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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dancing Debut at Demo's

I did it.  I danced in public.  At Demo’s on St. Mary’s Street.  The original Demo’s with the bougainvillea mural and blue mosaic on the floor.  I didn’t blog the last two days because I was feverishly preparing for this debut, the getting-our-feet wet practice session before the big performance in July.   

So, how was it?  It wasn’t bad.  In fact, it was fun.  I was nervous, yes, but not as nervous as I thought I’d be.  Why?  Because I felt ready.  I was as prepared as I was going to be, both physically and mentally.  This calls for a short list: 

Steps to Combat (Dance) Performance Anxiety: 

(1)    Practice, practice, practice.  My “writing room” has become my dance room as well, complete with mirrors covering one wall.  That’s where I practiced.  Over and over.  With mirrors, without mirrors.  With costume, without costume. 

The costume step is important.  Many a wardrobe malfunction could have been avoided had the dancer done this one simple thing.  This is when you discover that your skirt slips down as you dance.  Or the top fastener pops open.  Less disastrous things can be avoided as well.  For instance, I discovered that the nifty coin belt I got to accessorize my skirt was too heavy to hop around in, as we do in “Elsekka.”  Plus the coins were flying off in all directions.  So I had to go with a plainer, lighter belt, one with firmly attached coins.   

The next component is even more important:  

(2)    Mental attitude.  I picked up two valuable tips from watching “Dancing with the Stars.”  One is the mantra every pro dancer chirps to his or her celebrity partner just before they face the audience:  “Just have fun!”  The second piece of advice came from one of the celeb dancers from a past season.  He was not a great dancer, yet he always scored high.  He said, “It’s all about attitude.”  Chutzpah.  Pizzazz.  Mojo.  Style, in other words, hopefully in addition to a certain degree of substance. 

Style goes a long way on DWTS.  I mean, look at Kirstie Alley.  She made mistakes in every single dance she did, but she had attitude and moxy and threw herself into her dance personas.  That mattered more than getting the steps perfect.  So I decided to do the same.  Instead of fretting about the next step and what could go wrong, I would concentrate on the role I was dancing and just try to enjoy it.   

So, what actually happened last night?  Here’s how it went down.  I put on my costume at home.  At the last minute I added a multi-strand of gold beads and matching earrings.  (It’s impossible to overdo it with a belly dance costume.)  With the addition of the beads, I decided I resembled an African princess, only they don’t usually wear gold lamé.  Some of us met at the studio for a quick run through of “Jemileh.”  Then we made the 3-minute drive  from there to Demo’s.  I joined the dancers’ table.  I was one of them now. 

Then everything happened fast.  There was a freestyle improvisational number that started it off.  The floor swarmed with belly dancers.  The next dance was a choreographed number.  Then it was time for “Jemileh.”   About a dozen of us hastily assembled on the floor and spaced ourselves.  We assumed the beginning pose, and the music started.  I forgot about everything else and just danced.  In a flash it was over, and we went back to the dance table.  A couple of dances later, it was time for “Elsekka,” the dance I was most worried about.  This time there were only four of us out there, including Miss K.  Again, I just thought about throwing myself into the role.  At some point I realized I was actually enjoying it.  I may have even smiled.     

After it was all over, we gathered for a final group bow.  Then I headed over to join my fans (husband, daughter, and her friend) and quickly tossed back three glasses of wine.  It was cause for celebration.  I feel as if I’ve crossed a threshold, achieved something, faced down a fear.   I survived the Demo’s debut. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Life After Losing My Job, or How Blogging Saved My Sanity

When I first lost my job I was pretty devastated.  Then after a month or so of licking my wounds, I realized a couple of things: 

1)      Realization No. 1:  I was sick of working for attorneys anyway.  For more than 20 years I was a paralegal, and I enjoyed it.  I worked for the good guys, the ones who defended people who got sued by the bad guys.  I was lucky.  My attorney bosses were nice people and pleasant to work for (well, except the last one).  It was fun being around attorneys.  Usually they are smart, funny, and of course, good with words, which I always appreciate.  Many of them became attorneys as a fall back.  After they graduated from college with a degree in history or English, they wondered, OK, now what the heck do I do?   So they go to law school.  But, back to my job--the deadlines, the pressure, the demand for perfection-- I just kinda got tired of it.  And, no matter how nice an attorney is, they are high maintenance.  They are arrogant.  They procrastinate.  As a non-attorney, you will always be an underling.  There will always be a vast chasm between you and the attorney class.  Lastly, paralegals have zero upward mobility.  So, after 20-plus years, I was done.   

