Tuesday, November 6, 2007

In Asking Around...Results on Favorite Saints...

I asked my boys who their favorite saints were, and no surprises there...St. Patrick for Patrick, my youngest...and a fine saint!
As well as Michael's favorite, which is one of mine too! I always seem to be praying to Saint Michael, especially in times of severe stress or fear. I try to offer up intersessions in his name for more ordinary things....

One of my favorite saints is St. Helen of the Cross, not just because of the name, but because she was determined to find the true cross and brave! As well, St. Francis of Assisi is another favorite, he seems to have figured in my life since I was very small. I was born in Carmel, CA when it was a real town :) and there is a mission, a presidio cathedral and more located in the area, all founded by his order. Additionally, the Franciscans, Poor Claire's, Carmelites, and Capuchin orders have at some point or another all had an influence in our life. It would take too long to explain here, but somehow those brown habits have a way of appearing in times of need and comfort.

We have been extremely thankful for the graces experienced by my family by the intercession of the saints.
Leonie, I like St. Teresa of Avila too. She is a favorite of my friend Theresa in the Pacific Norhtwest along with St. Therese of Lisieux. Once Theresa even dressed up as her for All Saints! Here is her icon just for you- :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Good Long Time Has Passed...

Since I have blogged, obviously! I have no idea if anyone even checks my blog out, but I like using my links and if I had blogged more, fewer of my photos would Lost. That's right, lost. Me -who knows better- lost a ton of photos, data, and what not, on a M*x*r drive that failed. First of all, I know these particular hard drives are bad news, and secondly I know to BACK UP all data. I have not really done that since 2005 (fall). Some photos etc are on the home computer, so not all is lost, but enough that it was devastating. I ended up utilizing a local firm to help me out (since this is way beyond my brother's or my computer expertise) and the drive had to be sent to L.A. :(

I still have not received my pictures back-well, they were on the disk but my DVD drive malfunctioned and destroyed the file (anyone see a pattern here? As well, our Dish receiver died, as well as my son's car-which may be an electrical problem...). All the other retrieved files are there, even if some are corrupted...which is okay, I think most of the zip files are unneeded. (They were most likely business files which would have been backed up elsewhere. Of course.) My tech will be getting another DVD for me, and I ordered a new DVD drive from Sager Notebooks (my laptop is from them, they originally were one of the few firms that did "build to order".)

While is seems crazy that a DVD burner would kill a file, consider that the back up I attempted with it actually erased the disk, and all the other computers read it as unusable! It has stalled out on burning Cd's more and more as well. I now refuse to use it -what will it do next? I am not finding out!

Needless to say, there are lots of photos and ideas and discussion that could have taken place, which because I was waiting for the perfect time-to blog, to back up, to share...might never take place:( So take note of my advice below, which comes not just from this experience, but multiple occasions (we utilize computers at work for many things and one sure thing is that something will fail.).

  1. Back up weekly all data that is important or even just a little important to you; favorites, files, photos, even downloads (create a download file and always send everything there every time). Use DVDs or Cd's that are made to last a long time. Some cheap ones may not. Archival quality disks are available for modest prices.

  2. For photos you can buy storage binders, print a proof sheet, and insert that along with the DVD on each page. Don't for get to note date, place, people and so on. So helpful later when all might become less obvious!

  3. Do not depend on external or internal hard drives! Keep things on several operating systems or in several different places. See no. 1, back up stuff, it is less heartbreaking and cheaper than trying to recreate it all! (I need to find maps and sites that I use in my work, not fun!!!) (As well, if you copy your DVD's/Cd's and store them in a different location and/or fire proof safe you will be able to preserve the data much better.)

  4. Research new operating systems before installing, and check to see if your machine is proprietary. We almost lost a huge portion of data because Compaq is proprietary and if you install Windows XP on 98 that is not a Compaq "approved" disk, it can really mess stuff up. Fortunately in those days we backed up! And did so until I obviously became a flake :p

Another thing, research before purchasing software, hardware or computers! We do that a lot around here, but even I took a chance on the M* drive which I knew to be suspect. Moral of that is don't trust that hardware can change it's ways (tong in check here..). We have all worn out a variety of hardware, most commonly the hard drives, but also lots of key boards, keys, mice, etc. So a better quality product is a good idea.

So there is my helpful Helen hint for today! May you have a good November, with today being All Saints Day. If you were to choose a favorite saint, who would it be?

One of the last Peace roses in my garden before chilly fall weather!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Well, it has been a loooong time

Since I blogged last. Sorry about that, that is if you read mine ;p I just got busy with the boys, school, work, the house, you name it! Summer is now upon us and I hope to "catch" up. If one can do that...
Today I am just going to do a quick post...tired after working in the garden. Hoping to put up some more pictures-the boys have been busy, especially Mike. Christina is home part time during the summer :) and is going to perform in the local theater companies version of "Kiss Me Kate". (Western Stage has a great reputation regionally, which is a good thing.)
Below is a photo of one of our projects-a new pig pen.

