ostarella: (Default)
 photo f68ee0ed-01fd-489c-a84a-9f09ec3022c6.jpg Dad - US Army, Bronze Star

 photo 64f85a1b-8d89-4222-9922-9c4e7ec4cb59.jpg Brother - US Air Force

 photo 2202d249-4b70-42b6-b7bf-082c8cc70e9d.jpg Brother - US Marine Corp

New Job

Aug. 12th, 2013 10:46 am
ostarella: (Smiles)
Well, I start my new job today, working in maintenance for a small manufacturing company. Washing walls, cleaning machines, etc, so not 'janitorial' in that respect. And, as needed, I'll switch over to the production line as well. Pay is good, and my traveling distance is 18 miles one way, so about half what it is to get to Walmart. I'm keeping the Walmart job for the time being, but only working weekends. I work 4 9-hour days and then 4 hours on Fridays, so can fit in the Walmart hours okay. Figure to hang on to both until the snow flies, and then drop Walmart - have no interest in another winter driving that distance. But now I can afford to get all the things done with the house and yard that need doing, plus if I can stay another 3 years, I'll have a nice nest egg to ensure I can take the early retirement. So keeping my fingers crossed that the job lasts that long and that it's not so hateful I can't hang on that long - which I'm not really worried about. If I could last over 3 years at the store, I can last 3 years at the new place. It does mean a serious lack of free time for the next couple of months, but well worth it, I think. And once I quit the store, it'll be nice having that short Friday.

Wish me luck! :D
ostarella: (Arrgh)
Currently 3 below zero (F), but the wind chill is 24 below. Just had to run to the store and the fan on my truck's heater decided it was too cold to run.

What happened to the warmer than normal but more snow than normal winter predicted in the fall? With typical accuracy, the weather bureau got it wrong!!!!!

Now they're saying we need to get at least 40 inches of snow over the next six weeks, which is highly unlikely to happen - but because it's been so damn cold with so little snow, the ground is already frozen too deeply for that to do much good even if we did get it. So no drought relief this summer.

things...

Nov. 13th, 2012 02:30 pm
ostarella: (Why me)
Had our first snow that stayed yesterday. Stayed in that it didn't melt as soon as it landed this time, and there's still some snow in the sheltered spots. Thankfully just a 'dusting', but depressing regardless. Every winter I find myself hating it more and more. They say we're supposed to get more snow than usual this year, which is bad, but it typically means slightly warmer temps, which is okay. Not good, but okay.

At work, I'd put in for the Saturday after Thanksgiving off, since my son will be home for the holiday for the first time in 12 years. So what did they do? Scheduled me for Saturday but gave me the following Tuesday off. So when I go in to work tonight, I have to get that straightened out. God...

Tomorrow I'm going down to a neighboring town and put in some applications - a couple part-time, a couple full-time. I'd prefer part-time, but I need to build up a nest egg again. The last few months have been really, really expensive, for a variety of reasons. I just need to get out of the job I have now. When you start getting depressed the day before having to go to work, it's definitely time to look for something else.

Saturday was the ninth anniversary of my mom's death. In January, she would have been 100 years old. You'd think I'd be okay with things by now, but there are so many days when I just really, really miss having her and Dad here. And of course, now I'm starting to wonder who we're going to lose next year. My oldest brother in '83, my dad in '93, my mom in '03 - I'm hoping the trend has ended, but my siblings are 73, 72, and 59, and of course, I'm not immune.

Yeah, just a crap day full of crap thoughts...
ostarella: (worry)
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-09-20/midwest-drought-cover/57816198/1?csp=34news&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+usatoday-NewsTopStories+%28News+-+Top+Stories%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

It's rained occasionally over the last couple of weeks - we've had almost a half inch! I'm only hoping the long-range forecasts for more snow than normal are accurate. I don't think we could take another year like this one.
ostarella: (Tired)
So many things going on right now that leave me wishing I were elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else.

Work is getting to be way too tense. Heard last night that the two guys I work with (one one night a week, the other on weekends) nearly came to blows the night before. The tension between the two has always been strong, but it seems it's getting much much worse. I think the overall discontent among most of the employees is growing, and it doesn't help. I'm soooo hoping I can find a different job very, very soon, as it appears that things in general are only going to get worse.

The weather is another problem. The drought has no end in sight, and the corn and soybean crops are taking a definite hit. My brother's been keeping track, and we've had way less than six inches of rain since mid-May (less than half the norm). Couple that with the unbearable heat throughout most of the summer - we had about ten days of cool temps (in the 70s) throughout July and August; the rest of the time it's been in the low to upper 90s (which we typically only hit a few days during mid-August).

