Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 In Review

To Celebrate the Year 2013 I turn to Robert Frost

Into My Own
One of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as 'twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.
I should not be withheld but that some day
Into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.
I do not see why I should e'er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.
They would not find me changed from him they knew--
Only more sure of all I thought was true.
I'm Celebrating the End of 2013 knowing I am more sure of all I know to be true. 
It was a year of growth both in medicine and writing.  Spiritually, my faith was, and still is, being tested, and I'm growing closer to God and knowing the Holy Spirit is with me. 
 I feel ready to start 2014 as a continuation of that growth...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Prayer from Louisiana

I wanted to say something profound or share a poignant Christmas memory.  But with the growing hate towards each other in America we need more than fancy words in a sappy story.
We need You, God.
You don't just tolerate us.  You love us so much you sent your Son to die for us.
You aren't swayed by social pressures.  There are no double standards.  All humans have sinned and need salvation.  
You are The Way, The Truth, and The Life.  That doesn't change, no matter what we choose to believe.
You give Peace that goes beyond all understanding and defies world thinking. 
Thank You, God.  
Tomorrow, remind us to stop counting the number of presents and focus instead on the eternal gift of salvation through Jesus.  Until we know You, we won't know true love and compassion for others.
For by grace you are saved through is a gift of God, not of works....Ephesians 2:8-9

Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrating Small Things

I'm managing to get this posted on Friday--a Celebration in itself!
Thanks to all the wonderful comments and encouragements. 
A few small accomplishments:
1.  My inbox on my computer is empty--folders created for the emails I need to save.  Who knew you could make a "filing cabinet "
2.  The guys at the recycle place were impressed to see me twice this week.  Old soap buckets make good recycle bins at my back door. 
3.  Hairapy.  I love going to get my hair cut and styled.  Lydia is The Best!
4.  I made a selfie I kind of like.  It must be the hair!  (usually mine is curly, though)

Merry Christmas to all.  Next week may we be celebrating time spent with family and friends. 
Jesus is the Reason we Celebrate this Season. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sensational Saturday

I missed the Celebrate Post on Friday.  Not to be deterred, I'm going to post it a day later. 
I don't like junk mail, nor do I like spam mail.  And yet, it keeps coming and coming.  I often ignore it....more often than not I ignore it. 

Which brings me to this Week's Celebration:

1. I cleaned off the kitchen table.  Mainly it was junk mail I shredded and recycled.

2.  I cleaned out my email box--all 789 of them.  I read the important things, most of the time.  But I'm bad about not deleting the unimportant.

3.  I've committed to daily purging instead of once a quarter or so spending two or three days working on it. We'll see next week how that goes.

Any suggestions for motivating better organization? 
Hope everyone is having a great Christmas Season. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Celebrating: Small Marshmallows

In Louisiana we don't have much snow and sleet.  In fact, sometime we've worn shorts and T-shirts to New Year's Parties.
Sometimes, though we actually get real winter weather, and, while I know it's not like our friends up north, let's face it, 43* F is cold no matter what part of the world you live in.

Almost-instant gift from your kitchen:  Hot Chocolate Mix with choices for everyone on your listTonight I'm celebrating:
1.  Getting all my phone calls done at work. 
2.  A fire in the fire place and a good book.
3.  Swiss Miss Cocoa with those tiny little marshmallows. 

Those marshmallows are the coolest things! 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Encouraging Writing

“You can always edit a bad page.
You can’t edit a blank page.”
The White Void
- Jodi Picoult

In my post yesterday I wrote about PEZs and that my PEZ came to work with me both to the office and my writing.  I have to admit, I was reading blogs in order to not have to write. When I try to avoid writing I end up finding something that encourages me to write...or maybe guilts me into writing?
I like Mellissa Donovan's website Writing Forward    She always has something to inspire.  Even the name, Writing Forward, implies moving along, not dragging my feet. 
The post on November 28 from guest writer Sylvia Nankivell was what prompted me to post after... how many months?  
In thinking about writing daily, I've actually been crippling my writing by trying to "carve out a certain time" or "establish a habit."  I'm not a make-a-plan kind of girl, no matter how much the writing posts say you have to do this. 

Inspiration or Distraction?
I've found three things to be most helpful in trying to write every day:
       1.  Don't plan on writing every day. 
             If I say I'm going to write at a certain time something happens and I can't get to it.  But, if I don't plan and have pen and paper with me at all times, the opportunity presents itself.
       2.  Hang out with writers. 
             It's like church.  You want to be encouraged?  Hang out with the true believers.  I meet at least once a week---church on Tuesdays. 
       3.  Stop worrying about writing well and just write
             I know editing is important, but only if there's something on the paper to edit. 

Practice Writing Every Day didn't tell me anything new and profound, but was a reminder that writing is more than something you play at, not if you're serious.  We whine and complain about not having time to write, but it's like anything else.  If you want to do it, you'll find the time. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

November 29th-Bring on the PEZ!

I look at posts of my family on Facebook doing all these family things on Thanksgiving and, while I love my job, I was wishing I'd picked teaching or some other such job....anything instead of medicine.  Anything that would close on the holidays and the day after. I refused to shop on Thanksgiving.  I feel the pain of having to work so others can "get a good deal." At least in my line of work it's not the kids' fault they got sick. 
It's hard to stay aggravated though, when you not only like what you do and the people you work with, but you also get to bring your PEZ to work!  And share the PEZ with others. 
This year Bring Your PEZ to Work coincided with Celebrate Friday.  What better thing to celebrate but PEZ dispensers and a job to bring them to? 
Not satisfied with going to the office, my PEZ joined me for my writing as well.  Next year, though, Captain Jack Sparrow isn't allowed to come.  He's quite distracting when you're trying to be creative. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

That's What You're Reading?

