Posted in Blog, Blogger, blogging, Inspirations, life, writing

By Jove, I’ve done it.

I have surpassed the 200 follower mark.

While it may not have been a particularly lofty goal, it has been one that has long eluded me. The process was slow but boys oh boys, doesn’t it feel good.

I have never been a person who sets personal goals. I have never strived for anything in particular. Any sort of feat or accomplishment. And it is truly one of my only regrets in life. I wish I had tried harder to be good at something. I wish I had made more of an effort in school, or hobbies, or sports. I wish so badly that I hadn’t given up on so so many things that didn’t come natural to me. But, c’est la vie.

So, this is it. This is what I want to be good at. Writing. Story Telling, Blogging. Creating relevant material that people enjoy. I don’t know where it will lead or what it will become. And that’s ok.

Time to move the goalposts.

Posted in belief, Blog, Blogger, blogging, family, life, Thoughts, writing

Stephen King and I

Do you believe in signs?  That things happen for a reason?  And do you believe that every once in a while, the stars can align in such a way that the thought of it all just being a mere coincidence is more preposterous than believing that it was fate?  I do.

I’ve been writing posts for this blog for over two years.  How time flies.  I started this blog soon after a terrible accident my brother was in. One that could’ve had a much different outcome if those stars hadn’t aligned in just such a way.

On October 6th, 2016 my brother, an arborist, was working in a large field with a couple of other crew members.  His foreman had left to empty the dump truck and the other guy was operating the skidder just slightly out of eyesight due to a small hill. My brother, returning from a different task saw the chipper was loaded with brush and started it.  What he didn’t know was that the winch line hadn’t been wound back up before the brush had been set on top of it.  And when he started the machine, the line became untangled from the brush and wrapped around his legs pulling him into the mouth of the chipper.

  • First Star  – My brother was holding onto the emergency reverse lever when he started the machine.
  • Second Star – The sheer force of the line wrapping around him and pulling him was enough to break both femurs, causing extensive damage to his tissue, arteries, and nerves in both legs, just above the knee.   Somehow, not only did he not go unconscious but he managed to untangle the line, climb down from the chipper, and army crawl up the hill to flag down his co-worker on the skidder.
  • Third Star – He had spent some time in the fire service and had medical training. Even with everything going on, he remained calm. He knew that he needed to get his legs elevated so as to slow blood loss. He gave his co-worker clear direction as to what to do.  How and where to put pressure.  And he had his co-worker ask the 911 dispatcher for life-flight.
  • Fourth Star – They were working in a field in the middle of nowhere.  When the call came into the the EMS dispatch, the town paramedics were just around the corner.  They were returning from an earlier call instead of at the station 15 minutes away.
  • Fifth Star – The closest hospital was a small one in the town of Bridgeton. The ambulance had planned to meet Life Flight there.  But when they arrived, the helicopter was still about 10 minutes out. My brother needed blood badly, so they brought him inside. They knew that his injuries were more extensive than the hospital was equipped for, but something was better than nothing.  They wheeled him into a trauma bay and hauled out a special machine.  A while back they had received a grant to get it.  It was for rapid blood transfusions. My brother was the first person to use it. He received 107 units of blood that day.  And just for some perspective, the human body holds between 8-12 units or pints, of blood.  We were told that it could very well be a record.  Most blood given and survived.

As soon as he was fully conscious, people either came to check on him, or he went to meet the people who saved his life. My brother remembered bits and pieces of what happened but as we met the paramedics, firefighters, the life-flight team, the nurses, and doctors from both hospitals – each one added different pieces to puzzle.  A different star, if you will. All of the things that JJ couldn’t remember.  And everyone he met looked at him in astonishment.  Every single one made it clear that they weren’t sure how it was going to end when they left him.  And, inevitably, they all said something along the lines of: “If we hadn’t been around the corner” or “If we hadn’t have gotten that blood machine” and of course, “if you didn’t have your hand on that reverse bar”

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Just before the first anniversary of my brother’s accident I had determined that I wanted to shift the focus of my blog.  But I was worried.  I didn’t really know what I should write about, or if I should continue to write at all.  I really enjoyed it. The act of it and how I felt after each post, but I just didn’t know if what I was doing was good enough. I struggle with a lot of self-doubt.  But, I had written a post in the very beginning about how I didn’t want this blog to be something I quit. A hobby or project I give up on, like so so many that I had in the past.

