Opening Windows

I shocked myself the other day when I realized I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in the new version of Windows.

I remember in November 1985 (I was pregnant with my son at the time) being excited when the first version of Windows was released. I read everything I could on it and was so excited when we bought a desktop PC with it on it. Over the next few years computers became my passion … learning DOS (and teaching my 4-year-old daughter how to program games in DOS) and exploring the new Windows programs. I taught myself how to upgrade computer hardware, serviced my clients networks and thought seriously about becoming a certified technician. When Windows 95 was released I was ecstatic. Microsoft had revolutionized desktop computers.

For better or worse, Windows 95 changed my life. Windows 95 introduced me to social networking … I chatted with people from all over the world. I became a hostess in a MSN chat room, spent hours exploring the internet (not much was online back then but I read everything I could find).

Knowing DOS gave me a backdoor into the new Windows OS. My daughter and I (she is 13 at this point) could have become a mother/daughter hacking team. We taught each other HTML, simple hacking programs and kept pushing the envelope. Over the next few years I had to watch my daughter because she is brilliant and could easily have become an internet mastermind. I wrote simple password cracking programs, a program that allowed me to record keystrokes entered on the computer and, my favourite, a program that would take screen shots every 15 seconds and hide them on the computer.

I had to watch my daughter. She wrote programs that generated charge card numbers, enabled her computer to make long distance phone calls (an early version of Skype) without being charged. Luckily she moved on to master some other challenge.

XP came out in 2001 and it became difficult to use the DOS tricks we had learned over the years. Changes were fast and I was losing interest in mastering computers. I was so busy with work that it fell into the background. My granddaughter and stepdaughter had moved in with us and suddenly my life was taken up with a toddler. Computers were fading into the background. I still was interested but on a casual level.

Now Microsoft has come out with Windows 8. LAST WEEK. I haven’t even looked at it .. I have no interested in upgrading … no interest in knowing what it offers. I don’t feel like I need to run out and buy it.

The window is closed … now it is time to open a new door.

Great Expectations

I am having a difficult time writing today. They finally started my kitchen (over 3 weeks late) but they won’t be finished in time. I need to get back up north and must leave by Monday at the latest. The condo is a mess and has been for over 3 weeks … They demolished the kitchen and then went off to work on other jobs.

Yesterday we discovered we had dry wood termites in the tall boy in our bedroom. We bought it from a consignment store … Beautiful piece of old furniture. The Orkin man feels we caught it in time but still it has been rather upsetting.

And, finally, yesterday was our 31st anniversary. I had great plans for the day and it all fell through. No ones fault though .. just a problem with all the workmen. Oh well we will always have next year.

Bucket List

I have decided this is a good time to start my bucket lost. I have already crossed off many things on my bucket list (such as touching Uluru) so this is for moving forward. This post will constantly evolve and be updated. Once I complete an item I will bold it and continue working on my list until I die.

My list is (in no particular order):

Learn a new language. For some reason I have always wanted to learn Italian or Spanish. I would like to be able to have a casual conversation in another language.

I would like to take cooking lessons, either in person or online, so I can make extraordinary meals.

I want to start a cookbook blog of favourite family recipes.

I would like to learn how to play chess. This will help my brain as I age.

I want to learn CPR.

I would like to see a real iceberg.

I would like to visit the British Museum.

I would like to go to the Dali Museum.

I have ALWAYS wanted to write a book.

I would like to fly a kite.

I would like to take art lessons. I would like to know how to paint or draw.

I want to take photography lessons and learn how to use Photoshop.

I would like to read 25 of the top novels of all time.

I want to see a live volcano.

I want to visit Key West.

I would like to go to Holland and see where my father was born.

I want to be proud of something I create in fused glass.

I would like to drive through Nappa Valley.

I would like to visit New Orleans.

I would like to visit England, see the historical sites like castles, Stonehenge etc.

I would like to take a bus tour of Italy.

I would like to photograph the Loch Ness monster.

I would like to learn how to knit.

I want to finish Adam’s Christmas stocking.

What’s My Talent

I wish I had some sort of talent. My daughter is the most talented person I know. Thirty years old and no matter what she tries to do she excels at. She could easily make her living as writer or an artist. She designs counted cross stitch patterns, sketches like a pro, cartoons, has an artist’s eye … she amazes me on a daily basis. My nephew is the same way. He is a talented self-taught musician and published author and does this in his spare time. So what is my talent?

I am searching for that special spark so I can develop it so it can burst into my flame. So far all I have accomplished is I’ve spent a fortune at Michaels and Joann’s Fabrics on paint, wool, patterns and fabric. But it just sits there. How do I find that spark to create something that is me? I am trying to paint this little ceramic house to put under the tree and just making a mess. Am I being too hard on myself? How do I start feeling that I can actually do something that I will be proud of? So far I feel like all I have done is create a “can’t” list, I can’t write .. I can’t draw … I can’t paint … I can’t knit .. I can’t .. I can’t .. I can’t.

How can I?

