June 20111 – Running Summary

Well the biggest thing is that I have started running again!!!!
That to me is a major milestone and accomplishment.
 June 15th is an anniversary date for me.  I wonder what kind of progress I will have made on June 15, 2012?  I hope it is pretty incredible!

June Running Summary

June miles run: 12.0 Miles
Year To Date: 12.0 Miles
Days run June:  13
Total Days Run 2011: 13
Shoe:  Nike Dual Fusion St – 11.0
Shoes Retired: None
What hurts:  So far only my right knee but that is to be expected, arthroscopic surgery was on May 17th.  Physical Therapy is over and now it is up to me to keep in shape.
Here is to a injury free month of July and hopefully, I can be smart about my running and eventually be able to run the Middle Road Loop without stopping before snow flies.  :)I don’t plan on any racing this year, just building up my base, but next year, well we will see.

Google Calendar’s New Look

This afternoon I noticed that Google had changed how my calendar looked. At first I didn’t like it at all. I guess it was more the shock of the change than anything. However, instead of automatically going back to the “classic” view, I decided to give the new look a try, while I was doing some work on updating my calendar.

The new view:

The Classic view:

As I got more used to it, I actually began to like it better than the old calendar view. The lines are cleaner, it doesn’t seem as busy and is more in keeping with the direction of keeping things more simple that I seem to be headed.

I still don’t like that Google has changes that “suddenly” appear in their web applications, without a quick notice warning you of the update before you hit the site – except in the header of the page you have already opened.

It is rather disconcerting to open “your” application and it looks completely different than it did the last time you were on it. I suppose that we will have this same experience with Mail, Docs and some other Google applications, so get ready for when it does happen.

In my opinion it is a positive change, now if they would allow me to change the primary color scheme to meet my wants/needs I would be even happier – I am just not a gray person.

Last Day of Physical Therapy 6-30-11

1985 CGAS Cape Cod 10K  //

Today is a milestone of sorts, it was my last day of physical therapy with Erin. It means that I am that far enough along in the healing process that I can go it without “adult” supervision.

Actually I couldn’t have asked for a better physical therapist.  She is a runner also and understood my want/need to begin running again and was supportive of my goal to do so.

Erin was absolutely terrific and she pushed me to do more with my knee than I would have on my own, I would have wimped out on some the stuff she had me do.  Through her help my leg is stronger and I able to a lot more with it than at the start of PT. Thanks Erin and I hope you enjoy the rhubarb cordial

During this last session of  PT, I mentioned that my wife watched me running the other day and thought that I was running differently than I had in the past. So we went out in the parking lot and I ran down about 50 yards and back. Erin noted that I was “quick stepping” with my right leg. We talked about what I was doing and why I felt it was necessary to “quick step” when I was running.  She stated that she would think about what she had seen for a little while.

We went inside and did some exercises and then Erin asked me to walk normally, then run inside without thinking about it, then she had me stand at a comfortable position.  She noted that when I run that I am running with my feet straight and when I walk or stand that both feet are a little out and when I stand that my feet are out.
I told her that I was attempting to consciously run with a straighter stride than in the past in order gain more efficiency in my stride by keeping everything straight and that I had always ran more like a “duck” than not in the past. I told her that my wife used to make fun of my “duck walk” when walking behind me in the snow.Erin had me run again with my natural gate without me attempting to be conscious of keeping my feet straighter. I didn’t experience nearly as much discomfort in my knee and was not quick stepping my right leg.  Part of the problem had been identified.

It is amazing how a little thing like my trying to improve my “gait” can change so many other parts of your stride and become uncomfortable. I am not saying that this is 100% of the cause of the discomfort, when running – no I think that the arthroscopic surgery a month a half ago still has a lot to do with it.

