Tag Archives: Creativity

Lines | From Past to Future

My daughters and I visited teacher friends on July 2, 1979. They had sparklers in preparation for the July 4th celebrations. Of course, the girls wanted to play with them. It seemed like a good opportunity for a picture. It was getting dark as evening neared.The camera needed a longer shutter speed of a half second or more. The pictures turned out much better than I expected. Sparks flew and burst into small branches before dying out. We had fun.

79Jul01

79Jul02

 

In 1985, the Chicago Tribune Magazine ran a photo contest. Readers were invited to submit photographs with the theme ‘Lines‘. These two pictures from six years before seemed to fit the theme. I submitted the top photograph. A few weeks later I received a big envelope in the mail from the Tribune containing a check for $250 and a framed certificate. I won second prize.

Today, both beautiful daughters have wonderful children of their own. Some are the same ages as in these photographs. Much has changed in all three of our lives. Important things have also remained the same. When they look back to see the lines connecting their pasts to the present, I hope they see many lines full of happiness.

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Oh My Stars | Winner Chosen

Thanks for the offers. Here is the winner.

How I See It

Melanie and I are happy to announce the recipient of the Oh My Stars donation quilt. The story and monetary offer combined to make a compelling case that it should go to this person. She will be known as Grace in order to maintain her privacy. Here are details of the donation quilt offer in case you missed the earlier post.

Grace has been a volunteer with her local hospice center after they cared for her mother and father. She has assisted patients and their families as they transitioned through the hospice process. Grace knows first-hand the wonderful help they give to others in their hours of great need. She has chosen to donate her offering to Iowa City Hospice.

Melanie and I visited the office of Iowa City Hospice. We brought the quilt and Grace’s donation. We explained the circumstances of the quilt project that led to her donation. They…

View original post 256 more words

Oh My Stars | Quilt Donation

Would you like to own this quilt and help a charitable group, too?

How I See It

Two years ago, Melanie made the quilt below for a blog project that I especially liked called Oh My Stars. I want to offer it for someone to purchase. The quilt dimensions are 59″x60″ (1.50m x 1.52m). A deserving charitable organization in our community will receive the money. I’ve never done this kind of thing before. We learn by doing.

MyStarsQuilt My Stars | Melanie McNeil | Catbird Quilt Studio | 2013

MyStarsQuilt2 My Stars | Melanie McNeil | Catbird Quilt Studio | 2013

The basic plan is for interested persons to (1) explain why they want the quilt, (2) make a monetary offer, and (3) choose one of the six organizations below as the recipient of their offer.

Offers are to be made in private using my email address provided below. Only offers submitted using that email will be considered.

Only offers from the U.S. will be considered due to shipping cost constraints.

The winner…

View original post 121 more words

Thoughts About WordPress Reader

Update: 2015 Nov 28 The points made in the original post below no longer apply. WordPress changed Reader again.

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by Melanie and Jim

Do you use the WordPress Reader to keep track of your followed blogs? We do. Lately, there have been numerous ‘enhancements’ to Reader. In general, the Reader is going to a one-size-fits-all approach in order to fit content into the small mobile screened world.

Changes in recent weeks were not announced. They simply showed up for us to learn. Some of it has been confusing and illogical. We’ve been quite busy and might have missed the rollout announcement. Was there one? What follows are a few of our reactions to those changes.

Random Reader Views

We were both confused by the views presented by Reader when we clicked on a blog post. It seemed there were two possibilities. For some blogs the click went to a barebones view of the post, with white background and text and pictures. All of the widgets (sidebar information and links), related posts, tabs, and other formatting were removed, as well. Some other posts in Reader went directly with a single click to the actual blog set up by the writer showing the theme with the look-and-feel they had worked to present.

Here is an example, showing the difference between the view directly accessed from Reader, and what is seen as designed by the blogger. If I click on this (within Reader)

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 7.27.02 AM

it takes me to this:

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 7.28.29 AM

See how it is all white space? The actual blog looks like this:

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 7.28.46 AM

There is nothing obvious at all about how to get from the white-space view to the blog. It was especially confusing because for some blogs, clicking from Reader would go directly to the blog, skipping the white-space version. Why were some treated differently than others? It appeared random.

As it turns out, another click on the post’s title (not the blog name — that doesn’t help!) in that barebones white view took you to the actual blog. Yes, there were links that would take you to their blog in one click. We didn’t notice them at first.

Eventually, we found a clue. Check out these two screen shots of one of our recent blog posts as presented in Reader. Notice one is slightly different in the red oval. Why is that?

FullText

Summary

By clicking the title or body text of the first one, Reader presented the simple white-space view and did not actually go to the blog. By clicking the title or body text of the second one, Reader presented the actual blog post showing the theme.

