Virtual Green Healing

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I’ll get to explaining the title of this post in a minute, but first, a little preamble is called for.

While I’ve been laying low in the background for a few months, I’ve been silently enjoying reading my favorite blogs (Dogkisses) and Green Healing Notes, along with a ton of books. If you’re a regular reader here at IconDoIt, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve mentioned Dogkisses several times and that the author of those two blogs is also a frequent commenter here. So what’s that all about, you might ask?

One of the greatest serendipities of writing a blog and commenting on blogs other than your own, is that you have the opportunity to come to know people from around the globe with whom you already have something in common (an interest in the subject of a particular post commented on). Now, the odds are pretty dang slim of that happening as you go about your daily routine and encounter previously unknown people at work, at the grocery store, etc. even if you are one of the rare folks who actually speaks to strangers! And when you find yourself commenting and/or receiving comments on more than one posting from the same person, you start to get to know them a bit and after a while, may find yourself communicating with them “off blog” and developing a deep friendship. For someone like myself, who has extremely limited face-to-face contact with anyone in the world beyond my front door, such opportunities and friendships are valuable beyond compare. This is how I first met and became friends with “Lady Dogkisses” (whom I’ll refer to as LDK for the sake of brevity).

From the outside looking in, it might appear that LDK and I have very little in common. I’m close to 20 years older, live in an upscale suburb of a large city on the north coast of Ohio while she lives in the mountains of North Carolina and struggles just to get by. Our ethnic backgrounds and religious upbringing couldn’t be more different and we have entirely different work backgrounds, skills and hobbies. But what we DO have in common is how we have reacted to the tragedies, outrages, and challenges in our lives; the basic principles that guide our decisions and actions; a strong spiritual connection with the earth and sky; and a tendency to want (and make our best attempts to) bring comfort to everyone who hurts and cure the world’s ills. Of course, this latter trait – which is an impossible task to ever fully accomplish, thus we are always feeling badly for our “failures” – often gets played out at the expense of our own personal best interests. And that’s why we need each other to remind us to give ourselves permission every once in a while to escape from our self-appointed burdens to pamper ourselves with some free time to “play” or do nothing at all, get some uninterrupted sleep, and have a few relaxed good meals with enjoyable company. Now THAT’s my definition of a “real” friend!

So now back to the title of this post, “Virtual Green Healing”. For several months now, Dogkisses has been writing a series of posts centered around the concept of “Green Healing” which is a way of cleansing oneself from all of the chaos of the man-made world and getting back to the core of our spirit through working with the earth, planting and growing, and taking the time to breathe in and breathe out along with the land and the creatures who inhabit it and make it work. LDK has embarked on a project to facilitate this Green Healing through volunteering, along with her adult son, in a horticulture program for folks with special needs. Now, I love a beautiful flower garden and eating fruits and vegetables fresh picked each day but its’ been over a dozen years since I’ve been physically been able to participate in that process and more than 20 years since I actually had the time, and even then, I never did have much of a green thumb. But my lack of gardening skills and infirmities have never gotten in the way of my love of nature and, in fact, one of the strongest images in my mind when I engage in guided imagery exercises to deal with chemotherapy and pain, is of walking in the woods along the Skyline Drive in Virginia on a clear, cool autumn day. I can just smell that clean air and hear the crunching of dried leaves beneath my feet and the honking of flocks of geese and ducks soaring way above the trees. And it is with this same imagination that I am taken into the garden alongside my friend and her son, whenever I read the latest posts on her blog and I feel myself healing right along with them. (Thanks LDK for sharing your experiences and letting me tag along for the ride!)


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The Pain of Switching Online File Hosts

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For at least six years now, I’ve stored a large portion of my publicly shared files on my Apple iDisk, which is basically online storage hosted by Apple’s .mac “aka Dot Mac” Service. While there were always a few drawbacks to that service, it was convenient and easy, so I stuck with it a little longer than perhaps I should have. A couple of months ago, I receive notification from Apple that they will be discontinuing the iDisk feature as part of their phasing out of “Dot Mac” and transitioning to their new iCloud service. Unfortunately, they haven’t given me the option of simply having the contents of my iDisk transferred automatically to an iCloud account, so I have until June 2012 to move my files to a new host. While that may sound relatively painless (simply upload my original files to one of the other online storage hosts I already have accounts with), the part that IS a pain in the biscuits is the process for updating the links on all of my blog posts.

