Category Archives: blogging

Not filed under “sick children”, but it could have been

My blog was sick. Just vaguely sick, the sort of thing you could ignore mostly and just let niggle, like a cough that wasn’t going away. But it was getting worse. I thought maybe updating to the new version of WordPress (as all good bloggers should do when they’re told to) might help. I even took the heretofore unprecedented step of backing up first.

Then it turned out I couldn’t download the backing up widget. I got another one instead, and that worked okay. I clicked the “Automatic upgrade” button, and nothing happened. I kept trying for about a day, just in case the internet stars were misaligned, but they didn’t realign on their own.

I even contacted my hosting company and asked for help. The nice man couldn’t replicate my problem and suggested I clear my cache. That seemed to help, and I felt silly. Then it turned out it hadn’t helped at all.

I decided there was nothing for it but to do the update manually. I started copying over files. It appeared I could only do them one at a time. I soldiered on. When I came to folders within folders, I had to make the new folders and populate them, one file at a time. I suspected this was not what I was meant to do. As I clicked on the folders and saw what was in them, I realised it would probably take me a week. Without sleeping.

I finally asked for help. On a more local level. It’s such a cliche, but my husband does know more about this stuff than I do, even though he doesn’t have a blog. He knows what FTP means and how to make it happen. Thank heavens for husbands, and similarly enlightened people. Transferring the whole thing at once, in three batches, was but the work of a few minutes and not nearly as hard as the instructions made it sound.

Hooray! said I. A whole new day of functional blog was dawning with the advent of WordPress 4.1. But no. The glitch was still there, and getting worse. Now my Jetpack (which minds my stats and various other widgets) was no longer connecting. no longer recognized me. My blog was still there, still working, but I felt as if some insidious termite was breaking it down pixel by pixel.                                 .

Finally, last night, I tried my hosting company’s chat help again, and this time they agreed that there was something wrong. When the tech guy you’re chatting to replies “Hmmm,” you know you’ve presented them with something interesting. In the end I had to pay real money for an unique IP address that I need because something happened to their server. (I shouldn’t need it for long, and then I’ll get most of the money back, but it’s hardly ideal.)

And this morning I logged on and there was my blog – instantly, not after ten seconds of a page not found message – and my stats were back and knew me and I had to fix up all the things that had gone astray and everything was shiny and working the way it should.

And it turned out that I really do care a lot more than I thought I did about this blog and I’m glad the backup widget worked because if I hadn’t done that I’d definitely have been freaking out because as it was I was surprisingly tetchy and stressed about the whole thing. So the moral of this story is to back up your blog, boys and girls. And that if something seems wrong, you should get to the bottom of it before it gets worse. Which is probably a perfectly good metaphor for life, too.

14 from ’14

It’s an end-of-year linky! Sadhbh started it, I’m just jumping on the bandwagon. But it seems like the right time for a little look back. 2014 was the year I moved to WordPress and got my very own .com URL for the blog. I still haven’t fixed my linkbacks, but other than that, I’m pretty happy about making the move.

I feel like my blogging took a back seat a little during the year, and I didn’t really gain many new readers; but it was a springboard to other things that I really enjoyed, like the wonderful experience I had working on and writing for (currently on hiatus), which I wouldn’t have missed for anything.

1. Most popular post

Apparently the most popular post of the year was Banana Butterscotch Muffins with a Healthier Twist. This is not because it’s a scandalous exposé of my private life, but probably because I pinned it and it’s the sort of thing that comes up in google searches, so it’s guaranteed a few hits every day.

However the most popular post on a single day was Little Americans, because I used it to audition for Listen To Your Mother and it was linked to from their website. (Or somebody’s website connected with it. I can’t actually figure out exactly where it was now.)

Machine-pitch baseball

2. Favourite post
This is really really hard. These posts are my babies, you know. I can’t just pick one. The best I can do for you is to give you a quick run down of the year in posts.

