Who Stole My Spoons?

spoons gonevia Flickr Creative Commons

I broke one of my personal rules the other day, I ran several errands, pushed hard at my writing, and did a bit around the house. Not a lot, but for me it was entirely too much.  It  felt great to accomplish so many things, and I thoroughly enjoyed the day, but there were consequences. For one, my spoons are gone! Spoons, you say. What the heck is the crazy woman talking about?

The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino is the clearest and most accurate explanation around of how energy, which she calls spoons, is the bane of existence for those of us with chronic illnesses.  To truly understand the idea, I suggest reading her explanation. The bottom line is that she uses spoons to represent units of energy. Sort of like a gallon of gas in your car. You can go just so far. Most people are energy efficient and need very little energy to do what they want on a daily basis. It’s only at times of long travel, or the need for lots of trips that the gallons becomes an issue. People use spoons. Most people have plenty for their daily needs. Some of us don’t have so many. Unlike gas, you can’t just go out and buy more. What ya got is what ya got. Deal with it.

spoonsvia Flickr Creative Commons

Most of us eventually learn to live within our spoon limit. We take life more slowly, do things in different ways, break big tasks into smaller ones, and learn to say no. These ways of dealing with insufficient spoons, tend to drive “normal” folks up the wall. Then there is the “do it anyway and pay the price later” strategy. It’s a commonly used strategy, because it allows us more freedom. The problems with it is that afterward we have almost no spoons for days or even weeks, we frequently are hit with other symptoms (pain, confusion, grogginess, weakness, etc.), and the fact that other people understand this coping strategy even less than the others. “But you went to Jan’s birthday party last week, why can’t you go to the mall with me?” We even get called lazy.

It’s a complicated way to live, and some of us cope better than others. If you’re dealing with a person with a chronic illness, maybe you could take a little time to think, to learn more, to figure out how to not push when the person is trying to live with their spoon limit, and most importantly: try to understand!

It would be a really nice thing to do!

Do you have a chronic illness? What do you wish people understood? Any suggestions for living with a spoon shortage?

Do you know someone with a chronic illness? How do you feel about the way they deal with it? What do you wish you understood about them or the illness?

Later!

Cheryel

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Science Fiction Authors

When I posted about the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, I mentioned the classic novels of science fiction. Today I’d like to mention the authors who pulled me into SF. Not everyone will consider these are the best or most influential, but in my teens and early twenties they wrote the books I escaped into. They came into my life either by being recommended to me by friends, being available through Scholastic (or both), or by being available in my local library. Still these authors are, if not the best,  at least among the best.

Except for the first name, the list is in no particular order. I stand behind my belief that Isaac Asimov was the best science fiction writer ever.

 

isaac-asimovIsaac Asimov. The author or editor of over 500 books, he also wrote numerous articles and essays. I have spent many hours reading and rereading Asimov’s work. My favorite of his novels is The God’s Themselves, although I’d be hard pressed to say why.  Oddly, while I’m not a huge short story fan (I prefer immersion in a story of a longer period of time), I love Asimov’s short stories more than any of his work. His short story, “What If…” contributed to my desire to write fiction. (I had to do something with all those stories I came up with when I began thinking in terms of “what if”.)

ray-bradburyRay Bradbury Possibly the most well known on this list, Bradbury’s work is deeply layered. I tended to feel I was missing something important, and yet I loved the stories. I can’t wait to read his work again now. I have a feeling I’ll be shocked at some of the amazing things I missed when I was too young to appreciate them.

arthur-c-clarkeArthur C. Clarke When they hear the name Arthur C. Clark, most people think 2001: A Space Odyssey. While I think 2001 is awesome, my favorite of his novels is Childhood’s End. The amazing story of human kind’s evolution into something else is a breathtaking tale of what might be next for our species.  I was excited to hear about the recent miniseries, but while it seemed promising in the beginning, it didn’t really have the depth and intricacy of the novel.

robert-heinleinRobert A. Heinlein I enjoy reading Heinlein, but his The Cat Who Walked Through Walls was the last SF novel I read (that I hadn’t previously read). I had never heard of Schrödinger’s Cat, and had no idea the novel was playing on that theme. I didn’t like the way it ended. I have a feeling I still wouldn’t like it, but wouldn’t feel as betrayed as I did back then (early 80’s).

jules-verneJules Verne  Jules Verne the Man Who Invented the Future, is a biography of Verne by F. Born, and there is much truth in the title. Among other things, Verne introduced a workable submarine, helicopter, and  moon landing. Great vision, exciting adventure stories. What more could you want?

h-g-wellsH. G. Wells Martian attacks, a trip to the moon, horrific biology experiments, an invisible man; and at the time he wrote them, these stories were new.  Wells had a gift of making the reader feel as if he/she was  in the thick of the events.

