Saturday, December 20, 2014

She's Home For Christmas

Forgive the length of time since my last post. It has been a long month with little time to reflect. The Matriarch of our family passed away unexpectedly on December 6th and we have been trying to regroup since then.

Mom was the last one we expected to go, considering Dad's voluminous medical history. She went down without pain or suffering. She was totally normal the night before when Dad and I stopped by to pick up some food she prepared for my post-surgical lounging, followed by her usual caution to be careful driving to my Dad.

The next day after hearing nothing from her, he ventured to their house and found her gone. His chest tightened up and he was admitted to the hospital for observation. He had already suffered a heart attack and a head injury a short time ago.

Her memorial service on the 13th was attended by people who loved her from around the globe. She would have been stunned.

I can't help but wonder what it will be like spending her first Christmas with the Baby in the Manger among family members who have gone before her. I'll bet she's having a hoot!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Older & Wiser

I just celebrated my birthday yesterday and I came to realize that my youthful exuberance is gradually being replaced by some old goat with suspenders on his jeans. I have not fallen into the fashion trend of our youngsters and choose not to have my pants exposing my Superman-themed drawers. I think age brings a degree of practicality.

I quit smoking years ago because being cool was not compatible with breathing, climbing stairs and ladders or listening to a nagging spouse spew her disgust endlessly. I quit drinking because my aging body declared an impasse and started yelling, "You quit or I will." My innards still haven't totally forgiven me for pickling them.

I began to remember the good ol' days when I could get away with such shenanigans with no consequence. I was one of those guys that was incensed by having to go outside to smoke. Now the smell of it gags me. The same reaction happens with the smell of booze.

So now, I celebrate having a great family and enjoy the benefits of a fine cup of coffee or juice with the benefit of no morning-after hangover and all of my wits about me, meager as they are. I hope that if you're on the road to wisdom you'd consider what I've said. We ain't gettin' any younger!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Awaiting the Early Throes of Winter

All-in-all the weather has generally been decent most of the Fall around here, but the weather guy says that's about to change tomorrow or so. Some big blast from Siberia and Alaska is supposed to drive evening temps into the 20's and the daytimes will be just above freezing. So much for easing into Winter.

We can't complain too much. The middle of the country is getting hammered as I write this. The place I visited in July is hovering in the single digits now. It was 103 when I was there and people were scrambling for ways to cool off.

It's no wonder the neighborhood squirrels and rabbits have been out in force looking for food to store. This might just be a long, cold winter. I think I'll follow suit and stock up on hot chocolate mix. I hope the power stays on for Thanksgiving. Frozen giblets just don't appeal to me at all!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Whew, October Sucked!

I can't remember a time when more than one family member went through some sort of medical or emotional crisis within two or three short weeks. It happened this month. It was beginning to feel like we should be dabbing lambs' blood on the front door to have the wrath of God pass over.

It was impractical to consider writing. Things happened too fast. I'm sure that other writers have faced this sort of thing, but have never experienced it for myself until October. My respect for these colleagues has grown immensely.

I noted that my escape has been through writing. When that is not possible, my belly is exposed to the arrows slung by the circumstances at hand. Oh wait, I suddenly remember that someone else is watching over me and everyone else.

How easy I forget sometimes.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Color Me Concord Purple

Seldom do I get very excited about what grows out of my jungle in the back yard, but this year is a major exception. This is the first year out of the last seven or eight that I have a bountiful crop of grapes hanging from my arbor.

Granted, there aren't enough to make a vat of wine (I don't drink anymore anyhow), but there's plenty to play Caesar Augustus and pop them into my mouth while quaffing a fine root beer and watching the Seahawks.

I've noticed that there are a few tiny birds who like my grapes as well, but they don't take much. I haven't even had any raccoons raid the stores.

I am asked, "What do you do with the seeds?"

Duh, I spit them out like watermelon seeds? Is everything in the grocery store seedless these days? I just make sure that Lily the Terrorist doesn't get any. They're not supposed to be good for dogs - even terrorists. It's a good thing she doesn't like 'em anyway.

I didn't even know when these things ripened until this year. They were always frozen or ripped off by some critter before they were ready before. Now I know. I will mark this on my calendar for next year and keep my fingers crossed.

Between the grapes and the blackberries, I could become a king of my hill!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Who Flipped The Switch?

This is the first year in many that I can remember an immediate change of transitions. The last post I did was smack in the middle of a red flag warning with bone-dry conditions. The very first day of Autumn all of the forest creatures around here were scrambling for their Personal Flotation Devices and we experienced a climate change, although I didn't see Al Gore's jet go over to confirm that.

