Monday, February 29, 2016

Processing the World of Words

I have had precious few words in me lately and even less time that I choose to invest in writing down my trivial and repetitive thoughts-of-the--day. Too many to-do-lists posts, not enough substance created a need to shut off my word supply.

Speaking of words, I wrote a post about "words" over at today. Feel free to follow me over there:

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Wednesday is the New Sunday

Sunday's to-do list has been haunting me all week. The person I used to be (the one who had a weekly household chore routine in place) has also been chiding me. Then there is this "Fitbit" gadget that has been nagging at me as well. "No one" will leave me alone! My head is not a quiet nor a lonely place it seems ...

All of these little "voices" in my head must be getting through my thick skull because things are happening.

I looked down at my clean socks an hour into my day and they were covered in cat hair. My hairy socks spurred me into vacuuming the house. Maybe not every nook and cranny but definitely all of the areas we live in. While I was at it, I dusted a few objects in the kitchen and threw in a load of laundry. One load of laundry led to another and by the day's end, not only did I have a relatively clean house and an empty laundry basket, but I had well exceeded the 10,000 step goal  on my Fitbit while I took the kids outside to play in the afternoon and supposedly climbed 24 flights of stairs.

During quiet time I read and after the kids went home, I devoted an hour or more to my on-line "Living Brave" course. Those two tasks were written on my list of things I had hoped to accomplish on Sunday. You would not believe how good it felt to cross those items off my list. "Reading" and "thinking" have become jobs to me. What has happened?

I have been filling up the white space of my life with the internet and television. If I turned off all technology I have a feeling housework wouldn't be such a chore. If I grabbed a book instead of my phone during my daycare day, it may encourage the kids to do the same. My ongoing excuse is that I use my phone to take pictures of the kids (that I post on our daycare blog), so it is just a little too convenient when that blasted phone is almost always in my hand or my pocket.

It felt like some kind of wonderful to accomplish something with my day and week-in-progress. I seem to remember falling into the habit of tending all of my must-do items on my eternal to-do list before my weekends. It is energizing to do what you want to get done before the weekend arrives. Only I am about a week behind schedule. Because I can already see the tasks I neglected last week which still need tending.

Wednesday has become one of my favorite days of the week. It is my high energy day. It is the day that is smack dab in the middle of working my way through my daycare week and before the reality of working on Saturday seeps into my consciousness.

Wednesday is my new Sunday. Which should free up Sundays to allow life to unfold in whatever manner it may without a sense of guilt or loss of a day. Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest so maybe life is telling me to stop expecting so much of myself on that seventh day.

Which means I have much to do before Sunday rolls around again. I'd better get cracking!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Just Keep Swimming!

Why are my mornings never long enough? Why is a one day weekend never enough? Why can't I accomplish anything at the end of my days? Is it because I have taken up exercise and fitness that I have run out of time? Is it because I have been cleaning the house like a white tornado? Is it because I'm writing a novel? Or even reading one? In a word - "NO"

My hours, days and weeks are slipping through my fingers and I have little or nothing to show for my time. Each and every time I tend to an appointment or obligation, I erase it off my whiteboard with great flourish. DONE! Over! Good for another year (or two months or never again)! But before I have the last item erased from that board, something new and unexpected has cropped up to fill its vacancy before it was even vacated.

I had a minor to-do-list to tend with my Sunday off. I crossed one item off of it and belabored the next item for the following two days before I called in an expert and made an appointment to figure out how to best deal with this challenge. In two words? "INCOME TAX"

I find it a little ironic that people think I know something about bookkeeping, I work for an accountant and I have done my own taxes (and many others) for years, yet I feel completely inept and frightened and in need of guidance this year. Because of one thing. My youngest child will turn eighteen years old this year. Next year will be the first year since I turned eighteen years old myself, that I will become a "Single, with no dependents" tax payer. I need to ensure I am claiming every deduction available to me. All I can say is: "THANK GOODNESS I AM SELF-EMPLOYED!"

Little jobs, such as finding a picture to put inside the picture frame my oldest son gave to me have become onerous. I get sidetracked like a one-year-old who has been asked to pick up a few toys. I start playing with the toys I was supposed to put away, then find more and have triple the mess to clean up after all is said and done. "WHERE IS THE ADULT IN THIS SITUATION?"

