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Oct. 26th, 2013

Tweety & Sylvester

Time Passes

Hello, friends!

It's amazing how quickly too much time passes, despite one's intentions. My mouth is well. My husband had a bad turn but he's doing better now.

Deni actually remembered reading my first two pages at the conference. She said she's eager to read the whole manuscript. God, I hope they pick me up. Now, wouldn't that be a story for grandkids. There was once a woman who never wrote seriously until she was old. She never took post high school writing classes, but her first novel was accepted by a publisher. Now, kids, this almost never happens. Blah, blah, blah ...

In the meantime, work's been a bit demanding. Of course, having Mr. Nit-picky Grumpy at home is a huge challenge too. He just returned from two days in the hospital, so he's now doing better. His blood pressure skyrocketed again. Apparently, even though he has a weak, damaged heart, it's the cancer that was complicating things. This time around, anyway.

I'm better, mentally, emotionally, physically.

I've had a new experience. A lesbian has confessed her attraction and feelings for me. I've never even had a non-heterosexual thought in my life. I find the experience complimentary and a bit uncomfortable, mostly because she's so sensitive and being just my friend is tough on her emotions. What a trip.

Starting November 1st I'm only on-call regarding campground work. I won't turn into a better housekeeper, though. I have a story to get out of outline format and into novel format. And you thought I was taking it easy! Surprise! Well, no, you won't be surprised. You know this is a love affair. I do need to get into some kind of routine, though. I hide from depression by sleeping overmuch. At least, I think that's why I'm so tired and/or sleepy all the time.

I think perhaps this is our last calendar year at the campground. I don't think he'll be around next winter. I continue to hope, of course. When things add up and weigh heavy, I think of my LJ friends. People I want to meet in person one day. Persons who offered hearts to a stranger. I think that's why it's so easy to tell you anything. I know I'm not around lately. I'll figure it out. Please continue to be patient with me. I love you all.

Shoe

Aug. 27th, 2013

Tweety & Sylvester

At the Conference ... Big News

I shall sit down and write about my trip, the conference, my hostess, all of it. But right now I'm stealing time from unpacking to share something even more wonderful.

I signed up for a 'round table.' These consisted of six to twelve writers submitting the first two pages of their books for critique. At mine, six others and I drew one agent and one editor. I got some excellent feedback, as I expected.

I didn't expect to be invited to submit, though. And I was! No, not by the agent. By the editor. Now I need to implement the recommended changes (I'm still too wordy) and learn how to write a query and a synopsis so I can do just that.

I figure I'll go to each chapter, review what it's about, and write that out. I think that's a synopsis. I'm depending on you to tell me if I'm right or if I'm wrong. And if I'm wrong, please clarify what a synopsis is.

One of the writers submitted a query letter. They told her it was a very good one. So I'm going to use that as a sample to write mine. And hope for the best.

My first book, my first conference, my first invitation. Now, I am aware it could also very well be my first rejection. But I am thrilled, just the same. It doesn't really take a lot to make me happy, especially where my writing is concerned.

The conference was informative, of course. And I met a lot of people writing the same stuff I am. That helped me feel less like I was alone in the woods. You know? I had a good time learning as much as I could. There were many more I'd like to have attended but I had to choose. Maybe next time, if there is a next time for me.

Anyway, I wanted to let you know I'm on a high right now, sparkles and all, which, unfortunately, I can't get to work. I WAS INVITED TO SUBMIT, YOU GUYS!

Aug. 18th, 2013

Tweety & Sylvester

The Dog and the Man

Took Louie to the vet. He was due for shots. And he'd seemed under the weather, even hacking like a cat with a fur ball. Turns out he has a serious heart condition. We're trying meds to see how he does. Thankfully, he seems to be feeling a bit better.

That's extra-good news because it means I don't have to tell Ricky his dog will probably die in the next 3-4 months. I'm all for the man going before the dog because I think it would be extraordinarily difficult for Rick to lose him now.

I'm starting to be able to eat more foods but they still must be in the 'soft' category, generally speaking. If I'm willing to do the cleaning, I can eat a potato chip, though. Haven't tried popcorn. Still can't do steak. It will come.

Rick's pain is getting harder for him to hide. He's drinking until drunk every night, just so he can be free enough from the pain to fall asleep. Lordy, what a thing to say. At least beer still settles his stomach while he's at it.

We still must finish our talk about him going home to Guam to die. I'll do it but he needs to consider what happens to me after before he starts solidifying those plans. Or am I being selfish?

