Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Boobie Check

Today was my six month follow-up mammogram. Naturally, it was snowing so we left home early. And for once, they took me in immediately.

Any woman who's been there knows the drill...strip everything above the waist and put on a gown--open in the front. As I tugged the gown closed, the tech called my name so we went right in--no time to sit around and think of bad possibilities.

The area they're keeping an eye on is high up, even with my arm pit. Just imagine trying to squeeze that area in the smasher unit! It took three tries, but eventually, the tech smushed and stretched and squeezed it all in, including the bits under my arm.

Then she said, "Okay, don't get dressed yet. Wait out there until the doctor looks at the x-rays." And the waiting was...endless. At that moment, whether you're single or married, young or old, you're all alone. You have time to wonder if this is going to be the time when the news is not good? Is this the point when your life changes?

Eventually, she came out and said, "Nothing has changed. That's good! Come back to see us in six months."

And you start breathing again.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Well, the Olympics is finally over. There were winners that medaled--and then there were those who didn't, but showed up and did their best. They worked, they gave their all, and some came THAT close to receiving a medal.

In my book, the real winners were those who came, who performed to the best of their ability, and then cheered on their fellow competitors. The losers? Those were the folks who bitched and moaned and griped about how their non-medaling performances were someone else's fault.

You know who they were. We should hand out awards to the whiners...the 'my suit slowed me down', and 'the judges cheated', and, and the 'it was only a tenth of a second'! Every Olympics is riddled with less than heroic athletes who can't face their own short-comings.

I want to give hugs to the gold medalist who waited at the finish line until the very last skier finished the race so he could offer them a hug and handshake. Or the coach who provided a ski to the competitor on another team who lost his so he could finish the race. They are the winners.

Gold medals are a fleeting moment in time. Grace and generosity whether you win or lose--those are the things that count.

Friday, February 21, 2014


Temps went up over the last few days. Today we had thunder on the right and pounding rain. Next week the temps will drop back into the deep freezer and we'll shiver in our blankets.

Everyone is moaning about spring. Folks, it's FEBRUARY. Winter. Not time for daffodils or crocuses or any of those other harbingers of spring. Depending on where you live, they'll show up in late March or even April.

While I admit I'm not a fan of twenty-inch snowfalls, a lot of the USA is suffering from drought. And cold temps help kill off bugs and pests so it's all good. There's a reason for the seasons. Every change is beneficial for our environment.

So. Enjoy the sunny breezes of this latest interlude. Take the opportunity to shovel some of the snow to the side. Open a window to air out the house or apartment. Be thankful for your blessings. And when the snow and cold returns, remember those flakes will bring beautiful flowers when spring arrives.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kung Fu Life

Life is one big struggle. But I will persevere! Hah!

Nothing can beat me. Not even itty-bitty needles, the lack of cookies and ice cream, or having to eat plain yogurt!

Bring it on, I say! Bring it on!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Empty Boxcars

It's Tuesday. Seems like a Monday because yesterday was one of those useless holidays only celebrated by frantic car dealers and furniture stores and folks who like to sleep late. The banks were closed, the postal workers stayed home, and the government was shut down (but that's the normal state for the government).

The hunk and I plan to go to the grocery store in search of healthy things to eat. I believe it will be a long search ending in futility, but I'll spend some time walking around, so that's always a positive.

I have discovered no one is willing to deal in specifics regarding food plans when it comes down to it. After spending several days trolling the depths of the Internet in search of a simple "eat this much of that" plan, I've given up.

So I'm compiling my own plan. We'll see how it goes this week. The weather is also supposed to be warmer this week so I should be able to walk more without taking my life in my hands on slippery walks.

As my reward later today I'll download the new 'in Death' book by Nora Robers/J.D. Robb and savor the next installment of Roarke and Eve.

That's it for today...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Digging Out

We had a nor'easter the last couple days with a snow total of about 20+ inches of snow. That's a pretty significant snow in Baltimore. Upstate New York...not so much.

The consequences of snow generally depends on where it falls and how prepared that area's authorities are to deal with it. My son lives in a rural county with one (1) snowplow to deal with miles of narrow two lanes roads. They're overwhelmed when it snows. On the other hand, someplace like Minnesota would take most snows in stride and keep on powering through.

BUT! Sometimes even the best prepared receive a tad more than they can handle. Then life gets interesting.

About twenty years ago, when we lived in the Hudson Valley in New York, we had a never-ending winter with snow, snow, snow...until the point came when we had no place to put it. It's one thing to clear your driveway by piling the snow in your yard. It's another thing entirely when that snow is piled so high you're tossing it on top of a five foot pile!

