Heart, Wind, and Sleep

I treated myself to a three-day weekend, but yesterday was not all pleasure.  (Sunday, on the other hand, was an idyllic day for me.)  My date yesterday had been on my calendar since last year at this time.  I went to the OSU Ross Heart Hospital so they could check on my aneurysm.  The cardiologist there is quite good, and the technicians who performed my CT scan did the job quite well.  (The worst part will always be when they inject the iodine dye into my veins.  Since they needed me to tilt my head far back before I went into the machine, I could even taste it a little in the back of my throat.)

The doctor says it looks like the aneurysm is remaining stable.  It has dilated another 0.5 mm, but that is too slight to be worrisome.  He says to come back and see him in a year.

I wish that this would be the end of my frequenting OSU hospitals for a while, but that’s not to be.  (I am trying to avoid the Ohio State campus this entire week, since everything is building up toward Saturday’s game against the University of Michigan.)

Once outside, I found out I had under-dressed.  The temperature was in the low 60s when I left the house, but by the time I left, the winds were close to 45 mph.  I love wind, both watching it and being in it, but not when I’m cold because I didn’t wear a heavy enough coat.  I took refuge in the Barnes and Noble at N. High St. and E. 11th Ave., and watched the wind bend trees and make the traffic lights swing back and forth.  I had a safe perch on the second floor, sitting at a table with a ballpoint in my hand and my diary in front of me.  I felt the window ripple in front of me, but it was slight.

The corner of N. High and E. 11th Ave.  Hard to capture a windstorm in a still picture, but take note of the traffic lights, and the coat of the woman crossing the street.

The corner of N. High St. and E. 11th Ave. Hard to capture a windstorm in a still picture, but take note of the traffic lights, and the coat of the woman crossing the street.

Tomorrow night, I will be the guest of OSU Hospital East–yet another sleep study!  I have posted on Facebook to warn friends and co-workers that I will not be in a great mood tomorrow, since I have to abstain from caffeine all day.  (It’s been so ingrained in me these last few months to buy two bottles of Diet Snapple in the little store in our atrium, along with my customary breakfast of yogurt and fruit.)  I seem to have been successful this time around in laying off carbonated beverages (since May), but I replaced that with Snapple and Gold Peak iced tea.  So I will be working my way through withdrawal symptoms during the day.

My new sleep doctor thinks it’s best to start from the ground up, so I’m having this new study.  I’m sure I still snore, since I occasionally wake myself up.  I’ve been sleeping alone for four years now, so I don’t know how much I thrash around.  I do know I wake up four or five times a night.  I don’t feel awake enough to get out of bed, but I am conscious enough to roll over and register the time on the clock, and know how long I have until it’s time to get out of bed.  And I don’t really feel that rested, regardless of how early I went to bed or how many hours elapse before I leave the bed.

Probably won’t post tomorrow night, because I’m not planning to take the laptop with me to the sleep lab.  Just my Nook and my diary.

Athens: The Trip That Wasn’t, The Trip That Was

Never before have I attempted to go to Athens twice in one weekend.  My plan was to go down Saturday and rend my garment on West Union St., and maybe do that Indiana Jones thing in The Union to see if there were any remains of my liver in there.

I got as far as Logan on Saturday, about 50 miles from Columbus.  I was on a GoBus which was late in leaving Columbus, and it moved at a pedestrian pace all the way down U.S. 33, moving carefully midst the sheet of freezing rain and the glaze of black ice on the highway.  I easily passed 10 to 15 accidents, and saw emergency vehicles and fire trucks every half mile or so.  I saw several cars lying on their sides on the medians.

Our driver aborted mission just as we crossed the Hocking County line.  He had learned that U.S. 33 was closed in both directions because of the black ice, so we turned around and headed back to Columbus.  I walked in baby steps the rest of the day around Columbus, because the ice was so slick.  I called the friend I was going to see and told her what had happened, and promised I’d be down the next morning.

Which I was.  It was gray most of the day, but it was windbreaker weather, and I arrived right on time.  After my friend and I had breakfast at the Union Street Diner, we made the pilgrimage a little east on Union Street, and I saw the damage from the fire firsthand.

This picture is most representative of the fire's damage.  The white building in the center is Kismet, a clothing store.  The Smoke Zone Smoke Shop and the former Campus Sundry are to its right.  The apartments above these buildings are a total loss.

