How An Iceland Adventure Led To Midlife Blogging

I am honoured to be a guest on Leanne’s inspirational and informative blog, Cresting The Hill  as part of her Midlife Symphony Series 

In my post I am sharing why the second half of my life is the best half of my life.  Choices I have made in the last two years have completely changed my life.   For the better!

Click on the link below to read the story.  I look forward to meeting you there!

Via     How An Iceland Adventure Led To Midlife Blogging

 

Myvatn Nature Baths, North Iceland

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?

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

Roughing it! Why Leave The Comforts Of Home?

Why Go Camping?

 

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  • Is it the Forest Bathing?  Do the trees emit oils that replenish my body?
  • Is it the Ions near the ocean?  I feel more in balance when I am near water. 
  • Is it the Silence in the presence of nature.  My breathing slows down.  I have a sense of peace and belonging.

 

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Getting There

 We are all packed and excited to get on our way.  We are heading to Long Beach on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.   

This campground is fully booked almost a year in advance.  The sites are a hot commodity, almost as difficult to obtain as tickets to U2, Pink, and Justin Bieber.

It takes us approximately six hours to drive to the West Coast.  No ferry travel, which is a bonus.  We travel through lush forests and beside beautiful lakes.  10 Reasons Why You Should Not Live On The Island

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We Bring The Basics

  • Eight foot camper.  Easier than a tent.
  • Tarps.  Tarps.  And more Tarps.  My husband is the Griswold of camping.
  • Layers of clothing.  It is Fall weather with a combination of sun and rain.
  • Camping food.  Everything tastes better outdoors.
  • Many books downloaded on an ereader plus hard copy books.
  • A good, flexible attitude.  Nature and camping can be unpredictable.

 

We Bring Extras

  • Fondue Pot.  A real treat and a tradition for the two of us.
  • Blueberry tea ingredients.  A classic recipe resurfaced from 1970’s camping.  A combination of amaretto liqueur, orange liqueur, hot Earl Grey tea or Orange Pekoe tea.
  • Propane campfire.  Campfire bans are often in effect.
  • More tarps.

 

8 Reasons I Love To Go Camping

1.  I spend uninterrupted time with my husband.  Our discussions contain topics we don’t delve into at home.  These topics often contain the truly important layers of our life. 

Our discussions often contain silence.

       “When you can sit in perfect silence with someone, you truly know how to

                          communicate.” Richard Wagamese

 

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2.  I go for long hikes. 

3.  I watch the sunset. 

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4.  I see the stars and the planets at night. 

5.  I take many photos giving me new perspectives on my surroundings.

 

 

6.  I can read all day and not feel guilty how I should be getting more accomplished at home. I indulged in many books this past week.  (see bottom of page)

 

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 7.  The Sound of the Ocean.  The Sounds of the Birds.

                             The Sounds of Silence. 

8.  Ocean and lakes as far as the eyes can see. Untouched old growth forests.  Open spaces.  

                It is in these Spaces where I feel most Whole. 

 

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Why Leave The Comforts Of Home?

Many great books are available on the Blue Zones and the concept of Health, Happiness and Living our Best Life.  One of the books I just finished reading is “The Blue Zones of Happiness” by Dan Buettner.  This book reinforces and  summarizes many of the concepts we have learned about enriching the quality of our life.  

Hundreds of factors affect our happiness. The research shows how 40% is what we can affect through our behaviour.  Most of us are familiar with:  exercise, eating healthy, meditation, declutter, minimalist lifestyle, surround ourselves with positive, supportive people, to name a few.

Buetnner’s book contains research from Sonja Lyubomirsky.  She wrote a popular book a few years ago “The How of Happiness.  She discusses,  

          “the challenge lies in sustaining the new level of happiness.”

Lyubomirsky cautions, 

“If you repeat the same happiness-boosting strategies too often, they begin to feel routine.  They lost their ability to lift your spirits.”

 

 

We need to vary our activities. This concept can apply to our nutrition and diet. It can also apply to exercise, stretching and maintaining a healthy body. 

Marty, from  Snakes in the Grass  shared in  The Core of it All   how his chiropractor advised him,  doing the same sequence of stretches will lose it’s benefit over time.  We need to mix it up.  Our body does not derive the same benefit from doing the same, routine activities over and over again.  

For me, camping falls into this category.  I benefit from a change in my surroundings, a change in my activities and a change of pace.

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My Life

I appreciate my day to day life and the comforts of my home.

 I also feel great when I have a change of scenery, I vary my routine and I go camping.

I gain perspective and I feel the harmony, balance, and beauty in nature. 

I rest, recharge and replenish my spirit in solitude.  I am better able to manage life’s challenges.

I am reminded how I am a part of the bigger picture.  I belong here.  I am timeless. 

                          I become my Authentic Self.

                         

 

What activities make you feel your best?  Do you vary your routine?  Have you gone camping?

 

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Blog sites:  Thought-provoking, informative articles on the vast subject of Happiness.  

Kathy:  Smart Living 365   Shares many great posts helping us Live our Best Life.

Nancy:  Defining Third Age  A series of posts sharing information from courses she has taken on the Science of Happiness.

Leanne:  Cresting the Hill    Many interesting articles on the health benefits of “calm” “peace” “serenity” “balance” in our lives.  This specific post discusses the concept of “Unbusy.”  Choosing to be Unbusy in Retirement

 

Books I read on my Fall Camping Trip: 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis.  I recently saw the “Magician’s Nephew” in Chemainus.  I was curious about the “Chronicles of Narnia” series. 

“The Book of Life” by Deborah Harkness.  Book three of “Old Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches.” I read the first two books last Fall.

Embers” Richard Wagamese.  A book filled with rich, yet simple words containing a wealth of wisdom.  I LOVE this author.  This author was brought into my life by a lovely, smart, wise, intuitive, family member.  You know who you are.  Thank you for sharing your light.

The Blue Zones of Happiness” Dan Buettner 

A Mother for my Twins” by Jill Weatherholt.  I met Jill this past year following her blog site.  I was immediately pulled into this engaging story and I read the entire book in one evening. Suspense, characters you love, the concept of choices and forgiveness.  I did shed some tears at the end.  jillweatherholt.com 

 Better Blogging with Photography” by Terri Webster Schrandt.  An amazing photographer with a very interesting blog site.  Many gems in this book.  Second Wind Leisure Perspectives

“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron

“Habits for Success” by Brian G. Benson

 

 

 

 

Grammy’s Grid Interview

I am delighted to be featured in this interesting and fun Blogging Grandmothers Series.  Thank you, Dee!

I am very grateful to be a Mother and a Grandmother.  My family makes me smile every day.   My love for them is endless and immeasurable. 

You can read my featured interview here:   Blogging Grandmothers Series 3 with Erica from behindthesceneryphoto