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Monday, November 29, 2010

Did something happen yesterday? Naw.

Good morning, though we’re saying this with three minutes left of the morning. That’s the scary part … it’s Sunday already and at that it is half way over. Rich just left to bring his boat back and meet with his youngest son at his mother’s place. I think she’s officially coming home on Wednesday, but you can tell she’s yearning more and more to be home.

We’ve been distracted with Rich’s TV most of the morning, and with the part where he waits until we tune into something we’re doing on the screen and then he will interrupt to say something he’s thinking out loud. You probably wouldn’t be getting this kind of complaining, but we’re in a little bit of a panic with it being our last day off from work. I’m sure you know the feeling.

Rich was watching pregame before he left and now it is noon, so we asked him to mute the game, and we turned on Christmas music. We also have had lunch and we have a fresh cup of coffee. I could only see this as getting better.

As of the last couple of days, we’ve not been doing much except tweaking the web page. We did manage to go out to an early dinner with Marcia and Bob. That was nice … the company was good. We just chatted and had a lite sandwich with their waffle fries. Man I’m really starting to love them. I also had a Bloody Mary. They were only $3.50 for a large glass.

It was a bit spicy, but I’d asked for that. There wasn’t as much Rich and Bob breaking off to talk, but enough for me to listen to Marcia. She had stuff going on … I can pretty much read it on her face when she’s being pushed on one forefront or another. It was a nice experience.

After we got home we must have been back to the computer? No, I know … we read about 40 books on the book by Herschel Walker – another multiple. I think we had taken a nap before eating too, because we’d been up til 3 A.M. trying to fix stuff on our page. Then we were like ok, Rich wants to watch TV, but we’re not going there. He had turned on a show about somebody – I think Celtic Thunder. It was a group of six men. I think there are more, but that’s all that was on the show. These seemed to be the same guys who played in Missouri last year when Rich and us took a trip. They were enjoyable to listen to and easy on the eyes. *sigh*
But, then we said we were DEFINITELY going back to our work … so Rich he was like fine fine … no problem, I’m just going to put on this old movie.

What? What? Snow WHITE!!!?? Ok, well you could see how that went … Well, and then how things naturally slip into the night. *sigh* Life is good!

As to the Web pages, yes … dear we are going back to the work side … We were really happy with how all that turned out. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best we got right now. We’ve got eight sections completed though we could add more to each of them and we have enough space for two more links (which each break out to 10 little subpages). I thought it’s really enough for someone stopping by. Just every section was so much fun to think through, we were having a really good time EVEN when we lost six little pages and had to go back to fix them. And, by that I mean re-write. We try to keep it in our mind that usually things re-written come out better then the first time.

So yes, you knew it we are going to go back and savor slowly the advances made. Hehehe

First thing you see is the gray screen where the title of our blog – Journey of Quite Frankly Ann (JQFA) comes scrolling past and is lightly highlighted at different shades of grays at different heights and angles.

Then you see a black smaller script with a steady title, and then these bars wavering on different shades of pinks and grays wash across the screen. When that stops you are on the home page. You have to cancel out a Christmas card wishing you a Merry Christmas. And then you are left with the title and subtitle which is the name of the company and then the name of our first book. The background is black which make the colors jump and there is a two line white message welcoming the viewer to our journey. On the bottom of the page is eight duo-colored rectangles sort of looking like microscope slides. They are each colored differently in warm fall colors and everything is labeled in white.

The rectangles go in order of Welcome, About Us, Business Plan, Schedule, Rates, Business Journal, Satisfaction Survey, Book Excerpt. As mentioned earlier, we have space for two more, but for now we’re going to wait until it comes up naturally to our mind what should be there. And, then after that we might do some combining or rearranging as fits the bill. There are pictures on many of the pages, but not on all of them. It is a combination of pictures that are ours and then some left as fillers from the program. It’s good enough for now, but should be more carefully planned. With CS computer, I don’t have the Snag it program loaded, so it’s hard to convert BMP pictures to JPG, which is what the program requires.

There are actually two versions of the page. There is the normal stable site, and then there is the one with Flash – which is what makes the screen move and become more 3D. I like the feeling more of this one than the last with the books, probably because the book had taken up too much room and so my content was cramped. Plus this one just flows more smoothly. There are about four links from the Google search that will pick up the page. Hmm, that’s interesting … we don’t like that all the links aren’t going through, but a couple are and it seems that we now have TWO booksellers selling our book! There is an electronic copy out from Powell’s and from Wowio! Both these are new to us, but it seems to be set up pretty cool!

Ok, that’s enough of that for the moment. We want to get through this walkthrough of the web site. So anyway, you open the first link and you are given six options. You are welcomed by us telling you who, what, when, where, how and why we are writing. I figure this is the general part that allows the person viewing to capture an image of us as to any newsworthiness. Not that we’re hot, but that these are the basic things that make up our life. It seems that is our own way we are creating sound bites. I don’t want it to seem that informal, but it is a bit of a challenge to invite complete strangers into your space. We tried to do it without too much hubbub.

In the About us section, we add in who are publisher and distributor are, we add the first link to our blog, and we add a section telling about what we are after in our writing and communicating.

The next section is our Business Plan. This is broken down into six sections with the first being a cast of characters. These are the principle people in my life. The next section sets up that we are a sole proprietor – it adds something as to me being one day passed on to Rich and the boys. The next part is our vision, this is the part we write about making three series of books over our lifetime. The next part is our goals and objectives. These are the “To” sections speaking to what we hope to be doing with ourselves. Our history section talks about how we got to our current space and by that I mean our general set of obstacles, we’ve cleared in our adult life especially about the time we were going out to take care of ourselves. And, then the last section is where we talk about writing and journaling. It is a little rough, but basically is what we’d come up to with our business plan to explain ourselves as a writer. It introduces the business of writing.

The fourth major section is our schedule of the first 14 books by the year 2014. I will have to pay close attention to this if we are going to get anywhere, but to do this we need to start selling books and spending less money on some of the obvious start-up costs.

The fifth major section is the Rates part. On its cover page, it list my cost of selling books in the three different formats. And, then we have a sub-page on how to pre-order the books, and then on the second sub-page, we included the correspondence we sent out to the Facebookers. We’re considering it our first promotional. This helped to break down the payment options. It seemed to work for the people we’ve already given it too, but as well anyone who might happen upon our site.

The sixth site is our invitation to participate in a couple of satisfaction surveys. There are two right now. The first one is a satisfaction survey on the site, and the second one is a satisfaction survey from having read the book. During the second one, I started to ask a few questions about multiplicity. I would like to ask more, but I think that is going to need waiting until I do some of the research that I mentioned yesterday. Jewelz said that she already did one of the surveys so we are really looking forward to getting that back. Julie and Vickie are our forward people … whatever I ask they do. These are the best kind of girlfriends!

I had really started to do some work on the PDF files so the last two sections are statements to that. Basically, the first one is a copy of our updated business journal, which serves as a sort of outline of what we’ve been doing. I know that it is unusual to write things like that out, but we were thinking that there’s not much that doesn’t get written out in the book, so that just briefly summarized that particular point of the business that I would like others to feel involved with. I think if something seriously is affecting the business then it has a right to a one line acknowledgement … The whole thing of writing is to let others know how we think and process things. I feel like when I’m here writing I’m in a very private space, but when I put something “out there” then it’s like gifting forward. If I don’t want someone to know something that happened then … simply it doesn’t make the journal. These are all my choices as to what to be public about and what not. Business things though – it be no different than having a store and having things sit out on racks or shelves. It’s just the nature of the beast. It was all a choice.

The last of the regular sections is the part we are allowing for book excerpts. We took the first four parts of the book and PDF’d them and gave each its own link. This was very important as to saying … I know we are into the business of Ann, but the actual item being sold is the book and its contents. The four items listed at the web from the book are Dr. Marvin’s and Dr. Woollcott’s forewords and my two sections as introduction to the book and introduction to the parts. I like the feeling of drawing people into the story. I think the synapses used on the cover and as a selling item are brief, but this gives people a really good extension into the story finding out if they are interested and to what degree – strong enough to buy a copy? I like the part of it being a reference too, so if you were talking to someone about the book, you could say, find out for yourself, go look at her site. I realize that after the search inside parts go up for Amazon and Barnes and Noble people will do the same, but for now we’re just happy to be again contributing something forward.

There are some convenience buttons and they seem to add depth to the site. The first one of course is always the home button, and then the next is for contact … I like that … it is how Julie wrote to me this morning. There’s another button for a map that shows our business address and asks if the person would like to get driving instructions, and then also on the top is a button for up to five testimonials. We haven’t done this yet, but since Julie read the book, we might ask her if she will do one. AHA! She’s off. I wrote a short note. I’m going to hope for the best. WooHOO!!! It’s done Julie gave us a statement and a picture – PERFECT!!! I’m very proud to say she’s #1. She’s the first and most likely only person to have read the book. Nope, nope no one else yet, but we’re a hoping!

The buttons on the bottom … one is for my pictures. I wish we’d have something better than this right now … ours just have a few slow loading quilting pictures, but this is pretty much what we’ve been taking.

There’s the section on the store … we tried to clean that up this weekend too. I’m hoping people get that they should not use the store per se, but send things in like explained on the pre-order. There is an address book, that Vince already signed, thank you very much V! And, then there are the last four add-ons.

