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Welcome! Lenkaland shares my adventures in creative photography, raising kind children, writing, living with chronic illness, raising a daughter with dyslexia, and swimming with mermaids. Hope you have a nice stay!

Podcast! New iMac, Free Photos, and Family Gatherings

Episode 19  Show Notes

Welcome to Episode 19!  The iMac is here!  It's been a fun week learning this pretty new machine.  I had Macs in high school and college, then had PCs for the past ten years.  My last experience with Macs was the candy-color computers in the late 1990s.  Those computer struggled with easy tasks and spoiled my towards Macs in general.

No longer.  This machine is slick, fast, powerful.  A thoroughbred computer.  This computer breezes through tasks that made my old PC whine and spin faster and faster.  It's pretty fun.  I will have a good time with photo editing.

Some of our challenges here are the mixed platforms on our home network.  We found a parallel program that opens a virtual PC inside the Mac environment.  Giovanni says the new iMac is the fastest PC you'll ever own. He's right.  All of my old documents and photos are right where they should be.  I'm writing again.  Using Fireworks to make new covers for stories.

As for Accessibility Features, I do not need visual or preferences changes to use the computer.  Over the next couple of weeks, I plan to learn more and share it with you as a video.  I want to explore and find all the good stuff.  I know Apple is a leader in the field of Accessible Technology.

For myself, I love the Magic Mouse and the iMac keyboard.  The mouse is smooth and responsive.  The keyboard is ultra-modern and light-touch.  Perfect for me.  The old PC keyboard was starting to cause numbness through my hands after typing for a few minutes.  This new keyboard is like a cloud, or silk, or a whisper.  Very quiet and gentle.  Works well for me.

I discovered that Apple's mail program and iCal (calendar) can sync with gmail though simple google searches.  The easy directions now have my life, literally, at my fingertips.  Very cool.  I look forward to taming the 5000 unread emails in my inbox (mostly catalog announcements).  According to my husband, I should declare email bankruptcy.

We did have trouble networking older (a couple of years old) equipment to the new machine.  The printer responded erratically.  The scanner didn't like communicating either.  Luckily the price of new, wireless printer/scanner/copiers has really become affordable.  So rather than struggling, we updated.  Domino effect.

Exciting changes.  I did finish the epub conversion and posted The Goblin Queen to Lulu.  I chose Lulu because they are an iPad partner, working with the iBookstore.  Their submission process for that bookstore is a little muddled, so I'll let you know how that works out.  Right now you give them the number of your project and 4-6 weeks later, you should see it in the iBookstore.  If you own an iPad.  Which I don't.  So we'll see.  It's an adventure.  The story is not a disability story, but it has themes of belonging, healing, and self-awareness.  With pirates and goblins.  Hurrah.

This week I want to get the zombie story up for free downloads.  Check back here for the official release date.  I found a cool graphic for the cover.  You get to be the first to see it!

I like her.  I really do.  She's from iStockphoto as well.

I also have played with my own photos as background, or wallpaper, images on my computer.  I've even been asked if the image is mine, or came with the computer.  I want to make the world more beautiful and fun.  So I'm giving the photos away for free.  Yes, free.  No spam, no email collecting, no bots or Trojan horses or zombies on your computer.  Real free stuff.  Here.  The gallery is password protected so the link-farms don't pick up the opportunity.  The password is disability.  Because I want to build positive associations with the word disability.  Not about loss.  It's about giving :).  I didn't even watermark them with my name or website.  By clicking on a photo, you can download it in a few different resolutions.  Share and enjoy.

leaflenkaland

The same goes for all of my ebooks.  I am not copy-protecting the electronic files.  You can copy to all of your devices.  Share with your family.  Friends too.  Just don't make copies to sell on your front lawn :).  I keep the stories affordable because I believe we like to support our artists.  Your support means everything to me.  Thank you!

Around minute 30, we go to Family Gatherings.

The family gathering.  Perhaps a family reunion, or a wedding, or a graduation.  Most of us will meet with family for fun, celebration, or grieving.  Families can be our biggest support.  And our biggest trigger.  The gatherings can be rewarding or exhausting.  Or both at once.

