THE EFFORT OF KEEPING CLEAN

Happy showerer

It is hard for the able-bodied to imagine how simple, everyday tasks can pose the most unexpected problems for those who suffer from chronic illness/condition. Take showering without any bathroom aids/extra equipment, for example.

bathAnd why a shower and not a bath? Well, when you are having a day when you simply cannot handle lowering/raising yourself into/out of the bathtub, showering is the only other available option.

walk in showerSo you’ve turned on the shower, stepped cautiously over the side of the bath—making certain to hang on to something solid in case your balance goes again, (or for those lucky enough to have a step-in shower, just walked in). And then the fun begins.

Start with your hair. Simple job, right? Well, not exactly. Not always. When you have muscle or joint pain/stiffness every day to incredibly varying degrees, stretching your arms over your head—in order to tentatively rub in shampoo—can be somewhat challenging on those days when you are not-so-flexible.

contortionOne must contort like a gymnast in order to obtain enough lather to do the job properly at times, which equals pain. If you manage this successfully, the rinsing is a breeze compared to what came before.

Then comes the reaching, (pain), stretching, (pain), lathering, (more pain), and rinsing of the body—and, don’t worry, I am not about to subject my readers to any details regarding this… use your imagination. All this whilst attempting to maintain balance when you rarely have access to that particular luxury.

FUN STUFF!

So you got everything but your feet. Well done! Now for the biggest challenge of all.

Hobbit feetThere is nothing more awkward than feet, in my humble opinion! How does one wash feet in the shower—one handed, because you are hanging on for dear life with the other—without losing balance or slipping on soapy soles whist stretching, (pain, again), so that you can wash between your toes? Slowly, with great caution, and a prayer for extra stability sent up to whoever you pray to, that’s how. And then, IF you manage to accomplish all of this, you have to trim your toenails. Another story of equal frustration, which I will not bother you with here.

exhaustedAll of this slowness, carefulness, and pain comes at quite a cost. If your condition/illness is blessed cursed with severe fatigue, the simple complex act of showering can be extremely exhausting in every sense of the word. You begin to wonder if keeping clean is really worth all that effort.

shower stool in bathThen you realize, there comes a time when bathroom aids become essential parts of life. That is why I finally gave in to my own limitations and am about to order a bath stool!

LoofahA loofah is another handy device, which will save all that stretching and reaching—well, a fair bit of it anyway. And basically, ANYTHING that will make the whole experience at least more tolerable is a good idea.

Now for a device to trim toenails that doesn’t involve contorting like a gymnast, pain, OR someone else touching my tickly feet!Feet Any ideas??

 

Ozark Writers League May Conference 2015

Chills, thrills, and bumps in the night

A wonderful time was had by all at this May’s OWL conference.
10981952_10153342867166514_4792682672118640021_nHotel Grand Victorian. Lovely place to stay and so close to OTC Table Rock Campus, where the conference takes place.
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Having fun at the Friday evening ‘open mic’ and wine raffle, with Velda Brotherton, Sandy Staszkiewicz, Jessica Nelson, Mike Miller, (the selfie king), and Julie James
11228114_10205538838462639_222777924978763172_nJan Marler Morrill‘s wonderful workshop all about characterization, and how to get to know your characters, (and yourself), even better. 
10985931_10207034852296197_8727186243752652090_nRuth Weeks‘s fantastic workshop all about how to know the difference between the paranormal, supernatural, and fantasy. We also got a start in how important it is to set the mood. Particularly loved it when the lights went out!
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 Velda Brotherton went into even more detail on mood setting and how to create the mood you intend through verbs and nouns.22298_10206239308758964_3341663108814611854_n
On our way home after a fabulous time and OWL’s May conference, with Julie James, Velda Brotherton, and Sandy Staszkiewicz at OTC Table Rock Campus.
I missed those who were not able to attend, but it was so great to see everyone that did!
 

Positive Body Image Quiz: 35 Signs and Rewards to Aim For

Alice White Author:

I agree with most of this list, posted by my good friend, August McLaughlin. The only parts I don’t are; the second part of point 8. I never care about calories, carbs, or fat :P; and 23/24. I’m on the fence with those. I DO still try to avoid cameras sometimes, since I already am aware I am not particularly photogenic, and never have been. But that’s okay, it’s just a simple truth I came to know. I am however, better than I was about seeing photos of myself out there… even the not so great ones ;)

Originally posted on August McLaughlin's Blog:

Most folks analyze, or at least consider, their appearance and lifestyle habits regularly. But what about your body image? Have you ever taken inventory?

As I explained on Rick Gabrielly’s fabulous new podcast The Marriage BOSS poor body image is seldom rooted in vanity. Women are taught in countless ways that certain physical traits pave the way for happiness and success, and if we lack them, we may as well succumb to misery. Luckily, that’s not true. We will suffer, however, if we make them our truths. Make sense? How we feel about our bodies and looks becomes self-fulfilling. A little self-awareness can go a long way in shifting your ways toward the positive.

