stack of books with text: Notes in the Margin is Under Renovation

Please Pardon the Dust

There’s been a lot going on around here, most of it behind the scenes until now. But I have finally, as Lady Macbeth would say, screwed my courage and taken the big step.

I installed a new WordPress theme.

Back when WordPress introduced the Gutenberg editor, now usually called the block editor, I started using it because I figured it would eventually take over the world. In fact, I liked the block editor as a layout tool, even though getting used to it took a while. At that time I adopted the theme Twenty Twenty because it was one of the first themes made to work specifically with the block editor.

Twenty Twenty has several features that I like:

  • The default body-text font is a little bigger than what most themes offer.
  • While the area containing the text has a while background, the background color of the page around the text area is a light beige that’s easier on the eyes than the starkness of all white.
  • The default accent color is a kind of cherry red (cough-syrup red is a more accurate term), but the theme allows for a different choice (purple!).
  • The theme also allows more control over text size and color than other themes I had used before.

But Twenty Twenty has one major drawback:

  • It does not allow for a sidebar.

I had to put all my wonderful widgets (e.g., Goodreads, Pinterest boards, archives, categories) in the footer—where, of course, nobody would see them unless they went specifically looking for them.

Therefore, for about the past year and a half, I’ve known that I would have to change to a theme that allows for a sidebar. But I wasn’t willing to change just for the sidebar. Consequently, I’ve been looking all this time for a theme that includes all the features of Twenty Twenty that I like while also including the option of a sidebar.

So a couple of days ago I switched to the Astra theme. With the purchase of a lifetime subscription to the AstraPro version, I got all the bells and whistles I wanted, including that sidebar.

Every theme has its idiosyncrasies, and I’m still examining how some of my earlier posts have fared in the transformation. Pullquotes are still wonky. For some reason, Astra’s pullquote block uses HUGE text that causes any pullquote of more than a sentence or two to take up most of the screen of my desktop monitor. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to make the pullquote block use smaller text, so I’m still playing with work arounds and hoping to find something that will work.

In the meantime, I’ll be experimenting with all those default settings for a while, so I ask for your indulgence. If you find anything that looks bad, please blame it on the new theme—and my inexperience with it.

Although Notes in the Margin is now under renovation, it’s still under the same old management.

Blog on! And thanks for reading.

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