2014 gratitude jar

The idea is that you write down things you’re grateful for, things that make you happy, memorable events, throughout the year, put them in the jar. The on New Year’s Eve, you dump out the jar and read all the good things. And start a new jar the following day.

This is my jar. I used a Lipton Tea jar and glued on the banner, the image of the jar in the back, the quote at the bottom, and the photograph of the gorgeous key. The rest are from a pack of stickers I got. I didn’t think I could go wrong with a yellow cat wearing purple glasses, right?


introducing trudi, my dayplanner

Yesterday, on my way out to the laundry room to get the Wednesday wash done, I dropped my dayplanner into my bag and stopped to get the mail. Didn’t think anything about it as I’ve been trying to get into the habit of taking my planner with me everywhere, and though it was early, I thought I’d see if the mail had already run.


Why I thought I might need my planner in the laundry room, I had no idea. Like I said, I’m trying to make taking it everywhere a habit. So far, so good.

After I got the clothes in to wash, I sorted through the mail – sales papers, but I always go through them in case other mail got stuck in there somehow. I can’t say how many times we’ve almost lost/recycled/thrown away something important (tax returns, mail from Preston’s parents, lightweight letters, etc) because it’s been jammed in with the sales papers. And low and behold there were the Container Store planner stickers I’d ordered two weeks ago.

I spent the next half hour arranging stickers and taking pictures.

Love my divider pages! I ordered them from an Etsy shop, and the designer cut them down to fit my compact planner! The Hello Kitty stickers came from an eBay shop. I printed and cut down the menu sheet – and sheets that can’t be seen: “about this week” and an adorable “to do” sheet. There’s also a “right now” sheet I printed and cut down. (I really need to get a paper cutter!) The page sticking out the pocket in the back is from where I was going to get my yearly mammogram – they shut it down to consolidate it with the Markey Cancer Center on campus.


This picture is blurry; sometimes I just can’t get steady pictures with the camera on my phone. These are probably my two most-used tabs. The labels are from the stickers from the Container Store, and the divider tabs are from my Etsy purchase. For Projects, I created a “client sheet” for the editing and book reviews I do, so I can better keep up with what I’m doing for whom and when, payments and so forth (I don’t get paid for reviews; just editing). That section is a bit thin right now, but I’m taking November off for NaNoWriMo. Schedule is where my daily planning sheets start. For the rest of this year, I have the standard wo2pp that comes with an FC planner. (I have my pack of do2pp starting ready to go when I need it; I already have January in my planner.


Here she is from the top. The black piece is the top page lifter; I have one in the front and in the back. They didn’t come with the planner, so I ordered them separate before I ever thought about getting custom dividers. I may not need page lifters with the dividers, but this way I know my dividers won’t get damaged. Right?



I got the Blooms monthly divider pack from FC for the color, and they’re great. The borders are a little bit more pink than I care to have in my life, but I keep telling myself they’re “more pale lilac”. I stuck my monthly and daily Etsy stickers over the FC tabs. Again for the color. And they’re easier for me to find and to read. I really like having the daily stickers! Those will come in so handy at the start of the new year when I get to start working with my actual daily pages. The Santa is from a card I got from my sister last Christmas. (When you journal, you save bits and pieces of everything. I’m up to two boxes and five folders of ephemera from nothing this time last year!)



She’s a bit fat, but I have another planner due to ship next Monday. It’s still a compact, and the same model (this one had a defect with the closure), but maybe by the time it comes in, I can figure out what I really need in here and what I don’t. What helps is that this model (DayOne) can also be used as a wallet, so I won’t have to carry a separate wallet around!


Why did I name her Trudi? After noticing on the Planner Addicts group on Facebook that the other ladies name their planners, I boiled it down to a choice between Trudi and Priscilla. I’m not entirely sure why those two names came to me, but that’s what did. I asked PA for advice and got some really great suggestions, including Molly – which I’d have totally gone with, but right now she’s a character in my YA project, and I don’t want to get them conflated somehow. I thought I might go with Priscilla, but every time I picked her up, I called her Trudi. So here we are.

Why a physical dayplanner? I realized with my ADHD I needed something physical outside of my Outlook calendar, especially these days since I don’t leave Outlook on 24/7, so I’m not able to get my reminder pings (and I don’t carry a smartphone). With the ADHD (I have the distractive/inattentive type), I’m more visual, so need visual cues and reminders. Otherwise I’d forget my own name some days. I started by using a Moleskine daily planner in January and liked it a whole bunch. Over the course of the year, I saw all these beautiful, creative planners and wanted to be able to do more with my planner – including organizing it to suit me instead of how a book binder put it together for me.

I got to thinking about ring binders. I’d used one from 1997 to some time in the early 2000s. A tiny thing, and I don’t think Mead makes it any more. Fat Little Dayplanner. I still have the binder! I did some digging around and some research and thought about the planners anyone can buy at Wal-Mart but wasn’t sure that was the route I wanted to go. Then someone at either PA or JJ posted a link to an FC DayOne on sale for $9.95. I waffled for some time but decided I couldn’t go wrong with FC and especially not at that price, so I had some spare money and bought it and waited for it to arrive.

