Smart phones are like the absolute worst thing for people suffering from abnormally high levels of anxiety.
Landline phones were immune from such worries. When your phone connected to the wall by a cord, your only concern was whether someone would pick up on the other end and if you actually wanted them to.
That was a ROTARY phone I was talking on. Just try to explain THAT to your children nowadays…
Then came cordless phones. You could take the receiver into the bathroom with you. But that introduced the phenomenon of dying or dead batteries and the hassle of recharging.
People were not satisfied with only talking cordlessly within their own home. Oh, no. They needed to be able to talk that way EVERYWHERE.
My first cell phone was a Tracfone prepaid. I had to remember to buy a card for my minutes. I had to remember to charge it. I had to remember to put in the ROAMING CODE. I had to remember that I had it, because, well, I really didn’t use it that often. I had to worry about misplacing my phone and losing my charging cord.
As phones got wiser, then I was always running out of text messages (I used to purchase them in 200 message blocks-ha).
Then phones got smart. Except I am always a few steps behind the current technology. I not only have to worry now about keeping the battery charged, I have to worry having software up-to-date enough to access Cozi, Facebook, and my email. I have to manage my high speed internet usage lest I get decelerated. I have to fret about whether ABC will air the season finales I must see before my free Hulu trial expires. I have to consider whether I am on Wifi or 4G LTE depending on what tasks I want to perform.
And buying a new phone! You have to get your screen anti-scratch coated, a new snazzy case, transferring apps from one phone to another, finding a micro-SD card with always more gigs and one that is not corrupted.
My husband and I both have killed phones by subjecting them to too much moisture. But I may have thwarted that issue this time. My phone is reasonably water-resistant & it has a water-resistant case on it. Water-resistant X 2 = Waterproof, right???
Sometimes I am more concerned about if my phone has an adequate charge than if my son has had dinner yet. And don’t get me started on if my GPS setting has changed itself to battery-draining “high accuracy” again on its own without my permission.
But there is always the young boy. I worry he will drop it, change my wallpaper, erase my apps (all things, by the way, he has done in the past). Or worse, he might put it into one of his flour-heavy “experiments.” Just as long as the experiment doesn’t involve “will it float in the toilet”, I guess worse things could happen to it…
..Like blowing away in a tornado, falling into a live volcano, being eaten by a flying shark. Ahhhhh! It is just too much to bear. Maybe I should go back to a cord in the wall. Then I wouldn’t have to feel like I needed to look at my phone all the time to check for missed calls or text messages.
But I won’t do that.
Even though sometimes cell phones frustrate me to no end and make me just want to smash it (my husband has done that, by the way), I won’t give it up. Because they are just so fun to play with and waste time. And the only game I have on mine is alienSwarm, a sort of imitation Galaga.
This week I learned that I shouldn’t order from Forever21.com. I tried to order a dress and a scarf I was intending to incorporate into my Halloween costume this year. (Sorry–Top Secret. You will have to come back on Halloween to find out what I am going to dress as.) I ordered my items on Friday, September 14th. Now, I realize that is a Friday. But by Thursday, September 20th, I had received no shipping email and my order status still said “NEW” when I looked it up on their website. So, I sent an email to customer service. As of today, Sunday,September 23rd, I have received absolutely no reply and my order status still says “NEW”. I have looked it up so many times now that I have the order number memorized.
I guess maybe they realized I am not 21. Nor a size O. At this point, I really don’t care if I get my order. I can make my costume from odds and ends around the house I already own. The dress was quite cute and I would probably be able to wear it for other occasions as well. But I won’t be heartbroken if it doesn’t come. I just wish they would tell me that, sooner, rather than later. And I will be really pissed if they only ship me the scarf! It was a add on purchase. I don’t want to pay $6.95 in shipping just for a scarf I could buy at Walmart.
There is a phone number on their website, so I guess next week I will call that and probably talk to some nice folks in India.
[UPDATE: I did call customer service (weeks ago), and the chick told me she would tell the warehouse to ship my order immediately and would refund my shipping charge once my order shipped. A few days later I received a generic email response that said I would be notified when my order shipped.
