Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Transitions

I've had a strange month, I think. It is one of those times when life seems to be transitioning in some intangible way. As the word implies, I can't put my finger on it. I've had a lot more pain lately and I have been more tired than I was for a while. Frankly, I think the pain is the reason I tired easily. It wears on you.


No, this is something else. Something akin to  waking up in the morning and not knowing for a minute where you are or what time it is. I'm restless but not so much in a bad way. No, it is just annoying because it is so vague. For me, as a writer, it is even more frustrating because I can't put a name to it.


So I go with the flow and I keep looking for whatever it is.


I'm thinking I need to get away for a bit. I keep making plans that fall through just when I think they'll work this time. I've actually thought of calling a travel agent to see if it will help me. I have never had a situation where I could not plan a trip. Never. Military wives have to be ready to up and move whenever. You usually get a couple of months of warning but you have to be ready to relocate a whole house of items, children, yourself and your spouse, find a new house, arrange utilities, contact schools, and get everything put away as quickly as possible. You have to be organized. Life ceased to be organized for me three years ago. 


I've made attempts to restructure and reorganize things with some success but there are still places in my life where chaos reigns. Getting things done at home is one. I still have the gas company coming on Wednesday sometime to change out the meter. If I haven't explained that here, I won't go into it but let's say it has been a real pain. 


Vacations are probably the biggest issue for me. I always loved it when we could get away for a bit and do something fun. I still want that but it isn't much fun and planning it is nearly beyond me. That makes no sense at all to me. I've moved hundreds of times. Yes, really. I've done two overseas moves, and five interstate moves. That is not counting all the moves within the cities where I lived. Planning a two week vacation should not be an obstacle. Planning a one week vacation shouldn't either. But it is so hard.


My plan last year to go to England was crushed by an auto accident. Financially, I'm still a bit strapped but I was going to take the plunge this year. Then they started going on about the layoffs. My inclination was go anyway. It still is. But my logical, prudent side says wait to see who is gets laid off. It makes sense. If it isn't me I'll have a better financial standing. If it is, well, I'm going to need all the extra cash I can get. So, that plan is on hold for a bit. Not eliminated, just on hold. I figure things happen in their time.


However, I can't keep going without a break. I need a vacation. I need a week in the sun where it is warm and the air smells of salt. So, my plan is to take a week but I really would like to know where I stand job wise before I do that. All this requires patience and that is the one virtue that I've been eternally short of. 


Other things are changing as well. I'm excited by some changes. Such as the group of girls I've met through NaNo who have become writing buddies. We've been meeting online as a group to talk writing. We've done this twice using the G+ Hangout feature. It was really great to "meet" these women and to talk about something I love. As my other writing group is going through some changes and becoming less focused on writing, I am finding the online group a welcome addition. 


The obvious transitions are challenging but it is still this underlying feeling of things changing and morphing into something I don't recognize where I seem to be having the the most difficulty. I get impatient with it but it isn't something I can rush. I'll just have to wait and see. 







Saturday, February 25, 2012

How to be Alone

I do not know if I shall ever get there but this is so beautiful. I hope so.


Quiet End to a Busy Day

I went out after noon to lunch at El Charro's. I invited Mike because he love the place and doesn't get to go much. When we were done I took him home and I went shopping.

I love Big Lots. They had this great sale going one. I bought sheets! Two sets for me and one for Mike. These were 400 thread counts sheets. I got Mike's full size set for $20! I was stunned. You don't get 400 thread count for that anywhere. I got the Queen sized ones for $29! Yeah!

Then I found some pretty curtains, at last, for Sarah's room. They were so pretty. Only drawback was I bought the wrong size rod! I am so annoyed. I have to get a longer one. I also bought a cute little thing to hand necklaces on with two wall items with hooks. Just girly stuff. Two weeks ago I bought pictures and a pretty clock. Her room is getting so cute.

I didn't really buy anything else for me but I like buying for other people so it was fun. I don't like shopping but today I felt really good. The day was beautiful if very cold and getting out in the sunshine was nice. I'm in pain as usual. Really bad most of the week but I just can't let it rule me or I'll be a zombie. I'll have a crash day before long but until then I'll try and enjoy what I can.

I've been reading blogs and G+. I really like G+. The stuff posted is a lot more ... sorry... intellectual? It isn't whiney, my world sucks, I hate her/him/them, been to the club, going to party, yada yada yada. You know what FB is.... juvenile drivel? I really kind of want to drop FB but now my writing buddies have sort of started a group and honestly, FB is good for groups to form. But G+ hangout is really amazing for bringing together people, in person, from long distances. The potential, as far as I'm concerned is limitless.

Ok, enough of this. I've got things to do. I'm really focusing on crochet this week. I need to get Sarah a shrug done in the next two weeks. So, writing is not getting done at the moment. Yes, I'm procrastinating. I admit it. I haven't felt very muck like sitting and trying to write. That's the truth.When things hurt so much I don't concentrate to well.

I'm off for now. Have a good weekend. Tomorrow I'm going to church. I do hope for another sunny day. They lift my mood enormously.

