Tag Archives: cats

Wake-Up Call

sleepy-kittyShe sits with infinite patience

Knowing that timing makes all the difference.

Slowly she blinks with the passage of the hour.

Settled  in to wait, she dozes.

soothed by the rhythmic rise and fall of breathing.

Now, the moment has come.

She stands, and stretches

then begins to lick his nostrils.

His eyes snap open

followed by the alarm clock’s clamor.

She goes to await her breakfast

Knowing he will follow.

What Mom Could Ask for Anything More?

180237_10151493447669317_1339669079_nOne of the great things about being a mother of grown children is the memories. Part of the fun of those memories, as a writer is putting them into a more concrete format, that may or may not embarrass those now grown children. Any long time reader of my work knows, that I’ve been mining parenting memory gold for awhile.

It is those memories, the happy, the sad, and the hilarious that I feel have made being the mother of these three people so rewarding. My children are vibrant, intelligent, funny, creative and accomplished. Of course that’s just a mother’s bragging, but its true.  I was often so proud of them. I’ve also had times where I wanted to pinch their naughty little heads off.

I have great memories of then they were little. Of my oldest finally mastering potty training. I honestly was afraid, I’d still be trying to get that child to use a toilet at the same time he was getting his learner’s permit. But he got it. Soon afterwards, I caught him and a little girl who was visiting, on my front porch. He was demonstrating how to pee off the porch.

My middle child, cried, no wailed, every single morning the first weeks of kindergarten. She begged to stay home. “I’ll be good mommy, I promise I will!” Thankfully she overcame her disdain for school, and went on to be an honor student.

My youngest  grew up to possess far more clothes than I, mainly because she’s been stealing out of my closet for years. This child when young, HATED changing clothes. She always wanted to pick out her own clothes, usually the same damned thing, a pair of stretchy shorts and a Sylvester the Cat t-shirt. She tried for three years to wear that outfit every single day. It would mysteriously reappear into her drawer, after I bagged it up to take to Goodwill. Once when she was about three, and I was tired of the daily “dress the toddler cage match” I let her pick out an outfit herself. She picked out socks and a belt.

When they all were in grade school, their collective antics were funny, sometimes dangerous, and often messy. I refused to buy grapes for a year. Why? Because Michael, the oldest, thought it would be a great idea to make grape juice. Their method of juicing was to smash grapes on the table, then try to capture the juice somehow. I don’t think they’d figured out the last part when I walked in on them.

My crew was the first generation of kids to successfully use the laundry chute at their great grandmother’s summer cottage as a slide. To determine its safety factor, they piled all the blankets and pillows they could find, and used Megan, the youngest as a guinea pig.

They also decided to play “cat fishing, extreme style” one day. On this event, I heard uncontrollable laughter coming from the living room. I walked in to see the kids in helpless heaps, one cat staring at the ceiling, the other making rapid laps around the room. I looked where the first cat was looking. There tied to the ceiling fan was the racing cat’s favorite stuffed duck. It was making slow helicopter rotations tethered to a shoe lace. Cheese-puff was  desperately trying to catch his toy, while the other cat eyed the whole scene in disdain. Once I too stopped laughing, I made them stop the fan and take down the wind blown stuffed duck.

There were so many things that have made me so proud of my kids. Michael broke his collar bone one summer. He had made the middle school cross country team. Even though he nursed that shoulder for most of the season, he ran in every event. His tenacity was to me an inspiration. He’s been running ever since, and regularly enters events.

All three of my kids have accomplished something I’ve never managed, a college degree. Ashley did so, while parenting very small people, and with her husband either deployed or based far from home for most of her time in studies. She graduated, with honors, weeks before she gave birth to their third child.

All three are home owners, and accomplished that feat before age 30. I was in my mid forties before becoming a home owner. Megan, the youngest bought her first home a year and a half ago. She and her new husband purchased an older home close to ours. It needs to be upgraded to meet the standards of,  at least,       the early 2000’s, but they are up to the task, taking things one small project at a time.

