The magic and the mystery of blogging

 

 

 

 

 

100_0360An ikon I’d never seen before popped up on the right hand side! Word Press, bless their little cotton socks, telling me I’ve been blogging for a year.

Really?  A whole year of writing, reading, liking, commenting, enjoying, sighing, worrying, wondering, exulting, agonising, delighting, puzzling, slaving over a hot computer?

A whole year of writing for pleasure, knowing that no-one is going to stab me in the back? This is the amazing gift of blogging. Unlike journalism, where bouquets are few and far between, but angry, argumentative put- down letters are easy to write to a person whose name is in a newspaper, blogging has its own set of conventions.

The best one is that bloggers don’t criticise or judge. They comment, they put another point of view, but they live and let live. When I first veered off the light and trivial and started to write about things I feel deeply about, I used to feel a bit sick when I pressed the Publish button, wondering what I had let myself in for … much the same as I used to feel when I was writing columns in magazines and newspapers, sending them off with trepidation, wondering who would attack me this week.

The first time I did this, and saw the yellow button flash Comment, I opened it nervously, and when I saw the comment, exulted with relief. And so it went with every Like and Comment.  This encouragement and courtesy means that bloggers can write honestly and from their heart, knowing that they won’t be judged and found wanting. If you don’t agree, just press delete, and read another blog and no-one is hurt or discouraged.

This day a year ago, my printer had set up the blog, told me I could see the stats at the top of the page, and talked me through writing a post. He then pushed my boat off into the ocean of bloggers, and I wonder how many other bloggers began their voyage over this great uncharted ocean on that day… I was like someone adrift in a little rowing boat, who knew how to row, but didn’t know where to go or how to get there, how to read the stars or a map or the weather. It was only after about two months that I discovered what Tags were, and that they mattered, nearly five months before I discovered that the yellow light at the top right hand side meant there was a message awaiting the lucky blogger, and I still don’t know what a click or a referrer is.

I puzzle over Stats, and still don’t understand the code… as far as I can see, from trying to do surreptitious checks when I think Word Press isn’t watching, followers don’t show up in Stats – or do they?  And how does someone have 5,000 views and 18,000 followers… I don’t get it. But since I never deciphered  algebra, geometry, logarithms, or even simple arithmetic  at school, it’s not surprising that the intricacies of technology elude me.

I learn that the first blogger was a student writing from Swarthmore College – a Quaker establishment – in 1994, but that blogging really took off in the late 1990’s. I also learn that there’s a whole vocabulary around different types of blogging now, and that in some countries it’s banned or that bloggers have to be registered. Google tells me that Tim O’Reilly, the founder of O’Reilly Media and a supporter of the free software and open source movements, suggested a Blogger’s Code of Conduct.

He and others came up with a list of seven ideas which included: taking responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog; lowering your tolerance level for abusive comments; considering eliminating anonymous comments; ignoring the trolls… and if you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so; don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say to the person.

My experience of blogging has meant that bloggers practise far more than this basic list of protocols. They share kindness, encouragement, and friendship, they support each other, share helpful information, even love each other, and this sort of community is what makes blogging the experience it is. Investigating blogging has surprised me – apparently more men than women blog – I’d have thought it the other way around – 60 per cent to 40 per cent. Word Press alone has 42,000,000 bloggers – thank you for remembering my anniversary, chaps – and 500,000 posts daily, with 400,000 daily comments – wow.

Blogging is more than this though. In my experience, I’ve become a better writer, without the fear of sub-editors changing my copy, or readers clobbering me. I dare to be true to myself. I constantly learn from other people’s blogs, and this stimulation, I find, is improving my memory, plus the research involved in checking my facts. This means I’m feeling more creative too, and have such a sense of fulfilment every time I press Publish, and then the fun begins and the conversations take off.

Maybe the most incredible thing about blogging is that we are all tapping into the global brain, and contributing to it too. And more importantly, we are also dipping into the global ocean of goodwill and deepening it with our courtesy and kindness, and that maybe, will be the salvation of the world.

Food for Threadbare Gourmets.