I've seen this kind of thing happen before only at higher elevations. You get tucked into your toasty sleeping bag and the next morning is dead quiet, which motivates a person to find a nearby tree. That's when you find the six inches of fresh snow on the ground and you're looking for much closer trees.

I failed my Farmers' Almanac course, so I can't tell you what kind of winter we might have - normal or ugly. I find myself being thankful for my 4-wheel drive. No one likes to get stuck in 2-inches of icy slush. You'd have to live in Western Washington to understand that logic.

The nice part is that plenty of writing can be accomplished in the foul weather months, assuming you've got a story line to work on. I can only surmise the attendant boredom that might occur with a few power outages, since we have some healthy wind storms and tall trees that begin to become nuisances around November here.

I might have to rough it and use pencil and paper plus a good candle if it gets bad enough. I'm not even sure that I can hand write anything any more. It's been a while. Will someone let me know when Summer gets here?


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Two Weeks Already?

I noticed that it's been a bit since our last parlay, so I figured I'd better catch up before someone noticed my absence! Everything has been straightened out as far as the new book edits go. I double-checked that a couple of nights ago.

The next book is brewing somewhere in the recesses of my grey matter and I fully expect it to burst forth any time now...any time now, brain. I've been perusing the notes I kept from the Montana trip and they amuse me no end. I am perhaps the only person who has been excited about seeing a bazillion prairie dogs out on the plains only to find out that they were ground squirrels. What a Greenhorn!

I had to take a little more time off due to my Dad's second round in the hospital last week. Thankfully, it wasn't his heart. His symptoms stopped as soon as the Paramedic stabbed him with an IV. I have always believed in acupuncture and this just proved my theory.

Would you believe that Western Washington of all places is under a red flag warning? What that means to those who may not know is that it is too dry to burn anything, including campfires. It kind of screws up the old weeny roast season, but winter will arrive soon enough.

Meanwhile, don't forget to feed your sourdough and make sure your cast iron skillets are seasoned up and your longjohns are patched. It might be a long winter.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Constructs Of A Mild Panic Attack

There was a period of time between my Fire Service retirement and writing novels that stress was not a major factor...except that one instance where my heart quit for a few seconds in the Cardiac Cath lab. Otherwise, things weren't too bad. I had a good thing going, but started to get bored. The next thing you know, I took up writing fiction and loved it. My long-stifled creativity came to the surface and, like every other author in existence, had moments of envisioning a comfortable existence lounging on my veranda with a nice bottle to nurse while I penned my next masterpiece. Then it started happening. Everything had a deadline of one sort or another, just like before my retirement. Edits, forms, marketing plans, more edits, and learning new rules from somewhere in Chicago to write by that I had never seen before, but had to reformat my manuscript to fit them in amazingly short periods of time. The rubber was not only meeting the road, but also running over the author, especially in my latest submission. All of the necessary documents were sent to me in "read only" format. Everything I completed and returned was unchanged. No corrections noted even after supposedly switching off the "read only" feature. My first deadline was August 24th and I sent the manuscript on the 9th. I got word back on the deadline of the problem. Now she wanted it by the 1st. There was no way to re-edit 522 hours worth of corrections. That's where the panic began to rise. I became stressed. Then I realized that my contract had a deadline of October 1st - not September 1st, and wouldn't you know it, but I think I found the file I needed and sent it along the next day. Stress relieved, at least momentarily. Moral of the story: Don't panic until you're the slowest guy running from the bear. Gary

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Visitation By My Best Friend

This must be some sort of record: two visits in a month that I've seen my Best Bud who I went to Junior High and most of High School with. He must've been bored. We have a long history of significant life events that unfolded over the years starting with #2 pencils. He had a penchant for stabbing me in the hands with them every chance he got. It couldn't be that I teased him mercilessly about his height back then because he was approximately the size of a Hobbit. I still have pencil tattoos to this day. As the years passed, he worked as a carpenter who became one with the house he was building. His boss put a rather large nail through some wood above him where his head was in proximity to. It drove into his skull and stuck him to the upstairs woodwork. Thank goodness his brain was not overly large or it could've caused irreparable damage. He got all whiny and spent some time in the hospital looking for sympathy, though. Then later on he contracted cancer and went through the whole chemo protocol driving back and forth to Spokane. I was privileged to give him his last chemo ride up there and we managed to mutually regurgitate the entire way back, some two hundred miles. It was memorable. As if that wasn't enough, we camped out on the American River "roughing it" and were flooded out of our camp. I distinctly remember him saying, "We'll be fine." It was a long, wet drive back to town that night. The reason I bring this up is because he volunteered to attach the license plates onto my new truck. It involved screws and tools with sharp ends. I rapidly exited to my back yard on the other side of my house, waiting for the screams of pain to erupt throughout the neighborhood. He's my best friend, but he's awfully high maintenance! Why tempt the odds? Gary

