Posted in Around the House, Everywhere But Home, Family Time, Friend Time, health, I Am Traveling, I Really Do Cook, My Own Personal Weirdness, Writing

Lisa’s Writing Vacation

AKA: How I managed to spend a whole week NOT writing

This was a hard week for me. As I’ve mentioned before, my half-brother Ray passed away last month. Last Thursday I drove to DFW and dropped my car off at Katherine’s and she drove me to the airport. I hopped on a flight to California in order to help out Ray’s widow, Susan, and kids getting reading for the memorial service. I’d brought my writing stuff with me, hoping to get to spend some of my free time writing, but there honestly wasn’t any minutes to spare.

I got to their house after a long day of driving and flying and with a negative time change, I was so very tired and it was only 8pm. I tried to stay up and talk with everyone, but it was no use – I was in bed by 9:30pm PST.

The next day I woke up at 4:45am, but managed to coax myself back to sleep until about 6:30am. I went to make coffee, but my nephew ran out and shooed me away, telling me that his dad always got up and said “Make the coffee, Joe,” and he was determined to keep on making the coffee, even without his dad around to remind him. Just like that, I could hear my brother in my little nephew’s voice and see him in his every movement. I had to shoo myself away before I cried all over the little guy.

We spent the rest of the day taking kids to and from school, organizing, then cleaning rooms of the house and the patio so it could be all ready for the memorial service the next day.

My biological maternal grandparents

The next day I was again awake at 4:45am, but this time I got up, made my own coffee, and spent some time taking photos of photos in my birthmom’s room (which was where I was staying). Her walls are absolutely covered in photos, many of which I’ve never seen before. I stood up on a stool and angled myself this way and that to get the best photos possible. Once the other’s were up, I started decorating the house with photos of my brother and his family, and then put out the tablecloths, and washed up all the dishes and platters I thought we might need. An hour before people were due to arrive, the first visitor showed up. He was the ex-husband of my brother’s housemate and since he was early, we put him to work carting drinks into the house, setting up the coolers, and re-installing the door to the garage that Joe had taken off a few weeks ago (and was unable to put back up alone).

After that, everyone else started arriving and over the course of the day I manned the buffet table, meeting many members of the housemate’s family and Susan’s family. There were even some little kids there. Everyone brought fruit. It was fruitopia. The day spun by so very quickly. We were unable to have the main part of the memorial service, due to some clerical errors that kept Susan from being able to get Ray’s death certificate (and therefore also his remains), so the little tree she was going to plant in his honor remained on her front porch. A few of us spoke about Ray, even his little son Jeff, and we all cried. It was nice to meet so many people that loved my brother and sister-in-law.

Because it was also the busiest day of the band year back home, I skipped out on the early evening’s visitor (who had come late due to his work schedule). I went back to my room and watched the livestream of my kids marching at UIL Contest and then looked for photos of them from the Rose Parade earlier in the day. I texted with them, congratulating them on their Sweepstakes win. And then I went back out and joined the conversation.

My kids at UIL Marching Contest.

The next morning I did not get up early. We all got up a little later and then moseyed over to church, which was part Southern Baptist-part rock band church-part surfer dude speak. Everyone there was really nice and no one bugged me about my mask. After church was lunch and after lunch my best friend from high school came and scooped me up and we ran off to Starbucks for a while. I was sad to leave her when our time was up, but I love how easily we slipped back into that friendship for a couple hours.

After that, Susan and I loaded up the kids and went to the beach. We didn’t stay long, just long enough for Joe and I to get thoroughly soaked from the waist down and for Jeff to lecture us on the improbability of us turning into merpeople and Susan to get creeped out by some weirdo. A couple hundred beach pictures in ten minutes, really. But it was good. I always feel better at the beach.

I am at Imperial Beach with my nephews.

Susan dropped us back at the house and stayed just long enough to say hi to the chair lady. Then she drove back out to pick up Angela. I made my “famous” chicken spaghetti and “Aunt Mandy’s” green beans for a late “fancy” dinner. I laughed at that. Chicken spaghetti is the easiest thing ever. I taught Joe my secret sauce, just in case they liked it. Oh boy, did they! Jeff said I took him to “Flavor Town” and “Delicious Land.” I’m so happy it was well-receieved.

We went to bed very late that night, in some part due to a conversation that needed to take place out of the earshot of the children. We had to wait for Joe to fall asleep. In the end, an agreement was reached about what would happen with the kids if something happened to Susan. It was a hard conversation, but necessary. I was really glad to be included.