However, sometimes it is the little things that add up to make things more uncomfortable than they need to be.
This also showed me that it is important to have someone who is knowledgeable about how the interconnected body works – look at your running form to give you feedback and ideas about your running style.  Thanks Erin for catching this “little thing” that I wouldn’t have given a second thought about.
I will go back to my “old” or “normal” running style, it served me well for more thirty years, experimentation is fine, but at the same time it is time to start running more pain-free and if the experiment is part of the problem, DON’T DO IT!  🙂
After PT, I went to Colby’s track and ran a mile in exactly 10:00, I used my normal running style and did not consciously try to correct my gait. Guess what – the discomfort in my knee was not nearly as bad as it has been previously when running this year, so Erin was spot on.Now to shed some pounds and increase my fitness level, so that I don’t feel like a beached whale when I am out there running.

Ahhhh if I could only run like I did in that picture again – those “glory days”, oh well getting old is not for the faint hearted.
Thank you Erin for all of your help – I appreciated it more than you ever will know.

I Will Be Running Without the iPhone

Navstar-2F satellite of the Global Positioning...Image via Wikipedia  //
Since I returned to running on June 15th, I have used my iPhone and several running apps (see my Three iPhone Apps for Runners Review post) to track how my running is going and to see which one I liked best.

I love being outside and hearing the sounds of nature when I am running.  I prefer to focus on the run and know what is going on around me, than tuning out to the tunes.

To be honest, the more that I run with my iPhone outside, the less that I like it for that purpose. It is too big, bulky and heavy for me while I am running, whether it is in an armband, on my waist, it just doesn’t feel comfortable bouncing around.

When you add in not being able to easily see the screen when it is sunny or because it is not easily visible, it made it difficult to use for running. All the runner apps I used were very “busy” and you had to go through multiple screens with most of them to get to the main tracking screen and then use the data functions.
The main reason that I was running with an iPhone was for the GPS function of these apps, so I would “know” how far I was running each time. None of the runner GPS “apps” (including ones that I haven’t reviewed here but have used) have been all that accurate. They each had their strengths and weaknesses, but there wasn’t one run or app that had the same distance, on the same course, which defeated the purpose of using GPS to track my distance accurately.

I liked some of the functions and how they sync with a website, but none of them are I what I would consider indispensable to my outdoor running program.

In fact I was so disappointed in how the iPhone worked for me while running today, that I went out back of the garage this morning and dug around for my old Nike Triax wrist watch/heart beat monitor. I found the Triax in my old gym bag and discovered it had kept perfect time and was even on the correct date.

This was very surprising since the watch is over 3 years old and still on the original battery. It is just a lot simpler to use than any of the iPhone runner apps I have tried, a lot lighter and has the added advantage of tracking my heart rate if I choose to wear the chest strap.

I have a feeling that I would feel this same way with every “smart” phone and its runner apps. The size of the phones are probably the major reason and not being able to easily see the screens figures in prominently also.

However, I am intrigued by the Garmin Forerunner, but that is even rather large and I wonder how accurate its GPS would be compared to the smart phone apps. For me to be happy it would have to be about the size of the new iPod with a wrist strap and reliable/accurate GPS functions.

Many times we make things more, no a lot more complicated than it needs to be when we try to incorporate too much technology into what we do. The iPhone is great for working out in the gym, “just in case” I need to call home or some other emergency while running.

However, based on my experience over the past few weeks, I think I will go back to just using a watch while running outside and carry the iPhone in my fanny pack if I am going for a longer run or on a trail.

Technology is not always the answer to everything we do, sometimes we just have to do it and keep it simple. In my opinion it is more important that we need to enjoy what we are doing, instead of worrying about how to set this app up, stop that or if it is accurate or not.

I guess not using my iPhone (or other smart phone) for running is another one of those things that I am doing to simplify my life.

Three iPhone Apps for Runners Review

Over the course of the past week and a half, I have been running with my iPhone – not for the music, but for the GPS/runner apps that I have been trying out. I wanted to see which one I liked the best.

3 iPhone Apps for Runners

Nike +

Nike + had a fairly simple interface, decent loading time (about 9 seconds) but in my opinion you had to go through too many screens to just get to the running section. Main Screen >New Run >Basic >Continue before you got to the tracking screen.

