Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Jumbled VII


Jumble by Craig Thompson
print for sale at art

I think I better stop with these Jumbled titled posts, they might be keeping the jumble materializing in my days. This last day of 2008 had a jumble of highs and lows. One of the highs was getting to visit with a woman who was a childhood friend whom I've not seen for nearly twenty years if not more. She was the daughter of one of my mother's childhood friends who recently passed and my friend had been here to help her Dad dispose of her mother's belongings. If the snow had not kept me stalled in Phoenix for so long I might have had more than a thirty minute visit but she was heading home--several states away--today as school is about to start and she teaches music at a middle school.

The only low point of that encounter was when she drove in minutes after I had come inside after a workout on the mini-tramp. I was soaked from the inside out with sweat from the waist up and from the outside in with rain from the waist down. I'd been planning to head for the shower but had to substitute a quick sponge bath and change of clothes along with cursory attention to face, hair and teeth. And of course being in a rush combined with the issue of my visual impairment causing me to fumble, things to tumble, and my feet to stumble and by the time I got out to the front room to say hello my mind was a jumble.

Shortly after my friend left I went to my laptop to start working on today's post and one of the first steps I intended was to get the pictures off my camera to illustrate the post I planned (not this one obviously) and update Saturday, Monday and Tuesday's posts with the picture's I've been promising.

But I no sooner got settled and my mother came in to take a nap. See, I'm sharing Mom's room with her this year and have set up my laptop on its foldable desk with a surface the sice of a TV tray next to the bed. The setup is similar to what I have at home except that here I've less space and less light. With the overhead off as it must be when Mom is sleeping, I had only the reading lamp at the head of the bed to my right and that light was not only coming from the wrong direction it was too weak by the time it reached my keyboard to illuminate well enough for me to read the keys.

This light issue and the need to be quiet precluded my getting out the camera and USB cord and getting those pictures off the camera. So I contented myself with reading and composing email until Mom woke up and returned to the front room. During that time I eyed the area on my side of the bed and saw that I could move my desk closer to the lamp by switching places with the bedside table. I asked my sister who said 'I don't see why not.' So I proceded to move things off the surface of both onto the bed and made the switch and then cleared the stuff off the bed. It didn't take long, maybe twenty minutes and by the time I was done I was pleased with the effect and anticipating a more productive session after dinner.

I helped my sister prepare dinner and then served it as she was leaving to hang with a friend for a few hours (she had not be able to get away much before my arrival) and all through the making, serving and clearing up of dinner I was itching to get back in to Mom's bedroom to finish putting my workspace in order and get those pics off my camera before it was time for her to go to bed. That was a bit of a high point and pretty much the last one of the day--except maybe watching Bradley, the family's cat, playing with a toy mouse my sister found in the bag I'd left on the couch. It was the mouse Merlin had been playing with on the bed while I was packing and either he put it in my bag or I accidentally picked it up along with other items. I must admitt that watching Bradley chase that mouse around the kitchen, through the dining room and into the livingroom was a hoot and a half and qualifies as a high point. But that didn't happen until after my sister got home which was after my Mom had gone to bed.

Returning to the moment the dishwasher was nearly loaded. I turned from the open dishwasher to head to the livingroom to see if Mom was done with her plate as it was about the last thing to go in. Now that dishwasher door when open is about shin level. It blocks the path between the sink counter and the stove counter. The back door is just the other side. So I had taken maybe two steps away from the dishwasher towards the dining room heading to the living room when the doorbell rang. I thought it was the back door so I turned and rushed to answer it. And BANGED my left shin HARD into the dishwasher door.

I yelped, myy vision browned, my gut roiled, tears sprang. The doorbell rang. Mom called out, 'Joy!!! are you OK?' and the temptation to pass out left me in a rush as I imagined Mom trying to get up and come to me. I fumbled with the dishwasher rack, pushing it in and closing the door which immediately bounced open as I hadn't latched it. The door bell rang again, Mom call out again. I managed to call back that I was OK and not to try to get up. Then I hobbled to the front door to let in my cousin's husband--the very same who came over to fix our blocked kitchen sink drain between nine and eleven last night.

I had no presense of mind to say come on in or ask what was up. I just turned and hobbled to the recliner next to Mom and fell into it. Then lifted my pant leg more than half expecting to see a bloddy gash across my shin. But nothing was visible. But Oh Boy! Touching the spot caused the browning vision, roiling gut and tears all over again. I had to sit there for nearly half an hour before I trusted myself to stand and walk again. And it was only because Mom reached out to hand me her plate saying she couldn't hang onto it any longer.

After I put her dishes in the dishwasher I headed to the bedroom with hopes rising again that I could finaly get to work on a real post. I haven't done a substantial one since last Friday. I lifted the lid of my laptop and saw there was an email from Ed and eagerly reached for the clip on lenses that augment my prescription eyeglasses so that I can read the screen from a bit more than arms length away instead of the four inches required by the bifocal lense. The clipons were not in their place. They were not any any of their less usual places either.

I realized I must have lost track of them during the hasty moving around of the things on the surfaces of my desk and the bedside table. No big deal. They'll just be somewhere on the bed still or at the worst on the floor beside the bed. But no. I felt around and look all over. Could not find them. I asked my nephew to help me and he couldn't spot them either. As soon as I was sure they were not on the floor where I could step on them in my search for them I excused him to go back to his video game. But I kept looking. And looking. And looking. For three hours, breaking a sweat that plastered my hair to my scalp and steamed up my glasses and trickled into my eyes. I looked right up to the moment my Mom came in to bed at ten.

I didn't find them. So I'm writing this with my nose nearly on the screen. Well it is actually a palm's length from but it feels like I'm about to collide with it. This position makes my neck, back and thighs scream after a few minutes so I have to sit back and either stop typing or risk having to fix a bazillion typos in the sections I type while unable to read the lines flowing from the cursor.

And I've got a blue goose egg on my shin that is throbbing like a migraine.

And so this year tumbles into the jumble of history's dump.

Forgive this grump for not editing these jumbled lines.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jumbled VI



Jumble by Craig Thompson
print for sale at art


I still haven't gotten those Pictures off my camera that I want to put into last night's and Saturday night's posts. And again I'm too tired to do a post justice. It has been a hectic day even though we never left the house, the four of us--my Mom, my sister and her son.

My sister gave me a tour of the freezers and cupboards and we worked together to plan tonight's meal and prepare it. Soon--as soon as possible--I'll be taking primary responsibility for meal preparation and clean up.

Things are still a jumble and probably are going to be for awhile. Probably to some extent for the whole of my stay here. How could things be otherwise when the situation that warranted my coming here was the kind that turns your world topsy-turvy.

Mom's hip seems to be healing apace but her aphasia from the mild stroke is still a major problem. She was supposed to continue with rehab therapy after getting back home and under the care of her primary physician. But it hasn't begun yet because her doctor has been either lazy, uncaring or incompetent about getting the right paper work with the right requests to the insurance company. She also hasn't returned any of my sister's calls for two days.