The first add-on is the mission statement. This might go somewhere else later – probably in the business plan, but for the moment we had some space. The next part was our Amazon store. That’s been a very fun endeavor. Somehow we were able to put in a search for multiples who wrote autobiography’s and rather than thinking this was the competition, it seemed like a public service to keep these others considered if you had natural interests toward multiplicity. Amazon associate is terrific. I couldn’t say more about it better than I love its layout. I love that you don’t have to leave my site to read different things on other multiples, and you are connected to buying their books through the old-fashioned dependable Amazon. I think it is also praise for ourselves to be considered part of that group of written work.

There is another add-on that brings people more directly to the blog, and there is another link that shows people by PDF file a copy of that spreadsheet I did researching the different multiples writing autobiographies on Amazon.

There I think you then about have it. This is the sum and substance of the site. There is a couple of links also on the bottom one of which brings you to the Flash site, and then there is one last important button. This is the button to show you a site map. I always thought that was good business. I would like to take more credit, but I really can’t this company has really added a lot of nice elements for the cost of doing business. I love that sometime in the future, we could change the site general appearance, but because it’s formatted with information going in as it does, you do not lose anything by switching up. That might be important later down the line, but for now we want to build some trustworthiness in so that people feel comfortable coming back if that’s their wish.

I talked to their tech guy and I think with the problem with the 404 error message it’s a matter of the google spider coming back in 3-4 weeks. I think that’s as often as they update changes. We’ll have to keep that in mind when major major changes. There seems to be a whole long page of stats. Some of them are just the same in different formats, but there will be plenty of data to analyze. We’d like to do something now, but not sure what that would be. Maybe we should go into some research, by that I mean we’ve purchased books and borrowed them that we haven’t read yet. I think that we’ll work on the Herschel Walker one again. I know that we have Marie’s work, but that’s going to take some time to study.

Hmm, just remembered that now; we were supposed to come up with some format to collect info. I’m thinking that we might want to do something on a spreadsheet … that’s been our favorite for a bit. I think we were also going back to Sarah’s blog of blogs. That might be more attuned to our jumpy nerves. We’re just panicking because we have to go back to work. That’s no good. I think after we finish the sprite we are going to mix a Margarita. I think Rich is due home any moment so that might be good. He wanted me to clean up too. Hmm, just remembered … but we don’t want to do that right now? Maybe we better pick up at least in the living room.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pretty much all day Friday

Good morning. This is me. It is the day after Thanksgiving and it’s about 7:30 A.M. We’ve been up for about an hour to an hour and a half. Rich is still in bed, and we’re just taking the day light. I’m so excited to be having three more days off. I think that most the stuff as to visiting is over. I don’t really plan on being out the rest of the weekend. The only exception would be if I did some searching out of book stores, but I think with it being Black Friday and that whole weekend that it might be better to stay at home this weekend.

I received some material from Marie that I will have to be reading through. It’s about 32 pages of marketing stuff. She is supposed to send me some more personalized stuff today before our meeting at 3 P.M. and I’m supposed to be talking with Carolyn today too. I’m very excited about that. I will have to see too if my info is on the flash drive, because it’s been a slow weekend I believe in doing book stuff, and I’m going to need catching all that up. I’m going to need going through the info to figure out what we’ve been doing. I don’t think we’ve really had any book sales over the week, but that wasn’t necessarily a goal. I think the people that will buy the book will wait until after it is here.

I am going to need doing the reading work, and I’m thinking that should be done before the meetings with Friesen this afternoon. I heard that Marie was sick again yesterday, but she says she will be back today, so we’ll have to see where that goes. Also Carolyn had written that they were snowed in yesterday. I hope they are all doing better today and we look forward to meeting with them.

As to yesterday … after we completed writing and were out we found things pretty much as expected. Rich’s Mom and Bud were already in the restaurant and she’d had a couple of drinks with no end in site … she ordered another double while we were there, and then she had two more drinks back at the house. I told Rich that we wanted to protest by not going back to the house and he said we really couldn’t do that, but he didn’t object to our next protest idea in that we are going to refuse any drinks in her presence. That meant no drinks at the restaurant or home and that it is going to continue until one of us is gone.

She didn’t hear it at the restaurant, but did after we got home. It took a couple of conversations, and she said defensively that we weren’t going to change her. And, I said that I knew that, but we weren’t going to enable the situation or justify it with drinking alongside her. If she was going to drink she would have to do it on her own. Rich and Bud don’t drink normally when they are out with her, and I would be doing the same. I felt solid with my new direction. Rich is taking the position pretty much that you aren’t going to change an eighty year old woman, but then I took the position that it was abusive and would shorten her life, and that nothing had been done to make her safer and so in that direction I thought she was being self-abusive. I didn’t have to play into that.

Rich’s Mom carried most of the conversation and most of that had to do with either the past or her recent experiences at the hospital or nursing home. There were a few times when Rich and Bud tried to have a side conversation, but she interrupted it by being louder and excusing herself back into the limelight. It’s kind of like her show. There weren’t any questions or comments toward anything that was about myself or anything I might be concerned with. There wasn’t even the question of how was I doing. I’m pretty used to that by now, but it’s always going to be a little difficult. I think Rich has these tendencies too - to talk about what’s going on with him, but we work harder with him to get our conversations in when we can. It’s like everything switched a generation with us, because our boys are pretty much the same way in that when they talk it is mostly about what is going on in their minds. I think Joe’s the best with listening, but it doesn’t seem to come naturally with any of them, that someone else might be having a life too. Things like writing a book aren’t even asked about. Most times I will just not bring it up … It’s not on their radar and I don’t want to demand their attention if it’s so hard to be giving it up.

Maybe in some ways here we are acting like a martyr, but it’s not all about that, though some of it might be. It’s most likely part of why we write in the first place. Dr. Marvin nailed it when he said that the writing was like a receptive devise in that no matter where or when, I could always come here and be our best audience. I think it would be that way for most people who would choose to write, and if you are not doing it yet, I would encourage you to be trying.

Rich is up now, but hasn’t entered the living room. I think by now he’s getting his medicine. Good Rich! It’s about 7:45 A.M. Rich was up later than us in that after going over to Bob’s he made turkey and then we were woken up because he said we could have some turkey when it was ready, but then we ate and fell asleep after too, because he had to send a cranky Ann to bed. Now he’s up and we talked a few groggy minutes - the grog was on him. He decided that we should wake to Christmas songs. I can do that although I would have preferred nothing this morning. But it’s good to adapt, right?

He’s just in that rocking mode holding his coffee. He turned down the music to 12 … that was a good idea. No reason to be jarred so early.

I should say something here too about the calls that were made yesterday. The first and most important was that I got to talk to Thom for a few moments. He answered the phone when I called. He seemed between things. I don’t know if he was on the computer, but he didn’t put up a resistance to talking. The big news was that he might be coming home for like about eight days in early January. I think he is not looking forward to a push for everyone wanting pieces of his time. I told him that I would like to see him on his own, but if he wanted to merge my time with seeing us with his brothers, that would be fine. One thing for sure is that we would want to take the family out while he is here. That will be something very important for us - to have all the family together again.

I think he’s going in on Monday to check out the processes of getting a divorce, because he was pretty sure that Alexis still didn’t want to live wherever he was. He said he should have known it in her sneaking out and not wanting to tell her family about getting married, most likely because she was fearful of their objections. That’s only speculative though. I know he’s going to have to progress that when he’s in.
We didn’t talk for a long time. I’m remembering now that he was over at someone’s house. I so loved hearing his voice. There’s really not a lot to talk about because he can’t talk about his situation working too much and we get to the conclusion of our conversation so quickly. It’s like explained before the boys don’t really ask about how or what we are doing so after you catch up on the things they will allow you to ask about it’s pretty much over. He did say something about still not liking the holidays. In this regard, I’m thinking in gratefulness that he picked up the phone on Thanksgiving. It sounds like he had a couple of days off, but with not much to do. I just love that kid to pieces.

I gave calls to Maury and Joe, but neither called back, at least while we were up. Joe did send a message saying he was with Cari and her families and that he would call later. I saw that Maury was out very late standing in front of Toys R Us with about a jillion people. Well, maybe not that much, but by 10 P.M. he was about 200 people back, with just as many in back of him. I’m sure that situations got more dramatic, and it should lead to a good conversation of him talking about what that was like. He said he was looking for four items.

I called my mother, but that wasn’t a very long conversation. She had spent the night with John at the VFW. They had as much turkey or desserts as they might want. I still don’t understand them going there when neither was in the services. I know the service men got free food, and that’s as it should be, but I don’t understand their involvement. They weren’t going because they knew anybody, although I’m sure they are by now familiar with some because they are like always there. I don’t want to be critical, though because that’s where they want to be.

Two times during the conversation I tried to ask how John was doing, but both times she stopped the conversation from going forward in such a manner that John who was in the background wouldn’t know that we’d asked about him. I’m not sure of what’s happening … maybe someone is upset with someone? I don’t think he knows about how negative CS is being and we didn’t go there. I felt no reason to spoil and otherwise standard conversation. She did ask about my day and I told her we’d spent it with Rich’s Mom and Bud. She said something about how good that was of us, but then we were frustrated, because it made it seem like we were sacrificing ourselves to some needy cause.

