Archive | writing RSS for this section

Social Media isn’t the new toy anymore

In the circle of blogs that I read, there have been several blog posts about the slowness of the blogosphere lately.  Not as many people commenting, or posting, or tweeting, or pinning, or doing much of anything.

They’ve mentioned lots of reasons (which I won’t mention here… you can read this one or this one or this one.)

My personal take on it? Blogging hit its peak ages ago.  A brand new blogger starting now would not be able to make money or even get a wide audience unless they were exceptionally good and extremely dedicated.  There is so much work involved in promoting a blog that ther blogger basically ends up sitting in front of the computer all day.

I did that once. Not for blogging, true, but for a game on Facebook that basically needed you to be logged in all the time. If  you didn’t, your kingdom could be attacked and you’d lose your vassals!  It wasn’t worth it.

I can’t imagine that sitting in front of the computer all day to promote your blog is worth it, either, unless you really are making decent money at it.

I started this blog two years ago.  Even then I was aware that the blogosophere was saturated.  The original title of this blog, which can still be seen in the web address was “Lost in a sea of blogs.” That is still appropriate.

There are so many blogs that even if I did sit here all day, I wouldn’t be able to read a quarter of the ones that interest me.  I’m always happy when I do receive comments or a new subscriber, but it’s always a pleasant surprise – I don’t expect it.  Can’t be easy to find my wee blog that is basically my personal writing platform for fun and for me to work things out in my head!

Onto the topic of other social media – well, it was exciting when it (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc) was brand new and we were all figuring it out. Like  a new toy that you don’t want to let out of your sight while you figure out all the cool things it can do. Now we know how it works and it’s become part of the furniture.  It’s still one of our favourite things, but it doesn’t claim our attention as much as it used to do. Either we’ve got other new toys to play with (iPad3? A favourite game? I dunno. You tell me.  Mine is my ukulele), or we’re looking for that new toy.

(Don’t you wish you knew what the next big thing would be? I’d buy shares in it right now!)

In my opinion, that’s what’s going on in the blogosphere and social media.  We’re saturated with blogs, and our new toys aren’t new anymore.  Everybody’s getting on with life while they wait for the Next Big Thing.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep writing and being pleasantly surprised and thrilled when anybody comments on my posts.   Thank you so much for reading!

Recording ideas while driving

As I mentioned in my last post, I do a lot of driving. It’s the best place to think, for me.

I often come up with great ideas for a blog post. I even write it all out in my head.

You never get to read them.

By the time I sit down to my computer to write it all out, one of two things have happened.

First, I’ve forgotten the idea or what I was going to write about the idea.


Second, I wrote it all out so well in my head I no longer need to type it out.

Not helpful for my readers, I know.

So I tried keeping a voice recorder in the car. (The one on my phone is poor and here in NZ it’s illegal to be using your mobile phone while you’re driving, anyways.)  I kept either forgetting to have it close by, or it was too dangerous to turn it on.

Can’t write things down while you’re driving, either.

Any other suggestions for me, so I can keep writing out my random thoughts for you, my reader?

What do you do when you play?

I just finished reading Play: How it shapes the brain, Opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul.

I was attracted to it because at Playcentre, our philosophy is all about learning through play.  I thought maybe there would be some interesting tidbits in here that might help when we are trying to convince parents of the value of learning through play.  I was right.

Did you know that all animals play?

That children who are empowered to play without structure have better social skills, learning skills, and motor skills?

That children who have social difficulties, attention difficulties, and learning difficulties have been shown to improve when given the opportunity to participate in physical and social play with other children? (Sometimes requiring some strategies and role playing with adults before they give it a go.)

Did you know that adults can aquire a “play deficit?”  Adults who play on a regular basis are happier in general, and more creative and enthusiastic at work.

That adult relationships require an element of play, or they fizzle?

Some of this stuff I knew, and some was new information. Regardless, it helped me look at things in a new light.

Things like my relationship with hubby – and how his teasing and jokes are probably a significant part of why we are happy together.

Like why so many parents stick with Playcentre even though it can be a major pain in the ass – because we get to play, too, when we’re on session!!

And also, what constitutes play.  Before I read this book, I would not have considered this blog to be “play.” Now I recognise that “play” is the reason I’m not writing this blog to make money.  I like working with words. I like writing.  When I come here and write a blog post, I’m playing.

When I’m working on the Playcentre Journal, I’m playing, because I love manipulating words.

Other people might play through exercise, through gardening, through tinkering, through baking.

So how about you? How do you play?


**All comments and opinions my own. I received nothing for reviewing this book – I borrowed it from the library. 🙂

Tripped and fell


the deep well of fortress Königstein

the deep well of fortress Königstein (Photo credit: Matthias17)

I fell down the well again.  Not very far.  If I looked up, I could see the top edge, and I just had to reach out and grab it to pull myself out.

Problem was, I was looking down, not up. Down into the darkness below.

Not far enough down that my non-bloggy friends could tell.  I kept posting on Facebook. Not statuses, really, but other things. I kept doing my work. I didn’t lock myself indoors.

