Sunday, March 31, 2013

Finished Projects

I finished Sarah's crocheted dress today. It has taken me about three months and I'm so glad to be done with it. I can't wait to see how it fits. I'm a bit nervous. Never made one of these and didn't have an actual pattern for it. I found an easy pullover sweater that was all one piece and decided I could do something similar as a dress. So, I did, with some modifications. And if I do another one, I'll make some additional changes. But all things considered, I'm pleased with my efforts. This dress is made with Caron Simply Soft, color: Tapestry. It is a lighter weight and feels more like a cotton yarn, although is says acrylic. 

 I even added a decorative border at the bottom, actually I started at the bottom of the dress. It is made in the round until you get to the sleeves. I found it was going to be too wide for her and tapered in as I moved up and this gives it a slight flare at the bottom. Not sure that will work but I wasn't about to start over. I actually like it and it won't be so tight around her legs. She's a leggy things anyway.

The second project finished is a sweater I made. I did use a patter from Red Heart for this one. I received two jumbo skeins of red yarn from Sarah for Christmas with instructions to make her something red. Ergo, a red sweater. It lacks only the buttons. 

I'll post photos of her wearing them as soon as I can. I think she'll be able to wear these for another month. I've learned that I should probably make sweaters in the summer. I do think she'll be able to wear them both next fall but still, would have been nice to finish earlier.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Fractured Fairy Tale

Short Post for a Long Day

The end of another day of bone weary exhaustion. I thought, around 7 p.m. last night that today I might feel better. I had about three hours where I suddenly felt really good. I did some laundry and then watched a movie with Dave and Sarah. I went to bed and today, I managed to go out for about three hours with Sarah. By the time I got home, I was as tired as if I'd run a marathon. I simply sat down the rest of the day and watched movies with David.

At the moment, it is raining here. Tomorrow is Easter and I'd like to be able to go to church and not feel as if I need to lie down on the pew.

I'm making this short. Thank you all for comments, notes, and emails. Prayers are much appreciated also.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Powder Room Epiphanies

I was in the bathroom.... hold on... everyone does this. It isn't some shrine or weird place of punishment, unless you follow certain people. Anyway, while I was there it suddenly occurred to me that my life has been divided into a strange set of sequences that has been punctuated by some pretty awful things. I'll give you the synopsis cause by now I know you're indecently curious.

First phase began with my birth and went from 1956 until 1974. I was 17. This phase ended in death. My life totally shifted to another level and place. I don't think it ever occurred to me how radical that was until today. I mean, it was terrible but I never really saw it in this light before. I went from being a young girl in her late teens to a wife in her late teens dealing with the death of her parent and learning how to live with a person I'd known only weeks. No girl should have to be without her mother, particularly on the day she marries, or has her first child five years later. The shift was so profound that years later whenever I miss Mama I'm nearly inconsolable. I'm devastated all over again.

The second phase of my life was from my marriage 1974 until 2009 and culminated, again, in death. My husband suffered a violent heart attack and died as I tried to save him. This wasn't just a shift from one phase to another. This was a violent blow that simply slammed me into a whole other reality without any warning or time to prepare. I still suffer from post traumatic stress.

I thought Mama dying in a clinical setting of a hospital when I wasn't there was horrible. She wasn't coming home and I didn't get to say good-by. I'm left with an image of her unable get up, write, or to speak except with her eyes and being fed through a tube. At 17 this is horrible. And yet, I have to say that my second contact with death was worse than any nightmare I've ever experienced. Being wakened from a sound sleep to your husband thrashing and having him breathe his last breath in your face is an image you won't shake quickly, if ever.

So, in my tiny powder room, I realized that I'm well into the third phase of my life and if it follows the pattern, this won't end well. This is not a happy thought but let's be practical. And truthful. Looking at the pattern and knowing what I know, this is the reality of it. The ultimate end to all things is death.