My niece showed me the book she’s currently reading.  She likes the new Young Adult novels.  I was ready to say “Really?  That’s nice” to her, since many of the new books aren’t what you would call quality literature and I’m not terribly impressed.  I know that the Percy Jackson series teaches something of Greek Mythology, but what exactly are we learning from Eduard and Bella?  Hunger Games was at least tolerable and the Harry Potter series has good characters.  But stories that make you think?  That you have to actually concentrate on?  The Star Wars novels are entertaining, and come closer than some to getting out of the shallow end.
So I looked at her book and all that came out was “That’s Orson Scott Card.”  She said, “Yeah, Ender’s Game.  It’s this new series and they’re making a movie out of it.”  Of course they are.  Hollywood makes a movie out of everything.  All I could say was “that’s not new.”  Inside I’m cheering, cartwheels and everything. 
I’m one of those who never watches the movie first.  I’ve usually read the book even before Hollywood gets a hold of it—except Nicholas Sparks.  I can’t say I’m a chicklit reader or watcher.  Sometimes I don’t even watch the movie because I know the screenwriters are going to mess it up. Two hours on the screen just can’t capture the depth of the written narrative.  Even Game of Thrones doesn’t tell everything George R.R. Martin is trying to share and HBO has had a few seasons for it.
And they aren’t supposed to. You thought this was to criticize movies, right?  Wrong.  I’m watching The Two Towers—again—as I write this.  I’ve read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the Hobbit, and Simarillion.   The movie series did disappoint me until I said “hey, this isn’t the book.  It’s okay if Legolas is reduced to a pretty boy with a petty feud with a dwarf. It’s just a movie.”  Screenplays aren’t novels and novels aren’t screenplays. 
But if a movie directs someone to a novel, how cool is that?  I have to admit, the Sharpe Series was like that for me.  I saw it on PBS back in the day and not only fell in love with swashbuckling action, but also began a life-long obsession.   In retrospect, there isn’t much depth, just lots of Sean, in the movies but it opened me up to something different than scifi and fantasy.  Whether in novels or on the screen, that’s good story telling. 
I’m going to watch Ender’s Game with my niece in November.  I’m going to be disappointed because that’s just the way it goes.  But, I’m also going to say but they’ve picked a story to peak her interest. She’ll go back and look for more at the library.  And then she’ll ask the librarian for similar things.  She’ll read Margaret Weis, Madeline l’Engle, Piers Anthony, Terry Brooks, and others.  She’ll want more from her novels than she’s been getting and be more discerning in her movie viewing.  And she will still be able to enjoy them all.
You don’t start a baby off on meat and potatoes.  You give them baby food first, let them learn to digest it, then as they grow their palates become more sophisticated, not only able to handle better, but actually wanting it.  That’s the way it is with good story telling.  We start them small and then expand their horizons. 
Hopefully there’s not a lot of abuse and neglect along the way. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Celebrate Friday! It's Been A While


 My celebrate is that I'm back on this site. 
I always have big plans, but then life happens....
So, in the interim, I haven't slacked.  Wrote some poems, took some pictures, worked on the elusive novel.  Went to Nova Scotia to dig up some family roots.  Very fun.  I want to do some posts about this.
Will try to be more blog productive, but who knows? 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Monday

Since illness doesn't take a holiday our office was open today.  On my way home I stopped by the grocery store, taking for granted that it would be open and that not only would it have food, it would have what I wanted.  I appreciated the help the produce guy gave me in trying to find vegetables to grill. (I already had steaks)  I waited in line while the lady in front of me complained that what she was trying to buy wasn't eligible through SNAP (LA food stamp program). I looked in her basket and was glad my tax dollars didn't cover all that was in there.
 When I stopped for gas I overheard a woman complaining about how much it cost to fill up her car.  She got to talking to a gentleman about the politicians and the war in Afghanistan and how it all really had to do with greed and oil and big businesses.  They got into government and health care.  We all agreed that since we'd exercised our right to vote, we should have a right to complain and even demand a recount. (I got the feeling we all had different ideas about who should go from the state and federal levels.) 
We were supposed to grill at my brother's house, but since crime also doesn't take a holiday, he got called in to work.  Grilling ended up at my house.  He did get a chance to stop by and we'd saved him some food, but we were disappointed he couldn't hang out with us. 
I'm glad it was for just one afternoon we missed him.  He's a police officer now, but at one time he was in the U.S. Army.  He's been to war and he's come home.  So many soldiers didn't.  So many families can only lay flowers on a grave. 
At first I was ashamed that so many of us take for granted what our soldiers have sacrificed for us.  But, then I was grateful. 
I live in a country where we're so rich, even the poor have access to good food, health care, and nice housing.  We have the freedom to complain openly and not worry we'll be arrested. We can naively believe war is unnecessary, that everyone will listen to reason and believe like us.  We can't comprehend a land where it would be any different. 
We have our soldiers to thank for this.  Sure, civilians make rules.  They run the day in day outs of life.  But it's our military people who protect our way of life.  We will never understand the sacrifices they make.  We'll never see what they've seen or do what they've had to do. I'd stand up and fight with them any time, but I pray I'll never have to. 
And as long as they're willing to pay the price, we never will.  I pray I'll never stop being grateful for this.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Places I've visited today: 

Susan Says  busy author and blogger, among other things. 
Omega Reflections It's her birthday today, but that's not the only reason to check out her blog.
Mary-andering Creatively relaxing, engaging poetry and pictures.
A Few Words inspiring, well thought out posts.  It's logical and Christian. Nothing offensive here, just challenging.

