Children Hold The Key To Blogging – Brown Baron Out Of His Niche

Brown Baron is out of his niche here today with this post –

Bloggers who decide to become serious with their writing and promoting their blog often experience stress usually found in an office environment. Whether it be practicing good SEO, dealing with blogger’s block, or simply feeling pressured by bigger blogs, bloggers often forget that the secret to having the proper attitude towards blogging can be found by observing children.

Start the day with a smile
Have you ever noticed how children have the incredible ability to wake up in a good mood most days? That’s how you should do it. Start each day with a positive attitude. If you wake up and remember you still have no idea on what the next post will be, don’t worry about it. Just smile. Try and start your day with a positive outlook and you’ll notice how easy it is to enter your blogging routine. As the day wears on, try to maintain your good mood and you’ll be surprised at how productive you can be.

Keep asking questions
Children never seem to run out of questions. No matter how much they learn, they keep asking more questions. If you’re satisfied with the direction your blog is taking, don’t be complacent. Keep asking yourself what else you can do to improve your visitors’ experience.

If you still haven’t grasped the fundamentals of running and promoting a blog, make a list of the things you don’t understand and work on them one at a time.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Children have the tenacity to keep working on a problem until they’re sure that they can’t do it on their own. They will then ask grownups for assistance. Any time you feel like you’re way over your head with customizing your blog, installing plugins, upgrading, or need advice on promoting your blog, don’t be afraid to ask your readers or other bloggers for suggestions.

Your readers come to your blog because they like your writing. They don’t expect you to be a master at the technical aspects of blogging.

There are a lot of bloggers that would be more than willing to help you out. Don’t be shy, just ask.

Make lots of friends
Have you ever noticed how children are so adept at making new friends or at getting along with other kids? Make sure that you form a bond with your readers and other bloggers. Knowing that you have a connection with your readers and other bloggers gives you motivation to keep writing even during the times you don’t feel like it.

Forging friendships with other bloggers will give you the feeling that you’re not alone in the world of blogging. You’ll learn new things, share tips, and help develop the growing community of bloggers all over the world.

Every day is an adventure
It’s amazing how children are always bright-eyed at even the most mundane tasks. It’s because they treat everything and every day as an adventure. Don’t look at your blogging as a routine or chore that you need to finish. Think of every post, comment, blog tweak, as a new game that you just discovered.

There is magic in writing and connecting with your readers. Your readers are your treasure. Some you will find, and others will simply find you. No matter what happens during the day, remember it’s all a big adventure.

If you find that you still need help with regard to having the best attitude towards blogging, take a look at the children. They’re smarter than you think.

Brown Baron blogs over at Brown Thoughts. I can’t remember how I first found his blog but I am thrilled that I did.The Baron is almost as mysterious as me but he does let slip that he is the father of 3 kids and the adoring husband of one wife.

This post is extremely apt today as I met my first fellow blogger, more about that tomorrow. I wish I could meet all my blogging friends in person and I hope to do more meeting bloggers in Australia, at least.

The community of bloggers is filled with wonderful people. Step out of your comfort zone and make a new blog friend today. :)

Get Out Of Your Niche

A Tale Of Three Kitties – Thomas Out Of His Niche.

Note from Snoskred – This week Thomas – Technical Blogger is getting out of his niche, and reading this I am so glad he agreed to do it. I love this post.

I was in my mid thirties before I had a cat.

In 1999 or so I took a contracting job at Microsoft, and my girlfriend at the time and I moved to this cool log cabin in Redmond, WA. My girlfriend had this ornery black cat that I didn’t really like, but for the most part he left me alone, and I left him alone. A couple of days after we moved in, there was this little kitty out on the deck mewing very loudly. It was there for a couple of days mewing. Did I mention this cat was really loud? Finally I told the girlfriend to do something to shut that cat up. She fed it some food that it gobbled right down and became quiet and started purring.

This cat had no desire to come into the house. Whatever room we were in, it would hang out in the corresponding window, so it could see us, but did not want to come in. In October the weather was starting to get rainy and nasty, so we built a little shelter with warm bedding for the kitty in the planter box outside the big window. We feed her and all seemed to be well.

In November it started to snow, and we decided that we needed to bring the little cat indoors. She adjusted to the indoors really well. She was neurotic and a pain in the butt, she hid under furniture 90% of the time. All I could think is how much cats sucked.


We moved, and I said that since we had taken responsibility for the little kitty that we had to take her with us. She did really well in the new place. She was neurotic and a pain in the butt, but she did change, now she hid under furniture 95% of the time. All I could think is how much cats sucked. At this point the girlfriend became an ex-girlfriend. I told her that she had to take both cats, but she would only take hers initially as she was moving back to the Bay Area and left me with that damned little cat.

Two days after the ex-girlfriend and her cat had gone, I started seeing the little kitty out and about. I used to say she was a little bit of a cat, and the name stuck. Little Bit. It just being the cat and I, Little mellowed out within a week.

