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Showing posts from March, 2008

Excuses, excuses

I stepped on the scale yesterday for the first time in quite a while. The number that stared up at me was a number I had never seen on my scale before. I knew it was going to be bad, but I never expected THAT.

If you think I’m going to fess up to what that number was, you have a stranger sense of humor than I do.

I blame part of it on the fact that I’m trying to put some meat on my mom’s bony frame, but it’s me that’s gaining the weight. The other part of the problem is that I’ve been eating too much and exercising too little. Big surprise.

I do have an easy (albeit painful) solution to some of the excess poundage. I am scheduled for yet another gum graft surgery in a couple of weeks. As a result, I will be on an involuntary fast for a week or two. I think I dropped seven pounds in two weeks last year during the recovery. If there is anything good about gum graft surgery, it’s that it does double as an effective weight-loss program.

However, seven pounds isn’t going to put me in the place…

Workshop Overload

I don’t know how I managed this—temporary insanity or perhaps I forgot how to read a calendar—but I have three workshops to prepare for within the next eleven days. And these aren’t workshops that I’m TAKING. These are workshops that I’m either presenting or organizing.

First up is another restorative yoga workshop this Sunday afternoon. I love restorative yoga. I love teaching it. I REALLY love practicing it. So planning a three-hour workshop is no big deal. Ordinarily, I’d have had it all mapped out a week ago. Not this time. I have a list of the supported poses I want to present, but I still need to determine the best order to achieve the deepest sense of relaxation. There are certain things that need to be taken into consideration. For instance, I don’t want to schedule a posture that involves lying on your belly near the end. Best to do those right after the bathroom break. Comfort is key, after all.

The BIG workshop on my plate is Firearms 101 for Writers. I’m not presenting it. I…

Getting to Know Zoe

I’m enjoying a quiet day for a change. Mom is settled in and getting over her cold. No more dizzy spells. The visiting nurse determined that her blood pressure was a bit low, so an adjustment in medication may be in order.

Spring is toying with me. The sky is blue, the sun is shining and the temperatures are mild. Mother Nature is offering a taste of things to come. (I’ve seen the forecast—it’s only a taste).

And I’ve had the entire morning to work on the new book. Not that you can tell. Basically, I’ve scrapped everything I’ve written so far. All six pages of it. Instead of jumping in and rewriting it, I’m taking some time to get to know my protagonist. At some point in the last few days, I’ve come to realize that I knew more about the other characters than I knew about Zoe. So I broke out the character profile questions and my notebook and allowed her to introduce herself to me. It’s kind of a pretend version of sitting down over coffee with a new acquaintance. I learned a lot.

Next, I…

Vacation or bust

My mom is holding her own at home. No more fainting spells. She just feels weak and tired and having a nasty head cold doesn’t help.

I’m not sure if it was more an act of optimism or an act of desperation, but I started thinking seriously about a vacation this weekend. I’ve been whining that I’ve needed one for months now. It just didn’t appear to be in the cards. AGAIN. But then hubby reminded me that we have a week off in May and asked me what we were going to do with it. The brain shifted into dream mode. IF I could get away, where would I go? Tahiti comes to mind, but it’s really more fun to fantasize about things that might actually come to fruition.

I thought, of course, about Presque Isle in Erie. I love Presque Isle, but in early May the weather could be questionable. I want to go south in the spring. North is for the summer when it’s a sauna around here.

So I thought about Gettysburg. But that isn’t much further south than we already are. East, yes. South, not so much.

Next, Deep…

Ain't Nothing Ever Easy

Ain’t nothing ever easy around here.

It was my plan to be shouting from the rooftops today that my mom was home. Good Friday was going to be VERY Good Friday.

Well, she is home. But as I said, ain’t nothing ever that easy.

I got her in the house and sat her down at the table to rest after the trip home. After a while, she decided to take a walk through her house. Understandable, since she’d been away for six weeks. But when she got into the bathroom, I sensed something wasn’t quite right. She got her feet splayed out and said she was stuck. I helped her sit on a stool that she keeps in there, but within a few minutes, she was listing. I’ve seen her do this before and caught her as she passed out, easing her down onto the floor, cushioning her head with my legs so it wouldn’t hit the bathtub. She was somewhat responsive to verbal stimuli, so I wasn’t completely freaked. But as I sat there, I pondered the possibilities. Calling an ambulance was high on my list, since no one else was around…

Good News

We received a good report at Mom’s doctor’s visit yesterday. For a while there, I was concerned that we’d even GET to the appointment when there was a mix-up in transportation. Better late than never, as they say.

This was the first time I’d seen the new hip on x-ray and my comment was “That is quite a hunk of hardware” to which Dr. Ray replied, “That is quite a hunk of hardware.” He also said it looked exactly the way it was supposed to look. He upped Mom’s weight bearing status to “as tolerated” and gave the thumbs-up to her coming home by the end of the week. Mom and I were doing a cautious version of the Happy Dance. So now I have to busy myself with getting her house (and the back seat of my car) cleaned up and ready for her homecoming.

If you’re looking for my weekly report from Citizens’ Police Academy, it’s posted over at Working Stiffs.

With any luck, I’ll be able to get back to writing full time next week and put some of my new-found knowledge to work.

Coming Out of the Dark

I vaguely remember thinking last autumn how wonderful the solitude of winter would be. Life would slow down. I’d be snowed in with nothing to do but write.

