Tag Archives: Blogging

A Long Night’s Day

I’ve been awake since 0130. That would be 1:30 A.M.

Why, I don’t know.

Had a fun day yesterday. Dropped off this quilted tote at Tai Chi by noon. It was Chinese New Year’s again, the year of the Horse. The place was decorated so prettily for the dinner and raffle last night, I wish I’d taken a picture. Lots of red. I’d meant to stick to blues and greens for the tote, but then remembered we need red for Chinese New Year.

photo (55)photo (54)I wasn’t in the quilt-making mood so I decided a tote bag would have to do this time. The irony is that I did almost as much machine quilting, but at least it was on something different. And smaller!

 

Next we went to lunch, crab cakes, yum. Unfortunately, they were only offered fried, but oh, so good.

Then on to the movies to see The Wolf of Wall Street. My, oh my. We try to watch all the movies that are nominated for awards. This was the last one on our list, but definitely not the least. I love Leo.

Since we were full when we got to the theater I barely noticed the smell of popcorn, but when we returned to the lobby after the showing I could not resist. First time I buy popcorn on the way out of the theater.

From there we hit a place called Splitsville; it actually has a bowling alley. While we sat at the bar munching popcorn and drinking (Captain Morgan and Coke for me) the mellow sound of pins banging around floated over to us.

We passed the time chatting, with each other and with our electronics.  I’d worked on an article that was due today, and as the writer was still revising we continued our back and forth till we edited to a final sheen. Thank goodness for iPhones!

The red leather vinyl seats were so comfortable that we ended up sitting there long enough to satiate the munchies and have them return again. We ended the evening with sweet potato fries (scrumptious) and a tall glass of ice water (refreshing).

And it was an early evening. We were home by nine, but I was tired from working late the day before so I went straight to bed and crashed. For four hours.

By 1:30 I was wide awake. I spent the rest of the night reading in bed, thinking it would make me sleepy again. Not so. I spent today writing critiques for my writer’s group. Usually, staring at the computer screen for long periods will make me go cross-eyed and conk out after a while. Not today.

I kept busy all day and while putting away the fabrics I’d used on the tote, I discovered I had fabric with horses and lots of red. Doh!

photo (56)But I did sneak in some green dragon fabric, even though the year of the dragon was 2012. That is my signature. I am a dragon.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Albeit, a water dragon. Which means I douse my own fires.

Typical.

Hopefully, I can douse my wakefulness. Or should I drown it?

 

 

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The I’s Have It

I chose a very ambitious path for myself this year and I have been mulling over my decisions while keeping my finger on the pause button. I haven’t exactly been idle, mind you. My brain has been working at a furious pace, while my body’s given the impression of languid ease. 

There are so many things to consider as you set forth on a new journey. Even if it’s a journey you imagined taking for years and years. You must visualize the twists and turns of the road up ahead. The inevitable forks in the road, forks not yet taken. Be ready to confront all, or almost all, the obstacles that will plop down in front of you like newly fallen trees. Find a way to sail over them. Wings, you must sprout wings.

Wings of knowledge. Wings of courage. Wings of faith.

I’ve been thinking about all this the past three weeks as I allowed myself to be consumed by a work of science fiction. While I let the story overwhelm my consciousness, my subconscious was left free to think, and to plan.

I was doing all my reading on my devices, laptop, tablet and even my phone. Wherever I was, wherever I went, I had my story with for me. But this method of reading provides one benefit that reading hard copy doesn’t: it allows you to increase the font to your liking, to increase reading ease.

And it reminded me that I needed to deal with one foggy issue. My eyes, or rather my eyesight. At my last check-up I was given a clean bill of health. Mechanically speaking. Everything was working fine, or should have been if not for one chemical variable, Gabapentin.

It was prescribed for me to treat nerve pain when I was diagnosed with shingles back in April. (Can it be almost a year? Where does the time go?) I was to take it three times a day and I did. Initially.

