Closing out of computer programs with a pistol!

Notes from Alexis: Life is funny with dogs, computers, deer, and fighting over grape juice.

Dearest Lex and significant others (little joke there),

I love the postcards! The best thing is, they are appropriate for both men and women. They have been sending me information and doing major favors for me, and I need to show my appreciation without having to write letters. Your cards are perfect. Thank you.

DAWG UPDATE: I may have told you about the teenage boy who was showing the new boy in the neighborhood. As they rode by on their bikes, he pointed to our house and said, “A man-eating dog lives there.” Hanzi and I were in the house, and the boy didn’t crack a smile or let on by his tone that he was teasing. What a kid! (Hanzi was a 10 lb poodle)

Then on another day a couple of the boys went by on their bikes and the younger one said, “I was going in their yard, but their guard dog wouldn’t let me.” so there you have it! A boy-eating guard dog!

However, the mother doe in the yard didn’t take any sass from Hanzi. She stamped her foot, lowered her head and charged. Since then he keeps a respectful distance, and she goes off and leaves her fawn whenever she gets tired of the babe.

I know just how you feel about the new job. New jobs are stressful at the best of times, but having to learn a new computer and new software, is quite a bit much. At least when I did it, I was able to do it on my own clock without any pressure.

I have a neat computer story for you. R., one of Don’s cousins, gave me a genealogical program her son had found in the Idaho State Library. Seems they have freebie programs you can copy, so she sent it for me to try. The thing is, you first have to load Basic.” Now all of the programs you are using, and the ones I use have the machine language already built in, so we don’t have to bother.

Everything went swimmingly, and I was able to figure out the program and decided it wouldn’t do for me, so I decided to quit. I couldn’t get out of Basic. I typed quit, end, stop, Go to Hell! Nothing! I couldn’t get out! Ah ha I thought, I’ll look in the manual. If all else fails, read the instructions, right? Wrong. Nary a word.

So finally I called Comptalk where I bought the computer, and asked how you get out of Basic. There was this longish pause, then he said, “Have you tried a 22 pistol?” That really cracked me up. He didn’t know how either, and had to ask someone. I’ve forgotten what the word was, but believe me I wrote it down. I loved his sense of humor because I certainly was that close to doing bodily harm to the critter.

I get so involved with the Solo Press publishing, other things slide. It begins to look like the Tuttle book (genealogy) will end up being three volumes and maybe more. When I first started it, I assumed it would be four volumes, then I revised my estimate down to two volumes. When it dawned on me how big this project might be, I panicked.

At that point, I realized I had been pushing too hard and needed to back off and get a new perspective. I started working on my family genealogy, and that has turned into a project nearly as large as the Tuttles. Now I’m back to thinking it is all good clean fun.

Doing my family history, puts me in the writing mode as opposed to just editing. The history of those folks is so rich, that I have come up with some real nuggets. I believe; all us prospectors are alike. I once had a friend who went uranium hunting. He found some too, and this in the 50’s when uranium was the big thing. What he found is, what I’ve found, – it’s one thing to strike pay dirt and quite another to make any money from it. He certainly didn’t, and I have this awful feeling I won’t either. Still, I’m not absolutely certain that money is the real motive. Sanity counts too. Eh?

Well, P. actually got to Indianapolis without incident. I had to rain on J.’s parade. He seemed to think she was gone and out of his life forever, but “Looney Tunes people” never resolve anything. They just run around in circles. They will get tired or her back there, and she will be back out here one of these days. I say two weeks, but J. thinks longer. He hopes longer. “Forever” is not long enough to suit him.

HERE IS ONEUPMANSHIP TIME: We had a nice crop of grapes. The white ones, Niagra, came on and ripened first, so we ate them along. Then all of a sudden the Concords were ripe. Dad was going hunting in a few days, and it broke his heart to think I might eat them all by myself. Well, me and Hanzi. So I juiced them.

What a shock. All my life I have had grape juice that was strained and was clear as wine. I didn’t strain mine. Talk about heaven! The juice was thick and totally different from the taste when eating the grapes. We divided the juice equally and watched each other with gimlet eyes, for fear one of us might cheat. We figured the fact we didn’t cheat proved something. Lord knows I was tempted.

Well, I have to stop and do something, even if it’s wrong!




The great Skunk saga!

Notes from Alexis: Well, it is four years later from her last letter. Life took some sad changes. Gwen got mad and stopped writing to me. I guess we all have our family problems. Then her mother moved in with them, and life changed in more ways than she will admit. So we move on to a new chapter in all our lives, and nothing seems different. So strange the way life goes.

She has given most of her writing energy to Genealogical books, even though she has also been writing fiction.

Happy Birthday Sept 1989

Dearest Lex & various and sundry (but not skunks) animals,

I’ve been down on skunks ever since the great skunk saga. Last Sunday Don got up at 4:30 to go hunting and let Hanzi (the dog) out. There was a skunk in the yard, and Hanzi ran it under the house. He didn’t take the time to squirt Hanzi, but, of course, he was under there.

All day Mom and Hanzi kept checking, and they could see his black and white tail. Mom and Don decided the way to get him out was to throw moth balls under there. It worked, too! He came out MAD and squirted the end of the trailer.

We almost asphyxiated that night. I went out twice and washed the trailer off with vinegar and water. It helped, but just. Once during the night I became seriously concerned about breathing and had to go out and walk around to get some air.

A week later the smell of skunk is still at the end of the trailer and under the front steps and in the back bathroom defying all my efforts at freshening——Lysol, mint, leaves, etc.

