My Blogging Report Card: The Year in Review

Screen Shot 2012-12-31 at 9.57.56 AM

Yesterday, WordPress sent its bloggers our end of the year report cards, which provide us with some fun statistics. I stopped looking at the numbers a while ago, so it is fun to see how this year compared to last year.

According to one part of the report:

About 19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 150,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

In 2012, there were 165 new posts, growing the total of this blog to 460 posts.

The busiest day of the year was November 17th with 1,103 views. The most popular post that day was Coming Clean About My Age.

Hello, Jay-Z? Did you hear that? Eight sold-out performances. You might want me on your tour. Just sayin’.

For me, 2012 was a mix of highs and lows. There were a lot of best of times. And I didn’t have anything that I would count as a “worst of times,” and for that I am fortunate.

In January, when I learned that my niece and nephew had not received their holiday gifts, I wrote I’m Sorry The US Postal Service Wrecked Your Christmas.  Just in case you were left hanging, wondering: Did the kids ever get their present. A month later, the box came back to my house. Apparently, my sister-in-law has a really cranky mail carrier.  This year, we got it right. I think.

In February, I Got Lucky in N’awlins when I met The Lucky Mom in the city that holds my heart. We only spent about 5 hours together, but Lisha has become another angel who lives and breathes in The Crescent City.

Color-coordinated. With hat.

In March, I showed you some emails from my students in wotz da big deal cuz u no wot i mean. It hurt to write that the first time, and it hurt again now. Please remember to read to your children. And as they get older, please try to hold off on letting them texting until they have mastered basic rules of spelling and grammar. No matter what anyone says, their teachers can tell the difference. And yes, it matters.

In April, I started  shopping for dresses for my son’s upcoming bar mitzvah and gave you A Reason to Hate Communal Mirrors after a stranger gave me a few unsolicited words of advice.


In May, I went to an outdoor yoga event in memory of an old friend who died of brain cancer. I found myself wondering Why Did I Stop Yoga? And I’m proud to say that is one mid-year resolution I’ve kept.

In June, I started to obsess about TechSupport’s bar mitzvah, which took place at the end of the month, just 8 days before he left for a month an overnight camp. I wrote Channeling Atticus Finch, a flashback where I remember being very-pregnant with the person who would become my only child. It’s hard to believe that I have a teenager now, but those of you who have been reading recently, know that I sooooo do. Because he sooooo is.


In July, I asked Is It Wrong To Type Thank You Notes? After Tech’s bar mitzvah, he had a lot of gratitude to show. But his penmanship is atrocious. The comments in this post were interesting and helpful. I also kvelled a bit as I wrote how I felt about my son’s bar mitzvah in To My Son, One Month After and The Happy Hora and A Gift from Grampy. I don’t usually write about religion; perhaps this is why these posts are so special to me.

Doesn't my ginger ale with lime look fancy?

In August, I got some photographs back from the photographer! So I was able to show you some pictures of Tech’s science-themed bar mitzvah in What It All Looked Like.

Life was good. Everything was ladybugs and sunflowers. I thought it could last.


And then, things kind of fell apart a bit. In August, my writing partner dumped me. And my computer crashed. I lost a very important relationship along with twenty years of teaching curriculum, all my photographs, all my writing, as well as the first draft to my recently completed novel.


A month later, after I stopped crying, I wrote Rebooting Myself After The Great Computer Crash: You’ve Got To Back That Thang Up. Consider this a Public Service Announcement. If you have a computer and you don’t have an external hard drive, please buy one for yourself. Now.


In October, a girl at my son’s school used social media to announce that she was going to commit suicide. I wrote When a Walk in the Park is Not a Walk in the Park after my son and I took a walk where he opened up to me a little. That was rough.

In November, I gave myself a blog mini-makeover, and some blogging friends offered me some faboo headers from which to choose. I survived another birthday, and wrote Coming Clean About My Age, which was Freshly Pressed.  *Sarcasm on* So you know it was one of my very best pieces of writing. *Sarcasm off* But for real, being SquishedFlat brought a lot of new readers to my blog, and for that I am grateful.


In December, I wrote Make a Wish: It’s 12:12 on 12/12/12. Because my father turned 75 on that day, and the world did not end nine days later either. So it’s really good that I didn’t give him any of the Doomsday gifts that I considered in that post.

