About Me

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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Loving my wonderful Kindle....

In front of Big Ben: badly centered!
Amazon.com has simply got to be one of the greatest places on-line, perhaps even on earth. And here I speak mostly about books, although as I get used to the 
idea that Amazon has expanded into almost everything short of booking (ha!) 
flights to the moon, I'm begrudgingly accepting the shared wall space with 
"other things" <snarl here, please> when I go to their main page. 
I've been in love with Amazon since the late '90's, feeling extremely guilty 
because our town has a truly wonderful independent bookstore, a dying breed. In 
fact, if I can, I really try to buy locally as much as possible across the line.  
And local independent bookstores should definitely be supported. 

Plus there's nothing like getting to know your indie bookseller. Talk about 
recommendations! I well remember the wonderful years when I took my Christmas 
list up to "Words and Music" and Alan, between other customers, spent most of 
the day helping me pick out the perfect book for each person on my list. One 
year his enthusiasm for Angela's Ashes, a brand new book no had heard of as of 
yet - for my very Irish fellow CFIDer from our St. Louis days - knew no bounds.  
It was a very hard sell, but he was HOW right?

As I've become sicker and sicker I turned to Amazon more and more often. And 
when you are a severe insomniac, it's great to be able to shop in the odd hours 
when the world sleeps. 

When Strand Bookstore in New York went on-line, I also ordered from them by the 
huge - and heavy - boxful. They have the most incredible stock. What an 
unbelievable bookseller - I have been known to be the last customer out, with 
sales personnel literally pushing me out the door while hubby pulled. I make NO 
apologies...the store is incredible and when you first walk in, there is so much 
there that your brain simply fries. You need to allot much time for Strand. It 
takes a while for your brain to come back to normal. My notebook of books 
already read is almost a necessity, I find, because my brain never quite makes 
it back to normal after walking in.  On-line is definitely the way to go.

But all along the way I've been falling more deeply in love with Amazon...it's a 
growing love affair.

So when the age of the Kindle came, I was extremely torn. To say I love books? 
Oh, I don't even know how to convey to anyone how much. But the house was 
getting squeezed by them and since I could never part with any books no matter 
how lousy, and because there were no more areas in the house to build more 
shelves, Kindle started being forced on me. It was a matter of "buy more books 
but get rid of the same number of books in order to have some semblance of an 
orderly house," or resort to Kindle. 

Heresy! I was very conflicted. But any time there was a discussion of the new 
Kindle from BookSpan to Charlie Rose to "Good Morning America," my ears were 
glued to what was being said. 

Another complication in this decision making was that anything mechanical, 
especially electrical, which includes clocks, watches and computers, seems to 
die on me, or at the very least constantly breaks down. Hubby still tells anyone 
who will listen about how Big Ben stopped for the first time ever on August 5, 
1976 on our honeymoon. Let's just say Big Ben was working when my new hubby and 
I sat down to have a late sandwich in a tiny square near Big Ben and fifteen 
minutes later he wasn't moving. 

I used to have three computers in my arsenal: one for in the shop being fixed, 
one ABOUT to go to into the shop to be fixed and one having arrived from the 
shop FINALLY fixed. My family will not allow me to even walk by their computers 
because suddenly their screens would start to do weird things. I've even seen my 
middle child see me coming, grab his laptop and flee. Putting the final touches 
on his PhD dissertation from our home, he was not about to risk losing precious 
data brought home from Australia. (Picky! Picky!)

So, why would a person with my history possibly want the hassle of a Kindle? 
Well, in order to keep buying and reading books, of course - silly! Our 
libraries here are very good and hubby makes frequent runs there weekly, but 
some books you just want to own and some books simply aren't instantly 

Furthermore, for many it is a wonderful way to go. Some of us have trouble 
holding a book, after all, and a Kindle really helps if you want to continue 

Thirdly, a real problem with CFIDS and Fibromyalgia is the cognitive problems we 
have. As much as I love to read - a wild understatement - I must admit that 
there have been times when I've forced myself to read, just in order to keep my 
mind from atrophying. I can't believe I'm admitting this, but there have been a 
couple of times when I resorted to harlequin romances...I needed to read because 
I love to and I needed to read to slow the brain deterioration process. 

