My View Today

And it is stupid cold. If it weren’t windy, I could be out trying to photograph frozen bubbles. It is snowing heavy enough that it was a challenge to get a pic of my front Maple that wasn’t blurry. I didn’t quite manage it.

Snowy Fall Maple
Snowy Fall Maple

I’m hoping the snow stops soon and gives the streets a chance to melt off because MC drove to school today and he has never driven in snow. It wouldn’t bother me if he were a few short miles from home, but we live really close to the farthest edge of the district, which means a good 20 minute drive on 50+ MPH highways and a few side roads. We did tell him to take the bus home if it was still bad when school lets out. Now we get to see how well he listened.

Oh, and a bit of a brag moment… MC got accepted into his top 2 colleges. We are now in wait and see mode on any scholarships.

It’s The Quiet

Have you ever been sitting around when the power was out and been stunned at how quiet it really is? You only notice how much noise you are surrounded by on a constant basis when that noise is gone.

It has been the lack of those subtle, background noises that has been the thing to trip me up the most since saying goodbye to Izzy the other day. I never expected it because she had always been a really quiet dog, unless she was drinking (anyone who has ever had a dog knows about the extended, repetitive slurp that lasts for ten minutes). She never was one to bark or whine. The most you would get was the occasional whimper when she was dreaming of chasing bunnies.

But yesterday, I noticed all the sounds that should have been there that weren’t. Mostly her nails clicking on the wood or the tile as she walked or shifted her position. She always chose the hard surfaces to lay on, so even something as simple as her moving would get at least a small click of a nail. That absence was so unexpected and shocking because it wasn’t something I ever really noticed or paid attention to.

You would think that as used to the quiet as I am since I’m home by myself the majority of every day that something so small wouldn’t be so noticeable.

Happy Halloween

For the first time since my kids were tiny, Halloween feels so different and I just don’t have the motivation to do everything I have for years. I’m not doing the garage this year. I’m not dressing up this year. I barely got up the energy to do a pumpkin (mine’s on the left), though it was only BG and I carving this year. The weather is so NOT helping. Upper 20s and snow do not put me in the mind of Halloween.

Snow on Maple Leaves
Snow on Maple Leaves

I’m still doing my best to make it fun for my kids, but they are teenagers so it just isn’t the same. Their idea of fun is for me to make a bunch of awesome finger foods and spend the night grazing, so that’s what I’m going to do. I think BG is going to dress up and answer the door. She was a little disappointed we weren’t doing the garage, but she understands. It is a lot of work to put in when kids aren’t going to show up. The new construction has changed how kids go through the neighborhood and we got skipped last year even though kids know we put on a great show. She did say last night that it was probably a good idea we didn’t do it when she saw that we were going to be lucky to hit 30 today.

Like so many things, our Halloween tradition is changing to fit how we are changing. I hate it from the standpoint that I have always adored Halloween and have always gone all out. I’m also really kind of glad to not have a crap ton of stuff to do. I can just sit back and relax for once.

Amazon Ad: Round 2

My last Amazon ad ran for about a month. It was supposed to be more of a test and to learn about the process, but it seemed to be relatively successful, though so much of it wasn’t a direct 1 to 1 kind of a result. I’ve decided to take what I learned from that experience and try again.

One of the things that I noticed after the last ad finished was a drastic tapering off of sales and KU reads. Even though the sales I saw weren’t tied specifically to the ad, they were still because of the ad in a roundabout way. The improved rankings allowed me to get placements in the “also viewed/bought” sections of Amazon which got me a few reads and sales outside of the ad. Once my rankings started to sink, so did those placements, sales and reads. It was interesting to see that correlation.

The last ad run showed me which genre I needed to target. It also showed me what bid price I needed to hit to make the ad profitable. This time around, I’m going to see what kind of traction I can get if I maintain that bid price point. My goal for this round is to see if I can keep my book at a relevant rank level without veering sharply into the red on cost.

