I am aware that I am less than some people prefer me to be,
but most people are unaware that I am so much more than what they see.
— Douglas Pagels

Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve, 2017 Resolutions Review, and Other Thoughts

My 2017 Goals:

1. Learn to play the tin whistle

This is the one thing I failed miserably at. I've already explained why in another post.


2. Read all books and comics in my possession

ALMOST! I read all comics and most of my books. What I have left:

In progress:
Anam Cara by John O'Donohue
Fed, White, and Blue by Simon Majumdar

On the shelf:
Song of the White Swan by Aleta Boudreaux
Triorion: Awakening by L.J. Hachmeister


I read a ton in 2017. I'm proud of that, because although I'm an advanced reader, there are several factors (poor eyesight, migraine disorder with auras, and brain fog/ADD) that prevent me from enjoying it much. I'll talk about books (and audiobooks!) in further detail later.


3. Continue to declutter

While I admit anxiety and depression drove me to dive into some of these tasks, I feel that I've turned my art supply/storage room around. It wasn't awful, but I had stuff that needed dealing with, and I'm glad I finally tackled it. I gave a lot of things to the local homeless shelter thrift store, a little to relatives, and organized the rest.


4. Renovate Mac, backup files, and prepare for new system

Done! My fantastic friend Joanna gave me her old laptop and tablet because she wasn't using them. I love both and use them daily. What a gift! Bessie the MacBook, now the ripe old age of 8, has been downgraded to a storage facility. The Mac was an awesome system and well worth the discounted price I paid for it back when I was a teacher and student.


5. Organize and knock out art charity projects in progress 

Once again, I completed a piece for Twitter Art Exhibit and sent it to England. This coming month, I'll complete a new project for TAE and send it to Canberra, Australia. I always love being a part of this.

I had two other pieces and attempted to raise funds for a cancer charity in a more private manner, but no one was interested.


6. Tighten social media and continue to reduce public presence



This is the first thing I addressed on the list. I experimented with a name change, locked down some accounts, deleted others, and renovated one or two. I wiped out friend lists and started over. I installed an app called FB Purity, and shut down my news feed. Most of the process went better than I thought it would, although I eventually returned to my real name on Facebook. I'm still public in a couple of places (like here, obviously), but I am now in friends-only mode elsewhere. Even those folks can't see everything, but it's not an issue. I'm content overall with my decisions.


7. Take a watercolor painting class

I researched this for a long time, and finally chose Art Tutor, an art instruction company based in Liverpool, U.K. They have free tutorials, as well as very (I mean VERY!) affordable courses that cost little more than a lunch date. The content is thorough, and once you own it, it is download-able for offline use and yours forever. And let's face it - their fabulous "across the pond" accents make me smile. :-)


8. Figure out MawMaw’s seafood gumbo



I am so happy that I finally accomplished this. Gumbo is important in my Creole-Cajun family, and I miss my MawMaw and her awesome food. (Side note: I also nailed her roast beef and gravy.)

~

While I completed most of my goals, this year was pretty rocky. I lost three loved ones, battled systemic disease to little avail, and existed in a constant state of anxiety, pain, and exhaustion. The sadness has been overwhelming at times. 2017 was supposed to be a year of "allowance", a word I chose and wanted to embrace. However, it was more a time of analysis, devastation, and aggravation. As always, I hope the upcoming year will be better. In spite of the cesspool of current events. In spite of my pain and many ailments. In spite of myself.

If it wasn't obvious, I'm a list fiend. I'm forever seeking something to look forward to, as well as something to keep me productive.

Thus, my 2018 goals are as follows:

1. Stick to the diet most ideal for my systemic disease.
2. Read more and write more, with frequent updates.
3. Study minimalism and document my ongoing effort.
4. Sort all paperwork for storing or shredding.
5. Spend less idle time on the cray-cray interwebs.
6. Either utilize art supplies, or get rid of them (yikes).

7. Find effective methods for managing stress episodes.

As always, I'll spend some time explaining each goal in detail at a later date. May 2018 be a safer, healthier, happier year for us all.



Saturday, December 30, 2017

3:30 A.M. Brain Dump

I must have been dreaming, because I awoke just now thinking that I needed to talk to my mom about a charity run by a friend. I knew they would get along very well because they held the same views, and I hoped Mom would support the charity (an orphanage for special needs children).

When I was fully aware, I remembered Mom is gone and I "unfriended" the friend on social media earlier this year. I still receive email updates from the charity regularly, so I guess that triggered the dream or whatever this confusion would be called.

I think about the fact that my parents are dead and wonder when I got so old, but the reality is that they'd still be here if they hadn't been such difficult people. Even my stepfather acknowledges that, and he worshiped my mother. I'll never get them, and I strive to be nothing like them, but I will always miss what could have been.

Just a 3:30AM brain dump for the sake of sanity. Nothing to see here.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Today Is The Day For... #1 (Carpe Diem Journal)




Today is the day for preparing for Christmas.

