Monday, December 21, 2009

So Much for Sunday Serenity, So Long Holiday Spirit

moar kitteh ROFLOL


This week, calling this blog Joystory is like calling a mudpie chocolate bliss.

Oh, I am so far, far, far from feeling the spirit of Xmas or New Years.

I've been trying so hard to hang on to a sliver of it, a glimmer of it, with one wham after another in the last three weeks or so splashing muck all over it. The crowning wham was the crapout of of my laptop screen this morning. I'm typing this on Ed's laptop. He suspects a driver failure on mine. He thinks we might be able to hook the two together with a USB cable so that we can opporate mine with this one's keyboard so I can get all my files off. But he can't promise to get off work in time to go shopping for one any time before Xmas so that probably means Saturday or later.

I'm supposed to leave for Longview sometime the week after Xmas, to be there for my Mom's birthday. Now it's looking like I'm going to be stuck carrying my files on thumb drives and scrounging time on their PC to blog, check email, write (as if) and work on the family photo scanning project. I'm supposed to be there for two to three weeks.

Actually, I'm supposed to be arriving back home right about now--yesterday, today or tomorrow. The original plan was for me to travel back with my mom and sister when they passed through here the Tuesday after Thanksgiving on their way back from visiting family and attending a Bible conference in Gerber, CA about a 3 hour drive south of us. But on Thanksgiving day at Ed's family get-to-gether the plans were set for his family to celebrate Xmas on December 12th as Ed's brother, traveling down from Toutle, WA couldn't get Xmas week off. At that gathering we all drew names out of a bowl for our secret Santa recipiant and I drew one of the names I really knew how to do for. I was psyched to draw that name. But then I learned the gift exchange would be during the time I was gone. I was dithering about whether to go or stay when Ed took it upon himself to ask my mom and sister (when they stopped on their way south on Thanksgiving) if he could keep me until after Xmas and then they could have me for Mom's birthday, January 3rd and a couple weeks beyond. Everybody was happy with that concept.

We also learned that week (it may have been Thanksgiving day or a day or two earlier) that our niece who got married two years ago and has been living in Montana ever since was expecting a baby in June and planned to bring the baby to visit Washington and Oregon family within a month or so of the birth.

I was high on Holiday spirit that weekend and for most of the following week. I pushed acrosss the NaNo finish line by noon on Monday and then spent several days relaxing, doing what I felt like doing--reading novels, sleeping, crocheting, reading blogs, cleaning out email inboxes and watching Gilmore Girls with Ed every evening. If only I knew then how short the life of my LT really was.
I think it was the first weekend in December we got news that Ed's brother in Toutle was going to have to cancel his plans to come here on the 12th as his 90 something father-in-law was very ill and possibly dying. The earliest he could make the trip would be New Year's weekend. You can see how that was going to mess up my plans to go north immediately after Xmas. But then we got to thinking that I could maybe ride back with them. Toutle is very close to Longview. Close enough Ed and I used to babysit their kids when we were living in Longview. Yes, one of them is the young lady now living in Montana. She has two siblings, a brother and sister, and we've not seen any of them since the summer the younger girl graduated from high-school in 2007.

So that was their grandpa who was possibly dying that first weekend of December. Well he raillied and seems to be holding his own for the moment. But by then Ed's brother had already switched his days off and couldn't change them back. So our whole family Xmas was still going to be held about a week late.

I attempted a little rally of my own last week. All that crocheting was part of it. It helps me think. And then when Ed's folks left town Thursday morning for an overnight trip, I decided to use the time they were gone to do laundry and clean our room. I told most of that story in a previous post. The wham came when I got a muscle spasm in my lower back while sorting laundry. In spite of it I pushed on and got four loads of clothes and bedding thru the machines, decluttered our room and bagged the garbage, and put the livingroom (where I'd moved my 'office' and moved in the mini-tramp from the porch) kitchen (where Ed had prepared for me halibut fillets on a bed of greens, mushrooms, tomato and avocado) laundry area and bathroom) before Ed's folks got home.

Meanwhile, when taking breaks while waiting on the machines or to give my back a break, I busied myself with a major tidy-up task in my laptop files. While working on that book review of The Brutal Telling, last week I had decided that I really needed to get all those partial book reviews copy/pasted from their MS Works documents into my WhizFolders Pro Book Review document. I had moved about twenty or so of the most nearly completed last October if I'm remembering right and managed to get several posted. I needed to get them into the WhizFolder document so I could take a good look and decide which ones were worth pursuing, which ones I needed to send for at the library either to finish, reference or to help me decide whether to pursue a review.

Besides getting their topics created in Whiz makes them available to drop notes and links I come across and thus build the skeleton of a review with a slow calcium drip and prep its wardrobe one thread at a time.

