Good Night Sweet Prince

Friday, December 11, 2009

After selecting a picture to use for the i ❤ faces "Sweet Dreams" Photo Challenge, I still had the other 6 pictures I had identified as candidates. The challenge is over, but I couldn't help it, I had to pick another one of my favorites. This is Nick at about 16 months taking a nap in his 'sling'. I loved that thing; once I had him in it, I could get so much work done and he'd just be happily snoozing along. I tried to schedule my trips to the grocery store around nap times and I remember getting the stink-eye from other mothers with screaming kids in the cart :O


Sweet Dreams

Sunday, December 6, 2009

i ❤ faces: "Sweet Dreams" Photo Challenge

I love this week's challenge, because it brought me back to those first few months after bringing ouradopted son, Nick, home in 2000. He's 8 months old in this picture and we'd just had him for 2 months. Naturally, we were taking pictures every chance we got. I have several of the falling asleep with the bottle pictures, but I had to pick just one (not an easy task). so here it is.

Check out the other entries for this week's challenge.


26 shopping days 'till Christmas

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Well, Thanksgiving is over, the turkey carcass is resting comfortably in the trash (we got a little one this year--so not too many leftovers) and we brought the Christmas decorations up from the basement including the four pieces that make up the Christmas tree. Yea, I know, I used to be a purist too--only real trees; the smell, the atmosphere, yada, yada; but we decided to go green a couple of years ago. Ok, that and we didn't want to put up with the pine needles, watering, disposal--takes all the fun out of Christmas.
Although we didn't brave the elements for Black Friday (I am NOT a Morning Person), we managed to do some online shopping for Christmas gifts and by Saturday when we did go out, there were still plenty of good sales (so there).
We got Nick and Katie to do their Letters for Santa, although Nick, who is almost 10, titled his letter To Mom and Dad pretending to be Santa. I had to have a little talk with him to make sure he didn't let Katie hear him talk like that. At 4 (almost 5) she'll still want to do leave Cookies for Santa and we can still, hopefully, use the prospect of coal for bad behavior.
All in all, I think we're doing better than last year when we finally managed to get the tree up a week before Christmas. Who knows, maybe we'll even do Christmas Cards this year.


Pink Katie

Sunday, October 18, 2009

i ❤ faces: Pink Week Photo Challenge

This is my first entry for this site and I am honored to participate. I have (fortunately) not had anyone in my immediate family who was suffering from Breast Cancer.
Finding pictures for this theme was hardly challenging, as pink is Katie's favorite color. What was, and forever is, challenging was to find pictures where she was holding still long enough to not look like an eyewitness picture of proof of aliens or Sasquatch.
Although this isn't the sharpest picture, I really like Katie's expression. I was supposed to take a picture of Nestor (the bird), which I dutifully did. She wasn't so happy two minutes later, when I told her I had enough pictures of Nestor and wanted to take some pictures of other things. :)


Fantasy Layouts

This month's Scrapper's Guide Premier Members Kit was all about Fall, Halloween and Fairies. I was already working on a Layout where I had a mini-Katie sliding out of a flower, when I remembered a Corey Barker tutorial from Planetphotoshop. The exercise was to create water and then place an object to appear as though it was splashing into the water. I used part of the tutorial, but then made the water look like it was coming out of the flower--like a water-slide. With the Premier Kit and tutorial, I added the fairy wings and sparkle to complete the layout.

Then I had another idea. I took one of the Kit's Quickpages and made a little fairy magic, where Katie (with wings again) turns her brother into a cat, an elf, and finally back to normal.


