Just Another Blog

my random ramblings about crafts, writing, books and kids

Day 114 of Isolation: Independence Day!


I know there’s not much going on in this country to be truly proud of these days so here’s a picture of my kids from nine years ago when things were better:


They were 9 1/2, almost 1, 11, 5, and 8 1/2.

This was probably the last time they were all home on the 4th and definitely the last time they let me dress them all up for pictures. I miss those days.

This year, three of them aren’t home and neither is my grandson. It’s just the youngest two, and the now-14yo doesn’t want to celebrate at all because she’s fed up with the attitudes of her fellow Americans*.

We’re not actually doing anything today. I’ll be cooking dinner later: steak sandwiches with fries and possibly mac & cheese. I was going to grill hot dogs, too, but then half the kids left and it looks like it’s going to rain so there’s no point. There’s apple pie for dessert and strawberries to much on during the day. Fireworks that shoot up in the sky (ie the cool ones) are banned in our town and all of the 4th of July celebrations have been canceled because of the pandemic. I’m sure some of our neighbors will still be shooting stuff off so I’ll be sitting on the porch watching.

That’s the extent of our holiday, though.

Hope everyone has a great day if they can in today’s volatile social climate.

*I don’t really blame her.

Day 113 of Isolation: Self-Centered People

I am so fed up with individuals, especially those in my town, that are so ignorant and self-centered they refuse to wear a mask or do even the slightest to mitigate the spread of this virus.

I had to run to Safeway today to get stuff for dinner tomorrow. I’ve avoided stores for the most part the last four months and normally go when they’re not very busy. Of course, this was a Friday afternoon the day before a major holiday. Ugh.

Masks are now mandatory in Washington state for everyone inside of buildings and where social distancing can’t be maintained yet there were so many people in the store without masks or not wearing them properly (pulled down below their noses or even just sitting on their chins). Even some of the employees didn’t have them on right which was even worse.

Then there were the families with kids–none of them wearing masks, kids touching every-fucking-thing. One family had a baby and three children under ten. None of them were in masks and were going the wrong way down the aisles, letting the kids get close to everyone, touching all the chips, etc. Ick. I haven’t taken my kids anywhere since this started–it’s not worth the risk.

And so many people just ignoring social distancing and the aisle arrows, just going wherever they wanted and blocking the aisle so other people couldn’t get by without getting close. When I got in line to check out, this other guy got right up next to me so he would be out of the main cross aisle (the lines for the registers were going down the food aisles making distancing even harder while shopping). He was just feet away from without a care in the world. Ugh.

I was so stressed out, I almost just left everything and went home. We’d eat whatever I could scrounge up at home instead. Then I had to go to Grocery Outlet because they sell big bags of chips for cheap. I was already anxious because of Safeway. Luckily, Grocery Outlet isn’t as busy. They don’t have one-way arrows on the aisle but three weren’t a lot of people there except in the produce section so I avoided it. I was in and out in a few minutes and was 2nd in line when I checked out (compared to like 6th at Safeway with six registers open and 6 self-checkouts).

I just don’t understand these anti-mask yahoos talking about their freedoms and shit. What about my freedom to not be infected by a deadly virus? But I should just stay home so they can get back to their normal lives. They’re so ignorant, and sadly, their ignorance is deadly. There are so many people like this in our town. On the local Facebook group, the moms are freaking out about school opening in the fall–not because it’s too risky for kids but because the kids will have to wear masks and their kids will not be wearing masks. They’re all taking their kids back to the playgrounds again even though they’re still closed because their kids are bored and life needs to just be normal again.

I guess they’ve decided the pandemic is over and doesn’t apply to them at all.

I just can’t even.

Sometimes I’m glad my fatigue makes it impossible for me to go places. Today was a rare day with a little bit of energy so I thought I’d make the run for groceries. I regretted it immediately and definitely will not be going out again any time soon. Not worth the risk to my health or sanity.