I was copyediting a manuscript at the time and racing to completion when all this occurred. It was through sheer grit that I managed to complete the project on time, although the author was quite supportive and understanding.

As time went on, I noticed things were starting to get really blurry. Until one day (duh), I decided to check the prescription flyer for the side effects. And there it was, in the tiniest print possible: may cause blurry vision.

Aha!

I cut my dosage down to once a day, and since it also said it caused drowsiness I took the dose at bedtime. Things seemed to clear up after a while, but not as clear as I would prefer. I blamed eyestrain, too much reading, too much computer time.

But here I was facing even more computer time, even more writing, rewriting, revising, editing and proofreading on hard copy. So while I read the sci/fi saga, my brain said: Stop.

And I did. I stopped my nightly dose and have solely continued the B vitamins also prescribed for the nerve pain. Nerve pain that by now occurs only rarely, knock on wood. Shingles leaves you in fear of its recurrence. But I say fear begone, because now on a clear day, I can practically see forever!

***

What have I been reading?

 

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Ooops report: I was scrolling through and mistakenly hit the “like” button. I didn’t know you could “like” your own posts. Now I don’t know how to cancel it. Anybody know?

A Brand New Page

I’ve been known to move the furniture around too often, and without warning. The kids and the husband would come home late and bang their shins into something. Or else they’d drop their stuff on a table that was no longer there. Bump went the night.

Well, I’ve been wanting to move the furniture around in here for a bit but couldn’t decide  in which direction to go. And kind of dreaded what the aftermath would look like. There’s cobwebs behind, you know. Cobwebs and dust bunnies and all sorts of things. But there’s treasure, too. Long lost treasure.

I’d been trying to add pages to the previous format, but they just kept disappearing into the ether. Apparently that theme could not support several pages and when I activated this new format, Hello! there they’d been all the time.

So now I have to clean house a bit. Add a few decorations. Make things pretty and welcoming, I hope. Wish I could set up a mellow seating area, in blues and greens, where we could laze about with a cup of tea. Chat, about anything and everything.

Perhaps we can.

It’s my pleasure to welcome you, dear reader. Please stop by again. I promise I’ll get things straightened up posthaste.

 

Tabula Not So Rasa

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When I hear the word tablet, I imagine something I used to carry to school, made up of paper. Buying a new one, or two, was like Christmas in September. I loved the feel of those silky white pages, begging to be filled with profound words and ponderous thoughts. But then I was the weird kid who felt depressed on the last day of school. While the other kids sang no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks, I walked home dejected, scuffing my already scuffed shoes in the loose soil on the way home.

I would count down the last days of the term with a sense of increasing dread. The summer loomed hot and vast. The chore list would expand exponentially cutting down severely on my reading and writing time. For during school I could claim I was doing “homework”.

Conversely, I would count up the calendar days leading to the first day of school. My mood would swing up, up, up toward the no longer blazing sun and shopping for school supplies was way more thrilling than shopping for clothes or shoes. Who cared what covered my body? It was what uncovered my mind that mattered. And writing was one way to delve into the deepest part of my psyche. Writing was what helped me deal with the realities of life that were thrust on me much too soon.

It was always an adventure when I put pen to paper. I never knew what would materialize onto the silk that was the page. What words would spring into existence simply by the power of my mind. My parents did not understand, or accept, my need to read and write. To my mother, it was an unhealthy vice. Not only would it make me go blind, but it kept me from my never-ending chores.

My siblings did not get it. They only touched a book when forced.  Heck, my friends didn’t get it either. My girl friends were more interested in boys and my boy friends were more interested in being my boyfriend.

I was more interested in the dynamics of behavior. The observation. What made people do what they did? Yes, I was a weirdo to all. And I reveled in my weirdness. A badge of courage. A badge of distinction, for I was distinct all right. A square peg refusing to fit into a round hole. A misfit

But it appears I am no longer a misfit in my world. My family not only accepts my need to work with the written word, they support it, and most of all encourage it. Amazingly. And one concrete way of showing that was to gift me, you guessed it, a tablet.

