Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Making Lemons Out of Lemonade

Yesterday I lost a very near, dear friend of mine.  Her name was and this wonderful, beloved friend was my very first email address that I got when I started using the internet and sending out emails in the very early 1990's.

I still remember when Myturn and I first met and became friends.  I was living in my Carmichael home, and was in my front bedroom/office with my wonderful dog, Henri (Matisse) lying at my side.  I had spent several hours researching the benefits of joining Prodigy versus AOL and a couple of other servers I can no longer recall the names of, when I finally decided to go with Prodigy.  First I tried to use my own name; then several variations using initials, birthdays, lucky numbers, etc. but every name I tried was already taken.  I must have tried 20+ different monikers before I got very frustrated and like a spoiled little girl, typed in the words "MY TURN"  At last, the name was accepted and I swear to you, this is how my loving friendship with my first email address began.  

Over the years, Prodigy was ultimately gobbled up by Yahoo who then teamed with AT&T, who just two days ago cancelled my email account without notice.  Boom, bam, WOW -- just vanished, gone, nada, nothing.  No "hey -- we're taking you out" notice of any kind -- or "call us to discuss your account".....just a nasty gram stating my account had been "temporarily suspended."

WHAT?  In? The? World? Was? Going? On????

I didn't need any coffee to wake me up after reading this notice Tuesday morning -- I was wide awake and wondering what could have possibly happened to MyTurn.  Hmmm....I had made a change from AT&T to Surewest on Valentine's Day but had been assured by AT&T that they would still allow me to use their email in the event I ever wanted to return (AOL has had this policy for years and AT&T claims they have it too).  No problems with my final bill -- in fact I had overpaid the account and had received and cashed the refund check.  

On Tuesday I spent over 2 hours talking with AT&T's customer service reps who at first assured me there must have been a mistake on their end.  I went through customer service; then tech support; then billing; back to customer service who then sent me to their advanced tech support team; who ultimately sent me back to billing who told me they hadn't cancelled my account properly, and that I should wait 24 hours and my account would be restored.

At last, I was able to breathe.  I knew they were going to take care of me -- after all, I've been a customer of PacBell/AT&T since 1976 when I first moved out of my parent's home.  My Mom used to work for the phone company and still owns stock with them.  Of course I could rest easy because I had been assured all would be OK.  I slept well that night, rejoicing in the fact that MyTurn was going to be OK.

Yesterday, I found out AT&T eliminated MyTurn in cold blood.  It took me nearly 2 hours of being transferred all over the AT&T customer service departments again before I finally got a supervisor named Cynthia who timidly but gently broke the news to me.

MyTurn was dead.  Gone.  No explanation -- just vaporized into the internet Heavens. 

Yes -- I seriously cried.  I'm in mourning as I'm writing this.  I'm hoping I'll feel better after getting these memories out but I'm not promising anything.

MyTurn was my friend and confidante for over 20 years.  A vital piece of me is gone and I feel empty, sad and very betrayed.  MyTurn had been holding onto files I'd kept for many years including emails from old boyfriends, business deals, important tax information and more.  I would often hold onto letters and documents thinking I might need to refer to them one day, and had always trusted that MyTurn would have them waiting for me at just the right moment.

Today I'm sad and reeling from the shock of how quickly this dear friend and lifeline was taken from me.  I wrote about the experience on my FaceBook page and even Tweeted my dissatisfaction with AT&T for their callous handling of the matter.  But none of my bitter musings will bring MyTurn back to me, nor will I ever see my beloved saved/sent emails or InBox again.  My Address Book is bye-bye too, and I have anxiety about all the people who will try to reach me only to receive the scary "fatal error - unable to send - addressee unknown" email.

My lemonade to this sour lemony story is I have been made painfully aware of how easily and quickly someone close to me can be taken without one single lick of notice.  And if there is indeed a silver lining to this story (or lemonade) -- it's the fact that I didn't lose a human or furry friend or family member.  What I lost was a cyberspace loved one and we never hugged or held hands, or shared a meal or a glass of wine.  

And at the end of the day, I'm relieved and grateful that I have been enlightened about this fact, and that my friends and family are (to the best of my knowledge) here today, healthy and breathing life and love into my world.  Yes -- MyTurn is gone, and there (according to the tech-support team at AT&T) is no resurrecting my baby girl.  But her memory and sudden death will live on in my life, and I promise to cherish every waking moment with my loved ones from this day forward.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lots of New News for You!

I have a lot of exciting things to share with you but will begin with my interview with MORE Magazine that was published this month.  What an honor it was to be featured in this wonderful magazine.  The lead for this interview actually happened on 11-1-11 -- the very first day after I left my real estate development job to follow my passion of being a full-time artist.  Over a period of 4 months, I traded dozens of emails with the journalist and her editor in addition to numerous telephone interviews, and never ceased to wonder when they would stop and say "you're not interesting enough for our magazine!"  But they never did.....and judging from the numerous emails I've received from readers of the article, others were inspired as well.  I'm eternally grateful and blessed to have had this opportunity to share my story with others.

I returned last week from an amazing 5-day painting workshop in San Francisco by Tesia Blackburn where I began work on 13 new paintings.  I explored using lots of gel mediums and polymers, in addition to metallic paints -- all by Golden Paints.  What a wonderful class -- with a great teacher and talented classmates!  I am so excited to start using these new textures and mediums in my work and can't wait to share the results.  Here are two paintings I worked on in that class:

"A Fiery Road"
36" x 24"
Acrylic on canvas

"Raining Gold"
30" x 30"
Acrylic on canvas

Lastly, I'm thrilled to announce the birth of a new start-up company I've founded along with a talented fellow artist and businessman, James Cameron.  The business is called Original Art 4 Rent -- where we'll be renting, leasing and selling original art to homes and businesses in the greater Sacramento area.  Besides featuring our own paintings and my glass art, we'll be adding talented artists from the area including my studio mate Dianne Poinski and her spectacular hand-colored black and white photographs.

I can't wait to launch this new business and will be updating you as it progresses.  I've started a Fan Page on Facebook--please LIKE it if you get a chance.  I'll be updating it with more information and photos this week, and would love to hear from you if you know of any homes or businesses that might benefit from our services.

Happy April Fool's Day -- can you believe we're already 25% of the way through 2012 already??  Time flies by fast when you're running around like I've been doing -- hope you're enjoying it too!!