Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020: Preparation

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Yup, Mercury’s gone retrograde just before I have surgery. On the one hand, it’s not a good time for surgery; on the other hand, Mercury retrograde is about resolving issues hanging on and preventing one from moving forward, and that’s a good definition for what I’m going through, so I’ll work with it. Plus, it’s happening just a few days before the dark moon, so that’s going to help with the blood loss. (The closer to the full moon, the heavier any bleeding, because blood is our interior tide).

Friday morning, as I stated in Friday’s post, I had my pre-op, got some stuff done at the library. I told my book review editor I’d have the other book review for her on Monday, and what was going on; she was very supportive. Even getting in the review yesterday, it was early. Sent off the big article, and told that editor what was going on, and that I could turn edits around early in the week, but otherwise it would have to wait until next week. Haven’t heard anything from her. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, that she took Friday as well as Monday as part of the long holiday weekend, but I’ve gotten the article to her FIVE DAYS EARLY. If she comes at me tomorrow to turn it around — no. It’s the day before my surgery. If I get it today, I could turn it around tonight and send it off tomorrow, but if it comes tomorrow, it has to wait until next week. I busted my ass and used up most of my energy to get it in to her early. (Update: she’s being lovely and supportive, so my worries are for naught — details in tomorrow’s post).

I’ve been working with my book editors on new deadlines — I can’t be in galleys and final revisions right now. We have to adjust. They’re 100% supportive. We’re also talking about whether and/or how to handle the Corona virus in The Nautical Namaste Series. There are several different routes we could take, although I doubt any of them will show up in DAVY JONES DHARMA at this point. We are discussing how what I’m going through now will add some depth to one of the subplots in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Went in to my client’s late Friday morning, and we finished the designs for the 2021 collections and sent them to Thailand. She goes next week.

Came home around 1 PM and hit the wall. I slept most of the afternoon, and even the most basic tasks were just too much work.

Ate — I’m making sure I eat, whether I feel like it or not. Watched the last of THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW. Went to bed early.

Had trouble sleeping. Up on Saturday. Had my mom drive to us to the grocery store, so we got a few additional things for the coming week. Made apricot/honey/almond/orange bread. Researched iron-rich foods. Taking too much of the iron supplement makes me sick, so I’m taking slightly less supplement, with more iron-rich foods. Turns out I like a lot of them, and have been craving them anyway.

Worked on the book for review. Napped in the afternoon (and people who know me know I am not a napper). Tessa purred beside me.

Made the sardine/fennel pasta from Dorie Greenspan’s book. It’s yummy. Felt better about a half hour after eating it.

Wasn’t up to watching DVDs, so read instead.

Charlotte and Willa are both worried. They lost their original human to illness, so every time they smell hospital or medicine on me, they worry.

The arm the CT port/IV technician hurt on Wednesday looks AWFUL, is still horribly bruised, and I have trouble using my right arm.

Slept so-so. Didn’t feel up to making the whole wheat bread. The medication I’m on for the moment has side effects, which are starting to get to me, the worst being absolutely ridiculous mood swings. I have to keep reminding myself I’ve lost perspective, and not make long-term decisions until I can think clearly and review all the evidence. I levelled out slightly on Sunday and Monday.

But I was still angry at the paperwork that arrived from the hospital on Saturday, about pre-op prep. I’m responsible for keeping track of my things WHILE I AM UNDER ANESTHESIA IN THE OR or else I should expect everything stolen. Because this hospital is too fucking cheap to have security. There isn’t any. There are signs claiming there are cameras, but no security. Anyone can wander anywhere they want in the hospital at any hour unchallenged. It’s one of the things that has made me uncomfortable every time I’ve had to go there.

I’ll be lucky to have my clothes to return home in.

They can bite me.

I have follow-up tests on the afternoon of the day my landlord wants to have the “home energy assessment.” I told him they can come first thing in the morning, and have to be out of here by 1 PM, or it has to be rescheduled. We HAD this done already. To make us go through a bunch of jackasses stomping through the house again right now is ridiculous. Nothing has changed in the intervening years; everything’s just gotten older. Probably that’s why the landlord is getting it again — because he didn’t do any improvements based on the last one, and is going to pretend it didn’t happen.

Took it easy Sunday. Made arrangements with a friend to pick me up from surgery on Thursday. She’s making it easy-peasy, no drama, which is how it should be. I also specifically asked her because she won’t let the hospital admin bully me on the way out when I’m still trying to get re-oriented after anesthesia, and, based on the pattern of this past week, that’s EXACTLY what they’ll try to do.

Again: bite me.

I was making arrangements with the library the other day, letting them know what was going on, and making sure I get anything back that has holds on it, and extend whatever I need to extend. The librarians wee lovely.

Unfortunately, some random patron eavesdropped and commented, “I can’t stand being around people who are sick. I don’t do sick.”

I turned around and said, “I don’t do assholes, and you aren’t part of my life anyway, so back off.”

Again, since the 2016 Election, people are encourages to be their worst selves. There was no reason that individual had to make ANY comment. The person could have kept her mouth shut or walked away. But no, she had to make a comment, knowing it was inappropriate and hurtful. She deliberately set out to cause harm.

Leaning into my meditation and yoga practices doesn’t mean I’m going to allow people to be deliberately hurtful.

Finished the book for review. Sent off my review yesterday. The next set of books has arrived, and I’m excited to dig into them.

I have a ridiculous amount of books stacked near my recovery area. I ordered more, which I hope will come in by Wednesday — Helene Hanff’s books, which are charming and fun.

Rested and read a lot on Sunday. Roasted a chicken. Noodled with some ideas, but didn’t do any real writing. Got a different, more potent iron supplement that’s already showing me improvement. CVS was selling 30 of the pills for nearly $15. Target had the same one but 180 pills, for $6. Considering I have to take 4 pills/day right now for the next three months, I got it at Target.

Tried to clean up some of the branches that fell from the last storm, but didn’t get too far. Just didn’t have the energy.

Charlotte managed to climb to the top of the big bookcases in my writing room and run around along them. She’s very proud of herself.

