Marc


Editor’s note: this blog post was created about 2 and a half years ago as an experiment in blogging using Microsoft Word. After re-reading it, I thought one or two of my three readers might find my inane ramblings to myself amusing. The table is completely fabricated (I think). If not, sorry I wasted your time. -MW

 

I am trying to find the most efficient way of writing a blog post. If it helps to use Microsoft Word with its automatic spell checker then that would be of some use to me. I fancy myself an accurate speller but I often mistype words without realizing that I’ve spelled them incorrectly. I would also like to be able to format my posts a little more to my liking.

One of the things about blogs is the format. When I try and read some of the posts made by “experienced” bloggers, I often find myself confused and spending more time trying to read what they’ve written then actually processing the content of what they’ve written.

Of course, a small problem would be that I might not be able to imbed videos and other things as easily as from the web site. Adding categories doesn’t seem to work…or does it?

We’ll see.

Clicking on “Home Page” on the tool bar opens up Internet Explorer and brings me to my site.

Now let’s see if we can save over existing post documents. But before I do that, let me add some links, pictures, and maybe embed a video.

Link to my other blog:

RIS 6th Grade Band

So far this seems to be working out just fine. I have to make sure that the posts are a no wider than a 4-5 inches. The photos/images especially. I had to shrink the graphic or it wouldn’t fit on the page and the web site made no adjustments to the image.

Embedding a video…

So far it all seems to be working just fine.

I don’t plan on actually posting this to my web site, but I’ll keep it for future reference in case there is anything I forget about.

It does, but some of the image quality isn’t very good. I wonder if that could be improved or if it’s even worth improving?

I have no idea what to do with a table. It seems like it could be an effective communication tool if I knew what I was doing with it. I wonder if there is a table for dummies book. I suppose it might help if I knew some of the basic principles of statistics and data, etc. Hmmm…

Same thing with tables. The column on my blog is only five and a half inches wide. Keep it in that width and we’re golden (like the pond).

This could be cool, but I wonder how the reformatting to fit the 5.5 inch column on my blog page will affect it. Well, the graphics again are pretty blah and unimpressive. How would I fix that? Can I save the image as a jpeg? Or is it doomed to be a blocky, ugly image?

Now, about saving and storing these posts on my computer.

I just discovered that I can actually open posts from the blog site. That is very cool. That means if I ever needed to edit them, I could do it from Word as long as I have access to the web. Ah, accessing the web.

Bullets

  • Time to go to rehearsal
  • We’ll be rehearsing Ginestera next.
  • I play the tambourine
  • And a couple of suspended cymbal rolls.
  • Sweet.

Numbered lists

  1. This is number one
  2. Followed by number two
  3. And Three
  4. Four comes next
  5. Followed by five
    1. With an occasional a
    2. B
    3. And C
  6. We’ll wrap it up with six.

Ahh…Wordpress changes the bullet formatting to fit to its own format program. Bummer. Lists and outlines are useful but not if they don’t act like lists and outlines.

We’ll check this Heading

After I hit enter it goes back to “normal” text.

Heading 2

More Normal.

Heading 3

More normal stuff

Heading 4

More normal stuff. Hmm…heading is not so much different from normal text.

Heading 5

Has its advatanges because it’s italicized.

Heading 6

Is smaller than the normal text. I’ve noticed that some of the colors of the headings are different then the normal text.

Emphasis!

Strong

Quote. I’m quoting. Yea!

How
about
some
text
color
changes and highlighting?

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Greetings to my faithful readers!

Not that I have been very faithful about posting these days, but it’s about to get worse.  Here are some of the things on my calendar coming up that will demand my attention and keep me from indulging in self-aggrandizing on my blog.

Tonight: Rutland Intermediate School Concert, featuring my 6th Grade Band.  Oh and Malcolm and I have appointments with the dentist.

Tomorrow: Our new pellet stove finally arrives and our bed gets lowered (that’s a longer story).

This weekend: Parenting and husbanding all weekend long!

Monday: Hosting a playgroup gathering.

Tuesday: Hmmm…nothing that I can think of.

