Sunday, October 31, 2004

10/31 Worked late last night

I had a great time working at ComedySportz yesterday. But I noticed one thing about myself. If I work noon-11PM I get kind of punchy at the end of the shift. Especially after working a full week on my regular job. I found it difficult to balance the books for the last took me a long time. Hate that.

Today, I'm taking it easy. Am watching football and doing laundry right now. Love one/hate the other. Guess which is which.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

10/30 Halloween fun

Yesterday at work was really a lot of fun. I ate way too much, but when I got home from work I was still full, so I didn't eat dinner. I think it will be okay. As of yesterday I'm down 17.5 pounds in 9 weeks and am thrilled. Only lost 1/2 pound but that's because I went home to Quincy last weekend for the celebration. This week will turn out better.

Today I work 10-12 hours at CSz. It will be very tiring, but should be fun. We're giving discounts to people who wear costumes, which will make accounting a little more difficult. Plus I'll have to make hard decisions like--does a crazy tie count as a costume? Earth-shattering decisions like that.

Tomorrow I'll sleep a good part of the day most likely. Then will get my laptop and notes set up to begin NANOWRIMO on Monday after work.

My NANO blog.

Friday, October 29, 2004

10/29 One-issue voters

I get emails all the time from people who urge me to vote for George Bush because he's pro-life and I say Hogwash! He might be anti-abortion, but I don't see him as pro-life at all. Here's what I wrote on a friend's blog:

I'm a Right to Lifer too--but I'm a LIBERAL in every other sense of the word. I loved what the late Cardinal Behrnadin of Chicago said... he called it a consistent ethic of life (at first he called it a seamless garment, but everyone used that for their own purposes, so he changed it).So what I see--If I'm pro-life and I really believe that, I have to vote for the person I see as more pro-life, if that's the only issue I'm looking at (and it's certainly not). But I see Kerry as more pro-life than Bush. If I believe life starts at conception and ends at death, then the 9 months in the womb is a much shorter span of time than the 70 some years we have left. A consistent ethic tells me that I should respect life in all its forms--not just in the womb, but in the unemployment line, in the homeless shelters, on death row, in a bunker in Afghanistan, lying in a hospital in Iraq, grieving over my dead child in the US, etc. I can't put a value on one life over another. Except for my children of course, they have a higher value. :) Not trying to convince anyone, but wanted to express why I think Kerry is more pro-life than Bush. Jer (GET OUT AND VOTE!)

Thursday, October 28, 2004

10/28 Kayla and Beata

I spoke to Kayla Tuesday and again today. Hunter didn't want to talk either day. But Kayla talked my arm off. I just adore her. She talked to me about Halloween. She's going to her pre-school party as Mulan (an outfit I'd bought her a while back). She's thrilled because normally she can't go outside in that outfit. She said her dad bought her shoes to go with it. And in Glasgow I found the perfect flower for her hair to complete the ensemble. Can't wait to see the pictures.

And this morning, while I was getting ready for work, Beata and Rob called from Japan. Bea was so excited. She had gotten her GED, even though English isn't her first language, and is now in college. After her second class she called to tell me of her experience. She'd been shy because of her Polish/Danish accent, thinking that people would stare at her or, even worse, laugh. But Rob encouraged her, and she spoke up in her class and was pleased that she knew answers that others didn't. After class she spoke with the professor while she waited for Rob to finish one of his classes. She said she told the professor about me--about how supportive I am, and how much she loves me. Also that I'm a writer and editor (don't look at my typos in my blogs). She really brought a smile to my face. Then Rob got on for a moment. I only had another minute before I had to leave for work. Normally it doesn't matter when I'm late but on Thursdays I lead the all-staff meeting and have to be on time. So Rob and I exchanged quick "I love yous" and I let both of them know that we're still anxiously awaiting their arrival. Rob said he got tired of wasting time just waiting for the Army to do what they said they're going to do. So they both enrolled in school. If the Army gives him orders back to the States, he said they'll drop school in a heartbeat.