Where does this leave me? Probably right where I was before. Sitting in the bathroom having my eyes opened to things I'd rather not think about. And getting a fairly clear revelation as to why I struggle with depression fairly regularly. If the high points of your life always end in violence, and believe me, my experience of death is not warm and fuzzy, but if they always end in this manner you're going to be dealing with gremlins regularly.

So, I need to stop beating myself up about feeling this way too much. I've been feeling guilty about feeling bad. It isn't like I've had what the average consumer would term a normal life. The stories I could tell, and probably will some day, are not pretty. Living with an alcoholic was not fun. And still, I was a good kid who never did drugs or smoked or drank or partied. I was a good mom, faithful wife, and caring sister. I wasn't perfect but despite the awful things I've seen and the mistakes I made, I've turned out o.k. I need to stop saying, "Get over it."

The key now I think is try to make this next phase, presumably the final one, last as long as possible and hope that it contains more joy than the two previous ones. For now, at least, it doesn't.

What do you do for the third act?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Just One Touch


Why I'm still up is simply beyond my comprehension. I'm so tired. You know how tired I get sometimes. For most of the evening I've been reading blogs and other stuff. I sat and watched .... some show on my computer... I think I only watched one but at the moment, I'm not sure. Then I got up to shut the system down, only to check email and posts one more time... cause we all do that.

Anyway, I just clicked on my Timeline and there you were, smiling out at me, those wonderful blue eyes sparkling just for me. I remember that moment clear as a day. I could read your mind just by looking at your face. It was all there. I remembered. And then, in one blinding flash my whole being screamed with one phrase... I just want touch you. You hands, your arms, you face. Just to put my hands on your cheeks and feel your warm skin and to breath in the scent of you. The sound of that silent scream washed over me like a raging torrent and I was blinded by waves of tears and I gasped for breath with muffled sobs. I buried my face in my hands because I could not bear the flood.

I know...melodramatic. I always was, wasn't I. I'm not so much anymore, except about you. I suppose I should be embarrassed, even though you'd say not.

But you still take my breath away. Every time I see you, I simply can't breath. There is this place between breathing in and breathing out where everything seems to catch. Sometimes, I'm afraid I won't be able start breathing again.  I wonder sometimes... no, I wish that you knew it, before... and now... that you do that to me.

I don't know if you ever knew it.

I only know that I just want to touch you for one moment, one more time.

Long Journey Through a Short Week.

Never was a Thursday so welcome as this one. I am off until Monday. I plan to sleep late tomorrow and then I hope that I have the energy to do some things around the house. I have several things that need doing.

As I suspected, I have a cold. Could be a bit of allergy along with it. I've been coughing up stuff, sneezing up stuff, and my head is stuffy. When that happens, I have dizzy spells. Around and around we go. It never ends, does it.

I want to do some writing. I'm planning to limit my online presence this weekend. We'll have Sarah for three days and with her here and my trying to do constructive things at the same time, it won't leave much of me left to do anything.

There is a streak of vanity in me. I love pretty shoes and wearing heels. I love basic black and that I look good in it. And I find that I like watching my stats click along. I'm about to go over 25,000. I used to not even notice it because ... well it seldom moved. These days it is moving at a fast clip. I've posted about this phenom before. Most are coming from G+ and I've had more new people commenting. I love it when people comment. Means I didn't waste my time. Of course I don't view  my blog as a waste of time. I do it for me and if someone else finds something to like about it, great. Yet, it is a very seductive to watch those stats. They kind of make you hope for more.

It was an insane day at work and I'm exhausted. The  pills have helped ease some of my stress and I hope I won't need them for long. I just wish I could get past the tiredness. I need to do stuff!

Mike is coming over this weekend end and I'm going to try and put up some of the cabinets. I need them and I'm tied of waiting for the "right" time. It is now. I'll take photos. Those of you who have been with me for years will remember other posts of my home improvement jobs and their interesting outcomes. We usually have success but it is a circuitous route to get there.

