Ain’t Technology Grand?

Wow. I know we live in a disposable world. We have an Acer Swift 3 laptop with Windows 10, I think. Maybe 10. When you power up, you just get a black screen. Oops! Gosh, I purchased it when I started writing. I write on my Chromebook, and the Babe uses the other device. I do sometimes. I don’t think it’s had much use at all. Now, to find the warranty papers, if we bought one.

Just thinking back on the devices I’ve owned. I bought my first desktop in 1995. I was finishing my degree, and I could use it to log in at work. Back in those days, it was strictly dial up. And they called you back to connect. Pretty crazy stuff. If you had call waiting, a call coming in would knock you offline for work. Then you dialed up again, they called you back for the connection. Still better than driving to mid-town at 2 a.m. Still frustrating, though.

After that first one, there was a second desktop. Of course it had a Microsoft Operating System, it was probably Windows 95? Don’t remember that either. It was ok as far as Internet searching goes. I believe we had AOL for email. That was a whole new venture. I wasn’t much of a chatter, however. That could turn weird really fast.

My first laptop was right before I had surgery on my foot for a tendon problem. I was looking at eight to twelve weeks on non weight bearing living. It was probably there I really got hooked on Facebook, since I was really busy finding beautiful quilts to make and adding to my fabric collection. It turned into almost six consecutive months of non-weight bearing activity. It was boring day after day. But I could learn quilting techniques from Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company. She and her business literally saved the town of Hamilton, Missouri. I still have yet to drive there, but I sure spent a lot of money there from the confines of my recliner, foot in a cast up to the knee, ice, and trying to figure out how to pass the day. I had a knee scooter, which was good. Crutches wouldn’t work for me. When I had breast cancer the sentinel lymph node they removed was right where the padding from the crutches would go. It would cause lymphedema from the pressure. The woodwork didn’t do too well with the pain pills and knee scooter, but I survived.

That laptop lasted quite awhile. A year later, I fell on the ice and broke the ankle of the foot that had the two surgeries. What great luck! Get that woman a lottery ticket!! Well, the laptop took ill at a later date. The one that replaced it is still running, although slow. I think it’s Windows 7, so it’s obsolete. The Acer was supposed to be last longer than it’s predecessor.

When I worked in the IT arena, we had software programmers (me) and hardware people (the other guys). We couldn’t add software to our desktops at work, blah, blah, blah, otherwise we’d be tsk’d at. At that time, I didn’t even know how to. And now, I can find my way around a network fairly well. And I have learned all that in the past twenty years, since I quit working. I’m amazed at what we have now for technology, and am glad for what I’ve learned. Not bad for a girl, or for a Grandma!!

I love my IT department in Sioux Falls. My brother in law, Brad. We are friends, and when we talk, I realize how much we miss seeing him, Cindy, Alex, Ona, and their families. Just have to start making plans when we can get out and drive. Brad has patiently walked me through a lot of stuff. And I’ve actually taken stuff apart with a screwdriver and installed a new hard drive in the dual backup we have. It required more stuff than I could be walked through, so he fixed it for us. What a great guy.

Anyway, so now it’s deciding what is wrong and what Dan the Computer Man (in Omaha) can do. He takes care of the network at the Post, and he also has private customers. He’s a good guy, too.

I will finish, I will finish, I will finish . . .

As I ponder the mysterious realm of technology, I thank you for reading today. What are some fun things you’ve had happen with your devices? It’s pretty strange, how we are dependent to such a degree. Log off. Wash your hands. Go outside. Socially distance. Wear your mask. Smile with your eyes. See you right back here tomorrow. Be safe!

Easter Sunday

So some folks are saying this is an Easter like no other. Easter comes and goes just as Christmas does. Whatever is in your heart at the time is what the holiday is for you. Since our family is scattered all over the place and five family schedules are about impossible to sync up, we don’t gather as a family. Our kids all know each other but aren’t close. They were all gone from home when the Babe and I met. It’s different, I suppose, if you get together while the kids are younger. They will have grown up somewhat together. We are kind of glad ours did not. The three oldest, the boys, were all good. The two youngest, the girls, were the type that if they had met when they were in middle school, what one didn’t think of, the other one would have. Yes, I’m sure of it. The girls were the subject of more conferences than you can imagine. They have all grown into good, responsible people, and you know sometimes getting to this point in life requires a few detours. Love them all!

