Can you believe that after noting here that Earth Hour was coming up and getting all excited about it — well, I never got a chance to do anything about it. We had a planning meeting that day, and it was in DC. After the meeting, because we were there and it was supposed to snow, this years Capclave Chair and Hyperion and I met to discuss strategies for the Capclave website and Blog and online publicity.

Once that was done it was about an hour Metro back to the car and then we had to do the weekly shopping in Waldorf. By the time we headed home it was nearly 8:30 and by the time we got home it was nearly 9:30 p.m. We kept light to a minimum but in the past we’ve turned them all off and either read by candle light or oil lamp. So, we’ve been very careful the past few days to turn lights off when we leave a room and not use one if not necessary. Okay, we do that anyway but I’m being compulsive about it now.

Meanwhile, SFRevu and Gumshoe Review go live with the new issues on April 1st so I’ve been working steadily on getting things ready.

What’s making everything more difficult is the lack of energy. I’ve got problems with energy levels anyway and after fighting the flu for the past 3 1/2 to 4 weeks — I feel like walking across the room is the equivalent to running a quarter-mile. It’s weird when you stand up and suddenly all our energy drains out and all you want to do is curl up on the floor and sleep. I find myself looking down to see if I can see the energy leaking out of my heel. I’ve taken to wearing shoes and socks instead of going around in just my socks in case that will help hold in the energy. Haven’t seen anything leaking out of my heel — but really it feels like it should be visible.

But, the good news is that while I was sick, Spring sprung. One day last week — I think it was Wednesday — I looked out the window and the pear trees had flowers, the forsythia was blooming, the daffodils along the woodland path were in bloom, and the chives and some other herbs were showing signs of growth. Spring happened. I just sat with my coffee and contemplated how nice it was to just wake up and see such signs of spring all around me. It’s a great change from all the grey dreariness that came before with rain, overcast skies, and blah days.

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You know the type of day where you either want to pull out your hair by the roots or sit down and cry or maybe laugh hysterically?  There’s no real way to handle a day like I had today.  So, you plug along doing what you can and hoping that when it arrives, tomorrow will be a better day.

Then tonight as the sun was setting, I looked out and the garden area was filled with fireflies.   Sparking on and off.  Rising up like embers from a fire.  Blinking here and there among the trees and the garden plants or in the air.

It was a magical end to a very frustrating day.  Sometimes the  world does give you a sign that life is very much filled with beauty.  You just have to open your eyes and look.  Well, I looked.  My heart is full.  Tomorrow will be a wonderful day.

What does it take to turn your bad days into confidence that tomorrow will be better?  For me — today — it was fireflies at twilight.

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Picture of Fall Leaves PaperToday was one of those days that aren’t too bad  if you can ignore the constant ringing in the ears.  Yesterday, I managed to catch up on a lot of data entry and finished a project.  So, that meant today I could try to get some reading in — the truth is if you don’t make time for reading it’s difficult to write reviews.  So, reading is nice especially when the temps are a bit nicer and the living room isn’t an ice box — which means I get to curl up on my reading chair instead of having to sit in my office chair at the dining room table (because it’s the warmest room in the house in cold weather).  Managed to read a whole book today.

Luckily, I also managed a load of wash, feeding the birds, feeding the cats, and sweeping the floors — all of them.  Good thing I then sat to read because the sweeping nearly did in the back.  I stopped before the cramping twitches turned evil.

Managed to clear up some paper messes in the dining room/office.  Read some more.  Finally took a break just before Hyperion got home and went out and raked some leaves.  Really, you’d think trees would clean up after themselves or at the very least crumble into dirt in the spring so no one has to rake them all up — again to get the garden area ready.

Tomorrow I’ve got start seeds on my TODO list.  Hope to get to it because it’s March already.  Time to plan the garden and get it all cleared of leaves and weeds and crap so we can get things ready for planting in a month. I’m really looking forward to getting the garden in.

My problem is that I’m either to eager to start and everything is leggy by the time it’s nice enough to put them in the ground or I wait until it’s way too late to even start and we end up just buying a few plants (tomatos, peppers, cucumbers) and planting lettuce so we at least have salad stuff during the summer.

Spring is the time of year when hope springs eternal that dreams will come true — that the garden will grow vegetables and the weeds won’t even think of poking a leaf out of the ground.

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Mind Storm PosterSaturday was the worst flare up of Fibromyalgia pain I’ve had in over a year. After I woke myself up whimpering, the day seems to slide down a very steep hill.

