Foxy and I

IMG_0393Every morning Foxy and I get dressed. She watches me put on my shoes. Sometimes I will stop and look at my feet.

She will bump my hand until I continue with the chore. By the time I am ready, she twirls around twice to show her happiness. Her tail starts to wag. We are going for a walk.

After we walk out the front door, I have to tell her to sit because she wants to run to the elevator. She knows that is the way to the outside. I have to tell her to quit pulling so I can lock the door. This little dog with little legs walks faster than I do. She pulls me into a fast walk.

I’ve watched other seniors in my community walk their dogs. It is a slow meandering pace from one patch of grass to another. They keep to the slow pace of their owners. Some of these folks walk with canes and others have the black walkers with wheels. I want one of those when I need support. It gives the senior enough stability that she can walk around the complex by herself.

My dog thinks that to enjoy a walk, we need to walk fast enough that I am just at the point of running. In fact if I didn’t pull just a little I would be running. No wonder I am tired after twenty minutes of this.

Foxy has found friends here. When I first rescued her in 2014, she was not socialized to other dogs. It took a long time before she trusted me and before she listened to me. It took a lot of treats and a lot of discipline.

I am happy that she has found friends. It means she trusts me enough to keep her safe.

When I first got her, she was an accomplished escape artist. Now I can keep the door open and she will sit on my recliner and watch the outside.

Today, I let her run to another Chihuahua mix named Chance. They raced toward each other and played. It was a lot of jumping, sniffing, and running. That little girl is a runner. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with her if she ran away, but she comes back.

When I am tired, we power walk back to the apartment. She sniffs for bunnies and I wait for the elevator.

So this is how my morning starts when I am feeling well.

 

Fire Alarms and writing

This weekend I was in the process of rewriting She Called It, Wolf, and whenever I got into the story, the entire building would screech like a wild thing. It is not only inside the building apartments, but the loudest alarms were outside the building.

My Foxy trembled and she didn’t know whether to hide or run to me. I snapped my fingers and had her jump on my recliner. Then I was able to get partially dressed, put a harness on her, and grab my purse. Even though I knew this was another “false alarm,” I decided long ago that I would treat each alarm as if it were real.

Besides I have more than myself to keep safe nowadays. I have heard so many stories of people leaving the house and then realizing that they left their children or their pets in harms way. I want Foxy to know that she must find me and we would leave together.

She trembled the entire time. I still have a headache from that last alarm.

Anyway, once we were out of the building, about ten minutes, I walked her to a small grassy area past the other buildings. We could still hear the alarm. Thankfully it was more muted.

It also means that my writing concentration was broken twice this weekend. I did notice one thing. Very few of the seniors left their apartments. Herein lies the problem– when there are so many false alarms, it becomes easier and easier to ignore the alarm. It nullifies its usefulness.

So just like when the “Boy Called Wolf,” the next time there is a real fire, the seniors will ignore that alarm too.

I decided to treat the alarm as real. Next time it happens I will walk to my car and leave with the dog.

Gratuitous Foxy picture

img_0584 Since this has been an interesting week as in the “Chinese” curse “May you live in interesting times.” I thought a doggy picture of my companion would be appropriate.

I finally lost my monitor. I knew I would lose it because there was a high squeal coming from the back. To my opinion as a former electronics tech, I was losing a cap in the power supply. Since it was a small monitor and buying parts would be more expensive than a new monitor, I used it until one day it wouldn’t turn on.

I think I might give it to an used electronics store– it is probably fixable. I just don’t have the time, energy, or money. Also I have room to write, but no room for electronics repair as a hobby.

The second thing that happened this week was the attitude of many of my doctors. I have been trying to get an appointment that leads to surgery because it is obvious to me that my thyroid is going to malfunction more and more until it dies and/or I have other problems. Because it is supposed to be a slow-moving cancer, many of the doctors do not have the urgency that I have about getting this problem fixed. One told me that getting the surgery now or in three months wouldn’t make any difference considering the kind of cancer I had.

I am learning once again that beating my head against the wall of medical “knowledge” will only give me a sore head– in more ways than one. So I am now cranky as well as exhausted with my body going through so many ups and downs this month– (cold then hot, happy then angry, and always in extremes).