Gosh, I miss them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

10/27 Elephants are gone from my desk

My work is becoming more and more taxing. Am I crazy that I love being so busy? Probably.

One downside--I may not get the part-time help I'd planned on. That's causing a little anxiety, but we'll see how it plays out.

Last night's rehearsal was stupendous. We played Replay for most of the session, and I enjoyed it so much. The class was small--only eight people showed up. Usually we have 12, so we got a lot more stage time, which isn't a bad thing at all. Our show is in two weeks and having more practice time (equaling more fun time) is awesome.

I shipped the elephants yesterday. And Kayla is looking forward to getting them. And I haven't heard yet from UPS whether they'll send her a letter of apology. We'll see.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

10/26 Bye-bye elephants!

Because two lovely people in my office wanted Kayla to be happy, I now have two rather large elephants sitting on my desk. I must send them to Kayla immediately! Someone walked by, saw the elephants and said, "I hope that's a symbol of how you're voting." Yikes...get these "things" off my desk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 25, 2004

10/25 The party's over

I'm back in Milwaukee. Arrived yesterday afternoon.

I got to bed at 1 AM on Sunday and had to get up at 5 AM to catch the train, so I didn't get any work done on the way back to Milwaukee--or when I got home.

Joe and Cindy's 25th Wedding Anniversary Celebration was awesome. We began with an inpromptu lunch on Saturday--ten of us. It was great, and I ate really healthfully, despite being surrounded by mounds of french fries.

At five we all went to Mass together at the church two blocks from where we grew up. That was very cool. Joe and Cindy live in the house we grew up in. Of course it's a lot different now--much nicer.

At the party itself, I ate way too much, but not enough to feel guilty. So I think that's pretty darn good for a huge family celebration. Got lots of comments on how good I looked. And I danced all night. I mean it. My sister, Jan, and I got out on the floor with the kids and had a ball. Jan (she of the size 7 body--we hate her) quit before I did. She said she wanted to visit with our aunts and uncles. I said she didn't have as much energy as I did. But I do feel bad that I didn't visit as much as I could have. I just felt really good, had lots of energy and really enjoyed being around the kids. My niece, Jenna, introduced me to her boyfriend as the cool aunt. And nephews clamored to play "Jer games." But of course it really wasn't the place for it, but I promised that I'd teach them some new games when I get to Quincy for Christmas. This one day turnaround wasn't easy.... but it was sooooo worth it. I love being around my family. Happy Anniversary, Joe and Cindy!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

10/23 Quincy IL

I took the train home last night. Got a lot of work done organizing my NANOWRIMO novel while spending 6 hours riding. Am home for Joe and Cindy's 25th wedding anniversary. I arrived last night at 10:45 and will leave Sunday morning at 6 AM. Wow, what a short trip. But today should be fun. A bunch of family members are getting together for lunch. Then tonight we're all going to Mass and then the big celebration. It will be like a wedding reception...lots of beer, food and people you only see at weddings and funerals. I CAN'T WAIT!

Friday, October 22, 2004

10/22 Another blog?

I began another blog a few days ago, but the link doesn't work on my website yet (you can reach it from the link in this note). It's about NANOWRIMO and will be a different kind of blog. Although I won't post my entire manuscript, because posting on the Web is considered publishing the novel, I will post excerpts, but also write about the struggles of writing at least 50,000 words during the month of November. Unfortunately I can't fix the link on my website yet because I'm going out of town for the weekend, and don't know if I'll have the time to fix it until Monday. We'll see.

A little miracle happened this morning. I was coming from the break room with my coffee and Sandy, an Executive Assistant extraodinaire, stopped me and said, "I want Kayla to know that not everyone is like that bad person who took her elephant." And she handed me an adorable gray and pink elephant. Kayla will just love it. I got tears in my eyes of course, and told her I'd hug her except I had coffee and an elephant in my hands, plus there was a desk between us. Her gesture really touched me, and I'm so grateful for her thoughtfulness.