As of 10/8/12, I have received no notice that my order has shipped and my order still shows a status of “NEW” on the website. I guess I won’t have an awesome Halloween costume afterall:( My sympathies to all the other customers who are in the same situation.]
[FURTHER UPDATE: I finally received a shipping notice on 10/19, and my order arrived by 2nd day air (which I did not select) on October 22. Only took 38 days to receive. And my accessory went Out of Stock in that time.]
This week I also learned how to put songs on my cell phone! Now, I got this cell phone in the spring of 2011. While the phone has a SD card slot, I had no way to connect the phone to my old desktop computer. I tried a USB cord. That didn’t work for pictures, so I didn’t even think about trying to use it for music. And my iTunes was screwed up on that puter anyway.
I got a laptop for Christmas of 2011. I was ecstatic that it had an SD drive built-in. That meant to get photos off my phone, I no longer had to email them to myself, one by one by one by one by… I could just now slap in the SD card into my puter and go to town with downloading and organizing. And I still didn’t give a thought to music and my celly. (I notice I am lapsing into my own brand of slang. Swarry.)
Then my asbestos friend said how much she would love to put her music on her phone. That got me thinking. Friday I bought Pink’s new album off Amazon.com for $5. Now, this is a big step for me. I bought it not knowing if I could make it go into my iTunes account or not. After a few tries, I did. Then I was like “Let’s try to put it on my cell phone!” And it worked! Very easily! So I threw some more songs onto my cell phone SD card. …And I ran into the inevitable problem–not all of my files were mp3, which is all that my phone would recognize and play. But after a brief tussle with iTunes, I managed to convert most of the songs I wanted into mp3 and shove them onto my celly. (There were just a few that were über ultra super protected that it would not let me. Although technically I know a way to get around that too, if I wanted.)
And as I happily listened to my songs on my cell phone last night, I realized how much happier I am with daily music in my life:)
I’m not stalking you. is NOW ON FACEBOOK! “Like” that I’m not stalking you and get an update when there is a new post to read. (It is sort of like YOU are stalking ME.)
I first discovered this word a year ago, but I have actually been doing it all my life. It is kind of like when I discovered the word shipper.
All my life whenever I am near railroad tracks I hope that a train will come along so that I can watch it go by. It seldom happens. Unless you work for the railroad, you don’t have anyway to know when a train will arrive. I love to listen to the cars as they thunder by, their couplings creaking with each variance in the track. I was fortunate enough to live near railroad tracks for half my life. But it was not a busy track.
This, my friends, is not a problem in Fostoria, Ohio. It is known as the Iron Triangle because so many trains (around 200 per day, I have been told) travel through the city. Fostoria has built a great rail park within the triangle where you can just sit and watch the trains go by. I was really impressed with the facility. There was a small roof for shade/rain protection, speakers that played the latest scanner communications, and a very well-kept bathroom. We must have seen about ten trains pass by in the few hours we were there.
Here is a new video I uploaded on my YouTube channel of a Norfolk Southern double-header passing by.
If steam engines (and possibly ones from the island of Sodor) are more your thing, watch this video of mine that already has over 2,900 views. And please like or subscribe or whatever it is people do over there on the ‘Tube. I am old. I can’t keep up with the young whippersnappers anymore.
When I started writing on this blog, I barely knew what a blog was. I had been working for 12 years for the same company that was about to go out of business, leaving me jobless, and an infant that needed major surgery. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, although I was already well into my 30s.
Happy Birthday to INSY, Happy Birthday to INSY…
In the intervening five years, I had a job for 21 months that I liked that progressed into one that I couldn’t stand to stay with. Now I have finally settled somewhere closer to home that I hope to stay at for a very long time. My young son actually had to have two surgeries to accomplish what one should have done, but today he is happy and healthy and annoying me on a consistent basis, as any growing child testing his boundaries should be. (Doesn’t make it any easier though.) My family lost a dog. We have struggled, but I think that glow up there might be the light at the end of the tunnel.
