Recovery

I was explaining to the kids the other day why sleep is important – that it’s necessary to help our bodies store up energy and rebuild cells that get worn out during the day.

I am in need of rest. Moreso than usual, which is to be expected given the Summer / Fall schedule, but it’s bumming me out (man).

I found myself having a tremendous meltdown yesterday over silliness – technical silliness. I used to be a little smug (moi?) about my ability to comprehend any kind of electronic or computer problem and – if I couldn’t solve it – at least I could dig until I found someone who COULD help me.

Part of that I chalked up to being on a Mac (very intuitive) and it was also partly due to the fact that my undergraduate school insisted that EVERY student take computer programming (this was in 1978) and it was a wonderful grounding for getting through the techno 80’s and 90’s. I had one of the first “portable” computers – a huge behemoth weighing 28 pounds with a screen the size of a slice of bread. Jeez – remember those huge old cell phones?

But I digress… Back in my day…

I can understand so well what older folks experience as they sense their world is shifting – things just aren’t how they used to be. Recently Gerry replaced our cell phones with new ones (photo phones!) but I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the new phones and keep turning the ringer off by mistake (therefore missing a lot of calls…) A small annoyance, but part of the whole puzzle.

I miss my family that has gone ahead – I miss being able to send a snapshot of the kids to my brother, or talk to my mother about Hannah’s halloween costume. That’s another big change this year that has altered my own sense of reality.

My own mind seems so cloudy quite often, I have to fight through a haze just to remember where the car keys are, what time the kids get home from school or if I’ve showered. Somehow I’m able to shove all of the fogginess away and rise to the occasion when I go away to teach for a weekend or have a class, but then the fog surrounds me again when my “on time” is over. I have ideas for books, and I’ve been working on them, but suddenly jumping the technical (and personal) hurdles to get them finished seems so much greater than it did a year ago.

I think I need sleep.

The major change in the past week that has me totally upside down is that Gerry upgraded me to OS X.

I asked for it – I wanted to subscribe to audible.com and after I paid my fee and downloaded the software I discovered that I needed to be at OS X or greater if on a mac. I’d been toying with the idea of an upgrade for a while – but I was SO happy with my old OS 9.2 – it was a hard decision to make.

While I was in Rhinebeck Gerry upgraded me, but in the course of the upgrade he somehow dragged some folders somewhere and they were destroyed – he’s not really sure what he did and he feels like sh*t over it – but I lost ALL of my email folders for the past year.

I keep pertinent info in my databases – and I back them up every month so I’m okay with that (those files were fine, anyway!) but I had come to rely on my email to a tremendous extent as my mind seems less and less able to recall specific facts. I referred to past emails to double check fees I’d charged to venues, to refresh my memory about print production timelines and for a thousand other things. Now it’s almost as if I had a partial lobotomy, or hit my head really hard and lost a chunk of my memory.

It was especially frustrating yesterday as a billing issue arose over my book – it turns out I do owe a bit more $$ to the printer than I’d anticipated, but not an unreasonable amount. But I lacked the emails that I would usually refer to so that I could wrap my mind around the problem.

As those of you who read my blog know, I’ve become so visual in my memory that when I’m on the phone I have a tremendously hard time having a conversation unless I take copious notes while talking. My friends laugh that when they call if sounds like they’re calling the LL Bean ordering center because they can hear the computer keyboard clicking in the background!

So now I have to re-create that part of my “memory” that is missing. Gerry’s been furiously downloading applications that promise to “recover” lost files, and I think he’s found a file with a lot of my emails all together in it, but there’s so much computer garbage to parse in order to make sense of the file that it’s a huge mountain to contemplate. I’m glad I have a few weeks off.

As bad as the loss of the business stuff – which is bad enough but can be recreated somehow – is the loss of the artistic stuff. I’d written chapters of books and had sent them to folks to look at, or just had them as “drafts.” I’d spent hours searching for the correct emails for certain editors or illustrators that I want to work with – now they’re gone (until I can recover them somehow) I’ve lost entire threads of correspondence with agents, editors, fans – and it’s rough.

I used to rely on the “fan mail” that I’d get every now and then to pep me up when I had a hard day. Now it’s all gone, and I miss it. The first email I got after I reinstalled my email was from a woman who was in one of my Rhinebeck classes and purchased my book – and likes it a lot, but wrote in a rather bald way,

“I am particularly glad that I bought your book, even though I did pause at the graphic and aesthetic poverty of the book – Rude, but true.”

And she’s right. And I can’t let it paralyze me.

Part of me feels that this kind of casting off is a good thing in the long run – it keeps me from being too much in the grip of small minded details and forces me to face the big picture – but right now I’m annoyed and overwhelmed. I’ve lost the chance to rip out and reknit – I have to start all over with a new ball of yarn.

The absolute worst of it is that I had saved all of my mom’s emails from the past year – but hadn’t archived them or anything. Now they’re gone, too. I had a good cry yesterday.

In the midsts of this yet another rejection from Vogue arrived. Rejection, rejection, rejection. Creative knitting sent back all my stuff and I just don’t have the heart to submit anywhere for a bit. I’m sure that’s why I blanked on Alison’s sweater yesterday and said it was in FCEK – my own subconsious sour grapes. My wheels are spinning so hard, but I need some sand or a piece of cardboard so that I can get some traction (those in the midwest will understand the reference…)

But wait…

A very kind reader sent me this photo of the crocheted sweater she made for a friend’s daughter. This is the kind of stuff that makes me feel so happy. Her colors are so great – he work is lovely and her friend’s daughter is VERY lucky!

Since I’ve lost so much of my research on fiber fests, etc., if anyone out there has a knitting convention, fiber fest or somewhere else they’d like to recommend that I contact, I’d be happy for the information – email me and let me know the contatct and date info!

Likewise, if anyone has a knitting magazine they feel would benefit from a submission by me (hee hee) drop me a line and jog my memory!

I’m leaving next Wed with both kids to go visit Jan in WV for her surgery, then we’ll continue on to the Knitters Review Retreat in VA. The kids have two days off from school, and it will be a good time to give my cousin some support. Gerry will meet us in VA and take the kids so I can teach over the weekend without worrying about watching two wild redheads!

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