And of course, fall is close at hand. The trees are losing their leaves already (combination of time of year and the damn heat/drought). But it only serves to remind me that winter is coming, and they're predicting heavier snowfall than usual (something to do with El Niño or El Niña). But I have so many things to get done before the snow comes - spent most of the day cutting down trees and shrubs (until the heat got to me), and I have a few more to do tomorrow. Then dig out the stumps and transplant lilac shoots so we have some privacy along that side of the yard. Still have a shed to tear down and rebuild, and then just general winterizing types things (like washing all these damn windows and getting plastic on them).

Sometimes I really wish I just had a small condo somewhere where the weather was a little more bland... and a means of paying for it all that didn't mean working for some dipshit.
ostarella: (Fang)
It's been three years since we discovered Fang in our backyard. Wow. August 6, 2009 was my first post about her. She's now well-ensconced in our home, much to Petey's continuing dismay. She hasn't grown much - she's just over 12 inches long, chest to butt, and weighs a little over 4 pounds. So far she's managing to exercise enough so she remains nicely sleek. She's just as talkative as she always was, letting everyone and anyone know when she's unhappy, when her food dish is empty, when her crap box is not, when she wants into a closed room and when she wants out (she hates closed doors!), and when she just wants to chat. She definitely has a temper when she doesn't get her own way - my arm is a continual sea of scratches from when I dared expect her to get off my lap. She's finally learned that the dining room table is out of bounds, although when we have chicken she conveniently forgets that. And whoever thinks cats are stealthy have never heard her rampaging up and down the stairs in the middle of the night.

Still, it doesn't seem like it's been that long since she poked her little face out of the lilies. Like my brother said, we didn't find her - she chose us.
ostarella: (Why me)
My brother is off on a photography trip (left this morning and won't be back until Sunday), so I had all kinds of plans for things to get done that I can't easily do with another person in the house (major cleaning jobs that mean massive messes before they're done). So what happened? Tuesday I woke up with a sore throat - couldn't stand to swallow without actually tearing up from pain. Didn't go to work and yesterday was a total loss - slept on the couch all day, couldn't eat anything other than popsicles, felt like I was laying on a bed of nettles, hotter than hell one minute, freezing the next. My brother was ready to haul me to the emergency room, bless his worried little heart. But sometime last night, the fever broke, and my throat is getting better (I can at least swallow liquids now), but I feel very shaky overall. I'm hoping I'll be able to get something accomplished over the next few days, but it's just aggravating. Especially when I have no idea how I got so sick so suddenly.

Weird...
ostarella: (Writing)
Well, my first ever "author interview" is up:

http://www.writingforums.com/catfish-soup/131071-interview-shadowwalker.html

Nothing spectacular, but it was kinda nice to be asked to do it. :)

It's HOT!

Jul. 5th, 2012 08:25 pm
ostarella: (Tired)
The last few days we've been hitting the upper 90s and low 100s (F). Humidity unbelievable. Normally our house stays very cool even in the hottest of days, but not now. Hell, my deodorant was getting mushy! So, much as I hate the damn thing, my brother insisted on installing the window air conditioner the other day. It's a monster. And noisy! OMG. Every time it kicks in, the whole house shakes - and I'm not exaggerating. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who freeze easily, so I have a choice of wearing a jacket in the rooms we have closed off for the AC, or roasting in the rest of the house. Not to mention the window it's in is right next to my desk...

And no rain. We've had just over two inches since May 20. It's so frustrating - the storms go north of us, or south of us, or stop just west of us - but nothing falls on us! It's like a wedge where rain is just not allowed. Gawd. My water bill is going to be gargantuan! But I was kind of expecting it - we had almost no snow all winter, which typically means the dryness carries over to the summer.

I think I could actually deal with the weather better if it had come when it normally does - late July and into August. But now? So I'm wondering if things will get even worse in August, or if we'll have an early fall.

There just doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it any more...
ostarella: (Default)
Well, finally got my pc back up and running. Had one hell of a time finding my restored files but it was kind of a combination of my not understanding Mozy's directions and Mozy not realizing not all of their customers are computer geeks. At any rate, I lost, for some reason, my icons (used for my desktop only, thank God) and all my html files for my webpage. So I had to go to the webpage and download them all to my pc. Which was just as well because now I also have the host's additional files in case I need to restore the website itself. But like I say, a combination of me and Mozy which I think is now straightened out, at least on my end.

Anywaaaaay...

Had mammoth catching up to do for the directory, and will be doing a two-month update instead of just the one as usual. Which, fortunately (or maybe not) didn't take a really long time as the fandom has slowed to a crawl lately. I think it's just a matter of the initial enthusiasm for the movie has died down, and some writers have moved on to other fandoms or just gotten worn out.

