Monday, April 27, 2015

Pleasant Surprise

One of my faculty goes to Sweden with students.  I told her to bring me back some Swedish yarn, just a skein, nothing big.  I love yarn and it's nice to touch what is available in other parts of the world. 

She is back and brought me a bag of yarn.  There is probably thirty skeins of yarn in this bag.  All of the writing on the yarn is in Swedish which is interesting.  Yet there are things I can still figure out.  On one skein there is a notation that it is 50 G which equals so many meters.  If I want to equate that with something I understand all I have to do is convert it to yards or feet from meters. 

Apparently one of her contacts over there just gave her the yarn.  She also gave her patterns which again I can't read but there are some parts of it I can.  A couple of the patterns have graphs which I can read, the rest there is no way.  I thought with it being crochet shorthand essentially, it would be similar but it isn't.  I've learned something new because of it.

To Sharon - thank you for the yarn.  It was a bright spot in my day.  To the Swedish person who gave her the yarn - wow how generous and kind!  Thank you. 

This proves my point that crafters everywhere are good people!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spiritual Kick in the Bum

John Edward was in Milwaukee on Friday.  He is a medium and I watched his show for years.  I'm a skeptic.  I believe there are people who have a higher level of connection with spirits (or maybe they just don't have enough walls).  However, before I'm willing to pay or believe, they have to validate that they are connecting to people I know.

With a friend, I drove in Friday and waited in line, waited in the room.  It is interesting to watch people and listen to them but there were a lot of people in the room which always sets my nerves on edge.  This was expensive and hard for me to spend the money on me.

He came on the makeshift stage and spoke.  He was sarcastic, funny, and spiritual.  I enjoyed his explanation of how things work.  I didn't get a reading which made me a little sad but at the same time, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

He read the people in front of us and the people behind us.  As soon as he said the name George, I thought for certain I'd be getting a reading (lots of them in my family) but it wasn't for me.  Yet in a way, it was.  Throughout the evening, I was moved to tears and laughter.  I enjoyed the evening and hardly noticed the time passing.

At one point, he made a statement about how connecting with the energy was something you had to work out with.  It was something you had to practice and focus on.  This hit home for me.  I get so wrapped up in writing, crocheting, work, and life that I forget to embrace my spirit and my intuition.  No reading, but maybe a message all the same.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Yes, I do more than just crochet... sometimes....

Yesterday sucked for pain but today is better fortunately.  I can at least close my hands today.  I've created a new pattern for a dish towel I like.  I have also found a basket pattern I really like.  Now all I have to do is have my hands able to crochet. 

Friday I go see John Edward.  He is a psychic who I've followed for at least ten years.  I've enjoyed his television shows and his newsletters.  I splurged and spent a lot of money on a ticket to go see him while he is in Milwaukee.  It will be interesting to see him speak in person and see if I get a reading of any sort.

Aside from that, this weekend will be about prepping for the girls to come home for my niece's reception.  I am hoping to progress further on Virginia's afghan.  Her yarn is such that I have to keep tight tension on it while I work.  This is tough on my hands which is why I've not been working on it.  I'm hoping to make progress this weekend. 

Work is finally settling back in to the normal chaos with registration issues calming.  It's nice to go in and be able to get other things done instead of just troubleshooting registration issues for nine hours a day. 

Now I can turn my attention to Virginia's afghan and two novels I'm working on.  I was hoping to have her afghan done by next week but unless I get very lucky, I don't see that happening.  My backup plan is to have it done by the time we go visit them.  That way, I can take it to her and not worry about shipping it.  I'm in love with the material and the pattern.  It will be gorgeous when it's done.  This weekend I'm going to listen to an audio book and focus on getting it done even if it means I have to soak my hands in hot water to loosen them up. 

I'm also hoping the weather is nice enough I can wander onto my deck and enjoy our backyard a bit.  I'd love to take some crocheting or even my journal out there to just sit and enjoy the quiet.  Hopefully it's quiet, our neighbors just put in a trampeline so I guess it depends on whether they are out there as well. 