2)      Realization No. 2:  For the first time in my life, I had time to do as I pleased.   So I signed up for belly dance classes.  I got more involved with the local humane society, started a newsletter for it.  I went to the library and loaded up on books to read.  But the most exciting thing was that now I had the time to write.  Maybe even write a book, which I've been talking about for years.  But-- I didn’t write a book.  I didn’t write much at all.  I read books about writing.  I was really good at that.  I filled a whole shelf full of books about writing.  I piddled away a lot of time.  I’m a strong believer in piddle time, setting aside time for doing nothing, like lie in the hammock and let my mind drift.  But I was doing pointless things I didn’t particularly enjoy.  I was at loose ends.  I didn’t have a purpose.  I had a goal in  mind, but I wasn't working toward it.  Then I started this blog, and that changed everything.  I started to actually DO all those things that writers say you have to do, which brings me to my second list:

My writing nook

List No. 2:  Essential First Steps to Becoming a Writer

a)      You have to actually write.  Reading about writing doesn’t count.  Thinking about writing doesn’t count.  Talking about writing doesn’t count.  Making lists of writing ideas doesn’t count.  Only writing counts.  This seems obvious, but it’s the hardest step. 

b)      Writing must have priority.  For me, that means I write before anything else, except my coffee and daily bowl of porridge.  I write before I check my emails.  Before calling the pharmacy about my prescription.  Before making the bed.  Before turning on the TV (not a temptation for me, anyway).  Before looking up anything on the internet.  Before any of that, I sit down at my little turquoise writing desk, dogs snoozing on the floor around me, and I write without stopping for what ends up being at least two hours.  I lose track of time.  I don’t take a break until I realize I am hungry or stiff from sitting too long or the dogs need to go out.     

After my writing is done, my other to-do's tidily fall into place.  A schedule has evolved--which revolves around my writing time--that includes belly dance, humane society responsibilities, sundry chores and errands, and life in general.   In the afternoon lull, when my mind doesn’t work that well anyway, I reward myself with reading.

I still want to write that book, but now I have focus, ideas to explore, and, most important, the discipline of daily writing.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Help! I'm Stressed Out! Plus Bonus Belly Dance Tune by Nancy Ajram.

I feel like I’m being pulled in too many directions, all of my own doing.  It’s not a bad thing, just stressful at the moment.  I am crazy busy right now.  This little essay will not be very polished.  In fact, so far it’s not even grammatical (wrong usage of “like” in first sentence, but, oh well, that’s how people speak). 

So why am I so busy?  Several events are converging at once, all of them urgent and important.  As in:

·        The summer edition of the Bulverde Area Humane Society newsletter is due.  I’ve been working on it like mad.  It needs to go out YESTERDAY.

·        Belly dance performances are coming up.  This means rehearsals, more at-home work, practice performances (next week!), costume alterations and fittings.   

·        The blog must go on!  I continue to write and post daily, or almost daily. 

·        The digital copy of my book Where Are My Children? has to be finalized.  It was originally published in regular book format in 1992 (under my maiden name Cassie Kimbrough).  I bought software to create a digital form of it, and there it still sits in my computer.  I still need to correct the formatting.  This little chore is apparently necessary when converting a published book to a digital book.  And I need to do this while I still have free technical support from the software company.  I know I’ll need it. 

AND, on top of all that:

·        There’s still everyday life, relationships, chores, and other activities to keep up.  Like going to visit my husband’s uncle in the hospital.  Like attending a graduation party for the daughter of an old friend.  Like grocery shopping, eating, and feeding the dogs.    

So I’m a little stressed right now.  This blog is probably of no interest to anybody else.  I’m thinking on paper.  So forgive me this time.  I’ll make the next blog more interesting.  I just don’t have time today!

Here's a little music video I'll throw in for entertainment.  It's a good belly dance tune, plus it's happy and upbeat, as weddings should be.  The singer is Nancy Ajram.  (Notice the belly dancer in red - it's common to have belly dancers at weddings as part of the festivities.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Back to Belly Dance: Public Debut Coming Up

My costumes are ready.  I went to pick them up yesterday from the uber-talented seamstress.  She made a few alterations, plus a couple of inspired modifications that she suggested.  Maybe I’ll get brave enough to attach photos of me actually wearing them.  I better get used to wearing them in front of people.  Next week we're scheduled to do a practice run of our dances at a Greek restaurant in downtown San Antonio.  Our public debut!  The more advanced students are also unveiling their new dances.  But they are old hands at performing in public.  We newbies are chewing our fingernails. 

