Category Archives: Life

Doing it Anyway

This last year has really been all about learning to do things anyway – even when I’m sad, anxious, or hurting. Writing even though I’m not as fast anymore and get distracted easily. Doing the errands even if various joints are being stupid. I admit, I’m getting pretty damn jealous of all the people who can just walk all the places and not wind up with yet another swollen hurty bit. I understand some of my friends with various chronic diseases a lot better now and I am bowing to their example and expertise a lot. One particular lady is everything I want to grow up to be – I’ll always be a huge fan of hers – she especially rocks the art of doing it anyway.

It is a really hard adjustment to do it anyway. I’m getting there with the writing, even if this post is pretty much the only writing I’ll do today. It’s harder with the other stuff. Right now, I’ve got my feet up with an ice pack on my ankle hoping for some relief and I’m not really finding it. If anything, it’s sort of making it even more uncomfortable. Today was also leech day – where I go get all my blood let for science (and to make sure all my levels are good *fingers crossed my sed rate is finally going down*) and I forgot to take the bandage off – something about their bandages and my skin do not get along. I have a red splotchy place everywhere the adhesive touched my skin. But, I was hydrated enough to make the stick easy and it doesn’t look like I’m even going to bruise this month which is super yay. I never thought I would ever get used to being stuck in the arm every month without even a pretty picture to show for it but, there you go.

Honestly, I’ve done really well keeping the writing going. I’m at very nearly 17k words for the month and I’m super proud of myself. I’ll be even more proud if somehow I can beat my February totals. This past week was my busiest week with life stuff though so hopefully, next week I’ll do a lot more getting stuff done. After the first part of the week anyway. I have a very important lunch date with an old friend I haven’t seen in a really really long time. Pretty sure since before I had kids. I’m very much looking forward to playing catch up.


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Filed under Life, Rheumatoid Arthritis

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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Filed under Interesting, Life

Teachers Matter – Part Two

We’re several days into the Teacher’s strike or work stoppage or whatever you want to call it. I have so many words to say about the subject – most of them are cursey, yelly words directed at the State Senate. I’ve made my position on education quite clear over the years and it will never change. Education is incredibly important. Not all education comes from books or classrooms and right now, we are all getting a hell of a lesson in how government works and how easy it really is to shove a stone in the cogs and bring everything grinding to a halt.

I absolutely stand behind our teachers. WV has one of the lowest pay scales, is 45th in education, and currently has a teacher shortage in the hundreds. There are hundreds of vacant positions, hundreds of teachers who are desperately needed but no one will fill them. Why won’t teachers come to West Virginia? See that pesky pay scale thing. Why are teachers leaving in droves? Again, see that pesky pay scale thing. That is all before we throw in the insurance issue which is ultimately what this whole kerfluffle is about when you boil the numbers down. It’s so bad here, they’re discussing lowering the requirements for teachers. How can we compete nationally when we can’t get teachers in our classrooms?

The State Senate is holding every child, every parent, every teacher hostage and they will likely never suffer any consequence for it. It’s a game, a power play, and it isn’t fair. Not to the teachers, not to the kids, and not to the parents. We haven’t seen the end of this, not until the Committees have met, discussed, brought the right bill to the vote and actually passed it and the Governor has signed it. Then we’ll get back to normal. Then we can look to the future and hopefully start filling those vacancies and bringing up that 45 number.

There are a number of people where I’m at who are floating a petition so the kids don’t have to make up the time in June. I disagree with that personally. I think our kids deserve to learn those days worth of stuff. I’ve got a kid who needs to take his SATs and AP tests so we can start looking at colleges for him – maybe he doesn’t need those days, those lessons, those discussions, but maybe he does, maybe his friends do. Some people might think that’s punishing our kids, making them go into June but it isn’t. It’s investing in their future. There are plenty of places where kids are in school to mid-June. You want to keep your summer plans, call the Senators, call your Representatives and tell them. Get angry at the people who are really holding everyone hostage by dickering around and trying their level best to destabilize our public school system. It might not be perfect, it might need a lot of work, but it’s better than the alternative.

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Filed under Life, Uncategorized

Leveling Up

My Dad

I think I’m getting better at grief. Maybe I leveled up and didn’t realize it somewhere along the way. I’ve been sort of offline for a few days – here but not here and mostly just playing Words with Friends and lurking on Reddit. My dad has been gone for a year now, the day came and went with no fanfare, no whistles or bells. I don’t know what I expected I guess. I am a little surprised that I didn’t dream about him. Maybe the melatonin is giving me more vibrant dreams at the cost of the vibrant, meaningful dreams that tend to poke at me around special dates. I didn’t dream of my mother around her birthday this year either. Like I said, I think I leveled up and didn’t hear the sunburst sound or get to allocate my level points.

