

On top of all that, WordPress works differently from within my desktop browser. The new version is not playing nice with my browser. Some tools don’t show up. Then they do. Then they go away again. The fun never ends.

Anyway, I’m still a big fan of WordPress! But I could do without these latest problems. If anybody has any solutions, feel free to post a comment.

(This post is also for NaBloPoMo, but I’m behind. We’ll see if I can catch up before December bursts in. If you get a bunch of posts from me today and tomorrow, you’ll know why. Hope folks don’t mind. Multiple posts per day may happen from time to time, but will not be a regular thing from me, aLightningbug. I promise. Thank you!)

In Other News – Three Things

Two Three things of note happened:

That’s right. It’s an empty washer and dryer at the same time!

I didn’t even realize until I opened the washer to put clothes in the dryer, and it was empty. This is a rare thing.

Also, I finally painted my fingernails (which I’ve been wanting to do since July). I know that seems trivial. But I thought it worth mentioning since, well yeah.

I also reached 100 Followers here on WordPress which is even cooler than the washer and dryer being empty at the same time. (Empty didn’t last long anyway.) More

Flaw Me To the Moon

I want to remember these tidbits of advice as much as I want to share them. I’m putting these links here so that I can find them on down the road. This also happens to fulfill the assignment for Writing 101’s Day 19 assignment*. (Yay! I fulfilled an assignment!) I may even make a separate page with this stuff that I can add more links and keep it all convenient.

10 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block by Vincent Mars from his Boy with a Hat blog:
http://vincentmars.com/2015/09/06/10-ways-to-overcome-writers-block/#more-8560

I especially like number 3, Reject Perfection. 
We can strive for perfection — always trying to make our writing and ourselves better. That’s good. But the quest for perfection can lead to paralysis too. We can be so afraid of making mistakes that, instead, we make no moves at all. Nothing. In all likelihood, most of us will never reach actual perfection. That’s fine. Sometimes it’s better to just DO. Write. Let it happen with all it’s beautiful flaws. We are supposed to be flawed. Aren’t we? I’d rather have 1000 words period, than to have felt like it none of it is good enough and end up with zero. I can find “flaws” in some of my very favorite books and blogs. I still love them! (In the for-what-it’s-worth department, I don’t really like overly perfect teeth, so take that.)

Actual Writing Advice: Online Presence, Blogging by Melina Moore on her Enchanted Spark blog:
http://enchantedspark.com/wordpress1/2015/08/24/actual-writing-advice-online-presence-blogging/

That entire post resonated with me. 
I often feel pangs of inadequacy when I see some new blogger with 5000+ followers. I’ve been blogging for over five years now, and I don’t have that. But I remind myself that I didn’t start my blog in order to gain followers. I started it to give me a place to write. I love my followers and commenters (heck even just a quick Like is appreciated), but ultimately the writing is why I’m here. I love visiting other blogs too. In fact, I’d like to read more of them. Most days I’m lucky if I can manage a quick fly-by of other blogs. Hopefully, I’ll get some free time at some point and focus on the process. (Is what I say to myself more often than I’d like.) 

Sometimes I also spend more time blogging than writing my stories. I do the reverse too. So I want to be more conscious of where I spend my word counts. I love blogging and writing stories, but I don’t want to wake up with way too much blogging and no finished stories.


*If I actually managed stay on top of Writing 101 like I thought I was going to do, then I might actually have had a guest blogger here. I know some good ones I could ask. It could be fun. Did I manage that? Nope. 

I’ve been letting stuff like laundry, leaky aquariums, helping my mom move, and a sizable list of other stuff fill my time instead of hitting those alphabet keys in any kind of efficient way. It’s really good that a lot of that other stuff got done — very important even — but I’m still hungry to get more words down (not on paper). It’s kind of like doing my nails — been meaning to do them for over a month and still have pathetic, naked nails. I did manage to shave my legs and shower. That’s something! My nails are not just bare but in need of a trim now too. They click on the keys as I type. I feel like a stray dog that escaped from a groomer before the job was done.

According to Writing 101, Day 19, directions I can do the next best thing to having a guest blogger. That is, I can publish a roundup of great reads and share some blog posts that resonated with me. That is what this is. I’m excited about it too because I’m afraid I might forget where I read a few things and I want to keep these links handy. 

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