For the “Jemileh” dance, I’ll wear the beaded Egyptian costume.  It looks more traditional, and “Jemileh” is a more traditional song.  From what I gather, and my information may not be correct, “Jemileh” is about a husband grieving for his beloved wife.  He sings her name mournfully over and over, as if his sorrow has no words.  Miss K’s choreography is graceful and slow, almost somber.  If I were directing the music video of this dance, it would look like this:    

A darkened stage is swirling with mist.  A beautiful woman appears, her beaded dress sparkling.  Her head is bowed.  Her arms are extended, palms up.  It is a gesture of humility and giving.  It's as if she is saying, “I am here, my love, one last time, to dance for you.”  He wonders, Am I dreaming?  Is she an apparition?  A ghost?   The music strikes its opening chords.  She lifts her head and begins her hypnotic dance.  All he can do is watch and sing her name over and over.  As the final notes sound, her arms return to their original position, now a gesture of acceptance and finality.  Her head bows, and the mist closes in. 

OK, put away the Kleenex, and let’s move on.     

The second dance, “El Sekka El Ghalat,” is the total opposite of “Jemileh.”  It’s an up-tempo rap song.  The Arabic lyrics call to mind a back-talking teenager telling his parents, “I’m gonna do it my way, even if it’s the hard way.”  I imagine the dance character as a young girl full of sass and attitude.  She whirls and pops her hips and throws her head back in diva poses.  The usually fluid moves of belly dance are performed with snap and precision.  At least, that’s the idea.  My moves aren’t as crisp as the better dancers, Miss K chief among them.     

So my two dances could hardly be more different.  In one, it’s the Humble Handmaiden, in the other, the Sassy Dance Diva.   

On with the show! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More about the Elvis Museum in Los Fresnos, Texas

In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned touring Little Graceland, the eccentric Elvis museum in Los Fresnos, Texas.  When we drove past it on our way to South Padre Island, it just screamed, “You gotta see this!”  I thought it was one of those off-the-radar places that nobody knew about.  Not so.  It’s actually rather well known in some quarters.  For instance: 

·        It has been featured on the TV show Texas Country Reporter, hosted by Bob Phillips, who travels the state looking for offbeat places and people to feature.  I want his job.

·        It’s featured in Texas Monthly’s bucket list of 63 must-see places in Texas. 

·        The magazine Texas Highways features Little Graceland every year on the anniversary of The King’s death, or maybe it's on his birthday.

·        Simon Vega, the owner and creator of the museum, hosts an Elvis festival twice a year, on the dates of his birth and death.  Elvis impersonators come from all over the country to compete.  The festival offers food, drink, prizes, and entertainment.   

·        Supposedly, it’s the 6th most visited home museum in the U.S., next to the White House, Monticello, Mount Vernon, Lincoln’s log cabin, and someplace else I can’t recall.  Frankly, I’m doubtful about the accuracy of that claim.  What about all the old Southern mansions that are now museums?  What about the former homes of writers and statesmen and other famous folk? 

One last tidbit about Little Graceland.  Simon had bathrooms built outside for the visiting public, marking them “Elvis” for the men and “Priscilla” for the women.  (That’s me outside Priscilla, proudly wearing my Save the Ridley Turtle t-shirt).  But what really got me was the sign inside the ladies’ room.  Check it out.  Does that not say it all or what? 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Travelogue: Off Season at South Padre Island

I’m back.  I didn’t mean to leave without saying goodbye.  It’s just that I ran out of time, what with packing and laundry and last-minute instructions for the dog sitter and all.  I tried to write while we were away, but the internet was down at the hotel, one of its many shortcomings.    

I missed you, blog readers.  Here’s a brief travelogue of our visit to South Padre Island.
Sunset on South Padre Island

SPI is best known for spring break, but it’s a whole different place this time of year.  When we first saw it across the bay, it looked like Cancun with all the new high rises since we last saw it.  Still, it’s pretty quiet during the “off” season.  Slow.  Peaceful.  Which is exactly what we wanted.  We ate, we beached, we drank, we shopped for things we may never wear again--the usual things you do on a vacation.  Here are some of the high points:

·        Eating.  We overate spectactularly.  In fact, I ate so much I made myself sick.  Seafood, naturally, is great, but they also have good Mexican food featuring seafood, like shrimp enchiladas and oyster bisque soup.  Not a bite of oatmeal the whole trip. 

