Senior (Re) Learning

Photo by Ruca Souza on

My editor will get feedback on my manuscript to me July 1. I have started book three and I need the time because Al bought me a new computer and I can hardly type my name on it. July won’t be our last work together on Body on the Bayou either. Usually we have three rounds of edits, each looks at different things. Each round takes a month or two. And then there’s the marketing and admin stuff. But I am happy to have this block of time to relearn Windows. I bought a manual that’s coming today something like Windows for Seniors. 🙂 My parents are in their 80s and have refused to learn how to use a computer or a smart phone. I suppose that makes me the senior.

There are good and bad to Mac and Windows. In a way, I wish I would have stayed with Mac because I’d know it and not have to learn new stuff. But learning is good for seniors; we need to keep our brains sharp. Also I am hoping I won’t have to deal with the photo thing (converting to JPEG). My other issue with the Mac is the keyboard was shot and I had a keyboard on top of a keyboard. I had to finish my book in good time so that’s why it’s now. Start a new book on a new computer. Especially if you’re going from Mac to PC.

I originally got the Mac because my website was being hacked. I heard Macs do not get hacked. That is the ONLY reason I bought a Mac. But I liked the lessons, too. My work was right across the street from the Apple Store and I utilized those lessons. Now I live 30 minutes from an Apple store, which is fine, but Word for Mac is just not as good as Word on Windows. I use the computer mainly for word processing. My website, my books. So it makes sense to go back to Windows. Easier said than done.

One thing I wish I could change is the mega monster keyboard. I have always had a “normal” keyboard but the new one has a whole other side with an adding machine and etc. I am a good typist. (Was once a secretary.) I type fast, almost as fast as the scenes come to my mind. This is a nice talent to have if you are not rich and do not have a typist. I am not typing fast on the new machine. I am getting better, it’s just something that will take practice.

I tried to post the blog today on the new machine but it doesn’t like my log in. Also I talked to my website admin and she says she knows basically nothing about Windows; she is a Mac lady all the way. There’s so much more to learn besides email which is the one thing I have mastered. I’m going to hop on Word and get Book 3 going. I hope that’s as easy as email. And maybe look around the internet for a trainer. All advice happily accepted. Except “you shudda stayed with Mac, stupid.”

Finished Frida!

Finished the second Jane in St Pete mystery! Wrote it, read it over, edited on hard copy, took notes on what needs to be added (not much). I dislike going from hard copy to computer but there’s not much of that. I have hung on to this computer despite all the problems; my treat once I submit to editor and finish edits is a new computer! One that works better with Word. I don’t have an idea for the third artist. I was thinking of a 1960s era feminist, like Judy Chicago.

The happy way to sustain a series is to have a theme you love and a symbol too. The theme for me is art and the artist is new with each book. I’m planning a trilogy but we’ll see. If things go as usual, I will be working with my editor for several months.

Finally got a title on the last day of writing! Body on the Bayou. My books are often released in November/December. That would be a dream.

I’m shocked that WordPress accepted my personal photo. It’s a jpeg. My artist for this book (every book has the large theme of art and the personal symbol of a particular artist) is Frida Kahlo and I just happened to come across this snap from years and years ago. It easily folded itself into the narrative. This one has been a joy to write and I look forward to revising, even with the labor of revision with hard copy and computer.

In other writing news, I tweeted the blogette again last Monday. I really like the form. I don’t usually have much to say on Twitter, so this gives me something to contribute.

Until Next Year

We finally got the deed to our new house!! Al is driving home from Michigan with our treasures (books, tools, and a few family keepsakes). I’m still in St Pete where I’ll see him Tuesday night…if I’m not asleep. And I hope we move Wednesday or maybe Christmas Eve. That is calling it close. I want to be in by Christmas. I’ve been packing a few favorite things from here (books, cookware, my favorite dishes.) I’ll pack the Christmas tree last. I do not want to take it down!