With a lovely big bowl of jellied chicken stock from steamed chicken, I had lots of possibilities, but plumped for risotto. Frying onions and garlic until soft, and then chopped mushrooms, I used a cup of Arborio rice, poured into the onion and gently sauting until it became translucent. I added half a glass of good white wine, and when the alcohol had been boiled away, ladled in boiling chicken stock, and two sage leaves. When the rice was almost soft, I added the chicken scraps from the carcass, a handful of frozen peas, salt and pepper,  and a knob of butter and some cream. I covered it for five minutes when cooked, and then served it with freshly grated Parmesan and salad. Yum. Enough for three normal people, or two incredibly greedy people.

Food for Thought

Youth is a gift of nature. Aging is a work of art. Anonymous

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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120 Comments

Filed under bloggers, cookery/recipes, great days, humour, life/style, technology, The Sound of Water, Thoughts on writing and life, Uncategorized

120 responses to “The magic and the mystery of blogging

  1. I don’t get the stats either; but it’s all fun. Glad you are here, Valerie.

    Like

  2. Indeed, we are tapping into the collective brain! And it is beautiful to see it in action!!! There is so much to learn – too much for one lifetime. We have many lifetimes working in harmony. Another stellar post! And congratulations for a year of blogging.

    Like

    • Yes, isn’t there are lot to learn… and when I hear my grand-sons talking I realise how little I know and how their brains and their contemporaries are capable of holding so much information…awe-inspiring.
      Thank you as ever for your wonderful encouragement, Rebecca… your appreciation, and that of others makes blogging the rich and fun experience that it is.

      Like

      • Wow. I couldn’t wait to see how these ptoohs looked having been at the wedding, and WOW, Alle, they’re incredible! You’ve captured the beauty, fun and joy of the event as well as all the little details no-one else saw but you. I have to say they’re some of the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever seen.

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  3. Great article. I started blogging about 6 months ago, and have been going thro’ similar experiences as you have described. Rue. The magic and mystery of blogging is enjoyable and amazingly addictive. Congrats on completing one year in the blogosphere. Happy Anniversary.

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    • Hi there, great to hear from you, and thanks for commenting… yes, it’s funny how we all go through the same various stages of blogging,.. our common experience!
      Thank you for your congrats, and best wishes to you for your blogging voyage !!

      Like

  4. My experiences have been very similar, and like yourself I have been pleasantly surprised. Congratulations Valerie.

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  5. Right down to the very last grain of Arborio rice in your delicious risotto, I couldn’t agree more with your lovely post. And, yes, what is a referrer? Hope you saved some of that good wine to toast your first anniversary on WordPress.

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  6. Anonymous

    Congratulations from one of your biggest fans and I love the photos very professional.

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  7. Happy blog birthday Valerie and may there be many more to come 🙂 I totally agree, the non-judgmental attitude of the blogging community is very refreshing and their differing opinions open up interesting ideas and avenues of thought to me. And finding a huge community of writers able to put those thoughts across eloquently and without aggression or ridicule is absolutely wonderful 🙂

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    • Hello Dory, so good to hear from you – I’ve been missing your lovely posts.
      I love what you say about blogging and the blogging community… it’s a wonderful world of stimulation and new ideas and refreshing writing isn’t it…May we all continue to hold hands around the world !!!

      Like

  8. Happy Anniversary, Valerie. I liked reading your positive post. Blogging is being the writer, editor, and illustrator and that is a wonderful creative process. It is learning on the job and learning from others, from feedback and experimenting. Keep going places!

    Like

  9. Thank you Paula, so good to hear from you. Yes, blogging has so many facets, and all that you say is so true. I’ll keep travelling along the road with you, in the words of that love old Shaker hymn.!!!..

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  10. Another post to love! (and we share a recipe for Chicken risotto!)
    I so endorse everything you say about blogging. What a world it has opened up where we can learn so much about the lives of others, their loves, their disasters, their troubles and their joys -and all with such honesty being able as you say to open up in this so supportive environment. I do believe real friendships develop on here. If I did re-blogging, this is one I would re-blog!
    All the best to you from one who is pleased to consider herself a ‘work of art’! Love the quotation. 🙂

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    • Hello Sally, Loved your comment and so glad you enjoyed the post… yes, blogging is so many different things to so many different people… and it’s wonderful that we all do trust each other enough to write our truth… thank you Sally, for all your lovely encouraging support, With warm wishes from another ‘work of art. !!!!