In January, I wrote about how Avocados remind me of my late mother-in-law.
In February I felt like parenting had given me a particularly thin skin.
In March I got all hilarious and gave you My day in Upworthy headlines.
In April I wrote three paragraphs in search of a theme.
In May I walked out of the mall and thought that it Feels like America. Which should have been obvious, but there you go.
In June I joined Helen’s linky to talk about what I miss when it comes to babies.
In July it was Summer.
But in August we went to Italy where I took quite a lot of photos.
In September, I had thoughts about Mabel starting kindergarten.
In October I looked forward to speaking in the vernacular again: Sure you’re grand.
In November I got to grips with some freelance editing, which was its own brand of tantalizing tedium.
And in December, another linky gave me the opportunity to wax lyrical about Christmas past.

Mabel in classroom

3. Favourite photo
All my favourite photos go on the blog. But I am particularly fond of this one.

Mabel standing in a window

4. Best adventure
Well, we went to Italy. That was pretty good. I also had an adventure of my own when I flew solo to Dublin in November.


5. Favourite craft
This was the year of the knitting, although we did have a brief snow-induced flirtation with elastic band bracelets and melty beads too, and we discovered that real watercolour paper makes all the difference. But knitting was definitely the winner.

long scarf, half knit

6. Favourite food I blogged about
This year I found a new food – beetroot (or just beets, if you’re American). It was a revelation, even if nobody else in the family agreed.

whole roasted peeled beets

Mmm, appetizing

7. Most common theme
I think it was actually “What’s going on with Dash?” between his eating stuff and his reading stuff. There was also some boring “What’s going on with my back?” and of course the usual “I’m Irish on the inside” and lots of Mabel, because where would we be without lots of Mabel?

Boy reading

8. Favourite comment
I don’t have a favourite comment, but I can tell you that Emily and Joanna were my most frequent commenters this year. I love comments, but I love engaging on Facebook and Twitter too, so don’t be afraid to tell me what you think in whatever medium you like best.

9. Favourite celebration
I think it has to be Halloween, even though we obviously had two birthdays and Christmas and Easter as well. Halloween was busy in the best way, and it’s one of the most fun times to live in this neck of the woods.

Many jack-o-lanterns

10. My best move
Easy  – it was getting involved with I learned a ton about writing and SEO and professionalism and working with people you never meet, and I made some of the best friends I have, and I had a connection with home that is hard to replicate.

11. Best blog moment
I was very happy to get to the finals of the Blog Awards Ireland this year, having been at shortlist stage last year. I monitored the awards ceremony on Twitter and Facebook and apparently it was just like having me at the table because the Twitter feed was coming in on a big screen the whole time. If I’d only known, I’d have worn some mascara too.

Blog Awards Ireland 2014 Finalist badge

12. Favourite thing I wrote somewhere else
I wrote a lot on I really did. Sometimes it was exhausting thinking of new stuff, and I have to admit that sometimes they were just taking up space more than words I’m really proud of, but I did really like this one, and it seemed to resonate with a lot of people: Terrible Truths Nobody Tells You. (These posts are all currently hosted at the Irish Parenting Bloggers‘ site.)

You are beautiful in big yellow letters in a field

photo credit: clarkmaxwell via photopin cc

13. My favourite title
I think I’ll choose Angels in the architecture/Spinning in infinity because I didn’t even write it and it has been one of my favourite lines for a very long time.

14.  What my blog did for me in 2014
Don’t laugh, okay, but I think what happened this year was that I started to think of myself as a creative person for the first time ever. I’d always put the word “creative” in a box with the word “artistic”, and neither of those things applied to me. But between one thing and another, my definitions are breaking down and softening up and it’s just possible that I’m allowed to be creative after all.

Framed photo of ice on blossom

External validation is good too. Remember I won a blue ribbon?


Where Wishes come From

Adding a Favicon to your WordPress blog

And now for something totally different, before we delve back into my psyche for the low-down on Dash’s diagnosis

You might have noticed, if you’re especially observant, that my blog now has a favicon. That’s the little picture to the left of the text on the browser tab. For Facebook it’s the white f on blue, for gmail it’s the red M in an envelope, and for many WordPress blogs, if they don’t have their own, the default is a white crisscross on a navy background. It’s fine, but it’s not special. It doesn’t help you brand your blog, ifyaknowwhatImean.

