Thank God for Oprah...I think...

I have discovered, thanks to Oprah's continuing mission to bring much needed education to the unenlightened woman, that I have a defect. My arms, at least the portions from my shoulders to my elbows, are too short.

Hideous, no?

I mean, how can I go on? I have to revamp my entire way of looking at my body to accomodate this latest piece of information.

You see, Oprah was doing this show on how to buy a properly fitted bra. Quite necessary information, I thought, so I tuned in. Thank God I did! I arrived just as the expert said, "When you turn sideways and look at your profile in the mirror, you want your breasts to be located halfway between your shoulders and your elbows."

Ben was also watching. I have no idea why...maybe he thought they were going to show naked breasts. After all, he is 14. Maybe he thought he would need this information someday, so he could judge the women in his future by this standard. Or...and I really think this is a stretch...he was trying to be more female-sensitive in an effort to be non-gender biased. Yeah, right. Anyway, I digress...

Disregarding my son's presence, I walked straight over to the mirror and turned sideways. It was a huge relief...there they were, right on target.

Of course, merely fitting in has never been enough for me...Oh, no...I had to beg the question...

Later, when Ben was long gone and I was getting changed, I took off my bra and turned sideways again.

That's when I came to the horrible realization that my arms are too short.


There's nothing wrong with The Girls.

I mean, I'm not a large breasted woman. We're talking a B cup. And the "perky" part, that's still there. But it seems as if the bottom's falling out!

No, that is completely unacceptable. That leaves me with only one true option...

I've gone through life with short arms and never been aware of this...this...glitch in my anatomical system.

Oh well, I suppose I'll learn to live with it.

After all, things could be worse...I mean, it's not as if my breasts are sagging or anything!


This is a little lesson about what happens when you send boys in to do a Mom's job! Posted by Hello

This is our new home. This is what I saw when I went to take pictures. Posted by Hello

When we went to see the house I handed the boys my camera. I said, "Be sure and get a picture of every room, so we'll know the layout..." Posted by Hello

This is a picture of the Master Bedroom Posted by Hello

Did I not say "Take a good picture of the layout?" Posted by Hello

As Long As We're Sharing Family Photos...Here Are My Newest Children!

Stella Get Your Man came out in January Posted by Hello

Sophie's Last Stand Came Out May 1 Posted by Hello

Stella, Get Your Gun! Came out in Oct. 04Posted by Hello


In The Interest Of Continuous Quality Improvement...

Look over there on the right side....Look at the Links section. See that Nancy Bartholomew's Website link? Adam, the oldest, had to help me do that. But see the link below it? The Please Take My Poll link? I did that one all by myself! I made up the survey. I hooked the code into my template and voila! It's amazing what you can teach old people these days!

So, now....Would you please go take the polls?

For my next feat of amazing technological wonder...perhaps I will post a picture...or maybe I'll just clean and pack the basement....Hey, I know, I'll take a picture of the Laundry Room Before and After I clean and pack them...It's called multi-tasking!

Heck, I got so carried away, I did two polls! Then I drove out to the country and picked 20lbs of strawberries...forget the dadblamed basement!


Deadly Threat to Humanity Eliminated...

I couldn't sleep. I rolled over, snuggled against Maggie, the Schnauzer, and tried to got back to sleep.

In my quasi-dream I smelled something...something familiar....Something...

Oh, God! The dog farted, right in my face!


Ever wonder why dogs farts don't make a sound? I mean, you hardly ever hear a dog fart. You smell them, sure, but there's hardly ever a sound. There's just no early warning system.

We don't know what amounts of dog gas escape unnoticed and unheard.

I picked Ben up from school one day and he said, "Mom, I learned something today...Finally. People fart all the time. Gas is always escaping their bodies, even if they don't know it...it just leaks out!"

Dogs, too. Silent but deadly. Church house creepers. It's like carbon monoxide, only smellier most of the time.

I could've died in my sleep this morning...It was that powerful!

How many people wake up dead and all because they slept with deadly fart dogs?

I'm thinking of inventing a dog gasometer...I may expand it to humans, but I think this would basically be pointless...Humans are proud of their farts, at least most of the male ones are...Bet Big Dawg, Hairless Go-rilla is...He's just like that...But I digress. My Ex was. Of course there were the times when he'd say..."What? I didn't do that! I was asleep! I didn't know!" Puh-leeze! A fart that deadly? You knew!

