Local Heart, Global Soul

January 4, 2016

We All Need To Focus On Being Positive… And An Internet Connection

(photograph © Kiwidutch)
I finally have my new laptop up and running, a special Thank You to my Tech friend (you know who you are)! Now all I have to do is to try and figure out how “Windows 10” works and whilst he downloaded something to help me resize photographs, we can’t find how to activate it. Work in progress, but slow progress… story of my life at the moment.

He also took the memory whats-it out of my old laptop and put it onto an eternal hard-drive, I had saved everything to two external hard drives myself, but that was back in October, so that last two months of photos and docs were missing.

The losses were bad but could have been worse. The lesson is that we should all be backing up our digital photographs and documents at least once a month. Yet another New Year’s resolution but one that should hopefully save me from repeating the drama of the last month in the future.

I’m currently trying to transfer everything from our friends drive to the new laptop so that I can then resave it to my drives and give his eternal hard drive back. All of this needs to be done in the small window of the day when my head feels slightly less foggy, when I am not forcing myself to stay awake, the pain is more bearable and when I am not distracted by kid war Number 6930.

This is why I find myself typing in the middle of the night, the pain in my foot is about a 4 out of 10 but it’s thumping like a drum, freezing cold but too sore to put under the covers. I figure that if I can’t sleep I may as well try and do something useful.

The same friend who came to my laptop rescue also tackled our Wi-Fi, got it triumphantly working… (whops and cheers from Little Mr) for several hours before the upstairs level of our home was suddenly Wi-Fi-less once again.

That means the living room, dining room and kid rooms are currently back to piggybacking on kind neighbours Wi-Fi, at least it’s working in Himself’s office and our bedroom where my office is.

When the kids are back to school this week and the homework starts again it will however become more of a problem. Living in todays world without an internet connection is more annoying than I would like it to be, I’d love to live without it but truth be told it’s a lifeline for someone like me who is mostly housebound, and doing homework in the local library is not as easy as doing it in the comfort of your own home.

We have all let ourselves be bound to technology. I don’t have Facebook or so other social media to speak of (my blog post headings go out on Twitter but that’s pretty much the extent of my tweets) but at least my laptop gives me a purpose… sorting family photographs distracts me from the pain (sometimes) it only requires a very low level of concentration which is all I’m capable all these days.

I work on many blog posts at once, most have something like 13 edits, some have 30 or more… but if I write a sentence or two, put the idea in my mind onto the page, I can go back later and add piece by piece. I have six pages of draft posts in my Schedule and they help keep me sane when some days I seriously wonder if I am. A little writing and photo sorting helps to pass time in the night, helps me focus on positive things. Something that is good for every one of us.

January 3, 2016

Please Teachers: Please, Please Take Them Back!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are at that point in the school holidays when our kids really need to be back at school.

The almost four year age gap is showing and now that Kiwi Daughter is a stroppy teenager both Little Mr and I have targets on our foreheads, or at least that’s how it looks and feels.

The biggest problem is that she is a dab hand at calling him names under her breath, or when she thinks she is out of parent earshot… and she lights the fuses that make Little Mr detonate no matter how hard he tries to ignore her. He then gets told off for the hitting and shouting which are his form of retaliation whilst she plays the often smirking ” innocent” victim, swearing blind that she ” had nothing to do with these outbursts at all“.

Himself is slowly coming to realise that she is usually the match looking for tinder and that Kiwi Daughter knows every single darned button to push, and that Little Mr and I can usually only bear the brunt of her barbs for so long. To date she has been without pocket money for some six weeks and if todays outbursts of rudeness and taunts are anything to go by, she’s going without pocket money for a while into the foreseeable future too.

I see a physiatrist so that I can lean to deal with long term pain, Himself joins me in the sessions so that he can talk about that effects the family dynamic too, and Kiwi Daughter has seen her on one occasion (under great protest) because clearly she is unhappy about something, so far it is her hair, body, face and figure in general, often it is the “terrible uncool people” that she has the misfortune to live with, or she just doesn’t know.