Lots happening today. We're having a going-away party at work for a reservist who got called up and is going to Iraq. Plus I'm leaving at 2 to take the train to Quincy for my brother Joe's 25th wedding anniversary--and of course it's his wife Cindy's anniversary too. :) More later about all this.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

10/21 Better News

John is doing much better. The angioplasty was successful and he won't have to have surgery. Jill is driving from LA to Fresno anyway and will spend a few days there. (4-year old Kayla explained this last sentence to me over the phone. The kids seem to really understand why Mom is going and Dad is staying home and watching them.)

So I'm very happy that things are working out for John and his family.

This episode has made me even more committed to my health program. I joined Weight Watchers Online and in 8 weeks (tomorrow) have lost 16 pounds. I'm so pumped by that. And I will keep it up (said to convince myself).

Just came from Q-Doba where I ordered a naked vegetarian taco salad. I LOVE IT!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

10/20 Bittersweet memories

My daughter, Jill, just contacted me. Her dad is in the hospital with a heart attack and is being evaluated for possible surgery. This news really hit me. He's quite a bit younger than I am, and also more overweight than I am.

So funny that when we were married we were both in such good shape. We exercised, ran, and did all sorts of outdoor activities--backpacking, camping, rappelling, canoeing, caving. We were always out doing something with our kids.

I'm thinking now about a lot of things--all the great times we had (not thinking of the painful stuff), how we both let ourselves go after the divorce, and I'm also thinking about his family. His wife and their son who is only 4. He's just two months older than Kayla, our grand-daughter. So John's got so many reasons to get healthy.

I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes even though we've been divorced for more than 20 years.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

10/19 Guest Book and Stuffed Elephant

I finally put up my Guest Book on my home page, and my daughter wrote something last night. Can't tell you how cool that feels--I mean, I'm teaching myself all this stuff and am so proud every time something actually works.

I talked to Kayla last night. Ended up telling her that a bad guy probably stole her elephant, or else they just can't find it. She said, "They can't find it, Grandma? What are we going to do?" She said it in a problem-solving way, not crying or upset. I told her that if they don't find her elephant, I'll buy her a new one. So she yelled at her mom something about, "Don't worry. Grandma's going to buy me a new elephant." Then she told me, "Remember--small, soft, and with a tail that curves out from the bottom." She added, "I really need a winter dress, and Daddy said to ask you." She loves to wear dresses (even as she climbs trees, etc.) but hers are mostly summer ones. So I buy her a winter dress every year so she'll have one for what the Southern Californians laughingly call "winter."

At work, a huge set of responsibilities moved to me today. It's stuff I used to do, before I took over the job I currently have. There's no way I can do it all, so I know I'm going to get to hire some help soon. But for right now, I'm feeling overwhelmed. When that happens I don't get much work done at all. So on my train trip to Quincy Friday I plan to do some organizing of everything I have to do. Plus make notes for my NANOWRIMO novel. Thank God for laptop computers.

Tonight my CSz class starts at 6:30 instead of 7 and I'm happy about that. I need to laugh.

Monday, October 18, 2004

10/18 I forget what Mondays are like

Over the weekend I actually forget how busy I am at work. Today just rocked. So much to do. Time just flew by. And tomorrow will be the same, because I haven't even finished going through all my weekend email yet. The new website is keeping me very busy.

Tomorrow though I have to prepare for another online newsletter that I'll publish on 11/1, and will also prepare for the Sales and Marketing meeting as well as proof the Online Media Kit, and begin editing the articles for the next hard-copy Journal. And that's just with my first cup of coffee.

Okay, I'm lying. That--plus reading about 20 trade magazines--will take up my whole day, and I'm sure I won't finish all the reading/skimming.


Haven't talked to Kayla yet about the elephant. Just can't seem to be home when the kids are awake. So Jill and I plan for me to deliver the news tomorrow.

