When Blogging World Meets Real World

Butchart Gardens
A magical evening at Butchart Gardens.

I was very moved by a recent comment I received on my blog.

I was asked whether “all was well” since I had been silent for more than a month in the blogosphere. 

Life Happens, To All Of Us

There are many reasons we may hit the pause button or stop blogging for a period of time.

  • We may need to be quiet to divert our time and energy to pressing concerns.
  • We may have health complications.
  • We may need to replenish our body and our spirit. 
  • We may not need a specific reason.  Just time for a break.
  • In my personal life?  An unexpected family crisis.  Then Christmas came along.

After all, blogging should be a fun part of our lives.  Not a self-imposed chore with a strict timeline.  

Yet, I respect how many bloggers set different writing goals and parameters.

Butchart Gardens

The First Post I Read in 2020

I read Shelley’s recent candid post  Quaint Revival   on why and how she continues to blog.  She brought up the concept of clicks as “fly-by clicker types” and other categories of superficial followers. Not a new topic in the blogosphere.

Shelley’s wisdom helped me reflect on the blogging friends I have made and the reasons I blog.

Are they Real People who treat me like a Real Person?  Do they  actually read my stories?  Do they read my comments on their site?  

My Aha Moment

Just like in Real Life, I prefer to hang out with Real People who genuinely share and care.  Blogging friends who truly make a difference.

You impact the Real World in more ways than you may realize.

Five Ways The Blogging World Entered My Real World This Past Month

1.   Thank you, Donna and Richard, for a fun lunch date.  Retirement Reflections    We are long past the introductory Blind Date  (Link)  stage when we met last Spring.  It feels as if we have been friends for a very long time.  It was also a real treat to meet your son and his girlfriend visiting from overseas.  We look forward to many more future get-togethers.

It feels as if we have been friends for a very long time.

 

2.   Thank you, Annika,  Annika Perry  for writing a beautiful children’s book.  I received “Oskar’s Quest” just in time for my granddaughter, Abby’s fourth birthday.  A beautifully illustrated book sharing a message of courage, kindness and friendship.  Abby loves to follow along and she is already reading (memorized) part of the book, especially the sound effects.

 

 

3.    I met Joanne Tracey on her blog  andanyways.com   Joanne’s book, “Happy Ever After” was a finalist in the 2019 Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year (Ruby) Awards. I can see why Joanne won this honour.  “Happy Ever After” is an engaging and compelling story about the nuances and challenges of relationships, marriage and happiness. Suspense, too.  I am almost finished reading this book and I still have no idea how the story will end.   

 

 

4.   Thank you, Yvette,  priorhouse blog  for your inspiration on my title for this post.  I have always remembered a sentence on your blog that resonated with me.  “Don’t you love it when blog world meets the real world?”

5.   Thank you, Suzanne,  Picture Retirement  for commenting on my “radio silence”  and “hoping all was well.”  You entered my Real World and you touched my heart.  

An evening stroll at Butchart Gardens.

I Appreciate The Blogging Community and The Friends I Have Made

  • I learn something new from every post I read.
  • I have the opportunity to vicariously experience parts of our planet through your adventures.
  • I see the world through your lens.
  • I am informed and I am entertained.
  • I learn lessons when you share your vulnerabilities.    
  • I appreciate when you share your wisdom.

Most of all, thank you for your Humanity. You make a difference.

Especially, when you touch someone’s heart.

   

Have you ever been emotionally moved by a comment on your blog?

Have you ever hit the “pause” button and taken a break from blogging?

I Was Tempted To Lie To My Husband

Aukland Zoo, New Zealand

 

Not a good thing.

Especially two weeks before our wedding anniversary.

Is there ever a good time to lie?

It is actually an act of omission.  Something I did not want to tell him.

Is this still considered a lie?

 

It Started Last Sunday

I had booked a massage.  A real treat.

Before the massage, I took off my wedding ring and I placed it in my wallet. 

An hour of bliss followed. 

On the way home I stopped at Discovery Coffee to buy coffee beans.  They have the best coffee in Victoria and it is worth the drive to pick up the beans.

                       A perfect end to my week.              

Frenchman Lake, Yukon, 2011

Monday Morning   

I realized I was not wearing my wedding ring.

I was quite certain I had placed it in my wallet. 

I checked my wallet. No luck. 

I did have spa brain yesterday, so I might be wrong.

I completely emptied my purse.  No luck.

I phoned the Spa to see whether anyone had turned in a wedding ring, a simple gold band.  Nothing.  