I accomplish absolutely nothing during my daycare days. I know this is good and this is right, because that means I must be doing my job taking care of my little people. Back in my old Daycare 1.0, my kids entertained themselves. I stood quietly in the background dusting, cleaning bathrooms, scrubbing the kitchen cupboards and floor as I tended to my little people. In my dusty memories of days-gone-by, it seemed my little charges were more content. The minute these guys see me sit still, they need, want &/or demand my attention in some way. Perhaps I should start cleaning again. The key seems to be "DON'T SIT STILL!"

The saddest part of all of this is that I don't seem to be grabbing and holding onto the little moments of my day and pulling out the "good stuff". I sit still here at the computer in the morning, like I have always done and I think to myself "I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO WRITE ABOUT!"

Yes, I have been screaming at myself inside of my head. These capitalized sentences I have quoted are the censored version of my self talk of late. "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?" "WHY CAN'T YOU GET ANYTHING DONE?" "WHY AREN'T YOU EATING LESS AND MOVING MORE??!!" "WHY ARE YOU SO UNMOTIVATED?" "WHERE IS YOUR GET UP AND GO, GIRL?!!?"

I have been doing one thing right though. I have peeked out from under the covers and my life has included other people lately. Socializing is good, it is positive and it is bringing me out of my head. But it is time consuming. Why can't I have it all??

At this moment in time, I feel like two-day weekends would be the answer to all of my woes. Two days. One day to "do", the other day to "be", with long weekends having a bonus day to "fritter or invest" at my leisure. 

My bookkeeping job has provided me with knowledge I didn't have before. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. People who know me think I'm smarter than I am. I am smart enough to know I know less than I thought I did before this whole bookkeeping adventure began. My bookkeeping job has provided an income which helps subsidize the cost of living. The unfortunate truth is that next year, I should probably hand over half of that income to Revenue Canada because they will probably want it all back in taxes. 

I feel like I'm working in circles. I accomplish little and I feel like I'm going no where. One step forward, three steps back. The new daycare family who was going to come here for three months changed their mind. The same day, three different people approached me about taking care of their children. One full time family gone. Two part time families will not come close to replacing the income I have already spent (yes, I have ordered new back doors).

One step forward, three steps back. I guess as long as I keep taking that step forward I shouldn't get too lost. Or will I? "Life" is starting to bog me down. I'm treading water here and keeping afloat, but I really just want to swim out of this undercurrent and be free. 

I'm not sure how to do it but for now, I'll ... "JUST KEEP SWIMMING!"

I feel and look EXACTLY like "Marlin" (the orange clown fish) in this clip!!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

I Can't Wait Until Sunday!

Ahh, this "living" thing is so time consuming! My days feel consumed with little things, my evenings have had their own agenda and mornings have been far too short lately. And now that I am actually sitting still, my brain feels empty. The only words I have written is my to-do-list for tomorrow.

Life has been clipping along at a good pace lately. I was savoring our "quiet time" yesterday afternoon knowing there was something I really, really wanted to do with that time rather than fritter it away on the computer. It was only after my kids started waking up that I realized what I had wanted to do. I wanted to read. I have gotten out so of the habit of reading, that I forget it is a viable option during the quiet part of my day.

"Reading" is on my to-do-list tomorrow, but it is hastily written down at the bottom of my list as an afterthought. I hope I remember to do it once I get there. Heavens! I hope I can cross three of those things off my list.

"Cleaning" did not even make the list. Is that "Yay, me!!" for having my priorities straight? Or is it simply more procrastination? I figure if I invite at least one person over per week, I may eventually develop the habit of keeping a cleaner living area. And by clean I mean "scrubbed clean", not just a tidy path from the door to the kitchen to the bathroom. CLEAN. One day ...

"Exercising" needs to find its way back into my life. I have been wearing my Fitbit wristband like a fashion accessory, not a motivator. I have been diligently trying to track what I have been eating and my water intake is up. But other than that, it has been doing little more than tracking my sleep and telling me that I don't move enough to support my eating habits. On a positive note, I am a pretty efficient sleeper. I am averaging over 90% in that area of my life. No wonder I like to sleep so much. I am very good at it!

"Writing" is at the top of my to-do-list. I want to get back into the habit of writing Mom's letter on Sunday, sitting at the kitchen table with a pen in hand and a cup of coffee at my side. That is how Mom's weekly letters began. The old fashioned way. Pen to paper on a quiet Sunday morning, not hastily typed before my daycare crew walks in the door on a Monday morning or (lately) forgotten altogether. I have one more batch of columns to submit and then I can breathe easy for another month.

