March 2019


I don’t go to the gym on Wednesday. I need a rest day in the middle of the week. I go two days, rest a day, go three days, and rest a day. That’s been my schedule for over a year now. I endure partner WODs in the name of getting a workout five times a week and if you have watched me over time, you know how I dread partner WODs. I always fear how little I can do and how much I hurt my partner as they have to work out with me affecting their scores.

I’ve been at Pivotal Fitness long enough to have to renew my membership. So I did. As part of a membership, you get an assessment. Last year, I skipped it. This year, I decided I wanted to know how fit and/or unfit I am.

I usually feel terribly unfit because I work with a bunch of people who are younger and fitter than I am or could ever hope to be. The next oldest person in Forge is sixty, so I’ve got her by six years. She rarely works out at the same time as me. Unfortunately, she is much fitter than I am. She is stronger and faster and all the things I am not. Well, it is fortunate for her, but leaves me feeling unable to do shit.

So I signed up for the assessment and was told it is better to do it either before a workout or on a day when you don’t work out at all. So I made an appointment for today. I want to know how I stack up against the norms for a 66 year old woman, not a 66 year old CrossFitter. I know where I stack up there. I’ve looked at my numbers and compared them to the leader board on the Open Games and I’m not the worst person in the world but there are many, many women who do much more than I can.

I was hoping to see that what I’m doing is paying off and I’m getting some benefit from all the hard work I put in. I mean, I know what I couldn’t do when I started and what I can do now, so I know I’ve improved over time. I know that I couldn’t string together double unders a year ago and now I can. I know I can run short distances and not die. I know I can do the Olympic lifts and my weights have increased over the years.

I want validation, I guess. I want the voice in my head to stop telling me I’m not enough and I should be doing more weights, more reps, faster times, and why the hell don’t I have a pull-up yet? I want to be who I thought I might turn into when I started all those years ago. I want to be 35 or even 45 again. I don’t think I’m going to able to pull that off.

I do laundry on Wednesday. And so today, I did the laundry and then got ready for my appointment at the gym for an assessment I hoped would make me feel a bit better about how little I can do (when seen against my WOD mates) or how much I can do (when seen against my overall peers).

I piddled around until it was time to go and drove over to the place. I walked in and scanned my membership card and asked what I was supposed to do next.

There is a new General Manager for the place. He’s not very trustworthy. In the past, he has looked me straight in the eye and told me there had been a $4000 order placed to replace stolen and damaged equipment for Forge. One of our coaches drove to North Carolina in order to get back most of the stolen equipment, but three of the women’s barbells never made it to the CrossFit there. The thief off loaded them before “donating” the rest of our equipment. They are now supposedly being replaced after the boss lady found out about the theft (which happened just before she came over here).

This liar guy was behind the desk this morning when I showed up. This asshat got a text from the man who was supposed to do my assessment last night around 8.45. The assessment guy is sick. And yet, there I stood in front of the damn desk. I glared at General Manager of Incompetence and he kept saying he was sorry. He told me there was a problem with something at the gym and he was sorry and he mumbled about being sorry.

They open before 5 AM so there was at least 4.5 hours in there when someone, anyone, a minion, this asshat, somebody could have sent me a text to say they had to cancel. But no. I drove over to the gym on my day away from the gym for no damn reason. If you have a personal training session and don’t cancel, they charge you the session anyway. Just saying.

Asshat Guy encouraged me to work out while I was there. I told him I didn’t work out on Wednesdays and that was specifically why I was there at that time. He said he was sorry. Again. I asked if he had my contact information. He acknowledged that he did. I left.

So here I am, old and feeble and madder than a wet hen. The guy is such an incompetent twit it makes me wonder how in the hell he has managed to work his way into this job. He lies. He is unable to actually manage anything.

He has also assured me that the lights will really be replaced. The kind they purchased several years ago are now dying. Well, the lights are fine, but the specialized light bulbs are no longer being manufactured. We are down to two out of nine. I wonder how long we will be working out in the dark while this buffoon takes care of business.

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I have been doing CrossFit for over six years. I started this when I was 59 and I am now 66. I often think I’m just pitiful because most of the people I work out with are young enough to be my children. But I’m not pitiful, I am old. And yet, I do amazing shit. Sometimes.

