Kicking my own ass because it’s necessary.

4 01 2017

Weather: Gray, with hefty winds, which help the air temp drop into single digits. Had to pin my face on as the cold was insisting on tugging it off. High was somewhere in the mid- 20s though you’d be hard pressed to know it.

Work went quickly today. Home for lunch then I had a few errands to run- meds for the kittie and performing my monthly gas tank refill (it’s so nice to live close to where I work- 5 minutes away!) 

When I got home, the urge to just curl up and get under a blanket was mighty strong. But I tempered it.  Got online and did get sucked in for the duration. Damn it. Managed to pry myself loose and do some exercise. We have stairs to the second floor and a full staircase into the basement. I was doing a circular lap from the second floor into the basement and back up pausing to  do pushups between laps. The number of laps was pitiful but I did get my heart rate up to something resembling cardio. May do another round this evening. Trying to at least force myself into some semblance of accountability.

The title is not literal as I don’t have that kind of flexibility at the moment. However, I am a grown goddamn woman with a brain that can talk me out of doing anything I really don’t want to do. Even if the thing is going to benefit me. Stupid brain. So I sometimes take to berating myself like a drill instructor with an axe to grind. It works. I hate having my laziness pointed out. Granted it’s worse coming from others, but it still gets me moving, albeit with grumbling annoyance. The results will be the reward. I just need to start seeing some.

One thing that has become rather evident since I blew a brain gasket a couple of years ago: I seem to have lost some mental capabilities I used to pride myself on having. One is the ability to visualize things that I’m creating. I have to work very hard at this now. I can’t “see” things the way I used to. Husbeast gave me a couple of tricks to work around it, but it’s vexing that  I can’t do it on spec anymore. Another thing is my facility with words has taken a bit of hit. I can write, no problem, but speaking? I draw a blank a lot of the time and I have to pause and dig for the appropriate word. Do I think this is all due to the brain injury? Maybe. But I know some of it comes from the same short term attention span that a lot of the internet generation suffers from- too much information, all the time. I’ve been combating it with books, forcing myself to focus on the words. This was one thing I discovered last year. Where for years I was able to rip through a hardcover in a weekend and retain fairly good details from the book, suddenly I’m finding I have to re-read a page two or three times to get it. And my retention isn’t what it should be.

The good news (that silver lining that  I always insist on finding) is that a lot of this is reversible with training. And working at it. I have no doubt that with effort I’ll be able to get my brain agile again. Kind of like I hope my physical shape will get back to being more functional and a shape other than “sack of mushy potatoes”.

So today I managed to move, to write and after dinner I’m doing some sketches for new mosaic pieces, so there’s my creative output for the day. Still going strong.

And because you have stuck with this meandering musing, here’s some cat pictures for your troubles….(Left is Lord Snooty of Booty, Right is Lady Fern the Derisive.)


And here’s your Gif of Wise Wisdom type Stuff for the day:


Off to sketch and maybe tackle the Stairs of Jointly Torture.


NaNo Day…OH YEAH! It’s done!

4 12 2015

Weather has been unseasonably warm. People are being unreasonably awful to each other. Woo. Season’s Greetings everyone!

So yeah. I finished NaNoWriMo with 4 days to spare. I haven’t blogged because the holiday and subsequent weekend kinda kicked my arse.

The news has been consistently awful, with the kind of rampant violence and equally rampant stupidity and tone deaf commentary that seems to accompany it like a whore of Babylon astride a slouchy beast. Needless to say, I’m staying the hell away from the holy (or UNholy) all of it.

I have opinions. Strong opinions. But they will neither ease anyone’s suffering nor change the minds of people who are determined to be misinformed and  resolute in that misinformation. So why vent my rather prodigious spleen online and just add to the cacophony of Howler Monkeys already supplying a constant stream of high pitched frothy hysteria?

This is what I hear when I read most commentary on things anymore:


So no. Not gonna even insert one toe in this morass. (Mind you…I lean to a very Buddhist Left. Moderation and Equanimity, but compassion in all things. So you can probably guess where I sit on my Opinion Throne of Judginess. 😉 )

Back to NaNo. I’m still a good 5 or 6 chapters out of being done with the first draft. I already know how much fleshing out and hacking away is going to be occurring in the near future. But the skeleton’s been built and there is a good modicum of meat on the bone. But it ain’t even remotely pretty yet.