"Numbers" have fallen to the bottom of my must-do-list. I don't love playing with numbers the way I used to. I am fanatical about balancing my bank and credit card books, keeping on top of my daycare accounting and keeping an eye on the long range forecast of my financial future. But I don't sit and "figger" like I used to. I know that I should because I need to look ahead if I want to get a handle on my financial state of affairs. But I am in denial. I'll keep plugging ahead month to month to month and let the years take care of themselves.

Working on my on-line "Living Brave" course and reading are the last two items on my list. If I leave what I want to do below what I should do, will I do it all? Or will I do nothing and waste another day just loving my little life at home with our two black cats and my youngest son?

No matter what I do, the day will come and go. And the sooner I get my "Saturday job" tended to, the sooner I can leap into my most favorite day of the year. "Sunday"!! I can't wait!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Word Quota Exceeded

There is great value to writing things down. As I scrambled to assemble enough "column worthy" articles to submit this morning, I found myself reading through the archives of my mind and I was pleasantly surprised to see that my "follow through" on goals I have set is better than I thought it was.

I knew I had to push myself out of my head and into the world more. I recognized when I started to make the transition. I had one "date" per week written down on my whiteboard. Granted, two of three of those dates were appointments, but the way it had been hurting to leave the house I knew even making appointments was important and worthy of recognition.

Then I lived the past week.

My son came over for a Sunday supper. Not a big deal for most people, but for me it was huge. I don't like to cook. When I do, it is under duress. But I assembled a no-stress, easy peasy, family favorite (spaghetti and meat sauce) and the meal was all it needed to be. It was an excuse to sit down at the same table and talk.

Two days later, my sister and her husband needed a place to stay so they were close to the hospital where he was having early morning day surgery. One thing led to the next and the next thing we knew, my sister spent two more nights here. She was an incredibly easy guest to have about and having another adult to bounce my words off of, at the end of my day was a gift. I thought I was out of words. It turns out, I was just out of "ears". Thanks, sis!

I spent one night alone and the day following that, I ran out to see Mom. The thought of sacrificing my much anticipated alone-time, to spend it travelling and visiting felt daunting at first. But that soon evolved to gratitude and appreciation when I saw how happy Mom was to have me show up on her doorstep.

I came home to column deadlines and life-as-I-knew-and-expected-it. How lucky is that?

A person plans, makes appointments, sets little goals each and every day. It seems tedious, repetitive, thankless and never-ending. But when a week unfolds pretty much like you expect it to, you are beyond lucky.

As I wiped three to-do-items off the white board last night I quietly thought "Thank you". I'm simply grateful for the tedium which is my life, that allows life to unfold just the way I hoped it would when I wrote those things down.

I'm grateful for the seeds which have been planted as I wade my way through Brené Brown's "Living Brave" course. I am starting to run behind and after watching the video portion of the lesson I have walked away and come back to do the exercises when I have time. I hastily answered her questions a few nights ago because I cannot stand to be two lessons behind and it was as if she was sitting there on the other end of my computer reading as I typed. Her final words of advise after this particular lesson was "do not rush through this course". You want these lessons to seep "into your bones" and become second nature to you. I berated myself for rushing my way through. Until I reread my recent blogs. My answers to the questions within my course have been written into my blog posts and they have penetrated my conscious mind.

I'm doing better than I thought I was. Perhaps my healthy eating and living goals have fallen by the wayside as I tend to the clutter which is my life, but I can come back to those. Or maybe, just maybe these little fitness goals are seeping into my bones more than I realize. Big, drastic changes that happen over night are hard to maintain. Small, imperceptible changes which you don't see until you look back and compare yourself to where you are to where you were are more life-altering.

Bit by bit, I hope I am changing my world. It feels a little better already. I may not be there yet, but I believe I may be on my way.

This is the inspirational quote I woke up to this morning - I think I may have accidentally stumbled onto "The key to life", just by living it as I do!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Where the Wind Blows

I have gone from life as a hermit, to a life of going out and meeting life half way (and welcoming it when it walks in the door).

I had my oldest son over for supper last Sunday, my sister spent three nights (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) with me last week, then on Saturday, I decided to go visit Mom on a whim this past weekend.

I wrote about it over at

Thursday, February 11, 2016

First Order of Business

The time is coming. But it is not today.

My new Fitbit (A new device that contains a 3D motion sensor that accurately tracks your calories burned-steps taken-distance traveled and sleep quality) is talking to me but it is really not telling me anything I didn't already know.

