Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for October 2019

A Brief Bloglet

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Last week I finished up another edit, and had intended to come back here and write another blog. But the best laid plans sometimes do not come to fruition, and thus, the blog is now.

I’m dealing with an unusual situation here, health-wise. I don’t really understand fibromyalgia at all. It does seem to have elements of chronic fatigue to it, which means I’ll have to come up with strategies, and fast, to continue my life on my terms.

In addition, I’ve dealt with an unpleasant infection/abscess. (Or infected abscess? Is that a contradiction in terms?)

More difficulty, less energy. That’s where I’ve been at.

Now, am I completely unable to do anything? No. But I did just spend two days down at home, doing nothing other than sleeping. (Trust me, that is the most boring thing in the world to do. But some days, that’s all that’s possible.)

I have hopes that the rest of the week will be better. I have an appointment with a new doc later today, and we’ll see if he has any ideas. And I’ll talk with my friends, and my family, and see if there’s anything I can do to make things any better.

I get tired of the feeling that all I can do today is “not collapse.” I want more out of my life than that.

But for now, as I continue to struggle, that’s where I am.

Let’s hope I’ll be able to write soon. (I can still edit, thank God/dess.)

 

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 23, 2019 at 5:11 am

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Political Thoughts on a Friday Afternoon

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The national mood (much less mine) has seemed apocalyptic. The politics get more polarized; the POTUS bloviates and prevaricates, then deserts long-term allies in a shameful move; the politics get even more polarized, where some people for some reason still think this POTUS walks on water (and most of the rest realize not only that he doesn’t, but none of us do).

The mood in my state of Wisconsin isn’t that great, either. It’s fall, and it’s chilly. Our state politics have been polarized a long time, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. But worse yet is the feeling that very few elected officials are looking out for us at any level…and that this isn’t going to change unless we vote as many of the current crop of politicians out as possible.

(Except for those few who do seem to have a shred of public service somewhere deep inside, that is. They can stay.)

I can’t help but see these things, and be appalled. I care that we get the best representation possible at all levels, from honorable people doing their best to figure out how to run things the very best way they can. Not for greed or graft. Not for personal gain in any way. But because it’s the right thing to do.

Maybe I’m still an idealist at heart. Perhaps I am.

But we should be doing better than this. We deserve to have open, rational dialogues about the tough issues facing our world, much less this country and this state. We need to know the hard facts. (Not alternative facts, whatever the Hell they are.) We need to understand that traditional conservative values about saving money and paying down the national (and state) debt and not spending money on frivolous things like gold-plated faucets in executive washrooms are good things. And we also need to understand that traditional, small-l liberal values of freedom, justice, and the dignity of human worth are also good things.

We’ve become so polarized in the US that it’s possible to say one thing, and depending on what political party one belongs to, people hear it two ways.

That’s just wrong.

We are all human beings. We all deserve the chance to figure ourselves out. And we deserve the chance to live in a peaceful world, one where we don’t desert our long-term allies at the drop of a hint or the whim of an erratic and unskilled POTUS.

Our Congress, and our state government, on down to city and local governments, needs to start working for us. Rather than above us, besides us, or in spite of us.

I don’t know if we can get there anytime soon. But we have to start trying.

Otherwise, we’ll continue to get the neglectful, wasteful, and spiteful government we have now. And that is completely nonsensical.

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 18, 2019 at 4:37 pm

Fatigue Fog and Frustration

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Folks, I liked the above title because it works with or without punctuation. (Yes, I’m weird like that. Goes with the territory, I guess.) With punctuation, it would be, “Fatigue, fog, and frustration,” but even without, it sums up my mood quite nicely.

Yes, I continue to battle. I have finished up a few more edits. I am going to play the next concert with the Racine Concert Band (next Tuesday at Park High School), too. And I’m still at least thinking about the plots and stories I want to write, even if I’m too tired/sick to write them at the moment.

So, what in the world is going on this time? My best guess (and the doctor’s, too) is fibromyalgia. That’s a much-misunderstood disorder that has to do with chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and sleep problems. Everything else has been ruled out (save my migraines, which are being treated elsewhere, and of course my asthma, under maintenance care as per usual). So only fibromyalgia remains a viable diagnosis.

What it means for me is that I must rest more. I have to continue to get gentle exercise, eat well, and do my best to get more than six hours of decent sleep a night. I’ll also be evaluated by a sleep specialist soon, and hopefully by a fibro doctor as well, depending on whether my insurance wants to pay for it.

I’m fortunate that my editing has not been affected by this issue. But my writing definitely has been. And while I can do a little bit of writing, here and there, I still have to ration my strength for what needs to be done rather than what I want to do.

Though in an ideal world, I’d figure out how to do both things. (And I do hope to live in that ideal world someday, of course!)