It's a short trek tonight, as I've suddenly become inspired to work on my novel, i.e. the mess I like to think of as a story.  I'll be doing this in between laundry loads and unloading dishes.  Stop the Insanity!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Be Positive Day: Reflections on Rita

To him, it's one giant water puddle.
 Today is International Be Positive Day.(IPBD)  Thanks to all who've blogged, tweeted, posted on FB, or used the day to be positive to those around you.  Even the worst of days are better when you think positively. 
So many have commented on the tragedy in Oklahoma.  I've read comments on similar disasters people have been through.  It makes me think of Hurricane Rita in 2005.  If you don't remember it, that's okay.  Most didn't really hear about it because it was in the shadow of Hurricane Katrina.  I remember it because I lived it.

with no power, you do a lot of artwork
On IBPD this recollection from Rita stands out, because it sums up the positive attitude of people in my community here in little ol' SW Louisiana:

After the storm hit, FOX news had a guy in Lake Charles interviewing those who had stayed.  Two LC boys were out checking on things. When asked by the reporter what they were doing, the answer was "Well, we're just checking on our neighbors, making sure they're okay." One held up a chainsaw. "If we need to we'll fire this up and cut a path for them."   The reporter asked why they were doing it.  Both looked at him funny and one said "Because it's what you're supposed to do."  I'm sure the reporter was a little disappointed not to find an exciting story, but people caring about others.  No looting and hurting each other. Just taking care of business.

Now, I'm not going to say we didn't get any assistance, but in the wake of Katrina, Rita was the red-headed step child.  Did it slow the people down?  Not a bit.  They did what they had to do, picking up and rebuilding. (I know our friends in Florida can relate to that.) Are we a stronger community for it?  Of course.  Did the response come as any surprise? Not really. 

I've read people say disasters bring out the best in everyone.  Unfortunately, that's not entirely true.  I've experienced the negatives and positives first hand.  One thing is for certain: times of tragedy and disaster reveal character.

What will the revelation say about you?   May we always be able to say "I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do." What are you doing now to cultivate a strong, positive character in your life and in those around you?

 note:  the pictures are of my nephew during Hurricane Ike.  I like them better than the ones of all the destruction of the two storms because you'll never find a more positive kid than him, even flooded, stuck with no electricity--meaning no way to charge his DS or turn on his PlayStation.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Be Postitive Day Eve

Intellectually, I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country.
Sinclair Lewis
US novelist (1885 - 1951)

A busy weekend, with two jobs, three if you count conference committee.  Our writing group is planning a conference for November.  I think it's the tenth annual?  Apparently I'm on the Door Prize committee and I've agreed to hold a key--I'm not sure what I'm to do with it.  It goes to a post office box.  I wonder what kind of mail it holds? 
Should I be concerned?  Do I dare go check it?  I mean, nobody wanted this key.  Should I have refused?
So, it would be easy to not blog today, but I'm learning discipline in writing.  Can't grow as a writer if you don't write, right?  (that's right, I meant to do that)
Tomorrow is  International Be Positive Day.  Go to Sharon K. Mayhew's site for more information on how to be involved.
With everything going on in Oklahoma today, I had to wonder, do I really want to be positive tomorrow?  But, then I realized, YES!  Not only do I want to, but I need to be.  It's more important now than ever.  We have to send positive encouragement, prayers, support--whatever is needed to wherever it is needed. So much tragedy happens everywhere in the world.  We need to be optimistic. Being positive doesn't mean being flippant or having a pie in the sky view.  It means choosing hope and believing I'm more than my circumstances.  I can't choose what happens but I can choose my response. 
I'm thankful for my family in Oklahoma being safe tonight.  I pray for them and for the families who didn't fare well and who've lost loved ones.  Not just Oklahoma, but all of the Midwest.
It's an opportunity once again for Americans to be united in support for our people.

Back on the Road stopping at some cool tourist traps...oops, I mean blog spots:
Some Dark Romantic  Awesome reflections post, but don't stop there on her blog.
From the Inkwell, From the Vein writers should be naked and strange.  Trust me, you want to read it.
Sue Ann Bowling  Check out her book, Homecoming. It's not what you think.
Tales of the Rock  Very cool, especially if you like ghosts.  I know I do!
Blogging on the Brink check out an ex-librarian turned rockin' numbers cruncher.  Good music, too.
A Faraway View  About dreams, good, bad, what they mean.  Read before you sleep...
Claire Gillian  a lot to see at this site. Some intriguing romance to be found
J.Lenni Dorner  Check out her A to Z story and campaign against CAPTCHA
Moments of Introspection  heartwarming dog tails--tales--but that's not all to see
Destination:  Fiction  Lovely photos, informative, entertaining posts
Emily Unraveled  don't get a tat until you read her May 20th post

What's right about America is that although we have a mess of problems, we have great capacity - intellect and resources - to do some thing about them.
Henry Ford II
US automobile manufacturer (1917 - 1987)


Friday, May 17, 2013

Celebrate Friday

I like this post because it means that it's Friday!  And, while I have to work this weekend, it's different, so Friday is still great.