May you all have a blessed Easter. Remember the reason is not a warm fuzzy bunny but a Savior who loved you enough to give his life for you. Even at your worst, you matter to Him.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Happy Face

I slept really well last night. One little pill and I feel 100% better. I still have pain in my hands. I'm still tired but I don't feel as bad as I obviously did yesterday and for the last month. I'll probably take these for a few more days at least. The sleep is what helps the most and the pill helps with the anxiety. 

I'm in a place where I'm not happy. In fact, I begin to wonder if I've ever been really happy. There is nothing anyone can do about that so don't offer consolation or solutions. You don't know what it takes to make me happy. I don't either. So, it is my problem to solve. 

Happiness, in a general sense, is not found in people. People constantly disappoint you. Or they go away. No one is who they say they are, even though they think they are and will argue with you till the cows come home that "what you see is what you get". It isn't true. Most  of the time, we all are pretending something. So, depending on people to make you happy is self delusion. 

Happiness is not in things. Things get broken and if you rely on them to feel good, you're going to feel bad a lot. At the least, you'll be dissatisfied with something else. 

Happiness is not about where you're located. You can live in a palace and be unhappy. And while I suspect that all of these things can pacify a person, that is not happiness either. That's a drug.

Does anyone actually like people who always seem to be happy, without a care in the world? Don't lie. You know that you don't. I don't either. Because below it all, we know we're being deceived. We don't like that.

Most of us, in my opinion, don't really know what happiness is or how to get there. Yet, I've learned one interesting thing. Your physical condition does impact real happiness. I don't care what anyone says about people who are stoic in the face of critical illness and how some of them are happy despite being terminal. That's a bunch of poppycock. They aren't happy. They just recognize they can't fix it. They make the best of a bad situation. Pardon me if I cry because I'm sick. I'm not happy about it and I refuse to expect people who are suffering to act happy. I expect them to act civil, not overjoyed at their state of being. I forgive the grumpy old man who is hooked up to oxygen and will never leave his wheelchair again. He has reason to be grumpy. I forgive that and try to make him smile. It isn't happiness he feels and I can't give him that. I can give him a moment's relief from having to pretend.

Here's a quandary.  I'm a Christian and there is this warped idea out there among my brothers and sisters in Christ that no matter what the situation we are supposed to be overjoyed all the time to just be Christians. Our problems are not supposed to get us down and if they do we somehow embarrass God! I have no idea where anyone got this concept. It is not scriptural to me. Maybe someone took something Paul said and made it fit but I've read the Bible, several times, in several orders. I don't see it. 

Let me tell you misguided folks something you seem to ignore. When Jesus carried that cross, he was not dancing up the road to tune of "Singing in the Rain". He was dragging that thing behind him on a back filled with open, bloody gashes that exposed the bones. And when they nailed him to the cross on that hillside, he was not singing "The Hills are Alive". He was in agony and he showed it. He was in pain. He was suffering. He cried. He did not smile at the crowd and say, "It's ok, folks. I'll be fine." He even asked, "My God why have you forsaken me!" Does any of that sound familiar to anyone but me?

So, if I hurt and seem to moan about it and sob and cry...I'm in good company. I'm not happy about my condition, my position, or my location, I'm just thankful God has forgiven me for my failures.

I don't know where this post came from but I think sometimes I moan and groan too much and I feel bad about it. I dislike not being "happy" in a recognizable way. I get embarrassed that my blog contains so much grief, disappointment, and pain. But I realize that is what this societal conception of happiness has done to people. It has made us feel ashamed when we suffer. It tells us that we must greet pain with a smile. We must put on a "happy" face that says, "Don't mind me while I'm bleeding here. Just carry on with the party."

It is just a facade, a word that means a false face. You know it better by its more common name. A lie.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Patch

I've reached my limit. I've had a horrible month. I anticipate this time of year being difficult for me but I expected more around the first of the year, the anniversary of Jerry's death. I was so busy it slipped by unnoticed for a week or more. So, I guess it just caught up with me.

