Sunday, February 23, 2014

Productive!

It has been a busy and productive weekend.  Ken and I have knocked off the errands in record time.  My todo list for the weekend is nearly all done.  More sorting and organizing got done in the office.  The weekend is still not done.

My goal this weekend was to get the errands done and prep for a contest which is due next Monday.  This involved sorting through two large stacks of writing paperwork.  I thought it would take me a long time but essentially I sorted into categories and will do the fine tuning once my organizational items get here. 

Ken and I got through all the errands yesterday except grocery shopping which he did this morning.  We went to Shopko, the post office, and Walgreens.  We also prepped the house for Kelly and Dominic coming over.  They called mid-errands and wanted to get together.  This was a wonderful thing as life has been so busy for all of us. 

In prepping the house, I was able to cross off several things from my todo list, like organizing for the few projects I want to get done in the next week.  Everything I need is at hand so I just need crochet time.

This morning I got up and allowed myself one hour of time wasting by playing Bookworm Adventures.  It is addicting and I can’t stop but I allowed myself the fun of playing while I woke up. 

Then I worked on reorganizing things.  Ken helped by taking things off high shelves and putting them where I wanted (like on other high shelves).  I have the items where I want them now – mostly decorative stuff that is good to look at but I don’t need to deal with much.  I sorted through my huge stacks of paperwork.  I also got the doilies a friend made me put on display with some knick knacks (mostly stones) and a bowl I got for a gift.
It is amazing to me how many little details can get taken care of in a matter of just a day or two.  Last night while I watched tv I worked on another kitchen set.  I have two more pot holders to make and some sponges.  After which I will work on bibs for those who requested them. 

The office is coming together.  Lots of things have been organized and arranged.  The living room got cleaned, which involved me clearing off and organizing the stuff on the couch and much of my crocheting stuff.  Shortly, I’m going to take my manuscript and go sit in the recliner to do one more edit before I submit it for the contest.  I think I can officially say it has been a busy and productive weekend!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Writing Projects

With the health issues going on in the family, I’ve not paid any attention to my writing.  I can tell I’ve not been writing again, my dreams are more vivid and my focus is a bit scattered because my mind is always wandering to the stories in my head.

I just came across a grant I want to write.  I probably won’t get it but it is worth trying for.  I also came across a contest that I want to submit.  I’ve entered it before and done okay. 

In order to get these two projects done by the submission deadlines, I have to sort through my piles on my shelves and get them organized so I can pull the manuscript for the contest.  I need to get through all the edits on the paper copy.  Then read it again to see if it needs editing again.  Aside from the tweaking of the manuscript I need to write a 500 word description of the story, take a 5000 excerpt, and follow all the other directions. 

For the grant, I will have to pull together a lot of information of what I’ve had published and what my project would look like.  There are so many steps there I don’t even know if I can list them all. 

The contest has a deadline of March 3 and the grant has a deadline of March 12.  This means I am going to have to get my act together over the next two weeks and get a lot of stuff done.  It will be insane.   I also think I will thoroughly enjoy it.

This weekend after all the errands, I hope to sort through yet another pile in my office and figure out where I’m at with my manuscript so I can work on it for the contest submission – little time and lots to do.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Crafting Projects

I’ve been very productive with crocheting lately.  I finished a kitchen set for my nephew, which included dish towels, dish cloths, sponges, and potholders.  I finished a sort of similar set for one of my nieces.  Vicki asked me to make bibs for one of her student workers who was becoming a first time dad.  I asked if she wanted a small blanket and she said YES (of course) so those are done. 

Now I’m down to the octagonal blanket for Vicki I’m working on.  I’ve worked on it the last two nights.  Last night I did two and a half rows.  That is because it is circular (sort of) and I’m working my way around the outside edge.  It gets bigger with every row.  I’m about half done with it. 

When I work bigger projects like this I like to have little projects I can intersperse so I feel like I’m making progress.  It also keeps me from feeling like I’m in a rut with my crocheting.  I’ve got three more kitchen sets to do and two pairs of slippers to do for smaller projects.  I was going to give it a few days before I picked up another little project but my niece Cristi stopped in to my work yesterday. 