Anyway, I'll patent the Dawg Gas Alert.

I could win the Pulitzer...okay, the Nobel Peace Prize...for service to humanity. No more puzzled coroners wondering what killed the sweet old lady with the ancient chihuahua.

Yep...Dog farts. Think about it. A public menace or doggie revenge? You be the judge.


Why My Children Will Need Therapy More Than Higher Education...

To further chronicle my growing list of reasons my children will need therapy...

Ben's first, since kindergarten that is, girlfriend broke up with him a week ago today.

I found out on Monday...despite asking about it and her!

He's on the phone, but he's not talking to Her, so I ask if she's back in town. (He told me she was away for the weekend at a Girl Scout camp.) He nods yes. I ask if everything's all right with them. He cups his hand over the phone and says they broke up last Thursday but he's talking to Brad right now and anyway, he's fine.

"Tell him you'll call him right back," I say.

He rolls his eyes and says, "I gotta go, yeah. My mom. I'll call you right back."

I have on my very best, open and concerned Mom face. I sit on his bed, absolutely still, not saying anything else because, after all, I've just had a refresher course on Friday on "What to Say To A Dying Person," and have resolved to LISTEN and not jump in to MAKE IT ALL BETTER!

"Ben, why didn't you tell me?" I demand.

He has the courtesy NOT to roll his eyes. Instead he gives me that smug little smirk he's been perfecting and says, "I didn't tell you because I thought you'd over-react."


Get real! I've never OVER-reacted in my life!!!

I take to my bed. I spend a sleepless night, tossing and turning. My son LIED to me!! What's next, drugs? Alcohol? Will he turn to a life of crime? I envision myself...on my death bed, then dead and buried (it's not pretty). I just know Ben'll think, out of sight, out of mind, and go on as if nothing happened...THAT'S how little I mean to him! He couldn't come and talk to me! ALL boys talk to their mothers about GIRLS! How else will they know how to have a healthy relationship? OH MY GOD!!! WHERE DID I GO WRONG???!!!


I have made another $100 contribution to the Therapy/College Tuition fund.

The Shit In The Way Of Real Life

There is so much shit in the way of real life.

I go to the nursing home today and while Elsie is better, I think Laura is dying.

She's 81 and while her body's abandoned her, she's as sharp as a tack, mentally. However, for some reason I don't yet understand, she's had herself declared incompetent. I've been working with her for over a year now, trying to get her out of her room and involved with the "activities" around the home...only the activities are a joke and she and I both know it.

Alice, the second floor nurse, has been on medical leave for almost 6 weeks and I'm about to decide that if she doesn't come back soon, real soon, people are actually going to die...Laura being one of them.

Laura never married. She grew up on a farm and as soon as she graduated high school, she set out to see the world. She worked as an accountant for a large company, loved travel, and never found true love with anyone. The closest she came was an affair with a married man. She moved back to North Carolina and spent most of her life working for a large insurance company and living alone in her home. The stroke took her retirement, her body, her house and her freedom. Now she's paralyzed without the use of her left hand or legs.

I have tried to get a good roommate for her, but they persist in filling the room with comatose or demented patients who die or get shipped off to other homes. Laura and I want a feisty roommate. She wants company, someone to talk to. Is that so much to ask?

Today I come in and find her hooked up to an IV. I ask what's wrong and she's unresponsive for so long I get scared.

Finally she says, "Honey, I don't know. My stomach hurts."

I kneel by the bed and take her hand. "Did the doctor tell you what's going on or why you're hooked up to an IV?"

She shakes her head. "No, but he pushed on my stomach real hard and it hurt."

"But he didn't say what was wrong or what he's going to do about it?"


The doctor, according to nurse feedback, is an angry, tempermental asshole. I've never spoken to him, but today I decide to make an exception.

I walk down the hall, see him sitting at the nurses' station, and when he continues to ignore me, even though I am obviously standing by his side, I say "What's wrong with Laura?"

"Laura?" he says, looking blank.

