The Android Learning Curve

So you think you want to take the leap into the next generation phone.  Yeah, okay.  Let me tell you the ups and downs and ins and outs that I’ve experienced.  You probably won’t learn from me.  We don’t do that as humans, do we?  We have to leap in and figure it out for ourselves.  Or try.  Or throw our hands in the air, screaming and cursing, and wondering wildly if we still have a grace period to return it for that mere $35 or so.  If you are determined to take the leap – and I was – then prepare.  Oh, honey, prepare.

I had a blackberry.  I was fine with it.  Did all the things I needed a phone to do.  I could get my email, send text messages, take and return phone calls.  Then our company changed vendors.  I received another blackberry, and all of a sudden, it was a blackberry dud.  Couldn’t get facebook, forget twitter (which I wasn’t doing anyway), emails might show up.  Answering it was an effort in frustration.  Could have been the new company (I found out when I changed my service that it was a reseller of a reseller.  Go figure.).  Could have been the phone itself.  But I hit a brick wall with frustration over the dang phone.

After struggling for several months, and feeling that I had been left way behind in the growth of technology, forgotten and left adrift,   I made the leap to the Android – and paying for my own service, which was a huge deal to me.  I have never paid for my own phone service (gulp – am I growing up?)

Then came the learning curve.  Damn.  Send an email.  Type (or is it called something else?), look for a send button, look up to see that two out of ten words are spelled correctly, remember to type a little higher on the “C” button or I’ll get the “space” button, backspace and correct.  Backspace and correct again.  Find the send button again.  Then try an email.  Or go to the camera. How do I change it from video to camera?  Then forward the pictures to an email address.  Apps?  Really?  What are the free ones?  Can I change them?  How do I get them on the home screen – or the other three home screens?  Once I download them, and slow the phone to a crawl, how do I get them off of the phone?

Okay, I’m purty smart.  I can go to Verizon‘s website (or AT&T, or Whomever) and find tutorials that will allow me to learn this an easier way.  And I’m learning.  I’m even beginning to like it.  Two weeks after I got it, I was going to return it.  Except I was on a cruise in the Baltic.  Not that near my store.  I think this ended up being a good thing.  My husband tells me I’m addicted.  I’m just trying to figure the thing out.  This is not a phone.  Its a computer which allows you to make phone calls.  I’m reading books on it – which has increased my book costs.  But I’m getting there slowly.  I’m even beginning to understand why people look at their phones all the time.  But I’m not addicted.

Any horror stories among the other vibrant women about learning curves?  Tell me the hardest part for you.  Be brave.


Social Media to fund Education!

How delighted I was to read in this morning’s issue of the Greenville News that you can now earn a major scholarship by tweeting! The story was adapted from USA Today, but in essence, the “at the university of Iowa, a good tweet is worth $37,000.00″.  Really.  The article goes on to mention several other schools and scholarship organizations which offer higher education opportunities to good tweeters.

I can feel the ire of the old guard writers who are itching to pound their keyboards in outright frustration over this.  No, I don’t think it means that they will not be taught to write.  Or no more so than any other student who attends the same college (whichever one that it is).  In the case of Iowa, they offer this in place of a second essay.  So writing is on the table, but in this not so new age of social media, this makes sense.

Anything that promotes higher education makes sense to me.  And higher education is for any of us who want it at anytime that we want it.  At Vibrant Nation, I have seen several posts of women seeking to earn a degree past the one they once earned.  Or for personal satisfaction.  Or to make that midlife leap into something new, something they always wanted to do.  Or be.

If you are one of those women teetering on the edge of whether you want to make this leap, and you need funding, explore these ideas at your local colleges.  Practice your tweeting skills.  Write a blog.  You never know what will take you into that realm of dreams that will allow you to accomplish yours.

Tweeting for a scholarship.  Go figure.


