Thursday, February 28, 2013

On the Downhill Slide

Well, to my vast life experience, I can now add gout.

I would have preferred to have missed this one, actually. To say it is painful is quite the understatement. I am on day 5 and I am just now able to put my whole foot on the floor again. I am keeping it elevated and iced and if someone bumps it, I still cry, but it is better. I am thinking by Monday, it will be gone.

If you've experienced a decent amount of pain in your life, you know that there are different qualities to them. Some are deep and achey, some sharp and needle like . . .etc. I have also found I react differently to them. With gout, I cry. It is an emotional pain. When the dog stepped on my foot and everyone was sorry but chuckling at my swearing, I went in the bathroom and cried. I put my head down on my keyboard and cry. I sneak into another room and cry. One of my kids hugs me and I cry. This is NOT like me. I rarely cry with pain. Swear? YES. Cry? No. Gout is an entirely different story.

But let me tell you the silver lining of this story. My family. Wow. They have helped me walk, and get up and down the stairs. They have brought me food and water and medication. They have warmed up heat packs for my back and grabbed the ice pack for my foot. They have listened to me whine and hugged me when I cried and put up my rampaging emotions. Nicole is virtually telepathic and can sense what I need before I open my mouth. Caspian's strong arms have acted as my crutches multiple times. Coryn's amazing hugs encourage me even as he is making me laugh. Joseph, poor man, has been at my side throughout it all (only bumping my foot a few times in the process.)

I may be cursing this damn gout, but I am feeling blessed by the family sharing it with me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Perchance to Dream

I've not been having my best week. Gout is making life incredibly painful. I was considering going to the doctor, and then, this morning, we got up to find someone broke into our van during the night and, OF ALL THINGS, stole the remote to our malfunctioning car alarm. This means we cannot start the car because the alarm will go off. Sigh. That was a complication we didn't need in our lives.

Last night, in the hopes of getting an entire night's sleep without waking to cry because my foot was soaking in broken glass and molten lava, I took some medication so I would really, really, really sleep well and it worked great. I slept the night through for the first time since this started.

However, a good portion of my sleep was spent in a long, complex, detailed dream. And really, it was a painful experience. Not about my foot. Not a nightmare. No, this one started with my visiting my parents. We laughed and talked and had fun and it was so wonderful because I miss them so damn much. And then, because that wasn't enough emotional turmoil for one night apparently, in the dream my Mom called Jasmine and we were all invited over there. (I love how thousands of miles disappears in dreams. My parents, in the dream were in Florida. LONG way to Oregon.) We did, and we had the best time. Everyone was happy. Everyone got along. We were just a family enjoying each other. In this dream, I got to hug my parents and my oldest daughter, something I haven't done in years and years. I can still feel them in my arms.

Nope, not my best week.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I am Humbled

Bursitis. Gout. Old people's health problems.
Apparently, I am an old person.
Honestly, I didn't have a CLUE what gout was. I had heard it and thought it had something to do with a growth on the thyroid. Yeah, that's GOITER, Tami. Obviously, I need to expand the list of topics I cover. :)
So . . . I have gout in my right foot. And let me tell you, it's humbling. It's humbling like a kidney stone. My best description of the experience is that it feels like a nail has been driven through your foot and then set on fire. Occasionally, someone adds some acid to drip on it. Wouldn't want those flames to fizzle out, right? I mean . . . wow, does this hurt.
This morning, I was gearing up to swing that foot out of bed and face walking on it down stairs when I got a charlie horse in the OTHER leg. Now really, was that fair? Did I honestly do something to deserve that? I sure wouldn't think I ticked off the Karma Fairy that much, but I have my doubts.
Anyway, I'm increasing water uptake, taking vitamin C, searching for some cherry juice, and trying not to be a wimp. I'm trying to keep meeting deadlines and getting assignments done in time for Monday morning, but it isn't easy when you are really thinking how grand it would be to chop off your foot instead. I am pretty sure amputation would hurt less.
Sheesh, when I did I get this old?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Jackie of all Topics!

Ok, but Jack of all Trades didn't sound right . . .

Last night on the radio, John Tesh, dispenser of wisdom for all ages, said that one of the keys to the prevention of Alzheimer's was actively using your brain to read and learn new ideas and subjects. I have decided that if this is true, I am impervious to Alzheimer's. Here is why.

For your intense viewing pleasure, I would like to share with you the topics I have written about in the last 21 days. The least I wrote was 150 words (a few poems) and the most 8,500 (a book). This is why Tami's head wants to explode sometimes.

How we remember (ironic, eh?)
Farmer's markets
K2 mountain
American government
World history/spread of Islam
Hurricane Katrina
Ben Carson
Building an anemometer
Medical and non-medical dialogues
Folk tales
Tall Tales
Workplace Diversity
Olympic gold medalists
How to find something you lost
Coral reefs
Nocturnal animals
Back to school night
Aristotle's ethos, pathos, and logos
Jacques Cousteau
Paavo Nurmi
Basic bicycle care
The Spanish inquisition
R2 Robonaut
Zion national park
Natural resources
Marketing and Sales

In three weeks.
Now if I could retain it all, I could go on "Jeopardy", win millions, retire and only write about what I wanted to.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Watched this Video . . .

Facebook . .. ah, Facebook . . . I resisted you for ages, and then succumbed to your lure. And yes, I admit it . . I love it. It makes me laugh, keeps me up to date, connects me with friends new and old, and just gives me something interesting to read when I am taking a break between projects.