The next morning we all got up at the crack of dawn so Susan could drop me off at the airport and then take the kids straight to school. I waited in the longest TSA line I’ve ever seen, but made it to my gate all right. The flight itself was mostly okay, but there was a medical emergency towards the end in first class, so we ended up spending quite a while at the gate waiting for that to get sorted out. Then Katherine picked me back up and we had a late lunch and then went to rest at her house for a while before I drove home. I was feeling so foggy and out of it, I was worried about driving home. I did end up making it home okay, but I had to stop for a while halfway home and walk around for a bit to get my brain back online. So I didn’t get home until about 7:30pm (I’d expected to be home by 5pm).

Katherine and I tried to make up for me not remembering to get a photo with Emily.

The next day I spent cleaning my entire house. Being away from home on a super busy weekend makes the mess so much worse. But I was also still feeling so groggy and weird that it was hard to get anything done. I started to worry that I was coming down with a cold or something. I attended my Spiritual Practices group, but I absorbed none of the conversation, alas.

The next morning was my pill box refill day. I couldn’t find the pills I needed to fill the box. I finally realized that the reason I was so out of it was that I had picked up my medicine at the pharmacy before I left on the trip, but had forgotten to put that one in the box I took with me. So I’d skipped it for a couple days by accident. (And now I know just how essential it is to my health and well being.)

I taught a lesson at the Wednesday Whatchamacalit group that day and it went well. That should be a separate post, but I don’t have that ready yet. Later. I spent the rest of the day resting/spending time with my younger kids because I knew that the next day I had some more big cleaning to do.

Thursday I went over to the David House and helped him get it cleaned up because my dad was coming to visit. David was supposed to have finished moving rooms before my dad came to town and he had not finished. Plus there was resetting the room he’d moved out of and resetting the closet of the room that stored the stuff that used to be in that room and putting stuff from the room he was moving to into that closet. If it sounds circuitous, it really was.

After that was the recycling. I don’t think anyone has taken the recycling out of the house since January. I filled my entire Jeep up from top to bottom and back to front. It was only about 2/3 of the total recycling. I had other errands to run, though, so I did that and never got back to check on the David House.

This morning I got up and realized that I’d never gotten around to doing the critiques for the Pineywoods Critique Group, which was just as well because I hadn’t sent anything in over the last weekend, either. So the spouse and I went and got haircuts, which we have literally never done at the same time before. Then we ran a couple errands and ate lunch. One of the errands was picking up all the boxes of history for the ETWG Historian position before the current Historian moved and took them with her.

This was the last thing on my To Do list for the day besides feeding and chaperoning the band. It’s also the first real writing I’ve done all week. I’m not sure I’ll have time during the weekend to write, unless I am very careful with my time. We have the game tonight, my dad in town, an afternoon church party tomorrow, dinner at my dad’s and games, then church Sunday morning, and an ETYO concert Sunday afternoon. I may not get anything sent in to the critique group this weekend either. Chapter Nine of CQ needs re-drafting. Maybe I’ll send them some more poetry.

Posted in What I Love, Writing

Writing Sprints, Day Two

I forgot to post a link yesterday. We (the Tyler Public Library Writing Club – aka Open Door Writing Group) are sprinting in the global sprint at myWriteClub. Today I sprinted off and on for another 8 hours and got 7,496 words. Caro’s Quest Chapter 7 rewrite got done yesterday and Chapter 8’s rewrite got done today. This has been fun!

Posted in What I Love, Writing

Writing Sprints with the TPLWC

This month at the TPLWC, we are doing writing sprints instead of writing lessons. We’re all tired and trying to rest up before NaNoWriMo starts. Today is my first day sprinting. Let’s see how it goes!


I spent pretty much all day sprinting, off and on, and I got 7,916 words in! Yay me!

Posted in Writing

Caro’s Quest rewrites

After a couple weeks of soul sucking reorganization and cutting chunks out of my WIP, I had a red letter day and wrote 7,504 words on it in 6 hours of writing sessions. 🎉🌟🏆

Posted in Family Time, My Own Personal Weirdness, Speaking, The Past Comes Back to Haunt Me, What I Love, Writing

Today’s Speaking Engagement at TPLWC – Cancelled

I’m sorry, guys. I’m just not in the right headspace to teach anyone anything today. I asked the other leaders to post something, so someone should be there at the group doing just that today.

Posted in Family Time, What I Love

Devastated

My half-brother, Ray, passed away this morning. He was 48 years old and leaves behind a wife and two small children. Our birthmom has been stuck in Wisconsin, where she’d been visiting her other daughter, having had a series of small strokes. We are all really sad and scattered right now.

Posted in Uncategorized

This week wins the CHAOS award!

