Showing posts with label amazon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label amazon. Show all posts

Friday, May 8, 2020

Telework - Week 8

I don't know what week this is. I barely know what day it is. I never leave the house.I did take a ride to Culvers on Saturday. I marveled at the green grass and the curve of the road. I walked down to the mailbox today -- the temperature was 36 degrees. I wore shorts. It really didn't matter. Probably should have shaved my legs, though.  At least I got to feel actual air. 

I can't fathom what normal life would be like. It'd probably be pretty good.I wonder if the hairdresser will hold a lottery once its doors are allowed to open. It's not that anyone sees me, but I see me. Old ladies should not wear their hair long; it's not a good look. My husband found some thinning shears in a long-forgotten dog grooming kit. He used them on himself and he looks pretty good. I'm going to give them a whirl tomorrow, along with the last remaining hair color kit I found stashed inside my bathroom vanity. If things spiral out of control, I do own a variety of hats.

As for work, I'm playing out my time. Come Tuesday, I will be down to 30 days. Oh, I'm still putting forth effort. I do have my pride. But I'm cognizant of every workday and how they're dwindling. My boss doesn't acknowledge that I will soon be gone; it's better to let it lie. Retirement will be exactly the same as working, except I will have no schedule to adhere to.TV, here I come.I wonder how long it will be before I become a crazed closet-cleaner.

I publish a monthly department newsletter, and I've decided that this month's will be all "me", albeit subtly. I won't acknowledge that it's me, but after twenty-plus years, I deserve to give myself a send-off. I won't get a going-away party, after all. A monthly feature of the newsletter is "Do You Know This Person". I send twenty questions to the chosen victim to complete and then I write up a little story about them. People used to sometimes guess the person was me, and I said, "The person will never be me." Guess what? Yes, it will. Some of the regular features include submissions from team members, but this time they'll all be from (anonymously) me. Deal. I'm not going to get a gift or anything.

Things I've done this week:

  • I searched online for face masks and Amazon has none that can be delivered before June. Really? I could potentially be paroled by June. And forget hand sanitizer. I finally found masks on Walmart's site and I should see them in a couple of weeks. Shipping costs? Pffft. This is a pandemic! Money is no object!

  • I did find a bunch of stuff I really want on Amazon; not things that will save my life, but might save my sanity.

  • I briefly pondered getting back into songwriting, as my husband is urging me to do. If I do, I already have a song title -- "Desolation Angel" -- don't steal it.

  • I ordered groceries via Instacart. I've found that the anticipation is far better than the reality.

Things I've learned this week:

  • Listening to George Strait's Ace In The Hole Radio makes me happy. I don't even click on my other favorite stations; I just keep it on George.This confirms that I've long had excellent musical taste.

Your musical selection tonight, from the album, "Beyond The Blue Neon", one of George's best:

Friday, April 3, 2020

Telework Week 3 -- Drudgery and Depression

Organizing and decorating my home office no longer carries the cachet it did during weeks one and two. I'm used to the room now and like everything else in one's house, it's rarely even noticed. I have found, however, that all those special office supplies we think we can't live without are simply trinkets to collect. I use a small legal pad and a pen. Sometimes a sticky pad. That's it. And I barely use those.

In Week 3 many people's nerves are fraying. I only know this via email communications, of course. Attitudes that were once excused or ignored are now confronted. I know because work friends have forwarded me some of their email exchanges with other people. For my part, I have endeavored to remain upbeat in my correspondence, knowing that others aren't having any fun, either. I did receive one snarky response today, and I took a few minutes before deciding how to reply. (I let it go.)

Wednesday was my worst day. My system slowed to the point of complete inertia and then froze up completely several times (shut the PC off, re-log in, authenticate my login, try again; lather, rinse, repeat).I finally shut if off and walked away; did some laundry; tried to lower my blood pressure. Worse, I knew I'd have to face the same imbroglio the next day. I can't expect my IT Department to solve my problem; I think it's simply a matter of fifty million people or so gobbling up bandwidth.

Working from home has become complete drudgery. It's no longer novel; it's tedious. Telework does not bring freedom -- I rarely leave this room. I probably walked around -- no, I know I walked around -- more in the office than I do at home.