Adobe Support Question, Round 3

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I love dealing with Adobe's Support. I look at it as an exercise in restraint (i.E. no potty-mouth in front of the kids) as well as a typing refresher (I can type really, really fast when I get angry and am trying to make a point without forgetting what I was going to say before I can write it down)
I had a, relatively, simple question: I have Photoshop CS4 and would like to find out what to do (how much and how)to upgrade to CS4 extended. Simple question, right?
Unfortunately NOT. I contacted Adobe Support asking my relatively simple question and promptly got the standard answer you get from someone who obviously only read, oh, like every 3rd word or so. "Hmm, let me see, has Photoshop and wants to upgrade. Hey, I can answer that. Dear customer...blah blah blah...go to and click on upgrade. There you will find your answer."
OK, the first time, I send an answer back thanking them for their answer, but they didn't give me what I asked for. So then I get almost the same answer, only longer and more patronizing (they actually repeated what I asked and STILL gave me the same answer--"Thank you for being a valued customer...blah blah blah...go to, Photoshop extended, upgrade options and there you will find the information."
GRRRR. On top of that, they closed the case again. So, I get ready to re-open and fire off another response (hey, this is fun). I was really tempted to get a screenshot to go along with my comment--maybe if I get the same answer again, I will :) I started by asking whoever will be answering this to actually read my question before responding.
Well, I guess I'll see in a couple of days if I get another answer-bot response and either call or just give up. I really didn't think this would be so difficult to answer and I was just curious because more and more of the cool tutorials on planetphotoshop use the extended version. Stay tuned...


New Template

Sunday, September 13, 2009

FINALLY finished the new blog template. I found a nice one here that looked like it didn't need to much customizing. Of course, it looked much easier than it actually turned out to be. Mainly because I didn't like some parts of it, like the advertisement section. Ok, I did like it, but I couldn't get the widget to work properly. Leaving comments on the creator's website didn't work either. I guess we should just be grateful someone does these for free and not expect them to support them as well .
Anyway, I ended up doing a table and sticking my little ads in there. I'm sure there is an easier way to do this, but I just wanted to get it done. I think it looks good (at least until I get tired of it and see something else I like).  Alrighty then, back to doing stuff I can actually blog about, like, oh, some Photoshop stuff perhaps...?


More Blog decisions

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A little while ago I went through this whole exercise of switching our web host to mobileMe and deciding on which blog service to use. Initially, it looked like iWeb would do it all, but I found that the blog part didn't do all I wanted, namely categories.
So I went back to blogger and linked my personal domain to my blogger site and just linked back to my iWeb site, where I keep my photos and digi-scrap layouts. You'd think I'd be happy now, right?
Wrong! Of course, I can't leave well enough alone and soon got picky about the theme of my blog. I didn't really like the ones that come with blogger, so I tried to find others. A couple of Twitterers I follow helped and I found some nice ones to use.
Ahhh, so when I say use, you might think go into your dashboard, load the XML file, save and all your stuff is there in the new layout, right? Wrong, again. The themes I found were converted from WordPress to be blogger compatible, but you still had to find a place to copy image and/or javascript files. Then you had to edit the xml file to fix the file references.
Having done all that, I saved the template and went to view the blog. Hmmm, looks like the widgets I had on there before didn't make it to this new layout. Drat! Well, I guess I'll have to add them back in. Ok, no problem, I can do that...hmmm this widget doesn't display the same way it did in the other theme, and, uh, now I only have one area where I can add widgets--don't really like that (sigh)
Ok, at this point I'm starting to get into complaining mode (or perhaps whining depending on how far into it I am). This is why I switched from a PC to a MAC--I got tired of taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r to do anything on the computer. I have that at work--I don't need it at home. Also, I found that as you get older, your attention span gets shorter: "geez, can't I just change the Theme and have everything work?" Yea, I know, whaa, whaa, stop whining already! Hey, it's my blog and I can vent!
So I started looking at WordPress, because I read an online survey (via a Twitter link) on what blog platform is used most and thought hey, that sounds easy enough, I'll try it...
So right away, I found out that with you can only use the themes they supply (groan) unless you use the client app with and host your own. Ok, I can deal with that, I can find one that I 'mostly' like and maybe change the colors... It's not like I don't know how to change the CSS, I don't want to if I don't have to.
Oh yea, I can't add my Amazon widget either, because it's an iFrame (nervous tick starting) and those are evil and not allowed on
I guess I'll go find my screaming pillow and practice a few colorful metaphors :)


