Posted in websites

milestone blogiversary

Twenty years ago today, I started my first website.

And although none of my online ventures have “went viral” — not even close, actually! — writing for an Internet audience has offered pleasant distractions and learning experiences.

Best of all, it’s given me a proverbial voice. Even if no one reads every word, just knowing that they could has made me feel as if I’ve been heard.

Many thanks to you, dear reader, for listening. It has meant more than I can say. 🙂

Posted in crushes, feelings, follow-up, meme, websites, work

a year in review – 2019

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?
participated in the Walk Through The Old Testament Bible study, learned to check the traffic flow in Google Maps, used the Opera browser, noticed quail in the yard, set a snap mousetrap, tried less-sugar Chobani and Campbell’s Healthy Request Bean and Bacon Soup, purchased and cooked a non-fish-stick-equivalent fish fillet, heard the train-rumble sound of a possible nearby tornado, printed at Staples from a flash drive, and got bit by a tick

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2019 my goal (repeated from 2018) was to spend more time on what adds value to my life, and I did indeed labor in several “valuable” areas. Loosely in order from least to greatest attempt: improving communication, nutritional eating, accomplishing tasks more efficiently, and upward thinking of the Biblical kind.
For 2020, my theme is to simplify. Pare down my stockpile of stuff. Reduce over-analyzing and over-to-do-listing. Focus more on the next priority, and less on nailing down the legion of conceivable tangents.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no. But quite a few people I know lost loved ones.

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

6. What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019?
the ability to consistently style all of my hair in a way that looks good to me

7. What event from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory?
seeing the storage shed door open, and realizing that someone had cut the lock

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
completing an overhaul of my signature site,

9. What was your biggest failure?
Far too many times, I was annoyed with certain people — and I peevishly let them know it. :winces:

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
In addition to regular recurrences of familiar digestive, sinus, age-related, and overuse issues, a backache slowed me down for a month.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I purchased a tall cabinet to corral my foodstuffs. (Technically, the unit is for storing officesupplystuffs but it’s fine as a pantry.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
A group I’m working with on a certain project. They listen when I talk (WOW, NOT EVERYONE INTERRUPTS), and they make me feel as if my input is appreciated.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The main object of my affection sent a *clear* sign of disinterest in a Painfully Awkward Moment. I don’t think he intended to be harsh, but I distinctly felt the harshness of rejection. :*(

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

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
the — mysterious, wonderful — ways God is redeeming my story

16. What song will always remind you of 2019?
probably “Look Up, Child” by Lauren Daigle because the phrase was part of this year’s resolution

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? happier
Older or wiser? older. I reach for reading glasses more than ever. (Sigh.)
Thinner or fatter? judging by my clothes, about the same
Richer or poorer? judging by my bottom line, about the same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
nipped a potential negative in the bud

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
balked at the slightest deviation from what I was expecting

20. Did your heart break?
For the first time in years, no. Although — to be sure — there were plenty of hard days that bent it

21. How did you spend Christmas?
I worked on these questions while waiting for late-risers. 😉 My mom, sister and I opened our gifts around nine-thirty, after I set up our 22-year-old, low-frills video camera. I then took pictures of our decorations and unwrapped gifts, and we cleaned up. Lunch was red salmon loaf, corn, boiled potatoes, and crock-pot green bean casserole. A lovely afternoon of casual puttering was followed by a soup supper. I walked outside to enjoy the 70-degree sunny-ness. The fam and I ended the day watching DVDs.

22. How will you spend New Year’s Eve?
I have 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?
My TV time is still spent rerunning past favorites such as Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Quantum Leap, and Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. I also added What’s Happening? to my DVD collection.

24. What were your greatest food discoveries?
I gained an affinity for snacking on Oatmeal Squares cereal, for Publix egg salad on an Aldi rice cake, and for Ezekiel bread. I also found a delicious and versatile broccoli fish bake.

25. What was the best book you read?
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young is the only book I’ll finish this year, but it remains an all-time favorite. Almost every day, some truth in it resonates with me.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
“Native Tongue” by Switchfoot: set to a mesmerizing beat, the lyrics are a fresh look at the wonder of God’s amazing love. (Not to mention a challenge to me to be more loving.) “The Strength to Let Go,” also by Switchfoot, expresses my heart’s prayer in the struggles of this current season.

27. What did you want and get?
My tick bite did NOT result in symptoms of a tick-borne illness. #PraiseTheLord

28. What did you want and not get?
for my new coworker to have potential to become a close friend

29. What was your favorite film?
There were none. I thought Captain Marvel was okay. I pretend Avengers Endgame was just a bad dream. #NeverHappened

30. What did you do on your birthday?
It was largely a repeat of last year, with taking the day off from work, computering, shopping in Madison, and hiking at Rainbow Mountain Trail. However, there was some newness in that the heat set a record: 100 degrees, in October! That meant cutting my hike short. On the bright side, I could shed my fall layers for a cute summer top.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
if I had connected more with people

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019?
still business casual — with function over fashion, since I prefer not to shiver all day in our 63-degree office

33. What kept you sane?
choosing peaceful thoughts

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I was drawn to the strength and competence of Captain Stottlemeyer on Monk. Also, after seeing Captain Marvel, I outlined a fanfiction scene inspired by Jude Law.

