Post Birthday, March 11: NewBook Meanders On

The end of January began a month-plus illness that pretty much ate February for lunch…I was calling it “The Cough That Never Dies” because I’d think I was better and then spend 20 minutes coughing until I almost passed out.  However, good stuff also came in February.  After the fairly dire predictions about Tigger (that he would very likely never be riding sound physically, and my observation that he might well never be riding sound mentally, after whacking his head on the ground as part of the October disaster), my trainer found a rideable, calm, small horse for me.  Also, right before the illness knocked me flat (and no, it wasn’t the Corona virus but one that had been going around since mid-December) we had signed a contract to get a solar power setup on our place.  The new horse arrived here (it had been with my trainer for a couple of weeks and I’d ridden him up there both in the ring and outside, up the street and into a field and back) the day before the installation of the solar system, when we had four trucks and at least nine men working…on top of the barn, in the back yard digging a trench, on the side of the house installing new electrical boxes and so on.

Last week, the week before my birthday,  the new horse decided that it would be OK to “accidentally” knock me over and run over me *and nothing broke*.   I do have three (remaining, one faded) very striking bruises…one side of me hit the ground, and the other side caught a couple of hoof “scrapes” (wasn’t stepped on, but Rags’ jumping technique over prostrate humans needs improvement.)  I’m fine, just sore in places.   I have acquired  a handful of Tough Old Lady points by being run over by a horse without any bones (or even skin) broken at the age of 75.  (The skin was saved by its being a cold day so I had three layers on.)

And NewBook is now comfortably over 47,500 words, after the hiatus of the weeks I was sick or juggling the other stuff.   What else is going on in the book?   The current twins (between 12 and 13)  are intelligent, curious, inventive, and very lucky they’ve got Cousin Ky in charge of them now.   She’s getting them the help they need, as well as experiences they haven’t been allowed before.   Helen’s also getting better.   Stella’s off in Cascadia running that end of Vatta Inc. Something’s rotten in SeaForce, which goes back to well before this book.   Eventually Ky and Rafe will take the twins into space on the ship they haven’t bought yet, but it may be in the book after this.  Or quite late in this one.

Oh, and I have a supernumerary phantom hand that shows up sometimes (weird feeling) which I hope is not caused by any of the things mentioned when you look up supernumerary phantom limbs on Google (strokes, brain lesions of various types).    Though given the number of concussions, maybe it’s that.  It was more convincing when it first showed up, but now I usually recognize it as soon as it “appears.” (It appears as a sensation of my hand holding something, located where neither of my real hands is…I can’t see it, or hear it…just think “I need to put that down” (what it feels like I’m holding) and then realize neither the “thing” being held nor that hand is real.   So of course in some story someone’s got to have a supernumerary phantom limb because now I know what it’s like.

The solar system is producing kilowatt hours of juice that we can’t use until a couple more inspectors show up: we have an app that shows the production, and a map of the panels with how much *each* is contributing.  When the system’s finally got everyone’s clearance the app will also show how much is being used by us and how much is going onto the grid, but that part doesn’t show yet.  In the meantime, a succession of cloudy days proves it can produce some even then, which is heartening.   But the inspectors want to see the system working hard, so they don’t come when the forecast is for clouds or rain or it looks too dark to them.

And that’s where we are: older, probably not that much wiser, but still enjoying life and learning new stuff.

24 thoughts on “Post Birthday, March 11: NewBook Meanders On

  1. I’m way behind on reading and replying to comments (thank you so much, Cough That Would Not Die) so this is a general thank-you for those who did comment, and declaration of Intent To Do Better. I hope.

    1. I very much like breathing more easily and coughing less. It’s tricky with the gastric reflux thing…it causes coughing (and lung stuff) all on its own when I don’t take the stronger meds for it, and the stronger meds interfere with absorption of important nutrients. Balancing act. But I’m doing very well right now.

  2. So very glad to see you’re doing better. Congrats on Tough Old Lady points, but what sort of points are your horses all getting for these stunts? I mean, geeze!

    Solar panels sound perfect for where you are. Congrats!

    1. We’re looking forward to having the system entirely hooked up (right now the panels are reporting to the online app how much each is producing, which is fascinating to watch change, but we’re not integrated with line power yet. Safety issues. We’ve had mostly cloudy days but are close to covering our daily usage (if hooked in) even so.

