Monday, March 26, 2012

T-Minus 8 Days

For the past month, I haven't thought about my upcoming surgery much as far as the actual surgery and recovery goes. I was too wrapped up in getting my finances in order, making arrangements for school pick-up and drop-off for my daughter, and figuring out work details.

But this morning, I had my pre-op appointment and it suddenly became real again - as well as a tiny bit scary.

My doctor said I'm one step away from endometrial cancer, so I'm very glad we're getting this taken care of now. But on the other end of the spectrum, there is a lot involved. Not being able to get out of bed by myself for a few days. No work. No exercising. No driving. No going up and down stairs. No wearing jeans (though really, that is not a big sacrifice!). No crunches! (Oh, the withdrawal I shall suffer...just kidding.)

And the pain. The last time I had surgery, I hardly had any pain. That was nice. The time before that, however, when they had to remove an ovary was very painful, indeed. I have an inkling this surgery is going to be similar in nature to that pain - and probably worse.

Then there's the pre-surgery stuff. I still have another post-op appointment to go to where they'll check my heart, take x-rays of my chest, take blood, and so on. Then I have to do that nasty bowel prep (gag!) the day before my surgery. Y'know what? After it's all said and done, I'm looking forward to them knocking me out!

Thank goodness my mom is coming to help for a few days. Sometimes, you just need your mom. Since she, too, had a hysterectomy, she'll know what I'm going through.

And thank goodness there is an awesome website online called www.HysterSisters.com that can answer all my questions. There's tips on what to bring to the hospital and how to cope those first few days, as well as lots and lots of other great information. It's been a lifesaver.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Creativity and Failure

While browsing through Pinterest today (yes, I got hooked on yet another social media site, but this one is lots and lots of fun!), I found this sign. I pinned it to my writing inspiration/wisdom board and wanted to share it with you.

Does the fear of failure hold you back from creating? It does me, and sometimes I have to whip out my trusty sword and slay that demon so I can get to work doing what I love.

How I slay that demon isn't always the same. Sometimes I'll just go for a walk and avoid the novel altogether. Other times, I'll eat chocolate. But I think perhaps the most successful strategy for defeating this demon is this: just write. Sit down and clear your head. Tell yourself that you're writing because you love to write, that you don't have to get it right the first time, that you can change and edit and play with the words to your heart's content later, after you've got those words written.

Then get to work. Have fun. Enjoy. Bask in the feeling of being a writer. Of creating.

And let fear slink back into its dark corner and sulk.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's Spring!

Even though we had a relatively mild Nebraska winter, and I'm one of those weird people who loves winter, I'm ready for spring. Here in eastern Nebraska, flowers are blooming, trees have buds and beautiful white flowers, and the grass is already green. I'm loving it.

I'm also ready to get back to my writing projects. Going home over the weekend set me back a bit since I was involved in the alumni basketball tournament we had (I didn't play - I helped since my two brothers are the organizers).

My surgery is coming up April 3 - and I'll have four weeks off to recover. I'm hoping I'll feel well enough to go sit outside and enjoy the lovely weather!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Memories

I had to hook up my scanner the other day to my computer and while I was at it, I thought, why not scan in some old photos? What turned out to be a simple idea created an onslaught of memories. I found photos from my childhood that I had completely forgotten about.

As a child growing up in the 70s, I forgot just how, well, awful 70s fashions and designs were. Case in point:
Look at this kitchen! You can't see the other walls, but they were painted a bright, marigold yellow. My mom finally redid the kitchen in the mid-1990s when I went off to college and toned things down.

Check out the living room:

That's me and my older brother. We were "painting" the walls with our paint brushes. The living room was Americana at its finest, since 1976 was the bicentennial of America. We had red carpet in one room and blue shag carpet in the other. And that wallpaper! Oh my.

Look at me in these curlers. And the plaid! (If you look closely, you can see a tiny bit of the blue shag carpet...)