Well, I have been researching my family tree, and have seven microfiche films in at the Family History Center, so for the next three weeks, I’ll be going up there two times a week to look at them. One of my second cousins once removed, sent me a lot of new information on one of the lines that I thought I would never find, so I am really excited.

I am still plugging away at Vol II — “William of the Tuttles” book, and the awful thought keeps intruding that Vol II might end up being II, III and IV. I can’t see any end to them. Or it could be I just have the “mid-book blues.” The beginning is exciting, and the end is too, but the middle gets tiresome.

A man put a query in the Connecticul Genealogy Society newsletter that I take, and it was about the Tuthills, so I looked it up in Alva’s book and was able to trace her back seven generations. This set me to thinking; I might, maybe, perhaps, do a book on the Tuthills too. I tell you there is just no stopping me once I get started.

The garden has withstood the cold weather, cutworms and pocket gophers and has produced so much we are just astounded. The gophers chewed holes through the underground hose. Mom went out to pull the carrots and saw one disappear down a hole right in front of her so it has been a foot race to see who would get the produce, them or us.

Every day we would go out and find another beautiful bean plant cut off, and we still have frozen 40 pkgs put up. The corn has just gotten a little carried away. Yesterday we froze 36 packages and just plain gave up. We were too pooped to put up more, but there is a ton out there. Sorry, you don’t live close enough for you to get the overflow. More important than the amount we have put up, is that everything is so good. Never better! I swear the grapes in the greenhouse are so good, and we have had enough to satisfy everybody – except Hanzi dog. He adores grapes and begs beseechingly for them. I give him the peels. He loves wine too, and spaghetti, so that’s how we know he is an “Italian” poodle.

Well, J. had her baby, 8 lbs. 2 oz. The doctor and nurse came to her house, and she had her at home. S. said they had a birthing chair, and all. What in God’s name is a birthing chair?!! What is the world coming to, with doctors making house deliveries?

S. gave us nearly a 100 lbs of prune plums that the B’s. had, and didn’t want to bother with. So they went out and picked them. We have canned 49 pints, which was half, and I am in the process of drying the rest. They are mighty tart, but when I add honey to them, they taste like wild plums, which is neat because we didn’t get any wild plums this year. They all froze.

SKUNK UPDATE: I wrote the first page a couple of days ago. Yesterday I got up and told Don something had to be done about the skunk smell. I told him if he took the end skirting off at least some air could get through and maybe the smell would blow away. So he did.

A little later I looked out and yelled for Don to come look. Laying out on the lawn was a dead skunk with bits of hair all over the yard. Hanzi had gone under the house and drag out the dead skunk. Mom plays with him with bits of rags and socks, so he had grabbed the tail, evidently, and was going to play with it, but it fell off. Dad thinks that the skunk may have been hit by a car, and that is the reason it stayed under the house all that first day, and then died under there, of course, it may have been sick anyway.

We now have blessed relief from skunk smell. I tell you I was about ready to move out! We left the skirting ends off all day, and Dad is just now putting them back on. He is all a dither because he leaves Thursday night to go hunting. He packed a week ago and then repacked last night.

Well, will close for now, and you all take care and have nice days during all this nice weather we are having, of course, it may not be nice up there. As usual, our summer was the pits, but it looks to be a lovely autumn if a tad cool-ish, we are building morning fires.





What if there is no “Big!” What then?

Notes from Alexis: Book rejections, needing a new book to write, and showing the computer kids how to run their own programs.


Dearest Lex,

Then you will never guess who I saw working at the library. K.K. She is thin and pretty. She had her hair pulled up on her head and a little makeup. She laughed and talked just like real people. Just lovely.

Boy it burns me up how young you two look. Nobody would think either of you were a day older than 18. Too tiresome.

Also heard the bad news from QUE. I got a letter from them, but it was so strange. Something about rejecting my ‘Orchestral Forms Made Easy’ so I called the editor, she was so embarrassed that the secretary had mixed up the letters. And yes, they rejected mine, too. She said they didn’t think there was a big enough market.

I wasn’t surprised. She suggested I send it to the software people, MicroPro. So I did, I doubt that anything will come of it with them either, but I have a little list and several more names come immediately to mind.

It always discombobulates me when I get rejected, but that is the publishing game. I know that once I stumble onto the right publisher, I’ll be okay, and I just have to keep trying.

The hard part for me is that I don’t have a book going. I sit here twiddling my thumbs, and it drives me crazy.

After you guys had left, we had a three – bird fight, which was stunning in its ‘Ferosity,’ it even scared Dad. It really irked me that they refused to fight while you were here. I will take the feeders down this weekend so they will migrate.

I’m going into the computer store to get a new Mailmerge program, and I called S. and told her mine was not behaving itself. Immediately she assumed I didn’t know what I was talking about, but by the time we got through it was patently clear who knew, and who didn’t.

My problem is I am spoiled. I have been the ‘Expert’ for weaving and spinning for so long that I have become accustomed to having people take my word for something. I now have to educate these new folks on their own computers.

It tickled me that I knew more about the program than S., who teaches it. Then, too, I just found out (invented?) a quick trick to get the tabs set. The original way is a big pain, and you have to do a song and dance routine – twelve steps to be exact – to get the tabs set at 5 and 50, like I use for my writing. I found a two-step way, pretty slick, so I am going in and wow the kids.
I’m sure you can see my Cheshire grin all the way up there. I get so much fun out of little things. Everybody else is waiting for the BIG things——the big bang, the perfect score, the big laugh——and I just go along collecting little things. I end up with the most, in the long run, and have fun doing it too. I mean what if there is no BIG! What then?

Got to run, will write more later.