Today I saw a video linked there ( and I was intrigued, so I watched it. Ended up in tears. Made my kids watch it. Cried every time through. It touches a deep chord in me. I was bullied pretty badly when I was in elementary school. Typical stuff, but it hurt and it is a wound that has scarred over, but hasn't really healed. I know it affects who I am today and it was certainly integral to my choosing to homeschool our kids. There is a part in there about a young girl who grows up to be a loved mom, and it breaks me down every time.

I cannot fathom watching this with kids in school. I know many of these kids do fine and thrive in school, but so many are wounded. I sure was. I was beat up, called names, and made fun of daily. It didn't end until I was in junior high. I remember being absolutely terrified to walk out on the playground during recess. I remember begging not to go to school. I don't hold any grudge against my parents for not letting me stay home. They didn't know there were any alternatives. They loved me dearly and did all they could to counteract what my peers were doing to me. I'm grateful for that.

But watching this certainly touched me, and all I can do is reach out to my children with incredible gratitude that while they will (and HAVE) encountered unkindness, bullying, and extremely unpleasant people, they are young adults equipped to handle it, not tiny little people with vulnerable souls.  We grow up, we know, as the video says, "THEY WERE WRONG!" but . . . . we are scarred.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Oh . . . and also . . .

(Yes, I am on a venting kick here. Bear with me.)

On top of please writing this material for FREE, these same companies will not tell you how much the project will pay IF/WHEN you get hired.

That's right.

You can submit a resume, do an interview, write a sample and THEN, when they decide to hire you, discover that their pay rate is far below what you usually get, so you end up turning them down.

Remind me again why I am in this field.

Oh yea. No panty hose, my own hours, home with the family, and my office is in the living room. Now I remember.

Can You Imagine . . . .

Can you imagine . . .

  • being a carpenter and being interviewed to do a whole house remodel . . . .the client says, Hey, do my bathroom FOR FREE and if I like it, I will hire you to remodel the rest. 
  • being a photographer and being interviewed for a wedding . . . the client says, Hey, take pictures of my cousin's bar mitzvah FOR FREE and if I like them I will hire you for the wedding.
  • being a doctor and doing a history on a new patient. . . .the patient says, Hey, repair my hernia FOR FREE and if you do a great job, I will let you take out my gallbladder.
No? None of these sound plausible? Well, if you're a freelance writer, you had better get used to it. 

Oh yes, we are considering you for this job. Your resume is extensive. Your interview was flawless. BUT. BUT . . . we want you to write a sample for us. It will take you HOURS. You will spend the best part of a day working on it BUT . . . .you are also going to do it FOR FREE. Yes, and IF we like it, we will hire you. Will we pay for the sample? Heck, no. That is just hours you have to donate to prove you're worthy. 

I understand that companies have to hire carefully and they have a LOT of applicants to weed through, I really do. But for me to make time to do your sample, I have to push aside paying clients and that seems a bit foolish. If you would offer to pay for the sample, even if you want to base it on payment only if I am hired for the job, that would be really professional. 

Unless, of course, you know a carpenter that would be willing to come and do part of my remodel for free. Then, we can talk. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

If I could . . . .

If I could say anything to the editors and companies I work for . . .it would be this . . . .

When you tell me that:

  • you have misplaced my invoice
  • you need my invoice on a different form
  • your accounting person is on vacation or maternity leave
  • you are changing accounting systems
  • your payment system had a glitch
  • you can't find my W-9 form and need another one
  • you overlooked my original invoice, so please resend
  • your process just changed from 30 days to 45 or 90 days
This is what happens on my end because YOU are the only money I get. If it isn't in the mailbox, I don't have any income. I have no regular "payday. So when you don't send the check when I am expecting you to: 
  • We don't go out for coffee
  • We don't fill up the gas tank
  • We don't pay our bills on time
  • We start buying groceries at the Dollar Tree
  • We skip meals
  • We fall behind on utilities
  • We empty our coin jars
  • We empty our savings accounts
So, please, PLEASE, try to pay your writers on time. You have no idea what a domino effect it can have when you send an email letting us know the check we expected three days ago has been delayed a week, two weeks, a month--or more. It isn't fun, it isn't easy, and it makes my work that much harder. 

Thus end today's public service announcement. 

A Sacred Hour

I am not one for making serious new year's resolutions. Of course, each year, all of us take turns saying our top three--it has become a tradition. One of mine, due to a generous dose of HN (husband nagging) was to establish more regular sleeping hours. Mine were admittedly erratic. I often did not get into bed until 1 or 2 a.m., commonly working until I got up to get in bed--not terrific for easy sleeping. My head would still be completely caught up in the project I was working on, and I would be there for more than 30-45 minutes before finally going to sleep.

So, we started a new habit. Right around 10 p.m. I get off the computer, say goodnight to the kids, and go upstairs. Then, Joseph and I turn on classical music (another change for me), and putting our pillows just right, we get in bed and we read for an hour. Doesn't sound like much, I know, but it has really altered the day for me.

I love this quiet time with Joseph. The kids are downstairs watching another episode of "Dr. Who" or something along those lines. J and I cuddle (a lot--I usually have both legs thrown over him) and we read. I read for FUN. Nothing for work. (A side effect is that in only the first 6 weeks of the year, I have read nine books!) We read fun lines out loud. Share a quote we like. Laugh. Share an apple.

I LOVE this hour. I slow down my brain. I feed it fun material. I get warm and cozy in bed with my favorite husband. At 11, the lights go out, the radio goes off, and we cuddle closer in the darkness, under warm quilts. I turn on my CD player (with tinnitus, a quiet room will drive me nuts) and drift off with J spooning behind me. the music under my pillow, and peace in my mind and heart. What a wonderful way to end the day, right?