This picture is most representative of the fire’s damage. The white building in the center is Kismet, a clothing store. The Smoke Zone Smoke Shop and the former Campus Sundry are to its right. The apartments above these buildings are a total loss.

Both ends of Union Street, from Congress St. on the west to Court on the east, are closed.  There are metal portable fences and sawhorses on both ends, with signs reading ROAD CLOSED.  Even after a week, the soot smell lingers strongly over the entire block.

My sadness was offset by the wonderful day I spent with my friend.  She and I ate breakfast, toured Uptown (not so much a tour–she has lived in Athens all her life, and I have been pretty intimate with it on and off since I was 16), and visited Goodwill.  She and I both felt great all day, and I was thankful the rain held off until it was time for me to hop on the bus to head back to Columbus.  I truly hated to leave.

NaNoWriMo: Day the Twentieth, Day the Twenty and First

NaNoWriMo has always been a welcome respite from the savages who inhabit Buckeye Nation, but this year, it has been more of a chore than a joy.  So, I’m going public and announcing that I’ve tanked for this year.  It was not an easy decision to make.  When you begin to actually dread pulling up the Word program, and approach the night’s NaNoWriMo writing the way you would a endoscopy or a prostate exam, it’s time to reevaluate.  So, all the signs were there.  And, as Gandhi would say, “The only tyrant I accept is the still, small voice within me.”  Said tyrant has told me that NaNoWriMo is not meant to be this year.  I’m a little sad, a little disappointed, but those emotions come with relief.  I think the story I’m writing can do well, without all the unnecessary word tonnage that this competition encourages.  I definitely can do better when there is no 30-day deadline and minimum word count is not hanging over my head like a wake of vultures.

Maybe the title of this entry should have been “NaNoWriMo, Day the Last.”

I consoled myself by reveling in my good luck at Goodwill after work.  For a mere $18 and tax, I am the proud owner of Basic Library of the World’s Greatest Music, a 24-volume set of LPs featuring classical composers and their greatest compositions.  My parents had this set when I was a child, and I remember how it took up much of the space in the record drawer of their Magnavox console.  I’ve sought a copy for years, and almost bought the set on eBay for about $100, but today I feel good about making the trip to Goodwill.  (It is not a 100% complete set, so if anyone reading this blog is willing to part with Volumes 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, and 24, send me a private message!)  This is a wonderful collection, and I am surprised that no compact disk edition of it exists.  Once I came home, I signed into Collectorz.com and meticulously logged each album.

The volumes of Basic Library of the World's Greatest Music I bought today at Goodwill.  Truly hit the motherlode today!

The volumes of Basic Library of the World’s Greatest Music I bought today at Goodwill. Truly hit the motherlode today!

I wrote earlier this week about my new Olympus VN-7100 digital voice recorder.  I’ve had to replace my camera this week as well.  My beloved Kodak EasyShare is no more.  I knocked it off an end table and broke its battery door.  Electronically, the camera is probably fine, but that’s rather useless when the batteries keep sliding out.

So, I bit the bullet and I ordered a Nikon Coolpix S3600.  It’ll get its first real workout tomorrow, when I make a day trip to Athens.  I have to see the ruins of The Union firsthand.  (Going to Athens to visit ruins–there’s a precedent there!)  The purpose of this journey is why I didn’t use the phrase “baptism of fire”.  I managed to try out the camera today, when I shot two pictures of the stacks of albums to post on Vinyl Records Forever.

A year has passed, so the doctors at the Ross Heart Hospital are avidly awaiting my arrival Monday morning so they can take a look at my aneurysm and see how far it’s dilated, if at all.  In the last few days, I’ve had some pain under my left arm, and during yesterday’s walk around the Convention Center, I climbed a single flight of steps and had a hard time catching my breath by the time I reached the top.  (Weaving my way through patrons of the Ohio Star Ball–a ballroom dance convention–was an athletic feat all its own.)  But, I’m still here, so I’m not going to worry too much about it.  I will have to skip my morning yogurt and banana Monday morning–that is on its way to becoming a habit.

At least I won’t be walking in the Convention Center tomorrow, when it hosts the Yu-Gi-Go! Regional Qualifying Tournament.  That’s a relief.

