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The Plot Bunny Farm
Living at an angle oblique to reality
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9th-Feb-2016 04:13 pm - Good news, bad news (health)

I had a checkup this morning — a follow-up from my bronchitis last month. The doctor wanted to make certain my asthma was under control under normal circumstances. She was concerned because I’d had two bouts of bronchitis so close together (one in October, one in January), especially as I couldn’t remember being around someone sick that would’ve triggered my own illness. (Well, until a few hours after I got home and remembered that my daughter had been down with the flu — which I told the doctor this morning. She agreed that could easily have triggered it and said she hoped my daughter’s okay now.)

So I did the spirometry.

In case you’ve never done this, they hand you this machine with an attached tube for you to blow into. You take as deep a breath as you can, then blow out as hard and long as you can. Three times, because they need to look at the average. It always leaves me a little light-headed (Yes, I’ve done this test there before to check how I was recovering from previous bouts of bronchitis), and I don’t recommend doing it for fun.

Results came back: I’m normal. Okay, at least my breathing is. Asthma is fine and controlled when I’m not otherwise sick. (And the doctor and I had a chat about exercise and keeping my rescue inhaler with me just in case, too.)


My systolic pressure was high. Both systolic and diastolic were high when first tested. After a few minutes of rest, the diastolic dropped, but the systolic did not.

It’s possible that was stress (I drove in the snow. And there were semis on the road. Yes, I get stressed by this.), or the fact that I shorted myself on sleep this past weekend to meet a deadline. But it’s also possible this is an issue of concern.

So I have an appointment to go back in a month for a blood pressure check.

If it’s still high then, we’ll talk blood tests and EKG and medications and whatever else. Meanwhile, I’m drinking more liquid, cutting back on sodium (switching to unsalted butter and cutting out processed foods mostly), and planning to walk more (when it’s not snowy and the roads aren’t icy). I’ll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile, I’m grateful that I can breathe and that there’s no need to change my medication right now.

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

2nd-Feb-2016 07:22 pm - My origin story

I’ll admit when I saw this month’s topic for the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, I didn’t know what I was going to write. My exact words to Margaret were, “poem in third grade, short story in fifth, first attempt at novel in seventh, fanfic in twelfth, next attempt at novel after college…” I didn’t know where to start.

Then it occurred to me that this is my origin story. I’ve always been writing, and it’s something I’ve cycled back to again and again, in different forms, no matter what had pushed me away. Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

1st-Feb-2016 09:34 pm - New month, new journal

When my daughter and husband went shopping for my birthday present two months ago, my daughter wanted to get me two journals. She was told just one, so she said she hoped Santa would bring me the other one for Christmas. Amazingly, he did.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

30th-Jan-2016 06:10 pm - Cool times and self-promo

So it’s award nomination season (specifically: Hugo nominations opened this week, with PINs for members being sent out in batches), which means lots of people are talking about what they’ve done that’s eligible. Now, I only had two short stories that came out last year, so this is easily done. If you’re looking for more short stories to read, check out “Blood and Gold” in The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk and “Adapt or Die” in Aphrodite Terra. Even if you don’t decide to nominate my work, there are many other stories in both that you’ll likely enjoy.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.


What with the snow, the family was home today. I stayed inside and worked on a short story with occasional breaks to take pictures of icicles outside our kitchen window (they fell partway through the afternoon), while my family went in and out, working on clearing the driveway of snow — with several well-earned breaks along the way. Then in the afternoon, friends came over and we had a good time playing various games, eating, talking, and laughing.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

24th-Jan-2016 12:31 pm - Digging out

As with so much of the Mid-Atlantic region, we got hit by Jonas yesterday. I wasn’t expecting much, actually. I originally saw a forecast that said 3–5″, and then heard that it was turning south, so more like 1–3″. We’ve always got staples on hand to eat, food to eat, warm clothes in case of a power outage…no worries.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

20th-Jan-2016 05:25 pm - On reading and authors and genres

Journal and fancy writing setTo try to spur my reading this year, I signed up for the GoodReads reading challenge, setting my goal at the fairly doable one book a week level. Fifty-two books in a year? No problem.

