Monday, Monday

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Free from Pixabay

I haven’t dared to turn on the TV this morning because I finally have a clear brain and don’t want it cluttered with angry political rhetoric. So instead of listening to the weather attached to “news,” I am listening to my writing music as my little dog, Foxy, sits at my feet.

In my last post I talked about having low blood pressure and as I changed my meds, my brain started to come back online.  At this point I am trying to break a few of my obsessive habits that formed when my mind wasn’t clear. One of those things is to sit in my over-stuffed rocking chair, and play games on my Kindle Fire. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was a break after my writing routines. But, after my walk in the morning, I try to catch my breath. My brain is still foggy so I just reach for the Kindle and then turn on the TV. Then that is the end of my day.

So today and maybe the next month, I am breaking the habit of turning on the TV first thing in the morning.

Until I was sick the first time, I saw myself as three separate parts– body, mind, and spirit. I thought of myself as my mind. Then the first time, I was on a serious chemo drug I found that when my body wasn’t well, then my mind wasn’t well. Logically I knew this, but in my heart– I was my mind. It took me many months after I was taken off that chemo and put on a gentler drug to recuperate. It was hard for me to admit that I would never be the same.

The meds that I take to keep my immune system and kidneys under control feel like a huge bear paw that holds my mind down. When low blood pressure is in the mix, I’m amazed that I remember to walk, talk and eat.

My conclusion is that there is no separation of mind, body, and spirit. If any of these components are sick, then the whole becomes sick.

The scary thing is– if I could see when my body was sick enough to affect my mind, then I could stop it. But being the one in the middle of it, I cannot. I knew something was wrong because I couldn’t remember words. They slipped away from me into the void. I started to become disconnected.

It was so subtle.

I am grateful for a doctor that saw something not quite right. My kidneys cannot operate well if my blood pressure is too low. In my experience, if my kidneys are not working properly, then I lose my ability to reason and think.

I am grateful that she brought it to my attention so that I could fix it.

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Spring season and walkabouts

hummingbird-2139279_1920 I haven’t been too interested in the news lately. I’ve spent a lot of my time preparing for doctor’s visits, which means sitting in a tiny room, drinking a lot of water so that the phlembotomist can take blood out of my veins. And in the the TMI vein, so that they could take a urinalysis.

So I was mainly oblivious to the national walkout that was supposed to be spontaneous outrage from students who were really getting a free day out in the sunshine. If it were spontaneous then the school administrators and teachers wouldn’t have pulled fire alarms and walked with the students to “pre-assigned” plazas for “protests” and “speeches.”

I grew up in the Cold War where we were taught to climb under our desks and hide during a nuclear event. In one elementary school during a “nuclear” emergency alarm we were marched out of class and we sat along the walls of the hall until the alarm was over. Basically if we were really hit then we wouldn’t have survived.

During the Cold War, we would see images of the staged May Day marches of the Soviet Union. During those days we were proud that if such a power would land on our soil that we would fight and shoot our enemies.

It is like I have walked into a surreal landscape where a group of teenagers who would have been considered able to make adult choices (like defend their country when I was their age) are asking to be disarmed. These same students are asking that someone else take care of them because they are too delicate to make their own choices.  I am astounded that an 18 or 19 year old is now considered too young and irresponsible to handle their own defense and their own life.

I do know that I am only seeing one side on the news. I know of several young men and young women who are making their own lives. Some of them are going into the military and some of them are traveling. Others are starting businesses. We don’t see them in the news. If I didn’t know of these enterprising young ones, I would have believed that our nation was already on the skids.

I am a veteran. I served. So my view is probably different from yours.

When I turned on the TV and watched the “walkout” this week, I saw history being repeated. I turned the TV off.

I’m in the writing chair

8a5d8-chickadee-2 After a little Facebooking, I am now squarely in my writing chair. I have a cup of coffee setting in front of me. The dog is asleep in her bed next to my feet.

Thank you Doris for reminding me that I need to write. Since the surgery, I now know that I need a thyroid hormone to keep stable. I’ve learned that I am anemic. So the last week I have been eating mushrooms, liverwurst, and Vit. C. I’ve noticed an increase in my energy. It’s not as much as I would like, but I am not falling asleep as soon as I sit down.

As an early birthday and Christmas present rolled into one, I bought myself a Kindle Oasis on Prime Day. At first I wasn’t sure if this little square thing would be comfortable in my hands. It was lightweight, but sometimes lightweight means badly engineered. I am happy to say that it is more comfortable to use than any of the prior Amazon Kindles, including the fire tablets. I can read inside, outside, and upside down. I can read sitting up or lying down.

Since I got it I have been bingeing. So that is my other excuse– I needed to fill the well. With all of the sickness and the thyroid business, my creative energy has been on the low side.

I hoped that music would help. Let’s just say I jumped into another person’s monkeys and circus. It ended badly for me. I am now staying away from circuses that I don’t initiate. I have to keep learning that lesson.

One thing that I noticed is that when I go towards anything other than writing, I head for another disaster. Since music was what led me to the last one, I now know that I need to keep that side of me satisfied. I have decided to start back with the community choir at the end of August. It will keep me pretty busy and I will have that performing need itched as well. This choir does performances twice a year.

Plus I will write. I am back to business again today. Time for me to make goals again… and to structure my day. I work better when I have some structure.

I noticed this with poetry when I was working in that medium. When I worked in structure, the poems would shine. It took a lot more work to shine outside a structure. So if I structure my time, it will allows my mind the freedom to soar.

Also, I will have to cut my social some. I am really enjoying being around certain people here. But, the more I socialize, the less I write. I wish I knew how to balance better.

Anyway– since I am finished with my “true confessions,” I am going to work on “She Called It, Wolf,” and very soon I will send it off to my reader.

