Changes!

Hello!  

How are you?

I am doing better since my last post.  

I came through Term 1 with a 4.0 average and I look to be going that way again this term.  Mid-term grades come out next week, just before Reading Week.  I don’t know what I will do for reading week, I do know I will not be making a trip.  

Perhaps, just perhaps, I work on some research for these changes I’m about to show you.  

In Demon Plague, HW2, there came a visitor to the pack home, a large African Jaguar shifter by the name of Sentwali.  He wanted Anna, Liam and company to go to the Congo to save them from a witch stealing their shifter magic.  Anna and Liam agreed, though they stated they couldn’t go until after they’d helped find justice for those massacred at Glen Coe so many years ago.

I was struggling with the research because there is little available (that isn’t government or scholastic) information that would help me gain a feel for what it’s like to be in the jungle and on the waterways that run through it.  I was determined but it still wasn’t happening.  

I argued with myself for months about making Sentwali  from somewhere else.  I didn’t want to change the book, especially one that’s been published.

Now, I have to say a couple things:

  1. If you purchased the book already, the copy you have is now special.  Out of print.  
  2. I am much more excited about HW4 now.

Sentwali is now Damir, a Sabre Tooth Tiger shifter from Belarus.  The premise remains but the locale differs.  He’s still a large man, but almost as pale as Sentwali was dark.  

The new edition has gone out on Kindle and Createspace and will be available in print on Amazon in the next few days. 

I am satisfied with the arrangement and more eager to begin the research.  It’d be cool if I could go to Belarus to do the research (a terrifying prospect for the Congo!).  A brief search already yeilded much in the way of visuals and links to locations.  Maybe I will narrow down which part of Belarus he is from while on my short break from school.

There you go!

Today, it is hovering just around freezing.  We’ve had freezing rain, snow, wet snow and general dampness.  I saw some photo ops and went to see if I could manage any decent ones.  I did get the most perfect shot.  I am going to share it with you.  

I have to go.  Have a wonderful week!  And remember that Valentines Day isn’t just about your romantic partner, it’s about the people you love.  All of them.  

Muah!

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Good Riddance 2016

Hello!

I know it’s been quite a while, again, but school has taken dominion over all else.  I want to discuss the year with you though.  It’s been…bi-polar at best.  Wild swings up and down.  

There have been 130+ worldwide celebrity deaths.  The American battle for president was between H. Clinton and Trump and Trump won.  I don’t care to follow politics but what the fuck was America thinking? 

None of that affects me personally though. I know what’s going on, for the most part, but my concern is my family, immediate and extended.  And we have had some pretty major events.  Here are some of them…

The Ups:

I published Highland Wolves 2.  I will be making a change to it though, one that has a major impact on book 4.  If you have a copy of the current one, it will become special in the next few days. I will keep you appraised. 

The government finally agreed that yes, I am fucking disabled and they should help me. 

That enabled me to go back to school.  I got through the first half of term one (I can only deal with 3 courses at once, not six, so I am doing half a term at a time) with a 4.0 GPA.  I start the second half of term one on the 4th.

Girlkid got accepted to the equestrian program at the University of Guelph, one of the top schools in North America and one with a world reknown reputation for vetrinary care training.  It is the only school on this continent or in the UK that offers her the science and other types of training that she wants to get her on the career path she dreams of.  

Boykid has the love of his life with him again.  

I am able to do yoga regularly and enjoyed a small remission in some of my symptoms.

The Lows:

Boykid was assaulted in September and he took the assault in order to protect his girlfriend.  Now he’s dealing with PTSD.  

My health has not changed, despite the remission.  I got bonchitis right before Christmas, capping off a flare in symptoms that started in September.  

My maternal grandmother died on Christmas day.  

Four days later… I don’t know that I should talk about this but…Well, I’m sitting here fighting tears so I will talk about it.  Damn those who would keep me silent.

