As Charlie Brown Would Say…

Good grief!

Summer is almost over and I forgot to post my summer header pic. And it’s my favorite of all my header pics! So, for now, you won’t see a random header when you travel through the site (which mostly means reading individual posts). You’ll just see a boy enjoying his own summer in the best possible way—jumping into a stream. (Or any other swimmable water source. “Swimmable” is a real word. I’ve just made it up.)

Here’s the full picture (resized, because it is HUGE). It was a bitch to edit to fit the header dimensions.

Boy on a rope swing

One Hour a Day

The other day I was poking around the website, and what did I find? That I’ve written only one post per month for the past few months. Wow, that’s pretty awful.

Which leads me to contemplate my writing goals. It certainly wasn’t my intention to post just once per month. Granted, I didn’t have a specific frequency in mind (maybe once per week?), but I’m a far cry from whatever that goal might have been be.

It’s not like I don’t have things to say. I have plenty to say. Currently, it’s mostly political stuff. I’m not a great follower of politics in general, but the past few months have made me care very much about this country. In the wake of January 6th, I’ve pondered questions such as “What defines a patriot?” Then there’s my curiosity about whether we’ll see an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among Texans and spring-break participants in the coming weeks. And let’s not forget all the ways Congress sucks.

Books by K.J. Charles:  The Magpie Lord, Think of England, Slippery Creatures
A few of K.J. Charles’ books: 1) her first & most popular, 2) my personal favorite, and 3) my next read.

The problem is, whenever I try to write down my thoughts, the words fail me. Posts I’ve so eloquently organized in my mind just disappear. I envy people like Jim Beaver and K.J. Charles, who seem to be able to easily discuss even controversial topics in meaningful, intelligent ways.

Continue reading “One Hour a Day”

Why Is WordPress Life So Hard?

How do bloggers do it? Not only provide content every day or so, but upload photos and other media with seeming ease?

I came to the blog today yesterday with the idea of writing a post, although I had no idea what to write about. Despite having 11 drafts, I’m just not inspired. Chalk it up to mid-winter and pandemic ennui. So I thought I’d spend some time organizing the website. Ha.

When I changed themes (last summer?) I created new stream-themed headers. But I had trouble loading them. Today Yesterday I decided to load one of a winter scene. Of course, the winter pic was one I hadn’t yet made, so I had to create it. That entailed resizing (not hard) and improving its general appearance. I’m not good with seeing optimum results, so I have to create several versions and decide which one is best. This photo entailed improving contrast and sharpness, both of which provide me with nearly infinite options. So it takes a long time for me to find those optimal results—and it eats into my writing time.

Then I screwed up and managed to “hide” all my headers. That required searching for a way to undo my mistake. The WordPress dashboard gave no option to “show” hidden headers. So I searched for an answer on the web, only to come up with nothing. Bummer. Through some trial and error I managed to show the one picture I’ve uploaded. So it will show on every page. I hope.

Eventually I’ll load more headers, but one is enough for now. As part of organizing my blog, I need to update several things. Like the copyright, which I first have to find. And categories and tags. And access to pages, which I’ve now realized isn’t obvious.

Perhaps I need to dedicate an hour or so to blog maintenance in addition to an hour to writing. But… but… it interferes with my game-playing. Yes, retirement is wonderful, with all its extra free time. But it can lead to an unscheduled life. And with above said ennui, that’s a slippery slope—which I have managed to slide down.

At least this stream of consciousness post (hey, it is the title of the blog!) has given me ideas for new posts: writing goals, retirement thoughts, and time-wasting games.

Now, if I could only find a picture to post. Ah, here we go…

Natalie’s dishcloth, which I STILL haven’t mailed.

Oh good God! How do I resize this damn thing? Once again WordPress has modified its dashboard and now I can’t find how to edit and resize this photo. (I finally gave up and resized it in my graphics program, but I still can’t find how to properly edit the photo, so it’s going out as is.) See? WordPress life is hard!

Now, if I can just figure out how to add categories and tags in the new interface…

Well, that didn’t work

Goodreads gives you the opportunity to copy your book review to your blog. I’ve never done it before, so I decided to try it out. Basically you just copy & paste the html—and it comes out looking like crap on WordPress.

I spent quite a lot of time trying to reformat the damn review, but decided instead to just show it as it comes out. As you see (after the break) the spacing is wonky, the text size is inconsistent. And honestly, I’m too afraid to to even try one of the links.  Hell, the GR “spoiler” tag doesn’t even work here, although it dares to show itself.  What a mess!

But I’ll leave it as it is for now, because, 1) I’m lazy, and 2) I’ll likely be changing my theme soon, and it’ll all look different again. Maybe even worse.

(Incidentally, the book is about the folly that was the Crimean War, with a [literal] demonic twist.  I loved it.)

Continue reading “Well, that didn’t work”

Opps!

That’s how I spelled “oops” for many years.  I recently came across it again when reading a self-published book, and had to laugh.  The book has hundreds of errors, including my #1 pet peeve, then for than.  But in this case the author also consistently uses than for then.  And for added measure, the notorious effect when she meant affect.  It’s obvious she’s not a great grammarian because she also misused apostrophes and commas ad nauseam.  Apparently she had no beta readers.

Anyway, all that is a prologue to say that “Oops, I forgot to post on Sunday.”  As for Saturday, I didn’t forget.  I knew I missed the day.

So, three.  Three days of consecutive blog posts.  I suppose the next goal is four consecutive days.

Shall We Write?

This blog needs some fresh blood, yeah? So how about a new theme? That’s the problem. There are so many themes available on WordPress.com, it takes a long time to sift through them to find just the right one. I end up spending so much time trying to pick a theme, I become overwhelmed. And then I don’t write anything. That’s back-ass-wards!

The blog needs new content! That’s more important that a new theme! But what’s there to write about? I’m not particularly interested in Outlander any more. Now, if Starz decided to do a Lord John Grey spinoff (he does have his own set of novels), I’d be there in two shakes of a martini lamb’s tail. But I’m afraid Lord John is destined to be just another Jamie Fraser fangirl.

I’m amazed at how commentators always find something to talk about every day. (Well, every weekday.) Granted, this is the nation’s capital region, so the federal government usually provides fodder for discussion. But oftentimes, the commentators discuss the frivolous. For example, one spent some time last winter discussing the weather, and how we mid-Atlanticans are wimps, complaining about 20-degree temperatures when Minneapolis boasted something like -30 degrees. (The commentator even chided himself for being a wimp, especially since he’s from Iowa and suffered through University of Wisconsin at Madison windchills.)

And see, right there? How I get sidetracked? Happens all the time.

I had an epiphany today. Why not try to write something every day this month? Yes, there is such an animal. It’s called NaBloPoMo, and I did it once, six years ago. But since today is May 1, it’s not too late to start this month, right? Heh. We’ll see how long this notorious quitter lasts.

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.

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday”

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?  😉