This week's good stuff:
**Spring Flowers
**Amazing Co-Workers
**A patient's family bringing me a gift of Urban Decay eye-shadow. (MAC may have competition)
**Ceiling fans on patios

 I could go on and on, since if you really look, there's a lot of little things that add up to a better week than you thought.  This is a good challenge for me since it makes me focus on the good.
Try it out if you haven't.
Check out here for the link:


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Possible PhD

I'll never understand why people like to go and mess up something that was perfectly fine. 
Our nursing board has changed our entry level to DNP instead of MSN for nurse practitioners.  Which would be okay, except that I've been thinking about going back so I can say I have a PhD.  It sounds cool.   So, this is the kick I need.
I follow my new friend Boots and Bluestockings  who finished school recently.  Her accomplishment has inspired me as well.
Happy Spring Gnome!
But, Dissertation.  It sounds like something too close to dessert, which should be good, but....
Has anybody done one of these? 
What have you wanted to do but keep finding excuses not to do?  What kick do you need in order to start it?

On a lighter note:  Elementary and Hannibal?  My two favorite crime solvers in one night?  Thank goodness for two TVs!
Question:  Will Graham vs Sherlock Holmes--who would win solving a crime involving voodoo rituals?

Doreen McGettigan  Pop-Culture and marketing.  Two great topics. 
Lydia: not one, not two, but THREE blogs!
           Chalk Outlines the name is great, nice pictures. 
           ReVue  arts and entertainment reviews of a different nature
           Haiku 365  A haiku a day...interesting photos, too...worth a look, this site
Misha Gericke--another multiple blogger.
           My First Book  great information regarding craft and publishing.  Also features fellow bloggers.
          Taking Charge of My Life--like the name implies; check it out
Maggie at ExpatBrazil  I've been to Brazil.  Wish I knew this site first.
Silvia @ Silvia Writes   stories as life tells them. 
Phillipscom. Ariel's Jotting  informative and inspirational
KaTy Did   check out the sunglasses and crazy "roads"
Ice Girl  where fashion and ice collide in beautiful form

One thing I'm impressed with is how many bloggers can keep up with more than one site.  One only has to look at mine to see how I dream big, but can't quite keep up.  Reading other's thoughts is encouraging.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

So, pulled out the driveway and took off again for another amazing adventure on the A to Z Highway.  I wanted to say something here uniquely profound, but got Bogged in Blogs.  My problem is that all the sites so far are interesting and I stay longer than planned, so I don't make my planned destination by nightfall. But, luckily I have set up extra time for extended visits. 
Todays visitations:
Jeanette S. Anderson --beautiful photos and I love this:  you can only read your own book so many times.  (you have to read her blog to know where that came from)
Sue  encouraging words regarding blogging
Kate @ Another Clean Slate  updating look, check out pictures on #piclove365
LyndaGrace  beautiful posts from a mother.  She's lived 24, 026 yesterdays..and counting
Stepheny Houghtlin    Need to know about gardening?  Here's the place, and so much more
Josie 2 Shoes   in Texas, I must add.  Cute cats, and impressive posts from challenges. 
Kat  card projects that are (mostly) easy.  I know.  I made one.  Eclectic, practical, fun information
The Sunday Visitor  short, informative posts on a variety of subjects
Arlee Bird   who doesn't know Arlee by now?  Those who did A to Z under a rock?  Great discussion if you have opinions on swearing.
A Ramble in the Blog  --says she doesn't like writing, but you can't tell from her posts. 
some flowers for those who don't
have spring yet due to crazy snow
Leslie @ Therapy and Function  Stop by to see the Adventures of Penelope. Find a fellow blogger trying to regain a schedule after the grueling A to Z marathon.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mom's Day and then Back on the Road

Of course we spent time with Mom today.  We went to Olive Garden. Something happened and our orders got lost.  After sitting there for an hour watching other people eat, we got a free meal.   They were very nice about it, and certainly we'll be back. 
Happy Mom's Day from Olive Garden!

This is my Mom.  She's pretty awesome, but she'd say "don't put my picture on your blog" So, too late, Mom!  Yes, the card says sweet, and she is, but so is the Orange Leaf Yogurt she loves. 

After taking a break,  back on the A to Z Trip. Bringing Ben and Jerry with me: Chunky Monkey, to be exact.   Let me see what nice folks I can visit and offer some ice cream....
Anglers Rest --interesting places and books
Tasha's Thinkings --different and scary
Ida Chiavaro @ Reflex Reactions --encouraging, relaxing place
Tales of the Reborn Crafter  --conversational, fun posts
C.M. Brown  --an award winning site, paranormal romance and some good reflections
Debra Mauldin --energizing, inspiring posts
From This Side of the Pond --sweet, family oriented
Sue CollectIn Texas Gal --fellow Texan.  Follow her family through Texas and Georgia
Tina @ Life is Good --one of the A to Z hosts and fun, helpful person and site
Rob Z Tobor --eccentrically funny and clever

So, had time for ten stops today along the road.  Check out their places.  They'll be glad to hear from ya and you'll be glad you did.  But sorry. Ate all the ice cream!

To all who read this:  have a great week!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Special Edition of Celebrate Friday

Taking a Break
Those of you who read my E and U posts during the A to Z Challenge got to meet Erik Shepherd James--newest addition of the Tulsa James Gang.  
Creating Wordlenik just received a special announcement from Mr. James he would like to share with his blog fans:
At High Noon today Ava Mackenzie arrived in a Dallas Hospital. She is the daughter of Melanie and Jeremiah  She has the distinct honor of being little sister to Annabelle Fern and first cousin to Mr. James.

