Friday, March 29, 2019

An Unwanted Guest Has Moved In

In a February post called "It's Here That I Come To Feel" I wrote about a health issue we are going to be dealing with for awhile.

Ross has been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.

Apparently, it is a not so bad cancer to have. 

I say that with tongue in cheek.

Those two last statements, "not so bad" and "tongue in cheek" when talking about cancer seem incongruous, to say the least.

This not so bad cancer made its entrance into our lives loud and booming.  It came right in through the front door. It picked us up off the ground, grabbed us and shook us until we were breathless.

It surreptitiously moved in with us.   It took it's place at the breakfast, lunch and dinner table and demanded to be part of every conversation.

It rides in the car with us, sitting in the back seat, tapping our shoulders like a spoiled child wanting attention.

This not so bad cancer invades our dreams, disguised as rising flood waters or disappearing stair cases.

Cancer, even the not so bad one, likes to play to a crowd.   There is no such thing as an audience of one for Cancer.  It's tentacles reach out far beyond the one whose body it has invaded.

Which is why when I write about Ross having cancer, I say "we", for I feel as though "we" have cancer.

The path to recovery for this not so bad cancer takes its time.   Pre-radiation medication therapy for a few months,  then radiation treatment five days a week for a more few months.

We have been in a waiting hibernation.

This not so bad cancer has quieted itself, but be sure, it does not like to be ignored.

I say, "You are going to be fine.  So and So had it and he's fine now."

He says, "I know. I know I am going to be fine."

Friday, March 22, 2019

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

My normal writing position is sitting in my comfy
writing-chair, legs tucked up underneath me with computer on my lap.  I'm usually leaning to one side with my left elbow propped up on the arm of my comfy writing chair.

Yes, like that ------------------------------------------------>

I'm normally motivated to write because of a nagging idea that won't leave me alone.

For instance yesterday, as I was in the shower, my aching head being soothed by warm water and my mind freely wandering, I thought about how interesting it was that the knitting/crochet community, of which I am a part, has a hierarchy of fame.

I wondered if non-knitters/crocheters would find it interesting or perhaps even astonishing that there is such a thing as a knitting/crochet community, let alone a fame hierarchy. 

First, the knitting community is world wide, consisting of millions of knitters.  We gather on various virtual platforms, such as "Ravelry" (which is strictly for knitters and crocheters), Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Etsy, and YouTube.
We find each other by searching hashtags. We communicate with photos of our work, selfies, videos, podcasts, and blogs.  Several times a year, we meet in person at "rallies" called "Yarn Festivals".

Now let me explain the fame part.  I'm not talking about well known actors or actresses who knit.  I'm talking about the individuals whose names, faces, designs, podcasts, blogs, etc are known to most all in the knitting/crochet community.  Or simply put, the ones who have achieved celebrity status.  They are the influencers.

One of these celebrities may have designed a sweater that now thousands of knitters must knit.
Then there is the mother/daughter team or the pair of sisters who decided to talk about their knitting/crochet experiences on a weekly YouTube podcast, which now thousands of us tune into on a regular basis.

Another way some of the community have achieved celebrity status is by their beautiful hand dying yarn artistry.  They have impressively turned selling their yarn on Etsy into thriving successful businesses.

In years past people, probably mostly women, might have socially met with their neighbors to knit or crochet practical items.  Do you think that Mrs. Smith, the minister's wife,  might have been the one with whom everyone wanted to knit? 

In the 1950's a woman named Elizabeth Zimmerman rose to fame.

"Elizabeth Zimmermann (August 9, 1910 – November 30, 1999) was a British-born hand knitting teacher and designer. She revolutionized the modern practice of knitting through her books and instructional series on American public television."

Ms. Zimmermann is still revered today and I'm sure every knitter would swoon given a chance to meet with her.

I suppose sociologically speaking, the rise of certain individuals to the top, and the desire of the rest to be in their presence is age old tribally typical.

But, I wondered how, in present day times, the phenomenon of celebrity in the knitting/crochet community came to be.

Of course the answer is obvious.  Anyone can become famous with a single tweet or viral video.
We live in a world of instant notification and recognition.  We make friends from all over our own countries and around the world with those we might never meet in person.

I guess Andy Warhol did predict the future,

15 minutes of fame is short-lived media publicity or celebrity of an individual or phenomenon. The expression was inspired by Andy Warhol's words "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes", which appeared in the program for a 1968 exhibition of his work at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden.
Are you part of a virtual group?   Have you ever had a fan girl/guy moment over an individual from that group that you have spotted in person?

