Putting my toes in the water, hoping to swim a marathon.

3 01 2017

Weather: Misty to the point of worrying that we’re in a Stephen King Story. Luckily, nothing seems to be swimming past the windows.  Colder as well. Snow on the near horizon. 

So the title of today’s blog is a bit over-dramatic hint at how I’m viewing the commitments I’ve signed on for this year.

Sunday was the first of the year. Walked almost 4 miles, blogged, and did sundry creatives stuffs.

Monday, walked 3 miles, and did some resurrections on blogging platforms I hadn’t touched in about 7 years. (I’m kind of wandering away from Social Media platforms. Kinda got a little turned off by the warglblargle last year. Too much politics and too much watching my friends and their friends start bumping each other off their timelines due to politics. Ugly is an understatement.)

So today, which is the focus of this short post, I went to work this morning. Weather, as mentioned above, was not making it easy. The temps are starting to plummet again. And add in some dense fog and later, a bit of mist tipping over into rain, and you have all the makings of a blanket fort day. Alas, I was not going to have that luxury.

I came home, had lunch with the husbeast then headed off to the studio. Worked on some leftover holiday projects (photos below) for about 3 hours. Getting the drive to go to the studio every day again. Its funny how I can come up with the dumbest, easy-to-shoot down excuses not to go some days, but honestly? Once I’m there and clipping tile or hammering out smalti & marble, it takes a crowbar to get me back out.

This is why laziness is my worst fault. I give in to it way too easily. This is why motivation isn’t the problem. I’m plenty motivated. And I flog myself with guilt like a champion. It’s flagging commitment that sinks me all the time. I’ll go along doing real well for weeks,then decide, “I need to take a break.” That break suddenly stretches into 2 days, then a week and then I’m right back at square one. There are a million interesting distracting things that I can concoct to derail myself. Call it research. Call it “catching up on things”. Call it “writer’s block”. Etc etc etc. I am the queen of FOMO and I really need to ditch that tiara pronto.

Haven’t done my workout for the day, but I’m going to start after posting this. Got some push-ups and stair climbing on my agenda. Will at least log in 30 minutes of movement.

I’ve started keeping a bullet journal of sorts, in a spiral bound datebook. I’m using the month view to keep appointments in one glance. I’m using the Day views to log my workouts, errands, keep notes on what I’m working on, supplies I need, reminders to take care of small things. (My short term memory has been heinous lately. I blame it on my short attention span.) The notes pages in the back are so I can log my books read for the year and music I’m wanting to purchase. So far it’s helping immensely.

As promised- here’s some of the small projects I’m working on. I have a few bigger pieces that are in planning or just started. They’ll be getting more focus in the upcoming weeks.

Off to do my workout before it gets too late and I talk myself out of it.

See  you all tomorrow! 😀




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.

Keeping promises I’ve made to myself.

2 01 2013

Weather:  Frigid and sunny. High: 28°

So it’s January 2nd, but I’m treating it like the first day of the new year. (Yesterday I was too headachy and tired to get on top of my new routine)

Today I started a new workout regimen. It’s varied and, as all new workouts do, kicking my arse all over the place. Still, my goal is getting healthy, not attempting to be a Victoria’s Secret model. (I’m too short anyway. So there.)

On a related note, I’m getting back to my pre-holiday eating habits. OY, did I slide on that between Thanksgiving and Christmas. :headdesk: Too much sugar, cookies, bread, and I think I cornered the market on dairy products. SO–guess what is on the cutting block? Yep. Going  back on a mostly vegetarian diet (OvoVegetarian to be specific), and drinking more water. The food may have tasted fantastic, but I feel awful. Piper’s knocking. Time to get paid. Fecking Piper. ::grumbles::

New Year’s eve was spent kissing the old year goodbye, rather than spending too much time stressing the new year’s expectations.  Husbeast and I spent the day getting some studio work done. As evidence that the business is starting to take off, I sold a mosaic piece within 2 hours of posting it. Definitely motivating to keep my work pace at a steady rate. Nothing makes you productive like seeing your art sell. 🙂

Next week, I start classes at the Chicago Mosaic School , a yuletide present from my husband. It’s less about learning how to make mosaics, and more about finessing my skills. I’m self taught, and the longer I go on, the more I’m realizing I need to improve my techniques and output. So, off I go to unlearn some  bad skills and re-learn better ones.