I even know how I got there.  I hurt.  My right foot is giving me so much trouble. I’ve had new orthotics casted but I don’t get them for another week and a half. I can walk, but I’m limping badly.

I got there, too, because the book I’m reading is dark.  I suspend my disbelief very well sometimes, and when the fiction I read is dark, my mood gets dark.

And I got there, too, because changes are afoot in my life. Big changes. Big decisions. On one hand I’m excited and ready for the changes, but on the other, it’s scary, and I just want to jump into bed and hide under the covers until it goes away.

I’m not really all the way out, yet, either. I’m sitting on the edge of the well.  One foot is in, and the other is out. I’m looking around, and deciding which way to fall.  In, or out?

For now, I’m out.

When all I want to do is share, but I can’t.

Some friends of mine recently gifted me several past editions of the Playcentre Journal to help me in my role as editor.

Ivy at Lower Hutt Playcentre

Case in point - creative commons picture - does her mother know I've posted it here? Ivy at Lower Hutt Playcentre (Photo credit: ordinaryfool)

I jumped up and down with excitement and couldn’t wait to read the issues I had never seen.

There were cartoons about best practice, centre spreads about each of the areas of play. Discussions on the differences between Playcentre and the usual preschool/daycare/kindergarten scenario. Articles about the New Zealand Playcentre Federation’s (NZPF) bicultural journey and our dedication to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

They are a wealth of information and resources, and sincerely, all I want to do is share!!

For some of the information, it will be easy enough to use the historical article as a starting off point and create an updated version. For other information, obtaining permission to reprint is probably a mere formality.

What to do with the rest?

My first reaction was to scan and post them on Facebook.  In fact, I did scan one page and post it before I really thought of the implications. For there ARE implications.  Pictures loaded to Facebook become Facebook’s legal property.  That’s an issue, because all this material technically belongs to NZPF, and I don’t have permission to post it online.  Then there’s copyright issues, copy and paste issues, all that fun stuff.

So my scanner is quiet.

And yet, there is a large Playcentre population on Facebook, that would use this information as springboards to fantastic things.

A conundrum. I want to share, but cannot!

Stream of Consciousness Sunday/Monday: Sunday morning cartoons

#SOCsundayHow did you spend your Sunday mornings growing up?What are some of your favorite memories?

Sunday mornings were always the day of bad cartoons.  I remember getting up as early as possible on Saturday to get all the good cartoons, but Sunday mornings were horrible.  I think I avoided them when I was at home but I remember having sleepovers at my Nan’s house where both Nan & Poppa wouldn’t get up until after 8am and I’d be wide awake at 6:30am.  Since my bed was the couch in the living room, I could turn on the TV really quietly and watch all the horrible cartoons.  And shows. “Size Small” and “Hercules” were two of the ones that were on.  I remember wishing Nan would wake up sooner!!

But Sundays at my house were filled with the smell of cherry pipe tobacco,  the sound of CKNW radio (with hits from yesterday… and today!) and in general needing to occupy myself.  When I was younger my mom tried to get me to go to Sunday School… but she literally had to drag me so she gave up.

Sometimes Dad would take a load of stuff to the dump – that was always exciting.  But most of the time, my brothers and I were playing outside. And not always with the neighbourhood kids. Our backyard had a swingset and lots of good places to play with my smurfs.  Plus we had a tree house! It was unfinished and the paper wasps would often come in to get the wood to make their nests but it was a great place to hang out and watch the rain.

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. Wanna join in? Click the button above.

It’s my SITS day!! Yay!!

Welcome to the blog that is lost in a sea of blogs!!  It’s my SITS day!! A SITS day is when I get to be the featured blogger on The Secret to Success is Support website.  We are a group of 10,000 women bloggers dedicated to supporting one another by leaving comments. Lots and lots of comments. We’d love to have you join us!

I’m Broot, and you’re right, that’s not my real name.  I try to keep some semblance of anonymity around here, to protect my children’s privacy. I have two children; The Boy (the elder) and The Girl (the younger).  Why Broot?  It’s a nickname I earned during the 20+ years I’ve been with Hubby. We’re all Canadian New Zealanders. Dual Citizenship, and all that.  We moved here from Vancouver, Canada, about 8 years ago, after The Boy was born.

This blog is about things I’ve learned and things that have given me a new or different perspective on things I see in my everyday life.  Sometimes I talk about Playcentre, where I help educate parents to be the best first educators of their children. Sometimes I talk about stuff that has happened in my neighbourhood or while I’ve been out and about.  And sometimes I just post what I’m thinking about.

Like what, you say?

Well, at one point I tried to answer some common questions I get about how I see colour when I read text. Another day I discussed why Common Knowledge sometimes Isn’t. I’m hoping I deftly sidestepped controversy in my post about pendulum swings. You could also check out my post that was mentioned on the BlogHer Facebook page – my discovery about Primary School Math.

But today isn’t just special because it’s my SITS day.  It’s also Hubby’s birthday, AND it’s my 200th post!!  Celebrations abound!

I hope you enjoy your visit! I’m happy to see you all today!

Me and the Children

What do you want to be when you grow up?

More information of less value via RSA Animate...

