Sometimes I lose a day to maintenance

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Yesterday was interesting. I’ve been having some problems with Windows 10 since the last couple of updates.

The computer would freeze or do an immediate shutdown when I was in the middle of posting on facebook.

I had already done the suggestions from the Microsoft website which included check power (duh), and power saving. So after the computer, btw this one I am on right now, froze once and did two immediate shut downs, I knew I would have to check my computer before sending an irate email to Microsoft. I knew it was the program and not this now old ASUS. I’ve babied this computer for years by keeping it on an UPS power supply so that the brownouts and spikes on our power wouldn’t hurt the machine.

I first did a “chkdsk” except Windows 10 style. That is an old techie tool that will tell you if the hard drive is starting to degrade. If you have to repair too many “sectors” then it may be time to do a complete data download, assuming you haven’t kept backups. My disk reported “no errors.”

I have a checklist of programs that clean the disk, check and repair malware, and defrag. By the time I got to defrag, my entire day was gone, so no writing or checking the internet.

I did send an email to Microsoft to tell them that Windows 10 was now officially on my shitlist of worst processing programs. It is now on the same programming level as those earlier programs of Windows. If the program doesn’t work, I just have an expensive toaster littering my desk. I’m looking for a clean copy of Windows 7–

What I use this computer for is writing, publishing, and internet. I may have to completely take this one off the internet.

What’s remarkable is that I have used this computer continuously for over six years. I got it fully loaded and paid a mint because it was going to be my writing and publishing computer. It has done a fine job. I think if Microsoft would quit believing that this computer belongs to them because they let me use their software, then I would be a happy writer.

So to recap, my computer still runs well and the program is for crap. Defrag seems to be the only thing that fixes the Windows problems temporarily.

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What is magic?

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I write fantasy.

If you have read any of my posts and any of my writings, you would have already figured that out. I can hear you say “duh” in my mind.

What you might not know about me is that I believe in magic. When I think of life, the universe, and everything (yes, I am quoting Douglas Adams), it doesn’t make sense that everything is in an orderly and logical place. Without a little chaos, creativity or I call it magic, this would be a very dull world. As humans we are combinations of logic and illogic, of perfectly working systems and illness, and logic and emotion.

I’m still trying to understand the emotions. The words we have for them are so inadequate– anger, fear, love, joy. None of these words express the nuances of the actual emotion.

I had to learn how to read emotion as a young child. If I couldn’t read what was happening around me, I would end up in trouble. Extreme trouble. I won’t go into my childhood– I am just pointing out that with that background, I can read people better than I should.

It is harder for me to express those emotions on the page. I do my best and sometimes I surprise myself.

So what is magic? In my stories, magic comes from the elements–fire, water, earth, and air. Many of these mages and sorcerers learn magic systems for years before they get good at effects and outcomes. But stories are not real life.

I can look at a tree and catalog each part of it starting at the bark and ending at the leaves. The magic is when I step back and see the tree as a living being. The roots drag nutrients from the soil. The leaves provide photosynthesis. Like us, the tree receives and gives from the natural world around it.

So I feel the magic from the stones and earth at my feet, the breeze subtlety touching my skin and hair, and the feel of the leash, rough in my hand. It’s magic that my mind quits thinking and I am in the present moment.

I am with life and life is with me.

We forget how wonderful this world is… We have cut ourselves from our magic. We have cut ourselves from nature.

A few months ago, I started this little ritual as I walked the dog around the apartment complex. Instead of ignoring the world around me and counting my steps, I quit looking at my feet and started looking at the sky.

I practiced gratitude.

I started to see pines, palm trees, humming birds, and ravens. I saw lavender bushes and rabbits. I saw individual grasses.

I felt stronger and more connected to the land around me. I felt less anxious and more quiet in my head.

This is magic.

Writing and anemia

digitalbrain.png I just read this article Anemia May Affect The Brain. No shit, Sherlock. Of course, if the red blood cells are low due to iron deficiency, medications, or other problems then of course the brain won’t work properly. The brain gets needed oxygen and fat from the blood.