On the writing front, I’m almost done with a major overhaul of my first book. Had to blow cobwebs off the manuscript a couple weeks ago, but the time away actually had clarified where I needed to go with it. Sometimes it’s better to let it lie to see it more clearly.

Still trying to sort through some self-pubbing platforms. May just end up posting some short pieces I have done, and excerpt the novel. Lots of options, but I need to pick one.

The title of this post is significant in how I’m approaching my so called resolutions. It’s less about living up to other people’s expectations, more about keeping me accountable to myself.  Some things have become very clear in the past couple years. I’ve realized I’ve relied too much on external pressures and peers to keep me on the right path. My intents and drive suffered because I let go of the wheel. The months since I left my job found me sinking into spirals of depression and allowing all my best plans and goals to disintegrate under the weight of imagined failures and false, unrealistic benchmarks based on other’s successes or expectations. Too many cooks in the mental soup, so to speak.  Finally, I decided it was time to scrap this obviously broken view and replace it with something far simpler: Take it one day at a time. Don’t allow yourself to spend more time on unproductive things than things with measurable results. If it’s making you miserable, let it go. Cynicism and anger are reactionary, not means to an end.

Basically, if I want to get myself moving forward and staying in motion, I need to avoid wasting time on things and people who impede that progress.  Mind you, this is not me telling others to change their views, attitudes or opinions. I simply am not going to join in with the cloud crowd. I’m gonna do my best to pick out the silver lining and run with it. I’m not naive. I realize things are kinda crappy now on many levels. But I’m tired of being in the Greek Chorus chiming in how awful things are, while doing nothing to change them.  Are there pointless endeavors? Sure. But I’d like to think that failing after trying is 1000% better than throwing up my hands and not trying at all. At least in making the attempt to fix or improve things, you have a possibility of success, granted with varying degrees of probability.

So, the promises I’ve made to myself are simply that.  I’m the only one I have to please or disappoint. Other people’s opinions or acceptance or dismissals do not matter. Ultimately, only I can determine whether I will succeed or fail on my goals. Time to get to work!

Another day, another weatherpocalypse…

26 10 2010

Weather: Oh it’s just verging on 2012 here: Thunderstorms this morning, tornado watches all over the place and now, hurricane level winds. They’re calling it the Great Lakes Cyclone. High: this morning-70º; This afternoon- 58º

OMG! Could it be? A post two days in a row?? [/sarcasm]

Yes, I’ve made it my goal to post something here every day. I’ve also realized I need to get this blog linked into my website. Eventually I will have more content up there. Preferably book related content.

I’m toying with doing some podcasts.  Maybe writing related, maybe discussions with other writers. (I mean, 90% of my friends are writers. We tend to attract each other in our mutual pursuit of publishing gold….or madness. It’s kind of a crapshoot. )  Of course this means getting proper equipment and taking the time to plan it out, script it, maybe do some sound work as well.

A second thought I had for podcasts, was offering some of my writing up as audio versions. Still ironing out the possibilities.

So, as mentioned in the weather section above, we’re having some rather stormy, blustery conditions here in the Chicagoland/NW Indiana area. Woke to thunderstorms and Tornado watches. Kind of an occupational hazard here. We might not be Tornado Alley, but we do get our share of turbulent weather. My commute in was a bit hairy, but its the drive home from the train station I’m actually worried about. Branch debris is pretty much a given, and Gretchen, our stalwart VW Jetta, is a little low to the ground. Ah well, we shall see what the carnage looks like when I get home. Who knows, maybe there will be photos.

Also have made an iron clad decision to start working out again. With serious conviction. Several family members have come down with health issues, which has brought the spotlight back on the fact that I am out of shape and putting my own health at risk. Since I’m one of those lucky Americans without insurance, I really cannot afford, literally, to have a major health problem. (Being overweight is already taking it’s toll on me.) It’s not food issues for me, it’s lack of movement.
Besides, if I ever intend to do justice to a Kambriel gown or a proper corset, I need to remove a few of these extra rolls. Curves are good;  more than two, no so much.


Anyway. That’s it for today. More blathering tomorrow. And possibly  photos.



Plotholes & Con Crud & NEW MUSIC, Oh MY!

23 09 2009

Weather: High: 77º and partly sunny. WTF?! WEATHER GODS! It’s BLOODY FALL! How about some cool temps??

