If Thine Widget Offends Thee, Pluck It Out*

As (insert deity of your choice) is my witness, I will figure this blog thing out!

*From the scriptures of the little known Clueless Blogger’s Bible….that I just might write someday.

So, thanks to a comment from Joanne, the WHITE SCREEN OF DEATH commenting problem related to ye olde blogge might be because of an email subscription widget that I have been using since FOREVAH.

So I have ditched it and instead activated the subscription feature that is inside of Jetpack. I have also enabled a “follow” option for commenters.  I am having difficulty testing it out because my blog already knows (and hopefully loves) me. Although I did test out commenting from outside the blog and it worked – several times! Hoorah!!!!

But because ye olde blogge knows who I am, it is not offering me the “follow blog” or “follow comments” options so I am not sure if they are even there or working.

If someone wouldn’t mind trying to comment and letting me know if they see these options or not, this clueless blogger would be most appreciative.

Rock on,

The WB

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Lordey, I Love Me a Presale

This morning I woke up to this:

Pretty, no? If only it disappeared by Jan 2…

It was a dark and stormy night…Last night was rainy and blowy as a cold front came roaring in. Mizz J and I looked at each other in alarm a couple of times during the evening as the wind sounded like a convoy of heavy transport trucks driving around the building. At some point the rain turned to snow – snow that stayed on the ground this time.

But enough about that. What I am really excited about is how the concert “season” is already shaping up for 2018!

I have 3 big shows lined up already – 2 thanks to being able to use presale codes.

Last time Foo Fighters were in town, Mizz J and I weren’t able to locate tickets (at non vital-organ-selling prices) and I deeply regretted missing this show and seeing Dave in all his Dave-of-Thrones, broken-legged glory. But this time – THIS TIME – there was a presale that I could take advantage of (thank you Capitol One!!!) so those are IN THE BAG for next July.

And yesterday I was able to use another presale code (thank you LiveNation!) to grab a pair of tickets to see Royal Blood and Queens of the Stone Age in London in May. These two bands were in Toronto fairly recently – just after I came back from Kelowna in September – and I was triggered to pick up a ticket every time I heard the show being advertised on the radio. Which was a lot.

Well, due to an attack of sudden-onset miserliness I ultimately decided to take a pass on this one. So they came and went without me in the audience. And I had regretted it ever since. Until yesterday!

The 3rd show I’m committed to is actually not a concert per se, but a weekend-long music festival. I am going to return to Riverfest Elora, August 17-19. And I have sold Mrs. & Mrs. Me Too on the idea so they are going to come down and stay with me and WHAT A TIME WILL BE HAD BY ALL, let me tell you!

Thinking on these 3 events and dreaming of what other 2018 shows may pop up on my musical horizon to tempt me is going to be a bright spot during the long, dark, cold days ahead.

Rock on,

The WB

 

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Commenting on Ye Olde Blogge – A Public Service Announcement

Around the time of April’s A to Z blogging challenge, I learned that a subset of the few people that actually read my blog – the commenters – couldn’t. I started having replying troubles around the same time. If you go back to my posts during that challenge, you can see all my little updates and PSAs as I worked through the problem. Spoiler: Unsuccessfully.

If I replied to someone from within ye olde blogge –  through the WordPress dashboard – no problem. If I tried to reply directly from the page, I usually got the WHITE SCREEN OF DEATH. And my oh-so-carefully crafted and witty response had gone into the ether like mist on a July morning, just like it did for my commenters. GRRRRRRRRRR.

So I tried researching this problem through the good ol’ Interweb and came up with squat. Then I called Bluehost and Mr. Bluehost had no problem commenting on ye olde blogge no matter what web browser was employed. But of course you did. So no solutions found there.

This problem was so bad I wasn’t even getting spam anymore, and I complained about it to Mr. Bluehost and I think this gave him the laugh of his day if not his week.

I tried everything I could think of. I changed themes. I installed plugins. I removed plugins. I swore. I drank. I shook my tiny fist of rage at the screen. Then I begged its forgiveness. I burned incense and meditated on the problem. I laid offerings in front of the iMac. Nothing worked.

Fast forward to now – I AM back to getting spam again. Hoorah, I think?