  3. Congratulations on conquering the Cough that would not die – have two and then you could have dice.

    Good for the electric situation.

    Good for a ridable horse – but PLEASE stop this being run over business – It is quite scary to read it. I am 75 also but I don’t play that game.

    The phantom hand – I thought it only appeared if a limb was cut off for some reason.

    At any rate, welcome back

    Jonathan up here is warming New Hampshire

    1. Supernumerary phantom limbs can appear from amputation (most common) or something weird in the brain (strokes, cancers, and head injuries have been implicated, though they’re less common than amputation-related phantom limbs.) When *not* related to amputation, the presentations are more various…it’s really quite interesting. I’m not able to cut/paste URLs out of my browser at this time, but if you Google on supernumerary phantom limbs, you’ll find some scholarly articles.

      Horse stuff. Three times in my life I’ve been knocked down by a horse. Twice I’ve been run over (first time, horse managed to go across me without touching me with a hoof.) Once bitten. I won’t state the “never was…” things because I don’t want to give the universe ideas about teaching me my place.

  4. Yea on the new horse. No biscuits for running you over however. Woot on the solar (a friend got it and could tell to the minute when the snow slid off the roof). Glad to see you back and not coughing as much (some of those coughs this year are really durable).

    1. Yes, Ragtime must learn better. We’re working on that. He’s not a bad pony, just uneducated.

      I want the solar to get hooked *all* the way up, so we are paying less for power and getting paid when we make extra. We average, I think, about 20 Kwh/day when not using the AC, and of course much higher when we are, and fighting off those hot Texas summers. Until today, our total production averaged just over 20 Kwh–we’ve had heavy cloud several days, mostly cloudy others, partly cloudy some and only one all clear. Our highest production so far was 35 Kwh on a bright sunny day when the panel tracking app was turned on partway through the day. Lowest so far is today, under 5 Kwh but still dropping in some watts despite the thick cloud (and chilly rain.)

  5. Happy Birthday!

    I am surprised the inspectors need a sunny day to check the system… when my system (in NC not TX) was put in, the inspector just needed to see that the wiring was done properly and there were no unsealed holes in the roof.

    1. Different inspectors want different things apparently. Does your system include Power Walls for storage? Apparently they complicate things somewhat. The concern is that when the grid is down, the system does not shunt any PV power to the grid, where it could be very dangerous for workers repairing the grid.

    2. > … Does your system include Power Walls for storage?

      Not yet. When I had my system installed a few years back, battery capacity was too low and price too high. But it has been dropping a lot lately — people are predicting $100/kWh in a year or two and they were at $1100/kWh a decade ago!

      > … Apparently they complicate things somewhat. The concern is that when the grid is down, the system does not shunt any PV power to the grid, where it could be very dangerous for workers repairing the grid.

      They do complicate things with an additional DC->AC inverter (the panels have an inverter and batteries typically add a second one), but even without batteries, the grid connection for my net-metered panels has a failsafe. The inspector tested that (by cutting grid power and verifying the panels disconnected themselves). He also tested the manual (emergency) disconnect switches. But I didn’t think the panels had to be generating power for those tests.

    1. So am I. I really want to get it over 50K, which should happen in the next week, depending on weather, the medical/political situation, etc. We’re (all three of us) tucked up here, pretty well supplied (oversupplied with some things) and trying to be good, avoiding illness ourselves and, should we get sick, not spreading it abroad.

  6. Happy Birthday.
    I heard of some progress at a University in Japan where they developed window-panes that generate electricity. Perhaps those are a different form of pane than we have available here ,now ?
    I hope that you feel better and please do stay well ; while knowing that others do value your concern for the rest of …us.
    Thank you for the considerate update about the progress of this book. Indeed , it brought me joy and a calming happiness to hear of Ky and your plans for the twins.
    I wonder if your insertion of that “phantom -limb into one of the characters will also perhaps add to an atmosphere of “increased determination “to that character …just as the airlock-scene- of-Ky-and -The-Pirate did in an earlier book?
    I have enjoyed how you injected the growth through determined-courage to overcome adversity into Ky’s Character while maintaining her steadfast concern for others.
    What I am trying to say is…your efforts are appreciated and bring us …that feeling of hopeful courage as well as joy.
    Thank you….
    Respectfully ,

  7. As to the medical/political situation, here is a comment I think worth repeating. It was made to a ski travel consumer advice website by the owner of a local mountain guide company in France, when the ski resorts there had just been told to close.

