Happenings in Christine's World

Short stories of life, thoughts, and feelings


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The Importance of Backing up the Backup

What Every Writer and Artist Should Know

So, I’ve been hard at work on my manuscript for Arcadia and finally, I’m down to writing the last of the captions and BOOM, my external hard drive – where I have been saving all my personal documents, photos and my  Arcadia manuscript and photos  – is no longer recognized on any of my three computers. What do I do now, besides panic? The deadline is midnight Wednesday, February 27 ; the drive issue happens at 10 p.m.;  night of deadline

I called the Seagate, the external hard drive manufacturer, they are closed and won’t be open until 8 a.m. central time the next day, I’m on eastern standard time – what do I do next? Grasping at straws I live chat with HP, my computer manufacturer, nope, they can’t help, I live chat Norton, my computer protector, nope, they can’t help, sooo, what do I do next? I locate the first draft of my manuscript and start using it while trying not to cry from all the hard work I’ve already put into the revised manuscript. As most writers know, trying to recapture the words originally used in a lost manuscript doesn’t happen or comes little close to being as good. All I can do is grit my teeth, shake my head and try to write.

At the risk of sounding like “woe is me” I have spent so many sleepless hours working on the final draft of the manuscript and by the time the drive went MIA I was totally sleep deprived. Once I realized the drive was missing; fear kicked into action, and I did my best to resolve the issue, but to no avail, it came down to two things I didn’t want to do or wait to do – 1. Email my editor to let her know what happened and hoped she wouldn’t tell me the publication for the book will be delayed and 2. Contact Seagate in the morning to see what they can do to help me. Fortunately, the drive is still under warranty. And the other good thing is that I had previously sent all the photos for my book  to my editor prior to the drive gone missing. There is a positive to the negative situation.

Issues with Word 2010

While working on the old manuscript, I began having trouble with Word shutting down. Ugh. I already thought my computer might have a virus, now I was really thinking it, so, I started my Norton scan. Meanwhile, I continue to work on the writing and Word continues  automatically to shut down, recover the document, and I resaved it. This keeps happening over and over again. I finally say to myself, “okay, okay, I will contact Microsoft.”  By now I am so frustrated, tired, and I have no patience. I had previously read that the shutting down issue with Word may be resolved by starting it in safe mode, well, I had no idea how to do that. With Live Chat the customer service person told me they could access my computer remotely and try to fix the problem but it will cost me. I replied back to them by asking if putting Word in safe mode would help, they said it could. I ask them how to do it; they told me and yay; it worked, and I didn’t have to pay Microsoft anything!!

Calling Seagate for Assistance

It finally became time to call Seagate!! I explained to them the problem. I downloaded the Seagate Tools from their website, ran three scans. Two of the scans passed, and one didn’t. The customer service person told running the scans were good because the tools can locate the drive. They said; it sounds like a partition issue, which means the drive hasn’t crashed and that it’s possible my files can be retrieved. They gave me two options – 1. I do the scan myself that can take up to 48 hours depending on how much I have saved on the drive and see if the files are retrievable, then pay $99 for the software to retrieve them. 2. Have Seagate do the scan, pay $199 for them to retrieve the files if they are retrievable, but first I would have to pay a $49 non-refundable fee for them to scan the drive, and it would take the same amount of time as it would me to scan it. The non-refundable fee  of $49 would go toward the $199. Seagate’s customer service was great, mainly I could understand what he was explaining, very and most important to me, and he recommended that most probable the $99 option if I’m comfortable with doing it myself. Nice, because he didn’t try to push the higher fee. I opted for the lesser fee, and now I’m down to   seven hours and four minutes till it is done. I am hoping so badly the files are retrievable and boy, have I learned a lesson.

And, as far as my editor, she was great – emailed me back words of encouragement and told me no matter what the book will get done. I was so relieved.

