Genuinely Touched

Waking up this morning was rough. I’m functioning on about four hours of sleep, and today was one of those days where I truly had to force myself to go to Urgent Care. You know you feel awful when you actually want to go.

I’ve been sick for weeks now, maybe even a month. I do try to let mild things pass by because I believe in the body’s ability to heal itself, but when you have a sore throat that feels swollen (as in, I couldn’t really drink a cup of tea), along with swollen glands, sinus pain and pressure, day seven of a migraine, and a vicious cough that is making you wheeze, you’ve got to face facts; you’re sick.

And so, off I went to seek out treatment. In total I was there maybe two hours, if that. My blood pressure was probably the best it’s EVER been in the last ten years; 125/75. That alone impressed me. My blood pressure is usually a good indicator of how stressed I am. The last time a nurse checked it, she thought the machine was broken. That’s how stressed I was and how poorly I was being treated. My temperature is low, but since my heart is beating, we’ll call me “sort of alive”.

Once I got in to see the doctor, it was pretty quick. The two tests that were run were both negative (Strep and Influenza. Both back in less than fifteen minutes.). I was diagnosed with a left ear infection, a bad sinus infection, and bronchitis. For me, that’s pretty darn sick considering I haven’t had a sinus infection since October of 2008, and that one required two rounds of antibiotics before I was better. I was discharged with ten days worth of antibiotics, a few days of cough medicine (I’ve taken two thus far, and it doesn’t seem to be helping.), and Flonase, which I was shocked to discover is covered by my insurance. If it hadn’t been, I would have passed on it. So far, I feel worse than I did when I walked in there, but it’ll take a few days for the antibiotics to do their thing.

When I got back from the pharmacy, I was met with some very caring, kind, thoughtful inquiries regarding my health. It genuinely touched me. For those of you that took the time to inquire: THANK YOU! I’ll never forget it.

Special thanks to Mass General/North Shore for taking good care of me.

copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Breaking Point


I think it’s admirable when people say “Keep Fighting”, but in actuality, they do not know what you are battling, they do not know your mind, they do not know your heart, and they do not know your breaking point.

We all have lines that, once crossed, send us into different modes of survival. It is perfectly normal to freak out, panic, cry, scream, be incredibly angry, etc. It’s also okay to want to curl up into a ball and not emerge from that position for a while. It is okay to think your feelings through, in your own time and in your own way. When you’re going through something rough, something most people will never have to face, no one wants or needs to be yelled at like a dog that just shit on a persian rug.

I am going through something tremendous at the moment. It is terrifying, heartbreaking, cruel, evil, wrong, and a plethora of other things that I will refrain from saying. Maybe in a year from now, I will feel comfortable sharing the story without feeling as though I am being judged.

There may reach a time when I am not able to be present here on a daily basis. I might be able to check in once a week for a few months, if that. I hope that you can all be patient and stick by me through this, but I will also understand if you don’t. I’m not going to take it personally, but I do feel it is better to be honest in advance, as opposed to simply disappearing for a while without any explanation. I do not intend to abandon what I have.

I LOVE what I do here. It brings me an immense sense of peace and contentment. It is a daily reminder that I’m not just “some person who writes” or “likes to write”, but an actual writer. There’s a difference between the three, but I don’t have to explain it. A great many of you “get it”.

For now, I will remain as present as possible. I will let you know through my work when the insanity is going to start and hopefully have a “I’m going to be back full-time” date as well. Please know I am doing the best I can, trying to remain sane, and trying very hard not to cash in my “life chips”. I am reminding myself this morning that I have survived all of the worst days of my life up until this point. That’s a 100% success rate, and now I just have to keep moving forward, despite wanting to shut down and lose my temper.

In the meantime, I really want and need several solid weeks of uninterrupted sleep each night. My allergies have decided to become a full-on pain in the ass out of nowhere, so I took half a Benadryl last night before going to bed (Because that’s all I had left, or I would have taken two.). My eyes and parts of my face are still itching and burning with no logical reason whatsoever, except that I am stressed and already have eye allergies. Even my eye drops are utterly useless, providing absolutely no relief. Stress, it turns out, manifests in a myriad of ways.

Stay healthy and safe everyone. I’ll be around until I say otherwise.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 


Professional Headaches


I am not known for my patience. If you’re not a child or a “little” (“Hello littles!” That’s how I talk to animals.), my tolerance for you is probably slim to none. God help you if slim leaves town.

People’s expectations are unreasonable, especially when I am given work that requires hours and hours of face time. There are only so many hours in a day. You can only write “rewrite” and “revise” so many times in a day. You can only make so many corrections that are crucial to the development of a story, and point out major errors before you slowly start to lose your mind. And when you do, if you’re like me, you take a few days to breathe. Unless I’m on a tight deadline, I am going to include some self-care in the mix, or I’ll kill the clients and no one wants that…or do they?

