Saturday, May 26, 2007

Waiting for the path reports

No reports back yet - next week, they say.
The first report was good, so that's probably what the second report will say, too.
But, damn, it's hard waiting.
She's wrapping her leg herself - but I still look at the incision. Looks good - still looks like a shark bite.
One of Leslie's friends had a melanoma removed from her arm - a big chunk like Heather's, but after a while it filled back in. Heather's never been a big fan of wearing shorts but I hope her "shark bite" fills back in over time, too.
Waiting sucks.


Dreams are funny things - they can take a small incident or comment and distort it.

I have a chore I'm doing for Heather. She wants an old book case painted green to be used outside as a flower stand. Last night I dreamed that I was painting a wooden bookcase white - books still in it.

We were at Half-priced Books the day before. Last night my dream included a used book sale with hundreds of abridged versions of all the "great" books. The covers were patterned and the pages had the same pattern - every page with the text printed over the pattern.

Rich emailed Heather and said he thought Murray had eaten the small figure of Ringo that I have in my Beatles books area. Murray hadn't of course, but Ringo may be hiding from the cats anyway. So last night I dreamed that I was with the Beatles and Paul (a young Paul) was wearing what I thought was the most beautiful coat - camel hair with smudges of all different colors. This morning as I remember the coat, I just think it was god-awful.

Meanings: I don't have the time to even think about that. It's enough that I even remembered them.

Paul McCartney in a god-awful coat - yep, it could have happened - 40 years ago.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Just because Jack's so damn cute

At World's End

So, it's over two hours long and yeah, it combines some elements from the first two movies a, but I loved it. Call me a movie barbarian. Call me in love with Jack. Call me crazy. I will add it to my DVD collection when available - just to see Depp and the magical Shipwreck Island over and over again.

Casablanca it's not - but, damn, I was entertained.


Shark Bite

That's what Heather's calling her surgical wound - and that's exactly what it looks like - a large dent with 21 (I think I counted them all) sutures.

Hate it when shit happens to my little girl - even if she's not little and no longer a girl.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Heck of an Incision

It's about 8 inches long and will leave a large dent in her calf. But she's not upset. Neither am I. We both felt that the surgeon should take out as much as possible just as long as he got all of the melanoma. Now it's just the wait for the final path reports to come back.

The first path report from the biopsy showed Stage I/II - so that was good.

Heather can't go to work the rest of the week and she has to keep her leg elevated. I rigged up an make-shift ottoman with a box of books (there's always a box of books) and a pillow. I'll move it to under her large computer table and she'll be able to work on her projects from home.

I'll be relegated to the laptop - but I'll survive. I just want her well.

Good vibes towards that end are coming from all over.

Blessings to all who've sent them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Today is the Day

Or at least the first day - the other days will be "waiting for the results days."

Heather has the melanoma removed from her leg today - soon she'll be missing a chunk of her lower leg. The surgeon doesn't think there will be a need for a skin graft - but there's always a possibility. And they think that it hasn't gone through the complete dermis - so that's a good sign, too.

She's not scheduled until this afternoon - goddess, I hate waiting.

Another Mitzi Blog

Who Is she?
Not odd.

Check my archives - I was the first Mitzi who was musing.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Radioactive Scare on Seattle Ferry

I loved this story.

A man had just had radioactive dye inserted into his bloodstream for a test. After he got a clean bill of health, he hopped onto a ferry causing the bomb warning system to activate - dogs, bomb squad and all.

Seems like the ferries around here have good security.

Just because Murray's so damn cute

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mercer Island

The views from the community center on Mercer Island.

What a lovely place to live!

Seattle in the Rain and Fog

This is my fifth visit to the Seattle area and today was the first day I saw a heavy Seattle rain - and fog.

A bridge that floats on the water

The weather was not this clear when Heather and I crossed the bridge from Mercer Island - a floating bridge that really does seem to float on the water. It was raining (nuh-duh - it IS Seattle) and the water looked as if it was right at the very edge of the bridge. Well, I guess it sort of was since it

Way cool - even in the rain.

Fine Wines and Felines

Heather and I went to the Meow Cat Rescue and Adoption fund raiser on Mercer Island (which is a residential island in the middle of a lake near Seattle).

It seems I've been wine tasting every time I come to Seattle.

This is some of the wonderful volunteers who did an excellent job of handling the many people who came to taste wine and bid on hundreds of donated items. Of course we bid on some neat things and won a couple of our auctions. Heather now has a wire egg basket in the shape of a cat and it now holds her bananas (not eggs).

