Best of the Blog, 2015 Edition

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before we knew how much was about to change ~ sunset beach, cape may, new jersey ~ june 2015

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with all things New Year’s related. The degree to which the scale of life balances in either direction can vary from year to year. Generally, I love this time of reflection, remembering, and resolving — but all of that can dredge up some crap that I’d rather not reflect back on or remember. New Year’s has not always been a happy occasion for me and recently, the ghosts of years gone by have been making their presence known.

Anyway, I’m spending this final day of one of the worst years ever by looking back on the year in blogging — something that is made easier with WordPress’ nifty “annual report” for those of us who use this platform. Here are some interesting stats:

I wrote 120 blog posts this year, which is much lower than average compared to previous years. (Well, there were two or three additional ones, but when your legal counsel suggests it might be best to take them down, you tend to abide by that.  At least I do. On the other hand, as someone said in the midst of that particular malestrom, you know you’ve hit the big time when your blog has gotten the attention of a lawyer. So, um … yay?)

I participated in the inaugural Best of the Burghosphere event, which resulted in becoming more connected with my Pittsburgh blogging peers and resulting in my being named Most Literally Literary Blog.

The busiest day of the year was August 9th with 254 views.

This blog was viewed 21,269 times in 2015. It attracted 13,437 visitors. You know who you are. More importantly, thank you so much. This is astounding to me.

The above is a huge increase from last year when there were 12,788 views and 7,926 visitors.

I reached a blog milestone of 2,000 posts, bringing the total for this blog to 2,034 posts.

The most popular post OF ALL TIME is still, unbelievably, Hits and Misses with ALDI’s LiveGFree Products, which was written in May 2014. I cannot for the freakin’ life of me comprehend how — or why — nearly 4,000 people have read that. It gets hits every damn day. It’s crazy.

And finally, my Top 10 Blog Posts Written in 2015 (in order of most blog views). What’s interesting about these ten is that, if I had to list my best blog posts I wrote this year, most of these would be on that list, too.

1) A Moment of Choice is a Moment of Truth: An Open Letter to the East Norriton Township Zoning Hearing Board Regarding Laurel House (8/8/2015)
An appeal to the East Norriton Township Zoning Hearing Board and the community on why they should vote to relocate Laurel House, a domestic violence shelter. A version of this post was published in the Times Herald newspaper. (Update: the Board did, indeed, vote in favor of this move.) 258 views.

2) When the Bully is the Teacher (3/19/2015)
My response to The Girl’s chorus teacher’s bullying tactics in the classroom, including the teacher’s comments that if they didn’t memorize a song, there would be “bloodshed” in the classroom. (Update: the teacher in question has retired. Despite that, my daughter is still reticent to return to chorus.) This post was written for the 1000 Voices for Compassion project, where bloggers write about kindness, compassion, support, and caring for others.  224 views.

3) My Apology to Ron Howard, Jason Katims, and Everyone on Parenthood (1/28/2015)
On the ending of NBC’s show “Parenthood” and how I was glad to be proven wrong about the Asperger’s aspect of the show.  This post was published on BlogHer. 202 views.

4) The Sum of My Parts (5/13/2015)
The post where hitting “publish” scared the crap out of me, and which is one of my bravest pieces of writing here or anywhere, and perhaps the one I am most proud of. 167 views.

5) You’re Missing (6/19/2015)
This spring, my friend Ryan Mooney disappeared. During the weeks of the unknowing, until his body was found, I reflected on what this meant. 141 views.

6) sunday salon: winter of our book blogging discontent (2/22/2015)
Every so often, the book blogosphere seems to go through the blogging blues.  After two bloggers closed up shop and others wrote about why we tend to take ourselves too seriously — and the remedies for such — I offered some thoughts. 101 views.

7) The Answer’s at the (Almost) End (11/29/2015)
We’re still living in the aftermath of Thanksgiving 2015, which saw The Husband hospitalized after collapsing on our bathroom floor and my giving him chest compressions until the paramedics arrived. This is from The Husband’s blog about that incident. 98 views.

8) write the hell out of this life (6/26/2015)
My friend Ryan Mooney was a hell of a writer. One of the best I’ve ever known, especially because he was so thoughtful in his feedback and encouragement of his friends’ work, including mine. “He wrote the hell out of life by writing hard. He put in the time and did the work. He was committed. And with his passing, I think he would expect – no, demand – that his writer friends do the same. To re-commit to our work. To be as good as we possibly can be. And most importantly, to be that friend that others may not always know they need.” 90 views. 

9) finish line (12/2/2015)
On the sudden loss of a college friend. “My memories of that time can sometimes seem like that.  An image, a moment, a visage of what we were and hoped to be. A random capture, like the photo I snapped today of the changing clouds that greeted me upon leaving work at the end of this heavy day. A burst of yellow light, a streak of pink. A feathery wisp. More and more often, that’s what this life seems to be like sometimes.  Fleeting. A flash and a blur. Our finish line around the corner, always just out of sight.” 89 views. 

10) Hidden Behind the Headline (7/14/2015)
An opinion piece where I criticize the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s headline about new housing options for people with autism. 81 views.

In the “You’re Missing” post, I wrote these words which, upon re-reading, could be considered a resolution of sorts for this New Year:

“I vow to pay better attention, to notice who has gone silent, who has dropped off the grid. To step in before it is too late and to hold you and you and you and, yes, even you – all of you who I love, all at once, both collectively and singly, because this is what I know of this crazy world: it is a fragile one which has the power to make all of us disappear, poof. And then, sometimes it takes too much time to realize it and then, we are just as lost because they are gone. And we don’t know what this emptiness is like until it makes its presence known, stamping its feet in a tantrum, screaming maybe if I was more cognizant of the missing more often, maybe then I could have said something, maybe a comment would have made the difference, maybe I could have caught us at just the one right, perfect moment.”

Here’s to a year of new moments — the perfect and imperfect — in 2016.  Happy New Year, everyone.

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