Wednesday, August 31, 2011

There But For the Grace of God

     In the midst of all my grumping and groaning and feeling sorry for myself concerning this current medical crisis, I try and remember there are others who are lots and lots worse off than we are. We have all sorts of resources to deal with medical problems and besides, we don't even know for sure what we're looking at yet, so why should I fuss?
     Here's an interesting story that helped to bring me up short in the midst of all these problems: a couple of nights ago, the teen-age grandson who, with his mom, lives in the same house with us, was in it up to his neck. He had got home without the book which had his assigned reading in it. Uh-oh. Big Trouble!
     So I rushed in and downloaded the book onto my I-Pad so he could get his evening assignment done.
     Okay . . . next day I decided to get my money's worth by reading the book myself. After all, it was fairly short. Turns out, I'm really really glad I did. And I highly recommend the book to any of my readers (those of you who aren't already familiar with it.)
     The name of the author is Jean-Dominique Bauby and the book is entitled The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and it is an absolutely fabulous story.
     Bauby suffered a stroke at the age of 43, just at the height of a successful career, that immediately launched him into a world totally opposite of the one with which he was familiar. When he came to his senses the only method of communication he had left was the deliberate movement of his left eyelid. Nothing else in his body functioned without some kind of artificial aid or human manipulation. In addition he was to experience constant pain for the rest of his life.
     He was diagnosed with what is known as "Closed-In Syndrome" or, as he describes it in the book, what felt as if he was enclosed inside a diving bell in a vast sea where there is no movement, no control, no communication. All remaining were the butterflies of his mind.
     The syndrome is at least well enough known that there was an established method of communication that could, over a long period of time and with a lot of pain, be taught. This method uses the alphabet and Bauby learned to indicate each letter with the movement of his left eyelid as an interpreter took down dictation.
     The end result (and I haven't found out just how long the whole episode took, from stroke to his death) was the 'writing' of this book, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly', which was published in France two days before his death.
     So, (1) I'm going to quit my belly-aching about a treatable situation and (2) I'm going to try and improve my writing. If a man in this condition can produce a book of this quality I'll be derned if I quit!
     Read the book. You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Another Fine Mess

     Hey, everyone. Nice and cool today. After the heat of the summer I'm really enjoying this. Wish I had time to be out in it though.
     Just a short update to keep everyone in the loop. My better half, as everyone knows, has had a rough time of it lately with this bout with the shingles. Well, wouldn't you know? We go to the doctor last week, complaining that there is something else going on lately and sure enough . . . there is! Something that has been hiding its ugly head beneath all of the other, evidently.
     After a series of blood tests, we are told that his kidneys are failing! Well, five minutes of sheer panic. Then, thank goodness, we both have sense enough to stop and take a breath and look at what we're dealing with. I hit the computer, reading (out loud) as fast and furiously as I can and, after about a half hour, we have our socks on the right feet again and have calmed down considerably. I recall my Uncle Clover who lived for quite a number of years on dialysis . . . and this was before they knew much about what they could do otherwise.
     Anyway, we booked some preliminary tests and the poor guy (who was in a bad state as it was) had a couple of terrible days preparing for a colonoscopy . . .those of you who have experienced one know how awful it is and those of you who have not have really got something to look forward to...and an upper G.I.. Neither of these produced anything that was contributing to the situation so now we go the next step. As soon as all the wheels finish turning we will be referred to a nephrologist who will no doubt make his life miserable in unknown ways (particularly through diet . . . and boy! do I look forward to forcing that little way of life onto him).
     At least, from the research we've done up to now we're fairly optimistic.
     My writing is at a standstill but, by golly, I'll catch up again one of these days.
     Damn, getting old is fun, ain't it?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fighting the Good Fight

