cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
The last couple of weeks have been very busy with All The Things, especially last week. In my writing log, I wrote down the following:

Recorded "Breath Stirs In the Husk" for Pseudopod
Recorded “Drowning in Sky” for PodCastle
Did audio editing on PodCastle and Pseudopod readings and sent them off
Writer’s networking tea at Patisserie 46
MinnSpec writers group in Uptown
Updated market spreadsheet, wrote newsletter, and mailed it off
Researched self-pub cover art necessities
Wrote cover art contract
Met with cover artist
Processed “Diplomatic Relations” acceptance
Processed “Charity From a Thief” rejection
Processed writing expenses

In addition to this, we !!finally!! took care of the second mortgage balloon payment, a financial burden that has been becoming increasingly worrisome over the course of the last six months as we went back and forth with our mortgage banker about how we could refinance it. The short answer is that we couldn't, but he was too inexperienced to know that and too incompetent to find that out in a reasonable time-frame or even to return our phone calls EVER. Of course, back when we bought our house, we were assured that we could simply extend the term of our second mortgage without any problems. Now, that program has long since been discontinued. He eventually offered us a personal loan, but that has terms similar to a credit card, so, um, no. Instead we took out a loan against Phil's 401K. Not ideal, but at least we're paying the interest to ourselves. It also means that our 2nd mortgage will be paid off in 5 years instead of 10+ . . . because our monthly payment is going to be a couple of hundred dollars higher. Ouch. But still. Done! One thing to cross off the Worry List.

Speaking of the Worry List, Phil finally put lead encapsulation paint on the back staircase, which is a huge relief to me. Whew. Still not done fixing all the less-urgent lead stuff, but we're getting there.

So, lots of stress (and stress relief) this week, and lots of me trying to scrape out time to get things done. Not helping is that Theia has been waking up lots in the night again. Maybe teething? She's also been batting at her ears when she's sleepy, which makes me worry about ear infections, but Phil thinks it's because sometimes there's referred pain from teething. Basically, we don't know. It is worrisome. Also does not help with the exhaustion and having lots of stuff to get done.

Now that the mortgage's handled, our next big family project is figuring out preschool. Minneapolis folks, does anyone have recommendations or dis-recommendations for preschools in the Uptown/Downtown/S. Mpls area? We're hardly going to buy a second car just to ferry the small one to preschool, so it needs to be busable for us.

Sigh. Here's a picture of a water lily, for serenity.


P.S. Oh, and I bollixed up my left knee badly enough that it's been hurting constantly for the last few days. I'll try taking it easy for a week and see if it gets better on its own. If it's still this bad in two weeks, a doctor visit is probably in order, and who knows what else. I do not need this.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (shadow)
My "catch up" list after the last few months. You will notice that last item on the list has the potential to generate an even longer list. Also, getting anything else done assumes hitting that writing amount, which is not easy for me coming in with limited time after a long cold season. ::headdesk::

Freewriting every day
Submissions out as needed
Start writing!--250 main project minimum--every day
Email Minnspec crits from May
Complete Works update
Prep for 4th St panel
CoBB hiatus notice
Update website with ebooks
Minnspec podcasts, incl. Old Blood’s Fate recording
ebook experiment post
type up Platinadar letter
Next Big Thing Post
Flag pertinent “urgent” action need writing
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Phil and I)
Just finished getting out the last of my Christmas cards! Don't bother to check your calendar; it's still February. But losing a chunk of time to sickness around the holidays left me drastically behind on, well, life.

With no further ado, I present...The Staffin Wiebe 2010 Christmas Letter!


Dear friends and family,

Belated Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and--heck, why not--early Happy Valentine's Day! I (Abra) am behind on everything, and Christmas cards are no exception. The only thing piling up more than my to-do list is the snow in Minnesota. We got a 20-year blizzard here a bit before Christmas, dropping 17+ inches of snow in Minneapolis in a day (other parts of the state got over 23). The snow piles are at least hip-high. Along some streets, the curbside snow ridge is taller than I am, and I am not short.

For us, 2010 began with a car accident and got worse from there. In January, we were driving back from getting a "free" pie when we got rear-ended, which totaled our little car. It also changed that "free" apple pie to a several-thousand-dollar apple pie. The pie was good, but not that good. The accident was not a hugely significant event (we were uninjured), but it sort of set the tone for the year.