Solitary Saturday

I've paid the bills and balanced the checkbook. It is such a chore and I wish with all my heart I didn't have to do it. For decades Jerry and I had issues with this. When I managed it we did well. When he managed it, we didn't. Eventually, it became my job. And I learned to despise it. And now, there is no one I can hand it off too, even were I of a mind to do so. But I don't want other people managing my money.

Now that it is done, I have to think about food. I feel Mexican I think. Ariba!

I'm trying something new. I'm posting FROM Blogger to Multiply. I haven't done it that way before but if it works, I may continue. You see, from work I can't access Multiply but I can Blogger. And sometimes, I want to post something and I have to go to my email and sent one to Multiply and one to Blogger. So much easier if I can just send one! And... if by chance I can send one email to Blogger and have it post to Multiply... all the better. Means I'll only be going to Multiply to read the blogs.

I've not been posting much anyway. Lately, I just don't have anything to say. Very sad to think I only blog when live is in a turmoil. Must be the only time things are interesting. I'm truly frustrated about all this money I've had to spend this week with the gas line but it must be done. I also told them to just fix my microwave. It is going to cost $100 total. They had a bench charge of $25 to see what was wrong with it and that will be applied to the bill, so I'll only owe $75. Yes, I know I could have bought a new one for that but probably as nice as mine. I like my microwave and if I get another three years out of it, well, it will be a bargain.

The plumber told me not to buy a new water heater until this one just stops. I told him it was here when I move here and was only a year or so old then. He asked me when I bought the house and when I told him he looked at me and said, "Don't change that out. If you've got 22 years out of a water heater it's a good one." So, thank goodness for that.

I have been crocheting a bit, trying to make Sarah a little shrug for the spring. She has some nice summer dresses but she gets cold some times when she goes to church or other places. So, this should help. We'll see how it goes.

Not much writing done. I've had a lot of really bad pain in my leg and hip and I've had to be in positions that were not conducive to writing. Monday night my Writer's Rules of Engagement writing group will do another Hangout on G+. This is such an awesome feature and I really love it. You can have 10 friends online, on webcams all at one time! Amazing! We had four of us last Monday and we had a blast. I got to "meet" two recent friends from NaNo and of course, my long time friend, Kat was there, too. I think we all enjoyed it and everyone was so excited. We hope that Grammy and Chris can join in this coming Monday. We've got a tentative topic to talk about and some plans on how we'll do this. So, I'm really looking forward to it.

All right. I'm off now to get some things done. Hope you are all having a lovely weekend.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Life after Death

I am always astounded when I hear these stories from the people that experience them. Awesome witness.

It's All About Priorities

Lots of things to think about today. I am home from work spending money. Yes. I had a gas leak this past weekend. It was in the line that goes from my meter to my den where I have a small gas heater. There is no central heat in that room and it gets bitter cold. The heater hasn't worked for some time, since at least since Jerry died. I've had it repaired several times. I had planned to get a new heater this year but that'll have to wait now. They shut the gas off to that line.

I also have to have the gas company replace the gas meter. They found when they came out that it isn't registering my usage. Now, I'm actually fine with that but they apparently want to keep track of this sort of thing. So I have to have them change it.

The problem is they would not disconnect the leaking line because they didn't install it. It isn't up to code. Of course, it was there when I bought my house. To remove said line requires that you turn off the gas, use a wrench to disconnect the line. That's it. Nothing more. But no, I had to hire a licensed plumber to do this.

As you know, plumbers aren't cheap. To at least save a double service call (removing the line and after the new meter was installed, coming back to install a new gas line to the den) I decided to have them do that all at once. Vectren can worry about how to get the meter out after the new line is done.

However, this very simple job is going to cost between $300 & $500. Yes. That's right. To just disconnect the line and install a new pipeline from beneath the house to the den, about 20 feet of pipe and fitting and two men cost that much. They do have to go under the house to do it.

So, in light of that little expense, there is now no money to actually buy a heater to use the new line. I still won't have heat in the den.

On top of that my microwave went out. It is costing $25 to have it checked to see if it can be repaired. Someone told me to just go buy a new microwave. I have a very nice microwave I bought probably 5 or 6 years ago. It cost around $200. It does all kinds of stuff. I like it. To buy a new one with similar features will probably cost only slightly less but if I can get it fixed for less why not? Problem is if it can't be fixed there is the question as to whether I can afford to buy a new one on top of the pipe expense. They just called and said it would cost $100 to repair it. Do I buy a new one or fix the old one? Choices.... it is a nice microwave. Could last another 5 years. I like it.

If you factor in that this past fall I had to replace the central unit to the tune of $3000... and that was the least expensive unit they have for my size home. The one I wanted was double that. Well, you can see my expenses have exploded. I didn't have the money to pay for it, I had to charge it and I truly hate using a credit card. But heat in the house was a priority.

I can live with out a heater in the den another year I suppose. I just can't use that room in the hardest part of the winter. Winter is nearly over I think. I can probably survive without a microwave for a while. It isn't a huge catastrophe. It means I have to cook on the stove, in the oven, use more energy, and take more time. I will have to defrost the old fashioned way. I have to heat a drink on the stove in a pot. So, it simply means more work for me. Since I have virtually no life... it shouldn't be a problem.