I just heard The Alan Parsons Project’s “Can’t Take It With You,” a great song to hear as you meditate on mortality.

NaNoWriMo: Days the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth

The official start of the winter solstice is still a month away, but you would not know it from the looks of Columbus this week.  I walk at a pretty brisk pace wherever I go, but I’ve had to dial this down quite a bit, almost to the point where I’m walking like an old lady.

This is due to the wrist I broke earlier this year in a fall on the ice, and this was a reminder  that I have reached that stage in life where a fall can have more dire consequences than when I was still young and stupid.  I panicked a little this morning when I slipped a little on an icy sidewalk while I was on my way to catch my bus this morning, doing my usual Dagwood Bumstead dash out the door.

It looks like I have hit a brick wall with the Fifty K in Thirty Days manuscript.  I’ve decided to take an approach that has worked with me in the past.  Namely, I’m going to purge my mind of it, and “least expect it” for the time being.  I’ve always heard that’s when you find love–when you least expect it.  (I parroted this cliché to a lonely co-worker of mine at The Boston Phoenix, and he said, “Yeah, but I’ve been ‘least expecting it’ for two years now!)

It’s how I’ve found items I’ve thought I’ve lost.  Put them out of my mind, focus on something else, and then, lo and behold! they appear.

Yet, I’m not able to block the idea of the novel, and its current stagnation, from my mind altogether.  An elementary school teacher once told us, “I want you to sit totally quiet for the next two minutes.  And don’t think about blue elephants.”  At the end of the period of silence, he said, “You’ve been thinking of nothing but blue elephants the past two minutes.”

Sometimes I have this feeling.  However, computers are much worse.  One glitch, and God knows how much work is gone forever.

Sometimes I have this feeling. However, computers are much worse. One glitch, and God knows how much work is gone forever.

But I am armed for bear when inspiration finally rears its head.  Since my last few months in Athens, I’ve been in the habit of carrying a 3″ x 5″ spiral notebook and pen on my person, usually in the breast pocket of my shirt, or in my pants pocket.  (I know I started this practice in Athens, because my earliest notebook has HOCKING VALLEY BANK on its cover.)

If I think an idea will be so transient that I’m afraid I’ll lose it if I don’t record it right away, now I can record it, literally.  I bought my newest toy, an Olympus VN-7100 digital voice recorder, at Radio Shack Monday night.  (Ironically, it was kind of an impulse buy, while I was there to buy C-60 blank cassettes!)  It’s not much bigger than a domino, and has a storage capacity of about 40 hours at its highest speed.  I’ve christened it Digital Diane.

I have had a succession of microcassette recorders, which, until now, recorded on standard magnetic tape.  I named all of them Diane, after the unseen (but probably infinitely patient) aide of Twin Peaks‘ FBI agent Dale Cooper.  Several times an episode, Agent Cooper spoke his thoughts and information into a portable Dictaphone, and each one began with “Diane…”

So, now that I have the appropriate equipment (ancient and modern) to record all significant thoughts and inspiration, I have to “least expect it.”  In the meantime, my word count is unchanged.

The first appearance of Dale Cooper (and his omnipresent microcassette recorder) in the first episode of Twin Peaks.

The first appearance of Dale Cooper (and his omnipresent microcassette recorder) in the first episode of Twin Peaks.

NaNoWriMo: Day the Sixteenth

The official start of the winter solstice is still a month away, but the rain outside will be turning to snow before long.  The Weather Channel’s Website is showing a temperature of 34° F. at the moment, but they also show a 100% chance of one to three inches of snow before morning.  After breaking my right wrist earlier this year, I am more wary than ever about walking outside once it gets slippery.

A good rule when reading diaries is that if the entry starts with a mention of the weather, then the day must have been a dull one.  I can’t report any forward motion on NaNoWriMo today.  I logged plenty of time at the keyboard, but just couldn’t feel moved enough to write anything.

I suppose I could say that I am in mourning.  I woke up late in the morning and saw Facebook postings from The Athens News and The Athens Messenger.  Fire broke out early this morning on W. Union St. in Athens, displacing about 30 tenants and seriously damaging several businesses.  My first thought was about a dear friend of mine.  She lives in an apartment building on W. Union St., but, to my relief, a block or so away and on the opposite side of the street.

