Garden update!

It’s been only 2 weeks (3 for a couple of beds) since I last photographed everything, but the difference in the garden is huge.  I have comparison photos.  🙂

It has been either really hot or raining like a monsoon lately, so the weeds are going nuts.  It’s almost more than this old back can handle just keeping them from winning.  By the time I get the last bed weeded, the first is looking shaggy again.  Sigh… remind me why I love to garden so much.

Oh yeah, sunshine on my back, time alone to think and plot novels, music on the MP3 player…

So here are the photos, most were taken July 6th and today.  A few are from June 24th.

11709495_10155977119440107_6379886890031455393_n                        onion

Onions (bunching and other) planted in beds to ward off bugs.

11403481_10155920443690107_6768212256707944019_n                        apple mint

From one stalk of apple mint to many. And taller.  And bushier.

11665705_10155924079675107_2175186635506812573_n                        grapes 2

Grape vines, thicker, fuller, and covered in future “Grapes of Wrath” hot pepper jelly.

10518705_10155924078485107_7963874046126243008_n               potaoes 2

Russet potatoes doing much better for the weeding and rain.

1513196_10155966862615107_7793594557801167413_n                       first eggplant

The eggplant clearly looked at the photo on the name stake.

10984990_10155920443120107_2720730939496368746_n                      jim's pepper 2

Jim’s hot peppers (my own breeding program) are now starting to fruit.

11666095_10155924079030107_7687520840531272485_n                       squash 2

No vine yet, it better hurry up!

11071388_10155966863670107_8017076022203017980_n     goldies choice 2       first tomato

The Goldie’s Choice yellow romas that I’ve been breeding for the past 10+ years have doubled in size in 2 weeks!  And one of the Xtra Meaty romas (also my own breeding experiment) has its first tomato.

11062088_10155977119230107_1067172466680982384_n                    perennial broccoli 2

The perennial broccoli seems to be working out so far.  it’s grown much bigger, but only next spring will tell if it is a perennial this far north.  Also, no buds yet, so no telling how it will taste.  The seed pack says it’s more of a raab than a broccoli, as it doesn’t head up.  Either way, I’m giddy at the thought of a perennial crop!

I also tried perennial kale, but it all died off in the heat.  Not a good start to that experiment!  I’ll start some more and get them out this week, as well as regular kale, spinach and beets.  Maybe more turnip…. how many is too many?  What about parsnips?  Better plant extra, just in case.

Either way, I’m really enjoying my improved health, even if my back does continue to degenerate, the sun on my back makes it better.  At least until I hit the air conditioning.  lol


Chronic pain and fumbling for a diagnosis

I have migraines (since 1974), back pain (since 1980), crushed vertebrae (since about 2005), and a myriad of other less serious, but still frustrating, symptoms.  My current Dr, bless his little black heart, keeps treating these chronic conditions as injuries.

He’ll give me 30 day prescriptions and be surprised when the condition returns when I stop taking the pills.  He says pain is subjective, and everyone gets back pain.  I have tried to explain the difference between my constant, never ending back pain and the flares of other pain, or unusually high pain. But he doesn’t seem to get it, as he tells me to make another appointment to discuss my pain, he doesn’t have time.    Sure, no problem.  I haven’t slept in 2 years, can’t walk a city block without crying, can’t make supper without 1/2 dozen breaks to rest, fall over at random intervals when my legs suddenly collapse under me, but no problem, I’ll make an appt for another month from now.

But yesterday he did something that may keep me as his patient.  Maybe. He wrote fibromyalgia in my chart.  He didn’t mention it to me, the word never crossed his lips, but I can read upside down and his handwriting’s no worse than my own.

So, as anyone with ambitions of being a writer would do, I spent time today researching fibro.  Especially as connected to back injuries.  This is what I found:

“Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that affects 10 million Americans. The most common symptoms are wide spread muscle pain and stiffness, fatigue due to sleep disturbances, and depression.

Many fibromyalgia sufferers also experience impaired memory and concentration (also known as “fibro fog”), irritable bowel syndrome, skin sensitivities and rashes, Raynaud’s Syndrome, dry eyes and mouth, anxiety attacks, dizziness, vision disturbances, impaired coordination, restless legs, and various other neurological symptoms.”

yup, yup, yup yup, I sound like one of those muppets that sing the mahna mahna song.  I don’t know why I never thought of this, at least 10 women I know have fibro, and their numbers increase every year.  It must be the brain fog.  The same one that lets me go to the bathroom for nail polish remover, and go pee, put on perfume, check my dry dry skin, apply moisturizer and go back to the living room, only to realize I still can’t take off my nail polish.  I watched my friends’ symptoms, commiserated over their  similarity to my own, but never thought of applying that diagnosis to me.  Of the 15 symptoms listed, I have 13.  Huh.

I have been blaming my odd eye problems on my annual spring migraine, but could it be a symptom of fibro?  Last month I went blind in one eye.  Twice.  For about 20 minutes each time, but after seeing an ophthalmologist, there is no explanation.  My eyes are fine.

I’ve had Reynaud’s for years, but it’s getting worse.