Instead, in the last two months, I've simply been on the slippery slope where I was physically ill with a variety of things. In February, I had a rash on my ankles and legs that I have no idea what caused it but that cost me several nights sleep and a trip to the urgent care. I had pain in all major joints, was unable to walk without limping for days, was not sleeping well, even with medicine. I had increased ringing in my ears, more lost sleep, coughing, sneezing, and now, pain in my hands.

 I've been struggling with pain in my hands the last couple of days that was so bad I was having trouble working. I do tons of data entry. I write. My hands are my living. And they were in bad shape. Tonight, they are better. I asked people to pray for me and I started putting some medicine I use on other major joints on my hand. I still have pain but not nearly as bad. I am hoping by tomorrow that the pain will be gone.

And then there has been the last three weeks of overwhelming exhaustion that had me barely able to get through a day at work without falling out. Some days I had to simply find some place and put my had down because I was so tired I couldn't hold it up. By the time I dragged myself home I was in tears because I was so tired I couldn't bear it. It is a tired that you can't begin to imagine. No, you can't. I can't imagine it either. And when I lay down I could not rest. Things hurt.

The sheer volume of what I'm dealing with has become unbearable. I simply can't take it anymore. The proverbial brick wall lies in shambles from the impact. And when my mind starts reasoning that what I'm doing is not living, but dying slowly, in pieces, then I know I'm in a bad place. It is a road I've traveled several times and it ends on a ledge overlooking a bottomless pit. You're too tied to do more than stare down into it and think about how very easily it would be to just close your eyes and lean over and let go. It isn't going to get better.

I came home from work today and took Ativan. They prescribed it for me when Jerry died. I was on it a couple of months. It is amazing stuff but I stopped taking it after a while because it is highly addictive. I have enough problems without an addiction. I've taken them a couple of times since then, for about a week at a stretch. But I still have maybe 25 pills. Tonight I started again. This is the point at which addiction is a very minuscule issue.

No, it isn't a fix. I've decided nothing can be fixed. It's nothing but a patch.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Naked Babies

I don't have many things left that belong to my grandmother (Mama). Everything I had was sold by one of my husbands relatives when we were sent to Germany. Many heirlooms were just gone and I was devastated. So, what I have left I cling to like Titanic survivor on a raft. They are small things actually. 

I've picked up crochet again since my husband died and it has been such a blessing. I really lose myself when I'm working with a piece and when I see what other people are doing, I get a bit envious. I know enough about my skill to know I can crochet anything if you give me the pattern and these days, I've ventured out and done several things without a pattern. 

Still, there are those with a talent for crochet that I will never be able to touch. My grandmother had it. I decided to share this today when I saw some micro crochet items that someone had posted on Facebook.

The two dolls you see here, next to that American dime, are wearing clothes crocheted by my Mama. They have a bonnet, a dress, and a tiny pair of panties. Don't believe me?

She got the dolls at a baby shower many years ago. They used to put the naked babies in your glass, sometimes frozen in an ice cube. They are actually a soft rubber and their tiny limbs can actually be bent or moved. I don't do that because they are old but if you've seen the modern version of these, they are now a hard plastic and slightly larger. These ladies could sit on a quarter. At any rate, she took them home and crocheted clothes for them. 

When I can crochet something like this, I'll consider myself a master of the art. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Tiny Piece of Heaven... Wrapped in a Candy Shell

There has to be a place where you can escape all your problems and still be breathing and above ground. I mean, don't they say "if you can imagine it, you can do it"? So, I can imagine a place like that....

And there has to be enough money to not have to worry about bills or anything. And you're meals will be brought right to your chair on the lanai where you are intently studying the clouds' motions as they move with the sound of the surf. Right?

HEY! I'm a writer! I can make it up.

That's my point. If I can make that up, there has to be a place like that.

I'm depressed. I'm got this ringing in my ears and it is driving me mad, seriously. I'm so tired I could simply lie down right where I stand. Just give me a pillow and a blanket. I suspect they're connected. I don't want to know, so don't tell me. Even if they are there is nothing that can be done, just like everything else I have wrong with me.