I hate thrusters. We have been doing more and more thrusters because the Open always has thrusters and we needed to be ready. So last Monday thrusters were on the menu and I did 35 of them because that was my scaling option I made up for myself.

On Friday, I was over it. I was defeated by the sheer number of reps. The 105 thrusters and 105 jumping pull-ups were beyond me. The twenty minute time cap wasn’t, but I was tired of the whole thing. And defeated. I was mostly defeated. I’m not sure what the Open is supposed to teach us, but I often learn lessons that weren’t intended. For me, the Open teaches me that I am old and feeble and should take up knitting.

I went to the gym on Saturday because that is another of my usual workout days and I already skipped Friday. I was feeling totally inept and yet, I showed up because I’m really quite awesome even when I think I’m just old and feeble. Going when you don’t want to go is a sign of superior strength even if it is just of will. And I went.

Saturdays are usually partner WODs but this was each of us on our own. It started out with a mile run. I don’t run. All running does is spike my heart rate which doesn’t really need all that much help. But … what the hell. I usually walk half the distance but I started out running. First I told myself just 100 meters but at that mark, I was still able to keep running. I made it 200 meters before I walked. My heart rate was 159 at that point. I walked to the turn around point and on the way back, I ran another 50 to 75 meters and walked the final 200 meters back to the gym.

So, I knew I could run 200 meters if I had a low enough heart rate to start and had a space to lower my heart rate when I quit running.

Today’s WOD as written:
4 RFT
400 m run
25 ABMAT sit-ups
rest 2-3 minutes

This would work for me. Sit-ups don’t spike my heart rate although I can attain impressive monkey butt if enough of them are on the menu. I could run half the distance instead of walk it, if that was okay. Laura said it was okay. I ran the 200 meters I can manage and could then immediately do the sit-ups and then rest and start again.

If you aren’t meter/mile adept, that means I ran a total of 800 meters which is a half mile. I ran a half mile. I think I was a kid the last time I ran a half mile. I don’t run. I walk faster than I can run when the distance is too great.

If we just do math, my top heart rate should be 220-66=154 and then my target heart rate would be 80% of that or 123. I get higher than that before the warm up starts for real. My resting heart rate is 55 when I’m just sitting around knitting, but as soon as I start to move, bam! It skyrockets.

My heart rate was 159 to 162 as I returned after each of my runs. This is okay with my cardiologist. The sit-ups weren’t making it go higher. I rested two minutes between rounds 1 and 2 and found that wasn’t really enough and did 2.5 minutes between the other two rounds. We then had to subtract our resting time from our working time. I ran a half mile and did 100 sit-ups in 9.01.

And now I can’t stop saying to myself, “I ran a half mile.” Because, you see, I ran a half mile.

I had to move gyms a little over a year ago because my old place closed. It closed because there simply weren’t enough members to sustain it. I worked out with one or two other people unless I was there all alone. And while my friends there were wonderful, there is something to be said for working out with a larger class. There is a bit more camaraderie and encouragement or even competition.

Whatever the reasons, and they could simply be that I’m truly getting better at this shit, I now do double unders (last week I got to my 50% mark and did 100 of them (broken into sets) along with those damn thrusters) and now I’ve run a half mile.

As my British and Australian friends might say, I’m chuffed.

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I know that going to the gym helps my overall well being. I like pushing myself. I’ve grown tremendously. Things I once only dreamed of doing are now things I do all the time. I’m still not heading out to the Games or anything, but I’ve improved with continual practice.

It feels good to be able to move well. It’s impressive to see muscles on anybody and on me – dang impressive for an old fart. And so, I go to the gym without ever really questioning it. It’s what I do. I wake up and go to the gym. Period. No deciding. No debating. I just go.

I also know I have to eat better. I don’t have that choice any more. I’m pre-diabetic and if I don’t want to end up post-diabetic, I have to watch what I eat. I don’t get a cheat day. I can’t just decide I don’t want to do this now. I’m stuck with this if I want to stay on this side of the A1C line. And I do. So I eat and watch my carbs and try to choose better. No debating. This is just my life now.

I know I move better when I do yoga. I don’t do Hatha yoga or Vinyassa yoga. I do Yin yoga. It’s a practice that holds poses for minutes at a time, stretching as you sink into the pose and breathe in and out (through your nose when there isn’t too much pollen in the air). It helps with connective tissue stretching and allows you to move easier.

