Monthly Archives: December 2017

Goals for 2018

I think everyone gets at least a little introspective this time of year, looking back at the progress made, the failures, the successes, the gains and the losses. There’s a lot about life you can’t control so goals don’t always come to fruition but I really like to have them. I like to separate them into categories also – personal stuff, professional stuff, and the stuff that doesn’t really fall into either category.

Personally: I’d like to lose the weight I’ve gained (or rather, never lost after my youngest kid). I’d like to be comfortable in my own skin again – or at least as much as I can be. I would like to find a foundation or concealer that actually covers all my stupid red splotchies that have suddenly decided to be part of my life (yay weird effects of my RA or the medication for it). I’d like to be a little better at peopling this year also – less tripping over my tongue and more making sense. I’d really like to feel comfortable enough with myself and my anxieties to get pictures done – we haven’t had a family photo done since before my youngest was born and we should really do that – I just really hate being in pictures.

Somewhere in between the personal and professional is journaling. Not blogging. Not really a bullet journal. Just a journal, for me. It’s always helped before to get all this ick out somewhere and I just happened to get a pretty awesome Solo in Carbonite journal for Christmas.

Professionally: I’d like to write three books, four short stories, and forty poems. Those seem like doable numbers for me. I’d also like to do a little more artsy stuff than craftsy stuff – maybe not for the craft fairs but for the Etsy shop. I’ll be happy if I can get three of the things in my head to be real tangible things, especially some of the mixed media type art in my head. I’d like to do at least five vendor events and maybe a little convention. Maybe. I’ll be ridiculously happy if I can write some words no fewer than five days a week.

The stuff that doesn’t fall into either category are more like hopes than goals. I’d like to go a year without a panic attack. I’d like to go a year without a major loss in my life – real, imagined, personal, or otherwise. I hope we can get my RA under control. I hope my kids continue to do awesome in their classes and in just being awesome people. I hope my husband has the best year ever. I hope my friends and family have awesome years also.

I’m just tired of being sad so I’m really hoping for a year with a lot less of that. I’m taking steps to do what I can do feel better – it’s not working just yet but these sorts of things take time. Much more time than I had imagined.

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2017 In Review

There isn’t a lot of good in this year really. It has been one of the worst years to date for me. The loss of my Dad hit me really hard in some really unexpected ways. My stepmom moved to be closer to her brother, which is really great for her and I know it’s the best thing, but I’m missing her a lot too. Skype is great but it’s not the same. Finding the answer to my crazy hurting, swelling, and mobility issues was great, even if it showing up was not. I’ve had a bit of a time of things coming to grips with all of it but I’m grateful not just to have answers but to have it be something fairly treatable, even if it changes everything for me. There were far scarier words than Rheumatoid arthritis bandied about prior to all the bloodwork so I’m relieved it wasn’t any of those.

On the writing front, there’s not much to report beyond nearly being done with the sequel to Hunter’s Crossing. I’ve written less this year than any year since the 7th grade, when I finished my very first book.

I did open my Etsy at long last, even made my first sale, and started doing craft fairs with my books and weirdness. I met a lot of interesting people and had some fun – even with all the health crap that was going on.

There’s been a lot of loss in my life this year, not all of it is really something I can explain right. I try but words really don’t do it justice. I know there’s a lot of weird in my life – the prednisone makes all my emotions so much bigger and more annoying so all of this introspective crap is even worse. I think this year is just a lost year, more or less. One best forgotten and moved past and never spoken of again.

 

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Thankful

With as ick as this year has been, I think I’d like to head in to the end of year wrap up with some of the things I’m thankful for this year.

I’m thankful for my husband who is, if you read any momming boards, a unicorn.

I’m thankful for my children who are awesome and very nearly unicorns themselves. THey’ve both been extra helpful this year, done so well in school, and I really couldn’t ask for better kids.

I’m thankful for good doctors who listened to me, believed me, and did their level best to get all my ridiculous issues under control – even if we aren’t there yet.

I’m thankful for all the neat gadgets and gizmos that exist in the now to help with all the stupid things I struggle doing now.

As this year finally draws to a close, what are you thankful for this year?