I have been reading articles that tell me that teenagers  will dump their greatest tantrums on those who they know will still love them afterwards, ..evidently this means she loves me really, really, really, really, really a lot.

Outside of the house our son and daughter have raised eyebrows in pleasant surprise: their manners are perfect, they offer to help, they are a delight, in short people think we have raised Saints, but let me assure you, their halo’s fall to the floor with a thud one step over the threshold of the family home,  and their inner devils are let loose.

I am told that once the teenage years are over this sister and brother will appreciate each other and us, but at present it’s hard to see any sign of that ever happening. Our house isn’t big enough, we don’t have a garden, our holidays are not exotic enough, (even though they know that I had zero holidays in 2014 and went to Germany once in 2015, and had one long weekend inside the Netherlands last year too). Meanwhile Kiwi Daughter in that time went to: France,  England, Armenia, Germany and Luxemburg.

She has a wish list of “stuff”  that would blow a billionaire’s budget, …oh and she wants it all now  please. She saved around a thousand Euro because she has dreams of travelling to the USA, but blew it on a MacBook Air last week, which I hoped would bring the prospect of loosing future pocket money into focus, but when she is in full devil mode she doesn’t care.

She has grown physically and mentally beyond recognition in the last year, it seems that sometimes maybe the emotional side has to catch up, either that or it’s hormones galore. I think that this is when I may be glad that she and Little Mr are not too close in age, I’m hoping Kiwi Daughter will have stabilised by the time he gets hit by the hormone bomb.

Maybe one day far into the future she will have a daughter who is about to enter this exact same phase of life and she will read this blog post and go: ” Yikes this looks familiar…”. I know we were all teenagers once and that we all survived but she says and does things to me that I never in my right mind dreamed  of doing with my mother. Apparently times have changed. I’m not exactly a moving target but I am trying my best to dodge her barbed arrows.

Little Mr finds it harder. Think fire and water, matches and tinder… Life can not be called dull (and don’t our neighbours know it). Some days every second phrase coming out of my mouth is ” kids, please don’t shout, just talk calmly…”  I need to make a record of this phrase and play it on continual loop. Sigh… School can not begin fast enough.

January 2, 2016

The First Day Of The Year Is Full Of Drama…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Yesterday I experienced the joys (or otherwise) of having children old enough to enjoy New Year’s Eve fairly much on their own. Part of this entailed a neighbourhood girl friend and Kiwi Daughter sleeping off the excesses of hot chocolate milk and marshmallows via a sleepover at our place. Or at least sleeping was the idea…

Himself and I went naturally enough, to bed well after midnight, but did not bargain on our daughter barging into our bedroom at 2:30 a.m. demanding Himself’s credit card and “some sort of three number code” because she and said friend were still wide awake an she wanted to download the movie ” Titanic” onto the new MacBook Air that she purchased a few days ago with her saved up pocket money. (she is now stony broke).

When Himself groggily replied that apparently someone tried to hack his credit card, he hadn’t even realised until the bank sent him a letter last week advising him of the fact.

The letter added that his card had therefore been cancelled and a new one was in the process of being issued. Therefore Papa’s credit card is not available for use.

Kiwi Daughter, as fourteen year old teenagers are want to do, did not take that information very positively. She then demanded my credit card. The answer was an emphatic and rather grumpy “No, and please go to bed, you just woke us up” I also explained that she knows full well that in any emergency she may wake us at any time but non emergencies can wait until morning.

This led to a full on teenage tantrum, resulting in Himself sending her away with a flee in her ear and letting her know that she had overstepped the line in no uncertain terms.

Apparently fourteen year olds know everything and boy do they like to remind everyone of this fact. Despite one of our neighbours having organised a lovely New Years Eve by setting up their braziers on the street and inviting everyone in the street to bring their own drinks and join them. I brought hot chocolate, skewers, marshmallows and made a chocolate dipping sauce, which had local kids flocking. Everyone had a great time.

