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Showing posts from November, 2008

Black Friday, My Version

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. Mine was terrific. A year ago, we had to carry Mom and her wheelchair into my nephew’s house. This year, she climbed the steps on her own power. Everyone there was happy and healthy. What could be better?

Today is Black Friday, the high holy day of shopping. I am staying home. Friday is normally my regular grocery shopping day. Not today. No way. Uh-uh. Today, I’m writing.

I don’t plan to add new pages to my work in progress. I do plan to go through some critiques I’ve received and do a little revising. I glanced through one of these critiques late Wednesday and some major issues jumped out at me and sang a little song. There are times when I don’t agree with critiquers’ comments. But there are other times when they hit the proverbial nail on the head. Something was bothering me, but I didn’t know what. And there it is, all explained to me. YES! That’s where I messed up. That’s what I need to work on.

So that’s a big part of my plan for the day.…

Working Stiffs Wednesday

I'm blogging about my failing gadgets and gizmos over at Working Stiffs today.

Rainy Mondays

Some days I just want to sleep all day. This is one of them. And there is no particular reason to crawl in bed and hide. It’s simply dreary and rainy and cold. In other words, it’s winter in Pennsylvania.

But not really. Technically, it’s still autumn with winter solstice almost a month away.

Whatever the reason, I’m sluggish. Somehow, I managed to force out a couple of pages of the crappy first draft. The entire last chapter and a half have been set in a funeral home with the entire nutty cast of characters passing through. A chapter and a half is too long for a writer to spend in a funeral home, especially when the writing has taken as long as this has. Maybe that’s why I’m feeling as gloomy as the soggy gray sky outside my window.

The good news is I finished Chapter Ten this morning. And as it ended, my protagonist has left the building. She’s heading back to the farm where a surprise awaits her. Aha! Something to brighten my mood. Nothing perks up a day like having your protagonist f…

A Bird's Tale

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The other day, I wandered out of my office, my mind still entrenched in the scene I was writing when I heard a THUD at the kitchen window. This happens a couple times a year. A bird from the birdfeeder outside that window takes a wrong course and crashes into the glass. The results vary. If it was just a glancing blow, the bird flies off, sometimes leaving a feather as a calling card stuck to the window until the rain washes it away. (Me? I don’t do windows. The rain always gets to it before I do). Sometimes the bird isn’t so lucky and I find his body on the ground outside.

On this particular day, I was headed outside anyway, so I grabbed my coat and went to investigate.

I found the poor feathered beast—a titmouse—beak-first in the snow, his wings and tail feathers spread motionless. My heart broke. I have so few titmice this year and they are so cute, I hated to see this one lifeless on the ground. I knelt and gently scooped it into my gloved hands. And it moved! Not much, but enough f…

Working Stiffs Wednesday

I made a return visit to the Citizens' Police Academy for a session that wasn't offered last time. I write about it over at Working Stiffs today. Okay, I had some help writing it. Detective Jill Rustin of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police filled in some gaps on this very important issue of lost and stolen firearms.

Gadget Meltdown

Is Mars in retrograde? I know Mercury WAS last month. When all my Internet woes began. So I have recently developed a belief in these things. Mercury in retrograde means poor communications.

Of course, it went OUT of retrograde weeks ago and I still struggle to access my email. Note to self: call Tech Support AGAIN this morning.

But which planet controls household appliances and electronic devices?

One by one, my appliances are going belly-up. First, the external hard drive I bought quit after three days. I returned it to the store, got my money back and decided I didn’t really need something else to create stress in my life. The TV is virtually on its last leg. It shuts itself off several times before finally staying on. One day very soon (possible today) it isn’t going to come back on.

Saturday, my vacuum cleaner started emitting a burnt-rubbery odor and then stopped. Hubby may have fixed it, but I have my doubts that the repair will last through the holidays.

Yesterday morning, the Hot …

Craving Cabin Fever

I seem to have heard rumor that writers live solitary lives, alone with their computer (or typewriter or pen and paper). They never get to socialize. They become hermits.

Notice the use of “they” rather than “we” even though I am one.

I long for solitude. I dream of staying home all day long and holing up in my self-proclaimed cave (my tiny office). No human contact. Just me and Skye kitty and my writing.

