Visualize Success

Happy New Year Everyone.  This is the time of year to turn over a new leaf, start that fad diet or tackle a rigid exercise routine.  A time for resolutions that will mostly be forgotten before all the seasonal bowl games are finished.   

I like to make resolutions. I’m very competitive and I look at it as a game I play against myself.  I usually only make one every year and I think long and hard about it before I commit.  Because I honestly don’t want to fail, we all want to be winners.   I usually tell anyone that will listen what my new goal is so it’s publicly out there and I’m accountable for it.  In 2009 I vowed to always take the stairs.  My massage office is on the 4th floor of my building and I usually park even higher still in the parking garage but nonetheless, up and down I trudged with gallons of lotion, 20 pound sheet bags, my purse that always includes at least one book and a wallet that could be used for a barbell. To make it worse when I would arrive in the foyer of my building the elevator doors would automatically open for me, sayin’ “Come on, ride me, you know you want to.” And I did want to, but I stayed the course.  I won in 2009.  No elevators only stairs.

2010 brought another lofty challenge.  One that perhaps some of you helped me work towards.  I pledged to try to write a postcard a day to someone.  I had tons of postcards and lots of old stamps and I thought how fun it would be to send postcards to random recipients.  We all enjoy getting mail, especially if it isn’t junk or bill related. 

Half the fun was choosing the right post card for the right person.  The responses I received were awesome.  People told me it made their day, children especially enjoyed a little surprise just for them in their mailbox.  One time I sent one to a random gift shop owner on the coast.  As we were chatting I casually picked up her business card and later mailed her a cute postcard.  When I returned several months later, there was the postcard tacked up behind her cash register.  That time it made my day.  I wish I could say I won in 2010 but my random posts ended in mid May.  Mundane life got the better of me.  I still have lots of colorful cards so if you are someone I know keep an eye out for a little missive in your mailbox and if you are someone I don’t know and would like a little randome missive, post your name and address or shoot me an email and I’ll make your day with a little love sent from Oregon.

So, here it is 2011.  My resolution this year is somewhat less concrete.  Actually, it’s not concrete at all.  It has to do with creating the life you want through visualization.  I’m a big day dreamer and I pretty much believe you can create the life you want by visualizing every detail of it in your mind’s eye.  Okay, don’t commit me to the loony farm yet.  There have been lots of studies, especially in sports, where one can increase their effectiveness by seeing a positive outcome in their mind.  I’ve seen it work for me often on the tennis court.  I visualize an ace and voila! there it is.  It’s almost scary to me to see how positive imaging affects my life.  So I decided this was the year I put it to the test and really dedicated time for it.  I perused my 400+ books, picked out the ones that would help me achieve my goal and am now publicly declaring that I will try to set aside 15 minutes a day to positive visualization.  I’m going to incorporate it into every aspect of my life and we’ll see what happens.  I want to win my little challenge in 2011.  Wish me luck.  Right now I’m going to go visualize a big piece of chocolate cake 🙂

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Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

I haven’t shown you any love for 46 days.  No new posts, no new comments and no checking my stats page every other minute.  I’ve been kinda busy.  I know that’s an old, worn out excuse but it’s the best one I have at the moment.  And it’s true.  Completely 1000 percent true.  But now I find myself on a rainy Saturday night trying not to corrupt my morals with warped reality television and not being fully engaged with my Pulitzer prize-winning book group selection, I have a moment to revisit my old friend.

When last we talked, I was going through a multitude of changes.  New glasses, new contacts, new job, new home, new attitude.  Since it’s been 46 days, let’s update, shall we?

In regards to my “To see or not to see” post, my little miss four-eyes moniker is no more.  Pretty much as soon as I hit the “Publish” button on that post, I fell in love with my bifocal contacts.  I now slip them in and out of my eyes in seconds, they work well enough that I don’t need to reach for reading glasses to read my phone, or a label or just about anything with super duper, itsy bitsy, teeny weeny lettering.  And I’ve only lost 2.  But I found them.  One in a different contact case and one I found all dried up in my bed.  Don’t ask.  Don’t tell.

