Saturday, November 19, 2016

One Adventure After Another

Honestly, I have not been up to much these past few months.  Working during the week and reading any moment I can. Not much writing I'm afraid.

But I'm blaming that on Harry Potter as those are the books I devoured over the summer. He's such an evil influence, you know.  Teaching kids spells and how to do magic.

At least, that's what I was taught back in my church days.

However flawed that logic is, I put off reading the series until after I was no longer attending church. It was one of those things I wanted to make my own decision about, because at almost 30 I was tired of having other's make decisions for me. Aside from finding the novels a bit cliched, and some of Harry's antics rather irritating, I liked them. Although to this day I still feel slightly guilty. I have some family members who still go to church and have their noses turned up the books.

The books are far more harmless than some books I won't name. I mean, they're fiction.  I have yet to produce a Patronus when I yell Expecto Patronum (which literally translates as I await a guardian) or disarm someone with Expelliarmus.

In fact, there are a lot of good lessons in Harry Potter. Don't trust diaries that write back. Don't be quick to judge people. Have friends outside of your clique. Don't wait until the last minute to do your homework. Face your fears with humor. Chocolate is medicine for depression.

And those are just a few.

One weekend in late summer Mr. Janney and I went up to his parents to help with fire wood. That was fun. I got to operate the homemade wood-splitter Dad made. We polished off a good chunk of his wood pile that afternoon and thanks to an increase of Saturday work, we never did get back up to finish the rest.

We also took the dog with us that day. Jaclyn loves getting out of the trailer when she can, although she doesn't like having to be tied up. At least we didn't run into any snakes this time. A few spiders maybe, and a lot of bugs, but I didn't look that close. Was very glad I was wearing work gloves.

My mother turned 70 in the  beginning of October. Us five kids threw her a party, that was decently attended. I was really impressed how we were all able to work together without fighting (as siblings do) in order to make the day special for mom. Dad would have approved, were he still alive. I loved the moment when a couple of friends from a few hours away showed up - she had NO IDEA they were coming as I had never mentioned it to her so it would be a surprise for her since she knew all about the party in advance.

I managed to sneak a pretty good selfie of mom and us five. I'm in the blue, Mom's in the pink, Sara is on her left. Cliff is behind her right, Liston is behind Sara, and Duane's head is just behind Cliff. I'm not sure where our older half-sister was hiding for this picture. I was cheating and taking it while a friend was taking a group picture of us.

It was the one of the few Saturdays Mr. Janney and I managed to have off. I was really worried about it too. I even warned my supervisor about it. 'If we work that Saturday, I won't be able to be here. That's the day for my mom's 70th that we've had planned forever' or at least before Saturday work started.

Mr. Janney and I managed to buy a second vehicle. It's hard in our area to find anyone willing to work payments on a private purchase for a used vehicle. And even harder to find a decent vehicle for under a thousand. We had to go for a two hour trip for this car, and I think she'll be worth it. She needs a little TLC, but she runs. And has a sunroof! That's a novelty I've never had in a vehicle before and I love it. Mr. Janney's mother claims he's ridden with one before, but he doesn't remember it. Let's just say that I'm not the only one playing as we drive with it open.

It reminds me just a bit of the car we had repossessed during the hard time when Justin and I almost lost everything because of medical reasons. Mainly because it's silver and a sedan. A little smaller, and it's standard instead of automatic. But she giddy ups and goes, and that's all that matter.

It will help on days when Mr. Janney and I have different work hours. When he has a 12hour shift (like tomorrow) and I don't, or vice versa. Or when I get to go to first shift, some time after Thanksgiving. Which I'm really kind of excited about. I was on their day shift for training a year ago and I felt better working 7-3 than I did 6-3:30 at the old place. I'm hoping the change in shift will help my blood sugar numbers. They've been on the high side the past summer.

I was also diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Hashimoto's thyroid. Simple means that my own immune system is attacking my thyroid, which is why it needs ever increasing doses of synthetic hormone in order to work right, and why I still feel like crap even though the drugs are doing an awesome job.  I've been experimenting with a gluten free diet because of this, because a lot of others with Hashimoto's report that it helps. I can definitely tell a difference, especially when I cheat and eat something I know has gluten in it.

