Friday, July 24, 2009

This is More Dangerous Than it Looks

Hyram has decided to return to his favorite roost, my desk top. There he is in all his glory, toy at hand. It’s fun to have him so close and affectionate. But this perch location has its drawbacks. See that tail sticking out to the left? It’s a mouse movement destroyer. Its also a really good broom. It has been known to knock the mouse entirely off the desk. Anything on the surface of the desk that gets in the way of that tail goes elsewhere. Notice the phone beside the corner of the monitor? He must have been on the desk last night while I was sleeping because this morning I had to crawl under the desk to retrieve the phone from behind the desk where his tail had knocked it. Sometimes I distress Hyram by insisting that he orient himself in the opposite direction. That usually saves my workspace from too much disturbance but it isn’t perfect. I guess in a perfect world I’d have a desk that had a shelf just for him and his tail could drape down from the height showing off all its glory. Sorry you can’t see the entire tail. It’s very brush like and really magnificent. As is my boy! Cheers!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

An Ink Saving Font

My favorite tech blogger on Yahoo is Christopher Null. Yesterday he wrote a post about saving ink with the font you use. You can read it here. The font suggested is Century Gothic. I changed my text message font to check it out. Usually I use Arial if I don’t want formal print but this one looks nice if a bit taller and lighter. Now I’m going to change the default font on my printer and screen to match. I’m also wondering if a font that uses less ink also uses fewer bites in the text file size? If it does wouldn’t that mean that it takes less time to transmit? Saving bandwidth and speedier transmissions of documents might be a nice extra. What font do you use?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A DIY Beauty Bath

Back in the 70s I acquired a book about natural beauty treatments. This was the era of communes and going natural. They call it green and Do It Yourself (DIY) today. I wish I still had that book. It was useful and interesting to read. I didn’t put a lot of the natural methods into frequent use but I tried several of them at the time. The one I remember the best was for a beauty bath. I used for years and recently revived part of it.

It seems that back in the days of Cleopatra she liked to take beauty baths. Being rich she would indulge in a milk bath. She had the milk of asses poured into her sunken tub. I imagine it was the size of a small swimming pool or so the movies showed us. That may be the fancy of some film genius but most of us don’t have tubs that large. The book told me you could recreate this effect by pouring 1 or 2 cups (maybe 3) of powdered milk into your bath. I guess the more water you put in the more powdered milk you use. The milk is soothing and softens the skin. It doesn’t leave you smelling strange and I rather liked the results.

The other part of my remembered beauty bath included the use of salt. Sea Salt was recommended but you could use regular table salt if that was too pricey. So that’s what I would do. You pour a small pile of salt into the palm of your hand. Then you drip a few drops of water on to the dry pile to make it into a paste like consistency. You have to be careful here because too many drops of water and you’ve got salt water which won’t help with the next step. After you’ve dampened the salt, take a little of it and scrub your skin with it. This exfoliates the skin and does not hurt your ph balance. Warning though, if you have any open sores it will sting a bit. After scrubbing to your hearts content rinse and you’ve got inexpensive exfoliated skin that is much smoother.

I did these two things in the same bath. The results were skin that felt like velvet afterwards. I mentioned it to a guy once and upon stroking the skin along my arm he was impressed. The part I’ve revived for the time being is the salt portion. This is so inexpensive that almost anyone can do it. I even used it on my face and am pleased to say that this morning my facial skin feels smoother than it usually does after a nights sleep. So if you want to try this feel free. It doesn’t cost much for salt although powdered milk may seem a little dear. Considering the price of commercial bath exfoliating scrubs and softening soaks I think it’s worthy substitute. Hope you’ll let me know if you try it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Playing around with Windows Live Writer

This is my first experiment with Windows Live Writer and blogging. Terry of Paradise Discovered highly encourages, even dares (um…challenges?), his friends to use it. Since he’s a smart guy I figured it was worth a shot. I did have it on my system and just hadn’t gotten around to messing with it. Looks like he’s right. It does indeed have a lot of really cool controls. They remind me of MSWord controls. I’ll have to recommend it to my favorite writing friend Susan of Rickety Contrivances of Doing Good. She likes to use MSWord to compose stuff, even letters which makes for some interesting translations when your email browser doesn’t have a rich text option to view with.

