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Sunday, October 18, 2009

One More Busy Week!

It was another busy week. Both at work and at home.

The project planning for my new project continued at a brisk pace with more spreadsheets, presentations and documents being prepared, circulated, discussed, corrected, rewritten and so on. At least, when I get to work, I have a list of things to accomplish, so there is a sense of purpose in what I do at work.

My blogging activity has gone down somewhat because of the level of activity at work. It is a good think I started blogging a while back when things were slow. The down time was crucial in learning the ropes and becoming efficient at putting posts together. That efficiency and experience is coming in handy as I manage this project while putting posts together at a pretty regular, but manageable rate.

Because of the need to be efficient at it, I have noticed that my blog posts have also become more consistent in terms of formatting and other minor aspects that have nothing to do with the content. I don't spend hours or even minutes pondering the layout of my blog template and the elements in it. I don't spend hours trying to rearrange stories in my roundups for some unnoticeable improvement in the aesthetics.

Even the promotion of the blog posts has become a pretty standard exercise. I publish the post, then go on a bunch of standard sites like Digg, Buzz Up!, StumbleUpon and Reddit and post the URL there in the appropriate categories. When I initially started blogging, my hits per day barely reached the double-digits. Now, if I stick to my routine, I can count on a couple of thousand hits per day on a regular basis. Very rarely, something I post will touch a nerve and I will get a flood of visitors for a couple of days (I have had a couple of days when my hits have gone into the 5 digits, but that is still a pretty rare phenomenon). Then things will settle down again into the low four-digits.

I have a feeling that getting the readership beyond its current levels will require some concerted research and efforts that I don't have the time for right now. There seem to be a couple of hundred dedicated readers who read every post I make, and then there are a bunch of "opportunistic" readers who will follow my promotional links from various network sites to the blog. I also receive a couple of hundred hits a day from search engines when people search for specific terms, especially related to my series of posts on Vedic Mathematics.

I can not track this directly, but I do hope some of my visitors are clicking on the charity links on the left sidebar of the blog and visiting the charities that have made banners available for use on my blog. I have a few banners each to direct visitors to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), World Food Program (WFP) and the Red Cross. I particularly recommend the FreeRice program that allows you to donate rice to the WFP by just playing interesting, educational games.

At home, things were a bit busy this week because one of my daughters celebrated her birthday last Friday. We invited some kids from her class and a few of our friends' kids for a pizza party and sleepover. The party took some time to organize during the week (shopping for goody bags, balloons, the cake, etc., keeping track of the invitations and RSVP's, etc.) too.

And then, of course, on the big day, it was total chaos at home once the guests arrived. I kept the guests entertained as much as I could, but kids will be kids. Once they started playing games, etc., the house was filled with noise, various real toys, and various other things that were standing in for toys in the kids' games. The kids eventually settled down to watch a movie and there was some relative calm for about 2 hours.

By this time it was 11 PM, but the kids thought the party was just getting underway. They started playing hide-and-seek and other games, and showed no signs of going to bed even at midnight. Eventually, I gave them a deadline and allowed them to play until about 12:45. Then I put my foot down and asked them all to go to bed. Finally, everyone settled down by about 1 AM, and I could go to bed too.

The kids were back up at 7 AM. My wife prepared them breakfast and they played some more games. Finally the parents of the kids started arriving at around 9:30 and the house started emptying out. Things came back to normal around 11 AM, and we started recovering from the party after that. The recovery is still going on as we catch up on our sleep, clean the house up, etc.

Today, the weather cooperated with me so that I could mow the lawn one last time for the season. I had wanted to do this a few weeks back, but I got busy with other things the one weekend when the weather was reasonable. After that, it has been very cold and wet for the past couple of weeks. In past years, I would consider that a sign from up above that I was done for the year and just leave the yard as it was! But, this year, I decided I would mow the lawn one last time. Coupled with my finding an easier way to take care of the weeds in my yard, I am hoping that my yard will start looking better over time. I think this is the latest I have ever mowed my lawn in any year since I moved into my house.

My kids also had a dance test and some practice sessions for a music competition they are participating in next week. So, that rounded off the activities for this week. Time to catch a good night's sleep and get ready for another busy week. It promises to be another eventful week at work. It will probably be a busy week at home also. Which is not bad, all things considered!

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