I’m trying to get back to the studio as I’ve been neglecting the art side of things since I was all in on writing the past month. Trying to get some holiday related pieces together and finish some overdue commissions.

With the weather being so ridiculously off and realizing that I’m approaching the one year anniversary of my brain injury, my mood and focus hasn’t been exactly where I need it to be. (For those new to my blog– this is the write up of what happened)

I’m trying not to mull over the consequences of my near miss, but I do get nervous when I get a headache. Understandable I guess.

Time to get over that hump and leave the medical trauma behind. Time for a new start. 🙂

Recovery slogs on, with a few bumps in the road….

21 05 2015

Weather: Spring has arrived,  but by the Midwest Definition: If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it’ll change. We’ve been from the 40s to the 80s and back again, sometimes in the same day. Hoping June will be more stable.

So the title of this post is a little on the nose. Since I had my brain hemorrhage in December of last year, little repercussions have been rearing their ugly heads.

Two months out, I had my final angiogram….and had a massive allergic reaction to the dye.
Three months out, my hair started falling out in clumps. It’s started growing back in, thank goodness.

Now, I’ve developed a chronic hoarseness in my voice, which has been diagnosed by my ENT doctor (Ear, Nose & Throat) as a polyp on my vocal cord, which I am having surgically removed in June. After which I won’t be allowed to speak for a week. At ALL. (I’m going to have to tape my mouth shut. )

Other than the above things, I haven’t had any brain related hiccups. Maybe some mood swings, but not much else. All in all, I’m taking the ripples in the pool in stride. I just hope by Summer, I’ll have shaken off any more of these little quakes. Tired of having my activities curtailed, even slightly, by health foo.

Husbeast and I walked to Lion’s Beach the other night. WALKED. TO THE BEACH. (Happiest words I’ve ever spoken) Had our first beach therapy evening, watching the sun lowering over the lake. Sat on a bench, his arm around me. Was the most peaceful I’ve felt in a while. We stopped for ice cream  on the way home. I’m hoping for a lot more evenings like that.

I finished my huge sun mosaic piece that I’ve been working on since I returned to the studio after the brain foo. It’s not perfect, but it’s close to what I saw in my head, so I’m happy with it. I have three other pieces I need to start working on. Starting to see a trend towards geometrics and I’m playing with changing up my tessera cuts for different effects. Also will be working on my first 3D piece. Scary but exciting.

In general I’m in a good headspace about most things, though I’d be lying if I said I’m not going to be relieved once my surgery is done. Just want to get back to focusing on the art and the house and the garden again.

For a short trip into derailment, my thinky thoughts recently have been coming to the realization that I’m really too exhausted to be outraged anymore. It’s all I seem to see everywhere. Not that the topics being raised aren’t eyebrow raising or worthy of a good old fashioned shade throwing, but I just see some people spending all their energy and time trying to find things to be upset about. I know there’s bad in the world, and awful people. I also know that the media and politicians are out of a job if they can’t keep people scared or angry. I guess I’m just flummoxed as to why everyone keeps dancing to their music?

If you see something that bothers you, either do something to make it better, or step away from it. Yelling online and bashing people with the guilt trowel because they don’t get as upset as you DOESN’T FIX ANYTHING. Yes, yes…..You’re raising awareness. Just like the other 50 angry people posting the same clickbait link with no suggestions  or solutions attached.  Sigh. Tired, as I said.

I’m starting to see no difference in people yelling from the left or the right. Each have their boogeymen. Each have valid points. Neither seem all that interested in compromising or working together to fix it. (I’m mostly talking about the frothy extreme edges, not the mostly moderates that seem only bemused by the noise and are actually trying to do things.)

And I’m not just talking politics — NerdRage is at an all time high and fandoms seem to only be civil for one season before turning into toxic wastelands of death threats and shipper wars. I used to be amused by it, now I’m just annoyed. Everyone seems to have forgotten how to enjoy things. Valid criticism is one thing. Crazy entitlement issues are another. And don’t get me started on Tumblr. No seriously…There be monsters. Scary Scary ANGRY monsters. I’ll end this here, because otherwise I’ll accidentally mention something that will draw the nutjobs and I’d rather not have to dust off my ban hammer.

