Bits and bobs

Random thoughts about random things by a random person

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Not as tech-savvy as I’d like to think!

I like to think I’m fairly competent when it comes to computer things. I really don’t tend to trepidation – I dive in; after all, most things I learned on a computer I learned through doing. Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t rank myself up there with today’s naturally adept and expert 5-year-olds of the developed world, but I can hold my own – certainly within my own generation!

I was pulled, however, quite abruptly out of my comfort zone yesterday when I looked through the photos on my camera. I had just taken some pictures of my spare bedroom to post on facebook to get some suggestions for lamps for that room. In addition to those pictures, there were supposed to be (note: “supposed to be”) pictures of my trip back to Newfoundland last week, as well. As I reviewed the photos on my camera, however, I realized that most of the pictures from my trip were not there. I was quite saddened. While I wanted to have them all, there were pictures of me with two of my aunts that were of particular sentimental value – I don’t know if I’ll have another chance to get pictures of them.

I hadn’t completely given up hope, though. I took the SD card out of the camera and popped it into the port on my laptop. Error message. Hmmm… tried again. Error message – something about file names being too long or some such thing. Hmmmm – again.

The only thing I knew to do then was open the card up and see what was on it. Off I went: Start, Computer, and Removable Storage (see – not completely incompetent!). In addition to the few photos I had previewed on the camera, I found a WHOLE bunch of who-the-heck-knows-what folders and files – with gobbledegook symbols for file names and extensions. That explained the error messages I was getting.

I quickly cut and pasted the surviving pictures from the SD card onto my hard drive before they, too, disappeared. Then I did what most people do these days: I expressed my disappointment on facebook and left the SD card in the port in my laptop, while I tried to deal with my complete inability to figure out how to get it fixed!

Within moments, ideas about data recovery apps and software were offered. I downloaded the first one and bravely set out to try it. Huh. Four different options of things to do. I was stumped and too afraid to try any in case I ruined the card and recovery became impossible. Of course, that’s kind of funny in and of itself because before the ideas were posted in the comments to my status update, I thought it was ruined, anyway. But hope had been dangled, and however fragile it was, I wanted to keep it alive. So I chickened out and moved on to the second suggestion.

That one only had three options, but I still had no idea which to try so for the same reasons, I abandoned that one, as well. By then the third one had been suggested and it came with a lovely descriptor of being user-friendly. Ah ha!! This could be JUST what the doctor ordered. And so, I downloaded the third recovery software. Sure enough, it was very user friendly. It had a lovely Wizard that walked me through, step by step. Unfortunately, though, it only recovered two pictures that I did not already have, and none of the pictures of my aunts.

However, I was now emboldened! Success can be a great motivator, you see. And, I reasoned, if the easy one worked, one of the more complicated ones might work even better! So I tried the second one again. I deduced which of the three options was most likely the one I needed and off I went. It recovered a couple more pictures, but still, none of the now elusive aunts. Ah, but I was in full swing now, my laddies! Off I went to the last remaining software! And, like the third of everything for Goldilocks, it was just right! I think it recovered all of them. It recovered all the ones I remembered taking, at any rate, so if there are any missing, I’m blissfully unaware. 🙂

Also blissfully unaware are my aunts, who have happily been rescued, despite not even knowing they needed it.

And I managed to regain at least some modicum of my tech-dignity. Phew!



Under my skin

I’m 43 and I might, finally, be growing up. Yup… it’s true.

Allow me to explain…

One of the few things that really gets under my skin – I mean totally steams me – is when I’ve lost something I shouldn’t have lost. Well, no. That’s not quite true. Losing it doesn’t bother me one teensy-weensy bit. It’s the not being able to find it part that, well, doesn’t bring out the best in me.

I don’t know if I can explain it to you properly, but if I’ve put something somewhere and I’ve forgotten where I put it, I get REALLY mad. I’m talking spitting nails, saying really bad words MAD. I know… it’s stupid. It’s absolutely juvenile. But there you have it. I have learned to recognize when I start getting to that point and then I just walk away. There’s absolutely no point to keep looking because the only thing I’m seeing at that point is red – and the blue streak coming out of my mouth. So I walk away, regroup, usually say a little prayer, and give it some time before I try again. (That’s stage 1 of growing up…)

I reached Stage 2 a couple of nights ago.