I liked the big start button in the middle of the screen, the voice feedback, but thought that the time should have been the larger numbers instead of the mileage. I did like that single button to stop your workout versus having to do a slider, after running and being out of breath, it is a lot easier to stop the timer. The webpage that goes along with the app is solid and does what you need to track your workouts. Posting to Twitter is easy.

Good app for running, but it isn’t what I am looking for.

* *

Runtastic Pro

I used this as my primary app for walking since last summer. It loads in about 11 seconds, which is much better than it was initially – upwards of 30 seconds, so they have made significant improvements here.

I like the start and the positioning of the time, but the size of the timer is small if you are running along or making a quick glance at it to see how you are doing. I really don’t see a need for MPH unless you are using it for biking too, which I don’t. Maybe redesigning this screen could be an option to make it better for a runner.

I do like that Runtastic goes directly into map mode when you hit start. This is especially good if you are in an area that you don’t know very well. However, I hate having a slider to stop the workout. When you are all sweaty it and out of breath, sometimes it is hard to do get the slider to work without messing with it. Everything else is really good and integration with their website, Twitter and Facebook are all good too.

This is an app that I like better for walking than running.* *

miCoach

I tried this because of some good reviews I read online. It had the quickest start-up time of all the ones that I have tried – just over 4 seconds. But had several screens to go through to get to the timer section. Main >Go >Free Workout >Review >Continue >Ready, Set, Go >Start Work. I hate where the start workout button is placed and how it takes you to a different screen for your workout.

I like the timer screen, but to you have to use a slider to stop the workout (which is misnamed “slide to unlock”) then you have go to another screen to hit finish, these add about 5-10 seconds onto your time by the time you get through the screen which is a pain.

It has a nice summary screen. miCoach is a very powerful app that needs to be simplified, it has too many screens to go through to be useful to me, especially when ending a workout. I just want to press one button and have stuff stop at the end. Great premise, just not what I am looking for – too many screens for me.

* *

None of these iPhone apps are really what I am looking for as a runner, the GPS in all of them gives a different distance each time you use the app for the same course, so they are approximations of the distance that I have run at best. I can get a reasonable distance that is as accurate on the roads with my car, so one of the reasons for using these GPS enabled running apps is gone.

If I can get back in shape enough for some trail running, I would probably use Runtastic, even though I don’t like the slider to stop the app. I do plan to keep using the Runtastic app for walking, when I want to keep track of one.

All the apps that I have tried for running have their good and bad points, no one running or training happ has overwhelmed me to point where I want to keep using them for running.  It is too bad, because in some ways it would make my life a little simpler and automatically log my run, instead of manually logging it to my running blog.  Oh well, it could be worse – I could be sitting in my chair not being able to run at all.
The best advice I have is for you to try them for yourself and see if they do or do not meet your individual needs.
FCC Disclaimer:  I did not receive any compensation for writing this review, they are simply my thoughts on these products.

Spontaneous Fun for Bennie Bean

I was out walking Bennie Bean for his morning constitutional and my opportunity to clear my head. It was the first sunny morning since last Wednesday, the birds were singing, the mosquitoes were whining and at the top of the hill were two of the neighbor’s dogs (a Boston Terrier-Ruby and a Border Collie-something else mix-Buddy).

I tried to turn around before they noticed us, but it was too late. They had spotted Bennie and were running over. I tried to keep walking towards the house, but Ruby came running up and of course Bennie had been trying to drag me back to where they were with every bit of his strength (sorry Bennie mass overcomes determination). His pulling and tugging didn’t work, but Ruby and Buddy came running up announcing that they were ready to play.

Ruby and Bennie started to play, which wasn’t a problem, just an inconvenience, because I wanted to get home, have breakfast and finish my morning chores. Everything was just fine, until Bennie slipped his collar and they both started running down the road back towards Ruby’s house on the other side of the hill. Luckily it isn’t a busy road, but still it was just before 7:00 A.M. and many of the people here are driving to work at this time. Ruby and Bennie wouldn’t have noticed the vehicle anymore than he responded to me hollering at him to “Get back here!”

