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Time is a river

Time is a river, but once one is over 60, it feels like a waterfall. At least I experience time like that. Maybe it’s because everything takes longer to get done, maybe it’s because the flow of time has accelerated over the last years, but I’m very sure it feels as if the week consists of just a few hours. It was Monday, and all of a sudden – it’s already weekend. I was absent from this blog for quite a while.

Love the leaves and blooms!

I’m simply too busy catching up. The world has also changed with all major events rushing over us. The seasons have changed. We have fall season here in Ontario already, and I jumped over the summer completely. Half of the summer I was suffering from bad pain due to an accident and so I couldn’t do anything else, but read. As you know, I read only real books since I would love to spend no time online and no time staring at screens. I’m not addicted to devices and I use them only if absolutely necessary.

Cucumber blooms, delicate shape, beautiful color!

Nothing much has happened also during the last 3 months. I’m still just at home here, haven’t seen anybody, haven’t been anywhere. The garden I started in spring was doing ok, but we basically had no rain, none whatsoever all summer. Well, there were too many cucumbers and I have too many tomatoes at the moment. I don’t feel like making preserves this year and I also don’t have jars.

Summer colors

The internet and everything being online has made life extremely complicated. Dealing with paperwork isn’t easy and I plain and simple hate paperwork, just like many other people. However, I don’t think there are many people who didn’t get married because of paperwork. I managed that, back in Europe, and I was actually very happy later that I didn’t get married. It’s because the distance of time revealed the true face of that person.

Black-eyed beauties

The other thing I absolutely cannot take is meetings. It’s supposed to be great attending meetings, but I just dislike them so much that if you want to never see me again, just invite me to some meeting. This is because during the soviet times, up to 1991 while Latvia was in the USSR, we were always in meetings, preparing pointless and useless reports, plans and schedules. The paperwork was overwhelming and, I have to admit I have missed probably a lot of good opportunities since they required plenty of paperwork. I simply do not apply to shows, art associations, exhibitions and so on.

Middle of summer

Living is tight for most people nowadays. My ability to do numerous things on my own helps. Being a good cook helps, too. However, it’s been so much cooking while staying only at home that I’ve lost the spark for doing that. Thankfully, I’ve never changed my size or weight after 21, therefore, I have a wide choice of outfits. I am wearing pants I had sewn in 2004 when I just arrived in Canada, jackets and skirts from 90-s. I have sewn them myself, therefore, the fabric is excellent and doesn’t wear out or lose color like the readymade clothes.

More of flowers, more color

While I am on some social media sites, I really cannot stand them. Facebook is a necessity for art classes and other art events, but the most I can spend there is about 5 minutes a week. I just look at Facebook, and it takes no time at all to become nauseated. I think I was already too old when social media became a must for whatever we want to promote and put out there, so I never felt social media as an organic part of me. I lack that chatty style and I’m way too realistic and honest to spread lies shamelessly. I never engage in small talk either, also in real life. Or give out fake compliments. Or watch weird videos.

Hibiscus bloom

Nothing of that makes my life better, therefore, as I mentioned before, I rather read real books. Or some blogs, or my own blogs. The problem is that most people don’t have time to even look at the actual post. They click on “like” from Reader and then leave a comment – please, visit my site. While I have quite many followers, I know well those few who read my posts. I hope I will stay in touch and be more present during the upcoming months, but my art site and art blog definitely take priority since art is what I do, and I want it to stay that way. Making income with art is very tricky. It’s also time- and resource-consuming business. Well, time will show how I survive doing what most people would say is a futile effort.

Start and finish in bright yellow, it sure is going to brighten somebody’s day!

Meanwhile, I’d like to remind that time is a river, and it never gives us back anything. Float, swim or fight the flow – that’s up to each one of us. As long as we are above the water, we can do lots. Have a decent fall season!

Our new place – charming house with private park

It’s been 2 weeks since most of our belongings were moved over to the current location in Pickering Village. It is an interesting area which definitely stands out with old, attractive buildings. It has the flair of an historic village and there are numerous centuries-old trees. While the house we moved to features lovely living room which I am using for art purposes since it’s big, much bigger than my previous studio, it is a compact place. The woodwork has been preserved, and that gives extra character to staircase, doors and tiny-pane windows. What the place lacks in comfort, it has in abundance when it comes to uniqueness and character.

We have moved numerous times, too many to count actually. This by far was the absolutely worst and most difficult move. It stretched over 2 weeks or 6 days when the actual truck loading and unloading took place. Moving my belongings is a very complex matter. Hundreds of paintings need to be packed very safely and separately and so they must travel also. Paintings accounted for a full truckload. Moving to a smaller or noticeably smaller place is also an issue. All of a sudden, there is no place for anything. Add to that hired help who pack up all garbage and puts in one box socks and computer parts.

All room plants were responsible for one more truckload. There is absolutely no comfortable place for them at the moment, but I did my best. My hope is that over the spring and summer I can come up with solution. I just might. As it appears, thanks to my sewing skills, I have plenty of clothes – countless coats, sweaters, jackets, dresses and everything else. My husband also loves good quality outfits, so moving that all is always problematic. I have abnormally many books. While packing, I got so tired that I simply gave away about 120 of them, the ones which I don’t intend to read again. I have 3 monitors with 2 computers, husband has 3 monitors with his desktop. Imagine the piles of cords, connectors and wires? Although I had labeled everything so that I recognize it right away, no helpers did that. Somebody labeled frozen food box: pasta. It went bad.

It was about 16 truckloads of which almost one full load went back into garbage. That’s how great our help was.

But it’s over! The absolutely worst part when one has no clue where what is (thanks to guys throwing everything in a pile with no regard to where these things go) is a history. Kitchen is set up, our bedrooms are almost set up, music room needs organizing and art studio requires more work, too. However, I got my art supplies and I can start painting soon.