I wanted to get better at writing before I threw in the towel.  And so, I googled “Best books on learning how to write”, and at the top of every list was “On Writing” by Stephen King.  I was hesitant.  I had never read one of his books.  I don’t care for the horror genre, but I downloaded the audio version and was immediately immersed.  It was witty and thoughtful.  I found myself sitting in the car for 15 minutes or more after I arrived wherever I was heading just to listen.

The book was coming to end and I had learned a lot.  But still was unsure of my blogging future.  I hadn’t posted anything in ages.  With 28 minutes left of the book, I pulled into my driveway.  And as I went to turn off the car I heard something that got my attention.  He was talking about an accident he was in. He was walking in Fryeburg, Maine and was hit by a car.  He was taken to Bridgeton hospital.  The same little hospital the ambulance had taken JJ to meet life-flight. I said “Huh”. Not too weird I guess. But he went on to say he was life-flighted to Central Maine Medical Center. I stared at the radio of my car skeptically. “So had JJ”, I thought.  And as he continued my eyes got wider and wider. When he arrived, his doctor was a man by the name of Dr. Brown.  That was my brother’s doctor. The first of many to perform surgery on JJ.  He’s had 26 in all.  And finally, Stephen King described his injuries, the accompanying surgeries and treatments during his recovery. Between the extensive fasciotomies and the external fixator used to put him back together, the same exact procedures done to my brother. It all left me shock.

Was this a sign? Stars aligning perhaps? I started to blog because of this incredible situation that happened. I needed an outlet; this was my therapy. And when I started doubting my ability and worrying what I was going to write about. When I had come to a possible impasse. I get this book as a last ditch effort to help me find a purpose for this blog and writing in general. And in the final moments of it, Stephen King himself, reiterates the very details surrounding why I started writing in the first place. It felt as if it had come full circle.

Now, I am a fatalist, for better or worse. But I do try to check in with the realist side of myself. To second guess the relevancy of the situation. But in the end, serendipity reigns. And whether this was in fact, stars aligning or if perhaps this turns out to be just a theory of convenience, we’ll never know. And I’m ok with that. So, for now, I’ll keep writing.

Posted in Blog, Blogger, blogging, Inspirations, Thoughts, writing

A Procrastinator’s​ Guide To Tackling The To-Do List: Blogging Edition

First, A little back story.

I thought of the title for this blog post out of the blue one day.  So I quickly opened my WordPress app and typed it in. I hit save, under the Drafts tab.  Making absolutely sure that I didn’t accidentally hit the publish button.  That is the worst!  Publishing something before it’s ready, aaarrgh. It’s awful!  Anyway, as I was double checking that I didn’t post it instead of saving it.  I got the idea for the super cute graphic.  I immediately clicked on my Word Swag app and created the image you see above. And I LOVE it.  In fact, I love it so much, that I’ve started laying the ground work for this to be a series.  And I am super excited!

As I started typing and formatting this post I found myself back spacing and rearranging sentences a lot.  I just couldn’t get the concept to flow the way I wanted it to.  And then I realized why…. I am a procrastinator.  Procrasntintor’s aren’t usually the ones who write about getting things done.  We also aren’t the type of people to be made an example of when referencing expeditious task completion.  Something weird to note, that this is only in my personal life.  Like getting an oil change, or canceling a subscription. Which reminds me, I never canceled my husbands Dollar Shave Club subscription.  Shit.

Professionally speaking, I couldn’t be more opposite.  I’m known to watch my inbox like a hawk.  Always at the ready for the next task.  For me, there is nothing better than being asked to do something, completing it and sending back a “Done!” email.  My work inbox is pristine.  As I left yesterday for a week’s vacation, I didn’t even have to scroll.  All emails were visible on one page.  That feeling, for me, is pure contentment.

