Unpacking The Past

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I’m working with my psychologist to try and unpack some of my bad work experiences – this incident came up in our last session. I’ve written it down in an effort to get the events clear in my head, and also so I can easily refer to it in the future. My memory is not as good as it once was. ;)

One of the best managers I ever had was once totally undermined by a team leader underneath her. Because it was a 24/7 call centre, my manager saw this team leader for a maximum of 2 hours a day and for those two hours, this team leader was on her super best behaviour. It was a total accident that what this Team Leader was up to behind her back was discovered.

My manager called me into her office and told me that she was getting feedback that I was “dismissive”. I said I wasn’t really sure what that meant. Could she please provide me with a specific example. She said she could not, because then I would know who gave the feedback and asked me just to keep it in mind. I said ok, but I can’t fix this without more info, so please ask the person giving you this feedback to speak up and let me know when it happens, and/or ask them if they are ok with you relating a specific example.

A month or so later when we had another catch-up, she said she was still receiving feedback that I was “dismissive”. She had asked the feedback provider re relating an example and the answer was no. As no specific example could be provided, I said, “Sorry, I can’t fix this without knowing more. Plus, now I am starting to feel concerned that the person giving this feedback isn’t adult enough to put their name to it. Maybe there is a reason they will not put their name to it”.

Probably three weeks later, I was walking past the managers office and I heard my name and that word. Her office was glass, so I could see who was in there with her. It was one of the team leaders. The manager and I locked eyes and she knew I had heard it. After that person left, she called me in. I apologised. I did not mean to overhear but I was walking past. Then I said – now I know who is giving you this feedback, I actually know what the problem is – and I am not being dismissive, I am simply too busy to “debrief” with her.

This person was a team leader and if I had a question about how to handle something I would ask her. She would tell me to do X. I’d accept her answer on face value and do exactly what she said to do. Once I’d done what she said, I moved on to the next task.

Two or three hours later she would come to me when it was quiet and try to have another discussion about the question I’d asked. I’d be like.. I did what you said, it is handled, and I’ve moved on to other things. And she’d be like “No, we need to debrief”. And I’d be like, I’m sorry, I don’t have time to debrief. I have 6 other tasks in my queue that need to be completed. The situation was solved and I’ve closed it off, so we don’t need to debrief.

When I explained this, my manager said I was doing exactly the right thing. She actually felt that how I was handling this issue was too polite and she told me in future to be a lot more “dismissive” about these debriefs and just to give a simple no, and she would talk to the team leader directly about this.

My manager then asked me why I had not mentioned this situation to her. I explained that this team leader had told me to always go directly to her if I had an issue with her and she would do the same with me.

I had spoken directly to the team leader about it, and she told me the debriefing was her way of doing things and I should debrief whenever she wanted me to debrief. I said lets do a compromise – if I say that I have work I need to do, let it go. If I’m not busy, we can debrief. In that job, it was rare for me not to be busy, so 99% of the time I’d say I had work to do.

The manager was very unhappy about this “feedback deal”, and on further investigation she found out this team leader had made the same “feedback deal” with every single staff member. She sent out an email making it very clear that any issues with team leaders were to be raised directly with her, and no “feedback deals” were allowed.

I was also very unhappy that this team leader was saying to my face if she had any issues with me she would raise them with me, and from then on, I did not trust her.

All of a sudden, all the issues with people had with this team leader were going to the manager. It turned out this team leader was doing a lot of not great things and the spotlight was well and truly on her. The long cigarette breaks, the disappearances, her refusal to answer her phone when it rang, the non completion of tasks, some bullying of staff members, the times she would leave early and have someone else cover for her, the inappropriate flirting with clients on her calls, all of this came to light.

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Because my Best Manager was truly that – an excellent manager – she kept a very tight leash on this team leader once all of this came to light.. but when my Best Manager left, this team leader had free rein to act inappropriately. That was not a fun time for me, but I knew to keep a very close eye on her, and to call her out on her bullshit.

