State Maps – Arkansas

A brief history of my state map project: During the Pandemic of 2020, I asked each state in the USA for a map. I wanted to plan a future trip once Covid was over, teach the grandbabies about the big awesome world, and have my own collection of maps. I don’t always have the technological ability to find or follow maps online.

I did not receive a map from Arkansas. Perhaps they didn’t get my request? Or it might have gotten lost in the mail? Or maybe they wondered, why the heck would anyone consider traveling during a pandemic? Or they are extremely conscientious of paper waste? Or who knows the real reason?

Anyways.

No worries Arkansas, I haven’t visited you yet, but you’re on my list.

Below is a map of the USA. The states colored in blue are all the states I have been to. I tried to post the map on the “right” sidebar of my blog, but sometimes technology refuses to agree with my great ideas. Not sure why Kentucky and Tennessee are fuzzily colored in? Also, I’m not sure where we got the blank map of the USA. It was ‘captured’ long ago, and it carries no identifying link with it. We’ve been filling it in as we’ve traveled onward.

As someone who ‘leans’ environmentally friendly, I have researched to see if tourism sites use sustainable paper to make their maps and guides, but I found no answers. What I do know is that I will use these items. Anything I don’t utilize will be sent through my homemade paper recycling project, where the grandchildren and I shred old paper, make a slurry, and make our own paper products. Also, these tourism items were free and already made to be used.

If you’re interested in reading more about the story of my State Map project, click on the “State Maps” category in the side bar of this blog. America’s Byways gives the beginning explanation. Or click: https://rosevettleson.wordpress.com/category/state-maps/

The “Real Things” Never Change with Marcus Aurelius in “Meditations”

In truth, the range of books I’ve read is small. Despite having a minor library degree and having been a library assistant in colleges and public libraries, and reading as much as I could. I still have yet to read a wide variety of books from around the globe.

Reading has led me to having dreams about owning a marvelous library filled with Inspiring books, written in every language, from every country. I’ve had this dream many times. In my dream, I walk through large, intricately-carved, magnificent wooden doors to my library. Inside, there are shelves filled with a copy of every book ever written. It’s so stunning, I can’t ever come close to describing the vision, or the experience.

In real life, I’ve read some amazing books. Perhaps if more time was spent reading excellent books, there would be less of a feeling that the world has lost its kindness and compassion. Many Authors have set huge internal flames in my heart to be the best person I can be and shown me that “Real Things” Never Change.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is a book often on many motivational lists. He was a Roman Emperor and a Stoic philosopher driven on improving himself and living life as a good person. Stoicism is a philosophy designed to make people more resilient, virtuous, and wise. Many of history’s great leaders make references to Stoic Values.

The historian Herodian wrote of Marcus: “Alone of the emperors, he gave proof of his learning not by mere words or knowledge of philosophical doctrines but by his blameless character and temperate way of life.”

Marcus Aurelius is one of the most ancient authors in my collection of books. He was born April 26, 121 in Rome, Italy, and died March 17, 180 at age 58. My copy of Meditations is an updated and revised version of the George Long translation, much admired for its scrupulous fidelity to the ancient Greek text. It’s slightly different than the copy I located on Project Gutenberg translated by Meric Casaubon. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2680/2680-h/2680-h.htm

Marcus Aurelius wrote the 12 books of Meditations in Greek. I have noticed that each translation of this book, is slightly different than the others, based on a person’s time of translation (the older versions have words like ‘thee’ and ‘thy’) and a person’s Greek language education.

It is possible that large portions of the work were written when he spent time planning military campaigns.

The word “Stoicism” derives from the Stoa Poikile (Ancient Greek: ἡ ποικίλη στοά), or “painted porch”. Sometimes Stoicism is referred to as “The Stoa”, or the philosophy of “The Porch”.

The four cardinal virtues of Stoic philosophy listed here are derived from the teachings of Plato:

  • Wisdom
  • Courage
  • Justice
  • Temperance

Here are a few more “Real Things” I treasure from reading Aurelius’ Meditations:

  • Dignity
  • Tenacity
  • Frugality
  • Responsibility
  • Respectability
  • Humanity
  • Hard work
  • Duty
  • Wholesomeness
  • Self-control
  • Honesty

Don’t keep on talking about what a good person should be, just be one. (Loosely translated and condensed version of the book’s message).

