Monthly Archives

February 2011

Family

Dreaming of summer

With nothing but snow and ice from one week to another, wouldn’t it be wonderful to be on your back eating an apple three seconds off the tree?

Family

Not such a baby anymore

As I sit here and type, Zuzu’s head is pressed against my side and one of her suddenly-so-very-long legs is thrown over the top of the blanket. She never thinks she’s cold enough to be under the covers completely, and all night one or the other of us is half-waking to tuck her back under the quilts.

This last week we set up her bed upstairs, and tonight – or tomorrow, perhaps – will be her last night in our bed. She’s ready, we’re MORE than ready, but I can’t pretend. I will miss it, miss her.

All of our babies have stayed in our bed, from the first nights (when I can finally roll over without dragging a giant belly with me, oh bliss) through the first birthday and weaning and second birthday and first prayers and, with a couple of them now, the third birthday too.

And then one night whoever the baby of the family is falls asleep with the older kids in the pile of snoring bodies they inevitably make on the big bed upstairs, and that baby sleeps through the night without waking, and proudly tells about it the next morning. Then we know, and we put up another bed and add another set of sheets to the wash.

Zuzu’s already spent two nights up there with her sisters. The only reason she’s in our bed tonight is that she was sad at bedtime and wanted me to rub her back until she fell asleep. I should pick her up and sling her long arms over my shoulder and climb the stairs to put her down for the night, but I’ve been putting it off for two hours now. Maybe one more night with little toes in the small of my back won’t be so bad.

General

Not ignoring you – just deep in the trenches

So I had the really bright idea to do a whole new series on editing – specifically, color casts and blending modes. Great, huh? Except that I realized I didn’t know anything and had to go back into Photoshop and methodically tear out the bits that I thought I knew and completely re-structure everything in my poor little Photoshop-knowing brain. And then I got dumped on work-wise, which is good but also bad. And then the cold weather came back. This is bad and also bad, since I try to have this blog be a place where I am happy and the weather has left me with about the carefree joy level of an Eastern European dictator.

More to come.

General

How to subscribe to any blog using RSS

I am sorry that when I told you to subscribe to the blog I didn’t give a clear explanation of exactly how to do that. I am such a blog weenie that I get myopic, for which I apologize.

Here’s how to use RSS feeds so you can get all your blogs delivered to one window, and how to read them in the format that pleases you most:

1) Sign up for an RSS reader. If you have a gmail address you already have a great reader – just go to your gmail account and click on “Reader” in the upper left. Other good ones include bloglines.com and newsgator.com.

2) Start looking for RSS feeds on the pages you like. Virtually all blogs, most news sites, and anything that updates frequently will have an RSS feed.

3) When you find a feed you want, subscribe to it. The RSS readers all have big buttons that say something like “Add a feed” or “Add subscription.” Click on that button, then paste the address of the blog or news source or whatever it is into the space that opens up. The RSS reader will look at that page, find the feed associated with it, and offer to let you subscribe.

OR

3) Click on the RSS feed button in the page you like. This will open up the page’s RSS feed (usually a very plain and simple list of all their posts in a row) and then you can click on your RSS feeder of choice to automatically shoot that feed right into your reader.

Those three steps are the basic ones that let you get started. If you’re my husband (love you, sweetie!) that’s all you ever do. Your feeds end up in a row in your RSS reader and every day or two you can open up your RSS reader and see who has updated their feeds.

For those who want a more streamlined and pretty experience, you may decide to “skin” your reader and add functionality to it. My favorite one is Feedly.com. Feedly depends on Google Reader, so you need to have a gmail account to use it. But once you’ve downloaded it, you can set up any one of a hundred different looks and functions. For example, I have all my feeds divided into genres – my Cardigan blogs, my other dog blogs, my photography blogs, etc. – so I can read only one genre if I want to. But I have my “latest” tab set to the option “Entire Content Inlined,” which means it drags everybody’s entire post into one place. It’s a little like having one blog where everybody I read contributes posts. I can scroll down (feedly marks as “read” each title as I pass by it) and read an entire day’s worth of posts, which for me is several hundred at minimum, in just a few minutes, or can click on a title I want to open up in the person’s original blog.

I hope this helps – let me know if I can answer anything else!

General

And I give to you a great gift:

The list of common misconceptions.

By the way, they have one of the “Christian” ones wrong – there’s no evidence biblically that the people we sometimes call Magi* came to visit Jesus several years after his birth. That notion is based on ANOTHER misconception, which is that Jesus was born in a stable, so if they visited him in a house it must have been sometime later. Nowhere in the Bible does it say he was born in a stable – that would have been just as unthinkable then as it is now. The houses in that area and during that time period had living quarters on a second floor and kitchens and storage on the first floor. Since animals were sometimes brought into the storage room, the storage area was separated from the kitchens by a wide stone or masonry manger. When guest quarters were needed, the storage area was cleaned out and people stayed in that room. What “they laid him in a manger, for there was no room in the inn” means is “They were staying with friends or family because all the hotel rooms were booked.” There was nothing odd about the circumstances of his birth (his conception, yes); Mary would have had a midwife and lots of female help and so on. It was a prophetic foreshadowing of the perpetual homelessness of the Christ, which is quite cool enough without having to have poor Mary out in a barn somewhere.

However! Most of the other ones are great and maybe now a few more people will not think that glass is just a stiff liquid that flows over time :).

*Almost certainly prominent astrologists, who were responding to a unique astrological event that they had read but was not visible to the untrained eye – the “star” was a conjunction of planets or a similar astrological event, not a huge fireball like on Christmas cards. And yes, this DOES bring up some very interesting questions, because the Bible is clearly anti-astrology; having this detail in the Bible is a little like, if you’ll pardon my translation, a movie having all the Tarot decks and Ouija boards and newspaper astrologists in the world suddenly coming up the same card or letter or words (which turn out to be true) at the moment someone is born. I.e., something so big had happened that it cut through all the hokum and superstition. In Harry Potter terms, see: Professor Trelawney Sometimes Sees Real Things.