Friday, December 31, 2010

Week of Turmoil...

It has been an interesting week for me.  I was hoping to get lots of writing and home things done.  I got some writing and some home things done but unfortunately there was also a lot of turmoil....

First I was dealing with our mortgage company who didn't want to pay out from our escrow account.  I'd contacted them last week and was told everything would be fine and they'd take care of it.  Never trust banks.  I called this week only to be told no it wouldn't be paid.  I went round and round with customer service people and then asked for a supervisor.  Our taxes are paid - at least a check has been issued to pay them.

My brakes have been making noise so I took my car in to have them looked at.  Now in June I spent 750 on my car to have the back brakes completely redone and the front brakes worked on.  Six months later my front brakes now need a complete overhaul.  I spoke with the manager there too - apparently it is my week for it.  I negotiated with him to give us a $90 discount.  When I got there the cost of the repairs was still over what I'd been told.  I objected and they tried to say they'd given me an estimated cost.  I said if it was going to be more you should have called me.  I would have said no to this additional $45 cost.  Because I complained I got a 10% discount on the entire bill so it was then lower than expected.  Still by the time we were done it was a lovely $550. 

There have been a few family issues this week as well.  In an effort to respect the privacy of those involved, I will just say that there have been some hurtful things going on and I feel as if I've born the brunt of these things.  My relationship with my family is often tumultuous.  There are many strong personalities in my family and we don't always get along.  I'm not blaming anyone.  It just added to an already stressful week.

My writing this week has been sporadic but I'm still making progress.  In my head I have at least two more chapters I want to get down.  Probably there is more or more likely once I get these two chapters out of the way then more will pop in there. 

For now to relieve some of my stress I'm listening to classical music, writing, and withdrawing from everything else.  I'm definitely taking my last three days off for me. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Options

Today is a day for ME.  I'm being selfish today and ignoring the world.  After I make a few calls and take care of small amount of business, I'm going to work on writing.  Yesterday in a short period of time I got more than two chapters done. 
Last night Vicki came to tell me good night and I was struggling a bit with a moral dilemma in my story.  My characters were trying to decide the "right" thing to do.  When I told Vicki the options I saw, she said "Take the fourth option."  I laughed and said I didn't have a fourth option.  She said yes and then told me what it could be.  I laughed again.  Me who normally sees all sorts of options in life had narrowed my focus so much I couldn't see this other option.  As soon as she said it I was like - Oh!!!  Yeah... okay and soon the story wrote itself. 

This is a nice kick in the bum for me.  It reminds me to see more options than just the obvious ones.  Sometimes we stumble through life just going with what is obvious.  Do you ever stop to wonder what would happen if you stepped away from the obvious and looked at life from a little different perspective? 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Errands

Today is errand day for me.  I've got an appointment and I'm running errands after that appointment.  Then when all the hassle of those errands are done I'm going to write.  I have this week off and I'm hoping to get a lot of writing done. 

Christmas was bearable.  Thankfully no extra drama.  It was wonderful to see my brother at a family function.  It was also nice to have a fairly quiet day with the family. I had some lovely conversations with two of my nieces and some others.  Those sparkling moments made the day but I am glad it is over.  The anxiety of the day has faded.

I look outside my window this morning and I have a white overcast day with white snow on the ground and except for the stark gray/brown of the trees, deep green of the evergreens, and the houses I think it would all be white out there.  The bare trees stand out against the white like sentinels demanding we pay homage.  Father Winter is definitely in his prime. 

We are past Mid Winter now though so the days grow ever so slightly longer each day.  We have just a minute or two more of daylight every day to encourage us to keep looking forward.  This is Wisconsin though so who knows how long winter will last....

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas...

Those who know me, know I don't enjoy Christmas.  For others it is a great time of celebration and shopping.  For me it is stressful, loathsome, and difficult.  I always feel stressed out about being in such large groups - both shopping and at family gatherings.  I'd much rather meet one on one and have a quiet gathering than to have 20 - 30 people in a small space. 

Over the years I've learned to not shop after Thanksgiving.  The stores are crazed and people are insane.  When I go into the stores I feel a greediness so opposite of what the season is supposed to be about.  I watch the other shoppers rush around, grump at their kids, and be stressed out.  I think to myself - why are you doing this? 

