Saturday, June 30, 2012

Beach Boys!!

I won tickets to the Beach Boys concert at Summerfest on Sunday night!  I signed up on Magic 98 out of Madison which is the radio station I listen to all the time.  I was so surprised when I got the email saying I won!

Ken’s favorite group is the Beach Boys.  I think he has all their albums – yes actual vinyl.  I hope he has a great time at this concert.  I’ve never been to a concert at all so it will be interesting to have this experience.

Sunday we will leave early.  I’ve already bought parking but we want to get their early in order to be in line.  I’ll be using my scooter to get to the building and supposedly they have ways of getting my scooter to near my seats so I’m hoping we have good seats. 

I looked online and the section we are in is the second tier of seats almost in the center.  Hopefully that means we have unobstructed view of the stage.  I know the music will be awesome. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Five More Work Days!!

Five more days!  Yet another countdown for me, I have five more work days to get through and then I will have off until the 15th.  This is very exciting for a number of reasons.  Vacation is always good.  Holiday pay is always good.  The two girls coming from Georgia is wonderful.  Time off is great.

One of my goals for this next vacation is to not set the alarm clock for at least two days.  I’ll probably do that at the beginning of the vacation because as I get closer to going back to work I have to work back into my normal routine. 

Fourth of July we will probably spend getting ready for the girls’ visit.  Then they come on the 5th and will be here until the 10th.  After that I’ll be in vacation mode.  This means I hope that I’ll be writing a lot.  My goal is to get several chapters done in my one novel.  I also want to start editing the first book. 

In addition to the writing, I would like to pull out my list of publishers and work on doing some submissions.  I haven’t done any in a while.  I have two articles ready for one publication and hope to meet the deadline on them.  After that I need to update my work list spreadsheet and clear out my emails of the rejections.  Then I have to look at my spreadsheet to see what old submissions I have that I haven’t gotten a response on. 

Hopefully in the cleaning and getting ready portion of the vacation I’ll have time to clean my office a bit so it is more organized and less chaotic.  If I get that done it makes it much easier to do the submissions.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Responsibility and Entitlement

Take responsibility for your own actions.  I get that no one likes to make a mistake or screw things up but it happens to all of us.  No one is exempt.  The only thing you can do when it happens is take responsibility.

A friend told me today that her ex-husband said he just needed time off from being a parent.  Being a parent is exceedingly stressful and not for the lightweight.  When my kids were little I got an afternoon or day off occasionally.  I was always better for it in the end.  This person though is taking six weeks off.  How is he meeting his responsibilities by behaving this way? 

This is just a symptom of the entitled attitude that so many people have.  People take the attitude that something is owed to them and they should get it whether they have earned it or not.  Here is a news flash.  It isn’t.  You get nothing in life unless you work your butt off for it.  Even when you work your butt off, you sometimes don’t get what you were working for.

In the news I’m hearing about how restrictive the conservatives are being.  Politicians who come out and say that women shouldn’t have the vote; laws against teens holding hands in public; and other nonsensical laws, rules, and news stories.  All of these types of news stories are ruses to misdirect our attention from the real problem.

I recently listened to a man (yup a man) talk about contraceptive services and also about the problems facing our country.  I don’t know how Bernie Sanders (Independent from Vermont) has voted or what he is about.  However here are two youtube videos that are worth watching and worth sharing.



It isn’t that I think we should be giving away things to people.  I do think we should hold responsible the people who caused the problems with our economy.  Certainly the elderly, sick, poor, and unemployed didn’t cause the problem.  Our public employees didn’t cause the problems.  The republicans (George W Bush mostly), oil companies, wall street, and the very rich who aren’t paying taxes are the ones who’ve caused our economy to fail.  Their failures and faults are the ones who need to step up and say okay we screwed up.  Now let’s fix it. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Buyer Beware!!

It is hard to be a consumer these days.  Lemon juice isn’t really lemon juice.  You never know what is in your food unless you grow it.  You try to keep your bills down but somehow your cable bill just keeps going up and up and up… along with other bills.

My sister wanted to simply add a DVR to her package from Direct TV.  They sent her a DVR which she hooked up and got working.  There was a free weekend of HBO so she tried out the new DVR and recorded items.  Four days later the DVR is broken.  Okay it is an electronic and was shipped so maybe it was packaged properly or maybe she got a faulty one.  She calls Direct TV to have them replace it and is told by the tech that he has no more DVRs.  Odd wouldn’t you think they would stock those?  He tells her she will have to upgrade to an HD DVR which of course will cost her $236.50.  She has no tv and no other options according to what the person at Direct TV said.  She places the order and they set up an install time. 