So our celebration of Easter will be with food. For just the two of us. And we’ll just hang out and be together. I hope the Babe is weathering it well. I think we’re doing ok with each other, but then it’s not all that different than any other day in retirement. Except that only one of us goes to the store now. Except that I should make a face mask before a routine doctor visit tomorrow. Except that we stand at least six feet apart from the neighbors when we chat now. Our neighbors are on kid enforced lock downs. Ours didn’t do that for us. If we need something, Tracy and TJ will pick it up and drop it off for us.

Other than that, I’m just dying missing Gavin start a new level of baseball this year. I think he’s been ready to play in an advanced league, not only because of his awesome skills, but because I think he needs to be at a more competitive level player wise. I hope it brings him past some of the issues there were apparent with younger kids. Younger kids tend to play in the dirt. Yes, play in the dirt when they’re bored, tired, don’t care, or whatever makes them do this. If he is around boys who are in position, watching the pitcher and batter, ready for the ball he won’t have time to play with the dirt. His potential is there, I’ve seen it. Ever since he could hold a toy it’s been a ball. I want to watch his Dad coach him as Grandpa Randy coached his Dad.

We’ve lost Grandpa Randy, but gosh, he’s still here making us laugh at his antics. The Babe and Grandpa Randy would look at each other and say, “That’s the Raabe in him.” “No, that’s the Stricklett in him.” Now Grandpa Randy has front row, third base, front row seats to watch his grandson play ball. Once this virus hits the bricks. And it will. If it’s later than sooner, I just want us all well. Whatever it takes.

I started to re-read some of my printed out novel yesterday. It’s kinda cool, you can turn on an add-on before opening the document in Chromebook, and Pro Writing Aid will flag whatever they think were my goofs in each paragraph. Some aren’t goofs, sometimes they suggest a different word or phrase, some I just ignore. I like it a lot. It’d be great to be through it by the end of the week, then tidy other things up on it for the rest of the month.

I’m not sure if I need to have a whole group of people read, re-read, critique, edit, and pulverize what I wrote. Feedback is great. What do you do if you’re a writer? I have moved a bit off the center of what I was telling my original story about. It was “flat” I suppose, a person simply remembering different rooms in her house, after it’s empty. All that is left are the memories. Past that, it was her recollections. Now, I’m telling the story but have added a cast of characters who are her brothers, who help tell the story. I think it is told better, and I’m finding I took parts of real people and combined them to land on these brothers. Some are good people, some are not. They all have a different bad habit or addiction to deal with. Several individuals do not have the family “illness” of dependency, co-dependency, or addiction. They may have a different form of the same sickness, but they are quite aware of it and all it entails. It’s a story about saying, “I am not inheriting this part of my family.” Some do, and some don’t.

My hope for all of you who are stressed out is that you all learn this about life.
It will make your living so much better!

I thank you for stopping by today and reading. I’m off to enjoy this person, the Babe, who is my best friend. We will have a nice, quiet day. No Easter egg hunts, but just a few thoughts about the gift all Christians received today. Whether you asked for it or not. We are all blessed. Thankful. Grateful. I will see you here again tomorrow. Blessings!

Booyah Saturday!

Today, I’m naming this Booyah Saturday. Booyah is used to express joy, especially over a well played or victorious moment. Although it pertains to sports, I’m exclaiming it because I just electronically filed our taxes. Woo hoo! Now I can cram all the papers into the appropriate folder and forget about it for another ten months or so. It’s always good to get a refund, too. Yes, it’s a job gathering everything up. In the realm of being grateful, I’m so grateful we have assets and income in retirement. When I think of my grandmothers, they had little to nothing to live on. It had to be terribly hard. Social security isn’t meant to support people, but I’m glad I paid in all those years. We can live decently with that and my pension. Our riches are in our hearts, not in the bank.

Today I’m listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Western Sky. It’s full of good tunes, that has me thinking of the westerns we watched growing up. Of course, Mom was a huge Western fan. But not of John Wayne. Clint Walker, Chuck Connors, Lorne Greene, Richard Boone, and a host of others. I was always fascinated by the dance hall girls, having no clue what their role was in the western towns. Wow. Naive. But it was ok, you know? I just liked their dresses.

This morning I read an internet article about Chuck Connors. It spoke of his cigarette habit of at least 60 cigarettes a day. How many are in a pack? I’ve never smoked, so I really don’t know. Maybe 20? The Babe quit smoking before I met him. Good thing. He also was a very heavy smoker, three packs a day. He could smoke while he was working, as a mechanic. I’m glad he quit right after his father died. We might have had a different outcome had he been such a chain smoker.