At this point, the last ad round doesn’t appear to have generated any reviews, but just because the book sold, doesn’t mean it’s been read, though. The KU reads I’ve gotten haven’t translated to any reviews yet, so I’m still hoping on that end of things.

I’m also hoping the addition of the couple of 4 star reviews I’ve gotten lately (thanks to BookSirens) will make a bit of a difference to readers willing to take a chance.

Bake Sale 2019

Holy frickin’ cow! I’m DONE! At least for another year. I am so wiped out it is crazy. Being on my feet for three days in a row for 10 hours or so each day, is a lot. Especially when you aren’t used to it.

The final totals of what I sent in…

16 Boxes (4ct mini) – Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing
16 Boxes (4ct mini) – Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes
40 Individual Mini – Maple Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream
10 Bags – Candied Pecans
18 Bags (2 cookies each) – Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
25 Individual – Sugar Cookies

And that is only what I sent, not what I made. I have probably close to a third (maybe a little less) of what I made still here for us to munch on.

I was really impressed with how my sugar cookies turned out. I did end up making 2 batches because I rolled about half of the first batch too thin. The second batch came out much better.

Pumpkin Decorated Sugar Cookie
Pumpkin Decorated Sugar Cookie

Considering this is only the second time I’ve tried to decorate sugar cookies with royal icing, I think I did a decent job for an amateur. They aren’t perfect by any means, but I kind of got the hang of it. Also, super proud of the fact that I actually got that stupid leaf tip to make an actual leaf. In all my years of doing cakes, I’ve NEVER got it to produce actual leaf shapes consistently. Go me! Apparently the lady manning the table with my stuff was impressed and thrilled to add them to the mix.

Pumpkin Decorated Sugar Cookies
Pumpkin Decorated Sugar Cookies

I love doing this every year. I really do, but it is so much work. I’m kind of floored that everything turned out so well. I always run into an issue with something. This year, it was me being a dork and unable to do math and count. I checked my box supply in plenty of time to order, but miscounted or misestimated what I sent previous years. Turned out, I didn’t have enough and didn’t realize it in time to order more. It is nearly impossible to find boxes for mini cupcakes unless you want to pack a dozen or two. I completely lucked out in finding the individual boxes and getting them here in time.

I absolutely hate how much waste all of this is, but I have always thought it was important for people to be able to take what they buy home and not just eat it all at work. Especially since I’m not the only one sending stuff in. That is a whole lot of junk for people to try and eat at one time. I have yet to figure out a better way, though. I can order boxes without the windows, but people want to actually see what they are buying. Same goes with the bags of goodies. I think I may have to spend the next year doing research on better packaging.

It is funny, though. I get running commentary via text from Hubby throughout the day of all the comments people make. This isn’t the first year someone has asked him if I do this professionally and take orders. It is a nice little ego boost on top of them loving to eat what I make.

Today I have a little bit of aftermath cleanup to do. Then I’m spending the rest of the day, and maybe the next few, being an absolute sloth. Especially after tripping going up the two measly, short stairs from the garage this morning and then dropping my phone on my cheekbone earlier. Sheesh! I’m a mess and need to just quit trying to move today.

Cranky Old Hag Mode

I’ve had probably half a dozen posts running through my head the last week or so and almost every single one of them are rants about one thing or another. Being frustrated at the massive back and forth swings of trying to sell a book. Idiots at the grocery store doing stupid shit (and nearly getting an accidental elbow in the face for their stupidity.) People that play games to boost something random and stupid like follower numbers (People! Anyone can see that you didn’t “follow everyone” when they don’t see that “follows you” tag next to their name. Saying and doing that kind of crap makes you an attention seeking asshole.) People that make commitments they don’t keep and fail to pass along that they won’t or can’t be keeping said commitment and leaving others hanging in that limbo of not knowing. More idiots, but those behind the wheel of a car (do not get me started.)