I used to look up things to see if I could find out what was wrong and if there was something I could do. I stopped. Knowing became more frightening than not knowing. Now I just want to go away.

I don't know where that place is.  Instead, I'm sitting here eating Peanut M&M's.

That's as close as I can get to heaven right now.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hi Ho, Hi Ho.... Ho Hum.........

I'm back at work today and just as I suspected, the work was lying exactly where I left it! However, I am not very motivated to deal with it. 

I do not feel .... I don't know what I feel. I'm tired and I want to go back to bed but I slept fine. I got up when the clock went of. I don't hurt especially bad anywhere, just the usual aches that virtually never stop. I'm just tired and that's probably a bad sign. If you get enough sleep you shouldn't be tired. Right?

For breakfast, I ate a bowl of grits. They were hot, soft, and buttery and a lot easier on my stomach than anything else I could think of to eat. Good grits are nearly the consistency mashed potatoes without lumps. Grits should never, ever have lumps, feel sandy, or be watery. They should not be the consistency of Play Doh(c) either. I can't explain it. I just know how to make them.

For lunch, I'm thinking a salad. I don't know if that is what Carolyn wants but if not, I'll go alone. I am not very good company either anyway. 

Tonight I think Dave has Sarah for a while. Not sure. She's been doing really good with school again and she is in after school care for a couple of hours because her mother went to work.

I am going to try and work on the novel again. I've been working in fits and starts. Mostly arranging things to get a logical sequence of events. I kind of know what that is. I've had to stop reading the stuff too much and just write a synopsis onto the index cards on the cork board so I can sort it by summary.

Graphic Courtesy Google - I'll put one of mine up once I make it.
What I'm doing looks a bit like the graphic to the left. It is the cork board view. One problem I had was that I had not written synopsis notes on the cork board index cards for each scene. I had done it for some but not most.  Incidentally, you create the note cards in that yellow space on the top left of the graphic. It is called Synopsis. Duh. I discovered that not writing as synopsis is actually a handicap. You don't have to do it. It just makes things easier if you do.

How does it make it easier? Well, because my story is a jumbled mess of scenes it makes it hard to know what goes where. I can move sections around easily but I needed an overview. 

There is an outline feature but I was not getting anything helpful when I pulled it up and had no idea how to get it to work. The graphic below is what that looks like when it is created correctly. When I tried to view my outline of the novel to see the sequence of events, the center column, the synopsis section, of that colored area was fairly blank. 

I found that when I did a summary of each scene in the synopsis section, it showed up in two places: on the index card on the cork board AND this synopsis section filled in! This has helped enormously.

Once that is done, I hope I will be able to see where things don't fit and move them. Moving them is as easy as drag and drop. Then, I can rewrite things. 

Now, I've spent a lot of time on this and if you don't use Scrivener, none of that will make sense and today... I just don't have any interest in explaining it. Suffice it to say that the writing program I am using is awesome with lots of bells and whistles. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Night, Night

I'm calling it a night. I've had soup and sat and watched a couple of Midsomer Murders episodes. Those things are an hour and a half long! That without commercials. Takes forever to get through one. But I do like them. I'm on season 10.

Anyway, I'm going to bed. Stomach is uncertain. Some symptoms have gone but I still don't feel very well. I am hoping that sleep will set everything right. I hope I can sleep. Last night wasn't so good. I rather wish I'd been able to take a nap today but I couldn't seem to get there. Just felt so rotten.

I'm also feeling rather depressed. I don't know why. Could be everything that is going on in my life. Uncertain job, some family issues, and not feeling well... all a recipe for depression. So, I'm off to bed and then work tomorrow. I'm now a day behind again and that's never good.

I was looking at my post count for this year. I have 25 post for 2013. Last year by this time I had about three times that. I always had a goal of one post a day. It has never seemed to work. Things just get in the way. Or I have nothing to say.

So, I'll say good night.

