Monday, February 13, 2023

Oh my. National Clean Out Your Computer Day


February 13th is "National Clean Out Your Computer Day." Seriously! Funny how this motivates me. I've had a few snafus lately trying to locate items on my computer. Files are messed up it would appear. I swear my computer has lost its marbles or should I say vision? Maybe some maintenance is in order.

I'm going to start with physically cleaning the exterior of a computer, and then tackle the interior. Thanks to my husband and all who offered professional advice online. Here are  suggestions for those who work at home. 


Exterior Cleaning: (for safety, turn off computer first)

Start with a cleaning solution safe for computer screens. Here are three options.

1) Make a vinegar solution to clean and disinfect. Use a ratio 1:1 of white vinegar and distilled water (note: tap water eventually leaves mineral deposits).

2) Use 70% isopropyl alcohol to clean and disinfect. This can also be used to clean electronics.

3) Purchase a cleaner. Check if safe for computer screens. Windex and most other glass cleaners are too harsh on screens and can damage anti-glare coatings, although some with vinegar may be okay. Read the label.

To disinfect, spray cleaner on microfiber cloth and use as a wipe. Do not spray directly on surface. Don’t forget the keyboard and gaps in between the keys. I found a toothpick or a cotton Q tip works well for this. Check the underside of your keyboard too for food crumbs if you sometimes snack at your desk like I do. Remember to use microfiber cloths, not paper towels, rags, old T-shirts, or the sweater you happen to be wearing (they can scratch surfaces).

Interior Cleaning: (warning - potential headache😟)

--Empty computer trash (do regularly) 

--Scan for malware/suspicious files. I have Malware Bytes which scans  my computer daily. I also have several computer sign-ons. One for Admin (for program changes, etc.), one for Financial (for bills, etc.), and one for My World (daily work). I highly recommend. Apparently, this method gives different layers of protection. My husband set this up and swears by it. We recently gave my elderly mother a sign on too, so she can have email.

--Review emails and delete those no longer needed. Ongoing. (I have too much spam). 

 -- Uninstall/Delete unwanted or unused programs. Yes, probably some there.

--Delete files no longer needed. Oh my. Feels like I have hundreds. Probably an exaggeration. But this will take some time.

--Organize files and folders. Definitely could use some work.

--Update programs you use. Need to verify auto updates.

-- Backup your computer. I have neglected this because I was under the impression my files were backed up to a second hard drive automatically. My computer savvy husband just informed me this is not the case. I do have auto backup, but nothing more. Oh, dear…this is me screeching
😲. I have a backup hard drive, but I must remember to use. I also have Microsoft OneDrive. No excuse. 😲 'The tale of how Sharon lost her writing' is not one I wish to read or tell!

-- Move files on your desktop screen to their appropriate folders. Not sure about this. I like to keep folders on my desktop where I can see everything at a glance. They serve as reminders, which is a good thing when juggling projects. I do have files though that have no purpose on my desktop. These will be filed appropriately or removed.

-- Clean out downloads folder. Thinking I may have a lot. I seldom check.

--Remove duplicate files. I’m groaning. There are programs for duplicate files, photos too. A big mess. 

Good luck everyone. I hope you are in better shape than I am. 
All the best, 


Sharon M. Himsl
Published: Evernight Teen 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Happy Easter: We Used to Send Postcards

We used to send postcards...a lot, and it was a fun way to let people know we were thinking about them when we traveled. But I do not recall ever sending one at Easter time. Below is an Easter postcard sent from Norway, addressed to my grandparents in America in the early 1900s. The scribbling on front was probably my mother's doing or that of one of her five siblings.

I've never saved postcards for long. Have you? Perhaps I should have. I did find an old collection of greeting cards once in a drawer. Some were for Easter, not the Easter bunny kind for kids, but those celebrating the resurrection of Christ. For some reason they were never sent. To be frank, the holiday never really caught on with Hallmark or other card makers as it had with the other holidays. Not that it never caught on with me. I still attend sunrise services. But I sometimes blame the loss of Easter on the school system when spring break stopped falling on this holiday. Just a theory. Perhaps, it was one too many Christian celebrations to keep in the mix, I'm not sure, but let's face it, both Christmas and Easter can easily be celebrated without any reference to Christ.   

I come from a family of Lutherans, both German Lutherans and Norwegian Lutherans. My closest German ancestors pretty much lost their faith, despite one Rader ancestor who had ridden horseback all over Missouri evangelizing his neighbors and extended family in the late 1800s. The Rader family made history in that state and left quite a legacy. One town bears the family's name to this day. 

My Norwegian side held firm to the faith, even those who boldly tried less traditional worship in other churches, like Baptist and Pentecostal types. My grandfather was a diehard Lutheran though, having been the only Lutheran Gravseth to travel to America. Religion divided my grandmother and him quite a bit over the years, as she did leave the Lutheran church. From the old country (i.e. Norway) their families sent religious postcards during the holidays, like the one below, and I have to think it may have been the one time their faiths were united.


Sharon M. Himsl
Published: Evernight Teen 

Saturday, April 9, 2022

The Classics - CLOSING LINES: The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper


"It is enough," he said. "Go, children of the Lenape, the anger of the Manitou is not done. Why should Tamenund stay? The pale-faces are masters of the earth, and the time of the redmen has not yet come again. My day has been too long. In the morning I saw the sons of Unamis happy and strong; and yet, before the night has come, have I lived to see the last warrior of the wise race of the Mohicans." (Published 1826)



I love the classics, don't you? Comment if you wish, or read for inspiration. Writing styles were different back then, perhaps too wordy for some. But weigh this against a world without computers, internet, television or cell phones to see the difference. I think we read to experience this difference. We write to capture it as well.  