This tablet has no pages; instead it has a smooth backlit screen. It has the ability to do just about all that my laptop can do and is far more portable. It can even hold my entire Kindle library, no mean feat, and no more running out of triple-A batteries for my reading light in the middle of the night.

Because of their faith in me and my writing, I have been trying to get comfortable with its keyboard. Their vision being that I can carry this tablet with me and write wherever I am. But this is not an easy thing to do since my fingers are used to a regular keyboard. One that is not so touch-sensitive, and one that has all the keys I need in one flat layout. One flat, longer layout.

But I am nothing if not persistent and though typing with only a couple of fingers has been hard, I have managed to tap out this entire post on said tablet. And though it’s taken triple the time, it appears to have let me probe deeper into my sentience. Perhaps because my brain was more concerned with the technicality of writing and therefore successfully quashed my internal editor for a bit.

Or perhaps it is simply the fact that I feel freer composing on a “tablet” once again. And there is much to compose for it is true that I am no blank slate. I have been written on for quite some time.

The Worst Patient

When I was delivering direct patient care, we were given a two-hour window during which to administer medications. If a med was scheduled for 1 p.m. (1300 in hospital-speak) it could be given between noon and 2 p.m. (1200 to 1400). It was one of the ways Administration acknowledged that we nurses had a lot on our plate and the day was only so long.

I don’t know if this is still the case at the bedside as I’ve been gone a long while now, and I don’t expect to ever return. The curtain has lowered on those days, but I am reminded of that window every time I take my own meds late. Or forget to take them at all.

These days I have only one patient’s needs to meet. There is only one patient for me to give primary care to. Only one patient whose meds I have to keep straight in my head. Me.

And I find that it’s not any easier. One does not simplify things, especially when that one researches and investigates every little thing. And at times does not even comply with the treatment.

I once confessed to the Nurse Practitioner taking my history that I was noncompliant with one medication. She paused in her note taking to look up at me, then we locked eyes and laughed. It’s common knowledge that doctors and nurses make the worst patients.

As it stands, the nurse in me is trying to come up with a workable plan of care for the patient in me. For a while now I’ve been toying with the idea of making a MAR for myself (Medication Administration Record). Or would that be on myself?

We used to get the MARs every day from the pharmacy; they covered 24 hours’ worth of documentation. I don’t need to get as specific, but I would at least need to list all my meds and the times they are due. That way I would be able to check them off, sign off on them so to speak, as I take them. And thereby no longer wonder did I take that calcium this morning? Or that Gabapentin last night?

As it is, there’s no way to tell. I have so many things on my mind, so many things that need to get done. And subconsciously, I don’t want to take my meds. Or more accurately, I don’t want to have a reason to need to take my meds.

But alas, I do.

I already have my phone set to alert me that Wednesday is Methotrexate Day. Unfortunately, every day is Plaquenil Day and noon seems to come around all too quickly. I swear there are less than 24 hours between noons. Or maybe it just seems that way. It’s that old noncompliance thing tugging at me.

So I’m thinking a “MAR” should keep me on the daily straight and narrow. Back when I supervised three separate nursing units, my last task each day was to list all the things that needed to get done the next day. Those were the steno-pad days, before the now ubiquitous computers. I would leave the hand-written list on the center of my desk so it was the first thing I saw upon opening my office door.

And it really worked. I got so much done that first year; it still makes me tired just thinking about it. But they do say that if you write down your goals, they are more likely to get accomplished.

It’s definitely come time to make myself another action plan. I just have to decide on the form, or the format. A dry erase board comes to mind. But I don’t think I can find room on the wall for one that big. Anyway, I don’t want it front and center, spoiling the “décor” of my home office. So I’ll design it on my laptop, then print it out so it can join the jumble on my desk.

