08 December 2019

The Bah Humbug Side of the Holidays

Bah Humbug!
Stress relief for folks that aren't part of the holiday shopping madness.
A Favorite ornament

Every year, whether or not one feels the holiday spirit is a subject of conversation.
The Santa ornament in the photo here, I have no idea where he is because I'm not opening all the boxes. I decorate up to the That's Enough zone.

I will not be putting up the taller tree as in not spending a month rearranging ornaments. Two small trees on the bookshelf look festive enough. Instead of baking cookies, I've made holiday ornaments, and greeting cards are in progress.
However, after watching the holiday Great British Baking Shows, I may toss a bit of flour around, crack an egg or two, and find the ginger. On a side note, I know from using vintage cookbooks, to always look at the number after the word at the end of the recipe...Makes. The first time I made chocolate chip  cookies, I was at the oven for almost the entire afternoon. Did I need 12 dozen? No.

It is perfectly all right to not celebrate the holidays with gift giving and parties. The holidays are ripe for increasing the depth of depression.  I prefer to invest my time in being good to myself by taking control of celebrating. For example, watching the holiday Hallmark and such movies, limiting decorations, planning a garden, looking forward to Spring. I gave up feeling guilty about not wanting to celebrate the holidays. I stopped making excuses and just tell folks, "I'm not celebrating this year." I now celebrate in ways that are easy for me to deal with.

07 December 2019

Internet Out & About: Template Shopping

Every so often, (less often than years ago), I search the Internet for Blogger templates that are attractive, responsive*, easy to customize.  Please note, I am not template building savvy person. I look, like, and try a demo. If customizing is complicated, then I move on to the next. My number one reason for not using a template is customization limits.

Please note: Not a sponsored Post

Blogger here has a nice selection of templates easy to customize. However, none are flexible enough for this blogger to customize the way I want my blog page to look, and use/navigate.

Favorite of all time Template: Tumblr, Minimal
Hasopen Road on Tumblr

A recent search for Blogger friendly templates:
  • Free & for sale templates look much like they did years ago
  • Demos and user template reviews are equally important
  • Less time looking, more time reading 
I found an interesting website, Pixelgrade. The information that's important to me is easy to find, template selection is good, and pricing is easy to find and understand. Whenever I am ready to move to my own website, then I will be reading up on Pixelgrade first.

From there I click the link to Duda, a website builder. I found more templates, easy to navigate website, and a reasonable pricing structure.

From there, via notes on Pixelgrade, I search and read (some) what Boostrap is. There is more reading than I care to spend time doing, However, after reading the first few paragraphs on Wikipedia, I develop the sense my first impression is wrong, and that reading more about Bootstrap can be a good use of my time.

If you've been online for several blogging years, then wanting a new blog look can feel like a new shoes or hairdo. Searching and reading can help you find what you are looking for. The template demo frustrations, I feel,  are worth the time. 

*Responsive Web Design, RWD, is how a web page looks on various all devices, screens, phone, laptop,  and such. (I thought it meant easy to customize.)

06 December 2019

The Flow of Ego

Daydreaming isn't always about being on vacation, being a hero, best of something and/or everything, a new home, beautiful shoes, winning the lottery, or shinny trucks. Methinks our egos flow via adventure imaging that expands our sense of comfort and connection with the Universe. There are daydreams with fiction characters in conversations with each other, the roll play daydream that helps folks sort out the meaning of the Universe.
Abstract Landscape watercolor 2012

There are mornings when watching the news and weather reports doesn't feel necessary. Not ready to let go of the television this morning, I move the channel to a PBS station airing, "Closer to the Truth," hosted by Robert Lawrence Kuhn.

As I listen to the discussion about the Anthropic Principle, my sleepy mind wanders (a thinking event) into a daydream about two professor types standing in a busy holiday grocery checkout line chatting about a theory author they are both familiar with. They both are skeptical. When the theory author's name is mentioned, a women behind them chuckles. The she-professor smiles and asks the chuckling women what she thinks of the theory author. The reply is, "He's probably a nice person." They all laugh like holiday carolers trying to catch falling snowflakes. The conversation blends into the good quality of the oranges on sale, but the lemons appear a bit rough. I write down the scenario, but leave it without an ending. (Note: I select my fruit with the mind they should be attractive in a photograph, and the lemons I've seen lately do look a bit haggard).