Speaking of Theme

Why put a lot of effort into selecting a theme so it looks the way you want? Why make the effort of adding tabs or sidebars with more information? Was Reader bypassing those efforts of many bloggers with the simple white layout? Why do that?

Changing Your Settings 

As noted above, if in Reader your blog shows “Visit [your blog] for the full post” clicks will go directly to the blog. This action is controlled in Settings on your wp-admin page. Choose Settings —> Reading. Then select Summary view in order to have Reader direct to your blog without the black on white view. Remember to Save Changes.

Settings

The Reader App

We have not found a way to view and read the actual blog site using the Reader app on iPad. Maybe someone knows how to do that. For us, it always presents a simple text on white view. No themes show for us.

 

Love Anyway

[I posted this about a year and a half ago. It’s a helpful read when I’m feeling sorry for myself and less generous. This is a good time to post it again.]

There is a quotation often attributed, incorrectly, to Mother Teresa. One segment of it reads, “People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.” Certainly the generosity expressed here is reminiscent of the blessed sister. But they were not her words.

I quoted a portion of the same text about a year ago. At the time the attribution I saw, and used, was incorrect. Since then I’ve learned the truth, and want to share with you the whole, original version. It was written by Dr. Kent M. Keith.

The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

http://www.paradoxicalcommandments.com/

Ancestors | Walking the Homeland

The main point of this post is how digital technology today allows us to take virtual trips to a vast number of places. It is almost like being there. But, being there in person is the truest way to experience the world. Travel for real if you are able.


My maternal ancestors include the Kelly and Huston lines from central Ireland. In June of 2011, Melanie and I went to Ireland for a vacation. We started in Dublin, then took the train to central Ireland to find my ancestral homeland. I wanted to see it with my own eyes and walk where they walked. We spent the night in Athlone. Next day, the train took us to Galway where we stayed for six more. What a wonderful place.

The Kelly and Huston families lived where the counties Meath and Westmeath border just north of Delvin. My great-grandmother was born there in 1838. She, her eight sisters, and her parents all came to America. A relative showed me a link to deed maps of the mid-1800s for that area. We found two parcels of land which her family apparently owned and farmed. This map marks close to the two parcels.

We rode the train from Dublin to Mullingar. There, were spoke with a cabbie, Mick. We asked him if he would take us out of town just northeast of Delvin. He made a call to his boss and then said he would be happy to do it. Mick was a local and knew the area well. He enjoyed the chance to get out of town for a change. He talked a lot and told some good stories.

I want to see more.

Lines | Connecting Past to Future

My daughters joined me to visit teaching colleagues on July 2, 1979. They had some sparklers in preparation for the July 4th celebrations. Of course, the girls wanted to play with them. It was getting dark as evening neared. The camera needed a longer shutter speed of a half second or more. The pictures turned out much better than I expected. Sparks flew and burst into small branches before dying out. What fun we had.

In 1985, the Chicago Tribune Magazine ran a photo contest. People were invited to submit photographs with the theme ‘Lines‘. These two pictures came to mind from six years before. I submitted this top photograph in the color category. In October I got a big envelope in the mail from the Tribune with a framed certificate inside. I won second place and $250.

Fast forward to today. These beautiful daughters have children of their own. Some are the same ages as in these photographs. Much has changed in our lives. A few things are the same. I hope they will be able to look back a generation or more and see some of the lines that connect their past to what came about later. I hope they will be lines full of happiness and not much sadness.

Hippeastrum | A Scarlet Baby In Our House

In mid-December, our daughter gave us a present with a large plant bulb inside, growing pot and medium. It was soon planted and watered, ready to grow. Two weeks later this 5″ wide bloom greeted us.

The stamens were laden with pollen.

It grew so fast! In two weeks, the flower stalk had grown nearly two feet. The ruler shows 0.5″ of leaf growth in a day.

Three buds were emerging behind this first bloom. A favorite piece of wall art framed them perfectly.

It has been about a week since the first bloom. Today, I placed the camera on the counter facing upward, set the self-timer, and captured the four from an unusual direction. Thank you, dear daughter. This has been fun.

Hippeastrum (aka Amaryllis) Family

This very popular holiday plant is one of the most widely grown bulbous plants in the world. While it is often forced to bloom in the shortest, darkest days of winter in temperate zones, it is a popular landscape plant in subtropical zones. Northern gardeners sometimes even treat it as a summer flowering bulb that is planted after the last frost in spring. More from the US National Arboretum web site.

Love Anyway

There is a quotation often attributed, incorrectly, to Mother Teresa. One segment of it reads, “People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.” Certainly the generosity expressed here is reminiscent of the blessed sister. But they were not her words.

I quoted a portion of the same text about a year ago. At the time the attribution I saw, and used, was incorrect. Since then I’ve learned the truth, and want to share with you the whole, original version. It was written by Dr. Kent M. Keith.

The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

http://www.paradoxicalcommandments.com/