Monday, December 31, 2012

Massage

Saturday started my nine days off.  Normally I have all sorts of writing plans for my time off but this time I’m still working on getting my foot healed so my plan is to rest and relax.  So the plan is to watch DVDs and crochet. 

First thing on my agenda on my first day off was to have a massage – a gift I got for Christmas.  I’m still not able to hobble far so my masseuse came to me.  I felt lucky she was willing to do this since it has to be cost effective for her.  My sister and daughter got massages as well and this made it worthwhile for the masseuse. 

My pain level runs around 5 or 6 on a normal day.  On a bad day I’m up around 9 and I’ve been having a lot of those lately.  Saturday I woke up to a 9 day and thought about cancelling but knew that it would help me. 

Kris (my masseuse) was fabulous as always.  She took care of the aches and pains I normally have and more.  She took care of my legs with great care and tenderness.  At the same time her massaging helped circulation and muscles to relax.  My back, which had been aching from too much time in the recliner, went from painful to not painful.

It was sort of amusing that three of us had massages and we all came out with funky hair and a look of peaceful bliss.  For myself, I was able to walk and get around better than I have in the last six weeks.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Estimate

While I’m stuck at home, I’m trying to stay on top of things.  I spent my morning calling about a medical bill.  Vicki went to the doctor and paid cash for her visit. Then I get a bill for her visit.  I’m floored as we paid for it in full when she went to the doctor.  I call and am told that what she paid was just an estimate.

This customer service person was rude and unhelpful.  I was told that what she paid at the time of service was just an estimate.  I responded with if I go to a mechanic to have work done, he can’t change his charges once I’ve left his facility. 

I also pointed out that this bill was higher than the one for her last appointment and nothing was done different.  She saw the doctor and nothing else – no tests were done but the bill was higher.  I asked about that and got told they had a rate increase in July.  I said when they gave the estimate it should have reflected the new prices.

The question becomes do I want to cause a problem with a credit rating over a $12 bill with an unethical medical billing procedure.  In all likelihood I will try to call one more time but won’t have a lot of success with the call.         

I know it isn’t a big bill but why should I pay a higher amount when nothing was done differently.  Additionally, I don’t know any business other than a medical facility that can change their prices randomly. 

In addition to Vicki’s bill, I have a bill for two office visits for me.  One I went to was strictly because the doctor’s office told me that if I wanted my allergy meds I had to come in to see the doctor because the insurance company required it.  Essentially I was required to go to the doctor and spend $150 in order get my prescriptions.  This is ridiculous especially since I’ve been taking allergy meds my entire adult life.  This means I have a bill simply because the doctor’s office seemed to want the money because nothing was done other than for the doctor to go on the computer and renew my prescriptions.  It took less than ten minutes for him to sit on the computer and quite frankly his time and mine could have been spent better.    

It is ridiculous how the medical business pulls in patients.  I was held over a barrel because I need my allergy meds.  It was a waste of money for the insurance company to pay and now for me to pay this additional amount.  It is a racket meant to soak the individuals for money.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 3 (or maybe 7) of Captivity

Three weeks ago, my gout started acting up.  I did my normal precautions of increasing the amount of cherry juice I was taking in, doubling up my meds and so on.  Last week I was looking forward to the short week because it meant I could spend time off my foot and really take care of it.  Thursday I made stuffing and helped Vicki a little in the kitchen but mostly I was a bum and sat in the recliner.  Friday and Saturday – same thing.  Recliner bound.  Saturday I actually felt like thins were improving.  Walking wasn’t so painful and I could manage more tasks on my own.  I thought GOOD – I’m finally healing and getting better. 

Sunday I wake up and my foot is hurting a lot.  I’m thinking oh I just need to take my meds and then it will be back to where it was yesterday.  Nope.  It got worse.  I got up Monday and couldn’t put any pressure on my foot.  I was still determined to go to work. I have a lot of responsibilities and no time to be off work.  I didn’t make it to work.  I called the doctor and made an appointment.

Tuesday I was going to go to work, class and then the doctor’s appointment.  That didn’t happen.  I got up and tried to go but by the time I was dressed I was in serious pain and just couldn’t see how I was going to manage with my foot down all day.   

Vicki went off to the library and to have lunch with Beth.  She came back and took me to the doctor.  The drive in was HELL on my foot.  The doctor was not happy with my foot at all.  She changed my meds and included an antibiotic.  She thought about putting me in the hospital for IV antibiotics but gave me a week off of work and strict instructions instead. 

Thursday and I’ve been confined to the recliner.  Vicki is watching over me (she is the warden) and taking excellent care of me.  The drugs seem to be working.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that by next Tuesday when I have to go back I’ll be better.  The doctor actually found two drugs I didn’t have any allergic reaction to. 

The good news – I finished an afghan in a week.  I’ve watched a lot of DVDs and DVR programs.  I’ve also gotten a lot of homework done.  I’ve also had offers of help from a number of wonderful people who are all concerned for me.  That has been wonderful and heartwarming. 

I'm starting day 3 of the doctor's enforced captivity but I was already staying recliner bound so an argument could be made for this being the 7th day of my confinement.
 