She totally threw her cousins under the bus and said she should be the next one to get her kitchen set.  I like to find out what sort of options they want – more pot holders or sponges vs dishcloths or whatever.  I have her very specific order so I guess I’ll pull out her colors and switch baskets.

Vicki got me this lovely basket with handles last summer.  It holds a LOT of crocheting.  She recently picked me up another one.  I have small projects in the one and large projects in the other. 

After I finish all the stuff I’ve mentioned here, in the lineup for definite projects I have an afghan for my oldest daughter, a faculty member, and one niece, kitchen sets for three nieces, graduation gifts for three students workers, a wrap for me, and berets for two of my faculty members.  Off the top of my head I need to get that all done fairly soon because I need to start thinking about what I’ll be making for gifts for the holidays and get to work on them.  I have some beautiful fleece that I want to use for shawls or scarves or - well I'm always open to suggestions.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Creativeness and Entrepreneurship

My daughters are all very creative in different ways.  Whether this is a genetic thing passed down through the generations or a learned thing I don’t know.  My great grandfather had a creative business of painting buggies.  He was one of the few in the area who did gold leaf.  I’ve talked about my grandmothers on both sides being creative. 

The problem with being creative is that is it almost a compulsion.  I create because I have to and love to – whether it is crocheting or writing.  I am pretty sure my daughters would say the same.  They have a passion and belief in what they are doing. 

There are people who appreciate the skill and beauty created by the creativeness, however, it is not financially rewarding for most.  This leads to the entrepreneurial aspect that goes along with creativeness.  All of my daughters have a business going for their products – Simply Natural by Vicki and StephanieRose Custom. 

Patience and persistence are two skills most needed when being an entrepreneur.  It is difficult to build a following but if you keep your name out there and keep people coming back then hopefully sales will start happening.  Additionally you have to keep working at building your following through social media and other marketing.  You can’t give up and you have to keep plugging away at it.  Regardless of the endeavor, these skills are important for developing your brand and making it successful. 

Here is the shameless promotion for my daughters…

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Insurance Companies

My daughter takes a very expensive medication – like $500 a month.  When she got her own insurance, the company refused to pay for it.  Their logic was that there were less expensive drugs out there that she could try.  They told her that for them to pay for this expensive drug then she would have to try these less expensive options.

This sounds reasonable except that this will make the third time she went through the process.  The first time was when the doctor initially prescribed the meds for her.  The second time was when I switched insurance companies (to the same one she has now).  It is in her records that she has done this before but they were insistent. 

Since she can’t afford the drug without insurance, she had to jump through the hoops they demanded.  The first drug – did nothing.  The subsequent three drugs she had allergic reactions to.  The first allergic reaction she had a hard time breathing and broke out in hives.  The other two she broke out in hives.  At one point the pharmacy didn’t want to give her a prescription because she had an allergic reaction to one of the other drugs. 

I made her call me and talk to me while she took one of the prescriptions because I was worried she would stop breathing and not have anyone there to help her. 

It is ridiculous that the insurance company had any say in which prescription the doctor gave to her.  She has been on this medication for ten plus years and it works.  Why mess with that?  Especially when she had already tried other medications that didn’t work or that she was allergic to – this seems wasteful as she now has four prescriptions she has to discard because they didn’t work.  It isn’t saving money if she can’t use them. 

It is ridiculous to change a person’s medication when what they are taking is working successfully.  Isn’t that the point of taking medication – finding what works and sticking to it?  I know it is a lot of money but that is something to take up with the pharmaceutical company not the patient – especially when there was documentation that other medication hadn’t worked.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Medications and alternatives

Since my pain med was taken off the market by the FDA, I’ve had a difficult time finding pain meds that work and that doctors are willing to prescribe for me.  My ortho says – pain meds should be maintained by the GP.  My GP says – if you are on delauded then the doctor who prescribed it has to continue prescribing it. 

This is just dandy for me as I’m left with no pain meds but over the counter pain relievers.  Anyone who has regular pain knows that this is frustrating and difficult.  I have no control over the doctors.  I can’t make them prescribe drugs for me.  My only option is to find other ways to manage my pain. 

