Archive for the 'Life' Category

Making the Move

Well, I think I’ll be moving the blog soon. I spent the last week poring through the WordPress.org forum support articles, the GoDaddy support articles, clicking on all the links, following the instructions as far as I could without actually changing anything and just trying to get the process clear in my mind, not only what I would have to do, but what was actually happening.

I was getting an increasingly clearer view of things, but was held back by the question of whether I should migrate this blog to the new one before or after I designed the new site. Partly that’s because I’m not really sure what is going to happen — so I probably need to do additional reading. Will the entire blog go to the new place with the theme and templates and all that? What would happen if I had set up a new theme and template and then uploaded the old blog?

I asked a GoDaddy tech person and she suggested I do the designing first and the migrating second, but I didn’t know as much about it when I asked her as I do now — i.e., I think that the theme will be moved, and would conflict in some way if there was a different theme on the new site. Plus, I want to make the home page different from the blog.

But, I still don’t know, despite having made it through all the articles provided by GoDaddy Support, and there are two sets of those — one on the new site itself, and another in the General Support documentation. And they’re not exactly the same. And then there are the WordPress.com instructions and the WordPress.org instructions… Most people are probably not as OCD about it all as I am.

I have, at least, managed to figure out how to access my new database, which is needed to upload this blog into the new site. That took me several days. Okay, not several whole days, because we’ve got lots of other “real life” things going on as well.

And then yesterday, toward the end of the day I discovered “Duplicator,” which is a plugin mentioned at the end of a GoDaddy article on how to move your blog. It’s a free plugin, that will do the whole thing for you. Zips the original blog, then exports it, automatically replaces the old URLs with the new all throughout the database, and then imports it to the new site. It’s what the GoDaddy support people use when they move a blog for clients. There were 392 five-star reviews of it, 15 four-star reviews and nothing lower.

Still, it sounds too good to be true. They do they say it’s for the more tech-savvy of their customers, but if it’s really as easy as it seems, why would they not advise everyone to get it? Because what I’m having to do now seems like it involves a lot of tech savvy-ness itself. Maybe even more.

Of course, there is the problem of my never having done anything with a plugin… but that doesn’t seem all that difficult either so…

Anyway, I hope to be making the move soon, maybe tomorrow or Monday (okay, possibly even today). It’s my hope that all my subscribers and followers will hardly notice, if they notice at all. I will have to return to Feedblitz to point it in a new direction for picking up the new blog, which probably will not be as easy as it sounds…

In any case, my current plan is to publish this post today, let Feedblitz do its thing tonight, then do the move tomorrow or Monday, and make all the attendant adjustments and fixes before sending out a post from the new site when I think it’s working okay.

UPDATE:  Just talked to GoDaddy support again. The tech I spoke with confirmed the advisability of moving the blog first, then doing the designing. Plus, he told me a bit more about what was supposed to happen in the move, and advised that I do an export right now, and save that on my local computer.  In fact, in the instructions for migrating to the new site, I’m specifically told to leave this current blog working, so the images will transfer properly.  Which means I can probably do a transfer any time after publishing this post and work out the rest of the details later.

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Adventures in Feedblitzland

Every day’s a new adventure!

After turning off my tendency to worry about how I’m going to accomplish all the things I have to accomplish in the project of setting up a new website and blog, I resolved to give it over to the Lord, to stop trying to figure it out and let Him lead me.

I did not expect that He would lead me to deal with Feedblitz today. Feedblitz is the service that converts my blog posts to emails and sends them out to those of you who have subscribed so that you receive them in your Inboxes. (You can subscribe — I think — using the “Click here to subscribe” link in the sidebar.)

I’m trying to decide if I should move the blog over to the GoDaddy WordPress incipient website first and then design the two together, or design the website first, then move the blog. Or, not move the blog at all, simply link to it. That would be easier, but the whole would not end up as pleasing.

So I decided to head over to Feedblitz just to see how difficult it would be to change things there if I moved my blog to a new URL. Well, not hard at all, supposedly. At least as they described it. But then, changing out your email wasn’t supposed to be hard either.

