Fun and Dr. Appointments

On Wednesday night we were invited to dinner buy some new friends. It was absolutely wonderful to get to just sit down and chat, and the food that they made was delicious. They are Korean and so they had all this good Korean food. It was a really refreshing experience because I haven’t had very much Korean food before. I did have some good stuff back in college when I was doing ESL tutoring for a Korean family in Blacksburg. I absolutely loved that job. And the family was so kind and invited me to dinner sometimes. But since then I haven’t had any Korean food so it felt like a brand new experience.

I was grateful that I felt well enough to go, since I was worried that I wouldn’t feel well enough to go and I would have hated to have to back out. But I felt good and it was so wonderful to have the company. M and D are wonderful, kind, interesting people. I want to get together for another couples evening soon, and I definitely want to just hang out with M. 

I have been reading my abnormal psychology textbook that I got at a used bookstore a while back. I’ve been studying the section on personality disorders. They are absolutely fascinating. Psychology would be such a good field to go into, although I would rather be a researcher than a therapist I think. I have a lot more to read too. I just got several back issues of Artful Blogging that I was never able to buy before because they were out of stock on the publisher’s website. But I found them on Amazon so I’m happy. I’m waiting for a new parallel Bible to arrive, and I have tons of books on my Kindle to read too. If I can get to where I feel well enough again to read regularly I have so much good material to cover.

Craig has been off from work since Monday, but it feels like we haven’t spent that much time together because there have been so many doctors appointments. Of course Angelica has to speech appointments every week. we at least got to go to those together. But I have had appointments too and have been out of the house a lot. I finally got the second MRI done on my foot. This one was with contrast so they had to get an IV in me. That is never easy or fun. I told the nurse up front that it was not going to be easy and sure enough it wasn’t. I hate IVs. That’s a good reason not to have surgery right there! I saw an optometrist too, and my prescription hasn’t changed. I’m so happy that I don’t have to order new lenses for my glasses. I still have to buy new contacts obviously, but that’s not as big of a deal and they optometrist doesn’t do that thing that some of them do where they try to force you to buy contacts from them. The doctor just gave me my prescription and I can go wherever I want. So of course I’m going to have to do some price comparison and shop around.

Angelica adores magazines!

Angelica and I have gotten to spend some time together though, and that has been really nice. Today we cuddled up in the library and went through an Origami Owl catalog. There’s a ton of stuff I want to get from the fall and winter season, but I always forget or just isn’t the right time. But soon I really need to get some charms. Angelica wants her own necklace and to choose her own charms, but at this point I just feel like she is not responsible enough to take good care of jewelry. I have given her some jewelry that I have already and she is getting better about taking care of it, but she still not really to the point yet where I want to spend 70 or 80 bucks getting her a necklace. I’m afraid it will just get lost or tangled ip and broken. I look forward to the day where I can shop for things like jewelry for her.

She really likes magazines too, just like I do. She came across one of my old issues of Life:Beautiful and went crazy for it. One of her grandmothers has gotten her a Highlights subscription and I think she’ll really enjoy that. We’ll see.


After 2 foot surgeries and a bone infection treated with 6 weeks of intravenous antibiotics over a year ago, I still have pain in my foot. I finally took the plunge and went to a doctor here in Colorado. He sent me to get an MRI done after seeing nothing on the X-ray he took at the office, and they found another bone lesion just like last time in Virginia. I have to go back Monday night for an MRI with contrast so that they can take a look and get a better idea of what it is. They have to make sure it’s not malignant. Hopefully they don’t have to remove it and biopsy it for that, although I think that may be wishful thinking on my part because the chances they will just leave it in there either way is probably infinitesimally small. It’s also possible that the bone infection is still there in which case I will probably need antibiotics again. I don’t know how they will handle that though.