Those are just the ranting posts about other people and outside situations. I also had several rants about the absolutely irrational, ridiculous mess that runs through my head every single time I think about making a post that isn’t a photo or a book review. Or any time I think about commenting somewhere. Basically talking about the mess that my brain makes of any kind of social interaction at all and the fact that I’ve realized some of it isn’t so much being an introvert, but that it is actual anxiety and that it has taken me over 40 years to come to this realization.

When I tried to figure out what I wanted to post and all this went through my head, I realized I’m just in extreme cranky mode right now and pretty much everything is pissing me off or getting on my nerves. I usually try to keep things on a nicer, higher, happier note here. I’m also all for a good rant now and then to get something out of my head or to blow off some steam, but every single one of those posts would have just been an ugly mass of cranky.

I know that part of why I get this way is that I’m trying to do too much and I’m frustrated at the things I’m not getting done. Part of it is that sort of adrenaline crash you get after an emotional high (like after a major event or vacation), in this case, seeing my Amazon ad winding down. Part of it is managing expectations. Part of it is the massive amount of heavy books I’ve read recently. And part of it is just a mood.

I think I might go find some fluffy feel good reads or something I’ve already read that I know I’ll love to see if I can shift that mood.

Sunshine Blogger Award

I’m kind of weird about these things and tend to just not do them if I’m nominated or tagged. I’m stepping out of that weirdness for a moment to participate in this one. If you are interested in all the reasons why I’m so weird about it, that is posted below the award piece. I will note, that the very, very few times I’ve done something like this, I rarely play by the rules. This won’t be an exception.

WHAT IS THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

RULES:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions. (This is the rule I’m breaking)
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post/or on your blog.

I was first nominated for this by Nen & Jen. At the time, I declined to participate (see weird me). When Sascha also nominated me, I decided to just get over myself and do this one. Thank you for thinking of me!

 

Nen & Jen Questions:
  • What was the last book you strongly disliked?
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

My review is here and there are a few too many reasons to list.

 

 

 

  • How does your star rating system work for your reviews (if you use one)?

My system is maybe a little complex, but I go into details here.

  • What are your favorite pizza toppings?

Thin crust ham or Canadian bacon and mushrooms with light sauce is usually one of my favorites, but so few of my family members also like it, I rarely get it.

  • Would you rather read a great plot with mediocre characters, or a boring plot with amazing characters?

I really am not a fan of either. I need both to really enjoy a book, though bad characters are a peeve.

  • How many books are you currently reading, and which one is your favorite so far?

I’m in between as I just finished a book. I also never read more than one at a time.

  • What was the last book review you posted?
Brave the Tempest
Brave the Tempest

Brave the Tempest

 

 

 

 

  • Do you prefer MG, YA, NA, or adult books?

Adult

  • Is there a popular author you’re NOT interested in reading anything by? (Elaborate if you’re comfortable doing so!)

Honestly, there are probably quite a few, but nothing specific comes to mind.

  • What marginalized rep would you most strongly like to see more of in books?

Nothing comes to mind.

  • Do you listen to music while reading?

I used to, but I can’t anymore because if music is on, I’m either trying to sing along or I want to get up and dance and I can’t do those things and read at the same time.

  • Do you prefer book twitter or bookstagram?

I’m only on Twitter. There are only so many places I’m willing to dedicate my time that I’m not reading to. Adding another would cut into that time.

 

Sascha’s Questions:
  • Required reading in school. So many books we didn’t want to read. Was there one you actually enjoyed?

The one that seems to stick with me most was Lord of the Flies. Probably because we did a mock trial after reading the book. I actually enjoyed most of the books required, just not the work of analyzing and answering the questions. Honestly, there were a lot of books that I wanted to read that were only presented in the AP level classes and I wasn’t on that track thanks to a petty teacher that wouldn’t approve my advancement even though I had the grades. I’ve still not read those books.

  • Is there a scene from a book that has stuck with you? Why?