One day I was working in my office at home, and I heard Little meowing from another part of the house so I told her where I was. I then heard meowing closer. This happened a couple of times, and then I heard a meow outside my office. I looked at her and told her she could come in, and she did. She settled down by me and seemed to be happy. She seemed to like to play this game, as she played it frequently. I played along because it made me laugh.

Moving to the Bay Area

I got contract work in the Bay Area, so we moved. Initially We stayed in corporate housing and I wasn’t supposed to have a cat. I told the Little to stay out of sight, and she seemed to understand. At this point you might say – Thomas you are deluding yourself if you think your cat had the power of speech, I don’t think she had the power of speech, but she seemed very intuitive and appeared to understand what I told her. She would sometimes wait in the window for me to come home, and when she saw I noticed her, I would waggle my finger at her and she would jump down and hide. She was a great cat. Having just moved from Seattle to the Bay Area, I had few friends and although I was happy the girlfriend was gone, I was depressed about my general state of relationships.

Little started sleeping on my chest. I would sometimes wake with her cheek on mine. If I came home late, she would wait by the door, and would let me have it, with a barrage of meows. If I came home after being in a bar, I would have to shower before I got into bed or she would snore and wheeze all night keeping me up and expressing her displeasure. I took care of her and she took care of me.

We moved out of corporate housing and got a loft in East Side Oakland. It was the Little and I, and we had a great time. If I sat down for more than 5 minutes she was in my lap. When it was time for bed, she would get up, go to the bedroom and meow on the bed waiting. When I got in bed, she would crawl on my chest and fall asleep. She was trusting, sweet, and gave love unconditionally. She watched over me, and when things got tough, was always there for me.


Little was an excellent barometer at reading people. I never mentioned to dates that I had a cat. Some women would come in, and the Little was not to be seen, for others she would come out and say hi. It may sound weird, but I always listened to the Little. Interestingly enough, when the ex did show up from time to time the Little was never to be found. Considering Little always met me at the door when I came home, I found it interesting that she would disappear if I brought someone else home.

The Little had an electronic litter box. One afternoon, the box was going off, every 15 minutes for a couple of hours. I thought it was broken. When I investigated, I realized Little was playing with her litter box. She would go in and let out about a marble’s worth of urine and then jump out. She would walk around and when the box would start she would run over and watch it. A couple minutes after it stopped, she would jump in to start the process again. She would take frequent trips to her water dish to ensure she was probably hydrated and had enough ammunitions to continue the game. This was a game she would play periodically. Goofy little cat.

I raised my voice to the Little once. She was playing with the sheer curtains in my rented loft. I just looked at Little and said No sharply. She disappeared and I did not see her for the rest of the evening. I looked for her and she was not to be found. At bedtime, I got in bed and called, and there she was. I have no idea where she went, but I never had to raise my voice to her again.

I traveled periodically for my job and my buddy Tim would stay at my place to hang out with the Little. Little loved Tim, and Tim loved the Little. In early 2000, I took a work oriented trip to Cairo, Egypt for a little over two weeks. Tim was unable to stay at my place the whole time but stayed there off and on to ensure the Little was doing ok.


When I got back, Little and I fell back into our normal routine. Not long after that I met my wife Shannon in Portland, OR. When the Little met Shannon in August, it was love at first sight.

In October of that year, the Little started to get sick. I noticed her walking around wheezing. When I took her to the vet, they removed almost two pints of fluid from her body cavity. Apparently her body cavity was filling up with fluid, squeezing her lungs and she was having difficulty breathing. I had her tested, but we could not figure out what was wrong, she was not getting better, and she wouldn’t eat.

When Shannon came to visit, the Little crawled on Shannon’s lap, and gave her a long hard look. I could see the Little sizing Shannon up. The Little put her paw out, and Shannon took it in her hand. The hung out like that for a couple of minutes, and then Little curled up in Shannon’s lap and went to sleep.

That next week, I could tell the Little was getting worse. One evening I had to take her to the emergency vet to get her drained again. A few nights later, Little crawled off a couple of times to find a secluded spot. I told her I found this unacceptable, as her friend I would help her and wouldn’t let her die alone. That was a really long night, hanging out with my sick friend. I took her to the vet first thing that morning and was told she was rapidly getting worse. The vet said she was just going to keep filling up with fluid and there was nothing they could do. Apparently if she hadn’t received good nutrition when she was younger she might not have formed properly internally. Considering that we found her outside, this seemed reasonable. Under these conditions it is possible for stress to initiate the onset of these types of problems.

The vet suggested the best course of action was to put her to sleep. They explained the procedure and how it would work. I shouldn’t be alarmed if the cat should evacuate its bowels after it had passed. All I could think is that Little is way too dainty and too much of a princess to let something like that occur.

I called Shannon for support, this was one of the hardest decision I ever had to make. I knew Little was in pain, but I didn’t want to give up too early. What if the tests taken the week before found something, but results weren’t expected for another couple of days. I tried to be realistic about the current quality of her life.

