The New Eye…

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

Yesterday was a glorious day.

Far too good to be sitting in a hospital waiting room, I thought. To say I was nervous would be putting it mildly, but I needed new eyes, so there wasn’t much I could do about it. We were the first to arrive, hoping this early appointment would lesson the waiting. I think it did, but it was still three hours before it was all over with.

I am usually quite brave when it comes to this sort of thing, and have spent more than my share of time in hospital for one reason or another. This was supposed to be a simple proceedure to change the lens in my right eye, but it didn’t seem that simple once they got started. For a start, I hadn’t given the actual doing of it a thought. That once they strapped me down and clamped my eye open, I would have to watch what happened, close up and very personal.

It wasn’t painful, well not in the sense you first think of, and took about twenty minutes. I felt a lot of pressure on my eyeball, gallons of fluid were sloshed in a regular intervals, but the extremely bright light I had to stare at was making me feel giddy. When this light began to move rapidly about, creating a surreal psychedelic effect, I began to feel decidely ill.  I would imagine it was like one of those LSD trips from the eighties but not being a flower child these days, it was not pleasant and I prayed it would be over soon.

Then they strapped this clear plastic shield over the eye with copious amounts of sticky tape and said I could go back to the recovery room. But when I sat up, the room revolved around me. I wanted to be sick and knew if they wanted me out of there, I would need some help.

That was when an attractive male nurse arrived and asked if I needed help. I have never been so grateful to be offered an arm in my life. I made it to the recovery room and enjoyed a welcome cup of coffee.

That evening was a nightmare. I had to keep the shield on until the morning, when I was allowed to clean the eye and start the regime of drops. In the meantime, it was itchy, sore and uncomfotable. The tape was pulling my skin and my head was killing me.

I tried to look at my emails, hoping I could do some work with my one good eye, but to my disapointment, that eye wouldn’t focus either. By then, I was tired and frustrated. The tv was just a blur, so I listened instead, wondering how long it would be before I could actually see anything.

I was awake early this morning, desperate to be rid of the shield and clean my eye and as I pottered about, I made an amazing discovery. I could see clearly through the new lens. In fact, it was showing up the other one something rotten. Everything looked clean and fresh with my new eye, while the old one was making everything look old and dirty.

Hopefully, I won’t have to wait too long to have that one done too…

Already, I have discovered a major drawback to all this improvement and I may have to spend the next few weeks catching up on the housework, either that or stop looking around with my old eye!

AAA (2)

#Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 24 (a bit late)

Jaye's Journal x12

 

The letter from the hospital arrived yesterday and the first of my cataracts will be removed next week and I have a pre op appointment tomorrow to check me out. I wonder what happened to the ten weeks wait I was told to expect.

We left early to get to the hospital for we can never judge what the car parking will be like and arrived far too early. The hospital was busy, but we managed to find out where we were supposed to be. The Eye department is one of the oldest parts of the hospital and didn’t have any of the iced water machines that I like so much, and my mouth was as dry as a bone.

By the time we sat down in the waiting room, there was still half an hour to wait, so was very surprised when my name was called. A kind and pleasant male nurse welcomed me, proceeded to check me over and then explained what would be happening to me. Though I was a little perturbed when he said I wouldn’t feel a thing, and then calmly said that a nurse would be holding my hand, so I could squeeze it if I felt anything. Not very reassuring!

I appreciated this more than you know, for the last time I was there, I was subjected to a pompous, short tempered consultant who clearly thought I was wasting his time. My treatment today was very different.

I just know that the next six days are going to be awful…

###

There was me thinking I would have plenty of time to finish the WIP and make a few inroads into the marketing, but this unexpected news has literally knocked me for six. Mainly, I hope, because I wasn’t expecting it. Not that I am worried about them slicing bits of my eyes. Well, maybe just a little…

The thought of all this disruption is having a weird effect on me. Instead of getting a move on and pressing the panic button, I seem to be doing the opposite and moving around as though up to my neck in treacle. Almost everything is far too much trouble and I cannot be asked to do anything.

