Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pride?

I hate asking for help.  It has been three months of relying on others for assistance, and people are so kind and willing to help.  Yet I hate asking for help.  Yesterday I was stubborn – ridiculously so. 

We had a storm here in Wisconsin.  I was up and on my way to work just as the rain was turning to ice / snow.  I should have at that point said – it might be wiser to just stay home.  I know I thought it.  However, I have missed so much work and have stuff to do at work that I wanted to go in and just get it done.  I went to work, drove cautiously to work and got out in a stinging rain.  I unloaded my scooter and it was dead.  No power at all.  I felt defeated.  It was surely a sign that I should have gone back home.  Part of my brain told me to but then the stubborn part said no. 

I called my sister and asked her to come help me.  We put the scooter on freewheel and she pushed it up while I walked in.  This caused my foot pain and to swell.  I took it easy at work.  My student workers got me water and helped out wonderfully.  The snow started as Alicia and I were walking into the building. 

My husband text me to let me know the roads were getting bad and my stubborn self said I’m sticking it out at work.  I am pretty sure he wasn’t happy about it but I stayed at work.  By early afternoon the snow had stopped, when I looked at the radar online though it looked like we were going to get hit again (and we did just not as bad).  At 3:30 I opted to go home before it all started.

My student worker helped get my scooter (now charged) unplugged and lined up with the door.  I hobbled over with knees, legs and a foot that hurt.  I got within 10 feet of my van and got stuck in the snow.  I was still on the sidewalk.  There was a spot on the sidewalk that had about 3 inches of snow for about 3-4 feet.  My scooter is good and goes through a lot.  I wiggled and rocked and tried to get through the snow - all to no avail.  

I was sitting on my scooter getting colder and trying to figure out how I was going to manage to walk through the snow to my car and drag my scooter with me when a young man stopped and asked if I needed help.  I wanted to say no – I think I’ll be fine.  I said “maybe”.  It was my one concession yesterday.  The very nice and kind young man asked what he could do.  I wiggled the scooter to a clearer spot so I could stand up and walk to my van.  The young man carried my scooter to the van.  I thanked him and told him to have a nice day.  He was polite, helpful, and kind. 

I know if I had called up to my office my student worker, chair, or almost anyone in my office would have come to my assistance.  My sister would have come down to help.  Yet I was too stubborn to ask them.  This young man – a complete stranger – helped teach me a lesson.  I have to let go of some of my pride and let people help me. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chicken Soup or maybe Stone Soup?

Last night Kelly and Dominic came over and we made soup.  I started it with chopping up some fresh herbs.  Ken cubed the chicken, started rice and broccoli.  Kelly got out celery, carrots, and onions.  I chopped onions while Dominic chopped celery and carrots. 

Ken and Kelly fought over the stove and Kelly won.  She dumped the chicken in and after a bit added the onions and celery.  Then I told her what spices and how much (because according to her I’m controlling).  She manned the stove nicely. 

It all came together beautifully.  We sat at the table combining the three in whatever way we wanted with Ken avoiding the broccoli.  The soup was scrumptious.  The working together was wonderful.  The conversation was sometimes bawdy and always interesting. 

We had good food and a good time and that is what life is about I think.  The best compliment though came from Vicki.  Her stomach has been bothering her for a few days now and she said that it was the first meal that hadn’t bothered her. 

Mission accomplished!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Publications - sort of...


I just discovered that three of my items have been published in books or on the kindle.  The one is a compilation of CC&D magazine into a book.  It is called Cultural Touchstone and is available on Amazon.  I have two poems in there.  In After the Apocalypse I have one poem (a duplicate of one in Cultural Touchstone).  There is a poetry edition and a datebook edition.  I have to order the datebook edition yet. 

Also one of my short stories was published in Deadman’s Tome and that is now available on Kindle.  I was surprised when I did a search on Amazon and discovered my name came up with it. 

I’ve not been doing a lot of submissions because I’ve been so busy with school and work.  It is great to see my stuff out there in new formats.  The downside is I don't get paid for any of them.  However, people are seeing my work.   

Friday, January 25, 2013

Do you walk around your house naked?

You might ask what brings about this question.  When my daughter is home alone she often showers and runs about the house in different stages of undress.  She's alone and most of our windows have coverings so she isn't seen.  The other day a friend dropped by unexpectedly while she was in the shower.  He nearly got a surprise as she didn't know he was there.  He stopped over to borrow a tool and the situation arose that could have been embarrassing. 

After a text from her that said there was a strange man in the house when she got out of the shower (yes we all have an odd sense of humor), it sparked a conversation with several work people.  The strange man's wife works with me.  She and two other people were in the office and we had a discussion about whether we walk around our houses naked when no one else is around.  Three quarters of us did.  (I wonder if that could be extrapolated to the general public.

