Thank you for your patience as I work through my dilemma of running out of space for photographs in the Media Library for this blog.

I’ve decided that the quickest and easiest thing for me to do is to create a new WordPress blog.

My new blog can be found at http://rosemarywashingtonblog.wordpress.com.  I am calling it “Chapter Two,” and you can find the first post here.

 

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I am facing a dilemma.  For the past eight years I’ve been using a free WordPress blogging platform, and I have written about 2,400 posts.  Each post included at least one visual component — photos I’ve taken of my artwork, my surroundings, and food I’ve prepared.  Most often I included several photos in a post.  And now I have reached WordPress’s media library storage limit.  I can no longer upload photos to this blog unless I pay for extra storage.

I ran out of image storage space at the tail of of April’s Daily Doodles blog posts.  In order to finish out the month, I deleted some old photos from my WordPress media library.  This resulted in those photos disappearing from my archived blog posts.  And it was not even a one-to-one correspondence.  In order to upload just one new photo, I had to delete about twenty old photos.  I’ve decided that even though nobody will miss the old photos, I do not want to create holes in my old, archived blog posts.

I don’t want to pay WordPress a monthly fee for “premium” storage.  My blog is not a for-profit endeavor, and even though the fee is nominal, I don’t want extra expenses right now.  I know that I have no reason to expect WordPress or any other provider to give me an outlet for free.  But if I had to pay to blog, I probably wouldn’t do it.  I do appreciate WordPress immensely, and I’m grateful to have my blog with them.

So I am contemplating what I should do.

One option would be for me to quitting blogging entirely — I certainly have enough to keep me busy and engaged and creative without writing blog posts.  But I do appreciate having a blog platform for several reasons:

  • It’s a great way to share what’s going on in my life with my far-flung siblings and friends and acquaintances.  I have no interest in being on Facebook, and my blog is one way people can check in with me if they care to.  I have siblings in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon, Colorado, and Israel.  We’ve all pretty much stopped corresponding with letters or even email.
  • I’ve made a few lovely friends as a result of my blog.
  • I’ve come to LOVE the blog as a useful tool for keeping my photos and trip notes and recipes and art explorations organized.  The “search” box on my blog works as an indexing tool.  For example, if I want to find a recipe that uses rhubarb, I can type “rhubarb” in my search box and then scroll through my posts about recipes I’ve made in the past.  If someone asks me about a place I’ve been, like my favorite Ebey’s Landing hike, I can search for old posts and email him or her the link.  If I want to paint an iris, I can search through my photos of irises in my old blog posts.  This is VERY handy!
  • I want to continue to document certain things in my life: my art work — individual paintings/drawings and multi-day projects; my travel journals; favorite books, foods and daily experiences.  My blog has become a documentary of my life.  I haven’t finished some of the projects I’ve started, like Armchair America (travel through books) and book covers of favorite books.
  • It’s a good thing to have a reason to think about even one good, beautiful, interesting thing that happens in my day and that I think might be worthy of noting (and sharing).  My blog is a record of what I pay attention to and reflect upon.

One solution would be for me to resize all of my photos for posting to a lower resolution.  This probably wouldn’t be a noticeable decrease in quality to viewers.  But that would mean researching and learning about image optimization, putting all of my photos through this type of editing app before uploading to the blog.   I hate this kind of technical detail, and I simply don’t want to devote time to figuring this out and then keeping it up on an ongoing basis.

Another solution might be to end this blog and start a new one.

Once I figure out what to do, I’ll let you know.  I am so grateful that you’ve taken time to follow and/or read my posts.  I appreciate your interest and attention.

