Posted in websites

new layout for rusted-crush – done!

Latest layout update = finished!

TV Toaster

In carpentry, they say to “measure twice, cut once.”

When I’m reworking a website’s content and layout, I “brainstorm for a week, decide one thing.”

Nevertheless! Last week I finished and posted my latest project: updating rusted-crush.com.

If you’re thinking, “Hey, that looks like eclectic,” fret not! The similarity is by design, part of a strategy to give my website collection a more unified format.

Next up, neloo.com and fannesite.com will get “unifying” makeovers.

The primary objective for this streamlining effort is efficiency, for visitors in navigating between features and for me in maintenance. Building from a template will certainly save time in forthcoming layout designs.

Website work will resume in 2020(??). Until then, I’ll largely be occupied with the annual review plus real-life gotta-dos (chores, organizing) and wanna-dos (Christmas!).

View original post

Posted in feelings, follow-up, websites

Wherefore was I Juliet?

When I started this site I was in a place where a string of failed relationships left me too disheartened to even think of trying again. Therefore, TV and movie dreamboats became the objects of my affections. It just seemed easier. To be sure, it was less painful. IIRC, my reasoning was, “At least I KNOW that won’t go anywhere.”

Somewhere during that mindset, I surfed across Kidd Video’s song “Video Romeo,” and it became a kind of anthem for me, so much so that I opted to blog here under the banner of Video Juliet.

A few years passed and my jadedness was clearly ebbing away because I ventured back into the real-life dating pool with a great guy. [They do exist. Color *me* stunned. 😉 ]

Fast-forward to not so long ago, and that so-called video world has largely dropped off of my radar. Sure, those stars still get in my eyes. But, happily, a moniker that speaks only of pining for Hollywood hunks no longer reflects what I’m about. In spite of that, “Juliet” lingered since I had no particular inspiration for a more suitable name.

Until very recently, when the lyrical expression melody rising (from “Spirit Sing” by Zealand Worship) got stuck in my head as having potential for a new signature phrase. I toyed with various permutations and kept going back to medley rising, for three key reasons.

(1) It echoes my experience of late, recognizing what God is doing in my life, in “the finding and the searching,” grateful for the journey(s) to where a song — hope! — is rising.

(2) Because the going is not always so simple, “medley” expands the musical theme to multiple songs, making it analogous to the jumble of thoughts and emotions resurfacing in my current season.

(3) By indicating an assembly or collection, the medley concept lines up with that of my long-time personal site, eclectic.

Given the previous rationale, I am forgoing my typical practice of hashing over decisions ad nauseam.

And — just like that — the proverbial page is turned to begin the new chapter of medley rising.

“Juliet has left the building.” 😉

Posted in feelings, follow-up

absence of malice

Earlier this year, I happened to check my junk/non-friend messages at Facebook, and I found a month-old email from my ex. He wrote that he’d discovered my website and had “spent the last two hours” reading about what a horrible boyfriend he was.

I was nothing short of stunned to know that he still frets about that. Even as far back as the page linked above, I shared that I have no hard feelings. To borrow a quote from television, “I spent that anger a long time ago.”

So, Ray, while I do *not* want to reconnect, I absolutely forgive you. When it comes to our past, at this point, if I were to be angry at anyone, it would be at myself, so foolishly desperate to hold on to someone who was so obviously not a good fit. I should have listened to wise counsel. I should have tried harder to communicate instead of ranting on and on (and on and on) in a journal. But I have peace about it all when I chalk it up to lessons learned. That time made clear to me what I do — and do not — want in a relationship; that clarity has no doubt helped me avoid some additional heartbreak. When I look through the filter of faith, I’m so thankful that even when we mess up big time, God can make beauty from those proverbial ashes. 🙂

So, Ray: forgive yourself. It happened and we can never undo it. Accept that, like me, you could’ve done some things better… and the next time you have an opportunity, do them better.

Close that chapter for good, and keep moving on with your life.

“And that’s all I have to say about that.”

Posted in feelings, meme, work

a year in review – 2018

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?
got prescription glasses (and subsequently hated/refuse to wear them), went Christmas caroling in late January, saw a nesting Canadian goose, called wildlife control to remove a lizard from indoors, attended a work “lunch and learn,” followed a YouTube video for minor car repair (replace broken gear shift button), tried Florajen probiotic, tested the computer’s Read Aloud feature, used cardamom scented lip balm, polished silver jewelry with a baking soda paste, ate at the cafeteria at work, had a praying mantis set up camp in my window, watched “American Pickers”

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2018, inspired by Psalm 119:37, my goal was to seek out and spend more time on what “adds value” to my life. My initial idea was that a small effort could suffice if need be, but opportunities quickly abounded. Both personal and collective Bible studies provided eye-opening reviews of fundamentals. I reevaluated what I’m watching. And listening to. And posting on-line. I took on new challenges, and decluttered significantly in several areas.

