The benefits of having a famous blogger be your beta-tester

Mischief managed, as the Harry Potter fans say.  My friend Daisy’s superior WordPress-fu has moved me off of Yahoo (which does some wonky things to WordPress installations) and on to her own hosting service.  Dang, but she’s a fast bugstomper.  We still have some odd characters showing up in old posts, courtesy of some database incompatibility and my old-fashioned insistence on a double-space after a period (what can I say?  I learned to type on a typewriter), but I have WordPress 2.5 now (oooh – shiny!), and even better, I have the benefit of Wendy’s experiences in transitioning over to 2.5 and Daisy’s hosting.

Look for exciting new technological goodies in this space.

Patience please…

…renovations underway (we’re moving and upgrading to WP 2.5).  Permalinks temporarily broken, so individual entries aren’t accessible.

Required reading

Ever have someone who articulates things you have been thinking about forever?  Ever have someone who does this on a fairly regular basis in an incredibly eloquent way that puts your own thoughts on the subject to shame at the same time as you sigh with relief and say to yourself, “Ahhh – yes.  Exactly.”?

Marissa Lingen is one of those people for me.  I’ve directed my readers to her previously on the subject of only children.  In her latest post, she discusses the high school experience, advice from adults on dealing with same, and how navigating the difficult waters of adolescence might not just produce a happier teenager, but a more sane, happy, whole adult.

I’ll include a few gems to whet your appetite, but if you like what you see here, please go read the whole thing.  First:

Of course it’s useful if you can simply not care whether people around you are being hostile and nasty. But really, how many of us as adults can, by sheer force of will, make it totally not matter that we’re spending forty hours a week with people who are willing to be as unpleasant as they can get away with? Not many.*


The win condition is that you can only remember the names of the ones who were kind and/or interesting to you. The win condition is that when you get news of something terrible happening to someone who smeared Ben Gay all over your friend’s locker or pushed another friend down the stairs or any of the other lovely things that happened in high school, you are not glad. Because you’re not just a bigger and better person than that, you’re so much bigger and better and have moved on with your life so far that you had to stop and think why that name sounded familiar. That’s what winning looks like.

and last:

But sitting down and thinking to yourself, “What would be interesting to me apart from graduation requirements and college applications and dodging the jerks at school? What do I want to be able to do?” might be a good start. Everyone has to build a life that’s irrelevant of the structures of high school eventually. Everyone has to find an identity that doesn’t involve where your locker is or who you sit with in the cafeteria. No reason not to start as soon as you can.

I was pretty lucky – I didn’t have to deal with the kind of toxic jackassery that Marissa details (in high school, at least.  Middle school was another issue).  But her advice and musings are instructive beyond the adolescent experience, beyond the confines of school and work.  They reach to the core of a human being’s need for dignity and individual identity.  I don’t know if I would have been smart enough to heed her advice then.  I know I will at least try now.

*I would actually extend that statement beyond “people who are willing to be as unpleasant as they can get away with,” to a much lower bar of “people who can’t be bothered to extend the barest minimum of basic human courtesies.”

Memery by way of Think-Link

Cici was kind enough to want to know what randomness I could come up with in eight easy bites.  Despite promising myself no memes, I realized I had several not-quite blog posts rambling around in my head, as well as some responses to stuff I had read, so I figured I’d come up with eight of them.

1. Weather: It was cold enough this morning that I ran in my new quilted vest purchased from my favorite purveyor of inexpensive workout-wear: Target (it’s also bright pink enough that John burst out with, “Run Barbie, run!”).  I watched my breath puffing in the cold air and thought about how swiftly we have come to this chill, austere point in the year.  I was also grateful for the end of Daylight Savings, since I have a few weeks’ reprieve from running in the dark.  My mom, an afternoon walker, had a simultaneous notion in the opposite direction.  You can’t please everyone.

2. Semantics: How telling is it that the original last sentence of the paragraph above was, “You can’t please anyone?”

3. Knitting: I am simultaneously working on a cozy cashmere vest and a rough-ish wool sweater.  Both items are for me (Mine!  All mine, I tell you!).  Both have their charms, and though they are very different textures, it appears I have entered my Tweed period.