But the pictures I especially like are these of me and my grandfather, who passed away a few years ago:

I remember frequently falling asleep with grandpa in his chair. On the back of this photo, my grandmother wrote, "Another boring day at Grandma's house!" But it was never boring at their house. Never. I had the best time. They lived just a few miles from us on a neighboring farm. I remember picking fresh strawberries and playing with the dogs and butchering chickens and going for long walks on the county road. It was awesome.

This photo is of me, my big brother, our dog, Buffy, and my grandfather. This was at our farm.
This is how I remember my grandpa - with that blue shirt. He wore those a lot. When I saw this picture, I started crying. I miss him so much. But I find that I'm remembering him more like this, when he was healthy and vibrant and full of life, then how he was at the end, so sickly and frail. I like it better that way.

I'm headed home this weekend and I hope to grab a lot more old photos and scan them in. They've reminded me of what a wonderful childhood I had and how I am so incredibly blessed to have my family. It hasn't always been easy - lots of ups and downs - but I wouldn't trade those memories for anything.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Creative Cooking

I don't like to cook. Traditionally, I've only liked making one dish and that was lasagna. Otherwise, cooking was just a means to an end. My husband likes to cook and therefore our deal was that he made the meals, I did the dishes. I was completely fine with that. I do like to bake; however, my penchant for devouring sweets without regard to portion control is well known.

But then I got on Pinterest and started seeing all these lovely recipes. And then I realized that I was really tired of eating the same frozen dinners for lunch every day of the work week. Really tired.

So I started finding some healthy recipes that weren't too difficult to make. The more I found, the more excited I got, until I began to wonder, is this really the girl who doesn't like to cook?

Turns out, I do like to cook - if it's simple, doesn't require a lot of time, is healthy, and most importantly, tastes good.

Yesterday, hubby and I went grocery shopping and I had a list of ingredients to get for my new cooking ventures. I decided to make three different recipes, and here they are:

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas

Zucchini Turkey Burgers

Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

I was in the kitchen all afternoon. I made every single one, and every single one turned out fantastic. I had so much fun and such a sense of accomplishment that I wondered why I didn't do this all sooner. One reason, perhaps, is that my health has been such that I simply didn't have the energy and motivation. But I'm feeling much better lately and that was definitely a factor in this new endeavor.

While I doubt I will be doing this every single week, I have to admit that it's a lot nicer to bring a homemade meal to work (along with a homemade snack in my granola bar!) than a prepackaged dinner loaded with ingredients and preservatives that I can't even pronounce. That is a winner in my book.

Do you like to cook or bake? Got any great, easy, healthy recipes to share?

Friday, March 09, 2012

All You Need...

There's something wonderful about having another writer to talk to about writing.

It's even better when that other writer is your daughter.

Last night, we were relaxing in the living room. I was trying to describe to her how I had this mental block that I couldn't seem to get through with my latest novel. She kept nodding her head because she understood.

Then she said, "I have a problem with delay. I always delay writing. I want to write but there are other things I do first."

I replied, "You procrastinate."

"I like the word delay better."

I agreed. It did sound better than procrastinating.

Her eyes suddenly lit up. "I know! Let's light all the candles in the living room, turn out the lights, and write."

Even though I wasn't sure this would break down my mental block, I said yes. After all, who doesn't want to spend time writing with their daughter?

We doused the lights, lit all the candles, and we each started working on our respective laptops (her grandpa gave her a used one for Christmas which helps tremendously since we don't have to share mine any more!). I fiddled with my manuscript while she typed away, and I thought about retreating to my "fun" project instead of tackling the current novel. Yet something held me back, and as I kept fiddling, suddenly, it happened.

The words broke through.

I was delighted to be typing again, and was once more invested in my characters and their drama. Glorious.

And all I needed was a little prayer, a few candles, and an awesome writing buddy.


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

In the Mood...Or Not

Question of the day: what do you do when you're not in the mood to write...at all?

Further, what do you do if this mood stretches beyond one day and into a week?

Because I'm really, really tired of not being in the mood to write...

Thoughts? Opinions? Commiseration?

New Digs

I've got a new home on the web - stop by if you get a chance! www.melissamarsh.net