The Stress of Coding

Recently I’ve become an ARC  reviewer for three authors. I’ve begun posting release blitzes and reviews on the authors’ time schedules and with their instructions. All have similar but different requirements. 

My humble, little blog isn’t fancy. I know how to write HTML code; I went to school for it. I just choose not to use it. Coding by hand is complicated and never easy so I opted out and use the “easy” way of posting. I chose the format that’s the least complicated. Coding is challenging, and it’s a headache. If one closing tag is missing or if there’s a typo in the code, things don’t display properly. And reading code is eye-crossing, often stressful and just tiring!

Most authors’ representatives send HTML code, and they send a word document with the text. The images are all separate attachments. I have yet been able to get the provided code to work right the first time. It should be a simple cut and paste process where I drop the code into my post and it should display properly. It doesn’t. There are either errors in the coding or an incompatibility with the theme or structure of my blog. 

One of the latest posts I did came in to me at the last minute and I didn’t have the time or the energy to create the post by hand. I elected to post the HTML as it came in. At 11:30 at night I was bleary-eyed and crawling through lines of code trying to fix missing tags. I was pleased I could still do it, but I felt as stressed as if I was back in school again, trying desperately to make a webpage work for a homework assignment. 

There has GOT to be a better way to do this. Perhaps it’s just because this is the first time around for me. Posting items created by others is surprisingly stressful, far worse than doing my own free form postings. Don’t get me wrong. I want to help other authors out. When I eventually get there myself, I want to know I can rely on the kindness of others spreading the word. I don’t mean to fuss over something I’ve volunteered to do, but Geez Louise, this stuff is nerve-wracking. 

I never thought my knowledge of HTML would be put to use promoting books for others. I always thought I’d create websites as a sideline and maybe supplement my income. I guess I should be glad I’m at least using the skill. My money wasn’t totally wasted!

Who knows? Maybe I’ll even get better at coding. 

Rebellion and Thrills

I’m still adjusting to LWS (life without school). I love having time to myself now. I love not having anything to do. Life at home shouldn’t be about deadlines. Truly being able to relax for the first time in six years is incredibly wonderful.

I’ve been spending my days of LWS just decompressing. I was lucky I was still functioning by the time school ended. I was so burned out and so tired all the time. I wasn’t sleeping well, and I wasn’t eating properly. I’ve messed up my digestive system so badly that I’m now on a gluten free, lactose free diet to try to get things to settle down again. I’ll eventually add food groups back in, but for now it’s nice to have things on an even keel.

I ended the week by visiting a tattoo shop. I had two tattoos already, and the same tattoo artist did them both. Unfortunately, she’s on a medical leave of absence. I took a leap of faith and when I said I wanted a tattoo, they asked if I wanted it done right then, I said, “sure”. I ended up with a very nice guy named Danny. Going on impulse again, I asked to have the lyrics from a favorite song tattooed on my arm.

IMG_0183Yes, I like my music loud and with a harder edge. A song called, “Life is Beautiful” by Sixx:A.M. spoke to me. It has a line that mentions, “there’s nothing like a funeral to make you feel alive”. While I understand that this actually refers to a heroin overdose, it reminded me that it took my father’s dying when I was 28 to finally make me look around and realize I was wasting my life sitting at home every night, and if I didn’t change something, I was going to end up very much alone. His passing is what pushed me to get up and get out of the house and find someone to love. I met my husband when I was 29.

So my newest ink is in reference to the fact that life truly is beautiful. It’s also meant to be lived.

My mother would never have approved of me getting tattooed. She objected to pierced ears. I had to wait until I was 21 to get my ears pierced. Two ladies I worked with took me on a lunch break to an ear-piercing jewelry counter at a department store located downtown near where we worked. Years later, at a different employer, a coworker got a tattoo, and I always wanted one. I was married and out on my own at the time, but I still hesitated because I knew my mother would have been disappointed in me.

She passed away when I was 46. It took me quite a while to get over losing her. In fact, it was during a bit of a midlife crisis when my Hubby pushed me to think outside the box and do something different to change things up. I got my first tattoo – the heron on my ankle when I was 50.

FullSizeRender(3)The second tattoo came along when I was 53. Having gotten one, I decided ‘why not?’ on a second one. I do believe that once you get one, you get more. There’s something about the experience. I won’t lie. It hurts. It hurts a lot. But there’s something addicting about the pain Yeah, I know. I’m a sick puppy. The second tattoo was my Aquarius waves glyph on my left arm.

IMG_0207(1)So my third tattoo was added at age 57. It sits on my right arm.

IMG_0190(1)Am I done? I don’t know. Tattoos are kind-of like having babies. You forget the pain. It just takes a while (for me) to do so – usually a few years! Maybe I’ll get my next one to celebrate my 60th birthday. We all get our thrills in different ways, I guess. I’m just thrilled to be here and thrilled to be happy and relaxed for the first time in many years. Life is truly beautiful.


I’m Done!! I’m Done!!

School is over! School is done! I gave it my all and did the very best that I could. The last week was really just a horrific nightmare. There was just too much to finish up and complete. I wasn’t behind on assignments, but I (unwisely) also didn’t do any work ahead of time.

restSome of the assignments we were given early on in the program, with the idea that we would start them sooner. Of course, I didn’t. I procrastinate a lot. I tend to work better when I’m under a little bit of stress – self-imposed or not. I also had my hands full with work and work-related stress. Having to come home and do extra work to stay ahead of the game seemed like something I really didn’t want to get into at the time. So I did things the week they were due.

Several of the items due were done the night before they were supposed to be handed in. Why I insisted on working that way is a mystery to me, but that’s how I approached things this time around. I found myself late Friday nights knocking myself out, researching and writing multi-page documents. I literally made myself sick over things this last weekend. I was exhausted, my entire body ached and hurt. My heart raced, and I couldn’t relax even when I tried.  I was a mess.

I had high grades going in to the last week of class so I figured I could almost float by. I was foolish to assume that. The last parts of the assignments were the most difficult. I had to hand in a Final Exam “as is” because I couldn’t come up with the argument supporting the pretend client’s side of the issues.  Oddly enough, the case we’d been asked to work on was a trademark infringement case.

That’s odd because I work in Intellectual Property law in my day job. Out of all my classmates (who bitterly complained about having to work on an IP case because “it was too confusing”), I knew more about this case than any of the others I’d faced over the past two years. I understand this stuff because I work in it.

The case involved a made-up trademark holder who had gone after the pretend client, threatening to file a lawsuit for trademark infringement. I was supposed to research, find cases and prepare documents to support the fake client’s side of things. I couldn’t do it. The client was infringing, and there was no way around it. This case was covered in two separate classes. In the first class I recommended that the fake client change her business name as she was infringing on the trademark holder’s registered mark. The teacher told me that I was the only student she’d ever had who told her the client couldn’t win and stayed hard on it. She asked me to show her cases proving that the client was going to lose, and I could write it up that way. I was glad that I stuck to my guns because I was making myself crazy trying to do it the other way. I’m proud to say I got a 100% on that Final Exam.

My final grades were posted today. I got a 98.21% in my Capstone/Career Development class and a 100% in my Legal Research & Writing II class. Final GPA is a 3.98. I now possess two Associates in Applied Science degrees. This one was in Paralegal Studies, and my other one (4.0 GPA) is in Interactive Media Design. Not bad after postponing college until I was 51. I earned one degree at 54 and the other one at 57. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Now it’s time to reclaim me. I can rest, I can write, I can read, I can relax. Hallelujah!

Image courtesy of Pinterest