I talked to the Little about it, I knew she was in pain and she was wheezing again. She sat in my lap for a while, and then got in her carrier for a minute. I put her on the table and petted her while she was put to sleep. The vet said something about being amazed that Little did not make a mess when she passed, but knowing her that did not surprise me.

The next couple of weeks were kind of a blur. But here are some things I realized later.

– A couple of days later, I noticed that her carrier smelled. I looked in and found she had used her carrier as a litter box. I have heard that a cat will not mess in a carrier that they expect to get back in, I think she understood what was going to happen and wasn’t going to go out leaving a mess.
– When I thought about it, I realized that Little had passed the baton on to Shannon for my care and well being. She wasn’t going to leave without knowing I was taking care of, Little was like that.
– The Little and I only had a couple of years together, and I hope she was happy enough to balance out such a short life and time we had together.
– To this day I think my being gone for the couple of weeks while I was in Egypt stressed Little out, and initiated these problems. I am not sure that there was anything I could have done differently to create a different outcome, but I do blame myself . . .

It would be a couple of years before I could get another cat. It has been almost seven years, and honestyly I tears roll down my checks as I write this, although in my defense my allergies have been acting up as my eyes have been kind of watery.

Enter Mr Pants

As I said, it was a couple of years before I could bring myself to get another cat. Shannon and I started visiting the humane society. I figured it would honor the memory of Little to give another cat a break. At the humane society I told them I wanted to see the cat that had been their the longest. We were shown some cat named Diego. When we got to the cage, the cat charged the bars of his cage and starts meowing loudly.

A sophisticated cat, said the tag, wow he smells and looks horrible said Shannon, I want to see him, says I.


We went into the visiting room with Diego. He was flea bitten, he smelled, he was mangy and weighed 10 lbs. His head was the biggest part of his body. I talked to Shannon and we decided to think it over. Diego was taken back to his cage. When we went back to look at him in his cage he hissed at us. He had thought we had a deal, and it appears we had reneged.

We went back two days later to get Diego. When we go to his cage, he is laying listlessly on the floor, he picks his head up and blows a big snot bubble out his nose. Dude, that is no way to get adopted I tell him, you need to try and put your best foot forward.

Shannon calls a tech over.

Shannon – Excuse me . .

Tech – Can I help you

Shannon – Is this cat going to die, it looks sick. We like him, but we aren’t going to adopt him if he is just going die.

Tech – Uh, ma’am we can’t guarantee the pet will live, but . . .

Shannon – I’m serious, we don’t want this cat if it is going to die.

Tech – Well we can’t guarantee, he just has URI which is common for cats in a situation like this. If anything does happen to the cat, we can get you a new . . .

Shannon – I’m serious, we don’t want this cat if it is going to die. My husband is a big guy, but he is sensitive. He already lost one cat, and I am not going through that again any time soon, this cat better not die.

Me – Hey, I’m not that sensitive.

Shannon – Yes he is, I’m not going through that again any time soon.

Tech – Ma’am the cat should be fine, but I can’t guarantee. I see no indication of ill health.

Shannon – better not die . . .

So we took him. Diego was neither sophisticated or worldly so that name got dropped. Apparently he was found as a stray just a couple of blocks from where we lived.

Side Note: I don’t swear. Shannon has worked in the bar industry most of her life, and knows how to swear real well. When were first dating, she and I were bickering about something. She looks at me and says, you’re a . . ., you’re a. . . ., Mr Pants. To this day I have no idea what that meant, but I knew if we had a pet what its name would be, and Mr Pants it was.

MrPantsDSCN0125 DSCN1255

We have had Mr Pants for over 5 years now. He has been a great cat. He is a 22 lb Maine Coon. He is sometimes referred to as Little Brudder, or Chubba Brudder. He doesn’t care as long as you don’t call him late for his food.

When we first brought him home, he was watching a bird, and jumped off the back of the couch, into the window. He smacked his head and fell to the floor. He would stare out the window for hours. There was a neighborhood outdoor cat that he would see, and cry and cry. It was then that we realized we would some day need to get Mr Pants a friend.

When Nicole was about 10, I was coming down the stairs to see Nicole with Mr Pants in her hands. Nicole then proceeds to toss him over her head to let him land in her bean bag chair. I have never seen his eyes so wide. Nicole looks at me and says, look he likes it. Don’t confuse fear with fun and don’t ever do that again I told Nicole.

Mr Pants is the kind of cat that will play with toys, but not if your watching. He likes to be close to you, but don’t bother him or he’ll move. He is always willing to befriend a cat out the window.

A Friend for Mr Pants, Me Too

MrPantsAndMeToo DSCN1020

Three years ago we decide to get a friend for Mr Pants. I want a Bengal, but Shannon is against getting a cat smart enough to do math. A friend had one, and it used to open doors, drawers, and turn lights on and off.