It arrived, and I went nuts customizing and organizing it. Buying dividers, stickers, tabs, post-its, and gods know what all else. A pouch to carry said stickers, post-its, and pens in, of course, but I’ve already almost outgrown it and have barely had it a month!

But I’m set on starting 2014 organized and ready to hit the floor running, as they say. With my head on, my shoulders back, and knowing what needs to be done and when and where I have to go and why. And so forth. That makes a huge difference in my life. I realized before I knew about the ADHD that I need a structured schedule. Daily. Even if all I have down for a given day is a list of household chores. (Speaking of which, I never ran the dishwasher last night. Oy! See?) The daily pages I got are divided up into an appointment block running from 8am to 9pm, which is perfect. There’s also a task list and a daily tracker (for whatever I need to daily track). The second page is more like a diary page.

When I get my January calendar all set up and start setting up those daily pages, I’ll take more pictures. With hope, it won’t take me two months to post again!

Now you know where I’ve been the last while! I’ve been eyebrow deep in dayplanning and organizing! Also, I’ve been doing a bit of writing again, but mostly on that front I’ve been doing the NaNoWriMo-Plano for next month. Which includes getting what manuscript I already have written (I write longhand) typed up into Word, so I don’t have to worry about that next month and get on with the actual writing again!

thank you ACA



After this paperwork is processed, I’ll be good to go with Medicaid as of January 1st. I’ll have insurance for the first time in 22 years. I may have cried a little.

of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax

Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings

Today has been absolute insanity.

First, because of the way buses run, I had to be up a little bit after six this morning to go through my morning routine and wake up somewhat before I left the apartment. It’s always good to be a little bit awake when playing Frogger on Armstrong Mill Road to get to the inbound bus stop. But crossing at 8:15am is easier than crossing at 8:45am. We shan’t discuss crossing at 5pm!

And of course the bus was late. Even after being on time all the way along the route, the driver somehow managed to fall back five minutes late on the last half of the loop. I always have anxiety when I go to therapy anyway — the clinic itself sucks — late buses don’t help that at all. But I had a good book to read along the trip, so that helped.

Then I get to the clinic, and the lights are off and the door is locked. Generally this isn’t a problem, as I’m the first appointment. But usually the hallway door is open, and I can at least go in and sit down. Not this time. The place was locked down tight. So I made a phone call and found out they’d “moved next door”. Isn’t that something someone should have told me during my reminder call yesterday?

So I go in, sign in, and sit down. Then I can hear someone in the back saying she doesn’t know who I am and that there’s no information on me anywhere — and my therapist hasn’t gotten to the clinic yet. The anxiety that landed on me outside the other building settled in on top of me. I refrained from going outside and bashing my head against the brick wall.

Good thing, too, because my therapist came in shortly after that, and around the same time, I got to an intense part of my book, so I had plenty to keep me busy.

Once we got into the back, my therapist said this was her first day in this building, too — she even had to ask where her office was! The bad thing was that she didn’t have my records or her computer. She had to dig pens and notepaper out of her bag. And we never really got to talk about anything I’d gone in there to talk about, and I’d been trying to get in to see her since the middle of May. Just more of the usual crap that clinic shovels out on a daily basis.

She had plenty to tell me, though. Two things in particular.

1. The cost of generic Ritalin has skyrocketed. She didn’t even know until patients started calling or coming in and telling her about it. Here in Lexington, it’s gone from $4 for 30 10mg pills to $126. So, we’re switching me over to Vyvanse. The problem with that is, there’s not a generic (yet), and I have to qualify for their prescription assistance program — but my cost could still be $30 a month, which I can’t afford (that’s about what I pay for all of my medications combined; there’s no way I can pay that for one medication). The other problem with that is that it takes at least two months to go through the approval process. I have one week of Ritalin left.

Now, the part about this whole Ritalin thing that sucks, I found out when I got home is that apparently there’s another “shortage” on, like there was earlier in the year, like their was last year and the year before. This page says most of the issue is “supply constraints” or “due to delay in obtaining raw materials”. I would pull my hair out by the roots, but it’s taken too long to grow it this long.

Personally, I feel it’s Big Pharma being greedy assholes.

2. “It’s very probable” that clinic will be closing its doors soon — as in, I made an appointment to see my therapist again in October, but if the clinic closes, then I won’t be seeing her again. We actually cried together. She said the clinic doesn’t want their workers telling people what’s going on, but she said she and a handful of other therapists agree that their patients need to know. I mean, really — you’re a mental health service. You have to disclose this kind of thing so we can look and get referrals and get set up elsewhere. My first choice is to go back to Comprehensive Care, but I can’t get medications there. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it, I guess. My therapist gave me enough prescriptions to get me through until the first of March, so I’m good there. (except for the whole Ritalin part) And we’ll deal with the whole Vyvanse thing when we get there.

3. She said they were all pledging to do follow-ups and so forth and said she definitely would be in touch one way or another. I told her to find me on Facebook if I don’t see her in October. I can’t stand the thought of not seeing her again. She’s been my angel (one of my angles) these last three years. We both cried; it was awful.

