Tag Archives: blogging

New Year’s Superstitions

Our family celebrated religious holidays like Easter and Christmas and Thanksgiving Day, the day of gratitude, with abundant meals—except for the year we picked cotton on Thanksgiving (see my blog post  https://violetsvibes.wordpress.com/2017/11/23/thanksgiving-memories). Even with this strong dedication to faith and family, my mother harbored a few superstitions. She made us turn around if a black cat crossed our path while walking. A broken mirror brought seven years of bad luck. Visitors had to exit our house through the same door they entered to keep life on an even keel.

New Year’s Day, the first holiday of the year, began as usual. Mama woke us early even though there was no school. Then she made a hearty breakfast of fried eggs from the backyard chickens and homemade biscuits with butter and jelly. Thick slices cut from a slab of bacon filled a small platter in prosperous times. All routine until the breakfast dishes were washed, dried, and put away. Then superstition blew in like a gust of chilling wind on a winter morning.

“Be careful what you do today because you’ll do the same thing all year,” Mama said. That sounded great to me. My father guffawed and went about his daily chores like any nonworking day.

I wanted to read—my favorite pastime—but Mama insisted we do something productive—to “ward off laziness,” she said. Then she set about finding ways to bring a year of prosperity to us. She cooked black eye peas with ham hock or bits of bacon—a southern tradition for good luck. We’d been eating that main dish accompanied by cornbread and home-churned butter as far back as I could remember. It hadn’t brought us any luck that I could see.

She cooked greens because superstition emphasized a healthy year by eating that food on the first day. Nothing new there either. She’d served cooked mustard greens, collards, or poke salad for more years than I’d seen. I hated greens. I only ate the small amounts required by my father who insisted we “eat what was set before us.”

Most evenings after supper, Mama swept the linoleum floors in the kitchen, then the pathway across the dining room to the back door. She propped the screen door open with one foot while she swept the wooden threshold and the steps. Not on New Year’s Day. After supper, she swept the kitchen floor and emptied the dustpan in the trash. She stopped there. I thought it was to minimize her workload. Only later did I realize that she might have been clinging to the superstition of not sweeping out good things with the bad on the first day of the year.

I don’t follow Mama’s New Year’s superstitions. Well, maybe one. I’ll leave the broom in the closet today so I don’t sweep out the good with the bad from 2017.






Filed under Holidays, Memoir

Penultimate Volunteer


Penultimate. A strange word that doesn’t fit a writer’s day-to-day activities. When I think of P-words, I begin with procrastination, shift to progress, and end with publish. Other P-words like paper, pen, and phrase leave a positive trail to paragraph, page, and print even if they eventually disappear like Hansel’s and Gretel’s breadcrumbs. Penultimate sounds like a harsh ultimatum when a dogmatic person says, “I laid down the law and they obeyed.” The true meaning of penultimate, an adjective, is the second to last issue of a publication.

blog-397826__180Don’t worry. That isn’t applicable to my blog. I’ve resigned from a volunteer position as newsletter editor for a nonprofit writing group where May will be my penultimate issue of that publication. I’m also stepping down from several other volunteer activities to get back to writing. Until July, I hope you’ll enjoy my brief vibes, updated blog reposts, and short, short stories.


The Thief

Thief-PixabayHe visits me every day, this unwelcome guest. He slips in unnoticed after I brew morning coffee. He peeks over my shoulder as I immerse myself in the news. (Got to keep up with current events, right?) Sometimes he appears midday while I pay bills online. He loiters in afternoons when I settle in my recliner to read a current mystery (have to keep up with the latest crime fiction trends).

Take the day he accompanied me to several stops on the way home from the dentist eleven miles away (one trip to conserve fuel). I returned home hours later, all energy expended. I microwaved leftovers for dinner to hurry on to more important things (like writing a blog post).  Phone-Computer-Pixabay

First, I checked my phone and email and responded to a dozen messages followed by a chat with a friend (required business and social networking). I critiqued a short story for another writer (reciprocation).

Green Tea CupA tea break (soothing change of pace), then I searched though a stack of get well cards for the right messages to fit a couple of sick friends (have to mail tomorrow before they get better).

My head nodded and my eyes closed. I scratched through the date next to Post Blog, the first item on my Wednesday to-do list, and wrote Thursday.

Procrastination, disguised as productive activity, had stolen my day.



Filed under Blogging, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing

Grammar Goofs

I’ve edited grammar in hundreds of short stories and novels. Even now, I still cringe when I see your misused for you’re and it’s for its possessives. Then for than and myself for me stop me cold.

