The computer is alive again, newly reformatted and with all the windows updates and norton installed. Outlook express has successfully imported my old email. I failed to back up my address book, which Outlook cleverly saves someplace completely different, but that's okay. I think I'm going to switch to Eudora anyway.
Even though the computer is working now, this has reminded me that I really had meant to get a Macintosh workstation at some point (tower, not laptop). Bill and I have talked about it a little and we might. advice is welcome.
so, I'll still probably be a little goofy about responding to email for a little while, but I'll try to get back on top of things.
In the meantime, I'm reading The Sun, The Moon and The Stars by Steven Brust and enjoying it immensely.