Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Fears, Frailty, Falls and Fractures


Mom Summer 2023
age 91

Dropping in for a quick note to explain why I disappeared for a week just as it began to seem I'd established a nice rhythm.  One that had held in spite of my falling on my tailbone on my birthday two weeks ago.  Even in spite of the fear that colored several days after the scare Mom gave the family complaining of chest pain the night before my birthday.

But then Mom ended up in ER last Monday having fallen because she'd fractured and dislocated her ankle.  And then fell.  But because of her grip on the bar her fall was in slow motion and no further harm was done--no bruises, breaks, scrapes or sprains.  But it was hours before we could be sure of that.  In fact I think it was nearly a full day before the tests and scans had reassured us and the doctors.

She spent four days in ER and I visited her there twice last week.  And a third time in the nursing home they moved her to for follow-up physical therapy and occupational therapy and monitoring of the (hopefully) healing bones in her left ankle. 

They opted to do no surgery as they believe her too frail.  It was her hip surgery after breaking her hip in 2008 that led to a clot induced stroke and the aphasia she's had ever since.  The known risks outweigh the possible benefits and since she has been bedridden since having COVID two years ago this month her muscles have atrophied. 

She hasn't walked since then but had still been able to stand briefly during the transfer from the bed to a chair and back again.  Now she will not be able to do even that much and the doctors have told us she needs to use a Hoyer lift.  And to accommodate the space that needs my brother and sister have been rearranging rooms at home.  They are moving her bed into the living room.

I visited her at the nursing home again yesterday.  I wasn't able to do so today as I had a preexisting appointment.  The same is true for tomorrow. But I mean to visit at least once more this week.  This event has forced me to see we're on borrowed time with Mom.  She will be 92 on January 3rd.  Suddenly all the difficulties with my energy, appointments, caregiver availability etc that have made getting over to see Mom even once a month for most of this year too challenging, seem frivolous.  I've had a priority reset.

Meanwhile I'm also scrambling to get my NaNoWriMo words...  But I won't say any more on that today.  Words on writing are for my Wednesday post.  And maybe the news will be better by then.

But I will say this much: due to the upheavals and associated anxieties I had to choose between posting and NaNo this past week.  Obviously I didn't choose posting.


Sunday, November 19, 2023

Rocking in the Hot Seat -- Sunday Serenity


Rocking Chair with Long Heating Pad

This is where I've spent most of my hours not in bed since last Tuesday afternoon when the fallout from my fall on my tailbone early Monday morning began to grip my back from tailbone to neck.  I read, wrote, watched videos, crocheted, ate, and occasionally slept sitting here with my back feeling as tho it was sunbathing.

Heat for me is soporific.  Which means sleepy as well as serene.  But also means lazy.  That list above may have sounded productive but in practice it was always snatches of activity soon filled with the static of crossing eyes then hypnogogic images then sleep but also in snatches.  Naps of twenty, thirty or ninety minutes.

This has untethered me from time so that I forgot to do my Friday Fiber post and did not remember until I was prepping the photo for this one.  I have the photo for the update on the Post Virus shawl so maybe I'll go ahead and put that post up retroactive as a record of my progress.  This new iteration of my blog is so far mostly a personal journal with an 'audience' in the single digits on most days and I'm not sure how many of those are just bots.  So I can't see why it matters.

I was already in bed for about three hours earlier and hoped it was for the night so I would have missed this post as well.  But I got woke up and then couldn't get back to sleep and thought that my best chance of doing so was to sit with the heating pad again and that's when I remembered my Sunday post so I got the pic before sitting down.

Well the heating pad is working it's magic.  


Friday, November 17, 2023

Post Viral Shawl Update -- Fiber Friday


Second Post Section 4/6 Complete

Can't afford to spend much time on this.  Need sleep.  So just a few comments.

I'm pleased with the progress.  Most especially pleased that there has been much less frogging since the struggle with the first post section a week ago.  Some combo of sleep and upping the magnification of my reading glasses seems to have solved that.