      Like

  11. Hi Valerie

    What a wonderful tribute to blogging!! Like you I have found it to be a very positive experience and so much more than I expected. To belong to a community, a world wide community is so exciting isn’t it? It’s a real privilege to be able to communicate with so many people from all over the world and to come to understand that we are so much more alike than we are different. And to feel that we make real connections with people and can develop friendships over the world wide web, how wonderful is that?? Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your self!

    Corinne

    Like

    • Corinne,
      How lovely to hear from you, thank you for your generous words of appreciation, so glad you enjoyed the blog… yes, blogging is an amazing idea isn’t it… it’s hard to imagine the world without it, once you get immersed in it!
      The friendships are wonderful,. aren’t they….

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  12. I think there must be something like an equivalent number of human years for a blog anniversary, like there is for a cat or a dog b’day, because I always find myself thinking, what, only a year – I always feel like I have known bloggers for so much longer and it has much to do with all those positive qualities you so aptly remind us of Valerie, the way that bloggers engage with each other creates a kind of community, familiar sense of having known each other for so much longer and deeper. Do you have that sense as well?

    It’s a mass of human consciousness where like attracts like, we congregate like fluffy white clouds in a blue sky, coming together, separating, joining up, changing form, invoking and giving out empathy and support. At least the cloud we’re on is like that!

    I love what you share about your past world of journalism, I continue to be shocked at the comments many articles in the press attract online and I wonder at that negative energy that forum attracts, sure when one reads the front page it is often full of doom and gloom and stories of the underside of society supposedly used to titillate viewers, but it’s as if those lead stories attract in an element that then pours scorn over good-natured other elements, including cultural aspects. It has certainly steered me away from that medium.

    So congratulations and Bonne Continuation Valerie, I love reading your blog and I am very happy that you continue to find such joy and fulfillment in it. Your contribution is a wonderful example to us all.

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    • Dear Claire, what a wonderful comment, so thought-provoking and so true… loved the analogy with cats and dogs lives – and yes, you’re absolutely right, we seem to connect so deeply that it does feel as though we’ve known our blogger friends for much longer than real time…

      And I also loved your metaphor of our little cloud… and it’s rather lovely the way like does attract like. so there are no jarring encounters…
      What you say about journalism is very perceptive, and one reason I don’t read much news, or watch TV news! Instead several of the blogs I follow keep me informed of the things I care about!

      Thank you so much for your good wishes, Claire, your generous loving words illustrate that wonderful aspect of blogging which feeds our souls, and makes it such a worthwhile commitment..
      So good to know that we will continue to read and connect with each other with such enjoyment in the future…

      Like

  13. Thank you, Valerie, for such a wonderful piece. And congratulations on your one year! Mine is coming up in August, and so I was curious if our collective experiences were similar – they are. 🙂 Glad you started a blog, and it’s nice to meet you! 🙂 Debb

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  14. Valerie, It was lovely to wake up this morning and read this. Congrats upon your year of blogging. I enjoy both blogging and reading the blogs of others. I have learned much and I have connected with many wonderful people. I like the idea of tapping into the global brain. I love the idea of risotto … sounds yummy.

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    • Liz, lovely to hear from you, and thank you for your comments and congratulations! It’s better than having a birthday! Yes, blogging brings so many unexpected gifts doesn’t it… no-one knows what it’s like till they enter this world…
      Hope you try the risotto – so easy !!!!

      Like

  15. I love your thoughts. I’m glad you are here and blogging! I’m a new blogger and so lucky to have somehow found so many wonderful people! Thank you for the time you spend sharing ideas.

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  16. Congratulations on a whole year of blogging! The most amazing part of this experience to me is how here in the blogosphere we connect with each other, making new friends all over the world. Here I sit in Pennsylvania, and through this medium I have a friend in you, all the way on the other side of the planet. Amazing.

