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Q is for…Quota

20 Apr

Every day I set certain goals for myself. Things to get done that if I don’t poke at them a little bit, I’m never going to accomplish the goal.

I like breaking up my life into bite-size pieces and am always amazed at how much I do actually get done when I go and put my mind solidly on it.

Right now I feel like I’m not making quota. For example: I need to score a certain number of entries daily in order to have them all done by the deadline next month. While I love being a judge on contests of this nature, I know that I’m falling behind.

Though I’ve learned recently to finally let that all go.

I landed in bed on rest like this because of stress for the most part (stress compounding my already present physical problems at any rate). I can’t control my diseases, but I can control the stress. I COULD sit here and fidget and fuss over not getting done today what I needed to do. Or I can remember that tomorrow is another day. I’m not so far behind I can’t reach my goal. I’ll just have to put a little more effort into things this week.

I’m a whole lot more relaxed since I figured this out. I wish I had years ago.



Answers? Questionable.

23 Mar

So this week I went to one more doctor (rheumatologist) to get an answer on the lupus question.

Instead I got a whole lot more questions.

As I’ve been struggling with my health, I’ve also been struggling with the label that would at least give me some direction to struggle IN, the thought being that once you name something it can’t hold power over you anymore.

That IS how that old legend works, right?

Sadly, I need 9 more tests, which they took enough blood for to do, along with some extra that will be enough to do a few tests for some other patients in the clinic as well. If it worked that way.

The doctor is not inclined to think this is lupus though. Thank God for that! It could be a really nasty fibro flare (really possible). It could be some other connective tissue disorder which is the rheumatology equivalent to calling my son PDD-NOS when we had him tested for autism (Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified – meaning he’s on the autism spectrum but they don’t really want to say where…)

So. No answers. Now it’s back to life as usual, trying to keep myself distracted and focusing on the me in the moment, and not worrying about what I MIGHT have – a neat trick under the best of circumstances.

At least I have plenty to keep me busy, now that I’ve got contest entries to score (I judge various writing contests this time of year. Really hoping for that fabulous story to be lurking somewhere in this stack…)

I wish I were better at patience!

What’s your favorite distraction when you have to wait for something important?

Still….at rest…

3 Mar

Well, it’s after March 1st, my self-imposed deadline for this sabbatical I started back in December. I’d like to say that everything is better, but it’s not. The problems I had with inflammation have improved, but a lot of the pain and weakness are coming from another illness that I seem to have developed in this last year.

No diagnosis as of yet, but it’s looking like Lupus, something that isn’t anywhere near as fun as it sounds (c’mon, admit it, you were thinking about werewolves too, weren’t you…)

So. Work?

Not really. Small doses, little amounts certainly. It’s past time for me to stagger forward and attempt some semblance of normal life. Will I ever go back to work full time? My doctors say probably not. That in fact I’ll most likely be working a couple of weeks and then having a couple of weeks off, back and forth like that. Because I will need to rest and recover.

And of course, having been so quiet the last three months have made me very very weak.

So where does that leave me?

Still at rest. Still reading and resting and spending most of my time in bed. Getting up occasionally and getting work done as I can. Not feeling bad about curling up under the blankets and just resting for the remainder of the time.

This is an adjustment, but it’s part of living with auto-immune disorders. The diseases are real and not going away.

But I’m doing the best I can with them.

Coughing (optional)

1 Feb

Well, I’m not quite over this THING yet, but I’m working on it. The problem is, I’ve let the current state of the house also work on ME a bit because today I decided that I didn’t care that I was still sick, I was going to do my Flylady Weekly Home Blessing. In 10 minute increments. Slowly.

For those of you not familiar with Flylady, she’s the brilliant mastermind that taught mankind they could do ANYTHING for 15 minutes. It’s why my massive monthly To Do list is designed so that no task on it takes longer than 15 minutes. Ever. (This is the subject of a whole other post). Flylady starts us with something simple – shining your kitchen sink. Next thing you know, you’re completely flywashed, decluttering, wearing shoes with laces that tie at any moment (except when in bed sleeping) and yes, even taking time to pamper yourself.

The Weekly Home Blessing is pretty simple. Straightforward stuff that I wish I’d learned growing up. Sadly (and sorry to say this, mom) I grew up rather ignorant of most things, never having done a single load of laundry in my life until AFTER I’d finished college and moved into my first apartment at the age of 23. Yeah, I had a long way to go.