Sharon M. Himsl
Published: Evernight Teen 


Thursday, April 7, 2022

IWSG: A Plug for Audio Books

Thank you IWSG for this April 6 posting and your co-hosts Joylene Nowell Butler, Jemima Pett, Patricia Josephine, Louise - Fundy Blue, and Kim Lajevardi

Hello! I've been offline for awhile, so I was pleased to find this group is alive and well. You never cease to amaze me. May this be one of your best writing periods in life yet. We certainly have been through a lot these past two years!

Regarding the suggested topic of the month, I'd like to put in a plug for Audio Books in general. For some reason they fell out of favor with me after my children were grown and gone. Fondly, I remember traveling to the library and checking out DVD books before embarking on the many road trips we took over the years as a family. As we were a day's ride from family across state, we listened to quite a few books on tape. 

One of my favorite memories was listening to a radio version of the first Star Wars movie, broadcasted on NPR. (We had either taped these or ordered a DVD; can't recall). I was later surprised at how much detail was missed in the movie itself. The audio version had added a whole new dimension to the story and characters, and to this day, I almost love the radio version more. 

I think a good point can be made for what makes a good audio book and what does not. You've all experienced the fiction book that is easily skim-read, you know, the kind with little holding power word-wise. But there are others you read word for word because they paint such vivid pictures in your mind. These and nonfiction are the best on audio. 

So back from that period when audio books existed in my life, I have turned a corner and started listening to books again. Thanks to Amazon's 'Audible' offerings, I recently signed up for the $7 version as an experiment. Since my husband and I now live an hour away from major services, we find ourselves on the road at least once a week. I've started with the purchase of nonfiction books, since we have different tastes in fiction, but I'm contemplating earplugs and book downloads to my Smart Phone when I'm outdoors gardening.

 I'm hoping this will increase the yearly number of books I read, which has been pitifully small. My only complaint is the cost of Audible for the full version, which is $14.95. I may eventually opt for the full version, since selection is otherwise limited. It does however add to the cost of a book if you don't read a lot, so as I said, this is an experiment for me. But then the to read more.

I'm curious as to the cost of making an audio book and if authors in this group have been successful. And, how on earth do you do it? What are the do's and don't's of this process? It's my understanding, your readership needs to be pretty high for audio books to be profitable. Nevertheless, I do see a lot online, so I'll see what others have to say.  

All the best, Sharon

Sharon M. Himsl
Published: Evernight Teen 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Celebrate the Small Things: How I Survived the Pandemic

Largest molly - 'Goldie'
Hi there. It's been awhile. I survived the pandemic, as did everyone else reading this post!! I think it changed me though. I know it did. I found myself hunkered down in our home with my husband and 95 year old mother for the duration, sorting through an onslaught of online opinions (many ugly) regarding the virus, a new president, politics, and our waning democracy in the U.S.

I tackled some of the ongoing arguments, but felt awful, depressed to be honest. Mostly I wanted to hide. So, I did. 

I went into hermit mode, sewing a hundred face masks for the community and learning how to purchase just about everything online. Amazon became my new best friend. While it inspired my husband to build a better pantry and my mother to nearly complete a novel, writing pretty much went on hold for me...unless you count the Facebook rants. 

Hunkered down: With Mom & Vince

 Instead, I pulled out our empty 55 gallon fish tank in May of 2020, a long postponed project and Christmas gift of old. I learned everything I could about tropical fish and decided to start with a betta sorority: five young female bettas, plus a couple mystery snails, some ghost shrimp, and several neon tetras. 

2 favorite bettas, Suzzi & Sassy

 It was fun, captivating and very peaceful at first, until I discovered that two of the females were males, which subsequently created drama in the tank. Betta males are territorial little guys. In the end, all but one died due to either disease, stress, possibly old age, and I'm guessing my inexperience at properly cycling a fish tank. Only one ghost shrimp of that group remains, and I have to say it was heartbreaking to see the rest go. You really do develop loving relationships with your fish. I know, silly to non fish-keepers out there, but it's true. All have special spots in my garden now, my favorites under an outdoor turtle ornament.


Today I have 4 mollies, 5 platies (and babies), 3 amano shrimp, 3 new neon tetras, 2 new mystery snails, an unknown number of Malaysian trumpet snails and a few bumblebee snails. This tank, these beautiful 'small' creatures in God's incredible animal kingdom, gave me refuge and soothing comfort throughout the pandemic. I did write about it actually, that is, random entries in a fish journal detailing my daily/weekly experience, and interwoven with Covid and political drama taking place outside our home. Perhaps, I will pull it out someday and see if there is something worthy of a small book. 

Meanwhile, I'm celebrating the small things in life, fish or not. We have much to be thankful for!! Future-wise, I plan to continue my Classics collection of 'closing' and 'opening' lines, a favorite of mine, and I'm seriously considering the April A-Z Challenge this year. 

Sharon M. Himsl
Published: Evernight Teen 


Monday, January 7, 2019

Busy Writing...

When life gets the best of you, find a quiet place in nature. 
Hug a tree and it just might hug you back. 

A long over due visit to California's Redwood Forest in 2015.

Sharon M. Himsl
Published: Evernight Teen 

About Me

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You could call me an eternal optimist, but I'm really just a dreamer. l believe in dream fulfillment, because 'sometimes' dreams come true. This is a blog about my journey as a writer and things that inspire and motivate me.