One of the casualties was The Union, a bar that received many dollars from me (and where I put many brain and liver cells to death) during the 1980s.  It later became the preferred hangout for my friends and me, mainly because it had a very good jukebox, the beer was cheap, and you could always waste a few quarters on pinball.

The Union seemed to be the type of place where you went when you and your friends met by complete chance.  A friend and I were walking on Union St. one winter afternoon, and a mutual friend ours, a young woman whom I had known slightly in high school from the Unitarian youth groups, saw us.  We stood on the sidewalk for about 30 seconds, and then one of us (I don’t remember who) said, “The Union?”  It was one of those rare occasions when I was actually flush, so I paid for the first pitcher, and I was quite proud to do it.

A picture (photographer is Christian Barry) of the fire on West Union Street in Athens this morning.  College Gate is in the foreground.  This is the westward view.

A picture (photographer is Christian Barry) of the fire on West Union Street in Athens this morning. College Gate is in the foreground. This is the westward view.

This woman and I were only in one class together, a class on Gay and Lesbian Issues, which encompassed politics, theology, arts, and biology all in one class, not an easy feat.  One afternoon, the professor showed The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), and she burst into tears at the news footage of the paramedics wheeling Milk’s body from San Francisco City Hall.  I was sitting next to her, so I put my arm around her and held her hand for the rest of the video.  She was still a little shaky when we left the classroom, and there was only one solution that came to my mind.  “Union.  Drinking.  Let’s go.”  She agreed.

Which makes me wonder: Where do you go to drown the sorrows of losing your favorite bar?  It’s kind of like the shoemaker’s children going barefoot.

NaNoWriMo: Day the Fifteenth

You wouldn’t have been able to tell by watching me, but I did manage to produce almost 1950 words earlier this evening.  I had a hard time staying focused, and, even though I swore up and down that I was bidding adieu to Facebook until I had finished, that wasn’t the case.

I was skittering back and forth between Word, Facebook, and my Gmail account, often after only writing a sentence or two.  I am not sure if that confirms what many people throughout my life have suspected: that I have ADHD.  That condition, although real, is way over-diagnosed, as I think it may have been in my case.  (When I was in first grade, I was taking thioridazine, which I don’t even think is on the market anymore.  I have never heard that one of my many diagnoses was schizophrenia.)

Growing up, I heard a lot of cracks about “hyperactive kid” and “hyperkinetic kids.”  A friend of Susie’s has been diagnosed ADHD, and she has received plenty of grief about it from the kids in her school (she’s a sophomore).  In anger, she posted a video suggesting to the people annoyed by her ADHD, “Drink this!” while holding a bottle of dish soap toward the camera.  “It contains bleach!!”  I can understand her feelings.

In my writing, I have always been reluctant to use onomatopoeia when describing events.  (That’s an excellent spelling bee word, although Todd Rundgren recorded a very clever song about it.  It’s a word that describes a sound: bang, crunch, crack, hiss.)  I’ve avoided them because I always thought they served their purpose better in graphic novels and comic books.

Mad magazine satirized the use and overuse of onomatopoeia in a story called “Sound Effects.”  It was just that: no dialogue, just sound effects.

From Mad #20.  The artist is Wally Wood.  My favorite sound in this is in the top left panel, for dialing a phone: Whirr, clickety-click-click-click.  Kids who grew up with Touch-Tone and cell phones will never know that sound.

From Mad #20. The artist is Wally Wood. My favorite sound in this is in the top left panel, for dialing a phone: Whirr, clickety-click-click-click. Kids who grew up with Touch-Tone and cell phones will never know that sound.

I’m still not back on task.  According to the stats, I’ll finish on December 5 at this rate, but I’m sure to have one of those days this month when I’ll be able to catch up.  Still not sure if the manuscript will be finished by the 30th, or if I’ll just reach my quota between the two projects.

But that’s a worry for another time.  Tonight, I will be rewarding myself at the Gateway Cinema near campus, watching (the first time for me) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).  I’ll be going there on foot, which means weaving through all the drunken clowns celebrating OSU’s victory over Minnesota (31-24).  I was forced to listen to it while I was having my late breakfast/early lunch at Tim Horton today en route to the post office.  Football season makes me feel like an early Christian huddling in the catacombs.