So it was something I’d wanted to do for ages, and had tried to do before when I was on Blogger, and the other night I finally tried again and it worked. If you want to make your own cute little favicon for your WordPress blog, you can try too.

Part one: Making the graphic

1. First you have to make the graphic. You want it to be very simple and bold, so that it’s distinctive even at the tiny size of 16 x 16 pixels. I took a photo I’d taken of the sky with a wisp of cloud and a tiny rainbow shard, though you’d be hard pressed to see the rainbow now. Plain sky would have been fine.

I used PicMonkey, my free online photo editor of choice. You can use whatever you like, but I’m going to tell you how it works in PicMonkey.

2. Go to and click Edit. Navigate to the photo you want to use and open it.

3. Now you want to crop it so it’s a square. Choose Crop and make the number the same in both boxes.

Cropping to a square in PicMonkey

4. Next, you might want to add text, though you could just use a little square of colour if you like that. Don’t go thinking any sort of detail is going to show up when you shrink it, though.

5. I added AC for Awfully Chipper (you got that, right?) and played with the font and colour until I had it the way I wanted it. I made it really big. Click the “Tt” for the font options in PicMonkey. (You can just resize the box with your pointer to make the text bigger, rather than trying to put big numbers in the font size field. Pull the box up or down to make the text box larger and the text inside it will automatically resize.)

PicMonkey's Text function

6. When you have it the way you want it, go back to Basic Edits, click Resize, and put 16 x 16 into the size boxes. Your lovely picture will be teensy weensy and you’ll go “Wah!” because it looks so paltry after all that work. If it’s illegible or just not at all what you want go back and play with it some more until you get it looking good. But never fear – it’ll look great when it’s where it’s meant to be.

Changing the size to 16x16

7. Click Apply and then Save it to your computer. (Picmonkey gives you three options for saving, entertainingly called Roger, Pierce, or Sean. I always choose Pierce (the middle one) and it’s fine.

PicMonkey's Save dialog

Part two: Putting it where it’s meant to be

This was the tricky part, and I tried a couple of things because when you google this you get all sorts of complicated answers. But what worked (I think; tell me if it doesn’t) was much simpler. I found it here. But I’ll tell you here so you don’t have to click away and I can show you screenshots, because I’m generous like that.

1. First, upload your lovely new favicon.jpg to your Media Library in WordPress, just as if it were a regular photo you were going to put on your blog.

2. See where it says the URL for the image? Copy and paste that somewhere safe for a moment.

Image URL to put into the favicon code

3. Now you have to copy and paste some code into somewhere in the inner workings of your blog. It’s a bit scary, but I’m here to hold your hand, don’t worry. This is the code:

function my_favicon() { ?>
<link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”yourimagepathgoeshere” >
<?php }
add_action(‘wp_head’, ‘my_favicon’);

4. Sometimes bad things happen when you copy code from a blog page and put it into your HTML, because it turns out to have hidden stuff attached that you don’t want. So I recommend you get around this by quickly running it through a plain-text editor. Copy it off my page here right now, and paste it in here: Now when you need it again you can copy it from there and you’ll get the whole code and nothing but the code.

favicon code pasted into

5. Where it says yourimagepathgoeshere, put the URL for your media file. Leave the quote marks where they are, just take out the bold text and put in the URL. It won’t be bold. That’s good. Your code is ready to use.

6. Now you need to find your theme’s functions.php file. Go to Appearance – Editor on the left-hand side of your blog’s dashboard in WordPress.

8. Under Templates on the right-hand side, look down the list till you see “Theme Functions”. Underneath in small letters it says functions.php. This is the one you want. Click it.

Theme functions is the file to select

Stay calm. Don’t panic. It’s going to be fine.

