Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Brain in a Box

Thursday dawned... well, it got light out. Gray skies, a rather half-hearted rain, and freezing cold greeted me when I raised the garage door. Yikes! Into the breech.

I went to work. Things are backing up and they are beginning to intimidate me. I hope tomorrow will be a day that I'll get it all organized. I didn't get a lot done in the morning but my continued exhaustion is wreak havoc with my concentration.

I had lunch with my friend, Doug today. He's a brilliant friend, is Doug. You'd really like him. When the opportunity to have lunch with him arises, I'm thrilled. Fortunately these opportunities seem to arise when I'm having knotty problems with my story. Doug is the king of disentangling knotty story problems. Really, I don't know how he does it but it is as if he has this laser vision that cuts through layers and layers of tangled story. You hand it to him and suddenly, in minutes, lunch was only an hour remember, he hands you back the core of the story you were looking for but couldn't see. I left lunch with my prize, a brain in a box! Yep, Doug gave me a brain in a box and it is going to revolutionize my story.

No, really.

Seriously, it will.

Sigh. OK. So, it's only going to get me out of a corner that I boxed myself into when I introduced the box. Wow... it isn't a pun but it should be. But Simon is going to love this box. When I tell him.

The afternoon was much brighter, at least, in my mind. That brain in the box was a nice motivator. Staying focused was much harder but I managed to get more work done than I originally anticipated. But there's still piles.

I'm so tired and it is really silly to be sitting here writing a blog post. I can barely think straight and when I read this it sounds ridiculous. But that is what I do.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Lack of Sleep

It has been a horribly long day. For the uninformed, from 6:30 Monday morning until 10:30 Tuesday night I had no sleep. I had a rash, according to local medical experts. Ah, the marvels of modern medicine. So, I was scared to sleep all day Tuesday for fear I would not sleep Tuesday night, something that did not present a problem at all as it turned out.

They gave me a cream to be applied every 4 hours and it works well to lessen the itching. No idea what it is.... long name ending in .. sone. Sounds like a steroid to me. They gave me some pills that the insert reported would cause dizziness, blurred vision, and assorted other frightening reactions. It suggested I not drive while taking. I felt it was good advice. I took it when I went to bed. The bottle said 1-3 pills as needed for itching. In light of the reaction list, I also felt it wise to err on the side of moderation. I took one pill. I slept fine and no itching. 

Of course, I was so tired I suspect Gabriel would have suffered a stroke blowing his horn to wake me up. In fact, I had a hard time getting up. I was really sleeping. I got up at 7:30 a.m. and had to be at work at 8 a.m. I was 10 minutes late. I had to stop for OJ and a sausage biscuit. Hey, I gotta eat. 

As soon as I got to work my day went loco. Move briefing at 8:20 and then one client after another until noon. I worked on files and mailed out notices. Lunch was at Captain D's. I don't think I was good company. I really wanted to sleep. My friend, Carolyn drove us to lunch and that was probably a good idea. 

The rest of the afternoon I worked on assorted things. I could barely concentrate and if you asked me what I did, I couldn't tell you. Just paper shuffling.

I stopped by the store on my way home to get some things to eat. I came home and had a salad. Dave brought Sarah home with him for the evening. Then I did dishes, mopped the floor, washed two loads of laundry, all before 8:30.

So that is where I end my day now. 9:58 p.m. and I'm done. I'm going to find my bed. I wonder why we say such things? My bed isn't lost. I know right where it is, right where it was when I got out of it. In fact, I'm going to seek it with joy... well, maybe gladness is more accurate. But that's another post for another day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Day in the Swamp

We've had rain for two days now.  Not a soft gentle spring rain. A cold, pouring rain that makes the ground squish when you walk. My legs and hips do not like it, no one little bit.

I was up all night last night. I have some kind of rash on my legs from my ankles to mid calf on the left leg and slightly lower on the right. It itched like mad all night and I was miserable. The only thing that helped was leaving my leg uncovered and with my heat at 60 degrees, that is not pleasant. So tonight I'll have to find a way to stay warm but not let the legs get over heated. The electric blanket made it much worse I think.

I am annoyed that my whole day was a waste. I have had no sleep but there is no way I could work or write or crochet. I lay on the couch like a slug, t.v. shows playing and I can't tell you what I watched! I could have got more editing done but my brain is basically slush.

Tomorrow is Wednesday and after a missed day of work it is going to be horrible. Well, it is what it is, I guess.

