Monday, April 30, 2012

Two blogs are better than one

I started my blogging "career" here on Blogger. I enjoyed it, but the Blogger framework had only limited customization. So, I moved to It was much more customizable, and I fell into a nice relationship with that I maintained for quite some time. Then, I decided I wanted to host my blog myself. I opened up a hosting account with Dreamhost and purchased the domain "". I have hosted my blog there ever since, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

I took a break from blogging - a two year break. Facebook and Twitter took precedence. Microblogging was all the rage. It seemed as though we no longer had time to read full-blown blogs. We were too busy following our grandchildren, far-flung relatives, and high school classmates on Facebook and Twitter, and playing Farmville, to spend time perusing blogs. I stopped blogging and spent time Facebooking and tweeting. And yes, I did succumb to Farmville's allure for quite some time.

Times change. I no longer play Farmville. I deleted my farm, which was replete with European-themed buildings - I had the Eiffel Tower, L'Ecole Militaire, French chateaus, Italian villas and sidewalk cafes, an English castle, the Swiss Alps and Bavarian villages - and U.S. regionally-themed sections, with Cape Cod beaches, lighthouses, and homes, southwestern adobes with bobcats and cacti, and west coast surf scenes. I had lost interest in, and no longer had time to play, the game.

I don't Tweet much, nor do I read the tweets of the people I follow. No time. I do update my Facebook status regularly, and post photos, mostly because it is so easy to do from my smartphone. I try to keep up with the status updates of all my family members, most of my high school classmates, and a few local friends and coworkers, but my hectic schedule makes that challenging at times. While I crave the social interaction that Facebook provides, my time is so limited I miss many important updates from those I care about. I need to find a way to slow down my life. And while Facebook is terrific, it doesn't really provide one a venue for extended musings, the way blogging does. 

So, I decided to revive my blog. I'm probably crazy to do so. If I barely have time to Facebook or Tweet, how on earth will I find time to blog anything other than idiotic drivel? I have no idea. But I'm going to give it a go. Now, the question is, do I completely abandon this blog, or do I feed my posts from my domain to this blog? Or do I do something completely different here? That is a question I have yet to answer. For the time being, I am going to feed the posts from to this blog, and ponder the direction in which I will go. I don't want to give this blog up because I have some cool stuff posted here, and I really am a pack rat at heart. So, onward, to see what the future holds....

Monday, April 09, 2007

Moving day, or "Where to find my blog now"

Okay, kids. I'm moving. Yes, I know, I know.... you're going to whine about how we'll have to make new friends, get used to a new home, figure out how to arrange the cupboards, learn our way around, all the usual complaints when one moves. I like to look at all that as an adventure, a fresh start, and a chance to throw out some stuff I never use, sort of like doing a major spring cleaning. I really like the new home. I like the layout of the house, the new wallpaper, the fresh clean look and feel. I love the landscaping at the new place. It's very easy to care for, and making changes is super simple. So, please come visit. I'll have a housewarming really soon. In the meantime, update your address books with my new address, okay? I really don't want to lose touch with anyone!

It's still eclecticdefined, but it's at instead of (if you want to enter it manually, it's

By the way, there are some really nice homes in the neighborhood and the prices are great! You can even select your floor plan, colors, cabinets, etc. Maybe you need to move too! I've added a feed to the sidebar on the left that will show the three most recent posts to that blog. I'm trying to make it as easy as possible for you all to get to my new digs.

Charlie posted

Hey guys, for those of you how don't have an RSS feed for Charlie's blogs, he has posted two things on his "Thanks for all the Fish" blog. Check it out.

Friday, April 06, 2007

WordPress Blog

For a variety of reasons, I decided to check out WordPress. It's another blogging site. Since I have not decided to move completely to WordPress, I am running both blogs simultaneously. It's easy to import all your lovely posts from Blogger into WordPress, though you can't import your template and various customizations. If you're a CSS whiz, it's a piece of cake I suspect. For those of us who are somewhat challenged in this area, it's not that easy. But they do have some nice templates from which one can select. WordPress has some advantages over Blogger, and some disadvantages. If you're interested, check it out. It's still a work in progress. I have yet to figure out all the cool things I can do. For an idea of what all you can do, click the link in my blogroll on the left here to Emoglasses. That's my son's freshman roommate's blog. He's been on WordPress for a long time now and has all sorts of nifty widgets and whatnot in his sidebar.

Oh yeah, if you put your cursor over any of the links in my sidebar on the new blog, this cool add-in shows you a thumbnail of the site. Pretty neat.

What is that strange, bright thing in the sky?

Oh, I know! It's Helios in his chariot. Duh!

Seriously, it's supposed to be pretty nice today - partly cloudy, highs in the mid-60's. I can live with that. Oldest Son and his family are staying at The Daughter's house. They're all going up skiing today. Should be perfect up there.

