Such a headache!

Yesterday, a bit after 4, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Laid down to nap for a bit, and when my son woke me to ask about dinner (I ordered pizza), the head hurt, I couldn’t handle light — basically, full-on migraine. After eating, went back to bed.

Today, I spent most of the day with sunglasses on, but I managed to get some work done. 

40 words yesterday, 0 today.

Didn’t draw yesterday, so used two prompts today for Inktober: “cloud” and “deep.” Lake is Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.

ink drawing of Sprague Lake
Sprague Lake photo

Task lists

Fall shares one of the drawbacks of spring: pollen. This is why I like the first hard frost of the year; it kills plants so they’ll stop trying to kill me. (My son tells me neither the plants nor Pennsylvania are actually trying to kill me. I tell him I’ll believe that when they stop.) Between allergies and various medications to lessen their impact, I have a hard time focusing. This is the primary reason I haven’t gotten much writing or freelance work done for a couple of weeks — it’s too easy to drift, trying to remember what else needs to get done.

This makes today a real accomplishment, as I took cardboard boxes to the recycling center, got another gallon of milk before we ran out, checked my post office box (empty, as usual), copyedited a journal article, and did my Inktober sketch. Still no words, but this feels like progress.

Today’s Inktober prompt was “gigantic.” This is an Aldabra giant tortoise from the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, sketched with the Copic Multiliner.

ink drawing of giant tortoise
photo of giant tortoise

Productive weekend

But oh, so tiring! I spent four hours Saturday weeding, and time on Sunday cleaning, laundering, and baking. I also decided the outline for the third Boston Technowitch is complete enough and got a good start on the first chapter.

By the way — four hours of weeding? Bad idea if the usual exercise your fingers get is typing.

Hand with blisters

Blurry image of blistered fingers (not all blisters showing, and they popped later)


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

Progress already

Today’s gratitude is easy to point to: I had an appointment for my annual exam, scheduled months ago, and I discovered that in the past 2 weeks, I have dropped 4 pounds, and my systolic (although still high) has dropped 8 points. Which means I’m on the right track, and — who’d’a thunk it? — eating healthy food and exercising really does make a difference.

Also, I am grateful for Sam, who sleeps with dragons (or anything else soft he can get his nose on).

Sleeps With Dragons

What are you grateful for today?

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.)


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.

And another thing

I was trying to figure out what to talk about today, what moved my ungrateful little heart when I’m sick once again. But I have so much to be grateful for!

  • Medicine to ease my symptoms 
  • Insurance and flexible time so I can go to the doctor 
  • Hot tea to soothe my throat 
  • Other writers to hang out with online 
  • The Internet itself
  • Good books to read
  • Kids who love reading as much as I do 
  • Good books for them to read
  • A dog who loves to cuddle
  • Awesome wildlife (See pictures below, taken yesterday)

What are you grateful for today?


Health and happiness

Last week, my daughter got sick. At first, just a slight fever, headache, and chills. Wednesday evening, she agreed to just go to bed instead of eating pizza. It seemed fairly mild, so I hoped a good night’s rest would put her to rights.

Not so. Thursday, she still had no appetite, ran warm all day, and put herself down for a nap in the afternoon. I encouraged her to drink, but didn’t force her.

Friday, her temperature spiked (possibly because she’d been under three blankets), and she started vomiting. That seemed to clear things a bit, though, because her temperature started dropping. By Saturday morning, her stomach was only upset because it was so long since she’d eaten.

So I’m grateful for her return to health. What are you grateful for this first Monday of the new year?

Sunny Monday

So my loving family has once more exposed me to germs that my “reactive airways” took exception to, leaving me battling bronchitis and sinusitis, and all the tiredness and other such issues that go with them. And I poured every bit of focus and energy I had into meeting a work deadline (very interesting book, although I never would’ve picked up a book on phytochemistry at random). Which means I owe you, my loyal readers, an apology because I didn’t blog last week (aside from the serial post that was pre-scheduled), and I didn’t get out the second issue of the newsletter out for September. No, I have no thought of catching up. I’ll just try to do better going forward.

This starts with — I went to the doctor on Friday and got a ton of prescriptions (okay, it only feels that way), and I’m all focused on “Is this one every four hours, every six hours, twice a day, or once a day?” The breathing’s getting better, which means I am able to have two coherent thoughts in a row about something other than “Must meet this deadline.” Thus, modern medicine is once again what I’m grateful for this week. (And the freedom to nap during the day when I need to.)

What are you grateful for this week?

EDIT: Stay tuned Wednesday for a guest post by Julia Knight, whose first book, Swords and Scoundrels, releases tomorrow!