Thursday, December 22, 2016


OK, so I let my nerd rage get away from me yesterday.  Feel my shame.


I realized this morning that I had not, as previously stated, seen the original, hand written, lyrics to "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" by Robert May which proved Gene Autry changed the name Donder to Donner in the song.

So I did some digging.

What I had actually seen was the original, hand written draft of the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas," or as most of us know it, "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore (or whoever. Apparently there is a controversy over who actually wrote it, but that's not important right now.)

Whoever wrote it was the person to give the reindeer we all know and love the names we use in popular culture (Rudolph not included, obvs.)  I looked back at the draft, and sure enough, the name was Donder, like I thought.  HOWEVER, when the song "Rudolph" was written, Robert May used an alternate spelling of Donder, which happens to be Donner, and ergo, it isn't a mistake.

Also, there are two other alternate spellings for both Donder and Blitzen: Dunder and Blixem, which are Dutch words for thunder and lightening respectively.

I did not know this!  Dogs and cats, living together, MASS HYSTERIA.

So, basically, I was wrong and have been humbled and Christmas is ruined.


; )

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


1) A couple of weeks ago I was scheduled to sing during the Sunday morning church service.  I was not feeling well  for whatever reason, but it wasn't too bad.  A little tired, a little queasy, a bit know, the regular crud that goes around and around this time of year.  I was nervous about singing, of course, which didn't help matters, but I was OK.  No big deal.

At least it wasn't a big deal until I got up on stage and the music started.  I don't know if my nerves kicked everything else into overdrive or what, because suddenly I was standing in front of our entire (albeit small) congregation waiting for my cue to start singing and had become about 93% certain that I was either going to pass out or vomit.  That's a pretty bad feeling. I don't know about you, but I don't want to do either one of those things in front of a room full of people.  So not only was I nervous about singing (and I'd forgotten the sheet of music that had my lyrics on it, so I was freaking out about forgetting the words to the song) I also had a second layer of freaking out because I was fairly certain that I was about to have something unpleasant happen up on stage.  I started singing and everything sounded ok, but I had to hold on to the pulpit to keep from falling down.  I thought I was being nonchalant about it, but apparently other people noticed something was wrong, but at least if I did go down, there would have been people at the ready to help me out! Yay!

In the end, I didn't actually barf or faint and I made it through my song, but that's the closest I've ever been to having a medical emergency while singing before. I felt better after I got to sit down for a while, so I have no idea what the problem was. I'm glad, because I have a feeling I'd never fully be comfortable ever singing in public again had I thrown up on stage.  That would be a shame.

Huh. Now that I've written it all out, I realize how anticlimactic it all is, but still...I wanted to share.

2) Did you know that you can now visit my blog over an encrypted connection?  Instead of, you can use It's the little s that makes the difference.  Just FYI.

3) Have I ever told you about the time I won the 4H cookie baking contest 3 years in a row?  Well, technically I only won 2 years in a row, but I know the third year they just didn't give me the 1st place ribbon because they didn't think it would be fair to the other participants if I won all 3 years.  The reason I know this is because all of the judges asked for my recipe that third year, and they didn't ask for anyone elses. Pfft.

I have no idea what made me think of any of that, because I honestly hadn't thought of even being in 4H in a long time. There was a time when I could bake, and win prizes for my baking, without any problem and that's when I was a kid. What happened?  I know my current oven is not 100% reliable, temperature wise, but still...I was 10 and not burning things so often.  At what point did I lose my ability to cook?  Probably when I opted to do Agribusiness instead of Home Ec.  Eh, I ain't bovvered.  I learned how to weld and use power tools in Agribusiness, so really I think I came out ahead in the end.

4) I can't believe it's almost Christmas. I know how cliche that is, but it's the truth. In some ways I feel like the month has flown by, and in others, I feel like it's dragging.  It's like riding on some weird kind of temporal elevator that is having electrical hiccups. I've still got a lot to do, but I can't seem to accomplish anything useful.  I just look at what needs to be done and then sit down in abject horror at the scope of it all and ignore it.