I phoned Discovery Coffee.  They checked the back desk where lost and found items are placed.  Nada.    

 

Darn.  I Feel Sick To My Stomach.

It is just a ring.  A material object. 

I am actually surprised I haven’t lost it before now. 

I take it off before every yoga class, sometimes placing it on the towel next to me.  I used to take it off before running when I used to run.  My fingers swell and I am not in the mood to have anything cut off.

It is only a physical item.  It is not as if anything serious has happened, especially to anyone I love.

Physical items can be replaced.

Then why do I feel sick to my stomach?

 

Forty-one Years Ago

This ring was given to me as a symbol of commitment and a promise we made to each other.

Forty-one years ago it was a shiny, simple, smooth gold band.

Forty-one years later this ring shows some wear and tear.  Not unlike all marriages.

            This ring means even more to me now.

It represents a friendship and a life we have built together.

It is symbolic of our enduring love for each other.

 

I Do Not Want To Tell My Husband

I am disappointed and upset.  I will likely start crying.

He may not even notice the missing ring.

I could replace the ring with a similar looking gold band.

My husband would say the right things to make me feel better.  He always does. 

He has been my best friend for over forty-one years.  I have always been able to count on him.

 

Thursday Morning

I phone the Spa and Discovery Coffee again.

       A last-ditch effort to find the ring.

Nothing was turned in at the Spa.

A friendly voice answers at Discovery Coffee.  Yes, they have found the ring!”  

Happy tears.

 

Am I Using Up My Good Luck Quota?

I often think of luck as a finite amount of good in my life.

I am allocated a limited quantity of good luck in my lifetime.  I do not want to waste it. 

I recently wrote about finding the Ruby Red Slippers  link here   Now my ring shows up.  These are two small examples of something good going my way.

                   What are the chances? 

I would rather save the good luck for the most important parts of my life, the people in my life.  My loved ones. 

I realize life doesn’t work this way.

We play the cards we are dealt, good and bad.

I am grateful for the hand I have been dealt for most of my life.

Jokulsarlon Glacier, Iceland

Do I Tell My husband? 

Lying is not a good thing.  

Yet, we are also not perfect.  I am sure the both of us have kept silent at times or told white lies to spare feelings. 

We believe in communication in our marriage.  Even on difficult subjects. 

After all these years, I could not hide anything from my husband.  We know each other too well.

Communication is often non-verbal.  

Aukland Zoo, New Zealand

Lost Or Found

I was not aware how much this ring meant to me, until I lost it.

         A good reminder for a great deal in life.

I also do not need an object to remind me of our respect and love for each other.  For us, love is a verb.  We show up for each other every day.

I was planning to tell my husband about the ring, lost or found.

When he opens his inbox today and reads this story. 

                      Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart.

Thank you for the forty-one years we have shared together.  I look forward to many more.

 

 

 

November 24, 1978

 

Have you ever lost a special item?  Are there times when not telling the truth is a good thing?

 

Postscript:   Last night I read a beautiful true story, on Jill Weatherholt’s blog about   A 94-year-old couple who had been married for 75 years.      Jill added this quote from Richard Bach. “True love stories never have endings.”

A few hours later I read Pamela Wight’s beautiful, poignant story on her blog, Roughwighting.  The  Once to Now  feels like a brief moment in time.  Where did the time go?

 

Related Links:

Sliding Doors. Do You Ever Wonder How Your Life Would Be Different Now If You Had Taken The Other Door.

40th Anniversary, You Know He Is A Keeper

Do You Believe A Person’s Energy Can Be Attached To An Object?

Where Are The Ruby Red Slippers?

 

Erica or Erika? Which Name Should I Keep?

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Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, James Bond aka 007 was filmed here, twice.

I Am Living Under A False Name.

An alias.  A pseudonym.  A false identity.

Not intentionally.

Although, this could still have serious repercussions.

 

I Have Been Called Different Names In My Life. 

  • My husband often calls me “Sweetie” or “Dear.”  He likely has a few more names for me (under his breath).
  • My daughters call me “Mom.”
  • My parents used to call me “Friedchen.”  It is a term of endearment using my middle name.
  • The last few years I have had the privilege of being called “Grandma Erica.”

 

When Did Erica/Erika Begin?

When I began school, my teachers always wrote my name as “Erica.”  I learned to write my name as “Erica.”  

My signature on all of my paperwork, wedding certificate, driver’s license and bank cards is “Erica.”

Much later in life, a glance at my birth certificate revealed “Erika.”  I did not think it really mattered at this point.