Oh, and I also retired from teaching in December. Forever.

I didn’t write about it. I just walked out of my classroom. After twenty-two years as an educator, I’m burnt out. It is hard to write those words because so many of my happiest days were in one classroom or another.

And yet.

I am craving new adventures.

And I want to finish my book.

That is the only resolution I am making for 2013. I am going to get it done.

Oh, I need to thank everyone who follows my blog. Even the person who follows me from Zambia. (Whoever you are, thank you!) However you find me, please know I am grateful that you are reading my words. I love your comments, and I encourage you to leave them! Why? Because each one is like a non-caloric yet astoundingly delicious piece of caramel dipped in peanut butter and rolled in chocolate. Who wouldn’t want that?

Lessons Learned CE

I am grateful to each of the guest bloggers who participated in my Lessons Learned series. Because of their generosity, I had 29 amazingly diverse voices, each sharing a valuable life lesson. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click on the link above or check out Giddy About Guest Posts in my sidebar.

Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve. May 2013 be the best yet, for all of us.

IMG_  47

May this white stuff stick around for a little while and then melt.

You know, like my hard-drive back in August. 😉

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68 thoughts on “My Blogging Report Card: The Year in Review

  1. You’re so beautiful, inside and out. I love you and I love reading about your year. I’m so excited about what 2013 holds for you! Rock it baby!

    1. Ellie! That post your wrote today is hysterical. I love your humor. And I am amazed at how you manage to balance everything: mommying, blogging and popping out these books! Hooray for you! You are truly one of my favorite cyber friends. I love reading your stuff. Happy new year, darlin’. Have you started to learn the Old Testament by heart yet? 😉

  2. Aww, what a fab trip through your year in blogging. I think I showed up about halfway through, so a lot of it is new to me.

    Congrats on taking a huge and scary step towards freedom and away from teaching. I really hope it is the absolute right thing for you. I’m sure it was an extremely difficult decision that you agonized over, but if you felt it was right, I am positive it was! I’ll tell you a little secret…..I’m considering doing the same thing. I’m burned out and about to just walk away from the law. And I still have about a billion dollars of school loans to pay off, so it would be a huge decision…..for more reasons than just that! Shhhhhh, just between us. 😉

    Happy New Year, Renee! It has been fabulous knowing you, even for only half a year. Here’s to many more half years of friendship!! Cheers. 🙂

    1. Yes, we met each other at the mid-way mark. Or a little after. I don’t know if you were there for the dreaded crash, although I think you were. Your “Weekly Whacked” kept me laughing during some dark days. Dark days.

      But none of that now. Let’s start anew. Did you see that Byro made it to A Clown on Fire’s place? He was like…Le Clown’s Happy Ending or something. IYKWIM. 😉

      Looking forward to blogging together in 2013.

      If you’d just pick a date, dammit!

      1. Oh how I love you. And I especially love your IYKWIMs. 😉

        Fine. I pick May 31st or 17th. I don’t now what other May day is already spoken for, so whichever one of those is open, put me down for. :p

        1. *blushing* I cannot believe you remember that. I remember that. And a whole bunch more. For years I had the tiny ring you gave me. I misplaced it in a move. It was the first piece of jewelry ever given to me by a boy. You made me feel like I was worth something. Silly, huh?

    1. Kim.

      You don’t know this (or maybe you do), but you are truly a source of inspiration to me. Thank you for dropping by. I don’t know what I did to deserve your attention, but you are a blessing in my life. You make me remember my good fortune. You make me focus on the light. You do that for me, Kim. You.

      Happy new year.

  3. Happy New Year, Renee!! You had a wildly, successful year, except for the stuff about your hard drive. So sorry about that. But, you picked up the pieces and moved on. Wow about retiring from teaching. You were at it for a long stretch. Good luck with your book! Hope this is as good as a carmel-dipped delight! Wishing you and family success and happiness for 2013! – Amy

    1. Hi Bumble Bumble! Oh, heck! Maybe in 2013, I can just start calling you by your real name, eh? Hi Amy! Thank you for stopping by and the well-wishing. And thank you for reading and yes. You are as delicious as you were that very first time. 😉

  4. I stumbled upon you just after Tech Support’s bar mitzvah, and I’m so glad I did. Looking forward to an adventurous 2013! Happy New Year, Renee!