She did not appreciate my calling her out, and she used a new staff member to try and oust me by having them make false complaints about me. Unfortunately for her, I was already in the process of complaining about her behaviour with management and when I pointed out that there were witnesses to the event this staff member complained about and that management should ask them for their version of events, it was discovered my version of events was the correct one.

After that situation, I stated to management that I no longer wanted to work with that team leader, and we adjusted my schedule accordingly, until I eventually left the company, mostly because the new manager was not a patch on Best Manager, and I no longer enjoyed the job.

Eventually, she ended up being demoted from her team leader position. Karma, it happens. :) Though sometimes it takes longer than we would like, and sometimes we are not there to witness it happen in person.

angry snoskred, work

Buying Pet Food Online

Big Kitty

In early December 2013, we lost our oldest cat – Big Kitty. In mid-December 2013, we took our younger cat Grumpy in for her yearly vet visit and vaccinations. During the visit her ears were cleaned out, somewhat roughly both of us felt at the time. Unfortunately this rough treatment led to a punctured ear drum plus an ear infection. This led to antibiotics, and that led to complete kidney failure.

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Grumpy spent 7 nights at the vets on a drip. You can see via the above photo, she was not very happy about this.. Neither were we! We were both very upset and for a while there, it seemed like she might not make it home. The Other Half went in twice daily to feed her as she was quite difficult with the vet nurses. At some point she turned a corner, and got better.

When she arrived home, she spent over 2 months being syringe fed two to three times daily by The Other Half, and I can categorically state that without his nursing care Grumpy would not have survived.

He has a lot of scars for his efforts, as well, because Grumpy was not a big fan of being syringe fed. She did not seem to have any appetite or drive to eat by herself for a while. Eventually, she did get hungry again and was willing and able to eat on her own.

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We were told by the vets that she would need to be on a special diet and a kind of food called k/d Feline Renal Health by Hills Prescription Diet was recommended to us. That is a kind of food you can usually only source from vet clinics, and as a result it can be very pricey. We were paying over $90 for a bag of kibble.

Both of us were not happy with the vets we’d been going to after this experience – in fact we both felt that if the ear cleaning had been done more gently, none of this would have happened at all. I asked around to find out who was the best cat vet in our area, and that is who we see now.

We were already seeing a totally different vet for the chooks because I’d asked around to find out which was the best chook vet. It turns out the best cat vet works in the same practice, so we decided to buy the recommended cat food via that vet clinic and cut all ties with the previous vet. The new place stocked the kibble at a lower price of $72 per bag, so it was a win all round.

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That clinic closed earlier this year, merging with a new vet practice. At that time they switched to a new brand of vet only food. We got a sample and Grumpy did not like that food at all. She LOVES the k/d kibble.

So, we had two options – find another local vet which stocked the k/d kibble, or try to find a place we could buy it online. I did some googling and we found a place that looked promising, so when the time came, we crossed our fingers and placed an order. We ordered Thursday night, the order shipped on Friday, and Monday Morning the box arrived. Below you see Happy inspecting it.

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Shipping was free. The kibble was the cheapest price I have ever paid for it, coming in a huge $12 less per bag of kibble than what I had been paying. The website has a huge range of pet related items many of which are quite difficult to find in local pet stores.

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Plus, they sent us a lolly bag and a welcome voucher for $10 off our next order. The kitties approved the food immediately!

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We feed one tin of wet food a day shared between the two kitties, kibble is always available to them, and they have a water fountain. The vet said feeling k/d to the younger cat would be fine, and she likes it, so we’re sticking with that plan.

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Having a browse around the website, they have the largest range of cat food that I have seen, ever. There are some cat foods there which our local supermarkets and pet stores stopped stocking – eg the Applaws range which our cats enjoyed – and they stock some foods which I had never heard of before. They stock some Fancy Feast flavours I have not seen in a while, too.

In case you were wondering, nobody paid me to write this post, nobody gave me anything for free.. I just felt this was a great experience and I wanted to share it with you. I know I have readers who have pets and who might find the My Pet Warehouse website useful.