Today will be interesting as I plan to try to shower.  I also have to pay bills and hopefully get a story submitted to a contest.  I’m thinking a nap might be useful too.  It will come as no surprise that I have a list of things I want to get done but to be honest now that I’ve written my blog, I think taking a nap may be top of my list. 
 
 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Grant Writing

This semester I’m taking a grant writing class.  I’ve noticed a lot of similarities between grant writing and submissions for publications.  There are similar tips like:
·         Follow the directions exactly
·         Be concise and polite
·         Expect to be rejected

I’m thoroughly enjoying this class as I feel like there are a lot of practical applications I can use it for.  In class, I’m working with a client who is hoping to have a successful grant completion to bring in money for her business.  She is a small business owner in a non-traditional area for women.  The grant will be exceedingly involved and take longer to write than the course will take.  However, through the course I’m hoping to get a base of material that will give us a jumping off point writing her grant. 

There are a few websites that are particularly useful:
·         http://grants.gov/
·         http://www.sba.gov/
·         http://www.nea.gov/index.html
·         Government department that applies to your area
       o   Make sure you check out local, county, state, and federal levels
·         http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RD_Loans.html

These are just a few of the resources you can find for grants and loans. 

First you have to do a lot of research.  Then you have to do more research.  Be aware you are going to be unsuccessful at finding grants; you will follow a lot of dead ends that initially look promising. 

Be persistent.  Grants requests are often rejected, repeatedly.  Keep trying, edit and redo your grant to fit the place you are applying to.  Keep moving forward and keep trying.  Like getting published, what appeals to the evaluators this year may not appeal next year, which would then open the door to your project (hopefully). 

Be clear on what your project is, what the goals and objectives are, and how this fits with the grantor.  Write the grant like you are the grantor – what matters to them is how it benefits them not what it does for you or your organization. 

The book I am using in class is Winning Grants Step by Step written by Mim Carlson and Tori O’Neal-McElrath and is quite good at outlining the different steps.  Even with it, though, you have to be a strong writer and be very determined. 

I’ve got my fingers crossed that the grant I’m working on will help the small business owner and give me some great experience writing. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Shaving Cream

Vicki has been making new goodies again.  She made two different types of face wash, a body wash, and shaving cream.  The first one I tried was the shaving cream.  I don’t shave often because I have the eczema on my leg.  Even without the eczema, I never shaved often as it bothered my legs.  I would end up with dry skin and have a lot of irritation. 

With Vicki’s lovely shaving cream, I got none of that.  My legs came out feeling soft and lovely.  Even with the eczema, I didn’t have any issues.  I almost didn’t put the lotion on this morning because my legs felt so good. 

The only bad thing was that it made the shower slippery.  For most people this probably isn’t a problem but I’m a total klutz.  The shaving cream was light and smooth, it felt like silk on my legs and when I was done, my legs felt smooth and silky.
 
Next I’m going to try her body wash.  It is made with sea salt, oil, and essential oil.  Vicki used it and had great results so I’m looking forward to trying it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

Today everyone has the opportunity to go out and choose how our country will be run for the next four years.  I’ve already voted by absentee ballot.  I’ve made my choices.  I’ve been ready for the election nonsense to stop for a few weeks.

Now I heard the figure of $6 billion spent on the elections.  That is an incredible amount of money and my only question is – instead of annoying the hell out of all the country with annoying and false ads, how much good could have been done with that money? 

The best thing about today is that after today the ads, emails, and phone calls should stop.  Last night I got several phone calls and my email has been filled with political pitches.  I get they want to know who I’m voting for and so on but really not anyone’s business unless I choose to share. 

Hopefully after today we can put the ridiculousness of the campaign behind us and move forward into actual governing of the country.  Hopefully this doesn’t involve putting women’s rights back a hundred years or damaging any other progress we’ve made in our society.  It is a matter of holding our breath and seeing what happens.

Get out and vote!

Friday, October 12, 2012

New Ideas

I love being organized.  I feel if I am organized I can be more efficient and better prepared to do whatever tasks I need to.  Recently two people have really helped me get better organized.  My youngest daughter, Stephanie, set me up with a new budget spreadsheet.  I think I like it better and just need to finish filling in the information for it.  Then I’ll copy it into my current spreadsheet and use it.  I have to keep the old one though as it has historical info I might need.

Tia, one of my new faculty members, gave me an idea on how to use a spreadsheet to track progress on projects.  She told me how she lists the projects on the left and the tasks in the columns.  I loved the idea.  I could see where I could use this to stay on top of the tasks I needed to get done and just keeping track of where I was with all the projects. 

Then today she tells me that for the bigger parts of the projects she has separate sheets for the details of the tasks.  Now I know this is beginning to sound geeky and maybe a bit compulsive (woman after my own heart).  As I looked at one of the tasks there are at least 25 tasks that go into it.  On my main sheet I just call it Formatting.  Then I linked it to the sheet where I talk about all the formatting tasks. 

Back to what Stephanie gave me, she incorporated conditional formatting in there.  I’m just using it to highlight the cell when I put my little x in it.  However, it gives a wonderful visual cue that look this is where I’m at. 

