Blogging Grandmothers Link Party #15

Welcome to the Blogging Grandmothers Link Party #15

Starts Monday, May 15, 2017 at 12:05 am central time (United States)

Ends Thursday, May 18 at 11:55 pm

Blogging Grandmothers Link Party

Blogging Grandmothers Link Party

Hosted By: Grammy Dee, MiMi Clearissa, Grandma Candy, Gramma Lori,
Grandma Christie, Grandma Donna, Nan Sue, Grandma Teresa, and Mimi Carol

REALLY SIMPLE RULES:

ï This party is for grandmother bloggers only

ï You may share any new or old, family friendly posts, no limit

ï By joining the party, you are giving the host and co-hosts permission to
share your photos and posts on social media and to use in posts, features,
and round ups with proper credit given to you. All posts will be pinned
on Pinterest, and possibly shared on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter

ïBy entering your email into the InLinkz form, you are giving host
(Grammy Dee) permission to email you when the next party goes live

ï Kindly show some link love by commenting on posts of at least 3 other guests

ï If you follow us on social media, we’ll follow you back, our links below

ï We would appreciate it if you would share our party

Grammy's Grid

Grammy Dee from Grammy’s Grid
Bloglovin’Facebook Google+ Instagram
Pinterest Twitter

Clearissa Coward's Command Center

MiMi Clearissa from Clearissa Coward’s Command Center
Bloglovin’ Facebook Flipboard Google+ Instagram
LinkedIn Pinterest Twitter

Candy's Farm House Pantry

Grandma Candy from Candy’s Farm House Pantry
Facebook Google+ Instagram Pinterest Twitter

Love My Big Happy Family

Gramma Lori from Love My Big Happy Family
Facebook Google+ Instagram Pinterest Twitter

So What? Now What? Banner

Grandma Christie from So What? Now What?
Facebook Instagram Pinterest Twitter

Retirement Reflections Banner

Grandma Donna from Retirement Reflections
Facebook Flipboard Google+ Instagram
LinkedInPinterest Twitter

Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond Banner

Nan Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
Facebook Google+ Instagram Pinterest
StumbleUpon Twitter

Aging Like a Fine Wine Banner

Grandma Teresa from Aging Like a Fine Wine
FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter

Home with Mimi Banner

Mimi Carol from Home with Mimi
Facebook Google+ Instagram Pinterest
StumbleUpon Twitter

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Our last Blogging Grandmothers Link Party had:
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Blogging Grandmothers Link Party Featured Bloggers

Grandmommin -†Car Seats Are Not Optional at Grandmotherís House

Fabi Fabu – Vintage Style Nightstands Revamp

Cresting the Hill -†What’s Your Superpower?

Fabi Fabu -†Little Jewelry Box #1 Makeover

Once Upon a Time & Happily Ever After -†DIM, Did It Myself: Fairy Lights

Fabi Fabu – Wooden Vintage Chair

OK, LETíS PARTY!
Blogging Grandmothers Link Party
Please don’t link up if you are not a grandmother
Thank you



Please don’t link up if you are not a grandmother.
We have a weekly Wednesday AIM Link Party that is for everyone.
Please link-up there instead.†Thank you!

Dear Vancouver Island….

I love you Vancouver Island. Truly I do. Although sometimes you behave like a ‘bad-boyfriend’…a really bad one!

When I met you, many summers ago, you were charming like no other. I was smitten. When we began to go steady in the summer of 2013, our relationship sparkled with promise. When I moved in during the summer of 2015, I shouted our love from the mountaintops. I could not have been happier. Then winter came. You were sullen and moody. Your cloudbursts were constant. It was difficult to be outdoors with you. I felt trapped inside. Everyone said that you had never been like this before. “Be patient,” they said. “This is a one-off. It will pass.” Summer came, and I believed them.

But you must admit, dear Vancouver Island, the past seven months have been rough. You have been cold and unpredictable. Yes, many of your relations far and wide had similar rough spells. It didn’t make things easier. That was them. I had believed with all my heart that you were different. You were the chosen one. Your unpredictability became worrisome. Truth be told, I considered breaking up with you.

