Entries to Win Afghan

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Red, Yellow, Blue, Green

Today was a glorious day. I was inside working for all of it, but it felt good anyway. My cold is all gone and I have energy.

The morning began with quite a range of colors. Here are two pictures 17 minutes apart.



The temperature rose into the nicely comfortable range, and at least we got to enjoy the fresh air through the gate where papers go out.

This blue sky greeted me when I arrived home this afternoon.

blue sky

And the green? Nice little tree is put up. Looks weird yet because it's been bundled. Give it a day to open up.

bare Christmas tree

Soon, I'm headed back to work for the night. It's pretty strange how I can feel so good since I felt so awful yesterday, but I do. Tonight should be fine.

See I Like Bright Colors
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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Low Key Thanksgiving Works for Us

Well, I have managed to take my turn with the cold that's going around work. I've done almost nothing today. Took a nap. Cooked one thing (that was the plan anyway). Wrote a little tiny bit and worked on the print book cover for Dead Mule Swamp Druggist.

With no one to have to impress or make happy other than the two of us, Omer brought home some turkey from a local restaurant and I made baked macaroni and cheese, for which I've been hankering.

turkey and macaroni and cheese

I'm going to rearrange a few things in the living room because Om wants to put up the Christmas tree this weekend. Then it's probably back to bed. The Friday/ Friday night schedule starts again at 9 tomorrow morning and I'm sure I'll be going to work no matter how I feel. Just hope the nose will have stopped leaking non-stop by then.

We did get a phone call from Phil and Nan. They are good friends who moved to Oregon some years ago. They were Maggie's previous owners. Little Suzanne (granddaughter), who always thought Maggie was still her dog even though she lived with me, turned 21 today. Wow. It was nice to get caught up.

When I was hunting up links to add below, I see that we did something similar in 2015, and the newspaper rat race was mentioned. We had all worked even more hours that week, and I was exhausted. I mention this only because there were more inserts this year, but we didn't experience as much stress this time. Things are more organized and better planned so that although it was a challenge, we weren't all just run ragged. This is a good thing.

See A Similar T-day in 2015
See Thanksgiving 2014- the last time we did anything really special on this day.
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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

We Survived!

Another year of the Black Friday edition of the paper is out the door! In fact, we did it in record time, starting at 11:40 and having every paper done just a little before 2 pm. This is an hour longer than it usually takes, but is our best time for this huge, once a year, edition.

It was scheduled to have 20 inserts. This morning, the order got upped to 21. That is not good. We only have 9 stations, one for the cover and 8 for inserts, so if there are more than 8 inserts we make packets ahead of time which can then go through as if they were one thing. We had already finished all the packets. But guess what? We had to make yet another one this morning.

Here are some of the insert packets.

racks full of newspapers

Here are some more of the insert packets.

racks full of newspapers

Here is Beth, bringing in another pallet of insert packets.

racks full of newspapers

Here are pallets full of the inserts that didn't go in packets.

racks full of newspapers

One of the real challenges of papers with so many inserts is how the loose bundles of stuffed papers will stack. If there are certain sizes or types of paper next to each other they tend to jam or slide which can lead to machine stopping, or an inability to handle the bundles and get them to the strapper neatly. Some inserts have flaps which are especially nasty for the machine. So Beth did a very good job of planning the packets to alternate glossy paper with non-glossy, prevent catching flaps, etc.

Here is the inserter machine, running papers (you can see them in the track on the far right).

newspaper inserter

The semi-broken stacker did agree to accept them, and we put them in stacks of 10. (Usually it's 50.) Each paper weighed 1.6 pounds, which puts a bundle at 16 pounds. I sent close to 600 bundles out.

Actually, the challenge of doing something out of the ordinary tends to energize me. It was kind of fun to succeed, and succeed well, at pulling off a very complicated puzzle with a team of people who individually work very hard at what could be described as 'not a very satisfying job.'

