Moving the blog from Typepad to WordPress

In September of 2015 Duke and I were preparing to leave on a 9 week adventure in Peru and Ecuador. As I was preparing to start blogging again I discovered that Typepad doesn’t really support blogging from an iPhone or iPad anymore. So I left Typepad and moved to WordPress. The old blog address was

All my post before September of 2015 have been exported from Typepad and imported into WordPress.

Blogging Again After a Two Month Break and A New Blog on the Blog Roll

It has been more than two months since my last post, perhaps the longest I have gone without posting since I started blogging back in September of 2004. One of the truths about blogging and for that matter about many things in life is that there is nothing wrong with taking a break for a while and then starting up again.

I've added my nephew's blog to my blog roll on the right. Steven is currently studying at Oxford. I am very proud of him. His blog does a marvelous job of conveying what an amazing experience he is having.  I am a bit of an anglophile and I love learning all about what it is like to actually attend university at Oxford. His golfing tales are pretty cool too.


Steven with my Dad


Should my Genealogy Postings be a Separate Blog?

I'm torn! I'm trying to decide whether to start a new genealogy blog or whether to start publishing genealogy content along with everything else here on this blog. On one hand it makes sense to start a new blog because family history and genealogy are very interesting to me but to most people they are pretty boring. On the other hand readers can skip the genealogy content if they are not interested and there is something to be said for keeping all my content in one place. It is also possible to select a tag like Hiking or Reno or Genealogy from the list at the right and get the content you want.

As I say in my tag line I am a renaissance woman or what Barbara Sher calls a scanner. I have a wide variety of interests and enjoy moving from one interest to another. My blog has always reflected that diversity of interests.  It means that I can't market my blog as being about one topic but it also means the blog reflects me.

Here is a list of some of the Genealogy content I want to post.

  1. The more detailed story for each of my Grandparents.
  • Marion Etta Bagnall Gibson – Born in Prince Edward Island, married in Vancouver British Columbia, Lived in Jasper, Alberta, emigrated to the U.S. after the death of my Grandfather. She started and ran a sanitarium in Spokane, Washington.
  • Robert Alexander Gibson – Born in Kilmaurs, Ontario, Canada, died in Jasper, Alberta, Canada. Worked as an Engineer on the Canadian National Railroad.
  • Mary Ruth Erb Robinson – Born in Boone, Iowa. Homesteaded with her family in Dunn County, North Dakota. Married, lived for more than 50 years, and died in Bismarck, North Dakota.
  • Ray Robinson Born on a farm near Viroqua Wisconsin. Homesteaded with his family in Dunn County, North Dakota. Served in the Army during World War I. Worked for the North Dakota Highway department for 45 years eventually as Chief Maintenance Engineer.

    2. Stories of some of my research and the brick walls I am running up against

    3. Stories of some of my exciting moments of discovery

    4. Descriptions of some of the tools I use. Like this post.

    5. Stories of other ancestors

    6. Questions that I would like answered.

One of the advantages of blogging about this kind of stuff is that when people Google search a name they are researching they will be led to my blog and I may find 'lost' relatives.

Blogging about a question like whether to start a separate genealogy blog turns out to be a good way to work out what I want to do. After composing this post I am leaning towards leaving all my content in one place.

I'd be interested in input about this question from anyone reading this. Thanks!


Ronni Bennett – Creator of the Time Goes By Blog – Episode 5

Ronni Bennett creator of the Time Goes By Blog is my guest  for episode 5 of the Marion Vermazen Podcast.

Ronni is the author of one of my favorite blogs Time Goes By – What it's really like to get older. She is retired from a very successful career in journalism and television production. Her blog has a vibrant community of followers and is a constant source of information and insight.

If you would like to listen to the interview you can click on the play button that will show up when you move your mouse over the gray bar below.

Marion Vermazen Podcast – episode 5 – Ronni Bennett

Here are links to two of the subjects we discussed.

 Elders for Healthcare Reform

 Ronni's Photo biography


You can also subscribe to my podcast by clicking on the
link at
the top of the column to the right.

To subscribe in iTunes,
from the iTunes Advanced menu select Subscribe to Podcast and copy the
feed URL.  "

The fun thing about this podcast has been that when I realized I wanted to create a podcast of my  conversations with interesting people I was able to just jump in and do it. I am really enjoying myself and It continues to be a learning experience. This was my first podcast done with both of us using Skype and unfortunately the quality is not as good as I would like it to be. If anyone has expertise in Skype, Podcasting, sound recording, and mixers I would love to pick his or her brain. Drop a comment on this blog or send me an email.

What do I blog about?

One of the pieces of advice I often see in book and articles about how to blog is that one should pick a subject to blog about. For me that is impossible. I have a multitude of interests and I enjoy blogging about all of them. Tomorrow I might find something new that is interesting and then I'll blog about that. Thank heavens I don't feel any need to monetize my blog and I can blog about what I want ot blog about.