Somehow I ended up doing that… changing out my admin email. And in the process I lost my entire subscriber list! You don’t just change the email address, you have to “merge” your existing list/”site” named by the old email address with a new, non-existent list/site named by your new one. Then they send an email to the old address to approve and the new address with instructions on logging in and approving… and then suddenly you are dealing with a template, and all kinds of social media feeds (or whatever they are) and well, they were asking me the weirdest questions as I set up my “publisher profile,” questions I didn’t think they should be asking someone who was doing what I was doing that I was becoming uneasy and frustrated. Especially when I had no idea how to answer.

And then I noticed that the tab leading to my “sites” had vanished.

I panicked, went looking everywhere throughout my account panel, couldn’t find them anywhere. I went searching through the documentation. Nothing on losing one’s entire subscriber list. Then one thing led to another, as I tried this and that (including emailing Feedblitz’s support and posting a public question) I even went back to previously opened browser windows and suddenly there were my sites again. (I say sites because even though I only have one Writing from the Edge blog, for some reason I had 2 “sites” for it.) But when I tried to get to that page through a normal login, they had vanished again.

Long story short,  I had to finish updating the publisher profile. Once I did that, they reappeared for good. But they were no longer under the “My Sites” tab which had been done away with, but under the Account Dashboard link.

How can things that are so basically simple get so weird and complicated?

Anyway, if you are a regular subscriber and have received this blog in your inbox via email and you feel inclined to reply, I’d appreciate knowing if at least some of you have received it. And if it looks different from what you’re used to.  You can either reply directly to me or in the comments. Thanks.

Three Small Things

The problems with the email continued on from my last post, as I vainly sought to get the default mail program of Windows 8 to actually handle my mail. Remember in my last post on these matters, I had called the GoDaddy helpline about the failure of my new website url to take me to a login page. The guy on the phone saw at once that something was pointed in the wrong direction and quickly pointed it in the right one. Solving the problem.

If only I’d hung up then.

Instead, he suddenly asked me why I had the email account that I did. It was way too much for what I needed, way too complicated. “Why did they give you this one?” he asked. Well, at the time I was consumed with why was the webpage login not working and my email was far from my thoughts. When I told him I didn’t know (actually it was that I couldn’t remember) he quickly moved to reorganize everything so that I could save $30 and not have these extraneous unlimited business emails complicating things.

Several days later, after trying repeatedly and unsuccessfully to get Win8 Outlook to receive and send karenhancock.com emails, the memory of  WHY I had gotten the other package drifted up from the shadowy, convoluted corridors of my brain: because the other package came with IMAP and was compatible with Windows 8 while  the new one was not and would have to be used only as a web-based email program.  I’d forgotten all about that when I called to find out about the webpage url, and thus allowed the sales rep to “help me” by setting me up with an email client that doesn’t do IMAP and isn’t compatible with Win 8 Outlook. This despite the fact that every one of my three email clients are called Outlook. Talk about confusing!

Anyway, a tiny element, forgotten, caused the entire ship to turn in a direction I’d originally wanted to avoid.

It wasn’t the only one. Last Thursday, my hubby had left on his hunting trip and right before going, made sure there was air in all the tires on my car and everything was good.  Two hours later I came out with Quigley to drive to the park for our evening walk, and discovered one of the tires was flat. Flat as a pancake flat. Rim to the ground flat. I stood there staring at it in disbelief.

But from the start Quigley had been in a panic to get going, and now his insistence overwhelmed me and we started up the street. Or rather, we ran. As we did, I acknowledged that the earlier, very soft dropping he’d left in the back yard (which he never does) had indeed been a harbinger of worse to come.  We ran up the street until I found an acceptable spot for him and he let go. The entire rest of the walk was all about that.

So in addition to no car I had a sick dog. Well, Fast Balance GI to the rescue. At least for the dog. It’s a dark, thick paste of good bacteria and other stuff that you have to squirt into the dog’s mouth while he tries to escape. As big as he is, Quigley has to get three doses of it throughout the day. After the first dose, I had to close the door to his kennel or he’d run in there to hide as soon as he saw me with the tube. In the end, it did the trick, though, thank you, Lord!

