Old Moon

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More Techie Challenges

Some months ago I wrote about problems getting Internest access set up, and particularly Vista's mail program. It wasn't easy, but I survived. I'm not sure I'll make it through all that again, now that ATT has joined forces (I don't pretend to understand how) with Yahoo!. (The exclamation point isn't mine, it's Yahoo!'s!) (The second one is mine in that sentence.) There's something perverse about requiring what is often an unnecessary punctuation mark in one's trademark.

Now, fed up with Microsoft's tendency to fix what ain't broke, I decided to go to a Mac. Maybe I won't be required to pay for an expensive update of the OS every couple or three years. Probably that was a completely idiotic thing to try. A whole new learning curve.

For five (5) days now I have been either unable to send or unable to receive messages, or both via e-mail, on both machines. Some of what I need to do is send digital messages that are unsatisfactorily late and cumbersome to people who need to put them quickly and without effort onto their computers. We don't want to have to print them out, scan them, and then get them into the recipients' machines, and we don't have days in which to do that in some cases. It really isn't just whimsy for me to be trying to send and receive e-mail. 5 days! ATT technicians have been patient and polite and have spend a total of almost 5 hours with me (in 4 different sessions). The trouble is, once one of them succeeds in getting test messages to go through and I've heaved a sigh, the next day everything is back to square one. The other odd thing is that settings are different after each of these nice people has finished with me. If I could face the hassle, I might well throw in the towel.

I just had a phone call from someone who wanted me to tell him how to put his photos on an ad he's putting on Craig's List. He didn't know what I was talking about when I asked him what format the photos were in. He didn't know what I meant when I asked him what his operating system is. He told me his computer is 10 years old and hasn't been updated. That's when I decided I should be grateful I'm better off than he is!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rodney Dangerfield's Complaint

Reading my favorite blogs keeps me in a state of continual embarrassment because I can't seem to keep up with their frequency. One hampering factor is that when a thought strikes me hard enough, I always feel it must be evaluated in the light of its potential interest to someone other than the writer before deciding to out it here.

I have just seen a discussion of problems for elders with young people in the various medical fields that cries out for comment and support. I haven't asked, but I hope that some of the idiotic behaviour that's really insulting in a doctor's office is the result of someone's notion of what will put a patient at ease. I keep trying to think of a way to tell a 20-something CNA, or whatever, that I really would rather be called Mrs. So and So (or Miss, or even Ms.) without hurting her feelings or making her defensive.

After my husband's death, I resisted writing to the hospital while I waited for their usual survey after a stay there. It never came. Seems they have a policy of not bothering the families of those who have passed away in their care. What stupidity! When better can they get really useful information about how to serve patients better?

Native American and most Asian cultures revere age for its own sake. While unfortunately, too many of us know older folks with very little of their lifelong intelligence and perception left, it would be better to assume a person carrying a lot of years is still sharp mentally, and then adjust later if it turns out to be necessary. Nowadays, though, it seems as if the assumption is the reverse.

There are enough difficulties with being merely old, without adding unnecessary indignities too!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happy Birthday

It seems sort of expected to recognize certain dates, much as many of us would perhaps prefer not to. I have a dear friend who commented on this day that "That's a dumb birthday." I know exactly what she means, and I agree. However, it's no good pretending it isn't one, I guess. Certainly numbers divisible by 5 make better birthdays.

In any case, here's another one, and if I were Chinese I'd be even a year older. Since that culture reveres age, maybe that would be better. A daughter-in-law sent me a greeting via Facebook. Do I have to thank her the same way?

It seems in these times of early retirements that there is a surprising number of renegades working full-tilt into their nineties. While I admire them, I can only wonder what it must be like to have such a love affair with their jobs or their missions. And I pity those who do this because they can't imagine what to do if they don't keep working at their paying jobs.

We (my husband and I) looked forward to "retiring" so we'd have time to do other things than those we'd spent so many years doing. Of course, jobs weren't all by any means, since we felt duty-bound to volunteer. What we hoped was that we could, in our declining years, pick out what to volunteer for. Well, we did, but it turned out (as we should have known it would) that the choice was limited by our responses to perceived needs. As many have said before us, "How did we ever have time to go to work?"

These unoriginal ruminations are, I suppose the inevitable result of passing years. What seems to be the trick is finding enough things for which we are either needed or for which passion remains to keep going with chins up and looking forward to another day, or week, or month, or even year.

I, for one, can't help looking back, but I hope I face the direction I'm going in most of the time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

A couple of notions at the forefront today: I've begun to work with an editor on the third novel. That fact fits with the second thought, which is that it's astonishing when life suddenly stops moving gradually in one direction and begins jumping backward. Most setbacks are like obstacles you climb over, then proceed. I'm finding myself now as a writer as well as an ordinary person trying to get back to steady progress.

I've bitten the bullet and started to try (again!) to get the third book into some kind of shape that might make some agent willing to take me on. It's a truly fascinating process that I used to think I could have done for me for nothing if I could find a publisher. The publisher I found hasn't the resources (or, I imagine even the desire to bother with this).

I remember what it was like to try to teach high school students -- to make improvements without discouraging the efforts. My editor does this very well indeed. With no experience in such matters, I had to ask if I should be returning rewritten material for further comment, whether I should be countering comments of his with defense of my original handling, et al. His response was one I ought to have been able to anticipate, and proved to me immediately that my money will be well spent. He said all decisions must be mine after weighing his (professional) opinions; he added that part of what I might learn would be to defend my work to myself. "Of course," I can hear you experienced and multi-published writers saying. Well, the thought was new to me, and more than welcome. Back to square one in writing courses: write for yourself. Makes me look forward to every e-mail.

That experience, ongoing as it is, links in with the discovery that what I'm tired of hearing termed "the grieving process" isn't one of even fairly smooth progress. I may not like the term, but it appears to be accurate. After perhaps two days of having a sense of beginning to get out from under the blanket of sadness, I have a day of near despair. It's as if I have to start again from the third or fourth day after the loss, when the shock was fading. It's a bit frightening. I think of the tears that won't be pushed back and the rewrites of my story, and honestly wonder if I have sufficient emotional muscle to prevail. Oh, I'll plough along with the novel, try to keep something coming for this blog, produce the reviews and essays for Senior Women, but I wish the hills didn't obscure the horizon.