    P.S. Finishing my novel is my main objection for the coming year, too. Let ’13 be the year of the novel for both of us!!

  5. I haven’t been following you for very long so I loved learning about the first 3/4 of your year. I’ll catch up on all the delicious goodness soon. You are such a generous, loving (and clearly lovely) soul. I’m grateful you’re in my life – blogging style – and look forward to reading an entire year of you in 2013! And then – your book! Happy, happy New Year!

    1. Mary, meeting you has truly been a delight. I am so glad that you showed up when you did. I look forward to lots of linky-love in 2013. Trust me when I say I think of that one post every day. You know the one. (About allowing yourself to be okay with receiving fancy-schmancy gifts.) Well, I am starting off fresh this year. And that is in the front of my mind. It’s the framework off of which Ishall work. You are my springboard. So thank you in advance for that inspiration. I don’t think I would have had the courage to write the thing I’m working on without that piece. But once I do, I will feel so much more free. Thank you for that gift. You. Have. No. Idea.

  6. I’m so glad to know you, Renee! I agree EllieAnn, you are beautiful inside and out. I love your writing and applaud your decision to retire from teaching and spend the year writing your book! You’ve had a great year and love the way you presented it! If you can overcome a computer crash, you can overcome anything, right? Wishing you a happy, healthy and productive 2013!

    1. Hi Marcia. I HAVE had a great year. Everyone is alive and happy and healthy. Tech is very teenagerishy right now. But we will get through it. The orthodontist will help me. 😉

      And we are all very much alive. And as silly as it sounds, I think we are all taking that a little more seriously these days. Every day is truly a gift. I wish you happiness, health and productivity in 2013. And maybe you can help me figure things out once my book is re-written. 😉

    2. What the deuce? I just wrote you a big long comment and it just disappeared.


      Marcia: Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I have loved reading your stuff. You are one of those gingers out there who adds so much spice to life! I will wish you the same good health, happiness & productivity in 2013 — and maybe when my book is ready, maybe you can help me to figure out the next step. xoRASJ

    1. Look at that! My other favorite Red Hottie checking in! How’s THAT for timing. Thank you for being such a wonderful, encouraging cyber friend. Sorry that you reign on my sidebar will end tomorrow. I’m also sorry that it corresponded with your busiest time of the year: retail season. I hope you’ll continue to play TINGO with me in 2013. You never know. You COULD win again.

  7. One of the highlights of my blogging year, Renée, has been following your posts. For a year or so, I recognized your name, but didn’t truly know you, through our fabulous WANA community. When we discovered our “Pittsford” connection, we almost got to meet in person when I made a hasty one-day visit to some old friends. However the ancient Chinese art of Ti-Ming was not in our favour as that was exactly when your hard drive (and you) had a very upsetting meltdown. It was my loss. The upside is that I began following your blog and I think you know from my comments that I am very glad I did. My gain. You are such a talented writer and a compassionate, funny, perceptive, funny, articulate, funny, caring and, of course (as you assure us), very hot, woman. If Pittsford or Toronto figure in either of our travel plans in 2013, I hope we can finally meet. I truly didn’t mean to blather on … but then that’s kind of what I do. Thanks, Renée for the gift of your blog this year. Happy New Year to you and your family. Write on!

    1. Patricia! I was devastated when that visit didn’t go off as planned. That said, I know it will happen. It will. Thank you for your kind words. And by the way, I don’t consider this blather. Not at all. You just tossed me the most delicious peanut butter and chocolate-covered caramel. And nothing on the waistline.

      Well, nothing that’s your fault anyway! 😉

      Happy new year to you, darlin! 😉

      May 2013 be the best yet.

  8. I eagerly await the email that brings me your blog post and this one was no exception. I’m having trouble getting motivated right now to write anything myself, but love that you and other bloggers have taken the time to reflect on the year. And — I retired from teaching last June because one day it just hit me like a hammer that I was done. I think you know when you’re toast. I’m looking forward to a new year and a new me, but I hope you’ll stay pretty much the same because you brighten up my day. Happy New Year!