The elusive CamelFrog

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I saw some cool animal compositions and thought I'd give it a try. I have some free Stock photos and found two that looked like they'd work for what I had in mind.
I think I got the overall alignment right, but I'm not quite happy with the transitions. I've tried clone stamping, smudging and patching followed by blending, but I'm still thinking I could do more. The green background is just so I can see better--I do have the CamelFrog on separate layers. Of course, I also have no idea what to do with it once I'm finished. Should I use it in a layout, create some appropriate background (CamelFrog environment--lush, yet dry :D)?
Anyone have any ideas?

Here it is without the background--still not quite there.


Mommy, can I have a Mac too?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We are a pretty geeky family, as evidenced, I think, by the ratio of people to computers in our house. We have wireless coverage all over the house and into the garage and the garden out back. We've had computers as early as PC's were available for the masses to purchase (and more or less affordable--which means you only had to take out a small loan).
Anyway, after much deliberation (well, maybe more of "I'm tired of fighting Vista, I wanna Mac") we both got Macs (see previous blogs) and have been very happy with them. For example, at work when I get in, I start up my PC (XP) and wait for the login stuff to come up. Meanwhile, I take the MapBook Pro out of my bag, plug in the power cable, open the lid , wait, oh about 2 seconds, and I'm ready to go.
Not so on the PC side. While I'm putting my bag away and get out my notebook, the login screen finally comes up. I log in and wait another 5 or so minutes for everything to load. But wait, that's not all, I also need to open Outlook to check mail and calendar--which takes another 5-7 minutes. One reason to sync my calendar with my iPhone is that, if I have any early meetings, at least I get a reminder, 'cause I I'd be sure to miss anything waiting Outlook.
So, what has all this to do with the title of this blog, you ask? Well, nothing, really, I just wanted to get that off my chest. :D
So, back to the computer count. There's the two Macs, then Nick has my old Dell Inspiron 8600 and Katie has Mark's (really) old Dell Inspiron 3700. Then we have the server. We had another (really really) old Dell desktop, but we finally retired that.
Both of our Kids have been using computers since they were about two. Nick, who is 9, is getting pretty good at looking for games online, so we have to make sure he doesn't start downloading a bunch of junk. We used the IE parental controls for a while, but it got to be such a hassle when we have to approve every single page that pops up (that means you Disney!!). So we told him to let us know when he downloads something so we can check it out.
Anyway, it's been a while since we've checked his laptop and it had gotten slower and slower and he kept complaining about it. Then today he kept getting popup windows in IE, which I thought we had turned off. So we took a look at it and found that we had another default search setting, toolbar, etc, which had probably attached themselves to the last downloads. So, I went into the control panel and uninstalled them. Then I downloaded and set up FireFox for him, which we like better anyway.
So, Nick is happy and starts to go to his favorite Lego site when he keeps getting popups (in FireFox) with Windows Internet Explorer in the title bar--huh? At this point we decided it was time to just wipe everything out and re-install XP. Wen I first gave him the laptop it had all my apps uninstalled, but still had some utilities from when I used it, so we figured we might as well start over. For him, this would be like (almost) getting a new laptop.
Except of course we had forgotten how long and painful this whole 'new PC setup from scratch' was. That one of the reasons we got Macs. Well, long story short--ha! Too late, I guess. It took just about the whole day to re-install and set up the OS and we're still not done installing all the apps again. Nick, of course, is complaining how he can't do anything because all the cool websites use flash and we haven't installed it yet. This is when he says "Mommy, can't you just buy me a Mac, too?" Believe me, Kid, if I had the extra cash, I'd love to avoid wasting a weekend plus to get your OC back to where you had it, just to have the next Windows Update/Patch mess something up again!