Then last week, you started to flirt your warmth again. Ever so slowly your dark, gray moodiness began to lift. Not full time, but enough for me to see glimpses of your bright, intoxicating smile. At ‘Fire and Ice’ (that amazing ice-carving-hot-chili-eating festival that is a small sample of your island uniqueness) you flaunted your sunny and colourful side. Due to your unpredictable nature, I bought tickets to an indoor Shari Ulrich concert. At intermission, you beamed, beckoning everyone to take their break outdoors and bask in your radiance. We all did. Ironically, Shari, a fellow Islander, included a song that she wrote while walking her dog in the island rain…have a listen below.

This past week, my parents visited from out-of-town. Not completely hiding your tempestuous nature, and despite a few damp spells, you were a gallant host. You provided my mother with a wonderful Mothers’ Day. High Tea at Milner Gardens, MARS Garden Tour and a meandering drive to visit family in Sooke were highlights of the week. Even mom thought I had been too tough on you. “How could anyone not LOVE Vancouver Island?” she reprimanded.

You now promise an exceptionally warm summer. “Warmer than usual” are the predictions. Although I’m determined to stay strong, I know that I will fall helplessly under your spell one more time.

Happy Mother’s Day from Vancouver Island (and Happy Birthday Jo-Anne Tattersall)!!

Views from the same yard five months apart.
Vancouver Island: Qualicum Beach Annual Fire and Ice Festival
Qualicum Beach, Fire & Ice 2017.
Shari Ulrich - Who also lives on Vancouver Island
Shari performing “Rain, Rain, Rain”. Watch it here
Vancouver Island: Visiting family in Sooke.
Temporary sunshine while visiting family in Sooke.
Milner Gardens, Vancouver Island
Mother’s Day High Tea at Milner Gardens.
Vancouver Island watercolour by Pauline Pike
Along with highlighting a sample of private gardens, the MARS Garden Tour also showcased the works of local artists. Shown here is a reprinted water colour by Pauline Pike. Notice her portrayal of Vancouver Island! (Pauline gave permission for her work to be included here.)
MARS Garden Tour, Vancouver Island
Happy Mother’s Day from Mom, Me, Richard and Dave on the MARS Garden Tour (notice my rain jacket and rain boots…just in case)!.

You Know You’re A Grandparent When…

About Me: Happineess Revisited
Being a grandparent: Charlie's first photo.
10. You stop people on the street and ask “Have you seen photos of my grandchildren? What about this one?”
Becoming a Grandparent: Cooing with a much younger Charlie
9. You speak in that cutesy-wootsy high pitched voice that is annoying to…well, everyone!
Becoming a Grandparent: Raffi
8. You become nostalgic when hearing Raffi again. (Seriously, how old is that guy now?)
Becoming a Grandparent: Jordyn at Window
7. You get to revist many of the ‘firsts’ and remember how miraculous they are!
Becoming a Grandparent: Charlie and Toys
6. Rules? What Rules?
Becoming a Grandparent: Charlie with Drums
5. When shopping, you always find something that your grandchildren absolutely must have. (Case in point, Rolling Stones t-shirt, and drum kit….although Charlie’s parents may not exactly agree about him ‘needing’ the drums!)
Becoming a Grandparent: Grandpa and Jordyn looki' cool!
4. Suddenly you’re cool again (at least in the eyes of your YOUNG grandchildren!)
Becoming a Grandparent: Charlie on his way to daycare, bus card in hand!
3. Boasting. It’s a grandparent’s right. Enough said.
Being a Grandparent: Cuddle time with Jordyn.
2. You know that there is nothing better than cuddle time…..Except for maybe naptime!
Being a Grandparent: Selfie with baby Jordyn.
1. Selfies and ‘Instagram’ have taken on a whole new meaning!

If you are a grandparent, what are your tell-tale signs?

Almost Wordless Wednesday: A Week in the Life of a Retiree

The most common question that I have been asked since retiring is “What do you do all week?” The short answer is “no two weeks look alike”. Here’s a sample from this past week using an Almost Wordless Wednesday format. (I do realize that it’s Monday…and this post is not exactly wordless…thus the ‘almost’!) I’ve also included both weekends to give you a broader cross-section of possible activities and events. Enjoy!