We should be hearing from the delivery service by the end of the week or early next week regarding their investigation. The saga continues.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

10/17 Packers Win!

Funny how something as simple as the results of a football game can just make my day! Right now it's 4th Quarter with 10 minutes to play and the Pack is winning 38-10. Wow.

The only downside is that since Green Bay's defense had been playing so badly, I benched them on my Fantasy Football team and substituted St. Louis. The Rams just better look good when they play, or I'm sunk.

In the meantime, I'll just continue to feel great about Green Bay. Some days it hurts to be a Cheesehead. Today's not one of them.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

10/16 Winter comes too soon

It feels like snow.

When I went to work at CSz at noon, I didn't even wear a sweater, much less a coat. When I got in my car to go home at 5:30, I couldn't believe the weather change. I stopped at the grocery store and there were only two of us without a winter coat on, and the other guy was drunk. Guess he was warm in his own little way.

Wow. Glad I don't have to go out tomorrow if I don't want to. I'm just not ready for this. But when I'm watching the Packer game tomorrow, and I'm drinking hot chocolate, or a hot toddy, or a cold beer, I'll be glad it's winter. 'Cause that's the only way the Packers are going to win any games.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

10/14 Poor, poor elephant!

When Kayla returned to Los Angeles with her family, she left a stuffed elephant in the sleeping bag at Grandma's house. Two weeks ago I sent it to her via UPS. Also in the package was the newspaper her picture appeared in, and a little plastic kickstand to Hunter's toy motorcycle. All told worth about $10. Cost me more than $9 to ship. Not a huge investment, except when you think about a four-year-old girl who asks every day why it's taking so long for her elephant to come home.

UPS today told us that the package was found, and it was empty. I understand that someone who is a thief is going to open whatever package he or she wants to find something valuable. But when they found a toy elephant, why in the world wouldn't they just put it with the empty box.

So today, when UPS faxes me the claim form I'm going to say I don't want any money, but what I would like is for them to send Kayla a soft, stuffed elephant and a note of apology. We'll see if that happens.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

10/13 Work interrupts my fun

Last night was another good class at CSz with a great bunch of folks. The first exercise we did, on establishing the "where," was enlightening, but got a bit boring because everyone had to do the exercise and we dissected every one. It took most of the class to do it. After that though, we did a great CSz game, Forward-Reverse, and had a lot of fun with that. Next week we'll have class for three hours because we're doing mime and gibberish games, and they take a lot of time.

We didn't go out last night because Jordan locked his keys in his car and lots of folks pitched in to help. I knew they didn't need me, so I went home. Christine ended up saving the day by being the one to finally get the coat hangar to work. WTG!

Lots going on today. Even though I'm tired, I'm not feeling out of it or anything, because there's so much work to be done. This new website is tons of fun, but for some reason every time I try to sign on to work on it, it says the dreaded Access Denied! How frustrating. And our web guru is off-site at a meeting, so I can't get help on this yet. Luckily (?) I have much more stuff on my desk that needs attention, so it's okay.

BTW, I'm number 4 in my Fantasy Football League. Out of 20. I'm pretty impressed, especially since this is my first year doing it. But of course we're only five weeks in, and I haven't played the top teams yet. Yahoo goes by W-L record and not points. So that's the only reason I'm number 4. Otherwise I'd be number 16. And in my work football pool, I really suck. Last place. Looks like I'll have to pay more attention.

C'mon Packers!!!!! You can do it. (I think that will really help motivate them.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

10/12 Another lunchtime blog

Today is a good day at work. I've accomplished several tasks that needed to be done. So now there are only 28 more items on my "to-do" list. Two meetings yet this afternoon, but both will be interesting, I think.

Got an email from one of my high school chums, and it seems she's not able to make it to the NC get-together either. So that's three of us that can't go. But the ones who are going will have such a great time. JC is a delightful and welcoming hostess. We visited her when she lived in St. Louis. I'll think about them all this weekend when I'm working at CSz, or sitting at home pouting.

