The Excitement of Making it Up as You Go—Or What Happens When Being Clueless Does Not Stop You

Earlier this week I had one of those “Life’s Little Lessons” moments—taught to me by, of all things, my Canon printer. Perhaps it is a lesson that will resonate with you.

It had to do with “being clueless”.

I had asked my son Chris to help me update my WiFi system as it was very slow…. as in “going-slower-than-a-turtle” slow. I purchased a 3-Pack Google WiFi system and Chris walked me through the installation steps over the phone. I was very proud of myself and happy with the new setup.

Until later in the week when I wanted to print a document and discovered that my printer was looking for my previous WiFi set-up and thus, would not print.

No trouble, I thought…. I will ask Chris to email me instructions that would make my printer (which was created in the dinosaur era) find the new network. How hard could this be?


You must first understand I have a love/hate relationship with instructions. I like them to make sense and to contain all necessary steps as well as any possible steps I might need.

 Enough said.

Chris emailed me a link to the instructions. But they did not exactly mirror what was on the dinosaur printer options panel. I was guessing which options to choose and doing OK until THE VERY LAST STEP in which I had to press the WPS button (eh?) on my new fancy network access point thingy but the trouble was my new fancy network access point thingy did not have a WPS button as it is NEW and the instructions are for a very old dinosaur printer.

Very old…

So….. I reached out to my son again and he emailed new instructions that involved attaching a USB cable from my printer to my computer.

OK…now I am getting nervous….I need to use a USB cable? Just where is my USB cable? Would I know it if I saw it?

I found my USB cable and now it is late at night and I am tired but I open the link and I see this:

zzzzzzzzz – I felt my eyes glazing over…. Being a wise woman, I went to bed.

The next morning with coffee in hand I screwed up enough courage to try this again. (I always think better with coffee in hand…. or a glass of wine…but it was too early for that.)

First Step—uninstall the Multifunction drivers.  I have to confess…the thought of uninstalling things that make my printer work made me nervous…but I did it anyway.

Next—download the driver (what is a driver??) and there was a snag. My dinosaur printer (oh I mean Multifunction) is so old that it will not recognize drivers from my Windows 10 Operating system.

I can try drivers from other Windows Operating systems but they may not work correctly as noted below – “Canon will not issue drivers for this (dinosaur) model … bla bla bla should function in Windows 10 environment with some limitations which are currently unknown to Canon.”

REALLY?? …… I am thinking it’s a little late to tell me this NOW THAT I HAVE UNINSTALLED ALL THE OTHER DRIVERS.

So I decide to roll the dice and choose the Windows 8 drivers but then I discover there are a bunch of Windows 8 drivers….. aughghghg

I tried to be logical and as my system says Windows 10 (x64) … well, I chose the Windows 8 (x64) driver.

You realize, of course, I do not know what I am doing. I am acting like I know what I am doing. I am making this up as I go. I am clueless.

Once I did that, I chose Easy Install (I am no dummy) and followed the steps including clicking “Agree” to the license agreement. (As before, I have no idea as to what I am doing and really agreeing to…maybe I agreed to let aliens play computer games at my house.)

Next, on Page 16 (sigh) of Page 20 (more sighs) … I was told to detect (click on) the access point and then click Connect which would not be a big deal but as I had a 3-pack WiFi system, the menu showed all the access points and no matter which one I chose, it said that point was already taken and to choose something else.


Time to improvise again…..the only thing I knew to try was to go around my home and unplug two of the three access points—and guess worked and soon thereafter I was printing a document!

Later in the day, as I was sitting on my screened in porch, I could only laugh at the ridiculousness of this…once again, I was in Janet-Mode ….. an illogical combination of “knowing a teeny-tiny bit about what I was doing” mixed with “making it up as I go – total and complete cluelessness”.

I will confess… when I was in the middle of trying to solve this issue…I did NOT consider calling my son because there was a small sense of (as silly as this will sound) “excitement” that played in my heart – of maybe I can do this if I do not quit…maybe I can figure it out.

The truth is… as much as I want things to run smoothly in life…it can be those uh-oh moments when I am clueless…when I have to make it up… it is those moments that can lead to a greater awareness of the potential in me …. there is a small sense of adventure and excitement that comes from figuring things out on my own… making it up as I go.

I know this is just a cutesy little story. After all…it was merely a printer issue. All I had to do was connect it to a WiFi network.  It’s not the end of the world.

Yet this experience was simply a reminder to me… and hopefully to you… it is not what we don’t know or understand that is the challenge…. the issue we face is letting that lack of know-how stop us…we let it prevent us from even trying.

Because sometimes… making it up as you go… leads to taking more chances… leads to new adventures…

….. and leads to a deeper understanding… of who you are and the strength you carry inside you.


Finding the Courage to Own Your Story

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I read a quote recently from one of my favorite authors…. it was—

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown

What does “owning your story” mean to you versus “running from it”?  And embracing vulnerabilities?  Really? I should want to embrace my weaknesses and fears? To acknowledge them?

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What You Really Need to Know about the First Week of Online Dating – Tips and Other Thoughts

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My last two stories have been about preparing to enter the online dating world (Tell the World Who You Are – In 3 Photos or Less and 140 Characters or Less?? The Joys of Online Dating) and I am proud to announce …. I DID IT. I joined OurTime.

I have much to share about this adventure. Thus, my story is longer than usual so do not read on your iPhone as your thumb will be broken when you are done. Wait until you are comfortable and have a cup of coffee or, more appropriately, a glass of wine in hand.

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Tell the World Who You Are – in 3 Photos or Less – (The Joys of Online Dating)

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Could you describe yourself using 3 photographs (or less)? Would you be able to capture your joys; your passions; what is important to you; the essence of the person you are and want to become?

Ludicrous, you may exclaim!   Who would try to do that?


Welcome to the joys of online dating.

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Unwrapping the Best Christmas Gift

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I made a mistake recently—but it was a simple one…

My brother Joe was planning a pre-Christmas gathering for family. He had rented a house in the Asheville North Carolina area.  The thought of experiencing Christmas-like cold weather was very attractive to him as he, his wife, and two adult children live in Miami and his daughter and her husband live in Texas.

After all, who wants to fix a mug of hot chocolate if it is 85 degrees outside.

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I Was Right and I Was Wrong

Last month I wrote a story titled “Getting Out of the Boat….. Again” in which I shared my thoughts about making changes in my life—being willing to take some risks and trying something new. What I did not share was—I already had some ideas in mind—a plan was forming—and I was getting ready to put it into action.

And then…… I had the legs knocked out from under me….. in a deliberate but kind way…..

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Getting Out of the Boat….. Again

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Almost six years ago, on November 16, 2012, I posted a story dear to my heart – “To Walk on Water You Gotta First Get Out of the Boat”—in which I shared a photograph of my mother, my brother, and me taken 58 years ago in Canada. We stopped at a roadside stand selling small wooden boats and purchased 2 of them. In the picture, my mother is holding one of the boats in her hand.

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