Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Bumpy Learning Curve

I'm back to square one in many respects and have been assured that soon I'll be totally happy with my new MacAir.  I trust that will be true, but it's not yet because I am a kid in maybe the second grade after a  rather bad summer who as forgotten  the alphabet and the  numbers.  I was chugging along okay, but with a very irksome modem problem for which I blame Verizon.  Then I discovered my email contact list had been lifteed and possibly hundreds of people were getting a disgusting scam that was not even a new one -- months ago I got the same message supposedly coming from a past neighbor  with whom I may have corresponded by email  twice.   It was an obviously  sob story: I'm in the Philippines (which was misspelled) and lost my wallet and had to have  $1950 to get out of the country and come home.  I suppose if anyone fell for it they would have been told to send money to some bogus account, certainly not to me.  I hope no one did.

I disocovered that I have many concerned acquaintances and friends who told me about having received this email.  For all the nice people who wanted me to know, there were probably ten times as many who simply deleted it -- which is what I wish everyone had done.   This went on  for a couple of weeks,  I recovered my contact list and then it was lifted a second time and a second round of emails were sent, many to the same people.  It was embarrassing but beyond my control.  Fortunately I do not bank by mail and, yes, I occasionally buy books by mail from Amazon with a credit card but very little else.   I quickly talked to my bank and my  credit card  company.

The whole thing brought up the thought I've had for a couple of years: my computer was over 10 years old, it was getting slow; I didn't have various updates.  I was going to have to get a new one soon  I went to talk to the very nice people at the local Mac store and bought a new one.   It's a marvel.  I cannot believe something that seems too thin to c containmore than a tissue paper, actually has the computing and storage power it has.  But there's the catch.  Much has been changeed and I don't adapt quickly to new  things.  AFter all I'm in my 70s, that's my excuse and I think a valid  one.

So I just discovered I don't know how to access my photos except those on the desktop display to put on a blog.  I love the picture of Stella above but it wasn't what I meant to put on this post,  The MacAir has a program called Pages that emulates much of Microsoft Word but it's not the same and I have much to learn ... MUCH ...  it is the program I use most, like a few times every day. I am frustrated.  Old dog, new tricks.  Gotta happen   It's a great little laptop and I'm going to be happy with it .... in the fullness of time.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Back to School

Most of the week has been the kind of blue sky days that come at the end of summer; just before the autumnal equinox. Beautiful and turning just a bit cooler so one can sleep with a light quilt -- so welcome after the sticky humidity, twisting and turning with sheet scrunching around and off you.
With Labor Day late, the ALL classes started on a later date than usual. I was very ready for the more structured weeks they bring. I LIKE structure and understand that many retirees are lost without it. I make structure when I don't have the schedule of classes -- my morning walks on the beach, the 750 words in the morning, checking the email, often some writing, reading blogs. I have quilting to do, writing to do, submissions to journals. Plenty to feel busy.

But the return to class schedules is very satisfying, especially my new class of writing students. Everyone is over 50, many WELL over 50, but I couldn't help remembering singing in grade school, "We're all in our places with bright shiny faces. Oh, this is the way we start a new day." I looking at the 16 or 18 people in my "Writing: True and Right" class, several of them familiar, several of them new to me, and felt that elation I used to feel in grade school -- because I LOVED school.

But it was a special day, Friday, a day to remember, so the first writing exercise, which I offered with some trepidation because I didn't know what emotions it would trigger, was to write about when you heard of the attack on the Twin Towers. I was in NYC, and I knew Lynn had been. I knew Suzanne had been in Washington, I supposed most others had been in New England. I was pained to discover one woman had lived in New Jersey and was close to several people who lose loved ones that day. But, all in all, I think it was good to do such an exercise.  It has been 14 years and, as my daughter pointed out to me, the in-coming freshmen at the high school where she works were infants, or perhaps only about to be born. They have lived in a world in which the news has regularly been full of stories about terrorism, with a war in the middle of it, spilling in a sloppy way into over areas. 

I remember clearly what a bright blue sky morning it was as i went to work and that, when I had to walk the three miles home, passing through a nearly empty Times Square (unimaginable! but it was true), the sky remained that same placid blue for I was walking uptown, my back turned to the chaos that continued at the south end of Manhattan.  Among the brief pieces of writing the students read only the woman from New Jersey spoke of very personal fear -- her grown children were working in the financial district. Not in the towers but, for all anyone knew at the time, perhaps vulnerable to further attack.  They will finish their short pieces of writing and read them next week. These students are of an age when they have grandchildren who will turn to them asking "what was it like?"  We all carry a burden of history, however involved or uninvolved we were in its events; it is our duty to answer those questions with honestly and as much clarity as remains in our memory.