Technology….can you not make me feel so stupid?

There used to be a time when the computer world was a simpler place…a kinder place. A place where PC screens were black and mono-type letters were green. There was a time when coding was simple. Each line of code was transferred to punch cards. One line for one card. The cards were fed into a mainframe computer and, wallah, your program was created. If the program didn’t complete you could tell on the printout what punch card line of code caused the error because that would be where the program stopped. Fortran, oh how I miss you. You were a simple language and I got you. I was 16 and probably the last kid in high school the teachers and vice president, Ms. Willie, thought would ever be in a data processing class. It was the one class I didn’t skip.

Let me put it to you this way….most days, if I was in school, I was in Ms. Willie’s office because of an unexcused absence in one or more classes the day before. But my data processing class?? I loved it.

punch card

Ahh…the ole punch card.

Fast forward 29 years. In computer advancement that is 290,000 years. When I worked at Texas Instruments several years ago I created my department’s website. I wrote html (it’s very simple folks). There wasn’t Wix in those days. I wrote Java; dabbled in a bit of Perl. I coded. I was decent. In a nutshell, I may not have known everything about programming but I could figure out what I needed to know.

Punch cards found a second life for awhile.

Punch cards found a second life for awhile.

Today, a nutshell does you no good. And why on earth did I not pursue programming as a career choice? Other stoners of the 70’s did and made a lot of money. Steve Jobs. Steve Wozniak.

stick cryingWhich brings me to the point of this post. I had the bright idea of moving my blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. Is there a difference you ask? Yes. Yes there is and I want to be on the .org bus. Using .com is easy peasy. Like with most tasks computer related these days we can be as ignorant as a bug. It’s all done for us. But I welcomed the challenge and excitedly went to the .org website and clicked on the download button. And my hell began.

There are two choices:

1.)  You can use it like .com. Create all your posts on your live server and publish immediately. But!

  • What if you want to test out background themes….all the pretty stuff.
  • What about widgets and plugins….all the useful stuff.
  • What about columns and categories….all the organizational stuff.

If you explore all these things you must publish your site to see how the additions and changes work. If you don’t like it or it doesn’t work then you go back to the drawing board. The only thing is everyone else sees these changes too if they’re keeping up with you and it gives your site the appearance of inconsistency, looks disorganized, and you might have parts of your site not working. That’s where….

2.) creating a behind-the-scenes platform comes into play. It is the preferred choice of programmers. I thought I could squeak by as a programmer.

Option 2 requires:

  • transferring my domain name. Buying space with a new hosting company
  • downloading a WAMP server to run the WordPress.org software
  • installing/upgrading C++, C++#$%^@* coding software on my computer
  • access to my cPanel
  • creating an FTP account
  • downloading a program to run said FTP account
  • setup phpmyadim
  • setup my sql
  • creating a database
  • creating a migration database
  • setup ability to use localhost
  • uploading, downloading, migrating, creating and keeping up with more usernames and passwords than the law should allow

With Option 2 you’re working with the same WordPress software so to speak except you get to do everything you want and see how it works before you migrate it over to your live website. Option 2 requires you to get into some files and make changes. You have to program. And you had better keep track of what you do because there aint no deck of punch cards or printout to show you where you screwed up.

Note to all who post instructional videos on YouTube:

PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS IMPORTANT IN THIS UNIVERSE, REHEARSE FIRST, CHECK YOUR LIGHTING AND FOCUS, PUT THE DOG OUT, PUT THE CAT IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM, TAPE YOUR VIDEO WHEN THE BABY IS SLEEPING, CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR, AND FOR GOD’S SAKE TURN OFF YOUR PHONE. AND STOP SAYING THE WORD ‘LIKE’ SO DAMN MUCH.

Whew, like, I feel better.

stick slaying computerOkay, back on task. My first post using Option 2 is about the Bassmaster Classic fishing tournament that was held in my ‘hood this past weekend. It’s a great post, full of clever and witty dialogue, photos, and my first ever video clip…which in itself was a chore because I had to learn how to increase my file space capacity. Yep, I changed the program. I wrote it on my localhost working platform. I found a wonderful, logically organized, clear pics, website to help me with the final migration from my localhost to my live site. No transferring errors….no popups saying WTF did you do. But when I went to my live site to look at this fantastic blog entry it was not all there. Half of it did not transfer.