Started watching MURDERLAND. The acting is wonderful, but I don’t like the fractured storytelling and repetition from different angles. A little bit is great, but this is too much. From the two points of view? Great. But the same scene from the two points of view repeated six times? No, thanks. Structurally, the storytelling doesn’t work for me.

Woke up about 4:30 on Monday. Didn’t feel too bad. My injured arm is still in bad shape.

Went in to work with my client for a few hours. I can’t afford to miss work. I don’t work, I don’t get paid, and I need money coming in right now.

If I hear one more news “report” about the lack of skilled workers, I will scream. There are plenty of skilled workers. It’s HR that’s useless, only interested in running resumes through algorithms & treating people badly in interviews. They want skilled workers? Don’t insult them with stupid tests and demands for unpaid labor. Want to retain your workers? Pay them fairly and treat them like human beings. It’s not that hard.

I’m playing each work day by ear right now. Working until I get tired, then stopping. Doing a little writing, but not much. A friend sent a draft of her screenplay to read while I recover — can’t wait.

Planning on going in to work with a client for a bit today. Will swing by the library to drop off/pick up books. When I go home, we’re going to vacuum the house and mop floors, so everything is clean. Tomorrow, when I come home, we will set up the living room as my recovery room.

I won’t know when I’m going in on Thursday until late Wednesday.

I have some placeholder posts scheduled, but I don’t expect to post much until sometimes next week (I’ll have something go live tomorrow).

I just have to survive each day, before I worry about the next one.

Mon. Feb. 17, 2020: Intent for the Week: Survival

lifesaver-933560_1920
image courtesy of tookapic via pixabay.com

Monday, February 17, 2020
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
President’s Day

If you’ve been following the blog, you know I’m currently facing some health issues, and will have surgery later this week. During Mercury Retrograde, which does not make me happy.

Therefore, my intent for the week is: Survival.

Going back to basics here!

What’s your intent?

Published in: on February 17, 2020 at 7:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fri. Feb. 14, 2020: Keep on Keeping On

valentines-day-3984154_1920
image courtesy of JillWellington via pixabay.com
Friday, February 14, 2020
Waning Moon
Cold & Snowing
Valentine’s Day

Yesterday wasn’t too bad. I made my mom do the driving, with me in the passenger seat giving directions, so she’d get comfortable in the car again and learn her way around. After a few minutes, she seemed to think she’s Speed Racer. She’s used to driving the Autobahn in Germany, so little Cape Cod road speed limits are an adjustment.

It was pretty funny.

But she’s more comfortable in the car again, and I’ll have her do the driving tomorrow when we go grocery shopping.

Got some work done at the library, dropped off books at Sandwich Library, stopped and updated my nurse. The arm that spat out the port is painful. Not discomfort — pain — and looks awful.

The CT results were pretty good, but there was one worrying thing — so my original doctor insists on scheduling another procedure for that as soon as the first surgery done. I keep hoping they can do it in one procedure, but no such luck. They can’t schedule the second until they know how I’ve come out of the first.

The scheduler called to book the surgery — and tried to put me off until March 20. I said no, I was told it had to be next week. She said nothing on the paperwork said so. I told her I SAW the doctor write it on the paperwork — he did it right in front of me, and he actually has nice handwriting. I also told her that my body could not tolerate the problem that caused the need for the surgery for another month, which is why everyone has been rushing me from test to test. I will be dead. The doctors want it done next week. She said, “Well, you’re on medication.” I repeated I am not waiting for a month, and the doctor wanted it done next week. She said, “Well, they don’t understand how this works.”

I was getting ready to contact my nurse when the chastened scheduler called back. The doctor put his foot down. Surgery is scheduled for next Thursday, February 20.

My pre-op was this morning. Easy-peasy, the doctor is going to make sure I’m not battered. The bruised arm looks even worse today and hurts like hell. I have a bunch of follow-up appointments to look forward to (ha) in the coming months, much of which will depend on how the pathology tests come back from surgery. But the doctor is optimistic, and happy that the medication change has made such a big difference so fast.

Worked on the article and finished it around 10:30 last night. I sent it to my editor this morning, with an update on what’s going on. I can turn around revisions early next week, if necessary.

Did a few things at the library, headed in to a client’s to work for a couple of hours and finish a big project. Then, I’m resting for the weekend. I’m wrung out, on every level.

Next week will test my endurance.

Have a lovely weekend!

 

Published in: on February 14, 2020 at 9:57 am  Comments (2)  
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Thurs. Feb. 13, 2020: Procedures Continue

Thursday, February 13, 2020
Waning Moon
Rainy and cold

Quick post over on Gratitude and Growth.

So, let’s catch up on the past few days. I went in to work, although slightly altered hours. One big client project went out yesterday afternoon. I hope to go in for a few hours’ late tomorrow morning for another one. Got out a grant proposal. Got out a book review. Worked ahead on client email blasts, so all they have to do is hit “send” over the next few weeks. Rearranged some booked time at Cape Space — they were so lovely and understanding.

Went in to work on Tuesday, because it was better than staying home and fretting. Got the call for my appointment with the specialist that afternoon. Put in a few hours’ work and headed over.

The specialist was very young, but again, very kind. He disagrees with the first doctor and her dire prognosis. He refuses to do the radical surgery that the first doctor suggested. He said it’s not necessary. He wants to do a much less radical procedure that he believes will solve the problem permanently AND serve my overall health much more in the long run. Normally, I’m for as little surgery as possible, but as I said, “I want you going in there only once. I don’t want to do this in increments. Do all the excavation in one procedure.”

He said that it wasn’t necessary. He said too many women have the radical surgery done when they don’t need it, and it results in further health complications as they age. He believes, according to what he saw during the examination and my other signs, that I don’t have any of the markers indicating the radical procedure is necessary; instead, the blood work, etc., indicate otherwise. I am slightly anemic, and we’re working on that. He upped the dose on the medication I was prescribed on Monday night 3x the original dose. He wants to increase the iron intake from 50 mg 2x/day to 325mg 2x/day. He wants to fast track the surgery for next week — but it will be in that morning, home in the afternoon.

I felt much better.

Went over to the hospital to get my bottles of barium goo. Berry flavored. Right.

Stopped and talked to my nurse/advocate on the way home, to keep her updated. Upped my evening dose of the medication, and within less than an hour noticed the improvement.

