The “crick” house where I learned about badly made websites

June 20, 2021

Most folks know I used to be a web developer and graphics designer. I taught myself all the elements necessary to build websites and design the graphics. I did this because I needed something I could make money from so I could stay home to caregive for Jerry when he first became disabled. My work with web-related technology was one of my two favorite jobs. My number one favorite job was working in a garden center for several years.

I definitely did not make a ton of money, but the bills got paid and we had food. One year, I did happen to make enough to buy a run-down crooked little house that needed a lot of work so we could stop renting for a number of years. For all its flaws, we loved that house. The older grandkids (Andrew, Madison, Kara) practically grew up in the house… they were there nearly every weekend. When you buy a house for less than $20,000, you gotta know there needs to be a lot of work done. We couldn’t afford all the work it needed, but we’ve never needed perfection to be happy.

Let me reiterate… we loved that house!

The house was on a dead-end street, so there was no traffic except for neighbors. To this day, we still call it “the crick house” because it was five houses from a creek that ran through the center of town. I rode my bicycle on the bike/walking path of the creek every day that was warm enough to do so. Jerry sat on the bank many a time to fish with Andrew or a neighbor. I stood at the end of our street at the creek and took hundreds of sunset photos. We filled nearly the entire backyard with veggie and flower gardens (even neighbors did not go hungry). So many great memories in a run-down crooked little house. Plenty of heartache and hard times, also, of course.

I absolutely bawled my head off when we left to move back to our hometown to be closer to the kids and grandkids.

While spending my time building websites in the “crick house,” I learned about the standardized “best practices” one must take into account while doing that type of work: recommendations published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C); standards published by ECMA International; and standards published by the International Organization for Standardization. If you like techy stuff, just use any of those in your search. I recommend DuckDuckGo. They do not track you and they give you all the search results that Google and all the others do not!

I adhered to these standards in everything I did while building websites and making graphics. If I didn’t undertsand something, or needed help in how to implement a standard, I always went to their forums and asked questions.

I filled my head with some pretty cool technology and enjoyed every minute!

And along the way, I’ve come across some badly made websites. There are still hundreds of thousands of those horrible things sitting everywhere on the internet and still in use. Many are downright ghastly.

One culprit that perpetuates the problem is…. Blogger.

Yep. It’s hard to believe in this day and age that they continue to offer bloggers and businesses some awful choices in making websites. From abominably coded templates to bad navigation to fonts and colors, Google isn’t doing anyone (including their business) any favors by keeping these annoying things going. And sadly, many who use Blogger have no idea how dreadful their websites look and work.

Many people have sight problems – myself included – and website standardization has been a big help for us! However, the problems persist and most people don’t even know they are losing readers because of it.

My top frustrations and annoyances, in no particular order, are:

• Using all caps in every sentence or title – it implies shouting and is hard to read.
• Using colored fonts, especially too light or neon colors. Black type is easy to read, looks professional and clean. Did you know colored fonts excite spam filters? Yep, they sure do.
• Using a too-small font size. Example: Can you read this without zooming in?
• On that same note, I hate when people use the colored background on their fonts. That’s a double-whammy hit.
• Colored backgrounds in the content (post) area. White makes everything so much easier to see and read.
• Colored backgrounds in the content (post) area while using wildly-colored fonts that are also background colored. *cough* Triple-whammy hit to the eyes.
• Using URL shorteners (such as TinyURL). Eventually they all break.
• Not checking for broken links.

Any of those will keep me from returning to your website. It’s just too blame hard to read a psychedelic page that you have to zoom in on to even know what a person wrote!

As one famous web developer once said, “It ain’t that hard to make a good-looking web page when all the easy choices are right there in front of you!”

We who deal with sight problems beg you…. make it easy for us to read your blog and we’ll come back again and again!!

Blessings!

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Summer busy-ness and all the other stuff

June 15, 2021

There are two ways to follow my blog now: follow by email or bloglovin. Both are at the top of the right sidebar. I’ve had several folks sign-up on the follow by email… we will see if all works well as soon as I publish this post. I’ll know one way or the other since I have myself on the list.

