Friday, December 30, 2011

End of Year

I suppose I should have something profound to say about the year ending and a new year beginning.  Or not.  In reality, I’m looking forward to the last three days of my vacation.  I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve had off.  I’ve done more crafting then writing.  I’ve lounged and read books more than I meant to. 

However, I have done a lot of prep work for two manuscripts.  I’ve also spent some time submitting my work to different publications.  My to-do list has nearly been ignored but I am feeling relaxed and rested from the last few weeks of stress.

I’m not making any New Year’s resolutions.  They are made and broken too easily.  Moving forward I want to keep improving things at work, writing, and trying to find a balance for doing all the things I like to do. 

There is an old Irish curse (I think) – May you live in interesting times.  We are certainly doing that.  This year has been interesting when it comes to politics and society.  Our culture is on the brink of changes.  The question becomes will it be changes for the good or the bad?  I guess that will be determined by what your beliefs are. 

For me, I’d like a little less interesting and a bit more balanced.  However, I’m up for standing up for what I believe (as you probably all can tell from my postings).  I hope in the new year we learn to respect those we put down.  I’d like to see women struggle less when it comes to making money and having control of their own bodies.  I’d like to see Gays and Lesbians have the right (like all the rest of us) to be married.  I’d like to see the politicians actually represent what the majority of people want. 

I have the feeling that 2012 will continue to be interesting times for us.  Whether you agree with my politics or beliefs, I wish all of you the best and to continue living in interesting times.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Writing Progress

Finally time to work on my writing.  Yesterday I worked on prepping my manuscript for publishing.  I got part way through it.  I was easily distracted though.  I found out I got A’s in both my classes officially as my grades posted.  I also had to deal with some work issues and running errands with Vicki.

Today though I’m up when no one else is around and I’m hoping to get some good work done.  First I have to pay bills which won’t take long I hope.  Then I will turn back to prepping my manuscript. I have some questions about ISBN numbers and a few other things.  Once I get those answered I’m hoping the process won’t take too long and I’ll be having a book available on kindle shortly. 

Alternatively, if the process does get too complicated I will turn to a company that comes highly recommended and isn’t horribly expensive to help me out with it.  So I have alternatives to consider as I’m working through the process.

I’ve also gotten some submissions done so I’ll probably work on those as well today.  I still have a large stack of places I can submit to.  One submission package went out in the mail yesterday but mostly I do them online.  They just take time to find the right pieces for the publications and getting it prepped the way the publication wants them.

Before my to-do list gets any longer I’m going to move on to one of the items on it and get busy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Excitement?

At approximately 12:30 last night there was a lot of pounding and noise next door.  I called the police only to be told that there were already police on site.  The reason police were on site – they were busy executing a search warrant for drugs on my annoying neighbors.  They arrest five people according to the Janesville Gazette.  http://www.nbc15.com/news/headlines/Drug_Investigation_In_Janesville_136255153.html

These people have been scary, annoying, and just bad neighbors.  We’ve known for a while that they had to be drug dealers.  People would come to their house; go in for five minutes; and come out again.  The entire neighborhood has been frustrated and upset by the residents in this one house.  The rest of our neighborhood is quiet and peaceful. 

Hopefully these arrests will calm the neighborhood down and stop the nightly noise.  Not holding my breath on that though…

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Done... Finally

I took my final.  I am officially done with my two classes.  I believe I’m getting an A in both classes which is thoroughly shocking.  I thought for sure I would only squeak out a B in my linguistics class. 

Now it is on to writing.  I have one more full day of work and then I’m done for eleven days.  I cannot wait until I am done tomorrow.  Friday through Sunday will be family time.  After that I’ll be working on writing, submission packages, figuring out self-publishing on the kindle for writing.  I have three books I want to read while I’m off. Then, of course, I have a few crafting things to do as well.  I am going to have to be very focused and diligent to keep on task. 

Vicki got a Wii for Christmas.  I’ll have to take some down time to play with her.  However, I’ll have to make sure it isn’t too big of a distraction, even though it is quite fun. 

I got my new netbook.  My faculty gave me a wonderful Amazon card for the holidays towards this purchase.  I have it so I have to figure it out before I come back to school.  I have to check out how my documents on my flash drive will work on it.  I also want to see how all the features work out.  Cool electronics to play with!!! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Four More Days

I have four work days, one final exam, and a lot to get done this week.  Then I’m on vacation.  I cannot wait. 

It has been a busy hectic weekend.  Our friend came over and we celebrated Christmas with the girls in Georgia via video chat.  It was fun if a bit awkward.  I need to figure out how to put the computer on the tv so we can all see.  It was amazing to be able to share our holiday gift giving with each other even though they are nearly a thousand miles away. 

I spent my weekend working on different things.  Mostly it was busy work.  I did, however, get some submissions done.  I also got my stuff organized for my final exam.  I’m still waiting to see if I get feedback on the journal for the one class.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting an A in that class.  I also think I’ll be getting max a B in the other class. 

I have once again been proven wrong about people.  I made a deal with the professor that he would give points back to the class if I proved my point in my formal project.  I worked my ass off and did a great job on it.  I proved my argument and still he isn’t giving any points back.  I am disgusted with him.  I am disappointed in people.  I trusted that he would have integrity and stand by what he said.  Instead, he didn’t.  If I think about it too much – I get exceedingly angry.  The cynic inside of me is saying of course this is just how people are. 

