Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my fellow American citizens: Happy Thanksgiving! We’ll be having the traditional Turkey and the rest that’s been traditional for my side of the family, well, the things I’ve loved to continue, minus the things I haven’t 😉

Stuffing and gravy, mashed potatoes, cauliflower, green been casserole, sweet potato casserole, rolls, Cranberry sauce (yes, the icky gelled canned version — goes great with turkey!), cheese sauce, and to top it off, pumpkin pie.

We’re at the In-law’s for the holiday. I’m doing the cooking. I love doing this. It’s the easiest meal to make in such a lavish fashion. I know that many ladies are intimidated by this meal, and by the turkey they are supposed to be roasting. I don’t get that, it’s very easy.

If anyone needs help, consult a cook book or Butterball, they have a hotline and a website packed full of info if you need it. You don’t have to have purchased a Butterball brand turkey for them to help you. Give them a call if you need help!

I personally prefer a naturally grown and fresh killed turkey. We had two last year and they were great. This year we are away, and doing the supermarket variety. I highly recommend y’all look into a farm fresh bird next time you need or want one. They are superior in the way they taste and the texture of the meat and the way they cook.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Leonid Meteor Storm?

Not so nice.

It was clear all evening and up to 3am. I checked outside at 4am next, and it was totally overcast. 🙁 Out of nowhere it seemed to come. (Maybe it was on it’s way, I hadn’t been checking the weather radar.) The updated weather forecast was for clear to partly cloudy that part of early morning.

Not a nice ending to an evening of anticipatory excitement! We were all very dissapointed.

Win XP: thumbs up; SP1: thumbs down, down, down …

Windows XP: I like it alright. Actually, I like it better than any previous versions. It’s more stable than any of the three other platforms this monitor I’m using now worked for.

What I don’t like is SP1. Yes, Service Pack 1 for WIN XP. I built this computer, and had a time of it, getting the OS to install all the way. So, then I went and downloaded, SP1 (express), like a good person would.

I installed that on the laptop back when it first came out. I didn’t even consider some of my laptop problems could have been due to SP1. Well indeed, if and when I get that machine back, I’ll wipe it clean and put the original stuff back on with that restore disk the manufacturer gives one with a ready made computer. And then I’ll add the updates I need, and sit back and wait until something better happens with the Service Pack situation, before installing SP1 ever again.

This new computer I talked about in the last entry, it was working alright, but had some bugs. And some major annoying things were happening. First off “Fast Switching” did NOTHING. And I couldn’t get to the properties of my internet dialup connections, except through the round about ways with my ISP’s software. So then I decided I had to download their NEW software, as it was the only way to get that blocker of a certain annoying online window. They “gave” us the first run of it, and then made us come back for the “final” version, and get the new interface for dialing up. That was the only way to get the final version of “PuB”. I sure didn’t like the new dialup stuff though. I had problems galore. Galore!

So I took it out, and put the old stuff back on. I would have done the network connections route, but like I said above, I couldn’t edit any properties of existing connections. AND I couldn’t create new ones with the Wizard for that. I could create a new one with the ICW, an older wizard, but then I couldn’t edit the connection anyway afterwards, which one has to do to get all the properties correct.

I looked all over the internet for solutions, and only came to the conclusion of what I ended up doing, since I found something about the Network Connections problem that was too familiar. It actually sounded like stuff I’d read earlier in the week about Fast Switching Users problems. Hmmm. The connection was SP1.

So I reformatted and re-installed XP. Took a long time though, as the dumb OS, once again, wouldn’t install the first time, or the second or the third. I used every possible trick and still I couldn’t get it to come on in normal mode. Safe Mode worked sometimes, but then if I booted up to the normal mode, I’d hear sounds, but see nothing once the splash screen finished. So, on and on, removing cards, putting things in different places, installing again, Upgrading, and then, voila, suddenly the desktop appeared! Hallelujah!

My plan then was to download the full version of SP1 so that I could RE-INSTALL it if it came to that, and so that I’d have a nice hard copy of it to put on the laptop too, and re-do as many times as I needed to.