Shall we talk about depression? It may have been Tuesday night, and it was my own fault. I flipped on the TV when I lay down for the night, and as the minutes ticked by, the reports grew increasingly horrifying. I understand why cable news does that, but mitigate, people! Any rays of hope at all, folks? What I gleaned was, don't leave my house under any circumstances. If I do, it's essentially a death sentence. And maybe I've already contracted the virus -- the incubation period can be up to fourteen days.I visited my local convenience store twice in the past two weeks. Should I be drawing up a will?

What no one on TV will (or can) answer is how long this will go on. May 4, our original return-to-work date, now seems like a cruel joke. My tentative retirement date is June 12 -- will I even be able to return to the office to retrieve my personal belongings? Is this called "going out with a whimper"?

Things I've learned this week:

  • Online grocery shopping is the highlight of my week, as frustrating as it is.Why is there such a shortage of paper towels? The hell with toilet paper -- I have a cat who barfs regularly (as cats do) and paper towels are an essential item. I've begun weighing whether I really should be wasting a half-sheet of paper towel for tasks I previously whipped off a good-sized wad to tackle.Luckily I can blow my nose with toilet paper, because facial tissue is non-existent as well. I do tip my Shipt shopper well, because that's a thankless, health-endangering job. But all in all, I'd be tickled to do my own shopping.
  • I've spent all the bill money on groceries. The piper will be piping soon, but right now I need snacks.
  • There are things I'd like to order from Amazon, but I'd feel too guilty making a driver deliver my impulse buy when there are people who really need stuff, like paper towels (there aren't any, by the way; but I'm just saying.)
  • "The Office" reruns are the highlight of my week.
  • Being able to do my regular job anytime soon is a pipe dream. The whole reason I applied for the trainer position in 2003 was because processing claims all day made me want to hurl myself off a high precipice. Guess what I'm doing now.

Things I've done this week:

  • I gained probably five pounds.
  • I took a shower almost every day.
  • I downloaded a prayer app, but I keep forgetting to reference it.
  • I slept fitfully and my dreams were all disturbing.

There is always tomorrow (I say rhetorically, since tomorrow is Saturday and I won't be working). I have fits of despondence, but my fallback outlook is positivity. Raise a glass with me that Week 4 will be a revelation.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Birth of the Internet

If Google hadn't told me, I would never have guessed that the internet was born thirty years ago. Who used it?? In 1989 I still thought a correctable typewriter ribbon was a wondrous invention. I still composed all my work correspondence on a Smith-Corona. I was an expert at setting margins and indents. The traveling accountants at my company carried something called a "laptop", but it was essentially a portable calculator with a savable worksheet.

When I worked at the catalog store in 1979, I drooled over something called a "word processor" and wished I had the money to buy one. But I don't know what I would have done with it (well, type, sure). I don't know if there was even such a thing called a printer, and if there was, my super-serious works would have printed out on green and white paper with holes along the edges.

Even when I began working at the health insurance company in 1990, we only had green-lit CRT's that connected to nothing but the internal guts of US Healthcare.

We didn't question how it worked; just trusted that it did. When I became a supervisor in '91, I, like everyone else, used the CRT as a makeshift typewriter to type up memos, which resulted in very odd notes inadvertently added to some poor member's claim when we accidentally hit the "save" button instead of "print".

My very first home computer was purchased from an outfit called Gateway, which, to its credit, was headquartered in South Dakota. The shipping box had cow spots and everyone who ever purchased a computer in the early nineties bought one from Gateway. It was "plug in and go". No technical skill needed whatsoever. I do recall that it arrived in multiple boxes, of which I have no recollection of the contents. It doesn't seem to me (now) that a computer should require four boxes, but maybe it was to make us neophytes feel "computer savvy" (I definitely wasn't.)

Once I assembled my newfangled contraption, I had little idea of what to do with it, except for playing a lot of solitaire. But never fear ~ America Online to the rescue. Every mail order package I ever received was accompanied by an AOL floppy disc that screamed, "Two Months Free!"