Have slipped in my blogging duties. Must get back into the daily habit. Though I do have a viable excuse for my recent lack of inter-webby presence. First, I’ve been fighting con crud, that lovely post convention soupςon of sinus congestion & raspy cough. Second, between bossless week, last week and teaching two a day classes this week, I’ve been a wee bit SWAMPED at work. Sigh.
So-::cracks knuckles::- Lets’ see what’s been going on in my demented world.

On the writing front, I’ve finally started the epilogue for “When the Lights Go Down“. Which is a small victory unto itself. Of course, I’ve also started some rewrites, which unearthed a rather vexing couple of plotholes. I’ve fixed the most egregious of the two, but the remaining one will require some rather fine tune adjustments throughout the manuscript to eliminate the minor mentions related to it. So…I have more work than I realized before I can get into the regular re-write function.

Also, masochist that I am, I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo again this year.  I figure I can use it as a sort of writing sorbet…to cleanse the mental writing palate before heading back into rewrites. If I use it well, I might be able to bang out a novella I can shop around as well. ::checks for jacket I can hug myself all day long in:: Yep, all set. November insanity, here I come.

On the home front, Bri and I have finally started the full court press to get the house in shape for sale. We’re also starting our job hunt in Seattle in earnest. I know it’s gonna be a tough slog in this current market, but I figure, between Bri and I, we have a wealth of work experience in a variety of fields. ( I just wish I’d kept my programming chops up to speed!) .  Our current debacle is trying to finance new carpeting for the basement. (Yes, the same carpeting we yanked up last year after our mini-flood.) We need to still get the outside of the house power washed, do some touch up painting, finish the yard landscaping, and then do a few thousand cosmetic things INSIDE the house. We’re hoping to have the house on the market come March or April, with an eye towards moving in the summer. We’ll see if our best laid plans come to fruition.

Music squee:

So I’ve obtained a crapload of new music and all of it has been just amazing. First off, got the new Muse album, “The Resistance”. There aren’t words. SO FECKING AMAZING. From soup to nuts one of the most brilliant albums I’ve heard in ages.  It has echoes of Queen in it, but Muse has their unique stamp all over it. It’s prog rock, but lacking the usual pretentiousness that gets that genre mocked. It’s intelligent, and social commentary, and just massive in scope. There are straight ahead rock songs (Uprising, Resistance, MK Ultra, Unnatural Selection) , Quirky gems (I Belong To You/Mon Cœur S’ouvre À Ta Voix, Undisclosed Desires) and of course ZOMG EPIC ORCHESTRAL PIECES! (Exogenesis: Symphony parts 1-3) . It’s eminently listenable from beginning to end. And yes, it’s already embedded all over my writing mixes. (“Undisclosed Desires” has become Devon & Sara’s theme song. LOL!)
Here’s the video for “Uprising” , Zombie Teddy Bears & All!

Next I got the new Three Days Grace album, “Life Starts Now”. It BLEW ME AWAY. Seriously. These guys get dismissed out of hand by a lot of hipsters and indie critics and I just do not understand the hate.
Adam Gontier, their lead singer, has an amazing voice, and this time around, he gets to use ALL his range. The last two albums have been heavy on the dark hard rock they’ve made their trademark. This album feels a little more hopeful. And the music has just expanded creatively as well. 3DG are masters of the good stompy rock riff. They EXCEL at it. But Life Starts Now is riddled with experimental sounds, non-standard timings, pianos, strings, and harmonies using more than the standard chord structures.  My favorite songs change day to day. Yesterday I was blasting “The Good Life” with it’s AFI-like choruses and stompy bass & drum rhythms.  Today, I seem to be constantly queuing up “World Gone Cold” with it’s eerie chorusy-guitar intro and amazing vocals by Adam. (ETA: Apparently I’m not alone–the song is in the Top Ten on I-Tunes Rock singles already!)
Honestly there isn’t a bad tune on the whole damn album. The songs are brief, the longest barely nudging 5 minutes, but they’re layered thickly with sound and meaty guitar work.  Barry Stock, the lead guitarist, has put down some amazing riffs all over the album. And the rhythm work from Neil Sanderson (on drums) and Brad Walst (on bass) is sturdy, yet takes creative turns as well. There are echoes of Alice in Chains here as well, but 3DG has definitely put their own unique overlay on them, making it something entirely their own.
For a third album, it’s a fantastic step up from a band that gets less credit than it should.  (Of course, I might be a little biased, considering how much their music has played a hand in getting my book written. 😉 )
Here’s a vid of Adam talking about the recording of “Break“, the first single.