I don't move enough to burn off the calories I consume in a day. Something must change. It has to be me. 

First order of business must be to consume all of the junk food in the house. Then move forward from there.

P.S. Apparently I have gained 2.3 pounds since I aquired my Fitbit four days ago. I think I'm doing something wrong here. Any guesses?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

This is a Test. This is Only a Test...

I have worn my new "Fitbit" wristband for one day and I have the stats of my life-as-I-live it. It isn't all bad news but I think I may just be able to make a game of living a little bit healthier. I wrote a little blog about it over at

This is a Test. It is Only a Test...

Well, I did it! I took the plunge and got myself a 
Fitbit Charge. Well, in reality I actually bought the "Flex" first but I didn't realize it didn't have a display. So I spent all of my after supper hours making that exchange, then dealing with syncing my new Fitbit to the computer. That is a story unto itself. More technical difficulties that the Fitbit help centre could not help me with (their answer was to return it to the store, but eventually I figured it out on my own). Another three and a half hours of my life eaten up with technicalities. But that is not the story I am here to tell. This is a story about my "control day" (it may become a control "week", I have not yet decided) as I dip my toes into a lifestyle of healthier choices.
The Fitbit stats from my first day are a tad skewed due to the four hours it was out of commission while I made my exchange then tried adding and syncing my new "Fitbit Charge" to the Fitbit dashboard. Even without that four hours (which most likely would have been spent sitting in front of the computer or television anyway), I managed to hit 8,679 steps. The "goal" is 10,000 steps per day and since I have already logged 707 steps this morning (and all I have done is get ready for my day), I think I may have hit the 10,000 mark before yesterday drew to a close.

My statement that I don't sit idle throughout the day is a true one. I have my Fitbit stats to prove it. The fact that most of those steps were considered "light" intensity, only a small percentage were "moderate" and none at all were intense is duly noted. We may have daycare dance parties and Patty Shukla "shake and move" songs instituted into our days more often.

I must admit that it was the sleep log that piqued my interest the most. I consider myself incredibly blessed to be able to log the sleep hours that I do. Sleeping is my all time favorite activity. It's crazy but it's true (I have visions of falling asleep on the couch in my room, then ceremoniously climbing into bed running through my head as I type). I fall asleep at the drop of a pin but I don't sleep through the night often. My stats for the past two nights are: "Awake 4 times; 24 times restless" and "Awake 2 times; 21 times restless". Time to fall asleep (both nights): 0 minutes. Sleep efficiency (for both nights) is 90%. I knew it! I am a pretty efficient sleeper. But I do have to wonder if adding more intense physical activities could improve that efficiency. Hmmm...

Then comes the calorie intake. I set a goal to lose ten pounds so my Fitbit tracker tells me when I have exceeded my calorie intake for the day in order to achieve that goal. I have already consumed 37% of my allotted calories for the day and all I have logged is my breakfast smoothie. Yesterday, I should have stopped eating halfway through my lunch. Obviously I didn't, so if I want things to change I obviously need to eat less. Or move more. Or a combination thereof.

This Fitbit isn't really telling me anything I didn't already know but it is making a game out of it. Do I want to exceed the goal of 10,000 steps? Yes! Am I encouraged to add a little high intensity into my steps? You betcha! Would I rather move more or eat less? Maybe a combination of the two. I like eating. Not quite as much as I like sleeping, but I often seek happiness within a can of Pringles. I don't believe in deprivation. But given a choice, I would choose sleep over food.

I may just need to start going to bed at noon in order to achieve my food intake goals, but if I move a little bit more maybe I can afford to stay awake long enough to see me through my work day.

I see a glimmer of hope here. I know I need to work a little harder at achieving my "optimum health goals". I don't have a retirement savings plan. My retirement plan is to work. I don't want to work forever, thus I really don't want to live a long, tired existence. Therefore, am I subconsciously sabotaging my own health in order to live a shorter life? Sounds like a depressing thought but it is there. The truth is, I quite likely will live to whatever age I am destined to live. My choice is: Do I want to live a long, healthy life? Or a drawn out meager existence, fighting the effects of the sedentary lifestyle I have adopted?

I may have to give up writing in lieu of a morning exercise routine. Maybe moving in the morning will inspire better writing material. I am not sure what the answer is but I know it is wise to ask the questions.

This is a control week. This is a week where I take note of what I am doing presently and question what should change. I hope this Fitbit challenge is exactly what I need to start to make a game out of moving more and eating smarter.