While THAT horrendous 133MB file was downloading, second try [first try was overnight. HA. Didn’t work, some weird error.] I did some super slow surfing for info. I read this and that and came to the same conclusions about SP1 as I have about vaccinations for people. Don’t need all of them. Just one here or there IF NEED BE! So I found that little bandage that’s 30KB to take care of the glaring hole in the system. And downloaded the prior hotfixes. Good to go.

Everything is working nicely, fast, and the FAST SWITCHING works and the Network Connections Wizard works, and I can use all the connections how I want to.

In fact, I am using that all instead of my ISP software. I didn’t install any of it. What a joy, faster online stuff. Really.

Now I just have to find how to edit the registry to create log on and log off of the internet sounds. I get dumped off on occasion, and would like to know via a sound, instead of wonder why my connection seems to have gone slow or dead, if you know what I mean.

I have the info on how to create the right stuff about sounds in the registry, but exactly how to make it work? Don’t know what to call the Key, it’s not an .exe program that I can easily find, so what is that internet connection? And can that info be part of RAS Phonebook? Seems like maybe, but how to do it now, is a mystery to me. I’ll keep on searching until I find the answer.

Computers: Built one; One missing

Heady feeling, isn’t it, to complete something good!

A few months ago we bought a “starter kit” to build our next desktop computer from. We bought our first in the store, then had a friend piece together a better one in Oct. 1998. I got a laptop for me in Dec. 2001 — and that was nice — until it decided to need major servicing on October 7, 2002. I miss that computer! It was my right hand, so to speak.

Well, so we had this shell of a computer, waiting for the parts to make it a real computer. Yesterday my husband sought out what we needed from the shops out there, and I began the task of putting it all together last evening.

Shouldn’t have taken very long. Right? Right! I put it together fine. Ah, but then it’s the OS. That is a challenge. Why isn’t it installing properly? Is the question to be answered by so many people.

Turns out that it was something to do with the video card first. The card that the “people” who put the kit together wasn’t the best one, and we were going to upgrade it eventually. Well, we had to take the card out of our old system. It was a better one than the brand new one, and best of all, it works! The other one made our monitor just sit there tapping it’s fingers, “I’m waiting for a signal!” it seemed to be saying. And the hard drive beeped, beeped, beeped, every time, the few times I tried different things with the original card, I re-started the computer.

So I broke down and got the old card from the derelict. A ha! It works! So, in System Bios, changing what needs changing — great. Ready for the OS. Win XP was our choice, it’s what the laptop has, and it’s what we decided would be good for our family. So out with Win 98 and Win ME! In with XP all the way!

Formatting was a breeze, then the OS began installing … and then “glick” the screen would begin to flick hard, then stabalize. Then “GliCK!” it’d get worse, but then the system was asking me to click something, so it seemed connected with that, getting ready for me to click excited it. I had a few rounds of the same old same old, repeating parts of the installation cause something was messing up bad.

IN THE END, ALL I did was take the mouse provided with the “kit” a PS/2 optical mouse, and unplug it. I replaced it wit my precious, but little used, Microsoft Optical mouse – USB version, a mouse to use with my laptop if I wanted to ever — which was rare. So it’s practically brand new. And guess what? Restart and get to the place to actually do something with getting the OS installed, and it worked! Like a charm. Dumb PS/2 mouse was the major problem all along. [hair pulling occured].

Hey, that’s fine though. It was a first class education, and my troubleshooting database [the one in my head] just filled up with lots more data. Everything has to do with a mouse or a video card — connected somehow, well, not always but very often!

I’m thrilled now to be typing on this fast moving Athlon 2100+ machine. Far cry from the AMD K6 300 3-D NOW that the old system runs on. I made it work. Yes, something that many people can do now days, with easier stuff out there. But I can say that many, many people wouldn’t even WANT to do this. And I can hardly wait to build another machine, from the ground up. Piece by piece.

So, since I don’t have my laptop to work with, it’s been a chore to go online. Get knocked off, freezing computer. Losing what I’m typing. Ugh. Slow, watch it download mail. I can see each piece of mail and what it is before the filter puts it where it should. On my laptop it’s lightening quick, well, it was. When I had it. But now I have this beautiful machine to use, the family machine, and the emails come in too quick to even tell where they went to! Hurray!