Icky Day, All Day

The weekend was wet and cold and Monday is more of the same. I am home sick today. I don't know what I have...  some sort of stomach virus. I seem to have all the usual ugly symptoms that accompany stomach upset except vomiting. God is good cause that particular symptom never ends well for me. I still feel rather icky. My stomach just doesn't feel very good.

Last night I worked on my WIP a bit. I did some moving of scenes and getting the structure more organized. I actually felt like I accomplished something at one point. It suddenly seemed as if some things were jelling. We'll see. The thing needs a huge rewrite and that terrifies me no end. I'm going to continue to get the random sections from NaNo 2011 woven into it and then see what's missing. I see more writing in my future. I just wish Simon would start his incessant chatter again. I write much better when he just dictates it to me.

I ate scrambled eggs at lunch and some bacon. Well, I was starving by then since I was too sick to eat breakfast. And I felt like my stomach had settled down. However, the eggs didn't set well and I felt worse afterward. In fact, well... never mind. Best not share that bit. Suffice it to say that I could have driven to Florida for free. Must go now. Stomach just doesn't fancy sitting up. I've been lying down most of the day, watching Midsomer Murders. Probably why my writing sounds suspiciously British today. LOL.

Anyway, I'm thinking soup for supper. We'll see. Hope your day has been better than mine.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Small World

There is no guide on how long grief lasts. I've wondered for over four years now if there were markers, like mile posts along the highway, that would tell me when I was getting close to the point where I won't remember, relive, or feel the death of my husband. Unfortunately, no one appears to have erected such markers. The road is long and I've seen nary a one.

I missed Jerry today.  So, I stopped and bought flowers and took them to the cemetery. I've avoided it for months, felt guilty every time I pass the gates, which is fairly often since they are on a road I travel several times a week. No matter how many times I pass the sadness of it never fades. Oh, I don't fall apart as I once did but honestly, in some ways, this is much worse. I can't explain it. There is a sense of betrayal in it. Imagined, I'm sure, but nonetheless felt. 

As I put the flowers beside his tombstone, I couldn't breath and I couldn't look at the name graven in the white marble. I apologized for being so long in coming and tried to explain  but it is no use. While I know he'd understand, I feel no better. The bands around my chest only tighten and I have to go back to my car where I sit and sob and try to breath and explain why. 

When I see someone walking in my direction, I know it is time to go. No one wants to share this.

And I came home. I don't feel better. I do what I always do. I push it away and try to think about something else. It's a small world, grief. There is nothing else.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lessons Learned, Now Pass the Caffeine, Please

Last night was my online writers' group and I think we all had a really good time. Lots of talking and laughing by everyone. Topic covered "magic". Basically, what is magic and how do you write it. The discussion centered around the difference in magic and science. Seemed to be a topic they all felt very strongly about and it is probably why it generated such lively discussion.

We also discussed the Roaming Paragraph, which in this instance people hated doing my assignment. Too many rules and much harder to write. However, I think it went well and the ending satisfied most of us. I always learn something from these RPs. No one else does but I always take something from it. 

What could I possible learn from the experience of the RP? Well, let me see. 
  • Point of view is very crucial. Finding the right POV may not be easy but is necessary if the story is to feel right. 
  • Multiple POV is a juggling act that must be managed carefully or you should stick with a single POV.
  • Transitions are something a good many writers pay absolutely no attention to. They simply don't check to see if they made it clear. I think this is because it is "clear" to the writer. That's not good. So, must watch my transitions with more care. I have multiple POV in my WIP (work in progress).
  • First person doesn't lend itself well to multiple point of view characters. 
  • Third person works better for M-POV if the transitions are kept in check. 
  • I am more comfortable writing in 3rd person POV.
  • After this experience, I think I need to get rid of some of my POV characters in my WIP. Or at least, not let them be a POV charcter.
  • People don't like rules. They balk and the more complex the rules, the more they balk. 
  • When forced to follow rules they don't like, people may not learn from it and they'll complain that the rules are the problem. They may refuse to follow them.
  • You can learn something from anything you do... if you choose.
  • When you can laugh at yourself about your mistakes, they don't seem nearly as bad as they did when you made them. I made a big one at the beginning of the RP. Only one person knew and generously kept quiet. I elected to tell it. It is quite liberating admitting your faults. And it allowed everyone to laugh with me rather than at me.
  • Never let a challenge go unmet, even if it seems too hard.
So, what else have I learned this week? 