Well, as I mentioned before, we have work this Saturday (today) and have to get signed off.  I guess I've been busier than I thought.  I promise I will write again soon.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Roller Coaster Day

Well, I'm back a little sooner than I expected, but there's nothing wrong with that!

Mr Janney and I have had a bit of a rough couple of months when it comes to having stuff stolen from us. Up until today it was nothing major, just a few treats stolen from our lunch box at work. Seriously, who does that? In the middle of my work day is the best time for me as a diabetic to have a treat, but oh well, no big loss. Irritating to be sure, even as 'minor' of a violation as it is.

But today's experience was a little more serious.

I was awake but still in bed when my husband called me just a few minutes after leaving for work. He wanted me to check his dirty clothes for his wallet because he had found some cards on the ground next to the truck before he left. Uh oh. So I got out of bed and started looking.  I even checked the washed clothes in the dryer to see if I'd washed it since the last time he'd seen it had been Sunday before I started laundry. Nothing. He was like, 'Well, someone's been in our truck then. They took the coins in the dash and my wallet.'

Well, crap.

Since he was already on the road, I sent him to the state police barracks to report it while I got on the phone with the bank to report his debit card as stolen.  Once my part was done, I walked the dog and decided to wander out to our small driveway to see if there was anything else laying on the ground. Sure enough, his debit card and another older card lay face down on the ground almost at the end of the driveway, almost on the pavement of the trailer park road. Whew!! Even though it had been cancelled and he has to request a new one, it was still something of a relief to find that. I haven't figured out what to do about the driver's license or the permit to carry a concealed weapon, but that's what Google is for. right?

The thief did make off with some cash. Twenty dollars and a couple bucks in change. But since he (or she) dropped the debit card, which doubles as a credit card, it could have been much worse. Like I said to Mr. Janney, all they would need to order something online is the front and back numbers. Hopefully we dodged a bullet there.

So then, the day was off to a pretty dismal start.  No point in going back to bed for another forty-five minutes when my alarm would go off, so I stayed up and made my tossed salad and fried some chicken. I also managed to get some laundry put away, laundry that I've been trying to get put away for a few weeks now.  So low in energy even though the increased thyroid meds have lowered my levels down to just above 2. Which is good, but since I still feel so crummy we're going to try one more dosage increase.  Hopefully I'll be outrunning my husband then.

Work was its usual for about ten minutes. At which time I was told I had to go out for my annual hearing test in another ten minutes. Which was still an 'ok whatever, no big deal' reaction. Even though that was a weird experience in itself since they test about 8 of us at the same time, in the same room...well, it was kind of like a camper/trailer type thing and then the instructor shut the door and I was thinking "claustrophobic much?" But anyway, before that happened, like - about 2 minutes before I was going to set my door down and start walking in the direction I needed to go, my supervisor comes up to me and asks if I'm busy. Uhm, yeah, kinda...But she had white envelopes in her hands and I knew what that had to mean so even though I had very little time, she pulled me off to the side and informed me that I was finally able to be hired on as a full time employee (as opposed to working as a Temp). Yay!

So that lifted my spirits quite a bit. I get my health insurance through my husband, so I haven't been worried about that.  But I'll be able to start a 401K again and start saving for that imaginary day when I can retire. And I'll get paid holidays and vacation days.  And after that, nothing about the night was normal. Like I said to the one QA before leaving, it was just a weird night. People kept being cycled through for their hearing tests, so I was working in different places for about half an hour. We finally caught up with our product line and had to wait for new product to get to our section of the plant. No lunch and we ended up leaving just before 9pm. As opposed to the full night we had the night before. Go fig.

Life certainly can be a roller coaster sometimes! Sometimes several times a day! Here's hoping for a good rest of the week!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Work in Progress

Just checking in and saying HI!

While you're waiting for me to post a lengthy post here again, why don't you head on over to Broads of a Feather and check out my latest post there? Hopefully I'll have something to post here by the weekend. I do have a post in mind, but it involves interviewing some people to make sure I have my facts straight.  I won't make you wait too long for something though.

The pic I've shared is one I took at the end of Memorial Day weekend. I was dropping mom off at home and there was this squirrel. Cheeky little fella.

