I hope that title has you a little intrigued!

I’m talking about preserving food, in this case, tomatoes, for use in the fall and winter. We picked up a lug box of canning tomatoes at a roadside fruit stand. The tomatoes on display were $1.99 a pound and they were beautifully perfect! However, I was looking for the not-so-perfect fruit. A few bumps, bruises and splits don’t matter when you are peeling and chopping them anyway. I got a lug box (about 25 lbs.) for $5.00.


I began learning about canning fruits from my grandmother. She died before the first personal computer was invented, so I KNOW she didn’t use our modern technologies to preserve foods. Instead she relied on the knowledge passed down from her mother and grandmother, friends and other relatives and books like the Ball Blue Book.


The book in the photo is my trusty copy of the Ball Blue Book. It is over 30 years old and I use it each time I can something. However, it is not always easily available. It tends to get lost in my cookbook bookcase.

That is just what happened on Friday. I needed the recipe and information on canning tomatoes.


When I could not find the book, it was time to use a little technology! My iPad can often be found on my island or kitchen counter, so my first thought was the Apple App Store. I typed in “canning” and this is what appeared:


Right there was a free app, How to Can. Since playing on my iPad wasn’t getting those beautiful tomatoes into jars, I “bought" it.

The app contains good basic information about the canning process and is full of good advice from a well-respected information source. The app has a link to how to subscribe to Mother Earth News on each screen. This app is also an advertisement, so the free price is justifiable for lots of good information.


It is easy to visually find your way to the information you are looking for using the illustrated index on the left side:


Most important, it has the information on how long to process (boil) the canned tomatoes:


In a few short hours, I had 19 pints of diced tomatoes cooling on my counter, ready to be labeled and stored for use this fall in chili, soups and stews. They look so beautiful!





I gave up on blogging last fall. It wasn’t a conscious decision--it just happened.

Ron and I headed to Boston and New England last fall to attend the
Catholic New Media Conference. From there we went exploring. Although both Ron and I had been to conferences in Boston, we had done little exploring. Neither of us had ever spent much time in that area. It was a wonderful trip that ended abruptly. Ron had been having lots of headaches that were attributed to a series of sinus infections. However, when the infection was under control, the headaches continued. We stopped to see a doctor in Newport RI. He gave Ron yet another round of antibiotics and cautioned us that if he was not better in three days, we should head home immediately Three days later we arrived in Bath ME. Ron awoke in the middle of the night with another pounding headache, so we got in the car at 3:00 a.m. and headed home.

When we arrived Ron went to the emergency room. A CAT scan revealed a subdural hematoma, Ron was admitted to the hospital. Later in the week they operated to relieve the pressure. He (we) was very fortunate. The blood was above the dura. There was no brain damage. As soon as the operation was complete, Ron quickly regained his mobility, his neurological symptoms disappeared in just a few days and the headaches were gone.

However, the holiday were upon us. Our daughter and granddaughter who had been living with us while our son-in-law was in Iraq bought a new home. We helped with the move and helped them get settled.

When things finally settled down, my writing routine had been destroyed. I was (and am) disenchanted with my web page development software. I have been exploring the options that are available to me, but moving to a different platform means weeks of work as I transition years of blogging to something new.

I can’t wait any longer, so I will continue using RapidWeaver for the present time. It’s time to get back to blogging. I’ve begun to miss it. Thanks for coming back!

-- Pat

Liquids and Technology

I have had several emergency calls from friends, family and clients this summer. Most have involved a liquid and a computer, iPad or iPhone. This has been the year of spills and drops!

I have had a strict policy of never putting a liquid on the same level as an electronic device. It has worked well until my doctor determined that I was not drinking enough liquids. He said I needed to keep a container of water beside me all the time. While that is not a problem at my desk in my office, my MacBook Pro tends to travel all around all day long. Some of the other stopping points don’t have a second level for my water container. So I had to get inventive!