Once I chanced to slide that innocent diskette into the slot, my life was forever seized. AOL was sort of the internet but sort of not. It had "groups" for various interests that one could join and talk to like-minded people. I joined the country music group, which grew monotonous. There were about five or six people in the group and none of them (including me) ever said anything interesting. I remember a discussion about Brooks and Dunn where I opined that their second album was so much worse than the first because they'd had years to write songs for the first album, whereas "Hard Workin' Man" had been slapped together quickly to capitalize on their newfound fame. And then someone said, "That's a good point" and the conversation drifted off to nothingness.

I then looked for new distractions, but I didn't know how to find anything. Someone said there was a search engine called Alta Vista, which seemed rudimentary but never quite produced the results one was searching for. Granted, there wasn't a whole lot to find in 1995.

When I finally did find something, one of my kids would pick up the phone upstairs in the kitchen and my connection was lost. I wonder how many family fights ensued because one person innocently pulled the handset off the receiver to place a call. "I'm online, dammit!" Dial-up was all we knew,  and it was a tenuous connection. Even if no one cut into the line, sometimes the familiar screeech took forever to materialize.

My go-to site was something called Amazon, which sold (only) books. I thought Amazon was a revelation and I purchased every single book I even minimally thought I wanted.

Honestly, Amazon should pay me a recompense, since I was one their very first loyal customers. Jeff?

I bought a sleeve of floppy disks because I thought there might be things on this newfangled "internet" I would want to save. If I ever saved anything, it has escaped my mind.

Now "Google" is a verb. But there was no Google in 1995. Even in 1997, though my company made the internet available, I had little reason to visit it. I had an email account via Hotmail, but it was cumbersome and a new term ~ spam ~ had facilely made itself known.

Thirty years has changed life forever. I now publish books and music online with little effort. I lose patience and give up on sites that don't load immediately. I flaunt my ability to find practically anything if I search long enough (just ask me!)

I've reconnected with friends and yes, my now-husband, online.

One thing that hasn't changed, though ~ Brooks and Dunn's second album still isn't very good (except for this):

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Music will have to wait a week or so. I'm currently editing. I decided to, what the heck, pretty up my first manuscript and publish it as the second April Tompkins novel. If it sells as well as RADIO CRAZY, I'm going to be flush with a sprinkling of pennies!

But that's what we do -- and by "we", I mean quixotic strivers.

Maybe I need to advertise - tweets aren't working well. But I have no budget. I edited RADIO CRAZY, designed the cover, converted it to the proper format, uploaded it to Amazon -- all at a cost of $0.00.

All one can do is try.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

We Now Pause For This Commerical Announcement

I am offering a FREE copy of Radio Crazy tomorrow, August 6, only!

You can download your free copy here

A review would be very much appreciated, whether you like it or don't like it (I would be too embarrassed to read my reviews anyway.) But I think you'll like it.

If you're a country music fan, this novel will be right up your alley. If you're not a country music fan, what are you doing reading this blog, silly?

P.S. If you miss the promotion and would still like to receive a free copy, I'll make sure you get one.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Go Indie For The Holidays!

It's not too late to get a nice stocking stuffer for Christmas. You know Amazon; they've got all kinds of shipping deals. No drone yet, though, unfortunately.

Why go indie for the holiday? There are several reasons, the first of which is, have you heard the stuff they're playing on the radio? No, me, neither. I don't listen to that crap. But I catch a snippet of it from time to time -- bumper music on my favorite talk shows. And inevitably, one of the hosts, who is older than he dares admit to himself, will say, "That's one of my favorite songs of the year." Seriously? Can you hum a few bars? What do you mean, "thump thump thump"? That's not a song! A song is supposed to have, you know, words...and ideally, a melody. How about some real music for a change of pace? I still remember when a song could make me cry, even after I'd heard it fifty-four hundred times. I wrote once that "a song is an angel".

Secondly, you know, good music doesn't just pop, fully formed, out of a falling raindrop. Sure, some songs are serendipitous. But usually even the songs that originate with the muse (who I'm pretty sure I don't believe in) still require lots of honing and fiddling to get them just right. Aside from the current top ten, "Thump Thump Thump" song, even bad songs were hunkered over by somebody who believed in them enough to spend hours hunched over their guitar, cramping their writing hand by jotting and crossing out words in a notebook. Imagine how much work a good song takes!