One more thing I appreciate about these amazing people I birthed is how well they support one another, genuinely like each other and have become a source of support for me. When I made the decision to finally end the marriage from hell and leave their father who had been abusive to all of us, they were there for me, for each other. We were all hurting, yet they rallied  around me, listening to me, chiding me at times, giving me ways to distract me from how difficult things were, and letting me know how much they loved me.

I know Mother’s Day is a time to honor mothers. I, of course, appreciate the sentiment and the bit of extra personal attention. This year, I want to spend more time enjoying the gift, of being a parent of three people, who have made my life so rich.  It has been a delight watching my children grow from adorable chubby babies, to strong beautiful adults. Being their mother hasn’t always been easy, as we’ve endured some truly difficult times together.  We’ve also had a lot of fun together. They’ve made me laugh, cry, lose my temper, exhausted, physically ill,  (because germs are the gift that keeps on giving), want to run away from home and join the circus, proud as any mom could be, and feeling extraordinarily valued. A couple years ago, when I remarried, I gained two more grown boys, so now I have more fantastic kids to love.

What Mom could ask for anything more?

Close Up

My dad is a fantastic amateur photographer. He’s got a knack for capturing images of people or of scenery in a way that is very appealing. My oldest brother Alan, also has wonderful skill with a camera. I have a few photos that he took of my granddaughter Helene’ a few years ago, and they are stunning.

I’ve always wanted to take good photos, but have never really mastered the art. Partially, its because I’ve not really had that great a camera to work with. I’ve either had very basic models that did little in functionality, and much in blur. Cell phones have advanced their camera options significantly over the years, but their shutter speeds suck. I’ve missed so many great opportunities. Actually i’ve taken lots of photos, of average to poor quality, with a few good ones scattered therein.

A few weeks ago, we took a trip to the mountains for a family gathering. My dad noticed me trying to take  cell phone photos of a favorite local waterfall, and of an unusual mushroom I saw along the trail. He asked if I had a decent camera. I didn’t, of course A few weeks later, I was sent a wonderful entry level digital he’d had lying around. Its far and above what I’ve ever used before.

So far, I’ve taken a few  photos of some of the grandkids, three of Gary trying to cook dinner on his grill, and photos of some flowers in my back yard. Its the flower photos I’m the most pleased with.

I love nature, and trying to capture its beauty can be a challenge. Prose and poetry is a medium I’m familiar with, and I’m not giving it up anytime soon. I just want to expand my creative horizons a bit.  I am looking forward to getting photos of animals, leaves, and flowers,  I see around me. like this one.

Backyard Clover

Backyard Clover

Yes, its clover. Isn’t that cool? You can see the details of a tiny patch of yard, and its beautiful.  The bee of course was faster than I. She was about 18 inches off camera by the time I snapped the photo.

The very first photo I took with my new camera had to be of a cat. Miko gladly posed for this. That she is sitting on me determined that.

Miko's close up.

Of course I’m gorgeous, as you can plainly see.

I will enjoy my new toy, and the opportunities to capture, life, family and nature. With the camera digital, I can quickly delete all the blurry shots.


Colt 45 and a People Magazine

A few years ago, I wrote a couple of  longer short stories then my usual 1500 words or less versions. They’ve been languishing away in a document folder as I’ve had no success finding a publisher, plus I’m really lazy when it comes to the “non-fun” part of writing, finding an audience that will pay me. So I’m just gonna “publish” them here.  Feedback, comments, literary critique is of course welcome. 

