Busy, busy: Taking care of yourself takes time (but we always make time for adventures)

It’s been what, a week?, since I wrote in this forum. I know, I know.

I have been trying to write. I have plans to brainstorm ideas for BookTok, projects to edit, and I decided to make short, very real, unedited videos for BookTube.

But, as I left myself 30 minutes to write this blog entry and “wasted” 15 minutes of that panicking over a medical form (all part of “things that have happened since last week”) I may have to leave you with a list:

  • The Intermittent Leave I submitted to my PCP was illegible once printed out, so I typed a new one over the weekend and sent it to the doctor’s office. I had not heard from them, so I double-checked the email this morning and thought the form I sent them was blank. I panicked, discovered my eyes had misled me, but had already messaged the office so now I probably have high blood pressure and look like an ass.
  • My favorite foster, Khloe the Sassy Princess and Cuddler, went to Chaar in Forks Township in search of a home. I went to visit her before the gym Wednesday and she made me biscuits.
  • My workouts have been brutal… I mean amazing, really I do. I’ve been doing what feels like some great weights and focusing so hard on form.
  • We had a heating oil delivery yesterday and I hadn’t anticipated that for another three weeks. $700. Ouch.
  • I had brussel sprouts three times this week. I do love my brussel sprouts.
  • I saw Nan Tuesday night and we practically made a comedy routine out of reading her junk mail.
  • My creative brain is swimming with ideas. Is that because I have no time?
  • I am soooooo close to fully performing at work. They messed up my accommodations Tuesday. My percentages are 98%, 103%, 103%. Accommodations make a difference.

But here’s my big take away:

Feel free to let me know your opinion.

Regardless of whether you have a disability or not, and that can even be a personal determination, getting older sucks… anyway… Taking care of yourself takes a lot of time. Monitoring your habits (food, sleep, exercise), health and treatments take so much time. Finding and visiting doctors. Physical therapy, training sessions or independent-led exercise. It’s ridiculous. Filling out that intermittent leave paperwork really drove home how much time I spend taking care of myself.

Maybe it is easier to neglect oneself. Maybe it would be so much less stressful to eat what I want, accept my “limitations” and live a more sedentary life. Maybe it is easier to stop fighting and be miserable. Maybe it takes an exhausting amount of energy to take care of oneself.

I’m a doer, a fighter. It’s who I am. So I will never stop trying. But now I think I see why some folks don’t.

Festive Friday’s life (and cerebral palsy) updates

My traveling companion M is in town so I stopped very briefly to say hi. He’s staying at a hotel between Sheetz and Wawa, and he’s never been to either, so I have a Pennsylvanian duty to educate him.

His hotel has a few artisanal touches in an otherwise uninteresting and rather lackluster environment.

I received a message from M last night while I was at Barnes & Noble at the Noble Quills poetry open mic where Darrell was featuring. (See YouTube video below.)

My most-exhausting-work week ended with a few lessons. I noticed that no pair of shoes I own will alleviate the foot pain I am experiencing, though experimenting with different tape/toe separator arrangements I can select the type of pain I prefer to experience. With this in mind, I have purchase three different varieties of toe separators from CVS today. ($22 worth of merchandise that I got for $15 and I paid with my HSA debit card.) I achieved 101%, 101%, 94% and 100%.

I had my follow-up with the neurologist-physiatrist today. The Baclofen appears to help my stiffness, and though I do experience a weird jerky stiffness at the end of the day after I sit and then get up, I have not fallen and I seem to move easier. She filled out my accommodations paperwork… so hopefully I will get a share of the easier work. I offered several ideas of how to provide easy accommodations. (I shared the same letter with my doctor and Stitch Fix.) The doctor remarked that my gait had noticeably improved and I think she laughed when I told her I preferred walking in cowboy boots because of the sound and the feel. (She was wearing a mask, so I can’t be sure.) She also seemed to make a quiet noise of approval upon the mention of a service dog.

I had an hour between appointments and in that time, I hung out with The Teenager’s dog (F. Bean Barker). It was Festive Friday at work so I wore my favorite “Fleece Navidad” Christmas sweater.

I then met with my therapist. He was one of three people who served as references for my service dog application and because I mentioned I had a therapist on my medical team, they sent him a psychiatric evaluation to fill out. He wanted to review it with me, because he wasn’t sure of the weight of his role in the whole process. He was much relieved to hear that I had had the in-person interview last week (read more about that here) and that I had received the email an hour earlier stating that my home visit and canine therapeutic evaluation would be scheduled early in the new year.

So I said I would approach the paperwork as if they just wanted to know if I was stable enough to care for myself and the dog.