Silly Big Sis
Annabelle was excited to say Hello to this new Kitty in their home. Hugs and kisses were shared all around, though Annabelle couldn't take too much time out of her busy schedule.  She was overheard at the hospital as saying "I'm ready to go, Gee."
Ava was reported to have said "Are we going to Sonic for a Java Chiller?" This cannot be confirmed however. 
Mr. James is excited to share his newborn wisdom, though he says he does worry about being surrounded by so much estrogen. The biggest concern?  Now he'll have to scream louder. 
Mr. James would like to give a word of advice to his fans.  He learned this from Uncle J.  "Always tell the people at the hosptial first, especially Grandparents, before you post the announcement on Facebook."  It does seem like sage advice.

Ava certainly has taken Texas by storm--extending even into Southwest Louisiana!  We will have to keep track of these two feisty cowgirls. 

Celebrate Friday!

So today is the day to post things to celebrate about this week:
Good things this week:
  • Unexpected Burritos--a pharm. rep. brought food to our office on Wednesday.
  • A no plans Saturday. 
  • Sunshine after tornadoes and hail.
  • Roses finally blooming! 
Check out the link on the right to find out more on Celebrate Friday. 

Next 6 Stops on the A to Z Road Trip:
Sandy--be amused and amazed by Flat Stanley's adventures
Shannon Lawrence--she'll have you submitting, attending writing conferences and Seeing Ghosts
Suzanne Sapsed --need some scrapbooking ideas?  Want to know about Harry Potter in Orlando?  Suzanne's your girl.
Yvonne Lewis--beautiful photos and poems
Hilary Melton-Butcher--positive notes and things to think about
Ficticious Amo --great stories, especially Lizzy's story during April.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

On The Road...trying not to speed through.

So, I'm On the Road tonight visiting spots.  I've started at the beginning of the list.  I'm going to attempt to post links to where I've visited. 

L.G.Keltner At: Two Blogs?  Are you serious?  How does she do it?  Honest Trailers is brilliant.
   Writing Off the Edge
   Warped Nerdiverity
Making the Write Connections --I could like Les Miz after reading here.
Planning with Printed Portal --Where do I begin with the organization skills?
DeeCoded--brings TV to life, especially How I Met  Your Mother
lizy-expat-writer--beautiful photos!
Ordinary Never Sleeps --I'd followed this one throughout.  Take a look at the old posts, especially Zenobia.

I would recommend all of them.  I've been tempted to just visit spots with topics I'm interested in.  But, I've realized, I can't judge a blog by it's title, and have been introduced to new things.  Will see how the method of going down the list works.
I'm finding it easier to visit since I'm not compelled to blog every day. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

What We Tell and Hear

Ripper Street: from my screen to yours
I fell asleep reading Pride and Prejudice last night.  Upon awakening I had to wonder what's wrong with me.  I mean, it's Jane Austen, after all.  Who doesn't like her?  Tonight I went to Blockbuster and looked through the movies about her or her novels thinking maybe a visual would help.   Imagine my surprise to find Becoming Jane starred James McAvoy as Jane's love interest and Mr. Darcy was none other than Matthew Macfadyen.  (how could I not know this?)  Surely I could stay awake for Professor X and Tom Quinn. 
An hour later I realized I'm just not a fan, no matter how much I like the leading men.  In researching I discovered I'm not alone.  I found this article:  The Author and the Austen plot... I know there's probably more to it, but even agents weren't so impressed by Ms. Austen. 
It goes back to the age old question:  what makes something good?  Popularity?  The author?  Critics?  Who gets to decide?  Does longevity make a difference?  A novel or story standing the test of time?
 I look at modern novels as compared to those like Austen, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby is once again being reinvented. What is it about that story?   Technology has had a leading role in what we read, especially e-books and novels made into movies.  I can't help but wonder, would the 50 Shades trilogy had such a following if it hadn't been a Twilight fanfic and had a male author?  And, well, the Twilight series is a whole other matter all together. I'm still trying to understand that one and yet even women my age camped out the night before for the new releases and movie tickets.
As writers, we can't forget there are two people in the story telling relationship:  the teller and the hearer. It's all about telling stories in a way that resonates with the listener.  The experience is going to be different for different people.  I can have the best story in the world but if someone doesn't like it, they just don't like it.
I'm generally not impressed with the best sellers in movies or novels.   I'll probably never finish watching Titanic, or reading the Twilight and 50 Shades series.  If I haven't done so by now, I may not work through my Jane Austen induced narcolepsy. But, then I also don't expect others to be huge fans of the authors and series I love.  Stephen King, Cormac Mccarthy, Val Mcdermid, Michael Crichton--they aren't for the faint of heart.  How many people can say they know Eugene Tooms?