At first it was my lower back and I took aspirin. Several hours later I’d upgraded to a big pain killer — no difference in pain level. I’m talking 8 to 9 on the 1-10 pain scale. A second big pain pill and a muscle relaxer and I managed to get it down to about a 5. Other than infrequent weeping from the pain — I thought I handled it pretty well.

I didn’t snap at anyone. I didn’t go and sit in the dark closet and hope the world would go away. I even managed to talk to company as if my brain actually functioned. Of course since the company was a friend who was well aware of my Fibro short-coming, I was given a bit of leeway when my attention span seemed a bit shorter than a 2-year-old after four bowls of sugar-laden cereal in a room full of shiny things.

Today, I’m happy to say, I’m back to my usual 3 and finding myself unusually grateful for it. I hope that I don’t have another flare up of this magnitude ever. Yet, I know that I probably will and there’s very little I can do to prepare or avoid it. Thinking over the past several weeks, I can’t see anything that I’ve done that would have triggered it. I’ve been very careful to avoid strenuous activities except in very small doses and with proper warm ups — that includes carrying wash up and down stairs, housework, washing floors, changing beds, cooking, etc.. I keep things to short 15-30 minute intervals with a rest period in between where I relax and rest (read, knit, work on the computer…).

I survived a very bad Saturday that stretched into a bad night. Today, Sunday, the world looks a lot better to me. Maybe I appreciate it more in contrast because today is grey and gloomy but none the less, today was and is a beautiful day.

If Fibro has taught me anything it’s that no matter how bad it gets, if you just hold on long enough, you’ll come out on the other side. You won’t be cured. You won’t be pain free. But, you’ll be alive and the world will look a lot brighter because it won’t be as bad it was. I now have a new benchmark for “bad” and I don’t think I’ll forget about it any time soon. So, every day that’s better than Saturday will be a good day.

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The Silver SpoonToday has been a real challenge. Most of last week I kept having lower back pain on top of the usual fibromyalgia issues. It was constant pain with, now and then, a bad twinge. Finally, today I just couldn’t take it anymore and took a muscle relaxer.

I figured I’d been thinking it was kidneys and drinking water like crazy but it still hurt and every bend and lift was…let’s just say not fun. So, the muscle relaxer. It helped. So, I’m guessing it was the muscles in my lower back all the time and while I was trying to take it easy lifting anything I was probably just making it worse ignoring it. I’m a bit floaty but the pain is now in that “over there” place. You know — you’re in pain and you know it but it’s like one step to the side of you so while it’s here, it’s over there and ignorable.

Meanwhile, we’ve got all the ornaments off the tree and packed. We’ve managed to get all the branches smooched together. Next we need to take it apart and wrap it up for storage. That’s the sticky point with my back as it is. Guess that waits a bit until either I feel better or Hyperion tackles it on his own.

I really hate it when the spoon just get all used up while I still have a full TO DO list and lots of day left over. Meanwhile, I’m doing mindless knitting on my sock — the stocking knit bit in the foot so I’ve got 3 more inches before I have to think about the heel.

I really need many more spoons in my life. So much time so little energy and so few hours not in pain. Okay, I’m whinging again but darn it sometimes you just have to get it out so you can move on.

Hyperion Avatar Okay, this has nothing to do with muscle pain, but a lot to do with mental anguish. Gayle and I watched two sci-fi movies today. Supernova and The Black Hole. Neither are the “classic” by that name, but newer and if anything, worse. Worse because you’d think after all this time movies could actually afford to have a science adviser that could tell them they’re making complete idiots of themselves. Actually, maybe they do have advisers. Just because you have one doesn’t mean you have to listen to them. And in these cases, they most certainly didn’t. Let’s take a second to hit the highlights on the lack of any conformity to high school level physics knowledge.

First in Supernova we have our sun about to go supernova. Okay, we can stop right there. Our sun would need to be about half again its current mass at the very least, so the very premise is already impossible. But wait, there’s more. Why is it going supernova? Because a planetoid crashed into it. Never mind the fact that you could dump the rest of the solar system (which, including ALL the planets, is less than 0.2% of the mass of the sun) into it without causing much more than a ripple. But no, this single planetoid has “punched a hole” in the sun and caused it to become unstable. The instability causes Coronal Mass Ejections which, for some unexplained reason, seem to be aimed at the Earth time and time again. But wait, there’s more. Despite the fact that CME’s are huge energetic clouds of gas larger than the Earth itself, in the movie, they arrive as swarms of little fireballs that rain down and blow up individual buildings. UGH! And the solution to the problem of the impending supernova requires a suspension of disbelieve far above the capacity of this viewer. In most ways, the biggest problems with this movie revolve around the fact that the writers were incapable of understanding anything about the scope of what they were trying to meddle with.  The sun is just too big to fiddle with, and CMEs are just to big and diffuse to cause any problems on less than a hemispheric scale.

