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.

Icy beauty, warm home, loving family, good friends

What with the snow, the family was home today. I stayed inside and worked on a short story with occasional breaks to take pictures of icicles outside our kitchen window (they fell partway through the afternoon), while my family went in and out, working on clearing the driveway of snow — with several well-earned breaks along the way. Then in the afternoon, friends came over and we had a good time playing various games, eating, talking, and laughing. Continue reading

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?


Sleeping in

Among its many standardized tests, Pennsylvania administers the Keystone exams in high school for specific subjects — algebra, biology, literature, possibly others that I don’t know about. These tests are given almost at the end of the semester, and any students who are not enrolled in these courses get a three-hour delay for school on those days.

Yes. Three-hour delays for six days!

This doesn’t mean I get to sleep an extra three hours in the mornings, much as I might like that thought; after all, I do still have to get the girl ready and off to school. However, I do get an extra hour to hour and a half, and I’m loving it!

What are you grateful for this Monday morning?
Pay No Attention mug

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?

Where do I start?

I have so many things to be grateful for right now. Here are a few:

  • Time with my family, as everyone is home for the holidays.
  • New computer chair, so I actually have support when I work.
  • New friends who came over to share Christmas dinner.
  • Good friends who came over to game for several hours.
  • Chocolate torte.
  • Wonderful writers who are willing to share their wisdom and experience with others.
  • And an absolutely fabulous Alfred Hitchcock-style day outside yesterday that I spent inside watching my husband game and thinking about a new book series.

Continue reading

Polar bears, oh my!

My daughter turns eight today, my little solstice child.

She had a party yesterday, and her absolute favorite gift from the party was definitely the polar bear that’s, well, maybe not as tall as she is, but pretty big anyway.

Today, I went in to read to her class (The Day the Crayons Came Home), and she didn’t want me to leave.

So yes, she’s who I’m grateful for today, my charming daughter with all of her enthusiasm. What are you grateful for this Monday?

stuffed polar bear

Another anthology out in the world

Last year, my story “Adapt or Die” was accepted for Aphrodite Terra, a collection of stories about Venus. For various reasons, it wasn’t released last year, but it’s finally out. (Paperback won’t be out until January, I’m afraid, Mom.)

Check it out on Amazon.

In other news, I’ve created a Now page (link in header menu) that talks about what I’m focusing on now in fairly broad terms.

So I’m grateful for the first and pleased with the second. What are you grateful for today?

An evening of song and beauty

Every year, Moravian College (and the associated seminary) have Vespers services for two weekends in December. The nondenominational* service begins with music (chorus, brass ensemble, woodwind trio, guitar ensemble, and flute troupe this year), moves to liturgy (including songs, readings, and prayer), and concludes with more music, partially in candlelight (choir, congregation, brass ensemble, and organ). We haven’t gone often (children squirm), but this year we did. Continue reading