Monday, July 30, 2012

Licking my wounds

I'm currently transferring retrieved files from my old HD onto the new computer. It's been an exercise in patience, that's for sure. While there's really no good time for a computer to crash, there certainly could've been a worse time. I'll lick my wounds and bounce back like I have before.

I, as far as I can tell, didn't lose anything on the old hard drive, not even my bookmarks. I'm sure iTunes is a nightmare with the 15G of music I have, but I'll worry about that later. It's all there and that's what matters. The only exception is that I don't have a copy of Microsoft Office anymore. Hubs' company allows ONE license for home use and even if that computer dies the day after it's installed, they will not allow you a second license. It's bullshit and we're fighting it (or rather, the IT person is battling it out with Microsoft), but for now, I'm stuck with one of those free Office programs to write.

I originally called my son to see if he could help me with my computer issues, but as it turns out, his dad did the majority of the work. I have plenty of opinions about my ex, but the truth is, he's a good man when he wants to be. I'm thankful that he doesn't let me down when I need him. We have our moments, don't get me wrong, but there haven't been too many times when I've said "Can you please help me?" that he's said, "no."

It's been an anxiety-filled couple of days, but I keep truckin'. It's what I do.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Not enough vodka in the world...

My computer died today.

Thankfully, she went quickly and peacefully in her sleep. She didn't suff....well, she mostly didn't suffer. She got broken last year on my cruise (Thanks a lot, Carnival!), but it was my own fault for trusting those morons with my precious electronics. She's been limping along ever since. A few months back, the power button stopped working. I got worried at first because I didn't know how I was going to hard reset my computer when I needed to, but I learned (by accident) that closing the lid and reopening it would work.

Unfortunately, when she got broken on the cruise, it was the lid that broke. Right by the power switch. And so I've been babying her along praying she didn't die, gingerly closing her and gently opening her back up. Hubby told me I could have his laptop since he can use his work laptop for personal use, but that his doesn't have MS Word and as a writer, that's pretty much a must for me. Hence the reason I've been babying Big Red for so long. The thought of buying a $150 program didn't appeal much to me.

Well that and I don't like change.

I would've liked a slow transition. Backing up bookmarks on a dozen different flash and hard drives. Printed them out. Sent them to myself. Same with iTunes playlists and all that.

I am fortunate, though, the hard drive wasn't fried, so my son and his father were able to get the files off the HD and transfer them to my external drive so I can put them on the new computer. I'm hoping my bookmarks and playlists will transfer too. If not, I suppose it's not the end of the world, but I cringe at the research that I have in those bookmarks. I'll probably never get them all back if I need them.

Really, in the grand scheme of things I didn't lose much (I don't think) except the license for Word and a few days of work that I can't get back, but there for a minute, there wasn't enough vodka in the world to calm my nerves.

So let this serve as a reminder to do a backup ALL THE TIME. Online versions are best (DropBox, Backblaze, etc) because they automatically sync without you having to remember anything, but at the very least invest in a $40 portable HD so you can back up your photos, docs, music and videos. I promise you won't regret it.

Now, if anybody needs me, I'll be over in the corner rocking back and forth until I get back to where I was a few days ago.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What a crazy month!

I've been sitting here for a month trying to get out of the muck and write something funny. Much to my disappointment, however, I'm struggling. So, instead of being absent, I figured I'd just be me - exactly where I'm at right now at this stage of the game.

Sorry it's not more humorous, but for now, this'll have to do.

1) Summer break is almost over for the kids. Since both kids have had jobs all summer, I haven't seen them as often as I'd like, nor have they been gone as much as I've needed a break. Midget did leave her job today, though, so the next four weeks before school starts should be much quieter. I think she's talking about going to visit her dad, but she's wanting to do some things together in the meantime. I told her to figure it out and we'd do it. Big Man has interviewed for a second job (he's got his eyes on a truck, I think) and I've pretty much accepted he's too busy to get our usual two-week visit in. I miss him, but I admire his tenacity.

2) The book I wrote in 2010, Distance and Time has finally drummed up some interest. I pitched the idea to an agent earlier this month and after much nail-biting, I finally received a response. She said there's some good potential and gave me almost two pages of notes of things I did well and things that need work. This is the first professional critique I've been given, so needless to say, I'm encouraged. In talking with an author friend of mine, she said she, too, would feel this is a good sign. Typically agents don't take the time to critique something they don't want to work with. I won't count chickens, of course, but it's good to see all my writing has not been in vain.