Next day, after a neighbor helped me change the tire, I took it down to Discount Tire. They could find nothing wrong with it.  However, when they had filled it back up and put on the valve stem cap, they could hear hissing. So they took the cap off, handed it to me and told me what had happened, but that all was well. The tire was Fixed!

Well, it didn’t seem very well to me. Why would the cap being on cause it to leak? Was there something wrong with the valve stem? Did they give the cap back because they only fix flat tires, not valve stems?  I didn’t know but thankfully my husband returned early — Sunday night in fact.

Turns out a tiny o-ring that was supposed to be inside the cap, up at the top had fallen out, allowing an inward/downward pointing extrusion in the cap’s top to press on the valve and let out the air.

How weird is that? Another very tiny thing, that completely changed the direction of not just one day, but several.

And well do I know how frequently that can be the case with computer issues. In fact, as I’ve been writing this, I was trying to back up my database on my hosting service server, so I could do an upgrade, but of course there was an error and so…

Since I haven’t really done anything with the website yet, choosing to do some research first, it may not hurt to skip the back up part and just do the update. Or maybe I’ll just do more research…

I probably don’t need to mention that during all this I’ve done NO work on the book… 😦

Chaos

blowing rain

My computer crashed last week. I decided to just go down to Best Buy and get a new one. Which I did. Actually I bought an all-in-one first, brought it home and immediately realized it was too big and heavy for my set-up. So the next day I brought it back.  Got a new tower with Windows 8

****SIGHHHHHHHH*****

I even had the Geek Squad do a data transfer so I wouldn’t have to do it. I thought it would be well worth it not to have to hassle with trying to figure out how to get the stuff off my old computer myself.

<<<desperate, hysterical laughter>>>

No hassle? Are you delusional???

I should add that the weekend before this I filled up our older top loading washer full of sheets only to have it stop dead. That was Saturday morning.  So I spent Saturday bailing water and researching washing machines, and then Stu and I went to Lowes and bought one. Of course it is nothing like the machines I’ve used all my life and necessitated an entire instruction book full of detailed directions to follow lest you ruin the machine, destroy your clothes, fill your washer with gunky fabric softener… did I mention that it was a new High Efficiency machine specifically designed to be used with a Downy Ball which are available “everywhere?” Not.

So first order of business after getting the machine into the house was to track down a Downy ball, if I didn’t want to have to time every wash load for the precise moment the fabric softener needed to be added. That’s what I did on Sunday and Monday. I could find none in Tucson. Had to order some online.

On Tuesday afternoon my computer crashed… so I bought the new one, then, as I said brought it back and exchanged it for the tower, and…

I only like old things!!!

I was told that the new one with the office program came with an email program similar to the one I had been using. NOT. I’ve been trying for days to get it set up and failing. (And thus had no email because of it) Today my hubby called in a friend who has a business doing this and he couldn’t get it to work either.  In the process I tried to contact my ISP, except they were down both phone and chat, but I could “contact them through email” as they suggested. I finally managed to get on a chat and the woman changed my password and I retried with that. Didn’t work.

So now I’ve been sent off to my webpage hosting service, only to discover they, who trumpet their 24/7 availability, also happen to be unavailable by chat or phone, but hey, I can leave a message and they will email me! Not. I tried logging on and couldn’t even do that.

Then I read reviews about them and was horrified at all the bad ones. Now I want to sever ties with them ASAP, but that would mean I’d have to find a new web hosting service (actually I’ve been thinking of trying to integrate my website with WordPress) (but that would mean I’d have to think about how I would do that) And anyway, what would that do to my email address which comes through the web hosting service?

I set up all this stuff over ten years ago. Not only can I remember little of the details, it’s all changed anyway.

Just to add spice to the mix, I also had doctor’s appointments nearly every morning last week, two of them lasting hours. But! I do not need a hearing aid!  And I do not have skin cancer! And further, the shingles relapse in my eye has dramatically improved. So I can’t complain there.

