S is for SHINee!

S is for SHINee

S is for SHINee

A brief post for your mid-week madness. I have talked about the Korean pop group, SHINee, and I’d love to share them again today for all of the newcomers dropping by.

SHINee consists of Onew, Jonghyun, Taemin, Key, and Minho, who currently range in ages from 20-24. The group initially debuted in 2008 and is still very well-loved today!

I love them for many reasons, but two of the biggest are their voices (they all have unique qualities I can usually pick out without much effort) and their dancing skills.  They are amazing to watch perform on stage and the music videos only show a little of it.

Today I’m just posting two videos for you. The first is Lucifer, the first SHINee song I heard that got me totally hooked. The second is Everybody, a more recent song from their last album. There are some great bits in that one toward the middle.

I hope you enjoy!!

Resolve in Art

R is for Resolve

R is for Resolve

Art takes resolve. It isn’t easy. No matter your craft it takes time, effort, and a willingness to ride a long list of ups and downs. Sometimes, especially at the beginning, the ups are only there to make the downs possible, but with perseverance this pattern can change. It takes resolve to start the project and see it through.

Resolve is on my mind right now because of a project I just committed to. Something that is bigger than I’ve pushed myself for ever before, but something that is possible…. if I hold my resolve and see it through.

I won’t talk too much about it just now, save that it is a writing project, until I see how things go for me. I have a very scary deadline of finishing this project in a month and a half if I am to see this first attempt at it through. There’s a lot of work for me to do. Hopefully I’ll discover a few things about myself along the way.

What do you do to find and maintain your resolve in creating art?

Q is for My Namesake…

Q is for Quidam

Q is for Quidam

If you know me in person or if you know me online, you might very well know me as ‘Q’. No, not as in Star Trek. Nope, not Bond either.

‘Q’ is shortened from ‘Quidam’, a 1996 production from Cirque du Soleil that still tours. The character Quidam appears to be a headless man, walking around with a bowler hat and an umbrella. The official Cirque website for the show describes him as such:

The Headless Man from Cirque du Soleil's Quidam (Professional Image)

The Headless Man from Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam (Professional Image)

Quidam: a nameless passer-by, a solitary figure lingering on a street corner, a person rushing past and swallowed by the crowd. It could be anyone, anybody. Someone coming or going at the heart of our anonymous society. A member of the crowd, one of the silent majority. The one who cries out, sings and dreams within us all. This is the “quidam” whom this show allows to speak.”

I have always appreciated the concept of this person. Quidam is both everyone and no one. Quidam is everything and absolutely nothing. Therefore, Quidam is in all of us, and as an artist in my own way, this is the nickname I have taken on for many, many years. But, as nicknames will morph when put in the hands of others, I eventually became known simply as Q.

Do you have a nickname?

No Post Today

Making a short note so no one thinks I quit on A-Z.

There is no P post today. I did not get one pre-written and yesterday was the first set in of a very bad flare with my health. I suppose that’s what I get for questioning that in yesterday’s post, wondering how bad I’d have to get before I actually took time off work. (Teach me to question the Universe.)

So I apologize for no post today, and hopefully I shall have one tomorrow for you.

Back to Optimism

O is for Optimism

O is for Optimism

This is an update to my post ‘Of Doctors, Diets and Desperately Trying to Stay Positive‘.

(To everyone who commented on that post with good thoughts or sent me messages otherwise, thank you. I’m sorry I didn’t respond to all of you, but reading your responses really made me feel better.)

I last left off with starting a new diet. A diet that I have altered after firing that doctor. (My mom has always said a doctor is your employee, he works for you, and if he won’t listen, fire him. Granted that means if he isn’t listening properly, not if you just don’t want to listen to the answers you’re getting.)

I tried to stick the stringent details of the diet given. But I am also hypoglycemic, meaning if I don’t get enough sugar in me to keep my levels even(ish) through the day… I black out. On day 4 of my diet I nearly did just that. At work. I answered the phone, felt everything go very hot up my neck and watched the world tilt and knew exactly what was happening. I managed to pass the phone off to my coworker and lay myself out on the floor. This kept me from passing out, but only just barely. Apparently eating low-sugar fruits and absolutely nothing else that translates as sugar in me kept me going for 3 1/2 days before my body decided it was not going to hold out.

So what did I do? Call my doctor of course. From the floor actually, once I was sure I wouldn’t actually still black out. I asked what I could add into my diet to make this not happen again. I wasn’t asking for cookies, I was asking for complex carbs and some higher-sugared fruits. Good sugars. I was told that hypoglycemia had nothing to do with sugar and I simply wasn’t eating. This was the first of many things that resulted in my decision to never ever go back. I love my main doctor HERE. He is incredible and kind and understanding and patient. I liked him before, but this terrible experience has made me appreciate him just that much more. I now want to hug him every time I see him.