I'm over the slump. I'm fine-tuning my first story and starting to 'fix' my second. I have a deadline. I leave for Nashville on Wednesday, work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and need it ready for presentation before I get on the plane.  Exciting!

Aug. 11th, 2013

Tweety & Sylvester

Hi, Gang!

The list of things I can tolerate trying to eat is larger. My mouth is still sore. And the plates need more adjustments. I still have blisters and sore spots. Hopefully it's all good before the writers conference.

Just ten more days and I'm Tennessee bound for 6 days, counting 2 days of travel. That leaves 3 days of conference and one day of rest and/or tourist. At least my hostess can't get too fed up with me in that amount of time. Right?

She recommends I leave my laptop at home. Not sure why but since I've never been to one of these, I'll follow her advice. Guess I won't have much time to work on anything. I am to take my finished novel on a flash drive, though, just in case.

Rick is making this our last year at the campground. Maybe. Probably. It's starting to be too much for him. But the darned 'fool' won't back off or take a day off unless he hurts too bad to be human. He's talking about going back to Washington and visiting with family, and then continuing on to Guam. That's got me terrified.

Yes, I know it's an American territory. Yes, I know most of them speak English also. But not family to family. It's a different culture. I'm an outsider and the man's going home to die. I'll be stranded there, at least for a while. We still need to finish our talk and make some decisions, probably after the 9/14 concert. Here's the thing. How can I say 'No,' when it's really all about him as far as that's concerned? Yes, I've wanted to go. I wanted to go with him and visit and maybe stay AND HAVE HIM THERE WITH ME. Alone? Not so exciting. Sorry. There my cowardice shows its ugly face.

When Kay said she got so involved in my story she forgot to critique, I could feel a wonderful, warm glow. I am guessing it's similar to when you get an agent. Or a contract. Maybe I have some talent after all. I wonder if I can take an online writing class and have it do me some good. See, I won't need a car or a particular place to be if that's possible, as long as they have Internet access on the island.

I guess I am doing things backwards. Novel first, writing classes second. I do know this. Between my disability and my age, my energy is limited. Very. So I can't work and be a housewife and do a lot of writing. Something needs to give. I may not always be a volunteer worker and a housewife but I will be a house/home cleaner -- within my abilities. And I love writing. Not sure why I'm dragging my feet lately. Maybe it's the full plate.

We're still working to get my blood pressure under control. But my pain meds are still the same dosage and frequency as seven years ago. That's great. And unusual, apparently.

I just wish Rick wasn't so frightened of breaking a law. I believe cannibus would help him beat the pain. He sticks with getting drunk every night. Why not pot during the day, since he doesn't want to smell like beer and give a poor impression of the campground? Even the guys have said it's okay with them. He just fears being arrested way too much. Poor guy. He doesn't know I have some here in case he changes his mind.

As a matter of fact, it was thrust on me starting soon after people learned of his diagnosis. It's kind of funny, actually. He doesn't know it's in the house or he'd be having conniption fits. I guess I'm a sneaky-Pete. Whatever. I don't want him to unnecessarily suffer. I love him.

Okay, enough morbidity for one day. I hope all of my friends here are well and happy.

Jul. 17th, 2013

Tweety & Sylvester

Onward ...

Hey, I told the tech about the old wives' remedy. She'd heard of it. She usually recommends that for chemo patients, etc. She didn't figure I was that bad. But she was delighted to know it helps. She took a really good look in my mouth this trip. I think that, combined with the condition of my lower gums (all blisters) convinced her I'm not a feather-weight about this pain. Hey, I got relief. That's vital.

Stephanie got permission to do a few more things for me at the regular appointment. I overheard the conversation. She assured him I was bad off and needed the extra-early remedies. Of course, she had to use topical anesthetic to work on some of it because I was so messed up and in so much pain. Now we'll see. I was able to leave 'em in my mouth until after I got home, a few hours later.

Today I was able to keep both plates in my mouth for three hours. Progress! The uppers have now lasted four and a half hours and counting. I'll take 'em out for some relief and lie down as soon as I've checked in with my friends here. But I have every intention of putting both back in when I get up. I'm determined to beat this thing. And it if continues to improve and be less painful, I see glimpses of the light at the end. Hooray!

I need to get used to feeling the pressure applied to my gums and jaw. That's part of the dull ache. Of course, since I'm getting better, I know I'll be going to work on Monday. I don't mind. It's like a mile marker.

A friend's birthday is tomorrow. They'll be here camping that day. We're going up there in the evening to 'celebrate.' Lotsa booze, I think (and hope). I plan on attending with my teeth in place, even if it means a tooth-free nap in the afternoon.  That's why I'm relieved I can take my liquid pain killer with me.