ZHenderson1953 Zenna Henderson  I loved Henderson’s  Pilgrimage: The Book of the People, but it was only a few years ago that I stumbled onto a volume of her short stories. Here I found even more depth and interesting takes on society.

 

Yes, with one exception these are all men. That’s what was available, so that’s what I read.  There  were women SF writers, but they were harder to find. Thankfully, things have gotten better since that time, though women in the genre are still struggling.

Later I discovered many more excellent SF authors, but the ones I included here were the beginning for me, the “gateway novels” I suppose. Writing this blog, makes me want to read more SF, both authors and stories I know and new authors and stories. There is never enough time to read.

I didn’t include pure fantasy authors (yes, I know the genres blur). Maybe I’ll write another post about them, especially since there are more women.

Do you have favorite authors from earlier in your life? Were they science fiction or other genres? Do you read different genre now than when you were younger?

Have a great week!

Cheryel

 

All photos from FamousAuthors.org except Zenna Henderson which is an author publicity photo.

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Fifteen Years Later: Where Are We Now?

Fifteen yeas ago today the United States endured the worst attack on U.S. soil ever. Today our hearts go out to the survivors and the families and friends of those who died in the attack.  May the years soften the heartache, and time lessen the ache.

rememberance

ayphoto by Scott Hudson via Flickr Commons

Soon after the attack, our country pulled together. Pride in our county and in our first responders filled our hearts. A few weeks later, police and fire fighter costumes were huge sellers for Halloween. We united in pride and determination. I thought the country had finally grown up.

Fifteen years later, a major presidential candidate is running a campaign promising to make America great again. Damn it! We ARE great. We always have been. Do we have problems? Definitely. Huge issues to deal with? Yes. Are there divisions among our citizens that are pulling us apart? Unfortunately yes. Ratings (money) hungry media and politicians of all levels looking to use our differences for their own agenda (money and power) have contributed to the problem. So yes, we have a lot to do, but that doesn’t lessen the fact that our ability to speak our minds in public is an indication of the greatness of our country. We are free. We are by and large safe. We accept our differences more than most countries.

We are a nation of explorers, of heroes, of people who were strong enough to weather all the wars and issues we’ve been faced with: revolution, civil war, slavery, industrialization, foreign wars, civil rights, terrorist attacks.

We need to rise above all those who want to use our fears and frustrations for their own betterment. No matter the race, religion, lifestyle, or political inclination let us treat each other with, if not friendship, at least with respect.

God bless America, our home.

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Old Timers Don’t Say SciFi

Fifty years ago today, the biggest science fiction franchise ever launched. It was, of course, Star Trek (yes, the original one with Kirk and Spock).

I was fortunate to have watched the very first Star Trek episode the night it originally aired back in 1966. Even better, three years later I watched humanity reach the moon. I am so blessed to have been here to see the time when science and fiction came together and merged into one huge push for the future.

ST_TOS_Cast

Original Star Trek promotional photo

In those heady days of the end of the 1960s, it seemed the whole world was focused on space. It was a time of excitement of adventure, a time full of possibilities. I’m so grateful I was alive to experience that magic. All too soon, the moon was left behind us, and space lost its allure for the masses.

Nichelle Nichols

Photo from IMDB

Sure there were moments. The shuttle program being the biggest. There was the beautiful and talented Nichelle Nichols leading the charge to name the first shuttle Enterprise. (It was, though it never flew into space.)

But soon that time ended. Slowly it became common place for a shuttle to go into space. Few people got excited. Then in 1986, the Challenger explosion occurred (photo below). Ironically, the accident rekindled the space program for a while. Eventually, the public lost interest again.   In 2003, another disaster occurred when the Columbia shuttle broke up during reentry. This time the US space program slowed to barely a crawl. And there it is today, struggling to hold a place in our busy, fast-paced world.

 

Challenger_explosion

Photo By Kennedy Space Center [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Space once again became the domain of fiction. Star Trek is still there, with new movies airing regularly, and a new series coming soon. There are other science fiction movies and series, some good, some not, but nothing as big a hit or social changer. Of course there are the novels. I have to admit, I haven’t read many newer SF novels, I haven’t had the time. Besides, I love the classics so much it’s hard to believe anything can stand up to them.