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Saturday Coffee
After a week-long stay visiting family in Kelowna, we made an overnight stop in Vancouver. There are so many great places to linger with a coffee and a good book, like The Boulangerie La Parisienne in Yaletown.
Wordless Wednesday: Sunday Walking Group
The Mid-Island Walking Group meets Wednesdays and alternate Saturdays/Sundays. It’s a perfect way to get outdoors, get some exercise and engage in great conversations. Just ask Jake (who has taken the lead)!
Almost Wordless Wednesday: Meeting of artists/crafters
Meeting of Artists, Crafters, Photographers…and a Blogger! This newly formed group seeks to have surrounding companionship, inspiration, and unbiased opinions while working on art-related activities.
Tuesday: Yoga, Dog-Walking and Dinner
Morning yoga, afternoon dog-walking for the SPCA, and evening “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner'(a monthly feature of our Newcomer’s Group). Busy day!
Almost Wordless Wednesday: Hiking and Book Club
A shorter hike today with our Walking Group (5K) followed by Book Club. These are two of my favorite things to do (as long as they include coffee and snacks afterward). BTW – Please do not ask why it looks like I am praying in this photo…I honestly have no idea!
Almost Wordless Wednesday: Euchre and Board Meeting
Today I officially ‘graduated’ from our beginners’ euchre clinic and was ‘accepted’ to join the regular Monday euchre league! The excitement must have made me forget to take a photograph (both of this historic event and the Newcomer’s Executive Meeting later that evening). Being resourceful, I made due with similar photos that I had on file. In the bottom photo, simply ignore Richard, the excessive wine glasses and the seasonal cards/lighting and you pretty much have the image of today’s meeting down to a tee!
Almost Wordless Wednesday: Coffee after Yoga, Bookfair and Happy Hour
Another busy day in the life of a retiree. Coffee after yoga followed by volunteering at the SPCA Bookfair, followed by our neighbourhood Friday Happy Hour. Somebody’s gotta do it!!
Almost Wordless Wednesday: Flea Markets, Coffee Tasting and Dinner with Friends
Spring on Vancouver Island is abloom with bright colours, flea markets, and cool/quirky events. Today I took a quick browse at our neighbourhood rummage sale before heading back to work at the SPCA book sale. During my lunch break, I snuck off with friends to a local coffee/tea tasting. Richard and I then topped off the day by having dinner with a couple that we met in Palm Desert this past October and feel we have known forever. (I LOVE when that happens!)
Almost Wordless Wednesday: Pajama Day
A common saying among retirees in “when did I ever have time to work??” For me, this past week was a great example of this. Hence, I have unilaterally declared today to be ‘Pajama Day.’ I seriously need to catch up on my rest, reading and computer-related stuff like ‘Blogging Grandmothers’!
Almost Wordless Wednesday: Blogging Grandmothers Network
Yes, you read correctly. I have been asked to be one of the co-hosts for ‘Blogging Grandmothers’ twice-monthly blogging link-up. Our recent link-up just went live. Although you do need to be a grandmother to add a post, you do not need to be a grandparent, or even a parent, to read the links found there. The posts include great stories and tips for all. Some of these ‘grandmothers’ just may surprise you! Click on my last post to take a peek!
So how was your week?
Photo collages made with Canva .

Blogging Grandmothers Link Party #14

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Blogging Grandmothers Network

Welcome to the Blogging Grandmothers Link Party #14

Starts Monday, May 1, 2017 at 12:05 am central time (United States)

Ends Thursday, May 4 at 11:55 pm

Blogging Grandmothers Link Party

Blogging Grandmothers Link Party

Hosted By: Grammy Dee, MiMi Clearissa, Grandma Candy, Gramma Lori
and please welcome our newest co-hosts
Grandma Christie, Grandma Donna, Nan Sue, Grandma Teresa, and Mimi Carol

REALLY SIMPLE RULES:

ï This party is for grandmother bloggers only

ï You may share any new or old, family friendly posts, no limit

ï By joining the party, you are giving the host and co-hosts permission to
share your photos and posts on social media and to use in posts, features,
and round ups with proper credit given to you. All posts will be pinned
on Pinterest, and possibly shared on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter

ïBy entering your email into the InLinkz form, you are giving host
(Grammy Dee) permission to email you when the next party goes live