Read more... )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 14:59 Bruises on my wrist from grappling are right where shirt cuffs button and wrists get rested. Owie.
  • 22:25 New Aswiebe's Market List update:
  • 23:17 "Tokyo Gore Police" - D- for lack of plot and physics failures. Has moments of awesome. Xtremely gory.
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cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 08:20 Heavy snow warning? Nooooo! #
  • 10:08 Knee pain + insomniac husband tossing & turning = poor sleep last night and tired Abra today = coffee! #
  • 10:30 Salesman 1: If they paid for it, shouldn't we give it to them? Salesman 2: No. #
  • 11:55 ::grump:: Could have escaped early, but they're training me in to do all kinds of tech. Which means more work demands. #
  • 12:07 Ravenously hungry at lunch after only cereal for breakfast. Clearly, pancakes & French toast & Easter bread have spoilt me. #
  • 12:24 Hmm. 7-year wedding anniversary is tomorrow, should probably plan something special. #
  • 14:28 I fear this training means they will try to make me work more. Right now, more is not what's needed. Later, maybe. #
  • 17:28 I made it home, but it was a wee bit more taxing than usual. #
  • 17:51 Phil & I just called each other at the *exact same moment*. We both got the voicemail. #
  • 22:13 Watched Black Dahlia. Damn, Hartnett is entirely lickable. Le sigh. He goes on the list with Depp. #
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cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (sickly)
So, on my last visit to the physical therapy people, I was warned that if I was going to accidentally rip open my knee and totally fuck it up before it was healed, it would happen this month. The knee is now at its weakest point since the surgery.

Oh. This month?

I suppose this means that I should limit myself to one drink only ever, and not even one abrupt step toward running after the bus. I'm not approved to run. Heck, I can hardly walk properly. They warn me that I'll start feeling like I can do things, but I shouldn't let myself be tempted. No even "trying" a few martial arts moves. No running. No pick-up basketball games.

They keep warning me against the basketball games, which I find a bit confusing. Perhaps it's because I'm tall.

I'm trying not to think about it too much, but when my mind is still, it comes back to me sometimes. If I tear my knee surgery open, it'll be this month.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Had my surgery follow-up visit this morning, and that went well.

I got to read a significant portion of my book in the waiting room because I was dropped off about an hour early (on the way as Phil went into work). I'm really enjoying it--Endgame by Kristine Smith. It's the most recent in a series, but I think it would be a pretty good read even without having read the previous books. I have a mostly foggy recollection of them, and did I mention I'm enjoying it a whole lot? In many ways, it reminds me of C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner series.

The doctor removed the tiny adhesive bandages, tested my range of motion, hemmed and hawed approvingly, and explained where we go from here. I'm approved to shower without having to wrap saran wrap around my knee! Yay! I'm approved to "transition" from crutches to cane to (maybe) walking on my own! Yay! That means I can start being social again without too much hassle, if I feel up to it. I still can't drink as long as I'm on the pain meds, though, which makes bars a bit boring. I'm still not allowed to lift heavy things (like boxes of documents, which I do at work) and I've been told to start doing leg lifts. I cannot do even one unassisted. Boo!

My knee is weird and lumpy looking, but the incisions are mostly healed, the bruising has almost faded, and the swelling is gone from the rest of the leg, if not entirely from the knee itself. Soon I will ponder wearing something other than soft stretchy pants. I might consider going back to work soon, though I really don't want to. I am not yet at the point where I'm clearly procrastinating from the job I hate, but I expect to be there soon.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
For obvious reasons*, this year is not going to be a very romantic v-day for us. So sad. And I was unhappy when I realized that one of the things I forgot to take care of pre-surgery was getting a present for the Mad Scientist.

He took care of this oversight with a quick visit to the liquor store, where he bought a liquor gift pack. As he said, the large bottle of quality tequila was for him, and the silk boxer shorts with "Mi Corazon" embroidered on them and the blindfold were for me...although he would probably be the one wearing them.

Hee! Presents, even if I can't use them on Valentine's Day.

* Wild monkey sex = pain, oh my god, pain; and forget going out being relaxing.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
The bruises that covered my left leg (picture forthcoming) have started to yellow a bit around the edges. Good. I was afraid they were spreading. Because for a little while there, they were.

The oxycodone (a slow-release over 12 hours painkiller, instead of the more immediate painkillers I've had) prescription got finished yesterday, so I am now down to just two pain medications: Vicodin and ibuprofen (3 pills, 3 times a day). I had finally gotten to the point where I could sleep through the night. No more. Now I'm back to waking up roughly 4 hours after I fall asleep, precisely when the painkiller wears off, to take more painkiller. And I'm usually a really heavy sleeper! And I'm feeling moderate, low-level discomfort constantly, with spikes up into "oh god this sucks" territory.

