If I Could Put Time in that Bottle…

And smash it against a brick wall!

All good things must come to any end and these past few months, as I look ahead to some improvements in lifestyle, and some successes and projects that take less time than in the past, I’m doing pretty well.

There is that matter of my computer club. After about four(?) years, there has been no improvement or time-saving progress whatsoever.

When I first joined the club, it was for a purpose. I had begun to work as a computer instructor, a totally inexperienced teacher, but a very experienced administrator and office technology user. So it was a logical step. For support, advice, mentoring and keeping abreast of the latest developments in technology as it related to workers and also to personal needs.

At that time, I was fighting a spinal issue, and as time moved on it became harder and harder to stand to give my lessons, until I discovered I had breast cancer in 2008 and my 11-year teaching career began to come to a screeching halt. It was a little like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

A few pounds of flesh lighter, and a painful back condition later, I found myself unable to work, and retired in 2009, after a respectable length of time for a career in mid-life. So what now about the computer users group?

Being a loyal to a fault person, I remained a member of the club, but in addition, became more involved in some of the duties of membership. I ran a couple of workshops, I ran a monthly workshop in word processing, I became the programs chair for a couple of years, wildly surpassing any past efforts and raising the bar on using my connections network to help that along.

Being that this is a short history of my efforts to retain my loyalty, I’ll put it this way. I became active in a couple of interest groups, especially the graphics group, which soon revealed itself to be a monthly sales pitch for some video software, and some irrelevant technologies such as 3-D printing and virtual reality software. Enough was enough.

I realized what I needed was to narrow my “causes” down to just a few essentials. So I picked and chose – my faith community; gardening; photography, and digital art. I redefined myself as a digital artist, and began to take day trips and network among some very creative people.

Albeit I found myself among younger, more vibrant, and actually people who used technology to create art. People who weren’t asking the same questions every month from the same seats in the same place. This was the opposite of the evening I presented a workshop in said video program, and nobody admitted to owning or using the program. That night was the last straw.

So, all this being said, it is the end of some things, time has been put in a bottle, stopped up with a used cork stopper, put on a shelf, and is already collecting the dust of ages.

Stanching the urge to crush and smash, I shall dust myself off and move on.

A Merry Go Round of Work

The next time I have a yen to do a show, let me remember how tedious and annoying the project can be. You have to print out your pictures, and hope the color is good. You have to deal with resolution, cropping, color, timing issues. You then have to have your frames ready for hanging usually with wires that don’t come with the frame.

That is, after they are cleaned up with Windex(r) and polished to a shine, with no scratches.

You have to make sure you can find the originals on your computer, and then make sure they are saved in some lossless fashion, maybe a *.tif, to make sure that they are printable if by any chance they sell. It is so much work!

This is why I enjoy working online. May the cloud be my gallery, and may everyone enjoy something they can access any time, any where.

The Doctor is In, Well Sort Of

Strap-hanger - vintageGood morning. The snow is still covering everything, but the sun is out and the sky is blue. More seasonable temperatures have prevailed over the struggle of our dear earth to regain her composure despite shrinking ice caps and aberrant jetstreams and warming oceanic currents.

I’m watching MSNBC talk about the minimum wage debate, and have come down on the side of raising the wage to $10.10. I think back on how lucky I was in my youth not that I was hired at way more than that amount 40 years ago, but that I was appreciated for my somewhat superior skills in commerce earned in high school, no less, and honed in college. The fact is, the jobs were simply there. I could pick and choose and move and shake, while holding down an apartment, car, two cats, and various drains on my resources, not to mention travel and partying.

Anyway, back to my topic. Mom needs a prescription refilled, and through a comedy of errors (hearing aids not used; lack of focus on medical facts and fiction) – it fell on me to contact and negotiate that refill, since it entailed a slight modification of the pharmaceutical due to exorbitant prices and not being on the insurance formulary. Long story.

Evening of the first day. 4:25 PM. The office is closed. The office opens at 8 AM. Call tomorrow. Thank you, answering service.

Morning of the next day 8 AM. The office is closed today. Well, it’s not an emergency, thank goodness. No need to celebrate with the office for a day off.

Morning of the following day. 8 AM. Call to office. Actually it is 8:01 AM. They are just walking in. Give them about 15 minutes to “settle in” and call back.

WHAT!!!!???!!!!

Flashback. I’m on the public bus from central Jersey to Port Authority in NYC. It is 7:30 AM. I’ve been up since 5:30, dressed, walked my dog, ate breakfast, piled onto the commuter bus. It’s 8:50. I flash my ID card (if it’s past 9/11), buy my coffee, get on the elevator and trudge through labyrinthine hallways where even some people have been working overnight, to my desk. Sometimes I bid farewell to my overnight coverage, an actor or transient who gets really good money for that time of day, and clear my desk for the days’ priorities.

I don’t give a thought on holding on to another 15 or 20 minutes to “settle in.” If that were true, wouldn’t I get there at 9:15 or 9:30 AM instead of picking up the first phone call that arrives at 9 AM?

In fact, my first New Jersey job was so freaking phone-oriented, I barely had time to transcribe documents until early afternoon. The phone is the lifeblood. The phone is the main means of communication for clients to the service provide, in this case, a freaking physician. Someone who spent like 10 years earning the title and position only to have the front lines blocking what the title stands for. Patient care.

So at 8:09 AM another call and another request to wait for the staff to settle in. Well, staffie-poo I’ve been waiting TWO WHOLE DAYS to ask a simple question. And what about these hand-helds and speaker phones? What do they do, are they mere paperweights? Do their patterns match the doorknobs that operate them!

So, time for another call. Hope I’ve given enough time for removal of snowboots, gloves, scarves, application of lipstick, chit chat about children, buttering the corn muffin, sipping coffee (or tea). And the royal spin on the office chair to answer the first call, the first of I’m sure, many, who have been trying to reach the doctor for days now.

Let’s go workers!