I had plans to take a small vacation in a few months to somewhere quiet, warm, sandy and sunny. Nothing expensive, just a break from the stress. I want to go to England but that requires a bit more planning and a lot more money. Gas prices just shot up over $4 here and that means travel will be extremely circumscribed for Americans. The economy is already in the tank. . . um. . . no pun intended, just truth. So, in light of heaters, gas lines, microwaves and gas prices my finances are in a not so good place.

I suppose it is ultimately all about priorities - what comes first. In my job I see people who feel they must have the best of everything . . . as long as someone else pays. It doesn't work that way for those of us who live in the real world. We have to pay our own way. And sometimes we have to settle for less than we think we're worth.

When Jerry died, I turned off the cable and started keeping lights off all over the house. Those are things I can live without. Once in awhile I think about getting cable turned back on. The cable company says they can give me a great deal in a bundle. It still cost more. But why? I can read, write, and crochet. My solution was to buy myself a Kindle for Christmas. I have over 80 FREE books on that thing! I'm loving it. I have the library and second hand stores and friends who give me books. Why would I pay for cable? I'm actually working on my novel at last, with some success.

I have learned that some things just don't matter in the grand scheme of things. Saving money is what Jerry and I struggled to do for 35 years. We had finally got a handle on it when he died. The hardest lessons are often mastered too late. I use what I've learned to keep me afloat.

What I've learned is no one needs as much as they think they do. You really don't need an iPhone, computer, internet, cable t.v., expensive cars, and expensive phone service to be live. The really don't matter. And you can get by with no phone, no microwave, no television, and no video games. Really. If you can afford them, fine. Although, if you buy such toys but can't pay your necessary bills, provide for a medical emergency, or some other emergency, don't complain about your money problems to me. I'm having to pay my own way and I don't have all those toys.

When my car was wrecked last year I was upset. But reality is a car is such a necessity. I bought a used one. A good used one but still used. Priorities. If it happened again, I'd probably get an even cheaper one.

Today, I'm reconsidering turning off my land line. I have a pay as you go cell phone. For less than the cost of that land line I could probably upgrade the phone service and get unlimited minutes every month for $45. Straight Talk offers great deals and I see no reason on anything else. I'm still using the now extinct phone they offered, their cheapest one! I could give up the cell and keep the landline but my family would have a cow. I am alone, you see, and if something happens when I'm away from a phone that is my lifeline to them. So, I'll keep the cell. But the land line is probably on it's way out.

I'm going back to sewing if it warms enough to get in the den. I can make clothes you see. I have tons of fabric I need to use. There are lot of ways I can cut spending. Priorities.

Life requires a lot less to survive that we think.  So, I'll get the gas line fixed and the rest of it will have to get in line.

I was talking to a friend last night about buying things. I was a used furniture junkie. I loved buying used furniture and refinishing it until about 10 years ago. I can't do the heavy work now. Why buy a new piece if you can find a quality used piece for less and with some stripper, stain or paint, and polyurethane make it brand new? I did it a lot. Beds, chairs, tables. And they were generally better quality because they weren't pressed or chipboard. However, there were certain things I didn't scrimp on. My dinning table was one. I bought a brand new, unfinished, solid oak table in early 1989. I put the finish on it myself. I still have it, rather my daughter-in-law does. My youngest, her husband, was 4. That table will be around when my granddaughter is a grown woman if it is cared for the way I have cared for it. It cost me $700 new. If you bought it today, it would cost more and if you bought mine, you'd pay every bit of that. Because the value is no longer just in the wood. The ladder back chairs everyone complains about... they don't wobble. You can sit on them, stand on them, and tilt them back against the wall (which I hate) and they have never given an inch. I have that has a broken ladder... one of the boys caused that. They stand as study as they were when I bought them... for $35 each. I thought it was a lot then.

I was fortunate enough to get the house refinanced and lowered my house payment by half. I though this would give me the extra cash I need to pay off that central unit and in the long term, my car. Retirement is only about 6 years away. If God blesses me with long life I might get to enjoy some of it. I saw the refinance as a safeguard against a lost job. If I don't lose my job the money could be used to insure I didn't have huge debt at retirement. That's not working out so well, as you can see.

Ultimately, I'm not an extravagant person. I don't care if anyone is impressed by my home, my car, my clothes, or my intelligence. It doesn't concern me. It is about all about priorities for me. I wish someone had told me all this stuff when I was 25. Still, it is never too late if you're still above ground. My advice: Scrimp on the unimportant stuff. Spend on the things you want to last. It makes a difference in the long run.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude


I've been reflecting on how thankful I am. I do that once in awhile and this week it has been borne in on me how very vital it is to live your life with a sense of gratitude, no matter how bad it gets. It is really difficult.

Even before Jerry died I had decided I wanted to be more thankful and to try and keep that attitude of gratitude, even in bad times. Things were very bad back then. For years we'd been struggling with money problems, lost jobs, and his steadily growing illness. He was losing money and couldn't remember where it went. By the time we realized he was giving it away, we were overdrawn three months to the tune of $3000. Our children were having terrible problems with jobs and marriages. And I had become sick from the stresses of my job and dealing with crisis after crisis at home. Gratitude is not easy in these situations. It is nearly impossible.