Family gatherings are difficult.  It is always chaotic and loud.  There are always so many people around you can barely hear your own thoughts let alone conversation.  This year we went to Ken's side and it was better.  I spoke with nieces and nephew who I enjoy and have something in common with.  I listened to stories from brothers-in-law.  We had conversations which were fairly pleasant.  I know Ken would have liked to stay longer but I'd had my fill of crowded loud gathering. 

We came home and I napped.  I think I just needed to gather some peaceful energy around me to recuperate from the overload. 

Today we go to my family gathering.  I'm trying to not get stressed out about the whole thing.  I would rather stay home in front of the fire and read all day but I won't.  I'm sure it will be loud and stressful for me.  I'm hopeful that there will be some good quiet conversations while I'm there.  Only time will tell...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Why are females not valued?

Catching up on my DVR last night, I watched parts of the View from this week.  At one point, the women discussed the nun who was excommunicated because she allowed doctors to perform an abortion on a pregnant woman.  The woman would have died if the abortion hadn't been performed.  They brought up all sorts of other details like this woman also had four other children at home and other things.  The women were outraged that this nun was excommunicated - as am I.  She did what was right.  It isn't like the fetus at 11 weeks could survive without the mother.  So they couldn't do a C section to deliver it.  If the woman had died trying to complete the pregnancy, the baby would have died. 

I understand the Catholic beliefs that life begins at conception.  I understand why they don't think abortion is good.  Really does anyone?  However, in this particular circumstance abortion may have stopped a pregnancy but it also saved a life.  No one mentioned the hell the mother must be going through.  First she isn't able to carry a child she must have wanted (I'm assuming here) to term.  So she is grieving the loss while at the same time being grateful to be alive (talk about conflict).  Then the Catholic church (some bishop - a man) turns around and punishes the nun who helped to save her life.  In essence, the Catholic church is saying it was wrong to save this woman's life. 

I could rant for paragraphs about how I feel about this.  However, I want to go back to the fact that the View discussed this topic one day.  Apparently overnight they received numerous emails, most of which started with I don't watch your program... well if you aren't watching what do you care?  There was an email from a gentleman who called the women of the View not good Catholics because they criticized the church.

If the church can't stand up to a few women criticizing it then perhaps it shouldn't be in business.  On top of which isn't it the duty of the membership to keep the organization honest and fair?  The women of the View asked why this nun (a woman) got excommunicated when the priests (men) who abused all the children didn't?  This is a severe double standard.  I understand that the nun "broke" the rules in the eyes of the church.  Didn't those men?  Why implement a harsh punishment against her when you didn't against the men? 

I'm not Catholic.  I think Catholicism is out of date and out of touch with the reality of our current society.  I think the Catholic church is a bunch of old white guys who are trying to desperately hold on to power they don't have any right to.  They are the worst case of good old boys society.  This is why I'm not Catholic - well and a whole bunch of other reasons.  However, when they apply their own rules and standards so unequally I question why anyone remains in this religion.  The women from the View didn't hurt the image of the Catholic church.  The Catholic church hurt its own image.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice

The girls are back in Georgia with their 50+ degrees for temperature and much milder weather.  Wisconsin got hit last night with a snow storm which includes snow, rain, and crappy roads.  I look out my window and see cruddy weather.  Yet I’m not discouraged by it.  It is just weather and if we wait a bit, it will change. 

The gray, gloomy day makes me want to curl up in front of the fireplace with my laptop and complete quiet.  I’d love to be working on my story and ignoring the world.  This time of year though the world seems to think we should all gather and celebrate.  The weather seems to be saying hibernate but society demands we gather.

Today is the shortest day of the year.  It is meant to be a time of letting go.  Winter allows the world (at least in the northern regions) to rest from the growing season.  It also allows us to rest.  In our ever moving and constantly busy lives we rarely take time for ourselves.  This is the time of year to do it.  The weather certainly seems to be encouraging us to snuggle in for the duration.