This week has been super chaotic in a million bizarre ways. On Tuesday first thing, I got a text from my massage place, reminding me I’d signed up for yoga for that morning which I thought was scheduled for another day because I was supposed to have physical therapy at 10am. It was 15 minutes til class and I live 25 minutes away, so I called the place and told them that I just couldn’t make it. The owner told me I wasn’t on the schedule because the system wouldn’t let someone without a yoga subscription sign up. (True, I don’t have a yoga subscription, but I’d bought a package earlier in the year that gave me one yoga session.) She said not to worry about it and we’d get me on the schedule next time I came in.*

Just after that the husband left for church, then our eldest showed up in casual clothes, looking for his trumpet and his Bb hymnal notebook. We had the trumpet, but the hymnal hasn’t been here for two years. As he left, the husband came back in, having forgotten his suit jacket, and did a double take because the eldest was not ready for church. *sigh* They both left and I got online to meet with my daily accountability partner.

A little bit later, our midkid’s dentist appointment got rescheduled** because the dentist had a medical emergency. This will be important later. At this point I checked the schedule and my physical therapy had been put on Wednesday and Friday this week. *sigh*

Right after that I got a call to finally schedule the 504 meetings for the kids, so I went looking up info on stuff in the patient portal to get documentation for that, and found out that one of the kids had an appointment for that particular issue that very afternoon. It wasn’t in my calendar right.*** This will also become important later. So I called the school, which has that 24 hour notice thing going on, and let them know we were picking him up later than originally planned.****also important later. While looking around the portal, I saw a very tiny new notice that said that this version of the patient portal was closing this week and that we should download all our files if we wanted them because they would not be available on the new system. (I already have an account on the new system, with the other hospital, so then I wondered if I’d need a second account or if they were going to merge them or what?) I spent a very long time downloading the three sets of data files I had access to. It won’t let me get David’s and David never set up a password to his after he turned 18, so those are all gone. Nick’s, too.

Then I got a call from physical therapy saying that I was still on schedule for Wednesday, but they needed to move my Friday appointment because I had another appointment scheduled at the same time and the new system wouldn’t let them double book a patient. ***** I told them that I was calling that doctor’s office today because I needed to have finished my PT re-evaluation before I saw that doctor, but it had taken two weeks to get into PT, not one, so that appointment had to move, not PT. It was on my list to call them, only all these other people kept calling me first. I called scheduling and got put on hold for 18 minutes, then transferred to someone that was not scheduling, but she put a note through the system to that doctor’s nurse to call me back because she was the nicest human I spoke to all week.

Then I spoke to other people about various other problems going on in volunteer organizations I am a part of. I learned so many special things. I just…can’t talk about any of it. At some point during those calls, I got a text from the system at my massage/yoga place telling me that I had failed to cancel within the proper time period and they were going to charge my account for the yoga session. I checked the account online and it had one note that said I had cancelled and one that said I hadn’t cancelled and one that said I was on the schedule for next week. ???

At the midkid’s doctor’s appointment, we got the paperwork and all that, but also found out that with the new, updated system the hospital is getting, lots of things were going wrong – like the router in the office being set to GMT instead of CST for the time zone. Which was why the appointment for Greg had looked like it was set for 8:30pm. And why they kept having that problem with other patients.(see ***) CHAOS. Oh, and in the middle of the new nurse being unable to take my kids blood pressure because he seemed unsure of how to use a regular blood pressure cuff instead of the automatic one, my phone rang and it was the nurse at the ortho’s office calling back to reschedule. (See *****)

Then that night, because on band time it was Monday, not Tuesday, I had to leave my Spiritual Practices class early to pick up my band kids because it was, of course, also a high holy day for my husband’s church, so he was busy.

Wednesday morning, I sent the ADHD paperwork to the 504 lady, just as the internet teetered into nothing. Good times. Then I went to physical therapy and found out even more insanity making things that I will not recount here. In the end, as it turned out, there’s most likely no thoracic outlet syndrome because my shoulders are healed. YAY! But there’s ongoing things wrong with my neck. So I need to go back to that orthopedic doctor and have him do different scans and write a different set of orders for physical therapy so they can deal with the neck thing. I did get one knot worked out of my neck area, though, and have ordered the special tool they used to get it out because it’s over the counter and can be used by laypeople as easily as physical therapists (they showed me how and sent me a video in case I forget).

Also at PT, we discussed the ***** situation and I told them that while I had gotten the appointment changed, it wasn’t showing up as changed in my portal, but I would really like that Friday appointment, please and thank you. Since the appointment lady was scheduling in the new system and so was the ortho’s office, there was no longer a conflict, and I got my Friday appointment for PT. I asked about how to access the new portal because if my appointments were in there now, I wanted to be able to access them. The new system is vastly easier on the patients end of things. But the PT appointment lady had no idea how we were supposed to do that or when it would become available or that the old portal was being taken down so quickly.