Steve has had a lot of Christmas parties to go to this year, because he's involved in so many things now.  You'll either be thrilled (but probably disappointed) to hear that I managed not to do anything awful at his corporate Christmas party this year!  I stayed very still, I didn't eat anything that required a plate, and I didn't drink anything containing alcohol.  OK, so I accidentally almost broke one guy's arm by hitting him with a door, but it was his own fault for not knowing I was coming out of a door when I did, and Steve and I left right after I hit him, so maybe he didn't even know who I was!  We went to a party for one of his Cyber Security groups, and that went well because we got to sit at a table. I'm much better at parties when I don't have to circulate, so I got to talk to one of Steve's co-workers for a while.  He was from Ohio, and was very excited that I had once been in FFA. It came up, shut up. He said I was the first person he'd met down here that had been in that (Wha?) and that was a big deal where he is from, so we talked about it. A lot.  Apparently he hasn't been over to Limestone county at any point, or he'd find a lot more people to discuss FFA with, but whatever!  I tagged out of his last cyber security party and Steve got someone else to go with him and I was glad.  I can only pretend to be fascinated with cyber security for so long. Yikes.

Other than that, December is weirdly lonely because everyone is really busy doing...stuff. Everyone disappears. So even if you're at a million parties or whatever, you can't just sit down and have regular conversations with your people. I'll be glad when things settle down and get back to normal. I kind of miss what was going on before all the Christmas craziness started.

5) I'm going to tell you a very specific, Christmas related irritation that I have.  It's the very famous Gene Autry version of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."  He mispronounces the name of one of the reindeer.  He says "Donner" and it is supposed to be "Donder."  I even looked at the original, handwritten lyrics written by Robert May and it is Donder! Gene Autry sang the definitive version of the song and he messed it up! NERD RAGE!

6) I know that it probably sounds like I don't like Christmas much, but I promise that isn't the case. I just think it's harder to enjoy it when you're an adult.  Too much to do and not enough time to enjoy it, maybe?  But at least I know that people I love will be close by (Even if some of them will be there for just a little while), there will be sausage balls and the Doctor Who Christmas special, and at some point, there will be a whole day where I'm not obligated to wear pants!  Who can have a problem with that? :)  Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2016


My desktop computer died a few weeks ago without warning.  When I say it died, I mean it was, in the immortal words of Jerry Clower, grave-yard dead.  That might not sound like a very big deal to some of you, but it was.  That computer held the entirety of my professional design portfolio, all of my design software, files, fonts, and patterns, all of the pictures that I'd taken and stored for the past 15 years (along with scans of other pictures that were taken before things were digital) my library of audio books, my digital crochet patterns, my writing  projects, my spreadsheets dating back to 2004, and the very, very worst thing to me was that it held the archives of all of the emails that I'd been saving since practically forever.  I don't just mean regular emails, I mean important and special emails that I'd saved on purpose.  These were irreplaceable emails from my late father, my late mother-in-law, and emails that people had sent me during bad times in my life where they were encouraging me (I'd pull those out and read them periodically when I needed a boost.) There were emails where Steve and I were writing our wedding vows, emails where I'd been sent photos and recipes, and then there were just emails from people I love a whole lot and liked to keep our correspondence, because we are funny and had fun conversations.  I kind of likened it to those letters you hear about people finding in old hope chests, tied with blue satin ribbons and kept forever, only they were digital and had no ribbon, because technology hasn't evolved that far yet..  That's just how important they were to me. 

I have no idea what happened to the computer, but when it died, it went down hard and took everything with it.  When I realized what happened, I thought I'd go into a major panic, but I didn't. I sat down and cried for about 3 minutes, but it was just too big to cry over, really.  I hadn't really had time to think through what all the loss of the computer was going to entail, so I went back to my bedroom and slept for an hour, the way a person does when they are trying to avoid bad things.  Besides...I had backups.  Steve said I had backups.  Steve should know, because he is a computer guy.  BACKUPS.