Regarding the new home.  Love it.  Perfect size.  Perfect yard.  Unpacked enough to feel moved in but not so much that I still don’t search for my sewing kit in the myriad of boxes still packed in the garage.  With Thanksgiving looming, the days of a beautiful bountiful table with lots of family gathered round will be different.  But I have confidence that we will park our beautiful butts on benches, couches and pillows and have plenty of turkey with holiday side dishes, football, cross-words and I think this year we will start a new tradition with a rousing game of Texas Hold ’em. 

Unfortunately, there’s a sad note to the home update.  My cat of 11 years, Chipper, ran away.  I’d prefer to think he went out for a night on the town and forgot his way home.  His collar was found in the back yard of a million dollar home, I think he was just looking for a bit of the good life before his nine lives were up.

I guess the biggest update would be on the job front.  The little engine that could turned into the little engine that did.  I successfully passed my Oregon State Insurance Exam.  Not without hours of online studying, more hours of cursing wrong answers to sample exams, and through it all, drinking one too many glasses of wine while wallowing in self-doubt. But I huffed and I puffed and made it up the hill to do a little dance and roll into the valley of 40 hour work weeks, weekly staff meetings, excel spread sheets and morning Starbucks coffee.  I can’t say I’ve exactly arrived, but I’m knockin’ on the door.  I’m educating and helping seniors with their Medicare supplement coverage and receiving thank-you’s and hugs in return.  It’s rewarding and intimiating and tiring all at the same time.  But I seem to be good at it and my wallet is fatter to prove it.

So, that’s why I have neglected you my old friend.  Can you forgive me?  I promise when I’m not here, I’m out gathering ideas and stories to share with you.  Ones that will make us both richer in memories and content. 

So long for now, but remember, I will be back.

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To see or not to see…


That truly is the question. 

The aging process has bombarded my body with achy joints, gray hair, ugly brown spots on my skin and the most painful of all….bad eyesight.  I have methodically combated all the other age indicators with handfuls of glucosomine, bottles of hair dye, dollar store make-up (ok, I’m cheap) and now, glasses, or contacts, or maybe glasses and contacts.  Ahhh.  That is the other question.

I’ve known my eyesight was slipping for nearly ten years.  The defining moment is embedded in my memory.  I was enjoying my nightly ritual of cozy pajama pants, hot tea or Grand Marnier, how crazy my day was decided which, and a good book.  I realized I couldn’t read the print.  It was fuzzy.  Was it a Grand Marnier night?  Nooo.  Then why couldn’t I read the words?  They were fading in and out of focus.  Well, after several nights of the same experience, I drove myself to the local drugstore, pajama pants and all, and bought my first pair of reading glasses.  1.0 on the magnifying Richter scale.  Problem solved.

Well, the problem was solved temporarily.  As all of you know, aging waits for no one.  As the years progressed, my vision worsened to the point of where my dollar store glasses (yes, they have glasses too!  Great store.) are now a 2.0.  I need them for everything. 

Well, not everything.  Apparently, my distance vision is nearly perfect.  I learned this fact when I broke down and went to the eye doctor.  With all the studying I’ve been doing for my new insurance gig, it was time I got a regular eye exam.  My goal was to alleviate the constant put ’em on, take ’em off, put ’em on, take ’em off, rollercoaster ride of cheap reading glasses.  So, to solve the problem, I could either get, fancy no-line, progressive glasses with smart frames to make me look über intelligent, or cool contacts. 

I opted for the latter.  Now I know there are people out there that have worn contact lenses for almost their entire lives.  They got their first pair in the womb.  They flip them in and out of their eyes with a deftness that would rival a surgeon.  I, on the other hand, have hands like a monkey, ok scratch that, monkeys look like they are good at small motor skills.  I have hands that are good for large motor skills, ones that wring, squeeze and manipulate muscles for a living.

