January Thaw


Image courtesy The Graphics Fairy

Despite the highs reaching a not unreasonable 28F, today is foggy, cold, damp. Perfect for tea, writing, and planning the garden for this spring. Wisdom in this area dictates waiting until Mothers’ day weekend to plant to avoid frost, so that means I still have about four months. I can start seedlings in April, though. Maybe a little earlier for the hardier greens.  Some root crops such as potatoes can go right into the ground as early as Good Friday, I’ve been told by farmers and more experienced gardeners. I’m not sure about that this year since it falls on March 30.  I stay in the dream state a little longer.

After a leaden-skied morning, yesterday turned out to be quite pleasant. The  early part of the morning featured ice on our road, but once on the main drag all was well. Oakley and I made the 45 minute trip to the eye vet. The good news is that the weird vascular growth in the right eye has stopped and his left eye is perfectly normal. The better news is that we are weaning him off the Prednisone. He may have to be on a maintenance dose (according to Dr. J, this would likely be a half tablet once or twice a week) for longterm purposes, but we will know more after the next visit.

Even better news came after the sky cleared in the afternoon. Hubby received a call from his case manager that the good people in Springfield approved his transfer to a training program specifically for CNC machine operators*. He’ll be done in six months attending classes there rather than two years at the local community college. He’s in his 60s and he doesn’t have two years to mess with taking classes that may not really help that much. The new adventure starts later this week.

My resurrected old adventure rebooted this week, too. My yoga teacher hosted a writing workshop at her studio this last bright but frigid Saturday. Small in size, but big in laughter and learning. I hadn’t taught a class in a few years.  Writing doesn’t have to be a big scary thing,  they learned. The participants worked on exercises that allowed them to leave with haikus to amaze their friends and families and with a tool kit to keep their practices going forward.

And in all honesty, as I drove home under the bright sky, I felt as if I moved forward, too.

*A CNC machine is a computer operated device that lets carpenters and metal workers cut materials to needed shapes and sizes with speed and accuracy.


Random Monday Thoughts

Two new goals have popped up in the last week or so: to create a firmer schedule for my days and to start doing meal prep and plan once a week.

The schedule is to give the sails of the day some structure the way masts and riggings would on a ship. Otherwise the day just kind of flops around and I embody the stereotype of the writer who watches TV  or goofs on social media all day and wonders what happened. Today I’m on track. I did yoga, walked Oakley, and am writing this entry before checking in with my buddies in cyberspace. Yes, I will still have fun and yes I will still have time to watch TV, but filling the day with meaningful activities pushes me to be more selective about what and how much I watch.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of blog entries and watching videos by Tonya Leigh, a life coach who made significant, lasting changes for herself by studying French culture and applying the the lessons to her own life. Anyone who tells you to throw out all the self help books that make you feel broken is someone you need to listen to.

The meal prep and plan is an act of self nurturing and self defense. Otherwise it’s just too easy to look at what’s in the fridge and nibble on leftovers instead of sitting down with a portioned-out meal. This goes double after yoga class. Or to succumb to pizza’s siren song. I’ll likely do that on Wednesday and shop Tuesday en route home from dropping Oakley at day care.

In the garden, the beans have blossomed. I have a pretty decent crop of basil and lettuce.  Some of the veggies look so different in their natural state that I can’t tell what they are, but there are a lot of them.  However, I have a lot of stray grass and other things I didn’t sow that need to be pulled. Oakley and I will do that tonight. Well, I’ll do the pulling while he stands guard. He’s good at that.

Attempts to relearn crochet unfold. I can create a semi-decent granny square in about a half hour. I’m not in it for glory or cash; I’m just in it to keep myself out of the snacks. It calms my mind for the most part, except for the times when I can’t get the tension right or I have to repeatedly rip out stitches due to a multitude of errors. Then I put it aside.

And find something else to occupy my hands and head to keep myself out of the snacks.