ï Kindly show some link love by commenting on posts of at least 3 other guests

ï If you follow us on social media, we’ll follow you back, our links below

ï We would appreciate it if you would share our party

Grammy's Grid

Grammy Dee from Grammy’s Grid
Bloglovin’Facebook Google+ Instagram
Pinterest Twitter

Clearissa Coward's Command Center

MiMi Clearissa from Clearissa Coward’s Command Center
Bloglovin’ Facebook Flipboard Google+ Instagram
LinkedIn Pinterest Twitter

Candy's Farm House Pantry

Grandma Candy from Candy’s Farm House Pantry
Facebook Google+ Instagram Pinterest Twitter

Love My Big Happy Family

Gramma Lori from Love My Big Happy Family
Facebook Google+ Instagram Pinterest Twitter

So What? Now What? Banner

Grandma Christie from So What? Now What?
Facebook Instagram Pinterest Twitter

Retirement Reflections Banner

Grandma Donna from Retirement Reflections
Facebook Flipboard Google+ Instagram
LinkedInPinterest Twitter

Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond Banner

Nan Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
Facebook Google+ Instagram Pinterest
StumbleUpon Twitter

Aging Like a Fine Wine Banner

Grandma Teresa from Aging Like a Fine Wine
FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter

Home with Mimi Banner

Mimi Carol from Home with Mimi
Facebook Google+ Instagram Pinterest
StumbleUpon Twitter

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Our last Blogging Grandmothers Link Party had:
329 views, 43 links, 280 clicks!
CONGRATS to our featured bloggers!

Blogging Grandmothers Link Party Featured

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Featured: Delightful Repast
Fresh Blackberry Scones

Blogging Grandmothers Link Party Featured

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Featured: Penny’s Vintage Home
Vintage Step Stools

Blogging Grandmothers Link Party Featured

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Featured: Gwin Gal Adventures
Entrez Vous

Blogging Grandmothers Link Party Featured

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Featured: Oh My Heartsie Girl
Terracota Painted Pots: DIY Crafting

OK, LETíS PARTY!
Blogging Grandmothers Link Party
Please don’t link up if you are not a grandmother
Thank you


Please don’t link up if you are not a grandmother.
We have a weekly Wednesday AIM Link Party that is for everyone.
Please link-up there instead.†Thank you!

Life Before and After Retirement: Same Same But Different

I have a confession to make. I love blogging. I seriously do. I love everything about it (well…almost everything)! I love reading the thoughts of others who are in similar stages of life as I am. I love reflecting on what they have to say. I love having the freedom to send my voice into the blogosphere to be read and perhaps reflected upon by others.

A couple of weeks ago, I read a post by Kate (Views and Mews). In it, she discussed her changing outlook in retirement that was often polar opposite to how she felt during her career life (e.g. “Friday yay, Monday blah” suddenly morphed into “Friday blah, Monday yay!”).

When reflecting on Kate’s post, I had the sudden realization that I am the exact same person in retirement that I was in my work life. This shocked me. Somehow, I was expecting someone totally different!! Okay, so I do get more sleep, am more relaxed, have less stress (and fewer emails). But deep down, I’m the same ol’ Donna. You’d recognize me! Same values, same beliefs, same attitudes, same distinct habits (like my love of detail, my tendency to attack small tasks immediately and my ability to post pictures of an event on Facebook…even before everyone has arrived home from said event!)

While mulling this all over in my mind, I wrote last week’s post, A Retiree’s Job Description. I was overwhelmed by the thoughtful and insightful comments that I received from readers. You guys are good!! I was especially struck by Joanne (My Life Lived Full) who wrote that she “is not the same person today that she was six years ago.” Then Janis (ReitrementallyChallenged) suggested that maybe in retirement we “discover someone who has been inside of us waiting for permission to come out.”

So who am I now? The exact same person? Not the same at all? Or someone who was inside me all along…waiting for permission to be herself?

And then I realized that Janis was on to something! These bloggers were all on to something! Upon this reflection (which was A LOT OF INTROSPECTION even for me) I suddenly knew. It wasn’t that I am now the exact same me. Rather, I am more ‘me’ than I have ever been before. My career robes have been removed taking with them many expectations that had been placed upon me (a large number of them self-imposed)! I no longer need to be so acutely focused on a specific area. I’m less worried about disappointing others. This, in turn, has allowed me to be more open, less guarded and has given me additional time and freedom to…well…be ‘me’!

