A Rope On A Rock

Apologies for the blur. My hands were shaking a little.

Apologies for the blur. My hands were shaking a little.


Spent a great day today with my friend Mary, in Eldorado Canyon.  I hadn’t climbed there in 17 years maybe?  It’s been a long time.  For the last 12 hours I had been vascillating between sheer terror and excited anticipation.

As we walked into the canyon, I was surprised as my heart raced a little; the thought of touching the rock “in that way.”

Within minutes of choosing the route and getting the gear laid out I could see that Mary was in her element.  She moved easily and surely, putting gear on her harness, getting ready to lead a rope up the rock face.

When it was my turn to go up, I felt ready.  There were a few tense moments though.  Like when I thought the cramp in my calf was never going to stop. About halfway up I saw the dark skies and felt the rain start to fall. Then I wondered if the metal gear on my harness made me a prime target should an electrical storm blow in.  (No electrical storm. Rain didn’t last too long. I did not get struck by lightening.)

I’m sure I’ll do it again, although my old body is a bit stiff and achy right now. I’d want to do the same two routes. I didn’t accomplish either with much style today, and I know they’ll feel better the next time.  On one called “Calypso” I ended up sitting into the rope.  (Mary, at that point, was my lifeline.) “The Bomb” was an easier one, but not the hop-skip-and-a-jump that I remembered it to be, but . . . hey, it’s been like 17 years!



April 20, 2014 at 5:18 pm Leave a comment

Tiny Tomatillos

My friend, who has a small greenhouse in her backyard, gave me a tomatillo plant that she had started from seed. I’ve never grown tomatillos. In fact, I’m not really sure what they are.  But, in the mood to try growing anything, I happily brought the 8” tall plant home on May 23 and within a few days transferred it to a 5-gallon container.

I placed the potted tomatillo in the garden on the south side of my house, where it would get plenty of sun.  Within a few weeks, I noticed that something was chewing holes in the leaves. I sprayed it with insecticidal soap insect killer and that seemed to take care of the problem.

By early August, the plant was taller than me and loaded with beautiful bright green “lanterns.”  They were very lightweight, and they dangled and swayed in the breeze.  Having no experience with tomatillos, I wasn’t really sure how to tell when they’d be ripe and ready for picking. A quick Google search on How To Grow Tomatillos gave me everything I needed to know . . . almost.

Not-quite-ready Tomatillo, next to a cherry tomato and basil from my herb garden.

Not-quite-ready Tomatillo, next to a cherry tomato and basil from my herb garden.

According to that article, my tomatillos would be ready for harvest at about 100 days. However, here I am at 91 days since I got the plant, which was probably already 8 weeks old, and the tomatillos don’t look anything like the photo in the article.  The “lanterns” are about the size of golf balls, but they don’t appear to have anything inside.  One concern I had was that I only have one plant, and the article says you need to have at least two plants in order to pollinate and produce fruit as they are self-infertile.

To satisfy my curiosity, I plucked a lantern from the plant and was happy to see that there was, in fact, a beautiful albeit small tomatillo inside.  Apparently, the necessary pollination took place while my plant was still in my friend’s greenhouse, alongside the tomatillo plant that she kept for herself. I won’t have a 100-day harvest, but I’m confident that I will eventually have a harvest.

I think I can expect about 10 pounds of tomatillos from my plant.  Now, I’m on the lookout for some good recipes!

August 22, 2013 at 6:20 am Leave a comment

Wondering About Weeds

I’ve been gardening almost every day for the past two weeks and I’m happy to report that things are starting to take shape.  With all my seedlings, seeds, tubers, bulbs and transplants in the ground, all that’s left to do is watch ’em grow.  Well, that and try to keep the weeds at bay.

Weeds, however, raise a whole ‘nother subject.  I’m discovering that it’s sometimes hard to know what’s a weed and what’s not a weed.  As I watch my garden start to grow, anything green is welcomed and gets to stay. But I’m getting suspicious about some of this vegetation.  There are a few things that I’m almost 100% sure are “les mauvaises herbes,” but, then again, I don’t want to uproot something that I planted last fall and forgot about.