Science fiction is founded in science, taking current knowledge and building. Those who hold to the foundation of science fiction tend to hate the term sci-fi, feeling it belittles the field. I’m one of those who don’t use the term, instead I prefer the full science fiction or SF But then we’ve already established I came in early.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Wanna discuss the subject?

If you could live in any time period,what would you choose?

Would you consider living in  the future?

Do you think humans will ever live in space or on another planet?

Have a great day!

Cheryel

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The Waters Of Mars

Mars

Photo of surface of Mars from NASA.org

Three days ago, NASA announced proof of liquid water on Mars. I was thrilled. What an amazing discovery! I honestly thought the news would be all over the story. I wasn’t home at the time of the original announcement, so when I came in the door, I turned on the TV to see what the news agencies were saying. That would be a big NOTHING. What I found was news that the pope was back home, and there was a big discussion over whether Trump or Putin got the harder questions on 60 Minutes. I changed the channel before they got to the Kardashians. My nerves couldn’t have handled that. Finally I caught a crawl across the bottom of the screen announcing water had been found on another plant. Yes, PLANT. At this point, the TV went off.

So there I was, stomping around the house, wondering if I wasn’t on the wrong planet. A day later, I discovered some people actually thought NASA found liquid water on Mars just to promote the movie, Martian.  *head desk*

I’ve spent the last three days alternately depressed, excited, frustrated, and wondering who put stupid juice in the water.

In case you don’t really understand what the big deal is, there’s a video for that:

Bill Nye explains significance of liquid water on Mars. http://www.msnbc.com/the-last-word/watch/bill-nye-explains-why-water-on-mars-matters-534065731547

In better news, today Google celebrated the discovery with a cute doodle:    https://g.co/doodle/m4fgh2

 

How do you feel about the possibility of life on Mars?

Do you think there’s the possibility of intelligent life on other planets?

Would you be willing to take a trip to Mars?

 

Anybody understand the reference in the title?

 

Have a great day!

 

Cheryel

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Absence and the Heart

photo by Frank Selmo via WANA Creative Commons

 

Next month my husband and I will celebrate our 16th anniversary. Like every couple, we’ve had our ups and downs, though the last few years have been challenging. We’ve definitely been through a lot together: surgeries, illnesses, the loss of both of our  grandmothers and then our mothers, several unexpected moves, and a 500 mile move from Tennessee to Florida. Keep in mind, neither of us had ever lived anywhere but Southeast Tennessee—except, oddly enough, a childhood summer Ricky spent in Jacksonville. There was a bit of culture shock.

Over the last few months, our marriage has been through some especially rough patches that tested our love and commitment to each other. First it was me, flu, severe bronchitis, then pneumonia. I was in survival mode, spending all my time in the recliner except for when I had to drag myself up for the bathroom or something. On the plus side, I had plenty of time to think.

More recently, my husband was diagnosed with a health issue that without a lifestyle change could be life threatening. Before we had time to deal with that, he was admitted to the hospital with another problem that required surgery followed by  weeks in skilled care rehab. He was finally home recovering when an insurance issue lost him his home health care and sent him back to the hospital and another 6 weeks in skilled care rehab. He’s finally home! He’s weak and has a long way to go, but he’s getting better.

We’ve obviously had a lot of time apart recently, and we both had to face what life would be like without the other. In this case, absence did make the heart grow fonder. Two hearts, actually.  We realized how much we love each other, and came to appreciate how precious life is.

So here we are, two disabled people struggling, as individuals and as a couple, to make our way in a world that we don’t fit easily into. Maybe that’s the biggest thing we have in common: our shared experiences with hospitals, doctors, and being different.

Or maybe it’s our shared love of dachshunds and hatred for Jello (yuck!)

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Cheryel

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The Writer’s Addiction

Most people know that writers, as creative type people, seem to be especially prone to addictive substances. You know the usual lineup, alcohol, partying, infidelity, drugs, office products. Wait, what?

See it seems that many writers are victims of the last category. Hey, who is

photo from Hoarder HomeSchooling

photo from Hoarder HomeSchooling

that laughing? We’re talking about a real problem here, one that can drain a bank account, cause friction in families, lose valuable writing time; and if unchecked, it can lead to being on Hoarders.

You think I jest? Like many of my friends and fellow writers, I struggle with this problem. Every trip into a pharmacy, grocery store, or even Walmart requires a visit to the writer’s office and school supply section. I’m usually good, usually I leave without buying anything, or at least nothing expensive. Still, I’ve managed to accumulate quite a lot of notebooks, binders, legal pads, and books. Lots and lots of books.