Colt 45 and a People Magazine

            Her mother’s walker was the cause of  Cammie’s painful predicament. Margaret had been given an ancient walker by a well meaning friend. Cammie took an instant dislike to the device. Margaret wouldn’t part with the thing. It was dented so badly on one leg that the metal was almost pinched together. The dented leg caused the whole contraption to lean at a slight angle. Cammie had purchased a new walker and took the old one to the curb to be picked up by the trash service. The next morning, her mother was using the walker. How Margaret had managed to retrieve it, Margaret wasn’t telling. She liked the thing for reasons Cammie simply couldn’t understand. Several times Cammie tried to get rid of the walker, even taking it to the county landfill only to discover it had once again found its way back home. How Margaret kept retrieving the thing was a mystery Cammie couldn’t pry from her mother or any of her mother’s friends. The walker was one of the few things Cammie and her mother disagreed on.

Cammie lived at home with her mother. Cammie’s mom, Margaret had suffered a stroke when Cammie was a senior in high school. A former middle school Phys ed teacher and marathon enthusiast, her mother’s world was mostly reduced to forays through the house using the rickety walker. Once Margaret had gotten home from the hospital and had started physical therapy, Cammie’s father packed up and moved to Atlanta with the administrative assistant from First Prime Realty. He announced that as Margaret could no longer be a real wife to him, he was moving on.  Cammie was devastated by her father’s abandonment. She wanted to rail at him for what he had done, while at the same time beg him to come back. That her father refused to return her calls or respond to any emails or letters did not help Cammie much. He had abandoned her as well his wife, and the loss was keen.

Cammie couldn’t help but hear the gossip about her family. The conversation usually stopped when she drew near and those speaking animatedly before she approached stood awkwardly or tried to change the subject. She knew what they were saying about her spending prom night at home with her mother instead of on a date, speculations about why her dad really left. Rumors meant for her not to hear, but heard by her anyway

Margaret said little about her husband’s leaving for several months, instead insisting on getting herself as self-sufficient as possible. She tried to get Cammie to go to the university on the softball scholarship Cammie had been awarded.

“Follow your dreams, darlin’.” Margaret told her daughter. “I’ll manage just fine.” Cammie had considered doing just that, for about five minutes. She couldn’t get past the guilt she knew she’d feel for leaving her mother at such a time. Instead she turned down the scholarship and commuted to the community college in Kingston for her Criminal Justice degree.

One day Cammie came home from class to find several boxes packed. Inside contained what little remained of her father’s presence. “Take this stuff wherever you wish, preferably the landfill.” her mother told Cammie.

“You sure about this mom?”

“Quite. Your father isn’t coming back, and I am not going to waste another moment dwelling on what was. Life goes on, and so do we.”

Cammie was surprised that her mother was willing to throw away over 20 years of memories, but took the boxes to the curb for pick-up. She kept for herself only the small photo album of her parent’s wedding which she kept hidden in the back of her closet. After that day Cammie also stopped trying to contact her father. It hurt deeply, to do so, but she realized that her mother was right. Nothing she could do or say would change what had happened.

The two and a half years it took Cammie to get her associate’s degree were well spent. Margaret slowly improved, moving out of a short term care facility to home, from a wheelchair to a walker. The progression was agonizingly slow but continual. Mother and daughter grew even closer, as they adjusted, healed and began anew. Margaret would never teach another gym class or run in a marathon. Her life had been altered so unfairly, in Cammie’s eyes, but the daughter couldn’t help but admire her mother’s unflagging spirit and positive determination.

Cammie had come home from work the night before, to see her mother sprawled on the living room floor, walker a few feet away. “Mom!” Cammie cried as she rushed to her mother’s side. “ Are you ok? Are you hurt?”

“No. I just feel foolish, and want to strangle that damned cat of yours.”

Cammie looked over at Sahara. The big tabby was perched graciously on the back of the living room sofa. He looked back Cammie then chose that moment to clean his hindquarters.

Being properly dismissed by her cat, Cammie turned to her mother. “What did he do this time?”

“He tripped me, that’s what he did!”

“Tripped you? How? With that walker you almost have four legs, ok three and a half. And what were you doing up anyway? How long have you been like this?” Cammie looked all over her mother for signs of injury.

