BEST LAID PLANS

Never enough time to write.

Never enough time to write.

Throughout this last winter and early spring, I was able to write everyday, not just for an hour or two, but four to six hours each and every day.  I’d hoped to maintain that pace throughout the summer. Sometimes, we can’t control how our time gets used.

Being a vegetarian, and living on twenty acres, it only makes sense that I keep a large garden. Last year we were able to freeze,  and dehydrate enough vegetable to get us through most of the winter. This year, I planned to keep the weeds better under control and rework the watering system so that it would work more effectively.  Last year was so dry, the tomatoes struggled and we weren’t able to harvest enough to put up salsa or spaghetti sauce.

The garden keeps me busy weeding, watering and harvesting.

The garden keeps me busy weeding, watering and harvesting.

This year, we had plenty of rain early on which made it harder to manage the weeds.  Twisting my rib out of place (probably from overdoing pulling and whacking the weeds) put me out of commission with pain spasms–three or four times a minute for days.

I found a chiropractor with magic hands to relieve my pain. However, the neck adjustments dislodged my ear crystals, causing my world to spin and making me nauseous. I’ve had this vertigo before and remembered some of the moves the audiologist used to relieve the symptoms.

Unfortunately, the cure also requires not bending over and sleeping in a sitting position for two or three weeks.

I don’t sleep well on my back–especially when sitting up. I’ve been unable to work at all for over a week now. Today is my first day back to the computer, making a little progress on my manuscript.

Doing nothing or resting or being at less than full-tilt activity feels unnatural to me. My life requires daily maintenance. A lot of it. I’ve been working hard to bring some much needed organization to my life, but with these disruptions, those projects have been left half-finished.  I tell myself, “There’s always tomorrow.” It helps keep me sane, but just barely.

Now, the heat and humidity ranging around 100 degrees is making any work outside impossible until it begins to cool off around 9:00 p.m.  I know 2/3 of the country are suffering, with many people suffering much worse than I.  At least we have air conditioning, which is better than last year when we were out of power during the heat streak.

 

Time to relax and enjoy the sun set

Time to relax and enjoy the sun set

I tell myself to “go with the flow.”

Worrying about what didn’t get done only drains the energy I need to heal, and to maybe get a little writing done.  Sometimes I can make it work–like today. A little progress on the manuscript and this blog. I need to celebrate the small successes.

How are you dealing with the heat?  Or anything else that is disrupting your Best Laid Plans.  I’d love to hear from you.

THE EYES HAVE IT

 

 

No more glasses?

Over the holidays, as I prepared for the first of two cataract surgeries, eye drops, dark glasses, a ride to the surgery center and subsequent appointments, I missed the part about the reading restriction: only ten minutes an hour for three weeks following surgery.  No email, no facebook, no twitter (restricted because I get sucked in and go over the time limit).  No books.  No blogging.  No reading menus at restaurants, not even the big ones behind the counter.  I couldn’t even pick up a magazine when I was waiting for my appointment with the eye doctor.  Carrying my iPad was unnecessary, actually a dangerous temptation.  Until I developed cataracts (fast growing starting in the center, not from edges like most people) and needed eye surgery, I never quite realized how much I read.  I never thought about it.  Not until I couldn’t read.  It almost drove me crazy.

It’s been four weeks.  I’ve had the second eye surgery.  The first special lens the surgeon implanted is supposed to give me good mid-range to long distance vision.  It’s not very clear yet, I’m told it’s because my eye is too dry and still dilated.  Be patient, they say.  It’ll get better.  The second implant is supposed to give me good vision from mid-range to up-close reading, that is as long as the light is bright.  Don’t use the reading glasses, they say.  Make the eye work, so it can learn to see.  Be patient, they say.  It’ll get better.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’m a writer and an artist.  My eyes are everything to me.  It’s hard to be patient when I have two books to complete, one in it’s umpteenth edit, the other written during Na No Wri Mo last November.  To make things worse, I’m a slow reader.  Always have been.  Something to do with how the muscles in my eyes focus on the page.

Before the surgeries, everyone I talked to, and I mean EVERYONE, said cataract surgery is a snap.  Almost no discomfort the first day they said, and by the second, I’ll be seeing like never before.  I’ll love it, they said.  As usual, I’m the exception.  The first eye, my right, felt like I had glass in it for the first day and leveled off to the “uncomfortable” stage the day after surgery.  The second eye felt like shards of glass were sticking in my eye the first day, and reduced to gravel (maybe sandpaper) by the second day.

When I called at 8:00 p.m. the day of surgery because I couldn’t stand the pain any more, the nurses at the surgical facility were great.  They were very sympathetic, but informed me that pain medication taken orally wouldn’t help (I’d already found that out, because I had some leftovers from my knee surgery) and numbing eye drops would be toxic to the lens.  I didn’t want that, right?  The only choice to mitigate the pain was to keep my eyes closed as much as possible and use eye drops to moisten my eyes.  I had to keep both eyes closed, they explained, because if you have one covered and use the other for watching television, they will track together and irritate the closed eye.  So no television to distract me from the fact that I couldn’t read, for almost a month. I mean really read, like for three hours at a time, like what I did before surgery,   Have you ever tried to eat a salad with your eyes closed?  It doesn’t work very well.

