Dusting off the blog

[blows dust off keyboard]
Testing…testing…one…two…three…Does this thing still work?

Haven’t posted anything for almost two years, since my husband started his latest set of medical crises. Full-time caregiving has put my business and most of the rest of life on hold. Things seem to be settling down, finally, so I’m re-starting semi-regular posts.

Blog reboot

One of the hazards of living in a series of very large houses is that one accumulates stuff. I’ve let this blog stagnate while I concentrated on de-cluttering 40+ years of work files, and 60+ years of accumulated personal stuff. (We will not talk about the cartons of stuff I inherited from my mother or the stuff she inherited from her mother. Nope. Not going there yet.)

I’m not finished with that, but I think it’s time to start writing again.

man pulling off another man's boot
Rebooting a blog can be annoyingly complicated. (Photo credit: Botched by Nature episode 2016-08-10)

First, though, come the WordPress updates.

Sigh.

  • Database backed up? √
  • Child theme customizations backed up? √
  • WP 4.6 installed? √
  • Parent theme updated? √
  • Plugins updated? √

AAAAACK!

To Do List

  • Figure out why featured images aren’t connecting to slider categories.
  • Remove image work-arounds from last updates to see if that fixes the slider images.
  • Figure out why I now have at least three duplicates of all pages.
  • Figure out why some (but not all) categories have been duplicated.
  • Remove duplicate pages.
  • Remove duplicate categories.
  • Re-assign orphan posts to correct categories.
  • Figure out why the main menu and slider menu are swapped.

First, turn off computer and pour a glass of that nice 30-year Solera. The blog fixes can wait until tomorrow.

6 AM Weirdness

For the first time in almost two decades, I started my day by waking up from a very strange dream.cat  being cuddled by creascent moon in a starry sky

Most of my dreams have been dreams of ordinary life with, at most, a single odd element—a person or thing out of place, but familiar in another context. 

This one started with an ordinary situation, singing in the Third Church Chancel Choir. Third Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir 
Then, it got weird.

  • We were not wearing our usual robes. Instead, we were wearing costumes that looked like a cross between characters in Heidi (women in dirndl skirts with puffy-sleeved white blouses, black bibs, white stockings and clogs) and an unusually inclusive Sound of Music cast (men in old-fashioned nun’s habits).
  • We were not in our usual place. The choir was in the standing room space at the top of the Family Circle in the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC, behind a 10 foot wall.
  • The organ was hanging from the railing at the front of the balcony, with a small side platform for the brass band. The string section was on stage with the altar and clergy, a looooong way away.
  • None of us had trouble seeing the conductor, who was standing inside the chandelier.
  • Readers were the cast from an early Star Wars movie. Psalms are scary when they are read antiphonally by Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt.
  • For the benediction response, the choir spread out into the aisles (all 400 of us) and the entire audience sang along in four part harmony. The music was an interesting arrangement of the bridal chorus from Lohengrin, with a text from one of Grimm’s fairytales. 
  • example of neumes  Our octavos were hand-written in medieval neumes.  

    I woke up just as Betsy Marvin asked me if I was going to coffee hour. Too bad. The food might have been interesting.

    First day of a new year…

    …and I’m seriously bummed. My blogging routine has suddenly come unstuck. Instead of starting fresh at the beginning of a new month, I’m faced with a bunch of irritating new conditions:

    1. BlogHer has been sold to another company, one that is much more intrusive. I can’t log in with G+ the way I used to. Instead, I have to sign up directly with the new company and give them access to a lot more information than the stand-alone BlogHer required.
    2. The new parent company spams–several email messages a day, every day. Ick! Needless to say, I quickly unsubscribed!
    3. They’ve discontinued the monthly NaBloPoMo blogging challenges, replacing them with a single annual challenge in November, and something they call BlogHer Writing Lab. While I never quite managed to blog every day for 30 days, I found that the ongoing challenges kept me motivated. The Writing Lab, and its associated BlogHer University, have some interesting articles, and I may drop in once in a while. Beyond that, it’s not really what I need for motivation.
    4. I used to enjoy the blogrolls, and found many new bloggers that I enjoyed reading. While there were lots of foodies and homeschool craft bloggers and mommybloggers, there were also a few tech bloggers and artists and fiber addicts and serious readers. Now, most of the serious bloggers seem to have disappeared. To replace the monthly blogrolls, there is now a Facebook group. I DO NOT NEED ANY MORE FACEBOOK GROUPS!

    Now, I’m looking for another source of inspiration. I’m making a list of sources for writing and photography prompts. I’ve joined a couple of reading challenges (see the sidebar), but haven’t been able to find much else. Oh, there are lots of parenting blog groups, but my writing doesn’t fit there (my kids all have four legs). And I’ve found a couple of diet/nutrition blog groups, but I don’t fit there, either (my five major food groups are grease/sugar/salt/garlic/chocolate). And I’m in two business-related blog groups, but they are too heavily concentrated on advertising and monetization for my taste (since I’m easing toward retirement).

    Guess I’m on my own for this blogging year.

    black cat walking across porch toward woods
    Photo credit: web cam at the Janus Museum, 2010

    (Photo links to Rudyard Kipling’s “The Cat Who Walked By Himself.”)