3) Speaking of work, there have been some not-so-great adjustments around the house as I've turned this writing thing into a "job." I shouldn't use quotation marks because for all intents and purposes, writing is a real job, however, convincing my family of that has been another story. Now that an agent has taken interest, I've become even more focused on editing and writing than I was before, which has been good and bad. Good because my family can see the time and energy I'm putting into my work. Bad because my family can see the time and energy I'm putting into my work, which consequently means less time and energy I'm spending taking care of them. That's not to say, of course, that they're being neglected - trust me, with the miles I've put on the car in the last month playing taxi and the money I've spent at the grocery store, nobody's being neglected around here. It just means that time I used to spend watching movies with them or even the chores they didn't feel like doing isn't being spent doing those things anymore. I'm told there are adjustment periods with everything, but this one has sucked. I go through the struggle of feeling selfish about this, but then I counter it with the knowledge that I have to be selfish about my time spent "at work" if I want to be successful. Hubs has come around to understand the importance of balance and I'm sure the kids will too, but in the meantime, there's a lot of grumbling and arguing at my house.

4) To help me figure out how to balance my responsibilities a little better, I started seeing a therapist. I wasn't going to divulge that fact because there's so much stigma attached to it, but I guess if I want less stigma, I have to stop treating it like it's a secret. I don't expect some miraculous break-throughs that will define who I am or what I should do with my life - I pretty much already know the answers to those questions - it just means that I can bounce my thoughts off a neutral third party who can help by giving me the insight I need sometimes. So far, so good.

5) As a result of my therapy, I've determined...well, not really determined as much as re-determined (I've said it a hundred times before) that I can't have negative influences around me. I've got a terrible habit of soaking up that negativity like a sponge. And like with most wet sponges, it starts to reek after a while. This sponge had been smelling pretty rotten for quite a while, to the point that I couldn't even stand being around myself. I've been bitchy, catty, sharp-tongued and downright mean for quite a while and I realized that a lot of that was due to what I was surrounding myself with. I've been quietly pulling away from people who questioned my motives, decisions and beliefs. I've always prided myself on the fact that I'm there for those I care about and that part of me won't ever change. But what I won't do any longer is be there for those I care about who can't or won't be there for me. So I've cut some ties there. It wasn't pleasant and I'm sure there are people who have some pretty ripe things to say about me. That's their issue. Not mine. I'm doing what I have to do. I've also learned that it's okay to say "No," when somebody asks if I'm okay. And I've started doing that. It's not as easy as it looks. I'm also learning that when I close a door to a negative influence that I have to stop opening it back up the second someone knocks. Closure isn't my strong suit, but it needs to be.

6) Physically, I'm feeling great. Tired a lot, still, but I think that's as much of an emotional thing as a physical one. I'm starting to do yoga at home to improve my flexibility and help my body get back to where I was in 2009 when I lost so much weight (so I can do it again). I felt better then and I want to get back to that place. But, since I'm a stress eater and I can't seem to give up the Coke, that will be a slow process until my priorities shift a little. Doesn't mean I won't get there. Just means I can't do it all right this second. That's something I'm also working on: giving up my intense need to have everything I want the second I want it. This should've been a no-brainer and it probably has been, but this is the first time I've really put it into words.

7) I stepped out of my comfort zone and began posting a fan fiction story online that I began writing a while back. It's not Pulitzer prize winning material, but it's been fun and my readers seem to be enjoying it, so I'm happy with my choice. It's not for everybody, but it's something I've enjoyed doing so I figured I'd share it. If you haven't read it yet and would like to, please let me know and I will add you to the subscription list. I post a new chapter every few days (although that may slow with the current pull I have on "Distance and Time," but I am still working on both stories.

I'm stretching my wings each day, flapping them a bit harder as I go. I will eventually soar with the rest of the eagles, but right now I'm comfortable with these baby steps.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I don't have the time for this!

I can't tell you how many times I've said this in my lifetime, but I can assure you, it's been a LOT.

But the fact of the matter is, I'm no busier than anyone else. In fact, in most instances, I'm less busy. So why do I say it?

Easy. Because I don't want to take the time to deal with whatever "this" is. It's not a priority for me. I don't care about it. I don't think it's important. I don't have the patience to do it.

And the same goes for you when you tell me you're "just so busy." 

Don't get me wrong, I know you have days that are full with work, family and errands that have to get done. You may have "extra-curriculars," too: hobbies that take up your time. Or maybe the kids are involved with sports or hobbies or lessons or whatever. I get that. I also acknowledge that I don't have a job I leave the house to do. My kids both work, but overall, I'm not bound by the practice and recital schedules that bog down many other people's daily lives. My family is also quite lenient with the time I may spend away from them doing my own thing.

But what that means is that I'm pretty much available whenever you can pull away. The point is that you don't pull away. Pulling away for a movie, or a road trip, or reading a blog, or catching up on the phone...doesn't happen for you. And I'm left feeling that I don't matter. That I'm not a priority. That in your infinite to-do list I'm somewhere past cleaning toilets, shampooing the dog or relining your kitchen cupboards with contact paper. And if I'm there, so are your other friends. And we all are feeling left out.

I'm making a conscious effort this week to practice what I preach by reaching out to others. Catching up with friends, if not by phone then through email, text or facebook. Instead of waiting for my neighbor to come pick up the shirt I borrowed, I'm going to take it to her. I'm done being passive in my friendships and I hope you are, too.

Make the time for this.

It's more important than you think.