Friday, July 18, 2014


I've been under the radar for the past few weeks.  It hasn't been fun.  I've never been a sick person, but over the past almost 3 months, I can't say I've been healthy.  It seems everything decided to hit at once.

Simply wrapping my mind around words has been an effort in futility.  I'm trying harder to fix that.  With an August 18th revision deadline, I don't have a choice.

And I missed a lot of good stuff.  For the first time in years, I wasn't able to attend any of our 9-day annual River Festival.  I'd made plans to travel with friends to San Antonio, TX, to RWA's annual conference being held there this year, but I had to back out.  With my health not at 100%, I didn't want to risk it.

So here I am, trying not to feel sorry for myself. Most of the time it works.  Once in a while it doesn't.

It's hard to deal with disappointment.  While we might be able to manage to keep a smile on our faces, inside we battle how we really feel.  I feel...sad, let down, already missing my friends and the fun I always have.  Sometimes it's better to let ourselves feel the disappointment or anger or whatever negative emotion for a little while, but not for long.  We have to find a way to get past it, forget it, and move on.  There'll be something positive in our lives soon that will take the place of those negative feelings.  Until then, I intend to treat myself with gentleness and patience.

Oh, yeah.  There's one more thing.  I need to get to work!!

I'll pop back in here when time and energy allow.  Until then, keep smiling!
If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Friday, June 20, 2014

Another Week, Another Friday

FRIDAY FREE-FOR-ALL aka Friday Crazies
No, I don't have special plans for the weekend.  Weekends are a lot like weekdays around here.  Just because it's Saturday or Sunday or even Friday evening, one day is much the same as others.  I work, no matter what day it is.  Now that Game of Thrones has finished its fourth season, I don't even have a MUST-WATCH TV show.

The grass needs mowing.  Thanks to the rain we've had, the backyard is a jungle.  Last Saturday, I pulled and cut the bigger weeds, in hope that we might get to actually mow at some point.  Yesterday we replaced the primer cap on the mower - - - that's the little button that has to be pushed to prime a pull-cord type mower so it will start - - - and it still won't start.  But the Weed Eater is working again, now that it has new line, so we might manage to blaze a trail of some kind through the jungle.  I'm not holding my breath.  Temps are expected to be in the 90s, with humidity to match.  Ugh.

New neighbors--or maybe only one--to the south of us are making life, well, interesting.  A pitbull has been ensconced in the backyard there, complete with small dog house.  That would be well and good, but the poor dog is attached to a leash, giving him little freedom.  Not to mention that I learned yesterday that it's illegal in this fair city for a dog to be tied up for more than an hour, four times a day.  This dog has been tied up 24/7 for 2 1/2 days.  I had to find out from the neighbor to the south of my south neighbor that anyone was actually living in the house.  I don't make a habit of clocking the habits of neighbors or even knowing who they are.  I rarely saw anyone there, but when I did, it was often at the strangest times---3:30 a.m., mostly, when headlights from a car pulled into the driveway, which would shine in my bedroom window.  In spite of several Facebook friends thinking it might be a drug house, the new neighbor is an older Hispanic woman who doesn't drive and obviously never steps out of the house, either. le sigh

Let me make it clear.  I like dogs.  We have a dog, too, but Max the Pekingese isn't all that crazy about
going outside, especially when it's raining, snowing, hot or the grass is tall. When he does allow us to boot him out, we then have to carry him back in, especially at midnight.  Max is L A Z Y and S P O I L E D.  The dog next door is tied to his dog house ALL THE TIME.  Said dog also isn't crazy about being left alone ALL THE TIME, so barks, moans, whines, and every other sound imaginable ALL THE TIME.  The past two nights have meant being awakened far too often by the barks and whines of the dog.  And I've yet to see anyone in the backyard to check on him.  Do I call the authorities and report this?  Or maybe I should simply leave a copy of the City Law that states New Ordinance Makes it a Crime to Keep Your Dog on a Chain 24/7" in the door for someone to find.  I'm about to set the dog free, when no one is looking.  However, I'm not sure how friendly the dog is or isn't.

