Tag Archives: musings,

So, I got back from vacay two days ago

While the 10-day off-grid hiking trip in the Adirondacks was absolutely lovely and much-needed, I did not anticipate certain possible website problems when I returned.

I’ve spent the past two days putting out a forest fire of epic proportions.

My other website, BigBlackDogStudio.com, was scheduled to transfer over to a new host in order to add some simple e-comm capabilities. Estimated time for the transfer was given at 5 to 7 business days, so I hit “do it” the night before I left figuring it would be magically transferred by internet elves and ready for me to work my creative genius on post-hike.

I was under the firm impression that just as it looks on the WordPress.com blogging platform, so it would now appear just on the WordPress.org hosting version. It wasn’t.

When I typed in my BBDS address upon my return late Thursday evening, I was greeted with the gut-twisting: “Coming soon!”  screen. It’s better than the dreaded blue screen of death or “not found” at all, but still. Did I mention I was erroneously believing elves were going to fairy dust it over magically?

I took a deep breath and told myself I probably just had to hit “launch” or something to let the elves know I’m here and approving the transfer, so I logged into my account at the new host. It was a good thing I inspected. It was empty. Nada. Just the registration records were there.

Okay. I’m smart. I can figure this out and do this manually. Logged into WP.com, exported my site, and imported it into the new platform. Opened up the new “pages” and “posts” to make sure all had zippity-zapped to the new home. Hmmm.

Of the 342 posts going all the way back to 2012, only 45 of them transferred with the export function. Of the 23 separate pages in that site, 2 transferred, one of them being the 45 blog posts page from 2012 through 2014. That’s it. I exported/imported a second and third time just to make sure. Still way short of goal. [insert expletive].

So, apparently, twas not as easy-peasy as certain entities made it out to be. Good thing I used my free time hiking to write down a ton of creative ideas I’m going to be working on because that book might collect a bit of dust while I manually transfer over the other 297 posts with their images, re-entering all the meta data, etc. I’ve already managed to put the Pawz To Reflect Merch page back up, as it was today’s epic and successful job.

Can I simply not bother transferring most of those old posts? Sure, I can pick and choose just the more meaningful ones to me to preserve. I can probably just transfer most of the stack over here via some migrate feature as long as I downgrade the site back to its free status and before the next drum circle after the harvest occurs. When you’ve got years and years of SEO entrenchment, you seriously have to weigh the pros and cons of whether or not to move crap around on the internet. Shoot me for not merely creating a new domain for the e-comm stuff.

Am I the only one who ever expected technology and those who brag about its wonders that this kind of cold water splash happened to?

Update 8/17/19: Okay, life did not come to an end as I know it after all. Stressful week AF, yes, but I figured out how to export in pieces and want to share that for them that may someday go through this same heart pounding thing. See my August 17 post for a step-by-step.

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Learning to alleviate webcam anxieties

As someone who has spent 35 years being very comfortable at the front of rooms of 1 to 500+ people, I am appalled at myself for being not so comfortable in front of a webcam. 

Three things I have done nearly all of my life that I know I am very good at:

1. I write.

2. I teach and demonstrate live in the room.

3. I pray through my fingers on the piano and can grow a music ministry team into worship leaders.

Whereas public speaking can freak many people out, I have sung in front of a packed congregation since I was a teenager. Live doesn’t phase me. 

Put a video recorder in front of me, however, and I get all nervous and jerky like it’s my first day.

I’m post-chemo now 3.5 years and my brain is feeling operational again, at least according to the 98 I got in Statistics last fall and the 97 in my Finance course this past spring. This summer, I decided it’s high time to up my game as far as my business goes. I’m taking my teaching and my design and writing forward like I’m driving a tank.

I started a new YouTube channel where I can host my business stuff: “Let Me Show You How To Do That”. I have to have a minimum of 100 subscribers before YouTube will allow me to personalize my channel name in the URL, but I’ve even got the domain registered and the email integration set up. I just finished an intensive 30-day immersion marketing program through ClickFunnels that I highly recommend and will be promoting (next one starts August 5 and was the best $100 I’ve ever spent on my business education, btw and I’ll do a whole separate posting on that!), got my software, got my designs and products ready for the print-on-demand sector, and I’m ready to get started.

Except for the fact that most buyers today (according to all the spun and re-spun news articles circulating from self-proclaimed gurus over the past year) don’t want to read so much about their interests as they supposedly want to watch a video for someone to show them whatever the thing is they are looking for: Google bought YouTube, so everybody should be doing video!

Hmmm. Video? Greaaaaat.

Literally, I suck at video. I’ve made cute dog videos of my pets and accompaniment tracks for my choirs and music team to practice to and they were mostly okay.