I heard after lunch today that she and friend sat up talking until 4:30 a.m. which accounts for her subdued and tired look: fourteen year olds need their sleep. Another friend from the street who was also present New Year Eve started 2016 with a car accident: but at least had it under the best conditions one could hope for. (her words).

She was driving along a large street close by when a car came out of a side street at speed and broadsided her. The car following behind her just happened to be a police car and the policewoman driving not only saw everything but also took charge of the situation as it unfolded afterwards.

Knocking on the door of a house close by was met with a couple fed her and her toddler tea and biscuits (cookies), Himself was called, was on the scene in minutes and the presence of a familiar face turned the toddlers frightened screams into laughter once more, he looked after her whilst her Mama was being checked over by paramedics and even the friends ex-husband, when he turned up was remarkably gracious. (not in character as they had an acrimonious divorce).

Our friend has a swollen thumb, but wearing seat belts and having a good quality car seat for the toddler meant that that was the sum total of the damage.

Her car however was not so lucky and literally sacrificed itself for them, the damage being irreparable and the car a complete right off. The police took a good look once it was clear she was ok and said it was a small miracle that they escaped unharmed. The other driver was also unharmed, admitted all fault and it seems that the low winter sun blinded him. He was however going too fast. He feared the worst when he saw our friends car and was relived to see them both ok.

We took care of them the rest of the day and ended with a meal at a pancake restaurant so that the bad start to their day could be replaced with a happy memory to the end of it. Mission accomplished the day has been long and eventful… but we are all whole which is the main thing.

I cannot guarantee that of the fourteen year old if she pulls a stunt like last night’s though…

January 1, 2016

Ringing In The New Year…

Filed under: LIFE,THE NETHERLANDS,This Blogging Lark — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The New Year has arrived and in the Netherlands it comes in with fireworks galore.

In fact it sounds like a war zone at midnight, complete with smoke thick in the air as more than 70 million Euro worth of sparkling explosives shatter any illusions of midnight stillness.

In recent years laws have changed limiting the period when fireworks can be bought, and in the lst year some of the biggest and most dangerous fireworks have been banned completely. It’s all a far cry from growing up in New Zealand where the hot summer weather means a firework ban so that brush and forest fires can be kept to a minimum.

Newbies to a Dutch New Year will be quite unprepared for the ” war zone” level of noise and smoke, and as an asthmatic I like the idea of joining everyone on the street, but a tight chest after a few minutes reminds me that I’m better off indoors enjoying the show from behind double glass.

This year we celebrated at our place with fiends, over a quiet dinner, and Little Mr headed down to the street afterwards to hang out with some neighbourhood kids and the ” early evening event” which is when parents of smaller kids let off a few fireworks for their kids to enjoy as soon as it’s decently dark and before the little ones fall asleep. These are the kids who will never make it awake to midnight, and who amazingly will probably even sleep through the noise later on.

Our meager contrubution to the fireworks total is a mere Euro 35,–  mostly becuase the condition was that we would only spend on “pretty”  fireworks rather than smokey noisey ones and largely becuase we left it almost too late to purchase them. Little Mr moaned but we were just too tired and the kid was aghast upon the alternative of buying them out of (gasp) … his own pocket money.

At least we have a good set of neighbours in our street, sometime, probably mid morning there will be a number of  (mostly) Dads out with brooms, black rubbish bags and shovels, sweeping up the piles of debris that will be all over the street. The City Council will be out in force soon afterwards assisting in the cleanup but at least they will be using the sweepers to get the reminants rather then the main pile of rubbish. There is usually at last half a dozen large rubbish bags full to overflowing with firework rubbish, which may give you an idea of the scale of the celebrations during the “Old Year / New Years” night.

In some countries the big gift giving event of the year happens at New Year, the celebration continue for six days until the Orthodox Christmas which is a religous holiday but not accompanied with gifts. My Armenian friends  New Year celebrations last at least three days and include tables laden with food for the entire time. (And I thought that my Christmas Day table was on overload!). Around the world we all bring in the New Year differently… who knows what 2016 will bring, but one thing is for sure: in the Netherlands it has an explosive start!