My new spreadsheet isn’t quite done.  I have tasks on my list that I’m not sure what it will entail because a few of the tasks I’ve not done before.  As I move through the process, I’ll continue to develop this spreadsheet.  I can also see this new spreadsheet having other purposes like in my genealogy, projects around the house, and even in developing the writing aspect of my writing projects – especially ones that include research. 

Perhaps I’ve taken my geeky compulsion of to do list a bit far with this latest development but I don’t think so.  I think it will just help me be better organized and maybe use fewer post its to keep track of everything.  To the two women who helped me out – thank you!  I’m thrilled to have the new tools that you shared with me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bombed a Quiz

In manuscript editing today, I took a quiz and totally screwed it up.  I went through the 11 sentences and did my edits.  I was confident and felt good about it.  Then the professor started giving hints and I thought – oh – I must have that wrong.  I know better than to go back and second guess myself but I did it anyway.  By the time I was done I had made 7 mistakes on a 20 point quiz.  Not good…. Not good at all.

I’m frustrated with this class.  When I speak up in class, other students roll their eyes at me.  I ask questions or make comments and the instructor always disagrees with me.  I’m torn between just shutting up and being a non-participant and trying to drive home my points. 

Most likely, I’m going to buckle down in order to know the material better.  I’ll do research to determine whether I agree with the rules.  I doubt I’ll argue my point in class but I will in my own mind disagree with the instructor. 

I guess I just have to find my own way through this material.  I have all these books on grammar and punctuation so I just need to make things clearer in my head.  Ultimately, I’m not doing it to get a good grade in this class.  I’m doing it to be a better editor for myself and my clients.  I need to keep that in mind as I’m working on the material from the class.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Productive

Yesterday Vicki and I were particularly productive.  She got the kitchen and dining room floors cleaned.  She cleaned up in those two rooms and the two bathrooms.  She even cleaned up a bit in the living room which was sort of her thing because she crafted on Saturday and had stuff sprawled out. 

In addition to all of Vicki’s productiveness in cleaning, she and I cooked a lot of stuff.  She made two types of pudding and blackberry crisp and chicken carbonara.  I made meatloaf and turkey meatballs.  On Saturday, Vicki made two pans of lasagna.  We put in the freezer eight containers of meatloaf, six bags of turkey meatballs, and a dozen containers of carbonara.  We also shared food with a friend who came and picked up. 

Vicki and I also made two containers of shampoo for her.  Vicki put my lotion back on the stove to melt to see if she could get the turmeric to mix in better.  It did a bit but still settled to the bottom.  We will have to try oil.

In addition to the cooking, I got an eleven page paper edited and a three page paper for school written.  I also did some reading for school though I didn’t finish that.  In the evening I made two gifts.  It was a busy and productive day. 

At the end of the day, I gave Vicki a back, arm, and leg rub because she was wore out and sore from all the work.  I used the lotion she made and gave her a thorough rub down – her skin should be in lovely shape now.  I’m pretty sure she is still sore though.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Scheduling

People ask me how do I manage to stay ahead of my schedule.  I usually answer very confidently it is a matter of scheduling.  Generally, I figure out what I need to get done, schedule it, and then do it. 

Lately, I’ve not been as good at this.  I’ve been getting distracted by things not on my schedule.  This is sometimes good and sometimes not so good.  Here it is Sunday and I should have all my homework done.  I don’t.  I have several pages to read yet.  I likely won’t get to them.  This means the reading flows into my school week.  It is difficult for me to do homework during the week as I’m usually freaking exhausted after working and school.  If I don’t get the reading done then it will be next weekend.  This is of course a cascading problem because next weekend I have all this other reading to do. 

My distraction this week is editing.  I got a wonderful story from a friend and edited it.  He says he has 22 chapters and by the time I was done reading the prologue I just wanted the rest of it.  I also have been working on editing my own book.  I’m nearing the end of the first rounds of edits and am annoyed I was too tired to do more last night at midnight. 

My office is still a mess.  I don’t care so long as I can edit.  I am not any more organized than I was prior to the semester starting.  Mostly, I don’t care so long as I can edit. 

I may be a bit obsessed with editing right now.  It may be time to give myself a good kick in the bum and get back on schedule.  Or I may just need to finish the edits on the first manuscript in my series.  Ironically I’m dreaming about the story again.  It is stuck in my head and I just want to work on it and move forward – everything else be damned. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Contest

I just submitted my 100 word blurb and 5000 word entry for a romance novel on www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com.  If you have a romance novel done (or near done), then check it out.

I’ve had this novel done for a while.  I’ve been meaning to submit it to Harlequin but never gotten around to it.  Now I’ve gotten around to submitting it for a contest.  All the first chapters are going to be posted for people to vote on.  The top 25 will be advanced with 3 more being selected by the editors. 

Now it is a wait and see thing.  Fortunately I won’t have to wait long as they will notify the winners by October 12.  Then there is another round where editors review and only three end up finishing.

I’m nervous about this but at the same time I know if this doesn’t work then I’ll figure something else out or just submit it again, and again, and … you get the picture.  Or I might actually figure out how to go through and self-publish. 

Wish me luck and let’s hope I get lots of votes…

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Politics

Ads, propaganda, and blowhards are flooding the airwaves with bullshit about which person would be better for the job of president, or which party should have control to guide our nation forward.

