Blogging Explained in Less Than 280 Characters

This post title came from one of the topic generators I listed in my new release, Blog Ops, Be a Better Blogger.

To illustrate the benefit of the website where I found this post title, I thought I'd blog about it myself. Fun, right?

I can then put the link to this post in my book, which is scheduled for release June 5, 2022.

(By the way, I'm pleased to announce that my book, only 99¢ new release price, is the #1 New Release in User Generated Content, i.e., blogging.)

Analyze the Post Title

When you use a topic generator, the first thing you should do is analyze the title that pops up. Many times, that tells you what the content should be.

In this case, obviously the 140 Characters in the title tells you that this is a post you can use to promote your blog on Twitter.

Of course, Twitter now allows you to use 280 characters so I changed the generated title to indicate this update. That gives you plenty of room for a good Tweet, the permalink, and some specific hashtags.

With that thought in mind, here are some of the 280 character Tweets I came up in a few minutes to explain blogging.

1. Sharing my passion for blogging. #SlingWords  #blogging #bloggingtips (158 characters) 

Note: That's the permalink to this post. For the other Tweet examples, I'm making up a permalink)

2. Today, I'm blogging about my love of gardening with a post about planting tomatoes to ensure success. #gardening #blogging (191 characters)

3. 5 Reasons I Love Blogging: Sharing, Writing, Hobby, Fun, Friendship. #inspiration #blogging #writing (166 characters)

Takeaway Truth

Yes, blogging is really all about sharing what you know or love with others in the hope you find an audience is hungry for what you have to say or who also have a passion for the same things.

12 Best Things About May

May named after Maia, the Greek goddess of fertility, is a fabulous month in Texas. The fertility angle is easy to understand since the weather in May is ideal for romantic evenings.

Twelve best things about May—especially in Texas? Here's my lsit.

1. At the top of my list is that May is when Day Lilies burst into bloom. These are the ones that border our porch at our country house. The abundant blooms and the easy way these lilies spread make them a favorite flower for Texas gardeners.

2. A famous Texas woman praised and reviled in movies and books, Calamity Jane, whose real name was Jane Canary, was born on May 1, 1852.

3. May is a great month for weekend trips. There are some beautiful places in Texas that are close to major cities like the Bayou Bend Gardens, created by Miss Ima Hogg who began work on the lovely manicured gardens in 1925. Today, they are stunning and a must-see for anyone interesting in nature. Near Houston, they're a place to stroll through beautiful blooming gardens, sit and soak inthe peace and beauty.

Other notable scenic places to visit are Rockport near Corpus Christi, Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo, In the southwest desert part of Texas, Santa Elena Canyon near Marfa, Gorman Falls near Austin, The State Capitol in Austin, Johnson Space Center in Houston, the 6th Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, the Historical Tour in Fort Worth, Caddo Lake in the northeast part of Texas, The River Walk in San Antonio, and Sonora Caverns, El Capitan near El Paso, and Big Bend near the Rio Grande just to name a few.

If you'd like to see all of the "must-see" places in Texas, Texas Bucket List is available on Amazon.

4. The Texas Ranger Museum is a must-see place in Waco. Celebrating the most famous law enforcement organtization know around the world, it's one of the best museums for those who want to really know about the Texas mythology.

5. The Alamo in San Antonio is the other iconic building that you must see if you want to get to the heart of what makes Texans stalwart and brave.

6. May is the month when gardeners select the bedding plants of marigolds, zinnias, periwinkle, petunias, begonias, and all the other flower plants that adorn many landscapes in the state.

7. May is the next blooming of wildflowers along Texas roadways. Look for the pale pink primroses called buttercups, the orange of Indian paintbrush, red clover, and many more because Texas has more than 5,000 varieties of blooming plants.

8. May is Stroke Awareness month. Do yourself a favor if you live in Texas and acquaint yourself with the hospitals near you who have Stroke Centers, specialized stroke treatment centers in some hospitals that can offer immediate treatment to lessen the effects of a stroke.

