The Miracle of Saint James Garfield

So it’s no secret that sometimes my little family struggles.
I have a double handful of difficult medical stuff wrong with me that necessitates lots of doctors and hospitals and expensive medications. Gabe our middle son has a horrifying autoimmune disease that causes brain swelling, mood swings, personality changes, pain, etc and is also really expensive to treat.

Come Christmas time we were doing ok, but there was nothing extra for much extra but we were going to be together and ok. Que 3 back surgeries and then catching the flu on a cross-country car trip the week before major double shunt placement surgery RIGHT BEFORE Christmas…. Oh my double JEEZ as my 6 year old would say.

I was overwhelmed and sad…. feeling sorry for myself and my ever stressed husband and looking at a pile of bills higher than the stack of money available. It is a story so many people know intimately. Then came Jenny.

The Bloggess is a site which most of you are familiar with, and whom I have followed for a long time. Right before Christmas she started a chain of giving that in the end probably topped over 100k in just a few weeks. People were talking about their families, and I posted a list of coats and little things for my family that I just didn’t have the budget for and we were going to visit Michigan.

Kind strangers from all over the globe bought coats and hats and things for me that I hadn’t even asked for. It was a Christmas Miracle. The outpouring of love and kindness was something I have never seen before and doubt I will again… nothing could possibly equal it. Yes, there were a few greedy scammers, but for the most part there was just a tidal wave of love.

The mascot of The Bloggess army is Saint James Garfield. A humanely taxidermied boars head and most anonymous giving was done in his name, and once Christmas had come to a close so many of us had bonded over the shared miracle we formed our own group called Saint James Garfield in his honor.

What started with simple giving has turned into, for me at least, a life changing experience. Beyond coats and Christmas, the women that stuck together and formed the group several months ago have become my family.

We are a ragtag bunch. Some professionals with huge hearts, some living hand to mouth with kind souls. We cover the globe and somehow have banded together into a tribe stronger than any family I have ever seen or been a part of. We care for each others needs… if you can’t pay a bill a collection is taken up to help you as much as we can. If you have a store we buy from it first… Need advice? 20 people are jumping to help you find an answer….. It is brilliant and wonderful and warm and perfect.

Personally I hardly have any family left, and my husband has equally little. Certainly no one we interact daily with. The SJG tribe has become not only my second family, but they have enveloped my husband and kids as well and I will be eternally grateful for the change I was given to get to know them.

Thank you Jenny ( and Saint James Garfield ) for the Christmas Miracle, and for the family you led me to.


It’s Been A While

I’ve been sick, my son was diagnosed with a rare neuro condition, my husband was almost, we moved across the country for a job, and my husband got laid off…    all in 3 months.


I am understandably a little off my game.  Or a lot.  Whichever you prefer.


I’m currently debating different methods of getting myself motivated for writing again.  So stay tuned.  I just have to get out of this damn hospital.




The Truth in Titles

At least my title anyway.

I don’t know how many people actually look at the titles that others place under their names on forums, or on their profie pages. Anal-retentive such and such that I am I spent long hours internet eons ago thinking of the perfect tiny title that would describe the soul sucking microcosm that is me. (Hey, I should have gone with Soul Sucking Microcosm!)

I ended up with Author, Mother, Gimp.
This was before all of the attack-display fiasco which has landed me in surgery and stuck on the downstairs couch for almost a month now. I am losing my collective minds.

I finally made it upstairs today for the first time in, well, forever it seems.

I haven’t written a word, editied a chapter, posted a blog, or had a decent bath since my surgery in August. I am so tired of this, but being sick and injured takes a lot out of you!

My immune system is still defunct from the chemo, and the surgery was hard. Add to that I caught an infection in the wound, and you have all the makings of a PAR-TAY! *not*

I’m hoping to get back into the groove this coming week since I can now hobble a bit and scoot up and down the stairs on my butt. Maybe even, dare I say it, WRITE!

*Angles sing HALLELUJAH!*

If not, I am going to have to change my title to just Gimp.

I Got the Word Count Blues…

*plays sad song on trumpet*

I don’t know about everyone else, but it seems like the last week has been an uphill struggle to stay on track.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time reading other blogs, looking at inspirational cat posters, and reading helpful tips from other writers this week in an effort to get myself back into the 1-2k a day range.  Is there something in the air?

Healthwise, I’m doing good, except for a low grade fever that won’t bugger off.  Leg wise, also ok and looking forward to the surgery next week.  Mentally, I am shot.  This has all been such an emotional roller coaster that I really, really want to get off of and just write.

My favorite blog post find of the week was this gem:

I’m a sucker for dressed up cats.

Send me comments on what you do to get through the times where the words only flow in increments of 100 rather than 1000.

Please?  Pretty please with sugar on top?

Kids Taste Like Chicken or Short Story Frustration

First thanks to all the twitterpates, blog sweeties, and absolute writers who have sent me well wishes the last week.  It really does make my day when you remind me that people care.  It’s hard going through this without family to help, and your kindness means the world.