I doubt any politicians will read this but here are some things we need to do to make this a better country:
 
·         Everyone whose income is over 75K a year should pay a flat rate of income tax.  Yes we can still give tax credits for kids, retirement, and so on but it all starts out even.  I guess if you have to have levels those from 50K to under 75K should pay a smaller percentage but under 50K shouldn’t have to pay anything – they already aren’t making it.
·         The political employees (Senators, Presidents, Congressmen, etc) all get the same retirement as the rest of us – Social Security or private paid for by their own funds not tax payer funds.
·         The old and infirm, the veterans –these groups should be cared for.  I don’t care if they live for 20 years or 50 years and need the care.  They aren’t able to do for themselves anymore and in some cases have stood the line defending our country.
·         Women are equal to men.  Gender does not make a difference.  If we have to do a fair wage thing – let’s do it.  No one should be discriminated against and women still are.  The government should stay out of the woman’s health care issues.  If people want abortion to stop then they better figure out ways to fix the problem of unwanted pregnancy – not get in the business of individual women.  This may mean that we have better adoption laws, better access and distribution to birth control and we EDUCATE.
·         Marriage is a union – it is a contract that shouldn’t matter whether the two parties are of the same gender or not. 
·         Corporations are not people.  All funds for campaigning should go into a central fund and be distributed evenly amongst all the candidates – so if there are 10 people running for a position and a million bucks were donated for that position – each candidate gets the same amount.  Attack ads should be banned.  Ads should be solely about what the candidate believes and wants to do. 
·          Education is KEY to eradicating poverty.  This doesn’t necessarily mean every kid has to be shuffled into college.  We still need plumbers, welders, electricians, and other crafts that require hands on training.  If you are on aid from the government – unemployment or welfare – you have to further your education in order to better place yourself.  We need to support that.
·         Don’t get into wars.  Okay if someone is threatening the US – really threatening not some bogus BS – it is okay to fight but there are almost always better solutions than going to war.  If you want to put our young people into harm’s way you better have a damn good reason for it – not some fantasy WMD myth.

I’m sure there are more things but these are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head.  As a politician, I expect you to be on board with these things.  If you aren’t then I have to figure out whether you are worth voting for.  I don’t’ want a President that dismisses half the country (even in a speech meant for a targeted audience).  I want a President who is going to try to serve the country as a whole, who will represent the US in a positive light, and who will be able to make the tough choices.  I want representatives who are going to listen to my opinion on all issues and only make decisions after they have listened to their constituents not based on an antiquated religious belief system which subjugates half the population. 

I am tired of all the BS ads and lies being told.  If you can’t open your mouth and speak the truth – then don’t open your mouth.  Mostly, I want all the damn political crap to be done.  My absentee ballot came and I’m going to fill it out, send it back and be done with it.  I can only hope the rest of the people in the country really think about what direction we want to go – forward into the future or backwards into an era that is long dead and shouldn’t be resurrected.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Publications

At my job, a request has been made for all publication for faculty and staff in the last year.  My faculty know I write so they have encouraged me to participate.  I was feeling like I hadn’t done much over the last year.  Then I gathered up the material.  Since July of 2011 I’ve had a dozen items published and that doesn’t count my own personal blog or the second blog I did for a bit. 

Periodically I feel like I’m not devoting enough time to submitting my work.  I feel like I could do more and should do more in order to add to my credits.  If people don’t see your name regularly they forget who you are.  The problem is I have been focusing on writing.  I have ideas of what I want to submit where but I just haven’t taken the time (I’ve had it but spent it elsewhere). 

A dozen items printed isn’t bad.  I want more – greedy aren’t I?  I want my book out there.  I’ve been very focused on that.  I’m currently reading the guide for self-publishing on Smashwords.  I’m hoping to take my notes from that and get my romance novel out there.  Then the next step is to get a poetry book out there.  Once I go through the Smashwords process, I will want to get paper copies done too so yet another process. 

I feel like the process is never ending.  I know that in addition to the actual publishing I’m going to need to do marketing as well – no point in publishing if no one knows your book is out there.

I need to do two things – schedule my time better and clean my desk / office.  Then I’ll be organized and will have time set aside for the tasks at hand.  I was going to do the office this weekend but woke with a migraine this morning and went back to bed.  I got up at 11 instead of 7.  Still have a slight headache but I need to get homework done.  No office organizing today. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eczema

I’ve had eczema on my legs for over two years.  If you don’t know what it is, this is a rash like skin irritation which is very itchy and painful.  I’ve tried steroid cream from the doctor and lots of over-the-counter stuff to try to get rid of this. 

The steroid cream made my normally not very hairy legs exceedingly hairy but did give me some minor relief.  Aveeno Eczema cream helped with some of it but didn’t really give me good relief from the symptoms.

Vicki and I have been making homemade soaps and hygiene products because she struggles with the chemicals in a lot of products.  We started with shampoo.  When she shifted to the new homemade shampoo, she went from having a constantly sore head to no red or itchiness.  The only side effect she had was her hair was curlier. 

