Sickly hell — a Christmas Carol

Sickly hell, or strep throat takes Christmas

Fevered faces, red-hot faces,
Chills and high temps are here,
Penicillin attacking
the germs.
Hours passing, nothing happening
I’ve got so much to do.
And every moment you’ll hear me:

Sickly hell, sickly hell,
This isn’t time for strep throat.
Trim the tree, buy last gifts,
Soon it will be Christmas Day.

People rushing, my nose gushing,
Everyone’s getting shit done.
Me, I’ve got lists and nothing
to show.
Taking medicine, happy medicine,
Wanting it to kick in.
And every moment you’ll hear me:

Sickly hell, sickly hell,
This isn’t time for strep throat.
Trim the tree, buy last gifts,
Soon it will be Christmas Day.


October roundup

I tend not to post when my life is fraught. This is against the general tendency of the confessional blogger, so yeah, I can understand why I really don’t have a huge readership, but I’d rather not exploit my own nature, you know?

But radio silence can become so overwhelming that it’s hard to break through, and that’s not healthy either. So here’s what happened in October.

I stopped riding. I stopped rather abruptly, actually, first being lofted violently into the air and then slamming into the dirt of the ring so hard it was like a Wile E. Coyote cartoon. I thought I left a Patrice-shaped impact crater.

Yes, I got bucked off by Grey Gus on October 3, and I haven’t been back in the saddle since. A trip to the ER determined no concussion and no breaks, but it was three weeks before I was back to normal.

I know. I’m the first one to say, “back into the saddle!” But I can truthfully say that it’s not fear that’s keeping my butt out of the saddle, but pragmatism.

I got lucky. Very lucky. I’m in my 50s. Bone loss is already going on, because that’s the nature of being a human female. I walked (hobbled) away from a wreck that the next time could break my back, my ribs, or my neck. So while I’m mourning this accident that has grounded me, I also know that I was extraordinarily fortunate, and the right move is to walk away from a sport I love.

I also had to take a hard look at what has been going on with me and Gus. Over the past months, he’s become less stable and more unpredictable. I’d already stopped riding him on the trails as he had become nervous and anxious, leading to attempts to bolt and buck me off. This made me more anxious with him, creating a feedback loop that riders are very familiar with.

So another truth I came face to face with — whatever I am doing has caused a change in Gus, making him too dangerous for me to ride. He had become disrespectful of my space as well, so for instance, it has become unsafe for me to lunge him in the round pen.

I happen to be a competent rider, but I am not a well-rounded trainer, and if I am causing Gus’s behavior issues, I need to stop at once. Gus bucking me off was not, as characterized by someone, a “murder move” but a very loud communication from a horse who was not being listened to.

I got lucky. This could have happened out on the trails.

So what now? Well, I will eventually get back on a horse, but I will make sure that is a quiet, very calm horse. I will go back to a beginner phase, which is fine. I don’t need to go cantering out on the trails, or jumping fences anymore. I will still go out and visit with Gus and make sure he’s loved and brushed and tended to. Horses will still be in my life.

So that was my October. I’ve also been writing, and I will have some updates on story sales for next time (I hope sooner than six weeks!). If you want to keep up with the stories that I’ve been reading and been talking up, visit my pinned page with the 2015 stories that have blown me away this year.

What’s been happening with you?

“The Martian” is coming

the martianHave you read The Martian yet? Have you? Have you seen the trailers, both the first one and the funny one? Aren’t they awesome? Won’t this be fun? Can we stand it, that we have to wait?

How much longer? Is it now?


I really loved this book. First heard about it at the beginning of the year from Amy Sisson, who has my undying gratitude (a spot-on book rec will do that to a person). I read it in one fell swoop,, and then re-read the hard parts (some of the science is confusing), and then re-read the whole thing a few months ago.

Here’s what I love: the science. The fact that science saves the day. The fact that giving up is not an option.

I love the optimism.

I love the fact that, like the true story of Apollo 13, the world comes together for this one guy, and everyone is hoping he makes it. For the four years of the book, people of the world look up at the stars and they see a lost person who is trying to come home. Isn’t that awesome? I think that’s awesome.

What I didn’t like: Watney’s kind of a jerk when it comes to women. He makes these “nice guy sexist” comments that give me this reflexive little twitch at every one of them. A fellow astronaut is spoken of admiringly solely for her looks. Her shy personality is also very similar to that of another scientist, the one who figures out that Watney’s alive. Two women scientists who are blushing and shy? It was just kind of weird.

By the way, Andy Weir, if you are Googling yourself (oh come on, admit it) and you come across this comment — I don’t actually care that much about the above. I mean, I care, and I wish that maybe you hadn’t made that creative choice, but The Martian is fucking awesome, so you know, that’s basically what it is. I wish you hadn’t made that creative choice.

People will care about it and they will be a helluva lot louder than me about the above. They will write loudly and they will write strongly about what’s wrong with that creative choice.

And they will be right to do so.

But right now, for me, here’s what I care about. I care about some kid, girl or boy, who sees the movie or reads the book and decides to be a scientist.

Because what I want is for this book and movie to turn around the dreadful science education in this country. I want science to save the day again, not be mistrusted, and lied about, and demonized. Maybe that’s a lot to ask of one book and one movie, but I can’t help but be optimistic.

Is the movie here yet?

How about now?