It feels like so much has happened in this first year that he missed. I wrote a book that he’ll never read. I don’t have the right words for how upsetting that is. I’m kind of glad he missed all the health crap – he would have tried to help more than he should have because he was like that. The oldest kid continually surprises people with his talents – acting and singing. I know Dad would have loved to see the boy be Edgar Allan Poe and completely kill it. The youngest kid has tried a bunch of new foods – many of which my Dad loved to cook (granted, he loved to cook pretty much everything but still) and has come so far. He’d have been so damned proud of them both.  And me too, for that matter.

I find I’m standing up for myself a little bit more, putting up with nonsense a little less. I’m not sure if it’s because of said leveling up or if I just don’t have the energy to placate people or stroke their egos anymore. Plus, I have much less time now that I can type again. All the words belong to me now – still a bit slower than I’d like but I’m so happy with the volume and quality of them!

My phone is incredibly quiet now – no one calls to kibbutz with me or texts final jeopardy answers anymore. I miss him a lot. I did however finally go back to his favorite restaurant – there’s only so long I can go without Theo Yanni’s baklava cheesecake (which is even better than it sounds). Heck, maybe that’s when I did the leveling up. Somewhere between the spanikopita and the cheesecake, the horn must have trumpeted. I guess that means my points are all automatically assigned though. Which is a shame. I would really like to assign some points to learning freedom of movement.

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Teachers Matter

I live in a state that is currently in the middle of a teacher walkout. I have been incredibly fortunate to have had some wonderful teachers in my life and I believe they can make all the difference. These are the people who shape the leadership for generations. These are the people who help teach our kids to think, to act, to understand our history, our system. They teach our kids how to work together – something a whole lot of adults could stand to learn. They make learning exciting so they want to continue to learn for the rest of their lives. Or at least, the good ones do. Yes, as in every profession, there are the occasional people who are not as involved, not as excited but truly, teachers don’t make enough for people you don’t love the profession to do it.

Many years ago, I had a particular teacher who just made everything work. At the time I was in a special program so it wasn’t really run like your standard classes. I was in fourth grade, not dealing with the best situation at home, and Mrs. VanWert was the best thing I could ever have asked for that year. We did a project on Mesopotamia that year and part of it was giving a report in front of the class – this project was all the subjects in one – history, art, English, science. Maybe not math but I could have forgotten something. I was partnered with a girl named Sandy and we kicked butt to win the special cassette single of Walk Like An Egyptian (man, now I feel old). We built a sarcophagus out of cardboard, offering jars and totem statues from clay and paint, and instead of doing a report, we wrote a script… two hapless archaeologists one of whom, me, fell into the sarcophagus and totally freaked out at the skeleton inside. I really loved that school, that class. It gave me something to look forward to, when I wasn’t tumbling headlong into my books or fighting evil wizards with my weird white staff (not really a stick but the guts out of a drapery rod that I found on the beach).

In high school (six years and 3000 miles later), I learned that not all teachers are there to be supportive or kind but they can still be motivators. I might not have worked so hard at my writing if Mr. Nick hadn’t pretty well told me I would never succeed. Of course, he didn’t think very much of me to begin with but there’s no accounting for taste, is there? It was a good lesson to learn and one that thankfully would never be repeated even though that year was the last year I cared one whit about school (not any teacher’s fault but the loss of my mom, my depression, and the beginning of a pretty steep spiral that would end a few years later with severe panic attacks and not leaving my house for a year except with my husband).

Teachers matter. Even the bad ones. We should treat them better and pay them what they’re worth. They should make enough to entice more people to the profession. They shouldn’t be paying out of pocket for classroom supplies. They should be supported and celebrated not having to walk in the cold and the rain just to be treated OK, not even adequately, just OK. One of my teacher friends seems to be feeling a bit guilty and selfish for being out on the line and not in the classroom and that’s just not right. It’s not selfish to want to be able to at least survive on your salary after all those years preparing for your career. You shouldn’t set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.

In a completely unrelated bit – I’m catching up on Star Wars Rebels and a thing happened and I made a sound and maybe got a little weepy and my Alfred pup got up in my face with his silly grin, trying to lick my face and stop that. Silly, adorable punk. If you’re a Star Wars fan, Rebels is worth watching. The series format gives you a lot of room for mythology, story, and character growth. Plus, Jedi wolves. Seriously, amazing Jedi wolves.