The Daughter-in-law really wants to move to town. I guess she's tired of living in the city, and since everything they love to do is here - jet ski, ski, go to the beach, visit family - it makes sense to LIVE here. They both sell property and casualty insurance, so can pretty much work from anywhere in the area - Spokane, Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls, or Sandpoint - so that won't be an issue. What is an issue to Oldest Son and Granddaughter 1, is basketball. Granddaughter 1 is an avid (even rabid) basketball player. She has been playing since she was 7 or 8. She's now nearly 13. She plays AAU basketball year round. She is now playing junior high basketball as well. The level of competition here, well, in all of North Idaho, leaves a lot to be desired. Our high school girl's basketball team finished 2 and 20 last year. Oldest Son finds that problematic. But the reality is, Granddaughter 1 will probably not play basketball much beyond 9th grade in Spokane unless she gets dramatically better, and grows about 5 inches. Moving here is a quality of life decision. Basketball should not be the deal breaker or maker. Daughter-in-law is frustrated. They have a 4 year-old too. The decision has to be what's best for all of them, not just GD1.

At the mere mention of moving here, GD1 gets emotional. Last night, she went crying from the room. I found her and told her, "don't cry about it now. It's all just talk so far. When they start packing up your bedroom, then you can cry." She laughed. I harassed her for not being thrilled that she could come visit me every single day if she wanted to if they lived here. She laughed a little at that.

I know what she's feeling. We moved constantly when I was a kid - a new school and town every year from 1st grade through 6th grade. I'm convinced my dad was/is ADD. He'd get bored with his job, and we'd move. When I was a freshman in high school, he announced we were going to move from Santa Maria, CA to Williams, CA. At first I cried. Then I got used to the idea and kind of got excited (I'm one of those silver lining kind of people). Williams would be in the mountains with trees, snow, and cool stuff like that (I was a kid who'd never even seen snow falling from the sky). It never panned out, and I was actually disappointed. The next year my parents divorced. I wondered for a long time if things would have been different had we moved to Williams.

I think moving here would be really good for Oldest Son's family for a lot of reasons. They really could stand to spend more time with the family and get out of the city and all its distractions. They could really stand to play a lot less basketball. But those are decisions they'll have to make. This isn't the first time they've looked into moving here. It probably won't happen. I'm not getting my hopes up, and I'll encourage GD1 not to worry - yet.

Now I have to go make my bed. Lorraine made me feel guilty.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I have a new cat

Well, not really, but it seems like it. You see, with this whole pet food scare, I started doing a little research. Fortunately, none of the food I've been feeding my cat are part of the recall - yet. But as I've mentioned before, my cat pretty much eats her food, and almost immediately pukes it up, undigested. How it is that she's such a porker - about 12-14 pounds I suspect - given how much food comes OUT of her, is beyond me. I've tried expensive "all natural" foods that vow to cure your cat of everything you could imagine - and she still pukes. When dry food was added to the recall, I decided to consider making our own cat food. I found a site called with instructions for doing just that. But more importantly, there was a link to an article that was published in the Journal of Veterinary Medicine, about what cats should be eating, versus what we all feed them. It was as though someone had switched on a light bulb. Duh! What does a cat do when it's left to its own devices? It catches mice, birds, rabbits (yes, I had cats that brought down rabbits), basically rodents of every imaginable variety, fish, and eats them, puking up the parts that don't digest, like feathers, fur, some bones, and so on. Cats are obligate carnivores - or true carnivores. They don't eat corn, wheat, rice, carrots, apples, stuff like that. Yet, we feed them cereal based food. About the only non-meat item cats eat is grass. A cat needs 5 times as much protein as a dog! And their systems are not designed to handle a lot of carbohydrates very well. That's why all our cats fed kibble get fat - they don't know what to do with all that cereal, so it's stored as fat. It's also why they develop kidney, thyroid, and pancreatic problems. It really makes so much sense. A dog will eat pretty much anything, even in the wild. Cats eat critters, and little else.

No way was I going to put in the time to make this raw food. As The Daughter pointed out, I can barely make meals for The Spouse and myself (not for lack of skill, simply lack of time), let alone the cat. She made this comment in a room filled with the Oldest Son, three grandkids, The Spouse, the Son-in-Law, and me, and it was followed by much laughter, especially by the oldest granddaughter. But the concept of what the cat should be eating, as opposed to what she has been eating, made total sense to me. So, when I went to the store, I sought out cat food that was composed of meat and good fats, not cereal. I discovered that all the Fancy Feast canned food contains wheat gluten - the culprit in this catastrophe - with the exception of the fish meals. They contain no cereals. The worst thing I could see on the labels was guar gum, and since I know that's just a thickener, and it was way down on the list, I wasn't too worried. I bought several flavors of the fish meals - fish and shrimp, trout, salmon, etc. That night, I removed her dry food and gave her half a can of the Fancy Feast. She devoured it - and no puking. The next morning, she got another half a can. Now, these are the small cans, so she's not getting a lot of food. I half expected her to down the portion I gave her and come begging for more, but that was not the case. For the past four days, she's had only the canned food,with a few little dry treats thrown in to help keep her teeth in shape. Since I'm not making the raw food, she's not getting bones to keep her teeth clean and strong, so I will be giving her some tartar control treats every couple of days. For the past four days she has not puked once. And she is suddenly frisky and active and silly. She is like a kitten again. I am amazed. She wakes me up at 4 AM, which is not all that cool, but she does it by patting my face with her paw over and over, like she wants to play. She is a new cat. I am so amazed what this food change has done, but it makes so much sense. Maybe, when the days are longer, I will undertake making the raw food, because ideally, cats need RAW meat, not cooked meat. But for now, I am relying on Fancy Feast.

