January 8th, 2013

under the weather

Better, Thanks. But Still 'Under the Weather,' I'm Afraid...

SORRY THIS ENDED UP SO LONG!!!

Yes, I'm better than yesterday -- a good thing. No, I'm not 100%, yet. (sigh) At least I finally washed my hair today -- it needed it! (You know how it is... when you're sick it's often hard to get yourself to wash your hair. You just don't feel up to it!)

Taylor (brother of our deceased friend Mitch) phoned me today. He and I were supposed to go into Mitch's house one last time either today or tomorrow. When he heard I was sick, he made it clear he didn't want to spend any time with me -- not that I blame him one bit! Besides, he's pretty busy tomorrow. And as today and tomorrow were it, we won't make it into the house again...

That's fine. Yeah, I wanted some other things, but it was nothing I really needed, anyway. I'm sorry we don't have a way to get the heavy statue out of the yard to keep, but I can't even imagine trying to deal with that right now. Marilyn and I are both okay with not having it, so that's how it goes...

Taylor mentioned that he'd had a lingering bug for six (!!!) weeks -- and that certainly didn't sound great to me! And he was going on about the flu and how bad it is this year. That seems to be a theme -- lots of bad news about the flu.

I don't like the way everybody seems to buy in to the idea of all people getting flu shots, though. As I've mentioned more than once, my doctor told me NOT to get it. He felt there were negative indicators for various people, and I agree with him. Mind you, I made a point of ASKING HIM whether or not he recommended I have one this year (even though I haven't had a flu shot in several years).

From what I've heard, the shot people got (and continue to get) isn't covering the current version of the flu, anyway. So why get it? And the shot is expensive, to boot! I used to think $10 wasn't bad, but it's generally twice as much (or more) -- and a lot of people find even $10 per person in a family is more than they can manage and still stay on budget. Wouldn't we be better off trying to use other methods of staying healthy? I've heard good things about Vitamin D3, for example -- something we all need, for good health (and not just to avoid colds or the flu). Eating well, avoiding stress, getting enough exercise and sleep -- these are the things that will help us stay well -- or get better if we do get sick. (Or simply to have a milder version of whatever bug catches us...)

I'm not convinced that getting a flu shot would have kept me from getting my current bug. I haven't felt great, by any means -- but through social media (like LiveJournal, Facebook and Twitter) I've seen friends around the world who have suffered more than I have (unfortunately!). And interestingly enough, a lot of them DID get flu shots...

I stayed down again today and slept until well past noon before getting up to eat. (Yes, I did my blood this morning: It was 77, which is low for me. I took my meds and had Activia before heading back to bed...)

I did get on the computer late in the day, but I was having issues with my email (!!!), so I didn't really get much work done. I did do a few website updates for the festival that had been submitted to me, however. I have some more to tackle and will get to those tomorrow, hopefully! My plan is to get back to WORKING on Wednesday. I'll take it easy, but I need to ease back in again, I think.

On the home front, I did a tiny bit of stuff in my bedroom (sigh), plus some organizing in our home office. I spend a LOT of time working in here, so it's helpful if I can get things in decent order. I started working in here last year, but as is true with most of the rooms in our house, I could stand to get rid of a lot more stuff -- so I can put more away! Today I was recycling a bunch of paper and putting things in the Goodwill box. It's a start, anyway...

Sister Sue took Nicole to the specialist today. She's concerned not only about Nicole's health, but the costs involved in all these appointments (understandably). Plus Nicole has been missing a lot of school. Nicole rarely complains about pain, so it's clear she's really been suffering this whole time -- and especially when they're testing her and treating her (poor thing). Sue's such a trooper to look after Nicole so well and make sure she gets where she needs to be! (I hope Candy and Byran appreciate her efforts!) The night before last Nicole had Sue up much of the night looking after her -- and she had to miss her exercise program appointment yesterday to stay home with Nicole.

Marilyn is SWAMPED at work -- no surprise after being off for so long. Today she was going from meeting to meeting -- and she said tomorrow would be even worse (!!!). She's asleep on the sofa as I type this, and seemed very tired tonight.

We're losing an employee at the festival -- and that impacts Marilyn, as well. More about this soon. Anyway, Marilyn will need to be involved with the transition as well as replacement of said employee... (This person gave notice yesterday and has a new job.)

I need to go through MORE CLOTHES and try to manage my stacks and baskets full of clothing. Obviously if I have things in baskets I'm not using them, so there should be stuff I can get rid of. Some of it is seasonal clothing, however -- and I'll want to keep the warm-weather clothes for spring and summer (needless to say).

I did watch "The Biggest Loser" again last night (just as I did on Sunday night). Marilyn fell asleep during it (worn out from work), which was disappointing to her. At the beginning of the show I was annoyed with Jillian -- but this quickly changed. I think I loved Jillian more than ever before during last night's show. She's really not the hard ass she comes off as, as anyone watching her with children can easily tell. (She must be an amazing mother, by the way.) I felt bad for her when Nate went off! Her White Team is now down to two people, both women. That doesn't seem fair at all! Especially as they've won both of the challenges so far. And I'm like everybody else: Why did Nikki even come on the show??? I hate her leaving like that! It's like stealing a place that should have gone to someone else...

