Yogurt without milk

Yesterday I purchased some non-dairy based yogurt, many of you may remember that in the spring of 2007 I discovered that I am allergic to milk and milk products and have been for a very long time. I had a difficult time getting my doctor to listen to me and want to get to the root of the problem instead of treating the symptoms. Now I try to avoid milk products. There are several soy-based yogurts out there, but most of them still used milk cultures. Though I am trying to live locally, I’m not completely consistent yet. Yogurt called to me, yogurt from a national soy product company and purchased at a GR based superstore chain. Today I had the strawberry banana flavor for breakfast. It had an odd coloring and texture. It appears as if the company does not use food coloring so it the color was a light brown-gray color. The texture is not as creamy as milk-based yogurt and the taste was quite different. I don’t think I will try that flavor again. I have a couple more flavors in the ‘fridge including vanilla. If I were more addicted to yogurt, I could buy the plain flavor, purchase a yogurt maker and go to town. I don’t think I miss it that much. Stay tuned for details about the other flavoring

Chasing my tail

How many blogs does it take to answer my question about pingbacks? The correct answer is at least four, but three of them were mine and I ultimately answered my own question.

When I installed WordPress 2.5, my pingbacks broke. You may wonder what a pingback is or you may not be interested in the slightest. If you are not interested, this may be the post to skip, unless you enjoy watching a kitty chase her tail for hours and hours and hours before remembering she has one important blog, this one, and two test blogs. Normally I don’t have two test blogs, usually it is just one, however, a few weeks ago I was attempting to help a fellow knitting forum member with her pre-2.5 blog, so I installed the version she was running and before I broke my blog at the 2.5 install, I upgraded the test blog to be sure nothing would break. I failed to take into account my web host breaking the one-click install, lesson learned let me assure you. To attempt to head-off any further problems I set up an identical blog to this main one with the same posts and settings behind the scenes, as well as the same plugins also behind the scenes.

After spending a few hours combing the wordpress.org codex, then the “interwebs” at large, I decided my answer did not lay out there, it lay between my head and my three installs. I say it took at least four blogs to answer the question because wordpress.org is a blog and I found a few individuals attempting to be helpful on their blogs, but didn’t answer my question. I also checked WordPress.com to reassure myself that WordPress 2.5 did indeed know how to handle pingbacks. You may wonder what a pingback is, a pingback appears on my blog in the comment of a post when someone out in the wide “interwebs” writes something and links back to a specific blog post of mine.

Out of pure frustration of nothing to show for an afternoon’s worth of work, I set about digging through my theme’s code, hoping maybe the theme was broken, no such luck. I then decided to open the test blogs. I admit, I forgot about the second blog running a really old version of WordPress until I went looking for the password for the first test blog. That second install turned out to be a huge help to the investigative process. I worked to make both 2.5 versions mirror each other in code and active plugins. My main blog would catch one or two out of six actual pingbacks. The other two blogs found all the pingbacks I sent. Again, a bit stumped, I started to wonder if it was a versioning problem with a plugin, the test blog doesn’t have the newest versions of all the plugins I have installed. I only update them when I am using it to test something. It then occurred to me that I redirect this blog. The install folder is not at the root of my site, nor will it be again. That is part of what broke it the first time and made it more difficult to fix. One-click install from my dearest host likes to install to a completely empty folder, no other files or folders present. So when it broke and I reinstalled it, I was going to have to create a subfolder or delete all my photos, files, etc and start over from scratch. I was already deeply saddened by the loss of my blog and did not wish to lose anymore. WordPress 2.x has a setting that allows users to indicate where the blog source files are located while redirecting traffic to another location. In my case, my install is at http://proefrocks.net/blog/, while until today, you viewed it at http://proefrocks.net. My test blogs were not redirecting traffic like the main blog is/was. Once I change the setting to redirect it, the pingbacks broke there as well. Which was a huge relief. I blame my own troubleshooting skills becoming rusty. Ten months ago, this problem would have been solved in under an hour. I also discovered along the way I could force pingbacks if I consistently put a trackback url into each post. That’s not going to happen. I’m trying to retrain my brain to remember to put tags on my posts, about 50-50 there and I’ve always used categories but again, 75-25 there.

