Using MS Word to Write Blog Posts

February 22nd, 2009

I’m trying a new experiment today, using the “blog post” function inherent to MS Word 7.0.  This is not the same thing as “copying” and “pasting” from Word- it’s a new capability, and doesn’t insert a plethora (did I just use that word?!) of extra HTML markup that clutters the post code.   Practically speaking, it’s not too different than logging in to your blog platform and using the administration tools built into it. But Word does offer greater flexibility such as using my 19 inch widescreen monitor with a much larger screen size to type/write on, manipulate images, etc. Using WordPress I have to constantly “re-size” the text editor to fit images and such. But with Word, you can maximize it to full screen size just like typing any document offline. I should note that I’m not using the latest WordPress evolution, so other users may have different opinions. It should also be noted that Word’s blog post capability can be used with Blogger, Windows Live, TypePad and other platforms too.

I like the fact that the Word software has made it pretty simple to set up your “accounts” for publishing, offering the ability to publish right away, or as a draft. Which means if you’re using a computer without internet access, you can finish a post and save it for later publication as well. I like that feature in terms of the idea of bringing a laptop with me while traveling and publishing later when internet access is available. Sure you could always do that when writing in Notepad or another text editor, and then “copying” and “pasting” text to your blog platform- but with MS Word you can save all your formatting and image placement too, and simply post right away once you have internet access again.

Sunset while camping

Last year for example, we took a two-week trip camping around the Midwest and didn’t have internet access very often. I remember typing a few posts in advance as a rough draft, but then had to scramble quickly to finish, edit, format and publish the article when we finally had internet access before moving on. So with this ability I can have it ready to go in advance, and upload it quickly at my convenience when we get internet access again. If you’re only typing text without images it may not matter to you though.

Realistically I’m not sure if I’ll use the “blog post” function within Word very often- I like having the functions within WordPress available while writing new posts, and changing your writing habits isn’t easy sometimes! There is one other thing although it doesn’t happen very often- I have lost several posts while trying to publish them after spending an hour or two writing them. That’s a big “Aaarrrghh!” moment.  WordPress has a great “autosave” feature that works pretty well, but sometimes you can still lose a post and writing it up offline in Word may prevent that from happening. It’s nice to have options and other ways to do things. 

So how did it work out?  Well, I first published this as a draft, and it turns out that my pictures didn’t show up- I had to go into WordPress and reload them.  I may not have set it up properly so I’ll try again.  Also I found that Word inserted a backslash wherever a single or double quotation exists.  That’s not helpful… so I’ll see if there’s anything I can do to change that.  Otherwise it seems to work just fine- does anyone else have user feedback on Word’s blog post capability?

By the way, I’m excited that the little shrub, or smallish tree, in the middle of the picture below is growing bigger this year. 

Do you know what it is? 

Winter flora

Moments at Home

February 9th, 2009

Sometimes I forget to share the quiet life we lead on this modest page.  But then again, that may be a good thing because it means we are staying busy.  The weekend turned wonderfully warm, as is today, and we accomplished some chores that were long awaiting our interest.   Okay, maybe interest is too strong a word, but at least our care.  

The ice has almost completely melted from the pond, giving way to waves and ripples in the breeze.  I never tire of watching the water.  It speaks to something within, I know not what.  And reminds me of the sea that I spent much of my life upon in years past.  I often wonder how long we’ll be here, and where we might go next.  For myself I hope it is somewhere with a view, and perhaps to share the borders between land and water- maybe the sea again.   For now I feel privileged to share nature’s beauty here in this place we call home. 

As the ice melted this morning a curious bullseye remained floating in the middle of the pond.  If I thought I could reach it I may have thrown a rock. ( Oh! I just saw a bee fly by the porch window… )

Ice bullseye on the pond 

Wandering along the treeline the other day I found some long forgotten fence wire protruding from a large white oak tree.  Pablo writes of such things often, finding them hidden throughout his woodlands.  I was surprised not to notice this one before, and hopefully the tree will continue to grow despite the wounds of time.   Maybe I’ll take a set of wire cutters to remove most of it, yet put a tag on the end.  A woodcutter many years hence might be injured trying to cut the wood if encountering the metal wire with a chainsaw. 

