Karen

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It feels oddly quiet since New Year's, and I am not complaining. I think we're all taking a collective sigh and switching off. I came off with a Christmas Cold so I'm doubly glad for the peace. It feels so odd though, coming off the holiday buzz. And this must happen every year but this year is the first "normalish" feeling year for me in a while so I guess I'm noticing it again. (I said off too many times. Semantic satiation. Also, cold medicine.)


Peace.

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Yeah. It _was_ pretty quiet. I even got snowed out today. Weather was just supposed to be overcast, but by the time I got to York, the snow started coming down. So I turned around and came home.

Which actually worked out great because I got an order for my largest (volume of illustrations, not money) single paying illustration gig ever. I then proceeded to knock out 5 of the 39 required drawings.

All of which is probably more info than you were looking for, but it's 12:30am so _of course_ I'm wired...
Wired and tired. My M.O. as well. Very glad to hear about the new biggest project, and the exceptional jump start you got on it. Way to hit the ground running! xoxo
Karen 1/9edited
Mass bed-in seems to be the only solution to the January doldrums.
Bed-in is not a term I run across often, but that is exactly the right one. I'm doing more of it, even after I'm well again.
Karen 1/9
January has been a great bed-in so far. But then again, so was 2018. Highly recommended. :-)
 

Your kind responses to my short Dec 10 pain-post were recieved with gratitude even though I didn't respond. I sorta went into hidey-mode for a bit.

Wanted to update that I got a very nice Christmas gift of muuuch lighter pain for the four days surrounding Xmas, which was so random and wonderful that I'm going to go ahead and thank you all for the good mojo.

Have a goofy cat photo.

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12/27 '18 16 Comments
Glad to hear there was a time of lighter pain.
Robert Bryan 12/27 '18
Thank you, Robert. You are so kind.
Karen 12/29 '18
That cat’s not goofy!

Well, okay, yeah. Maybe he is. :P
He's a total derp. Just check out today's Instagram.

(@karonagram if you're reading this and want to find me.)
Karen 12/29 '18
Directions unclear. Put goofy cat in ugly sweater.
Ray Conrad 12/27 '18
Tail caught in ceiling fan?
Karen 12/29 '18
You see, that sort of video, which I will discourage and remonstrate for being animal abuse, also makes me laugh.

I'm a bad person.
Ray Conrad 12/29 '18
No, really, you're just honest about your dark humor. ;)
Karen 12/30 '18
Yay for lighter pain!
How did you convince the cat to wear that?
No convincing. He is actually an alien disguised as a cat who will let you dress him, walk him, pick him up, and let you touch his paws *and* his belly, all while purring. >'-'<
Karen 12/29 '18
Obviously not a cat. Have you considered it's an alien doing a poor cat impersonation to gather information on humans?
Ray Conrad 12/29 '18
I often suspect that, but every now and then he does something so truly cat-derpy that I wonder at his amazing acting abilities. He rolled off the bed in his sleep last week, for instance.
Karen 12/30 '18
Karen 12/30 '18
What's really missing from the picture is the completely doofy striped pant legs it has. The cat's, not Roger's. (Well, also Roger's, but those were a gift from my mom so it's allowed.)
Karen 12/30 '18
So glad you had a little relief.
Leela 12/27 '18
Aw, yes. You know the gift this is. Thank you, sunshine. <3
Karen 12/29 '18
 

A mammoth of an eerily silent great horned owl swooped down in front of us while driving down a small winding road towards my house the other night. It was a ghost of a creature floating in front of us for a few seconds, giant and mysterious, until it angled up effortlessly to the top of a nearby pine tree.

I could not tell you for the life of me what either of us had been nattering on about when we saw it, but it stopped our noise in its tracks. Even now, thinking about it, I can see its eye as it turned its head slightly, just to catch us by the corner, before it looked away again.  I can feel the dead quiet awe that came over me, bringing a veil of calm.

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12/16 '18 4 Comments
That is awesome! I've never come across owls during my travels, but I _have_ had moments like this while on the road. There's really pretty much nothing like those silent moments. So cool!
Exactly.
Karen 12/18 '18
Dude, that’s amazing.

WHYY had a news item recently about snowy owls showing up at the Jersey Shore this winter, which apparently happens in years where there’s a prey shortage in Canada. Maybe you’ll see more owls this year.
More owl sightings would be so lovely. Majestic bird. I can see why they are thought of as wise now.
Karen 12/18 '18
 

The chronic pain is really getting to me today.