Time to go back to the humane society. This time we found a Manx, named Taylor. She is a cute little fireball. When we first got her Mr Pants was very excited. She was neurotic and a pain in the butt, and she hid under furniture 95% of the time. Initially we joked her name was Maybe, because she wasn’t getting along with Mr Pants, but was changed to Me Too when we noticed she followed me everywhere. She was surrendered from a household that had too many cats, so she tends to be a little territorial, and has space issues.

One of the first days we had her, I woke up one morning to find the stick feather string thing in the bedroom. I asked Shannon why she had brought that up from downstairs, and she mentioned she hadn’t. A couple of days later, I noticed Me Too running around the house with the feather in her mouth with the stick trailing after her.

Me Too is a goofy little cat. She doesn’t meow, she chirps and warbles. She loves to bird watch and is a great jumper. Her hind legs are powerfully built like a rabbit. We have found her on top of the refrigerator. She loves to take skitter toys in the master bathtub, which is a big soaker tub, and use it as her personal skitter rink. She tends to be pretty vocal as she plays with her toys.

MeToo1DSCN1281 DSCN1266

Me Too now sleeps on my chest. She is on the skittish side, but in the last year she actually comes out when we have company. She is a sweet little cat, and will sit on Shannon or Nicole’s lap. Me Too has her own set of stories, but the post is getting a bit long.
At this point I can’t imagine not having a cat. They have been great additions to the family, and are a constant source of amusement.

Thanks to Snoskred for the opportunity to get out of my technical niche, and try a different bit of writing.

Thomas, this was a most incredible piece of writing – the best I have seen for a long time. I hate to tell you but I must be suffering from allergies too because I suffered that same side effect at almost exactly the same moment. Did anyone reading this find the same happened to them?

Many of us humans have had pets that have touched our lives in ways we could not possibly have imagined. I don’t know why but in Australia some men feel like it’s not “manly” to have a relationship with a cat. They are missing out on something special.

Thomas can be found at Thomas – Technical Blogger where he says – I don’t normally write sensitive cat pieces, more often I write “manly” technical content – and the manly content is also excellent and worth reading.

I love that picture of Little hiding. Mr Pants looks so relaxed and happy. Me Too looks like a real character. To me a house is not a home unless there is at least one cat. Two is even better!

Get Out Of Your Niche, kitties

Liv – Out Of Her Niche

Liv is the second blogger to take part in the Jump Out Of Your Niche series – if you are a blogger you can take part, instructions are here.

I live in a medium sized town smack in the middle of the deep South state of Georgia. It wasn’t always this way. I was born and raised in a shabby suburb of Atlanta, and then moved to a posh suburb following my marriage.

I lived a life that I was well equipped to by virtue of my Grandmother’s excellent training in etiquette and elocution. As a young, married woman I went to countless important occasions with important people where I was expected to be a darling Twinkie of a bride. And how. I wore mad hats and dresses, changed clothes at a moment’s notice to attend fancy dinners, and even have been known to sing on command for my erstwhile husband’s uber-powerful boss who loved the country standards of Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline.

You can imagine that I was getting pretty used to this life when not too long after I deplaned from a celebratory jaunt to the Bahamas in 2000, it was announced that we were making for the country.

I was none too happy because I had recently jumped through a million hoops to get my dream job with a Fortune 500 company, and was making more money than I ever imagined I might. My spouse moved down south while I tied up loose ends at our apartment and with my job. I was assured that I would get a transfer to the local branch of my company in the smaller town, and with that, I wrapped up payroll for 450 people and packed my bags.

When I moved to the rental house I was greeted by a rather tasteless letter in the post that indicated I would not indeed be getting the job transfer, and I was thus unemployed. I instantly became enraged. With my own two hands and a stray knife that I found lying around, I pulled up every shred of carpet in the house and hauled it out to the street. I refinished the floors, retiled a bathroom, raked leaves, whacked down bushes, planted flowers, resurrected the lawn, and was horribly depressed. Productive, but depressed. I was home all day by myself in a town where I had no friends, and I was also in no condition to go find any. I could not find a job. I don’t even know if I wanted to find a job.

I finally found a job in late August of 2001 working with the Red Cross in public relations. I had training for 3 weeks, and then hit the road to a very small town in one of my nine county area. I gave the first of two presentations on the necessity of giving blood, and was on a break when a television was turned on. It was 9:15 on September 11th and the World Trade Center Towers were burning. There was no cellular service in the remote area, and I could not get in touch with the home office.

I’ll never forget the drive back to town. The leaves were beginning to turn colors, and I just vividly remember thinking that if I didn’t know what tragedy had befallen our country it would be impossible to even dream of given the beauty of that day.

Following 9/11, the Red Cross was a very bad place to be. Countless public relations disasters rocked the organization, and the working environment was hellish. We worked virtually around the clock for days before finding out that there was very little demand for the massive quantities of blood we collected because there were so few survivors. It was devastating. Add to this that I wanted to start a family, but with 4-5 anxiety attacks each day chased back with Xan*x, it would never happen. I made a choice to leave and go back to school.