I like to be naked.  It isn't that I have this fab body that I want to show off.  I just like being free.  Plus it is easy to discard my clothes down the laundry chute, which is in the hall, right before I go to bed.  Often at the end of my day I will strip down in the hall and do my night time routine naked.  I also tend to shower in the morning and walk naked back to my bedroom because it is like five feet and no one is typically up. 

What do you think?  Are you a naked in your own home person or always clothed?  I wonder what could be said about either types of people.  Should we assume that naked people are promiscuous or that clothed people are prudes?  Does it have a bearing on how they vote?  I sense we could do a lot of studies here in order to correlate nakedness (or lack thereof) to a variety of other habits.  Do you think we could get government funding for this?  Would the conservatives denounce it as Satanism at its finest? 

Either way when I go to bed tonight I'll probably walk naked between my bathroom and bedroom.  How about you?   

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chaos / Clutter

My home office is a mess.  Actually that is putting it mildly.  I need a weekend to clean it and get it organized.  I don’t have the weekend to do that.  I also have the added issue of struggling to have my feet down and moving around.  My desk is piled high with paperwork, books, school stuff, writing stuff, and so on.  I also need to get the card table cleared off. 

There isn’t a lot that stresses me out about my environment.  I’m definitely not a neat freak but right now my messy office a big time stressor.  I’d like nothing better than to get in there and spend a day just organizing and cleaning it out.  My physical limitations are frustrating me on this one level. 

I can find things to do while I sit in the recliner with my foot up.  I can nap, crochet, read, and even do most of my homework from the recliner.  However, I don’t like paying bills from the recliner (like to have two monitors to flip between spreadsheet and internet as I’m paying bills).  I also need the space so I can spread out to do some of my other things like writing and even homework – it is just more convenient. 

Instead of fussing about it, I guess I’ll have to figure out a way to work on it bit by bit.  Perhaps if I put in an hour or two at a time every day, I’ll be able to get it cleared up in the next week or so.  I won’t start the new semester with a clean work space but I might have it clean in short order.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Semester

Tuesday classes start for my new semester of school.  I’m feeling ambivalent about both of my classes.  I am taking Geography 120 – Weather and Climate and English 378 Prose Stylistics. 

Science is not my favorite topic.  I enjoy the ideas in science and the possibilities.  I’m not very good at the whole scientific learning.  As for the English class – I’m not really sure what it is about so I’m reserving my opinion on it.  I’m hoping it is a good class.

The nice thing about this semester is the science class is online so I can do it from home.  The English class is held in my building so I will be able to just take the elevator to the floor and go to class.  This makes getting to class much easier especially with the ambulatory issues I’ve been having.  Also it means Vicki doesn’t need to worry about coming back early from her volunteering to make sure I can get to class. 

Hopefully I will enjoy both classes.  It would be nice if I didn’t have a horribly stressful semester but you never know with classes.  The work may be extensive or there could be a variety of other issues to contend with.  I’m certainly not above whining about it either.  I’m just trying to go into this semester with a cautiously optimistic view point that I will do okay. 

Up until last semester I had a 4.0 in my classes for this degree.  Unfortunately I got an A- in my manuscript editing class which means my 4.0 is gone.  However, I’m hoping the science class won’t drag me down.  I’m still going to shoot for an A but I know this is a difficult subject for me. 

This semester I have six books.  One I was able to get one at the book rental.  I got four through Amazon because they were less expensive there.  I was going to get the last one through there as well but one of the comments made me nervous about buying it online.  The comment talked about getting the wrong version and it causing problems.  So I opted to get it from the university bookstore.  Vicki went yesterday to pick it up for me.  She couldn’t find it on the shelves and ended up asking.  They directed her to someone who asked her a ton of questions.  After she answered all the questions, the woman gave her the workbook for free.  I was very surprised as this book would have been $115.  By getting it free, it saves me lots of money.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Women's Value

Vicki is a news junky.  Because she is a news junky I hear all sorts of stories that are good, bad, funny, and tragic.  The three articles I talk about in here have provoked me. 

India has had at least two severe gang rapes in the last month.  Both women were taken hostage on a bus.  The first woman it happened to was a month ago and she died from the damage they did.  She lost 90% of her intestines because one of her murders thought it was great fun to shove a pipe up into her and pull them out.  The second woman was held hostage by six men and returned to her home the next day. 

There are other stories like the 15 year old girl in Pakistan (I think) who was “married” to an older man (50s I think).  She ran away from her alleged husband and back to her family because he abused her. 