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It’s happening again

I’m going to rant a bit about Doctor Who – not the show so much but the fans. During the last regeneration, some fans were in an uproar because the Doctor was going to be old again and strange, very severe looking. Now, some fans are in an uproar because the Doctor is a woman. I was so sad to see Capaldi go – he is my second favorite Doctor (though 9 might have been if he’d had more than just that first season). I cried more than I should admit to and not just because of my prednisone. It’s always like losing a friend when they go.

I don’t understand this backlash against a female Doctor. I’m not one for gender swapping for the sake of gender swapping on the whole but this is a different animal. This is a character who changes faces like some characters change hairstyles. It’s not like logic and timey wimey stuff play well together in the first place. The greatest thing about the Doctor is that, no matter the face, the clothes, the evolution of the character, it’s still those same two hearts beating inside.

The only Doctor I’ve ever boycotted was #5 and that was because I was 6 years old and heartbroken. I want nothing more than for Whittaker to succeed in her role. I want her to have multiple seasons. I want to cry as much when she leaves as I did for Capaldi.

I have friends who watch Doctor Who that I don’t talk about Who with because I don’t understand where they’re coming from when they speak of boycots and get upset because the centuries old character is going to look old. I don’t understand all the Smith fangirls but he does have my all time absolute favorite episode to his face. I like it when Doctor Who is more about the Doctor and not the companions who travel with him. I don’t want another Clara Show or Amy is Mean and everyone falls all over themselves for her anyway. I want to watch this amazing character do amazing things and grow and change and be incredible.

I liked how they set up the transition – how far the Doctor has come from that first incarnation. How he is still the same character he’s always been, will always be, regardless of pronoun. My only hope is that they eventually give her a wardrobe that I would actually like to wear as I cannot wear pants like that.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Blessed Everything! I really do adore this time of year. Love it. This year has been more difficult than most for me but that doesn’t change my love for it. Besides, only the best part of it remains – all that squealy, happiness, the giddy laughter of children who discover wishes fulfilled that they didn’t even think to make yet.

I didn’t get all the things done I wanted to and that’s ok. I can try again next year. Hopefully, by then, I’ll have my immune system under control and not find myself laid up for 1/3 of my decorating time. I did get two things made. They aren’t great, certainly not worthy of pictures, but at least they’re finished and really, the shiny blue ditto pillow isn’t awful but I did have a fabric related stitchery issue and Oogie Boogie looks too happy but that’s also ok.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. I’m not going to be online today – I’m going to be having fun with my kids and my family. I’ll be missing some people who should be here also but I’m doing my best to not be maudlin. I’ll be back later in the week with all the end of year stuff, goals and things of that nature.

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It’s Coming!

This is one of my favorite ornaments. I used to keep it on my desk all year long – now I have the scene ornament from Wrath of Khan there and Spock is back on my tree.

I’m not as laid up as I was but I’m still taking it a little easy because as awesome as the cortisone shot makes my knee feel, I don’t want to do more damage just because it’s feeling SO much better. Plus it’s Thursday which is now my headachy tired day. At least we can get both of them out of the way together and maybe have fun with the rest of Christmas break.

Christmas is one of my favorite things – most of my favorite memories are of either Christmas or Halloween and in both cases, it’s due either to my mom or my kids. With today being Yule, the holiday season is fresh in my thoughts and, given this year, I’m extra reflective.

When I was little, Christmas was all about the magic. When my kids were little, Christmas was all about the magic. There were a few dark Christmases for me there, between the loss of my mom and the birth of my first kid that I honestly don’t remember much about except how I was probably in trouble for something as that seemed to be my usual then. I don’t think about that time in my life very much.

One of the best parts of having children has been passing along the things my mom used to do for me to make everything magic. I don’t know that I’ve been successful but I hope so. The presents are great fun – I love to find the perfect thing for someone – that thing I know will make them squeal. I may never find that thing for my youngest kid but he always seems happy at the end of the day. I know I’ll never find that thing for some people who just can’t be that happy. And some people I struggle with because I can find them neat stuff that they’ll really enjoy but I can’t ever match the thing I gave them that was the Most Absolutely Perfect Thing. This year, I’m pretty sure I’ve got the oldest kid squealing, the husband picked out his squeal and is already squealy(lol), and I may have even managed the brother (and I cannot wait because he’s never squealy). And three times I’ve found The Perfect Thing for one of my parents which only serves to make me sad.

