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Musing Aloud

Pam's thoughts on writing and life

Calendar Journal
2017 House of Doolittle 8.5 x 11 Professional Weekly Planner Black/Blue (272-02)
So I'm NOT calling it a bullet journal because I'm stilly that way.  But it is.  ;-D  I couldn't find an exact picture of what mine looks like, but this is basically it.  Each week is spread over 2 pages.  Mine is slightly different from this picture--it has blank lines for entries (it looks like this one has times?).  So, basically, 3 columns per page and then just a small square on the second page for Sunday, which works for me.  And there a 2-page monthly calendar at the beginning of each month, with lines for a list which is where I write down no-deadline things I need to accomplish.

I really like the idea of migrating items that aren't completed.  And I like the little symbols to designate what the item is.  The main thing I'm changing is that I'm crossing out what I finish, instead of using an X symbol.  I like crossing things off.  The only thing the bullet journal instructions said about this was that crossing out items makes them hard to read?  Well only if you cross them out with multiple lines.  I like a single, maybe double cross-out line.  Makes me feel accomplished.  If I had to look hard to see if there's an X box there, I'd probably either miss it or forget what the X stands for.

Curious if I follow through on this all year.  I can see myself getting discouraged with all the migrating (moving items to the next week or month) that I'll probably end up doing.  And even more frustrated if I forget to look at the damn thing every day!

My daily sections have enough lines (I just counted -- 32!) that I can fit my daily stuff, my Master Gardener stuff, and Writing stuff there.  I have a 4-color pen, but haven't picked out colors yet to use for different things.  I'd like to have different colors for appointments so they stand out, or some kind of sectioning with the different categories, but we'll see how that turns out as I get more comfortable with a system.

I also had tons of fun looking at pinterest and online for different formats and free templates and cute stickers and stuff.  Here's my Journal Page if you're interested. PAM ON PINTEREST  Next year I might just buy a binder and get creative, but that would probably be a  time dump for me and then I'd get burned out.  

Today better than yesterday
Today was better than yesterday.  Only because yesterday was what I will nicely call NOT FUN.  Had a CT scan and the barium drink absolutely tore my gut up.  Argh.  Felt achy the rest of the day and very tired.  And as a result, I lost more poundage from it.  Think I was the lightest I've been yet in this process.  Sometimes the weight doesn't make sense.  Earlier this week, I'd felt the best all day I had in a long time, with no issues, and the next morning, I'd lost 2-3 lbs.  So we'll see what tomorrow brings.  Have still have rather tired today, but no gut issues, so that's good.  Took the grandboys to see Sing.  First half kind of bored me, but the second half made up for it.  Then I came home and laid on the couch the rest of the afternoon, so got nothing done today.  Now I need to go migrate the super-long list I had on my journal duty list to tomorrow.

Then last night I had a total ESP experience (well, partly ESP combined with good-old-fashioned reasoning skills.  My phone rang and I looked at the caller ID and it was my cousin who I rarely speak with.  Right away I knew her husband had died.  I almost didn't answer the phone.  But I did.  And that's what it was.  I really hope this isn't a sign that 2017 isn't going to be a repeat of 2016.  I can't take it.  It's not like I'm devastated, just sad for my cousin.  They were 5+ years older than I, and they moved out of state when I was still in my teens, so I didn't see them all that much.  But still.

It's raining again, which is great news.  The bad news is it often gives me a headache, which is what I have right now.  Either that or my cold is going into my sinuses.  But I suspect the rain -- or not rain so much as the clouds/atmospheric pressure.  Good news is that this is the first headache I've had since I went off the other steroid.  And it's not a bad one, just annoying pressure.

My nail polish is chipped already on my right index finger.  Too much dish washing.  Will repair it tomorrow.  I'm still ridiculously happy with my manicure.  Thinking of going to get a special one done before we go to Disneyland this month.

Manicure time!
I quit getting manicures quite a few years back, mainly because it was so hard to try to keep the polish from chipping.  I tried the gel color once and didn't like how I had to peel it off my nails, along with the top layer of nailbed.  I've contented myself instead by keeping my toenails polished.  But with winter and no sandals, it didn't seem worth it to put toe polish on, so today I decided to give myself a manicure.  Oh my gosh, I forgot how nice it is to have painted nails.  I notice them more and I feel like my hands are more graceful.  Such fun.  I'm really happy I did it.  Happy, too, with the shorter nails. I always used to keep my nails long, because my nails are short and wide.  But they don't look too bad at the short length, and I much prefer it now.  We'll see how long the polish lasts.  I'm not cleaning as much as I used to with it just being the hubby and I, so maybe the polish will last longer.  Or maybe I should hire a maid so I don't ruin my polish?  ;-D