I left and walked up to the bus stop and got ready for the long trip (an hour) to Wal-Mart. See, that’s the thing with Lextran. It takes you just about anywhere, but it takes forever to get there. An hour to the clinic, an hour to Wal-Mart, an hour home. And people wonder why, when I have therapy, I’m gone all day and need a nap when I get home! I read another good chunk of my book, of course, and had my mp3 player to keep me company; I learned years ago (2005?) never to get on the bus without an mp3 player; it keeps you saner. In 2010, I added my Kindle to that equation. (Wow – I’ve had my Kindle almost three years! Time certainly flies.)

Got to Wal-Mart, did my shopping. Got a text from Josh saying they’d be there shortly. They were meeting me to hang out while I finished and then taking me home. We have such rich, busy social lives! And of course Micah had to be with me in my buggy and not his parents’. Since my child seat was full of stuff, I just dumped him in the buggy with all the food. Which he didn’t mind at all. It meant he got to practice stacking and made cool towers with my Noxema, instant tea, and a can of gooshy food. He was so proud!

Then he wanted to go back into his parents’ buggy, which was fine, and he had more room over there anyway. By the time we got around to the frozen foods, though, he was getting bored, and it was getting on toward his naptime. Mandi left us to go find herself a bag of chips, and Josh and I were talking, and next thing I knew, Micah was face-first on the floor. I keep hearing the sound he made when he landed, and I keep trying to forget it.

He’s fine, though. He’s fine!

He got a nice goose egg on his forehead and a fat lip, and we got a package of popsicles so we could give him one to soothe his mouth. And I still feel like absolute shit about the whole thing even though it’s been ten hours. Everybody keeps telling me that they do stuff like that, and since I have two grown boys, I should know this myself, and I do know this myself. But I still feel like shit.

In the checkout line, I was telling Josh and Mandi to make sure Micah got some Tylenol when they got home, and Micah nodded his head, “Yes.” We laughed. Josh said, “Do you need Tylenol, Micah?” And he nodded his head yes again. He is so rotten.

So while I was sitting here doing Internet things — ie, writing group and writing this post — I managed to find the prescription assistance application form I need, and Preston printed it out for me. I got it filled out, and am going to fax it to the clinic in the morning.

Speaking of which, I asked to get Micah early tomorrow, and I have a ton of things to get done before he gets here. It’s midnight. I should probably get to bed!

It’s been a long time since I’ve really given any kind of update, and I do apologize for that. It’s been a long, insane year. A lot’s happened. I promise not to be gone so long between now and next time.

so this is where i am right now


This mess was on my dining room table this morning while I was trying to eat breakfast. This mess is what I’ve let my life erode into. And I hate it. The only thing to do about it is to get up off my butt and fix it. I did some of that fixing today but not as much as I should have. I at least got my dayplanner and Outlook calendar somewhat semi-reorganized. One step at a time, I suppose.

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get – Calvin & Hobbes

i’m still alive!

I’m still here. I’ve just not been blogging. Nothing to write home about? Yeah, well, that’s where I’ve been. I did NaNoWriMo again last year and managed to get 35,000 new words for Destiny (which is still searching for a new, real title, by the way). Also, I picked up some editing and reading for hire and will be picking up more.

I’ve also been going through this big organizational project. The apartment, myself, my life. Everything.

I got a 2013 Peanuts Moleskine dayplanner and finally got over my fear of actually using my Peanuts 60th Anniversary Snoopy Moleskine journal. This is all helping getting my life/mind/home “still” and organized. Organized isn’t really the word I’m going for here. The ADHD isn’t letting me find the proper word for this, of course. I know what I mean but just am not able to convey it right now.

I’ve wanted for a long time to get back into scrapbooking, the kind I did all through school while I was growing up, but I’ve never been happy with all the themed scrapbooking stuff that’s been out there for the longest time now. Scrapbooking isn’t supposed to be that orderly! So I just never did. Then last Summer while I was thinking real hard about getting back into journaling and trying to get my mojo going again, I ran into ‘smashbooks’. What neat things! And they’re so portable!

Like I said above, I got over my fear of using my Moleskines, and I’m so glad I did! Both of the ones I have are the 5″x8″ size, which is perfect for what I need them for. The dayplanner isn’t huge or bulky, and the journals isn’t one of those daunting 9″x11″ books I was hooked on for twenty years. Seriously, I think that’s why I burned out. I was trying to fill up those enormous pages with every thought and activity I had, and with the uncontrolled, undiagnosed ADHD I had going on, I got some righteous burn-out.

As for the dayplanner, I’ve known for some time (like three years) that dumping everything into Outlook Calendar just wasn’t cutting it. Especially over the last year. I’ve not been keeping Outlook open around the clock like I used to. I’ve not allowed myself to continue being a slave to e-mail (as a result, I also have a continuous backlog of e-mail, but I’m trying to break that habit, too). I don’t need it on 24/7, so I leave it off. But I needed something to help me stay organized and on task through the day, and everything I’ve read for months about ADHD is that having a physical dayplanner is a blessing. And it has been. It helps keep me on task.

Getting over my fear of actually using my Peanuts journal took a long time. But I’m glad that I did. Honestly, what got me going again was the time I spend on Pinterest and Flickr looking at beautiful and creative (and beautifully creative and creatively beautiful) things. I was searching for inspiration, and one afternoon, I found it, and got my books out and started using them. It’s made a world of difference.