I did go back to university, and I did get pregnant, and in September of 2002 I gave birth to a son. What is all of this really about? I think it’s about the journey to happiness. I didn’t think that I could ever be happy outside of my life in Atlanta. In some ways, I think I created many obstacles to living a joyful life. I sulked, and pouted, and created a lot of hell for myself.

The biggest lesson I have learned from this period (2000-2002) is that we have divine potential to manifest whatever we want in this life. If we want a pathetic existence, it is easy to come by. If we choose to wake up one morning, and demand radiance it’s out there for the taking. I feel fortunate to be awake these days—to be able to accept what comes with curiosity rather than contempt.

For now, I have chosen to stay in this small town. I have many wonderful friends, a business to run, and overall, a good life. Who knows where I’ll land ultimately, but right now, this good is good.

Liv is 30 with two kids and owns a yoga studio. Liv says “My career intention through yoga is to illuminate the innate strengths of mind, body, and spirit in others.” Liv certainly has found those things within herself, as this post clearly shows.

The Jump Out Of Your Niche series is now booked up until the end of October – don’t let it stop you though! I am still looking for bloggers to take part.

Get Out Of Your Niche

Facibus from On Blogging Australia – Out Of His Niche!

Country life is a wonderful thing. The following post from Andrew Boyd – known as Facibus on the net – stunned me with the similarity to the place I have moved to. It shouldn’t be so surprising because Robertson is only a half hour drive from where I now live. I have been there many times when we’ve had a day out driving.

In 2003 I moved to Robertson in the Southern Highlands of NSW to live with my then-fiance. At the time it was a sleepy village of 1,000 souls, mostly harmless. After living in the dry areas around Canberra the lush green grass and remnant temperate rainforest plants made it seem like the garden of Eden – that and being in love.

I found the locals fairly evenly divided between newcomers and those who had grown up in the area. The “weekenders” or “yuppies” as they were known locally were usually refugees of the urban hell of Sydney – much beloved of the real estate agents and members of the Robertson Business Association (in itself, sometimes known as The Mafia).

A village also fairly evenly divided in their future vision of the place – some saw Robertson as the new Berrima (as opposed to New Berrima itself, a fairly working-class hamlet between Moss Vale and Berrima much noted for it’s roving dog population and dead car bodies). The Mafia saw a thriving quaint tourist trap, swarming with well-heeled Sydneysiders ever-ready with their wallets. A lot of other people just wanted the tourists to f*ck off and leave them alone – they had come to Robertson to get away from that kind of thing, or had grown up in a place that they wanted to never change. For myself, I was happy if I could park my car in the main street on the weekend to go and buy milk, and good luck to those that made their living off passing fools.

A note here on the Famous Robertson Pie Shop – the locals knew (and still do, so far as I know) that the best pies are down in the village itself, in the bakery – and to say “I know Robertson, I’ve been to the Pie Shop” is equivalent to saying “I am a proud member of the Young Liberals” to those in the know. I’ve eaten at the Pie Shop myself, some days they had nice chips – but the pies were nothing to brag about, and not a patch on those at the Gunnadoo Bakery in Bungendore. But I digress.

When I first moved to Robertson, like all good small country towns, there was a Chinese restaurant in the Bowling Club. Albert’s was run by, well, Albert. A great bloke who had been there for years and made the best Lemon Chicken I’d had in my life. He was part of the villiage, part of the charm. I literally wept when some short-sighted people ran Albert out of town by refusing to renew his lease. Bastards.

The only other restaurants in town at the time were:
– Chats, a burger and chips sort of place (excellent chips) at the motel
– The coffee place at the Old Cheese Factory
– The bistro at the pub
– Last but not least, Pizzas in the Mist – God bless them, excellent wood-fired pizza and fairly adventurous (their Peking Duck Pizza was my favourite, and I can still smell it as I write this years later).

We later got another three cafes, Albert’s became the Bowlo Bistro, the Old River Grillhouse opened (and while the service was surly, the steaks were excellent), and the pub food got better quickly with a change in management.

I mentioned that Chats was at the motel. In a village of 1,000 people, there were lots of “Thes” – The Traffic Light, The Cemetary, The Oval, The footpath, The Pub, The motel, The Hardware (store), The Supermarket. The only things that came in multiples were real estate agencies and antique shops.

The people were generally great – except for the aforementioned bastards, they know who they were. Behind the scenes there was a fair bit of quiet desperation going on – jobs not easy to get unless you brought work with you, and money was tight for a lot of people. Lots of gossip about – we won’t go there today. Some great characters, and you just knew that every time the police were called to the hotel that it was out-of-towners that were to blame.

The relationship with my then-fiance broke down last year – and my relationship with Robertson changed with it. We’ve since sold the house there and divided the proceedings, each going their separate way. I miss the mist and the call of the bower bird, the constant year-round green-ness, the friends I made there, the slow pace of life. I miss some of the people – if you’re passing through, and stop at the petrol station (not the tractor shop), remember me to Steve, and to the supermarket, to Neil and Heather, and to the Community Technology Centre, to Melissa.