To summarize, you will notice a change in my domain layout. When you visit http://proefrocks.net you will now be greeted with a static (unchanging) page with links to several different areas of the domain, one of which will be this blog. I will probably link to Josh’s blog, my photo gallery and the photo gallery for BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area). The page will be updated as changes dictate.

Still to do, create a custom redirect script. June 13, 2008: I created the .htaccess file at the root directory per apache.org. Luckily for me, my permalink structure is simple, all posts from 2008 appear to be in a folder called 2008 and those from 2007 appear to be in folder called 2007. The simple addition of two lines directing requests for 2008 to now go to blog/2008 and 2007 to go to blog/2007 has rendered all links out there in the “interwebs” valid.

P.S. If you remember to move .htaccess and index.php from root back to the WordPress folder, be sure to edit everything and well, I had to empty .htaccess in the WordPress folder which then broke my entire site. I fiddled for another hour and then remembered that plugins cause 2.5 to become rather unruly. I deactivated my gallery plugin, WPG2, emptied the .htaccess again and reactivated the plugin. Then I allowed WPG2 to reconfigure itself, rewriting good things to the .htaccess file.

What’s more fun than sleep?

Give up?

Finding and tweaking progress bars. Why? Because I couldn’t find just what I wanted and couldn’t let it go. A knitting site has a built in widget for tracking what is in my notebook of projects, but it links to my page on that private site, which is great if you have an account, not so great when the waiting list was huge or if you just don’t want to have a membership to a knitting website. It also stays current. For example, if I wanted to show my current knitting progress on my projects listed in my notebook in this post, it would only be accurate for today, June 11 as long as I never updated my projects again. If say I have 3 projects going right now and currently A is at 20%, B is at 60% and C is waiting to be frogged (ripped out), but next month, A is at 50%, B is finished and C no longer exists. When I update my project page next month, the progress bars at this page will no reflect the progress I had made. That is because the progress bars there are designed to be a current reflection of what I am working on and I can display it in the sidebar. Not what I how like to use them

I present my answer: progress bars.

Please leave comments at this blog post until the progress bars live on a page with comments. If you would like my rendition of progress bars, leave a comment and I’ll send you a zip folder. Be sure that you enter your email address correctly in the comment form. No one but me will see it, I promise, well maybe Zorro will see it but he doesn’t speak human, so it’s not a real concern for ya’, oh and I can’t forget about about Little Guy, but he only rubs on the screen, he doesn’t look at it and the other two, well, no worries there, they don’t seem to like computers.

Triquetras

A few years ago I was struggling immensely with my faith, as one is wont to do occasionally. On an upward swing, I found a ring in one of the bookstores I was known to frequent. It was a complete impulse purchase, but I had hoped to turn it into a daily reminder of my allegiance, less tacky and noticeable than a WWJD or similar. It wasn’t that I didn’t want others to know or understand, it was to be something to remind me of my commitment and focus on a daily basis. Sometimes I look at my hand and remember, other times I look at my hand and the thought doesn’t even enter my brain. It was lost of a few months, then it returned to me.

The symbol on my ring is a triquetras, which is “Latin for three-cornered.” ringWhile it has been used my many groups of people over time, one of the accepted meanings is the Trinity of Father, Spirit and Son. I had seen the symbol elsewhere before purchasing the ring and did some research as to the meaning. Upon discovering this, the shape increased its appeal and upon seeing it as a ring, well, I’ve told that story.

Why am I telling you all of this? I was searching for some information on WordCamp in Dallas, a coolie conference on WordPress and much more. I knew one of the speakers was Lorelle and after finding what I was looking for I browsed the rest of the page. I found a recent blog challenge to find a symbol, write a blog post about it and include its history. I knew its name before this challenge, which made finding it in the encyclopedia easier, so the challenge offered an interesting topic to share. I present my answer here.

Scoring guide

I did a lot of searching on the “interwebs” last night and couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I pieced things together and then added my own explanation to it and tada-a scoring guide for Cribbage. I’m fairly happy with it, but I may revise if I stumble upon other tricky to count hands. My Cribbage scoring guide. I hope you find it interesting or entertaining.

