Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

Where Have I Been?

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Another one of my long radio silences. This one is harder for me to write about. Wren sometimes calls RA the rheuma-dragon, and I’ve been looking for a good name for the beast who’s been visiting me lately. I think I’m going to go with Depression Zombie.

Depression and RA seem to go together a lot of the time. Several other bloggers I admire have written about it, and I’ve appreciated every word. But when it comes time for me to write about it, I get stuck. For me, one of the symptoms of depression is deep shame about being depressed. When I’m not depressed, or when it’s happening to somebody else, I understand that it’s a medical condition like any other, and that you can’t just will yourself out of it. But when I’m in it, I can’t see this. Somehow it’s my fault, or means that I’m weak, or… well, the self-attacking thoughts go on and on.

While the Depression Zombie had its bony fingers in my brain, I happened to read this post by The Bloggess, and it is an exact description of what I was feeling. I love The Bloggess – she is awesome – and although she’s not really an RA blogger, she does have RA. And what she said about depression really resonated with me, especially this part:

When I’m in a depression I want to write about it, but I usually can’t. I’m too overwhelmed and paralyzed and exhausted. I end up writing 100 angsty drafts that never see daylight and I convince myself that no one cares.

Anyway, I hope Jenny (The Bloggess) won’t mind me borrowing her words. I just can’t seem to find them myself, and hers are pretty much a perfect description of what’s been keeping me away from my blog. Please read her whole post, especially if you are dealing with depression too.

Problem with Comments

Monday, June 21st, 2010

I’ve been feeling lonely lately – not a single comment!  Then it dawned on me that the comments stopped right when I added a new anti-spam feature to my blog.  So I logged out, tried to comment as a different user – and it didn’t work!  Voila!

Anyway, I’ve disabled the anti-spam feature until I can figure out what the problem was.  Feel free to comment if you want to!

I Don’t Think Anyone’s Ever Called Me A “Sugar Doll” Before!

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010


“The Fabulous Sugar Doll Blogger Award” has been making the rounds, and I’ve been nominated!  A big thank you to WarmSocks and Wren, whose blogs I love and read regularly.

According to the rules of this award, I’m supposed to tell you ten things about me that you don’t know, and then nominate five blogs for the award.  I’m going to stick to fun and/or silly things – it seems to fit the spirit of the award!

1.  I used to be an Irish step dancer – in fact, there’s even a video of me dancing at my wedding on YouTube, huge white gown and all!  (I didn’t post it there, and no, I’m not going to provide a link!)  😉

2.  I am OBSESSED with chocolate!  I’m going to have a chocolate-themed party for my 40th birthday.

3.  I am afraid of balloons!  Ridiculous but true.  I’m always convinced they’re going to pop and freak me out!  Mylar balloons are okay.

 4.  I like to make up ridiculous songs to sing to my little son, my cats, and other random loved ones.  One of my favorites boasts the lyrics, “Small and smelly, yes I am/So I have to take a bath/I don’t wanna take a bath/No, I’d rather be small and smelly!”

5.  I have two cats named after opera characters, Marcello and Musetta.  Bonus points to anyone who can name the opera without looking it up!

6.  Just like Helen at Pens and Needles, when I was a kid, I kept a “spy notebook” and wrote down all kinds of random things I saw people doing.  This led to a lifetime “notebook” habit – I still keep one, but now I call it a “journal” – sounds more adult, no?

7.  I wrote fiction a LOT when I was younger, and wanted to be an “author” from the moment I knew what the word meant.  I somehow drifted out of the habit in my twenties, and am now thinking it’s high time I took it back up again.

8.  My parents were professors, and I used to create “magazines” out of the blank exam blue books they left around.  My brother and I published rival magazines, and got into a huge fight once over slanderous stories we wrote and whether or not they were true.  My mom took out a big black marker and taught us the word “censored.”

9.  I never feel settled in a new home until I have baked TollHouse cookies in it.

10.  I get fiercely competitive when I play games.  My husband loves games, so we play a lot of them.  If I lose, we can’t go to bed until I’ve won a round of SOMETHING.


Now for my nominees.  This is MUCH harder, since there are so many blogs I love!  I’m going to stick to people who don’t yet have the award posted on their blog – but even so, this was a hard choice!