9. Copy the code I just gave you, with your favicon’s URL in it, out of editpad again and paste it into the window of code you just opened. It honestly doesn’t seem to matter where you put it because part of this clever code is telling the thing where it’s meant to be used. You can see I put it just below the first bits. I figured if I messed up I could easily see it and pull it out again.

Favicon code in functions.php file

10. Save and close. Take a deep breath. You did it.

Go and refresh your blog and see if you have a lovely new favicon.

Please come and tell me if it worked!

True Lies

Do you remember back at the start of the year when I made the monumental effort of having everyone eat at the table, together, every night?

It’s wonderful, we still do it, it’s become second nature now. We are so much closer as a family as a result, and my children have expanded their palates wonderfully too.

No. No, that’s a lie. Sorry, I couldn’t find the sarcasm font, but here I am admitting once again, just for a change, that I fell off the good parenting wagon. Or the good housewife wagon, or whichever wagon it is that applies here.

(No comments from the rabble down the back about silly wagons, now. The Americans won’t understand you, anyway.)

All summer, we slipped out of the habit, and I said “Well, when school starts again we’ll get organized and the TV will be off and they’ll be doing their homework and we’ll have dinner at 6pm all together.”

Nope. Nope nope nope. They come home from school and they want to flake out in front of the TV, not sit down with books and pencils. And they want snacks, and more snacks, and then they just want dinner, with no perceptible pause in between. And then, when he’s had some snacks, Dash wants to go outside and bounce a basketball or kick a soccer ball with his friend, and even Mabel does too, sometimes, or else she wants to play with her animals and her babies and her tiny bits of who knows what, making them do things and say things and basically working out her whole day’s experiences and frustrations the way she always does, re-grounding herself through her imagination.

And guess what? I want to let them. Because that’s what they need to do. And because it’s easier for me to give them a plate with food on it that I know they’ll eat, while they watch TV in their vegging out time, and then they can play while I get the other dinner together and we adults eat it in relative peace, and then the push for homework can begin, and because they’ve eaten early, it won’t all push on and over into bathtime or bedtime.

(Mabel’s homework is quick and easy and she doesn’t mind doing it, so long as I don’t pester her but let her come to it in her own time. Dash’s homework takes longer, but he does it in his room now on his new desk. The hard part is getting him there, but once he’s started he’s pretty self-steering.)

But the whole thing – routine, lack thereof, whatever it is – conspires against eating dinner together, and they still won’t eat what we (the adults) eat, which I fully understand is a circular argument and a self-fulfilling prophecy if I never sit them down with us and offer it to them; but I’m fighting one battle at a time here, and right now the dinner battle is not the one I’ve chosen. I don’t know what this one is, maybe it’s called giving up for the moment, but this is what I’m doing.


I just didn’t want you to think I was all bloggy perfect in my life. I’m not. I don’t want to pretend to be. I want us to be honest with each other, so that the world inside the computer is as imperfect and real as the world outside the computer. That’s when you make connections, not points.

autumnal leaves on the ground

Random picture of leaves on the ground, which you are at liberty to believe is a metaphor for anything you like.


Awards Afternoon: The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul

The Blog Awards Ireland ceremony took place last night in Ireland. The one I was a finalist for. I wasn’t there, but everyone else in the world was. (Apart from the other moms closer to home who were also having a night out. I wasn’t there either. Next year I will vet my husband’s choice of marathon weekend more carefully before agreeing that I’m fine to solo parent just then.) But I will now tell you all about the night out I didn’t have anyway.

Tl; dr version: I didn’t win. But some other people did, so that was good.

It was Saturday morning but archery (Dash’s current thing) was cancelled so we had no engagements. I had stocked up on milk (yay, planning) but apparently dropped the ball on all other breakfast goods (boo planning), so Mabel and I went out almost first thing to get some cereal, maple syrup (just in case I made pancakes), and bagels. I considered the children fed for the day and proceded to do my best to ignore them from then on while I took up my station in front of Twitter and Facebook and followed agog the goings-on on the other side of the Atlantic.