    1. This is kind of why I did the blog overhaul in October. I could feel it in my bones. Change was a comin’. I couldn’t stay “Teachers & Twits” anymore. I wanted to write about more than teaching. And I had been. But I didn’t want people to come here looking for an educator’s blog because I am soooo not that! I feel a little better knowing that you have walked this path before me. It is really hard, but all these new restrictions placed on teachers — well, it just sucked the joy out of it for me. Or maybe I have been in it just long enough to have lost my mojo. Trying to recreate curriculum after the crash about did me in. I was one page ahead of my students. I thought: Do I really want to start this again? After a conversation with my husband, I knew that I did not. So I’m not sure what I’ll say at cocktail parties, you know, when people ask me what I do. I suppose I’ll try to say I’m a writer. It’s weird. So much of my identity if tied into that title of teacher. I still believe it is a noble profession. Probably one of the most noble since we do it for so little pay and so little thanks. Thanks for popping by Jennie! Happy new year to you and yours!

  9. My mother and younger brother both got laptops for Christmas and I have already told them to back things up. Especially my mother since she wants to write a book about the Italian Mafia. Good luck on the book writing in 2013!

    1. Hi Nathan! So glad you chimed in! I love when people who are usually kind of quiet say something. That is the best way for me to get to know people and to want to come over and say hi! So I’ll say hi, and now I’ll try to see what you are up to! 😉 Glad your mother knows how to back that thing up. 😉

    1. Well, like I said, I don’t pay much attention to the numbers. But I have developed a lovely readership over the last few years. They are wonderful, and I am so grateful to them for sticking with me through my changes.

        1. I was Freshly Pressed right before Thanksgiving. At first I thought, Aw, crap. Not the most opportune time to be SquishedFlat. Also, not everyone is interested in a post that is tagged under “Aging.” Oy. That said, it turned out to be fortuitous as many visitors who showed up actually subscribed! Apparently, the die-hard readers are reading right before Thanksgiving!
          Over a 3 day period, I received several thousand hits, and gained a lot if new readers who have stuck with me: truly an unexpected surprise! But I know what you mean. The last time I was FP’d I had over 3,500 hits on one day. This was a niche piece.

          1. It is great any time your are Pressed that is for sure!
            I think what is happening is WP did away with a lot of the ping ponging hits. We only get one per person even if they comment and like. Readers can like from the the reader and not give us any hits. What is up with that?
            I hope I can build up my readership in 2013. Any tips would be appreciated!

          2. As I said, I don’t keep up with the numbers (or any of that stuff), so I had no idea that WP got rid of hits from peeps reading from their reader. That would explain the dramatic decrease from earlier FP’s! I think you are doing everything right! Seriously! Half the time I feel like I’m following your lead!

            I do try to visit people regularly. At their places. But I know you do this, too.

            At a certain point that is going to have to change because — seriously, I cannot keep up with it. I’m not sure what to do about it. But if I want to get this book published, I think I’m going to have to thank people on Twitter more and visit less frequently. Still make my rounds, but not daily. Maybe pick one fab post from each person each week. I don’t know, Sooooz! But something is going to have to give.

            I will say that blogging LESS has made my blog double. I think people appreciate twice a week. I truy to do one fun, engaging post and one more serious, reflective post. But I know my readers reported feeling bombarded by writers who blog more than two or three times a week. I know I do. So I’ll stick to slow blogging.

            I’m not sure that is a tip for you, but I’ll tell you it worked for me this year. 😉

          3. I am so glad that you mentioned that. I blog 2-3 times a week and had wondered if I should increase it.
            I think what may have happened to me is although I have a lot of followers, a lot came through FPs. Then I posted a Friday flash fiction which may have come out of left field since my FPs were always life related. I bet a bunch flipped the switch on the email alerts. I’ve stopped the fiction since I think I have enough samples and my views were lagging for the amount of work they took.
            I really appreciate your input Renee!
            I hope your 2013 rocks your socks off!

  10. Congratulations on the retirement from one profession and welcome to the next one in your life. Recognizing a burn out and acting on it are great accomplishments. You made the right choice to take on new adventures. Here’s to a great 2013!

