Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas 2015


Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 82, low 68)

We are still in the Tampa area caring for my Mom. 

December has been warmer than normal, with daily high temperatures in the mid 80’s most of the month. With the high humidity and temps, it’s almost felt like summer.  Almost.   It looks like we’re getting a break from the heat and humidity today as it’s only predicted to be 82.  Winking smile

We are getting an actual cold front  by the week-end, with predicted  highs  only be in the 60’s.  It will be warming back up but I don’t see any 80’s in the forecase for the near future.     Thank goodness.  We are more than ready for some cooler weather.    The mosquitos are worse than I can ever remember, perhaps due to the wet summer they had. 

I wish I could post pictures and tell stories of the fun things we are doing, but unfortunately, the only fun thing we’ve done is go to the gun range for target practice.  Hey….it’s a great stress reliever.  Smile with tongue out

Our days consist of going to Mom’s house and staying with her.  Al has been wonderful and he goes with me each and every day.  He works around her house, while I care for her and her house and deal with insurance and caregiver issues.

Her long term care policy only allows 6 hours per day for the caregivers, which is a lifesaver, but still leaves a gap that my brother and I have to fill. 

We found out yesterday that she has an addendum/rider on her long term care policy that gives her an extra 2 years of coverage.  She can use 2 years of in home care and then another 2 years of assisted living or nursing home care.  That is a huge benefit!  We thought she only had 2 years coverage, so we’re pretty happy about that. 

The main problem now is finding good caregivers that can work the hours we need.  We go through a local branch of Visiting Angels, but the caregivers are all independent contractors. They can decide what hours and days they want to work.  Of course, finding people during the holidays has been a struggle.   We have two main women that have been caring for Mom, but one took a vacation over Christmas week and the other won’t work week-ends or evenings.   My brother is in retail, and he works week-ends and evenings. We have been struggling finding caregivers so that Al and I aren’t over there till 10pm or have 10 hour days over there. It’s very draining. I will be glad when this week is over.

We kept Christmas pretty low key this year.   We didn’t exchange gifts between ourselves, because we pretty much buy what we want all year long.  We got a few things for Mom, and wrapped a few things she already had, so that she had plenty of presents to open, and wrapped a few things we had already bought for ourselves, so she wouldn’t feel bad we didn’t have any presents.   Smile

We took a few pictures with the new Galaxy and we were too tired to bother and see how they came out…….so here is the best we got.

Mom, brother Steve, and Al

Christmas 2015


Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015


Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015











 Christmas 2015

I’m still having trouble with Open Live Writer and haven’t “practiced” enough to figure it out, but it’s still better than writing through Blogger.

We have some friends that live on the water on Anna Maria Island. They have a boat, kayaks, paddleboards and all the fun toys you could want.  They have been inviting us out for a fun day, but so far we haven’t been able to find the time.  We’re hoping to take a day off soon and head to their island paradise for some fun and sun. 

Happy New Year to you all.  

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Test Post with Pictures



I am still having trouble with Open Live Writer, but it seems to only be when I post pictures.

Heyduke sent me a link in a comment from my last post with a fix.  I had to tweak it a little, and don’t ask me what I did, because, I couldn’t tell you at this point. Smile

HERE is the link.

It appears to have worked on this blog.  I will need to go back and see if I can do the same for my other two blogs.

Somehow, I was able to get a post to publish yesterday, however it didn’t show up on any blog rolls.   It was basically a test post with lots of pictures, but if you want to see some Florida Keys underwater pictures, you can find it HERE









Saturday, December 19, 2015

Tweaking Open Live Writer


My experiment yesterday with Open Live Writer was successful only in learning that it was going to be as good as the old Live Writer.

Open Life Writer is brought to us by a group of people who volunteered for the project.   I don’ t about you, but I would gladly pay money for this excellent open version of LW.

MY THANKS TO YOU ALL!   The new program is wonderful and I can’t wait to see what other improvements are coming.

Here is the link to  DOWNLOAD OPEN LIVE WRITER

There is also some other info and tech support on the site as well as a link to sign up for notifications when they add new features.   I will definitely signing up for that.

