Wednesday, December 27, 2017


For the last few months, I've had a lot of stress and tension in my left shoulder. It's been painful, causing headaches at times and radiating pain down my arm at others. I got massages, I rubbed Vicks Vap-o-Rub onto my shoulder at nights, heating pads, aspirin, yoga...

And now it's the winter break and I don't have to work for a while and the tension has melted away.

For months, I've been hesitant to write, guidebooks or fiction or anything salable except my hiking book - and even that took a while to get off the ground. But for the last week and a half I've been chipping away at the Chamberlain guidebook. It's actually pretty close to finished - the text portion. There's still going to be a few pictures, an overall map thing and a list of which topographic maps to use and where to get them. But the tricky part is nearly done.

And I've done the writing by giving myself a small, achievable goal. 250 words per day. Easy to finish on the nights I really don't want to do any writing. Easy to exceed on the nights that I feel like writing more.

For some reason, it's easier for me to get my butt to the writing chair in the evening. I don't tend to do it during the day. I should - I'm generally awake more hours during the day, especially when I'm working. But the night is the time for writing, I don't know why. The darkness puts the screen into perspective.

Maybe I need a windowless writing room where I can escape to and turn out the lights to emulate the feeling of night writing. Although, part of it might be that when I'm tired I stop stopping myself from writing. I stay up late and let go. Too tired to pay attention to self criticism.

I have to consider, giving the timing, that the reason I'm relaxing isn't just because I'm not going to work this week. It could also be that I'm getting my writing done. I'm making progress on my words every day, and re-living my two hikes in the Chamberlain Basin at the same time.

It's actually pretty relaxing.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Writing Progress

I've been feeling sick for what seems like forever but it likely a mere 9 weeks. And, while I was feeling ill, it was difficult to get myself at my writing desk. My brain felt full of phlegm and fuzzy. Sitting up took so much more effort than lounging on the couch. And every time I thought I was feeling better, I started to feel worse within another day. It was discouraging.

So I haven't gotten the guidebooks done that I wanted to finish before the end of the year. Now, there's still time to get them done, but I'm not sure if I'm going to. However, I am going to be working on them every day. I've made a dent in the one for the Chamberlain Basin and I've had some thoughts about the Queens River. I want to be sure to include how much the terrain in one section of the Queens River has changed since we started hiking there.

Once I get the guidebooks complete, I'm hoping to work on a little more fiction. I've got one more project that I had started and never finished, and then I'll have to start thinking about new things. Well, there was one other project, but I never actually started writing, it was more of a planning stage thing. Maybe I'll revisit that. Maybe not.

I'm pleased with how my solo trip book turned out this year. It's shorter than most of the previous ones, but I expected that. There's not a lot of variation in that section of the trail, after all. And I feel like I was able to put more of the experience into the book.

So now I need to figure out the balance of how to write a guidebook that will help people find their way in areas that aren't so commonly used and also give them some personality to chew on. I think I'm getting it, but I really don't know. Only one way to find out - let the readers decide.

Which means I need to publish! Time to get to work!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Still Sick?!?

I was just starting to feel better last weekend. I think I went a whole two days without taking any cold medicine. But I could still feel the crud in my lungs when I exercised - or even when I cleaned the bathtub. And a massive headache decided to pay me a visit.

I'm not sure what the headache is from, but it is definitely centered on the left side and radiating from my temple to my neck to my shoulder all the way down my arm. It is not pleasant.

Usually when I get one of these kinds of headaches, I try to relax and get a good night's sleep and it goes away the next morning.

Not this time.

The headache was just as bad in the morning. So I went to my next potential solution: hard exercise. I went and worked out to the point of dripping with sweat (crossfit does that to me). The headache changed a bit post-workout, but didn't go away.

Next, a bath. Which meant I needed to scrub the bathtub because my husband and I aren't the best housekeepers. So that's how I found out that leaning over the tub to scrub moved the crud in my lungs and gave me bouts of coughing. But it was worth it to get a nice hot bath.

The hot bath did not cure my headache. But it was quite pleasant and relaxing.

I was really hoping it would be gone after another night's sleep, but no such luck. It continued to torment me at work on Monday, to the point where the fluorescent lighting was making my eyelids twitch.

Tuesday morning, it wasn't quite as bad, but it was still hanging out behind my eyes and temples. I got a massage last night, and got my shoulder really worked on, as well as my neck, but the headache is still clinging. And I could feel little spikes of pain dancing down from my shoulder down to my elbow when I rode my bike home afterwards.

It might be the inversion causing me trouble. When the air is all trapped in the valley like this the quality can get pretty bad. I'm really hoping for a good snowstorm, just for a change of pace. The layer of clouds seem to be waiting for something, just like I'm waiting for this headache to give up and leave me in peace.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Sick Days

I used to take sick days much more liberally. Feeling a bit sniffly? Sick day. Might be running a fever? Sick day. Work sucks? Sick day.

But now, I'm a boss. I'm in charge of things. I have things to get done!

I can't just take a sick day whenever my body aches and shivers. No, I have to suck down cold medicine and go into work and get that stuff done. Because, logical or not, I feel I have a responsibility to do so.

Ironically, at this point in my career, I've stockpiled a goodly amount of sick time. Back in the day, when I'd skip work just because it sucked and call it being sick, I would be using sick time essentially as I earned it. Now that I have more sick hours than I know what to do with, I don't do anything with them.

I must be some kind of adult or something. Ugh!