Learning to handle contacts is a skill I can now say I have. Sort of.  I’ve learned how to pull my eyelid back, make sure my contact’s not inside out, (it has to make a bowl, not flatten out) grab it like a taco if it is, turn it around, balance it on the tip of my finger but make sure my finger is not too wet…open wide… hold my breath… zero in on my baby blues and pray it sucks onto my eyeball.  It now takes me an average of 3 attempts instead of the previous 20 to accomplish this.

So, after all this, the cleaning and the dropping and the cleaning again and the losing (yes I lost one for a day) and the burning and blurred vision and the three trips back to the eye doctor to try different lenses…. I’ve decided I don’t like them.  Wah.  I really wanted contacts to be the answer to my reading vision woes.  I wanted to be that chic, middle-aged woman who looked like she had perfect eyesight.  The one that didn’t have to struggle to find her glasses when reading menus, labels and her cell phone.

My nearly perfect distance vision kept me from being that lady.  I learned that bifocal contacts are a blended balance between a correction with your near and far-sighted vision. In striving to get my perfect reading vision, my distance vision became slightly blurry.  My daily life right now is a constant struggle to attain clarity and find a clear direction.  The last thing I need to do is cloud it up with blurry vision.

So with somewhat a defeated attitude, I hope “Guys still make passes at girls who wear glasses.”  In the meantime,  just sign me,

Little Miss Four Eyes.

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The little engine that could…

In my last blog post, “Working Girl”, I was lamenting how I was looking for a “real job,” one that provided health benefits, 401k’s, one that didn’t include icing my hands down at night.  My resume just didn’t cut the mustard when trying to attain an interview in a corporate setting.

Then stuff happened.  In another blog post, “Do you believe in Angels?,” I wrote how I look for the signs that point the way for me.  Through a massage client I hadn’t seen in 6 months, I received a direction.  One I couldn’t let go of.  A sign?  I don’t know, but it was an opportunity I decided to follow. 

An opportunity in sales.  Ugh.  That’s a bad 5-letter word for me.  Me, sell stuff?  Something I’ve mightily fought against during my kid’s school days.  No, I don’t want to sell raffle tickets.  No, I don’t want to sell wrapping paper.  No, I don’t want to put myself out there and take a chance on rejection.

That’s what it really comes down to, is rejection.  My already fragile ego didn’t need anymore knocks against it.  So, why did this time, I decide to pursue this career direction in sales?  Because they wanted me.  They looked past my lack of sales experience and looked at me.  The girl who graduated with a Speech Communications degree, the one who passed the financial Series 7 exam on the first attempt, the one that could talk to just about anyone about just about anything.  Isn’t that what selling is all about?  Talking with people and convincing them that your product will change their lives for the better in some way. 

It’s an exciting, scary, nerve-wracking time for me.  What about if I’m not good at it?  What about if I can’t pass the Oregon state insurance exam?  Yes, it’s selling insurance.  Health insurance to senior citizens.  Supplements to Medicare.  I haven’t quite wrapped my head around it yet, but I will.

This is a time to practice what I hear others preach.  “Happiness is a Choice,” “Opportunities Are What You Make of Them,” and “Whether You Believe You Can or You Can’t, You are Probably Going to be Right.”

This is my test.  Can I keep a positive attitude?  Can I believe in myself?  And finally, at 52, can I learn something new and work harder than I’ve ever had to before?”

Yes, I can.  Just watch me.

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Working Girl

“You can bend the rules plenty once you get upstairs, but not when you’re trying to get there, and if you’re someone like me, you can’t get there without bending the rules.” ~Melanie Griffith in the movie Working Girl.

I love this movie.  It has all the ingredients for the perfect movie.  Good triumphing over evil, corporate deception, a budding romance, Harrison Ford’s subtle humor and a really skinny Alec Baldwin.  Okay, the last part really has no bearing on the perfect movie, but I thought I’d mention it just the same.

