Thursday, August 30, 2012

Just Say . . . No

Nancy Reagan reminded us all to do it. It was easy . . just say NO. (As opposed to Nike's Just do it.) Hmmm. Might have been interesting if their slogans had gotten mixed up in advertising. Seems to me like people do it all the time. Just do drugs. Just say no to exercise.

Anyway, I digress.

In the past two weeks I have done something I almost never do. I have turned down work. I have said no to jobs that don't pay well enough or pay decently, but are so stressful for me that I end up having minor panic attacks over figuring out how to do them.

Turning down work is really, really hard for me. I like being asked to be part of a project. I like expanding the resume and finding new companies and having a wide variety of projects to work on. And of course, I really, really like having paychecks in my mailbox.

But I don't like waking in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep for worrying about work. I don't like not being able to spend time with Nicole before she leaves because I have a long list of deadlines. I don't like not being able to pick up a book and just read for an hour for fun. And I don't like the physical repercussions of sitting at this desk for 1o to 15 hours a day.

So I made the executive decision to say no to some projects. I've said yes to five new ones in the last week, so it isn't like I am walking away from new jobs. And I am hoping that my mental, physical, and emotional health show some benefits from this unlike me decision.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I'm Gettin' Too Old for this Sh . . . .

You know the rest.
Danny Glover stated this in most of the "Lethal Weapons" and I must say, I have come to agree with him completely.
In the last two weeks, I have been hired for six new projects. This really is great . . . I mean, it means I keep working and the money comes in. But each project has something like 20 plus documents and an online training program and its own uploading system for your work and I have to keep all of this straight. Due dates, passwords, directions, standards, editors . . . and I have found that I am not quite moving and learning as fast as I used to. What I flew through at 40, I don't fly through now. I used to be able to do 14 hour days. Now, I pay some pretty high prices for doing so.
The worst part for me is that the companies keep updating their technology, which I completely understand . . . but I am constantly having to learn new systems. Gone are the days where I could just write in Word and send it in. Sigh.
These are hard days right now, for a variety of reasons, including the one described here. Money is tight. And you know what? I am just tired. I start off a umber of my days with pep talks to get me up and moving. . . .but in the end, I find myself saying, "I'm just too old for this . . ." --you know the rest.

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Sense of Humor

Today at lunch, I announced that Sherm had gotten a puppy. It is a very small floater that seems to move in conjunction with Sherm, so I thought of it as a puppy.
My family asked me if I had named it yet. I said no. They encouraged me to give it a name and one came to me immediately. It made me laugh so hard I had a hard time sharing it with my listeners, but finally I did.
I found the perfect name for this little floater puppy.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Aliens in Orr Ville

You know that dramatic moment in sci fi movies where the person is on a futuristic operating table, and a person driven to the edge of madness is wielding a scalpel, laughing maniacally as they cut into the poor victim's back and extract a wicked alien looking claw? The music swells and usually, we cut to commercial.

Minus the commercial, this is almost what happened in my kitchen today. I was the patient and Joseph the scalpel wielding madman (the fact that he actually has a doctor's license just enhances the image). His scalpel was a sharp needle . . . and I was on a chair instead of an operating table. Okay, maybe it wasn't EXACTLY like the movies, but I am absolutely positive I heard menacing music playing in the background, and I could swear Joseph was chuckling.

He poked. He prodded . . then he picked up the needle . . . Snicker. Sorry, couldn't resist. The tiny black spot on my back was lifted, as I sat there going ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, (and OF COURSE it is on my RIGHT side) and I heard him say, WHOA.

Then he dashed off for some paper towels.

The tiny little black spot turned out a tad bit larger, hence the "whoa". In fact, after PULLING the damn thing out, Joseph measured it at 1/8 inch. And upon examination, we still do not know what it is. We have had several suggestions and I am still dedicating all of my energy to walling off any suggestions that involve the words "cocoon", and  "larva".

It's out. It's healing.
And if they make another "Alien" movie, I will at least be able to better empathize with the actors.  Cue maniacal laughter . . .

A Reading Frenzy

Yes, that is a bit of an exaggeration. I don't have enough free time to go on the reading frenzy that I would LIKE to go on. . . but I have managed to read 26 books so far this year, and for me, that's decent. Of course, "Wonder Reader", aka Coryn, can read 26 books in a weekend . . . how anyone can read that fast is beyond me . . . . Anyway, here are my comments on a few of the titles I've read just recently:

Talking to My Selves/Jeff Dunham: We are big fans of Jeff and his puppets . . . . we own his movies and we all watch and laugh. Peanut and Walter quotes are used frequently in the house by all. I really enjoyed reading about how he came up with the different puppets and what it is like to be a ventriloquist.

Lone Wolf/Jodi Picoult: What can I say? You know from reading this blog that I think she is one of the finest fiction authors on the planet. This book was wonderful and taught me a new respect for wolves. I already deeply respected Jodi . . .

The Fault in Our Stars/John Green: This one almost left me speechless. It was a young adult novel so I was reluctant to read it. I shouldn't have been. It was amazing and charming and poignant and painful and bittersweet. I was astounded . . and went out and bought all of his other novels.