Can Rectal Thermometers Cause Brain Damage?


By this stage of my writing career, I thought that I would be cranking out bestsellers every year and movies based on them would star Meryl Streep or George Clooney.  I dreamed of being famous. I dreamed of respected articles that made a difference. Or at least getting my independently published novel, A Distinct and Separate Feeling, sold by now. (my attempt to explain the separatist movement in Quebec via an adult contemporary romance. 250 pages, some with some damned good loved scenes if I say so myself. $12.00 includes shipping in the US. Barter considered as well.  If you’re interested, leave me contact info in the comments section and I’ll give you further instructions.) (I can sign it, too!)

However, reality played out somewhat differently. The assignments I’ve received have been varied and very interesting, certainly. I’ve written about tractor racing, bake-offs, consignment shops, journaling, dream interpretation, and how to make your own bread among other things.

I have also written web content for a medical supply house. Not for the faint of heart, but varied enough to keep my attention and service oriented enough to placate my altruistic streak. I have written about stethoscopes, some really fun equipment for special needs kids, and the defibrillator units kept handy in public places such as train stations. I had a great editor who was and is funny, gentle, and supportive when giving feed back. No matter how many times the litany of service gets chanted–“this will help someone, this will help someone”–there just are assignments that will bring a writer to his or her knees.

Like rectal thermometers.

Yes. Rectal thermometers. I had an assignment where I had to describe what differentiated them from oral thermometers (taste wasn’t mentioned); discuss the circumstances that mandate taking a patient’s temperature via the backdoor; advantages of digital readout and mercury filled; and metal or plastic-coated comfort tip.

I researched the material in on-line nursing journals. I looked at the manufactures’ websites. I assembled the material into a good solid article, reread it, then emailed it to my editor.

When I hit the “send” button, I swear to everything I hold sacred that something snapped in my brain. I felt something break.  You may have seen cartoons where a length of elastic or a rubber band has been stretched to its limit, breaks, and snaps back, forming a snagged and snarled ball. That’s what it was like.

I ended up leaving the job shortly afterwards. I truly enjoyed working with the editor. I really loved the other writers. But the brain damage from the piece on rectal thermometers took a long time to overcome. It took months before I could string together a coherent sentence of any quality.

Somehow, after reading, and reading a lot, and journaling and blogging a lot, the ability to write and write well came back. We’ll see how this gets applied.

It’s another example of how everything turns out all right in the end.

The Courage to Change What I Can’t Accept

T-24:30 and counting.

This level of fatigue and brain fog is unacceptable. So are the mood swings, the sleeplessness, the heavy periods. 

T-24:25 and counting.

I’m not thrilled with the weight gain, either. Part of it my own doing, granted, from stress eating when my mother in law went through her last year on this side, trapped in the revolving door of what passes for health care for the elderly in the US. Part of it stems from attempting to comfort myself after Orion crossed the Rainbow Bridge. A lot of it has to do with this last act in the monthly dance of the hormones.


So tomorrow, I give something different a shot. Inspired by the quick and positive results that Oakley had with his herbs, I made an appointment at the local acupuncture practice. Many of my friends who live in town have had good results. It is worth a shot. 


I want to stay as far from synthetic hormones and more commonplace medicine as I can. At the time of her death, my mom was on high-estrogen birth control pills. She smoked. She had little relief from them. The heart attack that claimed her life happened when she was 51, just a few months older than I am now. 

That is totally unacceptable. 

I have too much to do right now. I have an e-mag; letters and emails to write concerning the environment for the generations to come; crossposting and reposting to do for animal rescues on Facebook; and a dog to care for. I don’t have time for fatigue, for draining periods, or to slip the veil of tears.  


I’ve done my research, so I have a rough idea of how tomorrow’s appointment will go. Curiosity has overridden fear. What changes will be suggested otherwise, I don’t know. I will let curiosity lead the way.