Wednesday:  Meet with the insurance people.

Thursday: VSO rehearsal in Winooski.

Friday: More rehearsals in Winooski.

Saturday: Rehearsal and concert with the VSO in Burlington

Sunday: Rehearsal and concert with the VSO in Rutland.

Monday: Back to normal???

That’s the quick overview.  I’m hoping to engage in some thoughtful (read: useless) blogging while in Burlington in between rehearsals as the family will be well taken care of by others.

Take care and God bless.

MW

 

This is my first attempt at being a webcam videographer.  Don’t look for my filming to get much more sophisticated.

I like chili.

I wouldn’t consider myself a chili connoisseur, exactly, but I do enjoy a good chili.

My step-mother, Karen, makes a good chili.  She admits to having my sister Samantha assisting her with the most recent chili.  Maybe that’s where the problems began…

This past Saturday we enjoyed a “Whitman Christmas” or “Christmas, Part 5” at our home on Harvard Street.  Brought in for the festive occasion was a nice pot of chili fresh from Karen’s Kitchen.  After presents we sat down to enjoy the chili and various other foodstuffs.  I do not often break bread over a nice bowl of chili so I engorged myself (sorry for if that brings back memories of my tick troubles for any of you) and had two heaping bowls of the delightful stuff.

I was told a number of years ago that the stomach was the first thing to go when getting old.  Well, mine has apparently gotten up and left.  Within mere hours I paid my first visit to the proverbial outhouse.  No serious damage, jut a little discomfort.

Well, I couldn’t really eat anything else for the rest of the day.  The effects of the chili made me think that I really didn’t have a stomach and that the beans and spices were just floating around aimlessly in my abdominal cavity.

The next day was better, but I still felt that I was absent either a stomach or an intestine or two.  However, when I announced that I wasn’t making anything exciting for dinner, Meredith asked for left over chili and I was only too happy to oblige.  After heating the chili in the microwave and sprinkling some shredded cheese on it for my dear wife, I took a good whiff of the distinct aroma.  No sooner had I sniffed the sultry smell of the succulent southwestern stew than my stomach flipped and my small intestine twisted.  Believe it or not, the mere smell of the chili had forced  me to make an “emergency” bathroom visit.

Sigh.  Will I ever be able to enjoy a good bowl of chili again?

MW

Good morning.

I wanted to give you a brief update about what’s been going on here on 10 Harvard Street. For some of the exciting goings on, I’ll refer you back to my Thanksgiving Eve post. There is one story that I haven’t shared because I’ve been trying to find the most exciting way to tell it. I haven’t found an exciting way of telling it, so you’ll get the boring, ho hum version of the story and I’ll let the facts be the excitement.

First, Meredith is doing well. I was able to get to her therapies on Friday for the first time since she started as an outpatient at the hospital (Rutland Regional Medical Center). It has become clear to me that Meredith is able to do more than we “allow” her to do. I know from my perspective I don’t have her do things because of time and expediency (with two little kids running around that isn’t hard to understand why). But she is probably able to do more and should do more, so now I just need to figure out a way to make that happen when I’m home. Of course, in order to facilitate Meredith doing more things on her own she should be doing a regular exercise routine. Again, not a problem for Shannon (her aide) during the week, but it is a problem for me when it’s just me.

That brings me to a little aside. I am very grateful for all of the help many people have given me throughout this ordeal, especially my mom, my family and my in-laws. I certainly would have many more gray hairs if I didn’t have the help that they have provided. I am also very grateful for the community of cookers that Marty Barclay has been arranging for us. They’ve provided me two nights a week of delicious food (and more importantly, time not to worry about what to make for dinner).

Well, the sewage continued to spill out of the trap in the basement floor. Greg finally called the drain service people for me while we were visiting my Dad and step-mom (which was a great visit). I was reluctant to call them because, well, probably because I’m stubborn, but also because they’ve been to the house twice already back in August and the problem has not gone away. I was also hoping to time it so that I didn’t have to pay double time for their services on a holiday or weekend. No such luck. I haven’t used the toilet since he was here, but I’m not holding my breath.

