2010 in review

January 14, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

 

In 2010, there were 228 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 449 posts. There were 128 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 112mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was January 7th with 897 views. The most popular post that day was The Anti-Resolution Solution.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were thedailybrainstorm.com, facebook.com, wordpress.com, beliefnet.com, and twitter.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for the power of slow, difference between purpose and mission, difference between mission and purpose, power of slow, and quality time quotes.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

The Anti-Resolution Solution January 2010
17 comments

2

Difference between vision, purpose, values, and mission March 2009
4 comments

3

About November 2008
11 comments

4

Time Abundance Quiz October 2009
4 comments

5

Forest Bathing August 2010
3 comments

What topics would you like to know more about? Less? Feel free to weigh in because a blog without readers is like, well, the Taj Mahal without visitors.

Thank you!

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A tag cloud (a typical Web 2.0 phenomenon in i...
Image via Wikipedia

“Never write anything down that you wouldn’t be proud to show a nun,” my mother once advised me. Curious advice for a then seven-year-old, but she saw the sparks of my word-smithing passion early.

To divulge or not to divulge. That is the question in our Web 2.0 lives.

Lately I have been fascinated with the concept of our digital selves as social media and the notion of transparency continue to shape the public relations industry (of which I am a part). We reveal what seem to be our deepest secrets (I prefer dark chocolate) and stay in touch with people via Facebook that we haven’t seen in twenty-five years. We create a false sense of familiarity, as if we really know what’s going on with the other person, only to be shocked when we see that person in the flesh to realize all is not well in the State of Denmark.

In truth, through our online self-branding management efforts, we develop a pseudo-reality for ourselves and, along with it, pseudo-selves.

Roaming about as the avatars of our own creation, we have reached a Brave New World of information exchange at the highest (and lowest) level. But much of what gets belched broadcast out onto the Internet has the life of a match. It fizzles out of existence as quickly as it was written. All the while we self-soothe, thinking someone might be listening or care what we write. We yearn for connection and get it in some way ~ oftentimes through people we don’t know. We meet on a virtual plane for a passing moment at a cross-section in time that can be instanteneous or time-controlled, should we choose not to respond just yet.

I have ambivalent feelings about the very medium that has granted me much of the freedom to pursue my life’s work. The Internet is more powerful than most of us realize.

Despite its influence (or perhaps because of it) transparency and authenticity are great challenges in today’s 24/7 world. As a human race, we may be more connected than ever before, but our digital existence is merely a part of our greater selves.

Will our children realize there is a parallel universe beyond the screen? I am optimistic that they will.

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Better Diet, Better Life

January 11, 2011

Italian olive oil, both oil and an oil bottle ...
Image via Wikipedia

 

Marilu Henner provided some interesting tips recently that underscore the saying “You are what you eat.” If you fill up on junk food, chances are you feel that way, too. As a coach for the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart, Ms. Henner reveals her secrets to help Kickstarters remove junk from their diet and life.

A sample of her tips inlcudes:

  • People tend to eat right and exercise only when they need to look good and be their best. Learn to develop good eating and exercise habits that will be a permanent part of your lifestyle. Eat right and exercise as a daily habit. Make it your new normal.
  • Before you eat anything today, close your eyes for a second. Meditate on how wonderful it is that you’re fueling your body with such good food. If you’re about to eat something that does not honor your body, close your eyes for a second. Talk yourself out of it.
  • Take five minutes today and go through your refrigerator. Instead of forcing yourself to face temptation, remove it. Throw out all the food saboteurs you find there. That means anything that’s not plant-based—lunchmeat, cheese, and dairy-based salad dressings and condiments.

 I would add that poor nutrition starts at the shopping cart. Before you put it in, think about it.

RECIPES:

 Butternut Squash Soup

  

  

Pick up some squash for this soup that’s easy, delicious, and budget-friendly!

 Makes 6 servings

1 large butternut squash, peeled, cubed, steamed, and puréed
2 stalks celery hearts, sliced thin
1/2 small sweet onion diced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine
3 tablespoons flour
8 ounces vegetable broth
16 ounces nondairy milk (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons rubbed sage
salt and pepper (white pepper) to taste

In large saucepan sauté celery and onion in olive oil until translucent. Add margarine and when it melts, add the flour, stirring to coat vegetables. Slowly stir in the veggie broth. Simmer 5 minutes and add the cooked, pureed squash. Stir squash into broth and simmer on low for 10 minutes. With the heat on low, add the milk and herbs and heat gently for another 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Ginger-Jalapeño Slaw

Makes 6 servings

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1 pound cabbage, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
1/2 pound red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
3 medium carrots, finely shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced kale

In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, ginger, salt, and jalapeño peppers until well blended. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well. Refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour before serving.