It doesn't feel like Christmas. Two loved ones have died within seven days of each other. I missed my student/friend Mark's funeral because my car isn't running well. It hurts, because I know he would have been at my funeral had it been me to die first. He was too young, and I'm sorry for his family.
Zollie, my brother's father in law, was the sweetest man you'd ever meet. He told me only a few weeks ago that he had "adopted" me as one of his girls. I told him I was honored. Now he's gone. The funeral is the 27th. I don't think Christmas will ever be the same. It certainly won't for his real daughters.
My stepfather has the flu, but is thankfully recovering. I panic when I think about losing him someday. Sometimes my anxiety and depression barge in when I think about it. I'm trying to tell myself to stop grieving over people who are still alive. I'm grateful he's here. I don't see him much anymore, but I'm glad he's doing ok and living his life as he wishes.
It's 3 A.M. so I guess I will try to nap before cooking for tomorrow's Christmas dinner. I don't feel like celebrating, but those who have gone from this Earth would want me to.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

My Name Is Perseverance

This is what my Facebook looks like now.




Because of this app: FB Purity



No home page. No news feed. No left or right sidebars. No friend request tab, although I will still receive friend request notifications by email. No public photos except my cover photo. No game invites. No questions or suggestions. NO ADS!

I will visit my reduced friends list individually on their own pages. They are, of course, still welcome on mine. My rules are simple: no inappropriateness, no religious debates, no chain letters (for the LOVE of GOD, PEOPLE!), and no politics please.

I'm going to the doctor in a few days to follow up on my systemic disease. I will also be asking for advice or a referral for pain management and stress relief. I am not coping well, and I think that has been pretty obvious. I believe I have low-functioning anxiety. It hasn't been labeled low-functioning by a doctor, but it will be discussed because that is what I'm displaying. Whereas I have loved ones who have high-functioning anxiety and manage to get through each day looking like they have their life together, I have gotten to the point where I go from "zero" to "the room is on fire" over statements on social media. A couple of weeks ago, a man told me my illness was invalid, that I had no argument in regards to my own healthcare or anyone else's, and demanded I shut-up and go to bed. I cursed him, and I spent the rest of the night and next morning in the bathroom sick and wishing for death. One cruel, abusive asshole threw me right back into married life circa 2002 (except I didn't curse at all back then). "I want out" cycled through my head for hours.

What this middle-aged military man said was disgusting, misogynist, and borderline fascist. It was unacceptable. Make no mistake of that. It was not ok. But obviously, neither was my reaction. I have a right to defend my own life or someone else's, and by God I will. Venting is normal, stress is normal, maybe even yelling or wanting to punch somebody in the face over the internet is normal to some extent. I know many of my readers have done or felt the same way. This, however, was a meltdown that hurt me physically, and it's not the first one. So, I will bring up my anxiety attacks to my doctor until either he or another professional acknowledges it.

Muscular Dystrophy, as always, complicates things like this. Stress is a paralytic trigger, which fully explains my low function when episodes like this occur. To add insult to injury, medications designed for people with anxiety and/or depression, and even pain meds, greatly affect my condition. I don't mean annoying side effects, I mean a swift decline in muscle function to the point of detriment. It's serious. I've been there and done that already. So, in summary: pain is bad, stress is bad, yet medication for pain and stress are bad. This is not an easy fix. Nothing I have ever is.

I told you all of that to explain the changes I've made. I take frequent breaks from Twitter (deactivating the account often), and I've reduced my Facebook dramatically. The last time I talked to a social worker, I told them I couldn't cope with the news. Not surprisingly, I was instructed to stop reading the news (thank you, Captain Obvious). The same is about to be said to me concerning social media, without a doubt. I've simply taken the initiative to beat them to the punch.

I cannot disconnect from the world completely, because even an introvert knows it's not wise to be without human contact 100% of the time, nor would I want to be. I care about my friends. I also can't completely avoid the news if I intend to continue voting, which I do. I refuse to be someone who ignorantly worships a political party, so I'll remain aware enough to be an informed voter. My Instagram is up and running again, and I have connected it to the Facebook account. I will also still post on my timeline regularly. You're not going to notice a difference on my page, but perhaps on yours. I'd suggest friends and family not take it personally, but some already have. Do what you like with the friend button, but I would appreciate your respect in this regardless.

Thoughts and prayers are very kind, and I sincerely thank you. But remember that this is my reality, so don't be too surprised if you don't get what you pray for or think about. Above all, don't blame me. I've been as honest and straightforward as I can be, and I am a chronic trier. My name is Perseverance. But the truth is if you have expectations of me at all, fueled by spirituality or not, the chances are high that you will, at some point, be disappointed. That's life. And all any of us can do in life is the best we can with what we're given, until our body or mind give out, and we simply can't anymore. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Family Loss

My sister-in-law's dad, the sweetest man you'd ever meet, told me on Thanksgiving that he had adopted me as one of his girls.




Last night, he collapsed and died.

Zollie will be missed terribly, and I was honored to be his "adopted" daughter.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Another Friend Lost

From a class in 2010

At my art show (I don't remember the year)

I am heartbroken to learn that a student and friend has unexpectedly passed away. He was the first person on the doorstep of my classroom on day one, and was loyal to my last day and beyond. He was the most friendly and content man, and it was because of him that I was able to instantly put aside my social anxiety to teach the joy of painting. His presence and his smile were a comfort to me and undoubtedly everyone who knew him. He loved his family and his church, served his country, and was a volunteer in storm relief and Heaven knows how many other charitable efforts. He has left an impact on this world, make no mistake of that. I will be forever grateful for his warmth and support through the last decade of his life on this Earth, and he is already missed.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Well, that resolved quickly.

I have been informed that the family plan my phone is on now includes unlimited data. That means I'm able to remain online. So...yay, I think! Definitely thankful, regardless of how I feel right now.

I will talk about what I'm struggling with soon. Twitter is pretty much already aware, as they see the ugliness in real time, usually. I ripped into one FB account and deactivated. The other has no clue yet.