I tell him her last name and he says, "Oh. I don't know. I'm sending her for a CT of her abdomen. Her gums are swollen and infected."

"So you think the infection could've entered her bloodstream?" I mean, you never know with these idiots, I'm not a doctor, but I'm not convinced he'd know either...so, I politely suggest.

"That's why I have her on antibiotics," the little smartass answers.

But apparently my suggestion makes him think I'm not stupid. We end up discussing a psychotic woman who thinks people are coming after her. It's an interesting case because it is so atypical and I've been saying something's medically wrong with her and today he finally saw that and has ordered a CT scan of her head. We talk and talk until he gets to the showing off part of the dog and pony show...

"I have connections at the mental health inpatient unit," he says. "I used to know the V.P of the unit. Refreshingly honest guy."

I smile. "Know him well, do you?" I say. Sometimes I can't help myself.

"Oh, yes. Great fellow!"

"I know him too," I purr. "I was married to him for 16 years."

His P.A chokes.

"Oh, ur, um...Sorry," he says.

"Oh, don't be. He's only my Ex. I'm fine with him."

"I've got an Ex," he offers. I'm thinking, I'll just bet you do!

We talk awhile longer and then I go back to Laura. I tell her what's going on and what's going to happen. I tell her the doctor will call her family, a sister-in-law, but that I will keep her informed and make sure that while they judge her to be incompetent, I know she's not.

"Thank you, honey," she says. "You have lovely eyes." (This from a woman who said at our first meeting, "I love your eyes, honey, but what the hell happened to your hair?"!)

Then I go down to the social work office. I tell the social worker I've finally braved the lion in his den and had a good professional conversation. I tell her about the Ex part, too. "Did he get your phone number?" she asks.

"No, you guys can reach me if Laura..."

"No, honey," she says, shaking her head slowly..."It won't be the same if we call you. That's what he does to all the pretty ones...He was hitting on you!"

I look at the other, newer, social worker and she nods in confirmation.

I'm there, worried about my patients and this joker's making time?!

Like a freaking fish needs a bicycle!

And I call myself a therapist?! Sheesh!


If I Only Had A Brain...

One day I will get my brain back. For now it is being held hostage by a 25 year old editor who insists that the six pages of revisions she is requesting on my manuscript are just little "tweaks" and will be soooo easy to fix!

No. Not if she is holding my brain hostage, it won't.

And don't think I believe for a second that she will give me my brain back on Wednesday when the corrected manuscript arrives in her office, blood, sweat and tear stained.

Nope. She'll just pass what's left of my sanity on to my other editor who will hold it hostage until I send her a synopsis and the first three chapters of the book that's due in September. I have two more weeks to do this!

In the meantime, I still have to clean out the basement, pack it up and put the house on the market...and work, and cook and blah, blah, blah!

But it would be so nice to have my brain back. Think of all I could do with it! I hear brains are right slippery little things...maybe I could use it to polish the kitchen floor...or grease my way out of the sticky situations I sometimes find myself in. Brains are useful.

Clearly I need mine back.

Just think how much better this blog would be if written by someone with a brain.

Wonder if my publisher would consider giving me a loaner brain? My car broke down Friday night and the dealership gave me a loaner vehicle. You think a brain is any less essential than a car?

Maybe old Hairless Go-rilla down in Hot Lanta'll lend me some of his gray matter...you know, just enough to get me through until I raise the ransom or finish the revisions...


Why Nothing Ever Gets Done Around Here!

I had the best of intentions this morning, really I did, but life just sort of took over.

I have some major revisions due in 10 days on a book that has just driven me crazy. So when I woke up this morning I told myself this would be the day to start working on it. I just want to get it over with so I can move on to the fun stuff.

But before I could do this I checked my email, and my website stats (my newest form of procrastination.) Then hopped in the shower. I got dressed and was about to move the laptop into the kitchen when Martha showed up with chicken biscuits which caused the dog to have hysterics and this woke up the boys.

For some unknown reason, this made me remember that I'm going to a big po-lice awards dinner with Martha and don't have a thing to wear. Ben wanders into the kitchen as I'm thinking all this and says he needs a ride to the school to play basketball, which is right on the way, sort of, to Marshalls where surely to goodness they have one damned black dress that will both fit and look well, frankly, amazing...so I leave the laptop on the bed and tell the dog I'll be "Right back," which we all know is a lie.

