Skip to content

Archive for

31
Aug

101 – The Magic Number?

This is indeed the 101st post I have published to Sometimes.    I’m not writing as much as I would like to, but am spending a LOT of time reading other people’s blogs, and sprucing up my own site.   I’m still using Bold Life theme.   Now the effort is to get the blog set up the way I want it.   Get rid of the “Uncategorized” category and arrange posts in logical order.

Some posts date back to 2011, most have been published in 2015.    I started out with my header featuring a bright red Hibiscus flower…inherently gorgeous, requiring little thought or consideration.    Well, that flower (or more precisely, one of its descendants) is blooming as we speak…in my garden.   There are three Hibiscus varieties out at the back of my “maze,” the red one, a white-with-red-center one, and a white.   I had feared that the bitter cold winter we had two years ago, and again last year, had killed the red plant–but no, fortunately it returned, almost as large as before.

To continue about sprucing up my blog…

One of the things that I have noticed from studying my Stats Pages is that only a handful of my 100 posts so far actually finds my readers.  Or vice versa.   The current or most recent post reaches readers, but mainly only a smattering of my posts are actually being discovered.   Why?   Because of my sloppy and lackadaisical organization skills.

WordPress is a wonderful program, it is varied and chock full of great advice, classes, leadership.   I actually printed out on paper the support pages…and that is my bedtime reading materials.   I could easily make mastering the WordPress University my goal, except that there is so much to learn that it seems that I forget more than I learn.  Packing so much information into my old brain’s filing system is threatening overload.

My blog badly needs to be organized.    Categories, tags, links, short-links, paragraphs… HTML, CSS revisions…what a smorgasbord of things to learn!

So…what I need is some lined notebooks or legal pads, and some pencils with good erasers.   Make some outlines: with headings, and sub-headings, and bullet points and  note cards….well, maybe not note-cards,

Yep, I’m from the old school, before computers.   I am proud to say that I have finally reached the point where I can compose an original essay on screen, but until a couple of years ago I always used the pencil and paper system befre transferring to the computer screen..   Since I have had computers since 1983…one of the first kids on the block to get one of their own…I can honestly say that my reluctance to compose on-screen was not for lack of confidence in my computer skills, but force of habit  in trusting  the old tools:  pencil and paper.

13
Aug

Practice with Pictures

I have a lot of trouble with pictures.  Probably because I have not taken the time to search into the instructions; I just sort of wing-it, then when I have had enough blundering through I check the How-To and discover some little detail for the first time.

Here I am going to insert a photo.

three maple trees

three maple trees

I did!   This is my side yard, the nearest tree is a Maple that is gorgeous red in Fall.  The middle-size is a Maple that grew up through a Yucca plant and allowed to remain; the smallest one is also a volunteer that originated in the midst of a Holly bush that had seen better days, and has been pruned to encourage it to become a big tree.

Rose of Sharon blossom.

Rose of Sharon blossom

I think I’ll try a Gallery.

13
Aug

DIY or DIE — Piece of Cake

DO IT YOURSELF. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Those words conjure up visions of a hunky guy and skinny little woman wearing toolbelts over their bluejeans and tee-shirts. They rush on screen, into a perfectly good-looking kitchen, wielding their sledge-hammers and wrecking-bars with determination and glee. Sound like fun? Maybe, if ya like destruction and ruination, but to an old salvage-minded scavenger, those cabinets and sheets of plywood are screaming out for rehabilitation.

But hey–if those ordinary TV actors can build great kitchen islands, put in new countertops, and hang new drywall, then anyone can do a simple job like install a new floor…even me.

Last year I found four boxes of laminate flooring, plus good underlay padding, at an auction for just $25, I snapped it up without a second thought. It would be simple to find someone to install it in the hallway. Well, as it turned out…not really. There was no show-of-hands offer when I brought up the idea. No cries of “Me! Pick me!” So it was decided that we, my son and I, would install the floor.

So began the GREAT FLOORING CAPER.   (The images below may help to show what I am talking about.)

