Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Perfectly Normal Weekend

A perfectly normal weekend with errands run and chores done.  It is Sunday morning and all of the normal weekend tasks are done.  Now I have to decide what I'm going to work on.

As always, I have a long list of things I could do but I've been really tired and feeling a bit blah.  I've also been sleeping a lot more than normal for me.  The last few nights I've slept at least five to eight hours.

To me this means I need to take things easy and let my body recuperate from whatever is grumbling around in there.  I've been watching Criminal Minds.  I've just started the fourth season.  I find myself creeped out, grossed out, and sometimes hoping the bad guy gets away with it.

There was an episode where a woman was killing men.  She was raped and the cops did nothing about it.  She "solved" the issue by enticing men away from their friends and killing them.  Unfortunately, they weren't the men who raped her but... I had a hard time blaming her.

Along the same lines, one episode was a high school boy who killed his father, his girlfriend's father and several people in the high school.  The fathers were abusive and the people at the high school were bullying him both in person and cyber bullying.  I had a hard time empathizing with the victims in this episode.

I know this is fiction but when you read the news and hear about all these things, it makes you wonder how sick the human race is.  At the same time I wonder if we treated ourselves and our children better if there would be fewer problems.

It is a complex issue and I know I'm simplifying it but this show makes me think about all sorts of things.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Five Vials of Blood

Five vials of blood - my rheumatology appointment got moved up to this week.  Of course she ordered blood tests and x-rays.  After seeing her, I went to have all this extra work done.  They took five vials of blood from me.  I asked the woman if she was leaving any which made her laugh.

I also got an Explanation of Benefits for the last set of blood tests (cholesterol, uric acid, sed rate) my regular doctor ordered.  Now my insurance premium went down this year - I knew it was going to be bad.  The insurance paid for $88 of labs.  I have to pay $130.  I can just imagine what the rheumatology screening is going to cost me.

I also had x-rays of my hands.  I'm sure these are going to be costly too.  The "savings" in premiums is not going to be a savings.  I had to pay a co-pay at the regular doctor and was supposed to pay one at the rheumatology doctor but their machine wasn't working.  I'll end up being billed for it.  Ken's annual stuff is coming up and I'm sure we will have more expenses with his stuff.

I have good insurance through my work.  We pay through the nose for it.  Up until it was messed with last year by the Governor, it was worth the premium I was paying.  Now I'm not so sure.  All these added costs are going to be difficult.

I know I have it good with my insurance.  It could be so much worse.  However, I've not had a raise in at least three years and I keep losing benefits.  It's frustrating when I'm doing everything possible to reduce costs.

Instead I'm racking up the costs because the doctors want to check for all sorts of things.  The fact is - I have arthritis which is painful.  They don't know how or can't treat it to make it less painful.  More money spent to tell me what I've known all my life.  I have arthritis and it is painful.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Projects - Writing and Crochet

So far, I have four spring scarf patterns and one shawl to publish.  I have probably two more scarves I'll make up and then I'll go into publish mode with them.  This will mean a couple of days of getting the files set up, covers made, and then publishing.  After I publish, I will post on Facebook, Twitter, here, Ravelry, and a few other places.  This all takes time.

I'm hoping to have the two scarves done shortly - maybe this week.  I meant to crochet last night but I had such a headache, I could not manage it.  Light was hurting my head.  I gave up and turned off the lights, put my chair back and watched Criminal Minds in the dark.  I couldn't even text without the phone bothering my eyes.

Hopefully tonight I'll be able to work on crocheting.  I've got three things I want to finish before the end of the week if my head will cooperate.

Once that is done, I'll probably look at editing as I have the two novels done for the first draft.  I need to do the searches for all the words I overuse.  Then a spelling and grammar check before I print and do a read through edit.  At the same time, I want to work on writing and finishing two other projects I have going.

The craft room still needs finishing.  I need to make time to finish it soon.  I've got more things to go in there as I've finished some projects and need to put excess yarn away from it.

I spoke with someone who said they retired from their job years ago but within a year went back to work because they were essentially bored.  I really don't understand this.  I'd like more non-work time to be able to try out more of the things I like to do.

I know everyone is different.  I'm fairly certain it would take me at least a year to run out of projects (probably two years).  At which time, my daughter would have more projects she'd like me to do.  I don't have enough time to get all the things done I want to do.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Goodreads Giveaways!

Readers are key to being a successful writer.  Readers are the ones who write reviews.  Readers spend their hard earned money to buy a book.  In recognition of this, I'm running three giveaways on Goodreads right now.

