Who am I and why I’m here

Blogging 101: Introduce Yourself

I’m participating in the “Blogging 101: From Zero to Hero” course. Its focus is to “get grounded in blogging basics” with a month of bite-size assignments to help you build up your blog. This offering started on September 15, 2014 in the Blogging University (“Blogging U.”) by The Daily Post at WordPress.com.

Today’s assignment: write and publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post.

[My apologies that this turned out much longer that I planned, but once I got started it was hard to wrap it up and just seemed to keep growing so it’s now over 1500 words!  Hopefully it will still be worthwhile reading, and others might find something of interest in my blog so they might offer me suggestions, feedback, or even follow me as I continue this effort. Thanks for your patience.]

Who am I?

My name is Doug Warren. I am 69 and married with two sons and three grandchildren.  They live close by so we find ourselves doing a lot of babysitting.

I retired in 2001 from IBM Global Services as a Senior Advisor after 34 years, including about 16 years as a Senior Consultant with the IBM National Technical Support Center in Dallas and 9 years earlier as a Advisory Systems Engineer supporting major oil, pharmaceutical, and automotive clients in the northern New Jersey area. Then I worked another 6 years as Enterprise Architect for Countrywide Financial (now Bank of America). In 2007, we moved to the Austin, Texas area from Dallas, where we had lived since 1980 after moving there from New Jersey.

Since 2001, I have been a very active Technical Proofreader, as well as technical reviewer, for Manning Publications. At one point, I even prepared a proposal to author a technical book myself; however, I realized that I had attempted to cover too much after receiving about nine critical reviews and decided not to follow through with it at that point. I have always enjoyed reading, learning, reviewing, and editing books, articles, and even software architecture specifications.

I would like to start developing a habit writing more. Often I think I would like to write more, but have not done anything about it to really get it going yet. I think it will help me to organize my thoughts and maybe even identify and express my emotions and feelings, which I have never been very good at. Having this guided daily course along with a support community for guidance and feedback is a great combination and motivation to get this done.  It might help me to capture my experiences so that others might enjoy reading my blog and enable finding  common interests or information that benefits them too.

My mother is 94 now and has had Alzheimer’s disease for at least 8 years. She resides in a Memory Care unit at an assisted living facility nearby.  She’s actually doing fairly well right now, although she doesn’t remember anything at all, except she recognizes her children and knows that she loves us (and keeps telling us over and over). My father died last year at 93 from “failure to thrive due to advanced dementia” after being in a nursing home a year after a fall from which he never recovered. She does not even realize that he’s been gone all that time and we haven’t told her about his death either; it’s probably better that she doesn’t know since she would not be able to handle it and would forget anyway.

Since they both lived a long life but had dementia in later life, perhaps there might be some tendency that I might encounter similar circumstances as well. Also, I have now had type 2 diabetes since 2006 and now taking basal insulin at bedtime, as well as meal-time insulin at lunch and dinner. I understand that dementia risks are doubled for those with diabetes. Therefore, it might be a good idea to start recording my experiences, memories, thoughts, feelings, etc. while I still have orientation and awareness about my life.

I enjoy playing golf and tennis, and I exercise at the fitness center for about 45 minutes about 5 days a week. We have season tickets for ice hockey with the Texas Stars, who were 2013-14 Calder Cup champions for the American Hockey League. We would like to do some more traveling, but haven’t been able to get away much yet. Since retiring I have started exploring many other activities which I guess I never found time for earlier in my life.

Although I have always really enjoyed music, now I can listen more to online music services like Calm Radio, Whisperings, Rhapsody, Pandora, and Deezer. Also, Austin offers significant opportunities to attend concerts and live music events like South by Southwest every March. Lately, I’ve even started to re-learn how to play piano. Since it would be good for me to focus more on healthy meals that benefit my diabetes, I have been gathering recipes and plan to start cooking meals more often.  I have been taking more photos with my iPhone, started organizing them, and would like to share more as I expand a new interest in photography. And I have been starting to read and enjoy more blogs and social media recently, and this motivates me to become more engaged in such communities, especially as I might have more to share now.

Why I’m here?

I’ve been interested in developing my blog for some time so this seemed the right thing to do. The time is appropriate just to jump right in and do it now, rather than putting it off yet again. I would also like to learn more about WordPress as well as blogging in general. Even now, I’m already a few days late getting it started, but already I’m glad that I’m doing this. Today I will publish my first real post! Then I will really try to get in the habit of writing every day and make an effort not to get too far behind.

To help me get started, I thought it would be helpful to try answer the following questions suggested in the assignment. I found this process was quite effective to get me thinking about why I’m doing this. Also, I looked at many other blogger’s response to this same assignment, and that was very helpful too. I realized that many others are sharing this same experience, and it gave me some ideas about what I might want to include in mine. Also, I started to get more more excited about creating and sharing my blog and participating in this community.

Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?

I have been thinking about keeping a personal journal off and on for quite a long time now, but I never seemed to get it going. Also, I have been interested in creating one or more blogs at different times too. For example, I created this WordPress blog way back in 2011, but it still only had the initial “Hello World” entry (until today). I decided to delete that original “Welcome to WordPress” since it doesn’t belong now that I have started my blog.

What topics do you think you’ll write about?

So now I have decided that it’s time to finally make something happen, and I thought that taking the Blogging 101 course was a good way to get this started. Originally, I thought I would just create a private blog until I figured out what I was doing – so I wouldn’t embarrass myself, I guess. But now, I think it would be best just to make it a public blog, follow along with the suggestions, participate with others doing the same thing, and see what happens.

I’m not really sure what topics I will focus on yet, but I plan to make this be a personal blog that reflects my life experiences, thoughts, ideas, interests, etc. For example, I might share information about travel, photos, music, cooking, recipes, books, etc. Perhaps at some point, if things get rolling, I might consider splitting it into several blogs that have more specific focus. However, initially it might be better just to have a single personal blog and see how that evolves.

I would also like to create a technical blog that focuses on topics associated with software development experiences, but that doesn’t see appropriate to mix in with a more general personal blog. Although I guess I might experiment a little with this, but try to keep it separated somehow so those not interested in those topics can avoid information that they don’t want to see.

Who would you love to connect with via your blog?

It would be great if there were others who might find my blog interesting and want to follow it and/or interact with me based on this. Perhaps I would meet others who share similar interests.  Hopefully, I would offer something that others would like to read.

If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

I would feel quite satisfied if I can blog successfully throughout the next year.  Since it’s taken me so long to get started, that would be a major accomplishment.  Also, I hope that my audience might have gained something from reading my blog as well, and want me to continue it. In any case, it will be an interesting experience and I expect to gain a lot from just doing it finally.

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