Why do I even tell the dog I'll be right back? She doesn't understand English but she sure as hell seems to know a lie when she hears one. She hops up on the back of the sofa, presses her nose to the bay window and cries. Tell me she doesn't know I'm lying!

Anyway...Ben's friends are late, but the church across the street is in the last throes of a garage sale. Now I need more crap in my house like I need hemoroids, but the car's hot and I'm thinking this is a good way to waste a few minutes until Ben's basketball buddies show up, so in we go.

And of course...it's all you can carry out in a bag or a box for a dollar because basically, it beats having to carry the stuff out to the dumpster if you can trick stupid latecomers into doing it for you. They're church people, not morons...although...well, that's another topic entirely.

By now I'm making a mental note to call my doc on Monday and schedule a time to get my ADD meds readjusted. Obviously they're not working...but then I see the two chandeliers on the table across the hall.

I'm trying to get my house back to "normal" so I can put it on the market and these little puppies are just what I need to replace the Chicken Feeder Chandelier (No, I'm not kidding) in the dining room. They look soooo NORMAL. And I don't have to stand there debating which one looks more normal, the polished brass or the burnished brass, because I can fit both of the suckers into one oversized box and only pay a dollar!

So, after I dump Ben back at the house because his friends are M.I.A, I proceed to Marshalls where I lose almost two hours but find two perfect, eat-your-heart-out, Jones New York, size 4 and size 6 dresses, both on sale for $25 a piece!!!

I am a goddess...a shopping wizard...a minor deity.

I come home and waste another thirty minutes trying to get two teenaged boys who are playing video games to tell me which dress looks best to them before I realize they aren't even paying attention and even if they were, what do they know?!

Which is when I remember I was supposed to be doing my revisions.

Which is when Ben's friends re-surface and it feels like my day is starting all over again because I'm back in the car, driving him to the school basketball courts.

I dump him off and say I'll be back in an hour and a half, race home and find Adam waiting for me. "Can I take those pictures of you now?"

"What pictures?"

"The ones I told you I wanted to take last night...It's for your Mother's Day present!"

Oh, yeah, right...like I'd deprive myself of a homemade Mother's Day Present? Only I'm guessing he's updating my website, so this time I'm gonna look decent...which takes another thirty minutes because it involves restoration and reclamation of makeup and hair that never had a fighting chance with me this morning anyway.

And somehow Adam and I end up in the backyard. I'm holding a Glock 9mm airsoft gun which looks and feels almost real. I'm darting around the corner of the basement door in 4" heels and jeans, shooting at the dryer that I forgot to sell in a garage sale because it's now an imaginary bad guy.

Which further de-volves into us setting up targets with old Starbucks cups on top of the rabbit cage and shooting without aiming as fast as we can until I remember I have to pick up Ben.

In the meantime, the laptop overheats and shuts down about 3 times and I lose the two revisions I've made on page 2 and have to start over...and I'm only on page 2 and now it's 5 o'clock!

Martha calls. She's working Duty Captain and wants to know when we're eating supper and what we're having.

Yeah, I'd like to know that very same thing, only I tell her I'm going to work until 7 and worry about supper then.

She hangs up and the phone rings again and it's Grandma Alice. I sent her Mother's Day Flowers and we haven't caught up in almost a year.

Catching up takes an hour but I don't mind because I love her.

I sent my mother flowers too, so she calls next.

This takes 10 more minutes because she has to give me her new phone number because she forgot to tell me she moved...and that she and dad have a bazillion new medical issues...and she gives me a phone number with one too many numbers. When I point this out, it confuses her and this takes longer but I clean out the old mail in my email box while we're talking, just so I accomplish one damn thing today.

I get back to the revisions and I'm on page 5 when Adam materializes beside me. "Can JP come over and shoot in the backyard?"

Easy. Sure.

I keep working only somehow it turns into 8pm and Martha doesn't want to be a pest but should she eat with us or one of her other friends? She tells me Vickie is having a quiet weekend up at the lake, writing, and for a brief moment I fantasize about running away to a local motel, or Panama City, Florida.