I lost the cat quilt raffle - but the money went to a great cause.


Seattle and Seagulls

The air is better here.

Figaro woke me up by her "talking" - so I went outside and just took several deep breaths of the morning air. It was so quiet - not even the seagulls were awake. The sun is just beginning to come up now and the gulls are calling. As Heather says, "These are the real seagulls, not the Wal-Mart parking lot kind." They are huge - with a wing span that must be longer than my arm span. Last month I watched a woman from the senior citizen highrise next door feed a group of gulls. She was small and using a walker - I was afraid one was going to pick her up and fly away with her.

Today we're going to "Fine Wines and Felines" to raise money for a cat shelter called "Meow." Right up our alley.

Life is good.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Flying to Seattle

I'm leaving today for Seattle. Heather's surgery is Tuesday and we hope to have path report on Thursday. Then I can relax and enjoy being with her - as usual.
This is the view from her porch in Everett, WA- the snowy peak is Mt. Pilchuck. The building to the left is a senior citizen highrise - one that allows residents to have pets. I see older citizens walking their little dogs on a leash while using a roller walker for themselves.
I love it. Heather wants me to put in an application. I think she's only half kidding.
Cat care: Heather's dad is doing well and between him and his nephew Tommy, cats will be fine. Some of the great people who, after hearing that Rich was in the hospital and offered to help, read this blog. Thanks. You don't know how much that meant to me. And it's pushed me to an idea I've had a long time - I may start a pet-sitting business when I retire.

Friday, May 18, 2007

It ain't like this anymore....

I've been "working" late, at least since I got the phone call from my boss around 10 PM.
There was an issue at one of our buildings and I've been on the phone since.
Not sure how much longer any of us involved with this incident (either at the facility level or the corporate level) can continue in this profession.
The "good old days" were not so good - as we know now - but today's not much better some times.

Present from Pat

It was hanging on the door of my office - a Heartwood Witch chimes, beautifully carved witch holding her black cat with bats dangling among the chimes. She said she wanted to give me something for the Stephen King autographed book.

I had such a lousy morning and to come to work and see that - good friends help more than we know.

Mornings may be lousy - but really, Life Is Good.

How I Feel About Now...

Shrink and I were just about ready to wrap up our session when cell phone rang. I didn't answer it, thinking it was one of my regional nurses and she would leave me a message.
When I picked up the call, it was work but work telling me that Heather's dad was in one ER with chest pain and being transfered to another hospital for an emergency cardiac cath.
Backstory: I'm flying to Seattle tomorrow to be with Heather when she has a melanoma removed from her leg and to wait for path report to tell us if it's the "benign" form of melanoma. Rich was going to watch over my cats for me.
So several problems at once.
Rich is okay - cath was completed ok and he'll be in ICU overnight. Major issue seemed to be medication and not cardiac problem.
I have volunteers for animal-care. (Goddess bless good friends).
Now I'm taking a break from work (trying to get my work affairs in order) to write about the morning - hoping that writing about it will make it go away and I'll have my energy back.
No - still feel like I've been drug through a knot-hole backwards...
Really need a nap about now - but back to the files, the problems and the emails.

Why the apartment needs cleaning....

Writing it all down makes it real and implants it on my brain.

Elizabeth Peacock and the Body on Abbey Road:
Partial to Jessica Wade of Berkley
Partial to Janet Benrey who then requested the full
Partials out to two more agents (no answers)

Murray's Choice
Submitted to Woman's World

Love Pats
Submitted to Cup of Comfort for Cat Lovers

Elizabeth Peacock and the Ghost of Heartbreak Hotel
250 pages -

Submission for The Lotus Circle (untitled so far)
30 pages

Working on:
Feature queries to Woman's World
Query to Haunted Times - ghost hunting in Gettysburg
Query to The History Channel Magazine - The Rupp History House of Gettysburg

Short Stories:
Reviewing markets for my horror short stories

In the Works:
Biography of Elizabeth Bell Morgan
Ghosts of Easton

Elizabeth Peacock and the Wolf of Stones Crossing'
Elizabeth Peacock and the Crop Circle of Death
The King's Shield - time travel to Camelot
Daffodil Season - love knows no age
The Change - coming of age for 40+ woman
Forever - General John F. Reynolds and Catherine Hewitt

Need a Security guard?