NaNoWriMo: Day the Fourteenth

Unsure if I will be working on anything when it’s still this side of midnight, but it looks like it’ll be a long night, so I may be doing some writing after midnight, and then more during the day.

Late this afternoon was the first day of the Bexley Public Library’s annual book sale.  The members of the Friends of the Bexley Library had first bite at the apple last night, but the sale officially opened this afternoon.

An attorney from the office and I left work at 4 and went to it.  We only had 15 minutes before the sale closed, but I managed to fill a bag and a half (Giant Eagle shopping bags) with books.  A lot of them were thick volumes (Gore Vidal’s Burr, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, among others), so it wasn’t so much that I bought a lot of books overall.  (I’m just thankful they charge by number of books, not by weight.)  And I’ll be back on Sunday, the final day of the sale, once everything is marked down 50%.

The Bexley Public Library, 2411 E. Main St., Columbus, Ohio 43209.

The Bexley Public Library, 2411 E. Main St., Columbus, Ohio 43209

One of my other purchases was the 1997 edition of the Merck Manual of Medical Information, a thick red volume.  I used to have a copy of this very edition (essential for the library of a borderline hypochondriac), and it came to my home during a rather turbulent period.

I was still working for the IRS as an appointment clerk in the summer of 1997, when Steph was pregnant with Susie.  I was moonlighting as a data entry typist at Merck-Medco at the same time (which would become a full-time job the following spring).  The data entry operators, technicians, and support people went out on strike when their contract expired.  Since I was part-time, I was not a member of the union, but I walked out as well.  You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off that ol’ Lone Ranger, and you don’t cross picket lines.

My supervisor fired me when I told her I would not be back until the strike was settled and everyone was back at work.  Besides missing the additional income, I thought that there was something wrong with my firing.

I spent a few nights in OSU’s law library, and gave myself a crash course in labor law.  And I learned that you cannot fire a non-bargaining unit employee merely for honoring a strike.  So, once the strike was settled, I took the matter to the National Labor Relations Board.  They took an affidavit from me, and agreed to go to bat for me.

After I took my case to the NLRB, a package from Merck was waiting for me when I came home from work.  Steph and I wondered–not entirely in jest–whether we should have the bomb squad open it.  I finally took a knife and opened the package, and there was the new Merck Manual, which they mailed out gratis to all employees.

(The end of the story is that the NLRB and Merck settled, and I was allowed back to work.  My claim to fame in Merck history is that I was the only person to get back pay from the strike.)

The mercury has slipped into the 20s here in Columbus, and I looked out the window during the work day and saw snow flurries.  I had planned to ride in the Second Annual Cycling Friends Tweed Ride tomorrow morning, but it will just be too cold.  And it’s too bad, because I borrowed a tweed jacket from an attorney who works in my office.

Possibly, cleaning my living space would be a good project for the weekend.  If anything else, I may bear down and chain myself to the laptop as a reasonable reason not to work on this place.  I’ll need a snow shovel if it gets much worse.

NaNoWriMo: Day the Thirteenth

Tonight was the monthly SoHud Block Watch meeting, so I was late in getting to the keyboard tonight.  Also, my computer had some issues when I tried to log on and get started, so I was late hitting the ground to start writing tonight.

My energy was at a low ebb because I was IMing with an old friend until nearly 2 a.m. this morning.  It was the type of conversation where I would have loved to stay on all night, only because talking face to face was not possible.

The best conversations I ever had, whether in Athens, Cincinnati, or here in Columbus, were the ones that happened at night, and then, when you finally stop and take a breath, you’re wondering what that odd light is you’re seeing in the window, and then realizing that it’s the sun, and it’s rising.

Besides the sleep deficit, work today was far from interesting.  As much as I complain about the doctors’ various idiosyncrasies when I listen to their dictations, I almost prefer their reports to the drudgery of typing hearing officers’ orders.  The ones who type out their orders in a template make my life easier, since all I have to do is cut and paste the words and phrases into a document shell, proofread it, and then its on its way.  The ones that the hearing officers dictate are much more time-consuming and frustrating.  And orders were what I did today.

As much as I love and admire Karl Marx, he was way off base about this.  I never feel like I'm manipulating anything.

