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Travel for Less


Hi, I’m back!

It was a great trip. We went to Iceland and Greenland. I took over 8,000 pictures. I have a ton of notes. The notes are a mess. I really need to get a better microphone – something that can handle bus sounds.

I have downloaded all the pictures, but haven’t started winnowing yet. I’m hoping to have my first trip post up next Monday.

But enough about that. The exciting news is that we had an earthquake.

I’ve been in minor tremors plenty of times. Frankly, this one wasn’t all that impressive since I’m so far from the epicenter. But it sure felt different. Rather than simply going about my business then suddenly feeling the shake, then going about my business as if nothing happened, this one made my hair stand on end. Maybe not literally, but certainly emotionally.

It was 5.8 on the Richter scale at the epicenter for the first wave, 4.9 for the second wave and 4.5 on the last one. The first got me out of bed and wondering mildly if I should climb out the window of my ancient, wobbly house. It wasn’t so much the motion that got me. Frankly, my husband’s restless leg syndrome is worse. It was the feeling of pressure and tension that didn’t go away. I got the feeling something much bigger was on the way.

By the second wave my son and I were both in the kitchen talking about it, and feeling a little skittish. By the third wave I had a headache. I had gotten dressed, but still hadn’t bothered to leave the house. My son’s girlfriend didn’t even bother to get up.

I stayed up much later than normal and read while waiting to see what would come next. By one in the morning the tension levels seemed to have evened off. My hair was back in place. And I was too tired to care. I crawled back into bed.

The next day, comparing notes, my husband hadn’t felt anything. My daughter thought it was her imagination. I’m wondering if it was close enough to include in my natural disaster collection.


A Car Accident. Sort Of


I got a mild concussion from my car. It wasn’t the kind of collision you might imagine. It was the back hatch with rotten pistons crashing down on my poor unprotected head.

It was stupid. I knew the stick holding the hatch up was vulnerable. I knew the load was too wide. I even knew just how ridiculously heavy that hatch door is. Still, I tried to get the central support for a new racking system out of the back by myself over The Boy’s protest.

The sucker clobbered me in the hairline right over my forehead. Though the goose egg that rose is still huge a week later, you can hardly see it. Maybe that’s why my family hadn’t been gentle with me at all.

Not until a few days ago when the swelling finally moved down out of my forehead and into my eyes, which promptly turned dark black with hints of blue and green.

Each day I watch the injury move down and spread. My forehead was only puffy for days. When it went down my left eye filled with black and blue then over flowed and is now wending streaks down my left cheek. My right eye took only a little color, then moved promptly to my left cheek, which swoll a little before turning colorful.

I went grocery shopping a few nights ago. I got quite the collection of horrified looks, but no one bothered to ask what was wrong.

Ok, so that’s the external. Now for the internal. The accident took place around ten pm. I made myself stay away until well after midnight, then decided that had to count as normal fatigue and went to bed.

The headache didn’t start until the next day. It’s never all that bad. Just a little nagging pain that crops up every time I move around, bend over, or press on the goose egg. The occasional vertigo isn’t all that severe either. But it’s enough to tell me to take it easy for a while.

Too bad I’m going on another big trip in a few weeks.


Daylight Savings


Did it catch anyone else by surprise?


Post Op Week 4

I’m doing fine. Still not real comfortable sitting at my desk for long periods of time, and no where near ready to crawl around on the floor for craft projects, but sleeping through the night and not hurting much.

I find it a bit ironic that my handicap parking permit should arrive just as I’m reaching the point where I’m fairly confident about shopping on my own two feet. Pr-op, when I could barely stand to stand because of all the pain I had to walk the extra distance because I didn’t have the permit.

in physical therapy I’m doing stuff like several minutes of sidesteps while trying to keep my hips level. I stood on one leg in a particular position until I started shaking. I did deep knee bends while holding a balance bar. And I rode the exercise bicycle for ten minutes. Go me!

After an extensive search, I gave up on the trekking poles. At least temporarily. I went for a walk around the block. Only did it once, but I’m counting it as a break through. Yesterday it snowed again, leaving the pavement slick; so it will probably be a while before I try it again.

I’ve got parts for a couple of exercise oriented projects, and the green light to use my Norktrak. Now it’s just a matter of using them.

Totally Random Picture – Western Montana on the way to Yellowstone.