Well, that fantasy has long since evaporated. I spent the snowiest days shoveling the driveway so I could get out to visit Mom at the Health Center. Hubby’s car remains patched with duct tape after his encounter with a patch of ice and a fence post. My car lost an eye this winter. No, not an “eye.” An “i.” My Saturn Ion is now a Saturn On.

But there are lots of reasons why I’m looking forward to spring. Here are a few:

I’m sick of wearing the same old sweaters and sweatshirts day in and day out. I am sooo ready for a wardrobe change. Even if I don’t buy anything new, I haven’t seen my summer duds in months so they will SEEM new.

I’m sick of black and white and gray and brown. That’s all I see out my window. I’m ready for some color. My daffodils have poked their noses above the leaf mulch. The lilac bush’s buds are swelling. But so far…

Neither Here Nor There

I’ve been sitting here pondering what to blog about and it occurred to me that I’m a bit in limbo. Today, is one of those days when nothing much is going on. Stuff has either already taken place or hasn’t happened yet. Weatherwise, it’s not quite spring, but finally winter appears to be cutting us some slack. Yesterday was mild, but windy (March weather). Today calls for rain, which is much better than snow and ice.

I survived my meeting last week with my new accountant. Tax time always scares me. But this guy tells me I’m as anal as an engineer when it comes to my recording keeping. Anal. Ordinarily, I might take offense, but in this case, I’ll take it as a compliment. Numbers are not my strong suit. Letters, words, yes. Numbers, no. So if my books are complete enough to be termed “anal,” GOOD. Makes up for that “D” I got in high school bookkeeping. Now, I just sit and wait for the paperwork to be completed so we can sign our tax returns and zip them off to the powers that be.

I’m sitt…

Citizens' Police Academy: Week Three

I'm sharing my Citizens' Police Academy experiences over at Working Stiffs today. Come over and join the discussion.

Murder Melts in Your Mouth

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After a treacherous Saturday of tiptoeing around on snow and ice yet AGAIN, yesterday, the sun came out just in time for the launch party of Nancy Martin’s latest Blackbird Sisters mystery, Murder Melts in Your Mouth.

It was a wonderfully fun afternoon with trays of chocolate and a chocolate fountain with all sorts of goodies to dip into it. And of course, there were Sisters in Crime and Pennwriters everywhere, so it was primetime for schmoozing AKA networking. Shelley Cooper, Lisa Curry, Tory Butterworth, Mike Crawmer, Tim Esaias, Kathy Miller Haines, Lila Shaara, Martha Reed, Joyce Tremel (with hubby, Jerry, in tow), Gina Sestak, and probably a few others who my sleep-deprived brain can’t recall at the moment (Daylight Saving Time/lost an hour of sleep) all wandered the shelves at Mystery Lovers Bookshop, stocking up on summer reading material. In case summer ever comes.


Nancy’s entire line of books were on display looking like a pastel rainbow…quite appropriate for Easter gifts for a…

And so it begins

While I had been doing really well with my writing during Mom’s stint at home, since she’s been back at the Health Center, my creative juices dried up and my productivity has been nil. I’ve also felt depressed. I thought it was from the weather (gray, cold, snow every other day), but I now know it was because I wasn’t writing.

Writers don’t write because they want to. Writers write because they HAVE to. And yesterday, I WROTE. The kind of writing I most love to do: book-length fiction.

In the last six months, I’ve put out some short fiction and done some freelance work (currently on hold while both my client and I focus on other projects). What I haven’t done is work on a novel. I sent the last one off to my agent two days before my mom’s initial surgery back in August. And that’s been it.

Yesterday, I scratched out the first four pages of the shitty first draft of my next mystery. It’s pretty bad. My openings always stink. It will be rewritten and rewritten again and again over the cour…

Citizens' Police Academy: Week Two

Monday night was Citizens’ Police Academy night again. And who’d have thought that criminal law could be so interesting. Several of the students brought stories from their neighborhoods of various crimes. Our instructor for the night, Lt. Michael Sippey (Duquesne University Police, retired Pittsburgh PD) shared why the process works the way it does, what the police can and can’t do when called concerning suspicious behavior or vandalism or the such. There was also an extensive discussion about what citizens can or should or shouldn’t do when faced with crime. For instance, shooting into the air is a bad idea. That bullet has to come down somewhere and YOU are responsible for it.

Click here for a link to some Pennsylvania crime laws and statutes. Chapter Five was one that everyone found most interesting. Especially the parts about justifiable use of force when protecting yourself, someone else, or your property. Good stuff to know.

I’m also blogging today over at Working Stiffs. The topi…

Duct Tape

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My darling husband doesn’t much like it when I blog about him, so let me just say, click here. You will need to scroll down to about five paragraphs from the end.

Yes, we’re now both sick of winter.

Of course, my favorite part of the article is the “escaped injury” part. It could have been so much worse.

There is a strong belief in my family that ANYTHING can be repaired with either baling twine or duct tape. I remember decades ago when I was in 4H, cruising around Harrisburg during the state horse show in my 4H leader’s car. The muffler was being held on with baling twine. The problem is, baling twine burns and mufflers get hot. So everywhere we went, we smelled smoke.

Now our old Saturn has been repaired (TEMPORARILY) with duct tape. It seems the front fender had an unfortunate encounter with a rotted fence post during the above-mentioned incident. The driver’s side mirror also fared non-too-well. But since the car is otherwise drivable, dear hubby patched the holes with the intrepid st…