It is affecting the weather too, and it hasn’t stopped raining for days. Absolutely no chance of doing any gardening either then.

Thinking is becoming more difficult too, is it because I am facing the Unknown?

Two days of inertia later, I have managed to scrape together some enthusiasm. Guilt will always work, don’t you find?

After making such good progress last week with the new PC and Word, several peculiar wrinkles decide to make an appearance, completely undermining my confidence again. Needless to say, I didn’t need this.

I have been struggling to do so many things, things I had no trouble doing before.  I have the feeling I am out of my depth with technology, a feeling I haven’t had since the early days.

What do you do when you have misplaced your enthusiasm?

I know that when you get to my age, you begin to run out of things, like patience, common sense, memory and a simple thing like joy. Then there are the knees that no longer want to work anymore and a back that starts to ache even before you get up in the morning.

Add to that several weeks months of only having one usable eye and the next part of my life is going to be interesting.

Just don’t call me Cyclops!

Anita has just said something that made me smile. She said ‘Don’t forget, in the Kingdom of the blind, the one eyed is King…’

AAA (2)

 

Time to Think Again!

 

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A new week starts, a time when my enthusiasm usually renews itself, but there is a noticeable lack of ‘get up and go’. It was more like, ‘get your arse moving and see what you can muddle through this week!’

Last month’s USB failure, resulting in the loss of three weeks work, has left a sour taste in my soul, leading me to wonder if I should even be doing any of this promotional stuff. I have ended up juggling so many balls; I am in danger of losing sight of the original dream, consumed as I am with the need to find that one magic ingredient that will make it all worthwhile.

It is always possible that I am not destined for greatness, and I am happy to realise that. Relieved, actually, but that will not stop me from trying my best, and improving my work. (At the time of writing, I plan to re-edit my books and update the covers, blurbs and keywords. I have been having a long hard look and not entirely happy with what I see!)

Little by little, I think I am beginning to lose my edge, the ability to juggle everything and still keep my balance. I seem to recall that this has happened to me before, a long time ago. I was in a relationship, and as long as I obeyed the rules and performed as instructed, I was grudgingly allowed to breathe.

Of course, the day eventually came when I needed more than that when I was tired of the constant struggle to be the person that was required. This wasn’t the first time I escaped from tyranny and it wouldn’t be my last, but eventually, I found a better way to live.

My present struggle is beginning to feel the same, and the need to escape is growing again. This presents a problem, for I don’t want to run away from most of it. I have to find a compromise, a way to keep our options open and the dream alive. I have to stop trying everything and anything, looking for the golden goose, who, for all I know, gave up laying eggs a long time ago…

Jaye’s Journal – Week 22

Jaye's Journal x12

 

After much searching, comparing and pulling my hair out, I finally found a PC that has everything I wanted at a price I could almost afford. I have this problem with shopping online, as I never seem to end up liking what I buy. Never been any good choosing anything and always get it wrong.

It arrived yesterday, and my old friend nagging doubt turned up with it.

Much smaller than I thought it would be, although I believe this is the new trend, and still managed to look pretty scary. Immediately, I found a possible problem. The activation label clearly said Windows 7, even though I thought I ordered Windows 10.

So, I might have done it again and chosen the wrong one.

Because of the Bank Holiday, I had to wait until Tuesday to telephone the company, for there was no way I would start switching over until they reassure me.

Switching over PCs is not something I enjoy or am any good at, as my tech skills are dismal at best, so at this stage I was still asking myself why I had actually volunteered to do this.

One of the reviews stated enthusiastically that all I had to do is take it out of the box, plug in all the cables and then switch it on.

That I just cannot believe.

The way things are going though, I may never get that far to find out.

 

While I waited, it was business as usual on my old less than faithful pc, despite the frequent crashing, freezing and crazy spelling games it plays. But it gave me a nasty moment this morning.

