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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Monday Musings--Did You Miss Me?

This was me on August 15th:
It was immediately after four different shoulder surgeries. My girl tabby was panicking because if something happened to me, she would probably never get fed again.

This was me on October 11th:
While I still have limited range of motion, I drove for the first time in eight weeks and I'm eating with my right hand again.

Thanks for all the good thoughts and help--I couldn't have done it without my stellar husband and super friends.

I did not get near what I wanted done. I learned I can't write well and I sure as hell can't edit when I'm on my serious painkillers. I can work through the pain for the twice weekly physical therapy and the twice a day exercises (seven exercises, up to 30 reps each with 1 or 2.5 pound weights).

While I get to try to kick some butt with the short term disabilities people tomorrow, I would like to thank Dr. Zach Hamby and his nurse Lois for all their help.

 I don't know when I go back to work. I don't know if I'll be going back full or part time. I do know I'll be going back to some training. I've missed my crazy co-workers. Two sent this today:
Love ya, April and Stephen!

I have found a lot of things as I've been playing on the interwebs.
This cat is saying, "Kill me, but not before I can kill you!"
I want to totally do this--plant catnip around my grave site so everyone will think I'm a cat god.

Mary Balogh posted this:

A Gentleman is simply a patient wolf. That is so my character Will. She made a funny, because one of her characters in the Simply series is named Wulf.

Christina Dodd posted this quote:
"I’ve had a few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge. You know why? Because while you’re carrying a grudge, they’re out dancing." — Buddy Hackett

Mary Margaret loves anything cinnamon and I found this posted:

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, anyone? I LOVE making these! This is a requested recipe, so here we go! ONE HOUR CINNAMON ROLLS This recipe will yield 24 regular size rolls or around 12 HUGE rolls. I like mine huge, lol! Cut recipe in half for less. ~3 1/2 cups of warm water ~3/4 sugar ~1/2 cup of oil (vegetable is fine) ~6 tablespoons of quick rise yeast ~1 tablespoon of salt ~3 eggs ~10 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (yes, that's right, lol) CINNAMON SUGAR ~1 cup of sugar ~1 Tablespoon of cinnamon FROSTING ~1/2 cup of butter ~2 dashes of salt ~2 teaspoons of vanilla extract ~6 cups of powdered sugar ~milk (as needed) **An additional 1/2 cup of butter is needed (separated in half for each half of dough) for spreading on dough with cinnamon sugar. **Make a double batch of frosting if you like a lot of it. 1.) Mix first 4 ingredients together (water, sugar, oil, yeast) and let sit for 15 minutes. 2.) Then add the salt, eggs and flour. Mix together for 10 minutes, then let sit for 10 minutes. 3.) Oil counter or cutting board and dump out dough. Divide dough in half. 4.) Roll out one half into rectangle. Spread with 1/4 cup melted butter and then half of cinnamon sugar mixture. 5.) Roll up tight, but not too tight. 6.) Divide into 12 rolls and place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise on cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Cut dough in half, cut halves in half, etc. 7.) Repeat with other half of dough. 8.) Bake for 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees. Enjoy! 󾁅ℓσтυѕ󾁅

I had one of my characters who loves to cook make these for a visit to his girlfriend's parents (Mary Margaret is her mother).

My alter ego was fascinated by science fiction author David Gerrold's Facebook post about a quiz on "Which Science Fiction Author Are You?" and I looked up the website and posted it (at He shared my post and that my quiz results showed I was Greg Benford. Quite a thrill as I loved his Timescape. Later in the post, Greg Benford posted that his results showed he was Arthur C. Clarke! It was interesting to see the different styles/philosophies for the different authors as the result of the quiz.

So, I've been keeping busy. I've been transcribing a notebook I had upstairs by the bed and rediscovered some powerful and fun writing. I've kept a notebook with what happened each day, if we went out to eat or I started some new exercise, etc. The first few days were pretty pitiful. Most importantly, as I weaned myself off pain pills, I started a final deep edit of my first book, 7 Days: Will and Elizabeth.

