Where did it go?

Mule deer
A mule deer I saw on my morning walk.

When I sat down at my laptop yesterday morning something didn’t look right. The folder on my desktop called “All My Files” wasn’t there. It was there before I went to sleep. Gone 10 hours later.

I googled how to restore files. How to find files. Apparently the OS I’m using can hide documents from view. I went through five ways to find my files. I went to icloud. My missing files are still missing.

Finally. I went to the Apple website to book an appointment at the local “genius bar.” Instead I clicked on “call.” They called within seconds. I spent more than three hours on the phone yesterday with two techs. They searched near and far and in the cloud for my files. They both asked me if I had backed up my files on a thumb drive or external hard drive.

“No.”

What was I thinking about? Why didn’t I? I realized it had to do with our move. My two external hard drives that used to sit by my computer at home….didn’t make it back to that handy place where I used them. Out of sight. Out of mind.

I found my bright orange La Cie external hard drive and it’s now sitting next to my computer. I won’t make the mistake thinking my computer automatically stores all my files on icloud. Some files are there. But the ones most important to me are not. My entire NaNoWriMo 50,000-word manuscript is gone. My newsletter files are gone. There’s a gap of a few days in May when I finished the newsletter that are missing. There’s a month when I wrote the manuscript that is gone.

I had both of these files open on my laptop. Where did they go?

I’ve learned my lesson to make copies and backups.

My case with Apple has been escalated to engineering. They “may” be able to restore my hard drive with all my files. Or they may not.

I’ll let you know tomorrow. In any case they were very helpful and didn’t chastise me for not backing up. But I learned my lesson. What’s left is backed up.

A mule deer catching afternoon shade against our fence. The mulies have nothing to do with my post today — except keep me calm with their beauty.

How often do you backup your computer? Have you experienced a computer snafu that stressed you out? What was it?

Tips to catch typos

typos meme

Some of my most embarrassing moments have happened with typos. I’ve been writing professionally since college graduation. I won’t mention exactly how many years that is. But, it’s plenty. Plenty of time to make a few mistakes.

Here’s a rundown of three embarrassing typos:

ONE

SwimSwam parent tips. I left out a number on my tips and boy did I hear about it!

My process began with a small idea. Then I’d write a rough sloppy draft and hone it down into something tight and simple.  Along the way I cut out one tip that didn’t seem to fit. But, the story didn’t automatically renumber itself. Making a mistake like that on a busy forum like SwimSwam is decidedly embarrassing.

You can read that story here. 12 Parent Tips on How to Behave at Practice.

On the bright side, I got a RT by Natalie Coughlin. I was super excited about that, so the story still worked even if it was not perfect.

Natalie Coughlin
Natalie Coughlin

TWO

My second worst typo was in the 80s. I worked for a PR and advertising firm and I wrote eight newsletters a month, plus three or four press releases daily. It was a busy, intense job. I was in charge of a fundraiser for abused women which was held at a local country club. In my press release that ran just about everywhere — I mistakenly put in my own phone number instead of the club’s to RSVP! There was no taking that one back. I lived through it by hooking up an answering machine.

oops key on computer

I felt humiliated though, when my co-workers relentlessly teased me.

THREE

My all-time worst typo was when I had my own PR and advertising business. I had some super-duper clients including the hospital’s cancer center and a local branch of a major Wall Street firm. When the boss at the Wall Street branch was promoted to NYC to corporate headquarters, he still used me for all of his work. I was SO excited! Then I made a typo on a Power Point presentation. It was on the new logo he had me create for the Western Region of the United States of America. Ugh.

He was so angry with me, because I made him look bad. I’ll never forgive myself for that one.

street sign painted typo

The thing with typos is your brain can trick you into seeing what you intended to be there.

My tips to catch typos:

1. Read the piece from the bottom, sentence by sentence.

2. Read it out loud.

3. Put it away for a few days to get a fresh view.

4. Have other people proofread for you.

5. Don’t forget to proofread the title and headers. Numbers, too.

Do you have any tips to catch typos to add to my list? What typos have you made that you wish you could take back?

Motivated by bloggers

cat on SwimSwam magazines
Olive hanging out on top of magazines with my stories inside. She doesn’t want anyone to read them.

I literally dusted off two picture book manuscripts that I wrote 20 years ago — thanks to my blogging community.

I was motivated again by blogger LA for her leap entering a writing competition. In her comments section, I lamented that I had not fulfilled my dream of having a book published. Another blogger along with LA encouraged me to keep going.

Although I’ve won contests, been published by magazines, websites and newspapers — that elusive book deal hasn’t happened.

I realized that it won’t happen — because I quit submitting to agents and publishers two years ago.

When I said I dusted off two picture book manuscripts, it’s because I discovered they aren’t on my laptop, nor are they on icloud. They’re on backup devices that no longer work with my current system. It has been 20 years since they were on my computer or backed up. That’s a lifetime in nano years.