“You can stop poking at me” Margaret said, grabbing Cammie’s hand. “I’m fine, darlin’.“

“You sure?”

“Quite sure. I’ve only been here about 30 minutes. I was in dire need of a Dr. Pepper, so I was on my way to the kitchen.”

Cammie looked at the cat who had finished with his back end and had moved on to his whiskers. “What does that have to do with Sahara?”

“Sir Eatsalot over there must have thought I was going to give him a treat, so he bowled me over trying to beat me into the kitchen.”

Cammie looked sternly at her cat. Her cat looked back at her with a “what did I do?” expression. Sighing, she turned to Margaret. “Ok Mom, if you aren’t hurt, let’s get you up. And tomorrow I’m tossing that piece of crap out.”

“You mean the cat right?” Margaret retorted.

Cammie laughed at that. “You know exactly what I mean.”

Cammie went to the closet and put the new walker she had purchased within reach. Then she reached around under her mother’s arms, and pulled to get the older woman up. That’s when it happened. She felt a pop in her right shoulder and then sudden nearly blinding pain. She nearly dropped her mother, but managed somehow to help her up and under the support of the walker. Cammie then sat as quickly as she could into the nearest chair, her face ashen.

Cammie? Are you ok sweetie?

“I’m fine Mom, just pulled something a bit. You gain a pound or two?”

Margaret snorted. “I’d like to know where?” Margaret despite slow pace of life the stroke had fated her still retained the slim athletic form she had maintained all her life. Margaret was an older version of her daughter with the same green eyes, brown curls, and quirky sense of humor. The only visible remnants of the stroke that nearly killed Margaret were the much restricted mobility, an occasional stutter and her half-cocked smile. Margaret, having competed in marathons all over the South East, had been training for her first go at the Boston Marathon when the stroke had cut that aspiration short. Cammie intended to run that marathon herself in a year, even if she had to crawl the distance on her hands on knees. She’d been training in secret since graduation from Tri-tech.

Cammie went to the kitchen to start dinner and to raid the cabinet for some Aspirin. Reaching to open the cabinet door almost caused Cammie to collapse to the floor from the injured shoulder, but she managed to pull herself together. Sahara who had followed his mistress into the kitchen, hopped up onto the counter and rubbed his body against her hand.

“Keep my secret from Mom won’t you? She asked her cat. Sahara responded by licking her hand. They had a pact.


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Down Time

I have officially become part of a national statistic, mainly being part of the 9% (give or take a few points, depending on where one lives) that is on the unemployment list.  Let’s just get it out of the way right now, I’d rather be working!

Now, it wasn’t that the demise of my former occupation was unexpected. I knew the canning was coming, but I did try to stave it off as long as possible. I had never intended for the position to be a permanent one, but rather one that would tide me over while considering long term options. I had, for health reasons, made the difficult decision to get out of the hair game. I truly enjoyed being a hairdresser. I had fantastic clients, I got along with my co-workers, the company I worked for liked and respected me as a person as and as an employee. However I was developing a serious uptick in chemical sensitivity that exasperated my asthma, all while my shoulders and lower back felt agonized every time I shampooed. In hopes of keeping the damage done to my body minimized, I knew I had to change occupations.

It took 18 months to find the job I just lost. Lacking a completed degree, my age and the fact that I’d been in the cosmetology field for as long as I had made it a bit tough. But eventually I found one, and I sadly said goodbye to an occupation I’d thoroughly enjoyed. This one was quite different, being in a call center, but I don’t mind a challenge and thought I would be up to the task. It didn’t take me too long to realize that I had settled on an occupation that was utterly wrong for me.

I possess a very strong empathy trait, that and a code of ethics that screams for honesty, compassion, integrity and doing what I can to not waste someone’s time and/or money. While I appreciate what my company was trying to do, the way they wanted me to do it was, to me, quite problematic. I just couldn’t bring myself to consistently do things by the script. Yeah we had one, even though it wasn’t in front of us. We were still expected to go through certain questions, statements, and sales pitches in a particular formulation every single time before getting the reason the person called, “do you have what I need and how much?”. The thing is, people often don’t follow those set guidelines you are trying so hard to stick to. Often the caller would give me information early in, that told me that what I had to offer was not going to work for them, yet I was still expected to go through the entire process, then “close the deal”.