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Old and New All Over Again

UPDATE:  In a post called "Me and Young Guy", I wrote this about my new iPad:
 "While I like my new iPad, especially when I am using it with the “Knit Companion” app, I have found that my laptop has more functionality with programs such as Blogger and iMovie".  

After struggling to write that post, (using the iPad it took me twice as long) I decided to return the iPad and exchange it for a laptop.   I chose the MacBook Air and I love it!

As I mentioned in that previous post, my 8 year old MacBook Air would not hold a charge, hence the need for a new device.

After receiving my new laptop, I began to wonder if the battery on my old laptop could be replaced.  I googled and found that I could buy a new battery for about $40.   But who would install it?  I searched on YouTube and found a video on how to change the battery on the model of laptop that I had.  It looked simple enough.
I ordered the battery on Amazon.  It came two days later complete with the tools I needed.
I followed the clear instructions of the YT video and was able to install a new battery in my old laptop.
So now Ross has a "new" laptop too. 😀

Monday, March 18, 2019

Mitzi The Jersey Diner Waitress

It's amazing when I think about all of the services Ross and I use.

Here in the US it has become customary to tip at least 20 percent of the tab to
those hardworking people who provide all the services we enjoy.

The two newspapers we get daily are delivered by the same two persons.  There is a driver and his helper.  The driver hardly slows down while the helper tosses the papers out the window, where they land on the driveway on the same spot each time.  How do they do that?
We pay for the papers automatically out of our checking account each month.  We tip the two guys at the end of the year.

The garbage collectors leave a Christmas card in our mailbox.  Sometimes, when we don't get our garbage out on time, they will come back later on in the day and pick it up.  I would say that is going above and beyond, wouldn't you?

Doesn't everyone receive an Amazon package at least once a month?  We do.  To be perfectly honest, though, I've never tipped the UPS guy.  Anyway, he doesn't hang around long enough.  He rings the bell and runs back to his truck.

The lovely ladies who come once a month to clean our house receive a nice cash Christmas present each year.
I'm never quite sure what to do for the woman I go to for my manicure and pedicure.  I don't get my nails done on a regular basis.  Usually, it's for a special occasion, the holidays and then a couple of times a year in between.  The charge is $71 and I leave her a $15.00 tip.
Does that warrant an extra something at Christmas time?
Last year I gave her a lovely hand made shawl.   She didn't open it in front of me and never thanked me for it.   This year, I wished her a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Was that okay?

This post though is about the waitress, Mitzi, who served us our meal yesterday.

The brilliant blue sky day was demanding that we go out and be in it.   The only plan we had was to take a car trip, leisurely meandering the back country roads.
We eventually made our way out to a highway where we spotted a diner and decided to stop for a bite to eat.  The parking lot was full.  That's when we remembered it was St. Patricks day.
Around here, there are three times a year when it's never a good idea to eat out.  Mother's Day, Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day.

Before I start on my litany of complaints of yesterday's experience,  I do have empathy for wait staff.  All of my children worked in the food service industry.  My son-in-law still does.
I will concede and take into account that because of the holiday, the restaurant was unusually busy yesterday  Should that have effected the level of service?

New Jersey is famous for its diners.
According to a July 2015 article on Bon :

"New Jersey is called the diner capital, mostly because of the sheer number of diners in the state. ... "Diners filled that need—and our location between New York and Philadelphia along with this road network through New Jersey becomes part of the reason why there were so many."

One of the remarkable things about Jersey diners is the size of the menu.  It's a book, with several chapters.  And then there are the daily specials which are listed in a separate mini book.

I mention this because it takes more than a few minutes to "read" the menu.
Typically, when we eat in one of the Jersey diners, our experience, for the most part, is that our server gives us enough time to look over the menu before they approach.   They then wold politely ask if we need a few more minutes before we order.

First, our table did not have a set up.  No placemat, no flatware.  When the pleasant enough gentleman came over to set the table, he had a fistful of flatware.  I hoped he washed his hands before handling the forks, spoons and knives we were about to put into our mouths. Yes, I'm personally, extremely germ aware.

We waited more than a few minutes for our server to come over to our table.  We read through the menu at least twice.