What I will say is that I was able to donate a few dollars to a friend's fundraiser to the Humane Society because I didn't have a Wi-Fi bill this month. It's a relief to get rid of it, and if something ever happens concerning the phone plan, I will be ok with limited data again if it means I will occasionally be able to do something worthy in a world that immensely sucks.

I will relaunch my own charity efforts in 2018, if anybody cares. Until then, I'm making my shopping list for upcoming festivities, which mostly involves baking breads that will be shared. I will probably make a dish or two and exchange a gift at the #1 bro's house, and I will go see Star Wars with a friend. Oh, and I will get up at the crack of dawn, stand in line, and fervently vote against a disgusting scumbag on Tuesday. That's all I have planned, other than stay alive. That's enough.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Diet Complications

Low Oxalate http://www.upmc.com/patients-visitors/education/nutrition/Pages/low-oxalate-diet.aspx

Low Fiber https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000200.htm

High Protein http://www.todaysdietitian.com/pdf/webinars/ProteinContentofFoods.pdf

Fat https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-super-healthy-high-fat-foods#section2

Low Carb https://ketosizeme.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Printable-List-of-the-Carbs-In-Foods.pdf

Low Sodium https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/health-conditions-and-diseases/heart-health/low-sodium-foods-shopping-list

In studying the different diets I'm supposed to be on to control my systemic diseases, several of which are contradictory, it looks like I'm going to be limited to lean low-sodium meat, lemons, avocados, and the very few low-oxalate, low-fiber vegetables in existence. I may have to compromise concerning a few things. For example, cauliflower is low oxalate, but has fiber (fiber is wrecking my digestive tract...I'll post a medical blog later), so I will have to reduce my portion to a cup or less per day. I can't even eat spinach or fruit because they are foods high in oxalate, and fruit has the added issue of fructose. Back when I made those sports drinks with red/green powder (I even posted a recipe), I started having kidney stones again, and had to cease the red/green powder and juice immediately. It is something I've confirmed...the stones are definitely made of oxalate. That has thrown a huge wrench in my already-challenging meal plans. The one thing I've found that is approved in every diet I listed is avocados. It would be in my best interest to adopt them as my new BFF.

I don't want to eat the same few things every day, so I'll have to see how creative I can get with the list I'm compiling. Food shouldn't be this complicated, but I'm going to do the best I can.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Magic Christmas In Lights (Backdated)

I am utterly inadequate, my friends, and must admit that I forgot to upload these photos of Indy500 the rolling walker and my visit to Bellingrath Gardens from...sigh...a YEAR ago. Yep. Better late than never, I suppose. So, in their proper place on the blog...finally...here they are.

http://www.ugottafriend.com/2016/12/magic-christmas-in-lights.html

Signed,

A Terrible Blogger


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Taking care of business

^ I've probably already used that title in one or more of my blogs, to be honest.

I'm at a little library where the only places to sit are right in the middle of everything, so everybody behind me is able to see all of my business *virtually waves at everybody seeing this right now*.

Still, it's better than nothing. I was able to look at my bank transactions, pay my car insurance, suspend Home Chef till I can afford to order, look up a couple of addresses, check email, Facebook, NaNoWriMo, blah blah etc. I've zipped through it so quickly, I'll probably go ahead and login to Pokemon to play a game or two.

I've already written my annual NYE goal review blog, and have a new list of goals ready to launch out into cyberspace at the usual time I post these things, which is in the neighborhood of midnight December 31st.

I'm compiling a list of books I've read and audiobooks I've listened to over the last few weeks. I'll share those soon, as well as a few thoughts on some of them. I plan to do this frequently, and I hope by the end of NEXT year, I will have read dozens and dozens of books. I plan to start Harry Potter for the first time on Christmas.

Over the past week, I suffered through traffic and crowds and general stupidness of the frantic public and found my nieces and nephew their Christmas gifts, which I will ship tomorrow.

Otherwise, nothing significant is going on for the rest of the week. I'll take my car to a shop next week for an estimate, so I will know exactly how much money I'll have to save up to repair it (assuming it survives long enough to be repaired).

Feel free to follow on Instagram if you're looking for something more interesting. It's not more interesting by much, but hey, peektures!

Talk soon, homies.

Friday, December 1, 2017

More (and probably repeated) thoughts about Wi-Fi and other stuff

I no longer have internet other than the phone, which has limited data. This entry was written a few days ago and post-dated to publish today.

It turns out my phone doesn't support listening to audiobooks offline, so I'll have to use the tablet (it was free...a fantastic hand-me-down) instead to get online to download them from Overdrive via public Wi-Fi when able. I'll still check email daily using 4G, and do some banking and bill paying when necessary. Who knew Progressive Insurance offices don't accept payments? No joke. Phone or online is the only way to get that done around here.

My local little library (by "little", I mean "printer paper membership card with only four numbers on it casually cut into an uneven rectangle with craft scissors" little) has no Wi-Fi. Big surprise there, heh. The nearest one is about 22 minutes away, but I'll make the drive sometimes, car permitting.

There's always McDonald's Wi-Fi a mile away, but that requires buying something out of courtesy, and I loathe McD's food. Even their fries are disgusting. The coffee/donut shop on my road doesn't allow customers to use the internet, which is disappointing.