Yep, it was sales. Sylvie sucks on a grand scale at sales. I hate being patronized, being given a sale pitch when all I want is, “do you have one in stock?” or “how much is it?” I’ve often done my research before I walk into a store, especially for a large purchase. It went totally against the grain for me to do exactly what I loathe having done to me.

I lasted just over six months before being fired. The last time I was terminated from a job was when I was 19 years old! Me, the one who tends to be little miss over-achiever could not achieve continued employment at this job.

I cried many times over that job, knowing I was fighting a losing battle with trying to do it, and knowing it was something I couldn’t bring myself to do to their standards. Their standards weren’t necessarily wrong, nor were mine. We simply had different standards. I had, for another reason related to some HR issues I was having, was already looking for another position, but my “transition into new job” timing was obviously off.

So here I am, unemployed, waiting for an unemployment check to arrive, if it ever does, prowling every job board I can find, filling out applications, trying not to think about the state of our finances, and letting the boredom creep in, while trying not to panic.

I do know I need to use this time as a gift to me. Any of you who have followed my blog have read of how I tend to burn my candle from both ends, that I’ve been plagued with pesky issues of fatigue, insomnia,   my less then stellar stress management skills and how my asthma, which is worsened with stress and fatigue have just made things a whole passel full of “fun”.   It’s getting used to the downtime, the lack of 30,000 things on my agenda, the rapid fire thought processing, the actual having time to get all those little projects I’ve put off done.  Suddenly the fire in my go, go, go has gone slow, slow, slow, and I risk becoming a slug.

Last week, my first week as an “I have no job” person, I spent in a teary-eyed funk. I didn’t realize how worn out I was emotionally and physically. This week is better, and I am trying to find something productive to do daily, like organize neglected cabinets. I am thankful for the support of friends and family and my wonderful husband, who encourages me daily.

So what do I do with myself, now that I have more than enough time on my hands? Well I am, filling out job apps, doing a bit more writing, organizing things for the pending book I hope to complete this year, farting around on the internet, keeping my house in a clean state, cooking dinner , and trying not to eat that bag of chips I know is on the top of my fridge. The felines in residence are delighted at my constant presence, and one is usually napping on my mouse pad, begging for a head rub, or generally being  underfoot. I know in a short while (hopefully real short) I will look back on this time of idleness and be wistful of this time with so much time and so little to do.

One thing I know I will gain out of it is an even deeper respect for those who have gone through exactly what I am going through. It’s tough knowing you have skills, and not being able to find someone willing to utilize them. Its rather scary going through the waiting period to find out whether you will get or get rejected for that unemployment check that is barely enough to cover gas and groceries. It’s a frustrating, especially when one is a person used to being on the go to suddenly find oneself at a stop. It is rather scary, knowing that the timeline for all of this transition is completely unknown.

Oddly I am used to emotional rollercoasters. I shouldn’t be, but my life has hardly been one found in your Lazy River Ride scenario.  After the initial emotional thrill ride, this latest entry into the story of my life has put me though, I find myself on that slow ride. To take the time to truly reflect, to honestly get the rest my mind and body needs is actually a good thing. My body feels the toll. Its been trying to tell me, I’ve just tried to avoid it, until now. My body quickly recognized the shift in “Sylvie activity”, and finally got my attention. I am making myself appreciate the slower time, despite craving my usual hummingbird level of activity. I’ve put it off way to long.

I know that we’ll survive; we will just have to be much more frugal for a while. I know that this too shall pass, but patience is not exactly a virtue of mine, so enforced waiting provides the perfect lesson for me to learn…again. Maybe this time the lesson will stick.