Laurie at A Chronic Dose

Amanda at All Flared Up

RA SB at Confessions of an RA Superbitch

Leslie at Getting Closer to Myself

The Thousand Teeth


Saturday, August 29th, 2009

So here I am, blogging.  I’ve never been much into the concept of blogging – I’m a pretty private person.  But things have changed since the onset of my RA – I’ve been helped so much by the blogs of other people with this ridiculous disease, and it occurs to me that maybe I can help someone else.  So away we go…

I’ve been a musician all my life.  With the exception of some summer temp jobs when I was in college, I’ve never held a non-music job.  It’s not an easy way to make a living, and I worked ridiculously hard for years and years.  One summer I worked as a pianist and coach for an opera program, and I played the piano for nine hours a day, seven days a week.  I have a small frame, and my body took a beating – tendonitis, repetitive stress injuries, even a long bout of thoracic outlet syndrome.  But I kept going.  In 2006, I was again working seven days a week, this time at about five or six different jobs, with lots of one-time gigs scattered here and there.  I even worked on all the major holidays, since one of my jobs was at a church. 

Then I developed rheumatoid arthritis.

Some other time, I’ll tell the story of exactly what happened.  For now, it’s enough to say that it changed everything.  Suddenly, working seven days a week was no longer possible.  I was waking in the morning to find that yet another finger had gone stiff and swollen overnight.  I began stumbling over notes at the piano, having trouble concentrating in rehearsals, becoming cranky with my fellow musicians.

So, as I saw it, there were three things I could do:

1. Deny that anything was wrong and push through as best I could, relying on shots and steroid pills to get me through my performances.
2. Give up music and find something else to love.
3. Find a way to adapt and keep music in my life.

If you have RA, you can guess how well #1 worked.  I was surprisingly lucky for a long time – somehow, I managed to get through the performances that were important to me.  But I finally had to accept that I needed to slow WAY down.
I tried #2 for a little while, during times when I couldn’t work.  Sometimes being around music and musicians was so painful that I thought it might be best.  Going to the opera made me incredibly sad, and I stopped listening to classical music at home.  I didn’t touch the piano when I didn’t have to.  But something important inside me wasn’t being fed.

So for now, it’s #3.  I’m still a working professional musician, but I now teach more than I play, and work only a few hours a week on average.  More importantly, I’m spending a lot of time thinking about the nature of music-making, and looking for ways around my physical limitations.  I also spend a lot of time thinking about the concept of perfection.  Classical piano is a perfectionist art, or at least it was for me – many hours of practice went into polishing a piece of music until it was as nearly perfect as possible.  When I made mistakes in public performance, it was a cringeworthy experience.  But mistakes are more likely now, and it’s harder for me to play technically difficult classical pieces than it was before.  Someday it may be impossible.

In the middle of all this struggling, I started writing music of a completely different kind.  I guess you could call it popular music – I don’t know what specific category my “sound” falls into, or even if it falls into one at all.  It is surprisingly hard for me.  Writing music might seem like a natural thing for a trained musician to do, but sometimes all that training, all those ideas about what it means to “compose,” all that perfectionism can really get in the way.  But somehow, I’ve come to feel that it’s important for me to do it anyway.  I’ve lost a lot of things to RA; now I want to start gaining some things. 

So this is what this blog is about, at least for now.  It’s a place for me to wrestle with my thoughts about RA, about music, about art in general, about my new role as a baby songwriter, about whatever else might come up.  It’s also a place for me to share the music that comes out of this. 

It’s also not going to be a “perfect” place.  Sometimes I am philosophical, or even positive, about the RA and all the changes in my life.  Other time, I am angry, rebellious, sad, self-pitying.  Sometimes I’m irreverent, politically incorrect, or crass.  All of that will probably show up here, because I want this blog to be real.  I find that sometimes I’m helped by reading blogs where other people are being brave and creative in dealing with their illness, but other times I am comforted by seeing that other people go through the same anger and pain that I do.  I don’t know yet what the balance will be on this blog – it depends on what happens to me, and how I feel about it at the time.  Life is messy; art is messy.

Here, then, is the first song I ever wrote about having RA – it’s called “Don’t Let Me.”

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