Jaye’s Week (Not the Best I’m afraid!)

The week hasn’t started yet, and I’m already worrying enough for six people.

You see, because I haven’t been posting about my sister’s health lately, most of you probably think she is doing well. The truth is somewhat sadder, I’m afraid.

Although Anita really did appreciate everyone’s good wishes last year, she said she needed to move on and concentrate on getting better, so asked me to stop the updates. The loss of her health has come as a shock to all of us, including Anita as she has always been the healthiest member of our family. We have since discovered that although she is the head of the family, always first with help and advice when we all need it, she is the worst patient in the world and exceedingly difficult to take care of!

Despite her will power, (and most of mine!) there are still days when she struggles to breathe and has very little strength. Her quality of life drags on the floor and some days we fear for the worst. We are constantly being assured that the pacemaker thingy is doing its job, but at the same time, they admit to the setting being very low to avoid straining her severely damaged heart.

Eventually, our concerns filtered through to the consultant, who rang our house and spoke to Anita at length, resulting in appointments for several tests this week. An Echocardiogram and an Angiogram, blood tests etc. A stent was mentioned, too, so all being well, we may eventually have good news.

In the meantime, though, I am having trouble concentrating on anything, but desperate to keep busy…

#Friday FlashBack: Jaye’s Week

After much searching, comparing and pulling my hair out, I finally found a PC that had everything I wanted at a price I could almost afford. I have this problem with shopping online, as I never seem to end up liking what I buy. Never been any good choosing anything and always get it wrong.

It arrived yesterday, and my old friend nagging doubt turned up with it.

Much smaller than I thought it would be, although I believe this is the new trend, and still managed to look pretty scary. Immediately, I found a possible problem. The activation label clearly said Windows 7, even though I thought I ordered Windows 10.

So, I might have done it again and chosen the wrong one.

Because of the Bank Holiday, I had to wait until Tuesday to telephone the company, for there was no way I would start switching over until they reassure me.

Switching over PCs is not something I enjoy or am any good at, as my tech skills are dismal at best, so at this stage I was still asking myself why I had actually volunteered to do this.

One of the reviews stated enthusiastically that all I had to do is take it out of the box, plug in all the cables and then switch it on.

That I just cannot believe.

The way things are going though, I may never get that far to find out.

While I waited, it was business as usual on my old less than faithful pc, despite the frequent crashing, freezing and crazy spelling games it plays. But it gave me a nasty moment this morning.

I switched it on, and instead of my pretty screensaver, the screen was plain blue. There was no icons and no Wi-Fi. I feared the worst. Had it beaten me to the punch?

That would be ironic, wouldn’t it?

A brand-new PC that I don’t want to install and my old one commits Hara Kiri on me!

After a reboot, everything was fine again, at least for the moment…

Moving swiftly on to the designated torture day…

I had been dreading this day for so long and was one of the reasons I delayed doing anything about it. I heard so many bad reports about Windows 10 and was more than happy with my old faithful Windows 7, but as they say, all good things must come to an end.

The new computer came with it already installed, so I had no choice but to hunt for my thinking cap, put it on and see what, if anything I could do with it. There was quite a long wait for the new pc to load or whatever it had to do. They said it would take time but wasn’t expecting three hours of thumb twiddling!

What followed was one of the worst moments of my life. I stared at the alien screen, trying not to feel as sick as a parrot by the sheer enormity of what I had done. (and still had to do!) And what was rapidly turning into what I might not be able to do.

I retired wounded for the day, not having mastered any of it.

I have a book, aptly called Windows 10 for Seniors, so I spent the evening going further into the depths of insanity, reading anything that sounded helpful. But none made any sense to me.

The following day, inspired by my refusal to quit, I switched the offending machine back on and played around, pressing everything in sight and seeing what happened. I found help screens that weren’t very, then tried to connect using my Microsoft account password.

You don’t want to know how long that took.

One day on, and I have surprised myself. Things are magically beginning to work!

There have been a pile of things I had to fix, one of them involved the speakers, which for some reason didn’t want to work. The sound, when I found out how to turn it on, came out of the tower thingy and sounded as though there was an idiot trapped in there.

Basically, and this really hurts to admit, I think I like my new computer and can foresee a bright future. A poor future, for along with the cost of the thing, I had to cough up for a brand-new version of Microsoft Word too…

I’m off to start uploading thousands of my images and files, so not going anywhere this weekend.

I hope everyone else has a good one though…

FlashBack from May 2019

Jaye’s Week from 2018… Insanity

From the middle of insanity…

I think my brain needs seeing to, as I can no longer make it behave the way I want it to.