Maura is very congested, but she seems to be otherwise fine. Malcolm is still whiny, but I still love him ( (I never stopped, in case you doubted). Merlin, well…

Enter two little visitors that showed up on my door. Literally, my chest and my arm. Oh, a couple of weeks back, I noticed something on my chest right below my left collar bone. It looked to me like a blood blister that had ballooned up from my skin. I didn’t think much of it because when I wrestle with the kids I get pinched and poked and pounced on all over. I just figured it was one of those pinchings that resulted in a blood blister. A few days later I noticed another one on the back of my right arm (actually, Malcolm is the one to have discovered that one for me).

(Too much information warning)

So, I’m sitting on the toilet one afternoon after school, minding my own business (doing my business if you prefer) and I felt something fall down my back. Huh? I thought to myself, I wonder what that was. I proceed to wrap up what I’m doing (not literally, of course) and I spot something on the toilet seat. Huh? What is that? I picked it up and to my curiosity I discovered that it was the “blood blister” that was from my chest. After looking at it up close, my curiosity turned to horror as I realized that it was no blood blister. It was a tick! A TICK!

Of course, out of a morbid curiosity (and an overwhelming desire to squish the little monster) I looked closely at the creature and squeezed it. Sure enough, the sack of my digested blood explodes violently and splatters all over my face. Well, the rest of the story is a little fuzzy, but it went something like this:

I exclaimed disgust.

I squirmed.

I exclaimed disgust.

I took of my shirt and inspected the other tick. I carefully removed the tick, took pictures of it, and put him in a plastic bag to die a slow death of suffocation.

I squirmed.

I called my father-in-law, the dentist. Not really sure what he was going to tell me, I figured he would have advice for me as my skin was crawling with imaginary ticks.

Reassured, but not satisfied, I called my sister-in-law, the physician’s assistant and woods dweller (i.e. tick connoisseur). I asked her to assure me that I wouldn’t die, I told her my story. I realized that I didn’t need to go to the emergency room (even though I very much wanted to so that I could take a hazmat bath).

I squirmed. My skin continued to crawl with imaginary ticks sucking my very real blood. In fact, I didn’t don another shirt for at least an hour. I was constantly looking over my shoulder and in the mirror, convinced that the ticks had bred like rabbits and I was covered with them. I squirmed some more.

I have since visited the doctors and we are pursuing a course of blood screening before we try any antibiotics. If I do have Lyme disease, then because we caught it early (and crushed and suffocated the little buggers) it is very treatable with a three-week course of antibiotics. That is very reassuring, of course, but I’m still squirming.

I have posted a picture of my little friend on my other blog. Follow the link at it at your own peril. It will cause your skin to crawl as it did mine.

Happy first Sunday in Advent!

Take care and God bless.

Marc

Here is a copy of my post to Meredith’s CaringBridge site when we all took a trip to the grocery store…

Okay…

…just had to share this…

I took Malcolm, Maura, and Meredith to the grocery store yesterday.  Yes, that’s right, by myself. 

We got to the store before I realized I forgot the list.  Whoops.  No big deal, I just barely wrote it down, so it was fresh in the memory banks.

Got out of the car and realized…how am I going to push the cart, the wheel chair, and keep two kids under control?  No big deal, Malcolm could push mommy and I could push Maura in the cart.

Got a quarter of the way down the first aisle before I noticed…Malcolm had run mommy into an unsuspecting grocery store patron perusing the greeting cards.  Got another quarter of the way down the same aisle before Malcolm and mommy nearly knock over a cardboard display box.  Yet another quarter of the way down the same aisle and I turn to see Malcolm investigating some sparkly, glowing sticks.  “What ‘dat, daddy?”  After a couple minutes of ruthless negotiating, I pulled him away from the pretty objects and finally made it to the end of the first aisle.

Plan B, I put Malcolm in the front of the grocery cart and I pushed mommy while I pulled the cart (poor Maura was like the caboose on a train, only seeing where we had already been and not where we were going).

Things are going swimmingly until we hit the magazine aisle.  Not only are there magazines, but there are children’s books as well.  Turns out that those books bought me an extra 10 minutes of peaceful grocery store time when all was said and done.