     What a strange summer this has turned out to be! With a husband suffering from shingles for the past six months, my day-to-day routines have been altered in ways too numerous to list. I find myself stopping whatever I'm doing in order to do something else right now . . . not because he demands it but because I try and simplify his life as much as possible. He lives in so much pain at present that it's only fair that I keep things going as smoothly as possible. Complicating matters is the fact that both of my in-laws are (literally) suffering from the ravages of old age and their son is constantly worried about them and their care. This is not helping him recover his own health any faster.
     If I could be quite objective I would admit all of this is more or less a universal problem, but things have a way of becoming so personal one feels as if it is unique to the immediate situation.
     At least I  feel justified in only now and then posting on this blog. One would think it could be (and it actually is) a place to relieve some of the stress. However, considering my lack of organization, it is a wonder I even think of the blooming site.
     Funny, though. When I really get started, it is fun. Sort of like having a conversation with an old friend!
     So, now . . . I have the preliminaries out of the way . . . let's have a go at other subjects.
     I have tried to do a few other things this summer. A few days now and then doing professional stuff keeps my head screwed on straight and that helps a lot. True, I've not done too many creative things or put too much thought into what I have undertaken up to recently but it's coming . . . it's coming.
    At the Missouri Writers Guild conference in the spring, From Trash to Treasure took honorable mention in the best book category and I began negotiating with the publisher of High Hill Press concerning a position with the house.
    Later in the summer I attended the Heartland Writer's Conference in Sikeston, MO, where my Trash to Treasure  memoir won first place in their book contest. I caught up with some good friends and solidified the plans concerning a new juvenile division for High Hill Press to be called Sky High Tales with me as acquisitions editor.
     During this time I was also attempting to polish up my latest book, a juvenile mystery to be entitled Junkyard Bones and I contributed a short story to the latest of OWInc.'s anthologies, Mysteries of the Ozarks, Vol III and a second story to what will eventually be Mysteries of the Ozarks, Vol IV.
     During the past month or two I've been working at editing several manuscripts for the publisher so we should have several good possibilities coming up during the next year and I'll be on the outlook for more as time goes by.
     Just last weekend I attended a brand-new conference in Hollister, MO. It was held at Ye Old Country Inn, recently restored by Janet Dailey, and she was nice enough to make herself available to the participants. In addition Dusty Richards, the well-known (and much decorated) western writer, Fred Pfister, the editor of the Ozarks Mountaineer magazine and Radine Trees Nehring, a writer of cozy mysteries, were featured speakers. It was well attended by both new and experienced writers and had lots of good information for all. To top it off, the regular quarterly Ozark Writer's League meeting was held at the tail end of the conference and I got to go for a change. Lucky, too, as a good friend, Pat Smith, was one of the two main speakers. She talked about social networking. The other, Deborah LeBlanc, was an extremely dynamic speaker who talked about working outside the box.
     It was a good meeting and I got a lot out of it  . . . not to mention the possibility of finding a couple of possible new authors for Sky High Tales . . . if it works out.
     So in spite of illness and business I still find time to do the two things I most enjoy . . . reading and writing.
     And the third thing for that matter . . . networking with friends and fellow writers.
     So even though I'm dealing with a lot of 'stuff' here at home with sickly husband, grown children and grandchildren, I'm finding time to still stay with my writing business.
     Just have a bit of trouble making time for blogging!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Chasing My Tail

     Mea Culpa. My apologies. This has been an unusual summer to say the least. However, I'm not going into detail because I would bore the reader to tears. I will just try and get into the swing of things once again.
     Since I wasn't busy enough I took on an additional job recently for a good friend. You are now reading a contribution from the recently named Acquisitions Editor for Sky High Tales, the juvenile division of High Hills Press. Since I have so much luck publishing all of my own materials (tongue in cheek, here, you understand) it behooves me to help others who might be in need of some sound advice when it comes to writing for young people. So now, in my spare time, I am looking at manuscripts from aspiring authors, deciding whether something  has merit enough to offer advice or to reject it outright, and then spending hours trying to determine the delicate words to say in order to explain that the arms have to be chopped off the baby in order for it to be born. We won't even go into the birth itself. For one thing the gestation period is much much longer than most beginning writers have any notion of it being. One does not learn to be a writer in six weeks.
     This new position does not allow much time for creativity of my own. I have at least one short story that I know is going to be due soon and I've not even come up with an idea yet. I'm supposed to be planning a workshop and I've not started. A conference is planned for the middle of August and I keep forgetting to send off the registration (well, I made the hotel reservation at least).
     I've ordered additional copies of the From Trash to Treasure: the Evolution of an Ozarks Junkyard. I've actually sold out most of the copies I had! I'm so pleased. And my editior tells me that I'm getting a royalty check. Wow! I've made the big time! ( Of course, I've not seen the size of the check yet. Please don't corner me and ask . . . it might embarrass me later.)
     And the new juvenile mystery Junkyard Bones is coming out this fall. So I can't really gripe I suppose. However, it seems as if I've not really created anything for a long time.
     Folks . . . something's gotta give. I've already given up on housework and cooking. What's it gonna be next? Reading?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Getting Back Up On That Horse

