Category Archives: Interesting

Camping in New England

Big Agnes Big House 6 Tent

The last few days, I’ve been away. I’ve been camping of all things. There’s a lot I want to unpack about that. Camping is not something I actively enjoy but it is something I will do if it means I get to see the ocean or go places that I love. It is one of the things my husband likes to do on purpose, just for camping. This year it was a bit different than it’s been in the past as there were more things to take into consideration, mostly my rheumatoid arthritis.

I struggle to get up off the floor so sleeping on the ground wasn’t really going to work for me which meant we had to get a cot. Getting a cot meant we needed a bigger tent. Thank goodness for REI’s garage sale! We got a great deal on the Big Agnes Big House 6 which fit the four of us with two cots (and two people over 6 foot tall) very comfortably. I slept in a sleeping bag, on a yoga mat, on a cot and when I had the right temperature bag, it wasn’t horrible. It wasn’t sleeping in my bed but it was definitely workable for a few nights.

The American side of Niagara Falls was interesting and beautiful and crowded. Our first campground was in New York. Mostly an RV park where people must come pretty regularly for the season. One RV was even getting a newspaper delivered if the post outside was any indication. It was really cute and well maintained though. After that, we headed off to Winter Island Park in Salem, Ma. If you’re reading this, I really need you to buy my books and have your friends do the same. I want to retire in Salem. Maybe open a bookstore or just write more books. I love it there. It feels like I could belong there. It’s marvelous up there. And I’ve never seen a more dog-friendly city in my life! There were bowls of water out on the sidewalks, every fourth person had a dog with them (and my oldest took pictures of ALL OF THEM).

Moray Eel at Boston Aquarium

We hopped down to Boston and did part of the Freedom Trail. I could not manage to do the whole thing. If you have mobility issues – do yourself a favor and get the trolley tour. Walking it is very hard and those cobbles are beautiful but hard on the feet and joints. We did the Aquarium first and then Faneuil Hall (both the market and the museum portion) before heading to the Old North Church. We finished off at the USS Constitution which was super neat. We had some great food – bacon wrapped scallops, fried calamari, crab cake BLTs (seriously!). We had some terrible coffee – instant Starbucks isn’t any better than regular Starbucks, somehow they make everything taste burnt to me! but the Alpine instant stuff from REI really wasn’t bad.

I bought less than I expected and certainly less of the sorts of things I expected. I did find a Funko Ludo and I love him so the marvelous husband bought him for me. And a silver raven skull necklace. I’m having a thing for corvids right now – especially ravens and crows. Perhaps I’m in transition, perhaps they’re being my muse. Whatever, it’s a thing in my life right now so it made it all the more special.

Winter island lighthouse

We also went through the House of Seven Gables. Let me tell you, there has never been a face so full of joy and wonder as my oldest son’s when they opened up that particular staircase. I live for moments like that. Oldest child had some preconceived notions of some things and was mostly using Fallout for his touchstone but it’s pretty interesting watching the kids learn stuff. The youngest child wasn’t really interested in that part but maybe someday he’ll figure it out. It’s not like he’s going to forget any time soon.

We drove through our old stomping grounds in part so the oldest boy could take a look at Wesleyan in Connecticut and in part because it’s quite the walk down memory lane for us. We even made it to our first apartment building. I definitely wouldn’t mind if the boy ended up in New England. It’d be a great excuse to visit.

 

 

 

Young Komodo Dragon at Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland

Coming home, we stopped at Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland. It’s a really cute but very small zoo devoted to reptiles. They have two – TWO – young Komodo dragons which just so happen to be my husband’s favorite things ever. Pretty sure he feels about them the way I do about octopus and ravens. We had a good time until the birds (where my husband and oldest son proved that they might just be Disney Princesses). My youngest son is autistic and tends to be quite literal. People kept trying to hand him seed sticks to feed the birds and he’d get mad because he thought they were trying to feed him and he’s not a bird (he also doesn’t really like to touch animals that aren’t his critters so much). I’m used to explaining to him when he misunderstands. I’m used to explaining to other people when he misunderstands. I am not used to strange women grabbing me by the shoulders and explaining, very forcefully, that they understand. My brain completely blanked and all I could say was thank you. I appreciate the sentiment greatly (especially the day after) but really, I’m not a fan of people in my space bubble and I’m especially not happy when people are touching me. I don’t know how she wanted me to respond but I don’t think I did it right, I sort of fled. Ok, not sort of, I did flee. Youngest kid and I went out to the gift shop while the other two were playing with parakeets.