Next up is The Black Hole, in which an “accident” with a particle collider causes a black hole to form in St. Louis. Obviously based of the nonsensical ravings against the Large Hadron Collider, this movie quickly goes from the absurd to the disparagingly laughable. Quick lecture in two points. First: The energies produced by the Large Hadron Collider are of a lesser order of magnitude  then the energetic collisions taking place every second in our upper atmosphere between air molecules and cosmic rays. If those collisions haven’t created a black hole in the last few billion years, the LHC isn’t going to be any worry. Second: Assuming a black hole was formed, it would be a microscopic black hole which would flash out of existence in a few microseconds due to Hawking Radiation. Despite what you may have learned about black holes, they do actually emit energy due to quantum mechanical effects at the event horizon. And the smallerl the hole, the faster they evaporate.

So in the movie, we have an impossible event, creating something that wouldn’t actually be of any danger at all.  Furthermore, any black hole that did form, would be subject to gravity like anything else. And since gravity is a universally attractive force, the black hole would fall into the earth (the larger gravity field) and make its way to the core in no time at all before being snuffed by the aforesaid laws of physics. But that would make a short and pointless movie. So instead we get a full scale black hole, hovering over the ground, and eating St. Louis. Interestingly enough, the black hole appears to think (like Khan in Star Trek 2) in two dimensions. Instead of gobbling everything up all around it, it swirls like water going to down the kitchen sink, slowly expanding outwards, but letting helicopters fly over it with impunity. Now we get the part that REALLY doesn’t make any sense. If we ignore physics (and boy do we ever), there’s not much one can do to stop a black hole that’s on the rampage. So we get the addition of an alien entity that uses the black hole as a transit system from planet to planet, and feeds it by sucking in electricity. And “all” we have to do to save the Earth is kick the alien back through the black hole and all will be well again. Gayle and I yelled the solution at the TV about 15 minutes in when the alien first started moving around. Pity it took until 15 minutes from the end for the protagonist to think of it as well.

Okay, that’s enough ranting for now. But be warned, there are two more movies in the collection, and as soon as my craw can take it, we’ll dive into those stinkers as well. When? You’ll be the second to know.

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Woke up to find the house surrounded in fog.  At first I didn’t notice because the rain was pattering on the sky light and it was rather dark.  Once I got up and looked out there was fog, the thin grey blanket type over, around, and cloaking everything.  It made for the kind of grey, lazy day where you just spend your time catching up on all the little chores you’ve been meaning to do.

Picked up the kitchen and cleaned the counters and stove top.  Then started on the big job.  Taking down the Christmas tree.  Wish we could leave it alone since my back has been quirky for days now.  But, it’s not the decorating statement I want to make.  The hold up was having to replace the ornament boxes which we’ve had for years and were more tape than box now.  So, lots of shopping and checking in stores as we did errands over the last couple of weeks and found a couple of reasonable substitutes.  It seems that ornament boxes have become tiny little things that won’t hold ornaments — go figure.  So, today we took all the ornaments off the tree and got them packed up.  We started going branch by branch to pull the branches towards the center: you know when you separate and fluff them when you put the tree up that you just have to squeeze them all down again.  Got about 1/6th of it done.   Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll finish that bit of it and get the tree apart, wrapped, and stored.  Then it’s clean the living room and rearrange the furniture and the plants.

Meanwhile, I’m almost done with a sock … maybe another 1/2 inch and bind off. Then start the second one.  I joined the Rocking Sock Club and I’m really looking forward to the first package.  I’ve never joined a sock club before but heard a lot about this one.  I  just never remembered about it during the signup period.

I’ve found the black yarn for the bear’s face so hope to get that done tomorrow or at the very least over the next week. I’ve been finishing things lately and that’s a good thing.  Got the cowl done.  Just need to sew in the ends and block.  Should have pictures up for that soon.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading in all the in between times to get my commitments for reviews done this month.  Trying to catch up and arrange some interviews before it gets too late, too.