Since we’re five hours behind over here, all the excitement took place in daylight hours. This meant that, on the one hand, I didn’t have to stay up late to get to the bitter end, but, on the other, I was still nominally in charge of children who were not remotely in bed, and who were constantly demanding food and drink and other unreasonable things, and it was too early to drink. Everyone else in the Twitterverse seemed to be having a nice glass of wine, and all I had was half a bottle of flat beer (and I waited till dinnertime to drink that, I’ll have you know).

I am fully aware that life goes on in Ireland when I’m not there, but it’s not usually quite so in-your-face about it. Yesterday it was a little surreal to know that while I stood at my computer on the kitchen counter in Maryland, a parallel universe me was getting dolled up for a night out, driving to Clane (okay, let’s leave that bit out of the imaginings because I have no idea how to get to Clane), walking into a room full of semi-strangers, and getting quite squiffy and pretending to be famous, just because I happened to have advanced to a certain stage in a fairly arbitrary manner in a competition that’s really of much less consequence than it pretends to be.

Still, consequence or no, I would have loved to have been there. A night out’s a night out, after all, and who better to party with than a group of mommybloggers?

I amused myself posting things like this to Twitter, using the hashtag with abandon:

Though I might have been a little more restrained if I’d realised that all the #blogawardsie tweets were being projected onto a big screen in the room itself. The girls said it was as if I was there. I’m sure I’d have been drunker and worse at finding the little keys on my stupid phone if I’d been there, so everyone was spared a lot of terrible typos, at least.

The afternoon wore on. In Ireland, people were giving up and going to bed, much like watching the Oscars live here on the east coast of America when they don’t finish till midnight. It was exactly like the Oscars, actually, if you couldn’t watch it on telly but could only frantically follow all the hashtags instead. In Clane they were handing out five or six awards, tweeting them, and then everyone would pause for food before getting down to the next group, working in alphabetical order through the categories all the way up to best blog post and best overall blog. In Maryland I was refreshing Twitter obsessively, jumping on the announcements and then putting them on Facebook, gossiping about things on Facebook, and blithely sending smart comments and congratulations/commiserations into the ether whenever I came up with them. 

The comforting predictability of the alphabet meant that my category, Diaspora, was pretty near the start, so at least we got that over with. I didn’t win. A nice man called A Trip to Ireland did, which was fairly much a foregone conclusion because if you’re in the category called Best Blog of the Diaspora the judges want your blog to be good and diaspora-y. I only really talk about Ireland when I’ve just been there, so the blog awards take place at entirely the wrong time of year for me to be in with any sort of chance.

But there was a huge pause (main course, I think they called it) before the other categories I was emotionally invested in – Lifestyle, Newcomer (for, Personal, and Parenting (where a bunch of other friends were nominated, since all my Irish bloggy friends are from a wonderful group called Irish Parenting Bloggers. This group, I might add, saw about 40 women attending the awards, with at least 26 members nominated, spanning 11 categories plus three in the final ten for best blog post. And to think the blog awards didn’t even have a Parenting category last year because they didn’t think there was the demand for it. Sheesh.)

I got a bit stroppy with the tweets at that point.  

But we didn’t all have giant Connect-4 and floor prizes and an interval act and whatever else it was they had going on over there. Some of us were just at home WITHOUT EVEN WINE and with children who still wouldn’t leave us alone, and we needed answers.

Anyway, didn’t win best newcomer and neither did the parenting blogger who was nominated in that category, and my friends didn’t win best lifestyle blog (they were robbed) but Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers had (most deservedly) won best health and wellbeing, and then to much fanfare Lisa from won best parenting blog, which was wonderful and much deserved not least because – though this was not part of her winning it at all – she was and continues to be the brains behind putting the IPB group together in the first place.

But I still couldn’t even contemplate making dinner because the best blog post prize hadn’t happened yet. I turned on the oven anyway, as a gesture. The kids were … I’m sure they were around somewhere. Hand-wavy gesture towards the rest of the house. Whatever. Suspense, man.