I got home and made a discovery that meant I had to cancel my Breast MRI the next day. If you know, you know. If you don’t, well, I’m not telling. After that, I was going to write, but I got embroiled in some other organizations insanity and ended up doing something else until it was time to pick up kids, but I hadn’t made it to the donation center and there was no room for everyone and all the stuff. I missed my van for the second time this month. So I guess that’s not too bad.

On the way home, we had the much discussed “how to make our home a better place for all who live there” conversation again and we all agreed that the china cabinet must go. So I spent my evening emptying that and finding new homes for everything. That was all my own chaos, but it was easy to solve chaos and I liked it.

Today we reached peak chaos. First thing this morning, I got an email from the 504 coordinator that my message had come through without a file attached. My Wi-Fi had gone flakey yesterday at one point and that was probably when I sent that message. So I re-sent it and she sent some other stuff back that I needed to fill out and send back. I had time to do that, finish some PTA stuff, and write and all that.

Then the texts began. My midkid had a substitute for the permanent substitute and she had him on the “No FLEX Day access” list. He has all A’s. He should not have had to go to tutorials. He goes anyways because he didn’t have the nifty bracelet that let him into FLEX Day fun. There’s a different sub there now. She won’t look at the grades portal and won’t let him go to FLEX. So he texts me to see if I can do something. I call the school a few times and once got put on speaker phone by accident and listened to the chaos up there myself for a while. They couldn’t hear me saying hello, so I eventually called back. Meanwhile, I emailed the counselor to see if we’d missed something on the progress report thing. It had been confusing because they didn’t send out paper progress reports and the links they sent just lead to the generic parent portal. While I was digging though the parent portal, I noticed my midkids appointments on Tuesday (** and ***) had been mislogged, so I called and left a message for attendance about getting that fixed. I got an actual human on the line and she told me that everyone was in their FLEX positions and there was no one to answer my questions, but try again tomorrow. I pointed out that FLEX was my question and tomorrow would be too late, so she transferred me to someone else. I left a voicemail, but got called back immediately. I explained the kids All A’s status and she looked him up and saw that he was in a class that had had a lot of upheaval and in fact had a brand new substitute teacher who’d never taught before. She said she’d get my kid a note to let him out for FLEX and not to worry any more, mama.

But that, of course, wasn’t the end of that. Kid texted me that the sub had gotten a phone call and told him that his mom was there to pick him up and he should get all his stuff together and go to the front office. So he did. The counselors were there, teased him about his hair and his three ginormous instruments, and sent him outside to wait for me. After about 15 minutes he called me and asked where I was. “At home because you’re at FLEX?” “No, mom, I’m waiting outside the school. The sub said you were coming to pick me up.” Well, by the time I got there, it was 10 minutes til the bell would ring, my kid was incandescent with rage, and I was angry enough to not want to talk to anyone, either, so we left and got him a drink and then came back for his brother.

His brother had a decent time at FLEX, but was unable to buy coffee because the coffee place didn’t bring enough change. He was unbothered. I love him. He is just like his daddy sometimes. You know what else didn’t end up chaotic? Panda Express for the band fundraiser. Everyone got the right food. It was nice.

So, any bets on tomorrow’s chaos? I am going to bet that my PT didn’t get scheduled or that my ortho appointment didn’t get moved or that I totally forget about my kids 504 meeting. Or that the meals I ordered on Tuesday for the pre-football game band kids go astray somehow. Or something else to do with it being middle school band sit-along night at the football game. Who knows. I am so tired.

Posted in Computers and Internet, Speaking, What I Love, Writing

Today’s Speaking Engagement at TPLWC

Today I spoke about “Using Enneagram to Create Character Conflict” at the Tyler Public Library Writer’s Club Facebook Group. I thought it went really well. 🙂 Here’s a link to the video, which you can access if you are a member of the aforementioned Facebook Group.

Posted in Speaking, What I Love, Writing

Today’s Speaking Engagement at Unleashing the Next Chapter

Today would have been my parents 53rd wedding anniversary and instead of being sad, I got to be awesome today. I spoke at Kathryn McClatchy’s Unleashing the Next Chapter writing group on Zoom. My topic was “Using the Enneagram to Create Character Conflict.” It went so well, y’all! I had an audience that was already pretty well versed in the Enneagram, so there were a lot of interesting questions and tangents into things I had wanted to put in the talk, but thought it was too much. Always overprepare! I love this group so much. Thanks for inviting me, Kathryn! Here’s a link to the video (which you can only view if you are a member of that group, but it is free to join.)