Thus, one should support the indie musician. This is where you're gonna get your next taste of actual enjoyable tunes. Aside from loops of past hits, I guess. (Ever notice that the hip-hoppers who use somebody else's music call it "sampling"? No, it's stealing.)

Third, don't you want to be known, among your circle of friends, as the "hip" one? Sure you do. Everybody does. Nobody says, "Yea, I'm the stodgy old coot who plays my Perry Como albums while I stretch back in my La-Z-Boy and take a snooze." And even if you are that person, why advertise it? Have some hot new music to recommend! Music you are the first person to hear!

I've listened to the songs on "Rhythms of Life" many times and thus I heartily recommend this CD. Because I am "hip". And because I have a good ear. Remember me? The Encyclopedia of Music? I wouldn't steer you wrong.

So click the link below and hop on over to Amazon. Shoot, this CD is a steal at $6.47! What the heck?? This guy is selling himself short! But, too bad for him; too good for you!

Remember to mention that your cool, trendy friend told you about it.

Click To Buy

Monday, April 8, 2013

Rich Farmers Update and Giveaway!

Yes, this is another shameless plug!

People tend to enjoy my music posts more than my book posts, but hey!  A gal's gotta make her $11.98!  Total.  Seriously.  And that's mostly because my friend took pity on me and bought a copy.

Be that as it may, I wanted to announce that Rich Farmers is now available on iTunes and Barnes and Noble (for Nook). 

I was going to say how honored I am to be featured (to use the term loosely) on iTunes, but then I realized that some of Red River's songs can also be found there; not through any effort (or knowledge) of the band.  It seems that one of our music libraries, Audiosparx, put together a few compilation CD's of various artists, and some of our tunes were stuck on five or six of those CD's (No sales to report!  Just like my book!)

So, I guess I'm an old hand at iTunes.....

Now is a good time to put in a plug for my book formatter and cover designer, Elijah Toten.  You can view his services here. He was very nice to work with, and I think he did a great job on the cover design.  Granted, I gave him a picture that I insisted he use, but the graphics, especially with regard to the subtitle, really convey the scariness and, I guess, shakiness, of that time, growing up.

I bet there are tons of self-published authors who only sell one or two copies (I write, sobbing).  I can still say I did my best, and I slaved over writing my book; and I'm GLAD I did it.

And now without further a-dewww, I am giving away three copies of Rich Farmers in whatever digital format you choose.

All you need to do is leave a comment on this post.  Guests on my author site will also be included in the drawing.  I will use the Randomizer to select the three winning entries.

Winners will be chosen on Friday, May 3, 2013.   

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rich Farmers ~ Excerpt Two

Having lugged my behemoth accordion to school on the bus for show and tell, the plan was to have Dad pick me up after school, so I wouldn’t be once again burdened with the hernia machine that was making me tilt sideways as I tried to heft it.

I pulled the heavy case out onto the sidewalk, let it hit the ground, and I stood there and waited.

And I waited.

By the time I saw the last straggling teachers, and then the principal, stroll out to their cars, I realized it was probably time for Plan B.

I should have walked back inside earlier, and asked to use the phone in the school office to call my mom, but I didn’t want to have to carry that hateful thing back with me once again.

And now it was too late. The school was locked up. Everybody had already said their goodbyes.

The closest place I knew that had a pay phone was the Laundromat downtown, about eight long blocks away.

I was thankful, at least, that it was September, and still warm. I had enough problems.

After taking one last long look down the empty street in front of Valley Elementary, and still not spying even a distant glint of my dad’s car, off I went.

Read more here

Rich Farmers Update and a Preview

I have sold three copies of Rich Farmers!  Scoff if you will, but I didn't expect to sell any!

Within the next couple of weeks, Rich Farmers should be available on iTunes and other places that I haven't decided upon yet. 


Maybe it was a good thing we didn’t pack more stuff.

This place was tiny.

Not the motel itself, but the living quarters.

Curious as I was to check out the place, I despised the little kid who showed me around.

While Mom and Dad were huddled with the woman they’d bought the place from, Elsie; pouring over balance sheets, David Lee, Elsie’s son, became my official travel guide.

“Now, this is my room,” he intoned.

Well, no. This is now my room, and will a bed even fit in here?

Stomach churning, as I pranced along the short household tour, I tried to stop thinking about the new school, the new kids, that I would have to face in a couple of days.

