Negative Feedback Loop

Negative Feedback Loop

Between a phone meeting with my graduate advisor about my research study, thinking about getting out to the polling place for April elections that include voting for school board candidates, the snow that’s coming down, and a hair appointment later today, I forgot that it is time for a Slice of Life: Tuesday post. Part of this forgetfulness is due to the fact that I was somewhat relieved to have the Slice of Life Story Challenge over for this year. I relished in being able to post my photo-only, ever-popular, Silent Sunday thematic post this week. And, as usual and expected, I had a nice response to that.

Along withe a few other slicers this year, I felt a lack of support from the Slice of Life Community this year. I have only participated once before, and it was last year. So, I do not have much to which I can compare the experience. All I can tell you is that it just was not the same (for me).  Over all it is still a great experience, and I reflected on that in my blog on the 31st, as most of the slicers did this year.  However, it was the lack of or few comments I received on my blog from other slicers that bothered me. Some have said that it is because more people are participating and the requisite three comments do not spread very far. I am not sure that is the reason. I know there were many participants last year and I felt more connected. One wise blogger pointed out that my feeling that last year was better is probably  because I was new and received regular visits from welcome wagon participants. She could be entirely right. Still there were days I received no comments at all.

When I don’t get three comments from other slicers involved in the Slice of Life Challenge, it in turn served as a de-motivator for me to leave comments for others. Here is what my numbers show. My return comments (that I try to make to each blogger) are not included in these numbers. It isn’t pretty! But, thank you to those who did take the time to comment!

Commenting Numbers For March

March 1  – 5 comments from others

2nd – 2 comments from others 

3rd –  5 comments from others

4th –  3 comments from others

5th – 3 comments from others (one not a slicer but another friend that blogs)

6th – 4 comments from others

7th – 1 comment from another person

8th – 1 comment from another person

9th – 4 comments from others

10 – 3 comments from others (one not a slicer but another friend that blogs)

11 – 5 comments from others (2 comments from the same person who is not a slicer but a personal friend)

12th – 5 comments from others (2 comments of the five from the same person – a slicer)

13th – 2 comments from others

14th – 4 comments from others

15th – No comments from anyone!

16th – 6 comments – (2 from the same person)

17th – 10 comments

18th – 10 comments

19th – 1 comment

20th –  3 comments

21st – 6 comments

22nd – 5 comments pertaining to this post

23rd – No comments from anyone!

24th –  3 comments (2 from the same person)

25th –  6 comments

26th – 4 comments

27th – 3 comments (one not a slicer)

28th – 4 comments

29th – 2 comments

30th – 2 comments

31st – 2 comments

There are 14 days of the 31 days is March, that I did not receive the minimum number of comments from other slicers (3 comments). And, more notably 2 days during which I did not receive any comments at all. If part of the blogging challenge is to connect with others, these numbers tell me that I am not doing it! Certainly, I felt by participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge this year, I would receive more feedback.

Growing Pains

Let me be clear. I will continue to write. And, I will probably continue the SOL Tuesday postings, but I see some need for the guidelines of the annual March Slice of Life Story Challenge to change.  It is a huge undertaking that those at have made to host this blogging challenge and I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the challenge.  I can only imagine the amount of work that is put into it. I just wish it had been more satisfying for me, personally.  But, maybe there are some growing pains that need to be addressed. Thoughtfully responding to the posts of others is part of blogging. I expected more.

Celebrating being a Writer: A Room with a Desk (and a view)!

Celebrating being a Writer: A Room with a Desk (and a view)!

Today, I celebrate being a writer!

Today, I celebrate being a writer!  There are two main reasons for this celebration. The first reason is that about eight weeks ago, I ordered a modular desk to be made by the Amish in Ohio! It is solid Alder wood with a Honey Oak stain. Did you hear me? It is solid wood! Do you know how hard it is to find furniture made of solid wood? It is so difficult that practically every piece of wood furniture in our home – end tables, kitchen tables, book cases, entertainment units, and computer stations are all made by my husband. But, since he recently wanted me to choose something for our home that I really, really wanted, I chose this desk!

