Changes Afoot

Hello all…

I’m going to jump right in… I’ve been restless with the blog.  Not sure how I’ve felt about it for a while now.  Do I get rid of it?  Keep going?  Change platforms?  Change the look?  Change?  Stop?  Change?  It’s a sort of weird mantra.  This annoying question.

I created a page at three other sites hoping to freshen things up, to give it a new feel, a new look, but not lose the content.  I failed three times.  The sites didn’t work like I wanted, the content wouldn’t transfer easily, or would, but then didn’t work when I followed the procedure.  A bunch of glitches.  A bunch of minor frustration, because let’s face it blogging isn’t rocket science or something that will change the world in any way.

In the end, I did what I’ve done in the past.  I started playing around here at WordPress with themes and style.  I trimmed some stuff here and there around the blog.  Extraneous crap, to be honest.  I mean, is anyone really looking at that stuff anyway?  And even deeper, is anyone really even reading this blog?  I’ve been blogging for 15 years.  Yep, you heard that right, 15.  I started at LiveJournal, moved to Blogger, and then came over to WordPress where I’ve been for ages.

Anyway… I wax on.  I ended up, once again, staying here because the content is all here.  I didn’t want to lose any of it.  But, I pruned and simplified.

It’s not for anyone else anyway, it’s for me.  And I couldn’t get rid of it.  I couldn’t get rid of those long-ago essays about my grandma and life and other deaths in my life, I couldn’t get rid of all the photos and travel posts and reviews, couldn’t get rid of my journey when I was sick, or of the myriad of little posts of poetry and art and the other quirky and strange stuff that sometimes catches my attention.

I’ve been in a social media trimming phase over the last several months.  I got rid of a bunch of sites I never used but was a part of.  I’m down to the big ones – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  I never tweet.  I will probably be getting rid of that as well.  Who knows.  It’s the same process we took with our finances at home – going over everything to see what works, what doesn’t and needs to go.  It’s a good process.  A spring cleaning of sorts.  It’s liberating.

So here I am.  Same old blog, same hosting site, but a new look, a new feel, a new “me”.  We’ll see how it goes.

 

 

 

2013 In Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

English: A exposure blended photo of the Sydne...

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Trimming The Herd

I have been working on the blog.  I’ve been at this blogging thing for, wow… eight years?  Really?  No…. I should check to make sure.  That’s a damn long time.

Every once in awhile I get restless with it and have to change the look of it, update some things, get rid of others.  I cull.  Today I’ve really been at it.  I went though links, getting rid of many and re-organizing the sites I chose to keep.  Is it just me or do blogs appear and disappear at the speed of light?  It’s a tough gig to keep up I guess.  I go through periods of time where I write/post every day and then there are the droughts.  Times when I don’t even want to look at this thing.  Ah well.  That’s life I guess.  Ebb and flow.  Come and go.  Bob and weave.  Metaphor much?

Now I’m working on the pages I have here at the Think Tank.  I love the inspiration page.  But of course I would, it’s filled with words that move me.  I also like the Token Hippy Who page.  Most blogs or sites call that the About page.  All you want to know about the person or persons who keep the blog or site.  I had to change the name.  I felt like I had to include the legal page as well.  Not that anyone is going to try and steal anything I’ve written or photos I’ve posted that I’ve taken, but it makes me feel better having the legal mumbo jumbo out there.  Boundaries, they rock.

The page I’m struggling with is The Journey.  I think it has to go.  There’s no point to it.  None.  Originally… uh, wait.  I’ll just post what was on that page here, in this post, and delete the page.  It has to go.  Cull… to trim the herd.

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I used to have something else written here… I just deleted it.

Journey has a lot of meanings; traveling, moving ones life along, it’s a band. Sort of vague really. What does it mean for me? What I used to have written here was the story of how I ended up a WordPress… B-O-R-I-N-G. So do I keep this page or not?

Maybe, as the name could imply, I put up song lyrics from various Journey songs I like.

Uh… no.

Maybe I should talk about my life’s journey.

Uh… no.

Maybe I just say this…

I’ve made a recent journey. Moving from the place I lived my entire life to a brand new town in a brand new state over halfway across the country. It’s very different here in a lot of ways. Weather… political atmosphere… where everyone is at with sustainability and the environment. But it’s also very much the same… some great people, some beautiful scenery, adventure to be found around many corners. It’s been good. Living in a new place, meeting new people, doing something out of the comfort zone, and also spending time now with the little grandson. He’s the catalyst for the move, and he’s been worth it. I’ve been surprised by this experience. Dreading it in some ways, knowing I was going to miss family and friends who I love very much and so miss, and the weather. But it’s been very good in many ways as well. And I have grown to really appreciate many things about this place.

It’s really good to shake things up once in a while. Good to keep ourselves off balance a bit. Good to risk. Good to take an unexpected journey.

