No such thing as a healthy excuse

Today, I had a physical — just a normal, general physical, the kind I should get on a regular basis. Should being the operative word there. The last time I had blood work done was when I was pregnant with my second (who is now a toddler), and that was at the behest of the obstetrician. It’s been even longer since I had an actual physical and answered questions about my eating habits (well balanced, but I snack — a hazard of working at home), concerns, family history, and so forth.

I saw the same person I saw for my second round of bronchitis this winter, which was nice because we’ve already established a baseline rapport. She also followed up on my cough (lingering) and sent me for a check X-ray because my lungs still didn’t sound clear. Should know how that came out in a day or two.

Then there’s the blood work. I was thinking of putting it off. I’ve got a proofreading deadline, and between power outages and late delivery of half the book, I’m not exactly ahead of schedule here. But then I start looking at next week: more snow possible Monday and Tuesday, and who knows what after that. I’m not guaranteed a good time to do this.

So, back to the mantra. No excuses.

Tomorrow, I go in to the lab so they can take the necessary samples. I come home and get to work. Total time lost? Probably less than I usually spend puttering around with e-mail and the like. And then I get back to work.

Who knows? I may even get a Q&A posted tomorrow.

A new outlook

If you know me, you know I wear glasses. If not, you can scroll down in the window to see my picture over there in the sidebar on the right. See? Glasses.

Except that those lovely glasses, which I thought made me look rather intelligent, broke a few weeks ago in a freak accident. They split right down the middle of the nose piece. Sure, I suppose I could use some cyanoacrylate glue to patch them back together, but the truth is, it’s been a few years since I went to the eye doctor. I was past due.

I couldn’t go right away, however, because between the coughing with the bronchitis and the loopiness the cough syrup caused, I wasn’t fit to get behind the wheel. It’s a good thing I have contacts to wear as a backup.

Today, I finally had my appointment, and my eyes had changed a fair bit from what the doctor said. (I didn’t get an actual copy of my prescription, although I will ask for one when I pick up my glasses.) However, no bifocals needed yet, no glaucoma detected, perfectly normal eyes except for the mild myopia and astigmatism. So that’s good news.

Then came the fun part: picking out new frames. Hundreds of choices. I narrowed it down quite a bit by considering only frames within $20-30 of what my vision plan covers ($60 covered; everything over that at 20% off), but that still left a wide selection — colored metals, heavy plastic, round, oval, rectangle, steampunk, and even some that were shaped like the ones I had in college. I picked out a handful that looked promising and tried them on again, getting some feedback from the woman who worked there.

(As I told my friend Bonnie, if I were really into the 21st century, I’d have taken pictures with my cell phone, uploaded them to Facebook, and gotten a poll going to help me choose. Ah, well. I’m not big on decision by committee, even if it is called crowdsourcing.)

Eventually, I settled on one style; I should have the glasses back in about a week and a half. I promise I’ll actually post a picture when I do.

Do I think this new pair of glasses will still let me look intelligent? Yes, but also more quixotic. That’s probably a good thing — truth in advertising and all that.

Your turn: What kind of changes have you made to your appearance, and have they affected how people perceived you?

Life as a Moving Target review

Today marks the released of Life as a Moving Target, by Erin Zarro, a chapbook published by Turtleduck Press.

The publisher site describes it:

Life as a Moving Target is a poetry chapbook that explores living with fibromyalgia and intractable vertigo, from onset of symptoms to getting a diagnosis. Also the aftermath, learning to cope and manage the condition. Poems of hope, courage, and strength of spirit.

I know people who suffer from these problems (as well as others), and I know there can be beauty in our experience of suffering and our reaction to it, so I looked forward to reading this collection.

Some of Erin’s poems hark toward looking for that beauty in the pain, using imagery such as a chrysalis to describe how she felt, hibernating away from the world that she’d grown accustomed to. After reading lines like “I have no voice, no clean perceptions. / Lobotomized, silenced by the bell,” I will never look at a cocoon the same way again.

The lines that most affected me:

I tiptoe upside down
on the tightrope
of life.

Again and again, she uses metaphors for balance, for movement, for focus — tightropes and pirouettes, crawling, tops, the world pulling her along with it. Other images appear, rainbows and fog, medical terms and magic, shadows and shapes.

Overall, this is an incredibly moving and personal collection of poems, that deserves to be lingered with, reread, and shared. I encourage everyone to check out the excerpt at the Turtleduck Website and consider buying the chapbook.


You’ve probably noticed I haven’t posted as much the past couple of weeks. I’ve been under the weather and feeling like it was taking all I had to get my work done, spend time with my family, and try to get some words in for NaNoWriMo. Monday, I finally went to the doctor’s office and found that I have acute bronchitis. So the less energy, less oxygen for the brain feeling? Perfectly normal.

I now have a plethora of medications, and they’re beginning to help. Meanwhile, I’m going to try to be here (I have a review I need to post later today for a poetry chapbook), but if I’m not on as much, it’s because I’m still recovering.

What have I gotten done in the last couple of weeks? Proofread a book, read three books (Kraken by China Miéville, Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury, and Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold), spent Thanksgiving weekend with my family (lots of cooking and movie watching), and wrote almost 1,000 words per day on average for NaNoWriMo. No, I didn’t win this year — second year I haven’t — but I feel good about the story so far. Fortunately, reading books and watching movies don’t take much energy.

Now I’m looking at December and seeing what I need to wrap up for the year, as well as looking ahead to 2011. I won’t post my 2011 ideas yet, but here’s what I’m looking at for this month:

  1. Get well. This may take a week or two, possibly even longer for the cough to fade completely.
  2. Finish writing the novel I started for NaNoWriMo. It’s a cozy mystery, estimating final word count around 60,000 words, which means I’m over half done with it.
  3. Finish the short story I started in November and send it off to its intended market.
  4. Round up the stories that I currently don’t have out at markets (I wasn’t particularly good at resubmitting things during November) and get them back out the door.
  5. Family time — birthdays, concert, holidays, luminaria, getting Christmas cards mailed.

That should keep me occupied.

Other things happening this month:

  • My book giveaway contest ends Friday, and I’ll be choosing a winner this weekend. If you haven’t entered yet, do so!
  • My drabble, “Heartbeat,” will be the e-mail story for Daily Science Fiction on December 7th.

What about you? What are your December plans?