35. What political issue or news story stirred you the most?
For a change, a positive news byte stood out to me: “I feel like it’s so easy to love. People like that, you never know what they’re going through. You just want to help them.” – gymnast Katelyn Ohashi’s gracious response to would-be body shamers

36. Who did you miss?
my former coworker, Tricia

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Clarice and Beth from church

38. What changed the most in your life this year?
Sweeping reorganization efforts continued across the board. Two significant changes were renaming my blog and being relieved of the website forums that I started back in 2004.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019.
Earlier this year a tweet by Beth Moore (“Thought I’d arrive at spiritual maturity then just abide right there undisturbed… Instead, here I am… still grappling”) caught my eye because it echoed my own perplexity. I, too, expected some sort of fill-her-up zap, after which I’d be perpetually unflappable. :sheepish: The lesson for me has been that when I trust that God *is* working, right where I am? That struggling is part of the faith-building process? Hallelujah, what a awesome gamechanger!

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“I know You have Your reasons for everything, so I will keep believing.” ~ “No Matter What” by Kerrie Roberts

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

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, and 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!).

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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 b47eclectics, websites

new tag: b47eclectics

Some day soon I will cease fine-tuning the overhaul of eclectic, my so-called personal website; however, I will have material left over. My current plan is to follow up and add said material – from time to time – to this blog.

Enter the new tag, b47eclectics, as a catch-all to flag posts containing that supplemental information.

Perhaps having this material will move me to blog more often… but if not, pages and pages already await your perusal at eclectic:

Posted in etcetera, feelings, follow-up, websites, work

those things I do, 2015 edition

Has it really been four years since I’ve written one of these? Hmm, I seem to recall passing thoughts of such a post each of the past three years, but more pressing to do’s got in the way. Truth be known, I probably wouldn’t have done this one had I not been on vacation from work this past week. Anyway! Here are some of the things occupying my time.

* enduring changing conditions at work. In January, the boss I’ve had for the 2.5 years at my current company retired. His former second-in-command took the reigns, and for several months, it was the nightmare I had feared. To say the least, the new boss is a micromanager, and his default state of impatiently oozing with sarcasm was only made worse by his promotion. I was to the point where I was regularly checking the job listings, because to think of staying indefinitely with that man in that highly negative environment was too much to bear. But I found out in September that our contract was only renewed until March of next year. Although the higher-ups express confidence that we’ll get another renewal, I’m not counting on that. In any case, I decided that – as things have calmed down a bit – I’ll at least try to make it through the end of this year. Can’t quit before I get all of my vacation and holidays, right? 😉

* mentally projecting myself elsewhere. From a recent letter to my friend Michele: “Thank you, thank you, thank! you! for the b-day graphic with Tom Hiddleston. If seeing the trailer for the movie you mentioned reminded me of him, the suggestion of running away to Bali with him has (happily!) planted him front and center in my thoughts. Plus it has been giving me much-needed mental escapes since I first saw the b-day graphic. Back at work on the second, I was so inspired that I did a Bali image search and changed my work computer background to support my daydreams. I imagine myself standing on that balcony, in that beautiful, exotic, romantic place. I’m looking out at the scenery; he’s standing behind me with his arms wrapped around me, and I feel so protected, and relieved that he’s taken me away from all the stress and bad mojo at work. :sighs dreamily:”

* chewing carefully. I’ve been having sporadic pain in one of my molars when I chew a certain way. During my dental cleaning earlier this month, I mentioned this pain, and in his inspection, the dentist spied a crack under the filling. Last week I went for a temporary crown, with plans to go back for the permanent in a couple of weeks.

* reading carefully and carefully considering my diet. I’m still dealing with the eye symptoms that started back in November of 2013. It (eye strain?) tends to flare up after long sessions of reading/computer time, and so I’ve continued pacing myself, taking breaks and cutting out “extra” reading. My side (gall bladder?) issues have also continued, but have also been pretty mild, and I like to think it’s because I’ve made a concerted effort to eat as nutritiously as possible… well, as is possible without spending a fortune of $$ or an excessive amount of time researching and planning exactly what “nutritious” means.

* making sure Aldi gives me the sale price. I’ve been going to the Aldi grocery store near work almost every week for well over a year. I’ve been loving their low prices, but recently I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in which the additional markdowns noted on the shelf don’t make it into the cash register. My response is to hold such items to the end of my order, and as the cashier reaches for it, I quiz, “Are these the ones that are (insert sale price here)??”

