Friday, May 10, 2013

A-Z Reflection Post - head trauma alert, evil twin on the loose - this will get messy!


Let me start by saying this is going to be brutal…

Ever since I was attacked by mother’s walker I’m sensing some evil twin has been awoken by my head trauma and it’s been very hard to reign “it” in. (haven’t yet decided if “it” is a masculine or feminine evil twin)

So…

Here are my thoughts on this year’s A-Z Challenge.

I enjoyed it… a lot. 

Per my exit song, by Frank Sinatra, (the one that’ll be playing at the funeral of my evil twin… soon), “I did it my way”! I like to wing it and that’s exactly what I did.

A few facts:

I wrote each post the day before it was due.

J and U were reposts with a little extra at the beginning of each to make it “now” worthy. (mother issues took precedence) 

Y and Z were reposts due to my head injury. I couldn’t bear the thought of pulling the plug on posting so late in the game. I hope it was understandable. 

I visited a few blogs around my number on the list but after day four I stopped. 
(you know… that time thing…)

I visited everyone who commented on my posts; where possible I commented in return. 

A highlight was the bantering with Al, Bushman and Ruth (my posse) they made this challenge fun. Thanks for keeping me on my toes!

I met some great new blogging friends - thanks to all of you too!

That’s it in a nutshell.

Right here… 
at this spot…
you can head to the bottom of this post if you don’t want the “brutal” stuff… 
or if you’re a skimmer.

What follows is me… being frank. (that evil twin just might be male; jury’s still out) 

I liked this year’s A-Z Challenge because I did not care about “the rules” - meaning I did not visit the suggested number of blogs, nor did I have everything prepared months in advance. 

In fact, all I did was write and post.

Yes, I read my comments, replied to my comments, visit all those that commented and when possible (as often as time permitted) commented on their blogs too. I doubly enjoyed the bantering back and forth within the comment area; that really made this “fun” for me. 

I struggle with this being called a “challenge” when everyone is heavily encouraged (which ends up being discouraging) to have posts ready in advance.

I do expect people to be thinking up ideas, even jotting a theme down and so on… yes, I can see how that is an important part of getting “ready” for this A-Z Challenge. 

Last year, as a co-host, I felt the pressure to be “ready” and have all my posts “done” so that I could fulfill my co-host obligations - which I thoroughly get - after all co-hosting is a whole different kettle of fish. (to which a solid high five goes out to those that co-hosted this year and to their assistants)

So I ask, “Why does it all have to be done in advance?”

When I have company for dinner, there are definitely things I do in advance, but the actual cooking, serving and entertaining is done in the “now” - that’s what makes it so random… even though I know what I’m serving I don’t really know what the evening will bring until guests arrive and dinner is started.

I would love to see this as the base for using the word “challenge” in “Blogging from A-Z Challenge”.

The “challenge” should be to see if one can produce twenty-six posts in April with the minimum of preparation; rising to this “challenge” by thinking on one's toes - writing from the untapped reservoir of ideas that sits in the recesses of our minds and to do so daily. 

Yes, use a theme. Yes, have ideas. Yes, do some prep. But if you don’t do any of that - do not sweat it… just have fun with it. It’s supposed to be a “challenge” after all! (talk about letting the ‘evil’ loose)

And… from what I read as I went “visiting”, toward the midway point, was that there was a doom and gloom air permeating the posts. This “I’m burned out” or “I’m losing interest” bit - where is that coming from? 

Is it because there’s too much pressure on bloggers to be prepared that when they’re not they start freaking out? (sort of like my gender-neutral evil sidekick is doing right about now)

It’s not easy to wing it - but in winging it there is a freedom and I really saw that in the posts of Bushman and Ruth - both last minute signups, like me. I loved the feeling of freedom and spontaneity in their posts. I hope they (and you) found the same in mine. 

Well, there you have it… this is what the word “challenge” means to me. (according to the evil twin of undisclosed gender)

Yup - that’s just how it is.

Oh… we’re not yet at the “brutal” bit… keep reading.

Okay…

Do you want me to tell you how I really “feel” about the whole “follow me and I’ll follow you” schtick.

