Cabbages and Kings

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? She asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don’t know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn’t matter.  ~ Lewis Carroll

It’s time for me to take a different fork with Fork. I think the time really came months ago, but I’ve put off making the change. Over the past 16 months, according to Word Press, I’ve written 277 posts and I’ve made 471 comments.

You’ve graced me with almost 73,000 views and have left an astounding 2,348 comments! Thank you!

I’ve loved writing The Fork in the Road, but I find I’m loving it less as times goes on. I think this is mostly because I’ve tried to relate almost all of my posts to Gate Guarding. When I started Fork, gate guarding, blogging, and Texas were all new to me so I had a bit of that wide-eyed wonder going on.

Almost a year and a half  later, I struggle to find interesting new things to say about caliche and gate guarding and RV living, so I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to quit.

The time has come, my little friends
To talk of other things
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
Of cabbages and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings, ha ha
Callo-Callay
Come, run away
With cabbages and kings! ~ Lewis Carroll (Disneyfied)

For some time now, I’ve been planning on putting Fork to rest. I’ve decided, instead, to experiment a little and try to expand it into other realms – mostly likely whatever odd thing that snags my attention.

I expect to be a full-time RVer indefinitely and a full-time gate guard for years to come, so I’m sure both will be topics from time to time. I just don’t plan on trying to anchor all my posts to oil rigs and mud trucks.

There are so many gate guard blogs and RVing blogs that those of you who’ve been reading here just for that will have no trouble finding many others to take my place.

For those of you who stick around, we’ll just take it a post at a time and see where the path leads. I’m not informed enough to write political posts and I already have  Two Minutes of Grace that addresses my spiritual interests, so those two topics won’t be my focus.

If this is the last post you read here, I can’t tell you how privileged I feel to have had your time and your advice and your comments. Thank you, thank you!

I expect to write shorter posts with a little more frequency. I think my next post will be about why I’m upset that they’re messing with Larry, I’m not sure yet. In any case, it’s been fun – mostly because of you! Thank you! As the ever quotable Yogi Berra said:

When you come to a fork in the road, take it!


Hmm…

 

I have to admit, you’ve got me stumped. Isn’t that an odd saying?  I can’t find the origin.

If you’re a politician, a stump is a campaign stop. If you’re from Iowa, like I am, there’s a whole lot of stumping up there.

If you’re a tree, well, I guess being stumped doesn’t bode well for your future, unless you’re The Giving Tree, where all stumps are redeemed.

Many years later, the boy, now an old man, returns and the tree sadly says, “I’m sorry, boy…but I have nothing left to give you.” But the boy replies, “I do not need much now, just a quiet place to sit and rest.” The tree then says, “Well, an old tree stump is a good place for sitting and resting. Come boy, sit down and rest.” The boy obliges and the tree was very happy.

Like the tree, I’m happy to give but I’d like to know more of what you want.

For the first 5 months, I posted daily. For the past 2, it’s been a few times a week. I just scrolled through the list of subscribers to Fork. I know 9 of you personally, none of whom are gate guard or live in Texas so I’m pretty sure that’s not why you read. A few of you I know through your blogs and the rest, well… hmm… And since only about 1/5 of you readers subscribe, I’m completely in the dark.

At this juncture, I thought it might be a good idea to ask you why you read Fork? It’s such an eclectic blog that I’m fairly certain the interest value for you must vary widely from post to post.

I’d like to know what you’d like more of?

Are there topics, within my limited areas of experience (note here that I’m saying experience, not expertise) that you’d like addressed?

Do you have questions about something from a previous post that I can answer, or attempt to answer?

I know some of you read because you’re interested in gate guarding. If there’s something you’d like to know about that, I’ll try to answer or send you on to other blogs that might help.

Since I’m not aspiring to get Freshly Pressed (you bloggers know that one) I’m not limited to by topic or style, so I’d welcome your input.