  11. I’ve got some catching up to do with some of your posts in 2012, Renée. Quite a few I’ve missed, I think. And what with all the 2012 recaps I’ve been reading, I wonder if my current (just published) post is a bit ‘off’ for the mood of the year. Maybe I should’ve… or maybe I could’ve… or maybe… but then it’s probably time I stopped thinking too much and just did! Hugs to you, my friend. Have a happy and healthy New Year.

    1. Val. My sweet Val. You are one of my favorite bloggers for a reason! You do things a little differently. I loved your wedding dress post. So many people do recaps or posts about resolutions. I love that you offer something fresh. I love that you are an “award-free” zone. Lord, I hate those invisible awards that clutter up the invisible mantle. You have the chutzpah to declare you ain’t playing those reindeer games. Don’t go changing.


      Maybe do a recap in July or something. For new readers, so they can see what they might have missed. That’s why I do it. So new folks have a chance to get a better sense of me. And, honestly, it really does amaze me — how much I write in a year that I absolutely forget about. It helps me to remember my year, too. The good, the bad and the ugly. It helps me assess if I have presented a good variety of material. It’s fun! Have you never gone back to look? 😉

      1. As differently as I do things, I’m currently working on a new year’s post, and hope it might be ready before 2014! So… hang on in there… and keep an eye on my blog!

        Yes I do look back… rather a lot! 🙂

        1. Girl, I’m waiting. Meanwhile, I just downloaded a whole bunch of your art for future use. Wow. You are generous. And you will let us modify it? Like put words on it? You are the bomb. Maybe I can commission you to design my book cover for me. When I get to that point! 😉 Wouldn’t that be a cool collaboration?

          1. Yep, do what you like with my art from Flickr, all I need is a link and credit. 🙂 We’ll talk about other stuff another time. Me back’s aching, I’m finishg off the post (ish. I mean nearly finished. Finishing-ish) and I’m shortly gonna go hunting pics for it. See ya later!

          2. You are all over my desktop. Can’t wait to see the new post! No rush. Take your time. Don’t bombard your readers. No need to talk about “other stuff” until a certain someone produces something. 😉 G’nite from across The Pond.

  12. I have loved reading your blog, Renee, and getting to know you. You shine a very special light in the world, and I’m so happy that we have connected! So happy! Have a wonderful 2013. Looking forward to what’s to come! xoxo

    1. Rivki! I feel the same about you. You are a delight, and I’m so glad to have connected with you. I hope we have many years of blogging together. I’m excited to watch your family grow! You can watch Tech go to high school next year. And, truly, nothing would make me happier than to meet you in person. It would be so lovely to meet you.

  13. Like some others I’m a recent reader, but feel inspired just the same by your writing. You’ve clearly built a blogamily (?! there has to be a better word than that..) who love ya, and I’m sure you’ll do great post-teaching.

    1. Hi Joe! I’m so glad you have come to hang out. Before my computer crashed, my blog was called TEACHERS & TWITS. And I called everyone my beloved twits. But sometimes I wrote “tits” instead of twits. LOL. Once I knew I was going to stop teaching, I changed the name of my blog to my name and I’ve never looked back. But no more twits.

      I haven’t found the right term of endearment quite yet. But I will. In 2013, I will.

      1. Ha! Well if I get inspired I’ll be sure to let you know of any ideas that pop up. But I’m sure something will come to you. Looking forward to reading more this year =)

  14. Thanks for the wrap-up of a phenomenal year – I’m so glad I got to know you.

    It’s got to be tough to hang up your teacher hat after all these years, but I know you’ll take on the rest of life with increased vim and vigor. And that means you’re available if a certain TV show comes acallin’…

    1. You are so right. I did retire just in time in case the people from SURVIVOR need me. 😉

      Wait. That sounds desperate. I don’t want to seem too available.

      I mean, I’m busy slogging away, doing writerly things. But I might be able to make some time in my schedule if CBS deems that I might make “good TV.” 😉

      Happy new year, Peg! So happy to have met you this year!

  15. Mwah!! Don’t we look cute in our matching orange coats!! And Happy New Year!! I cannot believe it’s been almost a year since you were in NOLA.

    Remember the song lyrics, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Right now, I’m so excited thinking about 2013 and all the good things planned that I’m not the least bit nostalgic about what I’m leaving behind. Haven’t felt this energized in a long time. So grab a Ginger Ale and let’s toast to 2013!

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