So there is one jumbled mess. I'm grateful it is one I don't have to deal with as it involves being assertive with strangers and authority figures over the phone. Which is something I've never been able to do. In fact my aversion to speaking on the phone to strangers is nearly phobic. My sister though has had one ear attached to a phone since before her fifth birthday.

Another bit of a jumble happened this afternoon when I was preparing for a shower and was trying to find my net scrubber in the HABA (Health and Beaty Aids) Bag.I couldn't find it without pulling stuff out. And about the time that I had the bag mostly emptied all over the small shower bench, my sister was calling through the door that Mom need the bathroom urgently. So I started stuffing things back in quickly and as I was about to put the last item in the bag tipped over onto the floor. Luckily only a few things spilled out.

Also quilifying as a jumbled situation is the WIFI situation. As I mentioned several times since I learned I was going to be coming up to Mom's for an extended stay to help during her recovery, we bought a WIFI box to hook up to their Internet so I could have access to the web whenever things were calm enough no matter what time of the day it was. We still haven't got it working right. My nephew is the one who is trying to figure it out and going onto the product's help site and chat forums. He did finally get the WIFI box hooked up and my computer accessed the net thrhough it and he was delighted to discover that his Nintendo DS could access it too. But we couldn't leave it that way because to get it working he had disconnected the Internet phone service router which they depend on to stay in touch with my brother's family who live in Portland among other things. We need to figure out how to get both router's hooked up and working simultaneously.

Meanwhile I've been moohing off a couple of WIFI connections my computer discovered and alerted me about Sunday night and feeling like a thief. So I was both relieved and panicky when one of them stopped working for me this afternoon. Then both relieved and guilty whenI clicked on the other one on the list of wireless connections detected by my computer and it worked. Then both relieved and frustrated when an hour later it stopped working.

Then while I was sitting and visiting with my nephew as he worked on the problem, he showed me the list of available connections his Nintedo had identified and I told him those were the same ones my laptop had found and that the top one was the one I connected with Sunday night and the middle one I had been connected with for several hours this afternoon. He took a closer look at the network names and then said, Hey I think that one is the name of the phone router. So when he had to unhook the WIFI router and get the internet phone working again he had me go check to see if I could connect through that one again and sure enough I could. So I am relieved that the wireless I was mooching off today was apparently my Mom's and not an unwitting neighbor.

We didnt' get this figured out until nearly midnight. And meanwhile there was another jumbled mess that impacted everybody. During the meal prep the garbage disposal choked on something and clogged up the sink. My sister had to call our cousin's husband to come over to take a look at it. He spent nearly three hours getting it working again. He left after eleven.

Rememer that book I started the Monday before Christmas? The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseni? The library book? Well I didn't get to finish it and it was driving me nuts. I couldn't enjoy any of the novels I brought with me with that story still occupying me. Well my sister was kind enough to stop by the library on her way to grocery shop yesterday and broght a copy home for me. I got to read about five pages last night but even though I carried around the house with me all day, I never got to crack it open.

And I've reached the point I can barely crack open my eyes.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Jumbled V



Jumble by Craig Thompson
print for sale at art


Once again this is more of a shell or placeholder than a post as I'm just too exhausted to do the post I had planned justice. I have pictures for it that are still on the camera. But I wanted to at least announce I had arrived safely in Longview WA Sunday evening.

Everything is a jumble--emotions, mental processes, routines. I don't do change well.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Serenity #107


This is one of the pictures I took on our walks around our mobile home park. I'm a total novice at taking pictures but I was so pleased with how it turned out.

Well it is time to power off the laptop and pack it in it's new bag. We're about to hit the road. Will be in either Portland OR or Longview WA by tonight. I hope to be set up to post again by Monday evening latest.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jumbled IV


Jumble by Craig Thompson
print for sale at art


This is a shell. When I get to my Mom's and get back online I'll tell the story of the last 48 hours of shopping, sorting and packing to prepare for 4-6 weeks away. Got pictures of the jumble... It will probably be sometime Monday before I can update this..

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday Forays In Fiction: Setting



This is my weekly check-in re my commitment to stay engaged with this year's NaNo novel, Mobile Hopes, until at least July 4rth 2009 when I'll reassess. The slide show represents the main task I've undertaken for it this week. I got the 250 odd pictures off my camera that were taken while on several walks in our mobile home park between mid October and mid December. Taking these pictures was a project aimed at giving me inspiration and providing things to describe for settings. I was supposed to have gotten them off the camera and put into a slideshow on my computer before NaNo started. Sigh.

I selected twenty-some to process from bitmaps to web jpegs for this post this evening. I was going to just upload them in one long list but then remembered this slide show maker my sister-friend Jamie introduced me to in November which I've kept meaning to check into.

There are two big deals in those simple statements--I transferred the pics off my camera without any help for the first time since I got my camera for Christmas a year ago. And I figured out how to make that slide show at slide.com and it was nearly painless. LOL.

I am so tech challenged in spite of what it may seem with me being a blogger and spending an average of ten hours per day on a computer. But every new thing I learned since being introduced to a computer in 1985 has been a challenge. Mostly though I think it is my anxiety about trying new things that might go terribly wrong with the click of a key or the misreading of an instruction. I can't blame it all on my visual impairment either because I had this issue before I lost 90% of my vision. I've had it since before I started kindergarten.

I even survived one of those 'thing's going wrong' events this week. While trying to get pictures of the new room setup I discussed last week in the posts called Jumbled, Jumbled II and Jumbled III, I ended up somehow getting my camera on the wrong setting and wore out the batteries trying to figure out why the flash wasn't working and why every time I clicked the button to take a picture it kept saying 'processing'. I discovered the problem when I uploaded the pics onto my laptop and found that several of the 'pictures' were actually videos.

I had to get Ed's help to get it off the video setting. But now that I have accidentally learned how to take videos with my camera, who knows, maybe soon I'll be using my YouTube account for more than just collecting cool videos to keep track of those other's have made.

I hope this willingness to try things I'm unsure of without help or someone nearby to yelp at in case things go wrong stays with me beyond today. I'm going to need it as I leave Ed behind for the next four to six weeks. The plan (unless the weather plays another trick on us) is for my sister-in-law to drive down here Sunday to take me up to Longview WA to help my sister care for my Mom during her recovery from a broken hip and mild stroke. I spent the day cleaning out the closet and my clothes drawers, doing laundry and packing. I could have done another Jumble post about that--you should have seen the Jumble Mountain on the bed for about five hours. I thought to take a picture of it at it's worse but I couldn't get to the camera.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holy Days


I took this picture at the neighborhood gas station/convenience store.

This plastic Frosty is the only snowman I've seen so far this year. The hills and passes to the north, south, west and east have been getting snow since shortly after Thanksgiving. We've had a few dustings here on the valley floor but nothing that lasted past the afternoon. Word is though that we are in for a truckload of trouble overnight with several inches on the valley floor.