So it's summer and it's Friday.  I'm a few pages from finishing a new manuscript.  I need to get busy on plotting a new series for Harlequin American, set in a Texas ghost town.  But my #3 daughter and her hubby are stopping by this evening with a present for me.  They consider it a present.  I consider it one more mouth to feed.  A couple of weeks ago, said daughter picked up her cat Tosca, who's been living with me for the past several years, since daughter couldn't have a cat where she lived, and they're now living at least 2 hours away.  Yes, I'll miss Tosca, but she tends to keep to herself and she apparently is enjoying her new home and humans.  So daughter has decided to give me one of the kittens born in one of the race cars at the shop. (Her hubby is a race car driver.)  Just what I need, right?

There's a problem with new kitty.  He's a he and will have to be, um, fixed.  And daughter named all the kittens after candy bars.  (Yes, I'm serious.)  This particular kitty was named Kondike.  Yeah, like a Konkdike Bar, which is actually ice cream, not a candy bar.  I decided to name him Dave.  Yes, Dave.  My youngest daughter is having a fit.  PETS CANNOT BE GIVEN HUMAN NAMES.  Which isn't exactly true, since Toby, her cat, has a human name.  She wanted me to name the new kitten DaVinci, which is how the name Dave came to be.  Or Tyrion, seeing that I'm a GoT and Peter Dinklage fan.  Or anything but Dave.  #3 daughter says I can name kitten whatever I want.  Her hubby likes Dave Kondike, Used Car Salesman.  They're the ones who gave me a fish for my birthday and named him Charlie Manson.  Creative, aren't they?

Let's face it.  There's never a dull moment here.  Four daughters, each with her own distinctive personality, always make life interesting.  And if they should fail, humanity will always fill in.

Best wishes to anyone who has bothered to slog through this rambling mess.  Have a wonderful weekend!!  Pics of Dave Kondike, Used Car Salesman will be posted on Monday.  I hope. ;)
The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter. ~ Mark Twain

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

It Has To Get Better, Right?

I hate whiny people, but in the past couple of days, I've become one.

What is it about this month that has turned it inside out?  With twelve more days to go, I wonder what else can happen, what else can go wrong.

I ended May in the ER and began June in a hospital room.  Other than being released from the hospital after three days and having the ability to breathe again, I can't say that I've seen a big improvement in the way the month is going.  In fact, it's to the point that I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop...and considering how many have been dropping already, I must be a centipede.

One of the problems with this month is that for all but the first six days, Mercury is Rx. That little thing that looks like it means "prescription," actually means "retrograde."  So what's retrograde mean?  It means that Mercury, the planet of communication, appears to be moving backwards in the cosmos and everything that involves communication in any shape or form is going to be, well, screwed, to put it bluntly.  It will be worse for some than for others, depending on your natal chart.  And I'm not going to get into that, so just trust me that it's going to be somewhere between a bit uncomfortable this month or totally insane.  I'm at the totally insane end of it.

If your computer hasn't been acting wonky, if your cell phone is performing as expected, if a flight you booked hasn't been canceled (communication can involve travel), count yourself lucky.  You may get through this 26 day Mercury Rx with little pain.  I, on the other hand, am to the point of being nearly homicidal.

My computer, which is an extension of me, has gone bat(you-know-what) crazy since Monday evening.  Programs are freezing, right and left, causing me to stop and wait, until they respond again.  If that doesn't happen, a CTR-ALT-delete will eventually get things back to normal...for 2 to 5 minutes, when it happens again.  Have I mentioned that anything done on computer at this point is taking 3 to 5 times longer that usual?  No?  Well, I'm telling you, that's what's happening.

Yes, I have googled a fix, followed instructions to the nth degree, and I still am ready to tear off the head of the first person who asks me what's wrong.  I've twice "restored" my computer to a date prior to the problem beginning.  I've uninstalled the one or two new programs I've installed in the past month.  I've even gone so far as to try muttering mumbo-jumbo, in the hope that something will work.  It only gets worse.

Two more weeks to go, and Mercury will be back on track, speeding along the beltway of the Universe.  I hope I'm still sane and not wrapped in one of those funny white jackets that tie in the back.  I hope there's actually something left of my universe, although after this bombardment of things-gone-wrong, I may not recognize it.