This spring has been cool in Wisconsin.  We've had a couple of days that are nicer but this week we're having mid 50s and the nights are in the 30s.  While not uncommon for April, it is playing havoc on my arthritis especially when we have precipitation go through. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Busy Saturday

Friday night, Ken and I went to Michael's.  They had a sale on sugar n cream crochet cotton.  It was wonderful in that I got a lot of yarn at little cost.  I had a 20% all items coupon which made the great deal even better.  With tax, I paid about 82 cents per skein which is a huge saving because this yarn is normally 2 - 2.5 a skein.
I have already made one thing from it.  I found a pattern for a basket I like.  It turned out really well except that I learned we picked up scented yarn.  I've always avoided this yarn because scents tend to set off my asthma.  I was right in that this one did as well.  It turned out really nicely though and after taking an allergy med I didn't feel quite so awful.

From the scraps of the basket, I started a trivet for Vicki.  She wants several so I just kept working with the variegated (not the scented) and started the trivet.  It is made completely from scraps.  It was a quick and easy project.

In addition to these two smaller projects, I finished the graduation gift for my student worker.  No pictures for now as she hasn't gotten it yet.  I like how it turned out and hope she will as well.

I started a skirt for a friend but as I'm looking at what I've done, I'm not thrilled with it.  I have an idea in my head and will probably be tearing it out to try to make the project match what's in my head.

I also started a dishtowel which I hope to finish this morning.  This is also made from scraps.  I just keep tying on a new little ball when I run out of yarn.  My middle daughter has asked for several new dishtowels, this will be the first to use up some of my scraps.  I also have actual full skeins she bought so I'll be using those as well over time.

I finished reading both Cast in Peril by Michele Sagara and Remember When by Nora Roberts and JD Robb.  I've gotten the audio books for the next in each series on my fire.  I've been flipping back and forth between audio and text.  When I'm crocheting, I listen.  When I'm too tired to crochet, I'll pick up the book and skim through the books.  It goes faster and I can skip the parts that annoy me.  Cast in Peril this was key in.  Love Sagara's writing and her Cast in series but Peril was just tedious and not really a complete story.  I hear that the next one - Cast in Sorrow is the same way.  I'll see what my tolerance level is for it.  I might end up skimming through parts of it as well.

I also downloaded Divided in Death.  Having just finished the short story, I'm trying to decide if I listened to the other two short stories before this.  I'm going to have to go look.  I don't think I did.  That means I may have to just go through and do a quick read on both of them.  I'm trying to read her series in order including the short stories.  I'll go back and catch these two up before I start the next one.

This should keep me busy for a bit and out of trouble - maybe.  I have a bridal shower to go to today so you never know what sort of mischief I'll get up to.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Weekend Options

The weekend looms in front of me with a large list of things to do.  It is pay week so that means all the normal errands.  In addition, I want to go to Michaels for their sale.  They are having a sale on crochet cotton which I use a great deal of.  It's on sale for 97 cents.  I downloaded their app for my smart phone and got a 20% off my entire order coupon.  This means the crochet cotton will be about 78 cents a skein.  Normal price - anywhere from 1.97 to 2.50 or so.  It is a deal I can't pass up.

I also have to go to the DMV to renew my license.  This promises to be an interesting event.  Ken is going to go with me.  Hopefully we can accomplish both this afternoon.  If we do, it will leave tomorrow for errands.

Sunday I'm going to my niece's bridal shower.  I'm so happy for her.  I can't wait for her to see the gift I made her.  I hope she likes it. 

It will be a busy weekend and yet in my head I'm planning out what else I might get done.  I am nearly done with my student worker's wristers.  I hope to finish them tonight.  After they are done I'll turn my attention back to my daughter's afghan.  My hands aren't as bent with arthritis.  I can actually make a fist and tighten it with only a small amount of pain.  Her project is not portable.  It will not travel well.  The yarn is delicate and fussy, though exceedingly beautiful. 

If I end up going around while Ken does errands, I'll probably through a crochet project in a small bag and take it with me.  I have four going on right now and only two of them are overly portable.  Ironically I wouldn't take any of the current ones with me.  I'd probably take the left over crochet cotton so I could work on trivets or dish towels. 

It promises to be a busy weekend and I'm hoping it will also be a productive one. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wayfarer Destruction

Pre-order ended and is now available for sale in both ebook and paperback! 

