My Novels

Sunday, January 08, 2023

New Year's Resolution: PATIENCE!

Not exactly the very first day of the year, but better late than never, I suppose.

Yes, I really need to practice patience. Especially in light of the fact that two orthopedic doctors have told me my bones are fragile, that I can get a fracture easy (though I've had several falls and no breaks); that I must not do certain things, such as heavy lifting, yard work, etc. At 71, not sure what I expected: but hey, I'm alive! 

I had a bad year, lots of back deterioration and pain -- that apparently cannot be addressed. It's as if no one dares speak of pain relief anymore; it's just to be endured. Alrighty then.

I was referred to a rheumatologist who simply manages conditions like I have: herniated discs in back, bone spurs, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, etc. But not sure I'll see one, because some of the actual treatments (biologics, steroids, etc are worse than the condition). I will discuss it with my GP in about a month on my regular six month checkup for medication refills. Sigh.

I have felt that I should be preparing for assisted living, and I am to some extent. But not sure when, because I still have Muffin to care for; she is 11 now and has her own arthritis problems -- which she gets better care for than myself. I suppose the alternative is to keep hiring yard care (though with more tasks than previously such as trimming hedges, etc that I had been doing). And try to find house cleaning at least on a monthly basis. I can still do basic stuff, but others are getting too difficult for my back. And not just back, but knees, feet, etc. I can do it, but then suffer for weeks. Not worth it anymore.

I have slowly managed to get to the point I can use my exercise bike every other day for four miles. Had to stay off for a couple weeks, due to back strain/pain. It helps for a little while, as long as I don't overdo it. 

Back to patience: when it comes to hiring help, I'm learning you just have to be patient. Something you would normally jump up and do yourself, you have to wait, wait, wait for hired help to arrive and take care of. I spent so much of my marriage waiting for hubby, who was in LE, and then dashing any normal expectations of timely arrival...have a difficult time now with waiting! Alas, I can see that this is going to be my life for the remainder of time here...and elsewhere. It is hard to slow down, be more deliberate and careful in daily activities. As the saying goes: Old age ain't for sissies.

What else: Muffin is doing quite well on glucosamine/chronditin and an occasional doggie aspirin. So that is good. And I won't have as much maintenance outside this spring, nothing like having the back porch rebuilt. Mainly the garage needs to cleaned out, and my walk-in closet also. I will hire someone to do that, because I cannot be climbing, dragging and carrying heavy items. Maybe when the city has spring cleanup, since we can put stuff on the curb for free pickup. (A nice perk of city living here.)

I really don't write much any more; have found no way to be comfortable for long sessions in front of a screen. Right now I'm using a laptop with tray over my lap. I can manage this position, but it is not sufficient for editing/publishing. I have three novels finished, but other than a few edits, just can't do the work of publishing. May never again. And that is okay...I miss it, yes, but then again, I'm not as sharp as I used to be. Sometimes you need to know when to quit; I see far too many seniors doing things they aren't able to master any longer. That is sad. I believe in knowing your limitations, and that is one of the greatest lessons you learn as you age. Keep pushing it and you will pay -- one way or the other!

With that said, everyone ages at a their own pace. What is good for me might not be good for you. But self-knowledge in older years is important, probably the most important and crucial. For one who never let any grass grow under me, always taking care of tasks, writing, is not easy to take it easy. On the other hand, doing things that end up causing me painful misery (sometimes even a couple days in bed) have to be curtailed. 

Back to New Year's resolutions: Patience, deliberate diligence about when and what I do; slow down, there's nothing on fire. And if something doesn't get done right NOW, there is always later. Sigh.

Maybe I'll write a progress report in a month or so, see if I am able to abide by these new rules?

 Over & out for now. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Very long time, no post!

Why? The million dollar question. I'm still alive, and a lot has been happening. What isn't happening? Not much writing, and I sure do miss it. Almost like relearning how to write/type!

I was in a blue funk for much of last year, starting with having Covid the previous February. It was a mild case, and I thought my stuffy sinuses was allergy. Then sinus infection. However, after a couple weeks, I lost taste/smell. Got some antibiotics, and that cleared it up. Tested a few months later for antibodies, had none and got the two shot pfizer vaccine. That vaccine was almost a year ago now, and with BA.5 going around, will probably catch it again at some point. (One sister/brother-in-law had it recently, first time, and sick but better now.)

What else? I was in the dumps because I had so many projects around this house I had put off, and went through a period of indecision. Had a good offer on selling my house, but eventually, decided to just get the work done. Had the old back porch demolished, rebuilt; new garage doors, foundation painted, and the stone patio taken up, privacy fence repaired. It was, of course, an ordeal but a relief to get that over with! Covid lockdown had put everything on delay, and I hate being undecided. For now, with the final pressure washing of siding, the house is in good condition. 

I have plenty of ideas for stories, but beyond making notes from research, haven't started anything new in a long, long time. This blog post is the first writing I've ages! Slacker, I know. 

Partly my indecision stemmed from wondering if I should just go ahead and enter assisted living. I did put my name on a list for two local establishments, but have not received any notices of vacancies. And starting to think I never will. In the meantime, I have the space to decide if that is what I want now. I'm not disabled, just have arthritis (back/knee/feet) issues. Plus it is always a good idea to know what places are costing and waiting lists. I visited two, and one is more affordable, as well as suitable -- if necessary. 