The three of them were running down the road as fast as they could (a darn site faster than I can run) darting around and running free. If I hadn’t been so pissed at Bennie for not coming when I was calling to him it would have been a fun sight to watch them play. Bennie was in the moment enjoying his freedom from the leash that he is almost always when he is outside – he loves to run and will on a moments notice, without regard to what we want him to do. He was playing, nipping, getting nipped, running and just having a glorious time.

While he was having his great time, I was worried about a car coming over the hill and hitting them. Finally, after about 5 minutes of this, I was able to get close enough to grab him and have him sit so I could put his collar back on and pick him up so he couldn’t slip the collar again (he has it down to a science). This didn’t stop Ruby from wanting to continue to play and follow us back to our home.

Because Ruby wouldn’t go home on her own, I had to lead her back to her house, where her owner came out, got her and apologized. I was a little flustered and frustrated, so I wasn’t my normal friendly self and mumbled something incoherent and walked off. I have a feeling that the neighbors (who live about 1/2 mile away), probably think I am a grumpy old guy. But hey, don’t let your dog run around the neighborhood.

What did I learn from this chance encounter this morning?

  • That I felt inconvenienced, my morning routine had been knocked for a loop, which made me feel frustrated and grumpy.
  • While Bennie and Ruby were in the road playing, I was very worried that they were going to be hit by a car. This caused me to get pretty stressed about the whole situation, until I had Bennie back in control and safe.
  • That when I am not in control of a situation, that I get stressed, especially when I see something as a safety issue and something that I love could be endanger – even if they don’t realize it.
  • More than a little put out for having to go out of my way to return someone else’s dog to ensure that Ruby was safe.
  • That Bennie had had a lot of spontaneous fun. Bennie had taken the moment, he didn’t worry about anything but enjoying what he was doing – playing with the other dogs. He didn’t worry that I was yelling at him, he just ran around taking advantage of his freedom.
  • That we need to provide more opportunities for Bennie to be around other dogs, instead of just us boring old humans.
  • That we need to work with Bennie being off the leash more this summer. He needs his freedom to run around, but at the same time respond to voice commands to keep him safe in our modern society.

Looking back Bennie’s complete involvement in the moment and play was actually fun to watch and that much of my stress over the whole situation (beyond the playing in the road issue) was my problem, not his.

Bennie was simply having fun and doing what comes natural to him. As we get older it seems that we are less and less spontaneous and more worried about our routines, schedules and what we think we have to get done next.

Is this a problem that most of us have?

Have our lives become are so rushed and structured that we do not have time for spontaneous fun and that we see it only as an inconvenience, instead of an opportunity to do, feel or see something differently.

Unfortunately, for many of us, that is the truth.  I do believe that I have to change some things in my life, do you?

Thank you Bennie and Ruby for making me stop and think about what I am actually doing and if that is the way that I want to continue doing things.

Those of you who are teachers, think about your classroom, it is a place of fun, discovery and joy for you and your students or is it a place of drudgery, routines, rules and quiet?  What can you do differently for you and your students? Will you? Can you?

 

Simplification Week in Review 6-26-11

The yard a couple of weeks ago – hshawjr

 

This has been the first week of the rest of my life.  It seems strange to look at it that way, but in reality that is what it is for all of us, but it is just that some of us are beginning to look at things differently than we have in the past.
Looking back it was an extremely busy week:
Budget
We paid off the three major bills we had left: car, property taxes and our furniture purchase from last December. The only large bill that we have left is pre-paying for our oil for next winter. This means we are essentially debt free, with the exception of the monthly stuff: food, gas, electricity, phone (we get rid of my iPhone 6/30) and cable/internet (looking at getting rid of cable in a couple of months).
The biggest change here is I have to remember that good enough is good enough.  We don’t have to go out and buy something new, just to have an extra “thingamajing”, we have plenty and can get by with what we have.  My wife is better at this part than I am, but I am getting there with her help.
Health
Finished up seeing my “Knee” doctor and got a clean bill of health from him.  However, he is not thrilled by me (or anyone else I gathered from talking to him) running again, but says to do stuff as long as it isn’t painful. Physical therapy went well and she kicks my butt – a good thing.  