So, how do I get this, and the subsequent series posts I’m planning, to translate from personal procrastinator to every day efficient?   There only seems to be one solution.  I am going to try to fix something, that for the last 33 years of my life, has been one of the most predominant personality traits I have.  I’m going to become “The Blogger Formally Known As A Procrastinator.” You guys, my husband is going to be so effing excited when he reads this.

We’re now at the point where you may be asking yourself “why would I take advice from a woman who admittedly, can barely make a list of “to-do’s” to do the to-do’s.?” And I think that is a very fair question. My answer is this:  This post is meant for the people like me.  The people to enjoy getting things done, but in their own, type B personality, kind of way.  The type of people who may appear disorganized, and lackadaisical to some. But in all actuality do, for the most part,  have their shit together.

The To-Do:  Writing a Blog Post

This blog has been an eye-opening experience.  If you have been with me since the beginning you may recall my post Surviving Succulents.  In it, I wrote about starting projects and not finishing them. And how this project, this blog, was going to be different.  And while I’ve only been at this for about 9 months, it is the longest I’ve ever stuck with something like this.  And I still love it like I did at the beginning.  I think that is one of the most important things for a procrastinator.  And my first blogging To-Do.  Blog about something you love.  Or something that challenges you, whether it be a specific topic or niche.  Maybe even daring to try a different style. Like poetry, short stories or nonfiction.  In my very limited experience, I’ve found that writing about something you love, or something that you have an interest in, comes a lot easier and therefore quicker than something you don’t.

That brings me to my next To-Do, well this is more of a to-don’t.  Don’t force it.  Readers will be able to tell.  One of the followers of my blog recently commented that “It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.” And he is exactly right.  Just because you haven’t published a post in a while doesn’t mean that you’re failing or even that you’re procrastinating. Maybe you haven’t found the spark.  I’ve talked about the spark before.  It’s what I consider to be the moment you get an idea that you’re excited about.  When everything just comes rushing to you and you’re inspired. That spark can come at any time and even multiple times within a single post.  For example, I started this post on May 29th.  Almost 2 months ago.  And here I am just finishing it up.  I don’t know what it was about the last couple of days, but a majority of this post has only just been written in that time.  And that’s ok.  I didn’t want to write it to just to say that I posted something.  I wanted to write it to be good.  To be helpful.  Honestly, I don’t know if it will be either of those things, but fingers crossed.

And the last To-Do is to try to set aside time each day to work on your blog.  It doesn’t have to be hours, or at a set time every day.   Even if all you have is 15 minutes.  Go to your blog, under your drafts, and read what you’ve already written.  Add a sentence or two.  Rewrite a paragraph.  Touch up the graphic.  Do research on a topic you’re working on.  Whatever it may be, just DO something within your blog.  I guarantee the more you do that, the more quality content you’ll produce.

So that’s that.  My very first edition of “Turning To-Do’s into Ta-Da’s.”  Now, I am no expert on matters of blogging or most things really.  And while these tips are more common knowledge tidbits than insider secrets.  I hope they offer insight.  I hope this comes off as more of a pep talk than anything.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Don’t worry about what others with think (this is still my biggest hurdle).  Because, from what I can tell, the bloggers who have the most followers aren’t necessarily the people who produce the most content.  And I think, by just doing these very basic things, you will greatly increase the chances of creating an amazing (Ta-Da!!!)  blog post.

 

 

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”  – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

Posted in Blog, Blogger, blogging, Maine, Photography, Uncategorized, writing

A Place For Maine Writers, Bloggers and Photographers

 

Hi there! My name is Darci and am still fairly new to blogging.  I noticed that there aren’t any FB groups dedicated to bloggers in Maine.  I thought this would be a great place to first connect, and see if there may be in interested in joining one.  If there is, than I’d be very happy to get one going.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or would like to be involved. Just comment below!

 

Thanks!