Once fully awake, I will watch the entire episode of Closer to the Truth, The Anthropic Principle: Meaning & Significance. I will read more about it as far as my ego will take me, as in satisfied I get what it is about. I like learning. Learning is good for the brain.

05 December 2019

A Drawing Challenge

Day 1: Sandwich container
On several blogs over the years, drawing and painting challenges, 30 in 30 days for example, have been inspiring to read about and view the artwork.  I think in the early days, I might have tried, but didn't keep up with it.
Recently that changed, the right energy and time capture me as I'm reading Lisa LeQuelenec's blog, Seaside Studio, and more via a link to Sherrie York's blog, Brush and Baren.

To help me maintain momentum/keep the commitment alive, I decide to do daily thumbnails until the last page of the sketchbook (and beyond), using a pen, and no erasing. 
Both Lisa and Sherrie do multiple thumbnails sketches on a page. The less intimidating smaller size feels comfortable to me. Thus, on day one after lunch, I drew the plastic sandwich container I put in my glass on the tray with crumpled paper towel beside it. (I use pieces of cloth or worn vintage linens; and buy paper towels when I have to wash windows.) The idea is to put time into drawing regularly, and not a lot of time doing the sketches or thinking about a subject to draw. Right away, (joyful I recognize the plastic container), I wanted to draw again. However, I know a bloom of energy sometimes feels like a cornucopia of enthusiasm, but will eventually fade. I decide to wait for each day in order to train the brain to keep on sketching.

Update, 9 December 2019: 
I forgot to sketch yesterday, Day 5! Missed days will be made up with 2 sketches the next day. 

03 December 2019

Desk Chit Chat: Practical, Art, and the Future of Cottage Cheese in Coffee

End of a year + Holidays + Cold weather
There's is a lot to process this time of year. Practical things slide under the holiday hubbub, preparing the winter emergency kits for the purse, home and vehicle, changing passwords, and making sure things are secure. Whether you celebrate the traditional lights, trees, and presents holiday, December can be busy with fun and future.

Snipe, Archibald Thorburn, 1860~1935
Visiting Wikiart.org is a wonderful online gallery tour. Learning about artists by searching for things I enjoy, like birds, is a winter time tool for the cabin fever winter blues. I found Archibald Thorburn while searching for paintings of pheasants. As a child, I use to see them in the woods around the Waltham, Lincoln, Concord, and Carlisle, Massachusetts area. The freedom that such colorfully beautiful birds live in the wild fascinated this only seen colorful birds in a cage person. Alas, art for me recently has been glue, cardboard, paint and glitter. I now appreciate why folks joke about glitter being everywhere.
Going over photographs from years ago makes the future feel closer than ever because in the idea of Now vs Then, Now has a higher plateau to stand on. As an elderly person, 70 years plus, the I've made it his far echos into the mountain of memories. I am in my future. You are in your future.
What do you think about that? Do you spend dedicated time thinking and planning for your future? One 24 hour period, think of what you want to add or subtract from your future. I've chosen sweets. I want to decrease 90% of the baked goods and such in my diet. The power grab of such an endeavor can boost confidence.
In my future this morning, I had a bit of cottage cheese while waiting for the water to boil for coffee. I thought...How will cottage cheese tastes in coffee?...no, not brave enough to try it today...Ha...I can Goggle to see how it goes for others...even the weirdest things can ve found on Google...I'm not alone...Lumpy Cheese Coffee! What a future that will be. As it turns out, the search results don't bring up the pure cottage cheese in coffee that I hope to find. So guess what.
The cottage cheese chunks fall to the bottom of the cup. The flavor does have a creamy after taste. Overall, if this is an indication of my future,
then I might benefit from a strategy of comprehensive planning.