This is their description of the powerful free program:

Open Live Writer is like Word for your blog. Open Live Writer is a powerful, lightweight blog editor that allows you to create blog posts, add photos and videos then publish to your website. You can also compose blogs posts offline and then publish on your return. Open Live Writer works with many popular blog service providers such as WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Moveable Type,DasBlog and many more.

For those of you who write their blogs on Word, I think you may like this even more.  I am certainly impressed.


Okay, here goes.  I’m going to explore OLW again, and hopefully have better results.

I had been using the original Live Writer so long, that I had forgotten that the picture sizes that look good on LW, don’t necessarily work for the actual blog. My blog template doesn’t allow for larger/wider pictures, since I have the sidebar.  It may be something I need to change in the future since most people read blogs with mobile devices now and they don’t see the sidebars anyway, unless they opt to view in the desktop version, which most people don’t even  know is available.

Today, I learned that on the bottom left corner on OLW, there are three tabs:  Edit, Preview and Source.  I am on edit now, but if I click on Preview I will see what my post will actually look like before I actually post it. These tabs were in the same place in LV, but I never used them or bothered to see what they did.  Down below the tabs is where the running word count used to be in LW.  Perhaps this is a tweak that will be added later on.  Or maybe there is a way to put it there now, but I haven’t figured that out yet. You can still find the word count but you have to go to the home page and click on word count on the tab on the top right.  It is not nearly as convenient. If anyone knows how to add it to the edit screen, please let me know.


I still don’t have much to write about.   Our days mostly consist of going over to Mom’s house and staying with her when the caregivers aren’t there and my brother is at work.

The only other thing I have to write about is our new Samsung Galaxy A 8 Tablet. After our friends mentioned how much they liked the size of their small iPad, we decided to pick up a small Android Tablet.    Last year we bought a Samsung Galaxy 8.4 Pro tablet. We got it through eBay for $229.

When I looked for the same one this year, it was over $300 and we didn’t want to pay that much for a second tablet.

Al happened to be at Sam’s Club and he found the Samsung Galaxy A8. It’s a tiny bit smaller than our other one, I think it is 8inch  but appears pretty much identical every other way.

It was on sale for $179, but if you signed up for a Sam’s Club credit card you got an additional immediate $40 off. We reluctantly signed up for the credit card (we hate credit cards) but couldn’t pass up the $40, which brought the tablet down to $139.

It’s a great little computer and also Kindle e-reader. The books download right to the tablet and the “paper” is nice and white with crisp black print.  You can adjust the size of the fonts to your eyesight.  “Half blind” is our size font.   Smile

We really like the smaller size of these little tablets. They are great to grab and sit outside and read and surf the internet, or to read while waiting for a doctor appointment.  Now we don’t have to fight over who gets the tablet.  The e-reader doesn’t require internet, so that’s  also nice.


Tablets   iPads   Sam s Club

Both tablets are so thin and light, that they really need a good cover, to have something to hold onto to keep from dropping them.  I found a nice cover on e-Bay for about $6.   Certainly much cheaper than the ones you find in the stores for $40-50.    We have the same case on the other tablet and we liked it so well we ordered another one.

$_1 (1)


Now that I’ve learned  how to properly size my photos, I’m going to post some more photos and see if I can get the sizes right and maybe even learn a few more of the many options available on this great program.

You can customize each photo to exactly the size you want.   425 by 319 seems to work for my default medium picture size.

These next two pictures are taken from the Old Bahia Honda Bridge in Bahia Honda State Park in the Keys.


For some reason, I am unable to get the border to remain the same in all the pictures and the size seems to change back as well.  Another thing to work on.

With OLW and LW, you can drag the picture in and out to the size you choose.



This next picture was one of the few rain storms we had in the 4 or 5 winters we spent in the Keys.   Apparently, this is the norm for Sherry and David this winter.



I can’t seem to get the photo borders to do what I want them to do.  I don’t know if it’s operator error or just some bugs the developers have yet to work out.   No big deal.  If you notice, my photos have different borders although I’m trying to make them the same. I am also getting that annoying line along the bottom on some photos.