I compiled the following list of healthy body image signs based on decades of personal and professional experience. To use it as a quiz, jot 1 – 35 on a sheet of paper. Then beside each corresponding item that applies to…

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#NotSorry: 5 Things I No Longer Apologize For

Alice White Author:

Wonderful, inspiring blog post, from my friend and fellow author August McLaughlin. I thank you for posting your five, August. Here are mine.
1. For not being a morning person, and not feeling comfortable with, or having patience for, doing too much at that time of day, other than letting the dogs out for their morning constitutional, before coffee! I now say; “I’m grumpy in the mornings – deal with it.” ;)
2. For being an introvert. I have found that “button” some of we introverts press in order to be a little more social at gatherings, but sometimes it doesn’t work. When I was very young, I actually used to think there was something wrong with me, and used to apologize inwardly, until I met more introverts. Now, I don’t.
3. For not feeling I have the time or energy, (or inclination), to wear makeup, get my nails done, follow the latest trend in hair-do’s, follow fashion, or own many pairs of fancy shoes. I tried makeup once upon a time, but did not like how it felt on my face, so stopped using it. Thankfully, I am happy enough in my own skin that I don’t feel the need to cover it up with “war paint” :) I also wear a lot of black. a) because I REALLY like black, and b) it makes it so easy to pick out a coordinating “outfit” for the day!! (I do like to be coordinated, but I’m not overboard about it). I must stress, however, that I only “dress up” when I’m going out of the house, or if we are having visitors, (the latter for the sake of decency), since most of the time I lull about the house in my pajamas. Yes, my PJ’s are coordinated, too ;)
4. For sometimes having to say NO to arrangements, because of health or life in general getting in the way. Or because I just don’t want to. Sometimes, priorities change or we don’t feel like doing something, so we shouldn’t feel bullied or guilt-tripped into it. I used to, for fear of hurting feelings, but I don’t anymore. So, if I do agree to do something, know that it is because I WANT to and am able to, not because I would feel guilty if I didn’t ;)
5. Finally, for being weird and unusual. I have always marched to the beat of my own drum, and never felt the need to “fit in”. Occasionally, especially when I was much younger, it would get me down to be called “weird” or “freaky” or “just not with the times”, but now I embrace my uniqueness. Life is way too short to feel guilty about being yourself. :)

Originally posted on August McLaughlin's Blog:

You may have noticed that women apologize a lot. A whole lot. While it’s appropriate to say, “Sorry!” when we’ve, say, stepped on another’s toe, apologizing for being ourselves hurts us and, by way of example, others.

A few years ago, the ever-sparkly Natalie Hartford published a blog post called 5 Things I’ll Never Apologize For, which basically says, “This is who I am. Deal with it!” (Woot!)

I’ve thought of her post many times since, particularly upon realizing I’m no longer apologetic for aspects of myself that once left me guilt-ridden.

Here are five of those things:

1. For not being a night owl.

I think I’m genetically predisposed to turn into a mushy-headed pumpkin by 9pm. (I don’t even know what that is. Anyway…) I used to feel dorky for wanting to eat dinner at 5pm or donning PJs when “hipper” friends were taking pre-going out naps. Not anymore.

Proof that turning in early can be sweeter. Proof that turning in early can be sweeter.

If I stay…

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Five Star Review of Bayou Jesus by M.G. Miller

A dark, Southern Gothic tale that had me hooked from the first line. I saw, tasted, felt, and smelled the bayou – even though I have never experienced it in person. I understood the oppression endured by Zassy; a young black woman, struggling to live in a time with no racial equality, as a single mother of a son who seems to have a special calling.
The three sections, entitled Father, Son, and Ghost, led me on a journey that took me through an emotional spectrum so vast, and twists I didn’t see coming, that it kept me hooked throughout.
I do my reading just before going to sleep, and I found it difficult to put the book down, even as eyes drooped. M.G. Miller is a master at his craft, and Bayou Jesus is a stroke of genius.
Five stars well deserved!

Some. Only some.

Alice White Author:

Great words by my friend and fellow author, Amy Weaver, and again totally relatable, I am certain, by pretty much everyone. xox

Originally posted on thelongandwritingroad:

Some will take every chance they can to point your weaknesses, instead of your strengths.

Some want to lower you, so they can appear above you.

Some won’t celebrate your accomplishments, but will definitely relish in your failures.

Some will call you a name, one that’s so far from who you really are, that it proves they don’t know you like you thought they did.

Some won’t reach out to you when you’re hurting and going through a difficult time, but will definitely show up when things are fabulous.

Some never see your tears or hear your breaking heart.

broken

These “some” are the cause for silence and exiting. These “some” need to know you take your shortcomings head-on and are quite aware of every single one of your faults.  Seriously, every single fault is burned in the memory, especially after being pointed out on more than two or three occasions. These…

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What is SPRING?

I sit in my recliner during a break today, at around 12.30pm and watch the light change.

I wonder if you all know what I mean by that.

Well, in short it means that spring has arrived. But what is spring?

 

Brand new buds augment their presence on trees.

Flowers shoot up to the waiting world in a spectacular, but gradual, “ta-da”.

daffodilsYellow daffodils stretch for the cloudless warmer, richer, bluer sky from greener grass.

Cardinal and BlueJayMister Cardinal shares his juicy pickings with mistresses Blue Jay.

Sister Goldfinch perches with tentative balance on newly formed twigs.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERACarefree deer at play in the meadow, their white tails bouncing.

Thunder storms, rain, and a fuller sun coaxing all to life.

The daylight’s paler, winter colours make way for brighter hues,

Signalling spring has sprung along with hope for new beginnings.

 

What does spring mean for you?