If you’re interested in reading more about the story of my “Real Things” project, click on the “Real Things” category in the side bar of this blog. ‘The Shrinking World and the Loss of Learning and of “Real Things”’ gives the beginning explanation. Or click: https://rosevettleson.wordpress.com/category/real-things/

State Maps – Arizona

Finally, a state I can tell you about from experience. I’ve been here. I haven’t been to Alabama or Alaska, yet.

Arizona is the third state in my alphabetical list of State Maps. They sent me an Official State Travel Guide and an Official State Visitor’s Map.

Arizona is the Grand Canyon State, it says so on the map, and it proudly showcases the Grand Canyon on the guide cover.

When first opening the map, there’s a nice little section to take notes. This is so handy when someone gives you an address, or directions for your route. One side of the map is filled with the state and a legend. The flip side has inset maps of Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, and Yuma. It also has an index and mileage to selected towns. There’s a list of outdoor recreation areas, their location on the main map, and what services they offer – drinking water, rest rooms, boat ramp, fishing, and hiking. A small section of travel information includes – attractions, lodging, and visitor services.

The Guide says – Welcome to Arizona – “Blazing red rocks. Powder blue waters. Sunsets that astonish the mind and adventures that invigorate the soul….”

Glampsites (my kind of camping) in Arizona offers everything from Airstreams to Navajo hogans to yurts and glamping tents.

Water adventures include the famous lakes – Lake Havasu, Lake Powell, Patagonia Lake State Park – as well as waterfalls and swimming holes – The Crack In Wet Beavers Creek, Waterfall Trail at Fossil Creek, and Parsons Trail in Sycamore Canyon Wilderness.

There is a lot of information about the Grand Canyon and a calendar of events for must-see festivals, feasts, and fairs.

The middle of the Guide divides Arizona into 5 sections, with listings for: area attractions, arts and culture, kid-approved fun, budget-friendly and high-end eateries, ways to explore the outdoors, mega-malls, and more…

  1. Phoenix and Central Arizona –  Camelback Mountain, McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Rainbow Riders, ASU Art Museum, Heard Museum, Odysea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland, Fry Bread House, Kai, Backyard Taco, Wright’s at the Biltmore…
  2. Tucson and Southern Arizona – Windy Point Vista, Audubon’s Paton Center for Hummingbirds, Amerwind Museum, Desert Art Museum, the Iconic Sonoran Hot Dog, Le Entrada de Tubac, High Spirit Flutes, MSA Annex, Children’s Museum, Colossal Cave Mountains…
  3. Northern Arizona – The Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Wupatki National Monument, Lowell Observatory, The Arboretum, Public Art Tour, Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, Lake Powell, Hanging Garden Trail, Petrified Forest National Park…
  4. Arizona’s West Coast – Lake Havasu, Colorado River, Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Skywalk at Eagle Point, Road Trip on Route 66, Zip Line Grand Canyon West…
  5. North Central Arizona – Palatki Heritage Site, The Smoki Museum, Watson Lake, Verde Canyon Railroad, Templeton Trail, Fort Apache Historic Park/ Nohwike’ Bagowa Museum, Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park, Chuckwagon Supper, Sharlot Hall Museum, Anna Mae Trail, Peavine National Recreation Trail, Verde River Greenway…

As I mentioned, I’ve been to Arizona. I can attest to the gorgeousness of the state.

I’m adding a few of my own photos but I had a ‘terrible’ time trying to limit the number.

We’ve been to Arizona at least 2 times.

The first time was in 2007. We went on a multi-state family road trip with our son. It was so much fun. We saw some amazing things – The Grand Canyon, The Petrified National Forest, the Painted Desert, and so much more.

The cities we saw in 2007 included Williams, Flagstaff, and Holbrook, as well as a few others.