I enjoy running too much not to run again, but will try to be smart about it (something different for me) and not go overboard and try too run fast or far anytime soon.  One mile a day is a good distance for a while with all the other stuff I do.  I probably will do a lot more walking and hiking than running in the long term, I just want the option to be able to run and do it relatively pain-free.  I just have to remember to have rest days built into the weekly schedule, so I don’t break down as quickly.

Now if I could just get myself to go in the back of the garage more often to life weights.  I have always hated lifting weights, even though I know that it is good for me and that I should do it more than once or twice a week.  Oh well, maybe that is something as I relax a bit more and figure out that I have more time than I used to, that I make time for.

Diet
One thing that being home is letting me do more is healthy eating and helping my wife put up fruits and vegetables for healthier eating later.   

I am not hitting the geejunk machine at work with all those unhealthy choices.  I have cut waaaayyyyy back on my potato chip eating (my addiction), by having a small bowl instead of the whole bag, when I had them this week, and putting them on the grocery list – see my I ADMIT IT – I AM A CHIPAHOLIC post from June 16, 2009 (it is still pretty accurate).  I have been eating salads fresh from our garden, eating less meat and trying to avoid pre-processed foods whenever possible.  

The other thing is that I am not trying to wolf down my food in less than 18 minutes at lunch time. This is what happened during lunch when school was in session, there was no time to relax, just wolf your food and get back to it. I had just enough time to walk to the teacher’s room, heat up my lunch, walk back to my room, eat my food and have a couple of minutes to screw my head back on, then students started to show back up. Now I am taking my time, eating in a relaxed manner and feeling a lot less stressed about lunch.

This past week we processed about 50 pounds of rhubarb into non-alcoholic cordial, sauce, and freezer chunks, it will taste great during the winter. See Rhubarb Processing is Finished post.

Over the course of the summer we plan to do strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, along with our garden and whatever else we can glean from the local area.  So we have a lot of food processing left to do. We started buying our eggs from a neighbor this week, there is a noticeable difference, between the fresh eggs and the one you get at the store, plus we are supporting a local small business this way. The quiche that Mary made from those eggs was very different tasting (for the better in my opinion) and had a lot more color than we were used to.

Archery
I also need to start getting ready for hunting season.  I have all of my archery equipment in good shape and just need to get muscled into doing it. I started shooting some in April, I even got my range all setup, then with the surgery and everything, it just kind of got put on the back burner, now it is time to pick it up again.  I know that I can hit what I aim at from 20 yards, I just have to get my muscle memory back to where I can hit from longer distances consistently i.e. most every time.
My archery range as seen from 20 yards
I enjoy archery and the challenge it provides along with the mental aspect that you have to focus only on shooting and hitting the target.  If you are not focused you will not hit what you are aiming at.

I need to put a couple of stands up and get permission from the local land owners to go out back to do some still hunting.  Eating stuff I kill in the woods during hunting season has to be healthier alternative, than the mass farm raised meat that we get at the store, with all of the medications and additives to their food that those animals have.  I have a feeling that I will need to improve my hunting skills a great deal to provide much meat for the table though, but that is something that I will have time for.

No I do not ever see me ever becoming completely vegan, so hunting will be a part eating healthier and hopefully help lower our food costs for meat.

General Stuff

I finished going through all my books and have another large pile to give away to one of the local book sales.  Heck I even got my desk area semi-cleaned up so that it looks presentable when someone come around or if I “heaven forbid” have to work at my desk.

My desk, still got some work to do here – hshawjr

Finally, I re-imaged my MacBook Pro and got rid of several programs, files and assorted junk on the machine. Re-imaging my Mac has really helped its performance and forced me to look at what software I really need instead of just keep putting “stuff” on my Mac.  See my Re-Imaging My MacBook Pro post.

The Reality is that
downsizing and simplifying my life is not something that we just started this week, but this is the first week of my being home to start many of the things we want to do.   Simplification and minimalizing how you do things is a journey, not a weekend activity where you throw out everything and live with nothing.  There is a definite mind-shift necessary and I want to move in this direction a pace that is comfortable for us, not based on what “others” recommend or say is the right way to do something.

