Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Geek Help

I posted here a couple of weeks ago about getting some new, state-of-the-art computer equipment.  Part of the reason we bought it where we did is that my husband wanted to get the Geek Squad to come to our home because of some other issues, and buying there gave us a discount. 

I started writing this post before the Geek Squad was scheduled to come and edited it accordingly.  But I wanted to start out by saying that as I typed the heading for this blog, it came out Eek Squad!  As it turned out, my concerns were unwarranted. 

Some of the things we needed was for a techie to install a new router and a new printer.  Our virus protection needed to be updated on some of our computers.  Plus, we have a security camera in the kitchen that we use to spy on the dogs when we're out, and it's been on the fritz lately. 

Our younger son is a whiz and could do a lot of this, but we decided not to bother him this time, especially since there were things that could be time-consuming. 

So--what's my opinion now that we've had the work done? 

Very worthwhile!  Our visiting Geek was very good at what he did and also very nice and patient even with very untechie me.  Plus, under the way we hired the Geek Squad, he'll be available for questions.   

Would I recommend it to others?  Sure, especially if you get someone as good as we did. 

However... it did mess me up as far as getting into Killer Hobbies to post this--although that might have been the new virus protection program.  Fortunately, I figured it out.

How about you--do you do your techie stuff yourself?  If not, who helps you?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Carried From the Field

An epitaph from Boston, Mass., of a man who fought on the British side in the American Revolutionary War.

Major John Pitcairn
Fatally wounded
While rallying the Royal Marines
At the Battle of Bunker Hill
Was carried from the field to the boats
On the back of his son
Who kissed him and returned to duty.
He died June 17, 1775, and his body
Was interred beneath this church.

My good friend Tanya Dee Smith and I are leaving early Friday morning for Chicago and three days at the American Needlepoint Guild’s Seminar there.  ANG is paying me mileage, my room, and a generous speaker’s fee.  We are going to a private tour of the Institute of Art in Chicago (they have a world-class collection of Impressionist paintings), will attend a class, a reception, a book signing, and a banquet.  I am really excited about this, and hope my talk is well received.  The event continues all week, but we’re coming home on Monday.  I’m taking the magnificent handkerchief that is a feature of the forthcoming Darned If You Do, a copy of the cover, and some needlework-in-progress.  Oh, and four hats!

I am going to have to change my room reservation in Leicester, England, because the bus tour starts on the 28th of March and I don’t want to find us sleeping in Hyde Park waiting for it.  And I’m still trying to find a way to get the three of us from London’s Heathrow Airport to Leicester and back to London that doesn’t cost almost two hundred dollars each!
I’m losing my sense of smell!  I don’t know if it’s an aftereffect of the many, many menthol-flavored cough drops I consumed when I caught a cold that left me with a cough for weeks.  I couldn’t taste anything while I was sucking the drops, and now, even after two months off the stuff, I can barely taste or smell anything.  It’s annoying, and though my sense of taste does seem to be coming back, there are times when I seem to be eating styrofoam imitations of food.

Friday, August 15, 2014


Can this be August in Chicago? No air conditioning needed, not even a fan. I’m certainly not complaining. It is nice to be comfortable.

Someone commented on Facebook that it was too bad I couldn’t crochet on the plane when I came here. Just to let everybody know you can crochet on the plane and knit as well. I even carry scissors with no problem.

I like to work on something small since space is limited. It is always relaxing and enjoyable to pass the time making something. I wanted to add pictures here, but blogger isn't cooperating. I'll post this blog and try to add the photos tomorrow. Maybe it will work then.

I have had my nose to the grindstone since I’ve gotten here working on my rewrite of the third book in the Yarn Retreat Series. And when I’m not at the computer I have been knitting the worry doll or worry bear or dog. Right now I’m just making the body and it can still go different ways.

Time to get a little more work.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Don’t Worry, Be Hopi: Guest Post by Author Shannon Baker!

Hi all!  Please welcome my friend and fellow Midnight Inker Shannon Baker to Killer Hobbies today.  Take it away, Shannon!