I saw you nod your head in anticipation… (or was that in fear of my alter-ego, evil Jennsie)

I do not follow blogs that do not turn my crank. Full stop! 

If I follow you it’s because I like the energy I get from visiting and reading (or visually enjoying) your blog. It’s that simple - no strings attached.

I follow lots of blogs that do not follow me; I don’t stress about it, nor should you.

If you follow me - thank you; I hope it’s because you actually like what you see and read here at Pearson Report. (and not because you know I’ll hunt you down if you even think of leaving me)

I do not obsess over followers - I am, however, a huge fan of commenters, now those are the true “rockers” of this blogging gig! They make it all worthwhile.

As a blogger I don’t always have time to leave a comment these days so I fully understand the “no comment” deal - sometimes all I have time for is a quick read and then I move on; I expect this to happen at my blog too. No biggie.

If you peruse and just look that’s cool. No pressures - the planet will still turn and I will still smile. (it takes an awful lot to wipe the smile off my face)

Also, when I comment on your blogs - I invest a little of me in every comment I put out there. No fluffy “great post” quickies from me - I actually read your posts and when I comment I hope you can “feel” a bit of me being left behind. Why? - because you matter to me and I want you to read that in my comment.

Now… what you’ve been waiting for… (evil drum roll)

To end this I have a parting shot I’d like to take right about now.  (or my evil twin would, I have decide “it” is definitely a female as she’s in bitch mode right now)  (hehehe done with that evil cackle that only a Disney character the likes of Maleficent could pull off) 

And here comes the brutal part… (in case you were wondering if I'd forgotten it)

I have this to say to those out there that like to diss this Challenge but have never taken part in it. Don’t. It shows one’s ignorance in understanding what it actually takes to participate.

If you’ve done the A-Z you have the right to “have a say” otherwise you don’t. It’s like voting - if you don’t get out and cast a vote then you forego the right to bitch and complain. 

Really, it’s just that simple. 

Yup, today, I’m a little done with the BS out here whereby those that don’t participate go off on a bender and poop their panties about not “getting it” and “thinking it’s a waste”. 

The real waste in spending a whole post ranting about something you’ve never done. Now that’s so grown up! (not)

I know the hard work, time commitment and energy that participants put into their posts for this Challenge and to say it's anything less then stellar is a cheap shot and hurtful to those who do it. (just saying it like it is)

If you’ve made it this far I hope you see the many faces of Jenny also includes being frank, and today I wear that face without apology. (I could blame it on the head trauma instead let’s just say I am the sum of all my parts… good and evil) 

I like blogging, I like being challenged, I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s A-Z Challenge and regardless of my views I will be doing it again… as always in my own personal style - winging it!

Now, as I often do at the end of my posts I have a question for you.

Here it is…

DO YOU VOTE?

I do. Since turning eighteen I have never missed the chance to cast a vote and be heard. (on Tuesday we have our Provincial Election here in BC)

If your answer is NO it might be better to say nothing and still let me think you’re cool!

And on that note… I am, as always, smiling! (evil or not, you tell me)


Cheers, Jenny

49 comments:

  1. Thanks for visiting my blog!

    I think you make a lot of great points about A-Z being more of a challenge if you write as you go.

    I enjoyed reading this post. You have a great attitude about life that made reading this fun.

    And yes, I vote in every election. I feel like I need to be engaged in the democratic process. If I wasn't, I feel I wouldn't have room to complain when I don't like the way our government handles things.

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    1. Hi L.G. - Welcome to Pearson Report.

      I'm looking forward to reading you too! As I said, over at your blog, I'm using the Reflections List as my starting point for seeing what I missed during April while I was knee deep in the "now" of the Challenge.

      I'm glad to have you on board - please look around and make yourself right at home.

      I'm a fan of folks that take part in the democratic process so high five to you! Nothing beats having a say by actually partaking in the process and marking an X on a ballot.