If you still have my old blog showing in your blog lists, you should delete it since it no longer exists. Just sayin’. And no, I did not deactivate the old blog… I was banned from blogger for being a Christian and conservative. Yes, it’s happening all over and has been for some time now.

And to answer a couple folks’ email questions… no, I am not on any social media and have not been for many years. I have no plans to ever return. God has much more important things for me to focus on in my life.

It’s been the usual Kansas summer so far. Temperatures have been in the upper 90s with “feels like” temps in the 100s. Sweat pours off everyone because of the humidity. Everything is dry, dry, dry because we just haven’t had any rain to speak of since mid-May. Son John has told me not to worry about the water bill at his house for the gardening. He doesn’t want all that effort I/we have put into the gardens to go to waste. And we don’t have to worry about the water use on our plot at the community gardens since the city provides all the water there. Everything is growing and looks good so far in all our gardens.

Jerry is getting over a summer cold. Every year in late May or early June, one of us always gets a summer cold. This year was his turn. John had it first. So far, I’ve been able to avoid it. However, the cottonwood seeds floating through the air like a winter blizzard are another matter! Ugh, I hate those things! No, I do not stay inside just because of them or any other pollen, mold, etc. If I did that I’d never get to go outdoors! As long as it is not the middle of winter, I’m outside for at least some time every day, and in spring/summer/autumn that means I’m out there for several long hours. I told John one time that when I die they’d probably find me lying in the garden with the hoe or trowel in my hand. He said, “Well, at least you’d die happy.” Yup. He knows his mama so well. 🤣

I harvested a few Yukon Gold potatoes yesterday (our plot)…

I’d also grabbed a few green onions (also our plot; no pic). And this morning, a friend out at the community gardens said to get some of their sugar snap peas, so I got enough to fix a big baggy for us, and a smaller one John and Aero…

I made barbeque-orange marmalade chops (yes, onece in a great while we will eat pork, but maybe only once or twice a year). I fixed homemade potato salad using the garden potatoes, green onions, a few of the peas, Hellman’s Vegan mayo and regular mustard. It was yummmmmm-yum!

Granddaughter Madison turned 17 at the end of May. (Wasn’t I just holding her in my arms as a baby last week?!) Good golly, she’ll be a senior in high school next year. She bought a pretty sunflower garden pick for me… it sits in the shade of one of the sunflowers in the corner flower garden I put together at John’s. Grandson Aero thought it was real when he saw it.

“Gramma! A pretty new flower!” 😆

I ran out of straw for our veggie gardens a few days ago (I use it as mulch), so last Friday being John’s day off, he drove us down to Yoder in his big Suburban to get more. Yoder is a small Amish town 12 miles south of us, takes about 15-20 minutes to get there. We went to the Yoder Discount Grocery because they were the only ones who had a handful of straw bales left. The store used to be the Dutch Mill Bakery – they made huuuuuuge delicious cinnamon rolls that people would drive to from miles around just to buy. They opened in 1978 but had to close in 2011 due to financial woes. The cinnamon rolls are now made by the Carriage Crossing Restaurant that’s just down the street. You can read all about Yoder, plus these and other places, on the Yoder, Kansas website.

John’s had to go in to work by 6:00 a.m. the past couple Mondays because he’s had delivery trucks to meet and inventory, so has dropped Aero off to us and we watch him until daycare opens at 7:00 a.m. (although gramma fudges a little and takes him at 7:30 just because she can 😉). Last Monday, he asked to play with the handsewn chicken my mama made back in 1965 (the pattern was a chicken doorstop, it has a half-brick in the bottom for the weight… my other grandson Andrew – now age 20 – named the chicken “Russell” when he was little). A few minutes later, Aero asked to play with the painted clothespins I have leftover from a craft project. Okaaaay. I handed him the container of clothespins. I didn’t pay much attention to what he’d been doing until I said it was time to pick up the toys and get ready to go to daycare. Aero very nicely put Russell on the little table where I keep him. And that’s when I saw this…

Ahhh, the mind of a 3-year-old. Poor Russell. 🤣 🤣 🤣

Well, it’s 7:00 p.m. and I want to go over to our plot to do some weeding and check for watering. I go later to ours because there’s no shade at the community gardens area. Jerry is going along so he can get some fresh air now that he’s feeling better.

