Another Rant, I Hate This New Block Writing at WP

Many years ago when I began blogging I started a Google blog. It was difficult. I went to WordPress and found it much easier to understand, although I had a lot to learn.

Now WP has given us the Guttenberg blocks to use whenever we write a post. I hate it. I have a simple site, without wanting to deal with plug-ins or css or whatever people with experience use to “fix up” their blogs. I’m not a technology wizard, I just want to blog – quickly and without problems.

Now I will go to add a “block” and will have to add the block on top of the block I just wrote because no little “+” will appear where I want it.

Sometimes I will highlight something to make a link and the linking ability will show up right there – at other times it appears all the way at the top of the page! ( Learned how to fix this: uncheck “top toolbar” – use dropdown to access in the top right corner)

Twice now I have tried to schedule a page to post later and boom… it goes live.. right then! Why? I couldn’t tell you. Sometimes the entire right hand side with page settings completely goes away. I can’t make it come back.

Sometimes the “featured image” block doesn’t work. On one of my blogs I can never see the Preview of the page. I get an “Oops, that page can’t be found”.
Adding photos means add descriptions to the right of the page, but it isn’t saved in the media area, so it has to be done twice to the same image, if I want to save it in my media. And so on….

I’ve been writing using the stupid thing for a while now and I still hate it.

I think it makes double the work, triple the aggravation, and makes writing my blogs a lot less fun these days. I was doing fine with the old WP. Now every time I blog I feel like I am in a class where there is no teacher and I have to fend for myself to figure out how to create a decent blog page. A lot of the time I am winging it.

I know I can go back to the old editor, but if I do, and have to make changes on the page, it seems to want me to convert to the new editor. It’s all awful. For people like me, who just want to share their hobbies or local happenings, blogging shouldn’t be a chore. Now it is.

Yuk. No thanks. Guess I don’t have a say.

Life Has Taught This: Always Be Ready For a Challenge

In life and gardening, we must be ready to face a challenge and persevere to overcome and move on.

I will not get into the series of unfortunate events that have been my life thus far, but I have learned to always be ready for a challenge. Challenging times come more regularly for some of us and I am currently under the impression that we are either born lucky, or unlucky.

The unlucky ones face adversity often in whatever form it takes. Non-quitters will face the challenge and do their best to overcome. We persevere until we get it right, or acknowledge that we simply don’t have what it takes to do so.

And move on.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 11.40.43 AM
Gardening is in my blood. Like so many people who simply enjoy digging in the dirt, planting and watching the miracle of plant growth happen, I can’t stay away.  Making a dull yard come to life with plantings is exciting.  It is also a lot of work and costs money.

My current yard is the biggest gardening challenge I have faced. This is one of the only places I have ever lived where I don’t want to go outside and see what is going on in my yard. This makes it hard to plan, and plant, and grow things.

I can picture a nice backyard in my mind. In involves a fence, pool, patio, potted citrus trees and other Florida native species enclosed in my little oasis. In my younger years I would have gladly taken on this challenge. It could have happened a little at a time. I’m not so sure these days.

peaceful tranquil sea view
Backyard Paradise

Trying to be positive in a bad situation means putting on blinders. Be blind to what I don’t like. Focus on what is good. Eat that elephant one bite at a time. Story of my life. The thing is that life runs out. Time runs out. Will I still be trying to get to where I want to be on my dying day?

No matter. The first bite I take will entail garden soil readiness. In March I can plant tomatoes, zucchini (in a fabric bag because of it’s size), beans, peppers and cucumbers. First I need more soil added to the raised bed, and for the fabric pots.

Being prepared for planting is necessary if I want to attempt to grow vegetables.  I’m not thinking about the vegetable stealing raccoons (except to write it here).  They will be a future challenge.

Once that first bite is swallowed, on to the second. This is a good way to face a challenge. Circumstances can seem too overwhelming to move forward unless changes happen a little at a time. Making progress is what keeps us going.

backyard garden scene
My Backyard Garden – 2014 (NH)

Gardeners always face challenges.  I’ve found that yard difficulties are easy to deal with than life difficulties but every problem can be faced the same way.  And it teaches patience.  One year I had a ton of beautiful tomatoes growing in my New Hampshire backyard.  Then blight struck.  I ended up with NONE!  After months of waiting and wondering what I would do with all those beautiful, fresh tomatoes, they rotted before they could be picked.

Often we have no choice but to go with the flow and make the best of it.  Learn from our mistakes and say, “Maybe next year”.   It is disheartening, but we get over it.  Dwelling is not a good thing.  It changes nothing and saps our energy for overcoming the next challenge.  And they keep coming…. stay strong.

(Thanks to the artists and photographers at Pixabay for the images on this post.)