This could be the week that changes me. If I allow it. But for now, I need to fool myself into believing "This is a test. This is only a test ..."

Monday, February 8, 2016

Bucket Lists

"Another thing checked off my bucket list!✔✔ Climbing a @#$#! volcano!!!"

This was a quote from my oldest son's Facebook page after he climbed Mt. Batur Volcano while vacationing in Bali. I told him "I would like to read your bucket list. Do you make it up as you go along? Who has 'Climb a volcano' on their bucket list??" He looked at me with truth in his eyes and said, "I did. Ever since I vacationed in [I can't remember where], I knew I wanted to come back and climb a volcano!"

This made me stop and think. I remember the years I was living my dreams. People talked of "bucket lists", I scoffed and said, "I'm keeping my bucket list empty!"

They were adventurous years (for me). I tried new things (Zumba and Belly Fit), I was determined to become a Zumba instructor (and only missed the mark by one, final practicum assignment), I participated in a dance competition, I went on a cruise, I invited people into my world and it was a most incredible ride.

Yes, I kept my "bucket list" empty. Looking back on those glory years, seeing where I am now and looking ahead I have kept my promise to myself. My bucket list remains empty. It is a good thing and a bad thing all at the same time.

It is good to know I have followed the path I wanted to travel while the travelling was good. My return to reality was paved with a few years of instability, job insecurity and the potential for financial ruin.

I am still paying back all that I borrowed during those lean years but going back into debt quicker than my repayment schedule tells me I should, as I tend to our poor neglected house that suffered greatly during the time of great cutbacks while I tried out a new career path.

I tried pursuing dreams again last year and booked a few frivolous trips. Both trips were under scrutiny as the dates of departure approached. Ominous thoughts of "Should we cancel??" put a dark cloud over the anticipation phase of each of these little getaways. Months after that, planning a night out with my brother seemed overshadowed with the same thoughts of "Are we still supposed to go ahead with our plans under these circumstances [a death in the family]?"

Last year's attempts at following my dreams were three for three. I followed through on all three, but all three of them had clouds of foreboding all around them. I vowed I would never make plans again!

If you don't plan, nothing happens. "Nothing" is exactly what I can afford right now because our house still needs an awful lot of TLC. I don't mind that. In fact I look forward to crossing a few more things off our home's bucket list over the course of time.

Yes, I have kept my own bucket list empty. It is a sad and lonely place when you stop dreaming. Instead, I have filled up our home's bucket list. It contains dreams such as: new doors, new floors, new baseboards and door casings and a new paint job (inside and out). There is a very expensive domino effect that happens once you start home renovations, thus my paralysis in this regard for so many years.

I have no desire to travel, nor do I  have one pang of envy for those who are setting off and/or enjoying their winter vacation destinations. I am exactly where I want to be. I am at home, living my dream in my quiet and understated way. I've done all I want to do for now. It is time to centre myself and take care of my finances and our home.

I'm glad I did what I did, when I did it. The time was right. It was a carefree and fun-filled time. I was the person I needed to be, to get the most enjoyment out of all of my little adventures. I have changed. The world around me has changed. I want and need to be close to home.

But ...

I think it would do me good to try and think of a thing or two to place into my own bucket list. I can't have crossed all the fun things I want to do off my list already. Yet, as I sit here and write it seems that I have. I danced when the dancing was good. I travelled when all the conditions at home were right. I played the game of life as best I could, with what I was given. I enjoyed it as I lived it, I have no regrets for my indulgences at the time but now that it is over I have nothing yearning to fill that spot of carefree and wildly indulgent times. I am content.

I'm not going to throw away my "bucket". I will keep it around, with the intent on continuing to keep it empty. I know I need to dream a little bit more than I currently do but at the moment, I'm content. Perhaps I'm a little paralyzed, but I'm content in my paralysis. I know that isn't the statement dreams are built on. I'll recognize the dreams I want to pursue when they surface again. They are still there. They are just lying dormant for the moment. And that is okay with me. For now.

What about you? What is on your bucket list? Are you still dreaming? I hope so. For when dreams die, so does a little piece of your soul.

Let's find our dreams again!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

You Know It's Going to be a Good Day When ...

You know it's going to be a good day when ...

... you open your eyes and this is the first thing you see!

You know it's going to be even better when you wake up to a personal email and feel like you shared your morning coffee with your brother ("Thanks, Bro! I enjoyed your visit very much.")