I'm not the nicest person in the world and when things get bad, I get nasty. I complain, whine, moan, groan, and rant. I get angry. I get angry at the situation, at the circumstances that created it, at the people around me who don't seem to think it is a big deal, at the people who I perceive as causing the problem, at me for being in the mess, and at God for not fixing it "right this second". Mostly, I get mad at me for behaving like an ungrateful idiot. I hate me when I'm in a pickle.

It took years and my husband's illness and actual death for me to realize what I was doing wrong. It is probably the worst tragedy of his death. I learned too late to make a difference in our life together. Only now do I make a concerted effort to put into practice an attitude of gratitude. It really isn't easy.

I learned that how I approach my problems determines how it affects me. How I approach a problem doesn't fix the problem. It fixes me. And I'm the one who needs the help. I can run up on the problem, jump on it and flail around screaming and crying about it, and trying to pound it into a bloody pulp. When I'm exhausted by my actions, I will collapse in a sobbing heap. The problem will be sitting right where I left it, unmarred, unchanged, and just as large as when I began my tirade.

So, I decided one day to approach my problems differently. You see, I have rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. I have fibromyalgia. My sleep is affected and I never sleep more than six hours. I suffer from pain constantly, particularly in my neck and shoulders and down my right leg. There is nothing they can do for me and I refuse narcotic pain medicine. I hurt so bad I can hardly get up in the mornings. I sit up and the first thing I say is, "Thank you, God for letting me have another day of life." I get dressed in pain. I can't turn my head in any direction without pain. It takes hours for it to abate, if it abates, enough to allow me to work. It hurts to raise my arm and hold my head in certain angles while combing my hair, brushing my teeth or simply trying to look into my eye to get an eyelash out. So, I no longer put my hair up except for extremely special events. I lost so much hair when Jerry died that it became hard to do anything with anyway. So I comb my hair and say, "Thank you for my hair that has grown back. Please make it all grow back."

Many mornings I've spent crying because I am hurting so bad and I simply don't want to go to work. Even before Jerry died I'd cry all the way to work. I don't want to deal with the insanity of my job - the politics, the back stabbing and sniping. I don't want to work. But there is no choice for me, no one to support me or care for me. I can't live on a $700 a month disability check that I'd get if I could even get it. So, I drive the 15 minute trip saying, "Thank you for my job. Bless my boss and my coworkers. Let me spread peace in my workplace. Help me to do a good job and to spread peace to my clients. Let peace follow in my wake."

I work through the day usually in pain. I'm on the phone a lot and holding a phone for more than a few minutes can become agony. I use the speaker as much as possible. All my phones have a speaker feature and I use them. I make as few calls as possible because even with the speaker, my neck becomes terribly painful. If I'm really stressed and can't take anymore I go to the private restroom or the archive file room or I close my office door. I sit down and say "Thank you for this job and letting me be able to take care of myself."

When I get home I'm exhausted and pain escalates when I'm tired. I have to get the hottest shower I can in order to help the pain in my neck and shoulder and leg. I spend several minutes in my shower under the hottest water I can stand and I say, very loudly, "Thank you God for hot water." Yes, seriously. I say it over and over and over because without that hot water, I wouldn't get through the night.

I do all of this virtually every day. And you know what? Not one single thing is better! Nothing. My life has not changed one little bit by any of this. I still hurt. I still have mobility problems. I still find days I really hate going to work. I get stressed by the job. I'm still exhausted. My husband is still dead and I'm more alone than I have ever been. Nothing has changed. Except me.

Over time I realized that I am so thankful for God and His provision, despite my miserable days and more miserable nights when I don't sleep. I'm so very thankful for life, for another stinking pain-filled day. I still find moments when I complain and when the pity party attacks me full force. I scream at the ceiling that it was unfair for God to allow all this to befall me. I couldn't have possibly done anything so bad as to deserve all this. Why, I deserved better! There was a time I knew nothing else but my misery.

Now, I'm aware of how I sound and I hate it. I'm reminded of all that has happened and just how much worse it could be. I'm horrified at my stupidity and seared by my ingratitude. I'm ashamed and all I can do is cry out to God. "Lord, I'm sorry. I am so thankful for everything you have done for me. I don't deserve any of it but I am so very thankful for it."

Most of us aren't very grateful or thankful when times are hard. But really, that's when we have to be the most thankful. To live a life of ingratitude is such a waste of time, for both God and the ingrate. I don't care how bad it seems, I learned the hard way that it can get worse. Despite what you think your world can be shaken, turned upside down, and poured out like an insane puzzle whose pieces are all the same color. It takes years to put it back together. If you spend that time complaining all the time with no time for gratitude, you will only become smaller, meaner, and more selfish. . . and so very miserable. You will never be able to escape because your attitude will anchor you to the same spot forever.

The reality is that no matter how dark it has been or becomes all that He has done far outweighs the bad. God has been good no matter how rotten life has been.

I'm so very, very thankful for the grace and mercy of God.



Thursday, February 16, 2012

There was a Time.....

Once...


Odds & Ends

Thursday at last! My cleaning genie will be at my house tomorrow and it is amazing how exciting that is. I won't have to spend Saturday cleaning. Yay!

It is a gloomy day and I'm am having trouble walking. Right leg is giving me fits. My right foot and hip hurt. My left shoulder is still painful and my neck, too. I think the neck is worse because I've spent the last two nights working on my sister's laptop. 