I feel a sense of obligation to Rich’s Mom, and we certainly think of Rich’s benefit … he knows that we won’t have her for ever and he’s trying to get in as much time with his mom as he can. I respect that. I have my own relationship with her too and it seems fitting that we spend holidays with them, especially since I’m not spending it with my family or the boys. It’s still frustrating with the drinking and smoking. Ok, enough there we said our two cents worth.

We also talked to CS for a few moments. I knew that they were still cooking. They had just put the bird in the oven and it was like 4 P.M. I also figured out pretty fast that Nancy was there in the background and it seemed like CS was bending to accommodate. To be fair, I think she was appreciative of having company, but she sounded pretty wound up. I knew that she was going to be needing a nap soon. I hope her manners last. She didn’t respond when I asked how long Nancy would be there. I did bring up with Rich that we should be there, but he was pretty adamant that we’d just spent five days with her and that would be enough. He was probably right. But, we are feeling a sense that family should try to be together over the holidays when it could be fit in fairly. With her only being 4.25 hours away Rich should be a little more accommodating. I think we will press going up when and if the blankets get back from being quilted.

There I just talked to Rich and we discussed it in like two sentences. I told him I wouldn’t push going up there for Christmas, but that I would want him to go up for a day when the blankets got there … he said it was ok. I’m pretty sure with three blankets coming in that we will want done at Christmas that we will be doing the binding by machine. It might be different if it were going to be judged in a contest, but that wasn’t the life direction of these quilts. I am looking forward to getting them back although they will be a lot on our machine to be taking care of. I’m pro-sewing since the weekend, although I haven’t sewn since. Maybe we’ll have to commit some time to it over the next three days. We’ll see … first priority is going to be the book.

We’re not sure if it will come out this week, but if not this week at least by next week, right? Today is the 26th. Hmm, just short of a month before Christmas … that’s a lot that’s going to be happening between now and then J

I think that’s about all the calls, Rich talked to his brother. He said that they always treat the truckers well at the truck stops on the holiday and that he’d eaten too much and was looking forward to getting to bed.

We also stopped by at Bob’s. We got there before Bob and Marcia and Bob had us going in the open back door. They had left things out for us like chips, dip, a vegetable tray and cookies. When they got there they brought out also some shrimp and pies. It was very nice. They had had over one of his kids and her family and they had brought over an aunt and uncle from a nursing home. That was pretty cool. We didn’t stay real long because Rich wanted to get home an make the turkey. We were pretty well stuff for a time being. He knew that we were serious when we didn’t take the offered ice cream with the pie. But, we’d had pecan pie at the restaurant and at Bob’s Believe me I wouldn’t have had it any other way J

So that was pretty much the holidays. Maybe something with Joe and Maury and theirs by next weekend.

I figure then that I’m about caught up.

There … we just wrote a quick note to CS and Linda, and we had our first official turkey leftover sandwich. It hit the spot. We talked to Rich for a few moments. He is officially resigning from one of the organizations that he refs for … he’s moving more into softball than baseball and since these groups all charge $50-60, he felt it was no longer necessary. He talked for a few moments about it, but then hit the button on his computer and it was all over. *Sigh* I was thinking that maybe we are getting pretty close to needing to do something about our weight again. I felt bad that he was giving up something due to his knees being bad which I blame on both of us being overweight. Hmm, his resignation was already accepted. Time to be moving past it. I think he’d been a part of that organization for about 30 years. He’s looking toward 50 years with another organization. You never ump, ref or whatever for just one place … there’s a group of them depending on location.

Ok, enough with that one. Are we to the point of hmm, what? It feels good to be caught up with the normal catching up. I’m thinking though that we might want to get the flash drive to see how far we are behind in that. Maybe, hold on.

Ok, we caught those records up. I’m afraid that we haven’t had any sales since the 16th when we sent out the last record … the highlights were having opened the business checking account and purchased checks, received the business cards and having made the pre-order forms, having turned in the proof and sent in the sign-off sheet so the manuscript could go to print. We’ve also met with Carolyn and Marie last Friday and will again today. Hopefully I’m more cognizant today. We have received Maria’s media package and we enrolled in a college course for small business plans. Considering 5 of these days were spent at the quilting retreat I’m thinking that’s pretty good. We sent a copy of our update summary to Marie, Carolyn, Dr. Marvin and Rich. That should be it for now … with the exception of reading through Marie’s package … I think we’ll do that next. It’s almost 10:30 A.M. We’ll see if we can get anything done before the 3 P.M. meeting 4 ½ hours from now.

AHA! The day progressed. It’s now about 5:30 P.M. and we’ve done some stuff from one point to the other. Mostly we had our meetings with Carolyn and Marie and in-between we did some upgrading of the web site, and then after a while Rich came home and we ate and now he’s watching TV and we’re just trying to recapture the day. I was pretty happy with everything that went on.

First was the meeting with Carolyn. We talked about the e-book being ready and that the soft cover should be ready about Monday and that by the end of the week all three should be ready so that it appears at the web site for sale. WooHOO!!! That will put it in place for being ready for December 3rd sales. Sweet! She emphasized that it was out of her control how soon it would be up at Amazon, but sometime most likely in the next 3-4 weeks. We talked about not having the book insurance money yet, but that Carolyn knows now how to work it out to go in when it comes in usually things update the end of the month. She told us about the book being placed in the upcoming section at Friesen Press. She encouraged us with the marketing and she said that she found it was 10% writing, 30% editing, and 60% marketing. Yeeks that sounds frightening.

Then the second meeting was Marie. We went over things from the print media kit she’d sent out. You already know we read it, but we went through the ins and outs especially how to write the press release. She gave me a good idea on sending out emails with just a short sentence or two and how to direct it by interest. She also talked about going into radio. We’re going to have to write up our first press releases first so we get a sense of it. Throughout we talked about building up especially through the business plan a series of things that we could import into the specific releases. Pretty much you have to research what kinds of publications, and then she said to focus on like the top 25 and then move things up and down as we come up to them as being doable. She talked about making a contact, but talked of the decision making role of the editor. Whether direct or through the journalist things eventually go through them, so instead of selling the book you are more or less selling yourself as a resource for them on multiplicity. She also talked about our edge in marketing the multiplicity as regular instead of the sensationalism in the press.

I think we’re going to have to look up multiples on-line and check out some of the key buzz words. Marie used an interesting term a couple really, but she was talking about mass consciousness. And I took it to be like the things at what level is being talked about in general. That’s where I think the personalities like Tara and Oprah come in. They pretty much inform people of the situation if I can do something from their take I will become a better informant of the day to day happenstance of multiples. I think that I’m going to need going through some of the material being written about by other multiples like in Sarah’s blog group. It seems that I’m going to have to put together some resources list about the hot things that are going around in conversation. Sort of like the encyclopedia of multiples. We would have to figure out how to put something like that on the web page. Hmm, maybe I could do something like that now. I think we’re going to try putting a spreadsheet as one of the pull-out pages. That will give me an idea how we can put together something interesting.

One more thing before we get into that … Marie also talked about getting together with other multiples just one or two and putting together a production for a producer of radio or such. She was very encouraging in that … I think we’re going to need doing a lot more in marketing than we’ve been moving toward. But, now that the ideas are fresh again, maybe we can start thinking of something. I would also like to make sure that we add whatever we do through PDF so we make sure the list stays intact. Let me go figure that out … I think I need to remember how to upload documents to http. I know how to do it with the pod cast, but this is different. And, one more thing I’d like to do some experimenting with is uploading some audio or video recordings.

Hey! Got an idea here. If you have the time or inclination, how about taking a satisfaction survey? It's a great way for you and us to interact ... and then to be fair if you'd like to leave your own satisfaction questions, please feel free to do it by clicking on the "contact" icon (folder) on the top right of the page.

It seems like the whole principle of journaling is to be sharing experiences. We're interested on what you thought about our site, AND we're certainly interested in what you thought of the book. We might soon have another survey on what you are thinking about multiplicity - both before and after you have read the book(s).

So take a few moment and please answer as many questions as you would like, or would like to have answered by us. THANKS!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Just finishing up the Retreat Weekend - Happy THANKSGIVING!

Good morning. This is me. We’re up, but have been struggling for consciousness most of this time. We were just going through the wake-up stuff on the computer. We’re thinking that maybe some of this slipping in and out of consciousness has to do with Marie. It’s like we’re sitting here, but then we’re like sleeping, but then not and we keep going back and forth. When we are coming back into awareness we have the sense and fleeting thoughts that we were thinking about other things, but it’s being done on an unconscious basis. We’ll have to give this more thought. I know that our part Marie has always been very elusive. But, we’ve given to her in the past for things just underneath our knowing level. Maybe we can talk to Dr. Marvin about it.

I don’t know if there is too much to catch up from the day before. I think you already have the gist of what was going on with CS. Basically, we had been unhappy because she had been putting a lot of negative sentiments on my mother’s husband that I though were unwarranted, but sounded just like the stuff she had dumped so assuredly over the years on her mother-in-law. We haven’t heard any comment back as to how things had been going with the sister-in-law staying over at her place, but I’ve known in the past she’s also dumped a lot of stuff on her, so now we’re thinking in some relations like the one with our mother, she’s probably dumping a lot of stuff about us. I don’t have proof of that, but we’ll be on the look-out for it.

We were confused as to why our mother would say that CS was asking for money, but CS denying any part of that reality. My good sense about that is that CS has always felt if I had something she should have something to and that it wouldn’t be beyond her to ask for money. I also think that CS is in denial so often that its hard to know what she is and isn’t doing. Not to say my mother or myself don’t have denial problems too, but we’ve worked for many years trying to accept responsibility for our actions. I don’t want to get into a lot of CS thoughts now though because there is so much going on … Hmm, this seems to contradict the last paragraph where I thought not too much happening. Yah, that be the way of a multiple.