“Don’t stop believin’… hold onto that fe-ee-ee-ee-lin'”

A Look Back

 

I just realized that it’s the beginning of October.  I started blogging the beginning of October 2005.  Yes folks… I’ve been at this a long long time.  Sometimes I haven’t been the most consistent, going days or even a couple of weeks without a word, and truthfully this is the third blogging platform I’ve used.  Started with Livejournal, then Blogger, and finally WordPress, where I found a permanent home.  Luckily each time I moved platforms I was able to import my old blog posts to this blog you’re reading right now which, thankfully, has it all.  Start to finish.  Pretty cool.  It’s been quite a journey since 2005.

As I re-read these first two entries I had to smile, and be a little sad.  The first entry was after a visit to Karen’s parents place in San Jose.  I had been there before, but not many times at that point so I was still getting to know all of them and they me.  Charles, our nephew, was only 16.  He’s in grad school now at Columbia in NY studying film.  I was smiling reading my entry as I described him as a kid who is passionate about film.  I guess that part stuck.  The second entry was written the morning after my grandmother passed away.  It’s been 8 years and I still cried when I read it.  She was an amazing woman and I see her still in my Mom, my aunts, and in myself.  I’m so proud to be her granddaughter and proud to be a part of the family.

So here they are, the first couple of entries written October 3 and 4, 2005.  I can’t believe I’m still doing this, and still loving it.  Thanks to everyone who’s been reading these little missives of mine since the beginning and stuck with me and also thanks to everyone who’s decided to stop by during that time and especially to those new readers who drop in from time to time, sometimes deciding to stay.  I appreciate you all more than I can say.

I love this blogging thing… a way to express, to write, to share, to throw some of my thoughts out into the world in a real concrete kind of way.  I’ve loved it from the beginning and still do.  Here’s to the next 8 or 16 or 50 years blogging.  I’ll probably still be here.

 

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005
12:10 pm
A life… Beautiful
My grandmother passed away early this morning. I got the call from my mom some time around 6:30, though now it’s hard to remember just when. I drove to work, not really remembering the drive, and have found myself sitting here, not able to concentrate on whatever task it is I’ve had at hand. And that much, I’m sure, is to be expected. I’m working today because, I think, if I didn’t, I’d just be sitting at home, restless… thinking. Instead, I sit here… restless, interrupted at times by a phone call or email I have to answer, and thinking. 

I saw my grandmother three weeks ago. Frail…yes. Tired… absolutely. Full of life… always. She was an amazing woman. Had an amazing life. I walked around my grandparents house three weeks ago in wonder. Slowly passing by photographs of a positively amazing history… awe struck. Phenomenal. 64 years with my grandfather. 64 years of love, of life. A life so rich, so beautiful, that wandering around looking at the record of it, I could feel it’s texture. There were books and drawings, copies of marriage licenses, and picture after picture of a life so full it spilled from those photographs out into the living room, where the miracle of that life sat manifest… in children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. The legacy that’s been left is not just that these people all exist because of her, but that they are all, every last one of them, stellar. Magnificent. They are the best people I know. Intelligent, kind, loving, curious, full of laughter, accepting, driven, artistic, educated, musical, good to the core people. There is never judgment, never an unkind word, ever. They rejoice with each other, celebrate each other, comfort each other… all of them. All the time. There is never a criticism, even a hint of should or shouldn’t… always, in the truest sense of the word, there for each other. My grandparents had seven children, who themselves had 19 children, who themselves have starting bringing many more into the fold. And in the bunch of us, there is not one who is not, in his or her own way, an outstanding human being. All of this, for me, started with my grandparents… the people that they were… are… have been to us. Those two people created the beautiful tapestry that is our family. Those two people created something rare. And we, who are lucky enough to be part of it, know it. It is not, and has never been, taken for granted.

There was a lot of laughter that weekend, three weeks ago, as there always is with this family. My grandmother, central to the scene, as she has always been, involved in it all. I thought to myself, sitting with them that day, what an honor it was, and is, to be a part of it. The luck of my draw. I often wonder how it happened, that I ended up a part of this history, a link in this beautiful chain. I am thankful, every day, for my fortune. I am grateful every day, for the honor of it. And from now, until the end of my days, I will be celebrating my grandmother’s life, as she would’ve wanted me to… by living my life in the best way I can. With joy, love, peace, and happiness, amidst the family… that she made.

Monday, October 3rd, 2005
1:37 pm
Three days in San Jose
Just got home from hanging with the in laws. It was a good trip. Karen’s parents seem to have accepted me, and better yet, they really like me. I think it’s nice for her. All the years of not really being able to be herself, and now she can just be. They are obviously happy she is happy, which is really the important thing anyway. We didn’t do much while we were there, other than hang around chatting, but that was nice. Every time I’m with them I like them more. 