The girls gave me a gift certificate for Amazon.  I bought As Time Goes By – it is my favorite BBC comedy.  It is HILARIOUS.  I don’t care how many times I’ve seen the episodes they always make me laugh.  It was on sale for about half off.  So I snapped it up and am excited that I was able to get it.  There is one movie to go with it and I can’t wait to be able to afford that too.  I’ll keep my eye on it.

It was a good exchange of gifts with everyone.  Our friend was very surprised by the AMAZING quilt Stephanie made her.  It was beautiful and detailed.  It was definitely gorgeous and everyone wanted it.  Virginia also made her matching pillow cases which were incredibly beautiful too.  We tried to steal both from our friend but she wasn’t letting them out of her sight. 

I’m looking forward to my vacation and hope I’ll be able to get a book prepped for publishing on the kindle.  The book is done.  I am very happy with the result.  Initial response from a couple of readers seems to indicate that it should go over well.  I just need to walk through the steps of getting it prepped and published on the kindle.  As usual I have a long list of things to do during my vacation but this is my top priority.  I hope the next four days goes by quickly

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Busy Weekend - But Fun...

This weekend has been filled with all sorts of activities.  Today I didn’t accomplish all that I wanted to but I did get my kitchen curtains done.  I also made a curtain for the bathroom.  It is a cute café type curtain that is more for privacy. 
Yesterday I finished the curtains for the office.  They turned out really nice and I wish I’d bought more of that material.  I also have ideas for other curtains I want to make for the house.  Now it is just a matter of planning and budgeting for it. 
I also spent some time during both days crocheting.  I’ve been playing around with making jewelry.  I want to try incorporating real stones into my crocheted jewelry.  It will be interesting to see how it turns out.  I have a few medallions that I want to try adding to necklaces but I haven’t had time yet.  I’ve made one necklace and several bracelets.  They’ve turned out good.  I want to check out some different yarn (thread really) to see how it is to work with and then also the different types of items I can include in the item. 
I guess with school winding down I’m feeling energized and released from an over abundance of commitments.  I had more I wanted to get done but I didn’t get to my writing.  This will be a big one for me over the next few weeks.  I have a HUGE stack of places I could submit to.  I’ll be sorting those out.  Then I want to work on submission packages for it.  Also I need to get busy with setting up my electronic file for Kindle publishing.  I have one manuscript ready to go and another I need to work on. 
I’m sure once I get into the process of self-publishing I will find all sorts of things that aren’t ready but I need to get started.  Next weekend probably…
It feels really good to relax and enjoy my down time and to actually have down time.

Here are the new office curtains

Here are the new dining room / kitchen curtains

Here is the new half bath curtain

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Check Things Off

It is a day for checking things off.  I finish my Creative Writing class, now I just have to wait on my grade.  I finished my quiz and chapter for Linguistics.  I got the recall petition ready to be mailed (just has to go to the mail box). 

Next I’m going to work on curtains I think.  I bought some fun material for both the kitchen and office and plan to make curtains for both.  I think café curtain with valance for the kitchen and just straight curtains in the office. 

After that it is anyone’s guess the type of mischief I’ll get up to.  I could work on quilts (don’t get your hopes up girls) or crocheting or organizing some of my writing stuff.  I’m keeping my options open.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Upper Respiratory Crud

Here in Wisconsin the weather has turned cold, the germs are bouncing everywhere – particularly at the University with lots of students pushing themselves too hard, and the crud has started with cold like symptoms.

I used to get bronchitis at least once a year, sometimes more often than that.  I’ve found something that helps stave off all the upper respiratory gunk that visits us during the winter months. 

First let me say I’m not a medical professional and what I’m about to tell you is my home remedy that works for me.  (This is my disclaimer.)  As soon as I start to feel clogged up or have any of the gunk symptoms, I add in what a friend humorously calls my dragon’s breath to my shower in the mornings.  The dragon’s breath is essential oils – equal parts of lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus – mixed and in my bathroom.  I like to use the natural oils I feel they are more effective and have a better scent. I dribble some of this mixture onto some river stones that I keep in a bowl.  Then I place the bowl in my shower not directly under the spray.  I leave off my fan and turn the water on as hot as I can stand it to get a lot of steam.  Then I just go through my morning shower routine. 

Most of the time, it helps ease the symptoms and stave off a full blown cold or bronchitis.  I do still get colds but I haven’t had bronchitis since I started doing this.  I do other things too like adding in Welch’s grape juice (the all natural stuff) which is higher in vitamin C than orange juice and I can drink (can’t drink orange juice – too acidic).  I also try to get more sleep (stop laughing it happens sometimes) and do whatever possible to prevent the crud from creeping in.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Innovation Award

I found out on Friday and it became official yesterday – I WON!!!  The associate dean came to my office on Friday and informed me that the committee was very impressed with the innovation I’d implemented in our department and the document I wrote.  Therefore, they awarded me the Innovation Award for the College of Education. 

I’m honored and thrilled to have been recognized with this award.  It is wonderful that my hard work over the last year is being recognized.  I’ll be getting a clock and $1000 which is going to bills, self-publishing some of my work, and a netbook for me.