So the mysteries of cleaning a bathroom were also brand new to me then. As was that whole concept of how to keep a house clean. I found Flylady in total desperation after too many years of “Crash and Burn” and have been following her for almost 11 years now. Whew! And my house is STILL a mess.

Well that’s me. As Flylady says, “You can’t organize clutter” and with my health, having energy to tackle clutter has come at a premium for the last few years. I’m happy if I tackle the DISHES.

I’m working on it.

So today I started with this. 10 minutes of time spent changing sheets and putting the old ones in the laundry.

  • 10 minutes on dusting with that gorgeous feather duster I bought from Flylady three moves ago and STILL use.
  • 10 minutes of vacuuming the middles – the traffic zones.
  • 10 minutes gathering the trash and taking it out to the trash can.

All this simple STUFF that with the kids help went pretty well. Right up until I started coughing. And coughing. And coughing. Until I was coughing so hard I thought I was either going to throw up or pass out. Yeah, not pretty image there (and I went with the former, not the latter though it got kinda close to call.)

So it seems that coughing is optional. If I lie quietly in bed like a good girl and do nothing at all more strenuous than a little crochet or knit (wait until you see what I’ve been making next – a post for tomorrow?) then I’m fine. Or mostly fine. Or at least breathing like a normal person.

If I get up and move around. Even in 10 minute increments, I will be FLATTENED by this horrible plague (thank you kids) that I’m not quite over.

So tomorrow will be quieter. As you can tell from my blog I’m not doing that great at the whole “At rest” part of things. I WANT to get up and go back to work. And immerse myself in all kinds of wonderful, glorious projects.

My body says no.

I think I see a pattern here. I worked too long the other day on that whole layout thing (got news there too, stay tuned this weekend) and did the same thing to myself.


Apparently I really do need to be resting. Who knew?

(thank you, Flylady. My house looks SO much better.)

How do you stay on top of the household stuff? What methods do you fall back on? 

Attempts at Life

31 Jan

Well, we’ve talked about derailment before. I hadn’t accounted for flu, which is by far the best at derailing a soul than anything. So days spent coughing and frowning in fevered headache at the screen has certainly kept me silent. Though I’ve gotten a bit more reading done than I normally would. (I also watched an entire season of Ocean Girl, one of my more secret pleasures that I don’t advertise too openly, being after all an Adult.)

It’s funny that I would read a short story called “Pale” by Chris Wooding from NetGalley in this time, as it has to do with the living dead and well, given my current shuffling gait and the moans with which I wander in search of brains..I mean food…I get hungry when I’m sick. Food. Not brains. I don’t eat brains…

Pale by Chris Wooding

Anyway, as a quick review, “Pale” is a High-Low book (something I am DELIGHTED by as there aren’t enough books written at a low reading level for teens to enjoy. Especially in topics that they’re interested in. So for anyone liking dystopic or zombies or even just for a solid read on bullying and consequences and true friendship…yeah this book has it.

Not that I liked the main character. He drove me nuts until somewhere in the last few pages where I decided I really didn’t want him to get what he deserved, I wanted him to be a better…person?

The story takes place in a future where the newly dead can be revived with an injection that will leave them…pale. And oh, their hearts don’t beat – they’re still more dead than alive. But yet…still are themselves. Just no longer accepted by society.

I find myself thinking about the deeper messages here. About how we hang onto things that aren’t healthy for anyone to hold onto, and then become resentful of the things we’re trying to hold onto.

Maybe I get too introspective when I’m sick and I’m seeing more than is there. But all in all, this was a solid read and one I would highly recommend. Especially if you have a teen struggling with reading. They’ll enjoy the story, and you’ll enjoy the fact that as a paperback you can find it for about $6.95 which is a bargain when it comes to high-low books.

That’s it, I’m shuffling back to bed.


Back to….work?

24 Jan

If  you know me, then you know there is only so long I can sit around before I get antsy and have to start poking at things again. Let’s face it, I still am plagued with those thoughts of “Oooh…what if I just opened this file…tweaked this image…moved this here…”

What can I say, I like doing design work.

So this morning I mustered up a bit of energy (helped by good weather, as fibro and weather shift have been wreaking all kinds of havoc lately) and got to work on one of the projects for Written World Communications again.

