What Year Is It?

Andy posed a good question in the comments of my last post. “What year is it in Iowa?”… I’ll tell ya, at this point I’m not even sure. I just had to look to see what day it was. After working my buns off (don’t I wish…they’re no smaller – shaddup) trying to get my new work computer filled back up with data and programs (can you say, 14 hour days?) I was greeted yesterday morning to a black startup screen.

Black? YES.

Now, I know just enough about computers to be dangerous. I may experiment with various things on my personal computer if things go wrong, but the work computer? Nope. I turn chicken and go right to the office tech support people. I was able to get myself into “safe” mode. At that point the tech people wanted me to do a “restore”. Well, gee… the most recent restore point was last Friday morning at 8 a.m. Against the rumblings of my gut, I ran it. It made no difference, except, of course, (you see this one coming) all the data that I’d entered in since then was gone. I’d be terribly surprised if you didn’t hear the cussing several states away. Did it fix anything. No. I was so brave. I didn’t even cry.

Now the tech support people had me run “spybot” and “ad-aware” and to defrag my hard drive. Spybot wanted some update that it couldn’t get, so it wouldn’t run. Ad-aware found 5 bland cookies, and I spent 2 hours running defrag.

Did it work? Yes. Why? No clue.

Now I call tech support to see if they can tell me why, as I do not want this to happen again. They have no clue. They say, “just keep re-booting periodically to make sure it’s working”. Helpful, aren’t they? They tell me to call the tech support people for the major GPS software program I use (which was basically all I’d been using for day before, trying to restore and re-run previous data). That tech support person suggested I may have a lemon. He thinks I may have an unstable hard drive and/or something wrong with the motherboard and gee… I should contact my computer manufacterer to see if they can run some diagnostics.

I call the computer company. (I’m not naming names as they have always been good to me… and until it has been proven to me that it’s junk, I’m not bad-mouthing them. They are not the same company as the computer that failed.) The computer tech support person (he spoke ENGLISH! Whoot!) tells me there is a ‘fix’ in Norton anti-virus version 10 and proceeds to have me change one setting and re-boot. He tells me this is going to take care of it. Huh. You mean, I could have avoided doing a “restore” and losing all my data?

I, and my company tech support people, are skeptical. However, my computer booted up this morning as though nothing was wrong (after spending all yesterday once more loading data back into my program).

One day soon, I hope, I may be back in the world of “normal” people. You know… the ones who work 8 hour days with a lunch break and who get to go home at 5 o’clock to see the people they love and cook supper and watch TV and play WoW and read friends’ blogs… oh, yeah… that’s called a LIFE, right? I vaguely remember. Keep your fingers crossed.

Ready?

It’s almost here! The day children all over have been anticipating. I think I’m just about ready…

I spent all day yesterday in my car. Hubs bought a new (used) semi-tractor from a guy in western Minnesota and we spent hours getting there to pick it up. He’s tickeled that it’s how he remembers it when he went to look at it about a week and a half ago, and he’s not going to do much of anything to it (yeah. I’m not holding my breath.) but putting the license plate on and driving it. He’s got a bunch of grain to deliver next week and he’ll be getting it “broken in” pretty quickly. I think he’s already bonded with it – at least that’s what he kept telling me all the way home.

Today was “getting ready for company”. Doing the usual weekend things like laundry, and cleaning, but with that little extra emphasis on trying to make it “company presentable”. Okay, who am I kidding… I’m trying to make it “mother-in-law” and “parental unit” presentable. The kids are all coming for Christmas day, too, but I wouldn’t do this much for them. I also finished wrapping gifts. I think… I really think… I’m done. Whoot!

Tomorrow I have a couple of cooking things to take care of, but other than that I’m set. We’ll be having Christmas Eve at MIL’s, which is okay, except we have to spend time with my brother-in-law and his family. You remember them, “The Boys”. Yeah. Is it any wonder that my kids all found “prior committments” to attend? I should be so lucky…

Sunday should get off to a calm start. Because my eldest son is going to be out of town to his fiance’s parents until Christmas morning, I said we’d push dinner from 1 o’clock to 3 o’clock, so they didn’t have to rush so much coming back. This will be new and different for us, and I’m not sure we all know how to act. I’m thinking there will be present opening all day long as each batch of “kids” and their significant others trickle in. Then again, I could be wrong and they may all want to wait until the last ones come. With my kids you never can tell.

In case I don’t make it back on here in the next couple of days, I just want to take the time to wish each and every one of you a peaceful and pleasant holiday… and to all of you who have sent me cards, I LOVE them, thank you. To those of you I didn’t have addresses to write you back – well, I still LOVE them and I’m sorry I didn’t get one out to you. Be assured you are on my list for next year. Giant hugs to you all!

It’s Been a Rough Couple of Days

comp_crash Oh, yeah. It’s been fun. Trim the tree and singing carols kinds of fun. NOT. Monday was such a good day… followed by the first days of hell as we know it. I go to work and see a co-worker left my computer on all night. Not that big a deal. Until I go to re-boot my computer and I receive the black screen of death. The one that tells me to pick an option. You know, the list starting with “Safe Mode”. What a joke. Like there is anything safe about what we’re about to do.

