the view from sunday: rest and rainbows

The weekend has been a blur of post-conference decompression. There have been a lot of naps. I had a great time, but whenever I’m away from home for more than a day I find it really hard to get back to normal. It’s like jet-lag without the jet part. Even after an afternoon nap, I’m still exhausted.

It’s going to be a tough week. The boy is away so I’m cat sitting, which means I’m going to have to do some creative scheduling in order to squeeze everything into my already tight schedule.

Didymus turned 14 while I was away, but my mom made sure to make him a party hat to mark the occasion. It’s a melancholy celebration because the sarcoma he had removed in February has returned. He’s going in for a second procedure on Tuesday, but I’m afraid it will be back sooner rather than later. Trying to treasure every moment.

On a lighter note, there was a beautiful rainbow that spread across the neighborhood this afternoon. I will take it as a good sign.

the view from sunday: mother’s day fun

My mom wears me out like no other, but every moment we spend together is definitely special. It’s been a rough year for us all, so I tried to keep things light. Took my mom and gran out for a quick brunch at one of the boy’s favorite Colombian bakeries, followed by a trip to one of my mom’s favorite health food stores (she gets a kick out of buying supplements and organic soaps). We dropped my gran off at home so she could rest and picked up the boy for a trip to Yogurtland and a little heart to heart… After 6 years, the boy finally asked me to move in with him (for real this time, not because it was the easy way out of a bad situation). I said yes, but it won’t be official for another year since I just renewed my lease (bad timing). Either way, we wanted to break the news to her and share in our excitement. It will be interesting preparing to move and figure out how our stuff will fit together.

We ended the day with churros, because who can pass on churros?

the hard stuff

My grandmother has Alzheimer’s. It started about 15 years ago. At least, that’s what I estimate. I was 15 the first time I noticed that she was lost. She picked me up from school; I stayed late for some after school activity, probably art club or something, and missed the bus. I was hungry and she took me to the McDonald’s down the street to pick up a snack. When we got back in the car, she didn’t know where she was or what she was doing there. I had to show her how to get back home. She was fine after that. My mom passed it off as age, exhaustion after a long day. But then it started to happen again, at random. Eventually we knew something was off.

There’s no way to stop it and it only gets worse. I lived with my mom and gran growing up, there was no day when she wasn’t around. She’s always been difficult. She’s always been hard to understand and a little cold towards my mom. Now, she’s aggressive and mean. She’s angry and irrational. When I moved out, I knew that I was leaving my mom in a tough situation, but I knew that I couldn’t stay. It was a hard choice. I was ready to move on, even knowing that my mom needed help to deal with my grandmother’s dementia. It’s getting harder. My mom’s health is poor. She’s retiring because she can’t work and take care of my grandmother anymore, but she also can’t take care of her without suffering herself. My grandmother’s actions stress her out and are making her own health deteriorate. Meanwhile, I’m unable to offer any kind of real help. There’s so little that can be done and no money for outside help. It’s hard to age when you’re poor and even worse when you’re unable to take care of yourself or those you love.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. I worry for them both and there is no easy solution. My mom was in tears when I called to check in on her this morning; she was crying because my grandmother was acting out again. It’s hard to feel kind towards my grandmother knowing that she’s never been kind to my mom, and that makes me feel even worse. The thought of having to put her in care hurts, but it may come down to it if it means taking the pressure off my mom. There’s no easy out.

I just needed to put this into words.

in which I am a clumsy creature

My morning has been plagued by an attack of the clumsies. Dropped my $20 under the car seat during my trip to the gas station and had to crawl around, nearly straining my shoulder to fish it out. In my haste, I dropped my sunglasses on the car seat and forgot to move them before getting back in. I now have no sunglasses to protect me from the glaring Florida sunshine.

I them arrived at work early… too early as there was no one else around to let me in to the office (I work between campuses, but only have the key to my “home” base). I’m squatting among the students and feeling terribly self-concious as I click away on my laptop as it’s the last day of finals and students are stir-crazy.

I am taking comfort in a soy latte. I vowed to cut my latte addiction last month (and I did), but this one feels warranted.

On the bright side, it looks like there was a tiny increase in my earnings. Just a little one, but much appreciated as my rent just went up.

Serenity now.

April in a nutshell

It’s been a long, hot month. I finished three writing projects (work-wise), made some progress on the edits (fiction-wise), and squeezed in plenty of evening walks.

In other news…

My dessert rose finally bloomed! It took nearly two years, but my little twig finally grew up into a proper little bush thing.

My hair is finally collar length! YES!

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And I enjoyed my first beach walk of the year :). It was lovely.

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april showers revive the muse and the spirit

I’ve been making steady progress on the writing projects and the fitness efforts :). My current process is not as ambitious as it was, but it fits my lifestyle without making me panic at every turn. I wouldn’t call myself an A-type, but I definitely tend to self-reproach when given the chance. I’m presently plodding along at a chapter a week. I can get a solid 30 minutes to an hour of writing done on most week nights. It’s not much, but any progress is good progress. Weekends are catch-up, wrap-up, and plan days. At this rate, the draft should be done by June.