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12/10 '18 5 Comments
Sorry hon. Hoping it fades quickly.
No bueno.
Anne Mollo 12/10 '18
I’m really sorry.
I don’t know if this will help, but it pairs well with lying back and closing your eyes.

https://www.woodenovercoats.com/

Hope you're feeling better today.
Ray Conrad 12/11 '18
Faaaack. I'm really sorry, beb. I hope this particular round passes soon.
 

I've got a wasps's nest in my deck post, possibly under the vinyl as well. I've got guests coming in a week and a half, specifically to hang on my deck.

Terminix wants $199 to remove it and a hard push of endless requests for yearlong service (it was $299 originally, but if you pause for a beat, it suddenly drops to $199, which is still too rich for my sensibilities, damnit!) I've dealt with all my own bugs in the past, and also I like my money, so we are attempting to kill it ourselves. The first attempt will be a foaming spray from 20 feet away.

I can't possibly see anything going wrong with this.

We couldn't find it at Blue Box Store last night so Rog is going to get it from Orange Box Store today. In the meantime I put out a trap bag for wasps last night. I looked at this morning: nothing. Crap.


[EDITED, Friday, Aug 31]

I did it! Actually, Rog did it before I even woke up this morning. A $2.49 can of foaming spray from Dries (thank you small local business) did it in one shot. Damn Terminix for upping my stress level. I was just concerned about the distance this time, and my inability to really run. Yellowjackets are f*%ing vicious. Though I've killed small paper wasp nests several times already, for some reason this nest seemed so much more active and harder to spray and get away from safely!

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8/30 '18 7 Comments
Flamethrower.
Burn it all down. It's the only way to be sure. (Oh wait, that's spiders.)
Karen 8/31 '18
"The first attempt will be a foaming spray from 20 feet away."

I've done it countless times over the years. That first attempt will probably be all you'll need. It's no big, and it's sure as shit not $199 big!

(I know you already will, but I still have to say it: just be sure to clean up well since the Lil' Man likes to sit out there with you...)
Matt Lichtenwalner 8/31 '18edited
I did it! Actually, Rog did it! Update in post. And THANK YOU.
Karen 8/31 '18
Yay!
So glad you got this handled! I’d probably let spray again I’m a few days, just for good measure.
Leela 9/3 '18
Thank you! Yes, we've had to do a couple applications, but so glad it's handled. Unnecessary stress.
Karen 9/4 '18
 

Whoa, am I having a bit of an emotional day today. Bear with me, I'm trying to get the world framed right again. I think this particular time is the result of the prolonged bed rest (four weeks!) and a migraine last night followed by insomnia. I could ride it out silently, or I could write to you guys and maybe get a good process going.

I was in the middle of some paperwork I have to take care of once a year. This is the sixth year. It has to do with my work and health, so it's already a touchy subject. While looking through the massive pile of unfiled documents that is now my harddrive (thank you iTunes fiasco), I stumbled upon some emails I wrote to a very close female coworker, exactly 16 years ago today. We thought we were so clever and witty. We lovingly called each other bitch. I have to laugh. We were the youngest at Stanley Vidmar by 15 years in our respective departments, hers sales, mine engineering. I can't imagine what the others thought of us, and I'm so glad I didn't know.

But then I realized, 16 years ago today, I had a successful career, a very active lifestyle, a fiancé, an upcoming wedding, and had just returned from a trip to Jamaica. From where I stand right now, if I looked just right, it seemed like such a stark contrast to now.

I was looking out the bedroom window at another sunny day when the tears hit me. Lots of tears. So I wrote a long, private, journal entry to myself, outlining my woes today (thank you OPW), and then I went back and looked at more of the emails. And I discovered not a month later I was leaving Stanley during another sweep of layoffs.


And I remembered how stressed I was, with the axe dropping almost every Friday. And the three bosses, and the unending overtime, and the list of 21 open projects, each of them unironically labeled top priority. And the tears then, too. So many tears.

And that I started my housecleaning business not long after, and which then became my favorite job ever for the next ten years. A business that got me through a divorce, a health diagnosis, a lost beloved pet, and someone totaling my car. A business that found me a best friend, a bevy of new people in my life, amazing adventures, and eventually a wonderful man who loves me.


