About verabear


Posts by verabear:

Let’s chat on Windows Live Messenger right here

I’ve added a Windows Live Messenger IM Control onto my blog the other day. This is to allow anyone reading my blog who I don’t personally know or have on my buddy/contact list in Messenger, to know my online presence and initiate a real-time conversation.

I’ve been using Messenger – in one form or another – for a long time. Pre-NCO days (my current employer), I’d use Yahoo Messenger. But in the past 3 years, Windows Live Messenger is an official communications tool at work. I personally love the custom emoticons!

Back to the point… Over to the right, in pastel orange (?) is what’s called an IM control. It willl show you when I’m online on Windows Live Messenger, and if you’re browsing through and have something you want me to know right away, you can go ahead and send me a message and I’ll respond. The real me will respond, not just some bot. 🙂

I was really excited when I read about this feature (which has been around for months before I found out!) and tried it out right away, first through my verabear.com, and then here on the blog when I got home from work.

Anyhoo, when you click on the link to Begin a conversation, you’ll be prompted to use a Windows Live ID (msn or hotmail email address) that you are currently signed in with, or you can sign in using a different ID, or you may send an anonymous message. If you choose the latter, you can just enter a nickname and we’re all set to chat!

I’m kinda sad though because I haven’t actually received any chats through the control, makes me wonder if people come by to visit at all? Nah, as I said before, I post for myself mostly, but getting feedback from people who breeze through always feel like virtual hugs.

Now, if you want to have IM control on your blogs or Web sites too, it’s very easy. First, you must have your own Windows Live ID – any MSN, Hotmail or Live.com email address is already a Live ID. You can sign up for one over at http://login.live.com

Next, you’ll need to go to this link to allow others who may not be on your contact list to see your online presence through the Web sites you post the control in. If you don’t put a check on the option that says Allow websites to see your Messenger status and send you messages the control won’t work.

After saving that setting, click on the Create HTML link over to the right bar on the same page or click on this link so you can configure the color and type of IM control you’ll use, plus get the code to put on your blog.

You may choose from a chat conversation window like mine (which you could resize on your blog to accommodate more chat history if you want). There’s also just a small button and the WLM buddy icon that will announce your online presence. The beauty of those smaller icons is that if a person clicks on it, the conversation window will pop up on it’s own window. The person contacting you may continue chatting with you even when they navigate to a different page. I’d probably switch to that control some time.

These instructions, and more about Windows Live Messenger, could also be found over at http://messengersays.spaces.live.com/

Little Earthquakes

This was the book my darling little dog chewed on two weeks ago. Too bad because it’s definitely a book I’d like to keep and reread someday. Good thing I got it from the used bookshop but it was in such good condition that when I got it, I felt it was a steal for being in very good/brand new condition.

It’s about four mothers who found friends in each other – who drew strength from one another to survive their own little earthquakes.

Of course I identified with Becky, a big woman who was happy and sure of herself. She had a near-perfect husband, and she was doing something she loved for work. Of all four friends, she seemed to be the one who was on top of things, she brought the most laughs and made the most sensible decisions. Even her mini crisis wasn’t so dramatic though issues with a mother-in-law are definitely serious business too.

I am not her and my life isn’t nowhere near hers, but she could be a mom and wife I’d like to be when I grow up.

When I do get pregnant, I’ll read this book again, and brace myself for motherhood and all that a baby would bring into my life. Along with What to expect when you’re expecting, I think this should be a must for every expectant mother. Plain, practical, non-glorified view of having a newborn.

Along with Weiner’s Good in Bed, Little Earthquakes is definitely one of my favorite books of it’s genre. It’s one of my favorite books. Period.

The Wandering Scribe

I don’t recall exactly when, but I was over at Mec’s and she casually mentioned the Wandering Scribe, which she read about in Reader’s Digest. Now, we have a monthly subscription to RD but I don’t always read through the current issues, I pick them up months after instead. So I missed the story that featured the woman behind the blog. I vaguely remember my mother mentioning it to me – a homeless person who had a blog and eventually she got her book published and now she’s no longer homeless – but it just didn’t stick. Sometimes we really could be so into our own shit that we just don’t pay attention to what happens around us – I could be, at least.

I bookmarked the blog, and read one or two of her latest posts. Of course it no longer introduced her to me, she was already speaking to friends and her usual readership. I felt compelled to read about her experiences and start by digging through her archives. She’s a brilliant writer so it is not boring at all and reading from the beginning really puts you in perspective. And it’s true what others are saying, her story is a source of inspiration, one where strength can be drawn from. Interesting how that played out, because her blog was her way of reaching out to a support group, she found it, and now others are able to find her words to be supportive.

Her entire life was packed in her car, where she lived for many many months. She used her blog to journal her experience, as her means of reaching out. The response to her writing is testament to how bloggers can actually step up and say something nice to someone, and in her case, how blogging can save a life.

We each have our own purpose for blogging, some want to make money off it, some want to be noticed, others just like having a sounding board. I’m more of the latter, though I admit having a huge smile whenever the sitemeter goes up or comments come in. I am happy that for Anya Peters, blogging helped get her out of an extremely difficult situation.

Her story also reminded me of how different homelessness is in Western cultures vs this country’s homeless situation. We have street families living in pushcarts (kariton), or ones who just have their sacks and boxes that they lay down each night wherever they find space and no security guards to shoo them away. Anya Peters is an educated woman who was really down on her luck; in her words she was respectable at daytime and no one knew her real situation at the time. Here, the homeless usually come from homeless families and generations of poverty; they can’t hide their situation, some of them can’t read nor write, and they are lucky if they’ve ever spent a day in a classroom. There are also those with stories like hers, from riches to rags.

I yearn to read success stories from our own homeless. There have been few stories featured throughout the years, but those were also mostly about a homeless person who turned out to have an interesting background too – but those stories are few and far between. If only there are people willing to give the homeless of this land a chance at getting their lives together, like the publisher who gave Anya hers.

Her story also begs the question – what have I personally done to reach out to people in similar situations? Am I generous with hugs and words of support to a person who is miles across, but can’t even spare a smile to the homeless that I pass by in the streets? We gotta admit, we fear them, we are embarrassed to look at them – that’s why we don’t bother to get to know them. I take time to read through Anya’s archives but won’t be bothered by another sad story of a street family.

Okay, the circumstances are different, still… I just can’t help but wonder…

Not a bad first day

I answered my first email ticket in a long time – 7 months. I am not used to it, and I still second guess myself when it comes to diagnosing issues. Some things that are considered basic (specially for someone who used to train new hires on those products) are now alien to me. I’m cutting myself some slack though because I haven’t supported the product line in over a year, no one is really expecting me to get back on track on the first try.

So today at work, was more like review day for me. I still had apprehensions while writing out my first response, I knew that if the customer wrote back, another agent would see what I did wrong, and I don’t really want them to see anything negative.

Anyway, it was a good first day. And I just love that shift!

Smiling now

A few posts ago, I mentioned about the stress I’ve been feeling at work. Today was totally different. I actually left work with a lighter heart than when I came in.

Oops! I had planned to bring donuts for my team tonight, it totally forgot about it when I woke up this evening. I’ll probably just make up for it tomorrow night instead though some of them are not going to be there…

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