Freelance journalism….

Just over a year ago I started this Blog as my first foray into non academic writing. I didn’t know where I’d end up but I just needed to do something being off work on medical leave, with very limited capacity to do anything.

Here I am a year later and I’ve been asked to write a few opinion columns a month for SooToday.

Already they have published three of my articles:

The first was a report from the local dog show. The second an insight into living with a service dog. The third about living with rare anaphylaxis as an adult. Future columns are planned on other real life issues from my experiences as somebody living with multiple invisible disabilities and probably from events as they come up in my life.

So today, I once again place this Blog in hiatus. It has served its role and served it well. However, with the changes in my life that are coming ahead I won’t have time to keep this up as well. I don’t think!

Maybe I’ll find that I miss the outlet and continue it after all. Who knows?

A year ago I would never have believed that I’d be in this position. A paid freelance journalist with a regular column. Who would have thought it?

Is it just mine, or do people not use the doorbell anymore?

I actually have two door bells. One is traditional which rings chimes and the other is a wireless device that flashes a light in my bedroom and living room. However, I’ve noticed over the last few months that nobody seems to use either of them anymore. I’ve checked that they’re working and they are. So why would people choose to knock rather than use a door bell?

I can understand knocking after ringing the bell that doesn’t ring. However, it seems that people don’t try either door bells they just knock. The problem with this is that I often miss a knock.

I don’t hear it and Kai isn’t trained to alert to knocks as I’ve found that people knock on tables, walls, objects fairly commonly throughout the day and it would be intrusive to have him alerting me to those knocks.

Perhaps I just need a sign that says to please ring the doorbell!

Velvet boy is home….

Kai went to the groomers today. He usually goes about every 6 weeks. However, for a number of reasons it was closer to 2 months between clips this time. I dropped off a scruffy, dirty dog and got back a velvet boy very happy to be home.

I keep Kai in what’s called a ‘kennel’ or ‘puppy’ clip. It’s very short and as a result when he’s first clipped he feels like crushed velvet. When his coat is longer it’s more like the curly wool of a sheep as he has hair rather than fur. That’s why standard poodles are considered hypoallergenic by many.

He has his face and paws clipped even tighter which helps keep him clean and also helps me with his working gear. He wears a halti when he’s working and often has to wear boots either because of the hot sidewalks in summer, or the snow, ice and salt in winter.

While he was being groomed I took the opportunity to take Molly for a walk on her own. We met up with a friend and had a short walk in the drizzle along the boardwalk. Molly enjoyed the morning without Kai.

Right now she’s been pushed down the couch so that Kai can get back in next to me. She’s very tolerant of him as he’s very insistent on being next to me. She loved bedtime though when there’s space for both of them to be next to me! It’s a good job I’m single as I’m not quite sure where we’d fit another person in with the three of us and I have a king-size bed!!

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p style=”text-align: justify;”>Thankfully it was a quiet day for me. I try to plan Kai’s grooming days for such time as I find it very hard to manage without him. I forget how much I rely on him, until days like today when he’s just not there. I even had to pick my own cell phone up when I dropped it this morning!

Welcome home, Kai!

A freelance writer is born….

Just under a year ago, I started this Blog as my first endeavour as a non-academic author. Since then, I’ve had an article published in an online forum and a poem selected for inclusion in an anthology; both under my pseudonym. The first was unpaid and the second payment is on a royalty basis and as one author among many royalties will be minimal and a long way off.

However, today I can count another milestone: My first article published as a paid freelance author. Yesterday I attended the Sault Ste. Marie Annual Dog Show. I then wrote about it for SooToday. Today, that article was published as “Dispatch from a dog show“. At the end of the month I’ll submit my invoice and I’ll be paid for what I wrote. Not it’s not going to get me out of debt in a hurry but it’ll certainly buy me a soy white-hot chocolate at Starbucks now and then and help me complete my bucket list.

