My left foot

Bonding with my husband in new and unusual ways because after 15 years, that’s what one does. One straps on leather, throws in a blade or two and goes for it- sans whip. No, not talking 50 shades of Maple Valley, this would be the ice rink. That’s how much I love my husband.

So how is it then that at ten minutes in to lesson number two, I find myself in the managers office at the rink, leg up, ice pack having numbed my ankle into submission?
“Definitely cracked” says Jamie Huscroft, a former NhL player who trains Rog (my his band), who then chimes in: 
“She’s tough, see that?” Like I’m not in the room watching the two confer on my disability status. I’m going through phases of pain-induced delirium brought on by the maybe-break followed by the ice that’s turning my skin to cement, which I’m sure hurts at least as much as falling in my ankle and maybe more. (And for those who want to call me retarded and be done with it, I was actually executing a good stop, with both feet parallel and then pushing off like instructed, but as per my normal self, I was overly aggressive, and used the tip of my left toe. In figure skating, the skates have ridges, it caught on the ice- for I didn’t know to lift it up- and all the force of my momentum was used to slam the outside of my left ankle to the ground instead of standing up).
Now that we have that clear, I’m still here in the office, She reads my text and calls me.
“…..” That is the symbol for her laughing so hard she can’t talk. When she can, this is her consoling comment.
“…(insert laughter where the dots are) Daniel day Lewis in My Left Foot- you just….got…your right toes healed and now your left is shot. I know! I…have an…idea! Your right toes didn’t heal straight. Have the dr break them at the same time since you will be out anyway.”
That was so helpful. So glad you called, i tell her. Later today I will visit the dr and figure out how I get to do all the things I have to do in the month ahead. Actually I solved that part of the equation – it’s going to be mind over matter.  Going to behead some chickens and use my homeopathic remedy arnica and rhos tox and see what happens- of course still go to the dr- 
“No! I want to see you in a wheel chair at Costco ramming into people and butting inline,” says She. Oh, I hope to disappoint.

Golfing Coyotes

Our foursome became a ‘fifth-some”

It’s Friday. It’s a sunny, clear day, something not to be squandered in the last of the fall days before the rain hits and we break out the parkas and trade fleece for rubber. Rog suggests we get in a day of golf and off we go to the Maple Valley Golf Course.

On the 6th hole, we are joined by a furry companion with four legs. He follows us around, and we wonder if he’s hungry, or if a pack is nearby. But we have bigger issues than being eaten, like my bad putting. By the 8th hole, he’s as tired of our poor swinging and even worse jokes and sits down for a breather. The snack bar is nearby, and I ask the guy if the coyotes are dangerous.

A new tagline:
Doritos: the golfing Coyotes Choice

He looks around to see if he’s in the clear and confides, “they like the Doritos.” And really, I wonder, what golfer doesn’t? Then my next thought is, I can make money from this–I can go into Dorito marketing, but then the animal freaks would have it out for me, and I’d lose my day job. Wait. I can’t lose my day job. I don’t have one. I’m a writer. All is well as that point, and we move on to the next hole, our fifth continuing along until he loses interest at hole 13 in search of a more interesting foursome, and perhaps some Doritos.

Words of wisdom

A day after posting this, I figured it deserved some context (otherwise, this blog would digress into yet another homogenous Facebook page full of random quotes and indecent photos…well, scans photos).
This, you see, is from my sister, who, I had to wonder, if she was trying to tell me something without really telling me something.
“Am I having attitude?” I asked her. “Am I becoming to big for my britches?”
“No, no,” she replied in a hurry, and I’ll admit, I really didn’t believe her. For, you see, right before my world started falling apart, my husband’s company sold, and ever since then (about 7 months ago), it’s been a period of blackness I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Yet at the same time, I’ve been paranoid about my attitude being affected either from the sale or from the series of unfortunate events.
“No, seriously,” she continued. “It means that you were patient during the entire time you and Rog were waiting and working, and now you are just the same.”
huh. I don’t feel the same. I feel liked I’m a piece of blue cheese gone a little…stanky. I do what I always do in times like this. I turn to Rog for a second opinion, always sure I can get the straight, unfettered and sometimes ugly-blunt truth of it all.
“That’s the motto I live by,” he says without shame or sarcasm. Of course he’d say that. Mr. I-was-born-without much- and therefore must remain true to my roots. I, on the other hand, fight against my natural tendency to overwhelm (as in, give more gifts to people I love) or over give (as in, give more to charities in way that would break the bank) and then I rebound like a celebrity divorcee and go internal, wanting to take down my website and avoid everyone at the school.
“You’re just conflicted,” Rog sums up, walking away, the conversation over. So in the end, I am still conflicted, still paranoid and still over-doing everything, and it will probably remain so until I lose it all again and learn patience, all over again.