Although my resignation is not effective until August 17th and it has been an extremely busy week, even so I have noticed that there has been a significant reduction in the stress levels that I was feeling.  Who knows, I might finally loose a pound or two as my stress levels go down. After next week, I see my/our life starting to slow down a lot more.

We will always be busy doing something, but the only difference is that it is things that we want to do.
Which to me is all the difference.

Rhubarb Processing is Finished

On Wednesday, I was up in the Palmyra, Maine area and got a Subaru Baja’s bed full of rhubarb.  I am lucky that my sister’s neighbor has a huge rhubarb patch that they don’t use at all and every year or so, I get to go get as much as I can carry back to the house.
One of these years I will get a picture of the patch and how much I throw in the back of the Baja or the truck.  Anyway it was a little later than usual this year and we were under pressure to process the rhubarb into useful food or drink products.

We usually make the rhubarb into a non-alcoholic cordial, sauce, freezer bags and keep some stalks in the fridge, for whatever. Below is a photo collage of the process.

The first batch to chop up


Tools of the trade

More chopping

Straining after boiling

Protection from the critters who shed hair in the house, while letting the strainer work its magic

2 of the 6 reasons that we cover everything, if we are not working on it (Domino & Joey)

Hurricane Isabelle sitting in front of the strainer protection – no matter how much we run them off, they, just keep coming back 🙂

My wife Mary (SWMBO) boiling the juice and bottling it.

I never realized how red/pink rhubarb juice/cordial is until we started doing this a few years ago.

The Joey protecting our hoard.

The final product

It took us 3 days of very steady work to process nearly 50 pounds of rhubarb. As a result of this we got 39 jars of rhubarb cordial, 4 jars of sauce, 9 quarts of chopped rhubarb in freezer bags and lots and lots of practice washing dishes over and over.

It might not look like much, but these are probably a two year supply for the two of us as long as I am not using a small glass instead of the cordial glass, which I usually do.  I really like the tart flavor and it adds something to a meal in the middle of the winter, when you drink something that you made and know exactly what is in the drink for ingredients, besides it tastes great.

Now to get some thank you samples back to the owners of the patch and give dad his due share.

We just wish that our rhubarb patch was as nice, but we are working on it. It sure would be a lot easier than having to travel over an hour to get the rhubarb, but the price was right and the result is delicious.

Next week is strawberry week and we will probably find something to do with those rhubarb stalks still in the fridge. Strawberry-Rhubarb pie, muffins, mmmm, loosing weight is tough, with Mary’s great cooking going on around me. I just don’t have great will-power – guess that I will have to start moving more.

By the way (SWMBO) She Who Must Be Obeyed is from Robert A. Heinlein’s books and is a joke.

Re-Imaging My MacBook Pro

I have thought long and hard about re-imaging my MacBook Pro over the course of the past week and last night I decided to go ahead and do it. So I spent time backing up my photos, files and music that I wanted to bring forward when I was done re-imaging.
Below are some of my reasons:

  • I am really trying to simplify my life and I use my MacBook Pro more than any other tool.  I spend far too many hours a day on it, so it seems appropriate to really take a look at what software I need with regards to my new simpler lifestyle of semi-retirement.
  • While teaching I used my personal MacBook Pro for a lot of school stuff.  I want to make sure that I have gotten any of the school or student related stuff off my computer that I don’t need or don’t want access to anymore.
  • Over the course of the past year I have experimented with way too many different desktop software applications and it is time to ensure that any leftover files are no longer on the computer. Just good housekeeping habits, some files just seem to be fairly well hidden and while they may be harmless, with all the privacy issues going around the Internet today, why take any chances.
  • Re-imaging forces me to look at what software I actually like, need, want or use on my Mac. I have too many programs that duplicate what other programs do and want to reduce the clutter.

Here are the programs I am starting with:

I would probably get rid of Front Row, Dashboard, Chess, Image Capture, and maybe iDVD if I was sure that there were no negative consequences for doing so. In the 18 months I have had my Mac, I haven’t done more than just open these programs to see what they were – I never used them.