There will be an award ceremony on December 15 to give out the awards.  I am a bit nervous about being in front of whoever comes to it.  However, Ken, Vicki, mom, Beth, and a few other friends will be there.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Spring Classes

I was a bit bummed today when one of my classes was cancelled.  I was looking forward to it and they didn’t get enough students enrolled in it.  No playwriting class for me next semester.  I figured I’d end up with some weird class. 

Instead I got (drum roll please) the book editing class I originally wanted.  I don’t have the pre-reqs for the class but it would be great timing for me to have the class as I’m neck deep in editing my poetry book (and romance novel and on the horizon is my magic book).  If I could get some in depth knowledge on the editing process for books that would refine my skills and help me produce a better book. 

I emailed the professor today and she immediately came back with – yes you can be in the class.  I was enrolled by the end of the day.  Next semester looks like an interesting semester as I’m taking Fiction Writing in a night course and then the book editing in a late afternoon class. 

Another bonus for my schedule, I’ll actually have time to go to the pool on Monday and Wednesday.  I’ll have time between the two classes on Monday to go to the aquatic center for an hour and still make it back for my night class.  Wednesday I’ll be out of class early enough that I’ll be able to go and get not quite an hour for a work out. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Busy!!!

It has been a busy weekend.  Yesterday I took my quiz, read part of a chapter, posted twice to the discussion board for one of my classes, baked bread, crocheted, helped Vicki with cookies, and made ornaments.  I’m probably forgetting stuff but that is the general gist of my Saturday. 

Today I did a lot too.  I’ve baked bread, helped with cookies, run errands, bills and budget.  Now I have to go finish one Christmas present and wrap all the presents.  If I still have time after that I’ll probably work on my short story.  I need to read it one more time before I submit it. 

I’m going back to work tomorrow.  Vicki will have an exceedingly busy morning as she is making lasagna for my student workers and faculty.  She will bring that in hot along with the homemade bread I made today.  I’m also taking a bunch of the GREAT cookies she made. 

I don’t know how many dozen it turned out to be but she made about fifteen batches.  They all look, smell, and taste delicious.  She tried two new recipes.  I think they turned out wonderfully. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Published!!!

It has come out finally.  I have three flash fiction stories in the Daily Flash 2012:  366 Days of Flash Fiction (Leap Year Edition).  You can buy it on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Daily-Flash-2012-Days-Fiction/dp/1617061611/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322943503&sr=8-1

I’m thrilled to be part of this anthology.  I’ve been submitting to Pillhill Press for awhile and they’ve considered my work in the past but this is the first time I’ve actually made it into one of their publications!
My dates are April 15 with The Fight, August 16 with Dream Rich, and November 9 with Dolphin Quest.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Home Stretch

My formal project is done.  In my linguistics class I have whatever quizzes he throws at us and the final.  For my creative writing class I have finished my journal and the rough draft of the final short story.  I only need to polish the short story and turn it in and I’m done. 

I’m disappointed with my classes this semester.  I thought I’d learn a lot and enjoy the process but it has not been a good process for me this semester.  In my one class no one participates and the professor looks out on a sea of blank faces.  In my other class, the writing assignments have been tedious and not stretched my skills at all, plus there’s been little peer critique.  I would have liked to spend more time on that.  Also for the last month no one has really been participating online. 

I hope to be taking two writing classes next semester and hope that I enjoy them more.  I thought I was all settled but I got an email today that one of my classes may be cancelled.  This means that I’ll have to find a second class to be in and one that hopefully doesn’t disrupt my schedule too much.  I will hopefully know by Tuesday – I definitely don’t like the added stress of this.  There is one class that is offered and required at the same time as the class that is being cancelled but it is full already.  That means asking the professor and / or waiting to see if anyone drops it.  More stress – I don’t like stress…

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Very Tired... But Got a Lot Done

I got a lot done this weekend.  Formal project for class, presents crocheted, finish edits for romance novel, family gathering, movie, all done.  I’m sure there are other things I did but I am too tired to remember.  It was a weekend of late nights and lots of work being put in.

The good thing – I finally have a rough draft of my formal project.  I’ll edit it tomorrow and turn it in tomorrow night.  Then I have to read the last chapter for the class, write a short story, turn in my journal, and take the final.  Only a few short steps and I’ll be done with this semester.  I’m sure I’ll have more quizzes as well but those I’ll take as they come. 

I don’t think I’ve made it to bed before 2 am in the last 4 or 5 days.  I really just want to fall into bed and sleep but my mind is going so fast I doubt I’ll sleep.  Perhaps it might be time to redo my post its – or I could give myself a break for a day or so. 

My gout is definitely doing better.  I’ll have to see how it behaves on Tuesday after I walk the long distance to class.  Last time, I was in pain most of the day.  I’m hoping though that it won’t bother me as much this week.  Hopefully by Wednesday, I’ll be driving myself and not relying too much on Vicki any more. 

I need a weekend to recover from my weekend...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shoes!!!

I wore shoes today!!!  Seems like a silly thing to be excited about but for the last two weeks I’ve not been able to get a shoe on because my foot has been so inflamed.  Today I drove myself to work and wore shoes!

There’s still pain but it is greatly reduced, thankfully.  I still have to take my second dose of arthritis meds in order to keep the pain away.  I’m okay with that because it helps me manage.