Somehow, I gave myself permission to choose on this one. I have no idea why. Probably because my routine wasn’t set in stone. There were no classes I had to attend or people would miss me. I have all my props right here at home and I can select from a range of over a bazillion YouTube videos. I have some favorite posting people who don’t annoy me as I’m trying to relax into the pose. It’s counter-productive to be annoyed while trying to do yoga.

I kept telling myself it was just an hour and I needed to get upstairs and stretch a little. Instead, I just debated myself and opted to not go upstairs, not stretch, not do the thing I knew would help. Last weekend, I finally forced myself upstairs and I was horrified.

All the things I could do once upon a time are gone. I’m not able to bend or move like I could a few months ago. Instead, I’m about as pliable as I was a couple years ago when I first got talked into doing some of this crap.

I know it is better to have this set of skills in my life for a variety of reasons. The most noticeable is that it makes going to the gym easier and that is why I finally got my unhappy ass back upstairs. But it makes the rest of my day better, too. It makes falling asleep and staying asleep easier. It just has a whole host of benefits.

When I’ve been awake for too long, I’m entirely capable of talking myself out of anything that seems like too much work. So, I have my alarm set for earlier on the days I go to the gym and I have been doing just a thirty minute routine before getting ready for the gym. That worked on Monday and Tuesday.

Wednesday is my rest day. I do laundry instead of going to the gym. I could have gotten up and started the laundry and done a real whole hour yoga class. I didn’t. I decided around lunch time that my issue was I didn’t want to do a whole hour class. I have nothing better to do, but that was my sticking point.

So instead of blowing the whole thing off, I figured it was better to do a thirty minute practice than a zero minute one. And that’s what I did.

I have no idea how long it will take me to get the flexibility back. Since I’m perfectly willing to do this before I hit the gym, I should be able to get in five 30-minute sessions a week and then on my rest days, I can opt to either do some or no yoga. At least I can opt for that once I’m a little farther along the path of habit and routine. Right now, I really need to keep myself vigilant because otherwise I will be back to no yoga again.

And then there is meditation. I need to return to that as well. It is supposed to help with my scattered nervousness. At least that is the theory and it seemed to work that way when I actually did it. So, I tried some of that today, too.

I know how to be healthy. Why is it so much work?

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I have been doing CrossFit now for years. This is my sixth year of doing the Open WODs even though I have only actually signed up to do the Open once. They just seem to follow me around. I haven’t done all of the workouts because I have been out of town or even out of the country. But I have done at least part of each year for six years now.

The year I was actually signed up, my scaling for muscle ups was a jumping CTB (chest to bar). For the first part of the WOD, I was to do jumping pull-ups and then I had to increase to jumping CTB. I tried. And tried. And tried some more. I spent close to four or five minutes trying to manage even one. I couldn’t get them.

It wasn’t until months later that I figured out if I did a reverse grip on the bar, I could pull myself into it and meet the bar. I was getting the height, I just wasn’t able to touch the bar.

I am not signed up for the Open this year. I was out of the state, but still in the country, for the first week. I have absolutely no intention of doing thrusters if there are more than 50 of them. I’ve already proved I can do that, I don’t need to prove it again. So, I am not signed up. But I’m still doing the WODs.

Today’s scaled version for 19.4 for older than dirt females was:
3 rounds
10 power snatches at 35#
12 bar facing burpees (regulation height barbell, but may step over)
rest for 3 minutes
3 rounds
10 jumping CTB (bar must be at least 6 inches overhead)
12 bar facing burpees
time cap = 12:00

If you didn’t get finished with the first three rounds before nine minutes, you were done because you HAD to take the three minutes of rest. I wanted desperately to get done before that nine minute mark, but I wasn’t really sure I could. I could do the snatches, but I usually do a plank burpee, taking the push-up part out of it. Otherwise the things just crank my heart rate so high I’m left panting like a lizard on a hot rock. But for the Open, I do the things as written for my old self.

I got finished at 8.27 so I could start back up again at 11.27 which gave me some time to try to get some of those damn CTB things. And I did. I was touching just below my collar bone, but I managed to eke some out. I used the reverse grip and pulled myself into the bar and I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t translate well into a real CTB. But since I can’t even do a real pull-up (yet) [probably ever] that is not really a concern.