Curious about Mercury Rx and want to learn more?  (Forewarned is forearmed, ya know.)  Check out Gala Darling's Blog for a quick and easy tutorial.  If this Rx hasn't managed to put your life a little off-kilter, a little education on the subject could save you when the next one rolls October. ;)
Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy. ~ Nora Ephron

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Only Rules You Need


1.  If you do not GO after what you want, you'll never have it.

2.  If you do not ASK, the answer will always be NO.

3.  If you do not step FORWARD, you'll always be in the same place.

The above is all you ever need to know.  It affects every, single thing you do...or don't do.  This doesn't have to do with writing or being a writer.  It has everything to do with dreaming, being, and achieving what you want.  Nothing comes easy, and the best things come hard.  Follow those three rules in all areas of your life, and watch your dreams take hold.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Missing In Action Thing

There was a point in the past ten days when I wasn't sure I'd be here.  This time last month, I was hit with what I thought was an asthma attack, something I haven't dealt with but a couple of times, and the most recent being four or five years ago.

A trip to a local pharmacy clinic netted me some meds and a bill that sucked up my quarterly royalties.  Because I was locked out of by some kind of glitch, I have no health insurance.  Okay, I'm not whining.  It happened to a lot of people and will be taken care of as time goes by.  Until then, I'll do what I can and hope for the best.

The meds helped...for a while, then I felt worse, then a little better, then worse again.  Three weeks later, I went to a different local clinic because I was still having difficulty breathing that had become worse.  I was given a breathing treatment, meds, prescriptions and more, and spent more money.  A few hours later, I ruined my daughters' evening with a call to them at a concert, telling them I needed to go to the ER.  I.  Could.  Not.  Breathe.

With my oxygen level at a dangerous 82%, I was admitted to the hospital that Saturday night.  At that point in time, I didn't care what they did with me.  I was exhausted from trying to breathe and my hands wouldn't stop shaking.  Yes, a hospital visit is expensive, and without insurance, something I wouldn't do on whim or much of anything else, but I didn't feel I had a choice.  I signed my name and gave my care up to the wonderful people at the hospital.

Tuesday evening I came home, breathing easily and able to walk from one room to the other without tiring or gasping for air.  In fact, on Wednesday, youngest daughter and oldest granddaughter and I went on a treasure hunt, hiking along an historical bridge, looking for a medallion.  I'm not only back to normal, I'm better than I was.  I've stopped smoking.  Again.  (Third time is charmed, right?)

I had a lot of time to think in the hospital.  When there's even the smallest chance that you might not take another breath, you start to see your life in a new way.  Have I done the things I want to do?  Am I ready to pass on to whatever is or isn't out there?  My answer was NO.  I got a whole lotta livin' to do.

Thank you to all my family and super friends, who stopped by to visit, brought me a shake from Sonic, some books, a tiny rose bush, a handmade glitter-pic and kept me smiling.  I am blessed to have you all in my life.  And there's more life coming.  Count on it. :)

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows. ~ Pope Paul VI

Friday, May 30, 2014

No Fun for This Friday

Actually, I should title this blog post FRIDAY WHINE.

Why?  Because that asthma I mentioned earlier this week has still not gone away.  I'm worn out from no sleep, and my ribs hurt from coughing.  (Coughing with asthma is good, as long as it's productive.)  I've been dealing with this for three weeks now, and in some ways it's finally getting better.  I can sometimes walk from one end of the house to the other.  Not always.  Just now and then.

I'm trying not to push it, but tonight is the kick-off of our annual River Festival.  That means sitting on the riverbank, listening to the symphony play all kinds of great music, then wrapping it up with the 1812 Overture and the most fantastic fireworks display that seems to never want to end.  Believe me, the audience doesn't want it to end.

But if I can't walk half a block without gasping for air, I won't be going.  We usually have to park several blocks away from the heart of the festival and walk.  At this point, I doubt I could make it.  And I'll miss the concert and fireworks, something I look forward to each year.  I'm secretly trying to devise a plan to drive to the baseball stadium, find someplace to park, and hope I can see the fireworks from there.  I'm dreaming, I'm sure.  The streets will be closed, and I won't be able to get even close.

So maybe I'll just go outside in the backyard, while the rest of my family goes to hear and see.  I can sit in my swing and turn on the radio station that shares the music being played by the symphony.  At least I can enjoy that.  I might even get a glimpse of some sparklies in the sky.  It isn't that far from my house to downtown.  And it's better than nothing.

This gives me a chance to catch up on those edits I'd planned to have finished a week or two ago.  I still have the last four chapters to edit, and while it was going well, concentration is hampered by coughing.  But I haven't given up, and maybe by the end of the weekend, I'll have the book edited.  After that?  I'm not sure, but I'm targeting some time in July to publish it.  There's so much to learn!

Life is full of disappointments, and I'm not going to let this one get me down.