So I thought the problem was fixed. But some other bloggers have been telling me it is still there.

So I reached out to Joanne of My Live Lived Full, who seems to have found a work-around. This is what she does, to successfully comment without triggering the WHITE SCREEN OF DEATH:

What I have learned is:
1) if I see that my info has not auto filled in the comment section (i.e. my blog name, email address etc), I know that my comment will not post and I’ll get the white screen.  If I manually enter the data, the comment will not post.
 2) my work around is that I will return to your home page and then reopen the post from your home page.  It seems that every time I do that, my data will then auto fill and I can comment without issue.
I am sorry, dear Readers/Potential Commenters of Ye Olde Blogge, that I don’t have anything more to offer than this. And thank you Joanne, for sharing the secret to your commenting success.
I am contemplating moving to a paid theme at some point, in hopes problems like these will be non-existent, or at least fixable. And then I can access some support when these things arise, amiright?
Who uses a paid theme? I’d love to discuss this with you. Please leave me a comment shoot me an email.
Rock on,
The WB
P.S. And now I can’t seem to get the paragraph spacing to work after I inserted Joanne’s workaround notes so the bottom part of my post is all scrunched together. Fuck it, I gotta go to work. Sorry.
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Misery DOES Love Company

Looks something like this, I’m sure

I am backlogged at work. And I seem to have a new project or problem to solve opportunity dumped on me every day lately. I love challenge and solving problems investigating opportunities but even I have my limits.

And I hate the feeling of being reactive instead of proactive; of not being able to meet deadlines; of being so busy that items fall off of my radar at work. Of racing the clock to be ready in time for a meeting or a conference call. This is what I am feeling right now. I hope it passes soon.

My boss called me yesterday to book a meeting to get started on my performance contract for this fiscal year, which we are already over a month into. Ideally, this should have been all wrapped up well before now. I have not had a chance to even start drafting this document. So I apologized to him and made a rueful remark about barely treading water at the moment.

He said – Well, if it makes you feel any better, I feel the same way. In fact all of us over here* feel the same way.

I said – Strangely enough, I actually DO feel better hearing this!

Then we both laughed and made a date to meet on Thursday to start hammering away at the details.

Rock on,

The WB

*meaning the rest of the Leadership Team at the Head Office (which is a different location from where I work)

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The Vipassana Dream is Reawakened

You know how sometimes you come across a thought or an idea and it’s something you became intensely interested in at one point but then completely forgot about and now you are even more enamoured of it and you wonder how you could have ever let it drop in the first place? Yeah? Me too.

A couple of years ago, my then massage therapist told me of a silent meditation retreat about 2 hours north of Chez Badass, called Vipassana. I was intrigued and looked it up. And I kept returning to the site and tried to imagine partaking.

  1. 10 days without speaking
  2. 10 days of eating only 2 vegetarian meals per day
  3. 10 days without reading or writing or being connected to the web
  4. 10 days of being alone with your thoughts

Number 3 freaked me out the most, I will confess – followed closely by Number 2. For whatever reason(s) – probably because I was neck-deep in home renovations and MBA shit at the time – I dropped the idea and it was forgotten.

Fast forward to today: I am in the middle of reading an excellent book, called Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Enlightenment, by Robert Wright. (You had me at science, Bob.)

And guess what, ol’ Bob here is all about the Vipassana Retreat! The dream has been re-awakened!

I’m no longer as concerned about items 2 and 3. I think I can handle it, she writes with more confidence than she actually feels.

I have added another concern to the list, though:

5. 10 days of sitting on a cushion on the floor for hours at a time.

Last night I tried meditating – cross-legged on my bed – for five – only five – minutes, and my body complained LOUDLY the whole damn time. Who knew you had to get into shape to sit still? Hehehehe.

Realizing my Vipassana dream is still a few years away, I have decided. I don’t think it is something I will apply for before retirement from work. But I know now that it is something I WILL do.

Rock on,

The WB

 

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Learning to Love Uncomfortable Feelings

November and December haven’t been happy months for me, for a few years now. Traumatic things have happened. I have lost a lot of people (including a special fur person) lately – and not just in November and December, although that is when their absence is most keenly felt. Every year lately at this time my spirits take a dive as I can’t seem to help reliving the past and the ghosts of all those feelings come back for an extended visit.