Ghosting/David Poyer: Fantastic premise . . . dysfunctional family sailing the seas, arguing, getting seasick, and OF COURSE, running into "bad guys" . . . but gosh, you better not really LIKE any of these characters because very very few of them make it to the end of the novel. Make a terrific Saturday night B- movie.

White Horse/Alex Adams: Fascinating take on the plague/end of the world theme. A few almost implausible implausibilities at the very end, but it was worth suspending believability for the story. And wow, can the woman write great metaphors

Happy reading, gang!

Like It? Great. . . It's Over

Companies like Netflix, and Hulu, plus libraries and cable TV have made it possible to watch a huge variety of TV series that are no longer made. In many ways, this is wonderful . . . but I always feel like I am about six steps behind. Everytime I find a great series I really like, it is either (a) already off the air or (b) on its last season. Oh sure, there are quite a few on TV currently that I like watching--"The Big Bang Theory" is charming; "Supernatural" is a family favorite, and I have recently been enjoying the series "Parenthood".  But some of the series I like best aren't around anymore.

It started years ago with "Star Trek: The Next Generation". By the time I started watching it, it was on its final season. Sigh. Then, later I started watching "Buffy" and "Angel". The entire family became Whedonites. And then, of course, both series, along with the wonderful "Firefly", all went off the air. Sigh again.

Now it's "Six Feet Under". I knew that Jasmine loved the show when it was on, but we were in the middle of a number of other series, so I kept bumping this one to the end of our Netflix queue. Finally, it got to the top and we started watching it, and now Nicole, Coryn and I are hooked. Great characters, fascinating stories, unexpected plots twists and what a cast! We started with season 1 and today we watched the first disc of season 5--the last season. We talked about how much we will miss the characters .  . . after you spend that many hours watching them, knowing their secrets, seeing their mistakes, laughing--and crying--at their situations, you feel like you KNOW these people. When I started watching the show, Michael Hall was Dexter playing a gay funeral director . . . Now he has become David playing a serial killer. (If you don't watch those shows, that statement doesn't make any sense . . . I know, just roll with it . . ) We will finish up the show just before Nicole leaves for Oz. Yes, that is only about a month away. BIG SIGH.

Guess there will be a lot of people missed by then, eh?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pet Peeve Up Close and Personal

If you've been reading this blog, writing me letters, or know me personally, you know that one habit I am NOT FOND OF (read disgusted and appalled by) is spitting. Now if a bug flies in your mouth or you're eating something horrible, spitting is permissible. Not on the sidewalk where I'm walking, mind you, but discreetly into a wastebasket or napkin.
This morning I was awakened by our neighbor. (Yes, we are still sleeping out on the upper deck.) Now, they have a little baby (just about one now, I think) and occasionally I am wakened by him crying or someone taking him outside and playing with him. Those are basically good sounds.
This morning the husband was doing something in the back yard. I don't know what it was, but it involved a lot of moving stuff around and making noise. It was only 8 a.m. but that's ok. I am sleeping outside and I do not expect the squirrels and birds to stop chirping and chittering, or the traffic to stop honking and revving their engines, or the neighborhood dogs to stop barking. Actually, I generally like those sounds. Since I have tinnitus, ear plugs are certainly not an option. Then I would hear much more unpleasant sounds.
Today, however, was something completely different. About every 3-5 minutes, this man would make that horrible, guttural throat sound that precedes spitting and then spit. Now, I don't know what is wrong with this young man. He is only in his 20s, I think. But I would be concerned about lung cancer by the sounds of it. How can only ONE PERSON have that much phlegm?? I mean . . . . in the half hour I laid there trying desperately to go back to sleep, he did it at least a dozen times. Each time was rattly and wet and UGLY sounding. I finally gave up and got up.
While I was getting my glasses, putting on my nightgown, hugging my husband good morning and adjusting to Sherm's constant presence, the guy did it another three times. I am sure it must be a real turn on for his wife. Ewwwwww.
If I was writing Commandments, Thou Shall Not Spit (Unless a Bug Flyeth into your Mouth) would definitely be in the top five. At least you can rest assured I'm not coveting my neighbor's spouse!

Friday, August 10, 2012


At breakfast today, Coryn told me that I needed to name Sherm's ghosts since I had already named him. We brainstormed for a few minutes and I finally decided on Huey, Louie, and Dewey. I am hoping they are so insulted by being named after three cartoon ducks that they will leave in a huff.
Heck, I just want them to leave.
If I keep hearing sounds that no one else can hear (tinnitus) and seeing objects no one can see (floater), I am pretty sure commitment papers will be imminent. Cue "They're Coming to Take Me Away" theme song.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Supernatural Sherm

Just when you thought it was safe to open your eyes . . .
Sherm is apparently being haunted. How do I know this? Today several transparent ghost-like floaters (ha, now that name is funnier considering) have joined him. They keep to the far right of my vision and  only wave like deep ocean seaweed when I am looking straight ahead. Glance their way and, like the ghosts on television, they dash completely out of sight and hide until I forget all about them. Then they start waving again.
Since it just started this morning, right now it is rather entertaining. By tonight, it will be irritating. Tomorrow it will just piss me off.
Sigh. Sherm should have asked me before asking ghosts to join him. But then, he didn't ask if he could move in in the first place, so this obvious lack of manners is not a surprise.
Maybe I need an exorcist?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sherm, Part 2