I don’t remember the author or the name of the book, but it was one of the first ebooks I read, so I wasn’t really paying attention to progress like I would have in a print book. No clue how close I was to the end. The book was tagged as a romance, but it ended with the main male love interest dying in a car crash. You literally finish the book at the moment he died and there were a mountain of strings left unfinished. It pissed me off to no end because that is NOT how a romance should ever end. I spent probably 5 minutes flipping between pages thinking that there was something wrong with the copy I got and that pages were missing, or that I’d hit something wrong and advanced too far. Nope. It really ended that way. It made me mad enough to not even consider picking up the next book.

  • Is there any movie that you’ve liked more than the book it was based on?

I don’t do a lot of both, but probably The Last of the Mohicans. I’m convinced it is because I watched the movie first.

  • What book would you recommend to….anyone?

Any book that is on my favorites list.

  • Do you have a bookish guilty pleasure?

None that I can think of.

  • Is there a hyped book that you hated?
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

I wouldn’t say exactly that I hated it, but I really wasn’t a fan.

I’d list the book I mention above with the scene, but I’ve managed to block out the name of it. Apparently I disliked it that much.

 

 

  • Stuck on a desert island…what 4 authors’ books would you bring?

I can only answer this because you gave me 4 authors and not just 4 books. If forced to pick only 4, I end up dying while I stood around trying to decide.

Anne Bishop, Faith Hunter (with all her pen names, just because it gives me genre choices), Michelle Sagara (West), and… dang… I thought that would be easier. Nope. Maybe G.A. Aiken/Shelly Laurenston (I get to keep them both since it is again pen names) to add the humor variety to the mix even though they are all still fantasy.

  • If you’re a writer (or secretly want to be a writer—I won’t tell 😉 ) who would you most like to write like?

I honestly can’t say. There are things I admire, like the ability to create stunningly vivid worlds or to lay down gut busting irreverent humor that I’d love to be able to do, but I never really felt like I wanted to write like anyone in particular. I’m not sure I could give you an author to compare with how I wrote.

  • What’s your favorite setting for reading?

The quiet of my house while everyone is at school or work, snuggled on my couch under a blanket. It is even better in the winter when the decorations are up and the fire is blazing.

  • Ebooks, audiobooks, hard copies. Do you favor just one?

I prefer the versatility and ease of ebooks.

  • Do you have a favorite book quote? If not, a favorite scene? If not, a favorite character? If not, a favorite anything book related? 😉

Again, the favorites thing…  How about I give you 2 (and only because I remember them)?

“…feline buttholitis of the face.”N. R. Walker’s Upside Down

“Titus! Come on up, dude. We have beer.” – Faith Hunter’s Dark Queen This is only because of who said it in the book and the situation it was said in. It was kind of epic.

Nominees:

This is me breaking the rules. I’m not nominating anyone, but if anyone wants to grab any of the questions, please feel free. Tag me if you do as I’d love to see your answers.

Reasons I’m weird:

I’m not completely sure why I’m so weird about awards and tags (because yes, this applies to those too), but there are a few reasons I can articulate.

Often I feel like I just don’t really have anything to say to fit whatever it is, usually because questions fall into lines like “What is your favorite [fill in blank]” and I just am not a favorites person, especially if I’m forced to only pick one or two of something. Another part of it is that, as much as I may write about stuff here, I avoid some things because it just feels weirdly private. Or it feels like I’d bore readers to tears because I’m really not that interesting.

Then there is the whole tagging of other people thing. Sometimes it feels kind of like the whole mess surrounding picking teams or being invited to join certain clubs and being the one on the outside or picked last. I understand, intellectually, that that isn’t the thing here, but it touches on some of those emotions and I don’t want to make others feel that way. It also tends to push against my introvert tendencies and participating in things like this means stepping out of my comfort zone.

I don’t think these kinds of awards or tags are bad. Not at all. I find it fun to read a lot of these. They just tend to make me feel uncomfortable when I get tagged or nominated, because I just don’t know what to do with it most of the time, even though I do appreciate when someone thinks of me when they are participating.

Just Realized…

I have lived in this house longer than I’ve ever lived anywhere else. A little over 15 years. This beats the last record that, if I remember correctly, was about 14 years.

