Schedule – Pattern – Rut?

“It’s cold”

After reading Deborah Drucker’s recent post: “Appointment to Write,” she and I exchanged a few comments. I mentioned: “I am plodding along the same path/rut I’ve been in.”

It probably wasn’t the best choice of words, but Deborah’s response got me thinking about schedules and habits and ruts and where they all intersect. I’m not sure these thoughts will be of interest to anyone other than me, and I don’t think I figured it all out, but since we’re still at that reflective time of the year, I’m going to go with it.

The “schedule” I have is a product of what I want to achieve by writing (I want to entertain, and I want to improve) and the way my weeks are filled. I have a day job, other hobbies, a family and a demanding dog. Fortunately, most of these things result in stories I can tell.

I don’t share work stories here very often. I used to do that on a blog that has gone fallow. A domain name I will soon abandon, because I will eventually retire from that day job.

Believe it or not, one of my goals is to make these stories shorter. Stop laughing. There are signs of progress. When I rewrote the post about my grandmother, I removed about 150 words. Then again, my One-Liner Wednesday posts continue to be far more than one line.

Someone once commented on Linda’s site: “why call it one-liner Wednesday when most of the posts are much longer than one line?” Everyone’s a critic. Unless Linda throws me out or starts taking back the bonus points she’s handed out over time, I’m not going to worry about being overly verbose. “Making a short story long” is my special talent.

The pattern I have drifted into consists of random, sometimes more serious topics on Mondays. One-Liner Wednesday and Thursday Doors on their respective days. I like #1LinerWeds because it lets me share a single thought/statement/comment without having to have much of a story. I like Thursday Doors because I like doors, architecture and history. I also like to walk around and explore when I travel. I’m mostly traveling for business, so walking around is short for “walking around a hotel” but every building has at least one door.

I skipped Saturday because Saturdays remain a work in progress. I enjoy the “If We Were Having a Beer” series, but I also enjoy Stream of Consciousness Saturday. I’ve been trying to merge them, but it doesn’t always work. Either I can’t find the common ground, or I can’t avoid editing because it has become unclear who is talking. Still, a year ago, I wouldn’t have even made the attempt. I’ll call that progress, and as long as I think I’m making progress, I won’t use the ‘R’ word.

Speaking of ruts and patterns, our two-week deep freeze is forecast to come to an end today. We might see temperatures above 32°f (0°c) and by the end of the week, we might flirt with 50°f (10°c). Today’s gallery includes a few more pictures of the aftermath of our officially unnamed storm.

94 thoughts on “Schedule – Pattern – Rut?

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  1. I am facing a blogging dilemma in running out of photo space unless I “buy up”, Dan. I love my blogging encounters but also need to work on the book. Not sure what I’m going to do.
    Out dog Buddy used to take wvery new squeaky toy we bought him and dig until he found the squeaker and dug it out, stuffing everywhere and squeaker drowned in his saliva. 😏
    Stay warm!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Some people start a new blog when they run out of space. I paid for the premium plan, but I’m almost halfway through the space there. Still, it’s been six years. For the foreseeable future, I don’t have another writing project, so I’ll keep at this. I tell myself that I won’t have as many photos after I retire, but who knows.

      Maddie just doesn’t think some things should squeak. Every toy Faith has ever given here has gotten opened.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lois. We’ve sat 3 or 4 times, but the pattern is set. As soon as my wife puts the vest on her, she knows she’s going to sit. I don’t know what it is about sitting and sniffing the “breeze” (30 plus mph) but it has a definite calming effect on Maddie. 10 minutes seems to do it in this cold.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Contemplation is good, Dan. So is variety. I’ve thought along the same lines as you have seeing a tendency for me to veer toward the “familiar”. I’ve been trying to be more conscious of mixing things up with my posts, following no schedule and posting in different formats. I also wish to expand on the scope of what I do photograph so I’ve been thinking about that as well. And thank GOD this cold spell has finally broken! OH FOR THE JOY! You can find me over the next few days in a forest. LOVED your gallery!! Enjoy the break in the cold!! ❄️💞

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As this year ends I would trade you Dan… I had such a hard time getting and keeping up with my writing. Then the computer problems left me just out of luck if I wanted write for more then a few minutes. At times I would only have WiFi for ten minutes before I was kicked off and would lose most of what I was working on. So I am hoping to get the rut you are talking about this year

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was 3 inside the enclosed porch. It was -5 on the other side of that wall. I’ve tried sitting with her on the porch, in the summer when the porch is a few degrees cooler and protecting me from the direct sun. Maddie will have none of it. She wants to be outside.

