What Have I Done for You Lately?

Photo Gratisography.com

Well, I’m back at the government work, editing construction project management plans. But I have found time amidst all that excitement to write a few things that I hope you’ll enjoy or find useful.

Here’s what I’ve written lately:

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. There are a few fun stats in it, but as regular readers have no doubt noticed, I wasn’t as active a blogger in 2015 as I was in 2014, when sticking to a 3 days per week posting schedule was my New Year’s resolution. Instead, in 2015, I worked on establishing myself as a freelance writer. I’ll try to get a post up about how that’s working out soon.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,800 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

But No Cigar (aka Reasons)


I put a widget on my home page with a countdown to my self-imposed deadline for finishing a first draft of a kids’ fantasy story I’ve been working on (and off) since last fall. The idea was that I am a good and professional writer who always makes her deadlines. So I gave myself a deadline and made it public so that I would be accountable for finishing it. And then… reasons. Continue reading

I Heart the I Heart Reykjavik Blog

Cats of Reykjavik

Cats of Reykjavik

Can we talk about Iceland for a minute?

My obsession with all things Icelandic is no secret, and over the course of a three trips to the country I have developed a few intense loyalties. The KEX Hostel feels like home and I must soak at Laugardalslaug at least once each trip, even though I can’t really swim. Continue reading

February on the Crooked Road

In case you missed them, here are the top 5 posts in February:

Doe Bay Tradition: I posted a photo of my relatives who drove from Arizona to Washington during the Depression. They stayed at the Doe Bay Resort, where my family has camped during the past couple summers for their justifiably famous music festival.

Enter the Monkey King: People love photo posts. I can see it in the overall traffic to the site since I started posting them, and they consistently rank among the most popular posts. This photo is my daughter’s Halloween costume from a couple years ago. I doubt I ever manage such a cool costume again, but I do plan to work on my photography skills this year.

Don Quixote at Pacific Northwest Ballet Makes Me Penitent: I don’t usually enjoy story ballets, but when I do, it’s Don Quixote at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

A Five Star Dilemma: To me, the answer depends on what star rankings are actually supposed to accomplish. I’m still not sure what that is, but I’m glad other people are thinking about it, too.

The Truth About Rejection: A reblog of a thoughtful and heartening post from my friend and neighbor, the artist Marisa Vitiello. Unfortunately, I have not managed to translate that inspiration into action yet.

Top Countries:

There’s been a shift since the last time I looked. In January, Crooked Road readers came from the U.S., Australia, and Germany. In February the top three were

  • The United States
  • Canada
  • France

There was at least one visitor from 32 countries. That kind of blows my mind.

How did you get here?

  • Facebook – I think a lot of these views are coming from people who clicked on the links my friends and family shared on Facebook. I’ve never understood why a blog (where you can like and comment on each post) would a Facebook page, but some of my favorite blogs do. Is it for off-topic conversations? An alternative to using a blog reader? Should I have a Crooked Road page on Facebook? Someone enlighten me.
  • Google searches – Yay! After years of completely ignoring SEO, I am finally starting to win at the Google!
  • Twitter – I love my Tweeps!

Google has gotten quite adept at hiding search terms, so much so that every single search term visible in my stats was unique. I could make out a couple of themes, though:

  • 2 searches included “Choose your own adventure,” which means they were looking for Tawna Fenske’s interactive romantic comedy, Getting Dumped, and found my series of posts about it.
  • 2 were related to Halldor Laxness, 1 to the band Sólstafir, and 1 to Icelandair, thus reinforcing my commitment to write about all things Icelandic.

Some search terms were interesting:

  • duration of semele – When I write reviews for magazines, I always remember to include the “if you go” information with details about parking, pricing, and performance duration. I guess I should extend the same courtesy to blog readers in the future. Yay! I learned from my stats!
  • Icelandair midweek madness – This sounds like a sale and I’m pissed I missed it.
  • Family cruz WordPress – Someone found my review of When the de La Cruz Family Danced when they were looking for author Donna Miscolta’s blog. Here you go.

Featured Followers:

I’m trying to be more social in 2015. So I’ve started looking at the part of my stats page that shows who follows me. (I’m pretty sure it only includes other bloggers who have followed my page using the WordPress Reader. If you subscribe by email, I think you stay anonymous.)

I’ve chosen three followers to highlight here, and I hope you’ll go check out their blogs. A new Crooked Road follower this February was K.L. Register of The Ninth Life. It’s a pretty nice looking page. Register describes herself as a fun-loving farm girl, chemist, and dentist who hates the taste of macaroni and cheese, which I think is a pretty kick-ass bio, even though I love mac’n’cheese myself.

Then I thought I should find out who some of those long-unrecognized follower folks might be, and found exploding apple juice, whose author claims 4 out of 5 dentists recommend his blog, which consists of short original fiction. The last post, appropriately titled The Worlds End, is dated 2012. I suspect that his long-term Crooked Road followership reflects a failure to log in to WordPress rather than a continued interest in reading my blog. But who knows, maybe if a bunch of people check out his defunct blog the sudden flurry of email notifications will inspire him to start writing again, or something.

I also checked out My Passenger Diaries because this travel blog recently included posts about Seattle. I first came to Seattle as a tourist, but it was a very long time ago. Now I get such a kick seeing my home town with an outsider’s eyes. You might like it, too.




2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,600 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.