Eugene as leading man?
Eugene Victor Tooms
I'm watching Ripper Street now. To me, Edmund Reid and Tom Quinn are far more complex, interesting characters than Mr. Darcy, even though the same actor portrays them all.   I know someone is going to say I can't compare TV characters to novel characters. Why not? Some like ink and paper.  Some like e-ink.  Some prefer big or small screen.  But it's all about the tale.  What is being said and who's doing the telling?
That's the heart and soul, the beauty of story telling:  there's something for everyone.  If you love it, whether you're the teller or the hearer, who cares what other people think?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Reflections on Insanity

"The patient's not breathing!" 
"Keep bagging! I'm almost done.  I've only got five minutes to post M before Midnight."
"Start CPR!"
"I've already done C.  P and R? Not sure what they'll be yet."
"Here's the patient's X-ray."
"X-ray?  I was thinking maybe Xanadu--the Rush version, Not ONJ"

May 1 has come, the challenge has been met, the patient saved, and congratulatory tankards of ale all around...or in my case, mugs of of double espresso. 
This was my second year to participate in the A to Z Challenge. Last year I did a theme--some nerdy professional thing. This year I had a theme--Random Variety.  A fancy way of saying I had no clue.  It was actually more fun this way.  I did manage to post all the days on time.  Whew!  Even with all those pesky sick kids demanding attention--what's with all this illness anyway?   However, as with last year I didn't get  to visit as many blogs as I'd hoped.  I don't know how to remedy this problem, unless I can in some way alter the time-space continuum.  But, I did learn more about comic books and Star Trek than I ever thought my brain could hold.
In one month I talked about Garden Gnomes, wrote some poems, discovered a deadly muse and  the Plague (which almost killed Sean Bean).  Told a story about a Ninja, Reviewed a Reading, Big Fish, and Travis.  I interviewed a baby twice, looked at serial killers and their victims.  After visiting Wahoo it got a little Queer, but in the end I realized Y I like Z the best of all letters.
I won an award along the way, but what really counts is all who participated and finished are winners in need of medication and a vacation.

So, on another note:  I found this other Challenge.  It's VikLit's Writing Blog. Basically each Friday you post celebrating little things you accomplished that week.  Such as I breathed air or I didn't strangle my boss. (those might be considered big.  I love air and my boss, by the way)

Three Celebrations for me:
  • Finishing A to Z Challenge
  • Exercising two freedoms:  speech and voting.
  • Making my bed every day (trust me, it's an accomplishment!)
Celebrating anything this week? 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Zelda and a Zenith Moment

Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.
―    Zelda Fitzgerald

I’m late to a very important date with Z.  It’s been difficult because I wanted to do something nice with Z.  It’s such an underrated letter, yet it endures its position at the end of the alphabet with a quite elegance, waiting, knowing it will be the last letter heard.  It will be the enigma of alphabet and word challenges.  Z knows it's not like the other letters.  It doesn't even try. 
I think one of the reasons I was having trouble with Z was I was relating too much to it.   This past weekend was Jazz Festival in New Orleans. All my friends seemed to be going but nobody asked me. In the past we always went, but as people get married, start dating, they want to go with spouses or significant others, or they have to stay home with kids. It's not their fault. It's just what it is. Not only did nobody ask me to go with them I had to work Saturday and Sunday, resulting in me going to work 12 days in a row. Then, a coworker asked me what was I waiting for when I said I wasn't worried about getting married, like something was wrong with me.  (I loathe that question!)
Feel sorry for me? Don't. I only felt sorry for as long as it took to think about it. My Zenith moment was this: I'm not waiting for anything.  And as I took in a play and dinner out, I realized people think wrong.  I'm not alone. People miss out getting to spend time with me. I felt sorry for them as I had a lot of fun talking to strangers, peeking in a Hot L in Baltimore, and enjoying a tuna steak presented to me by a really cute waiter. (young men serving me seem to be a weakness of mine.)

I don't want to live. I want to love first and live incidentally.--Zelda F.

I love this of ZSF.  She looks confident and ready.
Another Zenith with Z was finding—again—Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. For those who don’t know she was a writer in the early 1900’s and wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald.  I know we’d read of her in class, but only in passing, a mention of the “crazy wife of F. Scott.  On now to The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises.”
Wait, slow down! I want to know more.  I feel cheated.  So, I’ve found this new novel about Zelda.  It’s called Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.   I’m excited to start it.  I’ve been scanning articles about her and wonder why in school we didn’t get to learn more about such an interesting woman who obviously influenced one who’s considered a significant author of the 20th century.  I say obviously because how could she not?
Like the letter that begins her name, Zelda seems to have been delegated to the end, waiting with a quiet elegance…how horrible would she find this!  A woman who lived to love and loved to live. 

I hate a room without an open all seems so permanent.--Zelda F.

Others find Z to be useless, difficult, or elusive, but that's only because Z's a strong letter that intimidates others with it's confidence and uniqueness.   The letter Z for me has been a letter of discovery, of encouragement. Z came just when I needed it.  Z is my reward for being patient and hanging in to the end.  Z is meeting new people and rediscovering old.

She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn't boring--Zelda F.

Z is at the end because it's the best saved for last and challenges me to make this not an ending but a new beginning...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Yersinia Pestis--ICD-9 078.2

“I know that man is capable of great deeds. But if he isn't capable of great emotion, well, he leaves me cold.”