A day on the couch

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday started out as a normal day, except that Mark told me at the last minute that he was staying home to finish some work uninterrupted. So right away I’m rushing to get the kids and me out the door more or less on time.
Nick’s drop-off was first. We went to the school where the Lights-Camera-Action summer camp is held and, since there was just one adult for this trip, everybody got out to drop Nick off (even though it’s just in front of the door and takes only 2 minutes, I never leave Katie alone in the car. So, off we went inside. So far so good; I bend down to sign him in, I get up, turn to Nick to say good-bye and --whammo-- MY BACK IS OUT OF WHACK. No warning, no pop, no nothing.
So, I slink back into the car with Katie and manage to drop her off at Daycare. At least she’s getting old enough to unbuckle herself and climb out of the car without my having to lift her. I spent the rest of the day at work sitting in my chair without moving too much. Boy, was I glad when it was time to go home. I retired to the couch and stuck one of those heat-pillows on my lower back.
The next morning I woke up and did a fish-flop maneuver to try to get out of bed, which I managed to do, but the way I was slinking around, there was no way I would make it to work. So it was back to the couch with the laptop and everything else within reach and off to work (virtually speaking).
Man, it sure sucks getting old--one false move and you’re out of commission for a couple of days.


To Blogo or not to Blogo

I was trying to find an offline blog editor so I can create blogs while we commute to work and not connected to the internet. Mark found a product called ecto which looks like a nice basic editor, but had a few quirks which had to be configured. I did a google search for blog editor mac and found one called Blogo. So far, I like what I see. I downloaded a 21 day trial and set it up to work with my blogspot account, which it imported without problems. I can also add my twitter account. I'll try that next to see how good it works. I want to post this blog as my first test.


How to make a Sandbox in a day (and a half)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

With the weather as great as it was for the 4th of July holiday, we wanted to spend some time outside this year. That and trying to get the kids away from the computers, DSs, Vtechs, Leapsters, etc. So, of course, there had to be something to do outside, or we’d never hear the end of “I’m sooooo bored, what can we do,” etc. etc.
We figured we could whip up a sandbox in a day--how hard can it be? Actually, not very, it turns out. Better yet, when we added on to the house a few years back, I elected to dismantle the old deck (instead of letting the contractor demolish it). All that wood was just in a pile next to the toolshed. So in the spirit of “we better use it or throw it out”, which we adopted this year, we went through it all and found enough material to build the box--all that was left to buy was the boards for the seat and the sand of course.

With a general idea--and I mean general, as in “let’s make it about 5x7 feet, it’s just a box after all”, we measured (twice of course) and cut and deck-screwed (I had left-overs) the box together in just about a day. We dug down a bit to even the ground and put down some landscape-fabric to keep the weeds out, and put the box in place. Then we added the sand. We had to get bags--all the other places that had sand on bulk were closed for the holiday--the nerve of these people :)
When I say ‘we added the sand’ it sounds pretty easy, right? Well, it is, except for the schlepping 40 bags of 50 lbs sand from the truck to the sandbox! Good exercise though.
So we finished about a half hour before it got dark and the kids got to play in it for a bit before we covered it up with a tarp. We’ll have to build a cover next, ‘cause we don’t plan to provide a nice kitty-outhouse for the neighborhood.
Even though the kids went to bed around 10 that night, they were still up early the next morning to get back in the box. It only took us about an hour or so to add the seat. I’ll still have to do some sanding around the edges, but it’s pretty much done and looks mahhvellous, if I do say so myself.


Time for a quick tutorial

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It’s Saturday and that usually means cleanup time -- blech. But all work and no know? So, in-between laundry and dishes I took some time to work on a cool movie-poster tutorial from the NAPP site ( - accessible for NAPP members) which turns a picture (preferably with a kung-fu pose) into a movie poster. The tutorial used a stock image, but I had just taken a picture of Nick a couple of weeks ago that I thought was perfect. I even thought of a way to finish the project faster than the tutorial by using a brush for the sunburst in the background rather than creating it from scratch, so it took only about 20 minutes. I think it came out quite well, so I uploaded it to my Scrapbook album.