Part of what is making this procedure so time-consuming is that Apple (as well as all other online storage hosts, as far as I know) doesn’t allow you to simply use the name of the file you’ve stored on the server as the download link address (the URL). Instead, they assign an encoded name as the URL, which means you cannot tell which file is which by just looking at the URL. For example, if name of file I uploaded was “MY_CAT_IMAGE.png” the url to download that image would look something like this:

http://files.me.com/my_account_name/6802eca119d8716bcaeb7ef68b0e017d

While I can easily figure out what the file named

http://files.me.com/my_account_name/My_CAT_IMAGE.png

contains without having to actually open the file and without having to switch from my blog-editor window to the published version of that particular post to see which image file is supposed to be posted in that location, the same can’t be said when the html code to download an image file uses an encrypted name.

To those of you who have never written a blog post using only an html editor, what I’ve been talking about is probably a bunch of gobbledygook and boring at that. But to my kindred geeksters, if you haven’t already experienced the pain of switching your online file host, beware. The process is not one you’ll want to procrastinate in doing and I highly recommend you have an organized plan as to how you’re going to accomplish the task before you start. I don’t know whether the way I’m going about is the most efficient but it should end up being accurate, meaning I replace all the anchor url’s and image url’s with the correct new addresses and don’t miss any of the links that need to be updated. If anyone out there has their own system for doing this that they’d like to recommend – or discourage its’ use, use the comment link below and share your story!

LAST MINUTE INFO: I just came across this WordPress.org Support Forum post, Updating Links in Old Posts When Things Change. Don’t know whether it’s more efficient than my method as it looks like, from a quick glance, that it really is intended for updating many instances of the same URL. It’s worth checking out if your blogs are self-hosted (i.e. NOT wordpress.com blogs) because it requires you to be able to access the SQL database for your blog.

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On the freebie menu tonight are some random icons I’ve created recently. Let us know how YOU end up using them!”

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Autumn Flame
Autumn Flame Necktie
The brilliance of autumn colors expressed in this silky, woven necktie speaks volumes about your warmth, passion and creativity. Perfect accent with cool weather corduroy, herringbone, wool, suede, camel’s hair or leather blazers – for men and women!
Stack O'Elephants #1
Stack O’Elephants #1
Whimsical stack of elephants on a family jaunt is part 1 of IconDoIt’s series of Gift Bags that keeps on giving! Fill this with T-Shirts, Mugs or other goodies for that special holiday gift then use it for groceries, crafts, & more! Made from 12oz cotton twill, it has cotton-web handles which have stress-point reinforced stitching. Dimensions: 13″w x 15.5″h x 7″deep.
Stack O'Elephants #3
Stack O’Elephants #3
Whimsical stack of elephants on a family jaunt is part 3 of IconDoIt’s series of Gift Bags that keeps on giving! Fill this with T-Shirts, Mugs or other goodies for that special holiday gift then use it for groceries, crafts, & more! Made from 12oz cotton twill, it has cotton-web handles which have stress-point reinforced stitching. Dimensions: 13″w x 15.5″h x 7″deep.

The Constraints of WordPress.Com

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Well, my original mission has been scuttled to some extent due to my failure to discern the difference between WordPress.Com and WordPress.Org before getting started. To be honest, I hadn’t even realized that these were two separate entities! Silly me. But being a good little geek, once I start working on a project I’m not one to quit just because there will be a few more challenges than I expected. For those who aren’t aware, the primary difference between these two services that most concerns the interface designer is that a blog on WordPress.Com can only be customized with CSS (cascading style sheets), selecting from a limited number of widgets, and the text or images you add as content. You can’t add or modify using javascript, ajax, python, php or other languages nor can you modify the .html. While my first reaction upon realizing these constraints was to utter numerous expletives (newly invented just for this occasion) I decided to stick with this and explore just how far one can go with CSS. I suppose that’s one of the trademarks of being a card-carrying geekster in that I am stubborn as coffee stain on a favorite pair of white jeans when it comes to figuring things out just to be able to proudly say, “I done it from scratch”. Of course, no one (but a geek) really cares about such trifles as long as the content of the blog is interesting and the visuals aren’t annoying. Hard to explain why I get off on trying to reinvent the wheel but take my word for it, it’s the second most thrilling and satisfying thing I can think of.

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The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.

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