On the other hand, I'm now enough in the here-and-now that I've started writing on my laptop on the couch. Since I'm lying on the couch all day anyway. I write more slowly and get distracted more easily, but progress is being made.

Watched the beginning of The Sopranos last night, via Netflix. Am somewhat disappointed. So far it is not something I feel the need to continue watching.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Noticed today that I have a patch of skin--2 inches by 3 inches--to the left of the incision where I just don't feel anything.

Also, apparently the correct way to shower to keep incisions dry involves swathes of saran wrap and then waterproof adhesive tape around the top. I finally figured it out--the fourth time I showered.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
One of the...techniques, not really a resolution, that I'm adopting is the notion of identifying one or two major goals per day and making that or those be the main focuses of the day until you can get them done--the idea being that if you get those done, then you can feel accomplished, even if there are other items outstanding.

Today's main goal was to straighten out the insurance info that the pharmacy needed (because prescription coverage is separate from regular insurance coverage), to make sure my swollen foot and pounding headache aren't anything dire, and to get more pain medication, because I ran through the stuff they gave me pretty quickly. And it's not like I'm feeling no pain. (I'm sad about that. I wish I wasn't.)

Yesterday's main goal was to shower (the first day it was approved). That was...way more complicated than you might think, beginning with the whole not being able to stand easily anymore. Or carry things to the shower. And having to unbandage my knee, and try to keep it dry (mostly unsuccessfully), and then bandage it back up. But I showered and washed my hair. Victoriously. There was a definite sense of accomplishment afterward.

Mission: Shower--Accomplished

And I've put up some post-surgery pictures on Flickr. Warning: they're somewhat bloody, but there's commentary and stuff.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
My answer to the question part in the meme that I'm reproducing below, because I thought it was useful documentation.

What I plan on doing while my knee heals--well, initially, watching a lot of TV...reading some, maybe. Once I feel less prone to drifting off, writing on my laptop. And I've got a whole bunch of photographs to organize and upload from our trip to Guatemala...just in general I have a whole bunch of photographs to organize and upload.

Writing, photography, and website improvement are three bottomless buckets of "things to do" for me, because I know they'll never actually end.

Also, reviewing and memorizing all my martial arts material.

Leave a comment and I will:
1. Tell you why I friended you.
2. Associate you with something - fandom, a song, a color, a photo, a word etc.
3. Tell you something I like about you.
4. Tell you a memory I have of you. (Maybe. I'm really bad at summoning up memories. I might just make shit up.)
5. Ask something I've always wanted to know about you.
6. Tell you my favorite user pic of yours.
7. In return, you might choose to post this in your LJ.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Back from surgery. It went as well as could be expected, though I was slightly disturbed by the surgeon's tendency to use "air quotes" when "describing" things. They found a few unexpected things: turns out I did have a small meniscus tear that didn't show up on the MRI, so they fixed that, too; and some bone abrasion on the underside of my kneecap, which could have been there recently or forever, got polished down.

Over all, it I was actually still conscious when I went into the operating room, which was interesting, as I hadn't seen the interior of one before. It looked not much like the ones on TV--more clutter, less glass and bright lights. The dozen or so people standing around were funny and entertaining. Afterward, I had an entirely professional nurse who I liked keeping track of me post-surgery. A physical therapist came in and showed me how to use my crutches.

The only really bad part of the experience was the idiot in charge of getting me from the hospital grounds and into my car. She gave Phil totally wrong instructions for how to find us. Then she didn't flag him down when he slowly cruised by. Then she parked me in a such a way that I blocked the trash cans from the rest of the room. And she didn't understand my request for a magazine once it was clear that Phil was hopelessly lost and wouldn't be showing up soon. And she would stand over my leg or generally be way too close to jostling my foot and causing me pain (didn't happen, but sure made me nervous).

Basically, she was just an annoying idiot.

I'll be on crutches for at least two weeks--two weeks is the doctor's appointment where we talk about moving me from crutches to a cane to *gasp* walking on my own two feet. I'm not going to be working during the crutches time. I probably won't be spending much time on the internets, either, because it's moderately uncomfortable to sit at my desktop computer, and my laptop, alas, can't hook up to the Mpls wi-fi modem to pick up the signal, and the internal modem isn't strong enough to pick it up on its own, and I didn't get a wireless hub installed at home in time. Most of my time will be spent on the couch.