But I missed blogging and apologize for the previous posts that were written while under the influence. Will you forgive me?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Sundries--Writing from Real Life

I had my phone and my notebook out on the couch, ready to call my brother, when he called me. We  have done this most of our life and my dad did it too, One of us would be thinking of the other and we'd get a call later that day.

Ed is twelve years older than me. Our brother Joe was two years older than Ed, fourteen years older than me, so I was basically raised as an only child after they left home. But, there was a period of time when I was The Little Sister.

Joe went off to The Naval Academy after high school, but Ed stayed around to go to community college for two years.
He got his chance to be "the older brother." He also went off to college and moved away, but would come back to visit. He took me to movies or different places in our community. Mom, Dad and I would go out to visit every once in a while. Here's one when I was in high school. Ed was a Federal Park Police officer, after a stint at the FBI fingerprint division:
Ed had serious health issues over the years. He lives on the East Coast, so I don't get to see him often, but my husband and I did go out for a visit right before his surgery last November. Here we are with his daughter:
Since our brother Joe was killed quite a long time ago and we lost Dad in 2001 and Mom in 2004, we still try to keep in touch fairly regularly.

I say all this, because I've been writing stories about five sisters, two of whom marry two brothers. Each couple has children and their stories are in various stages in my notes and computer files.

While most of my novels are contemporary romance, some of the stories will not fall into that category. I was thinking especially of Mary Margaret and Rob's oldest son, Mike. He is the quintessential big brother, but I've been careful to make him not perfect.

I've been transcribing some notes from a journal I filled recently. The book was upstairs and held ideas from my brain when it was fresh from sleep. There were several Mike stories in it, told from different points of view. He takes a month after his senior year in high school to spend time with each family member and go visit distant relatives. Joe used to "go visiting" when he was home and I know he touched a lot of lives.

But Mike's story needs to be told. He helps his sister Reney get her driver license and takes his much younger sister on a balloon ride to a dressage competition because she's mad for horses. As I quickly scribbled notes into another notebook, I realized these stories will give insight into all of my characters as they are told in flashbacks or as details dropped in conversations.

So, while these things did not happen to me and those who read strictly romance may be disappointed by it, Mike's story needs to be in the lexicon of my fictional world. It is as essential as my brothers' stories are in the story of my life.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thursday Thoughts--10 Lessons from the Past Month

It has been a month since my surgery. I've learned a lot as I've been in a healing drugged haze. Let me share a few of the things:

1. Eat the cherries. I had to throw out a bag I'd forgotten were in the crisper because they were moldy. *sigh*
2. Do the preparation. There were a few things we didn't get done before the surgery that irritate the hell out of me. Oh well.
3. Sleep the sleep. It's the only way to heal and I sometimes have to force myself to turn off the TV or the computer to get some sleep.
4. Do the exercises. I have physical therapy twice a week and I have to do a set of exercises three times a day.
5. Take the painkillers. I was playing martyr at first trying to withdraw, but the doctor said he wanted me to keep taking them.
6. Accept the help. I have terrific friends and an amazing husband who have toted me around and catered to my whims. I'm a lucky girl.
7. Say the "Thank yous" and "I love yous." Absolutely essential. A former co-worker was killed in a car accident yesterday and it broke my heart for her family.
8. Remember the past. This was written on September 11th. On the fateful 9-11-01, I had both parents in the hospital and all I knew about my brother's job was he worked security at a warehouse "across the road" from The Pentagon. We all need to remember.
9. Push the limits. While in many ways my life has contracted to the main floor of our house, I am amazed at the things I've been able to do after only one month.
10. Learn the Lessons. Listen and observe all the little gifts and coincidences thrown at me every day.