With all that said, I would totally accept free samples of cat food if they were offered to me, but that is only because I don’t like paying for new cat foods and having them rejected with great prejudice by our kitties, who are the harshest critics of pet food. Understandable, seeing as they are the ones who have to eat it. :)

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Grumpy performing a pose we like to call monorail cat.

We don’t know how much time Grumpy will have with us. The vet says that her life expectancy may be reduced as a result of her kidney issues. Anything we can do to extend her time with us, we will do it, even if it means we have to budget a little more for cat food by cutting back in other areas. In the meantime, we deeply value the moments we get to spend with her.

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This pose I like to call morph ball with a half pike – great leg extension!

Grumpy is sleeping on Carters lap in that last shot, by the way. Carter is in the perfect position for winter, right in front of the gas heater. Plus, he does not move, unlike those humans!

kitties

The Problem With Mad Men

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Mad Men Wallpaper (image credit AMC)

It seems from my internet readings that many people were left a bit disappointed by the Mad Men finale. Sure, not to the same extent that people were disappointed by the Dexter finale, but disappointed all the same. Sometimes people can’t find the words to express why, but I think I worked out what the problem might be..

Warning, there may be spoilers ahead, so I’m putting in a continue reading for those who have not seen the show – you’ll have to click through to see the rest of this post. Continue reading

television shows

My Pain Plan

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From back to front –

white tablets = paracetamol – red capsules = ibuprofen – orange tablets = aspirin

As someone who has suffered from Migraines for as long as I can recall, it is super important to me that I have a good pain management plan.

When I was younger it was actually easier to get the stronger drugs like Panadeine Forte than it is now. Because of that ease I would tend to default to the strongest drug I had as soon as I got the headache. These days, there are two problems with the plan of take the strongest drug I happen to own.

1. The more often you take a strong drug, the less effective it tends to be.

2. I want to save those now more difficult to get stronger drugs for occasions when I truly need them.

Nowadays, if I take two Panadeine Forte, within about 30 minutes, I can’t feel my head, arms or legs at all. It is like I am a torso floating on a fluffy cloud. That state of being is not especially conducive to getting shiznit done. :) But it does certainly get rid of the headache quite effectively.

Believe me, actually trying to do anything in that torso floating on a cloud state will result in An Incident Occuring. It is bad enough trying to coordinate a walk to the bathroom, let alone doing anything useful.

My doctor and I sat down a couple of years ago to work out a new plan, and I was surprised to find out that this plan works for me. Here’s what I do now when I feel a headache coming on.

Stage 1

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I begin by taking paracetamol and ibuprofen together but it *must* be taken with a cup of strong tea (two teabags of Australian Afternoon) or coffee, and a block of dark chocolate. I like 70% plus and find it to be more effective.

Chocolate always makes me feel better but the caffeine in the tea or coffee and chocolate helps the drugs to work faster. That is why they sell panadol with caffeine though it is obscenely expensive at around $8.99 for 40 tablets so I prefer to keep that purely for my handbag and emergencies when I could not get a cup of caffeine to go with my tablets.

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If it feels like it is going to be a bad headache I will take three kinds of tablets together – paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin but I usually take the paracetamol first with coffee/tea and make sure to have eaten at least a bowl of cereal before taking the other drugs. This is because two of the three drugs are not good on an empty stomach.

I can tell the difference between a headache that requires two drugs vs one that requires three drugs. The worst headache I tend to get is a hormone related migraine and that is always a three drug headache. Those headaches always appear on a specific day and so I know approximately when to expect them.

Three drug headaches are usually once a month happenings at most and they start from the moment I wake up, which is the reason for the cereal.

I’ll then wait to see what happens – if the headache goes away, epic win. If not, it is time for..

Stage 2

If the headache does not go away, I need to start thinking about what might be causing it. The two main causes for me are sinus and hormones. If it is sinus, I might try a couple of cold and flu tablets next but I need to wait at least 4 hours as those have paracetamol in them as well as pseudo-ephedrine and codeine phosphate.

