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?


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

On Injured Reserve, Again

Cloaked as a sheik, Sam tried to fool us, to escape unseen into the night. Today he is scheduled for his second knee repair in eight months. Sam is my son's dog, who is living with us for two years.
   I do love Sam.  When we took Sam in last summer he was a dynamo, requiring more than an hour of exercise a day to be just rambunctious.  He raided the garbage, humped every person, dog or pillow within his reach, and whined through the octaves for hours at a time.  But even with all that,  he is a better dog than he was seven years ago (see "Run, Roo, Run" from 2012 blogs).
   His last surgical recovery was a very long slog for all of us. Twelve weeks of confinement, two months of limited exercise.  When he blew out his other knee a month later, we keened.  We vowed no more expensive surgery.  But Sam is a runner and a jumper. To see him hobbled and dispirited broke our resolve.
   Also, daily CBD oil has made him sweeter, less anxious.  He hasn't raided the garbage or humped any one or thing in a long while.  His argumentative vocal sessions are shorter. 
    We took Sam in to the vet hospital this morning.  Other dogs on the surgical docket were there before us.  Sam commenced baying and wouldn't stop.  I had never heard him bay before.  I suspect he was trying to incite a canine revolt but his intended conspirators were lily-livered.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Next Door to The Great Beyond

                                     "Color Echoes" © 2011 Cindy Packard Richmond

   In regards to old age, my father used to say "After 70, it's all maintenance."
   It is disheartening  that so many people aren't making it to 70. Reunion bulletins bring distressing news.  The best athletes in my high school class are dead.  Three of my boyfriends from college are gone.
    A dear friend called on Thanksgiving 2018 to say she had neuro-endrochinal cancer in her liver, legs and lungs.  She was crippled with pain and didn't know if she would do chemotherapy or "mosey on down the road".  She opted for the brutal chemo.  Her doctor at the Mayo Clinic promised to tell her  when treatment was pointless.
   At the end of January, he told her she had a month get her affairs in order, that her death would not be painful, that she would fade away in her own bed.   We spoke the advantages of knowing when and where Death would come.  There is a certain solace in facing the inevitable.
    Two weeks before her expected death, the doctor called.  He had been at a medical conference.  He wanted to try an experimental, small cell lung cancer trial.
    A week later, she said  I should expect her to visit this summer.  I thought she was delusional.
    Two months later she was not in remission.  She is cured.  The cancer is dead.  The only caveat, she has to take $400 dollars of pills a day for three years.
    I saw her last week.  She is fit as a fiddle (whatever that means).  Her doctor has written  up her case for medical journals. She is the only Mayo Clinic patient to have beaten this form of cancer.
    Would that cancer miracles weren't so rare.  But I am damned grateful for this one.