::gets the train back on track::

I’m trying to be patient, waiting for all the health detritus to shake out. But I don’t want that waiting to turn to “laying on the couch, binge-watching Netflix and letting the rest of my health go to hell”. It’s easy to do, and so is making excuses for not doing things that require a little effort and a little sacrifice. Money situations are not fixed by sitting around navel-gazing. Art doesn’t get made if it stays in your head or only on paper. Novels don’t get written just by talking about them.

And Heidi doesn’t get better by sitting around, hoping that her body will magically become well.

Everything in life takes effort. Everything. And as Kevin Smith has pointed out today, happiness is being productive. It’s not a destination, it’s a journey.  If you’re not careful, you’ll end up wistful and chasing the ephemeral idea of happiness, and miss when it actually comes your way.

Sort of disjointed writing today, but I’m having a kind of disjointed week. More coherent thoughts next time.

Life Reboot, number….I’ve lost count now.

10 03 2015

Weather: Michigan Winter on the Wane. After weeks of sub-zero wind chills and cold air temps and snow snow snow….We’re finally stabilizing back up into the low 40s & 50s.

So I haven’t post anything since my post- brain trauma write up. Time to catch up with all the craziness.

I am pretty much fully recovered. Had a third angiogram and a 4th CT Scan. Which basically told me that 1) all the blood has cleared out of my skull, and 2) I still have no answer as to what caused my brain bleed. The doctors all told me there is close to zero chance of this happening again, which is weird, considering they don’t know what caused it. C’est la vie.

I’m off almost all of my meds, which I am infinitely thankful for, because the getting up in the middle of the night to take horsepills was getting a little tiresome.

There have been bumps in the road. I had an allergic reaction to the dye from the angiogram which resulted in a week of severe skin irritation and a lot of Benadryl being taken to stave it off.  Once that finally vanished, I succumbed to that week’s version of plague. (Luckily the head cold version, which sucked nonetheless) Still have lingering nasal yuck, but hoping for it to be all gone soon.

The down side of perpetual sickness, even if it changes up the version, is that everything in your life kinda gets put on hold. Have only been to the studio twice since getting home from the hospital. I’ve missed several weeks of TaiChi. My weight is getting ridiculous again, but that happens when you’re stuck on a couch feeling miserable.

Then there’s the non-illness related bumps in the road. My dad’s only brother, who was my favorite uncle, passed away this week. He’d been ill with heart problems related to previous health issues. Still, it hurt to see him go. It was kind of like losing another connection to my dad. We’re going to the wake this weekend.

Now there has been some GOOD news, albeit stress inducing, but in a GOOD way. We purchased a house! Here in St. Joseph and in our price range and in town proper. Never thought we’d get all three. Closer to the studio. Closer to town. Putting down some roots finally. Brian hated living in the apartment, but made do. We lucked into a four square style, 2-story house with almost all the features we wanted, including fairly brand new appliances. (Which is a god send, because we’re gonna be tight as ticks until I can get some work/artwork sold.) Will be so happy to get all our stuff out of storage and start paring down the non-essentials.

All in all, things have been slowed down, and both Bri and I feel like we’re rebooting. We will be putting a lot of energy into getting the house organized, getting back into the studio to make up the time we’ve lost over the past few months, and getting ourselves back in shape. It’s time. We’re in a very good place now, and I don’t want the opportunity to slip from our fingers. Having had a pretty serious scare on the health front has, without being totally cliche, put things in perspective.

The long cold winter is finally over.

Hoping for a productive, creative and new start this spring.

More regular blogging will happen once we get settled in.

I’m happy.  I’m alive and with the person I love, and we’re about to embark on a whole new adventure.

I really really can’t wait. 😀


So THAT happened…..(A clinical look at life and nearly losing it.)

26 12 2014

So. I’m sitting here on the couch on Boxing Day, having not really celebrated Christmas.

Not because of any particular hard feelings, but because I’d just gotten out of the hospital after a 13 day stay.

Because I’d nearly died.

I’m not one for melodramatic over analysis or handwringing, so when I say I nearly died, understand that it’s because I beat 50% odds that could have easily gone the other way.

