Friday, May 22, 2020

A Pandemic Life

  My Pandemic life has been better than I thought it would be.  I have been on 14-day quarantine twice, but so far, so good.  I never felt house bound or bored.  MOMA offered free online courses.  I took Design as Fashion and Seeing Through Photographs.  (I highly recommend both.)  I became a jigsaw puzzle enthusiast.  I painted, albeit in cramped quarters.  I missed my studio at the Torpedo Factory.  The Factory is closed but we must still pay rent
   My dog walks increased in distance, from 45 minutes to 3.5 to 4 miles a day.  I think the outdoors kept me sane. I assumed walking over 25 miles a week would result in weight loss, but it has not.  I don't understand why. So,  I have a drink every night. It used to be just weekends but the days became indistinguishable.  Oh,  and I have developed a habit for Lindt Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt, buying them by the case online.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Beware of what you wish for....

  My grandchildren live with their parents in Niger, West Africa.  They were home for Christmas.  I would not see them again until late summer before their next posting to Laos. (Two years ago when they were in Korea, I thought it was a long haul.  Laos is nearly 24 hours away.) 

Covid-19  swept through our fragile lives with a vengeance.  When they closed the schools and playgrounds, I could only be grateful that my kids were grown. No homeschooling for me!  My husband and I selfishly hunkered  down with a full freezer, stack of books, a full bar and netflix. 

 My daughter -in -law and grandkids (3 and 5)  caught the last plane out of Niger before the airfield closed down.  They were to quarantine for two weeks.  Our health is less compromised than her family's, so they stayed with us.  I really enjoyed their company and was sorry to see them go to an isolated cabin in the Shenandoah area.

My son was still in Niger where Covid 19 wasn't considered as serious as malaria and Colera.  Until the State Department thought, maybe it was.  A cargo/sickbay plane flew from Madagascar picking up the Americans. It was thirty-five hours and several stops before it got to Niger.  By the time it landed at Dulles, my son had a fever.  He stayed in a hotel room. I suggested it was Covid-19. He insisted that it was "Niamey Crud" not Covid-19.  Eventually the State Department ventured that he did have Covid-19 and monitored him by phone.  He is on the mend and looking forward joining his family.

Once again, I am reminded, everything hangs by a thread.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Offices of Tilted and Askew

                                                © 2007  Cindy Packard Richmond

 I wish I could say I embraced the future with Apple's OS 15 Catalina with its 64 bit color.  I honestly tried.  But when I tried to open my spreadsheet of expenses for 2019, nothing!  I had made backups and backups of my backups.  OS 15 wouldn't open any of them.
Apple support helped me back to the dark ages of OS Mojave and Elements 6. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Choppy Water

                        "Turmoil" © 2019 Cindy Packard Richmond

  I got my first Apple computer in 1984.  A one piece  monolith, it sat about 18 inches tall.  Floppy disks (which did not bend much less flop) could only hold ten pages of data.  (Hence the truncated chapters of my second novel.)  I have stuck with Apple all these years, mostly for their support system.  I am not xenophobic, but by the time I call the support line I am already beyond flustered.  I need instructions in English-as-first-language help.  Apple is very good at that.
   Apple recently upgraded to the Catalonia OS system.   I might just as well have taken an axe to the head.  Suddenly, many of my workhorse applications were unusable. Apple slapped white circles with diagonals through the dock icons.  My Photoshop Elements, gone.  My scanner, kaput, my spreadsheet photos and records of 400 plus paintings, unretrievable.  Photos are essential to my business.  I paint from them and I sell them.
   I never feel so old as when I have to wrestle with a new program.  Once I upgraded to Photoshop Elements 11, but that was too daunting.   Elements 6 is my comfort zone.  I have used it daily for 13 years.  When Apple  refused to run it, I hoped the  Elements 11 version might pass muster. Ha.  Only Elements 2020 ($99)will do.   I bought two books on how to use 2020.  I am still mystified.
  Photoshop 2020 seems to have issues Apple's OS Catalina.  My printer is mad and reports that it can not print at 300 dpi.  As one website said, Catalina has ended Apple's "32-bit app support, forcing such apps to run in complex workarounds."  I'll say.
  The coup de grace came this morning.  I plugged in my shuffle to download podcasts and the computer went black.  I unplugged the shuffle and got the screen back.  Tried again.  Black again.  

Monday, January 6, 2020

On My Way

                                                 "On My Way" © 2019 Cindy Packard Richmond

   I have been remiss in my blogging.  I don't believe anyone objected.  Yesterday,  a bridesmaid from my wedding forty-nine years ago, happened upon my blog.  It is comforting in this era of voter manipulation, cyber bullies,  stolen intellectual property, pedophilia and financial hackers, that something good can come from the internet.
   Maybe the world has always been this chaotic, this frantic, this fragile.  Bad news now travels too fast, trampling civility in its wake.
  If I post again, I will try to be wry.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Plumb Tickler

  The plumbing fixtures in our shared family house are 114 years old.
  We have the same plumber we have had since 1953.  I suspect by now we are dealing with the grandsons of the original plumber.

  To fix our many plumbing ills, the plumber must wait in a ferry lineup.  Sometimes for hours.  

  This spring, when the water was turned back on, the bar sink leaked.  We called in our reliable plumber.  We were in Virginia at the time. We asked for an estimate. He declined to give one.  Too many unknowns.  When we arrived in mid-August we pursued the issue.  A man, who said he had been working on our pipes for 30 years, in fact had apprenticed on our pipes, came.  He said our plumbing was legendary on the island.  Everyone else had bit the bullet and upgraded.  Our plumbing belonged in a museum, he said with affection.  Our leaking copper sink has a wooden box attached underneath.  That combined with old lead dissolving pipes means it will take two days or "five to six thousand dollars" to repair. Unless of course they run into something unexpected.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

What Lurks Beneath....

   When I was a child, ticks were mere annoyances.  They were ever so nicer than mosquitoes.  We would pluck them off, or out, with little concern. While the adults had cocktails, the children would gather the dogs for their nightly rummage.  Ticks were dropped in glasses of soap detergent.  (I had one in my ear once which wasn’t fun, but no one dreamt that Rocky Mountain Fever was a real possibility.)
   One of my true pleasures in life is walking the paths and beaches of Chappaquiddick Island.  My family bought a house there in 1953.  When people talk of ‘a sense of place’ I know what they mean.
  Now, Ticks have become more than an annoyance.  They are smaller and fiercer than their predecessors. They carry life altering diseases. Before I walk, I spray myself with toxic fumes. The mosquitoes always manage to find the one vulnerable spot, so I have no doubt the ticks will as well. Last year and again this year, I have random, itchy, fluid filled bites all over my legs. Last year I saw a doctor who was unable to identify them.  This year, I went to the local chat site and found I was not alone.  Others had been bit.
   Some believe them to be tick larvae bites. ( Chappaquiddick has an explosion of  tiny lone star ticks.)  Someone thought the bites were from chiggers which was oddly more comforting than tick larvae bites. Someone else posited that we don’t have chiggers on Chappy.  All of the afflicted hope that larvae bites don’t spread the disease.  I mean, what are the odds?