Winter Island Park

The most annoying part of the trip though is the fact that we did ALL that walking, none of the snacking, and I managed somehow to stay the exact same weight. That’s some real BS right there. Sure some of what we ate, especially on the way home, wasn’t maybe the best for weight loss but still, I really thought there’d be some drop. And I still have to do all the laundry.

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Filed under Anxiety, Autism, Fun, Interesting, kids, Life, marriage, Memories, Parenting, photography, Rheumatoid Arthritis

Feeling Like Myself

For the first time in like a year really. I’ve had a pretty good week this week. I’ve gotten a LOT of words written, I sent out a set of poems, I made a dent in Mt. Laundry, read two multi-chapter volumes of a manga series (Blue Exorcist), a how-to manual, and I even made some art and put some new things into the Etsy shop. I think my one foot is just always going to be sort of sore now but I went up the stairs like I used to, before all this started! I had bloodwork done and didn’t bruise like it sometimes does, my meds didn’t make me the least bit ill, and I found out that I’ve been using one of my camera lenses wrong from the first moment I got it in 1993.

I’m mostly trying to stay busy because when I’m busy, I don’t obsess over the submissions I have out and I also don’t feel the need to munch and snack all the time. When I’m not snacking, I’m much better at losing weight. It’ll be different when I can really move better but I think that’s going to take time before I’m at that place.

I have a lot on the list of things I want to do and I’m working on it, slowly but surely. Ultimately, the goal has always been the same – I want to write a book that really matters to someone. I’ve had a lot of books that mattered to me and I want to give that to someone else. I want to make art that moves people and things that people want to have in their homes on display. If I can do that while feeling almost human? Even better!

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Filed under Books, Interesting, Life, Rheumatoid Arthritis

So proud, I’m about to burst

I need to be a little bit braggy right now. My oldest kid has always been a ham, relishing in the spotlight (he is definitely his granddaddy’s grandson!). From the first moment that it was an option, he’s been on the stage. Right now, it’s high school productions but he is always amazing at it. I know, I’m his mom, I have to say that but really, it’s true. He gets a little annoyed sometimes about always being the comic relief type characters (Roger in Grease, LeFou in Beauty and the Beast, and now Willard in Footloose) but he keeps getting that role because he’s so damn good at it (and it doesn’t hurt that he’s willing to get pantsed or thrown across the stage or use a plunger like a microphone).

Last night was the opening night for Footloose. I was a little confused how they’d take that particular movie and make it a musical but it actually really works well – fun script! My kid had the entire theater in stitches especially when his character is trying (and failing spectacularly) to dance. It doesn’t hurt that he’s built like Jack Skellington, all limber and lanky which can either be an awkward jumble or a high kick to beat all high kicks. His physicality is just amazing and he’s downright fearless. I want to be more like him when I grow up.

He can do the real drama too – he was Poe in an Evening With Poe, doing The Raven and absolutely floored me (and a lot of other people). I can’t wait to see what this kid is doing ten years from now. The best way I can explain him is he’s like Danny Kaye and Jeff Goldblum in one body and it really seems like he was just born knowing how to fall in the craziest way possible. At least now, he doesn’t hurt himself when he does it.

If my husband gets a good clip of tomorrow night’s performance, maybe I can talk the kid into letting me share it because he really is crazy awesome. I know I wasn’t the only one laughing so hard I was nearly in tears.

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Anxiety is Stupid

Very vivid dreams + regular anxiety + oddly specific situational anxiety = no good sleep for Sarah.

I have phone issues – I don’t like talking on the phone and I try my damnedest to avoid ever actually calling anyone (I love the internet so so much!). I had what must have been a dream last night though it took me hours to convince myself that it really was a dream.

In the dream, I woke up and looked at my phone and there was an email from a name I didn’t know, replying to me, something along the lines of “It will be fine” with no other information, not the original email, no hint who the lady was (and I remember it being a lady’s name but I don’t remember and didn’t recognize it). I woke up convinced it was a real thing, convinced I’d somehow sleep-emailed some poor lady. I went through my phone, the sent folder, the trash, no sign of anything.

