Posts Tagged 'recovery'

Selfish Saturday: The Advantage of Absence

let-light-inIt was completely unplanned.

I was gearing up for the July session of Camp NaNoWriMo, assuming I would be just filling in daily slots with DailyOM snippets, as I usually do when I’m writing elsewhere, and return to business as usual in August. I didn’t expect that I would actually walk away from this place for a whole seven weeks.

See, business as usual was the problem here.

In nearly eight years, I’d never taken a break from posting, not for more than a few days at a time. I was long overdue for a sabbatical that I didn’t even know I needed. I didn’t plan it, but it happened, and it was right. I won’t apologise.

While I was away, I had fun writing yet another story in a series I’ve been working on for a couple of years now. It’s not publishable, for several reasons, but I don’t necessarily write for publication. Beyond that, I stayed mostly away from words, reading little, basically letting the clutter in my head sort itself out. It’s nowhere near done, but I’m saner than I’d been for a long time.

Some of my regular features here are coming close to running their course, and there will be more free slots soon. I may fill them with something, original or not, or I may not. I’m thinking of resurrecting another blog for original writing, that has lain dormant for years. I don’t know yet. The writing process is something necessary, but there is a charm in the blank page and the suspended moment, not to mention a need for them, that I’ve learned to appreciate.

Trust the first rains of autumn, exceptionally early, to bring the mojo back.

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Selfish Saturday: Tribal gathering

marqueeI had been sort of dreading the coming of last weekend for a long time. We were invited to a joint birthday party – my mother-in-law’s sister was turning 80 and her son 50, within a few days, so they were to throw a big bash at great-aunt’s South Wales place. There were so many ‘errrrrr’ elements for me there: a cross-country drive (and back) over a single weekend, in a heatwave, no less; as well as a whole load of family I had never met (and the husband, not for years, if not decades). Unfamiliar surroundings and people; you can’t possibly put me in a more stressful situation.

As it turned out, though, it all went mostly smoothly. We decided on a rental car, since our little dink no longer has air-conditioning or a sound system, and a small delay by someone else got us a big beast of a SUV at no extra charge. (Score!) The drive down was rather stressful, as we ran a bit late, hit Saturday traffic and only got to our hotel less than an hour before the party. I don’t think I’ve ever done the shower-groom-get dressed thing that fast!

At the party itself, the young one made himself instantly at home, off to play with his cousin’s kids, and I got introduced to lots of people with either the Welsh daftness I appreciate or the Yorkshire sharpness I appreciate even more. Good food, a buzz-but-no-hangover-inducing punch, and general acceptance in the sun. By 10pm, when we finally got back to the hotel, I was more than ready for bed, and I slept way better than on my battered mattress at home.

After glutton’s heaven (i.e. a buffet breakfast), the drive home was smooth sailing without any hitches. I hadn’t thought that spending about one-third of a 30-hour journey on the road could be that painless. I suspect spousal unit would consider a big beast like that, if it were within our budget.

Of course, after behaving over that weekend, my hayfever returned with a vengeance on Monday, enough that I had to reschedule my dental appointment from Wednesday to two weeks later, because there was no way I could keep my mouth open long enough without accidents.

This is the home stretch for the end of the school year, and one of the toughest times. Lots of PA’ing for the young one’s busy social life (even though this year he didn’t have a birthday party, and didn’t even bat an eyelid at missing the school fete to make it to Wales), and the heatwave still going strong. September can’t come quick enough.

Selfish Saturday: Another challenge in the bag

pencilstubThe first session of Camp NaNoWriMo for the year has wrapped, and as the change of badge over there shows, I managed to cross the finish line once more. But boy oh boy, was it a torturous road. Despite setting my goal as low as 20K words, I haven’t struggled so much since my very first official NaNoWriMo, back in 2007, the only one I failed, because I was too unwell to keep my motivation up. (Newly pregnant, even though I didn’t find out until December. It justifies everything.)

This time, things were hard from the get-go, because the challenge started less than halfway into Easter school break. Having the family at home leaves me little privacy or, at the end of the day, energy for writing, so I didn’t really get going until the 13th, when everyone was back at school. And to top it all, my health didn’t give me the time of day throughout the month. More colds, coughing that wouldn’t let up, shortness of breath, screamingly aching joints, a case of viral pharyngitis that sent me to the doctor’s, it hurt so much, and later a case of viral meningitis as the cherry on the cake, which was a whole other world of hurt. It’s only natural – keep an infection going long enough, and in the end it will invade everywhere it can get to.