They signed up with a bundle through ATandT / Direct TV and got their phones, internet, and satellite tv all for one low price two years ago.  However, the price for all three services has skyrocketed to almost $200 a month which is RIDICULOUS! 

I stopped by because my mom likes me to help her with the bills and dealing with these companies because she is hard of hearing.  I call ATandT and ask them if they can lower her bills.  I explain she is on a fixed income and that income has recently gone done.  The unhelpful customer service person says oh gee I’m sorry but we can’t do anything for you.  I too have ATandT and have had to call every single month that I’ve had it because their billing has been wrong.  They suck for customer service.  They tell you one thing and don’t follow through.

I call Charter.  I left Charter a year ago and in some respects wish I hadn’t left them.  My mom left them two years ago.  I get a very nice respectful man on the phone.  I tell him what they need.  I tell him about their fixed income and how they are spending a LOT with Direct TV and ATandT.  He fits all their needs into one tidy little package for $50-60 less than AT&T and Direct TV. 

The sad thing here is probably in a year we will have to go through this hassle again to get lower prices of switching around from this service to another.  When will companies realize it is cheaper to keep a customer than to win one back. 

I call Direct TV to cancel the service.  I explain how upset and frustrated they are with the service and that no one fixed anything.  I explain how the cost of the services are too expensive.  They kindly say they will cancel the order for the HD DVR.  They would like to keep them as customers though and can easily send out the DVR and it will be here in three business days.  I say no thank you, they failed and we want to cancel the service.  They tell me that there will be a $460 cancellation fee.  I tell the customer service person that no we will not be paying that fee and in fact they can refund the fees that go along with the order for the DVR.  She says I’m very sorry ma’am but I can’t do that.  I say then let me speak to your manager. 

I’m on hold forever.  I think they are hoping I will go away.  I hope they were listening because I’m not going away.  I wait and get another customer service person.  We go through the same argument and she says the same.  They can cancel it but there will be this fee.  I say no.  She says well I can get you to my supervisor.  On to the third person I go.  He came on the line all smooth and just let me help you.  I’ll send that DVR out right away.  I don’t know how this could have happened.  If you’d talked to my people that isn’t what we would have done.  I say bullshit.  Well okay I didn’t swear at them because that isn’t nice and doesn’t accomplish anything.  However, I do tell him that they pulled a scam and got caught in it.  This scam nullifies the contract and we will not pay the cancellation fee.

Now mom is worried about her credit rating and doesn’t like to not pay bills.  My sister is worried about her credit card that they have on file.  There are a lot of angry frustrated people around me.  I was not nice to the gentleman.  He offered to lower the package rate $20 but then of course with all the fees we have to pay the amount they would end up paying would be the same so not really saving money.  We go back and forth for over an hour on the issue. 

The final resolution – well they are getting Charter on Friday.  There will be a fight over the cancellation fee.  I will be calling the consumer protection agency, sending a note and calling (if I can find a number) to the head of the company, blogging, posting on Facebook and Twitter, and anything else I can think of to prevent my mom from having to pay this charge. 

There was a class action suit against the cell phone companies over charges like this.  They aren’t right and I’m going to do everything in my power to prevent Direct TV from getting the money they think they are owed after they scammed my sister and mom. 

Wrong deeds shouldn’t be rewarded and I hope I can stop that from happening.  Here is my warning beware Direct TV.  I strongly suggest that you don’t do business with them.  It is my opinion that they are disreputable and will rip you off. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Over!

My week of vacation ends on father’s day.  Ken has gotten to talk to all his daughters so that is good.  I have so much left on my to do list but I feel good about the week off.  I got stuff done I wanted to and I feel more relaxed and able to cope with life in general. 

I’m sure that tomorrow will be chaotic and busy.  I’m hoping not to have too many emails and voicemails I have to deal with.  However, today I’m not going to think about it.

Today I’m going to work on stuff I want to – it is still my vacation.  I started two new crochet projects.  One is a sweater for Vicki and the other is a small afghan (large shawl) for Beth.  The yarn for Beth’s is exquisite but very expensive.  So far I’m loving the pattern.  It is working up quickly which is always a bonus.  I’m also enjoying working on Vicki’s sweater.  The pattern is also easy and I think will work up quickly.  The thing with her project though is I will have to work on it only when she is around because it will involve figuring out how to custom fit it to her.  When I’ve done it once I’ll write it up so I know for the next time if she likes it enough to repeat the pattern.