I am sure that this list will grow, but when I add another desktop application, I want to do it for a reason, not just because it came with the laptop or because I thought it was a good idea earlier and found that I never used the program after the initial few times. I know that I will be adding NeverWinter Nights II and Sophos sometime this afternoon, but other than that I think I will wait a few days before adding more software.

Below are screenshots of the software that I had on my Mac before I started this re-imaging.

You will notice that iPhoto, Garage Band, iWork Suite, Microsoft Office for Mac and a bunch of other programs have been left off my Mac for now.  I am going to see if I can survive with just Google Docs and Evernote as my primary Office (Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Slideshow and Notebook) & Productivity Suite (Mail, Address Book, Todo list). Less choice also means that I will have to learn how to use the software that I have kept at a higher level than I am presently doing or switch it for something else that might work better/differently.

I have noticed a definite improvement performance on my Mac.  It feels snappy, instead of sort of sluggish and I haven’t been seeing that Spinning Wheel of “Time to Wait” stick around nearly long or as often as it had been over the past couple of weeks.

When was the last time you re-imaged your Mac? Is it time for you to do it?

Okay it was a bit of a pain to go back and add programs back, remember old passwords (stuff that I never added to LastPass) and some of the other “little” things that you forget about when you re-image your laptop.  In the long run I have a feeling that I will be very glad that I decided to re-image my Mac.

Yes as Apple moves to iCloud and Lion over the next few months, I will probably have to add iPhoto, Keynote, Pages and some other Apple programs back into the mix, so that I can try all the new “stuff” out. Until then this should be a pretty decent chance to see how minimalist I can become on this laptop.

Is there any software that I “have to have” that isn’t on my current list?  Why do I need it?

Thanks

Harold

What do YOU want to write about on YOUR blog?

What do YOU want to write about on YOUR blog?

Others who may or may not be “expert” bloggers (whatever your definition of an expert blogger is) offer suggestions, strategies, ideas and some even attempt to come up with “rules” (that fit their idea of what blogging should be) about how or what YOU should write on YOUR blog.

When you read those other blogs does it get confusing or even rather intimidating due to the many different messages being sent out there about blogging, by the multitude of bloggers each trying to get market share for their blogs.

Have we gotten so caught up reading all the great posts, with all their fantastic ideas that we could use to improve our blog (and there are some really great ideas out there) or the idea that “you too can make money blogging” or “see how great I am” blogger. Those who continually reminds you that they have so many followers that they must have all of the answers about “how to” blog correctly. In addition to all the other “help” that is out there to make you be a better blogger according to “their” ideas of what blogging is.

Do we pay so much attention to how others blog or want us to blog, that we loose track of the reason(s) many of us began blogging in the first place. How many bloggers have stopped blogging due to this attitude that seems to be too prevalent in the blogosphere? Too many I think.

How often do we loose our own voice or style in order to adapt to someone else’s way of doing something, even though we don’t feel comfortable blogging that way. It just isn’t who we are, but we do it anyway because it was successful for someone else?

Am I bashing the bloggers and their blogs who’s blogging niche is blogging – hell no. I have learned a great deal from some of those “experts” and some who are not considered expert. Yes, I have advertising on my site and if someone wants to give me money to write on my blog or elsewhere I will take it, if their writing needs, meet my standards, ability and interests. I have used their suggestions to help “grow” my blog.

At the same time I have also listened to and tried: suggestions, ideas, focus/niche, monetization and other solutions that didn’t work for me because they were not who I am or the direction that I seem to be going.

I have forgotten that One Foot In Reality is my blog and that I get to choose what I want to write about or what is or is not my blog’s focus or niche.  My blog is not dependent upon what the “experts” consider to be the “right” way to blog – who knows maybe my way will work best for me and my expectations of what blogging should be.

How many of you have also allowed yourselves to be manipulated to change how you blog to meet other people’s or the so-called experts’ expectations of what blogging is? Instead of writing what and/or how you want to write on YOUR blog.

So what do you want to write about on YOUR blog?

After all it is YOUR blog and you can make YOUR own choices on the content YOU put there.