Archive for January, 2011

My first month of daily blogging

Serendipitously, and quite by accident, my daily blogging monthiversary happens to fall on the designated day for a post about writing.

It has been an interesting experience. It hasn’t always been easy. I started full of excitement for my new hobby and was happy to watch my stats growing. Less happy on days when they slipped a bit.

Oh the fascination verging on obsession of the site stats…

This blog has been most popular on Saturdays so far, although I don’t know whether that reflects general blog reading habits or the popularity of my disorganisation topic.

Another very interesting thing which showed in my stats is the effect of having some off days. Because of feeling blah I let myself off writing more time consuming posts for four days running (apologies for the slip in standards, I intend to get more organised and have some in reserve, but I hadn’t done them yet).

The first three of those days I still had my average number of hits, but then they dropped to about a third and stayed low for five days, despite the resuming of effort to write better content.

This suggests that it is not a good idea to write filler posts for long! I expect one or two might not have shown much of a dip. Today is the first day my stats have been back up to the pre-blah level. Hopefully that means such a dip can be recovered from!

I also spent less time reading and commenting on other blogs while I felt blah, which might have contributed, as commenting on blogs is one of the fun interactive things I like about WordPress and especially this PostADay challenge.

Commenting on each other’s blogs is a great way to connect with people across the world, finding things in common, or fascinating differences. Some people might try that just to increase traffic to their blog – we’ve all seen those spam comments! But the reason they try it is because it works – up to a point. If the comment is just ‘read my blog’ they get ignored. But if the comment is joining in a conversation, their blog might be worth checking out, in case they might become a friend.

It seems that building a good blog is a mix of attracting views and keeping readers coming back.

Attracting views is all about writing snappy titles, and maybe the first few lines. Also tagging for the search engines. Commenting on blogs, posting links in FaceBook, telling friends your blog address work too.

The post with the most hits on this blog so far was the one about my favourite local second hand bookshop, Scarthin Books, where I had taken some photos. They liked my post and linked to it on their FaceBook page and blog.

But getting people to visit is only half the battle. When I read blogs, I only keep coming back if they hold my interest. Either telling me stuff, or making me laugh, or making a connection.

The best thing about the internet is that connection with people all around the world. That’s been my favourite thing about the web right from the old days of DOS newsgroups in the early nineties. (Oh I can almost hear that sound. You know the one, if you’ve been a geek long enough…)

Especially as I don’t get out much. The internet is a Godsend for disabled geeks like me! πŸ™‚

So here’s to another month of daily blogging and then another.

What do you think makes a good blog? How can I improve this blog? (If you comment, you know I’ll check out your blog πŸ˜€ I might even leave a comment for you!)

January 31, 2011 at 10:15 PM Leave a comment

What is my Purpose?

Having paused my PhD and coming under increasing pressure (already, even though the pause doesn’t start officially until Tuesday) to use at least some of the time to improve my tidiness, I have been thinking about motivation and goals.

You could accuse me of procrastination. I’d not object too strenuously. But I do still have the Blah virus and I just don’t have the energy.

Anyway, you have to start somewhere and I have never cracked this one yet.

It’s good to know I’m not alone in my struggles. This afternoon I have read some of Susan the Life Coach’s blog, which is very interesting. As well as her recent fascinating posts about brains, I thought I’d check out some of the earlier posts, the first of which is about Purpose.

That made me think.

I’m still not sure what my Purpose is.

Other than to fulfil God’s will for my life, but that’s just another way of phrasing the question. I mean, there are some basic guidelines for all Christians, but was there some divine purpose I have been perfectly designed to fill? Something specific.

I keep coming back to this idea of a God-given Purpose, some divine perfect plan that I need to find.

Sometimes I think such plans are only for the few, like Paul, or Billy Graham or Mother Teresa. Or pastors and missionaries maybe. But not for ordinary pew-fillers.

I even wonder if it is a distraction from just getting on with things.

But God cares about the sparrows and knows how many hairs are on my head, surely He has made me in such a way, with particular talents and preferences, and challenges too, for a reason.

It need not be a prominent reason, although being a best-selling author would be nice πŸ™‚

I have a destiny; God created me and called me. But why?

Just for my own salvation and for me to live a better life? I doubt that, as selfishness is not exactly encouraged in the Bible! Not that I’m not grateful for those things, and not at all that God expects obedience as the price, but more that when someone loves you and looks after you, you want to respond.

But it is not easy to figure out what that purpose should be. Especially with a disability and very little energy. As God has not healed me yet, whatever His plan is must be something I can do despite that.