Next we tried hand soap.  I’ve not been able to use hand soap for nearly two decades because most soaps make my hands break out in itchy hives.  The soap we made though doesn’t irritate and I can use with no side effects. 

We tried lotion to help my legs.  This was a bit more complicated to make but for me it was worth it.  The lotion comes out more like a salve.  It isn’t sticky but is slightly oily.  One thing I hate about lotion is the sticky feeling left on my skin when I apply it.  This doesn’t feel that way.  I’ve been applying the new lotion about once a day.  My one leg has gone from red and constantly itchy to very little red (mostly around the sores from scratching) and the itching has decreased significantly.  My other leg – which was worse – is coming along. 

I think this will help in the long run.  I do want to look into adding turmeric to my lotion as that is supposed to be really good for eczema.  Vicki and I will keep experimenting and see how this all works out. 

Below are the recipes and web sites for shampoo and lotion that Vicki found:


Shampoo
Basic:
For normal hair, or as a base to add your own scents, use
            1/4 cup distilled water
            1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap
            1/2 teaspoon jojoba, grapeseed, or other light vegetable oil

Mix together all the ingredients. Store in a bottle. Shake before use.

This mixture isn't as thick as commercial shampoos - you'll need to just tilt the bottle over your head. I am really impressed with how much lather I get from it though!


Organic Homemade Lotion Basic Ingredients:
            1/2 cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs first if desired)
            1/4 cup coconut oil
            1/4 cup beeswax
            Optional: 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
            Optional: 2 tablespoons Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter
            Optional: Essential Oils, Vanilla Extract or other natural extracts to suit your preference

How to Make Lotion:
1.      Combine ingredients in a pint sized or larger glass jar. I have a mason jar that I keep just for making lotions and lotion bars, or you can even reuse a glass jar from pickles, olives or other foods.
2.      Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat.
3.      Put a lid on the jar loosely and place in the pan with the water.
4.      As the water heats, the ingredients in the jar will start to melt. Shake or stir occasionally to incorporate. When all ingredients are completely melted, pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage. Small mason jars (8 ounce) are great for this. It will not pump well in a lotion pump!
5.      Use as you would regular lotion. This has a longer shelf life than some homemade lotion recipes since all ingredients are already shelf stable and not water is added. Use within 6 months for best moisturizing benefits.

Note: A litte goes a long way! This lotion is incredibly nourishing and is also great for diaper rash on baby, for eczema and for preventing stretch marks!

Monday, September 10, 2012

First Week

The first week back with all the faculty and students was, in a word, chaotic.  It was exhausting just trying to keep up with all the people and I still had to go to classes. 

This semester I have two classes Manuscript Editing and Topics in Technical Writing – Grant Writing.  The Grant Writing class is interesting and I’m excited for.  The Manuscript Editing class is a lot of technique I think – grammar, punctuation, and technical information.  I think I will learn some from it but I’ll see how I feel about it as the class goes on.  After class on Tuesday, I’m going to have a conversation with the instructor to see how things go. 

Being a non-traditional student, I fall outside the norm in most things and I think this will be another class where that is the case.  I’ll see how it goes and hopefully it will help me be a better editor. 

The interesting thing is I’ve always said I don’t want to master anything but as I do more of the editing I find I do want to master this.  Is there a master’s degree down the line for me?  I don’t know.  I know that I enjoy – yup I said enjoy – learning about the grammatical part of writing. 

For me, though, I have to be careful about becoming too technically correct in my writing (for fiction)  because when you are extremely proper in your writing it sounds very formal.  This makes it less reader friendly. 

It is a matter of balancing things.  For the articles and non-fiction writing I want that correctness and formality but for fiction I want it more reader friendly.  Focusing on the end product is key and that will help me produce the best possible product. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

August?


Well August is about to leave us and September will begin.  I want to know how the time thief has managed to take a whole month and really most of summer away from me.  I feel like the summer just whipped by with no time for anything.

I’m having a four day weekend which is wonderful.  Believe it or not, I still have to clean my office and prep for my new classes.  I was going to take three classes but with all the changes to my department I decided to drop one class and just take two.  I’m taking the Grant Writing class and Manuscript Editing.  The books have arrived and I plan to scope them out this weekend. 

I’m not sure I’m ready for classes to start but I don’t really think that matters because they start Tuesday.  My Grant Writing class sounds interesting and I’m hoping to work on a real life grant that will help someone get money for a project.  I’ve connected up my instructor with some “clients” at the university, library, and my sister. 

My Manuscript Editing class I’m feeling ambivalent about.  I’ve done manuscript editing so it will be interesting to see if I will be able to build on the knowledge I already have. 

That all starts next week which is SEPTEMBER!!  Damn time thief!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rape and Abortion

Rape is non-consensual sex.  This means if a woman says no or is incapable of choosing (i.e. is too drunk or high) to participate.  It does not matter what the victim was wearing, what the victim’s sexual history is, or if weapons are involved. 

Rape is not about sexual pleasure or fulfillment.  It is about having the power over the victim, degrading the victim, and subjugating the victim. 

GOP Candidate Akin made a foolish and archaic statement about “legitimate rape” and it shows the attitude the GOP tolerates.  Because they tolerate it, it is my opinion that they endorse this attitude towards women. 