Posted in Blog, Blogger, blogging, Digital Marketing, Inspirations, Thoughts, writing

Beginners Bloggers Block

I started out strong. Just over eight months ago.  I was blogging often, having a fairly clear, concise point with each post.  The feedback I got was amazing.  People told me that what I was writing was relatable and how they looked forward to my posts. But, as the weeks went on, I found myself blogging less and less and less.  At one point going more than a month without posting a single thing.

I would still go to WordPress almost every day.  Just under the “Reader” tab.  I would scroll through my saved categories, spending a majority of my time under “Blogging”.   A common post I’d see would fall along the lines of “So, I haven’t posted in a while.” or “Things have been really hectic lately and I haven’t logged in”.  Listen, I get it. I do.  Life gets busy and things come up.  But I couldn’t help but wonder…  Were they really too busy for days, weeks, on end or maybe it’s because they didn’t have something to say? Something they were proud of, or inspired by, or excited about. And by no fault of their own necessarily.

It’s so very easy to rely on an excuse, rather than admit that you’ve maybe lost motivation.  Or perhaps, you’ve been looking for inspiration and have come up empty handed.  I find that so many of my posts have come to fruition because I was inspired by something.  Something happened or I read something.  Whatever it was, was so amazing that it just compelled me to write. To tell the WordPress world all about it.

A few weeks ago, I got the blogging itch.  The one where you need to write something down, purely for the sake of writing.  But, I didn’t know what to write about.  I needed inspiration in real bad way.  So I went over to  Dream Big, Dream Often, to see what the author had been up to. He has a fantastic blog.  Every day he publishes posts that are not only thought-provoking, but also entice engagement from a seemingly very diverse audience.  I’m pretty new to this, but even I know that is no small feat.  And as I scrolled and read, there it was. A simple blog post, about nothing really. It was maybe 3 or 4 sentances long.  In the post, he had asked a question about social media usage. I answered, and in my response, I typed the title of this post.  That’s all I needed, I had my inspiration.

When inspiration hits, there’s no other way to describe it other than a spark.  When I have an idea for a post that I’m excited about, there is nothing that will stop me from writing, editing, revising and hitting that beautiful blue “publish” button.  My eyes light up, you can see the wheels turning and from there, my fingers glide over the alphabet keys with the utmost of ease.  You never know where the spark will come from or when it will strike.  But thankfully, inevitably, it does.  Whether it’s slight or fierce, sooner or later, you’ll have a creative urge that will bring you back from that merciless thing called writers block.

Posted in belief, family, Inspirations, life, Sports, Uncategorized, writing

Going To The Mattresses


 

 

 

I’ve never seen “The Godfather”. But, I have seen “You’ve Got Mail”. Many, many times. In the movie, Meg Ryan’s character, Kathleen, is at odds with a big businessman named Joe Fox, whose company is about to put her’s under.  Unbeknownst to the both of them, they are each other’s secret online love interests.  Joe Fox, played by Tom Hanks replies with the following message to Kathleen when she asked him for business advice:

“Go to the mattresses. You’re at war. It’s not personal, it’s business. It’s not personal its business. Recite that to yourself every time you feel you’re losing your nerve. I know you worry about being brave, this is your chance. Fight. Fight to the death!”

This post was a tricky one to write.  There are so many variations of what it means to fight.  You can fight for an injustice, for someone’s well-being, or for something you believe in. My family has been tackling some of those lately.


My first lesson about “Going to the Mattresses”

For my entire life, I have been terrible at all sports. Awful. I have no business being on any sort of field or court in a competitive setting.  However, in 7th grade, I signed up to play on our middle school soccer team.  Every sport I had played leading up to this, I had been coached by my dad or his friends at the rec department.  That wasn’t the case this time.

During one match, our team was winning 7-0 and we were in the final minutes of the game.  The coach called my name for the first time that day and put me in as fullback.  The whistle blew and an opposing wing came at me with the ball.  I managed to take it away and kick it in the opposite direction.  A few seconds later the whistle blew again and I had been replaced.  As I came off the field I saw my dad get out of the car and start walking towards our sideline.  I thought “he’s probably coming to tell me what a great job I did, kicking that ball away.” I was mistaken.