December 31, 2015

Highs, Lows And New Beginnings…

Filed under: LIFE,This Blogging Lark — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The New Year is almost upon us, for some of us the year past has been memorable for the best of reasons, for others it’s been a year to forget. For most of us however, each year is a mixture of highs and lows, the regular obstacles of normal life as Life gives them to us.

If I look around  me I see that some have issues of physical health,  loneliness,  employment worries, financial issues, or mental health ones. Some have not enough time, for others time is a weight that drags at them unrelentingly.

Every time I go into hospital I see people who are in a far worse place than I am. I am learning that it’s not what Life throws you that is the issue, it’s how you deal with it. Two of my hospital friends are in a similar position, they have great pain and their stomachs are no longer functioning.

One has had a feeding tube in her intestine for some years now, her “meals” are bags of especially formulated soupy liquid that she has to inject into the tube in her stomach. The tube, being an artificial and invasive oriface into the body, moves with movement, creating a wound that never really heals. It’s prone to irritation, infection and is painful.

Not being able to eat normally means that acid builds up in the mouth and rots the teeth. Eating a few spoonfuls of regular food that go into into a non functioning stomach produces one of two reactions: vomiting shortly after the meal or chronic diarrhea. She chooses to eat at least several times a month with family and friends regardless of the discomfort and consequences.

They understand that it is important to her to still function as a human being in a social setting, even if infrequently and in spite of her large health issues. This is the most positive way that she can deal with the situation she finds herself in. She chooses to live to the best that life gives her despite her pain.

The other lady has an almost non functioning stomach, but is resisting the operation to have the feeding tube inserted into her intestine  because she feels that it will spell the end of life as she has known it. The first lady understands that it is, but that her present life is simply a different  chapter than her life before the feeding tube.

Both have high levels of pain and discomfort, that part I fully understand and we have regular hospital pain treatments together so in some ways we are in the same boat. I am however humbled by both of these ladies, and realise that even on my worst day I am still far better off than they are. All of us have family support and love, but we all have to take Life one day at a time. Some of those days are not particularly pleasant but we do what we can to make it through.

Some people are struggling with cancer and no matter what they do, their days are numbered. They count every day as precious, and if wishing would bring them even one extra day with their friends, family, spouses and kids then they would wish as hard as they could.

No matter what Life throws at us we have to try and Always remember that no matter how bad our days, someone somewhere is having by far a worse one, and would trade for ours in an instant. What ever 2016 brings, I too am resolved to remind myself of this, especially when times are tough.  It’s not really up to me to know what the next year will bring… but I resolve to try and make the best of my days, and to use them as wisely as I am able.

For you I wish in 2016: good health, much love, family, friends, and the resilience to weather whatever life throws your way. If you are travelling then safe travels too, but most of all I hope that we can support one another, love and laugh… and thankfulness that we have had the privilege of a 2015 to have been a part of.   Hugs…. Kiwi 🙂

December 30, 2015

What’s The Best Way To Kick The Habit ?

Filed under: LIFE,This Blogging Lark — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s almost New Year and I am trying to see if I can make some healthier choices in my life. Since historially I have never been a big drinker of alochol and the past five years have been one hundred percent tee-total due to the pain medications, I have found that I have been increasing my intake of diet cola in line with the increasing strength of pain medication.

Part of the problem is that the water doesn’t get rid of nasty tasting pills, so I tend to follow the water with a glass of cola.  Years ago when I was working on my graphic art portfolio, I used to work in the comfort and privacy of my parents custom made 10 meter (32 feet long) caravan that stood in their garden.

I had water, heat and electricty and could keep my work spread out without worrying about having to deliver the dining room table back clean for every evening meal. I was also a night owl so found myself working deep into the wee hours with the radio on, not bothering the rest of the household at all.

Whilst most New Zealand families were still drinking instant coffee at that time, my Dutch father ground and perkulated coffee beans and even as a teenager I loved a cup of coffee. Working on my artwork I got used to filling the family eight-cup perk, and slowly finishing it all as I worked through the night. Later I averaged fourteen cups a day.