You ignore the “Is it done yet?” questions that have about as much impact as on you as “Are we there yet?” You try not to say what you really think and feel. You wait a few days and then you respond as professionally as humanly possible, but how many times do you really need to say “Please, let me work. This is way more than what I signed on for.” to the same person? How many times do you have to repeat yourself about how they should have read their work in advance of sending it to you? Yet, perhaps it’s nerves, impatience, what have you, but it is fucking annoying to constantly be asked the same damn questions. I’m exceedingly mature, so when people far older than I are immature, it’s an immense turn off, be it personally or professionally.

If you give me something and ask me to read it, be prepared for an honest answer when you inevitably ask “Is it good?” I used to ask people if they wanted my opinion or the truth, and to be careful with their choice. I no longer ask because whether it’s one or the other in terms of delivery, it is still the unadulterated truth. Dunkin Donuts and I have not teamed up to sugar coat your day. Mmm, donuts…

Editors still have lives. I work hard, but when I need a break it is usually due to my health or personal responsibilities. I cannot be glued to my laptop 24/7 looking at the same material every single moment. One, it’s not healthy and two, it’s important to get up and move when you work at a computer all day. Sitting is the new cancer, at least according to the medical professionals I know. I don’t know about all of you, but it makes me uncomfortable hearing the two words used together, so it’s not uncommon for me to walk away and do a load of laundry, or cook, watch the birds and bunnies in the backyard for a while, or simply shut the computer down for a few hours and focus on other things. I’m human. Moreover, I’m a human-being who suffers from Fibromyalgia. The days I can sit at all are miraculous. My pain gets worse each day, so I’m not receptive to whining from others.

I can either do something right the first time or not do it at all. If you consistently annoy me, you can pretty much guarantee I will be unavailable for future projects. I’ve already done enough work for 20 paychecks, not one. It’s hard not to be frustrated knowing that.

For future reference, too many people think they’re writers. Puking ideas onto paper does not make you a writer. Cohesive storytelling is a gift. Having honest people in your life who encourage the good and let you know when something is awful is also important.

There are days I wish I was an unprofessional hack. 😦

For those of you that messaged me about cutting off so much of my hair: I am almost certain today that it’s too short and I hate it, but I am trying to give myself time to get used to it. In turn, I am off to play with the Topstyler and see if that makes a difference. If it doesn’t, I am changing the color to blue until it grows back. Right now I am pretty sure I look like my brother with hair. 😦

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


As A Direct Result

It’s also an evil life-destroyer.

I’ve decided that today is going to be a work-free day.

I went to bed this morning sick as a dog. I suspect my brief time out yesterday affected me more severely than it ought to. Within a few hours of coming home, I got my fourth migraine of the week. I took a brief nap and I wasn’t entirely okay afterward, but now? UGH!

Sadly, with migraines, you often question whether you did something wrong, ate the wrong thing, etc. All I did was go out in tremendous heat for an hour and a half and come home. It wasn’t a lot of physical exertion, but my body says otherwise. I had a mild headache upon returning, but it wasn’t until I actually felt pain in my head that I took something for it. By 7:30, as my neighbors attempted to power wash something right near my bedroom window, I contemplated outright murder. My ears simply cannot bear the noise, and what are they up to at this precise moment? Yard work. At 9:23 a.m. On a Saturday. When it’s already 85 degrees and a heat advisory has been issued for the entire area, AGAIN. Schools actually closed early yesterday, if they opened at all, because it was over 100 degrees with the humidity and people were experiencing breathing problems. But hey, dumb & dumbest need to make noise on a yard that requires no work at all this week. This is where I would like to point out that I refrained from putting #TheyNeedToBeShot. I’m not a violent person…just don’t make noise when I’m sick or on any day ending in a y.

As a direct result of this migraine/heat/stomach agony, I’m trying to decompress this morning. I’d rather be asleep, but I desperately need to hit the grocery store. Not a fun task, I do not look forward to this, but I am going to try going once it cools down. There’s no point in making myself any sicker by attempting to do it early on in the day. Everyone and their grandmother will be there to capitalize on the digital coupon extravaganza, which has already turned into an epic fail because 9/4’s of the coupons don’t come off at the end of each order, which means customer service is inundated with questions as to why they didn’t work and precisely “Where are my savings? Are you going to give me my money back?” Actually, the store is set up to make sure you actually loaded the coupons on to your savings card in the first place. If you didn’t use the physical coupons that were also provided for the week, chances are you didn’t get the savings on those four items. I clipped all of my mine last night and will print up a few others later on. I’ve saved nearly $1000 this year alone in coupons at one store. That is a small accomplishment, but it feels good every single time I look at my receipt.