I will add one caveat. The web is such a public arena, so there’s a limit to how much personal information I want to share. After my last post you probably know more than enough about me anyway! 😀

I’m very open to making this a more interactive site. It’s always more interesting when other people comment.

I’ve heard from one person about what he doesn’t want here – politics and religion in particular.

I’m not well enough informed to offer political commentaries and I started my grace blog as a place to express the things I’m thinking about that reflect that aspect of my life.

So now’s your chance. What are some roads, well-traveled or overlooked, that you’d like to traverse here.  If I don’t hear from you, my next post is going to be about how I’m afraid of the man in my phone – so if you want to be spared that one, write a comment and let me know what you’re looking for when you click on Fork.

Not all arrive here via a search engine, but I’ll close with the things folks have typed in this week to land here. It might help explain my lack of direction.

As always, I’m honored that you read Fork. It truly mystifies me, but I’m honored. I appears that if I could just be a gate guarding,snake handler on the moon, this blog would be a smash! 🙂 ~dlb

2011-07-08 to Today

Search Views
theforkintheroad com 7
gate guard 4
texas survival kit 4
texas gate guards 3
so god bless the moon ya ya 2
ruby slippers 2
eagle ford roi 2
steak fingers dairy queen 2
i see the moon and the moon sees me and the moon sees the one that i want to see 2
is it ok to open your eyes in the shower 2
neobarrettia spinosa 2
“i see the moon and the moon sees me. god bless the moon and god bless me!” 2
what does a baby snake look like 2
black worms snake like in shower 2
goodnight mooncow 2
eyes never ever 2
mike green eagle ford blog 2
the great green room 2
blog, .its on like donky kong, expressions 1
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there is a romance about all those who are abroad in the black hours 1
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i tip my hat to the guards at the gate 1
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lady its a good night ais 1
“i feel like such a rube” 1
i see the moon and the moon sees me god bless the person i want to see 1
very big wigs 1
eme oil & gas eagle ford 1
gallup poll happiest cities 2011 1
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cracked boiled eggs 1
giant grasshopper red eyes 1
yaya sisterhood i see the moon 1
facebook log 1
what does i see the moon and the moon sees me mean 1
what does a baby worm snake look like 1
grass is greener on all sides proverb 1
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my facebook friends are showing 130 only 1
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counting facebook friends 1
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donkey horns 1
texas blind snake picture 1

A New Blog by Debbie

It’s June 1st! The beginning of a new month and the beginning of a new blog for me. I’ve decided my quandary about which direction to go with Fork is best answered by launching a second blog. Well  not launching really, more like quietly beginning a different type of journey.

I’ll continue to write  here at Fork. I’ve tried, sometimes harder than others, to keep Fork a pretty politically correct place. You’ve let me know when I’ve crossed that invisible line. I’m guessing from the comments, many of you who read regularly, read Fork because you’re interested in gate guarding or full-time RV Living.

After 5 months of writing about oil rigs, Texas and the weather, I find myself veering off in other directions. I’ve tried to keep Fork true to its roots, but there are things I’d love to write about that just don’t fit here. And I’ve noticed, there’s not a whole lot of me here.

Today, I’m adding yet another road less traveled. The new blog is called Grace in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1  If you like Fork, you may like this, too, but not necessarily. It’s entirely different as you can probably guess from the name.

And yes, I know, I should have called it Good Night Moon. Tomorrow or the next day, it will  be Fork as usual here. As always, thanks for reading! dlb

You can check out this link if you’re interested. Or you can come back here in a day or two and read about how the grass really is always greener…

Grace in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1

If You Build It, They Will Come

I was just about to shut down the computer when I decided to take a look at Fork to see what unusual quest brought people here yesterday. I’ve started adding that to my evening entertainment. You were looking for what? Really? You typed in that and landed here?

