Saturday, October 16, 2021

Computer Dating, Kinda...


I am dating my new computer. I’ve done computer dating before (not THAT kind) & I was really really good at it. Hours together. A deep, meaningful connection. But lately the computer & I…well, we were still friends, but… Then it got some disease & it was 12 years old & not likely to become a teenager so I replaced it with a fast, sleek, skinny little number with coppery skin. 

I liked it, but a couple days ago I realized I’d fallen into the same relationship habits that I’d had at the end of the last relationship. Nothing deep. Flitting between email & FaceBook & maybe get a Word in edgewise. 

No more, I decided. We’re going to date. At least an hour a day. But I know how that can go: it’s bedtime & I haven’t even lit the candles or poured the wine. (Metaphor! My computer HATES wine. & all other liquids.) So I set times: 1 pm or 4 pm, since already have a Steven Barnes Warrior’s Journey “Breathe” alarm going off then. (The 7 pm alarm won’t work, cuz Jeopardy! & Vanna’s dress & calling my mom to discuss the dress.) 

I set ground rules: no WiFi! Just you & me. Or background music, suggested the computer, which I instantly agreed to, since I don’t even LIKE background music. (Background audiobooks while doing tasks or driving are great, but you can’t listen to a story while writing a story, so those weren’t even the table—or in the airwaves, rather.) Unfortunately, I didn’t get this idea until October 2nd. Would have been nice to start on the first of the month… 

So, 1 pm October 2nd I snuggled into the wedge pillow with my computer (WiFi off!) on a pillow on my lap & a half-round pillow under my knees.(I love pillows!) & in an hour I had a sweet (if by sweet you mean creepiness about kidnapping toddlers for science & releasing them after a few months) little story, around 700 words. A very successful first date.

On October 3rd  I didn’t even wait ‘til one: I got this idea for a sestina while reading Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality by Frank Wilczek, who won a Nobel prize in physics (part of my Bradbury Challenge reading—I just bought my own copy cuz it’s SO inspiring & you can’t underline in library books & it would do you any agood if you did cuz you have to return them—poem, story, essay every day) & I just started writing for well over an hour. Like when you made a second date but you can’t wait so you drop by unannounced & make out on the porch swing for a while.

In the days that have followed I’ve written around 6000 words on a novel that I’d previously abandoned about 10 years ago. I’m no longer stuck and have figured out a way to tie it to another novel. 

I’m excited about this. I mean, I’m not going to put a ring on it, but I think an hour(ish) a day is going to be lots of fun. & productive! & I think maybe my computer likes me like that…

Saturday, August 10, 2019

My Willing Fingers. Toes Touching Sky.

I realize the post title sounds a bit pornographic, but it's really just two useful mnemonic devices to help me use a resistance band to keep/get fitter during this mostly-in-bed/no-weight-bearing time. See resistance band, coincidentally coordinated with the sheets, below.

Monday, Wednesday & Friday I do arm exercises that replicate, as well as possible, the ones I usually do with free weights. One of them I'll have to start doing from a seated position, because if I try it in bed, I'll knock over a bunch of things, including liquids. That would be bad. Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday I do leg exercises. Right leg, resistance band. Left leg, the weight of the boot. Also, 2 or 3 times a day, when I've removed the foot from its protective boot (I just LOVE the boot) I'm supposed to do 20 ankle pumps & 20 ankle circles, clockwise & counterclockwise. I do it with both feet, for balance, & to see what unimpaired ankle movement looks like. Grin.

I had Deborah, the home health aide (who came almost every day for the first 2 weeks after surgery & will now be down to 3 times a week, for half as many hours per day) wrap fluffy socks I never use around the bands & sew them in place, since I do this barefoot & a band going across the arch of the foot is NOT comfortable. Much better now. She also did a couple other sewing projects for me. I am not enamored of sewing. Kathy Landfried (now Flummer) & I about died during the sewing portion of home ec. I was always volunteering to rip out other people's seams to avoid working on my own project. I'm a whiz with a seam ripper.

My two-week checkup went great. Got the stitches out & was pronounced a great healer. Took a while to get rebooted, because everyone was involved with an unfortunate screaming child who was getting her stitches out, much less gracefully. Poor kid. The PA eventually came back in & did it himself.