Jay and Lisa were lucky. They’d have plenty of time to assimilate. Me, I was about to be thrown into the fire.

“Here, behind this sliding door, is the office. Right off the living room!”


Our privacy stops at this door?

How quaint. And I hate it already.

The little second bedroom was little, all right. A set of bunk beds hugged one wall; Jay and Lisa would be on the bottom bunk, me on the top.

There was room enough for a narrow dresser on the opposite wall, and a wooden door was built into the wall at the foot of the bed, opening up to a closet with three shelves, where I would stow my important possessions; i.e., my record player.

I felt unable to catch my breath.

I’m going to live in here?

It’s about three steps from my parents’ bedroom!

Life truly sucks.

On my farm, I could stretch my arms out wide, and not touch anything. Here, in this room, I couldn’t even stretch out my arms.

What had I gotten myself into? And can I just go back?

“Here’s the bathroom.”

Well, isn’t this nice? I have to get up at seven. If I’m quick, I can jump in the shower and wash my hair before anyone’s the wiser.

My big brother had pulled up behind us in his red Ford Fairlane. He got out; stretched.

“This’ll do”, he said.

“I can remodel a whole bunch of this stuff.”

My brother’s girlfriend, Kathy, was back at home. It was a drive, but he’d gladly run it.

I didn’t know anybody, and there was nobody worth knowing, least of all David Lee.

Jay and Lisa toddled on over, past the pines, and made the acquaintance of our new neighbors, the Merkels.

Friends for life.

I had nobody.

I shook a sheet of loose-leaf out of a folder, and wrote a beseeching letter to Cathy. “Come visit me!”

I was keenly lonely. And alone.

Read more here

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rich Farmers


My little Minnesota town mostly tolerated the river. The Red, eleven months out of the year, was kind of puny and babyish. Sure, it was banked by shady trees, and it was a lazy place for a waterside picnic. But it was no Missouri.

Once a year, though; that one month in the spring, the Red River turned into a hysterical, sobbing woman. When all the ingredients got stirred together just right; the ice jams, the melting snow creeping across the flat plain, the up-up-upping of the thermometer; well, then the Red wreaked vengeance on those who ever dared call it puny.

Sherlock Park, home to the town swimming pool, and the corny bandstand, where oompa-oompa bands serenaded clumps of families sitting in the shade; was but mere blocks away from the Red; but it seemed so much further away to us kids. At least until the flooding began.

The First National and Sacred Heart Church and the American Legion Club were only two blocks down and one block to the right of the Louis Murray Bridge, give or take. My town was a little town, and it took its nourishment from the skinny waters that confusedly wended their way north, instead of south, like a normal river would.

Every spring, my big brother got out of classes to help sandbag. High school kids are inherently altruistic, especially when they have the opportunity to get sprung from school.

It wasn’t just the Red that flooded, though. Every body of water that was man enough to call itself a “body of water” lurched like a drunken sailor and went knocking on doors. That included the coulee across the road from my farm.

What that meant for me was that the school bus dropped me off at the top of the hill, and set me on a journey of red rubber galoshes busting through banks of sloppy snow, as poor little me finally made my way across the field and to the waiting arms of my front door.

It wasn’t bad enough that the country kids (I say derisively, although I was one) made fun of my name, and called me “Bushy Tail”, as I sat, grumpily bumped up against the vibrating school bus window, all the way to town.

But I hated winter, and I hated post-winter; with its stinging slap across my face, taunting me with a squinty-eyed vision of someday-wildflowers bursting through hillsides that were currently drenching my snow pants up to the knees.

Read more here

Friday, March 8, 2013

Yes, I Am A Published Author!

Fifty-some-odd-years in the making, Rich Farmers is finally published!

My book is available on Amazon for Kindle right about here

Coming soon (I hope!) to the iTunes store and some other hot spots.

I guess I should download a copy for myself, but you know, I just don't think I can read that thing again for the 2,458th time (don't get me wrong ~ I like it ~ but I hardly ever read a book twice; much less 2K times!)

Oh, and please visit me at my new website:  Rich Farmers

I'm going to be adding music videos for some of the songs I included in my book, and other things, too. 