Day 112 of Isolation: Health Update

I had my followup with my new doctor today. Not much to really say about it.

My blood pressure was 156/92 while I was there. I haven’t been keeping track of it at home because I’m not sure my cuff is working right, but the few times I’ve checked it’s been between 125-140 over 80-90. She wanted it under 130/90, I think. Of course, the stress of going to the doctor usually raises blood pressure, but she still found it concerning so now my blood pressure meds are doubled.

I was also having a lot of trouble breathing, and it had nothing to do with wearing two masks (mine and the one they gave me). I’ve had the issue off and on since the week before my initial visit to the ER in April, but the last week it’s gotten really bad. Yesterday was probably the worst it’s been.

I admitted that a lot of it could be anxiety making all of my symptoms worse, but she agreed that the tightness in my chest/difficulty breathing wasn’t good. My lungs, though, sounded clear, and I can take deep breaths fine. My O2 was also 98% so I’m getting oxygen.

Anyway, she prescribed me an albuterol inhaler to help with the breathing. My son has asthma so I have experience with these, although I’ve never used one myself. Hopefully, it helps because it was really hard to sleep last night with it feeling like my trachea was coated in wool or something.

That was all we discussed. I didn’t get to bring up the anemia and the after-visit report she sent said I was up-to-date on my labs which look fine (because I had bloodwork done at the hospital). Apparently, my iron deficiency has gone away? But they also haven’t gotten my records from the other office yet to see what my levels were last year when I had special tests done (I’ve never seen them either because we lost our insurance and couldn’t go back at the time).

She also made me feel like she was implying all of my symptoms are psychosomatic and just kept bringing up making an appointment with behavioral health. Yes, obviously, I need to get back on my bipolar and anxiety meds, but my chronic fatigue isn’t being caused by (just) my depression. In fact, my depression is being made worse by the constant fatigue.

My old doctor thought the fatigue was from the anemia, but I guess I now have to hope it’s a symptom/side effect of the hypertension because if bringing my blood pressure down doesn’t solve the fatigue and anemia isn’t an issue anymore, I don’t know what I’ll do. There isn’t really a treatment for chronic fatigue that isn’t being caused by some other underlying condition. You just have to live with it, and I can’t keep living like this. It sucks.

I cried all of the way home thinking about it. All of my hopes and dreams for the future will just be gone if there’s no treatment for the fatigue. I can’t go for walks with my grandson, can’t write, can’t play board games with my son, can’t keep the house clean or do anything. I just sit here. Ugh.

My weight was also back up to 267lbs. It’s kind of impossible to lose weight when you don’t have the energy to take a shower (dear god that nearly left me in a coma earlier today) let alone exercise. The only way I’ll take in less calories than I burn is if I stop eating. I managed to lose four pounds by eating half of a small turkey sandwich with a salad for lunch for a week with a small portion of whatever I made for dinner. But we ran out of lunchmeat so I started eating leftovers for lunch which are much more fattening than the sandwich/salad combo.

The only positives I’ve seen over the last few months is that the swelling in my legs and feet have gone down. That used to happen in the summer when it would get hot but generally went away if I put my feet up and drank a lot of water. And wasn’t an issue at all in the winter. This last year, though, it was nonstop, and if I sit at my desk for more than an hour, my feet swell up so bad, I can’t bend my toes. It doesn’t go away ever and was making it hard to bend my knees (at one point, I couldn’t tuck my legs under me anymore). The swelling isn’t completely gone, but it’s so much better on the blood pressure meds. So that symptom definitely had to do with my blood pressure.

When I ran out of pills a few weeks ago, the swelling came right back and has mostly disappeared in the two weeks I’ve been on them again. So I guess that’s a win.

I have to take what I can get.

