Saturday, July 25, 2015

In Which My Blog Turns Ten

My blog is ten years old today! I've put together a little something to commemorate the event.

Ten most-viewed posts

It turns out that my most-viewed posts are the ones that are informative in some way, or end up getting linked from somewhere else.

Digi Dots
Eyes on Dr. Seuss
Typing Practice (ν•œκΈ€λ‘œ!)
Cream Pineapple Crochet Sweater
Giraffe Painting
Picture books on Kindle
Crochet sweater, red
Kindle(s) in the house
Time Capsule (High School Art)
Pineapple Crochet Shawl Sweater

Ten personal favorites

The Adventures of Mr. Penguin (a tale in Chinese characters)
My Daddy, by Kate, age 4. (Happy Birthday!)
Want a bag over your head?
little brother (and sister, too!)
Kate's Dragons
Kate's Rescue Mission (story by Kate)
Painting Fiona's Library
Mender of Soles
Grimmie the Wandering Wesen
Korea Calling

Ten random photos

Ten questions from friends

Do you still scrapbook?

I think the short answer would be "Not at this time." I still love playing with paper. And I do whip up the occasional digital layout, but it's been a while. I imagine that I will scrapbook again at some point. Not sure what form that will take.

Would you like to visit Korea again and what areas would you like to visit?

Absolutely! I'm saving up my opera painting money. So many places I want to go and friends I want to visit. I was entranced by this picture of Daewonsa temple. I need to go there. In the fall. I'm not sure how this will happen, since that's when the kids are in school. We'll figure it out when the time comes, I guess. I was actually planning a trip with my sister, but she changed her mind, so I shall have to find another travel buddy.

How did you get started doing art?

My parent bought me reams of tracing paper when I was little, and I traced everything in sight. I remember thinking, "If I can make it look like this, then I'll be a good artist." And I took a lot of art classes in high school.  Mostly just messed around with it a lot.   I still tend heavily toward realism, and I'm great at copying things, but not always so good with the free, expressive stuff. I'd like to work on that more.

What inspires you?

Visuals, I think.  I  love looking at things that other people have done.  I have a Mixed Media folder on my computer where I've been collecting things, and my Art Inspiration board on Pinterest.  I also find inspiration being outside.  And wool-gathering in the shower.

I have no clue why you lived in Canada for a while.

We were in Newfoundland for Doug's grad school for three years. Absolutely loved it. It's like nowhere else.

What's your fascination with language? I mean you always comment on how words are used and it makes me wonder.

Language is fascinating! (Hmmm.... might have something to do with my dad being an engineer. I have the picky gene.)

I wonder what you are doing with your art these days.

Painting for Tacoma Opera, pretty soon! And I have a couple other projects in mind. I want to try gelli printing on a skirt. And I may be ready to start that mural in the bathroom.

I've known you since our long ago dMarie days, when you lived in NL. I've watched your kids grow up, into adorable little people. My question concerns Andy, if you don't mind...I know you explained once about his 'disability', for lack of a better word, could you describe it again and how his progress is?

Andy has hyperlexia, which is often accompanied by autistic behaviors but not always (and sometimes they grow out of them, but not always). He figured out how to read on his own before he was three, and has always been fixated on letters and words. Verbally he does a lot of echolalia (repeating things that he's memorized) and not much synthesizing, though he does often find something contextually appropriate. (One time I was calling him to come over, and he said, "What is it, Mother? Why do you want us?" which he learned from He does chatter and sing a lot (he also has perfect pitch, we've discovered), and he's very affectionate and good-natured. He hardly ever refers to himself in the first person--if he wants something he'll say, "Do you want a ____?", though lately he's been coming up with more convoluted constructions like, "We have a pineapple juice!" And right now he's sitting on my lap reading everything that I'm typing.

Here's my question as a long time blogger myself, how often do you blog, and how do you keep your blog fresh? Do you shy away from revealing too much about yourself, or do you feel you're an open book?

I don't post as much as I used to. It's kind of shocking to go back to earlier years and see months where I was posting almost every day. I think back then blogging was more of a thing, and people would visit each others' blogs and comment more. Now we just post on Facebook and get immediate feedback. But I still like keeping my blog, and having the record. (And I don't post everything... some stuff doesn't need to be shared!)

What does success mean to you personally?

I had to think about this. I think for me feeling successful often involves outside validation. When I finish a set painting and get to see it used in a great performance, that feels like success. When Creating Keepsakes magazine called and said they wanted nine of my scrapbook layouts for their travel book, that felt like success. (Seriously... I was so excited I couldn't sleep for about three days.) I like being productive.  On the other hand I'm also a huge procrastinator. On a personal level, I suppose success as a mother will mean raising kids who are decent human beings and can perform the necessary tasks of life. We've got a long way to go on that.

Ten favorite things about blogging

Okay, I don't have ten favorite things about blogging. But I do have one particular favorite thing--being able to back-date posts. I have stuff from June that I'm still planning to post but haven't gotten around to yet. I didn't know about this feature at first, so I would often be posting things dated months after they actually happened. This way I can create a post long after the fact and still have it show up in the correct place in the timeline. Is that cheating? (Best chance of something actually getting posted would be within a day or two after it happens. Odds decrease significantly after that. But I do get around to the important stuff, eventually!)

My least favorite thing is that stupid image verification on the comment form, where you have to prove you're not a robot by choosing the salad, or the pizza, or some such tomfoolery.  I always thought the word capcha was annoying, but this is way worse.  If anyone knows how to get rid of it, let me know!

Me and my favorite ten-year-old!  


In ten years of blogging, we've been through births, weddings, funerals, moves, and milestones. I've made over 1,000 posts, and who-knows-how-many photos. I've enjoyed all the comments from friends and the exchange of ideas, but most of all I love having this record, being able to go back and look at our earlier selves, or read to Kate something funny that she said when she was little, or enjoy her cute artwork. It's been a good ride

In closing, I will direct you to my Ten Long Years post, in which Doug wrote something very sweet for our tenth anniversary.  Thanks for stopping by!


Valdree Hannan said...

Happy Birthday ! xxx

Julie Henry said...

Helena I've popped in many times over the years. I remember anxiously awaiting Kate's birth and looking at her pictures and oohing and ahhing and the first scrapbook page I did with a hand cut title was because of you and I even the Helena font! Love reading your ten year post. Andy and Kate are just adorable kids and imagine they make life very fun!