      Thanks for your visit - much appreciated. Cheers, Jenny

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  2. Excellent points. I love doing the A to Z. I prepare most of my posts for A to Z in advance, but tweak or finish each one the night before they auto post. I may try flying by the seat of my pants next year just for the sport of it. Glad you were able to finish.
    And, yes, voting is a right and a privilege that I take part in. It's too important to miss!

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    1. Thanks Donna. I do understand that for some the advance posting is part of how they like to do things - so long as it isn't stressful I'm all for it.

      My daughter had many of her post done and like you just needed to do a little tweaking and so before posting - she likes order and structure. I do too - but not with this Challenge - I like to see what comes from drawing on the day's offerings.

      I do encourage you to try it - it really is quite liberating... and yes, quite challenging. :) :)

      I'm thrilled to read you're a voter - awesome!

      Thanks for dropping in - always enjoy your visits. :)

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  3. Jenny, I enjoyed this year more than I did last. The first year I joined just to see if I could do it and I didn't really worry about hopping around to see everyone. Last year I tried to see as many blogs as I could and it took a lot out of me. People had themes and the thing I really don't like about that is that the theme doesn't always match what the blog normally is.
    I also really don't understand doing 2 or 3 letters in one post. But, that might be just me.

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    1. It was a blast, Ruth, that's for sure. For me it was the fun of bantering back and forth in the comment area - really added the fun to this year's Challenge.

      I'm doing my visiting now - in the morning with a cup of coffee, sitting on my deck, it's perfect - no pressure, and I can take my time. I'm going through the blogs on the Refection list first - there's 382 (I'm number 381) so it's not as daunting. I'll see how I feel after that!

      Like you, I don't always understand the themes - sometimes they start of with a bang and then they trickle down... also I really did notice the negative tone on some blogs with their frustrations about "losing steam" and wanting to quit. Maybe they need to take a page out of our books and wing it! (with wine and Sweet Ruthies on the side) hahaha

      Thanks Ruth, for stopping by - love it when you do! :) :)

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  4. Well Jenny, I'm glad you were smiling at the end there! This was a very well thought out post and I agree with it. Blogging should not be about stressing! Like you, I try to make a comment that refers to what people have actually said and written about! I remember last year, I followed your Challenge avidly , but this year, with so many people writing on a daily basis, I just couldn't keep up! oh, yes! I do always vote. My husband was just re-elected onto the local County Council, and can you believe the turnout was only 27%! I know people are fed up with Politicians, but, honestly! Especially women who don't vote . When you think what those poor Suffragettes went through to get us the vote!!

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    1. Thank you, Diane - your comments and visits are a highlight for me. I know you've been busy so I have no expectations of seeing you here unless it's something you can easily manage. No worries.

      Congratulations to your husband on his re-election to the County Council. And I too shake my head at the low voter turnout - appalling to say the least. It should be law - like it is in Australia. To not vote when one has the opportunity is hard to comprehend - good on you for being a woman that votes!

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts - it puts a smile on my face (or should I say broadens the one already there) :) :)

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  5. HI Jenny .. I thought you'd had more head bashing .. thankfully it's only the mushy brain having its say - quite understandable.

    My challenge is producing 26 themed shorter posts and I'd hate to do it on the wing ...

    This year I relaxed too - I visited some new bloggers ... took advantage of bloggers who highlighted blogs to look at for various reasons .. I mentioned Amanda Trought on my Reflections post, who had highlighted blogs with the letter of the day - that was clever I thought and helpful.

    I didn't get so many new contacts this year .. but those I have - have entered into the repartee quite quickly ... but I loved the A-Z challenge for those I've managed to meet, those I will meet as I go round in the Route 66 ongoing journey of meeting challengers ..

    Just glad your head is ok .. hope all goes well with your mother and that Walker can rid itself of Devilheadbanger before too long!

    Yes I vote .. just voted in our local elections ...

    Cheers Jenny - good to see you here .. and the hosts and co-hosts do a great deal of work - it's tough 'managing' 1700 bloggers with varying levels of expectation or thought process ..

    Enjoy your deck and that spring warmth .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary, my dear, I can't tell you how much your comments mean to me - you are the sweetest.
      Your comments really are so kind and right about now I'm going to take all the kindness I can - hugs to you.