Italy - I want to go there!

I talked to YS via IM this morning. He is loving Italy. He is in the Lake Como area right now, specifically today he was in Bellagio (I thought that was a casino in Las Vegas). He said that no picture he could take could show how amazingly beautiful it is there. This is from a kid who's been to the Lake Louise and Banff in the amazing Canadian Rockies, to Yellowstone, to Scotland and the Isle of Skye, and who has been in France for the past two months. He said The Spouse and I have to go to Como. I asked him if his dad would be bored there. He said "you guys like small towns with nothing to do, right? LOL." He reiterated that it is awesomely beautiful. He spent two days in Florence before arriving in Como, and loved it. Unfortunately, they didn't have a lot of time, so he didn't get to go inside the Duomo!!! He didn't climb the 436 steps to the top of the dome - Brunelleschi's famously beautiful dome. How sad. From what I've seen of Italy in travelogues, you need at least 3 days in Florence to see the major sights. He did see Michelangelo's David and went to the Uffizi Gallery, though his lack of art history classes meant he didn't recognize most of the artists. I, on the other hand, am an avid fan of Italian Renaissance art, and seeing a real live Giotto or Caravaggio in person would make me cry. He did appreciate the artwork, though he wasn't familiar with the artists.

I am watching a DVD called Visions of Italy and it is breathtaking. It is shot from a helicopter, and the two DVDs cover all of Italy. I am watching the part on Rome right now. I have to go there. I watched the part on Northern Italy earlier, and it showed the Lake Como area, specifically Bellagio. It really is breathtakingly beautiful. I have decided that I want to spend the rest of my life traveling around Europe. I'll be taking donations on my special website so you can all contribute to this worthy cause. Sigh.

Now, back to reality. It's sunny today, and I think it's supposed to be near 70. I will go for a nice walk at lunch. For now, it's tme to hit the showers. Ciao, mi amici!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Was this the intent?

I admit it. I watch the train wreck that is American Idol. I usually zip through the show (thank you, TiVo) and stop to hear the songs and the judges' comments. Paula's are completely worthless. Randy's are somewhat meaningful, but now and then... Only Simon's have any real value, in my opinion. He is honest, albeit brutally so at times, but he doesn't sweet talk the contestants like Paula does, and he doesn't gloss over their flaws. He calls it as he sees it. Anyway, I digress. This season is kind of weird, Sanjaya insanity aside. For those of you who don't watch the show and have no clue who Sanjaya is, he is this year's contestant who has no business being this far along in the competition. There is one every year. Unfortunately, it's gotten out of control this year, and I'm afraid Sanjaya will be in the competition way, way too long.

Anyway, there are two kinds of contestants this year. There are true amateurs - kids who have only sung in church or in a school musical or choir, and then there are the pros. One of the contestants, who consistently outshines all the others both in vocal and performance quality, has been a backup singer for Michael McDonald, Anointed, Mandisa, Aaron Neville, Jonny Lang, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Alabama (band) and CeCe Winans. Given that résumé, shouldn't she be an amazing vocalist and know how to perform? And she's not the only pro in this year's contest. So, is it fair to the others? And does this change what American Idol was supposed to be all about? I think so. One thing I used to like about the show was watching the kids go from being really good singers, albeit a little geeky and awkward, to really amazing performers. This season, that has been the case with only two contestants - Jordin Sparks, a 17 year-old who sings like nobody's business, and LaKisha Jones, a single mom who has undergone an amazing physical transformation along the lines of Clay Aiken's, though her singing has always been incredible. The rest of the contestants are virtually unchanged from when the contest started, both as far as singing ability and appearance are concerned. They are either good or not, and that hasn't changed. One contestant I really like is Blake Lewis. This kid is going places, no matter where he finishes in the contest. He is unique, talented, cute, and can dance. Oh, and he's from the Pacific Northwest. So is Sanjaya, but let's not mention him, okay?

So, is it fair to let "pros" compete? Does it change the original intent of the show? It makes me hope the amateurs win.