9. Discover Galveston, home to a Garden Center like in New Orleans, and many beaches for sun worshippers.

10. May is also the perfect month to design and setup a home solar power backup system since we have 232 sunshine days on average. It's so much easier now than even a few years ago. In Texas, The Texas Property Tax Code allows 100% exemption on the increase in assessed value of a property for installing a solar or wind powered energy device. Plan now for worst case scenarios given all of the dire predictions because of CoVid and the Ukraine-Russia war.

11. Start a garden. Again, there are scary predictions because of the global unrest. Learn how to grow your own vegetables which is doable in pots on an apartment balcony or in your yard.

12. Festivals in Texas are hugely popular, and May has one of the best. The Kerrville Folk Festival in west Texas is amazing. It's all about music and draws its audience from 40 states  and several foreign countries. Songwriters are booked to play and many past performers return for the experience.

Takeaway Truth

Texas is a big state. There's a lot to see, and something for every interest.

Review: Operation Mincemeat

There has been a dearth of good movies lately. I was delighted to find one that I thought worthy of a review.

Operation Mincemeat, designed to make the Nazis think the Allied troops would be landing in Greece instead of Sicility, was a real spy operation in World War II.

Set in 1943, the movie stars Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Penelope Wilton, Johnny Flynn, and Jason Isaacs.

Released this month and distributed by Netflix, Warner Bros. Pictures, and FilmNation Entertainment, the movie is compelling, believable, and even suspenseful even though we know how the Allied landing turned out.

An intelligent story and well acted, this is a must see. You'll find it on Netflix and IMDB I believe.

Takeaway Truth

I'd love to find more movies like this. So much of the content with streaming services is lacking in so many ways.

Life Is Good, Give Thanks

May has been a challenging month—details below in case you're interested—but I finally have a few moments of normality.

So life is good and giving thanks reminds me of why life is good despite everything.

Challenging Times Build Strong People

CoVid, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, senseless murders every week.

Senseless hatred based on: the color of one's skin or religion, politics, sexual orientation, ethnicity—hatred because of those things make no sense and can't be understood by rational people.

These and other tragedies make it easy to feel morose and somber—even depressed about the world and the future.

That's when we need to consciously remember all of the reasons that life is good. No matter how down and discouraged you may feel, no matter how little you may have, you always have blessings whether or not you're aware of them.

Surefire Way to Feel Better

The best way to shake the gloom is to consciously count your blessings. You may take most of these for granted.

That's a mistake many people make. Let's get back to basics, and count blessings.

1. If you are alive, you are blessed. Life means you have the chance to get healthier, be happier, achieve more, and live the best life possible. Like my grandfather who lived to be 100 always said, "It's always better to be looking down at the grass than up through it." Give thanks that you are alive and decide what to do with your life.

2. If you have bills, chances are you have, or had, a job. Give thanks for the bills and the job that enables you to pay them. Always improve your skills to make yourself a valuable employee.

If you've lost your job, work each day to get another one. Scour the internet for articles about how to land jobs, network with everyone you know who has a job, work on improving your skills and on presenting yourself as a prospective employee. 

Waste no time in watching TV, sleeping late, bitterness, regret, or goofing off in any way. Assess your attitude. Choose optimism, have faith, be hopeful, and believe in your ability and your future.

There are thousands of videos on YouTube that may help you become an entrepreneur if you're motivated in that way and/or desperate. Opportunity exists for those willing to put in the hard work and seize the moment.

3. If you are healthy, give thanks and work to stay that way. Give up junk food and super processed foods, read labels. If you don't know what an ingredient is, don't buy it. Eat more vegetables. Learn how to cook at home for the best option for good health. Get 20 minutes of sunshine every day. Remember, everything, especially alcohol, in moderation.