Darkness, physical darkness, dominates this day.  When most people look at darkness they attach a negative label to it.  Darkness to them represents evil.   To me though, darkness represents time to reflect on what is within me.  It is a quiet peaceful time meant to hear that inner voice.  To let those deeper questions surface so they can be examined and maybe an answer found. 

For some people this is the time when they catch up on sleep, snuggle in to do nothing, go skiing or snowboarding.  For me it is a time of reflection on where I am now, where I want to be next year, what I’ve accomplished, what I want to accomplish. 

The older I get the more I appreciate these quiet times, the time to let go of the expectations of others so I can focus on my own expectations.  It may sound selfish but now instead of putting my family’s needs and desires first, I am looking at my own.  It is my turn to be first in my own life and work towards my dreams. 

It’s funny how dreams are.  I know that there are people out there who want to do big things. I don’t necessarily.  I want to tell good stories.  I want my daughters to be happy.  I want to lead a quiet fulfilled life.  Not big dreams but definitely worthwhile…

Happy Solstice…

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Life, Laughter, Love

I'm pretty sure I'm stealing this phrase from Stephanie but it very much fits my weekend.  It has been joyful to have all my kids at home.  We've enjoyed a lovely weekend being together and enjoying each other's company. 

Yesterday we had our Christmas celebration and it was great to be together.  We also had an open house and what a reminder of the great friends we have because so many of them stopped in.  There was lots of laughter and conversation. 

Today was more insular.  We just really hung out at home.  We watched movies, played Euchre and other games.  We had meals together.  There was so much laughter and love flowing none of us wanted the day to end.  Nothing spectacular happened today and yet it did because we all just hung out together enjoying being together.  We laughed a lot and enjoyed our time together.  It has been a wonderful weekend.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hot House Flowers...

The girls arrived safely finally.  Their plane was delayed an hour and being goofy I watched online while they traveled north.  I kept bugging my sister giving her status updates...

Ken and I ran errands after work.  When we got home, there they were peeking around the edge of the door.  Almost the first thing they said was can we open gifts.  Reminded me of when they were little (or last year).  Patience has never been one of their stronger virtues...

Ken had to start a fire because they were cold and we spent the next two hours chatting and catching up.  It has been wonderful.  Now the girls and Ken have gone off to shop.  I'm home alone in the blissfuly quiet house.

Tomorrow will be busy.  Our Christmas stuff in the morning, traditional tacos for lunch.  Then bunches of people in the afternoon.  I have no idea how many are coming but it will be a good time with friends and family coming to see the girls and hang out. 

Sunday will be a quieter day, I think.  I'm not quite sure what we are doing yet.  I'm sure it will involve a lot of laughter and joy... and maybe a bit of grumbling.  There usually is in our household but it is all good because we just deal with it. 

It seems like such a short time but at least we are together and can enjoy each other no matter how long we have.  It is wonderful to have the whole family together....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Frigid...

I know it is December.  I know that I live in Wisconsin and not Hawaii. But when the starting temp for the day is minus five I consider that damn fucking cold.  Brilliant me, I was tired Monday night and just wanted to get home.  I debated about getting gas.  We were at a nearly balmy temp of five degrees so I thought maybe if I’m lucky it will be warmer in the morning and I’ll get gas then.  I didn’t believe myself but I was tired…

Tuesday morning, after getting not a second of sleep all night, I realize I can’t squeak out one more day from the gas in my gas tank.  Well okay I probably could have but what if I got stuck in traffic or a snow bank…

I’m all bundled up but still that sneaky wind finds little cracks and crevices to sneak into and chill me to the bone.  I pumped my gas and swiped down my windshield with a dry piece of paper towel in order to see.  My washer fluid isn’t working because it is DAMN FUCKING COLD.  Plus if I sprayed my windshield washer it would have formed a film of ice even though my car was edging towards warmish…

I don’t mean to complain.  I know we have to endure winter but couldn’t we stay in the damn cold range?  I mean I know it may not seem like a big difference but feeling like each breath is going to make your lungs shatter apart because of the cold is sort of a big step.  In the damn cold range it is the time to consider maybe just zipping up the jacket or adding a scarf.  The DAMN FUCKING COLD level means you are walking around with a comforter duct taped around you to block out the frigid fingers of the winter wind.  Of course you have to have eye holes and maybe a heated tube to be able to breathe but still…

The wicked wind plays tricks on you too because while we might have temperatures in the minus five range the wind chill (trust me it isn’t just a chill) drops the temp to minus twenty.  This of course edges the temp range from damn fucking cold to way too damn fucking cold.