My work life (which I LOVED and for which I am eternally grateful) also helped to nurture and shape the ‘evolved me.’ (Seriously, where do you think I developed my hyper-focus on detail and my tendency to multi-task?!) But like a benevolent parent, work has released me to spread my wings and reconnect with areas of myself that sat dormant during my career.

In preparation for this post, I browsed through a pile of work photos to compare to my most recent shots. Definitely still me…but even more so!

“Same Same But Different”: Something that is substantially the same as something else but differs in the details.

A Retiree’s Job Description

Retiree's Job Description

When reflecting on core areas where I spent my time during my work life, compared to how I now spend my time in my retirement, I thought it would be fun to compare ‘job descriptions.’ I began by quickly checking to see what the internet had to offer.

I Googled ‘Retiree Job Description.’ Nothing pertinent. I tried again. Still nothing at all. How could this be? Isn’t Google the storehouse of all ideas no matter how unique, obscure or wild and crazy they may seem?

Perhaps it was due to my diminishing research skills (say it isn’t so!), but I came up completely empty-handed in my search. I then decided to write a basic ‘Retiree’s Job Description’ myself. How hard could it be? Besides, I had almost written this job specification previously, but that post got carried away in a different direction. With a solid network of retirees/bloggers/creative thinkers out there, I am hopeful that others will jump in and add their suggestions (both serious and otherwise). Here goes!

Job Title:

Retiree

Reports to:

Self

Job Purpose:


Leaving one’s career/employment to pursue passions such as leisure, travel, hobbies, volunteerism, etc., and of course, family, health, and balance.

Duties and Responsibilities:


• Envision and take responsibility for your own schedule
• Initiate and plan activities
• Prepare budget and monitor expenditures
• Set your own hours
• Invest in your friendships and relationships (especially with your spouse/partner…you’ll likely be spending significantly more time together than you did when working)
• Experiment and take (smart) risks that will help you enjoy this position to its fullest
• Stay physically and mentally fit. Regularly engage in exercise and new learning. This is a core responsibility of retirees (If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!)
• Expect the unexpected….and be prepared to deal with ‘wildcards’ that may be thrown your way

Requirements:


In their book, Retire Right – 8 Scientifically Proven Traits You Need for a Fulfilling Retirement, Drs. Fraunfelder and Gilbaugh list the following as key traits of retirees who have indicated successful transition into retirement.
• Ability to plan ahead
• Positive attitude
• Acceptance of change (willingness to adapt and adjust)
• Support network of family and friends (and pets)
• Healthy lifestyle
• Sense of purpose
• Engagement in a variety of enjoyable leisure activities
• Spirituality

Assets:


• Conviction to view this position as a door opening as opposed to a door closing
• Ability to suspend ‘overthinking’ and enjoy this luxurious position that is denied to so many
• Willingness to give back to others/leave a legacy (How do you wish to be remembered?)
• A versatile skill set will greatly assist with the ‘monitor expenditures’ requirement for this role
• Healthy (but not over-inflated) sense of self-worth
• A genuine sense of gratitude

Working Conditions:


You will be responsible for setting your own hours, priorities and agenda. Do not assume that the position of retiree is ‘obligation free.’

Direct Reports:


At any time, you may be asked to oversee others who require your support and Caregiving. This includes, but is not limited to, grandchildren.

Approved by:


RetirementReflections.com
April 2017

So, what did I miss?

Rocket Girl…and Equality Among the Sexes in 2017

When my youngest son was in kindergarten, I was a middle school principal. My son’s school principal was female. Many of my closest friends were also…you guessed it…female principals. This caused my five-year-old to innocently ask, “Can men also be principals?” “Only when they are very, very good,” I said with a wink.

One of my book clubs is currently reading Rocket Girl. This ‘creative non-fiction biography’ pieces together the life of Mary Sherman Morgan, America’s first female rocket scientist, and ‘unsung heroine of the space age.’ Source.

When introducing this novel at our book club, we also touched on the similarly-themed movie, Hidden Figures. In both works, obstacles to women (often combined with other barriers of racial prejudice, poverty, etc.), in male-dominated fields, sat continually at the surface. This evoked a spirited book club discussion as to how far we truly have come in regards to ‘equality among the sexes’ in 2017. Our group remained divided in their responses to this question.