Sunny and Blue

Over the past few days I’ve felt a bit blue even though I am in my own little piece of paradise. This has caused me to break one of my resolutions .. to blog daily. So I am back on track.

Yesterday, in order to change my mood, I went to the Botanical Gardens in Largo, Florida. What a beautiful place! I took photos of flowers, trees, fruit and wetlands. I even saw a black racer snake and didn’t freak out! Perhaps I am getting used to living in Florida.

The Botanical Gardens in Largo, Florida are beautiful and has FREE admission. It covers over 30 acres and includes a historical village with over 28 buildings from the 19th century. In January I am going to spend time there photographing and exploring the area.

Frustrated in Florida

I love my home in Florida but it needs some renovations. We have already done major renovations such as new windows, an enclosed Florida room and new shower and toilet. The last major renovation is the kitchen. We met with the contractor in July, gave him the down payment and arranged to have the work started October 1. Prior to that date they were here four times to measure.

October 1 came … They showed up in the afternoon and gutted the kitchen. For the past two weeks the only other activity is when the electrician came to retire and when they came to look at the ceiling.

I keep calling and getting machines. Today I spoke to the general foreman and her promised he would be here today. It is 10 pm and I am still waiting.

The Lucky One

When I was young I would ask my mom if I was pretty and she would say to me “Your older sister is the pretty one, your brother is the smart one and you are the lucky one”. I was the lucky one. I thought that I was special … there were lots of pretty girls, smart people but how many people were “lucky”?

As I grew up I realized people were not born lucky. People make their own luck working hard. I knew I was every bit as smart as my brother and while I was not pretty, I certainly was not ugly.

Then I met a man who made me feel that I was all three things .. pretty, intelligent and lucky. Next week we will have been married 31 years.

I am the first to admit we have had both good times and bad times. We lived together, worked together and spent all our time together. We raised two children together and helped raise his two daughters from his first marriage. After all this time I still consider myself lucky to be his wife.

My husband is the smartest man I know, kind, generous and loving. He has spent his lifetime providing for his family. He has taken good care of me and given me a life that I love. This anniversary is the start of our new life together as he retires two months later. After over 34 years of taking care of our family it will be our time together. I am looking forward to our new beginning.

I really am the lucky one.

Progress

Two weeks into my happiness and project and it is time to self evaluate. Am I moving forward? Am I any happier? The answer is a resounding YES.

I have made small changes in my diet. Cutting down on my old nemesis french fries has made a big difference in me. I have decided if I am going to eat them they have to be awesome! Home made style … crispy and salty. Great thing for me is that is not the way they serve them in restaurants so it is easy to leave them on the plate.

I am failing on the exercise part but I did get up today and used the wii fit. I am only here another two weeks but I hope to swim most days. That will help me burn calories!

I did read a book to keep my brain active and blogged every day. I do want to add in doing my luminosity exercises every day. I forgot all about them once I stopped working at the office.

Now the more difficult area .. creativity. I did try to find something to make but so far have not completed anything. I will find something that I am good at again. I have decided to finally finish a Christmas stocking for my son over the next two weeks.

I do want to add some resolutions to my basic five now. My beginning five are:

1. Cook from scratch. Not just cook .. create meals. Create menus and feed my family good food.

2. Ignite my creative side.

3. Read more.

4. Exercise more.

5. Blog regularly.

New changes are as follows:

6. Eat 3 pieces of fruit or vegetables a day.

7. Create a daily schedule, weekly schedule and monthly schedule to help bring balance into my life.

8. Kiss or hug someone every day. Smile at strangers.

Mother Mother Ocean

I love water. When I was young I had a canoe and small sailboat and I spent hours at the cottage on the water. As I got older I started coming to Florida. For a few years we had a condo on the Gulf of Mexico. I would watch the waves and dream of the ocean. I wanted to sail on the water, feel the spray on my face and watch the dolphins play in the wake.

I will never have an ocean-going sailboat but I have been on a cruise ship. I know it is not the same, but I have spent hours on the balcony watching the water. It is like heaven to me.

Today I touched heaven again. Tourist heaven, but heaven nonetheless. I went on a tug boat out onto the Gulf of Mexico to look for dolphins with my son and his girlfriend. I loved the motion of the boat, the sun on my face and smell of the salt water. Within the first few minutes of the trip I spotted a solitary dolphin. The boat headed out to the Gulf to see if we could find any other dolphins. Gulf was choppy so the spray was fierce and waves lapped into the boat. We came back to the intercoastal and found the original dolphin. The dolphin played in the wake of the boat. Watching him play filled me with such a feeling of joy and peace.

Tonight I hope to dream of the ocean.

Baby Steps

For the past two weeks I have struggled to kickstart my creative streak. I have spent hours walking around Michaels and Joanns trying to get inspired. I bought little ceramic houses with the idea of creating a Christmas village under the tree. Well after spending two days painting this little tavern I’m ready to toss it in the garbage. So frustrated I set out again. Then I remembered I still have not completed a Christmas stocking for my son and his is 26 now! I must have 12 stockings being worked on but I never have finished one. This year I will do it! My deadline is two weeks from today!