 In addition to all that, hubby is retiring NEXT FRIDAY and only found out about it last week. He’d planned on waiting another month. No, he wasn’t being urged by his employers to do so… he was just in a different benefits program for the first year of working for the company ages ago now, and then switched to a second and in order for both to be applicable, he has to retire earlier than he expected.

On top of all that… here comes the computer mess. I can at least do Bible class!  And write this post. But for the moment, no email. I could go with the Outlook that comes with Windows 7, or switch to Gmail… but how to get the domain name put into it is something I’ll have to research further.

And all this just exploded at the end of last week after I’d had four days of very consistent work on Sky.  But. I know my times are in my Lord’s hands, and that He knew all about this in eternity past and even chose it as part of His highest and best for my life so I shall try to focus on that, rather than, what-am-I-gonna-do? I have no idea what I’m doing, and don’t even know where to go for help!!

As proof of my Lord’s care, however, is the fact that for the last two weeks Pastor John has been teaching on the importance of us knowing what it means for us to be in Christ and enjoying all the blessings that come from that. Focus on that not all the craziness of life. We have been told we will triumph in Christ.

Okay, off to walk Quigley.

Slowly Returning

single rose small

 

I think.

At least that’s the plan.

I’ve been “on staycation” for about two months now, with posting here pretty sporadic.

A lot of stuff has happened. Most recently the shingles came back to my eye, and for the last three weeks I’ve been dealing with that, complicated by the fact that I seem to be reacting adversely to the antiviral the doctor wants me to take.

We had a wedding here of one of “our own,”,that is one of the members of our local congregation, a young lady who happened to be one of the students in my Sunday School class, and went on to become one of my dear friends.

Friends and family came in for the event, and such things always cram a lot of things into a very short time, where you spend days after recovering, not only from the simple exhaustion of late nights, longish drives and lots of talking, but having your head and heart full of wonderful moments that surface in a disjointed parade of memories afterward. (See my Introvert post, Static and the Need to Recharge, about needing to “process” the sudden high-volume of “deposits” that have been made into your soul)

At the same time as this was happening, my hubby was away elk hunting, and I had full charge of walking Quigley. (I don’t usually walk him every day — we take turns.) Hubby returned successful, so then we had, well, A LOT of meat to deal with. YAY! (We were completely out of wild game and I detest store-bought hamburger, and am not much fonder of ground turkey…) He did most of the work, but the kitchen and refrigerator were commandeered for about a week, I think, which was… distracting at a minimum.

Then there was the matter of my car failing its emissions test, twice, and various  trips to the repair shop, until finally it was decided that we could get a waiver on the whole thing. And all of this pretty much happening concurrently.

So it’s not really been the most “restful” staycation, and it’s not like I’ve had nothing to do but play… though I have managed a bit of that.  In fact, I actually went on 2 Artist’s dates!  And  yes, a month ago or so, I picked up the next Artist’s Way book, Vein of Gold, and started working through it…  only to stop not far in as the Lord took me off in another direction… but that, I think, is for another post.

In fact, I’ve already written a good deal more than I had thought I would. I just wanted to take a tiny step back toward regular blogging, and here I’ve got a full-sized post already. 🙂

A Glimpse into the Chaos of My Life

I can’t believe all the things that keep happening — not only the mixed bag of categories, but the unrelenting succession of different distractions/ problems/ dilemmas that keep arising. If it’s not one thing, it’s another…

Which is, I guess, a good thing, because it’s all forcing me to trust my God more than ever, as well as to surrender my delusions about being in control of pretty much anything…

Anyway, because I didn’t get much sleep last night, I spent the time I’d allotted for blog writing this afternoon having a nap instead. Thus I’m going to post this excerpt from an email I recently sent to a friend — the only email of any substance I’ve sent to anyone in weeks.

And though this was written two weeks ago. I could write a similar one now, with all new subject matter. So here is my recitation of some of the things that befell me in April and early May:

“Just in the last month [April], there was a huge to-do at church when Pastor John threw out “rebound.” I’m fine with it, makes total sense… in fact, I’d stopped officially rebounding some time ago, more or less by default…others in our local assembly were not fine with it… so as I said, a huge to-do.