      Your posts were some of my favourite - while I didn't comment on all, Hilary, (so sorry) I did read them - and learned a lot. Your blog has been a source of some really amazing information to which I really want to say job well done.

      Here's a little fun fact for you... I'm a numbers girl so I'm always playing with numbers. You may not have had more followers this go around but you are one of the few bloggers that gets a high volume of comments from those that do follow - almost 10%.

      The average, and trust me as I've done the math, is around 5-8% with 6% being the norm. Even bloggers with 15-1850 followers aren't getting the percentage of comments you get - so that means you really rock! :) :)

      Also, I'm so glad you vote - I just knew you were that kind of woman! (one who takes her rights seriously)

      You and the other assistants to the co-hosts need to be commended for your hard work - thank you for taking on this Challenge - your presence was definitely felt in your compassionate comments.

      And finally - I am enjoying my deck - but very shortly it will be torn down. I just met with my architect and builder we are very close to giving my house the once over. A few more details to work out and then it's a go. I can hardly wait. :)

      Happy Spring to you, Hilary - enjoy the weekend. Hugs, Jenny

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  6. Yes, the challenge has been very interesting. To me it's been a little that to you, I've been winging, but trying to find some consistency, but do not know if I have succeeded.

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    1. Leovi - your "winging" it is wonderful. You are the most amazing photographer, but it's also what you do with your photos that captivates me. You were a complete success in my books!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. :)

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  7. Tah Dah!
    You missed that part at the end of your post!
    The whole commenting thing is difficult. I read a lot of posts and some make me laugh while others have me looking at the door nervously but I don't always comment because I don't always have something to say (wife begs to differ) I'd rather leave no comment at all rather than a, "I'm here from the A to Z. Love your blog."
    Never to be seen from again. Did my understanding of love change or is this a pre-sort mailing type of comment. Perhaps even copy/pasted and published en masse in an attempt to gain as many followers as possible. Oh well.
    My computer issues have me frustrated at the moment. I keep losing my blog list and there are a few blogs out there that I need to get back on the tracks so I can choo choo with them!
    Pearson, you got it right on this one! Well done.

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    1. Okay... I stand corrected... TAH DAH!!! What was I thinking missing that as my closing salutation!

      I'm definitely with you on the bit about not commenting when I'm at a loss for what to say - I'm not good at a "fake" praise just to have my avatar show up in a comment area.

      No... I'm too old for the BS - I really like what happened this year - the bantering, the regulars, the kidding around - and the sense of close community that was forged. I did not get to more than a few blogs on "the list" and, in fact, those I did visit (lucky me) were awesome and follow worthy.

      I am now doing a bit of visiting using the Reflection list - much shorter and I figure it's a place to start.

      I'm sorry to read that your computer is still giving you grief - shall I send my hammer to assist??

      And... Bushman, thanks... you've been most encouraging and supportive - you rock!

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  8. Great points. I do agree that doing it all in advance wouldn't make it much of a challenge.

    Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes.com

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    1. Rhonda - you've been a visible force here and I can't really express how much that has meant - I sincerely thank you.

      While I have visited, my commenting seems to be limited to my replies... I wished I had a magic wand that granted more hours in the day! (boy, now wouldn't that be something) :) :)

      This A-Z truly becomes a 'challenge' when winging it - it causes me to think and write daily. (the thinking part is what really benefits... )

      Again, thank you for your visits. :) :)

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  9. Oh my gosh! It isn't just me! So glad you got brutal, as the challenge aspect and the follow me because I followed you thing are spot on to what I was thinking all month. It was like the challenge seemed to become more about how many blogs can you visit instead of posting/writing posts, not just hitting the publish button, or watching a schedule unfold.

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    1. Your welcome, Andrea - glad I could speak on your behalf! *giggles added here*
      It seems there are two camps regarding the purpose of this Challenge - those that think it's all about the visiting and gaining followers and those that see it as a writing/posting daily exercise.

      I guess the trick is to find the happy medium - for me it is first a writing challenge meant to be done day by day in the month of April - otherwise it really shouldn't be called a "challenge" and second (a distant second) it is an opportunity to grow ones contacts.