The first time I had to have a PICC line was for the initial bone infection. It hurt and was uncomfortable, but it wasn’t a problem to get it in there. On the other hand, when they tried to get one in me last fall a few months after the bone infection, when I was in the hospital for two weeks with diverticulitis and they had to remove 8 inches of intestines, it simply didn’t work. I wasn’t doing well and they wanted to keep me in the hospital, but my veils weren’t accepting anymore IVs and they had to do a PICC line – It was a nightmare. There was a team of five people trying to give me a PICC line because one couldn’t get it in. They tried different places on both arms. They tried over and over again. In the end, there was blood all over me, the bed, the floor, the wall, the railing, everything. And there was still no PICC line in me. I got discharged because if the hospital isn’t administering something to you the insurance won’t pay, and no one could get anything in me. Needless to say, if they need another PICC line in me I want to be under anesthesia. I don’t know how you can get them to do that, but I do not want to be awake for that mess again. So I’m really, really hoping it isn’t still a bone infection. I don’t want to face that again. And at this point the infection would have been in there so long that it may have spread (my pain has spread) and I don’t know how long I’d be on IV antibiotics.

The doctor also says that he likely wants to go into my foot anyway to clear out the bone filler that the first doctor used (the one that screwed up my first foot surgery so bad I had shards of bone filler in my foot, and I got infected from the first surgeon’s very poor post op care. A second surgeon had to operate on me a month later and fix the first surgeon’s mess the best he could.) He said it may be causing further problems and probably wasn’t the best substance to use, that there should have been something that would help bone grow again naturally. He may dig that out of my foot and put something else in. At any rate, they have to see what this lesion really is and fix it – and see why this has been happening to me for years. Essentially, I don’t think I can get out of this without surgery. I am really hoping to avoid surgery, but it just doesn’t sound likely between the lesion, the possible infection, the wrong bone filler, and the pain that has continued on and spread for years now.

Foot surgery hurts badly. After one of my foot surgeries I cried for days. I’d sit on the sofa with my foot propped up, on plenty of pain killer and with an ice pack on my foot and wrapped for compression, and I would just cry. I’ve had my gallbladder removed, two intestinal surgeries, and a C section. None of them hurt as bad as that first foot surgery. I definitely felt the worst after the first intestinal surgery, but for pain the foot surgery topped them all. The second foot surgery wasn’t as bad, but the second doctor was doing more cleanup work than anything else. The surgery with the cutting was horrendous. Maybe I am a wimp, but I dread the thought of doing that again. I really hope I can get out of this, especially now that I’m in a two story house. Not being mobile sucks in a one story. In a two story it would be awful.  Praying there’s a way out of surgery.

I Am Almost Back!

I have missed blogging so much! I’ve had some scheduled posts go up, but I haven’t been doing fresh posts for a few weeks. Part of it is certainly that I’ve been crazy busy. We took a wonderful four day trip to see my Uncle Jerry in New Mexico. I did not feel well, but really enjoyed seeing him. I have missed him since he came to Colorado Springs to visit us last May. My uncle has a lot of beautiful land in the heart of an Indian reservation, and he has built his house himself one step at a time. It is an amazing place. He has benches throughout the property and beautiful rocks to climb. The sunset views are remarkable.

I have also had doctor appointments. I’m back to seeing a podiatrist, and I also got an MRI done last week. Friday I go in to see the results. I see an orthopedic surgeon in the next week or so. I’ve also had several psych appointments over the past few weeks. Bipolar issues have been bad. We have had lots of other family activities, and a lot of days where I haven’t moved much. I did manage to take Angelica to church by myself on Sunday. Craig wasn’t able to go because he was sleeping in after a mid shift. Gratitude is the only way to describe what I felt. I sometimes struggle to get through a service when I’m not alone. Doing it alone – and bringing my little person with me, was daunting. I also got the UMW newsletter created and ran and folded the copies at church. Craig helped with making the copies. I’ve done it myself once before, and it is my job. But my anxiety was high and my mood was low, so I was grateful for the company.

The past few weeks I’ve gotten a bunch of photographs, which I only just loaded onto my computer and then on to my phone the other night for editing.

For the past few days I’ve had a lovely experience. Something bit my ring finger. It swelled so bad on one side immediately that I didn’t have the option to get my rings off in a hurry. Then the swelling spread to the other side of the lower section of my finger, then even to the underside. The swelling then advanced over my knuckle, and into the next part of my finger to the fingertip.  I used benedryl cream and the pills for two days and it got worse instead of better. I tried hot and cold water. Craig tried the string method to get the rings off and I ended up down on my knees screaming. I finally went to urgent care and they said they needed to cut my rings off. I love my wrings. They are the most sentimental things I own. And they are expensive to boot. So I gave a firm no. They agreed to try me on a high dose of steroids instead. So far so good! I finally got my rings off this afternoon. The finger is still swollen, but the rings aren’t there to cut into me anymore, and I can move my finger freely too.

