Monthly Archives: June 2010

Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t (No I didn’t misspell it–read on)

 

     There are days where words don’t easily come to me.  This is not a good thing for a writer.  I would love to be able to sit down and have words flow from me like a river.  However, the river has a problem.  An insane beaver constantly builds dams to stop the flow. 

     I no sooner break through one dam than another one crops up to cause a deep pool of wordlessness.  The insane beaver has a name.  Life.  Most days Life is kind to me. 

     However, when he wants to cause trouble he certainly can.  Those are the other days.  The days where Life doesn’t care if I want to work.  He has his own needs.  Therefore, he reminds me of them at the most inconvenient of times.  Seconds after I get rolling on a great scene he slaps his tail against my head and makes me put the brakes on.

     If you let him, he will cheat and won’t play fairly but we all know that Life is seldom fair.  If you don’t know this then you haven’t met Life.

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I’ve rewritten far enough, now I can move ahead

 

     For quite some time I’ve been working on rewrites of my books.  I’d realized that one of my characters wasn’t working and knew I couldn’t drag him through an entire series.  Therefore, I killed the character before the first story began.  That meant I also had to go back through everything, extract his physical being from all the rest of the books, and leave only his memory behind. 

     This wasn’t an easy task, and even though it wasn’t a messy death, I’m still finding his remains here and there, in one book or another.  Moreover, if I don’t find all of the traces, those people who read and review my renderings will find them.

     I managed to finish cleaning up all but one.  Finally, I rewrote the chapters I had of Doggoned Bones.  I’ve posted the rewritten chapter 1 on the page.  Now I feel as though I can move forward on all of them. 

     If you haven’t checked the book excerpts recently, you might be surprised.  Can you spot the missing character?

Picture day

 

Ampyra authorization

 

     The approval came through for DH’s prescription of Ampyra.  Now we are waiting for it to arrive.  We do this with a mix of hope and fear.  We hope it works.  If DH is lucky, the drug will help him to walk better.  We are concerned about side effects. 

     DH walks with a cane and at times, he should use a walker.  He refuses to do that at present.  I can understand it.  I have wished that he wasn’t so stubborn about it a few times.  He has accepted the use of a handicap cart outside so he can walk the dogs in the mornings.  He will also use an electric cart in stores because he knows he can’t walk the distances he’d have to there.

     Dealing with MS for him is a constant battle.  DH has a long and wide stubborn streak in him.  At times, it’s a pain in the asterisk.  However, in the MS combat zone it pays.

     Yes for him it is combat.  MS is not a blessing, not a challenge, but a battle to fight and win.  He’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Holey pepper Batman

 

     I check the growth of my veggies every day.  Yes, I’m impatient for them to ripen.  So far it’s bugs two, me one.  The bugs have managed to destroy one patty pan squash and an Ancho pepper.  I’d been eyeing up that pepper every day since it was a blossom.  By the time it grew to the size of my thumb, some bug managed to nibble a large hole into it. 

     I declared war.  At night I haunted the garden by flashlight, picking bugs off the plants and depositing them into a jar filled with soapy water.  I rubbed the same mixture onto the tiny peppers every night.  Now I have quite a few nice sized peppers that will soon be ready to pick and they have no holes in them.

     The melon and cucumber plants are also bug free now and growing with wild abandon.  I have pea sized watermelons and cantaloupes on the vines.  There are enough baby cucumbers out there to choke a horse or fill a large gherkin pickle jar.

     There will be at least three eggplants since that’s how many blossoms we have today.  It makes me glad that I have my mother’s moussakka recipe.  That is a real treat.

The old dog needs a new trick

 

     DH points a finger gun at the dogs.  “Stick ‘em up.”

     Patty’s paws shoot for the ceiling and she balances perfectly.  She gets a cookie.  Gavin raises one paw and gives a bit of hop with the other.  That’s the best he’s going to give DH.  He’s not fond of the trick since he can’t sit up and hold his balance.  He gets a cookie anyway.

     DH is bored.  The dogs are bored.  The hot weather is keeping DH in the house.  TV sucks there’s nothing on worth watching during the day.  DH wants to teach them a new trick. 

     I told DH to try teaching them to roll over because Gavin excels at lying down.  He’s not getting any younger.  Gavin will be nine in November.  The poor dog is beginning to show his age a bit.  His bully runs are not as frequent nor do they last as long.  He not only takes naps but the dog goes to bed at seven in the evening.

     This should be interesting.  Patty is smart and quick on the uptake.  Gavin figures if it isn’t give paw, down, or kennel up, it’s not worth learning but then again there is that promise of a cookie…

Another book that writers should have on hand

 

     Anyone who writes, should have on hand, at all times, a handy little book published by Houghton Mifflin from the editors of the American Heritage® Dictionaries.  The title is 100 Words Almost Everyone Confuses & Misuses.  It’s a great help.

     Even the best of us have confused or misused certain words on occasion.  This book is a life raft on the seas of uncertainty. 

     As writers, we should always present our best efforts to our readers. 

Koi are like potato chips

 

     You can’t have just one.  A couple of weeks ago I found I couldn’t resist purchasing one more Koi.  I’ve told myself we don’t need more many times.  However, one of the Koi we lost in the tragic poisoning of our pond a few years back was yellow and black.  I never found one to replace him.  That and the fact that one of ours has a physical problem pushed me over the edge when I saw the little guy.