I later cut down to two cups of coffee per day, after a whole month of complete abstence that was filled with terrible headaches and sleepless nights.  Then I went on the Netherlands and hit the Dutch coffee culture. The number of cups of coffee started to creep up. I’d go back to two cups and then it would creep up again. Then I got pregnant with Kiwi Daughter and the mere sniff of coffee aroma had me thowing up instantly.  I put it down to the morning-noon and night sickness that went with the pregnancy and looked forward to enjoying a cup of coffee after my baby arrived.

To my surprise my aversion to coffee fumes barely abated. During the following years it improved a little but not enough for me to drink a cup of coffee. The full strength reaction returned with my second pregnancy and by then it didn’t bother me because I was used to a life without coffee and didn’t miss it any more. My diet cola intake did however start to fill the gap. My biggest problem is that water on it’s own is really boring. Really really boring.

Or it goes ok, cola free for a week and then I just can’t look at a glass of water, except for taking the pills. Now that I am struggling with pain and depression means that I really find it hard to be eating healthy. I’m doing ok on the fruit and veggie front so that’s less of a problem but I am aware that drinking up to a litre and a half of cola per day is far too much. Sometimes it’s less but on really down days it’s more.

I drink a lot of Rooibos tea which has no caffine, no tanin and has a lot of vitimin C, and is very healthy. I try and drink water but know that I can’t stick to only water and nothing else. I want to make not just a New Year’s Resolution but also some sort of New Year change. I just don’t know how best to kick the habit.  Eating healthy when I have bouts of depression is difficult enough, but maybe without having a proper pain solution at the moment, am I wise to try taking on something like trying to drink healthier too …that might be doomed to failure?

If you have ideas and thoughts, I’d love to hear them…

p.s.  Photographs will be appearing retrospectively in my posts as soon as I can solve the rest of my computer problems.

December 28, 2015

Under NO Circumstances Trust Me With Any Electronic Device Whatsoever…

Filed under: LIFE,This Blogging Lark — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our Household and Technology are having a small war at the moment. I’m typing this on Himself’s computer, sometimes on and sometimes off, via the neighbours wifi. Today was mostly “off” because she is away with family over the Christmas and New Year period, so going over was out… and even sitting next to the walls that ajoin hers produced only one slow, slow, slow, slow bar of internet strength.

If I were more mobile I would go to other friends and relatives to use their wifi for a little while, and get my pre-prepared photographs and texts uploaded, but even that is not going to plan.  Yesterday I plugged my backup hard drive into Himself’s computer, retrieved my photos for that day’s post, spent most of the day getting them to resize and then thought I would perfect the same for today.

Now ususally when you plug in something into the USB port, a message comes up that a new device has been detected, you click to open the files and then it’s pretty much plain sailing from there. Today no such message pops up, and worse, going to “computer” and checking which drives are present: nothing plugged into any of the USB ports even registers at being present.

Now I have to reveal the worst piece of news, a confession: about a month ago I bought a new laptop, but since the old one needed a heap of photos (read about 50.000 of them) cleaning out, I delayed loading the old mess onto the new computer. I knew my brain was fuzzy due to pain, and that my concentration levels were very low so I wrote down the new password to the new computer. Now I not only can not remember my password, I can not find the written reminder of it anywhere. So I’ve managed to lock myself out of a new computer that has only been open once and effectively never used.

I also used to be able to download “windows resizer” …but that currently isn’t downloading either. I think that even computer programmes are scared of me.

To say that I feel like an idiot is an understatement. I have looked high and low for the password. No luck.  I will try again tomorrow to get photos off my backup external hard drive. I am asking advice as to how to break into my new computer, I am working on it all with a tiny tired, foggy, drug induced brain and I expect it to eventually go well. I suppose  it proves that I am an optimist if nothing else.

One day it will be better, I can only hope that that day arrivés very soon indeed.