Here's hoping that those reading this whine have a wonderful weekend or whatever part of your week lies ahead.
If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Monday, May 26, 2014

Oh, Those Cowboy Heroes!


This blog post was swimming around in my subconscious yesterday morning as I woke up.  I don't know where the thoughts came from, they were just there, and they seemed perfect.

I grew up back in the 50s and 60s, when television was still black and white for anyone who wasn't filthy rich.  An only child in a middle income family, with two working parents--something of an oddity at the time--and an imagination that bubbled over would be a good description of me.  I grew up watching cowboy shows, because those were the shows, in addition to the Mickey Mouse Club and Captain Kangaroo, that were available the most.  

Howdy Doody, up there, with Buffalo Bob Smith, along with Clarabell the Clown, Mayor Phineas T. Bluster, Flub-a-Dub and more, kept kids in the Peanut Gallery entertained with puppetry and silliness.  (For those who don't know, Clarabell was played by Bob Keeshan aka Captain Kangaroo.)  To be honest, when thinking of all those Westerns I watched as a little girl, Howdy didn't even come to mind.  GASP!
I knew I'd forgotten many of the shows I watched, so it was Wikipedia to the rescue!  There were adult Westerns and kid Westerns.  Of course I was drawn to the kid ones at an early age.  I did a quick count of the early shows and came up with some thirty-five Westerns I watched on a regular basis from the early 1950s to the early 1960s.  Keep in mind that back in the olden days, we had THREE channels.

So here we go with a list: (Most watched in bold)
The Adventures of Jim Bowie     The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin     
The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok      Annie Oakley     Bat Masterson  
Broken Arrow     Bronco     Cheyenne     Circus Boy     Davy Crockett      Death Valley Days    
Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre     Fury     The Gabby Hayes Show      The Gene Autry Show    Gunsmoke     Have Gun Will Travel     Hopalong Cassidy     Laramie     Lawman     The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp   The Lone Ranger     Maverick     My Friend Flicka      Rawhide  
 The Rebel     The Rifleman    The Roy Rogers Show     The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show   
Sky King     Sugarfoot     Texas John Slaughter     The Virginian    Wagon Train     Wanted: Dead or Alive   Zorro

Annie Oakley was one of my favorites.  She could ride and shoot like any cowboy.  Rin Tin Tin was a beautiful German Shepherd dog that saved Rusty, the little boy who was a part of the cavalry, and anyone else who needed saving. (Think Lassie.)  Fury and My Friend Flicka were all about a boy and his horse.  Or two boys and their horses, as it was.  Hopalong Cassidy was just, well, Hoppy, and I rarely missed it.  I still remember that big ol' white hat he wore.  The Lone Ranger?  What female's heart didn't pound at the sight of that masked man.  And Tonto, played by Jay Silverheels, wasn't all that bad, either.  Which brings us to Maverick, and I still adore James Garner and always will.  Sky King flew a plane and had a neice named Penny.  I was envious.  Zorro, too, had a mask, and was a part of Disney.

Fess Parker played both Davy Crocket and, later, Daniel Boone.  Circus Boy starred a little boy named Mickey Braddock, who later became Micky Dolenz of The Monkees (1960s music group, for all you youngsters).  Stars were born.  Stars faded, and some went on to other things.  Tom Tryon (Texas John Slaughter), became a author, writing Harvest Home, The Other, and Lady.  The first of those was a terrific horror book, similar to Stephen King's writing.  Bronco actor Ty Hardin's real name is Orison Whipple Hungerford Jr..  I learned that when I was 10 and he was a teen heartthrob.

Those were the good old days.  The good guys won, the bad guys lost, and the cowboy always got his girl.

Yes, there are many later TV Westerns not on the list.  Bonanza, The Big Valley, The High Chaparell, Here Come the Brides (considered a Western, but set in post-Civil War Seattle), Lonesome Dove, and many more.

How many did you watch?  If you're too young for many of these, ask your parents if they watched.  And head on over to Wikipedia for a full list of TV Westerns.

It's fun to take a look back at the things we enjoyed, long ago.  There's a lot of difference between then and now, and we don't see nearly the Westerns on TV or in the movies as we once did.  But we do see a lot of Cowboy Heroes in romance books.  I wonder how many romance authors were raised on the Code of the West as I was?  Is it any wonder I have a soft spot for a soft-spoken, well-mannered cowboy?
The good old days are now. ~ Tom Clancy