Day 111 of Isolation: Pimping 4thewords Again

With the start of July Camp NaNo, it’s time for another post for my favorite writing site on the internet: 4thewords.com!

single-color-logo4tw is a writing site that uses roleplaying mechanics to motivate and inspire you to write more than you imagined possible. And during NaNo months (April, July and November) we have special, month-long events that always give you lots to do to help you obtain your NaNo goals.

meteoriodAnd our newest adventure begins today! So come on over to 4thewords.com to sign up for your 30-day free trial and get your writing done by helping control some pesky rock monsters that are invading our valley while we build a landing pad for some alien visitors (returning from our November event).

Look at all these cuties to fight:


Each monster has a certain number of words needed to defeat it in a certain amount of time. Your weapon is your words. There are quests and global challenges to motivate you to fight those little guys (the biggest needs only 600 words).


Now is a great time to join because of the event, but the adventuring won’t end at the end of the month. Once the aliens leave, you’ll go back to Oge-Mai valley and work your way through (currently) seven different main areas of the game and numerous smaller side areas while also tackling our year-long special event The Hunt for the Ancients. There’s just so much to do, I can’t even begin to describe it all.

Along the way, you gain XP to level up your character, find new gear to make battling monsters even easier (by reducing the number of words you need to defeat them and increasing the amount of time you have to win the battle), and collect wardrobe items for you forum avatar. That’s me right now.

corecrystal_sm-minThe only caveat with the site is that it does cost money. After your 30-day trial, there’s a $4/month membership fee that can be paid one month at a time or in packages of 3, 6, or 12 months. To do this, you buy c-crystals with real money and trade them in for subscription time (or use them to buy wardrobe items).

If the cost is an issue, you can ask around our very active and supportive forum for a sponsor or enter your name into our Community Pool (under your accounts tab) where community members deposit subscription time that is then awarded to pool members that can’t afford memberships. Last month, everyone in the pool was awarded three months of free time!

If you do decide to try us out, use this referral code: WVBIY23608. If you end up sticking around buying crystals, we each get a bonus!

I hope you see you around the forums (full disclosure: I’m a moderator there) to help us with whatever mischief these aliens are up to this year.

Happy Hunting!


Day 110 of Isolation: Camp NaNoWriMo July Edition


Well, it’s that time again for Camp NaNoWriMo!

If you like NaNoWriMo in November, you’ll love the laid back user-defined version that appears in April and July. The difference between the main event and Camp is you get to choose your goal instead of being stuck with the 50k words of NaNoWriMo.

Of course, there used to be a nifty fun Camp NaNo site that was themed with cabins to chat with friends and you could actually change your goal, but last year the site merged with the new NaNo site and things aren’t fully integrated yet.

Never fear. You can still choose your own goal of words, hours, pages, chapters or whatever else fits your fancy. You just have to fudge things a little on the goal tracker.


I decided instead of doing a novel or fanfic this month, I’m going to use the AYearAgo.Today journaling site every day to journal about my chronic illnesses. So I set my goal for the vent to be 31 words (one per day). Sure it looks wonky, but it works.

In April, I originally decided I would try to edit Heaven Can’t Wait and literally did no work on it (didn’t even open the file after the first day), but I did keep up my daily isolation blog here. So I thought maybe I could do something like that instead because of the other unique things about Camp is that you don’t have to write a novel. Anything goes including daily blogs/journals.

I haven’t completed a NaNo of any kind in quite a while so I’m hoping to get a winner’s badge out of this project. And the best part of a personal journal is that I don’t have to plot or plan anything. I’m literally just rambling about what my life is like with all of these health problems. Even on the worst days, I can muster a few hundred words about how much things are sucking and that’s totally legit in the spirit of the journal. I can’t go wrong.*

So who’s joining me at Camp this month?

*knock on wood

Day 109 of Isolation: A New Site to Try

The other day, I was on Habitica looking for some new guilds to join out of boredom (not that I really participate in any of them) and found one for people doing daily journaling. Hey, that sounds like a guild I could handle since I already do a daily journal on 4thewords.com, and their one main challenge is to keep a journal for 7 out of 10 days. I haven’t missed a day in 3 1/2 years. I can do that!