I've lived alone for 10 years, fiercely independent. I've had to give up the independence due to health, but I think I accidentally gave up the fierceness, too. And now I may or may not be on the cusp of giving up the alone part. (Or really, I already have and it scares the hell out of me.) On top of that, everything that's happened since last fall is still fairly recent. It really hasn't been that much time yet. I've since filled my time with a renewed relationship, a wonderful vacation, and more recently, back surgery that may improve my quality of life, yet here I sit suddenly reeling from the weight of loss and laughingly not knowing why. Oh, dear.

So, how do I keep my chin up? I'm prone to realism, not optimism. I can't change my stripes in that regard, so I have to work within the pattern. How do I frame this period of time so that I don't keep feeling so lost whenever I'm alone with myself, in this bed? Because I am definitely more than a little lost right now.

Thoughts on what the future might bring are great, but the days are long right here and now, and I'm pretty painfully chained to the right here and now. I've already made the first step by writing it all out and gathering my thoughts, but I could use some help, or just some connection from you guys, to ground me a little today. At the moment, it's difficult just getting up and making food, if that gives you an idea of my mobility levels. So, tell me anything, or tell me nothing at all. Just say hi.

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Did you know that tomato soup with popcorn is really tasty?
Like, in it? Considering that I have tomato almost every day of my life, I feel I've been missing out on something pretty important.
Karen 4/6 '18
Yup. Like instead of crackers or bread or something. Sprinkled on top. Or, in my case, thrown in by the handful.
Good Christ, I must try this thing. Do you have anymore simple food hijacks like this? You played into my here and now very nicely. <3
Karen 4/6 '18edited
Yeah, not going to lie. That sounds kinda wonderful.
It is stupidly delicious. Smartfood popcorn works well with it.
Well that makes sense. Smartfood Popcorn is my crack cocaine.
Karen 4/12 '18
Okay. If you’re too tired to chop, don’t take this one on, unless you can get pre-chopped veggies or outsource the labor to a sturdy young lad/lass. Otherwise, add cheese and this is delicious.
https://www.thugkitchen.com/roasted_chickpea_broccoli_burrito
My favorite part: "Take it out of the oven, don’t fucking burn yourself..."
Karen 4/12 '18
Mine too. :)
 

Three and a half weeks out from surgery, and I feel a little like I'm waking up from a coma (again? do I use this description a lot?). It's been nice to read up on OPW after a long day of washing my bedsheets. Yeah, it took all day. Still gotta stop and lay flat down quite a bit.

Now if only I could reach my legs to shave them. There is nothing like freshly shaved legs on freshly laundered sheets. Amirite, girls? Girls who shave?

I'm off the percocet which means my mobility is a little more limited now, and that means a lot more time on my back than even the week before, but it's worth it to be able to kiss that medication and it's side effects goodbye. I was on pretty heavy doses this time, so I'm still sweating like a fat man. And the insomnia is pretty full-on without the help of Benadryl. We're all (middle-age-ish) grownups here so I CAN say how nice it is to be able to poop again. The mood swings can go fuck right off, though. It's only been a week, but that's by far the worst part.

I do want to say that if you're hearing less from me, its usually (not always, but for right now, yes) a sign that things are pretty decent. *Sigh* even good, though I feel like I jinx myself when I say that. I am unfortunately one of those journalers who usually only writes when something bad is going down. It's a good release for bouts of depression, but I forget to come back and here and let folks know my life is more than just these journal entries.

So, let's see. I have a good thing going with a great guy, and we are already doing that thing where we have so much fun together we end up just not ending the date. Let's go do nothing together, it's amazing. These things don't come along every day, so I'm thoroughly enjoying it and hoping the newness feeling stretches out for a good long time. I feel like a lucky girl. :)

What else. Well, I am 3.5 weeks out of surgery, which means I'm 2.5 weeks closer to taking the back brace off. And driving. And maybe doing some light, light, liiiiiight gardening. (How does one garden without bending/lifting/twisting? I shall find out.) That time went by a lot faster than I was expecting. I expect the next 2.5 weeks to go pretty nicely too. Still too soon to know if the surgery worked, so I can't answer that, but I look forward to Spring yard stuff to distract me until I do.

I learned that laughing really does drop pain levels. This has caused me to ask everyone around me for their favorite jokes. There are too many to repeat here, but here are two favorites:

Q: "What is brown and sticky?"

A: "A stick".  (This one makes me laugh before I can even finish it, because I'm a dork for stupid jokes like this. I just made you think of poop!)

Q: "What is the difference between pink and purple?"

A: "The grip." (Buwahahahah, naughty. Thank you Roger and Harold.)