Petrified Forest National Park, 2007

Painted Desert, 2007

Indian Watchtower at Desert View, 2007

Inside Indian Watchtower at Desert View, 2007

Grand Canyon, 2007

Grand Canyon, 2007

In 2014 we went back for a short visit prompted by cheap airline tickets and a need to see something different. We stayed in Peoria and drove up to Sedona. We also saw Phoenix and it’s surrounding cities.

Sign at a Rest Stop on a road trip in Arizona in 2014

Gluten Free Restaurants in Sedona in 2014

A brief history of my state map project: During the Pandemic of 2020, I asked each state in the USA for a map. I wanted to plan a future trip once covid was over, teach the grandbabies about the big awesome world, and have my own collection of maps. I don’t always have the technological ability to find or follow maps online.

Previous map posts:

  1. https://rosevettleson.wordpress.com/2021/09/15/americas-byways/
  2. https://rosevettleson.wordpress.com/2021/09/17/state-maps-alabama/
  3. https://rosevettleson.wordpress.com/2021/09/19/state-maps-alaska/

The “Real Things” Never Change with Sequoyah and the Creation of the Cherokee Syllabary

When I learned of Sequoyah as a kid, I was hit with tons of inspiration. Even though I may have only read a few sentences or a small paragraph about him back then, I definitely found a kindred spirit in Sequoyah.

He seemed determined to ‘reinvent the wheel’, so to speak, by designing a language from scratch. He chose to create something entirely new and independent of any other nation’s language so his people could maintain their traditions. When he watched the newcomers to ‘their land’ read from their papers, he decided he wanted to capture his people’s language and write it down so it could be physically shared and remembered, and unite the Cherokee.

Sequoyah went from not being able to read in any language, to creating an entire written language.

It took him 12 years to develop the syllabary. With the help of his daughter, he was able to teach it to others. As the syllabary spread, a printing press was obtained and helped launch the Cherokee Phoenix in 1828. This was the first bilingual newspaper in U.S. history, printing newspapers in both Cherokee and English.

Sequoyah was awarded a silver medal by the Cherokee for inventing the syllabary.

In nearly every story about Sequoyah, often we’ll see the famous image of him in his headdress, with his pipe, facing us, while pointing to his syllabary. The following image is located in the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. https://npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.79.174

I don’t have a book written by Sequoyah to share. 

But here’s why he inspires me. He decided to do something to unite his people. He dedicated 12 years of his life to help the people he cared about, connect and communicate better.

And I felt like I was a bit like him. I tend to try to ‘reinvent the wheel’ – in relationships, in education systems, in human and nature interactions, in politics, in healthcare systems, in governmental systems… I always think there has to be a better way – to do things, to unite people, to get people to understand each other. It seemed Sequoyah believed similarly.

A short list of the “Real Things” I admired about Sequoyah:

  • Connection
  • Communication
  • Caring
  • Determination
  • Perseverance
  • Reading and writing is an important way to unite people
  • Keep moving forward, people may not realize what you’re trying to do until much later
  • Don’t give up. (Sequoyah was accused of witchcraft, before the Cherokee realized what he was trying to do.)
  • Keep learning

To learn about the Cherokee Nation:

https://www.cherokee.org/

https://language.cherokee.org/

language –  ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ – gawonihisdi

sequoyah – ᏏᏉᏯ – siquoya

rose – ᎶᏏ – losi

https://www.facebook.com/TheCherokeeNation

To read even more about Sequoyah, visit these sites:

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/article/sequoyah-and-creation-cherokee-syllabary/

http://theamericanhistory.org/sequoyah-indian-biography.html

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Sequoyah

Quick Facts:

  • Born: 1770 near Tuskegee (Cherokee town) near present day Knoxville, Tennessee
  •  Died: August 1843 in San Fernando, Mexico
  • The cabin in Oklahoma where he lived later in life is now a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
  • Occupation: a warrior, a hunter, a silversmith, metalworker, and Linguist
  • The Cherokee people awarded him with a silver medal for inventing the syllabary.
  • There is a statue of Sequoyah in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. https://www.aoc.gov/explore-capitol-campus/art/sequoyah
  • Sequoyah’s Cherokee syllabary remains in use, and is visible on street signs and buildings across the Cherokee Nation (located in northeast of the U.S. state of Oklahoma), where Cherokee is the co-official language alongside English.