Normally, I wouldn’t bring up something so personal but this is important.  It has lessons that I hope will help others. 

Wolfman has suffered from depression for years, and had some major ups and downs.  This year he had a couple of major blows that I won’t talk about here.  He took some time for himself to try and get it together.  It didn’t seem to help.  

Then I made a catastrophic mistake and he felt like I betrayed him.  Part of it was that I didn’t listen to him enough.  I didn’t close my mouth and stop telling him what he should do enough.  I didn’t stop trying to impose my will on his depression.  I can see that now.

I love him, I have forever and I will forever.  I only want to see him better and happy.  

It’s not my job to do anything but listen to him.  I should have shut up.  I know that what he did is on him but I can’t help but shoulder some of the blame.  

On the 29th (Girlkid’s 17th birthday), Wolfman made a very good attempt at suicide.  He was found by his family and his sister told me what happened.  She promised me that she’d tell me if he didn’t make it.  She blames me, blames all of us connected to him, but told me I deserve to know.

I went to bed, exhausted by my tears and fear, and was terrified to check my messages in the morning.   Since there was nothing, I’m assuming he still lives.  And I’m assuming he’s getting the help he needs.

And part of that is me separating myself from him and giving him time. If he’s ever ready to talk to me again, I’ll be here.  Still loving him.  

The reason I wanted to talk to you about this, on the final day of 2016, is this:

If you know someone suffering from mental illness then shut up and listen.  Close your mouth and open your ears.  Support, don’t dictate.  Help however they need you to; if that means listening, listen.  If that means sitting there with them silently, do that.  If it means helping them remember to take their medications or make their appointments (and they’ve asked for help), do it.

But for Gods’ sake, stop telling them what you think is best.  Step in if there’s a danger but mostly, your job is to support, listen, love.  That’s it.  

I pray that 2017 gives him time to heal and helps him find some peace, even if it’s without me.

And I pray that 2017 is a much better year for everyone.  I pray for those who lost loved ones.  

For me, changes are coming.  A move.  More school.  A shift in how I treat myself.  I have plans.  Dreams.  Goals.  And I will follow them through.  

I am posting this unedited.  I can’t bear to read what he did again.  My pain is for him, for me, for his daughters.  It’s about loss, fear, the thought of what was almost permanently gone.  I am heartbroken but there is a kernel of hope because Wolfman is one of the strongest people I know.  If he comes back to me, I will welcome him with open arms and beg forgiveness.  If he doesn’t, well, that’s what’s best for him.  

Much love and light to you and yours, dear readers.  Have a wonderful new year.

And Henry… If you’re reading this, I’ve need of you.  You know how to find me.

A Spider, an Event and a Freebie

Good morning!

On Saturday, I did two things and I’ll talk about about the second one first because it’s really cool and really creepy.  

Talk?  Nah… I’ll show!

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Isn’t he wonderful?

He’s creepy, yet fascinating.  

Okay, mega-creepy.  I do not like spiders anywhere near me, which totally does not explain why I got so close to that one.  Zoom is a wonderful feature for a camera too. *laughs*   The lighting and his position were just perfect and I needed it.

Just like I needed this one:

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Beautiful, busy bee.

It amazed me that I managed to catch him, he was, well, busy.  I love the detail in these two pictures.  A friend of mine suggested that I enter two photo contests.  One is the Lambton County guidebook cover contest and the other is a macro contest for National Geography, I think.  I might use one of these two for that NatGeo contest and this one for the Lambton County contest.

The other thing I did was attend an author signing called Ignite Your Soul Author Event 2016.  It’s the third year they’ve been in London (mine, not England’s) but the first time I’d heard about it.  And the only reason I heard about it is because my friend Sue – a bestie from high school – told me she was attending.  We hadn’t laid eyes on each other in 21 years so what was I to do?  

