Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Firefox ... I made the switch

I just divorced a long-time partner ... Internet Explorer and I are no longer together.

For the past few weeks, IE has been acting really weird. I've frequently been getting error messages when I try to click a link on a page before the page fully loads. I then have to stop, back-track, and refresh the window. It's like it overloads or something. I have a spankin' new laptop, so I know the problem isn't the machine.

The final straw came today today at a district training I attended. Several of us were getting some weird errors when trying to access certain portions of a program that required us to run the internet at the same time. The woman conducting the class informed us that they've noticed the same issue repeatedly over the summer during different sessions. She said it only acts "buggy" with IE.

She strongly recommended using Firefox instead of IE. Soooo ... I came home and did some research.

According to ScanIT (a web consultanting company that specializes in network security audits):

Internet Explorer was around 80% unsafe during 2004, while FireFox barely "missed" around 15 percent. The results are based upon a tester developed by the company, Browser Security Checker, used by around 195,000 clients last year in order to detect whether their systems are vulnerable and whether the browser is the access gate for malicious codes.

According to ScanIT CEO, David Michaux, "around 98% of the Internet Explorer users were exposed to online threats during 2004; 200 days out of the whole 2004 (54% of last year) was dominated by activities specific to this worm or virus which exploited browser’s vulnerabilities".

As a comparison, FireFox was only left unprotected to known vulnerabilities for 56 days last year; the open-source online browsing solution seems to rule.

That did it for me. I downloaded Firefox. All my bookmarks and cookies transferred over, but my tags and buttons didn't. After doing a quick search, I found a Mozilla add-on extension that fixed the problem for me, so now I'm good to go -- links and all.

It feels sort of weird. There are a few differences. But I was really getting frustrated with the problems I was having, and I can already tell the difference (I haven't had a single one of the above-mentioned error messages). So far, so good!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

a really fun wine

I say fun, because the whole experience begins with the label, and the label on the Magnificent Wine Co.'s House Wine White is unique and really eye-catching! And check out the website and the picture of the proprietor -- he's definitely not your stereotypical winemaker.

House Wine White is a chardonnay blend grown from grapes in Washington (for some reason, I can't seem to escape that state these days) -- specifically, on the east side of the Cascade Mountains in the Columbia Valley. It's a total "every day" wine ... nothing pretentious or flashy. Just a really good glass of wine!

The vinyard's website describes House White as "an absolutely delicious handful of grapes squeezed in a will please you to the max. Full of beautiful, floral, flavors, this wine is mouthfilling and fresh. You will find it difficult to release the glass from your hands." It doesn't have the oak-iness of a typical chardonnay, likely because it's a blend. I enjoyed it.

Mom and I have made a conscious effort to try several different wines this summer. Some have been keepers, others have been forgettable. This one is definitely on my "keeper" list. And as usual, it was purchased from the fine folks at Costco. ;)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

narrow-minded people

Ty arrived to the Forks/Port Angeles area today. It's been a long week, but at least he made it safe and sound. He's sort of in shell-shock right now. We all are. The reality is pretty much sinking in. He said it's drizzly (shocker) and about 59 degrees. Perfect weather for vampires. ;)

One of his very first [not-so-warm] greetings came from some intolerant individual who felt the need to peel off the McCain 2008 sticker from Ty's back windshield. What the hell is wrong with people anyway? I swear, I just don't get it.

Can you imagine having the audacity to look at something that belonged to someone else, disagree with it, and then physically destroy it as a result? It makes me sick. More so than usual because it was someone giving Ty a symbolic middle finger, when the only reason he's out there in the first place is because he's serving his country.

So ... to the petty, narrow-minded asshole who can't accept the fact that different opinions are what make this country great, I say to you -- kiss my ass. And don't mess with Texas [license plates].

Friday, July 25, 2008

Texas heat

Some more shots of A. We've been staying with Aunt B in College Station all week. Nothing but laziness and fun! Oh, and I've been doing a lot of scrapping with B (one of my big summer goals!). I think I'm getting better at it ... well, at least my pages don't look like thrown-together preschool art anymore.

Oh, and a big sigh of relief for dodging Hurricane Dolly. Whew.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


getting ready for breaking dawn!


In preparation for this grand and monumental event, I'm re-reading Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse. I'm about half-way through Twilight, and I'm already picking up on so much more the second time around ... now that I know what to look for! I'm also discovering that it's a totally different experience, especially after reading chapter one of Midnight Sun (Edward's perspective) on Stephenie Meyer's website (that's a WHOLE other conversation! Holy smokes!). I was afraid I wouldn't enjoy it, or get as much out of it as the first time around, but it's a totally different experience ... in a good way.

I love these books. There are so many different aspects to them that have come to mean so much to me. I wonder if Stephenie would think I'm just another freaky groupie if I wrote her a letter telling her all about the Twilight synchronicity (Ty moving to La Push, etc.) that I've experienced in my life since first discovering the series (Thanks again, B!)? Who knows? Groupie or not, I'd like to tell her about it some day.

Back to soaking up some rays ... and Twilight! Bella is about to discover about Edward's sparkliness in the meadow! :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

summer memories

Yesterday we all got together over at my dad's to say goodbye and wish Ty well on his "journey." Fajitas, margaritas, family, smiles and lots of hugs.


