Friday, February 29, 2008

What Would Pop Say?

The sign on the pole in the community college cafeteria read: "Barack the Valley".
Cool, I thought.
Heather's a precinct delegate for Obama.
Cooler still.
My how times have changed: Her grandfather, my father, regularly used "The N-word" and when I think of that time, it seems as if was another lifetime ago. Then I think how far we've come.
I don't want to go back.

If Pop's rolling around on top of Hay Cemetery in Rada, West Virginia, well, so be it. I hope that somehow he would have made peace with changes that were inevitable. I think he'd started before he died. Recognizing your own mortality does that to you.

So, even if Pop is rolling, I have a feeling that Mom, right next to him, is saying, "Frank, give it up and go back to sleep."

Mom would have liked Barack.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Friends of a Feather
I usually hear them as I get into my car in the morning. They caw at me from atop a large tree – three, four, five – dark and brooding-like against a gray sky.

Today they weren’t there and I thought about that as I drove to work – thought about how I missed them this morning. It wasn’t that I hadn’t heard their caw; I always listen for and hear them. They just weren’t there and I wondered about that.

Then this morning they were outside my office – probably not “my” crows, not the ones who greet me enthusiastically every morning – but large, black, iridescent crows, bobbing and sashaying around the grass. I hardly ever see crows outside my office, but there they were – five big ones.

After a busy and intense morning, seeing some old friends made me smile, made me happy. They reminded me what is truly important to me. And because of that, I’ll have a much better afternoon.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The American Dream

I think the problems in the housing market happened because "we" changed the American Dream. Does a young family really need a huge house (maybe with a pool) with a gourmet kitchen in the exburbs - 40-50 miles from their jobs?

Build it and they will buy it. We'll make them want it - they'll have to have it. And now so many families are stuck.

Give me a two room cabin in the middle of the woods - and a screened in porch for the cats - just enough space for a comfy sofa, bookcases and a desk that can double as a table - one large fireplace (to help the solar panels) and a windmill outside making electricity for my laptop and CD player. Color me content with that dream.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Gettysburg Visitor's Center - opening in April

Night lights and breast cancer

A very intersting article in the Washington Post (and it's not the one about McCain). This one is more important - the link between light at night and breast cancer - how light at night decreases a woman's chance to produce a cancer-reducing hormone.

Once again this shows how changes in our basic environment can cause monummental changes in individuals.

Remember: I was the 6 year old who received radiation treatments in the 1950s to decrease my tonsils and adenoids - the preferable treatment prior to surgery. This possibly lead to my two bouts of thyroid cancer.

You never know what you're doing now that can affect you in the future - it's not just the transfats, people - not just the transfats.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Duma Key - Reprise

I finished King's latest book last night - one day after I'd started it.
Once again I am amazed at how he can get me to care for a cast of characters and then pull the rug out from under them - and me.

This is what he does best - take ordinary people and put them in extra-ordinary, or para-ordinary situations - situations that test their abilities and your belief system.

He did it again.

Monday, February 18, 2008


It was one of those compressed dreams that comes in between the time you turn off the alarm and roll over for a few more minutes of rest or sleep. This morning it must have been sleep - deep sleep because suddenly I was back being a charge nurse.
I was in charge of a unit that was part nursing home and part hospital. I know this because they were bringing patients down from surgery. I couldn't get anything done. My aides and other nurses weren't talking to me. I had to be in charge, give out meds, take off doctor's orders, check vital signs and I was always trying to get the resident list with assignments together - I was busy but accomplishing nothing.

I forced myself to wake up, heart pounding deep inside all the way down to my stomach - with the dread that the dream was just a portent of my day's reality. It isn't. I will never be a charge nurse again - my back couldn't take the strain.

Maybe it wasn't a nightmare - maybe it was a reminder that things are not always as bad as they may seem.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Duma Key

I've spent most of the afternoon on Duma Key with Edgar Freemantle, Wireman, and Elizabeth Eastlake. Right now I'm halfway through and think that maybe I would like to visit the Key and stay in Big Pink. But, then again, I'm only halfway through.