      I grow my contacts by accessing the blog rolls of blogs I love to follow - it is the way I have discovered many great blogs. It's what works for me.

      As to visiting new blogs on the list - I really only made a small four day attempt - to which I am uber happy to say I was very lucky to make some new contacts. My number had some pretty cool blogs around it!

      I am now doing a little reading using the Reflection list as my base... it's a nice place to start!

      And... Andrea, let me take a moment to say thank you for your support and encouraging words during this A-Z - they have been most appreciated. With smiles...

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  10. Jenny I loved your job during the challenge and love your reflection post, your contribution to the challenge was one of the best and usual. Please keep getting better though, this head injury sounds just terrible.

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    1. Hi Matt - thank you! You've been a solid force here at Pearson Report, for that I truly send a tight cyber hug your way!

      My head still throbs, and I'm doing more than my share of tossing and turning at night which is really cramping my sleep routine - I really need my sleep, as you can read here I'm grumpy when I don't get my solid seven. (hence the evil twin's appearance today) :)

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  11. Wow, you had a lot to say. I wasn't even aware people say things degrading the A to Z. Guess I'm in my own little blogging circle. This is the first year where I had posts ready ahead of time and I was glad because I visited more blogs. I found around five blogs that I continue to visit almost everyday and that made it all worth it. I also have never missed an opportunity to vote since I turned 18 and each year it seems more important than ever to express my choice.

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    1. I'm smiling and laughing, Susan. Have we ever known me to have less to say!!
      My experience with the naysayers is limited; it seemed to be a reoccurring theme in this particular instance and worthy of having its wings clipped. Far too many good folks are making a real effort at challenging themselves in this event to read that their efforts are viewed as wasted and pointless. (getting a concussion has brought out the beast in me) :) :)

      I think the challenge really is personal as to how we all max it out - whether this is the year of writing/posting or visiting/connecting it really has something for everyone.

      Like you, I found a couple of "must follows" on my journey. I limit myself as I only have so many hours in the day and I find it's too easy to follow in principle but not in practice.

      And finally - YAY to the vote! Having the opportunity to vote and exercising it is total power!

      Thanks Susan for stopping in and sharing your thoughts here. :) :)

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  12. I can't tell you in how many ways I loved this post, Jenny.
    karen

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    1. I can only say... "for you"... with great fondness. Hugs to you. :)

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  13. I've voted in every election (local and national) since I since I was legally able. I can't imagine not having a say in who governs me. Also, if you don't exercise your right to vote, I don't think you have a right to complain about who's in office. ;)

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    1. Hi Linda - it would have surprised me to read otherwise. Smart women vote, it's just that simple.

      After every election (civic, provincial and federal) I just love it when someone goes off on a bender to which I then ask, "Did you vote?"; there's a pause and a meek, "No, but... " - whereby I smile and say, "We're done - let's talk about the weather, shall we... ". I refuse to engage in conversation about politics if the person I'm speaking with won't do their part by voting. Yup, I've upset many by this stance but frankly dahlin' I don't give a damn. It's Vote or Shut up in my books.

      So you being a voter is, well how should I say, awesome and totally expected. :) :)

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  14. Jenny, Thanks for dropping by Mary-andering Creatively. I hope your head feels better. I vote too. :) I have another blog about politics it is called Mary-andering Thoughts and Issues. I tried to blog A to Z on it too, but alas two blogs were too hard to keep up during the challenge. I hope no one will diss any blogging challenge. They are great tools for bloggers because they help grow our readership and give us ideas for topics to write on. Additionally, challenges help grow the blogging community. Just my thoughts for a Monday morning.:)

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    1. Hi Mary - another awesome woman voter - yay! I'll be checking out your blog on politics. I am very involved on a civic level in my city so I look forward to dropping by.

      One blog is more than plenty for me with this Challenge - two I've seen done (dear Ruth did two, and I admire her for it) but I think it can be daunting. Hats off for trying.

