Saturday, July 24, 2010

Some Things

First thing:  Thank you, Kristen, for choosing me for HSB Blogger of the Week!  I do hope my techie-wannabe posts are helpful; I don't do the greatest job at explaining things.   Hey, maybe that should be a new category here... Techie Gems.  Make that Techie Wannabe Gems.  :D

Next thing:  While many of you are hitting the books again, I have yet to order curriculum for the coming year!  As much as I try to ignore the public school schedule, I find that I can't ignore it completely.  School starts here on August 9th, and we will still be on summer vacation.  We have been on summer vacation since April, I think.  (May?  I don't remember when we called it quits with the 2009-2010 school year.)  Oh yeah, and this was the year we were not going to break for the whole summer, but carry on with math and Bedell curriculum.  Hahahahaha!

Thing three:  Before we start the new school year we must learn some real life stuff, like calculating mileage, reading a map, being a good guest, how to love on newborn babies, climbing a lighthouse,  how to tell if a motel has bedbugs, and how to pack six people and all their belongings into a minivan for ...a vacation.  I was going to say how long we'll be gone, but there might be someone out there looking in blogland for a place to rob, and I don't want them to know much time they have to empty the house out.  (Now that I think about it, maybe I should say how long we'll be gone...)   Not that we have anything worth stealing.  The big dilemma here is which stuffed animals to leave behind.  While wise mothers would set the limit at ONE doll or furry fake, we have agreed on two per child, and I have a feeling there will be a few stowaways.  "Kitty" and "Matthew" will certainly have their feelings hurt if they are not included!

Today is my packing day.  The clothes are all washed, floors are swept and mopped, and my lists are made.  I am working really hard to have most everything done by tonight, so that on the Lord's day we can all sit here quietly anticipating the thrills of the next x number of days.  :)  We leave Monday bright and early.  Here's what we look forward to:

meeting the PlainJanes! Yippee!

riding an alpine slide

visiting some national parks

seeing family, including a brand new cousin

visiting some like-minded churches along our route

camping in a real live tent and  sleeping in a real live barn

Minnesota History Museum

being with old friends and making new ones

miles and miles of gorgeous GREEN scenery

riding a horse

seeing the presidents' faces at Mt. Rushmore

playing in an orchestra


visiting a harbor and seeing all the BIG ships!


School can wait!  This IS school.

I don't want to hear, "Are we there yet?" more than a dozen times. :D

Where there's a computer, there's a way to keep in touch.  I'll maybe leave an update or two.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Diamonds in the Lake With Dad

There is a perverse sort of gratifaction about living in the desert.  Desert living allows you to complain in a bragging sort of way about all the extremes you have to deal with, like heat, wind, dry air, rattlesnakes, dirt storms, and etc.  I love to hate it.  You know what I mean.

So today it was about 115º and the man of the house thought we should go to the lake.  I love the water if I ever do get in (and when it's 115º you either get in or you die of heat stroke); I just don't love the  ±1/2 mile hike in 115º to get to our spot.  Some women love their own comfort more than they love being with their family, and I confess, sometimes I just might be one of those women.  I went anyway.  It was hot.  And we forgot the sunscreen in the van.  I was the only one who wasn't wearing any yet, and I didn't relish hiking across the burning sands to retrieve it.  My knight in shining armor, my Superman, my cowboy in white offered to go all the way back and get it for me, but I declined.  (Amy said I need a tan.)

Rather than post the same scenery for the third or fourth blogging year in a row, I will just post these photos of "Dogpile on Dad".

Amy started it and called for Help.

Help was more than willing.

More Help on the way.

The struggle.



And Dad is subjected to the humiliating beauty parlor treatment.

We are looking forward to a reprieve from the burning sun, and  we will be taking a little trip to more civilized climates here shortly.  For more accurate description of desert living, read this old post and its sequel. (That would be more accurate, not more accurate.  I would never exaggerate.  Would I?) ;-)  Better yet, take a scroll through my Gems in  the Desert category.  That'll keep you busy while I'm gone.

Note:  Slightly Synesthetic Alison says the bottom of the lake is the color of Eb (that would be E flat).   The sound of an alarm clock is red, and the dial tone is a smooth orangey brown.   :)   I feel left out.

He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. Deuteronomy 32:10

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Jesus Hold My Hand


by Albert E. Brumley

As I travel through this pilgrim land there is a Friend who goes with me.
Leads me safely thro' the sinking sand, it is the Christ of Calvary.
This would be my pray'r, dear Lord, each day to help me do the best I can,
For I need Thy light to guide me day and night, Blessed Jesus, hold my hand.


Jesus, hold my hand, I need Thee ev'ry hour,
(Blessed Jesus, hold my hand) (Yes, I need Thee ev'ry hour)
Thru this pilgrim land Protect me by Thy pow'r.
(Thru this land, this pilgrim land ----By Thy saving pow'r.)
Hear my feeble plea, O Lord, look down on me.
(Hear my plea, my feeble plea, Lord, dear Lord, Look down on me)
When I kneel in pray'r I hope to meet you there,
(When I kneel in prayer)
Blessed Jesus, hold my hand.