§  Best food:  We tried only a few places, but the best food we had was at Blackbeard’s, Padreritaville, and Pier 19 (great sunset views--see photo above). 

·        Entertainment.  A bit thin during the off-season.  James scanned the “where-to-go-what-to-do” tourist newspaper, looking for places where we could have a drink and listen to live music.  I had my heart set on hearing a band called The Smoking Caterpillars.  Instead we meandered down the road and randomly stopped at a place called Padreritaville.   A chubby bespectacled guy in bare feet took the stage.  He was J. Micheal Laferty (yes, that’s the correct spelling), who, along with wife Cathy, own the place.  J. Micheal turned out to be a decent musician who writes and records songs, plus he was pretty funny.  He seemed to know everybody in the place, which, at this time of year, are mostly locals.  On our last night in SPI, we got a kick out of an eighty-something crooner booked at a hotel bar.  He had a repertoire of 2300 songs, and the crowd tried to stump him.  A very senior couple got up and danced to almost every song, cheek to cheek, with a bit of jitterbugging thrown in.  It was one of the those occasions where strangers come together and become a congenial group  before going their separate ways.   

·        Sightseeing.   We took a cruise on the bay to see dolphins.  The tour was billed as an eco-tour, but the “eco” part of the tour consisted of a deckhand describing a handful of hapless sea creatures sloshing around in a tub.  We saw plenty of dolphins, though, some with babies at their side.  We couldn’t miss the turtle rescue center begun by the “Turtle Lady,” Ila Loescher, many years ago. Now it is staffed by fresh faced volunteers from all over the country. They rescue and rehabilitate injured sea turtles and monitor the hatching of Ridley sea turtles, which nest on SPI every year.  Across the bay in Port Isabel we climbed to the top of the Port Isabel lighthouse, where many years ago, James’ Uncle Charles used to change the light bulbs.  We tried to visit a couple of history museums, but they were still closed, in spite of the fact they were supposed to open at 10 am.  Time doesn't mean much in beach towns.

·        Beaches.  The best thing about our hotel room was the view of the beach.  I loved sitting on the balcony watching the waves tumble in.  On the second night we were treated to an impressive storm, with strong winds, driving rain, and lightning over the seas.  The tides and undertows seem to be stronger and the water colder than beaches farther up the coast at Corpus Christi and Galveston.  Still, we spent time by and in the sea, slathering ourselves with sunscreen, then frolicking in the waves where it all got washed off.   

·        Shopping.  You would think our mission in SPI was to visit every single beach shop on the main street.  James was determined to find a pair of khaki shorts made in the U.S.A.  This turned out to be impossible.  Everything, even expensive “American” brands, is made in China.  Meanwhile, I did my own shopping while he was looking for shorts.  I don’t like to go out of my way to shop, but there we were, and these were items I “needed.”  This time I resisted the temptation to buy souvenirs for other people.  I know they wind up on a shelf somewhere until the souvenir recipient's next garage sale. 

Little Graceland in Los Fresnos, TX

·        Most unusual place:  The Elvis Museum.  The most eccentric place we visited was the Little Graceland museum in Los Fresnos.  This museum is in the home of Simon and Theresa Vega, and, as you might guess, is dedicated to all things Elvis.  We had to wait until 10 a.m. for Little Graceland to open.  Finally, an elderly Hispanic man hobbled out to open the miniature Graceland gates and invite us in.  He spent the next hour showing us his dusty collection of memorabilia, album covers, magazines, a life-size mannequin of Elvis, and anything else you can think of that features Elvis.  Simon even has a 1955 Cadillac like the one Elvis gave to his mother, except Simon’s Caddy is blue, not pink.  Simon has a special connection with Elvis.  They were in the same Army unit at Ford Hood, then in Germany.  He had snapshots of them together in uniform.  I asked Simon whether he was ever tempted to sell his photos, and he solemnly shook his head.  Clearly, the mere suggestion of such a thing was a sacrilege.  Simon ended the tour with a song he wrote about Elvis, which was actually produced and recorded in Nashville.  We sat down and listened in reverential silence.   Then we began the long drive home. 
Simon Vega and his Elvis museum