      As to the dissing - unfortunately I have stumbled upon it... sad to think that this event which is so full of positive intentions needs to be ranted about. I wonder what the motivation behind the negative rant is - I think it comes from fear of participating therefore it's easier to drag others down; quite sad really.

      You're right, these blog challenges (of which there are many) do help grow our readership - for me, personally, I enter the A-Z to test my ability to write daily without much preparation. (except for last year when I co-hosted).

      Great thoughts for a Monday morning - I appreciate you coming by and sharing them - thanks!

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  15. I'm just like you. I follow blogs that don't follow me too. I don't care. I read them because I enjoy their content. Sometimes I comment on them and sometimes I don't. I began to get burnt out because I ran around commenting everywhere and got sad no one commented back. Then, I decided, screw it. Only comment when I want, where I want. Now, I'm a happier blogger chick. =)

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    1. I would expect nothing less of you, dear Elsie - a woman after my own heart. :)

      There is definitely something about seeing our follower numbers grow that is exciting - but it's also misleading. The true testament is here in the comment area and that is clearly shown over at your blog. You and your commenters have a great time - and there is such amazing energy in that back and forth bantering. That's what was so enjoyable, for me, this year during the A-Z - the back and forth joking, chatting, teasing... best year ever!

      But... I do think it comes from bloggers like you (and me, yes I'm going to credit myself even though some will think that's vain) that take the time to put meat on our comments and really engage our readership. I really enjoy you and your energy - it's that simple. You come here and read me, comment, and even come back and comment on the comments. For me, this part is the gravy - it's why I am out here - to engage my small but loyal readership.

      So Elsie, thank you for being part of my blogging family - you rock! Keep doing it your way because it works. Let's not fix what isn't broke, right! Hugs to you. :) :)

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  16. Congrats. You did the Challenge in great style, and very impressively so considering what you have been through.

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    1. Thanks Nick - for dropping by during the Challenge and cheering me on - and for this comment here too. I am recovering from my concussion and have good and bad days - but... it will take a whole lot more to keep me out of the game, hence my need to finish the A-Z even if it meant drawing on my past posts for help.

      I'm definitely an A+ personality... :) :)

      Your visits here are much appreciated Nick - thank you.

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  17. Dropped by from Life Cherries. Thanks for your comment and I too will spend some time reading your blog.

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    1. Thanks, Lanthie!

      In fact, I'm over at Phil Holtberg's site right now - thanks to yours. This is how I discover great bloggers - through other people's blogrolls.

      Between your blog and his I'll be topping up my morning coffee several times! If there's one think I like it's humour and you have it in spades! :) :)

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    2. Typo alert - If there's one "thing" I like it's when I can get my 'k' to back off and let 'g' have a turn... :)

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  18. Wow! That sort-of blew me away, I need a second to collect myself. Ok, here we go:

    1) THANK YOU so much for commenting on my reflections and introducing yourself! I certainly got a piece of you in that long, thoughful response and so far i'm a fan.

    2) Cleary, our thoughts are very similar on the "winging it" thing, so since that's already been said I'll move on.

    3) I agree with you about voting. I didn't enocunter anyone one bitching about this challenge but I have encountered people bitching about NaNoWriMo (which i've done four years in a row and love to death) and I had the same thoughts about them- if you haven't done it, then shut up!

    4) Now that i've discovered your blog i'll have to go back and actually check out your A to Z posts! I'm looking forward to it!

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    1. Hi Beverly - Welcome to Pearson Report. I hope you enjoy your visit here.

      We "winging" it gals need to stick together; maybe even rally the troops!

      I'm pleased you're also a voter - smart woman! :)

      I have heard of the NaNoWriMo - good on you for having four years under your belt. I've read the odd bit of bitching for that too and I'm with you - if people don't participate they really haven't earned the right to complain. (as you so succinctly state... they should shut up)

      Thanks for stopping by - I'm looking forward to my coffee and your blog! :)

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  19. i am glad i stopped over, i found myself gravitating more to people i know this time. i think cause of you all had great entries. you have been one of my favorites, the challenge was a bruiser as a host. though still working out all the bugs, still lurking i am sure... lots of scammers trying to sell you something, they got squashed quick.

    i ramble, great job and don't let your doppelganger get the best of you... take care of yourself.