Hope the week goes smoothly for us all!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

At long last...

Never enough time!
I posted my teaser post right before I learned that I would have to work Saturday, and that kinda messed my schedule up and I never got back to my blogging idea about authentic online relationships.

It was sparked when one of my Facebook friends, one who I actually know in 'real life' claimed that she was going to be deleting her account after a conversation with her daughter.  Because Facebook is more or less fake and the relationships aren't authentic. While there is a grain of truth to her daughter's claim, she's also wrong.

Just like in real life, you can't group an entire people together based on one bad apple or experience. Not all doctors are quacks, not all men are bad, not all churches are bad. And relationships can be faked in real life just as easily as online.

Being authentic online, is the one thing I always see on self-help lists for social media. Because even online people can tell when you're just blowing smoke. Whether you're an independent author trying to build a fan base or a blogger trying to connect with like-minded people.

I have 'met' several people on Facebook I consider good friends even though I've never met them. Long before I ever decided to self publish. They may or may not return the sentiment.  But you find that in real life too. I love my 'poke wars' with a friend in Portland.  I love the fishing pictures from the friend who lives in Barrow Alaska --- talk about some culture shock there! I love staying connected with high school classmates; some of which I love even more now than I did then. I'm even friends with a couple of my husband's Xbox buddies, one is a teacher and the other is an avid fisher for catfish. I have friends in Australia and New Zealand - sometimes I feel like I get to celebrate major holidays twice because of the time difference - LOVE it!!

At least three of my Facebook friends I met initially through my first personal blog.  Not maintaining that blog is one of my biggest regrets. I met a lot of good people that way. But instead, I have started over and keep pegging away.

C.P., myself, and our friend Penny <3
And I've had the opportunity to meet some of my Facebook friends in real life as well, further cementing the friendship.  C.P. Stringham and I met first on Facebook --- even though she lives about an hour away.  Through a mutual friend...who neither one of us really know in real life. I know I attended the same funeral as this mutual friend, but I don't recall if we ever actually met. Her aunt meant, means, a great deal to me - she was a huge influence growing up and I dedicated my first book to her. I still dream about her.  I've also managed to meet another friend (Penny) through C.P. as she was her friend first.

Facebook also allows me to have a relationship with long distant relatives, and friends who no longer live in the area, or even friends I met in an attempt to go to college in my younger years. I've never met some of my long distant relatives, I wasn't able to make that road trip with my mother years ago.  But we've got Facebook.  Last year when my husband and I were going through an intense financial crisis due to illness and injury, these are the ones who helped me the most. I'm not saying that to put anyone down, as everyone local was going through their own hardships at the time as well. But these friends weren't, or did what they could.

Birds of a feather...need I say more?
Although I have yet to cultivate relationships with anyone through my author page, I keep posting on that as well. Mostly meme's related to reading and writing, and blog links.  Occasionally I'll give a personal update (I'm due for one).

For the time being, we live in an online society.  I for one intend to make the most of it, both on a personal level and a professional as I intend to continue to publish books for as long as I live. For me, this online community is a necessity. If my friend feels the need to leave Facebook, then that's the right choice for her to make.  We all have to make the choices that are right for our lives, regardless of what naysayers might comment.

Relationships, online or upclose, are what we put into them.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Blank is the screen before me, as white as any piece of paper.  There are no lines, but it longs to be filled just the same.  The save button cycles as I sit and stare, wondering what to write.  Pleading with my tired brain to come up with something cool and witty.  It fails me, once again.

Actually, I do have something to write about, but I can only get it started tonight and I want to do it justice. So I'm going to throw out a short teaser post to help hold myself accountable to writing the piece about authentic online relationship. Expect it before the end of the week.  No later than Friday.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Conversations With Myself

Do you talk to yourself?

I do.

A lot.

We all know the old joke, about needing expert advice.  But honestly, isolation drove me to it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

I lived on my own for about five years.  Many of my jobs have had an element of isolation to them as well. At the veneer plant, there were some nights I would be the only one working in my building.  As a receptionist and librarian, hours could pass without a patron.  As a bus driver, the time before picking up my first student and dropping off my last could be lengthy.

