Saturday, December 31, 2005

Just Taking a Moment


 I just want to take a Moment and Wish all of the Wonderful People here in J-land a Happy New Year.

And I want to offer you the gift of the words to one of my favorite songs. I think that it is very appropriate for this day as we take a moment and look back at what this year brought us and forward to what the new one will bring.

Song: Seasons Of Love Lyrics

525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes - how do you measure,
measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In
inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In 525,600 minutes - how do you
measure a year in the life?
How about love? How about love? How about love? Measure in love. Seasons of

525,600 minutes! 525,000 journeys to plan. 525,600 minutes - how can you measure
the life of a woman or man?

In truths that she learned, or in times that he cried. In bridges he burned, or
the way that she died.

It’s time now to sing out, tho the story never ends let's celebrate remember a year in the life of friends. Remember
the love! Remember the love! Remember
the love! Measure in love. Seasons of love! Seasons of love.

Wishing you Seasons of Love for the next year... Because, really, isn't that what it is all about?




Tagged by Promise

I've been tagged by Promise to tell 5 weird things about myself.... Only 5? Hmmm... this might be difficult narrowing it down to only 5 ;p

O.K., Here are the meme 'rules' in case anyone else wants to play along:

These are the rules of the game: The first player chose a topic. In this case, the topic is FIVE WEIRD HABITS OF YOURS. You must then write a journal entry listing those weirdnesses you possess~as well as the rules of the game. Then, you select FIVE PEOPLE TO TAG and link their names/blogs in your entry. Go to their journals and leave a comment informing them they have been tagged by you and to read your journal to see in what way they have been nailed! Those five then MUST (note that I insist upon it!) write an entry listing their weird habits and tag an additional five people.

1. One of my favorite foods of all time is called "Peanutbuttersyrupandbutter". Want the recipe? Well, you take a small plate and you put a good sized pat of butter on it. On top of that put a large dollop of peanut butter (smooth is best). Next, smother this all in Karo White Corn Syrup. Now, take a knife and mix it all up till smooth. Best eaten as an 'open face' sandwich on white bread. Better yet, tear off strips of the bread and 'scoop' up globs of it to eat. Yep, weird, but isn't that what we were trying for???

2. If we go to the movies I MUST get there in time to see the previews, or at the very least the ABSOLUTE beginning of the movie. If I miss even the first 5 minutes I just can't stand to watch the movie. Oh, and this applies to movies at home too. I have to watch them from the beginning.

3. When I play a video game I like to complete every little thing. I don't like thinking I missed something. I usually buy the clue book so that I know every little 'extra' I can do.

4. When I am working I like to finish one task, clean up my area, then start the next task. While I can actually do several things before cleaning up/straightening up, I am not comfortable if I can't put all of my tools, etc back where they belong before I leave at the end of the day at the very least.

5. When trying to figure out how to do something (i.e. make something happen with my blogger template, do something with a photo in a graphics program, or get a certain 'look' when taking a photo) I will often obsess and spend way too many hours just 'trying one more thing' to see if I can get just the 'look' I am trying for.

The last thing I am supposed to do is to 'tag' 5 more people to do this. Since this has been floating around for a little while in our community while I was procrastinating doing it, I am not sure who hasn't been tagged yet. So, I'm going to leave it up to you guys to tag yourselves. If you haven't done this yet, leave a comment and consider yourself tagged!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Always a New Adventure!

I sat down today to redo the template of my blog for a 'Happy New Year' Theme. For anyone who plays with their templates, and has switched them out for something new, will probably feel my pain!

For those who haven't done this.... let me explain just what it entails! I do most of my 'experimenting' in my Test blog that I have set up.

First, for me, it meant finding a tiling background image. I found one I liked, but when I typed on it the words were a little difficult to read. Since I didn't want to give my readers eyestrain, I set out to figure out something else! My solution was to make my background be the pattern, and make the header, content, and sidebar have a black background on top of it. Since I didn't want to start entirely from scratch, I went to the blogger free templates and found a basic black one. This would save me from having to go thru and change the color of every link/header/etc to a color that can be read on black.

The first step was simple..... change the background to my tiling one. Then it started to get interesting. There were 3 separate places I needed to 'add' a black background to so I could see/read my blog... but, it wasn't over yet!

I did NOT like the fact that my words bumped right up against the edge of the black.... ::sigh:: time to figure out how margins work. A quick trip over to a CSS tutorial revealed that margins can be set with 1 to 4 numbers. And, of course, the number I needed to be concerned with was the last one! Going thru and changing these margins (often having to ADD the command), and testing each time before saving was time consuming, but not insurmountable. Things were starting to look the way I wanted... So, now we move on to the Sidebar!