The irony of this is that yesterday it started raining in the Portland OR and Longview WA area which has been locked down by icy roads for nearly two weeks. This has kept my sister-in-law from driving down to get me and take me to my Mom's in Longview where my sister is in dire need of my help in caring for our Mom as she recuperates from her broken hip and mild stroke. I've been sitting here on edge for over a week, waiting for that phone call with the 24 hour notice that she is on her way.

My sister called today to give me the head's up that our sister-in-law hopes to make the trip tomorrow and to ask Ed to use his knowledge and resources from having worked a shipping dock for seven years to get the scoop on the weather and the roads between here and there over the next few days. And that's when he discovered the forecast for LOTS of snow between Mt Shasta to our south and Eugene OR which is approximately the midpoint between here and Longview.

This means that the Sexton Pass less than an hour's drive from here is going to be nasty. In fact Ed is telling me as I type this that he is online looking through the road cam at an area of the Sexton pass and the snow is falling so heavy he can't make out the road. So I'll probably be sitting here on this edge for a couple more days.

Meanwhile, we had a good Christmas day. We had family, food, fun and felicity.

I got on the tramp for thirty minutes both before and after dinner. It's going to take more than a couple more sessions like that to burn off the calories I shoveled in today. Ed and his Mom between them made enough for twice over the people that came. We're going to be eating on it--the four of us--through the weekend at least. Longer if I end up leaving. There was a seven pound rib roast and a seven pound ham. A savory bread pudding, a green bean casserole, pork and beans, jello and cool whip and cottage cheese salad (my MIL specialty which she makes for every family gathering to her grand kid's delight), mashed potatoes with roasted garlic (and creamed cheese and half and half) then for dessert there was pumpkin pie and lemon meringue pie and sweet bread pudding.

Ed did most of the cooking today and I expected to be doing the cleanup but my MIL told me to relax she'd take care of it. That was actually one of the best gifts I got this year. I wouldn't have minded, I really wouldn't have. I see KP after meals my contribution to this family since my 'help' in meal prep is often not--help that is. Because of my visual impairment and the small space, I don't move around well unless I'm alone in there and even then I've have a few boxing matches with the chairs.

My MIL headed for the kitchen to start putting away the food just minutes after Ed's sister and brother's families left. I was following behind her expecting to be washing up the serving and dessert dishes (she'd already washed up the cooking dishes and the dinner plates earlier) but she told me she would take care of it. I have to admit I was greatly relieved and happy to be able to scoot on back to my room and decompress. Social events are hard on me and I have a reputation for withdrawing back into my room, a book, or a far corner of the yard before it is considered quite acceptable. Today I worked extra hard to stay engaged with the family. I left our room about twelve-thirty and instead of returning here when I got stressed, I went out to the porch and played with, Dizzy, the stray kitten who adopted us (or was adopted by Merlin) last summer, or got on the tramp, rejoining the family as soon as I felt calm again. So by 5PM as the guests left, I was more than ready to withdraw (collapse is a better work) which is why I am so grateful my MIL is putting away all that food and doing up the dishes.

Tonight my task (if I can stay awake) is to get back to reading The Kite Runner. That's the library book I started on Monday evening, taking the risk that I wouldn't finish it before I got the call to start packing. It's 400 page large print. Based on how fast I reached page 70 that first night I estimated it would take me 7 hours of reading. But I have yet to reach page 100. Between holiday preparations and daily post preparations, and the work on the tramp this week I neglected the novel.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #118 Mini-Tramp Benefits

Thursday Thirteen


This is a pic of my tramp taken in early November a week or so before I was clobbered by the first of two colds. The research I did for this post suggests that I shouldn't have stopped cold just because I was feeling like crud.

Yes, I know TT has been discontinued by the hub owners but I have a tenacious streak. I've not missed a week in 117 weeks and something about ending in the middle of a month bothers me. Besides the topic I wanted to post about today lends itself well to the TT format. So even without a hub to announce at... I'll probably do it again next week. Then I'll reevaluate the first week of 2009. I'll likely be in Longview WA helping with my Mom's hip surgery and stroke recovery by then anyway. Would have been a week ago if not for the snow and ice on the roads between Sourthern Oregon and Southern Washington.

Thirteen Things About the Benefits of Rebounding aka Mini Tramp Exercising


  1. Mini-trampoline workouts aka rebounding is low impact and thus less stressful on joints, especially knees and ankles.
  2. It exercises every cell in the body via gravitational forces, including immune system cells.
  3. It improves blood circulation to all parts of body and oxygen circulation to the tissues.
  4. It stimulates circulation of the lymphatic system which aids in moving toxins out of cells and into the elimination system and nutrients into cells. The lymph system has no pump of its own and depends on the body's movement to work efficiently. It carries nutrients from the blood to the cells and waste from the cells back to the blood.
  5. It improves the efficiency of the entire gastro-intestinal system.
  6. It eases menstrual cramps and other associated discomforts.
  7. It is fun and relaxing. I find it meditative at times. Thus there is less resistance to staying committed.
  8. It is safer for someone with visual impairment like me as there are no curbs, cracks, cars, bikes. trikes, tykes, twigs, rigs, pedestrians, pets, puddles or other obstacles to trip me up or startle me.
  9. It can be done indoors or outdoors. Some models are portable enough to travel with.
  10. It can be done while listening to music, talking on the phone, watching TV. Unless of course, like me currently, you can't have it indoors. I've been using the time to visit with my husband when he happens to be there (smoking usually because he can't do that indoors either) but when I'm alone I meditate or think about one of my writing projects, talk to the cats, and pay close attention to what's going on nearby in the life of the trailer park to soak up the ambiance and inspiration for my novel in progress, Mobile Hopes. I could listen to my discman I suppose but there is something wrong with the latch so the lid won't tolerate bouncing.
  11. It seems to help minimize the issues I have with balance and dizziness which tend to get extreme whenever I get a virus and tend to hang on for weeks and months after. I sure have noticed significant reduction in dizziness and the tendency to fall or bump into things which had been plaguing me since I had the flu around Easter.
  12. I've also noticed that workouts invigorate me physically, mentally and emotionally. I stay more active and alert and ambitious in the hours after a workout and more focused. I don't know why this should be so more than for other forms of activity but I have repeatedly found it so in the years since I first encountered them in the late eighties.

    I had one for most of the nineties though I wasn't continuously faithful in its use. I gave mine away when we moved to California in 99 and missed it so replaced it a year later and made huge strides in physical, mental, and emotional areas in the following three months. But that one went into a storage unit when my husband's dot com job went bye-bye and ended up abandoned along with everything else when we had to flee the Silicon Valley on a Greyhound in August of 2001. So I've been without since March of 2001.
  13. Even though, because of the effect discussed in #10, I used my brand new mini-tramp to help me stay awake and engaged for the entire 23-hour-read-a-thon, I've also noted that my issues with insomnia are much improved as well.
For more info:

Why rebounding is beneficial

Mini Trampoline Troubles Solved
see lower left sidebar at this site for info links on benefits.