Historically women have been treated as property.  We were traded to pay debt, sold into marriages to further men’s agendas, and we were not educated.  Here in the US we weren’t allowed a say in the political arena until the 20th century.  There still lingers this idea that women don’t know their own minds, bodies, and so on. 

There are places in our world that still hold these horrible and damaging beliefs and the practices that go with it.  Here in the US women need to stand up and say NO.  We have the power to vote.  We should get out and use that power.  We should show we won’t be held prisoner by the minority of men in this country and we will demand our rights. 

Here is the original video for Akin:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdisTOKom5I

Here is a letter in response to his comments:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eve-ensler/todd-akin-rape_b_1812930.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

Here is the president’s response to Akin:
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/rape-rape-obama-criticizes-rep-todd-akin-rape-comments-17042710

If we want to stop abortions in all except medically necessary cases then we need to be more supportive of the women who are pregnant.  This means safe and affordable birth control and health care.  This means education to dispel the myths and misconceptions so many have.  This means putting a stop to rape and if it does occur make it a harsh punishment rather than a slap on the wrist.  This means making the men as responsible for the child as women are.  This means giving support to the single mothers.  Women need to have the power and control of their lives in order to feel powerful enough to go through with pregnancy.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Scent

Some people wear perfume and other scents and some people seem to bath in them.  My problem with people who use strong perfume or even spray strong scents in a public place is that it does a couple of things to me.  Generally it attacks my nose and makes me sneeze.  It gives me headaches.  It makes it difficult for me to breath. 

If I’m unfortunate enough to have all three occur then I could end up having to leave work.  I get that you want to smell nice according to your standards.  I just want to be able to breathe.  I think that is more important than the aesthetic of a certain scent. 

I have to say I used to wear perfume and really understand the appeal.  However, once I had kids, my allergies changed and worsened I found less tolerance for the smells of other people.  How do you tactfully tell someone their scent makes you sick? 

It started with my daughters.  When they first put on their perfume, I can’t be around them.  I had to tell them to stay away until they had aired out a bit.  It isn’t just perfume though.  At one of my jobs, someone came in and sprayed disinfectant on a co-workers keyboard and work area who was out with the flu.  This is a great idea except that I was in the room and the smell of the disinfectant set off my asthma.  I ended up having to leave work. 

I’ve had to tactfully ask people to step back from me as their scent was strong.  In order to not embarrass them I always say I’ve got a sensitive nose and allergies to perfume.  Then I politely request that they sit/stand further away.  I almost always apologize and assure them it is my issue not theirs.  No one I’ve said anything to has ever taken offense as far as I’m aware. 

If you are a perfume wearer, I suggest you find out if anyone in your immediate vicinity has issues with scents and try not to wear too much.  The thing is when you love a scent you wear it often.  This means you get used to it and that you may feel like it hardly is apparent.  The best thing to do is ask someone who isn’t normally around it.  They can tell you how strong it is.  Also in a lot of work environments they are starting to ban perfumes and aftershaves.  You might want to just carry a small bottle of it so when you are going out immediately after work you can spray it then. 

No one wants to tell someone else that their very odor makes them sick.  It is uncomfortable but for some of us it is imperative to speak up.  The key is to do it respectfully and politely.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

In My Head


In my head I’ve written a dozen blog entries but every time I’ve sat down to write one I either get interrupted or can’t think of what I want to write.  So I’ve been stuck in my head for a couple of weeks.  Now my daughter can tell you that my head is a scary place to be. 

We’ve been busy around the house with trying to make meals ahead so we have left overs for lunches.  Also we bought some sweet corn from the stand at our butcher shop and cooked it up, cut it up, and put it in the freezer.  Vicki made chicken carbonara that I had for lunch all week.  It was delicious.    

I’ve also been crocheting, watching movies/DVR stuff, and reading.  I finally finished Secret Lives, the 650 page book I was reading.  Next I have to write the review for this book.  Now I get to move on to other books that are on my list.  I’ve been working on holiday gifts.  I’ve gotten a number of smaller projects done. 

In the next two weeks I need to get my office cleaned up and my bag ready for school.  I’m taking three classes in the fall unless I decide to drop one of them.  This means I have to be organized and on top of everything.  I’m definitely not there yet.

This summer has flown by and I’ve not gotten as much done as I wanted to.  However, I’m trying to not stress out about that as I have gotten some of the things done and made progress on the things I didn’t complete.  It is nearly time to switch gears from summer down time mode to school year mode. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Coincidence?

Yesterday at work I was working on reviewing the web site.  This is involved as I have to read every page and click on every link to make sure everything works properly.  Then I have to send an email to the web guy with any corrections.  As I’m working on the web site I think to myself it would be great if a couple of my faculty would come in before I’m done because I really need to ask questions of them. 

Well you can probably guess what happens.  The faculty I needed to talk to suddenly appeared in my office.  I got my answers and I was able to send the correct information to the web guy. 

A day or so ago I was thinking to myself I could use another editing job.  I have the time and the money would help out a lot this month.  Yesterday I got a call from someone out of the blue who wants me to work with him on editing.  I sent him an estimate today. 