There is no garden to speak of, except it looks like a few flowers at the back door. The rest is like forest. I call it my private park because it’s huge. If I want to take a stroll outdoors, I just walk in my own park. I can see there a few huge, ancient oaks, a few tall maples, couple of firs, not sure what other trees are.

I was very sick during the moving adventures. I got sick 2 times actually, not with COVID, but I am sensitive to lots of things. I’m not sure yet if I can make here any garden, like I said, it’s mostly a forest-type of outdoors. There must be roots all over. The front part looks more promising, but it will require lots of extra soil. We moved out when there was snow on the ground and even snowstorm one day. I might get my rare plants from the previous place, and I might not. That I don’t know yet, even though the agreement says I can when the soil thaws. We will see when it is warmer. I have wildflowers here, and right now snowdrops have come up. White tiny snowdrops currently make up all my outdoor garden. It will take some time to get used living here. I cannot wait when the weather becomes warm. Until then, still lots to do. I have chronic exhaustion at the moment. Slowly, my energy will come back. The sunnier days, the better I will be.

I wasn’t having internet for about 2 weeks, no computer. TI never use phone for blogging, so that explains why I disappeared for a while. But you knew that, I’m sure you did that I won’t be blogging because of this move-of-the-century.

Have a great spring and thanks for reading!

Life in grey scale with fall colors on mind

Most days of our lives do not have the lovely sparkle of happiness, and, luckily, they are not spent in the dark gloom of troubles and desperation either. Most of us go on, catching up with the ever-changing world and local developments. Neutral is good because it spares you stresses and saves from extremes. However, we sort of do not want to admit it and do not want to be there, yet, we are. It says, no news is fine, as long as there is no bad news.

The daily duties, the daily chores: it would be so much easier not to do the same over and over again. Last year around this time, it felt even more upsetting because we have some resolution of the pandemic coming our way now. Hopefully.

Red maple leaves

My motivation is low these days when it comes to blogging. I noticed how my old blogger friends post also not that frequently. The article we post gets some attention one or two days, and then nobody cares any longer. It feels like if it isn’t posted straight this moment, it’s not interesting, it’s lost importance or any actuality. That’s not true at all since good articles are meaningful and worth re-reading any time.

I have run in big website issues with people trying to harm it. Therefore, after getting in huge trouble two times when I thought I’d just follow back somebody who followed my sites, I don’t do that now. Especially, that refers to sites which want to post links and as if invite you to check out their site. The addresses looked ok, and, yes, they were on WordPress platform. For how long? Who knows, maybe just long enough to catch more trusting people.

So, I’m sticking with these bloggers who I have known for more than a decade since I started blogging. I’ve never had any great success with this or the other blog because I could never push publishing to the point of posting every second day. As you know, I have two blogs to attend, and the art blog definitely takes priority. It’s not that I have made much money off it, but it still gives me visibility in the broad and extensive art scene, especially the local one. To create new content for art blog takes me about two weeks, sometimes longer since I’m trying to always post new images and updated content.

Last fall blooms

Life is very fast moving ahead. We have fewer and fewer moments to just sit back and enjoy the day’s accomplishments. I still get done a lot because I’m not hooked on scrolling through the internet for hours or checking the very boring social media sites. Ever since they started adjusted the content to what one liked before and what gets most attention, it became almost intolerably one-sided story. There are by any means better ways to stay in touch with people who are physically far away.

This brings me to masses and public engagement. I’ve never been the one to like what some million of others have already liked. I will rather leave my comment under something good which hasn’t got any attention. I do that because good content slips through cracks thanks to engagement-based display of everything on any site. It makes me upset to no end sometimes.

The only print-on-demand site where I have my art is Fine Art America. I joined about a decade or so ago. The first art I posted certainly has gotten more views, but the sad part is that because of engagement rating, no new paintings and art get seen, only the old ones.

Autumn trees

I also do not know why there are viral posts or images, I’ve never seen one. It’s probably because I intentionally skip whatever is thrown at me and definitely don’t join the massive numbers of followers.

I’d love everything to be unique. Unique as our finger prints, DNA and iris of the eye. Unique as pattern of veins on a leaf or every single bloom. I’d love that individual and one-of-a-kind remain the most important. I’d love that we can stay who we are without being flown down the pipe with numerous others who is called “everybody”. It’s never true that everybody does this or that, watches the same, consumes and wears the same and enjoys it, too. But it is the main approach.

Late autumn leaves

Well, we have a choice. Always.

Good weather, bad weather, great outcome or none at all, it really matters very little if we have our own life assessment system and our self-worth doesn’t depend on the opinion of others. In case of things we cannot change, – we are able to change the way we view them. We are in the driver’s seat when deciding what’s of great importance to us.

The images show late fall colors in Ontario. Bright beauty before it all becomes the past. Enjoy while you can! Thanks for reading.

Under the blue September sky

What does your world look like today?

Is it bright and sunny, real nice end of September day or nothing good to talk about?

We cannot choose the weather, unfortunately, if we must stay where we are, live in a place which we might not even prefer, but that’s the reality: all doors are open, but not everyone of them takes us to a place we want to be.

Did you wake up in a hopeful mood and the day kept its promises?

Good things sometimes happen when we don’t expect them, too, as if out of nowhere. However, it’s the combination of all elements which has worked out in our favor whether we knew about that or not. The bigger success we expect, the more upsetting might be the disappointment.

Does that mean we don’t strive for more, don’t try achieving more and reaching for higher goals? We always do attempt to succeed in something currently out of reach, we should at least. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Until we experience tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, volcano eruptions and other nature disasters, we might say that every weather nature throws at us is a blessing. That’s changing now, and we might wonder how bad it is going to get? Thankfully, the area I live has been spared from nature’ s anger.

