Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks!

After 33 years in IT for one company, retirement as a volunteer for many organizations has generally been satisfying. Web development skills have been increasing and new skills are learned as more challenging activities are undertaken.

My newest opportunity is to learn Joomla and develop more proficiency with PHP (Hypertext PreProcessor). Later on down the road, will be the need to develop expertise with MySQL.

Joomla is a content management system (CMS), which enables building Web sites and powerful online applications. As a site developer, knowing XML is great, however, for the organizations that I support technically, use of a CMS will allow me to not spend so much time writing XML and allow the organization the flexibility to keep the content fresh without my involvement. At least that is the theory!

Joomla is "open-source" which means it is free, so the components have been downloaded and extracted. Next is the installation - guess I better get busy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On making greeting cards

Making greeting cards is so much fun - allows my creative side to come out. Often, as I am driving, I will think of cards that I need to make and design them in my head first. Then, I can hardly wait to get home and do them.

There are four important aspects to this fun hobby.

The first is the paper. I happen to prefer GCD Studios paper over any other because each one is two-sided. The paper is just the right weight for a greeting card. They have so many designs to choose from that I keep a good supply on hand for that "perfect" card creation. I only wish that I could purchase the paper packs online, but I cannot find them (will again now).

The second aspect is to keep the event/person in mind as you create their special card. An example is the recent graduation of Kori from high school. Her card was made using her school colors. No other graduate received a card tailored specifically to them!

Third, to spur your creative juices, have a few card making magazines available to look at to see what others have done. Keep in mind however that your special touch with embellishments and paper selection make the card still one of a kind.

Finally embossing the greeting helps to make the card professional and as my husband expresses: "a keeper! No one ever throws away a Kathy card"!

There is one more facit that I'd like to share. In all the samples I find from Vamp Stamp News, GCD Studios and other sources, you NEVER see what is done with the inside of the card! And this is what I find the most challenging effort to creating a wonderful greeting card what to put inside!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Our tax $$ at work

A registered mail package was accepted at the Mandeville, LA post office on May 24, bound for Richmond, CA. There was absolutely no tracking available on the document from the USPS UNTIL it was first delivered on June 11. The receiving party was out of town on that day. A re-delivery was scheduled for June 17, a day that the party would be home.

Rather than deliver the package as requested on June 17, the post office attempted a 2nd delivery on June 15 (again, no one home). The re-delivery on June 17 did not happen, however on June 18 another notice was put in the mail box that an attempt was made on June 17 (a lie). This notice was marked "final" notice and the package would be returned to sender on July 11.

Upon receipt of the final notice, the recipient picked up the package from the local Richmond postal annex.

Moral of the story: use FedEx or UPS when sending a package.

There is a free ride

So, upon return from West Point to the Big Apple, we became tourists and wanted to travel to the Museum of Fine Art last Monday. As usual, I previewed the trip on the internet using the NY MA trip planner. Found the right bus to take up Madison Ave.

At the bus stop we found out that the trip would cost $2 - no problem except that the bus driver would not accept cash. Only a metro card would work!

We must have looked like tourists because the bus driver said to hop on - he would let us ride for free.

What a great guy David (the bus driver) was - he let us off only two blocks away from the Museum. Unfortunately for us, the Museum is closed on Mondays.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New York, New York

Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today
I want to be a part of it - new york, new york
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it - new york,
new york

I wanna wake up in a city, that doesn’t sleep
And find I’m king of the hill - top of the heap.

We arrived about 8:15 ET and are staying at the Union League Club (we have reciprocal privileges). A club is owned and financed by its members primarily for their own use. Both federal and state tax codes and liquor laws reinforce this. There is nothing automatic about reciprocal privileges despite the fact that uninformed individuals and organizations pass this word along. Suffice it to say that as members of the Union Club of Boston we have reciprocal privileges at the Union League.

Tomorrow we head to West Point to attend the Grand Convent - GPUSA Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem. Sunday we return to Manhattan and will have a couple days to site see here. We are definitely top of the heap and enjoying a little down time vacation.

Monday, June 7, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

If you have a black thumb (like me) then your garden needs help. The best decision ever made was to plant yellow Calla Lily in the planter area in the front of our house. Our neighbors are impressed with the bright yellow color splashed in our front garden.

Planting these wonderful, easy to care for, flowers makes the sun shine in my heart when they bloom and we are the envy of the landscape committee in our gated community.
We have so many of these plants spread in our garden because they multiply each year. I can now see them from the bay window looking at our back yard.
Yellow Calla Lily is the best plant for anyone with a black thumb.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Introducing Bits n' Bytes!

On the way home yesterday, it struck me that it would be easier to keep family and friends up to date through a blog rather than create new pages on a personal website (not happening-way behind). We discussed what it might be called and came up with Bits n' Bytes.

What will you find here? Little snippets of each day, a picture here or there, thoughts to share, lessons learned in life, maybe some techie information to share-just about anything that might interest others.

Today was a first ever train ride on the Niles Canyon Railroad with the Ariel Bradley Society of C.A.R. (Children of the American Revolution). Besides the fun we had being with four of our grandchildren (Sophia, Haley, Xander, and Lexie), there was seeing the Niles Canyon for the first time. Check out their website to read some of the rich history.

What piqued my interest today is that the grandchildren wanted to have the train run over coins to flatten them out. Only it did not work. They had placed the coins beyond where the train would run. So, the coins sat there on the tracks while we rode the train from Sunol Depot to Niles Station and back! They were disappointed that they had not been flattened, but as resilient as they are, before getting in the car, they picked up their coins and returned them to their pockets.