I switched it on, and instead of my pretty screensaver, the screen was plain blue. There was no icons and no wifi. I feared the worst. Had it beaten me to the punch?

That would be ironic, wouldn’t it?

A brand new PC that I don’t want to install and my old one commits Hara Kiri on me!

After a reboot, everything was fine again, at least for the moment…

Moving swiftly on to the designated torture day…

I had been dreading this day for so long, and was one of the reasons I delayed doing anything about it. I heard so many bad reports about Windows 10, and was more than happy with my old faithful Windows 7, but as they say, all good things have to come to an end.

The new computer came with it already installed, so I had no choice but to hunt for my thinking cap, put it on and see what, if anything I could do with it. There was quite a long wait for the new pc to load or whatever it had to do. They said it would take time, but wasn’t expecting three hours of thumb twiddling!

What followed was one of the worst moments of my life. I stared at the alien screen, trying not to feel as sick as a parrot by the sheer enormity of what I had done. (and still had to do!) And what was rapidly turning into what I might not be able to do.

I retired wounded for the day, not having mastered any of it.

I have a book, aptly called Windows 10 for Seniors, so I spent the evening going further into the depths of insanity, reading anything that sounded helpful. But in reality, none of made any sense to me.

The following day, inspired by my refusal to quit, I switched the offending machine back on and played around, pressing everything in sight and seeing what happened. I found help screens that weren’t very, then tried to connect using my Microsoft account password.

You don’t want to know how long that took.

One day on, and I have surprised myself. Things are magically beginning to work!

There have been a pile of things I had to fix, one of them involved the speakers, which for some reason didn’t want to work. The sound, when I found  out how to turn it on, came out of the tower thingy and sounded as though there was an idiot trapped in there.

Basically, and this really hurts to admit, I think I like my new computer and can foresee a bright future. A very poor future, for along with the cost of the thing, I had to cough up for a brand new Microsoft Word too…

Off to start uploading thousands of my images and files, so not going anywhere this weekend.

I hope everyone else has a good one though…

AAA (2)

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More Muddy Waters…

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Well, I have been simplifying and streamlining like a mad woman. I have cut and pruned, deleted and unsubscribed, all those things and places that I thought were a good idea at the time, but somehow never got around to learning. They have all been weeded out.

There seems to be a strong gardening influence going on here, don’t you think? This is probably because after I finish spring cleaning the inside of my head and my office… there is a load more of the same to do outside in the garden!

All things considered, I  don’t appear to have so many balls in the air now, and feel the better for it.

That was when something amazing happened.

Anita and I have long wanted to write a book together, but despite regular discussions, we never seemed to agree on anything. No change there then! This in itself is not unusual in this house, but I digress.

Something was mentioned and caught our interest, and as we continued to talk, we could see the magic beginning to grow into a great idea. I won’t say any more, but I have the feeling it could be amazing.

I honestly believe that everything we have learned, every failure and disappointment, even the pruning casualties this week, have all been leading us to this moment.

So, from having too many irons in the fire, we have added another one!

And then disaster struck!

The internet had been playing up, constantly buffering and crashing, but I was patient, thinking it would right itself. When several days passed without improvement, I decided to refresh Firefox, my browser. All this managed to achieve was the total loss of all my bookmarks and password recognition and no possible way of retrieving them that I could see.

By this time, I was thoroughly disgusted with my stupidity, so I changed browsers, returning to Internet Explorer, which always seemed to work well enough on my laptop.

But… by then everything was going from bad to worse, and I wanted to shoot myself. Nothing had really changed, and I didn’t like the layout on Int.Explorer. All I really wanted was to stop all the buffering and delays.

This is a classic example of my prowess or lack of it when it comes to computers. I had to stop for the day round about then, as my brain was showing  signs of self-destruction.

