Friday, October 21, 2016

A Hajek Autumn

 I've been writing a LOT of TV reviews lately. I mean, it is premiere season, so that's to be expected, but I figured I ought to insert a bit of a personal update too.

The new house continues to be amazing for me. When I am home, I have a lot of days where I have good energy and function. Being able to go outside in my own yard and garden has just been so wonderful.

That said, fibromyalgia and endometriosis are long-term illnesses, and just managing them (never mind curing them) is difficult and intense. We continue to seek out help and try new things, and every couple of months we figure out a new piece. However both illnesses bring debilitating days into my life, and I still periodically find myself in the ER with crippling migraines that take days to recover from.

A big piece of management has been staying close to home. Riding in the car or being away from the house for too long seems to raise the risk of a migraine or other disabling factors. We therefore have had to strictly limit travel to about 20 miles from our home, at most. This has made attending family gatherings difficult, if not impossible, and I've had to miss out on weddings and showers. This has been hard, but I am very grateful for how understanding everyone has been.

 Of course this also makes book promotion difficult, as I can't easily travel around to conferences, bookstores and libraries, doing the self-promotion appearances necessary to author success. We know God has brought this book to this point, and he will take it where it needs to go, but it is difficult to not be able to increase my contribution to our finances. Trusting God's plan is a daily endeavor! (I've been blessed with many friends posting about the book on Facebook, Instagram, Amazon and Goodreads. These posts DO help boost my sales and for that I am so grateful!)

On the book front I will add that I sent a not-quite-finished draft of my follow-up novella, "The Professor and the Siren" to my Beta readers two weeks ago. I still need to write the third act, which I'm struggling with because it is a bit unconventional in how the pacing will play out. I would appreciate prayers for God's guidance as I complete this!

The good news is that I've established several contacts to help me with the Scottish culture portion of the next novel, "The Selkie and the Queen." The bad news is that I've been sicker the past two weeks so I haven't been able to follow up with that as quickly as I needed to. :/

 Mateo continues to be a bundle of joy. He is growing like a WEED, hitting 13 and 1/2 lbs this week, just as he hit his six month mark. He is well on track to be bigger than either of his parents, and twice as big as at least three of his siblings. Puppy cuddles make my days so much better, even though he doesn't understand why some days Mommy isn't able to play with him. He is loving fall, as leaves make great toys, and he has great fun chasing the squirrels in our yard (I think my tomatoes will be a little safer next year...)

Speaking of yards, MN has been blessed with a very warm growing season. It is October 21st and my morning glories, roses and sweet alyssum are still blooming! In addition, we built a cold frame against the south side of our house, and I've got a crop of beets, spinach, lettuce and cilantro growing. Right now I'm experimenting with ways to keep the frame warm enough for another month or two to mature the crops. It's a fun challenge! It was especially cool to be able to construct the cold frame entirely from materials we either had on hand or found for free on Craigslist (including a wonderful double paned glass door!). The only money I spent on the project was purchasing my beet seeds!

Another recent passion has been getting into making kombucha. After my success with Gluten Free Sourdough Starter and Yogurt, I decided to finally accept my mom's offer of a SCOBY and start fermenting my own kombucha tea. Let me tell you, making a week's supply of tasty, healthy, drinks for about $2 is thrilling! (I use the recipe from Sally Fallon's "Nourishing Traditions" and my favorite flavor combo is raspberry/ginger/lemon, like "Synergy's: Trilogy" mix).

At this point I don't know if I will ever be able to take on sewing commissions again. The big deadlines have just been such a source of stress for me over the years and I think contributed to getting so sick in the first place. I still have commissions from last year that I have not been able to finish yet (although I have finished a couple!). Running my Etsy store has been less lucrative financially, but it has also been way less stressful because I am only selling what I have actually made. I'm still hoping to release a book and perhaps some patterns at some point, but I need to get a much better camera for that to happen, and we're still trying to figure out how to make that work financially right now.

It's difficult to face the oncoming winter, as the days get so dark and cold up here in MN, and my health means that any trips south are out of the question for the foreseeable future. Puppy and bringing some garden stuff indoors are meant to help with this, and I'm keeping my eye out for an affordable electric fireplace to cozy up next to while I type away...

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