I don’t know about the other walking comforters but I’m ready for the DAMN FUCKING COLD weather to be done and move into a more reasonable range… heck I’d even take fucking cold or damn cold instead… 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Storms

Old man winter breathes his cold breath and covers our land with snow.  With ferocity, the snow blows across many states and pushes humanity into hiding.  With the fierceness of the storm, I'm happy to sit in my office and watch the tree sway and dance with the north wind.  In moments of quiet the snow looks almost beautiful but then the wind picks up again and whips it around like a wild fire.  Though it hasn't happened yet, the temperatures are supposed to drop below zero today.  My fireplace will help keep the frigid cold at bay. 

Somewhere on our street, a mere mortal attempts to slay the winter dragon with a snow blower to clear the deposits of old man winter.  The north wind laughs at his foolishness for he will just blow more snow to replace that shifted away. 

On days like this I'm grateful I don't need to go out.  I can sit in my cozy office with the furnace blowing hot air on my legs.  I can wander to the fireplace and enjoy the flickering, fiery flames dancing in defiance of the north wind. 

Hopefully once this all blows out, no one will be seriously hurt and winter will calm to the less ferocious state it normally employs. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Winter Waddle

Winter has definitely come with just having cleaned out from one storm and another on its way.  This one promises to be several inches – they are calling for up to ten inches depending on where you are in Wisconsin and how the storm tracks.  It sounds to me like a good day to stay in the house, sit by the fire and relax. 

Leaving work the other night in the middle of the snow coming down, offered a bit of a challenge.  Most people were doing what I call the winter waddle – widen the stance and shorten the step.  Small steps to make sure when you put your foot down it doesn’t go whoosh out from under you. 

A white cold blanket of snow covers most everything now.  There isn’t any sign of green or brown peeking out to remind us autumn just left.  Old man winter has definitely come for a stay.  Temperatures have dropped to the damn cold range.  Life has to go on though.  I still have to go to work and earn a living. I have to run errands and get around.  It is just a matter of leaving more time and being cautious.  Oh and hoping the other idiots on the road are willing to do that too. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Politics - again

I belong to a union.  I’m required to pay union dues for my job so if I’m going to pay for the union I figure it is best to have a say in the union.  I’m reading all the news articles and listening to the blurbs that our governor elect has been spewing out. 

This man seems to consider his employees the enemy.  How are we the enemy?  Union members go to work daily and provide needed, in some cases critical services to the public.  State employees put up with a lot of criticism on all levels.  Yet without us, how would the driver’s and car licenses get out to the public?  How would criminals be guarded?  How would funds go out to the unemployed?  These are just a few of the services that are performed by the state workers. 

I read today that there are 39,000 union workers employed by the state of Wisconsin.  Can Scott Walker really afford to piss off  39,000 workers?  The unions have worked with management with the short falls in budget.  But here is the thing – the legislators got a 5% raise when we had this short fall.  What did they do about it?  Did they give it back?  This is as bad as the stimulus money being given to banks who then paid huge bonuses with it. 

If my income is X, I can’t spend more than that.  It is time that our legislators realize that.  Raising taxes should not be an option.  Wisconsin is already in the second highest level of taxes paid as a percentage of income.  (http://www.newgeography.com/content/00754-local-and-state-tax-burden-maps)  Unemployment is down slightly from a high of 9.7% to about 7% but that doesn’t mean people have gotten back on their feet yet.  (http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=usunemployment&met=unemployment_rate&idim=state:ST550000&dl=en&hl=en&q=wisconsin+unemployment+rate)  It means that some people are back to work.  The question becomes are they in a level of position that pays them enough to cover their bills or are they under employed?  Plus I just saw where the unemployment rate was back up to 8.3% (http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/newsreleases/2010/unemployment/100121_state_unemployment_rate_dec.pdf) for December.  This increase has been since the election.  I guess that says what sort of confidence businesses have in the new leadership.