I needed to charge my Nexus 7 tablet, so I toddled off to the drawer where I keep all my chargers. Huh… not there. OK. Where’d I see it last? Last weekend in the hotel in Toronto. Uh oh. Nope… I’m SURE I packed it before I left the hotel room. Then where is it? Checked my suitcase – all pockets and pouches. Nope. Checked my purse – all pockets and pouches. Nope. Blood pressure hasn’t even budged! Amazing! I checked everywhere again. Still nope. I called the hotel – even though I was sure I hadn’t left it there, I’ve been SURE about things before and, well, it had turned out I was wrong, so I wanted to leave no stone unturned. Not that it mattered – there was nothing in the Lost and Found. Huh.

To make a long story just a little bit longer, I headed back to the drawer where I store my chargers and stuff. It still wasn’t there, but what WAS there was the pouch where I keep my GPS. The light went on! I had stored my tablet charger in with the GPS for the Toronto trip! I remembered putting the pouch in the drawer when I got back, and thinking, “I should take the charger out now so I know where it is.” Then, “Nah…you’ll remember.” Then I laughed, “No you won’t.” But I left it in the pouch anyway. Why? Because apparently sometimes I like to torture myself. 🙂

That’s a one-off, so I wouldn’t say I had reached Stage 2 just based on that. BUT… when I was getting ready for bed, I lost my glasses! I had them on one minute. Then they were off the next and I couldn’t find them. They are super light frames (colour and weight) and I’m pretty blind without them. I’ve played the “feel around” game before – including feeling the top of my head – so I know how this goes. I tiptoed around – in case they’ve fallen on the floor – and even got down on all fours “sweeping” the carpet with my hands. Nothing. I flipped the blankets on the bed – turning them all down, then turning them all up. I shifted all the pillows around. Nothing. Blood pressure still on an even keel. I realize I can’t keep looking like that, so I go get my old glasses and scope things out again. I smoothed out the blankets and there was this persistent bump. You guessed it – my glasses.

So… two lost (misplaced – potaytoe / potahtoe) items in one evening. Not one single, solitary “colourful” word. No soaring blood pressure.

I think that definitely shows I’ve reached stage 2! My mother would be so proud. 😉


Living outside the box

About a week or so ago I was talking with a good friend of mine and he told me that he really admires the fact that I’m not afraid to do things by myself. Things like going to dinner alone, or going to a movie alone, or going on road trips and vacations alone. I’ve had other people say that to me before, too.

Every time I hear it, I feel a bit like a cheat. Cuz, well, it was never in my plan (you know that “plan” – the one we all have in our minds as to how our lives are going to turn out?) to do all those things alone. In my plan, there was someone there beside me doing those things with me. I wouldn’t have to be by myself and I wouldn’t have to do all the planning and thinking (and paying!) all by myself.

As tends to happen with most of life’s plans, however, that one fell over a cliff pretty early on, and it did not land safely on a soft, sandy beach to be rescued! So, all those things that I do alone, I only started doing alone because I had to. And that’s why I kind of feel like a “cheat” – that I have been lauded for doing something I did only because I had to do it.

But, that said, I have to say that I have come to enjoy doing those things by myself. Partly there’s a selfish reason. When I go to dinner or a movie alone, there’s no discussion as to what restaurant to go to or which movie to see. And when I do a road trip or other vacation on my own, I get to plan the entire schedule! (I have to admit, though, it sure would be nice sometimes to have someone else do some of the work!)

Even more than that, I have just simply come to really enjoy doing those things on my own. There’s a confidence that I have developed in myself that I would not have developed otherwise. My plan crashing over that cliff has forced me to crash out of the box that I had confined myself, and my life, to. It’s definitely a hindsight thing. It’s really important to make use of that rear-view mirror sometimes!

