Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Unexpected Pleasure

As I was leaving Seattle, my niece, Little Diamond, passed a book along to me. It’s part of our family culture – we read, and we pass along.

When my son was in university, I remember him telling me that I had addicted him to books. His first memory of books was living in Tunis, and when we would be going on a long trip, or when he had done something particularly good, I would pull down a new book from the shelf high up in my closet. Knowing he was approaching reading age, I had stocked up on books before we left.

As a student, he told me that as he approached final exams at university, he would motivate himself by telling himself that as soon as his last final was over, he could go to the bookstore and buy whatever the newest book out was that he was eager to read. Reading – for fun – during his school breaks was his great reward.

It’s that way for all of us. Before any trip, we stock up on good books to read. Before I left Seattle, I stocked up books for my Mother to read! We seek out places like Half Price Books (I do NOT own stock in Half Price Books) and Amazon.com to feed our habits. In our concern against running out of good books, we all have piles by our bed of books we intend to read. Some of my books have been there almost a year – since I moved to Kuwait!

So I accepted the book, Snake Hips: Belly Dancing and How I Found True Love, although I looked at the cover in dismay, and actually took it off for the trip. It’s about a Lebanese-American girl who goes in search of her ethnic roots. While at first I didn’t like her, I kept reading in spite of myself – the book drew me in. Little Diamond reviews the book here, (as well as several others that sound really good.)

This book was an unexpected pleasure – as are many of the books my book-voracious niece reads. The main character in this book has an unexpected wryly objective view of herself, is painfully honest, and you find yourself hoping she will find herself, and true love, in spite of her clumsy attempts.

January 15, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Books, Cross Cultural, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Generational, Poetry/Literature, Relationships, Women's Issues | Leave a comment

Blog Stats

Back in November and December, when I published all those Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes, magic happened. All of a sudden, the blog was getting 500 – 600+ hits a day. I watched in amazement. The two top posts were Mom’s Fruitcake Recipe and Divinity Candy. The Divinity recipe still gets about 3 hits a day. Go figure. I only started collecting recipes when I discovered I wasn’t a great cook, and needed some fail-safe recipes to protect myself. Life is funny that way.

The rational side of my brain knew it was temporary, sort of like being a rock-star; you know it is an aberration, you know it can’t last forever, and you can’t help but love it. I was addicted. I would look at those blog stats in sheer wonder.

It all came to a screeching halt the day after Christmas. Oh, yeh, a few loyal fans kept the stats up until New Year’s, but the drop after Christmas was dramatic – like 300 people a day. Running the recipes did attract a good number of regular readers who continue reading, but nothing like before Christmas.

WordPress has these great charts for displaying blog hits, feeds, readers, even daily hits on individual articles. Until January 25th, I am stuck with a statistics chart that shows a huge readership to the left, and a dribble to the right. I am eager to have the chart entirely normal once again so I can keep things in perspective.

We all have our own reasons for blogging. One of mine is to put down in writing some records of things I see, think about, hear, my reactions to events. I don’t want to care about statistics, they are irrelevant, maybe even detrimental to my purpose. . . .but I do.

How about you? do you check your statistics? Do you follow who is reading your blog? Where readership is coming from? Is this a good or bad thing? Does it interfere with your purpose in blogging?

January 15, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Communication, Random Musings, Recipes | 10 Comments