Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Awaiting the Best Guest

Cold this morning, quite warm this afternoon. In other words, the weather is seasonal for this time of eyar. A marked change from last week when we had a foretaste of winter or the weeks before that when the weather was hot, we are definitely into fall. The late afternoon sun slants into my dining room, the house is delightfully clean thanks to my dear housekeeper I who does the most wonderful job of keeping my house tidy and clean. The garbage waits for pick-up tomorrow and I wait even more eagerly for my sister's arrival.

New grandmother that she is, I expect that she will be tired when she arrives close to eleven tonight and we will be so grateful to our dear friend J for retrieving her from the big airport. At least she is flying straight thorugh without the usual stops and starts, so that is a blessing. Her bed is made up in the newly painted "big room", which can double as a guest room now and I am so excited and happy--will be even more so when she walks through the door.

In the meantime, I haven't gotten much work done but have tried to fix the prices that that price tool on Cafepress has ruined. It is a real shame that this is not working, for the new keepsake boxes are gorgeous. I just ordered three last week and they really are fine and elegant. I liked the old ones, so wasn't really pleased by the change. These are even better, lined with white silk velvet and backed on the bottom with black felt so that the boxes are non-skid and will not mar furniture. Truly exceptional.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Computer Recovery

Or reinventing the wheel, 101. I have made almost 30 cds of the beautiful graphics files recovered from the extended hard-drive. Gratitude has been a watchword here. Looking at some of them, I had forgotten how beautiful they were, how delighted I was when I first put them on the computer. Delight is a gift, one we don't give ourselves frequently enough. I am enjoying the recovery process in spite of its inherent tedium.

A DVD burner is definitely on my Wish List!

This morning I recovered a wonderful tool offered by a member of the CafePress community, Instant Cafe Feeder, and reloaded my google base which was about to expire.

The keypad on the laptop doesn't feel quite so foreign and uncomfortable. I can almost type normally now. Of course, Dragon Naturally Speaking would be an even greater improvement! The Wish List is already growing! Not bad for someone who two weeks ago thought she might never touch a computer again.

It is raining today, which is unusual in my part of the country. It seems to be a gentle, steady rain, one that is nurturing trees and plants long dry from summer and that will lessen the fire danger in this part of California. We can definitely hope so and be grateful.

The first pictuires of AP have arrived via email. What a tiny cutie he is! We love him and are all marveling at this gift of a new baby in our lives. I prepare for the visit of my sister, P, who is this baby's grandmother and can hardly wait to see her. Do I have enough of her favorite tea? What would she like for breakfast? How will we manage without a rental car? Can I figure out how to use the vcr with the new remote that came with the cable upgrade (cheaper than the old plan, but different equipment) in time for us to watch movies?

Gratitude is definitely a major theme of my day. Expectation is another.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cold weather is on its way

Today feels like winter is on its way! The air is crisp, the sky is bright and the wind is whipping branches around. I love being indoors on a day like this. It should motivate me to clean and do indoor things. Unfortunately, there are so many computer related things to do. The back-up to cds is not complete. Re-installing hardware and software is only begun. My Cafepress shop needs working on and there a million emails that I should send. I think I'll just go take a nap.

Seriously, I think I will go revel in the beauty and serenity of the studio and see what comes together. Serenity would be a gift today.

I am reading Mark Helperin, Winter Tale, a glorious novel from the eighties by a man with a serious gift for both words and rhythm. (One of the characters has a 600,000 word vocabulary.)It is an amazing book and I may just go rejoice in it.

Not much else is doing today so this is a short post.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Addition to our Family

Last evening my sister called with the great good news. A has joined our family weighing in at one ounce less than his Papa weighed when he was born. We (P and I) are now officially members of the grand generation. Most of all we are happy to have a healthy baby join our family.

How does it feel to become a generation older in one day? About the same as yesterday, with pretty much the same aches and creaks as I had yesterday. There is a profound mental shift though. Hope is in this little one, as is the future. I ontemplate and recognize that the greater part of my life is behind me now, not ahead as it once was. This is the same sense of bittersweetness that I felt watching M leave for college a month ago.

