Saturday, May 30, 2009

Building a Blog from Scratch

Before I started blogging, I never would have believed how much I have learned to do. The high point of my computer programming experience was in eighth grade when I learned how to make my name repeat itself on the computer screen (10 Sherri, 20 goto 10 - or something like that). When Microsoft came out with their Office Suite, I felt quite proud as I learned to navigate all the commands and functions.

When I started my first blog at, I was quite intimidated at first. Control panel? Widgets? Fortunately, they had tutorials and ESPECIALLY, a great community to answer questions. Next, I set up a blog here with Blogger. Pretty easy, no problems!

So, feeling pretty confident in my ability to set up blogs, I recently started a new project. I decided to set up my own self-hosted blog. Now you may be wondering why in the world am I starting ANOTHER blog when I having trouble keeping up with the ones I have. All I can say is there is a method to my madness. It should all be clear in oh... maybe one more month (wink, wink).

Setting up a self-hosted blog has been quite the experience! I like the idea of having more freedom and control over my blog. But, we all know that all with more freedom comes more responsibility. It's like owning your first house. You can hang pictures where you want and do any renovation projects you choose. But who gets to fix the roof when there's a leak, or deal with the rabid raccoon living under your floorboards? That's right, you.

If I were to have a problem with any of my existing blogs, I can ask for help from an administrator. Who do I ask for help on this new blog? The other day I was working on it, and I broke it. I don't mean just messed up, I mean it was completely broken. It was so upsetting. Why isn't there an undo button or some way to recover my settings? It was so broke I couldn't even access the control panel!

I finally fixed it, but I had to reload Wordpress and start over from scratch. At least I only had one post, but it was still a pain to set up the widgets and plugins again. Oh well, live and learn. My new blog is Alzheimer's Disease Caregiver if you want to check it out.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend (if you live in the U.S.). A three-day weekend is always nice, and we had a lot of family time.

Saturday, I took my daughter shopping. She has grown a lot since last summer, and she's outgrown all of her shorts and capris. Saturday night, the kids and I went to a party at a campground where my husband was playing music. It's not very often the kids get to go since he usually plays places where you have to be 21.

Yesterday, we all went to a cookout at my brother-in-law's. It was a fun afternoon of visiting and eating lots of good food! We also listened to the Indianapolis 500, otherwise known as the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Today, we were supposed to meet my dad for a picnic, but it got rained out. After being so busy the past couple of days, it was nice to just relax around the house. We'll try to meet up with Dad next weekend.

I love Memorial Day because it is a great kick-off to summer, fun time with family, and time to remember those who have passed on before.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Leave Me Alone, I Just Want to Do My Shopping!

Last week I had a couple of days off of work. On Thursday, I planned to attend Track and Field day at my daughter's school. The event was canceled, so I had some time on my hands. I decided to go ahead and go to Wal-Mart to buy groceries.

As I walked up to the store, I noticed a man standing to the side of the door. When I got closer, he stopped me and asked if he could ask me a question. I thought that maybe he needed directions or help with something, so I stopped to see what he wanted.

He proceeded to explain that he was asking people to take a short survey, and it would only take a few minutes. I wasn't in a hurry, so I thought, what the heck. The guy looked to be in his late forties. He looked a little scruffy, but he was dressed in decent, clean clothes. He made some small talk, then he motioned for me to follow him over to a bench.

I was starting to get suspicious. If this was just a short survey, then why couldn't he just ask me the questions then I could be on my way? I reluctantly sat down, wanting to hurry and get this over with. He explained that he was trying to earn points so he could win $5,000. He said he wanted to use the money to pay for grad school (yeah, right).

After he made his little spiel, he pulled out a paper with magazine titles. He asked me to show him a magazine that I was interested in. I told him I was not interested in a magazine. He insisted that I pick one. He said he would show me a price and I could decide if I wanted to buy it or not. By now, I was really getting ticked. I told him that he had said he wanted to give me a survey, and he didn't say anything about buying magazines. He laughed and said, "Yeah, that's because I didn't tell you that in the beginning." I told him again that I was NOT looking to buy a magazine. He quickly put the paper away and abruptly said, "Okay, thank you for your time."

I left to go in the store, and I was beyond mad. I actually felt violated. Here was this creepy man hanging outside my local Wal-Mart trying to scam people into buying magazines. There are always groups at the entrance to the store trying to raise money for charity, but never anything like this! I went straight to the customer service desk to complain. The girl at the desk told me she would check into it.

I did my shopping, and when I left I looked to see if the man was still there. Thankfully, he was gone. I still can't believe in our quiet little town someone has the nerve to hang out and try to solicit Wal-Mart shoppers. I was really mad at myself for stopping to talk to him. Usually, I'm pretty good about avoiding this kind of thing, but I just wasn't expecting it here in my hometown.

Friday, May 8, 2009

How the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic Changed My Family Tree

We’ve all heard a lot about flu pandemics recently. The fear that the bird flu or the H1N1 virus (swine flu) could be the next deadly pandemic is very real and frightening.

One of the worst pandemics of all time was the Spanish Flu of 1918. It is estimated that one fifth of the world's population was infected, and around 50 million people died (source). This terrible flu outbreak affected the lives of many families, including my grandfather’s.

My grandfather lived with his family on a farm in rural Tennessee. He was nine years old when the flu pandemic of 1918 struck their community. His mother died from flu complications, leaving his father to raise him and his four siblings alone. His uncle (his mother’s brother) also passed away after contracting the flu. His uncle left behind a wife and a two-year-old son.

I can only imagine how difficult it would be to grieve for a spouse while trying to raise a family and run a farm as a single parent in those days. They did not enjoy the modern conveniences that do, such as electricity and indoor plumbing. This horrific flu outbreak left these two families in a very difficult position.

Within months of losing their spouses, my great-grandfather married his recently widowed sister-in-law! They were not blood relatives, but how strange it must have been for the kids to have their father marry their aunt! I wonder if it was a practical marriage, or if they always had a thing for each other... Something must have been right, because together they had eight more children!

I think this is a rather intriguing branch on my family tree. Two families found a way to survive a tragic loss and carry on with life together.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Paying it Forward: The Winners Are...

Yeah! We have three lucky winners in the Pay it Forward Challenge. I will try to spread a little cheer to the following three bloggers:

slcolman - From Huskies to Husbands

Mom-Mom Kristi - Mom-Mom's Harmony

Quadmama - Got Quads?

Please email me your home address (, and you'll soon be receiving a little Pay It Forward package from me! Now, you all get to figure out a way to Pay It Forward to three lucky bloggers. Have fun!