I got into this whole journaling/dayplanning thing so much that I created a group on Facebook. The group is just over a month old, and we’ve all had so much fun and learned so much from each other already. Everyone supports one another. It’s been amazing. If you’re on Facebook and keep a journal or are considering picking the habit (back) up, if you scrapbook, art journaling, anything similar, we’d enjoy having you as part of our group. Daily, we start a Link thread to keep everything as corralled and orderly as we can. So like, if it’s Tuesday, someone will start an empty thread titled Tuesday Links, and everyone is welcome to post up outside links to anything journaling or scrapbooking related. We have a long thread about handwriting, even! (I’ve been working hard on improving mine, and it’s working.)

One thing I’ve learned over the last six or so months is that I’d been journaling wrong for the last thirty years. Wrong for me. I wasn’t exploring it as a creative outlet. I had, for all that time, created what could be called nothing more than Bitch Books. Finally, at one point, I sat down with the ones I’d kept from 1992 through 2007, when I stopped (I’d told myself I didn’t need to journal any more because I had my biog!). I went through some thousand pages of crap. Serious. I kept only what I found important. My poetry, good quotes, pictures, cards, letters, some stickers, comic strips. Stuff like that. I took, wrapped in two tightly tied T-shirt bags, and chucked them into the nearest dumpster. That act along took a load of weight from my shoulders. Amazing how stuff like that works out! I wanted to burn those books, but when one lives in an apartment, one does what one can with what one has.

Since then, I’ve gotten everything I saved, which was little, into its proper scrapbook or journal with the exception of my poetry. I still need to see what I already have in electronic copy and type up what I don’t. I think there are maybe eight poems I need to go through. Yeah, real hard work.

But like I said above, I’d been journaling wrong. I had approached it my entire life as a repository of gripes and sorrows, rants and raves. While I ripped those books apart, I rarely found anything good. That, and I’d insisted all that time in writing in 120 page, 9″x11″ books. All of them beautiful. I refused to buy them if they weren’t pretty! So on days when I didn’t have anything to gripe about, I just didn’t write. Those large pages were intimidating, and I allowed them to intimidate me. The odd part is that I had (a few months ago) a small slew of 5″x7″ journals that I never used. I bought them because they were pretty and just never did anything with them. I still have two I need to find a home/use for.

Then I searched “Moleskine” and “Journal” on both Flickr and Pinterest. My eyes were opened. Wide. What a wealth of creativity!

I don’t have to write an entire page to record my entire day. I don’t even have to write. I don’t have to do it in chronological order. Nor do I have to orient every single page “top to bottom”. When I was in therapy at Comprehensive Care in 2010/2011, my therapist “had a thing” about coloring therapy. I rediscovered coloring and art because of her. She especially favored mandalas and bright colors. Google “mandala” and “zentangle”. Wonderful things. I searched for and found good, easy to follow (and free!) drawing instructions at the art is fun website. My journal is littered with mandalas, doodles, lines, circles, shapes. I’ve filled it with pictures I’ve drawn and colored. I’ve added stickers. I started a collection of ephemera. I bought crayons, pencils, markers, and other things (including a box to keep it all in).

I can’t express how much I’ve enjoyed this, how much it’s all helped me already.

Below, I share some pictures of pages I’ve made. More to come!


This is the opening page in the Snoopy journal.


2013 dayplanner

This is the opening page in the dayplanner. I can control only what’s inside my hula hoop.


dream page

This is from my K&Company Smashbook. I got the Retro Blue one – because it’s blue and because I liked the pages inside; they’re all themed. I don’t generally care for themed scrapbooking or journaling, but most of the ‘prompts’ are great. I also got a themed ‘smash pad’ which is also great for prompts. You pull what you want to use on a given day from the pad, glue or tape the whole thing (or part) down, and write on it. Then decorate the page the best way you see fit.


hch page

This is the page I started for HCH. It’s not finished. I still have a ton of ephemera I want to stick in. The left-hand page is made of up a recent Harlan County map, a Harlan County directory, and the US 119 tag is from a packet of information I got from a Pine Mountain tour thing several years ago. The places I highlighted in yellow are settings in my Harlan Vampires stories. The right-hand page is a postcard about HCH and the welcome card from the book launch at The Morris Book Shop.


midnight page

This is the Midnight page. Totally unfinished. I started with printouts of the 100 word blurb, snippets of poetry that didn’t make my final cut as chapter headers, a writer ‘trading card’, maps of Loyall and Harlan, and excerpts from the book. Then, when the books is published, I’ll add more things in. Lots more things.

So that’s where I’ve been for the last six months. Embroiled and enjoying it. I’ve also relaunched my editing service – which now has a name! – and have taken in three projects so far. I’ll be free to take in more near the first of April. And yes, I’m still working on the apartment. Organizing, cutting down, simplifying, scrubbing everything to a showroom shine.

All of this has been so very freeing.

post op day twenty

[disclaimer: i don’t usually post disclaimers, but if body ickiness isn’t something you like reading, then this post isn’t for you! in other words, if you have a weak stomach or don’t like hearing about other people’s surgeries and/or innards, and you read this anyway, then i’m not responsible if you throw up later.]

Preston Halcomb posted this on his Facebook wall when we got home from my post-op appointment Wednesday afternoon: Now I’m busy researching pathology report terminology to better understand Mari’s uterus. lol It is a dark, mysterious place filled with lots of words that require a dictionary.