We had to build this after we lost our original site (due to the eColi scare, it was next to crop land and became a "hot potato' for the landlord. :( we almost did not find a new site.). This new set up was quite an expense, and we hope to use it next year as well. That is Fred you see in the doorway-Patrick's pig. Mike's is behind his...
Well, I am going to post again soon, with pictures and comments. We are missing Father Thomas our Priest today. He is on his way to Moscow to meet with other Oratorian priests...we will miss him in the coming weeks, however we pray that his journey is a blessed one!

Friday, February 2, 2007

Just some of what goes on around here!

(Patrick with a Star Wars plane designed by him, circa January 2006)

Every day seems like a busy day around here! What with work and homeschool, and the usual activities going on, we never really seem to stay on a schedule. Our homeschool days look a lot looser than most, I suspect (more eclectic, really). That is partly because of the need for me to work (dh was out of work for 7 months, and the job he holds now is well, not the same as the last...).

It is also partly because we have so many interests and persue lots of different things. So the boys get assignments and they need to get them done with out me nagging so much! However there is the lure of the next good book, the Lego's, planning the next scouting trip, current projects, the jeep my son is redoing..(the photo is of Mike on the right, with his friend P. on the left. They were up until 2:30 a.m. taking this apart! And P.s mom did not even know! He lives right around the corner, and was safe. But it was rather late!)

Even though I get a bit uptight about things needing to be done, I try to relax and work on the major things with the boys. Both boys read well, and can write. The things they have both learned come more from doing than text books. For Mike that is especially true because he is very hands on, visual-spatial and gets more out of life than a dry text. However being in the program we are in has forced him to do more traditional work, and that can be a good dimension of learning. For example, writing is a struggle, however he has learned to write and passed the CASEE first try in both english and math (big sigh of relief). He loves the drafting and welding classes at the local JC, and soon that will be his next round of schooling, which will open new worlds for him.

My daughter, Christina, now a Junior in college,has had successes with learning which has given me confidence that the boys will do fine. My goal is to teach them to facilitate their own learning: how to find what one needs to know, how to organize it, write it, figure it...how to search out others knowledgeable on the subject. It is these talents that will help them learn and grow. Not the memorization of facts, or the regurgitation of them at the right time. Testing is useless in a way because it only shows a limited snap shot of the person, and basing any opinion on it with out looking at the whole is just as useless..so we deal with all of that while living our lives!
Learning at home, taking each day at a time...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Best wishes for a blessed 2007 & my Christmas Card

I did manage to create a card this year using collage technique. One of my favorite magazines is a wonderfully arty one called Somerset Studio and in it they have all sorts of treasures. There is a little bit from here and there in this card: a stamped tree with gold overlay (hard to see), the red paper from a package some years back, trim from another one, a stamp, the clipping from a Green Tiger Press clip art sheet....it was fun to play! Now I want to make more! And if you have not received one yet from me (and you are on my mailing list) you will, I just have yet to make it through my card list!

May the Blessings of Christmas be with you and yours, and Best Wishes for 2007!

from Helen et all

Before the color fades...

I wanted to record it! While I know we are no New England, there is a lot of color in the fall around here. I have a hard time driving just trying to see that firey red maple over there, or the gold ginko tree here...my kids think I am a bit nutty! Oh, well.

When you look south-southwest you can see the Ginko tree, all golden, but not lots of Maples...
Rose Hips in the garden, above, and Tarby in the leaves, below (she is very nervous, as Being Outside Is Scary!).

This is one of two Maples in front of our house, and they have minds of their own!! One is golden the other green. As I write this, January 18th, leaves are still coming down. Never mind, they are almost done!

In November we experienced...

the death of my husband's father, Joseph Russo. It was so unexpected because he was in good health, however he was old and has been moved many times, from care home to convalescent hospital...not good for someone who is older and very routine oriented. I won't go into the long story here, suffice to say he is missed, and I certainly will try to avoid the same thing for both my parents and someday myself (or my husband!).

At any rate, we had an influx of family as my husbands brothers and nephew came down right away, (and we were happy to be able to house them) and they were followed by the rest of the
CREW (as in sisters-in-law, cousins, grand cousins....or great nieces to Angelo and I-they're just the cutest :). I think I counted sixteen at one point! Even though the days were melancholy, it was still good to connect and talk...I enjoyed the early morning coffee and conversation with my b-i-ls, and it is too bad that Angelo had to work. We all gathered for big family style dinners in the evening, with a spaghettie feed on the night of the funeral-which was in a way a toast to "Papa Joe" or "Dad".

The day of the funeral was strange, somewhat surreal, and that feeling lasted until we all decided to grab lunch and head for Carmel-by-the-Sea (40 min. away, the town I grew up in.).

The weather that week had been awesome, warm and balmy for November. Friday was a gift, perhaps from Joe. The beach was beautiful, and surprise, we saw four dolphins trolling along the waves, just behind the breakers! What a gift. As was the time spent with family including my daughter and sons, and my lovely nieces and their daughters! All the boy cousins seemed to enjoy the time, even though one briefly suffered a cold!

I have included some photos of the day-I have no idea who the girl in the waves is, but the nieces are "K' and "V" however nicknames abound!