     How many of you have trouble starting all over again after falling down on some responsibility? I sure do. Case in point . . . this blog.
     Now, I really enjoy writing it. Honestly I do. But for some reason, when I have something that gets in my way and causes me to lose the necessary momentum I just seem to fall to pieces.
     Every time there is a crisis in my household I seem to stop writing and then I can't get underway again for love nor money. (Well, since money never has made much appearance when it comes to my writing anyway, perhaps I should just leave it at love.)
     I'm not sure if I've mentioned that my Dear Heart has been suffering from the Shingles for the past two and a half months. In March, when he first became sick, he was mis-diagnosed and treated by a substitute doctor for the wrong thing and then ended up in the hospital where he was mis-diagnosed again for something entirely different. Therefore it was a couple of weeks before his regular doctor discovered what his condition really was and it was a little late.
     I have never seen anyone suffer anymore than the poor man has done. Now, you and I have heard all sorts of horror stories concerning the Shingles and I believe every one of them at this point but until one actually observes or experiences it there is simply no real way to describe it fully. My husband has always been able to throw pain out the window and never gives in to anything. One summer he broke a tendon (!) in his right calf. There was nothing that could be given to him to help the pain so he simply strapped his boot tight and worked all summer until it healed. Once he drove a chisel through his forehead, just missing his right eye, but returned to work as soon as we returned home from the surgery in Kansas City.
     Should I sprain my ankle, heaven forbid, I will be in bed for a week and someone has to carry me to the bathroom.
     But the Shingles has brought him to his knees. He has spent most of the past two and a half months in bed, living on Percocet, if you can believe it. This is a man who is suspicious of multi-vitamins and refuses to take cough medicine. And even that doesn't do more than take the edge off. He does not break out . . . he merely has terrific pain through his body, as if, he says, someone is using large butcher knives on him and later crawling up and down on his back and shoulders. And as if that isn't enough, I'm watching like a hawk in case he gets too despondent. Being in this much pain just invites depression.
     His doctor tells us he is using my husband as a poster boy to promote the shot that will help prevent getting the Shingles. Fortunately I had received it about six months before and we had intended for him to do the same and simply hadn't gotten around to it.
     He has lived to regret it . . . hourly.
     My message to my readers is to head to your doctor's office pronto and get that shot. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


     This is a short (sweet?) post, so be prepared.
     All I've heard for two days is hate, hate, hate. I can't bear much more of it. I realize the man must be held (more or less) ultimately responsible for world-wide death and devastation (as was Hitler in his day) but he does not bear the shame on his shoulders alone.
     And we do not solve the problems that were created by him and his followers by bearing the same attitudes.
     When hatred takes the place of love, mankind becomes as unfeeling as the jackal that tears apart the hare. You may say the man acted as the jackal and needs no sympathy but he was born as innocent and clean as any other child who enters this world. We all become what we allow ourselves to become.
    Is mankind going to allow hatred to shape itself into the very thing it despises so heartily?
    My family taught me that love was the answer, that a hand offered in friendship should be extended again and again, even if it is rejected, and that hate is never, never, never the answer.
     I do not know how much more of this national shame I can bear to watch.
     Can we not show compassion as the example for mankind to follow? Must we continue in the same vein that we already insist we despise? If we step over the line from love to hate may we find ourselves playing on the opposite team?
     I refuse to celebrate the death of a soul, no matter how black it may be painted by time. It was once a minuscule newborn babe and I will remember the momentary joy the mother felt at its birth and send my prayers with it.
     I will play on the team of love . . . not hate.