I could create a blog about these and a dozen other grammar goofs, but why reinvent the wheel? This adept post, “15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly” by Copy Blogger is already out there. Read these and tell me where you are in your blogging grammar climb.

12-15 = Top Blogger
6-10 = Still climbing but more than halfway
5 or less = Save this blog for reference

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly

Courtesy/permission of Copy Blogger http://www.copyblogger.com


Filed under Blogging, Writing

The OGs are against me

WordsNo, I don’t mean odds. “The odds are against me” would be a cliché, not an acceptable title for a modern blogger. See, there it is again—the OG in blogger—a person who writes a blog. That would be me as I hurl this post into the blogosphere (another OG)–the place where blogs reside. 

Add a single letter to the beginning of OG and bog, cog, dog, fog, hog, jog, log, and tog appear. Add a second letter in random sequence to form blog, clog, smog, and vlog. Vlog? Yes, vlog. This twenty-first century word describes a blog that features videos, not words. When a vlogger posts a series of videos, they escape the blogosphere of journal reflections and soar into the vlogosphere of motion images.

These new online OGs are enough to make George Herpin, the nineteenth-century stamp collector who introduced the word philately, turn over in his grave (cliché intended). The phrase “Original Gum” (abbreviated OG), the test for authenticity of collectible postage stamps to assess for mint condition values, marches to a new cadence.

Will blogs become the next collectibles? As long as the French and Greek combo phil + atéleia (freedom from charges to the recipients) endures, I’ll take that chance and embed my footprints in the blogosphere.  


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Violet and the Dreamliner

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Courtesy of Wikipedia

WordPress tracked my blog progress, stalking my every move—and yours—in 2012. Here’s what WordPress says about my blog.

“The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.”

I have news for WordPress. The Dreamliner is grounded today and I’m still blogging. OMG! That gives me the edge to accelerate my stats from weekly to daily, like 787 flights, but I’ll give you a break and stick to my routine.  I haven’t seen Dreamliner passenger origin stats, but I hope I’m in the leader with passengers (viewers)  from 59 countries.

What’s in my future? Staying home to write. No travel on the 787.

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Filed under Blogging, Writing

Reblogging or plagiarism?

When I, a nontraditional student, received a scholarship to study writing late this summer, all classes on that topic were filled. I enrolled in an intense three-session library class. Fast paced from beginning to end, I learned how to cite references to be used in essays and reports. The final week, I passed a plagiarism test and received a printed certificate.

What? I can’t read something, then write about the same thing? In the strict sense of plagiarism, that’s true. Then what about reblogs? The second blogger copies every word but gives credit to the original blogger. So what’s wrong with that?

Reblogging embraces plagiarism unless the second blogger requests and receives permission from the original blogger in advance of the posts. Even then, the reblogger should preface the post with that declaration.

So, what if you want to reblog an interesting post? Ask permission. Reblog after you receive written or emailed confirmation. Mention that at the beginning of the reblog. While you wait, take the Indiana University plagiarism test.


If you don’t qualify for the certificate, time to stop reblogging.

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Circle the wagons!

December 31, 2011. Where did the year go? For me, a writer, easy answers. Begin with the word “online” and add (in alpha order) blogs, critiques, emails, research, social media, and writing instructions. More? Wipe out the entire month of November with NaNoWriMo 50,000-word first draft novel contest (still editing 2008 entry). All took a sizeable bite out of my 2011 calendar. Thinking about it, the computer has engulfed my calendar for several years.

Step a few feet away from my electronic chain and watch me shred unpublished (as in “rejected”) contest entries. Ride with me when I race to an office supply store to buy more printer cartridges. See me skip lunch, gobble chocolate and sip coffee and tea to write and revise book outlines, proposals and query letters to hook a publisher. Add voice mail (do writers ever answer their phones?), volunteering and face-to-face (F2F) and live meetings with other writers. I squeeze in time for grocery shopping, personal grooming (skip if online all day); occasional cooking and house cleaning; paying bills/balancing checkbook; pumping gas on the way to a writer’s event; and rounding out my day making notes about must-do’s for tomorrow. Add falling into bed at midnight with visions of sassy novel characters behaving in uncharacteristic ways. My day is over…unless my sleep is interrupted by one of my secondary characters usurping the protagonist’s role.

Tomorrow, January 1, 2012 will be different. Not so. Circle the wagons! Dig a foxhole. Hide under the bed. I’ll try whatever works to protect me from publishing “experts” who demand I rise at the crack of dawn to spend more time on social media; revise my finished manuscripts at least seven times before handing off to a professional editor; polish my query letters, outlines and book proposals to grab the publisher’s attention. Why? To complete the circuit one more time before exiting mainstream websites and entering self-publishing.

To writers everywhere,

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