So I crossed the finish line and didn’t bother to go on much further, although I had a couple more days. The ground work is laid, after all, and I have a new instalment planned for the July session. This time, I’ll have a full three weeks before summer break kicks in, so I expect to make a higher wordcount goal.

The weather has improved, being a lot warmer and dryer, and although I’m not looking forward to hayfever kicking in, I am prepared… and grateful that most of my cold-related symptoms have receded by themselves. Even my dodgy knee is better, although I suppose I can’t afford to go without my cod liver oil and glucosamine tablets any more. I’ll have to visit the doctor, though, because the shortness of breath has more or less stayed with me; I suspect it’s more me paying attention to something I used to take for granted than anything else, but in the off chance there’s something objectively wrong there (I tick a few boxes for COPD and emphysema already), I want to know and act accordingly.

But first, to print out and calligraph that winner certificate…

Selfish Saturday: Going Camping

Camp-Participant-2015-Square-ButtonI’m not necessarily better, at least physically. In fact, the past week has seen the return (with a vengeance) of some pains that I thought I had dialled back. I guess I’ll just have to cope.

Still, my muse has come back from hibernation with a big project: a series of urban fantasy novels set in Athens. So hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to Camp I go again. I have two ideas so far, for the April and July sessions. Short drafts to start with, because half of the month is Easter break, which usually means little writing time, but I just might make it in time.

As a result, blogging will be restricted for the duration as well. I’m not going completely MIA, unlike in November, but there will be less to follow around. My Camp corner is where it will be at.

Selfish Saturday: Square two, maybe

roughroadI haven’t posted in this slot at all this year. There has been nothing to post about. This series is supposed to be about recovery from a long period of subclinical depression, together with tackling the physical issues that developed over that time. The last three or so months were as if everything in my life has been conspiring to set me back, in every possible way. It largely succeeded. The effort to reverse the trend right now feels like having to dig myself out of my own grave.

Things had been going downhill for a while. The mister’s four-and-a-half years of temp work came to an end in the summer, when he was offered a permanent position he was very happy to accept. Immediately, everything about the place seemed to start going wrong. First our car died, then things started breaking down about the house at an alarming rate. We have a leaking overflow, another leak from the bathroom that could potentially need the entire suite replaced (we shower standing in a washtub and tip the water down the toilet once done), the boiler is playing up and it’s anyone’s guess if we will have heating on any given day. Our plumber never returned my calls, and getting hold of another was an almost desperate venture. We have had to replace the tumble dryer, then the microwave. Every load of laundry I put in could be the washing machine’s last. Just the other day the bank informed us that, since our finances had stabilised, they would begin getting back the two mortgage payments we are in arrears for… by charging us an extra £300 a month. We had just managed to secure a new car (new, in this context, meaning ancient but road-worthy) and were beginning to budget for a trip to Athens, which will have to be put off yet again, till goodness knows when. I haven’t seen my mother, or any of my family and friends back home, since New Year’s 2011, and I won’t be seeing them until we stop bleeding money for emergencies with lousy timing. I miss the place and the people so badly I can almost taste it.

Naturally, I haven’t been in a good place at all over those months, even before the physical issues started. I’ve been convinced, for a long time now, that my lot in life will always involve suffering disproportionate amounts of physical pain for trivial reasons. The first month of 2015 served me three rounds of tummy bugs (in as many weeks) and a cold. The second month saw a resurgence of the cold, with a tickly cough that wouldn’t quit tacked on, a dodgy knee (the beginnings of osteoarthritis; don’t congratulate me on being officially middle-aged) and shin splints on the other leg, which took exception to having to compensate for the bad one. All in all, a combination that made my daily 4-mile school run a matter of torture, and shot any chances I had to return to a regular yoga practice.

It hasn’t been all bad – after all, we do have wheels, so I don’t have to do all the grocery runs on foot (even though I did have to do them when it was still bitterly cold), and the mister and I decided, at the beginning of February, to go on the 5-2 diet, which seems to be suiting us both; I have lost 3 kilos in 4 weeks, even with my limited mobility, and I can look forward to a few more months of good progress, at the very least.

I don’t know if my spirits will lift any with spring creeping closer; I’m a cold weather person by nature, and I’m not looking forward to a spate of allergies to add to the rest of the objective physical issues I’ve been having. But all I can do is look forward and try my best, because it beats the alternative.


Month at a Glance

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