I would still like to talk a bit about the weekend. I’m only 1/3-½ through with that conversation, but I wanted to talk about something else first that had happened yesterday. I had been responding to a note that Linda had left on Facebook to CS and ourselves about her losing her job and possibly going back to school. The two brothers that had hired her apparently were cheats in that they had only planned on her working there through the one brother’s chemo and they weren’t very upfront about that. They let her go on Tuesday without any notice. I don’t think she was even making as much as she was on unemployment. They were just idiots and the situation seems to explain them not giving her very much work. They obviously didn’t want her to get used to staying.

Linda and Tony had talked about it and they knew of some kind of Obama plan that if you went back to school under a certain directive you could remain on unemployment until you finished. I think it has to be toward an associates degree and the classes have to be toward something you are going to be looking for in a job. It’s a really good idea actually to help people get back on their feet. I like the idea of retraining and the development of skills.

So, because we are us … and I wanted to be supportive and knowledgeable when we talked to Linda in encouragement, we looked up local schools in the area that would fit the business program in accounting that she’d talked about. We did find a school that was ten minutes away from her that offered that and as well a business management degree. Basically, I thought if you only have an associate level accounting you can never be more than a lightly skilled bookkeeper, but if she took business classes, she could work for herself in owning some kind of quilting business from home. Wow! That made a lot of sense to me and it seemed to fit with our recent ideas on being an entrepreneur.

When we sent the note back to Linda with some information … she seemed appreciative and said that she’ll be checking out things on Monday. She has family visiting now. She said that we were thinking along the line of her and Tony and so that made me feel happy.

But, then I was like all dressed up with no place to go. Well, you can imagine being me that I would soon be looking at school programs too. I spent some time looking at Masters, BA and Associate level courses and in the very end? I decided not to continue any of my formal credit bearing class, but instead … take a series of business classes offered at our local community college. I was like REALLY inspired by the idea. The short story is that I signed up for one class from Morton College (a couple of towns over), but it was an on-line program called ed2go. The class is on creating a successful business plan. I’m so psyched about it … It was much more involved than the one I’d started, but I will use that one as a jumping off place to the next thing.

The class is six weeks long and there is 12 sessions. The new materials are put out on Wednesdays and Fridays. You can have up to two weeks to get the lessons in, but we’d be trying everything in our power to stay caught up. But, the thing is that that part had to be built in toward our disability in that sometimes we do get behind. Being on-line there are similarities of it toward our last education experience. Basically, there is a virtual classroom and you have a teacher and peers. You get a pre-quiz and a small quiz you can take over and over again until you get it right after each lesson. There were like 5 lessons in each day’s lesson. I’m not sure of the terminology yet. I think the courses are fairly easy to learn like you might read up to a couple dozen pages instead of 100, but they have supplementary material through links on-line that could deepen your experience and you can put as much or as little as you want into the assignments. More is better obviously. I think the material is more toward freshman college than masters, but the thing is … it is going to go over business principles with me for the things I want.

I’m very excited that there are only six weeks to a course, and that between every new course there is two weeks. You can start a new course every month if you want to overlap, but I think the idea is to supplement our thinking toward our new business rather than exhausting ourselves or our time. It is tough in that there are so many classes to choose from. One of the programs I had looked at before deciding was the program at DeVry. One class there cost $712. So in that regard, I could take 7 classes in business programs I was interested between now and the end of next year for the same amount of money. The ed2go program is only $99 per each course. I also liked it in that there was an option of CS or Linda doing the same program - though CS is probably not motivated and Linda will need to take something from the Obama plan to support her on unemployment. She’s going to have a lot of work to-do in a normal 15-18 credit course. I hope she understands the amount of work that is going to be on her. I think she is a very determined person and smart though so if she chose that line, she’d be able to do it. We’ll wait and see. I think our goals may or may not be the same.

The school had an example of a couple of courses being taught. As I was saying there are quizzes and then there is a final test. That one is the only one that counts toward your final in a sense where if you pass the test you get a letter of completion on the course. I think that could be handy on a resume, but again I want to learn stuff just to improve our own business.

The school gives you a discussion area to talk about session to session. It’s kind of interesting thinking that the people I’m going to be meeting are most likely going to be local too. Morton is just too small a school to be on everyone’s radar. I really appreciate it being around. I could I guess look at other community colleges like Triton which is north of here - we’d gone there before when we were looking at court reporting. But, the thing is that this school had a perfect opportunity toward what we were looking for.

Hmm, thought I should look up Triton for the hell-of-it, but they only had a certificate program in Business administration that was like 5-6 classes, and then the classes weren’t loading. It wasn’t the same flexibility that I was getting at Morton. AND, I think that they might have been bricks and mortar programs. I didn’t want to get locked into that kind of deal. We’re trying to put together something to help us through the problems that we had last time. I like it that if we get really busy we can start and stop when we want - each 6 week cycle. No one is saying when or when not we have to complete classes AND the ARE flexible in that there are hundreds of courses.

Ok, we’re back we were just over at the site again … there are so many courses I want to be taking for business and they also include software. I would like to understand Access better plus project and visio. I like too that there are classes in project management … between my business and CARF at St. Rose, I would like better experience with this. There are all kinds of customer relations and an entire section on sales and marketing. I just love it!

I have talked about it to CS and Linda … both are more wrapped up in it being Thanksgiving. I won’t be seeing the boys and so I’m like it’s not a big deal. I think we’ll leave in a couple of hours to go out with Rich and his mother and Bud. He is saying that she wants to go back to the house, but I’m thinking she’s going to drink out at the restaurant and back at the house and I don’t really want to go through that. It’s different having one or two drinks out to keeping them going steadfast. She’s going to short-circuit herself by just repeating the same patterns. Bud had found a glass with liquid in it when she’d gotten up that night she fell and broke her hip. It’s very angering. She had looked and sounded so good at the nursing home for her birthday without the alcohol. She was looking strong and sounding positive. It’s all going to disappear. I don’t want to be so negative, but I don’t see any going around it.

Ok, we’ll get off that subject. I will take a shower in about 45 minutes. I had been in the living room, but I came back to the back room when Rich turned on the Thanksgiving Parade … I know he wanted to do something good with that, but I wanted to be able to concentrate more. I did turn on the Christmas music, but it’s different getting the visuals and nauseating commercials. Those shows are trying to pull your attention toward them where this other stuff is like background noise. It reminds you of the time of the year - and holiday season, but it doesn’t preoccupy.

I better get back into the retreat if I’m going to remember any more of it. The parts missing were that I had been going around the room and I only got about 2/5ths through it. There were a few people I didn’t get to know enough to leave a remark. There was one name Debby that I would have liked to get to know better, but she seemed shy and new and I didn’t want to scare her. She stayed over on the side of Linda and Ann. Linda and Ann were partners. You know Ann because she is the shop owner, but Linda was one of her closest friends. She used to do classes with Ann back in the old days Linda used to live in WI.

Linda turned out to be the new person I wanted to know the most about. She was really nice, but sometimes a little shy. She was confident though. She knows a lot about quilting … she’s probably up there at about the same level as Ann. Where I really got to know who she was was that there was stuff going around about how hard she works and that she stays up late at night. I think we went to bed earlier the first night, but the rest of the nights we stayed up to be with her. I just loved her. She had a very subtle sense of humor and we seemed to be understanding each other without too much trouble without saying too many words. The words were used minimally, but when they were they were dead on.

I think the reason I liked her so much was because she was thinking so closely to me, but she’s the older more experienced version. And, where others just one side of her in helping Ann, we saw parts where she was being most likely overused by Ann. She wanted to be working on her own projects and relaxing, but Ann kept her busy. I think internally she’s stronger, but in relationship to Ann, she is the recessive one. She couldn’t say no to Ann. I think she’d been staying with Ann for about a month or more. Ann had her at her house for a bit, but then moved her over to the apartment above Ann’s store. I guess the apartment is full of store stuff, but its where Ann’s people stay when they visit her - more toward sales reps and such.

I wish I could have gotten to know her better. She’s going to be staying here until December 3rd and then she’s going back to Nevada. She’s the only new one that I think we will stay in touch with. She took our business card with email on it and said we should write to one another as projects got completed. I thought that was a great idea. I think we’ll write to one another too when big writing or school projects get done. She’s the kind of person that could understand that kind of thing.

I think she’s married, but didn’t talk about that too much. I don’t really know a lot about her, except she has a sewing studio and she was very helpful to Ann. One of the first nights, I saw her clean up in the kitchen and then the next night I helped her clean up the kitchen while she was packing some of Ann and her stuff. She was also the one that helped Ann pack up the car, especially with all the food and store items. I gave her a lot of credit. You could tell her knees were hurting, but she kept going. She’s probably a little obsessive as me. We tried not to talk to her so much that she couldn’t get her work done and I think that’s why we worked well together too is because we didn’t become depended on each other. I liked being with her though …she became like an older sister figure. Loved her!

I also loved being around the twins. The twins are just plain good people. The are so much fun to be around we just laughed and laughed with them. There were also more serious times like when we were downstairs watching Janet cutting fabric. Sooner then later one will join the other and then you are back to being floored with how well they work and live together. They put as much effort into sewing as any of the other, but it seems more studied. They are able to switch back and forth projects too so that is cool.