If it is hormones, then it is time to bring out the big guns – I have 3 choices at this point.

1. A headache tablet with some codeine phosphate eg Nurofen Plus or Mersyndol Forte. This will be the choice if the headache is not too bad. However if we have got to this point chances are the headache is pretty bad and these drugs won’t help much.

2. Panadeine Forte which is paracetamol with a stronger codeine phosphate. Taking this drug means it is bedtime, at least for a couple of hours, because it does tend to knock me out or at least make me feel like I am floating with no arms and legs attached.

3. A Maxalt Wafer. These are not cheap at $11 per wafer. However they do work fast and if I am feeling any nausea this is a good option because it melts under the tongue and I don’t have to worry about keeping the drugs I took down. These do work very well for me, but they are a last resort due to their price tag.

Stage 3

Getting to this stage is pretty rare but it does happen from time to time – if a headache is not resolved by stages one and two, then I need to get a shot from a doctor or to head off to hospital. It has been a long time since this stage was needed thanks to the careful pain planning my doctor and I worked out together. :)

Nausea

When I was growing up, from age 15-17 I had nausea and dizziness on a daily basis for a couple of years. It was dreadful and we are still not sure what caused that, though there is a suspicion it may have been hormonal. I lived on Stemetil for those two years which is an anti-nausea drug.

Now the drug of choice for nausea is Maxolon. It is rare that I have to use them now. In fact it has been a couple of years since I last got a script for it, but I just used up my last tablet and I have a doctors appointment this week, so I will be asking for a new script.

Ocular Migraines

Have you ever had a kaleidoscope appear in your field of vision? I have. It is Not Optimal at all. It makes it impossible to read, drive, watch tv, basically, to see in general. These are called an Ocular Migraine – once again we have zero idea what causes this for me.

About 45 minutes after the kaleidoscope arrives, the headache sets in. And this is a terrible headache, a Panadeine Forte right off the bat headache.

However, the happy news is, after many experiences and trying out different things I have made a discovery. If I take paracetamol and ibuprofen with coffee or tea and chocolate at the moment the kaleidoscope appears, the headache does not arrive anymore. I have to go and lie down with a flannel over my eyes until the kaleidoscope goes away, but that is nothing compared to having to suffer through the headache that would always arrive.

Over to you –

How do you manage pain?

Do you suffer from migraines at all?

health

Around Here

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It has been an eventful couple of weeks here in Snoskredland. So what is happening around here? I’m going to do a quick rundown of a few things we’ve been up to..

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Eating: Loads of vegies. The Other Half said to me that if I steamed Brussels Sprouts for him, along with some carrots and cauliflower, he would eat them. So we’ve been having a huge bowl of vegies alongside some of our meals these past two weeks. I’ve discovered that I love Brussels sprouts myself. We went through 1kg of them in the last two weeks. I also get to put in some of my faves, like broccoli and mushrooms which he will not eat.

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Loving: Having our wall art back up again. It has been freaking me out a little, which is odd coming from someone who sits with a full size skeleton in her lounge room. But it has been so long since we’ve had these things on our walls that it is taking some getting used to. I’ll put some of our wall art pics through this post.

Hating: “It’s a Mitsi” – no, teevee ad people, saying one line over and over does not create a catch phrase. Plus, way to go on the research front. Apparently there were ecstasy tablets named Mitsi a few years ago.

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Watching: The final season of Mad Men. Season 6 of The Good Wife. Veep – I LOVE Veep! The new season of Deadliest Catch. Australia’s Next Top Model – I am a huge fan of Brittany.

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Preparing: 8kg of chicken, cut up, foodsaved, and frozen in the space of an hour on Monday afternoon. It was $5.99 a kg, which is over half the price we normally pay. I have 3 bags for chicken and bacon pasta, 8 bags of chicken pieces for stir fries or Honey and Mustard chicken, plus several bags of chicken steaks for pepper chicken or chicken and sweetcorn soup.

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Snacking: on carrots, and many apples I have in the fridge. Dawn is right with what she said in this post – be preparedI find that if I have snacks and other items already prepped, I’m much less likely to eat things I shouldn’t.