My new fitness routine is also helping. I fell into a slump sometime last fall, and it seriously took a toll on my energy. I won’t go into detail, but I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease as a teen and there are days when it feels nearly impossible to do more than I’m already required to do to be a functioning member of society. Exercise helps, as does eating right. When I let go, my body lets go… and that’s really bad. One of my library friends is on a mission to heal me, but that’s a really long story. Exercise = energy. Energy = writing. Can’t have one without the other.

In other news, I finished my manuscript edits for the academic tome and submitted one of my pending reviews. Next project involves editing a co-authored chapter to be submitted to a library publication. Wish me luck!

the view from Sunday: reconnecting with my inner fitgeek

For years, I bemoaned the fact that some quack doctor told my mother that I shouldn’t rollerblade anymore after I sprained my ankle. Surely, this cannot be sound medical advice? Telling someone they shouldn’t perform an exercise after recovery, especially when the exercise in question had nothing to do with the injury… but I was a kid and gave up my skates for fear of permanent injury.

Now, I have achy, old lady knees and my favorite form of cardio (running) is mostly off-limits, as regular runs now lead to swollen knees and excruciating hip pain :( . I need something to pump my heart rate up and keep my lower half from going on strike… hello, rollerblading! I opened my wallet and bought myself a pair of pink-trimmed skates (the only ones available in my size) and took them out for a turn yesterday. I fell flat on my bum twice, but it was so much fun while I was gliding! The next challenge is finding a set of pads to keep my knees, elbows, and wrists safe… I have really strong legs; finding pads that can wrap around my knees is proving harder than I thought. In the meantime, the boy is willing to catch me when I go down (he’s been very sweet about it too). My goal is to practice at least 30 minutes every weekend until I feel secure enough to go it alone. The hardest part is maintaining my balance when skating past uneven terrain–and there’s a lot of it to roll over.

Today’s practice was a short one because I skipped breakfast in favor of brunch (big mistake), so I made up for it by taking a walk this afternoon. There were lots of pretty flowers and happy Easter folks (we have a high concentration of churches in the area, there were lots of happy Easter folks to be seen).

Behold! Plumeria in bloom!

All in all, it’s been a rather nice Sunday. The migraine that has been plaguing me is still around, but on the weak end of the scale. I may try to go over my notes for the next round of editing before the night is done.

what happened (and didn’t happen) in March…

March wasn’t a particularly good month for writing. My initial goal was to get through chapter 15, but I soon realized this wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I rewrote chapters 8-14, turning five chapters into three, rewriting some major plot points and leaving me with a much better storyline (IMHO). I’m two chapters behind, but I’m not complaining. I’m still on track to meet my self-imposed deadline, and the rest of the it should be a straight rewrite, rather than a major scrap session.

In the meantime, I’m taking a break until Sunday. I haven’t felt well for a few weeks; in part because of the amount of noise and dust I’ve had to deal with at work, and partly because I haven’t been as mindful in taking care of myself. I can’t write well if I don’t feel well and it’s starting to show. To remedy this, I’ve started cleaning up my diet and switching up my habits to get back to a healthier, happier state. I know my triggers, and I really do need to be more vigilant if I want to be my best self.

In other news, proofs for the academic manuscript are in, and I saw one of my professional reviews in the wild. Totally made up for a weird acceptance/rejection for an article I co-authored with two of my library pals. It came down to a “rewrite it and we’ll review it” decision, but there was a note about the need to have the paper edited by a native speaker that really rubbed me the wrong way. My name was listed as main author because my co-authors said I motivated them to write, but my actual contribution to the manuscript was the least significant in terms of content… the assumption that it was written by a non-native speaker could only be in reference to my last name, which really galls me. It’s the first time I’ve had something like this happen within an academic context, though I’m sure it’s a common occurrence.

the view from Sunday: a fine day to go to the Fair

The Fair is back! Though I no longer feel blissfully ignorant enough to ride any of the rides (when you’ve seen them being constructed, it kind of turns you off for life), it’s become a tradition between me and the boy (plus, there’s so much county drama surrounding where it will resettle in years to come, that I might as well enjoy it while it still looks like the place I remember).

There were lots of lovely fluffy creatures to pet and feed in the petting zoo. Nibbly baby alpacas are the sweetest, while little American bison have the most expressive eyes.

more food than I care to admit.

Some fine feathered friends strutting their stuff.

Bunnies!

And unicorns.

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in which the shit hits the fan (almost literally)

The day was good… until disaster struck. Now, there’s a hole in my bedroom wall and a (possibly) ill-fitting ac unit in my future. I suspected something was going to go wrong re:  AC unit replacement, I just didn’t think it would be this bad. Wish I’d shelled out the cash for it myself, but didn’t want to spend so much when it’s more of a rental owner thing. So it goes. Waiting to see whether or not I will have a hole in the wall for days to come. Fingers crossed.

On the bright side, I wrote a lot. Not quite where I wanted to be (disaster struck while the going was getting good), but not bad for a day’s work.