Instead, here is a sampling of the last two weeks:

Monday, Nov. 3: AM appointment for yearly mammogram, PM Sisters in Crime meeting

Tuesday, Nov. 4: AM meeting with insurance agent, PM appointment for dental cleaning

Wednesday, Nov. 5: Teach yoga

Thursday, Nov. 6: Take Mom to eye doctor then teach yoga

Friday, Nov. 7: Take mom grocery shopping

Saturday, Nov. 8: Work as proctor at the police recruits’ written exam. See post at Working Stiffs

Sunday, Nov. 9: Attend memorial service for Linda Gilson

Monday, Nov. 10: Attend Citizens’ Police Academy

Tuesday, Nov. 11: AM teach yoga, PM attend Pennwrit…

Working Stiffs Wednesday

On Saturday, I served as a proctor for the written exam for the Pittsburgh Police recruits. Today, I'm blogging about the experience over at Working Stiffs. Come on over.

In Memory of a Friend

Linda Gilson was a remarkable woman. She was tough and strong. And feisty. So feisty, in fact, that I never truly believed that cancer could conquer her. And it may not have defeated her spirit, but it claimed her life on Tuesday, October 28. She was 75.

I met Linda about 30 years ago. She co-founded the Northwest Ambulance Service of which I was one of the first EMTs. We worked together and took calls together. And we laughed together. Besides being one tough cookie, Linda was also a lot of fun.

After I left the ambulance service, I would occasionally run into Linda around town. It was always like we’d only seen each other five minutes ago instead of a couple years.

I learned of her cancer not all that long ago. Sadly, we’d been out of touch. I did run into her a couple months ago at the local pharmacy. She looked thin and tired, showing the effects of the cancer and her battle against it. But she had a quick smile and that spark of determination in her eyes. I had no doubt that she wo…

More on Internet Gremlins

Eating Crow

My problems with the Internet have continued. While it seemed for a time, the problem was fixed, another spike in my usage led me to search for other sources and solutions to the problem. Basically, I went over the head of the Techy Guy who had been helping me to speak with Techy Girl.

Techy Girl discounted almost everything that Techy Guy had told me. It would appear the problem was NOT with the neighbor’s kid tapping into my wireless router to download movies. (Techy Guy told me the problem was with downloads…NOT anything I’d been putting online.) Techy GIRL informs me just the opposite is the problem. I’m fine with my downloading numbers. It’s UPLOADS that are killing me.

Uploads. As in photographs. As in new digital camera with large, sharp, lovely photographs. Photographs that I posted here of Bouchercon. Granted, most of those were posted from the hotel in Baltimore, but not all. Plus I’d posted those same photos at my Facebook page.

Then there were the pictures I’d take…

History in the Making

I have avoided politics like the proverbial plague in recent months and weeks. The ads and the phone calls only served to raise my stress levels. I didn’t want to talk about it. I was firm in my beliefs, so speaking with someone who agreed was merely singing to the choir. And if the person to whom I was speaking DISAGREED with me, they inevitably attempted to sway me to their side.

Eight years ago, I lost faith in the American people. Or the Electoral College. I’m still not sure which. But when the masses elected a president based more on how likeable he was instead of his intelligence, I’m sorry. It left me feeling scared. And that fear has clung to me through the last eight years. Especially when it happened again four years ago.

But my faith in America has been restored. Yes, Sara Palin is cute and I might like to hang out with her on a trip to Alaska. I don’t think she’s ready to be president. The fact that I disagree with her politics is secondary.

John McCain is a good, honorable m…

Too Darned Busy

I’m having one of those weeks when I have to make an appointment to take a good breath. How many times have I promised myself that I will NOT overbook my life? And yet, once again, that’s exactly what I’ve done.

And just when I need to be able to accomplish things in a speedy fashion, I once more have Internet issues to deal with.

If you hear screaming coming from Washington County, Pennsylvania, it’s only me.

So this little blog post is simply intended to explain why I have no real blog post today. I did, however, work on my manuscript. A little. Enough to have written myself into a corner. Oh, well. I have a long drive this evening into the city for a Sisters in Crime meeting. Being stuck in traffic is prime plotting time.

As for tomorrow…GET OUT TO VOTE. I’m sick to death of all the political crap, so I won’t try to tell you WHO to vote for (even though I have very strong opinions on the matter), but do vote.