And I’ve only scratched the surface, so I’m repeating this as a goal for 2019. Another goal (borrowed from a song by Lauren Daigle) is “Look up, child.”

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
no

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no.

5. Where did you travel?
only to local cities that I’ve visited before

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?
As I recall rounds of layoffs and narrowly-obtained funding, I’m thinking perhaps a job with a more positive long-term outlook!

7. What date or event from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
receiving unexpected affirmation that a certain person IS hearing my attempts to encourage, after all

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
By devoting one hour each week for several months, I cleared out a filing cabinet’s worth of embarrassingly obsolete papers.

9. What was your biggest failure?
repeatedly accepting the lies my feelings tell me

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Both. In February, chills, aching, and general cruddiness prompted me to leave work and kept me home the next day. Months later, something like plantar fasciitis flared up after I spent my birthday on my feet, hiking and shopping; for the next three days, I limped because my right heel hurt when it touched the ground.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
yard renovations that should make that three-plus acres *slightly* more manageable

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
my friend Angela and her husband Tim, who answered my Facebook request for help with a lawn mower

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
In this season of emotional overload, whose didn’t? :\ Arguably, I stewed the most over people who are not reciprocating the courtesy that I show them.

14. Where did most of your money go?
household expenses

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Rearranging some furniture catapulted my main living space from painfully inefficient to excellently functional. The transformation is doubly exciting when past failings had convinced me there was no solution. This time, I refused to accept that: “There has GOT to be a way!” I prayed for wisdom before giving it some thought — and minutes later, I had a floor plan.

16. What song will always remind you of 2018?
maybe “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran because of the daydream it inspired

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? hyper-reactive. I’m elated by positive words, and floored when challenged with negative implications.
Older or wiser? older. Yee-IKES at the deepening crows’ feet! 😦
Thinner or fatter? about the same
Richer or poorer? about the same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
had interesting tasks at work

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
gave up when making an effort to be heard

20. Did your heart break?
Repeatedly. Usually from obsessing over lingering perplexities.

21. How did you spend Christmas?
opened gifts with my mother and sister, took pictures of presents and decorations, opened a can of soup for lunch (Mom wasn’t feeling well), started — a to-me-from-me gift — “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way” by Lysa TerKeurst, worked on these questions, made salmon noodle casserole and steamed asparagus for supper, watched DVDs

22. How will you spend New Year’s Eve?
Possibly going to work. Later, the fam and I will watch DVDs, and then ring the new year in as we typically do: sleeping. (At least, we’ll attempt to sleep, because the neighbors usually go overboard with fireworks.)

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I still don’t watch any current programs, opting instead for DVDs. This year, I expanded my collection to include a past (forgotten!) favorite: The Partridge Family.

24. What were your greatest food discoveries?
Two favorite new recipes: butter bean soup, crock-pot cornbread dressing. Grilled Chicken Gyros from Taziki’s Mediterranean Fare. Knock Your Sprouts Off bread from Aldi. And the nutritional advice of adding variety to your diet “so that you don’t miss anything important;” that phrasing hit home with me, and so I’ll keep tweaking my far-too-repetitive menu.

25. What was the best book you read?
Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom. It was borrowed, and I returned it… and found my own copy. At a thrift store = woo hoo!

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The dirt-cheap clearance at 2nd and Charles provided a boatload of background music from genres that are — refreshingly! — less familiar to me. :thumbsup:
Also, I rediscovered “Dream Time” by Darryl Hall and identified some lyrics that have echoed in my head since the ’80s.

27. What did you want and get?
my mom recovered significantly from one health condition and received a good (i.e. “no surgery for now”) prognosis from tests for another

28. What did you want and not get?
Despite paring down my To Do list to focus on priorities, I repeatedly found myself anxious, constantly noticing things that still need attention. Finally I understood my dilemma: multiple worthwhile endeavors versus severely limited time and energy. So, accepting that some good things will have to wait and some will go undone, I must (prayerfully!) decide and move forward.

