Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Cautionary Tale

A Cautionary Tale

Eight days ago my computer transformed into one humongous bug. What had it eaten? A new food called Windows 10. Windows 10 was free! It had all sorts of neat new options. What was not to like? I took the bait and Windows 10 took care of the rest. It trashed the contents of my computer. Bugs, viruses, bad registration keys, corrupted files. Not to worry, I had Geek Squad do a virus cleanup but the files were too corrupted to revert to Windows 7. Which of course, required the authorization key. How could I access the key when I'd recorded it in Outlook which was no longer in my now naked computer? How could I find that key when I couldn't even find my Samsung computer file with disks and manuals and pamphlets that might have helped? Enter my guardian angel, my iPhone, where I'd, oh so smartly, typed that information into contacts. Two days later I had my computer back with Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010  reinstalled.

While I can access my three email accounts on their websites, I have no access to all those files in Outlook where I'd neatly organized everything I considered important (and I had a lot of those) including those e-mails I'd set aside in the "to answer when I have more time" file. Haven't heard from me? That's why.

So. What have I learned? Don't trust freebies, especially when they involve your computer. And, above ll beware of Windows 10.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Book Review: Come Back by Claire and Mia Fontaine

“It is its own religion, this love.  Uncontainable, savage, and without end, it is what I feel for my child.” These opening lines of Claire Fontaine’s powerful memoir, sucked me right in. I know that love. Recognized it. It is what many of us feel for our children. She introduces us to her daughter Mia as a young child: perceptive, bright, loving and we’ve already fallen in love with both mother and daughter when a few inches down the page fifteen-year-old Mia disappears. From there the book takes off at a frenetic pace, hurtling through the initial panic. She has written a note telling her parents not to worry, “I have a knife and mace.” Claire’s precious daughter has taken off with a new friend. She loves her parents but needs to find herself, connect  with “real people” who will take care of her.

While runaways often flee abusive homes, Mia has known little but unconditional love. There’s past history here however. Emotional and psychological scarring. Claire’s first husband, Mia’s father,  emerges as a drug abusing, violent  pedophile who abuses his own tiny child. Though Claire divorces him and eventually remarries a good man who loves Mia, the damage runs deep. She is bright, beautiful, and loving in turn. Yet, she has fled this home with her strange new friend who knows the kind of people Mia thinks she needs. Finding Mia is not the end of this story, but the beginning. Mia escapes every attempt to treat and heal her and each time she descends into an ever bleaker darkness. Driven to desperate measures, Mia’s parents have the financial wherewithal to get her into expensive treatment programs, one in the Czech Republic, and another in Montana, where Mia manages to turn her life around. Aptly titled: Come Back! both Claire and Mia tell their stories and thus weave an insightful tale of love, loss and recovery.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Book Review: A Very FIne House by Barbara Cofer Stoefen



I've just finished reading a Very Fine House by Barbara Cofer Stoefen, reliving the years I spent in such a house with my daughter. If you've loved and anguished over a beloved child's struggle with abuse and addiction, you've lived in such a house. This house was built with love, then rocked to its foundation and shaken so mightily it's a wonder a foundation was left on which to rebuild. This is Stoefen's gift to readers, the reality that what seems lost can be recovered. Stoefen enjoyed an unusually close relationship with her daughter Annie, who shared everything with her mother until the day she stopped sharing. The signs were subtle at first, small emotional and psychological issues that gradually transformed a beautiful child into an insecure and uncertain young woman. While many of us saw this happen to our own children at a much younger age, Annie's descent into full-blown meth addiction until she'd reached college age. Like most of us, we struggled mightily to rescue our children from the darkness we saw engulfing them -- desperate fight we are bound to lose if we think it is up to us to save them. Beaten down by the rapid disintegration of her daughter's life, Stoefen was forced to let go until Annie turned to her for help. While I'm filled with admiration for Stoefen's wonderful narrative, for the expensive treatment program she managed to obtain for Annie in lieu of jail time, and for her supportive love of Annie as she fought to pull her life back together, it's Annie who made it happen. This young woman's struggle to emerge ached through my heart and fills me with joy.