Yack atcha later! Be blessed!

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Weather, gardening, food

June 1, 2021

NOTE #1: I’m trying out a ‘follow by email’ widget plugin … it’s on the right sidebar at the top. I’m hoping that one works.

Note #2: If you still have my old blog showing in your blog lists, you should delete it since it no longer exists. Just sayin’. 🤷‍♀️

The past nearly three weeks have been quite variable… in relation to weather, that is. It has rained to some extent almost every day except four of those days. And even when it didn’t rain where we are, there was still a lot of severe weather in our area. Several small towns in our state had direct hits by tornadoes. Other cities endured some rather large hail (up to baseball/softball size), high winds (80mph+), and heavy rain (several inches). We’re currently under a river flood warning for our area. This is nothing new… it happens nearly every year at this time (May/June) and again in early autumn (September/October). The Arkansas River and Cow Creek both run through the center of our city… we live about one block from Levee B South Bank of the river. A couple years ago, there had been so much rain that the river level rose high enough we could actually see it over the levee from the vantage point of our third floor apartment that faces that direction. The city had even issued an advisory for everyone to be prepared to evacuate if they thought the levee systems became unsafe. No, I was not scared… just had our backpacks sitting ready for several days. (I do not scare easy – I did some weather chasing many years ago; that requires more smarts than emotions.)

In amongst the downpours and sprinkles and muddy-soggy days, I did get more planting and other things done in the gardens. We have two veggie gardens we’re keeping up this year: son John’s and our plot at the community gardens area. Jerry and I decided it was well worth it to get one of the small plots this year to see how it goes. It’s $25 for small plots (25′ x 30″), or $45 for large plots (30′ x 50′), for the whole season (March 1- November 1). The city provides the water and garden hoses free, the tools in the two sheds are free to use (including tillers and cultivators), and you always get first dibs every year to keep the same plot, and even add more if any are available. One fellow, Alfred, an older guy who’s probably in his late 70s, has six 30′ x 50′ plots he works on! He said that he grows on all of those plots so his kids and their families can all have fresh veggies. When he sees me and Jerry working in our garden, he’ll walk over and shoot the breeze for a while. Everyone we’ve met out there all seem like good, decent folks. And the guys who are in charge of the gardens are extremely helpful… if we need something done that we’re not able to do, like run a big tiller, for instance, all we have to do is ask. We have planted tomatoes (3 German Queen, 3 Early Girl, 3 Husky Cherry), 6 basil, 3 dill, 4 jumbo jalapeno peppers, 3 Carnival (colorful) sweet bell peppers, 6 butternut squash, 1 25′ row of red romaine, 1 25′ row of garlic, 6 25′ rows of onions (white, yellow, red), and 3 25′ rows of Yukon Gold potatoes. The only difference between what I planted in our garden versus what we put in John’s is he also has 6 cucumber; a large planter of herbs (oregano, lavender, thyme, rosemary), and he has the addition of Red Norland potatoes. As soon as I get a day without rain and having to walk through ten thousand feet a bunch of mud, I’ll plant the seed starts I did: bird house gourds and ornamental gourd mix.

The red romaine we’re growing at our plot:

The heads are already over a foot tall and have a bajillion leaves… they’re as delicious and flavorful as they are beautiful! Much better than store-bought! And this is the first year I’ve ever grown romaine. We always grew Buttercrunch lettuce, but as certain of my health issues have become worse over the years causing digestion problems, I stopped growing that (yes, lettuces are that different). I have no problems with eating romaine, so decided to try growing it. I’m so glad I did!