I have to believe I'm exactly where I need to be.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sunday Sundries--Beginings and Ends

So, I was trying to wean myself off the Big Drug Painkillers. When I mentioned it to the doctor, he told me he certainly did not want me to do this. He wanted me drugged up and sleeping for the next month for the chance to heal.

It significantly reduces my moments of clarity. It means I must take advantage of those I do have. While I can surf Facebook and Pinterest while still fuzzy, I do need a certain bit of sobriety for editing and writing.
While I'm not a mother so I don't have to worry about kids and I need my husband to help me shower, I am fighting all of my instincts to let go to heal.

I  also had to let go of a lot of things around the house. I've never been really good about housecleaning.
Had to make sure I had a clear path through the office to get to the desktop computer. I also have a laptop and a net book and I live for my technology. Since I can't very well jump into the car and go somewhere, it is a chance to stay connected. The cable internet connection was interrupted earlier and I went into a panic.

We got it taken care of, I got all my social media checked and I got some notes organized.

On Facebook, a group I belong to mentioned a woman who was from my childhood--Miss Ruth Lengelsen. She was the librarian in my small hometown. My mom worked there for many years and I grew up in the stacks.
She let me check out books from the adult side of the library, but she had to approve them first. Mom would also take me out to the town's radio station when there wasn't anyone else for Miss Lengelsen's "Story Time" where she would read children's books. My first acting gig, pretending to be six and listening to childhood favorites.

I've also been very lucky that I have a super husband and some great friends to help with everything.
I am so grateful for Kim, Terry and Teresa for driving me around to get me out of the house, offering to carry my bags when we have that retail therapy, humoring when I repeat questions and stories and giving me a glimpse of life outside by regularly calling on the phone.

I met Kim and Terry at science fiction conventions back in the late 1980s. This weekend was the World Science Fiction Convention, in San Antonio and some of our other friends were posting about their experiences. Going through some pictures on a flash drive, I found one of me back at a Louisville con in 1991, the year we had the theme of Viking Bikers from Outer Space. 
I tart up pretty well, huh? We haven't been to a SF convention for a while.

Here's a pretty picture of a handsome man, Ian Somerhalder:

And a bit of inspiration we need:
I'm going to have to allow myself to make some more mistakes, cut myself some slack as I make the effort to heal.

So, for the end, here's a kitty picture:

I will see you again soon, promise!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sunday Sundries Two Days Late

Hey, I survived!

It wasn't pretty. As witnessed by this:
Same day surgery, but a major sling, an ice pack, swollen up like a huge tick and some pain killers that would knock out a horse.

In my drug-induced haze, I remember debating if I could overcome fifty plus years of sensibility and put the toilet paper wrapped around the back rather than the front, because it seemed easier to grab with my non-dominant left hand. Yeah, that's going in the book. Being proud of myself for being able to go to the bathroom by myself. I had a tub of flushable baby wipes and an old toothbrush if needed. 'Nuff said.

Another blind panic when I was sure my driver license and insurance card had been lost at the surgery center. We found the ink pen I filched and my dear husband verified in the rush to get me settled, he'd put the cards up in the mail bin. Then, he mowed the lawn and cleaned the kitchen.

Through the Percoset, I love him. Especially after he fixed the charger cord I stepped on for the netbook, opened the package for the battery operated toothbrush (can't tell you how good that felt to use!) and took me to get my hair cut super short. "Are you sure?" The hair dresser was worried I'd regret it later.

Hell, in the now 8-12 weeks I'm scheduled off, it will grow back anyway. I've lost all vanity and apparently modesty as the 20 something physical therapist asked if I minded if he showed me how to put on a shirt. Actually looking forward to not having to mess with bras for a few months. I have a character who develops breast cancer later in my series. I have some experiences to use there too.