Needless to say, “Safe” mode wasn’t an option. It didn’t like that or any other option on the list. It just kept re-booting. Over and over and over. The operating disks that came with my system had exceptionally scary options on it, too. Options like “formatting the hard drive”. Not a happy thought when my most recent backup was a month ago. I know, I know…don’t lecture me. Be glad it was only a month ago.

I call our home office “IT” people. I get mumbling and the number for the corporate account tech support people. Uh huh. Yeah. I’ll call them. No. I won’t let them reformat my hard drive.

Luckily, I actually got a woman I could understand. She spoke English quiet well. After dealing with tech support people in India and other foreign countries in the past, I ventured to ask. Florida. I can handle this.

To her credit, she was very good. She walked me through many, many things – not once trying to direct me to the deadly “reformat” command. We ran some different repair features – one which ended up taking a mere four hours (I have a very large hard drive). Finally, after going through the repair I was able to bring my Windows desktop back. No programs would work, but I was able to use my CD burner and my tape backup driver and I was able to back up everything I could possibly think of that hadn’t been backed up. I got home about 10 o’clock last night with a vague sense of relief knowing if the whole thing went down I now had my data available to reinstall.

This morning I was greeted by the IT people telling me if I would take my tower to a computer guru they knew (40 miles away) they and he thought my hard drive could be “ghosted” to another hard drive he had on hand. I’m game. Off I go, lighthearted optomism my passenger.
He tells me he should have it done by the end of the day. I give him my cell phone number.

Two hours later I get a call. Partition one is junk. This has created a problem with his plan. With partition one being bad, his ‘ghosting’ program won’t even start. Huh. I tell him to call the IT people. He tells me he’s got another one or two tricks up his sleeve. Yeah. I’m not holding my breath.

Another hour goes by and I get a call from the IT people. They tell me just what guru guy has said. He’s stuck. Now I have options. Do I want him to install the new hard drive, spend hours loading my information and programs onto it only to turn around next week and repeat the process when the new computer they are going to order me comes OR do I just want to wait for the new computer to come and do it once. Well… let me think… DUH.

So… I have a vacation. I’m going to be off work until next week when the new computer comes. Except for the fact that when it comes I’m going to be so busy I won’t be able to see straight, I’m kinda enjoying the fact I’m going to be off a couple extra days around Christmas. Now I just need to get some sleep.

The Eldest

31. That’s how old my eldest child is today. I’m a little late getting this posted (more about that tomorrow) however, the sentiment has been with me all day. She’s an adult. She’s a wife, a mom. She’s a wonder. She was a second “mom” to her siblings during my darker days. She was the backbone of the family. She’s paid the price, too, and I will always regret that. She’s remarkable in her ability to forgive.

I’ve written before about her birth story and about the two-month prematurity that had to be dealt with. She was 3 lb. 5 oz. at birth. Think about that. Get out a pound of hamberger and look at it and hold it in the palm of your hand and visualize three pounds of hamberger in your hand. Now visualize trying to diaper that three pounds in a newborn diaper. That was long before the days of the “premie” clothing and diapers. She lived in doll clothes for many months. Blessed with minor health issues at her birth, there has never been a doubt in my mind that she was saved for something special in her life. Whether it was to give birth to her beautiful son, or to do something else, it brings me such joy to see her reaching milestones – so many years after those days of touch-and-go.

She’s a beauty. Porcelain skin. Sandy brown hair. Bright blue eyes. A smile that won’t quit. Yes, I’m probably biased. That’s okay. I’m allowed. More importantly, she’s beautiful inside. She has a vulnurability and a naivity one expects in someone much younger… and a laugh that takes many a person by surprise in it’s spontaneous combustion; far too loud for such a little person. Sneezing she inherited – not one delicate “achoo”, but several in a row – the ones that get the uninitiated patting you on the back thinking you must be choking, not sneezing! She loves to play WoW (yes, she is the culprit who got me hooked!) and when playing her fingers fly over the keyboard as she carries on conversations and moves her player through the “world”. She’s always up for a good movie, but be sure it’s not too violent. She hates that and for years would be the only one who would go to her room instead of watching whatever the rest of us found and exciting pasttime… now she’ll go, but hide her eyes.

My eldest. My strength. For a little while? My only. I love you, daughter. Happy Birthday.

Half a Century


I never thought I’d make it this far. There was once or twice in my life I almost didn’t. I’m so glad I did!

Yes, this is a picture of me at age 3. This explains a lot… like why I still don’t like to wear dresses. Obviously, I never did! This was taken before my biological mother died and was one of the pictures that my father and step- chose to keep from me until I was an adult. (Little did they know, I snuck around in my teens and found the “stash” – pictures of myself and my mother.)