He gave me the ability and desire to do more things than I now have energy for, and some of them I can no longer do at all. So I have to accept my limitations.

This pause from my research has given me time and reason to think and analyse. Maybe I do that too much. But there are changes I need to make to my life. I do not have the balance right.

The problem is that I just don’t have enough energy to be able to get the balance right and work on the thesis at the rate required to complete in time.

Is it right to focus on the thesis at the expense of all else? Or does something have to give? I wonder how often I can pause to give myself a breather? Hmm…

Wherever my destiny lies, everything I do, I strive to do for the glory of God. I just have to trust Him.

I’m getting very tired now and losing focus. I hope the end of this post makes sense!

Have you found your purpose? Any advice? πŸ™‚

January 30, 2011 at 11:38 PM 1 comment

Disorganisation will rule a little longer

Well, today is my day to blog about being disorganised. Preferably about my battle against this tendency and what tactics work for me. But I am off out soon to visit my family, so I don’t have time to either remedy my disorganisation or even think about it!

In fact, if I was truly organised I would not be doing this blog in my dressing gown an hour before I need to be out the door…

But then if I was organised things would be far more different than that.

All I can say is that now I have paused my PhD I hope to have more time to devote to becoming organised, which should be good. Watch this space! If there is nothing good next Saturday, then I shall be feeling bad, either through guilt or illness…

I plan to make a plan!

It will be on my to do list when I re-instate that. That has been paused this week as well, as I have been trying to recover from the Blah virus.

So, disorganisation still rules in this little (messy) corner of the blogosphere.

But at least I am still posting!

I think half the problem is that I am not all that bothered by my untidiness. If it gets bad it bothers me, but at the moment I find it bearable. The trouble is, Tim doesn’t. Which does bother me.

But they say you can’t sort out such a major issue through someone else’s preferences, it has to come from within. I somehow have to make myself want to be tidier, not just to make him happy, but with a stronger motivation.

I think I can see that. For one thing, it hasn’t quite worked, although I have to say, I have improved my tidiness since getting married. He just doesn’t see the improvement, as it is still below his minimum acceptable standard. That’s another problem…

So I’m left feeling slightly resentful that instead of seeing my effort and appreciating it, he still calls our home a pigsty and worse. Which, I can tell you, is most de-motivational!

So I think the first step is to somehow make myself want to improve.

At the moment, I just want to rest, relax and recover. Which is important in getting over illness, so I shan’t fret yet. But it might be time to have a look on Amazon for a helpful book that I can read as I rest.

Anyway, I’d better go and get up!

What about you? Do you find other people’s motivation enough for you, or does it have to come from within?

January 29, 2011 at 1:09 PM 2 comments

Pausing my life

Today I pressed Pause on my life. Or at least, on my PhD.

I now have a three month break.

I feel very mixed about this. Mostly relief, because it had to be done so I didn’t end up spiralling into the abyss of exhaustion and failure.

But it feels weird. I can now officially procrastinate without feeling guilty. Or at least, I shall be able to feel guilty for not doing other things, like tidying up.

The reason was a number of factors, which I have no wish to go into here and now, but the final straw was this Blah virus which has cost me the last couple of weeks work at a time when I just could not afford to lose a day, let alone a fortnight. My supervisor reckons there might actually be a Blah virus, as other people have had it and it lasts about 3 weeks, so I hope to feel better soon.

I plan to have a nice restful February πŸ™‚ Β and catch up on some of those things which have been neglected of late, like tidying and practising my Norwegian. Then I really ought to ease myself back into some gentle studying, like reading Norges Innskrifter med de yngre Runer… (I prefer looking at the pictures)

Technically I am supposed to blog about outings or hobbies on a Friday. So today’s outing was a trip to uni for my supervision… I also had a coffee and a panini with my friends and visited the library to return a recalled book.

Taking this official break got me thinking about actually being able to pause life. Sometimes I really feel that would be nice. Time seems so inexorable.

Would it be a bit like Groundhog Day? I could use a break like that to improve my Norwegian, and Old Norse, and maybe read some books, but without being able to take notes that would be kind of annoying. I already have trouble remembering which book things came from.

Like the time I was convinced it was Nedkvitne who mentioned a certain bishop’s letter, and searched the book thoroughly for weeks before finally realising it was in Spurkland…

A pause where you were able to actually write stuff that stayed with you would be more useful. But then, wouldn’t that just be like life, but without the stress? Which I suppose must be actually what I want. But don’t we all?