Not that this is any particular day that would have triggered this, just something that popped up in the book I just started that made me think about this fact. Just one of those “Huh. Wow!” moments that is kind of cool. It’s a little mind breaking that there is a pretty high probability that I’ll be here (happily so) for many, many years to come.

I can only imagine all the family memories that will continue to seep into these walls as the years go by. Walls that have only ever experienced the memories of this family. Just some really nice warm thoughts on a really dreary, rainy day.

 

Almost Bloom

I have one of my mums just now starting to show some color and petals. I have 2 or 3 different colors (I honestly can’t remember if one is different or not) and this is the only one that is starting to put on color, so I have a little ways to go before I get some actual flowers.

I’m hoping that the storm we had blow through here last night didn’t do too much damage. I’m not certain I’ve ever been in a storm that kept dropping hail for that length of time before. It would start, hail for a few minutes, then drop off to nothing or almost nothing. Within 10 minutes or less, we’d get another round. And we aren’t talking little pebble or pea sized hail, either. This pattern kept repeating for almost 2 hours. It was a little freaky to say the least.

Hail With Size Scale Reference
Hail With Size Scale Reference

We also got a ton of amazing lightning. I took advantage of the opportunity and attempted to get a decent shot, trying out what worked well the last time by doing a video. Turns out, I’m an idiot. I had managed to capture this incredibly amazing mass of bolts. It was stunning to watch. I saw it show up on my camera screen so I knew I managed to get it. I got to edit it out of the video only to realize I didn’t have it completely focused, probably because I was shooting through the glass door and it was rain coated. I could have cried. I had this epic, probably damn near one in a million shot and I was out of focus. *sigh* It looks okay when I keep it REALLY small.

Very Blurry Web Of Lightning Bolts
Very Blurry Web Of Lightning Bolts

Had A Moment

Hubby and I were talking about the current sales numbers and results of my Amazon ad. I’m being all excited about those number and how it was impacting my rankings and all of those things. He says something, and I can’t honestly remember what exactly. Something about how he hopes that might translate into reviews I think. Anyway, that was the moment the numbers fell away and I realized those numbers also meant people READING my book. Like actual eyes on the words I wrote. And that they paid money to read those words.

It was kind of like walking into a swarm of bees. I felt like my heart stuttered for a moment and I couldn’t decide if I I was going to laugh or cry or vomit.

It’s really weird. I know, logically, that people that purchase my book are reading it. I’ve had some of you guys not only read it but tell me you did and what you thought, but… I kind of know you so I guess it was different? Maybe? Same thing with people that have or are reading it for review somehow seem to fall into a very different group because I’ve said “Hey, would you mind doing this? Oh, and here’s a copy! THANKS!”

The whole realization just hit me funny and I have spent the last couple of hours with my head a bit of a mess. I’m excited and freaked out and slightly panicky all at the same time.

So, I’m having a bit of a moment and working towards breathing. I’m mostly past it, but every once in a while when I really stop and think about it, my stomach flips over again and my heart feels like it is going to fall out of my chest. I’ll do my best to keep the gore off the screen.

 

This Is A Joke, Right???

I was trying to do some research to come up with some good book club questions for my reader and this… ad? Joke? Thing? showed up. Yes, someone actually published that and it doesn’t look like a joke. People are just weird. Oh and that cover? Can you get any creepier and and freaky? Yes. I’m sure you can. No. I don’t want to see it.

Can I Just Say…

When I see someone posting about being born in the late ’90s, knowing they are a functioning adult, my brain sort of cramps and I get a little twitch in the corner of my eye. OC was born in the late ’90s, so this kind of statement makes me feel incredibly old knowing I have a kid that technically falls into that same category. It really doesn’t help that Hubby just had a birthday and we were both cringing at the fact that he is only a year away from a half a century. Most days, my age isn’t a huge deal to me. It is just moments like this, when I’m forced to think in numbers rather than in feeling that I start to feel a little on the ancient side of things.

