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.

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!]

Remembering Dad

WordPress.com Daily Prompt:

Where do your morals come from — your family? Your faith? Your philosophical worldview? How do you deal with those who don’t share them, or derive them from a different source?

My dad, my brother, and me are taking a ferry to somewhere.

My moral compass (with me & bro), on a ferry to somewhere

“Here comes the only honest lawyer in Iowa!”  It’s the greeting often heard in my dad’s presence.

Dad became a lawyer because he loved the law.  He wasn’t motivated by money.  He did a lot of pro bono work, and we were not wealthy.

After graduating near the top of his law class at the University of Iowa, he turned down job offers from “big city” law firms (“big city” being a relative term since we’re talking Iowa here).  He wanted to be part of a community.  He grew up in small town Iowa, and that’s where he settled.

He became a big fish in a little pond, not because he sought it out, but because civic-mindedness and “giving back” were part of his nature.

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Thank You, NaBloPoMo

Mom and Aunt Marceille have a warm reunion on a cold day.

The Carter girls, home on the farm, c.1943

Thank you, NaBloPoMo for giving us our Daily PromptsWordPress.com also has one, but it usually entails more thinking than I’m willing to do today.  (Plus, I’m not crazy about today’s prompt:  Tell us about a thing you’ll never write about.  Um, no.  Then I’d be writing about it, right?)

From NaBloPoMo:  Are you interested in genealogy?  Do you have a family tree constructed?

Short answer:  No.  And no.

Long answer:  One of my father’s cousins was an genealogist.  He even wrote a book about it, but it was in “geneolo-eze” and I had a horrible time understanding it.  I’m not sure if I still have the book or threw it away.  Hopefully the latter.

My Uncle Rod also wrote a book about my grandfather.  (You may remember them both in word and picture from this post.)  In it, I discovered I could join the DAR, as one of my ancestors loaned his rifle to the Continental Army and followed it into the American Revolution.  I haven’t joined DAR.  Perhaps I will if I feel they’ve sufficiently atoned for not allowing Marion Anderson to sing at Constitution Hall.

I’m not sure about my mother’s side of the family.  I think her sister (Aunt Marceille, pictured above on the right) tried doing some research, but don’t know what became of it—or if she was even successful.  I think her family also dates back a few centuries in America, as she was a member of the DAR.  Or was she eligible by marriage?  Does DAR allow Daughters-in-Law of the American Revolution?   😀

My grandfather was a wonderful story-teller.  He always told of some incident from the past whenever the family gathered.  Unfortunately, being a kid and teen-ager, I didn’t listen very well.  I guess this means I need to do some research if I want to write a memoir of my parents.  I can think of worse pastimes.