Monday, August 30, 2010



Nance Thacker copyright 1984
click on image to enlarge

I'm not kidding. Take a weekend and DO NOT:
  1. watch the TV
  2. look at magazines, newspapers or ads
  3. surf the net
  4. go to the movies
Just throw on your bathing suit, get out there into the real world, GO TO THE BEACH AND PEOPLE WATCH. You'll be amazed at the wide varieties of bodies: walking around, swimming, reading, jumping in the waves, playing volleyball and just hanging out — while letting it all hang out!

And as you watch them all, watch your mind, your judgements, your comparisons, your self-righteousness, your self-loathing; it'll all be there, baby. No need to go into seclusion for self-awareness, cus it's all right there in spades until finally you'll realize (despite what you may be thinking or feeling) hey, these people are having a good time.

Sure you'll see some bodies that are beautiful by today's limited standards; you'll also notice how fleeting it all is. Just observe the Rubenesque figure, the old gnarly body that won't give up, the pudginess of youth, slender tiny boned and delicate types, round and full ones, lumpy ones and smooth ones, dark and fair, etherial ones that seem like they could float away and earthy types, grounded and powerful. 

Bikini wearing bodies of every description can be seen at every turn til finally that old disapproving tape  oh, she shouldn't be wearing that changes (if you can be that honest with yourself) to I wish I felt that secure, confident and accepting of my body. 

If you find yourself stuck in silent judgment notice if it matters to those around you on the beach. Not one bit. Then ask yourself, thinking these thoughts, how do I feel right now? How do I feel about my own body?

Observe bodies just being what they are: fat, bones, muscle, hair, dimples, wrinkles, smiles, giggles, laughter, lounging, running, swimming, kissing, cuddling, playing. See if you can't help but find the beauty in each one.

Then go home, strip down in front of a mirror and see the beauty that you are — because somewhere in that mass of bodies is you too. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Widget magic

Ooooo, looks nice doesn't it, that widget thingy on the right of the blog...and, the band thingy at the end of the post which enables you to share this great stuff with anyone you'd like to bore today or any day, for that matter.

Well, how did she do it, you might ask.

I went to the drop-in, even though I'd finished my course, just in case I could wangle yet more info out of the Library Lady. And, I was the only one there this particular day which I really appreciated as there were others in need in previous sessions - attention hogs all of them, imagine!

But, I tried to get it to happen on my own (for about 5 seconds) when it dawned on me. Hey you goofball (I'm talking to myself here) you can pick her brains and draw from her expertise. Everyone else is at home pestering their kids for this information. That's why they aren't here. Go on let her help you. She wants to help you. That's why she's here.

So, I'm not proud to admit it, but here it goes...

Yes, yes, yes she helped me figure out how to get the Library thingy on to the right side and she even helped me figure out the little band thingy that appears at the end of each post. I was poking around to no avail. Would I have figured it out? Probably, after a few hours in a semi-catatonic state, a random jab of errant flying fingers would unlock the key, but this was much better as I know how we did it and I can feel my repertoire of computer skills increasing at a vastly accelerated rate (reality check - slightly faster than a snail's pace).

Well, you can bet I'll be back next year for Betty Blogger as new stuff will be added by then. Maybe I'll even find out what to do with Twitter as my first and only entry from months ago is in the ever exciting realm of, "I'm here."

Thanks again Library Lady for helping me do this all without having to resort to the aid of Coke and M&M's.

*No computers were harmed in the accomplishments of these tasks.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The best 15 bucks I ever spent!

I have completed the 10 lessons of Betty Blogger's Web 2.0 program.


It's over.

Boo hoo, sob, sob...I really do feel this way.

How do I rate my knowledge of Web 2.0 and it's applications? Probably about a 7 - 8; the reason I don't feel I'm at a level 10 is not due to defects in the material or failings on part of the teacher - both were exceptional; it's me. I haven't developed the ability, yet, to get around in it and use the many tools that the social net offers with complete ease and understanding; practice makes perfect. I'm still left with many questions, but enquiring minds want to KNOW, right? No matter how much I know I always want to know more - I'm a glutton for information, and I want to understand how things work and connect, not just for this knowledge to take up space in this vacuous brain of mine that will never be satiated, but so, I can really "get" how the pieces fit together and use them easily to manifest my vision of a great blog and realize my inner tekkie.