To complete my personal breakdown I went back to my localhost and could not access my working copy. As far as I know the migration is more like a copy than a cut/paste situation. I’m hoping this is the case. As of right now most of my witty and clever dialogue is gone…gone to who the heck knows where. I don’t know what I did. Don’t even know where to look. And because it’s programming, I’m fearful of making any changes suggested by people who don’t know how to produce a decent YouTube video.

What to do? First, I posted what happened in the Comments section of the website I used to make the migration. I was pleasant and did not use any cuss words so I’m hoping they will respond. Second, we have a neighborhood online site called NextDoor where people post anything from asking for a good plumber, to traffic situations, to looking for Fluffy who snuck out of the back yard. I’m going to ask if anyone has a teenager who knows programming and has a blog and can they help me out of the mess I’m in. I betcha I’ll get a few names. Do you?!

In closing, one of many lessons learned is to write my copy in Word and save the doc. Clever and witty comes in spurts in my mind and I have to strike when the iron is hot. Another is to have a neighborhood brainiac kid on speed dial.

This post is being written using Option 1. I may have to own up to the fact that technology is on the Bullet Train and I don’t have a seat.

Thanks for reading!

stick with cocktail

One last thing….If you are a programmer and want to pick apart my usage of computer related terms feel free man. You just show me your YouTube videos and I’ll decide if I want to care or not.

 

Disclaimer: I have no first-hand knowledge the two Steves were stoners. It was the 70’s. That’s all I’m sayin’…

Spring….don’t you toy with me

We are enjoying beautiful end-of-winter weather here in northeast Oklahoma. I mean shed your jackets and long sleeve shirts kind of weather. It was 66 degrees yesterday and I’m tellin’ ya, it felt so warm. Has Spring come early?? My answer is: I won’t hold my breath. I’ve seen too many cold spells arrive at the end of March and even in April to announce: Spring Is Here!!!

But you wouldn’t know it from a trip to Lowe’s yesterday.

trees
Whitebud and redbud trees, native to Oklahoma are blooming all over the place. You know what that means don’t you? I’m guessing you do not so I’ll tell you. The white bass are running! According to my husband.

 

bulbs
Springtime means get your bulbs and fruit bushes in the ground! Unless of course we have a Spring freeze. Then you may have wasted some cash.

 

daffodils
Ahh….daffodils. A sure sign Spring has sprung, right? This is a good time to comment on my photography from yesterday. When we have unseasonably warm weather it means one thing….a southern wind is blowing hard. I mean whip-the-life-out-of-you hard. The fact that you can even tell these are flowers, much less daffodils, is pretty amazing as they were blowing all over the place.

 

herb stands
Soon these shelves will be packed with all kinds of herbs, all varieties of tomatoes, ditto with hot peppers, squash, bells, the usual suspects. I will be buying any number of the above mentioned vegetables for our garden. I always do. I always say, “This year I’ll do good. Our garden will be lush with green plants bursting with colorful fruit.” It starts out well enough. Then the spider mites attack. I don’t know what it is. Those suckers refuse to die. No doubt there will be a future post dedicated to my warfare with these unruly arachnids.

 

mowers
Lastly, gotta include lawn mowers as a sure sign of Spring. Another slightly blurry photo. The mowers weren’t moving around. I was. My camera was. With the wind, I could not have stood still if my life depended on it. Well, maybe the mowers were moving now that I think about it.

So Mother Nature….don’t you toy with me lady. The humans have voted. We want Spring even if it means near tornadic winds. Please do not let winter come back until it’s supposed to. Like December.

 

Beauty in New Mexico

The original post date for this entry was December 04, 2015. My bright idea to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org resulted in my most recent posts not transferring. After hours of thinking I could wear a programmer hat produced nothing but cuss words and the realization the high tech world is passing me by, I was forced to go old school and re-post manually. Without further adieu…here is Beauty in New Mexico, republished.

