Nano and estores

Mechanicsville fans will be happy to know that I am writing draft 1 of book 3 (title to be determined) during Nanowrimo.  Yes, by Nov 30th I will have 50,000 words of a terrible first draft to be polished into the further adventures of Samantha, Ashley and Faraj.

So an edited version will be for sale this spring!  Yay!  And as usual, I will be running a fundraiser for literary charities through Nanowrimo.org.  Anyone who donates $20 or more can get a character or something named after them. A hero? A villain? An office building?  Your choice!

 

Also, I have been upgrading/ figuring out the estore on my website. I hope it works. I hope my SSL is added right. I hope I know what I’m doing.

And an amusing tale to send you off into the dreary, wet day…

I planted my garlic for next year, 100 cloves in nice, sorta-tidy rows.  Of course, I buried them in the dirt after the photo. Otherwise, it would have been a pretty boring shot.

The funny part is how much my bum hurt the next day. Seriously, I could hardly walk. But my back didn’t hurt at all. Not a bit. Yay for pain management.  Even today, I’m hobbling around because it hurts every time I flex my butt cheek. Do you have any idea how often you do that?  LOL

Life happens

Sometimes it happens a lot. Explodes kinda.

I recently found out I’m becoming a godmother! I’ll try to be the nice one, not the one who curses the whole castle.  No promises.  🙂

We’ve been to 2 out of 3 baby showers, being the first grandchild in both the mom and pop-to-be’s families, everybody wanted to celebrate. I made a quilt! (my computer is being a poopy-head so I can’t upload a photo of it.)

I’m also taking a local herbalism course so that if someone is unwise enough to follow the suggestions of my totally invented healer in my totally made up world, they don’t poison themselves.  Plus it’s fascinating!

And I finally got into the pain clinic at Ottawa General. This means four weeks of 830-2pm sessions. I’m usually wrecked for 3 days after being in town for 1 day. This will be interesting. The doctor in charge says that she wants to see me on a bad day. Oh you will, honey, you will. By say… Wednesday of the first week.

Plus I’m trying to write 2000 words a day over 3 stories I’m currently working on. Harder than it should be. Like pulling teeth some days. Hen’s teeth.

I’m trying to finish 2 books that I’ve promised to review/ beta read. And many other things which I am too busy to think about.

But it’s summer!  Nothing else really matters.

Here, there and everywhere

The next few weeks, or months, will be crazy busy around here.  That probably means my 2x a week blogging schedule will get even more screwed up than usual.

Thursday, I’m in town until 9pm for a writers group. Friday we leave for Ad Astra.  Get home Sunday late at night, and I should go to a different writers group Monday, but let’s be honest, even with the wheelchair all weekend, I’ll be in NO shape for a day in town.

The following weekend, we leave for 2 weeks for my Mom’s wedding.  It’s so cute! She’s 80 and he’s 70, and she thinks she’s a cougar, a cradle robber!

We get back just before the long weekend on the 21st of May, and have a birthday event to go to, then a few days off before the book fair (I’m on the organizing committee and in charge of registration). The next weekend is a charity event, the next is a wedding, then there’s a festival I’m in….

I’ll post when I have both time and brain function, but realistically…. expect to return to regular blogging in the fall.

Orlando shootings, another voice

It’s been ages since I posted, I’ve been crazy busy, and the world has just gone crazy.

After my mom’s wedding a little less than a month ago, I worked a book fair, dealt with pain levels that would make a grown man sob hysterically, attended two milestone birthday parties, started a garden, had three doctor appointments, wrote a 7 page outline, adopted a stray cat, had friends over for dinner….

For most of you, that might not sound crazy busy. But I do most of it hunched over from pain, barely able to walk. I am on morphine from the pain, and some days it doesn’t even make a dent.

I got to feeling sorry for myself. I cleared 4 garden beds (well, I cleared one, my niece cleared three) and could barely move for two days. I worked at the kitchen table because it was so much closer to the coffee machine.

