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The Ami Simms Newsletter
October 2000

Thanks for joining me today and double clicking. Sorry this is getting to you a little late, to find out why, check out THE CRASH OF 2000. As always, you are encouraged to forward this entire newsletter, or just your favorite parts, to as many folks as you like. Just tell them where you got it (from Ami's newsletter). Then tell them they should get their own copy each month so you can stop forwarding it to them and have more time to quilt! Tell them to write to me (amisimms@aol.com) or go directly to http://www.egroups.com/subscribe/Ami-Simms-Newsletter.

We won't be chatting this month because I'll be on my way to Houston for Quilt Market and Quilt Festival. If you're a shop owner attending Market, please come to one of the School House presentations I'll be giving for Checker Distributors(Check the schedule for date and time.) I'll also be in the following booths at these times:

Saturday 10/28: 1-2pm Quilters Rule International and 3-4pm Moda Fabrics
Sunday 10/29: 10-11am Quilters Rule International and 1-2pm Checker Distributors
Monday 10/30: 1-2pm Checker Distributors

And, look for quilts from Picture Play Quilts at these booths: Checker Distributors, Quilter's Rule, Quilter's Resource, Quiltworks, and United Notions.

If you're a "regular person" you'll be able to find quilts from the book at the Teacher's display, Great Expectations, and the Display Away booth. My workshop is full, but the lecture hall where I'll be presenting How NOT To Make A Prize-Winning Quilt holds 900 people, so make sure you get their early, otherwise you'll be sitting in the next county.

The fourth Thursday of the month NEXT month falls on, you guessed it, TURKEY DAY. I'll be stuffing my face with everybody else this Thanksgiving, so there will not be a Professional Chat Series that evening either, nor a scheduled chat in our eGroups.com chat room. I might take a peek in both chat rooms, but only if I don't fall asleep first.

Just a second, let me climb up on this soap box. All RIGHT! Now listen up, I have learned the obvious through much pain and suffering and now I will tell you what you already know. BACK UP! As in, Hold on there, Buckaroo! Before you shut down that computer for the night, pick a file, any file, and save it on a floppy someplace. E-mail it to your mother, post it on your web page, or print it out on real live paper. Just keep a back-up copy somewhere in case your hard drive goes belly up. Mine did. It just up and died. Brand new hard drive. Everything was professionally transferred over from my old hard drive. Backed up everything before the big switch and didn't lose a byte. Had the new system about a month. Long enough to re- arrange every file, tweak every document, and update just about every single dot.whatever on the stupid thing. All 20 giga-mega-whatzits. Then last Saturday I flipped the switch and my computer said, "You got a funny disk in here, lady!" I replied, "I beg your pardon. There are NO disks in any of your orifices, and the cup holder is empty!"

We went back and forth like that for quite a while and no matter what I did, it kept telling me there was a non-system disk in it's mouth. Idiot machine. Knowing much about computers, I turned it on and off a couple hundred times, played with the reset button until my finger hurt, got down on my hands and knees, crawled under the desk and unplugged all of the cables, blew on them and then carefully put them back in. Nothing. Finally, in desperation I put my lips around the entrance to the zip drive and tried to breathe life back into it. I couldn't even get the lights on the external modem to blink. It just smirked at me with it's "non-system disk error" message.

So I picked it up turned it over and shook it. Sure enough, no non- system disk in there! I lifted the flap on the "A" drive and screamed: "You good-for-nothing-piece-of-junk, there are no disks within 10 feet of you!" I smacked it upside the CPU. Then I took Bill Gates' name in vain. "You wanna see what a non-system disk looks like, pal? Here, eat THIS!" I jammed a floppy into Drive A and stomped out of the room.

Later, I did what any self-respecting computer owner would do. I apologized, put a rabbit's foot on top, wrapped the CPU in an old towel, and called the CG. (Computer Guy) Jim's great. When he can't diagnose and heal my computer over the phone he makes house calls. He came over that afternoon, suggested I take out the blender and make myself a large frozen fruit drink with lots of alcohol, and carted my baby away.