Just a heads up to anyone who hasn't changed out a template.... when you put the new one in everything you've added to the sidebar/header goes bye-bye! I find the easiest thing to do is bring up your 'real' journal in one tab of Firefox, and the test one in another. Now, switching back and forth you can copy/paste the old info from your sidebar into the new template easily. After you paste each item, check it, and if it looks o.k., save it and go on to the next item. Trust me... you do NOT want to do several items only to make a mistake and have to start over with item #1!!! If you don't have a 'test' blog, you will need to copy your old template before you start and have it in a notepad document so it will be handy to cut/paste from.

Once you have all of your changes in place, republish your test journal and take a look... If everything looks good, do a copy of the code and paste it into a notepad file and save it with a name that you will remember. Now open up your 'real' blog and save THAT template (just in case you want to go back to it... or you missed copying some item!). You are almost to the last step now... or so you think! Copy the new code into your template space, click on preview, and take a look... If all appears well, click on the Save button and republish.

Now for the interesting thing.... Once your code 'goes wild' (i.e. is actually published) be sure and view your blog. Often something will be not quite right. Somehow my comment count got messed up.... I had to search my code and discover why... Turned out to be a spot where somehow the code got broken into two rows in a bad spot. A quick backspace to bring the code back together and I was golden!!

As a quick sidenote, I was also able to locate what was causing my blog to look 'odd' in AOL. My sidebar had been dropping down below the first column. In looking at some posts while changing things around, I discovered I had copied a long link someone had sent me in an email into a post. The link was causing my left column to be too wide for AOL. I quickly went into edit html, changed the link to a 'click here' type and viola! sidebar returns to the top of my page! HTML & CSS can be fussy... you have to 'dot every i and cross every t' if you want it to work correctly!

I'm really enjoying the freedom of expression that we have over here. Lots of interesting things to try! If you have any questions about how I did something, just ask! That's what a community if for... We help each other out!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

My Christmas Card for You!

Picture from Hometown

I was at the zoo on Friday to pick up G and since I had a little while before he was ready to leave, I took my camera and went for a walk thru the zoo. As I turned a corner, I was met by a lady leading this baby Llama around. This is NOT a retouched photo. He was happily wearing a little Santa hat as he and his handler wandered around the zoo greeting visitors.

So, with his help, I would like to wish all of my readers a Happy Holiday!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Looking for Santa?


Tomorrow is the big day! So, if you want to check Santa's progress, pop over to: NORAD Traks Santa 2005

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Celebrations of Light and Hope

This is a repeat of an entry that I made last year in my AOL Journal on this day. It still says what I want to remember about this time of year, so I'm doing a 'reprint' The only change is that G. is off for Christmas Day this year, but we are still celebrating our family get together at my brother's on Christmas Eve as this year it's his wife has to work Christmas day.

PreviewToday is the shortest day of the year... and the longest night. It is the first day of Winter. It is the celebration of Yule. It is an acknowledgement of Hope. That Light and Warmth and other good things will always return after the darkness. It is the day that G. and I celebrate as our personal Winter Holiday. In ancient times, this was the festival of the rebirth of the new god and a promise that after today the days would get longer, the nights would get shorter, and warmth and Spring WOULD come.

Yes, secularly we, like so many others, celebrate Christmas. In the United States, Christmas is no longer just a religious holiday. With the gift giving, and Santa, and the decorations... Christmas has become more, and less, than what was originally intended. Everyone takes the pieces and parts of the holiday that works for them. Some embrace the religious parts, and try to ignore how secular it has become... others embrace the secular with it's parties, lights, Santa, and presents and ignore any religious beginnings of the holiday. But, at it's heart, it is still a Winter Holiday.. A celebration of Hope. And every religion/belief system seems to have a celebration of some type that embraces this.

I grew up in the States, and therefore my memories of a Winter Holiday include all of the above. And Christmas itself is as much a melting pot as the United States itself. The Christmas tree is German, and Santa is the culmination of a blend of traditions from many countries. Mistletoe? Druid. Christmas Cards? England. You see what I mean. G. and I will be celebrating with my brother and his family on Christmas Eve at his house. That's the day we all have off together. Christmas Day G. is working so a co-worker can be home with his small children for the Santa Claus ritual .

I think what I'm trying to say is that it doesn't Previewmatter who you are, or what your core beliefs are... There is a place in the Winter Holidays for all. But, please, take a moment this season, whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Chanukah, Yule, or Christmas, to remember that the REAL reason for all of these celebrations is to celebrate HOPE in all of its forms

graphics by useless graphics

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Twisted Holiday

Hmmmm... What do I have for you today?? A couple of slightly twisted Holiday Games!

