Sorry for the lack of posts around here. Been a busy bee on the editing front. Also remember that cold I told you about? Took me a solid 3 weeks to get over it. Seriously, this horrible cold has been an epidemic in Chapel Hill. Seems like everyone I meet has "just" gotten over it.
Despite feeling less than 100%, my husband and I managed to take a quick visit up to D.C. to see my parents and squeeze in a sail. Fall sailing is the best. The wind was pretty strong out on the bay (gusting up to 24 knots!), but once we got the sails double-reefed it wasn't too bad. Here's a picture of my dad. Doesn't he look happy?
I think sailing is his favorite thing to do in the world. It's one of my favorite things to do for sure. We sailed to Rock Hall on the Eastern Shore and had the most amazing crabs at Waterman's Crab House. They were so big and sweet (crabs get huge in the fall). Lately, I've had an itch to move out West, but I'd definitely be sad to be even more land-locked than we already are in Chapel Hill. Maryland is a pretty nice state if you know how to take advantage of what it has to offer (the water, mostly).
On the editing front, business has been good. Maybe too good. I'm getting loads of jobs, but then I feel like I'm always scrambling to keep up. I definitely need to start charging more. I have about 5-10 professors who have been giving me great repeat business, so I think they see the value I add to their research, so maybe it's almost time to start inching up my rates. I spend way too many hours on their manuscripts for how much I charge. This has been a reoccurring problem for a while now.
I don't mind working that hard, but it kind of defeats some of the purpose of starting this business, which was to free up more time for me to write. I'm sure some of you more experienced readers out there could have seen this coming. Starting a business is really, really hard work, and I feel so much more motivated to succeed than I ever did when I was working for somebody else. But that also means I haven't had nearly as much time to write as I had hoped I would. There were some quiet weeks over the summer when I had few editing jobs and could write all day long, but I haven't had a single day of that kind of "free time" in weeks. Part of the problem is I'm just not making time for myself to write, but then again, I'm also pretty exhausted trying to meet editing deadlines.
But all of that kind of pales in comparison with the other issue we've been dealing with at home, which is Lyme's disease. A few weeks ago, my husband was collecting fire wood out the woods and then a few days later he found a strange rash on his leg that itched like crazy. It looked like this:
In this neck of the country, we are very Lyme's disease aware. Deer ticks hang out in leaf litter, so my guess he got bit while he was collecting fire wood. He went to the doctor and came back with a 3 week course of antibiotics. Good thing he did, because even after taking the antibiotics, he started to develop symptoms: painfully sore/stiff joints, especially his knees, a serious fever, chills, congestion, etc. They say that the early-stages of lyme's disease is like a really bad flu, but I think the pain goes beyond any flu I've ever had or seen. It's like every immune response in his body suddenly turned on, and all his nerves are on fire. He describes it as a constant, deep aching or shooting pain. My husband is one of those people who hates taking time off work, but even he's very willingly stayed home these last 3 days and pretty much hasn't gotten out of bed. It just hurts too much to move around. It's really hard to watch him suffer like this (he's in serious, serious pain) when all I can do is try and make him as comfortable as I can, and ensure he's drinking lots of fluids and taking his medication. Poor guy, especially since he just got over his own horrible cold a few weeks ago. He just can't catch a break.
Way too much sickness going around here, lately. Just a lot of bad luck, I guess.
Anyway, I think we might go back to the doctor and see if they can't prescribe any stronger antibiotics. I know a lot of people who have had Lyme's disease (friends and family members) and all of them say to takes at least 3 weeks of antibiotics, and maybe another round to really get rid of all the symptoms. Fortunately, the doctors around here don't seem to be that resistant to treating it.
Wish us luck.
Good morning everyone. Just came back from a fantastic weekend at home in Maryland. My parents recently bought a new boat to share with a few other families and this was T's and my first chance to go sailing with them.
My parents have always owned "half" a boat. They and another family would split the docking fees and maintenance costs etc. and pretty much get to sail as much as they want as no one could possibly sail every decent weekend of the year. It's a smart way to enjoy the hobby without having to pay a fortune for it. Here are a few pictures of my brother and I on our old boat, which we kept at Breezy Point, a marina on the Western shore of the Chesapeake Bay (and one of the best places to find sharks teeth on the beach).
