Monday, June 28, 2021

Technology is a Pain in the A$$

I broke down and bought a new laptop. The old one has been with me since...I can't really remember, but a long time. I'm not one to buy new for the sake of new, but I had a little issue while on my writers retreat and when DH ran a few diagnostics, he was of the opinion that the hard drive had some bad sectors and might be in danger of failing. The battery had lost all it's charge years ago and I always have to be plugged in, which isn't usually a problem. Couple that with its age, especially its technological age, and, well, time for a new one.

Sadly, new devices come with so much added bloatware--all those programs you really have no need of (until maybe you try them) put on there by the manufacturer itself or by third parties who pay for the real estate.

There's no such thing as a PC with just an operating system loaded on it, allowing you to load the things you want / need and only the things you want / need. *sigh* But I have an IT company in my back pocket, so anything that could and should be removed was.

New devices are such a pain in the patootie, not only for that reason, but when it's been that long since one has had a new device, the user interfaces have changed a bit too and take some getting used to.

But the new laptop and I are making friends and I should be ready for my next trip in plenty of time. That and I won't always have to be tethered to electricity. Yay!

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Update to Friday's post: Sad to say, the Islanders lost to Tampa Bay and the Lightning are making a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final. Let's go Habs.

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Hope you had a great weekend and here's to a great week...

Friday, June 25, 2021

Félicitations au Les Canadiens de Montréal

In an upset that no one in the hockey world expected--the Montreal Canadiens advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Last night, the Habs, as they're sometimes called, beat the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games. The Knights were one of three odds-on favorites to go all the way and win.

The Canadiens, on the other hand, finished 18th in the NHL at the end of the regular season (behind my Dallas Stars) but 4th in their division and earning themselves a spot in the playoffs.

Once making the playoffs, they took down the Toronto Maple Leafs, the League's 6th best team (by points) and then swept the Winnipeg Jets (only 14th best).

 This is their first trip to the Final since 1993--that's twenty-eight years!

After tonight, we'll know who they'll be playing--last year's Stanley Cup champs (the Tampa Bay Lightning) or the New York Islanders, who themselves haven't made the Finals since 1984. They've made the playoffs plenty of times, as have the Habs, but neither team has gotten to the Final in decades.

Despite losing $15 on my Stanley Cup Final wagers--$5 when the Stars didn't make it to the post-season, $5 when the Colorado Avalanche lost to the Golden Knights, and then last night when the Golden Knights lost to the Canadiens--I'm tickled red, white, and blue for the Habs.


As always, have a great weekend. :0)

Monday, June 21, 2021


Mental Health is a thing...not one I suffer from except on a very generic basis like the doldrums. But I'm aware of my mental health and I try to do things that keep me up and avoid the things that bring me down.

Stephen Johns logging miles at Notre Dame where he attended school and played hockey.

Photo credit to Jeff Toates.

It's not so easy for millions of people. Partly because of the nature of their particular circumstance and partly because of the stigma associated with mental health issues. Mental health care should be as much a part of society's routine and lifestyle as standard medical, dental, and vision care.

Mental health issues come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They happen for all kinds of reasons.

Once such reason is injury, especially prevalent in sports. Which gets us to the reason for my post...

A former Dallas Star, Stephen Johns, has been forced to retire from hockey after a hit in March of 2018 that was fatal to his career. As a result of that hit, he's suffered post-traumatic headaches ever since. He was off fans' radars for a good year and half while he tried to recover and tried to find answers. He's recovered enough in that he doesn't need to stay cocooned in darkened rooms any longer to keep the pain bearable. But there have been no answers as to how a normal hockey hit triggered something that Stephen will have to live with forever.

As a result of the pain and anguish for multiple reasons, including having to give up one the things he most loved--his hockey career--he fell into a deep depression. In a few interviews, he's confessed that suicidal thoughts were not uncommon in the darkest days. What's a guy to do when it hurts in myriad ways just to be alive? When the one thing you worked for your whole life is taken away by a fluke of nature?