A Late Evening with the Dream Stealer

I'm headed off to bed but since I'm in a writing mood, I felt it only right that I post a short blog. Tonight was my online writers group and as usual it was entertaining. Such a nice group of friends I have and it is always fun.

However, I've been setting goals for myself the last several weeks. I spent a lot of time actually putting them down on paper, a calendar. I have to update it every weekend but that is actually helpful. Anyway, since today is Monday and I've finally reached a place where I think I've talked about it enough and filled in my calendar with my goals. I should start today.

May I have a drum roll please? Wait... maybe some soft music to set the mood. Something that builds up to the drum roll.

Where was I? Oh, the writing group closed slightly early for the evening; 8:30 is our usual time but tonight it was closer to 8:15. I did a few things, got a drink, and I sat down at my computer and opened Scrivener. I marked my time on my calender. It was 9 pm. I opened The Dream Stealer. Simon stepped off the pages and into my head.

The thing is a real mess as a result of writing in scenes. My usual method of writing is from point A to point Z. This works really well. The Dream Stealer began that way but in a stupid attempt to fill in holes, I wrote 50,000+ words in scenes out of sequence for NaNo in 2011. This is not a good way to write. It is really insane. I have a surplus of scenes that seem to belong nowhere. Maybe the next book? Hah! I have to finish this one. I have enough words to finish it but as I organize and structure the scenes I find there are still places that are all wrong. So, do I start over? I began to think I must. But there are some good scenes, a lot of them. I may not know a lot but I know when the writing is good.

Anyway, I stopped at 12:00 midnight mainly because my brain couldn't take anymore but also because I actually need sleep. Besides, sleep is where he's does his best work, I hear. Dreams are not safe from the Dream Stealer.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Car Slushies and Random Escapes

The sound of rain falling is just outside the study window. It is freezing cold, too. When I left work at five someone had poured a slushy all over my car and it clung it in clumps. Did I say it was freezing? Honestly, if the sun had been shinning I think it would have felt warmer but because frozen water was everywhere it felt like I had been transported to the North Pole... at least pretty close to it.

As a result of this lovely little front that pushed in with its frozen treat, I acquired a raging migraine. It started small, just before lunch. I thought lunch would make me feel better. It didn't. By two I had to take an Imitrex. At 4, I got very ill. That is what Imitrex does to me. I get sick before it gets better. It is now 8:45 and I still have a moderately bad headache and my nose is now stuffy. So, I will have to take something for the sinus issue and hope the head stops pounding. I will not sleep well with this headache. My neck is not good either but that is typical with these headaches. Thankfully, they have become much sparser in the last couple of years. I hope the trend continues. 

I enjoyed my little weekend getaway a lot and I am going to have to start doing something like that when I can. It was enough to break my sense of imprisonment. 

Did I say that? I suppose it is true. When Jerry died he left me stranded in a place where I have no family but my sons and granddaughter and one sister, who is also trapped. She has no one but us. In the current economic nightmare we call an economy, although there is nothing economic about it, you can't just up and leave a perfectly good job because you want to break out. So, random escapes may be the answer.

Bake me a cake, will ya?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Hop, Skip & A Jump

Well, it seemed like that is what it was coming home yesterday. Tuesday dawned grey and rainy and stayed that way for about an hour. I left the city of Jonesboro in the great state of Georgia at 8 a.m. central time. That's 9 a.m. eastern... and the earliest I could leave if I wanted to miss Atlanta's notorious gridlock on the interstate. I still came to a standstill at Turner Field and from there, could have taken a horse and buggy on I-75 through downtown Atlanta faster than I made it through town on the car. It was 5 miles an hour when I could move at all and took at least 30 minutes to cover two miles. You can do the math if you're so inclined. I've already done it once, thank you.

Once through town I tried the Spanish cd but by the time I reached Dalton, Georgia I was feeling very sleepy. The gloom, boring scenery, and maybe I just wasn't awak yet. I popped in my Drifters cd and from there all the way to Evansville, Indiana I kept the music going. I played the three cds of the The Drifters and they carried me to Chattanooga, Tennessee. From there Patsy Cline got me almost to Nashville and was picked up by Frankie Valli's greatest hits. I hit Nashville just after noon and came to a crawl until I reached the other side of town at which point, Credence Clearwater Revival carried me all the way to Evansville, Indiana. I only stopped in Tennessee for lunch and twice at McDonalds to get a drink. I got home just after 4 p.m. And CCR was still singing when I switched off the car. Do you know that their version I Heard it through the Grape Vine is nearly 12 minutes long! And more than half that is instrumental, very good instrumental, too.