I’ve always admired how Melanie Griffith’s character, Tess, perseveres against a lying, demanding, bony-assed boss in Sigourney Weaver and works her way up the corporate ladder to the job of her dreams.  All this with little education.

I’m at a crossroads in my life.  I’m trying to transition out of my part-time massage job to what some would call, a real job.  You know, one with health benefits, 401K’s and pension plans.  Does anybody offer pension plans anymore?

The trouble is, I can’t seem to get my foot in the door of a real job.  I don’t know why, but they seem to think my 11 years of massage experience and 1 year as a quarter-vending machine owner isn’t the stuff real employee’s are made of.  My 1979 degree from Oregon State University in Speech Communications doesn’t seem to be impressing anyone and might as well be made into a paper airplane, nor my office skills dating back to the same time sans computers.

I don’t even seem to qualify for an “Entry Level” position.  How can someone not qualify for an entry-level position?  Take a recent job application I came across for a “Records Officer” for the Sheriff’s department.  After filling out the usual “Education” and “Work Experience” fields, I was asked to describe, in detail, my experience with multi-tasking, customer service, creative problem solving and my dedication to service.  And, not to forget, I must list all my employers, dates of employment and positions held.  Okay, so work with me here… if something is labeled “Entry Level”, wouldn’t that infer “no prior experience necessary?” 

Try completing these questions when you’ve been self-employed in the massage field or out of the job market for over two decades riding the Homemaker Train.  Hmm, how about, “On September 12, 2003, I simultaneously changed the music in my CD player, blended my essential oils and  explained stretching techniques for the biceps brachii to an elderly client.  Or, on October 31, 1990, I successfully went grocery shopping, changed the oil in my car and  went to the dentist with my 5-year old son and 2-year old twin girls.  How’s that for multi-tasking?  And don’t even try to tell me that doesn’t qualify for the “dedication to service” part.

Like Tess in “Working Girl,” I feel I need to bend the rules a bit to get noticed among a sea of young, ambitious and overly qualified professionals.  Perhaps I could wow them with my personal accomplishments.  They say not to put this kinda thing on a resume, buy hey, I’m bending the rules here.  1975 Alaska State Highschool Volleyball Champion?  On-line Poetry Contest Winner? Budding Blogger?  I definitely think these shining achievements might get my foot in the door of a Fortune 500 company. 

Until then, I will work hard at my massage gig, shine up those canary-yellow vending machines and ready myself for that one interview that will land me my dream job.

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But, I might need it some day….


It’s been weeks since I’ve written anything and I’m pleased to say that a few of you have noticed.  I had written an earlier post about writer’s block.  Some of you responded with ideas to help me through this.  I appreciated them all, but there was one definite suggestion that popped up from all those responding, and that was to just WRITE, WRITE, WRITE.  I’m sorry to announce that I didn’t take that advice.  Not that I didn’t appreciate it, or think it was valid information because it definitely was.  Now, are you ready?  Here comes the excuse….

I’ve been busy tearing myself away from one life and trying to create another.  I recently moved from a house I’d lived in for close to 20 years, a marriage of a half a dozen more and memories that were tucked away in every nook and cranny of that part of the brain they are tucked away in.

Oh, the memories.  The good, the bad, the blurred and the forgotten.  I’ve always known I was a pack-rat, but I never quite realized how many attachments I have to just “stuff.”  I moved from a nearly 2300 sq. ft. home to barely a thumbprint of space.  968 sq. ft.  Now, if you are one of those minimalistic people I so admire, 968 sq. ft. might seem like a mansion.  To me, it feels like a mouse-hole.  A very nice, cozy mouse-hole with a two car garage and a tiny landscaped fenced in backyard any adoring house pet would love to hang out in.