My first year at the print facility I was with the other employees, but once I was moved into the pre-press department hours could go by with my seeing another human being. Many times I would be alone in the building for a few hours, my only company the 'Indians' that haunted the place.

At the meat plant, even standing near each other, there wasn't always time for me to talk to my neighbor, especially when the meat was coming at us fast.  Once they moved me to the other side of the line, I was essentially by myself.  Oh, there were workers across from me, but it was terrible trying to talk to them, mostly due to the noise levels.

Dame Helen Mirren circa 2014
This hasn't always been a bad thing.  The isolation gave me a chances to 'think out loud' and verbalize dialogue in whichever novel I was working on at the time.  Which sometimes included hand waving as I was 'mentally' acting out the person's body language.  I know at the meat plant I caused more than a little bit of laughter.  And let me tell you something, trying to imitate Dame Helen Mirren as your character can be a little tough.  If Veronica were a few years older, Dame Helen would be the woman I'd want playing her in a movie.  Although Dame Helen certainly doesn't look her 70 years so I'd be willing to bet she'd be able to pull it off playing a character almost 30 years her junior.

But talking to myself isn't always a good thing either.  In my present job, there is no isolation except when I'm standing in my work area inspection the cabinet door and even then it is possible to turn my head one way or the other and talk to my nearest neighbor. But I still catch myself muttering when a door is giving me grief or the person in charge is irritating me or just when I'm brooding about something non-work related.

I'm a terrible brooder, even on the best of days.  Whether it's over something I've seen on Facebook, which really is a waste of time, or about a hiccup in my story.  I've had such trouble writing this third novel, and I'm not always sure why.  Some of it has been related to depression and lack of energy. My thyroid has been off again, my levels crept back up to 8+ by the time I had lab work done.  Some of it has just been missing pieces of the puzzle/plot that I only just realized were missing. I've ironed one out and have been working on the other.

One of the missing pieces was in fact the antagonist herself, Veronica as the Dragon Queen.  I just needed to add more of her earlier in the novel. Why have an antagonist that only shows up for her court scenes and the battle scene at the end? And of course, if I include more of the Dragon Queen, then that means I have to include at least one more Dragon Dream.  That revelation came from a conversation with my husband, which still amuses me because he doesn't read.  He was actually trying to sell my books to his coworkers and when they asked what it was about, which he only has a vague notion about from bits and pieces I've shared.  One of the things he said to them was that there was a dragon in it. And it hit me then that I needed to include more dragon sequences in the third novel.  It's opened the doors of creativity again.

Sometimes it pays to have a conversation with someone other than myself!

The contraption of death.
Especially when it's self encouragement like what I went through Sunday afternoon after I fell off my bike.  I have crappy balance anyway, so this bike riding project of my husband's is really challenging me.  I only fell off once, but afterwards my adrenaline is so high and I'm so shaky that it takes me several minutes before I can back on.  I refuse to give up after falling.  I just kept telling myself out loud that "I will get this. I will not walk my bike back to the truck. I will get back on and ride back." Mr Janney was a little amused.  And I did.  After one false start, I got back on and rode off. You can read more about my bike riding at the link I provided at the bottom of the post.

The latest posts are up at Broads of a Feather, both mine and C.P.'s...why don't you head on over and check them out?

Monday, March 28, 2016

What a Slacker!

What a slacker I've been here!  I've been doing a decent job at keeping up with our every other week schedule over at Broads of a Feather, but not here! Well, that will have to change!

I know, I know.  I've said that before and I do good for a little while, then fall right back into my old bad habits.  That has never stopped me from continuing to try though!

I'm simply going to have to save my tv shows for after I've done some writing work.

Easier said than done!
Who can get any work done with Mark Harmon on the screen?

I've been a long time fan of shows like NCIS and Criminal Minds.  NCIS has been airing since forever...ok, only since 2003.  It's one of my favorite shows, not only to keep up on but to binge watch reruns.  Thanks to stations who run consistent marathons and to my cable company having several episodes available for viewing at once.  I really can't pick a favorite character, because they're all great!  The show is a delightful mix of who-done-it, comedy and drama.  Sadly, this is Michael Weatherly's last season as Tony DiNozzo.  I so hope they give him a happy ending of some kind.  I don't care if he meets up with Ziva or Jeanne Benoit to live happily ever after!  I just hope that the show will go on without him.  After 13 years of NCIS, I don't want it going anywhere just yet!