Love Poured Out

“Love Poured Out” is a gift book – poetry and photographs – that we’ve been spending some time putting together. The poetry is by the talented and amazing Dee Alcorn. The photographs range a bit but we’re using quite a few from the award winning Lynda K. Arndt so it’s all good. It’s a beautiful and even restful project to work on.

My goal was to spend half an hour at work, and then call it a day. It’s so HARD when I think how I used to put in 12 hour workdays (sometimes even 14 or 15 hour workdays) to be reduced to so little. I love my work, and this is a pleasure. But it’s also tiring. Still, my goal of half an hour turned into 45 minutes once I settled in and starting pairing images and poems and getting everything all pretty on the pages.

But by the time 45 minutes had passed, my body was screaming and letting me know that I was on hiatus for a reason. Still the accomplishment of 16 pages feels very good to me, and I look forward to finishing the book and seeing it in print.

Two pages from "Love Poured Out"

I think I will definitely try for half an hour of work the next time I’m having a good day. But this time I’m going to STICK to half an hour – using my timer to break it into two 15 minute increments.

This is frustrating to me. I want to just get up in the morning, get dressed, and go to work for the day like I used to. I HATE that I’m this weak and am still so sick. On the other hand I have to remain hopeful. Two weeks ago I could not have worked for 45 minutes on this project.

So there’s progress. And where there’s progress there’s room for hope.

What accomplishment (no matter how small you might think it is) can we celebrate with you today?


14 Jan

I promised myself I would blog every day but Sunday. I thought I could get beyond that 14 day burst of energy that takes out most New Year’s Resolutions. And then I let myself down, and let you down by disappearing anyway, right on schedule with most people who have more good intentions and not so much stick-to-it-iveness.

So here I am, making an effort, putting out one more post when I’ve been struggling to find the words the last few days, as I come to terms with a shift in diagnosis that rattled me a whole lot more than I care to admit.

Someday I’ll talk about it. I promise you that much, because let’s face it, I’m not good at keeping things to myself. (Note to readers: Don’t share secrets with me). I guess I’m asking for a little more time, a little more patience as I sort things out.

I’ll be ok because I promised myself I would be. And I’ll be here to talk about books again (probably tomorrow, I have some book reviews I really need to post), and housekeeping, and pets, and children, and all that other nonsense that I fill this space with.

Who knows, I might even talk a little about That New Book I’m Writing, or even a little bit of Work (though I’m not officially working. Shh…).

Tonight, I’m going to curl in bed with “Pride and Prejudice” and read until my eyes close, hoping to dream of better things than I have the last few nights. Maybe some time with Mr. Darcy will improve my outlook.

Tomorrow will be more positive than today.

Tomorrow will be BETTER than today.

Tomorrow will be the start of Moving On. I hope you’ll stick around to see this journey through with me. I think it’s going to be fun.

10 Minutes to Success

10 Jan

On bad days I become very conscious of small things.

Today as I lay in bed, feeling every bit of pressure change of an approaching storm, I contemplated what I could accomplish. That’s the problem with being a somewhat…er…DRIVEN individual. I don’t handle sabbaticals well and need to still be able to say at the end of the day that I did something worthwhile.

Lacking much energy (read that as NONE) my list of options was a little slim. I could read but I was doing that every day. A nap doesn’t feel like much of an accomplishment. And brushing my teeth as the day’s accomplishment feels slightly…er…pathetic?

I opted for changing the sheets on the bed.

(Who knew this was a competitive sport?)

It’s funny how much pleasure we get from such small things. In warmer weather sheets are hung outside on the clothesline which makes them smell so wonderfully of fresh air and sunshine when you snap them open and let them drap delicately down on the bed.

OK, that’s a bit of fantasy on my part. I never could get my sheets to behave the way they do in laundry detergent commercials. Why can’t mine just fall neatly into place?

Regardless, fresh sheets have a niceness to them. They feel crisp when you lay down again. New.

I put off the task because it seems like so much work. A queen-sized bed in a small bedroom takes a little maneuvering around, and to be honest the ache in my body kept telling me to put it off once again.

Yet it only takes ten minutes to have a bed completed. New pillowcases upon which to rest my head. Blankets re-arranged and re-tucked so that feet wandering in the night aren’t going to wind up in the cold. Ten minutes to a blissful night’s sleep.