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Planning: Menus on a fortnightly basis.

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Mourning: the loss of photos and other data – A bad thing happened to our server box.. :( It is way too technical to explain how we have it set up but I will give you a quick and basic overview. The Other Half uses a RAID array which is essentially 5 hard drives set up to work together, storing all our movies, TV shows, and photos. He wrote more about it on his blog.

We do have a lot of DVDs and blu-rays, in particular a lot of tv shows. Rather than store them on the DVDs like many people do, we took to keeping them digitally because we have setups that allow us to watch them on our tv screens without having to handle the DVDs at all. Better for the DVDs, longterm, and better for us to binge watch.

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It has been fantastic to have it as a virtual library where you can flick through and pick what you feel like at the time. The backup to the virtual library is, of course, the DVDs. Except the photos, which we usually back up to a DVD every so often.. and it had been a while. Since 2008. :(

So of course the universe would choose this moment to have not one, not two, but THREE of the hard drives fail. When they fail, they try to backup all the information to the other disks, and they managed to do that with the tv shows, the movies, but not the photos.

We’ve lost quite a lot of images, and The Other Half has been kicking himself for not having backups, etc. I don’t see the point in doing that – it is done, they are lost, we have to build a bridge and get over it. Most importantly, we need to make a new plan for storing photos going forward.

Over to you!

Want to play? Write a post about your doings at your place and link up here. :) I like to use words that end in “ing” but you can format your update post any way you feel like and still link it up here. I’ll be excited to read it.. :)

And you might find a few new readers for your blog as well..

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food, General Chit-chat, television shows, wall art

Millers Knits

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Carter modelling a Millers Knit.

Millers is a weird store. It has gorgeous maxi dresses and sparkly things, but mixed in with that, there are some Clothes Reserved For Older Ladies. It has quite a bit of what I can only call “Fluffy Wear”. Which is sometimes exactly what you want when you are looking for your one great knit.

At least three of my past winter knits have originated from Millers. This purple and black fluffy knit has been a lot of places with me and was my first ever “hunting season” knit, which I bought in the winter of 2007. I can still wear it now, but mostly I use it around the house and wear my most recent knit for going out. It is still going pretty well for an 8 year old knit.

I have already dropped into Millers this season and I can tell you two things – they have some gorgeous long line cardigans at incredibly reasonable prices. The one that caught my eye in store was this Taupe Stripe Cardigan – it is much better in person and it has a metallic gold stripe.

It is entirely possible I might also go back for this Textured Coatigan which seems very Duchess of Cambridge.

And they have plenty of fluffy wear, too. For example this gorgeous popcorn coatigan.

Carter, Fashion

Harvest Box Snacks

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Sometimes these flybuys offers are pretty excellent. A few weeks ago they sent me an email offering me either $50 credit at Coles, or 10,000 flybuys points which also = $50 credit in return for spending $70 a week for 4 weeks. I prefer to use my flybuys credit in small chunks so I went for the points. You can redeem 2000 points for $10 off a shop and I like to save my points for weeks when the budget needs a little helping hand.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I realised we had not spent our $70 for that week, so out into the rain we went, for an impromptu and somewhat rushed shopping trip. We only needed $36 worth of stuff, so a few items we would not normally buy ended up in the shopping basket.

I’d heard of Harvest Box before and I’d wanted to try their healthy snacks subscription box when I was working in the call centre but never got around to signing up, so when I saw these new packaged Harvest Box snack packs at Coles on special for $2 each, I thought I’d give them a try. It was a total impulse buy.

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I am a sucker for cherries, so I grabbed these without a second thought and without reading the packaging.

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I ate one of each item before I took the photo, which means there were 2 cherries. 7 hazelnuts and 20 yoghurt balls. This is not especially balanced in my opinion, and me personally when a product has Cherry in the title, I’d like to see a few more cherries in the mix. With that said, the yoghurt balls are very tasty and more-ish.