I can remember a black and white television that was 19” and by God, we were lucky to have it! I remember 8-track tapes and mullets (before “Joe Dirt” made them memorable to the younger generation). I remember the Beatles and JFK and getting to stay up late to watch a man walk on the moon. Yes, all in black and white. I remember the “stereo console” that came in the big wooden cabinet (real wood!) with a turntable that my parents played Montovanti and Gleason on during the dinner meals and Nat King Cole at Christmas. I remember an Easy Bake Oven and Barbie and a new blue bicycle under the tree. With baskets. And a bell.

I remember it all. The good and the bad.

Why is it I don’t feel it’s been a half a century? I mean, I can sense time passing when I look at my children and remember them all as little bitty things – which they no longer are – but me? No! Except for the occasional twinge in the back or crackle in the knees, I still feel …oh, at least half this age! I’m not very active, but then – I never was! I still love music and reading and writing and crafts and critters and you … and it goes without saying, my ever-so-loving family. I’m not exactly the same as I used to be – who would want to be? I’m much better now. (My family will understand that comment.) But in my mind? I’m still a kid. I still have lots of things I want to do.

I want another 50 years. ‘kay?

I Wanna Crush Ya!

I love every one of those people over there, so don’t be offended if you didn’t make the post. Just know if I could write a post about each and every one of you, I would. I had to draw the line, and I chose to draw it at three.

Miss Sizzle got me into this. Ironically, she is my first crush! She was one of the first people I found, how? I don’t honestly remember. She touched me with her humor, kindness and who can resist that smile? She struggles day-to-day with all the things any single woman in the world would and does it with a sense of self you rarely find. She’s generous to a fault and has the kind of job that I know I could never ever ever do, but thank God there are people in this world who do them. She is a constant in my life and if she lived closer I believe we would be “real world” friends.

My second crush is on a guy who I would be proud to have as an adopted son. He’s fun-loving, smart, and such a great husband and father – I mean, what’s not to love? For those of you who couldn’t guess with such a short description, it’s Brad over at Almost Lucid. From the minute he printed a picture of his wife with not a speck of makeup and proceeded to describe how beautiful she was to him… to the heart-warming tales of his children to his job experiences and life experiences… he’s a very well-rounded young man. I’ve also had a word or two via e-mail with his mom and trust me… he was raised very, very, well. What a lovely family and a blog I love to visit as often as possible.

Last, but by no means least, is Helen. Words cannot express the impact of this thing called an internet as much as being able to read this woman’s words here in Iowa that have been written in England. If you think about it – How cool is that? To call what Helen writes merely “words” is not to give credit to the woman herself. She is such a heartfelt writer. She doesn’t just give you sixty words on her day, but she reaches inside and pulls out handfuls of emotion and throws them at you with such force you can’t help but be touched. Her descriptive talents escape explaination. I can’t help but wish only good things for her the next year and pray she never stops blogging.

So, there it is. My not-so-secret blog crushes.

Oh… and don’t forget the addresses for cards! I really, really, REALLY want to send you one!

Take It How You Will or Urgent Request!


This isn’t exactly true. It’s just how I feel right now. Sloppy and weird. You who have your minds in the gutter can leave now…

I am usually extremely organized. I may have piles here and there, but I know what’s in those piles and can generally put my hands on most whatever it is I need at a moment’s notice. So, is it age or am I just going crazy? (Maybe we won’t think about that one too long, either.)

Last year I had a list of all my blog-land friends addresses and for most of the year I knew exactly where it was. I kept seeing it. First here, then there, then here again. I kept moving it from place to place, always aware of exactly where it was being put, as Christmas was only… a few months away. *cough*

Yeah. You are getting the idea. Do you think I can find this list, now, when I actually want to use it?

So… if you like me… or maybe just feel sorry for me… and you got a card from me last year or would like to get a card from me this year… could you please e-mail me your address again? (sesnyde at hughes dot net) I really do value your friendship and I didn’t mean to lose you… honest.

What Happened to Winter?



Okay, I admit it isn’t quite this bad around here… there is still a little green, but for the most part winter in the midwest without snow is brown. Dull, gray, lifeless, bo-ring. It is going to be 50-something degrees today and a possible record-breaking upper 50’s on Friday. This is December. This is Christmas. This is the time of year we want to be a foot deep in it.

I was so happy because the ground was frozen solid and the “busy” part of my job was over for the winter. Then I found out today that because of the almost inch of rain we got yesterday, and the warmth, that the frost has gone out of the ground and they are back to soil sampling again. Arrrggghhh! Nooooo! Not now! Not so close to Christmas! Crap.

That lump of misery you see pooling in the corner would be me.

The Tax Man Cameth


Got to meet with our lovely tax accountant this morning. No, he looks nothing like this. He even had a smile on his face!

One hurdle toward year-end on the farm. This is the part I really, really, really hate. Hubs knows I get all stressed and grouchy and my face becomes one huge ache from clenching my jaws all day long. It’s not really that bad. I know that. I can tell myself that. I can repeat it as a mantra until I am sick of hearing myself say it. It makes no difference. I still get stressed about it.

The next hurdle is to go talk to the banker. Same thing. Year-end. Wrapping up this year and setting up for next year. I think we’re going to try to get it done this week. I hope so. I just want it to be over so I can get on to the normal stresses of this time of year. You know, the “fun” ones.