The following video is of a woman demostrating the beginner's level--the health bounce in which the feet stay in contact with the mat and the movements are gentle and slow. This is the level I am back at again after two colds in less than four weeks.







Here's a video of the same woman demonstrating the next level, a vigorous aerobic workout involving the feet leaving the mat both at once as well as one at a time. Other than an easy marching step in which I could lift one foot at a time until the knee was level with the hip, the only time I ever reached anywhere close to this level was in the fall of 2000 when I had a self-imposed rule that I couldn't watch more than one hour a day of news or talk shows except if I was on the tramp. I watched the coverage of the 2000 election recount obsessively through to the inauguration.

Here's a video talking about how calorie burning is %15 more effective with rebounding exercise versus walking or jogging.

Here's one with a doctor talking about the benefits, especially for the lymph system.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!



The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Getting Some Bounce Back

I finally got the pictures of me on my mini-tramp off the camera. Along with 200 some pics of our mobile home park and the surrounding area that were taken between late October and early December. The idea I had in early October when planning for NaNo was to get a bunch of pics of the park and surrounding area to put into a slide show which I could use as inspiration and aid in description for my NaNo novel, Mobile Hopes, which is set in a mobile home park.

As with so many of my great plans I'm getting it done late. It really might have helped NaNo go smoother if I'd gotten that slide show put together or at least gotten the pictures into a folder I could browse. Getting the pics off the camera today was one of the tasks counting towards my commitment to stay engaged with this year's NaNo novel.
These pictures were taken the afternoon of December 7th as Ed and I were leaving on another walk around the park for the purpose of getting more pictures. It was that evening I had the first hint of the sore throat that took all the bounce out of me for the next two weeks. I was blissfully unaware of it yet. I'm wearing the scarf that way to protect me from Ed's cigarette smoke. Well, and also because I hadn't put my public face on before leaving the house. It was already 4pm and we would have lost the light for picture taking if I'd taken the time for it.
The day Ed took these pictures I had just started daily work on the tramp again a few days before and was still feeling unsteady. Hence the need to keep reaching out to touch the handle of the BBQ. Ed bought me the tramp in mid October and I worked with it daily--often several times a day--for a full month before getting clobbered with that virus in mid November that also nearly clobbered my hopes of winning Nano.

The tramp can be credited with saving my NaNo win and possibly the novel itself. As I mentioned more than once in Friday Forays in Fiction posts and elsewhere, it was while working out on the tramp that I first clearly 'heard' the voice of one of my characters and in the process discovered the method of letting each character ramble which generated word count much faster than writing typical scenes.

So, I just started daily work on the tramp again yesterday. 'Work' on the tramp after being set back by a virus amounts to little more than standing on it without falling and some gentle swaying side to side with maybe a few experimental lifting of one foot at a time off the surface while keeping a hand near something to grab hold of just in case.

It is hard for me to believe and discouraging to remember that around November 10th I was lifting both knees to the level of my hips without hanging onto anything and keeping an aerobic pace for 30 straight minutes with five to ten minutes of warm up and cool down on either side.

Getting on the tramp again yesterday and today, getting those pics off the camera and then preparing these three for posting, starting a novel yesterday, going Christmas shopping yesterday, completing several small sorting and organizing chores left from last Wednesday's major room reorganizing--these among other accomplishments in the last 48 to 72 hours is a sign I'm getting my bounce back. Just in time for Christmas.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Got Spirit

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Did some more Christmas shopping today. We're having a second smaller Christmas present exchange just between the four of us who live here--Ed and I and his parents--on Thursday morning. Smaller group and smaller gifts. The Big Deal Family Christmas was last weekend but we have to have something on Christmas day right?As I posted previously we had a large extended family todo a week ago yesterday.

We are having a Christmas dinner on Thursday too and Ed is the primary chef as he is off work but his Mom is not. His younger brother's family is also coming for the dinner, which means my niece who is as gaga over story as I am --the one who joined me in last summer's read-a-thon? the one who introduced me to the Gilmore Girls, loaning me her first six seasons of DVDs and kept me in novels during the library closure last year? the one who was my secret Santa last week and gave me a $40 Barnes & Nobel gift card? that niece--she is going to be here. It'll probably be my last chance to visit with her before I leave for several weeks.

Ed and I shopped for gifts for his parents today and for each other but we didn't shop secretly for each other. We sorta just picked out a thing we hankered for and said this is my Christmas present from you. We're not wrapping them. I chose a laptop bag and Ed chose one of the Sim City games. Ed had also picked up a wireless mouse for my laptop earlier in the day but was so eager to test it out he didn't want to wrap it and wait for Thursday. We also picked up a copy of our favorite movie to wath together--Dirty Dancing. We must have watched it twenty to thirty times since we first got our hands on a library copy in the mid nineties. Now we have our own to go with the DVD player Ed bought last Wednesday to go with the gigormus TV his brother handed down to him.

Really though, the things we picked up for ourselves and each other today weren't that much about Christmas. We just saw too-good-to-pass-up deals on things we were in the market for anyway. That second hand TV was probably a bigger deal to us than most of our official gifts. Coupled with the really inexpensive DVD player it makes having movie nights at home a cool deal. Now I can send for some of those DVD at the library that Ed passed on watching with me because he so dislikes watching them n the laptop.

And Ed got his laptop the day after Thanksgiving and said then that his Christmas was perfect at that moment no matter what else happened. Tell the truth, his getting his own laptop was a huge gift to me as well because I no longer have to hang on beyond the need to sleep in the mornings for fear it will be gone when I wake up and I won't see it again until after dinner. Not to mention I get to keep my projects open and undisturbed for as long as I want--or at least until the computer objects.

You might be surprised to see how easy it is for me to get distracted in the process of opening the lid and heading to the right menu or icon to click when the ap I need isn't already there. I can have one intention when I lift the lid and then end up working on an entirely different project or --hhemm--game--hhemm--and several hours later be left wondering where my time went and why I still haven't started that really important thing. So the last month of not having to share my laptop with Ed has felt like an extended birthday or Christmas to me.

But the Christmas spirit for me isn't really in the getting part as much as this post might make it seem so. I found the best part of the season choosing the gifts for others. I'm just not talking about it on this post. I'm 99.99% sure no one in my family bothers to read my blog but just in case, I'm not talking about what we got until they have been opened--and knowing me, by then I'll be off on another tangent altogether.

Obviously I'm still here in the Rogue Valley and not at my Mom's in Longview, WA. The roads are still bad news for driving between here and there so I'm still waiting on the 24 hour notice to trigger my panicked packing day.