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  20. Hi Jeremy - I love when you ramble... makes me feel not so alone when I go on a bit myself! Go Team!!

    Speaking of "teams" you co-hosts and your minions did a fantastic job. I know it was no easy feat to weed through the numbers you all had to go through this year. I remember it well. :) :)

    Like you, Jeremy, I stuck close to home - visiting my own wonderful blog roll (those that were in the A-Z as well as those not partaking) and given my "mother" situation I was surprised I made it at all! Time was definitely against me and my sleep loss was immense! I'm making up for it this month, that's for sure!

    I never let my "doppelgänger" get the best of me... it always gets the worst and I keep the best for me! You do know there are actually three of me in this body, right? - me, myself and I... and we do have a hoot in here!

    Let me finish this mini novella by saying how much it means to me to have you, busy as you've been as co-host, drop in to read and chat - makes me smile every time. :) <--(see)

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    1. you have a great outlook on life and that is a great thing... i find things better knowing you are out there watching my back. all of our backs. i find the recovery of the challenge is the worst, i go for the withdrawals and being able to breathe... someday we will all sit down for that virtual coffee and talk about the good old days.

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    2. I'm with you regarding the recovery after a 26 day sprint - I love the "no pressure" that lingers in the air in the month of May. I am slowly making my way through the A-Z Reflections - "no rush" filling "no pressure's" shoes, it's a great feeling.

      I'm up for that virtual coffee and a bit of reminiscing as well as catching up on what I've missed by jumping the co-host ship! Ah... the good old days! :) :)

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  21. Jenny, I almost hate to add to the dogpile here, but I just can't not say it: RIGHT ON, madame!

    This year was my first ever A to Z Challenge: I didn't have a single thing prepared in advance, and when my chosen theme/project turned out to take 3-5 hours per post, it absolutely walloped me. I didn't have any time to go looking around for people to visit - mostly I just did as you did (reply to comments, visit commenters, comment in kind when possible) and I felt hugely guilty for not reciprocating enough.

    But at the end of the day, it's just as you say: if the point of this is to find cool new e-friends whose work you really enjoy, then there's no point in reciprocal-commenting just for the sake of it. That seems like "signing yearbooks" to me - you know, those kids in high school who never talked to you but twice in four years, but want you to sign their book for completion's sake. Ain't nobody got time for that!

    Anyway, I was so sorry to read about your head injury, but if this post here is a sign that you are recovered and newly-emboldened by the experience, then it can't have been wholly a bad thing!

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    1. Ah... Tex - I'm up for a good dog pile now and then so welcome onto the pile! :)

      I really enjoyed your A-Z posts and can easily imagine the prep work that went into them. I can see why folks wishing to share a theme, requiring a great amount of work, do take the time to do the advanced preparation... because it is time consuming.

      As I said above (in my thesis... giggling here) I wing it as a writing/thinking exercise. I do my visiting at home (on my blog) and then, come May (now), I leisurely stroll through the Reflections list and enjoy the offerings at a comfortable pace. I find lots of wonderful blogs this way too!

      And... (love that and, eh) who said we had to do it all in April? - what about the rest of the year?
      Hence this year I am continuing along my solo path... doing it my way... (hear Frank in the background singing!) :)

      Your yearbook analogy is bang on - wished I had thought of that!

      The head's doing much better - I think you're right that it wasn't "wholly a bad thing" - it definitely has me seeing things a little clearer, that's for sure.

      I'm looking forward to your posts - I will be enjoying a few of the letters I missed as part of my morning coffee routine!

      Thanks for stopping by - your visits are much appreciated. :)

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  22. That was one of the best reflections on anything I've ever read. You broke the whole thing down better than I ever could have put into words.

    Luckily, I didn't run into anyone bashing the A-Z. I'm not sure I would have understood why they were doing it anyway. I guess some people always feel the need to be that rain cloud on an otherwise sunny day.

    I liked your philosophy on comments and followers too. I appreciate them as well, but it's never a mandatory thing. I think I could type to no audience and still feel great afterwards.