Also got the new : tatsu ep : from Faith & the Muse. Amazing as always. It’s a taster for their new album, : ankoku butoh : that will be released on Halloween this year. SO LOOKING FORWARD TO IT! (It will also come packaged with a DVD & book. Squee!)
Since there are few vids for F&TM, they posted snippets at their website.
Click here to see “Cantus”.
They’re an amazing band!

Well I think that brings us up to date. OH and I FINALLY got our Writers’ Cabal shirts made. Here’s what the logo looks like:

Writers Cabal VD

Yup. Looks wicked awesome!

Hopefully our ranks will swell. 🙂

Now playing: Three Days Grace – World So Cold
via FoxyTunes

Meh Monday.

20 07 2009

Weather: High: 79 degrees and partly sunny. Weekend was unseasonably cool as well.

So. Weekend got away from me again. Went to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on Sunday, which kind threw my plans to write that day to the wind. And Saturday was kind of off kilter anyway, so not much got done there either. Snoots took a tumble off the counter late Saturday and was favoring his hind leg for a bit. Seems okay now, but we’re watching him.  Think he may have sprained it. Doesn’t seem like a break, because he’s still jumping up and down and walking with no trouble. ::is typical paranoid CatMommy::

I hate lost weekends. Always want to kick myself for wasted time lost.

Half Blood Prince was good, but it was the first HP movie that I actually came away from a little irritated at what was cut out. I’m all for the movies taking a little creative license in editing to get the story out, but losing the big battle at the end? Kinda dampened the impact. As did the revelation of who the Half Blood Prince was. The revelation was kind of a throwaway statement that had no resonance because any build up or interest in that plot point had kind of been buried in the rest of the story. Still, they are my small quibbles and I still thought the movie was pretty damn good. Saw the full trailer for Sherlock Holmes and nearly wibbled myself into a coma. Yes I know it’s anachronistic and the purists are practically apoplectic, but it looks like 40 shades of awesome to me.

Torchwood: Children of Earth starts tonight on BBC America. Sadly I’ve been spoiled for a bunch of things (All inadvertently. Really. I was trying to stay spoiler free for this.) But Hubby and I will still be watching. It’s been a dearth of Whoverse this year, and I’m starving for some Captain Jack.

Also, I’m really looking forward to watching True Blood tonight. Really need to look into getting the first season on DVD. Really have loved this series so far.(More Eric is all I can say. )

And Being Human starts this Saturday. This is the show I’ve actually been looking forward to for quite  bit of time. A vampire, werewolf & ghost living together. Sounds like the start of a great joke, but truth be told, the show looks nicely dark and angsty and they have a tasty Irish actor playing Mitchell the vampire. Not complaining here. And they do the full black eyes for the fully vamped. Dear to my heart that is. 🙂

I know I seem to posting  a lot of television related stuff today, Unfortunately I’m feeling a little under the weather today, for reasons I won’t go into, and I’m having a damnable time trying to focus on anything. Thus insight is giving way to trivia.  It happens. Also think I may have to stop taking St. John’s Wort every day as I’m starting to feel a little dizzy and lethargic. It IS helping regulate my moods though, so that’s a good thing. Probably will just scale it back to when I seem to be going through a down cycle.

Have found a wealth of new friends and good writing advice by way of the #writegoal hashtag over on Twitter. Writers of various stripes are using it to network and track their writing goals, wordcounts and just generally passing along good advice. Very helpful and motivating all around.

Alas, my hazy brain and troublesome gut have to get going home. Actually got some work done today, in spite of my lessened capacity.

New quest! I need to find Strange on DVD. Apparently the BBC have either never released it or it’s out of distribution. Watched the marathon on The Chiller network over the weekend and LOVED IT. Was nice to see Richard Coyle (Jeff on Coupling) doing a dark & scary role for once. 🙂 It was only one season but my Google Fu is not yielding much in the way of DVD sale information.

Speaking of DVDs, and then I must sign off, Coraline Collector’s Edition will be on my doorstep tomorrow. So there will be squee tomorrow on that front.

Anyway. Enough rambling. More writing related stuff tomorrow. If my brain decides to actually kick in, that is.

Now playing: Folk Implosion – Natural One
via FoxyTunes