Today we’re asked to regroup and check out other’s post via our earlier Prompt assignment: read at least six posts that used the same prompt and leave comments on at least two of them.

The first one I pulled up was Evil Queens and Coffee Beans. I must say, I laughed aloud when I read it. It was ever so brief yet elegantly stated. It is, in it’s entirety, reprinted below:

growing up i worshipped at Madonna’s altar.

still do.

Love it! In tit-for-tat measure, I responded accordingly:

Short, sweet and to the point. Succinctly defined. I like it.

Another post, Musings & Rants, lists no less than six of her teen idols, two of which are no longer with us (I admit to having glanced too quickly at her list and looked again to see if another of mine, Davy Jones, was included. He was not and that alone made me sad to consider how these objects of teenage angst -ack! I’m getting older! – are no longer living). One who did make her list was David Cassidy. Ah yes. I remember crushing on him back in the day. And while not (yet) dead, life got a little ugly for our little Partridge Family lead singer. A quick Google search revealed an ugly mugshot for a fairly recent DWI arrest. Sigh. Still, he did make my pulse race when I was just fourteen.

Assignment: Blogging 101: Increase Your Commenting Confidence

Per yesterday’s assignment (posting this a day late!), we’re asked to include a head’s up on our home page to inform our readers of the blogs we like and Follow. To that end, I’ve already added the Blogs I Follow widget (titled as Blogs I Like) and I’ve posted via an earlier Blogging 101 assignment some shout-outs to bloggers and blogs that I enjoy.

As an aside, please check out my new widget: Ye olde Ping-o-Meter!

Assignment: Blogging 101: Build a Better Blogroll

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Dark Shadows was must-see summer TV when I was in middle school. It was a daytime soap opera of gothic proportions and was groundbreaking in a way, set in the spooky Collinwood Mansion, home to any number of ghosts, vampires, witches and werewolves. Many a time, too scared to watch but spellbound nonetheless, we girls would position ourselves to the side of the television cabinetry and sneak a peak (but with our eyes covered).

Most girls (and, I suspect, many women) crushed on the star of the show, Jonathan Frid, who played sexy vampire Barnabas Collins. However, I was smitten by Quentin Collins, played by David Selby. I laugh now to recall the massive sideburns he wore but, still, he was undeniably attractive. I used to fantasize that perhaps the producers and actors might be driving past our house along Highway 69 (it was, after all, as my parents told us once, a major highway that cut across several states in the Midwest) and that their car would breakdown. After knocking on our door for some roadside assistance, the producer would steal a glance my way and proclaim ‘Hey, sweetheart. You’d be perfect for Dark Shadows. Whataya say?’ Yeah, silly. I know. But such was the stuff of my teenage hormone-driven imagination.

My dad surprised me once – funny how some things are just etched in your memory – as I sat on the kitchen counter drying dishes and putting them away in the cupboard. Dad wasn’t much for chit chat. I recall very few conversations with him growing up which is probably why I remember, so vividly, him asking me if I was in love. Was he able to read my mind? Did he know that I thought constantly about David Selby or that I scribbled his name on paper? Had my father seen the hearts I’d drawn with my initials intertwined with those of the one that I daydreamed about? I was embarrassed and somehow ashamed, guilty that I’d been found out. Of course, I denied the allegation but always wondered how he’d known.

It occurs to me, just now, that this would have been a delightful topic to have asked Dad about before we lost him to cancer a few years ago. How I wonder if he would have remembered the day he once asked me, his eldest daughter, if I was in love!

Assignment: Make a Prompt Personal
Prompt: Teen Idol

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Our final task this week is to add some dash and pow and pizazz to our sidebars. While I prefer to avoid anything overly busy, gauche or loud, I have added some tweaks to my home page these past few days:

  • Retitled each section (or widget) in the sidebar
  • Added an image widget using a whimsical photo to indicate the end of the sidebar menu
  • Inserted the ‘blogs I follow’ widget in grid display

Assignment: Blogging 101: Spruce Up Your Sidebar

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For today’s assignment, we were encouraged to post a comment on at least four blogs we’ve never commented on before. I’m going to cut corners, however, and focus on just three. Discovering new blogs and bloggers is something I look forward to: finding amazing new writing and incredible photography is something I greatly enjoy and has the potential of introducing one to wonderful new friends. Our Readers open many new doors!

On The Wild Pomegranate, Grace wrote of her struggles as a single mother and her desire to live the lifestyle of her more affluent friends and provide the same kind of things and activities for her children that other ‘stay-at-home’ mothers, in my opinion, sometimes take for granted. Much of what she wrote resonated with me because I was a single mom, struggling to make ends meet, until my son started college. I yearned to live as many of my friends did: the clothes, the shoes, going out and having fun. But doing these things created more problems than they were worth. I was in debt much of the time and worried constantly how I was going to make it all work out. Her post reminded me of that time of my life and I very much understood the angst that propelled her writing.

I was all smiles reading a post on Midwestern Kitchen. Julie works in a nursing home and while taking down the Christmas decorations, she decided to leave one of the trees in place and covered it in red lights and ribbon. As the residents came in for breakfast that morning, she dimmed the lights and played romantic music in the background. She promised the residents more to come as Valentines Day approaches. What a thoughtful, lovely gesture!

Some really great food photography tips can be found on a blog that streamed across my Reader feed called The Pinay Va. Food isn’t something I normally think to photograph (other than to capture meals on some of our vacations!) but the ideas and tips are sure to stoke my creative ‘juices’. I tried making ciabatta bread a few years ago (it turned out great!) and I took photos of the process from start to finish. The pictures weren’t too bad but I’m anxious to give it another try, armed with April’s fantastic recommendations.

Assignment: Blogging 101: Be a Good Neighbor

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Today’s assignment actually answered one of the customization questions I’ve been puzzling over as of late.

Background: I purchased the Promenade theme several months ago and was happy with the look. The top of my home page displayed a banner with a selected photo squarely in the middle. Two weeks ago, my blog started to display with the photo blown up to huge proportions. No more banner — it was all photo. So much photo, in fact, that you had to scroll down to get to the content of my home page: the posts, sidebar menu items, etc.

One of my blogging buddies suggested I navigate to the Appearance / Header menu item in my Dashboard but no such animal existed. Turns out, as I learned via the information in this assignment, only certain themes support making modifications to the header. Apparently, Promenade is not one of those themes.

I did post a question to the WordPress forum regarding the change in size of my header photo and was told that the developers had recently made a change to the theme. Aha! I knew something must have happened since I had made no customization changes whatsoever. Now, however, I’m told to just use a thumbnail size of the photo I wish to use.

Can someone explain how I go about doing this? I know how to insert a thumbnail (or other) size photo into a post since the interface clearly gives you the option to do so. But to take an existing photo and change to thumbnail or any other size? Not a clue. Fellow Bloggers: Can someone help me out here? Disclaimer: I did insert a smaller-dimensioned photo into my header, for the time being, that was already in my Media library but it isn’t the one I want to use and besides, knowing how to convert to larger (or smaller) sized photos might be useful later on.

Oh!  And I also added an Image widget toward the bottom of the home page.  All kinds of fun stuff going on here!

Keep on bloggin’ everyone!

Assignment: Blogging 101: Keep Personalizing