The Blogger summer school exceeded my expectations. Honestly, I expected it was going to be pretty rudimentary and a piece of cake. I had no idea the number of the applications available out there.

Library Lady, and Melissa, I can't thank you two enough for: your incredible patience, kindness, sense of humour, encouragement, great teaching styles, knowledge and generousity...and comments on my blog which made me feel like a real blogger.

The most challenging part of the summer school was my resistance to some of the applications. Some lessons left me wondering, Am I ever going to use this stuff? Often I felt the potential to become overwhelmed; bombarded by the sheer volume of information out there.

Wiki was my least favourite app because of this, and the goodly number of messages related to the assignment that still keep coming in on my e-mail (there are over 30 people who are completing the work) which feels like being in the middle of a traffic jam. Theoretically, in my life, I should have need for co-ordinating at most 7 people at a time - so probably I'll find this app more helpful and manageable.

I'm still absorbing how to keep track of my accounts and understand how they affect each other. I was puzzled when setting up my Library Thing account that info got filled in automatically, but I don't have an account , I kept assuring myself. Why is it rejecting my password, I haven't set it up yet? Why is it telling me that this name and password has already been taken? Do I have an account? I tried various ways of entering the info to no avail. Library Lady informed me about auto fill, cookies and the way they work. I didn't realize that autofill was activated as I was trying to set up this account and I would have never in a million years figured it out without her help.

I feel I should be able to teach myself this computer stuff as I've taught myself a lot of things, am highly self-motivated to learn and am persistent to the point of being downright stubborn, so I feel like an idiot when things don't compute. It doesn't help when my friends, in an effort to encourage me, say, "play around with it, you'll figure it out." I've finally realized that they have all had live in computer consultants aka kids who got them started with the basics and so now I don't feel so bad. Library Lady and Melissa have been my kid substitutes through this process - not that I'm old enough to be their mother.

The "self-directed" learning model is perfect for me. I like to take something as far as I can before I ask for help. It worked best when I worked ahead and then came to the drop-in sessions with questions prompted by the assignments. I must admit when I didn't work ahead I was a bit lazy, felt deadline pressure, and was inclined to seek help before I'd given the task my all.

I also dropped in on all my classmates blogs and gleaned lots of great info in the process from the blog itself or the comments left on their posts. So, they became my teachers too - cool, eh?

I have been recommending this program to many of my friends, so I hope you run it again as I know a lot of people who expressed interest in Betty Blogger.

So, I want to express my great gratitude to all who made this such a fantastic experience. You have no idea how much you've helped me!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Widget update

I know you don't see the Widget thingy on the right hand side. And, there was no: a, b, c, d, or e happening around here today as I took the day off from blogging (except for this - I couldn't leave you all hanging, could I), but the Library Lady did tell me how to get it on the right - see comments from yesterday's post if you want to find out how.

Also, to Melissa - nope, no math books since I threw out all my public school books decades ago :). All very cryptic, no? That is unless you check out the comments from the post from the day before that.

Aren't comments fun and interesting?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Widget thingy

Here's another challenge posed by the Library Lady.

Add this Library Thing Widget to my blog. it goes...

Oooo, I like how it shows the pretty pics of the covers - very professional, no?
Now, if I can only figure out how to move it over to the right hand side then I'd really be cooking. Enough for tonight, will try tomorrow.

It's kind of like a cliff-hanger in an old serial movie. Will she be able to do it? How will she hold up under the pressure? How much swearing, gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair will it take before she:
a) succeeds
b) has to take a break for M&M's and a can of Coke to shore her up for the next attempt
c) gives up
d) gives up and throws the computer out the window
e) takes the computer in for repair exclaiming "the dog ate it"

Tune in tomorrow and see. Can you stand the suspense?!

