Monthly Archives: January 2010

Where do you get your ideas?


     I hear that a lot.  Unbelievably, I can get a book idea from almost anything.  DH was watching the show Pawn Stars a few nights back when I spotted an item that I thought would work great in the hands of a serial killer.  I took notes.

     An overheard conversation will often make its way onto the written page.  Don’t scream at someone on your cell phone if you don’t want your conversation to be the dialogue for someone’s book.  Your right to privacy stops when the decibel level goes up.  I’m a people watcher.  I find many characters wandering off the street and into my books. 

     Then there’s the ‘people I enjoy killing in print’ category.  Those people are changed, rearranged, disguised, and are usually the bodies that my protagonist finds.  They are people who have caused me harm and heartache.  The corpse could be the idiot who walks his dog past our place and never cleans up after it. 

     I know whom it is that I kill off but my victims never do.  It’s so liberating and much better than paying a therapist.

Time to trim the toenails


     Tonight I noticed that both of the pups sound like tap dancers when they walk.  Tomorrow I’ll have to get sneaky and begin the process of trimming their claws.  Patty is very good about letting us trim her claws.  Gavin, on the other hand, is not.  Trimming Gavin’s claws is a long, slow process.

     Patty will stay on her back on the couch and remain as still as a seat cushion while I snip away at her claws.  On occasion, she will pull a paw back but she does so without any conviction. 

     We have to sneak up on Gavin to do his.  Most of the time, I manage to snip a claw or two when he’s snoozing with me on my chair.  It only works if he is on his back, then he’s fairly easy pickings.  I never can trim more than two at a time though.  By the second snip of the clippers, 65 pounds of white dog rockets from the chair.  He has his limits and I’d better have a cookie ready or I won’t get him in that position again.

     You can almost see Patty rolling her eyes at him.

A gift in the mail brightens the day


     I received a most delightful treat in the mail today.  There was a small package wedged in mail box.  It bore a Royal mail UK stamp.  My dear friends in Cardiff, GrannyAnne and her daughter Jennie, had decided I needed a bit of cheering up.  I have to say it worked well ladies and thank you very much.

     I do love the Fred Basset book even though he’s not a BT.  The British idioms are different enough from the American to make it a true delight.  The huge bar of chocolate will add a few pounds but oh, what a grand way to add them.  I’ll think of you two when I’m walking those extra laps around the park to get rid of them.  😉

     A few days ago, I also received a gift in the mail from Elena.  Thank you, Elena.  It was a CD of piano works from a remarkable young man.  He donates the money from their sale to the National MS society, Race for the Cure, Baltimore Reads, The Maryland Food Bank, The Matthew Foster Foundation, and Tsunami Relief.  You can find him at

Dreaming of spring on a cold night


     We had some sunshine today and the temperature inched above 40 degrees.  Gavin and Patty made full use of the yard, dashing about and pretending it was warm.  

     2 a.m., I took the dogs for their last out of the night.  It’s getting danged cold out there.  I’m tired of the cold, of being stuck in the house, gray and dreary days.  I don’t want to wear a heavy coat, a hat, and gloves.  The dogs are tired of it too.  Both were quick going about their business.

     I want warm nights where I can sit out by the pond listening to the crickets and frogs sing in chorus.  I dream of digging in the gardens, the scent of flowers, and the sound of song birds. 

     I can tell the dogs want spring too.  I can see the dreams of dozing in a patch of sun warmed grass in their eyes. 

     I heard a tiny snatch of a songbird’s song this morning.  Tulips and daffodils are pushing through the mulch.  Can spring be far behind?

Blame Delaney


  A couple of years ago, my hard drive crashed.  (I’m so glad I back up my books daily.)  I had a program on the old hard drive that did some of the things that Fotosketcher does.  I lost it.  It was no where to be found.  I’d used it to do the portrait of Gavin that I use as my avatar.  I’d done a gorgeous portrait of my neighbor’s daughter in a water color effect. 

    I tried many photo programs but hadn’t found one that did the things I wanted.  Then Delaney did a post on Fotosketcher.

     I have a new addiction.  I blame Delaney.  Yes, it’s all her fault.  She tempted me to try it and now I am completely addicted.

     I love Fotosketcher!  I’ve played with it so often that I think most of my best photos have copies in water color, oil, pencil, and whatever else I can tweak it into doing.  I’m driving DH crazy.  Yep, I tell him it’s all Delaney’s fault.

     Today I was guilty of addicting someone else to the program. 

     I wonder if I can find a chapter of Fotosketcher addicts anonymous.

How to be a writer


     Write a paragraph.  Delete what you’ve written.  Write some more.  Two paragraphs, three, maybe a whole page.  Read them, scream, delete and rewrite them.

     Bang head on desk.  Get some sudden inspiration and write six pages.  Spell and grammar check them.  Read them and feel a thrill that they make sense.

     Write a paragraph.  Delete what you’ve written.  Dig deep inside you.  Find additional inspiration and write five or six more pages. 

     Life interrupts.

     Write a paragraph.  Bang head on desk…

Gone fishing


DH fishing

     The second week of fishing season there will be a sign on our front door, ‘Gone Fishing’ and at least once a week thereafter through to late fall.  We never go the first week of the season because all the danged amateurs who think they know how to fish are out there crowding the river banks.  It takes most of them about a week to decide that they’d rather do something else.  We didn’t get out at all last year and we both missed it.

     Fishing amateurs are easy to recognize.  They arrive with brand new tackle more suited to lake or deep sea fishing than trout streams.  They spend more time untangling their line than they do wetting it in the river.  An amateur will place him/herself directly across the river from anyone else that is fishing and throw his or her line atop the other person’s line—definitely bad form.