I got a score of 74. I was beyond thrilled. I didn’t have to stop at 66 because of either time or incompetence. I simply managed a few more reps. A few more than I could do at all last time this was on the menu. Although a few isn’t monumental, something new and different can be and in this case, is. I’m not able to add many new things to my lists at this age. So anything new and improved is awesome. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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I did not sign up for the CrossFit Open. I was out of town for the first week and I have no intention of doing more than 75 thrusters just to amuse anyone. I figure that we should be up to 100 thrusters this year and that’s simply not anything I would choose to do.

I have only signed up for the Open once and yet, I have done most of the workouts over the last six years because they seem to go up on the board on Friday and I go to the gym on Friday So I get stuck doing the Open regardless of whether or not I want to do it. Last week, I was nearly crippled after being off for close to three weeks and then coming back and on the first day (a Wednesday) there were lovely snatches for a skill and then my favorite – thrusters with double unders for the WOD. The next day was a partner WOD with a bunch of lunges and by the afternoon, I could barely walk.

I saw that the WOD for 19.2 was going to be only eight minutes for me and I could manage eight minutes. I’m sure the pain of each squat was cranking my heart rate higher, but I did make it to the second set of squat cleans, so I was happy with how far I managed to get. Sorta.

I still went to the gym on Saturday, and it wasn’t too bad by then. Then I took Sunday off so I could recover and Monday was some deadlifts. I did something wrong and as soon as I noticed how much by back was hurting, I stopped. How very adult of me, right? I’m not always that smart, but I am trying to ease myself back into this nonsense without killing myself in the process. Tuesday was dumbbell snatches and I know I have to keep my ass low, but I didn’t and it exacerbated my bad back. It was so bad by the afternoon, that I was willing to take a pain pill, something that I do maybe twice a year.

But a month ago, I had some abnormal liver function blood work and so on Wednesday, I was scheduled for a repeat blood test to see if the abnormality was a viral infection, or maybe a false high because of the protein shakes I was drinking, or maybe some real and devastating liver disease. I didn’t want to do anything to raise my numbers and all the pain meds I have are detoxed by the liver. So I didn’t take any and I was in near tears every time I got out of my chair.

Wednesday is not a gym day, so I could recover a bit and my blood was drawn without incident. The results came back with my liver function back to its pristine wonderful normal self smack dab in the middle of the what it should be. So, it was either a passing virus or perhaps a false high from the protein stuff that has been sitting in my cupboard waiting to see what happened next. It’s back on the menu now.

Thursday was another partner WOD with rowing for partner A while partner B did unbroken KB swings and then switching and doing that for 20 minutes. I picked a lighter than normal kettlebell for that and it didn’t seem to be bothering my back. Then I had a massage and Jose was pretty impressed with my stupidity and ability to hurt myself. My back truly was a mess. I wasn’t sure if today was going to be the day deadlifts were on the menu and when I asked if doing deadlifts would be just stupid or incredibly stupid, he just said I should not be dong deadlifts right now. At all.

So I was really happy to see the 19.3 WOD go up.

Today’s version of this for me was a 200 foot walking lunge with a ten pound dumbbell racked, 50 box step ups with the dumbbell and to a 16 inch box, then 50 two ten pound dumbbells strict press, and finish with 200 foot bear crawl. I knew I wasn’t getting to the bear crawl. I was fairly certain I wasn’t even going to get to the strict press, but I did make sure I had two ten pound dumbbells available, just in case.

I knew this was going to drive my heart rate sky high, but it went better than I had anticipated. We had to go 20 feet one way, turn and return, and do ten passes. This did mean that getting over that last line was more of a problem and yet, I got 120 feet done before I had to sit on the box and breathe for a few deep breaths, do another 40 feet, sit and breathe again before the last 40 feet, and be done with that. I had to sit for a bit before staring the box step ups and did them in two sets of 25. I had only ten seconds left and grabbed the second dumbbell and got four more reps out.

