Thursday, 14 March 2013

Don't Mix Coffee with...

While I was sick, I learned that coffee and some medications do NOT mix.

I’m a serious coffee drinker. Not so much as some out there who might drink espresso like inhaling air, and I’m not the type who has coffee on and ready 24/7, but I do drink two to three pots a day. And, I might add, that’s with the hubby’s help and sometimes my mother or my oldest dau showing up from time to time who help drink it, too.

For most writers, coffee is a must-have as we work. I’m no different. However, there are two things that do not mix with a cup of java. A) Daily vitamins. If you don’t want to whitewash your walls and furniture, you must eat a decent-size meal when taking vitamins and drinking coffee. Trust me, I know from experience, lol (luckily I didn’t spew on anything).

And B) do not mix a cup of joe with super antibiotics--the kind of antibiotics that are the size of horse pills and you only need 5 of them to be healed.

Oh, the combination of the two “rejuvenated” me alright. The day I had coffee and one of those antibiotics I could’ve leaped into a faith healer’s tent, zapped everyone with energy from my jitters and screamed, “Hallelujah, you’re healed! Pray to the power of The Bean! Have another cup of coffee!”

I’m not sure why the java and the antibiotic affected me so intensely. Maybe it’s the premise foods/drinks/medications react differently with each person. Maybe it’s based on the fact my internal wiring is screwy, lol. Whatever the reason, I was a virtual rubber ball when I discovered coffee and strong antibiotics are a no-no.

I got up. I sat down. I paced the house. Then I was in the kitchen for a few minutes, followed by returning to the bedroom. Back to the kitchen again.

Jitters. Jitters. Jitters…

Got. To. Find. Some. Food. To. Stop. The. Jitters.

In the fridge, I found a cup of Greek yogurt, a piece of leftover steak, and a small container of leftover corn. As I warmed the steak and corn, I leaned against the counter and trembled from head to toe.

Courtesy of
The house is shaking. No it’s me. No, wait... EARTHQUAKE!

I finally managed to eat and the shakes stopped, but afterwards I would carry my bottle of antibiotics with me until I knew I’d be able to eat a decent meal. That way I could drink my coffee without an 8.9 rattling and shifting throughout my entire body.

::snort:: I’m sitting here now with a cup of coffee next to me. Folgers Black Silk. Strong coffee. Good coffee. Aromatic and oh so wonderful as it warms the innards.

[reaches for mug and its black elixir of daily life]


Also, I'm doing a giveaway over at Books, Books and More Books, so hurry over and check out the pretty rhinestone bracelet and Fire in Winter! LINK

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Now that's Love!

I haven’t been around much for various reasons. One, I was horribly ill for six weeks and it has taken a good month for me to get to the point where I had enough strength to do simple things like stand at the sink and wash dishes or open a TV dinner and throw it in the microwave. I have never, ever been that sick in my entire life, period.

However, there’s more to this story. The last seven months have been hell. I’ve been dealing with changes in my husband that both frightened and baffled me. He swore it was just him being tired and needing a vacation and that he just couldn’t seem to get enough rest. I won’t get into the details, but things ranged from him being unusually argumentative and beyond grouchy to problems such as falling off the kitchen chair or not remembering important discussions. By January, he became ill around the same time I did.

He swore he had the flu or some sort of virus, but he kept working. Then Wee Man came down with Type A flu and gave it to me. I crashed like a ton of bricks and suffered through ten days of the stuff. Once I started recovering, I had about six days of feeling better, went out with my oldest dau one afternoon to have my hair cut, and the next day was struck down by a 104 temperature and the glands in my head and neck swelling up so badly I couldn’t function.

The hubby hovered over me while I had the flu. Again, he took care of me during the second round of sickness. He worried and fretted. He’d place cold cloths on my head as I burned with fever. I teased him he was going to wear a groove in the floor from his favorite kitchen chair to our bed.

Finally, after a week of major antibiotics (2,000 mil of Amoxicillin a day!), I started recovering, but after four days of meds, I woke up with an ear ache and a fever again and went back to the doctor. This time he gave me super antibiotics, and now I’m getting back to normal (whatever that is, lol).