A few of Aidan...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

building forts

When I was a kid, I LOVED to make forts. Not fancy wood forts outside, or treehouses up in the branches, but rather detailed engineering marvels carefully assembled from couch cushions, pillows, blankets, and heavy books to hold everything in place. We'd strategically place our building "materials" between the coffee table and chairs and end up with the perfect hiding place. You know the kind I'm talking about, right? The ones you'd always make when you had a friend come over to spend the night?

It was even better when you added flashlights and some goodies from the kitchen (i.e. a bag of chips or a few stolen cookies from the cookie jar). We'd always start out planning to stay up all night, but usually ended up cratering around mignight. And then on Saturday morning, you had a nice comfy pile to lounge around on while watching cartoons. Ah. Great times.

Over the past few days, Big A has started to show interest in this time-honored tradition of childhood, and it's cracking me up. Except he calls it his "house." I'm really having to hold myself back from dragging out a bunch more of stuff from the linen closet ... to really add to his meager little structure. But right now, he's content with 2 of the big couch cushions -- one propped up between the coffee table and the couch, acting as a back wall, and the other lying on top, acting as a roof. HE LOVES IT. He crawls under there and says, "Mommy! Come see me!"

It's fun watching the pieces of my childhood appear in his. Makes me smile at the most unexpected times -- thank goodness. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

life can be hard

It's been a lazy summer. I haven't blogged in about a week because, to be honest, I've been avoiding the big ol' elephant in the living room (and not wanting to talk or even write about it). We've been spending family time together, running errands, getting things ready, and basically laughing and crying a whole lot.

I'm so blessed. My life is so very, very full. I have a son who I simply couldn't live without. He's healthy, happy, and the light of my life. That right there should be enough. But I have more -- MUCH more. I have a husband who is better to me than I deserve. My parents are still alive and well, my twin sister (and best friend) is close enough to give me grief when I need it (and does she ever), and I'm literally surrounded by good friends and family. Seriously. What more could anyone want?

Which is why I feel so conflicted and guilty feeling the way that I do. It seems so selfish to be wanting more. But I do. I want our family together -- Ty, Aidan, and me. He leaves Monday to begin a two-year tour of duty far from home, and my heart aches so much, I just don't know how I'm going to find the strength to do it. And now that the reality of it is almost here, it's much worse than the thought of it ever was. And he's not even gone yet. I'm just not handling this with much grace.
I'm so proud that he's serving his country. So very proud. But I'm angry at the same time. I'm angry that we're "hoping" to see eachother for a few days in September, if we can make it work. I'm angry that Aidan is going to have to basically live without his daddy until he's four years-old. I'm angry that some small USCG station sitting on an Indian reservation in the Northwest is getting my husband, even though we need him so much more than they do.
I still can't believe we're in the situation that we're in, and I know that so many people have it so much worse. I keep thinking, "This just isn't how it was supposed to be. It's not what we planned." But then I try to remind myself that nothing ever is.

There's really no rhyme or reason to this blog entry. Other than I'm really sad. And it sucks. And my heart hurts.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

layers of paint

For the past few weeks (yes, WEEKS!), Ty has been painting the exterior of my mom's house. It really needed it. Being the swell guy that he is, he of course stepped up to the plate.

It's been a monster job. There's just no other way to describe it. The prepping alone took almost 2 weeks. He borrowed the power washer from his [old] unit in Galveston and blasted away all the old stuff in order to make room for the new. Along the way, we've had some good laughs.

First and foremost, who in the HELL paints a front door salmon pink? By our calculations (similar to rings on a tree. LOL) and with some input from Mom, we figured that the people who owned the house about 40 years ago did exactly that. I think it was actually the second color though. The first looks like it was a mint green. And you just know that the lovely people who did it probably stepped back and said, "That looks beautiful."

Mom's front door is going to be red. Her inspiration is the front door at Talbot's -- brass kick-plate and all. I bet in about 50 years, someone will be removing paint and discover our layer of red and think to themselves, "Who in the HELL paints a front door red?"

I sort of feel like I've been blasting away at a lot of the old stuff and getting ready for the new as well. Life is full of color, for sure. Sometimes the outside coating chips and peels, but if you dig down deep enough, you can usually find some interesting stuff! A fresh coat of color shakes things up every once in a while.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

yippee! my boy loves books!

I think it's official ... Aidan loves books! And I love that he loves them.

Since he was an itty-bitty thing, we've read to him. Not because we were trying to force it on him, or attempting to mold him into an early prodigy, but rather because he loved it. He couldn't get enough of books, especially the DK My First board books. I blogged a few months ago about his love of Ant and Bee and the Rainbow (which is still a bedtime favorite). And now he's currently into anything about firetrucks, construction vehicles, letters, or numbers -- a typical boy. It's really a lot of fun to watch his interests change.

Today Aidan and I did some babysitting. We watched Aidan's cousin, Grant (my sister's 4-month-old son) for a few hours while his mom and dad were away. Grant was Aidan's first big visitor to his new house and bedroom, so he was anxious to show off all his toys and books.

The highlight of the day was watching Aidan "read" to Grant. He'd show him the pages in the way he's obviously used to experiencing read alouds being presented at school -- you know, where the book is held up so that the pages are visible to the audience. He pulled two books off his bookshelf to share with Grant -- his DK Firetrucks book, and, of course, Ant and Bee and the Rainbow.
It was awesome.