I'm only thinking out loud, and losing Wi-Fi isn't a crisis. I've got plenty of valid reasons to feel broken. This certainly isn't one of them. I know and appreciate its importance for many things, but I really don't see the point in sitting here refreshing the same pages over and over throughout the day. I've lost my tolerance for social media and wish I had a different way to follow the lives of my friends and nieces/nephew, but no matter what that is, it's going to qualify as social media because they live all over the country and the world. I'm grateful to be able to connect with them, but it also comes with a lot of frustration. A significant part of the issue is being bombarded with news, politics, and non-friends that I didn't ask to see. It's overwhelming, aggravating, and sometimes depressing. Occasionally, someone sends me chain letters or adds me to groups or wants to "fix" me, and at that moment I'd rather disappear. Things annoy me. I'm human. Sue me.

The main reason, of course, is financial. I appreciate those who tried to help me resolve this, or at least temporarily assist with the bill, but I'm to the point where I feel it's not ideal for my situation. It would merely be a delay. I can't afford extra bills during the winter due to my power bill, but as I've said, I'm no longer making it any other time either. So I can lose the bill now or lose it in a few months. I'd rather people save their money for something more important, which is exactly what I'm doing myself. I need glasses. I need car repairs. I need to pay medical bills. I haven't been to the dentist in years. There are too many needs at the moment to pay $64 a month to rant and rave on the internet. If someone gave me $64 right now, I'd put fuel in my car, order my acid reflux meds, and buy groceries. That's where I'm at, and have been for quite a long time.

I've been reducing the "stuff" in my life this year...both literal and figurative. I have boxes of stuff to go to the local shelter thrift store, and stuff to give to relatives, and stuff that I've organized (finally), and more stuff to deal with going into 2018. As I've mentioned in past blogs, some of the stuff isn't even important (receipts and other worthless crap), but the important stuff in storage has needed to be addressed as well. I'm happy that I've made tremendous progress on this, and I trust that I will continue to until I have a home that is minimalist, yet comfortable and fully-functional. A tiny home, perhaps.

"Operation Tiny Living" sounds like an interesting goal for the new year. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017


























I spent Thanksgiving with my bro and his fam. I contributed corn casserole, Reese's fudge, and truffles. We watched football and Jumanji (which I had NEVER seen before, wow), and we played a hilarious game on the PS4 that was interactive through our devices (I borrowed someone's iPad for that). The name of the game is "That's You!", and it's a co-op. Check it out...it's a lot of fun!

Christmas plans have been made, but first, a carpool to see the rest of the family and attend my niece's first performance in The Nutcracker Suite. She's growing up so fast.

I'm having trouble walking and staying balanced, which is always frustrating. But I'm thankful to be able to be upright long enough to spend some time with loved ones.

I hope everyone who celebrates T-Day had a good one. Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

NaNo 2017 Finish Line
























I'm feeling pretty rough, so I'm happy to have crossed the 2017 #NaNoWriMo finish line on November 20th - a new record. I added a few hundred words this morning, and may add more before the end of the month, but I plan to spend the rest of today under a blanket drinking potassium, taking ibuprofen, and eating tacos. Cheers.

Friday, November 17, 2017

NaNoWriMo and Offline Prep


So, NaNoWriMo is going well.
Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat.

I've got very little to say about this year's NaNoWriMo other than what I've already said. Voice Typing is my hero. It hasn't been all voice, but a fair amount of it has and it's the reason my word count is as high as it is so soon. I have felt very little stress over it this year, and that's a win in my book.

I've been downloading a crazy amount of stuff to do while offline in 2018:

150 free art tutorials
70 permissible YT vids
60+ books from Project Gutenberg
A few other e-books elsewhere
Friends have already sent me books too

I received a lot of great suggestions for books to check out at my library or on Hoopla digital (which is now on my phone). I've also installed Instagram again so I can easily send photos to FB or Twitter without having to get on a browser (which drains more data, it seems). This way, I can still let the world know I'm alive on all three sites by using one. Data is shared on my phone and must be limited, so I am doing my best not to use much of it. Text messages are free, though, which helps.

I still need to marathon Stranger Things 2, and I'll probably do that this weekend.
I plan to marathon Harry Potter next week after I reach 50K on NaNoWriMo.

After that, I'll say goodbye to Wi-Fi, focus on Thanksgiving, and carpool to Louisiana.

When I return home, I'll address my car problems, and if (that's a big IF) resolved, eventually start going to the library (weekly, if I feel like it) to use their Wi-Fi and check out CDs and DVDs. I'm super glad I still have a CD/DVD player! And I'll be bringing out my old radio at Christmas (I really dislike Christmas music this early...I usually dive in around December 22nd).

If the car is not resolved in December, I'll just have to be cautious how far I drive it (within my neighborhood only...one mile radius) and hope it doesn't break down completely until I have the funds to change the situation.

That's the plan, anyway! Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Losing my internet, and probably my mind

Due to how challenging it is to financially survive each month, especially the winter months when my power bill leaps, I have made a hard decision to cancel my home internet soon. I'd drop car insurance on my 19-year-old almost-dead car, but that's illegal, so dropping internet is my only reasonable option. I just know I can't continue existing like this.

I am giving myself a few weeks to do what I need to do online to prepare for the disconnection. I have a crazy amount of stuff to upload online from my phone and tablet, and also to download from online to my laptop. I'll revert to paying bills in person; thankfully I live across the street from my power and water company. I'll say sayonara to Pokemon TCGO (insert crying Pikachu gif here), and I'd like to marathon Stranger Things 2 and Harry Potter again before cutting it off. I've installed as many apps as I can fit on my phone, but those apps do not include Facebook or Twitter. I will have Chrome to occasionally visit those sites, and Blogger to continue blogging (about what, I haven't a clue...life is about to get even more boring than usual).