Is this coincidence or synchronicity?  Perhaps it is. One way or the other it was fortunate that both happened.  I’m thankful for the occurrences.  For me these were all passing thoughts.  If I had to put into words what happened, I was working on the web site and reviewing a section and the thought flitted through my head – I have to ask this faculty member or that one if this is okay.  It is summer and most of the faculty are off contract so I don’t see much of them.  I didn’t seriously think I would see any of them.  Then my door opens and in pops one I needed to see. 

The same occurred with the editing work.  I cannot pinpoint in my head when I had the thought but at some point this week I thought to myself that I could use another editing job.  Then out of the blue I get a call for work.  I also got a call about payment from other work I did. 

Apparently somehow I’m tapping into the universal energy and drawing in what I need.  I’m very grateful for this happening and  hope I can keep the momentum going.   

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Projects

I can’t believe it is almost the end of July.  The summer is flying by and I’ve only gotten about a quarter of what I wanted to done.  There are so many projects on my list right now including crocheting presents, sewing for my daughter, and writing.  Oh and let’s not forget that I still have to clean my office and get organized for school in the fall. 

This weekend we are doing prep for meals this week.  Vicki did the shopping yesterday so today we are going to work on getting things prepped for meals for the week.  She already made trail mix.  I need to start a bag of things to take to work.  She won’t be up for a few hours and then it will be full speed ahead with all the things on the list. 

One of the things I want to do is make a list of the gifts I want to make including to whom they are going and whether I have the yarn for the item or not.  Then I can start checking things off.  I also want to include on the list what projects I have yarn for.  This will hopefully keep me on track for getting things done.   

For my writing projects, I just need to get organized.  All of what I want to do is in my head and I just need to get it down on paper so I have a check list to get things checked off.  It helps keep me focused because too often I get off track as I’m doing one project something else will pull me away.  These forays into other topics and projects are fun but it prevents me from completing a task. 

One last project I have to deal with in the next month is prepping for classes in the fall.  I need to clear up the previous classes stuff and get ready for the new classes.  Lots to do, I need another me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Simple Solutions

Health issues can be a struggle.  Our society has turned to science to “fix” us.  In doing this I think we’ve forgotten some of the best and simplest solutions to some health problems.  Most people are quick to go to their doctors and say “I can’t sleep I need a pill” or “I can’t breathe, give me a pill.”  

A friend and I were just discussing how physical activity can lead to sore muscles and other aches and pains.  I believe that we are so used to our non-physical lifestyle that our bodies have forgotten what it is like to lift and work hard all day.  In the old days, people spent most of their days doing physically taxing chores.  Their bodies were used to the demands put on it.  Now though we spend more time on our computers than physically working. 

There are several things we can do to ease some of the aches and pains.  Massage, meditation, essential oils, water therapy, heat, ice are just some of the easy solutions.  I have headaches and migraines.  Often it is due to stress.  All of my stress sits in the muscle in my right shoulder blade.  If I can get someone to work out the knot I get, the headaches go away or at the very least ease enough to begin the healing process.  Massage is also good for aching joints and a variety of other things.  It is amazing how putting your hands on someone to move their muscles can help them heal.  They have the touch of another human which gives them a feeling of being cared for and the massage to help the process.

Meditation can also have the same effect on a person.  It calms, reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.  It relaxes which will help with insomnia and other sleep issues.  Essential oils can help with relaxing or energizing as you need.  One scent may make you relaxed and help you sleep and another may help you wake up. 

A hot bath or shower will ease aching muscles, clear lungs, reduce stress, and more.  Combine it with essential oils and it works twice as hard on the issues.  A heating pad or bag of ice can help focus healing in one area.  If you stop the pain and rest then the body will work on fixing the problem. 

I’m not a health care provider in any way.  I have suffered from pain in one form or another for a long time so I know these things work.  They are simple, easy, and effective.  Please remember though if something is different or doesn’t go away with these simple home remedies to seek out a health care provider.  Most of these solutions have helped me go to the doctor less which means less money out of my pockets.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Work Ethics

I had to fire a worker.  I don’t like doing that as I feel like all my student workers are part of our family in Special Education.  However he is the third student worker where I’ve had serious issues with work ethics.  Some of my biggest issues are no call/no show; cell phone use during work hours; socializing during work hours; and quality of work. 

No call / no show is when someone is scheduled to work and doesn’t show up or call in sick.  I’m pretty flexible with work hours I think.  I’ve let students off work because they were tired from late nights of studying.  I’ve let students out to meet with professors or to study.  It isn’t like I’m a hard nose and say here is your schedule and be here or else.  However, I’ve had four student workers who haven’t been able to get the concept that when you are scheduled to work you should show up or call if you can’t.  I’ve started telling new employees that the best solution is to email me and if they don’t get an email back then I didn’t get it.

We all use cell phones.  Mostly you can’t have any type of interaction without someone having their cell phone handy.  I get that people want to stay in touch and have a life outside of work but here is the thing.  If it isn’t an emergency or even urgent put the cell phone away.  You won’t shrivel up and die if you aren’t on it constantly.  I’m guilty of checking my texts and answering my phone but I also make a point of getting my work done. 