Gumshoe Review published it’s first original short story this month.  We’ve already chosen the story for February.  We hope to have a new story featured each month.  This is a new venture for us and we’re still working out how to streamline the system: reading the submissions, ranking them, going over our favorites, notifying the authors whether we’re interested or not.  We’re getting better but still need to get a system that’s easy for us to deal with and make swift decisions for the sake of the authors.

Nevertheless, I still feel even though I got a lot done today that I’m still running in place rather than moving forward.

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The flight home from San Jose was much nicer than the one going to San Jose. For one things the flight home didn’t have two screaming babies. I really wish there was some no-fail method of seeing that babies didn’t have to suffer from blocked ears. I understand the crying and feel so sorry for them, but when you’re crammed into too small seats in a full plane it’s hard to maintain perspective and serenity. But coming home we only had to deal with a completely full plane and no empty seats at all.

We got in and crashed. We slept almost twelve hours. Then went out bought a few supplies, emptied the fridge of a few things that didn’t make it. The big surprise was at the Post Office. We stopped the mail from Thursday to Monday. So, Tuesday when we picked it up, getting two filled US Postal bins was a bit overwhelming especially when added to the FedEx and UPS deliveries that had come to the house while we were gone. (We have two trash can just for deliveries — to protect the books from wet weather.).

Needless to say, I spent today entering books into the database and clearing out regular mail and spam as well as the electronic kind. I ran some system checks on my PC too. Mid-morning (I got up at 6:30AM), I found I could barely keep my eyes open and ended up taking a nap.

Somehow, I associate napping with being either very young — I hated them as a child — or very old. Well, I’m not that old but with the two conventions separated by a week and a cross country trip for one of them, I guess I’m getting into napping territory. It did help. When I got up — I really felt refreshed and the minor headache I’d had was gone. Of course, that was hours ago and now I’m dragging again, and the headache — not to mention other aches and pains — are back.

Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll be back on schedule and can get my reviews up and finish off the odds and ends of the November issues of the zines.

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Fibromyalgia, etc.  -- purple ribbonToday’s post is a bit of whining and complaining about pain — feel free to skip.

Not really pins, but needles. Today, I saw my acupuncturist–she’s great. I always feel so much better after a treatment. This past month has been pretty much a haze of pain.

Changing weather causing migraines. A major fibromyalgia flareup. Last week I felt that I was nothing but a walking, talking ache. I felt like I should have those cartoon pain arrows all around me so people would know to stay away — potential woman on the edge!

Now I’m feeling like the pain is over there somewhere. I don’t know how far over or which there it is — but it’s not immediately here. That’s the best part of being post treatment. The worst part is knowing the next one isn’t until next month.

On pins is trying to figure out what my schedule will be for the rest of the month. I’m working to organize my work space. I’ve cleared up all the old advanced reader copies and moved them to a spot in basement. That freed up some space now on to the next phase of the organizational frenzy.

I’m instituted doing yoga and some aerobics every day. It’s Wii Fit but it’s still exercise. I started this several months ago and I’m realizing that I do see a difference in myself. It’s really helped my lower back pain. I was doing the back exercises off and on but now with the yoga, I’m finding that I’m not as stiff. The docs all say that exercise is good for fibro. It sounds totally counter-intuitive. Be in pain from every muscle in your body aching and then exercise. Yeah, that’s what I want to do. But gentle stretching and some yoga and aerobics does seem to help. I’m not into the strength training very much, at least not all the reps because that strains muscles more than I want.

We worked in the yard last weekend. We’ve got one of those huge electrical connector boxes out just across from the end of our driveway on our property. It was clear all around it for about 3 feet when we moved in. We’ve ignored it and notice that it was getting buried in the underbrush and vines (think Kudzu, and you’ve identified the vines). So we went out and cleared the area all around it again. We’re heading into hurricane and tornado season so we thought the access should be open just in case.

The problem is Hyperion now has poison ivy up and down both arms. I’ve only got a couple of small spots because my gardening gloves go all the way up to just above my elbow. So, next week I have an appointment to see the doc. By then I’ll either have the poison ivy under control — yeah, right — or be in dire need of prednisone. So, I’m covering my bases. Just when I thought it was safe to weed again. The only marginally shiny vine that wasn’t Kudzo was five leaved. So much for the beware of leaves of three rhyme. At least this year I made it to the middle of June before getting my first batch of poison ivy.

Anyone have any hints on taking care of poison ivy other than 1) a doc and prednisone, 2) Burt’s Bees Poison Ivy soap, 3) Domboro soaks, 4) washing everything you touch/wear/think about wearing so it doesn’t spread ? I’m open to hearing about them.

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