I feel that the correct perspective is to acknowledge that it's a first-world problem, and that I will perhaps be less stressed out overall since I will no longer be bombarded by current events. I'll still be aware, but not as actively (read: angrily) involved in the conversations. However, as sad as it all is, I'm glad people are finally standing up to the sadistic hypersexual freaks of Hollywood, the sports industry, the medical field, creepy-ass politicians, looney toon religious abusers, and, of all places, Gulf Coast restaurants. This has been infuriating and so disheartening, but I hope the innocent continue to rise up, call them out, and absolutely destroy them.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: I don't expect to be without Wi-Fi forever, but I'm going to ditch it for as long as necessary. The amount I will save won't be huge, but maybe it will be enough to get by without (humor me while I plagiarize the Bible) weeping and gnashing of teeth. Things have been hard.

Friends and family are advised to contact me via text message if they need/want to.

I'm not sure you'll notice anything different here, readers. My blogging isn't exactly consistent to begin with, but I have no plans to stop in spite of this change. I'll just be typing on (and undoubtedly cursing at while being simultaneously thankful for) the tiny keyboard on my 99 cent phone. It could be a lot worse.

Keep calm and carry on.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Google Voice Typing for NaNoWriMo

I made two short videos about Google Voice Typing. As you will see, it's perfect for NaNoWriMo!





Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A few pics from the last five weeks

This is Shady Acres Village located in Seminary, MS.
I always pass it on the way to clinic (and back).
Sometimes, I stop and buy a snack. It's a cute place.

I was depressed and tired of the condition of my storage room,
so I finally dove into the mess and organized it.

I got rid of most of the cardboard boxes, threw out some things,
and sorted some things to eventually give away.

I removed these tables from my living room and put them in the
storage room. It's looking a little bit like an art studio, which is nostalgic.
(I am "overhoused" and will be moved to a smaller apartment someday.)

GREATEST. TEA. EVER.

I have been really down and out with pain, muscle weakness,
and depression, but I wore my Henchwoman outfit and played
board games on Halloween. It was exhausting, but I had a good time.
(It's from Batman '66...The Penguin's Henchmen/Henchwomen)

Crimson Invasion launched on Pokemon TCG.

My pulls were pitiful, but I did end up with two Alolan Golem GX
so it could have been worse. I've become far too invested in this thing.

I almost hated cutting into this beautiful little Italian onion.
So pretty. I can't even remember what I did with it, to be honest.

My neighbors are nice and occasionally give me duck spring rolls.
They are very tasty. I like having Asian neighbors. Zero drama.

November will be consumed with NaNoWriMo, as usual, but I am also hoping to attend a couple of cheap events in the area that I've never been to. If I do, I'll share pics. My head is screaming, and my arms and legs are really tired and crampy, so I'm unsure about any plans. I mostly need to sleep.

NaNo is going great thanks to Google Docs' voice typing feature. I hope to reach 50K by Thanksgiving.

Talk to you soon.

Friday, November 3, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017!



I've been horrified that I am unable to find part of my manuscript on any of my devices. I've concluded that I tucked it away in online storage somewhere, but I decided to just sit down and rewrite as much of it as I can. I even put a poem from the story on Facebook last year, and had to conduct a search of my own timeline to find it. Yikes. I gotta get my crap together. Thankfully, the majority of my first draft is intact. I just have a great deal to add to it. I expect the manuscript to double in size, actually.

I went into this not feeling terribly optimistic, but on Day 2, that changed. I discovered that Google Docs' Voice Typing (voice to text) feature has improved significantly since last year. I tested it out, it recorded nearly flawlessly, and I am at 7666 words on Day 3. So...yay? I'm relieved to be ahead a little, and I almost feel like I've reunited with friends after diving back into the lives of the children of Mossy Hollow.

Let's do this thing!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Autumn is finally here.

It has been a little while since I've blogged. Sorry. I felt that it needed a break after all of the hurricane drama. My October in a few paragraphs:

I went to Muscular Dystrophy clinic in Jackson after staying overnight in an Airbnb. The neighborhood was one I was familiar with, and the house was lovely. The experience was less than perfect, however, and left me uncomfortable with the whole Airbnb idea as a whole. I had credits on a gift card to pay for the room, and still had credits left, so I decided to use the rest of the credits to book a room in my area and be done with it. Since I had decided to participate in a Pokemon league tournament, I booked a room about 15 minutes down the road. It was absolutely gorgeous, the house and hosts were perfect, but I still couldn't sleep so I pretty much just lay there and wished I was home in my own bed. When I have to return to Jackson next year, I'll assess how I'm feeling and make a decision on where to stay at that point. For now, I'm glad I don't have to think about it for 6 months.

MD clinic was mostly uneventful. I did meet with the geneticist for the first time, who agreed to order testing through a free program strictly for Periodic Paralysis patients. By the time I got home, I learned that something went wrong with the form, so it wasn't done. I haven't felt like pursuing it any further, but I will hopefully eventually resolve it and get tested for three specific gene mutations. The trip was as exhausting as ever, and I was very depressed and anxious to be in so much pain and so tired while traveling. I told the doctor how I was feeling, and she said it was understandable, but it wasn't discussed beyond that. It happened to be the day after the Las Vegas shooting nightmare as well, so she didn't think much of the fact that I said I wasn't coping lately. I don't expect a resolution anymore. It's just the way things are.