I tell her we'll have dinner soon, then I call Adam and ask him to light the grill.

"I'm worn out, Mother," he says. "How about we order pizza?"

Worn out? He's worn out?! What the hell has he done all day?

But I'm too worn out to argue. We order pizza. Martha comes and Adam informs me that every carton of lemonade, milk and orange juice in the refrigerator is expired.

I go to the damned grocery store at 9:30. I have coupons so it takes longer but no one I know is there. I enjoy the solitude and see one of my books for sale in their book rack. It is the first time I've seen one of my books in a grocery store and I would call and tell someone, but I realize I've forgotten to bring my phone. I take a moment to spread all my books into the available slots at the top of the rack labled "Best Sellers." I am enjoying myself immensely.

I come home and have to clean out the refrigerator of expired things before I can put the new ones in. This reminds me that I have to get the kitchen ready for the painters who are coming on Tuesday to make the kitchen look "neutral." So I clean out under the sink and pack another couple of boxes.

Adam calls me in to look at the new animated flash opening for my website and I suddenly see my profile...my breast sagging, thigh bulging profile. He says no, he will not shoot it all over again. No, he won't "Fix" it. He appeals to his younger brother who is lying across Adam's bed, an M-16 in hand, playing video games. "Does she look fat?" he asks.

Oh yeah, like Ben will agree with me on that one and get immeadiately kicked out of Adam's room!

"You look great, Mom," he parrots.

It's 11:30. I have no brain left, so I decide to write a new post here. Somehow it becomes 1a.m. It's as late as it was last night when I finished posting my blog. I am sensing a pattern here.

I suppose it could be worse...I am reading the headlines scrolling across the top of my screen. I could be the man who carved the runaway bride on a piece of toast; or the mother who ran into her son with her car as she was picking him up after his stay in the hospital; or the mother of the boy who listed his brother for sale on ebay. Yes, it could be a lot worse I'm sure...


Cookie...A Rant

On her good days, Cookie is up when I arrive, sitting in her wheelchair and smiling. "I have so many blessings," she says. She gestures to the wall across from the foot of her bed, plastered with photographs of her children and grandchildren. "Whenever I feel lonely, I look at that wall, and then I don't feel so bad. I am so blessed."

I look at the pictures with her and listen as she tells the stories. "That's Mike. He plays soccer in California. He's getting married in December to the loveliest girl." She rolls slowly to the next photograph. Her son smiles out at us from maybe twenty years ago. His hand rests on the shoulder of a beautiful, clear-eyed, girl. They are in love and happy; frozen forever in that one perfect moment.

"That's Bill and Virginia," Cookie recites. "She died. I don't know what it was. She was so sick. That girl didn't want to die. I never saw anybody fight so hard. She rolled from one end of the bed to the other. The pain was so awful. It broke my heart. I don't think Bill ever recovered. You know he never married." I listen to the familiar litany, feeling the comfort she gets from repeating the same words over and over.

Cookie rolls her chair slowly to the far end of the wall and points to an old black and white 8x10 photograph of a young woman on roller skates. Behind her, row after row of desks fill a huge room. Men and women seated behind the desks seem not to notice the pretty girl in white shorts and a fitted, white blouse.

"That's me," Cookie says. She is so proud. "I worked there for 10 years. I went in with my girlfriend but I wasn't looking for work. She was the one applying for a job but the man doing the hiring looked right past her and said 'Can you skate?' I said yes and the next thing I knew, I was working there!"

Cookie can't remember five minutes ago, but she remembers every detail of her family's lives. Sometimes her nurse hands her a cup with her pills in it and a glass of water and Cookie forgets what to do with the pretty colored dots in the tiny paper cup. She pours juice on her cereal and drinks the milk, but she remembers that I bring her freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

"I've been waiting for you," she says. "It's so nice of you to drop by."

Cookie knows she can't remember. Sometimes she smiles, lifts a hand and says, "I don't know if Mary's coming for lunch or not. I call her and she tells me, but, oh well, I just don't know! I tell her, well, if you're coming I'll see you and if you don't, I won't!" She chuckles and says "That's just how it is!"