If you define depression as: I really want to do that but getting up and getting dressed is too much work.  And sleeping 10 hours a day, then I’ve been depressed for years.

Restless legs, yup, just ask my poor long-suffering hubby about getting kicked all night.

I might have IBS, but I’m on codeine for pain and it has the side effect of constipation.  If the 2 things just cancel each other out, then I’d be fine in that department.  Aside from the occasional problem due to wheat exposure, I’m fine in that department.

And it could all be related to that bungled spinal surgery surgery in 1980.

More from the research:

“An American physiologist by the name of Walter Cannon (1871-1945), established what is now a widely accepted principle of physiology known as “Cannon’s Law of Denervation Supersensitivity.” According to Cannon’s Law, when a nerve is injured or “pinched”, the results are not just muscle spasm and stiffness, but a whole series of reactions that compound the pain. Bands of muscle fibers tighten and squeeze specialized pain sensing nerve fibers within the muscle known as trigger points. Compressed muscles do not allow proper blood flow (which can explain symptoms like dizziness and Reynaud’s Syndrome) or waste products like lactic acid to be removed. The buildup of waste products in the muscle exaggerates the perception of pain. Long-term muscle shortening and compression can cause tendonitis to occur throughout the body. It becomes a vicious cycle of pain, muscle spasms, and nerve entrapment.

But how do muscle spasms and pinched nerves lead to symptoms like sleep disturbances, rashes, irritable bowel, dry eyes, and anxiety attacks?

The spinal nerves located between our vertebrae regulate all body functions: respiration, heart rate, digestion, ovulation, red blood cell production, kidney and liver function, etc. The spinal nerves receive signals from the skin, muscles, internal organs, eyes, ears and tongue, and transfer those signals to the brain. When one or more of the spinal nerves is damaged or dysfunctional, it can have a significant affect on one or more body functions and can result in a variety of seemingly unrelated physical symptoms.”

Again… huh.

So, most of the research into managing the pain and other symptoms talk about a holistic approach, herbs to take, meditation, diet, gentle exercise….

Why do I hear my healer friends laughing at me?

Welcome to 2014!

So, 2013 was a crapper of a year.  I’d had high hopes, a new Dr seemed to take the edge of my multiple health issues, and Jim was working with promises of extending his contract.

  Neither worked out the way it should.

  My crushed vertebra and ruptured discs achieved all the damage they could, so another bone started degenerating.  And I started falling.  Randomly.  Repeatedly.  Down a mountain.  Down stairs.  Not fun.

  I pulled all the muscles between two ribs, bruised both elbows, both hips, cracked a bone in my toe…

  My Lyrica helped with the nerve damage, but I gained weight.  I went wheat free, lost 4lbs, and developed an allergy to wheat.  My painkillers stopped working, so we tried something else.  It made me dizzy.

  By the end of the year I was on 3 daily medications, plus my weekly bone pills and migraine pills.  And have spent the last 2 weeks dizzy again.  I see the Dr on the 6th.  Thank Gods.


  Needless to say my creativity took a nosedive last year.  Not a single new painting, story or film.  No rewrites, no edits.  I feel terrible for doing nothing, but the well was dry.  Or the dizzyness made me barf when I concentrated.

  For the first time since I was  a teenager, I was depressed.  Real depression.  Not wanting to move, everything hurts, can’t think depressed.


  And now I’m on another pill.  A wonder drug that should ease my depression, lower my blood pressure and prevent migraines.  Now if it could do dishes, I’d be thrilled.


  So here comes 2014.  I have high hopes for getting back on track this year.

  I have 30 days of writing exercises in case I get stuck, I have my list of prioritized ideas and scripts to rewrite and stuff like that.  I have photos of haunted mansions, new books by fave authors and other inspiring things in my office.

  And I have a plan.  Be afraid….


  The first week or 2 will be spent getting my house in order.  Literally and figuratively.  I plan to move my laptop up to my office where I can plug it into a big monitor, and work.  I plan to (as soon as I can get through the snow to the trailer) get a few dozen hangers and hang up all the wardrobe, getting it out of garbage bags and off the floor.

  I’m going to organize my desk so I can find my pens.

  I’m going to make a few make-ahead meals, flour mixes, etc, and clean up the kitchen.


  Then I am going to write.  And maybe paint.

  It really is beautiful out here in the winter, and I love the play of golden light on snow.  So, I should paint.  Or photograph.  And write.  Write, write, write!



The new year and writing

The Ottawa Gourmand

So, looking back over 2013 I see a lot of good things, but they are almost outweighed (in my mind) by my demons; Distraction and Procrastination. 

Let’s start with the demons.

They are powerful, my demons.  I set up to write, and nothing gets done.  They sit on my keyboard, or legs dangling over the edge of my monitor.  They mutter and whimper and tempt me to do other things… any other things, than write.

And yet, I have other voices, clamouring to be written down.  Stories, ideas, visuals, scenes, plots, characters…..

So why in bloody blue hell don’t I write?!  My demons know every single weak point.  And they are loud!

So, I have been trying to set myself up for better in 2014.  I took a 30 day writing challenge to improve my understanding of why I’m procrastinating.  I spent much of it telling my inner critic to…

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