I’ve completed all of my work this week (though I am seemingly still loosely on the consulting job), except for the manuscript, which I will devote more daily time to next week in my attempt to complete it. I’m not looking forward to that, I’m simply tired of seeing it and knowing that it’s not complete. I do NOT relish the line of questioning that will come with the delivery, but since I stated in the contract how much time I will spend on answering questions before charging again for my time, I hope that will make the client aware that I mean business. It’s in black and white, how hard is it to follow guidelines?

Before I forget, I want to thank Writerstream for featuring my work this week, and I’d also like to give a huge shout out to the dozen or so new Twitter followers in the last 12 hours alone. (Special thanks to Lillian for encouraging me to join Twitter. Hugs sweet pea!) I never knew I’d grow to love it so much. To the friend that reads my Tweets and isn’t afraid to joke with me and laugh, I appreciate it. (You know who you are, doll!)

If you need me, I’ll be here for the next few hours. Drinking coconut water. Praying that it helps. If it doesn’t, I’m seriously considering an ER visit because this level of pain is out of control.

Have a great weekend everyone! And please, stay out of the heat and wear sunscreen.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Thank God It’s Saturday!


I hate the traditional work week, which is probably why I don’t have a “traditional” job. Granted, with my injury and upsetting things going on in my personal life, I spent most of my week making phone calls, practicing self-care, doing extensive research, texting with a close family member, and trying not to commit any type of crime that would land me in prison. I’m too pale to wear orange.

The future is unclear, so perhaps I will do a tarot reading and see if the cards have any answers for me. I haven’t had to do that in a while, but I know that whatever is placed before me, even if I say I cannot do it, I WILL persevere. I can have a breakdown when the storm passes, but not before.

One of the worst things about this week has been the weather. Hot or cold, sometimes both in the same day. The trees are blooming up a storm, the bees are enormous and keep bumping into the windows, and the pressure in the air has been hell on my body. There were many nights I was in bed by 7:00 PM because the pain was simply too much to bear. I slept a full 12 hours one night this week, waking up truly wanting to remain in bed. “Mama said there’d be days like this”- hell yes, but do they all have to be in the same week!? In that moment, I hated the clock and all it stood for. Too much daylight, not enough night. It’s poison to those of us who identify as night owls, and I’m speaking for myself.

Weekends are always way too short, but they do give us a reprieve from some of the things we think during the week. For many of us, it gives us time to get things done that we’re not able to do during the week, like grocery shopping, laundry, or catching up with a movie or TV shows we didn’t have time to watch. Or it allows us to spend time with friends or family. Two of my favorite shows return this weekend: Bitten and Orphan Black. This is the time of year when many shows wrap for the season and others begin, which means you don’t have to spend the entire summer wondering why you pay for cable, satellite, or streaming service.

This past week I’ve really been able to take stock of the word “family”. I’ve also been able to take stock of the word “friend”. Some people say things because it sounds good, and other people mean it. Many talk for the sake of talking. My definitions are pretty cut & dried. If I love you and care about you, you can pretty much guarantee that I’d take a bullet for you, be you family member or friend. However, I do not forgive and forget. If that works for you, I think that’s great, but it doesn’t fly with me. I might forgive a person at some point, but I’ll do it for myself, not for them. I will never forget. Sometimes when words get thrown at you, there is no way to unhear them.

Proper communication is crucial in relationships and it’s incredibly important not to take out your own issues on someone else. If you do, apologize immediately. Hear yourself. Don’t make excuses for vile words and pretend that it can be swept under the rug. I own my shit. If I hurt or offend someone INTENTIONALLY, and I am one of those rare individuals who KNOWS when she’s doing it, then I will apologize the second I realize my mistake. If you hurt or offend me and the words “I’m sorry.” or “I was out of line.” never come out of your mouth, then don’t expect me to apologize for something I haven’t done or to accept an apology that comes too late.

A mistake some people have made with me over the past few months is to throw out the words “You misinterpreted what I said.” I’M NOT DEAF and my I.Q. hasn’t dropped. This is NOT a habit I have. If it happened daily, you could say it was a pattern and take issue with it, but it isn’t. For many, the problem is that I actually called them on their shit, pointed out a major flaw, and they don’t like it. Or, they always believe they’re right, and/or cannot admit that they said or did something inappropriate, wrong, or hurtful. Put your adult panties on, apologize, and move on. Don’t drag it out. The world doesn’t revolve around any one person, myself included.

I have work to do this weekend, in between two errands. I’m double-booked and one of those jobs is due for completion on the 24th, so I’ve got to focus and get it done. Here’s hoping I didn’t ask for too little money on this one. Unfortunately, one never knows until one is presented with certain things.