By the time we hit the cash register, all you could see of Malcolm was his little blonde head peeking out from between the loaves of bread and the toilet paper, Maura was no longer entertained by Dora The Explorer’s exploits, and Mommy was patient, but she was ready to lie down and rest.

Got all the way to the car before I realized…where was I going to put the groceries?  With two car seats in the back seat and Meredith’s wheelchair in the back, there wasn’t really room for the foodstuffs.  So, taking care not to smash the eggs, I packed the back of the car like a game of Tetris and gently slammed shut the door.

Now, on our way back home, I take look at the clock and realize…it’s quarter ‘til one.  That would be an hour past lunch time and only 15 minutes before nap time.  So, I had to feed everyone lunch, get Meredith and the kids to bed and find the energy to actually put away the groceries.  Trying to maintain my cool, I slow my breathing to achieve a zen-like state of mind.  Not that I began to achieve any sort of balance with the universe, but I kept my anxieties in check.

When we pulled into the driveway I realized…Zen is a load of hooey and I couldn’t use the wheelchair to get Meredith in the house before I unloaded groceries because you’ll remember that the bags are tucked Tetris-style into every little nook and Thomas’ cranny.  So, I walked Meredith from the car to the front door of the house and to the seat in the front hallway (which under normal circumstances would have been something to celebrate, but we were a little pressed for time).  Merlin managed to escape during our entrance to the house because Malcolm and Maura were just lingering in the open doorway while I was walking mommy.  With Meredith sitting in the gossip chair (that’s another story) in the front hallway, Malcolm, Maura and I went out to get Merlin back to the house.

He stopped across the street to pee and we managed to coax him back to our side of the street.  I told the kids to start walking to the house to encourage Merlin to follow us and Malcolm and I started to make our way back to the house.  I turned to check on the pug’s progress (apologies to Bunyon fans) and Maura and Merlin were in a stare down.  I told Maura to come with us so Merlin would follow.  She proceeded to get down on her knees and snort through her nose to imitate Merlin’s breathing.  Methinks she misunderstood.  At the time, I wasn’t particularly amused, but I knew it would be funny later.  Ha, ha.

Now, everyone’s back in the house.  Meredith needs to use the potty (which requires my assistance).  Malcolm and Maura are running amok on a hypoglycemic frenzy and Meredith and I are dodging two and four legged creatures as they dart in and out of our legs.  Malcolm comes over to me with one shoe off and says that he can’t get the other one off.  So, being the wannabe magician that I am, I give it a quick yank (as per the table cloth trick) and proceeded to triple sowcow Malcolm to the floor with a perfect landing for a high dive competition. 

After consoling Malcolm and cleaning mommy, I am finally able to bring the groceries into the house.  At this point, life returns to a more acceptable pace and I manage to get the groceries away, feed everyone lunch, get everyone down for a nap, and plop myself down to watch some football only to discover that the Patriots are getting creamed by the Dolphins.  No bit of light-hearted entertainment or encouragement there, so I took a nap.

PS And still the Red Sox find ways to make getting to the playoffs look like a Shakespearean comedy.  We’re at the part when we discover that David Ortiz is really a man pretending to be girl, pretending to be a man so that he can keep his number three spot in the line-up even though Dustpan Petunia tops the league in three different offensive categories (including nose hair).  Jacobin Elderberry is shouting vive le stolen base, while Jason “I’m not Manny Ramirez” Baywatch is looking for his muse.  Cocoa Crispies is negotiating a Faustian deal with Crackle, to take over Snap and Pop’s share of Kellog’s.  Kevin YouCanDoIt is still amazed that he wasn’t cast as Lex Luthor in the most recent Superman movie and VariTekTacToe, Paplebonbon and the First Lowell are masterminding a Machiavellian scheme to take everyone’s maple bats and replace them with pine.  In the end, let’s hope that we’ll see Kevin Rock the Cashbah throw off the catcher’s mask, tilt his head back and share a laugh with Terry Franconia Notch. 

As Maceo Parker would say, pass the peas like we used to do.