State Maps – Alaska

A brief history of my state map project: During the Pandemic of 2020, I asked each state in the USA for a map. I wanted to plan a future trip once covid was over, teach the grandbabies about the big awesome world, and have my own collection of maps.

I don’t always have the technological ability to find or follow maps online. As someone who ‘leans’ environmentally friendly, the amount of paper usage niggled at me. I have researched to see if tourism sites use sustainable paper to make their maps and guides, but I found no answers.

What I do know is that I will use these items. Anything I don’t utilize will be sent through my homemade paper recycling project, where the grandchildren and I shred old paper, make a slurry, and make our own paper products. Also, these tourism items were free and already made to be used.


Alaska is the second state in my alphabetical series of State Maps.

Alaska sent me three guides. Each guide was filled with gorgeous photos – the Northern Lights, Moose, Bear, Whales, Denali… every page had something to get excited about.

One guide was entitled Fairbanks Official 2021 Visitors Guide.

Another was for Anchorage, Alaska and the Surrounding Areas.

The last one was an official state vacation planner – Travel Alaska, It’s Waiting, For You.

All three guides had small maps inside.

The Travel Alaska guide covered the entire 49th state. It contained a wonderful selection of top 5 lists – animals on land, in the water, and in the air, as well as many other Top 5’s. It divided the state into sections:

  • Arctic – the far north where the northern lights dance on the tundra in winter, and the caribou graze during the long summer days. Top 5 Unforgettable Places – Nome, Kotzebue, Utqiagvik(Barrow), Coldfoot, and Bettles.
  • Interior – has high mountain ranges and is home to dazzling extremes. Top 5 Unforgettable Places  – Fairbanks, Hot Springs, Denali National Park, Yukon River, and the North Pole.
  • SouthWest – is known as the water world. Top 5 Unforgettable Places – Kodiak, Katmai National Park & Preserve, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve, Unalaska Dutch Harbor, and Pribilof Islands.  
  • SouthCentral – has beaches, mountaintops, and fjords – as well as half the state’s population. Top 5 Unforgettable Places – Anchorage, Seward, Homer, Prince Edward Sound, and Talkeetna.
  • Inside Passage – is home to changing mists evoking magic and wonder. Top 5 Unforgettable Places – Ketchikan, Juneau, Gustavus, Sitka, and Skagway.

There are lots of seafood items on the local menu. But one place I’d love to visit is in Anchorage and goes by the name of Writer’s Block Bookstore and Café. Any restaurant that goes through the extra effort to add gluten free and vegan and other allergen free food, deserves my patronage.

The Fairbanks Official 2021 Visitors Guide presented Alaska in more of a story form, which was nice to read. It opens with stories about the Indigenous people of Alaska, primarily the Athabascan Indians, and Inupiaq and Yupik Eskimo. “The Indigenous peoples of Interior Alaska have inhabited this region for thousands of years with grace, fortitude and respect for this challenging land. The chance to view their vivid art and experience their dance, song and chant offers visitors a window into a colorful culture –  and into their care and reverence for their Native lands.”

This guide also does a good job of describing the Midnight Sun Season. From April 22 to August 20, for 24 hours a day, the Sun Shines. Fairbanks has 70 straight days of 24-hour sunlight. It’s not unusual to see people doing things in the middle of the ‘night’ that most of us do in our shorter daylight hours. This everlasting sunshine helps the Farmers Markets flourish.

On the flip side is the Aurora Season, from August 21 through April 21. What I could not find a definitive answer on, was whether this meant Fairbanks was ‘dark’ for as long as it was ‘sunny’ during the Midnight Sun Season.

The Crown Jewel of the Alaska Range, Denali, means “the Great One” in Athabascan.

The Anchorage, Alaska and the Surrounding Areas offered even more gorgeous photos of Alaska. Included in this guide were wonderful itineraries – day trips, ‘ultimate’ itineraries, aurora viewing tips, winter experiences, and a calendar of events.

All three guides offered many ideas for things to do, places to stay, dining experiences, ways to get around, shopping options, and so much more.

