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.

Starting Fresh All Over Again

When is it okay to start over?  Is it better to focus on improving one’s current path; or is there a point when the path becomes so overgrown it’s better to just change direction?  Or is starting over the perfectionist’s cop-out when things get too messy?

I’ve thought about rebooting my blog many times over the past years in hopes of making it exactly how I want it.  But since I’m not really sure what that is, I’ve avoided the temptation.  Until now.

Why is now different?  Perhaps Stream of Conscience was too unfocused and cluttered.  Perhaps SciFi Chicks burned me out.  Perhaps Ms. Pack Brat was one blog too many.  Or maybe I’m just inspired by spring.  Whatever the reason, I’ve decided to simplify and streamline my online life—just as I’m trying to simplify and streamline my home life.

Long ago, I started a blog for the purpose of telling my nephews and niece about their paternal grandparents (my parents), whom they didn’t know very well.  But along the way, I got sidetracked by other interests and the minutiae of life.  Life still gets in the way, but I have a better understanding of the stories I want to tell, and  a more focused approach to the things I want to talk about.

Will I be more successful this time?  Only time will tell.  Stay tuned…