I’m Stuck in a Vice Grip

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So on Christmas day a cold materialized, if you know anything about a cold you know that you actually caught the cold 3-4 days before you actually showed symptoms. So i knew I likely caught it from my snuggle bunny (one of nephews) who was all over and spreading the love while I was babysitting the weekend before, lol. The cold was not so bad for me I seemed to get over it pretty quickly. However, the cough always seems to linger forever. It’s something that has been an issue for me since I was a junior in high school when they tried to say I had asthma but I refused such a diagnosis and they eventually settled on chronic bronchitis. It can take 1-3 months before my cough goes away without using my inhaler to treat it after a cold.

Moreover, with MG if there is mucus involved which sometimes there is it can be 10 times worse. It can cause breathing issues and if I am weak choking and aspiration and pneumonia. The worse part is that since I have gained a fear of choking known as anginophobia it makes the situation worse. I have higher anxiety throughout and can even have panic attacks during this time. I have to actively try to remain calm which is very difficult. So what I do is alert my husband, tell him I feel bad and take a specific cold medicine I trust and do a very routine regimen that not only comforts me but appears to work.

As I have become stronger in the last year with my MG I have not needed to be hospitalized for regular colds and such so unless this is something more I will stick to the routine and hope this passes quickly as well. I always give things a certain time frame to pass as well; so if it surpasses that then off to the outpatient we go for treatment before we have to be admitted. I do not want a ‘forced’ vacation. LOL. I have enough on my mind. I like to stay in control and in the hospital they tend to take a bit of that out of my control. I will give everything another week but then after that off to treatment we go. I have no desire to continue to feel like crap. This is not normal for me especially since I had treatment just 3 weeks ago. The only difference from normal is that I have been sick basically since that last treatment so I am hoping that I will feel better after next week. If not I will bite the bullet.

Silent Screams


I see you out of the side of my eye stumbling, crying

You are ragged, drenched in sweat

Reaching for anyone

I saw you running in the shadows, hiding

Why are you hiding?

Don’t be afraid

They walk past you

They step on you

They step over you

The welts on your skin, the agony on your face, your bones sagging deep in your leather-worn skin


They almost notice you


They shake the buzz out of their ears

They keep moving

but me…



**I wrote this poem when thinking of the many people who are seen to be invisible in this world! The mentally disabled, the homeless, the incarcerated, the abused, and discriminated, and the list goes on…Will you hear them? Will you be an advocate and help them? How will you change the world for the better for them? Many times they just want to be heard they just need a friend. Can you offer that much; your time!?!

I Miss My Gingerbread…

The subtle way you held your mouth while reading

The delicate manner in which touching touching the paper

The deliberate effort placed into each word you made while still making each sound as sweet as a peach

How did you do that?

Never raising your voice in anger

Always a smile upon your lips

Sweet words to heal even to worst of days for me.

You place down your book and go into the kitchen to finish dinner.

There you are baking and kneading dough with your bare soft hands

Watching the rhythmic way you pat and roll, pat and roll


Pat and roll the tray of cornbread

The buttermilk smells so heavenly and looks enticing on your sweet little fingers as you squeeze it off as if they were utters

I giggle inwardly at the thought

You wash your pillow soft hands and put on lotion in such a dainty way

I watch the way the luster comes back and the gingerbread spice of your skin sparkles

How I miss my Gingerbread!


**For my reader- It’s been 5 years but there is hardly a week that goes by that I do not think about my great grandmother! She was truly a loving woman that was the apple of my eye. I loved her very dearly and she was one of the sweetest women I know. Her nick name was Gingerbread both a play on her name being Virginia and likely her skin color. She loved to read and she loved to cook and be with her family. She also loved the Lord. She would have been 92 yesterday and I honestly was can say I am still learning from this woman even after she is gone! Thanks Grandma!

On Asking Favors From Writers & Editors

Nice Writing Tips To Remember

Alana Massey

2015 was one wild beast of a year for my career and I could not be more grateful to have spent it writing  essays and articles that I’m proud of, a book that I care about, and meeting a lot of talented and kind people who work in the same industry. It was also the year in which I went from being a writer sending a lot of pitches and asks for small favors to a writer who gets asked for a lot of advice and help from strangers, acquaintances, and friends.

So pitches and favors are different animals and should be approached differently. A pitch goes to a professional editor whose job it is to read it. You want to be courteous to them and not waste their time or yours but in some sense, they’re expecting it. Asking for favors is different because it typically requires that people…

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Misdirected Frustration

I have realized that there are times that we as people do not mean to be frustrated and that we do not even realize we are frustrated or have an attitude until it is far too late. And even then we are so committed to the moment that we will state that we do not when confronted because we are genuinely hurt or possibly embarrassed and our pride has been knocked down a few notches.