Scrolling thru memory lane looking for picture to add to the blog brought me to some underwater pictures from last year at Looe Key Reef in the Keys.

Sherry and David. These next pictures are for you.  This is what a good day on Looe Key Reef looks like.  Clear blue water and calm seas.  Sorry you didn’t have a great day.  You just never know what you’re going to get.

The water is generally clearer on an incoming tide.  Right near high tide  or just at slack is best.  Outgoing tides brings all the murky inshore waters out to the reefs. 

When we snorkel, we stay in the shallower depths, where you will see more color and get a better view of the fish.



When it’s clear, it looks like a swimming pool over the sand.

Looe Key Reef


Parrot Fish


parrot fish





This was taken at about 12-15 feet depth.  The water was clear, but you can see how you lose color at depth.


Another issue I am having with OLW is the auto save feature doesn’t appear to actually be saving the changes.   I made a few changes then lost them.  Also, somehow I made my page smaller to where I couldn’t read it while typing.  I don’t know what I did.  I made sure it had autosaved, then closed the file then reopened.It came back to the correct size, but that is when I discovered the autosave hadn’t worked.

Now, somehow, I have made my page very large.  I think is is a bug, so I can live with it until they get it figured out.

Anther issue I see is that while I am typing this and the post hasn’t been published, there are 5 comments.  Another little issue they will need to work on.  I am NOT complaining though.  Overall, I am very happy to have Open Live Writer!!

Well……for some reason I got a “403 error” and the draft would not publish.  I’m hoping if I close out and start over it will work. That didn’t work either.  I had to go to Blogger and publish from there.

403 Error


After writing a blog post in Open Live Writer and getting the familiar 403 error code, I decided to see if I could get it to post with no pictures. That’s what I did last time and it worked then allowed me to post one with pictures.

Here goes nothing.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Open Live Writer Test


Thanks to a comment from Dave Burdick on my last blog post, I found out that Open Live Writer was up and ready to use.  Yay!

My initial few attempt to download it failed.  My first thought was to go to blogland and see if anyone else was able to get it to work and if so, what was their secret?

I got lucky.  Sam and Donna's Blog had the solution.  He said he had to go to Control Panel and uninstall the version he downloaded last week, and then into the download folder to delete the setup program.

I tried his suggestion several times but still kept getting error messages.  I wasn’t sure if the “new” program I kept downloading was actually the new version or not, but I finally got it to work. I’m not really sure how or why, but I’m not complaining.

So….  this is a test.  I find it looks a little different, but doesn’t appear to be so different that I can’t find my way around.

I noticed the little smiley faces are back.  They had disappeared in LW, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get them back, so I gave up.  I need to figure out how to remove the black box around them, but that’s ok. 

So here is a test.  bold.  Yes it works

italics.  Yes.

underlining.  yes

center justify. oops.  seems a little off

change font color.  Yes, but it was a little tricky.


Now for the big test.  Pictures!  My biggest complaint about using Blogger to post blogs was the length of time it took to download one single picture.  In LW, you could add a picture instantanously, but when you went to post the blog, it took a few minutes for the blog to post, but  I never minded the wait, because while it was posting, I could move on to something else and not have to stare at the screen while one single picture loaded, and loaded, and loaded.  

So far, so good.  In attempting to download a picture, it is giving me the option of searching my computer, or the web, just like LW used to.

It looks like you can size the photos however you like. This is  their default medium.  It is a little large for my liking, but it can be changed to your liking.

sunset at sunshine key marina


This is small.  There is quite a difference between small and medium, isn’t there?

sunset at sunshine key marina


You have the option to customize and set as a default what size you want for small, medium and large.

Let’s see how that works. You can make your sizes to be the default size for all three sizes, or you can resize on the fly by grabbing and dragging the photo on the screen.


sunset at sunshine key marina

It appears to work well.  I will post a few more pictures and the true test will be to see IF it posts, and then how long it takes to actually post the blog.