If you have a couple minutes and can take a look at this video, maybe you can help me decide what stays and what goes.  Just jot down the time codes of the video wherever a weed appears and post your notes in the comments section of this blog or on the YouTube site.  I’d really appreciate the help!

May 24, 2013 at 2:53 pm Leave a comment

How to recognize customers and not offend them when you find them

You don’t have to “sell” yourself. Just “be” yourself. But be connected to your network through social media. You won’t have to recognize your customers, because they’ll recognize you first. And this leaves no chance for anyone to be offended.

Continue Reading June 30, 2010 at 1:55 am 2 comments

When is it OK to send people AWAY from your website?

SM icons by pniebrzydowski The website isn’t necessarily the ultimate destination anymore. It’s one of many destinations. The journey is no longer sequential. Your social sites and your website work together to keep your visitors engaged.

Continue Reading June 18, 2010 at 6:15 pm Leave a comment

Social Media Basics: How-To Videos

As part of the series of how-to videos I create for business users of social media, I am going to include some lessons that are written specifically for my mom. While I’m creating these videos with my mom in mind, they are meant for anyone who grew up using a manual typewriter and still remembers the days when we wrote letters and mailed them in an envelope with a 26-cent stamp.

Continue Reading June 13, 2010 at 3:17 am Leave a comment

5 Ways To Create Valuable Content

Creating Valuable Content

based on model by Jay Baer

You have a lot of stuff to say.  And,  a lot of your stuff is really good.  But what if no one ever sees it?  Here are a couple diagrams you may find helpful for creating content, organizing and scheduling distribution, and measuring your results.

Much of this information was inspired by Jay Baer’s blog, Convince and Convert.  His Content Ladder helped me to look at my own create-distribute-re-purpose cycle from a different angle, which is also diagrammed here.  I’m finding that both of these approaches have merit, and deciding which to use will depend on what you’re currently doing to get your message out. That will be your starting point.

Social Media Content Ladder

  1. Understand Taxonomy: the most important link between social and search marketing; When creating and promoting social content, include specific relevant keywords and search phrases wherever possible.
  2. Seek Content Inspiration (using keywords)
  3. Understand your frequency schema; one rung per SM platform, a frequency (x/day) schedule allocated to each rung, and metrics you’ll measure.
  4. Test and Track
  5. Tweak and Re-purpose

There are several key concepts included in the five points above.  Understanding the value and importance of keywords — how to identify your own, how to use them in your content, and how to use them in your research – cannot be overemphasized.

Developing this understanding comes at the beginning of the social media learning curve.  Don’t skip it!

Creating a schedule for posting your content requires you to consider several elements.  Ideally, you want to post on the right day of the week, and at the right time of day. The “right” time will depend on your industry, your audience, and the platforms you’re using.  Dan Zarella, the Social Media Scientist, shares his techniques and studies on his blog, which is worth checking out.  But to know for sure what will work for you, do your own study based on your own unique variables.

Hub-and-Outpost Model

Re-purposing content and outposting

Social Media Outposting Model

Re-purposing, or reusing your own content has a number of benefits.  It allows you to make the same points but in different ways.  E.g., simplify the blog  messages for distribution on microblogs; summarize the messages for e-newsletters; personalize (familiarize) the messages for Facebook.  Same message.  Different audiences and platforms.

Re-purposing means you have to come up with fewer topics – which addresses one of the most frequently heard concerns from would-be bloggers and creators.

Also, each time you post on a particular topic, you can include a link to one of your other platforms.  An example of cross-posting is diagrammed here. (I also call it the hub-and-outpost model).

Worksheets for creating your own Content Ladder and Hub-and-Post plan can be found on the Resources page at 3D Communications‘ website.

If you have developed your own method for optimizing your content, let me know by leaving a comment.  Or, if you can offer suggestions for improving the models here, I’d love to hear them.

May 22, 2010 at 12:41 pm 1 comment

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