I spent three hours getting toxed stupid, laughing my ass off and meeting some wonderful people.  I have several new books to read, a lead on a couple of publishers and a call to submission that could prove incredibly lucrative if I’m accepted.

I’m not going to talk about that last one though.  It’s my secret until I actually make that submission. 

What else have I done recently?  Why, I started school on the sixth.  I started out with a full load because I’m home and I’m smart, right?  

Pfft.  Thanks to Fibro and MCS I no longer learn like I used to.  I don’t learn as easily and I don’t learn the same way.  I take copious notes to prove to myself that I get it and because it’s easier to remember if I read it and write it.  So it’s taking me 2 or 3 times as long to get through everything.  I’m down to 3 courses per term now and it’s better.  I’m enjoying what I’m doing better.  And I’m not missing anything anymore. 

I’d rather succeed more slowly than not at all.  My business idea has huge market potential and I want to do it and do it well.

What’s your dream?  What are you doing to make it a reality?

I gotta hit the accounting book again.

Oh, wait!  I almost forgot!

Because I’m so damn happy with Saturday’s event, even though I was there as a consumer, not a creator, I decided to put Witch Hitlist up for free again!  If you didn’t manage to grab it last time, now’s your chance!

GET IT HERE!

Enjoy your day, folks!

Muah!

 

A New Number and the ROM

I gotta do a happy dance, ladies and gentlemen, for two reasons.

One, my day in Toronto with the kids went beautifully.  There were a couple negatives that came out of it: I got toxed and I got hurt; and  my son didn’t realize the extent of my disabilities and it hit him hard.  The bonus of that is, now he knows.  If he wants to understand what happened on Wednesday better, he needs to come talk to me.  If he does, it won’t be so big in his head.  Mortality is big on his mind right now and I hesitate to think what he is thinking.   As for me getting toxed and hurt, well, we knew that would happen going in and prepared for it so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

The really big things were good, great things.  We laughed, talked, dove into history – dinosaurs, Canada’s native people, tattoos.  Oh, the tattoo one was so impressive.  

Check it out:  Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession.

I didn’t get very many pictures in there because there was no way to do any of it justice but this one I took because I cannot imagine the patience and talent it took to do these things.

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Aztec Princess and Zombies, Artist Unknown

Paños, Prison Handkerchiefs, were expressions of Chicano identity, one of the earliest.  Chicano is the cultural identity of Mexicans living in the U.S.  In the 50s and 60s, prisoners would tear up their sheets and draw prison experiences on them.  Prison officers started giving them white handkerchiefs.  

This particular one is from the 2000s, in California.  

Can you imagine the patience and talent it took to draw something like that?  Now imagine what it took to draw on the handkerchief?  It blows my mind.  

Something else that totally blew my mind was the Chihuly exhibit.  

Check it out here:  Chihuly

It was absolutely amazing, I can’t even begin to tell you.  If you have a chance to see an exhibit of his, take it.  We got the total ROM experience when we went and I have to tell you, it was worth the money.  

I did take some pictures, and a couple videos.  I’ll share one of the pictures, my favourite.  I loved the Persian ceiling installation and the seascape he did.  But this, the picture I took, is the very first thing you see when you walk into the exhibit.  

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Chihuly Exhibit, the ROM. 

Isn’t it fabulous??  Enormous glass balls that evoke thoughts of Christmas, planets, solar systems, the elements.  It’s an amazing exhibition by an incredibly talented man and his team.  

And a pretty awesome picture, taken by me.  That’s my son, he’s about 6’1″ (around 182.5cm), just for scale.  

And the other reason I’m so happy?

I am now a college freshman!

Amazing, eh?

I am going to challenge my poor MCS/FMS soaked brain to complete Fanshaw College’s Business program.  I am doing it online and I am having certain measures taken to allow for my disabilities so that I can actually succeed and achieve the diploma this program will give me.

Why am I doing this?  