Pop-Pop would be soooo proud

Heather driving a Deere Gator at Qwest Field after the wine tasting expo, Taste Washington. She just recently told me that her grandfather let her drive his tractor (smaller than this, thank Goddess) when she was...uh...around 8 years old. She told me about seeing a copperhead years before she told me about THAT.

Oh, well -

"Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting"

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Too Many Interests

If I had it all to do over, would I be:

Woodward and/or Bernstein (no - not a man)
Oprah (no - not black)

Okay, let's try this again. If I had it all to do over, would I be

A reporter
A professor of Arthuriana
An English literature professor
An American literature professor
An expert on Poe
A psychologist
A dog or cat breeder
An eccentric billionaire
An English history expert
An archeologist
A novelist - horror, fantasy, woman's fiction, mystery

All of the above?

The one thing I didn't list is what I am.


But I'm really glad that I AM Heather's mom.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Making Sauce

I made a list of all the things I had to get done today - some work-related and some personal.
I have most of them done and it's not 11 AM. And, no, I haven't had ten cups of high-test coffee.
I'm just "making sauce". That's what I call my defence mode - the mode I go into when something's thrown me for a loop.
I recognized that mode years ago when Pop and I admitted Mom to the hospital - her lymphoma noticeably advancing to her brain, causing confusion and belligerence, making it almost impossible for us to take care of her at home. It would be her last admission to the hospital, but we didn't know it at the time.
I'd gone to West Virginia to help Pop with her care. Once a chubby, robust woman, she had lost so much weight that I could lift her from the bed to the bedside commode easily. Pop was becoming exhausted and needed more than the few visits of the home health aide. So I stayed until a week after the admission, when we both realized that her coming home was not going to happen.
But that first day, immediately after we returned from the hospital, I knew. Deep down the nurse in me knew that Mom wouldn't be coming home. As soon as we were back in their little apartment, I started making sauce. I chopped onions, garlic and pepperoni. I sauteed everything in olive oil. Pop wanted to know what I was doing. "Making sauce. Just making sauce like Mom taught me, Pop."
Now when I'm stressed and I run on extra energy, I call it my "making sauce" mode.
I'm chopping and sauteing - just not onions and garlic and pepperoni.
"Making sauce" keeps me calm and centered.
Back to my "to do" list.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

What IS this thing ?

I would love to know what it is - I mean before I call Mulder and Scully.
I'm only half kidding - some part of me wants to believe, just like Fox.
The Truth Is Out There.

Correction to Previous Blog

I have eleven bookcases.
When I move, I'll be taking clothes, cats and books - everything else can go to the dump.

Wave of the Future?

Bill Gates (you know who HE is, doncha?) recently mentioned that everything in the future will be read electronically.

As I sit at my dining room table writing this, I'm surrounded by bookcases. I have 10 total between the dining room and living room - in various sizes and devoted to various subjects - one is just for Gettysburg and the Civil War.

I have to admit that having one device to hold all of this sounds intriguing. I could carry all the books I'm reading (which is usually three at a time) in one devise. I could also have my reference books on the same devise (or a separate one if I wanted to be really special). That means no matter where I go, I could have access to all the books that now take up 10 bookcases (coffee table, end tables and tote bags). Hmmmm?

I think about this for a minute and then look up at the bookcase that houses poetry. "Maya Angelou." I get up and pull that book off the shelf - along with the Yeats that's on the shelf below her. "Wow - Octavio Paz." Heather got me hooked on his poetry - good one to read on Mother's Day. "Harlan Ellison? - now how did 'Deathbird Stories' get stuck next to Paz?"

I sit back down and start to write again but my gaze drifts up at the wrought iron bread rack next to the patio door- the first two shelves are devoted to books on "My Boys" - the Beatles.

On the church pew behind me I've stacked some of my Arthurian legend books. I'd taken them off the shelves to do research on a class I want to give and an old time travel I'm dusting off.

And then I think about when I was a kid. "Always has her nose stuck in a book" Pop would say about his oldest. I did and it was a good thing. I used my books to escape. I used to sleep with books on my bed. I would imagine my bed was a magic carpet and that it would take me away, my books safely at my side.

I love new technology. I want a handheld reader. I want to have the ability to download several books and carry only a slim electronic device on a plane. Oh, wait - I wouldn't be able to read during take-off. Drat. Still I want one.