 

 

 

December 25, 2015

The Customer Is Always Right ?…. Yeah Right!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Don’t you just love technology? Guess what, the electonics in our home are not exactly feeling the love at the moment. In fact as far as Himself is concerned, it’s fast becoming  a cold hate and deep frustration.

Roughly four months ago he decided to look at offers from different companies to transform our TV. landline phone and internet from three different companies into one.

No double line fees and better rates than the times we signed on the dotted line with three companies eons ago. One company looked great, we would get a new phone, a better rate and no negatives that he could find. We switched… then the new phones arrived, a day before the old providor disconected the old ones. The new phones were awful: they had a short cord connecting them to the wall which limite where we could place them, the phones themselves had had fashioned springy spiral cords… and stupidly short ones at that, so you have to bend over and stoop to use the phone.

We now have a day bed in our living room so that I can lay with my foot really elevated aginst the pain, I could not lay in bed and use the phone, I couldn’t even sit on the end of the bed and use the phone. In the bedroom, the only jackpoint is several metres from my side of the bed, the cord is |(duh) of course too short to reach the bed, not even close.

The kicker was when we found out the in Hmself’s office, next to our bedroom, the new phone refused to fuction at all. Each time the phone rang I had to try and hobble to it as fast as possible: you had three rings, no more. If I was laying down on the bed I discovered there was no way I could manage it no matter how fast I tried.

Himself had sprint sessions to the bedroom, usually too late and spent many hours on the phone telling the company that they could keep their new phones, he needed the old ones reconected again please, in fact the intent connect was so bad he wished to cancel our contract please. New in this case definately didn’t equate to Improved.

They stalled and dithered and told him someone would ring back to discuss it, they never did. He would ring back a day or so later and got more of the same for the next month. Then the first two monthly bills came: the New phone, advertised as a free upgrade in their adverts suddenly cost Euro 200,– to rent, and not just a one time payment, oh no, this was each month!

Himself, already ringing these people a minimum of three time a week , saw red. We refused to pay, the company sent threatening letters even though the fine print in their contract said that customers may change their mind within 30 days and incurr no charges whatsoever.

The people he spoke to on the phone seemed to be completely unaware of what was in their own Terms and Conditions! He spoke to one Manager after another, with ever increasing seniority until the point where the calls were lasting over an hour each and he was ready to tell them exactly where to place their phones and internet connections. They “advised” that we paid the billes “owed” first (now amost 4 months worth) and that they would “sort thing for us, and give us our money back later”,  Um…No way were they getting one solitary cent defied Himself.

Our “new” internet goes dead (a) if someone leaves a computer on too long (b) when Himself uses the downstairs phone (c) if some phones us (e) if the sender for the TV glitches for a nanosecond for any reason (f) if someone sneezes (g) all of the above. The correct answer in our home is is “G”… well, with a little bit of licence about the sneezing.

Himself raged: they wanted money for two out of three phones that were terrible to use, one that didn’t work at all, for slow internet that crashed for pretty much any reason at all, and for a rental that was supposed to be cheaper than our old one but cost Euro 200,– per month? Seriously? We didn’t think so. The more the company bullied the more Himself dug in.

Kids… internet slow, or non existant… don’t even whisper about it near your Father. Eventually we managed to disengage ourselves from the old company (they said they “would graciously waive their disconnect fee in our instance and we didn’t have to pay the bills they sent” …Himself muttered a lot under his breath on that one, apparently there are a lot more Dutch swear words available to him than I really want to know about) and went back to the old provider.

Reconnection was not instant.  The internet connection, whilst never great at the best of times is now as bad as ever. The Technology Gods are not smiling upon us. Resetting the router / modem thingy isn’t the answer, Back to the tech desk of the old company. Each time we reset the modem, they have to get back in via the factory settings (or something).

They keep making a few link in the list that you select to “connect” to, each new link they make apparently disables the previous ones in the list. We now have six names in the connection list for our home, currently none of which work. We get maybe one bar via a next door neighbours internet (we have her password to use for emergancies, she has ours) but most  of the time (if it’s busy time of day) we have none. Posting photographs is a dream, pages time out constantly.