I don’t know if I could explain why I like them so much. Maybe it’s just that they seem to be on our level of thinking and they are able to communicate so well. The things they are interested in are interesting to me. I think that Janet is a little more introverted then Jean and I really worked on trying to get to know them separately … still as a team, but to their own right. I felt perfectly comfortable with them talking to each other in their getting to know me. It wasn’t something overt, but you just had to know they were going to share experiences pretty closely. With the twins … I’m pretty sure they are both more outgoing then we are and probably not as elusive. They are definitely straight shooters. In general, I think it is their acceptance of other people that makes them so unique. They could watch people from the inside out and it’s a pretty cool thing. I’d have to say they are intuitive.

Like we said there were others there, but these were the people that we got to know the best. There was Ann of course, and I thought she did very well with the group. She was up early an available all day. She went to bed early, but another Ann, Linda or Karen were up to represent the store. She made sure after the first night that there were learning sessions, but she did not see through that people like ME couldn’t stand around to watch them. I didn’t like that part of her planning.

She had an excellent store situation. She did it so that there was a notebook for everyone to write their name and just continue it as an open account that was squared at the end of the weekend. She brought way too much stuff, but that was what made it work so well. I found things there like the inner stuffing - CS said I should get 4 yards of it. I have extra, but will use it up eventually. I also got a layer cake … that’s like a collection of fabrics - about 42 pieces that are 10 x 10”. I really loved the set I got. I had come across one of the designs - the one for September and I didn’t like what they offered at all, so I had found instead the fall colors I did like. I enjoyed matching things up to fit just right. I like that there is so much fabric left over too. I used about 10-12 pieces. Then we got some embroidery thread and Linda taught me how to do it and we got some embroidery needles. I think we got something else … maybe … Oh, I know what else. We found a piece of Halloween fabric to complete the one wall hanging we had started with, but that didn’t have a back and binding again.

As to the projects … you pretty much saw them. It took about a day to finish each. I was working on a cycle that had me finishing about 8-10 P.M. and then I would start cutting out the appliqué for the next day. At first the projects seemed very complicated, but after a bit it was like natural. Each of the designs taught me something which is very familiar to me in this quilting manner we’ve been going about things. I liked the projects I was working on and I liked that they were relatively short so it looked like I was advancing them in some way.

By the time it was time to go I was zooming trying to finish the backing for the October piece. I had pre-packed with the Nevada Linda the night before leaving out only what I was going to be needing. We had skipped several meals, because it wasn’t worth the effort, nor was that part real fun. They had about 150 junior high kids there all day Saturday and Sunday morning. I didn’t want too much of that. The one meal I had gone to with them, they had us sitting 15-20 minutes trying to finish up the food so one of their leaders was telling a story. I wasn’t entertained with that at all. It wasn’t what I signed up for. There was so much snacks back at home base we just did that instead. One of the ladies Angie, brought this heavenly dessert that was some kind of pumpkin crunch stuff. It was fantastic. My new favorite dessert!

There’s one more thing I wanted to say. I really really had a good time with Linda there. “MY” Linda. She was the perfect partner between working and talking and helping and just being darn right fun. I like her conversations and to think about the things that are important to her. I think she really does have a good view point on light. She was also good for others in that she was such an easy person for people to talk to. We talked to her at the end of maybe sharing a room next year if she comes back. She shared a room this time with Karen the lady who works at the store. I thin that worked out for her, but wouldn’t be the same as having each other. She gets a long with Karen, but are not necessarily close friends.

I don’t know who Emily paired up with or why she and Linda didn’t go in together, but I was looking at the prices and thinking that I would like to go on my own dime next year to avoid those problems and I would like trying a double room because it would save $125. For all that I was in the room, I really didn’t need to sleep by myself. I would use Linda’s nose strips to keep from snoring too badly, but I think its an evolutional move.

I feel close enough to Linda to know that we’d be good for one another. I really did have a good time this year. I remember going from one smile to another and one volley of laughter to another. The one night being up with the twins and Linda when they were calling me a socialist I was laughing so hard I was crying. You just don’t find these kinds of friends just anywhere. And, ALMOST everyone was very productive when it came time to sewing. CS was the only one having real problems and I knew she was trying. She did finish her borders for the group quilt. That was a good thing.

CS missed out on Saturday night when everyone showed off their pieces. I think I was on the lower end of productivity, but on a higher end of detail-mindedness. There were some exceptional quilts though … I really liked the blue one behind us, and I liked the bunny rabbit one and then Ann finished up one from her last retreat that was in pinks and browns that I liked a lot though CS did not. Most of the quilting though merges in together with one another. It was so much to behold all that all these women could produce. I think I mentioned the other day that one of the retreat people from the camp said it looked like a sweat shop … in a sense it did, but there was all this privatization going on with the projects. Throughout the people encouraged each other as in when people stopped one project it was often held up and then all would be able to make their exclamations. Plus the chatting was just phenomenal.

But, It’s now 11:20 A.M. and we’re out of the shower, but Rich just came in to say that his mother is at the restaurant already an hour and a half early. They said they had been bored and just wanted to get out, so we’ve got to pick up the speed. I think Bud was afraid of it closing before they got there, and I’m thinking Mom’s going to be drunk before we get there. Shoot. Well, nonetheless … it is Thanksgiving and its then time to go.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Retreat and Sister troubles ...

Hi. This is us again. We just checked and a week seems to have gone by without anyone writing. I don’t know all of why that happened, but some of it was because we were doing so much sewing and quilting that we didn’t have time for anything else … well except for eating and talking. We did a good amount of that too. It was a perfect long weekend. We were at the quilting retreat from Wednesday until yesterday Sunday afternoon. Pswhoo it was a whirlwind trip I don’t know how much we’ll be able to do about it in writing, but our goal is to write now for two and a half to three hours. I suppose we should try to figure out first what happened on Monday and Tuesday? Hold on.

It seems the first part was that Rich was hurting bad. He had crutches for a while, but gave them back sometime during the time we were gone. For a while he was wheeling himself in a chair. Too many door things that made going over them hard – maybe door jams? Is that what they are? Ok, better move on.

Ok, there’s going to be some reconnecting here, but not sure how much. Our notes left off on telling something about our weekend away where we went to see the Grand National Marching Band competition. Almost forgot about that part. I think the most part was that we were thinking about the quilting retreat and trying to finish up some stuff with the writing. We’re going to sneak over to the emails to see if we can pick up some clues there. I have to look … If today is Monday the 22nd that would mean last Monday was the 15th, right?

Seems that we did something for the center’s newsletter on Monday and Tuesday we had an appointment with Dr. Marvin. I think the major part was talking about the problems we’d had with my sister at the last retreat and of late and figuring out how to handle all that. Up to that point we hadn’t packed yet, but we knew pretty much what we were going to work on.

I had talked to Maury about not having enough money with the business concerns this year to pay money for gifts. But, he had suggested making something for the kids.

So then we came up with the idea of making a wall hanging for everyone’s birthday month. That’s all that we were working on over the long weekend. We finished three new ones, and did the back for one. I had completed two before and had given one to CS, but she was going to give that one back because we needed two for that month. Basically then all I need to do for Maury’s family is one January.


These are the things we’ve been doing.

Hmm, it’s the next morning and we haven’t got too much time to be writing. I’m a little discombobulated. I was doing some thinking along a line, but then Rich needed to tell me about his printing problems. I like supporting my baby, but it didn’t take so much to lose my place.

Let’s see I’ve got about a half an hour. What is on my mind if we weren’t falling in between the creases? I’m really having a hard time figuring out what I should be doing or thinking about. Maybe if I start more easily. Rich is printing out something. I’m sitting here writing, but not knowing what my mind is thinking.

Everything is a little fuzzy. I’m not sure what area I’m supposed to be writing about. Maybe if I just pick something the rest will start to fill itself out.

Hmm, is there anything about the book project? I don’t remember doing anything with it yesterday. Maybe I wrote a few things, but I’m thinking not much more on that. Shoot why am I having such a hard time figuring all this out? Maybe if I just try to think one thing at a time without thinking the big picture.

Rich is printing out something on the printer. I’m being discombobulated. I’m thinking that I’m pretty appreciative of CS for letting me use her computer until I meet up with her a bit. My other computers are down and out for some reason, I don’t remember. Just that we have to keep writing and wait for us to get some money to get the other back into shape. I don’t remember what exactly the problem is. I think the netbook has some kind of virus and I don’t remember what’s going on with the big computer. We just haven’t gotten ourselves together enough to figure out those thoughts.

Did I write the part where we were ordering something? I think we placed the order already. I think it had something to do with Christmas gifts. Hmm, I have to remember … Maybe I left a clue in my email? I know it had something to do with printing pictures of stuff on some kind of things that has to do with the boys and their loved ones. Maybe I left a link somewhere … Hold on, let me check. Hmm, I don’t seem to be able to figure out where we left the bread crumb trail. I don’t remember where we ordered stuff from. I think it cost about $125, but I don’t remember what. I think there was gifts in that Cari got a sweatshirt saying something like fighting like a girl, and then Joe got something about saying he respects that she fights like a girl … I think Cari’s is a sweatshirt and Joe’s is an apron. And, then Maury and Niki got aprons that have a picture of themselves with something like “gotta love the cooks!” And then there were 5 key chains ordered one for each of the girls and one for me saying something like “I’m with them” and it has a picture of Maury and Niki. Maybe that’s about it?