                      I was wrong!

 

9/11 Was Pivotal.

New passport regulations carefully scrutinized the spelling of all names.  I had to make sure my passport name, birth certificate and signature were an exact match. 

I now had to sign specific documents with the spelling “Erika.”  I was not at all used to writing this “new” name.

 

My Wonderful Boss With A Great Sense Of Humour.

I was fortunate to work in a very progressive dental office for almost twenty-five years.  We often had the opportunity to take continuing education courses and attend conferences.  Some of the conferences were held in a different city and out of the country. 

This dentist was finalizing the travel arrangements for a conference.  He was initially puzzled about the “new” name, “Erika.”  Our passport and ticket information had to be accurate.

He had a great sense of humour.  From now on, he would address correspondence to me as “Erica/Erika.”

                        It aways made me smile.

                 

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Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Beginning the WordPress Blog.

I watched YouTube videos and I went to “how to start a blog” websites. I did not want to overthink the process.  I might change my mind.

Behindthescenery” domain was already taken.  Therefore, I chose “Behindthesceneryphoto.” 

I had to type in a username.

                    I typed in “Erica/Erika.” 

I did not want to interrupt the flow of setting up a WordPress blog.  I could always finesse things later. 

 

Almost Everyone Has A Story Behind Their Name.

They may have a name in honour of a family member.  We were advised to name our first child, “Donat.”  We politely disregarded this suggestion.  You are welcome, Sara.

 

 

Some people choose to change their name for various reasons.

Some people prefer to use their middle name or a nickname.

A glance at a birth certificate may reveal a name different from the one they have been called all their life. 

 

My Thoughts This Moment In Time.

Most of the time I use the name, “Erica.”

Specific documents necessitate the spelling, “Erika.”  My hands may shake when my signature requires this “new” spelling.  I play by the rules.

In today’s world of minimalism and simplifying, “Erica/Erika” is now six syllables.  Am I taking up too much room?  It is cyberspace after all. 

Readers in our blogging community have also been using “E/E.” 

 

Do I Change The Name On My Blog?

I do not mind what I am called.  “Erica” sounds the same as “Erika” to me.  

I like and answer to all of the above.

As for the name on my blog?

                 I am keeping “Erica/Erika.”  At least for now.  

                                It always makes me smile.

 

Do you have a story behind your name?  Would you like to change your name?

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“Friedchen”

The Story Behind The Story

I had just completed a draft of this story about my name(s). I was not sure when or whether I would click “publish.”

This week my blog crossed paths with a blogger new to me, Annika from  Annika Perry’s Writing Blog 

Curious to learn more about her, I clicked on her blog site.  Her most recent post:  What’s in a Name? Book Review.

Immediate goosebumps for me. 

Annika writes an in depth, engaging review of “What’s in a Name” a book of short stories written by Sally Cronin.   Smorgasbord Blog Magazine   Behind every name there is a story.  

                             Synchronicity?  Coincidence?

I especially like a quote from Yvette,  Priorhouse Blog  “Don’t you love it when blog world meets the real world?”

                           Does this ever happen to you?

 

 

Does Every Two-Year-Old Put Something Up Their Nose?

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The Magic of Childhood

 

Road trips with a two-year-old and a four-year-old can be a lot of fun.

Most of the time.

 

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What do you do when the two-year-old starts crying and we decipher through the sobs,

                       “A Tic Tac is in my nose!

The car is in motion on a busy Vancouver highway.

I abruptly swing around in my seat.

“Are you kidding me?!  Are you sure you have a Tic Tac in your nose?!”

I see something up her nose.

I calmly shout blow your nose!”

Flashes of first aid courses run through my mind.  I try to remember all I have learned about head anatomy and the sinus cavity.

I am thankful my daughter, their Mother, sent me a text this morning containing a copy of their Medical Care Cards.  

                        Where is the nearest hospital?

 

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Do not play with knives!

 

Papa Chuck screeches to a halt at the side of the road.  I jump out of the car and attempt

                       Tic Tac Rescue Mission!

I cannot even see the Tic Tac now.  A bulge is visible high up on her nose.  I apply pressure to one nostril amidst the two-year-old’s advanced cries.  I tell her to blow her nose.  No success.

Again, blow your nose!”

A Tic Tac with much mucous flies three feet out of her nose.

The wide-eyed two-year-old stops crying.

I return to my seat and we resume our road trip.

Along with a five minute lecture on

                      “Never put a Tic Tac up your nose!”

 

It could have been worse!  It could have been a Nerd!

 

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Double Trouble!