      One line, or two, or 23, who’s counting :-)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I like musing posts, Dan, and did one today myself. I can identify with the blogging schedule/space issues. I like participating in challenges but there are so many that I’d never have time just to do my own blogging thing. I obviously love posting photos, but they take up much more room on the blog. I did purchase additional space for my blog, which wasn’t expensive and I, like you, am about halfway through, which after five? six? years of blogging means I should make it for quite some time yet before having to make another decision. Life is full of difficulties, isn’t it? I’m glad that often the blogging choices are among my most difficult. :-)

    Heat wave of 32 here this morning, but a snow/sleet mix on the ground which means it might be dicey when going out, at least when walking, as they’ve salted the roads. Happy Monday, Dan.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Janet. We are on our way to 31 degrees, but also have some light snow coming. I don’t care, that’s 40 degrees warmer than yesterday at 8:00 am!

      I agree that if blog schedules, topics or space is the worst things we’re dealing with, we’re OK, but I don’t want to go off the rails, so I continue to wonder from time to time.

      Enjoy the heat wave!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As far as I’m concerned, you can get carried away with your thoughts all you want because your thoughts are both interesting and entertaining, not to mention damn funny sometimes.

    Great gallery of photos…you really captured winter.

    But my favorites are, of course, of Maddie. Looking up at you, “Are we gonna get this show on the road?” And the expression on her face (I think I heard her growl!) which says, “No way. You go in you wuss. I’m staying out!”

    And the now unstuffed, forever silent, broccoli. Too funny. My Murphy does the same. Immediately goes for the jugular….I mean squeaker. I wouldn’t know whose house I was in if I wasn’t always picking up fiberfill stuffing. Hey! It makes ’em happy and our hairy kids certainly make us happy. Win-win.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That squeaker must die! And yet, she has a big stuffed jax toy that has a squeaker in each spoke, and she just loves to make it squeak. There’s no figuring this one out, but it’s good to know we’re not alone picking up the fluff.

      Thanks for the kind remarks, Ginger. I’m glad you liked the photos. Of course I knew to include the redhead, and you nailed her thoughts. I didn’t have time to do a video, but you can probably imagine her front feet tapping the floor as if to say “come on, come on”


      1. Hahahah!! In addition to all Murphy’s stuffed toys, she has 3 soft rubber balls….exactly alike. With two of them, she removed the squeakers within 10 minutes. However, one of them still has its squeaker!! She will squeak that ball FOREVER until “I” want to remove the squeaker! —-Ginger—-

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Write whatever and whenever you want because it is always enjoyable. :-) I try to write on a schedule, but the Monday one is the only one that works. The rest is spontaneous because I see a flower, bird or a door, and I have to share. When I stuck to a schedule, it felt like a job and less fun. I have a schedule on my Master Gardener blog and that always creates a small amount of stress to make sure I’m in sync. Life is tough for us bloggers. :-) If there was a canine award to the dog owner who gives the most, you’d get my vote for sitting out in the cold so Maddie can sit on her cot and observe her outside world. Applause to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy. It’s funny, for me, the Monday post is the hardest. If we have anything going on during the weekend, it’s hard to find time, especially if I don’t have a draft or an idea hanging around. I follow a bunch of people who only write on the weekend, so it seems I’m reading more, too. But, I enjoy both reading and writing, so…

      Sitting with Maddie has a calming effect on her. She has some issues that often cause her to get aggressive for no particular reason. Sometimes, playing with her helps, sometimes it makes it worse, but sitting almost always seems to make her feel better about her world. We never imagined that we’d be sitting with her in the winter, but she loves it, and her vest lets her get out even more often…yay…


  7. I don’t feel like you’re in a rut. I enjoy finding you in my inbox. You’re thoughtful, funny, poignant, and educating. Who knew doors could provide so much history? :)

    I laughed when I saw Maddie’s now dead stuffed broccoli; Diva Dog has ripped open and gutted every stuffed animal but one looking for the squeak maker inside. Only Pink Pig has lasted. She no longer carries it around with her though. I miss her doing that as it was so cute.

    I love that huge tree with the Moon over it image. That tree is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. I’m happy with the place I’m in, but I don’t take things for granted. Maddie has a couple of toys that she hasn’t torn into. She has a “Pinky” which was her predecessors first toy. We don’t let her chew that. It’s funny, because if she really wants me to come and sit with her, she will bring Pinky to me.

      We worry a bit about that big oak, but it’s the only real shade we get in the summer and it’s home to Sammy and his friends. I love the way the moon lights up the night when there’s snow on the ground. It’s like daylight.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. Overthinking is another one of my special talents. I appreciate that people seem to like all the random corners I visit, but I don’t want to take advantage of that. I am trying to move, ever so slightly, but I’m glad I don’t have to worry about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your patterns, Dan, because I know when to check in on your writing. I may not get to liking or commenting right away, but I know it’s there.

    I’m laughing at the One-Liner Wednesday issue of being too wordy. I’m guilty too and I don’t make excuses for it. I don’t like posting a one-liner without some explanation or having a story behind it, but I suppose I could shorten it up. Maybe.