This first game was sent to me by Maryanne over at My Feelings are Real. She sent me an e-mail asking me if I had seen this one, and I hadn't. So Thank You Maryanne! This game is very simple. Click your mouse button and the little penguin jumps... Click it again and the Abomidable Snowman swings his club and sends the little penguin flying. Your score is based on how far the little penguin flies! Hit him too soon and he flies too high and nose dives into the snow, hit him too late and he doesn't go very far... But, hit him just right and he skips across the snow like a rock on a lake and you get a good score!! (My High Score was: 320.5) Strangely enough the penguin seems to enjoy the whole thing! ROFL! Click the link to go there: Penguin & Yeti

The second game is one I found last year, and when I checked it was still there. It is actually an advertisement for the National Christmas Tree Assoc, but is cute none the less! Your mission is to throw snowballs and take out the evil mutated Artificial Christmas Trees and SAVE CHRISTMAS! Click the link to go there: Attack of the Mutant Artificial Trees


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A present from Vivian!

I received the nicest e-mail from Vivian today! Seems she found two things that she thought would be nice shared over here in my little piece of the internet.

Vivian says:
I wanted to share these two with you. I enjoy coming to your blogs so much to see the wonderful things you share...I thought I'd share these with you if you haven't already seen them. I'd rather see them in your place than post them in mine....would you mind sharing them on your blog?


The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,

I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.
Sleep without fear as you turn out your lights."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of this line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one has asked or begged or implored me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembered."

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam,'
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue ... an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you some money, prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.


So, Thank you Vivian! And, if you haven't already, you should definitely go over to Nwanyioma's bSpot and check her out!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I think we are up to Present #6

What have I got for you today? Well, it is a little 'Graphic Adventure'! If you have ever played Myst or one of it's sequels on your computer, it will seem familiar, if not.... Well, you just have to click on everything and use your imagination. Some things only work if they are done in a certain order, other things won't even offer up an option until you have completed another task. It's easier than it sounds, and I completed it in about an hour. It is called Samorost 2, and if you read my AOL Journal, it will look familiar, as I found and shared the first Samorost about this time last year. If you get stuck, just e-mail me or comment here and I'll try to help you out!

If you liked those two, then try Quest for the Rest and Balloon Head

And for something a little different.... Zoom isn't a game as much as it is interactive art... But it is still pretty cool for all of that

Hope this gives you something to do while waiting for Santa! All of today's links/games are kid friendly!

graphics from: Useless Graphics

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Today's Present!

Jennifer(RepublicanJen) has started a webring ! This is really cool. You sign up HERE. This Webring is composed of people who used to (or still have) AOL Journals, and now have other Blogs out in the wide open Blogosphere. Once you sign up it will take about 24 hours and you will receive an e-mail saying that you are a member...

This is a great thing. Go and sign up. You will be given a set of code to put in your journal. Put it where ever you want. I've seen it in the sidebar, along the top and even in the footer. It will give you several choices. Try just hitting Random and see where it takes you! Jennifer even has a graphic for the webring if you would like!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Number 4

I found this link just as wrong..... AND just as fun as last year

So, Go Ahead... Click on Santa... You know you want to!

Graphic from Useless Graphics

Friday, December 02, 2005

Second Holiday Gift

Today is the second day of December... and also my second Gift to you.

Notice the Banner at the top of my page? It will change each night at midnight ... Counting down the days till Santa comes.

Want one? Click on the banner at the top, or on either of the banners in this entry, and you will be taken you to a page to get your own. There are many designs to choose from. Something for everyone! I had a hard time choosing. I also liked these two.


But ultimately had to go with the Arabian horses.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

My First Holiday Gift to You

On the First Day of December, Astaryth gave to me ......

Alright, don't be expecting a present every day this month... but, I'll try to find you a few things to keep you distracted from all the stress of the Season.

Today I bring you a cute little game called:

Actually, it is Santa Balls 2. Santa Balls, the first edition was a little like the game Sweet Tooth over at, but with an added little caveat called Ball Juggling. When you get stuck you have the option of 'juggling' the balls, which are actually Christmas ornaments. Version #2 adds a little twist to the whole thing, more directions and bouncier balls! Click on the graphic and pop over and give it a try. I wasted quite a chunk of time with it.

And, after you spend waaaay more time playing this than you can afford.... well..... Your Welcome... Bwahahahahaha!

Update: Graphic by Me!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Learning as we go...

Looky, looky... I figured out how to change the background of my Blog! Now I can decorate for different seasons... or moods ;)

I've also figured out how to change the width of my columns,
and the overall width of my journal. I didn't like how narrow it
was before. This seems more balanced.