I often call myself a "moody" reader but that's simply code for saying that 
there are times I can only handle this sort of book, other times I can only 
handle that sort. "Chick lit" one day, Nobel Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner the 
next. And when I read "Wolf Hall"? I love a really long book. But holding one, 
as I mentioned before, is a different story. Finally, being able to match a book 
to your mood in just an instant really helps that pesky "mood" problem.

Anyway, a few months into the second generation of my first Kindle, the 
inevitable happened. I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or get mad at myself. 
Instead, I finally called the Amazon Kindle number to talk to someone and a few 
minutes later, talking to a really, really polite and kind young man, we 
realized that my Kindle was really and truly dead. Since the year warranty was 
still in effect (what WAS I thinking when I didn't buy the extended warranty 
with my history?) I was sent a new Kindle, free of charge. I just had to 
remember to mail back the old one within 30 days, which is not as easy as it 
sounds when you can do nothing, nor remember anything, yet ridiculously easy for 
the rest of the world. They even set it up for me by entering my old books into 
it and the heading on the top of the Kindle read "Irene's 2nd Kindle." Sweet!

Were we all in a group I might stop here and ask how many know where this is 
going! You may be right.

You see, the other night I received "Irene's 5th Kindle." To tell you the truth 
I was a bit uncomfortable calling about this fifth one...in fact, the warranty 
had run out. I knew the warranty starts anew with each new Kindle but I was 
just too plain lazy ("too sick" and "too tired"...remember our code words here!) to 
call and explain the dying process of my fourth Kindle. 

Finally, with the warranty over, I now had to choose from quite an array of new 
Kindles. Did I mention I have a hard time making decisions - a very typical 
CFIDS problem?  Well, finally Kindle number four died absolutely and completely.  
I was going to order a new one after much hemming and hawwing. But I wasn't sure 
that I'd be able to handle the library transfer and registration parts, so I 
wanted to order one from an actual human being. Amazon has them, you see...I 
suspect they're there to be amused by the senior crowd who have no clue as to 
what they are doing. 

I finally got around to calling. And in less than five minutes I was informed 
that by paying $60 I could have a brand new Kindle, the very one I was ready to 
put real money into. How amazing is that?

I must say that the support woman was a bit....shocked?...when she realized this 
was my fifth Kindle. I refrained from telling her about my Big Ben incident.

And England: I'm so sorry. I really didn't mean to hurt Big Ben. It was a 
totally innocent and unintentional act!  My sincerest apologies to all.


  1. I keep posting my comments and they keep disappearing. You are not alone having a problems with technology.

    1. Oh no! Sooo sorry, Mariula! I'll try to figure out why but that may be a real joke. Agh! Computers!

      Thanks so much for coming by. I wonder if there could be anyone else trying to make a comment, without success.

  2. Irene, I am rolling with laughter again and again. I found your writing fascinating, interesting, with great insite! Thank you.

  3. I am so happy that you are enjoying this, Mariula. It is such a treat to see someone enjoying what I've written. Thank you! Hope you return!

  4. Hey Irene,

    I also LOVE amazon for books. I don't know what I would do without it. However, I'm still hooked to reading actual books. Perhaps as time goes by and they start to fill all the space in my home I will have to consider giving in. I hope not. I held out for so long even with a mobile phone until my parents bought one for me.

    Maybe you're an alien. Maybe that's why you keep breaking these tech things : ) I've actually been breaking my charging wire for my laptop to quickly. I hope this isn't a pattern like yours : )

    1. So delighted to see you stopped by, Treya!  But of course you love Amazon and books.... I loved the book wallpaper on your blog, the very background I'd been looking for!  :)

      Alien: VERY good theory.  I'll have to give that some thought!  You may be on to something there!