More time is gone than remains. When I am weary of life, as I sometimes am now, this seems a good thing and a thing to be grateful for. I would not want to live forever in this life, nor do I wish to linger beyond the point where there is something to do each day; laughter to share, love to give, a prayer to be offered, a skill to teach and food to savor with friends. As long as those experiences remain, I am content and I am aware that while my body does not move as easily as it once did, it is still stolidly and solidly attached to my spirit. It is not time for me to go--yet. A's birth reminds me that time is coming for me though, and so I see that I need to ask myself what to do with the time that is left. Writing is a part of it as is the recovery of the graphics files from my computer crash. Savoring life is a part too.

Today I will savor life, drink an extra cup of coffee this morning, await the appearance of a friend from high school and give thanks. Gratitude for life is a big theme for this day. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday morning

It feels like it is truly Fall now, even though the equinox is still a week away. The temperature in the house was 69 and that was with the windows closed. I am always glad to see summer wane, for my house holds the heat on a hot day too well and I would rather wrap up in all the wool and fleece I own than run fans day and night to try to cool down. Sounds like a cantankerous old lady, which I guess I am old enough to be--in a few more days.

The sundflowers that were so glorious a month ago are bowing low to the ground now with the wight of their seed. Yesterday a small black squirrel ate and ate and ate from one of them leaving behind a pile of pod peelings--squirrels are definitely messy, messy eaters--and looking like she was not going to leave until the food was all gone.

The Pyracantha trees in my backyard, which truly after 50+ years are trees, are heavily laden with berries and I will have to get them trimmed this time, I think to keep them from falling over on the roof. They are a rich color and provide a rich backdrop for the dining room. They will also provide much food for birds and squirrels.

Back to backing up.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Computer recovery, backup

The computer is back! The data is safe and restored from the backup drive. It is not arranged the way I expected it to be but it is there. I am so grateful and thankful and tired!

Backing up pays off! I will spend the next week recovering everything into the order that I would like it in--which of course I will try to have be the way it was, even though it won't be. As I go along I will be copying to CD's because they are so much more findable and manageable than a 300 gigabyte hard drive that sits primly and pristinely on the empty desk top waiting for the return of the computer that drives it.

My new back up scheme is planned to include cds numbered and labeled and then a notebook containing the number and label and the contents of each cd. (If I actually do all this, I will award myself five gold stars pasted across the outside of the computer case! WE all have good intentions!)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Crashing computers

Soon I will face the acid test of repairing a computer: data recovery. That wonderful shiny stack of never used CDs should contain data. Why don't they? What on earth was I doing, or more appropriately, not doing? The external hard drive most certainly does contain data; the question is what data? Did I back up the truly crucial files as I think I did? Or not?

Wednesday, ten months after I sent in the application, my copyright certificate arrived for a design that my heart is totally engaged in and that I spent many, many hours working on. I hope I have a back-up file! It is difficult to believe that I don't have a CD, boldly labeled--in purple ink--with the name of this design.

I will also be looking at online services for bookmarks and file sharing although I have not been interested in them before. Fortunately, I had never figured out how to reconfigure my web-based email to put it on my computer. A year's worth of email at least, is still there. I can access with the lap top and simply pick up where I left off.

On a lighter note I have discovered that one-half cup of yogurt cheese, about 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa, a 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and a small amount of powdered sugar makes a smooth substitute for chocolate mousse, which I no longer make because the eggsco can't be cooked long enough to ensure that they are safe.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fall is coming

Fall is my favorite time of the year. The shortening days mean an end to the languid schedule of summer, the crisp air has a freshness to it that summer smog can never match and cooler weather means that it is time to turn indoors and make soups and stews and bake bread. Thanksgiving and Christmas are nearing and I love these holidays. At the same time this is a difficult season for as the weather cools, my arthritis flares and as the holidays approach my situation of disability and home boundedness is intensified. It becomes more difficult to look outside my boundaries and
be concerned about the needs of others.