A New Desk

The desk has clean lines and really keeps the room spacious in appearance. Besides being solid wood, the other great feature of this desk is that I was able to order two filing cabinets to go with it. I have written curriculum for over ten years for my garden club lessons. In addition, I wrote four sets of math enrichment books – only one of which I have published digitally. I have also accumulated numerous resources during the last four years of graduate school for a degree in Environmental Education. Essays, papers, book chapters that I either have written or keep from other authors as inspiration. They can now all be stored in an organized fashion in my new desk!

Today, I celebrate being a writer. I have a brand new desk with brand new, empty, filing cabinets! I love how it looks and that I can gaze out the windows if I need a dose of nature while I am working!

How will my desk be used?

What is my intent for my desk? First and foremost, it is to claim a space for my own use. A place I can retreat to, a place to recharge, a place to contemplate life, reflect and creatively morph those reflections into something my growing audience will enjoy reading. My new desk is a place for me to write!  Since last February, I have written almost every day. My goal for the slice of life story challenge was passed yesterday as I accumulated more views for the month of March than I did last year.  In fact, this month I have more views on my blog than ever before! Thank you to each and every one of you who has visited! Most of my thanks go to my husband and boys who have all supported my writing habit over the last year. It was their encouragement that kept me going! It was at my husband’s insistence I buy the desk I wanted! I am ever so grateful! celebrating being a writer18I am a writer! This is something I have aspired to be for most of my life!  The arrival of my desk celebrates that accomplishment! (Now, I just can’t wait to decorate the rest of the room!)

I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by TwoWritingTeachers. This challenge involves blogging daily in the month of March, as well as commenting on the posts of other bloggers. It is my second year of participation. Thank you for the opportunity to connect with others through this supportive community!

Do you participate in any other blogging challenges besides the Slice of Life Story Challenge?

Do you participate in any other blogging challenges besides the Slice of Life Story Challenge?

A Different Type of Post for Slice of Life

I was having a difficult time this morning deciding what to write about today for my Slice of Life Story Challenge Post.  I consulted a book of quotes and I took photos of a wren making its home in our bluebird house. But, none of the ideas seemed to work for me today. So, I looked at the weekly photo challenge I also participate in as a blogger. It is the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge on The Daily Post. As a daily blogger, not just during the month of March for the Slice of Life Challenge, I post nearly each day on different topics. One of my favorite things to post are those topics that show off my love of photography. So, it is natural that I look for blogging challenges that support that hobby as well as the written part of blogging.  I debated whether this post was appropriate for Slice of Life. But, I am writing. I am sharing a slice of my life because I do participate in the Weekly Photo Challenge. So, whether you agree or not, I am using this post for my slice today. You’ll note that it is much longer than the ever popular six word posts that people seem to turn to when they become “stuck”.  I hope you enjoy the theme, my photographs, and the change in pace this slice offers today.

St. George Local Reststop 2017
St. George’s Bermuda. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2017. “A Seat in the Square.”

The Daily Post’s Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge: Favorite Place

At first I thought this challenge would be so easy for me. I thought, hands-down my favorite place is Bermuda. I’ve been there three times in 30 years, the most recent being 2017. And, I would go back again, in a heartbeat.

But, then, I thought of my own yard. The peace I receive in my flower gardens that also serve to provide habitat for my beloved Monarchs. The bright colors, the changing seasons, the place right outside my door.

Johnson’s Blue Geranium. © Carol Labuzzetta
Perennial Garden, Mid-Summer in the Mid-West. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2015.

And, lastly, I thought of our cabin. We don’t get there very much any more. Closer than Bermuda and further away by three hours than my front door, it hold many precious memories and is a favorite place, for sure.