So, I joined and was looking around when I found a link to an online journaling site they reccomend/run called AYearAgo.Today. I checked it out of curiosity because I sure don’t need anymore sites to keep track of but found out it’s sort of gamified where you earn “XP” by making entries in your journal and level up. The site seems pretty new and the levels apparently don’t do anything besides exist.

I signed up since it was free, figuring I could use it as backup to my 4tw journal, but after staring at it for awhile, I decided to use it for something different. So now, it’s mainly a personal journal about dealing with chronic illness.

I rant about my health a lot in my private 4tw journal but tend to not bring it up too much on this blog because it sounds whiny or would be overwhelming. Instead, I now have a journal to chronicle my journey with and trying to overcome all the issues I’m having. The entries are public, so it’s kind of like a blog but more focused than anything I write here.

You can check out my profile here. Not sure if you need to be logged in or not to see it.

If you’re looking for a place to journal with a little bit of motivation to keep the habit up, I highly recommend AYearAgo.Today. You can keep your entries private, of course. There’s also a simple “planner” which gets you XP by completing tasks and a logbook where you can make logs of whatever info you like (I have one for chore, one for food I eat, one for fun stuff I do).

It looks a if the site might be new and eventually have more roleplaying aspects added to it in the future. I’m curious to see where it goes. I’m also assuming it will one day be a paid site so get in while it’s free for now.

Day 108 of Isolation: Yet Another Birthday

I have officially been a mother for twenty years now. My first little baby is all grown up with her own family. It’s hard to believe.

Happy Birthday, Meagan!


I have no idea who took this picture. I stole it off her facebook because it’s gorgeous.

Day 106 of Isolation: Beef Stir Fry


So, I actually made this yesterday, and despite my anxiety and sudden food aversion, I managed to eat two bowls with about an hour of rest between them. And, yes, I felt very sleepy afterward.

But I think it was worth it. It turned out pretty good considering I just threw this together on the fly with whatever ingredients I had on hand at the time. I thought I would share, although this is a very rough recipe.

On the Fly Beef Stir Fry

  • 1lb stir fry meat (I used leftover stew meat but could be stir fry cut or even chicken)
  • baby carrots, julienned
  • celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • minced garlic (however much you like)
  • granulated garlic to taste
  • onion powder to taste
  • sesame oil and/or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • stir fry sauce (water, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, honey; omit the corn starch)
  • 1 cup extra water
  • frozen corn
  • frozen green beans
  • frozen broccoli
  1. brown meat in large skillet using olive or sesame oil (I used a little of both) while sprinkling with granulated garlic and onion powder
  2. add carrots, onion, celery and zucchini and sautee with a little more oil if needed until veggies are tender, add a bunch of minced garlic
  3. toss with 1/2 cup flour until well coated then pour in stir fry sauce and mix; add extra water if too thick (mine was way too thick)
  4. add frozen veggies and let simmer until veggies are tender, stirring frequently
  5. serve over white rice and garnish with sesame seeds



  • You can use whatever stir fry veggies you have on hand. I really wished I’d had some snow peas, water chestnuts or green onions, but this is what we had on hand.
  • You can also omit whatever veggies you don’t want in the stir fry. Make it just beef and broccoli if you like.
  • I changed the stir fry sauce a bit by omitting the honey (I can’t even stand the smell of it) and adding a little sesame oil and a touch of red pepper flakes and sesame seeds to it.
  • I ended up adding a lot more extra water and a little extra soy sauce because the sauce thickened way up and I needed more to coat the frozen veggies.
  • I also added a touch of Kitchen Bouquet to darken it up since I used a lot of flour.
  • You could get away with using less flour probably, especially if you don’t make as big a batch or use corn starch instead.
  • If you think you put in enough garlic, add some more, lol. I actually sprinkled a little granulated garlic over my second bowl which was perfect.
  • This ended up filling my 14″ cast iron skillet to nearly overflowing. I meant to make it just for me but got enough for the entire family.