Monday, April 25, 2011


     My family will tell you (in unison and at the top of their lungs) that I am not a domestic person. I despise housework...I am not married to a house, thank you very much; I do not enjoy cooking; floors do not look dirty to me unless there is actually mud on them and dishes piled to the rafters look sort of artistic if they are piled neatly on all available counters.
     It is ironic that the only award I ever won when I attended high school was when I entered and won the Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year award for 1956.  Actually the only reason I won was that it was a written competition and not one that involved cooking, sewing or anything physical. All I had to do was memorize a few lines, write them down and then throw them out, never to be remembered anymore.
     What I was good at was reading, writing and painting.
     In short, I'm a lazy cuss.
     When my kids were little, each Sunday we would load up the car and grace one or the other of our parents' home with our presence for dinner. Since we were each the oldest of several children, we were welcomed. It seemed the natural thing to do and the babies were heartily hugged by each grandma and grandpa and lugged around by aunts and uncles not much older than themselves. It never occurred to me that actual cooking might be involved and I got by with drying the dishes after dinner each week. I would jokingly tell my children to enjoy themselves because, I assured them, I was never planning to cook Sunday dinners for them when they were grown.
      And I've carried through with my promise. I do not cook Sunday dinners. I don't even cook holiday dinners if I can get out of it. Nor not often birthday dinners.
     I hate cooking. I would go out to eat in a restaurant or a fast-food joint three times a day if I could get by with it.
     It isn't that I'm not a good cook. I can cook well if I put my mind and my back to it. Of course it takes me days to recover and I moan and groan for weeks afterward.
     Anyway, to make a long long story a bit shorter, I will admit that now and then I do cook. On Thanksgiving. On Christmas (in fact I have an e-nor-mous dinner at Christmas time with all of my very very large family as guests spread all over my very very large house over a very very loooonnnnng day), on Easter, and sometimes around Independence Day. Not often but now and then. The food is wonderful, the camaraderie is better, I feel virtuous for three days and I hurt for a week but by golly I've earned my Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year Award all over again.
     My family heads toward home, bearing gifts of leftover homemade hot rolls, hams and salads, sliced berries and pies, shaking their collective heads in relief that it is all over (its hard on them all too).
     And so, since I couldn't very well weasel out of it (and really, I didn't want to after all) we came together in the dining room of the old home place. Several extras were gathered there also with only three missing and one of those came in later. Two were about 6000 miles away but, thanks to Skype, and holding hands by holding onto the computer, they were included in the blessing on this rainy Easter afternoon.
     We had a wonderful day, even if I did have to cook.
     And I didn't burn a single roll.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


     Send up fireworks! The first thing I did this morning was send off a short story ms that is due by the end of the week. So I'm feeling very professional. Congratulations, me.
     Actually, I did have a bit more time than that. The editor had one copy but had asked me to add a couple of little things so it had been easy to put it aside . . . not professional . . . and I simply hadn't done it. Anyway, it's finished now, so onward and upward.
     I'm putting the final touches on the juvenile novel now. Junkyard Bones is finished and the editor is waiting for it but I had problems with my word processing programs and it has screwed things up royally. I originally wrote the book in Word Perfect and when I got ready to submit the finished ms (after final approval) I decided to transcribe it to Word 7. It was a good thing because Word Perfect decided to give up the ghost and die completely.
     Guess what? Each letter 'b' in the ms turned into quotation marks. Well, fine. I started to manually correct them. (I haven't mastered Word 7 at this point. No, don't try and tell me . . . I only get more messed up.) That was bad. So I tried 'find and replace'. That really changed the whole ms around. On top of that it didn't allow me to change my mind. Ooooooo!!!!! I'm gnashing my teeth and stomping my feet and tearing my hair.
     Anyway, to make a long story short, I hauled the whole computer to MWG and got help and now things are good again. I've gone over half the ms to make sure everything is good and I have half of it to go and then I'll e-mail it to my editor (also a good helpful friend) and it will be good to go. I'm really glad because I'd sure like to have it in time for the school year. Well, we'll see.
     Made arrangements for another writer's conference today (first of June). I'm entering the Trash to Treasure book in several contests (it won an Honorable Mention in the Best Book Award at MWG last week) so I've got to get that done. I have a list of probably twenty things writer-related to do over the next week or so and it is over-whelming . . . a suggested article for a quite well-known periodical, a script to study for a local cookie-cutter conference (they're putting on a mystery and I'm the star!), book signings to arrange .  . . yeek.
     And my poor dear husband still has the shingles. He hurts so much and there isn't a thing I can do for him. He decided yesterday and today that he HAD to do some work (first mowing of our e-nor-mous yard . . . not lawn, yard) and three hours just about killed him. I think it proved to him that he just has to wait it out even if it takes a month. Daughter came over and mowed and mowed and mowed and one of the teen-agers did a lot of trimming. Tomorrow I should be able to find time to finish up (I hope) and maybe he will stay indoors and take it easy, even it it about kills him.
     I finally get the chance to boss him around a little and I can't even enjoy it. Dern.

Monday, April 11, 2011

In the Groove Again? Hmmm...