I’m sure if I were to look there would be more stories like this and not just in foreign countries.  Our global society has put women into a precarious situation.  We are supposed to be virginal unless we are married.  Then we are supposed to be a sex kitten.  We are supposed to be perfect housekeepers, mothers, and career oriented.  No matter how good we are though, society deems us second class citizens. 

I’m not male bashing here.  I love real men.  You know they guys who can clean up after their sick kids, love you when you look like shit, cry with you, laugh with you – real men.  Real men are as offended and outraged by these acts as women are. 

Somehow in our global society men (not all and certainly not the real ones I talk about above) have devalued women.  If a woman is raped – well it is her fault in some way – she had to be wearing something to provoke the attack or she was drunk or she just was.  In no other crime is the victim blamed for what happened. 

All of these excuses that are put out there by the uninformed people should offend men.  Essentially society is saying men can’t control themselves.  All it takes is the sight of a woman to provoke him into uncontrollable violence. 

In the case in India where the rape occurred a month ago, the men were complaining about the abuse they got from the police.  The reasonable person in me says two wrongs don’t make a right and their abuse of him doesn’t help the case go through the courts.  The outraged woman in me says Karma is a bitch. 

Somehow we have to put a stop to the devaluing of women.  I’ve asked before but write your representatives on the state and federal level.  Ask them how they are supporting women’s rights.  Stand up with other women to show we can be a united force and that we won’t accept this type of behavior from anyone.  Speak out against criticism of the way a woman is dressed, behaving, and so on.  Respect yourself and teach your children to respect people.  Our boys need to learn this just as much as our girls do. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Back to Work (or in my head it is Hi Ho Hi Ho it's off to work I go)

First thing this morning I went back to my normal routine (mostly) and got myself off to work.  I had help because I still need assistance with getting things.  Vicki made my breakfast and my lunch.  I drove to work, got my scooter out, and got into work on my own. 

It may seem like a small thing.  Big deal.  I got off to work on my own.  For me it is a big deal.  My sense of self came back a bit and I felt more independent than I have in weeks.  I appreciate the assistance and care that Vicki has given me.  I wouldn’t have been as mobile as I was without her.  It was just great though to be able to get out on my own. 

I worked nearly eight hours which is more than I’ve worked since before Thanksgiving.  My foot swelled and by the end of the day I was worn out.  However, I was still able to move about and get myself from office to van without assistance.  I got the scooter back in the van and got home on my own.  Again a little thing for most but feels like a giant step for me.

Now once I got home the recliner and I enjoyed a nap.  I spent the rest of the evening in the recliner and took Tylenol to help with the pain.  More of my pain was in my knees though than my foot.  My foot is still swollen but it is not very painful so this is a huge improvement. 

Tomorrow will be another work day and I have a lot to get done before classes start in two weeks.  Wow!  Classes start in two weeks.  I have to get my books ordered from Amazon and call the rental to see if either class has books there.  I have five books to buy and they are expensive.  The science one is outrageous.  I’m going to make sure I don’t write in it so I can sell it back when I’m done.  The four for my writing class I’ll have to see if I find them useful.  The writing books I’ve been keeping.  I do need to remember to put the grammar book on sale though as I won’t use the one I got for one of my classes last semester. 

My desk and office are a colossal mess.  I’m hoping that I can be well enough to get in there to clean it up before classes start otherwise it will likely take me all semester to clean it up.  I’ll likely keep the information from my grant writing class and the book.  For the other class I’ll be much more selective about what I keep and what I discard. 

Part of me wants to just get in there and start on it and then I move my foot and I know it won’t be happening tonight.  I’m thinking I’ll try to get to bed before midnight for a change.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Relaxed

The last week has been very relaxed for me.  I’ve done a LOT of crocheting, finishing projects and getting them out of the way.  I’ve made hats, scarves, potholders, bibs, coasters, afghan, and a variety of other things.  I’ve watched movies and dvr items.  I’ve listened to music.  I’ve talked to a lot of people.  It has been calm and relaxing. 

Tomorrow I go back to work.  I’m looking forward to getting back in the swing of things.  My foot is manageable at this point.  I haven’t had it down for a full eight hour day but tomorrow will tell me how it is going to be.  I at least am up and walking on my own.  By the end of the day I’m exhausted depending on how much walking I do but I’m at least mobile again.  Hopefully by the time I start classes again I’ll be back to normal. 

With this being my last day off, I am going to try to get some other things done.  I submitted some of my work to a publication today.  I haven’t done that in months because I’ve been so busy.  I’m also going to work on the grant I’ve made the to-do list for.  In reality I have to have the grant writing completed by February 15 in order to give myself time to get it submitted.  Mostly I have to gather the information and get it in the format the grant wants it in.  It will be more editing than writing I think.  This means I get out my orange pen and have to be critical of my own work.  I’ll have to be objective and critical.  The question on my mind is – would this encourage someone to invest in my project, in me? 