I was not a happy camper. Having given up cooking altogether, I wasn't sure I could identify which appliance was the blender. No matter. When you don't cook, you don't shop for food either, which also meant I had nothing to blend except the old box of baking soda in the back of the refrigerator, a dead carrot, and some of that plastic cheese. At that point I also realized I don't drink!

Since I couldn't drown my sorrow, I thought I'd work it off---with vengeance. Like a mad-woman. I unearthed the kitchen counters, which seem to be the "dumping ground" for any object that enters the house. Then I picked all of the junk up off the floors, ran the vacuum over the whole house and organized three closets. Did the mirrors and the tops of the door jams, and re-cycled all the cans and bottles. I even dusted. Then I cleaned up my office and vacuumed the dog. Both Steve and Jen begged me to stop, but I couldn't. Hands shaking, heart pounding, I couldn't bear to just sit there. I did seven loads of laundry and then folded it. It was horrible. In one last uncontrollable spasm I plugged the vacuum into the long extension cord and vacuumed the garage!

Jim brought my computer back on Monday with a brand new hard drive. Completely empty. He showed me how to re-install my programs, how to suck up the information on my OLD back-up disks. So far I have three programs up and running.

I am pretending that the last month just disappeared. Because it did. I lost it all. I didn't make any back-ups and the whole month is gone. Doesn't exist. No virus, just mechanical failure. (Imagine that!) Works one minute, doesn't the next. AND IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU! So, for Pete's sake, BACK UP! Even if you think you're so busy you don't have time to sneeze.

We're all caught up! Yippee! Now, instead of taking 2 weeks to process orders, things are shooting out of here in a day. (THAT computer is just fine, thank you!) The swaps are all up on the web site so if you're collecting conversationals for your Picture Play Quilt, there are 15 different swaps to choose from at (http://www.PicturePlayQuilts.com) and one so far for folks in Canada. Quilters in other countries interested in hosting a swap should contact me.

In addition to the swaps, there are more conversational fabrics than ever, plus quilt shops who will search their shelves for the fabric you need. Take a look at http://www.PicturePlayQuilts.com. Don't forget you can win stuff too. Click WIN on the navigation bar, but hey, I don't have to tell you that because over 3,000 of you entered last month's contest. The winner is posted on the page. See if it's YOU! While you're there, you can enter THIS month's contest!

She's been at it again. Found this shortly after I got the computer up and running:
Dear Mom,
My people finally left me alone again so I've got some time to write. Got your letter. Sorry I goofed with that improper use of, well, whatever you said. I guess you're right, calling my person "Miss Ami" is a lot better than "The Ami." Sorry. She likes me a lot, so I don't think she cared much. You ought to hear some of the dorky things she calls ME! I'm "Daze" or "Dazer" or "Crazy Daisy." Sometimes they forget who I am entirely and just call me "Good Dog." That's OK, 'cause I usually get a pat on the head or a hug when they do that.
Anyway, Mom, I'm much bigger now. I weigh about 40 pounds, and comin' up on my fifth month birthday. You should see me; everybody says I look like Pops. My feet are still huge, so I've got some growing left, which is a good thing cause I want to see what's on top of the refrigerator.
Being big has advantages. I can do lots more stuff. Like exploring. Do your people have a BATHROOM? We have one and it's a riot. The first time I went in with one of my humans I couldn't believe my eyes. Mom, did you know they can take their fur off? Sometimes parts of it, sometimes ALL of it. And boy are they ugly underneath.
Our bathroom has three fountains that all make noise and have water and stuff. My favorite is the one they call the tub. Now that I'm bigger I can lean way over the edge and lick the part that the water comes out of. Way fun.

(too see Daisy having a drink (and lots of other pictures) click HERE

The deadline for Marcus Brother's contest using Ami's Mommy's Fabrics is December 1, 2000 so start working on those fabulous entries. For details see: http://www.marcusbrothers.com/contest/contest.html

Don't forget to back up something, take a few stitches in something, and have a great day!

Ami Simms