September was a very beautiful month in Ontario where I live. The simple pleasures are readily available for everybody, we just need to set aside a moment for these experiences. The sky is so transparent today, no wind, bees still work in blooms, and there’s almost overwhelming beauty of the late fall flowers. It’s a good moment to be in.

When you have gone through millions of small disappointments, tiny and big accidents, betrayal, losses and some calmer periods of life, it feels there’s nothing that can surprise one any longer. I’ve been sticking to my principles of honesty, truth and generosity for many decades. They get tested, too, these old-fashioned principles and morals. Competition is a normal way of existence now with any means being justified. It’s not enough to know, be able and have experience, you have to prove your self-worth and value of your skills every day from new. Every single day it’s some kind of competition, feeling of being pushed and rushed. If you do not post anything on social media or website, people forget you, forget who you are, what you do and so forth.

For how long am I supposed to be competing for the social media attention?

There is nothing stable in the universe of public opinion. I noticed that blog reading is down, too. The number of views goes up, but the actual interaction is down. Shorter attention span? Sure. The amount of information avalanching over the viewers head is also remarkably larger. While I love creating art, sewing, designing new outfits and other items, gardening, nature and its mystic ways, I’m not huge about throwing this into everybody’s face: look what I have! Nevertheless, I must do just that if I ever want to have more students in my art classes or sell my art.

Early fall for dreamers? Definitely.

September calm might be ending soon, in a few weeks or so. It’s a good time to regroup, recharge, put in vegetable preserves, take a short walk, collect new colorful leaves for the next nature-painted projects. The calm before the storm or maybe just time to think about what’s ahead, to dream a bit about things unfolding my way and according to my plans. The path, however, was created a long time ago. The ripples in the universal interaction ocean cause situations which we are living in now, at this moment. We have created our today as it is together with other people, nature, universe and our actions or inactivity, with our features and our thoughts.

I hope your day is as good as you expected it to be!

Stay in touch and thanks for reading!

It’s a brilliant day

Today, it is. The heat has decreased and the humidity torture is less depressing, as well. My blog posting gaps have increased, though, thanks to all kinds of unexpected issues. It is a time when I am aware of all things I still have to tackle and bring to some conclusion, yet, I don’t do anything here and there. The privilege of older age is that you can mentally sort through the urgent things and make a reasonable decision: there’s hardly anything that cannot wait for a bit longer. For instance, posting a new article which won’t be seen by that many anyway.

It’s a wrong decision from the point of being present on the internet, but a very beneficial from the view of general feeling-and being-well-aspect. Ever since we became billions on every social media site and every blogging platform, the importance of one single post lost its meaning. Life is not long enough whatever way you look at it. I’d prefer much longer stretch of feeling like in 35-50 period. I find that around 50 it was when I had still huge energy and motivation to fight every internet battle and to squeeze myself out like a lemon to grab attention. Over time, the need to be present everywhere has really lost its attraction.

Being present in moments which matter for me personally has become more important. Sooner or later, we all realize that there will be things which we aren’t destined to do, learn or pursue. Time limits our ability to perform everything at the same level of devotion and achieve the same level of success in all areas which appeal to us. It takes huge time to achieve adequate skills in any area nowadays. However, the abundant numbers of experts and people who do counselling means there’s too much advise about everything. 

Let’s talk about how-to posts. Mainly, there are 2 groups. The first group, usually, in technical aspects of using software, app, social media or blogging platforms, writing or drawing and painting tools are helpful. The second group is where the heading says “how-to”, but the article lists reasons why and immediately takes you to the button to purchase something. We already know why, if we are looking for the practical application of this new whatever it is. I’m really interested in finding examples of using a tool, a strategy, I want to see how it looks in reality, but that’s not possible. There are immediately ads and all kinds of offers to buy. Food takes very much space on the internet, as well, too much for me personally. I stick to the old and extra simple recipes, better yet, the ones which consist of a few ingredients. That’s also very beneficial for our digestive system.

Then there are the numbers articles: 10 things what to eat and 10 what not to, 7 ways to wear an outfit, 6 ways to relax, 5 ways to prepare a particular food and to exercise. Very often it is “how to be happy” in numerous ways. It’s usually a list of things which we all know, have or do not intend to have, do or do mind doing. It’s something which we are aware about, but we have a reason not to engage in it, or we are already mastering that aspect. This type of list provides with no discoveries. One advice can never suit all. The most interesting articles for me are about personal experiences, the diverse ways we live.

Today, it is a really brilliant day. Just with the right amount of heat and sunshine. With well-formed attractive clouds sailing the bright blue sky. With bees still working blooms and butterflies hurrying from one flower to another. With tomato branches almost touching the ground because of the heavy fruit. With fantastically orange and perfectly round pumpkins. I also saw hummingbird 2 times this year. That’s so cute for my location!

The summer has been too short as always. It was too hot, we had too much rain, it was too dry sometimes, too stormy here and there. And it will be definitely too cold in the winter. No perfect weather for us, and here I laugh a little. Our feeling of entitlement has spoiled us. I personally do not complain, I take summer over winter any time. The virus has had big impact on our life here in Ontario, as I suppose, in the place where you are at. We thought it will be a fairly swift battle and we would be done with it. Maybe you have lived as you wanted, but I here couldn’t. Restrictions are still all in place, except, there is no lockdown.

I have such insanely huge amounts of produce, I’m not sure what to do with it. We are giving away part of it to husband’s colleagues, sometimes to anybody who will take it. I am seeing all benefits of growing vegetables and flowers from my own seeds. These plants are very strong, they practically do not suffer from the regular plant diseases. It makes a lot of sense to take care of your own seeding material. Since I haven’t been anywhere, only at home (almost 2 years already!!!), I am attaching a few pictures of my garden. It can be enough, but dreams and memories take me to other places; where I have been, which I will visit and what I’m not going to see. Well, the Earth is small and big at the same time, just like this life: so uncomplicated and manageable one day, but absolutely stunning or overwhelming the next.