4. Holidays part 1: I am horribly behind in my Christmas shopping.  Normally I am one of those really annoying people who starts Christmas shopping in January.  Aside from a few purchases squirreled away from our vacation this year, I have no idea what I’m doing.  This is a recipe for disaster: panic, overspending, and disappointment (mine, at least) are sure to ensue.

5. Holidays part 2: Having knit for everyone (and I mean everyone) on my gift list last year, almost nobody is getting a handknit gift this year.

6. Television: We are watching the old BBC series, “All Creatures Great and Small” from Netflix.  I remember it being a high treat when I was a kid.  It may be even better now.

7. Family: I am eagerly awaiting my best friend’s baby, who if she doesn’t arrive soon of her own accord is going to garner herself an eviction notice.  I keep getting e-mails from Maria titled, “Still Pregnant.”  This is good news at 4 months.  It is tedious news at 9+ months (and yes, I am aware that pregnancy is measured in weeks and perhaps days and possibly hours at this point – all I know is the kid was due on the 5th.  She’s late, and Auntie Jill is a punctual sort.  Get out here so I can meet you and commence spoiling you, kiddo).

8. Blogging: I am selfishly delighted that Lianne is blogging regularly.  She’s a delight and a wonder to behold, the way she approaches the world with humor, insight, patience, and intelligence.  I only wish that she were coming to visit me on her travels.

You’re supposed to tag eight people at this point, but I shall do the cop-out thing and say tag yourself if you wish to participate.


Ever have one of those friends you know would be really good at something?  And not only would they be really good at it, they’d probably enjoy doing that something also?

I’ve been pretty sure for some time that my mom was a born blogger.  She’s smart, she’s funny, she writes really well.  When I was a kid, she had a column in our hometown newspaper, the Hollis Times, and more than one person (me included) has asked her to sit down at the keyboard again.  Blogging seemed to be the perfect way to channel and encourage that creativity.  But her job has been demanding for many years, and I knew that if I said, “Mom, let me set up a blog for you,” she’d either glaze over from demand-overload or she would go off like Daffy Duck, bouncing and whooping all over the landscape in sheer techno-panic.  She’s been shopping for digital cameras for years, and hasn’t been able to bring herself to buy one because there are just too many variables for her to consider in making the decision.

Well, she retired earlier this week.  Her former colleagues gave her a digital camera, and in her own words, she’s “obsessed.”  She loves it.  She learned that if someone takes the technology purchase decision out of her hands, she likes the result.


Sneaky kid that I am, I set up a WordPress blog for her.  I named it “Letters from the Woods,” because that was the name of her long-ago column.  She’s written her first post.  She’s off and running and I couldn’t be more delighted.

Tap, tap…

Is this thing on?


Testing Feedburner.  I’m not sure I’ve got it configured correctly.

Conversations with PHP

Once upon a time, Marie visited here and realized that I had responded to a comment of hers in the comments.  She had previously thought I hadn’t responded at all – she was expecting a reply via e-mail.  She wanted to know why I replied in a comment rather than an e-mail.  My rationale was a hope for discussion – I have occasionally responded to comments via e-mail where the response might contain information not available to the wider world, but for the most part, I have always hoped for dialogue.

My site isn’t really popular enough to invite dialogue much, though.  So my hope has been mostly in vain.  It also seemed like there might be a middle ground available somewhere.

Enter the new WordPress version 2 of WoT, and I discover a plugin that enables me to respond to comments and send an e-mail to the commenter at the same time.  Marvelous.  After being stumped by the install (why is it so often the case that the most vexing problems have the most “oh, duh” solutions?  Or is that just me?  On second thought, maybe I don’t want the answer to that), it seemed to work (sorry for the double-reply, Rana).  Just to make sure, I did a test reply to one of my own comments, and waited for that message to roll into my inbox.

And I waited.

And waited…

“Dammit,” I thought.  “Doesn’t work.  What dumb thing did I do this time?”

Then I had another thought.  Click, click… aha.

My own inbox classified me as spam.

So, please ignore the choking noises and just enjoy the picture of Milo.

basket o' kitten

Please Don’t Trip Over the Boxes and Packing Tape

This may be confusing to those of you just joining our program – I’ve been blogging since 2003, but just switched to this subdomain. The information below is for those who are making the switch from the “old” WoT to the “new” WoT in August of 2007.

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