Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wow. Science is Cool!

It's amazing what we are still learning about the body and brain!!

"WASHINGTON (AP) — The largest genetic study of mental illnesses to date finds five major disorders may not look much alike but they share some gene-based risks. The surprising discovery comes in the quest to unravel what causes psychiatric disorders and how to better diagnose and treat them.

The disorders — autism, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia — are considered distinct problems. But findings published online Wednesday suggest they're related in some way.

"These disorders that we thought of as quite different may not have such sharp boundaries," said Dr. Jordan Smoller of Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the lead researchers for the international study appearing in The Lancet.

That has implications for learning how to diagnose mental illnesses with the same precision that physical illnesses are diagnosed, said Dr. Bruce Cuthbert of the National Institute on Mental Health, which funded the research."

Read the rest of article here

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Affirmative Activity

I earn $70 - $100 per hour on interesting projects,
and I easily make all the money I want
 in 15 hours of work per week.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Focus on Fun

Keep the good, and discard the bad.

In other words, focus on the good stuff - the juicy, yummy, fun, interesting parts of your day. The stuff that you love, that gets you going, that matters to you for some reason. The playtime stuff.

And discard the bad.

The stuff that wears you down, the slog stuff, the blah info, the boring bills, the stuff that makes your fingers drag on the keys.

If you have to deal with the blah, do it quickly. Get it done, and get on to the better stuff. Keep your focus there, and watch the energy grow and expand.

Right now, our refinance is blah for me. I don't want to do it, and I don't care. But I know it's important to our future finances. So I'll get through the emails and paperwork required of me as quickly as I can.

And give myself room to get into my grants. The juicy descriptions. Making the budgets work. Depicting the board and volunteers. Getting money for the little kitties and puppies that I'm working for today. And have fun doing it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Re (sign) ation

I wrote something I didn't like.

It tried to say what I felt, but it was still rough and clumsy. And it seemed unfair.

I'll say something else instead.

I'll say that the sky is blue right now, a clear simple blue so pure and unbroken that it is almost colorless, simply a huge space above all our heads. I'll say that the wind stirs the trees and drops a shadow back and forth across the dusty window screen. I'll say that it is Friday. A good night to tuck a blanket over your feet and watch a movie from the couch. Get a big bowl of popcorn and add some butter and salt, and eat it by the handful instead of a balanced dinner.

And I'll promise to write something else tomorrow. To awaken and use my craft. To put my skill towards creation, because if you have skill, then creation is a duty of sorts. I'm not sure I've lived up to my part of the bargain in that department. I've let my stories idle on a back burner while I focused on survival. But stories are a part of survival too. Stories are necessary, and they are a good gift for others going through life along with us. Giving and sharing - that's what it's all about. Not money, not things, not even time -- instead, what matters is how kind we are to each other, how well we treat each other, and how much we give and receive, share and accept. How we as(sign) and re(sign) ourselves to each other and to the path of our lives.



That really wasn't that fun.

That was a series of messages and emails to different mortgage loan processors, trying to get them to send me their price/rate quotes in written (thus binding) form, and trying to get the lowest cost possible for getting our house appraised.

Like doing one refi isn't exciting enough, I have this awkward situation where I have begun the process with two different lenders. I started with one, but then the other called with a much cheaper offer. But when I pursued them, now that offer isn't translating into written form. So I haven't wanted to call it quits with the first lender, who thinks we are moving along. And who owes us money from screwing up our refi attempt in autumn (which was totally their fault and they dropped the ball. I let them, but they dropped it. Sometimes I just don't have energy to run around after people insisting that they follow through on things - I do enough of that as a mother!!) But I don't want to rely solely on them, because they did mess up once already and I need to just get this refi done and move on.

So really, it's going to be whoever can get it in writing first, cheap enough, and good to go. On my side, I filed all the bills and have pulled all the needed paperwork. I guess I'll just mail and fax it into both lenders so they can't say I'm holding them up. I'm not bound to anything until I sign something.

And so far they're not sending me the right things to sign.

When I am done with this, I sorta never want to buy anything on credit or that requires paperwork ever again for my whole life. I just want to own this house, pay for it, and live here until I'm old. Just for the simplicity of it. I get tired of trying to figure things out. I just want to be settled.


I love the topography of bed
That way the blankets and sheets
Buckle into hills and dales
Small valleys smoothing out into
Weight of warmth and calm

Slipping back under the spread
My body finds pools of its own
Heat left behind, collected,
Saved like rain water
Or sunshine from spring
To ease the moments of the
Sleeping mind.

Work Space

My writing desk is gorgeous.

It's a vast expanse of wood, painted a sea green, and topped with thick glass. I bought it from my favorite yoga studio, bringing a bit of my experiences there into my life now.

