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Showing posts from February, 2007

The Doctor Will Be With You Shortly

I spent the morning with my mother in a waiting room. Not just any waiting room, but my least favorite waiting room of all that I’ve sat in. Okay, I take that back. Emergency department waiting rooms are the worst. But for standard, made-the-appointment-six-months-ago waiting room, this one is the pits.

Mainly because you can pretty much count on being there for three hours, minimum.

I won’t name names but the doctor in question is a well-known and apparently well-liked local eye surgeon who does cataracts and laser surgery as well as basic eye exams.

Here’s how it goes. You pull into a parking lot with too-small spaces. I guess they figure most people coming in there can’t see anyway, so bumps and dents will be forgiven. Once inside, you wait in line to sign in. Today, there was no line and they hadn’t misplaced the file. All good news. Then they hit you with the phrase I think all the staff is ordered to memorize and repeat four hundred times a day.

The doctor will be with you shortly.

A…

Apprentice at a Book Signing

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About five months ago I took over the position of Area 3 Representative for Pennwriters, a writing organization that I joined in 2004 when I first got serious about writing as a profession. It’s a great group of people, both published and unpublished writers, all helping each other toward fulfilling our goals, whatever they may be. But at the time that I accepted the responsibility of being an area rep, my life was insane. I knew I was nuts for taking on the challenge, but I’m glad I did.

One of the first duties that was dumped in my lap was to round up a couple of published Pennwriters and plan two “readings” for them. Each of the six in-state reps was given two months to host an event. I was assigned February and December of this year. This is part of a new Pennwriters program. The Pennwriters Reading Series. Eventually I was reassigned to May instead of December, but that still left one wintery month to deal with on not a lot of notice.

I emailed my good friend Nancy Martin. Subject …

Weathermen Lie

I knew I had to get my mom out of her house for some shopping. After a week of hibernating through the snow and the ice, she surely had to be going stir crazy. We usually do our weekly shopping on Friday, but I decided to wait until the weekend this time. I hate the crowds on weekends, but the temperatures looked better. As in mid twenties looked better than mid teens. But then there was the matter of snow. The weather forecasts called for warmer (27degrees) but snowy on Saturday and lower twenties with the chance of an additional coating of snow on Sunday.

I chose Sunday. Silly me, listening to the weathermen.

Saturday was gorgeous. Some sun. A few light flakes floating on the air currents. No accumulation whatsoever.

Sunday dawned bitter. By now my cupboards were bare and I didn’t have the luxury of putting off the shopping trip any longer. My husband shoveled Mom’s driveway and I spread salt on the icy patches. I bustled Mom into my snow-tire-equipped car and headed for town. A mil…

Sammie's Saga Continues

I’m ready to put a bounty on the head of one particular groundhog. Dear old Phil. Remember him? The buck-toothed chap who pronounced an early spring?

Meanwhile the world outside shimmers in black and white and gray. Cars are all the same color…shades of road salt. My car is encased in ice and wears icicle teeth where the grill used to be. Driving is still tricky two days after the snow and ice storm. Now it’s not the ice on the roads so much as the huge sheets of the stuff flying off other cars and threatening to smash into my windshield.

Plus I have another cold. My hubby gave it too me for Valentine’s Day. Thanks, honey.

So on this bitter cold Pennsylvania morning, coughing and wheezing, I chiseled my car free from its icy tomb to take Samantha to the vet. After all that, you’d think for karma’s sake I’d be due good news.

Not.

The tumor under her tongue is back one month after the surgery to remove it the second time.

Rats.

After much discussion and a few tears, we’ve opted to pass on …

Building Bridges

Early last week I was thrilled to be back at work on my novel. The thrill lasted a day and a half. Then I hit a wall. Or to be more exact, I came upon a chasm.

I knew what was going to happen a few scenes down the road, but I reached the end of the chapter I had been working on and realized I didn’t have a clue about what occurred in between here and there.

No, it wasn’t writer’s block. I’ve had that. It last for 26 years. Or maybe 27. I don’t ever plan on having that again. No, this was simply a matter of losing my way. At one point I knew where the plot was going, but then I was forced to step out of that world for a number of weeks dealing with my dad’s failing health and funeral and I forgot what I was doing. Actually, I forgot a lot of things at that time…where I put my charge card for one. I also lost an heirloom ring and two sets of keys (all of it found eventually, but not without a fair amount of panic).

I needed to build a plot bridge to span the end of Chapter Fifteen and r…

Pills and Cats

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I should have been a veterinarian.

A good friend once told me that and I’m beginning to believe her. I’ve probably spent the same amount of money on my cats’ vet bills that I would have spent on the long years of college and vet school. Heck, I’ve probably spent MORE on the cats.

But, no, I chose other paths. And now I write fiction in which a veterinarian is the protagonist. If only I could write off my vet bills as research, but I fear that might be pushing the envelope a bit.

I’ve learned to give shots to horses and cats by necessity. I’ve bandaged horses’ legs, soaked their feet, treated their colics. I’ve given subcutaneous fluids to cats in Chronic Renal Failure.

Currently, I’m treating my Sammie with chemotherapy for squamous cell carcinoma. Otherwise known as THE TUMOR UNDER HER TONGUE. She has no idea she’s sick. She does know she doesn’t like stuff forced into her mouth and down her throat. Regardless, I have to give her a capsule…piroxicam (chemo) once a day, every other day. O…

Winter Sports

I am writing again. As in WORKING ON MY MANUSCIPT. It feels good. I managed five pages before lunch. Progress! At last.

It’s a good day to write. According to the weatherman, it’s warmer in Siberia and Iceland today than it is here in southwestern Pennsylvania. I believe it. It’s darn cold. Last time I stuck my head out the door, the thermometer read two degrees. Add the wind to that and…well, I don’t want to think about it.

I’ve tried not to complain about the weather here on Writing, etc. I do enough of it around the house. I usually start my battle cry of “I’m sick of winter” about the second week of November and continue with varying degrees of exasperation right through March. This winter had me spoiled, though. At least until recently. Now I’m really sick of winter.

I have to admit, though, it is great writing weather. There sure isn’t anything enticing me to wander outdoors, away from my computer. Nope. I’ll stay snuggled in my office chair with a cup of some hot beverage and work…

In Search of Normal

I catch myself saying stuff like “Maybe now things can get back to normal.”

The funeral is over. Dad will be cremated, so we still have the interment at the veteran’s cemetery “at the convenience of the family,” which means when there is no snow on the ground and we don’t risk frostbite for the service. But we no longer have to make that daily trip to the Health Center. The strange thing is I think I’m going to miss it. The staff was so good to Dad that many of them became a second family to us. And I’ll miss several of the more memorable residents.

Which leads to my question. What the heck is “normal?” Those trips to the Health Center became our “normal” for the last 15 months. Stressful? Yes. Heartbreaking? You bet. But that’s been life as we know it for my mom and me.

I vaguely remember six and seven hour writing days. That’s what I’m shooting for in my definition of “normal.” Keeping up with the housecleaning and laundry would be good, too. But it will take a while before it becomes …