But Stephen has found a new purpose (at least temporarily)--he's currently inline skating across America from his hometown in Pennsylvania to the Oregon coast in an effort to bring awareness to the importance of mental health.

If you care to follow his journey and/or to signal boost his endeavors, follow him on social media:



His trip is being documented by Jeff Toates, good friend of Stephen's as well as former Dallas Stars media guy (photographer and videographer).

As Robin Williams sadly prophetically said, "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always,"


Friday, June 18, 2021

Juneteenth--the new Federal Holiday

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia.

In case you missed it, President Biden signed the bill yesterday to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. I'm all about another mandated day off work. But we're not implementing it until next year. Maybe...

It appears as though we're not required by law to honor every single federal holiday with paid time off. As an employer, we honor six of ten and add in Black Friday. We also usually only work half or two-thirds of a day on Christmas and New Years eves. So maybe we're not adding it to the list of paid holidays...

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 14, 2021

Hello There and Happy Birthday to Me

It's been longer than intended since I posted last, but my life really is unexciting right now. Even I was bored with myself.

But I celebrated my birthday this past Saturday while on a writers retreat with some lovely ladies and fellow writers.

We stayed at a lovely house in Granbury located on one of the small canals off the lake. Here are some pics of the lovely yard.

From the back porch...


Taken from a seating area just off the back porch... There's a small dock just below where that squirrel is.

Another seating area under the shade of three large oak trees. Even mid-afternoon it was pleasant as long as there was a breeze...

And the neighbors yard, as seen from the seating area above...

I also saw a goose family floating down the canal. A parent on each end and three goslings in the middle. :0)

It was a lovely weekend and I got a huge writing/editing task taken care of along with a little brainstorming help from the other ladies.

Hope you're well. Take care.

Friday, June 4, 2021

To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade...

Back when I first registered for last year's GRL (2020), which became this year's GRL (2021), I did so as an "author" because the "featured author" tier sold out, as it usually does, in a matter of minutes. I'm not kidding. So I put myself on the waiting list for a featured author slot should one become available. That was a year and a half ago and I don't remember doing so.

However, I got an email from the organizers on Wednesday saying there was a slot available. I had forty-eight hours to let them know if I wanted to upgrade.

Did I?

I had to weigh the cons--the additional $100--against the pros: additional exposure by way of added opportunities. I talked to a few fellow authors, one in my genre and also attending and two online friends, not in the genre, as well as to DD. Three of the four were of the opinion I should go for it.

So I'm going for it. I let the organizers know I wanted the slot and am awaiting instructions for upgrade.

One of the additional opportunities is to participate in an author Q&A or in a storyteller panel (topic TBD by me or by someone else). Both of these make me nervous. Not because I'm nervous about talking in front of people. As long as I know what I'm talking about, I'm fine.

But because the Q&A is "on the fly" and my brain doesn't always process immediately or well until I've had time to think about things. Now I'd be talking about myself mostly, so that shouldn't be terrible. I know myself pretty well, right? But I attended some of these when I went to Albuquerque and Portsmouth to see what they were like and sometimes the questions do require more processing. Maybe I take a notepad and write down the questions to circle back to...

I'd prefer a storyteller panel because I could research and be prepared, but what could I possibly offer except a primer on hockey and the interest in that would probably be pretty small. And panel means more than one person and that means me soliciting others or others soliciting me to participate. The challenge there is that I'm new. No one knows me, I don't know anyone. Most of the attendees have been going since the conference started and they all know one another. This crowd can be a bit intimidating.

DD suggested I just not participate. Which is definitely an option. But I'd hate to let it go to waste...

So if I can come up a really cool idea for a panel topic, I'll go that route. If I chicken out, I'll default to the Q&A...

Topic suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Happy Birthday, Mom!!



Hope you have a super day tomorrow.


Unfortunately this is the only "recent" picture I have of my mom and me--and it's a good five years old now. We've lived so far apart for so long and traveling to her neck of the woods isn't a day's drive. And airfare is usually beyond the limits of my pocketbook.

But I suppose I should try to make something happen....neither of us are getting any younger.