By the time I returned home from that appointment, the UPS man had left a special package on my doorstep. It was Larry Sceurman’s debut novella, The Death of Big Butch. And some other books from Parisian Phoenix Publishing. As is my custom, I did an unboxing on film.

Buy Parisian Phoenix books from Barnes & Noble here.

The Teenager and I did some chores around the house and loaded up the car with the dog and the books and made deliveries: to the author (where books were signed) and to people anticipating the release. And, because Larry lives near a 7-Eleven, the teenager needed to stop for a Mountain Dew Slurpee.

She happens to have one of her new sweaters on from her latest fix.

And the joy of bringing Larry his books warmed my Grinchy heart.

And watching Larry decide how to sign his books, debating which of his signatures should be his author-specific nomenclature, also had an impact. I’m proud of his book. I’m proud of the product the Parisian Phoenix team made– and I’m told the effort and the quality of the book are more than Larry had ever expected to see from his stories. After all, when he pitched his stories to me, Larry had figured he had a short story anthology to offer the world.

And poor Larry, I told him he had a novella in Big Butch, and still had enough stories for the anthology, and that one of the longer anchor stories in the anthology really should be a full length novel. He’s stuck with me for a while.

Barbara gave us some cut-out cookies. Buttery, not thick not thin, with a lemony or vanilla-y hint of something so scrumptious. Roll-otts as my Pennsylvania Dutch in-laws would say.

Larry and Barbara also gave me a large bag of cat toys, which we gave to foster Khloe for right now. She’s protecting them and sleeping with them like a dragon hoarding treasure.

Maybe I’m naive or egotistical, but I really love the craft model of publishing I’m creating– including my authors in every stage of the process and creating a book we all believe in, from the author to the publisher, the artists to the designer. I never thought publishing could empower, but I’m learning so much that I never realized I wanted to explore. Talents always feel better when you share them.

Spider-Man and Matcha Pie

I have a lot of little things to say that problem don’t belong together but today is the Lehigh Valley Book Festival at Bethlehem Area Public Library and I’m excited, a tad nervous and a bit super-focused and scatter-brained at the same time.

Parisian Phoenix Publishing has participated in events before but we have scaled up with our efforts and this event today.

So this post will cover:

  • Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • Health and Fitness
  • Pie
  • Cats

I think that’s about right.

So the teenager and I finally came to the current end of the Marvel Comics Universe movies with Spider-Man: No Way Home. Watching them sequentially, and for me, many for the first time, actually made a lot more sense than when I saw some of them the first time.

I got a strange déjà vu that I had seen some of these villains before, but at the same time I was confused because the memory was vague and distant.

So let’s just say, trying not to spoil it for others like me that are woefully behind in their pip culture, that this film incorporates some older films that will be familiar to Generation X.

The primary theme of this movie, in my opinion, is time travel. The actual plot is a tad weak and melodramatic but the homage made to the previous generation of Marvel movies, and the humor employed in this movie, make it worth it.

My favorite Spider-Man is Toby Maguire. I got to see him again. And that made my heart happy. (Toby is also the Spider-Man adored and referenced by supermodel Adelaide Pitney in my chick lit/horror fiction novel, Manipulations, the first in the Fashion and Fiends series.

I had a very good visit with my chiropractor Nicole Jensen of Back in Line. She’s impressed with my progress and got things to pop and move (my right ankle that I broke more than five years ago) that haven’t popped and moved in a long time.

My Later, Andrew at Apex Training worked out every muscle he didn’t the day before (okay that’s an exaggeration) and the teenager set a new personal record in deadlifting: 225 lbs.

Finally, I get to the part I’ve been waiting for: PIE! If only I weren’t trying to be so health conscious… Because I have been visiting the amazing pie ladies Anne and Lisa at Pie+Tart for three(?) years now and their pies (and flat white coffees) have nurtured my soul through some difficult times— and a very very toxically difficult boss.

I receive their weekly email and saw their “freezer section” of leftover discounted pies included a steak and Guinness pie and a matcha custard pie. A meal inspired by two of my favorite drinks.

I was so beyond excited to eat these pies I was vibrating at “the pie hole” which is what they call their window/doorway. It has allowed them to stay in business safely during Covid because how would we survive sans pie.

I can improvise plenty of solutions for lack of toilet paper but I can’t make pie like this— not even with my Pennsylvania Dutch family connections.

I couldn’t even wait for the matcha custard to thaw. I sawed at it with a knife, broke it in pieces with my hands and microwaved a slice for 30 seconds. It was delectable.

And the steak and Guinness pie? So rich and full of meaty goodness I didn’t even have a chance to take a photo.

Oh how I love my pie friends.

And finally the updates regarding some of the cats we are fostering through Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab, Mars has taught Khloe to play and Minerva is becoming much more social. As is Louise.