Last spring there was a deal at Costco. It was for a two-pack of Contigo water bottles. The pack cost $19.99 and it included two insulated stainless steel water bottles with AUTOSPOUT.


I like my water cold and I prefer not to have condensation on the container. Add a leak-free spout to the mix and I have found my new favorite thing! Of course, the deal at Costco is long gone, but you can buy the bottles directly from
Contigo. The price is the same at Amazon. $25.00 sounds pretty pricey, but compared to a repair or possibly a new device, it’s not so bad! You could also wait for Costco to carry them again, but that will probably be next spring.

I even let my water bottle sit next to my computer sometimes, especially at night when both are on my bedside table. : )



Protect your stuff when you travel

Last fall my husband and I took a long and wonderful trip. We were gone for six weeks and we visited Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. Because our trip was so long and the climates we visited were so varied, we took 5 large suitcases and two carry-on bags. Temperatures on the trip ranged from 20 to 110 degrees.

Because our base of operations would be Sydney, we arranged with our hotels there to store our unneeded luggage both when we flew to Alice Springs and when we visited the South Island in New Zealand. In both cases, our luggage was stored in the hotel baggage rooms and there was no evidence of pilfering.

We had all of our luggage when we were on the cruise portion of our trip, so everything was fine then. When we arrived back in Sydney, we had one last night in a hotel. Frankly we were tired--and as can happen in such circumstances, we let our guard down.

We always travel with our cameras and my jewelry in our carry-on luggage. We have done that for years and we have never had anything stolen. When we were packing our bags to come back to the US, we let our guard down. We placed our cameras in one piece of luggage and I placed my jewelry in my primary bag.

I keep wondering why we changed our pattern! When we arrived home and began to unpack, we discovered we were missing a few things. There were two camera bags in the one suitcase. While both contained Nikon DSLRs, Ron’s contained a lesser camera, but our best lens and the flash unit. Not only was his camera gone, the thief went so far as to remove the BlackRapid camera strap. He left it in the bag. He did not touch my bag or camera which had a kit lens attached.

Also gone were some of the contents of my jewelry traveling bag. While I had a number of good pieces with me, most of the high-value pieces were in a smaller zippered pouch that I normally carry just my smaller earrings in. He opened the bag, grabbed the smaller pouch and left the other pieces.

I have read that notice on the airline tickets and on the airline Web site many times. The airline is not responsible for items such as jewelry and cameras stored in checked bags.

Fortunately we have very good insurance and a special plan that covers certain items up to a specified dollar amount, but not everything was on that list.

We had neglected to add that spiffy new lens of Ron’s. I had a number of nice pieces of costume jewelry that I did not even have in a photo. Worse yet, I didn’t have an inventory of what I took.

As I said, we have a great insurance company. They have paid us for the covered items that we lost and could enumerate. We have gone shopping and replaced the items.

We have learned a few lessons along the way. Now, all high-value items are enumerated with our insurance company, we have had appraisals done on both my new jewelry and other valuable items that we did not take on the trip. We also plan to take digital photos of the items we will be taking with us so that we cannot miss any items in our trip inventory.

However, the most important lesson we have learned is DO NOT place valuables in checked luggage!


2012 - The year that I didn't…


The year of 2012 will go down in my life record as a year when I didn’t.

I didn’t blog much, I didn’t accomplish much professionally and I didn’t do much other than sleep, go to physical therapy and read. You see, I injured my left shoulder in the fall of 2011. By the time I realized it wouldn’t heal without medical intervention it was already January.

Being cured involved either surgery and a lot of physical therapy or just a lot of physical therapy. We also learned that I am not a good candidate for pain reliving medicines. While the pain relief effects were gone in less time than the dosage requirements, the sedative effects took a day or more to disappear. So, I would take my medicine, get a few hours of pain relief, but along with it came hours and hours of sleep. Soon I was a depressed mess! The only real relief came when my physical therapist was reliving pain by releasing pressure points.