Now, I have some rules for myself. I can count books I started before this year but only finish this year. I do not count books I read with my daughter, no matter how wonderful such books (like Ursula Vernon’s Castle Hangnail, Hamster Princess, and the whole Dragonbreath series) are. Serials only count as a completed set, not individual episodes. Books that I don’t finish don’t count. And for every library book I read, I have to read at least one book on my Kindle or Nook app (mostly because of how many I have piled up on them — far more than this year’s reading can account for).

I’m actually trying to do a little better than 52 for the year, and I’ll let you know how that works out.

I’m also (inspired by Jeffe Kennedy) trying to put together an actual list of what I have to read, both electronic and hard copy, with notes about genre and how I came by the book (friend wrote it, saw it recommended, was looking up the genre on Amazon, whatever). I’m probably not going to post the actual list — I would be much too embarrassed — but it will be a good reference going forward, and possibly a reminder that buying more books will be counterproductive. (Will I let that stop me? Um …)

I’m also trying (prompted by Connie’s post) to remember to actually review the books I read. Signing up for the GoodReads challenge makes that easier because to get credit for the book, I have to go to GoodReads and mark it read. While I’m there, I can add a bit about what I thought without too much effort.

Don’t want to cross-post my reviews here, but I would like to talk about the kinds of things I’m reading. So what I’m thinking is taking Wednesdays to talk about a rotation of genres/subgenres, and different authors in those genres. For example, urban fantasy, steampunk, SF (may break this down more), paranormal romance (maybe even other romance!) … The point of the posts will be to highlight why an author fits into this genre, what notes they hit that readers look for (or at least that I do!), and where good starting points are to jump into this author’s work.

I’ll be honest. That can get intense, a lot to get written up, especially when I have both work and writing deadlines to deal with, so there may be weeks I don’t get the post up, or I may wind up tapering off or even giving up halfway through the year. We’ll see how this goes.

But if you have suggestions for genres you want me to include in the rotation, or authors to recommend (because really, I was kidding about having enough to read, right?), feel free to drop them in the comments. Or tell me what you’re reading right now that you’re really enjoying.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this bit of humor from when my son was doing a Google search. (No, I don’t remember what he was actually looking for.) Pretty sure that third one requires a getaway car.
Google search autofill

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

18th-Jan-2016 09:45 pm - And another thing

I was trying to figure out what to talk about today, what moved my ungrateful little heart when I’m sick once again. But I have so much to be grateful for!

  • Medicine to ease my symptoms 
  • Insurance and flexible time so I can go to the doctor 
  • Hot tea to soothe my throat 
  • Other writers to hang out with online 
  • The Internet itself
  • Good books to read
  • Kids who love reading as much as I do 
  • Good books for them to read
  • A dog who loves to cuddle
  • Awesome wildlife (See pictures below, taken yesterday)

What are you grateful for today?


Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

11th-Jan-2016 10:44 am - Sleeping in

Among its many standardized tests, Pennsylvania administers the Keystone exams in high school for specific subjects — algebra, biology, literature, possibly others that I don’t know about. These tests are given almost at the end of the semester, and any students who are not enrolled in these courses get a three-hour delay for school on those days.

Yes. Three-hour delays for six days!

This doesn’t mean I get to sleep an extra three hours in the mornings, much as I might like that thought; after all, I do still have to get the girl ready and off to school. However, I do get an extra hour to hour and a half, and I’m loving it!

What are you grateful for this Monday morning?
Pay No Attention mug

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

4th-Jan-2016 10:12 pm - Health and happiness

Last week, my daughter got sick. At first, just a slight fever, headache, and chills. Wednesday evening, she agreed to just go to bed instead of eating pizza. It seemed fairly mild, so I hoped a good night’s rest would put her to rights.

Not so. Thursday, she still had no appetite, ran warm all day, and put herself down for a nap in the afternoon. I encouraged her to drink, but didn’t force her.

Friday, her temperature spiked (possibly because she’d been under three blankets), and she started vomiting. That seemed to clear things a bit, though, because her temperature started dropping. By Saturday morning, her stomach was only upset because it was so long since she’d eaten.

So I’m grateful for her return to health. What are you grateful for this first Monday of the new year?

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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