It Is Worth Taking the Time to Back Up the Backup

Part of my reason for not backing up the backup is the extra time it takes to do it. What I have realized after this experience is that backing up the backup is worth EVERY minute taken to do it. When I think about the amount of time it has taken me to resolve the problem, in all it will have taken me three days, backing up the backup would have only taken maybe an hour or so, and I would have avoided all the stress, frustration, and sleepless night.   I have learned a great lesson here and hope those reading this post, heeds the warning and back up their files to different places and, therefore, if one backup drive fails you will at least another place or places to get the files. I am more than likely to become an obsessive backerupper (new word), but I say “rather safe than sorry. “


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Finding Peace from Writing

Recent changes in my life have brought me back to my writing life.  It seems writing is the one constant in my life and past situations have proven that I am not happy unless I am pursuing some sort of writing goal.  My heart is telling me that this time I must pursue my vision and not be distracted by those who do not understand the passion of writing or what it takes to be a successful writer.

With writing comes a lot of self-doubt, at least for me it does. I have dealt with that little imp sitting on my shoulder and whispering in my ear “you can’t write, you’re not going to make any money writing, you are a failure”.  Then on my other shoulder are the hands of mentors and friends.  With their touch and with their voice they tell me to press on. They say, “You can do this, it’s time you focus on what you love”.  Those positive voices are beginning to overpower the negative voice.  For the first time in my writing career, I feel confident about achieving my goals as a writer.  It may not make me rich, but I am certain it will make me happy.

Becoming a successful writer
One of my previous professors told me that the difference between a successful writer and an unsuccessful writer is perseverance and that I have what it takes to be successful.  Those encouraging words alone have kept me fighting my way through the “tall weedy grass” where I sometimes tripped, never knowing where, or how exactly to make my writing known.

I think back to Rapid City, South Dakota.  It was my first trip alone.  I took this trip as my first step towards my writing career.  That was sixteen years ago and here I am now. I have studied and studied the writing process.  I went back to college to get my degree and with that I was trained how to write but some of the best writing professors in the state of Vermont.

I have learned that in order to be a good writer one must write and willing to have their work edited, but not to the point where your voice or style is not detected.

My most recent learning opportunity took me to the American Society of Journalist and Authors (ASJA) conference in New York City.  There I sat in on several workshops, but the workshop that educated me the most was the one on writing a book proposal.  In that seminar, I learned that in order for me publish the Bosler story I have to work my butt off.  The major thing I must do is build my platform as an author.  That will take a lot of determination, discipline, and focus.  I am ready to take it on and I am at peace with the challenge.

Steps I’m taking as a writer
Besides this blog I have two others: Around Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and The Wandering Pen.  Both of these blogs are rather new and I am in the process of posting material to them.  I also have a podcast site called The Wandering Pen Podcast. Here you will find my interviews with people who have traveled to various places and what they liked and did not like about their travel. I will also interview writers on writing and ask them what they believe it takes to be a successful writer. These podcasts are available on ITunes.  Please consider following all of the sites I have mentioned and please do give feedback.  I welcome your thoughts on current topics and your ideas for future topics.

In addition to my blogs I have a writing gig with Decoded Past.  This website is somewhat like the previous website I wrote for, but this time my historical events topics will connect with current events.  For example, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and how it was observed.

Peace like a river

Peace like a river


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Remembering the 4th of July

It was around midnight 37 years ago when the phone call came. It was the Chaplin from Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, North Carolina. He asked to speak to my mother or father. My mom took the call. The Chaplin tells her that around 7 p.m. (July 4th) there was a swimming accident and my brother was taken to a hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina where he was unconscious and on a respirator.  Immediately my mom got my dad awake – she did everything she could to get her and my dad to Charlotte as soon as possible so they could be with their son.

My parents finally got a flight to Charlotte on July 5, but by the time they arrived at the hospital it was too late. Jeff had passed on. I answered the phone when my mom called home. She asked for my older brother who was in the barn taking care of the cows. I called out to him through the intercom system. He picked up the phone and I stayed on the line. As my mom told Bud that Jeff had passed away I dropped the phone, screaming out “why God, why”? I believed that God was going to spare Jeff’s life. I believed that Jeff would be okay – after-all, I spent hours in prayer after my parents left for Charlotte – how could God not have spared him. I remember my sister-in-law comforting me as I screamed and wailed. I was devastated.

Just a week before the accident Jeff was home on leave and showing me how to drive stick shift in his fancy little Triumph. Jeff wasn’t always so nice to me, we had our sibling squabbles, but in our later years, when I was a teenager and he was out of school, he became my protector. I forgave him for the mean things he did to me as his little sister – I grew to appreciate him and then he was gone. 