It was clearly not possible to match the original supply of flooring, which had been used for a new house twenty or thirty years before. So we had two different types of laminate planks, half a dark cherry-wood; the new a variegated blend of wood-grains. Rather than alternate colors, it was decided that the main hall leading from the foyer would be in the cherry-wood, running vertically from the foyer; the back hall in a horizontal position, in the new material.

In the main hall the laying of the staggered planks went well, except for two problems:

1. a mid-job change in which we abandoned the original plan to continue the cherry flooring all the way to the back wall…AFTER cutting many of the planks in half in order to obtain a straight edge. The goal had been to have the back hall flooring uninterrupted. In other words, thinking of the hall as a large, fat “T,” the stem of the T one color, the cross-hall North/South wings the other color. This would have worked fine, except for my inability to Measure and cut a straight line. The original plan would have resulted in uneven cut lines, with ugly gaps. So it was back to the drawing board–this time trying to match up fitted snap-fit edges of the planks with cut edges.

2. Most of the issues we faced in matching edges and ends were due to the cut edges. I take the blame, and admit that when I set out to cut that first plank in half…I knew NOTHING about power saws, except that they are largely loud, noisy, and scary. But, without fussing over those details, I know, well…more than I did then. I watched some UTube videos, bought some clamps…and a new mitre saw (which is great, except that it has a six-inch capacity which does not work well with eight-inch wide boards. And besides…that thing is scary!)  The salesperson told us that the saw was just what we needed, and there was even a sign touting “laminate floor cutting and laying” as one of the uses for the saw.  To my limited knowledge, much of the stock of such flooring planks is eight-inches in width.)

We rushed right home and installed the saw on the workbench, which involved drilling and screw-driving, so we were more or less committed to keeping the saw.  It was relatively inexpensive, about a hundred bucks, so although it was less than perfect for the exact job we bought it for we knew it would be great for cutting narrower pieces of wood.

There are six doorways that needed special attention, which complicated the finishing procedures, including sills, framing, moldings, and edge-transition issues.

Actually, the whole project went pretty well…especially the last time we re-did the entire floor.

So what did I learn from my DIY project? A lot. I can operate a circular saw now, and a miter saw…and a hacksaw. I am learning to attach clamps to a workbench. I need better rulers…a four-foot steel ruler is of limited general use. Another thing, I sure wish I would have paid better attention in Math class.

10
Aug

More About Me…a sort of Newsletter

[Writing an ABOUT PAGE always reminds me of the “Holiday Newsletters” we used to get from relatives and friends—some welcome and fun, others not so much and more of an obligation to read.   I hope my About Page is informative, not obnoxious.   I offer these facts about my life for some kind of context for my Blog.]

I have had a full and exciting life so far, with lots of great opportunities and varied experience.

Sure, after high school I got to hop on a Navy ship and cross the Atlantic Ocean on a ship and spend a couple of years in Germany, living in new U.S. Army quarters.  It was right after World War II, and there were still bombed-out buildings in many of the cities and towns.   Back home in 1957, we lived at a number of military bases.

Then I fell in love with Tucson, Arizona…which to this day is like home to me.

Had five kids over a period of about ten years: one in Texas, two in Arizona, one in Pennsylvania, and one in Ohio.

Divorced and remarried in 1972.  My second husband was  Fire Chief in our Ohio town.

For awhile I dabbled in politics, worked for my pal the late U.S. Congressman Don J. Pease (D-13th Ohio) on campaigns during the mid-70s.    As Clerk of Council in my town, and secretary of planning and zoning boards, I used my writing for official purposes.

Worked for 18 years as a newspaper writer and reporter.

Decided I needed a “higher education” when I turned 50…half my life spent, the other half would be for Me.   So I enrolled at our wonderful Community College, and earned my Associate Degree in General Studies in 1988.