Have a nice weekend everyone. 🙂 I am off to take as much Aleve as possible and crawl into bed in the hopes that I do not waste another day in pain.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


It Doesn’t Feel Like A Saturday


Perhaps having a stressful week and being sick has made me feel like today is Friday, instead of Saturday. It’s disorienting. The sunrise looked more like a sunset, so incredibly stunning in blues and pinks. I have little interest now though in watching the actual sunset. I think it’s just laziness.

I completed a job this afternoon. I must be underestimating myself because I don’t usually pay attention to how many words I read in a day. I am very pleased to have this one behind me, it was incredibly quick and painless. I have several jobs waiting in the wings, minus the contracts. Until the contracts are signed, I get a brief respite. One contract will be printed, signed, and scanned tonight. Hopefully that will keep me busy for a while, especially since the only part of it I’ve worked on thus far is the first two pages.

I am fighting off something ugly (Kindly pull the knives out of my back so that I can feel my lungs, thank you.), so I’m trying to get better rest and do what I can to de-stress. All easier said than done. One day I was fine, the next day I was coughing so badly that my ribs feel bruised. Being sick like this has a way of making you feel far more fragile than you actually are.

I’m exhausted. Physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. I’d like my own personal cave, complete with WiFi.

Yesterday, while in the middle of cooking, I finally got to see Gone Girl. The book was excellent, and I’m pretty sure it reiterated by issues with marriage, but the movie was also well done. Kudos to Gillian Flynn for not only writing the book, but also writing the screenplay. Next up will be The Judge. I’m looking forward to that.

I’m happy to say that two weeks in a row, I managed to score a good two hours of “me time”, with no interruptions. It really helps ones’ psyche to place themselves first at times and not allow anyone to interfere with that. I will be busy this week, but I still intend to set aside a few hours for myself, even if only to breathe or catch up on all the shows I’ve been missing.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

When not sprawled out like spoiled beasts, this is precisely what my girls have been doing. I think they’re multiplying.




Sleepless Nights & A Cold


My fatal flaw of yesterday was falling asleep at some point during the later afternoon hours. Granted, it was a snowy/rainy day and seemed darker, and far later, than it actually was. I’d worked for 10 hours (I am halfway through the big manuscript and have already submitted part 1 of the second job back to the client.) and I was beat. To add insult to injury, I’m coming down with a cold and there’s only so much coughing and sneezing you can do before exhaustion sets in. By the time I woke up, I was completely shocked by the time. My first thought was “Great! Now I won’t sleep tonight!” I was right. I’ve tried going back to sleep a few times between 12:30 and sometime around 4:00 a.m. For some reason, I kept getting up and going back to proofing the big manuscript or reading. Neither of which is deeply fascinating, I am simply wired because a nap turned into what could have been a full night of sleep.

I cannot blame this on caffeine. I had exactly one cup of green tea yesterday and didn’t even finish it. I thought it would help with the cold symptoms because my throat felt like a desert had moved in. When I get the early stages of a cold there are very few things that work, but my ultimate dry throat remedy at this early stage is diet root beer. I have no idea why it works, but it does. Pennsylvania Dutch makes a diet Birch Beer that is also really great at moisturizing the throat and does a better job than Nyquil at calming the cough so I can sleep or function. Regular root beer doesn’t work, I’ve tried. I bought the diet one year by accident and have been hooked ever since. It not only helps with my throat, but if my stomach gets queasy for any reason, it often helps with that as well. If this gets worse, my other homemade remedies become more substantial in power. I don’t care what other people think: Chicken soup is a great healer. Unfortunately when I’m sick, there’s no way I’m going to make it myself from scratch. The few local places that make soup all know when I’m really sick because I’m way too weak to do anything, but call them to deliver it. It’s pathetic, but when you are sick, you do what makes you feel better and helps you recover as quickly as possible. Sometimes it also means Walmart and Walgreens are raided as well, but I do try to use natural courses before I grab the healer I hate the most: Zicam. Yes, it works. However, after a few doses it tastes like blood and there’s nothing that makes me feel worse than having that crap in my system.

During the start of writing this to now, I’ve actually gotten sicker. There’s a level of sick I hate reaching, but it’s happening for hours and I cannot deny now that this isn’t a 24 hour bug. I’m nursing a mug of mint tea and contemplating what will stay down for breakfast. If it’s not going to stay down, I’m not eating it. I’ll wait until later today when my stomach is less liable to reject food. I hate that I’m spending a Sunday morning like this when I could be productive in some way. Bleh! I worked, and that’s more than I probably should have done.

Here’s hoping your weekend has been filled with happier problems. Note to self: Buy stock in Kleenex, Ricola, Celestial Seasonings, Bigelow Tea, and any major producer of root beer.

If you don’t hear from me for a while, send soup. No, I’m not kidding. 

 copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.