Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflections and Resolutions

It’s impossible to come to this date and not think back on what’s happened in the previous 12 months. I used to excel at finding the past year wanting, but this year, I see it all through rose-coloured glasses. This was a monumental year for me and it’s all gone past in a blur. I can’t believe it’s already almost-2014 — most of me is quite sure it’s mid-September, but if it is, it’s really cold for late summer and there are no leaves on the trees. I think I blinked and it really is the end of the year.

So, what happened in the past 12 months?

I published my first book. It still makes me giddy every time I look at it

Resolution: get going on writing Book II.
I pushed up against my limits harder than I ever have, at times blasting right through them. I’m not saying it was smart, but the fact that I could is completely overwhelming to me.

Resolution: remenber that just because I can, doesn't mean I should.

This was also the year that I discovered what happens when I push up against and past my limits. Who knew that stress causes flares of RA and Fibro??

Resolution: work smarter, not harder.

Thanks to the Show Us Your Hands! recalibration, I have deeper understanding of why I push myself and what it does to me, both physically and emotionally. I am deeply grateful to the four beautiful people who are my teammates and friends. They saw me through it and thanks to them, I have become much better at saying no when I should, both to others and myself. And without feeling guilty! (much)

Resolution: say no more often.

I learned that messing with my Humira schedule is not a smart thing to do is. There’s a reason we developed this particular schedule 7 years ago and no matter what happens, I’m not messing with it again.

Resolution: get better at listening to what my body has to say.

I picked up another freelance job, which gave me the opportunity to exercise another part of my brain, to learn and to be part of creating something really special. I found another good friend through the experience and discovered the difference between what makes my brain happy and what makes my soul happy.

Resolution: create more time for writing.

I published my second book. It also makes me giddy

Many new people came through my life and I’m privileged that so many of them became my friends, both three-dimensionally and online. It never fails to amaze and delight me when I need a kindred soul. Thanks to the Internet, this happens on an almost daily basis.

Resolution: spend more time with friends.

I learned about working a lot and working too much. I learned about trusting your gut, forgiveness and moving on. I learned about ebb and flow and constancy. I learned that distance and time doesn’t matter, only friendship. I learned that just when I think I can’t get any prouder of the people I love, they inspire and astound me with what they can do. I learned that when I think I’ve experienced the deepest love possible, it gets deeper still.

Resolution: have perspective and pay attention.

There have been challenges and this new year that’s just around the corner is going to start with a doozy. But thanks to everything that happened this year, I know that I’ll get through it. In a year that was marked by several wonderful gifts, this is perhaps the most profound: not just faith in myself, but the almost physical sensation of sharing my life with some truly remarkable people who make it all possible.
I am a very lucky woman.

Happy New Year! Looking forward to sharing 2014 with you all!

Do you have any resolutions?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Very Tink Christmas

We were very lucky that our area wasn't affected by the icestorm for more than a day or two and didn't lose power, so we got to have Christmas right on schedule. Which naturally is Christmas Eve.

As usual, we all promised to not go haywire on the presents. As usual, we did

We ate dinner in the building's party room, which was a bit cold. Liam borrowed my hoodie, which made him look like a miniature Grim Reaper. He had a lot of fun with that.

We shall not discuss the aggravation of an 8 year old boy being able to wear your hoodie and it only being a little big for him.

After dinner, there was cuddling

and the requisite after dinner chase


When we came back upstairs to my mother's apartment, we found Muffin impatiently waiting by the presents


Carol singing came first. This is one of my favourite parts of Christmas. We each chose a Danish and an English carol and sing first and last verse of all of them, plus the one my dad always messed up. It makes it feel as if he's there, too. There's a lot of interesting interpretations of the Danish language by the Canadians and a lot of laughter


Then Ken and the Tinks don nisse huer (Santa hats) and dole out presents.

Janne and the kids slept over so we got do do it all over again on Christmas morning, to satisfy the half of them that's Canadian. And we woke up to this


Five centimetres (2 inches) of perfect fluffy, quiet Christmas snow!

And it's entirely possible the tissue paper was the best gift of all

I hope you all had a magical Christmas!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Glaedelig Jul, 2013

Ready or not, hear it is! Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday. Eat good food, hug your loved ones and sing carols as loud as you can!

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Toronto On Ice

We had an icestorm this weekend and the city's still recovering. I'm very lucky to live in an area that didn't lose power. The primary difficulty I've experienced is that most of the attendants who provide services to me and about 20 other people have cancelled their shifts. I've been very, very happy to see the ones who did come to work!

In the middle of it all, there was beauty.

 Just look at this

It's not until you get closer that you realize the extent of the ice

Everything was encased

My neighbourhood looked like something out of a fairytale, before the happy ending.

I felt really bad for the wild critters

 Everything was coated. Every single branch

Crazy, dangerous, beautiful. Nature at its worst and best, all in one day.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Reporting from Inside the Pain

Two weeks ago, I developed an injury in my back and shoulder. I still don’t know what I did, except it probably had something to do with being at the computer for too long for too many days. It was a completely new place with a completely new pain that I’ve never experienced before. It felt like I had a perpetual Charley horse in the muscles on the right side next to my spine, accompanied by a streak of numbness on the front of my torso. Being up and seated wasn’t fun, but lying down was worse. Whenever I got horizontal, the muscles went into spasms so intense that I couldn’t move. It was the most pain I have had in years and it was Not Fun.

Luckily, it started shortly before a weekend when The Boy was here. From Friday to Sunday, he gave me ultrasound every day and catered to my every whim and so I didn’t have to use my left arm for anything. Last Monday, I had an appointment with my rheumatologist, who gave me a trigger point injections of freezing and steroid. This broke the spasms enough that I could start healing. It’s still lurking and I’m still being very careful, but things are better.

In the midst of all of that, I was reminded of the number of things about pain that I’d almost forgotten:

Really intense pain in one area can make it difficult to feel the rest of your body. It’s as if the sensory nerves can only process so much.

The 10 point pain scale is logarithmic like the Richter scale. Each whole number indicates a tenfold increase.

When your pain is at a 9 for a couple of days, you very quickly worry whether it’s permanent.

In related news, a level 9 pain is the sobbing kind of pain. Except crying makes it hurt more, so you don’t.

Really big pain makes you feel very alone, even if someone’s there trying to help you through it.

Codeine is a gift. So are muscle relaxants.

When you are on a lot of strong painkillers, your face feels kind of numb.

When you have intense pain, narcotic painkillers don’t make you high. Sometimes a bit woozy, especially if you haven’t taken them in a long time, but within a day or two, your body adapts.

If you’re taking a lot of narcotic painkillers, it’s a good idea to stock up on prune juice.

When a spasm starts, it’s like a rip tide, grabbing hold of you, pulling tighter and tighter as it sucks you helplessly into a maelstrom of pain.

Really big pain makes it hard to breathe.

When a spasm starts, you can reduce its impact if you work to stretch the muscle before the spasm crests.

Stretching a muscle that wants to go into a spasm temporarily increases the pain.

Deliberately stretching a muscle that wants to go into a spasm feels like a very brave thing.

When the really big pain has receded into terrible pain, you can’t remember what the really big pain felt like. You can remember what that you cried and couldn’t breathe or move, but there is no sensation memory.

You can remember that you don’t want to be there again, though.