Then the mass shooting in Orlando put things into perspective. I live my life in pain. Some live their lives in fear. Fear of things like that slimy little turd in Orlando.

And their fear is as real as my pain, but a lot harder to fix. Morphine wouldn’t touch it on its best day.

Most of you don’t know this, but I had a foster child in the late 80’s, early 90’s. He was high school age, failing, depressed, suicidal, and GAY. Also a gorgeous person of colour.

He was being bullied so badly at school that he’d been moved from foster home to foster home because of his anger and depression. (Way to really help these kids, Asshats!)

So I got him. I adored him at first sight. By the time he aged out of the system, he was happy, creative, and had a scholarship to university. What did I do that was so incredibly different?

I accepted him.  After all, who he loves is none of my concern as long as I show him it’s safe to love. Where he puts his dick is none of my business EVER.  (Unless his partner is abusive, in which case I try to help him get the strength to leave, but that story is none of your business.)

He’s now a strong, loving, beautiful man. He supports himself, owns his own home, has a wonderful partner, acts and sings on stage, and probably still lives in fear.

It breaks my heart. And terrifies me.  My son used to go to bars all the time when he was in his 20’s. He rocked that dance floor! And any of those fun-loving people out for a few drinks could have been him.

None of them were a threat to to anybody, none of them were doing anything but enjoying a night out. I look at their eager, happy photos and cry for the loss of so many lights. So many shining ones snuffed out, into darkness.

I’ve seen a couple of people celebrating their deaths. Do that anywhere I can see you and blocked will be the nicest thing to happen to you. Excuse me while I go write an execution or something, pretending it’s one of those small-minded, foul-mouthed cretins.

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My beautiful, happy boy.

My non-existent pain…

Tomorrow morning bright and early, we leave on a ten hour drive to my Mom’s to help with her wedding.  It’s both stressful (Mom reports turning into a 16 yo bridezilla) and incredibly cute.

So, I spent all day yesterday packing for a 2 week trip, and was supposed to spend today getting the house ready to be empty.  Like emptying the fridge of rottables.

Instead of sleeping last night, I was up all night with severe pain in my non-existent gall bladder. I had my gall bladder removed almost 2 years ago, and I’m still having attacks?  Worse than when I had it?!  The very definition of unfair.

I am so tired and sore today it’s not funny.  But I’ve still got so much to do.  Like refreezing the freezer packs. And bringing down the box of stuff for Mom.

I’m betting that the love of my life didn’t get much sleep either because there was no position that lessened the pain. But I still shifted around looking for it. Constantly.

I was also supposed to write a review of an ARC I received. I wanted it done before we headed down east, but my brain is poutine today. Messy, squishy, some parts hot, some cold… you get the idea.

Maybe I can write the review on my tablet in the car tomorrow, and upload when we get to my Mom’s?

My life so far….

Well, so far today.

Major pain from being in town yesterday. I had a Dr appt, where she doubled my morphine dose (that’s always a good sign, right?), told me the xrays of my back revealed “significant erosion” from L5 to L3, and there wasn’t enough healthy bone left to try to operate to fix the degenerating discs.

The good news was that the anti-osteoporosis meds I’ve been on for 4 years have started adding bone mass to my hips, just not the frigging spine! And she admires my upbeatness and my hopeful cheerfulness. Well, let’s be honest, dear readers. My back is Fracked!  I can moan and groan and be miserable, or I can love my family & friends with all my heart, throw myself into healthy cooking, my writing etc and be as happy as I can because after 36 years of this shit with my back, I’m still here. I’m still having fun.

This is where studying Stoicism comes in. I can only change what is within my power. Is a degenerating spine something in my power to change? No. But my attitude, my behaviour, and my character all are. So I choose to be happy. I choose to be strong. I do NOT choose to let the pain define me.

I love my life. I love my hubby, I love gardening (with the help of my minion Willow) and I love writing. And my back is what it is. Nothing will change it.