Didn’t sleep well on Tuesday night in spite of exhaustion.

Trouble getting up on Wednesday — I’d fallen asleep right before the alarm went off.
Drank my first bottle of goo at 8 AM. Not as bad as I feared, but it made me really cold. Five, ten minutes after I finished, I was fine again, but it was weird.

My friends, both local and afar, are rallying around, which is great. I know I can call on them if I need help. I made arrangements to be driven to the hospital on the day of the surgery and picked up, whenever that may be, because my mom doesn’t think she can find the hospital or find the way home. I also have the offices of Elizabeth Warren and Julian Cyr in case things get complicated and I need more of an advocate to help navigate paperwork, etc. So far, my nurse/advocate and the administrator there have handled everything and it’s been smooth (except for CVS, who always tries to screw their customers). But I keep reminding myself that when CVS was so awful with my mother a few years ago and I pitched a fit to corporate, the regional manager gave me his cell number, and the few times I needed to use it, he handled the issue in less than a half hour.

Went in to work and worked with the client. Came home, drank my second bottle of goo an hour before the appointment. This time, it made me so cold I was shaking and my teeth were chattering. Again, it stopped five minutes after I finished, and within ten minutes, I was fine.

Went in for the CT scan, and things went south fast. The technician was having a bad day, and I was at the end of 72 hours of battering tests, so I was at the end of my resources, and that did not make for a good pairing. I warned her about my fear of needles. I told her that my veins were difficult, which was the root cause of my fear. She told me I had to get over it. Not the best bedside manner.

The first time she put in the port, in the same arm where the blood draw, it hurt like hell and my vein spat it out. “Ptoui.” Not the sound you want. Or the result you want.

It kept hurting like hell. She bandaged it, went to the other side, discovered she didn’t have the right size needle she wanted (bigger, of course). So I had to wait until they hunted it down. She jammed it in. It was uncomfortable (although nowhere near as painful), but stayed.

Then she told me to get up and walk over to a row of chairs until I was called. “With this in?” I asked.

“We’re not gonna carry you into the room,” she said, and flounced out.

Um, excuse me? I’m lying on a gurney with a vein spread open. I’ve never had this done before and don’t know the protocol. How about not being an ass? I’m sorry she had a rough day, but that was uncalled for.

A few minutes later, I was called in and prepped. I hated the sensation of the saline flushing, and the iodine injection wasn’t fun either, but it wasn’t too bad. The disembodied voice instructing me when to “inhale” — “hold your breath” — “BReeeeathe” was a little weird, but, whatever. The sensation of the contrast dye was odd, but it wasn’t terrible.

I told them about the reaction to the barium drink and got a shrug and, “I’ve never heard that before.”

“I thought it was strange, so that’s why I’m bringing it up.”

Not like they gave a damn.

The port was removed, the arm taped. So both arms are hurting, but especially the right, where it spit out the port.

I had specifically asked, when I picked up the goo, if I had to make arrangements to have someone drive me home, and was told, unequivocally, “no.”

Ha! Good one.

My mom had come with me, but she has no night vision and couldn’t find the way back. I was having trouble gripping the steering wheel. Not to mention that I’d been through 72 hours of battering tests and I resented the fact that I had to drive myself the hell home after this one. My own fault for not making arrangements, but it didn’t change my upset.

Went home, made dinner, took my medication. I felt like I’d been beaten up, both physically and mentally. My right arm, in particular, hurt a lot. Plus, there were after effects from the barium and the iodine. Nothing awful, but they were there.

Went to bed early.

Slept through the night.

Woke up feeling okay. A little sore, but pretty normal, and certainly better than I have for the past few days, except for my arm. There is a bruise on my right arm that is 4″ wide and 5″ long and it still hurts like hell.

Library for a bit this morning, then over to Sandwich Library, then home to finish the article that goes out tomorrow, and the next book for review.

Will probably stop by to talk to my nurse. Waiting to hear about the scheduling.

Charlotte is having anxiety attacks. She and Willa lost their original human due to medical issues. She remembers that hospital smell. I finally said to her, “Charlotte, not everything is about YOU.”

She looked at me in complete surprise, with that, “But of course it is! I’m a CAT!” expression.

As long as she is with me, she settles down. The minute she can’t see me, she panics.

Willa is being Willa, getting on. She brings me toys to make me feel better. Elsa used to do that — believing the right toy could solve anything.

Tessa lies beside me and purrs.

I contacted my landlord to let him know I’m having surgery and the furnace replacement needs to work around that. It’s NOT EVEN SCHEDULED. Now, we were having furnace issues back in November. It’s February. For fuck’s sake. He said there needs to be a Home Energy Assessment before the loan is approved. We had that about seven years ago, when they took all my light bulbs. He said it’s scheduled for March 13, and he’ll be there. I said if it’s too close to the surgery, it won’t be happening. It should be fine, especially if my surgery is next week, but come on, for fuck’s sake.

I researched the replacement furnace. Even if he goes high end, it’s 2-3 months’ rent. We’ve been paying rent for 10 years, with very little work done on the house. I know what the taxes are. I know what the homeowner’s insurance is. We’ve paid in almost half the value of the house. So stop dicking around. You had four months to get it in, and now that I’m having surgery, you expect it to work around the requirements for a LOAN? No. You will damn well be on MY schedule at this point. I was there for the estimates. They were willing to schedule it ASAP and have it done in a day. It should have been done before Christmas. Furnace and plumbing issues were part of the reason we didn’t go to Maine for Thanksgiving.

My acupuncturist in NY did a distance healing — unasked. I’d just let her know what was going on and asked her to keep a good thought for me. She’s the most wonderful healer I know, and it made a difference.

I let my yoga/meditation teacher know what was going on, because I won’t be at the studio for the next few weeks. I also asked about booking one of her Reiki sessions after surgery to speed the healing. She said absolutely; in the meantime, she’d like to give me the gift of a distance healing session, and would send me the details.

Well, she did. A list of stuff she needs to do the healing – which I don’t feel up to putting together. Although the first session is free, I’m supposed to book 4 session at X dollars, and book my post-surgery Reiki session now.