This one was fun to write.  It is action packed with Adara, Decker and all their friends facing kidnapping, experimentation, and the Hettians.  While the Pritchard gets repaired, Adara and Decker fall into life at Command. Sabotage and danger shadow them on the station. Once the ship is repaired, Decker, Adara, their crew, and Adara's pilots head out to make contact with the Hettians. Along the way, Rhia, Franklin, and Avin face a serial killer. Adara can't shake her bad feeling. Oakes predicts another loss.

The end of their contract looms.  What will happen to the crew of her beloved Pritchard once the contract expires?  Check it out to see the next installation in Adara and Decker's lives.

You can see the rest of my books on my web site:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Keeping the Boredom at Bay

My arthritis is bothering me, making me cranky and ornery.  Pity Ken - he has to put up with me when this happens.

Yesterday he ran out to get me a variety of things to attempt to make me feel better.  I can cross Aleve off my list, it didn't touch the pain I felt at all.  The Tiger Balm patches, however, seemed to help.  I have one on both ankles and knees.  I'll see if they help today.  I've also tried Tylenol Arthritis.  I'm hoping these will help more as Tylenol helps a small amount.  I have one more over the counter med to try to see if it helps after this one.

It's bad when heat and rest don't help.  It's bad when I can't crochet or write because my hands hurt too much.  I'm determined today to get something done - crocheting I hope.

One of my student workers who is graduating came over yesterday and sat while I fitted her gift to her as I made it.  There are some things that are just better when I can make it with the person sitting there.  She wanted wristers that went from elbow to hand.  I have one more to make for her and I'm hoping to get it done today.  Then I will be back at Virginia's afghan.  Every time I pick up her afghan it amazes me and I'm excited to see the finished project.  It is GORGEOUS.

I have two or three crochet patterns to type up.  I got pictures of the final project so I can add that to the file and then publish it.

This morning I'm working on getting the print copy of Wayfarer Destruction prepped and ready for publication.  The ebook has been available for pre-order and will come out on the 15th.  I'm trying to coordinate the two releases.

As long as I can still be productive, the pain from the arthritis is tolerable, I guess.  I hate sitting and doing nothing.  I want to listen to a book and crochet or I want to write.  I hate sitting and just watching tv.  It is not engaging at all for me.  It's okay for an hour or two to unwind but after that I'm bored and want something productive to do.  So in answer to the people who ask - do I ever just sit and do nothing?  Yes but it bores the hell out of me.  Ken and everyone prefers me to be occupied and not bored because I'm less cranky that way.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Driving Woes

Bad night equates into a bad morning.  This means I was grumpy as all get up this morning when I left for work.  Every step hurts, every movement is an effort.  However, it is registration week and I need to be at work. 

I grumbled my way to the car, drove to work.  On my way to work, however, I nearly got taken out.  I'm driving along - I drive a minivan, which isn't a small vehicle or hard to see - and this guy comes on the road via an onramp.  I'm in the left lane and the right lane has room.  He only needed to tap his brakes to be able to stay in the right lane.  Without looking or signalling, he slides into the left lane.  I was well over the grooves on the side of the road and nearly in the ditch as I slammed on the brakes and evaded his invasion into my lane.  I blew my horn at him and swallowed my heart out of my throat. 

He passed the car in the right lane and got back into the right lane.  My first reaction was to speed up enough to catch up to  him and either invade his lane or flip him off.  I took a deep breath and did neither.  There was definitely some words said in my van that were not PG rated. 

I was being followed by a pickup and when he passed me (my exit was coming up so I had gotten over) I got a look from him.  I'm glad he was back far enough to avoid hitting me and I'm glad I could avoid that other guy (I say guy because I don't know if it was a man or woman - too busy trying not to get hit to notice). 

Eventually my heart stopped racing and I mellowed out.  We've all done the thing where we get on the onramp and slip into the left lane.  The thing is - take a moment to pause in that right lane before you shift over so you can look to see if there is someone already in that left lane before you slide over.  I know I'll be checking more diligently after this morning.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Domestic Abuse is a Serious Crime

While driving home last night after a long day, I spoke with my middle daughter.  She told me about one of her co-workers.  This woman was abused by her boyfriend resulting in him being arrested and put in jail. 