You library thing you

I could be accused of being a little obsessed with reading. I have 5 books on the go as we speak. I have 2 short essay, inspirational, compendium style books stored under the bed for night-time reading; 1 book, a collection of the author's humourous essays, I cart around with me for those coffee shop readings; another is on the shelf under the coffee table buried amongst torn pages of newspapers containing "must have" articles, a Spanish dictionary, Spanish phrase books and a Learn and Think in Spanish magazine amongst others, not to mention the books and stuff Rod has under there. The 5th is the book Soul Coaching, a workbook that I've been working on since June of 2009 which was supposed to take 3 mos (...well maybe in an ideal world) so you might say I've been on an extended Spring spiritual detox since then with no end in sight.

Due to a recent cull there reside small stacks of books destined for sale to interested parties, books on: Tarot and some decks I don't use, Traditional Chinese Medicine (amazingly unmarked), yoga related ones and the usual assortment of old coffee table style hardcovers. If you're interested let me know...

Loving books and being a hoarder of information I think this application could be useful or at least interesting. I like that you can get additional info from the link and, though it is interesting to hear what others think I'm more interested in meeting face to face with friends to talk about books rather than reading what a stranger thinks, so I can't see myself joining a group.

I really got into entering books I'd read, recalling when I read them, where I was, how they helped me through some tough times and so on. Books have been friends, confidantes, entertainment, cheerleaders, inspirations, I could go on and on. I took an online survey called StrengthsFinder through the book of the same name and all of my results indicated I'd be happiest sitting alone in nature on a mountain top reading and learning which is great, but doesn't make me very employable and bodes ill for social interaction. (library)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


This assignment was to subscribe to feeds using a Google Reader account. No probs especially since I have been a follower of some blogs - see MY BLOG LIST in the column on the right - pretty much from the start of my blog. So I already had an account in some form and when I actually got into Google Reader itself I found all the blogs have been filed under Blogs I'm following.

When I go into my dashboard I have a Reading List, Blogs I'm Following and anytime someone posts a new entry it automatically shows up. I have only recently discovered this (all on my very own, I'm proud to announce); before I would enter into each site from my blog site and a lot of time was wasted. But, now I know that I can get into the blogs directly from my Google Reader it's even more efficient.

In answer to Library Lady's questions:

  • What RSS feeds have you subscribed to? See MY BLOG LIST for blogs that I'm following. Crazy Aunt Purl was the first blog I'd ever read; recommended to me by my sister, so you could say she's responsible for getting me into blogging in the first place.  Mind & Brain News, Articles, Information / Discover Magazine (which I put in a folder labelled - mind) as I've been picking up the publication every now and then - fantastic articles on the brain. I came across it in Chapters when I was reading THE BRAIN THAT CHANGES ITSELF and saw that there was an article in the mag related to one of the scientists who appeared in the book and I wanted to know more. Globe Life - Facts & Arguments because I was reading it in the Globe today. One of these days I'd like to send something in so it helps to see what gets accepted, writing styles, subject matter etc. I figure it's a good writer's reference for the short essay. I filed it as newspaper writing.
  • Did you find Google Reader easy to use? Yes, yes, yes, especially since I just kind of fell into it and have used it lots already.
  • Will you continue to use the aggregator, Google Reader? Yes, though already I can't keep up with all the updates that happen, even on my fave blogs. 
I see RSS feeds as being great resources for research and keeping up to date with recent findings i.e. regarding brain research. I will be adding to the list, finding websites to put into folders titled hypnosis and dream work.

OOO, I just found out that you can add notes, uh oh, I'm in big trouble. There is a lot to explore on this application and I could very well get addicted to it. Must leave now. Must get up to date on what other bloggers are doing or maybe I'll check out the latest research on the mind, dreams or...


Monday, August 16, 2010

POW - power of women?

I saw Courtney Cox on Ellen the other day and they played this trailer. The show's been on for some time now and this was the clip that I saw most often to promote COUGAR TOWN before it went on air. Now, we're supposed to believe that the kid was distracted cus Courtney's so hot. And, I have to admit that she does look great especially for a 40something, but I can't help thinking that horny as he would be the kid would also be somewhat grossed out. Come on, someone his mother's age is flashing him.