I think I'm gonna live after all. Of course, I'm joking around about all this. But I'm grateful for healing and less and less pain. Thanks for keeping track of me. I know this is a dumb subject. But, hey, it's better than feeling morose about how things turned out or crying in my coffee because my husband's time is limited. He looks worse for wear lately.

Speaking of birthdays, Bev wants to make "Everybody Loves Rick" T-shirts, sell 'em at cost, and have everyone wear 'em on his birthday in August. My brother loved the idea, so it may actually happen. Believe it or not, a majority of the 'regulars' would buy and wear them. He'd be floored. I think it would be hilarious. He doesn't like the spotlight, yet everyone notices him in a positive way. Gotta' love it!

On that happier note, I'll sign off and go take my 'old lady's nap.'

Jul. 13th, 2013

Tweety & Sylvester

RELIEF

I returned to the dentists' offices the next day. After more adjustment, I was given a special mouthwash to help numb it. It helps. Sorta. Some.

I went to my physician's appointment the following day. My blood pressure still requires close scrutiny. I suggested it might be a bit high this time due to mouth pain. I explained. An old-wives-tale type treatment for mouth pain was shared. It's weird but many of those old concoctions are. It works better than the stuff made expressly to numb the mouth. And less expensive too, I'll bet. Too bad nothing always works. Booze might. But I'm on strong meds, not a good idea to mix 'em.

I still cannot chew, of course. However, thanks to recommendations from kind and caring people, I have a more varied diet than just milkshakes and yogurt. Thinned oatmeal, farina, and grits put something a bit more solid in me to help stay the hunger. I bought some Popsicle type things and use them to rub my gums. Yeah, just like a teething baby. It helps but it's not perfect either.

I've lost four pounds this week. I needed to. I think I could stand to lose about ten more. People around here disagree, saying I'm already thin. If I was still wearing Size 8, I might agree. I'm not. I don't. I'm somewhere around a 12, maybe a ten. If I squeeze. I'm 5'4" so that's a bit of weight packed in a small space, especially with a damaged spine. But it feels good to hear it once in a while.

My little adventure has produced some interesting surprises. I haven't been back to work, not even concerts. Hey, I can't wear my teeth, I'm in too much pain, and a lot of phone and in-person conversing is a part of the job. Might need to be understood, there, ya' know. Well, I can wear the uppers up to an hour now, the lowers considerably less. Uh-uh, not enough. No working.

I don't know why but I'm sleeping. A lot. Too much. I can lie down, fall asleep fast, sleep for six hours. Then get up and prepare dinner or whatever, spend some time with a book or TV, and go to bed on time, fall asleep easily, and sleep all eight hours at night. Something's not right. I figure I'm hiding from the pain and hiding from other things happening in our lives. Before I had trouble falling asleep and didn't take naps.

Apparently the 'Watchers' have concluded Ricky and I are "adorable." Adorable? After twenty-six-plus years together? O-o-o-ka-a-ay.

There's quite a collection of people here to attend the Molly Hatchet concert tonight. That's nice. Since I'm not 'able' to work, I get to miss out on the majority of today's insanity. (Tee hee) Sadly, it also means I'm not working on my whodunit.

Well, I thought you might like to know I've found ways to get some relief, however brief. I'm trying to keep you posted on the process and progress. I thought it a strange change of pace.

Jul. 10th, 2013

Tweety & Sylvester

A Dental Adventure

I'm miserable. So I'm hoping to get you to laugh at some point. Or smile. But when I hurt, it's a greater challenge. Here goes.

Having lost two teeth on my own -- meaning, no dentist -- I knew I needed a professional. Once my insurance was in place, I became a new dental patient. It was confirmed I have a degenerative bone disease. Time for action! Past time, really, but I won't go there.

According to what insurance will permit as opposed to the dentist's recommendations, every single tooth in my mouth was extracted on Monday afternoon, Day One. Since I'm allergic to codeine, the usual prescription-strength medication was denied me. The recommendations were to recline rather than lie flat in bed, keep the replacement 'teeth' in for the first twenty-four hours, and alternate between acetaminophen and ibuprofen.  Warning bell: Usually a prescription is written but all I get is OTC. Oh, cow patty, not a good sign.

My diet for the balance of that day was milkshakes and yogurt. We tried canned chicken soup, but the mushy noodles were too much for me. Observation: There must be an invisible hole in my chin, and the spoon is a challenge. It allows broth under the plate, which waits until I'm otherwise focused and then dispenses the broth on my clothes and face. Yes, I'm wearing a lot of my food. Really offended one gal who works here. Since it was her, it's okay. Different story.