Usually about this time of year I tend to take a holiday break from blogging, but this is the best reason I’ve ever had to say “see you next year” — even better than finishing a book. Moving literally so close to Christmas is joyous but also heavy work. Mostly I worry about my husband traveling alone. That’s a quirk of mine. Worrying when we’re apart. But we’re a good team, even if we have to split up for some of the work. I know he’ll be home, and we’ll be in the best home we’ve ever owned, for Christmas. We’ll celebrate, and probably do some unpacking too, together. I hope all of you have a fabulous holiday season and, stars willing, are able to share it with those you love. xo

The Storyteller

I am reading Dave Grohl’s autobiography and it is good. I asked myself in my journal this morning why I would read it. I’m not a Foo Fighters fan. But he was in another band before that…My very first connection to writing came through song lyrics, that’s why I read songwriter’s stories. And while I was getting on in rock years by the time Nirvana came along, I still found new bands, mostly by watching endless MTV. I’d moved on from writing poetry (and song lyrics) by this time but I never forget those early dreams, the first word stories that captivated me. Also, STORYTELLER. What a great title for a rock star to claim.

I finished up my Jane pages for the week and sent them to the critique group. I have no idea how this chapter fits into the scheme of things but I’ll figure it out. I got a new phone and it doesn’t save my photos to JPG anymore but HEIC. Word Press does not upload HEIC yet. I messed around with that for awhile but of course could not convert it so then just used an old picture. Julia is a lot bigger now! The pic I took today was of our living room in the little condo. I wanted to show the two rocking chairs side by side facing the television. I only just realized we are literally in our rocking chairs much of the time. Not necessarily watching TV.

We finally checked off the last of our to-do list before we hire a real estate agent. This is not a good time to buy a house. You might know this. Houses are in short supply and they are super expensive. But the thing is they are not getting cheaper anytime soon. And interest rates are low, so that’s good. We have been here a few months and I really believed I could stay a year if I needed to…but it’s hard. No washer, dryer, dishwasher. Second floor. Small space. I’m a spoiled brat but I’m old and I have been saving my entire adult life for this perfect Florida retirement in my dream ranch house and damn it, we’re going to do it. Also I always believe I can do things that in reality are much more difficult. Like living with my husband in a 1200 sq ft condo with no garage for a year. No! It’s too hard!

Every day something goes wrong. My dad lost his wallet so I ferried him around replacing all his paperwork instead of doing my own. I was glad to be here to help him, even though a car dealer told us it’s legal to drive without a license in Florida. The DMV said it ain’t so. Dad’s squared away now and I’m living on faith. I cannot imagine why WP does not accept HEIC. Soon, maybe. Like everything else in my life right now.

Three’s Company

Al, me and Dad

My dad is only 18 years older than I am and we are the only two of our family who live in Florida. Dad just got home from an extended visit to my mom and brothers in Michigan; Al and I are glad to have him back. It seems natural that I start to think, when I notice he’s not moving so fast these days, “this is me in 18 years.” I’ve always been interested to see how it feels to become older. It is mostly full of surprises, both good and not so great. Dad’s still got his health and his mind is sharp. He drives a cool sports car, lives in a condo a few blocks away that’s a step up from ours. We all love the weather here. My dad’s mother was born here and so was her mother, Mama Q, who lived in Leesburg her whole life. She died at 99, but not before she’d met my sons, her great-great grandsons.

It’s official now: Al and I are Florida residents. We recently received our new driver’s licenses and registered to vote. Dad has been a Florida resident for many years. He’s still married to Mom, they love each other, but they prefer things as they are. She loves the cold; he doesn’t. They are in their 80s but still visit back and forth. I got a text from my brother yesterday Don’t worry about Ma, we’ll take care of her. I knew that. And he knows I’ll help Dad if he needs me. In a way, we all grew up together.

Remember the “sandwich generation”? Caught between their children and their aging parents? Trying to raise kids and take care of Mom and Dad? I could never relate to that. It’s only lately my folks have been slowing down (a little bit) and my boys are both married with little ones of their own. My boys don’t need my help and my folks don’t either. But there is another guy I turn to all the time now that he’s retired…Al.

Since Al retired not quite two years ago, I notice I have become more dependent on him. Not life or death, just open the pickle jar. Watch the finances. Handle the real estate. Even sometimes…wash the dishes. Al is easy to lean on, but I probably do too much of it. He doesn’t complain.

Al and Dad usually golf together but they have not started yet. It’s a bit warm for Al still and Dad’s hip has been bothering him. We did take Dad to his favorite place for a waterside lunch on the Intracoastal after picking him up at the airport. It was getting cold in Michigan. 60 degrees some days! We knew he’d appreciate the heat and the band. It reminds him of better times, when his friends were all alive and they’d party the afternoons away.

I got a tiny sun blush. We all ate local-catch fish. My sandwich-free life may seem odd, our family might look strange, but we are a family and we’re all doing good.