It’s fun looking out my studio window to see the houses with kids shooting hoops. They’re getting outside and getting some exercise, good for them. Some houses in my view have changed hands over the past six months. Do you have nicknames for your neighbors if you don’t know their names? We have lived by: “Camper Dude,” “Car Guy,” “Plumber Dude,” “Nails Lady,” “Party House,” and “Fireman.” At our old house, we would sit on the tiny front porch and watch all the families go for a walk at night. They called us, “Porch People.” I loved it.

It is supposed to start raining overnight and possibly snow 1 – 3 inches in Nebraska tomorrow! I hope the Easter Bunny finds your kids and grandkids. I just learned yesterday where the Bunny became involved as a symbol for Easter. Check this out:

At last, this is where the bunny entered into the Easter equation!

I know this social distancing may put a damper on things for big families who congregate. At the same time, it wouldn’t be good to spread anything to the rest of the family. We are not at our peak yet here in Nebraska. We cannot let frustration or boredom undo all of our good efforts thus far. We can do this, people. Keep on. We’ll get there.

The longer we stay in, the more I don’t feel like going out anywhere. I can completely understand how elderly people just end up at home, and get lonely. Although, some personalities need more stimulation and attention than others. The Babe needs to visit with people, or he gets antsy. I would bet some folks who perform are getting antsy not only about their incomes but about performing. That is their life and livelihood. I hope this ends soon for folks like you.

The nurses and doctors are the heroes. The nurses spend much more time with patients than a doctor ever does, and she or he may have a better understanding of a patient’s mental state, social needs, and everyday life than the doctor ever is. Don’t forget the male nurses. My nephew Don, who was married last fall, is a nurse in the Emergency Department in Arizona. I’m sure he could write a book about the cases he’s seen. All within HIPAA regs, of course! Prayers for you, Don, you are doing an excellent job.

I did not make any masks yesterday. I need to have one to venture out on Monday. It’s a wellness check required by Medicare. Woo Hoo. More fun than I should be having, I know, but they will start calling me if I don’t keep up. Thank you for visiting and reading today. Stay safe, Happy Easter, and see you here tomorrow!

Windy Wednesday

It’s another seventy degree day outside but the wind is awful! My Bon Jovi hair just gets all over so I can’t see what I’m doing! It could calm down a little, just saying. Not sure what we’ll do once the Babe gets home with our late lunch/early dinner. Probably relax and sort through some more papers for medical deductions. I love using H & R Block, I’ve used it ever since I quit using pencil and paper to do taxes. Always did my own, and now it’s our own. It was kind of exciting to remove the word “Retired” and replace it with “Author”. Doing so and putting in the costs out of pocket to get started has shown me at a loss of $3400, and that’s ok. Chromebook, Website/Blog startup costs, it’s all good. I would expect that.

Gotta love computers. Due to the diligence of my brother in law Brad, I have a dual backup hard drive, for photos, documents, etc. One of the drives went bad, so he coached me through replacing it. For a girl, I think I did ok! But it still has some sort of issue. So, we’re mailing it off to South Dakota. Every family needs a Brad. He’s one of my favorite Geeks! He knows that’s a compliment! Thanks, Brad.

Package ready for mailing from the Home Office in Gretna, NE,
to the I/T department in Sioux Falls, SD

I was looking for receipts from all my writing expenses this year. I came upon these two books. One is for me to fill in, as Grandma talking to the two biological grandkids who are mine. Kayla and Cody will get this later on in their lives, and I hope they appreciate it. It will be fun to answer all the questions written on every page. The book on the right is a journal I got in DC last spring. It was a happy family occasion, and a good memory of the event.

Left, I’m going to fill this for Baby Cody and his big sister Kayla.
They’re biological grandkids, and maybe they’d like to learn about their maternal Grandma someday.
Right, A journal from the United States Secret Service gift shop at an undisclosed location in downtown Washington, DC
I bought it at our son Blake’s promotion ceremony nearly a year ago.
The 160 printed pages here are my novel.
Time to re-read it again before writing more.
I get goosebumps looking at it!

Out of necessity, the reading may have to wait a day or two. It appears now the CDC is recommending we wear cloth masks when we go out in public. I need to make a couple for the Babe and me. We should have some pretty good selections, being a quilter with a healthy fabric stash, I doubt I’ll miss it in a month or two. I’m all about staying healthy as we wait out this beast called COVID-19. Off to cut and sew masks to keep you healthy. And you’ll do the same for us, I’m sure! Thank you.