Let me travel in the light divine that I may see the blessed way;
Keep me that I may be wholly Thine and sing redemption's song some day.
I will be a soldier brave and true and ever firmly take a stand,
As I onward go and daily meet the foe, Blessed Jesus, hold my hand.


When I wander thru the valley dim toward the setting of the sun,
Lead me safely to a land of rest if I a crown of life have won;
I have put my faith in Thee, dear Lord, that I may reach the golden strand,
There's no other Friend on whom I can depend, Blessed Jesus, hold my hand.


Thursday, July 15, 2010


Have you ever heard of synesthesia?  I never had until Mom recently sent me some information on it.  Synesthesia is a condition in which a person's senses blend together.  When one sense is stimulated, a different one responds.  For instance, you may hear a color, or see a color when you hear a particular sound.  Or you might smell a number or taste your food in colors.  Do cucumbers taste pink to you?   People with synesthesia usually think other people experience colors or sounds (or numbers/letters) the same way they do, and may be unaware that their gift is unusual.  At least three of my girls assign particular colors to letters, numbers, and words, and Alie "sees" colors when she hears certain musical notes, especially chords.  "Wednesday" might be yellow.  The number 5 is always blue.  "Emily" is green.  This is very interesting to me, because this sure doesn't come from my side of the family!  I'm not sure whether this is a synesthesia thing, but Alison also pictures the numbers 1 through ?? in a particular shape, along with the alphabet, the months of the year, etc.

See these kids' sites for more info (I do the easy kind of research):

I am wondering how this knowledge might help my kids learn.   ??  You know, there are auditory learners, visual learners, kinesthetic learners, and maybe even synesthetic learners.   I'm sure there is not enough research on this topic yet.

Do you experience this phenomenon??  Try this.

Home from Home

Is it possible to have your heart in two places at once?  I left home to go home for a week.  Then I left home to come home again.  Both goodbyes were tearful.  And both welcomes were very warm, though I have to say, an Arizona welcome is always warm this time of year!  My heart has been completely filled up and really, I don't have adequate words to describe what it was like to be with my wonderful parents without the distraction of my own family, nor the gratifying feeling of hearing my husband and kids tell me repeatedly how good it is to have me home again. :D

Alison took over as the resident mother here, planning and preparing the meals, making sure chores got done, and keeping the house in order.  It was a good experience for a girl who is prone to panic in the kitchen, and she did great!  I chatted with each of the girls and my dear husband almost every evening.  Do you know how long it takes to hear of the day's happenings and to say goodnight to five people?  At least an hour!

My dad is doing very well.  He is quite independent and is good about doing the things he can do.  It will just take time to heal his spine.  In the meantime, Dad, no lifting!  See Dad up there, holding his special dolly from Emily. :)   Mom and I drove all over Orange County, shopping, making deals, and running errands.  I came home with more stuff than I took.  In an effort to divide the weight of all my stuff between two bags, I completely forgot the airport rules about carrying large bottles of dangerous liquids on to an aircraft, and I had to give up my conditioner, mousse, and hairspray at the security check.  Oh well.  It was cheaper to give it up than to pay $20 to check another bag. (I use the cheap stuff!)

I was not successful at finding a way to stuff a large piano keyboard into my suitcase, so my girls are waiting anxiously for its delivery this weekend.  The keyboard is the result of our deal-making.  The woman didn't want to sell it to me for the price I offered, so I left her with my phone number.  She called the next day, saying  she had changed her mind, that when you hold too tightly to your possessions, they become your prison.  Don't I know it!  But I was happy to become prisoner to her keyboard, and it is now ours.  I am looking forward to seeing what my girls will do with it!

Now I am back to giving orders, thinking about what to eat for supper, and wondering (still) what we are going to do about school this coming year.  Before I can get that all settled, we need to take a family vacation.  School is going to be late, and that's all there is to it.  That's okay.  My one motivated kid is learning on her own anyway, and maybe the others will become wiser as they grow.

It's good to be home.  I feel more useful here. More relaxed there.  More responsible here.  More pampered there.  More needed here.  It's all good.  I thank the Lord for such a nice week, and I am so grateful he has blessed me with all this love.

The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Out of Media Space?

It looks I am not the only one who had photo storage problems with the new HSB.  With the help of several others I was able to make enough room in my media library to upload the header photo for my blog.  This involved uploading photos from my blog posts to a photo-storage site, in my case, Photobucket  -- kind of a tedious process, but in time it worked.

Photobucket apparently has some inappropriate images, but with Firefox AdBlocker we don't see the ads, and I forget they are there.  Photobucket allows only one account per email address, but a creative mind can find ways around that, as we have. :)  And there are other photo storage sites.  My daughter's favorite is Picasa (via Google account), where you can store 1000 photos PER FILE.  Flickr allows you to edit photos before storing them.  There is something for everyone.  In order to make room in your WP media library you will have to open a photo storage account at one of these sites.

