ritaxis: (hat)
I am writing this month, but I can't do Nanowrimo for reasons. One: I don't seem able to focus on very large projects at this time. I'm just grateful I can write at all! Anything longer than a short tends to get lost in the underbrush of a no-longer-chemo-brain. So I'm writing shorts, cleaning up old stuff, submitting a bit. I decided that since it's really unlikely for me to make enough money to be thrown off of Medi-Cal in the near future, it's dumb not to submit. Actually--did I explain this?--being thrown off Medi-Cal is not the thing I fear. What I'm afraid of is getting put into the grey category where they don't throw you off Medi-Cal but they require you to pay several hundred dollars (for some people, thousands!) before they will pay for anything. It would be better to get thrown all the way off and pay the (newly) normal subsidized premiums and copays, but that doesn't happen immediately. Worse, I have no idea what would trigger which alternative. So, just as in the case of facing up to cancer, etc., I just have to live my life.

I already submitted two things--one at the end of last month, but I'm counting it in this month. That was a near-future sort-of fantasy about a woman who is being moved out of her inundated neighborhood to find that her new neighborhood is pretty watery itself. And also pretty strange. The other is "John Brown's Body," which is ten years old and looks it, but it's going to a reprint market and its datedness might be interesting in the light of how things are working out, politically, these days. I mean it's sort of the opposite to everything!

I wrote a flash piece but my first reader (you know who you are) said what I was feeling--that the story felt like the unshot gun on the mantle. So now it's turning into a novella. I think it's kind of a time paradox story, but maybe not: some mysteries are not to be understood by the author. An old lady returns to the mysterious coastal village she spent a summer in during her childhood, and finds things to be somewhat different from how she remembered them, but some things are entirely too similar. The best part is the setting, of course. I think, despite what I said about my brain not being able to handle longer projects, that this is not too much for me to handle. Again, there are parts of the story that can't decide whether they are near-future sf or fantasy.

During the summer I was working on two short novels, but due to chemotherapy I could only move them forward a bit. One was about girls who save the world by means of their special relationship with crows and pigeons respectively. Honestly, the hardest part of that one is working out a believable mechanism for them to save even a shred of the world. And yet, parts of the world do get saved on a regular basis.

The other is low-fantasy in that it is set in the same fantasy world--but a different corner of it--and it is unlikely that much of the fantasy elements will come to bear on the story. It's an enemies-to-lovers story happening in the interstices of a larger drama of bandit freedom fighters and also referencing the earliest days of the motion picture industry as experienced by eager innovators in other corners of the world. But not our world. Informed by the last years of the Ottoman empire but in no way an analog for it.

On other fronts: I am a third of the way through radiation therapy. The only bothersome effect is my own body's ridiculous response to any postural demand, which is to spasm painfully somewhere. I have to lie in a comfortable position on a well-constructed individualized support for less than half an hour a day, and my body's response to this is to develop stiff painful areas in my neck, back, and arm. Not the side being radiated. The other side. My radiated breast is a little red, and maybe a bit sensitive, but not so as I'd care, especially with this other crap going on.

Continuing with the health care theme, I've restarted physical therapy. I'd gotten de-conditioned and I'd gained weight during chemo, because I spent a lot of the day sleeping or lying in bed reading. Now my energy level is back to its normal (kind of low) levels, and I'm getting more exercise, but there's some damage to undo. Also, I've been using the BiPAP machine for two months and it is not creating as dramatic a difference as one might expect. However, the doctor has some suspicions about my oxygen uptake which we're going to measure next week & discuss next month.

AND last but not least in this theme, today I got cortisone shots in both thumbs to fight severe trigger finger. It's the second round. The first wore off two months ago but the PA's not willing to give me shots more often than every six months. So if this happens again we're looking at surgery. I'm not afraid of surgery. I'm afraid of being the little old lady who collects all the surgeries, and also the fact that I've been enjoying my surgical experiences feels a little perverse to me, so I drag my feet for that reason too.

It's time to go to radiation or I'd expound about Zluta and the state of my house, but that will have to wait for another day, because after radiation Zluta and I will take a walk and after that I will want to clean house a bit before time for dancing.