But I want to keep my "real" books.
My books are like old friends. Good old friends. You may not talk to them everyday, but when you want them, need them, they're there. All you have to do is look up and see Maya, William Butler, Octovio, John, Paul, George or Ringo.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Gettysburg, 2006
Rupp House History Lectures
Me and General Reynolds and the general's brother who was a sea captain during the Civil War. I have a bit of a crush on "General Reynolds" - but I'm way to old for him.

Reynolds Monument and the view into Reynolds Woods immediately behind the monument.
General John Reynolds had just turned down the command of the Army of the Potomac. On July 1, 1863 he rode onto the battlefield - a stretch of land with wooded areas just west of Gettysburg - near the Lutheran Seminary.
General Reynolds was not on the battlefield long before he was felled by a Confederate bullet. The highest ranking Union general to die in the three days of the battle died in the first few hours.
The monument is on the site where Reynolds fell. There have been stories of strange lights in the woods at night and strange sounds. I left a small tape recorder in the bushes there for a night - no EVP (electronic voice phenomena) - just the voices of other ghost hunters.
There is a sad love story that goes with General Reynolds - but that's for another blog.
P.S. Her name was Kate.

History Geek

I'll be in Gettysburg for two weekends this summer: one long weekend for the free history lectures at the Rupp House and one long weekend for the reenactment.

I'm a history geek, hence the lectures.

Elizabeth Peacock will be a reluctant reenactor in "Elizabeth Peacock and the Ghost of Heartbreak Hotel"; hence the reenactment.

For the first weekend I'll be staying at the Farnsworth House Inn - very haunted - and I'll be in the old house - the one where Confederate snipers took refuge with one possibly killing Jennie Wade. The Farnsworth House is a block away from the Rupp House. I'm pitching an article about the Rupp House to the History Channel magazine.

For the second weekend I'll be staying with Nancy at the Gettysburg Cottages off Mumasburg Road. I need that location because Elizabeth will be staying at a fictional - and haunted - B&B on Mumasburg Road.

I'm already getting excited and it's 2 months away.

Yep - history geek.
The picture is of early morning mists across the area of Longstreet's Advance to Cemetery Ridge.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A Chance Meeting

Florence Nightingale - the woman who inspired an entire profession.
We should all be so memorable.
Maybe we are - in a small way.
Tonight I was walking around the purse section of Kohl's - bemoaning the fact that there were no pocketbooks that met with my picky criteria.
A woman stopped me saying, "You're going to think I'm crazy, but did you work in home care and come to Easton Hospital around 20 years ago?" I told her I did. "Did they call you Mitzi?" I told her they still do.
She then went on to tell me that I inspired her to go into home care.
Not totally a Florence moment - but a good Mitzi-one.
Not a bad moment for National Nurses Week.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Gee, thanks, Heather!

My daughter wrote one line in her last email when we were talking about my annual trip (s) to Gettysburg: "You know, you'd be the perfect person to write a series of historical-paranomals from that time period."

As if I needed more ideas.

I went to B&N and bought magazines, including UFO (for Elizabeth Peacock and the Body on Abbey Road research. Yeah, right) and Haunted Times.

The popular "Ghost Hunters" is back on SciFi soon.

I'll be staying at the Farnsworth House for my first trip to Gettysburg. Guess I'll have to take my laptop.

Writers never really take a vacation - all is grist for the mill. Even the paranormal - maybe, especially the paranormal.
Cover is from June/July 2003

Monday, May 07, 2007

National Nurses Week

For someone who never wanted to be a nurse but as one who's been a nurse for almost 40 years, I do get miffed when no one recognizes this week.

Nurses are the backbone of the health care system and our ranks are dwindling. The median age of an RN is 47. It's a difficult job to do at 47 - and older. I'm 59 and could not physically work on a nursing unit, long term care or hospital.

There may be more people who want to go into the profession; however, there are not enough faculty to teach them. University education requires at least an MSN, a degree which would earn much more money in the private sector.

But if we have more MSNs, who does the care at the bedside? Aides with limited education? Probably. That seems to be the way the business of health care is going.

I never wanted to be a nurse. I wanted to be a writer. However, the things that I have seen and experienced in the 39 years since I received my RN have seasoned my writing.

Once upon a time when I was the charge nurse for a large skilled nursing unit, I had a tiny elderly woman as a resident. The nurses and aides tried to make her time easy. We brushed her cottony hair into a top knot. We dressed her in pink nighties and lifted her gently out of bed and onto a chair, careful not to disturb the dressings on her vascular leg ulcers. After we had her comfortable (or what we thought was comfortable) she looked at us with tears in her eyes and said, "I'll never have another beautiful day."