Our government needs to live in the now.  Gas prices are at $3 a gallon.  There is very little affordable public transportation outside the major cities.  Prices are up, unemployment is up.  It is time for the politicians to come out of their ivory towers and see how the real people they represent live and struggle daily.

Unemployment has been further affected by Scott Walker and his tantrum over the high speed rail.  He threw such a fit that we will no longer be getting the funds for this project.  A project which would have brought in 800 million dollars into our economy is now going elsewhere.  There were contracts already awarded and ground already broken on a couple of them.  Scott Walker just pissed that away.  An international company that makes trains will be leaving as soon as their contract here is up.  This means the people who are employed by them will be joining the unemployment ranks.  The contractors who were going to hire people to build the rail, won’t be hiring them and may even suffer severe economic failure because the contracts are no more.

Scott Walker may think he knows what is best for Wisconsin but has he bothered to ask the Wisconsinites what they want?  Sadly this man is supposed to represent and lead us for the next four years and I am fearful that he will put my family and my finances at risk.  He needs to apologize to Obama and suck it up to attempt to get that money back into our state for the rail.  He needs to listen to the people who he is supposed to be representing .  He represents everyone not just the people who agree with his rhetoric.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Romance and sex...

I've got a romance manuscript and in my manuscripts targetiing adults I include characters having sex.  One of the most difficult things in writing a sex scene is finding the balance between describing the anatomy and act of sex without making it pornographic.  How many euphemism can you really write about an erect male organ or to describe the joy of an orgasm? 

To delve into some of the possibilities, I opted to do a bit of research on the Internet.  Now I'm not looking for porn - nothing wrong with it but not the purpose of this research.  I was concerned about getting to sites that were ... to put it politely ... gross. 

I found a couple of sex dictionaries which were educational I guess.  I never knew there were so many terms for a penis.  Perhaps we are just a tad too obsessed with them?  Don't get me wrong - I like the anatomy of a man quite a bit but really some of these terms were a bit much.  The one that sticks in my head that I don't think men would like is penie... I just keep hearing teenie wittle penie... and yes that is in a cutsy baby type tone.  I'm pretty sure if that were said to an aroused man it would have the same effect as cold water.

My foray into these dictionaries was amusing and a bit sad.  Do we really not have better phrases than "his burgeoning male member"?  Thrusting is another term that is frequently used... how many appropriate synanims are there for thrust?  Push, shove, propel, drive, force, propel, plunge are on the list and some of these just sound painful not romantic. 

If we can't describe the act of sex (hopefully wonderful and fulfilling sex) then do we just describe the emotions behind the act?  What if a character doesn't have emotions and it is just sex to them? 

I did find one site which does discuss and list many euphemisms.  I have to say that after the other sites, I bookmarked that site and stopped.  For anyone who is looking for a good euphemistic resource here is the site  http://home.epix.net/~jlferri/sexrom.html

For myself, when I work on these scenes, I am usually pretty raunchy the first time through.  Some of my best work is done when I edit it.  Until I figure out a better way - I'll just keep fumbling in the dark... :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ridiculous...

I know that my alarm goes off at 5:30 every morning.  I hit my snooze and am out of bed by 6:06 almost every morning (sometimes I take an extra 9 minutes).  Unless I'm on vacation, this is my routine - boring, normal, typical, routine for the evilness morning is - so not a morning person. 

Last night I saw 10:00 pm hit the clock on my computer.  I said to myself - no more than an hour more. I have to get some sleep for work in the morning.  The next time I look at the clock it is nearly 11:40.  I haven't gathered anything for work.  I've not gotten my purse together, thought about what needs to be gotten organized for the morning.  I've just been lost in my writing. 

I know the alarm will have a death sentence in the morning because I'm not going to make it into bed before midnight.  Yet I still look at the clock and where I am in the manuscript.  The question on my mind - Do I dare delve back into writing?  That's crazy right?  6 am is early and mornings suck...

My creative flow on this story is fabulous.  I can't seem to type fast enough.  When the words slow to a trickle, I have only to go take a nap and suddenly I'm filled up with words.  That's the other thing, when I sleep I dream of the story.  When I drive I'm analyzing what I've written. 

