Underneath my yellow skin

Checking in on my health

drink it all up!
Staying cozy and warm.

The vaunted snowstorm netted us a whopping three to four inches of snow. I’m not mad, really, just disappointed. However, I knew it wasn’t going to be eight to ten inches because we’ve consistently gotten less than has been predicted, so I’m not crushed as I would be otherwise. It’s lightly snowing now, and we’re supposed to get more snow during the big storm next week. Only a few more inches, but I’ll take it. We haven’t had snow hardly at all this winter.

As for the cold, it’s really fucking cold. Currently, the temp is ‘feels like’ -28. There is no feeling going on at that temp. That’s cold, even for me. I did have the window slightly rolled down when I ran to Cubs this morning, but it’s only three minutes from my house.

Fun fact: Some years ago, the windchill factor formula was tweaked so that it more accurately reflects how the wind feels on your skin. As a result, there will probably never be a -100 windchill again. We used to get them when I was a kid, and about ten years ago, I started wondering why I never saw -100 again. It tuns out that a new windchill factor was established in 2001, which was comforting to discover. It wasn’t just me this time!

Anyway, now I’m back at home, and taiji classes have been canceled due to the extreme cold. I had been considering going to the new class tonight (new to me, not to my teacher. She’s taking it over for her teacher), but even if the classes hadn’t been cancelled, I wouldn’t have gone. I’m not leaving the house for the rest of the day. I have my traveling mug of tea and my comfy throw over my legs. I’m hunkering down until this cold snap passes because it’s too cold even for me.

Unfortunately, I’m fighting off the crud. I feel on the cusp of being sick, which is worse than actually being sick. When I’m sick, I’m just dealing with being sick. I don’t really think of much else. When I’m maybe about to get sick, I can’t do anything to stop it, and it makes me pissed off. I don’t go out into public that often except to the grocery store, which, come to think of it, is a terrible place to go if you’re trying not to be sick.

It actually makes me angry that I can’t stop myself from getting sick. I’m drinking all the tea, including immunity-boosting tea in addition to my usual honey, ginger, lemon tea. I’m doing my taiji routine every morning (including stretching), which is a half hour. When I first started taiji, I didn’t practice at home at all. In fact, I was resentful of the idea that I should practice. I don’t know why. I was a bitter, negative, and deeply depressed person when I started taking taiji classes. I’m still depressed and negative, but not nearly as much as I used to be.

When I first started practicing taiji at home, I did it for two minutes. The first section of the Solo Form, and even that was begrudging. I slowly started adding to my morning regime, and now, I’m up to a half hour of stretching and taiji. It doesn’t even feel like anything most of the time. My taiji teacher says an hour a day is the most I should do, and I don’t have to do it in one session. Looking back, I can’t believe how much I resented having to do even two minutes of it every day.

Anyway, I’m so irritated that I’m on the precipice of sickness again. I’ve been sick more often than not in the past few months, and it’s wearying on my mental health as well as my physical. I will say that I felt good when the snow came and the cold started. I feel better in frigid temps and with lots of snow, but even I have my limit. ‘Feels like’ -28 is definitely starting to edge into ‘too cold even for me’. I keep my heater at 62, and it’s been chugging along for the past day or so.

I was saying in taiji a few days ago that -50 was too much, even for me, and one of my classmates laughed and said, “Be careful what you wish for.” We laughed and joked over it, but honestly, I would take -60 over 90 any day of the week. I say this extremely cognizant of how lucky I am because I have a house and a heater. I don’t have to drive or walk anywhere in this weather, which would make me like it a whole lot less.

I’ve been struggling with my writing lately as well. Not in doing it because I can write a ton of shit every day no matter what. I’m not happy with how the second novel in my current trilogy is going. The first one is strong, but the second feels aimless at the moment. I know what I’m doing with it and where I want to go eventually, but I’m not certain how to get there.

Here’s how I work when I write. I don’t have a set time, though, I’ve been writing in the early evening for most of the past few weeks. I used to like writing in the wee hours of the night/morning, but since I’ve been sick, I’ve been going to bed earlier than my norm. Like 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. early. For reference, I used to go to bed between 4:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. I did that once a few nights ago, and I couldn’t believe I used to do it all the time.

I used to write right before I went to sleep, but now, I do it around 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., give or take an hour. I don’t have an outline. I’ve never used one, and I probably never will. I do go into a novel having the general outline in my head. When I’m writing mysteries, I know from the very start who did it, how and why. It’s the same with my current novel. I know who the villain is and the motive, and it’s different in that it’s connected to the first novel in the trilogy. I’m having a hard time getting the overarching themes to branch out the way I want them to. I’m also having a little trouble nailing down the exact way the crime is going to be committed and the purported reason why.

Sometimes, I just need to write my way through the trash. I have no problems with cutting twenty pages after writing them if it’s not what I need. That’s one of the positives of being verbose–I always have plenty of words. There will be more where that came from, and I rarely have to worry about running out. When I was in grad school, I had a prof who liked to go through a novel and talk about what each sentence means. He sometimes would deconstruct singular words, and it really made me impatient. I know I’m probably in the minority of writers, but I don’t agonize over every word. I don’t take an hour to craft one sentence, and I will rip off a thousand words in an hour or two.

I’m on sickness watch, and I’m hoping it doesn’t come to fruition. If it does, you’ll be certain to hear about it.

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