Bats in the daytime

Sitting by the pond, manuscript in hand, tanning my feet (for the rest of my good Swedish self is in the shade), and lo, right in front of me flies a bat. Light brown and fuzzy, a little off-kilter, like a toddler taking his first steps. I peer forward as it careens to me, wondering what in the word it drank last night to mix up it’s patterns.

It comes within touching distance, turns ands swipe down to the water, gliding gracefully along, then licks a bit of water. It lifted back up, turned around and went into a spot I didn’t know existed under a big rock. I’d have captured it all but was too shocked and enamored with the fuzzy hair part.
Now must go back to the manuscript- and keep on the lookout for my little friend.

Hair loss in young women

Four months, my 7 yr old Porsche started losing her hair. It resembled a widows peak on a man, but lower. It was on her right side, and kept extending across her hairline.

At first, I dismissed it. My older friends talked about hair loss with their daughters as a natural occurrence around age 7.

“Hormones kicking in,” said one, a dermatologists assistant for many years. I didn’t worry- I watched. And watched. Over the next four months, her hair continued receeding, and started on the other side of her head. Then right above her ear. During this time, rog kept telling me it was because she pulls her hair tight or twists it with her fingers. Friends continued to tell me it would grow back.

Well, last Tuesday I was washing her hair in the bathtub and while lifting it up, saw two huge gaping holes of skin where hair should have been. Imagine a Miley Cyrus Mohawk, and that’s what her hair looked like underneath. Her hair is long up top but absent underneath. Worse, there are no visible follicles- it’s flat skin like facial skin.

Calls to the dermatologist followed – after consulting the pediatrician. Alopecia, or hair loss. After making several appointments, a friend who is a research scientist dug up a whole lotta data not available to the common man (or woman).

Hair loss in children accounts for 3% of all pediatric appts.

Hair loss can be reverse in many cases by cortisone shots (ouch)

The shots or cream or treatment must occur before the follicle has time to close- permanently.

At this point, several other causes are possible, as well as treatments.

Last week, I did the mother thing and envisioned a daughter losing her hair, going through adolescence and adulthood wearing wigs. The businesswoman in me got to problem solving.

Here are the pictures of what we are dealing with:

What I’m really thinking

At the beginning of yoga, the instructors follow a routine. After raising the lights and lowering the music, a short introduction is followed by identifying the newcomers, a good way to see who is likely to faint or throw up, or who might need a little extra motivation during the 60 minutes during a free right to the underbelly of sun, otherwise known as hot yoga.

I like to be in the front, not because I’m necessarily good, but I have found that if I’m in the back, I’m distracting by all the sweat butts and can’t concentrate on standing for a full sixty seconds on one leg as I try and stretch my other leg behind by back and over my shoulder (for who among isn’t distracted by sweaty butts, I ask you).

In any case, as I’m standing there, breathing and sweating my way through poses that wring my body and mind out of the trials of the day, and I notice the man the woman to my right, powering her way through the movements, very jerky like. I’m wondering if she’s in a profession that’s rigid, or was a mime in another life.

A man to my left looks like he’s in pain, but he’s focusing on his chest, as if looking elsewhere might cause him to collapse. When we turn to the right, I notice a long-chaired man, whose body is tattooed up to his neck, and I wonder where he found an artist to create such a magnificent piece of work. I’m not really in favor of tattooing, mostly because I believe the human body itself is such a beautiful temple to worship, why defile it with pictures (I also can’t see the sexy muscles ripple on the shoulders with tattoos). Still, every so often, I’m struck in near amazement at some of incredible scenes and imagery, and likelier than not, I’ll approach the person and inquire.

I’m very impressed with one or more of the large women on who hang out in the back row, new or on-going students. Rolls of skin hang over wide, thick bellies. Arm skin lifts up with the stretches to the ceiling, and all, spare none, are squished into skin-tight yoga outfits. I’m thinking
a) they have incredible stamina to even be in a room that’s 104 degrees.
b) they are very brave to be wearing skin tight clothes. I don’t even wear skintight clothes. too self-conscious and
c) who even sells clothes in those sizes? and finally,
d) self-loathing I had the above thought.