Have a good September which is just around the corner! Thanks for reading!

Website or blog

Blogging: things that matter

Deciding on blog or website

I started my art blog in May, 2011 First post of art blog

Notice, there are no likes and no comments. Yes, it took a while until I had first followers and first comments. Back then, blogging was somewhat different from what it is now in 2020. By 2015, I had more than 3000 followers and lots of interaction on my art blog. I decided to move it to a self-hosted website. The move itself was nothing overwhelming, but there were numerous issues. I had already many articles with very many illustrations, it’s an art blog after all. After importing my blog, all the images were totally messed up, many were missing. The written part was ok, but the visual part required me to undo about 120 posts. That is a heck of work! It took me quite a while. Not months, but a few years, in fact. I didn’t have some images and I couldn’t find some others to place back, so, I had to undo even bigger part.

Stick to decision

I would say, you have to decide right from the get-go: if you want a website, start a website, and if you want less work and less trouble, go for blog. It’s much cheaper, too. Comments get imported onto the new site, but likes do not. Therefore, all posts until the move have hardly any likes, but they have many comments. I also lost many followers, I probably confused them big time during transition period while there was still my blog and also a website, practically the same. Moving blog to website, unless, it’s a blog which has mostly writing, is a hassle and lots of work because of all adjustments.

WordPress account, not two sites

Since I wanted to keep my art separate from my lifestyle and health blog, I started another blog in June 15, 2015 First post of lifeschool blog

For a while, I had to mention on my art website that I had another blog, too. Well, I didn’t know that this other blog won’t be an independent blog (it still isn’t), but part of my WordPress account. Therefore, some people, who never read anything do not even know that I have an art website and art blog and one more lifestyle and health related blog. Some people follow only one of them, some follow both, but the reach hasn’t been that great as it was with just having one blog initially.

Blogging for yourself or blogging for success

I’m not an obsessive blogger. At times, I don’t even care too much how many people follow my blogs and how many like what I write about. However, during all these years of blogging on WordPress, I have come to some conclusions and I’d like to share a few suggestions if you want to achieve good following and widen the circle of your readers. It is different if you intend to achieve huge numbers of followers. That will take lots of time, lots of interaction with other blogs. The most important part is still content. It should be preferably original and only in an area you feel strong and passionate about. There are many blogs which are devoted to personal struggles, journeys to health and so forth, but they still need to stand out.

Repeating and copying content is boring

Blogging can be very personal and also very general, just hitting the popular subjects and going with the stream. I do write content and share experience which is not available everywhere, but rather takes origin in my personal life. I have noticed, there are numerous blogs which only practically republish what we all know already: motivation, happiness, what to eat, what not and so forth. I’d say this is boring. I also would like to mention that people, who have zero insight and knowledge in healthcare, treatments, medical conditions and similar medicine-related subjects, should not write about it. It makes a professional medical specialist cringe when somebody republishes nonsense which has no true base whatsoever.

Followers and getting a good number of them

If you want to show your appreciation about some blog or blogger, certainly, like, comment and interact with it. Never insist they follow you back or demand to go to your blog. That is horrible. People, who like your blog, will follow and read it if they think it’s worth doing, but nobody is going to like something if you insist, they do. That’s unethical and offensive. We all have our free will. Recently, there are many bloggers, who click on 20 or even more likes under posts and never read even one of them or do not have any idea what the blog is about. I personally do not care that somebody liked 20 posts, but I love if they read at least one. There are also bloggers, who only click on “Follow” and there is absolutely no follow-up. Somebody instinctively might follow you back, but most experienced bloggers won’t follow just about anything. WordPress will also block you from following if you do it excessively or in abusive manner and are fishing for more followers WP can block you from following

Make your blog or website easy to navigate

Settings on the blog or website exist for a reason. One has to go through all of them and make adjustments which fit your personal website or blog. I sometimes would love to leave a comment or post a like, but it’s impossible or I cannot get even to their posts. Websites or blogs have either static front page or display blog posts on it. The problems often arise with a static front page. I see there is something, but there’s also no way to get to it. Obviously, if you want somebody to like your posts or leave comments, you have to make these posts accessible. Nobody is going to search for hours where your posts are. I also see frequently most viewed posts in the widget area, but no recent posts. That means, people will only react to these popular posts.

Important widgets

It’s a good idea to have Archives widget, too. Also, having the Previous and Next feature is a good idea. If you are not sure, you can test your website or blog from some other device or ask somebody else to do that and let you know what they see and how easy your website or blog is to navigate. If it’s tough to find anything, people will look at your “About me” or “Hello” page and move on. I would sometimes spend a few moments trying to find what’s where, but I will leave if I cannot find or understand anything. I am very sure; any visitor will do the same.

Non-English language blogs

That refers to blogs in other languages, not in English. I can personally use 4 languages at a native level which are Latvian (my native language), German, Russian and English. Therefore, I can follow and read blogs in these languages, but the other ones will be questionable. If it’s a completely visual blog or consists of only art images or photos, I’ll be able to know what it’s about. If the blog is written in a language, I have no idea about, I will not follow it. Google translate is ok, but it really distorts complex languages. I actually have done this: when I want to have a good laugh, I click on Translate into Latvian, and it’s really hilarious how my content comes out. There is no point reading poetry with Google translate.

Important aspects of blogging

Blogging ethics

Blogging is something overwhelmingly huge nowadays. While policies and rules change, blogging ethics stay in effect regardless of that. We have to respect others, their preferences and their opinions. If you are writing about sensitive subjects, expect reaction which might be not always what you like. Don’t put pressure on other bloggers to follow you or like what you write. I’ve seen very poor blogs with many followers and vice versa. Some blogs are created for to stay, some will cease to exist if there is no genuine passion or good content. I don’t think one should start a blog if they don’t have what to say. While I do not chase numbers of followers or post every day, I still appreciate thoughtful and educated, as well as sincere and mindful comments. I do follow back blogs which deserve that, but never when somebody tells me to.