She had a mess going on with that thing. Several viruses, PUPs, trojans. One thing had 91 entries. I did all my magic and thought I had it all good to go. The problems were so bad that it forced me to run the scans outside of windows on a restart.. that's rare for me to have to do that... like once or twice that I even remember. Still, I thought it was getting the stuff out. Nope. Once the scan finished, every thing simply stopped working. No sound, impossible to adjust any settings, and NO system restore ability. I had to shut down and start up in "safe mode with networking" so I could actually fix it. 

Bottom line, I had to restore to factory settings. It reformatted and re-installed her OS and I spent the rest of the evening re-installing the software she had on it. I think I'm done now except for all the updates. I left that going when I went to bed and finished up some before work this morning. I'll check one more time but then she can come get it. 

I am hoping I can go home tonight and relax. I like working on computers but my neck is very unhappy with it. There is simply no work around the neck issue. Straight ahead is all I can do for any length of time. Looking in any other direction for more than a few minutes is not good.

Not much writing to speak of this week. I did try a bit last night but I'm in a place that simply is not meshing for me. I think I need to move some stuff around, rewrite a few sections to make it flow and to move some important information farther into the story. I've got it too near the beginning. I have been thinking that for a while but the more I do the more I realize it. So, that will take some doing.

It is late afternoon now and the sky is still overcast but it is nearly 50F. Not warm but certainly not cold. Very odd weather for February. I remember the year Jerry died it was so horribly cold. The ice storm that January 28th put down so much ice and snow and it lasted for a couple of months because it was bitter cold. 

The afternoon is moving along so I'm going to stop now. I have several things to get done before 5 p.m. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Valentine's Day Gift

My children bought me flowers and a box of candy for Valentine's Day. They are so pretty. It is a day that is particularly hard for widows. Think about it. Everyone around you is getting flowers and candy from their sweethearts and here you are in an office full of flowers with nothing. My daughter-in-law brought me mine just before I got off yesterday so I was the first to get flowers.




Monday, February 13, 2012

A Quick Catch Up

Another week begins and it is C-O-L-D! I am sitting in my office freezing. Yes, we have heat but for some reason the hallways won't get warm. And every time someone goes in or out of the building, it sucks what little warm are we have out. I have my door closed and my small electric heater going but it seems like it isn't doing very well.


I went to lunch with Mike and Becca. David had to work. Mike is hauling Becca around to get some things done. Becca doesn't have a driver's licenses and so she has no way to get around if Dave is working. I let Mike use the car so he could they could take Sarah to school and Becca to the Federal building to take care of some paperwork there. Those two ADHA people on my car..... yikes. I'm glad they get along well or I'd really be concerned for the car. Becca makes Mike slow down and pay attention. 


Yesterday, I had a bit of a rough day. The weather is not helping me at all and I got a bit depressed during church. I can't really prevent bad memories from coming out of nowhere and once they've surfaced, I can't send them away. So I was down the rest of the day. My head began hurting before lunch and grew worse as the day wore own but it wasn't unbearable and by bedtime it was better. 


This morning, I needed more sleep, even though I thought I'd had enough. I think I was just sleeping so well that I didn't want to get up.  


I'm very frustrated by not getting any writing done at all this weekend. I wanted to and kept thinking "I'll feel better in a bit" but I didn't. So I sat in a chair and watched t.v. shows. I didn't even crochet. My neck just hurt all day Saturday and as the cold seemed to get worse so did the joint pain. I did go out late Saturday afternoon to take Mike shopping and look for some items I wanted. 


Tonight, I'm going to try and do a bit of writing but I also want to see if the hangout idea works in G+. Need to send invites to my WRoE circle. If you gals are reading this, be around at 7:30 p.m. CENTRAL, logged into G+. We'll see how it flys. That's 8:30 eastern and 6:30 MTN, 5:30 Western time. This will just be a dry run, so to speak.


All right, must get back to work now.



Saturday, February 11, 2012

Misery and Bitter Cold

It is 18 degrees and the wind has been insane all night. That low pressure we had was pushed out by a high pressure system the sun is shinning finally but no way am I getting out in that!

As a result in the shifting pressures, Friday night's editing plans went down the tube. The weather turned vicious... to me anyway. By 9 p.m. I was hurting nearly everywhere and my neck and shoulders were the worst. I found a chair I could sit in in the living room and I managed to get a position that wasn't too bad but I couldn't believe how much I was hurting in so short a time! And there was nothing to take that late. The generic tylenol only last 8 hours. I'd have woken in the middle of the night in pain.

I am going to take it this morning, however. I'm hoping, as the high settles down that I will get better. I went to bed I think around 11. All I did was read. I'm up this morning at 10 and in about half an hour I'll pay bills then I hope I can start on the real work.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Where Is the Sun?

One of my favorite songs is Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles. It isn't here. It is 9 a.m. and it looks like 6 p.m. on a winter day. I saw flurries briefly a few blocks from work. 

I slept late all week. I got up every day at 7:30! Yes. And I was on time for work every day. Think about it. No hair to fix, well, I have hair but just run a comb or brush through it. I don't wear makeup. I ate fruit every day, which I brought with me. I simply got up, made a cup of coffee, drank it while I dressed, and left for work. I'm 10 minutes from my job. And I feel better with that extra hour sleep. 

