Spring, er Winter Cleaning

It’s time to revamp and reorganize the blog. The Skeptical theme served me well for a couple years (especially since it was literally picked at random via a random number generator).  But a renewed interest has me itching to post pictures and the old theme was too narrow for what I’d like to do.

That renewed interest is knitting, brought by my current love affair with Outlander.  And since we’re in the middle of a prolonged cold spell, it’s not too late to make some chunky cowls and arm warmers.  Look for some project photos and knitting thoughts coming soon.  As well as some additional blog housekeeping.

I'm making a pair of "garter stitch mitts" by Ysolda from Ravelry.

Almost finished: Ysolanda’s garter stitch mitts.

Throwback Thursday

#tbt:  Apparently it’s quite The Thing on Twitter.  I’ve been thinking about reblogging some of my posts from The (Old) Stream of Conscience, and “Throw Back Thursday” seems as good a day as any, yes?

When deciding what post to reblog, I took a look at my 34 categories.  How to choose?  Why, my old favorite, of course, Random.org.  (I also used it to pick the style for this blog.)  It spewed out 14, which turned out to be the ubiquitous “Life & Musings,” i.e., pretty much any damn thing.  Since the blog covered 5½ years, there were 9 pages of posts to peruse; yet, the one I chose was on the first page.

It was written on December 8, 2012, in response to WordPress.com’s Daily Post challenge, which asked “What is your earliest memory?  Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.”  Mine was easy-peasy.  (I’ve edited only slightly.)

My Earliest Trauma Memory

And how appropriate for the season!

A two-and-a-half year-old me entertains Christmas visitors.

Entertaining visitors; permanent crisis averted

Harken back to a slower, quieter time: the mid-20th century, an age without digital cameras, when it took a few months to fill up a roll of film and get it developed.

Christmas day:  One 2½-year-old went to bed the night before, thinking of Santa Claus on his rounds, and worried she wouldn’t be able to sleep for all the excitement.

But I did fall asleep, which made the night pass more quickly.

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Welcome, 2014

Happy (almost) New Year!  The new year brings with it the chance to reboot ourselves, however mundane or all-encompassing that might be.  It’s filled with hope, a time to start afresh, to look at our lives and figure out what needs improving.  It’s not just the standard “eat less, exercise more” routine.  It encompasses all aspects of our lives.

I stopped making resolutions years ago, but it hasn’t prevented me from trying to establish or reestablish good habits.  It’s an on-going process which lasts throughout the year.  That doesn’t mean I’m always successful or that I don’t backslide, but it’s a constant attempt to improve my life.  And it avoids that dreadful “all or nothing” thinking.

For a remodeled kitchen, I like stainless steel appliances, light-to-medium wood cabinets, and a dark countertops.

Perhaps the look of my new kitchen. [Photo credit unknown]

This year I’m hoping to remodel my kitchen.  It’s an intimidating task because I have a massive amount of preparation to do.  I started a blog called Ms Pack Brat about five years ago to chronicle my attempts to get my home and life in order, but it was more “miss” than “hit.”  Perhaps it was one blog too many.  Hell, it may have been two blogs too many, what with SciFi Chicks (where I spent most of last year).

This new year presents itself with an opportunity to renew and revitalize The New Stream of Conscience.  I certainly have plenty to write about.  Why not make this daunting kitchen remodel (and its prerequisite cleaning and clearing) a focus?  Why not write about how I adapt FlyLady’s principles to my own life?  And let’s not forget about exploring cookbooks in an effort to eat better.

Hey!  That’s a plan!

Photo credit: Small Kitchen Ideas

Sunday Seven—Let’s Blog!

Lorelle of Lorelle on WordPress is posting a year of Blog Exercises in 2013  Although she’s my favorite weblog guru, I  haven’t been reading her lately.  She recently wrote a roundup of her Blog Exercise to date, so perhaps it’s time to do a little catching-up.  These are (just) seven topics I plan to take a closer look at.

