Fun Before Tonsillectomy

•October 20, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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Today I wanted to take my kids out for a fun plan before my youngest son has to have his tonsils and adenoids out later this week.

Here is what we did:

  • After homework was done, we went by the book fair at shool, where each of the kids got to pick out something cool.
  • Then it was off to an early dinner at a local Chinese buffet with fresh crab legs and fun kids’ favorites too – just all kinds of great foods.  We spent time at the restaurant while my youngest son enjoyed his hot tea and my oldest son read his book.
  • After dinner we went to a movie which we all enjoyed.  It’s funny how my kids are bored by some kids’ movies but this one was great.
  • Then it was on to the pet store where we just happened to purchase a Guinea pig!  I was not planning to do this but I was fine with it and so was my oldest son.  He is now named George (after Curious George) and he is tri-colored.  He is quite friendly.  We purchased some things for George, but most of the things we already had at home, so he was very comfortable.  This is our first pet of this kind but he seems happy so far.

The evening came to a close with two tired boys that seemed quite happy, which was my goal.  This type of day is very rare for us and we were all happy and tired.  It was awesome and now the surgery is just a little blip on the map in the future.  🙂

S.L.M.
10.21.08 @ 10:20

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Camping Weekend at Tallulah Gorge State Park

•October 19, 2008 • 1 Comment

Tallulah Gorge State Park

What a great weekend.  Our family of four enjoyed a nice trip to the state park, privately owned by Georgia Power, interestingly enough.

We went with a group of about 26 people. About four tents were set up and the rest were pop-ups and one was a Winebago.  It was enjoyable but my husband and I decided that we really do not want to camp with such a large group again next time.

Our foursome happens to be tent campers.  We use air mattresses and sleeping bags.  We had electricity at this site and water hookups.  My husband even had a kitchen sink which he had set up on saw horses and a hot water heater for use at the campsite.  How many camps have a real sink, running water at the sink and hot water?  It is the coolest thing!

Each morning we had a kickin’ breakfast with eggs, thick bacon, pancakes, and get this – biscuits and gravy! The biscuits were perfect at a campsite.  My friend made biscuits in a skillet and we poured the sausage gravy over them; yummy and delightful.

S.L.M. 10.19.08 @ 10:30

All About the Yard Sale

•October 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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Since we started cleaning out the house, my Mom has been all about the yard sale idea.  Now she is so centrally focused that she cannot think about anything else, literally.

This is frustrating because:

  • she is elderly
  • she is out of state by 2½ hours
  • she starts overdoing herself and will not stop
  • she is still addicted to drugs
  • she has her live-in son convinced

It is not healthy to let life revolve around a single event because a person is centrally focused on one thing.  This problem she has adds too much stress to other family members and is basically selfishness.

I have seen what is going on and I realize that I can benefit because I do not want to be selfish like I’ve observed.  I know that I am very selfish and I want to fight the urge to be that way.

We are not sure when the yard sale might happen, if it will in the near future or not.  My husband wants to just write my Mom a check for what she thinks everything is worth and load everything up in a trailer to avoid the whole yard sale mess.  I think that is a disaster of an idea myself but I respect my husband’s ideas.  We’ll see how it all pans out.

S.L.M.
10.17.08 @ 10:17

Blog Action Day – Poverty – Hope In Store

•October 15, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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Today is Blog Action Day October 15 (#BAD08). Nearly 10,000 bloggers all over the world will be lending their voices to one topic; this year it is poverty.

The real threat of poverty, however, is told in the lives of the people who daily experience it. It is not an easy thing to define, since people may be “poor” in one country and somewhere else be considered well off.  Have you ever gone without…really gone without and known poverty?

Who or what is responsible for the growing threat of poverty? The answers come from the view that the poor have only themselves to blame for their condition to the claim that it is beyond their power to change. The truth probably lies in between.

People used to accuse the poor of being lazy. But fewer people  now are saying things like this. Why? Because inflation is eating up people’s income. Now they appreciate that there are factors outside a person’s control that threaten to make a person “rich” or “poor.”

Many people will be blogging about poverty earthwide today.  I am writing about hope in store.  The future does hold a hope for mankind.  It is as simple as opening the Bible that people earthwide can obtain.

The Kingdom spoken of in the Holy Bible is the solution to the problems faced by people in the world today – that is how I feel (and many others earthwide do as well).  This is just what Jesus spoke of; his Father’s Kingdom, as the only solution to mankind’s problems.

A world without poverty is near – I believe it and it is a fact.  You can learn more from the Bible.

Having a hope in store is the only real basis for a solution to poverty and all of the problems that plague humans all over the globe today.  Hope is what we have and without it we would be lost.