Thanksgiving Approaches and Here’s Our Dinner Plan

The image above is not from my dinner table but it contains all the necessary items for a decent Thanksgiving meal, in my humble opinion.

My son smokes the turkey on the grill. He just bought his favorite Jack Daniels Wood Smoking Chips which are made from old oak barrels that once held whiskey. The turkey was delicious last year, so I am leaving it up to him. 

This will be our second year together for the holidays and the guest count total is three!  Yes, it’s a small gathering.  So the focus is on the food.

Our dinner planning has begun. Turkey, stuffing and gravy are a given.  It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them.  Also high on the list is mashed potatoes, Acorn squash and rolls.  I don’t eat much bread these days, so I will most likely skip adding the rolls to my plate.

Personally I can’t eat any of it without cranberry sauce as an accompaniment.   Last year I made my own cranberry sauce and I will do so again this year.  I added the recipe to this blog so I would remember how to do it.

cranberry sauce
Boiling the cranberries

Another new thing I did last year was to make my own broth. I used the turkey innards / gizzards or whatever all that extra stuff is called that is packed inside a big frozen bird. The broth is used in place of water in gravy and stuffing. And boy does it make a difference in flavor! Any leftover would make an excellent soup stock too.

turkey stock broth
Making Stock

Many people already know to do all of this, but I didn’t grow up with a mother who was a good cook. Most of my life I had to make most of the Thanksgiving meal myself, for my husband and kids. We never had much family around. After all the cooking, serving and eating, I had the clean up.

Thanksgiving meals of old, back when I was growing up and tables had to be pushed together to seat all fo us, the menu was larger. Aunts and grandmothers slaved for days to bring their homemade specialties to the table. Boiled onions, turnips, carrots, homemade breads, and many pies and desserts we included. My grandmother made cookies called monkey faces. There were so many before-dinner appetizers I had to be careful not to fill up.

Our simple menu will also include apple pie which I will make.

I need to find some recipes for after Thanksgiving. Usually sandwiches and soup use up the leftovers nicely. This year we have a new refrigerator which means plenty of room for keeping the carcass until I can use it to make soup stock the next day.

Have a wonderful holiday!

One Year Since the Big Move

My daughter gave me a calendar for last Christmas.  She had gone through and written some things on each of the months and in June she wrote, “One year since you moved”.  At first, it doesn’t seem like a year has gone by since we packed up the Penske truck and took the 3-day (hellish) drive from New Hampshire to Florida.  But if I give it more thought, I can see all that I did within that year, and yes, it is believable.  In fact, I did pack a lot into the past 12 months.

pampas grass
Pampas Grass grew in my northern yard, but it died over one extremely cold winter.

I had hoped to find a house to buy with a good size yard and plenty of place for gardens.  But money, or lack of it, always seems to give so few options in reality.  Florida is no longer the super cheap place to live that it used to be.  Without money, you don’t have many options, and you have to end up settling for the best you can do.

One thing I am very grateful for is that I don’t have to move in the near future.  Hopefully I will never have to move again, but I know better than to plan on that.  At least the house is in good shape.  Aside from replacing the AC unit, there isn’t much to do until the fridge stops working, or something like that.  No major repairs needed (fingers crossed).

In Florida, summer is like my winter was in the North.  Winter was a time to rest (except for shoveling snow and lugging wood for the wood stove).  There was no yard work to be done (unless you count snowplowing the driveway).  And most winters it was manageable. (2015 was a bad one.)  It’s too cold to do much outdoors, and I simply sat at my desk and worked day after day.  I was much busier in summer with my gardens and yard work.

street sweeper
Street Sweeper in May

Summer in Florida is the time to stay inside.  It is NOT the time to garden, unless you want heat-stroke.  Believe it or not, it can even be too hot to go to the beach!  I’d love to have a pool, but since I don’t, I stay inside and sit at my desk and work day after day.  Now, I look forward to Fall, the way I used to look forward to Spring.  That is when I can get back outside and do some gardening / yard work.

Hydrangeas are beginning to bloom in the north.  Next month all my hydrangeas at my old house (none of it is mine any more, but I like to pretend it is) will be blooming.  One day I will go back and take a ride (or walk) past my previous home, just to look at how much the plants have grown.  They were my babies.  I planted them, and wish I could have stuck around to see them grow year after year.  Wishes mean nothing.

Robin in birdbath
An Evening Ritual, Robins Bathing

If I ever have hydrangeas here, they will have to be in pots.  No hydrangeas can possibly withstand the heat of these summers.  They would be wilted all the time.  I’m sticking with citrus trees and tropical plants.  The vegetable garden is still in it’s experimental stage, with netting over it to block the raccoons’ escapades.

So in a year I have done a lot.  (All photos are mine, and were taken while I lived in New Hampshire.)

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