A good reason to write a blog

Blog posts are a snapshot in time. Just as a photograph can tell you a lot about someone, so can a blog post, even when they talk about seemingly trivial things. Even memes, those things that seem to go around like a craze in primary school, can be meaningful.

I have been sorting through old drafts that were never published, and I found this one from October 2008:

Ten years ago I was:

  1. Working on the implementation of a new computer system to prepare for Y2K
  2. Sharing our new house with my sister’s family until theirs was ready to move into
  3. Wondering how long my mother’s new marriage would last (not long)
  4. Planting Australian natives in the garden
  5. Spending too much money

Five things on today’s to-do list:

  1. Give the cat his antibiotics (done)
  2. Call my Dad to see how my step-mother is doing (trying)
  3. Go and see my step-mother in hospital
  4. Meet an old friend for lunch (will do)
  5. Do some neglected housework (not done)

Five snacks I enjoy:

  1. My sister’s brownies
  2. Yoghurt
  3. A banana, or some grapes
  4. dry-roasted cashews
  5. Did I mention my sister’s brownies?

Five places I have lived (in no particular order):

  1. Beautiful leafy Hornsby in Sydney’s northern suburbs (for the last 20-odd years)
  2. Dubbo in Central Western New South Wales (where I grew up)
  3. A flat in Rockdale in Sydney’s south (while I was at uni)
  4. A semi-detached house in inner-city Stanmore (when I was finishing uni and starting work)
  5. Suva, Fiji (for about 6 months when I was 12)

Five jobs I have had:

  1. Salesgirl at Woolworths Variety when I was 14 or 15
  2. Sales assistant at Angus and Robertson book store in Dubbo between school and uni
  3. Bar attendant at a couple of southern Sydney pubs while I was at uni
  4. Clerk for the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs for a couple of years when I finished uni
  5. Computer programmer at the gas company

Five places I would like to visit:

  1. Ireland – Northern Ireland and the Republic
  2. The National Archives of Fiji
  3. Namibia (again)

None of this will have any significance for anyone outside of my family, I suspect. For my close family, however, it may mean a great deal. Not only does it say to anyone who is interested some details of my past and present life, but it has some bearing on other events that had great significance.

I suspect that I didn’t finish the post because of what was going on at the time. I did talk to my Dad about how my step-mother was doing, and I went to see her in hospital every day and sat with her while my sister, her daughter, raced home to get things done. We moved her home when the hospital could no longer do anything for her, and after a few days she passed away, in her own bed with her family around her. Only 11 days after I wrote this.

It still hurts that she was taken so soon. 60 is young, these days. Her father lived much, much longer.

I also remember meeting the old friend for lunch. He told me a trick to do with parking near the hospital before the afternoon peak hour.

It was a shock to read through this post after all this time. I thought I would share it with my family, and anyone else who is interested.

Adi, Christmas 2007

WordPress Themes – sometimes not as easy as they look

StudioBlue themeI have been trying to find a theme for my blog. I want one that displays the writing in a clear and clean manner, and …

Nearly everywhere I have read recommends the Thesis theme, but my understanding is that is is well built at the back end but you need coding skills to design the front end. I may end up going that way, because the alternatives all have problems.

I found Elegant Themes, which look very nice. It’s US$19.95 per year to use all of them, and you keep them if you don’t renew. I’ve been experimenting with one now – StudioBlue – it’s on the right. Ih shows featured posts and lists of posts by category and is very configurable. It allows ads in the top right corner, but I’ve realised that I have to insert code to put them in there, instead of just in a widget editor, so that’s out.

I also tried one called eNews which showed pictures, but it required a thumbnail to be generated for each post, as well as the code-insertion drama mentioned.

It’s not that I am unable to learn to code, I was a programmer for many years. I just don’t want to spend my time doing that. If writing a post is an extra hassle I’ll do it less often. I would be prepared to spend more to get something more user-friendly but I want to try it out before I buy it, and not find out that I have to mess with code when I’ve already paid for it.

Of course, the real reason for all this mucking around is not for this blog but for my business blog and website.

Productivity update 14 March

Very productive day today. My blog comes up on my blog reader, so I read it this morning to see what I’d said I was going to do today, and I was further inspired. Or perhaps determined is a better word for it.

  • I finished editing the article for Descent and sent it off.
  • I made a serious start on my essay, so that it seems possible that I will be able to finish it.
  • I learned enough about Word 2007 and the way it handles footnotes and the bibliography (separately, unfortunately) to be useful
  • I learned enough about Word 2007′s so-called SmartArt (diagram drawing) to start on the diagrams for the essay
  • I didn’t start on the client report but I’d done that the night before and decided that was enough.
  • I did a load of washing (unplanned bonus!)

I think it works, you know, this making public announcements of what I’m going to do!

Tomorrow, instead of going into the city for the bi-monthly TMG User Group meeting I’m going to stay at home and work on my essay all day, with occasional breaks to go outside and enjoy the forecasted warm weather. I may even sit in the sun for half an hour and read a book about the colonial administration of the colonies of Australia between 1831 and 1855. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Word 2007 is a bit of a struggle but I’m getting there. The last essays I wrote were written using Office XP (is that what it was called?) and I had to put references in manually and I didn’t need to draw diagrams.¬†Come to think of it, I started using OneNote. It was the version we were allowed to download as students of the University of Sydney, and it’s an ugly, cumbersome thing. It did work with Word, though. I can’t afford to upgrade it, and I haven’t found anything that has similar functionality. I wonder how it handles footnotes? Might be worth another look.

Does anyone use OneNote, or Word 2007, for genealogical writing?

By the way, I’m trying to keep the title on these posts consistent so that those of you you aren’t remotely interested in my daily tasks can ignore them.