Monday, February 12, 2018

Frozen Moments by Robin Janney

Last week I posted two pictures for my Wordless Wednesday post. One was of my mother and her pup, who just had her first birthday and isn't really a pup anymore. But I think dogs are like kids who never really grow up. They're perpetual toddlers, forever pups at heart. Like my dog in the second photo. I'm not really sure how old my Jaclyn is, but I think she'll turn 7 this summer. You wouldn't know it by the energy she routinely displays...I wish I had half her energy!

Bath day...
Late in the year of 2016, my Mom expressed the desire for a lap dog. So, I began looking for one for her. Mr. Janney and I found a little doggy for her. Muffin is a mixed breed, terrier and pug I believe.

Mother spoils the dog worse than her grandchildren. I'm pretty sure the entire reason Mom makes toast in the morning for breakfast is so Muffin can have her share.

Unlike my dog, Muffin likes being in a lap. My dog Jaclyn will occasionally ask to come up to my lap, especially recently, but she's a little too big for it to be comfortable for either of us - it doesn't stop us from cuddling though.

My Mom is scheduled to have a lumpectomy on Wednesday, and I'm not sure if she's devised a method to keep Muffin (and the cat, Fuscias) from using her as a bed. Perhaps my sister will be able to provide enough distraction for Muffin to leave Mom alone so she can recover. Sara is going to be staying at Mom's for before and after the surgery, which is a relief for me since FMLA has only approved me to miss 3 hours of a shift for Mom's appointments. I'm actually using a vacation day for the day of the surgery. I suppose I could have more paperwork done but at this point I am sick to death of the FMLA paperwork.

Jaclyn as a puppy...her tail still wags that fast!
I've always enjoyed taking 'nonsense' pictures. Especially of our animals. I'm not sure why. I did this even before the days of digital cameras. Of course, I have plenty of pictures of landscapes and flowers as well.

I enjoy documenting my life in pictures. It's so much easier to take pictures than it used to be. Although now it's a matter of 'how much memory do I have left?' instead of 'how much film do I have left?' Pictures help the facing memory.

Let's be honest, as the years pass and things change...peoples faces fade in our memory. If I close my eyes and try to picture my father, it's a dim keep that memory from fading away entirely. While I can respect people's desire to not be photographed, it frustrates me because the photo being taken isn't for's for years from now when someone wants to remember.

Left to right: sister Sara, Mom, me
(pretty sure that's Mr Janney's head behind me lol)
Photo cred: Sara
There are so many moments in time that I don't want to forget. People. places. Pets. Because time goes by faster than we think. It doesn't seem it when we're young, we think we have all the time in the world and we don't realize that those silly pics we're taking are capturing a moment in time we'll never see again.

It seems that just yesterday that I was thirteen and my biggest worries were whether I was going to survive another day at school and whether my father would be home or whether he would be back in the hospital. And here I am today, almost 42 and worrying about rent - still uncertain about what the future holds.

I had it all planned out as a teenager. Runaway when I became 18, go to Hollywood and become rich and famous (and marry Mark Hamill (forgive me Mrs. Hamill, I was young and dumb)). That obviously has not happened! Which I'm okay with, because I kind of like my Mr. Janney.

I apologize if I'm coming off too melancholy or too dramatic. It's just that I'm feeling the weight of life at the moment. I've managed to catch the same episode of Criminal Minds a couple times over the past couple of weeks. They usually begin and end their episodes with a quote. This particular episode ended with a quote I felt was applicable to my current phase in life.

I don't think that letting go means forgetting though. So I take pictures to remember the life that brought me to the place I am today. Where I will tomorrow. Because it's all connected.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Book 3 Coming Someday by Robin Janney

I started this post a looooooong time ago. I was struggling with blog post ideas, so one night I tossed a line out in three different platforms  inviting people to give me subjects they'd like to read about or to ask me a question that I'd answer through a blog post. I received one question, thru the Broads of a Feather Facebook page, which is why this post is going up here instead of my own blog. The question was when am I going to release the third book in my series, so in theory I could have answered on either blog. So I'm just going to go through this post, do some edits and then publish.
I know it's been a while since book 2, Ring of Fire was released, but since I was unsure exactly how long, I took a peak on the KDP dashboard. This past November marked 3 years since the release of Ring.
I love taking pictures of random plants against water.
3 years.
Not what I had planned, that's for certain. As I recall, I actually had a fairly good start on book 3 when Ring of Fire was published.
So what the heck have I been up to instead of writing?
There is no easy answer to that. It's multifaceted. I mean, even on a good day, the creative process is finicky and cyclic.

Looking back over some older blog posts to refresh my memory as to what's been going on the past few years was interesting. There have been a few life events that interfered with my creative flow. There were a few health issues, both mine and my husband's. There was our almost homelessness; we were seriously $300 shy from losing it all. There were job changes, first Mr. Janney's then my own as I followed him. This resulted in a changed schedule and some longer hours which equals exhaustion. There was some traveling involved as finances improved, just so you know it wasn't all bad!

But, I think underlying all these things, the bad and the good, has been depression.

While depression is a wonderful side benefit of all my health issues, both the diabetes and the underactive thyroid, it is something I have battled for as long as I can remember. And I can remember a ways back. Like knocking the car into reverse and it rolling down the driveway when I was a toddler, probably about 3ish. So yeah, it's been a part of my life for a long time.