S.L.M. 10.15.08 @ 7:43 a.m.

My NASA Space Pen

•October 10, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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My brother gave me a NASA Space Pen that write at any angle, even upside down.  I like it and I am writing with it today, so I thought I would write a quick entry about it.  My pen says “Kennedy Space Center” and its blue and gold.  🙂

S.L.M.
10.10.08 @ 10:10

Webmaster Jam 2008

•October 7, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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October 3rd and 4th, 2008 at the Loudermilk Center in Atlanta, GA Webmaster Jam Session 2008 took place and it was an enjoyable event.  Food and refreshments were provided; the coffee was tasty. I had a Platinum pass,  allowing me to hear any presentation.

1.  The first class I attended was Making Accessibility Sexy (Chris Heilmann, Dan Rubin).  It was an educational presentation with slides and explanation.  The presentation helped to express the importance of making websites accessible to anyone and everyone.  This is vital for reasons I had not considered prior.  The speakers were frank and revealing.

2.  Next I was able to catch the end of Search Engine Marketing and Optimization (Darrin Ward).  He spoke about some good things that I think most everyone can benefit from regarding SEO.

3.  Next was a lunch break with hard and soft shell tacos, buffet style.  There were also drinks and a salad bar.  While we lunched, we listened to Amazon Style Data Managment – Will Crowdsourcing Improve Data Quality? (Mike Culver)

4. Then I heard Web Design and Development: Behind the Scenes (Keith Robinson, Jeff Croft).  Keith introduced himself, mentioned his large slew of clients and spoke about how he wasn’t going to just plug his site but the entire time he spoke about his site.  He did not speak about web design and development as a whole (which I wish would have taken place) but rather spoke about how his site went through a change in general – a transformation. This topic in itself was helpful, it was merely not what the title was about.

We were presented with ‘posters’ which are used on his site.   I still do not get the point of his site because there appears to be no SEO involved, which he admitted in his presentation.  Keith said most people come to the site through the blog.  That is great cuz I am sure not feeling it from the home page.

At one point Jeff took over and he was so nervous I felt badly for him.   Someone in our group noticed how Keith kept cutting Jeff off.  It just made for an uncomfortable atmosphere.

It was interesting how the speakers symbolically slammed web 2.0, which is quite outdated and most sites need a brush-up, mine included.  It was just funny because of their harsh attitude about it ; I think it was lost of most of the group they were speaking to.

Keith’s presentation of a site transformation (which is what it should have been called) was was more artsy-fartsy; maybe if that was my thing I would have gotten it, who knows. Overall, this was a very long and unhelpful presentation for what the title was making it out to be. It did not appeal to the masses, let’s just say that.

—-

At this point our group cut out for the day.  We were a bit blown away by the last presentation we had heard, and not in a good way, so we took off.  There was nothing left for the day according to the group, although I  personally would have wanted to stay.

———————

Day Two – October 4th

1.  First thing, after some coffee, I listened to Website Smackdown.  There were several experts involved (Ethan Marcotte, Nick Finck, James Craig, Keith Robinson, Rob Weychert, Jeff Croft, Nathan Smith, Jason Ford, Aarron Walter, John Moore, Eddie Vasquez, Dan Rubin, Jina Bolton, Todd Dominey) in this live, on-the-spot critique of sites thrown out from the attendees.  People from the audience would submit their domain and then the experts would say what they thought.  It was quite informative to see what the group as a whole thought.

2.  At this point I heard Social Media on the New Internet (Jason Ford).  I heard some about social media in general but not what I thought.  This was more on the upper level, such as what coders would use.  There was an app Jason mentioned that looked really cool.  It could take some time but it would be good on a large scale.  This presentation seemed to be more for people representing large companies and I really did not learn anything.  Nothing against Jason or the presentation; I thought he did a nice job and seemed, to this point, to be the more down-to-earth and decent of the speakers (along with Christian Heilmann).

3.  Which brings me to lunch as we listened to an informative discussion from Christian Heilmann.  At one point he was very frank when a man asked a question.  Chris said to the guy, “Hey, if you are going to ask a question, at least listen to the response”.  I thought it was good that someone be accountable for their actions and ‘smarten up’ as my friend from Maine would put it.  Heh.

4.  After lunch we heard The Seven Commandments of User Experience (Nick Finck).  Um, I would say I am neutral on this one (shoulder shrug).  Nick seemed to be a nice guy and a good presenter.  He got laughs from the hallway, where I sat on the floor as a Platinum attendee.  My friend, who actually has arthritis, and would never complain, sat next to me on the floor – ack.