In other news of things to appreciate, my Yeti , who is still claiming to be a giant cat, is scary smart. His water dish was empty. He went to the sink to yowl for more. When that didn’t work, he came to my office, yowled for me to pet him, but backed out of reach. Every time I reached for him, he ran to the office door and looked at me.  When I followed him to the kitchen, yes he ran straight to the kitchen, he actually stood up to paw at the counter in front of the sink. It took long enough to sink in that he wanted me to follow him that I wonder which of us is smarter…

 

It’s pretty clear who he thinks is smarter.

Late again, but I have an excuse!

8000 steps yesterday, and every one hurt.

I’m supposed to do 1500-2000 steps a day. I did 4-5 X that much. Owie!

But I’m back, almost in one piece, and eager to get editing my fantasy epic.  April is Camp Nano, and I’ve chosen to edit my book so that it makes sense, tighten it by about 30k words, and get it ready for a couple of alpha readers.

Strange as it sounds, I’m very excited by this. I’ve taken the last 2 weeks away from working on it to clear my head and prep for my mom’s wedding next month. It didn’t totally clear, I kept getting flashes of ideas and writing myself notes.

I figure, that I’m starting April 5th, that I need to do 25-30 pages of the original manuscript per day, regardless of what it ends up in the edited version.  Today I did 25 pages. Go, me!

And I still can’t find my frigging dress that I bought for the wedding and put somewhere safe. You really would think I’d know better. So at least one day this week is to be spent tearing my bedroom apart.  Good chance to rotate the seasonal wardrobe, I tell myself. As opposed to “you idiot, where did you put the fricking dress? It matches the purse you just bought. The one that matches NOTHING else in my wardrobe.”

But, life will go on, my wardrobe will be there eventually. And my box of cool shit foe my om will go to NB with me.

Let’s be different today!

Today I am starting to organize myself for the Beltaine Craft fair on April 23rd.  Yes, that’s a long ways away, and yes, I do need to start this early.

Part of it is my chronic pain making the necessary bending and lifting almost impossible, and part of it is my #mybrainisajerk syndrome.  It works like this, I realize I need a specific item.  My brain says “Right, I got that sorted!”, and I promptly forget to do it. Every time I think of that item again, my brain says “We handled it, remember?”

I get to the craft show, and you know it, the item is missing.  So now I need to do it regardless of what my brain says, because it lies.

I’m also searching desperately for the dress I bought for my Mom’s wedding in May.  Because I put it where I can’t possibly lose it, and you guessed it…. #mybrainisajerk.  I have no idea where it is and it’s not in the usual places like the closet, or the top of the dresser with the purse it matches.

So, with all this going on in my head, I decided to cop out on blogging and share a recipe from my Fresh and Home-made Indian cookbook.

Coconut Chicken Curry!  I originally created this recipe for my Mom, who hates harsh or spicy curries. (But her fave Asian dish is Singapore Noodles, go figure! * Singapore Noodles are curried, FYI) She loves this recipe, even had 2 bowls the last time I made it!

This curry is sweet and creamy, though adding hot peppers, hot sauce or more curry powder will increase the heat if you like it hot.  I usually make this in the crockpot, just save the cashews and peas to the end, and toss everything else in slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.  Add the peas about 15 minutes before serving, and top with cashews.  Serve with rice or quinoa.

Coconut Chicken Curry

Serves four.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup whole unsalted cashews

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt to taste

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced  (or 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste)

1 can unsweetened coconut milk

1 can crushed pineapple, drained

1/4 cup frozen peas

1 red pepper, seeded and diced

 

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the cashews in a pie plate and bake for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Lightly season the chicken with salt. In a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil until smoking.

Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and reduce the heat to moderate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat until smoking. Add curry powder, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the onion, ginger and garlic, and cook until the onion softens, about 10 minutes; if the mixture seems dry, add up to 1/4 cup of water to prevent sticking.

Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer until cooked, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the peas, pineapple and red pepper  and cook for 1 minute.