Oh, and I wrote three books. And as I have said before, I don’t think I would have accomplished that if I hadn’t started emptying my chaotic brain out into this little blog first.
I welcome you to click on my comical categories or explore with the search bar my amassed collection of 520 posts. Don’t know where to start? Below are links to my most popular posts and some of my favorites.
And here is to the next five years. Make a five year plan, you say? I wouldn’t even know where to begin.
And, well, since I’m feeling like anyone who is reading this post deserves a little gift, here it is. I have talked about it for a while. This is as close as you are probably ever going to get to seeing me karaoke Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby.” Don’t ask me why I feel more comfortable releasing this on the Internet to a bunch of ruthless strangers than I do a roomful of drunks who would forget me tomorrow, but I do. It is a public speaking anxiety thing, which is rendered temporarily ineffective when confronted with audio or visual equipment, rather than a physical crowd being present. Hence, the Communications degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting. Oh, and remind me to disable comments on this video.
This is a long time coming. Years ago, I bought the karaoke track of “Ice Ice Baby” off of iTunes to practice with. But I still had no words, and that version cut off the third verse, which is my favorite and the one I am best at. At some point in the intervening years I Googled the lyrics and saved them on my flash drive, where they have traveled around aimlessly since. I found a karaoke track with lyrics on YouTube and made a practice video one day. That seemed like only a few months ago, Christmas maybe? Nope. That was last APRIL! I had the idea that this may be a great stunt for INSY’s anniversary…then my mom brain took over and I forgot until like Monday.
So, I had to cram. I have been rapping the words to this song for 26 years—some of them being the WRONG words. Oy. It is hard to untrain myself. I will always say: “Falling on the concrete real fast” as “Fallin’ on the concrete grill fat.” Mmm…grill fat. Anyone hungry for McDonald’s?
Attending the Great Lakes Book Bash a few weeks ago as an author signing at the event, it hit me how lucky I am to finally be doing what I should have been doing all along. Even if I never get past publishing three books (which I sure hope-to-shout I do, as more stories are in my head, pushing every day to get out), being able to produce something I am proud of and being able to semi-easily get it out in front of people is awesome! (Still working on how to get my books in front of the RIGHT people, but, all in good time, I guess…)
I feel like there are people along the way who were instrumental at me getting to this point, and they probably are not even aware of it. I feel like now might be the time to give them shout-outs. It wouldn’t be possible to do them justice in the back of a paperback on the flat page–I require links and multi-media.
I have already blogged about past teachers, such as dear Mrs. Raines who gave me my all-time favorite book way back in 2nd grade and dear Mr. Clark who put up with my crazy, even making me co-editor of the school newspaper when I never would have selected myself for such a job.
I feel like I should also mention my asbestos friend. We were writing buddies in 8th grade, and we still are now. (And I’m not sure my subject matter has changed all that much 😉 ) Extra kudos to her for being my beta reader. And apparently Linus to my Charlie Brown.
My best friend was fundamental to my development as well, although we enjoyed more art and drawing together than words. I don’t draw much anymore. But I love to do off-beat craft projects, such as Werecart creation and mystical giraffe repair. The skills I honed around her have now been funneled into logo, advertisement, and marketing materials.
Mixed media table display for The Riley Sisters series.
In college one day I was talking with the head of the English department. He realized I had taken a butt-ton of classes in his area. He asked me why I didn’t minor in English. I said I wasn’t really interested in any of the higher level classes, which I would need for it to be an official minor on my transcript and all that. He suggested I just take an independent study with him. A class where all I do is write whatever I want to? Awesome! Too bad the story I worked on that semester sucked. But it was nice for someone to have yet again directed me closer to something I was already interested in. It seemed like most of school was crap I would never use again. (Algebra, I am talking about YOU!)
I was never a big reader (don’t be so shocked). I was always in love with television and the stories it told and the visual and aural (get your mind out of the gutter) experiences it could offer. If I grew up in today’s bounty of technology, I would probably be making programs on YouTube now rather than books. After all, Radio and TV production is what my bachelor’s degree is in.