We did go to a movie one night with her sister, Cathy, and her nephew, Charles. I really like that kid. He’s 16 and sort of quirky, and it’s that great kind of quirky. He’s smart, has a great off beat sense of humor, and he doesn’t feel the need to conform to what’s hip. He’s a kid who absolutely loves movies. Old and new, it doesn’t matter. Plus, he knows about them… technique, directors, cast, etc. He’s passionate about it, and that, in anyone, is very attractive. We saw the movie Serenity. Good movie even if you’ve never seen the tv show. There were a lot of people there who obviously had not just watched the tv show, but have gotten into it so much they dress the part. There are clubs for browncoats. Who knew. Not I, but it was pretty entertaining watching them. It was premiere weekend for this particular film and since there’s such a huge cult following, which I also was unaware of, there was a line, the people in costume as I mentioned before, and pre-show trivia complete with prizes for those who knew obscure tidbits about the characters, etc. Needless to say, I didn’t win anything. I did, however, come home with a key chain, thanks to Cathy’s quick grab of a flying key chain after the trivia was over.

Karen’s parents made a full on turkey dinner Saturday night. I guess they figure that they don’t get their kids together very often and since all three were there, it was a time to celebrate. I got the honor of being the forker. When Karen’s dad carves the turkey a person stands there and forks the carved turkey onto the platter. I was told that not everyone gets to be a forker so I was touched he asked me. Standing there, forks at the ready, I felt the pressure to perform and live up to my new post and title. He said I did well, so I might, if I’m lucky, be asked to fork again.

Today I’m lucky enough to be able to hang at home. Relax after traveling. Karen, busy as she is, had to go in to work today. A perk of my job is getting to take off quite a bit of time. I’m fortunate enough to earn comp time on top of my accrued vacation time, so that helps. I slept in today. What a luxury. Sitting here sipping on green tea, still wearing pajamas that I know I won’t change out of, looking outside at the forest and the rain, I think it’s time to head in and see what movie I can find to watch. It’s Monday, and I’m home. How lucky am I?

 

Changing The Way I Do Business

I just made a slight change to how my blog will auto publish to Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Wordpress now allows you to do this directly, so I’ve switched off the auto publishing by Networked Blogs (at least I think I did) and have turned on the auto publish feature here at WordPress.  It’s a trial run.  If I don’t like it, I will change back, but we’ll give it a try and see what happens.  Not a very exciting post this one, but an update none the less.

Hope everyone out there is having a fantastic day.  It’s another day of sunshine here in the Portland area of the Beaver State… yay!

Music, Numbers, and The Day

Wow… what a week. Seems like since we’ve been back home it’s been a little crazy in and around our house. Two weeks of bliss in the UK with Mary and Martin, with them and away from all the regular daily responsibilities, chores, life moving craziness. Don’t get me wrong… we have a terrific, wonderful, fantastic, full, beautiful life. We do. I wouldn’t trade anything in my life, currently, for any other possible way to be. I have it good. I know it. It’s just that our life moves quickly… busy. It’s grand and great, but sometimes it’s tiring. Especially when the dogs are restless, the phone rings late night or early morning (which we are both subjected to from time to time in our jobs), and it’s a bit too hot to sleep without the fans going full steam ahead. Again… not really complaining… just saying… whew. What a week huh? (this is where I start to smile and laugh cuz really… I’m very very happy)

I’m sitting here right now, iPod blaring, and I mean blaring. It’s lunchtime at the office. No one here right now but me. I have the road trip play list on shuffle. Currently it’s Travis busting out “Big Chair” through the most excellent JBL iPod player. The sun is shining outside, with a few clouds I admit, but shining. Other than the music it’s quiet in here. I like it. Pretty peaceful for the work place and all.

I just glanced at the numbers again. How can I help it when I’m this close (holding thumb and finger less than and inch apart) from making the 50,000 mark. Looks like less than 30 to go. And, by the way, my own page views don’t count so don’t you go thinking I’ve been clicking the Tam’s Think Tank bookmark 50 times a day to get to the big number. That wouldn’t work… at least that’s what the WordPress peeps say. Almost there…. picture confetti and such at the end of the day today… there will definitely be figurative confetti.

As for our weekend… and let’s just start with last night. The pre-weekend evening out. We went to see Star Trek. Loved it. Seriously. Good romp of a movie. I’m a trekkie from way back. Since the beginning, when the original show aired. I was very young, but remember my dad laying on the living room floor, face close to the screen (he had to, he was legally blind), and me sitting there with him, not really knowing what I was watching, but loving the whole thing. I thought, last night just as the movie started, Dad would love this. And, he would have.

The rest of the weekend… dinner and a movie with friends tonight at their place. Should be fun. We haven’t spent time with them in a long while. I’m anxious to meet the new members of their family, Ricky and Lucy, their new pups. Then tomorrow… time spent with friends having a bite to eat, checking out the festival downtown, and then an outdoor evening concert by the band Uh Huh Her. We’ll see how that goes. Sunday… not sure. We have more work to do on our place. Always. Probably try to stain the deck that I pressure washed this week. Though I hear it might rain. Hmmmm… rain and an outdoor concert. We might have to rearrange our plans for concert going if that’s the case. Or not. We are, after all, Oregonians. Proud to get rained on.

Oh no… it’s almost one. Almost time for me to turn back into a worker bee and get back to it. Court at 1:15 today. Fun fun.

I’ll leave this post with Josh Radin on the iPod singing “One of Those Days“.  Seems kind of fitting.  Kismet.