And then just as we (those of us stuck at home, not at the party, in Ireland or abroad) were giving out on Facebook about how long it was all taking, suddenly it transpired that one of the givers outers had just won best blog post. So that was very exciting too, and there was much squeeing, and after that I think everyone just danced a lot and some people fell over a few times because they had terrible shoes on and someone slept in a van and some people took home the table centrepieces and I probably should stop now before I say anything I shouldn’t.

And then in America we had oven chips and broccoli for dinner because I wasn’t up to anything more complicated. And while I missed all the fun and the dancing, I also missed the late night and the hangover, so I suppose there’s that.

(I hasten to add that the title is mostly Douglas Adams, lest anyone would think it was just me.)


Things that are giving me quite a degree of satisfaction these days, smug or otherwise:

– Since school started, I have been to two yoga classes and plonked down actual money to pay for nine more in advance, so I have to go. And they feel really good.

[I have no photo to go here. Imagine me looking fabulously strong and bendy.]

– I took some photos that were in the kids’ rooms in little frames that were always falling down and being off kilter, and put them in one big frame per child. It’s a ginormous improvement, even if I’m the only person in the house who appreciates this.

Two sets of framed baby photos

– My children clamour to hear Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up“, so we must be doing something right. (You’re welcome for the earworm, by the way.)

– Remember that scarf I diffidently began knitting during a brief rush of blood to the head in June? I’m still knitting it. I’m onto my second ball of yarn. I have never in my life knitted something this large, and the last time I knitted anything even approaching it was when I was 12. I really think I’m going to finish it.

long scarf, half knit–  I have new glasses. While my internal jury is still out on how much I love the frames (yes, I picked them, but I might have been momentarily deluded or something), being able to see through unscratched lenses is a wonderful novelty.

Me with new glasses and Dash

– I have advanced to the Finalists stage of the Blog Awards Ireland. This, as you might gather, is actually the final stage in a fairly interminable process, and I’m mightily chuffed to be here as I stopped at “Shortlisted” last year. My category is “Best Blog of the Irish Diaspora” and I’m up against a bunch of gorgeous, enticing, and beautifully written blogs. It’s truly an honour to be included in that group. It would be lovely to have the night out and an opportunity to wear a posh frock, but I don’t get to do that because, well, diaspora.

blog awards ireland

There are, no doubt, plenty of other things that are making me peeved rather than smug, but let’s stop there for today.

I love the Internet.

About a year and a half ago, I stumbled across an Irish parenting blog called “And My Baby” (now defunct). It led me to a Facebook group, quite newly formed, called the Irish Parenting Bloggers. After a little hesitation, I joined the group, happy that they’d have me, considering the way I’m not entirely an Irish blogger (except when I am).

Anyway. That was then. Over the past week, I’ve found myself frantically messaging and writing and editing and giggling and logging in and checking and updating and discussing, and generally marvelling at how amazing the Internet is. Here I was, working, collaborating, with a group of women I’d barely or in some cases never met, on something we hoped could be really big.

We launched it on Tuesday. It’s called It comes from a team with a dizzying breadth of professional and personal experience, and I’m very proud to call myself one of them. We hope it will be topical, relevant, local, global, intelligent, entertaining, irreverent, thought-provoking, and informative. I’d love to see you over there too.

I write for

So Maud, why did you move the blog?

I don’t know if I have a headache because I just went to the chiropractor for the first time ever and he did that thing where he makes your muscles go pop but it sounds like it’s your bones, or because Mabel pitched a massive fit about (a) not watching any TV this morning, (b) going to school, and (c) having to stay for lunch (began with a, moved on to b and c interchangeably; I may have agreed to something for tomorrow, but I’m really not sure what it was; that’s not going to come back to bite me oh no), or maybe because I made a lot of new passwords yesterday and I may or may not have some of them mixed up; but I’m just going to go ahead and post a post here anyway.

So, why did I move the blog?