    Tell your evil twin great job with her share of the post as well :)

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    1. Thanks Kieron - glad you liked my reflection post. This was my third year doing the challenge and I pleased (having read your reflection post) that you attempted it this year. I look forward to seeing you in future Challenges as well.

      Naysayers come and go, but I thought it was time to "share" my thoughts publicly.

      I'm happy you share the same view on comments and followers. Also, even though I follow I don't always do it using the Blogger Follow button - nowadays there are many different ways to follow a blog.

      I'll pass along your compliments to the evil twin - she'll be tickled! :) :)

      Thanks for stopping by and taking a read - much appreciated!

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  23. Hi, Wading through the reflections list and finding so many gems that I didn't get to during April - oh yeah, I am including your blog in with the gems!
    Um, yes to voting, in fact if I come across any female non-voters I start lecturing about the woman suffragettes!
    My first year - found the challenge about 24 hours before it started, so most post were typed up the night before, which I think did impact on the time I could have spent visiting other blogs, and most def impacted on my relationship with my husband - "you blogging, again?!". I'm thinking next year of being organised and having all the posts ready before 1st April - I'm sure I just heard all of the world wide web laughing at that possibility!
    On comments - as someone who has hardly any comments normally, I loved receiving every one, even those that just said the 'hi'thing!
    Well, that was my longest comment to date - you still awake?
    Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe

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    1. Hi Suzanne - welcome to Pearson Report!

      Thanks for dropping by and reading my reflection post. I'm glad to read you are a voter - today, we voted for our Premier - and, I'm happy with the results. :)

      Winging it is tough, but I do think it affords a sense of real accomplishment - so good on you for going with it and giving it your all! (say thanks to your husband for coping) :) :)

      Getting organized is cool - but even that can bog you down, whatever you do... just have fun doing it. It should never be such a struggle that it becomes a chore!

      Comments are like food out here - it is the stuff that sustains us! So thank you for dropping in and leaving such a great one for me. And yes, I'm still awake... and smiling too!

      I'll be dropping by your blog shortly - been a little preoccupied with this election.

      Cheers, Jenny

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  24. Oh Jenny, how I missed you as a co-host. I loved this reflection, it was totally YOU. I agree with you on just about everything, though I will say, I think the community building aspect, especially for new bloggers is a huge thing. I met a lot of new bloggers. I still mentored the new bloggers. I talked to them a lot. Getting random people coming by thrilled them. And yes, they were doing this by the seat of their pants. As did I. I will never have the time to write 26 posts in advance! I hardly have time to write three a week! So I had three done on April 1st, and the rest of the time I was writing daily, searching for pictures, taking pictures of pictures, downloading them, realizing they looked like crap, retaking them in a different way. It took a LOT of time. All I can say is I'm glad that I had my Terrific Team (Hilary and Andrea were two of them!) out there visiting, because, um, I didn't get very much further than my mentees...don't tell Lee ;-) And like Jeremy said, it was a bitch of a year as far as personal tragedy and challenge among the team of co-hosts.
    I am sorry I never made it to your place this year...but I already confessed why...
    I am also waaay sorry about your head injury. My 13 year old did himself a good one and his head was banana mush for about 3 weeks. Amazing that you managed a challenge with that challenge! (rim shot)
    ANYWAY, thanks for playing along with us again. Good to reconnect.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

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    1. Awww... thanks for that opening line - miss you too!

      Yes, Tina, the community building aspect does warrant a serious nod - it is how I grew my blog too so there's no denying it - it does work. Worthy of a post... from my perspective. (hehehe)

      You did have a great team - I really enjoy Hilary and Andrea - great supporters and bloggers.

      I'm glad to reconnect with you too - staying in touch is often harder than it seems, eh!

      As to my head - it wasn't that great before so I think the bump may have improved it! hahaha

      Take care - and take a little time to re-energize after that wild ride in April! Hugs, Jenny

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Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

I'd give you a penny for them, but alas we just snuffed it out. Yup...gone!
It's all about the nickel now...so at this rate you can leave 5 thoughts!

Cheers, Jenny

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