Fake Religion

As I mentioned a few months ago, I am trying to get the process of writing a book going. One of the things I need to do is organize several years worth of stuff I’ve done over the past six years and put it into some sort of cohesive order. The other night, I was looking through my documents and came across the title “fake religion”.  Having no clue what I had written, curiosity won out and I looked at a little piece I had done a few years ago, and forgotten all about.

The topic was about religion. Considering how religion is such a hot topic these days, I actually found what I had written back then rather relevant. You see religion can be the most ridiculous construct humanity has ever come up with. What makes it even more ludicrous is how we get all up in arms over one concept or another. So much so that people have started wars, people have died. More commonly however, someone got pissed off, took half their friends and started a new church just down the street.

The anger over ideals, the politicizing of faith in our culture, the polarization that is occurring in my own faith, Christianity, to me is maddening, and is something I’ve been miffed about for some time. To me, none of it belongs in a religion that is supposed to be based on the teachings of a former Jewish Carpenter, who taught forgiveness, respect, compassion, and generosity. Jesus encouraged helping those in need, loving others no matter what social or cultural status they found themselves in, and demonstrated that such so called boundaries mattered little to Him, or apparently to God.  Why aren’t those concepts common practice? Why instead is it more common to see fights over silly things such as which bible to use, which interpretation of a passage of that bible is the right “god-given” one, are you pre-trib or post, which sect of the faith is in line with God’s will? Why the push to have one view on matters of faith be the only “right” view? Why, if one says “Err, just wait a minute, I don’t look at it that way.” does it usually cause division, arguments, and a widening gap in religious culture? All that just drives me nuts. Maybe because religion itself can represent a cavalcade of nutty ideas.

Which is why one day I wrote the basic outline for an entirely new religion.

Ok, the idea isn’t completely original, but as you will see, I did give it some organization, some basic ground rules and tenets. I am still working out the vestments, the donation structure and whether I can sneak in a non-tax status as well. The trick, of course is to figure out how to rake in billions of dollars, multiple books deals and a mega-fortress style cathedral that seats a 1000 congregates a service.

Now before you scoff, or threaten to call the IRS for my supposed money making scheme, let me suggest that many of you are already partakers of this faith, you just didn’t know it, until now. The beliefs are fairly simple, the commandments, only seven instead of the usual ten and the rituals, just four main ones.

Main Beliefs

 That The Great Feline is benevolent and kind.

 That we live to serve The Great Feline.

That The Great Feline is found in the smaller version of itself all over the world. We must show adoration to these avatars with the same fervency as we would show The Great Feline.

 That all gifts of the Great Feline are demonstration of The Great Felines love for us, no matter how disgusting, slimy, hairy or pungent they may appear. A sudden appearance of small disemboweled rodents means that you’ve been granted extra favor.

 The commandments

 1. Thou shalt welcome any representations of the Great Feline into your home for as long as they wish to stay.

 2. Thou shalt make sure that the demonstration of self-sacrifice is done daily by making sure your feline representatives are fed before you.

3. Petting, do it often.

4. Relinquish all comfortable spots gladly to the Great Feline Representative in your home.

 5. Do not neglect the litter box. 

6. Patience is to be learned. Representatives are prepared to test you on patience constantly. Lessons such as shredded papers, lost earrings, love offerings left in strange places, etc. are designed to teach patience and appreciation to The Great Feline work in our lives.

 7. Dogs, vacuum cleaners, and cheap kibbles are evil in the sight of the Great Feline. They must be kept away from any avatar.

 Important rituals include.

 The humble act of adoration shown by acceptance The Great Feline’s representative’s love gift to you from its clay lined shrine. It is to be carefully and lovingly bagged and placed into a designated receptacle. Failure to do so will result in a variety of unpleasantness experienced by the devotee.

 The humble act of joy shown by stroking and petting the Great Feline’s representative at any time that the representative deems timely. Signs of discomfort by the devout because of dug in claws or teeth piercing skin will cause displeasure to The Great Feline. 