There’s not enough to reach the ceiling or anything, but sometimes I wonder if I wasn’t dirt poor if I wouldn’t be eligible for Hoarders. Yeah, I have too much stuff, unorganized, a lot unneeded. I’m trying to downsize and organize, but it’s harder than I thought it would be. Not only is the physical work hard, even harder is the psychological strain of deciding to let go of things, then letting them go. I’m getting there, but I think a snail passed me on the last round.

 

Take care, y’all!

Cheryel

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Time and Life

2015-07-31 17.48.14

Momma duck had her nest under a hedge just outside our building. So cute!

You know how it goes, one thing needs your attention, then another. Family, job, pets, dust bunnies, alien creatures, and flying monkeys; they all take a toll. Your proverbial plate gets more full by the day, and you wonder how much the dang thing can hold. I don’t wonder anymore. I know.

On seemingly quiet day last week, my plate got so full it cracked, broke apart, and fell on the floor. The noise startled those ducks I’ve been trying to get into a row for months, and now they aren’t even in the same state! All the commotion caused me to drop half the appointments and deadlines I was juggling.

Time might not fly, but I did. I was so frustrated I took a plane going toward the international date line so I could get yesterday back. Sadly, yesterday is gone. I thought about waiting for tomorrow, but I quickly discovered that it never comes.

On my trip, I met a guy with an unusual name: Time. He was nice, but Time is short. A spider dropped on his shirt, and Time stood still while I brushed it away. He wasn’t always quiet and still, though. He loves racing, and he challenged me to one. I figured it would be easy, since he’s so short and all. Thing is, when Time runs, he seems to be flying. Let me tell you, When you race against Time, you always lose.

He was a really nice guy, and very smart. In fact, Time is a great healer.He gave me suggestions for dealing with a sore knee. Time might not heal all wounds, but he can make them hurt less. Personally, I like the idea that Time is on my side. Poor guy, Time is running out of spots in his schedule.

It was nice passing the time of day with Time, but I did have to get back to my own overloaded life. So here I am, new plate installed and looking for my ducks.  Oh good grief, my ducks have babies! I’ll never get them in a row!

 

Have a great week!

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Missing Pieces

Today would have been my Mom’s birthday. No, I don’t know how old she would have been. I never wanted to know her age, I wanted to think of her as that beautiful, ageless, person who was there from the beginning. But I didn’t appreciate her enough.

It was hard, right from the beginning. We butted heads from as far back as I remember. I always thought we were too different. Now I think maybe we were too much alike. All I know is that when she died, she took part of me with her. I’ve “recovered” and moved on with my life, but there are so many times I want to show her something, or share something I heard or saw. My grandchildren, her great-grandchildren won’t know her very well. They didn’t have the chance to know her like I did, like my children did.

I feel her presence right now. Is she, or some part of here, here? You may scoff, but I believe she is. Believe or disbelieve, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m just going to go with the feeling.

 

Mom and Nannie outside

This is my mom and her mother, my grandmother. I miss them both.

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The Winds of Change

One of my favorite songs is “Where My Heart Will Take Me” sung by Russell Watson. No matter how many times I hear this song, it never stops inspiring me and making me feel uplifted and optimistic. If it sounds familiar, it was used in the movie Awakenings, and was the theme song for Star Trek Enterprise.

When I decided to write this blog, I looked up Russell Watson. Turns out, his life is pretty inspiring. The 48 year-old British opera singer found his own unique way to stardom.

His website bio reads:

“His amazing road to success was not a stereotypical one. Russell left school at the age of sixteen with no qualifications and spent the first eight years of his working life in a factory making nuts and bolts. His desire to escape the monotony of the shop floor led him to enter a local radio talent competition where he beat four hundred other contestants. This was the precursor to a career that has spanned fifteen years and seen him perform for some of the world’s greatest figures”

 

As for the song, both the lyrics and music are beautiful. Here are the first and last lines:

“It’s been a long road, getting from there to here.
It’s been a long time, but my time is finally near

And I can feel the change in the wind right now. Nothing’s in my way.
And they’re not gonna hold me down no more, no they’re not .
gonna hold me down.”

And it ends with:

“I can reach any star. I’ve got faith, faith of the heart”

 

What song inspires you?  Or are you more inspired by other things? What do you find inspiring?

 

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Cheryel

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