While I was ill, the house turned into a demilitarized zone. It irked me that no one would do laundry, run the vacuum, or clean up the kitchen. Why couldn’t someone step up? Why did I have to look at that mess and be the one who inevitably cleaned it up once I got back on my feet?

Whenever I managed to get up and go get something to drink, I would stare at the kitchen counter covered in food and grease splatters, empty food boxes no one would throw away, empty bags, containers, cans, and dirty forks, spoons, knives, and other utensils…

The hubby had done the dishes while I was so sick, which is shocking because he hates dishes and will do them only when it’s a dire necessity.

“Babe, why is it you can wash the dishes but won’t clean up the counter and stove top?”

“Hey, I managed to wash the dishes. I’ll get to the other stuff eventually.”

He never did. One entire morning I wiped, scrubbed, chiseled, and cleaned the counters and stove.

But as I started feeling better, I noticed he was feeling—and looking—worse. His slurred speech late in the day grew worse, an eyelid drooped, and I noticed him stumbling around and dropping things. Worried silly, I finally convinced him to go to the doctor.

The next day he called me from the doctor’s office and said he was on his way to the hospital. I got to the ER to find out he’d had a minor stroke about six months ago and that it was so deep in the core of his brain it had taken that long for the effects of the stroke to surface i.e. the exhaustion, flu-like symptoms, stumbling, slurred speech, loss of dexterity in one hand, etc.

But my husband is a stubborn cuss, and I call him that on a regular basis. As a result of his pigheadedness, we argue a lot, but I’m stubborn too and will stand toe-to-toe with him when we do argue. In turn, he calls me Iron Ass because I won’t back down and make him walk the straight and narrow, LOL.

But a thought occurred to me…he was suffering through the effects of a stroke and took care of me. Me! How many men would do that? How many men, so sick they could barely stand let alone keep working every day, would tend to their spouse like that?

Now that’s love! That’s the type of man I want in the romance novels we write and read! He’s not a big, muscled Viking. He’s not the rich prince who falls for the peasant woman or the sheikh who rides across the dunes to sweep the maiden up onto his horse.

No, my husband is my hero. My soul mate. My friend. My companion. And he’s my entire world. I thank God for him every day, sometimes several times a day.

Then I felt bad for grouching at him about the counters and stove top, the house and its mess. He was lucky just to do what he was able, and I had snarled about the housework. I told him how I felt, and he just smiled and said, “You would’ve done the same for me, honey. We love each other.”

Hubby, Matthew, with our daughter Ivory.
He’s right.

But now as I write this, I’m happy to report that he went to his first physical therapy session yesterday and after evaluating him, he was told to go home and not come back. The Stubborn Cuss (☺) has been so determined not to let what he was suffering get the best of him that he’s recovered the effects quicker than the therapy personnel had ever seen. By the end of this summer, if not sooner (said his therapist, laughing once she found out what I call my husband) he should be totally recovered and his brain will have re-routed various functions so he will be completely normal again.

It was a wake-up call for my husband. It was also a blessing in disguise because it has given him a new perspective on life and family.

As for blessings, I am very blessed to have this man in my life as my mate. Love you, baby…always.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Money Pit

Every once in a while, I hear parents complaining about the cost of sending their kids to school. Nothing is provided any more. I remember when I was a kid, we were given notebooks, pencils, pens (blue and red!), erasers, all our text books were handed to us, and we got shiny new boxes of pencil crayons, sharpeners, and a case to hold it all. It was like Christmas in September for a kid from a big family used to the leftovers from more than half a dozen older siblings. It was AWESOME!!!!!

And a week later, it was embarrassing  because all the other kids in the class had the expensive 24 box of coloured pencils while I was stuck with the eight the school offered. They had flashy clicky pens with purple and green ink, and I had the clear plain Bic pens. I would rant at my parents for not providing me with the flare and glitter my classmates enjoyed with their ulta-cool high top basketball shoes and miss completely the fact my parents had somehow managed to cover the feet of six or seven kids in gym shoes, outdoor shoes and winter boots.

Let's face it. Kids are all about Me, Me,Me. And I was no exception.