Recently one of my Reno blogging friends – Ron at Local So-and-so blogged about the exact same thing.

I loved the way he put it.

"As for me, I'm content to meander along, like a lazy flowing river,
curious to see what's around the next bend. Who knows, maybe I'll find
a purpose for my blog there, or maybe even a way to make some real
money without selling my soul to the Devil"

My Blogoversary

I started this blog 4 years ago. My Blogoversary was yesterday. I started it as I was getting ready to leave Sun Microsystems. Sun is where I started blogging in September of 2004. Sun was a fantastic place to learn about blogging. It was very nurturing and supportive and encouraged people to be authentic. My Sun blog is still on the Sun blog site.

Now that Sun is being bought by Oracle and presumably will be swallowed up I wonder what will happen to the Sun blogging program. By googling Oracle blogs I see that they do have an Oracle blog site but it doesn't seem as free wheeling as Sun's. At Sun anyone could blog about anything as long as we followed some common sense rules about not sharing secrets etc. I think Sun's blogs have a really authenticity which is a reflection of Sun's culture.

In thinking about the fact that Sun blogs could go away I recently decided to print out my old blogs so I would at least have a paper back up. It has been fun to look at the blogs I wrote five  years ago.

Improving my Podcast Quality – Podcasters Emporium – Buying a mixer.

As you may know I have recently started a Podcast. I published my first show a month ago and am working on show number two. I am a total neophyte when it comes to podcasting. I am good with technology. It was my career for 30 years. But I have zero experience with sound or recording.

I have been doing a lot of research on podcasting. I believe in learning by doing so I just dove in and published my first show. I'm glad I did it. It was a lot of fun and I think the content turned out to be pretty good. But the sound quality was horrible. So I have been focusing on learning more about what is needed to produce a more professional show.

One of the resources I found which has become invaluable and has quickly become my favorite Podcast is The Podcasters Emporium, a show by two Australian guys James Williams and Dave Gray about how to improve your podcast. I like it because it isn't too basic but it also isn't aimed at experts. Plus I really enjoy the authenticity and personality of Dave and James. They have a great voice and a very engaging show. I think I need to start a side bar list of my favorite podcasts. The Podcasters Emporium will be on the list.

The first things I learned were all about gain, what gain is, and how I need to adjust it. This was covered in episode 11 of Podcasters Emporium. I suspect turning my gain down will make a very big improvement to my sound quality.

In studying ways to improve my podcast I also became convinced that if I am going to be doing interviews I need 2 mics. Handing the mic back and forth or holding it between the two of us just doesn't cut it. But if I use 2 mics I need a mixer. So I started shopping for  a mixer. My only complaint about Podcasters Emporium (and it is a minor one) is that it left me with the impression that I would need to spend at least $500 if I wanted a good enough mixer and mics. And I really don't want to invest a lot of money getting started.

So I posted a comment on Twitter saying  that I was looking for a good mixer but I thought I ws going to have to spend hundreds of dollars. One of my twitter and blogging friends Ryan of Ryan Jerz :: Reno Blogger responded almost immediately recommending the Behringer 802 8-Input mixer. The key things I learned from Podcasters Emporium were that I should buy a mixer with at least 2 XLR inputs and with phantom power. I didn't know what those things were but I learned that too. I went to my local Radio Shack store but the $30 mixer they had didn't have XLR input and the cheaper  Behringer mixer for sale on Amazon didn't have phantom power. So I ordered the 802 from Amazon for $59 and should be receiving it next week. Hopefully it will do the trick.

For now I am going to keep using my very cheap microphones but once I learn how to use the mixer I may be upgrading them too. If you have ideas or suggestions on other things I should know or do please let me know. Post a comment or email me.

Just Do It!

Interviews are always fascinating to me. Every time I watch a great Charlie Rose interview I say to myself Wow! I would love to have interesting conversations like that. The other day I listened to a Podcast interview that Dan Carlin of Hardcore History did with James Burke and my reaction was the same.

Several years ago my boss at the time had caricature done of each of his managers as a gift. The text of mine was "Just Do It!" which in fact is my motto. Any time I am faced with something I am not sure I want to do or something I don't know how to do  I believe the best thing to do is to just get on with it.

The beauty of the Internet and things like blogs and Podcasts is that with a blog it is very easy to be a writer, and in a similar vein it would be relatively easy to create a Podcast and become an interviewer. I am sure that 30 years ago Charlie Rose was not as good as he is today at creating interesting interviews. And good Podcasts take a lot of hare work and practice too.  So if I really want to be an interviewer I should Do It!

Of course I have lots of ideas like this and my problem/opportunity is actually focusing and doing it?!