    It was sunny and in the 30’s today! The little that I was outside felt good…warm on my face. This could stay around for two and a half weeks, just like the cold did.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Mary. I like the one liner posts. I actually read the other posts before checking on mine 🙂 and I don’t care how long they are.

      I think we hit 29 or 30 today. It didn’t feel warm, I think the snow is preventing that. But, we may see 50 on Friday!

      Liked by 2 people

        1. That might not be too bad. It’s all fluff now, and she sinks in so she’s reluctant to get up there and play. If we get some warmer days, it will settle. I think if you gave her the choice, she’d take the cot every time.

          Liked by 2 people

  9. The City is Cold and Welcome to Connecticut are both fab photos.
    I’m relieved to see Maddie killed her broccoli. Sadie kills almost everything. Instantly. *sigh*
    Some schedules are important to me. I dislike too much change. I look forward to the simplest things, but I’m complicated when they are postponed, or heaven forbid, unavailable. I’d never call it a rut.
    I enjoy your posting schedules, and you’re not dull, it’s not a rut, at least on the reading end.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks. And thanks for the info about Sadie. It’s comforting to know that Maddie isn’t the only stuffed animal destroyer. It seems like she’s in good company the Sadie and Murphy.

      In many ways, the schedule I have is the only one that works with my other work schedule. If anything could be called a rut, its the thing I’ve been doing for forty years, but it changes enough to remain interesting.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. You write quite a bit, Dan, and it seems that you enjoy what you do… so it doesn’t sound very “rutty” even though there’s a pattern. I’m glad the weather’s warming up. There are some winters where I’m glad I’m no longer in NE. :-) Happy Writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Nice story and pics! You used the perfect number of words to share this story. Writing isn’t easy. It takes lots of time, lots of edits, and lots of passion. I can see you enjoy it. I enjoy reading it, so keep going!!
    BTW – Which program do you use to create your photo collages?
    Cheers, Donna

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Donna. I just use the Gallery feature in WordPress. It’s the “Tiled Mosaic” option that creates the collage effect. Add Media->Create Gallery-> (select photos) Tile Mosiac->Insert Gallery

      After you’re done, you can preview the finished product and then edit the gallery to rearrange the photos.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Dan – Ruts are easy to fall into … but motivation comes along and life changes. Glad the weather has improved … we have sun and that’s a pleasure … lots of snow and rain – but nothing like you over in New England. Take care and all the best – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I know what you’re saying about being in a rut. It’s a hard habit to break, really. I might just take the Just Jot It January idea and start doing more stream-of-consciousness writing. And listen, I like when you make a short story long…

    Liked by 2 people

            1. We found his discharge papers in a drawer with old greeting cards, bills and cancelled checks. He never mentioned anything about looking toward a mainland invasion. He did say that he wasn’t sad that the dropped the atomic bombs.

              Liked by 1 person

  14. I really look forward to your incredible night photos, kitty awakened pics and Maddie moments.
    I have to say, I personally NEVER am disappointed in your posts, Dan. This one had me thinking about goals and then, “Am I in a rut?”
    I think you should do what you wish and we will continue to enjoy and follow you. I think I will wander and sometimes be consistent. Lol 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  15. One of my favourite lines in a song is “I’m stuck inside this rut that I fell into by mistake.”

    But it’s only a rut if you feel stuck. Otherwise it’s a schedule. Or a pattern. System? Whatever. Do what works for you, is what I say.

    Stay cool in that coming heatwave, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I can tell you’re making them shorter. As for being in a rut, when you’re averaging a post (maybe two) a month, as I am, you start to thinking that a schedule wouldn’t be a bad idea! I guess as long as you’re enjoying what you write (even on days when it’s a “job”), you should stick with it. People seem to enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I think I’m about to get all philosophical here … I’m detecting this pattern in my thinking for these first couple of weeks of the new year 😉

    Everyone has some degree of routine or schedule in their life – it’s unavoidable … eating, sleeping, etc – but I think it’s a fine line between routine and rut – and that perspective is entirely personal. No one else can – or should – define that for you.

    Only when there’s a feeling of dissatisfaction does that routine start to drift into rut territory. It seems to me that you enjoy the pattern you’re in, so that doesn’t sound like a rut to me. I say enjoy!! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I just came back from spending an hour and a half in rain and hail showers in support of Britain’s National Health System. No, the idea wasn’t to make everyone sick and support the NHS that way, although it may well have–the weather was; well, it was the weather. I was going to say it was miserable, but in fact we were the ones who were miserable. Anyway, the idea was to push for better funding for the NHS and an end to the endless, absurd reorganizations. Point being, your deep freeze photos made me grateful for it being warm enough here to rain. Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

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