Transfer the coconut chicken curry to a bowl, sprinkle with the cashews and serve over rice.

12722017_10153215051681568_1421391997_n  Available on Amazon, Kobo, and ibooks

 

 

 

Sideways snow and other Spring moments

As I sit here, arthritis and migraine in full swing, I think… “At least it’s Spring”.  Because it has to be damp and changing air pressure to hurt this bad, right?

But the window proves me wrong. Or proves that old adage “In like a lion out like a lamb” wrong… BECAUSE… it is snowing sideways.  I sit here, watching the pine and birch trees sway, and the snow going straight across the window. Side to side, no downwards momentum. And I can’t see anything past the tree line but white.  No neighbouring farms, no flashing lights at the town’s one and only crossroad. Nothing but white, blowing snow.snow 080308-3  My Winnebago, 10 feet from the porch.

This calls for coffee!  And no driving anywhere!  I declare this a PJ day.  I write from home, I can do that.

And crockpot chicken, just toss it all in there and ignore it.  My kinda cooking today.  I think I’ll make….

Lime Sriracha chicken? (page 39 of my Fresh and Homemade Asian cookbook) or Coconut Chicken Curry (page 30 on my Indian cookbook)?  Both can easily be tossed in the crockpot and ignored. At least, as well as you can ignore them with how awesome they smell.

Or I could just whimper until the love of my life makes food….

He is also home because the weather channel keeps changing when and how bad this storm will be.  All we need is the world to end in ice and snow, and him 60km away.

Chest pains and a true horror story

Before I begin, I have to share THE best “what do you want” face I’ve ever seen.  My Yeti, upon being awakened by my uncomfortable shifting around on the couch!

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So, Friday evening at about 9pm, I start getting a pain in my upper back. No biggie, I think, My arthritis is acting up because of the snowstorm. I take a painkiller and continue to watch TV.

But the pain spreads to my ribs, and then to the front, making my diaphragm seize up.  Soon I hurt from shoulder blade to pelvic bone, both sides. And can barely breathe for the pain in my chest, centered just under my left breast.

Call the ambulance! Longest 7 minutes in my life! But the boys were cute, one kept apologizing for his cold hands, and having to put the little sticky things for the ECG on my breast area…. please, if it stops me from dying in my ugly pj’s, put that thing anywhere!  I have more important things on my mind than whether you see my nipple right now.

It was not a heart attack, even though it certainly felt like one. Severe pain in my chest, trouble breathing, cold sweats, dizzy, nauseated, etc.  And I know that more women die from their first heart attack than men because we wait to see what happens.  So we went straight to ambulance and checking my heart.  And decided to go to the hospital, because heart attack or no, I was still in freaking pain.

Now the horror story begins.

I was brought to the emergency room by ambulance at about 1030.  (I live on a small farm an hour outside Ottawa) The nurse copied my vitals from the ambulance record. My pain at home had been about 9.5/10.  It lowered to about 7/10 in the ambulance. In the waiting room at about 1130pm, it went back to an 8 or 9.  I informed the nurse behind the desk that it was back to unbearable.

I saw my first person at 3am. That person listened to my heart, then left. No pulse, no blood pressure no blood work.

I saw the doctor (THE doctor: this is the horror part) at 4am or later.  I was half asleep by this time, the pain had stopped except for residual soreness. around 1am.

Remember that this is a Friday night, with a snowstorm?  There was ONE doctor on duty in emergency. And about 5 nurses. TOTAL.

What the Hell?

I had been triaged, based on the ambulance ECG.  And knocked to the bottom of the list several times. But at no time did anyone triage me or check me at the hospital.  They wrote on my chart that they did, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant.  This one is about ONE freaking doctor on duty on a Friday night in a snowstorm.

Because… there won’t be any accidents or heart attacks or drunk drivers then.

By the time I saw the doctor, he had no clue what was wrong because all the symptoms were gone. He gave me a prescription for heartburn.  Seriously?

I sense a really pointed letter to politicians in my future.