My life has since moved on – I’m back consulting based out of Canberra again, and while I enjoy it, I sometimes long for the view from the Cemetary, the chips from Chats, the pies from the bakery, and the smell of the pizza oven starting up in the afternoons. I went back there with my new lady earlier this year to show her what I missed about the place, and the people who were worth talking to were still worth talking to and were nice to her. Them I miss.

Facibus is the nom-de-net of Andrew Boyd, consultant Information Architect and food-fan. Facibus means “we make” in Latin, and is one half of an obscure motto. You can find him at several blogs in the blog-o-sphere, including On Blogging Australia. Thank you for writing this wonderful post, I appreciate it!

I have not yet been to the Robertson Pie Shop and after reading that am somewhat glad. ;) The slow pace of life is exactly what I am appreciating here in our new village. People say hello. On the surface it seems nice but I am sure beneath it there lurks a few bastards. I am yet to get involved in the community but once we’re all settled in there will be no stopping me. ;)

Australia, country life, Get Out Of Your Niche

Niche Bloggers Invited – Get Out Of Your Niche – Get Into Mine..

I am inviting any blogger reading this to jump out of their “niche” and make a guest post here on Life In The Country. If you would be interested in participating I would love to hear from you, see below for how to get in touch. I’m going to be asking several of my favourite bloggers and the order they reply in is the order they will be posted – this is your chance to jump in line ahead of them.

Say What?

For those of you reading this thinking “what is a niche blogger?” – that probably means you’re not a niche blogger. ;) Basically it is a blogger who focuses on one topic or one subject or perhaps a group of related topics or subjects for their blogging.

Get Out Of Your Niche –

My blog is called Life In The Country – so you could speak about life in your country. My niche is me, so you could speak about anything relating to yourself. :) Photo blogs are welcome, you can have more pictures than words if you like. You could even blog as your pet, I did that once and it was a lot of fun.

Keep It Clean –

Anything and everything is welcome, with a couple of small exceptions like swear words and material which is disturbing or graphic or overly sexual. ;) That is because my readers expect that from my blog.

Why Would I Want To Guest Post On Snoskred’s Blog?

Life In The Country is currently sitting at number 34 in the Top 100 Australian Blogs. This blog is estimated to have a page rank of 5 at the next page rank update – if Google ever get around to it. On average the blog sees between 2-5,000 unique visitors a week. This is your chance to speak to an audience which might not find your blog otherwise.

How Do I Do It?

Simply send me an email – Click Here To Email Snoskred – and let me know you’d like to get out of your niche. I’ll reply with a date on which your guest post will be published, and then it is up to you to write something. You can supply it as a simple text file and let me know if there is any formatting you want. Photos you want published in the post can be attached as .jpg images.

I’m Not A Niche Blogger –

You’re still very welcome to submit a guest post about life in your country or any other topic if you would like to participate.

I Want To Nominate A Niche Blogger –

Absolutely! Just send me an email with the name of the blogger you want to nominate, a link to their blog, and I’ll get in touch and let them know someone nominated them.

When Does It Start?

Today! I’ll be back in the next hour with the first brave soul jumping out of their niche. ;)

blog housekeeping, Get Out Of Your Niche

Pearl Drops By With A Question..

Today Pearl from Interesting Observations is guest posting here at the blog. I was lucky enough to meet Pearl via the US Blogs Community, I love her blog, and she was also one of the first people I thought of when I considered asking for guest posters.

I am supposedly on a vacation this week! Just before the Labor day on September 3rd, which falls on a Monday this year, taking a week off means it essentially saves me some time and make up a nice ten day vacation. In the few days before leading up to this much sought after time I switched into sort of a crunch mode and did what I normally do in a week. I was able to finish most of the lose ends to all the projects I was working on and even cleaned up the desk of extra papers, tidied up the place and re-arranged pictures and what not. Prepared my to-do list for the week I go back to work. Updated the boss on all of the projects.

Yesterday (Tuesday) meaning the 2nd official vacation day, my boss calls me on my cell phone! I see his name on the screen and froze up! My heart started sinking for a few seconds. No I don’t hate my boss. As a matter of fact, I’ve got the best boss you could ask for. When I am there, he hardly ever comes over to my little cube and bother. But its only when I am NOT there that he panics! Why is that? I was in a fix for a few seconds if I should or should not answer the phone!

I decided I couldn’t answer his call and let it to voice mail. At the time he called I was about to order my lunch – was with a few friends at a diner on the shore – good hour and a half away from home. Only listened to the message after my lunch. Turns out he was panicking because of some adverse impact in employment inquiry from the feds. I could feel the tension in his voice but I was not going to cut my vacation short and go into office to help him out, even if I was closer to the office. I returned his call after lunch and although he apologized for disturbing me on vacation, he started asking other questions relating to a project I had worked on. It is a difficult situation for me, I hate to receive phone calls of this nature while I am on vacation, but at the same time I do not want to be rude and unreachable because after all its just a matter of two weeks and after the vacation, we will have to spend most of my days at the job!