Wow! Hit the return key and you get a double space. Hit it twice, like I just did, and you find yourself backing up a line or two. :-)

When I started up Windows Live Writer it gave me the option to add my blog to my Windows Life page, a thing I’d been ignoring as to date I’ve only really used Windows Life Messenger to talk to a couple of friends. Wish I could add all my friends to that one. Yeah, Windows is kind of self loving and doesn’t always play nice with other software but there are worse OS’s out there. I used to keep Yahoo Messenger up and running so I probably need to try to add that one in or get a few of my old contacts to switch or connect through whatever medium they have which might allow that. Looks like the world is getting smaller and smaller as we connect in new and exciting ways.

Darn double enter habit has got to go! LOL

I also added my Facebook page and my Stumble Upon page to the Windows Live Page. Now all it needs to make it perfect is to be able to add the games I play on Pogo there. Wouldn’t that be fun! Go to Windows Live and play Scrabble or Pinochle with my buddies?

So, Terry, if you’re reading this, Thanks for the good suggestion. Is there a way to make this product pop up every time I click on the new post button? Or do I have to remember to put this on my quick launch bar? I’ll play with the picture thing next I guess. Let’s see how this thing posts.

But before I go I’d like to ask Terry to check out 7Stacks and see if he can figure out how to make that little Widows desktop utility to work. I sure couldn’t because it didn’t have any help files. It seems to think it is intuitive, but if you’ve never used stacks like Macs or Windows 7 has then you just might be as clueless as I am about how to create them. Any advice would be appreciated.


That Community Feeling

I've been meaning to write this post for a few days now. Don't know why it's taken me so long. Maybe I needed to spend more time mulling over what I experienced.

Last Saturday, July 4th, I was scheduled as officiant for the Morning Prayer (MP). I like doing this because: 1) it's quiet and peaceful, 2) it's a great way to start your day, and 3) it allows me to spend private time in the sanctuary. Because we hold MP at 6:45 AM we don't usually have any visitors even though the service we read has room for giving thanks for them. Typically it's just whoever is officiating alone, reading through the service, and saying prayers for the sick and needy on our list of those in need. But, due to a mix up, last Saturday was different. I showed up a little late, oops! And there was someone already in the sanctuary.

Being a few minutes late isn't a huge deal because MP is almost always done by just the Lay Eucharistic Minister (LEM). Many years ago the decision was made to do it early to avoid conflict with work schedules and rush hour traffic. So we do our praying for the congregation alone and faithfully, and without the need to robe up and make it a full fledged service.

The person already in there was another LEM, Ron, who, like myself, is also a verger. He told me he'd promised to take someone's place. I'm pretty sure it was my day so maybe he was given the wrong date somehow because I know he isn't casual about such things. Oh well, the intent was met no matter the date.

When I saw Ron there I was surprised, of course, but also rather pleased. Ron and I've co-officiated at Healing Eucharists (HE) before and found we work well together. Not wanting to disturb the prayer he might already be saying I quietly walked around and sat down next to him. We decided to share the service and he handed me a Book of Common Prayer (BoCP) open to the point he was at.

We sat there together like old friends, taking turns on the different parts of the service. I read a scripture and he read another. We did the Psalm together alternating by whole verse. We did the same with the other responsive parts. It was a nice and comfortable way to practice something I'm occasionally required to do for the congregation when the priest isn't available to perform the HE. This was much better. It had that warm friendly feel. That's what church community is, right? Friends getting together to worship? And that's a change I've noticed in the services I officiate at since I entered verger training. They are more comfortable. They feel friendlier, I'm more relaxed, I feel comfortable with modifying things a bit if the spirit moves me, and I've gotten compliments on the results. I guess I'm starting to fit the role of LEM and Verger better. And I really like it.

When I found my faith it was during the 80's movement and personal relationships with Jesus were all the rage. The church I became a believer in was nondenominational charismatic and I became quite use to the feeling of the Holy Spirit's presence during the service and in my life. Services and sermons were more casual and heart felt. While there was a structure, there was nothing very ritualized about them. That's been a real problem for me since I returned to my Episcopal roots. I don't find the spirit in the high toned ritualized words that we say every Sunday. My emotions used to be moved at every service. Not here in the Episcopal ritual. If I didn't know God meant me to be at this specific church I'd probably change because that's what I did when the bible got boring, I changed versions to read it in one that was different and thus more interesting. But I won't change churches now. I've been learning about service at Church of Reconciliation Episcopal and growing into the understanding of what it means to be part of a community.