In addition, my computer crash makes me even more self-centered. The computer is my lifeline in so many ways. I shop, including for groceries via the internet. I set up appointments with clients and friends through email. I manage a Yahoo group and two small businesses. I even make doctor's appointments over the Internet and ask tech support questions online. I am helpless and hopeless if I am not connected. I blog and read other blogs. Sounds like a computer addict. Being without the computer (until this laptop came home and I began to be more comfortable using it) made me stop and see my environment.

On the other hand, there is the information recovery project of using a different computer and that will go on when the big computer returns in another day or two. I have always meant to record user name and password data off the computer. I did list the old doc file, but that was several months ago and now I find that some of the more recent accounts aren't there. Back-up this information to a notebook. I have a pretty journal, handmade by a friend that will be used for this purpose from now on.

In another day or two, I will find out what I really did back up from the old hard drive. Backing up--no more need be said!

Last night I discovered another great use fore yogurt cheese. Stirred into the reduction of the pan drippings from my chicken strips and green beans, it made a stroganoff like sauce and was delicious. (I have also been using balsamic vinegar in place of soy sauce for quite some time in my "stir frys" so that reduces the salt in my cooking, makes for one less bottle to store and gets the soy out of my diet, since I cannot eat soy.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Computer Failure

I push the button. Nothing happens. It doesn't register at first. I try again. The keyboard lights are on. Nothing else is happening. The computer is dead. It is four years old, ancient by technology standards. That was Monday. Today, Friday, I type awkwardly on a new to me laptop, purchased from Usedlaptops.com, which just happens to be in my home town.

It is slow agoling, slogging, actually. I cam connected by a dialup so slow sthat it seems antedeluvian. There is no spell checker operating here today and since the keyboard is too flat and too far away, I am making even more than my usual numnber of errors!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sunday morning

It is beautiful, as befits Sunday. The temperature in my office is 69, up one degree from the time that I entered. Later, the weather forecast assures us, it will be hot. Right now I am wrapped in a fleece throw to ward off the chill!

Today the first reading is Sir 3:17-18, 28-29. I particularly like "What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not." The second reading is Ps 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11 followed by the second reading from Heb 12:18-19, 22-24a, which contains the wonderful phrase "countless angels in festal gathering". Countless angels, countless, beyond counting, beyond imagining. I wish they could pause in their festal gathering long enough to push the low pressure down and the clouds and the fog back over us, who have been sweltering in the heat wave of this past week. Still countless angels. More than enough to go around. More than enough to help us in all of our needs. Countless angels, cherubim and seraphic and perhaps even more Archangels than the ones we know by name, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel. The Gospel reading for today is from Lk:14:1, 7-14. And those who are humbled shall be exalted. Hmmm. Not in this life surely.

The sunflowers, bedraggled by the heat, and full of seed have nearly completed their life-cycle. Fall is truly coming.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Heat and Weather

The big question today is will it be hot or not? The heat wave finally really began to break yesterday and the 11:00 pm news showed fog, blessed fog moving into the Bay through the Golden Gate Bridge. Praise God! The difference that fog and no fog make is the difference between air conditioning and no air conditioning, for the fog and "offshore flow" are this areas' natural air-conditioning. I watched the outside temperature drop, and drop and drop and finally saw relief on the inside thermometer as well.

The air coming in through my windows seems cool. The air blowing through the reverse air fan is cool. The forecast says 85 or 91. Which one is right and what will it really be?

I hate being so preoccupied by the weather, but it does have one good result. It reminds me that I am not in charge. I do not make the weather. I only live with it.

There is fatigue that comes with a heat-wave that is not like any other fatigue. Since I have post-polio syndrome, which has its own fatigue issues, avoiding the stress of undue fatigue is necessary. The days of a heat wave go away resting and watching the clock, resting and staying hydrated and running the cycle of closing and opening windows. I will pay a price for the heat-wave fatigue. It will be several days before I am back to speed--just in time for the next heat wave, if the weather forecasters are correct.

It reminds me of how my ancestors lived and it reminds me that there are many other people, in this country and the underdeveloped world, who still live by the cycle of the weather and not by the convenient comfort of energy using cooling and heating devices.

Convenience is almost the middle name of most Americans today. It is part of the "meism" of our consumer oriented culture. This week I could gladly have used a little more convenience. I long for air-conditioning.