As much as I love and admire Karl Marx, he was way off base about this. I never feel like I’m manipulating anything.

I have never considered bureaucrat to be a pejorative term, although I am more fond of the phrase civil servant.  I think the latter term has more dignity.  Per the dictionary, a civil servant is anyone employed by a government (with the exception of the military).  The work is often boring, and boredom often fuels the fire of depression, even though I am very conscientious about taking my medication.  Boredom is as much a trigger as the many triggers that someone who has post-traumatic stress disorder may experience.

My fingers are barely going where I want them to, so that is a sign for me to post this entry and fall into bed.

NaNoWriMo: Days the Eleventh and Twelfth

No entry last night.  I was just too exhausted, mentally and physically.

I have gone off the reservation for NaNoWriMo, and decided to do something that’s not exactly according to Hoyle, as far as the rules go.  As I was taking my daily lunchtime two-mile walk, I had an epiphany about how I can salvage this project and still finish on time.  I have changed the entire work in progress.

My manuscript last year was called Fifty K in Thirty Days, and the story dealt with a teenage girl and her widowed father as they work on their respective projects.  I had fun writing it, and since I shared it to my Cloud, Susie was (after a fashion) able to read it over my shoulder.

I am taking a hiatus from the Robert Lowry book at present.  Once NaNoWriMo ends on December 1, I plan to pick it up again, and combine the best of my original Lowry book with this, and have a much more concise manuscript than before.

And I am restarting NaNoWriMo from the ground up.  For the first time since the competition began on the first of November, I actually felt impatient to get home and to sit down at the laptop.  Once I went through the mail, I turned on my Windows Media Player (which is playing even as I am typing this entry) and opened a new document, and began typing.  I won’t lie and say that it was effortless, but I went a little over the recommended daily quota, and finished the bulk of the book’s Prologue.

I was tempted to delete the file of last year’s project, but I have vowed not to look at it.  (I never printed out a hard copy, so I am not tempted in that way.)  Some things I kept from the first incarnation, other things (dialogue, a character’s name, and setting) are brand new as of tonight.

My fear is that I will stall on this manuscript, as I did last year.  I already fear that it may become like Greenwich Village bohemian Joe Gould’s ambitious An Oral History of Our Time, which he said was “eleven times longer than the Bible.”  After his death, Joseph Mitchell, the New Yorker writer who told his story in a 1942 profile, learned that the manuscript was imaginary.   Gould carted stacks of composition books around Greenwich Village, but they only contained the same four or five anecdotes and essays, written and rewritten ad nasueam.  The story is told quite excellently in the movie Joe Gould’s Secret (2000), starring Ian Holm and Stanley Tucci.

Two pages from a diary that Joe Gould kept from 1943 until 1947, during the time when he was boasting about his lengthy (and fictitious) manuscript.

Two pages from an 11-volume diary that Joe Gould kept from 1943 until 1947, during the time when he was boasting about his lengthy (and fictitious) manuscript.

The NaNoWriMo Website has said that if I continue at my present rate, I will finish on December 5.  I’ve beaten those odds before, although I am still racking my brain on how to compensate for two days, the day before Thanksgiving (when I’ll be at OSU East for a sleep study), and the holiday itself, when I am making a day trip to Cincinnati to celebrate the day with an old friend.

Robert Lowry’s story does need to be told, and I am in a unique position for this to happen.  (I ordered a copy of his 1990 chapbook, XXIII Celebrities from Abebooks.com just before the Lowry project commenced, since my copy seems to have disappeared, or is buried under the pile of notebooks, Xerox copies, correspondence, and diaries that I refer to (in jest) as my files.)  My copy came from Apollinaire’s Bookshoppe in Toronto.  So, until this project regains momentum, I can be happy that it was a perfect excuse to replace my copy.

Today was the coldest day that I have walked outside.  I came out of the deli where I usually have lunch, and considered keeping the walk indoors, but decided to go ahead and pound the pavement outside.  I am still not used to the cold weather (yesterday, the temperature reached the mid-60s), and I wished that I had worn a hat, but I made the walk in the usual 40 minutes.