By the way, these pictures are all from the Keys.  We’re getting a little homesick since we’re not going to be able to get down there this year.   Sad smile



I think this is the size I’m going to set as my “large” size photo. You can change it to exactly fit your blog and this seems to fit well and center properly and not hang over the edge.



I am still experimenting with my size for “medium”


You can tilt your photos.   Sherry will probably like that. 



I am still having trouble finding out how to add and remove borders.  I know it’s here somewhere.  The black line above is the border of the previous picture that I tilted.  I can’t seem to remove it.

Sunshine Key bridge

You can add a map and add a push pin. This is Cudjoe Key, which is our little piece of heaven in the Keys.

Map picture


This is Bahia Honda State Park.



You can add watermarks.  This is my “Key West Cruiser.”


customize photos to black and white


or not.



I found the borders, under picture styles.



turtle mating here…actually there is another one. The female was underneath these two males who were fighting for the female.  We were worried they were going to drown her.    They were so busy fighting that our boat drifted right next to them. This was not zoomed it.


Still have a black border underneath the picture I can’t seem to get rid of it.  Will work on that later.


So far, I am loving the new Open Live Writer. I would gladly pay money for this program. 

If you are using Blogger or a Word program to cut and paste, I would suggest you at least give it a try. 

It’s a wonderful blogger program. 


maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t seen if it will post yet. 

Here goes. wish me luck

Smile with tongue out


OKay. That was fast.   I got a “403” error. 



I don’t know why this wouldn’t post initially but after writing another post with no pictures and it published, this one went right through.


As you can see, I need to tweak things.  

Apparently my pictures are too large and I need to resize them….oops.

I guess in the old Live Writer I had adjusted my photos so that they fit without running over to the sidebars. I’m not worried, it will be an easy fix, but I don’t have time right now.

Test Open Life Writer


My first test post failed due to a 403 error.


Trying again with no pictures.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Work around for Live Writer? Open Live Writer

I was doing a little Google search to see if I could find any news on the issues with Live Writer.

I came across this post:

If I am reading it correctly, they are working on  Open Live Writer, but are still having issues with Blogger log-in

Maybe there is hope.

So Long Live Writer (again). Tested Blogger. It FAILED

Add me to the list of unhappy bloggers who hate trying to write a blog through Blogger.  If you've never used Live Writer, you have no idea how much better it is.

Blogger really is  cumbersome and if Live Writer doesn't come back up,  I'm not sure I'll be blogging as often either. Of course, since we're stuck in Tampa caring for my Mother, we're not doing anything blog worthy anyway.

When we first started camping years ago, I started writing a journal and included photos in the journal.    I enjoyed looking back on our camping trips, and it was easy and fast.

I still like to journal our trips so that I can go back and refresh my memory, check what kind of weather we were having, campsites, or places we went.   This might be a good option for those of you who mainly want to document your travels.  I do not think I will use Word Press. I don't like that platform either, but never say never.

My main issue with Blogger is that it takes so darn long to upload a photo.  I never quite know which photos I want to include, or what order, so I choose my photos as the blog progresses.  With LW, you select a photo and BAM, it's there.  You can write the entire post offline and post it later.  You do not need an internet connection.

OK.   Now I'm going to add a few pictures to see if anything has changed for the better.

First picture....didn't take too long to load, but I have fast internet here.

Okay, lets try to add more than one at a time.

Tried it.  It took way too long to upload 3 pictures so I quit.

NOPE.  Not going to do it.  If Live Writer doesn't come back, I won't be using Blogger either.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

We’re Still Alive, and a Few Good Finds


Wesley Chapel, Florida  (high 82, low 65)

I apologize for the boring post, but this appears to be our life now. 

We’ve been back in Florida nearly two months, but it feels much, much longer.

People used to say to remark to us, that we really knew how to “do” retirement, and that we were living the dream.  Well, that’s no longer the case. 