I’ll program my phone to remind me to look at it. Or for it.

In So Many Ways

I’ve settled into a Tuesday and Friday Tai Chi class routine. Granted it’s only been one week. But it feels good. I’m renewing friendships and meeting new people. I met the lady who won my Native American Culture themed quilt at the raffle. (See my post, Done!) She was ecstatic and stopped the class to verify I was the quilter. “I love it!” she said. Talk about a shot in the arm, gave me renewed vigor to finish the class.

I’d wondered if my legs would hold up. It’s all a matter of shifting your weight from one leg to the other as you dance your way through the 108 moves. All this weight-bearing helps build bone, something mighty useful to me now. But I needn’t have worried, my legs remembered. They held up admirably, while the rest of me had a harder time remembering some of the hand moves.

Though they started the same week, these classes are independent of each other. That means that on Friday I get to repeat what I learned on Tuesday. This works well as I am a perpetual beginner, having yet to complete all 108 moves. Monday and Wednesday classes start in two weeks and I plan to take those too.  There’s nothing like reinforcement. And camaraderie.

And I have another reason for taking all these 10:00 AM classes. They will help me to structure my day so I can fit the most into it. Freelance editing is occupying more and more of my time, and that’s a good thing. But working from home, I’ve let myself maintain a non-schedule schedule, working all hours of the day or night. There’s been no clock to punch, and no boss but my lenient self. As long as the deadline is met, your client doesn’t care when you work.

But now, I need to adopt a daily discipline so that I can accomplish all I want to do. Such as my own writing (my WIPs won’t write themselves, sigh), and then there’s my quilting. I do want to keep up with it, and I plan to make a bunch of children’s quilts for the homeless shelter our Tai Chi Branch supports. For Christmas.

So you see, Tai Chi to the rescue. In so many ways.

How Can I Not Be?

I sense the sun before I see it. I know it’s morning but I don’t want to acknowledge it, not yet. Awareness slowly seeps into me, seemingly one cell at a time. Automatically, I brace for that familiar sensation. That burn, that unbidden fire.

I realize I’m lying on my side, that side. The fire is quiet, muted, muffled. Perhaps compressed out of existence between my weight and the mattress. Oh, if only.

There is movement beside me. I don’t turn and I don’t open my eyes. I stay still. Enjoying the quiet of my body along with the quiet of the morning. Footsteps pad out of my room.

Water gushes in the kitchen; teapot hits the ceramic stove top. I wait for its piercing whistle.

Soon, a spoon clinks round and round inside a cup. From my bed and behind my closed eyes, I can see the circling swirls of cream and sugar turning that fragrant black liquid into a beige concoction.

Footsteps return to my room.

“Wake up, sleepyhead.”

I hear the clunk of the coffee mug set down on the table, near my head.  The aroma is eye-opening. I inhale its scent as I carefully pull myself to a sitting position, testing, testing.

Before I can determine where it hurts, or if it hurts, a toasted bagel joins the steaming mugful.

“You all right, baby?”

How can I not be?

Woman, Interrupted

I have been remiss. I’ve been consumed with the fire at my side. In my side. It’s amazing how encompassing it has been. Everything was pushed aside. Shoved aside. There were no neurons left over to expend on all of my daily activities.

My reading slacked off, especially my on-screen reading. The fact that the screen would do a periodic disappearing act didn’t help. I am now so far behind with my emails, hundreds that have piled up in the interim. I don’t believe I will ever catch up.

There were the faithful emails from Elise, my Spanish Word of the Day lady. Some of the words would amaze me. I didn’t realize I knew them so that when I punched her email open on my cell phone, I would think, Aha! I am more fluent in my native tongue than I give myself credit for. It felt like a small victory.