Post Hip Replacement – Week 3

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So, did I mention I’m learning to walk again? Or so my physical therapist thinks. Frankly, I could limp along just fine the day after surgery. I haven’t bothered with a cane for over a week. If I leave the house, I bring it with me just in case I have to walk on snow or ice, but I don’t even pretend to use it. I just carry it in my hand like a baton.

The physicians assistant and the physical therapist and the nurses in the hospital all said the best thing to do to recuperate is to walk. However, they are quite clear that just any old ambulation isn’t going to cut it. I have to walk with good poster.

I haven’t bothered with good poster in years! I like to limp. I limp and gimp and sidle and anything else it takes to get from one place to another with as little pain as possible. It makes for some very bad habits.

So the physical therapist has me doing “pre-walking exercise.” This involves shifting weight from side to side and from front to back. We aren’t even up to a waddle, but it’s fun to do.

I’m thinking I’d like to rev it up a bit. Like maybe make a mini teeter totter for the side to side thing. Seems like that might be more fun. As for the front and back thing…. Well as soon as I find my treking poles I’m going to just go walking. I’d do without, but it’s still icy around here.

Totally Random Picture – Uluwatu Cliffside Temple in Indonesia


Full Hip Replacement – Week 2

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The medical team that did my hip replacement worked very hard to educate me. They sent me to a class where the specific techniques used by my surgeon were discussed. They made me surf into an interactive web site about anesthesia and standard procedures for a hip replacement. I had meetings with the surgeon, his Physician’s Attendant, and the hospital’s pre-op staff. They sent me home with a loose leaf binder full of print outs. I have no idea how a ton of little details slipped past me, but they did.

Before the operation I went through the pages and pages of educational material. I did just what those who know me would expect. I set up a spreadsheet.

In the spreadsheet I listed all the hip precautions and how long each was expected to be in force, what equipment I would need and for how long, what medicine I would be expected to take and for how long, what exercises, what appointment schedule, etc. All with extra notes in additional columns.

So how come I came out of it not knowing when I could roll over in bed? Stupid hip precautions.

In case you haven’t had to go through this, a hip precaution is a position you must never allow your leg to assume. After surgery, every flipping tendon and muscle around the hip is going to be ticked off at you. Until they all calm down, they won’t do a good job of holding your leg in correct position.

I didn’t see anywhere that said specifically how long this was going to take. I get the feeling the range is so broad they don’t want to say. At my last doctor’s appointment they said for me it would probably only be six to ten weeks.

I had no idea the backs of my heels would get so sore from laying and sitting around. They said I’d be able to sleep on my side if I put a pillow between my knees, but so far that has been just as uncomfortable as laying on my back.

Most of all, I had no idea that sleep deprivation would be such a demotivational thing. I got myself off the pain meds pretty fast, so I haven’t been as fuzzy headed as I expected, but I just haven’t felt like doing anything. Except for go to the bathroom. That’s like the star event in my life right now. At least it means I’m getting some exercise, even if I slack off on the routines they want me to do.



Taken right after Thanksgiving while on the way to Yellowstone.


Mini Vacations

I have actually been on two more trips since my Indonesia vacation. One took place last Spring when I was still preoccupied with the posts about Indonesia. The other took place right after Thanksgiving when I was preoccupied with holidays.

I only just found all the photos I took on those trips. The chips had gotten misplaced. Frankly, in comparison, they weren’t much. Still, it will probably take a few weeks for me got get all my pictures ready and info together to start posting about them.

Until then, I’ll just have to say one thing. It sure is cold here! I already have cabin fever.


Taxonomy of a Resolution

The first resolution I listed last Thursday – Write for at least one hour every day – is one I actually started in December. You’d think I’d make that kind of resolution DURING National Novel Writing Month in November. But no. I didn’t think of it until afterward.

At first I was too vague. I thought as long as I spent an hour each day in front of my computer with a file open, that should count. Good old BiCHoK in action. (Butt in chair, hand on keyboard). I actually did get a lot done through the course of the month. I’m not sure how much of it will actually bear fruit, though. I ended up working on the rough drafts for four different novels.

In my experience, it’s rarely a good idea to write the rough draft of more than one book at a time. I tend to lose focus, and stuff drifts in from one book to another when I don’t mean for it. Even when I’m working on radically different projects, it can combine.

Continue reading Taxonomy of a Resolution


Return of Internet

I lost internet access for a few days last week. Frankly it’s been poor for a long time. I’ve replaced my router and modem so many times.

Like in the past, my signal just deteriorated badly. It seemed it would come back for a few minutes when I called the ISP tech support. I’d get a solid connection, feel silly for calling, and hang up. Over and over.