Did you also know that you can't dance in the car while driving? It is very frustrating.

Altogether, it was a rocking ride and I actually enjoyed it. Generally I really hate traveling alone. I think just the fact that I could relax all weekend, didn't have to deal with anyone's drama, run anyone anywhere, or do anything I didn't want to do actually left me fairly relaxed. I will return to work tomorrow much more rested than when I left on Friday.

I am now looking forward to that trip to Florida in May. Anyone want to go on a day long canoe trip with crazy but fun people? Lunch is included and we'll loan you a towel. Must have a good bladder as there are NO potty breaks for several hours. I do hope the weather cooperates again this year. We've done this for a couple of years now and I really love it. I think there're videos on Heart of Dixie - YouTube from the 2011 trip. Yep, it's there. But for some reason YouTube is glitchy and my videos stop in the middle for no reason! 

Would you believe I still have not done my taxes? I have begun to hate doing them more each year. It isn't hard. I don't have any money so it is relatively simple. I just hate doing Indiana state taxes! The most awful form I ever ran across and if you know me you know I've lived in several different states. Until last year you could file state taxes online here for free through the state. They stopped it. Now I'll have to pay to file it. So, they'll be getting a paper return. I'm betting I won't be the only one.

Away with me now. I have some work to do down the hall and I probably should put away the laundry. Another job I really hate. I don't mind doing the laundry until it gets to the sheets and towels. I usually will simply take them to the living room and put on a movie or watch a show while I do them. But I really hate it.

I only work two, count them, TWO days this week. Thank God for a job that allows me generous vacation time. I'm out of here for now. 

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mini Vacations in the South

I left Saturday at 9 a.m. headed for Jonesboro, Ga and I arrived around 5 p.m. CT. That's about when I expected to arrive, actually. I didn't stop for anything but the traffic jam in downtown Atlanta. There was an accident somewhere ahead and it took me about half an hour to get through a two mile stretch.

The trip was relatively uneventful. I gassed up in Henderson, Kentucky because fuel is about five cents cheaper there than it is across the river in Indiana. I popped in my Spanish language CD and for the next two hours I practiced Spanish. That is one very long CD! However, it got me to the Hopkinsville exit where I took a potty break and bought a diet coke that was fairly flat. However, I then plugged in the MP3 player with my old radio shows on it and from there all the way to Dalton Georgia I listened to Suspense. I had no idea I had that many radio shows on my MP3 player! It was really cool to be able to listen to them.

I stopped at the Lookout Mountain exit at 3 p.m. and had a very late lunch. I was going to stop earlier but I got off at an exit that the traffic flow was absolutely horrible and inconvenient. I got right back on the interstate and until I found another place better situated. I ate at Cracker Barrel and shopped a bit.

Once I arrived I was pretty much ready to get out of the car. However, there was a birthday party in progress and we were to go to dinner with my cousin and his family. It was nice to see them. Bed was a welcome retreat and it is a very comfortable bed. Sunday we went to church and then out to dinner with my Aunt & Uncle and my other cousin and his teenage boys and my other cousin's daughter. Nice kids and very entertaining.

I spent Sunday evening crocheting on Sarah's dress. It is taking shape.

Monday, today, we went to Juliette, Ga and had lunch at the Whistle Stop Cafe where they filmed Fried Green Tomatoes. I bought a copy of the movie. I always wanted a copy of it on DVD. It is one of my favorite movies and I'm looking forward to watching it again. I liked the tiny village lined along the street. The vendors are nice and not pushy and the food at the cafe was delicious. No, I did not eat barbecue ribs. I had fried chicken, collard greens, and white field peas with cornbread. I don't eat fried, green, tomatoes, southern girl though I am. I've never cared for them. I don't hate them, just don't find them appealing. However, I ate some here and actually, they're very good. They had a kind of chipotle sauce and the batter they cooked them in were both spicy and gave them more flavor. So, if they taste like the ones at the Whistle Stop, they're good. However, I can highly recommend the mixed berry cobbler a la mode. I could have eaten that right by itself.

It was very odd going into the cafe. I felt like I knew the place because I'd seen the movie and it is a favorite of mine. The sensation of deja vu was mild but present and not unpleasant. I'd like to come back when it is warm.