Um, what? First of all, I can’t book anything definite now because I don’t know when the surgery is; I’m waiting for the booking and then the pre-op booking and whatever else has to happen. I can’t make that type of commitment. Quite frankly, I don’t have the energy right now to gather a list of stuff she claims she needs for the healing and get them to her.

Remember, I do distance healing. I don’t need seven different items to do it. My acupuncturist did a healing on Tuesday for me, without needing a list of stuff and commitments to specific times and all that – she simply did it (unasked).

I told her I couldn’t do the distance work right now, but I would book the hands-on Reiki after the surgery, and I didn’t know when it would be.

She argued with me,

I was in shock, and, frankly, I’m hurt. I respect this is her profession. I believe she should be paid for her profession. That is why I wanted to let her know I would be booking a paid, post-surgery session.

She comes at me wanting money now – when I’m already stressed about medical costs and lost work – and telling me that what she “needs” for the healing “only takes a few minutes” to put together.

If I say I CAN’T right now, that means I CAN’T. I am measuring my energy, prioritizing it, and directing it. I am NOT at her beck and call. Also, I have to make sure I direct my financial resources carefully over the next few months. I can’t take on much more new work this month, and I will be missing work hours. It means I’m taking an ill -timed financial hit. I have some decent chunks of change coming in from work already submitted, but it’s down the line, not right this minute. I need to be careful. Committing to several hundred dollars additionally is not something I can do right now, until I know what the immediate costs (including any medications I need to pick up on my way home from the hospital) are.

Again, I DO distance healing for people. I know what’s involved. I do distance healing for complete strangers (without payment) when requested.

On top of that, when she had surgery a few months ago, I did distance healing for her every night for two weeks AND offered to run errands, cook, go grocery shopping, do laundry, etc. She didn’t take me up on the errand running, and I certainly didn’t expect her to offer anything like that (in fact, I’d forgotten about it until I thought about the whole situation for awhile).

While I respect that this is her profession, and I absolutely believe in being paid for work, I feel like she is preying upon my situation and vulnerability right now. I said thanks, but no thanks. Especially not accepting my refusal to do exactly what she wants when she wants it. She made an offer; I asked for details. I couldn’t fulfill what she says she needs for this to work, and I told her upfront, before wasting any of her time and energy. To argue with me about it, especially when I’m in an accelerated schedule of tests and upcoming surgery, is inappropriate.

It makes me re-think my relationship with that particular studio. It also makes me wonder if she is the right choice for post-surgical work, because the trust issues I had with the studio last year are, once again, raised.

And also, damn it, ANYBODY who does not respect my boundaries during this time is going to get a new one ripped.

We will prep the living room as my recovery room — set up the fold out couch. I won’t have to do stairs, the bathroom and the kitchen are right there. I can stack my books nearby and watch DVDs if I feel like it.

Anyway, getting in what I need to this morning, and then focusing on completing the article this afternoon. I got two more quotes on Tuesday that I’m weaving in, a couple more tweaks, a polish, some subheadings, and we’re good.

I’m having my mom do the driving, so she gets comfortable in the car again, at least during the day, because she will have to be able to go to the grocery store, etc. over the next few weeks.

Reading, writing, resting. That’s the agenda.

 

Published in: on February 13, 2020 at 10:02 am  Comments (5)  
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Tues. Fri. 11, 2020: Health Issues Change the Game

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Waning Moon
Rainy and cool

It’s amazing how your whole life can change in moments. Last week, it seemed to be for the better. Now, I’m facing some new challenges.

We’ll get to that.

I’m not sure why yesterday’s post disappeared instead of going live. My apologies. My intent, however, for the next few weeks is changing.

Busy, busy weekend. But the right kind of busy.

Friday was about gathering quotes for the article and starting to write it in my head. I find that shifting my process a bit to write more in my head means my first draft isn’t just blather. I carry the piece within me, thinking about it as I go through my day, working out phrasing and shaping. It makes it easier when I sit down to write.

Watching the fourth season of THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW. It’s giving me ideas for my own cooking show treatment (not to star me, but something I’m interesting in creating, and also to get used to writing a non-fiction treatment). There are elements I like about the show, but the show I’m craving also does some things differently.

The weather was awful on Friday. Winds 75 mph. Much to my surprise, the power held. But I didn’t work on the computer in the afternoon or evening. I worked in longhand.

That included background notes and the partial outline for the Millie Quinn books. They’ve been part of my “back pocket document” for several years now, but they’re pulling at me. I wanted to get the basics out of my head and on paper, so it didn’t push out the stuff on which I need to be working.

Saturday, I was up early. I experimented with some breakfast pastry, and remembered why I hate working with puff pastry, especially on only one cup of coffee. I realized, as I made the whipped chocolate cream, that it had to be filling added after the baking, not something that could go into the oven (pretty basic common sense). So I basically made pastry for cream puffs, which turned out well. Unfortunately, my pastry tool that was supposed to inject the cream didn’t work. So I sliced the pastry and made sandwich-style cream puffs instead.

I tried doing a variation on a chocolate croissant, using Nutella in the puff pastry. I rolled it a little too tightly, so the pastry didn’t have room to expand in the middle, but it was okay. Not brilliant, but okay. Needs some work.

I had pastry cream in my hair before 9 AM, which gives you an idea of how it went. But that’s part of experimentation and recipe development.

Made a dump run for household garbage, and then another one for recycling. Ran into a couple of friends at recycling, which was pretty funny. It was clear and cold out, and I have my work cut out with me, clearing all the branches that came down in the storm. Friday was the first time; in the ten years we’ve lived in this house, where it didn’t feel secure during a storm.

Scrubbed down when I came home. Most of the Chewy order arrived for the cats. I didn’t expect it until Monday, and was delighted to get it early, because of the toys.

Tessa, Willa, and Charlotte each got a new catnip mouse, and they were delighted. I also got them spring toys, which I waited until Sunday to give them. I did, however, put together the laser toy so they could Chase the Red Dot. Willa and Charlotte were thrilled and ran and jumped and chased as long as I had the energy to hold the wand. Tessa had never seen it before, and had no idea what to do.

Giant load of laundry in as well.