So what would you do if you were in a similar situation? I can’t think of anything other than what I did although there is that uncomfortable feeling about all of this, not just that he called, also that if I was there, he wouldn’t be so tense about it. But as I was rationalising, I would do everything possible to not have to call him while he is on vacation. Although he leaves his cell phone, hotel phone numbers with the entire team when he is away!

And how about if you are a boss, would you call up your employee on vacation? Under what circumstance you absolutely would call up your employee?
And if not, why not?

Thanks Pearl for allowing me to post this, and thanks for taking the time to write it. Me personally, I would never interrupt an employee’s holiday unless it was a matter of extreme urgency. However my Dad is the employer and he genuinely wants his employees to call him when he’s away if there are any issues – he has trouble getting them to do this.

What do the rest of my readers think? What would you do in a situation like that?

I’ll be back tomorrow with an update on all things Snoskred. How’s the move going? Has Snoskred managed to stay organised in the midst of chaos? Is her desktop cluttered with icons again? How did the back light tower of the Ute (pick up truck for ye Americans) get broken? Has Snoskred managed to go for a beack walk yet? All these questions and possibly more will be answered in tomorrow’s post. ;)

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A Different Kind Of Life In The Country.

River is a regular commentor here on the blog but does not have a blog of her own. When I knew I’d be moving I sat down and thought – who would I like to guest post on the blog? River was one of the first people I thought of. :) Please take a moment to show River some comment love – she shows us plenty on a regular basis but we usually can’t return it so now is your chance!

My first husband was in the Army. Between 1972 and 1986 we moved house 6 times. You’d think it would be hard, but no, the Army made it all sooo easy. K. would come home and announce he had been posted to a new area. The very next day he would go off to work and I would start cleaning walls and doors.

A few days later the inventory pages would arrive. That’s right- pages, plural. 11 of them. EVERY SINGLE THING WE OWNED had to be listed along with the condition and approximate value. This is where I discovered that we owned 2 dozen unused wine glasses and 500 books. Furniture items had to be closely examined and every nick , dent and stain written in the available space. Then there were the personal items, clothes, toys etc. Here we had to estimate how many boxes we would need to pack all these into. So I went merrily about the house, spending about ½ a day per room, listing everything.

At the end I thought I had done a pretty good job and walked around patting myself on the back. Until K. pointed out that several of the items listed to go in the truck were items that we needed to take with us in the car. The pram, the highchair, the 4 dozen nappies. I crossed them off the inventory. The pages were submitted and a moving date was set.

The day before the move the packers arrived. Yes, packers. 4 hefty looking women who packed up Army families for a living. I watched, astounded, as they packed up my entire house in mountains of paper and stuffed everything into large sturdy cardboard cartons, in LESS than ½ a day!!. I didn’t have to do a thing except make cups of tea for them.

We spent the night in a cheap motel, paid for by the Army. This was part of the moving process. A cost was estimated on number of family members, to be used for motel accomodation and meals also an allowance for petrol. Early next morning the truck arrived, loaded up and vanished. We drove to Sydney from Brisbane. Although, since I never learnt to drive it was up to K. to get us there safely.

We arrived in Sydney 2 days later and spent a week in a motel. K. went off to work every morning and I was left alone in a city I didn’t know, with 2 babies, minimal clothes and toys and hour of daylight to get through. We managed to have fun anyway although I can’t remember now what we did.

Then we learned a house in the suburbs had been assigned to us, all the way out in Glenfield, past Liverpool. K. was working at the Watson’s Bay base. Hours and hours of travelling for him, leaving at the crack of dawn and getting home in time to kiss the babies goodnight. So we settled in. another baby came along and No.1 child started school.

Then K. came home one day and announced he had accepted a posting to a new area. And the whole process was begun again. Only this time the inventory list was easier. I’d kept a copy of the previous one and only had to transfer stuff we still had, add new things acquired, and omit stuff we had gotten rid of. Simple, really.

The process was repeated several times in the next few years as we moved from Sydney to Melbourne, back to Sydney, back again to Melbourne etc. Eventually we settled in Adelaide where K’s military career came to an end. After so many years in such a structured lifestyle, “free” life was so much different and many adjustments needed to be made.

Looking back on those years now, I’m surprised at how well the children handled it. Every couple of years they were uprooted, leaving friends, changing schools, making new friends, and they did it all (mostly) cheerfully, with few complaints and in later moves even packing and unpacking their own personal items alongside the professional packers. They thought it was fun to live in a motel for a week or so at a time while waiting for a house to be assigned.