Yes, yes, I know. I could go to bed an hour early. That would be at 10 p.m. I haven't got there yet. I will. But for now, this works. As far as I am concerned...why spend all that time on stuff that no one cares about anyway. There's no one to impress.

I managed to do about four or five crocheted squares in the last few days. I am going to spend the weekend editing. First.. a comfortable seat. I have to get comfortable. I've fought with my neck for days and it is definitely the way I'm having to sit. The computer is too high and I don't have a good seat. So, I have to rearrange some things. I have no idea what to do. That spare room is so cozy and warm. 

I am not home from work. I was unable to finish this post this morning. The day got no better. We had a bit heavier flurries that turned to a very cold rain. It is still too warm for snow, which is just wonderful as far as I am concerned. 

I'm in the kitchen. My sister has my desk in the spare room and is filling out applications. She doesn't have internet at her place. I am getting read to get a hot shower and I hope have a nice quiet evening at home cozied up with a hot bowl of soup and my novel. I have to write this weekend. Must put in at least six hours in the next three days. 

I'll be around I suspect.





Thursday, February 9, 2012

Down Hill to Saturday

I have sort of frittered the week away. Well, maybe not so much. I've done crochet for three nights rather than edit. I needed a mental break and my neck was killing me. I'm going to have to reassess my writing location. 

So.. where does that leave me? The kitchen is just too cold and the chairs are not comfortable either. My living room chair, comfortable at first, for some unfathomable reason, now is not. I think it is the portable table I'm using there that is the trouble. I like the spare room. The desk in the spare room is just too high and I don't have time at the moment to do what needs to be done. Yes, I know what to do, I just don't have time to build a lower frame. That will wait until it is warmer. It is also too crowded at this point to be feasible. 

I can move it to the office where the desktop is located but I've avoided that because the wall needs finishing and I don't want to have to keep hauling stuff in and out. Better to leave it empty. When it gets warm enough to open windows I shall finish it. 

I got my performance evaluation yesterday. I was quite impressed with me! It was a stellar evaluation. I actually feel like someone thinks I'm good at what I do and that I do a whole lot. The boss ask us to write our responses on the back of the sheet but I wasn't about to screw that up. Now, there were a couple of areas I need to improve but overall, I'm good.

I feel... very odd. Yes, I know that sounds strange. But it is true. I've said before that ever since Bro Gary Ashcraft came to our church and prayed for me I've been better mentally. I have, tremendously so. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you'll know this. I still have terrible problems with RA pain. But that's not what he prayed for.. I don't think. When he was about to pray for me he actually told people I had Fibromyalgia and that that disease usually resulted when the central nervous system had more than it could handle. Experiencing the disease and reading the studies, I would agree with that. I mean, for decades it was a non-disease all in a woman's head. However, I never told him I had it. But... the mental fog disappeared in less than a week. The terrible tiredness associated with it was also gone. Yes, yes, I get very tired, exhausted, in fact. But remember, I work 8 hrs a day with Rheumatoid arthritis and most personal friends say I do way too much when I'm not working. I do less than I used to because I hired someone to clean for me. Made an amazing difference. So I'm much better in that sense. Whatever happened, whatever your belief in such things, I am much better. And I'm thankful.

So, the odd part. I just feel strange. I can't put my finger on it. It isn't a bad strange. No. I'd say it is probably a good strange. I am having problems, as I mentioned in a past blog, with my right hip and left shoulder and neck. Lately, I'm having that shooting leg pain. I am telling you this is a nerve somewhere. It starts in the same place every time. But aside from those things, I feel strangely fine.

I've been crocheting as I said. I've made about four squares since Tuesday. Last night I did two. I've got the pattern down now, I think. I am not screwing up as much and not referring to the pattern except when I change colors. Have I said it's a lot of squares? I'm not half done! I finished Jilly's in about three weeks. I see this lasting far longer. 

I do love the crochet. I can't believe I ever laid it down. I forgot how lovely it is to see a pattern grow and become something useful. It isn't like sewing, where it is done in a few days. At least, making the afghans aren't. Smaller items you can but this is a much bigger project. And doing things with thread is a bit more intensive. Smaller thread, smaller needle and finer details. I am just glad I picked it back up. 

Now, if the den will warm so I can get back in there sewing....

I'm going to meet Doug for lunch today. He shot me an email and asked. I haven't seen him in several weeks and it will be nice to talk to him. He's a good writing friend. 

I was thinking this week that the writing has brought me some wonderful friends. Most are online but they are nevertheless truly wonderful. I get these emails that are funny and encouraging or that share some of their own dilemmas or offer advice on mine. I am just so blessed by these people. I hope they know it. I hope I've told them. If I haven't.. I am now.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday WRoE Update

Things progress. I have Chapter 1-3 roughly structured. I'm not 100% pleased but it's ok. I am a bit excited about it. I  like it. {sigh} Will other people? {sigh} 

I don't know how this is going to come out. It makes sense to me but I know the story. I'm hoping it will make sense to everyone else. There seems to be the idea that you shouldn't tell the reader too much. I don't feel like I'm doing that. In fact, I get uncomfortable because I am withholding too much and don't think they will get it. Still, I'm not playing that game. It is what usually stymies me. 

