Blog Post Ideas from the Neighborhood

House of the modelWe all live in different neighborhoods. Although your neighborhood may seem quite ordinary to you, it is likely very interesting to your readers.

For example, I was recently talking to someone who lived in New York City. She was fascinated that I lived in a forested neighborhood that’s heavily populated by deer, whereas her children have grown up in highrise buildings with no chance of encountering wildlife.

You can also describe a neighborhood where you grew up. My childhood was spent in a newly built subdivision of ranch houses in Ontario, Canada. When my parents bought our home in 1960, most of the women (including my mother) were pregnant with their first child. My parents had the same neighbors until they retired in 1992 and sold their home.

You can also write about your neighbors. I’ve lived in urban apartments and suburban homes. I’ve lived in Northern Alberta (Canada) and in the desert in Phoenix, AZ. My most memorable neighbor was an alcoholic biker who had a lot of unsavory visitors to his basement apartment. My saddest story was when our neighbor’s 13-year-old daughter committed suicide.

Today, blog about what your neighborhood is like. Do you have a favorite coffee shop or park? Do you have a place where everybody knows your name? If you walk around your block, do you see flower gardens or graffiti? Do you have an annual community tradition such as a block party or a garage sale?


Horseback Riding

Silla de montar y riendasAlthough my mother insists I went horseback riding once as a child, I have no memory of the experience. So when I had a chance to try again more than 40 years later, I was very willing to experience a few hours (okay, maybe an hour) back in the saddle.

My first impression was that horses were really, really big. (Thankfully the stables provided step stools to help us newbies climb into the saddle with relative ease.) Somehow they look way less imposing in Disney movies. My second impression was that horses attract a lot of flies and didn’t seem to have mastered potty training.

Horseback Riding Sue
I didn’t even look like I was having fun!

I have to say that the trail ride was beautiful, once I got over my terror of riding at any speed.  I did decide, however, that I was not a horse person and didn’t need to experience this again. Ever.

My afternoon on the trail did make me reflect on how certain events trigger our passions. The girl leading the trail ride had come to the stable, four years previously, for a birthday party and gone on the same trail ride that I did. She immediately fell in love with horses and now has a happy career doing horsey things that I assume involve a lot of shoveling. I, on the other hand, felt like my 60 minute trail ride was about 45 minutes too long and recognized my preference for mammals that are housebroken .

I give myself credit for trying something new. It was a fun day. But definitely no competition for a day of quilting!

If you like, blog about the origins of one of your hobbies. Or share an experience that you tried once and vowed never to repeat.


How to lower your self-esteem in one evening

Sleep Study 1
Ready for my sleep study. This photo doesn’t show all the sensors stuck into my hair.

I spent last night in an expensive single room with an attached restroom. The temperature was perfect, the lighting soft, the mattress comfortable, and the staff accommodating. I’d love to say it was a four-star resort by the ocean. Nope. It was the Sleep Disorders Clinic at a local hospital.

Sleep studies are designed to make you feel bad about yourself. First of all, you are under strict instructions to shower before you arrive, making sure that you do not use deodorant, makeup, hair products, or body cream. This ensures that you start the process looking as terrible as possible. Our hospital has you wait in the emergency room, thereby ensuring that the entire ER staff (and waiting room full of patients) gets to see what you look like without makeup or hair products.

The toughest part, however, is that your body is covered in sensors to determine the quality of your sleep. It takes about 30 minutes to apply the sensors and make you look like Frankenstein!

Then a very nice technician tests all the cameras in the room, so you know that they are watching you sleep. Best of all, another technician reviews the video footage and sends a report to your doctor.

None of this is painful, except to your ego. And, as somebody whose suffered from sleep issues for many years, the data generated can be helpful. As I said in the title, it’s not exactly a self-esteem builder.

Today, blog about an experience that helped build your self-esteem. Or, if you’re feeling brave, describe an event that was low on the esteem scale, but you ultimately benefited from.

Happy birthday to me …

HAPPY BIRTHDAY cardIt was an unusual birthday. My husband and kids were gone for most of the day, so there was no being pampered or going out to dinner. I had a lazy day and enjoyed the unusual state of solitude in our home.

Moms dream of time. I have a husband, two teenagers, and three dogs. There’s usually a lot going on, especially in our small family room area.

My husband gave me a lovely bouquet of flowers and an awesome “cake” made of fresh strawberries. I thought the cake was a very sweet idea given my low-carb eating habits.

Since I’m past the half-century mark, birthdays evoke mixed emotions. I love to reflect on the changes over the last year, of which there have been many. I’ve lost 100 pounds, closed down a business that was harming me physically, and even went skydiving. A year ago, I couldn’t imagine such dramatic changes. I’m excited to see what the next 12 months will bring as I continue to improve my physical, emotional and financial health.

Today, blog about a positive change that you’ve made over the last year.