I don’t know what got me to thinking about all that. Maybe something came through the mail about ordering or maybe it was part of something that we’re regularly tuned into, but I had just got to feeling that I hadn’t done enough for them. I would like it too if we could get them some money, but I’m not sure that is happening. I seem to remember something about needing money for something. I don’t remember exactly, but probably has something to do with the book.

I think in general this took up the rest of the day we had while we were writing to be going to the blog. I think I’m going to start another message next about what was happening at the retreat. I’m thinking I still haven’t covered those bases, but maybe have you caught up to most of today and yesterday, hmm? Well at least some of the basics. I hope I’m good with the gifts. I think that each of the boys is like into whomever as to being new romantic relationships. Joe and Cari got married this year, and Maury and Niki found each other. That’s a good enough reason to set up the pictures. I think it all started when I found the sweatshirt about fighting like a girl. That’s so much Cari – and then we just had to fill in the others. It’s hard to be a Mom at Christmas, because you just can’t do enough.

Ya know?

I don’t have CS’s pictured here … we forgot that one. I’m thinking now that we might make one for Joe and Cari too. I don’t think Thom would be interested and we don’t seem to be in a relationship with Alexis any more. Hmm, Joe’s birthday is in February and Cari and Thom’s are in April. We’ll have to figure that out. It means making another heart and I’m not sure

Ok, we’re back. I think we forgot to save what we typed this morning, but since we don’t remember what we typed, maybe we didn’t type anything? Not sure. I think I got up with Rich, but maybe we were doing something else on the computer. We’re not going to get real excited about it. Just figured we should be getting through with the business of the retreat. I’ll have to look and see where we left off.

Now I’m remembering in that we typed what was above the picture so that’s why we didn’t see our words since being here yesterday earlier. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to make good sense … just follow the path, k? We condensed the picture to be that which is above in reference to camp. It seems as if we really haven’t gotten to the retreat notes yet. I think we’ve come in and out of the thoughts during writing efforts to particular people. We still have to cover our basis leading up to the event and thereafter.

Well actually it doesn’t look like there are too many references. I guess you get the condensed version. The only thing remembered is that we had to do some stuff before we left on Wednesday. We had to pack, and then we had to load the car – without Rich’s help and then we had to stop at Walgreen’s to get a few personal items, and then we stopped to get our donut and coffee and then we stopped at the UPS store. We had talked to our printer – yup got one now – the night before. And we had to do some ironing out of that, but it wasn’t a big deal. Bottom line is that he works out of his house, so he got the printed business cards I wanted to our UPS store in time for us to pick them up. I was really happy with that … This is what they look like! Cool, hmm?

I like them a lot. They are more normal size though. I got packed up and left for my errands at about 9:30 A.M. so I could be out of town at 10:30 A.M. I had set up very strict times with CS. I told her when I was leaving and that I would be there between 12:45 – 1:00 P.M. I told her I would help her but that we were going to be leaving at 2:00 P.M. to be at the retreat by 3:00 P.M. when it opened. At 10:30 A.M. I called her to say that everything was still on time. She said well could we stop at the pharmacy first. I told her then that we would leave her house at 1:45 P.M. to maintain the schedule. Apparently, she went out and got the medicine herself or through Mark, so we didn’t have to worry about that. But, we had found out after getting to her place that it was an hour and fifteen minutes so we left at 1:45 P.M. anyway.

The ride up was nothing special. I think we were listening to music and practicing going just a LITTLE over the speed limit, but not much. We were still thinking of business processes because half the way up we were holding the business card to sneak peeks. When we got to CS’ we ate a boloney sandwich and watched the way CS and Uncle Marky were interacting. We reminded CS several times to be doing the getting ready things when she started to gravitate to one spot. Are the dogs out?

Is there anything in the dryer? Did you get your bathroom stuff? To her credit she was mostly packed, but still needed to go through that release of house, Mark and the dogs. We’d budgeted the hour, but no more. Mark was really too foggy to talk to. He needed to discharge from CS too. *Sigh* It’s a process.

We talked or at least listened and asked a lot of questions throughout the drive about what CS and family had just gone through with the death of Mark’s mother.

There was a lot of frustration because she had put in the will that no one was to receive any money until they were 60 years old. That really upset things for the people involved. But, even that was a process to think through. Basically, they would have money for their retirements. It wasn’t such a bad plan.

There was also conversation on Mark’s sister. She might be coming to stay with CS and Mark, but maybe not. It’s all up in the air. I think she is due today and that she’ll be staying over through Thanksgiving. CS asked us what we were doing, but we were already committed to Rich’s Mom and Bud. I suppose if it were fair we would go up north for a late Thanksgiving on Saturday, but I think Rich has to work one of those days to catch up what he missed this week in days off. I’ll bring it up to Rich to see what he thinks, but the idea is coming late to me. I think Nancy the sister is planning on cooking.

We talked to CS about having another woman in the house that would be fairly commanding and perhaps the idea she just plan to stay for a month or so until she could get resettled in West Bend. I guess she’s pretty sick of Rochester and has nothing good to say of the place. I’m not so sure that Mark doesn’t want to move either, but there’s too much going on there as to his work. I know he’s talked of the house being too big for the both of them, but definitely if the sister came to live with them the house would fill up.

I can’t imagine CS and Nancy getting along seriously because they would both compete for Mark’s attention and authority over matters. But, that will be between them, one thing at a time, and that means let us check out today and tomorrow and the holiday first. Nancy has a couple of small dogs, so that would have to be checked out too. CS said Nancy is used to them using a couple indoor mats and I’m pretty sure that isn’t going to work. Also there would be room accommodation. CS is moving toward that Nancy moves into the sewing room and CS sewing room moves downstairs, but the room will be finished. They still have some nest egg with Mark’s school retirement, but then it would be replaced with his Mom’s retirement money. Just they still have to get to 60 and that’s ten years down the line for Mark and about six years for Nancy. Pretty sure they’d be on their own by then.

I’m not sure who needs the bigger space in the basement more between CS and Nancy.

Rightfully if she was going to stay she should have a bedroom and at least some living space like a living room so she can watch TV or read or whatever on her own. CS is just seeing a bigger space for her sewing needs, but if it were really fair, she would move down stairs and give Nancy her bedroom for a separate living space. Or, they could both have bedrooms upstairs and separate spaces downstairs for the living area. There’s a bedroom down there and they would obviously need another bathroom. There is enough room that CS and Nancy both have some room down there, but Mark needs some space too for his “man/school” stuff and it isn’t fair that CS take just the space for her long arm in front of the windows, because there are no windows in the back. I don’t think CS is the type to be giving up too much.

Hmm, I have a few things there too that would have to be moved or thrown. I wonder if they are going to use that TV down stairs of Thom’s. Maybe it could be in Nancy’s spare room. Eh who knows … enough of that all. They will have a lot of figuring to do in the next three to five days. Good luck there. Me? I’m just an innocent bystander. No opinion as to how to make that work best for everyone. It be a strain and I wouldn’t sit around to coddle anyone. They’d have to make peace with themselves. I am still being offered the couch to visit, but I am not taking it further than that. It does seem that they’ve filled in the table from Thom quite well. There was anything there but the simple table runner. But again … that’s on them. Rich and us have enough problem keeping the table in the living room clear.

I’m glad CS and Mark are considering the welfare of Mark’s sister … just there are going to be a lot of problems for them to work out. God Bless them all 

I think some of the questions we were asking CS were new thoughts to her and I felt as if we furthered her thoughts; just we didn’t go back to them. I didn’t have any serious conversations with her after we got there and the trip back was discussing having been on the trip. That was a pretty easy conversation.

Now I think we are up to the point of the trip. We took an extra ten minutes getting there because the address wasn’t sufficient for the maps. It only gave us where the highway was and not the fire number. We stopped then for gas and directions. The place seemed fine rolling in … there are always hesitations as to what you’ve gotten yourself into. As we stated before we were pretty sure we were only going to be unpacking ourselves and CS seemed to understand this too.

She didn’t like though the table she was given because it was in the middle of two tables. She complained and made Ann the owner cranky about it. CS pushed the tables a little further apart, but generally had to get used to it. I sure didn’t want her back where I was. We were working on the part where a little space would do us good. I was in the back third and she was in the middle third. She had to handle being at her table all alone until Emily came in the next day and she made it clear she didn’t like the people on either side of her. I was like … nope, nope can’t help you there. I like the people I was with just fine.

I knew Linda my partner of course, and I knew the lady kitty corner across the table from me. The two ladies in back of me, one across from me and the two beside me I didn’t know, but hey … they seemed nice  The church lady across from me was the only one beside our Linda that talked a lot. But, she didn’t do it with me, so we were ok there. I managed to be pretty busy during the days, and then during the evenings – late evenings, I would do more visiting.

The one’s naturally that I knew the best were the ones in our little group.

Everyone was as great as we’ve always known them to be. The two ladies in back were co-workers and had known each other for a long time. They were happy people and current and one worked on this beautiful blue quilt while the other worked on four frogs for her grandchildren. We would talk back and forth with them, but more often after they had already stopped and we felt included in other conversations that had stopped by our foursome.