And also

Apr. 15th, 2016 09:24 am
ritaxis: (hat)
My echocardiogram was entertaining and lovely (since I went to it fresh from the knowledge that I am NOT RIDDLED WITH CANCER and I can try for an actual CURE), and of course, as I knew, my heart is strong as an ox.

Yes, I knew it. But I also "knew" my biopsy was going to turn up scar tissue from the previous infections, so there you are.

Anyway, soonsoon I'll have lots to say that aren't "oops my health" or "at least my health isn't that bad."

Zluta continues to be a manic darling, and the garden is fantastic at the moment. I'm cooking up all the turnip greens over the next couple days because a friend of mine gave me a Black Krim plant so it's tomato planting time. I really want to find a couple Paul Robesons and maybe a Black fromTula. Detect the pattern? Black tomatoes from Russia do very well in my garden. And my old standbyes, the yellow plum and Roma, don't seem to do so well for me any more.

My kale from last year is starting to go flowers. I do have other batches of kale started so there will be little gap  between productive kale, which is important because both Zack and I depend on it. Right now I am eating the kale flowers, they are delicious, but eventually they'll come to the end and so it goes. My parsley is all bedraggled because most of it has decided to set seed also--also eating those bits to try to slow down the process, which worked for a while but a lot of the parsley is only putting out those weird "I'm going to seed now and you can't stop me" leaves-- there are two kinds, one is a tiny stunted version of the normal leaf and one is entirely different, with narrow leaflets in a fan shape. So I'm finding baby volunteer parsley and moving it to the parsley forest and I'm sowing seeds in the area too. I've been working on increasing the flower real estate in the yard, and that's finally paying off. And of course it's spring, so. I have yellow Louisiana iris and calla lilies for the dramatic, and volunteer(!) sweet peas, and coreopsis and freesias (not many) and roses and cuphea (sort of like fuschias, which are not flowering at the moment, oddly), and a couple kinds of salvias and a few quince blossoms and some pansies and cineraria and bleeding heart and of course the lemons are blooming and the apple tree just finished and the plums are the size of shooter marbles which is apparently my favorite size at which  to notice ripening things.

Manymany thanks to all the well-wishers and most especially to the horse people who answered my questions. Later I may ask you to read the thing over (it will be shortish, about 50K?) and see if I screwed it up. This is the story that gives me an excuse to listen to all the Southern European and Asia Minor music I want to all day long. Especially if the music is a bit ovfer 100 years old. Seriously, you can find that sometimes.

On a less brilliant note, "the computer" is still returning the false information that Blue Shield is my primary provider, so confusion still reigns. It means Central California Health Alliance denied coverage in the first round even though they have already told me on more than one occasion that they know they are my only provider. It will work out but why should everybody have to do everything over again so many times?

well, the 9:05 goose from the north has gone by, so back to work.
ritaxis: (hat)
This fellow is living in a world that is rather like ours in 1890. He's working as an itinerant photographer and he has a boxed-in wagon and a largeish, bad-tempered horse. He's only modestly skilled at handling horses, though that might be ameliorated by the fact that he's a shrewdly manipulative person in general. What should I know?

How much and what sort of feed can my fellow get by with at minimum? What about water? How often does that horse need to rest? How long does it need to rest?

How does the horse's bad temper manifest itself? How do you placate a horse who doesn't want to take your wagon somewhere? (yes, placate, not intimidate)
ritaxis: (hat)
I got a little work done on the edits that are due next week (I am in good shape with that actually), bujt I spent most of the day outlining a story that has caught my imagination but which I do not have time to write right now.

Hint: a figure inspired by Yane Sandanski, a backdrop inspired by the Miss Stone Affair, and a protagonist/love interest/whatever who is an itinerant photographer with a shady past, drawn into the scene by being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Set, of course, in the world of not-Poland, but not in not-Poland proper.

Also, through a convoluted process involving a friend's fourth anniversary, I have discovered hwajeon, Korean flower pancakes, and now I want to make them. But I have to admit that I am astonished that azaleas are considered edible food.

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