 

Our friends had to take their daughter to the hospital to remove a  “Nerd” from her nose.

The first thought that may come to mind is the computer coding, highly intelligent, mathematical whiz.

                      Not this child, on this day.

This little girl had somehow managed to put a popular candy of the 1980’s up her nose.

Her parents reluctantly sped to the hospital.  After a few embarrassing looks, they managed to explain the problem to the emergency team.

                      The Nerd was expertly removed.

The hospital staff has likely seen worse.

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She looks soooo Sweet and Innocent

Not every child will put something up their nose. 

Two-year-olds have a reputation for testing our patience and creating anxious moments. 

They can also make us laugh.  Especially when the Tic Tac or the Nerd is safely removed.

An embarrassing story may unexpectedly surface one day.

                        Possibly at their Graduation, their Wedding or even on a Blog.  

            

Have you had any scary moments with a toddler?  

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A Reason to Smile

Postscript:  

Deleting a Blog Post? – One Year Later

 “Tic Tac Rescue Mission”   was the original title of the above story.   It was unedited, written directly on the WordPress site and I immediately hit “publish.”

                   I won’t do that again.

I was tempted to delete my first few blog posts. 

They were practice pages to see whether this WordPress thing works.

             Will the post even show up in cyberspace?

I consider August, 2019 as my official One Year Blogiversary.  

I have found a fun, challenging, creative outlet.  I have met many inspirational people in this supportive community.

The initial practice pages remind me how much I have learned this first year of blogging.

          I am glad I did not delete my first blog posts. 

Have you gone back and deleted any of your Blog Posts? 

  

 

 

Do You Have Different Friends For Different Seasons?

 

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Holland Creek Trail, Ladysmith, British Columbia

 

What happens when The Widow Badass, Retirement Reflections and Behind the Scenery meet up?

You guessed it!  A whole lot of shenanigans!

I am sharing your word, Joanne .  Thank you for sharing your friend.

 

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Two Beautiful Ladies on a carpet of leaves

We Have Three Types Of Friends In Life

  • Friends for a Reason. 

  • Friends for a Season.

  • And Friends for a Lifetime.

 

 

The Reason

Deb  The Widow Badass Blog  was visiting The Island.  Donna Retirement Reflections Blog  plus Deb and I met at “The Old Town Bakery” in Ladysmith thanks to Donna’s recommendation.

I know only a few things about Ladysmith.

  • Pamela Anderson was born and raised here.
  • The Christmas Festival of Lights is a huge event.  
  • It is worth stopping at The Old Town Bakery, voted as having “The best cinnamon buns on the island.” 

The constant flow of people coming in and out of this bakery and my taste buds agree with all of the praise. 

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The Season

Autumn.

A beautiful, peaceful time of year with changing colours and cooler temperatures.

Perfect for going on a hike and exploring The Holland Creek Trail in Ladysmith.  Another great recommendation from Donna.  Donna shares more detailed information and beautiful photos here

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect for spending time with these two amazing women. 

That evening, at home, my husband asked me about my day and my new friends.

 Searching for words, I told him,  “Donna and Deb are More.”

            “They are More interesting, More witty, More kind and caring, and More beautiful inside and out than you may imagine reading their blogs.  We had a lot of fun!”

 

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Walking into a Fairy Tale

Friends For A Lifetime

Most of us have made more than one Friend in our lifetime:

  • The going to the movies Friend.
  • The work Friend.
  • The foodie Friend.
  • The fearless adventurer Friend.
  • The pour your heart out and share your soul Friend.  
  • The very wise Friend.
  • And more recently, the Blogging Friend.

 

If we are fortunate, we will have Friends for a Lifetime.  Priceless.

 

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The Salmon Whisperer
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Pretty in the Rain

The Autumn of my life

I am truly grateful for all of my Friends.  

You have enriched my life beyond measure.

I cherish our precious time together.  An irreplaceable gift.

We share hobbies.  We share stories.  We share a part of ourselves.

                  

                      Our life becomes More.   We become More.

 

Do you have long term friends?  Have you recently made new friends? 

 

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Obligatory Selfie of three goofy (oops, intelligent) women

Where Are The Ruby Red Slippers?

A Situation Develops At Our House

A major crisis for 3 1/2 year old, Abby.  Therefore, it becomes a major problem for all of us.

It is 8:00 p.m.  Abby and Sadie are getting ready to go home with their Mother. 

Abby cannot find her slippers.  These are not just average slippers.  These are Abby’s favourite Ruby Red Slippers.