Amazing Family Vacation

We just got home the night before last from an amazing family vacation. I have always wanted to see the Northwest, and my husband made my dreams come true. We went to South Dakota to see Mt Rushmore, and then a historic cemetery. We explored Wyoming and Montana. We saw Devil’s Tower.

After that we headed to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I wanted to see Idaho, but I had no idea I would adore it so much! Coeur d’Alene was a picturesque town by a lake nestled in the mountains. Over the course of our vacation I saw southern and northern Idaho, and northern Idaho is my favorite. Those mountains! That lake!

Then we headed to the coast of Washington. We spent a night on Whidbey Island. I love Whidbey Island. Everything about it has a serene loveliness and an introspective air. We spent the following day on the Olympic Peninsula. Craig drove us up to the very Northwest tip of the continental United States. It was a difficult hike to get to the overlook where I could see the water, but it was so worth doing. I managed to get back to the car tired, but not in too much pain.

The sight was gorgeous. The land ended in a sheer cliff drop into the ocean, with blue blue water rising and falling against the rocks, struggling against them.

We headed back across Washington and through part of Oregon to get to Utah and Salt Lake City. While we were on Antelope Island in the lake, we saw wild bison. The shoreline and salt flats were lovely in an almost scifi kind of way. While we were in Salt Lake City, we visited the Mormon Tabernacle. 

After that we headed home through western Colorado, which I had never seen before. the mountains were so inspiring, with their stripes of autumn yellow in between rows of evergreens.

All in all it was a fantastic trip. I am very tired now, but I am so glad we got to do this. Craig really did it for me. These were places I wanted to go. He had seen some of them, and wasn’t interested in others. He knew I wanted to go though, and he planned this trip for me. I love my husband.

Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota

Our road trip through the Northwest began on Thursday! We are doing Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Utah. We would like to do Nevada and California,  but we don’t think we will have time. We went to the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman this morning. Great dinosaur museum with a planetarium, though we didn’t get to see the show. Pictures of the museum in another post.

Montana is stunning. Wyoming is marvelous. Cheyenne is a cute town with amenities, but from the highway you could easily drive right past it – which is what we did. We had to turn around.

We started off in Wyoming and then went into South Dakota to see Mt Rushmore. ! It is an amazing work of art. On the way back to Wyoming we went to Devil’s Tower. It looks like stump of a giant, alien tree.

We also stopped in Deadwood, South Dakota and went to the cemetary where Wild Bill Hickok was burried.


That’s not his grave, but another really pretty grave in the graveyard.


This morning we ran over to Home Depot. Craig was helping me choose wood for my newest creative adventure – watercolor on wood. When we got home I did a test run. The way the colors spread through the grain is lovely, and the colors stay so vibrant.

After we ate lunch, it was time for school. We did a lesson in reading. It was her first lesson in reading for the curriculum, so there were no actual words in her little reader for the day. It was just sort of an introduction to books, although coming from this house she doesn’t really need that! We fell on a review day for math today, so we will be doing some review, but went on ahead and did the next lesson.

Craig has been working all afternoon and he won’t be home until bedtime. So I am flying solo for the pm hours. And I’ve been trying hard to get things done! After Angelica’s school day was over, I started cleaning the house. I reorganized the homeschool supplies, cleared off the dining room table (which had become a storage space for school supplies and little toys that had been brought downstairs by little hands), reorganized the kitchen to the best of my ability (and I did a lot of organizing…took about two hours), did dishes, took out trash, took out recycling, cleaned out the refrigerator, and began organizing Angelica’s clothes for the trip. In between, I painted with Angelica, took her to the park for over an hour, helped her mail something to her grandparents, made her dinner, and after all that was through I took a hot shower. Now I have some laundry to do, some sweeping, and some mopping. I’d also like to put away my second, though small, round of clean dishes. I am really going to push myself.

Exhaustion is setting in though. I hate this overused analogy, but I only get so many spoons per day. I normally breakup my housework and activity into smaller, shorter chunks. I am just now sitting down after my shower. It is almost seven and I’ve been going at it since before noon. I guess that isn’t a lot, but it feels like it. The shower felt good, but even that took a spoon.