After that was all over, we had to run some packets for the next publication we do (Friday). We get tomorrow off. Yippie!

In other news, I'm doing a little writing and nursing a runny nose.

See 150 and 9
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I Like Bright Colors

I really light bright clear colors. Sometimes I think I'm a little confused, though, because I love Impressionistic Art, which mostly features effects of light and soft colors. But, when push comes to shove, in clothes, decor and whatnot... I like the bright primaries and secondaries.

The first picture I took while on that walk in the rain on Saturday. This was just about the only bright spot I saw- maple leaf against a sedge.

maple leaf and sedge

My kitchen windows are filled with blue glass (mostly cobalt blue).

blue glass

Today, I finally learned what the vines are that grow high in the spruce trees beside the alley at work. They are American bittersweet. Easy to tell when you can bring the fruits close with a camera lens.


Tomorrow is the biggest day at work. All those Black Friday ads go out the door. 20 inserts in the daily paper. We've been running packets all week. Stay tuned.

See American Bittersweet
See Blue Glass
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Monday, November 20, 2017

The Face in the Not-Quite-a-Rock

When I was out searching for angles to photograph on Saturday, I discovered I have my very own face in the rock. OK, so concrete isn't quite a bonafide rock, but it's close. See the profile? The angles you saw the other day even make wavy hair.

With his flat top, he looks Easter Island-ish, except for the fat nose. Maybe he was only a visitor.

profile of a face

It's the week of the Black Friday editions of every newspaper. Lots of extra hours at work so don't expect anything terribly meaningful on the blog.

See What's Your Angle?
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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Fire in the Sky

You could say, "oh, just another sunset," but I'm not going to apologize.

It's been gray here for days and days. No sunrises, no sunsets, just gray. After I took a cold uninspiring walk, I was sitting in my chair doing computer stuff when a blast of orange light shot through the window. Ran out with the camera and this is what I saw. Not bad!


We played handbells this morning too. The video isn't that great. I may post it or not. Meh.

See Sun, Moon, Venus, Sun, Sun
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Saturday, November 18, 2017

What's Your Angle?

It seemed to me that there haven't been many posts recently about things outdoors, so today I went for a little walk (in the rain), and gave myself a simple photo assignment. I decided to look for angles. The results you see are presented in the order I took the pictures. If you can find meaning in that, more power to you!

Of course, the first thing that pops to mind in the outdoors when one says "angle," is tree limbs. I forced myself to be limited to one such picture. Here's my choice... lichen covered dead sumac branches.

sumac branches

Next, I found three autumn olive leaves plastered together by the wind and rain. The fact that one was back-side showing gave the composition some color interest, and I liked the angles between the points. That rotten plant might as well be good for something, even if it's only an interesting picture.

autumn olive leaves

Beetle bark galleries oddly echo the same pattern as the tree branches!

beetle bark galleries

And there I was at the railroad tracks, with their parallel straight (180 degree) angles.

railroad tracks

Angles galore at the space station (AKA grain elevator).

grain elevator

The best two finds were last. I'd never noticed these before. There are some old slabs of concrete that were dumped at the back of a neighboring property. On what was previously the underside, you can see the impression of large equipment tracks left in the dirt before the concrete was poured. Although it softens the impression of the angles, I especially like the encroaching moss on the right. One can almost see those tracks as huge dike or elevated highways with whole neighborhoods of green trees and rooftops in the valleys.

tire tracks

On the next hunk of man-made stone were more tracks with a different tire pattern. These certainly have angles!

tire tracks

So I got a little wet, but I got a little exercise, and although none of these is high-quality art, it was fun setting an assignment and doing it.

See Crosshatched
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Friday, November 17, 2017

Hope You Like Newspapers

Newspapers take over the life of everyone in the mailroom this week and next. The Black Friday editions of the shopper supplements, and the regular paper next Wednesday are the biggest ones we do all year. They are huge, difficult and heavy. We have several pieces of semi-broken equipment, and we ended up having to pull papers off the end by hand today instead of sending them through the stacker.