Another great cast!
Criminal Minds makes me think too much about motives and psychology.  They've had some great story arcs over the years.  And some very heartbreaking episodes.  The one that sticks out in my mind is "Normal".  We follow the BAU gang as they try to uncover the identity of the Road Warrior who was driving around shooting a shotgun at people (and killing some).  The Road Warrior was simply a normal man who had a psychotic break a few months after the death of a daughter.  His break was so deep, that he murdered his wife and other children and didn't realize it, a part of his brain was still seeing them and interacting with them.  When the gang broke the news to him, he was devastated.  Some of the episodes are beyond disturbing, but humans can be deeply disturbing sometimes.  And Just like NCIS, Criminal Minds has lost one of their main actors this season.  Shemar Moore's last regular episode just aired last week.  After three weeks of shows where his character was central, it was almost a relief...that he was still alive. Whoever masterminded his farewell episodes put that character through hell!

And if this isn't enough of a distraction, they've developed a Criminal Minds spin-off!  Beyond Borders aired for the first time last week.  Granted, its star is none other that Gary Sinise, who I have loved since CSI:NY (one of the few shows on Netflix I watched from start to finish and would do so again if I still had a subscription!).  So I already had my mind made up long before I watched it.  However, after watching it I think the show does have potential and would tune in anyway to see if they develop it.

I do watch a few other shows. Blue Bloods - which I can never make up my mind whether I like it or not.  But that one has Tom Selleck in it and he was probably one of my first loves growing up! Magnum PI came on at 4pm and that was the time the school bus dropped us off at home.  I still remember the post card I received from his fan club in 5th grade when I wrote him a letter as part of a class assignment. It was my most prized possession for many years, even after I realized it was a standard reply and he never had anything to do with it.  I'll also watch NCIS: New Orleans even thought it doesn't have the same charisma that the original does.  But it has another actor I'm a fan of, Scott Bakula, so I watch anyways.

Now all I need is for Chris Pine to switch from movies to tv and you'd never see me again! Ok, not really, but I made myself chuckle.  I like Chris Pine right where he's at on the big screen and can't wait to watch The Finest Hours when it becomes available online.  Although I have yet to see 'Into the Woods'. Everything in its time!

For now though, I am switching gears and working on my novel a bit before dinner. (Even though I'm not posting this until Monday morning, I'm leaving that sentence!)

What shows do you like to watch, no matter what?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Just Start Writing - even if it's drivel

As blank as my mind...with fiery ideas
trying their hardest to get in...
Just start writing.

That's what I sit here telling myself.

I have a blog post started for my next turn over at Broads of a Feather, and it's coming along nicely enough.  But then I take a break waiting for a reply from my mother on details and so I switch to this blog to get a post up and started --- and my mind is as blank as the white field in the middle of the screen patiently waiting to be filled with words.

Surely I had an idea of something I wanted to post, but apparently I neglected to write it down or even remember it.  I already did a post, short and sweet, remembering Alan Rickman who died earlier this week.  I'm still bummed about it.  He was one of the actors I liked the most.

The day I learned of his death, I said something to my husband about feeling bummed. After I explained who Alan Rickman was, and I'm still not sure he's made the connection.  So he was not very sympathetic to my mood.  He said something like we can't live forever or everyone dies sometimes. To which I gave him a very flat look and said that didn't mean we couldn't feel sad when someone died,

Even if it's an actor we've never met.

I live in a world all my own really.  It's probably a mental illness that forms attachments to actors based on the roles they've played in my life...or my imagination. I mean, when I think of any fan fiction story I have, whether it's Star Wars or Star Trek...the actors are the images that come to mind. Naturally.

M*A*S*H and Hawkeye Pierce have helped me through more than one bought of depression and when Alan Alda dies...I'm gonna cry a river.  I've dreamt of all of them, mostly Trek.  Although I will say I had a particularly dramatic dream in which a young Alan Alda as Hawkeye held me while I cried...I'm not sure why I was crying, just that I needed a father figure and in the dream in that moment it gave me him.