I clicked on the stats page from yesterday and laughed right out loud! I’m pretty sure the person who ended up at Fork by searching for: cheap screen door cigarette smoke; or the one who entered: male personality disorder “other people have it so much worse”; or the individual looking for: right wing not left wing whole bird  had to have been disappointed. I still don’t understand how this happens. I don’t end up here when I enter these things in my search engine?

I can’t even imagine how surprised the cheap screen door cigarette smoke seeker was to be reading about the drama of always being dramatic, opening your mouth when applying mascara and a short series on grief.

I now know the biggest mistake I’ve made so far in blogging is in not having named this blog Good Night Moon. Almost every single day someone types in Good Night Moon or The great green room. I love Good Night Moon. I’ve read it more often than any other book, ever. I’m not sure how I’d base a whole blog around it but it certainly would have generated traffic!

If you’re thinking of starting a blog, I recommend this as a title. You’d be guaranteed at least one or two readers every day. There also seems to be a lot of interest in Ruby Slippers. If it’s not already taken, that would be a great name, too.

But it wasn’t the odd connections that made me laugh. After all my deliberating and debating about what to write, and who’s reading, and what’s pc enough and how frequently to write, I finally got THE answer.

Don’t write at all!

I decided on Friday, that I would start taking the weekends off. Yesterday was the first day I haven’t written a post in 5 months.

Yesterday I had almost 300 views (and all real people, none from those strange spamming sites)!  Yes, I know, that number is so low it doesn’t even register on the blog-o-graph, but I only have about 150 regular readers. How funny is it that when I don’t write, people read!

I’m from Iowa. I’ve been to the Field of Dreams. I get the message: If I don’t write, you will come! If not writing for one day, doubled my numbers, perhaps if I quit posting altogether, my readership will triple!

In the great green room there was a telephone and a red balloon and a picture of…

Blogging 101 from an Accidental Blogger

There’s a whole lot of thinking out loud in the Blogosphere. According to Wikipedia, as of February 16th, 2011, there were over 156 million public blogs in existence . Wow! That means every single person in the 10 most populous states from CA to NC could, at this very moment, be writing on their blog!

Blogging is primarily monologue, with bits and pieces of dialogue. For me, the dialogue days are the halcyon days. Since I don’t have an obvious niche (financial investment, cooking, parenting etc…), I really need to know why I’m writing. If you’re just starting a blog, maybe you can learn from my mistakes.

Mistake no# 1 – I had no idea what I wanted to say. I’m an accidental blogger. I was originally just  blog-sub.

Mistake no# 2 – I fell into the Stat trap, albeit a really tiny one. Average views per day: January – 10; February – 36;  March – 57;  April – 131;  May – 144. Who were these people and why were they reading? I should have been focused on answering no#1.

Mistake no# 3  – I committed to writing everyday whether I had anything to say or not (a bit like my talking).

Mistake#4  – I tried to remain PC at my PC, which allowed for some humor and some facts but shorted out when it came to engaging content.

Mistake #5 – Whatever it is, I’m probably still making it. I can only fix 4 problems at once…

So I’ll sign off tonight with a partial list of topics people have typed in to find Fork in the last 3 days. I’m no longer trying to find a pattern, I’m just trying to find a voice.