Then there was my step-mother who’s 92 and lives alone in California, falling and hitting her head and so her niece (who has power of medical attorney and is her “primary caregiver” in the sense of seeing to everything she needs) admitted her to the hospital for a pacemaker. Then a week after she was out, she had to go back in for shakes that turned out to be a diagnosis of “heart failure” in the sense that the muscle is no longer strong enough to pump her blood at the proper pressure, making her weak, easily tired and breathless.

This was followed by my hubby taking off for a wedding in Idaho, where he visited with his 93-year-old aunt/surrogate mother. Several days later, she was admitted to the hospital in Colorado for an infected leg that was going to need amputation. Except that after they put her on antibiotics via IV she improved so much they sent her home. Whereupon the infection, which had apparently gone septic, showed up in her liver and other organs and now she’s officially in hospice at home.

Then I got a call from Bethany House… the Christy Awards Board of Directors decided that authors can only win 4 awards, and after that will be inducted into a “Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame.” Since I’ve “got my four” as the editorial director put it, they’re inducting me. In St. Louis, at the end of June [insert another three or four paragraphs detailing all the ways this was more traumatic, distracting and time-consuming than exciting and welcomed. My first response was to say I wasn’t going to go, but God persuaded me otherwise. Partly because I’d like to be able to publicly thank Bethany House for all they’ve done for my books and partly because it’ll be fun to see friends I’ve not seen in years. Okay, and yes, it will be nice to get an award like this — a gracious gift of encouragement from the Lord ]”

[[And as an addendum from the present, I am excited about it now for all the ways God has clearly paved the way… Once I gave the entire project over to Him, I’ve watched almost all the things I needed to do or figure out how to do fall into place in His timing. And  my work on Sky is actually finally going somewhere even with all the chaos.]]

“There was also stuff going on with my car, which had a dent in it after having been run into by a cyclist, and the repair shop finally had a loaner for me to use while they repaired it… [insert paragraph about going back and forth from home to the shop several times before the loaner showed up and other details of waiting around for calls to come and get it and several postponements…]

The event for last weekend was my hubby being gone to the mountains in northern AZ on a fishing trip with friends, where he’d be out of phone reception until his return Saturday evening. So Saturday morning I find the water pipe that connects the main with the house was leaking… my husband likes to do his own work so I knew calling a plumber was out of the question.

And if I turned the water off, not only would I be without a toilet but we have an evaporative cooler and the temps were supposed to be in the upper 90s… I asked the Lord to bring him home around noon instead of the 6pm or 9pm I was anticipating…  For an hour or so I  dithered over whether to call the water company to come turn off the water or not, finally called them  at 11:10am. They turned off the water at 12:01 pm.

Hubby walked through the door 39 minutes later. Awesome!

But then he had to dig up the back yard, and replace the pipe and [insert paragraph about all the confusion and vagaries that result from attempting plumbing repairs oneself]  then when he turned the water back on, the toilet broke…

I also had a guest post to do for Seriously Write last week, that will be out this Friday. [[ Note from the present — this was the piece I mentioned in my post on May 9]] They wanted one between 200 – 500 words. My first draft was over 1000. When I managed to cut it to 800, it read like a laundry list and seemed pointless… I kept trying to get it right, finally gave up and asked if the word count suggestion was flexible. It was. I finished at about 900 words and she was happy with it… Not much work got done on Sky during that time, however…

I don’t think I’ve written a real email to anyone for weeks. Wasn’t doing any writing either… And I was going to put off replying to you yet again, but decided that I’d waited long enough and so you get this weird reply. But at least you know I’m alive if somewhat discombobulated…

(I went to the dentist this morning — made sure I had my appointment book and a book to read and some water, made sure my phone had the number of a sandwich shop I was going to order from afterwards… then forgot my purse. And I wasn’t even in a hurry! Fortunately the insurance covers our dental so except for driving without a license I didn’t need my purse…)”

So there you have it. A glimpse into my chaotic life.  Since I wrote this, many more things have happened… the trench is still open in the back yard, as my hubby works (today in fact) on finishing up his planned replacement of the rest of the piping in the line, seeing as all the original pipe is quite rusted. (Well, it is about 60 years old, so that’s hardly surprising.)