But I still have Muffin, and though she is ten now, according to her recent vet visit, is in fairly good health. She is scheduled to get her teeth cleaned on August 8, and I probably need to adjust her diet to prevent more weight gain, as well as keep her healthy. My other dogs, Rambo & Oscar, lived to be 13/14, so she should be with me a few more years at least. And she is such a temperamental little dog, had many problems from before I got her, that it might be difficult to find her a home if my sister couldn't/wouldn't take her. That would not be fair to her either; a pet is a lifetime commitment. Sigh.

An old saying: "The more things change, the more they stay the same." In other words, different year, same problems. That goes for politics, health, climate change, all the usual ups and downs of life. We are currently in a dry, very hot period; need rain! Of course, this would be the summer I'm trying to get grass growing where patio stones were removed. Occasional watering is best I can do, but hopefully the grass will be established before Fall.

Family is all well, even the ones who have had Covid and recovered. And that is good news.

My health...last checkup I was fine. Except the usual arthritis problems. I still use the stationary bike every other day, which helps with sleep...though I never sleep especially well. Never have. Sigh.

So that is the latest from here. I need to do more writing, but can't get motivated! At 70, maybe I'm retired! Do writers ever retire, or just go through spells of writer's block?

For now, signing off.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

A Cautionary Tale

Many, many moons ago, in the early 1970s, I was recently married and hoping for a bright future. My husband had just received a trade school diesel mechanic certification, and I was employed in a clerical office position, but we were seeking better opportunities. We were open to adventure, travel and...well, like a lot of young people, looking for opportunities.

One day I read an ad in a Birmingham newspaper seeking those with trade skills for overseas job opportunities. It sounded promising, though when I told my husband, we were a bit hesitant since we both liked our local community. He had traveled while in the army for two years, but I had never been anywhere outside Alabama. This ad intrigued me, so I called the number, and set up an appointment in Birmingham.

When we arrived at the location, we were both impressed -- a well-known highrise in Birmingham. Marveling at the prestigious building, riding the elevator to the tenth floor, we were greeted on our entry to a plush office waiting room. Our names were taken, my husband’s trade school certification accepted, and told by a classy-looking receptionist, “You sound like just what we’re looking for!”

We waited anxiously with others who resembled us; we were all excited, especially by the ad that stated we could make a high income. Being ushered into the private office, the expansive view of Birmingham out the wide windows, a sharp-dressed man behind a massive oak desk, we were in awe of the weighty official CEO title. We were not naive exactly, just eager for opportunity, I think.

What ensued was an hour of extravagant promises and praise for my husband’s qualifications, and assurance we had come to the right place for opportunity. We could travel overseas with his job and make enough in several years to set us up for life -- or at least buy a home back in our local community. It was dizzying, intoxicating and we fell for it -- hook, line and sinker.

You see, there was just one catch: we had to pay a fee for the office to write a resume and shop it around to these overseas companies. We were told they only solicited via legitimate outfits like the one we were now employing. By then, there was a niggling little doubt, a tiny voice in the back of my mind, warning me this was...unusual. Nevertheless, we signed up and handed over the meager savings we had at that time.

By now, you’ve obviously guessed this was a scam. We were worried on the way home, but tried to stay optimistic, since we had money invested. As the resume fakery rolled into our mailbox, but no job offers followed, we were crushed. 

Here’s the thing: we were too humiliated to tell anyone what had happened. Some family knew we had visited the place, but we never told them how we’d been scammed. It’s embarrassing and hard to admit you’ve fallen for a scam. But we learned a good lesson: be careful and never, ever fall for the hard sell lie. 

Now imagine you have fallen for a scam that got you to Washington D.C. and you find yourself in the midst of an insurrection that was incited by the President and state representatives. Do you storm the capital and end up in prison? Or do you stop in the midst of the insanity and realize you’ve fallen for a scam, a lie? Not so easy. 

Many of those who fell for the hard sell lie will do prison time for the mayhem and murder that resulted, and that is justified. However, if you ever find yourself questioning conspiracy theories, wild stories (especially online) that gives you a little niggling feeling that something seems not quite right: Heed that cautionary warning.

Friday, January 01, 2021

New Year's Day 2021!

 What can I say about 2020? Like most people I'll just say, "Don't let the door hit you in the @ss on the way out! BYE!

Let's life. I'm sitting here as the place seems to be falling down around me, maintenance I've put off due to the pandemic. This morning a rattan shade on my back porch was wind-whipped till it fell apart. NOT climbing a ladder to take it down, managed to just tie up ends. Add it to the growing list of stuff to be done. And still not sure I want to bother with all this...the tedious jobs of home upkeep.

Good news though: I completed a novel, "Wilding Castle." It had been in my mind for some time, and concerns Covid in present time, but also a love story, sadness too, but with a happy ending. I didn't even outline or build characters first; just started writing and it took over! I am not sure how I will market it, but leaning toward the new app publishing platforms. I like KDP, but authors have to do a lot of marketing, and I rather focus on writing instead of the PR work. But at least I accomplished something this past year!

I want to hope 2021 will be better, brighter. And I do. On the other hand, when you are in a dark place (even in fiction) it takes time to work your way toward the light. Give it time. And unless something falls in on my head, I'll probably keep putting off maintenance until I feel it is safer to get this stuff done. 

However, I am still assessing whether I want to remain here -- or buy a condo, rent or...perhaps assisted living. It would be nice to live in comfort, others doing the daily chores while I could write, and not be bothered with all the physically demanding tasks that are getting more and more difficult. 

Alas, time will tell. Or fate. Or the simulation programming (which I'm considering for my next novel idea).