When my dad was in the hospital between September and October I made several trips to southern New Mexico….Alamogordo….home of the first atomic bomb test….White Sands National Monument….and killer sunrises and sunsets. It’s a long drive from northeast Oklahoma. 10 hours with a radar detector.

I don’t know about your neck of the woods but in these parts there are long stretches of….I was going to say, “nothing.” But that’s not true. There is such beauty in the west Texas plains and the New Mexico desert. I put my life in jeopardy talking many photos while driving. The use of a radar detector means one thing….ya don’t drive the speed limit. One day I’ll post those pics but this post is about a single house near San Patricio, New Mexico. I’ve driven by it for years and never stopped. Until I did.

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A true blue adobe house. Abandoned long ago. Mere feet from the road.

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It’s beautiful.

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I’m standing at the guardrail taking this photo.

While snapping pictures playing professional photographer a truck pulled up and parked in a clearing just out of the picture to the right. An older lady got out and I’m waiting for her to ask me just what the heck am I doing on her property. We starting chatting, she telling me that she’s lived in the area all her life and this home has always been empty. When the highway was expanded several years ago it was mandated that no building older than 50 years could be torn down and sacrificed for the sake of two vehicle lanes. The expansion had to work around this old house. I would say it’s 15 feet from the road.

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I did think twice about going through the front door but I had finally stopped and took the time to marvel at her beauty. So I went in.

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In the house looking at the front door step.

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This plaster was nearly an inch thick. This distressed look is often copied around the southwest but it always looks fake. You just can’t beat the real thing even though I wouldn’t want it in my home for obvious reasons.

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There was a cellar. My balls weren’t that big. No way was I going to peer down the hole.

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Can you imaging waking up to this view out your back door? My photography doesn’t do it justice. The colors were much richer in real life.

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Crazy the juxtaposition. Desert out the back door and fertile pasture out the front door. I wonder….did they farm this pasture?

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Had to throw in a pic of my Camaro….because I don’t have it anymore. In a moment of being practical I traded it in for a Toyota Highlander a few weeks ago.

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Look at this old old clay brick. Based on my new friend’s age it has to be closing at least 100 years.

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It’s not unusual to see abandoned homes in the rural areas of the southwest. When I drive by I always wonder who lived there. Were they happy? Was a bride carried over the threshold? Were babies born there? Did they have a good life?

Now that my dad is gone I doubt I’ll ever drive by this house again. I’m so happy that I stopped when I did.

And, in yet another interaction with someone to remind me of how small this world can be and how we are all connected, the elderly woman who I chatted with stopped at this house to meet her daughter and pick up her grandchildren. They were then headed to Alamogordo, where I lived for a time and my dad was still there. After the weekend she was then headed to Amarillo, where I lived for 13 years. Of all the towns between Tulsa and Alamogordo, 730 miles, she had family in the two where I had lived.

And now for an Alamogordo sunrise…..here you go.

NM sunrise

Luggage Cover Hints and Tips

The original post date for this entry was December 04, 2015. My bright idea to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org resulted in my most recent posts not transferring. After hours of thinking I could wear a programmer hat produced nothing but cuss words and the realization the high tech world is passing me by, I was forced to go old school and re-post manually. Without further adieu…here is Luggage Cover Hints and Tips, republished.

Hey there,

This is a short blog regarding fit for the luggage covers I’m selling in my shop on Etsy: sheislivinoudloud. I want you to really get the full benefit from using one.

  • My cover gets banged up with every trip I take. But my suitcase looks brand new. This is an important point: Your cover will get banged up too. It’s meant to take the hit so your expensive luggage lasts longer.
  • For best results place all zipper pulls toward the top of your luggage or an area where there’s a gap between the luggage and cover. Your cover will last a lot longer if you do this:
    zippers up
  • As stated on Etsy, the cover size is intended to accommodate 22x14x9 inch luggage. The cover dimensions are sewn to 22x16x10. Some luggage brands will take up every bit of the cover length while others call for you to roll up the elastic one or two times…typically on the back side. Roll the elastic under; roll toward the case. Or, you might be able to get away with just positioning the elastic band up away from the wheels a bit:
    Elastic is scrunched up a bit to clear the casters.