Truly, I love my job. I love being a housewife, and I love being a mom. And I get tremendous satisfaction from a good day of work.  I just run out of energy and stability….quickly a lot of the time. But I’m so glad I’ve done what I’ve done. The kitchen took the longest time. It was in need of a massive organize. We just have a lot of stuff. And I have more to do that I am really going to try to get done before bed.

Tomorrow is my sixth wedding anniversary. We celebrated last week by going to a little french restaurant, and hanging out just the two of us. Tomorrow I’ll be with Craig for our anniversary (and the holiday) in the morning, but he will be working all afternoon and evening. It will be just me and Angelica. I’m not sure what we are going to do – probably have a quiet day.

Okay, well that was my day so far. Now it is time to review Angelica’s speech therapy lesson with her, sweep up, mop, run laundry, and put away dishes!

Reading Peter Rabbit to Angelica

In our family, we love bunnies. We have a 1 year old black bunny named Parsnip. I have loved bunnies my whole life, and I have passed that down to my daughter. One of our mutual favorite stories is the classic Peter Rabbit. These were taken as we were getting ready to read together yesterday.



New Domain, Life

I finally took the plunge and bought a domain name today. I had a horrible time picking between so many options, but I decided to use one that describes who I am on a daily basis. It gives me subject matter versatility (a housewife can be a writer, a reader, an artist, anything), and I love headcovering with my veils. Headcovering is an important part of my walk with God, inspired in me by the Holy Spirit.

I have been running low on memory, so I knew I needed to buy a hosting plan and that plan came with a domain anyways.  I got so sick of those awful, tacky ads that my free hosting was putting on my little blog, so that was another good reason to get a domain name and hosting. I have been mulling over the choice of a domain name for weeks and have been paralyzed by indecision. I think though that this was the right choice. I hope so anyway.

Life has been busy lately. I’ve been doing a ton of digital creating. I have also started learning new things, reading new things, and studying a new devotional. Last weekend I got to see one of my best friends. She lives down the street from my old house we just sold in North Carolina. She came out to Colorado on a family trip, and we got to meet up for dinner and ice cream in Denver. It was so good to see her! I missed her as soon as we drove away. I can’t wait til we meet up again.

Today we went to church. I had some anxiety during all the singing, but overall it was a good service. The sermon was about Communion, and the difference between the Catholic view (transubstantiation) and the Protestant view. Personally, although I am not Catholic, I believe in transubstantiation. It was really interesting though.

Submission Process

I have been moaning about the submission process in poetry for a while now in little bits and pieces. I’ve been doing some reading up on it and really searching my heart, and now I want to elucidate some of my thoughts.

My heart is simply not in submitting anymore, at least not to individual magazines. I found one magazine, through Facebook, that excited me in recent months and I submitted to them and got accepted. But beyond that I have not seen a magazine that excites me in ages, other than what I already read. There are many magazines which I can recognize as good, but most of them are not particularly interesting to me. Technically proficient, but not exciting or inspiring. And it’s hard to go through all the work that is involved with submissions – from selecting the poems to send, to writing a cover letter and a short bio, to searching through hundreds of magazines to find where those poems go, to tracking everything in a spreadsheet – to have a 2% chance of getting into a magazine that doesn’t even remotely excite me. I’m not completely jaded. There are a few Publications that I enjoy reading, whether my work would even be accepted there or would even fit in there or not. I enjoyed reading them for the pleasure of reading them. Lit mags are important and some of them are extremely well done. I certainly don’t hate literary magazines. In fact I successfully ran one and I’m on Hiatus from running another one. I believe in them. But most magazines leave me cold, and there are so many thousands of magazines listed that it stresses me out try to even wade through the pile.

I know if I was smart I would do these things just for the publication credits. But I’m just not somebody who does things to have bragging rights. And since I didn’t end up going into Academia like I had always thought I would, I’m not in some sort of publish or perish environment that some of those people are in. For me publishing my writing is a choice. I can publish or not publish. Self-publish or go through traditional publishers. I can submit to magazines or I can keep my writing to myself or on this blog. I have total freedom, which I like and I wouldn’t trade for anything.