I'm really pleased that I have a fantastically comfortable couch.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Got a call around 7 am saying that an earlier patient had canceled, and could I come in early?

It's not like I was sleeping anyway--waking up on and off all night. Partial dreams of some poor sod drawn into a bank robbery and hunted down by the police & their dogs while the real masterminds got away.

So I'm in to surgery.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Surgery is tomorrow morning, and I am made entirely out of nerves.

...which may be a problem when they're looking for the knee to operate on.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
I was going to write a post. Then I realized that this IM exchange pretty much sums it up.

C: How long before your surgery?
me: Exactly 1 week.
C: Oooooh.
me: Eek.
To the hour, actually.
C: Whoa!
You could start counting down the hours!
me:! Thinking about it too much as it is. (Along the lines of, well, I'm actually doing pretty well--maybe I don't need surgery....)
C: Heh.
It's nice you don't have to go in to work today.
How has your leg been?
me: Actually, I'm not at work because of what I'm guessing is food poisoning.
C: Oh no!
me: So not so fun--yesterday was a hell of a lot of stomach pain. Today isn't so bad, but my stomach's been entirely empty since about 10 pm last night.
I'm eating now, nervously.
Leg's been pretty good. Like I said to the doctor, it's finally feeling normal--and now's when they do the surgery.
I've been working constantly for the past month--wish I had some time off, but am saving money for the post-surgery weeks I won't be able to work.
C: Right.
That's good forethought- you've got projects planned for while you're laid up.
me: Boy do I ever.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Yesterday I had my pre-surgery physical. I didn't even have to take my clothes off. The doctor talked to me, listened to heart and lungs, felt my pulse in my feet, and said I was good. On the other hand, I *did* have to have a liver and kidney and whatever-all-else organ function blood test done. And I got the Worst Blood-Drawer Ever.

Because it's a long post (not all about blood), I've been kind and cut it. )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
I am having knee surgery in 18 days, barring illness. (Sick people, stay away! I do not want to have to reschedule surgery.) This gives me a rather horrible hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about it, which I try not to. After surgery, I'll be going through physical rehabilitation for about nine months before I can do much of anything. I'll be on crutches for a while, and then with a cane and knee brace, and so on. There's a lot of stuff I just won't be able to do. I'm trying to think of what I should do while I still can. This is hindered by the fact that I can't do anything crazy like go hiking, or even to the zoo--the biggest problem that I'm still having with my knee is that it tweaks out and swells up pretty easily, and the less swelling pre-surgery, the better the recovery. So I can't do anything that involves a lot of walking or strenuous knee-involving physical activity.

If you were going to pretty much lose the easy use of your legs in 18 days, what would you do?

I'm still thinking on my list. Free things that I can stop doing if it bothers my knee are under consideration.
* Go out to eat, someplace interesting
* Visit the MIA.
* Use a library pass to visit one of the other places it gets free tix to (Mill City Museum?).
* Meander through one of the Asian grocery stores.
* Walk along the Mississippi River (dubious).
* Go to the Mall of America (dubious).
* Go to IKEA (somewhat dubious, but it's sort of a cultural experience--certainly couldn't do both of the above).

And no, I can't throw a pre-surgery party, because I know that all the sick people would come, and that would be bad.

Of course, the day before surgery I get to go and browse through the grocery store and pick up all manner of random weird and interesting foods. I don't usually go into grocery stores, so I tend to go a little crazy when I do, and it's a treat.

Of course, if I keep working seven days a week, I might not be able to do any of these things.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Another doctor's visit today. This time, the specialist I saw right after my injury referred me to another doctor in the clinic that specializes in ACLs, among other things. So that doctor talked to me a bit, examined my knee, told me that it would probably be another month to surgery time, but that we should schedule it now. Apparently scheduling is complicated, so his secretary will be calling around to find open surgery space and other such fun things. And I have another appointment in two weeks to discuss what kind of surgery I'll be getting.

Again, we did the dance of, "some people who aren't very active really don't need an ACL---no need for surgery, because they get around fine without it," followed by me saying, "Oh, I really want to be active. Trust me."

* I don't like waiting around in doctor's waiting rooms for most of a morning. Yargh. At least I had a good book.
* My knee is still fairly swollen--words like "juicy" were used.
* I'm looking at surgery in January, and rehab for six months after.
* Yes, it was a complete tear. ACL--gone.


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Abra Staffin-Wiebe

March 2019

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