goingplaceslivinglife

Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


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Better Friends

I’ll be 63 this year and so, my use of the Internet is not as vast and constant as my kids and their peers. I was introduced to the world of computers in my senior year of high school when I convinced my dad to let me skip physics and take the newly offered computer programming class. We learned WatFor, a kind of FORTRAN. Since the school had no computer, the teacher had arranged for us to use the computer lab at Rutgers. That was it, my sole education into computer language but it was enough to demystify the brave new world of cyberspace.

My kids got me to open a Facebook account and I now manage 4 other pages besides my own. They also had me open a Twitter account and I have never used it, believing that 140 characters just is NOT communication.  I recently signed up for Instagram and have received a notice that I have 17 followers but I have not posted anything. I wonder at that.

But let’s go back to Facebook since that is the bulk of my “talking” experience, beyond this and a few other blogs.

I have used Facebook to help market various activities. For example, when I lived in Huntington, West Virginia I was very much involved in the establishment of The Wild Ramp. I wrote a blog for the market and also posted on Facebook whenever I worked in the shop to inform consumers about yummies that were available.  I lot of people responded  to the things I wrote about and for The Wild Ramp. They were farmers, city dwellers, people who appreciated the effort made to grow healthy food and people who strove to improve their eating habits. The people who responded were from all walks of life and all aspects of the political spectrum.

By the time I moved to Oregon I had a lot of Facebook friends. Some in each place where I had lived: New Jersey, Connecticut, Tennessee, West Virginia, Colorado and Oregon. Many in other nations around the world. People with a myriad of educational backgrounds, living styles and financial comfort. We all had SOMETHING in common and celebrated that commonality, happy to have people to discuss things from different viewpoints.internet-friends-worldwide

But something changed when George W. Bush was running for President.  When I made a statement that I knew I could not handle the job and wanted a President who was smarter than me, a woman who had been friends for over 10 years and called me her sister, unfriended me.

It certainly got worse this election cycle. One by one most of my conservative friends chose to block me. They did not unfriend me; I know this because I received no message. I can’t say it was because they wanted to avoid confrontation; our earlier conversations included other friends of theirs who got downright rude. I was careful to post FACTS, not say anything like “you stupid idiots, why can’t you understand this?”. They said stuff like that but I didn’t.

But one woman told me that I often came across as better than them, because when they posted something I often posted something about the subject from a major and reputable news source. She said I was “preaching to them.” I countered I was sharing, just like they were. They preferred not to hear anything other than what fit their agenda, though.

So, I have fewer Facebook friends now….and the argument can be made that they were never friends but I have a problem with that.

Yes, they are not friends like someone I can trust will come help if I need a hand. But the people I have known on the Internet have often helped me through bad times with emotional support.

Yes, they are not friends like someone who has the same background as I do. Few people meet that level of requirement, and even the ones who grew up in New Jersey so we had similar factors in our formative years have different views on life.

I suggest they are different in one main regard. I believe they might not feel as sure about their concepts, their passions, their ability to explain themselves as I do and so they get angry and their word choices are full of that anger.   Perhaps my 8th grade English teacher who made us give a series of speeches did me and my classmates a wonderful service; we learned to explain ourselves to others. Maybe the skill of conversation has been lost (hey! why talk to your neighbor over the backyard fence when you can send 140 characters out into the world) and certainly the ability to present a persuasive argument was never learned by most people.anger-is-fake-power

I believe we ALL need diversity in our lives.  Different races. Different religions. Different nationalities. Different educational levels. Different IQ levels. Different physical ability levels. And yes, different political views.

However, as challenging as it is, it is discussion of those views that makes us better friends. Running away and cutting off difference of opinion results in people NOT knowing their neighbors. NOT understanding there is another way. Understanding there are other ways is not the same as changing your way, just hearing and considering.

Restricting your world to people who agree with you may be more calm, but it is not a world within reality.

Come back.  Don’t be afraid of differences. Sometimes you “score” a point. Sometimes I do. And we move to the middle. A place we all can be better friends.mahatma-gandhi-quote-the-difference-between-what-we-do-and-what-we

 

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Do You Think?

Someone on my Facebook feed today wrote something that has me perplexed.

She actively posts articles pertaining to her beliefs regarding religion and politics and although we often have different viewpoints our discussion has always been done with cordiality. But a little while ago she wrote that she did not have time to check all the facts on the posts she forwarded. She said there is so much information out there she has to be satisfied with what she thinks is valid. facebook like dislike

The reason she said that is because I had posted, once again, information that showed that what she had posted was not accurate. I actually had not written anything myself, just posted the source.

See, when I read something that appeals to my sense of greed or outrage I IMMEDIATELY try to verify it.

This incident brought to mind something that happened a few years ago.  I knew a women who had a 5th grader who could not add, subtract, multiply or divide. She could read well but not answer questions about the content. She would could not find things to do and had be kept busy with supervision or would just sit and stare. This child was perfectly able to sing all the Justin Beiber songs and had memorized facts about her favorite actresses and singer. Her mom felt there was nothing wrong with this situation. It appeared that mediocrity was acceptable.   Closed-Sign1

It seems to me that there are many people who are similar. The desire for knowledge, for information to analyze seems to be missing.  The ability to analyze facts and think things through is not a common trait. People are accepting everything a talking head may spew without any question because much of it resonates. Others are not even aware there is anything they need to know about current events.  Getting by is good enough. They’re not happy but have no idea why or how to work on changing things because those thinking skills have never been developed. So, they hide with drugs perhaps, to keep from feeling miserable or maybe just “bored”.