Working on the article, shaping, seeing where I want to fold in the quotes. I had two of them back by Saturday morning, confirmation a third was forthcoming, and the contact info for the fourth. So I’m really only waiting for the quotes from London and Ireland, which should arrive today.

Worked on one of the grant proposals. I have to submit ten pages of work. I’m not sure if I should do 10 pages on a single project, or 5 on two different projects that show more range. I might send an email and ask.

I’m having trouble accessing the other grant’s information, and have to get an email off about that, too.

I want to get both grant proposals and the article out before Mercury turns retrograde on the 17th.

Worked on blog posts for the various blogs. Revised the beginning of the steampunk play, which I will use for one of the grant proposals.

The cats were hilarious. So happy with their new toys. It was the first time all three cats were genuinely happy in the same space since Willa and Charlotte joined the household. I hope this is the beginning of that being the rule, rather than the exception.

Sunday, I wrote 11 pages on one project, not something I should have been working on, of course. Sent off another quote request.

Worked on the article.

Made a smoked salmon brunch tart. Damn thing took over 3 hours. It tasted good, but the look lacked a good look. This weekend reminded me how much I hate making pastry.

Worked on writing and reading, including one of the books for review.

Over the weekend, some serious health issues accelerated. First thing yesterday morning, I went to the doctor. Who was alarmed. Who initially wanted to send me to the ER for a blood transfusion, which I refused. She did some in-office testing, and found that I didn’t really need one. But I had to go to the hospital to have an emergency ultrasound.

I was sent home to be more comfortable at first until the appointment. I used the time to work on the article that needs to get done this week. The hospital was supposed to call me with the time to come in. Hours went by, and nothing. So I called them — now, remember, I have hyperaccussis — talking on the phone is nearly impossible for me, because it causes such pain. Yet I was repeatedly forced to be on the phone because HEALTH CARE PERSONNEL refused to accommodate me.

I called the doctor — and got a third party, who got in contact with the doctor. Meanwhile, the third party told me to schedule the procedure myself. Only the scheduler wouldn’t do it. She said they couldn’t fit me in. I kept telling her that the doctor insisted it was emergency and had to be done today, and she refused. I was headed back to the doctor to find out what to do when the nurse called. She had called the scheduler and the hospital and told them it was an emergency and they had to make it happen.

I had to dash into the car, race across to the next town where the hospital was, not find parking, and then navigate the corridors for the appointment. But once I got there, radiology took me right away. They were very kind for the multiple procedures — some of them unpleasant. But it took multiple technicians at times, and I was there over an hour.

Then, I had to go and get a blood workup done — only the paperwork hadn’t been handled properly up front. So I had to go back to radiology, where they faxed paperwork to reception who then emailed whatever they needed to email back to the blood draw lab — which was across the hall from radiology.

The technician was lovely and kind. She understood my fear of needles, and was quick and gentle. I thanked her for being kind, and she was surprised.

By the time I managed to get back to the car, then nurse called and asked me to come back to the office. Although they were technically off-hours, they wanted me back. They HAD THE RESULTS. None of this waiting for a week. Everything was there by the time I got back across town to the office.

There, they did another round of unpleasant exams — which they did with kindness and gentleness.

The short conclusion is that I have a challenging few weeks and months ahead. In the very near future, I have an emergency specialist appointment coming up, possibly today; a CT scan this week. Fast track surgery. After the surgery, we will re-assess and see if more has to happen, and if so, what the options are. I said if I have a vote, and I will be vocal about it, there are certain things I want to happen sooner rather than later, and she said it might have to happen that way anyway, so it’s a good thing I’m willing to go even consider it. She’s also worried that I’m joking too much and not processing enough.

I shed some tears early on — and the doctor reassured me that it wasn’t my fault and I’d done nothing wrong. Which, of course, I know intellectually, but emotionally is quite different. But what else can I do except joke around with the technicians and try to make it as easy as possible for all of us to get through it? Living in the terror of it all isn’t going to help me. Acknowledging the fear is one thing, but living in it is something else, and I’d rather not live there. I’d rather keep on keeping on, adjusting as needed on the way.

I was put immediately on a medication to get me through until the surgery can happen, and told to watch for certain symptoms. If I have any of them, I am to go to the ER immediately.

Getting the prescription — CVS tried not to use the insurance, and I had to get the insurance re-run, but then it was all affordable. I’m really glad I switched my insurance — had I been on the old insurance, not only would none of this have been covered, but I wouldn’t even have been able to get in to see the doctor. On the old insurance, any time I wanted a doctor visit, I had to wait 3 months. I’m also grateful that I landed with health care

I’m not sure how much I feel comfortable talking about the details of all this, although you can be damn sure I’ll be talking about health care system issues along the way. Some posting might be a bit erratic, and I may pull back on a few blogs , and I apologize in advance. I’m going to try to get ahead on as much as possible.

I’m worried about money. I’m already living too close to the bone, and I was just starting to land opportunities to fix that — I HAVE to, because I have to move later this year, and I may need a new car. If all I’m worried about is money, I won’t have the emotional or financial resources to get well.

The medication started working right away. If they had started me on it earlier in the day, the day might have not been quite so traumatizing. I do want to emphasize how kind everyone except a couple of admin people were along the way. Plus, for the first time in my life, I feel like I have medical professionals that are on my side.

My client told me not to come in today, but I want to go in early and get ahead on a few things.

I wrote the review and sent it out; went to the office. I am waiting to find out when my specialist appointment is today.

I would appreciate any good thoughts you could send my way. I don’t have the support system here that I had in the Broadway community, and being without them scares me — although some of them will support me every step of the way from wherever they are.

Peace.

Published in: on February 11, 2020 at 10:20 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. Feb. 7, 2020: Focus on The Work

Friday, February 7, 2020
Waxing Moon
Foggy and cooler

I’ve got a short post aboutMotive up on Affairs of the Pen.

I did an enormous grocery shop yesterday morning. I turned around the contract for the article and got out my requests for quotes. I have a good portion of the article already written in my head, and now am working on getting it on paper, and then adding in the quotes as I get them, and tweaking as needed. I’d like to get it to my editor a few days early, since it’s the first time we’re working together, and I want to give us enough time in case she requests revisions.