kurt vonnegut fork in the road quote
he showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of americans
hand knuckles
“never save the day” song
little fork ranch in tilden, tx
epsom salt make you thirsty
every never eyes
my hair is stuck in a clound
pig in sunshine
gallop poll’s happiest cities in america 2011
fighters nature or nurture
goodnight mush
are frog legs good fried
annual egg jarping championship
things that were banned during the berlin wall
spittle alot
ruby slippers
coke thirsty conspiracy salt
strongest is the man whose pleasures are the cheapest
bullies, braggarts, backstabbers, and banshees answers
when did the word friggatriskaidekaphobia come out
lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut?
why can’t i see the moon tonight
everyone knows your name, knows what kind of truck you drive
gate guards jobs in tx
darth vadar invitation in houston
stuck pigs in smiley
rv sayings
barophobia+prognosis+of+recovery
wild boars in the city
fork sticks for snakes
olympic size ice rink
old darth
who said “always leave them wanting more”
daughters day 2011 love
oil rigs in texas
gate guards eagle ford shale
terry holland fso
do fulltime rvers find it hard to find a handyman
“would you like to try a pepper too?”
things that don’t belong together
south texas gate guard companies
who lost 800 to 900 million on friday the 13th
life lessons from the beverly hillbillies
i googled my therapists name
“dr pepper 10 2 4” song
eagle fork ford oil cap wells
i would know if i could
who make gate questions
every never eyes
fork in the road wordpress
can i place a flower-pot display on a fork road
king beheads wife

Rethinking It

re·think  (r-thngk)

To reconsider (something) or to involve oneself in reconsideration

I’ve been in a fog about Fork.
Some people are natural bloggers. They take off and never look back.
Some people, not me.
I’ve written daily for 4 1/2 months and I’ve learned quite a bit.
I’ve learned tons about Texas and the oil industry that I likely would never have learned if I hadn’t pressed myself to share something new each night.
I hear things and think about things because I’m writing that I might otherwise miss; in the same way that I see things when I have a camera in my hand that I might normally overlook or quickly forget.
I’m not a journal-er. I never have been and weeks of trying didn’t turn me into one.
I’m not Dave Barry (and anyway, he only had to be funny once a week).
I’ve learned that watching Site Stats is akin to weighing everyday, not an accurate gage of success and a bit of an emotional roller-coaster.
I have to remind myself that no one is paying me to write, so I should enjoy it.

I’ve developed friendships with other bloggers and with folks who read Fork. This has been the biggest and best surprise!

I spent time tonight reading about blogging. Most of the tips I read were written by people who blog for a living, but I found what I’ve been missing.

I read 18 Lessons I’ve Learned About Blogging by Darren Rowse. I only needed one to redirect my thinking:

Be Yourself

  1. Transparency – readers are an insightful bunch and will quickly find you out if you’re not being genuine
  2. Sustainability – it’s difficult to sustain writing in a voice and personality that is not your own. Be yourself and you’ll last a lot longer.
  3. Consistency – regular readers of a blog overtime take on a sense of ownership of a blog. When you chop and change your writing to emulate and please others you’ll end up disillusioning the people who make your blog what it is (your readers). Be yourself and you’re more likely to be consistent (I’m not suggesting be monotonous – you can still be creative and surprising – just do it in your own style and you’ll be right).

Clearly, I would have benefited from reading these sooner. I’m just plain Texas-gate- guarding-quipped out. I’m still a gate guard, living in Texas and I’ll still write about both from time to time, but not every night.

Heidi has her hands full with Good Life. She’s been encouraging me to figure out what I want to do with Fork. I’ve avoided the transparency and sustainability criteria by mostly sharing facts and telling stories.

My favorite posts to write have been the 4 or 5 I’ve shown up for, including yesterday’s. They weren’t necessarily crowd pleasers. I have a very small but consistent readership of around 150 a day. Most never comment and that’s OK, but I would love to exchange ideas.

What is there for you to say if I stick to Halliburton trucks and my coffee pot sounding like Darth Vader? I’m hoping Fork will continue to be fun to read. For example, I think we’re having rabbit/squirrel/quail stew next week. If I can’t make that entertaining, the guys should quit cooking for me!  🙂 But there’s going to be more of me in the mix here at Fork: my thoughts and perspectives and questions. I hope there’ll be more of you, too.

I’ve spent a whole lot of time trying to guess who was readying and why. It’s still a mystery to me. But it’s time for me to reconsider and involve myself in the direction. I may lose some readers. They’ve already forewarned me.