Somewhere I have a photo of the hunk standing on our front porch (about three feet above yard level) behind the snow piled in the flower bed. All you can see is his head. The snow in the yard was already at the six foot level--blocking the sight line down the street so it became dangerous to back out of the driveway.

We lived in the country. But what about urban areas? Where do they put the snow? In Newburgh, the city closest to us, the snow was a five foot wall running down the center of the main street. Eventually, they hauled it away in trucks down to the Hudson River where they dumped it.

Folks are talking a lot about the extreme cold and worrying about the extra snow storms. What is it? Climate change? A new ice age? I don't think so. While humans are clearly contributing to the changing climate, I think there's also an element of normal change. There have been extremes over the years since man has been noting down weather statistics for posterity.

Should we panic? No. But I reckon it's a wakeup call for us--a signal that we should be doing what we can to make changes that benefit the planet.

But first...we have to clean the driveway.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hotdog Taxes

On Monday, the hunk and I went to have our taxes done. Since I'm an author, I itemize. When our preparer was finished, I had more deductions than my income...not surprising as my royalties came to less than $1200.

The big surprise came when we arrived at the bottom line. Our total combined refund was a few dollars difference from last year's refund. But we had dropped from the 15% bracket to 10%...because my royalties were so low.


Now I must consider whether writing (and royalties earned) are actually more beneficial to our financial picture or maybe I should aim for one new book a year. I suspect the tax situation is not going to improve over the next few years. Perhaps, just perhaps there's a good reason to slow down and smell the roses!

More hotdogs!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Boogie Man

I freely admit I'm probably the world's biggest needlephobic. Yep, all you have to do is show me a needle and I'll run the other direction. When I have blood drawn or an IV inserted I have to close my eyes and think of England.

So when my doc proposed insulin shots for my ongoing diabetes struggle--well, you may imagine how excited I was at that prospect. My current oral meds have some nasty side effects. Tired and depressed and truly feeling discouraged, I agreed to the new regimen, but my already wobbly belly was engaging in a new set of flutters at the IDEA of injecting myself. I spent a restless night worrying about this new aspect of my life.

I have a root canal scheduled today and THAT wasn't as worrisome as the NEEDLE. Oh, woe is me!

I rolled out of bed this morning--tested my blood sugar (a sparkling 243) and hauled out the papers explaining the process of insulin injection. I have the insulin pen, so it wasn't even like it was a real syringe. (How in the world do drug addicts stand to do this crap???)

I finally fumbled through the assembly process, and then with a DEEP breath, I went for it. Poked my arm. Peered down there to make sure the needle was in because I didn't feel anything. Yep, it was in. Pressed the injection button. And I did it!

I'm feeling a bit silly for wasting a night's sleep worrying about needlegate when I could have worried about the root canal instead.

The boogie man--he just isn't as bad as he used to be...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Story Ideas

For all the folks stuck with mounds of snow in their yards and broken tree limbs loaded with ice, I'm sure they can't imagine ever reaching a point where they'll forget what it was like. And yet, it happens. In the steamy heat of summer it's hard to recall exactly what winter scenes were like.

That gift of forgetfulness makes it difficult to summon up the weather scenes when we're writing about an entirely different season than the one we're experiencing. The howl of the wind whipping around the corner of the building. The thunder of the rain pouring down on dry parched earth. The crisp, nippy lift in the rustling leaves of fall. The scent of freshly mown grass on a fading summer day.

The weather can add a dimension to our story that no other descriptor can quite match. Current events, character relationships, the outdoor surroundings all take a backseat to the heat or cold or rain our characters must contend with. Their clothing is determined by the weather. Do they need an umbrella? Or a pair of snow boots? Can they go swimming? If they have an accident could it lead to hypothermia--or heatstroke?

Throughout the year I take pictures for my story idea file so it's easier to recall what it was like. We rarely have ice storms here so I snapped several shots of the ice on the trees outside my window. I made sure I had one of the broken ice piled in the back yard, ice that crashed from the roof with a startling roar.

Then when I'm struggling in July to remember what it was like as I work on a winter story, I'll flip through those pictures to remind me. And I'll be able to add just that bit more realism to my story.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Dead Tongue

Well, the day has finally arrived. If the snow doesn't get too bad before my late afternoon appointment, I'll be off to the dentist to have my broken molar assessed.

And likely I'll have a bunch of shots to deaden the area. I have resistance to the shots so it takes a LONG time for them to take effect. And requires extra shots to actually get the area dead.

Then when the work is finished it takes a couple hours or more for it to wear off. I drool. My face feels like a hamster with too many nuts and seeds in its pouch. When I drink, the liquid dribbles over my chin.

In short...I look like that hamster up there.

What a price to get a tooth fixed. Silliness.