And it really doesn’t help that the rest of North America (at least according to what is blasted all over the media) goes into Holiday-crazy overdrive right after Halloween with a non-stop blitz of over-spending/over-eating/over-scheduling/over-everything until it seems like everyone is looking forward to having a magical time of it and I’m the only one that just can’t catch that buzz.

No matter how hard I try to fake it till I make it, I just don’t make it…anymore. I used to, though. I wasn’t born a bah-humbug. I was  a certifiable Christmas freak in my younger days, before life beat the snot outta me over and over again.

At this time of year I do grieve the loss of my former joyful Christmas-anticipating self on top of everything/everyone else I am grieving.  I’m not normally down so I’m not very good at dealing with myself when I am. It makes me uncomfortable.

Then a link to this post arrived in my Inbox today: In Love with the Heartbreaking Beauty of Discomfort. 

Life is hard, dammit. And beautiful. And it is a privilege to have known and loved and lost souls and then to grieve them.

I’m gonna get back into a meditation practice and let my thoughts and feelings bubble up as I know they’re gonna do when I try to quiet my mind. And I’m going to notice and acknowledge them and practice gratitude for the heartbreaking beauty of this experience.

Thank you Leo of Zen Habits. Thank you Discomfort. Thank you Life.

Rock on,

The WB

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The Arcade Fire Show

Last night Mizz J and I attended yet another rock show together (yay!!!). Arcade Fire (with opening act, Broken Social Scene), at the Air Canada Centre on what we found out was the very last night of their tour!

I had been under the weather earlier this week but I knew I’d have to be pronounced dead before I’d miss this show.

It turned out to be one of those concerts that you felt was more like a giant house party or a show at an intimate club rather than an event at a major venue.

I didn’t know the opening (local to Toronto) act, but I did enjoy them and they appear to have a very strong following.

The stage was set in the middle of the arena and the members of Arcade Fire moved around the entire set playing to every last corner (and ventured into the crowd on a couple of occasions) so that everyone felt intimately connected with the experience they were creating.

Turn your lights on, we were told. And we did.

To begin, the band walked through the floor crowd (after being introduced like fighters) and climbed through the ropes set up to resemble a boxing ring, to start their set.

For most of this show, there were 2 free seats to the left of Mizz J and we utilized the extra space for DANCING! The owners of those seats showed up partway through Arcade Fire, stayed for about 30 minutes, then left again well before the set ended. These seats weren’t cheap. Who does this?

And, after a blistering finale they paraded off through the crowd again led by a sax player, like a New Orleans jazz funeral. We sang them off. Magical.

Highly recommended to see this band, if you get a chance.

I’ve been to a lot of concerts but never one like Arcade Fire. Everyone who purchased a ticket to the show was sent a copy of the latest CD, Everything Now. I’ve been enjoying this disc immensely since receiving it in early August.

Today I’m feeling the after-effects of this event coming so soon on the heels of being ill. I see a couple of naps in my immediate future.

But first I have to add some bands to my journal’s list of artists I have seen live…hehehe.

Rock on,

The WB

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How the Widow Badass Came to Be

When Joanne and I were hiking last weekend, she asked me how I came up with the name for my blog. I then realized that I have never fully explained it, although I briefly touch on this on my About the Widow page.

The Widow Badass was born when my husband died – in the first few minutes of November 14, 2013. She had been conceived in the doctor’s office where we received his diagnosis of lung cancer, a mere 6 months earlier.

My grieving started at that moment of conception, and also my oh-so practical (this sounds so cold, but it’s true) planning for my future without him.

I was working full-time, AND pursuing my MBA online (as was he), at the time of his diagnosis. Due to his insistence, I kept working and studying. He was too weak to work, but he kept studying also. We weren’t supposed to let the cancer “win” by giving these things up.

I fully supported him throughout the course of his disease. I researched cancer relentlessly; went to every appointment and treatment; sat vigil in every hospital room; shopped and cooked and worked and studied and cared and cried and prayed; and then got up after a few hours rest and did it all again.