It is funny I have lots of hats when it comes to life.  I have my business skills which are practical and in some ways cold.  I have my creative skills which are grand and range through a variety of topics.  Somehow I have to fold both these sets of skills into writing a grant that will help me focus on my writing and business as an author.  It is interesting to see myself pull from all my life experiences to help me further my career as a writer. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Busy

It has been a busy week.  I’ve been crocheting a bunch of things – finished a gift for a friend, bib, and worked on a baby afghan.  I’ll be making a few more bibs today.  One of Vicki’s friends wants some and one of my faculty is pregnant. 

My niece was coming out today but isn’t able to now so instead of hanging with her I will do movies and crocheting.  I hope we can reschedule but we are both extremely busy. 

Yesterday I didn’t use the office chair at all to get around the house.  It was all walking.  It hurts and I tire easily but my foot doesn’t hurt too much and it isn’t swelling.  Hopefully this means I can go back to work next week and manage on my own.  That is the plan at least. 

Last night as I was trying to fall asleep I came up with several things for the books I’m working on and also for the grant I’m writing.  Now today I hope to have the time to get them down on paper – at least the ideas if not the actual writing.  I’ve a lot to do in the next three days before I go back to work next week.  I just have to be careful not to overdo things.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Success!

Today I spent most of the morning driving for the first time in six weeks or so.  My foot is swollen but not too severely and it is slightly painful.  This is a huge improvement from the last six weeks. 

For the last two days I’ve woken up with my toes / foot feeling normal – not swollen.  This is a huge improvement for me because my toes have felt like they were going to burst like a balloon. 

Vicki and I did the errands.  Vicki still had to do all the running into the stores and places but I was at least able to drive her there.  I’m hoping this means next week when I go back to work I can go back without her having to come with to help. 

If it still feels good tomorrow I will start walking more in the house.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to walk more easily by the time I go back to work next week.  It will also be nice to be a bit more independent rather than relying on others to do stuff for me.

I will be smart about it though and not over tax my foot.  There is no sense in pushing myself too hard and then not being better. 

I’ve been working on lots of crocheting while I’ve been laid up.  This week I’m working on a gift for a friend and a baby blanket for my sister to give to one of her student workers.  One of my daughter’s friend was looking for bibs and I have a great pattern for them so I’m going to make up one to see if she likes them.  If she does I’ll have her pick some colors and make a few for her.  So there is plenty to keep me off my feet and busy and continue healing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year

We’ve moved from the old year to the new again.  The end of last year has been a difficult one for me health-wise but I feel like I’m on the mend.  I’m starting to look forward to what will be coming up for the new year. 

I’ve got a grant I’m working on – one for my sister and one for me.  Mine is due sooner so that will be my focus for the next month.  Then I will be helping my sister try to get one for her farming business. 

I’ve got a new semester of classes starting in a few weeks.  One of my classes is a science class.  I’ll hopefully be able to wrap my brain around what will be needed for that.  I like science in the abstract but not necessarily in the nitty gritty details.  My other class is a writing class so I’m not too worried about that one.  By December I should be done and will be getting my second degree.  While I will be focusing on that during the two semesters I have writing goals I want to accomplish when I’m not in school.

This is a cusp day for most me.  It is a time when I let go of the things from last year I need to and embrace the coming year.  In letting go of the things, it leaves a whole and filling that whole with positive and loving things is key for me. To that end I look at the positive things in my life. 

My faculty at work are amazing.  They are the best group of people I’ve worked with.  Not only are they dedicated to their field but they are kind, caring, and positive people who are a joy to work with.  They are supportive and fun to be with and make my job not seem like a job.  It is an honor and pleasure to work and spend time with them. 

My friends – you know who you are – are positive and supportive for all my endeavors.  At the same time I trust they will tell me I’m full of it when I am.  Time spent with them – whether it is online or in person – always gives me a lift. 

My family is large and often difficult to cope with.  There are so many strong personalities in it.  Yet those same personalities have taught me to stand firm in who I am – even when others don’t like that person.  My daughters are three of the most amazing and incredible people I know.  I’ve taught them well but the gift has been mutual.  They have taught me much more – and continue to do so.  They make me proud and fill me with joy.  My husband is my biggest supporter.  He helps me accomplish everything I do just by being him.

I’m taking all of this positive energy with me into the new year.  I know it will help me through the tough times because every year has those.  I know that when I’m struggling with whatever comes my way this year I’ll have this wonderful group of people cheering me on, offering support, and crying with me when I need them to.  With these blessings, it can’t help but be a good new year

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...