*wipes tear*

Okay, so enough of the mushy stuff.

The last few days, other than painful in an ouch-my-side-has-a-huge-hole-in-it sort of way have also been painful in a writery way.

I finished up my extended outline/rough draft/bunch of scenes thing last week and was totally enthused to get started on a polished first draft this week.  Like a kid at Christmas excited.

And then my three small children, like a host of locusts, came in a ate all of my enthusiasm away.

They can’t help it.  My husband leaves for work, they wake up, Mommy is exhausted from recovering from chemo or whatever and I sleep in a bit.  They make cereal and watch cartoons until I get up and about.  They seem to stay pretty docile as I wander around getting coherent, but it seems like the second I go upstairs and sit down to write, they turn into whirling dervish hats and crawl on top of my head.

One wants to play computer games on the other desk here, one wants to ridicule the first, and the third is dropping foodstuff and terrorizing the dog while asking if they can look at petpetpark or something.  So I get up and get pay attention to them even though all I want is to sit and write and not wheeze when I walk.  Everything returns to calm.  Then I sit back down and suddenly I am in the middle of a lightsabre fight and someone wants to be helf and someone broke a picture with a ball and suddenly … I find myself writing a short story where a race of aliens traps and eats a families children.

I know, I’m horrible.  In my defense, it made me feel better, and it came out pretty good, too.

I don’t usually write short stories, but I just needed to vent and write, and this worked.  I’m going to submit it to an anthology contest and see what happens, I’m just waiting to find a beta reader.  Whatever works, right?

And btw, if you DO know if kids taste like chicken, I don’t want to know. 😀

Biopsies and Book Art

I will spare you the ugly bloody band aid picture, but today I went and had what I hope is to be my last stomach biopsy.

I have been responding well to the chemo, my blood numbers are normal, if anemic, my kidney is hanging in there, and if things are close to where my doctor guesses, I may be in an acceptable remission!  Woot!

Pray for me guys, pray for me.

Since the hubby couldn’t take more time off work, and we have no family in a 12 hour driving distance, and also no sitter, I ended up calling a neighbor to keep a look out for the house being on fire and left the oldest child to watch the boys while I went to have my needle biopsy. Scary, yes.  However, she helps me with them all the time, and watches other people’s kids to boot.

I left her with a phone, and took off.  The drive was 4 minutes.  The oncologists office was prepped and ready for me, as soon as I walked in the door, I was led straight back, helped to strip, and slathered in ultrasound gel.  This all took less than 5 minutes.  Within another 10, the doctor walks in, and as we discussed, performs a no anesthetic needle biopsy of my stomach and omentum.  Ow, ow, ow.  Everything is out, I am dressed and pukeing in a trash can in another 10, and after a quick bandage up and a promise that I will call when I get home, I am back out the door and another 5 minute drive home.

So 40 minutes round trip for what ends up being an all day event for most people.  That, my friends, is how we get *bleep* DONE. 😀


On a whole other front, I am obsessed the last week or two with trying to sketch a fairly pivotal piece of jewelry from TOME (my current WIP).

I even tried to hire someone from craigslist to sketch it out for me, but everyone was either skeezy or wanted like $150.  Ummm, no.  I just want to see what it looks like from someone who can draw more than a frog-rabbit ( which is what all my animals look like).  And then I want to find someone on Etsy who does wire jewelry to make me a piece that looks like the sketch.

I started looking at other people’s book art to see what kind of work they had, and now have almost 30 windows open of various pieces I like in a vainglorious attempt at pretending that I will one day be in the position to demand book art to my standards.  *sigh*


Once I get done pukeing and rolling around in pain, I’m going to get back to work polishing and fixing my ms.  Then I will daydream some more.  Also probably eat a cookie, because I deserve it.

CANCER SUCKS, and You Can Too!

This has just been the week for weird occurences.   My husbands migraine spike, my kids doing all kinds of weird things…  I swear there is a full moon or something.

And my crazy bald head itches!  If I haven’t said it before to you guys, cancer seriously sucks.

I miss having energy, I miss hair, I miss my waistline.  I miss things not making me puke, and I miss the clear mind that I used to procrastinate writing with.

All of this editing and brain strain just makes me nostalgic for when all of my body bits worked in unison.   I have found that the more I fight against the tide of chemicals, that the more irritable I get to my family.   It starts with holing up in the office, then slamming my laptop shut and sighing heavily when they come in, and ends with my dumping dinner in the garbage because no one was sitting and waiting when I got done trying to cook. Lol  (yes, that has happened)

So, I suck…. but in my defense, so does cancer.  Does that give me a pass this time?

I estimate that in another couple of weeks I will have this thing polished up and shiny.  I have started to research query letters and what agents look for in my non-writing time ( read: time the kids are sitting on top of my head watching cartoons and I can’t write) so I can be ready whenever I get to that point.

I have a good feeling about all this, despite my suckiness.  Something good is going to happen.  I just have to hang on long enough ( and stop throwing dinner in the trash) to let it happen.