Friday, June 05, 2009

It’s My Party And I’ll Blog If I Want To - Paula Roe

It’s my birthday today... and I don’t mind saying, it’s a milestone – I’m 40 years old.

Ahhh, the big 4-0. While deciding on the topic for this post, I began thinking about what’s happened over the last forty years – events in the world, people who’ve come and gone, inventions that have become essentials. I also realized that during those years I’ve always learned something, discovered new insights and ways of doing things. There’s stuff I loved but in retrospect, wasn’t good for me (empty calories, tanning beds), stuff I still miss (the backyard pool, Friends, Firefly... curse you TV suits!!!), things I never want to see again (puff-ball skirts, headbands). And of course, great innovations (color TV, flu vaccines, DVD players). But for this post, I thought I’d take a nostalgic look at the stuff that’s personally enriched my life.

Computers and the internet – When I first started work in 1986, our office possessed one electric typewriter and one huge clunky computer, sans Windows. I was excited to be using a brand-new office machine, the fax. Yep it was that long ago J The office next door used a Benchmark computer that took dinner-plate sized floppy discs. I can distinctly remember the first time I used inter-office email (1992) and the internet (1995). And now? Netbooks, blogs, email, Twitter, Facebook, websites, internet phones. And cool white shiny iMac Books :::swoon:::

Email – every afternoon after school, my girlfriends and I spent hours on the phone. Now it’s email. Although some would say that with the advent of email, our face-to-face communication has suffered. But I love it for the amazing sense of community it brings, where you can reach out to someone in the next state, country or hemisphere and get an instantaneous reply. And you can do it in your pyjamas :)

e-Books – I’m a huuuge e-book fan (yes, I love today’s ‘instant gratification’ obsession, but only when it applies to books). Who’d have thought we’d be reading romances on screens smaller than a cassette tape? I can download my basket and be reading on my iPod Touch in less than a minute.

Portable music – yes, I had an original Sony Walkman, a big silver brick clipped onto my jeans, and boy, was I cool rollerskating around with my headphones on! Years later, I remember my brother paying $299 for a portable Discman. Thank heavens things have changed: I ADORE my iPod Touch, even moreso because I can watch my favorite TV shows (iTunes is a popular time waster)

Understanding of self – I know, no matter how hard I try, I’ll never be model-thin. A lively dinner with friends is better than a boozy night at some impersonal dance club. Change can be good (as long as I’m the one initiating it). I can’t write to a set schedule and need total silence in which to do so. I’m naturally an optimist and although speed bumps happen, I’m always surprised by them. I know that a comfy pair of jeans is better than an uncomfortable, fashionable skirt. And interesting minds can hide behind the most unlikely faces.
So here’s my question to you all - what’s made your life easier/better/fun/more productive over the years? What great insight have you discovered since your teenage years? Share your story and you could win a copy of my second book, Boardrooms & A Billionaire Heir.

A self-confessed contest addict, Paula’s been writing since 12. She got The Call from Silhouette Desire in September 2006 and has since finaled in the RT Readers’ Choice, Colorado Award of Excellence, and is currently a finalist in Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year Award. Her next release, The Magnate’s Baby Promise, is a Desire August release. Visit her at


Neely said...

Oh for me it's the Internet without question: particularly Google Search. I'm an information addict and its still a great wonder to me to be able to think "I wonder how..." and be able to find out with a few clicks. I have gigs of saved information on 'how to' --in case I ever need to make, do, know, write...
And then there's Wikipedia...I would give ap an awful lot in my life before I'd give up my internet connection!

~ Paula Roe ~ said...

Hi Neely! For all its faults, I adore the internet :) I can hear a song, then Google the lyrics, find out the artist then have it bought on iTunes in record time! Also just bought series 1 of True Blood - lordy I looove the internet!!

Helen said...

Hi Paula


I hope you have a wonderful day full of fun and love of course.

Yes I would say the internet has made such a great change to my life I don't know how I would manage without it now. I have "met" so many wonderful authors because of it found out about the wonderful conference that I went to in Melbourne and got to meet so many wonderful authors including yourself and if it hadn't been for the internet I would never have known about it.