Today, as in years past and as I grew older, I have more of an appreciation of the 4th of July. I now understand and appreciate the sacrifices military men and women have made. I do my best to recognize them on our nation’s birthday – it’s difficult though – because, when I think of this day and those who have sacrificed their lives, I can’t help to think of Jeff. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, Home of the Airborne & Special Operations Unit. He was part of the 82nd Airborne – he was on a 30 day leave, preparing to go to Fort Riley, Kansas. He loved jumping out of planes & helicopters – on his arm he had a tattoo saying “God is my reserve” with a parachute – meaning that God would save him if his parachute wouldn’t open and he had to pull his reserve. I miss my brother with all my heart – I wonder what he would be like as a 58 year old man. Would he have children, be a grandfather? So many things I wonder about him if he were alive today.


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Always Look for the Rainbow

It’s been almost a week since the first day of summer and before we get too far into it I want to write about the wonderful spring we’ve had here in south central PA and where I’m at today. This past winter didn’t bring us much snow, but we had a fair amount of rain in April and early May which helped to make everything lush and green. I can’t remember the last time the area has been so beautiful and spring so delightful. This spring has certainly made it easy for me to appreciate the vastness of God’s blessing

Amongst all the goodness this spring has brought me there have definitely been some challenges as well not related to mother nature. Without going into much detail regarding those challenges I just want to say that with each hurdle I was determined to look for the positive and to remain focused on the end result. Over the years I learned how much negativity sucks energy and is non-productive. Since I was layed off from my day job last summer I vowed to be positive and to fight any force of negativity. I vowed to find the good, the best in everything. It hasn’t always been easy and I still have my moments where I feel like giving up, however, by being able to enjoy the wondrous blessings of nature and its simplicity I’ve been able to deal with difficulties.

Through the difficulties I am reminded often of my years growing up on a farm and how when I had challenges I would take walks along the fence row until I got to the meadow where I enjoyed the seeing the milkweeds and the cat-of-nine tails that grew in the stream. I remember walking through the fields of clover trying not to step on bumble bees as they flew from one purple clover flower to another. So, today as an adult returning to nature as my healer or therapist is only natural.

One thing I’ve been doing a lot of this spring is capturing nature through photography in various forms . At first my reason for taking the photos were so I could preserve moments of my life since I didn’t have the time to write, but now capturing the moments in nature has because more about the beauty and appreciating the simple things in life.

Having material things have never been a top priority with me. For me it’s been more about the needs of people, particularly family and friends. At 15 I lost my brother and that had a major impact on my life and how I see things now. I remember my roots and the roots of my ancestors. I know that nothing is guaranteed in life.  I have asked myself, if I were to lose all things material how would I handle that? And my answer s this this – as long as I have family, friends, and good memories than I have more than money can buy.

(If you like what you read here, please consider following my blog. Your follow would be in inspiration to me to write more regularly. Thank you for your support.)


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When the Past Mixes with the Present

My dad’s last remaining sibling passed away on Wednesday, June 22 and her funeral was Monday, June 27. Aunt Barb was 92 and she lived a life of faith. She lived what she believed and she was an example for all of us who knew her.

A funeral always brings family members together who haven’t seen each other since the last funeral they attended and Monday was no exception. I haven’t seen my cousin, Donna, in many years and seeing her on Monday was a treat, just wish the circumstances had been different. Along with Donna was my cousin Carol, whom I haven’t seen for a couple years and my cousin Dianne. Then there was Jolene who would come to the farm (where I grew up) with her father. I forgot all about Jolene until she acknowledged me and told me who she was and reminded me how we played together in the barn. So many memories came rushing back to me on Monday and it all felt strange. Some of the things I was reminded of I had completely forgot about.

When I think back to my younger days in the late 60s and throughout my junior high and high school years during the 70s, I can’t help but to think of songs I’ve listened to. Even though I spent a lot of time roaming the farm I still spent a lot of time in my bedroom with pink flowered wallpaper and a tapestry rug that didn’t fully cover the floor, later the rug was replaced with wall-to-wall pink shag carpet. I shared my bedroom with my older sister, who got me into the music I am now nostalgic about.