I transferred 60 to 80 of them and in the process created bib slips for each of them in my Whiz Reading Journal as well as review topics in the Whiz book review document (there are now over 150). The 'bib slip' file in the reading journal is where I record the bibliography info for any book I encounter and especially engage with (even wishlists) and manage library books from ordering to renewing to returning and keep track of page numbers I leave off on and maybe some notes as to the relevance to any research project or WIP.

If I was on my LT I could take a screen shot of Whiz and post it here. I was going to go grab the one from Thursday's post and repost it here but what's the point. You can scroll down or go here to see it. Or click on the WhizFolder lable and find other posts where I sing its praises. In one of them you'll find the link to the WhizFolder Pro site. Or just Google or Yahoo. My link is in my Whiz Web Map and two or three other handy locations in WhizFolders. As are every important, regularly used link. How am I going to manage without it? For even a few days?

Well I'm getting some hints while doing this post without it and it is not a pretty picture. I have done all and I mean all draft work (except for simple, short and shallow blog posts) and note managing in Whiz for nearly two years now. All and I mean ALL of my bookmarks for both the web and my files are in my WhizFolder files. Many of my passwords and screen names as well though I seldom needed them since Firefox was set to remember me.

I did manage to back up my writing files onto a thumb drive before the screen sighed its last. That and my ebook folder were the only ones that would still fit on the same thumbs. My graphics file and my audio/video files had gone outtasight. While I was in Longview my entire graphics file fit on a 4GB with a sliver of room to spare so I knew I was going to need to split it up next time and that is why I procrastinated on backing it up. I had no idea it had nearly doubled in size--with all the digital pics I dumped in from my camera and all the family photos I scanned while in Longview, and the graphics for that mysterious website Ed and I have been working on during his off seasons for the last couple years, which I can't be specific about for fear of someone else grabbing onto the concept and running with it.

As for the audio files? They used to fit on a 2GB. Just some music and an audio book. That was before I downloaded itunes and started loading up on free podcasts. Now I'm not sure where they sit but I'm pretty sure its in the double-digit GB as in over 10, possibly closer to 20. I couldn't even begin to think about them this afternoon so I put my focus on the graphics. I hoped to get them backed up. Especially the family photo scan folder, my camera dump, my Pics for Posting folder where I've put pics collected or processed for web display. I spent hours combing through every file looking for things I could delete. There were a lot of duplicates but not enough. They could only dimple the mass that I needed to shink. I see now I wasted a lot of time in dithering and shuffling files around trying to make it easier for later so that related things could be on the same thumb. I should have just bundled them however they would fit and made the move.

And then used the extra time, if any, to see if I could figure out how to move the WhizFolder program onto a thumb. It's supposed to be possible. Tho some of the features are deactivated or something.

I was getting very close to ready to move them when I was called to dinner. I have never wanted so badly to just ignore that call and boy that's saying something. I dreaded finding the screen black again when I got back from doing dishes. I had no appetite. Was even nauseated. My back tensed up and threatened to spasm on me again while I did dishes. But when I got back to the room and lifted the lid of my laptop the screen was still on. I set about clearing a spot to sit as Ed had moved the stuff I'd spread out on the bed onto my side while I was in the kitchen. It was only 7 and he was getting ready to crash. The ten hour days are catching up with him.

While I was showing him the crochet project I started this morning before all the hullabaloo with the LT, I kept glancing at the screen and I saw it start to flicker, wobble, lines scrolling up, the corners brown out. I said Look that's what I'm talking about and he nodded and then Wham! it went black.

That's when he told me it looked more like a driver crash than a failure of the hardware. And while I attempted to get the image back by forcing a reboot again...and again... and again, he got out his laptop and set me up with a desktop. If you're remembering that post back before NaNo when I blogged about him setting me up with a desktop on his Vista and me spending hours getting all the settings to my liking--big fonts, menus, scroll bars, color scheme, background, and so forth, well, just this past weekend he upgraded to Windows 7 so I have to start from scratch.

Meanwhile I'm used to using a mouse and I'm having a hard time getting this touchpad to cooperate. It's more sensitive than mine ever was and everytime I want to scroll a couple lines I end up at the top or bottom of the page. I'm used to using Firefox and he hasn't downloaded it yet. I'm used to having certain keys identifiable by touch because of the textured stickers I put on them. Not only aren't they tagged for my fingers but many aren'te even in the same place--like delete. And I can't have a real light on in here right now. And I have his LT on a box on the foot of the bed and am sitting half sideways which is making my lower back very ticked with me. I should have taken it in the other room but when I started Ed's folks were still watching TV out there and I thought I would be done in 30 minutes tops.