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Filed under education, kids, Life


At least for the time being, this attempt at tracking my words is actually working. Not only that but I’ve gotten at least 300 words every day this month and every day since January 20th. That doesn’t seem like much but the way things have been the last six months, the last year, that’s just flat amazing. I’m a bit of a sucker for a well put together spreadsheet and that’s what I’ve put together for tracking my words. It’s not as fancy as it could be but it’s functional – tracking by day, by month, by project, and yearly total. I’m probably enjoying that a little too much but it really is fun to do. I did learn that, even if I only wrote 300 words a day, I could still write a book every year. 300 words is nothing! Anyone can write 300 words.

Husband and I went out today, I hit Joanne Fabrics for some stuff that I can make other stuff out of, discovered much better prices on really nice makeup at Marshall’s, and bought myself a pair of light-up kitten ear headphones that are my new favorite thing ever. I have some crafty plans for this year – some of which might take a little practice – and I’ve got to get moving on that so I can make stuff worthy of actually selling at this year’s group of craft fairs and at my little Etsy shop. I have lots of plans, I just have to make my body cooperate.

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Filed under Crafting, etsy, Life, Writing

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

A Week in a Day

I got more words yesterday than I did during all of last week. That’s not terrible. I didn’t get many words today but I did discover that weather shifts and running errands don’t really play well together. I did snag a pair of New Balance shoes on super clearance to wear inside the house to do my exercise because my good shoes are out of the house shoes and I need more arch support than socks can give me and I’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 pounds to lose so said exercise is important. I also found two additional eye shadow brushes on super clearance to add to my kit that I’m probably going to keep for sparkly, shiny stuff.  Hopefully, I’ll get a few more words in this evening during Flash because that show might still by my kid’s favorite but it’s gotten pretty irksome for me but Black Lightning comes on right afterward and I’m looking forward to that.

I got the Wii Fit board out, charged up, and working again (even if it is terribly mean to me) and I started up the MyFitnessPal app again. Counting calories is my best weapon, even if it means eating all the veggies so I don’t eat all of the gummy bears. Of course, not buying the gummy bears in the first place helps with that too but I really do love me some gummy bears. In any case, I’m trying.

I’ve given myself some rules on the writing front – if I want to work on the project that’s giving me twitchy fingers, I’ve got to put in no less than 1k on the projects that need to be done soon. It worked yesterday anyway and it’ll likely work tomorrow and, if I just keep going, I’ll get all the books done. Well, no, I know I’ll never actually get all the books in my head written – there are too many and I keep finding new ones. I just hope I can keep finding people who might want to actually read them!

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Filed under Health, Life, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Writing

Still the same after all these years

Playing with makeup again after all these years is making me feel a little like one of the lost boys in Hook when they’re finding Peter’s face. After all these years, it’s still me under the weight, under the effects of time. Maybe a little more Morticia than Lily now – no more too pale powder for me – but that’s a good thing as it was always Morticia I wanted to be. Well, with slightly purple hair, in the right light.

I am completely capable of appearing normalish. For the sake of my kids anyway. I’d really rather not. I’m so much more comfortable with the darker, wilder, sparklier stuff. And really, I don’t actually go out much so what’s it matter if I look like I’m headed to see Peter Murphy or Lisa Gerrard play every day?

In any case, maybe the rest of me is still in here too – that fearless one who didn’t overthink every single word she said or every single step she took. The one with too much confidence and too loud a mouth. I kind of miss her sometimes.

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Water is better when it’s coffee


However, it does seem that adding water to my schedule has minimized my Thursday discomfort almost as much as it helps my monthly blood draws go easy. Even with the increase in my dosage this week, I’m not having my usual weekly feel bad. I have a little tummy upset but not enough to keep me from a celebratory jalapeno burger.

We increased the dosage of methotrexate so I can get completely off the prednisone. I did make the doctor laugh though when I explained my problem with prednisone. It makes me hate everyone. It sounds ridiculous but it’s true. I’m super glad it helps and gets me through the flares and my body’s overreactions but it just makes me so angry that I’m even gladder to see the end of it. Hopefully, the new dose gets my numbers in order as I’d like to stick to this one thing that I know is nicely covered by my insurance and not risk some of the ridiculous numbers I’ve heard from other ladies with RA.

I did not make my word goal this week and I’m ok with that. I had a huge computer malfunction. Fortunately, a reset worked just fine, even though it took me all day to get things reinstalled. Technically, I’m still not done doing that but I’m not complaining because I didn’t lose any of my work and I got a reminder about making sure I do my backups religiously.

Really, it’s been a good week overall and it looks like I’ll actually have both kids back in school without any delays or closings or snow or flooding. I don’t know if I remember the last full day the kids had. I’ve got to get readjusted to the ridiculously early start times which is less than ideal but it’s also great to get back to our schedule.

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Filed under Life, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Writing