Part of my goal in 2019 is to force myself to get more comfy in front of a webcam. Sure, millennials can do it. They were born with a smartphone in their hands. I’ve still got a perfectly serviceable iPhone 4S that Apple finally stopped bothering me about updating. So, instead of buying a $1,000 new phone just for the camera, I got a $340 Osmo Action. Why not the GoPro? This one has front and back screens so if you’re in front of the camera, you can make sure you’re in the shot – much like my little phone. It’s a first-gen, but it’s not like I’m going to go jumping off a cliff or swim with sharks with the thing.

Note: it took a full day to figure out how to activate the thing via someone else’s iPad….. because my iPhone 4S’s operating system couldn’t run the app! LOL Ahhh, so.

I went Mac this past spring when ye olde Windows 7 laptop fritzed during my finance course. I was P.O.’d when Microsoft took down support for my XP and the fabulous MovieMaker software native to it, so I jumped out of that boat with a Mac mini, a 34″ wide LG monitor and a Logitech webcam. There’s a learning curve for someone who’s been desktop publishing since Windows 3.1 (Minesweeper ❤ anyone?), and I still feel like a monkey in a tutu trying to make some of these new softwares work.

So, let me show you how it’s going for me with this initial random video I made quickly just to put up and finish getting my new YouTube channel started. Warning: it’s kind of painful in a spazzy, babbling way.


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Back to Fit Chick Challenge

Oh, it’s on. Right now. Read more about it on the new page above and join me as well on my new Facebook Group for mutual support and guidance.

If you are new to CaffeinatedMusic, you might not know that during the past few years after going through chemo, I kinda fell off the blogosphere due to brain fog and lack of most coherent thought. I did a lot more over at my BigBlackDogStudio site than I did over here, but not with much focus.

I’m back and determined to make up for the lack of progress on my goals over the last five years of my life. Time to kick it up.

Time to rewind the clock back five years and get my body back, albeit now on the other side of the Big 5-0 and sans hormones. I’m up for the challenge.

Starting. Right. Now.

03-14-14 Fit Chick

03-14-14 Fit Chick before Hodgkins lymphoma. Time to kick it up and get my body back! (That would be MyNemo’s tookus photobombing the shot) ❤


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Caffeinated Hot Mess

Had to share this one, because, yep. There’s that.

caffeinated hot mess

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Grey muzzles


My big, beautiful black dog’s muzzle is going grey!

My Nemo’s muzzle is gone nearly all silver. He was right up near the pillow when I took this picture and I am surprised it came out in focus. He usually makes the effort to sneak up next to me not so much to cuddle the way Rico does, but because he wants something he doesn’t have thumbs to get. Dogs have no guile.

The big guy is five and a half years old now. I still remember the day he was born, when the Puppy Fairy delivered nine puppies to Daisy, the pregnant dog I had rescued from the neighbor next door. We won’t go there right now. This is about happy stuff and we did find a good home for Daisy.

Nemo grew up with not one, but two nanny dogs, the first being Emily the Great Pyrenees who passed away when Nemo was just six months old and the second being Sadie, the Yellow Lab who just recently passed away. He has lived with cats and chickens his entire life as well as with Sparky, his elder dog brother by two years. Nemo’s younger dog brother would be Rico, who is just over three years old. Phoofie has been a mainstay and nemesis for Nemo’s entire life so far. Of course, at eleven years old, the cat pretty much just naps all day and ignores the dogs anyway.

When I got sick last year, the lying around staring at the ceiling activity level I have had makes me appreciate that my dogs are here providing in-home dog therapy the way they do. When I get my hair to grow back, I’m not even going to complain about it being all grey any more. At this point, I will be satisfied to simply have hair.

My shiny, black puppy has grown to 140lbs at his heaviest, 125lbs when he’s at his best weight, and has acquired quite a few silver threads on his schnozzola. Grey hairs signify life lived, history made, time spent. Nobody will ever love you the way your dog does.

Day 16: Grey muzzles are beautiful.

Reposted from SuperSparklyMe.com and BigBlackDogStudio.com.

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Best. Medicine. Ever.


Wow, I cannot believe I missed the entire summer. Those folks who are really observant will notice that my hair in the above photo is barely there. All spring I had not been feeling very well, mostly just drained and had no energy. I needed more and more naps in the afternoon. I had a swollen lymph node on my neck and a dry cough that wouldn’t go away since, like, December. Well, by mid-July, my temperature was spiking to 102, 103 and even 104 degrees, being brought down temporarily by a constant supply of aspirin. And everybody knows that can’t be good.

After nearly a month in the hospital, I received a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – which thankfully is 90% – 95% curable. Heaven knows there are much worse cancers or diseases one can have. Four days after my birthday in August, I had my first chemo treatment and like Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs, who was diagnosed with the same cancer almost a year ago, my expected treatment time is relatively short: six or seven months. God is good that I’ve got something curable and short-lived.

All through my extensive napping this past spring and summer, Rico has been glued to my side and lettering in varsity napping. Of course, Nemo is a professional, but for an active pup like Rico, putting the breaks on, curling up next to me every time he comes over, even not getting up when the other dogs go outside, this was a huge bonding commitment on his part. He’s almost ready to go pro.