I really need to get my thoughts together for NANOWRIMO. Writing is fast and furious during November. It's crazy but it's fun.

Monday, October 11, 2004

10/11 Posting late in the afternoon

I'm trying to develop the habit of blogging during my lunchtime, but failed today. We're launching a re-vamp of one of our websites this month, so I'm really busy writing and proofing. Luckily I don't have to do any of the hard stuff--programming and design. Just writing and proofing. Not too hard, but it's very time-consuming.

I'm very excited about one of the Journals I edit. Articles aren't due to me until the beginning of December and I've already received commitments for four articles. Amazing. I won't have to go hunting this issue. That certainly reduces an editor's anxiety. Hope it doesn't go in the opposite direction where I have to decide which ones need to be cut. I've already said "No, thanks" to those articles that don't fit the theme of the issue. So far the ones that fit the theme have all been excellent. I have a promised one from law enforcement, one from school, one from a psychiatric hospital, one from residential treatment, and a promised one from another hospital. Plus a reprint from another magazine. I might have to cut the reprint, which is okay with me.

In the past this particular Journal did mostly reprints. For some reason, since I've taken over we've gotten more original articles. I don't take any credit for that, but I am very happy it's happened. No matter what the reason.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

10/10 I love Sundays

I've felt so overcommitted lately. No time to just relax.

I worked until 10:30 last night, got home around 11 PM. Today I slept in, went to the grocery store, and am now being lazy. I'll watch football and catch up on shows I've taped. (Gotta love that DVR.)

Even though I'm relaxing today, I'm feeling guilty about not going in to work. My desk is overfull and tomorrow is stacked with busy-ness. I'm going to try to get that out of my mind, and just enjoy the day.

Spoke to Jill and Kayla yesterday--Hunter wasn't interested in talking to me. But it was still wonderful. A nice respite in an otherwise busy day.

Gotta run--the couch is calling me.

Friday, October 08, 2004

10/8 Taking a brief time-out

Taking a break at work. This day has also been full--but exciting as well. I made a proposal and feel pretty good about the results. It may not be exactly what I want, but it will be close enough to make me smile.

Right now I have a 60-page journal to edit and I still haven't started. I sure don't want to do it over the weekend, and it's due to the printer first thing Monday morning, so I need to get busy. Cheers! Jer

Thursday, October 07, 2004

10/7 Busy, busy and more busy

Can't believe how time is whizzing by. Tuesday night's workshop was excellent as usual. We focussed primarily on listening, and it was a hoot. Bogan's a really good teacher. Afterward we all went over to Slim's to visit for a while. That was nice. Had a beer and it felt so good to relax. Got home about 10:30 PM.

Wednesday was another crazily busy day at work. It's strange how much I love this kind of busy-ness. No fear of ever getting bored. Then Wednesday night I went to the Minor League performance at CSz because several buddies were performing. It was fun--and an old friend from a former workshop was there and sat with me.

I work Saturday night at CSz, doing both late shows. But it won't be so frantic this week, as Amy S. will be in the Box Office with me.

Speaking of frantic, I have so many major projects on the burner right now. Also, in the midst of all the piles of papers on my desk, I get asked to do lots of "little things." Like edit an 8-page paper that must go out today, and more tasks like that. Plus there's a 60 page journal in my mailbox waiting for a copyedit that must go to the printer tomorrow. But I'm still taking my lunch break so I can write here.

No complaints about the work though. As I always say, it's job security.

A few bad news-es: First, our Research Analyst, who I hired two years ago, is in the Army Reserve and is being called up to active duty. He found out yesterday and announced it today at our All Staff meeting. It really choked me up. I lead the meeting and found it hard to speak. It told Bob later that I felt emotion for him, but also because of my son, who is still in the Special Forces and hopefully will be home from Asia this year.