The Pokemon tournament lasted far too long, and I was very tired and in a lot of pain. I managed to get through it, but half way through, I wanted to leave. I gave everyone a good laugh, including myself, for misunderstanding my status at one point. I thought I was being disqualified and told to leave, but apparently the word "Bye" beside my name means the exact opposite in the card tournament world. It was the only "win" I had, as I had no opponent that round. I ended up dead last. I don't actually care, and seem to be more comfortable when I'm not winning. I have social anxiety and I'm not a competitive person, so tournaments aren't really for me. But since I had cards in my possession, I convinced myself to try it at least once. I've decided to only free-play from now on (meaning not structured or sanctioned), when my health permits. I appreciate a friend for sending me a deck, and my brother for sending me more cards. I have a much larger, nicer collection than I was expecting to ever have. I don't love collecting, so I will most likely keep the before mentioned deck and cards that were gifted to me, and get rid of the rest either by giving them away or trading them. My nieces are Pokemon fanatics, and Jo will be old enough to join a league in 6 months, so I look forward to starting her collection.

I finally started stocking my refrigerator and freezer again on the 16th.

I received a free shipment from Home Chef, thanks to earned credits. It was spectacular, and I'll post pictures soon.

I was sorry to hear that Delilah (radio host) lost her son to suicide. If you've been here long enough, you know I'm no longer a fan, but I really hate to hear of her family's tremendous loss.

I spent the 17th remembering my brother Max, as I always do. He would have been 22 this year.

I said #MeToo and #LoveForSophia.

I joined the 2018 Twitter Art Exhibit, and I will be producing a piece to send to Australia this time. I will share more information soon. The call for artists came at a time when I was in desperate need of something to look forward to, so I'm grateful for the opportunity.

I had a bit of a scare with a bill of mine being drafted out of the wrong bank account over the weekend, resulting in a returned check. I have one account, and have used the account to pay this bill for years without fail. After emails and phone calls with the bank and insurance company, I confirmed that they had sent it to the wrong bank altogether, where it was understandably found and returned four days later. The situation was corrected and all is well again. I'm relieved it wasn't worse, but I was zonked for the rest of the day. HKPP and stress are not friends.

Fall weather is finally here, as of yesterday. I'm already wearing my fuzzy plaid pajamas.

This ended up being much longer than I planned. Sorry for the lack of photos. I'll share a few in the next couple of posts.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Nate was here.

Nate has come and gone on the Gulf Coast. It was thankfully quick, although it feels like this has gone on a little longer than only a couple of days.

Gulf Coast humor.


I opted not to go outside to take pics or video like I often have during storms in the past. It mostly occurred at night, and I don't have the kind of equipment to capture anything at night, much less the magnitude of a hurricane when there are no lights in my neighborhood. (I don't have the muscle strength for such things anymore anyway.)

Hayley Minogue at WKRG caught a nice shot here:
I'm surprised the lights were still on at that point. Some areas didn't lose power at all, but about 50,000 people across the coast did.

I didn't come anywhere near flooding, which is reassuring as my elevation is about 7 feet. Plenty of folks in other neighborhoods did flood, and I'll post info on helping them out when I obtain it.

I lost power, which resulted in losing the food in my fridge and freezer. My freezer is mediocre on a good day, so not having power for a day brought everything to ruin. There's bread dough exploding in its bag as we speak, but I've decided not to take a photo of it as I have already put it in the trash. There was of course plenty of other things in there as well...chicken, fish, soup stocks, leftovers, a big box of perishable condiments...normal stuff. Onions, lemons and limes, a fruit snack, potassium, magnesium, and henna are what's left. I'll take this opportunity to sanitize the shelves, and try to restock in a week or so. I have enough soup and crackers in the pantry for 5 or 6 days.


This is a pretty boring update, so I'll leave it at that. Many thanks to those who checked on me. I'm thankful it wasn't worse. 


Friday, October 6, 2017

Well, it's my turn to get hit...


Both photos credited to NOAA National Hurricane Center

I was hoping we were done with Hurricane Season this year. Nope. I'm probably getting a direct hit from this one, but the good news is that it is not expected to be nearly as destructive as previous storms. Still, we are under a hurricane warning and storm surge warning. I don't have the funds to evacuate, nor the vehicle with mine currently without power steering, but I've made all of the preparations I can make to be as safe as I can at my apartment.

If Nate continues at the speed it is currently traveling, it'll make landfall here tomorrow evening.

Talk to you soon!



Thursday, October 5, 2017

Thoughts on joining NaNoWriMo 2017

I just looked at my Activity Log on Facebook and counted today's "activities". There were 55. If I used that time to write 55 words of fiction every day, I would have a 20,000 word novella in exactly one year.

I do have a novella written; a first draft of one anyway. I just thought it was an interesting assessment. Fifty-five words a day is nothing, so why don't I have half a dozen manuscripts ready to pursue publication by now? I have no acceptable answer.

I am reminded of an article that I read a few years ago that simply said, "The key to finishing your written work is this:

How bad do you want it?"

Indeed.