Will let you know if I change my mind about that visit.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lazy Sunday

I spent the day in Pine Deep, PA - a sleepy little berg that usually comes alive once a year - on Halloween. Pine Deep is the creation of Jonathan Maberry (see below). I'm in the middle of "Dead Man's Song" - couldn't put it down.

I love it when I can read most of the day - escape, even if it's into a world of blood-sucking zombie-like creatures obeying the command of some invisible monster. Maberry makes it all seem plausible - so much so that I had the chain on the door long before it got dark.

Reading and writing are my escapes - don't have enough time for either - except on lazy Sundays.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

1960 to 2008

I was almost 13 in the months before the 1960 Presidential election. My contribution to the democratic process back then was to "campaign" for Richard Nixon during Laurel Jr. High's mock election.

Today my daughter caucused in Washington State and became a precinct delegate for Obama. Her goal is the Democratic Convention - the real one.

I must have done a good job raising her.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Understanding Mom and Pop

I was twenty-seven when my parents retired to the old farmhouse in the middle of 110 acres in West Virginia. My mother was just 50 and my father 56. I thought they were crazy.

Not any longer.

I crave solitude and nature around me. I spent some time this morning just watching crows. I was going to get into my car to go to work and heard the caw. I looked up to see three crows sitting in a tree. "Three Crow Cottage" popped into my head. That's what I'll name my cabin, I thought. I watched the crows and listened to their calls and shook off the daydream for reality.

I wonder how long I have to wait for Three Crow Cottage.

Nurse or a Purse

Several years after Mark and I'm still alone. In the twenty-six years since my divorce, this is the longest time I've been without a man in my life.
There are pros and cons and I have to say that the pros outweigh the cons.

For example: Yesterday I was tired to the bone, dragging. I'd driven back and forth to the Lancaster area two days in a row and finally driving back to the office in a deluge that followed me. I got to the office at 1 and was handed a message from one of the buildings and a folder full of mail and faxes. I had yet to eat my lunch. The afternoon was long and tortuous with problems and phone calls. The last thing I needed when I walked into my apartment was a man who needed comfort - the last thing I've ever received from most of the men in my life was comfort when I needed it.

If I want cereal for supper, I can have cereal for supper. If I want peace and quiet, I have it - and lately I crave it and crave the solitude of my apartment after a long and busy day at work. Most of the time I would even rather be at home on the weekends, reading and writing.

When I get home at night the ONLY things I HAVE to do is feed the cats and take my pills. I can even sleep in my clothes - and sometimes I've been so exhausted, I've fallen asleep on the sofa at 6 only to get up later to undress and go to bed.

Someone once said that after the age of 50, a man is looking for a nurse or a purse.
Unfortunately I'm both. I'm a nurse with a good job. I've always been that - with all the men who've wandered in and out of my life. I'm sure everyone of them has looked at me and thought, "Well, she'll always have a job." Not one has ever said, "Don't worry, I'll take care of you."

Yep - sure is nice to come home to cats.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

If you love Stephen King.....

Jonathan Maberry won a Stoker Award for Ghost Road Blues. He damn-well deserved it.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Doing too much...

I was in Williamsport last week for a seminar on the new long term care survey process. Not a lot of fun. At least I spent the night in Bloomsburg, so I got some rest. That weekend was especially busy - with a writers group meeting added to the usual chores.

This week I traveled to Pittsburgh but road with Frank and Mike (his driver). We left around 3 PM to go to Mercersburg where we spent the night in one of Frank's homes - the Lane House (owned by President Buchanan's mother). It's like spending a night in a museum/art gallery. Next morning up early for the ride to Pittsburgh and then a trip back to Allentown that afternoon. That was with all the other stuff going on at work.

To say I couldn't wait for the weekend is an understatement. I wanted Saturday and Sunday to do what I wanted - so Friday when I got home, I cleaned the apartment - did all my weekend chores except buying the groceries. I did that this morning - then went shopping for myself!

Now I have low back pain - I'm sitting on the sofa - back against it's supportive cushions, my laptop table pulled close to me so I can write.

There's just so much to do and so little time...