Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #600 - Focus Knob and blog recap

https://xkcd.com/1796/
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #600 - Focus Knob and blog recap

Hi Mom,

This comic resonated with me as I have trouble with focus. Permanent link to this comic: https://xkcd.com/1796/

I need this focus knob.

I am eating some dark chocolate as I write this and thinking of you, Mom. You love dark chocolate. Present tense intentional.

Like right now, I am supposed to be working. I have work, I have homework, I have chores. I am tired. I am battling some virus. It wants to lay me out, but I won't let it.

I decided a week or so ago that it was time for a blog recap, but I saved it for entry #600 as this seemed fitting. I didn't do much for the 500th entry. I did acknowledge it:


http://sensedoubt.blogspot.com/2016/11/hey-mom-talking-to-my-mother-500-number.html

This picture above was the header of entry #500.

600 entries (602 days since your death, Mom) seems no more significant than 500. But one thing that is true is that I am generating more blog work than I had originally conceived, and it feels good. It's not always purely original, but it's often seen by many people, not just you, Mom, as I will show in the following stats reports.



I have written several blog recaps and so I have now created a blog recap category. Here's a couple of the recaps and some of the key text.

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #177 - Year end review and best blogs

This one contains what I felt were the top 20 posts at the end of 2015. I may do another top 20 now that I have logged 600 entries. Click the link if you want to see the list. It's a good list. But here's the content that I think it's worth . reading or re-reading.

Today, I create and publish the 177th blog entry in this series, inspired by wishing to continue my conversations with you. 177 is just five posts shy of the halfway mark for the year. And, like with the T-shirts project, I do plan to stop at 365 posts, which will come not on the day you died a year later but on the second day following the day you died in this coming 2016.

At this time, I felt it would be a good idea to reflect on this avocation, to share some statistics of readership, and to choose the twenty best entries of the year thus far. I tried to restrict myself to top ten and could not.

Like with T-shirts, that came from my struggle to understand having cancer and coping with recovery from having cancer, this blog series originates with your death, Mom, but becomes more than a journal about grieving; it has become a journal about living. My intent is that by writing about the things I want to write about, I will show that I have moved on, or at least how I am trying to move on.

So far, it has been easier than I thought it would be. Liesel, especially, thought I would be completely broken by your death, despite my assurances that I was more prepared than she believed given all that we had been through with you, Mom, in the last fifteen years, but especially the original situation, the bacterial meningitis that changed all of our lives forever.

But by saying that the moving on, the continuing, the living has been "easier" than I thought it would be, this does not imply that it has been easy. I feel the loss of you every day, Mom. I find new ways to cope with that loss every day. My choices are not the choices that others would make, but this difference does not make my choices wrong. They are my choices. This is my grief.

And yet, this is also my life. As I noted, I did not want this blog to be a daily cant on how much I miss you and how I am struggling to move on with life that does not include you in it as a living person (because I do feel you strongly in my daily life as a spiritual entity). I could simply post 365 variations on the theme of "I miss you," but that's not what I am trying to do. The blog theme comes from the idea of continuing my daily conversations with you as I called you nearly every day over the last six years. And I think I have done very well with a variety of content. Yes, some of it is specifically about grief, some of it consists of memories of our life together, but some of it really has nothing to do with you at all, Mom, it's just something I want to write about, such as yesterday's book reviews and Tuesday's review of book one of the Dark Knight III - The Master Race comic book. I have spent a great deal of time and energy on keeping my content varied and not only of interest to you, Mom (more or less). but also to others who graciously share some of their time by peeking in on what I am doing with mine (my time, that is).

I have 188 of these entries left to write, and I am confident that I can keep up my standards and achieve some new things. Not all of the entries will be verbose or complex, many will be short comments on a picture, my continuing reports on our Scotland trip (Liesel's and mine), or reprinted content from my T-shirt series (which is the greatest cheat but in a way one of my chief joys), but I will continue to post content daily (except when I get behind) and think of you daily, Mom, whether I am writing about something that would interest you or something that interests me and you have to listen politely.






Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #236 - Hey Mom, a blog recap

Some may perceive that what I am doing is holding on, that I am not letting go because I keep writing "Hey Mom" entries to you, Mom, making a public display of my grief over losing you, and my grief over losing David Bowie as I feature Daily Bowie entries with same frequency as daily messages to you. (BTW, I have no idea how many Daily Bowie entries I plan to do. So far, no end in sight is planned.)

But this activity of writing to you is not about how I cannot let go. It's actually putting on display the process of letting go. Am I going to write Hey Mom posts for the rest of my life? No. I have pledged to do 365 of them, a year, and then I am going to stop. This does not mean that I will never again write about you. I am going to think about you every day, feel this loss every day, for the rest of my life. But I decided to do a year of continuing our conversations. After a year, I will stop the public display of those conversations, but the conversations themselves--and especially the private stuff that I am too shy to share on this blog--will continue as well.