Day Two I kept my follow-up appointment. A great deal of 'adjusting' took place. She could find the areas needing drilling or sanding by finding the 'sore spots' (blisters). It took the whole hour. I was given something to put in the plate to help with the discomfort at those 'sore spots.' This was the first time they'd been removed since placement. Permission was received to start salt-and-warm-water rinses. Hallelujah! I've looked in the mirror when brushing and am fairly familiar with what can be seen of the interior of my mouth. Now it looks like an alien landscape. Mars, maybe.

I added pudding to my diet. Observation: Turn the spoon bowl-down and let the mighty muscle of the tongue do the 'heavy lifting.' I wore less, at least. Tummy's happier, too. I love my hot coffee. But right now, if it's not cold, no, thank you! So I bought some iced coffee drinks, of course. And I've had iced tea in my life since I can recall. I might make it through this after all. Rick bought me a McFrappe as a treat. He also arranged for my shift to be covered tomorrow by Not-Me. Or is it Not-I? Either way, I'm not working! I doubt I could complete a phone conversation and be understood, and in-person would probably be unpleasant for the guest. I'm practicing by counting the sixties. Get that 'S' under control. And 'P.' And 'T.' And ... Oh, forget it! It hurts too much right now anyway! I'm keeping my mouth mostly shut today. Yeah, go ahead and mark the calendar.

Now, it may sound it, but sexual innuendo was not my goal when I first scribbled the next part. For entertainment, keep the double entendre in mind. Knowing where to put something may not be sufficient information to achieve a satisfactory result. For Mindy, I just said, Knowing where to put it doesn't guarantee you'll be satisfied. It took a bit of an effort to not only figure out where to place the upper plate but to get it to stay in place. The lower, or floater, is appropriately named. Sheesh! But I managed to wrangle it to the best possible placement. Thus 'dressed,' I began Day Three. It wasn't long before I called the office and asked if I could use Ambesol or one of those products on my gums. Numb sounded pretty good, even if it does taste horrific. With caution I can. And I have the product I was given at the clinic -- but that goes in the plate, not on the gum.

Well, it seems I need a day of mostly no inserts, of being a toothless, yucky-looking old hag. Hmm. Pain or yuck? Yuck until I have to deal with someone and then limited time of pain. That's woman's vanity for ya'. I may not be a spring chicken but I'm still a female. Hey, one of the reasons I'm trying to quit smoking is those little lines women smokers get just above their upper lips. Well, no teeth deepens those wrinkles in a flash! Now, THAT'S just plain uncalled for, I'm tellin' ya.' I'm ready to cover mirrors. Life's not fair. But it's not a reason to quit quitting.

Concerned about being wimpy or a problem patient, I was assured I have been through a great deal in a very short period of time. Sometimes that many extractions at once happen with hospitalization and not as an outpatient of the clinic. Figures; it sounds like my life. Oh, well, onward and upward. Right? I'm pretty certain I'll be calling in tomorrow morning right after I insert them again. Oh, well. I don't like the feeling of those blisters; what can I say? Adjustments = Relief. I don't care if I have to go every other day. If this is what I have for the balance of my days, then they're gonna be comfy, dammit! Well, I can try.

I know each person's life is a special journey, customized to him or her. I know there are joys and sadness on the way. I know each journey has its share of adventures. I know there are hardships and wonders on an adventure. If one is lucky, there are many adventures along the journey. I've certainly seen many and that makes me one of 'the lucky ones.' This particular adventure has been fraught with pain and fear and hardship, but I've met caring people with good hearts, I have a chance to improve my health in yet another way, and my husband has been given the opportunity to do for me for a change. He feels he's taking care of me again. That's good for his health and his soul. This adventure is not yet over. Who knows what excitement is waiting around the next bend? Hope it's happier than Tuesday!

Jun. 10th, 2013

Tweety & Sylvester

Lost Friend

My love got a call this morning. His buddy, the man who was also diagnosed with cancer, passed away this morning. It's hitting him hard. No telling what form the grief will take. Ricky is a mystery still.  I won't be here as of Wednesday afternoon. I'm flying across the continent to attend my youngest (and last) grandchild's high school graduation. I hope he handles it well, considering it reminds him his ticket has an expiration date comparitively soon too.  This is at work and can't get the darned 'enter/return' key to work. Fun.  Anyway, I'm not looking forward to the flight(s) but I am looking forward to seeing loved ones. I wish he could go with me. Not possible this time around. I doubt he'll be traveling 'homeward' until he's ashes. What fun that will be for TSA, no? I gotta' laugh about that one. I grieve for those left behind who knew and loved Ken. I know his pain is over, so I am happy for him. Oddball, aren't I?  Time to get to work. Love you all.