Started prepping for the grant proposals. I want to do at least one more revision on the actual material that will get the grant committee’s attention. I’m not sure, for one, if I should submit something in radio play format, which I know works, or something in novel format, which is what I’d actually use the grant money on, for one of them.

For the other proposal, I need to look at a project I put aside last year. It’s a project I’d used for a residency application, and put aside when I didn’t get the residency (they decided not to accept Americans that year).

I tweaked a recipe yesterday afternoon and made a honey/almond/orange cake. I was worried I made too many changes all at once, but it really, really worked. It amazes me how much I like substituting honey for sugar, and how much better I feel eating it

I answered someone’s question on social media and someone else jumped into the conversation to argue with me about not signing a detrimental contract because my lawyer agreed that it was not in my best interest. I’m not arguing. My lawyer is a professional; I get to decide what contracts to sign and not sign. I don’t care how many other people choose to sign it. And if Chickie-poo “doesn’t know anyone” who refused the contract, she must not know many professional writers, because I know plenty who won’t sign that particular contract, especially since we are all expected to sign a boiler plate.

The contract you receive with a publishing offer is the START of negotiations. If a “publisher” is not willing to negotiate contract clauses, it’s not a “publisher” with whom I want to associate.

I get to make that choice. Not be attacked by someone who made a different choice.

The stupidity on social media gets to me sometimes. There’s plenty I scroll past, but it annoys me when I answer someone’s question with my experience and someone else jumps all over me – and the person who asked the question SAYS NOTHING. That’s irresponsible. If you let trolling happen on your feed and ignore it, you’re not someone worth my time. Buh-bye.

Got my Chewy order in. Had to order cat toys to get it up for the free shipping. “Had to.” Riiiight. I’ll own it – that was how I chose to get up to the amount needed for free shipping. I think the cats will enjoy some fresh stimulation, especially Willa. I’m trying to teach Charlotte how to play, and Tessa needs some new toys. Busy cats are happy cats!

This weekend is about writing, purging boxes in the basement, and baking. I have a LOT to get done, and I can’t waste my time on people or situations who aren’t worth it.

Have a great weekend! I’m going back to the page.

Thurs. Feb. 6, 2020: Up, Down, Frustration, Joy

Thursday, February 6, 2020
Waxing Moon
Raining and mild for February

Well, it’s been an interesting few days, that’s for sure. And I use “interesting” in multiple connotations.

First, I have a quick post on Gratitude and Growth about my concerns that it’s not cold enough this winter.

Back? Okay, let’s settle in and talk.

I didn’t write about Tuesday evening’s meeting, because I needed to think about it and get over my anger by the end of it. Although the conversation went well, and I enjoyed the person with whom I spoke, there were red flags: a 12-hour day instead of an 8-hour day (but at 8-hour rates), no mention of a relocation package, it not being the position or the organization I expected the meeting was about. Then came the “next steps” part of it. Testing, which I don’t do for free. I understand needing to check someone’s proofreading skills, but you’re going to pay me for my time. Typing? Excuse me? I’m not 20 looking for my first job. Plus, typing accuracy is not necessary on a computer, because you fix your mistakes otherwise. Again, since it’s uncompensated labor, no.

But the deal breaker, for me, was the insistence on taking a DISC personality test — again, unpaid time. Above and beyond the unpaid time, any organization that uses a “personality test” as part of the interview process is not a place with which I want to be associated. Of course, it was presented as a “way to look at communication skills” — which isn’t what DISC or any of these other “personality tests” are AT ALL. They are a way to dehumanize candidates and sort them into single categories, denying complexity, individuality, and creativity to limit one into test boxes. It is data that is weaponized by employers to manipulate employees.

Here are two articles that support my position,“How Accurate are Personality Tests?”and “A Warning Against Using Disc/Briggs-Meyer in the Workplace.

Take your test and shove it right up your ass, honey. I don’t care that “everyone” in the company has to take these tests, and that you have taken them. The mere fact you asked means I’m no longer interested.

I sent a polite refusal, to which I got a link “explaining” what DISC is used for — a load of marketing crap I recognized, because I worked for the American Management Association back when these tests came into more prominent use. I know how the sausages are made. And why.

I was asked to “reconsider” and agree to take the tests. No. I said no, and I mean no. What part of “deal breaker” is too complicated for you? I’m not asking for an exception. I’m STATING, clearly, that any company who demands this of ANY potential employee is not a place I want to work.

I was so angry by the end of the night. Just furious

Another useless third party yakker wasting my time and energy.

So, that was that.

Wednesday was busy at the client’s. Still working on a big project. She’s all set to sign a set of contracts on a project that will be a disaster. I pointed out the contract language that needs changing, and she just shrugged and said the contract is meaningless. She’s wrong, but it’s her decision. I’m not cleaning up the mess.

I was disappointed to learn that one of the radio production companies on the west coast with whom I’d hoped to work this year is on hiatus. They liked the play, but aren’t in a position to produce it right now. I’m sending them a potential funding source later today that might interest them.

I also didn’t get chosen for a regular article gig for which I’d pitched last week. They liked my samples, but felt my voice was too unique. Well, they’d asked for samples in MY voice, not ghostwritten samples. Still, they were nice about it, and at least they gave me an answer. So it’s disappointing, but not devastating.

Add to that, the travesty in the Senate yesterday, with most of the Republicans voting to acquit the Narcissistic Sociopath.

We are truly in dark times.

Then, a bolt from the blue! A major publication for whom I’ve wanted to work FOR YEARS accepted one of my pitches! It’s a tight turnaround time, but completely do-able. The contract is on its way, and I’m sending out my requests for quotes. I’m excited!

I’m working on revisions the next few days, the short story, and two big grant proposals that need to go out next week. I’d like to curl up and sleep, but, right now, that’s not an option.

I also need to purge boxes from the basement. I’m way behind on that.

Finished watched Season 3 of THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW. What a great bunch they were! I liked them all so much.

I’m experimenting with a cake recipe this afternoon. It’s using the basic yellow cake recipe again, but making some more changes.

I did a gigantic grocery shop yesterday morning. That should keep us going for a bit. Making pork bahn mi for lunch. Can’t wait.