Fence wire protruding from tree

It makes me wonder who put the fencewire there so long ago, and how big the tree was at the time.   I think of the years of my life in terms of the tree’s life, and I feel humbled.   And it makes me think of what interesting times we live in.  The strong warm breezes and sunshine of today will soon give way to thunderstorms and rain.  But the sun will come out again. 

The weather so often feels like a reflection of our lives, or vice versa, and the tumult we see across the globe.  I know it’s only because now we can know so much, so quickly- instead of the small, insulated world outside our door, we see of so many other human events taking place.  I think of the tragedy of the fires in Australia right now, wishing I could help, and of other events on a smaller scale. 

I’ve traveled to many of these places and somehow even though I’ve spent months coursing across the vast Pacific and other oceans, I know that the moments unfolding far, far away are no different than the moments that unfold outside my window…   At its essence, “there” is no different than “here.”   But we humanize, or dehumanize the moment as the case may be.  And I’m very thankful that I’m “here.”

And so we look to home and taking care of life around us.  Often it is all we can, or should, do.   Today, I’ll continue working on that long, unfolding list of projects and humble doings.   And try to enjoy the peace of the world as it is now, here, in this place.   I hear the song of a male cardinal near the treetop saying “I’m here! Lets make this tree our home! It’s almost time for spring!”  And in the distance a redtail hawk soars and calls with the same yearning. 

It will soon be cold again.  But that’s okay, because winter is slowly giving way and I can already feel spring coming.  It always comes.

More Than Words

January 8th, 2009

What else can be said about a beautiful sunset?  It’s an experience, peaceful and calming…  moments lived and remembered along with the sunsets of our past.   Words are not enough. 

Winter sunset in Missouri

Benumbed, Biting and Bitter

December 22nd, 2008

Cold that is.  Other fitting synonyms might include glacial and piercing.  Saw 3 degrees this morning, and we’ll go below zero tonight.  Okay, not as cold as you guys are seeing up north, but it’s pretty darn cold for around here!  I’m not sure I could tell the difference between 10 degrees either way- it’s just cold.  The northwest has a huge snowstorm, and the northeast is getting one too.  If it’s going to be this cold I’d like to see some of that snow, but it doesn’t look like we will.  So how does this fit into the whole global warming schema?  Beats me, but right or wrong, I’m sure there’s a rationale for it somewhere. 

I can’t remember the pond being frozen so much in December, but it sure is neat with the reflections.  I wonder what the little circles or rough spots are scattered around the surface? 

Frozen pond reflections in Missouri

The news mentioned that if we get a few more “hundredths” of an inch of moisture this week, it may become the official wettest year in recorded history for Missouri.  That and December may be the coldest month on record in decades.   Isn’t it amazing how the birds and other wildlife can handle the cold?  I topped off the feeders today and they gathered around to enjoy the buffet. 

The windows on the porch were frosted this morning too- first time I’ve seen that really.  And I was looking out at the garden, thinking about topdressing and some clean up, more thoughts of spring creeping in.  Then I took a quick walk around outside, smiling at the futility of such thoughts with the hard “crunch” of frozen ground.  What better way to celebrate the beginning of winter? 

Frosty windows in sub-zero cold

Second Sunday, and Who Throws a Shoe?!

December 15th, 2008

Reeallly cold out there today… around 10 degrees F.  And after a weekend of temps near 50 degrees?!  I’m sure it’s a lot colder for our friends to the north.  But with the storm last night we have a bunch of ice and most of the schools are closed.  “Yipee!” say the kids.  So it feels like a second Sunday, at least for some folks. 

By now you’ve noticed that since yesterday we’ve been treated to video after video of the Iraqi jerk who decided to throw his shoes at President Bush.  Okay, it’s a little funny to watch as well.  But I thought the President was awesome- he ducked the first one, and stood back up as if to say- “Oh yeah?!  Let me see what you’ve got dude- bring it on!”  And his sense of humor afterwards was great to see.   So I thought I would share one of today’s viral videos… none other than Austin Powers asking the perfect question, “Who throws a shoe?! Honestly…”

When Is It Enough?