Nurses help to make those days as beautiful as possible.

Happy Nurses Week.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Back to the computer!

I just got back from Valley Forge Romance Writers workshop. And I have another request for a partial.

Jill Barnett's workshop on writing the synopsis was so good that I want to rewrite mine. But I have to work on it this weekend because I want to send out a partial to Jessica Wade of Berkley and a partial to agent Janet Benrey - spoke to her today.


I better get ass in gear - or ass in chair.

Wait - ass is already in chair but it's connected to a writer who's blogging and not working on above synopsis.

As Cher once said to Nicolas Cage: "Snap out of it!"

Write, damn it!

Image from

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Going Crazy Over a New York Number

I am becoming certifiable - really, come and take me away - hahahahahaha.
The phone rang and I picked up. A woman said, "May I speak to Mary?" Before I could say a word (BTW: "Mary" is my "real" name), a cat jumped over the phone cord, pulling it out of the wall.
I dialed *69 and got the number. It was a 212 exchange. 212 - 212- 212. New-frigging-York City!. Who do I know in New York City? Agents - agents - agents. The agents I've queried and with, as yet, no answer or an acceptance (positive thinking!).
I dialed the number. "It's an agent - it's an agent - it's an...."
Nope - it was a company signing up website domain names.
Thank Goddess tomorrow is my day with the psychotherapist.

This is not a plug...

...well, maybe it is.

I woke up this morning at 2:30 AM remembering that I had "misplaced" my ATM/Check Card. Acccck!

I'd gone into my purse the evening before and couldn't find it in its usual spot. "Must have it in the slacks I wore the day before - used it to buy gas." No worry, I thought. I paid with that unusual stuff - cash - and left.

At home, I got involved with hanging up the piles of clothes all over my bedroom (I'd bought hangers and no, I am not expecting a guest - just couldn't stand the piles any longer) and I forgot completely about the card. That is until 2:30 in the friggin' morning.

Of course I couldn't go back to sleep. I got up, opened up the newly hung slacks and found...empty pockets. I looked in the purse and pocketbook - several times. I even took a flashlight out to the car - no card. Damn!

I still couldn't go back to sleep - so I went online, got the 800 number and called. The most delightful woman finally answered - I really didn't wait that long. She took my information and told me that my old card was placed on hold (whew!) and the new card would be overnighted -I had to pay extra, but I felt better.

Sometimes we (I) gripe about huge corporations and their lack of customer service. Not this time. I am a happy girl - even though I got less sleep.
Thanks, Wachovia - instead of "Walk over ya", you were more "Watch over ya."

No words needed...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Writer's Demons

I love this old print. I'm sure it was meant as an allegory - a lesson for the illiterate. "Demons are out there: beware."

Writers have their own set of demons - mine are very personal.

I love writing.
I love reading.

There are times when one battles the other for my time.
Most of the time I can balance the two. The best days are those that I'm off from work and I follow the Stephen King schedule:
write (or revise - they're really the same thing) for four hours (or until you've written a specific number of pages or words) and the read for four hours (either in the afternoon or evening).

But on a day like today when work intrudes into my "real life" - the life after 5 PM - I find that I am less than a happy-camper when I haven't had the time to write. And let me very honest, there are times during my "day job" when I writing - especially during lunch.

Writing is too much a part of me to put it on the back burner of my life.

Back Pain or....

What the Heck Am I Doing Right?

I had severe pain once in Seattle (with the pseudoclaudication) and then nothing. I had it for two days after I came home. Now - just twinges. I still can't walk long distances, but the pain, that horrible extra large tooth-achey type pain in my lower back is not there. And this happened when I'd run out of Advil. The fact that I'd forgotten to buy more says a lot about the absence of pain.

I do have a new chair at work (the same Heather has at home and then one I used often while visiting her). The weather is beautiful. But aside from all that - still doing the same exercises, haven't dropped 50 pounds in a week, still the crabby old lady.

Was it just the old dysfunctional office chair?

Is it because I'm finally realizing that most of my energies should go into writing and not into long term care?

Is it the full moon?
I really don't care what it is, as long as it continues.

Without the pain, I'm a lot happier and have more energy.

Life is good - still.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Interesting Article

State Houses across the country are urging the Congress to begin articles of impeachment - as Dennis Kucinich has already done alone.

If you go to the website below, you'll see the article and you may see and interesting banner above - supporting John McCain. I know advertising banners change frequently on websites - just thought it was interesting juxtaposition.