Blogger Nube—What’s Up with That?!

This Friday, November 19, will be my blog’s two-week anniversary.  So, for those of you out there who have been contemplating writing a blog, here are my Top Ten tips from my past two weeks’ blogging experience.  Obviously, I need to do a lot more blogging to give advice to non-nubes.  But what I learned in my first two weeks is very fresh, so I want to pass it on to those of you in the midst of what can be a rather scary process! As my experience grows, I will be adding more suggestions.  If you’re a nube at this too, by all means send me your comments!

1)    Read others’ blogs to get a lay of the land. Blogging is a time suck!

2)    Set aside time to write at least two times a week. The week goes by quickly! Blogging is a labor of love. One of my friends with an award-winning blog takes her laptop on vacation to make sure she gets her new posts uploaded on time!

3)    Use a simple, free version of WordPress or Blogspot for your “beta site” (Silicon Valley jargon for “testing site”) to see if you like it. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice—lots of it! The upside to a free blogging site: less time to get accustomed to the templates and software.  The downside:  WordPress is sandwiched in between the blog title and “.com”.   My blog had the middle name “wordpress” (www.unhealedwound.wordpress.com) until I hosted my own website.

4)    When you graduate to wanting a blog without the word “wordpress” or “blogspot” or whatever blog hosting site you are on, then you have to go to the trouble of re-entering all the information onto your own hosted site.  I use www.godaddy.com because their customer service is outstanding.  This costs money: about three times as much for a two-year contract.  So, make sure you want to do this!

5)    On your own website, make sure you look at it frequently to see if the appearance and content are what you like.  Again, read more blogs by others.  See what you like and ask yourself why.

6)    Set your “comments” section to  “needs approval” first.  I was so excited when I got comments from people who were not my friends. However…

7)    Comments need to be screened! I received requests to be guest bloggers.  When I tried to respond by email with follow-up questions, my email bounced back—a bogus email address!  What’s up with that?!

8)    Some comments from strangers seem really nice, even complimentary.  Go to their URL address (if given) to check the commenter’s background.  I did. One was a porn site!

9)    For possible strategic alliances read blogs and links you may want to be associated with.  Be careful out there in cyberspace.

10)  Most of the blogging tips online are still too technical for me. For additional tips here is one website I found that’s down to earth and really helpful: www.toptenblogtips.com.

What’s not to like? Post Ranch Inn’s Wine and Food Event

On Saturday afternoon, our daughter Maya and her boyfriend joined us for an afternoon at Post Ranch in Big Sur, for part of the Big Sur weekend wine and food extravaganza.  What makes this event different from other wine and food events is that you can sip wine, eat and then work some of it off walking from one station to the next on the Post Ranch’s spacious 100-acre grounds.  Guests wander the ranch’s picturesque paths while visiting seven stations in which there are at least four boutique wineries pouring their finest wines paired with a  delicious assortment of small plates prepared by the executive chef of Post Ranch’s Sierra Mar restaurant. Although the day had started out as a harbinger of drizzle and fog, the weather forecasters were proved wrong (again). The sun came out as we drove through the gatehouse and we were not disappointed! With map in hand, the four of us enjoyed a beautiful day of eating and drinking.  At the first station, we were treated to both French and local California wines.  One of our favorites was the Adelaida white (Version 2008), a combination of Rousanne and Grenache, which we happily sipped along with nibbling on mushroom crostini, fresh sardines topped with an herbal breadcrumb topping, and two types of cured, smoked salmon.  And that was just station number one!

Along the way, approximately 200 guests were scattered around the tables so  we never felt as if we were in a crowd.  It was so refreshing, compared with other wine and food festivals, to walk around the grounds, including a sustainable vegetable garden and beautiful sculpture, as we worked up an appetite and metabolized the alcohol (or hoped we did).  The eclectic range of wines from less well-known vineyards, some of which were poured by the winemakers themselves, was truly superb as well as very personal. Wine professionals, including importers and distributors, were on hand to discuss their favorites so for us it was a mini-seminar on wine and pairings.  This was our second year attending this event, and we were so happy that some of the vintners remembered us from last year (the inaugural event).  We think we will make this an annual celebration!

There were orange wines as well as rose cavas, including one we had first tasted in Spain three weeks ago:  Raventos i Blanc.  Sparkling and delicious!  We had the cava at station number seven, the last station,  on the crest of the hill –a 1200-foot cliff– on the patio of the Sierra Mar restaurant, overlooking the ocean with its panoramic views, next to the infinity pool. With our cava paired with raw oysters on the half shell, a buffet of pates (which I never wanted to stop eating) and platters of chocolate truffles and other scrumptious morsels of dessert, we all waddled down the hill to our car, content and waiting to return next year for more!

Lacerated Tongue–In the ER on Halloween

Last night during a delicious dinner made by my husband, Doug, amateur chef extraordinaire, I bit down hard into my Thai pork basil curry with yams, zucchini, and eggplant and hit the calloused divot on my tongue, which I have clamped on before.  That’s what  happens when I eat and talk at the same time—my two favorite activities. No doubt about that!

The blood spurted out.  Very scary to say the least.  The tongue is very “vascular”, meaning that it is filled with capillaries ready to gush out blood at the least provocation.  My mouth filled.  Rushing to the bathroom mirror, I gasped to see not only the blood but a flap, a u-shaped, in the center of my tongue,  now lacerated so deeply that it was loose.  What Doug reported was an avulsion—no, not revulsion—a severe laceration of the tongue that is not quite completely ripped off.  Not quite.  The wonders of Internet research!

Two hours later, the ice cubes in my mouth were covered with blood, the large sized Ziplok baggie was filled with blood-drenched paper towels, and the blood had not decreased at all.  So, I knew I couldn’t sleep that night without reassurance from someone with medical experience.

On Halloween night no less, at 11:15 p.m., we were in the ER room with about ten other people—no one in costume–waiting for medical attention.  Not so bad, I thought.  Wrong.  Even though I had reported nonstop bleeding and the tongue flap, the others in the waiting room had certainly more serious emergencies:  a man with severe gout and pain in a wheel chair, several 20-something males with slashes on their upper thighs.  Ask me how I know?  One of the less shy guys with low-slung jeans, pulled them down and scrunched up his boxers to show the slashes to his girlfriend.  I winced, and swallowed the blood down my throat.

Around 1:00 a.m. the triage nurse called me in, kindly swabbed the tongue and gave me a box of gauze pads to exert strong pressure on my tongue.  Then, I was instructed to go back and sit down in the waiting room.  By 2:30 a.m. there were a lot more young men with a few female supporters (companions?) waiting.  One had fainted.  Another had severe trauma to his head.  His friend seemed very calm.  Asked me if I had that day’s Monterey Herald (I was reading the Wall Street Journal), because he wanted to see an article about himself working at the Fish Hopper restaurant.

At almost 4:00 a.m. I was too wiped out to stay.  My medical emergency didn’t seem so bad now.  The bleeding had stopped, but my tongue was so swollen my mouth wouldn’t close.  We left, explaining to the triage nurse we  understood the circumstances.

Walking out the exit door, it looked like a gathering place of young people loitering in front of a Seven-Eleven.  With police standing next to their cars.  I refused to jump to conclusions about what happened to the young men inside.  I just knew we all had wounds.