I may have done something this moring that will guarantee that I'll get that call in the next 24 hours--I started a novel--a library book--The Kite Runner. Since I'm going to be gone a minimum of a month and more likely more than six weeks, I can't take any library books with me. So that just about guarantees the roads will suddenly clear and I'll have to quit in the middle of the story. Sigh. But at least it is popular enough that it is bound to be in the Longview or Vancouver Libraries--the two libraries my sister and sister-friend Jamie use. They have both promised to keep me in generous supply of library books.

Well now that I've brought up the novel I'm itching to return to it. It is a Large Print which means I can read it faster and for longer. I was clocking in at a page a minute this morning and there are 400 of them. That's what, about 6 or 7 hours? I should be able to do that in two days. That is if I don't spend 3+ hours writing 1000 word posts each night. :)

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Serenity #106



I started up Sunday Serenity as a way to get past the fact that my beloved Gremlyn had died on a Sunday. So what better place to put this story of a pet who saved a toddler's life.

If you'd rather read the story it is here.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Muse of Fire



I watched this incredible DVD today. It is a documentary featuring soldiers and their family members reading selections from their writings about their experience serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Their writings were solicited by NEA for their Operation Homecoming. This National Endowment of the Arts project also conducted writing workshops led by writers like Tobias Wolff, Tom Clancy, Jeff Shaara, Marilyn Nelson, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Mark Bowden, at 27 military installations at home and abroad. An open call for submissions resulted in 12,000 pages from over 1200 soldiers and family members. 100 of these were featured in an anthology edited by Andrew Carroll.

Read more about it here and here.





Do I need to explain why I think this whole concept rocks? I know the healing power of story and especially of telling one's own story. Not only the military personnel and their families will benefit from this healing power but every American who encounters these stories and the nation itself.

I will have to share this with my nephew who has been serving as an Army Medic in Baghdad for over a year now. I may get to share it with him in person as he is currently home on leave and visiting his family in Portland OR. That is if I ever get there. His mother is the one who is going to drive down here to pick me up but the snow storms hitting the Washington and Oregon I5 corridor are putting that on hold for now. He has to return to Iraq January 1st for another several months.

I wish I could share the video itself with him but it belongs to the library. So I was collecting the links online to share with him and decided I might as well collect them into a post.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Forays In Fiction: Hanging in There


Sorta. About like this baby kitteh.

This is the promised weekly report on how I've maintained my commitment to continue working with my NaNo novel, Mobile Hopes.

The essence of the report is that I've continued to 'handle' the novel's files--the WhizFolder for Mobile Hopes. Mostly the research and notes sections. Primarily dumping in and rearranging and organizing links to relevant materials online. One of the pressing goals at the end of NaNo was to clean up the mess I made of the files because that was the principle factor in my shying away from the last three NaNo novels after their Novembers were over. As I reported before, I got the story scenes and character topics organized the first week.

Then I got sick, and there were family Holiday events followed by a major room reorganization this Wednesday. I did manage to stay in nearly daily contact with the files. But haven't worked with the story elements since the end of NaNo.

I have continued to think about them and daydream them which means the story is staying alive for me.

Here is a question to ponder. Why is it that every time I find words, phrases, dialog worth writing down streaming through my mind I am nowhere near the implements for getting it down? I'm at the dinner table or washing dishes; I'm standing on the bed with twitching thigh muscles, lifting down a box of books off a high shelf, sweat dripping in my eyes; I'm in the back seat of the car riding home from wherever after dark, and can't even access my booklight and notebook in my purse because there is no elbow room; I'm walking home from the library pulling a bag of books behind me; I'm busy sorting and finding new homes for a mountain of stuff on the bed with my laptop being near the bottom and powered off and all the paper notebooks and writing implements are also in separate boxes at the bottom of the pile since they were the first things that got moved from their old homes.

I've noticed this phenomenon often. I remember it was a frustrating part of every day when I worked in the pear packing sheds in the early eighties. I would get these brilliant thoughts and ideas, snippets of dialog etc while completely unfree to record them and they would flee the minute the machines shut down at break time or end of workday. Unless I put some effort into memorizing a few of the best.

This is what I did that mid-NaNo night when I was teetering on the edge of giving up and left the laptop in the wee hours to go out on the porch and bounce on my mini-tramp. While out there I was suddenly possessed by the voice of one of my characters and her words were pouring into my head. I didn't want to quit my tramp work and I didn't want to loose those lines so I began repeating several of them, attaching each to their own emotionally charged mental image. After thirty minutes I returned to my laptop workstation and spent the next three hours letting Gerta ramble.

That was the breakthrough that made continuing with and then winning NaNo possible. Gerta's ramble was so successful I applied that technique to some other characters. But, though word count was generated, the unique spark that was in Gerta's ramble never took over in any of the others. It might as well have been my own voice talking for and about them. Which is why I never posted any snippets of them as I did of Gerta.

Which leaves me wondering if there was something about that thirty minutes on the tramp. Was it just the break from sitting penned in front of the keyboard? Or was it the physical exertion? The motion? The rhythm? Or am I just grasping at magic straws with no more influence than rabbit's feet?

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #117: Jumble III

Thursday Thirteen or Jumble III

Jumble by Craig Thompson
print for sale at art


Thirteen Things I Found During Wednesday's Room Reorganization
  1. My squeezable dolphin desk toy that I use to exercise my hands when typing fatigue sets in.
  2. My dolphin bracelet
  3. My disc man ear buds
  4. A piece broken off of a Hershy candy bar with a small bite taken off the end. Found on the floor, it probably had fallen off my desk recently. It was unsalvageable, being coated in carpet fuzzies and worse.
  5. A special magnetic bookmark that had been a Christmas present several years ago. It has a blue enamel front with a white flower on it. I should take a picture of it to post.
  6. Another special book mark with three cats pictured on it--a thinking-of-you gift from my MIL, picked up on one of their coast trips at a cat themed store
  7. A dollar bill in the bottom of a shoe box that had been serving as a drawer on a shelf near my desk that held various note taking and storing items and had become a bit of a clutter collector for small stuff i.e. paper clips, pennies, a flag pin
  8. a CD of a Caroline Myss lecture which my sister-friend Jamie gave me on my visit to Washington last December. This is like the third time I lost track of it.
  9. a Naproxin tablet floating in a tiny tray of paper clips
  10. A tiny photo of my nephew at 1yr. (he's fifteen now)
  11. Several unopened green tea foils--Moroccan mint, pomegranate, ginger
  12. The two pieces of a wooden tray that had come unglued in early fall and which I'd put in a 'safe' place--one was part of the handle and the other a slat off the side. This tray was part of the presentation of a collection of bath aids that was a Christmas present a few years ago. It is probably not meant to be functional but I thought it was cute. And one must admit it is a lot cuter than the plethora of shoeboxes and mailing boxes and other product boxes that I have collected for use as drawers and shelves and containers.
  13. Speaking of hoarded boxes. I was pulling the bubble wrap out of the box which the mug I won in last June's 24 hour read-a-thon had been shipped in from Cafepress when I spotted in the bottom a small card which I had not noticed when I unpacked the mug. It turned out to enclose the receipt on which was a message: Thanks for participating in the read-a-thon! Dewey. A very poignant find.