Only, for reasons we still don't understand, both backups failed.  FAILED.  We knew that one of them hadn't been working properly, but the second one, a 2T external hard drive that was supposed to be my saving grace in situations like this, also bit the big one.  I still didn't panic, although, I came really close when Steve said that my second backup wasn't working.  I must've looked kind of scary, because the first thing he did was bundle me into the car and take me to the Apple store to buy a new computer.  The salesman took one look at my face and didn't try to up sale or anything else, he just let us buy the new computer and leave.  Steve spent a LONG time trying to figure out what had happened to the computer.  He felt bad, apparently, because he had not been checking to make sure that any of my backups were still functioning...for years. I can't blame him, I guess.  It wasn't his computer, so why would he think of it, but WHAT IS THE POINT OF BEING MARRIED TO A MAN WHO DOES I.T. WORK IF HE DOESN'T CHECK ALL THE COMPUTERS?!!  *ahem*  Sorry.

To make a long story much shorter, we took the old computer to a Mac shop that does data restore and they managed to find some of my files.  Some of them were useful, some of them were garbage, and some of them were things I'd deleted a long time ago (so just a reminder, kids...nothing is ever truly gone on a hard drive unless it's really, really important to you.)   Steve ran a recover program on the external hard drive, and we found some more files...again, not my emails, but design portfolio isn't a complete loss anymore.  So there is a very thin silver lining to this story.  I now have an updated iMac with a few usable files on it, and now I have a subscription to the Adobe software I need that will save things on a cloud in case of another complete meltdown.

In light of full disclosure, though, I feel I should be honest enough to tell you that I finally did have the long awaited, stress-related come apart brought on by the loss of my computer files. I'm not proud of myself, but I can't, with good conscience, leave you with the impression that I handled this with complete composure. 

The recover program that Steve used on the external hard drive took over a week to run.  For some reason, the files that were stored on the thing had fragmented, and the program had to piece them back together like a jigsaw puzzle from hell.  We weren't even sure that when it was done, any of the files would be usable, so when we got back from our Thanksgiving visit to Georgia, we saw that it had finished.  However, as it turned out, we couldn't look at the files right away because the recovery program needed to be paid for.  Fine...thought it was free...but whatever.  We paid the fee and were sent a key to open the program, only the key wouldn't work.  Steve decided to call the help desk, because at this point, if we lost all these files again, I might have burned down the house.  Look, y'all...I don't know who's big, amazing idea is has been to locate help desk jobs in India, but I'm going to just go ahead and say that the people over there - as qualified and as smart and capable as they are - do not seem to understand when people from America are trying to tell them no.  I don't know if the tone doesn't translate well, or if there is a language barrier, but when Steve tried to explain our trouble, the man on the other end of the phone decided that instead of helping us, he needed to remotely log into my machine and try to find firewall issues.  Nothing that Steve, in his soft-spoken, computer guy language, seemed to say would deter this man from doing just that.  Thinking that would speed up the process, Steve allowed him to remote in, only the help desk man didn't seem to understand that a firewall wasn't what we needed at the moment. He insisted that he needed to finish that before he could tell us how to use the key to open the computer program.

This is when I lost my composure.

I took the phone from Steve's hand and proceeded to explain to the man, in tones and language I normally never use with other human beings, that neither I, nor my computer, needed whatever (expletive deleted) that he thought he needed to do right now unless it involved unlocking the (expletive deleted) program that we'd just bought from them. I shouted at the poor man, I rhapsodized about what he was currently not doing to satisfy me as a customer, and then I went on to elaborate about how I'd gladly speak to whomever they felt it appropriate to elevate me to in the event that the person I was currently talking to couldn't help me in the way I needed to be helped.  I said a lot of things.  A lot of mean things.  The man on the other end of the phone was very quiet, and when I handed the phone back to Steve, the help desk man went on to help us unlock this program.

Then I went into my bedroom and cried very hard for a long time, because I am not the kind of person that does things like that.  If I could have called India again and gotten the same man, I'd have apologized to him.  Having worked as customer service for as long as I did, I do not, as a rule, do things like that.  I can only blame the stress of the computer stuff finally just wearing me down.  I need to do some kind of penance, but just what, I'm not sure.

So that is the story about how I lost, and now partially recovered, my computer stuff.  My emails are still gone, and I keep finding lots of little things that didn't get recovered, but at least my freelance work isn't a complete loss, so...yay.