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…

Surgery and Other Updates

Last Wednesday I had sinus surgery.  It was a day surgery where they cleaned out my sinuses, straightened a deviated septum, narrowed some b...