Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

Ferdinand the cat (1993 – 2006) August 26, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — bonniep @ 3:11 pm

G adopted Ferdinand (and his brother Dexter) a few months before I met him in 1993. Ferdinand was always second fiddle to Dexter the alpha cat. His big love was eating. There was the unfortunate incident where he was found behind the garbage can in the TV room with some way old frozen Jimmy Dean sausage that he had pulled out of the kitchen garbage and hidden for periodic nibbling. And the time he nipped an entire kielbasa off the table and tried to run upstairs with it in his mouth. Ferdinand tried exploring the outdoors a bit, but was bitten by another cat in the neighborhood and developed flesh eating bacteria in the wound. It was quite touch and go for a bit, but he pulled through (although he looked like he had had some uneven liposuction done after that). He moved to Cambridge, MA with G. At our second apartment there, he went missing for 24 hours after we moved in. We finally found him inside and up the chimney, huddled on a ledge. G pulled him out, but he was covered with ashes. I gave him a bath in the sink (worried about him licking up all those ashes) and never made that mistake again. Still have a scar on my neck from that one!

Ferdinand and Dexter both moved to the South End condo as well. Dexter (truly, a cat of nine lives) fell ill and slowly deteriorated over a period of many months, and finally passed away in early 2004. Ferdinand was finally able to shine. (Used to be that Dexter could make Ferdinand cower with just a dirty look.) Whereas guests used to think we only had one cat, now Ferdinand was coming out to meet people. He did get a lot more demanding though. He was great with C–always put up with her petting and even sat still once as she tried to sit on him. Ferdinand moved to our townhouse in Somerville with us. And then in February 2005 he was diagnosed with cancer. (A kind of cancer that is caused by getting shots. Which was never mentioned when the vet was recommending the shots.) We had the cancer removed, but decided against chemo or radiation treatments, because the prognosis was grim either way and Ferdinand *hated* going to the vet. Within about six months, the cancer grew back.

Against all expectation, Ferdinand hung on to move to Washington with us this spring. With a backyard now, he was able to go outside a bit. We would find C at the foot of our bed in the morning, talking to Ferdinand, "Hey Buddy, hey Buddy". She knew that he had "ouchies on his back" and was always very gentle with him. He was eating less and less though, and losing a lot of weight. Yesterday, we decided that the suffering was starting to outweigh the joy. He ate an entire can of tuna last night and we had a nice long pet and purr session. Today G took him for his final visit to the vet.

Good bye Ferdie, Grubber T. Chubbalot, the Grub. You were loved and you will be missed. 


What to do with your plugin? How to let the world know? August 25, 2006

Filed under: Windows Live Writer — bonniep @ 4:03 pm
Get more info about sharing and developing Windows Live Writer plugins at the official plugin developer blog.

Making an installer for your plugin

Filed under: Windows Live Writer — bonniep @ 10:38 am

One of the (many) great things about Windows Live Writer is the SDK for building your own plugins. For reference, see some example Plugins, download the Plugin SDK, or read an article on building plugins.

Once you have built and tested your plugin, it would be nice to wrap it in an installer before distributing it to others. At MS, our build system is using WiX to build installers. You too can use WiX, it is available on SourceForge. There is also a pretty good online tutorial available. (****Edited 8/31: Turns out the version of WiX we are using here and the latest one on SourceForge are not quite the same. Their various releases seem to be changed directory structure and library names. So to use the sample file below, you will want to download version 2.0.4103.0 from this page, the 5-03 release.****)

Here is a sample .wxs file to wrap a basic plugin (one DLL). The generated installer checks that Windows Live Writer is installed and adds your DLL to the plugins folder. Now your plugin can be managed through add/remove programs, is upgrade ready, and includes a license agreement. The sample assumes you are pointing at the WiX Minimal UI and their localization files (i.e., including flags for {path}\wixui_minimal.wixlib -loc {path}\WixUI_en-us.wxl). To change the sidebar image during installation, just replace the Bitmaps\dlgbmp.bmp image included with WiX; to use your own license agreement replace License.rtf.


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <Wix xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/wix/2003/01/wi"> <Product Name="{Name that shows in installer, add/remove programs}" Id="{GUID #1}" UpgradeCode="{GUID #2}" Language="1033" Codepage="1252" Version="1.0.0" Manufacturer="{Your name here}"> <Package Id="????????-????-????-????-????????????" Description="{Plugin description}" Manufacturer="{Your name here}" InstallerVersion="200" Compressed="yes" /> <Upgrade Id="{GUID #2}"> <UpgradeVersion OnlyDetect='yes' Property='PATCHFOUND' IncludeMaximum="no" Maximum="1.0.0" /> </Upgrade> <UIRef Id="WixUI" /> <Property Id="WRITERINSTALLED"> <DirectorySearch Id="PFF" Path="[ProgramFilesFolder]"> <DirectorySearch Id="WLWFolder" Path="Windows Live Writer"> <FileSearch LongName="WindowsLiveWriter.exe" /> </DirectorySearch> </DirectorySearch> </Property> <Condition Message="Windows Live Writer is not installed. Windows Live Writer plugins require Windows Live Writer to already be installed."><![CDATA[WRITERINSTALLED<>""]]></Condition> <Media Id="1" Cabinet="{PluginName}.cab" EmbedCab="yes" DiskPrompt="CD-ROM #1" /> <Property Id="DiskPrompt" Value="{PluginName} Installation [1]" /> <Directory Id="TARGETDIR" Name="SourceDir"> <Directory Id="ProgramFilesFolder" Name="PFiles"> <Directory Id="WriterInstallFolder" Name="Writer" LongName="Windows Live Writer"> <Directory Id="INSTALLDIR" Name="Plugins"> <Component Id="{PluginName}" Guid="{GUID #3}"> <File Id="{PluginName}DLL" Name="{plugin.dll--must be in 8.3 format}" LongName="{Full DLL name}" DiskId="1" Source="{path + dll}" Vital="yes" /> {note: other files could be included here an necessary; if you distribute help files or supporting graphics} </Component> </Directory> </Directory> </Directory> </Directory> <Feature Id="Complete" Level="1" Title="{PluginName}" Description="{Plugin Description}" Display="expand"> <ComponentRef Id="{PluginName--matches the ID given in Component tag above}" /> </Feature> </Product> </Wix>