     I do mean LITTLE guy.  Our Koi dwarf him.  He is a game little thing though.  He’ll brazen it out at night and swim rings around the big Koi.  I’ve tried for days to get a picture of him in the pond.  Tonight I managed to do so.  He’s under the lily pads pictured in the top left of the first picture.

Monet skies

 

     I gave away more plants today.  The perennials have flourished and are elbowing each other for space.  M’s mother and father in law stopped by and took several plants.  They barely put a dent in the crop.

     I may have to resort to pulling some of them out like weeds to make some room.  I hate to do that.  Better to expand the garden edges and weather DH’s complaints.  He shouldn’t complain since it would mean less for him to mow, but he is rather particular about the lawn.

     After a hot and hard day’s work in the gardens, I sprawled out on the hammock to cool off and relax for a bit.  The clouds drifted across the sky on the tip of an impressionist’s brush.  The results were astonishingly gorgeous.  I daydreamed under a Monet sky.  

      As the day moved into night, the back yard became nature’s light show.  It began with a colorful sunset and ended with hundreds of fireflies doing their winged dance.  The neighborhood was quiet.  All I heard was the sound of the waterfall and fountains.

High-calorie phraseology…

 

     I read somewhere that while writing your rough draft, you should have fun and play with it, pander to yourself.  Use those flowery phrases and long descriptions you enjoy.  However, when you do your rewrite be brutal and cut to the bones of the story. 

     Heck, I wish I had the habit of overwriting.  My rough drafts are too tight.  I spend too much time in rewrites adding things.  I long for more meat and fat to cut.  Instead, I need to flesh out the bones.

     Sometimes I think I listened too well to all those sessions where they told us to keep it simple.  I have to learn to play with my writing more and listen to my little editor less when I do a rough draft.  I need to change my writing diet and quit curbing my appetite for high-fat phrases. 

     Would a diet of high-calorie phraseology and fat-laden metaphors and similes smooth the progress of my writing?  Do the bones need to have more flesh in the rough draft?

Cucumber bugs in the melon patch

 

     It’s time to buy some insecticidal soap.  I found cucumber bugs nibbling on my cantaloupe plants tonight.  However, they are leaving the cucumber plant alone, which makes one wonder why the have the name cucumber bugs.  I’d rather they’d leave my melon plants alone thank you very much.

     Since I didn’t have any insecticidal soap on hand, I picked off the bugs and dropped them into a jar of hot soapy water.  It killed them.  I may have to continue this method for a few days.  Right now, it looks as though there aren’t many in my veggie garden.  I checked the potted veggies too and they seem to have escaped any bug damage. 

     My neighbors must think I’m crazy when they see the light from my flashlight bobbing around the yard at all hours.  Although, if I hadn’t been checking plants at such an odd hour I might never have seen which bugs were snacking on my plants.

     I am pleased to see so many little cucumbers and peppers on the plants.  All the tomato plants have flowers, there are a few little patty pan squash growing, the eggplants have flowers now, and I have a few teensy acorn squash.  Now all I need to see to make my heart go pitty-pat would be some cantaloupes and watermelons starting.

G now holds the title of Queen Klutz

 

     Do you remember when I sprained both ankles after taking the tumble on the uneven sidewalk in our back yard?  Then all the other Klutzy things I’ve done?  I have been dethroned.  I bow down to my dear friend G.  She outdid me on Thursday night. 

     G and a friend went to a local college theater to see the Mikado.  She was going to tell me all about it today, but when I didn’t hear from her, I thought I’d go over and visit.  As I normally do, I walked through her back gate, up her deck steps, knocked on the screen door, and gave her a ‘yoo hoo!’  Imagine my surprise to see her limping to the door.

     “What the heck did you do?”  I stared at her.

     “I tumbled down some steps.”

     “What steps?”

     “Over at the college by the theater entrance.  I didn’t get to the play.”

     “Holy crap, woman.”

     “Yeah, I did a real good job falling.”  She began to point out her injuries.

     Her badly sprained, very swollen ankle, the cut on the outside edge of her eyebrow, the beginnings of a hell of a shiner, her left wrist—wrapped in an ACE bandage, and the shinbone on the other leg was looking quite colorful. 

     “Geez and I thought I held the record for klutziness.”

     “I think I’ve got you beat.  There’s more.”  She showed me the bruise on her elbow and her chipped glasses.

     “Egads!  I do believe you’ve taken the title from me.  Do you want me to get you a couple of fresh ice packs?  Want to borrow my crutches?”

     “No, I just iced everything.”  She showed me a cane.  “My hands are both so sore I have trouble using this so I don’t think crutches would help.”

     “I don’t suppose they would.  Can I get you anything?”

     “No.  I’m fine.”

     “You let me know if you need anything. 

     “I will.” 

     “You know you’re my blog post tonight.”

     “Gee, thanks.”

     “Anything for you.”

     “Yeah.  Anyway, they were very nice to me at the college.  They wanted to call an ambulance but I said no.  They even exchanged our tickets for a later show.  We’re going to try to see the play again, next Thursday.”

     “Stay away from those stairs.”