Forgive me if I post a few excerpts from my book from time to time, but Rich Farmers is my newest baby, so I have to pamper it a bit...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sneak Peek ~ My "Rich Farmers" Book Cover!

A few minor formatting changes, and my e-book will be ready for upload to Amazon!

The person I'm working with for formatting and cover design, Elijah, said:

"The book is very interesting too! I've found myself reading it quite a bit as I work!"

Ahh, my first review!  Wonder if I could put that on my website!

So, while I have no actual words to share (yet), I can share my book cover! 

(Yup, that's me, standing there in the back.  My little brother, age 4, was not actually suicidal.  It was a toy gun.  I think maybe he had a teething issue.)

And, by the by, standing next to me is my husband (well, we weren't married yet ~ ba-ZINGA!)  This was the very last time I was taller than he.

Once everything is in place, you will be the first to know.  And then I will sit back and watch nobody buy it!

Can still say I did it, though!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Amazon For MP3 Downloads

There are several reasons why I love But let me first talk about mp3 downloads.

I've used iTunes in the past. Before Amazon started offering music downloads, it was the only game in town. But I wasn't crazy about it. The search function leaves a bit to be desired. The setup of the site, to me, is clumsy.

But the biggest reason why I have removed iTunes completely from my system is that it downloaded all these updates! I mean, scores of updates!

I was having major disk space problems with my computer for a few months, and I tried everything to alleviate it. I knew I couldn't possibly have so many documents that I was suddenly down to little or no disk space.

Heck, I had even transferred all my music and pictures to an external hard drive! I just couldn't figure out what the heck was going on. But it was so bad that I couldn't even download security updates or do a system restore, because I didn't have enough disk space to handle it.

So, I researched and researched on the net, to see if I could find a solution to the problem. I really didn't want to spend money that I don't have to take my computer to the Geek Squad.

I found, through my research, a free program that searches for duplicate files, unneeded files, etc. (I already had a program like that, but it was apparently useless.)

Well, when I ran the new program, here were all the stupid iTunes updates from Tanzania, Mozambique, Taipai, etc. I mean, a lot!
So, I deleted all these stupid files, and I deleted iTunes completely from my computer. Problem solved!

Which leads me back to Amazon. I'd been using Amazon pretty much exclusively for mp3 downloads, ever since they started offering them.

For one thing, it's easy to find what you're looking for! The search function is pretty straight-forward. Type in an artist name or song name and there you go!

Another thing, they're cheaper. AND, I've found in some instances, once I've gotten my email notification of a purchase, that they gave the download to me free of charge! That's really nice customer service.

Another good deal: If you sign up for email updates, they will email you once a week (I believe) with notification of a FREE download from a select artist. I've always taken advantage of the free downloads, and I've found some new stuff that I never would have known about, much less purchased, otherwise. It's a great way to be exposed to new music.

Tonight, I was looking for new songs to add to my mp3 player. I found some stuff that for some reason, I didn't already have. And I'm now kind of into folk music, so I downloaded 4 folk songs, which is cool. I also found a very obscure song, from 1973, that I've never been able to find anywhere. I don't know why I thought of it tonight, but I punched in the artist's name, and there it was! Very nice.

(By the way, it's called, "Working Class Hero" ~ and it's NOT the John Lennon song. This is, surprisingly, by Tommy Roe. I might be the only one who remembers it. I wanted to email my friend, Alice, and say, hey! I found that song! Do you remember it? But, of course, that's silly, because Alice is gone. But both of us really liked it at the time.)

Anyway, there's a lot more to love about Amazon. Used books, for one. I never pay full price for a book. I love it. And a lot of them that are labeled, "used", are actually new.

But since this is a music blog, I guess I should confine my comments to music. But I did get an autobiography of Mel Tills and Eric Clapton's autobiography - both used - from Amazon. So, that's music-related.

Oh, one more thing. If you get the Amazon Visa card, you get $30.00 off your purchases. That really saved me money on my Sansa mp3 player. And yes, that's where I got it.

I am one who more often disses companies, rather than praise them. So, I'm not cheer leading, believe me. I mean, this isn't a commercial for New! Improved! Tide Laundry Detergent!

I just happen to be really happy with Amazon, and for music aficionados, I wanted to share.