     The amateur will trash the river bank.  We clean up after ourselves and pick up any other trash we find.  Our parks department supplies plenty of trash barrels but the amateur, the slob fisherman, and lazybones visitors to our lovely parks don’t bother to use them.  Most of the fish we catch, we release.

     DH and I always have at least two cheap rods and reel set ups in our vehicles that we will often gift to some child who is interested in fishing but doesn’t have the proper tackle.  

     Two years ago, a couple had their nine year old grandson out near our favorite fishing hole.  Someone at a store (that will remain nameless) sold them a lake pole, a horrible reel, plastic worms, and fish hooks only suitable for deep sea fishing.  None of them knew what they were doing and they were all getting frustrated, so while DH kept them busy, I slipped off to my car and pulled out one of our give-away set ups.  DH and I patiently showed the boy how to tie on a leader, put a proper hook on, and bait it.  We took turns teaching him how to cast his line.  Fifteen minutes later the delighted boy pulled a decent sized trout out of the stream with his new fishing pole.  Hours and many fish later, the grandparents and the boy were ready to leave.  The boy brought the ‘borrowed’ fishing pole over to us—my favorite part is when we tell kids they can keep the rod and reel.  Their faces are priceless.

Fampridine approved by FDA


     On Jan. 22, 2010,  the FDA  approved  Fampridine (dalfampridine) under the name of Ampyra.  “Ampyra will be manufactured under licenses from Elan of Dublin, Ireland, and distributed by Acorda Therapeutics Inc. of Hawthorne, N.Y.   AMPYRA Expected to be Available by Prescription in March 2010.”

     DH has an appointment in February and is definitely going to talk to his neurologist about this. 

     Which brings me to another subject.  The neurologist has moved.  They sent us convoluted directions to the new office which made it sound as though it was a great deal further away.  I spent hours–stupid dial up–trying to locate the office.  Once I did locate it, I looked at it in a bird’s eye view and said, “duh!”  It’s very simple to get there from here and I even know a great short cut.

Garbled messages


     Our answering machine is doing its level best to die.  It’s not as though it gets a lot of use, but today it proved it is on the way out.  When a person’s voice sounds worse than Donald Duck’s it’s time to get a new answering machine.  A doctor’s secretary left a message and I think I understood one word in four.  It’s a good thing DH heard the message earlier and had already called them back.

     We use the standard message that comes with the machine.  There have been times where I was tempted to put some not so very nice messages on there.  ‘If you’re trying to sell me something I don’t want or need, hang up.’  ‘If you’ve at one time or another screwed us over, kiss my a$$.’  ‘If you are a credit card company trying to get us to try your card at a new low rate, up yours, we don’t want it.’  Those are the more tame ones I would’ve recorded.

     What is the out-going message on your machine?  Is it the machine standard one or have you recorded a ‘special’ message?

The postman only rang once


     Gavin and Patty were snoozing this afternoon when the doorbell rang.  They woke, began barking, and dashed for the door.  I had to chase them back to retrieve the package from the mailman.  I must’ve sounded like a lion tamer at the door, “back, back. Get back.”  The poor mailman took several steps back.  I had to explain I wasn’t telling him to get back I was telling the dogs.  I swear they knew it was for them even before I said so.

     A couple of days ago I ordered some new vitamins for them, rich in omega 3s and 6s they are supposed to help stop them from being so darned itchy.  We’ll see.  They have enough for 200 days.  I’m hoping by that time they will be itch free.  Both have dry skin and Gavin has a tendency to get irritated skin.  They got their first dose as soon as I opened the bottle.  They liked them. 

     One thing that made me order these particular vitamins was that they came in a large dog size.  Which means they get one pill each, instead of two to four, as they would have to take with most I can find on the store shelves.  That gets expensive.  Another thing is that the company was offering free shipping and I know from ordering other things from them that the stuff arrives fast.

Something I miss having around


     I grew up with a piano in the house.  We took lessons but none of us was what you’d call a musical prodigy.  I remember all the piano teachers both the good ones and the bad.  Scales?  Yes, I can still play them.  One of the teachers had insisted on hours of practicing scales.

     However, there was one person in our house who could play beautifully, if you could catch her at it.  That person was my grandmother.  You truly had to sneak up on her to hear her play the piano because she’d never play when she thought anyone was home.  That woman could play like a dream.  I remember many a time hiding on the stairs, practically holding my breath to make sure she didn’t know I was there, and listening to her play.

     I miss having a piano and maybe one day I’ll buy one.  There’s always some old piano for sale in the newspaper at a cheap price.  I already know where I’d put a small one.  All my old sheet music and lesson books are stashed in a bookcase.

The pups are mud bugs and some very bad poetry


     Holy cow is our yard a muddy mess and it’s not even spring yet.  All day Gavin and Patty blissfully played in the mud each time they went out.  When they came in, they looked like two mud wrestlers.  Patty took great joy in paw painting Dear Hubby’s jeans and shirt.  Gavin preferred to paw paint me.  They are mud bugs.

     My laundry basket runneth over.  Yea, though they run rampant through the yard and gardens, they fear no mud puddle.  For they know they can track a goodly supply of muck onto the kitchen floor.  Surely Mom’s wrath will follow, or at least, a toweling at the door.  Dad sits by in a muddle, paw printed from toe to neck.  Both dogs make a leap for his lap, oh no.  He yells, “What the heck?” 

     There’s mud on the walls three feet above the dogs.  How it got there, they aren’t telling.  I can’t blame them, because Dad was yelling.  Muddy paws wiped all day and the mop and bucket have gone astray. 

     Two exhausted dogs sleep.  Snores from crates emanate.  DH is off to bed and I am left to ruminate.