Showing posts from October, 2007

Happy Haunted Halloween!

Last Wednesday, I mentioned that I was taking my mom to a haunted house at the Health Center. Well, we had a blast. I write about our adventure and other haunted houses of my past today over at Working Stiffs . Come on over and join the spooky fun on this Halloween

Nearsighted Witches and Pumpkin Snowmen

I’ve come to the conclusion that the witch’s union has pressed for improved benefits and added coverage for eyeglasses to their health insurance. You may have noticed a couple of years ago there were tons of nearsighted witches splatted face-first into houses and telephone poles. This year, I haven’t seen one. I’m talking, of course, about Halloween decorations. The first time I saw one of those witches, it was wrapped around a telephone pole in Burgettstown. I laughed so hard I had to pull off the road. I took friends by there to see it. I wanted to rig one of those up at my house! But then I started seeing them EVERYWHERE. One house had three or four of them flattened against the front of it. Those poor nearsighted witches. I didn’t want one any more. One was clever. Four thousand, nine hundred and twenty five was overkill. That’s the problem with decorating for the holidays. Any time I see an idea that looks original and different, three days later, EVERYONE has one. Those i

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Four more days until Mom’s next doctor’s appointment. Soon we’ll put it into hours and minutes. I’ve suggested that she might want to stay in rehab for a little while after she gets out of the brace just to get some SERIOUS physical therapy. What they’ve been doing up until now has been minimal due to her restrictions. Mom says she’s coming home. And the way she says it leaves little room for argument. Fine by me. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Then again, it could be a train. I had nightmares the other night. I had brought Mom home and as soon as I turned my back, she was dusting and trying to run the vacuum. I kept pleading with her to stop before she dislocated again, but she just brushed me off saying “I’m fine!” I laughed when I woke up. It’s not hard to figure out the “hidden” meaning in THAT dream. I’ve contemplated giving her house a quick once over before she gets home. But I’m not the immaculate housekeeper that my mom is. That gene skipped my generatio

Witches and Writing

Have I mentioned lately that I am ready for life to slow down? What I wouldn’t give to know what “boredom” means. Monday, I had my regular appointment with my dermatologist. Being fair skinned and of the generation before all the hype about sunblocks, I have had my share of sunburns. Now I’ve reached an age where they are coming back to haunt me. My freckles have turned to age spots (I hate that term). It seems every time I show the doctor a freckle or mole that I think might be something , it’s actually nothing and those that I expect to be nothing turn out to be something . That was the case Monday when I had to have pre-cancerous sun spot frozen. On my nose. Dead center on my face. In case you don’t know, when they freeze one of these things, you’re left with a nasty red welt for a couple weeks. Dead center on my face. I’m thinking of getting a black pointy hat and just pretending to be in a Halloween witch’s costume for a while. I’ve got the wart on the nose thing taken care

Plotting a Wild Ride

Here we are, the week before Halloween, and the thermometer reads eighty degrees in our little corner of Pennsylvania. The only word I can use to describe it (besides beautiful, which is getting a little overworked around here) is UNREAL. The weekend was as stunning as they come around here. The leaves are finally getting some color and the sky was a brilliant blue. And I spent the entire day Saturday INSIDE. Okay, it was worth it. My local chapter of Sisters in Crime put on a daylong workshop on plotting the mystery novel with fellow Pennwriter Victoria Thompson sharing her wisdom with all in attendance. I took pages and pages of notes, including some ideas specifically pertaining to my third Jessie Cameron Mystery , which I hope to get working on after the holidays. I think I can also use the techniques I learned to plot out the short story I’m currently playing around with. Of course, I need to find the time to actually DO the work. At least I’m getting some of it put together i

Having My Say

Last month Arbitron asked us to report our radio-listening habits to them for one week. It was kind of fun, even though I don’t listen to the radio very much. That week, I made a point of listening to the stations that I especially like, just so the ratings people would know. I’m not sure if the Arbitron thing had anything to do with it, but we’ve now been chosen by the Nielsen people to keep a diary of what we watch on TV for one week. Beginning today. THIS excites me. As much as I complain about what’s on television these days, NOW I can actually do something about it. I can make a point of watching and noting the shows I like and NOT watching the ones I don’t. I really wish Big Brother were on right now. I would NOT watch it. Never have, never will. Same goes for all those silly “reality” shows. And the current glut of game shows with their harsh, hi-tech lighting effects. I won’t be watching those, either. Okay, so we will watch Survivor . But it was the first of the reality

Counting Down

My mom has always told me not to wish my life away. Nonetheless, I’m counting off days right now: Four more days until I’m done giving Skye her Zithromax. Eight more days until I finally get my hair cut. I’ve had to cancel twice and I feel like a ragamuffin. Thirteen more days until Mom’s next appointment with Dr. Ray. If all looks good (and we feel that it will) he’ll free her from her brace and up her weight-bearing to “as tolerated.” And then, hopefully, she’ll be able to come home. But coming back to the present, come on over to Working Stiffs today, as it’s my day to post there.