Charlotte continues to be a lot of work. She doesn’t connect behavior and consequences. She knows certain things result in getting what she likes, but hasn’t connected that other things result in results she doesn’t like. Plus, this morning, she walked over one of the CD/tape players and set off a fast forward button and it scared her. Poor thing. It’s hard to be Charlotte.

I have a lot to do, so I better get to it.

Have a great day!

Wed. Feb. 5, 2020: Technical Difficulties

Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Waxing Moon

Head on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I talk about the issues I have with marketing materials creating “scarcity and urgency.”

Experiencing technical difficulties. Yesterday was frustrating. Will talk tomorrow about the big meeting.

Weird dreams Tuesday going into Wednesday. Theatre dreams, which I guess is a good thing?

This is grant-writing and script submission season. The next two weeks, I’ll be prepping a lot of both.

Meanwhile, this evening, I’m looking forward to pizza and wine!

Published in: on February 5, 2020 at 6:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. Feb, 4, 2020: Adjustments

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Waxing Moon

Hop on over toA Biblio Paradise for a post about my ultimate fantasy library.

Busy weekend. Friday was a lot of errands, then working on revisions and contest entries. Sent out a pitch and samples for a regular gig which would be fun, and the money would help achieve a few things over the next few months, as I get some other financial pieces in play.

Charlotte had a massive anxiety attack on Friday afternoon, and it took her a few hours to settle down. Which meant I had a few hours where she needed my full attention, instead of being able to work.

Saturday should have had more writing in it than it did. I was a little later than I wanted starting the bread, and it took longer on its rises, but it turned out well.

Friday night, I received an email from someone wanting to set up a meeting about a project with which I’d really like to work. We managed to reach each other on Saturday, and set something up for late this afternoon.

I made another recipe from the cookbook where I made the poorly written chocolate cherry bread a few weeks back. I wanted to give this book one more chance.

It failed.

I noticed something was wrong in the way the recipe was written right off the bat, and rescued it. But, had I prepared the recipe exactly as written, I would have prepared some of the ingredients in the food processor, and they would have sat in the food processor for eternity. There was never an instruction when to add them in.

I figure it out, through a combination of experience and common sense, but again — a badly-written recipe.

Where the hell was the editor on this book? Why weren’t any of the recipes tested?

I’m going to give it away. The recipes aren’t good.

The recipe itself was bland. I’m going to dress up the leftovers with some paprika.

It makes me really angry. Here, the author got away with it because there’s a huge following on her novels — but her recipes are badly written, and don’t taste good. The first red flag was when she talked about God in the introduction. Honey, God expects us to handle our own cooking.

I should have test-driven the cookbook. I’d read through a copy from the library, but I hadn’t actually done any recipes before I bought it. That’s on me.

The other recipe was a cake, which I put mixed and put in while the bread was in the oven. It was a very basic yellow cake recipe from my mother’s old LADIES’ HOME JOURNAL cookbook, which is good for basics. I added in a little almond extract. I made two layers, as instructed, and filled them with strawberry jam, and then did a chocolate satin icing, decorated with almonds.

The strawberry jam was a bit too much, especially since the batter didn’t need to be in two pans/two layers. Next time I do this recipe, I will just do it as a single layer with the icing. The icing is superb. The icing recipe is from the NEW BASICS COOKBOOK, which is one of my favorites.

Worked on the short story, worked on contest entries.

Finished watching Season 2 of THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW. Ruby was an annoying little whiner, wasn’t she? I wish the judges would TEACH techniques, instead of smirking and leaving technique out of the recipes in the technical challenges. Also, I wanted to slap them every time they said something was under-baked — then don’t give them only two hours! And expect it cooled and perfectly decorated! The parameters are unrealistic for home bakers.

Makes me want to write a treatment for my own food show — not with me in it, but run along parameters that make it a tool for teaching, historical and societal context of food, etc. A gourmand, a home cook, a food historian, and five students who progress through the series, learning techniques and then creating their own recipes.

Managed to get four loads of laundry done on Saturday, too.

February’sGoddess Provisions box arrived, and it was wonderful! I’m so delighted with it. Also got my wall calendar — the one I usually get was sold out, so I got a different one. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the astrological notations I need. Fortunately, I have it in my usual datebook.

Up early Sunday. Made honey-pecan-chocolate chip muffins, which were delicious. I liked substituting honey for sugar, and using a little baking powder. The sugar converter was a big help.

Worked on contest entries, worked on revisions, worked on the short story, worked on blog posts to get ahead for the month of February on the specialty blogs.

Imbolc ceremony was lovely. Lots of change predictors coming. I just have to choose the right change.

Didn’t really care about the Super Bowl. Sort of kept an eye o the score, but that was it. And, of course, the Narcissistic Sociopath didn’t even know from which state the winners come. He celebrates ignorance, cruelty, stupidity, and greed, which is why his base loves him so much.

Got an idea for an intriguing group of characters, but don’t know what to do with them. Made some notes, but it has to percolate.

Yesterday, I had a decent first writing session, spent a few hours with my client, then had other appointments, which meant I had to miss meditation. Hit my head in the morning, which upset my day, because I was dealing with that aftermath.

Work on revisions and contest entries in the evening.

This morning, out early for some errands, then with a client most of the day, then this afternoon is the first conversation of the Very Important Meeting. Fingers crossed that it goes well.

And, always, back to the page.

Mon. Feb. 3, 2020: Intent for the Week: Rest

zen-2040340_1920
photo courtesy of EliaSch via pixabay.com

Monday, February 3, 2020
Waxing Moon

 

Last year, I started the year exhausted and disheartened and never really recovered.

I’m in a much better place on multiple levels this year, but still feel run down.

So, this week, my intent is: rest.

Not sleep. Too much sleep is worse for me than not enough, and, most of the time, eight hours is too much.

Rest.

That means not running about needlessly doing this, that, the other.

That means spending time at home not fussing or fretting or worrying.

Whenever I don’t have to be out with a client, or doing work in my office, I will rest. However that decides to manifest itself — Savasana, extra meditation, long walks.

February is always a difficult month for me, and instead of fighting it, I want to flow with it. Go into hermit mode as much as possible.

This week, whenever possible, I will rest.

What is your intent for the week?

