Saturday, April 7, 2012

Old Dogs and New Tricks

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

"You can't teach an old dogs new tricks." So goes the old saw. By now, I am a prime example of how unreliable that old saying is. This old dogs just keeps learning tricks. While preparing for two art shows, spending time getting to know and appreciate my Wacom pen, and keeping up with the lively Sheltie who runs our place, I faced a longtime challenge. For years, Microsoft Excel sat there in my hard drive and I never went near it. The term spreadsheet made my blood run cold. I had all but taken a vow to never tackle the job of learning. Let others make their spreadsheets, I reasoned. I would continue to stumble along with my little calculator and my scribbled notes on odds and end of paper and sometimes actually getting information into my computer.

A few days before the flu bug took me down, it became clear to me that I could no longer deal with my so-called record keeping and I was sick of calculating the same numbers over and over, ad nauseum. I knew I would have to learn a new piece of software and wasn't eager to deal with the inevitable headaches that would entail, but plunged into the fray anyway.

With the help of the Internet, I sailed through—well, for me it was relatively sailing through—in a couple of days and absorbed the basics of creating an Excel spreadsheet along with formulas and formatting. Whoduthunkit? Now, of course, I am kicking myself for not having learned this years ago. Formulas are the cat's pajamas. No more calculating and recalculating with each slight alteration in figures. Enter a new amount in column C and whammo!, the formula takes care of all that number crunching across all those columns. Excuse me for gushing, but as one seriously intimidated by numbers, this equals a little bit of magic for me. I may even become a spreadsheet fanatic.

I am not yet the full strength version of Anita—I am productive for very few hours any give day, but I am getting closer to recovery. I have another art show to prepare for—more coming about that soon. Besides, Galen has been going through an allergy reaction that has cut back on everyone's sleep. As soon as possible, I will post more about the next show. I am already a tad anxious about all the work to be done. I need a robot to take care of oh, so many details.

The image above is from a very old photograph and one that I barely liked enough to keep in the files. I never found any reason to share it and kept it only because each time I stumbled across it it reminded me of a beautiful display that I had the good fortune to witness. I haven't yet found how to make this work to my satisfaction, but at least I have reached a point, recently, where I am willing to share a version with you. Perhaps there is enough here that, with some imagination, you will have an inkling as to what captivated me and convinced me to hold on to a deeply flawed photograph. Sometimes, it is enough to have files that serve only to jog our memories, to remind us (perhaps when we most need it) that there is much in our lives that is sublimely beautiful and needs neither explanation nor excuse for being.