Mind you; it must be contagious, for my laptop and tablet are exhibiting similar tendencies.

I spent last evening, first with the laptop and then the tablet, trying to run through my emails from the comfort of my armchair.

The laptop was on a go-slow, so I switched to the tablet.

This annoying piece of crap decided not to respond at all. Patience personified, I kept trying, only for the battery to drain away faster than a chocolate teapot. Something it shouldn’t have been able to do, seeing as it wasn’t doing anything.

I can feel the day coming when I take a hammer to both, as I am not sure how much longer my brain can cope with these insanity-inducing contraptions.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t aware of all the wonderful things they can do. When in a good mood, of course.

But I ask you, is it asking too much to have a piece of equipment that does what it says on the tin?

We wouldn’t stand for such substandard performance from any other electrical object, so for all that’s Holy, do we put up with it?

The main desktop PC is not immune to such shenanigans; it’s just sneakier. Its favourite trick now is ignoring whole sentences while I am busy typing them.

I get no warning, no sign that something has gone awry. The first I know about it is when I try to read the work back, only to find great yawning holes where parts of my story are missing.

I tell you; it is beginning to feel like a conspiracy…

On the bright side, and I try to find this even on those grey days, nothing affects my pen and paper. Sometimes I am so glad that I can write, blissfully, as far away from technology as I can get. As happy as Larry, knowing that I am in total charge of the creative process.

So, to end on a much happier note, I must report that the mindset for the new WIP is firmly in place. I have enjoyed being away from all the technobabble so much that I shall be doing a lot more of it!

I wrote this post way back at the end of 2018, and not much has changed since then!

Jaye’s Week ( In the garden, not the Office)

Yesterday afternoon I had planned on writing and working on a trailer for one of Anita’s books, but the sun was shining, and I couldn’t be asked.

We sat outside, drinking coffee, surrounded by all the jobs I have been neglecting so far this year. Not really my fault, for the weather hasn’t exactly been conducive for gardening lately. It’s either been freezing cold, raining, or both. So, I wasn’t feeling too guilty.

Maybe a little guilty about some of my bonsai perhaps, as there are a couple that desperately need repotting as they have used up all the goodness in their soil. There was also an orange blossom that I bought earlier in the year that has outgrown its pot.

Before I knew it, I was hard at work, and enjoying every minute.

I was also promising to spend a lot more time in the garden in future.

My favourite, at the moment

They say you are closer to God’s heart in a garden, and all I know is I am always happier when up to my elbows in rich garden soil, surrounded by all the wonders of nature.

I thought I would close with some of my favourite bonsai, the acres. Especially the ones with different colour variations in the leaves. I love the Lacy ones too and have included the one that refused to be a bonsai. It outgrew every pot I put it in, and eventually I planted it in the garden.

I hate to say this, but in a way, I hoped it would rain tomorrow so I could catch up on my writing! (or maybe not!)

Jaye’s Week ~ Escape

It had been a long, busy, and complicated week and by Friday, I knew I had to escape, if only for a short while, or risk having a king-sized meltdown.

The weather wasn’t promising but that didn’t put me off.

The BW (boy wonder) was all for it, as he was just as frustrated as I was. Anita, however, is still not as strong as she would like to be, so took a little persuading as she doesn’t like being too far from the safety and comfort of home.

Luck was on my side for once, and in the afternoon, we piled into the car and made for the coast, the grey, overcast skies following us all the way. But the rain stayed away.

The sea was as calm as a mill pond, so not very inspiring, but we did catch the hovercraft coming and going, always a sight to behold.

We ended up walking along the sea front to Southsea Rock Gardens, one of my favourite places to walk around. Almost on the beach, this wonderful garden is full of wonderful plants and maintained by volunteers, and a grand job they do. Read my favourite post about this place.

I think it’s always a lovely place to visit, especially knowing the sea is right there and just as we were going to leave, this unusual visitor turned up, making the day even more special!

Anita enjoyed our escape and didn’t get too tired.

Me? I was grateful for the chance to get out of the house for a change!

(I wonder what this week will bring!)

Jaye’s Week ~ Time for a change?

We are constantly told that reading more will make us better writers and that we should blog with enthusiasm to build up our presence on the web. But I find that some of the things we need to do seem counterproductive and time-consuming. Confusion is not a happy place to be, so my brain has rooted out its thinking hat. Not sure if that might be an oxymoron!

Don’t get me wrong, reading does make me think, and probably improves my vocabulary, but sometimes this can be counterproductive too in that I end up reading too much, taking time away from my writing. When I first started blogging, I read everything I could get my hands on, desperate to learn the secrets of the black magic box of the blogosphere.