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The Wisdom of Illness

January 10, 2011

Cruising at an altitude of a low-grade fever, I decided it might be a good idea to visit the doctor yesterday, even though it was Sunday and I had to wait all day for the ‘emergency hours’ to be open. My husband kindly drove me the twenty minutes, all the while having to listen to the moans of a person on the brink of another sweat outbreak.

Luckily, we were the first patients to arrive. I tried my hardest not to look ill, but you know, when you are, you are. Peering at the wall of pictures, I expected to be greeted by the grey-haired man who showed up in each of them. Not so. A very young-looking fellow (who, I swear, had an eery resemblence to my son’s best friend, who is, um, ten) welcomingly extended his hand.

“I’d better not,” I said sheepishly, followed by an apology for being rude. He grinned and I knew we were going to get along famously. He escorted me into his office as I peeled off layers of clothing now drenched in my feverish clammyness. A tap here, a look there, and he concluded that I had flu-like symptoms.

I could have told him that.

“Oh, and you have very low blood pressure.”

I cast him a glassy-eyed look. “I’ve been lying down all day.” He grinned again. Somehow he found me amusing. He commented on my accent-free German and tried to distract me with banalities. His recommendation?

“Drink plenty of fluids, take ibuprofen and don’t do anything.”

Ah, the wisdom of illness. It teaches us that we can indeed slow down to the beat of our hearts. Nice.

The doctor was quite pleasant, really, and when I left, I managed to remember not to call him by my son’s best friend’s name.

Luckily, I don’t have the swine flu (my worst fear abated). Illness is a great reminder of the power of slow. A little more beingness, a lot less do-do-do. And if you forget, your body reminds you, landing you in your sickbed for some casual pauses and a moment of pristine rest. 

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Memorex recently commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a study on how much time families spend together and what they do during that time. Given that the power of slow is about what we do with the time we have, I was particularly interested in this chart.

We watch movies together. Admittedly, that’s what we did over the Christmas holidays. We also played video games on the XBOX Kinect that my husband insisted on getting for himself the kids.

But then we unplugged altogether and spent a week in the mountains playing board games, skiing and all the other non-digital things you see on the chart above.

I was surprised to see that video games landed lower on the list than expected. Perhaps it is because children use video games alone a lot more than with their parents.

The types of games conducive to ‘family play’ were also illuminating.

For over half of families (51 percent), “WeTime” – getting together with family to enjoy each other’s company, whether planned or spontaneous – happens at least every few days. Of the most popular WeTime activities for families, three out of the top five involve consumer electronics.

It is true that we still spend time together. But how we do it has changed. As we think about our digital faces versus our real-life ones (Late Bloomer Bride addresses this condundrum), I wonder how our children will interact with their kids one day.

One thing’s for certain: There is life beyond the screen. I’m still convinced that a good old-fashioned game of football trumps an XBox one.

Basking in the unfolding

January 6, 2011

What is it about a new year that brings our desire for sweeping change? Afriend of mine showed me her list of intentions this year. When she asked me what mine were, I gave her a single answer. “It is the Year of the Narrative.” She asked what it meant, and I attempted to explain. In truth, I am not certain what it looks like specifically. And I don’t have the desire to define it further than that. I am relying on my intuition to guide me to that which is true.

It may seem like a cop out. After all, so much of our world is about control. Controlling our weight; controlling our fate. But oddly I don’t have the need to control what happens, but rather a sincere desire to bask in the unfolding.

Something about the new year drives me to clear away the old (Christmas decorations included!). Books that once claimed an inalienable right on my shelves have withered into unimportance. Clothes that I once treasured have found their way into the recycling bin.

Transience. Everything shifts back to the source at one time or another. Even as I write these lines, the snow my son is vigorously shoving off the porch in veils of white will soon return to the heavens.

So while many have written resolutions to abide by, I make the single claim that time is my friend for as long as I have it.

Everything else shall pass.

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Naming Your Year

January 3, 2011

 

Image Courtesy of Frank Frenzer

Every year since grad school, my husband and I have set about to name the New Year to reflect our values and goals. We’ve had the Year of Fun, the Year of the House, the Year of Travel and the Year of Beauty. This year we’ve come across the Year of the Narrative, whatever that really means (last year I spent a great deal of time surrounding myself with Beauty in all forms).

I’m a big story teller. Whether it’s in pictures, in words or in motion, you can express your story however you’d like. It’s true. Everyone’s got a story to tell. I love listening to stories, writing them and speaking them outloud. Sometimes I dance the story or sing it (typically in the car ~ singing, that is. Dancing? I do that everywhere else).

How might you call 2011?  Name your year to mirror your vision of what you’d like your life to be.

 

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