After long months of therapy and exercise, I finally began to feel better in September. I could finally spend more than a few minutes on my computer, I could do a few things around the house--but by then we were preparing to leave on a fabulous six week vacation to Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. We arrived home on Thanksgiving night and I was months behind in Christmas preparations.

The holidays have passed. I have time to call my own. So now, back to blogging and back to work on the Doctor Mac Newsletter! There are a few trips on the calendar this year, including two in January, so we won’t be sitting still. However, we will forgo our planned trip to France and Spain in November and December. We missed having Thanksgiving with our family and traveling so close to Christmas makes the holiday just too hectic.

I do have a few plans for the coming year:

  • More blogging
  • Starting a podcast
  • More computer time
  • More time on my new Brother sewing machine!
Did you notice the photo at the top of this post? It was taken by Harry Magiros, a new friend from Australia. Also in the photo are a few of my fellow geeks from MacMania 15. We are sitting beside the pool trading photos and Apple tips. Notice the amazing amount of Apple gear and the fact that none of us are swimming or even tanning! Oh well, such is the life of an Apple geek!



The Case of the Frozen Shoulder

Last week was pretty much lost for me. I had a great physical therapy session on Tuesday and then things went down hill--quickly! I spent much of the rest of the week sleeping. Not only did I come down with a cold, I also irritated something in my shoulder which made it really hurt. My other two PT sessions were spent relieving pain instead of working on increasing my range of motion and strength.

We accompanied my daughter and her family on a trip to Staunton VA to visit her daughter who attends Mary Baldwin College. We went to a basketball game where Anna cheered, went to Edelweiss, a wonderful German restaurant and attended Much Ado About Nothing at the Blackfriars Playhouse. After church and brunch on Sunday morning, we returned home.

This was my first trip without my MacBook Pro in many, many years. Of course, It was only overnight and I did have my 3G iPad and my iPhone. I didn’t really miss it--but then I spent most of the car trip sleeping.

I’m just back from PT this morning. Although my shoulder is not hurting, it is just achy, so hopefully, I am on the mend.

I’ve done quite a bit of reading about OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. It looks pretty neat, but a lot of people may find they cannot make the requirements for the upgrade. I will write more about that later.


Back to blogging

It has been far too long since I have added anything to MacMousecalls. It was a busy fall. Christmas was hectic. I’ve had trouble thinking of things to write about.

All of those are true, but perhaps the biggest obstacle has been my shoulder. I started having trouble in late September. I was certain it would just go away, so I did nothing. Then I tried the NASID routine for several weeks. Still no relief. Then I finally went to the doctor shortly after Christmas. He diagnosed it as a frozen shoulder and ordered physical therapy. When I finally got in, it was a week before we left for Macworld. Now that we have been back for a week and I have had four therapy appointments, things are slowly starting to improve.

It’s pretty difficult to see that my shoulder is hurt. I can do forward motions of my arm just fine. It’s those to side and to the back that are painful--like holding my arms in a position to type. I also can’t reach behind my back. Putting on a jacket is a real pain!

I still have several months of therapy, but it is now more comfortable to sit at my computer to type.

I am an “instant” person. I am now learning a new form of patience! Look for more updates on a more regular schedule!


iPhone 4s buying adventures

I was really hoping for an easy transition to a new iPhone 4s. Somehow, it did not work quite as I had planned!

First, there were new phone orders. When I went to bed on Thursday, October 6, I contemplated setting an alarm for 3:00 a.m., but I decided to let nature be in charge. I was awake by 3:10 and Safari was reporting that the Apple Store was off-line. I tried again in a few minutes, and I was able to get to the iPhone ordering page. Although I could choose my phone, choose my carrier, and enter my account information, things rapidly went downhill after that. I just could not seem to get through! Since I actually needed to order 2 iPhones, a white one for me and a black one for my husband, I opened two Safari windows. Then I decided to open a few more. Finally, the black iPhone page progressed and I was able to place an order. So, I closed that window and kept trying in the other windows…and that compounded my problems.