Published in: on February 3, 2020 at 10:16 am  Leave a Comment  

January 31, 2020: Month Changeover, Fresh Chances, Achieving, and Falling Short

Friday, January 31, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, for my January wrap-up. I have mixed feelings about my progress. And then hop over to Affairs of the Pen to see a post about how writing about Sophie and her capacity for joy is such a pleasure.

Got some decent work done at the library yesterday, including getting the numbers put in on the US Numbered Format version of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale.”
Now, I have to do the same for “Pier-less Crime” and then send them off to the director, so he has the trilogy (since he likes “Horace House” so much).

Got a carload of leaves to the dump. Maybe this weekend, I can do some more yard work, if the weather holds.

Started watched THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW Season 2 last night. Not as tight and funny a group as on Season 1. Competitions just aren’t my thing. When I’m baking, I’m going to keep at it until I get it right, not be forced to do something new to me in a couple of hours. No, thanks. I like this show better than most competition shows (which, for the most part, I loathe). But I still disagree with a lot of the parameters.

Working on the BALTHAZAAR revisions. Tearing out a whole subplot section and rebuilding it, which is a challenge.

I have the short story in my head, clear as can be. But can the words find the page properly?

Absolutely disgusted with the GOP Senators. They all belong in prison. And so disappointed in the Chief Justice.

Today is Brexit, so now the UK economy gets to crash, too. Not a good day, all the way around.

How did I do on my intent for the week, for quiet?

I decided not to attend a networking event. Work prevented me from attending meditation group. I kept my mouth shut at work more than I wanted, but it made sense so to do. There were several online conversations I chose not to enter, because the people involved weren’t worth the aggravation. They didn’t want genuine answers to their questions; they wanted their own views reinforced. Not worth the time and energy. I refrained from responding to an insulting email from the potential client meeting last week, where I’d withdrawn from consideration because we were not a good fit. Wednesday, they sent me a rude email saying they were going with someone else. Of course they did — I already told them I wouldn’t work for them. What are they, six? All about control, yet another indication that we weren’t the right fit.

Lots of reading and writing again this weekend; yard work if the weather holds, purging the basement if it doesn’t.

Have a great weekend! I have a slew of errands and bill-paying, and then it’s back to the page.

Thurs. Jan. 30, 2020: The Need to Focus

Thursday, January 30, 2020
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Over on Gratitude and Growth, I talk about the dilemma I’m facing with the garden.

Yesterday was exhausting. Big project with a client leaves me wrung out by the time I’m done there. Nothing is wrong, nothing is bad, it just takes a lot of energy.

I haven’t had a good writing week, which means I have to make up for a great deal over the next four days.

I had a good pitching week, at least as far as getting out a lot of article pitches. We’ll see if anything hits.

Remember the potential client meeting I had last week, where I pulled out of consideration and said we were not the right fit? The person with whom I met thanked me for my honesty? Well, yesterday, I got a shirty email from someone else in the company, stating they decided to go forward with someone else. Um, so? I already told them I wasn’t going to work with them. We were done. They wanted to act like it was THEIR decision, not mine? Control issues much? Whatever.

They’ve been added to my list of companies not to work with and not to pitch to again.

Reading some very good books for the contest entries. The categories get more and more competitive every year with the quality of entrants. It’s wonderful. It’s exciting to pick up every book. Some of them miss here and there on certain points, but the writing has gotten stronger and stronger every year.

While it’s briefly sunny today, I have to take the leaves to the dump and then go out and do some yard work.

Then, it will be back to the page. The short story is taking shape nicely, but I have to have the main focus on the revisions this weekend.

Plus, I have coursework to complete on both the Robert Burns course and the course on Fashion Innovation. Gotta keep learning.

Back to the page.

 

Wed. Jan. 29, 2020: Good Show Improves Week

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Waxing Moon

Ink-Dipped Advice’spost talks about Intent, and ties back in to what we do here on Mondays. I hope you enjoy it.

On Monday night, my radio play “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” was performed in Florida. I sent them best wishes for a good show, and heard that the audience absolutely loved the piece, and was delighted to have more Frieda and Laz. Frieda and Laz have become fan favorites.

Work commitments prevented me going to meditation group on Monday, and I missed it. I sat on my own, which I enjoy, but I also enjoy the group. Although sometimes there’s too much of the “guided” and not enough silence.

Monday night, I read Ann Patchett’swonderful new book, THE DUTCH HOUSE. Wow. Just wow. I could not put it down. Beautiful writing and characterization, although I got irritated with the protagonist’s disinterest in everyone around him over the course of his entire life. He was constantly surprised to find out that people had lives that didn’t revolve around him. That their lives had a richness when they were away from him. Patchett showed that very well.

So yes, I sat up late until I finished the book! I love doing that.

Got some admin work done on Tuesday morning, mediocre writing session, answered a letter from my college advisor, which was fun. College was way back in the early 80s, and we have kept in touch. I’m so glad. He was a wonderful advisor, especially when I went through some rough stuff. He has been a touchstone for me through the years. Now he’s written his first novel, and I’m delighted.

Got out another article pitch. Worked onsite with a client. Got some work done at the library. Got some more work converting “Intrigue” into US Numbered format for a different production company that’s doing “Horace House” in October. I figured I’ll reformat the other two plays of the trilogy; that way, the director has them all and can decide if he wants to do them, or just “Horace House.”

Still struggling with the end of “Trust.” I’ve lost the thread of what I’m trying to do, and have to figure it out again.

Today will be an intense day with the client, working on a big project. Then, it’s home for pizza night. I hope to get some work done on revisions.

Tomorrow, if the weather holds, I’ll do some yard work, along with the writing and other work. I’m working on a new targeted prospect list for the postcards. Third party recruiters and HR are a waste of time and space.

You know who else is a waste of space? The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. I’ve been a juror in all kinds of trials over the years. No judge in any trial on which I’ve ever served has been as inept and useless as the Chief Justice. No jurors could get away with what the Republican Senators are getting away with. They’d be held in contempt of court.

THIS is the person who supposedly heads the highest court in the land? What a huge disappointment, at a critical juncture in our republic.

It’s both enraging and discouraging.

I will find a way to work on it via fiction, but it’s no fun to live through, that’s for damn sure.