The problem is, and any good, or even not-so-good, mathematician can tell you, that 2300 sq. ft. of pack-rattedness does not fit into 968 sq. ft of even semi-organized space.  Bottom line:  I had to get rid of my “stuff.”  I needed to weed through it and decide what I could live without and what I definitely could not part with under any circumstance.  Guess what?  I decided that I couldn’t live without ANY of my things.  Everything held a memory, which had a story associated with it, which meant it must be important.

Are your grown children’s childhood building blocks important?  Apparently I think so.  How about an exercise video I’ve only used once?  Yup.  Or every report card your child has ever received?  Definitely yes.  My daughter was throwing them away and I nearly had a panic attack.  “No, you CAN’T get rid of those!”  Because as we know, some day she will have children of her own and it will be fun for her to go through all her old school records to see what an exceptional student she was.   Well, that’s what I did and if for no other reason than it was hilarious to see what my teachers wrote about me.  For example, 1st grade:  “Sharon is a very shy child and keeps to herself.”  2nd grade:  “Sharon has a tendency to talk too much and disrupt the classroom.”  Those are things from my past that I would’ve never remembered if my mom hadn’t saved all my report cards.

Well, the moving fairies would not let me keep everything.  I had to painstakingly go through all my knick knacks, all my books, all my clothes, all my memories, and toss, donate, box-up and sell them. (Note to self: craigslist and garage sales will be a good future blog post.)

This process included trying on probably hundreds of clothing items and deciding which ones stayed and which ones met a different fate.  Does it fit?  Is it in style?  Is it clean?  I found it amazing the things I decided to keep (marble race game) and the things I donated to charity (rocking chair used for all three children).  Or the sheer numbers of things I saved.  Three orange peelers?  Well, I might lose one.  Or one might break.  Or one might be dirty and I’ll have to toss it….  Ha, seriously, I have a mold fetish and when cleaning out the fridge I threw away entire containers if they had fuzzy green stuff growing in them.

Well, I think you get the point.  I have attachment issues.  But, as a parting exercise in writing, I’m going to take my fellow bloggers’ advice and have a speed round writing some things I had to keep and some things I had to let go of.  

Keepers:  A third of my clothes, two-thirds of my book collection, six towels, a box full of stuffed animals, 78 old love letters, every photo of family I ever laid eyes on, a box full of yarn, camping gear, grandma’s cedar chest, my dining room set that now has to sit in my garage, one cat, one dog, 23 dish towels and one packed to the rafters memory bank.

Tossers:  Two-thirds of my clothes, one-third of my books, a rocking chair, two couches, a patio set, a California king-size bed, roughly 75 albums and 300 CD’s, bunk beds and matching night stand, one fondue pot, a radial arm saw sold for 5 bucks and one remodeled 42 year-old house.

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Hmm…How did that happen?

Not that anyone is following my blog that closely, but I haven’t made a new post in 3 weeks.  I’m suffering from writer’s block.  And I stress about it which makes it worse.  Zero ideas to write about.  Zero enthusiasm.  Zero motivation to work through it.  I was going to write about my new red shoes and relate it to the myriad of songs out there about red shoes.  I had notes.  I had pictures.  I had shoes.  I had no peanut butter.  You know, the stuff in a story that can bind things together and make it cohesive.  I suppose there is an argument in there for super glue but I’m hungry and I like the idea of peanut butter better.  Okay, so save this brilliant idea for another day….

So tonight I’m opening the refrigerator for at least the twelfth time, because remember, I’m hungry and what do I find in there?  Allergy pills.  Pink allergy pills.  A generic version of Benadryl.  Earlier in the day, I gave my dog half a pink allergy pill.  Did you know you can do that?  Don’t quote me on this, but there are people things you can give dogs to make them better.  A little investigative time spent on the internet and poof! Fewer vet bills. 