Being here is like being on a green island, trees and leaves hanging outside every window, floating in an ocean of words and possibilites.

In winter, like now, it's almost too cold to work here. The air coming off the sliding glass door is chilled, and the glass top holds the cold, and seeps into my arms and hands as I type.

But it's still a beautiful corner dedicated to my future life.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It's the room the sun and the sky

Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye

Sooooo beautiful!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Punctuation is Poetic

I had to check some punctuation usage in this grant I'm writing --since I was actually correcting my boss's sentence, I wanted to be sure I was right-- and I stumbled across this lovely description:

“Sometimes you get a glimpse of a semicolon coming, a few lines farther on, and it is like climbing a steep path through woods and seeing a wooden bench just at a bend in the road ahead, a place where you can expect to sit for a moment, catching your breath.”

— Lewis Thomas, “Notes on Punctuation,”
The Medusa and the Snail 1979 —

Alone and Working

Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God!!!

I am alone. Alone and able to WORK for the first time in a week.

All alone. In my quiet house. With no guests. No kids. Nobody else I have to take care of.

Just me.

Now I just need to wrestle with my own little demons of procrastination and uncertainty of what to write. They seem like welcome friends!

I have two proposals due to a client by the end of the day today.

But at least I have some time. ALONE!!! :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Moment of Rain

Rain pours down from the sky as if a shower had been turned on. It looks like rain in an old-time movie, where a steady sheet of water slices in front of the camera. It is unbearably beautiful.

My daughter and I are tucked up in our living room, working on our respective writing projects. She's crafting a paragraph describing an animal, and I have two bonus projects that are due by tomorrow. We each have a cup of hot tea and a plate of cookies. The fire is crackling quietly and adding cheer and warmth. She stayed home to see her cousins off this morning, and I've enjoyed her company.

My brother, his wife, my niece and nephew were here from Thursday to today. When you add in my parents, our house gets full to bursting, especially in the kitchen/family room area. I loved seeing them and it was a lot of work. There's lots of tidying and meals and snacks when they come. The kids created a lot of activity and a noise level I'm not used to anymore.

I have to say that while I will miss them a lot, I'm quite glad to be back to some work-supporting peace and quiet! Hope wherever it may be raining today, that peace and love will be in the moment as well.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Today...

But, first, there is quite a lot of work to get done. So it's mostly just Thursday right now.

I'm up to my elbows in refinancing our home, and, frankly, it's just making my head hurt. There's so many details to take care of, and the fine print to check and double check. So far, the documents have errors on them, and the lender hasn't corrected those yet. So I can't sign the initial forms and move us along. In the meantime, I have to find about 12 different documents here that they'll need. I am not looking forward to that. My system of organization for months at a time is to dump all the important paid bills and receipts into a basket. So I mostly know where everything is, but if I have to go through it all anyway then I might as well sort it all out and file it properly. And clean out the old stuff from the files.

And that only makes me realize that I might as well do the taxes in the next few weeks. As long as I'm moving paperwork around anyway.

See how it goes? You start off with the best intentions on ONE project. Just one thing you need to take care of. Next thing you know, hours and hours of your time has been committed to financial matters. Yuck.

Can't I just go back to ignoring it all?

I'm pretty much set for Valentine's celebrating. We've tended towards the low key in the last few years. My husband does horribly when he perceives any pressure or judgment so lowered expectations are better than big fights. I'll do a light clean of the house this afternoon, and I have some decorations to put up that we've accumulated over the years. I have little gifts for S and the girls, and we'll cook a nice dinner at home instead of battling any crowds. Often we go out of town to celebrate this weekend, but this year my brother's family has decided that they will visit and stay with us. So they'll arrive late tonight and be here til Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to seeing my niece and nephew again. They are 3 and 1 years old - very fun ages. Especially in small doses!

But I am a bit worried that I won't have as much work time available. I woke up at 4 am and started going over and over everything I have to do in the next few days. That's not like me. Normally I sleep very well. Then I realized that I never calmed my brain down last night with the sedation of television. We couldn't get the Wii to work, so there was no soothing balm of narrative flow for my thoughts. Geez. I think I am actually addicted. I don't watch a lot of tv, but I do like to watch to let the day go.

I don't care what we watch as long as it's not disturbing and there's a story. So lately we've been working our way through all the seasons of Monk. The girls LOVE it. I'm not keen on the actual murders, but I love the rest of the story. I think they both feel validated by his careful attention to detail, and his differentness. Also, I think my cleaning fanatic, B, actually watches to get tips on how to clean better! She's got that little streak of OCD that makes her tidy compulsively. It's really not such a bad trait to have in a child, as she is a big help around the house!