    “Please, please remember that making our way through this pandemic will be similar to skiing in avalanche terrain; it’s all about having the right attitude and knowing when it’s time to be focused and when it’s time to relax. Panicking is never a solution. Be well.”

    1. Excellent advice. Here at home I relax; I read, knit, walk in the yard, feed the horses and do barn chores, do laundry, enjoy the flowers coming out, wish for more sunlight (March is not usually this cloudy, but…climate change is chaotic…) IF I go anywhere, I’m being a very careful driver (let’s not be distracted and cause an accident or let someone else do so) and a wary customer (looks crowded, drive on by.) And I watch Midsomer Murders for total brain-rest.

      Thanks for your comment.

  8. Good to hear how you are doing, the solar set up sounds ace and that you are writing always suggests you are at the least ok.

    Are you able to ride Ragtime or are you waiting until the bruising is healed? And do you still have Tigger?

    I know there are a lot of Midsomer Murders, but should you get through them all Murder in Paradise has a similar feel, and possibly gets an even greater variety of British acting talent as guests. It does have the advantage of being set on a Carribean island, so anyone guesting gets a few weeks in the sun as well as being paid.

    I hope you are able to stay COVID-19 free, the last thing you need is more coughing.

  9. Elizabeth, belated birthday wishes and I’m so glad to hear you’re doing well now. I’m not sure I want to think about all the stuff you’ve been going through…! (I’m sure you don’t, either!)

    I hope Ragtime (love the name, btw) settles down and behaves. It’s about time you got a healthy, well-behaved, rideable beastie for a change; the universe owes you that much, I’d say.

    Please stop collecting Tough Old Lady points! You went there and got the t-shirt long ago!

    I didn’t know Midsomer Murders was available across The Pond! It was a favourite of my dad’s, and I thoroughly enjoy it myself. My enjoyment, I suspect, is enhanced by a comment in a review from some years back, which summed it up as “murder and mayhem in the blood-soaked shires” (for those unfamiliar with rural England: no, the murder rate really doesn’t approach that of Detroit or Baltimore). I hope for your sake they’re still showing the older eps with John Nettles in the lead role; the new guy is good, but Nettles was excellent.

    My very best wishes to you and yours, Elizabeth, for good health & happiness in this uncertain time. (And to all who frequent these blogs.) Stay safe.



  10. Hi, hope you and yours are surviving and staying sane. So I looked up supernumerary phantom limbs on line. Most of what I read said it was related to a stroke or a kick in the head.

    At any rate, be well. I would tell you write but you do the work so you must call the shots.

    Jonathan up in New Hampshire

  11. Elizabeth,

    I am late to these responses but I, too, am praying you don’t collect more TOL points. Glad to hear the book is coming along.

    Moira, Alex Walters married a friend of mine and they are now living on the Black Isle. He says much the same with apologies to the locals about inflating their fictional murder rate there.

  12. Hi Elizabeth, it’s good to see more updates from you. I just found this blog and will check in often. I hope you and your family continue to stay safe and healthy, and as others have said, I’m glad you only got a little scuffed up with your horse incident! They are rascals sometimes, just like cats and dogs.

    Exciting to read more about the new book! Best wishes from Canada.

    1. Hi, and thank you for dropping by. Healthy so far, though I had a tick bite the other day for which I’m now on medication…we have Lyme here, and my doc prefers pre-emptive treatment if a rash persists and increases after the tick is removed. So far that’s kept me from having symptoms (and the one time I didn’t report it until I had the full bulls-eye rash, I also had headache & fever. So now it’s the meds up front, which means a shorter course.) The little bitty “spring” ticks are a real nuisance, because they’re so hard to see until you feel the itchy spot and notice the tiny black thing. We’ve had way more rain that usual. This morning it was warm, almost tropical rain, and this afternoon, after a line of thunderstorms, it was suddenly much colder. It’s been like that most of the month. But the book is moving, so…happy writer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.