WordPress Blogging U 101: Here I am!

This year I am finally doing it – I signed up and am actually participating in WordPress’ Blogging U 101. Our first assignment this evening is to introduce ourselves and to clarify our goals for our personal blog, take stock of what has been accomplished and what we still want to learn …..so here goes.

Who I am: I turn 50 this year (ufffff!!) and have decided to take the plunge and follow my passion for photography, printmaking and creating art in a more serious way. My world has always been a visual one and the arts have always been a big part of my teaching. I taught primary school for 25 years (and who knows, might still continue in the future) in the international school ‘system’; living and working in such diverse locales as Poland, Denmark, the (former) Soviet Union, Germany, England, Canada and Switzerland. I am married to a fellow photo enthusiast and Professor of Education, and have two gown-up sons who are also pursuing their artistic visions; one via carpentry and the other through illustration.

Where I’ve come from: I actually started this blog three years ago when I was teaching Kindergarten. We were learning how to create and use classroom blogs to highlight children’s learning  and to communicate with parents. I loved it. Later, I started to pick up my camera more often to help get through a tough period of being bullied. Through my blog, I found a great feeling of accomplishment and calm by taking, selecting and then sharing my developing photo skills. This year, I returned to blogging with a passion – using this medium to really explore the kind of photography I believe I am capable of creating, as well as using the blog as a forum to exhibit my work and receive views and feedback from photographers around the world. Their interest has really boosted my confidence and I am truly grateful to all who have shared their opinions and ideas with me this year!!

Where I want to go: As the year goes on, my blogging skills have grown and I have come across a new way to use blogging to help people. A friend I was helping with her art blog, mentioned that I had a knack for explaining blogging clearly to older people. This got me thinking of how I could use my skills to help older people and seniors (and others) learn to blog so they could share their personal memoirs and family histories with their grand-children. Most people have fascinating and exciting stories to tell!

Here are my blogging goals for 2016;

-create a way to teach seniors, refugees or anyone with a story to tell, how create their own personal blogs

-include more about printmaking and my prints (new skills)

-learn how to create a wider following for my blog and generate more feedback on my work

-learn how to create those darn widgets and have them show on my blog (I am thinking I might need to change my blog theme to a more visual one – but how to do this without losing content, comments or ‘likes’?)

-how to add outside resources such as Photobox to start selling my photographs

-develop stronger skill in the graphic aspect of blogging – some of the blogs I admire are so beautiful! How can I customize my blog more creatively?

I would love feedback from you about what works with my blog, what doesn’t, how it can be improved, and what you like to see more of. In the spirit of FairPlay and creative collaboration, I appreciate fair, constructive and useful comments. Thank you so much for all of your visits this year – it has really helped me to grow and thank you to Blogging U 101 organizers; @samjhamdy@bruceallen@rootjosh@sonyca and @2020hinessight for all of their help and guidance.

Here’s to a fun, creative and learning-full 2016 – Cheers!!

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(P.S. ….why the photo of a hammer? This past summer, the windows in our 1880’s apartment were replaced. One in particular needed to have the original frame replaced and as they took it out, you could see the different layers of colored paint from the last 135 years. When the workers went for a coffee, they left the hammer on the window-sill and it made a great photo opportunity. Learning is like the layers of paint – we don’t know what is there until we start uncovering them, changing our thinking and ideas in the process of discovery, and learning how to “open” up ourselves to new opportunities that come our way unexpectedly. A big idea from a little coffee break!!)

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24 thoughts on “WordPress Blogging U 101: Here I am!

  1. Hi J, thank you for liking my intro to the Blogging 101 project at The Common, and reading all about you I think we have much ‘in common’! So now following and I enjoyed reading your first post. Looking forward to seeing your photography in particular 🙂 Here’s the link to my first contribution http://wp.me/p1JXg7-1Z5

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Debra! Great to hear from you – this third assignment (and I am writing from the airport as I have a few hours to wait for my next flight) is a lot of fun as we explore other blogs. Yes, we have a lot in common! I am looking forward to seeing your photography too. I had a look around your blog and couldn’t find a ‘photography’ category but did enjoy the photos that did come up for your reviews. Do you take them all yourself? Thank you so much for writing and please drop by anytime to see what new photos have appeared! See you soon, Jacqueline

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your idea about helping seniors learn how to blog and share their histories with their grandchildren. As for changing your theme, I’ve changed mine no less than 6 times, and you don’t have to worry about losing comments, content or likes. However, things like featured images, excerpts, etc. may get a bit scrambled since these are not universal features in every theme. Best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Jen,

      Thank you so much for writng and helping me with changing my theme – I really appreciate it. It is a rather scary thing to put a lot of work into a blog and then have it disappear if I changed it – now I am definitely feeling braver!