Anyway… getting back to my story, why were the pills in the refrigerator?  Brain fart.  That’s the only explanation.  Has this ever happened to you?  I’m sure it has, whether you want to admit it or not is not my call, but I rather like my brain fart moments, those times when you say, “What the heck, how did that happen?”  I remember the time I was looking for my purse and I found it in the dryer.  Or the time when I drove all the way down to my office only to realize where I really wanted to go was the store.  Once in a moment of sheer absent-mindedness, I stored a head of lettuce in the dishwasher.

I think it’s fascinating and a bit scary how our mind works sometimes.  One minute we can be recounting every teacher we had since kindergarten and the next we are trying to remember what we had for lunch.  Yesterday, I received a message where someone left me their phone number.  I didn’t bother to write it down since I was sure I could remember it from the short time in which I listened to the message, hung up the phone and began to dial… 541-555-4873…   555-4873… 555-487 uh 3?  555-4783?  Less than one minute later I dialed the wrong number.  Damn!  This is stupid.  This is frustrating.  This is aging.

I don’t want to admit it, but I’m A-G-I-N-G.  Bleh.  I’m trying not to.  I lost weight and I watch my diet and I do logic puzzles and crosswords but there is no denying it.  The old lightbulb just isn’t burning as bright as it once was.  It’s a fact.  I’m fifty-two trying to be thirty-two with a mind that frequently makes me feel like I’m eighty-two.

What else can I do about it?  I guess I could stretch my mind and take more community college classes, or stock up on the herbal remedies that are good for memory loss like ginko biloba.  Perhaps I could volunteer to be a guinea pig in the next ground breaking scientific study on memory loss and aging. 

What I really want to do is eat something.  I’m still hungry.  I think I’ll go raid my dishwasher and make myself a salad.

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Techno Stupid Part Deux

When last we met, I was waxing unpoetical about being techno stupid when it comes to fixing anything electronic in my life.  After upgrading to the new OS4 for my ipod touch, all hell broke loose with my ipod email folder, which I use to check my email all the time.  I soon found out that I had over 3,683 emails stored on my ipod.  Delete you say?  Well, I thought I had deleted some.  I mean, why bother when I have like thousands of gigabytes of storage.  Now obviously, I don’t have thousands.  In fact, I don’t know how much I have, I don’t even know exactly what a gigabyte is, that’s part of being techno stupid, you don’t understand these things.  All I know is it was ALOT of storage. 

I’ve upgraded my ipod touch once before and nothing super dramatic happened.  I got some better stuff is all.  I don’t even remember what it was, it just kinda showed up on my ipod effortlessly.  No big meltdowns, no snafus, just Apple intelligence at its best.

With this latest upgrade, however, the pristine, shiny Apple product turned into a rotten, worm infested product.  Okay, that’s a bit harsh but the frustration I’ve had over the last two days has warranted it.  Sure, there’s some new features like iBooks which is kinda cool.  It’s like a mini Kindle in your pocket, but then who wants to read a book on a 2×3 inch screen.

Instead, after I upgraded, it messed with other things like my calendar app, because as soon as I launched it, all my appointments were gone.  For someone who uses her calendar as a lifeline to business appointments, this was devastating.  But, being somewhat paranoid and impatient, I’d jumped the gun. For some reason, the new version has a two to three-second delay before displaying my little blue appointment dots on the monthly calendar screen.  I don’t know why it does this but it gets my heart a racin’ every time I launch it and it’s blank.

As I mentioned earlier, the real issue was with my emails.  Apparently, and this is coming from my really smart brother who programs computers for a living, the server changed with the upgrade.  Huh?  I thought a server was a waiter or in my world, the person starting the game in a tennis match.  Checking in, (greatest app ever) it has six definitions.  One being, and I quote, “A computer that makes services, as access to data files, programs, and peripheral devices, available to workstations on a network.”  So, if I’m to understand this right, (do not place any bets on this) my old mail server changed to a new “POP” mail server, whatever that is, and thought that my 3000+ old emails were reborn and new again.  So that’s how many were delivered to me.  And I couldn’t do anything about it, they just kept coming.  I’d delete, and I’d get more, I’d delete and more emails still.  Finally, my ipod overloaded and froze.  When it thawed out, the emails were all back again.  Literally, history repeating itself.  I felt like I was in a bad version of the movie, “Groundhog Day.”