That’s just for starters. Every task on the computer is pleasant, if the machine is responsive and fast and efficient. If it’s dull and dying, it’s such drugery. I’ve not posted much here because of that. I’m motivated once again!

Now, if only my laptop would come home to me, whole.

Autumn means trees and birds change …

It’s Autumn. Our Autumn Flame Maple trees are turning orange and losing their leaves. (that’s with the help of the drought this Summer as well, not entirely due to Autumn). And we are anxiously awaiting our bigger October Glory Maple tree in the front yard to begin turning color. It survived the drought just fine. It’s very full of nice green leaves still. All of these trees were planted early Spring 2002. This will be our first Autumn with nice trees around us. Our lot was vacant, save one big non-descript wild Locust Tree on the border of the property (old pasture land) when this house was built and we moved in.

We have some other trees, and they are in various stages of turning too, but effects of the drought are evident. Cherokee Chief Dogwoods, Yoshino Cherry, and Japanese ‘Bloodgood’ Maple. (The Japansese Beatles rather chewed up many of the leaves on that last listed tree … poor thing.)

I’ve seen some of the Winter birds lately. The butterbutts are back! (Magnolia Warbler, for those of you not familar with “butterbutts”). The Eastern Bluebirds are more active again, with this cooler weather. BlueJays are around more often now too (usually hididng out in the thick trees across the street.) The Hummingbirds have all left as of a week ago. I’ll miss those sweet little birds! Oh, and I’ve caught a glimps of a American Goldfinch here and there too.

The other bird I like alot is the Northern Cardinal, and I’ve seen more at a time lately, so some Norther visitors seem to have arrived for the Winter season.

This Summer was rather sparse, for rain and birds. It’s been nice to see a bit more activity in the yard. Of course that means the Brown Headed Cowbirds and the European Starlings are out and about too. Sigh. Well, we’ve had better rain the last several weeks, so things are looking up for the first time in a long time.

This Winter will be interesting. We are attempting some things to change in the family, in the way of business, job, etc. So, this may be the only Autumn with these trees we see, we just may end up moving. But that’s on to other places with pretty trees, nice birds, and good Autumn weather too. We’ll do what we can to make this property nice for future Autumns and Springs, and Summers and Winters too, as long as we are here: for us, and for future owners. That’s what we hope everyone else does too. Improve your land, take dominion.

I haven’t felt much like blogging since …

My laptop is in for service. It’s running hot and won’t start in anything but SAFEMODE, and that’s IF it’ll start. 🙁

I miss my friend. Makes it easy to keep up with my online life, to have a roving machine. A homeschooling mother needs to be here and there, doing this and that in the home all day and night, so a computer that moves is a major plus. I’m backlogged in all my must-do’s and wanna-do’s, and may lose lots of data … but at least my blog will continue, well, as long as BLOGGER stays healthy!

So this is the ice breaker for a topic that may bloom into more topics, as I use this desktop on occasion, until I get something back that I can use in the kitchen, or living room, or basement, or bedroom.

I’ve had more “time” to do other things though, like cook and clean for my mother and her husband and my brother, while they were visiting for a couple of days. And things went fine, just can NEVER catch up on all those dishes. So, that brings up what I normally do. Yes, I’m usually backlogged on my dishes. I do not like cleaning, I like cooking though! That makes for cleaning to be a desperate need. I’m inspired to do better at it now. If I NEARLY caught up with three extra adults in the house for two days worth of meals, perhaps that means I can keep up with the regular 5 of us. Especially once I have my laptop back, and can write and surf late at night, in the comfort of my bed when everyone is asleep, everyone but me and my kitties who surround me every night!

Pooh’s Lullabee

Lullabee, lullabee
Honey bees in the tree
Rest your wings ’til the morning light

Lullabee, lullabee
Honey bees in the tree
Your honey is safe tonight

Just dream to the tune I am singing
Time to stop all that buzzing and stinging–ouch

Lullabee, lullabee
Honey bees in the tree
All I want is a smackerel or two…(or three)

Don’t sleep lightly, sleep very tightly
Happy slumbers to you

Now, if only that’d put ME to sleep! I’m up in the middle of the night, just can’t sleep.