My plan when Ed got up this morning was to spend the day reading and crocheting when my eyes need to rest. After that 17 hour sleep I had Saturday I wasn't ready to sleep, I was just getting my brain back when he got up at 4AM. So I got coffee out of the pot he made and back in our room alone, I got down my big bag of yarn because I had an idea for an Xmas present for someone. Can't say what or who just yet, just in case. I haven't crocheted with yarn since highschool. It's quite different.

So I started my news pod casts playing in iTunes and listened while I crocheted. I intended to start reading after Ed left and thus fear of interruption with him. But I got hooked and was still at it between 9:30 and 10AM when I looked up to see my screen black.

It's now almost 1AM and I still haven't slept since 4:30 Saturday. I began this post at 9Pm, scheduling it to post after midnight. But I'm still writing. I didn't start out intending to go into this much detail. This is the kind of thing I do in my personal journal--tho I do admit quite a bit more tidy here--vomit words onto the page/screen. I can't access my journal--yes, its in a WhizFolder--so I guess I'm making this a substitute.

I'm about wiped. But I haven't even finished listing all the Whams from this past week yet. I think I'm trying to avoid having to think about them. Here goes...

My sister-friend Jamie almost died a week ago last Thursday. She'd been having breathing issues for over a year. She sounded like Darth Vader. They had been running tests on Thrusday and it all took so long that the Doctor who'd seen her earlier in the day had gone home and the Dr on call who took over her case consulted with her over the phone--they were in the same complex but she was in reception and he in his office or radiology, not sure. So after making her wait for hours and hours for the results of all these tests he calls her on the phone and tells her they found no evidence of an obstruction. She was free to go. She'd been living with this for a year after all so what was another night? He didn't even bother to meet her face to face and hear the sound of her breathing.
It was the receptionist who looked alarmed (so my sister who waited with Jamie all day tells me) and she suggested quite firmly that Jamie not spend the night alone at her apartment. So she was going home with my sister to my mom's house where Jamie lived from age 13 to 21 as my parent's ward. But they were halfway there when Jamie's biological sister who lives in the deep south now got on the phone with my sister and told her to take her back and make them take care of her. (a total paraphrase if you get my drift) So they went back and went to ER. Where they called the ENT (ear nose throat) guy from home. Radiology had been looking at bronchial tubes and lungs but the obstruction was in her windpipe just below the voice box. Scar tissue had occluded 90 percent of her airway. It was supposed to be the size of a quarter but it was the size of a BB.

They had to send her by ambulance to OHSU in Portland, OR where the next day they stretched the airway with a balloon and took a biopsy. Thank God there was no evidence of cancer cells. It's hard to know what caused it tho bacteria infection is one possibility and she has had a lot of lingering coughs over the last several years. At least that Wham had a happy ending.

But I stressed through the whole of Thursday night and into Friday evening. And I couldn't help but think that only if I'd gone north as planned, I would have been there to hold her hand instead of here fretting and refreshing my email and checking my IM every five minutes. Jamie is almost young enough to be my daughter--if I'd been a teen mom, I'd have a kid her age. I babysat her a couple of times when she was little and after she lived with my parents she spent a lot of time at my appartment and it was during those years our relationship developed into the sistership it is now. Love you so much sis!!! Go here to read Jamie's post about the ordeal.

She and I are often IMing half the night but I haven't heard much from her since the day after her surgery as her biological sister flew to her side as soon as she could. Jamie's sister was only a couple years behind me in school.

That wasn't the last Wham--the last before the laptop crash, I mean. Not even the penultimate one. Which is this. My neice in Montana lost her baby Wedensday. A lot of the busy work I've done since has been an attempt to take my mind off that.

Here's the last: Her parents were driving over from Toutle WA to see her and hit a patch of ice on one of those Montana mountain roads. They crashed into a guardrail totaling their van so bad they were penned in. Then an eighteen wheeler went by them and it hit ice and the trailer slewed causing the driver to drive over the edge into the ravine. Which they witnessed in fear it was going to slide into them, or that one of the other cars going by would. The truck driver, a woman, lived but was in critical condition. There was a man in the sleeper and he walked away, even climbed out of the ravine without help. As for Ed's brother and his wife, they too walked away once their doors were pried or cut open.

But now they are having trouble finding a rental car they can take out of Montana and he has to be back at work by Tuesday. Oh, and he traded days off with someone so he could make that trip and now what with his transportation iffy who knows if he's going to make it for Xmas at all.

I rather doubt anyone has made it to the end of this. Along about the sixth paragraph I began to realize I was most likely conversing with myself but that's OK. This is how I process.

It is now 2:30AM. *head shaking* Ed will be up in 90 minutes. My hands, wrists, forearms, elbows and sholders are all wondering if it's NaNo time again already.
Excuse me if I don't proof read.

1 tell me a story:

Jamie 12/22/2009 4:45 AM  

I love you too, Joy. I am happy to be breathing and I am looking forward to seeing you...

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