The following day, my mind decided to work better, and I reinstated Firefox. I am still unable to get my stuff back, which means I will have to collect them all over again. But the buffering has now stopped, so that’s a small price to pay.

I cannot believe the mess I made, simply trying to make my life easier…

 

#Throwback Thursday ~ How Do You Achieve the Impossible?

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I have never been one to back down from a challenge, although there was that one time when we were considering renovating this house, only to find that half of the supporting walls were missing. Or the time when the previous owners had removed all the fireplace walls in the house, but not the chimney stacks on the roof, creating the granddaddy of all disasters, but I digress.

Just let it be said that there are some challenges you just cannot entertain.

Some challenges, however, beg to be taken on.

You know what you need to do. (more or less)  Thousands of people are already doing it, so how hard can it be?

It also helps if you have already mastered stage one…

For a rank beginner, writing a book was hard enough. Then I had to learn how to edit, format and upload it to Amazon. To be fair, once I knew the basics, this turned out to be reasonably easy. Although, knowing I could change anything was a get out of jail card, as my memory has more holes than a colander.

At that time, I thought that was all I had to do. Over the years since then, the truth has gradually dawned, bit by frustrating bit, pointing out that there was a lot more to it than that if you wanted to be successful. Even now, there are days when the enormity of it all makes my head spin.

What We Have Tried

Paid Book Promotion Sites… most of these do a good job, but they are expensive and the results were disappointing.

Book Tours… fun, but a lot of work. We met many people but didn’t sell many books or get reviews.

KDP promos… very good for putting your books out there and shifting a ton of free copies and that’s about all!

We have recently pulled most of our books out of KDP and placed them with Draft2Digital. Seriously thinking about going back to Smashwords too, as being exclusively on Amazon just doesn’t sound right anymore.

Over the last five years, we have sold a few books and received several wonderful reviews. We have established a popular website/blog and a slowly growing list of followers, and the fire of determination still burns bright. Almost every week, I try something new, either to do with books or marketing, something supposedly guaranteed to make our books bestsellers.

The Future?

We are contemplating having a go at advertising, even though we don’t have much of a budget they seem to be the way to go. If anyone knows better, please let us know?

We are constantly told that the best way to make it in this business is to keep writing until you finally create a masterpiece. Apparently, the more you write the better chance you have of creating something that cannot be ignored.

Surely, there must be a little more to it than that?

 

 

Jaye’s Journal ~ week 15

Jaye's Journal x12

 

Are there days when you cannot cope with your chosen occupation?

I have had many jobs in my time and hated quite a few of them, but never thought I would ever feel less than love for writing.

Lately, I have been having days when things seem to be slipping, a digital carrying-on that can plague anyone who switches on a computer.

This week, I had more than one day like this. A fatal mixture of an old and feeble person trying to use an equally old and feeble computer.

The overall tone of the week surprised me, seeing as I had just typed those magic words at the end of my WIP, I should be happy or at least relieved, or optimistic reaching the end of what has turned out to be a fascinating if complicated story.

Secretly though, I knew why I wasn’t jumping around like an idiot. I am an idiot (most of the time), but that wasn’t the reason.

I was secretly terrified that, having written this unusual and complicated story, that I wasn’t competent enough to present it in the best possible light.

This is a story that I didn’t know much about initially, or how to write it. It has been one hell of a learning curve. The research alone took almost as long as writing it.

 

Something strange happened today.

I have recently changed the header image on our website, and that is what I expected to see when I logged on, but the picture I saw was not mine and one I had never seen before.

How was this even possible?

Also, the new header image had vanished. It wasn’t saved with all the other old headers, so whoever had changed it had run off with my new one.

Surely, this couldn’t happen, could it?

Perhaps it was a message from my muse, for I wasn’t happy with my choice, so maybe she wasn’t either…

watermark xjj

 

Jaye’s Journal… week 13

Jaye's Journal x12

 

 

Swings and Roundabouts…

 

I was watching Theresa May (the UK Prime Minister) this morning, and for the first time saw what looked suspiciously like signs of defeat. The normally serene and smart woman we are used to seeing looked tired and a little scruffy, as though she had been up all night. Which I suppose she might well have been, at this delicate stage of the Brexit negotiations. I got the definite impression that she is barely hanging on by her eyelashes.