The best was Roger's 80-year-old mother telling me a joke that involved her saying the word "testicles" several times:

A man is lying in bed in a hospital with an oxygen mask over his mouth. A young nurse appears to sponge his face and hands.

"Nurse," he mumbles from behind the mask, "Are my testicles black?"

Embarrassed the young nurse replies, "I don't know, I'm only here to wash your face and hands."

He struggles again to ask, "Nurse, Are my testicles black?"

Again the nurse replies, "I can't tell. I'm only here to wash your face and hands."

The ward nurse passes by and sees the man getting a little distraught so she marches over to inquire what is wrong.

"Nurse," he mumbles, "Are my testicles black?"

Being a nurse she is undaunted. She whips back the bedclothes, pulls down his pajama trousers, moves his penis out of the way, has a good look, pulls up the pajamas, replaces the bedclothes and announces, "Nothing is wrong with them."

At this the man pulls off his oxygen mask and asks again,

"Are my test results back?"

I will never forget my shock and joy at hearing the words "Are my testicles black?" come from her mouth. Ha! That made my back feel better for a good while!

Anyway, where was I. So, yes, nice to come back to earth and catch up with you guys. Thanks for the lovely prose. <3


Much love,

Your Biggest Fan,

Karen


p.s. - I'm forgetting myself and commenting on old posts. Oops!

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Moar later, but for now:

(This joke is best when told by a small child.)

Child: "How do you catch a unique bird?"

Listener: "I don't know - how?"

Child: "Unique up on it!"

Child (again): "How do you catch a TAME bird?"

Listener: "I don't know - how?"

Child: "The TAME way - UNIQUE up on it!"

Thank you. Thank you. I won't be here all week.

(Glad you're on the mend.)
Thank you! This is just the kind of ridiculous joke I like to tell grown-ups. :) The more tough-guy they are, the better.
Karen 4/1 '18
Also, I have to agree - when I shave my legs and have fresh, clean sheets...
Pics or GTFO.
Karen 4/3 '18
I forgot about this joke. I've heard it as a tame/unique rabbit. Love it.
That works!
I can't wait to tell my mom the hospital joke.

My grandmother told me this one.
Two little old ladies (LOLs) run into each other at the supermarket. One LOL says to the other, "Ethel, you've got a suppository in your ear."
The other LOL says, "What?"
The first LOL says, "You have a suppository in your ear!"
"Speak up, I can't hear you!"
(this part of the joke goes on for as long as is necessary)
Finally, the second LOL sighs and says, "Oh. Now I know where my hearing aid is."
lol!
This is the perfect kind of response joke for Roger's mother. Thank you.
Karen 4/3 '18
And yes, freshly shaved legs on clean sheets is wonderful.
I'm deciding between breaking out a brand new razor the day the brace comes off, or trying for a semi-romantic teach-the-bf-how-to-do-it moment in the bath. I keep thinking of the shins, though. Ouch ouch ouch.
Karen 4/3 '18
"now I know where my hearing aid is. Speak up!"
As soon as you said it.
I want a game where you guess the joke by the punchline.
Karen 4/3 '18
 

Can't sleep, monkeys will eat me.




It's 3:25am, I'm six days out from back surgery, tired of taking pills, tired of apple juice and crackers, tired of sleeping on my back, and yet not actually tired enough to sleep. Ha!


Okay, back at it. xoxo

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3/14 '18 3 Comments
I'm sorry that it requires so much of you, but I am thrilled to see you making forward progress.
Hey, thanks babe! Today was better. :)
Karen 3/15 '18
Yay!
 

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

"Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'm sitting here on the bench, I mean I'm sitting here on the Group W bench 'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after being a litterbug."



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11/27 '14 3 Comments
I'm not proud. Or tired.
Sean M Puckett 11/27 '14
I know you don't want me to have any money to spend in the jail cell, but do you think I'm really going to kill myself for littering?
Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send your fingerprints off to Washington.
Kevin Niemi 11/28 '14
 

NaNoWriMo-ers (and drawers, poets, knitters, etc), you've got 5 days left! What's your status?

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11/26 '14 2 Comments
I posted the final interior pdf and final cover pdf to Ingram today and clicked "Commit" on Arden House Book 2.
(Started working on that in June 2013, though, which is probably cheating in the NaNoWriMo context, but there it is.)
Robert Bryan 11/26 '14
Oh, you "real novelists" with your "editorial schedules" and "completion dates". [Eyeroll]
Thomas Boutell 11/26 '14