    Elastic is scrunched up a bit to clear the casters.

    Elastic is rolled up and under.

    Elastic is rolled up and under.

  • Pay special attention to the elastic band with an inline wheel design…as opposed to caster wheels. Inline wheels will probably require you to roll up the back side of the cover:inline view
  • The cover will fit a little baggy on an empty or lightly packed case, as shown on the Etsy photos. It’s supposed to so that when you really pack it the cover will accommodate the extra girth:
    This Samsonite is packed to the gills. In this photo, the depth is about 12.5 inches. The seams will not unravel!

    This Samsonite is packed to the gills. In this photo, the depth is about 12.5 inches. The seams will not unravel!

    Inline wheel style packed full. Notice the bottom edge is rolled under to clear the wheels. Inline wheel designs typically do not have front wheels. The front of the cover is simply tucked under the front of the luggage top much like how a fitted sheet is tucked under a mattress.

  • This brings up another important point: It IS a universal fitting cover. It fits most brands pretty darn good. You may have a small amount of bagginess or tightness in an area depending on the design on the front side of your luggage. Or, it may fit like a glove. Maximum carry-on luggage size for the big US domestic airlines is 22x14x9 except Southwest. Some other carriers allow for a larger carry-on. So please know your luggage dimensions before you buy.
  • As stated on Etsy, there is a plastic buckle that fastens a strap on the bottom of your case. You do not need to crank this down as it is not needed to keep the cover in place. Securing it too tightly will pull the fabric down causing it to get caught under the wheels. The intent of the strap is to keep the cover in place when the beating begins…when other luggage is forcibly pushed up against yours. A small amount of tension is all that is necessary for the strap to do its job.

Care instructions: Fabric is 100% nylon. Wash cold to warm water; no hot. Best to air dry but could get away with low dryer temp for a few minutes only.

Enjoy! You’ll get a lot of people asking you about it. And thank you for buying; its much appreciated.

Safe Travels!
Cindy

Facebook and other social media…who has the time??

I stopped the production line on my luggage covers to listen to a webinar on Facebook marketing. I’m telling ya…you truly don’t have to spend a penny on promotion these days. It’s great. There are so many people out there who came before me and want to share their knowledge…for free. My favorite price! But the kicker is: you HAVE to put in the time and sweat.

For the past few weeks my time and sweat has been consumed with mastering the art of mitered seams using double fold bias tape:bias tape hell

Which is a component of these bad boys:
A pile of nearly completed luggage covers

The webinar lost me right at the start when I typed in my FB address to chat: facebook.com/sheislivinoutloud. It didn’t work. How did I not know this? So while trying to listen to and grasp the concepts of fan page promotion, affinity, weight, and time decay I kept going back to “why the heck doesn’t my fan page link work??” First things first man.

By the time the webinar ended I really didn’t hold on to much of the info presented. Sorry Tim! You’re still my Etsy hero!

But !!

The link to my fan page works. Try it: sheislivinoutloud

And !!

My fan page is linked to my blog so now my blog will automatically post to FB.

Bam !!

All was not lost during the webinar. I truly do not know how much of my time and sweat will be allotted to all that is Facebook but I’m really loving this blog thing and now that it’s linked to FB…I’m doing pretty good.

Back to my luggage covers. All they need is elastic on the bottoms. And straps. And photographing. And photo editing. And posting to my shop. And a drink. For me.

These covers ROCK! My son and I ran up to Kohl’s last night….whose security cameras know me well by now…for a final fitting on several different luggage brands. It fits so well. I really did my homework and my design has turned out great. I’ll be posting on the whole process soon. And selling them in my shop. This link works too!: sheislivinoutloud – the coolest little shop around

64 ozs

One component of my MYR (Mid Year Resolution) is to drink the standard 64 ounces of water a day. I can’t say that I’ve been successful at this to date. Really, I’m not sure what 64 ozs is anymore.

My excuse has been…and it’s a pretty good one: I’m used to working in surgery and you can’t just say, “Hey, I’ll be back, I gotta pee.” A surgical technologist must be in the room at all times during surgery so another tech would have to scrub in while you excuse yourself and usually there is not an available tech hanging around. So you don’t drink. You don’t drink before the day starts. You don’t drink in between cases unless you have strong PC muscles. Surg techs are in a constant state of dehydration. It’s our normal.