Enter into my adult life and listen to the rantings of the parents these days about how expensive it is to outfit a kid for school and I secretly crow over how easy I have it, since homeschooling doesn't put the same pressure on me or my kids to conform. We can all dip into the communal crayon bucket and no one is worried if they're pretty. Only that they work.

And then I get to thinking about how much I actually spend on my kids' education and...

dance outfits
I think....


Doesn't matter how you navigate the universe of parenthood, kids are, as so succinctly stated by another author friend, the black hole of money. The real money pit. The green goes in, and never comes out. Well. Unless you count the savings in your social life as a parent, because instead of the bars and the movies and the romantic dinners, you get to spend your social time in waiting rooms and leaning against the dojo walls chatting with other parents about your kids. You get to attend recitals and concerts and watch the beauty unfold as all those lessons pay off. Hopefully.... and you reward all their hard work with a post-recital run to Dairy Queen to celebrate, because let's face it, if the coinage left in your pocket stretches as far as a few Peanut Buster parfaits, you're doing pretty damn good!

Or is this just my experience? Does the care and feeding of children always cost this much?

Monday, 4 March 2013


Student # 934******
Name: My maiden one. I barely remember who that girl even is any more. It was right after I'd dumped my first fiance and before I met the man I'm married to now.
Class: Greek Mythology. Yes, you read that right, Greek Mythology. I was on my third major in a year and a half by then. I'd abandoned Art history because, after three years in college making art, sitting in a University classroom reading about centuries old art in textbooks was...let's go with dry. Yes. It was dry.  Actual history was more like the recitation of who won what war, and why the losers were so heinous they deserved to lose, and Greek Mythology was a part of Classical Studies. What this would be good for in life? About as much as that Fine Arts Degree from college, I expect. Which was why I was back in school trying to find myself a career.
Prof: A. Mc-I-have-tenure-and-I'm-eighty-and-I-don't-have-to-come-to-class-sober.
But I still admired this man in a weird sort of way. Because he didn't give a rat's ass what anyone thought. He  didn't follow anyone else's drum beat. He never apologized for telling off-colour jokes in the presence of the ladies, and happily extended debates over the advantages of Roman baths and Greek apprenticeships into the pub after class. He wasn't a melancholy drunk. In fact, he was an exuberant one. The world opened up when he had a tipple, and anything was possible. Kids in university these days need to hope that anything is possible. Hell, kids in university *mumblemumble* years ago, when I was there, needed that kind of light shining into the darkness of the potential job market.
A- *me* is doomed to be a world famous best selling writer. Go in Peace.
Title: An Affirmation
Assignment: Hell, you know what? I have no idea any more what the assignment actually was. None at all. But I still have the paper I handed in because what I do remember was that it was a 5000 word essay, worth 30% of our final mark. What did I do for that last, most important essay of the year? I wrote a short story set in...well, actually, I'm not sure. Some fantasy kingdom somewhere about a guy sitting in his study trying to think up a name for his new baby girl.

Did I learn much about Greek and Roman  mythology from that professor? Probably not any more than I later researched on my own when I read Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. Did he mean to teach me that I was better off thinking outside the box and marching to my own drum? Possibly. Did he predict my future? The "writer" part he got right, though I had no idea at the time I was willing to actually let another soul read the stories I wrote that really mattered to me and I might have been reeling a bit from the realization that I was not cut out to be an artist. I'm still crossing my fingers on the "world famous"  and "best selling" parts. Was he drunk when he marked this? Who cares? I passed the course and I learned a valuable lesson. I think it was about taking risks and following my heart, but it could also have been about knowing when and where to make the most of what I do best.

It's entirely possible this story sucks rocks and the only reason he passed me was because I had the balls to completely snub the assignment and do what I truly wanted to do. I'll never know. I wasn't supposed to get the paper back at all, but he mailed it to me and it arrived during summer break. He retired that year and I never saw him again.

I keep that paper on the wall beside my writing desk, though. It's my affirmation that even before I understood myself, the self I am meant to be was forming and growing, and eventually, I'd have the guts to step up and be that person. Most days :D