My shingles has come back yet again, so I’ve had to keep going to the eye doctor. And instead of forgetting my purse that time, though I had “carefully” thought out when I would have to leave for my 2:30 appt… somehow I translated it into a 3pm appointment and so I was late… I have NO idea how I managed to do that. But there’s my note to self for the 2:30 appt:  leave at 2:45 so I’ll have plenty of time to get there… Sheesh.

And we found out yesterday that the aunt who was in hospice for the infection in her leg went home to be with the Lord in the wee hours of Saturday morning. We haven’t decided if we’ll drive – with Quigley —  to the memorial service in Utah, or if just my husband will go.

Helping the Time to Go By

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So here I am, it’s April 14th, two weeks since my last post. I really had intended to get more regular in posting but somehow… it didn’t happen.  I can hardly believe we’re already halfway through April.

Reminds me of the young man the car repair shop got to bring me home last week and then bring my car back to the shop (I’d arrived too late to catch the shuttle home and was going to have to wait a really long time for it to come back again). That was on a Monday. As I drove, he asked me how my weekend had gone, what I’d done. I told him it had been Communion Sunday and we’d had a pot luck, as we always do the first Sunday of the month, which was a lot of fun. We did a Chinese theme this month which turned out quite successful.

Anyway, he nodded and agreed that sounded nice. “Helps to make the time go by faster,” he said.

I blurted something about already having the time go by so fast, the last thing I want to do is make it go any faster! But for him, that was not the case. He apparently was chronically in search of things to make time pass.

The last time I can recall really feeling that way was in elementary school when I was certain there was something wrong with the clock because for those last twenty-five minutes before school was out it seemed the hands stood still.

Now it seems they twirl madly about the central axis as if I’m in some sort of time machine. If I didn’t have a glorious reunion with my Lord and Savior to look forward to in heaven — and the fact I’ll never again have to concern myself with time’s passage, fast or slow — I might be alarmed at the speed at which it’s passing.

But I canNOT imagine being in a situation where I’m desperately searching for something to just “fill the hours.”  I may not make the best use of my hours, but I have no dirth of things I’d like to do with them. In fact, my problem is having waaay too many things I’d like to do. Far more than I can possibly do in this lifetime.

That used to bother me, but I’ve begun to see it as a sort of idol. Or if not that, then a desire that doesn’t necessarily spring from the mind of Christ. We live in an incredibly rich environment when it comes to things we can do and have.  And we’re constantly being bombarded with advertising about them all. With new ones  appearing every day.

TV. Radio. The Internet. Even if you try not to look for things, those blankety-blank windows rise up before you whenever you click to a new page. They pop up, slide up, drift from the side, drop down from the top, pop up some more and even if “Internet Explorer has blocked XYZ pop-up” you still get the pop-up that tells you the other pop-up was blocked… Who thought that was a good idea?

Finding the “close” icons and clicking on them is rather like swatting a bunch of flies before you can sit down to eat…

I have stacks of books to read, yet new ones are constantly being released. I have a wish list of clear and rubber stamps I’d like to get, yet new stamps are constantly being released. I was determined to stick with my regular TV shows this year, yet new ones are constantly being introduced, and done in such a way as to take advantage of one’s tendency to just sit there when an old favorite concludes until you’re hooked. (I knew I was going to be hooked by Elementary, but tried to avoid Golden Boy. I failed. I’m now hooked on that one, too. At least I’ve decided that Hawaii 5-0 is too annoying to watch anymore and that has dropped off my list…)

(Whoa! I can’t believe I’m writing about TV shows.) Anyway, it just seems that any area you choose there’s always new stuff, and it’s emerging at such a rapid rate I don’t see how anyone could keep up. Unless that was all they did…

I think I’ve complained about this before. Which is weird because I like all the stuff I’m complaining about. I just don’t like that there’s more of it than I can possibly enjoy.

But that’s one of the curses of mankind — the soul of (fleshly) man, says Solomon, is never satisfied, no matter how much it has. Even if it has no more time or room or energy for more, it wants more all the same…


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