Today I worked 8.5 hours, but I did actually sit down for 10 minutes, mid-afternoon. In just a couple of hours I get to go do it all again.

This is part of what we stuffed this afternoon. Some of the tubs and high-rises had already gone to the warehouse.


And next week? This is about half of our storage space, filled with inserts for next week's papers. The other half is just as full.

warehouse shelves

After watching us work for a bit last time she was here, Ester said, "It's like getting paid to have a gym membership." That's sure true now and next week. We are all sore and tired and working right out at the edges of our limits.

So that's all that is going on in my life today.

See 150 and 9
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Light at the End of the Non-Tunnel

When I was in grad school at the University of Michigan, there was a poster on a professor's door that said, "Due to the energy crisis, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off." Grad school is such a stressful, non-stop environment that many of us really identified with that poster!

My life is neither quite that stressful or non-stop now. Certainly not like a dark tunnel with no foreseeable end. However, there is still a bit on an analogy there with where I want to go.

And the sky even cooperated with that theme this afternoon. For several days it's been thick solid gray. Not even a hint of color or gleam of light at sunrise. Oddly enough, as I came home from work (bunny trail... 8 hours, 15 minutes on my feet, starving by end, so stopped for decadent fast food), there was one strip of pink light in the sky. But not in the west. That was still solid gray. The light was in an unexpected place- due south

pink sky

I've been thinking a lot lately about when I should quit this job. That's where the analogy fails. My job is not nearly as bad as a dark tunnel. But it definitely puts the brakes on what I would prefer to be doing.

It's a balancing act between having the freedom to write and having enough money to get by. When the job goes, I have enough saved to squeak along for a while, during which time the plan is that I will build book sales.

This morning I mailed a complete set of mysteries. In fact, this was my first sale of a paperback copy of Dead Mule Swamp Druggist which isn't even printed yet. The person paid in advance and I'll send it later. This is great! This is what I will need to have happen a LOT more. This sale was to a friend. Don't get me wrong, selling books to friends is wonderful, but if one is going to try to live off book sales, one must sell books way beyond those circles of friends and acquaintances.

book mailer

Next issue... I've learned how to do a better job of it, but I'm not a great marketer. Mostly because I don't like it very much.

Several opportunities have popped up recently that I want to be able to participate in, but the job is in the way.

When do I make the big jump? Almost have my mind made up... right now... bed and book. I get to do the job thing again tomorrow.

See A Piece of the Next Level
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Art - Spring Reflection

The book launch party last Saturday evening for my friend Jeanie was held at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts. They have become a real force for the arts in the area. You may have noticed many works of art on the walls in the post about that event.

The current display is featuring works by artist Carole Hunnes-Nielson. She's Michigan based.

I really had a hard time choosing just one picture as a "favorite." I have a hard time with that whole concept anyway, but I forced myself to pick one. Mostly I asked myself, "If I were going to spend the money but could buy just one, which one would it be."

My final choice was "Spring Reflections." The technique is watercolor batik, a wax-resist method of painting.

Spring Reflections by Carole Hunnes-Nielson

The feature that finally tipped the balance to this one is that the picture looks different when viewed from far away and close. Here's a tiny piece close in.

Spring Reflections by Carole Hunnes-Nielson

I'm still working like crazy on a whole bunch of details for the upcoming release of Dead Mule Swamp Druggist.

See Jeanie's Book Launch
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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Run Bambi!

I don't have much in the way of pictures. It was a very busy day- pretty much all good- but no time for unscheduled activities.

Gun deer season opens in the morning here. There's going to be a lot of this seen for the next couple of weeks.

deer running

Copies of Dead Mule Swamp Druggist have gone to the Beta readers. Worked half day. Post office and other errands in the afternoon. Handbell practice. Writers' Group. The next thing on that list is going to be bed.

See The Local Deer Herd
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