Monday, May 9, 2011

Belly Dance Performance Jitters

Miss K sprang a surprise on us in class the other day.   She announced that in the near future we’ll be ready to practice our dances before a live audience, namely, at a local Greek restaurant.  This struck fear and dread into our hearts.  Miss K assured us that it will be good for us to do practice runs in front of a small and supportive audience.  The supportive part would be our fellow dancers, some of whom perform every Wednesday night at the restaurant.  The small part would be the regular dining customers.  I’ve heard that diners are usually more interested in eating than watching belly dancing.  This is a good thing.  We beginners would rather not have a rapt audience just yet, not until we get a little more experience under our coin belts. 

These practice sessions at the Greek restaurant are supposed to prepare us for the Big Night, the actual theater performance.  Miss K promised us this won’t be as scary as we imagine.  Why not?  Because the stage lights will be so blinding we won’t be able to see the beady eyes of audience members.  That’s it.  That's all she had.  Still, this is somewhat reassuring.  And, as so often happens with events we dread, the actual experience probably won’t be so bad.  It might even be fun.

My Egyptian costume
Now that we know we’ll be performing soon in front of a live, though perhaps inattentive, audience, there was a flurry of concern about costumes.  Who had one, who didn’t.  I was amazed that some of my classmates don’t even have a costume yet.  I bought one barely a month into my first classes.  One of my classmates sewed her own harem pants, but they are just for class.  (I won’t be doing any homemade costumes.  I used to sew a lot, but I got burnt out after making pinch pleat draperies for the entire house, when I lived in Bolivia.  After that I sold my sewing machine and haven’t had one since.  But I digress.)  
I already have not one, but two costumes.  My Egyptian costume is elaborate, not to mention quite heavy, with all the beadwork and such, and my other costume is much simpler.  Both need some alterations, however.  So Miss K gave me the name of a seamstress she has used, and I paid her a visit last week. 

I pictured a woman slaving away in the dim back room of a modest house.  Instead I walked into a beautiful custom home that Suzie designed herself.  She made the window treatments for a huge curved window that looks out over a greenbelt.  She designed and created the mosaic tile work in the kitchen.  She made the kitchen cabinets.  She did the oil paintings hanging all over the house.  She even made the living room furniture, woodwork, upholstery, and all.  This woman is talented.  So it's no surprise that she can whip up a complete Egyptian style belly dance costume from scratch.  I know I'm in good hands. 

Now I just need to work on the dance part of this thing. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

An Upbeat Song

Time for another song! Habibi Ya Nour Ain is a very well known song in the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern world.  This one is by singer Amr (needs to buy a vowel) Diab.  He does a lot of Arabic songs with a Spanish flair.

It’s different from the two songs I’ve already posted, in that:

·       It’s upbeat! 
·       It’s more of a folk song.
·       It’s more of a dance song (“It has a good beat and you can dance to it, Dick.”) 
·       It combines both the Spanish and Moorish influences on dance and music.  The guitar music sounds Spanish.  The “dancers” are dressed like Spanish gypsies, but they do both gypsy/flamenco and belly dance movements.   

I really like this video, although some may find it hokey.  I wish I were at that party.  Dancing, singing, laughing, a beautiful setting - the only thing missing is food!

Here’s a smidgen of background history: 

You may know that the Moors (Arabs) occupied Spain a long time ago, and their influence is still seen in Spanish architecture, in the arches, the iron scrollwork, etc.   You may also hear the similarities in music and singing styles between Spanish flamenco and traditional Middle Eastern music.  But you may not know that long ago, even before flamenco, there was a folk dance in Spain called zambra that is a combination of belly dance and flamenco dance.  The upper body, head, and arms are more in the flamenco style, and the hips and lower body are more like belly dance.  There is no foot stomping as in flamenco; it is danced barefoot.  This ancient folk dance is still danced in some areas of southern Spain at weddings and other festivities.   Check it out on YouTube if you’re interested. 

OK, end of history lesson.   Here’s the video.  I hope you like it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Today I'm re-thinking the purpose of my blog. I started out with the intention to write about my progress as a belly dance student. Now, after several weeks of writing and dozens of blogs, I’ve come to realize a couple of things: 

·       I don't have enough material to write about belly dancing every day, unless I resort to borrowing from other sources. To detail everything I do belly dance-wise would be tedious, even for a fellow dancer.  