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!




The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jumbled II


Jumble by Craig Thompson
print for sale at art

This is a followup on last Thursday's post Jumble where I spilled a stew of my mind and emotions about a series of events that threatened to throw the following week or so into chaos--which would be the week just passed and maybe a half a week more. Well there have been good resolutions to almost all of the issues and I'm feeling fairly confident about the rest.

The cold I was fighting has resolved itself as colds will do. It just could have picked a more convenient time to arrive. But do they ever? The only thing left is that easy fatigue that is always the aftermath of viruses for me. Plus I seem to have lost most of the ground I had gained by that month of hard work on my new mini-tramp between mid October and November 13 when the first cold of the season took me by storm. I discovered this today during those times I had to stand on the bed and found my leg muscles trembling and my balance barely under control.

Why was I standing on the bed? More on that later.

The second issue that resolved itself simply by the passage of time was the series of family events from Friday evening through Monday evening as Ed's family celebrated Christmas early to accommodate his brother's family who traveled dowm from Toutle, Washington. I cheated a lot on that one though. I only attended the two events that were held away from home--eating out at a Chinese restaurant Saturday evening and the Christmas celebration at Ed's younger brother's house Sunday.

I also spent a couple hours in their motel room with my Mom and sister and nephew Saturday night. My sister called just after we got home from the restaurant to say they were in town a day early and could I maybe be ready to go north with them by Sunday after our Xmas dinner? I knew that was impossible but I said I would make the effort to be ready by Monday morning. But Ed nixed that plan in the wee hours of Sunday morning when he caught me still awake and learning of my plan to stay up and work at packing until time to go to the dinner he chided me for lack of wisdom--for thinking of foregoing sleep while sick, for asking my Mom to wait another night to get home to familiar surroundings. I let him talk me out of it and lay down at 5am. He then told my sister when she called at nine-thirty that I would not be able to be ready and they should just head north and try to beat the snow storm heading south from Washington over the pass.

Ed's wisdom was confirmed when he brought the phone to me, waking me so I could talk to my sister. I had almost no voice and it didn't return to normal for three or more hours. I also ended up falling asleep after the dinner at Ed's brother's house, missing most of the afternoon visiting.

Monday I managed to get a major decluttering done in our room and a separate sorting project of the boxes of electronics paraphanalia for the two laptops, the cell phones, battery recharger and batteries, the two cameras and two cd players. This served the purposes of preparing for the room rearranging planned for Wednesday and for the packing for my trip to Longview which must start Thursday. While I was at it I collected items I knew I would be taking with me into shoe boxes and bags that I could keep track of during the room project. I don't dare start packing the actual bags for the trip as there is no where to keep them except on the bed in the day and the livingroom couch at night.

I intended to continue that sorting and corraling of items on Tuesday as well but I got sideswiped by the news of Dewey's death at 3am just as I was wrapping up my work session to lay down and ended up spending the next nine hours grieving hard while writing a comment at her blog which I then morphed into a post and then read her blog backwards to the last post I'd read November 6. And then started visiting other of Dewey's faithful reader's, reading their blogs backward to the day they learned--most of them on the day her husband posted the announcement two weeks before I found it and a week after her passing.

I finally slept for a couple hours Tuesday afternoon. Woke only because I was called for dinner. Then I crashed hard at 10pm. But I woke up at 2:30 AM this morning and could not get back to sleep. I was still upset about the loss of Dewey but now I was also anticipating with dread the room project slated to start no later than 8 AM. Since I was still awake when Ed got up at 6, we got started at 7. We finished at 7PM.

As I related in my Jumble post last Thursday, the room rearrangement was necessary to make room for the gigormas TV Ed's brother gave us. It is too big to fit in the slot made for the TV and so must go on top. Which meant that everything on top--stacked to the ceiling--must be moved off. I could not see how we could find room for that volume of stuff elsewhere in the room. I had planned hard last winter before the BIG room makeover the first week of January to design the system we used and it had been working well for us for nearly a year. I was completely demoralized by the concept of a redo. Especially in the face of all the chaos of family events, a cold, packing for a trip and the mess I'd made in here during NaNo after coming down with the first cold mid November.

Well the project is done and I think successfully. At least I am liking a lot of the new features of the room. I won't know how things will work out functionally until after I get back next February. I was going to describe the results here and some of the snags we hit today but this has gone on too long already. I've been awake over twenty hours and they were not laid back hours. I also need to get up early to start laundry and packing while my MIL is at work and the machines available.

My brother's wife is driving down from Portland sometime in the next few days to pick me up and take me up to my Mom's in Longview WA where I am to help in the care of my Mom during her post hip surgery and mild stroke recovery. Longview is a forty minute drive across the Columbia River from Portland. It is about a five hour drive from here. As long as the snow doesn't make a mess of the Sexton Pass about twenty minutes north of here.

So I'm going to continue this Jumble story later. I'll try to get pictures of the result tomorrow. I didn't take before or durring pics this time as I forgot to keep my camera accessible. You can find a picture of the before and links to more in last week's Jumble post. Suffice it to say that at one time today the full surface of the bed was piled to the level of my ribcage with the lighter weight stuff--books, boxes, office supplies, HABA, electronic paraphanalia, and more plus all the pillows and blankets. And Merlin. The TVs had been swapped by 10Am. It took us until 7 to put the room back together.

In fact this Jumble series might go on thru the story of the packing and the trip and the arrival and settling in at Mom's. I've discussed here before on the occasions of visits to my parent's home how hard it is for me to spend more than a few hours at a time in that house. My Mom is a hoarder of the highest order. As am I. But dwelling in the midst of someone else's jumble is several orders of magnitude worse than living with one's own. Because you don't dare move anything without direct permission or they would never find what you moved. This is amplified when one is visually impaired as me and my Mom are.

To add to the jumble there, my sister and her son have been living in that house since she came up to help with the care of my Dad during his battle with cancer in 2004-2005. She and her son are ADHD. She homeschools him. They have slowly mixed their jumbles in with Mom's and Dad's jumbles throughout the two story house of fourteen some rooms plus garage. There is nary a surface large enough to set down a dinner plate without clearing it off first.

I'm going to be bringing my own jumble with me. Including my own surface-- my current desk which is one of those TV trays advertised on infomercials. they have legs adjustable in height and a tray that can be level or slant to act as an easel. the legs will slide under the couch, chair or bed you sit at. It also folds flat and the legs telescope so when collapsed it is little larger than the tray.