Day 105 of Isolation: Food Anxiety

I fear I’m on the verge of a serious eating disorder. I know it’s happening and yet…

The problem is I’ve developed a new symptom of whatever is wrong with me that makes me extremely sleepy any time I eat. Doesn’t matter how much I eat or when, as soon as I’m done, I’m falling asleep.

Think after-Thanksgiving food coma sleepy. Every meal. Every day. I could eat a sandwich or a bowl of cottage cheese or a handful of popcorn and instantly be nearly comatose.

I don’t know what’s causing it. Could be part of the anemia or maybe the hypertension or perhaps the beginning of diabetes?¬† I don’t remember exactly when it started, but I’ve been complaining about it for several weeks now, and only just realized last week how bad it was.

It’s so bad that I’m now avoiding eating because I don’t like napping all day. And by “napping” I mean lying in bed like a slug, unable to do much of anything but also not sleeping because my brain won’t shut off. I end up just simmering in anxiety over everything and get up four hours later just as tired as when I laid down and usually with a killer headache.

It’s actually, funny enough, exhausting. My whole life is exhausting. Being awake is exhausting, being asleep is exhausting, being alive is exahusting. WTF body? Why?

So now I don’t want to eat. I have so much anxiety over the lethargy that comes after eating that I can’t eat even when my stomach is rumbling and I feel sick from hunger. I wait until dinner and even then I don’t want to eat because 5pm is too late for a nap and too early for bed. I hold off eating until 7pm if I can then try to stay awake a couple hours after.

I managed the other night by downing half a pot of coffee at 8pm. Caffeine really does nothing for me.

My husband says I should just eat and sleep if that’s what my body needs, but I don’t know how to explain this lethargy/exhaustion. It’s not a fun kind of sleep. It’s more like being trapped in a body that can’t really do what I need it to do (stay awake) but my mind is racing all over. It just causes so much anxiety that I don’t rest. I can’t rest. I lie there, tossing and turning (when I can gather the energy to roll over) with my thoughts tumbling all over.

Normally, I fall asleep by thinking of story plots to focus on. I can’t even do that. I can’t grasp on to anything in my head. It’s a tornado of thoughts that won’t ever settle. Occasionally, I pass out from exhaustion but wake at every noise. I wake randomly in a sheer panic (heart racing) over nothing. I started taking old anxiety pills at bedtime just to get any rest.

I’m stuck in this cycle of being too exhausted to stay awake but too awake to sleep but not awake enough for my brain to make sense.

I literally cannot explain it. I feel like I’m going crazy. More crazy than I already am. I’ve suffered from severe chronic insomnia before (lasting years). This is different. It’s terrifying. And food seems to trigger everything so I’m afraid to eat now.

On one hand… that’s bad. You need food. On the other hand, I weigh 263lbs so I could stand to eat less. Except I know it’s still bad because starvation diets are just bad for your health. But but but… ugh.

I go back to the doctor on Thursday. I mentioned the food/sleep thing right at the end of the last appointment, but I’ll be bringing it up more this next time because it’s out of control and scaring me. I am no longer a functioning human.


Day 104 of Isolation: Even More Birthdays

I swear everyone I know has a birthday in June.

So far this month there have been at least ten birthdays:

My grandson on the 7th along with my daughter’s friend’s son who was born 12 hours later, my husband on the 11th along with a close online friend, my Uncle Mark on the 16th, my grandson’s other gramma on the 17th, a friend’s daughter on the 18th, my cousin’s son on the 19th, my sister-in-law on the 21st, my Aunt Sue on the 22nd.

And now there are FOUR today!


So HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my cousin, Joe; my “brother,” Javier; an old friend, Robyn; and my great-niece, Hope who is turning 13 today!

And the birthdays aren’t over yet… there are still a few more to go and they just kind of continue on into July. I really can’t keep track of them all. Actually, I might have missed some of my friends’ kids and maybe some cousins.

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