Monday, August 11, 2014

Caught Up In The Whirlwind

Shoot, things haven't slowed down in over a week. Last Saturday was #2 Daughter's wedding; Sunday my Dad had a heart attack and spent most of the week in ICU/PCU; got my pre-edit to the new book completed and sent; today is #3 Daughter's wedding in Seattle. I still have forms to send to my editor before the 24th.

I still haven't caught my breath from my Montana expedition and my body is letting me know how displeased it is with all this commotion. I sincerely hope that the coming days will allow for some recuperation before the snow flies.

I'm not sure that I want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, though. You know what will happen and I don't really want to be the hood ornament for an oncoming freight train. The weight of the world is more than enough.

If you hear of a rabid man careening through the streets of the Pacific Northwest, that would be me just having snapped my twig. It won't be pretty.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

You Are Officially Falling Apart

I didn't fully understand or appreciate the cascade effect until lately. Just before my Montana trip, docs from all walks of profession started coming up with new maladies for my perusal. It wasn't just one; it was a few.

"Because such-and-such happened, you've now got so-and-so, that complicates your original 'aches and pains.' I now see so many medical types that remembering their area of expertise and office locations escapes my recollection sometimes.

While in Montana, I get a phone call saying "we've taken the liberty to refer you to these two or three physicians. You need to call them to make appointments. This was the day after sitting on wooden bleachers for a Pow Wow. My hips, knees and lower back were stilling reacquiring feeling. I guess arthritis does that. If it wasn't for my walking stick, I would have undoubtedly been ambulating on my knees.

It seemed like old soldier's week when I got back. You've got too much swelling, take these pills; the reason for your swelling is because of your liver, not your heart; physical therapy in the pool twice a week should help the arthritis; by the way you've got a UTI, but there still aren't any more kidney stones - take this antibiotic.

It all comes down to abusing the old body for too long and now it's abusing me back. It's getting even for all those Paramedic and Firefighter tasks I urged it to do for thirty years. At least I got it out the other side alive, if not in one piece! What more does it want?

I can only hope that the body parts stabilize. Having something fall off in a local shopping establishment might look tacky. Now I must work on some editing before a finger falls off and I have to relearn how to use a keyboard.


Monday, July 14, 2014

What A Week!

I pulled into the driveway after a 13 hour jaunt back across 2 1/2 states last night from Browning, MT. Browning is in Eastern MT near the Rockies and Glacier National Park.

I spent 5 days sucking up as much information as I could and wasn't disappointed, so by Saturday night I decided that all things considered, it was time to pack up and head back Sunday before my body quit working completely. If you ever want to see a humungous Pow Wow, Browning is the place to go during the third week of July. Tribes from across the Country show up and you get an eye- and earful.

One thing I didn't plan during my scouting of the larger area was to have the transmission of my pride and joy 2007 Chevy Silverado become history. Fortunately, I was just coming into Cut Bank and they had a GM dealership there. It was Friday the 11th. A new tranny couldn't be shipped and installed until about the 23rd. I was stuck.

Wouldn't you know that a 2014 crewcab truck identical in color to mine was sitting in their lot? I wanted the awesome blue one sitting next to it, but it was only a 6 cylinder - this was an 8 like I had.

The Mayor of Cut Bank was my salesman, which originally gave me pause, but by the time he walked me through all the options, I realized he was honest. He could sell me the new truck for a hundred dollars less a month than what I was paying for my old one!

So, what could have been a disaster turned out to be a blessing. New truck, new warranty, new improved gadgets and I could complete my original goal of researching the Blackfeet Tribe. Next time I'll tell you about the $150 a night rooms at the area motels and why it's a blessing to have generous parents!

This next book will have a truckload of memories piled in its bed and I'm still alive to tell about them!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dem Bones Dem Bones

I should know by now that whenever you have a significant trip planned, the bod says "Yeah? Well let's see what you can do when you try to get ready for it and your hips and knees don't work!" I've spent the past week trying to prove the old joints and bones wrong, but they're stubborn little odds and ends that don't give up easily.