So, as of tonight, I have one and a half hours of editing. I'm tired and stopping for the night. 


"Stuff" People Say to Widows

I have to post this. Some of you may recognize the statements! People REALLY say this stuff!


Miss Cora Strayer's Private Detective Agency

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Fascinating!

Playing Black Sabbath on Tesla coils with an iron guitar, standing in a Faraday suit - Boing Boing

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You have to see it to believe it. Awesome!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

OK Go... Again

One of my favorite groups...

The Days WRoE

I have spent the last two days working on The Dream Stealer. Last night I manged to work from 8:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. with a short break in between. Today, I came home from church and worked from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. with a baking break. I made cookies from a prepackaged mix. Took about 30 minutes total but I didn't have to stand around and watch them rise. I just mixed, put them in the oven, and let them bake. I worked in between. 

I actually moved my work area into the spare room on my make do desk. It is warmer here and more comfortable. Had a time finding a chair that would work and then remembered a foam pad I had left over from doing Mike's chair... at least 6 yrs ago! It was stored in the closet. A nice four inch thick pad. I put one of those store bought chair cushions on top of it and that gave me a bit of height in the chair. It isn't perfect but managable. 

I've got two chapters fairly organized. I like the structure of them and I'm not sure what to add to them. I'm impressed with myself, perhaps unjustifiably so. They feel like they have what they need. I'm not worrying about that at this point. I know that later sections are sadly not this "put together". The current items are actually from when I first started writing it, those early scenes. But a bit of it came out of NaNo... filling in some gaps. I let three friends read what I had last night but since then, I've done a bit of rearranging and deleting and adding so it is different already!

Anyway, I'm tired now and I am supposed to go to church in about an hour so have to stop here. I've got a total of about 4.5 hrs work in for the weekend. Under WRoE rules... that is 4 days work! Simon would say, "Well done, love! Let's take a break, shall we."


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Saturday Breakdown

I got a hot shower which helped quite a bit and I took some acetaminophen. I did laundry. While the laundry washed and dried I made myself useful. I paid bills. I read blogs. I had brunch. I cleaned the kitchen.

Mike walked over and we went to the store around noon. I suddenly wanted some new place mats for the table. I'd cleaned out my kitchen towel drawers and found that I suddenly hated the old tatty things I had had for years. So, we went shopping.

We got done and I dropped off a couple of things I'd bought for Sarah's room. Some big girl wall art. Really pretty and will go wonderfully with her rainbow color theme. Oh, I bought two raspberry red mats and four dark blue ones.

Then we went to see Sherlock Holmes. I was so thrilled. I've wanted to see it for weeks but I got sick and was afraid I wasn't going to make it before it closed out. So we went to the 4:05 show. It was sooooo good! I love Robert Downey, Jr. in virtually anything. He is truly a great Holmes. I've seen probably every Sherlock Holmes move and television show ever made. Jeremy Brett was awesome as Holmes and I thought probably the most like the literary character. But I have to say that Downey has made me fall in love with the Holmes stories all over again. His Holmes is a bit more active than the previous Holmes but I just love it. It was fun. I came out feeling like I'd had a good time.

We went to supper and I dropped Mike off at his place and came home. I just got another hot shower and have started working on the edit. Oh... every time I read some of this story, I just love it. I'm about to ask some of you to read the first Chapter and give me an honest opinion of the opening. I don't care about anything but whether or not it is good....

I stopped only long enough to post this as I doubt I'll get back again tonight. Hope you all had a good day.

HowStuffWorks "How the U.S. President Works"

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In case you didn't know or forgot.....


A Yawning Chasm


I fell into it. Well, it feels like I did. I woke at 8:35 a.m. to the sound of my clock telling me it was 8:35. It talks, you see. Anyway, as soon as I knew I was awake I realized I'd fallen off a cliff and was lying at the bottom on jagged rocks.

I hurt everywhere. And the sky is heavily overcast and 46F. I tried to sleep a bit longer but only managed about 15 minutes before the pain became unbearable. So, having had my coffee I find myself in my chair working on a blog.

Hands feel crushed. Neck feels broken. Knees and ankles feel hammered. Those areas hurt the most. I'm going to get a hot shower and see if it helps. I'm out of acetaminophen, took the last two last night at bed time. I will go get some more today. . . if the shower helps. I'll go sooner if not. Even my chest wall between my neck and the top of my breast feels bruised.

The plan is, after I do the accounting duties I will work on my novel. I have to find some comfortable position or this will only get worse before it clears. I'm not happy.

I could sit and crochet. The hands hurt but aren't stiff. It would only be uncomfortable, not impossible to crochet.

It is going to be a rough day if the shower doesn't work.

Interested in electronics, privacy? FBI says you're a terrorist | DVICE

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This is getting ridiculous! I have done all of these things at one time! Just shows how fear mongering is becoming a way of life in America! Wonder what happens if they have a million callers at one time?





Friday, February 3, 2012

A Week Ends

Maybe it is just me but this week seemed to alternately fly by and crawl. Today is one of those days when I don't want to do anything and I want it to fly by. It is very sunny and 48F outside. Cold to me but I hear Europe is below zero so I'll take the 48 gladly.