·       Instead of writing about belly dance every day, I write about whatever comes to mind. Usually I don't know what that is until I begin. Then the writing takes on a life of its own. So my blog has turned out to be about my everyday experiences, unremarkable as they are. It’s not what I set out to do, but that’s what happened along the way. (That last sentence could describe my whole life!) 

Maybe that’s not so bad.  Most of us live rather ordinary lives.   

Yes, we may have the occasional big moment, the news making event.  I wrote a book about one of those larger-than-life events a long time ago.  My husband at the time had kidnapped my children and taken them to Bolivia, his homeland.  The book chronicles my efforts to get them back.  I hired investigators, including an ex-FBI agent, and flew to South America to re-kidnap my children and take them home.  It was a harrowing journey.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and a once-in-a-lifetime story, and I wrote it all down.  I was lucky enough to have it published by a major New York publishing company.  That was the first and last book I've written. (The book is Where Are My Children, by Cassie Kimbrough, and you can still find used copies on  I'm in the process of turning it into a digital version.) 

Since then, people are always asking me, "When are you going to write another book?" And my answer is always, "I don't have anything exciting to write about."   

It’s true.  My life is made up of plain, everyday events.  But isn’t that true of everyone?  The special ops soldier spends his time training and waiting for those few moments of action that may make him a hero or a martyr.  The movie star spends most of her life a prisoner inside her own home, because fans and paparazzi would mob her as soon as she sets foot outside.  The creative artist spends most of his time plugging away at his craft, fulfilling though it may be.  Everyone’s life involves a large measure of routine, effort, and work. 

So no matter how glamorous or impressive our lives may sound like on the outside, the moments of our days are made up of the mundane and repetitive.  Things we all have to do to maintain life.  Things we can all relate to.  That’s what I write about more than anything else.   

If I were to restate the purpose of my blog, it would go something like this: 

I believe that you can find a nugget of beauty, humor, or inspiration out of the messy detritus of any ordinary day.  After all, it’s in the ordinary that our lives intersect.  And if we’re paying attention, it’s in the ordinary that we sometimes catch a glimpse of the extraordinary.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Today I Hate Computers

Thank you, Bill Gates.  You have made my life a living hell.  Why did you ask me to upgrade to Internet Explorer 9?  I was perfectly happy with Internet Explorer 7.  But, noooooooooo.   Like a fool I “upgraded.” 
And what happened?  My list of Favorites has disappeared.  Vanished, just like that.  Gone.  A warning would have been nice.  But you gave no word, not even a hint that this disaster would transpire.  What I spent years adding to and perfecting, the Favorites that contained every website I needed at my fingertips, compartmentalized, categorized, and classified, —poof!  Thanks, Bill, you miserable piece of @#*$&!  Sorry for the profanity, but I went from mild annoyance to uncontrollable rage faster than a Corvette goes from 0 to 60.  I’ve been fuming for well over an hour now.
Did you hear that, Bill?  Yes, for over an hour I’ve been searching in vain for a solution to this issue, hunched over my computer typing in search questions and coming up with incomprehensible answers.  Or answers that say, “Press Button A…” and there is no freaking Button A.  Or “Click on this or that drop down” and doesn't tell you how to get there. 

Unlike computer whizzes, everyday people like me don’t automatically intuit the in-between steps.  We don’t even know the beginning steps.  What seems obvious to you leads us poor innocents to self-inflicted catastrophe, like lambs to the slaughter.  Yes, I will pile on the cliches and the non sequiturs!  I don't give a flying rat's behind at this point!

Bill Gates, you told me to switch to IE9, when I didn’t even know what that stood for.  You hinted at dire consequences if I didn’t.  You said it would be easier to use.  A filthy lie!   

You promised it would provide more goodies.  What good is more goodies if I can’t find them or know how to use them???  Or even what they are.   A devious trap!
Why can’t I learn?  How many times do I have to fall for this?  Because Bill, you suckered me into it.  You said I couldn’t do “x” anymore if I didn’t upgrade.  I don’t even remember now what “x” was.  And I took the bait.   
I am consoling myself with a faint glimmer of hope.  (More cliches - yes!  I don't care!)  I found an article that promised a solution, one that I could understand, maybe.  I printed off all four pages of it  (four pages!). 

I’m too exhausted right now to deal with it.  I’ll think about it tomorrow, like Scarlett.