The pros and cons of Blog Apps

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So, since I switched from the PC to the MAC world, I decided to give iWeb a try--hey it comes with the laptop, so no new purchase necessary. The only drawback to using iWeb for your blog (and this is a pretty big one, i think) is that you can’t organize your ramblings (and let’s face it--most blogs are, mine included, just the musings of one individual’s view of things) into categories like home, work, tips, family, travel, etc.

Also, there are the included templates. At first glance it appears as though there are quite a few, however I found myself rapidly switching through the themes and never quite finding the right one. Ok, I thought, I’ll make my own--how hard can it be?

Fast forward several hours of surfing the various resources. I’ll start with the Apple forum; hmmm, lots of unanswered questions here including the one I have. On to google and the tons of links my search parameter brings forth (does someone offer a class on how to keep your search parameters short and to the point?). Not too many free iWeb templates out there--really only one or two I could find. And I’m talking templates that do not resemble fuzzy bunnies, bears, or otherwise whimsical subjects. I also found a few how-to’s, but really those were just the type where you copy an existing theme file, changing, perhaps the colors or images, and rename the proper references.

But what if I don’t like the base font, or the position of the pictures, or the types of picture frames for my Theme? Well, I found some references for that, but it involved editing the xml and css files, and altough I could do that, the point it that I don’t want to do that kind of stuff at home! I do enough of that at work and just want to use my computer and software and not repair, update and modify--hey, that’s one of the main reasons I switched from a PC to a MAC for crying out loud!

I am now using one of the free templates from Jumsoft after I purchased one that looked good in their demo; it was using categories and tags on the blog page, which turned out to be the demo for the RapidWeaver and not the iWeb template. I sent an email to the vendor after that discovery, but haven’t heard anything yet. Oh well, there goes $12.95 for a pretty basic (lame) template I might not use.

I did check out the RapidWeaver trial and it was fairly easy to use (not as easy as iWeb though). Given I bit more time to play around and getting used to the menus and ways of doing things, I’m sure after a period of time I’d be comfortable with it; except that the trial version only lets you save 3 (THREE) pages, which doesn’t make for any decent test in my book. I much prefer a time-limited trial over a crippled version.

So here’s my conclusion. At this time, I’m just too busy (lazy) to put my stuff (such as it is) into yet another app. I know, it’s not really that much, but since there’s no easy import, I’m getting tired of my own blog content (gasp). I decided to stick with iWeb and hope that we users can make enough noise to have the category/tag feature (among other things) in the next version--or a patch perhaps? </wishful thinking>


Ahhh, technology

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wow, I just noticed that is has been a while since I added something to the blog, so here goes.
Well, it's Saturday and that means cleanup time in our house, since we both work and by the time we get home from work, had dinner, got the kids to bed, etc. we're usually too pooped to do much in the way of housework. Ok, except for maybe the dishes--we gotta eat, ya know; and that, of course, requires clean dishes, silverware, etc.
Anyway, back to Saturday. As I'm cleaning the kitchen and as I pick up stuff and toss it into the trash, it reminds me that I really should take out the trash, 'cause the can is kinda full and it IS getting a bit stinky! Which also reminds me that I saw an ad from Costco for one of those tall metal trashcans that open and close when you wave your hand in front of it and I really wanted to check it out next time I went to Costco; but, of course, last time I was in there I was, as usual, in a hurry to just get what I need and get back home (I normally get to shopping after work, which is around 6:30 PM!).
Anyway, long story short (ha, too late I think), as I was telling my son Nick about the trashcan, his eyes get really wide and he says "Wow, Mom, technology is great, isn't it?"
I had to laugh at that and thought, hey, I should really write this stuff down; I'm always trying to remember some cute, funny, interesting thing one of the kids is uttering, which might lend itself to a blog entry or even a nice scrapbook layout. But by the time I get ready to do those things, I usually can't think of one (geez, I must be getting old), which brings me back to today's blog entry. Wow I managed to tie that all in, didn't I? :)


