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Showing posts from July, 2007

In Memory

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Samantha AKA "Sammie"
1993-July 31, 2007

Road Trip

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Yesterday morning I dragged my weary backside out of bed early for a rescue mission road trip. After what seemed like weeks of trying to make arrangements for transporting my now gentled kittens to a foster mom in eastern Maryland, she and I decided to take matters into our own hands and meet half-way (or close to it) to make the exchange.

You have to realize, these kittens have never been off the farm. To them, the world consisted of the barn and part of my back yard. I had told them they were going on a road trip. But they didn't know what a road was. Or a trip. They were in for a shock.

Loading them into my Pet Taxi didn’t go as smoothly as I would have hoped. Two kittens, two hands. Sounded like a good plan. Except for one minor glitch. One of those hands also had to close the crate’s door. When I did, lightning-quick Sophie escaped. Which was better than Chickie getting away. I don’t know that I’d have re-caught her. But I was able to coax Sophie back into my reach and get her …

Revision Hell and Fantasy Island

Well, the kids are back from summer camp. Figuratively speaking, of course. The “kids” to which I refer are the copies of my manuscript that I sent out to my first readers.

Frankly, I got darned little done while they were away. But isn’t that always the case?

Anyway, I’m back to work on my “final” draft. Or at least, the final one before sending it off to my agent. I hope to see it again when an editor requests changes before publishing it. Just as I still hope to get a chance to make some changes to the manuscript of HORSE OF A DIFFERENT KILLER at some point.

But for now, I’m firmly ensconced in Revision Hell. As I go through the notes which my wonderful first readers have made on the pages of the manuscript, I see there is considerable work to be done on the beginning. And the ending. And the middle. So much for my pipedream of adding a line or two here and there. Nope. It goes much deeper than that.

If there is good news, it’s that the plot has been deemed sound. It’s the relationship…

Talking about phobias

I'm over at Working Stiffs today talking about fears and phobias. Come over and join us.

Back in the Saddle Again

In the midst of all the tumult that has become my life, I found a few minutes of quiet yesterday, sitting astride a horse on a hillside with only the breeze rustling the clover and alfalfa and sound of very distant traffic drifting up from the valley below to disrupt the stillness.

Years ago when I still had my own horses, trail riding was my “thing.” The connection between equine and human, the trust and communication was like nothing else in the world. My old mare, Jenny, carried me into mountains, across rivers, through woods and fields. I tended to get us into predicaments. She always got us out of them. If she were still alive, I would still have horses. Or at least I would still have her. But she died over ten years ago and eventually I got out of the horse business. Physically at least. But the woods still called to me. Hiking never cut it with me. I may enjoy biking, but a bicycle is a poor runner up to a horse.

Recently, I’ve been drawn back into my old world by a neighboring f…

Looking Good, Babe

I must be getting old. Certain things bug me that didn’t use to. And certain things that use to bug me no longer do.

What set me on this particular train of thought was something that happened today in the parking lot at the grocery store. I had returned my cart to the little cart corral and was walking back to my car. A nice looking young guy was backing his shiny new Cadillac out of his parking space toward me and I stopped so he wouldn’t have to be concerned about hitting me. Okay, maybe I was the one who was concerned, even though he had plenty of room. But he braked and smiled at me and said, “Go ahead, babe.”

Babe. Not ma’am. Babe. I shot him my best killer smile and gave him an enthusiastic “Thank you!” What he didn’t realize is I wasn’t thanking him for being polite and letting me continue on my way. I was thanking him for calling me BABE.

Is that sad, or what? There was a time when my feminist ethics would have caused me to bristle at such a thing. Now, it totally makes my da…

The Next Big Thing

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On Friday the thirteenth (no, we’re not superstitious), I took my mom to our beloved orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Ray. He’s the doctor who fixed my hubby’s broken foot last year and also did surgery on both my dad’s knees, replaced Mom’s right hip a few years back, and has done surgeries on several other family members and friends. All with good results. This time, we were there for Mom’s LEFT hip, the one that had originally been replaced back in 1976.

No, that isn’t a typo. 1976. Her left hip replacement is thirty-one years old. And it’s shot.

So the next big thing in my life is going to be the replacement of the replacement of Mom’s left hip. The surgery is not going to be an easy one. There are lots of unknowns. Not every detail is evident in the x-rays. What is evident is a large amount of cement and a small amount of bone in that hip. The cement will have to come out. Additional bone will have to be grafted. It doesn’t sound like fun.

That’s the next big thing. As for previous and cur…

How I spent my birthday

Yesterday was my birthday. I had made plans to have lunch out with a friend at one of my favorite restaurants.