 

“In a virtual world becoming even more paperless, the sound of pencil on paper is a vanishing sensual delight.”
— William Least Heat-Moon, Writing Blue Highways: The Story of How a Book Happened 

Taking notes by hand

Taking notes by hand

Hand-painted letter

Hand-painted letter

One of the things about being old is that we have lived through the extinction and obsolescence of so many things.  I took a few moments to jot down some of those things that I grew up with that are no longer part of my landscape:

  • the ticking of clocks
  • winding watches
  • the smell of mimeographed paper (and purple ink)
  • rotary phones
  • card catalogues in libraries
  • film cameras
  • the slam and ding of typewriter carriages
  • the dying dot when we turn our television off

And here are a few more that are on the endangered list:

  • tying shoelaces
  • legible signatures
  • cursive writing
  • balancing checkbooks
  • writing checks
  • public telephone booths
  • button boxes, needles and thread, mending
  • hand-written letters
  • clothes lines, clothes pins, and line-dried laundry

I’m happy with many of the advances in technology and medicine, but I am not always pleased when a well-working technology is upgraded against my wishes.  The incremental improvements are often not things I need nor want, and I have to spend time figuring out how to accomplish favorite tasks with new keystrokes and procedures — and they are almost never intuitive to me.  I can empathize with Calvin Trillin when he wrote that the most dreaded word in the English language for him is “upgrade.”

One of the big challenges for my future will be keeping up with the accelerated pace of technological changes.  I worry about the proportionate increases in screen time everyone is experiencing, especially young children.  I still get such joy from physical work and playing with my hands — cooking, writing, painting, housecleaning, holding books I’m reading . . .  The passive pleasures delivered through screens seem shallow and less soulful.

David Sax, in Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, writes optimistically about a return to things analog.  He says, “Surrounded by digital, we now crave experiences that are more tactile and human-centric.  We want to interact with goods and services with all our senses, and many are willing to pay a premium to do so, even if it is more cumbersome and costly than its digital equivalent.”  And, “. . . if you want vibe, warmth, soulfulness, things like that, you will always be drawn back to analog.”

Yes, we can build an artful, well-lived life through our conscious choices.  But we are often bucking the tide.  Sax quotes Nicholas Carr in The Glass Cage: “We assume that anyone who rejects a new tool in favor of an older one is guilty of nostalgia, of making choices sentimentally rather than rationally. . . . But the real sentimental fallacy is the assumption that the new thing is always better suited for our purposes and intentions than the old thing.  That’s the view of a child, naive and pliable.  What makes one tool superior to another has nothing to do with how new it is.  What matters is how it enlarges us or diminishes us, how it shapes our experience of nature and culture and one another.”

 

 

Withered leaves

Withered leaves

“Though leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun,
Now may I wither into the truth.” — William Butler Yeats

This poem was the doorway into a lovely article about living old age that I read yesterday morning online at “On Being.”  I hope you take a moment to read it, too.

Pacific coast

Pacific coast

“Men go forth to wonder at the heights of mountains,
the huge waves of the sea,
the broad flow of the rivers,
the vast compass of the ocean,
the courses of the stars,
and they pass by themselves without wondering.”
— Saint Augustine

What are we passing by?

Finding the Right Words

February 22, 2017

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“Little by little, the desire for all things
which perhaps is not desire at all
but undying love which perhaps
is not love at all but gratitude
for the being of all things which
perhaps is not gratitude at all
but the maker’s joy in what is made,
the joy in which we come to rest.”
— Wendell Berry, “XII” from Sabbaths 2007

Sweethearts candies for Valentine's Day

Sweethearts candies for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day card

Valentine’s Day card

I like the following paragraph about love, which reminds us that Love is a sacred responsibility, a sacred trust.  It seems appropriate to reflect on the duties of loving well on this Valentine’s Day 2017 because given today’s political climate, we feel called upon to fight fiercely to protect what we love and value.

“It isn’t enough to love a child and wish her well.  It isn’t enough to open my heart to a bird-graced morning.  Can I claim to love a morning, if I don’t protect what creates its beauty?  Can I claim to love a child, if I don’t use all the power of my beating heart to preserve a world that nourishes children’s joy?  Loving is not a kind of la-de-da.  Loving is a sacred trust.  To love is to affirm the absolute worth of what you love and to pledge your life to its thriving — to protect it fiercely and faithfully, for all time.”
— Kathleen Dean Moore, “The Call to Forgiveness at the End of the Day,”  from A Sense of Wonder:  The World’s Best Writers on the Sacred, the Profane, & the Ordinary, ed. Brian Doyle

Happy Valentine’s Day!