On December 11th, I was getting ready for a possible job interview. I was nervous but no more than usual. Suddenly a clamp tightened on the base of my skull. A tension headache, I thought. No big deal. I’m stressing the interview. Took some ibuprofen. But the clamp tightened. Then the back of my head ballooned into something huge and painful. To the point that I was starting to cry from  the pain. And sweat. OMG I was sweating so much. Tried to get up off the couch and my skull decided that was the time to try sliding off my neck. I let out a little yelp of pain, but managed to get to the dining room table where my phone was. I texted my husband Brian with the words “Head hurts. Very bad. Getting scared.” He texted back “Call 911” I was tempted, by years of “grit your teeth through it” stubbornness to just sit and let it wind down. But it wasn’t winding down. It was getting worse. So I called 911. And got a lady who immediately sensed the distress in my even robotic tone.  An Ambulance was sent immediately. It arrived in under 5 minutes. Brian showed up just as I finished emptying the contents in my stomach into a mixing bowl grabbed by one of the EMTs. Then I was bundled into a gurney, wrapped in blankets, wheeled out of the apartment and put in an ambulance. My last clearly remembered thought was the EMTs putting monitor patches on my chest and sticking an oxygen tube up my nose.

The next thing I remembered was waking up December 18. I was being extubated. I managed to ask through a very raspy voice how long I had been out. 7 Days. My sister Kirsten and my Mom were there waiting. Telling me that Brian was at work but had been there almost every day since I’d been hospitalized. Apparently I’d been helicoptered to Kalamazoo, to a hospital that was better suited to dealing with my  particular brain injury.

Brain Injury. I figured I’d broken something in my head, considering the pain. Apparently, I’d suffered a subarachnoid Hemorrhage. Basically, I’d bled out into my brain. No, the doctors didn’t have an answer HOW it happened, but apparently I had two arteries in a place most people only have one. Plus I have a little pocket at the base of my skull. None of which anyone would have known about without the 2 angiograms that were done on me. There was still blood in my skull, so they were waiting on it clearing out before doing a third angiogram to see if any answers were forthcoming. Lucky for me,  my fast call to 911 and the quick transport to the hospital may have saved my life. I spent a week on a ventilator, eating through a tube, getting my lungs suctioned daily because of pneumonia, worrying the crap out of my husband and family, and possibly not waking up. Ever.

Then I woke up, shook the pneumonia, got off the breathing tube, started taking a metric ton of drugs and injections to keep my head from exploding again. I spent 3 more days in ICU, weak as hell, dealing with humiliating lack of independence on levels I can’t relate here. Then 2 days in a private room. More independence. Solid food. Shower. OMG SHOWER! and many visits from nurses and doctors to test my blood, my oxygen levels and give me thrice daily shots in the stomach to stave off any clots creeping up to snuff me out. (Mind you the staff at all points of my care were FANTASTIC. Never had better care before)

I’m home now.  With 6 prescriptions of everything from blood thinners, to vaso-suppressors, to anti-seizure meds. I have a walking cane because I am still too wobbly to walk down the hallway. I still get chronic headaches. I have to set alarms to take medications in the middle of the night.

But I’m alive. And my husband is relieved and takes amazing care of me.

I still don’t know what actually happened.

I do know something though. My health issues may have exacerbated the situation. And the balance of the problem? Might have happened anyway.

So now I’m stuck with a series of thoughts that are difficult to deal with.

1) I very nearly died. I could very nearly die again. There is literally no guarantee at either end of that spectrum.

2) I have an epic circle of friends and family that all rallied in ways I’d never expected for my support. I am nearly on my knees from being humbled. It’s one thing to know people online and from afar. It’s entirely different to have people starting prayer circles for you and helping support your husband and family.

3) I don’t know the long term effects of this. I won’t know for a while. So far, my focus and short term memory seem to be a little off. Hopefully that will improve.

4) I’m covered in wounds. From tubes and injections and bruising. It’s disconcerting not to know where half of them came from.

5) My eating habits have radically changed.  My voice has changed, possibly permanently. I’m not sure who I’m turning into, but I’m trepiditious.

6) I have another angiogram coming up.  I have a 50% chance of coming out of it with no new answers. I’m weirdly okay with this.

7) I need to figure out what I want out of life. Now. I want to do a lot of things. I want to BE a lot of things. I’m caught in the crossfire of taking the slow road of recovery and the wide open field of endless possibilities.

The weirdest thing out of all of this is how epically calm I’ve become. My emotions are very still. It could be the meds. It could be brain damage. It might just be the natural reaction to almost dying. I’m not obsessing on what might have happened, which seems like a waste of  energy.

The only thing I do know is that I want to be healthy enough to be with Brian for a good number of years going forward. And maybe that’s goal enough for now.