Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Computers -- Making My Life Easier????

I'm sure that overall, that's an affirmative. However I've just spent the last three hours fighting my web browser to let me into a conferencing site for a board meeting tomorrow. I mean, if I can't get myself in there (I'm the secretary), then we have to change the meeting. Then my computer would be inconveniencing five other people who have arranged their schedules to accommodate this meeting. On the suggestion of a friend (whose time I also chewed up trying to figure out my problem), I downloaded another web browser. I now think I'm good to go for tomorrow's meeting. That's assuming it'll accept the three people it wouldn't let me add today. Grrrrrrr.

Although on-line shopping is a great tool for writers who keep odd hours and like to do their shopping at 3 am, I spent two hours last night trying to purchase something that HAD to be purchased. I browsed. I chose my item. Clicked the "add to cart" button. Chose additional options, and again added to cart. Went to check out ... "your shopping cart is empty." Seriously? I logged off. Brought the site up again. Went through the entire process. Same result -- empty cart. Well, I must be a real idiot not to be able to point and click my way to a purchase.

Rebooted my computer. Tried again. Again, empty cart. And you know, time's a tickin' toward the holiday when said gift needs to be at its destination.

Now I'm smart enough to know when to yell "Uncle." Well, maybe not, because I should have after the second failed attempt. So I take a giant leap back into the early nineties and call the 800 number to make a telephone purchase. First call disconnects as I'm waiting for a "service representative." Did I mention that I'm doing this after an afternoon of real live in person store shopping (so not my favorite sport)? Well, I'm invested now. There is no way I'm giving up until I have that item in my cart and on the way to its new home.

Second try on the 800 number does the trick. By now, I'm sweating and grinding my teeth. Oh, yeah, the person on the phone is using the same website to place my order, I can hear her clicking away, telling me as she makes each selection, all the way to purchase confirmed. Crikey.

You know, I think perhaps I need to come up with a murder mystery that has to do with computer frustration. We've all been there. It's a believable story line, right?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Been a Busy Day

I'm just about ready to surrender and not even try to write until after Christmas. Although I have all of these thoughts swirling around in my head about my current work in progress, it seems I can only grab a handful of minutes at a time. But it isn't as if I'm not working...

I started off my day with an Internet radio interview conducted by the gracious Cheryl, Dallas Book Diva. This woman really knows how to conduct an interview. It's difficult for me not to sound like a babbling idoit once I start chattering about one of my books. But she was so organized and did such a great job of asking just the right questions -- which tells me something very, very important about her. She read the book, really read it, not skimming and getting facts confused. She knew my characters probably as well as I do, and had some keen insights of her own.

Cheryl loved SLEEP NO MORE, she loved the plot, the characters, the family drama and the romance. I'm very flattered, because she gets dozens and dozens of books for review and only reviews and interviews eight per month. So here's a huge thank you to Cheryl!

After my interview, I had to take a break to wet the parched whistle. Then I worked for a while on a very personal Christmas gift I'm preparing for my mother. Then it was time for lunch, followed by a trip to the post office to mail off books to contest winners -- this is worth repeating ... I went to the post office in December. The line is killer in a non-holiday month.

After I brought my trembling hands and gritted teeth out of the post office, it was time to take my daughter to the airport. She's going to visit a lifetime friend who now lives on the west coast. They were born three weeks apart, grew up two doors from one another, went all through school (including college) together. They're going to have such a great time!

Now, after I dropped her at the airport curb, getting the stink-eye from the security agent who seemed to think we were taking too long to get the luggage out of the car, I hit rush hour traffic -- on a Friday. Grrrrrr.

On the way back home, I had to stop at my daughter's house and pick up our grandpup, Ellie, and all of her gear 'cause while her mommy is having fun on the west coast, she's staying with us. We have a dog too, a big dog, but our dog is just short of being a stuffed animal, you hardly know he's around, doesn't eat much, doesn't bark much, has his own bedroom and stays there a lot of the time. Ellie ... well, Ellie is the exact opposite, a bundle of muscle that wants to play (intensely) constantly. Lucky for her she's so cute. That's why she gets to stay with us and not
at the kennel -- those brown puppy eyes and cute floppy ears. Right now she's supervising the writing of this blog. This is her in her Colts jersey. She's a fan.

Once I had Ellie all settled in, it was time for the ritual Friday night at the movies. I can get my husband to go see just about any movie if I buy him popcorn. We saw Invictus. It was good. Morgan Freeman was phenominal, as always. Post movie, it was time to run a little energy out of Ellie (she's poking me right now with her nose, trying to get me to throw her stuffed squirrel). Wonder if she'll ever go to sleep tonight? Heaven knows, I'm ready to go to bed.

Maybe I'll get a paragraph written tomorrow.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Exercise is Fun

Actually, I detest exercising. And truthfully what I do barely qualifies as exercise – it certainly doesn't qualify as "working out."

I do like the way I feel after I'm cooled down and showered. I do like being less sluggish. But what I like the most is listening to my audio books while I walk outdoors or struggle to meet my (embarrassingly small) goal on the elliptical. And because of that, I only allow myself to listen to audio books while I'm exercising. And because of that it takes me a really long time to get through an unabridged edition, which is the only way I'll listen to them. I mean, really, what is the point of listening to an abridged book? Who decides what parts I'm not interested in? But I digress….

When I've spent all of the time I can tolerate sitting at the keyboard, when the novel I'm writing turns into white noise in my head, I take off for fresh air and my audio book break. I usually come back recharged, and listening to a good book really inspires me to write.

Right now I'm listening to an exceptional audio book, Kathryn Stockett's The Help. Oh my gosh, I can't even imagine reading this book because it's so well done in audio. I have actually walked an extra mile just so I don't have to stop listening. Each character point of view has its own voice actress, and every one of them is phenomenal. The only problem is as I am now into the third audio part, I don't want it to be over. Although I haven't finished this audio book, I fear that I'm going to feel like I've been taking daily walks with friends and they have been stripped from me. So be warned, if you listen to this one, be prepared to feel a little bereft after you've reached the last word.

I'll try to post again after I've finished the book. I feel I've only given half of a review here, but I've just been so enchanted with this one, I couldn't wait to share.