Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Flowers


Today we were in Boston. It was my surgery follow-up. He told me I’m doing fabulously and I look really great.

“You should see how other people look a month after surgery!” I can just imagine.

I graciously accepted the compliment then asked when I would feel as good I look.

“It takes a few months, you know. But you are doing really well.”

Drive by shooting along the Charles River

Drive by shooting along the Charles River

That was the medical part. The other part of the trip was spring. It wasn’t a pretty day. No sun. Chilly, only 45 degrees which is very cold for the end of April.

It was drizzling too. But along the Charles River, the cherry trees, magnolias and apple trees are blooming their hearts out. I grabbed a shot as we sped by. It goes to prove that Mother Nature. against all odds, is bringing springtime.

There’s nowhere to stop to take a picture on Storrow Drive, so this is officially a drive-by shooting! Along the Charles, at the very end of April 2014.


I was just reminded of something. I go long periods and don’t think about it, but I shouldn’t, and neither should you. By “you” I mean absolutely everyone. Whatever you do — write, take pictures, or whatever — if you do it on a computer, back it up. I learned the hard way.

ILOVEYOU (aka Love Letter), was a computer worm that attacked tens of millions of PCs on and shortly after May 5, 2000. It showed up as an email message with the subject “ILOVEYOU” and an attachment: “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.txt.vbs”. The  ‘VBS’ file extension was typically hidden by default on PCs back then. It wasn’t on my computer, but I worked on a development team on my computer at home — an early telecommuter — so it wasn’t unusual for me to get files full of code as part of my job.

external HD

It took a mere few seconds to destroy every single jpeg on my computer. That represented all of the photographs I had ever taken that I was storing on my hard drive, more than a decade of family and artistic pictures. It only took a few hours for a fix to be created and distributed, but it was too late for me.

I had been backing up to CDs, but I hadn’t backed up my photos, only financial records and my writing because that was work-related.

I lost hundreds, maybe thousands, of photographs.

External hard drives existed, but they were uncommon and expensive — very expensive. Now, there’s no excuse. You can get a huge external hard drive for short money. I back up intermittently to my two external drives, but a make sure to move files between my laptop and my big desktop everyday, and I save things online too

Eventually, I have 3 or 4 copies of everything, not counting whatever I store online. I don’t feel it’s too much. You can’t have too many backups of things that are important.

Even if it doesn’t seem very important. it can suddenly become very important if you have lost it forever and can never replace it. Back everything up. If it’s important enough to save it on your hard drive, it’s important enough to back up.

You can, for example, get a 3 TB external Seagate drive from Amazon for $139 including shipping. One and two terabyte drives are less expensive. If you don’t like that, there are ample choices for every budget. Don’t make excuses. One day, something bad will happen. A hard drive dies on you. It happens. It has happened to me twice. The first time, it was a secondary hard drive and I got enough warning to get my stuff off the drive. The second time, a message in a black  message box — I’ve never seen one like that before or since — appeared on my screen saying that there was a problem with my hard drive, back up now. By the time I finished reading the message, everything was gone.

But that time, everything was backed up. It was an inconvenience, not a catastrophe. I had learned my lesson.

You don’t have to learn the hard way. Back it up. All of it.


For everything, there is a season. This is my season to itch.

First, you wake up from surgery in screaming agony and after a while, it subsides. Little by little, it goes from agony to misery. The misery lasts months, though if you analyze how you feel, you recognize under the pain layer, you’re feeling better.

Until the itching starts.

itchingFirst, it’s a tickle. A couple of days later, the prickly feeling becomes a torrent of itching. Which you dare not scratch lest you open up one of your incisions.

I have seasonal dermatitis too. It kicks in every spring and fall. It’s not a disease, so there’s no cure and by itself it can cause frenzied itching. And hey, it’s spring, sort of. A bit cold and rainy, but according to the calendar, it is spring. So my dermatitis has clicked “on.” Add that to the healing incisions and it’s a perfect storm of sensation.

You can get drugs to dull pain. Sometimes you can get drugs to make pain go away entirely for a while.

Nothing makes itching stop.

It’s a sign of healing they say. Me? I hate it.


Pride and Joy

What’s your most prized possession? GO!

Once upon a time, I had many prized possessions. I don’t know if you could call them my pride and joy because I reserve that designation for family members, not “stuff.” But I had things that were beautiful and which I treasured.

I moved a lot. Two trans-oceanic moves eliminated a lot of “treasures.” You just can’t tote everything with you in containers and one of the things you discover is it’s remarkable how many things you think you can’t live without are in fact disposable.

Later, when Garry and I discovered we were actually poor, something we never imagined or planned for, I started selling a lot of our most prized possessions, especially things like fine dinnerware, silver services and jewelry. Amazingly, we discovered not only did we not miss it, but we had freed up valuable cupboard and closet space and guests — on the rare occasions when we were feeding the masses — were perfectly happy to eat off whatever dishes we put on the table and use whichever utensils were provided. They didn’t come for the table settings (as it turned out). They came for the company and incidentally, a well-cooked meal.

So now, we have things we love. For me, it’s mostly antique Asian porcelain and other art. Together we have collected quite a few original paintings and photographs from galleries we used to frequent. I have a doll collection. Garry has a great collection of books about film and baseball, his great passions.

Mostly, we treasure each other. Our good times. Memories. Dogs, family, friends. Great coffee in the morning, good movies at night. You can’t sell that stuff … nor can you buy it.

I can barely remember the things that were once so important. Turns out, they weren’t important at all.


Share Your World – 2014 Week 17

Time for another round of sharing.

What are some words that just make you smile?

Shirley or surely. Reminds me of “Airplane” and that always makes me smile.

“Walk this way.” A Mel Brooks classic line appearing in at least three four of his movies. Extra points if you can name them!

Finally, anytime anyone in any cop show says “Stay in the car,” it sends Garry and I into fits of laughter. Because they never stay in the car and you have to wonder why anyone would bother to put it into a script … or how an actor can say it with a straight face!

When you lose electricity in a storm, do you light the candles or turn on the flashlight? How many of each do you own?

If it’s dark, I grab a flashlight first because I have to find matches. No problem finding candles. I’ve got candles all over the house, but matches are a different issue and finding them can be more of a challenge. I have no idea how many flashlights we have, but we have two that I can find quickly and which actually work. There are many more lurking in dark corners, probably with dead batteries.

What is the longest book you ever read?

Thomas Wolfe’ “Look Homeward, Angel” is a contender … but since I read that (more than 50 years ago), I’ve read some very long science fiction/fantasy books. Anything by Robert Jordan is a probably winner in this category!

75-BookStory HP-2

And then there was the original 18 volumes in one binding “Jean Christophe” by Romaine Rolland. I read it, though involuntarily because Mom figured if the author won a Nobel Prize, it had to be good. It was good, but also really long.

“Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945” by Tony Judt at just over 900 pages is also a competitor. But worth the investment of time and attention.

So you win a pet monkey at a fair, but this isn’t just any old monkey. It can do one trick for you whenever you want from getting a pop out of the fridge to washing your hair. What would be the trick?

I’m sort of a dog and cat kind of gal. I can’t imagine having a monkey for a pet. Sorry.