“Week Three”.

I can’t believe it’s been that long already! Where did the time go!?

I’ve lost two whopping pounds, but I’ve lost so much bloat that it’s incredible; my panties, socks, and bras are too big! My big sloppy T-shirts need taken to the laundry room and left on a table for “free to a good home”. I’ve worn rings I’ve not been able to wear in twenty years; blows my mind. I can even lace my shoes tighter. In fact, I think my shoes are a bit too big now.

I feel so good. I’ve been so incredibly up.

Up is a bit troublesome because I’ll sit here and think, “OMG, I’ve gone manic again,” only to realize, no, I’m not manic, I just feel good for the first time in something like thirty years. Seriously, I feel great, and I can’t remember one time in my adulthood when I’ve ever felt this good. And there’s probably some of you out there thinking, “Yeah, right,” but it’s the truth. All through my adulthood, I’ve dealt with all this pain, depression, the growing panic disorder, and gods know what all else. (A member at HysterSisters said she felt “euphoric” for a time after her surgery. ” I just felt so good that all the pain I was having was gone and I was alive and well,” she said.)

And apparently having all this pain removed from my body has quieted my mind, relaxed my muscles, settled my nerves, given me strength, and (as I said above) gods know what all else. I complained those three weeks post-op that my tinnitus had gotten worse. Which made sense. Without all that pain to glom up the inside of my head, my mind is quieter, so the tinnitus seemed louder. Then I realized yesterday, it’s quiet up there. I cupped my hands over my ears. The tinnitus is still there, but it’s very faint. Very faint. I can live with that. Faint is better than screaming so loud I can’t hear anything else. Also (knock on wood), I’ve not had one migraine since I woke up from surgery. Not one. I’ve had minor headaches here and there. Common post-op. But no migraines and no signs of migraines. :knocks wood:

My surgeon said i’m doing terrific. (In fact, everybody who sees me says, “Mari, you look wonderful!” and everybody who hears me on the phone goes on about “how good” I sound.”) My uterus was enlarged, as we’d expected, but not by much; it was only about an inch larger than it should have been. My official diagnosis was Adenomyosis (the endometrium embeds itself into the uterine wall and bleeds there during periods, which was causing most of my pain), fibroid scarring, “chronic cystic cervicitis with squamous metaplasia” (both due to inflamation, which would have caused that pain), and I apparently had some benign cysts on both ovaries and tubes. Hearing and reading the symptoms of Adenomyosis both relieved me and made me say, “That’s exactly it.” Is it any wonder I was in so much pain?? No cancer, and everything else was clean. I have those three wee incisions on my stomach; the Dermabond started peeling off about this time last week (it’s almost all gone now), and my incisions look fantastic, imho. Here’s a gratuitous picture of my twenty-day post-op belly. I think it looks fantastic!

Also, Dr Midboe-Penn said as long as I’m feeling like i’m doing well without HRT, then that’s what we’ll do. I’d like to avoid it if at all possible for a whole list of reasons, and she agrees; she said to keep her posted. So far since surgery, I had two days (the Monday and Tuesday one week post-op) when I had some horrific hot flashes. I’ve been having hot flashes and night sweats for two years, so these are nothing new. But those I experienced those two days were knocked up a couple of notches from what I’d had before. I’d thought I’d wanted to crawl out of my own skin before, but I’d been wrong. This past Friday, when we went to go to bed, I experienced cold chills. I keep a blanket on the bed year around and had Preston put two of those little “throw” blankets on me, and although I was bundled up like it was -10*, I still shivered. My Trazadone eventually kicked in, and I was able to get to sleep. Preston was worried I might have the flu, since we’d been out most of Wednesday afternoon and then all Friday morning. But I totally didn’t feel like I had the flu. Flu is far and away from what this felt like.

From what I’ve been able to find online, including the comprehensive list at HysterSisters, I’ve had perimenopausal symptoms for a long time now, which explains a hell of a whole lot! I had no idea! But the migraines, the insomnia, loss of balance (Preston and I always joke that my vertical hold has given out!), tinnitus, increased depression and panic/anxiety, the chronic fatigue, and the outrageous bloating were the absolute worst. I can’t remember ever mentioning it in all of my surgery/health posts, but when my period would come around, I’d swell up so bad that most of the time I couldn’t even put on a pair of jeans. I’d be consigned to pajama bottoms or oversized (ie, too big for me) elastisized waist shorts and capris. Jeans were totally out of the question. So if I had to leave the apartment for any reason, I’d have to pray my jeans would go on (and close!) and then pray that I didn’t die from constriction while I was out.

Dr Midboe-Penn cleared me for about anything I feel up to – but still no lifting over 10# and resting when my body feels like that’s what I need. Look, my bed is completely made for the first time in three weeks!

I did the dusting Thursday and got most of the apartment but two rooms before I had to go lay down. Since then, I’ve fixed supper twice and our usual big Sunday breakfast this morning! Preston’s still doing the laundry and big cleaning and anything else I feel like I can’t get to on my own. Also, he’s been whining that he doesn’t have as much to do and feels like that he’s not taking care of me like he should be. Maybe I can spend another week in bed to appease his mental health?