I'm also bringing my mini-tramp which I'll probably keep outside so I'll have a good excuse to get out of the jumble for a time at least once a day. I simply must have it. I was making such good progress last fall and I would continue to loose ground if I wait until February to get back to it. The mini-tramp is the only safe exercise I've found for myself. At least in our current price range. I think I get more benefit from it than I would a treadmill anyway. With my vision impairment I can't walk fast enough in public areas to get much benefit. I can't reach an aerobic pace.

And of course there will be books....

Clothes? Who knows.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gone To The Hidden Side of a Leaf


"Birth, life, and death -- each took place on the hidden side of a leaf." Toni Morrison

That quote is the source of Dewey's blog name: The Hidden Side of a Leaf. Dewey of the 24-hour-read-a-thon? of Weekly Geeks?

I'm soooooo sad. It's been hours since I learned that the book blogosphere has lost one of it's shining stars and I'm still reeling. I have been a regular, tho not daily, reader since signing up for the Oct 2007 read-a-thon at Dewey's The Hidden Side of a Leaf. I tend to read the blogs I follow in chunks of a week to a month's worth of posts. For prolific bloggers like Dewey it tended to once a week.

After she started Weekly Geeks I checked in each weekend and caught up. Until mid November when a confluence of NaNo angst, a nasty cold and news of my 76 yr mother breaking her hip in a fall and suffering a stroke from a blood clot post surgery brought most of my blog reading to a halt. I was planning to check in with WG last week but was down with another cold (even minor illness further compromises my vision) so I waited.

This morning I had gone to check on how the contest was going at FieldReport, a writer's community which I blogged about after Dewey introduced it on her blog a few months ago, and found the site down and the announcement on the difficulties there with the explanation that one of their programmer's wives had died and I immediately thought NOT DEWEY! NO! and headed for my bookmark. So that's how I found out and why not until two weeks after her husband posted the announcement on her blog.

Dewey was so generous. She was a blessing to my life this past year. I have rarely encountered in my 'real' life anyone whose love of books and story matches mine. (I married the first male one I encountered.) Dewey was one of the few online book blogger's whose passion for reading easily matched and likely surpassed my own and through the community she developed I 'met' several more.

Do any of you have any idea what it means to have spent decades surrounded by those who thought you too weird for words and then to one day find yourself in a place where there's not one, not two, not just a few but dozens and dozens of like-hearted people?

That's what it was like for me when I discovered the book and writing blogs four years ago.

Dewey's The Hidden Side of a Leaf was one of the ultra rare blogs which seemed to glow with the very soul of its owner. Her blog became my portal to the book blogosphere and it so outshone all the rest that none comes immediately to mind as a replacement.

I may not have known her real name but I felt as though I knew her.

And, yes, I loved her.

If that's too weird for words, so be it.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Buy Books for the Holidays



This blog, Books for the Holidays, is pushing the idea of books for gifts and provides posts full of ideas and suggestions. They also provide that nifty button for bloggers to spread the word.

Here is Indie Bound, a site encouraging the same thing while focusing on Independent Book Stores, providing a way to keep a wish list and view other's wish lists and a searchable list of Indie stores so you can find one near you by entering your zip code.

Here is my favorite Indie: Powell's Books in Portland Oregon. They offer gift cards, including electronic gift cards And of course wish lists. One of the things I'm looking forward to about my coming visit up north is another chance to roam the miles of shelves in this bookstore of my dreams. This time I'm taking my camera with me. Last year my camera did not have flash so all I got was exterior shots. This year (tho it might be January before I get to visit the store) I'm planning to go nuts taking dozens and dozens of shots.

And then there is the ubiquitous Amazon.com. They too have Gift Cards. And wish lists. View my wish list.

My husband's family had an early Christmas celebration yesterday and this year, for the first time, we used the 'draw a name' method. Each name was put in the bowl and drawn out one by one. Each person bought one gift and got one gift. But instead of a dozen in the $5 to $15 range we each got one in the $30 to $50 range. I drew my FIL's name and could not indulge my desire to buy books for him as he is most likely dyslexic and reading is a chore for him. But I did indulge my desire to give story as gift by getting him a set of The Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy DVD--over ten hours of slapstick. But that was really an extra becasue his BIG gift was a tripod for his camera. I had learned before they left on their Baja cruise in October that he probably wasn't taking his camera because he had gotten to shakey to use it. He is an untrained amature but I think there is something magical about some of his seascape pictures. I've used several of them in posts here. I wish I could find a link to one of them. OK I'm just going to post one of them again:



He also loves to take pictures at the dirt track. I'm not as into those but sometimes he gets pictures of incredible sunsets at the track.

OK. That was a bit of a digression. I was leading up to this: My Santa was my 14 year old niece of whom I speak of often here. She is another story lover--books, movies, stage. Her gift to me was two part: a new flannel sheets set for our bed and a $4o Barnes & Noble Gift Card. I can use it online or at the store. Though I love the sheet set and NEEDED them, you can guess which part of her gift I loved the most.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Serenity #105 Christmas Songs



I love Christmas songs. They were a guilty pleasure every year all through my childhood. My family didn't celebrate Christmas and we were supposed to hold ourselves aloof from all the related hoopla and I did for the most part but I always found myself irresistibly drawn to the Christmas music on the radio: White Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy, Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Even though many of those minutes of listening on the sly were filled with equal parts guilt and glee, my memories of them are tinted with nearly 100 per cent serenity.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Funny Fortunes



We had a big family dinner at a Chinese restaurant tonight. With Ed's parents and all three of his siblings and their significant others, two nephews and a niece. The rest of the nephews and nieces are scattered hither and yon. The family is having an early Christmas this weekend to accommodate the brother who traveled from Washington and couldn't get time off work to make the trip nearer Christmas. We're having the traditional Christmas dinner at his other brother's house a few miles north of here tomorrow afternoon and opening presents in the evening.

Anyway, the point of this post is about the fortunes Ed and I got in our fortune cookies tonight. We each got such a kick out of ours.

Mine read: You could make a name for yourself in the field of medicine. As soon as I read it to myself I found myself saying, "They're gonna name a disease after me." and then read the fortune aloud. The waitress, who was nearby putting my leftovers into boxes for me, overheard and laughed.

Then Ed read his: You will be surrounded by things of luxury. And I said "Well that TV is a start, I guess." (see Thursday's post) But he said: "I'm surrounded by things of luxury everyday at work. I'm just loading them on trucks for someone else." The waitress, my niece and I laughed.

We hadn't been back from the restaurant twenty minutes when I got a call from my sister. She, her son and my Mom were at the pizza parlor a couple blocks from the entrance to our trailer park. When last we spoke (see Thursday's post) Mom was getting out of rehab on Friday and they were planning to leave the Sacramento CA area tomorrow afternoon and spend tomorrow night at a motel nearby. The plan was for me to see if I could get packed in time to leave with them Monday afternoon. But it was iffy then what with me having been sick since Sunday and this family gathering stuff going on all weekend.