Part of the reason this presentation was hampered for me was that while we were in the hallway, on the floor, we were next to the designated “Jam Room” at the Loudermilk.   Several speakers from Webmaster Jam were going into Jam Room and the music was loud and very hard to hear over.  I guess they were cutting loose during the other presentations but it made it very difficult for (paying) attendees to hear speakers’ talks.

I saw Nick’s slide show later, online.  The slide presentations could not be seen from outside the main rooms; they were teleprompted which was perfectly understandable given the situation.  There just was not suitable seating outside each room, or in general I should say, as the event was overbooked.

Also during Nick’s talk, I saw a college student come in (no pass around her neck) as she sat down on the floor and listened.  I paid a good chunk to hear this and she strolled in for $0.00 – hm.

5. At this point I attended Inside CSS Frameworks (Rob Jones). This was the best presentation for sound, light, seating, etc.  I had been arriving earlier to each class in order to get better seating and I had waited in line to get a seat for this talk.  I learned from basic person-to-person conversation before the speaker began.  Many times we can learn a lot from real people and interactions, even in a classroom environment.  The class had a point of conversational interest when a slide showed a point that James Craig and Chris Heilmann had a discrepancy with.  It was interesting the way Rob dealt with it; pretty good I thought.

6.  This time our group split up and we all attended different sessions to acquire more information.  It was difficult to choose at this point because I saw several potential ways to go.  We actually thought about it for a while.   I attended Creating Sexy Stylesheets (Jina Bolton).  I absolutely got almost nothing out of this class.  Jina is very creative and there was nothing personal about it, the whole thing was just way over my head.  Jina spoke about CSS3 and how it is future and it was very gorgeous and streamlined.  It was just difficult for me and I had to go to the bathroom so I got up and left.  If I could, I would have asked Jina where she got her education; I think she might be brilliant and I am not kidding.

7.  This is when I walked into Findability: Design Comp to Code (Aarron Walter).  I had met Aarron just before this presentation began and I instantly began to enjoy his talk.  Another person from my group had taken notes and said this was a good talk.  I got in at the very end but I did win a book from Aarron called “Building Findable Websites – Web Standards, SEO, and Beyond” which I was excited about,.  This talk was a highlight of Webmaster Jam.

Conclusion

Pros:

  • I learned several helpful things
  • Everyone was nice, attentive, easy to speak to
  • I won an awesome book
  • Open questions and participation invited
  • I did not have to travel far to attend
  • Very interesting people attended and I was able to meet many
  • Now I can see new people on twitter
  • Everyone was very real and gave their prepared presentation (if something came up, it was confronted)

———————

Cons:

  • Several times I sat on the floor in the hallway, with others from my group (overbooked event).
  • Higher priced Platinum passes did not seem to provide any perks.
  • Promised limitless wi-fi was impossible for me to acquire. (I didn’t bring my laptop the 2nd day)
  • All presentations on the screen were in 800×600 resolution, a little hard to see (no biggie really).
  • Some presentations did not have sound when they should have (again, no big deal for me).

I am glad I was able to attend Webmaster Jam 2008 – My first jam session.

Cleaning Out the House

•October 3, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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It came time for cleaning out the house but I felt like burning down the house.  My father died July 9, 2008 and now it’s time to clean out all of his acquired possessions.

This is not easy because my mother is elderly and there is much to do.  My husband is awesome so we got busy and busted our tails.  There is a portable storage building, a carport area and another storage area that was built with the house.  Plus the attic in the house and a small trailer next to the portable building needed to each be emptied.

Over the weekend we cleaned out all of these structures, dragging, sorting and placing all items as neatly as possible for later distribution.  Gas leaked, rat droppings scattered, memories dredged up.  It was rough and my head pounded.  I just forged ahead and kept going.  It was not about me and that was what was the most important.

Now everything is cleaned out and sorted.  One man offered to buy the entire contents of the portable building – yeah.  That is a relief and a financial plus at the same time.  He was going to buy the building but his dad would not loan him enough money (hence the ways of AL and I’ll just stop there).  The portable building has resale value so that is not a problem; it also has a nice 2″x6″ pressure-treated ramp.

Whatever does not sell in my mother’s impending ‘yard sale’ which she really wants to have – will be donated to the American Kidney Foundation.  This is due, in part, to the fact that my brother Greg only has one kidney.  He doesn’t know this is why I feel this way but that is it.

I feel cleaner and de-junkified, even though I am not the one who has all of those things.  I thought I left that years ago.  However, now my responsibility comes again and I must take it up.

Peace outie.

S.L.M.
10.3.08 @ 9:05 am