He really has taken great care of me, though. He worried himself to a frazzle before the surgery, and the day of the surgery, friends tell me he was an absolute mess. Since I got home, he’s worked himself to death taking care of me. The least little thing, and he’s all, “Don’t you dare bend over!” or “I’ll get that!” or “Don’t get out of bed!” or “Haven’t you been up too long?” He’s taken great care of the apartment, as well, far above what I’d expected. I probably shouldn’t say such a thing, but it’s the truth, and we all know how I am about the truth! lol He’s cooked and cleaned and kept everything shiny and all three of us fed. You know, all the important stuff.

My only complaint is that my outside plants all almost died. Totally my fault. I had failed to tell Preston (and to put on his list) that he needed to take care of them. Whoops. They’re all doing fine, now, once I realized my mistake. But for a few days there, I was worried!

The weight restriction means I still can’t pick up this little guy until I go back for another exam next month.

I must admit, though, that the day he was here, I did pick him up. Several times. He’d pull up to my knees, and I’d lift him. Preston and Dr Midboe-Penn both got onto me for that. I understand, though. I waited how long for this surgery? I totally do not want or need anything to come along and screw it up – especially self-inflicted! But he’s so cute, and he kept looking up at me like, “Why aren’t you holding me, Auntie Gammie?” Broke my heart! (If he really was my grandson, he and I both would be in some big trouble! lmao) But really! How can you leave that much cute off your lap!?

I asked her when I could go out and buy my bicycle (I the colors of that bicycle!). She said, “Go get it on your way home and ride as far and as much as you want!” I’m waiting because I can’t lift it, and I’ll have to take the bus at least part of the way home when I do get it – so it has to be lifted onto the on-board bike rack. I searched all over online and looks like the bike weighs somewhere around 30 pounds! I lifted it down from an overhead rack at Wal-Mart when I first found it several months ago; I’m surprised it’s that heavy!

While I’m waiting to go get my bicycle, I’ve been taking walks. I’ve walked all over the place. Sometimes I’m tired enough when I get home that I want to nap, and sometimes all I want is just to lay down with a book and read. I’m spending more and more time “sitting up” (I sound like I’m Micah!), but if my belly starts to feel the least bit “tired” (or gassy or just “blah”), I’ll lay down.

Our biggest concern is my blood pressure. Down to 98/64 when the nurse took it Wednesday. My surgeon said she’d let my therapist handle that since she’s the one who’d prescribed that particular medication. (I had a visit with my therapist on Friday. More about this further down.)

I had mentioned in my last surgery post that I was concerned about walking all the way to the bus stop and getting on the bus to and from. After it rained the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, before and I wasn’t able to get out and take my walks, I was even more concerned. But the only trouble I had was that Preston and I left the apartment entirely too early – by twenty minutes – so we had to stand there for the longest time; I was able to make the walk quicker and more comfortably than we’d thought. Then, the kneeler on the bus that picked us up would go down only so far, so I had to haul myself in (with Preston’s help). Coming home, one bus didn’t have enough room for me to sit down and no passengers willing to let someone post-op have his seat, so we had to wait an extra half hour for another bus.

Miss Kitty is still enjoying being my personal nurse – and has enjoyed all of this extended nap time right along with me! And if she thinks I’ve sat up too long, she’ll come poke me, and if I tell her, “Just a minute,” she’ll get mouthy and bossy. Bless her heart, she’s worn herself out taking care of me, is what she’s done. I’ve probably said it before, but it’s the truth – I never would have dreamed she would take care of me like she has. Also, she’s been good about getting around my belly. Since I’ve been home from the hospital, she won’t go near it (although if I’m on my side, she’ll sleep with her head on my boobs!).

But yay! I’m healthy!!

I go back for what should be my final post-op exam with Dr Midboe-Penn on 10/09.

This was great. On the way out to check-out after my appointment, I saw my regular OB/GYN down the hall. I put my chart on the check-out desk and said I’d be right back. Dr Dillon saw me and held out her arms, and she gave me a huge hug and said i looked terrific. She said, “Whenever you pop into my mind, I think about that first day you came into my office. I’ll never forget that.” We both agreed that day was awful. But then I hugged her again and told her thank you for helping getting me fixed. She slapped me on the back and said, “Go enjoy your life!” I suppose I’ll see her again when it’s time for my annual exam on my birthday (what a time to schedule it, right? but that way i don’t forget!).

So, that’s all that.

On Friday, we got up at the crack of dawn so I could make it to a 10am therapy appointment. I ended up having a complete meltdown, which Preston and I both blame on hormones (or lack of hormones) and post-op body/brain fogginess. I didn’t behave well, I admit. But I still think the situation could have been handled a lot better than it was. I’m still considering transferring to UK outpatient psychiatry. I just can’t handle the stress I go through when I go to CKBH. My blood pressure is always through the roof whem I’m there. And no wonder! Every time I go into that clinic, something happens, and I end up upset. I think it’s telling that I texted Thomas later with, “Had a meltdown at CKBH today,” and he wrote back, “What they do now?” Right?

I love my therapist to pieces, but the clerical side is for the absolute birds. As great as my therapist is, I don’t think the clinic is worth the stress.