But I laid it against the first shawl which it needs to match so that I can make a poncho out of the two of them and there is a hint of 'shrinkage' in this one.  I think if I had been using the wrong hook size from the beginning there would be more than a hint of shrinkage so I suspect it is the tension.  To rectify this tho I'm going to switch from the 3.5m to 4.0m hook for the duration of this post stitch section and possibly all further post stitch sections.  Unless I learn to loosen up on those sections as I gain confidence that I'm not having to frog so much of them.


Wednesday, November 15, 2023

NaNoWriMo Workstation -- Wednesday Writing

The Full 8ft Long L

A couple weeks ago I traded my wheeled office chair for a rocking chair.  I thought I would be able to manage without the wheels but after one weekend of trying to manage with a stationary chair I realized it wasn't going to work with my work style.  It worked fine for those times when I was focused on one task at one desk station.  Especially for long sessions on one of the laptops either writing, online research or exploring and reading my story files.  But when I needed to spread out physical papers for editing or sorting I needed the wheels zip between the couch and the larger desktops at the far end.

The solution was the little wheeled stool like you see in doctor offices.  I had a very productive weekend after it arrived.  If I hadn't fallen off it at 6am Sunday morning as I was wrapping up my all night session I'd still be ecstatic about it.  I'm not about to give it up but I will have to be more mindful while using it.

What happened was that one of the times I approached the couch by walking it forward I didn't get quite close enough to reach the item I want to move to the far end so I stood up but that motion caused the stool to scoot back an inch or so and so when I sat back down I sat on the edge and tilted it onto one wheel and it shot backwards five or six feet across the room as I landed hard on my tailbone.

The Serious Writing Section

That was not a wonderful start to my 66th birthday.  

The fallout has been moderate tensing of the muscles at several locations along my spine.  The two worst at the rib cage and neck and right shoulder.  I've been spending a lot of time in the rocker with a heating pad.  But so far this is minor compared to three or four previous impacts on my tailbone going back to age 11 when I fell off a horse; age 16 when I fell from the top of a doorway after walking up one doorpost with my back pressed against the other; and at age 30 something while playing with children on a slide.  Those were the three times that gave me severe whiplash as well as bruised tailbone.  The worst one was the slide.  I'm pretty sure based on the extreme headache and vomiting I developed hours later that there was a concussion as well.  I did not know before that that you can get a concussion by falling on your butt.

The Research, Paper Sorting & Hardcopy Editing Section

Well I need to wrap this up so I can get back to work on my NaNo.

The big thing I accomplished last weekend was organizing the manuscript pages in my new Go Bag aka Trapper Keeper zippered 3 ring binder.  I now have all the stories in an order that makes sense to me with tabbed dividers between them that have pockets for the loose papers of all sizes that I'm finding tucked away in notebooks and folders.

I still don't have a wordcount registered at NaNo as I've been doing most of writing by hand and some of it scattered among the already existing application files.  For the latter I'm keeping the new words tagged.  For the paper pages I'm keeping them in the binder.  This weekend's big (non-writing) project will be to add up my word count and report it on my NaNo profile.

I know I'm way behind but somehow I'm feeling serene about it.  I'm really enjoying the return to the root story of the FOS storyworld and also a return to the process that I had before my first encounter with a computer in my early thirties.  I'm enjoying that and I think I'm going to be OK if I don't 'win' NaNo this year.  But I also believe that this year for the first time since 2004 I won't abandon my NaNo words after November 31.


Sunday, November 12, 2023

The Peace of Progress -- Sunday Serenity

A Piece in Resistance

This is an update on Friday's fiber art post about the frustration of a day of putting in and taking out four short rows so many times I lost count.  Well the next time I picked it up after the photo above, I discovered I needed to take out that row 4 of the post stitches yet again.  I'd started front posting on the row I was meant to back post on.  Sigh.  So demoralizing. 

I put it away and went to bed and the next time I picked it up on Saturday evening I frogged that row and put it back in without incident and then added the last two rows of post stitch with no frogging.  And then started the second virus stitch repeats and so far have gotten two full iterations of the virus stitch with zero frogging.

I wonder if it was sleep deprivation playing a roll in the mistakes.  Or was it because I switched my magnifying glasses from 1.75 to 2.50 on Saturday..

A Piece in Progress

Whatever it was, I'm grateful and was feeling peaceful as I set it aside to prepare for this post.