Now I’m back at my computer and have a formal project to get out.  I have notes from one more book to add into my paper and then it is a matter of writing.  I need to get the rough draft done tonight because this is due on Tuesday.  If I get the rough draft done tonight I can let it sit for a day before I revise and edit it.  Then it will hopefully be refined enough that I can turn it in.  If not I’m in for a few late nights and little sleep. 

Good thing my foot is feeling better because I don’t have any time to be restricted to the recliner now.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Doctor says...

Well to put everyone’s mind at ease – including mine – I went to my orthopedic doctor about my gout.  This visit reminded me exactly why I keep going to her.  She was on time, attentive, and spent the necessary time with us.  More than that though, she was friendly, reassuring and comforting.

We talked at length about the drugs I’m using to control my arthritis and gout.  We also talked about natural remedies like cherry juice, glucosamine (osteo bi-flex) and hot water baths with Epsom salt.  She also talked about what to look for that should bring me back to her office. 

It didn’t make my foot instantly better but it made my mood better.  I realized I was doing the right things and I just needed to have patience with my body.  It takes time to heal and apparently this time round it is taking more time than I’m used to. 

Good visit and if you are looking for an orthopedic doctor in Madison WI, go to Dr. Holly Duck.  She is an amazing doctor who takes great care of her patients.

1st Amendment

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Perhaps everyone needs to go to this site and read our constitution and the amendments that go with it.  People have the right to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  It says so right here in the first amendment. 

There have been a lot of stories on Facebook and in the news about how the police are treating the protestors for Occupy Wall Street (and wherever else they are).  I listened to Sheryl on the Talk today defending the actions of the police and defending police procedures. 

If we weren’t allowed to peaceably assemble and protest then Women’s Rights and the Civil Rights Movements would never have occurred.  Occupy Wall Street is saying enough with Corporate America running our elections and our government.  Our government is for living breathing human beings not for corporate entities. 

However, that doesn’t matter or it shouldn’t matter what they are protesting.  The KKK is allowed to protest and has walked into places that were highly offensive to people.  So long as they are peaceably assembling it is allowed according to the first amendment.

The students at UC Davis today were assaulted on the order of a chancellor, someone who should have had the best interest of these young adults in mind, and carried out by police who didn’t stop to think whether their “orders” were right or not. 

One of the hardest things in life to do is what is right particularly to do it in the face of someone in authority saying do it or else.  I realize that in the military and in the police orders have to be followed but so do moral and ethical codes. 

If you don’t like what they are protesting, go out with signs and counter what they are doing.  Here in the US though, you can’t stop them from protesting and if you continue to try then you might as well throw the constitution out the window and put the US up for sale.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Appreciation...

This last week has been difficult for me.  I’ve been made immobile by the attack of gout.  I’m still not overly steady on my feet and my foot gets painful when it is down.  Yet I have to look at this week and recognize all the people who helped me in different ways.

My daughter, sister, and husband have been very helpful and concerned as I struggled with the pain and other issues.  They helped me walk, fetched things, carted me places.  My daughter in particular – Vicki – has driven me to work, checked in to see what my pain level was at, pushed me in a wheel chair, and did the bulk of fetching for me. 

Other people also stepped up.  Several of my faculty at work asked after my situation, expressed concern and were pleased when I came back to work.  My Chair was very understanding about my absence even though it was the worst possible week for me to be MIA.  My student workers were my legs this week at the office.  It was little things like one faculty who told me that they missed me as well as the work I do.  It seems like a little thing – just words but those words warmed my heart and made me grateful to have such a good group to work with.

I appreciate all the support and caring I’ve received.  I think this is something we (in general) don’t pay attention to because we are all so busy with our lives.  My gout may have knocked me on my ass and kept me recliner bound but it didn’t stop me from noticing the stress it put on others.  Thank you to all those in my life who expressed concern and offered or gave assistance.  It didn’t go unnoticed and it helped in my healing process.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gout...

Such a small word, who knew it could have such impact on your life.  I’ve had gout for a while.  Mostly it is under control.  Then I have times like this past week where it flares up.  Now normally a flare for me last a couple of days and goes away.  Not this time. 

Last Thursday I left work with a swollen foot and knew it was coming on.  I did what I could.  I doubled up on my arthritis meds, added in pain killers, and anti-inflammatory, increased my cherry juice intake, elevated it and massage (carefully) the affected joint.  These are all things that have worked well in the past. 

I spent all weekend and part of this week in my recliner.  I got a lot of crocheting done.  I read most of my stuff for my formal project.  I caught up some on my DVR watching.  My foot remained stubbornly swollen and the red spot stuck on. 

This weekend I have a lot to do.  I have to finish crocheting the things mom asked me to make.  I have to finish the gifts for my student workers.  I have to read proofs for the short stories I’m getting published in an anthology.  I have to finish reading the articles for my formal project.  Then when I am done reading everything I have to write the formal project.  Oh and let’s not forget the short story and other writing I need to do for my Creative Writing class.  I’m going to have to take a quiz as well for Language Studies. 

This is just a portion (very small portion) of my to-do list.  Somehow I’m going to have to do this all from my recliner because my foot is still painful and swollen. 

Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The American Public has spoken

The news is good from both Ohio and Mississippi.  Ohioans told the government to leave collective bargaining alone.  Mississippians protected women’s reproductive rights.  Perhaps this will tell the Tea Party and other conservatives that they aren’t really representing the majority but in reality a minority.