It seems like anymore the only way to get a book of poetry published is to go through book contests, the cost of which really adds up and the reality of these is that the judge will often pick somebody they know or somebody whose writing they recognize from an MFA program that they attended or taught at. I am not in that inner circle. And it seems like more and more you have to be to get anywhere. I’m sure this is not completely true. There are and have always been poets that exist outside of academia. But the odds are not good. Overall a lot of it comes down to who you know and where you go, and I know nobody and I stay at home. And I don’t want to drop 25 and $30 at a time to submit to something I have almost no chance of winning. Pretty much I’ll just be funding whoever wins and getting nothing for it. Most of these contests don’t even give you a copy of a book. I submitted to one along while back and they did give you a copy of a previously published book, and that was nice and I felt like I got something good for my money. But most of the time you pay your fee and you get absolutely nothing in return. And I don’t call having some first-year MFA students who are no better than me scrape through my manuscript as quickly as possible, and without giving even the minimal feedback that they would be capable of providing, as getting something in return. Essentially, for the vast majority of these contests I feel like I would be wasting my money.

I guess I could self-publish, but I’m not really sure how I feel about that. If I did I would want to shell out the money to hire someone to look over my manuscript. I don’t mean to look at the nuts and bolts like typos, although as you can probably tell from this blog I do a lot of my writing with voice text on my phone, and it does make mistakes and miss things too. But I would hire someone to really look through and give me an honest assessment of what poems were working and what poems were not, and for the poems that were not working what could help them to work better. I want to improve my writing and although I think the key is learning to sharpen your writing yourself, periodically having feedback would be wonderful. Just someone to keep me sharp and critical. And if I was going to put a book out in the public sphere with my name on it I would want the book to be completely ready. It may not have fancy cover design or anything else elaborate and artful, but I would want to make absolutely certain that the poems inside were worthy to be printed. Another poet work with me before to go through some poetry for a manuscript and his feedback was invaluable.

At the end of the day though, without all those fancy graphic design skills and without a lot of heavy promotion, a self-published poetry book is just not going to sell. It’s hard enough to sell poetry books that come through traditional publishers. Something self-published, let alone something that is self-published and looks like it’s self-published on the cover, is not going to sell. And there’s so much work involved in promoting writing. I don’t mind blogging, obviously. However, I used to have a Facebook page where I would post little fragments of poems, but I didn’t like doing that and felt like it was a waste of time and way too self-promotional for my personality. I was told time and time again that I should do things like that -create a Facebook page, start a Twitter- but it just wasn’t me at all. I guess you could chalk some of that up to laziness, being unwilling to do whatever it takes to succeed. But me having a Facebook page to promote my poetry was about as futile and inauthentic as it sounds.

The truth is I hate to promote myself, which might be one of the reasons I hate writing those stupid bios in magazine submissions. A few magazines have enough personality, including some of the ones I’ve been featured in before, that you can write a fairly casual and quirky bio. And if you like a ride or it could be interesting to see a bio and get to know them a little bit. But most of them want something very starched and stuffy and filled with publication credits that are listed more to make you sound good than they are to serve any practical purpose. It’s all about name recognition and posturing. I have been published in several magazines, magazines I found years ago when I was still finding publications that I liked. And I am proud to be in each and every single one of them. But I also don’t like attaching a byline to every single thing I write that essentially screams look at me look at me look at me! If the poem I have written is good and deserves to be in a magazine, it should be there whether I’ve been previously published or not. I shouldn’t need to attach resumes to my poems to get into a magazine. Look at my poem for its own merits. Maybe it doesn’t have any merit. But if it does I shouldn’t need to drag up a list of every place I have been published to either convince you to accept it, or to convince the reader to give my poem a try.

I ran a magazine, a good one, in conjunction with a really talented web designer for a few years, until he had to quit and I could not find anyone else to update the site as a labor of love. I was always more than happy to include whatever bio the person had written, including their publication credits if that was something they wanted to put in there. But I never requested or required it, and truthfully I didn’t really care. If I thought it was good I printed it. If I didn’t then I didn’t print it. No pretentious list of publication credits ever convinced me to like something I didn’t like, and a lack of publication credits never turned me against something that I did like. And in my humble opinion that’s the way it should be.