To begin with, I have to take two buses to get there. So it’s almost an hour, depending, trip one way. That second bus runs only every seventy minutes. The bus out of and into my neighborhood runs every half hour. It makes trip planning and appointment scheduling a complete pita and takes an entire day! (When we got home Friday, Preston said, “Now I understand why you’re gone all day!” and I said, “And think, I didn’t go to Wal-Mart to get my meds on the way home; that would have been another hour.” He looked really tired! I was tired; that’s why I skipped Wal-Mart. We both napped when we got in. Okay, we all three napped.)


We get over there Friday morning, half an hour early – even though we’d gotten off the bus one stop down and gone into Shell then made a run by the bank before walking down the street to the clinic – and I go to sign in. The rececptionist informs me that what they call BlueGrass Care (it’s what you get through that clinic if you don’t qualify for Medicaid) had expired on June 30th and that my appointment that day would be $50. I had an absolute cow. I asked why. She said, “Because your BlueGrass expired in June.” I said, “Well, I was here on the 13th of July, why didn’t someone tell me then, and I only paid $25 that day just like I always do.” She said, “Because your BlueGrass expired.” That’s when I started getting angry. Was that all she knew how to say? So I asked again, “Why didn’t someone mention this when I was here in July?” She said, “I don’t know, but I can let you talk to the person who takes care of this stuff.” On the phone.

Well, the person on the phone talked to me like I’m three. When I’m in a good mood, talking to me like I’m an idiot is the quick way to get your teeth knocked down your throat; I just have no patience for people who treat me like that. The lady on the phone only repeated what the receptionist had already told me. I also have no patience for people who don’t answer direct questions. I yelled at her; I can’t remember what she said exactly or what I said exactly, but I reached the receiver back through the window and let it drop onto the desk. They’re lucky I did that and didn’t throw it through the glass partition. (Meanwhile Preston’s out in the waiting area trying to hide under the book he brought to read because he knew I was getting ready to explode.)

The receptionist said, “I don’t think you can be seen today if you don’t have the $50.” I had already paid my $25 fee before all this hell started breaking loose. I said, “I don’t have $50 because nobody told me I’d need it. Maybe if someone had warned me ahead of time, I could have come to this appointment far more prepared than I have.” At this point, I could feel my blood pressure rising, and Preston wanted to pay the other $25 out of his pocket, but I wouldn’t let him. All I wanted to know was why someone hadn’t done his job and let me know my aid had expired. One more time, she said, “I don’t know. And I’ll have to check if you can still be seen today.” I said, “Oh no, I’m not leaving. I’ll see [my therapist] today. I’ve already paid, and I need my meds refilled, and rescheduling with Heather is a pain in the ass. I bet she doesn’t have anything open for a month, and I won’t and can’t wait for another month.” (Preston said I’d started yelling a long time before this.)

Meanwhile, the entire backside of the clinic was in a complete tizzy because of the cow I had. And nobody was answering my questions. Still. Although someone did say that I would have to renew my paperwork and handed it to me through the window to fill out. So I stood there and filled it out, because by now, I have all that information memorized – I just had to take it to Preston so he could fill out his two little pieces and sign his name – and handed it back. She said, “I can’t take this. You have to get your Medicaid denial letter first then bring it all back in together.” I said, “I have last year’s letter with me. Will that do?” She looked at me like I’d sprouted an extra head. She said, “No, we have to have a current denial letter.” I said, “So if I can’t be seen today, gods know when I’ll get to see [my therapist] again, and I hope you know it can take up to a month to get into the Medicaid office.” She looked at me as if I’d sprouted a third head and shut the window.

So now they’re all in an even bigger uproar. And the lady I’d spoken to on the phone came out to take me back to talk to me; Preston didn’t budge, but in hindsight, maybe he should have gone with me. lol All she wanted was to go on about how the appointments there cost anywhere between $90 and $400 and how I should be grateful of the discount I get. I tried to butt in and say I didn’t give a damn about how much the appointments cost. All I wanted to know was why all this hassle was happening in the first place. She explained about their renewal policy, and I told her I knew all about their renewal policy – I’ve been going there for three years if I count the time I spent going there with Thomas before I started – that I just wanted my questions answered.

She said I need to go to the Medicaid office and get a denial letter and bring it back with my paperwork, and they’d make me another appointment with [my therapist]. I told her, for probably like the nine thousand squillionth time, that I couldn’t wait another month for another appointment. She made it sound like we could just pop into our car, drive to the complete other side of town, go into DCBS, come out with a denial letter, drive back across town, and present the finished paperwork. She didn’t want to listen when I told her that if you go over there without an appointment, you may or may not be seen and that you have to sit there all day. That I’ve gone there before at 8am and sat until 5pm and had to go home empty-handed. I swear she acted like I was making stuff up!

She kept going on and on, and I finally told her exactly how much I hate going to that clinic and how crap like this happens every time I have to be there and that I wanted my questions answered. She kept going on about the money. I got up and went back out to the lobby. I was so upset I couldn’t even tell Preston what was going on. Through this entire fiasco, I kept saying, “I’ve just had surgery, and I don’t feel well,” but seems to me like nobody wanted to listen to me at all about anything.