I fall behind frequently. I gave up the dedication to making sure I actually post something every day because with my schedule that is very difficult if not impossible, at least in terms of completion. I could post unfinished place holders every day, but that's not very interesting. And since Blogger allows me to post backwards in time, I can fall behind, catch up a week's worth over a couple of days, and still look like I have posted every day. This last week, I sacrificed variety a bit for catching up,  and basically detailed my days narrated to pictures from my family archive. I am okay with those choices as the detail of my daily life is much like what I shared with you on the phone, Mom. But I do prefer more variety of subject matter.

And so variety. My life is rumble strip of pounding, hammering, work-mandated (or work-addicted?) mania, in which I have too much to do in too little time. I could spend every day whining about my work-work (jobs), my school work, my grades, the laundry, the chickens, the puppy, and never come up for air and breathe in a better and more interesting range of content. And so, I try to write about as wide a variety of things as I am able to do. I am sure I could go wider, but the topics are still filtered through what interests me at a given time, and though I am interested in everything, I am not always interested in writing about everything. But I want some diversity here because otherwise I might just write about computers, comic books, and Baseball. So I try to stretch myself. I try to learn new things. I try to focus on things that I care about. I strive to generate good content, to share well, to make connections, and to provide whatever insubstantial insight my time and energy allows.

And yet, I may be seen as circling the same subject all the time. I could write about how I miss you, Mom, every day. I could write about loss and grief every day. I do keep returning to those topics. I make mention of missing you frequently. I keep banging around the same subject matter because I expect to shake loose an essential truth. I feel like there's something I am missing in this experience. Something I have not understood needs to be unearthed, brought out of the dark, and targeted with bright, well-focused light. I do not know what this thing, this truth, this revelation is, but I keep yammering away and masticating it down to the nub in an attempt to find it, assuming this all makes sense to anyone but me, and, well, you, Mom, because you are so near to me all the time, now.

So that's the recap as it is. What's the essential truth for which I am searching? I have no idea.

Here's to another 129 days remaining in this blog year as I continue to search.



Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #350 - A year ago, it began

There's an emptiness that I cannot define. And I guess, it's this emptiness that is also complex. The emptiness is caused by many things or exists for many reasons. I plumb this depth often, trying to find its shape, its meaning, its origin.

I have learned in this year to examine closely the rational-emotional split inside me. Rationally, intellectually, consciously, I knew you would not live forever, Mom. I knew we were on borrowed time since 2000 when you got the meningitis. I felt that I was prepared. We had so many close calls. So many bedside vigils. But emotionally, I was not ready; I was not prepared. And there's a place in me that has all this emotion for you, Mom, that is empty because it is never refilled with experience with you, at least not physically in person in corporeal form.

It's the adjustment of my emotions that is still in progress and maybe it always will be. Judging by the experiences of others who have lost a parent, or a mother, I can see that the grief goes on and on and on. I know from your own experience of losing your mother that you grappled with that grief for the rest of your life. I expect to do the same.

And so I mark these dates. I reflect. I connect. I strive. I have moved on. I am not trying to hold on to you, Mom. I am celebrating my life as lived now, in the moment, and I cherish the love we had and the loves I have now. And though my life is wonderful, there is something missing, and something I do not want to be missing, you.



I think this is one of my best blog entries about writing this blog:

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #88 - 90 days and 88 blog entries

This is the core content but click the link to see the full entry:

And so, two days after you died, Mom, it struck me that another blog project was just what I needed to deal with my grief. It hit me that day (a Monday) that I would not be able to call you on the phone and talk to you any more, so I decided to make a blog that would continue those conversations. I already had this Sense of Doubt blog in operation, so I just started to feature "Hey, Mom" here.

This blog is more than a way for me to work on grief. This blog serves as a vehicle to allow me to exercise my writing muscles on a daily basis. Some days I days generate more content than others, like today, but the goal is to talk to you, Mom, and by extension to give me a platform to really write about whatever I want.

Like with the T-shirts blog, the daily writing discipline helps me make sense of my life and to like my life rather than to hate it; and so even when work and anxiety and stress try to suck me down the storm drain of life, I have this blog to look forward to doing and it helps me keep going from one day to the next. I made a promise to you, Mom, and thus by extension to myself that I would devote myself to daily posts for another year, like with T-shirts. So far, so good, though there are a few posts on here (there are on t-shirts, too) that I consider unfinished.

It's sort of a misconception that this blog will be a daily reflection on grief in general or even my grief in particular. Surely, the sense of loss pervades the blog as I have a sign off every day about how I love you, Mom, and I want someone to give you a kiss, which is the exact way I used to end every phone call to you (or a goodbye when I saw you in person and could kiss you myself).