They came on north a day early hoping to beat the big snow storm over the pass to the south. The Siskiyou Pass is the highest and steepest and curviest. The one to the north isn't nearly as challenging though it wouldn't be exactly your typical Sunday drive when iced up and and with visibility decreased.

So they arrived a day early and I think their preference is to head north tomorrow if the pass is passable. But it is very unlikely that I can be ready to leave with them that soon. Especially with the family dinner tomorrow afternoon. But if I can make enough progress in packing in the morning so that it looks probable that I can be ready by noonish on Monday then it might be worth it for them to spend another night. Of course when they head on depends a lot on what the storm drops on the pass tonight. It was just starting to spit snow here about nine tonight.

If I can't be ready to leave with them then someone (either my sister or my brother's wife) would have to drive back down a few days later to get me. My help is needed for the next several weeks as my Mom continues to recover from the surgery on her broken hip and the mild stroke from a post surgery blood clot. I'm going to be on kitchen and laundry duty. I'll probably stay until late January or even into February. If it wasn't for the length of the stay, I could pack a lot quicker. (Or if I hadn't made such a mess of things during NaNo.)

If it wasn't for the issue with that monster TV, (see Thursday's post.) I'd feel a lot better about leaving now. If I leave Ed to handle the task of rearranging the room to make room for it, I will still be looking for things in here this time next year. I'll be fretting about that the whole time I'm in Longview. And yet it seems a trivial thing compared to the cost in time and money to have someone come back down after me in less than a week.

Well, this isn't conducive to getting it done. I'm supposed to be getting a couple gifts wrapped tonight while everyone else is asleep. If I don't I'll have to do it tomorrow in here, on the bed, with Merlin's help. And if I'm going to make any progress towards packing before we leave for the dinner, I need to sleep soon. There's nothing I can do about packing until Ed gets up at 4AM. And that's less than four hours now. And I shouldn't skimp too much on sleep either or I'll give this cold new legs.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Forays In Fiction: Sick Daze

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

All I can manage tonight is the promised weekly update on what I've done with my fiction projects in the past week. Especially my NaNo story which I committed to sticking with through July. Having been sick since Sunday evening, I lost the creative spark so I've not worked with the story elements of Mobile Hopes this week. But I did keep my commitment to stay actively engaged with the files. I've added more links to relevant info online to the Reference section of my notes in the novel's WhizFolder. And I've started trying to put some order into the Reference section. This is part of cleaning up the mess I made during the NaNo frenzy. This is important because I dropped all my previous NaNo stories because the mess I'd made of their files had so demoralized me.

Below is the screenshot of Mobile Hopes in it's WhizFolder that I posted the first Friday of NaNo. Check out that post for an explanation of the WhizFolder ap and how I use it. Needless to say it has changed a lot since then.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jumbled

Jumble by Craig Thompson
print for sale at art


I got hit with a triple whammy this evening that throws the next week into total chaos for me. It isn't bad news or anything just a confluence of events both expected and unexpected. The expected event is the arriving this weekend for early Xmas festivities of my husband's brother's family from Washington. I was already fretting enough about that as social gatherings are super stressing for me, pushing all my anxiety buttons. It doesn't help that I've been sick since Sunday evening. Though I'm feeling much better today, I'm still not feeling up to anything strenuous.

Then three unexpected events transpired. First, the pilot light for the gas heater for this trailer house--my in-law's home--keeps going out so they're having it serviced tomorrow sometime. The issue for me is that the heater closet is right outside our room door and when they work on it they block the hallway and I have a choice of being trapped in here with no access to the bathroom or kitchen while they work while being subjected to the noise or choosing either the kitchen end of the house or the bathroom end of the house to hang out for the duration and thus have no access to my room or the other end of the house. On the day I'm needing to shower and do laundry to prepare for the arrival of the company.

I was fretting about this intensely as I did the dishes this evening.

Ha.

Now that seems so minor. Except that it still is a major inconvenience that contributes to the weight of the second two whammies that hit in the two hours after I finished the dishes. The first of these was in play while I was doing the dishes, unbeknownst to me. Ed's younger brother and his son who live locally stopped by while I was still in the kitchen and as I was on my way back to our room Ed was on his way out the door with his brother saying he had to help him lift something out of the truck. When he came back in he beckoned me to follow him back to the kitchen where there was a HUGE TV sitting on the kitchen table.

His brother had just upgraded his living room flat screen and moved the old flat screen into their bedroom and now was giving this one to us. This TV is only two or three years old and is HD ready and it is eight inches bigger on the diagonal than the one we have in here right now. It is way too big to fit in the slot of the entertainment center so it will have to go on top. But currently the top is piled to the cieling with shelves and storage containers.


This is so dejevu.

It was about this time last year--actually it was during NaNo last year, just after Thanksgiving, that my in-laws upgraded their living room TV to a flat screen and wanted to switch out the ancient TV in our room--their guest room--with the larger and newer one being replaced by the flat screen. This switch was made during the last week of NaNoWriMo and turned our already messy and crowded room into a chaotic jumble.

A jumble I made much worse when I packed for my trip to Longview to visit my Mom and sister the day after NaNo. A mess that was made even worse by the two weeks of Ed batching in it while working ten hour days. A mess I had to come back to three days before Christmas needing to unpack and go Christmas shopping and prepare for the family festivities here.


Look close at the top of that picture. That's the top of the closet, see the closet rod in the background? I was standing on the bed to get this before shot. To put this in context, see more pictures of the condition of our room this time last year in my Thursday Thirteen #68.

The first week of January was devoted to a total makeover of the room which I documented in the following week's Thursday Thirteen #69. The picture showing the top of the entertainment center above is from after the makeover. Ed wants to move all of that off to make room for a monster TV. The idea just overwhelms me.

With the next three days consumed with family events and him not having another day off work until next Wednesday we can't even do anything about it until then. Except that I can try to do some prep work for it by packing smaller items into boxes and bags that can be schlepped easier. As this is going to entail a total rearranging of that entire wall of the entertainment center and my side of the bed aka my office. Ed spent half an hour talking me down and brainstorming how we could make it work. And then he settled down to sleep as I was thinking aloud that maybe it would as long as my Mom and sister wait until late next week to travel north.

And then my cell phone rang.

It was my sister calling from California, near Sacramento, where they were visiting my Mom's eldest sister when my Mom fell and broke her hip just before Thanksgiving. I posted about it here. I was slated to travel north with them immediately after NaNo like last year and spend a couple weeks before Christmas. But Mom's accident changed all of that. She wouldn't be able to travel by car until they released her from rehab and no firm date for that was set as it would depend on her progress. Besides the mobility issues from the hip they were also working with her on some aphasia and confusion caused by a minor stroke from a blood clot post surgery.

And the plan has been for me to travel north with them for an indefinite stay to help my sister care for my Mom.

My sister was calling to say that Mom is being released from rehab tomorrow and they are planning to travel north Sunday, stay in a motel near me Sunday night and head on to Longview on Monday. Could I be ready?

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