When I first started CrossFit, I couldn’t lunge without a PVC pipe used as a cane. I just fell over a lot. So going with a dumbbell racked would have been impossible. I couldn’t manage more than a few feet without stopping once I got rid of the cane. So I should be thrilled that I made the 200 foot trek with just two pauses. I should be thrilled that I managed to stop just once in the middle of the step ups. I should. I am. Sorta. I’m also embarrassed by my low score. I mean, if I could have somehow managed to get my heart to cooperate, I could have kept going. My legs didn’t give out. My heart rate was just higher than the cardiologist recommended. Not by a whole lot, but that would have changed if I hadn’t stopped.

So I wish I could do better. I’m happy I did as well as I did. But still. I have no idea what to do with this vacillating seesaw of emotional stupidity. I know I worked as hard as I could and still not die. I just wanted more. It’s been so many years and I’m still fighting the same battle. It seems futile sometimes. I really should be proud of all I have achieved. I am. Sorta.

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Not me – by a long shot.

No matter how much you love something, there are parts of it that you not only don’t love, but actively dislike or even hate. This is why the advice to do what you love and you will never work a day in your life is complete bullshit. Most of my working career was spent in nursing and I loved it. I hated working holidays and I hated call, but I loved my job. I was a teacher for three years. I was not so fond of making lesson plans or filling out report cards. I was a secretary for six years and there were many annoying tiny tasks that irked me and felt completely like work and were unlovable in the extreme. I still liked my job.

I’ve been married for 46 years and still love both him and it. And yet, there are things that just drive me crazy. I wouldn’t cook a real meal every single damn day if there wasn’t a man (or children) in the house to eat it. I don’t care that much. I have been a mother for over 40 years and I can’t say I have ever been fond of sick children or whiny children or sick, whiny children. Overall, I’ve loved it. But there were always moments along the way where I didn’t.

I’ve been writing for years now, even paid for some of it. And yet, I hate to type. I enjoy the process of writing and I enjoy the learning part, but the actually typing part is not on my list of things I love to do.

Today, I am a gym rat, a CrossFitter, a nutcase. I can’t think of one thing that makes me delighted when I walk into the gym. I’m not really good at any of it. I am much better than when I started, to be sure. But there is nothing that I look at and think “this will be easy” and then really have it be easy. Or look and think that it is something I’m really, really good at.

None of it is easy. I’m really too old for this nonsense. I should knit. That’s what the old lady at Sun City told me and she is probably right. But I crochet and enjoy that when I’m not at the gym. I also enjoy the gym when I’m not at the gym. I enjoy having been at the gym. I enjoy being able to do all the things I can do at the gym. I just don’t really enjoy the actual part of doing them. That’s really hard work.

Cherry picking workouts isn’t going to help me or any other gym rat or CrossFitter. When the WOD goes up, I figure out how to scale. I am now extremely good at figuring out how to scale. I know it isn’t just a matter of lowering the weights, but sometimes lowering the reps or even choosing a different movement altogether. I can sub out ring rows for pull-ups or I can use a band for the pull-ups. Or do jumping pull-ups. There are always options.

When there is too much cardio and my heart rate is going to be too much of an issue, I know there are things I must do to mitigate the effects of aging and trying to do this crap that is above my pay grade. I walk half the distance. I lower the meters rowed. I do fewer calories on the assault bike.

No matter what the workout it, I’m going to have to do something so I can actually manage to do it. But I show up anyway, tamp down my ego (which was the most difficult part to learn about CrossFit) and make the best of what is always for me, a bad situation. Nothing is easy. Nothing is even doable as written. I must always and forever make changes to accommodate my feeble self and what I can and cannot do. That’s the way it is.

I know it is hard. I know there are so many other ways to spend each day. I also know that I’m thrilled with myself and my effort when I finish even my scaled or very scaled versions of this stuff. If it was really easy, it wouldn’t be a challenge and it wouldn’t be fun at all. I can’t say I ever have fun during a WOD, but I always have fun after, knowing I did that thing, in some way, shape, or form. That’s pretty awesome for anyone and especially awesome for an old fart like me.

When athletes don’t show up because they don’t like the workout, it is self-defeating rather than self-preserving. How good can you feel about yourself when you show up only for the things that are easy or that you enjoy? Do you really live the rest of your life like that? Do you go to work and then just ignore the icky parts of the job you really love? How soon does it take for you to get fired?

The way to improve is to do the things that are hard. The more you work at something, the better you get at it. And while you may never like call or working holidays or sick and whiny kids, you will know that those are just the things that made saving lives and conquering disease or raising people into successful adults so precious.