I don’t mean to be going on about this.  I don’t like to complain.  It’s just that it would have helped if even one person would have told me that there could be problems with my eyes after cataract surgery, I would have been a bit prepared.  I’m sure you’re thinking (at least I am) that I’ve been struggling for only a few weeks, and I really have no right to complain, not with all those soldiers on the news coming home with head trauma and blown off limbs, not with all the gun shot victims from movie theaters and schools.

So why am I blogging about my eyes?  Well, the reason is because the experience taught me something.  Something I think is valuable.

When I had my knee replacement surgery three years ago, the healing process gave me compassion for people who must use walkers and wheelchairs to get around.  Now, after having surgeries on my eyes, I’ve been given a glimpse into the world of the blind and vision impaired.  I don’t know how they manage.  Really, I don’t.  I’ve only had to cope for a few weeks.  And, it’s been a real challenge.  Why?  Because when I feel out of control, I get grouchy, very grouchy.  I’m not good at asking for help.  I’m independent and a perfectionist, both good qualities for being a writer and an artist.  Not so good for getting older.

I just had another birthday, my 63rd.  I’m proud that I am active and vibrant at that age, though my damaged knees from years of abuse have slowed me down a bit.  But now, this eye thing has given me pause.  I’ve known for some time that there are adjustments I must make as I age.  Mind you, I intend to be active well into my late nineties.  Over the last couple of years,  I’ve been learning to be careful (with riding horses and climbing ladders to do house renovations, I never really was before), to move with intention, to use my time wisely, and to kick my feet up a little more just to relax.  I know my eyes will get better.  And if they aren’t just perfect, I will adjust.  That is the wisdom that age brings.  The knowledge that I will get through it, because I have so many times before.

 

Lets Begin

 

 

With all the radiation flying around in Japan, and non-stop human suffering, it’s hard to concentrate on everyday tasks at hand.  Having a sensitive nervous system that responds to tragedy by either shutting down or exploding with high anxiety, I try to limit my exposure to the news.  An hour in the morning and then again at night, split between local weather and national nightmare, is about all I can take.  To save precious time, I skip over the commercials by recording everything first.  That makes it near impossible to vote for my favorite American Idle, but it gives me time to write.  In the morning, I break up my news addiction with email and blogs effusing advice for writers.

When it comes to my own writing, in addition to working on my book, I’ve struggled with what to blog about on this website.  I’ve considered discussing women’s issues intertwined with spiritual insights and discussion of events I’ve attended.  I know I’ll use my photos from around my farm.  I’ve decided to begin with sharing tidbits from my favorite books that I’ve been reading on writing, both bought and borrowed, and accent with a dash of referrals to blogs that made me think and smile.

It’s tough to get a handle on where to start due to the plethora of blogs on line that bounce you back and forth, referring to other sites of friends and supporters. I guess I’m adding to the deluge.

For me, the web easily becomes a black hole.  When I fall in, there’s no time left to transfer all my scribbles on yellow pads that lie about my desk.  They are gathered from car rides, sleepless nights and early morning flashes of brilliance, and need to be loaded into my Mac.

One hopeful solution is the program Dragon.   www.macspeech.com/dragon It remains for now on my wish list, though it has moved to the top of the line, primarily because it would allow me to stand and move a bit while vocally transferring pen and paper to electronic type.  My old friends arthritis and fibromyalgia restrict my sitting  to preferred one-hour stints.  (Hmm.  There seems to be a pattern here, one hour at a time.)

Typing has been additionally handicapped these last eight months due to a severely shattered wrist.  While rushing, I tripped on a rug and went flying through the air, landing on unforgiving ceramic tile.  It’s taken three surgeries to repair the damage.  So, I’ve learned to type one-handed.  On a good day, I can use one finger on my casted hand which really speeds up the process.  I try not to complain.  So many have it worse than I and I know it won’t be long before I’m almost as good as new.

Anyway, I want to share the books and blogs that I’ve found valuable.  So, keep an eye out for my next post.  I’ve got several to tell you about.

If you are interested in my art work, check out my webpage:  www.trottownstudios.com

It’s still under development (I’m doing all the design myself and there’s lots to learn) so keep a look out for new additions to it.

I also have a blog about the farm  leafriverwriter.blogspot.com recounting our struggles and mishaps (like getting snowed in the last two winters).  Please forgive the absence of posts during the months when my wrist was injured.  I’m getting back on track, and hope to make additions to both sights soon.  There you’ll see all my animals: horses, chickens, dogs and lots of cats.  Hey, I’ve got to do something with all those pictures.  Might as well share the joy.