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Showing posts from November, 2007

Staring into Space

It may not look like I’m working, but I am. That’s one thing about being a writer. It involves so much more than writing. I was working this morning while I was making the bed, getting my head into the short story I’m working on. I’m not sure where it’s going next, so I have to roll it around in my brain. It may look like I’m sitting at my computer staring at a blank page, but I’m really…

Oh, who am I kidding? I AM sitting at my computer staring at a blank screen. Only it isn’t entirely blank. There are seven pages of words there. Waiting for eight. It’s page eight that’s stuck in my head.

I also just completed an e-mail to a friend. That’s part of being a working writer, too. Because this isn’t just any friend. This is my major research resource. She answers all my questions about life at the racetrack and how things are done behind the scenes. Since this short story I’m working on is set in the world of Thoroughbred racing, just like my novels, I need to be precise in those details. S…

In Search of a Rut

Now that Mom is home, I’ve decided that I want to dig myself a rut.

Most folks might consider being “stuck in a rut” to be a bad thing. But when you’ve been on the roller coaster ride I’ve been on for the last year, a nice, reliable rut sounds like a good thing (apologizes to Martha Stewart). I even have my “dream rut” all worked out. It goes something like this:

6AM-8AM: Rise and shine, exercise/yoga/meditation, check email, blog, get dressed and eat breakfast

8AM-9AM: Check on Mom, get her breakfast and whatever else she needs for the morning

9AM-Noon: WRITE

Noon-1:30PM: Eat lunch, get Mom her lunch and whatever else she needs for the afternoon

1:30PM-3:30PM WRITE

3:30PM and on: Fix supper for us and for Mom, make sure she has her evening pills, etc…

Evening: crash with a good book

In theory, this is do-able. In reality…HA!

It works! On paper.

You see, I didn’t figure in the visiting nurse, helping Mom with showering, or picking up prescriptions and groceries. Nor did I calculate in veterinar…

Playing House

One of my favorite TV shows is House. This week, I felt like I’d stepped into my own personal episode of the medical mystery series.

My knee has been bothering me on and off for quite some time now. Lately, it’s been more on than off. So I decided to make an appointment for myself at the same time as Mom’s appointment Tuesday. I don’t know what I expected. I wasn’t in enough pain enough of the time to warrant surgery. I hate needles. I guess I just wanted to find out what was happening in there. So off I went to x-ray.

When the pictures came up on the computer screen (all digital now, you know) even I could see something weird, not in the joint, but in the bone below the knee, the tibia. Ah, I thought. That’s my lumpy shin.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a lump on my right shin bone. I contributed it to being gang-tackled during a game of dodge ball back in bible school. One doctor told me it was a greenstick fracture. Another called it an extended tibia. No one ever x-rayed it. It hur…

Home for the Holidays

After over three months of bouncing back and forth between Allegheny General and the Washington Health Center, my mom is finally home today. (Sound the trumpets, release the confetti!)

I stopped talking about it after her discharge date was postponed for the second time. But now that she’s back in her house, I can breathe.

Not that it’s all smooth sailing from here on. She’ll be on a walker for another month. She’s weaker than she thought she’d be. But I’m happy to run back and forth to her house two doors away to help out. Much easier than driving an hour or more to Pittsburgh or even twenty minutes to Washington.

The house missed her. I can’t believe how many things have stopped working. Two clocks quit. Not just in need of new batteries…the clocks DIED. The kitchen faucet had sprung a leak, which has been fixed. The shower curtain rod fell down…also now repaired. The toilet wasn’t running too well, but seems to have corrected itself after a few flushes. However, the hot water tank i…

I hate football

Well, not really. But right now I do. Yesterday’s game (Steelers vs. Jets) sucked. Maybe not so much if you happen to be a Jets fan, but as a hardcore Steelers fan…

I’m not usually a bad loser. Heck, I’m a writer. I’m used to rejection. It’s just that the guys have lulled me into a false sense of security. We’ve been pulling games out of the hat in the second half this season. So when we were down by ten points early on, I didn’t worry. We were 7-2 and knew how to win. They were 1-8 and only knew how to lose. When we started moving the ball, I felt confident. When we took the lead by a measly three points, I felt assured of victory. However, that 100 yard in penalties nagged at the back of my brain. The fact is a team cannot win when they give the other team 100 yards by being stupid. We shouldn’t have won that game yesterday. And we didn’t.

I’m thinking of my dad today. I learned to love football from him. But I didn’t develop my love of the Steelers from him. Dad HATED the Steelers. I…

Skye's the Limit

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In the whirlwind of Mom-related activities lately, I thought I should let you all know that Skye has not been forgotten or neglected. Granted, there were a couple of long days at the hospital when the poor girl had to deal with being home alone. But she seems none the worse for wear. I don’t think she worries about being abandoned anymore. She does, however, glue herself to me when I get home.