She has left him, taking her three sons with her.  They went through a trial.  Even though the man has a long history of domestic abuse the only reason the judge put him in jail was because she wrote a letter.  She has a no-contact order. 

Now he is in jail.  However, she gets "love" notes from him.  The police aren't taking them seriously.  She says this is how he used to talk to her when he beat her.  She wants the police to put a stop to it, you would think no contact means no freaking contact but apparently if you talk nice in your contact it is okay. 

I was irate, disappointed, and disgusted by the response.  Now I heard this third hand so I could be wrong but I want to call the police department in her town and say "What the F**K?" 

I talked about this in a private message to a friend on facebook - she said when her first husband beat her - back before women's shelters and such - the police gave her a pamphlet on how to be a better wife. 

I think my head exploded.  Is it any wonder women wanting to get married is on the decline?  I know there are good men in the world.  I've been fortunate enough to have relationships with several of them from my father, husband, brothers-in-law and co-workers.  If I tell this story to them, they will be as appalled as I am. 

My question is - when does the rest of the world get it?  When do we stop blaming the victim?  When do we make it known that hitting someone else - loved one or not - is WRONG.  In the case of my daughter's friend - her boyfriend has threatened to kill her and her three kids.  If the police do nothing to stop the "good" contact when there is a NO freaking contact order, what happens when he gets out of jail and can lay hands on her and her sons. 

It is time for women to say NO MORE.  No more rape, no more abuse, no more crap from anyone.  Stop worrying about being called a bitch and stand up for yourself and for other women.  We need to get tougher on crimes against women and stop with the attitude that boys will be boys.  Boys are supposed to grow up to be men and men - real men - don't do this crap.

I don't hate men.  I know there are going to be some out there who say - she's a man hater.  I good man - like a good woman - is a gem.  I have one.  I know.  He's never raised his hand to me.  He stands with me, supports me, and loves me.  He's a real man and the best kind.  It's time we taught our boys to be men - real men who respect and honor the women in their lives. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Crochet Projects

Last weekend when I was down by Vicki, I worked on crocheting things for her.  She has these pieces but I thought I'd show some of the pics I took of them.  She got a couple of dish towels.  One is pink, peach, yellow, and white.  The other is green, purple and white.  I love this pattern and it makes up in about an hour.  She wants a million more of these.  I told her I doubted I could make that many.

One of the stores we went to we picked up buttons as I wasn't going to haul my little drawers of buttons down to add them to the towels.  The yellow one popped better than the others on the pink/peach one.  The purple stood out best on the other. I think they turned out nicely.

I had some bamboo thread in a lovely blue / turquoise color.  We bought a new book and there was a lovely pattern in there.  It was a trim book and I have enjoyed all the patterns I have done so far from it.  We saw an ad for the book in a magazine and the shawl they showed was beautiful but of course the pattern wasn't in the magazine so we had to go buy the book.

Vicki wanted some trivets.  The blue/tan one is the pattern she had me make while I was down there.  It was a complicated and annoying pattern.  I told her if she wanted more of that specific pattern she was out of luck.  However, if she was willing to let me make my own pattern, I would be willing to make her more.  She was and I did which is the purple, blue, yellow and green picture.  I've got the pattern for sale on my web site.  I think it turned out nicely.  I want to play with different designs on the part that stands up.

Once I was back, a friend of mine said she was looking for light weight scarves for spring.  I had one of these done and the second I made up for her quickly.

The pink one is a long chain of ribbon which is textured.  She tried it as a scarf in a variety of styles and then tried it as a belt.  I think it will be versatile for her.

This weekend I've managed to get a lot of my book work done at my computer in my office.  I paid for the time at the desk yesterday with being in pain last night.  I updated a website for a friend this morning and did more book work today.  My legs don't hurt as much today so perhaps I won't have as hard of a time tonight.

It feels good to get a lot of things off my to do list.  I feel like I was productive and accomplished things I needed to.  I feel like I've finally caught up.  It is a weight off my mind and now I can work on other things - like Virginia's afghan.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

New Books Available!

Finally I feel good enough to sit at my desk and get some work done.  This morning was all about production.  I got two new books prepped and ready for publication.