I thought I had both phones ordered, and I thought I had ordered for two different phone numbers--but I hadn’t and Apple cancelled my second black iPhone order. Of course, by the time that happened, all pre-orders were sold out, so I had a bigger problem.

In our home, I typically get the first device, and my husband gets the leftovers. I am acutely aware that this is not really that fair and so I try to make sure that he gets at least some things on the day they are released. Since the black iPhone was meant for him, I could not justify taking it as my own. Besides, I wanted a white iPhone.

I placed an order for a white iPhone from Apple, realizing it would come when we would be away from home for a few days. But I really wanted an iPhone of my own on day one, so I would have to wait in line for it. I am proud to say I almost ALWAYS wait in line for new Apple devices, but this time there would be a few problems. I live in the metropolitan Washington DC area. Stores were slated to open a 8:00 a.m. That would mean I would be traveling in the thick of rush hour and if lines were long, it could take me all morning and perhaps most of the afternoon.

There was only one other choice, an AT&T store. There is an outlet mall just a few miles south of me (against rush hour traffic). They just opened a new, larger store there. It look to be my best chance of getting an iPhone without waiting all day. It wasn’t an Apple store, so there should be shorter lines, but the ambiance of waiting in line at the Apple store would be missing. I decided time was important, so I headed south in time to be at the store at 8:00 am when it opened.

It worked! I was able to be home with my new white iPhone in about 2 hours. I missed the camaraderie of the Apple Store, but I had my new iPhone on Day One.

Buying an iPhone at AT&T turned out to be a great experience, They were able to cancel my online order with Apple, The salesman was very helpful and it was fast!

I’ve had my iPhone 4s for a few days now. I really love it. I can’t decide what feature I like best. I videoed my grandson’s Ankle-biter football game, took photos of our family as we gathered for a large formal portrait at a local park, and I have had lots of fun with Siri. Phone calls sound great, I have lots of room for apps, movies, podcasts and photos. The videos and photos are wonderful. And did I mention the iPhone 4s is fast?


So long, Steve Jobs

I’ve been sitting in front of my MacBook Pro all morning. To my right is my iPad and to the left, my iPhone. I’ve worked with a client, read some emails and done a little surfing.

I am struck by how many people have been profoundly affected by the death of Steve Jobs. While I expected a reaction among my Mac friends and colleagues, I am awed by reaction of others. So many feel his loss. So many have expressed their sorrow.

I never really met Steve Jobs, though I saw him at about a dozen Macworld Expo keynotes. I shook his hand briefly in the Apple booth once, but that is the only physical contact I ever had with him. However, he has had a major effect in my life.

As my youngest children were beginning school, I started helping in the computer lab at their school. As my knowledge increased, I became known as a teacher and troubleshooter, and perhaps as a bit of an evangelist.

I was fed by Apple magazines and books and eventually, by my many trips to Macworld Expos. I loved the keynotes and I would stand in line for hours to attend them. I would always watch product announcements and WWDC keynotes too.

Steve Jobs was a wonderful, dynamic speaker. He always made me want (need?) the next new Apple product.

I have missed Steve at the last few Macworld Expos. Now, he’s truly gone. I (we) will miss him. As someone said on Facebook last night…



Remebering Memorial Days Gone By

I remember Memorial Day parades when I was a young girl. My father was a World War II veteran and we would often go to the local parade.

When I was in high school, veterans and the military became more and more unpopular. When I was in college, I met my future husband, an NROTC student from UCLA. We married during the summer before our senior years and he was commissioned as soon as he graduated. Both of us endured derisive comments and hateful stares when fellow students learned of his career choice.

When he entered the Navy, being associated with the military continued to be very unpopular. Being a Navy wife often earned more viscious comments and ugly stares the further I ventured from the Navy base.