Stimulated by this discussion, I did some checking.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2016, produced by The World Economic Forum, examines ‘equality’ between men and women in four different areas (education, health, finances, politics) in 144 countries. This document also highlights countries, that within their region and economic group, provide opportunities and distribute resources more equitably among the sexes.

What were the findings?

For the 144 countries studied, in 2016, the gender gap between education and health outcomes had closed 95% and 96% respectively. However, gaps between political attainment and economic participation had only closed 23% and 59%. In summary, this report stated than an average gender gap of 31% remains. Source 1. Source 2.

It is frustrating that the road to gender equity often contains steps forward mixed with several steps back. (68 countries increased their gender equity in 2016, while 74 countries saw decreases. Overall, the economic gender gap reverted to where it was in 2008!). Adding to this discouragement, geographic areas that I consider to be the most liberal (like my own), often ranked far behind other areas regarding this attainment. Iceland, Finland, and Norway took the top three spots of the World Economic Forum’s Gender Equity ranking. Canada placed 35th overall, while the US placed 45th (down from 28th in 2015). Source. Report findings reveal that if the rates of change seen in the past ten years continue as is, South Asia could see a closing of their overall gender gap in the next 46 years. Whereas, due to its slow progress over the past decade, the North American gender gap is currently predicted to take 158 more years to close. Source.

Of course, these projections are just that and cannot be interpreted as conclusive facts. However, by documenting, graphing and highlighting present trends, these stats are an eye-opener and urge a strong call for action.

Do any of the above figures from the World Economic Forum surprise you? What are your thoughts?

Also, if you are interested in finding out more about Mary Sherman Morgan, I found Rocket Girl to be an absorbing, fascinating read…and a great springboard for provocative, engaging discussions!

Cover image created by Canva.com

#WordlessWednesday: Three Days with Charlie

When our grandson, Charlie, called (his voice sounding a lot like his mother’s) my husband and I gladly offered to fill in the three-day gap in his daycare arrangements. And what better way to share this adventure than through #WordlessWednesday (or in my case #AlmostWordlessWednesday)? Enjoy!

It is never boring hanging out with a 19-month old boy. There were beaches to explore.
And old boats to restore.
As well as the sights and smells of Grandville Island Market!
Charlie made it his full-time job to ensure that his grandparents were entertained.
He also scored big points for being a fan of Grandma’s cooking.

Which was a good thing because I had made several extra containers full for his daycare lunches. You can find the recipes here, here and here. And if you have Microsoft Word, you can easily make the freezer tags by using the ‘Shipping Labels Template’ found under ‘New Documents.’
And the most precious reward of all? Charlie’s choice of location for his peaceful afternoon nap!
It’s comforting to know that we are only ever a ferry ride away!
Until next time….

For Whom the SEO Bells Toll

What is ‘SEO’ and what is it doing to our writing?

If you share your written work on-line (and care about anyone else ever reading it) you are probably quite familiar with the term SEO or ‘Search Engine Optimization.’ SEO ranks your posts based on what search engines consider most relevant to internet users.

More and more, as on-line writers, we are encouraged to improve our SEO scores. Cyberspace is now teaming with advice, apps and plugins to do just that. But what are the consequences to the the uniqueness of our voices, and the depth and purity of our words? Is all of this ‘search engine hype’ helping or hurting our writing?

Going hand in hand with checking the SEO friendliness of your post, such plugins as ‘Yoast SEO’ analyze the ‘readability’ of what you have to say. This is done by checking the length of your sentences and paragraphs. It is noted whether you’ve used transition words or subheadings and how often you’ve used a passive voice. On top of all this, Yoast calculates a ‘Flesch Reading Ease’ score. To obtain the highest possible Flesch score, you must limit yourself to short sentences and use only one or two syllable words. Also, your writing must be easily understood by the average 11-year old. (Yoast)

And Yoast is not the only plugin or app out to change our writing. The Hemmingway App claims to keep your writing ‘bold and clear’ (and thus SEO friendly). And Grammarly, although not specifically SEO-centered, sets out to “improve” your spelling, grammar, sentence structure and word choice…all of which the creators claim will also optimize search engine results for your post. (Source)

Overwhelmed but curious, I decided to try out all three apps/plugins. As they each have ‘free versions,’ what did I have to lose? Oh, and I need to mention, I tried them out not only on my writing but also on the Big Pappa’s. I was most interested in reading Hemmingway’s (the app’s) critique of Hemmingway (the writer). As many of us studied For Whom the Bells Toll in high school English class, I used the first page (346 words) of that novel. You remember:

“He lay flat on the brown, pine-needled floor of the forest, his chin on his folded arms, and high overhead the wind blew in the tops of the pine trees. The mountainside sloped gently where he lay….”(you can read more here).