Update: Notice the change of colors? Looks much nicer with my background, don't you think? Once you know what you are looking for, the templates aren't that bad to revamp... Maybe I'll try one from scratch eventually ;p

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Monkeying Around

I've been meaning to post some of my more recent zoo pictures, but just haven't had the time to do the little bit of photoshopping (is that a word?) needed to get them into an entry. Not that I do all that much to them. Basically I do a crop, some kind of framing/feathering, pop on a drop shadow and I'm done. Still it takes time... time I haven't had this week. These pictures are not from my most recent trip (those haven't even made it to the hard drive yet), but from a visit I made a few weeks ago. I hope you enjoy them.

So what have I been doing with my time? Basically trying to reorganize my life. At least it feels that way. So many of my AOL friends have moved their blogs, or gone private, left, come back....It just makes my head spin thinking about it! To keep up I've had to figure out Bloglines,which turned out to be one of the bright spots in all of this mess... Lovin' Bloglines. If any of you aren't using it, I recommend it. If you are having problems. Drop me a line. I wrote 2 tutorials to help out a couple of friends and I saved them so they are easy to pass on. One is on setting up your feeds originally, the other is reading your feed once they are up and running.

The other time suckers have been the AOL Journal message board and let's not forget taking a couple of minutes each day to drop the 'protest' e-mail to the address we have been given.
I'm ready for life to settle back down, but I don't see that happening in the near future

O.K. let's get back to the pics. The little guy you see here is a young Colobus. He is one of the Black and White variety and cute as a button. They are born white. After about a month they start to change colors. I actually have a picture of him from my old camera when he was white. But he was being held by mom, and by the time I cropped and blew it up the quality just wasn't so acceptable. Next time there's a baby, I'll be ready!

I love that my new camera does 'burst mode'. This means I set up a shot and can take several frames very quickly. This gives me the capability of catching this little guy 'flying' thru the air! The picture at the top of the page is one that took me a couple of times to catch just right. He would run up thru the grass jump on that log/support and then push himself off backwards and into the air to again land in the grass. Too Cute!

The picture to the left is of the little guy 'play attacking' one of the older Colobus'. I believe that is his mother, but I'm not sure because ALL of the adults allow him to pretty much get away with murder. He appears to be VERY spoiled!

The picture to the right here is a prime example of how spoiled he is. If you look the 'rope' he is swinging on it is an adult Colobus' tail!!

Want to know a little bit more about Colobus'? Click on this link and go to the African Wildlife Foundation. They have a very nice page about them.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Making Myself at Home

Well, I am starting to make myself at home here. It is kind of nice to be able to edit the template of my blog to have what I want there. Hmmmm.... maybe this will be the push I needed to relearn HTML and to learn CSS. I used to play with HTML back in the early days, but I'm sure I have both forgotten a lot and there has been a lot of new options/codes added.

If you look to the right hand column of this blog you will see I haven't completely forgotten how to write simple code as I have added a Copyright notice and a blog listing to my sidebar. Actually the blog listing was supposed to be web links. I copied the code into my template, then changed the title and disabled the links that came with it till I have a chance to replace them with links to other blogs. Trying to do something like this? E-mail me and we'll try to work it out for you!

Well, now that I have that link for blogs in my sidebar I suppose I'm going to have to go out and collect all of my friends new blog addresses and sort out who has a new place and who can still be found at their old AOL journals. Well, I guess that is what weekends are for.
One of the hardest things is to remember to call this a blog now and not a Journal .

I guess the next thing to try is putting a picture in here... here goes... A little dose of cuteness for you... if it works!

Well, That seemed to work just fine . O.K.... we are getting the hang of things over here now!

Things are starting to look up now that I am getting things figured out and set up the way I want. I'm still having issues commenting on some of the blogger blogs, so if you haven't heard from me, that doesn't mean I haven't found you... I just am having issues!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Another AOL Refugee

One day I came home from work and sat down at my computer. I turned it on an clicked on the message boards and found...... CHAOS!

Ads? What Ads? What is everyone talking about??? Quickly I clicked on the icon to bring up my journal and an Advertising Banner was plastered across the top of my journal! Now, if this was a free service, I would have said, "Hmmmm.... well, we all have to support ourselves and I am getting this service for free...." But, that wasn't the way of it. I was Paying these people to allow me the privilege of posting a journal. Paying! Was I receiving revenue from these ads? NO! Was I allowed to pick who I would promote with my pictures and words? NO!

So, feeling that I had to make some kind of stand, I refused to post any entries to my journal while it was being defaced in such a way. But, how was I to stay in contact with all of my friends??? Well, it seems that many of them have jumped ship and landed over here... so, I thought I would join them. At least for a while. If I like it here, I'll stay. If not, I'll find something else... but, bottom line... I WILL still have a journal. So there AOL :P