Old Becomes New Again

Photo Credit: Dustin Lee
Photo Credit: Dustin Lee

Once upon a time, I thought I might try to increase my followers here on the blog and try to use my writing to earn a little extra money for our family.  The first thing to do, all the best bloggers said, was to move over to a self-hosted site.  So, I did that.  However, I soon discovered that I just didn’t have the kind of time and energy that is needed to monetize a blog.  I also wanted to stay true to myself and write on my own terms.

I’ve been thinking a lot about where I want to go with my blog and the truth is, I’m not really sure that I want to go anywhere.  I mainly just want to write about my life and my experiences so that I can stay in touch with family and friends and so that I can leave our history for Evelyn someday.  When it was time to renew my hosting services this year, I started to worry about what would happen to my blog if something should happen to me.  If nobody had access to it and if nobody paid the fee to renew it every year, my blog would just shut down and the people who I most want to share it with would not be able to see it anymore.  So, after some thought, I have decided that it’s time to return to my free wordpress site.  All that means for you is that you can find my writing at a different address now.  Previously, I was blogging at ascenicdetour.com.  Moving forward, you can find me here at ascenicdetour.wordpress.com.  I have moved over all my old posts, so they are still available here and I have been working on a new design and layout.  The plan is just to keep it simple and write about whatever strikes me at the moment.  I’m still working on some details, but if you have been following along, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to keep in touch with what’s new.

I hope to see you as I move forward into this new chapter.


NaBloPoMo: what I’ve learned

Photograph: Capture +/Alamy
Photograph: Capture +/Alamy

Well, I’ve got one more post to write for NaBloPoMo and this is it. Endings can be bittersweet and this is no exception, though I think there’s more sweet than bitter in this situation. I’ve always been a 3-4 posts a month kind of person, so daily posting proved to be quite a challenge for me. There were definitely times when I wanted to quit, but then I’d tell myself, Suck it up, ninny! You’ve gone this far. Finish something in your life already!

So, I pressed on.  I posted some things I’m proud of and I posted some things that I may be tempted to go back and delete later on.  But I posted every. single. day.  I definitely learned some things about blogging in the process.

I have no idea where I want my blogging to go.  I have reflected on this quite a bit over the past few months, and even more so during November.  Sometimes I think it would be great to build my blog as much as I can and try to earn an income with it.  Other times, I see it as just a hobby and a way to document the everyday mundane stuff that only my family would really want to read.  At this point in time, there is no way that I could devote the kind of time needed to really try to make it take off.  I prefer to write things I really care about, use a few small strategies to publicize what I write, and if it gets attention, that’s great.  All I know for sure is that I don’t want this to feel like a job.

Daily posting messes with my creative process.  Ideas for great posts come to me when I least expect it.  The words pour out when I am really passionate about what I am writing.  I don’t really have control over when I will be inspired.  Posting every day feels forced and insincere to me.  I found myself writing half-passed posts that could have been much better if I had allowed myself more time to reflect rather than feeling the pressure to post something, anything.  Going forward, I will probably try to post 2 times a week.

A little fluff is ok.  While I wish I could write something profound every single time, I know that there are times when I just don’t have much to say.  It’s fun to write lighter pieces when I don’t have much to offer and it keeps readers engaged and lets them know I’m still here.

I love/hate to explore other blogs.  I do love to see what other people are doing with their blogs.  At the same time, I tend to compare myself to others and it does get overwhelming when you start to realize just how many blogs are out there and how easy it is to get lost in the sea.  I have to just remind myself to be who I am and try not to be too hard on myself.  I think that the most important thing is to be sincere and write about what you love and what you know.

Overall, I’m glad I did this.  I’m proud of myself for completing it, but dang, I’m glad it’s over.  Especially considering the time of year.   I have a lot of crap to do, folks, what with Christmas and a very special birthday coming up…


Well, I had a lovely post all set and ready to go. It included pins from Pinterest, which I had to first learn how to embed into the post. Then I somehow managed to navigate away from the page and lost all my hard work. Since I am beyond frustration at this point, I have only to offer this photo that Michael took this evening. I’d say it an accurate depiction of how I am feeling right now.



Is is wrong that I am counting down the days until NaBloPoMo is over?  (It’s 5, by the way.)

4 posts I wish I’d written

I’ve been dealing with some serious writer’s block over the past week or so of this NaBloPoMo and I’ve been spending a lot of time reading other blogs for ideas and inspiration.  In my search for interesting topics, I stumbled upon several blog posts I wish I had written myself, mainly because I completely relate to the content.  Here are four that caught my attention this week.  Enjoy!