I would like to go back to “balance.” I miss those days.

Today I went back to one of my novellas that I started last year. I want to get it written and then published. I also have started the third book in the Hilda’s Inn series called “Unlicensed Sorceress.”

The good news is that I have had enough energy to rearrange my writing room and clear out all the paper that was clogging my energy levels. More good news is that I am enjoying my new monitor. I find it easier to use for my writing.

Don’t forget that I do have a new book out– “Dragon Boy.” You can find it here at Amazon.com.

Grace under pressure

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Since I was given my diagnosis of thyroid cancer (papillary thyroid carcinoma) on Tuesday, the stress has been building because I haven’t received any phone calls from the surgeon so that I can get an appointment. It blows my mind that the word “cancer” means something to me, but not to the doctors that should be treating me. Plus with the thyroid out-of-whack, the stress builds quicker and more forcefully.

I was thinking of how I should deal with the doctors when I remembered the few months we dealt with Otto’s diagnosis of cancer. At least in my case, we know where my cancer is located. I became more and more angry and he became more and more polite and kind to the nurses and doctors around him.

It was a scary time. I am now feeling some of the same pressures even though I have been assured by a couple of people including my primary care doctor that this is one of the most survivable cancers. It is also the easiest to treat. Except even with all this going for me, if I am not treated early, I end up like the five percent who don’t survive. What makes me anxious and ultimately angry is that I am seeing no forward momentum in eradicating this problem.

When I go to sleep at night, I feel this huge lump in my throat and I am now sleeping in a reclining position because I can’t swallow well while I am sleeping. Now that I know what is in that lump, I feel it every day. I felt it before, but I thought I could trust the doctors. If I hadn’t pitched a fit about not feeling good– and that I needed to be checked (I went to the ER, I had labs and fecal tests, and I had a sonogram). I would still have this thing in my neck, ready to spew cancer cells to other parts of my body.

It doesn’t help that my thyroid is releasing hormones erratically. It doesn’t help that I feel this lump whenever I swallow. It doesn’t help that I want to scream at someone–

So how did my late-husband stay kind under that kind of pressure. Part of it was that he really cared about my emotional state. He would diminish his pain a little so that I wouldn’t worry as much. Plus he was kind. He really was kind underneath.

I learned a lot of my coping skills from him. He used to tell me that I needed to hold a good memory close so that I could remember it when I was unhappy. Plus I needed to visualize it as clearly as I could. When he was close to dying and needed help to remember his good memory–I recreated the beach for him. I told him about the water washing up onto the sand. About the colorful fishes swimming around his feet. I described the women in bikinis walking hand in hand and splashing water.

I want to borrow his “grace.”

So I had an interruption

I won’t get into the details, but this last week was incredibly stressful. The only hint I am going to give is that it was about money. So yea, incredibly stressful– but I don’t want to talk about what caused the stress. It will only make my mind roll and loop until all I can think of is how to fix an unfixable problem.

What I want to discuss is what I do to snap myself out of such loops and stresses. It isn’t easy because when I see a problem or an injustice, I want to fix it. If I can’t fix it, then I want to discipline. When I see a problem, that is the point where I try the cooperation thing. You know–talk to the company or representative. When I find that the person or thing is not interested in cooperation or even in a little give and take, I go immediately into the Viking mode.

There are folks here who know what I mean. I come from a family who are mostly Nordic and can claim berserker blood in their genes. The scientific world is seeing this as the MAO gene. At one point they thought that predominantly criminals would have this gene, which turned out to be false. Folks who have this gene spend a lot of their time learning ways to keep these impulses under control. To others who don’t have to deal with this emotional turmoil, it looks like the person who is controlling themselves are control freaks.

So what do I do when I reach the boiling point?

I used to have a stuffed bear that would fall to pieces when I threw it against a wall. It would make a satisfying thunk and then I would come to my senses. I would put the bear back together for another time when I the stress levels got too high. However, I learned this last few years in therapy that using violence to relieve those feels i.e. throw the bear or thump the pillow reinforces the violence. So I am trying a few new ways, which take daily practice.

Meditation:

When I practice meditation daily, it takes a lot more stress to reach the mind loops. When I am in a mind loop, I found that if I light a candle and just watch the flame for fifteen minutes that my mind will go quiet. It is a very useful tool when my mind has become unruly.