I had a horrible time getting back to sleep. I should have given up the ghost and turned on the murder channel (Discovery ID) because I can almost always fall asleep to that. I managed a bit off an on until I was woken up at 5ish to wet dog feet in my neck – thanks Hubster! (He lets them out before he heads for the gym before work and apparently, the ground was wet today).

I still haven’t been able to shake this dream but it wasn’t a bad dream really, just a weird one that caused me to go a tiny bit bats trying to prove it was actually a dream and I did not, in fact, sleep-email some stranger. This is not the post I planned to write today but I guess you’ll get the one I was going to write tomorrow or over the weekend – my latest project turned out pretty cute!

This isn’t the craziest dream I’ve ever had but it was the most real-feeling. I’m still having trouble acknowledging that I did not email nor receive a reply from this imaginary lady. Even if the message itself is probably a good one. It’s always nice to be told that everything will be fine. Next time though, maybe the universe can convey that via rainbow unicorn or dancing flowers.

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Filed under Anxiety, Interesting, Life, Weird

Old Hobbies

A million years ago, ok, more like 32 birthdays ago, I got my first real camera. It was fun, it was sort of work though too. I learned a lot but not as much as I could have. A few Christmases later, I got my first real good camera. It was fun and I learned a lot more but again, not as much as I could have or should have. I loved taking pictures and didn’t go much of anywhere without it but I didn’t do much with it either. Then I had kids, there wasn’t really time to play with my camera and, honestly, developing film cost money that was better spent on other things. I went years without doing much with my cameras. Then we went digital and I have all the pictures again but none of the art or the work.

A few weekends ago, we were exploring and wound up in an antique shop and there was a really lovely lens dirt cheap and it said Pentax on the price tag. We got home, I set the bag down and promptly got busy doing other things. A week or so later, I dug out my Pentax and unwrapped the zoom. Apparently, junk shop employees don’t know much about camera lenses. Sears made the same lens for the Pentax but this isn’t it. This one seems to be for a Cannon. Not to worry – that’s what adapters are for.

Time to learn some more!

It did get me thinking though and I dug out my dad’s camera and extras too. Between us, I have a pretty good kit for old-school photography. Eventually, I can add a tripod and a few lighting accessories but I really have everything I need to make some very neat things. I have a lot to learn yet and there’s no end to that really but this is a great start.

In the process of finding all my old equipment (which I haven’t actually done as I’m still missing two smaller 35 mm cameras), I also found a whole bunch of film I never got developed. One is from my dad’s stuff, the other 9 rolls are mine and likely contain a good bit of my older son’s early years and who knows what else. There’s also film in each of the cameras I’ve found. I’m pretty sure I loaded the Nikon last year though when it came into my house. I need to replace all the batteries sooner than later and see about getting adapters so I can use all the lenses on both cameras.

I’m really interested in seeing what’s on the used roll in dad’s box of camera stuff – he had a phenomenal eye for artistic lighting but mostly did macro work or people. I’ve always been more of a big picture type, even with my camera.

I’m hoping to teach the kids a bit this summer. I know I wanted to last summer also and then everything got sidelined with my health but maybe this year will be the right year for it. There is something really amazing about learning to play with focus and light to make something interesting as well as beautiful. I am going to have to get my hands on some super fast film and really see what the Nikon can do though. Summer goals I suppose.

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March Wrap Up and April Goals

Happy Easter!

I can’t believe I’m still managing to get words counted! I’ve always struggled to maintain any sort of accuracy in counting but this Excel file is just about perfect for me.

On the writing, I missed 4 days and had a few under 500 days but I was very consistent overall. 35,417 words for the final tally for March, not quite to my goal and only 200 words better than February but, I’m still very happy with it. I got words in on all my projects but I don’t see that happening next month. My goal is to get Christmas in Bear Ridge zero draft done next month and I’m not super worried about anything else. Word counts are awesome and I’d like to stay in line if not do better than the last two months.

On the fitness front – I didn’t gain any weight so that’s not terrible. I didn’t lose any either though and that’s kind of annoying. I loaded up the MyFitnessPal app again and I’m trying to be good about it. I don’t always succeed but oh well. I’ll get there. I am moving more. This month there was a lot of heavier foods and too much eating out. I did get my stretching bands washed because they made me itchy and I’m able to do the steps a little bit better but in the biggest news, I successfully got up off the ground by myself. I would like to lose weight as I’m sure everything will be easier if I do but I’m not going to be miserable in order to do it – Calories In, Calories Out. That’s about all I have the tenacity for right now.