What are You Talking About? by Elizabeth Comiskey of Lazy Hippie Mama

I often find myself thinking what the…??? or shaking my head thinking I just don’t get it.  Fortunately, I am not alone and Elizabeth states it oh so eloquently without being offensive.

10 Simple Strategies for a Clean and Organized Home by Sarah Kooiman of Arena Five

Are you up to your eyeballs in laundry?  Are your closets overflowing?  Sarah has some awesome (and hilarious) strategies to help you out.

Ten True Things About the First Year of Parenthood by Karyn Thurstonof Girl of Cardigan

The first year of parenthood can be overwhelming and lonely and amazing.  This is a very touching post to read over and over.

If You Shop on Thanksgiving, You are Part of the Probelm by Matt Walsh of Matt Walsh Blog

I don’t think anyone could have possibly said it better.


losing steam

This is how I feel about blogging today.

I’m starting to lose steam on this NaBloPoMo.  No, actually, I think I’ve hit a brick wall.  I really don’t want to quit, but I’m just not feeling it these past few days.  I have a bunch of great ideas for posts, but they are topics that will take time and thought and reflection and I don’t want to half-ass them.  My only time to write is late at night after Evelyn goes to bed.  I work all day, take care of dinner, bath, and bed, and by the time I sit down to my computer, I am mentally exhausted.  I find that my most brilliant thoughts come to me when I am driving the 1/2 hour commute to work in the morning…or on the way home.  I should really take advantage of the voice recording feature on my phone, but still, I usually only come up with fragments of content that need to be strung together at a later date.  So, here I am posting about not being able to post.  But, I’m pressing on, even if it has to suck for a few days….

NaBloPoMo (what I’ve learned so far)

About a week ago I read about NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and decided to give it a whirl.  All that’s required is to post once a day on your blog for the month of November.  Sounds easy, right?  Wrong.  It’s really not.

I have been blogging since 2009, when I was laid off from work for a short time.  I was sitting around the house, wondering what to do with myself, so I started blogging.  But it’s only been during the past 6 months or so that I have been really sharing my blog with other people and actually encouraging people to read it.  I thought this would be a good way to get more exposure for my blog and to have a chance to explore other blogs and connect with other bloggers.

I knew going into this that it would be hard.  I figured I’d probably end up quitting in the middle (or maybe even a few days in).  I can’t even finish a month long photo-a-day project.  How in the world am I going to finish this?!  Well, somehow I made it through the first week so, what have I learned so far about daily blogging?

At this point, I’ve learned that after this month, I will not be posting daily.  My life is just too busy and I have too many things on my plate to post quality work each day.  I will probably be a 1-2 posts a week kind of gal.

I’ve learned how to create and maintain an editorial calendar.  In fact, I just filled up the whole month with ideas for posts, so hopefully, I won’t run out of inspiration.

I’ve learned that every post does not have to be deep or profound.  Sometimes it’s fun to just write fluffy content…and this should be fun.  If not, why bother?

I’ve also reaffirmed (because I already knew it) that I am far to hard on myself.  I am too critical of my own work and I stress about it too much.  Again, if this is more stressful than it is fun, what’s the point?  So I guess I could say I’m learning to relax a little bit about blogging.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  It’s only been a week, but I am looking forward to finishing out the month.  Hope you’ll follow along.

10 songs I’ll listen to for the rest of my life


Ok, I ain’t gonna lie.  This posting every day thing is harder than I thought it would be…and I thought it would be hard.  Today I resorted to looking for prompts online.  Don’t judge me.

I generally hate prompts that ask you to write about your favorite anything.  Art, music, movies, food, books…I mean, really.  Who can choose a favorite?  I certainly can’t.  But 10…I can do 10.

I realized as I was choosing these songs, that the process became less about my favorites and more about the music that tells the story of my life.  Each of them take me to a different time and place and some of them represent people.

So, without further ado, the 10 songs I’ll listen to for the rest of my life:

1. You Are My Sunshine – one of the first songs I learned as a child, and I still love it.

2. Amazing Grace – this one speaks for itself. spiritual.

3.  Black Dog (Led Zeppelin) – skipping school and spending the day by the pool at my friend Kelly’s dad’s house.  Good times.

4. One (or any other U2 song) – see?  I can’t even pick a favorite U2 song.  This one takes me back to high school.

5.  Good Morning Heartache (Billie Holiday) – I was a weird teenager, listening to 1940s jazz tunes.

6.  Silent All These Years (Tori Amos) – ah, the college years.  the angry, man-hating college years.

7.  C’mon on Eileen (Dexy’s Midnight Runners) – fun!

8.  Je t’aimais, je t’aime et je t’aimerai (Francis Cabrel) – even if you don’t understand French, this is a beautiful song.  I never tire of it.