I also won’t be writing every night any more. Most nights, just not every night. On the days you chose to read, I’m looking forward to listening and learning from you. To quote a fellow blogger who commented on a comment from yesterday: this may not float your boat (thanks Malinda). For those of you who stick around, I look forward to sharing adventures together.


Always Leave Them Wanting More

This quote is sometimes attributed to Bobby Womack, sometimes to Walt Disney. From what I can tell, the original saying came from the man who always left them wanting more with The Greatest Show on Earth, Phineas T. Barnum.

By the way, he didn’t actually say: There’s a sucker born every minute. He’s thought to have said: There’s a customer born every minute, but of course that’s less fun to quote!

There’s been a new post born every day on Fork since December 28th of 2010 when we first started gate guarding. That’s 128 days. I’ve written most of these since Heidi is also writing daily on her Good Life blog.

Heidi’s been researching blogs: ideal length, 500 words or less. Frequency… can’t find any stats. Heidi wrote a poll for her GL blog. I decided it was a good idea to do the same for Fork.

I’d like this to be a place for a bit of information and a bit of fun, with occasional commentaries mixed in. It isn’t The New York Times and there aren’t staff writers making it funny, so whether the vote comes in stronger for daily or weekly or in-between, I can’t guarantee there’ll be any improvement in quality. I am aiming for that 500 word count, though.

Please vote. I’ll look at the results in a week and that’s the direction I’ll take. It’s anonymous so hopefully that will eliminate all hesitation.

I’d like this to be a fun place to visit, not a burden to try to read everyday. I’m thinking fewer post would be better … So let me know. I’d also welcome comments and suggestions. If I don’t like them I can always delete ’em 😀

P.T. Barnum knew a thing or two about what people want. I don’t want to wear out my welcome.

That’s All She Wrote

Week_Ends: #6

The hardest part of being a gate guard for me is not living near my family and friends. That will always be the hardest part.

Justin showing me the frog they just caught

One of the unexpected perks in this job has been making new friends. Since we’re staying with the same rig, we’re getting to know the folks who pass in and out of our gate. One of the most pleasant surprises has been how nice  folks are.

There’s rarely a day when someone doesn’t drop off dinner or offer to pick up groceries, or just check and see if we need anything.

Often, people stop by to tell me something I’ve never heard of, or, like just now as I was writing this paragraph, to show me show me something! You’re right, Justin, that’s one big frog!

Today is May Day. I can’t compete with the snakes and frogs and hogs we’ve been shown. I’m just hoping to get to the trucks before all the candy blows out of the basket!

May Day basket, just grab a handful!

I received a Dear John letter this week. Technically it was a Dear Debbie email  from John.

Before I started blogging, I’d never met anyone on-line. I actually know all 38 of my Facebook friends. I’m old, I know.

John and Terry are fellow gate guards. I’ve followed The Adventures of John and Terry for a while now. John, a native-born Texan, has been helping me with my Texas-isms!

Heidi and I have been shuffling around in Gonzales county since January. What a surprise when John and Terry arrived just outside of Smiley a couple of weeks ago!

John wrote that he’d like to stop by and drop off some books (thank you, John) and just say, hey.  I sent directions. Their blog is witty and well written. Not a good sign. I was dubious. I really liked the anonymous John that I’d come to know.

An Adventure with John and Henry

When a teenager pulled up and parked behind the Jeep, I thought it was a lost soul. It was John. OK, he’s not quite a teenager, but I could almost be his mother (which is true for practically everyone I meet on this job)…

I won’t be sending a Dear John letter to end our blogging connection. John was just as warm and interesting in person as he is when he writes. Can’t wait to meet Terry!

Side note: Dear John letters are thought to have originated during WWII. They were often written to soldiers by their sweethearts, telling them that distance had dissipated the sweetness. These letters were famously abrupt, as in: Dear John, goodbye.

And that’s where we get the term that’s all she wrote.  That’s all she wrote is used to indicate the rather abrupt end of a story.

That’s all she wrote.