Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Some Kind of Help is the Kind of Help We All Can Do Without*

Last year someone said to me, rather heatedly, "Your problem is that you can't ask for help. You need to learn to let people help you!" Paradoxically it was during a conversation where I was trying to pare down the number of people who had agreed to help me with a particular challenge to a manageable level because so many people had offered their services. I suspect her problem was that I never ask her for help but that's really another issue all together.

The thing about asking for help is that it is hard. Probably that's a good thing. Help is good and necessary but a little self-reliance won't go amiss either. I like to feel really comfortable with someone before asking for their help, though that's not a requirement. I also find that it's important to allow for the possibility for a refusal in your request. That makes the process easier on everyone and often gets more positive responses or better solutions to the problem you're putting in the mill.**

Now what I'm working on is asking again. I'm pretty comfortable with the short form:

1. Encounter problem
2. Find skills and resources lacking
3. Ask for help
4. Get refusal (or agreement with no follow through)
5. Abandon problem and have a piece of cake

In the long program you have to make a whole if/then chart out of that 5th step. Do you ask the same person for help with different parameters? Is it just a question of reminding them of the agreement? Do you go looking for someone else to help? Do you ask for a different kind of help? Is John Stewart available? He seems like a helpful guy.

So many variables for my New England/Capricorn sensibilities. It makes me shudder. I have a number of things stuck in step 5 limbo at any given time. Maybe we all do. In the best of all possible worlds a workable answer just descends from the skies above and all is well.*** 99 times out of 100, though, the skies help those who help themselves.

I want to change my blog. (Specifics to follow.)

I have a friend who is learning how to do such things as a way to make wads of cash to support his artistic habits.

I saw a possibility for him to polish some skills and me to get 117 Hudson prettified so I asked if he might help me. He said, "I will if you get a Wordpress blog, all the jobs I see are about Wordpress."

I'm not yet a huge fan of Wordpress. I don't think it's any better or worse than the other platforms out there but I don't see it as so beautiful and functional and divine that I must move right now and have to learn a whole new platform and have a UFC level fight with graphics every time I want to post a picture.

So here I am at Step 5 and I'm trying really hard not to order the cake.

Do any of you know how I could inexpensively or barterly get some sprucing up done around here? These are the thoughts I'm having about the place but all are negotiable:

  • Customized banner, preferably with one or more of my own pics
  • Maybe my own url
  • Blogroll
  • Links section
  • An "e-mail me" button
  • A tag line (yeah I'll have to come up with that on my own, not sure what it's going to be)
  • Can I be taught to update my own blogroll/banner/tag line/etc?
  • Can I be taught how to "strike through" text? (Mrs. G, I meant to ask you this on your "Ask Me Questions" post but I thought of it too late.)
  • I'd like the title of each post to link to the page of that post
  • I want to be able to navigate to Next Post and Previous Post from an individual post's page
  • I like the fact that Blogger has a "search this blog" button so I want to keep that functionality

So I don't think what I'm asking for is super crazy difficult (for someone who's done this before, I do think it's super crazy difficult for me) and I think there are other things I'd like to do that I haven't listed here but they will come to me.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Funny anecdotes? Anything I can help you with?

Feel free to say no. You won't hurt my feelings. But I might go eat some cake.

*From Free To Be You & Me, which you need to have if you have kids and you really ought to have even if you don't.

**That's a little nugget of wisdom I got from PB and it has served me well.

***In the best of all possible worlds it descends with cake.


  1. Anonymous9:08 PM

    Sorry, I can't help you. But I LOVE your step 5. Everything's better with cake! And, believe it or not, I just listened to that FTBY&M song today!

  2. Anonymous9:14 PM

    Oh, and it's good there's a "search blog" function, but it would be better if it would work! Maybe I'm just stupid - sometimes I am! - but I've tried to search for things, and can only manage to find one instance of it. So, say I want to find that blog where you mention a site where you can buy cheap art. So I search on art. One instance of art is found. But it's not the one I'm looking for, and I can't get the search function to find another instance. UGH! That ugh is directed at the search function, not at wonderful you or your wonderful blog, by the way! There's probably some simple way to get it to work that I'm just missing...

  3. Anonymous9:15 PM

    Gee, you ask for help, and I was decidedly not helpful. Sorry. Hope you didn't get all excited about 3 comments, only to find they weren't useful! I've been very good at getting your hopes up, and then dashing them lately. Lame I am!

  4. Anonymous9:21 PM

    OK, I AM STUPID! I just realized that the search function placed all the blog entries with my searched-for word one after the other for me to easily peruse, and I just was too much of an idiot to pick up on it!


  5. Anonymous10:18 PM

    It seems as though Wordpress would solve some of your problems. You want me to add you to my admin so you can play around with it? If you do, you should eat a small bit of cake while playing.

  6. There is only so much customization you can do on the free wordpress sites. But most of the things on your list are probably doable (I am guessing doable in blogger, too, but I don't know how!)

    Just go sign up for one with your blog name and play around with it to see if you like it.

    I gave up on blogger because I could never get it to do the things I want.

  7. I've done almost your whole list on my blog. It's not difficult, just takes some research.
    For blogroll, go to the Layout button and then add a page element. You can then add and arrange elements on the left column of your blog. You add a link list here for your blogroll.

    You should google html items for the commands. They all use the same format of adding words between "<>" symbols before and after your text.

    Blogger allows you to get a custom domain. Go to Settings/publishing.

    For the titles to link to an individual page per post, go to Settings/archiving and click 'yes' on Enable Post Pages.

    there are a lot of sites that focus solely on blogger questions. Check this

  8. Anonymous9:55 AM

    Step 5. Maybe brioche instead.

    You are too funny!

  9. Kitty, you're awesome, thanks! I'll try some of that stuff.

    Miflohny, I love that you had a whole conversation with yourself there.