I’ve been lucky to have lived in some pretty terrific places in the last ten years counting the Rocky Mountains and the Grand Canyon as my backyards. I am looking forward to setting down some deeper roots in 348 days when we plan to move to Tucson. But in the interim, we’ve taken up temporary residence in rural Nebraska. While I thought I’d escaped from here long ago, I have to admit to one thing that’s made the stay bearable.
I haven’t been able to plant a garden for several years, either because I lived in a townhouse without a yard or because I lived in Flagstaff where the growing season is five days and volcanic rock for soil. I’m particularly excited this year because after researching and writing about the Hopi tribe in Northern Arizona, I have a whole new appreciation for gardening.

Traditional Hopi culture is ancient and intricate. When Hopi emerged from the Third World to the Fourth, where we live now, they were given instructions from their Spiritual Guide (I won’t use his name here because a traditional Hopi friend asked me not to put it in print). Among other things, he told the people to live simply, practice self-denial and self-sufficiency. Along with telling them how to live, he gave each of about 30 clans a strict calendar of ceremonies and rituals and encouraged them to blend with the land and celebrate life.
The Guide gave Hopi responsibility to balance the entire world by maintaining the ceremonies and living according to His instructions. Hopiland is a microcosm of the world so what happens there will be intensified in the world. As it happens, young Hopi are leaving the reservation, decimating some clans, causing others to take up the slack. Climate change, severe weather disturbances, increased social conflict and cosmic dangers are the result of this lack, according to some Hopi traditionalists. This imbalance is telling us the Fourth World is nearing its end and with it, most of us will die.

But we don’t need to panic. Because the Guide predicted this state of affairs and He also gave the People a way to forestall or even halt disaster. There is a whole list of instructions that deal with living simply, being kind to each other and respecting Mother Earth. Of course, there’s more to it than what I’ve said but that’s for another day.

This summer, I’m interested in one particular instruction. He told us--all of us--not just Hopi, to:


According to Hopi, the subsistence cycle contains four phases: planting, cultivating, harvesting and thanksgiving. This is the ceremonial cycle. For Hopi, farming is not just a chore, it’s sacred. Through the cycle, you grow ever closer to Mother Earth and the rest of creation.

We’re told to plant in good humor and to sing to the seeds, and later seedlings and plants and to harvest in thanksgiving. If we do all of this, the bounty of the garden is not counted in pounds of vegetables but in health and healing of the planet and mankind.

Those are pretty lofty ideals for my little backyard vegetable garden. I won’t admit to singing to my plants. I might just hum or whistle and sing a ditty under my breath, you know, as I do most of the time anyway. I don’t talk to them, either. Not any more than I talk to myself regularly.
Mostly, I’m excited to see them grow noticeably from early morning to evening. I’m trying not to be too alarmed by the summer squash, zucchini, and acorn squash who are overtaking everything and soon will start banging on my back door. So far we’ve enjoyed carrots, beans, beets, squash, peppers, more radishes than is prudent. The tomatoes are turning red ever so slowly but are so close!  

If I’m doing my part to save mankind, that’s a nice side effect.
Do you have any “instructions” on living for a more spiritual or environmental or happier existence?


Shannon Baker writes the Nora Abbott Mystery Series, a fast-paced mix of murder, environmental issues and Hopi Indians published by Midnight Ink. A lover of western landscapes, Baker can often be found backpacking, skiing, kayaking, cycling, or just playing lizard in the desert.  Tainted Mountain, the first in the series is set in Flagstaff, AZ and is a New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards finalist. She serves on the board of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and is a member of SinC and MWA. Visit Shannon at

Nora moves to Boulder and  lands a job as an accountant at an environmental non-profit. But the trust is rife with deceit and corruption. Nearly half a million dollars is missing and one person has already been killed for knowing too much. Complicating matters are Nora's uninvited visitors: her mother, Cole Huntsman, and a Hopi kachina that technically doesn't exist. As the body count climbs, Nora races to stop a deadly plot to decimate one of the planet's greatest natural resources.