Is it a choice?

I have a depressive turn of mind. I am willing to admit this finally because of another writer, Sarah A. Hoyt,  who admits the same. Yesterday I was looking out at the courtyard, and wondering why the sun was shining and the birds were singing.

I know why I am turning downward. It has a lot to do with the stress in my life. I used to think if two out of three areas of my life were going good than I was doing well. I broke these parts of my life into money, social, and health. I’ve had times in my life that only one of these areas was working properly, usually health. I would chalk it up to life isn’t perfect and be optimistic that nothing stays the same.

To be honest life was glorious because I left home to become something entirely new. I won’t get into the circumstances of my childhood. A lot of it rolls into one long memory of pain and sadness. I used reading as an escape. One of my favorite writers during that time was Andre Norton and particularly her Witch World series. Her heroes, who escaped terrible circumstances, gave me hope that I could escape too. I did.

I’ve wondered if I inherited the glass half-empty attitude. When I look back, I really think my dad was depressed most of the time. I even remember when he went through a “nervous” breakdown and stayed in bed for several weeks.

So lately, I am dealing with problems in those three areas. The stress has been building and it has zapped much of my energy. I’ve been pushing on my writing again and yesterday, life went gray.

I sat on the recliner in my small living room, looked out the door and watched the clouds float across the sky. I was still watching the sky when the winds whipped around the trees.   My little dog warmed my lap and we watched together.

One question kept floating up? Why am I here again?

Normally I have enough energy to rage and to change. I didn’t even have enough energy for that reaction.

I know continued stress is the trigger for me. I haven’t had a break from it since September of last year. When I think one thing is over, I am wrong and another problem which is as bad as the first shows up. So then I am dealing with two problems that need to be resolved … now.

While I was sitting there and not-thinking, feeling empty, I remembered something my late-husband used to say. “Find that one memory that makes you happy. Look at it. Be grateful for it.”

So my good memories are all about him. We used to walk on Pensacola beach, barefoot, hand in hand. We would walk into the water. He was my safety net as we got into deep water. You see– I can’t swim, but with him I went to places that I couldn’t go alone.

I am so grateful for this one memory. If I hadn’t had him in my life, I wouldn’t have known that feeling of safety even in the depths of the ocean.

I don’t think that a depressive turn of mind is a choice. I do know I have a choice of gratitude. So I am grateful for my friends, for my readers, and for my family. I am grateful for Foxy. I choose to be grateful and hope it is enough.

Raise a glass of cheer

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CC0 Public Domain  Pixabay LunaSeaArt

Even with two to three appointments weekly, I have been able to finish a book that has been in the works for a year. Last year I had made a goal to write four books. I wanted to publish all four in the same year, but I got sidetracked.

But, this is no time for excuses. It is a time to be happy that once again, I have been able to finish a novel and despite my illness, I have been able to write coherently. So today I am celebrating the finish.

There will be other goal posts and other finishes. I started on the third book in the Hilda’s Inn series. I have one book in edit for EJ Hunter, plus I am re-editing She Called It, Wolf. Also there is third in that series that came to me in a dream. So I keep writing.

I counted the novels I have finished since 2010–seven novels and approximately eight novellas and short stories. It’s been an interesting run. I can see the difference in my writing from the first one “Shira, Hero of Corsindor” to the present one “Dragon Boy.” I am sure that I could stretch more in my writing skills as I continue.

So where do I get my ideas? I don’t know. I just look in a direction and try to understand the character. Then I try to write the motivations and actions to the best of my ability. I have taken writing classes. Dean W. Rusch actually gave me the most practical instructions in how to make my writing more real.

I sincerely hope that reading will stay. That imagination will never go out of style.

* * *

Here is my spiel for Dragon Boy:

dragonboy2016So who or what is Davi Dracson?

If you’re down on your luck, come to Hilda’s Inn for a game of dice and cheap ale. The hundred-year-stew has been stewing for a hundred years and the fire never burns out.

Except Hilda’s Inn is under new management, and Hilda is on the run with Davi, a dragonling. There will be dwarfs, ogres, dragons, and magical trinkets between Delhaven and Koenigstadt, the king’s city.

Don’t forget that the woods are not a safe place–the Draugr is lurking and
hungry. And, he has a taste for magic.

 

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?

Here comes the sun

DSC00632 It has been a wild ride this last month. This weekend my brother and nephews (a few honorary nephews) helped move the last of my stuff into my new apartment. This includes my tables, chairs and recliner. I have boxes above my eyeballs in the living room and gradually I will be opening them and putting them away.

I thought I had gotten rid of a lot of stuff, but obviously I have more than I expected. So I will continue to wean until I get down to one-person land again. I still miss Otto and always will.

Foxy is settling in. She is having to share her doggy land with other chihuahuas. I was told that there is a doggy park just down the road. When I am more settled, I’ll take her there. It was great to see an almost 80 year old man, walking with a walker, and a dog walking by his side. Almost everyone here has a support dog.

I want to mention the help and encouragement I received to get through all of this trauma that seemed to be following me around this month. I had some friends who would take me away from the stress and either feed me or take me to the movies. These breaks really helped me to refocus on what I needed to do next.

Also I want to thank my brother who supported me all the way especially when I needed to get the heavy stuff moved. Almost everything is too heavy for me to lift anymore.

To Jolie who contacted me and offered to help with the cleaning. I couldn’t have finished all of that yesterday without her help. She also showed me that the cleaning I had been doing as I packed actually made the last of the cleaning easier to do. In my mind it was a monster and she reduced it to a mouse.

So I still have a lot to do with unpacking. I am stiff and sore today so I think I will take a break from it. I am setting up my writing room again. I feel like I’m home.