How social are social media and how they get you

Why am I on social media?

If you ask me, I don’t know why I am on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Linkedin and on Facebook and a few other sites.

My blog and my website need some exposure, additional exposure, because not everybody is on WordPress. That might be one reason

Am I on social media because the widgets make my website look better? That is true to some extent.

Am I there because social medial make me socially engaged? No, that is not always true. They sometimes make me feel worse, more upset and more isolated. In fact, they frequently make me feel physically bad, too. That is, in the most direct meaning of this word. I find that many articles promote doubtful information, as well as push people to inadequate decisions.

There was a time at the dawn of social media activity when they were truly social. They were about real friendships and real lives.

“Social” cover for selling anything

It did not take too long for the socializing part to transition into advertising and selling features until social media became mainly about selling: opinions, propaganda, products, brands and trends.

As such, social media are the biggest consumerism promoter ever. Our task is actually straight the opposite: decrease junk, avoid consuming useless and harmful things and stay away from products that we never needed in the first place. Social media makes us believe that we will be considered a decent, happy and worthy person only when we have have all the attributes which are advertised.

Social media will impose trendy pictures, trendy products, trendy people and trendy opinions on you. I have even seen: health trends. Is there anything else as healthy and unhealthy? Does that mean that sometimes only mental health matters, but some other time: skin disorders, digestive, nervous or cardiovascular system?

I do not agree with trends. I suppose, trends disagree with me.

Consumerism

Consumerism is killing every one of us by taking away the air we breathe and turning it into polluted smog, it is taking away the clean drinking water and causing soil damage, it is making you into somebody who consumes what you never needed and what makes you sick and poor.

Internet selling is based on positive attitude, lack of education and greed. Greed is the biggest driving force of any so-called economic growth.

Is it economic growth or destruction of the planet in reality? If we did not interfere so badly with anything that the Earth has to offer us for free: natural air and water recycling and purification, clean and nutrient-rich soil, natural food that helps us staying fit and healthy, we would be fine. However, everything must be sacrificed for the economic growth which ironically leads us into more and more debt and disasters.

Offers and missed posts

While Facebook wants me to sign up for all kinds of services or products, I never see what my best friends and relatives have been up to. Facebook will persistently invite me to buy products and services which I do not require, which I am absolutely not interested in and which I do not need or like. That is all based on their algorithms and my likes which I place here and there.

The page I initially created as a Fan page, has transitioned into business page, and I wasn’t even sure I wanted that. I can see it is helpful, however, I have limited time and therefore, I most likely cannot reach the exposure I am expected to.

Facebook makes one pay

The thing I really have to wonder about is as follows: Facebook makes absolutely no distinction between a single person’s business (hence, they invite me to join my team, which would be I am joining me), and so they want to charge me the promotion fee for anything I put on that page. Huge businesses which have hundreds of employees and specific media managers and other executives can certainly use a specific budget for that. I think there should be a chance to show that one is working alone, maybe part time or something similar.

They make me compete with sites like Wayfair.com or Artfulhome.com and similar that sell art prints while I am selling only originals.

Dear Facebook! I am just a single person, who creates art, does painting, promotes, writes about art and teaches it also, and I need to cook, clean, do daily chores, do medical research and writing to support living, and every day has only 24 hours. If I wanted to be successful on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook advertising, I would not only need a lot of money to promote every post, every picture, every article and every event, but also a lot of time.

My taste disagrees with trends

I do not spend hours scrolling through trends or looking for viral videos. They are not trendy for me most often because my taste often disagrees with them. I disagree with dumbing the population more and using bad and harmful products for such purpose. I am against the noise everywhere. We need a break from music, a break from shows that do not teach anything, that have no content and make no sense, but stand out due to bad acting and simply bad screenplays.

Facebook does not represent me as a person correctly and it does not allow me to become socially more involved. If I do not promote everything and comment on everything, I am practically non-existent.

It is time we turn to critical thinking and sort out our preferences. The narrow-minded and to more consumption leading and directed I-need-it-all thinking has caused enough trouble. Enough is enough.

We have to stop being sheep to such a huge extent.

Social media pressure

I have come to conclusion that instead of allowing one to be true and honest, social media imposes on me their message. Their message is not always my message. It can be quite contrary, in fact.

So, Facebook when there is going to be time when I see everything I choose based on what I prefer as opposed to posts that have been directed to me depending on my age, gender and previous likes?

I once clicked on Artfulhome.com image because I was reading about some artist. They would not let me free afterwards. Wherever I go, the Artful home is trying to sell me something. The same about the flight: I booked it already. I booked it a while ago. Wherever I look, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo mail or any other site, there are Flighthub advertisements. I did not even use the Flighthub.

If I click on a gardening image, Facebook will only put gardening posts in front of me. If I click on shoes or cosmetic product: that is all I am going to see for quite a while, until I do not spam that product everywhere.

I have moods, I have good days and bad days, I have curiosity, I have preferences and I have interests, and they do not match the Facebook algorithms. I am a human who is changing, who has personal opinions and, most importantly, who has a very personal taste.

Misleading social media

Twitter sends me trends and trendy tweets, as well as, lies about people who followed me because they did not. That is to cause a counter-reaction and feeling that I am actively using Twitter. I am not. The tweets are all automated and it looks nice in the widget area of my website, that’s all.

Pinterest does the same, they let me know that somebody pinned an image which I never put on any of my boards, Pinterest also has picked out topics for me. Well, Pinterest, don’t do that. I do have my own brain and my own opinions. That is already too much care, way too much care. If I looked at an old barn yesterday, it does not mean I want to look at old barns for the next few years. If I looked up a spinach recipe today, it does not mean I will be eating only spinach for a few months.