With the information they gave me, here’s what I would love to do in Alaska:

  • See the bear, moose, wolf, sheep, and caribou.
  • See the Gray Whales, Humpback Whales, orcas, sea lions, and sea otters.
  • See the willow ptarmigan, the sandhill cranes, and the horned puffins.
  • Visit during the Midnight Sun Season
  • And visit during the Aurora Season
  • Climb Denali.
  • And Cruise the Aleutian Islands.
  • Visit Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Juneau.
  • See Alaska via Flightseeing.
  • Eat at the Writer’s Block Bookstore and Café.
  • And enjoy some Moose Tracks Ice Cream
  • Buy an ulu – an all-purpose knife

I have not yet been to Alaska. It looks like such a gorgeous and refreshing place to visit.

Previous map posts:

  1. https://rosevettleson.wordpress.com/2021/09/15/americas-byways/
  2. https://rosevettleson.wordpress.com/2021/09/17/state-maps-alabama/

The Shrinking World and the Loss of Learning and of “Real Things”

Since the 2020 pandemic, two things have caught my attention.

  1. As we were locked down, unable to travel, we saw far less of our magnificent world.
  2. Our societies, especially our children, suffered a worldwide ‘Learning Loss’.

We’ve lost actual, real, physical contact with long distance family, friends, and ‘would-be’ friends. We haven’t been able to look into each other’s eyes, see each other smile, or feel the ‘presence’ of a variety of humans in our environments. News, television, and social media have taken advantage of that, networks raise our anxiety levels to keep us tuning in. Whether it’s the nightly reports of death and murder, or random and wild fear-based opinions. Those media outlets make it appear that humans have lost all their love and compassion for their fellow people. Love and compassion are the “Real Things” that glue our world together, that make us stronger, smarter, and ever-more creative.

“Real Things” include those ‘compliments’ we give to people who are making a difference and doing good in the world around them. It makes my heart and brain feel better when I see people who are kind, self-sufficient, courageous, investigative lifelong learners, strive to keep the peace, tell the truth, willing to do the work to become their best…

To combat negative media, it’s absolutely necessary to present the fact that “Real Things” Never Change.

The best way I know to present the “Real Things”, is with the authors who taught me what matters.

Here’s what I’m planning to do in my blog about our Shrinking World and our ‘Learning Loss’ of “Real Things”:

  1. Share information from all the state maps I received in 2020 to expand a view of the world.
  2. Share some of the “Real Things” my favorite authors have taught me. Perhaps I can encourage someone to read their works. And maybe while reading these authors’ stories, our ‘Learning Loss’ can be mitigated.

For me:

Maps and Books are Inspirational!  

State Maps – Alabama

During the great Covid of 2020, I wrote to states to ask for maps.

Alabama sent me a Vacation Guide and Calendar, and an Alabama Highway Map.

Montgomery is the capital of Alabama. It’s located in the lower 1/3 of the state ‘between’ the large cities of Birmingham and Mobile.

The vacation guide divides itself into regions: The Gulf Coast, South, Central, and North. Each region offers tons of things to do, places to eat, shopping options, places to stay, and lists the State Parks in each area.

2020 was the “Year of Natural Wonders” in Sweet Home Alabama. The Yellowhammer state claims to contain a greater variety of animals and plants than any other state east of the Mississippi River. It boasts 22 hiking trails, 26 caves, 28 waterfalls, 32 birdwatching sites, and 34 paddling waters.

The guide suggests reading Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods” by Emily Blejwas, as a fun way to begin to prepare for a trip to the South. Or watch movies such as “Selma”, “Forrest Gump”, “Big Fish”, “Fried Green Tomatoes”, to name a few.

It’s home to sports like, soccer, football, basketball, roller derby, baseball, and hockey. The most prominent names in the vacation guide were the Rocket City Trash Pandas, The Talladega Superspeedway, and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

The calendar includes several pages of events, encompassing the entire year. This is a valuable asset for planning purposes.

The final pages include information resources for arranging your trip to Alabama.

Along with the visual map of the state and roadways, Alabama’s map lists:

  • State operated ferries.
  • Common fish and their measurements.
  • Coastal marine emergency signals and frequencies.
  • Attractions, museums, and points of interest.
  • Covered bridges in the state.