I'm exhausted. I have been for nearly two weeks. I feel absolutely drained, a mind numbing tired. I'm having a hard time at work and at home focusing and doing things. It feels suspiciously like a fibro problem. I don't have huge amounts of pain anywhere in particular but I have lots of aches all over and feel as if I've not had any sleep. My neck and shoulder especially bother me.

When I'm like this, writing is practically impossible. Even doing this blog is taking far more concentration than it should. I have no idea what to write about and what I have written is simply a rambling narration. Boring. 

I do better with caffeine in me. I have to go buy some of my coffee. Mike bought coffee for me over the weekend and he bought decaf. Yes, yes, yes, I know all the spiel about caffeine. Thank you. I have one cup a day. Fibro is like a blow to the head. At the moment, and all day yesterday, I could not function well. Even felt sick until after lunch when I had a Panera salad and Acai tea, lots of it. The afternoon went much better and I felt more alert. This morning, I'm still not really very alert and it is 10 a.m. 

So, need something with caffeine? I think so.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Glad Tidings

If you have not noticed it is Friday and at least one of us is thrilled. That'd be me. It has been a very pretty but cold day and I'm not sure if the weather is responsible for my improved disposition or if I got a better night's sleep. I did go to bed a bit earlier because I couldn't hold my head up any longer.

I had grand intentions of working on my WIP and I did do some work. But it seems so little that I am a bit discouraged. I mentioned my lunch last week with my friend, Doug, somewhere back there behind the root vegetables. You'll have to move that crate of apples but it's there. Anyway, Doug gave me a rough sketch of a way to plot out my story arcs. It made perfect sense at lunch... when I didn't take notes.... and had only an hour to grasp it. When I later mentioned it to him, and the fact that I totally forgot most of what he said, he then, kindly and as a true friend, met me in a hangout and reviewed it again. I took notes this time and he even shared his worksheet of his own story with me. He'd actually done that in his email before but I had not scrolled far enough down the email to see the attachment. Why does Gmail put them at the bottom that way?

So, after going over it with Doug, I set about trying my hand at it. The problem is I have to sort out some things now in the back story. As I filled in my excel chart, I realized I probably now have enough to write that story, too. I'm not doing it. But I begin to get a clearer sense of what was happening and why.

I like Doug's chart idea. He got the idea from a video by Dan Wells called Story Structure The link will take you to the playlist I have of it. I actually have watched this last year but things being what they are, don't remember a thing. I'm going to watch again, I think.

Anyway, the chart does help me see connections and make connections. So, I've started with the back story and plan to work my way all the way to the current story. It will be a very long chart. But from what I'm seeing, it clarifies a few things because as I enter data, new information and ideas keep popping up. I can see where something needs to be moved or removed. So, at least I have a plan now. It begins to look suspiciously like plotting.

Did I mention that it is Friday? I'm glad.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Crash Course

Finally, I think I've got my computer back online! I really think it was about ready to crash.  It has taken me the better part of two days to restore and re-install all the updates. I still don't have a lot of software back on but it's OK I think. Most of that I can do as needed. If I don't use it, why put it back on here. I'm leary about putting my writing back on it. Yes, I back things up but you know, after awhile you have so many copies you don't know what's what.

I am exhausted and I did nothing but sit and download updates. Why don't they just put them all on a disk so we can buy it every six months and be done with it? Seriously. The disk are about five bucks! And would help the postal service.

I have to say the computer is running much better and the stuff that wasn't working, even after the repair, are now apparently fine. Nasty bugs.