That's why I keep joining National Novel Writing Month. I may write the same scene ten times or fight with my characters or struggle with dialogue or get so tired of it that I swear I'm never participating again (every year), but I keep coming back. I want it, but do I want it enough? I could have finished the book long ago, and I didn't because I was tired or bored or depressed or sick or busy liking and commenting on Facebook. They're all reasons, but I don't know if they're good enough excuses, so I keep coming back and trying to do this. I'm hard on myself sometimes. Some people take 10 years or more to write their novels. I'm on year four. But I need to find a balance between not cutting myself enough slack, and cutting myself too much slack. It may not be a best-selling novel, but it will exist and people will know these kids' story. They deserve to be known, and I'm the only one (apparently) willing to tell it. So I will. No excuses.

If you're new here, I'm writing a novel called The Children of Mossy Hollow. It is based on a real event in my family history involving a group of children (distant cousins) who were tragically separated from their parents into new and different homes. The story chronicles a few years of each of their lives starting from that fateful day.

I will ask a couple of my beta readers (you know who you are) to look at a completed chapter sometime in the next two months. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Speaking of Facebook

I changed my account back to my real name. When a friend "in real life" asks "What is your name on there again?" after three months, it's time to switch back. I was tired of explaining it to people anyway.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but if you think I unfriended you in error, feel free to shoot a message my way so we can discuss.

That's all. Nothing to see here. Carry on.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Puerto Rico, The Caribbean, Nepal, Mexico, and Oregon...how to help.

Click here for a few ways to help Puerto Rico.

Edit 9/28: Here's another great list for PR and the islands.

A few more organizations involved in assisting people through various disasters:

http://www.portlight.org/

https://adra.org/emergency-adra-responding-to-multiple-major-disasters/

https://www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/about-us/

https://hispanicfederation.org/donate

https://www.convoyofhope.org/

United States Postal Service is back up and running in the territories. If you want to send something directly to someone who lives in and is assisting St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands:

Drew Alston
9715 Estate Thomas PMB #115
St.Thomas, VI 00802

He can be followed here.

I've confirmed that this is a legit funding page for the Oregon wildfire:
https://www.gofundme.com/PNWOWgivesbackOR

And here is a GoFundMe for Puerto Rico:
https://www.gofundme.com/dontforgetpuertorico

Please note that I am not personally affiliated with any organization I've listed here, but I believe they are doing something to help those in need during these hard times.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Ramen Bowl






- 1 box beef broth
- 1/2 "spicy beef" ramen flavor packet (it is now MSG free, according to the package, so I used it)
- Sprinkle of dried ginger
- Sliced carrot (canned carrots work well in this, and it cooks much faster)
- Sliced yellow onion
- Sliced green onion (whites in the soup, greens as garnish)
- Sugar snap peas
- 1 chopped mushroom (I only had one left in my fridge, feel free to add more)
- 4 oz sirloin steak, sliced very thin
- 4 oz smoked pulled pork (no sauce)

Bring to a rolling boil for several minutes until onions are tender. Put ramen in the bottom of the bowl and ladle boiling soup on top. Walk away (it's too hot to eat anyway) while the ramen softens. It should be perfectly al dente in 5 to 7 minutes. Top with green onion and more pulled pork.

Don't spill it on the stove like I did, ha.

Optional additions at the table, by the drop: soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili oil, sriracha
(I added none of these this time).

If you don't want to use the ramen flavor packet, you can simply add a pinch of red pepper and some salt to the broth. You can also use the entire packet instead of half, if you wish.

This is a great way to use leftover meat and veggies. It was my best ramen bowl yet.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Let's Help Florida and the Virgin Islands

Irma is gone, but there is much to be done. While some areas were lucky, others were definitely not. There is plenty of wind and water damage. Many people lost homes, businesses, and vehicles, and sadly I've learned that there have been some lives lost as well.

Here are some places who could greatly use donations:

SOS Children's Village received damage, affecting 70 children in foster care. Their site is here.

St. John Rescue covers the island of St. John and surrounding areas. You can donate directly on their site or their GoFundMe page

Operation BBQ Relief is serving meals. See their efforts here.

Next Level Church in Ft. Myers is accepting donations for community relief efforts.


I don't support the Red Cross for personal reasons. Do what you like.

Thanks for thinking about those affected by natural disasters. It looks like we have another one, Maria, headed this way. I'll keep you posted.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Good riddance, Irma



It is an absolutely beautiful day in the Bayou, and I know everyone here is sighing with relief that we dodged another huge frickin' bullet this hurricane season. I hope all of my friends in Florida are good. If you're not, please make it known. I really do want to know if you're not OK. My area is gathering supplies to take down there. You know where to find me on the interwebs.

I'm so sorry for the Caribbean islands who are affected, some of which are U.S. land and citizens...something people tend to forget at times. I wish everyone, no matter your affiliation of course, the swiftest possible recovery, and I wish I were capable of doing more to help.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hurricane Irma



Photos: NOAA



















Now monitoring this insane beast.
It is currently 185 mph...an Atlantic record.
A Category 5 hurricane is maximum catastrophe.
It's creating havoc in the Caribbean at the moment, but my beloved Florida is next.
After that, who knows.
The size of this storm almost guarantees that I'll get a few of the feeder bands.
It could also turn at the 11th hour and hit me directly, but that isn't expected.
Again, that's probably not going to happen, so I'm trying not to worry.
I am making all of the preparations to the apartment that I can, though.
It's better to be overprepared than underprepared.
Management told us to make a plan of escape.
I'm working on it, but my concern is for the Caribbean and Florida most of all.
I have many friends there, and they are in my thoughts.
I'll give an update later this week.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Such a silly overused pun, but I couldn't resist.



