4. Give thanks for those who love you. Start with your parents and your siblings. By nature, they have raised you from the first moment they knew you. Their love is a given. Cherish those relationships. If you've lost touch in some way, work to make those relationships stronger. Give thanks for your partner in life. Treat your spouse as if he/she is the most important person in your world. Talk together each day. The same is true for your children. With kids and grandkids who don't live near you, it's a lot harder, but stay in touch regularly. Always say, "I love you."

5. Give thanks that you have a roof over your head, i.e., a home. 

I know too many people who are never satisfied with their home whether it's an apartment, condo, or house. 

They focus on what the home doesn't have rather than enjoy the fact that they have not just a roof over their head, but a place that can be a welcoming sanctuary from the cares of the world.

So what if it doesn't look like a picture in a decorating magazine? The feeling of home has nothing to do with what a place looks like. Looks can be changed if you have the desire and willingness. Check YouTube for the millions of videos on decorating projects with many involving dollar store and thrift store finds. There's a reason that old song's refrain is true, "Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home."

Quick/Not So Quick Update

Our younger daughter had major surgery. Everything was going well for a few days then 4 days later she ended up in the ER due to a fever. She's fine now and recovering without any other complications.

Darling Hubby spent a hot day loading and unloading landscape rocks—big, heavy ones. A day later he noticed a swelling on the right side of his abdomen. Since he's a strong, healthy guy, we knew something was wrong.

Fortunately, he got in to see the family doctor in a couple of days who diagnosed a hernia and sent him on to a surgeon. A few days later, he was already scheduled for surgery. Another few days, and we were at the hospital for pre-op registration. Three more days—this past Monday—he had surgery.

Since I've had plenty of experience in taking care of post-surgery patients thanks to our daughter's 14 surgeries, I've known how to keep him comfortable, log the medication I give him and stay ahead of the pain, keep him company, and keep him entertained.

I've watched more TV and movies this past week than in a month. I give thanks he came through surgery with flying colors and is doing well in recovery.

The post-op role of "nurse" is exhausting. I guess my own problems (sciatica pain, injured rotator cuff, and delicate eyes/vision) take a toll on my energy. 

Takeaway Truth

I give thanks also for this blog and its readers. Thank you!

Saturday Share Recipe: Best Homemade Salad Dressing Ever

I've been experimenting with making salad dressings for the last year. I've shared some of the recipes I've come up with here.

I've finally created one that everyone in the family likes, and it comes out thick and luscious rather than separating too easily.

We've started having a large salad before each lunch and dinner, and the dressing makes it super delicious.

I made a large batch of it today and decided to share the recipe with you. The secret to it is a good balsamic vinegar.

I made it with fig balsamic vinegar, and it's out of this world! The recipe that follows makes almost a quart of dressing.


2/3 cup balsamic vinegar (I love the fig balsamic)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons honey (you could also use sugar)

1 teaspoon salt 

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 to 2 teaspoons finely minced Italian herbs

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Important Notes

(1) For the Italian herbs, I buy a local product, but it's very similar to the Dean Jacobs Italiano grinder shown here that is available from Amazon. This grinder is refillable which makes it super useful.

(2) For the balsamic vinegar, you don't have to use fig balsamic. It's my personal favorite. If you find balsamic vinegar isn't tart enough for you, use 3/4 cup balsamic and 1/4 cup red wine vinegar.

(3) If you don't want to make a large batch, just cut the ingredients in half.


In a quart jar, add all the ingredients. Place the lid tightly on the jar and shake vigorously. 

With the large batch I made, after shaking, I pour it into 3 smaller glass jars that have lids. Refrigerate the dressing.

Before using, set a jar out and allow it to come to room temperature before serving. Shake well.

However, if you're like me and always pressed for time, bring it to room temperature the quick way. Remove the lid, place the jar in your microwave, and nuke it for 10 to 15 seconds. Then shake and serve.

