16. July 2011 · Comments Off on Howie – Our Photographic Challenge! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
Photo by Fotomom.

While Maryann AKA Fotomom was here visiting last week she took a really sweet picture of Howie in our kitchen.  After she got home this week, she took some time to dress up the picture and wrote a lovely blog post about him and how she made the great picture!

Photographers have been challenged many times with Howie.  Here are a couple of the not-so-great professional family pictures with Howie.

November 2002.

October 2005.

Howie does a good job with sitting still and letting the camera do his thing (hint: just say the magic word, “WALK?” and he’ll look right at you attentively!), if only he showed up better-looking…Maryann got it right by taking advantage of the white-colored setting.

07. July 2011 · Comments Off on Google+: Good Idea or Bad Idea? · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

I use that line with my kids a lot when they’re making questionable decisions.  If one of them is feeding grass clumps to the dog, I’ll ask “Good idea?  Or bad idea?”  Usually that’s enough to make them think before continuing.

I got a (not-quite sanctioned) invitation to join Google+, Google’s new social network, last week from GeekMom Jules.  Several of us GeekMoms have been checking out the assorted Google+ features, from the photo sharing, to the statuses to the “Hangout” area where you can web chat with other Google+ users.  The privacy settings are very likeable (default privacy is “no one can see much”, seemingly the opposite of Facebook’s privacy where the default is often “everyone can see everything unless you manually change that”).

Anyway, in terms of the social network, I think Google+ is on the right track for a smoother-running social network than Facebook.  I’m hoping it doesn’t get overrun by corporate pages and multi-player games the way Facebook has in recent months.

However, I’m sitting here with a clenched jaw waiting for the kinks to get ironed out of the other Google products that are supposed to nicely tie into Google+.

A couple days ago it was published that Google will be rolling their Picasa and Blogger brands into their own names, and with it will come some more tie-ins to Google+.

I’ve been slowly-but-surely uploading and sharing my vacation pictures in the middle of this transition and was faced with some difficulty sharing my Picasa albums with my family.  What I have typically done is upload the photos to Picasaweb with captions, then e-mail the album to myself.  Finally, I forward that album to a pre-set list of friends/family.  This week I attempted to e-mail the album to myself and nothing happened after hitting that “Share” button.

Actually, something did happen: the album posted to my Google+ news stream.  Because my e-mail address was tied into my Google+ account, some assumption was made that Google+ news stream is somehow equivalent to an e-mail inbox.  I managed a workaround by using a non-Google+ enabled e-mail address that I have.

But then when I tried to share the photos with my pre-set friends/family e-mail list, several of them couldn’t see the pictures unless they had their own Google.com login/passwords.  This used to not be the case and it’s very upsetting that my parents (among the main audience for my family’s photos) can’t easily see the pictures anymore.

Similarly, this morning I discovered that several pre-sets in my Blogger (soon to be Google Blogs) account were reset without my knowledge.  I used to have 10 e-mail addresses who’d receive automatic copies of my blog posts when published.  Who knows how long they hadn’t been receiving them.  Chances are they missed most of my vacation posts….

Thanks for letting me vent…I’m hopeful that Google is taking in everyone’s feedback (including this post) and will be sympathetic to those who don’t necessarily want a Google.com login/password to enjoy the Internet.

04. July 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

This week we have friends from North Carolina visiting: Maryann (AKA Fotomom), Joey and Johnny.  Jacob and Joey were in the same preschool from 2005-2008 and were two peas in a pod, while Timmy and Johnny were best buddies as the respective little brothers.  We took dozens of great road trips together!

Joey and Johnny obviously knew about the trip (they were getting on a plane, how could they not?) but we kept the visit a big surprise from my boys until they saw their friends in the baggage claim area at Pensacola Airport last night.

Johnny couldn’t get over how short Timmy’s hair is!

It took Jacob a few minutes to sink in that his friends are really here!

On the way back from the airport, I gave Fotomom a challenge: to photograph the famous Pensacola Beach sign in the dark.  I slowed down the truck to about 30 mph and Maryann gave it a shot with a “sports” setting on her Canon camera.  I love it!

It’s so incredibly gaudy I LOVE IT!  Photo: Maryann G. (Fotomom)

I love that sign because it reminds me of Vegas.  The yellow emblem’s lights radiate outwards, and the lights in the words “Pensacola Beach” sparkle.

It reminds me of those old-fashioned Holiday Inn signs:

02. July 2011 · Comments Off on Road Trip 2011: A Test and a Cute Picture · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

This is a test to see if my e-mail customers are getting my posts.  Meanwhile enjoy this picture of the boys shoveling coal at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania:

23. June 2011 · Comments Off on Ironing Out A Few Kinks… · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

This is a test post, just trying to iron out a few kinks as I get that Facebook page running.  I’m trying out a couple of different RSS-feed capabilities, and whoever’s is fastest with transferring posts from Blogger to Facebook wins ๐Ÿ™‚

22. June 2011 · Comments Off on All in The Name of Laziness… · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

At the risk of sounding megalomaniacal, this evening I started a Facebook page expressly for this blog.  I didn’t mean to, it just sort of happened…and while on vacation, at that!  Facebook made some changes over the past few months about how a “Group” or “Fan Page” is used and managed…in addition, RSS feeds into my own personal page have fallen apart earlier this month.  I used to have automatic Facebook profile notifications when I’d post to Picasaweb, You Tube and Blogger.  None of it happens automatically anymore…

“Oh no, Major Mom has to do work?  Stop the world!”