We had to leave Georgia earlier than we had planned because my mother had some sort of an event, which seems to have affected her brain.  The doctors did not find any evidence of a stroke, but we have our doubts.  There is definitely some dementia. We are here in Tampa helping to care for her in her home and are trying to keep her out of a nursing home as long as possible.  She needs someone with her 24 hours a day.

We had some long time family friends that moved to Tampa for a job,and were staying with Mom. We had hoped it would be a win-win situation, but it turned out to be too stressful for all concerned, and especially Al and I. They gave up on Florida and are moving back to Nebraska. They were good to Mom though, and she will miss them, but the stress level for my brother, Al and I will go down.

A few weeks ago, Mom started on a new medication for dementia. The doctor was less than enthusiastic about it’s effectiveness, but we have found it to have helped her a great deal.  It can’t stop dementia, but can delay its progress, and that’s good enough for us right now.

Mom has a long term care/nursing home policy with John Hancock Insurance.  Per the policy, she has $120 a day benefit for either nursing home or home health care, but getting the claim set up has been a nightmare.  Many, many phone calls and tons of paperwork and then dealing with incompetent people.  I can’t tell you the amount of stress this has caused.

Over the years working as an injury adjuster at USAA, I dealt with a lot of other insurance companies and I never dealt with one with such poor customer service.  I would never buy any insurance from John Hancock.   I am seeing the benefit of having a nursing home/long term care policy, though, and we’re very glad she has it.

So….. If you have a long term care or nursing home policy, don’t expect to be able to file a claim on your own when you are older and in need of help.  Dealing with them has been very stressful in a situation where we are already under a great deal of stress.

After many, many aggravating phone calls to John Hancock, they have finally agreed to open a claim for Mom and pay for home health care.  We have to choose one of their authorized providers.  I  finally settled on Visiting Angels, after many phone calls to other companies.

Visiting Angels have been pretty good, but there have also been some issues there, which has not helped our stress level.  

We found a few things that help us care for Mom.   One thing is what is called a “gait belt.”  Its a heavy duty belt that you put around the unstable person’s waist.  It allows you to hold onto the person when you are walking with them. Simple, but effective.

Another thing is a home camera. We bought one called a Nest Cam. It has a wide angle lens, complete with sound. You can log onto the website and watch  remotely.  You can watch and also talk to someone through the speakers on the camera.    It has a great wide angle lens with night vision.  When Mom gets up at night, I can see her and I tell her to sit down on the bed,and wait for my brother to get into the room. We don’t like her walking unattended.  It freaked her out a little the first time I spoke to her over the camera, but now she’s used to it.    :)

It’s a great way to monitor the caregivers and make sure they are taking good care of Mom, and yes, they are aware of the cameras.

We also bought one for the motorhome.  If you have animals you worry about, it’s a good way to monitor the temperature in the event of a power or air conditioner failure.  

Here is a link if you are interested.  Nest Cam.  There are a lot of ways this great little camera could be helpful.  We got ours for $169 at Home Depot.

You have to have the password to log onto your camera, but you can see what the camera sees from wherever you are. It’s quite a great invention.


My brother recently found another helpful device for elderly people, in case you find yourself caring for an aging parent.

It’s a Kerr Fall Prevention system.  We put a special pad on her recliner and another one on her bed.   When she moves too much, or gets up, it sets off an alarm.  There is a remote you can take with you in the house, so you don’t have to be in the same room.  It’s been very helpful because it lets you know as soon as she gets up, and doesn’t depend on you noticing movement,  like  with the camera.  We have slept a lot better since we got that.  Before, we kept waking up and looking at the camera in her bedroom, which didn’t allow for much sleep.

If you have elderly parents you are caring for, we’ve found these items to be extremely helpful.

We are not going to the Keys this winter.  We have our Rv lot rented for January and February, and are still working on December, March and beyond. If you know of anyone wanting to rent a RV lot in the Keys, let me know.

I guess there are worse places to be stuck for the winter than Tampa, Florida, but we will certainly miss our little piece of paradise in the Florida Keys.

I have been trying to keep up with blogs, but have fallen behind in reading and responding.  I hope you all are enjoying your winter travels, wherever you are.