I will be much more wary once snow starts falling.  My 50-year streak of never having broken a bone ended this winter when I slipped on ice, so that has made me overly cautious about walking when the sidewalk is icy, or even overly wet from rain.  I go through my pocket notebook from last winter, and I can tell when I had the injured wrist, because my handwriting is spiky, uneven, and almost illegible.  Usually, it is almost textbook D’Nealian, just as I learned at North Hills School over 40 years ago.

I was sweating blood about my word count (or lack thereof) until I read a Facebook post from one of Susie’s friends: “At This Rate You Will Finish On: April 26, 2015.  Thanks, NaNoWriMo.”

That made me feel better about switching gears and starting a new project.  When it’s time to cut and paste the manuscript into their template for word count verification, I am going to put both manuscripts in there, since I have written over 16 thousand words since November 1 between the two books.

NaNoWriMo: Day the Tenth

The amount of work I did tonight was negligible.  I did finish another chapter, and I was about three paragraphs into the next one, when I realized that it just wasn’t happening tonight (whatever “it” is/was).

At first glance, this would be the ideal night to chain myself to the laptop and write the night away.  Tomorrow is Veterans’ Day, which is a holiday for me, so I can burn the midnight (and predawn) oil until the Snapple is no longer working its stimulant effect.

I was never a huge "Calvin and Hobbes" fan (If Calvin was my son, he'd be dead), but this panel does symbolize the way my creativity felt tonight.

I was never a huge “Calvin and Hobbes” fan (If Calvin was my son, he’d be dead), but this panel does symbolize the way my creativity felt tonight.

The problem may have started because, like I have on many another occasion, I have forgotten that I cannot nap.  I left work 1½ hours early today, which happens quite often on the eve of a holiday (especially a three-day weekend).  I looked through the mail when I came home, and decided to go up to the bedroom just to wind down.

Famous last words.

When I next remembered anything, the sun had almost set, which meant at least two hours had passed.  The sleep was not particularly refreshing, and only hunger drew me out of bed, although I was pretty much shambling once my feet hit the floor.

The cause may be that I forgot to take my Lamictal this morning.  I had it refilled late Sunday afternoon, but forgot to put it in my knapsack before I left for work this morning.  It has been excellent in keeping my bipolar disorder in check, and I see now that skipping even one day of it is not a good thing.   It’s  not a magic pill that will immediately cause me to produce prizewinning American literature just by clicking a mouse, but it does prevent the lows from getting too low, and, even though I may still cycle back and forth between euphoric mania and very deep depression, the changes are not as extreme.

It has been at least 10 years since my last psychiatric hospitalization, and I don’t see one looming in the near future.  Medication and regular visits with my nurse practitioner (I am seeing her tomorrow afternoon) have managed to keep me on an even keel, and I have seen an overall upswing in my mood these past few months.

But physical health issues loom.  An old friend posted on Facebook that he feels keenly aware of his own mortality, as his 50th birthday is just around the corner and his mother just turned 70.  I try to obsess about the aneurysm, but every time there is the slightest twinge of pain in the left side of my chest, I panic.  A doctor at the Ross Heart Hospital will be looking at it later this month, so we’ll see if it has dilated to the point where the word “surgery” starts coming into the conversation.

It took more than a year after the diagnosis, but I have been firmer in my resolve to not let the aneurysm turn me into an invalid.  I have never been an athlete, and I’ve taken an almost perverse pride in that fact, but I eagerly look forward to my two-mile walks every day at lunch, and have taken some trike rides for the exercise, not just as a way to get from one place to another.  Earlier in this blog, I’ve written about the Critical Mass Bike Rides.  The trike has not gotten as much mileage this summer as it has in summers past, but this has been because walking burns more calories than riding.

And the day before Thanksgiving, I’ll be the guest of OSU East Hospital, for yet another sleep study, in the never-ending and vain search for me to find a C-PAP that I can actually tolerate.  I awaken several times in the course of every night, usually just enough to know that I am awake, and look at the digital clock on my night table to see how long before the alarm actually goes off.  Needless to say, this is not conducive to restfulness, and leads to a circular pattern where I am drinking more and more iced tea during the day as a maintenance drug.  Of course, excessive caffeine consumption only disrupts the sleep cycle even further.  (I have abstained from carbonated drinks, even Dasani water, since April or May, but my caffeine consumption is as high as it ever was, from drinking iced tea.)

I won’t be ending this entry with “And so to bed.”  That looms quite a few hours from now.