I spent time on Pinterest this morning.  It is definitely an addicting site.  I was also on craftsy.com.  Both of these sites are very distracting.  I could look at crochet stuff forever.  So many great patterns and not nearly enough time to work on them all. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Weekend

Two days left in my vacation.  It has been a particularly good one.  I still have to go through my books – probably tomorrow.  Today will be spent running errands and hanging out with the kid.  Tomorrow I hope to go through my books and work on writing. 

This is one of my better vacations.  I relaxed, slept when I wanted, and wrote a lot.  Yesterday I visited with Laura.  It was a bonus to the week.  We always have such good conversations.  We talked about politics.

Politics are the most difficult topic.  Walker came out on top which was my fear when Barrett was his opponent.  I didn’t feel he was a strong enough candidate.  My fear is that he thinks that all the things he has been doing are justified.  However, he again didn’t win by a large margin which means nearly half the state does not like his policies.  I guess only time will tell if he has learned to play nice or not.  My guess would be not.

The only hope I see on the horizon is that the democrats may have won back the senate.  It seems like the count is for the democrat but the republican has asked for a recount.  We wait to see.  If the senate is democrat controlled then hopefully Walker won’t be able to ram through more of his destroying policies.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Done!!!

Yesterday my gout flared up – no fun let me tell you.  The good thing that came out of it though is that I spent the majority of the day in my recliner.  This meant that I finished Stephanie’s afghan!!! 

I don’t know how long I’ve been working on this afghan.  It has eight points and each point is more than a yard long.  This means that to make one full round (row) it was nearly like working on eight rows at once.  I took an eight pointed star doily pattern and used a bigger hook to make this afghan.  I’ve done this before with other doily patterns.  This one turned out beautifully. 

Two of my daughters (smart asses that they are) asked if it was big enough and told me I should maybe do one more round of colors.  What I said in return I don’t think I should print – it wasn’t polite. 

I’ve now started a new big project – well it is a smaller big project.  For me a big project is one that I can’t finish in one sitting.  Now I’m working on a sweater for Vicki.  When I get done with that I’ll work on Beth’s afghan.  While I’m working on the big projects I like to add in little projects so I can see something get accomplished so I have several of those to work on as well. 

My foot is still bugging me but I’m hoping to spend the time while Vicki is gone working on writing and bills.  Once she is home we have a project or two to work on.  Tomorrow will be a great day because I am going to go visit with Laura!!!  Then it will be the weekend and back to work on Monday.  This is definitely shaping up into a good vacation!

Stephanie picked the colors.  She has three shades of blue with each group of rows separated by a light gray.  Each of the color groupings is three rows.  The picture was taken on our loveseat which is over six feet long - I can't find my tape measure but from center to end of one point is over a yard so across is probably a good 72 - 75 inches.  I used Caron Simply Soft yarn so the texture of the afghan is super soft but at the same time the yarn is really durable and washable.  I'm super pleased with how it turned out and can't wait to see Stephanie's face when she sees it complete for the first time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Halfway

I’m halfway through my vacation and enjoying it thoroughly.  I have made progress on the two stories I wanted to and I’ve gotten Stephanie’s afghan down to a row and half left.  For the rest of the week I’m hoping to add more to my writing time and finish off her afghan. 

I also have been struggling with sleep.  Not that I can’t sleep but that I’m sleeping odd hours.  I know that may not be a problem for most people – it is all part of being on vacation right?  Well for me when I get out of habit on my sleep I struggle with getting back into cycle.  The rest of the week I’m going to try to go to bed about midnight (instead of 2 am) and get up by 7 – 8 in the morning.  That way when I go back to work next week, I can at least be close to what a normal schedule should be. 

I was struggling with my one story.  I’m at a point where there needs to be a lot of battling and fight scenes except I don’t want the book to be all about the battles.  I want it to be a mixture of battles and struggle with peaceful negotiations.  This is hard to describe without going into lengthy detail about the story.  I was stuck in this spot where one of the main characters was in yet another battle but I didn’t want it to be a battle.  I was struggling with what to do with the scene and the character.  What he is doing is vital to the story so I can’t pull him out of the situation.  Being the all seeing author, I introduced a new character who changed the way the scene played out.  It worked out well.  Now I just have to do a couple more chapters to somewhat conclude this leg and go back to one of the other main characters who is busy doing more diplomatic things.  Progress and a solution – I say that is a good day of writing!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Full Sentences

What does it mean when my daughter keeps telling me that she needs full sentences to know that I’m actually paying attention to what she is saying?  Okay well it means I’m either not overly awake or I’m busy writing.  In this case I’m busy writing.