Well, because I have a business in mind, one that has already attracted people even though I’ve not yet gone past the building an idea stage.  I think that in owning a business, one should be able to run it.  And for me, that’s a daunting task.  Learning at Fanshawe will help me do what I want to do in the best way possible.  

I am disabled but I’m not incapable and it’s high time I got that through my head, eh? 😉  

I will still be writing, of course.  I’ve started editing A Year in the Life of S. Claus.  I’m going to send it in to Sterling & Stone to see if they’ll publish it.  I need at least a first edit done.

Have a great evening, folks!

Muah!

A Glimpse

Welcome to the world of 19th century building remodels.  This building was built around 1895, I think.  There’s a shop downstairs and three apartments above.  My landlord doesn’t appear to care too much about it.  

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Super steep stairs no one cares about.  

 

These are how I, owner of body with a degenerating SI joint and DDD in the lower back, (AND FMS), get in and out of my home. 

They’re a challenge and I’m always up for a challenge. 

Right?  

*laughs*

And speaking of challenges, I mentioned before I am working on a brand new kind of project for me: a video blog!  

This  vlog will be me talking about living with chronic pain, as I’ve said.  It is NOT about the effects, because we know and… I’m repeating myself.  I want to help people build lives worth living and I want them to understand that they are not alone with their pain.  

I will be talking about: 

  • Acceptance.  This is forgiving; being at peace with who and what you are, what you’ve been given; and it means that you understand right here, right now, that your body is flawed, NOT YOU.  
  • A technique called Turning the Mind.  This is a technique I learned in DBT that was pivotal in helping me learn to deal with my pain.  And it was something I seemed to know instinctively.  And I will talk about DBT. 
  • Goals, dreams & a Life Worth Living.  I capitalize Life Worth Living because I think it’s extremely important.  People with chronic pain forget how to live.
  • Chronic pain.  What it is; chronic vs acute.  I will touch on the effects on sleep, family and the mind and emotional state of the one its afflicted.
  • MCS, FMS, Osteoarthritis, Nerve Damage, Degenerating Disc Disease  
  • I will talk about whatever my viewers want or need me to talk about.

The first video will be an introduction to me and why I’m an authority on these subjects.  Why I have the audacity to think I can help people.  

I want that first blog to go out on June 1st.  That’s six weeks from now.  I am working my butt off at understanding YouTube and doing the research for the first few blogs.  I can’t promise quality, given my *cough* equipment but hey, I consider the content more important than any high tech options.  

So far, I’ve had everyone I talk to about it say something along the lines of “I’d love to see that” and that gives me impetus and motivation.  

And now, I am going to give my brain a rest with daydreams and fiction.

Muah.  

The First Day

blessing

A blessing for the new year. (web find)

 

This is the time of the year when everyone starts reflecting on all the things they need to change in order to live well. I am guilty of it but I am trying to change it for I think that we should be looking at our lives regularly through the year and changing our negative behaviours to the positive.  

I also think, though, that everyone needs a starting point and ‘Happy new year!’ tends to be that point.  Why not February 1st or July 1st or October?   

So this January I’m not making resolutions or promises, I’m making changes.  

I will tell you about them but first, I want to look at the positives of 2015.  

I had ample opportunity to be proud of my children.  My son is working hard at achieving his goals, he stands strong by his girlfriend and he is there for his family.  My daughter is making strides in handling her own anger issues and she works hard to maintain her position on the honour roll at school.  

I began therapy and have made progress in changing how I react to things.  The current bruises on my hand would seem to belie that but it is true nevertheless.  The bruises are a result of not taking care of myself well enough throughout December.

I put Lizendale up for sale on Kindle and Amazon.  (HW2 is a week or so away from publication too, by the way.  And when it’s up, both HW1 and Lizendale will be given away for free in the Kindle store.)

My relationship with Wolfman has improved a great deal.

My relationship with The Boyfriend is still going strong.

I went into remission for a few weeks.  Man oh man, was that ever great!