An engineer turned up last Wednesday afternoon, “fixed!” he said… Yeah right, for a few hours, until a kid turned the TV on. Customer services assure us “someone will be out in the New Year…. we could make you a new connection point in the list?” What? … number 7?  It doesn’t look promising does it. Back to kindly neighbours internet.

To add insult to injury my laptop died today. The TV works, all phones (apart from Himself’s mobile) are stone dead, internet is all but dead. We are like hedgehogs wearing lifejackets… one hole opens up as soon as you have repaired another. We have friends over for Christmas , pparently the golden rule is never to talk about Religion or Politics at parties … well Region is probably ok around a Christmas table , surely? Just don’t talk about internet providers, telephone companies or laptops, don’t even dare think it. Then we have some hope of everyone surviving the holiday.

But on that note: It’s important to remember that these are First World Problems… there are many more around the world who we need to think of with a kind heart, love and extending them a wish for joy, good health and Christmas spirit. Hug those you love, no matter what you believe, if you celebrate Christmas or some other religion, or no religion at all.

We have a buffet spread laid on, a warm home, wonderful friends to spend the day with… Who needs internet?

ps, photographs and normal Kiwidutch transmission will be resumed as soon as possible, which at this rate may well be next Christmas! Love and Hugs to you all… Merry Christmas!

October 15, 2015

Making Short, Pretty, Clickable Links, A Step By Step Tutorial…

Filed under: LIFE,This Blogging Lark — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I might have been blogging daily for the past seven years, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve become a technical whiz of any sort at all. The WordPress blogging platform provides the template and basically all I have to do is to fill in the blanks with text and pictures.

Of course I could learn to do more on the computer, but in my heart of hearts I’m a fairly committed technophobe and just don’t have enough interest to know the nips and tricks that go on behind the scenes of the computer screen.

That of course often works to my disadvantage: not knowing shortcuts slows down your work, increases the time it takes to put a blog post together, and can be frustrating when you see things on other blogs that you would like to use but don’t know how to.

Only two years ago did I learn that if you have a folder full of photographs and press “Control” and “a” together, that it acts as “select all” and then you don’t have to hold down the shift button and scroll down with the mouse.

Now I have something that I wanted to learn, but didn’t seem to be able to get the hang of.  I wanted to learn was how to show a link from another website or a previous blog post without the long winded gobbledygook of the “www” adress stuff etc etc.

I looked around in the WordPress forums and didn’t find any easy answers, I looked on the web and didn’t find any easy ( enough for me) answers there either, so I asked friends who are computer geniuses (at least in my view, if not in their own estimation) and I had the answer is a few easy clicks.

I thought that if I had problems learning how to do this, then maybe other did too and might appreciate the tips as well.

So… Say for instance I’m interested in this Kickstarter project (apologies that I chose one that had a video in French) and would like to write a blog post about it:

I go to their internet page and I see this code in the address bar.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ambasdr/ambasdr-learn-the-world-how-to-use-social-media?ref=category_newest

Hmmm, as you can see, it’s hardy a catchy link, it would be so much better to show that in some snazzy text a nice link that read ” Ambasdr. Learn to use social media” instead, so that we loose the “https: “and all the “/”and “-” , “=” and other unnecessary peripheral rubbish.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It also of course makes the link a ton shorter, into a catchy sentence or even just one word. Even better the words in your link can be anything you want them to be… Now all I need is these catchy words in a clickable link, one that actually takes you to the website.  So let’s take a look at some step-by-step examples.

Make sure you have the “pretty” , shorter text typed out on your page (or in your text). You don’t need it for the first step but it does need to be there for later.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Using your right mouse button :Select the long messy web address that has the “http..” etc information in it. This can be the address of a web page you are referring to, or maybe the address of one of your previous blog posts…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A new window will appear and the next thing you need to do is to take your mouse up to select the word “copy”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now go to the word or phrase you want your “pretty”text to read as… just select these words to highlight them. Then go to the “Link” icon, it’s the one that looks like links of a chain… (a new window will appear automatically)…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is the window that you will see after you click on the “link”  icon, now put your mouse pointer into the URL box and select “paste” from the right-hand drop down menu box.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

DON’T PANIC that the text that appears is not the “pretty” text that you last selected…. (it’s not meant to be)… After you have pasted in the address, go to the bottom of the pop-up window and click on “Add Link”.