As we get on to the floor movements, I can’t help but notice Andrew, the new guy behind me and to my right. He can’t grip his one foot, but is trying to complete these movements. I wonder why. He continues, unsuccessfully, and when we turn around, I see that his left hand is missing four fingers. Only a part of his index finger remains, and the thumb has a quarter stub on it, but the far right three fingers are gone at the joint. I was am straining in airplane, I have a clear few, and wonder what could have happened to cause this? It wasn’t a clean sheer of the fingers, but a ridge-like edge that reminded me of a rock wall. (No telling the things that hit you when its hallucinogenic hot).

The final stretches are now coming, and prayer position means its close to ending. The teacher, whom I’ve never had before, has us sitting on our ankles, hands on knees, and I think we are going to do the rapid breathing (don’t ask me to give you the names of these 15-consonant-long words. I’ve been going on and off 7 years, and I still can’t recall the names), but instead, she calls on a few people to say what they are thankful for.

I’m the second one she calls on. Flustered, I say “my kids are healthy and everyone is happy–no sickness!” and the class laughs. She then calls on Andrew “You knew you were next, she says,” and he tells her that he is glad he came and made it through.

I wanted to tell him I was glad for him too, and I was proud of him, then thought, why not? I turned around and said “Good job! you did it!” which is what I would have liked someone saying to me my first time, when I felt foolish and was sweating like a stuck-pig in a mudbog in the middle of the summer. He gave a wobbly smile and all I saw was this great light of triumph in his eyes, and I was so happy for him. That’s what I was really thinking. 

Anatomy of an Acheiver

“You did that?” Asked my 7-year old daughter as I placed the final pages of my manuscript on the 4 inch stack. Indeed, I respond, I did.

4 years, give or take, writing this novel in between writing two other books and a screenplay, but who cares really? No one, until it comes out and proves interesting, and thus, the point of this blog isn’t about one more tree that’s succumbed to a writers bad habit, but how, in fact, one achieves.

Ever notice that ‘achieve’ seems to connote success, while completion is merely finishing something? I realized that I rarely use the word ‘complete’ to describe finishing a task, rather, I always say ‘I achieved my goal.’

Where do oddities like this come from? Was it inbred in my DNA, a Swedish thing that makes me look at this life and approach it like my personal version of celebrity apprentice? No idea, but I think it has served me well. I have yet to ‘achieve’ literary success, in the true meaning of the word, but it doesn’t bother me in the least. I just keep going, acheiving the little milestones along the way.

And this gets me to the answer I gave to my husbands question, which is the same one he asks everytime I finish a manuscript.

“How do you do that?” (Clearly, we have a lot of ‘how’ questions in our home).

1. I focus in the sunshine. In other words, I write when I’d rather be doing something else. It’s easy to write when it’s gray and rainy. Not so much when it’s beautiful and sunny and my jet ski is calling me to ride it on the lake.

2. I prioritize the dream. Yes, traveling, spa-ing, sleeping- all nice activities, but they get de-prioritized. Something has to, and I catch up on all the good stuff during editing cycles.

Two photos from my phone, since readers seem curious- one is that a big-A manuscript of 456 pages look like. The second is the most boring part of writing- the editing. Ugh. Red-lining never ends.

Seattle spring

For those planning a trip to this great town of Seattle (for by the standards of anyone who has lived in a real city, knows that this is a town, not a city, for the restaurants shut early (9/10), as do the clubs and concerts) beware. Spring has arrived on the calendar, the weather has yet to catch up.

To wit: last night, drizzle becomes hail. Hail begets snow. This morning I have a finger length of snow. (As an aside, have you ever noticed ill describe the length or distance in a visual rather than inches? I do that because I remember being overseas and how I could never get the calculations correct. I do this in my books as well. Nothing more distracting than having a break from reality to do math).

After the snow comes ice. Branches fall. Internet craters. I’m stuck using my cell for blogging and my thick thumbs are not meant for phone typing.

It is in this dismal state of frigidity than I draw a hot bath (who ‘draws’ a bath, really? But it sounded very Jane Austen and took only one word instead of three- an authors plight of trying to reduce word count), from which I’m typing this blog.

So travelers attempting to come west, pick your time wisely. I’d suggest after the Fourth of July (it has rained on the fourth for 13 out of the 15 yrs I’ve lived here). And if you do come, bring your bath salts so you too, can draw a bath and be cozy.

Pitbull Writer

If anyone doubts the ability for pitbull a to be long- suffering, attention-adoring companions, search no further. Daisy, our blue-haired puppy, now 7 months, likes my fiction.

(Here is the head on my lap)

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