After we ate we strolled along the street and went into the half dozen shops. It was colder in some of the stores than it was outside. We went into Ruth and Idge's house and it was so warm. The lady there said she hated to be cold. So, take my advice, do this little jaunt on a nice spring day when everything is in bloom and green and warm.

Before we left we drove around the corner because one of the vendors said the big plantation house used in the movie is up for sale and we wanted to see it. I'm buying that when I meet that guy with the pots of money. Really.

We came home and I've been messing around on the computer while the aunt and uncle are at the funeral home visiting friends. I'll load the car soon and be ready to pull out tomorrow around 9 a.m. in the morning for Indiana.

I am off on Wednesday to recover from the drive and just relax a bit.

And that's a weekend vacation in the South for me. I need a whole bunch of them.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Mish Mash of Maundering Melodrama

There are days when I totally forget my goal to post something every day. I've been going to work like a slave, plopping my butt in the chair and staying there until a specific amount of work is done. It is paying off for the moment but I don't know how long I can keep it up. I'm exhausted by the time I get home. And I'm annoyed because it has interfered with every plan I've made.

The only positive to this is that if I can do what I'm planning, I will be better off than I've been in a year. So, say a prayer that I can finish the items I have slated to finish by the 28th. Better yet, pray for no interruptions for the next two weeks. No phone calls, no walk-ins, no coworker catastrophes, and no boss ineptitude.

A real negative it that I've done none of the "real" writing I had planned. I'm simply too drained. I either read or I crochet, both of which requires minimal movement and occupies the brain in a way that decompresses me. Seriously, crochet is a very calming skill. You don't even have to be making anything important. A single stitch, four large skeins of your favorite color and a hook and you're set... for days if you want. If you hate it, you unravel it and make something else. When you're done, you don't remember what bugged you and you have a beautiful, warm wrap for the cold winter evenings with your favorite book.

I used to do quite a lot of crochet when the boys were small but got away from it. When Jerry died and I was cleaning out the closets I found this huge basket of yarn and some unfinished stuff. I also found one of those large popcorn tins filled with thread. So, I dragged it all out and once I started I realized that grief could be managed if you're under the influence of crochet. And now I'm making things like sweaters and dresses and shrugs! LOL, Sarah has at least 10 shrugs of various colors. A dress is nearly finished. I've made a friend a throw, am working on a afghan for Sarah, and another throw for someone else. It works.

Digression end.

But, no novel work and that ticks me off.

I leave for Atlanta Saturday. It is a six hour drive for me. I will return on Tuesday and go back to work on Thursday. Wednesday is a day of rest. David will be here while I'm gone. So, the house will be occupied by a 224 lb male with hands that can twist the head off a bull should you be so stupid as to break in. I once saw him shoot a mouse hiding beneath a chair in a lamp-lit bedroom with a pellet gun from 15 feet away. I told him he couldn't do it. He hit is twice and killed it. With something the size of a BB! He hit it twice! Oh, get over it. The mouse was trespassing. But while he owns no other firearms, he does have some other lethal weapons... silent ones.

Just sayin'.

I hope to relax during this jaunt. I'm carrying my Kindle, my laptop, crochet and my writing calendar. I need to just do the things I enjoy without anyone demanding something. My aunt and uncle will respect that. I'll have company and privacy. And she's a really good cook. . . with a dishwasher. I'll even load it!

The steroid course I was on has ended. I have had about three weeks without much pain and a brain that is operating at near normal levels. This week the hip is bugging me again. Not much, just reminding me that it is biding it's time. My back is really bothering me but I think this is because I've spent nearly a week sitting all day. I get up to talk with a client, check the mail, send a fax, return or get a file. I am in the very back of my office building. I have the longest jaunt to the files and front door. So I do get some activity. Some days I hate that walk to the front and will make the trip a dozen times before noon. On the plus side, if someone comes in and goes postal, I have the quickest escape route. The back door is just outside my door or I can shatter the window and step out. My car just 50 feet away.

I have no idea where that came from but it is always in my mind. We deal with some potentially unstable folks. Doesn't everyone these days?

I hate Valentines Day. I'm glad it is over.

Monday is another "holiday". I hesitate to call President's Day a holiday. It is not a Holy Day. It more aptly called an "honor day". I like that much better. I save my Holy Days for things that are truly worthy of the title.