In my head, they're my friends. Which I know makes me their dreaded enemy.  Even though I've stalked them all over the years to keep up on their careers and lives.  It's probably a good thing I didn't have the internet and Facebook when I was a teenager.  Oh the trouble I'd have gotten myself into!

I'm forever in love with this
It's all in good fun though.  I doubt I'd be able to form a coherent sentence if I were to meet any of them in person.  I mean, I stumble over my tongue often enough in normal everyday conversations!  I still have the screen shot from when Robert Downey Jr "liked" one of my comments on one of his posts.  Even though my husband was like, "How do you know it was really him?" Party pooper!  Not every moment needs to have cold harsh reality poured on it...sometimes just let the sun shine!  Besides, RDJ is reported to run his own page, so the odds are in my favor that it was really him!

I'm not sure that I've said anything at all important and relevant in this.  It's pretty much just wandering drivel written as I wrack my bent brain trying to come up with a blog post so I don't lose connection with any of my readers.  I think I'm gonna run with it and post it though, slap a picture in to make it look good.

Besides, my cake is done baking and it smells really good.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Here We Are Again!

The start of a new year.

I've seen many hopes and wishes for the upcoming year throughout different media outlets.  When we have a rough year, it's natural to wish for a turn of events in the new year.  2014 was a decent year for me, and I had such high hopes for 2015 and boy was it a lot rougher than what I was anticipating.

But we survived it and now are faced with another new year.  Like many others I hope it turns out better than the last one!

Things will be different, to be sure.  Mr. Janney is back to work and I have changed jobs.  We're both feeling better physically, so that right there is a huge plus in our favor!

And since I managed to accomplish some of the things that I wanted to get done this past week while we were off work, and even a few that were surprises, it's given me a higher hope for the new year.  We haven't been through the clothes in our closet yet, but Mr. Janney and I went through both our dressers and weeded out clothes we can't or shouldn't wear anymore.  We got rid of a good bit.

We finally got the top coat of sealant on the table Mr. Janney made me a year ago. It's so shiny and pretty!  It took us longer than it should have because the first time hubby tried sanding the top...he sanded too far and then we had to buy a new board.  But it was worth it, because this turned out so  nice.

I am terrible at keeping my table clear of clutter.  It is somehow my hoarder parents fault - just joking...But anyway, it's a learned habit that I am determined to unlearn this year.  So far, the only things on the table are my blood testing kit, my medicine container and the roll of paper towels.  Which really, is an accomplishment so far.

One of the reasons why I believe I can do this, is my husband also decided to finally make me some shelves.  Either because he loves me or just so I'd stop asking, I'm not a hundred percent sure!  I was just asking for free standing shelves, but he felt that they would get in the way so he decided to build them into an already existing nook.  Really, this is why I let him rearrange the furniture and stuff like that because he has a better eye for it than I do.

And he did a great job!  I finally have somewhere to put my bulky appliances. What home ever has enough counter space anyway? I mean, unless you've designed the house yourself, the odds are slim.

Our toaster spent many long months sitting on the edge of our table near an outlet, but it wasn't close enough so we always had to use an extension cord.  And I never had a good spot to store the large electric grill a friend bought me for my birthday a few years ago when we didn't have propane to cook.

But I do now.  I grin every time I walk by it.  I still have a few pieces to relocate.  The rotisserie cooker Grandma Peterson gave us a while back still needs to change locations.  It's a huge relief for me to have this.  I did help him.  I was working on doing the dishes that day so I could be near whenever he needed me to hold boards and put in screws.  We had to put the dog in her cage during all this, because she wanted to be right in the middle of all the action and that's just not a good mix with power tools.

I still have to reorganize the items that were already on the small shelf that this is build under and into.  Then my toaster will be sitting on the top, right where there's an outlet so I won't have to move it anymore or use an extension cord.

Another thing that happened is I had a break through with one of the scenes in my novel that's been bothering me.  So I'm hoping that means the writing bug has bitten and that stuff will start flowing again.  I know I'm not the only one that likes hearing mother-in-law asked my just last night if I was going to be releasing book 3 anytime soon.  Well, it's looking sooner than what it was last week.  Not going to be brave enough to even begin to estimate a date though!

Hope everyone had a safe and happy start to the new Year!  Here's looking at 2016!