But now I’m home more than at work. I only have my ignorance as an excuse so the surgery excuse sets better in my mind.

Yes, I remember that one cup equals 8 fluid ounces. But it’s been a long time since my mind has traveled up the mathematical ladder of weights and measures. 64 ounces seems like 2 gallons to me.

The idea for this post was going to be me offering a helpful way to ensure we all get our daily 64 ozs. Why not fill a pitcher up with that amount of water?? When it’s empty you’re golden. Genius!

First things first. How much is 64 ozs? Do you know that it’s only a half gallon?? That’s a carton of Blue Bell. That I can visualize.

1/2 gal = 2 qt = 4 pt = 8 cups = 64 oz

Got it.

I can do this….and so can you.

More Passport Covers listed on Etsy — check them out!

I am so excited to get my second product into production however, first things first. I felt I needed to create more passport covers in different patterns before going on to the next big thing. So I did it.

Here’s one:
celtic tri point - olive green square
This one is good for a guy but can go either way. I know I need to make more manly man ones. I really love felting these Celtic knots and will add a few more designs to my collection.

How about this one?
dragonfly - lavender green square
It’s a departure from my skull fixation. So cute!

And this one:
flower power - denim orange square
I call it Flower Power. I’ll be making more in different colors too.

Seven new covers are now posted. They are fun to make. This last batch didn’t take near the time as my first group but I’m still not down to the two hours I’m charging as manufacturing time. That’s the thing about being an artisan (not artesian, Kelly, ha!)…you and your time have worth but you must also charge a fair price to the consumer. If I can’t get my time down to two hours I’ll either have to increase the price or discontinue making them. But that decision is in the future and I’m not too concerned with my below minimum wage at the moment.

Let me ask you….what do you think of them? Honestly. Any suggestions? I’m open!

OKAY…..THE NEXT BIG THING:

Covers for your carry-on luggage. Oh you just wait. They rock if I do say so myself. In a couple of days I’ll add a post showing the process I went through to get to the final design. But for now…it’s back to the sewing machine.

I see people are actually reading my blog. hahaha! I’m so happy I’m not writing to myself. Thanks y’all!

Killing time on a Saturday

We are enjoying unseasonably cool weather in Oklahoma. Typically, August days are an unrelenting high 90 degree temp if we’re lucky. Unlucky is 100 degrees with an even higher heat index. Dead grass follows this weather pattern and while it kills my husband to see dead grass on our acre lot, we praise the high heavens for dead grass at the ranch. This year….no dead grass dang it (for the ranch!). We are on course to have the most rainfall on record this year.

Saturday was wonderful. Clear, clean sky; and not too hot. We had a heavy rainfall the day before and man the heavens opened up again Sat night. Grass is green.

backyard
Yep. Green. And beautiful. Look to the left of the camper. We have a vineyard!

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There is a row of white grapes and a row of red. They are wine grapes but I don’t remember the variety. We make wine (and beer). It’s a fun hobby!

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This is Kel’s pride and joy. He built the supports, strung the wires, and keeps it tilled. The vines were little sticks when he planted them during the Spring.

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We were afraid the amount of rain this year would kill them…and it almost did. But they are thriving and now are long enough to be attached to the lower wire so they’ll grow along it. We cannot harvest grapes until the third year. Kel is the one who is becoming the expert. My only job is to keep the spider mites away. Those suckers are a real problem around here. Neem oil to the rescue.

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Years ago I went to a wine tasting event while living in Dallas. It was really fun and you should do it if you get the chance. The sommelier was educating us on how a vine absorbs the different elements from the ground as it ages and the roots extend deeper and deeper. Our micro vineyard is planted next to a pond which is not the best place. Think….arid Sonoma or Napa valley….that is not our climate. Amazingly our vines are healthy. But I can’t help but think about the flavors our grapes will absorb as the roots grow to the center of the earth. Hints of pond scum? Won’t know for three years.

Bye!