Friday, June 12, 2015

Digging in the Archives

Because my 40th birthday is Monday, I spontaneously decided to make a four-day weekend out of it and took today off. (I'd already decided to take Monday off because if you're turning 40 on a Monday, you definitely should NOT have to work!).

So what did I decide to do today? Hit the state archives, of course! I'm so fortunate that I live in the city where our state historical archives are housed. I also have access to our university's vast collection of resources, too, so it's quite a blessing.

I'm working on research for my next novel. It's set in 1946, and one part of it deals with veterans issues - THE political hot button issue of the time. There was a pivotal election held in 1946, and being a World War II veteran was a definite advantage for candidates. I loved going through all the newspapers and newsletters of the various veterans organizations. It was (and still is today) a huge community with lots of different aspects. There were the Marine Moms, the War Dads, the Auxiliary of the America Legion, and on and on.

Interestingly enough, there was infighting between the vets organizations, as well. Did you know that the American Legion, who spearheaded the fight to get the G.I. Bill passed, had opposition from the V.F.W (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and the D.A.V. (Disabled American Veterans) over the bill? I didn't. Another historical tidbit buried within the past and largely forgotten.

I think one of the most interesting items I turned up today was that General Eisenhower came to the Nebraska State Fair in Lincoln on September 1, 1946. The Nebraska Veterans Group sponsored him. Pretty cool.

My only complaint from today? I wish I had a microfilm machine and I could just take those rolls of microfilm home with me so I could spend hours and hours pouring through everything. :)

Yes, I'm a history geek - and proud of it!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

When the Milk Spills, Pour Another Glass

Can I whine for a minute?

Last month, before the big work events hit, I was feeling great. I walked in the park every night, had energy, and felt pretty good. When I say "pretty good" I don't mean I was free from aches and pains. When you have rheumatoid arthritis, that's never really the case. But "pretty good" for me meant being able to exercise, clean, write, spend time with my family, and not take any sick days from work.

Well, that was last month. The last few weeks haven't been good. The headaches are back, my energy levels are low, and I've been hit with another flare of RA.

I get really, really tired of this cycle. It wears on a person to taste of how it feels to have good health for awhile. And I'll think, "Wow, this is awesome. I can do things! I wake up in the morning and don't feel like I've been hit by a bulldozer! I can exercise and take my daughter shopping and hang out with my husband and...and...by golly, I feel good!" 

And then comes the bad health and those good days feel like they are a distant memory. Stuck in bed, watching old movies, sleeping, sleeping some more, calculating how much sick time I have left and if I can take the day off, giving friends and families excuses as to why I can't go to something because I feel awful (and feeling awful for not being able to go), and the depression and "why am I not tough enough?" gets to me.

I still haven't figured out how to accept that this is my new "normal." I keep thinking I need to be able to do the things I used to do before I got sick. Heck, I should be able to lose weight and exercise even when I'm in the middle of a flare and I can barely move, right? Ha! (Yes, my thought pattern goes there).

Alright. There is my whine.

Now for some cheese.

Kidding.

Here's what I do know. That I am strong. I am capable of handling this. I can choose to look at this in a different way, even if I have to remind myself every.single.time that this is not my fault, that this is how my life is, that I need to be kind to myself, that I need to stop crying about the spilled milk already and just myself pour another glass.

And no matter how many times the milk spills, I still need to keep pouring that milk, still need to keep going, one day at a time.

What gets me through? My faith. My family. Chocolate. Friends. My writing. My study of WW2 history. Classic movies. My cats. So, so many good, wonderful things in my life.

And I keep learning, keep growing, keep getting stronger through it all. That's the most important part, I think.

So remember: when the milk spills, pour yourself another glass.