Adventures in Cooking
Today, I made Chicken bone broth.  It's in the fridge cooling, so I haven't tasted it yet.  Bone broth is supposed to be VERY healing to the gut.  I used chicken thigh bones and then I had some frozen back bones that I'd been saving for gravy, so I used all those.  Simmered it all day, then took the meat off the bones and made chicken tacos/salad with that.  Tomorrow I'll try the broth and see how it tastes.  Next up will be beef bone broth.  I've still got to score some more bones first though.  I went to the grocery store today and scored two packages of marrow bones that had been discounted $2 each!  But now I need to find some joint bones or I think I can use short rib bones, but that could get expensive.  Going to try a couple of meat markets tomorrow and see if they have bones.  I was really surprised to find those marrow bones in my corner grocery.  Oh, I also found packages of turkey neck bones, which are supposed to be excellent for bone broth (next time!)!  The stores are really making an effort to keep alternative choices available.  The corner grocery also has a new section of gluten-free foods, and I found some gluten-free frozen foods the other day, too.

I've decided to try an elimination diet -- the AIP or Auto Immune Protocol, and also incorporate low FODMAP foods.  I'm not sure how it's going to work since I'm on the steroids again, which keep inflammation down anyway.  I thought about waiting until I was done with the steroids, but that will be another 5 1/2 weeks, and maybe I can get a good kickstart if I start the elimination while on the steroids.  The problem I foresee is that possibly when I go off the steroids, it will be hard to tell if something I've been eating for the last month or more is bothering me.  I may have to not add any new foods until after the steroids are done.  The typical protocol is to eliminate all dairy, eggs, grains for a month and then slowly add back in.  I'm not happy about cutting eggs or rice or oatmeal because I don't think those bother me.  I think I'm going to keep eggs in and then only eliminate if I'm still having symptoms.  It's a crap shoot.  It's really hard to tell what is causing a problem because usually, there can be one or two culprits.  
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My Favorites Authors, 2016 version
Two of my most favorite authors were back with new books this year!  So exciting!

Robin Hobb - Fool's Assassin and Fool's Fate (Fitz and the Assassin, Books 1 & 2) - The tale of Fitz and the Fool continues in the 3rd trilogy.  I was so happy about this!  The story begins with the Farseer Trilogy, first published in 1996, and continues years later in the Tawny Many trilogy (2002). In between, there is the Liveship Traders Trilogy (2000) and the Rain Wilds books (2010).  The latter two take place in the same world, with a crossover of cultures and lands and a few minor characters.  It'd been so long since I read the other books, that after reading the two new books, I went back and read both the Tawny Man and Liveship Trader trilogies and enjoyed them as much as the first time.  I won't go into plot because I don't want to do spoilers, but the worldbuilding is just great and the characters I love dearly.  The different trilogies are stand-alones, but it's such fun to pick out the crossovers -- especially the one with the Fool  in the Liveship Traders.  Fitz and the Fool have a unique relationship that begins from the time they are boys -- both orphans and estranged from friends, both strange and untouchable in many ways.  The Fool is a White Prophet, almost a different species, and we soon glimpse that there is something a bit strange.  Do White Prophets have the ability to change their sex at different times in their lives, or is the Fool a woman who pretends to be a  man, or a man who sometimes pretends to be a woman?  It doesn't matter -- the bond between he and Fitz (who never seems to understand the complicated life of the fool) endures.  I've pre-ordered Book 3, which comes out in March.  Can't wait.

Kate Elliott -- Poisoned Blade (Court of Fives, Book 2) -- The YA series continues. The world has a middle-eastern-greek vibe to it, kings and queens power struggles, downtrodden lower class, old world religion vs new, conquered lands, and at the heart, an obstacle-type game that's all the rage.
Black Wolves -- I'm only halfway through this book, which is the first in a planned trilogy.  It continues in the world of the Crossroads Trilogy.  I'm thinking I'll go back and re-read that trilogy after I finish this first book and am awaiting book 2.  I recall the bare bones of the Crossroads story, but not many details.  Kate's Crown of Stars series still remains my all-time favorite series.

If you like epic fantasy, I highly recommend you read these authors!

So Absent ...
So 2016 is about to exit the stage, thank god.  It's been pretty much a year from hell, and apparently not just in my house.  I've read post after post lamenting how bad a year it's been on all fronts.  Don't know if that makes me feel better, though. ;-D  I'm so glad to see 2016 leave, but admit to feeling a bit of trepidation about 2017.  I'm afraid to jinx it by wondering how it could go any worse.