And admittedly, I learnt a lot.

Just lately though, I have noticed a slight change in my attitude to all things blog related. It suddenly dawned on me that as bloggers, we are trying far too hard to be the best at what we do with our constant searching for the golden egg. And because we are so busy running around like headless chickens, we are losing sight of our focus, the real reason we blog in the first place. We might even be missing the plot or choosing all the wrong moves.

Lately, I have been worried that there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything. What with the increasing amount of emails and time spent on social media, there isn’t much left for writing or blogging, come to that. Not to mention any new ideas that need to be explored, or any of our other interests.

Apart from the reviews, I haven’t read a book simply for the joy of reading it in ages.

It could be time to step away and have a long hard look at what we do. Time to prioritise and cherry pick what we really want to concentrate on. Don’t ask me what, for my brain hasn’t got that far, yet. I just know it is time for something new, exciting even. How about that?

Life might be different when the dust has settled, but hopefully better. We have to concentrate on what we can do and do well, instead of chasing so many rainbows…

What does everyone else think?

Jaye’s Week…

A non-eventful week, but instead of worrying about the lack of progress, I have been counting my blessings. And despite the lack of evidence, I did find quite a few!

Top of the list: Work on the WIP has finally begun, and that alone has made my heart sing.

I have started knitting again. Nothing like a new great grandchild to get me reaching for a ball of wool and it is a great way to relax in the evenings!

The garden has been my greatest blessing. Everything is waking up, reminding me that life does go on, no matter what, so thought I would share some of the best bits!

This beautiful shrub makes the whole garden glow…
This camelia is not doing very well but still manages to turn up with a smile…
This rhodi is going to be amazing!
My favourite cherry tree…

Hope you all enjoyed the walk around my blossoming jungle…

Jaye’s Week…

This year, we are determined to put our writing house in order and try to do something new and vastly different.

Advertise!

We haven’t done this before, mainly because we couldn’t afford to, plus the not so small matter of not understanding the best way to do it.

But I have been reading up on the various ways of advertising, beginning with Amazon. Along the way, we have discovered so many things that should be in place before we even think of advertising!

  • Book covers must be brilliant and look professional.
  • Blurbs must be brilliant too, carefully worded to grab potential readers attention.
  • Content must be edited to within an inch of its life, and you need more than a working knowledge of keywords.
  • All books must be thoroughly and expertly edited!

I checked all our covers last week, and at least two need an upgrade. Bet you can guess which ones!

If you can’t afford to have your covers made by an expert, it can be challenging to come up with a keeper, but I am determined to try.

Blurbs have always been anathema for me, I try my best but cannot come up with anything I am happy with. At this rate, we will never get around to advertising!

I am determined to re-edit all our books and have enlisted the paid version of Grammarly for the job. Worth every penny, by the way, it finds all the errors in an efficient and friendly manner. I am always shocked to discover just how many!

All of this means I am neglecting the current WIP, but determination is calling the shots, and Anita is stepping up with posts of her own. Follow up posts will be posted on our progress and as many of the delights of advertising/marketing that I manage to discover!

Of course, we welcome any helpful comments on this subject…

Found these gorgeous flowers tucked away in a corner of our jungle!

Why Books & Bonsai ?

When we first started blogging nearly ten years ago, we had no clue as to the right or best way to go about it.

Looking around didn’t help like I thought it would, as there seemed to be a million ways to become a blogger.

What didn’t help either, was that I’m not computer literate, at least I wasn’t back then, so needed to find something simple that wouldn’t tax my poor old brain.

Many bloggers were using something called Blogger, so that is where we began our journey.

I found it relatively easy to use, but as time went on, I noticed a lack of traffic. This wouldn’t help with telling the world about our books, so I looked around to see what else I could manage and found WordPress.

The learning curve was a bit steep for me, but I liked the atmosphere and the possible connections. It was positively lively!

It cost a bit, too, but a small price to pay to finally get noticed.

Then there was a difference of opinion over what to call ourselves. We were not fans of the gimmicky labels, and as writers we were advised to use our names, basically so people can get to know us.

We noticed that most bloggers don’t do this. Their sites have proper names, like Myths of the Mirror, Daily Echo, Sun in Gemini, and Pensivity, to name but a few.

Eventually, after much thought and mucking about, we settled on a name that suits both of us. Books & Bonsai.

Books, because we both write, and Bonsai because I love my miniature trees almost as much as writing.  Of course, other subjects find their way onto our website, as our interests are not limited to books and trees!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our friends and followers. You really make it a joy to get up in the morning!