Trying Out a New Blog Theme

Did you know there are 647 two-column Word Press blog themes? My blog service provider switched over to Word Press recently, so I thought I’d take a peek. I tried out 26 of them today.

There are themes with bleeding graphics, flashing graphics, and switching graphics. There are themes with colors that don’t exist in the natural world. There are themes with boxes around boxes and balloons around boxes around balloon animals that squawk when you click on them.

But wouldn’t know it, after narrowing down to twelve, then five, and finally a top three, I settled on the simplest theme . . . the one with the most white space and the ability to put my own picture in a custom header.

Do you like it?

What’s to Like About Rockford: Toad Hall, The Coolest Place You Didn’t Know About

Toad Hall Frontage

Toad Hall Frontage

Well you might have known about it, but I sure didn’t. Not until one of my students wrote about the place in a report for class, and all the time while I’m reading I’m thinking, “I need to go to to this store. How cool is this!” And so I did. And you know what?


Love the warm tone of a vinyl record album? They’ve got thousands, from Aerosmith to Mozart to ZZ Top.
Looking for a comic from childhood? Got ’em.
Books in general? Stacked to the ceiling.
Magazines? Those too.
Movie posters. Cassettes and 8 track tapes, 8mm movies, vintage toys, art . . .

Toad Hall Main Floor

Toad Hall Main Floor

And just when you think you’ve seen it all, you round the corner and there’s another nook filled to the brim, another stairwell that leads to another floor with overflowing shelves of Life magazine, TV Guide, true crime books, classical choral and orchestra recordings, Nancy Drew, and Little Golden Books. In this store, John Belushi lives next door to Betty Davis and Louis Armstrong. There is literally and musically, something for everyone.

Toad Hall Main Floor 2

Toad Hall Main Floor Record Bins

So much fun to browse. Plan on spending at least a couple hours. But let’s say you are an out of state friend, or even– out of the continent. That’s okay too, because even though Toad Hall sells a lot of “blast from the past” they are a techno savvy modern day company with an UBER COOL website you can check out here:

I went to take a couple pictures and completely lost track of time. I brought my oldest kid, who quickly found the pinball machine. Oh, and you never know who you might run into. Rick Nielsen, from Cheap Trick, likes the place too.

So where to go to find the gem that is Toad Hall? 2106 Broadway Rockford, IL 61104, Hours: Wed-Sun, 12pm-5pm. And, yes, I bought something while visiting for this blog post. Tales from the Crypt, Issues 11-15, Vol 3 Reprint. Couldn’t help myself.

Pictures (C) Karin Blaski 3/30/13

Friendship, it’s a powerful thing


Umm, yeah. Your eyes do not deceive you. It’s a picture of a pair of slugs hanging out on a leaf . . . inside a pickle jar that my daughter made into a terrarium.

They were captured separately, but they must have discovered they have a lot in common because they are now inseparable. There are other slugs in the jar, but these two, they just seem to click. My daughter says they’ve made a “love connection.”

I haven’t observed any slug lovin’ (not sure I’d recognize gastropod mollusk mating if I saw it), but they sure do like to spend time together. If one climbs up the side of the jar, the other soon joins him (her, it). When one chows on one side of a leaf, the other can be seen chowing on the other side.

Maybe I’m anthropomorphizing these poor slugs. I like to write about friendship, especially when it’s found in unusual places or between unusual participants. I like to read about friendship too. One of my absolute favorite books I read this year was The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater which shows the intense friendship between a boy and his man-eating horse (I know there’s more to the book, but that’s my favorite part). So maybe I’m projecting what I want to see.

What do you think?

img_2859blog.JPGPhotos 10/2/12 Karin Blaski