And now, I'm going to bed. I've no idea what to call this post and recently read somewhere that titling blog post was a wasted effort. But I like catchy titles and I usually come up with good ones. Well, I think they're good.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Flight of the Week

I don't know where the week went. I've been so busy at work that I simply turned on the auto pilot and let the thing fly itself. We've landed, safely, at the weekend. I'm actually feeling physically better since they gave me the steroid. I have no idea what it has done to my blood sugar or triglycerides but I'm not thinking about it at the moment. It is nice to have practically no pain at all and feel as if I'm in my right mind for a change.

I've got plans. I work Monday and I'm off Tuesday. That will leave three days in the week to push through. They will be horrendous days of shoveling massive piles of files from one side of my desk, by way of entering the data into the computer, to the other side of my desk.

 On Monday night, the 11th, I have an Online Writers' Asylum meeting That's always fun. Agenda is sent out already.

On the 16th I'm driving down to Atlanta to visit my aunt and uncle. Monday, the 18th, is another holiday and I took Tuesday and Wednesday off. So, I'll stay until the 19th and come home on the 20th. I'm going alone. Dave will have Sarah that weekend and I'll miss that but he's got a friend who will be in town with her two little girls and they'll be doing things together. It will be good for both of them. And he needs to have time with Sarah to himself because he needs to know how to deal with it.

Then, I'll have Thursday and Friday to try and make up for the five days I didn't work. Just in case you didn't realize it, February is already a very short month, as months go, in regard to the kind of work I do. I have approximately 15 days in which to process what normally takes a full 30 day month. So, this will be a feat to rival the Augean Stables. Just so you know, I am not Hercules.

I've been messing around tonight trying to get my home network back online. I can do it one way but not the other. I mean, I can see and access files in my shared folder from the desktop but I can't do the same from the laptop. I think some settings still aren't right, despite the repair. As soon as I can sit down and make sure I'm backed up on the important stuff, I'm resetting everything to factory settings. I'd like to do it this week but if you read over the previous paragraphs you will realize that it is probably not going to happen. Then, I think I'll upgrade to Windows 7 while I still can.

On the 16th I was supposed to meet with a group of local NaNo writers who want to start meeting once a month. Then I realized I had this trip to Atlanta and so I've had to push that back to the last Saturday in February.

Compared to this past week, I suspect that the coming week will reach Mach speeds. Next flight is boarding now. Buckle up.

Friday, February 1, 2013

It Takes A Village

I love British mysteries. I cut my teeth on Agatha Christy and Dorthy L Sayers. For weeks now, I've been watching British mysteries on Netflix. I sit and crochet and watch for hours in the evening. I'm into about the seventh season of Midsomer Murders. It is just one of my favorites.

I don't know how the country of Britain is subdivided. I haven't been interested enough to look it up and assume it is similar to our divisions. In America we have states that have counties with towns and a county seat. Louisiana has parishes but it is six of one and half dozen of the other. Kentucky is a commonwealth but still has counties.

In Midsomer Murders the towns are usually different but they all appear to be in one sort of county, Midsomer, i.e. Midsomer Worthy I take to mean the town of Worthy in the county of Midsomer. If I'm wrong my loyal Brits readers will kindly correct me. But you get my drift.

While watching the show the other night I got to thinking. This Midsomer place is a veritable pit of sin and murder. I mean, every show is full of the most awful old bats and nosy neighbors, and vicious gossips. Every show has more than one murder. And the nicest people all seem to have these nasty vices or they seem totally naive about all of it.

So, I wondered... exactly what are those little English villages like? Seriously, they're small. All of the Midsomer villages are picturesque, cozy, and people seem so friendly on the surface and then, bam, someone is bashed over the head with a brick, or lamp, or candlestick. If they aren't bashed with something, they're blasted with a shotgun, of which there seems to be a awful lot of in Midsomer. Every one, including Granny has a shotgun. I know Britain has strict gun laws. I mean, even the DCI doesn't have a gun when he goes haring after the murderer. More than once I thought, "Stop, you fool! Get a gun before you go in there!" But no, he never does. And they never kill him! They don't even shoot him. Generally, they don't even hit him. He walks over and just snatches the gun away and that handsome chap that blindly follows him handcuffs the offender. All neat and tidy, despite the fact that this person just murdered half the town with an ax.

I always thought it would be nice to live in one of those villages. My friend, Jilly, moved to one last year. She seems very happy and so much more involved in the local events now. She's invited me to come for a visit and I've been really wanting to do that. But now I'm beginning to wonder. I've seen what goes on in these little hotbeds of vice.

I must ask her if Simon owns a shotgun.