My love language is generally presents or food or a combination thereof. I cannot express my love for you better than my pecan pie or homemade marshmallows. I enjoy it even more when the presents are things I have made specifically for the people involved. This year, I didn’t manage to get much made. Ok, nothing so far but I have two things I’m hoping to get finished in the next 48 hours. Neither are squeal-worthy I don’t think but both will be enjoyed thoroughly.

My favorite presents from my childhood weren’t always the squeal-inducing ones though. Some took time and loss to appreciate in full. I think my absolute favorite is a necklace my mom designed for me with my very favorite stone (which very few people know of, let alone make jewelry out of) – it will likely always be my favorite. I don’t know that I squealed but I definitely gasped. I squealed at my computer and my motorcycle jacket. I loved my black velvet peasant skirt (enough that I still wear it 24 years later). I squealed at my telephone (the kind you could see through) and my ice skates. I cherish my handmade Little House on the Prairie dollhouse. My dad wasn’t really a part of my Christmas memories until I had kids of my own – mostly because he gave my mom everything she wanted in their divorce and that included ALL Christmases. He did a damn fine job as an adult though – one year it was a painting that reminded him of my mom, another it was my countertop dishwasher that saved me years of frustration.

I really hope that someday my kids can look back on their Christmases past with as much fondness as I do.

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Pressed like a grape

I went to my rheumatologist today – who I discovered that I like much better when I’m not hyper-emotional with the prednisone – and the difference is night and day. If I wasn’t worried about injuring myself again, I might even dance I’m feeling so much better.

The knee was about half as swollen as it had been but he still managed to get six full big syringes of synovial fluid out of it. The moment he said he was going to drain the knee, I was a little bit panicked. Big needle = scary. Hell, little blood draw needle = scary and ouchie too! Apparently, my rheumy is really good at draining joints. The worst part wasn’t the needle at all but the manipulation of my really stupid and crooked patella (My kneecap moves in an arc instead of properly up and down). Between the drainage and the cortisone shot (that I didn’t even feel), the difference is amazing. Absolutely worth being pressed like a grape. I almost asked if this was a thing they could teach me to do at home since it will undoubtedly happen again.

It’s my medication day so I’m still super tired and all that but I’m going to make the youngest kid’s day and meet him at the bus stop, something I haven’t been able to do all week. I can’t even tell you what a relief this is. I feel terrible scaring the kids like this and it just keeps happening. My stupid immune system just refuses to roll over and play dead. All my life, it’s done a great job, maybe too good and now it just won’t stop even though there is no reason for it to be at war with anything. I’m just so damn happy that I’ll be ambulatory for Christmas and the short one can settle out a bit about that.

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Lessons Learned

We’ve come to the part of the year where I over-analyze everything and, since I happen to be laid up a bit, I might as well share more than I should. Every situation we come to is an opportunity to learn something. It may not always be something you wanted to know, but the truth remains. Just the other day I learned that I know way too many obscure Christmas facts and, according to my son, no one ever remembers who wrote what. Even if it’s Charles Dickens. And far too few people have seen one of our family favorites, Olive the Other Reindeer. This bit of knowledge makes me very sad.

I’ve learned a lot this year and very little of it did I want to know.

Good things I learned: I can laugh at almost anything. My stepmom has a really great family. My kids are awesome when the chips are down, even if they really worry too much. I was incredibly fortunate to have the parents I did. It is absolutely ok to stand up for yourself when people are being unkind or cruel, even if no one else sees past the official public face of said people.

