Archive for the 'Foibles' 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.

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.

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.

Been Sick

Yes, indeed, I am now recovering from my marathon cold. I don’t think I’ve ever had a cold that lasted as long as this one nor that got me down as badly as this one did. First it was the four days of lying around doing absolutely nothing except sleeping. On and off. Then the days of lying around reading because everything else was too hard.

After that the nose running and coughing began. And lasted. And lasted. And lasted. I am still, on day 10,  blowing my nose and coughing, though not nearly as much as before.

But today, finally, it’s backed off a bit. A box of Wal-Act — pseudephedrine plus an antihistamine — helps somewhat; much more than the four-meds-in-one cold medication I was taking. I guess the decongestant in those OTC cold meds is a weak version of sudafed, which they can only sell through a pharmacist now. No wonder it didn’t work very well!

Anyway, I got back to work today, finally. 3+ hours on Sky. Whooeeeee!

Two Steps Forward

…and one step back.

The story of my life, lately.

I had just told one of my friends last Wednesday that I was finally getting fired up about Sky again. I could finally see that it was needing to go in a different direction from the one I had first imagined, and accepting that seemed to open up the door of inspiration again.

Naturally hindrances began the very next day. I had and appointment with the gastroenterologist that morning in preparation for the colonoscopy my oncologist recommended last summer that I have “sooner rather than later.” “Sooner” and “later” being relative terms in light of the ten-year screening intervals experts generally advise. I’m still not completely clear on this, but apparently there is some increased predilection for patients who’ve had endometrial cancer to also develop colon cancer.

Or not, if you’re talking to the gastroenterologist… Anyway, my oncologist recommended it, and I see him next month, so I’m doing it. After the visit I met with the medical assistant to set up the appointment  for the procedure. I wanted one that would coincide with my hubby’s days off, but the only day that worked was out into February. So I took it.

Arriving home I realized it was opening day of javelina season. So I called them back. Well, you can’t talk to the medical assistant who is the only one who does appointments. You have to leave a message.

I hung up and tried calling my hubby. He was away from his desk. Confusion ensued.  I called back and left a rather garbled message that the February appointment was going to be difficult and I’d rather do one that the MA had first assigned me before I started trying to coordinate with hubby’s days off.

After I hung up, hubby called. He suggested a friday two weeks further into February. So I called the office again, and asked the ladies  at the front desk if they could put me through to the MA because I was afraid that she’d listen to the first message I’d left and act on it before she got to the second message with the request for the new, later date.

The receptionist still couldn’t connect me with a live medical assistant but did inform me that the later date would not work because all colonoscopies must occur within 30 days of the consultation. She, however, assured that the MA was indeed checking her voice mail and would return my call soon.

Of course she did not. Somehow the uncertainty of the situation worried my entire afternoon. (Or at least as much of it as there was, what with walking Quigley and doing Bible class.)  Would they fill the earlier spot on the calendar before she got to my message? Would there be no good choices left? Well, really, there weren’t any to start with, so that wasn’t a terribly valid concern.

Nevertheless, every time someone called, I jumped up to answer the phone directly, rather than let the answering machine take it. All fruitless. Finally it was time to walk Q, and even when I returned she still hadn’t called.

Why couldn’t I just let it go and trust the Lord to handle it?

Because it’s just a silly little appointment; why would I take it to the Lord? This was something I was supposed to take care of, because… well… because it was.

It’s one of those areas that feels Right and proper and logical, so you don’t even question it.  Somehow it becomes Imperative that I get the proper appointment, even if I don’t know what that is yet and have no real control over the situation to be able to ensure that I do. Still it feels like somehow I do have control, or should have or if nothing else, just take control and get it done. Thus I usually won’t let the matter go until I’ve got it resolved.

Which means I can use up an afternoon of perfectly good hours that could have been devoted to thinking about writing, and maybe even actually writing, on fretting and fussing and making repeated and futile phone calls. When I should simply put the matter into my Lord’s capable hands and let Him handle it.

Elisabeth Elliot spoke of this in one of her books, (I think it might have been Keep a Quiet Heart)

I realize that nearly all of my trouble with finding out the will of God came because I wanted it too soon. I like to plan. I like to have things mapped out well in advance and uncertainty of any sort puts me on edge.

Perhaps it is for this very reason God has often asked me to wait until the last minute, right up to what looked like the screaming edge before I found out what He wanted me to do.

My acceptance of His timing was a rigorous exercise in trust. I was tempted to charge the Lord with negligence and inattention, like the disciples in the boat in the storm. I would always ask desperately to be shown God’s will in the matter but He never showed me until the time came.

And when it came it was clear as the sunlight. What to do was all mapped out for me exactly, and I had a matter of minutes to make up my mind to do it…”

I can so relate to this. Because all these little details really are something that He wants us to take to Him, to trust Him with. Always. Every day. He’s told us He cares about the sparrows and the flowers so it makes no sense to think He doesn’t care about doctors’ appointments or whatever other detail of daily life has us in a tizzy.

Tizzies are His call to stop and look up and remember. He’s got the hairs on our heads numbered, and the days of our lives as well. Every action, every conversation, every need, ever desire, all of it. It’s only our flesh that keeps thinking it has to do something. That everything depends on it.

So that’s been the lesson for me today. In truth, nothing depends on my flesh, or should, and once I’ve lost my peace because of my misguided attempts at controlling things that are refusing to be controlled, it’s time to step back and let it go.

Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.

Oh, and on the appointment? It took me until Friday to get it resolved, but in the end it was resolved. If only I’d not wasted a day fussing with it.


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