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Abby’s Favourite Ruby Red Slippers

Everyone is tired.  Too tired to check throughout the house looking for slippers.  We turn the house upside down anyways.

We look inside toy ovens, doll beds, lego crates, toy boxes, under pillows and in closets.  We look everywhere!   No luck.  We cannot find Abby’s slippers anywhere.

Lots of crying and then good night hugs.  The girls go home with their Mother.

During The Night

I wake up during the night with my mind racing.  I am replaying yesterday and retracing my steps.

Yesterday morning, I had loaded up the stroller and taken three grandchildren, ages one, three and five to play in a park close to our house. 

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The Usual Suspects

 

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Children of the Corn

 

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Not a drop of rain in sight.

Packing up to return home, I saw the red slippers in the bottom of the stroller.  

Or so I thought. 

Crammed in the bottom of the stroller were water bottles, snack containers, dolls, stuffys and a blanket.

It dawned on me, at first glance I could have mistaken the shiny red water bottle for the red slippers hidden in the chaos.

In The Morning

I tell my husband there is a possibility the slippers were lost somewhere at the park. The children had been playing all over the grassy field.

If by chance the shoes were discovered, they will likely have been discarded or they will have gone home with someone by now. 

My husband sees my disappointed face and he encourages us to at least take a look.  We arrive at the park and notice the newly mowed grass. Darn. The lawn mowers could have easily chewed up the slippers.

I see something red and shiny on a table at the edge of the playground.

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The Ruby Red Slippers!

 The Ruby Red Slippers!

Yay!  Tears of joy and a lump in my throat!

These little red slippers may be a minor thing in the scheme of life.

They also represent a major part of what is good in my life.  

Our 3 year old:  The smile and squeal of delight when I FaceTime with her and show her the slippers.

My husband:  How he reads the disappointment on my face and helps me hunt for little ruby red slippers.  I easily fall in love with him again.

The people in my neighbourhood:   The shoes were picked up and placed in an obvious area. Many children play in that park all day long. They had left the shoes visible for us to find.

Me:  Amidst the chaos I did remember to return home from the park with three grandchildren.

A successful day!

                              Have you ever lost something important in your life?

Postscript:  You may be wondering whether Abby left the park with shoes on.  Yes, Abby had shoes on.  That day it was her Pink Bear wearing the Ruby Red Slippers. 

 

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Grateful for all the Good in my Life!

10 Reasons Why You Should NOT Live On “The Island”

 

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Botanical Beach

1.  You will waste your precious time spending hours walking on beaches and checking out tidal pools.

 

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Botanical Beach

2.  You will have to put up with fresh, clean air and a constant breeze.

3.  People are very neighbourly and approachable here.  Expect a friendly wave with the obligatory friendly wave in return. You will have to constantly say “hi,” a tiresome custom.

4.  You will have to tolerate views of lakes and the ocean as far as the eye can see.    

 

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Cowichan Lake – photo credit Alisha (my daughter)

 

5.  Camping outdoors on “The Island” will mean almost no bugs.  You will not have the pleasure of swatting, swelling, investing in bug repellent and Afterbite.

 

 

 

 

6.  You will have to get accustomed to the colour green.  Moss, ferns and diverse, spectacular trees are found in our forests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.  You will take too many photos and have the challenge of selecting only a few favourite ones.  One of the pictures below is an often photographed little bonsai conifer growing out of an old mossy stump.

This Fairy Lake tree became famous when Adam Gibb’s photo was selected as one of the 100 winning images from 48,000 global submissions for Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012.  Adam Gibb’s photo     

        

 

 

 

8.  Hiking with friends will consume a great deal of your time.  You will never run out of places to explore.  Decisions.  Decisions.  

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9.  You will want to avoid the Malahat at the end of a long weekend in the Summer.  Taking the  Pacific Marine Circle Route   home will add stress to your day.

You will have to drive an extra hour through a beautiful rain forest, gaze at stunning scenery and endure minimal traffic. 

The extra one hour drive may turn into four hours because you will want to stop and explore the beautiful sites along this route. You may possibly include a leisurely lunch in the picturesque town of Port Renfrew.  

An entirely wasted day! (in Paradise)

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10.  And most importantly, why you should NOT live on “The Island?” 

                                       Will you be able to keep “Vancouver Island” our little secret?

                                               I think not.  Especially when you call it “home.”

 

Dedicated to:  All the visitors that come to “The Island” each year.  The people that make “The Island” their home.  And to Deb,  Widow Badass Blog  who has discovered  our little secret.”