     I'm hopeful that my readers get a bit of enjoyment out of reading about my chaotic life...when I finally get around to sharing bits and pieces of it! My apologies, but that's the only way I manage things lately.
     Sometimes I think I need a camera anchored on the top of my head documenting my day-to-day existence. No one can believe the reality of my life. If I were to write an on-going story listing all the things that go on in this household, every editor I've ever encountered would laugh herself/himself silly and throw me out in the street so fast it would make my head spin. Of course, there are those who believe I'm dizzy anyway but I pay them no mind.
     I've no intention of going over everything that's happened since the last post. Suffice it to say that I'm still waiting on the last piece of income tax info (damn the poky US government...and you don't want to know what I think of them) to come in. How many days do I have left? Yeah, that's what I thought. And I was told (automated, natch) that it would be here by the 7th of April. That should certainly leave plenty of time, right? Well, tonight is the bottom of the 11th and I've not seen hide nor hair of any documentation. GRRRR.
     Darling Life Mate has been in and out of the hospital and is suffering (and I don't use the word lightly) from a severe case of the shingles. This has been ongoing for most of the past month and shows no sign of letting up. This man is the one who never gives in to pain of any sort, the person who once snapped a tendon in his calf completely in two and simply strapped his boots tight and kept on working through the summer as it repaired itself (there was nothing that would ease the pain at all). But this one has just about done him in.
     My advice is: if you can afford it at all, go and get the inoculation to protect yourself. Shingles is a horrific problem. Anything that can bring my husband to his knees would kill a lesser person.
     The yard (and I use the term loosely) has reverted to pasture and we've not yet pick up trash and sticks from the winter. We live in the country, forty acres, and there are trees and bushes everywhere. I've not raked the fallen walnuts or hickory nuts for the past couple of years due to the knee problem, so with all the trash everywhere there is no taking a mower over it without something being done about it first.
     Oh, yeah, I can just see that happening, the two of us out there bending and picking up. Now and then I actually do feel like I'm more than a youngster these days.
     The tax and the shingles were enough to ruin the month, without even mentioning a dozen other family issues, so I've been a wee bit busy, I'll admit. Then I turned over the calendar page and realized  I had committed to a major writer's conference and it was almost on top of me.
     Well, by golly, I decided, I wasn't missing it. And DLM insisted it would be all right if  I went away and left him at home to suffer alone.
     So, off I sped all the way to the other side of the state for three action-packed days of learning more about writing and net-working, only to discover that, even though I've been at it for quite a number of years, I'm doing everything wrong...well, at least the net-working.
     For instance, this blog. Evidently, I'm really being a little too personal here and not showing my professional side to my readers. Urk. And all along I was hoping to pick up an editor here or there.
     Oh, well, for the time being, until you are all caught up, I'm going to keep right on writing in manner I'm doing. I've got umpteen chapters to relate to my loyal readers before I can retire and go on to another subject, don't I? I haven't even got back to the trip to Paris and to the Czech Republic and that was waaaayyyy back in February! (Where does the time go? And I'm having so much fun!)
     And I have to tell you all the wonderful stuff about the new book, Junkyard Bones. Oh, yeah, and try and get you to buy the old ones, too! Uh-oh, I forgot...I'm supposed to be more subtle about sales and not hit prospective customers over the head with it.
     Sheesh...I try and try to learn. Oh, well, I get a little of it now and then.
     I'm gonna do better soon, though. I swear it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Getting There Was the Worst