    Like

  17. One year! Even though you took a brief hiatus, I am so glad you returned. Your space is one of my favorites, your writing on any subject always gives me great pleasure and so often new knowledge. I always am so happy to see your name pop into my e-mail, I rush over to see what new and wonderful things you will lay before my heart and mind.

    You are so right, this world of blogging is unique and wonderful. I am so happy it allowed me to find you!

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    • Val, you are a treasure… I too click on as soon as I see your distinctive name, and you are one of the people that I treasure who I would never have got to know but for our wonderful blogging world. You’ve opened my eyes to so many things, and we can go travelling along together in this brave new world!!! I still have to pinch myself that young people like you read my posts!!!!

      Like

    • Please keep throwing these posts up they help tons.

      Like

  18. lucewriter

    Valerie, you are a wonderful part of blogland. Your posts make my life better. Congratulations on one year! This is written by someone who has not yet reached the one year mark. I love how you have pointed out that the world of blogging is (mostly) civil. I have heard of exceptions, and on my adoption blog I had someone leave a nasty comment, but happily I didn’t have to accept his comment. I like the idea of a common code. It’s interesting to me to consider that I have a responsibility for the comments left on my blog. Thinking of it as a responsibility, rather than a right, makes it easier for me not to accept a comment coming from a negative place.

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    • Dear friend, thank you as ever for your wonderful support and encouragement. I found it really interesting the way you interpreted he idea of comments and responsibility… by a fascinating synchronicity i received two unwanted commercial type comments today, and felt such confidence in getting rid of them. Hope you go on enjoying writing your lovely blog, and reiish your anniversary !

      Like

  19. Wow !! One year !! Congratulations my dear friend Vanity !! Your posts are always amazing and full of interest with a sprinkle of fun. I still have that same trepidation when pressing Publish, but as you say, the commenters are very supportive, full of fun ……. or they are just taking pity on me 😉 Keep writing Vanity as your blog is a true bouquet in WP. Ralph xox 😀

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    • Ah Ralph, thank you for your loyal support as ever, and for the bouquet… I think your commenters are a special sort of fun-filled gang, and you brighten their lives! your friend Valencia

      Like

  20. HI Valerie, It seems I have been blogging for six month, compared with your one year anniversary: Congratulations!
    I hope you will continue to enjoy navigating the still yet to discover Sea of Blogging”!

    Very inspired article indeed!

    Georg.

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    • George, thank you so much, so glad you enjoyed the post. Is it only six months that you’ve been blogging… it seems like you’ve always been there!! Yes, I can see us continuing our long voyage over the oceans of communication!

      Like

  21. Reblogged this on euzicasa and commented:
    Happy One Year Anniversary Valerie!

    Like

  22. As a tattered, worn and brow-beaten relic of the user-generated interwebs, I too joined the WordPress blogosphere only a short 6 months ago and, to my pleasant surprise, found within it a large measure of tranquility. Congratulations on finding peace for an entire year.

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  23. Well said, Valerie. Blogging is giving me the platform for finding my creative voice and expanding my creative horizons. And I’m “meeting” so many interesting and supportive people. Indeed, many of my followers now know me better than many of my family and regular friends, most of whom do not follow my blog. 😉 … Thanks for sharing …

    Like

    • Hello Dorothy – oh you made me laugh saying that most of your family and friends don’t follow your blog – neither do mine ! I’ve decided that they either know me too well, or they’re not readers ! Yes, blogger friends are quite different aren’t they!

      Like

  24. Amazing post!!! I love blogging and the fact that I don’t have to worry about being edited!! Thank you!

    Like

  25. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    I needed this !
    ( and will be most thankful to know I am not the only one who understands the stats…)
    a great read….
    Thank you George-B ( euzicasa) for pointing me in the direction!
    I will enjoy wandering through your world….
    Take Care…
    You Matter…
    )0(
    ladyblue

    Like

  26. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    oops…that would be does NOT understand stats..

    Like

  27. Pingback: Asparagus Festival, Irises and Blogging | mybeautfulthings

  28. Congrats on the blogoversary! It’s always so great to read your blog. You have such a soothing style and so much to say!