A still Image of an RSA Animate video by dullhunk via Flickr

When you were young, and your parents asked you “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and you answered with whatever was your heart’s desire at the time, what was their response?

In my travels within Playcentre, listening to the littlies announce their intended professions (some of which will change three times before next Sunday…) I’ve been amused by the adult reactions.

Take the announcement “I want to be a doctor!” as an example.

In some cases, the response is merely an acknowledgement.    “Oh what a lovely idea!” the adult might say.

In others, the adult takes the announcement seriously and provides too much information. “Well, you’ll have to go to school for a really long time and do a lot of hard work. You won’t be a doctor until you’re 30!!”

Less frequently, you hear something like this:  “I like that idea.  Shall we go and read a story about doctors?” or (after theatrically pretending to trip and fall) “Oh! OW! I think I’ve hurt my arm.  Do you think there’s a doctor here who will check my arm?” or something else that actively acknowledges and encourages the exploration of the idea the littlie has expressed.

In which case do you think the child has learnt the most?

When I was younger (but older than 9) the response I gave most often to the question “what do you want to be when you grow up,” was “A writer.”

The adult response to that was “Oh! Well then you’ll want to be an English Major in University.”

That wasn’t the most helpful response. I didn’t hear a better response until I was 16 and I went to an adult education course on creative writing. There, the response was simply “Write.  Write frequently. Write often.  Rewrite.  Write what you hear. Write what you see.  Write everything you experience.  Keep writing.” Makes sense, doesn’t it?  And if an adult had said that to me at 9, how different would my writing be? We won’t know.

But we could know for our children.

My children and I were watching a video by RSA Animate (check them out, you’ll learn a lot!!) and while most of the talk probably went over their heads (many abstract ideas!!) they were fascinated by the drawings.

My Boy, at the end of the video said wistfully “I wish I could draw like that.”

If we look at the adult responses above, then I could have said “Yes, that would be cool, wouldn’t it?”  or I could have said “Well, then, you’ll want to take drawing classes and be an art major.” But I didn’t.

I said “The artist is able to draw like that because he draws a lot. He draws every chance  he gets. Sometimes  his drawings don’t look the way he wants them to, so he does them again.  He draws the things he sees, he draws the things he knows. He draws  how he feels. If you want to draw like that, then you have to sit down and do a lot of drawing. Practice.”

That idea excited My Boy.  He asked “Can I go and do some drawing, now?” Of course I said yes, so of course, he did.

This doesn’t necessarily mean he will be a famous artist when he grows up.  It doesn’t even mean he will stick at drawing all the time.  But unlike me, he’s been given a crucial bit of information. If you want to be able to do something well, you have to practice it.  Often.  It’s up to him whether he does it or not.

How have you responded to your children’s aspirations for the future?

Changing it up a little

Yep, decided it was time for a new theme. And I finally found one I liked! Hope you like it too.

Snow in northern New Zealand? A once in 50 years event.

Snowflake. Small microscope kept outdoors. Sna...

Image via Wikipedia

This post is a bit random thought – ish. 🙂

First, remember that 3rd round of Jury Duty I got called up for?  Well, I was excused from Jury Duty next week – turns out, it WAS a mistake. In NZ, if you have served on a jury, you get 2 years exempt from being called.  Somehow I slipped through the cracks, TWICE! I asked if I could have 4 years then but apparently that was pushing my luck.

Second, remember this little boy? He’s now up at Auckland’s Starship hospital so they can sort out what’s going on. He seems to be having seizure-like spasms. Unfortunately, I might not be as wrong as I thought I was. Any good thoughts you have going in his direction would be greatly appreciated.

Third, my conference was… okay.  Much better than this one.  It was disorganised, didn’t run on time, and I got horribly sick from something in the hotel dinners, but I came away all happy and glad I went. Quite the improvement. Plus, I had THE most amazing Lemon Ginger muffin from this place.  Seriously, I thought I’d died and gone to  heaven it was so yummy. I want the recipe.  And my friend M drove me to Martha’s Backyard, which was nearly empty of food this time around but I still got a Ding Dong!! And Bottlecaps!!

Um, yes, it’s all about the food. Isn’t that what conferences are for?

Fourth, thank you for all the Happy Birthday wishes. It isn’t quite my birthday yet, though. 😉 We’ll have a party on my birthday, shall we? 🙂

Fifth, IT SNOWED. This is an absolutely huge deal in this part of New Zealand.  It does not snow much in the northern part of the North Island. Let’s put this in perspective. I have been here nearly 8 years and haven’t ever seen a snowflake during that time. My children think snow has the quality and texture of sand, because they’ve never felt it or played with it.

So on Monday afternoon, when the children & I were walking home from school, we saw  less than 10 snowflakes falling from the sky. They melted long before they hit the ground, and the only way we identified them was that, of course, they didn’t melt immediately when they hit my jacket. My children were amazed and filled with wonder. They haven’t yet stopped talking about it. That’s how huge this is.

I’m not saying it doesn’t snow in New Zealand. It does. Just not usually this far North. One of these days I really gotta take my snow-deprived children to Mt. Ruapehu!!