My one complaint is that Avast, my virus software, just released a new version and it totally shut down my system. I nearly had to restore it a second time. I tried it twice and then searched their website. Apparently I'm not the only one having the problem. I kept a check on the site for two days and someone finally posted that they had AMD graphics and that it appeared to be a conflict with the software. They never got a response from tech but I have AMD graphics. So, I'm using MS Security Essentials for the moment. I'm hoping that Avast will recognize the issue and correct it and release a fix. I have used Avast for over 6 years and never had a problem. I don't trust any virus software made by Microsoft and I'm annoyed by the thought I'll have to purchase one with a annual subscription!

I can tell you one thing, I'm going back to my old method of cleaning the slate every 6-12 months. It may be a couple of days out of my life but is still the best way to insure you keep things running smoothly, and I don't care what anyone has to say about it. That's a lot cheaper than the $150 repair bill that didn't fix it completely. Not their fault, really but think about it. I've never had a computer repaired by anyone else in the 25 years in which I've owned one. No, never. And my computers last about 10 years.

Now, I'm going to get ready for bed. I'm really exhausted. Did I say that already? Oh, yes. I did. See, it's true! I'm ready to crash.

Out of Pocket

It is shaping up to be one of those weekends where I'm out of pocket for most of it. We have Sarah here but my laptop is doing things that scare me. So, I'm restoring it to factory settings and starting fresh.

Even before I had to put it in the shop it was acting up and it is getting worse. They tech said I had a root kit that he had a hard time getting rid of so, I'm going to assume the damage is a result of that or that something else was missed. Hey, even he said it was nearly impossible to get out. This means I'm going to just clean the slate.

What that means in terms of other stuff is that I won't be doing it. I've been working on doing some back ups, particularly my writing stuff. My only back up drive has problems of its own so I have to be sure things are actually backed up before I clean anything off.

I lead a crazy life. No one wishes they were me.

The ideas that my lunch with Doug stirred up will have to remain ideas. I've been making notes on a note pad but I really want to try something he suggested in getting the characters organized with who, what and why. I think it will make it much clearer. It did over lunch.

For any who love and adore me, few though you be, email still works on the desktop. You know, I have fewer problems on my desktop than anything else. I used to do all my writing there. And, if truth be told, I did more writing! Perhaps that is the answer. Use the desktop for all writing and only use the laptop when I have to be away from home. I still like being mobile but if it is actually hindering the writing, then I need to rethink it.

May your Saturday be sunny and fun, and your pockets be full.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Leave a Message

Every day I receive a Bible verse in my email. Sometimes it doesn't seem to fit anywhere. I read it and think about it for a few moments and then I usually delete it. Sometimes, I leave it in my email all day and will periodically go and read it again. It fits my mood, gives rise to a question, answers a question, or comforts me in some way. I save those until it serves its purpose.

This morning I had this verse in my email.

"Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." Psalm 73:25-26 KJV

I don't know why but this came at a time when I was feeling very alone. I've felt the isolation more this week because I was dealing with physical problems that deprived me of large amounts of sleep. I tend to go into a depression after such episodes.

When you are awake and sick at 4 a.m. and there is no one to call, it is a terrible feeling. It is at moments like this that you realize just how vital human companionship is to each of us. Even the worst companionship is better than none to some. In fact, the worst decisions of your life will be made when you have no one to call.

Of course, I could have called across the hall to my son but he has to be at work by 6:30 and so he wouldn't have been able to help. I'd have only caused a shortage in his sleep. There was no one else. So, at times like this, you just sort of call God. Unfortunately, it is at the worst possible times that he seems to be away from the phone.

I know He's not really gone anywhere but the distance is just so far and the comfort of another voice, a hand to hold, or just someone sitting in the room with you is no little thing. We feel it so much more in times of distress. Humans crave other human contact in times of crisis more than any other time. Suicides rarely kill themselves when they are with someone.

I've had more days of stress in the last four years than I've had in my entire life. Nearly every week for 208 weeks something has hit me with enough force to knock me off my feet. I don't know how many more there are to get through. I only know that doing it alone is much harder than sharing the load. And some days the load crushes me.

So I make the call. I leave a message. This morning I had an email.