On the Rheumatoid front, I did spend a chunk of this month with my cane – my ankle did something ridiculous for no good reason and swelled up again for a few days, my knees were a bit achy, and some mornings, my feet were flat evil. My husband bought me a new cane – pretty much a length of knotty, maybe burled wood with a lot of character and a pretty grain with a natural grip and a height that works for me. I love it. My skin is still stupid splotchy, irritated, and now a little angry in spots. Yay makeup. Mostly, my meds are doing what they’re supposed to, even if it isn’t perfect. There are still days but I think that’s just going to be a thing now.  It’s mostly pretty liveable but I’m still adjusting. My short term memory is still really stupid so I’ve been using a to-do list app to keep me on track and on target. It mostly works too! Any.do links up with my regular and Google calendar and makes my life much easier.

I didn’t get any art made this month but I thought about it and I planned some out in my head. Well, no, I did dye eggs. I’m totally going to count my six shaving cream and food coloring eggs as art. I had wanted to do more but it just wasn’t in the cards for me. April. Definitely April.

On the personal front, it was sort of a big month – I saw an old friend I hadn’t seen since the summer of 98, my oldest child got inducted into the National Honor Society, I had my annual meeting at the school for my youngest child’s IEP (always nerve-wracking, almost always easy), and, most importantly, celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary. I still can’t believe he’s put up with me this long – he must be crazy. Next month should be a lot slower so hopefully that means also more productive too.

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Filed under Anxiety, Interesting, Life, Rheumatoid Arthritis, WIP, Writing

Time Change

The clocks have been changed and I’ve given up my hour to whatever powers decided this was a thing we still need to do. I understand changing the time for agricultural purposes but times and technology have changed and it’s not really a thing we need to keep doing. As a mom with a kid who is entirely rigid with his time and schedule, I hate time changes – it throws everything off for like a week. It did, however, get me thinking a little bit (I know, everything does that).

Time is a weird thing. For some things, it’s like no time has passed at all. For others, it feels like an eternity has passed when it’s been no time at all. I saw today that it’s been 8 years since Cory Haim died – that doesn’t seem right. It can’t have been that long. Later this month, I’ll have been married for 18 years which falls into both categories – I barely remember a time when my husband wasn’t in my life and it seems like just yesterday that I looked at him and saw forever. I swear to you that my kids were just babies and I’m still closer to 20 than 40 but also, I’ve been here since time immemorial.

Last night I was catching up with an old friend who I haven’t seen in ages but it didn’t actually seem that long. I think my sense of time’s passage is skewed. I don’t feel any different now than I did twenty years ago – except an extra lot of pounds and an immune system who loves me so much she’s trying to kill me. I might have gotten a smidge dorkier if only because I’ve had time to take in more of all the things I love.

Unfortunately, time is fleeting and I have no TARDIS or Delorean so, we must make due with what we’ve got and make the most of it. I hope I’m doing that and often worry that I’m not but, all I can do is my best and hope that’s enough.

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January Wrap Up

This month has been a pretty busy, pretty decent month!

On the writing front, it’s been the best month I’ve had in a very very long time. I didn’t start counting my words until half-way through the month so it isn’t exactly complete and I didn’t write every day but I only missed three days in the last half of the month and that’s damned good. I wrote 12,585 words in the second half of January and I’m really pleased with that. I also finished the zero draft of Hunter’s Hell which I started in November so, I might be behind there but the bones of this book are solid and awesome. I submitted Purgatory’s Queen (sci-fi/thriller) and Demonborn (dark fantasy) so fingers crossed all over the place there. I also put in some words on the Gods of the Fallen first draft. I’ll be working both HH and GOTF first drafts for the next month or two. I’ll be very happy if HH is done mid-March.