Somehow “bachelor’s degree” made me think of Bachelor Chow from Futurama.
Speaking of which, I guess I should thank Steve in the Communications department of my alma mater for giving me A’s, and the delusion that I could create my own Riley Sisters series book teaser trailer. Blame him. It was great fun to make though! Click on the link below.
I did have plans to become a writer. When I got my first big grown-up job, I even bought myself a Word Processor. (It was 1999. I didn’t know any better.) I sat in front of it, and realized writing was hard. So, I made a conscious decision to give up that dream… until years later when I would learn that I must write because I can’t not write.
I should thank the now-defunct Borders, for providing me with invaluable book industry knowledge that I learned through osmosis from all those in cubicles near me (or those who were in cubes further away and were just loud). I got to experience first hand the evolving business of books, and the dire consequences of falling behind. I began my current venture with more awareness about the industry than many do.
And thank you to my green-haired friend and my crazy friend, my co-workers along the way, who kept reminding me daily how much I loved to write. Whether it was a fresh-off-the-presses poem I wrote, one they composed, or just reciting song lyrics to one another, they were continuous reminders of how much the written word touches our lives every day. (If I could say that about Borders, they might still be in business.) Creativity, in any form, is essential to our lives on this planet.
I didn’t really read, and find out what I liked to read, until I got my own apartment in June of 1999… and had no television for a month. I read a lot of books in that time. And I fell in love with Gaia from the Fearless series by Francine Pascal. For more on them, click here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2012/03/14/fearless/ While all the books are not cohesive (and I don’t even think they are all penned by Ms. Pascal), they drew me in and kept me hooked. I have been primarily a YA fan ever since.
But I never imagined I could write one until I read a little book called Twilight that changed my life in a lot of ways. For more about my Love of Twilight, start with this post: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2012/11/08/love-of-twilight-part-1-the-books/ Some people skewered it for not being a tome of high-brow literature. But that is not what it was ever intended to be. And that is exactly what I found accessible about it. It seemed like something my asbestos friend and I could have written. This opened my options back up to writing again, but I still wasn’t actually doing it more than in my dream journal. For more on the dream journaling, click here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2012/11/01/dreams-part-one-dream-journal/
I would never have a blog if it wasn’t for my former co-worker Dane. One day he mentioned that he had one, and I was fascinated. Anybody could get one of those? And FOR FREE? I pondered it for several weeks before I took the leap. What would I write about? Would I run out of things? The answer to the second question is apparently “no”, as it is now 4 1/2 years later. And the blog, well, that kept me writing until a big idea struck me, and then I had a book. And another. And another. And it is all Dane’s fault, because he had a blog and I wanted to copy him.* It is one of my fondest memories of him. That, and the time I was in a meeting sitting next to him and I felt my in utero son kick for the first time. That was just a coincidence, I think.
And thank you to my sister-in-law who, when I told her that I thought I might be writing a book after we had gone to a showing of the movie Safe Haven, didn’t laugh at me. She was one of the first people I told. That was The Wind Could Blow a Bug.
The Wind Could Blow a Bug by Jennifer Friess
Thank you to my dog Dave for letting me pet her furry long orange coat when the anxiety gets to be too much. She just senses when I need her. Except if she is sleeping really soundly–she is coming up on 13 years old, after all. She is never allowed to die. She knows this. I tell her every day.
Rub mah bellah!
Of course I have to thank my son and husband for putting up with my fits when the computer breaks or I cannot find something and my whole world seems to be falling apart. And a million other things that can’t all be listed here. I also thank my son M for not destroying a whole box inventory of my books… yet. (I feel like that day is coming.)
And to anyone else I may have forgotten– My head is stuffed full with fictional towns and characters. Sometimes that makes it hard to process life properly.
*Note: This does not entitle Dane to any royalties from my burgeoning writing career.
Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books: The Wind Could Blow a Bug – AVAILABLE NOW! When You Least Expect It – NEW RELEASE! Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!