Preparing for a Cruise

Have you ever prepared for a trip to a destination that was not experiencing the same weather as your world?  I’m headed to a northern European port (for a 25th Wedding Anniversary Cruise), that will not be hot.  Wow!  Preparing has been so difficult!  I know, I know, I can hear those tiny violins in the background feeling sorry for me.  But I have this thing – this lack of memory of what it was like to be hot when the weather is cold.  Or what it was like to be cold when the weather outside is in the 90’s and extremely humid.  This is Greenville, SC, after all, and the humidity can raise the heat levels massively.  I know, I know…

So how do you do it?  How do you try to figure out what clothes to take when you are currently sweating and know that the weather will be around 60 degrees F most of the time?  At least during the day.  I’ve been advised layers.  Layers to layer on and remove.  But nights – cold?  Fearfully so, or just delightfully so?  I don’t think I will do this again – plan a vacation that is removed from me from the weather standpoint.  I have this great imagination that allows me all sorts of horrible thoughts (yeah, I often imagine the worst), yet it is not helpful when it comes to imagining weather.

Tell me what you have done, with this type of planning.  Tshirts and sweaters?  Tights and jackets?  Pantyhose (Gag…)?  What do I do?  Answer quickly – I leave in 4 Days!

A structured week

For the past few months I have been in a funk.  I have kept putting one foot in front of another, but there I’ve been.  Just walking along, bumping into walls, letting life happen.  In many cases, trying to force life to go more my way than life usually wants to do.  But it was a force on others.  Not keeping my focus on my life, but allowing the events of other’s lives to decide my emotional bearing.  

I fall into this hole when I feel that those I love have lives which are spinning out of control.  Usually, they are my children.  My grown children who are able to make choices and pay their own way.  Still, the worry has taken a toll on my health and my happiness.

How do we keep from falling into these holes?  Sometimes, rarely, I can see the great big black hole right before I dive in headfirst.  Other times, I dive and go under over and over before I realize I’m even in the hole.  I find that if I’m pursuing my life, with determination and focus (which includes a calendar with to do things to follow through with), I do better.  If I exercise, I do better.  If I eat right, I do better. 

Its been a tough couple of months.  But I’m still walking.  And doing so with more awareness of my life.  I am keeping my head held high and my eyes on the path.  I can’t look any higher than that right now.

See your path in front of you ~

During one of my earliest trips to Hilton Head Island, I spotted a woman on a bike.  She was wearing a yellow bikingtop and heather grey biking shorts.  Her socks were bright white, but I don’t recall her the color of her shoes.  Black, maybe.  She had a luxurious long grey pigtail down her back.  Tanned and fit, I guessed that she was in her 60’s.

I have maintained that image ever since then.  Perhaps 18 years ago.  I saw what I wanted to be physically at that age. I wanted to be fit.  I wanted to be biking.  A fit and strong woman riding her bike on a beautiful day in a lovely environment inspired me without having seen her face nor heard her voice.  Although I have lost my fascination with Hilton Head (another stoplight??), I have not lost my love of biking.  At some point in my life, I decided that if I took good care of my legs, they would take good care of me.  Even with the feet problems I endure, my legs are strong and vital.

I believe that if you see it ahead of you, you can get there.  If you can imagine it, you can attain it.  If you believe it, then “it” will become real for you.  The universe hears and responds.  I believe that I can stay fit for the remainder of my life.  The amount of miles I can ride may change from year to year, but that hasn’t yet been the case.  I rode 14 miles yesterday, and plan 20 today.  I’m 56 years old.

This is what I find curious.  I see women who apparently spend time and money on hair and nails.  They are completely finished with color and sparkle on the outside of their bodies.  But they are 30 lbs overweight.  Or 50.  I have to wonder if they took those hours which they spend on hair and nails – or a portion thereof – and applied them to walking, or Pilates, or biking, how much better could they improve their lives and their health?  How much better would they look with the glow of regular exercise?