On the health front: I’ve come a long way in the last six months but I’m not all the way there yet. I can do laundry all by myself now and stand up long enough to do dishes without using the tall stool to perch on. I can type at 3/4 speed for half an hour at a stretch. I’m not back to normal but I’m so damned happy to be where I’m at! I’m even exercising again. Slowly, gently, but exercising. I turned on my calorie counting app and hooked up the Wii Fit board. I’m only down about a pound but at least I’m back to going the right direction. Being off the prednisone is great but I think we’re probably not finished adjusting the methotrexate just yet.

The kids are doing well in school. Husband is the awesome. Husband’s family pulled through their recent health stuff, even if it didn’t exactly go as planned. This might be the closest month I’ve had to normal since my Dad died. ❤  Hopefully this month is even better!

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Filed under Books, Interesting, Life, Rheumatoid Arthritis, WIP, Writing

An actual productive day

I feel like I should have had more of them so far but, I’ll take whatever I can get at this point. I did everything on my to-do list today (not that it was a long list). I even put words in on Hunter’s Hell – a grand total of about 800 of them and that’s a whole lot better than yesterday’s 0. I put my face on and, while I need a lot of practice with the pretties, I can do my eyes. It’s not as pretty as what Heidi did yesterday but yeah. Pretty. I’m a very happy lady.

My list of things to do this year is pretty long and I’m doing my best to get on track to get them done. I added a few things to that list today, a few things I’d like to learn how to do or get better at doing. In theory, I know how to make paper. In practice, it’s been 25 years since the last time I did that and I don’t have my mom to help me now so I imagine there will be some trial and error there but I know I love artisan paper and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that. I’d like to learn nuno-felting only not with lamb’s wool because I would like to not make my skin hate me but it’s just such a neat idea and I’d love to see if I can make something like what popped in my head when I read about that the first time.

Now I’ve got to set up my to do list for tomorrow that hopefully includes getting the kids ready for school again… fingers crossed it stays just a two hour delay.

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Filed under Crafting, Crafts, education, etsy, goals, Interesting, Life, Writing

I think I’m a hedgehog

I learned a thing today. There’s a thing called the Hedgehog’s Dilemma which uses the hedgehog’s gathering together with other hedgehogs to share heat but having to stay their distance so they don’t hurt each other with all the sharp pokey ends to illustrate the introvert’s biggest problem. I am a Hedgehog – there’s nothing more in the world that I want those close relationships and camaraderie and shared experience, I just want all that from over here where no one is touching me. Or looking at me. Or expecting me to be able to use real words that make sense in a vocal fashion.

We’re a few days into January and I’ve had the kids home extra days for the cold so I haven’t had but 5 hours to myself since the first day of Winter. I am not getting words outside of my personal journal where apparently I have a lot to unpack. I’m still working to get back to normal from the injury I sustained in mid-December! It should have been a minor thing, a bruise at most but my immune system just gets so excited at having something to do that it treats it like a mortal wound instead. I’m so close to being back to normal but it’s still stiff and sore and I’m still moving like it is both of those things. I enjoyed the kid part of Christmas but I struggled a lot with the rest of it. I’m missing my dad a lot and thinking about my mom a lot. I’m weaning off the prednisone but my family says it’s still mucking with me.

I know my methotrexate is doing its job, with every dose, the inflammation in my joints really does go down but with every upping of the dose, my icky, sick, tired time the next day increases by about an hour. Really though, five hours of ick is worth it for being able to do stuff the rest of the time. I’m even adjusting so I’m not terribly tired after taking it. I think it’s likely to adjust up at least once more before we settle out but I do hope it’s not much more than that.

I do need to get back to writing. I need to get the last threads down and finish Hunter’s Hell. I know how it ends, I just have to fill in the odds and ends and get it done then set it aside for a short time and come back to it when I’m not a weepy, emotional mess because it’s absolutely creeping into the words a bit. It’s not like I don’t have projects to work on – Hunter’s Hell, Eldercynne War*, Gods of the Fallen, Long Is The Way,  and Soul Eater are just the main titles I have in various stages of progress (though I have two more I ought to be submitting to places). I’m struggling to even read books right now, let alone write them. I’m far too emotionally involved with fictional characters, my own and other writers’.

This year hasn’t started that great. I think I was hoping for some kind of switch from awful to awesome but I think it’s going to take more than a switch. I think it’s going to be a slow transition but I’m pretty sure it’s going to transition. I can’t take another year like last year so it’s just going to be better when all is said and done. Period.

 

 

*working title only, likely to change.

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