An Autumn Ride

It’s mid October in southwestern Pennsylvania, which means that beautiful days are treasures not to be wasted. Soon, the skies will become a deep, slate gray and will stay like that until May. Soon, icy rains will move in followed by wind and snow. Winter is lurking not too very far away. Yesterday was one of those gorgeous autumn days that make you forget what’s ahead, though. After the sultry heat of the first part of the month, sixty degrees, blue skies, and a light breeze felt like heaven. I had plenty of things I needed to do. I needed to finish the housecleaning I began on Saturday. I needed to wash and wax my car before winter descends on us. I needed to clean up my garden AKA weed patch. But did I do any of those things? No. I went horseback riding. I took my camera along for a change. Admiral kept mistaking the soft whrrr sound it makes when I turn it on or off for a large bee. Admiral isn’t always the brightest bulb in the package. Every time I hit the power switch, his e

Some Life in the Old Boy Yet

I haven’t written much about my BooBoo kitty, largely, I suppose, because he’s always been his own cat and has never really felt like MINE. He originally “belonged” to my cousin Patty’s daughter, Jen, when she was little. But about the time she became more interested in boys than cats, Boo’s brother was killed on the road and he decided to move next door to my house. For a time, he paired up with my barn cat, Charley, but was always the independent one. Charley would come when I called. Boo would take a message and get back to me when he was good and ready. Then Charley died of a rare cat illness and Boo became THE barn cat. His personality changed and he loved not having to share me. His favorite thing to do was to climb up on my shoulders and lick my hair. The look was somewhat punk and I called it getting a Boo-do. He also loved to help me sort laundry on hot summer days, rolling around in the piles of dirty clothes. When Ray built his workshop out back, Boo moved in there from

Autumn at Last!

Autumn has finally arrived in southwestern Pennsylvania. You can argue that the calendar has been saying it’s already fall, but with temperatures on Monday hitting 90 degrees and shoppers out in shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops, you could’ve fooled me. Today is gray and rainy and chilly. Typical October weather. I think we can finally take the air conditioners out of the windows. My biggest concern is that we’ve missed all of those lovely, crisp sixty and seventy degree days that are so perfect for horseback riding. Last Sunday, Admiral didn’t want to move. Already wearing his furry autumn coat, he broke out in a sweat just breathing. I’m sorry, but the sun is not supposed to bake your brains in October! Having said all that, as long as we still get some nice, low-humidity, cool (not COLD) days, I won’t complain about the extended summer. Another weird thing about this year’s weather is the leaves. Usually by now, they’d be orange and yellow and fiery red. Instead, a few of the t

Back in Business

Back in June I wrote a gut-wrenching essay about dealing with Sammie’s cancer and declining health. At least it was gut-wrenching to write. I hope it has some emotional impact on the reader, too. Anyhow, I submitted it for an anthology for cat lovers, was informed that it had made the finals, happily signed the contract and waited. A couple weeks ago, I received notice that, while I had made the final 60, I did NOT make the cut for the final 50. Bummer. But such is life in the publishing world. You get rejected, you polish the piece a little more, and you submit it somewhere else. I have to confess, this is one piece I was hoping to see make it to print. AND I really didn’t want to have to re-visit it. It was hard enough writing it the first time. But I am back at work this morning, as I promised myself. And I figured I might as well start off my return to writing by facing those demons again. Besides, I found there is another cat lovers anthology in the works. So I did it. I

Heading in the right direction

I’ve made darned little progress in my determination to eke out a little writing time. Everyone seems to require my immediate attention for one thing or another. When I mention that I really need to write, I’m told to put it off until next week because their demands are more urgent. Considering some real deadlines were involved, I allowed myself to be swayed. THIS time. However, today I took a step in the right direction. I met with my critique group. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t seem like such a big deal. But we’ve had a number of ailments afflict our little quartet. As a result, we took a couple months off to mend and so that I could deal with my mom. Today was a bit of a reunion with lots of hugs. Of course, my manuscript that we’re working on is the one that has already been sent off to my agent. Fortunately, they didn’t catch any major, embarrassing mistakes. Phew! Spending a few hours focusing on writing has strengthened my resolve to get back to work. So to all my family and fr

Home Again

Everyone survived the “trial separation” this weekend. I returned home yesterday to find no disasters of any kind. However… Skye steadfastly refuses to warm up to my hubby. He’s waving the white flag of surrender, declaring the relationship hopeless. He figures when the cat chooses to walk away from her food rather than have him pet her while she’s eating, he doesn’t stand a chance. I’m not willing to throw in the towel just yet. After all, I’m not getting rid of either of them. I figure at some point, Skye will have to accept that the noisy human who is sometimes careless with his feet isn’t going anywhere and she might as well tolerate his presence. Pretending he isn’t there isn’t going to make him go away. Call me a hopeless optimist. Speaking of hopeless optimism… I had vowed that I was going to get some writing done this week. How is it that an almost blank appointment book can fill up so quickly? How can a short to-do list somehow blossom into a full page? And it isn’t, as