Maybe if I come back to looking at duotrope and give it another chance I will find something I really love where my work would fit. Or at the very least if I don’t find any place that seems like a good fit for my writing I might find something that I enjoy reading. Literary magazines are very important. But right now I’m too stressed out by the very thought of going through those thousands of magazines to find the right ones that I am just avoiding it altogether. I tried logging into duotrope just the other day and truthfully I got anxiety. I just felt overwhelmed. If I can’t deal with sorting through these magazines without stress then I may never submit to a magazine again. I am totally going to keep reading things from my favorite chapbook publishers, and from the few magazines I already know of that I really like. I will always be a devoted reader. I just may not submit to magazines anymore and maybe that’s okay. I can always try submitting more chapbooks, since I like chapbooks better than full-length books. I would be excited to get my second chapbook published. And maybe the excitement of that will keep me going, something that I really care about. I’m just not ready to handle a lot of stress, and I don’t want to submit to a magazine again until I find more of them that I am really excited about and when I can handle the process. And I know that the good ones are out there. Not necessarily the famous ones or the ones that have been around forever or the super popular ones. I mean the magazines that are publishing really interesting stuff that you don’t see anywhere else. Or the ones that just have a voice that I really really enjoy listening to. It’s not that I’ve come to hate literary magazines. Quite the contrary. I have been known to swoon over literary magazines. And I have run one successful magazine myself and have another one in the wings that is on Hiatus right now. I believe in lit mags. I’m just getting overwhelmed at all there is and having a hard time finding my niche. And I just don’t want to submit to any place that doesn’t excite me ever again. I have freedom, and I want to exercise that freedom by focusing my time on things  that I really connect with. I don’t want to feel stressed out at the process of going through magazines. My anxiety issues get so bad. The next time I approach duotrope I am only going to spend about 20 minutes on there, and I’m going to only look for something good to read. I will not look for a place that seems to match the aesthetic of my writing at all. I’m going to look for good magazines to read and if one of them happens to seem like my writing would be a good fit for them then maybe I’ll send it. But I am over the submission process. Never again will I wade through hundreds of magazines trying to find a good place to submit a poem. I admire people who have the heart to do that, but that just isn’t me. I’m going to go at it from the perspective of a reader and if once in awhile I make a serendipitous find of a perfect place to send my writing then wonderful. If not, at least I will have read some good poetry. The stress and anxiety I feel trying to cope with the submission process has caused me to miss out on reading things that I love, and time spent engaging in the mass submission culture is time I could better spend writing.

As I gather up and revise more more of what I have written and put together some more cohesive collections of what I have written, I may put together more books and try to find a publisher that doesn’t do contests and has an open submission period. I don’t think there are many of those but when the time comes I’m going to look. I do not think I will ever do another book competition.

I am also going to consider publishing a digital copy of one of my books for free. At the end of the day I am lucky that I am not trying to make money in any way out of poetry. So I have the freedom to put something up for free just like I do on here. And my ultimate goal is to connect to readers, even if it is only one or two. I’m not convinced that I will ever go the self-publishing route, but I will at least consider it. If even one or two people download my book and like it I will be happy. But who knows. I may never take that leap. If I do I will just keep it quiet and let whoever wants to download it download it and if no one does, oh well. I’m not doing that crazy social media promotion. That’s just not me, and that’s not how I want to spend my time.

I know I have been ranting and sorting out my thoughts for quite a while in this post. I’ve been trying to work out my opinions and feelings. And in summary, it comes down to a few things. Literary magazines are important and some of them are really good, not all but some, but trying to submit to all these places is so stressful that I walked away from it a couple of years ago for good reason. It gave me nothing but anxiety. Furthermore, I don’t want to submit places that don’t interest me, and some of them just don’t interest me. And I want to get back to reading magazines as much or more than I ever submitted to them. I am against book contests and will not waste my money on one ever again. Luckily, unlike some people who are equally as jaded, I have not wasted that much money on them at this point. There are some people that spend $2,000 before they’ve arrived at the conclusion that I have. I will focus on blogging and chapbooks, the reading and writing of them.

Royal Gorge

On Thursday, Craig surprised us with a trip to Royal Gorge Park. The gorge was gorgeous! At the bottom you could see the ribbon of the river running through it. Angelica got to play on the playground and ride the carousel. Craig rose across the gorge in the sky gondola. And I went ziplining across!