But some days I find Cookie in her room looking mildly annoyed. "I was upset about something and now I'm upset because I can't remember what it was!" I shake my head. "I hate when that happens!" I say. We look at the picture wall and munch cookies and eventually her confused feeling goes away.

We started her on a medicine designed to help her remember and for awhile I thought it was helping.

A week ago, as I was leaving, I hugged her neck goodbye. "See you next week," I said. Cookie leaned back in her chair and stared up into my face.

"I love you," she said. "I really do."

I hugged her a little tighter, felt the frail bird-like bones, smelled the sweet talc old lady scent and said, "Oh, Cookie, I love you too!" Because I do love her, because how could I not love Cookie?

This week I missed her on Tuesday. She was upstairs in the hair salon. But on Thursday I baked cookies and saved my visit with her for last. I walked up and saw a new expression on Cookie's face, a look I couldn't identify. Her pale pink complexion was mottled with red bumps. When I leaned down to smile at her I saw her red-rimmed eyes and was surprised to see tears spilling onto her wrinkled cheeks.

"Honey, what's wrong?" I kept my voice soft and low as I knelt down in front of her to take both of her hands in mine.

Cookie looked into my face but it felt as if she wasn't even seeing me.

"I need to go to the bathroom," she began in a slow, halting voice. She seemed to focus harder on my face, wrestling with what she needed to say or confess and perhaps feeling it was safe to tell me because she knew somewhere in her forgotten memory that I was familiar.

"I need to go to the bathroom," she said softly, "and I don't know who I am."

I felt my heart break. I squeezed her hand gently, looked into her eyes and said, "Oh, sweetheart! You are Cookie, Elizabeth Robbins, and we will get you to the bathroom right now."

When I knew she'd heard me, I walked to the nurses' station and found her nurse,Tammy.

"I've never seen Cookie like this," I said after she'd called an aide to help.

Tammy shrugged, her attention already back on the cart before her. "Oh well, she gets like that a lot."

I stood there looking at Tammy, willing her to come back, to pay attention, to remember who I was, who her patient was, what her responsibility was, to know how awful it is to feel lost and alone and uncared for...But Tammy was gone, moving on to the next patient and leaving me to stand there staring after her.

I turned and walked the short distance back to Cookie's room. The aide was helping Cookie into the restroom, gently reassuring her as the pair moved slowly forward.

"I brought you a cookie," I said, realizing even as I said the words that Cookie wouldn't see me, or hear the words or even understand them. "I'll just leave it on your bedside table," I added, as my voice trailed off into an ineffectual whisper.

I left the building, heading for lunch between my two nursing homes. Inside my chest I felt sobs crashing against my ribs, looking for a way out and finally subsiding as I sat across from my friends, listening to their stories. They know by now not to ask when I say it is a bad day at the home. Instead they talk over my mood, waiting until I catch up and join them, not taking my mood personally. I still have another home to visit. I can't go there. I can't stay in Cookie's room. I can't make her better today. Somewhere I know I can't make her better ever and yet, I will continue to try because I can't not try.

I leave my buddies and drive across town, thinking about running away, remembering I have two boys I love too much to leave and knowing that even if I did run away to Panama City to become a waitress in a Waffle House, I would still manage to drag every sad story out of every lost cause customer because I just can't help myself.

I pull up in front of the second nursing home and sit in my car staring up at the low-slung brick building. I reach for the phone to call my best friend and remember that she is in Florida taking care of her daughter in law who has had a double mastectomy. I miss her.

Finally, I take a deep breath and leave the car. I am thinking of who I need to see and what they are needing when I open the door and step inside the building, blinking to adjust my eyes from bright sunlight to low interior fluorescent lighting.

"Hey, Baby! Come here you good looking woman!"

Wayland, blue ball cap perched on top of his head, wheelchair rolling up in front of me.

I smile. Wayland thinks I'm his girlfriend.

"Hey, baby, what''re you doin'?" I say, flirting with him.

"Just waiting on you baby! Doggone, you look fine!" He says...And then farts, long, slow, juicy and continuously...All the while telling me how good I look and asking when we're going to go riding in his Cadillac convertible.

Wendell is shameless and I love him for it.

I try not to inhale, try not to laugh and say, "Oh baby, that sounds good to me! I've gotta go put this bag down first. I'll be back around in a little bit!"