Socializing is part of the work environment.  There is always someone who wants to chat because they need a break.  However, when you take work and it takes twice or three times as long as it should to get the job done because you are chatting that isn’t working it is socializing and I don’t pay for that.  I’m all for conversations when there isn’t anything to do but when there is work at hand stay on task. 

I get that it is a college job and not your dream job.  Here is the thing – treat it like it is because if you come ask me for a reference you better have performed to a high level of competence.  I have three student workers this summer and when they are here the work gets out and is accurate.  I don’t have to double check their work or get them back on track.  I just give them a list and it gets done.  One of my workers I give him a list and think it will be enough to keep him busy for the full time.  Then he is coming back to say – I’m done what else? 

Working isn’t fun.  It is a means to an end.  If you need money to survive so you can make it through school then you have to work.  I appreciate the students who come to me with a strong work ethic and get the work done.  Their work ethic helps build a respect that most people their ages don’t get.  It shows a maturity and responsibility level that is above and beyond the average. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Back to Work

I didn’t hate getting up.  It was good to go back to work and get into the groove.  I chatted with two of the new faculty and helped them settle in a bit more.  However, over 110 emails to weed through today.  It took me until 2:00 to catch up and I’ve weeded out and handled all the ones that were simple to do.  Now I need to go back and look at the tougher ones and figure out what I’m doing.

No naps for me today even though I wanted one about 8:00 am.  I tackled the emails today and started on some of the stuff on my desk.  Tomorrow I’m going to tackle the rest of my desk.  Hopefully by Friday I’ll have it all back under control. 

For now, I’m looking for bed before midnight.  I was going to say before 11 but realized it was already 10:30 – that isn’t going to be enough time to deal with the emails (MORE OF THEM) for my personal account and get to bed before 11.  Midnight it will hopefully be. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Done - Next?


Well I finished off Beth’s shawl.  It turned out amazing.  There are pictures of it below.  It is incredibly soft and beautiful.  The four ending rows were okay to do but the last one was a bit of a pain.  It took me just as long to do the fourth row as it did the other three rows combined.  However, it was well worth the effort and time.




Now I’m moving on to other items for holiday gifts for my faculty and student workers.  No I’m not telling as some of them read my blog.  However, they are shorter projects which I can do in one sitting of a couple of hours. 

Yesterday I worked all day on Beth’s shawl.  Today I’ve been working on budget (yuck) and shortly I’m going to suggest we watch movies so I can spend a relaxing last day at home before I go back to work tomorrow. 

I’ve been tempted to look at my work email to see if there were a lot but I already know there were so I’m going to just wait for tomorrow.  That is tomorrow though and today I’m hoping to spend a bit of time just relaxing, crocheting, spending time with Vicki and Ken, and watching movies.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mixed Bag of Stuff

We had a wonderful visit with the girls.  It was super busy and there wasn’t enough time to do everything we wanted.  That is usually the case with their visits.  We did have a lot of great people at our house on Sunday.  It was great to see everyone and I know the girls really loved seeing those who were able to make it.

Wednesday Ken, Vicki and I trekked off to Madison to check out a new store – Gordon Food Services.  http://www.gfs.com/en/home.page?  It is sort of a wholesale club without the fees.  There are some great deals in there and it is a well organized store.  You need to know prices and be prepared to buy larger quantities.  They don’t just carry store brands but some name brands as well.

Last night we had another love incident in our neighborhood.  Our neighbor across the street had his mailbox damaged.  Well really it looks like a stub so they have no mailbox anymore.  The people next door were having a party again.  I’m sure that someone had too much to drink or other mind bending things.  I heard a ruckus and the cat even perked up from her nap but I didn’t see anything.  We have a great neighborhood if only this one house would not be so destructive to the neighborhood. 

Today will be bills and writing.  Vicki is off to volunteer and I’m hoping to get the bills paid and another chapter written in my novel.  The novel is progressing nicely.  I just need to stay on track.  I’m planning to stay in my jammies today and just write.  My desk is a mess.  My office is mess.  I’m going to attempt to ignore that and get the next installment written on this one novel. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

They're Here!!

We got the girls from the airport last night.  It was so hot and so busy there I didn’t get out to give them a hug but I’ll get plenty while they are here.  Stephanie is off early to visit her friends in Ripon. 

Last night Ken even got out of bed to talk to the girls for a while.  We chatted with the five of us.  Stephanie likes her afghan but says it is too warm.  Virginia on the other hand likes it because it is warm.  I’m glad they like it and it will get used. 

After everyone went to bed I got in some more writing.  I’m working my way through a chapter and hope to finish it today but that depends on how much down time I get from visiting people and activities.  I’m probably going to get minimal writing time while the girls are here.  That is okay though because the girls are here!!! 

It is unbearably hot outside still.  We are again in the triple digits today.  Virginia and Stephanie are used to it but it knocks me on my bum.  When I went out yesterday I felt like I’d walked into a wall.  My glasses steam up when I go outside.  That is a sign that I shouldn’t be going out as far as I’m concerned.  Hopefully by Sunday it will cool off enough to be tolerable but I’m not holding my breath. 

Virginia is still sleeping so I’m going to work on writing until she is up and about.  Then we will see what mischief we get into.

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...