When will I ever learn never to make plans?

Around 8:30 in the morning, when I was in the midst of my morning chores, which include scooping the litter box, it occurred to me that Sammie hadn’t…well…how to put it delicately? She hadn’t had a bowel movement in almost a week. I looked at her lying on my office chair. She seemed sad. Maybe it was just tired. Either way, I freaked out and called the vet and was told to have her there in two hours.

I cancelled my lunch plans. I had visions of bowel blockages and surgery that I would refuse to put her through with everything else going on. I wept, convinced this was going to be our last trip to the vet.

Sammie perked up. She looked at me as if to ask “What’s wrong with you?” She no longer looked sad or tired. She looked like herself. Okay, maybe we could get by with an enema.

Dear Dr. Barnes poked and prodded and declared that there…

Stress, Chocolate, and Kittens

Today, over at The Lipstick Chronicles, Rebecca the Bookseller wrote about a study that linked stress with weight gain. Like Rebecca, I can’t believe it took a scientific study to reach this conclusion. I’ve been under a little stress the last few years and I’ve gained almost fifteen pounds. Never mind that I’ve also been spending a lot of time with my bum glued to my chair as I work on my writing. Never mind the slowing metabolism of being in my mid (okay, late) forties. I blame it on stress.

Or perhaps my own method of dealing with stress: chocolate. Specifically Lindor Truffles. When I got on the scale last week and saw the numbers had taken another upward turn, I made the difficult decision to give up my daily stress-buster dose of chocolate.

Which is creating more stress.

Then a friend of mine gave me an early birthday cake. A chocolate one. Oooo, it was good. Hey, you cannot refuse chocolate when it comes in the form of a birthday gift. That would just be rude.

Speaking of stress, …

Odd Jobs

You would think that I’d have outgrown or out-earned the need for summertime odd jobs by now. But such is not the case. Every summer I find myself in a financial pinch, looking to make an extra buck or two.

One problem is the yoga center closes for several weeks in August. No classes, no income. Last year, we only partially closed, running a skeleton schedule of classes. I opted to teach two classes on Monday through the partial shut-down so I’d still have some cash flow. This created a new problem. Burn out. Last summer was a rough one, with Dad in the Health Center and me driving Mom to visit him every day. I needed some down time and didn’t get it. So my nerves were pretty frayed. I swore that this year, I was taking my unpaid vacation to unwind and regroup.

Which is great, but still leaves me short on funds. Plus, summer registration was down so I’m only teaching two classes instead of three, so I’m going into the August break with less income than usual.

I’m not whining. Honest. J…

The Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July! If all goes according to plans, Ray and I will be spending the day at Ohiopyle. We used to go there every July 4th. The last few years, life has gotten in the way, so I hope to revive old traditions today.

But while we’re off enjoying the bike trails, I wanted to mention a sad anniversary. Ten years ago today, one of my favorite writers passed away.

I first became enamored of Charles Kuralt back in his days of doing On the Road segments for CBS Evening News. And I rarely missed CBS Sunday Morning. Years ago, our television died and in a protest of the lousy programming, I refused to buy a new one. For five weeks, we went TV-free. During that time, I only missed one show. CBS Sunday Morning. That was the only reason we bought a new set. Okay, maybe not the ONLY reason, but it was a big one.

I remember lying on a stretcher in the hospital one Sunday morning in 1993, writhing in agony from what turned out to be acute appendicitis. As I lie there waiting to be taken f…

Real Life Serial Killers

I'm over at Working Stiffs today posting about a string of unsolved murders that really happened too close to home 30 years ago and how that started me on a life of crime...WRITING that is. Check it out.

A Perfect Saturday

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I may have mentioned at some point about how rare it is for me NOT to be complaining about the weather. This past weekend, I had NO complaints about our southwestern Pennsylvania weather. I’d like to order up six solid months of it, please.

Better yet, I took advantage of it. At least I did on Saturday. After sleeping in a bit, I headed to Mountaineer to visit with my friend Jessi and to play at being a groom. I walked Rumbler, a new acquisition of Jessi’s stable. Rumbler is a big, good-looking mare with a long-stride and a fast walk. But I like her. She made no effort to pull my arm out of the socket. She just walks fast. Think cranking up the speed on the treadmill, but with the smell of horse in your nostrils.


(For those of you who think horses stink, let me make something clear. Sweaty horses stink. Freshly washed horses smell wonderful. And most of us who love horses don’t even mind the stinky sweaty ones.)

After returning home and having lunch, I went to visit another horsy friend,…