The leaders who are following the radical right conservative should take note.  The public – you know the people who voted you into office – are out in force saying “We don’t like what you are doing.” 

My only hope now is that here in Wisconsin we can recall Walker and Kleefisch.  Then we can work on repairing the damage they did – though it is unlikely we will get the billion dollars back that Walker has cost us.  Hopefully though, we will be able to repair the damage done to workers’ rights and to the educational system. 

This is just the first step in the right direction.  The optimist in me is hoping it is just one of many steps on the journey to recovery for our country.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And the results are...

I took the test.  Spent just over an hour working through all the questions and was nervous because people walked out at 20 minutes.  Was I taking too long? 

The class average was between 63-64%.  I got (drum roll please) 78%.  This puts me at just below a B in the class.  I hope I understand the rest of the chapters so I can make my grade come up.  I’ll have to put in a lot of time on the lovely Formal Project now. 

I’m disappointed in myself.  Part of me wants to say – yes I did better than average and in fact most of the class but in reality all I really care about is how well I’m doing.  I don’t think I’m doing that well.  I will have to work harder on this and hope that I can bring that grade up.

Midterm today

Today is my midterm in Language Studies and I’m nervous.  Did I study enough?  Should I have been more diligent about my studying?  What will it be like?  My nerves are on edge and I just want it over with.

I’ve read through my notes.  I’ve rewritten almost all of them onto a different summary sheet for the class.  I feel like if I look at it anymore I’ll be overdoing but I don’t know as I’ve only taken quizzes by this professor. 

So the plan this morning is to play a bit to relax.  Eat a good breakfast.  Arrive early and at that point review my notes and refine whatever else needs it… then take the exam. 

With any luck by 10 today I’ll know how good or bad I did….

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Midterm

My midterm got pushed back.  I’m really stressed out about this one so I don’t know if this is a good thing or not.  On one hand I just want to get the thing over with so I can know how bad I did.  On the other hand it will be nice to have another weekend to sort of focus all my studying on it. 

Lucky for me, I got another good score on my quiz.  I was surprised to see a 9.5 out of 10 on this one.  The class average was up as well.  Hopefully people just get this section.  I know I understand syntax better than pragmatics and semantics. 

This weekend will be piled deep with studying for the midterm and reading material for the formal project.  Hopefully by the time I’m done I understand more of it all.  Don’t worry.  I’m not holding my breath. 

I think I could like linguistics if I understood more of it.  I find the topic fascinating but at the same time part of it I think is just a lot of guessing and making general statements about things that don’t fit nicely into a tidy little box.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Morning

My morning actually started last night but after a few hours of sleep I’m back at my desk.  I can hear the crackling of the fire Ken has going.  He brought me breakfast this morning which was wonderfully sweet of him.  I’m looking out my window and loving the colors.  Yes we have a gray sky but the trees are just popping out against the gray.  On the tree outside my window there are a few gold leaves hanging on to the branches.  On one branch there is a smattering of them but in another section there is a lone leaf dancing in the wind.  It stubbornly clings to the branch like it is on a mission.  It is that happy gold / yellow color which always puts a smile on my face. 

If I lean over a bit towards the center of my desk, I can see the other tree in our front yard.  It is still plastered with leaves.  I also see the brown leaves on the ground contrasting in color with the still green lawns.  Through the empty branches of the neighbors’ trees I can see the orange and red of the other trees on the street.  There is just something about the colors of this season that gives me such pleasure.  It is a sense of peace. 

The weather has definitely turned colder.  We are in the 30s and 40s at night and aren’t getting much higher than 60 during the day.  It is a relief for me because I’ve never liked the heat of summer and we are now in that wonderful phase of cooler and pleasant before we go to the harsh cold of winter.

Yesterday I got a LOT of stuff done.  I got about a dozen things crossed off my lists.  I worked on stuff from all of my lists from crocheting to the business, to writing, to the longest list of schoolwork.  I spent the afternoon having a wonderful discussion with a friend.  I’ve not had a chance to visit with her in a long time.  It was fabulous to see her and have the time to just gab.  We caught up and talked politics and a variety of other topics.  It was the perfect relaxation I needed in the middle of my very busy day.

Today I’m going to tackle more on my lists.  At this point I sort of know what isn’t going to get done but I’m not quite ready to give up on it.  Maybe if I work really hard and fast I will get to it all.  (Stop laughing it could happen!)  It is time to put my hair up and get busy with all my tasks for the day.   

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Soap Box Moment.

This study was done by UC Berkeley which outlines how the state workers have taken the hit for the deficit problems but in reality the level of state workers hasn’t changed much in more than 30 years. 

It is one more nail in the coffin of those who keep trying to tell us we are the bad ones.  It is a slight of hand trick to attempt to have us blame the public workers (i.e. myself and a lot of other hard working people) for the collapse of the economy. 

Here’s the link to the article:
http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/research/state_budget_deficits_oct2011.pdf

I say stop blaming and shamelessly trashing everything the people have worked for.  Get the corporations hands out of your pockets.  Stop making decisions based on what the rich guys tell you needs to happen.  Start listening to the people you are supposed to be representing.  Stop trying to dictate morality with your attack on women’s rights, birth control.  Stop attacking the people who are least able to defend themselves – namely the poor, old, disabled. 