May. 29th, 2013

Tweety & Sylvester

No News Is ...

Hello, my LJ friends!

I have nothing creative to offer, I'm afraid. However, I've finally finished the final chapter and afterword for my cozy mystery. I guess the next step is to find a couple of beta readers -- or another critiquer or maybe a proofreader. Dunno. In the meantime, I've put up the 1st chapter to my next story up for the critique group.

It's more challenging. I'm going through the draft and implementing what I've learned, hoping I don't miss or skip something and hoping I remember it all. I demand more of my writing now. I suppose that's a good thing.

It's another Whodunit. This time one of my victims wakens bound and in the trunk of her car, going down a highway. Carjacked and kidnapped. My protagonist won't appear for a while. But if I don't try something new, I won't learn. Who knows? It might turn out well.

Ricky continues to amaze me. He's working, refusing to take scheduled days off. His work hours are horrific. He's still on call at night, and he has the phones all night. Yes, campers call at 11:00 and later, especially if they're on the road, tired, and struggling to make it to a safe place like a campground. We're here for them. Besides all that, it makes him happy, even when he's grumbling about it.

I think I've finally seen a pattern. If he keeps his appointments, it seems he's getting treatment once a month. I feel better now that I've figured it out. I didn't like wondering why they hadn't called him back in after a week or two. I get it.

I never got out of the four-year-old's tendency to ask, "Why?" If I understand the 'why,' I fare much better.

I'm scheduled to work some of the days I'll be gone to B's graduation. I wrote an 'official' email advising 'Ain't gonna happen; I'm gone.' I'm a volunteer; what are they gonna' do, fire me? Okay by me. They won't, though. They'll jut make sure I get the max in time and days when I get back. Also good. I need to feel useful.

Once my love is gone, I'll need to work here until I have enough to pack up and U-Haul across the continent. It's there I'll have to go through the funeral. I'll be keeping his ashes and having a small memorial here before 'we' leave. Believe it or not, making these considerations makes me rest easier. Is that weird or sick? I hope we beat cancer in this generation.

Okay, I think you're up to date. And my wandering mind can settle down for a while.  Please keep those well wishes, prayers, and hugs coming.

I love you all.

May. 8th, 2013

Tweety & Sylvester

Good grief!

I turned around and all of a sudden I hadn't logged on in AGES!

Ricky is doing great. The new treatments affect him longer but not quite as severely as the old ones did. People have said he looks better this year than when they saw him last year. That could very well be. I see the daily changes. He's doing well.

I am almost an ex-smoker. What's 'almost?' Well, I have the nicotine patches and I bought an e-cig. The latter is amazingly helpful. I got tobacco flavor to start. It gives me the visual satisfaction, meaning the visible vapor I exhale, and the rest of the hand-to-mouth stuff. The patches help with the physical withdrawal. BUT I have gone from 20 to 25 a day to 2 or 3 a day. I still need to work on those 2-3. But I am able to see and feel differences already. There's a program which was very helpful as well from Living Well. It focuses on positive, on choice, rather than negative - can't, denial, etc. It's much more effective, in my book. But I didn't have ALL of me in it. So now I have the  couple a day to deal with, one way or another.

The season has begun. I am not 'in charge' of a damned thing this year. They're hoping it well help keep me from burning out. But then they scheduled me for 8-hour-days. I had to remind D that I can only deal with the pain up to 5 hours and then I need a break. A couple hours' break. Then I can come back for another 3 but 4 will kick my butt. What can I say? The docs didn't think I could do any. And there's a lot about the job I cannot do. Won't even try. Ain't worth it.

There is a concert here, a rather big one, the same dates in August as the writers conference I wish to attend. I let 'em know I'm planning to go and they advised me about the concert. I warned 'em. If they choose not to listen, that's their thing. I won't be here. I've saved up all year, just so I can go to Nashville for a few days. I wasn't ready to leave Rick last year. This year I'm going. Period.

I'm also attending the last grandchild's high school graduation in June. It's between concerts, so there shouldn't be a problem. Did I tell you I now have 4 great grands? They're weeds, I tell ya'. I get baby pictures and the next thing I know I get preschool pictures. Amazing.

My last chapter is up for critique soon. Then I have another to work on. Gotta' love it. Me and my little cozy mysteries, love 'em. They help keep me going.

I think of my LJ friends often. I really should do better about staying in touch. I'll try.  I am thankful you're 'there.'
TTFN.

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