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  29. Congratulations on your Blogging Birthday. I have 3 or 4 weeks to go to reach that milestone. It has quite an adventure. 🙂

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  30. Hello, slightly off piste here! Please can you tell me if my blog is visible to you and if you got the ping-back? I usually get around 50 visits and a goodly number of likes overnight but not a one this morning and I’m wondering if somehow yesterday’s post isn’t visible. Thank you and have a good day! 🙂

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    • Yes I did get your beautiful blog, Sally, and I also replied and thanked you so much for the pingback…
      thank you again, and I do hope the blog thing straightens out… it’s always such a mystery when things go wrong isn’t it. Good luck.

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      • Thank you. In that case it’s the notifications that aren’t working – or weren’t as I can now see this!! There are no likes on the post which is unusual…. a mystery!
        Thank you for your prompt reply to help me out.
        All the best,
        Sally

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  31. Congratulations Valerie! And big hugs for being you! This is an excellent post and I’m happy to share it with others! Much affection, Penny xx

    Like

  32. Congratulations, Valerie! And I think I’ve been with you for almost that length of time! The time really flew stopping here is so nice, it’s like a cup of tea in the afternoon after a long day of hard work. I also like your two books…everyone should read them. They open up the world, so to speak!

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
    http://deltacountyhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

    Like

  33. Well done Valerie. Great post to go with it. For some reason, every body that I follow, follows you and yet I don’t. (rectified 😉 )

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  34. Happy Birthday, Valerie! What a wonderful post filled with so many nuggets of information. I, for one, love to learn but like so many others am still perplexed with the stats. The difference in Awakenings and catnipoflife is mindboggling. The former has triple the hits but far less followers. Go figure! Happy Birthday again and looking forward to another great year with you! ¸¸.•♥•.¸.Floating through the blogosphere on wings of love and kindness¸¸.•♥•.¸.

    Like

    • Dear Sharla, you were one of the first people to follow and support me – thank you so much for all your sweet and generous encouragement, and for your fun-filled blog …
      Ah, so it’s not just me that can’t figure out Word Press’s Sphinx-like figures and hoops to jump through !
      I hope all is well with you and Jim is improving, and yes, I look forward to another year in your generous loving company, Valerie XXX

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  35. I enjoyed your words about blogging, Valerie. Congratulations on your first anniversary. It’s a wonderful world, reaching out across time and space, making connections. And as you say, there’s a freedom to it. Your blogs are so thoughtful; I save them for when I have time to absorb. Today I recommended your blog to a friend who is just beginning, and enjoys the world of ideas.
    PS Do come and visit and dare to comment!

    Like

  36. Hello Juliet,
    I love it when I see your name on a comment, and also feel guilty…I cannot seem to get back to your blog… I’ve tried your gravatar, and can’t get my mouse to cooperate with that, so I searched back through the blogs I follow, and found your word press address, and clicked on that, and could only a get a miniature version of your home-page, and when I tried to click on to get to your blog – again nothing happened.
    I’m completely baffled at the moment… but will keep on trying…
    I would love to visit… though the journey seems littered with obstacles !!!
    Thank you for the kind things you say about my blogs – I’m glad you enjoy them, and do hope we can keep connected….

    Like

    • Valerie, it looks like you’ve ended up at my old website. Today I just discovered that it wasn’t taken down when the new one went up, & have contacted my web host. However, for my blog you need to go to
      http://www.seasonalinspiration.blogspot.com
      If you click to ‘follow’ it, you will be linked to the posts automatically. Would love to have you visit and comment!
      I also send out a free Seasons Newsletter which I think you would love as it’s very attuned to your writing. I can sign you up if you let me have your email, or you can sign up on my website, which is
      http://www.julietbatten.co.nz
      Good luck!

      Like

  37. Great post indeed!

    I have nominated you for three special awards, and you can see the details at the link http://dshenai.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/nominating-10-brilliant-bloggers-for-3-awesome-awards/.