Saturday @ Home

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Wow, we didn't have anything planned for this weekend! Usually, there is at least some birthday, cubscout event, or something else going on. And, to top it off, the sun was out, which doesn't happen too often on weekends here in Washington after all! So, we went outside and the kids did some swinging and digging and then they found an old plastic basketball hoop stand which we bought for Nick when he was 2 or 3. After a few hoops (more or less), Nick started coughing again and I started to get a headache--darn allergies! Well, back inside, where Katie decided that it was Mommy Pig's Birthday and she proceded to organize a tea-party.
Invited guests included Max and Ruby, Blue, Magenta and Marlin--not Nemo, since this particular fish does not have the lucky fin.


Good Weekend

Sunday, May 3, 2009

We bought a MacBook Pro for Mark this weekend (same one I have). I'd been raving about mine since I bought it last November, when I finally made the switch after years of complaining about my PC. Not that I'm a noob at PCs--I've been working with them for a long time--my first computer was a TRS-80 :)
I use PCs at work and when I come home I'd like to do something fun, like edit my photos, update my blog, twitter, play in photoshop. What I DONT want to do is figure out why the latest update or service pack screwed up one or more of my programs.
Since our lease for our two laptops was up and we weren't having a good experience with the leasing company, we figured that, since we had to pay a certain amount to pay of the lease, we may as well put the money into something better and send the laptops back from whence they came.
It took less than two days for Mark to get all his stuff transferred and the MacBook pro set up--sweet!


Moving In

Thursday, April 30, 2009

OK, now I have to get my old blogs into this one (not that there's that many), but I'd like to have everything in once place. Initial search indicates that this may not be an easy process--probably some copy/paste action will be required.


Off I go...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Since having sooo many problems with our current Web Hosting Service, I thought I'd give this a try. Now, if I can just remember to post regularly and keep track of my facebook and twitter stuff...


On the other hand...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Unlike the battle with Adobe, the experience I had with Corel was very refreshing. I was bracing myself for a lengthy email chain explaining, as I had for PhotoShop, that I purchased the software (Painter Essentials) when I owned a PC, now I have a MAC and would they have a cross-platform upgrade and how much, and so on...
A day after I sent the email, I got an answer telling me that I just needed to log into my account, find my order record and download the MAC version, since the purchase covered both MAC and PC. How's that for customer service?


Where's my Software?!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Well, so far I have not experienced any of the problems I had with my old Vista Laptop, except for one thing!
What should have been a fairly simple process has now taken a month and is not yet resolved! Before switching to the MAC OS, I contacted Adobe Customer Support to find out if I would need to purchase a new copy of Photoshop for MAC. I was told that, no this was not necessary. All I needed to do was request a cross-platform swap, sign a Software destruction agreement and pay for shipping--simple, right?
It has now taken over a MONTH of emailing and faxing a "Software Destruction" agreement, whereby I promise to get rid of my PC version so they can give me the MAC version. No problem, I thought, I can do that. Unfortunately it seemed to be more difficult to fax and/or email this blasted document. Every time I thought I had it, I got a confirmation email that something was submitted, I waited and waited and got nothing. I'd then call Tech Support and, after telling my tale all over again, was told that they received it and are processing it.
So, I'd wait and when nothing happened I'd send another email. After a confirmation email I got another email telling me they DIDN'T receive the document and I would have to send it again! Aargh!!
This went on for over a month. I send another 2 emails--this time pretty curt--asking them what the $%^ was going on and how many times do I have to send the darn document and where the &^%& is my software!
Then, FINALLY, I got home after work and there was a little package at the door with my long awaited software--geez, I'd just about given up on it.
Anyway, all is well. CS4 is installed on my MAC and working very well. I haven't noticed ANY of the problems I'd had on my old pc! YEAH!

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