Things have been going better with her older sister too. I finally got wise and instituted a tangible system of rewards for her. All brains, but ADHD brains in particular, respond well to immediate gratification after achievement. So a couple of days ago, I went to the craft store and bought a big bag of plastic gems. Now instead of yelling at her constantly to do this or that, I reward her with a gem when she does something. She gets a red one for being ready to leave for school on time, and green ones for her afternoon chores. The green ones turn into allowance on Saturdays. The red ones she can cash in to do fun things with her friends on weekends. It's very concrete. If she has five red gems, AND the activity is okay with us, then she can go. If she doesn't, then she can't. She's starting to get invited to stuff every weekend, so I think it's going to be a good motivator. All I know is that she's been on time the last few days.

Plus the gems are actually very pretty. Even I find them motivating! Gosh. I wish somebody did follow me around and give me a little token every time I did something well. Wouldn't that much attention and appreciation be great!!

Instead, we have to be all adult, and just dredge up our own internal motivation. Or create our own little rewards. Like favorite tv shows. Or ice cream cones. Hot lattes. Walks in the park. Or this blog. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Poet David Wagoner

I wanted to find a new poet. Just for fun.

I typed some random words into google, and it led me on and on. I settled on DW's work. I'd never heard of him before - at least not that I recognize - but he studied under Theodore Rothke who I like a lot.


I wanted to paste some of his poems here. But it looks like the best I can provide is some  links.

This one to The Words...

And this one to Words Above a Narrow Entrance

"Where light knocks down the trees,
And whatever spells you took
Before, you will take anew..."

Be sure to turn the page and read the last stanza. It's sort of funny to have to manipulate a magazine online to read poetry. Isn't it?

Morning Light

For the first time in weeks, everyone is off to school with no drama whatsoever.

I don't know how to handle feeling relaxed!

There's a pop up yoga class next, that I'm going to attend and start my day with motion. I've already had a bit of laughter. And I got two unexpected extra projects yesterday, from a former client, so I've got oodles of work to accomplish before Friday.

So it's all good. It's all good. Bit by bit, day by day. Hopefully, with some smiles and peace.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Time is of the Essence

I've been feeling that intensely lately. Time. It's all around me! :)

It feels like there is something I have to do. And maybe something else. And maybe even other things too. And I have to hurry up about it!

But, at the same time, Time keeps passing. It continues to slip away, hour after hour. And I am immensely frustrated that I don't know what it is that I HAVE to get done. So I don't know how to do it, or when, or how long it will take.

And I'm afraid that I'm running out.

Of Time.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Work - School Balance

I've been thinking a lot lately about work and writing. About how time and money are related. About family  and work and free time. It's easy for me to get very involved with school, because that's such a consistent part of my day. But it's been draining these last few weeks  so I'm realizing the need to balance.

What's actually going pretty well is my work - even though it doesn't feel like it. Because I've been more in the planning stages, I haven't been writing much of anything. So that feels a bit disconnected. But I tend to forget just how much experience I do have in my line of work and how much possibility is here.

For a while, I was working but the job itself wasn't very great. But I loved it because I had structure and co-workers. Then I wasn't working at all. Then I started pretending that I was working. I acted like I was going to work and I basically made up a job. But now that made up job has turned into a real actual career. Even though the place I was affliated with and trained at is gone, I still have an actual career on my hands.

And this year actually looks pretty promising. And even kind of exciting.

So if I can just get my mind off of math homework and field trips, I might even be able to realize that I'm doing good work that I like and have the skill to do.

That's not too shabby at all.

(And then money, profit, and energy -- that's a whole different post.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What a Great Job!

Tuesday morning, and finally a bit of work routine. Yesterday, I started hunting for a new full time job. Just to see what's available that I might enjoy doing. Very quickly, I came back to the fact of what a blessing my current career is.

Because it's so flexible, and just "from home", it's easy to feel that my work doesn't count. It tends to get swallowed up by my other life duties. But a survey of positions I could apply for reminded me immediately just how perfect this job is to my current lifestyle. I get to be so self-determined, and so varied in my day to day tasks. And I only have room to improve and become even more knowledgable in my field.

So I think that's one focus for 2013.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Maybe a Baby

One of the bridesmaids just called me. My friend the bride is fine.

She had unexpectedly developed a cyst on her ovary that was causing her some pain. The doctor found it just a week before the wedding. It turned out to look really, really bad and quite dangerous. They even thought it was probably ovarian cancer.

My poor friend came right back from her honeymoon to testing and surgery. If it looked like cancer they planned to perform a full hysterectomy and more. She had to come to terms with the fact that not only might she and her husband have to give up their hopes for a family, but that her life might be in danger.

The surgery just concluded. It was only a benign cyst so they just removed it. She will recover well and can probably have children.

Thank God.

Yesterday, the girls and I went to Nordstrom and picked out a gift for the baby when it is born. I put it on the mantle and concentrated all my good energy around it. Now I can give it to her when I see her again!