Sherm has overstayed his welcome. Admittedly, he had overstayed it ten minutes after I noticed him lurking in my right eye, but a week later, he has really, really overstayed it.
I don't like him. Sure, he's quiet and he doesn't cause me any pain. But when I take a shower, I keep thinking something is crawling up the wall.
It's Sherm.
When I type I keep reaching up to brush back what seems like an annoying hair.
It's Sherm.
When I first wake up in the morning and look around, I think what the hell is that thing?
Yes, it's Sherm.
I want him to go away now. The right side of my body is already so screwed. It's the side with the bad eye, the bad ear, the bad hip. The side I had the kidney stones. The side my back hurts. The side my headaches are on. The side I can't hear as well on, and has 24/7 tinnitus. The side with the carpal tunnel wrist that I have to keep a brace on.
Enough is enough, right?
So, I am serving Sherm an eviction notice. I am giving him 24 hours to move out of my body and into something else like . . I don't know. . how about a fly? They have such wild and crazy eyes anyway, they probably wouldn't notice a sperm-like floater that keeps dancing around. Sherm could see much more interesting places if he hung out with a fly. Nature has to be more interesting than the computer screen I am usually staring at.
Think it will work? Cross your fingers for me. (Don't cross your eyes though!)

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Busy Morning

It has been a while since I described a typical morning in this writer's life, so here you go.

I have been up for almost 4 hours at this point. During those four hours:

1. I did a phone interview for 30 minutes with a truly charming almost 14-yr-old.
2. I called and scheduled two additional interviews with other people.
3. I sent interview questions to two more people.
4. I was given and accepted six new books for a new company. I choose titles and due dates and signed contracts.
5. I downloaded four files for a project I will be working on this afternoon.
6. I sent and received more than 50 emails ( a mix of personal work).
7. I signed two contracts and got them ready for faxing.
8. I had a brief discussion with a friend of my husband's and discovered that his stepfather is a really famous children's author and was amazed. Those books were part of my kids' childhood.
9. I went out for coffee.
10. I accepted a new item writing assignment due next week.
11. I updated my money coming in, current assignments and to do today lists.

And what's up for this afternoon?
1. Doing at least two more phone interviews. Probably three.
2. Writing two introduction to business lesson summaries.
3. Researching library books for the book I am working on.
4. Keeping up with incoming emails.

It is now almost 1 p.m. and I feel like an entire day has passed. I wonder why?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Meet Sherm

I have a new companion. He hangs out with me 24/7, literally never leaving my sight--even when I close my eyes. He is a long sperm-shaped floater in my right eye and I have named him Sherm the Worm ( yes I know that Sherm the Sperm would work, but the idea of a sperm in my eye was even more disturbing than a worm!). He is apparently shy because every time I try to look directly at him, he slithers to the right, just to the periphery of my vision. He doesn't cause me any discomfort. He doesn't turn around and talk to me (Joseph told me to be sure and let him know if that happened.). No, he just shows up constantly, and swims around, making himself especially known when I look at a white computer screen or a white page of a book.

I am not sure that I like Sherm. I mean, I didn't invite him over. I didn't ask him to move into my right eye. I am not sure how long he is planning to stay. Each morning when I wake up, I put on my glasses and then check to see if he is still there. So far, yes, he is.

Sherm Orr. Sounds strange. But I guess it sounds slightly better than Sperm Orr, right?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Channeling my Mother

Last nite, as I was crawling into bed, Nicole ran up the stairs and brought me my heating pad from the living room. She plugged it in next to the bed and said, "Here, this might make it easier to sleep." :) (Yup, she is always that nice.)
As I settled the heating pad under my right hip (which is making my life FAR too challenging this past week), I thought, Oh dear, I am channeling my mother . . .  She slept with a heating pad every night for the last 20 years of her life due to back pain. For just a moment there was nothing more in life that I wanted than to pick up the phone and call her. I wanted to say how sorry I was that I didn't pay more attention when she was in pain. I wanted to tell her I UNDERSTOOD now. I wanted to hear her smile over the phone and reassure me that she still loved me. That I still "knocked her socks off". Instead, I pulled up the covers, turned the heating pad on low and snuggled with the other person in my life who loves me that much (is this where I say, oh yea, Joseph was there too? Heehee.)
Last year, in June, we had a strange confluence of events that resulted in NO INCOME for the entire month. This year, it is apparently going to occur in August. Not NO money, but about one-fifth of what I typically get in a month. That means life will change for a while. Less leaving the house. More careful eating. No visits to the thrift stores.
But that's okay. Goodness knows, this house has no lack of good material for reading, stacks of stationery for letter writing, and movies for watching. Best of all, it is filled with the people I find the most entertaining, compassionate, patient, and loving in the world. Good place to hang out, I'd say. Even if I have to do it with a heating pad behind me.