Our server, Mitzi,  was a tiny middle-aged woman with frizzy "blond" hair.   By her demeanor and harried look, I am sure she had already put in a long day.   When she finally got around to our table, we got no preamble greeting or hint of a smile.
She asked if we were ready to order.  I was, Ross looked unsure.
It was clear that she did not want to wait for Ross to make up his mind and quickly said, "I can take their order,"  pointing to the table next to us.
Since we had waited for a time already, we did not want her to leave before she took our order.
I told her what I wanted, giving Ross a few more minutes.
When it was his turn, he hesitated, which apparently annoyed her. I say that because of the significant size of the sigh she pushed out.
He ordered.  He chose the St Paddy's day special corned beef and cabbage, I the roast chicken.
When Mitzi brought us our basket of bread and bread plates, she hastily dropped them, with a clatter, onto the side of table closest to her.
She brought the soup and salad out at the same time.  Shouldn't the soup have come first, then cleared away, then the salad?
Am I being too picky?
I could go on with other little infractions, but let me get to the main "course".
Remember Ross ordered the Corned beef, cabbage, boiled potato special.
Mitzi handed us (not placed in front of us) our meals and then quickly ran off.
I looked at his and said, "That doesn't look like corned beef."   It wasn't.  It was ham.
Since she was like the "Flash" swooshing past, eyes straight ahead, it took a few tries for us to get her attention.
When we finally got her to notice us, Ross politely said "Did they run out of corned beef?"
With another big sigh, she grabbed up his plate, and "flashed" into the kitchen.
Side note, although, she got my order correct, it was hardly edible.
By the time Ross' meal came back out, we were done, ready to go, had had enough.
Mitzy mumbled something about the cook giving her the wrong meal.  But why didn't Mitzy notice this before she brought it out?
We asked for the check, and  take out boxes for our salads, which we never had time to eat.
She threw the boxes onto the table, no seriously she did.   We then had to ask for a bag to put the boxes in.
Now, again I am empathetic towards the hard, demanding job of wait staff.  I'm sure I would not be able to do it.  Dealing with the public is not easy.

Isn't a tip, though,
supposed to be an indication of the level of satisfaction with the service?

I did not want to leave Mitzy a 20% tip.  Ross disagreed.

What would you have done?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Me and Young Guy

I recently bought a new iPad, which is what I am using to write this post.  I’ve only had it about a month or so.
I’ve used Apple products for about 10 years now.  Laptops, Desktops, iPods, and iPhones.  In fact this is my third iPad.  So, I can safely say I am familiar with lay of the Apple land.

I loved my old MacBook Air laptop.  For the past eight years I used it to write my blog. After eight years, though, the battery wouldn’t keep a charge.  I have to keep it plugged in while using it.

I like my iPhone 7 enough so that I have decided to keep it for awhile.  For the past two years I used my iPhone to record my podcast (Joey’s Scarf).   Then I would use my beloved laptop to edit and upload the video.
The laptop, though, has become very slow in converting the video and uploading to YouTube.

It was time to replace my laptop.  Hence the new iPad.

I’ve written about why I chose an iPad instead of a new laptop  in my blog post called Thank you Pink!

A few days ago I decided to record an episode of my podcast using my new iPad.
As I started to get ready to record, I discovered that the microphone I normally would use with my iPhone did not have the same connector as the new iPad.
Next, I found the remote clicker I use to start and stop recording was also not compatible with the new iPad.

I went to Best Buy to purchase compatible cables to work with my older devices.

The young man at the door greeted me and pleasantly asked me, “What can I help you with today?”

I explained.  He didn’t understand.

“Why would need you a cable?” he asked.

By the look of his furrowed brow, I could tell he was genuinely puzzled.  He started throwing words around like “bluetooth” “WIFI” and the dreaded “cloud”.

I became exasperated, but kept my composure  and I politely tried  once   again to explain what I was looking for.

After a couple of back and forths, we seemed to be on the same page and he led me over the the cable rack.  He pulled one off the hanger and handed it to me.
“This should do it,” he said.
I immediately knew it wasn’t the right one.
“No, I said,” “That won’t work.”
He again mentioned how I probably didn’t need a cable “because of the Bluetooth/WiFi/cloud availability,  you know,” he said. 

At that point I don’t know who was more frustrated.  But I bet it was me.

After several more exchanges, we came to an agreement.  I wanted cables and he needed to find them for me.  Which he did.  

Lesson learned for both of us, me and “Young Guy”. 

Even though most of us in my generation didn’t grow up with computers, we have had no choice, but to learn to live with and in some cases even learn to love them.  

Perhaps Young Guy realized that sometimes we older folk know what we are talking about.   I know for sure he learned that at least this old gal knew what she wanted. 

As for me, Young Guy encouraged me to learn more about BlueTooth/WiFi/ and the now not so dreaded iCloud. 

A final note:  While I like my new iPad, especially when I am using it with the “Knit Companion” app, I have found that my laptop has more functionality with programs such as Blogger and iMovie.  

As I was writing this post, I eventually had to revert to my laptop to finish it.
And since there is only 18 percent battery left, I better hurry up and end it. 

If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have purchased a MacBook Pro along with a smaller less expensive iPad.(to use my knitting app on) 😊