Wisdom teeth drama

Some of you may remember that early in May I had two teeth removed. I managed to get some food caught under the bottom tooth and visited the oral surgeon’s office to handle that disgusting issue. One of the other possible delightful experiences was a sinus infection. I haven’t felt completely well since the teeth were removed. I attributed my miserableness to pollen and other allergens floating around. After tolerating the symptoms for two weeks I began to think that maybe it wasn’t just allergens. I still did not want to be one of those going to the doctor demanding antibiotics for something that wouldn’t react to it. Nor do I want the havoc that antibiotics play with my body, but I finally gave in on Wednesday and visited my local walk-in clinic. I was happy to find the staff helpful and friendly. I fortuitously discovered that they are also a normal doctor’s office, so I have decided to adopt them. I called around on Tuesday, but the only office I could find accepting patients is over a half hour away, and with today’s gas prices, 10 minutes was a nicer sounding distance. I’m not completely recovered, but I am starting to feel better. Granny brought me dinner tonight, she is soooo thoughtful. I invited her to play a few hands of Cribbage with me and we had one of those hands. I can’t remember what the cards were, but we had difficulty counting the hand. I went online quickly and couldn’t find the exact example we needed, but decided that it was worth 17 points. Granny has a coolie reference sheet for some of the difficult hands. I did some research after she left and am putting together a cheat-sheet for the game. As I compile the hands, I am attempting to understand the hands and why the score is what it is. I think I just about have it down, but I am going to continue to hunt up more. I’ll share my results when I am finished.

It’s pronounced awl-buh-nee!

So, while I’ve been working on update my family genealogy records and doing a bit of research, I’ve been watching a bit of TV. It so happens that I am watching NBC’s Late Night with Conan. He just mocked a contest he heard about from a furniture store in Albany, NY. The show is taped in NYC, I know, I know, we who live more than two hours from the City don’t care much about it, but we still now how to pronounce things. Out of his mouth more than once: al-ba-nee, as in Al, like a guy’s name. I’m sure the rest of the country found the skit hysterical, but all I could do was laugh at his ignorance. Grand Rapids has been making its rounds on late night shows as well, this is the second time this week I heard it in a skit or joke. May be popular because of that boxer who has made a name for himself.

On the topic of research, I’m not doing as much original research as I’d like, mostly looking up Census records for the family I already know of and comparing the people to other’s research. I am at a complete dead-end with my father’s father’s family. Records clearly were not kept, people avoid answering the census questions or were avoided in the asking. I know when my family was here and records don’t reflect that. I have found a wealth of ssn for the deceased whom I feel may be family. But my understand of NY and records involved the words “good luck.” Shell out money and hope that records arrive sometime in the next couple of whiles.

Update: Conan reviewed the contest he is sponsoring and someone between the initial episode and the one that updated the contest told him how to properly pronounce Albany!

A month of knitting

Each month I attempt to tackle my ever-growing list of projects, hoping to make a dent. In order for that to be accomplished, I would need to stop adding to the list. Alas, that will not happen, though I may search the list and remove some if my interest wanes. I have finished one resuable knitted grocery bag from cotton. I began another, with many modifications, hoping to make an ideal bag and stick with it until 10 or 15 are made. Instead, the colorway held my interest until it turned into a largish bad to hold a notebook, a book, a wallet, and several other smallish things. The draw back is the bind off I used, I searched for a stretchy bind off because the traditional bind off tightens up too much. I used a technique called Icelandic bind off, which is wonderful, but now I must make a drawstring to close up the top. Much of this last bag was knitting while listening to Harry Potter books 6 & 7.

One of the many detours I took while listening to HP and knitting was the sorting hat. For muggles, the sorting hat determines what house one is sorted into when one enters Hogwarts School. On the first day of the first year, everyone takes turns wearing the hat. The hat was bewitched by the founders so that students could be sorted long after they had gone. The four houses are named for the four founders and each founder valued differing character traits. Of the founders Gryffindor valued bravery, Slytherin valued those with determination to succeed, Ravenclaw valued intellect, and Hufflepuff just wanted to teach anyone who wanted to learn. The houses are a home away from home, friends, classmates and more. When I sort myself using the silly quizzes I am often sorted into Ravenclaw, but occasionally it comes up Gryffindor, so I guess that puts me in Ravendor or Gryffinclaw. The hat will take personal preference into account, so if I wore the hat and off to one it sent, I could debate for the other if that were my desire. There are a number of sorting hats out there, a simple search with your favorite search engine will guide you.