Before I start reading my novel again, to check if it makes sense and flows well, I have to say this is the cumbersome part of writing. You need to make sure it still flows well. I cannot do that by reading the screens over and over again, especially when I’ve moved paragraphs where I think I want them. My first chapter is driven by the characters all interacting, some happy and some not. The difference between that and narrative is huge. I have to thank my friend Sam for telling me I was telling, not showing. Funny how a rookie writer gets caught up in what they are doing, and not really doing what they are supposed to do. Thanks, Sam!

I wish either of our Grandmothers were still with us, just to tell us about the Spanish Flu Pandemic. I think as humans we may have become pretty smug, thinking the world was over things like that. Guess again! As long as people will consume food from wet markets, the danger is there. The WHO needs to instruct some of these nations that certain things may not be such a great idea anymore. Too many things can go wrong, and you can see how it affects everyone.

Thank you for reading today. I hope you enjoyed the blog, and I hope you come back tomorrow. I’ll be here. See you then.

Terrific Tuesday . . .

And then some! I cannot believe today is pretty sunny. It’s not like yesterday was, but it’s beautiful anyway. Today may be the day we poke around in the garden areas and see if anything besides dandelions is stirring. Maybe, maybe not. It’s just a waiting game for sure.

I’m waiting for the cleaning crew to come clean our home. It’s been about a month, and it needs the professional touch. The dogs carry so much stuff inside (like mulch) and pulverise it all over the floor. At least they don’t eat the couch. I’m sure it will stop at some point.

I renewed our Omaha Zoo membership this morning. Luckily, they are extending their date to April 30, from March 30 to still get a $20 discount. Yes, I’m glad to only be paying $145, not $165 for a Grandparent membership. I hope Gavin wants to go a lot. If not, we’ll just go walk a bit.

This self-distancing/quarantining is a great chance for me to (during APRIL) re-organzie my craft room/cutting room downstairs. It’s gotten a bit out of hand these past three and a half years, and it’s time to tidy it up again. I’ll be able to use it and still keep an eye on the dogs downstairs. Looking forward to summer, like everyone else is. In addition, I’m collecting clothes that don’t fit/appeal to me anymore and readying a bag for the homeless female population at Lydia House. Lots of jeans, about 20 years worth of styles, all perfectly good. Just not going to entertain any dreams of losing forty pounds anymore. The gain happened after I had cancer, and was on a med for eight years afterwards. I believe that started it. It just doesn’t matter anymore, does it?

There was a General on GMA this morning who discussed the government taking over existing buildings with water and electricity already operational and making them into temporary hospitals in areas they expect to be very hard hit with COVID-19 patients. I think this is very wise, the arenas aren’t being used right now anyway. It would be hard to be a patient in a MASH tent, like they currently have set up behind UNMC’s emergency room. The tent holds eight beds, and supposedly has power, heat, water, etc. Even though being in a cot in an arena for an extended period of time wouldn’t be the greatest, it would be better than in one of the hundreds of tents being set up now. Hopefully we won’t need to use all these facilities, but having them ready is being ahead of the game.

Word of the Day
To travel purposefully toward
an as yet unknown destination.
We should not coddiwomple about. We should practice self-distancing and self-quarantine.

I think we need to be aware of what we are doing. We have only left home to go to the store for food, medicine, or for the Babe to go to the VFW, where he can work alone in the building. I have taken Mom to physical therapy. That has allowed exposure for me to people who are ill as the waiting area was the only place to sit and wait for her. It was an industrial area where I wouldn’t have been comfortable taking a walk. Most of me knows I’ll be ok, then sometimes the little voice we all have inside us says, “Yeah, but . . . ” Let’s learn to ignore that little voice. We cannot have doubt creep in at a time like this. We have to be positive. Sure, we may be infected with it, but we’re all healthy for the most part and it shouldn’t be bad if we do get it. Keep thinking those good thoughts, folks. It’s all we’ve got right now.

We have a group we love to follow in local music. Our VFW friends and others join us for shows at our community playhouse in Omaha at different shows. We have a pending 20 tickets for each of these spectacular shows coming up: She Rocks w/Tara Vaughn, Pop Rock Orchestra with Billy McGuigan and his band, and Yesterday and Today, also with Billy McGuigan and his brothers/band. June, August, and December 2020, all for being positive and looking ahead. It will get better. This music will help you celebrate our release from quarantine. Hoping it all works out. Blessings to you for reading. I took a long lunch break, we had steak, baked potato, salad, and I had a wine spritzer (Cab Sav and Sprite Zero), and now I think I need a nap. I’ll be back tomorrow, and hope to see you then.

My Grandma always said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” It’s ok, a rest break is allowed. I’ll get back to it in a little while. Thanks, see you tomorrow!