The other bad news is that I was supposed to go to NC to visit with some high school chums. We try to do this every few years, in between class reunions. It's such a fun time. But I had to cancel. Mostly because of financial reasons. I'm working my ass off trying to get out of debt, and got rid of credit cards--so if there's no money there, there's no money there, and no way to extend credit. I'm finally proud of how I'm dealing with money, but also so disappointed that I can't go. They're great people, and so fun. At least I'll see them all next year at our class reunion.

I keep Kayla's mantra in mind: "You're a lucky bug." And indeed I am.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Taking time from my lunch break to blog. (Sounds almost dirty, doesn't it?)

I signed up for NANOWRIMO again this year. That stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November (for the past six years) people commit to writing at least 50,000 words during the month of November. I did it last year, but a lot of it was just plain bad writing, so I have about 25,000 words worth keeping I think. My unfinished manuscript, Reality is Murder, is from last year's contest. I really like the concept and should complete it. It's about a reality show that turns deadly.

The pace of writing is very difficult during November. Writing 50,000 words means that outside of working my two jobs, I won't find much time to do anything else, like watch every television show currently on TV. (Yep, I'm an addict. Hey, maybe there's a story in that.)

I'll try to keep up with my writing, and will post my progress, and maybe even snippets from the manuscript. I dread this, but eagerly anticipate it at the same time. Fodder for books, huh?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

10/3 To Madison and Back

Last night, working at CSz, was a real trip. So busy and fun. The nice thing is that the boss realized we always need two people in the box office on Saturday nights, so I really appreciate that. And both shows pretty much balanced out. I think I was $3 for the early show and right on the money for the late show. I feel GOOD.

Got home about midnight and stayed awake until 2 AM. Woke up at 9, did a little work, then met Susan for a drive to Madison for the organizational meeting of Sisters in Crime, Wisconsin...hereafter known as SinC-WI. Quite an enjoyable trip. Turns out Susan and I have much in common including being rabid Packer fans. Downside is they lost today. That's another story.

We met at the Booked for Murder bookstore. Nice people. Majority of members are lawyers. I sure felt out of place. :) But the serendipitous thing is that Susan is a lawyer, writing a police procedural, and one of her heroes is a trauma counselor. She was going to go to UWM to seek advice, but when I told her I was a Certified Trauma Counselor, she said that I could be that resource. What fun. And I'll use her for my "lawyer-like" questions.

A good day. Well, except for the Packers...

Friday, October 01, 2004

10/1 All is not pleasant in paradise; well maybe it is

For some reason I had a rotten day at work. Way too much to do, and normally I love that. Staying busy is fun, plus it's job security. But today was different. First, I have to practically re-do a whole newsletter. Okay, I'm overreacting, but I do have to re-write a bunch of it. Again, normally that doesn't bother me. Writers are used to that. Write and re-write, edit, re-write. Smile upon completion. But so many details in it. My boss found so many things she doesn't like. And usually that's fine with me, but she's never found this much in the newsletter that she doesn't like. She knows much more about journalism than I do. I'm a converted social worker after all. But today, it felt overwhelming.

Plus I'm assisting in revamping a website. Of course, I'm no web maven, I'm just doing a ton of busy work. Copy, paste, save, cuss when an error message comes up. Repeat. Over and over for hour after hour. I'm developing a hump in my back from hunching over the computer. It's one of those tasks where you can't see the end. I'm transferring all articles from three years of newsletters from one website to another. Because of the content manager we're now using, this can't be done automatically. Yawn.

Today I feel almost powerless. Unusual. And it will probably pass in an hour or soon as I get home and relax.

I really need to think about yesterday morning. At an all-staff meeting, someone read emails from customers commenting on how valuable and compassionate our last Journal was. That one was all mine--editing wise. I found the writers, developed the theme, and edited the journal. So my heart was really warmed. Dwell on that good feeling. Okay... breathe.

You know, it's getting better. I have a great job and I love it. Almost all the time. There are plenty of people who can't say the same.