An accomplishment after all.

Now in better days I might have ironed the pillowcases. I know that’s been argued against as not necessary at least in my household, but I grew up ironing sheets and pillowcases. It’s a blissful thing to sleep upon if you’ve never tried it. I might just indulge in that bit of luxury the next time the weather clears and I’m feeling stronger. In the meantime though, I’m holding up this simple task as my accomplishment for the day. Something to be proud of.

And something to enjoy all night through.


3 Jan

My Wednesdays are…difficult…to say the least. They’re my busiest day of the week, the one day where I actually do run some errands and head over to The Written World for the weekly staff meeting and to put in a little work.

In short, Wednesday is the one day where I’m really not quite on sabbatical.

Today started much like any other – slowly and painfully. I got around ok for the first couple of things, but even with resting between errands, I was using the walker by lunchtime.

I really hate the walker.

Oh don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid piece of medical equipment, I just hate tottering along behind it, taking ten minutes to cross a parking lot (that’s from a space right across from the front door of my destination. (*sticks tongue out at the crabby lady who CHASED me into the grocery store one day screaming that I had no business using a handicapped space because there was NOTHING wrong with me, and I was nothing but a scammer.*)


Be that as it may, it was overall a good day. For one thing I grabbed my Paleo Comfort Food cookbook and decided to try the next recipe in the book – meatballs made with ground lamb.

I have one daughter who refuses to forgive me for eating the sweet little lambs.

picture by Mentifisto from Wikimedia Commons

picture by Mentifisto from Wikimedia Commons

I have another daughter who cheerfully tried it and the very tangy sauce that went with it, and declared it good. Civil wars have started on less cause.

The lamb was interesting to work with. The meatballs had no crackers, instead used chopped mushrooms to hold in the moisture. It was fun dicing them small (oh help, I REALLY needed to rest after all this prep time) and I discovered the chopping shallots makes my eyes tear up more than onions do.

As for eating…I’m not sure I would go to lamb as my meat of choice but it was surprisingly good. Reminded me of the shawarma I get at the local Middle Eastern restaurant. Lemon in meatballs was an interesting flavor but it went well with the sauce (that really was a little too tangy for my tastes but I’m glad I tried.)

I’m not eating paleo constantly, but I am trying to make better choices in regards to my health. I DO need to avoid gluten and dairy and so many other things that seem to set off the fibro so by the time you look at what’s left on the menu, well, I would make a caveman proud.

Speaking of primitive civilizations the bookstore seems to be doing well without me. The natives have things under control and we’re moving forward to our first anniversary on January 14th. Know any authors in the Colorado Springs area who would like to get in on a multiple book signing on January 19th (the day we’re actually celebrating the anniversary).

So, that’s it for this week. Time to curl up with my crocheting with occasional forays into the Cherry Ames which is reading at the speed I can handle tonight.

Gosh, I’m glad Wednesday is almost over…


So I’m supposed to be QUIET…

31 Dec

I hate introductory posts. Instead of the random biography thing, I’m going to assume that you’re here because you know me somehow and don’t need all the gory details – the fibromyalgia, my heart, that little thing where I had to quit working for the next several months while I try to regain my health…

Yeah that. Sounds kind of tedious, doesn’t it?

Instead I’m inviting you to pull up a comfy cushion or three, enjoy the hot chocolate and snowflakes drifting past my bedroom window as we sit down to talk, you and I. Because while I’m not PHYSICALLY active anymore, I certainly have found ways to occupy my mind and even occasionally my hands. I’m hoping that we can enjoy one another’s company and perhaps spend a good time relaxing together.

My goals for this blog are simple. I will talk about the books I’m reading, the projects I use to occupy my time, and the things I’m thinking about. No real rhyme or reason on the latter, just chatter. One day I might talk about the crochet pattern I recently discovered, the next my latest attempt to educate myself by reading the encyclopedia (see if I don’t, I have the time…)

So maybe this whole thing is a little bit random. But this rest isn’t a full stop (to go into musical terminology) but instead more of a pause to let the fullness of the notes surrounding to sink in better. A whole rest perhaps, lasting the beats of this measure.

What do you think? Shall we sit down together and enjoy one another’s company? There are, after all, different levels to ‘quiet’ and still quite a bit of fun to be had….