Facebook means a lot of wasted time for me. I would click on like when I am seeing a few posts of people who I have never met, but who I know distantly from the blogging community. I would leave a comment here and there if the post makes sense. Well, Facebook will show me posts only created by these people for quite a while, and, no, it will not show me what my daughter has been up to.

I am finding all the social media very superficial, very ignorant because they try to make me feel meaningless. Just compare yourself with influencers! Go ahead, compare!

My preferences

Well, I am not going to compare me with nobody. I do not care about lots of products just because I find them useless. I don’t literally care about powders, liquids, pills, gels, creams and other things which are advertised as miraculous. These miracles last only as long as there is a decent research done, and it proves rather the harming, not healing effects of this product.

Choose carfully

Social media should take a huge blame for poisoning and making people sick with bad quality, never tested products because while they do not endorse them, they make one see these products and the fake promises which come with such products.

There is a lot of pressure from the social media. A lot. The pressure wants you to subordinate the main mood and the main tone. If you do not, you are not a decent person. Why? There are guys who have nothing better to do: they use any chance to attack somebody. I posted once a comment that gluten-free products have absolutely no effect on people who do not have a celiac disease which is 100% scientifically true, yet, much denied fact because they want you to spend more on gluten-free and more processed products and imagine that you feel better. Somebody did not read it; they just noticed the first line and totally attacked me: what was I thinking because people who have celiac disease would be at such a disadvantage, etc. That was not at all what I was saying. They did not read, but they felt they had to attack me. So, it goes. One will understand only what they want to.

Social media and socializing

Do I see social media as a great socializing opportunity? To some extent, it is a place where to advertise. However, it is not a place where to find somebody or something. I want to see all variety of topics, all the multi-faceted life, everything which I might or might not like instead of “topics picked out for me”. Social media, you don’t know me, you do not want to know me and you do not believe I have my own brain which allows me making my own decisions that are based on my own experience, education and preferences.

I wish social media started trusting me instead of limiting my choices and free speech.

P.S. I had written this post already when I accidentally saw an interview with the high-tech insider Jaron Lanier on CNBC. It was about his book: Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. This interview absolutely echoed what I do agree with. Too much advantage taking, definitely!

Link to article about him and his book: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/may/30/ten-arguments-deleting-your-social-media-accounts-right-now-jaron-lanier

My mom loved flowers

Lilac, poem, and giving my blog a new direction

Lilac

 

Lilac blossoms blending with twilight:

Purple passionate scent of eternal,

Feeling of everything fading away.

 

Being beautiful without a purpose.

 

Lilac scent melts in the night air,

Twilight calm will fall down very soon

To end this moment with a period mark.

 

The day is so tired, too, time to rest.

 

The night sky uses blush, a lot of it

And the purple scent becomes a shadow.

It is always twilight in some places.

 

It is so complete with the lilac scent.

 

Morning finds birds sipping the morning dew

From tiny cups filled with sunlight pearls.

I paste this moment in my good memories folder.

 

Scents will evaporate, just like us.

 

My personal recovery experience

People, who read my posts, know that my health issues have been resolved completely thanks to my new skills and change of dominance in my mind..

I have learned a lot from my past experiences, and I intend to move on very healthy, with good reasons, not allowing anything to offend or disrupt my intentions.

I am doing much better because I rely on myself and I have learned that by becoming a much better person I am helping not only myself, but also people around me.

I will explore a wide variety of topics that relate to staying young, fit, healthy, stress-free, active and satisfied with my new life.

I am 60 this summer. Apart from the bad accident in 1992 and chronic pain because of that, I have been very fine so far. I took the previous experience as an important lesson. I realize that something in my behaviour, thoughts and intentions was causing it. I will use my experience as a stepping stone in order to bring more light in this life.

I have learned that being kind, nice and good to others and oneself is the most  important thing in our life as we attract the same attitude, the same type of people and the same type of response.

I pay special attention to these 5 most important aspects:

  • healthy weight and ability to be active and pain-free;
  • effective metabolism and well-performing digestive system;
  • daily and hourly stress relief and efficient coping mechanism;
  • natural, simple and rich nutrition that takes minimum time;
  • excellent memory and powerful cognitive function.

How nature is always our best advisor and supporter

Whenever something goes wrong, the easiest way to fix this problem is turning to the nature.

I have written already about that and I will be writing even more.

Gardening is a huge part of it. People sometimes say, they do not have enough space, yet, all the backyard and front yard consists only of grass and a few flower pots. Every vegetable and herb one grows in their own garden is about 100 times better than we can buy at a grocery store. Even with organic produce, we get vegetables, fruit and herbs which have been sitting on a shelf for a while. You will always know what your vegetable is consuming if you grow it. Tiny and small gardening does not require any weed killers and pesticides. We can live extremely well using just some natural things to get rid of bugs. However, they rarely happen in a small garden because you can prevent bad things from happening quite easily.

Nature is always on standby for our mental comfort and stress relief

No gym can ever compare to gardening and walking in fresh air. Many people take exercising way too far and cause premature wear and tear of their joints, tendons, muscles and ligaments. Our heart is also a very specific muscle that takes loads with its own attitude.

Upset mood and over-excited brain can be always fixed with breathing in fresh air and simply walking amidst the beautiful natural surroundings. Your brain loves bird songs instead of loud music; your thoughts get organized and are easy to sort out when the brain has enough oxygen.

How we look and how we dress

Aging does not mean one gives up the good looks they had when they were younger. Daily facial and body routine is a must. I am naturally blonde, so I have been using make-up from its early days, for about 45 years now. I do use some make-up even if I am alone at home. I do that to keep myself satisfied with the way I look.

Make-up helps to prevent skin diseases nowadays. There are wide choices and huge selection out there.