(Just) Seven (of Many) Blog Exercises to Further Explore

(I’m not linking to each article because I’d have to open the post, and I might get sidetracked.)

  1. Scheduling Blogging Time—something I definitely need to improve.
  2. The IKEA Effect for Bloggers—I have absolutely no idea what this is (yet)
  3. Fall in Love with Words—how can you not love this?
  4. Making Lists— 😀 considering Sunday Seven is a list
  5. Footnotes—I’m intrigued.  I wonder if they’re similar to anchors within a page (which I’m proud to say I taught myself).
  6. The Editorial Calendar—indispensable for web site maintenance
  7. Under the Hood Spring Cleaning—perhaps I can call it Under the Hood Back-to-School Cleaning?  😉

 

My Weblog Guru

Today’s Blog Exercise from Lorelle on WordPress is to write about someone who changed your life.  Lorelle herself shared some tidbits about her grandfather.

Lorelle on WordPress offers blogging tips, advice, and exercises.

Lorelle today

I thought I’d write about my grandfather.  I wrote an essay about him six years ago when I was taking a writing class called “Writing from the Heart.”  Or I could write a bit more about my father, copying a post from my previous blog.  But that would just be cutting and  pasting previous work, neither of which would flex my blogging muscles very much.

I’ve been following Lorelle on WordPress off and on for many, many years—so far back, she was still living in Israel and was using Rubric, one of the first standard WordPress.com themes (or was it Regulus?); back when WordPress.com didn’t have the option to customize themes and had only a million or so blogs—perhaps even fewer.

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A Change of Scenery

Initially I used the green option for the Skeptical theme..

Skeptical theme: green option

Perhaps you noticed a subtle change to this blog.  The overall color scheme is now blue vice green.   I’m not sure why I went with green in the first place.  Blue is my favorite color, and it coordinates with the “stream” idea.  Maybe green was the default, or perhaps I thought green was easier on the eyes.

One thing I struggle with on WordPress.com is themes.  I can never seem to find a theme that meets all my requirements.  I even did a “Sunday Sevenon the topic nearly 3 years ago on (the old) Stream of Conscience.  The theme I was using at the time was Twenty Ten, WordPress.com’s most popular theme.  Its current theme is Coraline, but over the years I’ve also used Ocean Mist, Chateau, Elegant Grunge (SciFi Chicks), Bueno, and Fresh & Clean (Ms. Pack Brat).

When I started this blog, I was so overcome with “analysis paralysis,” I decided to randomly pick a theme.  Random.org generated a number between 1 and 270(ish); I then counted down the themes on the Manage Themes page.  (I don’t remember if the themes were in trending or alphabetical order, or even what the number was.)  I landed on Skeptical.   And so, here it is.  Actually, I’ve been modestly pleased with the theme, although I’d initially wanted 3 columns.  (Skeptical says it handles 3 columns, but I haven’t figured out how to set that yet.)  But I’m finding the 2-column scheme is working just fine.

And, I finally took the time to learn the basics of Custom Menus.  You’ll notice there’s a couple of drop-down/sub-menus at the top of the page.  That’s one of the things I like about WordPress.com.  I learn something new every day.

[Good Lord!  I just tested the links, and 13 new windows open!  That’s got to be an all-time record.  And probably why this short(ish) post has taken nearly all day to write.  If you opened every link, I hope I didn’t crash your browser!]

The Longest Day of the Year

June 21!

The summer solstice, the first day of summer, and… what else?

I love this day!  I’d possibly love it even if it wasn’t my birthday.  It’s almost exactly one-half year from Christmas, so I only had to wait 6 months for the Big Present Days. (Past tense, because now all the presents are from me, to me.  So they could come at anytime during the year.)

A wave crests over several young swimmerss

Let’s all go swimming!

And look!  Google even did a Google Doodle for me!  Thanks, Google!  And thanks, Christoph Niemann!

To celebrate the day, I’ve added a second picture to the blog header. (The two randomly rotate.)  That means the stream value has increased 10%, making the water value now only 80% less than the original Stream of Conscience.