      Thank you as well for your support of my idea of helping seniors with thier memoirs. I think of all of the names I don’t know in old family photos and there is no one to ask now. Same with family stories and histories. Generations go by so quickly and fasciniating things get so easily forgotten if they are not passed on in some tangible way.

      By the way, I had a gret time reading about your vacation to my home city Toronto! It is a great place for kids (and one of the few places I know where they still let the kids climb on and slide down the original Henry Moore sculptures in front of the Art Gallery of Ontario – I remember doing this as a kid too!). As far as getting there – may I add some information? My husband is a New Yorker and we have found that we can fly many ways to Toronto. The most convenient (and perhaps the nicest) is to fly Porter Airlines to Toronto Island Airport. They also fly to/from other US cities. Just a short shuttle bus ride (around 10 miutes) and you are right downtown in front of Union Station and the Royal York Hotel. Other options for flying that we have tried are: American Airlines, Delta, TAM (a Brazilian airline that “hops” from New York to Toronto so they don’t have to shut off the jet engines while waiting for their return flight to Sao Paulo) and West Jet. Air Canada is always the most expensive option when flying. For a longer but fun adventure, there are special trains that do the NYC/TO run via Montreal (check the VIA Rail Canada website for info). This is a route that I am looking forward to taking as it runs up the Eastern seaboard.

      Hope you come and visit Toronto again- we would love to see you in our city!

      With kindest wishes,
      Jacqueline

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, the best time to go is in the Autumn when the trees are changing colour, then you can go out to Chudleigh’s Apple Orchard to pick apples – a great TO tradition! (http://www.toronto.com/articles/apple-picking-in-toronto-the-gta/). Summer, especially August, can be very, and uncomfortably, hot and humid, and all the native Torontonians have gone up to the cottage, so not much happening. It is a beautiful city – I am a bit biased though. I found this the other day and although it is for a real estate company, it gives a nice overview of all the different neighborhoods in Toronto to visit – https://www.youtube.com/user/Bosleyrealestate. The other thing I was thinking about is to make sure you bring your kids to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) – it has the best and most extensive collection of dinosaurs in the world (https://www.rom.on.ca/en/exhibitions-galleries/galleries/natural-history/james-and-louise-temerty-galleries-age-dinosaurs). Hope to see you soon in TO! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed reading about your goals and expectations for your blog. Your writing style kept me hooked all the way through. I followed the link at the bottom of your page, where it links to your theme’s info page. According to that, you have just one widget area on your blog, a band near the bottom that spans the width. So if you keep this theme, you won’t have room, apparently, for a lot of widgets. That’s probably a good thing for a blog that emphasizes images. Let the work shine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kathryn!
      Great to hear from you! Thank you so much for taking the time to write and for your great suggestions about widgets. Widgets are one element of WP that I can’t figure out how to add – so I am really glad that I am involved in Blogging 101. Your suggestion is a good one. I am in the process of looking for a new theme to use so your suggestion is one that I will definitely keep in mind. Thank you as well for the lovely comment on my writing style. Writing is also a passion of mine that I don’t spend enough time with lately. Please keep dropping by! 🙂 Jacqueline

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Jacqueline, What a wonderfully written “About” page. Your writing voice is very easy, calm, and measured. I felt compelled to read every word with anticipation! I wish you the best in your creative endeavors and you sound like you are on well on track to accomplishing your goals. I love that you want to share your blogging expertise with Seniors and others that may need help. I look forward to looking at all your wonderful photos.
    Best!
    Jenny

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Jenny,

      Thank you so much for such warm and lovely comments – makes my confidence grow and it is so interesting to hear about what impression my writing and photography have on an “outside eye”. I love writing almost as much as taking photos.

      The Senior project is one that I hope will make a positive difference. Everyone has a story to tell and has had experiences that are fascinating to hear about, especially for younger generations.

      Another thank you for dropping by and visiting my blog and having a look around. Your interest and support mean a lot to me and my efforts. I look forward to you dropping by again and having a look at what is new.

      Have a great new week! 🙂
      Jacqueline

      Liked by 1 person

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