    Congratulations on well deserved nominations, and hope that you will accept these awards. Thanks a million in advance. -Deo

    Like

  38. Aging is a work of art huh – I’ll have to bear that in mind – nice post Valerie

    Like

  39. Love this Valerie. You are an amazing writer and your wisdom comes through in every word. I love that bloggers are making a ‘contribution’ however that manifests, as opposed to the idea of ‘influencing’ others as seems to be the case for other social media like Twitter. ❤

    Like

    • Janna, so good to hear from you, and thank you so much for the kind things you say … we writers love appreciation ! Blogging really does give us another perspective, doesn’t it…

      Like

  40. Gigi wanders

    Very enjoyable!
    G

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  41. Thank you for another thought provoking post. How free you must feel now without all that control from editors etc etc. Blogging has been a wonderful experience for me. My only down has been when favourite bloggers disappear without saying “goodbye”.
    I suppose someone out there is collating data and research about blogging and why people do it and what they discover about their time blogging.
    I often wonder who else in my neighbourhood might be blogging….
    It is quite a phenomena and as a blogger you are right up there with your grandchildren! Or even ahead in many ways.

    Like

    • Yes, we are aren’t we- are you a grandmother… not sure whether most of the family even notice, except for my darling helpful grand-daughter….

      Like

      • Yes Valerie I am a grandmother but to small fry – a 4 year old and a 17 month old…..It won’t be long before they are more tech savvie than me!!!
        But we bloggers rock! And you reply to every comment on each of your posts – that is no mean feat…..
        My adult children can be very helpful when it comes to digital technology.

        Like

      • I envy you your littlies – mine are eighteen up to twenty two now – but it’s they who help me with the computer!!!

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      • The wee ones are a real delight and both know about mobile phones!!! It won’t be long until they can help me with the computer!!!
        I imagine your older grandchildren make you feel very proud as they make their way in the world.

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      • I just love them to bits !!!! One grandson rang me yesterday and we talked for an hour and a half, and I had lunch today with my grand-daughter…heaven !!!

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  42. I know exactly what you mean Valerie, the Blogosphere is a nice place to spend time. Informative, thought provoking, respectful and fun. I’ve learnt lots more about lots of other countries since I started blogging. It’s the good side of the internet!

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    • Hello Finn, Good to hear from you. Yes, I’m sure the internet must be good for the brain – I’ve learnt so much since I began blogging… it’ll help me fend off Altz!!!

      Like

  43. Valerie,congratulations on your anniversary and best wishes for your future blogging success!
    I do believe you have me beat of the technical skills! 🙂

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    • Hello Lea, thank you so much for your good wishes ! it’s felt like a birthday ! No I absolutely bags top spot for being the most -in-ept technologically helpless blogger !!!

      Like

  44. Hello Valerie~ i too, just today! saw the strange new little notification icon at the top of my page, one yr on wordpress for me too, altho i didn’t do much of anything for the first six months. Loved this piece. : ) ~ sherri

    Like

  45. I have been cruising through your blog with great interest (actually looking for a pic of your back view which I can’t find). Anyway, if you would like to put the cover of your book – linked – into your side bar as I have done with mine, but are not sure how, give me a shout – er, comment!

    Like

    • Thank you so much… great minds think alike… I’ve been in touch with my printer who originally devised the blog for me, to do exactly that… if we’re not getting anywhere with it, I’d love to get back to you.
      Thank you for cruising through the blog ! I sent my back view to Celi at thekitchensgarden. – is that what you mean???

      Like

  46. I’m a little late to wish you, but happy blogoversary, Valerie! So glad you came back to us 🙂

    Like

  47. Amy

    The sharing and connection through the wordpress is still amazed me every day… I’m so glad you are here.

    Like

  48. Valerie, you have produced an absolutely wonderful blog over the past year! So many beautifully written essays! I couldn’t agree more with you about the kind and compassionate international blogging community and who knows…maybe we bloggers will be the ones to create a more positive world with our sharing and caring.

    Like

    • Shirley this is a marvellous bouquet from someone whose writing and blog I respect. Thank you so much… you’ve been a very encouraging supporter from almost the beginning, and I really value it.
      Yes, if our little blogging world could help to tip the balance of kindness in the world, wouldn’t it be wonderful

      Like

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