To this end, I’ve found heat works well for me.  When my knees, ankles, and other joints are screaming with pain, I put a heating pad on them.  I’d love to have a hot tub but that is outside my budget.  The heating pad puts heat right on the joint which eases most of the pain.  I know I’m unusual for this – most people prefer ice packs.  The only time an ice pack helps is when I have a migraine and I put a cold cloth or ice pack on the back of my neck.  Ice or cold (like the sub-zero weather we’ve been having) actually increases my pain.  I avoid it as much as possible.

When the pain is at a tolerable level, I make a point of moving the joint.  For my ankles, I will do flexes and points of my foot as well as circles to keep the joint as limber as possible.  For my knees, this is harder because my one knee almost never stops hurting but I try to do gentle motions that keep it moving.  Too much walking or standing make the knee hurt more.

Slippers help keep my feet warm.  I’m a barefoot girl.  I don’t like stuff on my feet but walking across cold floors and letting my feet get cold is a sure way for my pain level to spike.  Using slippers keeps the cold away from my feet and the pain at bay.

I’ve had so many people tell me “You need to get up and move more”.  In all honesty, I’ve tried this and all it does is aggravate my knees further.  Having my legs at a particular angle makes it so they don’t hurt.  When my pain level is high, this is all I really care about. 

On those mornings when I can’t close my hands, I use hot water to wash away the ache.  Then I also crochet on a nightly basis.  This helps to keep my fingers limber.  One of the hardest things I have to cope with is a cold steering wheel.  Thick gloves go on my hands before I touch anything outside.  Unfortunately my hands still get cold so I’m still looking for something to protect them better.  I may crochet a steering wheel cover but I have a concern about the cover slipping while I’m driving.   

Massaging lotion into my hands helps to limber them up and warm them up.  It also helps other joints like my wrists, elbows and so on.  Getting a professional massage definitely helps with my pain level but the budget isn’t all that happy when I spend money on massages.

With our extreme cold weather, I put a scarf between my knee and anything cold.  I use my long scarf to cover up the knee when I’m on my scooter in the cold.  It gives it another layer of protection. 

Ultimately, I’m going to have to figure out the pain med issue, but in the meanwhile, these little tricks help make life less painful.  I just have to find a doctor I trust – this is no easy feat.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bouncing Off the Walls of My Mind

Driving home today, my mind could not seem to settle on any topic.  My brain bounced from topic to topic.  Here is a little preview:
            What to pack for going to Vicki’s – how many days should I pack for?
            Story idea
            Blog idea
            Web site idea
            Crochet idea
            Story idea
            Pick up prescription
            Crochet project
            Problems with the van
            Different vehicle?
            Coupons to the girls
            Crochet to pack for trip
            Story idea

I only have a 25 minute drive but my mind just bounced all over the place.  The key here is to remember all the stuff I was thinking about during my drive and make sure I can take these fragments of thoughts and develop them or create a to do list from them. 

This rambling in my brain is often what happens when I can’t sleep but that is solvable by just getting up and writing a to do list or writing down the story idea.  Generally that is what keeps me awake – the story idea.

Once I’m home it is a matter of what I will work on first.  Today – blog idea… next probably crochet idea or project but you just never know where my odd mind will go and what trouble it will get me into next.  I’ve always said my mind is a scary place to be.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Distracted

My goal today – work on my office.  I need to finish organizing my stuff in the office so I can move forward with my writing goals.  I got up this morning fully intending to start the day early and attack the piles of paperwork in my office.  I sat down to my computer at 8 figuring it will only take me a couple of minutes to look over my emails and then move on to the next task at hand. 

That was my mistake.  I started reading my emails, one of which was a newsletter with writing leads in it.  I discovered a place I wanted to submit to and here I am two hours later finally done with my emails.  However, I did submit ten poems and two short stories to a place that pays.  Now I just have to wait to hear from them. 

Next I am going to start on organizing and shifting things in my office to get it to a point where I can just come in and write or work on submissions and have things right at hand without having to shift or struggle with trying to find what I need. 

The distraction this morning though, reminded me how much I have missed having an organized space to be able to create and submit my work.  It has reaffirmed the need to finish the project of organizing my office and getting it into working shape again.

Catching Up

Over the weekend, I got three manuscripts edited and worked on two other manuscripts.  Ken and Vicki did all the errands on Saturday.  Sunda...