I listened to the radio constantly. It was WHYL AM. They played the Beatles, “Baby I’m a Rich Man, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, “Tears of a Clown, Marvin Gaye, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”, Helen Reddy, “I am Woman”, and so many more – way to many to mention here.

In 1971, my friend Terri and I went to see Donny Osmond and the Osmond Brothers at the Allentown Fair. We wore purple dresses because that was Donny’s favorite color. We stood on chairs screaming his name when he and his brothers came on stage (kinda like Justin Bieber fans today). We thought he would notice us because we had purple dresses on, well, so did most of the young females in the audience!

When the show ended Terri and I made our way to the back of the stage, where there was a fence. We had our autograph books in hand waiting/hoping to see Donny and get this autograph. Then we saw Marie, Donny’s sister, who happens to be the same age as me and Terri. Marie was wearing a good bit of makeup on.  “Wow”, we thought, “so much makeup at our age?” (goes to show how conservative we were at the time)  – Anyway, the handful of girls at the fence begged and pleaded with Marie for her autograph. I was so desperate I through my autograph book over the fence just so Marie would sign it. How stupid was that? I could have lost my book!! But Marie picked up the book, signed it, and handed it back to me. Now that was sweet of her. She didn’t have to do that, but glad she did!

As I think about the music, I think about the things that I was reminded of Monday when I saw my cousins. Donna told me the story of my two older brothers picking her up and making her sit on a cow. Now she may have been 9 or 10 at the time. Talk about traumatizing the girl, but Monday she laughed about it.

Monday when I saw my cousin Carol, I thought of the fun things we did like going to church youth events and the Salt Cellar in Mechanicsburg. There we watched the movie The Cross and the Switchblade and other Billy Graham funded movies. It was a place for young kids to hang out.

I had such a wonderful mix of friends and some of them happened to be my cousins. I forgot about some of the things I did back in the day. I’m so glad I have friends and family to help me remember what an awesome time we had being young and not worrying about much at all. Wish I could say the same about my adult years.


Shades of Gray

At Seventeen


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All nature has a feeling

All nature has a feeling: woods, fields, brooks
Are life eternal: and in silence they
Speak happiness beyond the reach of books;
There’s nothing mortal in them; their decay
Is the green life of change; to pass away
And come again in blooms revivified.
Its birth was heaven, eternal it its stay,
And with the sun and moon shall still abide
Beneath their day and night and heaven wide.

XF2HCP3CZ5XX


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Honoring the Combined Action Platoon of Vietnam

When my brother left for Vietnam I was only 11 years old, but I remember his time there well.

My brother enlisted in the Marines a few weeks before graduating high school. The following September he left for Parris Island, North Carolina. After graduating from boot camp he went on to Camp Pendleton, San Diego, California. From there he was sent to Vietnam as part of Combined Action Platoon.

I remember my mom having a Vietnam map and every time the news reported where heavy fighting took place she would pull the map out, spread it across the kitchen table and see if my brother was anywhere near.

I remember helping my mom and sister-in-law pack care packages for him filled with sour balls and other non-perishable items. Sometimes he wouldn’t receive the package for weeks because of being out in the field, but when he did he and his Marine brothers appreciated it.

I remember hearing my mom talk about him moving through rice paddies in order to get to the next village to teach the natives how to fight against the Viet Cong. 

In order to honor my brother and the many others who gave service and those who are giving service today I plan to write a piece on the special unit he was a part of.

The Combined Action Platoon was part of one of the longest and bloodiest battle in Vietnam, which took place in the Imperial City of Hue (pronounced “way”). Although my brother was not part of this battle, he is the one who first told me about it.

Recently, the Military Channel did a piece on the Battle of Hue. What an intense battle it must have been. So many Marines lost their lives in the month long battle. The events of that day no doubt reflect much of what the United States military has done in Iraq and currently in Afghanistan. As a country we are very fortunate to have such brave men and women so willingly risk their lives in order to keep their homeland free.

My various articles on the Vietnam will be published by August 31 of this year on Suite 101. Until then, if you are curious about the Battle of Hue and the Combined Action Platoon please checkout the following websites:

Combined Action Platoon

The Battle of Hue

XF2HCP3CZ5XX