It's become a source of comfort to realize that I am part of a community. Sitting there beside Ron I felt like I'd come home! And it was VERY spiritual! A few years ago our church viewed some videos on Everyday Spirituality. We learned about spirituality of place, activity, and ritual! That's what I found in that MP service. I wish I could feel it everyday of my life. I wish I could have it at every service.

We've started to make a lot of changes at Reconciliation. They are often small but none of them are without meaning. Because life often presents itself as change I think this has made me more interested in our worship services. The ritual and the dance of its participants has changed. That makes it interesting and a new source of study. Instead of coming to the table we "set the table" during the service. That's much more involved and involving. Actions seem to have more meaning and thus more significance. If this is finding the sacred in the ordinary, a phrase given to me by JS, then I've been doing a mental disconnect because I never thought of Sunday services as ordinary till they became routine.

These days when I sit in church I sit with a community, a community of singers a.k.a the choir. Our practice nights are my social night. Sunday morning breakfast is also a time for community. I eat at Brown Hall (fellowship hall) and often have others to spend time with sharing our interests, weeks activities, and getting to know them better. It's a change in me that keeps me there, no longer going early to pre-service warm up to get organized but instead, chatting till I'm rushing to get to the warm up on time. I know there are things missing from my community interactions. Saturday's experience showed me that. But they will happen in time as I heal, grow into fullness of understanding and connectedness, and am ready to present myself and my world to the body in joy, knowing that they will be one with me in our shared love of what we've built.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A Clean Sweep

Rain was freshening the air and relieving the summer heat somewhat when I awoke. These are my favorite types of days. Everything gets renewed, including my energy and mood. It felt like a busy day before I'd even left the security of the covers. So I thought I'd get a couple of necessary paperwork things done. Instead of heading to the desk for work I found myself involved in a flow of productivity that included getting creative with my wardrobe, making the bed (sort of), and then moving on to other cleaning type activities. Am I procrastinating? Probably, as I'm loathe to tackle those two paperwork items. On the other hand I'm getting a lot accomplished in the house and personal care area. :-)

The morning medicine routine has an extra pill which I should have been taking but hadn't in a while. Resolving to take it as religiously as possible (minimum goal is 60% for effectiveness) I dug into the nearly outdated package and took my Fosamax for the week. That was after I piled everything that needed washing in a heap on the bedroom floor and cleared everything movable off the desk surface. Those items too are now sitting on the floor as I impatiently wait for the 30 minutes to pass so that I can once again consume things other than water (required for Fosamax).

Ah! The timer just buzzed! Cuppa chai here I come. :-) A timer on the wrist watch is one of the most useful features I've ever encountered. Watches are often over burdened with cool and overpriced features these days. I've avoided those with data banks and haven't been able to afford one with more than three alarms. Yes I use all three. My watch also has a compass, hydration reminder, calendar/event reminder, and a lovely 10 year battery. The stopwatch is a waste of good digital space if you aren't an athlete. I SO wish the companies would get smart and remove it from most of them. The alarms I use to get me up and moving out to the various places I need to be: work, morning prayer, and doctor appointments. The timer tells me when I can eat again, resume watching something from Megavideo (when the 72 minute screen pops up), and when I should take another stay focused pill. I wear a Timex Expedition. The only things I'd like it to have that it doesn't are more alarms and a solar battery.

So back to clean sweeping. Yesterday I got two of the four shelves in my linen closet cleaned. Yes I did clean sweeps there too. Took everything off, wiped the surface with cleaner and cleaned the containers of clutter. Got rid of quite a lot of that in the process, clutter that is. Dust begone! I'm hoping to avoid a visit from the bug man that every apartment complex has on call. The place smells fresher now and I can actually find all the things in my closet once again. At some point I'm going to have to go by a dollar store and get some more containers to continue this ordering of my life but that's okay. An ordered life is friendly and flows smoothly. You know where things are and can happily put them back without struggle. Today I'll get the laundry done (and up off the floor). I'll strip and make the bed in the process. What better time to do sheets? And I'll tackle those piles of paper on the floor beside my desk. Then I think I've got a fridge that is overdue for a cleaning and a dining table to clear. Oh, speaking of the fridge, in the midst of cleaning the linen closet I somehow managed to clean the top of it too. My cleaning moves from small task to small task as they catch my attention. I get the goal accomplished. It just doesn't follow a specific task list order.

May your day be as productive as mine is turning out to be! Peace!