Despite me dropping this other doctor faster than a radioactive hot potato, I HAVE stuck with some key bits of the diet. I cut out gluten and started really watching and cutting out most artificial ingredients and refined sugar. I am just now, this week, starting to let some of these things back into my diet (I caved and bought mini-cupcakes) but I am still making mostly healthier choices. I’ve lost about 11-12 pounds. I feel better when I’m eating better. I can tell when I eat things not so good, I can feel it. These were good changes.

As for the shoulder pain? Apparently just my most spectacular MCTD attack yet. I had two good weeks, then apparently my immune system decided that my shoulder was the enemy and took it OUT. I never thought I’d be so happy to have an injection directly into a joint. It did wonders to kick the inflammation and pain.

Now, however, my arm has not healed from all the stress I put it through in the process. And it’s going through cycles of getting worse again. I spent a good portion of yesterday morning not being able to hold a pen. I spent a good portion of last night having difficulty making my hand respond properly; it was sluggish in a sporadic way. This morning I can’t use it really at all. I have a referral to a neurologist next Tuesday to run a nerve and muscle test to see if there is any damage. I can’t feel touch, only pressure, on about half my arm, and the pain is coming back. Time to see what else my body did to itself.

Despite all of this, some of my optimism is coming back. It’s a lie that I’m not having some rough days and rough moments, but it is what it is. I’m on new medication. We are checking new medical things. I have a GOOD doctor who is on my side 110%. This means that for the moment we are doing what we can.

I hope to some day feel properly healthy again. I’m not there yet. And a lot of people look at me and don’t understand how bad I feel. And that’s okay. I’m not trying to wear a neon sign. I still shake the hands of my customers even when it hurts to extend my arm or grasp with my hand. I still do everything I’m supposed to do at work, even if slowly, and I at least try to do things at home, even though sometimes my energy has been stolen entirely by my job. I’m so focused on needing to keep DOING things that I don’t know what point I have to hit before I realize I really do need to take a day off and stay in bed. There are days I should have, I’m sure, but I’m too darn stubborn. Honestly I would benefit highly from taking a week off and just relaxing as much as possible. But that’s hardly going to happen, so I just keep moving along instead.

I think at the moment I miss writing most. I do all of my poetry work by hand, and holding a pen comfortably for more than necessary reasons isn’t an option right now. Beyond that, even now that I am sleeping a bit better, I am still far too foggy-headed and exhausted to focus. I have ideas, can jot them down, but the moment I try to do anything more serious than that my brain logs off its local network and goes to sleep. This too has gotten a bit better, but not quite enough yet. It’s all a process. Bit by bit. Writing and studying both. I don’t have the mind for either. Honestly? I’m kind of useless right now. Good for the occasional homemade dinner, round of dishes, or load of laundry, and that’s about it. Some days don’t even include those things.

But OPTIMISM. I am better now than I was a month ago. This much is true. A month ago I was sick enough that my own boss told me, “You were so miserable at work that if you had been a dog I might have taken you out back and shot you.” Gee, thanks. (He has funny ways of expressing himself, but I knew that was his way of letting me know he’d been keeping an eye on me.) I am not in AS much pain, I have lost weight (in a good way), I am beginning to sleep better, and things are looking up!

Celebrate the small things, yes? And tackle the bigger ones when they stand in your way.

Why I’m Thankful for NaNoWriMo

N is for NaNoWriMo

N is for NaNoWriMo

I first participated in National Novel Writing Month in 2010 and have remained a participant since. (I did take a break last year to study for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test instead since it fell the day after NaNo.) What began for me as a shy, solo, mad dash for words soon became much more, and I’m thankful for NaNoWriMo for several reasons.

1) NaNoWriMo taught me that I am not a novelist; I am a poet. I’d always dabbled in poetry, but thought that what I’d really write was novels. NaNo taught me otherwise.

2) The first reason might sound like the opposite of one thing that NaNo promotes, that there is a book inside everyone. But the way I see it is this: NaNo not only served to teach me where my strengths in writing lie, it also gave, and continues to give, me 30 days of ‘permission’ to myself every year to chase one of the longer stories in my head. I have yet to completely finish any of these, but I’ll get there. These are the stories I tell only for myself. And if one day, 20 years from now, miraculously one of them is publishable? I’ll count that as a happy bonus.

3) It’s taught me the beginnings of plotting… and not plotting, both. It’s taught me to listen to the voices in my head. It’s taught me to stop standing in my own way, or at least as much as I can manage that anyway.

4) And perhaps most importantly? It’s given me friends. Many of them. People who are very dear to me know who I most likely never would have met otherwise. People like the Ferret girls.

Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? What has the challenge done for you?

Of Moons and Medical Things

M is for Moon and Medical

M is for Moon and Medical

A short A-Z post today, nothing too spectacular.

For those who read my Of Doctors, Diets… post, today is the day I get the results from all the tests I had run last month. Not sure what to expect, if anything. (I’ll have a longer update post soon.)

It is also the morning after the first Blood Moon this year! Were you someplace in the world you could see it? Did you take pictures? Have you ever seen a lunar eclipse before?