I can identify with that state of affairs, for at 75 years old, with cataracts in both eyes and rampaging arthritis, I might be approaching the end of my rope too.

It has been a week of highs and lows, or swings and roundabouts if you prefer.

From a major disagreement with Microsoft, who thought I wasn’t me anymore and refused to accept several new passwords. They kept insisting I had to contact them on a mobile phone to resolve the problem. That was an even bigger problem for me, as I don’t have such a thing! But once I borrowed one, everything was okay again.

Then I finally managed to claim our website on Pinterest, something I had been trying to do all week.

I still don’t understand why any of this happened, or why using a mobile phone made Microsoft like me again, especially as it wasn’t mine, but that was the closest I want to get to HTML or all things SEO!

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The minute I feel life returning outside my window, it’s like a wake-up call for me to pull my socks up and get cracking. You never know, this could be the year when all things become possible.

Spring is finally here and the sun is shining, but it is very cold. I know this because I have ventured outside to check on the garden. I still call it a garden, even though I now need a machete to go very far! The grass has begun to grow, heralding the start of much fruitless pushing and shoving of my equally ancient lawn mower. Luckily, I think it can wait a while longer.

My Bonsai are all sprouting, cold or not, their winter sleep is over and it will soon be time to check their roots to see who needs a trim, fresh soil or a bigger pot. This is about all I am capable of these days, as I really cannot cope with the ever-present growth of brambles in my jungle of a garden. The last time I tried to tame them I had to retire wounded and bloody, so now they have my permission to run riot.

If I do get the urge to blitz them, I will get a flamethrower and do the job properly!

AAA (2)

 

Thoughts…

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

Jaye said I should think of something different to write about.

Short stories or romance, ghosts, hauntings, all of which I think I do.

Unlike Jaye, I am only good at one thing. The work I put out, good or bad, I can’t always tell until there is feedback.

I know that sometimes the pieces I put in front of Jaye have moved her to tears. So maybe there is something to them. Either that or she is just a soft Nellie. Who knows?

I can only do what comes from the pen. Good or bad, it is for others to judge.

I guess I can tell when the web is silent, the likes low.

Maybe Jaye is right, the pen has had its day.

Then again, we don’t always agree from one second to the next.

Unless there is a blue moon, and they don’t come around very often.

AAAAA

One of our best Worst Ideas Yet?

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As if we don’t have enough to do, we have stumbled into what might possibly be either a brilliant idea, or the worst kind of madness ever to visit our house.

I’m not sure where this idea came from, but for some totally inexplicable reason, we are both equally enthusiastic about actually writing a mystery/thriller book together.

This may not work for a multitude of reasons, for we usually write in such different genres/and the arguments will probably reach hitherto unreached levels/we may end up killing each other!

We have started, and early indications would suggest it could possibly work!

Anita wrote the first section/intro, and I nervously followed. We average about 500 words each, but this could easily change when the musts get going.

Quite apart from being the most unlikely writing partnership, can you imagine what our respective muses must be thinking?

Other writers have done this, and in the past, we have often wondered how it would work. Now we will discover how hard it will be and if it will even work for us. And if we can do it without any of our legendary arguments, it will be a miracle!

Already, the conversations about the direction of the plot have been pretty spectacular, for we have such very different ideas about everything. The fact that I am the thriller writer around here stands for nothing, and my suggestions have not been well received, to put it mildly!

Today’s discussion ended with Anita suggesting that we start again, and this time write a spooky supernatural story.

We could, of course, but I am trying to finish my current WIP at the moment and all of this chaos is playing havoc with my schedule. It is my turn to write the next section, so I had better make it good!