27 February 2013

Work in Progress

Hello friends! Today was supposed to be the debut of my "Working Woman Wednesday" post here in the Diaries but I'm still tweaking my idea. I decided I would post the first Wednesday of every month unless there is a great influx of feature-ettes-which would be awesome by the way, so feel free to spread the word amongst your friends and readers.

This week is trying to kill me. On Monday I had the palpable feeling of fighting a wave of depression and anxiety as it threatened to overtake me. At one point I wondered if a straw would fit down the open bottle of red wine in the dining room.


This continues to be the most fascinating aspect of my addiction. I have nearly 25 years clean and that mofo is still inside me, swinging for the fences whenever I feel severely overwhelmed. I've learned to let the destructive thought settle and then I run the whole scenario start to finish:

Me: I wonder if a long straw would reach the wine in that bottle. But it's red wine and I don't really like red wine so what would be the point anyway?

Junkie Me: You know the point--this day totally sucks, you hate the public schools, there's way too much to be done around here, and it's all killing you. Wouldn't it be easier to just take a break, have some wine, pack the kids up and move to the middle of nowhere?

 Perhaps. But after I have the drink I'll have to tell the Captain.

Well, you don't HAVE to tell him. It would really hurt him to know. You've lied before...

Exactly! Wow, I can't believe we're still having this conversation after all these years. I'd have to tell the Captain and then I'd have to leave the kids and go to rehab. They'd be really upset and the Captain and I might not survive it. I'd have to start counting one day at a time all over again, AFTER 25 YEARS CLEAN.  Yeah, it's not worth it.

Now the Captain will read this and remove the bottle of red wine.

But that's not really the issue. There will always be wine available if I want it (and just for the record that's totally not what I would drink if I chose to fall off the proverbial wagon after all these years--I'd order champagne). What is important-always-is that I didn't drink, lie, or run away.

This week is still fighting me but I'm staying put and fighting back. I may be engaging in this sporadic struggle forever, because, well, I'm not perfect, dammit. Just like "Working Woman Wednesday," I'm a work in progress. I hope you'll stick around while I tweak us both.

21 February 2013

Costco Killed My Sexy

About three weeks ago I noticed a sore spot in my chest just below my breastbone. I thought maybe it was a cyst, probably hormonal in nature or, God forbid, exacerbated by caffeine. I vowed to keep an eye on it because I certainly wasn't going to stop drinking coffee. The discomfort steadily increased, so I determined it was either the world's most slowly developing heart attack or a tumor. I always like to assume the worst so I can be pleasantly surprised when it ends up being something mundane. It's how I roll.

By the end of the week the pain was worse and making me short of breath. This made me tired, and--to The Captain's horror--decidedly unfrisky. As you know, or perhaps assumed, romance writers are required to maintain a certain level of sexiness in their lives at all times. Otherwise, our stories lack verisimilitude. Because I choose, as a courtesy to the other moms in the neighborhood, to keep my sexy under wraps during the day, concealing it under my uniform of velour pants and black t-shirts, I have to make up my recommended daily allowance at the end of the day.

That's where The Captain comes in.

He's always willing to sacrifice some of his personal time for the good of the romance-writing team because he's anxious to cash in on the big bucks I'm going to make writing the smut. He's pretty heavily invested at this point, so he was understandably concerned when I kept passing out on the couch at ten o'clock. He insisted I go see a doctor, you know, for my own good and the sake of the children.

I was already scheduled to see my very nice nurse practitioner to follow-up on the persistent sinus infection that's been plaguing me since December. Jesus, things really start to fall apart when you hit 40 (+8). I hopped up on the stubby exam table and told her about my pain. She listened to my heart, although by then I'd ruled out the creeping cardiac event, and then she felt me up. This was a bonus for me because I haven't seen my OB/GYN in two years. Then she made her diagnosis.

"Costco coinditis."

I immediately thought about how The Captain was going to pounce on the fact that excessive warehouse shopping had broken our bank account and my chest. I mean, those carts are pretty big and when you fill them every week with seven gallons of milk, cereal, waffles (always, for Five) two dozen eggs, meat, cheese, apples, grapes, vegetables, the now-essential Madeleines, toilet paper, and the occasional peripheral item (car phone speaker because the Buetooth hurts my ear and I've really got to stop breaking the law) they get heavy.

I asked her to repeat the diagnosis.

"Costochondritis, otherwise known as chest wall inflammation."


Costochondritis is sneaky. No one really knows how it starts, but some contributing factors might be:

1. Heavy lifting (say, moving your mother in her sick bed, or rearranging entire floors of furniture after everyone moves out of your house)

2. Excessive coughing (perhaps from a persistent post-nasal drip that turns into a nagging sinus infection)

3. Exercise (if you suddenly decide, after twenty years of neglect, that you're going to move every day for the sake of your boy)

Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

The nice N.P. gave me an anti-inflammatory that promptly made me sick, so I substituted ibuprofen and a vacation in Arizona. I still have pain (I blame the boys), but I feel the sexy coming back, which we all know is the most important thing.

The Captain says I owe it to my readers to be my best, and he's never wrong.

18 February 2013

We Are Not Alone

"The Lone Woman Diaries" exist because I'm the sole woman in my immediate family, but the truth is I'm really not the lone woman in my house. My mother-in-law lives with me, and for a while so did my mother and my sister. I have sisters and cousins and friends who are female, and when I posted my first entry in the Diaries and got a response, in essence I ceased to be "lone."