At some point in the past months I did a 180-degree turnaround from “I’m perfectly happy at Blogger and why on earth would I pay money for my free hobby” to “Maybe I’ll go self-hosted.” I’m not sure quite how this happened, but a couple of things were nudging me:

  • People often seemed to have difficulty commenting in Blogger. If you have a blog, you’ll know that comments are really special and nice to get, and also I don’t like the thought of people typing things and then being frustrated because they won’t post, because I know how annoying that is when it happens to me. I’m told that more people will be able to comment more easily now that I’m on WordPress. I hope that’s true.
  • The inbuilt stats in Blogger were annoying me. They seem to count a lot of bots (my friends in Russia, as I like to call them; or China, or Indonesia), and so they’re not a realistic reflection of who’s actually reading. Now, I know that stats aren’t important and I shouldn’t get hung up on it, and I did have a Google Analytics account, but I didn’t much like that either, so hey, let’s see what WP stats are like. I’m hoping for a happy,  bot-less, medium.
  • I could have just switched from my free Blogger blog to a free blog, but it seems like nobody does that. Having my own domain name is, I have to admit, a little more professional, not that I’d call myself a professional blogger, because I’m pretty sure you have to earn money to be a professional at anything; but I see my blog as PR for my online self, and in that sense I do want to look professional.

For when my plans for online world domination come to fruition, you know.

Some time in December I happened across this blog post, linked from BlogHer, and since it appeared to tell me exactly what I needed to know, I saved it for later. Once I had my big 10/1000 post out of the way, it felt like a good time for a new beginning, so I hemmed and hawed and asked B what he thought and then Mabel slept all night and I was filled with verve and vim and vigour and other good v words and apparently up for a challenge and I just did it. In case you want to know, this is basically what I did:

  1. Went to BlueHost, which is a hosting company that will also sell you a domain name if you don’t already have one. Entered the domain (funnily enough, not much competition for “Awfully Chipper” and now I suppose I’m stuck with it), chose the features I wanted, and clicked the “Take my money” button. (It’s not really called that.)
  2. Went to and downloaded WordPress.
  3. Went back to BlueHost and uploaded WordPress according to their instructions. Chose a theme (this is WordPress 2012, which is free but should be reliable, unlike some free themes you might find randomly on the Internet) and then clicked the big red button that says Import Blog from Blogger (it’s not really red; it might actually say something slightly different; this is not a tutorial), crossed my fingers, squinted sideways at the screen, and it was all there before you could say Bob’s your Jiminy Cricket’s uncle.

I still haven’t done steps 8 to 13 of the original instructions, and my Blogger blog is still there for now, but I’ll work it out in time.

Girl with balloon




It’s a big day on the blog.

Today, if you like to look at the dates in the sidebar to confirm, it has been exactly ten years since my first post.

Coincidentally, this is my one thousandth post. (It’s not often you have to count to the number one thousand of anything. Which is probably why that word “thousandth” looks very very strange. But it’s right, don’t worry.)

I admit, this isn’t entirely a coincidence. I noticed back in December that these two milestones were approaching, and I thought it would be nice to make them happen on the same day. So there’s been a certain amount of deleting forgotten drafts and then deleting too many and then frantically realising I had to find something to say for three days in a row… but you don’t need to know about these behind-the-scenes minutae.

I also am bound to admit that that’s not quite one thousand published posts – some thirty of them or so are drafts; but they’re not just a saved semicolon to make up the numbers. Sometimes I put something in drafts and label it “Notes for just me,” never to be published; there are some that might still legitimately be considered works in progress.

List of posts showing 1000

And I can’t quite say I’ve been blogging steadily for ten years; but I’ve been blogging unsteadily. I don’t know if anyone ever delves into the deep dark of the distant archives, but I like having them there, as a virtual scrapbook that can plonk me straight back into the person I was two children ago, or one, or when they were smaller. I have a terrible memory; I like to have things written down.

If you’re reading, whether you’ve been around for years or just found me recently, I’m delighted to have you, and today would be the perfect day to leave me a quick comment, if you can. (I know commenting is tricky for some people. Sorry about that. It’s not me, it’s Blogger.)

Thanks for being here. It wouldn’t be the same without you.

Letters for "Blog" in fridge magnets