Takeaway Truth

This is a fabulous dressing that doesn't separate the way most homemade dressings do. Let me know if you like it.

Review, Rambo: Last Blood

Okay, I've never seen a Rambo movie. Not even the first one. So it was a big deal for me to allow Darling Husband to talk me into watching this one on Netflix.

If you don't have Netflix, you can rent the movie on Amazon for $3.99 or purchase it for a surprisingly low fee of $7.99.

To my surprise, the movie was quite good. I say surprise because I thought Stallone's early movies seemed over the top characterizations in stories that seemed contrived.

Of course, writing is everything in a story. If the writing isn't good, then the story won't be good. Even good acting can't save an insubstantial bad story.

Having said all of that, I must say I was impressed by Stallone's acting in this. Yes, there was a ton of violence with a woman initially as the victim. I don't care much for stories like that because there's too much of it in real life.

Stallone's role as the father figure to his adopted niece is the emotional foundation on which the story is built. When she is kidnapped by a Mexican cartel and forced into prostitution—there have been too many movies with that premise lately—he sets out to rescue her.

The violence that follows in his desperate attempt to save her is believable in the fantasy world of action films. Stallone delivered a poignant, emotional performance and fully inhabited the character. I can only say, "Well done, Mr. Stallone."

About Rambo: Last Blood

The movie is a 2019 action film directed by Adrian Grunberg with the screenplay co-written by Matthew Cirulnick and Mr. Stallone from a story by Dan Gordon and Mr. Stallone.

If you're a longtime fan of this film franchise, you probably know that the character of John Rambo was created by David Morrell in his novel First Blood.

This latest Rambo film is the 5th installment in the franchise and co-stars Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Adrianna Barraza, Yvette Monreal, Joquin Cosio, Oscar Jaenada, and Genie Kim.

Location filming took place in Bulgaria and Spain, and Brian Tyler created the musical score. The theaterical release was September 2010 and received mostly negative reviews aimed at the script, the violence, and the attitudes represented in the film toward Mexico.

Like I said that whole Mexican drug cartel kidnapping innocent women has run its course. The majority of the people in Mexico are decent, hardworking, and moral. Movie makers need to present a more balanced picture of the country and its people.

Apparently, the film made a modest profit so I assume Rambo fans were pleased with it. 

Takeaway Truth

I'll give this film a thumbs up, and based on his performance in the movie, I'd be happy to watch Mr. Stallone in another film where he could show his acting chops.

Monday Magic: America's Historic Newspapers

Today I have an amazing app for you that's perfect for Monday Magic—Chronicling America, from the Library of Congress.

This is a wonderful app that allows you to search through America's historic newspapers. You can search by state, county, and city.

You can search from 1690 to 2022. That means there are more than 19 million pages available for research.

There are other search options available like frequency of publication, language, ethnicity, etc.

Takeaway Truth

Best of all, this amazing resource is free! What a boon to those who do historical research.

5 Signs May Has Arrived

I can hardly believe that May has arrived. What happened to the first quarter of 2022?

5 Signs May Has Arrived

1. All of the blossoms on flowering trees like redbud, pear, dogwood, and Japanese magnolia have faded.

2. Traditional magnolia trees are starting to bloom now.

3. Azaleas were stunning—in March and April. Now, they're green shrubbery again.

4. All of the varieties of irises and lilies are blooming now.

5. The sun is rising earlier and setting later which makes walking Mr. Freddie easier.

Quotation for May's Beauty

I like what Malory had to say about May and its appeal to those in love.

"It was the month of May, the month when the foliage of herbs and trees is most freshly green, when buds ripened and blossoms appear in their fragrance and loveliness. And the month when lovers, subject to the same force which reawakens the plants, feel their hearts open again, recall past trysts and past vows, and moments of tenderness, and yearn for a renewal of the magical awareness which is love." —Sir Thomas Malory

Takeaway Truth

I wish you a May full of joy, laughter, love, and happiness.