They watched a lot of tv it’s true, but they also saw a lot of different areas and made many friends, some of whom my oldest keeps in touch with even now. I’m still in Adelaide now, the chidren are grown and gone from home, K. and I divorced years ago. All in all, it was a happy life, that’s just the way things were, getting on with it seemed the best thing to do. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Thanks for allowing me to post this, River. I am very grateful you agreed to guest post because I wanted to know more about you and I know I’m not the only one. ;) What a wonderful guest post showing a different kind of life in this broad brown land we call Australia.

I’ll be back tomorrow with an update on the state of the packing which is going very well, even though I don’t have the burly army ladies to help! Of course on Sunday there’s the weekly wrap up.

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When A Dream Comes True.. Don’t Give Up.. You Can Have One Too

Dorothy from Grammology has only been blogging for a mere 8 months but you would never believe it from looking at her site. She had contacted me via email on a day I’d received about 100 emails and been completely overwhelmed by it.

About a week later she sent me a follow up email and that was a much slower email day, so I took the time to check out her site and loved what I saw. I immediately replied asking her to guest post for me and within a short time Dorothy sent me back a fully written article – here it is!

In January of 2007 I started our blog Grammology..

Within a few months I began reading different blogs and posting comments to get traffic and links for my site. There was so much to learn as I had never been exposed to blogs before this. All I knew was I had a dream, to share information with parents and children regarding my life as a mother, grandmother, wife, and friend. I was 60 years old at the time (just turned 61 in July) and felt I didn’t have much time left, if I was ever going to do this. While I was commenting, I was also learning. My inexperience and lack of formal education never stopped me. Maybe it should have, however, it didn’t.

Over the last few years I had asked several friends and family if they wanted to venture with me to get this project going. No one was interested. Back to the dream come true…. Finally I met Linda, a friend in my industry … She liked what she heard, and we began discussing how to launch my idea for grandma’s in today’s life.

Within a few months Linda’s son who was a full time college student suggested blogging as way to get our message out. Miles is solely responsible for the success of our blog and its layout. . Meanwhile, he was trying to be a 21 year old college student, with a life; instead he placed much of it on hold to help his mother and I get started. The site is a work in progress and hats off to him for his patience with two green ladies regarding the internet. In other words, if we can do it…so can you…

Liz who works for Linda’s as an illustrator, came up with the icon of me…I hate to admit this, but I like it… I had been looking at coffee pots, cups etc. Her idea seems to be much better than mine.


In the beginning I made a lot of mistakes, never understood how comments and blogs should be bookmarked or saved. Wasn’t always able to return to a site I’d previously visited. I recommend to keep trying, each time you’re on the web, you get better. My dream is happening, I’m writing and sharing and people are commenting. It’s rewarding, exciting and fun. There’s no one to tell me what to write. I try to think of subjects, I’ve experienced and share the good, bad and the ugly. Everyone and anyone can do it… That’s what’s so good about the web.

Back to the dream come true. When I found the site, Life in the country, I liked what I read, and knew it would be a favorite and I’d needed to visit more before I would see everything. As you read blogs you become amazed at the information given. All you need to be is willing to learn. And oddly enough she had a post on writing better…. (Hope I’m following her rules. Or at least improving) I read it and I know it has improved my writing. I always try to learn something and do better.

So, I sent an email to Snoskred and told her how enjoyable I thought her blog was. And here is my second and unexpected dream come true……. She checked out my blog, sent me an email, which was a miracle. And asked me if I was interested in guest posting on her site? Is she kidding, this is the biggest thing that’s happened to me since I started blogging. Of course I do…

Now the pressure is immense. Will I make the grade? Is admitting to the world of bloggers another dream came true important to anyone else? And would my subject be interesting? Now I know what is must feel like to speak to a large audience. Better have Imodium… I’ll do it and then I’ll pray…you like it?

The question, do you care about other people’s dreams? And what are yours? I’m a testimony you’re never too old, never too inexperienced. Just do it. There’s nothing worse than an unopened gift. And who knows you may be that gift. And if where’re lucky… you’ll take a chance do it, and find a Snoskred and your dream will come true.

So here we are, and you’re reading about another one of my dreams coming true. I hope you enjoyed my sharing and will tell us about some of your dreams and if you are still waiting or they’ve come true.

I believe that if you have a dream you can reach out for it. My recent dream was to move to a new place in our dream location. It took a long time and was a heartbreaking journey to get there but I never gave up. After each stretch of reaching for the dream and missing it by mere centimetres I just became more determined to grasp it. And here I am moving.

Each of us have unlimited potential but often we tell ourselves “Don’t dream, it won’t happen, you’ll only get hurt, why try?” If you don’t try you’ll never know. I already have a new dream which I’ll be keeping you up to date about in the following months.

I have learnt a lot about myself over the past year and now I know I can do anything I set my mind to – it’s just a matter of giving it everything I have to get there.

Dorothy, thank you so much for writing this guest post! If you have not seen Grammology yet please drop by and take a look. I love the icon, it is gorgeous. I love the blog template you’re using there, too! ;)

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