Unfortunately with summer on its way I may need to stop them soon as fruit smoothies will start ruling the day and exposure to citrus becomes more problematic. However, I have enjoyed the occasional ones that I have managed. So whatever you drink, raise a glass with me, to me – Nikki Shaw – freelance writer!

Photograph courtesy of Kirsten Wilson.

The first cut of the year….

Kai 17th May 2017

Yesterday my garden go its first cut of the year. That to me is the first step towards summer. When the snow has been gone long enough that the grass is long enough to need cutting.

I’m fortunate in that a teenage neighbour cuts my grass for me, as needed, each summer. He earns some money and I don’t have to manage the equipment which in the past, has been known to shred my hands as I didn’t feel how badly the vibration was blistering my palms.

The only time I’ve enjoyed cutting the grass was the year I lived on a small-holding and we have a ride-on lawn mower. Then I was quite happy to cut the grass!!

Maybe that’s what I’ll invest in when my teenage neighbour grows up and leaves home; a little ride-on mower so that I can do my own grass.

Anyway, Kai and Molly loved the cut grass and brought lots in on their paws for me to see for myself!!

The theory is that by not raking and bagging the cut grass mulches back into the ground and helps the bald patches cover back over with grass once more. I’ll just have to see if it works!

At least we got this cut in between the thunderstorms!!

What’s the first thing that signals the beginning of summer for you?

One more rabbit hole dealt with…..

On the Easter weekend I took the decision not to blog for a few weeks. My health had gone down another rabbit hole and I was finding it overwhelming to deal with. Now that I’m through the worse of the rabbit hole it’s time to start blogging again.

Yesterday I had surgery. The thought of this surgery terrified me. I am allergic to general anesthesia and have come very close to death several times in the past thanks to it. However, I have to give a huge shout out to my surgical team. My surgeon and anesthetist took my concerns seriously and agreed to operate using just local anesthesia and sedation. As long as I could tolerate it. If I couldn’t then they’d have to put me under but would use different drugs than usual in an effort to stop the adverse reactions I’ve had in the past.

Apparently, I’m a superstar! I not only tolerated it but I tolerated it under such mild sedation I was allowed to go home the same day, rather than stay overnight as we’d been expecting that I’d need to do.

Today, I’m sore and morphine is my friend. However, aside from the surgical site itself I feel pretty good.

I now have to wait three weeks for the pathology results of the mass that was removed. All along the belief has been that it’s probably benign, and in fact when biopsied last year it was found to be benign then. However, since then the mass grew and changed in ways that made it imperative that it was removed.

If it’s not benign and I need to deal with radiation therapy or chemotherapy then I’m ready for it. Nothing is as scary as the thought of the surgery itself. Now that I’ve survived that I can deal with anything.

It was a very strange few weeks recently as part of me was completely convinced that I wasn’t going to survive the surgery; that I’d have an allergic reaction and die. It was an odd position to be in.

Yet once I arrived for the surgery itself and it became clear how much work the day surgery team had done to be ready for me; setting up a completely latex free operating theater just for me; making sure everybody knew at every handover that I have multiple allergies, was absent my service dog, and that I’m deaf; I felt more optimistic.

So this is a HUGE shout out to the day surgery team at my local hospital. They made a terrifying experience as positive as it could possibly be and made me feel validated and understood throughout.

Now I just have to take it easy for a while and let everything heal. One more scar for my collection!

Happy Easter & Spring Hiatus

It’s the Saturday of the Easter weekend and it’s raining. It could be snowing, as it is for my friends in northern Alberta so all in all, the rain isn’t too bad. It was a gorgeous day yesterday and the dogs thoroughly enjoyed the sunshine.

As for me, I’m going to be taking a hiatus once again from blogging. Just while the latest rabbit hole in my health is dealt with. I’ll be back in a few weeks I’m sure.

In the meantime, and to quote Ellen, ‘Be kind to one another!’.