Have Fun

Anonymous said...

Hi Paula, Happy birthday. Hope everything starts easily and stays running for you all day... all week.

Oh! Forget computers, the Internet. Who need electricity? I can do without them/it (almost). It's the hot water system on the roof. I'll tollerate anything, even computers, if I have a hot shower on tap. ----- Eric

Donna Alward said...

The internet for me too. Without it I wouldn't have found eharlequin, which led to me submitting my first book, which led to me finding my critique partner, and a lot of other writerly minded people. Now I e-mail my books to my editor and keep in touch with friends all over the world.

I loved your last paragraph though, and the part about change (when it's ititiated by me) made me laugh as did the comment about being an optimist and surprised by speed bumps. I can relate to that!

Sharon Archer said...

Paula, Happy Birthday!! And congratulations on finalling in the R*BY!

I'm with everyone else on the Internet - love Google! How on Earth did we manage without it?

And PCs - I thought the idea that every home would have a personal computers was outlandish but now we have three! I'd be lost without my laptop! And that's coming from me, a bona fide technophobe! Thank goodness my dh is a technophile!

Loved your blog, thank you - I had such a walk down memory lane --- even though I am, ahem, a little, ahem, older than you!


Mari said...

It's funny how to think how I could have ever functioned without a cell phone or computer. I think it would be much harder for me to go without my cell phone, though. I have gone on vacation without my computer without a problem. But I feel like I have lost an appendage if I don't have my phone!

Jane said...

Happy Birthday, Paula. It's the internet and cell phone for me. I can't imagine not being to call someone from anywhere without my little cell. Email communication is usually faster than a phone call or a face to face meeting.

Michelle Styles said...

Happy Birthday Paula!

40 is just the start.

But the internet made a great change in my life.

Laurie said...

I love cell phones I feel so much safer when I'm driving by myself . Microwaves so convenient when you have kids coming and going and you work part time. I do love email so much easier to stay connected and informed. I like CD players and CD's have't converted to an IPOD yet but they seem quite compact and handy. Kindles soound good too BUT I still like to hold books in my hands!

Lee Hyat said...

Happy Birthday, Paula! :) It's good to have you here with us!

Pat Cochran said...

The internet is the greatest change
in the lives of us all! Especially
in mine! I keep in touch more easily with friends old and new. That is a great plus for me.

"Happy Birthday," Paula, enjoy your
very special day! "Congratulations"
on your RWAus nomination! "Good
Luck" in the competition!

Pat Cochran

Liza said...

Happy Birthday Paula!

I'm among those who couldn't live without the internet, but I also have to add my cell phone to the mix. I can't imagine not "talking" with all of my net friends each day. As for my cell phone, I switched over to a blackberry in December and can't imagine I'll ever be able to go back to a regular phone. Now if only Verizon would work a deal to get the iphone.

Anna Campbell said...

Paula, Happy Birthday! And what a way to celebrate in style, with your wonderful Romantic Book of the Year final for Boardrooms and a Billionaire Heir. Whoo-hooo, you!

What a thought-provoking post. I can remember old computer technology. I used to work for a bank in a high rise building that devoted floors and floors to those big Honeywell mainframes. I must say I love the internet. I love that I can talk to someone in America or Italy or Turkey as though they were in the next suburb. And I agree with you - there's something wonderful about knowing yourself!

Have a really great day! And eat some empty calories! ;-)

Maureen said...

Happy Birthday Paula!
I think computers and the internet has changed so much. When I was in high school and needed to do a paper I had to go to the library and look up newspapers and magazine articles on film, copy them, go home and hand write my paper then type it on the electric typewriter. My kids can do everything at home since the public library has all kinds of reference material on line and all you need is your library card number.

Estella said...

Happy Birthday Paula!

Definitely the internet! Now I can find my favorite authors new books and order tnem online.
The nearest brick and mortar book store is 70 miles away.

Fiona Lowe said...