I actually feel very comforted by the boot. I take it off for one period per day, in order to do the ankle exercises, but during that time I feel vulnerable, hatched too soon, anxious to put it back on. Until such time as I am trying to put it on, with is quite a feat, with me being barely able to reach far enough to get the toe velcro strap into its slot. Whew. That's a workout in itself.

I'm slightly less constrained to lying flat on my back with a strict icing schedule, but I'm mostly, with modifications, maintaining that, because the PA said that icing & elevation (icing sounds better than frozen-pea-ing) are still very good things. My modifications: Slightly increase the non-ice time. Slightly decrease the ice time. Let myself sit up a little higher when I'm using the computer, but not when I'm reading, playing poker, watching TV/movies, listening to audio books or inspirational cds.

Anyway, the timer just went off to tell me back to ice, so I shall bid adieu, but not before I tell you I finally got the re-revised version of a little romance story sent off to Woman's World. I'll let you know if they say yay. (They don't actually say nay, just let it wither & die at the end of 6 months...)

Blog alternative:
331. Marry a new habit to an old habit [habit stacking, courtesy of Atomic Habits by James Clear, which is AWESOME] for example, after the day's first icing session, do the resistance band exercises.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Lemonade Girl, the new superhero

So, the top photo shows my wedge pillow with a couple nice pillows on top of it & a towel-wrapped bag of frozen peas (large) on top of that & my big booted foot on top of that. The foot to the right looks so tiny! Just to the right of the pillows is this great insulated zippered lunch bag, which holds the frozen peas & a freezer pack in between icings. A very brilliant idea, if I do say so myself. I've got another bag of frozen peas & another ice
 pack in the freezer, so I can swap between them.

The bottom photo shows a couple of organize-y boxes on the right side of the bed, as well as the grabber thing Ellen Klages sent me. I've used it several times. Thanks, E. Right now I have my computer lap desk (squishy base) set up & my computer tethered to my phone so I can actually write & post this blog.

My friend Debbie, when I was talking about using this as an opportunity, called me The Lemonade Girl. I think that would be a good title, for something more than just this blog...

I've written & revised a little 800-word romance story to send to Woman's World. One more set of revisions to go before I send that out. Also started another story. Lying flat on my back is not IDEAL keyboard position, but it's doable.

It's one week post surgery & I basically have no pain. I took the major pain pills until Sunday night & decided to try switching to just Tylenol. That's been working great. I'm now down to Tylenol twice a day. I thought about stopping it, but got a tiny bit more uncomfortable, so decided to keep on for at least a little while longer.

I've also started using resistance bands to exercise the right leg & am going to get some arm weights going again, too. My orthopedic CNA suggested I not do anything with the booted leg until after the 2 week checkup, but when I'm cleared for it, I'll do some leg lifts & such with that one as well.

I'm a few minutes past the timer that says it's time for icing again, so I'll close here.

Blog alternative:
330. Make some lemonade. (Hey, I get to lie in bed & watch movies & play online poker & read & write stories & have people wait on me...)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Cotton Candy Grapes: the 1st one's free...

Here is my new addiction: Cotton Candy Grapes. Soooo Goooood! I bought them yesterday at Safeway & ate about half of them. They'll be gone before the end of today. I can't decide if I hope there are more when I get back to Safeway, or if they'll be the magical, ephemeral items I dream about until they next show up, some years or months in the future. Maybe weeks. Weeks would be good...

I've been under the spell of momentum, which can be a great good thing (all those weekly blog posts!) & then turn into not-so-great. I didn't feel bad about not blogging while I was out in Seattle & barely back & then down in San Francisco, but...I've been back for a while now. Quite a while. & yet, have I blogged? Nay. The non-blogging momentum got me in its apathetic tendrils (a momentum has tendrils, of course) & whispered, "You don't have to if you don't feel like it."

It whispered; I listened. But hey, today I'm back in the saddle. I've been getting a bunch of other stuff done & the momentum of that got me from those tendrils.

Blog alternative:
329. Look at your life for something that was going well a while ago but stalled out. Do a baby step or just get ready to get ready to get back to it.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Blow up the TV (yay John Denver)

Stacy Stimpson at the senior kegger 1977
Debbie Hedrick, Monty Ostrum & Jerry Jenks
in background.
Bottom picture is Scott Whitman,
same time, same kegger.
Here are some fun photos from back in the day. Remember, this is before digital cameras, so I had a little Instamatic & spent all my money on film & developing. The senior kegger was a good time.