Eventually the tech support was fast enough to actually “help” me. They guided me through a reset that failed.

Where I had been able to get online for a few minutes an hour before, I suddenly wasn’t able to connect at all. I felt like they broke my system.

They sent out a technician the next morning. Turned out the problem with that the cable in the alley – the whole length of the alley! – was messed up. They replaced it, fixed the reset issue, and now I’ve got a great connection.

All in time for the weekend when I don’t generally blog. It just figures.


Christmas in a Box

I keep Christmas in a box. It’s a very large, plastic box with “Christmas” sharpied on the sides. The idea is that when Christmas rolls around I can find all the decorations wrapping, etch that I need in the box.

This year we lost the box.

I’m not sure if it’s still out at the storage unit or buried too deep in the shed for anyone to fine. Regardless, Christmas isn’t available this year.

I’m actually okay with that. I’m not in the mood to deal with the thousand strings of lights, half of which are burned out but might be salvageable or the garlands that are getting a bit ratty, or the ornaments my kids made when they were little. I didn’t work very hard to find Christmas.

We made an emergency run to Walmart. For $30 I got all the lights, garlands, and ornaments I need for our two-dimensional Christmas tree. That was as much as anyone wanted anyway. We set it up today Quick, cheap, easy, and the cats love it.


Black Friday

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When did Black Friday become a good thing? yeah, I’m behind the times. The original deaths were years and years ago. It’s just that I never felt compelled to join the crush just for a random chance at maybe a good deal on a handful of items.

I did try it once, years ago. By the time I got there around nine am the shelves with the good deals were all stripped bare already. None of it was stuff I really wanted to begin with. I haven’t bothered since.

Maybe that’s not entirely true. I haven’t bothered with any of the box stores. I did, however, try to make a quick trip into a fabric store for a particularly good deal. I was smart enough to grab a number before making my selection, and still ended up waiting for ten people ahead of me at the cutting table.

But it gets to me when I keep running into people who looked forward to it.




Seems like I hardly even announced that I was participating in this years National Novel Writing Month before I won it!

This does not mean the book it done. I have a long way to go in search of a completed plot line, but I’ve achieved the 50,000 plus words of the NaNo challenge. Yay!

Every book is a little different. This one was quite a bit different in process than previous efforts. I did not write anything out ahead of time – no synopsis, and no spreadsheets. But I wasn’t flying into the mist. I had been thinking about various aspects of this story for a couple of years now. But it wasn’t all clear in my mind as I sat down to write – only bits and pieces.

So in a way, it was a bit like when I wrote Uru – a 75,000 Camp NaNo book that I wrote a few years ago. In a way, nothing like it.

At some point I gave up trying to follow a timeline entirely. I jump from scene to scene, writing whatever comes to mind. I can already see more or less how it will all shake into place in the revisions, so I’m still writing with confidence. But I can’t use the end of the previous scene to tell me what to write next. It jumps around too much.

For now, I’ll just celebrate the word count.


10 Years

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I missed my ten-year blog anniversary. It came and went last September. I didn’t notice.

A lot has changed in ten years. Back then I lived in a different city, though still Western Montana. My kids were in grade school. My world revolved around parent teacher meetings, cooking, cleaning, and this newfangled thing called the internet.

Avon – the publisher, not the location – held a contest for new authors. I participated in that contest. It is still vivid in my mind. Most of my early posts were about it.

Within a few months I started the serial Suzie’s House. That means I’ve been at it for nearly ten years now. In fact, I’ll be posting another one the day after tomorrow.

Since then I’ve greatly increased the number of times I post about my travels and decreased the amount of writing talk. I totally dropped the recipes and homespun posts. And Jack and Jill died and ignoble death.

I’ve still got my eye on the future, and still intend to blog, though many, many of my blogging buddies have fallen away. Maybe in another ten years I’ll have a blog anniversary that I will remember.


The Fish Market


150817n-563 Right before we left Flores to return to Bali, we stopped off at a fish market. This is, apparently, a regular part of the tour that some of the tourists have complained about. The market in question is not for tourists. There are a lot of fish. And it can be a bit odoriferous. It wasn’t any worse than I would expect, but not something you want to be smelling in an enclosed airplane a little later.

The variety was rather extensive. I have no idea what most of the fish were. Some even the local tour guide couldn’t identify. Most of it was dried. Much was intended for consumption in the whole region – not just that one town.

Continue reading The Fish Market