Speaking of which, I hope when you check your rear-view mirror, you find yourself being grateful for the cliff-crashed plans from your life, and can recognize the wonderful ways they forced you to move outside the box and create a wonderful, new plan!


Aha moment!

You know how sometimes big lightbulb moments can happen in the simplest, most unexpected ways? Well, that happened to me recently.

When I have thought of my parents, specifically my memories of them from when I was growing up, I had them each very much compartmentalised: Dad was the disciplinarian and Mom was the softy. There seemed a very defined line. Dad was a teacher and he was pretty strict with his expectations. We were to be at home on evenings during the week, unless we had a club activity of some sort (school or community commitments). We were definitely not to be “out beating the paths”, that’s for sure. And a hefty chunk of the time after supper was to be spent doing homework. (I spent a good chunk of that time on the phone…I’m sure you’re surprised at that little revelation!)

Well, perhaps I should stop and insert a caveat. That’s MY memory. If you were to ask my three brothers, they might have entirely different memories. And, as with all kids, things are different from the first to the last. I was the second and only girl so I’m sure my experience was at least slightly different from each of my brothers.

At any rate, Dad knew we were bright and that we could all do well in school. If we did not do well, it was because we did not put the work into it. And, well, he was right. Mom, however, was all full of encouragement and pats on the back: “I’m sure you did your best and that’s good enough for me.” Naturally, that earns serious kudos from a kid’s perspective!

Don’t get me wrong. I knew my Dad could be fun. He definitely was when he was with his friends. He loved to sing and tell stories and go fishing and so on. But we grew up in a “children are to be seen and not heard” time so I don’t have memories of “playing” with Dad. I just remember seriousness. Once I grew up and got to know him as an adult, however, all that changed, but when I was younger, it was different.

Anyway… to make a long story hopefully not TOO long, and to get to the epiphany, one day last week when I was coming home on the bus, we passed a school and it made me think of all the times when we were kids that Dad would bring us into the shool with him when he had work to do. We’d either run around in the locker rooms, with the lights off scaring the crap out of each other, or otherwise entertain ourselves. When we got older, we would go and help get things ready for the next school year, like unloading and organizing school books in the room they were stored in. It was work, but it was still fun.

It was really nice to be able to associate those fun memories with Dad and I was enjoying thinking of that when it took a different and unexpected turn.

My thoughts then turned to how much of a blessing it must have been to Mom for Dad to take all four of us out for a while. There were less than four years between the oldest and the youngest so we were definitely a handful. Those breaks must have been amazing! I had never thought of it in that way before. That makes sense, I suppose. Now, at my age, I know how frustrated many of my friends who are mothers can get when they don’t get any time to or for themselves, so I can reflect back to how important it must have been to Mom, as a woman, to have that time. Not all men, I know, do that for their wives. But my Dad did. My serious, strict, high-expectations Dad loved my Mom and took all four of us traipsing behind us out at the same time so she could have some time. What a guy!

That realization provided a dimension of my father’s character that I had never realized or thought about. I already loved him and respected him immensely, but at 43, 4 1/2 years after his passing, I have found another reason to make me love and respect him even more. I am so grateful that I had decided to put my Kobo away and just look out the window for the last half of the trip home that day. I might need to do that more often.


Official Inauguration

I know. A blog hardly ranks up there with presidential inaugurations, but I’ll never be a president (OK… I’m sure I’ll be Queen of the World some day, but that will be a coronation, not an inauguration) so this is my big chance! Hmmm… I suppose that means we should have refreshments here, perhaps balloons, and maybe a tickertape parade? Shoot. I have none of that. I hope that doesn’t mean this blog is already a failure. Oh well, hopefully you’ll stick around, anyway!

And if that isn’t disappointing enough, this is the end of my first post. Trust me. This won’t be the norm. If you’re here because you know me and I’ve invited you, you know how very long-winded I can be. Look at how long it’s taking me to even close! Imagine how long a post will be when I am writing about something in particular and not just inaugurating my blog!

At any rate, thank-you for dropping by. I will have more to say next time. I promise! 🙂