The reason I am researching anemia is because the doctor finally named the reason I am feeling brain fog and fatigue. My hemoglobin seems to be in the low normal range, but my iron levels are deficient. She keeps asking me if I am bleeding internally. It can be extremely embarrassing to talk about the color of urine and fecal matter. It doesn’t point to internal bleeding. It does point to malabsorption.

Another article Linking Thyroid Problems, Anemia, Fatigue, and Loss of Cognitive Ability has convinced me that I need to get checked for iodine and selenium deficiencies as well.

I did feel better for about a week after I started to heal from the thyroid surgery. Then the boom lowered and I was back to fatigue. I know I am meandering a little. So my excuse for not writing this last week is because I am fatigued. The reason I am fatigued is because of anemia. The reason I have problems with thinking is once again caused by anemia.

I started iron pills this week. I’m hoping to see a difference in my cognitive abilities soon.

Revelations and music

8c96e-cynearly20 I hardly remember this period in my life. I was nearly twenty in this picture and I am holding my nephew. His sister wants to see the baby.

Nowadays when I see the two of them, they are full adults. I am the senior now, even though I still feel that uncertain new-adult feeling. It’s like a new car smell. It may go away, but you remember it forever. In this picture I was embarking on a new life–shoulder pads and all. In the old-fashioned hero’s journey, I was determined to leave Whiterocks and seek my fortune in music. I had no idea.

Sweet lord, I was so young and naive.

No boring allowed here so I won’t drone on about how it takes money and contacts to get into the music field. Plus I wanted to go to college too. That goal also takes money. Plus my family was not supportive. My dad came out and told me that I had a sweet voice as a child, but my voice was nothing special and some people made music and some people appreciated music. He made it a point to tell me that I was of the second kind.

As you can probably guess, the competition for the music spots in college were fierce. I wasn’t the best voice or even trained. I did have at least one opportunity to train with one of the professors during a summer term. If I could have pulled the finances together, I would have continued with this professor. At the time I was doing a full course load and working two part time jobs. I burned out.

It didn’t help that my father’s words rang in my head. I finally gave in and locked my music into a little box so that I wouldn’t feel the pain. I left college and started looking for a job. Eventually I went into the Navy.

So now it is more than thirty years later.IMG_0431

Recently I decided to go to a community event in my apartment complex. A resident was singing songs from the 50s and 60s. I kept getting invited. It’s rare to see the senior crowd so excited. The style of music, mostly country, wasn’t my thing, but it had been a long time since I had heard someone perform. I admit I was curious.

It was everything advertised. Chuck had been a performer before his stroke. He had fought back so that he could sing again. Plus it was fun. I named one of the fan grandmothers, the “Woo-woo girl” because she screamed, whooped, and hollered louder than a teenager.

Plus Chuck was letting the residents have a chance at the microphone. Only one lady took up the offer and she was loud, proud, and off-key. We didn’t care.

Then I asked Chuck if he did any Frank Sinatra. He put up the music and I started to hum. To my surprise, he handed me the microphone. “Keep it close to your mouth,” he said when I held it like the mike was going to bite me.

Then I sang, “I’ve got you under my skin.”

So now when I go over there to hear the music, I am told that all the singers “that includes you, Cynthia” are going to sing this afternoon.

I’m hoarse from the surgery, but thank you–whoever is listening to me–I can still sing. My voice is not pedestrian. I do have talent.

 

Wild parties and crazy nights

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If you think that you young’uns are party animals, then you haven’t partied with the 60-80 year old crowd. This group is not your grandparents. They were at the bar to enjoy themselves and listen to Chuck Rawlings.

I’ve been in the 55+ senior apartments now since November. I had just turned that age and I was not breathing too well in my last apartment.

Plus I am getting crotchety. It has a lot to do with joints starting to hurt, thyroid going wonky, and an insufficient kidney. Let’s just say that they make me tired and cranky. When I moved here, I was told about Bingo two times a week. If you want my personal opinion, (yes, you do cause you are here) Bingo is boring. I have more fun watching the participants than playing. So I passed on the Bingo.