Life is too short and offers too many choices to leave them to others. Be involved. Be a thinker.

“I must judge for myself, but how can I judge, how can any man judge, unless his mind has been opened and enlarged by reading.”     – John Adams


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Apples Apples Everywhere!

So, a few days ago I noticed this on my Facebook feed from Jana, one of my new Oregon friends:   October 23 So apparently 10 gallons of apples make 8 quarts of applesauce and 15 pints. Now to do another branch – no kidding I seem to have that many apples on the trees.

I immediately responded that I would be glad to come over and pick some apples and would make her 3-4 pies as a trade. She responded with a very hearty positive response and so Lisa and I went over on the 28th and picked and picked and picked. She told us to clean the trees…asked us if we needed a ladder…..and sweetened the pot by letting us also glean the tomatoes left on the ground when they removed the plants.  We did a pretty good job on her trees, but did leave some behind as we had filled 8 bags and had no more room in the car!!!!

aToday, Lisa and I got to work. First, Lisa sorted through all the apples to separate ones with some bruises for first use. The others can store nicely in the unheated storage room in the garage.ba

Apples to be used were put in for a wash in the sink. You can see that these are organic apples and although there were some skin blemishes, we had only about 4 gallons of compostible waste when it was done, including cores.cA

Then, I used the apple corer I found when I unpacked all our kitchen odds and ends when we arrived here in Oregon (something that Graham had acquired long before me and must have been in a place I never noticed when we lived in West Virginia).  I can’t say I ZIPPED through the task but it sure was a lot faster than coring and paring slices from each apples. e

I mixed up the spices with the apples.fa

My mom taught me how to make a great no-fail pie crust (recipe included in Taming the Wild Ramp: Reachable Recipes for Real Food, available for sale at The Wild Ramp Market in Huntington, West Virginia. If you live in Oregon, holler.  I have a few copies with me.)H

The pies turned out great.J

I bagged them with instructions for baking and they are now in the freezer, waiting for Jana and her family to join us at our table for dinner on Sunday evening.  The pies will be enjoyed!K

And I still have about 5 bushel of apples to process! Thank Jana!!!!


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Marketing the Markets

When Graham and I researched where we wanted to live when he retired, McMinnville, Oregon stood out. Not only was it in the middle of Pinot Noir wine country, which appealed to Graham, but the growing season and small farm practices in the area would provide us healthy local food options, which appealed to me. Yamhill co farmland

With my background in urban planning, I also looked at how the city had evolved over time and what its economic health appeared to be now, following years of a stressed national recession.  I was pleased to see that a group of residents and business owners had recognized the need to do something in the 1980s, when the downtown business district was, like so many other towns across the country, losing business.

The McMinnville Downtown Association was formed and took a few steps that started to set the tone. First, they worked on getting the area designated a National Historic District.  Then, using available grants and private donations, they planted trees, added attractive lighting, made sure there was plenty of free parking,  provided benches, and installed mid-block cross walks, all helping to present the downtown area as accessible and attractive. McMinnville sculpture

Meanwhile, wineries got the great idea that having tasting rooms in a town center would help attract people who may not drive the back roads of the wine growing areas.  The chance that a tourist would chose the right road was small. Heading into a town like McMinnville increased the chances that tourists would visit the tasting rooms and purchase wines.r stuart

The McMinnville Downtown Association does a tremendous job marketing the town with its website, Facebook page, and a number of brochures.  There are a good number of festivals  and activities, like the monthly Art and Wine Walk that draw people into downtown.

There is more marketing from the Chamber of Commerce with its website, its Facebook page, and many brochures, pamphlets and newspaper inserts that share a lot of what businesses operate in McMinnville.  Additional marketing is handled by Grow Yamhill County, with its website and its Facebook Page sharing information about businesses throughout the county.

These websites have a lot in common:  great info about existing opportunities to enjoy coming to McMinnville and, unfortunately, a very slow or inactive presence in social media..

logog SMALLAnd that’s where CreationsByBG comes in. Having just spent the last two years marketing the markets for fresh local food in the  Huntington, West Virginia-Kentucky-Ohio tristate region and throughout the State of West Virginia, I have some good experience bringing the business to the public’s attention. Even more importantly, I can bring the public into the business to spend money.

Some shops and other businesses in McMinnville have blogs and Facebook pages, but few are active. Why? Well, time if the most frequent issue–when you are doing everything you need to do to run a business, taking 30 minutes a day to market is hard to do. Secondly, some people just feel they can not write; that it is just too difficult to put words to “paper”.

I can help. I can come visit your business, take lots of photos and listen to your story. I will ask lots of questions and then, I can write about you.better-blogger-557x362

If you have a blog, I can become your writer. If you have a Facebook page, I can add to the content there on a more regular basis.  If you don;t have a blog, we can easily establish one for your business which would provide a marketing tool for residents and visitors. The more they notice, the more business will enter into your shop.  We can set up your Facebook page that all blog entries will load automatically, spreading the news. We can also  add your content on to the MDA  Blog and Facebook page if you are a member, spreading the news to all their readers.

brokeSpending money to make money may be a truism , but it sounds like an oxymoron. How can you spend money when the cash flow on your business is strained?  Keep the costs low by using social media and hiring me to take care of its management.

Call me at 304-654-5634 or email me at CreationsByBG@gmail.com to set up a time when we can meet to explore how low cost marketing like this can boost how many people walk into your shop.