Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Best Friend from High School

How many times I've looked back over the years, and wondered what happened to Sparky. In High School,  we were inseparable. Her mom was my mom, and visa versa. Where one was, the other was sure to be found. We had our difference, and that is what made us so special together.

I remember when my mom pulled me out of public school, and put me in a private school.  Sparky soon followed. For whatever reason, the school ended up kicking me out (as I had predicted to my mother they would). Sparky was kicked out as well. Her offense, being associated with me. The following year, several of the girls that had been going to the private school, were now in our school.

We would walk to the store from my house, cutting through the field where a bull roamed, and would gladly give chase if he saw you (we learned real quick how to jump barb wire and slide under said wire). We would go camping, and not get any sleep. Sneak out of the house, and meet up with friends. Oh yes, we were THOSE Girls, the ones who defied our parents, and thought we were invincible.

Boyfriends came and went, as did other friends to our world, but we were solid. We knew the other would always be there. We were closer then sisters, and we appreciated each other.

After High School, Sparky and I drifted apart. We went on our separate paths through life. Raising our families and learning about ourselves. I thought about her often through the years, wondered how she was, where she was, and how life was treating her.

One day, as I am on Facebook, I see a new friend request. I go to check it out, to either approve or deny the request. I didn't recognize the name, as she was going by her married name. But,, the picture,, what?? No,, that can't be her?! I immediately accepted the request, even though I still wasn't sure it was her. I head over to her profile.

Let's see, Born in NJ, raised in FL, went to Riverdale High (loving known as Referjail, even to this day). OMG! THIS CAN'T BE MY SPARKY! I just had a dream about her a week before! It was my Sparky! 

We immediately picked up our friendship right were we left off, never missing a beat. This is the kind of friend you find one in a life time (twice if your really lucky).

Sparky (Hmm, sorry, AMY) is back, and I have completed another circle in my life. Amy and her family are planning a trip up here in June or July. She is still living in our wonderful town of Fort Misery (Ft Myers), and from what I understand, not to far from our old stomping grounds. I'm excited to see her again. And know that our lives, once again, will never be the same. I just hope our husbands can stand the two of us together!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

5 Blogging Basics

As I hop around the blogesphere, I look at a couple of different things that will help me decide if I want to follow a blog within the first couple of minutes. A quick list of 10 things that can bring you more followers or make folks rum from your blog never to return again.


1. Design ~ A clean design, with minimal distraction on the sidebars will bring you more followers. A good way to do this is to use pages to display your Awards, have an "about" and contact pages (critical pages for ANY website).  Keep your header at 774 x 198 px, this will allow more of the blog to show, and the readers won't have to scroll below the fold line before reading anything.

2. Videos and Music ~ DO NOT have music playing as soon as someone lands on your page. This is a big turn off, not to mention, some people blog hop while the kids are sleeping, or the rest of the family is watching tv. I will leave a blog almost immediately if a player starts up. If you really want music on your site, then set the player to let the visitor select the song, when they are ready to listen.  Videos are great! But, if your going to have them on your sidebars, make sure they fit the area in which you placing them. If the video is too big to fit in the sidebar, it will throw off the rest of the site, and visitors will have to scroll sideways to see what you offer. Nobody likes to scroll sideways.

3. Fonts and Color ~ Keep your fonts simple. If you are using a fancy font that is hard to read, visitors will leave before reading the first sentence! And while we are talking fonts, lets talk about content area. Keep the background white, and use black fonts, These are what our eyes are trained to seek out when reading. Font style, content area, and font color can make or break a blog.

4. Flashing Graphics ~ A definite NO NO! When I first started blogging back in 2006, I loved using those flashy graphics that blinked and changed. I had a friend tell me that she could not visit my blog because of all the flashing images because they caused her to have seizures. I started hearing more about this reaction to the images, and now only use them in a minimal way.

5. Know Your Goals ~ Are you blogging just for you and your family? Or do you want to grow a following and maybe monetize your blog? Do you want Sponsors, to do reviews for pay, affiliate marketing? Think about your ultimate goal with your blog, and work your way there.

The most beneficial thing I have done with my Ranch Blog was to take Darren Rowe's 31 Day to Build a Better Blog Challenge. Although this challenge can seem daunting, it is well worth the time to take. And when you have completed the challenge, you can go back and work on days that needed more time to expand on. Get the E-Book, and work your way to a better blog in 31 days!