You have to be living under a rock not to have heard of Yersinia pestis but you probably know it by another name:  The Plague or the Black Death. 
Yersinia pestis is a bacterium found in rodents and their fleas.  According to the CDC, Y. pestis infects an average of 5 to 15 people in the United States a year.  The World Health Organization reports anywhere from 1000 to 3000 cases a year. 
There are three types:
  • bubonic--characterized by painful, swollen lymph nodes
  • pnuemonic--characterized by high fever, cough, bloody sputum, and difficulty breathing
  • septicemic--characterized by fever and GI symptoms
Y. pestis is treatable by current antibiotics, but delay in seeking treatment and in diagnosing can be fatal.  In the U.S. 14% of Y. pestis cases result in death.  50-60 % of untreated bubonic plague and nearly 100% of untreated septicemic plague is fatal.
Plague is a word meaning any worldwide calamity, especially seen as divine retribution, as in the Egyptian plagues described in the Bible.  It also can mean any epidemic, usually fatal, disease. The Plague usually indicates the one believed to be caused by Y. pestis.  In the 1300's The Plague spread throughout Europe, killed anywhere from 50 to 250 million people.  This is the Black Death that most are familiar with.  There were actually three major pandemic episodes:
  • The Justinian Plague beginning in 541 a.d. and spanning over 200 years, killing up to 100 million people in the Mediterranean basin, virtually all of the known world at that time.
  • The Black Death--beginning in 1334 in China and spreading to Europe by traders and soldiers, killing over 60% of the European population.
  • The Modern Plague--beginning in China in the 1860's. (what's with China and all these pests?)  In the 20 years it spread, scientists discovered the bacteria, where it came from, and how to stop the spread.  Go Science!

How about some Fun Facts about that wild and crazy Yersinia?
    Plague Doctor
  • Yersinia pestis is huge, measuring in at 1.2 microns in length. That's like 0.000047244 inches, for us Americans, or one millionth of a meter.
  • The swollen node in bubonic plague is called a bubo, not to be confused with Bilbo, a character in the Hobbit, and LOTR (incidentally a movie in which Sean Bean dies)
  • Cats are highly susceptible and are a common source of human transmission through bites, scratches, coughing, and of course, fleas.  Dogs aren't so susceptible, but still can get sick.  So the answer? Get a fish. 
  • In the 1300's the Plague was thought to be punishment from God on sinners, or by the Jews to destroy Christians.  This quote from The Plague comes to mind:  “stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves”  ― Albert Camus, The Plague  (not that Christians haven't had their share of blame for things)  
  • The nursery rhyme Ring Around the Rosy is thought by many to describe the progression of infection and death from the plague. Just what are we teaching our children?
  • There is an upside to the pandemic.  Due to high labor shortages people had to get creative resulting in economic, social, and technological advances, helping to usher in the Renaissance.  Funny what happens when there's no FEMA or government interference.
  • Cologne was first used in the 1300s to cover up the smells from not bathing or changing clothes, which was common practice because it was thought to be a sign of vanity inviting more wrath from God and opening pores so bad air could enter and exit the body and spread disease.  Brittany Spears or Justin Bieber would probably kill or scare it away. 
  • Many TV shows and movies have used the Plague as a plot device, including NCIS, in which Agent Tony DiNozzo was infected with a letter laced with the Plague.  Everyone got to wear cool hazmat suits.  (SWAK, season 2, episode 22)
  • In the 2010 movie Black Death, Sean Bean would've died from the Plague if he hadn't been ripped apart by horses first. Oh, what?  You can't possibly think I spoiled the movie for you.  I mean, it's not if he's going to die, but how.  I must say, I wouldn't have guessed quartered.
  • Many doctors believed that bad smells could drive out the plague. As a result, some of the treatment for the disease included dung and urine, as well as other ingredients that were more likely to spread disease than to cure it. Once again, I refer back to Justin and Brittany. That acutally might have worked.
  • The Plague, by Albert Camus, has some interesting quotes and really is an interesting novel.
  • Yersinia is an interesting word.  I'm looking for someone naming their kid that.  I mean, people already call their kids pests, right? 
“What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well. It helps men to rise above themselves.”
Albert Camus, The Plague

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Liebster: an award, a responsibility, an excuse not to do housework