I didn’t talk too much with the sideways neighbors, but they were friendly and gave compliments and smiles. I felt shy of them because they seemed so much more experienced than we were, but at some point I asked them a technical question and they both turned and then it was Mary that was helping me. She was very considerate and knowledgeable and we said a few things that seemed to give us a bond, that made me proud to know her. I really respected her and felt humbled.

There were several people who stopped to give extra encouragement, especially in seeing that we were doing something more complex especially for a newbie.

I didn’t know how to respond, except we made sure to say thank you and then we tried to focus on something else. We’re still having a hard time with compliments. The inner parts love them, but we don’t want to seem over-appreciative and needy. I thought the lady across from me was a bit on the needy side and we didn’t want to be thought of like that. With our younger part enthusiasm to show-off it was sometimes hard. We took the stance though of many of the women there where you just work and work and give a mere sideways glance as to your own accomplishments. It was more like you weren’t doing anything more than was expected women of this caliber.

I only talked to Karen another employee of Ann’s a little bit. A couple of times I asked her help and she seemed to bend backwards giving it to us. Once was cutting some middle stuff and the other was holding something we were tracing against the window. I was appreciative. She seemed busy and focused inward, but I knew that there had been some hardship between Ann and her employees. Afterward someone told me there were now only four employees. Just gotta stay away from that kind of business. I was having enough trouble trying to be a good sister combo.

The lady across from Karen was supposed to be one of her friends, but she was another store owner who sold crafty things like beads and embroidery. When she set out to open a store at Ann’s place I guess it caused some friction and about Friday morning, she was gone. She didn’t seem overly friendly, but she might have been cranky about the work relationship between Ann and her. Ann was pretty honest in saying she’d worked hard for this to be taking care of her business needs and not others.

I had thought out all those thoughts previous, and I brought up once that I was publishing a book, but then I just left business cards and a pre-order form on the table and decided it was up to anyone who wanted to pick up the materials if they were interested. I did no selling of the book while I was there. I did tell some people when they missed me that I had had a telephone business meeting with the publishers Friday afternoon. But, that was it. Along with all that – during the intro – I did say I was a multiple and I thought that pretty much put me out there, and that throughout the time, I would be brought through a strainer in that the feeling was that I represented people not only as multiples, but also as having mental illness. I figured they would have thoughts after getting to know me a bit as to how all that stood for them.

I think for the most part I made a good impression. There was one lady and her peer a little aloof and some people mostly on the far 1/3 of the room that I just didn’t get to, but that’s to be expected with such a big group. The one lady who’s more aloof tends to be one that will baby CS some so we just figure that’s a relationship we’ll leave alone. I do admire her for the work she does. She does more little detail stuff like I do than anyone else was doing. This couple was there last year as well.

Another couple that was there was Sandy and Mary. We tend to call her tall Sandy. She was one of my favorites from last year. She’s a beautiful woman with two high school girls and she is the one that works with the FBI. AND, she definitely comes to sew. Her partner is Mary who is her ex-sister-in-law. They seem to get along pretty well. Sandy was working mostly on purses and I’m not as familiar with what this second Mary was doing. It was a little tough between us – Sandy and us because we were looking so forward to seeing her, but felt stumbly, because one or more of our relationships have a crush on her. Someone said something about being attached to her like “Big Bird,” and then that pretty much gave us an idea which parts were attached. When the Casies and Anniemi were out it was hard to even talk to poor Sandy. Later Jamie came out and everything was fine and the conversation was more equalized. All in all it was tiring because of so much emotional energy.

Saturday night we had our first real discussion with Mary Sandy’s SIL. Wow … didn’t see that one coming. She let it be known very quickly from something I had said in that she was a starch Libertarian. I thought ok, if we’re not going to chicken out here, we’re going to settle back, and put our feet up and figure out where that takes us. I think we must have debated points for about 45 minutes. I knew most of her talking points and could give an equal rebuttal, but she was fond of saying it is a fact! And, you just gotta know us by now we’re not buying into anyone’s fact especially someone with that much opinion. She made it pretty clear where she stood along racial lines and that was just downright jarring. A couple of times she went as far to insinuate I was a socialist like all Obama’s cronies.

We let it slide and eventually the conversation wore out and she left kinda frustrated. When she went down fox holes I wasn’t familiar with, we stated that … I don’t have that kind of information. The point was that I wasn’t going to be yelled at for having all the opposing opinions she felt so strongly about.

This was the biggest conversation I’d had on politics since I started listening to CNN which of course she took to be left and far left. It was truly a learning experience. Afterward, when she left, I went back to my table, but then decided to pull something together and go sit over by the twins and closer to the second Linda. I think mentally they checked me out to see if we were ok, but then they started laughing. The favorite thing became to be calling me “you socialist!”

Yeah like ok, that was a bit confusing, but I understand what she was doing. I think that the twins and us were probably all more liberal, but not far left. I think they respected my position, but then again stated basically they wouldn’t have touched it with a ten foot pole. I knew what they meant in that it was me who got us in deep with it, but I teased them back for all the support they’d given me. I don’t think they thought I needed but it was kinda a strange thing too.

Sandy wasn’t there, although I’m sure that Mary told her about it after. I don’t know Sandy’s viewpoint, but I would know her to be an independent thinker so I could only say she might think like Mary, but might not. And, then we would let it go at that.

None of us talked too much Sunday, and when I saw the two of them walking down the road together, I thought I’d lost my opportunity to give them a hug. But, they came back and I was quick to jump out of the car. First Mary and then Sandy. I really do like them, but of course, especially tall Sandy. We left with a see you again later next year. She was told intermediately that some with had a crush on her, but she seemed to think it was interesting, but didn’t go further, so neither did we. I felt much prouder of us this year in not having fawned over her as much as the year before. She still is pretty and so very alive and quick!

Emily sat back to back with Mary with CS across from her. Linda and us were side by side. I kept some awkward space between me and Emily for a while too. It seemed ok, but not necessarily safe. She was enough into the CS issues that I didn’t know how to approach her. I didn’t know how frustrated she would be with me from pulling back from the group as long as I had. I think our first real good conversation came on Saturday night. By then CS had disappeared into her world of sickness for the last couple of days.

I think Emily really needed someone to talk to about it and we needed someone too.

We went over quite a few things, one of which was Emily’s decision that I was really having a good time. I very clearly admitted that I was just having the best time. I was doing my work yet getting to know as many people as I could too. I felt happy to know Emily. I noticed that she, Linda and the twins – like most people were getting around to each other. You would never know where the next conversation was coming from. Everyone except CS and the lady that left seemed to be having a good time. I made sure to tell Emily that my problems with CS mostly stem from the sense of being controlled or dominated by this sick world of CS and our thoughts that it was a plea for attention.

A bit ago this morning, I addressed the issue after CS had very seriously dumped on John from the couple of Mom and John. It was my general opinion that although I don’t have a deep trusting relationship with her, I did respect her person and for the fact she was still our mother. I felt that demanded some time and attention.

Though over the years you know that it’s been difficult for us too, it seems the more assure I feel of ourselves the easier it is to consider her situation. I think it is one thing to say you are not close and it is another thing to be “damaging” or “damming” another. I think my rep stands on trying to evaluate and analyze the relationships I am in, but for the most part, I tend to try figuring out why relationships upset me or behold me.

CS said of our stepfather that he had really declined in his mental reasoning because he couldn’t give her the information she was looking for after telling her that Mom had gone in the hospital. She made it seem like he was keeping them apart. She’d jumped to the conclusion with our without Mom that it was probably a heart issue or sinus infection and she was trying to get her up on a walker which didn’t interest my mother. She seemed put upon for having had the conversation, and then later I responded after having talked to our mother that we had understood that it might just be a bladder infection (that’s what the tests were indicating), mom also complained about shoulder pain and said she’d left therapy because it wasn’t any better. I was taken back in that there had been after a month no x-rays or MRI completed. I hadn’t liked the way she was denying the doctor’s conclusion or making it sound more mysterious than it already was. I commented on the family’s tendency to jump ship and look for medical problems to be more remarkable, and then I teased CS for being Dr. Tscharner and declining the mental processes of John. I had remarked to Mom that CS had thought John to be losing mental prowess, but she explained how tired the two of them had become with this.

CS responded again questioning the length of time it took for her to get to the doctor, but that was reasoned by me to be like ok, it’s Friday night or Saturday … maybe Monday we should call the doctor. It was only after she couldn’t get up they called the ambulance. CS took that to be that Mom was in denial about John’s “real” condition. CS didn’t like being put upon to do so much work in figuring out what was going on. She again claimed denial over the situation and said again the man was losing it. CS seemed to be upset that John was getting medical attention, but that Mom wasn’t although she must have been in pain for an infection. We both tend to feel she might be disappointed that it wasn’t something more serious or attention grabbing. But, then we talked out loud to CS that her situation wasn’t much different … we talked about the attention she had gathered between the women at the retreat by just disappearing and then sending for things such as crackers, pop and IPod instead of just taking the four minute trip up herself. It would give the appearance there was something more demanding than just a stomach ache from eating too much of the wrong kind of food.

CS said that time will tell … with all her medical knowledge she didn’t feel people were kept in the hospital for infections. She again claimed seriously that John wasn’t tired, but that he simply did not care about Mom and his priorities were more about hunting or such. She claimed that John was talking about some soap opera thing about things she eventually gave up on to find out more information of her mother for herself.