There are three options.  You can permanently delete photos from the media library.  If you do this, those photos will no longer appear on your blog.  Second,  you can permanently delete photos from the media library, re-upload them from your computer to your photo storage account, and then re-post them photos to the appropriate post.  That is a lot of clicking.

Or, third, you can move them.  Some of them.  This is also tedious.  So far I have only figured out how to move photos that are "attached" to a post, with the option of "unattaching".  You can see which ones these are in your media library, and it looks to me like they are only the photos that you have added to the library since HSB made the platform switch.  By moving all of the "attached" photos to Photobucket, and then subsequently deleting them from the media library, I was able to make room for my header photo.

To do this, go to your blog and click on a recently-uploaded-to-media-library photo.  In the upper left corner of the photo there are two little graphics. (If you don't see this graphic after a click or two, you can' t move the photo this way.)  Click on the left photo graphic.  This takes you to the information about that photo, including its location.  Click on the tab for "advanced", and copy the location of that photo.

Now to go Photobucket/Flickr/Picasa, and click on  "from the web".  On Photobucket, this  option is located on the dropdown menu for "more upload tools".  Paste the photo location in the appropriate blank.   Go back to your blogpost and copy the location for another photo.  Now back to Photobucket and paste.  With Photobucket you can do this three times before you have to upload.  Upload your photos.  Now save them and copy the direct link for one of the photos.  Back to your blog and open the photo information (advanced) for the one you copied the direct link to.  Paste the new location, save, and close the window.  Repeat this for the other two photos you moved to Photobucket.  Continue repeating this entire process until you have made space in your media library.  (You can see how much space is available on the front page of your dashboard.)  I had to move 50 or more photos before WP registered available space, so you will want to do this while the kiddos are napping, or maybe in the middle of the night. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Divided in Two -- Plus Photo Update

There are very mixed feelings here, ranging from nervousness to confidence to sadness to excitement to sheer panic (those are just my own emotions, lol), as I am getting packed up to make a quick flight to my mom and dad's tomorrow.  Alone.  The girls share all my sentiments except for possibly the excitement.  My dear dad contracted pneumonia a few weeks ago, and when he fell while trying to get into bed, he either sustained or aggravated a compression fracture in his back.  He has spent the last two weeks convalescing in a rehab center and is now home.

My sweet husband said, "You need to go be with your mom and dad," and before I knew it, he had bought me an airline ticket.  My travels plans were perfectly timed by the Lord, since we didn't know when Dad would be released.  I will be gone nearly a week to help out at home, maybe do a house project with Mom, and just be there.  I can't remember being alone with my own parents since... before I was married.  A looong time ago.  My husband and I have not been apart for more than five days.  [Correction: He reminded me that we were apart for ten days not too terribly long ago.  "...and they seemed unto him (her) but a few days, for the love he (she) had to her (him)."  Just reverse the pronoun genders there.  That must have been the case with me.) :)  My girls and I have not been apart for more than two nights.  Not for a week.  I already know I am going to cry when I say goodbye to all of them tomorrow afternoon.  I have promised to call every night to say goodnight and to bless my girls.  I did the laundry, mopped the floors, changed the sheets, cleaned the bathroom, taped a note to the freezer stating its contents, and arranged for a substitute Sunday School teacher.

Emily has a Sadness Tummy Ache. I advised her to DO something other than lie down and feel sad.  Like what, Mom? Make something.  (What was I saying?? I am trying to pack and keep my head on straight, and I suggested she make something!  Guaranteed, whatever she comes up with will be something way beyond her ability.)

She decided to make something for her ailing Grampy.  An Emily doll.  This means I draw it and cut it out, draw around the edges so she knows where to stitch, and help her with the sewing machine.  She will stuff it.  I will sew the opening shut (maybe I can get her to do that) and use a marker to outline the face and arms.  She will color it.  And it will be her project that she did "all by herself" for her Grampy. :D One last exercise in Meek and Quiet Spirit before I go.  Finished product to come.

The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. Genesis 31:49

*   *   *   *   *

All done! No more tummy ache. ;)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Better Video-Posting Option

A while back I posted about how to embed YouTube videos using the YouTuber plug-in. For the time being, it was the best I could do, but since I don't like having the related videos pop up at the end of the posted video, I endeavored to figure out something else.  The YouTube Embed plugin is by far the better option.

In your Plugins, activate YouTube Embed.  If you have already activated YouTuber, you will have to deactivate it.  On the drop-down menu under Settings, click on YouTube Embed. Here you can choose your border colors, size parameters, HD options, etc, AND near the bottom, you can disable the related videos! YES!

Now, in your post, type this:

open bracket youtube close bracket videoID open bracket slash youtube close bracket

The video ID is in the url for your video. It begins immediately after v= and ends with the last letter or number that comes just before the & sign. Leave no spaces.

Got it?  Simple. :)
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