The humble act of gratitude demonstrated by feeding only the best to your deity’s representative, even if it is off your own plate. Doing so before you’ve eaten, had coffee or used your own toilet please The Great Feline greatly.

 Devotees of the Great Feline get no holidays. They exist to serve the Great Feline for as long as The Great Feline deems necessary. Devotees can arrange for time away from their duties just so long they make arrangements for the care and adoration of the representative in residence. However devotees can expect possible punishment for the feelings of abandonment expressed by the Great Feline’s representatives. 

You see? Now how many of you were participants? Sadly I think there is no money in the faith though. Avatars of the Great Feline have amazingly discriminating taste in food and litter.

Now, it has become quite obvious that one of my own avatars is not going to let me do anything worthwhile like go through all those document files so I can get back to trying to organize stuff for a hoped for book. Lunatic, the great Sheddinator, has decided that my desk, particularly the portion of my desk containing the mouse, is her napping spot for the day. I’ve tired of trying to move her, so I am going to follow her lead and nap myself.

Holy Macro Batman

After taking a couple of months off, I have once again dived back into the world of academia. I had come to the realization that my former educational route may not be the best one for my long-term needs, although I was enjoying my classes. The main reason for my return to school was to make a career change, and I needed more certainty that I could accomplish that with the degree I would obtain. I was also wearing down physically and had spent a good part of the summer fighting asthma symptoms and the fatigue that seems to accompany it. I needed a break and to rethink how I was going about things. That is why I made the jump to an online school and a different degree choice.

Switching to a college I loved to a school where I”d never sit beside other students was not a decision made lightly. I thought about it for several months, weighing the options and the possible outcome. In the meantime, I’ve had continued issues with my back, (it hurts all the time) and my asthma. My days as a hairdresser are numbered, and I need to make a change sooner then later. Online school offered me the chance to get a degree faster, and these days degrees make one more marketable; especially if one is no longer 24.

Depending on what transfers, and of course not everything will, I should complete a degree in about the same time frame as originally intended, maybe less. Time is a big factor for me, and trying to get something completed sooner rather than later is important.  Also I switched majors from a Creative Writing to a business major. That doesn’t mean that I will stop writing creatively. In fact I have been submitting some work for possible publication and currently have two short story ideas rattling around in my head and in snippets written down on paper. More on that at another time.

What is giving me pause is the realization that I wasn’t as up to speed on technology as I thought I was. For instance, I have a BlackBerry, and I have learned how to synch its calendar to my Google calendar. But here is the tricky part. This morning I wanted to put in all my lecture times for a class. I entered the information and told the Google calendar to repeat the information for a month. I have two lectures to view a week for the next four weeks.

So what does Google do? It puts down my Sunday lecture and my Thursday lecture down one time each. I’ve played with different ways of entering and STILL it’s what it gives me; a single entry on a Sunday, and then a single entry on a Thursday on a different week. AAAAGGH!

I’ll figure it out eventually, but not until much cursing and gnashing of teeth occur.

I also have a shiny new copy of Office 2010 thanks to the hefty tuition I am paying for this school. (thank you student loans and tiny Pell grant) I downloaded it easily enough and opened Word to write something. My first thought was “Holy Macro Batman!” It was so different from earlier versions of Word that I had used that I barely recognized it. Ok, I’ll admit it. My last version is 8 years old.

I’ve been using Open Office for several years. Its basic, it works and it doesn’t have 30,000 features. It was also quite free, which on my tiny budget is most welcome. It also closely resembled the Microsoft Office 2003 that I was used to. I have a lot to learn on the new version. I fear that there will be plenty of cursing and gnashing of teeth as I get up to speed with the new software.

If nothing else happens, at least the FFA will learn to meow like sailors, as I work to master all the new technology upgrades, try and fail repeatedly to organize my desk, and drink way too much coffee as I do homework.