How much of it was chemical driven even then, I don't know. I suspect my endocrine system was malfunctioning long before I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, especially since mine is caused by an autoimmune disorder. But for how long...there really is no telling. A few months ago, I started a birth control pill to help manage the monthly turmoil... and while its not positively effecting that, it did alleviate some depression. Until this January, which you can read about over at my own blog.

One thing I noticed years ago, is that I have a hard time being creative when I am depressed. The deeper the depression, the less I can write anything...whether it is poetry or fiction. It's always frustrated me, because I know that if I can just write, then the depression won't be so bad. It's always been frustrating when everything is going fine and I'm depressed, part of my mind is just like... 'What is your problem? You don't have anything to depressed about!'  That's the part of the brain that has been conditioned to believe depression is a solely emotional response to outside stimuli and not the result of a chemical imbalance.

It is a mental illness that I have most likely inherited, right alongside the physical illnesses. And just like the physical, sometimes I can manage it and sometimes it likes to do it's own thing. A few doctor visits ago, my thyroid numbers were good, but not the diabetes numbers so my doctor has added an additional medicine to the plethora I already take. And sine the original beginning of this post, I no longer take this new pill... one of the side effects was causing more irritation than it was worth so I was switched to a once weekly injection for the diabetes.

I used to take an over the counter supplement for my depression, which I believed was enough to take the edge of the depression. It has not been in the budget for the past several months however, and I noticed no discernible difference. That kind of concerns me, tells me that the supplement probably wasn't doing as much as I thought, especially since the birth control pill I mentioned earlier does more. I probably ought to talk to one of my doctors about getting on a prescription med, one that would treat both depression and anxiety (yeah, I have that too), but I already feel like my life revolves around my medicines.

I mean, Sheesh. Look at that picture. The top three are optional, vitamins and ibuprofen (which really isn't optional as without it I am in a great deal of pain...) that I take to temper the chronic joint pain I live with (thank you thyroid). Everything else is prescription meds for my various issues. Only one is a temporary antibiotic. Two are for the thyroid itself, my dose is so high it takes more than one pill to meet it!

That alone is enough to depress a person I think.

If I continue to lose weight, I may be able to eliminate or reduce a few of them (15-20lbs so far) but the thyroid issue will never go away. And even if I manage the diabetes well enough to reduce my meds, it will always be something I'll have to guard against. But I am determined to make that happen.

I am leaving the following paragraph, even though the depression is full blown at this time.  It's weird. Right now as I'm writing, I can feel the low of depression. I'm not sad. As many people who deal with depression will tell you, depression does NOT equal sadness. I can actually be quite happy and still feel that low under it. I've even thought of myself as one of the happiest functioning depressives you'll ever meet, even though I know I'm not THAT unique. I've read enough to know that I'm not alone. And actually right now I'm more tired than happy or sad. I've had a headache most of the weekend and for whatever reason it's been exhausting.

But, that said, I plan on working on the novel when I'm done here. My brain has been on a creative drive ever since my laptop died (go figure) although now I'm wondering if it has to do with being off my depression supplement. That's a something I'd rather not examine too closely!

I don't have a date for any of you. I did want to have it done before the end of 2017, but that clearly didn't happen. So my new goal is before the end of this year. I wish I could do better for my fans, but I know how quickly life can throw curveballs at you so I'd rather not get any more specific than that for a deadline. That's one of the advantages of being your own boss I guess...even if it is a disadvantage at the same time. I mean, no new book, no new sales, etc.

That's the best answer I have right now.

And even today, it is still the best answer I have. I can tell you that I did work on my novel, Bigger than the Beetles, after my original ending to this post. I may not be able to fix my laptop, I've had it back twice and it has collapsed both times, but I can and do work on it on my tablet. It's not my favorite way to write, but it beats not writing at all. If you've read my other blog post, you know that my life is in a bit of turmoil. I know that I shall weather it, I just don't know the effect it will have on my writing career.

I seem to have reached a point where I can blog about it, so perhaps it will all be fine. Perhaps I shall be back here again soon. One can only hope :)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Oh Christmas Tree

For the first time in years, I have a Christmas tree!

I've had a hard time convincing Mr. Janney that we have the room in our cluttered trailer for a tree, but I got lucky this year and his mother offered us their old one.

Maybe I should have waited until we'd organized things a bit better, but I decided the heck with it since it'll only be up a few weeks. Jaclyn, our dog, is a bit confused, especially since I moved her cage and bed a bit, but she'll adjust. I just worry that her tail will knock ornaments off, it's a bit of a whip when she's excited.

There aren't any lights on it. The set I had was old and only half of it would light up, when it was of a mind to. Which makes me sad, because they were blue lights that made me happy. I probably should have waited until I got a new set to put the rest of my random ornaments on, but I do tend to do things out of 'order'.

I used to have a tiny tree, from when I had an apartment. But it got ruined in one of my moves. That happens. There are quite a few ornaments on the tree, which would never have fit on the tiny tree. Because Christmas ornaments are a weakness of mine. I can't walk through the decoration aisles in any store at all without wanting to buy it ALL! And now that I have a large tree, I so badly want to run out and buy more! Which I'll probably do at some point, or go through my mother-in-law's extra ornaments, maybe for next year. Because...well, just don't look at the backside of the tree!!

I'm feeling a little festive now!