     I promised to tell you about the trip overseas and I truly will. I've just not had time up to now. And now I'm coming down with a sore throat and I have income tax to do this week.
     Suppose  I can come up with any more excuses?
     Here goes on the first lap anyway...
     The day my granddaughter and I took off was the fifth of February, my (mmmmmmth) birthday...and NO, I'm not telling. I will say, though, that on February 27 she would turn 21 and that is substantially younger than myself . The fifth of February, 2011, was also in the middle of one of the worst blizzards we've had across the US in the past few years, effectively shutting down airports all over the place.
     Fortunately, Springfield was not one of them.
     Unfortunately, other connections were.
     We spent five hours plus, fifty miles away from home, waiting to make connections to fly out to Dallas (the day before the Super Bowl, of all things) where another six inches of snow had complicated things at that particular airport. Then the plane developed mechanical trouble and they sent a substitute. The Chicago airport was closed down so those passengers for overseas were re-routed to Dallas (effectively putting us at the end of the line) and we barely made it, at last connecting with a second substitute flight that carried us to Heathrow in London instead of Paris where we were actually heading. THEN we had to connect with ANOTHER flight to go on to Paris.
     As for the flight, suffice it to say, I've been on bigger planes and had larger seat spaces. Also it took not quite ten hours to do the overseas trip.
     At least it was through the night and one could doze since it seemed the natural time to do so.
     We had intended to check into the hotel at 10:30 Sunday morning but it was 5:30 in the evening when we were met by a wonderful gentleman named Rajah who had moved to Paris from Shri Lanka about thirty years before with his family and was employed as driver by Paris Shuttle Service. Although it was late in the day, he did us a great service by pointing out all of the interesting spots as we entered the city, naming the buildings, telling us bits and pieces of the history and piquing our curiosity. Upon arriving at the Hotel Concorde Montparnasse we were welcomed by the concierge and shown to our room where we collapsed and decided to order room service (Granddaughter had a club sandwich and I had French onion soup) and leave the sight-seeing for morning.
     From the window we could look out on a circular opening with a very large flat pool of water in the center and a street curving around it. On the outside of the street a bicycle path ran between the sidewalk and buildings of which our hotel was one and streets led off in several directions. Down the Rue Concorde to the right of our hotel and off in the distance the Eiffel Tower was visible but our window  faced the center of the circle and the water so we were unable to see it. However , this was a striking scene at night with the lights all around and the cars and bicycles circling.
     Saturday and Sunday had been stressful days so we agreed to work out our plans for the day to come, to enjoy the sight from the hotel window and go to bed early.
     There is so much of Paris. One could be there for a month and never even touch all of it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


     Friends tell me I lead an exciting life for my age and I guess I agree. I no sooner got rested up from my trip overseas (yes, I know I've not brought you up to date on THAT yet either!) when my son-in-law had a heart attack and sent us all into a tizzy.
     So I spent a week (well, it seemed like a week) at their home fifty miles away from my own bed . . . and I could tell it too . . . while he had emergency surgery and began the recovery process. He seems to be doing all right now, tires easily though and his eyes aren't focusing well, as he suffered a slight stroke too. But the doctors are optimistic that if he follows directions (eating properly, exercising daily under supervision, working with the eye) he will be almost a new man. I tease him by telling him that he never was the man he will be and say that now he will be expected to really work. We have a good relationship, thank goodness, and tell everyone we have a mutual admiration society with reservations. Anyway, he is on the way to good health again and my daughter can at last begin to relax and get back to her own job.
     Got word today that the new anthology will be out the first of April. Mysteries of the Ozarks, Vol. III is a project of OWInc., the writers' group I helped organize several years ago to promote writers and writings of the Ozarks. Orders are going great guns and plans are for the fourth volume to be published in the fall. For anyone interested please go and check it out. Also feel free to join us there. Just google the name or get in touch with me as the blog doesn't allow me to post web addresses for some reason.
    FYI, we are a select group consisting of only five board members but the website welcomes anyone who is interested to join and take part in discussions, etc. We post conference information, etc., and other things of interest so please take a look.
     Not having anything else on my mind (hahaha) I came up with a tiny bit of a story idea that now I cannot get out of my mind. Unfortunately, it is just a tidbit and now I don't have enough to develop into something so I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. Oh, well, I put it in a note on the computer to languish until the day comes when either I'll develop it or it will disappear or I'll labor over what in the world is THIS anyway???
     Sorry I've not done the trip yet . . . I truly will try and talk about it one of these days. Truly . . . when I CAN FIND THE TIME!