Then transferred my credits to Cleveland State University, and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in History, 1990.   I was accepted at the University of Akron, awarded a graduate assistantship in the History Department, and received my Masters of History in Latin American Studies.     Subsequently I entered the doctorate program, completed required academic work for a PhD, and then worked for ten years on my doctoral dissertation.  I did not complete the final version of numerous drafts, ran out of time, and–for reasons of procrastination–remain at the ABD, (All but Dissertation,) stage.

Let’s see…in my lifetime so far I have been fortunate in “falling into” wonderful opportunities.  Some I accepted, some not.   .

The single thing that has unified the threads of my life is — WRITING.   I have always been a writer since I was old enough to hold a pencil.   The writing has taken different paths, from fiction, school papers, university research projects, newspaper writing and reporting, and now writing on my WordPress blog.

8
Aug

Tinkering with my Blog Theme–Again.

I love working on my Blog.  It’s fun, relatively easy (compared to climbing a huge mountain, or understanding Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, or even cutting an even edge with a power saw,) and endlessly rewarding in creating something unique to offer my deathless prose…well gosh, that’s my point…my words will be out there bouncing around in cyberspace forever.

Since my first WordPress theme, long ago…maybe three serious years ago, I have tried out countless themes for my blog.  Since March 2015 alone, Sometimes has undergone 25 different changes, more than half of those returns to my present theme–Bold Life.   Those are changes are just the ones that are listed on the revisions page, I forget all of the different themes I used prior to March.

Most of the changes to my theme were explorations into one basic feature, replacing the stark white background of the content page.  My eyes are sensitive to light, and I am constantly looking for a way to change my background to a soft color, other than white.  I should say here that I have for years and years tried to change my background color in various Windows and other writing platforms.   Since I have not had unlimited time to search, I just cut the brightness of the computer screen itself.

Yes, I do pay for the Premium features for Custom Design.  Some themes offer the color factors I want, but not other things like size of Heading images, and menus and various custom features available in specific themes.    It just takes some tinkering to find a theme that is really expressive of my goals for my blog…but herein lies one of the detracting factors of blogging, spending so much time on the mechanical aspects of the blog instead of writing substantive posts.

Choosing a theme from the hundreds available is part of the fun, though, and I will not commit to never looking at a new theme.

4
Aug

It’s Here! It’s Here! It’s Here !

I’m still not breathing at 100%, but so far, so good.

WHAT is here?

I have been as anxious as a kid on Christmas morning, waiting patiently for it to arrive.

The song going through my head:   “I’m so Excited!  I just can’t hide it–I’m about to lose control, and I  think I like it!”

Yep, Windows10, the fabled new “best Windows ever!” version.

I’m cautiously optimistic.  So far I like Windows10 a lot, and they keep sending me little notes saying things like:  “How do you like it  so far?”   “Would you recommend 10 to your friends?”   “Do you like our adorable commercial featuring the adorable toddlers from all over the world who will ‘grow up with Windows10’ ?”

They needn’t think that I’m going to fall for that sweet-talk.   I’m going to wait until I have a chance to look it over.  They know how much I HATED Windows 8.1.   Everyone I know knows how much I detested it.   I don’t speak for everyone else in the world, but I don’t care if they “like” or “don’t mind” 8.1   But that’s just me.

Windows95, Windows98, Vista, XP, I liked Windows7…in fact 7 is the version was on my laptop (which I am writing this article on as we speak.  It was infinitely superior to Windows8, which came with my new “mainframe” computer (as I like to call it) last year…being the ONLY choice available on the very day I bought the PC.  It came equipped with Windows8, then immediately (like the next day) 8.1 hit cyberspace in an effort to compensate for the shortcomings of 8.

Oh–woe!   My experiences with photos came to a screeching halt…and my eBay and other images suffered.  I discovered by searching online that Windows8.1 had a “known issue” with Photo Gallery, and I had a heck of a time with trying to get the my pictures from my camera onto my published work.