So, these will be typed with one hand for a while. Welcome to my new journey. Please feel free to laugh with me and at me.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Sundries--Some Goodbyes for a While

Okay, all the paperwork is in to the FLMA and short-term disability folks. I have several ugly XXXL shirts to wear after surgery (oh, yeah, you'll see pictures later). I got some light plastic plates and bowls, then also got some light plastic lidded cups to use over the next few weeks. A buddy who's been through shoulder surgery got a long handled body scrubber in purple.

I'm almost ready.

A few more things on my list. I'm having lunch with some friends in the next few days. Went out with my hubby for a big dinner last night. Got some things at Wally afterwards, including another package of dark chocolate Klondike Bars.

So, transferred some pictures from my one device to the thumb drives. Finally got some pictures of a neighbor kitty that comes to visit every once in a while. It looks like a Japanese Bobtail, but might be a Manx. Friendly critter, seems well fed
Lets me rub the belly:

I let it know I won't forget, even though I won't be out to give lovins for a while.

We went out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant and I saw a young man at the bar that looks like one of my characters. Awesome.

He had a nice voice too.

Got another thrill--I replied on a blog and won an autographed book from one of my fave authors, Grace Burrowes. She is a rising star in the Regency field. I'm really pleased at her success.
I'm grateful for this book, because one of my characters is a medically-retired Marine. Grace and I discussed the sad effects of PTSD on our soldiers. It will be on my reading list while I'm laid up after surgery.

I've been spending breaks at work walking around the center, looking at how my co-workers decorated their desks. I really loved the patriotic balloons we got for good surveys and here's a cluster of some:
I can haz balloons....

One of my co-workers organized a group to crochet and weave/knit hats for kids at the Vanderbilt high risk nursery. Here's a small bit of her yarn stash:

A team member draws on stones with Sharpies and she did a Guy Fawkes mask face for the guy that sits next to me:
Another team member has this cool model on his processor:

So, I'll miss a lot of these things and people I see every work day.

For a few weeks, I'll be confined to my love seat and downstairs of my house. I'll need my husband or my friends to cut my food or to lift anything over a few pounds. I will be typing with my left hand. My cats are already starting to freak, as is my husband.

We'll be fine. I may or may not be posting regularly while being off work. But I will try to keep in touch. Take care!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Musings--Time Shifting

I am a creature of the night. I struggle if I have to go to sleep before 2 a.m. If I have to be functioning before say, 10 a.m., I need massive amounts of caffeine. Unfortunately, I never developed that taste for coffee, so I usually end up sucking down Diet Mountain Dew or iced tea. But this is kind of my drift:

I have always been this way, even as a child. My father worked for the railroad and he and Mom were up all hours of the day and night. They would drag a friend home from the clubs at closing time and sit and talk for hours or fix a steak dinner at one o’clock. They would wake me up to hear a drunk, rambling story about my brother who had been killed when I was nine. I was trained to thank the stranger and go back to bed.

An interesting childhood, huh?

So, guess who had to be in at work from 8 a.m. to 5 p. m. all last week? That would be this gal. 

I love being part of a group on Facebook called 5am Writers, but for me, any writing done at 5 a.m. gets done because I’m still up then. Needless to say, not much writing got done last week.

I did get to meet a lot of new people at work. Arnish showed me a video of him helping get rid of a refrigerator at his church. They didn’t want to carry it down the stairs since it didn’t work, so they thew it off the loading dock. It was cool. When he found out I was a writer, he got a little worried. He’d been friends with writers before and had been given this warning:

The woman sitting behind me had gone through shoulder surgery similar to what I will have and she had some great advice. While this wasn’t our issue, it made us laugh:

This is the huge concern:

At least while I’m home healing from surgery, I won’t have to see this:

And I’m really lucky I won’t have to put up with this:

I will have to put up with this:

And a portion of my books will be written with only my left hand. I’ve been practicing the past few weeks. It will be slow, but it will get done.
So, thanks for following me on this journey—I’ll try to keep in touch and keep you amused!