Monday, February 21, 2011


     It is great to awake once more with new direction to my days. I often find myself grinding sluggishly through a day-to-day existence through the winter months, wondering if  the time will ever come when I really desire to be productive again?
     Then one day the temperature rises moderately, a soft breeze replaces the freezing wind I've become so accustomed to feeling and the sunshine again has a welcoming brightness to the rays it sends down. There is a stirring deep within that tells me there is still a bit of creative life somewhere inside and it is about ready to hatch. I know it must be nurtured, kept warm and turned lovingly to keep it alive. So I go through files, read past compositions, arrange book signings, contact colleagues neglected through the winter months and gradually begin to write once again.
     Through my office window I see a lone clump of crocus, golden on the cold dead lawn, stretching toward the thin sunlight and I feel the words deep inside my being also reaching, reaching for the clean surface of the page before me.
     I've often said that it is a shame I had a built-in excuse to not write and make a living. I've always had a wonderful husband who has financed my lazy lifestyle. I've never been forced to sit myself down in front of the desk and produce in order to eat. True, I did work in the newspaper business for awhile and added to the family income in that manner and I did free-lance work also. But anyone who has ever written articles or books knows that one had better have a second income if he or she wants to eat anything other than beans nightly. My better half has always cheerfully allowed me to write when I wanted and never pressured me to "make money". Thank goodness. We would have starved.
     However, I might have lived up to my potential had I been forced to write constantly instead of whenever and whatever I chose. As it is, now and then I sit back and produce something we all crow over and most readers enjoy and I bask in the glow of their approval. But at night, in the dark, I hide my head under the pillow in shame.
     Well . . . 'nough said. A new anthology will be out in April and another of my stories will be in it and then a second one again in the fall plus  I have a juvenile mystery in the works so maybe I'm not entirely useless. Let's hope so.
     Now. I did think to tell you all about my trip but I got off track. So I believe I'll save some of it until the next post. There was so much and it was all so wonderful. First Paris and then Prague!  Ooooooo.lala.
     So. Until next revoir!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


     At least I thought so. Well, not really. I've actually been sicker in the past but I don't think for much more extended length of time. And I admit I've been up and around for the last three weeks but I was so far behind and there was so much to catch up with (and still is) that blogs and extra writing was the last thing on my mind. (That isn't 100% true. My conscience has poked holes in me all along but it didn't do any good. There have just been too many other things going on!)
     Then day before yesterday I got an anxious e-mail from a dear friend in Atlanta: (Are you sick????) and a phone call from my sister in Ohio: (Are you sick???) so I figured I'd better get off my duff before people had me dead and buried and say "No, I'm alive and finally well again, thank you for caring."
     I suppose if I hadn't had a flu shot (and prior to this year) a pneumonia shot, I would have called it the flu. I felt like hell warmed over and dug holes in my bed for most of the time since Thanksgiving. I don't think I've had many holidays that I've had so much trouble getting through as this one. For the first few weeks I slept a lot but then I just felt terrible. It was one of those things with no fever so not many options concerning treatment . . . just suffer through it. (Bad enough for me but pity those who live in the same house, believe me!)
     Anyway, it is over now and I'm back to my regular aches and pains. I'm gradually getting the housework caught up (according to my own un-exact demands) if you don't count this set-back with a foot of snow and ice piled up around the house and drive. Naturally now I trip over two brooms, six throw rugs and a bent-up shovel as I walk through the front hall and I try to ignore the dripping muddy spots on the floor. But, shoot, I never worried much about a spotless house in the first place. I'll just ignore it all and continue down the hall to the dining area where I can look out through my floor to ceiling windows at the snow-covered vista and watch the scarlet cardinals and the bluejays tease Bagheera, the fat black cat, who is impatiently waiting at the backdoor for more- more- more food.
     In my bedroom stands a packed suitcase and a loaded backpack, ready and waiting for Saturday morning, when Number Two Granddaughter and I take off for a week in Paris and Prague. (Yes, I know . . . I've heard about marvelous April in Paris . . . but what about February in Paris??? Who knows what we've been missing?)
     To catch you up, this is my next-to-eldest granddaughter. She will be 21 the end of February and is going to the Czech Republic to study for a semester. So . . .(nice for me) she and I are going a week early and stopping in Paris for three days to explore and then on to Prague for another three days. Her university is about two and a half hours by bus away from there in Brno and  I will fly home after.
     We really are lucky that the storm came when it did. By Saturday all the airports should have their problems fixed (only Springfield and Dallas/Fort Worth would affect our plans) so we haven't really worried at all. I'll call Friday to make sure flight times haven't changed but I don't anticipate anything different.
     Of course, from what the weather is predicting, there may be more local storms next week so there's no telling what I'll encounter when I return but I will have left my girl for several months of intellectual enrichment such as every kid deserves.
     Next up is her brother (Number Two Boy and two more after that!) but I don't anticipate travel in his plans. Oh no. He wants to PLAY FOOTBALL! Then the next two boys and I doubt there is anything like that to interest them.
     Guess I'll have to wait for Number Three Granddaugher. She's only thirteen but I can wait.
     I never knew the rewards that came with having grandkids!