A few happy things August 24, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — bonniep @ 9:40 am

For various reasons, thought I would post some happy things today:

  1. Averaging almost 48 mpg on my Prius–382 miles on this tank and still a quarter left to go. I love this car!
  2. Found another "alternative" radio station so now I can switch between NPR (depressing news) and KEXP (depressing music) on my commute.
  3. C. walking around this morning with a rolled up exercise mat hanging from her neck, calling it a sling and putting her pretend cats in it to carry around.
  4. The good barista was manning the milk foamers at the coffee shop today.
  5. Two new movies and disk two of season five of Curb Your Enthusiasm came from Netflix in the past two days.

And in other news….when C goes to school I guess she will learn to sing My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizza Pies: Pluto no longer a planet


Shout out to the folks at Evergreen ER August 18, 2006

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 1:05 pm

Nothing like a midnight trip to the ER to spice up a night. I have never heard so much swearing in my life (admittedly, I have never seen Deadwood, so I might be a bit sheltered in that regard). G’s diagnoses: kidney stone. The nurse at the Evergreen ER told him now he knew what childbirth was like, but this actually seemed a lot worse. (Although I will say that labor lasted several hours longer, but who’s comparing?) Now we know where the local ER is, where the 24 hour Walgreen’s is, and that the hospital apparently has a "no swearing" rule that was broken multiple times last night.

The doctor and nurse suggested this can be caused by chronic dehydration, backed up here, so if you are reading this now go get a drink of water. You do not want to go through this yourself–and I can assure you your spouse doesn’t want to watch you go through it either.


For My Dad August 16, 2006

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 10:16 pm

When we moved to our new house in WA, we finally had a backyard! And my dad flew from Cleveland with some of his amazing dahlia bulbs to plant in said backyard. First one came up…and then weeks later the second came up. We thought for sure the third would never poke through, but finally it did! The growing pattern seems to be much different than it is in Cleveland. Once the stems were visible, leaves and buds soon followed. And once the buds open, each flower shot up. So here are some pictures of the flowers; for my dad.


That last one shows how short the biggest blooming dahlia is (it was the one we thought wouldn’t live) and beyond it you can see the super tall middle red one and then at the far end next to the house the medium height white one. Thanks dad!


Runner, not Jogger August 15, 2006

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 11:15 am

After several false starts, I started running for real during graduate school. And I have mostly kept up with it for the 10 or so years since then. I am by no means a fast runner. My strength is more in consistency, and at least at one time, distance. For an introvert like me, there is nothing more energizing than a long, solitary run. I usually don’t even run with any music, just my own rambling thoughts. I think of myself as a runner–I am running for more than just the health benefits.

Back in 2000 I started racing a bit. Not to win by any stretch of the imagination; I liked the structure of training and the tracking of official race times. And then I started training to run a marathon. Long runs along the Charles River with pocketsful of GU and water bottles hanging off me. Bliss.

My goals for the first marathon in 2001 were 1) finish, 2) run the whole way, 3) finish in under 5 hours. I did finish, but there was quite a bit of walking towards the end. And my official time was 5:00:01. No kidding.

After that one, I was in a lot of pain. And took some time off from running. But that 1 second kept bothering me. So I decided to run the marathon again in 2002. I trained harder and smarter.  I ran a good half marathon and felt strong until the day of the race. The day dawned humid….and I just wasn’t that motivated–and to run for > 4 hours, you need some serious mental juice. I also overestimated my abilities and started out with the 4:15 pace group, which was running ahead of pace. Needless to say, there was a lot more walking at the end of this one, and I finished in 4:27:xx. Better than my first by a lot. But at 5 hours, there had been ample room for improvement.

The next year, I was pregnant. And running, but no marathons! Ran until 32 weeks of pregnancy (just did long walks after that)…and then took a long break once C was born. I have been running again for over 2 years now, but working full time and with a kid, well the long weekend runs just aren’t possible anymore. I guesstimate that I am only logging about 12-15 miles a week now.

I think I still have a good marathon left in me, but not anytime soon. I am thinking about testing the waters with a nice half marathon. We’ll see.