25 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

Yes, even though I am a Buddhist, I still celebrate Christmas. It's a cultural holiday for me, and a time to embrace kindness and goodwill, the tenets that form the heart of Buddhism.

So to all my friends - including all the ones I have not yet met - I wish you a very heartfelt Merry Christmas!

14 November 2010

Aging Sucks.

For the last couple of months I've been waking up with stiff and swollen-feeling hands and wrists. Sometimes, the sensations diminish as the day progresses; sometimes they don't. When I mentioned it to my husband (the medical provider and, IMHO, most brilliant diagnostician I've ever met), he asked me several questions, examined my hands, then told me I had RA - rheumatoid arthritis.


In case you were wondering, RA is a debilitating auto-immune disease which targets the joints, usually starting with the small joints (hands, wrists, feet, ankles) first. It's two to three times more common in women than in men, and usually starts between the ages of 40 and 60. (I'm almost 44.) There's also a genetic component; in my case, both of my parents have it.

And there is no cure.


The best I can do is begin to take medication to stave off the pain and swelling, which will slow down the debilitating and disfiguring effects of this disease.

I'm a bit at a loss with this; yeah, I know I'm getting older (gray hair doesn't lie), but I hadn't expected anything like *this.*

This sucks. It really, really does.

31 October 2010


My apologies for being AWOL from blogging in recent months; my day job kicked into high gear with a new project, and I haven't been writing at all. No writing = no blogging. Gah.

I'm not happy with the fact that I'm not writing, though, so in a effort to kick myself back into the writing habit I've signed up for NaNoWriMo, which translates to National Novel Writing Month. I (and lots of other, similarly insane folks) will be trying to write 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30, which roughly translates to writing about 1,667 words a day. This is an exercise in production ONLY - no editing! - just to see how much you can do when you just write.

If anyone feels like joining me in this lovely writing craziness, check out the NaNo website.

Well, there you have it. I hope to be blogging about my progress throughout the month, but don't hold your breath in between my posts - they may be few and far between. Whatever happens, I will certainly be updating y'all by November 30, when (hopefully) I'm writing "the end" on this latest project.


17 August 2010


I've been writing away for the past several months, just noodling at a couple of ideas that have piqued my interest. They're fun, but they don't draw me in; I'm not so invested that I want to see any of them through to publication.

That's been an issue for me for years, now: what do I really want to write? I've dabbled in the realms of Regency historical, urban fantasy, fantasy, and paranormal, but nothing seems to "click" for me. There's no spark, no flicker in the darkness that draws me onward like the proverbial moth.

I think, however, that I may have discovered the source of my malaise. On our way to the grocery store this weekend, my husband was playing a podcast where the hosts were discussing the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the source of his inspiration (Edgar Allen Poe, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and others), and the effect his work had on more modern writers. The hosts spoke of worldbuilding, of mythos creation, and a writing style that mirrored ancient saga and legend.

My skin prickled at that - of all the things I've written, what makes me happiest is a work of fantasy whose tone and style mirrors that of the Odyssey. I never tire of references to the "wine-dark sea", and now I think I know why.

I'm looking for something different, yet that hearkens back to the works I loved as a young adult: Icelandic sagas, Egyptian myth, ancient Greek legend. I want to draw on those elements and infuse them into my writing, all the while creating something that no one has ever seen before.

I think I may be on to something. I'm not sure what it is, yet; for now, it's just a flicker in the darkness, but it's drawing me ever closer. I'll let you know when I find the flame.

07 August 2010


For the past couple of weeks I've been in very mellow mood; even multiple crises at work haven't broken my new-found sense of calm.

Maybe it's because I've started lengthening my meditation sessions. Or that I finished the first phase of my work project ahead of schedule. Or because the Buddhist precepts I've been studying are finally starting to sink in.

At any rate, I'm eager to continue down this path. After so many months of discord and anxiety, this peace is most welcome, and I'm going to do all I can to make sure it continues.

01 August 2010

Coming Back to Myself

A series of events over the past year left me riddled with grief and doubt, and effectively shredded my sense of self-esteem. Everything I thought I was, everything I thought true about my life, ended up getting turned around and stomped on.

Soooooo not fun.

Time and effort have restored me, but not without cost, both physically and spiritually. My Buddhist leanings are still at war with the cynicism engendered by these events; it's difficult to feel compassion for people who have hurt you and betrayed your trust. Indeed, it's difficult to trust people in general when your experiences have proven them irredeemably selfish, self-centered, ungenerous, hypocritical, and untrustworthy.

Granted, not everyone in my life conforms to this model; I now keep company with a select few truly generous souls who do NOT make me crazy, or make me feel bad about myself. Better yet, I've learned to spot the ones who do and avoid them. My upbringing led me to be a doormat, a people-pleaser who accepted being treated badly as part of life. I was kind of like a Labrador retriever - any attention was good attention, even if it left me beaten down and whimpering.

Not any more. I may have attracted that kind of person once (several ex-"friends", and one ex-husband), but I'm done. I like the person I've become, and I have a right to live my life free of toxicity. My life is just that - mine - and I don't give an airborne rodent's patoot what anyone else thinks I should be doing with it. Compassion, the root of Buddhism, also needs to extend to oneself.

On that note, I leave you with the 10 Commandments of Self-Esteem:

1) Thou shalt not consort with people who make thee feel bad about thyself.

2) That shalt cease trying to make sense of crazy behavior.

3) Thou shalt not keep company with those more dysfunctional than thyself.

4) Trust thy body all the days of thy life.

5) Thou hast permission at all times to say "NO," to change thy mind, and to express thy true feelings.

6) What is not right for thee is not right for thy brethren.

7) Thou shalt not give beyond thine own capacity.

8) What thy brethren think of thee mattereth naught.

9) Wherever thou art, therein also is the party.

10) Thou shalt sing thine own praises all the days of thy life.

And one more thing: "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Cheers, everyone.

28 July 2010


Meaning is so subjective; rarely do people share the same definition for certain words. It's taken me many years to realize that "friendship" is one of them.

What makes a friend? A pleasant person you see on occasion, with whom you share a superficial bond? Or is a friend someone to whom you can trust your darkest secrets and most fervent hopes, whose company you crave on a regular basis, and whose very presence in your life makes your life that much better?

As an introvert, I tend to have very few friends, but many acquaintances. But those I do count as friends I hold very dearly - those are the folks for whom I'll walk through fire and help bury bodies (joking!), and who would do the same for me. Ours is a balanced relationship, with equal give and take, and the vicissitudes of life only serve to make our connection that much stronger.

I've come to learn, however, that not everyone defines friendship the way I do. Or perhaps I expect more from others than they're willing to give. Or they once were, but we have since grown apart and they don't make as much of an effort any more. Or perhaps I'm just not that good at reading people, and offer the bond of friendship to those who aren't willing-or able-to reciprocate in the first place. That, then, is my fault, and one I'm working to correct. It's caused me a measure of heartache over the years, but I've come to think of it as an adaptive process.

What does being a friend mean to you?