* desperately seeking new music. This time last year, the 80’s and 90’s music radio station that I’ve enjoyed for several years started to play Christmas music full time. Alas, when that ended, they changed their format to country music. My sister defaulted the living room radio back to the repeat-o-songs station we had previously, but their non-variety has irked me more than it did before. I guess, having heard some actual variety, I’m not ready to give it up. So I’ve been exploring other options. I’ve downloaded quite a bit of the free music Amazon has to offer, plus I discovered that we have a local jazz station. (Jazz is SO calming on my way into work. :big smile: )

* possibly closing in on a decent way to wear my hair. Years ago, I worked with a lady who shared that she would be going the next day to a hair appointment. With delight, she declared that she would then be “lookin’ decent.” That phrasing struck a chord with me: it sounded humble and yet attainable, although for me, the quest remains. But I refused to accept that the only styling option for my latest lackluster ‘do was a helmet-y mom bob, and I ventured to try some techniques that were brand new to me. And at least twice I have *loved* the results. Unfortunately, the aforementioned techniques involve a lot of dumb luck, and now the challenge has become replicating a love-able (read “decent”) look. Fortunately, I have a picture! I will call in professional help if I need to. And if my attempts in the mean time look a bit weird, I shrug happily that I like it better than my previous Bowl Head, and I put my hand on my hip, hold my head up, and carry on as if I meant for it to look this way. (For you Buffy fans, as a confidence-booster, I tell myself, “I wear the hair: it does not wear me.” XD )

* tried in vain to build a dream. As I’ve mentioned repeatedly on this blog, my long-time dream is to build my own home. Earlier this year, I took the first steps by talking to a builder and a bank, but I ran into a brick wall, and I’m sad to report that it wasn’t the one that I envision as a focal wall in the sitting area by the new kitchen. I was bummed out… devastated, actually … about it for quite a while, until I accepted that this simply wasn’t the right time. In retrospect, I realized that to continue the way it had been going would have meant settling. I definitely need to think more about what I want, and now I can do so more intelligently, with what I learned in this initial effort.

* waiting on people to do what they say they will. (Grr!) Before Memorial Day, we noticed that our roof was leaking by the chimney. A lot. (No doubt due to the fact that, while in the attic, you could look up next to the chimney and see daylight.) I contacted the roofer. Six to eight weeks later, a guy shows up and works on it. Still leaking! I texted the roofer again – as this seems to be the only way to get through to him – and he immediately responded with apologies… and then weeks went by with no word. I finally texted again. In early November, the guy finally came out again, and his patch job seemed to have worked… until my Mom just reported that she sees another leak. :pulls hair out:

* finally(!) getting back to website work. Much of my free time has been spent working on the new layout for my so-called personal site. I didn’t realize how much I had missed my website hobby, but I’m so glad to be back at it, even if I must do so gradually to avoid aggravating the eye issues mentioned earlier in this post. Actually, having to take my time on it has turned out to be a blessing, too, because it’s giving me a chance to consider my options for each step. Hopefully, if this continues, whenever I do finish it, I know it won’t be perfect, but I can feel as if the final project is complete, the result of a good effort.

Posted in etcetera, websites

new photoblog

After discovering that my old photo gallery host had started using those hyper-annoying pop-ups that try to take over one’s computer, I made it my mission to relocate my photos ASAP. And I’m happy to report that it’s done!

While I was moving, I also took the time to reorganize the pix, so now they’re sorted (mostly) into years, from 2010 waaaaaaaaaay back to 2003 when I got my first “serious” digital camera. Check it out, and note that it allows visitors to comment on the pictures. Hint! Hint!

Posted in websites

more website work

With two lovely days off for Thanksgiving (woo hoo!) I have finished redesigning my “inspirational site.”

Two years ago, I changed that site to a blog format – where I still post regularly, btw – but the previous site is still open, partly as a backup and partly to point people to the new site.

I consider them both companions to my Christmas site, which I also redesigned a few weeks ago.

Posted in websites, work

a website oversight

Work is going well! Mostly, I’ve been reading to get familiar with the business, their software, etc. and that can make for a long day, but it’s a necessary first step. Happily, I realized yesterday that all of the reading *is* serving its purpose, as I do feel more familiar with the material.

In other news, this week I was finally able to check one of my (twenty or so) old email accounts. It had – I exaggerate not – over 4000 emails. Of course, 3996 of them were spam. Of the four valid ones, one was a test email I’d recently sent, which is actually what inspired me to do the work to check that account. But the other three non-spams were warnings from Apparently my MacGyver fanlisting was on the troubles list, and since I didn’t respond to their two warnings, they wrote to say that it was removed from the network. And this happened back in October of 2007. Oops!

I would’ve sworn I checked the site not long ago to be sure my three sites were still listed. I guess I checked the two I thought were more likely to have been removed. Oops again.

This is not a tragedy. I think of the MacGyver site primarily as a fan website, and the bulk of its traffic is from people who are looking for MacGyver information. Still, I am embarrassed at this oversight, and after checking to see that there isn’t a new Mac fan listing, I applied for mine to be it again.

And if they say no, the new layout was made in such a way that it’ll be very easy to remove the fanlisting related links from the menu.