I wondered if I had thrown out all my manuscripts when we moved? If so, my work would be lost. After searching the house and garage, I found two notebooks that I used to keep copies of my manuscripts, a spread sheet of submissions and a bevy of rejection letters. It wasn’t sad to look at the rejection letters, some had personal handwritten notes and were encouraging.

Long gone are the days of the snail mail submission with an SASE (self addressed stamped envelope). I won’t receive hand written notes or form letters in the mail. Everything is done online and many publishers and agents don’t send rejections. If they aren’t interested, they don’t respond. Fortunately, some do reject via email, so I’ll know from those agents and publishers if my submission got lost in the ethers — or not.

I quickly typed the two manuscripts into my laptop and I’ll be off pursing my dream once again.

What are your goals or dreams? Have you stuck with it or did it go by the wayside?

Freedom of speech?

Tweet from Elon Musk yesterday.

The big news on Thursday was Elon Musk offering to buy Twitter at a 38% premium. What will happen?

Twitter employees were given a day off to rest last week because of the stress of learning Musk bought 9.2% of their company and was offered a seat on the board. Imagine how they felt Thursday!

During the brief time the world thought Musk was going to be on the board of Twitter, he tweeted some funny stuff including this:

Musk said in a Ted Talk yesterday that he doesn’t have an economic motive but believes in free speech. I read that people at Babylon Bee, a satirical site, were contacted by Musk before he purchased shares. He asked if they had been banned and why.

Personally I’m against censorship and banning people unless they are breaking the law. I’m all for free speech.

I think Musk is one of those polarizing figures who people love or love to hate. I have taken the temperature of my immediate family to attest to this fact.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Twitter should be owned by Musk? What are your thoughts about censorship and free speech? Do you use social media? If so, which ones?

Another funny tweet during Elon’s one or two days of being named to the BOD.

Question for fellow bloggers

Waffles the pug
Waffles the pug when he lived in Arizona.

Do you receive solicitations by people or companies who ask to collaborate with you? I’ve been getting a few each week. What they want mostly is for me to post something they send me or for me to write about their company.

It’s interesting to see what they are proposing. Sometimes they are off the mark. For example, one woman sent me a link to their website and asked if I’d like to post their article about healthy pets. I clicked on the link and it was a parenting article. Oh well. I passed.

Once I was asked to add a link to a certain post and I did that. But I’m not comfortable with posting a company’s press release.

Once I posted a guest blogger. It was a friend of mine who I love his writing. It was a fellow swim dad and swim parents was the main topic I was writing about. It was nice to get his perspective. Also, I thought it would be a welcome break for my readers.

What are your thoughts? Do you get solicitations by email to include articles or links on your blog? What type of collaborations do they ask for? Do you feel that your blog should only be your own content? What do you think about bloggers who post other people’s material?

An attitude of gratitude

Olive cat
Olive giving me that look before she jumps in my lap.

After my free one-week trial, I decided to join the local YMCA. I made my reservations for a lane for three days this week and I felt obligated to go. It’s a quick drive from home, so even if I’m not feeling it, at least I get there and jump in.

I am sleeping soundly thanks to swimming — and being off prednisone. The combination of the two is amazing.

I’m feeling grateful for many things today:

Warm weather and no wind.

Sitting in the back yard reading my book club selection “The Old Man and the Sea.”

My cat who is strangely affectionate this week.

My husband for playing daily ping pong with me. Yesterday I won three zip.

Being off prednisone and the tinnitus is gone. I’m no longer crawling out of my skin from the medication.

For new friends and I’m grateful for the old ones who have reconnected.

Cooking on our gas range. We got rid of the electric stove top.

Every day I’m amazed by the beauty of nature around me.

Im grateful for my new readers and bloggers who are friends and make up a supportive community.

What are you grateful for today?

What’s your opinion?

prickly pear cactus
Prickly pear cactus are starting to appear.

I remember while growing up, my parents would talk politics over the fence with neighbors as easily as they’d talk tomatoes. It was polite, civil and people’s opinions were all over the place.

I’d get into heavy discussions about religion with one of my best friends. We sincerely wanted each other’s opinions.

Those days are over.

In fact, in a Cato Institute survey self-censorship is the norm:

A new Cato national survey finds that self‐​censorship is on the rise in the United States. Nearly two-thirds—62%—of Americans say the political climate these days prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive. The share of Americans who self‐​censor has risen several points since 2017 when 58% of Americans agreed with this statement.

These fears cross partisan lines. Majorities of Democrats (52%), independents (59%) and Republicans (77%) all agree they have political opinions they are afraid to selfshare.

https://www.cato.org/survey-reports/poll-62-americans-say-they-have-political-views-theyre-afraid-share#liberals-are-divided-political-expression

The survey found that only very liberal democrats feel free to express their opinions.
Middle-of-the-road Democrats self-censor as do Independents and Republicans.

Why do you think this happened? Is it because the political divide is wider than ever before? Or lack of civility? Is it because people are getting their news from separate universes? Do you share religious or political beliefs? Or do you self-censor?