I learned sewing when I was 12. I did so because I always wanted to wear clothes that suit me, fit me and make me stand out. There have been periods when I have been sewing a new outfit every day, and there have been times when I have sewn something just a few times a year.

I am returning to more sewing and dressmaking again because the things one can buy at a store do not satisfy my demands and they are generally very low quality. It is also much more practical. We can recycle everything, but fast and cheap fashion is one of the biggest polluters on the Earth.

Artistic living for brain health and pleasurable life

If you read and follow my art website, you know that I have been a passionate art instructor for about 40 years, and I am as passionate about my own creativity. I started drawing at a very young age, and gradually added to that watercolor, acrylic and pastels. I became sensitive to oils, so, I had to forget about painting with oils. Drawing is a part of my excellent memory maintenance process. Having very well-performing visual memory definitely makes life easier. It always has: studying was easy, learning was easy and starting any new thing was easy.

Art, writing, journaling, outdoor drawing and painting: that is a daily feast for our soul. One can always find a suitable artistic way of self-expression. Art gives one the time for self-care. We forget about any problems while drawing and painting. We immerse ourselves into eternal and limitless.

Lilac, how to stay young

My Angel’s Day was a few days ago. The Angel my mom gave me is always watching over me.

Apple blossoms, how to stay young

The short spring brought us intense blossoming, the beauty was almost touchable.

How to stay young, nature, blossoming apple trees

I will definitely miss this old apple tree after we move to another place, it always greets spring with clouds of wonderful blossoms.

These are the themes I will be mainly focusing on.  Please follow me on Facebook

I will start a new artistic community page soon. This page will be primarily devoted to keeping our brain young and flexible with daily artistic challenges.

Please also check out my art website:  http://inesepogagallery.com/  It offers my own art and also numerous articles about how to start and keep drawing and painting.

I will miss the old lilac tree, as well, it has been my inspiration numerous times!

Lilac, poem, giving blog new direction

My plans are huge. I hope  everything goes according to plan, especially because we have to move soon to another place and that involves reorganizing life to be happy with the new beginning.

WordPress causes some problems

Did you know WordPress can block you from following?

I have been blogging since 2011, that was when I started my art blog First post of art blog.

I experienced some kind of disaster when I decided to move my art blog to a website last year or maybe a year before. Why did I go for all troubles which are associated with moving a large numerous pictures containing art blog to a self-hosted website?

Well, WordPress makes it account. It does not matter whether you have 1 blog, 2 blogs, 3 blogs or a website and blog: it is going to be one account. I had the art blog since 2012 and I started a lifeschool blog some time in 2014 I believe. I did not want to mix up my art, art classes and other artistic articles with the conclusions and observations I have made doing my medical research and writing for more than 3 decades. I thought it was a great idea. It actually wasn’t. Why?

Because WordPress makes it one account.

That means one blog is primary and visible and regardless of all my efforts, nobody knew the other blog existed, as well. The art blog had about 4 thousand followers by the time I moved it to a website because I was so tired of publishing articles which nobody ever saw.

The move was terrible since my files were huge, and, no, it did not go smooth as some instructions made me believe. Partially, that was because I chose the wrong host (based on a blogger advice, oh yes!). They sold me free theme and then I had to wait until refund rolls in since I wasn’t having much money. They tried to sell all kinds of things which I did not need or require, but having a website is expensive anyway: there are so many small parts that all cost. I am using the free theme and many free plugins, but I still have to allocate quite a lot of money for it. That is the history, so I have a blog, my lifeschool blog and my website, my art website.

Some time ago, I started to notice that I cannot follow anybody. I clicked once, I clicked twice, I clicked on like, that worked, but when I returned to the main website of somebody, I could see that I am not following them.

I believed it was some kind of a glitch. Probably temporary glitch, I assumed.

I let it slide since I was busy and that wasn’t the most important issue on my plate.

I found some really interesting website and a few blogs a while ago, and I got really angry that I cannot follow them. I copied the URLs here and there to find them again. Anyway, I asked the “happiness engineers” what was wrong. Oh well! I found out that I have been spotted by the system as somebody abusive follower last October. They told I was trying to attract attention and instead I should be writing a good content. That was very offensive. I believe these people who have read my stories, poems and articles, people, who check out my paintings, art instruction and advice for beginner artists definitely know that this is a unique content which takes me long time to create. I have actually never tried to follow somebody obsessively.

We all know that: system is system. System thought I was somebody trying to find followers and, thus, boost the visibility of my website and blog, and I do not believe that is true. WP said it was. I had last October followed many blogs in a short period of time. I tried to figure that out but couldn’t. I may have returned from Europe and after not seeing my blog and website for a long time, I could have responded to lots of comments and maybe followed some new fellow bloggers. I don’t know. Basically, nobody ever told me that. I never received any notification, any warning or anything. I believe you are not aware of that either.

I mean, I would have appreciated some notice, some suggestion or something. I am guessing that happened because I’m not that often reading the Reader, publishing posts, commenting, etc. since my health issues started 5 years ago. I might be doing all the commenting, following and liking job once or twice a month. Life is life. System isn’t human and it does not know that I have 1 hour only once or twice a month to do the following among other parts of blogging. Most likely, that’s how I got blocked out of following. Well, if I were so obsessed with following I most likely had noticed that sooner, not 7 months later.

I still remember how 6 years ago when I started blogging, I was advised to like, comment and follow other bloggers. Well, I take it personal and I felt upset. I’m not a new blogger; I’ve been on WordPress for 6 years. I am almost 60 and somebody who always follows rules and meets obligations. Always. I am aware that system is not informed about that.

I have to apologize to bloggers who may have thought I was ignorant or something. I lost some interesting blogs due to this for sure. Maybe we will meet again.

It also seems that system cannot get rid of definitely fake followers such as those who are ….outlook.com. I have deleted quite a few recently.