Wayfarer (click on the name to go to the giveaway)

Adara Stone youngest pilot in the Interstellar Planets Union survived one ship’s destruction only to be treated like a jinx.  Being half human and half Wayfarer, she’s always been set apart.  Adara covets being in space and the Pritchard.  She loves the feel of the ship in her hands.  Captain Decker Flannery thinks she’s too young, too solitary, and too sexy to be on his ship.  He needs a third pilot so he has no choice.  Flannery finds fault in every action Adara takes but at the same time finds himself drawn.  He doesn’t like other people touching her and he finds himself protective and attracted.  Adara’s past puts her and her crew in danger.  She fears her “jinx” will harm those she’s come to love but they love her and are willing to fight to protect her.  In the end, Adara finds a home and a family.

Secret Past  (click on the name to go to the giveaway)

Waiting in line at the bank, Nick and Dee are thrown together during a bank robbery. Instantly attracted Dee can’t resist family-oriented Nick. Dee has secrets – deadly secrets which private eye Nick stirs up.  He must know all her secrets.  To survive Dee must run but can’t leave Nick. Nick escapes with her. Nick has to earn her trust as Dee realizes she is strong enough to face her Secret Past.

Moon Affirmations (click on the name to go to the giveaway)

Moon Affirmations is a meditation self help book geared around the cycle of the moon.  Using the moon’s energy, the reader can focus on issues in their lives.  For each chapter, there is a brief description of the moon cycle along with an affirming poem and a guided meditation for each day of the phase.  

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Movies and Crocheting

Yesterday I watched four movies - Deadpool, Captain America Civil War, Mr. Holmes, and Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit.  I enjoyed all the movies.

Deadpool - not for children but as an R rated movie, hilarious filled with violence and sex (no innuendo here blatant sex).  I love the sarcasm in the movie.

Captain America - good fight scenes but overall the movie is a bit depressing.

Mr. Holmes - a thinking movie, Sherlock Holmes is in his 90s and starting to have dementia.  His housekeeper and her son live with him and help him.  He tries to remember his last case.  There are three stories going on in this movie and it is fascinating.

Jack Ryan - the typical action film.  I'd seen it before but opted to watch it again.  It was a good "crochet without having to watch the tv" movie.

For all of them, except Captain America, I crocheted during the movie.  I am a little over half done with the project.

At the movie theater, I was ticked when I got home.  My shirt and jacket were stuck to my pants.  Someone had left gum in the seat I sat in so I came home with gum smeared all over.  Ken has been trying to get it out.  He's managed to get it out of the jacket and shirt and is trying one more thing for the pants.

Last night was a bad night.  I woke up several times unable to move my fingers, knees, ankles.  This means lots of pain today but I can't let it stop me.  I have to finish this project.  I also have a few other projects to work on.  I'm hoping to get the first one done and see what time it is before I go back to tackling the other projects.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

No Shortage of Tasks

The last two weeks have been rough for me with pain.  The weather is causing my arthritis to grumble (or scream).  Yet I don't have time to wallow (well maybe a little).

May 2 I started a new novel.  I couldn't get the words on the page fast enough.  By May 11, I'd finished the novel.  I love it when the inspiration hits hard and fast like this.  At the same time, I went back to add in a few more scenes for Wayfarer 11.  It's on my need to be edited list.

I have a wedding shower to go to next Saturday and am working on the gift for that.  I have it about a third of the way done.  I'll be spending some time this weekend watching movies and crocheting.  In addition to the shower gift, I finished off a gift for a friend.  I made her a bunch of dish towels, hand towels, and dish cloths.  Those went in the mail to her this week.

The day is gray and grumpy looking this morning but I have been at my computer since before 8 am working on different tasks.  I've paid bills, updated my spreadsheets, did a tiny bit of marketing, submitted three articles to paying publications.  I posted an preview for one of my books on Goodreads.  I need to figure out which scenes from each of my books and post them.

As is normal, my list is never ending for tasks I need to get done.  Shortly, I'll be going to run errands.  Fortunately I only have a couple today.  I also need to clip coupons, check the apps for rebates, and write up the grocery list.  All so Ken will be able to do the grocery shopping tomorrow.

Last night I watched Age of Adeline which was quite good.  I also watched The Gambler which was depressing and annoying.  I got several inches done on the shower gift.  I'm hoping to finish this project this weekend.  I have several others I want to get done in a short period of time.  This means I'm letting my writing rest for a few days.

Having said that, I've gone back and added a prologue (possibly a new first chapter) to one story I've been working on.  I thought I had lost about 5000 words in the third Defenders novel.  I was cleaning my flashdrive and looked at a file I hadn't looked at before.  It had the several scenes I thought I'd lost.  I was quite excited about this.  It saves me a lot of work in redoing.  Having found those scenes, I was able to write about another 1500 words in the story.

I'm hoping to finish both of these projects this summer.  With luck, I'll have four books to publish over the next six months.  I also have several crochet patterns I'm going to work on publishing as well.  There is definitely no shortage of things for me to do.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

It Died!