QiGong (or Tai chi):

This is also a daily practice that will quiet my mind. Once again it needs to be practiced daily. It gives the mind other grooves besides the one– of hurt and betrayal. When I focus on how my body moves, the mind doesn’t have time to ruminate.

Walk:

I go outside with the dog and walk around the property. When I begin to see the birds and rabbits, then I know that my mind is quieting. The dog is so joyful when we walk that I can’t stay stressed. Her tail wags back and forth and she walks purposefully. We travel at speed.

Recently, I was told that many of these techniques are called “grounding” in the mental health fields. I think of it as keeping my mind busy with something else so it stops making ruts in my mind. I have worked had to overcome many childhood problems–and I don’t want to fall back into the patterns of victim and betrayal.

Still when I get this stressed it takes days to get back into my peace. This time though I went for help. Considering that I have been a very independent woman and solved most of my problems myself or tried, this is a real break-through. It didn’t take months or years before I asked for help. I asked within days.

So now I am ready to write Unlicensed Sorceress. I now have some experiences that will enrich Hilda’s frustration with agencies. I wonder if she will solve her problems with her mind, magic, or sword?

The dog is sleeping

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So as much as I think my words are exciting and my stories are fun, the dog has other plans. Foxy sleeps as I struggle with words, scenes, and characters. I am tempted to get off this chair and walk into the other room. She will sigh heavily as if I am interrupting her sleep time, and then she will follow me out of the room.

I am fortunate that I can have a writing room. When I am finished using the computer, I shut the door. This room is only for my projects, which include my novels. Unlike the other apartment, I don’t have a mirror staring at me. It made me very conscious as if someone was staring at me as I wrote my thousand words.

I am learning to appreciate that I can walk and talk. I have met others who are so bound in their minds and bodies that I look healthy beside them. I still have Stage 4 kidney disease. I will always have a Vasculitis disease and I will be in pain for the rest of my days. I am still able to smile and appreciate a little doggy who sits on my lap when I watch movies or who wakes me in the morning when I sleep too long.

So the main purpose of this blog is to tell you that I have finished writing and editing “Dragon Boy.” Once it is back from the Beta readers, I will do the final publishing– ebook and digital. I learned several years ago that some of you do want to have an actual book instead of just ones and zeros.

I started the third book in this series called “Unlicensed Sorceress,” which will be Hilda’s introduction to city politics and regulation. I assure you that she will not be happy.

Since I am only on Chapter two, I can’t give you more details. Let us say that the story hasn’t completely unfolded to me either.

May you have a great holiday season and a Happy New Year.

May you get all the rest you need to succeed.

May you receive success and joy throughout 2017.

The Eye of the Hurricane

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CC0 Public Domain Pixabay

This has been one of the most stressful months in a long time. I was in a car accident, some money I was expecting was terminated, and my rent was raised. Most of this happened while I was recovering from a concussion and whiplash from the car accident.

I wasn’t thinking straight and it felt like the world had decided to stomp all over me. When I tried to read I would get sharp pains in my head. When I tried to think in the future, my head would ache. For a couple of days there, I would stare off into space. I was scared because I could only see homelessness ahead of me and the dog.

Thankfully I was able to get help and the last few weeks I have been doing physical therapy, which included deep tissue massage and neck traction. Normally I would hate being strapped into a machine that makes me feel helpless. However, as the machine stretched my neck and then released it, I could feel the pain get less. So a few weeks later, I can read, write, and think.

When I received the notice for the rent, I was still not thinking properly. Even so, I was sure that I needed to look for a new place. Somewhere closer to my specialty doctors and somewhere closer to better emergency medicine. If I hadn’t had the car accident, I might have stayed in this apartment. It was the push of the two other things that made me start looking again. I was a crab who had gotten comfortable with its shell.

I took Foxy with me when I looked at the apartment. The gardens are lovely. The staff are willing to help make the place comfortable. Also, they do wellness checks.

Just finding this apartment has decreased my stress to a low level. I will still be in a two bedroom. It is almost impossible to get a one bedroom in this city. One bedroom will be my writing and workshop room. The square footage is about the same as my current apartment.

I am looking forward to starting my new life.