I told CS that she was holding a pretty condemning viewpoint and that John and Mom were after almost 35 years right for each other and that indeed he had been taking care of her and that I couldn’t think of a time over the 35 years that any of us three girls were asked to do anything for them. They are extremely independent. I told her that I didn’t hold too much at stake for mom being motherly, but that set of opinions came long before John joined the picture. I told her I was more interested in her mind more than her analysis of John. I wanted to know where all the anger was coming from and I asked if he had ever done or said anything bad to CS. I asked what had caused this level of frustration.

I think some of it has come from the vulnerability CS is facing in just having lost Mark’s Mom. I think she’s still waiting for that magical mother to appear and she believes that Mom is being kept from that role by John. I thought when the situation had gotten bad enough they had taken it to the hospital level. I didn’t agree that I would jump to that either. Again we talked to CS about her statements on Mom looking for sympathy was not unlike herself over the retreats and we went as far as to say that her situation would have been erased by her eating less of the right types of foods to have avoided upsets. I stated that I saw the pattern with both Scott and her saying that John doesn’t take care of mother, but whom else has? I did say it was nice of her to give Mom and John a quilt, but I didn’t think of anything else really nice being done by the three of us kids for them. I may have my emotional distance from them in not having ever developed ties to them, and yes I believed her mothering to be bad, but that she’d done well in living with the strained relationship to her children and that that was punishment enough. I didn’t aggravate the situation by thinking he was “Losing his mind.”

I couldn’t figure out what the hell that meant when coming from a family that was as dysfunctional all around as ours. It was as if she alone held the mental health key, instead of appreciating the efforts of a couple old people in their 70’s. I believe that borderline runs in our family and narcissism. It’s still not damning. It’s important to understand why people are acting in such and such a way, but CS had seemed to indicate a catastrophe in that he was “losing it,” or worse abusing the relationship. I don’t know maybe she is thinking that somehow she is going to have to step in and take care of mom. I don’t see that happening even with me. If something were to happen with John, Mom would most likely go into a assisted living situation. She isn’t the type to become dependent on her children. I’ve worried over this before, but over the last couple of years we’ve heard of mother being involved with the “old folks.” We take that to be a step in that direction. She too seems to hold herself differently from them in that she’s got special powers she can endow on them, but that’s something in-line with being narcissistic. As long as I don’t have to deal with it, it is no skin off my nose. But then, I would think CS to not normally think that male “husbands” can take care of their spouses. Yeeks!

I will give this much credit to CS. With the situation changing with Mark’s family between mother and sister and in not getting the long hoped for financial stability, CS is probably pretty hard pressed. One other thing came up on the way to the retreat event. We brought up with CS that Mom had said because CS knew that we’d received $1000, that she felt she should receive $1000 too. CS hadn’t told me that, but from what I understood, mother had said no to the second request. I don’t know if CS hadn’t asked for money before, but the second more bothersome side of CS reminds me of what Sandy was saying CS was putting her through after the death of my father. There was supposed to be quite a few unattractive letters that went from CS to Sandy. I was embarrassed there and I was frustrated with this latest development.

I tried to explain to CS that it was a different matter. I wasn’t asking for sustenance, I was asking for more of a business investment in a product that I’d made. I told her of the obligation I felt and how I’d sent back to mother and John our business notes as to what was happening. I told her that Mom had a big part of our earliest history and had assisted in creating the ill health we’d been under.

I told her it was a way of saying I’m responsible for something, but now it is over. We have in a sense settled accounts. She didn’t owe me the $1000 and she may not have claimed direct responsibility, but there was some acknowledgement that our situation existed. She had to read the book before she invested, but as mom had said it wasn’t an investment in the book as much as an investment in me – and something we were doing. CS was just seeing $1000 turn hands that she wasn’t involved in. But, she hadn’t done anything, but racked up bills.

Speaking of I just uncomplicated a situation between us. I took out $100 from our business account and put it down on a $100 credit to Ann’s store for CS and had it mailed to her. I feel $100 less, but I’d purchased a $100 that CS was encouraging me not to spend, because she could cover it. We’ve got parts that have a lot of trouble not taking offered money, but we know the right thing was that we weren’t going to get involved in CS money laundering. It was in some respects a very nice gesture. We hadn’t been sure where that much money was coming from now that we are home we knew what had to happen. I want a clean account. We are still borrowing her laptop because we didn’t have the extra money to bring ours in to be cleaned again from the virus that got to it over the weekend. That had compounded the situation of us having mailed the keyboard away to be replaced by Logitech so not having access to our big computer.

Ok, and then there is this other stuff going on … It’s time to send this in and be done with it until we can go over it with Dr. Marvin. So we emailed him.

Dr. Marvin, could you save this for after when we get back to our session? It has to do with CS and my running conversation last two days. I'm sure I did things wrong in here, but we're trying. I liked the part of being a little more removed from the emotional obligation part. I still feel responsible for CS more than I should. Maybe there's something of a control freak in there too in my regard. I keep putting the mask on it as if she were someone else and not my sister. Would I still call her on things. Not sure ... it would depend on the relationship. I know if you did something wrong ... you would be the first person to know. Just you are pretty close to perfect *angelic wings* But, I didn't want to live in a three-way conversation between Linda, CS and Me (these letters were put out there) where this was the serious opinion of both her of me and our relationship to parent and step-parent. If I didn't say something it would be like I agreed. You already know what I feel of her rationality. I think it's about developing a trusting relationship, but these kinds of things put us over the craigy ledge. I also thought that I've heard for so long her relating to her MIL the same "ugly" way she had just used to describe John that it felt terrifying to me that she could unchecked continue that line of statements until he and mother died with or without leaving her money. It was like she just transferred over all that negative unreplenished energy.

Ok, back to me again. I’m going to have to figure out how to save content without directly saving it. But, I haven’t figured that out yet. Maybe I will be a pro by the time we have to be concerned with publishing. For now … just trying to conclude thoughts so we can move on. Obviously this has wrapped me up today. Hmpf!

Shoot shoot ... time to go ... I'm supposed to be home in time for Rich and Jon to pick us up. Better get to it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A couple on the mend

Good morning. This is me. We’re having a bit of a slow morning. Rich has been hurting so there is a lot of checking in with him. He did something to his right ankle and he’s pretty sore by now because he wasn’t taking it easy afterward. He did stuff like not letting me drive home. That wasn’t a good idea at all if you ask me. He has been letting me help him around the house. And, we’re going to need checking in on getting him some crutches. He’s determined that already, but now we are going to need waiting until Walgreens’ Home Health Care opens after 8 A.M.

I have a staffing today too, so we’re going to need checking if that is the morning or afternoon as to getting something ready and helping Rich out.

Then to make things worse, we stubbed our toe this morning getting in bed with Rich to wake him up. It really smarted a lot and caused some bleeding and bruising. At least I can walk though … Much better off than super buddy friend. He’s just a mess.

Ok, enough of the injury report. However, I did just see Rich hovel to the shower … it took him about two and a half minutes to cross the floor. Yeeks!

Not sure where we left off. Maybe by saying that it’s some kind of sign that we don’t have everything under control with what we’re doing – well at least with some things. I think we last left off writing before we had gotten to Indianapolis, IN for the Grand National Band Competition. It was really really something! We got in for the semi-finals last part … that took about 4 hours and then we had to leave – everyone had to clear out of the stadium because the finals was another part of the financial picture. We had gotten the finals ticket in the mail which was good because they were sold out afterward. The daytime one we got for less money fortunately.

I had a hard time getting to the place because it was a stadium with stadium parking and even if I had remembered my disability pass, the parking in that lot was already over-crowded. Rich says that in comparison to the parking in Chicago for stadiums we were much closer, but I still didn’t make it all the way without stopping to rest, and then right after we got in the door, Rich found customer service and they had wheel chairs so he got one for us. I wasn’t arguing. It wasn’t my idea, but I was very grateful that Rich could make it happen. This was before Rich hurt his ankle.

The other nice thing about that is that it allowed us to sit in the handicapped part for wheel chairs. Rich was able to pull up a chair beside us and that was a lot more comfortable than being squeezed in the middle of a row of seating with little leg room or closer toward people. Where we were … there was nobody to Rich’s left and I was a foot from the person to the right. There was also an elevation from where we were from the people in front of us. Our ground was about their shoulder height and there was a plexi-glass wall between us.

I ran into trouble at one point. The bathroom was like 100 feet away which was great and I could do it walking so I wouldn’t lose my spot, which might have happened if Rich needed to roll me to the bathroom. But, on the way back, the next band had started and they didn’t allow movement within the stadium. I thought I was going to pass out from standing for 10-15 minutes. It was terrible.

Especially since I could see my chair twenty-five feet in front of me, but other than that, we did pretty good.

We stopped to have a brat on the way out of the building the first time and we went
to the car … so many people had left at that point, it allowed us to re-park the car at a spot closest to where we could be parking. It was very nice. Afterward, we stopped at guest services and someone came with us to exchange the chair for Rich’s driver’s license and she let us out at a much closer door. It had been drizzling. So all in all with that it worked out. We’re going to have to remember this kind of stuff for the bigger walking trips. I felt bad for Rich in having to push me, but I couldn’t go much farther and then we were fearful of the trip back to the car. But all is well that ended well or something close to that.

Speaking of … Rich is in the shower now. There’s some progress. I think he’s going to make a doctor’s appointment today. He had his leg up thought and heat on it as was someone’s suggestion. He decided between heat and cold. I never remember which is which. Good ending though!