December 10th, 2008

Working on a few projects and finding it a little difficult to summon creative energy this week.  Maybe it’s the confluence of the holidays, school and everything that comes along with it.   The young one is home sick today.  I’m a little sick today as well, but not quite for the same reasons.  I must apologize in advance- this post is a little bit of a downer.   So instead of my usually sincere look at the wonderful world we live in, I will share a few thoughts about recent events in the mid-section of the nation this week.

It has something to do with reading about people who break the great trust placed in them to fulfill positions of leadership and service.  I’ve made it a point to avoid political discussion on the site thus far, but I have to say the news of corruption in the state adjoining ours is just, well… so disappointing.  Not that it should be news perhaps, especially in that state, but to read the words of someone who supposedly was elected in the first place to help clean up the vestiges of past corruption- it makes me angry … just sad.

 I don’t even follow politics that much, especially in other states.  After the recent election, I’ve really enjoyed the absence of campaign commercials and political wrangling between candidates.   Even for the most diehard idealists (company I find myself keeping at times), it’s hard not to grow a bit cynical over the years watching the political circus that takes place around the country.  

Yet at some level I would still like to think, or hope, or believe that most of our elected leaders, beyond all the glad-handing, baby-kissing and cocktail parties with lobbyists, will take their jobs- and their charter of service to the people- seriously enough to avoid breaking the law.   Unfortunately, in recent years, or at least by what we read in the news media, it would seem the opposite is closer to the truth.

I mean, come on- when is it enough?  When is the money, the prestige, the circus… when is it all enough?   Apparently that’s a question the Governor of Illinois never really considered before.

Moonlit Dreams

December 3rd, 2008

How often do we really see the moon?  Pieces of it, here and there throughout the year.  Maybe the occasional full moon night, with the landscape painted in shadows?  Magical… at least when I remember to stop and savor such moments.  Tonight was more subtle, with the moonlight reflected off the water of the pond.  But it caught me, and there’s something about it, with the wind blowing and the shimmer of light on the water- my thoughts drift far away.  I can almost imagine a warm moonlit beach… 

 Moonlit December Night

…and then I come to my senses- I’m freezing and it’s 24 degrees out here!  

Light and Shadows of Trees

November 26th, 2008

Sometimes the sun and the clouds and the trees and the wind and the water and the shadows and light are just… beautiful.  I was working outside the barn, enjoying the day and busy with my hands and thoughts.  Time for a break and a walk to enjoy some fresh air, watching the sunlight dance on the water.  This isn’t a view that can be seen in the summer.  The leaves are gone from the trees and it’s different now.  Sometimes trees just seem like trees, until we see them in a different light.  And then they come alive, bright and inspiring, or are revealed as shapely shadows.  We get used to things a certain way, and then comes change.  I’m always amazed at what change teaches us.  There’s always another way to see things.  We have much to be thankful for.

 Shadows and Light

Soulful Thoughts

November 13th, 2008

Under covers today, hiding in dark comfort with chills, coughing and aches that came from nowhere.  Emerged briefly, up to shepard the boy upon his goings and comings.  Briefly again, grateful to take soup through the door… that warm elixir that soothes the body when all else cannot.  And then as days like this go, we almost feel human later on.  It’s leaf pile time, and the boy’s spirit is soaring.  I laugh and watch and smile, then helping him rake a bit to make the pile bigger.  He jumps and rolls and shouts with glee, the dogs joining in, and I stagger slowly back toward the house, not so sure about the feeling human part yet. My body hasn’t quite made up its mind.  Ah, but the evening is beautiful, and my soul is alive.

Autumn evening in Missouri, raking leaves

Autumn Change

October 31st, 2008

Beacon of color,
A Maple, standing alone-
Change in the forest.

Maple in Autumn in Missouri

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