I wish, there was some advice for those who blog infrequently, just for a few hours a month and who try to do everything during these few hours instead of just blocking them out of following.

WordPress causes some problems

It does not feel right. We are sort of made to believe that website is a place where we can have a freedom to do things which we deem necessary, one of them being following other bloggers. Apparently, it is not the case. I believe before blocking somebody out of anything, especially if they pay money for their website that happens to be on WordPress platform, one deserves at least some warning or message, whatever. My personal situation is worse because I have a website and a blog. People who follow the art blog are not the same as these who follow the lifeschool blog. So, number becomes double. Dear system, you should be way more human! Other bloggers: be aware! System is watching, and God help if you follow too many people! I am afraid to follow anybody, to be honest. I believe a wrong person was punished here. They fixed it for now. They do not let one know what number indicates you are exceeding the normal following range: might be 5, 50 or 100. Who knows? I know that I never acted weirdly or obsessively.

Link to my art website for these who did not know I had it: inesepogagallery.com

To trust and to rely on

One of the most human features is to trust somebody until they do not prove it otherwise. We want to trust things that we believe are fair; we want to rely on services that we assume are honest.

The recent Facebook issues while they are losing a lot of faces which were relying on and trusting their promises about keeping our personal information safe clearly show that we have been very silly and to reliable. Most likely, not all of us have done that, but the natural feeling of trust and reliability has fogged our eyes.

It was hilarious how Mark Zuckerberg tried to convince everybody in his speech that he had no idea about what was going on. They believed the personal user data were deleted. They just take somebody’s word for it and live happily ever after. It is like as if they do not deal with a huge number of people, but just have some school kid’s site that is running on its own. He literally looked like a kid who has not grown up yet, but he has certainly learned how to say sorry with an innocent look. He was sorry about allowing selling off and giving to whoever access to such data. We are so sorry. We hear that so frequently, way too frequently.

Well, we also hear about people deleting their profiles and pages from Facebook.

Basically, while it may help one in the future, the harm has been done. If you were using many apps and sharing all kinds of attractive images with unknown origin and these hearty “if you have a daughter …”, “if you have a mother …”, “if you have a sister or brother…” texts or images, you are already in. You’ve been tracked big time. The truth is that software that is intended to mask its real intentions is designed to appeal to people who do not have time or enough insight in order to realize what they are really doing. Some people are really hooked on this. I told one lady: could you please stop sending me these attachments, I told a lot of people: could you please stop inviting me to strange games and sites and activities that I am completely not interested in, but they ignore my requests. They believe everybody is in silly games and sweet attachment sharing.

It is not that I really love any of the social media sites. In fact, I’d rather not be on any of them, but just like everybody else I simply need access to larger audiences while being quite isolated in the real life. For me, it feels quite frequently like a duty: if I do not post any announcements or any updates of my studio, I become 100% invisible. It is not that I am extremely visible right now. I do not have time to be obsessed with posting even on my blogs, not to mention I could ever have enough time to review or read everything on Twitter or on Facebook. I limit my presence there to approximately 5 minutes a day or 10 minutes every three days. I do sometimes disappear completely from blogs and social media when I am having some large writing job, do not feel well enough or when I am struggling with my current pain attack.

I never understood people who congratulate their children or spouses who live together on Facebook. My question always was: cannot you say this personally?

Lots of people use such social media sites to show off, to get some “oh, my God you look so beautiful” when they actually absolutely do not, “you are so talented” when that is not the case at all, “your kids are so wonderful and gifted” when your kids are just simply kids and do everything normal what a kid should.

I am wondering how people are not alarmed or worried when they post all of their life on social media. They check in during the day and even night in all places they visit or stay, or work, they take numerous selfies and make everybody aware about what exactly they are doing and when. What a wonderful tracking experience that must be for companies that sell you lots of junk and useless things, as well as ask you to sign up for anything and register with anything! Plus, anybody can spy on your whereabouts.

If you think that deleting Facebook profile or business page is enough and you do not want to be there, you still cannot undo the past and take back your data from tracking and malware inserting sites that spy on you, your activities and are present in every step of your life. Instagram is owned by Facebook. You Tube along with multiple companies is owned by Google which is owned by Alphabet. As you watch You Tube somebody could be watching you. We all use Google maps, we are all certainly aware that somebody also knows where we are at all times.

Every time when you sign up for a new app on your smart phone, you should really think who you are allowing into your house, into your family and into your personal life. Tracking is not only what Facebook apps do. Every app has a potential to steal your data and use your data in the way they find necessary.

It might be a good moment to clean up the social profiles or to at least clarify what does what and where things you share go.

The more connected you are, the bigger threats you actually are facing. If you are an obsessive internet shopper, these tracking and spying apps adore and love you. Even if you just send a few messages and e-mails here there, even if you have signed up for a few sites that you believe have nothing to do with spying on you, you still cannot trust everybody and blindly rely on their promises.

I personally think a good principle is this: if you can show the content that you are posting or letting to appear on the internet to anybody including your children, parents, teachers, boss or coworkers, as well as law enforcement agencies and it does not disclose too much of your sensitive information, why not? It is just so that one has to really decide who and what they should trust and to what extent they are able to rely on their agreements about not selling out your personal information to third parties. Trust is something that must be earned. Do not give it out as added value to what you are already paying for the services some social or other online site provides you with. Trust, but check meticulously. Rely only on these who have proven to be worth your trust.

As I was typing this, Facebook’s stock was on a downtrend, it was down quite a lot actually, somewhere in the range of 150 US. Well, there were mentioned also other internet giants who pose a big threat to your privacy: Yahoo being one of the most affected in the past and the potential vulnerabilities of You Tube. When something is so big, there is always potential to miss some harmful bad guy and anybody unfair will use that. Therefore, maybe it’s time to switch your trust to somebody more reliable, such as the real people in your real life.