The guy Cox's character is talking to has just said, " couldn't bag a young stud"and, this is her response. Young stud — the guy's what 14, and, riding a bike. Am I missing something here?

Reminds me of this cartoon I did 20 years ago (YIKES!) in response to some TV ads pitch for a weight loss program.

Cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1990.
All rights reserved.
Click on photo to enlarge.

I'm just sayin' that, in the way we find value in ourselves, sometimes women are just... WEIRD

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wiki no wiki

On our next Betty Blogger assignment we were to create a PB Works account in order to use a Wiki (Hawaiian-language word for 'fast')...

All well and good but for the create an account part.

I have created so many accounts for this and that over the years. Do I have a Wiki account? Well let's see if I do. 

So I punched in so many names, user names, passwords, nicknames, etc that I could have used, that I got totally discombobulated. The site was so confused that it even shut me out explaining something to the effect that the library site was sending me something but that it was bouncing back. Aarrgh! This is exactly the stuff that drives me nuts. Added to this was the fact that I had a migraine and my brain was like mush, nothing computes for me or for anyone/anything around me, anything within any proximity to me, actual or virtual goes kaphlooey as we get lost in the primordial ooze that is my consciousness.

So, I gave up.

I stomped upstairs (Rod has named me "the thing that lives under the stairs" as I spend so much time on the computer in my "office" at the base of the stairs in the basement) and in my migrainy, frustrated state cooked us some grub accompanied by a banging of pans and a sprinkling of #$%@% and @^#^# and @%#@$%. (migraine pain leads to foulness of being, extreme impatience and obliviousness towards others). Poor Rod put his plate out in a silent "please sir can I have some more" gesture in an attempt to stay out of my way while I chipped some unco-operative eggs off the skillet and on top of the slightly burnt toast that I'd tossed on his plate and then quickly exited the battle zone that was the kitchen (migraine pain leads to kitchen looking like the aftermath of WWII)

So...I'm in the drop-in class this very moment and the Library Lady has led me through the steps. First step being, after establishing order to my registration organization chart (CONFESSION TIME: which I was supposed to be doing as I've been going along - but haven't). "You don't have an account. You have to make one. If you did you'd have gotten an e-mail to confirm that you did", she explains with great patience.

"But I can't because...", I protest as I try to explain in something resembling computereze combined with English; my fingers dance upon the screen, flashing ever changing images in front of our eyes second by second. "And, it seems that in order to create an account I had to sign on for OpenID. What's an OpenID?"

"I don't know. But, I do know that you don't need one. So," her gaze finally grabs my attention and I'm finally in her capable hands as she leads me step by step through the "create an account" process. Which, migraine-free, was a piece of cake,


  • What dish am I bringing to the family meal? I'm "the bun girl" so I think that's pretty clear.
  • How was my PBWorks experience? Was it easy to use? See above.
  • Do I have any need for my own wiki? I have signed on for one and hope to use it to help organize stuff around my Mom's needs and also for council get-togethers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Too many cooks...wait, no cooks in the kitchen

I think the title of this post just about sums up my situation. For my Betty Blogger course I'm supposed to write a cooking story. Me? I used to be the "bun girl" at pot luck suppers, it sort of went like this...

At the end of particularly gruelling week-long, yoga workshops, the workshopees, overflowing with sweat and gratitude for the visiting teacher's expertise, decides that a great way to show their appreciation is for us all to gather at one of their homes with arms overloaded with our finest gastronomic offerings and pig out. They were bursting with anticipatory excitement; I however, was not. When my absence and uncharacteristic silence became deafening they broke from their huddle, looked at me hiding in the corner and said dismissively, "You can bring the buns," before resuming their formation.

I attended many such workshops over the period of a few years and as soon as I heard the words "pot luck" I would offer proactively, "I'll bring the buns" and leave them in their huddle to plan their magic. This ritual evolved to the point that, no formal announcement was needed as I'd become "the bun girl".