You know it's picking up speed when you get an email which has the potential to increase your earnings by "two daycare days" worth of income. (Thanks to a referral from one of my daycare moms).

You know you are on the right path when you are inspired by an "H20 Mop X5 Elite" paid advertisement as you greet the day. I believe I was meant to meet this mop in person, I have done my research and I may just invest in one today if all goes well.

You know an idea is one worth considering, when it still sounds as good as it did four days ago. Thanks to my nice little accumulation of reward points on my credit card, I am set to take the plunge and invest in a "FitBit Flex Wireless Activity & Sleep Wristband".

You know your day is going to be one of interaction with real, live, adult people when you extend a few invitations first thing in the day. And you get a response from "one of two" almost immediately, with the potential to add one more to the plans as the day goes along. 

Inviting people into my day means I have to get dressed. Using the reward points on my credit card means I have to leave the house to do so (my reward points don't work for on-line purchases). 

I came home from work last night and touched the computer keyboard only once, to check for emails. When I didn't find any, I ceremoniously walked away from the computer and spent the evening "unplugged". Almost. I brought my cell phone downstairs with me.

You know the day has the potential to be one of your best if you "unplug" yourself from the internet and cell phone connections and just have a day interfacing with people the old fashioned way. And that is just what I'm going to do (unfortunately, I am committed to bringing my cell phone along with me because I'm awaiting a reply for my supper invitation and hoping to hear back from "a guy who has a treadmill").

Because I need to start my days saying, "You know it's going to be a most excellent day when you wake up and start moving again!"

I'm not sure where this day will end up, but I know I will feel better at the end of it because I am walking away from the computer now.

Signing out, signing off and having an "Unplugged Sunday" now!

Here are just a few more photos that make my heart smile:

A shoestring is a perfect cat toy - one cat runs off with the string in his mouth; the second cat runs and chases it!
That is ... until "one of the cats" decides to hog the string (note the string peeking out from underneath "Jet"??)
Snow gazing together, on a day where the snow lightly falling was a perfect Christmas card moment.
"My box! Go get your own." Yes, there was an identical box sitting right beside this one. 
Resting from a hard day of playing with shoestrings. One couch per cat. This is the picture of "Sunday" in our home.
Happy Sunday to You!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Gremlins Playing Havoc (or was it just spilled coffee?)

I have done enough troubleshooting this past week to last me for a decade or so.

The troubles with my email sending spam mail, ongoing fraud on my credit card and navigating my way through the Credit Bureau's maze of complexity as one tries to find their way not only to a "human", but the "correct human in the correct department" was quite enough on its own. Then there was yesterday.

I think, but I am not entirely sure, that maybe my troubles are over. I am not exactly certain why they began ...

Did they begin because I spilled a little bit of coffee on part of the bottom row of keys on my laptop? It didn't appear so. I wiped up my spill, blew a little canned air into the keyboard to "dry" it. One does some stupid things while in panic mode - that most likely blew any coffee that may have landed inside the computer further into the computer's motherboard ...

Anyway, everything was working fine so I quickly wrote up a blog post, opened up about ten tabs on my browser (as I researched the "Fitbit" and to see if my phone &/or iPad were compatible), started an email, opened up a Word document, an Excel document and heaven only knows what else. My computer was cluttered and busy, then my daycare day walked in and I had to walk away.

By the time I got back to the computer, absolutely every program was frozen. I couldn't do a thing. Alt + F4 didn't work, nothing worked. So I shut down the computer and assumed that would fix all that ailed it. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

When "quiet time" finally rolled around, I turned on the computer and went about my merry way with the intent of continuing where I last left off. That didn't happen.

Every time I clicked anywhere on one of the tabs in the browser, the tab closed. If I tried to open up one of my "Favorites", it would open up in a new tab, then close the second I tried to open it. I googled my problem and one of the suggestions said to go to your "Settings" and check the "sync" button. I couldn't open my settings. I thought maybe the problem was isolated to Windows Chrome, so I tried opening Internet Explorer and the computer would not open the program.

I shut down and restarted, then I could get Internet Explorer to work, but not Chrome. Then my email program started asking for passwords, then it said the "Outgoing Mail" settings were wrong.

"Quiet time" was not long enough to solve my problems. By the time the kids were up and about again, I wasn't sure if the computer had a virus or if the coffee spillage had fried some wires or what was going on.

I came back to the computer last night and warriored on.