The other side of the map contains:

  • Small inset maps of the larger cities
  • The Alabama Interstate Highway System
  • The state flag – a big red X on white fabric
  • The state bird – the Yellowhammer
  • The state flower – Camelia
  • The state tree – Southern Pine
  • Mileage chart
  • State Parks
  • Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail
  • Corp of Engineers Rec areas
  • Local photos

After reading all the material they sent me, the things I’d most be excited about seeing in Alabama are:

  • All the Natural Wonders, especially the waterfalls and caves.
  • The US Space & Rocket Center, and the US Army Aviation Museum
  • The birth home of Nat “King” Cole – singer of the most romantic songs, in my opinion.
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
  • Rose Parks Library and Museum
  • The Covered Bridges
  • The Gulf Coast
  • The State Parks
  • The Scenic Byways – particularly the Selma to Montgomery March Byway, and the Coastal Connection
  • And now they have me craving peaches, orange pineapple ice cream, Toomer’s lemonade, bar-b-que, and butternut squash ravioli.

(Here is the beginning of the state map collection adventure: https://rosevettleson.wordpress.com/2021/09/15/americas-byways/ )

America’s Byways

During the pandemic of 2020, I wrote to every state in the USA to ask for a map. My goal was three-fold.

One, to create a fantastically cohesive travel plan once Covid disappeared.

Two, help my grandbabies learn more about the states with a physical item they could easily view. I want them to know there is a huge, wide, wonderful world out there to explore.

Three, I simply love maps. They are so interesting. Maps let you fold up your destination and fit it in your pocket. My walls are decorated with maps of the world, Paris, Switzerland, Italy, England, San Francisco, Minnesota, and various airports around the world.

Yes, I know we can get maps online. The problem with that for me is, connectivity. My cell doesn’t always connect in spots. I live in an area where if you try to call me on my cell, it may or may not get through. In full disclosure, I don’t mind one bit. I don’t need/want to be connected to the world 24/7. I shut my phone off when I go to sleep. Some folks seem horrified when I say this. “What if there’s an emergency?!” “What if someone dies? “What if you need the police?”… I guess I grew up in the ‘olden days’ when we didn’t have a phone. People died. We had emergencies. We took care of our own problems.

Since Covid decided to hang around, my travel itinerary hasn’t blossomed in the way I’d hoped. But I thought it might be fun to share the items I received from each state. Nearly every state sent something. Delaware sent the most items; a mask, lip balm, Covid protocols, hand sanitizer, a deck of cards, and a water bottle, but no map. I’ll share what other states sent, as time allows.

Starting with a broad overview of the USA, I received a wonderfully, sturdy, physical map of the United States from www.byways.org .

What’s a byway? A byway is a set of roads that tell the story of their area’s archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities in a compelling and extraordinary way. Byway routes are selected based on their characteristics and how well they represent their region.

The Byways’ website contains information about exploring our nation’s scenic byways. While on the site, you can find routes, checklists, camping, beach, cycling and boating material.

The top of the other side of the map proclaims “America’s Byways are a gateway to adventure;”…

It also includes each states’ individual tourism websites and byway routes.

There are nice little paragraph write-ups of things to do – seasonal ideas, shopping, eating, and other discoveries.

A recent short motorcycle ride with my husband has lit a strong desire to travel the full length of the Great River Road, which is included on this Byway map. The Great River Road follows the Mississippi, starting in Minnesota and traverses 10 states.

(https://rosevettleson.wordpress.com/2021/09/08/the-great-river-road-on-motorcycle/ )

Since we can’t travel freely yet, at least we can make plans. And enjoy the anticipation of one day soon going on adventures and discoveries.

Is Your Blog Your ‘Brand’?

May Busch offers valuable tips in managing a career life. I follow her blog and I’ve watched her Career Kickstart Summits. The Kickstarts are a helpful collection of professionals offering advice to boost careers. More importantly, they infuse their sessions with valuable guidance which can easily translate into – how to be a better human. https://maybusch.com/

May says:

a personal brand, as in what you stand for – the package of character traits and capabilities that make you who you are, expressed in a way that others can understand right away.’