“Darci! Get your shit, we’re going home!” I stopped in my tracks, shocked.  He didn’t stop there though.  He then turned to the coach.  “Hey!  You’ve got an awful lot to learn about coaching!” he said.  “You’re up 7-0, and you can’t leave her in there for more than 30 seconds?  You’ve been playing your first string the entire game!”

That was the end of my soccer career.  I was so embarrassed.  I remember crying and dreading going to school the next day.  We are from a very small town where everyone knows everyone.  I knew kids and their parents would be talking about it. Later on that night, dad came to have a talk with me about what had happened.  I believe this was after he had had a phone call with my former coach.  While I don’t remember his exact words, the moral of the story was “That wasn’t right.  That’s not how to be a good coach.  And she needed to know how I felt” My dad lacks subtlety, at times.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  But, I’ll never forget that day and the lesson I learned. He fought for what he believed.  It’s a story I tell often.


 

Our family has fought our share battles recently. All of the varying levels of intensity and for different reasons. Some have been fought as a group and some have been taken on singularly, and even internally.

My mom, for example, has fought for my step-dad every day since September 1st.  He was in a car accident and has been in the hospital since then.  Most of the time he hasn’t been fully awake.  She has fought for an adequate level of care. She has fought to keep him alive, more than I believe the doctors have since the first days after the accident.   She has been at the hospital (with the exception of when my brothers’ accident happened) every day she could since the beginning.  My mom with her vigilante style bedside monitoring, and her demand for answers.  She’s fought real hard.   He woke up last week, and I got a phone call from him. He said, “What’s going on, kid?”  That’s always how he started a phone call with me. It was probably the most amazing phone call I’ve ever gotten in my life.  Unfortunately, he did have a bump in his recovery road a couple of days after that phone call.  But, he’s still here.  He’s still fighting.

Today is the 3-month mark since JJ’s accident.  There is no way for anyone to really understand what he must battle with every day.  There’s no way to measure how much he has to fight on a daily basis.  Even in his first days in the hospital, the doctors and nurses all talked about how tenacious he was.  How much strength and determination he had.  And all that was said before he was able to talk.  My family knew he had all that in him.  But I never truly noticed the degree of it until then.  When he would insist on doing things himself when he had 6 very willing family members in his room to help.  When he would surpass every expectation the doctors had set.  Stand with almost full weight on a leg that he doesn’t have full feeling in.  And most recently, when he was told he wouldn’t be on a snowmobile this year.  He showed them all just how much fight he had in him.

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Just from a personal standpoint, my brothers fight aside.  This is what I’ve learned in the last 3 months:  Fighting is hard.  It is exhausting and often tear-inducing.  And because of the recent uptick of occurrences in which going to battle is required, I’ve had to pick them more carefully.

My brother is home from the hospital.  And everyone in the family is ecstatic. We have been looking forward to this for three months.  We knew that the transition would be tough, but I was totally unprepared for how tough it would be at the beginning.  In one week alone, I have cried at 2 different pharmacies trying to pick up my brother’s prescriptions because of issues related to billing.  I’m sure I looked like a lunatic.  And then, inevitably feel immediately embarrassed and start pleading my case as to why I’m not a lunatic and then probably look like even more of a lunatic then I did at the beginning. It’s a vicious cycle.  Anyway, One of the battles we’ve taken on is making the house handicap accessible.  We have been begging for 2 months for someone to come in an access our house.  Get it set up for him so when he got home, he’d be able to be mostly independent.  We were met with every stall tactic and excuse they had.  And I, having never navigated through anything like this before, fell for it.  At this point, there are 5 or 6 different people or companies involved in this.  The caseworker, the caseworkers assistant, the insurance company, the contractor, subcontractor,  and as of today the owner of a very large home modification company.  Everyone is pointing the finger at the other as to why this is taking so long.  I make multiple phone calls a day trying to figure it out but usually end up more confused than I was at the beginning.  Today, I made an extra phone call.  To a lawyer.  As this process goes along, I’m seeing that sometimes you can’t fight your battles alone. And I need help fighting this one.  There won’t be many more niceties.  It’s not personal.  It’s business.

