Brave new world … a new theme … a new layout

Libre is the new WordPress Theme I am adopting for my Xena blog, jettisoning Chateau.

The change is the result of one of my assignments as a participant in WordPress’ Blogging 101 program. Each day during the week participants receive a daily assignment to guide them through the various content and programmatic options available as wordpressers.

I ‘dropped out’ of Blogging 101 once before and I think it was a result of this very assignment. I had stumbled through setting up my blog a few years before and was fearful of making any changes to the look and feel of the page.  So this time, upon the advice of our blog tutors, I set up a dummy blog and used it to try on various Themes.  They suggested trying on no more than 10 (there are probably hundreds available) so that I wouldn’t get lost.  I made it to 6 and fritzed out.

I did learn a few things about myself and my interests … I am partial to a more text oriented display with only occasional images … I am also partial to a serif type face, but not too much serif … and I like simplicity in the layout without too many independent places for the eye to drop.

What am I not sure about … everything.

Notice this entire blog is not about content, but about style?

Any comments?

For the love of local newspapers —

I interpret the blogging 101 daily assignment for today as to write to my audience. I am not sure I have an audience, but just in case …

I want to thank the newspapers I read daily (well a couple of them don’t have daily editions) and which add so tremendously to my daily fix of knowing what is going on.

To be clear … I also read a lot of digital content … Daily Beast, Politico, The Guardian, The New York Times, the Washington Post, sometimes the Daliy KOS, and almost everything published by Mother Jones.  Most of those we subscribe to and we donate to Mother Jones.

It is to the local print newspapers that I dedicate this post.  Thank you for sitting

My cuppa and my paper
My cuppa and my paper

through the endless meetings of governing bodies, for tracking down sources who rarely go on the record and mostly say only the polite things, for getting those photos of the record breaking bass and turkeys  (is bass singular or plural ?), for working to put news stories in some context so that readers know how the report relates to earlier or future events, and for printing so many letters-to-the editor from absolute nutters.  To the publications which will do it, thank you for printing meeting announcements and endless weekly photos of speakers receiving their Rotary pens from the Prince George Rotary President in front of the Rotary banner and the bar full of wine and liquor bottles at Rosa’s Italian Restaurant.

I confess that I have a commitment to supporting my local press.  I subscribe to all.  I subscribe to all for delivery and for digital access.  I share their articles on Twitter, Facebook, and, yes, on WordPress.  So to you all … I thank you for the effort from reporting, to layout, to publishing, and  to slipping it in my paper box in this rural environment.  You enrich my life.

Now for the shout outs:  @RTDNEWS  @ProgressIndex  @HopewellNews  @PGJournal

Why am I blogging?

The ‘who am I?’

If one can believe it, I am an outgoing introvert.  Much of my life I have been a lawyer, so my role has been as a somewhat public figure,  experience successes, as well as make my mistakes in public, and be an advocate for my clients.  The public role has always been counterbalanced by the need for reflection, quiet, and mindful purposelessness.

A few years ago I stumbled into blogging because I wanted to know more about it and I wanted to see if I could demystify the technology surrounding it.

Initially, I used my primitive blogging mostly to learn more about the process of writing (blogging).  I learned how poor a writer I am, but I am working on that.

Later, blogging became more of a communication tool for me.  I am an active Rotarian and a very active Democrat so I used special purpose blogs to communicate with my respective organizations about issues and events.  Wordpress became an almost daily platform for me to meet those goals.  I still blog at  and at

My ‘personal’ blog is which I have titled as ‘Xena of Prince George — a laconic rural warrior princess writes’.  Clumsy, isn’t it?  There, I write on a variety of topics on an irregular basis, but without any real focus.  It is really aimless at this point.

Now, my professional life is almost at an end … taking down the shingle this month.  I will still be engaged publicly, but I want to write for the pleasure of writing.  I want to kick it up a notch so that I elevate the reward of a ‘well written sentence’ and an idea communicated.  Did I mention I want to have fun learning and doing it?

Public rather than Private?

Feedback is a great motivator for me and will help me continue on the learning journey. Sounds like fluffy nonsense, but I prefer a walk with a friend than a solitary stroll.  Each has its place, but human connection matters to me.

I am hoping that feedback will help me both technically and substantively.  I noticed that I use Chateau for all three of my blogs.  I do like how it is organized, but really, couldn’t I show a bit of adventure?  I am afraid of trying any markup language for embedding purposes?  Commas scare me.  Are sentence fragments ever OK? Is it OK to make up words?

So, public is the venue for me.

Vocabulary, What Words Are Important?

Fashions change in everything … popular book genres, clothing, jewelry, everything.  I stumbled across a list that leads me to believe that word fashions change too.  We all know each year new words are added to our common English language … bot, blog, LMAO (is is really a “word”?).  This article, though, was focused on everyday vocabulary, not memes (speaking of a new word) or acronyms, but the ‘100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know’.

Being much more than a high school graduate I decided to test myself.  Here I share 10 of the 100 words.  These 10 words either have confused me as to meaning or pronunciation. Let’s see what you think of them:

abjure, bowdlerize, churlish, evanescent, gamete, hegemony, hubris, moiety, quotidian, and ziggurat.

Greats words to discuss with friends over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

Does anyone agree?

Blogging 101–Changing Tag Line

Having already confessed that I am behind on my #blogging101 assignments, I am proud to announce that I have just changed the tag line on my main blog …last Monday’s assignment.

Working on the WordPress platform for the last couple of years has been a learn as I go process. The options available have been intimidating so I have made few changes in the look and feel of my blog until today.  I know one of the upcoming lessons encourages bloggers to try new things, try new themes.

Changing my tag line today impressed on me that I have committed to a reason for blogging other than to have a voice (can writing be a voice?) or an outlet about life.

Maybe through this process I will discover my purpose.


My Life Ate My Homework

My intentions were to be a sterling student in my #blogging101 class.  I did the preparatory steps on Sunday per the instructions and was all set to go for my first assignment on Monday.

Cold weather descended on central Virginia complete with dead car batteries, low tires, an unexpected near medical crisis with my granddaughter (all turned out well), a choir concert, and a travelling husband testing positive for flu and on bed rest in his business hotel room.

So, here I am attempting to catch up.  I know I will, I know I will, I know I will, I know …

I now begin my Monday (last) assignment.Carol's madmen avatar