My netbook has been a faithful and constant companion for the last five years.  I tried to start it Friday and it wouldn't start.  I had to plug it in and it was sluggish.  I panicked!  I need my netbook.  It is vital.  Yesterday I tried to start it and it wouldn't start.  Eventually, Ken got it to start but the functionality of it was super slow.  I use my netbook every single night.  I use it to edit, check email, post, write.  I must have my netbook.  I'm nearing the end of a writing project and all I want to do is write.  Not having my netbook work is an emergency!

I took a deep breath and realized I was going to have to say goodbye to my netbook.  It makes me sad but I need something reliable and usable.  This meant a trip to Best Buy.  I hate shopping.  Best Buy is loud, has lots of lights and video, it is sensory overload.  But I needed a new netbook or something similar.

We looked at the smaller computers.  We found one under the price we wanted to pay.  The salesman said what do you do with it.  I explained.  He said oh that won't work.  Let's go look at tablets.

When I write, I typically have three things open - Word, Excel, and some sort of internet connection (Chrome or IE).  I told them a tablet would not be my first choice.  They were all it does this and this and this.  I was uncertain but let them talk me into it.

By the time we were done adding accessories to the tablet, we were $100 over what I wanted to spend.  I really am trying to save for a vacation.  I brought it home, set it up, and couldn't get the keyboard to work.  I called because that's what they said to do.  I was told to bring it in.  When I asked what it would cost, they said probably not anything.

At this point, I'm fairly certain there is smoke blowing out my ears.  I've also realized there's no way to charge the tablet while I'm writing and having a flashdrive attached.

Geeksquad helped us.  He got the keyboard to work and I asked about the charging and he said no you can't do both.  I explained my dilemma.  At first he was a bit snippy with me but as we talked he said, why did you buy a tablet?  You clearly need a small laptop.  He walked us over, we looked at the options he suggested and opted to change out to a laptop.

Now all I wanted to do since Friday night was work on finishing the story.  I need a few hours of uninterrupted time and I should be able to complete the story.  Yet I was interrupted with a friend visiting, a haircut, and a breakdown of my netbook.

I bring the laptop home.  I spend an hour or so setting it up.  I'm frustrated - more because I'm not writing than with the laptop.  Ken goes to bed.  I plug in my flashdrive and write.  It's like the world snapped into place.  All is right again.

Now today, I'm down to these three or four scenes.  I'll likely finish them off at some point today depending on how much time Ken and I spend together.  While my netbook died and I'll miss it, I've been able to replace it and get back to writing.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Moon Affirmations Giveaway

On Goodreads, I'm having a giveaway for three copies of my book Moon Affirmations.  It's available on this page:

The giveaway is running through the end of the month.  Then Goodreads will give me three names of the lucky winners.

Moon Affirmations is a meditation book which uses the phases of the moon to guide your meditation.  It utilizes the energy of a waning moon to focus the meditations on letting go and releasing.  It uses the new energy associated with a new moon to help you start new projects, set new goals.

You can work for a whole month on these meditations or you can pick up the book only when you want to focus on a particular phase of the moon.  Go to Goodreads today to sign up for the giveaway!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Step in the Right Direction

About mid-week I realized the school semester was wrapping up and there were definitely some tasks around the office I wanted done before I lost all my student workers.  More than the tasks though, I realized one of my student workers wouldn't be coming back.  Now I've known for a while she was graduating.  It was one of those moments though where I really took stock.

On one hand I'll miss this person.  She's a bright spot in my day.  At the same time, I'm very happy for her as she has gotten into the grad program she wants to be in, gotten a job which will work around her program, and will be moving on with her life.  She's taking the next steps in her life.

My job is to let her go, to help her get to a place where she could move from this place in her life, to the next one.  While I won't see her daily and our relationship will change, I'm still going to be available if she needs anything.

It's the same with my own life.  There are things I need to let go of in order to move from where I am to where I want to be.  With Wayfarer Expansion, I had a hard time letting it go, putting it out to be published.  I questioned everything.  It took a solid reminder from a friend to get me to let go.

Letting go isn't easy.  It involves trusting that what comes next will be what is needed and a step in the right direction.  Letting go isn't always fun.  Often it involves grief for who or what we were but it also involves a step into the unknown.

This can be difficult.  We have to have faith the unknown isn't the monster we imagine but a gift and a pleasure.  Instead of looking at the fearful side, we should be looking at the hopeful side.  No we don't know what's coming but there is always hope it will be better and brighter than what we currently have.

We may be closing a door on what we know but we could be opening the door on something more positive and beneficial to our path and life.  Endings are hard, usually they involve grief of some sort.  Beginnings can be hard but almost always they involve the hope we all need in our lives.  Hope to be in a better place, hope to be happier, healthier, or whatever you are seeking.

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...