29. What was your favorite film?
There were none. I only saw Avengers Infinity War, and it came dangerously close to turning me against all things Marvel. :glares in the direction of the producers:

30. What did you do on your birthday?
took the day off, computered after a waffle+sourdough toast breakfast, went shopping in Madison, hiked at Rainbow Mountain Trail, got lunch, went for auto maintenance (and new tires), took pictures of my purchases (including the tires), thanked the well-wishers at Facebook, and finished the day watching “The Lone Ranger” and “Monk”

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
if I hadn’t so often overanalyzed all enjoyment out of an activity

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?
still primarily “business casual,” with emphasis on warmth for days cooler than 95 degrees 😉

33. What kept you sane?
As I shared with a friend: “Keep on being brave! It will bring you great rewards. Learn to be patient, so that you will please God and be given what he has promised.” [Hebrews 10:35-36 (CEV)] I have that on display at work to remind me that being brave and patient are two specific ways [to] exercise faith. And “keep on” and “learn to be” reiterate that it’s an ongoing process, and so when we stumble, we can start again.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Crushable characters in whatever DVDs I’m enjoying continue to catch my eye, with this year’s — increasingly retro! — top three being: Mr. Sheffield from “The Nanny,” Keith Partridge from “The Partridge Family,” and Zorro from “Zorro Rides Again” (1937) .

35. What social or political issue stirred you the most?
One-sided media bulletins remain a concern, and spark nostalgia for the time when reporters “…didn’t seem to have an agenda, or try to make anybody look bad, or good.” They simply read the news and then we would all make up our own minds about what we thought.

36. Who did you miss?
my former co-workers, Annette and Jean, plus my dear friend and mentor Miss Elsie

37. Who was the best new person you met?
my work neighbors Francie and Sharon who could teach a class on being nice

38. What changed the most in your life this year?
As the year started, circumstances spurred some (long overdue!) upgrades in certain domestic routines, which have continued. I also find my passion cooling for quite a few long-time interests… and I’m not even sad about it. :shrug:

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.
More like a lesson-still-learning: “So many times we pray for a change in situation, but God is using the situation to change us! It’s a hard lesson…but it’s worth fighting for–to let God mold you into the person He made you to be. Sometimes it’s the adversity that brings out the best in us.” @mandisaofficial

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“Lay down what’s good and find what’s best.” ~ “Breathe” by Jonny Diaz

Posted in etcetera

state of my projects, 2018 edition

“Coming soon”… or perhaps not! 😛

TV Toaster

Back in late February, I outlined some points for a state-of-my-projects post:

Lingering health woes have let me
depleted of both energy and motivation
So, I’m setting the bar low for projects for this year
But I do need to do something
my unoccupied mind wanders nowhere good
and it doesn’t help that aimlessly scrolling through FB and twitter
Although I’m setting the bar very low, I’m daring to list a few plans for this year.
THE NEXT DAY, after a FEW MINUTES of concentrated thought, I had several GOOD STARTS toward an AMBITIOUS PROJECT that’s been on the backburner.

Through the years, I’ve often repeated that “the more I *have* to do, the more I get done.” As hinted at above, my claim proved true yet again. Both energy and motivation returned with a vengeance because last month, I wrote the following to a friend:

I don’t know about…

View original post 369 more words

Posted in feelings, meme, work

a year in review – 2017

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
been classified as “IT support,” changed careers with no time gap between, climbed more stairs than ever before, found myself in the vicinity of a possible active shooter situation — thankfully a false alarm, memorized the list of books of the Old Testament, occupied an office (i.e. cubicle) not on the ground floor, participated in a digital interview, removed a lizard from indoors, saw a show at the new Cineplanet theater, used predictive text, watched a snake travel from limb to limb five feet off the ground, witnessed NASA’s Super-Guppy in flight

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2017, I planned “to look for something positive in my real life situations.” I did that… but not nearly enough. I repeatedly lost sight of the positive altogether.
For 2018, inspired by Psalm 119:37, my goal is to seek out and spend more time on what “adds value” to my life.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
no

4. Did anyone close to you die?
yes, several family friends :*(

5. Where did you travel?
only to local cities that I’ve visited before

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
my own home

7. What date or event from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
August 21, the day of the “Great American Eclipse.” How can I forget it when I often hear songs from the eclipse playlist?

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The duties at my new job are very straightforward and there’s plenty to be done, and so I am the most productive I’ve been at any job for years.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I spent much way too much time in a “bad headspace,” almost certainly triggered by overthinking.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
only mild recurrences of existing ailments

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I purchased several storage and decorative pieces, with the best (arguably) being a chest of drawers.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
the people who hired me!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
sadly, my own, with recurring bouts of a mood so changeable I felt a kinship with Dr. Jekyll… and sometimes Mr. Hyde

14. Where did most of your money go?
household expenses

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
the answer to a long-time prayer request

16. What song will always remind you of 2017?
“Reverse” by Greg Sykes. Also, “Sometimes He Comes In The Clouds” by Steven Curtis Chapman, particularly the line “Sometimes our faith can only grow when we can’t see…”

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? happier, because although #9 and #13 weighed me down, #33 and #39 lifted me up, up, up!
Older or wiser? wiser… at least in the sense of #33
Thinner or fatter? about the same
Richer or poorer? about the same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
persevered

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
What-If-ed

20. Did your heart break?
Yes. But, then again, it seems I had *some* sort of emotional reaction to nearly everything this year!(!!)