I love this picture of him curled up on the pillow next to me, which I’ve often described to folks about his cuddliness, but hadn’t been able to get a good picture of before he’d move. Every night he spends with me, this is how we start off. Can you say, “puppy love”?

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Look for beauty in everyone

Continuing with my “notes from online dating experience 2014” theme, a very good-looking man a state and a half away had reached out to me to pay me a compliment recently. When I responded, I thanked him and said I appreciated his own well-written narrative, seeing as I find myself attracted to intelligent as well as handsome men 🙂 The fellow wrote back that he was “flabbergasted” that I had actually taken the time to respond, much less nicely and was willing to engage in conversation with him. It makes me feel bad that online dating is more renowned for its badly behaving people than its sincere and well-behaved ones. So, the conversation continued a little longer and he inquired as to why would I take the time to pen something nice to someone I wasn’t likely going to ever meet or who really didn’t meet any of my preferences other than being a good writer? I gave a good thought to it, wrote down my thoughts and sent the following back to him to try and explain. Soul-searching like this is something I highly recommend to anyone merely because it helps you get to know who you really are. Self-knowledge is something I feel is sorely lacking in the world today.

Since being nice in general and uplifting whenever possible is part of my ministry vocation and something I feel very strongly about, I wanted to copy and paste what I wrote in here to share because any kind word or other random act of kindness may be the one act you do today that makes a difference in someone’s life. As St. Therese of Lisieux said, “do small things with great love.”

Fair enough question. As an artistic/creative person, I appreciate beauty for its own delightful sake wherever I find it. Although I’ve been in vocational ministry as a music director for just over thirty years and am by default “nice” for a living, one thing I feel strongly about is that there is too much tearing down of people in this world and not nearly enough effort toward building up, lifting up, strengthening, encouraging and blessing of others. Perhaps in my old age, I’m more and more cognizant of that negative energy that swirls around us, especially prompted by the media through horrific music, violent films and video games, etc. I see people’s faces lined with stress, their eyes averted from making eye contact during their day because they are so used to looking up and seeing other people’s faces snarling with pent-up anger, bitterness, loneliness and other pains they cling to. We tend to see in others things that mirror ourselves; I decided a long time ago that I did not wish to reflect back to the world the bad experiences I had had, but rather would focus on the joyful things. That is how I choose to live out my day: remembering the beautiful, the happy, the wonder. I look for it in others and when I see something – anything – I make a point of telling them, not because I want something from anyone, but because they deserve to know that more than just their pain shines through their eyes. I want things like that to give people hope in humanity and perhaps just a little lifting of their spirits enough to rise up above what has been pulling them down.

It is true that my “type” – if one were to go by my virtually unbroken record of past loves – has definitely been the blue-eyed, German/Scandinavian boys. My family is Scandinavian and German on one side, so all of my cousins as well as the German/Dutch settlers of my hometown fit that picture. I grew up around hunky farm boys and muscular men are what my eye sees as “normal.” There’s a little bit of Irish/English mixed into me, explaining my freckles and greenish eyes and the red tint that used to appear in my otherwise very dark brown hair before it went silver years ago. The other half of the family – the one that was estranged when my mother divorced when I was 5 – was Italian, so there was more dark hair, eyes and skin that didn’t burn in the sun. I got the olive skin that tans as well as freckles, for which here in Florida, I am ever so grateful. 🙂

One thing about me that has been steady since I wrote my first creative piece back in middle school a hundred years ago: I communicate best through my hands. My writing, playing the piano, my touch – these are the ways I best express what is on my mind or heart. When I read someone’s profile who obviously has gifting and skill in written communication, it’s something I gravitate toward. The intellectual conversations stimulate and re-energize that part of me that too often is forced to operate in dumbed-down mode for daily life.

I’m very happy you reached out to me, happier still that you appreciated my response, and would enjoy getting to know the you inside if only for the span of several greatly enjoyable emails. Most of the “hits” I’ve gotten online during my first two and a half months have been from mostly mid-sixties, lonely men. Not always with teeth. I usually just ignore the ones I categorize as “WTF not even close” but do write back a nice, “Thanks, but no” response to others who take the time to send me something more than a generic spam blast. Now, you are going to laugh at this part, but I am human after all: of the 3,000 some that the profile says have looked at my profile (whether or not they click anything), I think I have found maybe a dozen of them physically attractive from their photos. Therefore, my non-scientific conclusion would be that there are a lot of really homely men out there, making it therefore ever more my conscience-owing duty to try harder to encourage those who do or have something going right (in my eyes), but then simply lean back and enjoy the ride and mutual flow of attention from men I find physically as well as intellectually inspiring. I am hoping to find my Chosen One to spend the rest of my life with and it will have to be someone whose mind attracts me as much as his physique.

I hope you have a wonderful day as you start the beginning of this week.


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