Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Feeding (All) the Birds

My husband puts out birdseed  nearly every day. We feed ducks and the occasional pair of geese, doves that nest in the roof of our apartment complex, squirrels and little birds of more kinds than I know how to identify.

All those birds gathering at our back door day after day provide entertainment not only for us but for passersby. Especially the four-legged passersby who scare off the birds with their excited sniffings.

They also, in turn, provide a living buffet for the birds of prey that scout nearby. Ambrose has seen them more than I have, because he's home more. But yesterday, I finally got a chance to get some good pictures of the fiercer birds that we feed.

I don't want to mess with the blinds and possibly scare it away.

Picture taken just as the bird flew off. 

It doesn't look like the bird was actually standing over any sort of substantive meal. 
Now I just need to figure out what kind of bird this is.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Lately, I've been having a hard time writing. Or sitting down to write, one or the other. Perhaps both. My mind just doesn't feel energized. I feel fuzzy-headed instead of clear. I'm tired.

So I've taken a break from minimum word counts. I need to adjust my goals. Because doing Crossfit 4 to 5 times a week, plus preparing for backpacking trips, plus work and additional workouts 2 to 3 times per week is apparently taking it out of me.

Whatever "it" is.

Motivation? When I first felt this way a few weeks ago, I tried sitting down and typing even though I didn't feel like it. The words came slowly and I didn't enjoy it. That was the key - it wasn't fun. And I want my writing to be a time of fun, because I want it to be fun to read. The passion needs to be there.

So I'm going to catch my breath, see if this fog passes and then refocus and get to writing up my solo trip. I do think of it often, things I want to include, the way I felt out there, when the wind was driving into my face, icily cold, while the sun beat down its heat, no one around, not even trees for company...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Sucks

I'd like to introduce you to my pain.

This is the pain that the doctors assure me they believe is real, but they can find no cause for it. The pain that dances along the left side of my abdomen wearing spikes, almost a pressure, tingling and burning and seething. The pain that leaves a while and then comes to visit, an unwelcome guest whose unpredictability is at least as troublesome as their baggage.

It's a throb at times, a strum at others, rippling through my abdomen like a dissonant chord.

It makes my sleep restless. It brings me close to tears.

I know what gas pain feels like and this is not it. Sure, what the doctors call irritable bowel syndrome, code for "something's wrong, but heck if we know what," does include gas pains at times. And they are horrible, filling me to bursting, making my stomach feel like an over-inflated basketball ready to pop and I so wish that it would just pop and give me relief from the pressure squeezing my insides. The gas is not a good feeling, but it's not the pain that I want you to meet.

This pain is special, it doesn't stick around to be examined or codified or classified or rectified.

The doc tossed some pills in my direction, give these a try, they might help. And, to be fair, in a situation that isn't, they do help with the pain. They lessen it, but they create complications. When I work out, I sweat a lot - except when I'm taking these pills. And more irritatingly, because, to be frank and honest, it is unlikely that the FDA approved these drugs after testing them on a group of women, let alone a group of women that included women with nipple piercings, I discovered a side effect unknown to both my doctor and my embarrassed local pharmacist. They cause my well healed piercings to extrude crystalline gook that stinks, gives me an itchy rash if it stays on my skin too long, and cuts up the inside of the piercings. Fun!

So I don't take those pills for the most part. I take a mint/ginger/fennel oil pill, which has its own travails because I intensely dislike the taste of mint, but also seems to help keep me stable once I get there.

But I'm not stable right now and I haven't been for a few months. I was managing from about the end of December to the end of February, but I was on antibiotics for a while and then I went to a conference and everything kind of fell off the rails. On and off, the pain has been back, unpredictable. I can't fix it. I can't do anything with it unless I want to invite the side effects back into my life (along with not really fixing things). And I don't. I just don't.

So I'm getting to know this pain. Adjusting myself to it. Working around it and through it. I make adjustments in my diet, my sleep, my exercise routine, anywhere I can tweak to try and solve this puzzle and be pain free.

But just when I think I've solved it, the pain comes roaring back for no reason that I can determine. It frustrates me and frustrates my husband, who doesn't like to see me in pain. I waver between acceptance and the fight, because I don't know which will work better at any given time.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Shifting Goals

Last summer I had a good run of writing fiction by committing to writing fiction every day. I wrote a good deal and succeeded in my goal.

This summer I decided to do the same thing without considering the factor of my solo trip.

Last year's solo trip was at the end of the hiking season. Once I finished it, my fiction writing challenge was almost over. I could get right on to writing the nonfiction book easily.

Having already completed my solo trip, more than a month ago now, I have come to realize that I do not have time in my day to simultaneously challenge myself to write fiction and nonfiction to a word count every day. I don't want to sleep less; I can't work less; I choose not to work out less.

So I'm making a shift in my priorities. Writing will remain a priority, but it will be nonfiction that I focus on to a word count. For starters, I'm going to keep the word minimum at the same 600 words for at home and 300 when out camping/backpacking, but I might revise that because I typically do find it easier to write my solo books than to make up stories.

Just like "only" hiking 92 miles instead of 100 was not a failure, but a reframing of the goal, so too do I not see this as a break in the streak or cause for sadness. I'm consciously refocusing so that I can achieve my goal of having the solo book ready. Once it's done, I'll go back to fiction able to focus on stories without worrying about the fact that I haven't done my solo book yet.

And I think I'm going to manage to get this year's solo book out in time for Christmas gifts.