This rose bush at John’s had not bloomed once in the time since 2017 when he and Elissa married. In 2019, I talked Elissa into letting me move it into the back garden area where there is a lot more sun in hopes it would grow better and bloom. It grew better, but did not bloom in 2019, nor in 2020. And then this year…

It suddenly burst into color a couple weeks ago!! RED RED RED!!

Grandson Aero (age 3) has been ‘helping’ me in the garden on weekends when we’re there to watch him while John goes grocery shopping and anything else he needs to do. He loves bugs. Worms. Roly-polies. Ants. Whatever. He will lay right down in the dirt and put his face near to the bug he’s watching and focus on it. The other day he was following me into the garden when he suddenly stopped and asked, “What’s that?!”

Ladybugs! He was fascinated with them and searched every plant to see how many he could find. I showed him how to put his hand down by one and let it climb on.

“It tickles, gramma!”

🤣

He enjoyed looking for them for quite a while.

I’ll have more garden photos soon… after the ground dries up some, and we cultivate some, and we weed some. 😆

I’ve been making mini quiches in the past few weeks for a few of our breakfasts. The recipe is so versatile that you can use practically any ingredients and never ever mess it up. I first came across a thousand numerous recipes for mini quiches in February 2020 while looking for easy finger foods that we could make for our American Heritage Girls troop tea party last year. Several leaders and moms/grandmas made various mini quiches and they were so delicious and easy! Then, I ran across the recipe Martha uses on her website, Seaside Simplicity (follow the link she has to “Mini Crustless Broccoli Cheddar Quiches”). I played with the ingredients a couple times and came up with what Jerry and I like. We go for simple fare, so ours is a ‘minimalist’ version. Keep in mind that I rarely ever follow a recipe, and my own ‘recipes’ are made up off the top of my head, much like my mama did way back when. This is a very ‘forgiving’ recipe. Don’t be afraid to change or add more ingredients!

My Basic Recipe for Mini Quiches

For 6 muffin-size quiches (regular size muffin tin):

5 large eggs
1/8 (approx.) cup milk (we use almond milk)
1-2 tablespoon(s) sour cream (I use heaping tablespoons)
1 heaping tablespoon gluten free Bisquick (I’m sure you could use regular Bisquick)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, any kind you like (somewhere thereabouts)
sliced green onion (I pulled 4 from the garden)
pepper (we never add salt, but feel free to do so if you like)

Heat oven to 375°. Spray muffin tin (I use coconut oil). Crack eggs into small bowl and whisk well with the milk, sour cream, and pepper. Add the Bisquick and whisk until just mixed. Fill each muffin cup about 1/3-1/2 of the way with shredded cheese and sliced green onion. Pour the egg mixture into each muffin cup to about 3/4 or so full (I use the washed tablespoon to add the mixture a little at a time to each cup so that I fill them all the same). Bake for about 15-20 minutes. The quiches will puff as they bake, then will settle some when removed from oven. Place a cookie sheet underneath if you’re worried the cups will overflow… I’ve never had that problem though. Let cool before removing from tin; use a butter knife to loosen the quiches around the edge if needed. Mine always pop right out of the tin. Enjoy the quiches by themselves or with sides. As you can see, we like bananas with them for breakfast.

These are so delicious! You can also freeze them for another time; just reheat in a 350° oven. We are ‘borderline’ vegan (haha, yes, there is such a thing) and there are alternate ways to make this recipe egg-free, milk-free, and/or cheese-free.

Well, it’s late here, midnight is rolling in quick. I had to work on the June calendar for the apartment building and get it emailed to the building manager so she can print it tomorrow, then get it passed out to all the residents. I’ve been doing the calendars almost since we moved here 4 years ago. I offered to do it because the manager that was here at the time didn’t have a clue how to use data processing software, so the calendars suffered (as did everyone’s aging eyes 🤣).

Sending up prayers for all of you. Blessings!

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