It hit me today, the finiteness of my time. I have some things I want to do, mostly write. The thesis; a book on the subject of my thesis that real people might actually want to buy because it would be more readable and have pretty pictures (academic writing is not always fun to read… One day I might post a sample sentence of the worst offender I have found so far. Hmm, something to look forward to…); several novels; another book of poetry and poems… etc…

I’d also like to visit Scandinavia more, and see more of Britain. And make stuff while my hands still work, if it’s not too late already.

It should be possible, but not if I’m going to be this tired. I seriously have no energy at all. I got tired half way through my supervision and haven’t shaken it yet.

If I ran out of energy and could only do one thing, what would it be?

I hope that never happens! It’s a tough choice.

Then I remembered I don’t have to fret and get stressed over it. It’s not my plans I need to be concerned about, because in the grand scheme of things, they don’t actually matter. As long as I do God’s will, that is all I need to do. Anything else is just trimmings. A sprig of parsley.

So I’m going to just chill out and try to recover.

At least I’ve managed to do a proper blog post today and yesterday!

What about you? Ever felt like pausing? Or had a good pause? Or would you just get bored?

January 28, 2011 at 10:19 PM Leave a comment

Some Medieval Graffiti in Gol Stavechurch

Gol stavechurch now lives at the Folk Museum in Oslo. It is great, go there if you can. If you can’t, click here to see the outside and here to see the inside. (Warning, do not click the links if prone to travel sickness! But it is worth it!)

It has cool medieval graffiti, 12 runic inscriptions and some cute drawings, mostly in the chancel, which is roped off, so even if you went you’d not get a great view of it. Never mind, I have photos.

Gol chancel graffiti

The runic inscription is in the middle, to be read vertically, bottom to top. This one is quite fun, it is a puzzle. If it was English, it would read:

ottffssentettffssent

Can anyone guess what that might mean? Answers in the comments below! I’ll give the answer there after I’ve given puzzle fans a go at guessing!

The reason the graffiti is white lines is that it was painted over to highlight it by Martin Blindheim when he studied the graffiti a few decades ago.

I love some of the drawings here. This little horseman and his dog are one of my favourites:

Medieval knight from Gol

And this man could have been drawn yesterday!

Medieval cartoon guy!

The runic inscription by his head is Latin: ‘non sit’ but spelt with the runic ‘th’ rather than ‘t’ which may have reflected how they pronounced Latin in those days, as they had a ‘t’ rune as well. It means ‘be not’ and was presumably the beginning of a longer quote.

The other chancel inscriptions include a woman’s name, the beginning of the Lord’s prayer in Latin and a long unsolved puzzle.

On the other side of the chancel is the door the priest used to get in:

Gol chancel door

The torches are pointing to another runic inscription:

Don't hurry

This one hasn’t been painted white – it’s much harder to see.

It is hard to be sure what it says, but one possibility is ‘don’t hurry’. As it’s on the inside, maybe it is a warning to a young priest by his older mentor not to rush off in an undignified manner after the sermon!

That’s not all there is, but the rest is another story, to be told another day.

Is that the sort of graffiti you would expect in a medieval church? Especially bearing in mind that only priests were allowed in the chancel – did priests write and draw graffiti on their own church?!

January 27, 2011 at 11:18 PM 1 comment

I’d better write a post then

It’s that time of day again. Blog writing time. Not that I write at a set time, more that if I don’t get it done soon I shall be too sleepy for even the vague semblance of coherence I seem to be able to achieve today.

I can’t say today has been much better than others of late, although it seems to be a good sign that I have now written some words and I feel I can write at least a few more.

At least today is Random day, so I don’t have to worry about not being relevant.

Oh, starting to wobble a bit now. So that’s the limit of my stamina. Well, it’s better than it’s been! Wretched Blah virus!

I’m determined that this post will be at least a little longer than the last few days.

My favourite sound is purring. That was one of the PostADay prompts, in case it seems a really random comment to those of my readers not involved with the WordPress challenge.

Especially the purring of my cat, Pebble, as we share a furry purry cuddle.

I thought I might post a photo of her, then I thought, why not just post a link to her blog? There are loads of photos of her on that. She is very cute.

I think that’s enough for today.

Thanks for sticking with me!

January 26, 2011 at 9:31 PM Leave a comment

I’m no fun any more :(

Sorry to be a limp rag again, but I’m still out of it. Still posting, just, but nothing interesting. Seriously bored with feeling so manky 😦

I don’t really know what’s wrong with me. I hope it’s just that I’ve overdone things working too hard lately and need time and rest to recover. Or that I really do have some non-specific virus that I can fight off.

Whatever it is, it’s certainly no fun!

Hope you guys are all well and thanks for the supportive comments πŸ™‚

January 25, 2011 at 7:33 PM 2 comments

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