Skye has been a part of our family for just over two months now and she has definitely carved out a spot for herself.
She has taken up residence in my office chair and likes to keep an eye on the printer. She also likes watching certain cartoons on You Tube. I fear this one gives her ideas.


Her coat is thick and soft and shiny, no longer showing any of the signs of the skin problems she had when she entered the shelter. She loves to play with (and lose) her favorite toys. They usually stay lost until I buy her a new one.
THEN the old one shows up again, usually under a piece of furniture, waaaayyy…

Do Not Disturb: Writer Writing

I’m actually writing! Thoroughbred Times has an annual short fiction contest and the deadline is December 31. I’ve been thinking about entering. Unfortunately, just THINKING doesn’t provide me with a story to submit. Yesterday, I started brainstorming ideas and came up with a seed. I don’t have a real solid idea on what the story is about, but I’m honoring my fellow writers who are taking part in Nanowrimo this month by just WRITING. Let the words flow on the page and worry about details such as quality after there’s something there to work with.

So I’m writing.

I’m also blogging over at Working Stiffs today, doing a little reminiscing about my earliest efforts at crime solving. I was eleven at the time. Come on over.

A Happy Horse Story

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About a year ago, my trainer friend Jessi Pizzurro had a horse come into her possession for a whooping forty-five dollars. I immediately fell in love with him. Count reminded me a lot of my dear old Jenny mare. Oh, sure, he was a gelding and she was a mare. But he had the same star and stripe on his face that she had. And he had a similar ornery disposition.

When Jessi decided that she had to sell him, she offered him to me for the same price she paid for him. How could I turn down a forty-five dollar horse? Well, it wasn’t easy, but I did. Since Hurricane Ivan took out ALL of our fence and the barn has been gutted and turned into a tractor shed and I know how much veterinary and blacksmith bills are, I basically couldn’t afford him. My hubby is prone to saying that the cost of buying the horse is the cheapest part of the investment. He’s right.

Count eventually went to another home and I thought I’d never find out what happened to him.

Then Jessi forwarded an email to me the other day. …

Help! My head is going to explode!

After five long days in the hospital, my mom is back at the Health Center. There’s nothing like a few days in Allegheny General to make us appreciate the wonderful care she gets at the Washington County Health Center. According to plan (and we all know how well our plans work out) she’ll be there for another week and then HOME.

I sure hope it’s just one more week. I’m beginning to literally break out in hives from the stress. Or maybe it’s the Retin-A that my dermatologist started me on to combat the sun damage my face suffered in my youth, before we knew about skin cancer. I’ve had two pre-cancerous sunspots frozen off already and this treatment is supposed to keep more of those things from marring my face further. But the treatment is playing its own particular havoc in the form of red splotches and peeling skin. What joy. So my face is sore and itchy.

But that’s not what’s causing me the most grief at the moment. It’s the pounding in my head.

No, I’m not becoming a hypochondriac. And …

Working Stiffs Wednesday

I am now posting every Wednesday over at Working Stiffs. Come on over and join the fun.

Starting Over

Mom made it through yesterday’s surgery. My brother and I set up camp in the tenth floor waiting room of Allegheny General…a room I’ve become much too familiar with. He read a David Baldacci novel (Last Man Standing) between naps. I read Laura Lippman’s The Last Place. When we noticed the common theme of our reading choices, we agreed that we hoped this was also the LAST hip surgery Mom would need.

The prognosis is good. Dr. Ray doesn’t think she will dislocate again, though being a smart man, he admits to making no promises. She shouldn’t need the brace anymore, but will be on a walker for another six weeks. We can live with that. She will be in the hospital until the end of the week. After that it’s anybody’s guess.

I had an interesting drive home. I don’t know that I’ve ever been in the city on a night when the Steelers were playing Monday Night Football before or not. I rather think not. Perhaps last night’s festivities were kicked up because of the presence of the Steelers’ All-Tim…

The Train

Last Friday, I wrote about the light at the end of the tunnel and how I feared it might turn out to be a train. Well, it was.

Mom was supposed to come home today. I had her to the doctor on Tuesday and he took her out of her brace, pleased with the healing shown on the x-rays. All was good.

And then yesterday, while sitting in her chair reading the newspaper, the hip dislocated again.

I followed the ambulance into Allegheny General Hospital as it transported her to the emergency room. After more x-rays and a thorough exam, they asked me where the brace was.

It was at home.

I had to drive home, get the brace, and drive back to the city, a two-hour round trip, while they put Mom under and put the hip back in joint. Thank goodness for Starbucks. I was cruising on the strength of a venti white chocolate mocha.

Once it was all done, I was able to drive Mom back to the Health Center, arriving there around 10:30 last night. What a day.

So she’s scheduled for more surgery next week. Obviously, t…