21. How did you spend Christmas?
My mom, sister and I opened our gifts around nine-thirty, after I set up our twenty-year-old, low-frills video camera. I took pictures of our unwrapped gifts, and we cleaned up. We had a light, early lunch and headed over to spend the afternoon on a lovely visit with my cousin and his family. Back home, we enjoyed Christmas music on the radio.

22. How are you spending New Year’s Eve?
After breakfast — and brunch 😉 — I went to church. After lunch, I finished these questions and posted them on-line. Since evening service has been cancelled, the fam and I will probably watch DVDs, and then ring the new year in as we typically do: sleeping. We’re hopeful that today’s arctic blast will thwart the neighbors’ usual sleep-delaying holiday fireworks.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I still don’t watch any current programs, opting instead for DVDs. This year, I expanded my collection to include a series I’d never seen: The Nanny. I also rediscovered a fave from years past: Murder, She Wrote.

24. What were your greatest food discoveries?
French toast made with wheat French bread from the Walmart bakery. Plus, at long last, I identified what I consider the “classic” spices for soup: mustard seed, celery seed, and onion powder.

25. What was the best book you read?
Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young is what comes to mind of the ones I started to work my way through

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
WDZK, a new radio station whose country music mix from back when — and WAY back when — introduced me to my new theme song (ha!), “Walk Me Down the Middle” by The Band Perry

27. What did you want and get?
a new employer, and a shorter commute

28. What did you want and not get?
I didn’t get the answers I was looking for to my Big Questions… but I got the ones I needed, which is even better!

29. What was your favorite film?
I saw two films in the theatre — Lego Batman, Thor: Ragnarok — and liked them both, although neither earned a place on my “favorites” list.

30. What did you do on your birthday?
I attended the morning service at church. Since I was pressed for time, lunch was one of my favorite frozen meals: Lean Cuisine’s Butternut Squash Ravioli. I purchased some MP3s of CCM and put away the items I’d bought previously, after taking the requisite photo of my “gifts.” I returned to church, where my fellow choir members sang the happy birthday song to me during practice. After the evening service, I went to pay my respects at the funeral home.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
if the work I’m paid to do was less routine… and felt more meaningful

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
My new place of employment is a slightly more formal office — no more wearing jeans every day — and so I modified my wardrobe accordingly.

33. What kept you sane?
At exactly the right moment, God opened my eyes to something pivotal that I’ve been missing.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
A character from a TV show: John Casey from Chuck. Also, earlier this year, I was reminded that I adore John Waite’s voice, and for weeks, I scoured YouTube for songs of his I hadn’t heard.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
My state’s special election made national headlines with its antics. :facepalm: After so much badness, we *all* lost, as far as I’m concerned.

36. Who did you miss?
Sean and Jessica from my old job, and, from my current job, my boss, who has been on sick leave since August

37. Who was the best new person you met?
the seven people in the department I joined

38. What changed the most in your life this year?
Change abounded for me in 2017. Accepting a new job (naturally) included adjustments — new responsibilities, office, co-workers, daily routine, etc. Elsewhere in my personal life, there’s the “pivotal” development mentioned above. (See #33… with my apologies for being so cryptic, for now.) In the community, our thirty-year-old Madison Square Mall was demolished.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.
When you find yourself mentally and emotionally in the strangest place ever, you can mope about how you “don’t even recognize” your life, or you can learn to be thankful to God for the clean slate, a desperately-needed “reset.”

40. A quote that sums up your year:
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

Posted in etcetera

all roads lead to spoilerville

A public service announcement re: spoilers…

TV Toaster

After abandoning broadcast television in favor of re-watching DVDs of beloved shows from the past, spoilers became a non-issue for many years.

When I began to want variety and branched out to DVDs of series I hadn’t seen, I found myself in uncharted territory. My previous experience following a new show on the Internet involved waiting after each airing for some industrious fan to write and post recaps, reviews, etc. Now, extensive episode guides are already available online… and I need them more than ever, because I usually watch with my family, and we tend to miss critical exposition because one of us is talking.

The big disadvantage — as you may have guessed from the theme of this entry — is spoilers. Of course, I know to avoid common sources, such as summaries and commentary for episodes I haven’t seen. But I’ve found spoilers lurking where I never suspected…

View original post 708 more words