Happy Birthday Paula!
Actually although I love the internet and it has enabled me to work from home with my 'other job' which has been great for the family the BEST thing I have that I didn't have in my teens and neither did most AUssie households is Central Heating. I LOVE it. As a kid I used to get up on those icy winter mornings, dash to the 'front room' where the ONE heater was and get dressed there. I was reminded of it the other day when the central heating died on a VERY cold morning. So yeah, enjoy the internet but ADORE central heating.
Have alovely, lovely day!

~ Paula Roe ~ said...

Just woken up here on a lovely Sydney morning :)

So it looks like the internet is a clear favorite, hey? But Eric - I am soooo with you on the hot water! We just recently went solar and the time it takes for that hot water to come through I could've had two cold showers (great in summer... now, not so).

Helen - I'm with you on the meeting of new people. My friends are scattered all over the globe!

Donna A - LOL. Now, that's my Aspergers tendencies coming out ;-)

Mari and Jane - you know, cell phones I don't *really* need... I pretty much live on my computer ;D

Liza - ooh, a Blackberry! I am a gadget girl and was thinking about the iPhone.. until I saw how much it cost!

Hey Shazza - see, internet is a wonderful thing, especially when a certain someone is biking around the Aussie outback and can still read blogs!

Maureen - I imagine how different school work will be once my son hits high school (thankfully, a few years from now). I read somewhere about a primary class who were asked to research a topic and pretty much all of them came back with the first article Google spat up. Verbatim. So no-one actually went to a library and thumbed through books, did photocopies, drew their own diagrams...!

Estella - I'm with you - books and the internet, fabbo! Now if only they could fix the pirate problem...

Michele L. said...

Hi Paula,

When you asked what great insight have you learned since you were a teenager it would have to be responsibility. I never realized all my parents took care of when we were little, like the bills for example. I don't ever remember once my parents talking about how they had to make a payment or having to mail a bill off in the mail. I never was so enlightened as when I started college,& had to pay for my classes myself. So I got a job, saved up money and paid for everything. It was like a big wake up call as to what my parents went through just for us kids.

The biggest thing that made my life so much easier is the microwave hands down! I will never forget trying to heat something up as a kid, getting out a pot or a fry pan, and then heating my food up that way. When my mom got a microwave, we all thought, how marvelous it is! We all wondered how we lived without it!

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you Paula! I am sending many wishes for a blessed, fun, and a very special birthday! Forty is a big turning point. I remember when I hit forty, all my friends rubbed it in, and said "Hey there, old lady! How's middle age?" Oh ha,ha, I said to them. Actually, I didn't feel any different, not a day over 30!

EllenToo said...

I too would have to list the internet at the top of the list especially the use of MapQuest and Google and then there are blogs that I love to read.
And color TV made its appearance just before I became a teenager.


Mariee said...

Happy Birthday!

For me it's definitively the internet. Everything is so much easier nowadays when it's just a click away. Keeping in touch with friends, getting information & new etc. Love it!

~ Paula Roe ~ said...

ooh, Fiona, I know exactly what you're talking about! We had a little old gas heater where you had to go out into the shed and fill up the jug, then pour it into the heater! With six cats monopolizing the space, the rest of us never got any warmth :)

Michelle L - responsibility, yes! When I was 21 I thought I knew everything (well, doesn't everyone?) It's amazing the stuff you didn't think about that just got done (paying of bills, food on the table, holiday plans). Microwaves... yes :-) About to bake the most yummy carrot cake for dinner ;-)

Ellen Too - I think I was about 3 when we got our first color telly. I remember wondering if Spock's ears would really be green LOL.

Just got back from shopping and bought myself a new necklace. See, that's another great thing - you get email specials when it's your birthday! I'm saving the Hogs Breath steakhouse voucher for next week :D

~ Paula Roe ~ said...

so I've drawn a name for my book - and the winner is Estella! Congrats! Email me with your address and I'll get them off to you asap.

And thanks everyone for dropping by and spending time with me on my birthday. Mucho appreciated :D