Start slow.  Start small.  But start.  Walk to the mailbox, walk around the block, go to the park with your dog, walk. Walk.  Walk.  Cut down slightly on portions.  Notice eating habits after 9 PM or 8 PM or whenever you realize that eating is just about a habit or emotional need.  Give your body the attention you offer your hair or nails.  I think that the delight you will see and the health you will create will add great satisfaction to those lovely nails and that gorgeous hair.  You don’t have to be an athlete.  You simply have to decide what you want to be in 10 years.  Or 20.  Look ahead, find that image that inspires you – a realistic magazine photo, a picture of you in a fit condition, a cartoon – find something that inspires you.  And go get it.

Dang, this is not what this post was supposed to be about.  I’m going to get my nails done.

The Loss of a Great Lady

On Saturday afternoon, I attended the memorial of Jean Howorth.  The service was a combination of solemnity and celebration as family members and friends recalled what a loving woman she was.  We danced at the end – a large circle of people who held hands and sang or hummed the song. 

Jean was 90 years old.  She had suffered the loss of 7 inches of height due to arthritis, and in November, she had surgery for cancer.  I don’t know what kind, nor do I think it matters.  What Jean also had was an irrepressible spirit.  When she attended the Fellowship (GUUF), she was dressed to the teeth.  Makeup, jewelry, fashionable clothing.  At least as fashionable as one can be at 89 years of age with a walker and at last, a wheel chair.   For her memorial, she asked that her jewelry be laid out on a table and that anyone who would like a piece, to take it and wear it in memory of her.  I have bronze and brown pearls.  They aren’t real.  Yet they are so real.

When I began coming to this group over two years ago, she reached out to me.  The headstrong 55-year-old woman coming alone to find a spiritual home that would fit.  Or fit better.  Any fit at all would be better than what I had experienced.  She held her hands out to me, and told me what a lovely smile I had.  That she liked my words when I felt like sharing with the group. 

Jean had an aura that surrounded her.  An aura of compassion and love and interest in her fellow traveler.  When asked how she felt, she replied something like, “Except for the fact that my feet don’t work, I feel sensational.”  I’m paraphrasing but not by much. 

I’m struggling through some life issues now that I have because I’m healthy and alive.  I want to me more like Jean – to embrace the world because it is beautiful.  To think in terms of gratitude and not lack.  To be able to say, “I’m sensational.”  I don’t want to fake it, but I want to seek it.

Here’s to you, Jean.  You were truly an inspirational woman – beautiful, intelligent, curious, strong even in physical weakness, capable of teaching me every day living cues.  I will miss you.  I didn’t know you very long, but I cared for you deeply.  Wait, and we’ll talk when I get there.

Vanity thy name is Lucy

My goodness, I have become hypersensitive to looking at necks.  Wassup with my focus?  Everywhere I go, I see necks – turkey necks, floppy necks, mottled necks.  Why is that the single source of my displeasure?  For most of my life – as I can remember – I have focused on one body part until I have either done something about it or I’ve managed to move it off of the hotspot.  This one seems to be keeping me way too focused.

Several years ago, I purchased a video of a woman demonstrating that if you regularly exercised your neck and face, we could all put the plastic surgeons out of work.  This was a hilarious video of a woman leaning forward, pushing her chin as far up as she could, and holding it for a count of …. probably 15.  I remember laughing my arse off while watching this surgically enhanced woman claiming that her tight face and neck were due to an exercise regimen I had never seen before nor since.  Now I’m wondering.

When I do crunches – which is working the muscles in my abdominal area – I am forcing that muscle to tighten and grow stronger.  I think.  Would working my neck do the same?  Are there muscles there which could be enhanced with a regular “crunch”?  I’m not an anatomy person.  I’m a writer, entrepreneur and historian.  But I know that if I want to gather information, I do research.  This one is worth looking into because it could – possibly – get my neck off the hotspot so that I could then focus on another body part that drives me nuts.  So I’ve found that, according to e-how, you possibly can tighten your neck.  And face.  We can work on stealing money right out of the pockets of the surgeons.  I will give it a try.  Heck, its free.

If this works, my lips are next.