Lucky for me, I have two smart computer geek brothers.  My other brother explained to me that even though I had read my emails and deleted some, they were all still hanging around in my server and trash bin.  I needed to go into my PC, bulk delete all of my emails, not only in my mailbox, but also in my trash bin.  Then, go back to my ipod and delete my email account, add it back, sync and Voila! problem solved. 

Now, I’m sure all you techno-saavy computer geeks reading this are rolling your eyes and thinking, this chick has no idea what she’s talking about.  But after two days of ipod email hell, I felt like I’d climbed cyber Everest when I’d finally solved my problem with a little help from brotherly love.

So, in my book, I’m now techno-somewhat stupid, or taking the more positive road, techno-slightly saavy!

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Techno Stupid

Okay, I’ll admit I’m not the smartest tool in the shed, and I’m a bit late with gettin’ on the information highway.  I can email and do a minimal amount on a word processor and now that I have a blog, I know how to write and make a post, edit it, possibly add a photo or two but it takes me about an hour just to remember how to do it.  Oh, and I can text like a pro, but haven’t bothered with twitter.  Seriously, who would want to follow me?  I spend waaayyy too much time trying to figure out the rest of my life, I don’t need anymore distractions with others’.

My issue lies with fixing snafus, glitches, blunders, problems with all the electronic crap in my life.  If it’s not the TV, it’s the computer, or the Wii, or my phone or just recently, my ipod touch.  Which I used to love, until it screwed me, or I screwed it or it just plain f*#ked up.

Everything was working great until my son reminded me of the new upgrade for iphones and ipod touches to the new iOS4 (doesn’t that make me look like I know what I’m talkin’ about?  The OS4 stands for Operating System 4) which according to everything you read is infinitely better than the 3.2, 3.1, 3.0 version.  INFINITELY.  Yea, right.  I had all my ducks in a row with my current 3.1 version.  I could access email, it was my personal and business calendar,  I had a bunch of really important apps like Angry Birds, Paper Toss, Itranslate, Sports Tap, you know, things you really can’t do without on a daily basis.  Oh, and I guess it was pretty good for music too, but, for me, that didn’t hold a candle to the 3D games.  I live in a world where I play the same CD over and over and over until I know the words by heart and the neighbors say, “Hey, either close the windows or change the damn CD!”

Back to the upgrade.  I plugged it in, clicked yes on what I thought was the box for upgrading my ipod only to find nothing happened.  In reality, all I managed to do was upgrade itunes, which I guess needed to be done too.  Plugged it in again, because if in doubt unplug and re-plug as many times as you need to until it works.  That’s in a manual somewhere, don’t cha know.  Finally, after the third plugging incident, I get a box that says, “Upgrade to the new 4.0 version?”  Yes, please.  “It might take up to an hour, is that okay?”  Yes, please.  “It will wipe out all your apps, is that okay?”  Yes please.  “And screw with your calendar, is that okay?”  Yes, please.  “Oh and it will do funky things to your emails, is that okay?  Yes, please.

I’m so conditioned to click “Yes” on all 37 boxes that pop up when doing anything on my computer that it’s not only annoying it sometimes gets me into trouble.  Big trouble.  Whoever said, “Go ahead, play around you can’t hurt anything,” should be shot.  It’s people like me that keep “Rent a Nerd” in business.

I’ve come to believe that some people are just gifted when it comes to figuring out technology.  I’m gifted at crosswords and training my dog to do stupid tricks or writing backwards.  Yes, I can write backwards, in cursive, so you have to put it up to a mirror to read it.  So was my mom, it must be a genetic thing.  But, I want to be the techno-saavy gifted person.  Yes, I know what you are thinking, I should enroll in a computer class, read some “do it yourself” books, spend countless more hours trying on my own to “fix” my screw ups. 