It also put a big damper on the short story I was trying to write, as the computer I was using had no text software and it was impossible to find any that would still work on Windows 98 (DOH!). I tried hand-writing it but my fingers/wrist just cramps up too much after a while. Sigh. The story is pretty solidly in my head, but I'm not sure I can get it written, edited and polished for the contest I was hoping to enter it in (deadline June 30). The length I'm looking at, I very much doubt it. :(

Didn't get the job here in town. Bad timing, as so many college and high school kids are around, needing summer jobs. But the manager said they'd be looking for people in the fall, so I'm trying to be patient. And there are a handful of other places in town that might have openings over the next couple months as well. I'm just tired of the commute (especially in the winter) and all the managerial bullshit at the store.

Good things though. My son was home for 8 days and I had actual vacation time coming so I got to spend the whole time with him (well, except when he visited his dad). We took one day (we being me, my son, and my brother) and went to a little town that has a state bike trail going through it - great little shops! And then we went from there to a state park, had a picnic lunch, and hiked a couple trails. Otherwise we worked on some projects around the house and yard and just mellowed out together. He really wants to move back to Minnesota, something new for him. But, as he said, they don't even need weathermen out in California - it's always 70 degrees and sunny, and he likes weather. Real weather, like thunderstorms and rain, and hearing the leaves when the wind blows, and - OMG! - snow in the winter. So we shall see...
ostarella: (kill)
So, my hard drive died a few days ago. Should have the new one early next week, but in the meantime I'm stuck using an old pc with Windows98 on it - and it does not like LJ or most other forums/sites I frequent. So here I am in the library, hurrying to play catch up with the 30 minutes I'm allowed. :(

So - Bevimoo! Did not forget you, really! HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!!!

Work-wise - had an interview for AP (Asset Protection) at work - will find out tonight if I actually got it. Will mean going to full-time days, but the physical effort aspects make that workable. And will mean extra cash for several projects at home and so getting them done sooner.

Also - have been asked to do an interview for an in-house ezine at one of the writing forums I'm on. So not a huge thing, but nice anyway. Unfortunately, it's on one of those sites my current pc doesn't like, so will have to arrange for that to happen after I get up and running again.

Last - my son arrives in two weeks and I actually got my vacation approved for that week!!!! Long time since I've been able to spend all my time with him on his semi-annual trips home. Happy happy happy!

Okay - gotta go! Hopefully will catch up with everyone's blogs etc next week.
ostarella: (Writing)
http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/03/27/25-lies-writers-tell-and-start-to-believe/

A must read for any writer, regardless of experience.

I find myself somewhat guilty of #7, although I don't think my characters are 'in control' - they just let me know when I'm going the wrong way. And I'm not a planner as in outlining, so yeah - go ahead and hate me! LOL

Unheard of

Mar. 14th, 2012 11:01 am
ostarella: (Joy)
The last few days we've had high temperatures in the low 70s (F). The rest of this week and all through next week they're predicting upper 70s, close to 80.

IN MARCH!!!!????!!!! IN MINNESOTA????!!!!!????

The normal high is 37F.

Yeah...

Yeah...

YEAH! Happy dance!!!
ostarella: (Default)
Tonight when I go to work, before I do anything else, I'm going to tell the managers I want to go to a three-day workweek instead of four. I won't be able to spend quite as freely, but I won't actually be hurting either. But when I can barely stand to pick up the coffee pot because my shoulder and elbow spasm, enough's enough. That, and I'm just sick to death of the stupid management decisions being made.

That's change number one.

I'm going to rebuild a shed and get it heated over the summer so I can move all my writing stuff out there. I want need a place where I can actually use my Dragon without feeling self-conscious, plus where I can smoke when I need to step back for a moment. I'm tired of having to completely break my train of thought and stand out in the cold, wind, and rain just to consider things.

That's change number two.

And last, and perhaps the hardest, I'm going to be stepping back from *all* the writing forums and discussion groups I'm on. Not because I'm spending too much time on them, but because so much of it has become just reiterations of either the same basic questions (will someone steal my ideas?) or the same stupid debates (who can call themselves an author and who can't). Checking in on them does one of two things - bores the hell out of me or raises my blood pressure. Ditto the blogs I've been watching - I know where they are and who's writing them, so when I really need the information, I can look them up.

I say the last is the hardest because I really do think writers need to keep up with the industry - but at the same time, it almost seems like some sort of inbreeding. Writers discussing writing with writers - and so many things that are 'big news' for writers are of absolutely no importance to readers. In fact, sometimes I think writers are too concerned with other writers and that 'world', and start forgetting about the readers. Not to pick on self-publishing, but it's more obvious there. People getting all excited because they get interviewed on some big-shot self-publisher's blog - well, whoop-de-doo. How many readers care? Or how many readers care if you call yourself an author or a writer - or if other authors/writers do? They just want good books.