I pat his shoulder and walk off down the hallway before I gasp for air. I walk into the social work office, sling my backpack down into a chair and pull out my clipboard.

This afternoon I will be Wendell's girlfriend, Miss Annie's little girl, Walter's wife and Elsie's defender. I will listen to an overworked activity director bitch, fight with a surly CNA that I suspect is mean to her patients and tell another nurse that what she did that morning mattered in the life of a little old man who'd lost the will to live. I will cajole, hug, sing, cry and tease. I will be their defender when they are unable to speak for themselves. I will sit, silently bearing witness as my patients recount the days of their lives, fitting them into some semblance of order before they leave. I will be the one to hold the stories, to remember and honor the wisdom that has gone before. I will laugh and cry and have my heart broken over and over again. I will wake up in the middle of the night, worrying about them like I worry about my boys. I will be there when their children no longer visit. I will be the one to see how much they miss their babies and I will go home and treasure mine.

And when my heart is breaking, I will take a deep breath and realize that all wonderful gifts come at a price.

But I don't think I will ever stop fighting or being angry...at a culture that doesn't value its elderly, at the children who forget their parents, at the profit-driven companies who don't pay a living wage to their staffs, who look the other way when patients are abused or say "Oh, well, that's just how it is!"


Aliens Suck Writer's Brain...Film At Eleven!

Okay, now this really has to stop.

This procrastination thing has gone too far!

Writers drag their feet, sure. I know I'm not unusual in that I would think of almost anything to pull myself away from what I know I must do...What I feel called to do...What I know I really WANT to do...WRITE, DAMN IT!!

But I am sinking to new lows.

It wasn't so bad, really, when I bought a new house as a way of procrastinating. In fact that was a good idea. It meant selling the one I live in now and in order to sell it I have to clean it up and out. This is equivalent to moving a mountain with a teaspoon. (Read my blog about the basement!)

Cleaning out the house and packing is great for procrastinating! I am into it full speed. I barely have time to write and when I do...Oh my God! It's fabulous.

Okay. Maybe not fabulous but sometimes it's not bad.

So the packing and cleaning thing isn't exactly working as a procrastination device because eventually it becomes so odious that I return to the computer in order to procrastinate against doing any more cleaning and packing! I pull up the blank page and just sit there...Waiting for inspiration and happy not to be fighting giant dust bunnies.

Out of desperation, I upgraded my Earthlink account. Low and behold, they've given me a procrastination TOOL! Is that, like, thoughtful or what?! They must know I'm a writer!

Headlines now run continuously across the top of my screen! I could hide them, but why? I might miss something!

The headlines are better than any plot I could think up on my own! Things like: Kids Suck Eggs Through Eye of Needle or Man Nails Self In Head With Nail Gun-Wife Not Surprised He Didn't Notice.

Yesterday's headline was the very best. It completely took me away from my writing and I didn't even need to read the article to know all about it and be absolutely pissed!

Zoo Vet Reverses Bush Dog Vasectomy.

You know, I thought, I knew that man was stupid...But getting the Zoo Vets to reverse his poor dog's vasectomy?! Now that's a new low, even for a Republican! What a waste of public funds! What a mis-use of his authority and office! What, was Condoleza not watching him that day?

I told Martha about it and she was just dumbstruck. I was gearing up to organize a demand for an investigation.

Which meant, of course, that I had to actually READ the article.

The zoo vets reversed the vasetomy on an Australian Bush Dog and not on George W's silly mutt! (Don't ask me why they tinkered with a bush dog's winkie, it would take too long to explain. )

I suppose it probably means I'll have to tell Martha it wasn't Bush's dog. She'll be so disappointed!

But I'll make up some reasons why the headlines mislead me, you know, so it makes a better story...So she doesn't realize what an IDIOT I've been!

Yeah, I'll make up some fabulous extra details because, after all, I am a fiction writer!


Back to the blank page again...

Until the next headline...

Oh, look! There goes a good one!

CDC Injects Diabetics With Lizard Saliva!


Wonder what did it do to the test subjects? Are they green now? Thick skinned? Cold Blooded? Hmmm....wait, I'd better check this one out before I get too involved with my writing...inquiring minds might need to know about this!