On an unrelated note, when I went to post the image for this, I was floored that it wasn’t in my images already. I could have sworn I’d posted this ages ago. Either way, here it is. It is something I did… back in the late ’90s, early ’00s for a college art class. We were supposed to reproduce a master’s work. I think I may have skirted the rules a bit as Jan van Eyck probably didn’t quite count (the teacher was really looking for recognizable pieces), but there was something crazily appealing about his self portrait that I couldn’t get out of my head. This is done in my favorite charcoal/eraser technique and is one of my favorite pieces even if it isn’t my best by a long shot. And no, it isn’t actually a cranky old hag even if it may look like one. The artist is a guy. Feel free to search his name if you want to compare my amateurish attempt. This portrait is one of the first in the results.

Glitches and Delays

I had said the other day that I was going to try and get my book in Kindle Unlimited. In order to do that, I needed to remove the ebook from all platforms that weren’t Kindle. I requested that my book be delisted on Draft2Digital on the 14th. It is now the 20th and 24symbols (which I’d never even heard of before I went to publish) STILL hasn’t removed my listing.

You cannot list with Kindle Unlimited if your book is available digitally anywhere else. It is an exclusive contract. So still being listed is preventing me from making the shift. On every other platform I was off within less than 3 days, some in less than a day. This one doesn’t seem willing to let go for some reason.

I’ve contacted D2D, so hopefully this will get resolved soon, but it is starting to really tick me off. I did some looking to see how long it is supposed to take and I saw an old post complaining about the 24symbols platform taking so long, so this is not apparently a new issue. I have nothing but good things to say about D2D even if I am switching because they really are an amazing publishing option. I’d just be exceptionally leery of ever pushing to the 24symbols platform if I ever decided to go back to D2D. If I remember correctly, they were also the one that took nearly 2 weeks to load my book in the first place.

So, for anyone that was waiting for this to go to KU… I’m still working on it. I promise.

The Winning Tablet Is…

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

I actually didn’t intend to go out and purchase this weekend, but I wanted to get my hands on my options so I could see how the size differences felt. When we went to the store, it was supposed to be only so that I could look and get a better idea of what I wanted. Turns out I could get this at a crazy discounted price with a bonus discount included, dropping the overall price much lower than the tablet I was drooling over. The one I got wasn’t even on my radar as it was a couple of steps too expensive for what I was looking to spend. The difference? This one is actually the newer/better version of the tablet I really wanted.

The one downside is the size. This is much larger than I wanted at 10.5 inches and was the other reason it wasn’t on my radar. When you compare it to my Nexus (see image), there is a significant difference. It is going to take a whole lot of getting used to for that difference alone. My reading app feels exceptionally large, holding what feels like 2 or 3 pages worth of text on a single screen. I’m also going to need a case to make it a bit easier to carry around.

This does have the option of adding a keyboard (sold separately), but I really didn’t want or need it as I just want this as a tablet. It is kind of nice to know I have that option for later if it ever comes up, though. It also has some killer speakers for a tablet, which is saying something because I’m a snob about good sounding speakers for music. I rarely do anything with sound on my tablet so this really didn’t make a huge difference to me. I can see how it would be pretty amazing for anyone that plays games or watches shows and movies, though.

It took forever to get everything set up and the apps I use downloaded along with all my books, but I was so excited that I have something that isn’t going to crash on a regular basis. No more spending as much time resetting everything as I do reading. No more worrying that my tablet is going to give up the ghost at the most intense scene in the middle of a book making me wait who knows how long before I can find another way to finish it.

Sadly, or maybe not so sadly depending on how you look at it, I may just spend as much time playing with the frickin’ off the charts cool drawing features I get to play with because this comes with the S Pen (that piece that made me drool in the first place). Saying I was doing a happy dance and squealing like a toddler at Christmas is maybe a tiny bit of an understatement (kind of like that sentence). Especially when I discovered I can work directly on a photo. The number of possibilities this has opened for me is immense. Do you have any clue how many killer drawing apps are out there?