Today on the way home I kept turning over a scene I'd written last night.  There was something about it that wasn't right - I knew it when I wrote it.  It wouldn't let me be and suddenly as I'm driving down the highway cursing a putzy driver, the solution presents itself.  I'm so focused on figuring out the details of reworking this one scene I can't find my own house (yes I am a dork)... I turn on my road on auto pilot and suddenly I realize I don' t know where my house is.  Fortunately I didn't drive passed it.

I come in the house and my daughter has made cookies and lasagne for supper.  I tell her how great it smells and that I'll be back because I have to fix this scene.  When she calls out that supper is done, I am stunned that I've been sitting at my computer long enough for her to assemble and bake lasagne...

I've fixed the scene.  It is so much better now, funnier and a better fit.  I've written another scene and I've made some decisions on the next set of scenes.  I'm excited about them and I can't wait to write them. 

So why am I writing in my blog?  Well a friend told me she was going to call.  I don't want to get interrupted in the middle of a scene so I'm taking a break and waiting for her call.  Oh yeah and let me not forget - I want to talk to her as we haven't had a lot of time together lately...

Somehow I think it is going to be a very short night again....

Home for the holidays!!!!

What a surprise I got when my daughters text me to say they will have a few days off in a row and with a bit of help for gas money they could come home!!!!  I immediately turned to my budget to determine how much help we could give.  With a bit of juggling and some help from a friend, the girls will be home for Christmas.  It will almost be like old times. 

Beth will be here as well as all the girls.  The six of us can be together and enjoy each other's company.  I'm sure there will be a touch of bickering and a lot of laughter.  Those are two factors in the mix of our life that never disappear. 

Ken has been working in the basement to get beds and areas cleared enough to give the girls comfortable and private places to sleep.  Hopefully they will have time to decide what from the stack of things in the basement they want to take back with them.  I don't know if they will have time though.  They are pretty much driving one day, being here one day, and driving back the last day.  It is a quickie visit and I can't wait.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

First Snow

Well this morning I got up to about 4 inches of snow on the ground.  The trees are covered in a pretty layer of snow with white topping the gray brown of the trunks.  The evergreens are frosted with snow.  The world was somewhat silent but a neighbor is snow blowing their drive now and the hum of a working motor interrupts the peace of the picture outside my window. 

It's still snowing.  No wild wind, swirling blizzard but the snow keeps falling.  I've not been out in it and am hoping to avoid it for as long as possible.  There's a fire in the fireplace in the family room and the house is a comfy haven from the cold outside. 

It almost seems holiday like with this first snow.  Our holiday will be early this year.  Gin and Stephanie both have enough days off in a row that they are going to come home.  I can't wait to see them and hug them.  We will be able to share a family Christmas with Beth.  It will be the six of us just like it used to be.  Really that is the BEST present I could have.  I'm very excited to see them and to have them spend a day with us.  I'm sorry they will spend two days driving to get a day with us but I'm glad they are coming home.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Finally another weekend...

I went back to work on Wednesday hoping to have time to write at night... sadly that didn't happen.  So here it is Friday night (finally) about 9 pm where I'm at and I'm sitting down to write for the first time in three days.  It's been a rough week even though I only worked three days.  I've not slept, I've got headaches, and I'm generally pretty darn grumpy...

I think my biggest problem is that I've stalled on my story.  I can't move forward in my head with the story till I get what is already there in my head down on paper.  Instead of being a good responsible adult and going to bed at a decent hour, I'm going to write.  I'm hoping if I write for an hour or two or three, I'll sleep better and feel better.  Then the creative part of my brain will be able to work out the next part of the book. 

We are supposed to get snow tonight and tomorrow.  I hope I can still go to my brother-in-laws birthday party tomorrow night but I also hope that the snow keeps me cozy inside working on my book.  I also need to take the time to reread the one manuscript I think is done and get it prepped with a nice letter to go off to the publisher.  Mostly though I'm hoping for some good times working on the manuscript this weekend...

Days Fly By

It's only October and my life is speeding up.  My weekends are full and busy.  I need a vacation but won't be getting any for the re...