Less than good things: Ibuprofen makes me rashy. There are not enough handicapped accessible facilities when you are limited in your mobility. And I was only on crutches – I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to try and get around when you’re in a wheelchair though the time may come when I find out. Prednisone makes me ragey and weepy. Some people are just plain compelled to one-up you in life, even (sometimes especially) when it’s about the terrible things (Is Munchausen by bragging a thing?). I do not understand that one. And the past never really goes away, ghosts crop up to clang their chains and muck you up just because they can when you least expect it. I also learned that even the smallest injuries can take me out now – for DAYS.

I like to sandwich the ick with better so I’ll go back to the good now. There are support groups out there for RA that don’t require me to physically go anywhere and they’ve helped me immensely in figuring this all out, especially understanding my bloodwork. I’ve learned by necessity to try and drink more water in the day before my bloodwork also but it really does make it easier and so much less ouchie. And best of all, though maybe bittersweet, it doesn’t matter how much time goes by, some ghosts still come to visit and I embrace them, even conjure them through perfume and shirts and I will never ever not want them to come and tell me stories in my sleep.

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I have given myself a title

I proclaim myself to be Queen of Ridiculous Injuries. A few years ago it was a bruised bone caused by running over my foot with a shopping cart. Earlier this year, I tweaked my knee dancing in the kitchen (and inadvertently knocked over the first domino of my diagnostic process). Years ago, I tripped over a tree limb while wearing a sousaphone and bruised my shin. I’m not counting all the times I’ve fallen up or down the stairs or tripped over the air or run into walls (all of which my kids suggested I add to this list). Now, I’ve taken a pibble head to the knee mid-zoomie.

I’m doing what I’m supposed to do – rest, ice, elevation – but there’s not much that can really be done otherwise. If the swelling isn’t down tomorrow, I’ll have to call in. In the meantime, I’m just a grumpy, miserable, limpy lump who can’t even make it up the stairs.

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Girl stuff is difficult

I’ve never been a real girly type girl. Growing up, I didn’t like the frilly dresses, rebelled against pink, and preferred my hightops to mary janes – much to my poor very girly mama’s dismay. I think that’s one of the reasons my mom was all for my hippy leaning goth aesthetic as I got older – I wore dresses again and flouncy skirts and beautiful heels – even if they were all black in color, they were fancy, flouncy, and twirl-worthy. I used to wear makeup every day and do my nails and hair, the whole shebang. And I haven’t done any of that in 17 years or so.

I haven’t worn any sort of makeup on a regular basis since I was pregnant with my oldest kid. I’m not sure if it’s the medication or the RA that’s making my skin stupid – red splotches here, dry there, greasy over there, and just an uneven mess – but it’s awful (even if the husband swears he can’t tell because he’s a very sweet liar face). So, I’m trying to be a little more put together and I’m mostly discovering that either I’ve forgotten how to do makeup entirely or makeup has seriously changed in all that time. Really, it’s probably a little of both. And apparently, I still prefer the hippy leaning goth aesthetic but sparkly. I really love the sparkly.

Tutorials and videos make the whole process look easy – it should be easy – but it’s not. Everything looks like a muddled fuddled mess when my skin isn’t allergic to it in the first place. I’ve been picking up samples all over the place as I can, trying to find things I can actually use but mostly, I’m just slapping stuff on my face, covering most of the red places, and being annoyed that it doesn’t look right. My nails are brittle and stupid and, apparently, I’m not supposed to use acrylics on my meds. Seriously? Bah. My hair is too fine to do anything with. Basically, I’m a ball of complaints and half of what I try makes things worse, not better.

I did get a really great witch hazel sample from Maple Holistics that, so far, I’m not reacting to, even though it does have aloe which I usually react badly to, but it needs a week or so to really know for sure. I’ve had more samples work out than not which surprises me a lot – maybe my skin is getting a little less reactive in my old age. Well, at least on my face. I am having some other skin issues I’ve never had before but they’re all part and parcel of either my disease or it’s treatment so, what can I do but work around that or cover it up.

I do wish it wasn’t so complicated or difficult (or freaking expensive!) to make myself feel pretty. And no, there will be no pictures until I’m confident that I don’t suck at it (and until I’m looking at smaller numbers on the scale). I wish I could get my favorite V ladies – Val Garland and Ve Neill – in a room for an hour so they could teach me how to do this properly as I am a very bad Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest student.

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