The emails from my quilting site only served to underscore what the hundreds of cuts of fabric, neatly stacked on a wall of shelving in my office were saying to me. What about me? What about us? When will you give us your time? My Tai Chi instructor emailed, Can we have some of your creations for our Mother’s Day Raffle? I’ve yet to respond. Mother’s Day was just another day with shingles pain this year.

The writing blog posts are also stacked up neatly in my inbox, awaiting my time and attention as well. I didn’t want to read them with blurry eyes and blurry mind; that would in effect cancel out their very purpose, which is to help me finesse my craft. I look forward to digesting them, in small bites, the better to savor them.

And, of course, my personal writing was suspended. It wasn’t for lack of material, but for lack of dexterity. My fingers lost their place, lost their connection to the home keys on the keyboard. The keys that are the base from which they launch themselves across the span of the key layout. My brain saw one word and my fingers typed up a close facsimile of it; the relay was broken. Or merely interrupted. Whatever it was, it was infuriating.

Regardless, I persevered and completed the projects I had pending; deadlines wait for no man, or woman.  But, it was slow going and quite a strange experience. They say you never appreciate something until you lose it; that might be true. All I know is that my fingers are once again.dancing nimbly over this keyboard. The circuits are reconnected, soldered together through sheer willpower. The embers of shingles pain still burn, and I am being careful not to fan them into bright, lacerating flames.

Oh, Ye of Little Time

Half of February is gone already. Where did it go? What did I do with it?

All I know is that my to-do list gets longer by the day. Though I don’t always know which day. It’s my own fault somewhat. This past week I got to spend two whole days with my Cutie. She came laden with Valentine’s Day candy and she brought me my own Valentine’s goodie bag. M&M’s, yum!

Chocolate candy

Happy Face!

Chocolate candy

The look of love. For chocolate

Valentine's Day

Then we got cleaned up for dinner out.

 

Though by the time we left the restaurant, it had turned cold and rainy. What kind of nasty trick was that? This is Miami!

And this morning the cold persists. My hands don’t appreciate that. I have a quilt to finish. I’ve let it simmer for almost a week or so and it’s due Saturday.

Quilting

I’m not too sure about it, but too late to change it. Have to sally forth.

Yesterday I spent the day recouping from following a toddler around. That is an activity best reserved for the young, not the young at heart. And while I rested up, I did get to accomplish one of my New Year’s resolutions. Update my blog(s) a little. I have to say it was fun.

But now, back to my list of things to do. First up, finish that quilt!

Self-Portrait in Verbs

While reading Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch, Let Verbs Power Your Writing by Constance Hale, I couldn’t help but wonder; who am I in verbs?

Care. Love. Value. Invest. Hug. Kiss. Worry. Hurt. Hunger. Hope. Pine. Cry. Rejoice. Expect. Wish. Babysit. Laugh. Play.

Plan. Sew. Crochet. Quilt. Design. Construct. Volunteer. Help. Donate.

Walk. Bike. Dance. Drive. Shop. Spend. Save. Enjoy. Cook. Clean. Eat. Drink. Celebrate. Share

See. Hear. Speak. Object. Flout. Argue. Understand. Empathize. Sympathize. Simplify. Clarify. Complicate. Resolve. Lend. Borrow.

Murmur. Mutter. Whisper. Shout. Madden. Sadden. Gladden. Reminisce. Feel. Fear. Respond. Need. Want. Despair. Fold. Rest. Sleep. Dream. Imagine. Fantasize. Wonder.

Procrastinate. Text. Email. Avoid. Sit. Work. Write. Rewrite. Read. Research. Compile. Compose. Edit. Agonize. Learn. Study. Critique. Review. Collect. Envy. Aspire. Appreciate. Wander. Travel. Blog. Remember. Forget.

Teach. Manage. Encourage. Support. Mentor. Listen. Calm. Give. Advise. Counsel.

Pray. Question. Doubt. React. Accept. Think. Live. Breathe. Survive. Wait. Tolerate. Confer. Consult. Ache, Ail. Medicate. Limp (upon occasion).