I have since continued to take pictures, but lately I've been focusing on writing. Except...I found I didn't schedule in time for deep focus, no distractions. It was too easy to check email or facebook, play online poker, watch TV. I don't have any streaming services, but ION television can suck you in with an endless stream of reruns.

So, I decided on No Screens Saturday. I check the email & wish happy birthday on facebook, but then I put the phone over on its charger stand behind a coaster for Boneyard Beers, which has a skull & crossbones on it. I set the TV remote upside down next to the tablet, which warns me away from the poker. Besides that, I have the TV under cover of its cozy. No screens until 10 pm. Sunday, I'll do the same morning routine, but I'll lift the screen moratorium at 7 pm, when 60 Minutes comes on.

I can read or walk or do housework or writing or art. No grocery shopping or other lengthy errands. This is a brand new technique, just started last weekend, so tomorrow is only the second No Screens Saturday. How did I do? Well, Saturday was less productive than I had hoped. (I cleared off the clothes tree & did other tasky things. Plus a friend & I used prompts to write poetry & short short stories together, which I then entered into the computer.) But Sunday I got some good revision done on a novel that's been gathering dust & worked on a short story.

So, I'm looking forward to another productive weekend.

Blog alternative:
328. Carve out a bit of screen free time to work on projects dear to your heart.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Holm & Klages Rock the Boat--& the World

Here's a little colored-pencil on a placemat picture.
A self portrait on a foundation of House-In-Order.

I've recently read many brilliant words (& a bunch of so-so words) from a variety of authors, courtesy of the fact that I am reading a short story, an essay, & a poem every day after I do my morning pages. (Part of the Bradbury Challenge.) Okay, so sometimes I cheat on the essays & read part of a nonfiction book. I did that with Walden, by my beloved Henry David Thoreau, breaking it into bite-sized chunks. & I always read more than one poem a day...

I have quotes from two sources to share today.

First from Bill Holm, from the book Coming Home Crazy: an Alphabet of China Essays. Bill Holm was a good friend of my good friend, John Calvin Rezmerski, aka Rez. (R.I.P.) Rez may even have given me this copy of the book. Here is the quote that spoke to me this morning: "Beware the single idea. There is a loaded gun in it, anywhere on earth, pointed directly at your head." In context, he was talking about the translation of a collection of British literature, slashed & burned & reinterpreted & annotated to support the political stance of a particular time in China. But anything will do, if it is the sole guiding force that attempts to force all there is into its own image.

The second is from another good friend, Ellen Klages, from the title story of her collection Portable Childhoods. I reread the book a few months ago & was enchanted anew. But one paragraph stopped me in my tracks, a mother thinking of her beloved child & also of the child she used to be & of the never ending dance of parenting, of life. "Baggage left unattended will be confiscated. Oh, if only that were true."

Wow. I say again, Wow. It isn't automatically confiscated & checked for bombs or dangerous drugs. No, we get the chance, over & over, to see the baggage we've been carrying around, intentionally or not, & unpack it & sort through it &--if we're wise & strong--to actually discard parts of it. Then maybe we can have room for things that actually enhance our lives & the lives of those we love.

Blog alternative:
327. Look through your "baggage" & see if there's something you can get rid of. Perhaps the single idea?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

A castle in the sky--or at least a chair

A long time ago in a galaxy--oops, state--far away, I bought a Sky Chair. We hooked it to a ceiling joist in the Winter House & I was very happy. Until the drop ceiling...

Ever since then, I've carried the Sky Chair with me wherever I went, with never a good place to hang it. Minnesota to North Carolina & back to Minnesota & a stint in Montana & a couple different places in Oregon. No place for a Sky Chair. Sob. So, I bought a C-stand to hold it & I can happily sit in my living room & look out the sliding glass door at my nice view of bamboo & trees & mountains & sky. The above picture shows my feet on the ottoman as I relax & write or read.

It's a good productivity tool as well, since the computer lap desk fits very nicely. I've already written a cool little flash fiction piece. 750 words that just jumped out of my fingers. Whee!

So now I've got the hammock stand outside & the Sky Chair inside. I am well suspended.

Blog alternative:
326. Are you carrying something around with you that can't use right now? Figure out if there's a way. & if there isn't, consider releasing it to someone who can use it.