Now, tho, I mustn't sit here and revel in it as it is time to return to my story weaving project.  Can you believe we are almost at the halfway point for NaNo?  I'm way behind in word count and yet I'm peaceful about it.  What matters more is that I'm swimming in the story and loving it.  But more on that Wednesday.


Friday, November 10, 2023

Frolicking in the Frog Pond -- Friday Fiber Art


Post Virus Poncho 50.55% Finished

I finished the first Post Virus Shawl last spring and instead of wearing it, I set it aside because I decided I'd rather have a poncho.  So I started a second one with the same yarn and colorway.  But I barely got started before I set it aside to work on a time-sensitive project and never picked it up again until this past Monday.  Monday-Friday should have been time enough time for me to get at least a third of the way--even through the pink section and into the pale blue maybe.  But instead I've goofed so many times, I've had to put just about every stitch in more than once, many more than twice and some more than thrice.

It's been a veritable frog frolic.

It's super frustrating when the piece is still so small.  When I can put a whole row back in in under 20 minutes.  But eventually I'll get to the rows where it takes me an hour just to get from the top edge to the peak of the triangle.  Long before then taking out a whole row will be well beyond frustrating.  I know because that happened a bunch while making the first one.

And yet I started the second.  What was I thinking?

I wasn't thinking.  I was drooling over the image of myself wearing the finished poncho.

But this pattern, tho gorgeous, is very unforgiving.  As unforgiving as math on which it is based.  If only I could reliably catch my mistakes before I am on top of them about to put a stitch into a stitch that isn't there!

A year ago this week the first cake of that yarn arrived on my birthday and I promised myself that I would be wearing whatever I made from it in time for my next birthday.  That's a promise I will have broken as there is no way I can finish it in two days.  Not even if I made zero mistakes from this moment on.

Well, my eyes are rebelling so I'm going to leave you with the video tutorial which taught me how to make the Post Viral shawl.  It is the creation of Bag-O-Day Crochet and draws it's name from both the fact that it alternates sections of the virus stitch pattern with sections of post stitches and also because she created it in the months after the pandemic's grip had loosened.


Thursday, November 09, 2023

From Where You Dream -- Wednesday Writing


From Where You Dream
The Process of Writing Fiction
by Robert Olen Butler
Edited and with and Introduction
by Janet Burroway

This is one of the writing craft books most influential on my craft.  In fact it was Butler who explained the story dreaming concept to me.  I can't claim he taught it to be since I'd been doing a version of it from the beginning which was before my double digit birthdays.  What he taught me was to respect it as the root source of the stories and the power source for their relevance.

He also taught me that for a story teller, daydreaming was the life blood of your work not evidence of laziness.  After I internalized this concept, I never had any further belief in writer's block as anything other than having gotten trapped in my left brain where the editor, critic and task master reside.  Perfectionists all and all full of disdain for daydreaming.  And yet no story and no idea is born in left brain machinations.  All things new and meaningful must incubate in dreamtime.

I have had this book checked out dozens of times from nearly a dozen different libraries over decades.  Now I finally have my own Kindle copy as I just stumbled on a sale while looking for the latest edition of Janet Burroway's Writing Fiction because I found it's Kindle edition on sale last August and bought it and was thinking of writing about it for this post.  So I grabbed this book and both images thinking I would write about both of them since Burroway's contribution to Butler's book is why I picked it up the first time as I'd been borrowing her book from my library for nearly a decade by then.  That was the 2nd edition.

Butler himself refuses to write non-fiction so without Burroway's help this book could never have been.  She recorded a series of his lectures made extemporaneously from a stack of index card cues then transcribed them (or possibly had students transcribe them) and then edited to smooth out the rhetoric, remove repetition and the grammatical glitches of conversational delivery.

It has been several years since I last read this so it is past time for a re-read.

I think I'll save Burroway's book for next Wednesday.  Unless I'm ready to talk about my NaNo project by then.  Right now that's still incubating.  I'm swimming in dreamtime and in spite of little wordcount, feeling as productive as a mother-to-be.

Storytellers must believe that day dreaming is not slacking but the ultimate making of meaning out of chaos.


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