Working on one of my manuscripts today, I was busy working and could hear Vicki talking to me.  Some part of me registered what she was saying but mostly I was involved in the story I was working on.  My brain acknowledged hearing her but didn’t elicit an appropriate response to her.  This resulted in her saying “Mom, full sentences so I know you are hearing me.”

This is amusing because mostly in my head I was saying “SSSHHHH I’m writing.  Stop bothering me because I’m busy writing.”  There may have been stronger language in my head as well.  The good thing is I didn’t say anything out loud. 

I did eventually give her grief for bugging me while I was writing.  I was working on a chapter.  I finished a full chapter today on a story.  This is exciting for me as it was a bit of a struggle. 

I am working on two stories right now.  The first one is the long manuscript I am separating into three or four novels.  That is moving along nicely.  I’m reviewing and rereading, looking more for obvious stand out errors and trying to determine where to split the book up.  The second project is a start I made for what I thought would be a short story but now I feel like it will be a novel or novella.  I finished the first chapter (the start of the story) a few days ago.  Today I wrote the full second chapter. 

The interesting thing is I have this dual in my head.  I’m dreaming about both stories.  They are mixing in my head and crossing over each other.  There is a third one that keeps niggling away at me but really I’m trying to keep the chaos to a minimal level. 

While I’m on vacation I’m positive I’ll hear more of these “full sentences” statements from her.  She will tease me and harass me as I work on writing.  I admit that if she weren’t around I would probably not eat all day and be surprised when Ken came home. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Stacation

This week I’m on a stacation as everyone is calling it now.  I’m not going in to work but hanging out at home.  Over the weekend I got some more of Stephanie’s afghan done.  I’m down to about two and a half rows.  One of my goals this week is to finish it. 

I’ve already written one article and found another that I want to revise for submission to a publication.  Plus I’ve been working on editing my manuscript.  I’m very close to where I think the second book will end.  I think just a few more chapters. 

Last night (I guess I should say this morning) I went to bed just before two because I was working on the editing.  I set my alarm for six hours.  When it went off I reset it for an hour later because I woke up with a headache and it was raining.  I love to sleep in the rain, it is very soothing and calming for me.

Sasha started whining and meowing outside my door after the alarm went off the second time.  Apparently she thought I’d slept enough.  When I finally got up she joined me in the bathroom for her morning pet (the second time as I was up at 6:30).  She is spoiled. 

Today I was going to work on my books but I think instead I’m going to work on writing.  I need a shower at some point- probably after Vicki is up.  I’ll make the most of the quiet time I get until she gets up. 

The exciting events of the day will be writing and maybe movie watching in order to work on Stephanie’s afghan.  It may sound boring to a lot of people but I’m quite excited to have the down time to do what I want, to sleep as I please, and to just be without demands on me.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hiding Out

I’ve been hiding out for the last month.  School ended and I got two A’s in my classes. Yeah!!  But after I was so stressed out I retreated into escapism.  I’ve been watching tv, playing facebook games, reading and crocheting.  I just needed some down time from everything. 

In the last week I’ve started to do other things as well.  I’m back to writing and working on projects that I would LOVE to finish over the summer.  I went back into one project and realized it was 580 pages (double spaced) total of about 170,000 words.  I recently read that the average novel is about 64,000 words.  This means I have nearly three novels in this one project.  I’ve been rereading the first part and falling in love with the project all over again.  I’m trying to find a good cut off point so I can start working on completing the first novel and send it out to the world of publishers.  At the same time I want to keep working on the end of the story.  Rereading it helps refresh my memory of where I started and where I’m going.  I was thinking I would work on a couple of projects like this over the summer but it might be too much to do all of that. 

On the creative side of this though is that I may find myself drawn to a different story (there are currently three or four bouncing around in my head) and may want to work on something else.  The one thing I need to stop doing is staying up till one or two in the morning writing or playing on the computer. 

I have a week off coming up.  I’m looking forward to that.  I’d like to get my books cataloged and organized.  I’d also like to get my craft room organized so it is less junk room and more craft room.  Vicki will be gone volunteering for two days so I’ll have the house to myself on those days.  I am hoping to make those writing days.  I also want to see if I can get Stephanie’s afghan finished.  I’m down to like four and a half rows.  I think this will mean that I watch DVDs for a day (or more) to try to get it done.  I’m finishing up a smaller project right now and then I’ll go back to the afghan. 

We got new living room furniture.  Our old furniture was falling apart and so we got new.  I’m enjoying it so far.  We got a sofa and loveseat with recliners.  This meant that we cleared out and rearranged the living room.  It looks so much better now.  The craft stuff for Vicki and I are in one corner tucked out of the way.  It will get messy again I’m sure as we craft regularly – Vicki crafts daily. 

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...