9.  Broken (Jack Johnson) – my love.

10.  Sweet Baby James (James Taylor) – this is Evelyn’s lullaby.  We have been singing it to her since she was a few days old.  Also, anything James Taylor reminds me of my mom.

Wow, that was harder than I thought it would be!  Ask me again tomorrow and you might get a different list.  Can you name 10?


bucket list

bucket list

Recently someone asked me if I have a bucket list.  The question caught me like a deer in headlights.  I don’t know if it’s because I am in the new mom survival mode, and I can’t even imagine the next time I will do something for myself, or if I’ve already done a lot of things and haven’t had a chance to re-evaluate and set some new goals.  Regardless of the reason, I kind of felt like a loser as I struggled to think of a single thing I’d really like to do.  I kind of feel like I am in the middle of a mid-life crisis.  I really don’t know what I want to do with myself in the years to come.  I’ve been traveling along in the here and now for the past few years.

The question reminded me of a little notebook that I have packed away somewhere.  In the back of it, I had started a bucket list of sorts when I was in my early 20s.  I decided to dig it out to remind myself of the aspirations of my younger self.  Apparently, when I started the list, I intended to have 100 items on it, but I only managed to fill up 56 of them.  Those of you who know me know that I am not a risk-taker.  Putting this blog out for the world to see is about as risky as it gets for me.  There is no bungee-jumping, rock climbing, or skydiving on my list.  I chuckled to myself as I read it, a reflection of who I was at the time and how different life was only 12 years ago.

I’ve managed to cross off many of the items over the years such as

  1. Get my degree
  2. Own a home
  3. Have a child

Some of the items got deleted, mainly because I lost interest in those things, such as

  1. Take salsa lessons
  2. Learn Italian
  3. Live in a big city

So, is there anything on the list that I still want to do?  I have to admit that the idea of keeping this list is a little scary.  What if I never accomplish my goals?  But, it’s my list and I can do what I want.  The only person I have to answer to is me.

Mainly, I just really want to see my child(ren) grow into happy, well-adjusted, compassionate, caring people.  And that’s not a passive goal to have.  That’s going to take a lot of work on my part.  But a few things jumped out at me that I’d like to see through.

  1. Visit Europe again – I studied abroad in France in college and I’d love to go back.
  2. Learn to knit – my grandma is a pro and I really need to ask her to teach me.
  3. Finish my dollhouse – I’ve had this thing since I was 3 years old and I’d love to pass it on to Evelyn.
  4. Become a foster parent – I’d like to have one more child of my own, but I’ve been thinking about foster parenting for years now.
  5. Become a stay-at-home mom – I love my job, but I love the idea of being at home with my kid(s) even more.

There are many other items that I will keep in the list.  It’s fun to look back every once in awhile to see what I’ve accomplished and to add new aspirations as they arise.

Do you have a bucket list?


NaBloPoMo November 2013

Did you know that November is National Blog Posting Month? Neither did I…until today! Apparently, during the month of November, bloggers everywhere commit to posting once a day for the entire month.

“Hey,” I thought, “I should give this a try.”

So, here goes nothing. I can’t promise brilliance (or even intelligible thought) on a daily basis, but what the heck? Let’s give this thing a whirl!

blogging flunkie (and where is spring?)

I’ve been seriously uninspired as far as blogging is concerned.  I don’t know if it’s the fact that Spring is taking its sweet time to arrive or if there’s just not much going on around here.  Work is kind of bringing me down lately and I’m anxious about what’s to come in the next few months.  Michael will be finishing his Master’s and looking for work.  We might have to find child care for Evelyn.  There’s just a lot of uncertainty in my world right now.  But, aside from really not being in the mood to write, things are okay ’round here.

We tried Playdough with Evelyn again.  I gave it to her a few months ago, but she didn’t like it.  In fact, she cried when we tried to get her to play with it.  So we tried it again and she had a lot  of fun with it.  I started following a blog called MamaOT and one of the posts suggested presenting the dough in little balls and showing her how to squish it and poke it.   It worked!!



We’ve been going to a new church for the past few weeks and the first time we went we ended up arriving way too early.  So, instead of going back home to kill time, we decided to take a walk by the river…


Evelyn wanted to climb the rocks.  She loooves rocks.  It was too funny when she tried to pick up some of these huge ones.


She also decided to blow her nose on every single one of her scarves and fabric scraps.  This kid makes me laugh every day.


I got my hands on this backpack carrier for around $30 at a local consignment shop.  Michael and I have been talking about the good old days when we used to go hiking all the time and whatever happened?!?!?  With this, we’ll be able to hit the trails again.  Time to dust off the hiking boots.


Hurry up, Spring!!