And lastly, I think I've been spending too much time (consciously or otherwise) with publication on my mind. I need to stop starting stories and trashing them because I don't think I can publish them, and just write. Write like I used to. Worry about the publication crap after it's done and it's just a commodity. I can compartmentalize the business end of things then, and start the next story, again without thinking about publication. Just tell the story.

So, I think with these three changes, I'm going to be a lot happier than I have been. And hopefully much more productive.
ostarella: (Tired)
Some may think it's silly, but the death of Davy Jones kinda hit me hard. Not that I was a fangirl or anything (I preferred Mike Nesmith, actually) but I did really like the Monkees and their songs. Yeah, it was a silly show but it was fun. Innocent. Hell, I was ten when it first aired, so why not?

But it was a reminder of things passing - and at my age, who needs more, right? Especially when one considers that he died of a heart attack, age 66, vegetarian, with a very recent clean bill of health. Brings the whole uncertainty thing down on top of one like a ton of bricks.

I've been one of those people who live each day one at a time, mainly because so many of my plans ended up in the dirt, no matter how hard I tried to work them out. Now, I'm finding myself in a quandary of sorts. Do I live each day knowing no one is guaranteed a tomorrow, or do I make plans because no one knows how many days they have left? I know it sounds like they're the same, but they're not really. The first is not worrying about tomorrow, the second is trying to get as much done in whatever time is left.

Or maybe I'm just depressed because another person from my childhood is gone and there seem to be so few good people left.

USian?

Feb. 23rd, 2012 06:08 pm
ostarella: (Say What)
I've just read yet another article where the author refers to us (citizens of the United States of America) as "USians".

WTF?

Okay, so maybe I'm behind the times, but I just don't get this. People seem to use this so they make it clear they're not talking about Mexicans or Canadians. But neither Mexico nor Canada have "America" in their names. Mexico is officially Estados Unidos Mexicanos (United Mexican States) and Canada is, well, Canada. The US is "The United States of America". So how could anyone of any intelligence mistake "Americans" for Mexicans or Canadians?

Okay, so mini-rant over. Probably just a by-product of my massive cold which is making me extremely cranky...
ostarella: (Arrgh)
And I'm beginning to think I don't want to be. Because once again I find myself faced with such obstinate elitism it makes my head spin. See, I'm not a writer because I don't earn my living by writing. Even if I were published and getting paid for it, I wouldn't be a writer unless I supported myself by writing. Otherwise, I'm just a hobbyist. Or, in a more generous mood, I could be called an 'aspiring writer'.

The earth will shatter if I call myself an author.
ostarella: (MostAngry)
So, a discussion on a writing forum about how to write a character who is 'mad', as in 'crazy'. And of course, he's violent!

Having a mental illness, I politely said that 'mad' and 'madness' are archaic and insulting, that the correct term is 'mentally ill' and that, btw, most mentally ill are not violent.

The members continued to use the terms. I again objected, and got all kinds of grief (including the 'threat' of being reported to the mods) because 'no disrespect' was intended.

Well, that makes it all better, doesn't it?

Sometimes the ignorance and arrogance of writers makes me want to puke... until I realize that they are probably no more ignorant nor arrogant than other folks. Just more pigheaded about their right to be so.
ostarella: (Default)
Just looked at my work schedule for the next three weeks - the last week I'm down to 3 days. Not real happy about it, even though I know it's because it's just a slow time at the store. Still, one would think, since I worked extra days without objection, that I wouldn't be one of those taking the cut. Not sure how many weeks that will happen, but... Just another reason to look for other work.

Got my W2 online this year and did just a quick calculation - getting back more than I expected, but of course, not as much as I'd want. LOL  But every little bit helps.

Going to get security lights for the back yard this week. Bad enough my truck radio was stolen last year (while it sat disabled for a couple months) but now my brother's discovered someone stole our old wheelbarrow. I mean, WTF? Who steals an old beat-up wheelbarrow? But just the fact it was stolen was enough. No more believing that our little town is 'safe'. And next spring I'm putting up a fence between the barn and the toolhouse, so they don't have such easy access to our yard. (Don't think my brother will object to that, under the circumstances. Although I know he wouldn't go for a six foot privacy fence around the whole yard. He's not into fortress thinking - yet. LOL)

Sooo... taking down the Christmas tree tonight. Kinda hate to, because it was so pretty this year. But all good things, y'know.

Am thinking I'll be doing more blogging on my writing blog this year. Maybe. It still doesn't excite me all the much, and I doubt I'll do more than maybe monthly, but what the hell. Give it a shot and see if anybody reads it.

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