She came back out some time later and wanted to talk to me again, and I told Preston to please come with me. At the door, she said he couldn’t come back, and I demanded to know why. She’d only said, “It’s going to be okay,” and, of course wouldn’t give me a straight answer. I said, “He’s the one who pays this bill. He’s coming back there with me.” She just kept saying he needed to go back out to the waiting room and that everything would “be okay”. Preston was going to do as he was told, but I was still demanding answers I wasn’t getting. He told me when we got home that they probably violated a gazillion HIPA laws

At one point, the therapist who used to see Thomas came out and asked me if I was okay, but by that time I was a complete blubbering mess. All I could do was sit there and cry. I think I told her I was okay, although she could look at me and know better. Before she went back inside, I said, “Now you know where Preston gets it from, huh?” and she laughed.

Afterward, one of them came out to take me back to take my blood pressure and weigh me, which is their sop. I always weigh either two pounds heavier at that clinic than I do at the UK gynecology clinic, or I weigh two pounds less. That day, I weighed two pounds less. My blood pressure – surprise! surprise! – was 135/98. omg I almost had another complete cow. I wanted so bad just to throw myself on the floor and scream, “See what you people do to me!?” Preston told me when we got home and laid down that I’d been shaking, that he’d not seen me shaking like that in years – nor had he seen me that upset in a very long time (I told him he should go to therapy with me more often!).

I finally got back to see my therapist, and took Preston with me, and we all just collapsed onto chairs and took long deep breaths and huffed out. We had a great session, like we always do. She was concerned about my blood pressure being so low after surgery with Dr. Scheinberg vaginal rejuvenation surgeon and knocked my Propanolol back from four times a day to two. I see her again in November. If I go back. I’ve still not made up my mind.

So that was my week last week. Yesterday, I was so exhausted I spent most of the day in bed reading.

And here I am now. Writing up this ridiculously long post.

I’m going to go put my shoes on and take a walk before it gets dark. I need it after writing this post and reliving Friday. Maybe I should have stopped at the end of my post-op appointment! HA!

how i organize with onenote

About this time last year I made the switch from Evernote, which I’d used since it came out, to Microsoft OneNote, which is an integrated part of my Office software. After making a ‘trial run’ of OneNote to see how I could organize everything, I knew this was the better program for me. I hated to let Evernote go – they’ve been very good to me! But I just needed more than what their program offers.

imho, the worst thing about OneNote is that there aren’t a lot of templates available (although I’ve found they’re easy made), and there doesn’t seem to be much support / tips’n tricks available.

The biggest plus is that it integrates with the other Office programs – you can “print” to or from OneNote and share in the Office cloud (though I don’t use Skydrive – does anyone?). I keep my OneNote files inside my Dropbox folder – so it backs up its own backups, essentially. The program is largely intuitive. It’s easy to figure out what does what and what you can and can’t do with it. As for the lack of support et al, googling OneNote turns up what I’m looking for. I like that I can customize the interface, too. In the quickview bar, I have only the tools I use most often; everything else is tucked into the ribbon.

I have ADHD (leaning toward the Inattentive/Distractive side), so the way I organize things drives people straight up a wall. For them, it’s not intuitive or organized. For me it makes perfect sense. (I have friends who don’t like using my laptop because they never can find anything – but to me, its organization makes perfect sense)

From this article:

OneNote is designed to mimic a collection of spiral notebooks, with metaphors of tabs and pages. It has six total levels of organization–notebooks, sections, subsections, pages, and two levels of subpages. OneNote also has a system of links that allow notes to contain links to other notes, or to a Web page, a Word document, or a PowerPoint presentation.

I have three notebooks. One is for all my personal stuff, one is for all my blogging stuff, and the third is for all my writing stuff. I could break the writing notebook down into three notebooks, really: writing advice, adult stuff, young adult stuff. And I might if it keeps getting more crowded in there.

Another thing about OneNote is that you can size and position the sidepanels. You can put them on the right or the left and collapse them or widen them as large as you need them to be. When you open a notebook, tabs open across the top of the display, so really you can collapse the notebook pane entirely to give yourself more workspace. As well, you can minimize the pages panel. You can also color the notebooks and individual tabs any color you like, just like a physical notebook, to help sort this into that. “Oh, that’s in the green tab.” Click! Very handy if you’re as visual as I am. One thing I don’t like is that each page and subpage (and sub subpage and sub sub subpage, ad nauseum) under a given tab is the same color as that tab. I’d like to be able to color the individual pages – that’d be awesome!

Like I said, I prefer OneNote over Evernote; it’s what works for me. OneNote gives me so many more organizing / sorting / filing options. Also, the workspace is more user-friendly – I can make everything else smaller in order to view what I need to see / work on. OneNote pastes text into blocks (similar to a text block in Word) that you can click and drag around to reposition where you’d like. If you have a lot of small elements (small text bits / pictures) on a page, this comes in handy; it allows you to put things where they’re more available to you.

Since I started using OneNote last year, I’ve dumped almost all of my writing notes into the program. Some stuff still remains on my hard drive, but bit by bit, I’m moving it all into notebooks. This is so much better to (and for) me than having endless folders with endless streams of documents. Click FAQ tab, and voila, there’s everything in a neat little row for me to pick and choose from. Even with descriptive file names, I’d find myself sitting here thinking, “Is this the file I need? Or is it this one?” I don’t have to do that any more. Less muss, less fuss – I’m all for that!