We spent the last days of the Vietnam war on Guam. We were there when Saigon fell and the refugees were evacuated to the island as it was the staging area for their entry into the US. That was the first time I had ever heard anyone thank US military members for their service.

Last night I was watching the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS. I heard the stories of veterans. I saw them being thanked for their service.

The reaction to the military has certainly changed over the past 40 years. We are constantly reminded to thank our veterans and service members. That is a good thing!

But how many of you have ever thought to thank that Vietnam War veteran? Yes, the war was unpopular, but that is beside the point. Each of those veterans was called by his country to serve. They deserve your thanks--even if you did not like the war.


Trying something new

As you probably noticed, I haven’t put up many posts in the past few months.

While a part of the problem has been my frustration with blogging with software such as RapidWeaver, another problem has been a busy travel schedule, followed by my need to recover from a particularly virulent flu bug I caught while on vacation. Since I have been home, taxes and family duties have interfered with getting back to a good routine.

I am solving some of the frustration problems by finding a way to blog from my iPad and iPhone. So far, I have set up a companion blog on I’ve purchased a plugin for RapidWeaver, RapidBlog from I’ve posted two entries using Safari. These have “magically” appeared on MacMousecalls.

I have also purchased BloggerPlus in the iTunes App Store. It will allow me to write entries away from my computer!

While you can access the new material over on, an even more convenient way is to click the link in the page header:

I plan to place links here to articles that I post over there:

A try at something new and iPad Babysitting

In general, MacMousecalls on Blogger will be more casual or personal in nature.



Back from a month of travel

My husband I and departed Virginia on a very cold morning near the end of January. We headed to San Francisco were we spent two day being tourists before spending the rest of the week at Macworld Expo 2011. It was a busy week surrounded by old friends and a few new ones too. The weather was unseasonably warm and pleasant for Northern California.

On Sunday we departed for Los Angeles, then on to Buenos Aires for 4 days before we departed for MacMania 11. We had a wonderful time, even if both of us got sick. We caught whatever upper respiratory bug was floating around and we never completely shook it. We have been home a week today and I I am finally doing much better.

I have lots to share, but it won’t happen in this post. Look for more soon.


Life Happens

What has happened to my regular blogging??????

The past month has kept me running and running and running.

It all started with an unexpected trip to the National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas NV in mid-April. It was quickly followed by the MacMania 10 cruise to Bermuda and then family events began. In the past week we have celebrated the college graduation of our daughter Nicole, the 16th birthday of our granddaughter Kati, and had a visit from Bob and Lisa LeVitus. Add to that a week of caring for three of our grandsons and our daughter, Monique and you can bet that I have been busy. Oh, on top of it all, I have been graced with my almost annual May sinus infection.

I have also been doing a lot of working on and learning about Apple’s new iPad. Look for coming posts on a variety of topics.


Welcoming in the New Year


Is that two thousand ten or twenty-ten? Whatever, it doesn’t really matter, but as we start a new decade, its always fun to reflect on the past ten years.

For me, the past decade has brought many changes. I went from living in a small house filled with two teenagers (and my husband) to living in a big house (with my husband) and a daughter who is back home for a year as she recuperates from her fall from a horse and prepares for her wedding in the summer.

I went from doing Macintosh consulting and teaching while driving miles and miles on the Washington DC beltway to working from home, doing much of the same work.

In 2000 I was carrying a 12” iBook G3 500 MHz PPC and working on a Performa 6500 at home.

Today I (sometimes) carry a 17” MacBook Pro 2.93 Intel Core 2 Duo and I have an iMac 2.4 Intel Core 2 Duo sitting on my desk, mainly to act as link for my networked hard drives.

I went from a wireless newtork that ran on Graphite AirPort running 802.11b to a Time Capsule running 802.11n.

I went from a Handspring Visor Prism and a nameless Verizon cell phone while I awaited the release of the Springboard cell phone module to an iPhone 3GS.