I will keep doing everything I can to get healthier. That’s all I can promise right now. That, and read widely, and comment as I’m able, and write a few blogs here and there…and hopefully work again on fiction sometime in this lifetime.

That’s what I need to do. And that’s what I’m somehow going to do, once I get to feeling a little better.

Do I enjoy writing updates like this? Hell no, I don’t. But as I haven’t written anything here at my personal blog for a bit, I figured I owed one…even if it’s not what I wanted to say, or probably what you wanted to hear, either.

So, that’s why I started this off with the title of “Fatigue Fog and Frustration.” I am fatigued. I sometimes feel in a fog. And I certainly do feel frustrated by it all…but I’m going to persevere and do my level best.

Because that’s all I can do.

And I’d rather be honest, and admit my shortcomings, than try to “fake it ’til I make it.” As the latter does no good…and the former, at least, may tell someone else battling with much the same thing that they’re not alone.

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 9, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

When Life Is Like Baseball

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Folks, if you’ve read my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I am a baseball fan. (My Milwaukee Brewers jersey, worn in the picture I put in the “About” section, kind of gives it away.) And while I haven’t written much about baseball in recent years, that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped watching it.

Or learning from it, either.

Yesterday evening, the Brewers played the Washington Nationals in the National League Wild-Card play-in game. This is a one-game playoff, and whichever team wins the game advances.

My Brewers did not advance.

Now, they were ahead until the bottom of the 8th inning. (One inning away from winning the game, if you’re not a baseball fan.) But at that time, three pivotal events happened:

  1. Home plate ump called a hit-by-pitch instead of a batted ball when the ball clearly hit the knob of the bat of the hitter rather than any part of the hitter’s hand. And when the Brewers complained, and asked for a replay, the umps doing replay didn’t fix the call.

    Had that call been a batted ball (inadvertent, but still), that runner would’ve been out. Instead, the runner was awarded first base, and that ultimately mattered because…

    2. Josh Hader, the Brewers bullpen ace (and “closer,” meaning he finishes games and usually shuts down opposing hitters cold), did not have his best stuff. He was missing the locations catcher Yasmani Grandal was asking for that Hader normally would’ve hit…and Hader was clearly rattled by the ump’s bad call, too. And that led to the bases being loaded, which led to…

    3. Hader gives up a single to Juan Soto of the Nationals. Soto’s ball went to right field, where Brewers OF Trent Grisham waited. However, the ball got past Grisham (somehow), meaning three runs scored rather than one, or two. (Probably two runs would’ve scored there no matter what, but for the sake of argument, you could say it was possible that had Grisham fielded the ball properly, he could’ve thrown out the second runner at home.)

    This error was costly.

    Check that. Beyond costly.

And after all that happened, instead of the Brewers leading, 3-1, as they had at the beginning of the inning, they now trailed, 4-3. And they weren’t able to muster a rally in the ninth and climactic inning, though OF Lorenzo Cain singled with one out. (This meant the tying run was aboard, but was unable to score.)

Game over.

But that doesn’t mean the season was a waste. Far, far from it.

The Brewers season was good this year. They had ups and downs. They could be streaky. They lost their best player, NL MVP Christian Yelich, at the beginning of September. Several of their other best players, such as former NL MVP Ryan Braun, Lo Cain, Keston Hiura, and Mike Moustakas, were battling through injuries. And they still kept going, and made an improbable run in September (going 20-7) to get to the Wild-Card Game at all.

Persistence, grit, and heart in action. It was fun to watch them overcome so much adversity in September.

That said, this was a disappointing loss. It hurt, as a fan, to watch it. And I’m sure the players didn’t enjoy it either, most especially not Grisham and Hader.

Now, the title of this blog is, “When Life Is Like Baseball.” So you might be wondering, “Barb, what on Earth are you going on about, nattering about the Brewers game? They lost. So what?”

Well, life is like this, too. You try, and try, and try again, and sometimes you make errors. Sometimes you get bad calls, where you did everything right, but the person in charge feels you still did it wrong…and sometimes, your best play (or player) is going to let you down, because that’s what the law of averages is all about.

No one wants to make a critical error in a one-and-done situation like Grisham did, mind. And no one wants to blow a save at the worst possible time, as Hader did.

Sometimes, you are going to make your best effort, and still lose. This doesn’t mean that you should stop trying, but it does mean you have to learn from your mistakes.

You have to keep going, though. Despite disappointment. Despite adversity. Despite setbacks.

You have to pick yourself up and dust yourself off, and sometimes you have to wait a long time to “get a bit of your own back.” (Or better yet, just live well and let that be the best revenge. Or in the Brewers case, play well.)

But you can do it. No matter what the adversity, setback, or disappointment, you can do it if you learn from your mistakes, you keep on trying, and you make your best effort every day.

I firmly believe that. And I hope you do, too.