Start being innovative, cooperative, productive.  Get in the trenches with the people who are unemployed and help them help themselves.  That is all they really want is to be able to take care of themselves.  Stop pointing fingers and get your hands dirty as you dig into the real problems of our society and country.  We are all willing to work hard to keep our lives intact.  We aren’t willing to become surfs to the wealthy.  We fought a war against that – you might remember it from history.  It was called the Revolutionary War. 

If you don’t get on track with the people you represent then WE THE PEOPLE will vote you out.  We will rise up and tell you (we already are) and we will as a nation show you what it means to be an American and more - not just an American but a person of this world who cares about our neighbors. 

We claim to be a great country.  We need to prove it by showing how well we can work together to rebuild our world after the devastation it has suffered from wars, natural disasters, and unrest around the world.

Let’s work together to become what our founding fathers (and mothers) started us on the road to be.  Let’s become the example we want the rest of humanity to follow.

Big job – I know.  It can happen if we just stop all the negative finger pointing and work together.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Step Away from the Post-its

I should have my privileges for lined post-its taken away.  I have five lists of things to work on this weekend.  I spent twenty minutes with my lined post-it pad and came up with this multi-level to do list. 

On one hand it helps me prioritize and organize.  The lists allow me to see what needs to get done and figure out what needs to be done first.  It is great for keeping me on track.  I feel so accomplished when I cross off things.

On the other hand it stresses me out because I know that I will not get through the lists.  If I stayed up all weekend and worked constantly, I would still have things to do on my to-do list. 

Why do I do this to myself?  I have no idea.  Hopefully I can get a majority of the things crossed off my lists.  I may be exhausted and cranky by Sunday night but at least I’ll have accomplished things right? 

I have a midterm this next week.  I’m freaking out a bit about it.  Some of the material I know.  I understand it and have no problem bringing it to mind.  The rest of it though I don’t know.  I think we will be able to have our notes and books for the midterm which is a great bonus.  Still I’m worried. 

I think if I weren’t stressing about this midterm (and all the other homework on the list) I’d be doing better and the post-it pad might not have taken such a beating. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

WOO HOO!!!

I got my first 10 out of 10 quiz in my Language Studies class.  I’ve gotten everything from a 2 to an 8.  For me to get a 10 is AMAZING!!!  I’m so excited!!!

It may seem ridiculous to be so happy over a 10 point quiz but I’ve struggled in this class.  It is a tough one.  I don’t know that the topic is that difficult.  I think the book sucks.  I also think that the professor is teaching above what most students understand in an intro class. 

The fact that I did well is a relief.  Now the question is will I continue to do well.  I’ve got to make note cards / flash cards so I can study for my midterm tomorrow.  He gave us a project that a student did in a previous semester and I’m going to start with that.  Then anything from her notes I don’t understand I’ll add to with my own notes. 

I don’t know if the test will be in the classroom or on the computer.  I’m hoping for computer but I think that might be too much to hope for. 

For now though, I’m just thrilled with my perfect score!!!!  It very well could be the only one I get in this class.

Mindlessness

I’ve discovered that I require a certain level of mindlessness.  It doesn’t matter if it is playing on Facebook or a computer game, watching mindless tv or whatever.  There are times when my brain says enough and I require a break.  It is probably because I don’t get enough sleep and it is shutting down to sleep (even when it won’t let me sleep). 

Last thing at night I am generally on my computer.  I either answer emails or playing games – usually games.  At the end of the day, I seem to need to have that blank mind and not think about anything more strenuous than which card plays or find the objects listed. 

I’d rather not have these moments of mindlessness but my brain seems to be requiring them.  The thing is I could easily sit at my computer and write during these times.  In fact when I do, I am often energized and lose track of time.  (This is probably why I need the mindlessness.)  However, at 11 pm I need to be going to bed not writing in my novel.  Unless of course, I don’t need to get up the next day – then it is all about the writing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Resolution - I guess

I met with the chair of the English department.  I got no options for fixing things this semester but I did get suggestions for faculty for next semester.  We will see.  I’m not holding my breath that anything good will come of my sharing the information.  

I’ve swapped over my formal project.  I still really want to do the other one but perhaps I’ll do that on my own.  I’m doing the Gricean Maxims which confuse the heck out of me.  I got him to agree to give points back if I prove my point.  I know it will be easy enough for him to say I didn’t prove my point but I hope that isn’t how he is.

Yesterday was full.  I paid bills, ran errands, studied, crocheted, hung out with Vicki, Ken and Beth.  It was a busy day.  When I finally headed to bed, I sat down to my computer and played a bit.  I was on the verge of shutting down completely when I went back into this short story I’m working on.  I worked till 3 am and now have a rough draft.  When I’m done with revising and editing it I’m hoping I can market it and get it published.  I am very pleased with it. 

This means that I didn’t get out of bed till 10 this morning.  It doesn’t bode well to getting a lot accomplished today but perhaps I just need a bit of down time. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

School

This week has been a disaster.  I’ve worked a ton of overtime to work on a huge project which is really only about half done.  I’ll be continuing to work on it this next week and I’m not sure how much overtime I’ll be putting in. 