I rebooted it again. It would work for a while then mysterious things started happening again. I tried a new mouse. No difference. I could navigate my way to where I wanted to go by tabbing around and the act of "tabbing" seemed to wake something up in the computer and things would be okay for a while. Then it would freeze.

Then, big blue screen appeared warning me "Bug code NDIS driver", then the computer restarted itself. It did this twice.

So I thought since this problem started sometime yesterday morning, I would try a "System Restore" and restored the computer's settings to a previous date. I did this and walked away. I knew it would take a while, but I didn't expect it to take an hour. So I googled that problem. The wonderful thing about "googling" is that you discover you are not alone. The terrible thing about google is when it tells you the worst case scenarios: "It has been 48 hours since I did the system restore and it is still not working". Answer: "Shut down your computer and reinstall Windows from your disc" Reply: "I don't have a Windows disc because it came with the computer; Windows 8 discs are impossible to find" and so on and so forth.

Anxiety levels were starting to rise. There was nothing I could do but go to bed and call my Computer Doctor in the morning. Then something caught my eye as I tried to make myself walk away. The computer restarted itself and was working again! Well "working" was a relative term because it was still acting a little bit odd (I could not get my email program to work, then it did, then it didn't) but that was the least of my worries.

My only consolation was that I knew I could still access my files so all was not lost. I hooked up my back up device, set the computer to back up all of its files then went to bed. And slept.

My brain turned off and my eyes remained closed tight until 5:00 this morning. I woke up with the computer on my brain but I laid still and just absorbed the calmness of our cats as they rested within eye's distance from me. Then I got up and started to tackle the rest of my back up solution.

The first thing I did was turn on my email program. All was working just fine! I downloaded all of my "important" files onto a USB stick and copied them onto my trusty little netbook. I thought if my computer ends up in the "doctor's office", I would want access to my files.

I have been skitting from one thing, to the next, to the next, to the next for two and a half hours now and whatever issues the computer was having yesterday seem to have resolved themselves. And I have the added peace of mind of knowing my files have been backed up and all would not be lost if anything new happens today.

There is a common denominator here. All of my "security issues" concerning my email is due to my on-line gadding about. The security breach on my credit card has to be related to an on-line purchase at one time. The source of all my woes this week are coming from this little black box in front of me. Yet I just keep on clicking away at these keys.

It seems to me (now) that yesterday's computer woes are probably related to my coffee spillage and (fortunately) twenty four hours seems to have been all it took to restore things to where they once were.

Or was it the fact that I did restore the computer's settings back to an earlier date? That was the last troubleshooting effort I took at the end of a very long list of everything else I could think or find to do.

Or has the gremlin who is responsible for my email and credit card fraud infiltrated my computer? This is the first thought I had before I remembered that I had spilled some coffee onto the bottom row of keys on my laptop.

All of the above has reminded me of how vulnerable we are in this highly connected world of the internet. When everything works, it is nothing short of miraculous. When things start to fail, it could become catastrophic in the blink of an eye. I am but one person. What if there was a global attack on this thing we call the "internet"? I think I'm going to run for cover, lock the doors and turn out the lights. But you can be sure of one thing ... I'll be bringing my smart phone with me.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Inspired to Move

I love what a new friend and fresh conversation can bring into my world. I was introduced into the world of "Fitbit" last night and (I hope) my world may never be the same again. I wrote a little blog about it over at

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Technical Difficulties

This post is coming to you from "Jet" this morning
(while I continue to deal with ongoing credit card fraud and email hacking issues).

Unfortunately he did little more than bring up a scary looking box to the right of my blog post screen
(which will probably lead to more technical difficulties as the day progresses).

But I did save what he typed when he closed my credit card transaction screens and tried signing back in. It was (something to the effect of: "////////////////////////////*/////////"

The little "hacker"! Maybe my fraudster(s) are walking around my very own home wearing black, furry coats!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Come Surf With Me!

I frittered away another entire day in front of the computer on Sunday. I walked out of my bedroom in the morning, fully expecting to dive into a day of reading and TV watching, never to return (until it was time to go to sleep).

How can one spend a day on the computer you ask? Good question. I asked myself the same thing and went back into the history of "Sunday" on the computer and found my answer. Do you really care? Probably not. If so, stop reading now. I'll come back to this paragraph at the end of my monologue and tell you if there was anything of value within my On-Line Sunday. *This is a very link-laden post, filled with thoughts and links that mean something to me and quite likely is not a universal train of thought. If you feel inclined, follow where my path takes you or (better yet) just forge your own trail today.*

I started the day by doing some banking. This is very necessary on the last day of the month. Good investment of computer time.