I'm hoping 2017 will see my health improve, my attitude lighten up, and my writing get back into gear.  In that vein, I just found out I'll be taking another Odyssey online class, so hopefully that'll kickstart something.  I did write a flash story a couple weeks ago for Liberty Hall's final challenge, but other than that, I don't think I wrote at all this year.

Have been doing all the internet catching up today.  Been reading about an Auto Immune Protocol (AIP) diet that is basically cutting out everything but meat and veggies -- even more hard-core than Paleo, although it's more of a detox diet so eventually more food types get added back in.  But I'm so confused at this point.  I've been pointed at SCD diets, Paleo diets, and low-FODMAPS diets. Some foods are allowed on some but not the others and vice versa and now I don't know where/what to do. Such as fruits -- they're a big no-no on the low-FODMAPS that my GI doc has pointed me at, but they're allowed on the other diets.  So what to do?

Thinking of following up with a nutritionist that I saw online, but I dunno.  I wish I had a naturalist or holistic doctor, but then I don't want to alienate my GI doc because I really like him.  But nothing is working that I've been doing.  I can't say I've consistently been doing better unless I'm on steroids.  The newer one, Uceris, that I was taking, was working well but geez it's expensive and it was giving me hellatious headaches that I couldn't get rid of.  Not to mention the lack of sleep.  The doc wanted to put me back on it almost as soon as I stopped it and my symptoms came back, but I just couldn't face the headaches, so I stayed off it.  I'd have a few days of feeling okay and then something would set it off again.  I guess I shouldn't be so stubborm because if another round of steroids doesn't work I'm probably going to have to go onto the heavy-duty immunosuppressant type of drugs or biologics which are going to be so expensive I don't know what I'll do about that.

So the short version is I'm back on prednisone.  Feeling better, and it's so nice to be able to eat whatever I want, but I also think I should probably be taking the opportunity to try to get the gut healed rather than eating things that I probably shouldn't but can since the steroids keep symptoms under control.  If I can get it under control and the gut healing, maybe I won't have to do the stronger drugs.  Plus some of them are injections, and I don't do needles.  Ok, I didn't mean this to be a griping whining depressed post, but it's heading there, isn't it.  So I'll just shut up now.

::waiting for Jan 1::

Step forward, fall back
Damn, I was feeling so much better and stronger, and the weight was inching upward ounce by ounce, and then I guess I got overconfident and ate things on Thanksgiving that I probably shouldn't have and I've been paying for it ever since.  Lost about 3 pounds since then.  So depressing!  Doc wanted me to go back on the steroids if I didn't improve, but I really don't want to take those again.  Will take a wait and see attitude through today and hope tomorrow is better.  ::all the sighs::

It's Son #1's birthday this week, so he and his family are coming over later.  The tree is up and the ornaments are unwrapped and ready to be put on the tree, and chile verde is cooking in the kitchen.  But I'm exhausted.  I have another hour or so to rest and relax and have the house to myself, too.  Time to get a kindle game going I think.  Something relaxing.  

(no subject)
I feel I may be emerging from a tunnel -- or more appropriately, maybe, that I've been tryingg to cross a rickety rope & wood-slatted suspension bridge swaying in the wind, terrified to fall, unable to walk upright, only able to crawl a few steps at a time.  I won't say I've made it across this bridge yet, but I think I've gotten to my feet.

I've come to a realization about mourning.  I think it's necessary, don't get me wrong, but there comes a point where it's time to give it up.  I think it's more of a tribute to the one who's gone to remember them with joy.  Not to be happy they're gone, never that, but to honor them with memories of happy times and important times.  I think that someday, when my time comes, I don't want my loved ones to be sad when they think of me, but happy.  I don't want to be cried over, but remembered with smiles and laughter.  And so that's what I'm choosing to do with the loved ones I lost this year.

As far as my health, I think I'm about ready to stop mourning that, too.  I'm beginning to accept that I have a chronic illness that will always give me unwanted problems.  But there are millions of other people with worse problems than I have.

Today I'm thankful for my family, and that I was able to cook a Thanksgiving dinner that everyone here appreciated.  

The title speaks for itself.  Nuff said.

On 2nd thought, there can never be enough said right now on this subject -- RAIN!!!!!  It's raining, it's pouring, and we'e all so happy.

Rain, rain, don't go away.
And please, come again another day, too!