I finished the book I was reading yesterday -- but I'm not even going to mention the title or the author. Frankly, it's was POOR writing and doesn't deserve any kind of recommendation! I was so annoyed that I even did a review at Amazon, so I could mention some of the issues.

The problem isn't just this author (and I use 'author' rather unwillingly) -- it's a trend that we're seeing more and more. Why worry about the QUALITY of your writing when so many highly paid and 'successful' authors do not?

I've given myself a couple of days 'off' from reading "Fifty Shades of Grey" -- and if you're a fan, I don't mean to offend you. This book is crap. I can't stand either of the main characters -- and I think a number of bad things about Christian Grey, including the fact that he's a lousy employer (I wouldn't want to work for him -- no matter how much he was paying me!!!). How someone treats employees is VERY IMPORTANT in my book -- and others have said it far better than I can about how everyone should treat others who are under them for whatever reason. But I'm digressing. The main thing is that no matter how good the story telling is, the quality of the writing is BAD. It makes me cringe constantly.

I saw the author on TV and she made a point of saying that her success was the answer to people being critical of her writing skills. Fine. She can laugh all the way to the bank. More power to her. But she's an example to others, whether she wants to be or not! The better answer is to be willing to admit you need to improve your writing skills -- and to actually be able to point to the fact that you're working on said improvement. Having writing talent is one thing -- acquiring writing skills is another, entirely.

The good thing? Anyone can be a better writer if they're willing to work on it! I don't care how bad you are, you can improve. In fact, I don't care how GOOD you are -- you can STILL improve!

Maybe the problem is as much with the READERS as with the authors. If we're less willing to read bad work, then maybe writers will be forced to improve... I know there's a lot of time and effort involved. I know it's probably easy to just write something and get your check and call it good. But we have to read this crap!

I find it especially hard to do when I've been reading really GOOD stuff, by the way. My mind immediately compares the quality of the good work to the bad. This book I didn't mention had a ton of obvious errors, including using the wrong word when another should have been used! Such as: your for you're (and you're for your), to for too, taking for taken (really???), except for accept, was for were and bare for bear (as in 'to bear children'). And that's only a partial list!

Years ago there was a popular 'debate' online with fanfic authors -- about the use of the word smirk. E.L. James loves this word -- and uses it constantly (the way many, many fanfic authors do). I have a habit of turning to Marilyn and saying, "Someone smirked again" each time I come across it -- which is usually every few pages, I'm afraid. I noticed a lot of smirking in this other (unnamed) book, as well. Just UGH. By the way, smirking is an action. You cannot replace said with smirked, no matter how much you might want to...

I've seen bad punctuation over the years, too -- who hasn't? But when question marks are popping up where there's no question involved, I just don't know WHAT to say! I understand that most people have no clue how to use commas. Most of us will mess that up at some point, me included, certainly! But there are lots of good books on writing out there -- and many of them deal with punctuation. Again, anyone can improve if they want to.

This isn't directed at my LiveJournal Friends, by any means! First, most of you are really GOOD writers (I'm not kidding -- you write far better than average, and much better than people like E.L. James). Besides, I'm talking about people who want to be known as authors of books. If this is a goal, then I feel that person should be spending time on the craft of writing. It seems fair to me! I have to constantly work at improving the things I do (IT and so on), and I feel we all need to work at being better at the things we DO. Meaning writer's need to improve their writing...

Some of the finest authors who ever lived where never satisfied with their work, by the way! J.R.R. Tolkien is famous for constantly editing his work -- long after it had been published. But he's only one example.

I didn't mean to turn this into a rant about writing. But wading through a lot of bad writing did that to me! Hahahahahahaha. If anyone wants to ask WHY I'm reading "Fifty Shades of Grey," that's a good question! I'm trying to understand what it is about this book that's made it such a best seller, in all honesty. I find myself needing to concentrate really had not to SKIM -- which is what I tend to do when I find a book really boring. (sigh)

Clearly no one is holding a gun to my head and making me read these books. I've read books before that I felt weren't well-written (like the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series). In fact, I've read these books more than once, in some cases! Both authors have been clear that they're aware they're not the best writers around, by the way. And I believe both of them improved as they went along, too! Remember, they didn't have to improve: They were 'successful' and making a lot of $$$ for what they were producing. I admire the fact that they took it on themselves to work hard and be BETTER at what they did. (No, I haven't read anything either woman has written since their hit series, so I can't speak to that...)

Some of the very best writing I've ever read is fanfic work, by the way. Amazing stories written with incredible quality! Sometimes I'll just go and re-read some fic because it's a joy to read something that well-written...

On this note, I'll (finally) end for today. I hope all is well with all of you!!!