Friday, February 22, 2008


I am stunned. It's not like I haven't done it before; I have. I've done it lots of times. And I still remember how afraid and daunted I was the first time. I had a vague idea of what to do, and I certainly wasn't afraid to ask for help -- and even instructions -- but I was still nervous and afraid. What if I did it wrong? What if it went in wrong? What if...? That's when I stopped wondering, took a deep breath and just did it.

Okay, get your minds out of the bedroom, or off the kitchen table and counters, out of the sink and shower. I'm talking about installing my first RAM chip. For the non-geeks who read this, that is the little chip that is your computer's memory and allows your computer to work faster and more efficiently the more you have.

My laptop came with 512K of RAM (Random Access Memory). That is more than my first computer had years ago, but not enough for my computing needs. When I had more than one task running the slow down was obvious. Not any more. Although I haven't opened up a laptop before, I bought 2 Gigabytes of RAM for my laptop and they arrived this morning. I opened the panels on the back of the laptop with my handy dandy tool kit, the one I keep in my purse (similar to the one Security took from me when I flew to New Jersey three years ago), and opened up the panels on the back to find where the RAM chip was. I found it, took a few moments to puzzle over how to get it out, removed it quickly and easily, and inserted two brand new 2 Gigabyte RAM chips. I screwed the panel back on, popped in the battery, plugged in the power cord and started the computer. Voila! Speed and efficiency. It took one-third as long to boot up and be ready for use. It's early in the morning and I didn't want to startle my neighbors or I would have yelled, "yesyesyesyesyesyes," instead of typing it here.

Not allowing fear to control me has taken me all sorts of places and I have learned a lot since the first time I nervously asked the salesman for assistance in how to install a RAM chip. This time, I researched the best prices and found I could get two RAM chips for less than it would have cost me to buy one a few months ago. I only have two slots, but they are full and they work like a dream. I'm happy.

Of course, my mother would chide me -- if I told her -- for messing around with something I could break or destroy, "And then you wouldn't have a computer," she'd say with a certain sense of eager relish with that I-told-you-so tone in her voice. She is certain I'm going to ruin my computer by downloading programs and shows, but she doesn't understand and fear controls almost all of her actions. She has not had to fend for herself or live alone in the whole course of her 77-year life. She doesn't know how to be self sufficient or to dare to fly in the face of fear and figure something out. She still has a fit over me driving a moving van and towing my car from Cleveland to Columbus in an snow and rain storm. I wouldn't have missed the experience. Come to that, I wouldn't have missed the experience of opening up the panels on the back of my laptop and installing the new RAM chips with my handy dandy fold-away tool kit. I bought it so I would never be without a few tools in an emergency, although I'm sure the FAA has me listed as a terrorist who was determined to take over the Delta 727 with my little tool kit, manicure set and antique embroidery scissors. Then again, had I set my mind to being a terrorist, I am sure I would've found a way to hijack the plane by using what was on hand. Airplane food in the hands of a determined terrorist can be lethal.

In the meantime, if you know anyone who would like a 512K DDR RAM chip for a 533MHz laptop, let me know and I'll send them the one I pulled this morning. That's my idea of recycling.

That is all. Disperse.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Alas for celebrations

Yes, I'm procrastinating about writing tonight. I'm hot and uncomfortable and tired and just can't seem to rev up the engine enough to tackle the three reviews I need to write tonight. It happens sometimes. I'm find once I get going, but getting going is difficult without the right kind of juice. No juice tonight.

Or maybe I'm still a little too relaxed from yesterday's veg out with books and movie and more books. I started and finished three books yesterday and they weren't little books either, but healthy and thick books. I napped and answered the phone (for a change) to thank all my family and friends who called to wish me happy birthday (yes, that was yesterday, too), enjoyed a catered dinner and flowers, and opened a few gifts from local friends. I didn't get dressed all day, just lounged around reading and relaxing, dozing and enjoying the day, knowing I'd have to get back to the real world today because hospitals don't close for holidays. That's okay, I have a vacation day coming next Monday and I intend to make full use of it.

Thinking about my birthday yesterday I was reminded of a conversation I had with my Uncle Bob a few weeks ago when he told me he didn't remember his wife's birthday or their anniversary and Aunt Lois didn't seem to mind. That put me in mind of the usual hullabaloo about Valentine's Day and the premium placed on gifts of love that seem more like emotional arm twisting for giver and receiver. Don't get me wrong. I like Valentine's Day and enjoyed the big red heart filled with candy an admirer left on my doorstep on Thursday. It was a lovely thought, but I wonder if romance can be confined to a single day or if a single day should be used as pressure in a relationship to perform romantic duties. Romance has so many faces and facets that we tend to forget it isn't all about flowers and candy and jewelry and gifts. It's about respect and loving someone enough to let them know in small ways every day. That's romance.

My Uncle Bob isn't big on cards and gifts, but he does appreciate them when they come his way. Instead, his idea of romance is taking care of his family and making sure they're safe and secure. He takes care of the cars and the houses and makes sure there's enough of whatever is needed, including antifreeze in the radiator and air in the tires. It may not seem like romance, but it is very romantic. Romance isn't -- or it shouldn't be -- all about gifts unless the gifts are from the heart. Having a day for romance is cheating in a way because it lets people off the hook the other 364-365 days of the year. They can point to February and say they did their duty. But did they really?

Fixing dinner and making (or buying) a special dessert out of the blue or taking out the trash to save your weary spouse a few steps; that's romantic. Romance doesn't need to be a big production. Sometimes it can be as simple as doing the dishes or drawing a bath, rubbing someone's weary feet or massaging a few kinks out of their neck and shoulders without being asked. It's the little things that count, the things you might not find in a romance novel or on Valentine's Day -- or maybe you will. That's the thing about romance, it can pop up at the most unusual and unexpected times, like a catered dinner and a vase full of fresh tulips or a heart full of candy left on the doorstep. Birthdays come once a year, but romance happens every day a little bit at a time.

That is all. Disperse.