Many times when I get frustrated it is because I cannot help someone that I truly desire to help. An example would be my mom. She and I are quite close. My mom calls me often. However, some of her calls are about technology. I sometimes dread these calls because I am a kinesthetic learner/ person. Let’s be clear I do not dread them because of her, ONLY because I have a hard time visualizing the problem sometimes because I most of the time I need to physically see the issue and play with it on my own by putting my hands on it and doing it myself. So when my mom calls me and she needs something right at that moment and I cannot help her it tends to frustrate us both when I cannot and both of us have our tempers flare a bit. Mine because she cannot always understand what I feel is ‘simple’ enough for her to get and hers because what I am telling her does not make sense or is not solving her problem.

Many times these sort of issues do not escalate much farther and we sweep it under the rug. But as I was driving home later that day I thought about the incident. I thought and thought and realized no matter how irritated I was about it, it was because I could not help her. It was not because she called me at work, or because she had become frustrated with me, it was because I could not help her and that I had become frustrated right back. I wanted to immediately call and apologize. Then I realized I never do apologize after these circumstances, WE never do. It’s like an unspoken thing because, well we just don’t. I guess we could but we understand that it was not serious and that it was not worth it. We always sort of call each other the next day and talk about something else and move past it. We never hold a grudge over it and nothing ever fester from it which I am always grateful because I could not live knowing I hurt my mother and she was just holding on to it silently. No, that would just not do! My mom is a strong woman who is also very sensitive and I would never want to jeopardize that relationship.

As I thought deeper into how this situation went though I realized this could permeate across other relationships. Was this also happening with my husband? Did this sometimes happen between my parents? Were they away? Are my husband and I aware? I felt like my mind was blown! My husband and I had a long sit down! We had some talking to do. It started with him remembering that I have anxiety and that frustration means slow down and try to express things calmly which can be hard when you have anxiety and to work with me, lol. It’s still hard saying that I have GAD or generalized anxiety disorder and have since I was 16 but I have always felt I have had a good grip on it until I don’t. I seem pretty normal until I’m not. Until he thinks I’m crazy…So I remind him of his ‘safe’ zone words he may well want to stay away from and the fact that I am indeed not crazy just frustrated because I have anxiety and struggling to express myself properly at the moment and I need time to chill/ decompress. He’s still learning, we can usually laugh later but at the time my anxiety is no laughing matter. I always feel so ‘little’ during my moments. I am just glad between my mother,  husband, and of course God that they make me feel seen and encouraged. I was doing well on my own but with them I am thriving!

I Don’t Advertise

Chris Workout

So I guess it’s weird to people that I do not advertise that I am a Health Fitness Specialist! I have a degree in Exercise and Sports Science and I am ACSM certified as well as being an EXOS Performance Specialist. I have been a personal trainer for over 5 years and fitness instructor for 7 years.

When people talk casually around me I offer my insights and then tell them my credentials. I do not advertise it for many reasons. The main one because I struggle with body image. As a person with all these credentials people expect you to look a certain way regardless of how capable you are of doing your job. If I look overweight to them they judge you as incapable of doing your job properly. Moreover, if you do happen to become overweight at some point for any reason they definitely judge you. I looked overweight for years when I was not but did not care because I was able to do the work and silence them.

However, for a period after being diagnosed with a chronic illness (Myasthenia Gravis) I could not teach fitness classes and I gained weight because it causes neuromuscular weakness and fatigue I could not balance it at first for a long time. I was unstable. Now that I am stable and getting back on I have a poor body image.

But I have learned that this is a part of my life and that I cannot dwell on it. My doctors will figure out why I have suddenly had a recent unexplained gain in weight a few months ago when I was in a downward trend and we will get back on top of this thing so that I can move forward.

I also do not advertise because I sometimes people ask me to help them outside of my job and as much as I use to look for such business I no longer desire such a change because it’s almost not worth the headache. People are not consistent and tend to break appointments and not pay on time and so on that’s just too much to deal with on top of my busy schedule. Then you get family and friends who constantly want freebies and then they can be unreliable and hard to schedule too and they do not stick to plans either. It’s just a giant headache, lol. They do not know how to take you seriously because they see you as friend/ family not trainer disciplinarian. They do not take you seriously and until they are serious I refuse to take them on.

All in all I just don’t advertise, LOL.

Orange Curried Pork Chops


**Before I begin you should know that pork is not a traditionally Indian meal or curried dish. We also served it with plain white rice instead of the traditional basamti rice just because it was what we had on had at the moment.


1 h 4 servings

  • 1 cup orange marmalade (we use the type with actual orange zest pieces in it which was delicious)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (this was not enough for us so we doubled it for more spice)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water (or chicken broth)
  • 4 bone-in chicken breast halves, with skin (or in my case pork)


  • Prep

15 m

  • Cook

45 m

  • Ready In

1 h

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a small bowl combine the marmalade, curry powder, salt and water. Mix together. Place chicken pieces, cut side down, in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish and spoon marmalade mixture over chicken.
  3. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes, spooning sauce over chicken several times. (Note: If sauce begins to stick to the baking dish, add an additional 1/4 cup water).
  4. Remove chicken from baking dish and skim fat off of the sauce. Serve sauce hot with the chicken.
  • Tip
  • Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.