Our dock at the cabin. “Up North” © Carol Labuzzetta, 2015.
Using A New Stand Mixer

Using A New Stand Mixer

My blog posts have been somewhat different this month as I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge hosted by TwoWrtitingTeachers. The challenge is to write every day and share a “little” slice of your life story each of those days for the 31 days in March. Before this challenge started, Sundays were home to my Silent Sunday photographic posts. I haven’t posted those due to this challenge. But, today I decided, for the health of my own blog, since my photography posts are very popular, I will post both.  Usually,  the photo posts have fewer than three sentences, if any at all.  Please stop back if you wish to see those posts. I will not be placing the links on the Slice of Life forum pages hosted by TwoWritingTeachers. Thanks for visiting and reading this explanatory paragraph.

Below, follows my post for Slice of Life.

Recently, I bought a Kitchen Aide stand mixer.  I never had one of these before, despite wanting one for many years. I guess my reasons for not having one was 1) cost, and 2) space to keep it, and 3) my hand-mixer always worked fine. But, we had an amazon gift care to spend and I decided I was going to spend it on the mixer.

The next decision to be made was about which color to get.  I love color, so I definitely was looking for something other than the standard white or cream appliance. My kitchen is teal green. I think the actual paint chip was color was defined as Grecian Ocean. (I’m a sucker for paint chip names.) My husband asked that I keep the mixer on the kitchen counter if I got one. So, I began looking for one that would coordinate with the kitchen. I came down to Black and Aqua. Both were less than $300.00 on Amazon with free shipping.  Usually, I like classic design fixtures and do have a fair amount of black featured in my kitchen appliances. But, our kitchen also faces east and by mid-morning every speck of dust can be seen lingering on those black surfaces. Thinking about facing a stand mixer covered with visible dust daily, quickly crossed it off my list.

I went with the Aqua. Two days later, it arrived and was gently washed and at home in a corner of my kitchen counter space.  Its been sunny over the last few days, and no sign of dust! It seems aqua was a good decision as far as color.

We were invited to a dinner party last night and I offered to bring dessert. I need to “learn” my new mixer so I picked a recipe in which I would need to use it. The stand mixer made quick work of whipping up heavy cream into a light weight, yet stiff peaked dessert topping.  The photo shows the results of my efforts!




Home Grown Honey

Home Grown Honey

I am getting hooked on locally home-grown honey! In the past month, I have been lucky enough on two occasions to get some samples!  The first was from Five Hands Farm out of Minnesota. The owner was in the booth next to mine at a local art show in February. She had honey, in cute little bottles, of which I purchased two for 4 oz. total. Thick, sweet, and slightly flowery in taste, I have been adding it sparingly to one cup a day of my hot tea, with a little fresh lemon squeezed into the steaming, brown, comforting liquid as well. I used the last of it last night. Delicious!


But, just in the nick of time, yesterday afternoon I was given a whole pint of home-made honey from a teacher-friend of mine. I have been cleaning out bookcases in our home and put word out through social media that I had some to give away. In an effort to have some reading/activity options for overnighting grandchildren, she took some of the books. I got honey in return! Yum!

Bees are fascinating! Last year, for the first time in thirteen years, I did a unit on bees for my garden cub students. I learned some important facts. One of which was that there are solitary bees and social bees. Honey bees are social bees, meaning they live in a hive, each contributing to the hive community by performing different jobs. Then, there are solitary bees. These bees include species like the mason bee. Mason bees are highly efficient pollinators, especially for fruit trees. And, unbeknownst to most, are better pollinators than honey bees!  Since we have a home fruit orchard, I purchased a couple of mason bee houses to place in the orchard. I hope they get more action this year than last. Unlike honey bees, mason bees do not produce honey and do not perform a specific job. They do not live in a hive. Instead, they use hollowed out sticks to make cells for reproducing and carrying on the life cycle.

One hears different things about beekeeping. Some say it is difficult, others say it is easy. One friend had her hives collapse and another has been successful. I am spread pretty thin considering the number of hobbies I already have. So, for now, I’ll just admire those who are keeping bees. And, I am always pleased to be the beneficiary of some honey! Thank you bees and friends!

 I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge hosted by TwoWritingTeachers.       Thank you for sponsoring a wonderful community of writers!


What is Leadership?

What is Leadership?