It's not that I don't like food; I do. I'm a good cook but I cook because I need to eat and I happen to dislike fast food and convenience food. See, they call it CONVENIENCE FOOD not FANTASTIC YOU COULD SCRATCH YOUR EYES OUT FOOD but CONVENIENCE FOOD as in, we're not sure what exactly is in it, but you don't have to make it, yea.

I just don't like the daily grind of everything around food. For all the energy taken up by food: thinking about what to eat, when to eat, what Rod might like to eat; looking for it, buying it; trying to figure out what to do with it, preparing it; cleaning up after it - and then doing the whole damn thing over and over - please, I could live on toast. It would free up so much time for: sky diving, cattle rustling, spelunking. Not that I do any of these things, I'm spending too much time on food related matters.

My mother used to say, "I look forward to the day when they invent a pill that you could take instead of food. That would make me happy." Her food is pureed now and though you or I would gag at the idea of pureed meat...she's pretty happy with it and shovels it down with such relish that I can only imagine how deliriously happy a food-pill would make her.

Since eating is a necessity, I am a good cook, and this is a homework assignment, here is the recipe.

I could eat a shoe or just about anything else if it is curried!

But, I assure you, this is much better.

Oh yah, what's up with the weird box. That too is an assignment - use Google docs to publish this recipe.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Picasso? No, Picasa.

Message from nance:
You've got to see these pics - there are about 58 of them. Worth taking the time to check them out. Amazing.
There are no tags on them, but if it was me I'd tag: sharks, bazillionschoolsoffish, bloodchilling, issheinsane? as some of them.
I believe you have to run the words together to get a tag otherwise each individual word becomes a tag - right?

That was the message I sent to the Library Lady for part 5 of the Web 2.0 course I'm taking.

Library Lady responded that when composing tags this was right.

Here is the link for the pictures I choose from picasa:
I think you'll agree with the tags that I chose, except that Andre is a he so it should read isheinsane or maybe aretheyinsane because as you can see there are a lot of divers down there with him.

I think that Picasa is a good idea. But, I'm not sure about all of this photo sharing. To share with family and friends OK, but the general public...? This is both an issue of privacy for me as well as an artistic one, for as an artist of sorts I'm confused about the issue of copyright because on Andre's Gallery is says copyright All rights reserved but then it looks like you can post on blogger, twitter and others. See what I mean?

I-photo seems to be a pretty complete photo app, but I can't seem to e-mail my photos to friends/family with it. Picasa might prove to be a better way to go as long as family/friends have downloaded Picasa too - right? 

But, if family members all had the app then we could all contribute to a family album complete with tags, comments, info etc and avoid the e-mail stuff altogether. At least that's what it sounds like to me. If so then definitely it would be worth having. 

I will play around with it some more to see just what it can do as I already have downloaded it and right now pictures are in the categories of: yoga, cartoons, clutter, kitties, Montreal...
So when I go into "my photos" I have albums - who knew? And, there are multiple images of many of the photos which I thought were "duplicates" but if I click delete I'm told that that image will disappear from my blog. In searching help I find that they aren't duplicates but indicate that the same image is stored in other areas of my computer (please forgive my lack of techno jargon). 
But they when I see image after image of the same thing I think...duplicate.

Maybe the de-clutter bug's gone viral in me; it drives me crazy to see 6 pictures (duplicate) of the same thing! (In fact, just today, Rod and I discarded duplicates of actual photographs to clear our space in those actual albums that I've decided I want to keep. So in the physical realm I'm on a roll.) I'm told that these multiple images of the same thing (duplicates) doesn't indicate that memory is being used up. I get it, but it feels like a mental stutter everytime I see the same image (duplicate) over and over. It just bugs me. Do I really need to see them (duplicates)? Further exploration seems to indicate that I could hide them and that I could unhide them later if I needed to, that just might be a good thing.

Yah: organizing, tagging, albums, files, captions, multiple images of the same thing (duplicates), hiding, unhiding...this is going to take a while. Is it all worth it? I'm not sure.