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Strawberry Milkshake was a little better, with 4 strawberries and a mix of other berries. I didn’t count the other bits but it seemed like a much more reasonable mix with just 12 yoghurt balls.

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The biggest concern I have with these is the little thing on the back of the packet that says “Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients” and nowhere could I find out more about the origin of the items I was eating. I searched the website and their Facebook page to no avail.

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A lot of people may have forgotten the frozen berries and Hepatitis thing, but I have not. I would not buy these again – as tasty as they were – purely because of that tiny little writing on the back of the pack.

In fact, these were bought on a very rushed shopping trip and had I checked the label in the store, they would not have gone home with me at all. I usually check the label of any new product I buy. That discovery was very disappointing. :( I’m sure if I spend some time in the dried fruits aisle, I can find better options grown here which are more reasonably priced and if I can’t find what I am looking for, I would prefer to eat something fresh but grown in Australia.

I hope companies realise when they are not specific about what items are imported they might be losing sales. For example, my favourite salad dressing now has Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients on the label. I contacted them for more information – not wanting to have to find a replacement salad dressing – and was informed that the only imported ingredients were the extra virgin olive oil, which came from Spain, and the balsamic vinegar, which came from Italy. It would not have been very difficult to make that clear on the label.

As always, nobody paid me for my review of these items, I bought them myself with my own money, I am reporting to you my personal experience, and this is totally my own opinion which others might not agree with.

food, reviews

How To – Add A WordPress.com Follow Button To Self Hosted WordPress.

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Why yes, that is a super long title but I have posted it in the hope that it will end up on the very first page of multiple search engines because I searched for a how-to do this for several hours the other day with zero luck.

Giving up on searching via Dogpile, Google, etc, I then searched wordpress.org support and also the support forum for the Jetpack plugin. I could find plenty of people asking how to do this, and zero answers. I ended up having to lodge a support ticket and I got an answer back which helped me work it out.

A lot of people when they receive the answer seem to keep it to themselves – not updating their support threads with the answer – which is probably why I could not find it, no matter how hard I searched. So here is the answer for anyone looking for it!

Important note – for this to work, you need to have the Jetpack plugin enabled on your self hosted wordpress blog.

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1. Go to Jetpack –> Settings.

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2. Activate JSON API within Jetpack – also take note, you will need to leave this activated for the button to continue to work.

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3. Visit the Follow Button Creation page.

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4. Scroll down to the area where you can enter in your blog URL. Enter it, then decide if you want to show how many followers you have, and whether you want to show your blog name. If you have a long blog name like mine, the button will be super long! Then, hit generate.

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5. Copy the code which has been generated.

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6. Go into your add widget area within appearance.

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7. Paste the code into a text widget on your self-hosted wordpress blog. Hit save, and you are done!

Happy moments! :) And Whew, thank the deities that is over.

But I’m on wordpress.com?

Well then, this is super easy. :)

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1. In Appearance –> Widgets – scroll down the page until you see Follow Button.

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2. Drag and drop the follow button over to your sidebar.

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3. Click on the little drop down arrow to see the options, adjust your options to suit and then click on save.

Done!

blogging tips, how to guides, wordpress, Wordpress Training Wheels

How To – Add Tickbox For Blogger Comment Emails

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In setting your blogger blog to be full feed, you might accidentally cancel out the opportunity for your comments area to contain the all important “Notify Me” tick box – this tick box allows your commentators to choose to receive follow up emails when other commentators leave a comment.

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Go to Settings –> Other –> Site Feed –> From the drop down box, select custom.

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Then, leave site feed as full, but turn off blog comment feed and per post comment feeds by selecting none as the option.

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Click on Save Settings in the top right hand corner.

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When you go back to your comments form, you should now see the tick box in the bottom right hand corner which says “Notify Me”.

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When your commentators are logged into Gmail and they click on notify me, it will advise them which email address replies will be sent to, as you see above.

It might be worth letting your commentators know that you have enabled this feature via a quick post. :)

And there you have it!

Over to you!

Do you like to receive follow up emails for blog comments?

blogging tips, how to guides