There’s also been a bit of drama with school.  In my linguistics class I’ve been arguing with my professor about some of the answers on quizzes.  It isn’t really getting me anywhere but I at least want to make a good argument.  I’ve decided to step it up and start actually asking for points back because the subtle approach has not been working. 

Several of the students in my linguistics class have decided the professor is trying to fail everyone so they are taking it to the dean.  I’m not sure that is the right approach.  I’m sitting back and waiting.

I sent off three questions to my creative writing teacher.  One was for clarification on the comments she made on my paper – not saying she was wrong just looking for clarification.  One was asking about her grading scale.  One was a question on the next assignment.  Now I will concede that these were all in one day but I tend to ask things when I come across them.  It just so happened that I came across all of them at once. 

The professor was quite snarky about my questions.  Her attitude seemed to be “don’t question me”.  She insulted my ability to write which was very hurtful to me.  I know I’m a good writer and a good editor but for someone in that position to be so condescending it does make me question. 

I felt slapped.  I know that may sound harsh but if I can’t ask questions – particularly on the comments on my papers – then how am I going to learn?  I don’t know.  I guess then it just becomes her opinion which I can quite easily dismiss if I don’t agree with her. 

I’m disappointed with my creative writing class.  I was looking forward to some new and fun projects to expand my thinking and my abilities but I’ve got three books that don’t really help.  One of them I had to buy so now it is mine which after this class I will never open again. 

To me if you are teaching a writing class then the writing should be out there for discussion.  Here is my sample of work – how can it be made better.  We had a sample poem we had to edit but she never commented on the editing we did.  My question (which I’m not allowed to ask) is did I edit it the way she wanted?  What was she actually looking for?  There were some general comments but she couldn’t be bothered to comment on all the postings. 

I guess I’ll chalk this up to experience and make sure I do not take any more classes that she teaches.  I’ll also think twice before I take more classes.  If the teachers here aren’t able to help me grow then I need to go elsewhere so that I can expand my knowledge and my abilities.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Geekdom

Yesterday I worked on a formal project proposal.  I surrounded myself with grammar books and word origins books.  I looked on line for these types of books – not to borrow from the library but to add to my collection.  I’m currently reading a grammar book – partly to refresh my memory but also because I’m enjoying it.  I think it is official – I’m a word / grammar geek.

I finished my proposal and sent it off to my professor tonight.  Hopefully he reads it and will allow me to do it.  I have no idea if it is what he is looking for but I think it will be interesting. 

In my linguistics class, I’m not doing well.  There are a couple of concepts that I’m struggling with.  I am not one to give up lightly so I’m reading articles on one of the topics which I’m hoping will clarify it for me.  No, these weren’t assigned by the professor – I just don’t like not understanding. 

I emailed my creative writing professor thinking the grade she gave me on my story was a bit low.  Her response reminded me I’m good but I’m not perfect.  I definitely learned a lot from the response and it helped me to clarify a few writing issues. 

School is going okay despite my grumbling and frustration.  I have to remember that I can think and do the things asked of me.  It won’t necessarily be a cake walk.  If I don’t like an assignment then I have to work harder to make it my own. 

Ultimately the goal is to be the best damn writer and editor I can be.  These classes and degree are going to help me along that path so long as I stay out of my own way.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

New Publications

Circle Magazine came out while I was gone to Georgia.  I wasn’t surprised to see an envelope with it in when I got back.  I knew one of my articles was in it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find they had also published two of my poems in it.  I’ve listed them on my Credits page if you are looking for the titles.

It felt good to take my copy in to work and show some of my co-workers my accomplishment.  One of my student workers asked me a question which had me going well duh.  She asked if the magazine was nationally published. 

I’ve been in published in Circle for a while now.  It always feels good to be in such a nice magazine and to see my work in print.  I never thought about it quite that way before.  When I say – I’ve been published in a nationally published magazine – that sounds so accomplished I guess. 

I hadn’t thought that my affiliation with Circle and the magazine could be looked at that way until my student worker pointed it out to me.  I'll take the boost to my morale this gave me but try to stay humble because I’m still getting a lot of rejections. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Georgia

We had a great time visiting the girls.  Their new apartment is beautiful and fairly spacious.  It definitely fits the girls and their needs.  Just having the washer/dryer in the apartment is a huge convenience and bonus for them. 

We went to the zoo.  We also hung out at their pool one day.  I’m sure the southerners all thought we were crazy but some of us got in the pool and played.  It was mostly warm enough.  When the breeze picked up it was very chilly. 

Spending time with the girls and just being together was the best part of the weekend.  We played games, watched football (YUCK), picked on each other.  It was a good weekend. 

Now someone needs to invent the transporter so we can get to these locations in less time.  The fourteen plus hour drive was tiring to say the least.  On the way back was the worst because we were already tired from being so busy.  I did all the driving (partly because of my own stubbornness).  At the last gas stop I had a hard time standing because my knees were so sore.  Fortunately, I only took a day or so to recover.

Now we are back and trying to get back into the groove of every-day life.  I feel like I need a vacation to recuperate from my vacation but my desk is already so far behind there is no way I’d ever catch up if I took off again. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Busy... very busy

It was definitely a busy weekend.  I got almost everything crossed off my list.  I did get all the homework done I wanted to as well getting most of my forms set up for the new business.