I am having so much trouble with my hip hurting. It keeps catching and is painful to walk. I think the weather caused it. It was very damp and gloomy for a few days now and we are to get more rain over the weekend. This always seems to make my joints worse. My left shoulder has really been very bad and I've had to wear the pain patch on it again. It helps.

I am not as tired this morning but I didn't want to get up. I was sleeping so good and the bed was warm and cozy. Of course, once I wake it is very hard to go back to sleep or get comfortable so it probably didn't matter.

Things at home are a bit dull. Nothing much I want to do. I've read some, crocheted some, and watch t.v. some, usually while crocheting. I so enjoy the crochet. I am hoping when the weather warms up I can get back into the sewing room. It is so cold in there with no heat. I love the room. I was going to get a new heater but had to have a new sink so it will have to wait. I may go see if they still have any and if they are on sale. I could go back to the heater store and see about a really good one installed. What I have cost a couple of hundred dollars about 10 years ago. It still sells for about the same price, or did last year.

Writing. Must do the writing, too. I'm fairly over the cold so I've no more excuses except pain issues. At the moment, that isn't to terrible.

Happiness is a state of mind and it is very hard work being unhappy.  Apostle Paul said that he had "learned in whatsoever state" he was in to be content. He didn't elaborate that I can recall on exactly what technique he used. Just that he had learned it. I have learned that no matter what state you're in, it is a lot harder to be happy. That or I've not learned what Paul knew.

I have learned that I don't want to think beyond the now. I avoid thinking of the past as much as possible because it is filled with loss. I avoid thinking of the future, except on rare occasion when I start wishing for something. Neither past or future are in my reach. All I see is now. Most days it is a hollow shell. Contentment wouldn't describe it.

At least the sun is shinning.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Atasha Graham dies 'after allergic reaction to glue in her hairdo' during night out | Mail Online

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I don't use these but this is something those who do might need to know.

GREAT NEWS!

The doctor called tonight about 6 p.m. to say that Sarah's test results for Cystic Fibrous were negative. She doesn't have it. Thank all of you for your prayers and good thoughts. I know God is good. Becca says if this cough disappears and doesn't come back after this, God healed her.

They will send her next week to be tested for asthma. I suspect if she has anything she has that. There is a lot of asthma in my family and in Becca's.

I also believe there is mold in the apartment building where she lives. The apartment below their apartment is below ground level. It is a nice place, newly remodeled but the person below them smokes and isn't very clean. Ever since they moved in Sarah's clothes smell musty and moldy, like they're stored in a basement, what I call a dirty laundry room smell. As if the clothes stayed too long in the hamper and something has gone bad. Becca is very clean and although her house may get cluttered it isn't nasty. Sarah has this deep cough ever since they moved to the new place.

Going to shower now and see if I can get a restful night's sleep tonight. The last two have not been good.

WRoE Accountability Day

It was actually yesterday but I was not able to get to it last night. I'm still dealing with some health issues. The cold is better but I am having some problems with my hip, legs, and shoulder. The pain started on Saturday and has steadily built to nearly unbearable levels, particularly in the shoulders. I have a hard time using the computer by evening. 

So, I'm a day late but here is my breakdown.

I began working on my WRoE novel, The Dream Stealer  (DS) the New Year's weekend. I worked steadily until January 10. During that time I completed the merge of the NaNo 2011 novel and the work in progress (WIP) DS. I worked several hours a night and weekend I put in nearly 10 hours straight, with short breaks. I found that once I got started, I simply wanted it done. 

I finished the merge on the 10th and took several days off as a breather because my mind was reeling from reading a 50,000 word novel and the amazing work involved in cutting and pasting in the right place. I dont' recommend this method of writing at all. From the beginning of January thru the tenth I estimate that I spent nearly 20 hours on it. 

My plan was to pick back up on my four day weekend beginning on the 13th and really work on it. Of course, the Friday the 13th I came down with a rabid cold that is still with me. I was very sick from the 14th until 27th. I've still have a cough, lots of rattling in my chest, hoarseness, and ear problems. But I am much better than I was a week ago.

There were several nights during the last two weeks of January that I actually sat down with the story and reviewed some issues and to really assess if this was even worth the bother. I maybe added another two hours to my previous efforts in the first two weeks of the month.

What Now:

I have to get to it. I've been forced to let it go but if I don't pick it back up soon, I know I won't at all. NaNo 2012 is coming at a very fast clip. I can't do this and NaNo.

So, the goal for February is to get my schedule back in order. I have volunteered to teach some crochet classes and there is the Asylum meetings, although this month there is only one. 

Another issue is that I don't actually know how to edit. I've never really done editing on such a large work and one that is so unfinished in many ways. This is going to slow me down. I don't have time to research it. I have to just do it.

February has started so I'm already a day behind in my goals. If the crochet doesn't happen to night, I want to try and get into the WIP. 

I said it wasn't easy. It isn't. But I'm doing more than I was before. It counts.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pieces of Sarah's Spread

Absolutely the Best Site

I found a site over the weekend that is probably the best I've found yet for anything crochet. The Crochet Crowd is hands down the best. Tutorials that are clear and easy to follow and some really beautiful patterns. They have a whole free tutorial to get you started! Just register with them.

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