The Internet has allowed me to make connections and form friendships with people I would otherwise never have met. It eliminates distance and distractions, and distills that which we have in common into a kernel of truth: we are not alone.

My experiences are personal and filtered through my own lens, but when I write about them I hope you recognize something universal in what I'm feeling. Because I believe that to be true, I've decided to start a new feature here at the Diaries. Beginning this month I'm launching "Working Wednesday." It's going to focus on what many of us have been experiencing these last few years as we struggle through economic hard times.

I know that several of my readers are self-employed or creating their own businesses, and I want to give you an opportunity to learn about what they do. Sometimes we're very specific about what blogs we read and we aren't aware of the fantastic people and resources that lie beyond that scope. I encourage you to get to know the commenters around you, and investigate and support what they do. And if you or a friend (spread the word) would like to be featured in a "Working Wednesday" post, please email me and include a description of what you do!

Let's prove we're not alone.

08 February 2013

I Blog; Therefore, I'm Versatile

My friend and fellow writer, Delia Moran, nominated me for an award!

It took all of my technological know-how just to peel that badge off their website, so don't expect to click on it and get transported over to the actual blog. However, if you click here (really, right here, on the green word "here") you'll be flung through cyberspace to the VBA page.

Now that you know what the green words do, go up and click on Delia's name to check out her blog as well because she has dragonflies in her border and Magnum in her bed. Plus-bonus!-she's smart and funny, and well, versatile.

To fulfill my duties as a Versatile Blogger I am required to share seven things about me. If you are a regular reader of the Diaries you already know a lot about me, perhaps more than you ever wanted, but you can't unring that bell, or unread those posts, as it were. So, some of this will be redundant for you regulars but I hope to amaze and ensnare you new folks! Here goes, in order of importance:

1. I'm a recovering addict. No, I'm not obsessed with re-upholstery. Rather, when I was a young person I did a lot of drugs until one day, almost 25 years ago, my family made me choose between them and my stash. I picked them, and all the good things in my life are a result of that decision.

2. I have five children but, secretly, I wouldn't have minded more. Seven, perhaps. If I was younger when I started. Or threw in a set of twins. Or wasn't afraid the stress would kill the Captain. He's a hard worker, but them's a lot of mouths to feed and send to college.

3. I am the only one of my siblings with blue eyes and blonde hair. Originally. The eyes are still blue but the hair needs regular maintenance to keep it the perfect flaxen shade of "Not Grey."

4. Four out of the five boys have blue eyes and a variation of the blonde hair. The Captain has brown hair and eyes. Is this fact about me? Why, yes, because it shows the power and tenacity of my genes. Recessive, my ass.

5. I've always wanted to be a singer. A howler, really, along the lines of Pink or Hayley Williams from Paramore. But my natural vocal stylings lend themselves more to 1940's crooning or, on a good day, Patsy Cline.

6. I took Latin in high school because I wanted to be a lawyer. Although I lost interest in that idea by the time I finished college (there was a slight delay in graduating due to issues explained in answer #1) I feel I've kept my verbal sparring skills in top-notch form through regular jousting with petulant pre-teens.

7. I didn't start reading romance novels until I was in my 40's, mostly because I didn't have time for recreational page-turning due to issues explained in answer #2. By the time I finished WELCOME TO TEMPTATION by Jennifer Crusie I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. You know, besides raise boys, because I don't think there's a mandatory retirement age for that job.

So that's a little about me. How about you? Care to share?

In accordance with the VBA rules, it's my honor to present my nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award:

Julie Hanavan Olsen: Daily inspiration, subversive cross-stitch, and adventures with her family.
Kari Lynn Dell: Cowboy romance and true-life tales of rodeo and ranching in Montana.
Sarah Gallagher: Adventures with Sweet Girl, Little Man, and autism. She gets a double VBA, because she also reviews books with some outstanding women, including her sister:
Carrie Trimble: Vicarious reading (because I still don't have time) through book reviews, and baseball love. Plus, it's called The Family Addiction, so I felt a kinship.
Lora Mathews: Reader; writer; teacher; mother to the world's most photogenic baby.
Anne Stuart, Jennifer Crusie, and Lani Diane Rich: Three talented authors share how they're reinventing their fabulousness. Go for the authors, stay for the commenters.

This is a short list of the people I visit in blog world. Click on all the green words and have a look around. Then tell us who you follow. I'm always interested in meeting new people! (Fact #8)


01 February 2013

Happy Things

Here are a few things that have made me happy of late:
I don't mind a dusting of snow when it makes things look pretty.
Plus, the dark-eyed juncos come back in the winter.
It's not spring yet, but look! Things are blooming in my house! 

A peace plant from a friend.

A very showy amaryllis from my cousin.

I inherited this violet from my mother. She had plants that were over thirty years old, but I think this one is just pushing fifteen.
It had a baby last year which I rooted and now it's blooming as well!
I have an office!
When Mom moved in we converted a big closet downstairs into a room for Three. We just moved him back upstairs so I claimed the closet. I basically took a bunch of girly things and put them all in one room. 
Plus a bed for Erin when she comes to stay.
I only need a table to type.
And a door. Which I have marked appropriately.

We'll see if it manages to keep tough guys like these Brooklyn Nets fans out of my space.

My aunt sent me this picture.
I think I'm about 20.
I hung it on the fridge and the boys' comments have been priceless. They don't understand why their father, who looked like this at the time,
ever dated me. We're not sure either, but it's made me happiest of all. 
What's making you smile?