Darkness, Life, Travel

Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend

Where does time go? You wake at four, five, or six in the early morning, darkness is all around you, and then BAM! The darkness of the night gives way to the rising sun. You realize it’s another day!

Disclaimer: This is a long post…plan to read for about fifteen to twenty or so minutes.

This past Wednesday (January 15) was filled with travel back to Winston-Salem, NC (an hour and half one-way trip) to pick up my MAC. It was FIXED!!! Happy Face was me! Read on to learn how I got a happy face!

Pam's face being licked with love.
Smiles of Love


Since December 9 or was it 10? I forget—I’ve lost track of time. My MAC became ill. It lost it’s ability to connect to WiFi. UGH! Computers, in this time of darkness, don’t seem to function well if they can’t connect. The cord was cut and I hadn’t planned for it to be.

Oh, I thought about it a lot—cutting the cord. It was the holiday time and what free time I had was being devoured by the darkness of monsters stealing me away to fix problems after problems after problems. I couldn’t afford to be bothered with fixing a MAC when the nearest service tech was in Winston-Salem. I had things to cook, gifts to finish, and Christmas was coming.

Fast Forward

After surviving the holiday time, I made the move to talk with Apple on January 03, which is my Dad’s Birthday and one of my favorite authors, J. R. R. Tolkien. This year would have been Dad’s 100th Birthday—Happy Birthday, Dad!

The Apple Gurus told me I would need to make sure my computer was backed up.

Do you think it was? Well, of course not. I didn’t have WiFi. My particular MacBook Pro doesn’t have an Ethernet port. I didn’t own a Thunderbolt, but I did own an Insignia. So, I proceeded to use it. What do you suppose happened?

More Troubles – More Darkness

Good guess. It didn’t work either. So, I spent two weeks trying to manually copy my files. Then, my mind did a wondrous thing. It remembered I owned a WD Passport that surprise, surprise, would hold my backup of my MAC.

After another four days, I managed to get my MAC backed up, called Apple, and got an appointment scheduled for Tuesday, January 14.

Albert and I made our trip down to Winston-Salem and found the wonderful tech, Mike, at I.T. Worx. And, Mike said he felt he could fix my issue, but I’d have to leave my laptop with him along with my back up. I was giddy with anticipation and hopeful he knew what he was doing.

The next day – January 15, we traveled back to Winston-Salem (did I mention it is an hour and one-half drive one way? It is all real miles in that hour and one-half too). Anywho, we got to the approved Authorized Apple Service provider and Bingo! My MAC was ready. Mike did a very nice quick check with my Insignia adapter and DVD external drive. Mike was happy. Albert was happy. Again, my face WAS happy!

During the Darkness …

I learned during the disconnected period (the darkness) that I get far more done disconnected!

My MAC being sick forced me to reopen my PC, which I had not opened since June 2019 when I closed my technical writing business. That one act required one week just to update the PC!!! DOUBLE UGH!!! (I know, the multiple exclamation points aren’t necessary, but I like ’em right now. Snicker)

By design, I do not have social media apps on my cell. My phone does the basics of calling, texting, and email. This forced me to disconnect from the likes of FaceBook, LinkedIn, and of course my website.

The timing could have been better (snide remark from the peanut gallery). Book Two – DarkShadow was released the beginning of November and I had planned to begin marketing the release of my new book to let others know another book from The Chronicles of Eldershire was available on Amazon in print and eBook formats.

The darkness stopped me from letting people know. Like KC in DarkShadow, I was in the dark too!

What Else Happened?

Darkness is or can be a friend! Being dark allowed me to reconnect with many friends in special ways and find new friends too.

The month of December started off with the typical season of celebration—holiday gatherings, the annual Christmas parade followed by smaller gatherings with friends and family. St. Paul United Methodist Church Choir had its annual Christmas Cantata on December 15. The Cantata has become a tradition serving as our family and friends’ official kick-off to the days of Christmas.

Right around that time is when my MAC computer went south for the winter and darkness began to descend—but a strange thing happened. I was cut from the daily grind of social media. Suddenly, I felt free.

Sadly, other forms of darkness crept into my life during Christmas week too. Those days were touched with the passing of two women who made their mark on my life by being the mothers of two dear friends—Shirley Grubb (mother to Jane) and Thelma Davis (mother to Linda). Our families’ hearts are with Jane and Linda as their loss is felt by all who knew their sweet mothers.

Knitting Came Next…

Because of the darkness, I had time to keep my hands busy with other tasks. Beside cooking, something I enjoy and try to do daily, other, albeit, older hobbies came back in full force because I had time. I had time to think, reflect, act.

I’ve been a knitter since I was five or six—not a spectacular knitter—it is a hobby that I have tried to build and improve my craft all my life. I became a knitter because of a gift given to me on my fifth birthday (I think. It could have been my sixth). I received a Barbie Doll in a tube canister that contained a set of knitting needles and yarn.

The significant thing was my Barbie had no clothes. I had to learn to knit to make her a dress. I did. My beautiful Barbie couldn’t go around without clothes. When the dress was done, I was proud. I had an happy face.

My pride shown on my face while caring my Barbie, showing her off around the neighborhood. It was 1959, and little girls always had their Barbies with them. Since then, I’ve knitted off and on again.

Blowing Rock, North Carolina

On Thursday, December 19, after being in the dark (social media wise), Albert and I decided to make an unexpected trip to Blowing Rock, NC. We got on the road and found The Hemlock Inn—a must repeat place to stay. We were in Blowing Rock all of 24 hours, but what a fun time!

After checking into our room, we decided to walk up to Main Street and see what we could find for lunch. We were only one block away, not far from the main sitting area folks use during warm weather to watch people scurry by while shopping or doing work and errands.