The flare I went into following the remission wasn’t as bad as previous ones.  That means I’m getting stronger.

I had a lot of love, a lot of laughs and a lot of Light in my life. 

Sounds like a great year, doesn’t it?  It was.

It wasn’t without difficulty though.  There are changes I need to make in my thinking, my perspective and the way I treat my body.

Less junk food.  More veggies.  Start at the beginning with my elliptical and any other exercises I want to add.  That means 3 minutes on the elliptical.  Three leg lifts, three repetitions of each move with the resistance band.  

I need to be more open to seeing how other people really see me; my daughter tells me that people appreciate me more than I know. She says I refuse to see it, or close to that.  

I need to be open to the gifts the Universe will send my way and I need to use them wisely.  

I need to be in touch with my spirituality more often, more deeply.  It is a big part of who I am and it’s time I put the work into it that it deserves.

I need to forgive myself my errors and have more patience, mostly with myself but with others as well.

Now, how do we get past the mistakes of last year? It’s as (seemingly) simple as forgiving ourselves for them and letting go.

So easy to type, so potentially difficult to do.

For me, I require symbolism.  A way to… let those mistakes go up in smoke.  For this New Year Day I will be doing the following ritual:

I will clean my house from top to bottom, washing away the dirt and negativity of 2015.  Then I will burn a little piece of paper on which I have written a few things (which I will tell you in a bit).  A tarot reading and a shower.  The shower will be about washing away all the negativity that clings to me.  

Written on the piece of paper I have cut into a 4×4″ square are the following things:

Side 1: I forgive myself the transgressions of 2015.

I let go of the mistakes I made, the things I didn’t get done.

I celebrate the accomplishments, the joys and all that is positive and let go of the negative.  Good bye, 2015.

Side 2:  I open myself to the possibilities, to the gifts that will come my way.

I open my eyes, mind and heart to the Universe and all the Gods choose to bestow upon me.  

I am worthy to receive them.

~

To me, it is the physical demonstration that I need.  Between the Fibro and the MCS I lose a lot in my brain.  Writing it down, making it something permanent in my memory will help me remember.

That’s what I am doing today, folks, what about you?  What is your favourite way to start the year?  What is the most meaningful?

I wish you every joy, every blessing and all the Light and love you can handle, and then some, in 2016.  I wish you the open mind and heart to receive these gifts.  

Happy New Year.

Muah.

It’s That Time of Year…

…when good feelings abound.

…when family gets together.

…when food is made in abundance.

…when gaily wrapped boxes and funky or cute bags full of goodies appear.

…when depression becomes it’s strongest.

…when the poor feel their empty wallets more keenly.

…when people acquire debt they can ill afford. 

Yule

Yule.  A Google find.

To me, the Yule season is about family.  It’s about showing the love you have for the people in your life.  It’s about gratitude come to life; gratitude that is shown in the hugs, the kisses, the food and warm drinks shared.  

It’s about showing the Gods, (whatever you call them – God, Yahweh, Allah, Isis, the Oak King), your gratitude for your life.  Regardless of your beliefs, this time of year shines with family and love. 

It’s about remembering why we’re here and why we do what we do.  

I have spent some time reflecting on my own family, my obligations, my needs and my hopes and dreams.  There are some things I’d like to change, others I’d like to give sharper focus to.  

Next week, we’ll talk about changes for 2016 and plans for the future.  

This weekend, I’m going to take some pictures with the new GorillaPod Action Tripod my daughter got me!  This is the only time I wish the water was on the east side of me, so I could take night pictures of the full moon on the lake.  It’s the first one on Christmas in 38 years and there won’t be another until 2034.  It’s worth spending some time looking at it, I think.  

But then, I love the moon. 😉

I hope that your holidays see you blessed with love and light, regardless of where you are or your financial station or your health.  Remember, take some time to ease the stress in your belly.  Breathe, enjoy having your family around you.

Muah