That boat was 23 feet long, which is fairly small for a sail boat. It was built some time in the 70's. There was just enough room for a cabin, but you had to duck your head to fit inside. My parents bought the boat from my grandparents and then sold half of it to a co-worker of my Father's. We sailed that thing for years and years, and the whole time, it was sort of falling apart. The centerboard wouldn't go down. The fiberglass hull was turning to dust. The outboard motor (for getting in and out of the marina) would only start about half the time. It was a great boat for my brother and I to learn to sail on and it was very comfortable for a day out with the family, but it was also getting more and more difficult to sail without something breaking. We stopped going a few years ago because it just was too much for my Dad, the real sailor of our family, to handle along with his chronic pain issues. Last year we finally sold the boat outright to someone who was looking for an older, cheaper boat to fix up.
That was really sad. It meant saying goodbye to a major part of my childhood and all those good memories on the water. A few years went by without any sailing and we all missed it. Then a friend of my Mother's suggested we buy a 1/3 share of their sailboat. My parents didn't even hesitate. They made an offer right away, so now we have access to a sailboat again!
The new boat is probably ten feet longer, has a full size cabin, and all sorts of extra equipment that makes sailing so much easier (the gennaker sailing sock - wow, what a great idea). Sailing is one of those things where you don't even realize how much you've missed it until you get back onto the boat. You just feel so alive and happy. Unlike motorboating, it's a very quiet experience; just the sounds of the boat cutting through the water and the breeze in the sails. We always pack a picnic and just putter around with no real goal other than to enjoy being outside in each other's company.
I know how to sail pretty decently in fair weather so I took over for a while. God, it felt great to feel that wind in my hands again.
...But there was a bit of a learning curve. I've only sailed boats that have a tiller, which you use to steer the boat. You push the tiller in the opposite direction that you want to go. The new boat is large enough to have a helm, which you steer just as if you were driving a car. This meant I was all flipped around and kept turning the helm the wrong way, especially when the weather helm kept wanting to turn the boat into the wind. I'd correct the wrong way before realizing my mistake.
The wind died in the middle of the day, as it does, so we took a little swim to cool off.
We saw ospreys everywhere. These are such a symbol of home to me. They eat fish and build nests on the channel markers (and highway lights and telephone poles and pretty much anything that's up high near the water). It's no exaggeration to say we saw at least twenty or more while we were out.
There were two osprey mates on this nest right before I took the picture, which reminded me of this children's book I grew up with. I found it again at home. It was called, Sid and Sal's Famous Channel Marker Diner by Priscilla Cummings. I loved this book. It was such a cute idea. Basically, two ospreys move into a channel marker on the Chesapeake Bay and open a little seafood diner, which other birds patronize. They go through the same problems most small business owners do: no customers, obnoxious location, spousal arguments. When you see real ospreys hanging out on their nests, it's not hard to imagine them as an old married couple in the neighborhood, so this book always rang true to me.
Unfortunately, I think Sid and Sal's is out of print, which isn't too surprising. Ospreys are very familiar to me, but I can imagine they don't mean much to other people outside of the Chesapeake Bay region and other watery parts of the world (Louisiana maybe).
Priscilla Cummings also wrote the Chadwick the Crab books, but those weren't nearly my favorite. Still, she also came up with perhaps the greatest title ever for her other book, Toulouse the Canada Goose. Cummings actually visited my school around 1991 and my copy of Sid and Sal's is signed by her (although dedicated to my brother). My school was really great about hosting local authors and my mother always bought the book for us. Anyway, I don't remember Cummings's visit, but I read this book many times as child. Great illustrations. Great story.
I wish we lived closer to Maryland so we could go sailing more often. I'd like to teach T to sail too. I may look into dingy rentals on Jordan Lake. Little boats, like Lasers and Flying Juniors, are a great way to learn.
Anyway, I certainly feel rejuvenated for the upcoming week. Work doesn't seem so bad when your weekends are fun! Next weekend we're going camping.
Do any of you sail or boat? Do you have another hobby that makes you feel alive? Please share!
Writer, editor, scientist.