Like the elusive Flying Dutchman, so are the origins of the Liebster Award.  I've found that it's a German word meaning sweetheart or favorite.  But, beyond that? 
So, The Armchair Squid gave me this award. I am flattered and humbled and glad not to be mopping floors. But, as we all know, with great awards come great responsibility.  Like the Miss America award, the Liebster isn't just something you put on the mantel to hold ashes. You share it with others, you become a representative, you have to pay it forward. You just don't get a fancy tiara to wear, unless you go buy yourself one.
But, I am up to the challenge...I hope.  I did some strength training: research, first drafting, editing, re-editing, caffeine loading, napping in the  hammock, watching White Collar and Sean Bean death scenes.  Now, I think I'm ready. 
I'm never one to follow rules, but in researching this I found that the rule seems to be change the rules. So, I will follow the rules set out before me as in following the rules I am breaking them.
The rules of 11 are as follows:
  • supply 11 fun facts about myself
  • answer 11 questions asked by Armchair
  • award 11 bloggers
  • ask for 11 fun facts about them and 11 new questions
Eleven Fun Facts
  1. I prefer hockey over golf, but I'm a big fan of golfers.
  2. I'm especially fond of performing classical music, especially that rebel Mozart.
  3. I love Pediatric medicine but undecided on having kids of my own. 
  4. I don't know why certain men attract me as they most often go against my Christian upbringing. Maybe it's my Hosea complex.
  5. I'm not a fan of any alcoholic beverage...especially beer. Yuck!
  6. I'd rather be outside than in.
  7. I used to be the tallest person in my class.  Now I'm the shortest.
  8. I'm a true crime addict. One of my favorites is John Douglas.
  9. Blue is my favorite color.
  10. My two favorite patient types are psych and cardiac--pedi of course.
  11. Facebook makes me crazy. 
Eleven answers to Eleven Questions
1. If you could live one year of your life again, which would you choose and why?
      My fifth year.  I got a birthday crown from my kindergarten teacher.  It set the tone for the whole year. Awesome!
2. If you could be good or better at one thing without putting in the time and work, what would it be?—playing guitar.
3. You've been invited to join a bowling league and you may choose any five people to be on your team. There's just one catch: you can only pick fictional characters. Whom would you choose?
       Death (of the Endless), Harry Dresden, Darth Vader, Spiderman, and Donna Paulsen (I'm pretty sure they're all fictional)
4. How do you really feel about pears?---Why, what have you heard? 
5. How do you feel about the metric system?---It was just a fling.  It didn't mean anything.  Inches and I really want to make it work.
6. The Doctor knocks on your door. He'll take you to visit any place on Earth at any point in history (he always seems to make the choices with interstellar travel). Where and when do you choose?  Back in the days of Queen Maeve of Ireland.  Don't say she's just a legend.  The Doctor can make her real.  He's got the Tardis.  They're all-powerful. 
7. If you could learn any new language, which would you choose?   Shiriiwook
8. You have one personal quality which eventually annoys everyone in your life including, on occasion, yourself. What is it and do you feel it's within your power to change it?  Precognitive mind reading. It works everyone's nerves.  I drink coffee--lots of coffee--- to slow it down, but it never really stops.  (PMR is knowing what someone's going to say or think before they do)
9. If you knew when you were younger what you'd be doing with your life now, how might you have planned things differently? Do you think your life would truly be better overall if you had?  Seriously, the only thing I'd change is maybe be married and figure out how to acquire magical powers, but I don't know that it could get better than this.  I'm pretty much doing what I planned.
10. If all went south and you had to turn to a life of crime (assuming you haven't already), what line of dirty work would you choose?  Professional thief hiding out as lead guitar in a rock band.
11. How do you get your geek on?   My geek is religious history, criminal psychology, and fantasy (as in wizards and elves).  Tech guys have their gadgets.  I have my supernatural aberrant behavior in the name of God.
Eleven Questions for Eleven Victims...I mean, Awardees
  1. What did you do on your favorite birthday?
  2. If you were held captive, what kind of Duck tape would you want to be taped up with?
  3. What is your favorite city or town?  Why?
  4. If it were possible, would you be taller or shorter than you are now?
  5. Do you prefer tennis shoes or heels?
  6. Which of Neil Gaimen's Endless do you most relate to?  see The Endless for details if needed.
  7. If you could be a color which would it be?  Why?
  8. Espresso or regular roast coffee?
  9. You're a white collar criminal.  What is your crime?
  10. What fictional character would be a good leader for your country?  Why?
  11. In a spouse--whether you're married or not--what trait is most important to you? 
And the most important part:  The Award goes to
The Incurable Itch
The Coffe Lady
Gospel-Driven Disciples
Tales of the Rock
Boots and Blue Stockings
Fictitious Amo
A Creative Exercise
Have You Heard?
Rabbit Trails
Ordinary Never Sleeps

These are just a few of the blogs I've found in the A to Z challenge.  Except The Incurable Itch. Linda's a writing group buddy.  Even if I haven't always commented, I've enjoyed visiting and revisiting their sites this month.  They are worth the effort of stopping by. 
For the nominees: there's no penalty for not answering the questions and sending the award on. Nobody will visit your home.  But as the A to Z is winding down maybe it will help the alphabet withdrawls? 
Either way, we're all winners! 
Thanks to Armchair for the nomination.'re it..


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Xanadu Lost

 Rivers without names, oceans unchecked
rushing from under ground, wild, untamed purity
carrying to stand in Pleasure Dome,
drunk on milk of Paradise, sated on honey-dew.
It was once mine, inside of me. My home.
From beyond an echo stirs, ancestral voices crying out for war
I did not ask for, enemy I never wronged.
I'm not leader, singer, minstrel, poet. My words are poison to the soul.  Honey bitter, sour milk, my lost Xanadu haunting once pleasant dreams.
Nothing left to hold, shadows faking light. "No reality, nothing here to see"--words spoken without substance or form. Caves of ice melt into stone.  Trapped inside my mind, prisoner of Paradise.
How did poetry go so wrong? When did the tune leave the song?
What's it all about? Did we misplace our faith hoping for too much?
Drunk on the milk of Paradise, sated by honey-dew,
prisoner of dreams lost in Xanadu.

author's note:  see also Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan and Rush's song Xanadu

Friday, April 26, 2013


Wahoo | Acanthocybium solandri photo

Wahoo is one of my favorite words.  It's a happy sounding word I use to express excitment. 

But did you know:

  • The name Wahoo is Native American, applied to any small bush or shrub?
  •  Wahoo is a plant with medicinal properties, including cardiac and gastrointestinal effects.
  • Wahoo is a city in Saunders County, Nebraska?
  • Chief Wahoo is the logo of the Cleveland Indians baseball team?
  • The Wahoo KICKR is a fitness training bike?
  • Wahoo! is a grill in Decatur, Georgia?
  • At University of Virginia, the mascot is often referred to as a Wahoo
  • The USS Wahoo was a Naval submarine sunk in 1943 during WWII?
  • Wahoo is a brand of boats?
  • Wahoo is a fish found in tropical and subtropical areas?  (This means you can fish for it off the Louisiana coast. Have to do that sometime.)
  • Wahoo McDaniel was an American footbal player and professional wrestler? 
  • Who wouldn't want to go to the First Baptist Church of Wahoo in Florida?

Who knew Wahoo was so much more?
Do you know any more fun facts about this great word? 

Wahoo! only three more posts to go...X,Y,Z.