I have a huge family. We're tight.  We get together as often as possible.  I love my family.  And still, over time, I need strategies for enjoying our time together.

Family knew us from the beginning.  They knew us as children.  If our challenges are caused by an accident, or worsening symptoms, they remember us before the changes.  They may measure us against our former selves.  We may bring sadness, or worries.  And to mitigate the effects of our challenges, we may take on more activities than we should.  We may work harder just so they won't worry.

At the same time, we can build resentments if we feel people don't believe our challenges.  We may have stories of insensitive moments.  We may feel overlooked.

And we have logistical challenges.  Travel arrangements.  Car rides, airplanes, hotels, scheduled days.  There may be traditional sports or hikes.  Early mornings and late evenings.  Kitchens to clean and kids to wrangle.  A lot more than our usual routines at home.

So how can we balance the realities of our ever-changing worlds with the many challenges of a family gathering?

By paying attention, being prepared, and heaping an extra helping of kindness on the day.

Advocate: Before the event, talk to a trusted family member.  A spouse, sister, cousin, brother, parent, someone you trust to look out for you.  Not take care of you necessarily.  They need their own fun, too, but someone who can add your concerns to a conversation, or remind you of your own plans like don't stay up too late.  An advocate helps keep you honest.  I'm prone to agree to all sorts of plans and activities in the moment.  Hike to the lake, sure, sounds fun.  It's not that far, is it? And afterwards I wonder why.  Talking to my husband or my cousin beforehand helps me stay focused on myself even in group dynamics.  Now, it is important that this person is a helper, not a handler.  They should not carry a battle flag and feel a need to defend your interests at any given moment.  Nor should you blame them if plans do not go your way.  Also, be realistic and respectful.  Why did you let me stay up so late? is not fair.  We are adults.  They are a support, not a knight.

Planning:  Travel arrangements need to be realistic.  I have come to a place where camping is a lot of work.  So we rent a hotel room near the campgrounds when we can.  I don't expect everyone to stay in the hotel with me.  It's part of that flexible living that we must become so good at creating.  Planning may also mean traveling for less time if that keeps you healthier.

Stick with routines:  As much as possible, stick with what works.  I made a disasterious error at our last family gathering.  My son has a sensitive tummy, but he's been doing better so I thought he'd outgrown a lot of the sensitivities.  This great 100% juice was on sale so against my misgivings, I let him drink some.  He had miserable rash for the entire trip.  Neither of us slept.  He was in a good mood, but he was also miserable.  I felt awful.  And I kept kicking myself.  Why, why would I change what worked away from our usual routines and expectations?

We don't always make rational, logical choices in the moment.  So whenever possible, stick with proven strategies.

Snacks and water:  Group decision-making can take awhile.  Or perhaps a restaurant is crowded.  Or the barbecue is taking a lot time to heat up.  Have some healthy snacks on hand, especially if you take medications.  That way you don't have to worry when the choice between Chinese and Mexican inspires a fifteen minute discussion.

Schedule downtime afterwards:  Try to keep an empty schedule for a day or two after arriving home.  Even the best events take effort.  And recovering is just as important as preparing.

The closing thought is that our family is the thread connecting us to time.  Or a close circle of friends.  These are the people that we knew as children, who will know our children (should we have children).  I helpd little baby cousins when I was a teenager.  Those babies are taller than me now and attend college.  The unfolding of time together is a beautiful thing.  Our shared stories are everything. When we get past the logistics and baggage, we have time.   And that's all we have.  And that time is fast and fleeting.  We need to make the most of the moments we are given.  So go.  Invest the energy and time.  Take the risks.  And be with people you love who also love you.

For future episodes, I want to talk about extraordinary kids returning to school and what we, as parents, teachers, community, can do to support them in a new classroom.

On a completely different topic, I have ideas about pain.  My own pain is fussy these days so it gets me thinking about how we handle, hold, cope with pain.  How it makes us and breaks us.

September will also be the first ever CMT awareness week.  I'll bring news about that as well.

A lot going on.  And it's close to my evening tech-curfew (so I won't stay up too late).  Take care and best wishes for a healthy, fun week!

Anika's Ocean Skirt

Ian's World Changes!