So how did Hemmingway, the author, do? That was interesting!

On Grammarly, he scored 79/100. Come on, Ernest, in most University grading systems, that’s only a C+! Points were deducted for:

“• Squinting modifier in second sentence, “The mountainside sloped gently.”
• Repetitive word ‘road” in opening paragraph.
• Overused word ‘solid.’
• Missing commas (on two separate occasions) before the coordinating conjunction and in a compound sentence.
• Unusual word pairs.
• Suggested to replace the word ‘pass.’
• Repetitive word ‘post.’
• Wordiness in one sentence.”
• (Also, Grammarly didn’t recognize the word ‘photostated.’)

On Yoast, Ernest received three ‘bad SEO’ ratings, one ‘okay’ and two ‘goods.’ Below are Yoast’s exact comments:

“• Bad SEO score: The text does not contain any subheadings. Add at least one subheading.
• Bad SEO score: 1 of the paragraphs contains more than the recommended maximum of 150 words. Are you sure all information is about the same topic and therefore belongs in one single paragraph?
• Bad SEO score: 11.5% of the sentences contain a transition word or phrase, which is less than the recommended minimum of 30%.
• OK SEO score: 11.5% of the sentences contain passive voice, which is more than the recommended maximum of 10%. Try to use their active counterparts.
• Good SEO score: The copy scores 87.4 in the Flesch Reading Ease test, which is considered easy to read.
• Good SEO score: 24% of the sentences contain more than 20 words, which is less than or equal to the recommended maximum of 25%.”

And finally, how did Hemmingway, the app, score Hemmingway the writer?

Concern was noted for:
“• 7 adverbs used. Aim for 4 or fewer.
• 4 out of 23 sentences were hard to read.
• 1 sentence was very hard to read.”

Strengths included:
“•Grade 6 Reading Level (good).
• Met the goal of 5 or fewer uses of the passive voice.
• 0 suggestions to use simpler sentences.”

My takeaway was that each of these plugins/apps do have their place. They can offer useful insights and provide much convenience. The caution is that they MUST be used as ‘suggested guidelines’ and not completely replace human proofreading. Surpassing all search engine mathematics, writers need to remain true to their own voices. I would hate to see appropriate 3+-syllable words, intricate paragraphs, and complex/compound sentences stripped from the internet. I would also hate to see emerging Hemmingways restrained by fear of the SEO police!

Oh, and what were my SEO scores for this post?

Grammarly assigned me a score of 93% (woo hoo… A- !)

The Hemmingway app rated my writing at a “Grade 7 Readability Level” (‘good’). This app liked my conservative use of both adverbs and a passive voice. It did, however, suggest that I use “simpler phrases” (e.g. recommended I use the word “greatest” instead of “maximum” (….which, as you can read above, would not make sense). This app also suggested that I make some of my sentences easier to read.

The Yoast plugin is never going to like me because I don’t tend to use subheadings in my blog posts. It gave me one big, negative, red circle for that! It also wanted me to use more transition words and gave me a cautionary orange circle for that. (Hey, what if I randomly inserted meaningless transition words into this post? Moreover. Likewise. Additionally. Similarly. Amazing, that worked! Goodbye orange circle!) The good news is that I did receive four positive green circles (for my short sentences, short paragraphs, restrained use of the passive voice and good Flesch reading score). I also snagged an additional green circle for cheating on my trasition words. And wait for it….

‘Subheading’

Ta Da!! Due to that stray, frivolous subtitle, Yoast just gave me my sixth green circle…and a ‘perfect’ readability score!

How does your writing rate? You can check it out here, here and here! What are your thoughts on all of this? All comments are appreciated.


Title photo made at Canva.com