Reading. Drawing. Playing with photos. The only thing that would make this better was if it did my laundry, too.

 

Researching New Tablets, Suggestions?

I think I got my first ereader, a Kindle, somewhere in 2012. I had all kinds of issues with it and had the first one replaced by Amazon. When the second started having the same issues less than a year later and long after the warranty expired, I began coveting Hubby’s amazing Nexus 7 because it was so much more versatile. We did some poking around and found it was probably the best option at the time (I’m only guessing that the time frame was in 2014).

Initially, I was really skeptical about how I felt about ebooks as I was a hardcore, have to have it in my hands, gotta own it, book reader at the time. My Nexus changed my mind completely and I’ve loved it to pieces ever since. The last couple of years, the poor thing has just been limping along, though. Whatever app I’m using (usually Kindle) will lock up and I have to close out my app, clear the cache, do a force stop on the app and restart to get it working again. Most times, I have to go through this process several times before it actually starts working again. I’m often even forced to restart the device a time or two before whatever is causing the glitch to clear up. Over the course of a few hours of reading, I will have to go through this process at least a couple of times, and more recently and frequently, more than a dozen.

I have removed every single thing from it except my reading apps. I have done all kinds of things (update/upgrades, uninstalled and reinstalled software, factory reset) and nothing has helped. I ended up stealing Hubby’s from him (he never actually used his) hoping maybe it was just something wrong with mine. His was perfectly fine after a factory reset until I got everything set up and started reading when his started doing the exact same things mine was before I transferred.

In technology terms, my little Nexus is probably the equivalent of a crotchety 90 year old with a walker and chronic constipation. It has a very similar attitude in that it will only go when it wants to and nothing is going to push it even a millisecond faster than it wants to go.

I’m now faced with the daunting task of researching a replacement. I kind of hate it because my Nexus technically works. It turns on. The apps do run, just not well, but it is becoming nearly impossible to actually use. Every time it throws a fit and locks up, I wonder if this is going to be the time I can’t get it back up again.

I’m not a fan of proprietary devices such as the Fires or the Apple products. What I am seeing with the little bit of research I’ve done is that outside of those, your choices are extremely limited because people are either using their phones or their laptops. I still love the smaller size (my Nexus is only a 7in display) and being able to carry it around with me or to walk around while I’m reading, but you have even fewer choices in those smaller sizes. My phone screen is too far on the small end of the size scale, so that isn’t much of an option.

It doesn’t help that I’m experiencing extreme creative envy over the kids’ new Chromebooks this year as they have the most amazing drawing stylus included and the keyboard folds flat so it can act like a tablet. I did look, but these are just WAY too big for what I will mostly use it for. I already have a laptop, so I don’t want or need anything like that.

I love the Samsung products, but I’m not really 100% happy with any of my choices there. There is one that I’m drooling over, but it is bigger than I want and so much more than I want to spend on what I will mostly use just to read. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do. I need to do something because my poor Nexus has come way to close to growing wings and learning to fly through the window one too many times lately.

If you read on a device, what do you use? Do you use it for more than just reading? What do you like or not like about it? Definitely looking for input if for no other reason than to try and convince myself I really don’t need that overly extravagant tablet to read my books on. Even if it does have the super nifty pen thingy.

Already?! It’s Only Day 2!

So BG has already had a fun event at school and it is only day 2. Last year, I think I posted about this kid at lunch that made her really uncomfortable during lunch at the beginning of the year. She quickly found a friend to sit with and that ended the situation without much fanfare or drama and never had an issue after that.

They didn’t have a normal lunch yesterday because of first day back activities, but BG has already learned that none of her friends are in her lunch period. She found a table that didn’t have anyone at it and sat there alone. When most everyone had made it in and was sitting, this kid from last year manages to find her table, which is still entirely empty, and sits in the seat right next to her. There are also other completely open tables in the lunch room and in the area of her table. But he chose to sit in the seat. RIGHT. NEXT. TO. HER. This kid then proceeds to be crude, chewing with his mouth open and attempting to talk to BG at the same time. She did her best to just sit quietly and ignore the kid, but he still persisted and made her exceptionally uncomfortable. He got up once to go get something and BG slid to another seat at the table, just to get some space because this kid doesn’t understand or care about some of those basic, unwritten social rules people tend to live by in an effort to avoid those awkward, uncomfortable situations.