I have yet to find a manual or script anywhere to offer me any guidance on how to fight. The desire alone, to fight, comes from within.  It’s propelled by a person’s heart, gut instinct, and moral compass. And not very often, do those 3 things combined steer you wrong.

 

“If you’re feeling froggy, go ahead and leap” – Butch Hanson

 

 

 

 

Posted in blogging, Food, Uncategorized, writing

Surviving Succulents – Part Two

I had no idea there was going to be a “Part Two” when I wrote the original.  But here we are.

Guys!  What I wrote about in the original post almost happened (If you’ve just started reading my blog, you can find the original here).  I almost gave up.  My blog hit a bump in the road and I wavered.  I have been counting the days since my last post, but couldn’t bring myself to write anything.  And here’s why.

Do you ever have an idea or vision of how you want something to play out.  Or how you want something to look?  We’ve all seen those “10 epic pinterest fails” lists of people who try to create or recreate something amazing that they’ve seen and have come up so very embarrassingly short.

When something doesn’t quite seem to be turning out the way I had envisioned, I immediately start a quiet downward spiral.  Most of the time, when this happens nobody can see this slippery slope of doubt and over-thinking.  It sneaks up on you. Even I find myself being surprised by its onset.  I try to fight through it.  Find a way around it.  Fix it.  But more times than not, it gets the better of me.  I can’t get past my shortcoming.

Let me give you an example:  Kruno’s parents had been looking forward to a traditional American Thanksgiving.  And I had the added pressure (all internal) of transporting the meal to Boston the next day to celebrate with JJ, my dad, and aunt Nanette.  I had imagined a Norman Rockwell-esq presentation at both my house and the hospital.  However realistic or unrealistic it was.  I had a vision.  I prepped two separate turkeys, one for each day.  I timed out everything perfectly and at the second basting session, when I removed the roaster lid, all I saw was bone.  I had cooked both turkeys upside down.  Kruno’s mom was beside me to watch as I prepared the most important meal of year.  She saw the horror on my face and the tears in my eyes.  The Norman Rockwell scene in my mind disintegrated just as the bottom half of the turkey’s had.  Lots of expletives started flowing out of my mouth. Along with sentences like “I ruined it, I ruined Thanksgiving.” and “How did I mess this up so badly?”

The turkey was delicious.  I didn’t ruin Thanksgiving.  It just wasn’t presentation worthy. But, that small detail, the vision of this beautiful whole turkey being presented on my grandmothers antique turkey platter, and not being able to have that image come to fruition, was enough to send me down that spiraling slippery slope.

So, back to my blogging bump in the road.

Two weeks ago I had an idea.  I wanted my blog to have it’s very own page for recipes.  My grandmother was a fantastic cook, my mother and aunt inherited her intuition and I like to think that I did too.  I reached out to my family for their copies of her recipes and was ready to start editing in a couple of days. I logged on.  I fiddled with the settings in WordPress, sought assistance through the handy “chat now” feature and researched everything I could find on relevent topics.  For days and days I tried to figure it out.  I knew how I wanted my site to look, and how I wanted it to read.  But everything I read and all the helpful chat people told me what I wanted wasn’t possible.  I couldn’t get passed it.  I’ve had several posts I’ve wanted to publish, but because of this hiccup, I couldn’t.  I even turned off my Facebook setting, so my friends couldn’t see what I was doing.  I didn’t want them to see if I made a mistake or if something looked weird.

Well, I figured it out today.  I fought my way up that damn slippery slope. I rose to the top and compromised on my vision.  My site is still under construction, but the template it set.  Content will be added soon.  And I’m happy.  Not just with the website, but that I didn’t give up.  I’ve given up on far too many things.  Too many ideas and projects.  But not today.