We walked the length of Main over to the Speckled Trout for a lovely lunch. There is something about trout—rainbow at that—we love. Then, we stopped along, dropping into various shops while on a mission to find a yarn shop. I needed to purchase a nice pair of crochet hooks for a friend’s Christmas wish.

Tourists We Are

We found a shop, but learned upon entering that the “thread” in it’s name was dealing with fabric and not yarn too. Silly me. Though, I will say, I loved the fabrics there. I also saw a very cool kit used to make bowls out of fabrics. I think it may be a new craft I’ll want to learn.

After looking around, and trying to find a yarn shop on my cell, which I am not very savvy doing, I began to wonder why a town like Blowing Rock, which is supportive of artisans of all strips, wouldn’t have a yarn shop. I knew I was missing something.

We visited several more shops, and then walked back to the Hemlock Inn to rest a bit and see what we could find in the way of where we’d go for dinner. While relaxing in our beautiful room, I searched through the Hemlock Inn Welcome package. It had in it a tourist brochure! My friend, Rosa, would be proud of this town. I opened the brochure that gave me all of the essentials—maps, shops, places to eat, and lodging info.

Dinner Plans in the Darkness of the Night

Did you notice? I didn’t reach for my cell. Instead, Albert and I chose to search the old fashion way for what was available in the area during the holiday season. I was still in the clutches of darkness—and it seemed to be serving me well. I found there was a Mellow Mushroom restaurant across the street from the Speckled Trout. Yes!

Besides, I love being mellow (think “Have You Ever Been Mellow” sung by Olivia Newton-John) and I love mushrooms…what else is there not to love about Mellow Mushroom. By the way, I’m sure you took note that I evidently don’t look around my surroundings very well. We had walked past Mellow Mushroom TWICE and never noticed it. Triple UGH!

My love of Mellow Mushroom grew exponentially when I learned how allergen conscious they are with food allergies. They have recently created a special app to help their allergic sensitive customers find foods they can enjoy. It would be wonderful if more restaurants did this. (Side note: Olive Garden does this too!)

Food Allergies can Cause Darkness in One’s Life!

My food allergies are soybean and sesame. If you read labels, you know soybean (aka vegetable oil, mayonnaise, chocolate, salad dressing etc.) is in EVERYTHING! (I need to do a post on this topic regarding soybean and its by-products in food and non-food products too).

Anyway, the tourist brochure was educating me about all the places that I was finding that were within walking distance. The Hemlock Inn was proving to be a perfect place to stay.

Then, there it was! Bingo! A Yarn Shop! It was listed amongst the shops interwoven in the streets of Blowing Rock. The best part was its name: The Unwound Yarn Shop! Albert and I decided we would find that yarn shop the next day. It was already six in the evening. Darkness had descended upon us again.

We went to Mellow Mushroom where we enjoyed a Greek Salad, a House Special pizza, and I had a much needed Black and Tan.

Sunshine After the Darkness

The next morning, after packing the car and checking out of the Hemlock Inn, we thanked Donna, the owner, and told her we would be returning. Albert and I walked up to Main Street and visited The Spice & Tea Exchange (a wonderful store we had found during a prior trip). We purchased a large quantity of spices and teas to use for gifts and in our kitchen. After asking about where the Unwound Yarn Shop was located, we were directed back to the Thread Shop.

Walking along the streets, we stopped in several pottery shops while trying to find the Yarn Shop. Each time we asked, we were directed to the Thread Shop. Don’t get me wrong. I love fabric, but I was running out of time to find the crochet hooks. The last shop we visited, we saw sitting on the shelves some pottery bowls that were designed to hold yarn while a craftier knitted or crocheted. I had a good feeling about this shop.

The clerk was able to point out where we needed to walk to find the Unwound Yarn Shop. Success! When I walked into the store, I knew I had found yarn Nirvana. I was in heaven. Albert saw right away he would need to give me some time, so he said he’d go find some coffee.

Spirit Dolls Find Me!

And, of course, an hour later, I had bought a set of crochet hooks and knitting accessories I needed, and yes, I bought yarn, too. The items for me would go into my Christmas stocking. The clerk was winding my yarn into convenient balls when a nice looking couple came through the door.

After watching the lady find a beautiful wrap of yarn, I started a conversation. Her name was Louise and she makes spirit dolls. (Visit her site). Her husband, Matthew, joined us in our conversation and before we realized it, we had been there another hour.

It was almost one o’clock and neither of us had had lunch. We walked out and caught up with Albert. The four of us then walked over to the Six Pence Irish Pub where we enjoyed a lovely lunch until three in the afternoon. Did I mention that Louise & Matthew are wonderful people?

Before we parted, we made a commitment to connect again after the holidays. The darkness was starting to subside. The serendipitous nature of our meeting is expressed in the view that I wasn’t supposed to find the yarn shop until we could meet Louise and Matthew—Kindred spirits always!

Albert and Pam in front of Hemlock Inn.
Albert & Pam outside Hemlock Inn — See the carved owls?

Darkness Fading

Yesterday, January 16, my MAC was fixed and so now, I’m here working on my blog—darkness is slowly receding. I’m in the shadows, but I see a spot of light. I must believe!

My new rule of thumb—don’t get overly connected. Use social media to help connect, but keep it real, in person when possible. I will use my blog to talk with you, my readers, but I won’t rely on it to do what I need to do—connect with real souls!

Today, I created a 2020 Writing Schedule to blog and to begin Book 3 of The Chronicles of Eldershire. The working title of Book 3 is BELIEVE!

My challenge to You is to Keep Me Honest!

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Update on My Writing Journey

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Write on!

This post “Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend” was first posted on Pam’s Blog on January 17, 2020. Happy Birthday to my friend, Rosa!