I really like this song, it’s from The Tigger Movie, and is so sweet, and sleepy sounding. So, it’s a nice little thing to put here in my blog. Takes up space in a very nice way! If you’ve not seen the movie, go out and get it, it’s cute. The DVD version has some neat stuff to do with your children on-screen interactive, games, triva games, etc. There’s also a CD of the music. You don’t have to have children to like this stuff, I love it, and not just because I have young children. I have Pooh toys, I buy them for me now! I love the Classic Pooh stuff the most.

Don’t even mention The Book of Pooh. Gag. Yuck. Bleck.

Weather — God’s in the details

Well, it’s October 1st. At least the nights are acting like it, sort of, getting into the lower 60’s here in the Southern more parts of the US. Days are still too warm, into the 80’s. That could change though, any time. Weather is fun, isn’t it? I think so.

My favorite weather is the cool, crisp windy-ness of Autumn and Winter. Also, I love the snow and ice storms. Yes, I like them. I grew up in PA, and liked it as a child. And yes, I moved out of that when I was 13, but now I’m back to where it does snow occasionally and we get ice storms in January usually. Snow in December and January if at all. We did have a few inches that lasted a whole week last Winter, really COOL! Well, anyway, I love the ice storms. Everything shuts down and is so pristine and crystally and just wondrous to look at. Sure, it’s not the best thing for commerce and people who have to go to work. But then again, commerce and work shut down for those days, so there. Everyone needs a few days off in January, extra days, that is.

My other favorite weather is the stormy Spring weather. Thunderstorms, yes, the ones that sometimes spawn those evil tornados. I’ve not run into one of those tornadoes, so I guess they are more romantic for me, in the movies, ya know, a la “Twister”. I’d have been a storm chaser if I was a man. Guaranteed nearly. I’ve loved weather since I was a child. It’s so mysterious and lovely to watch and to guess about, and to see what really happens, to journal what happens, to plot the years past events, to see the patterns emerge. Neat stuff. The Weather Channel is one of my favorite TV Channels. Hurricane coverage is cool too. I love hurricanes. People just should not live on the coast of any major body of water, like gulfs and oceans, it’s not normative for the US, or islands. Storms need to come through to replentish water supplies and renew the earth. People get in the way of that. And when I talk about it people think I’m so cold or calous to the damage a hurricane brings. Like I said, move inland. Let the storms come and do what God creates for them to do. Restore the environment.

Wild weather shows God’s awesome authority. He commands the winds, the waves, the clouds, the rain. The Thunder reminds me of how powerful God is. He is The Creator. It’s not that the weather is really wild, it just looks like that to us humans and animals. God is bigger than us all, earth included.

Last day of Summer

Yesterday was the Last (full) Day of Summer. Not a sad day at all. I’m ready for Autumn to come!

My eldest son and I saw a V-formation of Geese last evening. Our first of the season. Telling sign of cooler days coming. Well, we live where Autumn is a long season, as is Summer. Winter and Spring aren’t as long, the way they act vs. the calendar dates for those seasons. Nevertheless, Autumn is showing up here, by seeing the birds begin to travel South for the Winter, abandoning the North for the South. We have the privelage of seeing many nice birds because of Fall and Spring Migration. We also have the privelage of Winter hosting some of these birds during the cooler months. It gets cooler here, but not as it does in the North. And our Winters aren’t very harsh, or at least not for very long. Ice Storms are the biggest problem, usually in January. Otherwise, it may snow, be in the teens and twenties, or it may be in the 40’s dry or raining. We get snow sometimes too, but it doesn’t usually last for many days.

So, we have a long growing season. We can set out plants in the garden in March. And have a cool season of growth at the end of the season — into November most times. And we get to travel other places and see the beautiful leaves changing and come back home for our own color peak in November. We love the South. It’s beautiful.

Now, other places are beautiful too, I admit that. But I can be partial about the South, I live here. You readers are partial about where you live, or maybe your childhood birthplace.

Welcome to all the migratory birds, and to the cool, crisp air, the changing leaves, the autumn blooms, and the drop in bugs. (YES!)