What motivated me to do it this weekend?  I tossed out a couple of quick posts over the weekend about Dave’s Father’s Day ode on GeekMom and his feature article in N-Scale Magazine.  For some reason, the Twitter connection that posts new blog posts straight to Facebook (in the form of a shortened URL like this one) automatically decided to send the same post every hour for 4 hours to Twitter…and therefore to Facebook.

I didn’t mean to be so spammy, really, I didn’t!

Therefore, because I was hit with a double whammy of (a) no more Blogger post imports and (b) multiple notifications of the same blog post from Twitter, I set up a page that expressly imports my blog posts, and the only people who will see those blog posts on Facebook now are those who “Like” the page.  If you are on Facebook, you should be able to see the tag on the right hand side inviting you to “Like” the page (if you haven’t already).  If you aren’t on Facebook, then I guess all you see is a Facebook.com logo.

In addition, I added a “Tweet This” type of widget to each of the posts.  It’s right before the first words of the post.  If you like what you read, then if you have a Twitter account, you can share it via Twitter.  Go ahead, Tweet it!

I’ve been realizing that Facebook and Twitter, being the microblogs they are, doesn’t have a user-friendly archive capability.  Try paging back in time on your profile page and see how far back you can go…it’ll go back a ways, but in my case you only see about 2-3 days worth of posts at a time.  You have to click “Older Posts” over…and over…and over…and over….

Compare that to this blog, where you can easily search posts by year, by month, by label topic, or a generic keyword search.  You can page back all the way to the beginning quite easily.

PS: I’m also writing this to test how quickly it’ll import to Facebook.  I get the feeling it still isn’t quick…

20. June 2011 · Comments Off on Happy Belated Father’s Day! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

Happy Belated Father’s Day to any of my Dad readers!  We were happy to get to spend time with Dave’s Dad early in the day at Dave’s family reunion in Pennsylvania, then we drove down to my parents’ house in West Virginia in time for dinner with my Dad.

Earlier in the week GeekMom solicited the writers for some posts for Father’s Day. I was encouraged to write one about Dave’s model railroading and the project he’d been doing with Jacob.  It was shown over at GeekMom on Father’s Day!

With Dave’s recent N-Scale Magazine article (on the shelves right now!) and this week’s talk at the N-Scale Convention in Hershey, PA, it was appropriate to show off a little about him!

17. June 2011 · 3 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

I’m tickled about two things about this week’s Friday Fill-in:

a.) I’m typing this while we’re cruising up I-65 between Montgomery and Birmingham, AL.  I schedule it to post on Fridays, but I usually write these up on Thursdays as soon as “Wifey’s” questions come in.  We got one of those nifty Verizon 4G modems so Dave can do homework with a cellular network connection while we’re driving.  However, he’s the one driving right now, so I have a chance to catch up on e-mails and blog posting!

b.) Look who submitted question #3 below!!

1. Underwear Parties, how old is too old? submitted by Wookie & Co.

As long as you wear — ahem — underwear, then Underwear Parties should be fair game.  It’s all in fun!

2. What was your favorite class in high school? submitted by Adventures of M-Squared

Geometry, pre-calculus, calculus, and music.  I actually really liked my AP U.S. History class too, although at the time I thought it was torture.  Looking back, it turns out I learned a LOT from Mrs. Whaley.

3. Have you ever convinced packers/movers to pack something they arenโ€™t supposed to for a PCS? submitted by Ground Control to Major Mom

Snicker.  With a nice enough tip for the movers, we’ve been able to convince packers to take care of our liquor for us more than once.  This was easy coming from Korea (our best move ever!).  We bought two cases of wine from Trader Joe’s just before we left Nebraska last fall.  The packer was happy to pack those cases for us ๐Ÿ™‚

We’ve also had a lot of typically-illegal items packed accidentally: light bulbs, filled piggy banks, batteries in remote controls, etc.  When your kids’ GeoTrax stuff requires over 50 batteries alone, it’s hard to keep up….

4. Blogging plays a growing role in the media. If you were asked to embed as a blogger with a deployed military unit, would you go? What do you think your blog would be like? submitted by To the Nth

I think I would love to go — if the military unit thought I was appropriately trained to be with them.

5. Do you think kids should attend year-round school? submitted by Marrying the Navy

This issue hit us closely when my husband was stationed in Raleigh, NC (for a school tour).  In 2007 Wake County Public Schools made year-round schools the standard instead of the exception and we were making decisions about our oldest son starting Kindergarten while we were living there.

If we weren’t a military family, we’d be all for year-round schools.  There are a multitude of educational benefits to year round schooling, but I have to admit that as a military family, I like having the summer break as a chunk of time to PCS without worrying about mid-year transfers and missed schoolwork.

Year round schooling is also nice for vacation planning — 3 week breaks in the “off months” helps vacation planning: cheaper travel, less heat, less crowds.

13. June 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

I guess good recipes travel fast!  I was delightfully surprised when one of Brandie @ The Country Cook’s friends, Laurie @ Feeding My Ohana, contacted me about how excited she was to see a non-commercial simple Huli Huli Chicken marinade recipe at The Country Cook a couple weeks ago.  Laurie tried it and gave it a thumbs up!

Last Wednesday she featured the recipe, with a summary of my two blog posts from Memorial Day weekend 2009, on her blog.  She graciously omitted the chicken mutilation pictures, lol!  She added a key part to the recipe that I’d been forgetting about all these years: Shouting “HULI!” when you turn the chicken on the grill.

You can’t forget to do that!

01. June 2011 · 3 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

My dear friend Brandie at The Country Cook has a surprise waiting for us this morning!  My first ever guest-blog-post!  The Country Cook is fun because each of Brandie’s recipes has a great story to go along.  I had the PERFECT recipe to add to her blog and was so excited to get to share it!