Let me hasten to say that I am not a newbie computer person…I had my first computer in 1983, practically the dawn of everyday-people-with-computers.  I was the first kid on my block to have one.   It was a Kaypro2 (that’s a Roman numeral Two () II but it appears as two “Ls” and I certainly don’t want anyone to think it was called a Kayproll.  Good grief.

For those who are interested, my WordPress blog post entitled Rise of the Machines, published this spring, details my adventures in setting up and teaching myself to operate the computer. http://mumbletymuse.com/2015/01/26/rise-of-the-machine/

So I’m giving Windows10 the old college try.     It’s fast,  looks good, and seems to have banished the evil gremlins  to Computer-Hell.

4
Aug

What’s in a Title? Is a Hibiscus Flower too much? (posting misadventures)

(This  post was originally published on my blog, Sometimes, earlier this year.    Some of the facts are no longer relevant, since there have been major changes in the heading photo, which originally featured a gorgeous red Hibiscus flower, but that heading is as defunct as the flower and exists only in re-runs and fond memories.   Thanks for visiting.)

SOMETIMES

Experience tells me that once an error is made, it is often better to just let it go. There is an old secretary’s saying that once you mess up on handling an important message for the boss you will keep making it worse with each new contact.

So I’ll try again to explain the title of my blog. Actually the title SOMETIMES is simple enough, and so far it has escaped scrutiny. My tag line is simple enough also except that it got tangled up while it was under construction, and came out wrong.

My tag line (oh gosh, here’s where I mess it up again,) is “Who, What, When, Where, How and Why.” I think that’s in the right order. This phrase has long been a staple of teachers of writing and journalism, an easy catch phrase (there’s a word for it, but I can’t think of it now)…

View original post 407 more words

4
Aug

I am Who I am, no matter how hard I try to be someone else

Yep, here I am in Blogging101 again.  This time my intentions are good, but that is normal…and we all know what they say about good intentions.

It occurred to me once when I was embarking upon a “reality trip” to Mexico, that I would soon be meeting a whole new group of people who had never heard of me before.    “This is my chance,”  I said to myself.  “I can be anything I want to, change my demeanor, background, speech, and present an entire New Me.”

Right.  No dumb comments, no Shy Me hiding in the shadows…New Me could be sophisticated, well-spoken, and always in control of my cool personality.   In fact, I could buy a new jungle-adventure wardrobe, and wear head-bands, pretty flowing tops, and jeans with zippers instead of Mom-jeans.

Great ideas.

First, at the airport, I had to accept a strangers help in hoisting my backpack into position.  I could not get into that baby without help.   So there went Cool Me with the airport-crowd.

At the Mexico City airport, changing to the domestic terminal, once I found where I was supposed to be I stood around with the crowd, my backpack perched on top of my suitcase, on one of those folding carrier things.  Cool Me trusted the luggage to stand up by itself…and it did not, crashing to the floor within an inch of a man’s foot.   He had to help me stand it up again, and was really very nice about it.

The Cool Me cover was blown, and although I had flown many times before, and traveled in Mexico before, I still managed to convince on-lookers that I was an inexperienced, naïve American who had no clue whatsoever.

I think that was the time I dropped my ID card (driver license) onto the rolling conveyor while passing through Security, and it rolled under the scanner and it had to be retrieved by an employee.

So the point is that the New Me is the same Old Me.   No matter how hard I try no one in Blogging101 classes will ever believe that I actually have traveled numerous times to foreign countries, and to jungle cities, as well as to professional conferences and research trips to various US cities.    I have been a newspaper writer/reporter, university History instructor.  I hold a Masters Degree in History, and ABD (all but dissertation toward a PHD.)   Love auctions, writing, books, gardening, working on my blog, beading.   I am 81 years old (which is not remarkable, anyone can be old AND productive… with a lot of ambition and a bit of luck.)

So–I am what I am, and (like Popeye,) nothing else.

I love blogging, and have been working on my blog, Sometimes, for awhile casually and for the past six months more or less regularly on WordPress University classes.   I write casual humor, occasional fiction, news commentary, class assignments, and other pieces.