Murder Next Door is a murder mystery taking place in 2178.  Death in the apartment across the hall throws Eloise Franklin and Ronan Turner into each other’s lives. Turner is arrogant and condescending of Eloise profession as a stripper until he finds out she’s raising her younger sister. Eloise and her younger sister experience danger and abuse. Ronan discovers a respect and love for Eloise he never expected.  It's available on Amazon and Smashwords:

Wayfarer Trials is the next installment of Adara and Decker's story.  Returning from their honeymoon, Decker and Adara are thrown in the deep end of the cases under investigation.  Women are being attacked and taken by an unknown group of people.  Franklin and the rest of the investigators work to close the complicated case against the Castitate Colony and Patrick Richardson, putting the Pritchard and her crew in grave danger.  It's available on Amazon and Smashwords:

I'm so happy to have these two novels out and available.  I loved writing them and believe the readers will enjoy reading the stories.  With all the issues I've had lately, I was beginning to doubt I'd be able to get them published but fortunately that isn't the case.  Please check them out and tell your friends.

Easy Trivet Crochet Pattern

Last night I spent a bit of time working on a revamp of a pattern Vicki liked and I hated.  She likes the way it looks and I hated the pattern.  The end result - a new pattern written.  Ironically, I was all I don't want a new phone.  I don't need a smart phone and yet the smart phone helped me get to the point where I could publish this pattern.  I used the note app to write the pattern as I worked.  I used the camera to take pictures of the project.  It turned out nicely and will be available for sale on Amazon and Smashwords today.

This trivet is three dimensional so it cushions your hot pan from your table.  Quick and easy, bright and cheerful, this pattern offers an alternative to a hot pad and a way to use up scrap yarn.  Made with crochet cotton, it is durable, practical and pretty.

Go to my web site to check it out

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I can only do what I can do

My desks at home and at work are piled high with work.  I have so much to do and my gout is flaring.  I keep trying to tell myself it's okay for me to spend a day curled in a ball doing nothing more than listening to an audio book.  Unfortunately, I don't believe me.

If I'm taking a day off - like I did yesterday, I want to accomplish a list of things whether it is crocheting or writing.  I want to see progress and feel good about it.  Yeah - I know.  Stress is bad for gout too.

I hate just being a vegetable because it hurts when I try to close my hands.  I hate it when I'm stuck home when I know people are relying on me to be at work, accomplishing all the things I need to accomplish.  If I'm going to spend a whole day at home alone, I want to have something to show for it, not just pain and frustration.

And then I take a deep breath and scold myself.  The frustration and stress I'm putting myself under are not helping so I have to have a more zen approach to life.  This is hard when I have a week filled with pain.  Yet I try to bring my mind back to the center.  I can only do what I can do.

Good news - I took the new drug tonight and don't seem to have a reaction.  Next step - continue to take it and see if it helps to lower the uric acid levels and keep the flares from happening.  That is a long term - let's wait and see thing.  I can only hope it does so I can lead a somewhat normal life (well as normal as I get anyways).

I sat tonight and cut out coupons.  I sat up to the table to do it because it's easier that way.  My feet are swollen and sore.  I'll take another dose of Tylenol (my candy apparently) and hope it will help.  Tomorrow I'll work a longer day to make up some of the time I missed and get some of the work done I need to get done.

I have to balance that with how long it will take me to do bills when I come home.  I will have been sitting at my desk at work so I'll have to make sure I can spend enough time paying bills once I get home.

I've already told Ken he will have to do the errands.  I'll try to get a grocery / coupon list made up for him tomorrow night so he doesn't have to do that part of it.  Saturday I want to try to get a book out if not do the prep for all three but I'm keeping that chant in my head.  I can only do what I can do.

On the plus side, I have had two more reviewers agree to read one of my books.  Ken took the books to the post office today.  I can only hope they will be so intrigued once they get them, they will read them right away and post the review.  Maybe if I'm lucky, they will come back and ask for more of my books to review.  I can only keep my fingers crossed.

This week I'm struggling with my mantra of I can only do what I can do.  I'm usually fairly zen about it but apparently my determination is outweighing my sense.  I'll say it again and maybe I'll actually believe it - I can only do what I can do... everything will get done eventually.

Back at the Grindstone

With nine days off, you would think I got a lot accomplished.  I did when it comes to spending time with my girls but off my to-do list?  No...