You will never love all you do. But if you can love most of it, you win. And if you practice at the parts you don’t love so much now, you will love more of it later. This is true even for something as worthless, useless, and intimidating as double unders. I got 80 of them on Tuesday.

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Wall balls are not my favorite, but then nothing else is either. 

My laptop was not working right. It would just decide to stop and I would have to force restart it. I knew this was not the best thing for a machine but there really wasn’t anything else to do with it. It happened every once in a while and then it happened more often. Still, it worked well enough. I mentioned to Dick that it might have to be replaced. I didn’t really worry too much about it and then went off on vacation, with the laptop turned off and resting.

I came home to a dead laptop. I got it to start, but then nothing else would happen. I couldn’t navigate anywhere. I couldn’t even start the start menu in order to properly stop the computer. That meant that I could not start it in safe mode either. It simply was a paperweight with a pretty picture on the screen.

I looked at ordering another one. My last trip to Best Buy to simply buy a Bluetooth keyboard was so frustrating that the thought of dealing with that crap to buy a whole new laptop was enough to make me sick. I looked at Amazon and it was too difficult to compare options. I was going to have to go out and shop. That was so distasteful that I instead went back to Amazon and tried again.

I found a 2018 HP laptop that was not very good at playing games. This was not a deal breaker as I do not play games. Well, I do, but the really simple kind that work on a tablet or my phone, not the big resource hogs that wouldn’t play as quickly on this computer. I have slow internet here because in the US we decided that they could all be proprietary and not share infrastructure. This limits our choices and I have one. And it’s slow. So, game playing is not a thing here.

So I ordered the laptop and then had to wait 48 hours. I was good and truly sick of trying to make a tablet be all that a real computer can be. I was tired of the limitations. I was tired of small screen. I was grateful that my new Bluetooth keyboard really worked, but connecting it each time I wanted to type out something longer was a pain in the neck.

Here’s a Thought needed to be updated. I had loaded all of February before I went off to Arizona. But it was turning into March and there was another 31 things waiting to be uploaded. It is simply much easier to do this from the laptop. I waited for it to show up. It did. Amazon itself was the delivery service and it got here around the middle of the afternoon.

Setup was far easier than it used to be and I had a functional computer in very short order. I could link it to my phone and then all my bookmarks from my saved browsers showed up here on the new laptop. I could open office on the laptop because my old disk for my old version of Microsoft Office no longer works.

I messed with stuff for the rest of the day. My old laptop finally let me move the mouse and I tried desperately to get some of the more important pictures off the old one before it decided to die. Dropbox had many of my most important files, including all of the 31 March Here’s a Thought files. So I wasn’t too panicked.

I tried moving some stuff to Dropbox and then it was overfilled. Oh, well. I couldn’t get Open Drive or whatever that is to work on the old laptop, so nothing would upload to that which still had plenty of room because I don’t really use it. I would have to figure something else out and it was late and I was tired.

What I did have in Dropbox was around 500 fonts that I have added to my computer for working with Cricut as well as Here’s a Thought. Each of them had to be installed. That took nearly two hours.

It was really boring. In the middle of the night with the old laptop on and doing nothing, it went blue screen and then finally decided to run Scan Disk and see if it might fix itself. I know this because I was up for over three hours in the middle of the night. It did enough that I could actually get the mouse to not only move around, but function. So using memory sticks, I could get the rest of my files off the old laptop before it really and forever died.

Now I wanted to get rid of the excess Dropbox files. I would delete them. Then it would sync and reload them. I would delete them and then it would sync and reload them. I did this a few times and then deleted the app from my phone and tablet. I could finally delete all the excess files from Dropbox and have them stay gone. I then restarted the phone and the tablet before reinstalling Dropbox. There really has to be a better way for that.

I got Here’s a Thought scheduled for the month and then opted to start working on some new pictures with wise quotes and all that. I’m not used to open office and I have struggled. I’m unsure why their own “help” feature is so unhelpful. If I really need to find out how to do something in open office, I have to ask Google and not them. Rather stupid, but I believe I’m getting the hang of it.

I hope all this works. I’m sick of technology and I still have to try to get the recalcitrant printer to like the new laptop and I haven’t tried using the Cricut yet, so there is more to do. But for now, it functions.

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