During my quiet moments in hospital rooms I thought about about and planned my future without him. I knew I would have a huge mess to clean up once he was gone. His OCD-fuelled hoarding had managed to fill up the large building that he owned for the past 20 years, and had spilled into the residence that I owned.

Listening to the hum of the ICU equipment, I estimated it would take me a solid year of working at it every night and weekend just to empty his building of the accumulation of garbage that was his hoard (the last room was emptied just a few week’s shy of a year later).

Drinking my lukewarm Tim Horton’s tea while my husband slept, I decided I would move into his building and erase the 20 years of his neglect at great cost to make it my own (I did).

Watching the nurses take his vitals, I knew it would take a few months to clean up my property enough to make it presentable to sell but I would do that first, then move and start cleaning up all over again (done, and done).

Pacing the hallways, I vowed that at some point during all this I would complete my damn MBA (damn straight, I did).

And so it all happened. The Widow Badass made it all happen. She was/is that aspect of myself that took over and got shit done. And she had no time or patience for anybody’s bullshit. She was all: blinders on, full speed ahead and let’s deal with the wreckage later when the dust settles.

What I didn’t plan for was finding out about my husband’s unfaithfulness to me during the clean-up process, a couple of months after he died. Finding print-outs of emails between him and another woman shook my entire world-view of what I thought my life with him had been about.

But that didn’t stop the Widow Badass. Oh no. She mined the knowledge of that 18 month-long affair like it was diamonds buried in a refuse heap. She used that hurt and rage to further fuel the mission to create a new life.

So now the Widow Badass is here and here to stay. Long may she reign.

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

 

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What I did when Summer finally came to Ontario – October

First a PSA: thanks to the power of the Twitterverse and a blogger named Kat of AsKatKnits, I learned that NaBloPoMo is still a thing! Another blogger (Aimie from Blissful Lemon) is hosting it this year. Go Aimie! Link up here, if interested in joining in the challenge (and the fun!).

Here is part 2 of how I made the most of Ontario’s better-late-than-never summer weather :

The Badass Rooftop Garden produced pole beans and cherry tomatoes until an overnight frost hit mid-October.
The warm weather meant lots of strolls at all times of day. Here is early evening on October 3.
Another shot taken that night.
Took a trip up to Mrs. & Mrs. Me Too’s place right after Thanksgiving!
There was kayaking, natch.
And hiking, natch.
And drinking beer on the dock while viewing stunning sunsets, natch.
Back in my neck of the woods again. More hiking, this time at Crawford Lake Conservation Area. Nassagaweya Canyon overlook.
I’ve been enjoying using a free hiking app downloaded to my phone, called All Trails. It shows you exactly where you are on the trail (blue dot)
And even more hiking! This time at Felker’s Falls with a delightful fellow blogger, Joanne from My Life Lived Full. This was a close as I dared get to the edge – my back leg is firmly planted as far behind me as I could extend it.
It was great to finally meet the person who inspired me to revive my own Bruce Trail Dream (in progress). We spent so much time hiking and chatting we forgot to get a picture of the both of us…hehehe. Next time!

And now the real fall is finally upon us. Dark mornings and early evenings and damp, cold, windy weather.

Thankfully, I have this to look forward to during these dark days ahead:

Ahhh, a Nespresso latte machiatto. Life’s little morning luxury.

Rock on until tomorrow!

The WB

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What I did when Summer finally came to Ontario – September

This is going to be a two-parter, because Summer finally came to town in September and hung on through almost all of October.

Afternoon at Little Tract September 13. Blazing hot out.
Visiting Alton Mills Arts Centre September 16. Lovely spot and worth the drive!
Beaching it at Bayfield September 17. I even swam, twice – to get some relief from the heat!
Hiking with Mizz J September 23. Another scorcher of a day.
Watching the dancing at Jane Austen’s Country Ball (hosted by the Fashion History Museum) September 23. I felt a little sorry for all the revelers in their hot costumes. Obviously no one thought it would be so hot and humid so late in the season when the event was planned. It did not stop the festivities though!
Hiking at Rattlesnake Point September 30. Hasn’t cooled down yet!

I did try to make the most of the great weather while it lasted, and when I wasn’t working.

Tomorrow I will do a photo recap of the glory that was October.

Rock on,

The WB

 

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