I am sure you can tell similar stories. Times and our personal technology devices have certainly changed! The days ahead will bring even more changes and Steve Jobs and his crew at Apple, Inc. prepare to rock our world with new product announcements on January 27.

Welcome to the new year and come back often to learn more about your Mac, iPhone and other devices from Apple and the companies that support them.



Overcome by life

MacMousecalls is my place to write about Apple and Macintosh related issues. Because it is also associated with my work with Bob LeVitus, I determined that it is not a place where I would post a lot of personal items.

However, the past six weeks have caused me to reconsider!

Just as the school year was beginning, my oldest daughter and son-in-law made a trip to California to settle his mother's affairs. She had homes in California and Hawaii and had been diagnosed with pacreatic cancer. Our three older grandchildren moved in for a three-week visit which included home-schooling them, driving them to piano, technical music, choir, ballet, soccer, art lessons and Nutcracker practice. Keeping up with the Dr. Mac consulting business, cooking, laundry, housework and all of their activities kept me very busy.

Upon my daughter's return I began to unwind and get things back in order when I got a call from the hospital. My youngest daughter (who and moved home at the end of summer to prepare for her wedding) had been thrown from a horse. She had broken her pelvis in three places and she broke three ribs.

After a long weekend in the hospital, she came home and has slowly been recovering. Because we have a basement level that was outfitted for my husband's deceased parents who were handicapped, we had all the things she would be needing--an elevator, roll-in shower, wheelchair ramps and even an electric scooter, our daughter came home instead of going to a rehab hospital. After still more equipment, including a wheelchair, walker and electric bed were delivered, I began my duties helping our daughter complete the necessary daily tasks.

It has been three weeks. She can now go about 50 feet in the walker, but still uses the wheelchair or scooter for most movement. She can take care of her personal needs, and can fix a quick snack, but I still need to do many things for her. She will be on crutches for 3-4 months, but can't start using them until her ribs heal, so it has been a slow process.

So now, you know why there have been almost no blog posts. There just hasn't been time! Things are improving and I have many topics to cover, so hopefully I will do a lot more writing in the coming days.

-- Pat

New MacBook Pro 17" First Thoughts

At about this time yesterday morning I was delighted when I heard a knock on my door and saw the FedEx truck in front of my home.

My new 17” MacBook Pro had arrived! It was time to begin my new adventure. Click here to read more...

Just where have I been?????

Wow! it has ben a long time since I posted anything on MacMousecalls. Let’s see if I can come up with a few excuses.
  • My dog died -- nope, that won’t work -- I don’t have a dog.
  • The cat ate my homework -- no cat and no homework, but lots of home work!
  • I went on a great cruise -- that’s not till the end of October!
Actually, I went out to California to spend a week with my husband who was on a long assignment for work. We had a great time, visited family and old friends and did a little sight-seeing…
Click here to

The jury is in - That is the MacJury

It's always fun to be a part of a new project!

Chuck Joiner ( MacNotables, MacVoices, The MUG Center, etc.) has just started a new podcast, MacJury, and I was honored to be a guest on the first show. Along with several of the other members of MacLevelTen, we discussed lots of topics. Most notable were BlueRay, Apple TV and Twitter.
Click here to

Moving Forward

I have been blogging here at MacMousecalls for several months now. The process has been far from smooth.

I began the blog using WordPress with encouragement from several of my fellow members of the MacLevelTen media group. I also secured an account at DreamHost to have a home for it. DreamHost is one of the best web hosts out there for WordPress bloggers, but I am not using WordPress right now.

This is far from my first web page. In fact, I helped set up a web site for my children's elementary school back in 1992, and ours was one of the first school web sites out there. In those days I used a text editor and wrote all my own tags. Since the purpose of the web site was to enable the students and teachers to make their own web pages, I used the Mac OS Notepad to hold the common tags used in writing HTML. The kids and teachers would copy and paste the tags into SimpleText and then fill in the content in the middle.
Click here to