(I can’t show you the “add link”  button because the screen save the page cuts off above the button)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now you should have a “pretty” link in a purple/blue colour which when clicked takes you to the web page / blog post that you want to link to.

(Note: Delete the “http… etc) address above it, I only  had it in here for learning purposes. You will find that once you know the steps, you can jump from web page to blog post without any problem.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This also works to make a one word inside a block of text, so experiment! I’m hoping that if this helps me, it might also help somebody else… Success!!!

 

February 2, 2013

Sigh, WordPress Turns an Inspired Idea into an Epic FAIL…

Filed under: LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,This Blogging Lark — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are getting two posts today but only once of them will make sense at first glance:  (this one if you haven’t guessed already… jokers amongst you can  keep the cheap jokes on how much my writing  and photography have improved in the other post LOL).

It will look like I posted an almost empty page alongside this one, but panic not… there is  method in my madness.

WordPress seemingly answered my prayers when they built in a feature that allows WordPress Bloggers to “copy a post” .

For someone like me who routinely has several posts at various stages of the blog brewing process in the works so that I can remember to look up research details that go with photographs from our travels for instance, this was brilliant.

Now I wouldn’t have to manually copy /  paste “(photograph © Kiwidutch)” and “DPChallange” (daily post challenge) into every new post I was setting up. Well that was the theory anyway.

Reality is that I can only “copy a page” of an already published  blog post… Duh!!!?  Who wants to see an almost empty page with a few bits of reoccurring information on it?? Why can’t I “copy a page” of a page still in draft, handy for me and quietly taking place behind the scenes?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is exactly like most monumental  government ideas:  often the idea itself is brilliant, inspired even, but the bureaucracy of putting it into practice omits the few basic steps that contain the magic ingredient and turn it into a white elephant instead.

So close and yet so far… it’s like perfecting the lightest, tastiest and easiest to make cake and then after the recipe is printed in a book, seeing that every one of the raising agents has been omitted. Do the publishers then go and fix it? Why no… they just say it works perfectly and expect every reader of the recipe  to work out the missing ingredients by themselves.

WordPress turned an inspired idea into a FAIL  by simply requiring that the post you wish be copied needs to be already published and not making this feature available to posts in “draft, or in the  “schedule”.

Fine if you want to repeat the “flesh” of a previous post, but what if you only want to repeat the  bare “bones”?

Determined to make it work I duly chose one of my posts and started to edit out all the bits I didn’t need. To be honest it look five  times longer to set up the new post this way than it would have had I started from scratch. It was also ten times more frustrating because I knew that it should be making things easier and faster but was in fact doing the opposite.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I tried with the shortest of my posts I could find but let’s be honest here, I don’t do “short” particularly well in either words or photographs: so although I persevered the results were still that it was faster to make a manual post with laborious copy/pastes that it was to use this should-have-been-brilliant feature.

I’m totally happy with almost everything else on WordPress, whilst I do still have a wish list of ideas for improvements I appreciate that the site is still a work in progress and that improvements are being made behind the scenes constantly so my little wish list is probably somewhere near the bottom of the “to do” heap.

So Dear Reader, I hope that this at least explains why you get a double post today: one of which is a small rant because I’m rather disappointed that a feature I had such high hopes for has produced a result akin to a cake that promised so much but  completely failed to raise, and a second post which is completely useless to you dear reader ( I humbly apologise) but which, now that it’s published will  hopefully help me to overcome the stupidity of having manually copy / paste the “bones” of my blog posts every time.

And the photographs of cakes and biscuits (cookies) …How are they relevant you ask ? Well, naturally they are there to keep you sweet until tomorrows post.

Blog at WordPress.com.