This morning I woke up feeling  unsure about how I will do with the Slice of Life Blog Writing Challenge this year. My intent is to blog everyday. I did complete the challenge successfully last year, posting for 31 days in a row which led to the past year of blogging almost everyday.  It’s been an incredible journey. I feel that I have grown as a writer and very supported in my craft. However, something seems different this year. Maybe it is because I have readers from other online communities. Maybe it is because I like my photo only posts once or twice a week. Maybe there are other reasons, too. But, I do feel myself wondering on just Day #3 of the 31 days of the Slice of Life Story Challenge if I will complete the challenge this year. We will see.  I hope to. Thanks, in advance for your support and for the support of the TwoWritingTeachers Blog that sponsors the challenge.

Today, due to time pressures of other obligations, I am posting about leadership. It is a subject on which I have thought a lot about, started last week, and just finished this morning. I hope you can relate.

Leadership: What it is and is not.

Leadership is not a title.

It is not giving money.

It is not receiving recognition.

It is not giving in when your heart tells you to forge ahead.

It is not a degree.

It is not an office.

It is not having a desk.

It is not a nameplate.

It is not an elected office.

It is not a job.

It is not joining the masses when you feel you should do otherwise.

It is not being the loudest voice in the room.

It is not backing down when you hit a roadblock.

Leadereship is not fickle.

Leadership is….

Leadership is observant.

It is wise.

It is calm.

It is doing what you need to do because it is the right thing to do.

It is sometimes working, hundreds and hundreds of hours behind the scenes.

Working because you see a need.

Work done………………………………

without a paycheck,

without a desk,

without a title,

without recognition,

without fame,

without being elected,

                      without being asked.

Leadership often occurs behind closed doors.

In a meeting.

During a conversation.

Making a contribution, however small and, maybe not monetary.

Done because you want to, not because you are asked.

Done because there is need.

Done because you put others first.

Done because you believe.

Leadership is all these things and more.  What have you done to be a leader and what made you do it?  When did you realize you were a leader? Did someone tell you or did you just know?



What Do You Want Me To Write About?

What Do You Want Me To Write About?

I have over 100 self-written prompts in my draft folder on my WordPress account page for my blog. The month of march is quickly approaching during which I will participate in the 11th Slice of Life Writing Challenge hosted by TwoWritingTeachers for my second year in a row.

I have a voice. I have an audience on WordPress, and a smaller audience through Facebook. I am okay with that. I actually have more WordPress followers than Facebook friends and this tells me that my posts are worth reading, that people are not just reading because they “know” me. Yes! Strangers are connecting to and following my writing! Yeah!  I think you know what I stand for! And if you don’t, read through some of my past posts and you will find out! I have gathered a few together grouped together in themes.

Family Life/Reflections

The Flu

The House of Insomnia 

Resolutions: Every Day Offers A Chance


Drinks of Bermuda

Zen Rock Building in Door County

Enriching Travel


Why Do Parents of Gifted Students Turn to Virtual Education

Five Days to a Tailspin

Giftedness: Do We Need the Label or Not?

Photo Only Posts (These run once a week on Sunday.)

Autumn Glow

Monarchs (In Season)

Monarch Activities in August

Haiku and other Poetry (When the spirit moves me.)

Tea: A Poem of Comfort

There are a total of 307 posts on my blog which is approaching its one year anniversary. If none of the above thrilled you, I invite you to look through my archives and see what other topics are posted.

Alternatively, what would you like to read about?  What should I write about to keep you interested as a reader?

I really want to know. I am not out of ideas or experiencing writer’s block or any such thing. I just, honest and truly want to know what you want to read about!

Almost daily I gain followers of my blog! I find this so awesome that it inspires me to keep writing. But, again, I also know there is a small contingent of people reading my blog privately, surreptitiously, I almost want to say! What is with that? I cannot figure it out. Are my words that radical that you do not want your name associated with mine on Facebook or on WordPress. I seriously doubt it. Maybe it is the ideas I share, that causes you to not want to be “seen” on my posts. Whatever, it is, if you read my blog I would love to know! Why not start by answering these questions for me? What do you want me to write about? What do you want to read about? Let me know. I would love to get you on board! Thanks!