Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Last week I was called upon yet again to bring my PC back from a near-death experience.

I suppose our computer is getting up there in computer years….it is going on three after all. A real geriatric. If it was a person it would be eligible for social security and/or a scooter from The Scooter Store.

The first year our digital marvel performed flawlessly. It had speed, endurance, and a high-speed broad-band connection which enabled us to surf at will. The sleek 14-inch flat-screen monitor was an objet d'art.

Unfortunately…….our real-time virus/spyware protection expired and my well-intentioned husband decided we could do without it. Wrong.

Apparently there are some evil computer nerds out there who have nothing better to do with their time than to invent viruses to unleash upon cyberspace. In my opinion these people are the unadulterated scum of the Earth, right up there with terrorists and serial killers. They deserve some sort of cruel and unusual punishment.....like spending eternity watching “Flo, the Progressive girl” commercials or listening to Britney Spears music. Ahhh, sweet, sweet retribution.

At first I had a false sense of security. Really, of all of the computers out there what made me think ours would get infected? That was really kind of self-centered wasn’t it? Gradually things did begin to happen, although nothing too serious at first…..the speed began to decrease, we started getting random errors, and our once proud PC developed an asthmatic wheeze.

Things got worse. One morning I turned the computer on to a repulsive blue screen with nothing but miles and miles of meaningless coding. Mommy. Another time there was a virus masquerading as, of all things, an ANTISPYWARE program. It kept launching itself every few minutes or so and began blocking access to my favorite websites, especially the sites that might offer help in such a situation. Nasty stuff. There were times I literally became the lady on the Geek Squad commercial who erupts in panic and begins to arbitrarily pound keys and yell “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” at the top of her lungs. Yes, that happens in real life. Don’t pretend like you have never been there because I know better.

What I have learned is this: you just have to stay calm and perform CPR on your PC. Now by CPR I mean stuff like doing a ‘system restore’ and going back to the ‘last known good configuration’. The problem is that these items are located in the frightening underbelly of the computer in a place where no person without a computer science degree should venture. There are no pretty ‘Windows’ color palettes here, just stark a black background and digital hieroglyphics. Definitely not for babies or wimps.

However.... if you love your PC like I love mine, you will be willing to take the risk.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


God really knew what he was doing when he gave me two girls.

Growing up I was the quintessential ‘girly-girl’. At age 4, I practically lived in my cousin’s hand-me-down gold tutu, spinning around the living room to “Swan Lake”.

Allow me to vent for a moment if you please….. For some reason, my Mom never enrolled me in ballet class. I have never quite forgiven her this lapse in parenting. Well, there was a brief stint when I was 12 – a deranged British neighbor lady decided to teach ballet in her garage. She tried in vain for six weeks to force my uncooperative limbs into painful and unnatural contortions at the barre, completely disregarding the fact that I was a beginner…. She finally told my Mom in despair that I exhibited no aptitude for ballet whatsoever, and that was that. Thank Heaven. However, deep down I just know that if my mother had signed me up at age 3 or 4 (with a qualified dance teacher), I could have danced with Baryshnikov with the American Ballet Theatre….well, probably not but I would be skinny and coordinated to this very day. So there.

Anyway….like most females, I have always loved beauty. As a child, that included ballet, girls with long hair, the rippling hoop skirts in “Gone With the Wind”, and anything that SPARKLED. I would sit mesmerized in front of a frosty window, drawn by the delicate snowflake pattern and glittering sunlight. I thought ruby red gazing balls were objects of breathtaking splendor. Nail polish was supposed to dazzle, otherwise what was the point?

Then…..I grew up. I decided things that sparkled were tacky. I traded my flashy, glistening nail polish for a more sophisticated matte or cream. Fabric with gleaming metallic thread was just not something that people with taste would consider wearing. Period. Rhinestones were reserved for the Peg Bundy’s of the world (Google that, you people under 30). I was proud to be the embodiment of ‘understatement’.

Then I had two daughters. Two beautiful, funny, quirky, sparkle-loving daughters; I can honestly say that because of them I have rediscovered the joy of things that shine. As I type this, I am wearing a deep golden nail polish, infused with a rich iridescence, and I am overcome with happiness.

Thanks girls, I had forgotten…..

Friday, August 7, 2009

SO SUE ME........

I detest chocolate.

Okay, just kidding; that is a little extreme. I just wanted to get your attention. But………I really don’t love it all that much. I guess that makes me an anomaly among women.

I was thinking about this earlier as I was consuming a bag of – are you ready – Limited Edition COCONUT M&Ms. They are still the familiar, colorful-shelled little candy treats they have always been, but this variety has a hint of coconut flavor.

I was practically salivating with anticipation as I tore open the wrapper; for the moment all my mind was focused solely on a single concept. Coconut. Coconut, in all its milky white glory. These were definitely going to be the pièce de résistance of M&MS.


My first thought was “Wow, this is good…..but it would be WAY better without the chocolate”. I actually forgot for a moment that M&Ms have a chocolate center. That was my moment of epiphany.

Women are purported to worship chocolate, right? It's programmed into our genetic code or something. It is supposed to be our go-to fare when we break up with a boyfriend, get laid off from a job, have a fender-bender or break a nail. So really, just where do I get off being apathetic to chocolate?

It seems like whenever I encounter a female friend who is having a ‘day’, she will look at me and say conspiratorially “I would kill for a piece of chocolate right now”, incorrectly assuming that I wholeheartedly share the sentiment. I usually smile blankly and nod in feigned agreement.

You see, when I am upset and am seeking comfort, I turn first to Haagen Dazs’s Sticky Toffee Pudding. If that is not available, then I will welcome anything with cinnamon, vanilla, caramel or brown sugar (or better yet, a combination of ALL of those delectable ingredients). I have been this way since I was a child and I am not going to change now.

So…at the risk of losing the respect of women the world over….or at least the two or three who might actually see this post, I am declaring my independence and stating out loud what I have always secretly felt:

Chocolate is just OKAY. Yeah, I went there.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Saturday morning…….it’s incredible how much promise two simple words can contain, and how a good night’s sleep can heal a person of a bad attitude.

It is August 1st and unseasonably cool here in North Central Indiana. It is supposed to rain, but not until later this afternoon. As I sit at my computer, a fragrant breeze drifts in from an open window, as well as the enchanting sounds of children playing on the trampoline.

My 16-year-old has apparently decided to climb to the uppermost branches of a Maple tree rising above the trampoline, much to the consternation of 4-year-old friend Nadia. I was touched at Nadia’s concern for Nelleigh’s well being, thinking she was simply afraid that Nelleigh would fall; however, when doe-eyed little Nadia came inside and voiced her worries to me, it became clear that she was particularly worried that Nelleigh would fall on her! I had to hold back my laughter as I reassured Nadia that Nelleigh was an expert tree climber and would not be coming down until she was ready.

Well, it sounds like the whole gang is coming inside in search of chocolate. I better go see what I can come up with…