In light of those words, I’ve been wondering, does this blog demonstrate my ‘brand’?

Does it express my ‘package of character traits and capabilities in a way others can understand right away’?

Is a Personal blog a place to ‘brand’ myself?

Or should a brand only be connected to selling or finances – making money blogging, or through a career path?

Should my brand only be showcased through my career?

What if I’ve had a meandering career path? How would I be able to brand myself through several different job routes?

Since LinkedIn is a career-oriented social media space, is it the only place I’m allowed to present my brand? If so, how can people who aren’t looking for my work profile, find out what I represent and what’s important to me?

May also says when building a brand, make use of stereotypes. I’m not exactly sure what kind of stereotype people see when they look my way. But here’s what I know: growing up in a poor family, with a head full of big dreams, I had to work really hard. Hard work is an inseparable part of my identity. Growing up financially-challenged meant I had to endlessly fight to dispel negative assumptions. I had to prove I could learn and do the work, that I was equal to any other person, and that I deserved opportunities just as everyone else did. What I lacked in the financial, educational, and health portions, I made up for with my fierce determination to be the best human I could, and to encourage as many others as possible.

Now that I’m a tired grandma, is a ‘brand’ a fruitless endeavor?

What else do I have to accomplish, or do, or be?

Let’s say, I live to be 100 years old. If that occurs, I have at least 40 more years on this planet.

What should I fill my time with? (Aside from adoring my grandbabies💞)

Technically, I have a billion things to do.

How can I channel and focus myself towards my long-standing goal to make the world better?

I don’t quite have the oomph I used to have.

Will having a ‘brand’ inspire others to pick up my quest when I’m gone? Or will it make them avoid this path? My efforts may appear futile, I worked so hard and accomplished so little. All people are still not equal, we’re still wrecking the planet, we still can’t figure out how to love and like each other and respect our differences.  

Until such time as the world ends, we will act as though it intends to spin on.” ~ Nick Fury.

I plan to keep showing up and doing the best I can, adding these characteristics to my ‘Brand’.

Image from my granddaughter’s 2021 calendar.

The Streets of Paris, 2015

There’s no better way to spend a sunny afternoon than dreaming of Paris.

Here are a few unedited shots of actual streets in Paris with traffic. (I’m beginning the following picture parade with the Welcome sign in our hotel room, because I WAS IN PARIS! I was so excited, it was my first visit to this gloriously romantic city, and everything was thrilling!)

Please keep in mind many of these were taken in a moving vehicle, so there will be blurs and reflections. These street photos may seem unremarkable. They don’t contain the images we’ve come to love about Paris – the Cute French signs on cafes, bookstores, bridges, streets, buildings, and arrondissements. Not all these images are pretty or artistic in nature, but I love them nonetheless.

I found it interesting to look at the roadways and view the traffic. Some European traffic is very similar to home (USA) and some of it is very different. (There’s a round-about in Rome…)

If you live in, or have been to Paris, you may recognize these locations and familiar landmarks. Unfortunately, some streets, I’m sorry to say, I don’t quite know where we were. Perhaps I’ll consider researching our former Parisian route at a later date. Or, and this may just be me wishing, but hopefully I can visit Paris in the future and retrace the route?

One other note, there was a special event going on at the time, so traffic was kept to a minimum. I don’t know how busy Parisian streets are on an average day. It is famous for being a ‘walking’ city.

Our hotel Les Jardins du Marais, and outside view.

Traffic over the many bridges in Paris.

Traffic near Notre-Dame. Doesn’t that cloud almost look like an Angel hovering over the Cathedral?

Cyclists leading the pack.

The famous Pont des Arts Love locks pedestrian bridge.

Traffic in front of the National Academy of Music.

Carousel and traffic in Paris.

View of streets from the Eiffel Tower.

View from the Eiffel Tower.

View from the Eiffel Tower.

Long distance view of the Eiffel Tower.

Long distance view of the Arc de Triomphe.

The Gate of Honour (Grille d’honneur) the golden entrance to the Palace of Versailles.

And sometimes it rains in Paris.