Stone Editing is officially started.  I have no idea whether I will get any customers or work but all I can do is put it out there and do my best.  Now we will see. 

I have one or two smaller things to set up and get done but mostly I’m happy with where I’m at for the business and for homework.  I even got two dvds watched.  The one series can now go back to the library.

Vicki got me two poetry books by Mary Oliver.  I’m going to hopefully have time tomorrow to read them during my lunch hour. 

You’d think with all that I got done I’d be done with lists but I’m not because now I’m turning to the other list which is getting ready for the trip to Georgia!!!!  I cannot wait to see Gin and Stephanie.  I cannot wait to see their new apartment.  I’m hoping it will be a really good time and we get some quality family time in. 

It’s been a good weekend all in all.  It could be that I had a balanced weekend for a change.  Now if only I could discover the secret to complete balance on a daily basis… stop laughing – it could happen…

Saturday, September 24, 2011

More Lists

It’s the weekend and I’d love to just kick back and relax.  That isn’t going to happen.  I’ve decided to start doing editing on the side.  This weekend is my time to get the paperwork in place that I feel I need.  I’ve a bunch of decisions to make like naming my company and how I want my stuff to look. 

After I get that done, I have a list of homework to do including a quiz I’m pretty sure I am not sure I understand the information for plus several chapters to read, a poem to edit, a story to edit and submit.

We have a housewarming party to go to.  That will be fun.  I’m looking forward to that.  It will be my down time for the weekend.  Plus Vicki got from the library our favorite BBC series.  It is the last season they made of this series so that has to be watched before it goes back to the library.  She also found the Ellery Queen series.  Ken loved that show.  It was quite good and I’d really like to see those but this is sadly low on my priority list.

I did watch Monarch on the Glen last night with Vicki.  For part of the time I crocheted but then a cat invaded me and decided I was kitty bed. 

We are going to Georgia next weekend so I have to get my stuff organized for that.  Clothes, bags, and what I’m taking with and what I can leave behind.  On top of all of these things it is a pay week with all the pay week errands.

Looks like I need to make a to-do list so I can stay on track of what needs to get done and by when…

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Productive

Work, school, writing, family, and the beginning of a new semester means I’ve been feeling just a touch overwhelmed. Okay maybe more than a touch.  Today I was able to tackle some of the tasks that have been giggling on the corner of my desk because I just haven’t had time to get to them.  Now a number of them are done. 

My to-do list was over a page on a standard pad of paper.  I had notes in the margins and scribbled every which way.  Today I rewrote my to-do list and discovered all the things I’d crossed off meant that I was down to about 2/3 of the page.  This is a giant leap forward. 

I’m exhausted.  Partly because I’ve not gone to bed before midnight all week with all my homework and other things I need to take care of and partly because I got a lot done today.  It feels good. 

I’m trying to savor this good feeling.  I am going to breathe and enjoy it for at least thirty seconds.  Tonight I have to page through my homework to-do list and hope it isn’t too extensive.

Good news is I discovered on my Kindle that I have the Oxford Dictionary of English.  It is an amazing dictionary and quite extensive.  I am using it regularly.  I also purchased a calendar program which allows me to put in appointments and a to-do list.  This has become my closest friend right now.  I look at it multiple times a day.  It helps keep me on track which is something I definitely need right now.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Balance of Sorts

Yesterday was a good day.  I did some homework in the morning.  I spent time with a friend in the afternoon.  I spent time with family in the evening.  I wrote at night.  It was a full but good day.

Up at the crack of dawn (okay well really about 8) and sat at my computer played for a bit before showering.  I then worked on homework long enough to get frustrated.  I was getting ready to leave when Vicki said she needed to talk to me before I left. 

The afternoon with Laura was amazing.  Her backyard is beautiful and secluded.  You don't feel like you're in a big city or surrounded by people.  We sat there with a fire going just talking all afternoon.  She fed me and gave me fluid which was nice.  More than that though she fed my soul.  Laura is a great friend.  I can count on her.  She is the type of person I know I can call on and say I need X (you fill in the blank) and she will do everything in her power to help me get it. 

Time with her is like a trip to the spa.  I get to laugh, cry, discuss intellectually (yes Laura I mean that), and just be me.  She is a blessing in my life.  Normally when we gather it is a full day of Laura time.  This time I had to set a limit though because I needed study time. 

I came home and spent time with Ken and Vicki (and their electronics).  We had supper together and watched TV together.  After they went to bed, I sat at my computer and worked on writing.  I was just going to check my email and go to bed but instead I pulled open a story I'm working on and got more of a scene written.  I called a halt at 1:00 am though. 

This morning I've dealt with email, played on the computer, and handled the many rejections in my emails.  I also discovered I have at least an article in a publication (there may be some poems too but I have to wait for my issue to find out).  I'll post it when I get the magazine.  If you are interested in getting my work - look for the next issue of Circle Magazine (www.circlesanctuary.org). 

Next I'm going to tackle my homework.  It is calling to me.  The procrastinator in me is considering cleaning off my desk though because Ken moved my printer for me so Sasha could have window space on our desk.  I have several chapters to read and a rough draft to do for the next writing assignment.  I guess I'll have to force myself to be good though because the homework needs to come first...

Fun Versus Work

I have the feeling I'm going to be struggling with balancing out the need to have down time while I also have a long long list of things...