The grief is here and all around me, but the blog is meant to be about my life. Really, it's about me. My subject matter concerns the things with which I am concerned. Along the way, I will write about you, Mom. I will draw on memories. I will reflect on my feelings and share about grieving. But in the final analysis, I am doing this blog for me, about me, about life, and in that sense, it's a celebration. Because, after all, I am still here, living, loving, crying, and dancing for joy. I am not miserable. I am not sad all the time. I eat sushi and drink cocktails. I play music and sing loudly as I dance around the house. I ride my bike, take the puppy for walks, and play Ultimate. Life is happening. It's hard, sometimes, but I grab it by the horns and wrestle. I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world. I live.

If this blog is about me, or even my private conversations with you, Mom, then why share it? (ASIDE: And, yes, dear readers not my Mom, there are private things that I share with Mom that I do not put in writing here.) If it's just writing exercise, then why would anyone want to read it? I don't know. I do not expect readers. Though I mention readers from time to time, the only reader I really imagine is you, Mom, and you are not so much reading it after its publication, like other readers, as accompanying me as I write it. You are here with me. You are seated right next to me or on my shoulder or on my back. I FEEL YOU very strongly in all these locations at once.

So, again, if this is about me but for you, Mom, and you are here, then why share it with the world via social media? Well, gee, isn't that the whole purpose of social media? Isn't my daily blog post like a status update? Writing is meant to be read by other people. I have never been very big on doing writing that I am not planning to show other people at some point in the future, the exception being notes for a novel or piece of short fiction.

Writing is meant to be read, and so I share. I have had a great deal of positive feedback, which I have written about here on this blog on numerous occasions. In fact, I just wrote about the feedback subject nine days ago in Hey Mom #79, though my favorite post on feedback is Hey Mom #31 "forever and ever." The positive feedback I have received has encouraged me.

STATISTICS

Stats for blog page views are a funny thing because some of the numbers are driven by Internet bots. Since most of my human traffic comes from Facebook and Twitter, I can chart some of the traffic as actual humans, but it's difficult to wholly separate the bots from the humans even with Google Analytics.

When I last did this review of stats (see Hey Mom #177 link above), there were other entries as most popular all time including some more pre- Hey Mom stuff and some of my Weekly Comics posts. Those have been over taken by other posts since then, though the all time post is still the all time most viewed post: “Keeping Misogyny Alive and Well for Geeks Nationwide”.

As you can see, my musical posts tend to be popular each week, and I hit a local maximum on Valentine's Day with over 400 views and the Happy Horny post is still logging high numbers a week after the event.

I am happy to see the punch a Nazi post getting a lot of traffic. I am also happy to see my play reviews hitting high both currently and all time. The "Christmas Schooner" post has gone nuts!

I am also happy to see this post -- THINGS THAT SUCK #2: “Please PrePay in Advance” -- be an all time highly viewed post as I am particularly proud of it. I think it's one of the best things I have written in the last ten years.

I like that the Trump posts are getting plenty of hits, so expect more of those. Also, I am pleased that the post on the Eerie comic has been so popular because, though the core of it is re-publishing someone else's content, about half the content is mine, and I spent a lot of time on the cover gallery, which, if you look at my blog frequently, you know I love the comic book cover galleries.

I am not sure why my 500 days post has been so popular. It must be the bots.

Expect more of this kind of content as represented by my popular entries. I am encouraged.

TOP POSTS THIS WEEK

53 views - Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #594 - The Lady of the Dawn- Musical Monday for 1702.20

37 views - Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #588 - Happy Horny Werewolf Day

37 views - Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #572 - It's okay to punch a Nazi

36 views - Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #589 - The Outsiders, a play review, WAD 1702.11

36 views - Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #590 - Cubs Win Fall Classic: a masterpiece - ESPN

TOP POSTS THIS MONTH

I peaked at 420 views on Valentine's Day this month.

179 views - Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #572 - It's okay to punch a Nazi

150 views - Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #577 - DIPLOMACY & America You Look Like an Arab Country

142 views - Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #576 - How Eerie Changed Comics

133 views - Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #567 - Donald Trump Signs Anti-Abortion Executive Order Surrounded by Men

130 views - Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #566 - Musical Monday 1701.23

TOP POSTS ALL TIME

1020 views - “Keeping Misogyny Alive and Well for Geeks Nationwide”

636 views - THINGS THAT SUCK #2: “Please PrePay in Advance”

247 views - Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #516 - The Christmas Schooner Review - 2016 - WAD

241 views - Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #498 - Test Tomorrow & 500 Days

231 views - Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #519 - Big O Cheat Sheet

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Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 602 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1702.26 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.

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