There was supposed to be a craft group, but apparently when no one came, it was canceled. Anyway, I was hearing some good comments on Chuck’s music. I am not really into the old CW style. I grew up listening to the 60s and 70s music with classical and jazz mixed in. My mother really liked Frank Sinatra and his group of friends. When I listen to Sinatra now, I am still amazed at what he was doing with his voice.

So this resident was playing on Saturday at one of our lounge rooms. I decided to check it out. Here is where I found that decorum had left the building– with Elvis by the way. It was a riot. We had seniors swooning, dancing, and singing along with the music. I got called “baby” a lot.

I was invited to hear Chuck play at a local bar. The seniors had the entire bar singing along and also dancing. We just had a great time. It’s been so long since I’ve had so much fun. It was a wild party.

So if you think that getting old slows you down, well, you are right. But does it stop you from having fun and being the life of the party? Actually no– Of course everything has a price tag.

All those lovely residents at the bar weren’t moving too well the next morning.

Foxy and I

IMG_0393Every morning Foxy and I get dressed. She watches me put on my shoes. Sometimes I will stop and look at my feet.

She will bump my hand until I continue with the chore. By the time I am ready, she twirls around twice to show her happiness. Her tail starts to wag. We are going for a walk.

After we walk out the front door, I have to tell her to sit because she wants to run to the elevator. She knows that is the way to the outside. I have to tell her to quit pulling so I can lock the door. This little dog with little legs walks faster than I do. She pulls me into a fast walk.

I’ve watched other seniors in my community walk their dogs. It is a slow meandering pace from one patch of grass to another. They keep to the slow pace of their owners. Some of these folks walk with canes and others have the black walkers with wheels. I want one of those when I need support. It gives the senior enough stability that she can walk around the complex by herself.

My dog thinks that to enjoy a walk, we need to walk fast enough that I am just at the point of running. In fact if I didn’t pull just a little I would be running. No wonder I am tired after twenty minutes of this.

Foxy has found friends here. When I first rescued her in 2014, she was not socialized to other dogs. It took a long time before she trusted me and before she listened to me. It took a lot of treats and a lot of discipline.

I am happy that she has found friends. It means she trusts me enough to keep her safe.

When I first got her, she was an accomplished escape artist. Now I can keep the door open and she will sit on my recliner and watch the outside.

Today, I let her run to another Chihuahua mix named Chance. They raced toward each other and played. It was a lot of jumping, sniffing, and running. That little girl is a runner. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with her if she ran away, but she comes back.

When I am tired, we power walk back to the apartment. She sniffs for bunnies and I wait for the elevator.

So this is how my morning starts when I am feeling well.

 

Fire Alarms and writing

This weekend I was in the process of rewriting She Called It, Wolf, and whenever I got into the story, the entire building would screech like a wild thing. It is not only inside the building apartments, but the loudest alarms were outside the building.

My Foxy trembled and she didn’t know whether to hide or run to me. I snapped my fingers and had her jump on my recliner. Then I was able to get partially dressed, put a harness on her, and grab my purse. Even though I knew this was another “false alarm,” I decided long ago that I would treat each alarm as if it were real.

Besides I have more than myself to keep safe nowadays. I have heard so many stories of people leaving the house and then realizing that they left their children or their pets in harms way. I want Foxy to know that she must find me and we would leave together.

She trembled the entire time. I still have a headache from that last alarm.

Anyway, once we were out of the building, about ten minutes, I walked her to a small grassy area past the other buildings. We could still hear the alarm. Thankfully it was more muted.

It also means that my writing concentration was broken twice this weekend. I did notice one thing. Very few of the seniors left their apartments. Herein lies the problem– when there are so many false alarms, it becomes easier and easier to ignore the alarm. It nullifies its usefulness.

So just like when the “Boy Called Wolf,” the next time there is a real fire, the seniors will ignore that alarm too.

I decided to treat the alarm as real. Next time it happens I will walk to my car and leave with the dog.