The Aftermath

The six of us used to get together for a frittata breakfast at a local Italian bistro every Saturday morning. We’d leave the kiddos with our hubbies and enjoy the food, company, and the freedom. It had become a cherished ritual.

And then the darkness hit and everything shut down. Everyone was ordered to stay at home and to be safe. Our Saturday morning ritual ended and after a while, we lost touch with one another.

Sixteen months have passed since the quarantine began and things are starting to open up again after the vaccines were introduced. I recently read that the Italian bistro had reopened and I decided to reach out to my five dear friends to see if they were interested in meeting up for frittatas on an upcoming Saturday morning.

It didn’t exactly go as planned. Two of them had gotten divorced and getting away from their kids on a Saturday morning would be dicey. Another had left the state with her family to move into her parents’ home shortly after her husband lost his job when the company he worked for laid everyone off.

That left just two others and me and we finally arranged for a day to meet up for breakfast at the bistro. But in the aftermath of the pandemic, things were different.

Being together after all we’d been through felt more like an awkward performance, filled with glib, superficially conversation. Even the frittatas didn’t taste as good as they used to.

The pandemic destroyed many lives, including the closeness of six friends and the frittata breakfast ritual, with the food, company, and freedom, that each of us used to cherish.

Written for these daily prompts: Ragtag Daily Prompt (six), Word of the Day Challenge (frittata), The Daily Spur (darkness), Your Daily Word Prompt (dicey), MMA Storytime (performance), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (glib).

Blogging Insights — Fewer

For this week’s edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya simply wants to know about blogging in the year of the pandemic. She asks…

How do you think this pandemic year has been for blogging in general and your blog in particular?

I’m not going to answer the part of the question that asks about blogging in general because I’m not qualified to answer that. But I can give you a one-word answer as to the effect of the pandemic on my blog in particular. That word is “fewer.”

In 2020, as compared to 2019, I wrote fewer posts, received fewer views, got fewer total likes and average likes per post, and fewer total comments and average comments per post. I also wrote fewer total words in 2020 than in 2019 and had fewer words per post.

That said, I honestly don’t know if I can blame the pandemic for all those “fewers.” It could just be that my blog peaked in 2019 and now, irrespective of the pandemic, it’s trending downward. And, so far in 2021, my average likes and comments per post are about the same as they were in 2020.

So I don’t really have a good answer to Tanya’s question about the relationship between my blog stats and the pandemic. But I can tell you that, despite the mandated launch of the block editor last year and the still unfixed bug in the WordPress app for iOS, I enjoyed blogging and interacting with my fellow bloggers since the pandemic began as much as I did before it started and as I still do today.

WDYS — A New Start

“Well, from my perspective, we need to focus on getting back those customers who abandoned us over this last year due to the pandemic. We can’t afford to panic or to prevaricate. If we don’t face reality, if we let specious thinking dictate our approach, it will be a total dealbreaker,” Karla said to her husband. “I’ve set up the tables in the alley for outdoor dining, and separated them by six feet so that people can feel safe eating here.

“I’ve cleaned up all of the graffiti that was scrawled on the walls where you’ve set up the tables,” Alec said. “I’ll add a small glass vase to each table with some fragrant flowers in them to improve the ambience.”

“Oh, Alec, maybe we can actually get past this setback over the past year and get our little restaurant to sizzle once again,” Karla said, feeling a little hopeful after more than a year of depression.

“Yes, Karla,” Alec said, walking up to Karla and giving her a warm hug. “Now is the time to elevate our prospects.”

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: Gabriella Clare Marino@ Unsplash. Also for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (perspective/reality), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (focus/fragrant), Word of the Day Challenge (abandoned/past), MMA Storytime (panic/elevation), Ragtag Daily Prompt (prevaricate/sizzle), Your Daily Word Prompt (specious/scrawl), and MLMM Sunday Writing Prompt (dealbreaker).

Who Won the Week? 04/18/2021

FWWTWThe idea behind Who Won the Week is for you to select who (or what) you think “won” this past week. Your selection can be anyone or anything — politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors, bloggers, your friends or family members, books, movies, TV shows, businesses, organizations, whatever.

I will be posting this prompt on Sunday mornings (my time). If you want to participate, write your own post designating who you think won the week and why you think they deserve your nod. Then link back to this post and tag you post with FWWTW.

This week’s Who Won the Week winners are America’s CEOs.Last year the U.S. economy in was in shambles due to the coronavirus pandemic, and around 8 million fewer Americans are employed now than in February 2020 before COVID-19 struck. Yet the median pay for chief executives at 322 large U.S. public companies, according to the Wall Street Journal, reached $13.7 million, up from $12.8 million for the same companies a year earlier. More than 200 of those CEOs actually got pay raises, with the median amount being 15%. Did any of you get a 15% pay raise over the past year?

It seems that America’s business bigwigs aren’t sharing the pain that most Americans have experienced over the past year. Some CEOs will take pains to point out that they took salary cuts last year as a show of goodwill. But salaries are just a small part of overall executive compensation. Stock prices factor heavily into many pay packages, and the market benefited from support from the Federal Reserve’s emergency policies and the government’s stimulus packages.

So greed continues to thrive and the rich get richer while many of the rest of us are struggling financially. But CEOs are doing quite well.

What about you? Who (or what) do you think won the week?

Blogging Insights — WordPress in the Time of the Pandemic

Blogging insightsFor this week’s edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya wants to know…

How satisfied (or not) are you with WordPress during the pandemic?

Up until August 2020, when WordPress decided to decommission the classic editor and force the block editor down our throats, I was very satisfied with WordPress. But I’m not a fan of the block editor and so my level of satisfaction diminished considerably.

The good news, though, is that, while the block editor is not a viable option for me to use on my iPhone if blogging on using a browser, I can still use the WordPress iOS version of the classic editor on my iPhone. However, WordPress has recently announced that the classic editor option will soon be removed from its iOS app, as well. And that, as far as I’m concerned, will suck.

The other consideration that has lessened my satisfaction with WordPress is that when WordPress rolled out version 16.0 of its iOS app this past November, there was a major bug in it, which I wrote about in this post on November 3rd.

Since that time, I’ve had countless exchanges with various happiness engineers, explaining the bug, providing screenshots, and even a video clip illustrating the issue. Over the months I have been told that the developers had been able to replicate the issue and were working on a fix. And yet here we are, five and a half months later and that bug has yet to be fixed.

So, overall, I have not been very satisfied with WordPress. I’m disappointed, frustrated, and pissed off.

But none of that has anything to do with the pandemic. It’s more about how the powers that be at WordPress don’t seem to give a shit about how we feel about the removal of the classic editor and their insistence that we embrace the block editor. Basically, they’re telling us that it’s their way or the highway.

And it’s also about how the happiness engineers and developers at WordPress are terrible when it comes to fixing bugs.

Unfortunately, as far as other blog hosting sites, none of them have the blogging community that WordPress does. It was that blogging community that landed me at WordPress to start with and it’s that blogging community (i.e., all of you) that is keeping me on WordPress.