And on to the next challenge!

That “not taking on new projects” thing? Yeah, I’m not so good at that. I wouldn’t even have run for SFWA’s Board last year without Maggie Hogarth’s encouragement. Or Cat Rambo’s, though Maggie was the first to tell me I should run. I wish Maggie joy, rest, and progress (and I am definitely looking forward to the third Dreamhealers book! and more Coracle! and Kherishdar!) — God speed! And I will serve SFWA to the best of my ability as vice president.

I’ve been a bit distracted today…

Words written today: 338
Words written this month: 13,161
Words written 2017: 93,961
Average words/day 2017: 824
Books completed 2017: 1
Pages read today: 1-1/2 chapters with daughter
Books read 2017: 7

lilies of the valley

From a house down near the girl’s bus stop

New start to the morning

I apologize for being scarce around here this month. It’s been a rough month, and if we’re connected anywhere else, you know this. I summed up in my latest newsletter, and if you’re not a subscriber, I strongly suggest you do subscribe!

I read lots of newsletters and mailing lists (probably too many, to be honest — time spent on them is time not used in writing), and I want to mention one of them today: Benjamin Hardy. He recently republished an article on Medium, 8 Things Every Person Should Do Before 8 a.m.

When I read it (and downloaded his checklist), I hoped it was going to be just easy tweaks. Not a challenge. I feel like I have enough challenges in my life, you know?

And some of it seems obvious — get enough sleep, focus on what you want to be doing, move your priorities forward.

But …

I’ve found myself making excuses for why I haven’t even tried. I get up between 6 and 6:30 and spend the time until almost 9 getting kids fed, making sure lunches are made, and seeing them off to school. His routine looks like it would add another couple of hours, and I can guarantee I’m not getting up at 4. And I’m tired, and it hasn’t been a good month, and and and. Lots of excuses.

The thing is, I do want to, as he says, get out of survival mode and live on purpose. Make changes that will help me focus more in the morning and get things done.

Some changes I may not make — I know that exercise in the morning makes me worthless for the rest of the day.

But I’ll start with two, similar to things I already do, and go from there: journaling each morning when I first wake up (instead of waiting until 9 a.m.), and a cold shower (or at least a warm shower with a cold rinse at the end) each day. This is my public commitment to doing this for this week, next week, and the foreseeable future.

Anyone else want to join in?

Ouch

The other day, I tripped on my front step. Skinned my left knee, landed with most of my weight on the heels of my palms — primarily the right. Nothing’s broken, and there’s no real swelling. However, the joints all hurt, writing or drawing for more than a couple minutes produces twinges in the back of my forearm, turning motions (like twisting a doorknob) give me shooting pains, and lifting things is hard. I’ve been treating myself with OTC painkillers, ice, and rest, and I’m doing better day by day.

Meanwhile, I’m mostly confining myself to the iPad because mousing is painful. Which means I’m not around as much for a bit. I’m checking e-mail, so if you need something, that’s the best way to get in touch. And if I seem quiet for a bit, at least you know why.

the offending front step

Visit from a friend 

Pleasant break from routine this week — my friend Bonnie’s in town for a few days. I haven’t seen her since Boskone last year, although we do chat online more days than not. (Apologies for the blurry photo.)

Bonnie

One of the things we did was to finish up a jigsaw puzzle. (Yes, it’s the same image as the journal I posted about. When my daughter and I saw it at the store, she said I had to get it.)

completed jigsaw puzzle

Still did practical things, though — finished copyediting a civil engineering article, did some work on the (soon to be unveiled) Nebula websites, mailed off all the tax returns (including business tax returns that aren’t due until beginning of May), and took my daughter to her Girl Scouts meeting.

Lots to be grateful for here, from Bonnie’s visit to taxes done. What are you grateful for this week?

No, no, it really is April!

You just can’t see the flowers today because of the snow.

  
No, really, the ridiculous part is that you can see the flowers because although it’s been snowing for hours, not a speck has stuck. Anywhere.

What’s new in your neck of the world?

Good news, bad news (health)

I had a checkup this morning — a follow-up from my bronchitis last month. The doctor wanted to make certain my asthma was under control under normal circumstances. She was concerned because I’d had two bouts of bronchitis so close together (one in October, one in January), especially as I couldn’t remember being around someone sick that would’ve triggered my own illness. (Well, until a few hours after I got home and remembered that my daughter had been down with the flu — which I told the doctor this morning. She agreed that could easily have triggered it and said she hoped my daughter’s okay now.)

So I did the spirometry.

In case you’ve never done this, they hand you this machine with an attached tube for you to blow into. You take as deep a breath as you can, then blow out as hard and long as you can. Three times, because they need to look at the average. It always leaves me a little light-headed (Yes, I’ve done this test there before to check how I was recovering from previous bouts of bronchitis), and I don’t recommend doing it for fun.

Results came back: I’m normal. Okay, at least my breathing is. Asthma is fine and controlled when I’m not otherwise sick. (And the doctor and I had a chat about exercise and keeping my rescue inhaler with me just in case, too.)

However…

My systolic pressure was high. Both systolic and diastolic were high when first tested. After a few minutes of rest, the diastolic dropped, but the systolic did not.

It’s possible that was stress (I drove in the snow. And there were semis on the road. Yes, I get stressed by this.), or the fact that I shorted myself on sleep this past weekend to meet a deadline. But it’s also possible this is an issue of concern.

So I have an appointment to go back in a month for a blood pressure check.

If it’s still high then, we’ll talk blood tests and EKG and medications and whatever else. Meanwhile, I’m drinking more liquid, cutting back on sodium (switching to unsalted butter and cutting out processed foods mostly), and planning to walk more (when it’s not snowy and the roads aren’t icy). I’ll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile, I’m grateful that I can breathe and that there’s no need to change my medication right now.

My origin story

I’ll admit when I saw this month’s topic for the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, I didn’t know what I was going to write. My exact words to Margaret were, “poem in third grade, short story in fifth, first attempt at novel in seventh, fanfic in twelfth, next attempt at novel after college…” I didn’t know where to start.

Then it occurred to me that this is my origin story. I’ve always been writing, and it’s something I’ve cycled back to again and again, in different forms, no matter what had pushed me away. Continue reading

Cool times and self-promo

So it’s award nomination season (specifically: Hugo nominations opened this week, with PINs for members being sent out in batches), which means lots of people are talking about what they’ve done that’s eligible. Now, I only had two short stories that came out last year, so this is easily done. If you’re looking for more short stories to read, check out “Blood and Gold” in The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk and “Adapt or Die” in Aphrodite Terra. Even if you don’t decide to nominate my work, there are many other stories in both that you’ll likely enjoy. Continue reading