Thirty minutes later, I was cruising through Facebook and found an article on ovarian cancer. After Mom's scare last year, I thought this was a good read.

Forty minutes after that, I worked on Sunday's word puzzles. One must keep the neurons in their brain firing. Check!

Seventeen minutes after that, I remembered I wanted to check out a documentary about Robin Williams on Netflix - "Robin Williams Remembered". Very interesting, well done and it focused on his life.

This made me want to go on a Robin Williams movie marathon but Netflix didn't have the movies I was interested in. So I went to instead and did a little shopping. I got side tracked when I realized I could order Pringles and millions of other grocery and/or household items on-line and not have to leave the house. My shopping cart currently has seven items in it, totalling $64.05 and I have not processed this order. Excellent self control on my part.

I spent the next few hours going back and forth between Walmart shopping online, comparing what I can watch on Netflix, going back to Facebook for more inspiration, researching if I could pay for my purchase with my Walmart reward points (not yet, just in case you're interested) and doing more banking.

I got bored with this line of thinking so I decided to search cheap, all-inclusive vacations to see if there is any vacation that piqued my interest. The short answer to this question is "no". The long version of the same story is that I invested approximately an hour an a half of my day researching possibilities.

I then veered off to check Heather Spohr's "Sunday Surfing 1.31" and checked out a few of her suggested links. An article on empathy piqued my interest since that was a topic of much consideration last week: "Down the Hall: When Empathy is Paramount" and another on "How we used to die; how we die now".

My thoughts were getting to sombre so I thought I'd check in to see what people were "Asking Ro" and those questions and answers led me down a very interesting path. I checked out books that were mentioned, searched Netflix for movies or shows mentioned. Then I found the news that rocked my Sunday on its axis. The Gilmore Girls are planning a four part revival of the Gilmore Girls!

I discovered this news at 3:30 on Sunday afternoon and the rest of my day followed that path. I read everything I could find on the Internet. I followed Twitter feeds and reactivated my never-used Twitter account so I could follow this most exciting announcement as it unfolds (don't get too excited - they are just in the beginning processes of filming right now, so it's going to be a while). It will be four, 90-minute shows, each show representing a season and it will pick up in "real time" - Star Hollows, eight years later. I can't wait!!

The Twitter road led me to follow other people and TV shows of interest to me. Grey's Anatomy, Dancing With the Stars, a handful of movie star sorts, several blog writers I follow and of course trying to unravel the mystery of why I had so many "followers" when I have never ever used this account (more troubleshooting and password changes). Twitter is a mystery to me. I don't fully grasp how to use it but in my brief experience thus far, I am beginning to understand some of the "hash tag" references you hear a lot these days and what "following" means.

Onto other news, I discovered several Gilmore Girls interviews (the Gilmore Girls cast reunion from June, 2015 in full!) on YouTube. I watched everything I could find of interest and kept noticing the other "suggestions" in the drop down box to the right of my YouTube screen. I watched the "Pretty Woman" reunion , 25 years later and Farrah Fawcett interviews kept popping into my line of sight so I followed where that path took me until deep into the night (I'm talking 10:00 p.m. here!).

I woke up Monday morning with "Twitter" on my mind and "Grease - Live" was trending (see, I am sounding like a Twitter pro already!). I couln't wait for my daycare day to wind up so I could see if I could watch it on-line. And I could!! If you live in Canada, you can watch it here:

I accomplished little else with my Sunday and Monday night but my thoughts have expanded outside of this tiny box I live in, even if it was all via another tiny "box", aka: my computer screen.

I chatted intermittently with my son as Sunday progressed, we enjoyed adoring our cats together and talked leisurely as he spent the last day of his semester break relaxing, doing laundry and working on a video project.

I sent an email, had a brief text exchange with my second son, chatted with Mom for a while and simply relished the day I had. Did I waste my day? Were any seeds planted that I can reap another day? Did I expand my horizons?

Perhaps it was not the best investment of a free day at my disposal. But I woke up Monday morning feeling bright and shiny and full of new and different thoughts. So I guess that means the day was not a total write off.

If you have a day at your disposal, come "surf" with me. Your wave may take you off in a completely different direction than mine did. If you decide to click on any one of the links I have provided and you have the inclination to follow where it leads, go for it. Then tell me all about it so I don't feel so alone in the vast ocean of the Internet.

Sail away with wherever this day may take you! Enjoy your ride.