She does not know this kid. She has never had a class with him before. She had never seen this kid before he sat next to her at lunch last year, and that lasted less than a week before she found some friends to sit with. Why this kid thinks it is okay is beyond me.

It is so incredibly frustrating because it is kind of this ugly, sticky situation. She is completely uncomfortable in all ways, but she doesn’t ever like to speak up, so she won’t say a word to this kid. She also won’t say anything to a teacher or a lunch monitor in an effort to get them to intervene because the kid hasn’t exactly done anything that would violate rules. She doesn’t like to rock the boat or do anything that could offend someone and is this whole other thing tied to the ugly fears in our schools nowadays. That whole “what if they are THAT kid?” If he has some sort of disorder that would make it hard or impossible for him to pick up on social cues (I have no clue if this is a fact, BG really can’t say one way or the other), it would make this a different kind of sticky, but it is still sticky.

Her solution to this problem is to talk to a teacher she had last year that is near her lunch room to see if she can come and eat in the teacher’s classroom instead (and may not get permission for any number of reasons). I get it. The school can’t fix a problem they don’t know about, but… She shouldn’t be forced to be uncomfortable. She shouldn’t have to fear speaking up when someone makes her feel that way. She shouldn’t have to find these exceptionally twisty, creative ways to avoid a situation that makes her that uncomfortable. It really is one of those “No real, good solution” kind of things and I honestly don’t know what the best advice is to give her. I just hope that the teacher she is going to approach will agree to let her eat in her room.

Did I mention this is only day 2? *sigh*

 

Getting School Minded

This is that crazy week that seems to be full of getting the kids ready to go back to school. Yesterday was registration for both MC and BG, but it was the last for MC. That is one of those gut knotting moments when you get an in your face reminder that one of your babies isn’t so much a baby any more. This will be his last year in high school. He will actually be graduating this year. With honors. I know this is only one moment in a long string of moments that will happen this year to hit me like this. I also know that all of them will be over and gone in a blink of an eye.

BG is taking yet another step into finding out more of who she is as she has been invited to be a dance assistant at her studio this year. It is sort of a big step for the awkward, slightly introverted girl she is. That means she will be adding another two hours to her time at the studio every week. It also adds at least one more performance to her end of the year recital, which was already getting an additional performance because she is now in the oldest group of dancers, reaching her own not a baby anymore milestone.

My babies aren’t babies anymore and haven’t been in a long time, but it still hits when you see these moments and recognize them for what they are. My kids are growing and becoming little adults and I’m so not ready for it. Are you ever?

Insults: The New Spam

Apparently previous spam theories and techniques weren’t working anymore. Now spammers are resorting to insulting post titles to get you to click on them. Really?! Sorry, I was just cleaning out the spam folder to make sure nothing got dropped there by mistake while I was gone and I ran across that one. As I’m reading and seeing this rather obnoxious critique on how I titled a blog post, I just laughed my ass off at the things people will do to get you to interact and had to share.

Start At The End

If you’d noticed it’s been a little quiet around here, that’s because I’ve been on vacation. We just got in last night and all I had time to do was unpack, start laundry and crash. Today has been all about getting all the things done that I didn’t have the energy to do last night. I have a lot of catching up to do on everyone’s blogs that I’ve missed, but I’ll be around soon. I’ll also have some posts about an amazingly awesome trip to Door County, Wisconsin. And of course loads and loads of photos. Seriously. It was probably the best photo trip I’ve ever had. Granted, I think the new camera had something to do with it, but really the scenery did all the work. For now, I’ll leave you with one of my last shots of the trip. The stunning sunset out the car window on the way home.