But, you know what?  At the end of the day, I’m still going to call my son, my brother, my ex-husband, my daughter’s boyfriend or the 10-year old neighbor kid to do it for me.  I will be too busy trying to make my dog run through a tunnel, walk a 4 inch plank and jump over a 3 foot moat.

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I miss my Dad today.


(This is edited and reprinted from a Facebook note I wrote in April, 2009)        

Today’s not his birthday, but it is Father’s Day and it’s another day without my Dad.  He’s been gone 954 days now and everywhere I look, I find him.         

I see him in his sweat stained golf hat, walking his daily two miles on the sidewalk.  I see him at the gas station filling up his tank, or at the library where he leans on his favorite diamond willow cane for support.  What a topic of conversation that cane was.  Wherever we went, someone always stopped him to ask about it.  He’d love to tell about how his son from Alaska bought it for him.         

Dad was a survivor.  He took what life dealt him and he tried to make the best of it.  He never complained much, even though his last few years I knew he wasn’t very happy.  Life in Eugene was lonely for him.  We moved him from his California home because safety was an issue, we worried he might fall or hurt himself living alone.  I wonder, is it better to leave an elderly person in their comfort zone where they might have good friends to call on, or move them to an unknown city where they have family?  In retrospect, I’m not sure we should’ve moved him. I think he was more alone in Eugene.         

Once Dad moved, he never really ventured out to make new friends.  I was his sole companion.  I took him shopping and to his doctor’s appointments.  We’d buy mochas, which he absolutely loved.  I just know Dad would’ve been a Starbucks junkie if they were around in his heyday.  My father was great at teaching me things when I was younger.  He taught me how to ride my two-wheeler, how to play tennis and ski, and one of my favorite pastimes, chess.             

When he lived in California, we’d play chess by email.  We had played for years this way, and even though after the move to Oregon, he lived only 3 blocks away, we still continued our online games.  It gave him something to look forward to.  He’d call me twice a day with, “Have you made a move yet?”  It would take us about two weeks to finish a game.  We played an average of 25 games a year, and we kept a tally of wins and losses.  We were both very competitive.  He’d crush me when we first started, I was lucky to win 5 games in a year’s time, but as he aged, his mind just couldn’t quite keep up.  I was winning nearly all the games by the time we decided to quit.  He was so upset, thinking he was “slipping.”  I would try to make him feel better, telling him that he’d taught me well, and that I was just improving, which was in part true, but he was slipping.  Near the end, I would even try to let him win, and if you know anything about me, this was against every cutthroat bone in my body.  I think I wanted him to beat me as much as he wanted to, just so I didn’t have to face the fact that his brain wasn’t working as well as it used to.         

Golf was another one of his passions. When he moved to Eugene, I decided to take up the game.  Again, he was teaching me.  He bought me my first set of clubs.  I think he was really excited to share this sport with me.  He was very patient as I flailed away usually landing in the sand trap.  He would just smile and say, “You loved to play in the sand as a little girl, and you still like to play in it.”  His golf game really suffered too, as he aged.  We’d play the short par 3 course and he would use his driver, wondering why he couldn’t hit the ball very far.  I knew it was time he thought about quitting the game when he struggled to hold his balance.  He’d teeter back and forth when getting ready to address the ball, I was worried he’d fall down.        


I can honestly say, playing golf with my Dad provided many good memories and also a few chuckles.  I’ll never forget the day we set out to play and a nice gentleman stopped me and said, “You might want to check your Dad’s shoes… he’s has two different pair on and they’re both on the wrong foot.”  Oh Dad. When I pointed this out, he just said, “Oh nuts! How’d I do that?” He was 88, and although he still had the desire, his body and mind just couldn’t keep up.  That’s how he did that.  I loved him for his effort and for all he taught me.        

Happy Father’s Day Dad.  I miss you.  I think I’ll go hit a bucket of balls.         


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