Monday, January 12, 2009


One of my favorite things to do is to putter. It seems to spark creativity somehow. Joining the Blog Improvement Project has been a great catalyst for me--not only because it's gotten me puttering and creating, but because it's brought me in contact with yet more wonderful book bloggers.

In this second week of the Blog Improvement Project, I thought I would post about things I've accomplished in the past week. Most are small changes, but I'm seeing results everyday. What an incentive! Thanks to everyone who's stopping by and commenting. Whether you realize it or not, you're being a huge help.

  • I've added more tabs/pages in my header. It's now easier to get back to the home page if you're wandering around. I've made the Contact simpler and moved it off my sidebar. There's an expanded About Me page which is more than the basic Blogger profile and has my photo if anyone just has to see what I look like. Links are now up in the header as well as my blogroll. I've added reminders to my Google calendar so I'll update the last two regularly.
  • I've joined Technorati and have begun learning about it. My blog wasn't added even five minutes before Joanne from Book Zombie had favorited me. Thanks, Joanne!
  • I got the code to add to the bottom of each post so people can click on it and add a post to StumbleUpon and many other social bookmarking sites.
  • As an experiment, I added a poll feature just to see what would happen. I'm surprised and happy that several people have responded to it without me advertising it in any way first. Thank you all!
  • I've been working on adding a more personal touch both to my posts and my blog. Some of the new personal touch is all the way at the bottom where it doesn't interfere with the bookish stuff, but if you feel like traveling all the way down there, you'll see Phoenix weather (don't hate me now that it's January and you're shivering and wading through snow while it's a balmy 70+ degrees Fahrenheit here) and some of my photographs that I've taken around the state. I'll be updating the photo slideshow periodically.
There are other things I'll be adding, but it takes time. Due to a dead router, my husband and I have had to take turns being online. This has meant that I've had more reading time, and I've actually got a backlog of posts, so I'll be working on getting them written and scheduled.

But while all this is going on, there are a couple of other things that are moving to the front burner. My birthday and seventh wedding anniversary (on the same day) are fast approaching at the end of this month. For the second year, Denis and I are renting a cottage in the Mule Mountains outside of Bisbee, Arizona in the southeast corner of the state. I've already been making a pile of "Bisbee Books" to take with me, and Denis is looking into new trails to explore in the Jeep. I'm looking forward to reading, relaxing, and exploring. I do know that one of the things we'll be doing is going to White Water Draw again to see thousands of sandhill cranes.

The other thing that approaches is getting the house ready for visitors. At one point, we had visitors come stay with us so often that we nicknamed this place the Barlow B&B. After taking a couple of years off, it seems as though the visitors will be with us once again. A dear friend from Washington state in March; a niece, her partner, her young son and daughter from Milton Keynes in the UK at the end of March; and another niece from Rochdale in the UK sometime after that. I've got to get the B&B ship-shape!

But...I've still got time. Bisbee beckons. And so does Deborah Crombie's And Justice There Is None. I think I'll stop puttering and go say hello to Duncan and Gemma!


  1. Your in my technorati favorites now.

  2. Thanks for good tips, I didn't even know about Technorati for example. And I like the poll.

  3. Cathy, your blog always rewards my visits. I have taken several minutes to appreciate the slide show and am looking forward to seeing exactly what a sandhill crane is sometime in the future.

    I am way behind with my blog improvement plans. I suspect that is because there is so much to improve! I just keep reminding myself: "baby steps".

  4. I've been meaning to tell you how much I love the Evenings at Home painting here. It always makes me feel good to see it when I come by.

  5. Thanks, Kathy, you're in mine, too!

    I'm glad you like the poll, Lilly. The trick will be for me to come up with questions that haven't been done to death!

    Susan--You're definitely a morale booster. Thanks for the kind words! I'm glad you took the time to watch the slideshow. Photography is my second passion after books. You're 100% correct with "baby steps" in the BIP. I'm fortunate in that it came along right when I wanted to do this, *and* that I've had blocks of time in which I could work on it.

    Belle--I love that painting, too. I'm so glad that Deborah gave me permission to showcase her art on my blog!

  6. Your blog is looking great. I keep meaning to join in the blog improvement challenge, but haven't found the time.

    Wonderful pictures! Really, really impressive! I love seeing the pictures of Arizona. My husband is from there. He grew up in Douglas, which is very close to Bisby, went to high school in Bisby. His mom now lives in Scottsdale. We take turns flaunting weather. In the winter I complain about my below zero temps, and blowing, drifting snow, while she smiles and tells me it is 75 degrees. But all summer while she bakes in 110+ degrees, I get to say, 'hahah, only 80 here'.

  7. Lisa--Thanks for the compliment about my blog. I've spent some more time tonight tinkering with it. I'm glad you enjoyed my photos. If you'd like to see more, you can check out my Kittling: Personal Observations blog. The directions to it are on my sidebar. I'm fortunate in that I love the heat, so summers don't bother me. (Of course, I do spend a lot of time in the pool!)


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