12 inch donation, a new record! :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

In The Red (Because Harvey Is Still Here)

Credit: NOAA


























Here's Harvey, just hanging out, being a jerk.

Folks who aren't experienced with tropical storms or severe weather in general (btw where on Earth do you live? and may I come live with you?) can learn a great deal from the various radars NOAA Hurricane Center presents. This one, for example, shows that the eye of the storm is on the Texas/Louisiana line, still bringing (moderate, according to the color coordination) rainfall and wind. Then on the right, 400 miles away, is also Harvey...the dreaded East side of the storm, that historically (in tropical cyclones) tends to bring a lot of havoc in the form of torrential flash flooding, sometimes lightning and hail, and a high risk of tornadoes. Red means severe, if that wasn't obvious. The media usually focuses on the largest city affected by storms, in this case Houston, and understandably they need the attention, but know that there's a lot happening in a lot of different areas when a cyclone occurs. Some towns who are in catastrophe are often ignored, which is sad.

I'm perfectly fine. The feeder bands were pretty rough overnight, but I have no water in my apartment. I'm immensely grateful for that. Other places around here aren't so lucky. My area has had a lot of damaging flash floods this year already, and the last thing we need is a hurricane, so believe me when I say all of us here in the Alabama swamp feel very fortunate that we're not five feet under water. Community centers and churches are collecting items to take to Texas. We've been down this terrible road before, and our empathy is sincere.

I send all of my love (and everything in my pantry) to those affected.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Harvey Update & Help

I'm sure I don't have to tell you how bad things are on the Texas coast right now. They've received a record-breaking 51 inches of rain in some places. Towns are engulfed, and people have died.

I remember the horror well. Twelve years ago today, I was facing this nightmare myself in Hurricane Katrina. The trauma and destruction are etched in my mind forever. I'm getting some of Harvey's feeder bands, and flooding is a concern living on a bayou, but so far so good. I'm fine.

Texas is not fine, and they need our help.

Relief efforts have begun even as Harvey isn't over and rescues are still occurring. I'll post a few links here, and add as I feel the need.

Google is matching donations. https://www.google.org/harvey-relief/


A great organization called Operation BBQ Relief has deployed to the area. I've followed them for years and they serve hundreds of thousands of meals. https://operationbbqrelief.org/

Houston Food Bank  http://www.houstonfoodbank.org/donate/

The Salvation Army SalvationArmyUSA.org

You can have dog and cat food shipped to Houston SPCA at this address:

Houston SPCA
900 Portway Drive
Houston, TX 77024

Hill's Science Diet is preferred. They also have an Amazon Wish List for other supplies. https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1512KZKBGYJV7

I'm not going to share images here. They're all over the internet if you really want to see the catastrophe. The effects of this storm will be ongoing for years to come. When everything has gone "back to normal" everywhere else, the Gulf Coast will still be devastated, still be recovering, and still be in need. For those who lost everything, the nightmare is just beginning. Remember them. Help if and when you can. I know it will be appreciated.

Thanks for caring.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Hurricane Harvey

(Credit: NOAA)

This monster, needless to say, is on everyone's mind here on the Gulf Coast.
It's a Category 4 now, and the consequences of such a storm are catastrophic.
I am so sorry for Texas, who will receive the worst. I have dear friends in its path.
Louisiana is also going to suffer, and I am concerned for my family there.
Mississippi and Alabama will get plenty of rain from feeder bands, possibly flooding.
There is a state of emergency, and I hope and pray everyone is prepared and safe.
I'm in a major flood zone on a bayou, but I'm pretty confident I'll be fine.
It's everyone to the west that I'm worried about. Keep the Coast in your thoughts.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Health Assessment 8/24/17



I took a digital health assessment today, and almost burst into tears over the results. In my defense, it doesn't take much right now as I just said goodbye to one of my dearest friends. I miss her, and loss has a way of reminding us of our own fragile mortality, doesn't it?

Today is the first time I've documented my BMI in an unacceptable range, and I am currently at my highest weight. It says I am about 9 years older than I am, but it doesn't know how poor my health is so I imagine I'm physically quite a bit older.

Certain types of Muscular Dystrophy can cause significant weight gain (whereas other types result in being underweight), and the high protein/fat diet I'm on because of MD is not helpful in this regard. At any rate, something must change. I'm headed down a road that will destroy me if I don't turn around. I have to find a happy medium, or at least a medium, even if it's not the "happiest" one. Here's the plan so far:


  • I put a battery back into my bathroom scale so I can use it again.
  • I'll buy a food scale when I get paid so I can monitor portions.
  • I will reassess my grocery list and menu asap.
  • I've installed multiple apps to help me keep track of my numbers.
  • I need to continue to look for distractions so I'm not cooking or eating out of boredom.
  • I absolutely must get over my desire to try to cook everything and feed others (Let me love you! Eat this feast I have prepared! Literally me. I have to stop even though it pains me to do so.)
  • Somehow, some way, by magic and determination, I really gotta give up caffeine.
  • To be honest, I should go paleo, but I am currently kicking and screaming every step of the way.
  • My body falls apart into HKPP mode every time I attempt to exercise. Even PT is a problem. This has always been the case, even in young adulthood. There is no solution for it, and I have no choice but to acknowledge that fact.


Life is sad and frustrating lately, but I know I can't let myself be consumed and I strive to "pull myself together", as I often put it, and carry on. It's hard, but I'm trying. Always.

I'll share a new assessment at the end of the year to see if things have changed.