When the bone doc mentioned the eventuality of having cortizone injections through the groin, I noticed that I broke into a moderate sweat. No wonder my days of tent camping came to an abrupt end. My body parts could see the writing on the outhouse wall! At least I have an official-sounding reason not to "rough it" any longer. I'd never be able to stand up again.

I also prefer to think of myself as stately when I use my walking stick instead of decrepid. The bones disagree, but what do they know? They're just bones. The only thing that gives away my condition is when I try to swing a leg up into the cab of my truck and may have to take a couple of tries at it. I fear that one of these days I'm going to haul off and accidentally knock the slats from under some unsuspecting little kid with a round-house karate kick.  That would be tough to explain, especially with me crumpled on the ground crying harder than the kid I just leveled.

Oh well, all I have to do is carefully finish my research on the road and get back home in the next couple of weeks. Then  everyone will be safe again with me playing hermit behind my computer screen and my backside planted firmly in a chair.

I might just have to use those contraptions called aeroplanes in the future. I hear they work pretty well for many types of expeditions. I'm not sure where they place the "handicap" sticker though - on me or on the pilot's rearview mirror.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Once In A While Hollywood Gets It Right

I came across a commentary last night on the TV show Longmire (Mondays, 10:00 pm on A&E). I have liked that show since it started a couple of seasons ago and now I better understand why.

Their technical advisor is an Umjibwe transplant to the Cheyenne Nation since he was a child. He has stayed true to the major tenants of the Cheyenne and Native American cultures in general without the usual shallow Hollywood depictions and shows the interactive ups and downs of cultural interplay with Whites. A great deal of attention has been spent ensuring that sacred and ritual boundaries are not crossed. Those are for tribal members only and not for TV.

They have quality male and female Native actors that carry major compelling roles and address everday issues (plus the usual drama associated with the law enforcement angle of the show with its own brand of Native/White tension). I have been impressed!

I encourage people to watch this show and get a better glimpse of life on the Native American side. It's not a cowboy and Indian type of thing at all. It's a refreshing look at entertainment through other eyes and the producer of this piece of work deserves accolades for its attention to detail, not to mention the author of the books the show was developed from.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Coming Up For Air

The major events of the summer are now about halfway through, i.e., Fathers Day, my Dad's 81st birthday, the folks' 63rd wedding anniversary, and of course a new book being picked up by my publisher. The clouds have parted and it's time for a breather, other than it has been raining the past few days around here!

Hang on. I forgot something. I'm heading to the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana to do some research for a new book, I'm going to visit my Son and Grandson for a couple of days, Middle Daughter is getting married in early August, Youngest Daughter is still trying to figure hers out, and there are family birthdays up the kazoo in August and September.

Just think what a dilemma I'd have if I wasn't retired! Where did my youthful energy go? I don't remember lending it out to anyone. I envy Lily the Terrorist. When I'm gone, she gets to lounge around the doggie spa and play with her friends without a care in the world except who will be giving her another treat.

I think my own personal time will arrive sometime around February, but I'll have to wear wool socks with my sandals and shorts by then. Such is life in the Pacific Northwest.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Humming Birds From The Valkyrie

It's not often that I feel threatened in my own back yard, but lately it's a little tenuous out there since I bought new humming bird food and a new feeder. Someone told me that the reason I was getting so few birds to show up was likely that the nectar had molded and the birds don't do molded.

Okay, so I ventured to my neighborhood box store and bought new stuff and a larger feeder. Sure enough, the flights started arriving by that afternoon and until dark. I was pleased!

All sorts of colors and activity flitted around the deck where I had hung the feeder. I could watch them from my recliner in the house, too. Great entertainment for those easily amused, like me.

Then someone must've put the word out for airstrikes against any creature coming close to said food source. The friendly little hummers became the Vinland Terrace airwing, complete with close quarters tactical fly-bys.

Lily the Terrorist and I were no match for the onslaught when she needed to go outside and do her duty. At first I thought we were being accosted by a swarm of large bees, but no, a hummer stopped just short of my nose as if to issue a warning to stay away from the feeder.

It has gotten to the point that I can see them swooping from the trees and hanging out on the grape arbor waiting for refueling. Lily and I have sped up our walk to her outhouse in anticipation of an incoming raid, much to Lily's chagrin.

I can only surmise why the local tribes did not set out food for these creatures in the old days. No one wanted to be impaled by a humming bird beak. It would be embarassing to explain their ear piercing with the supersonic bird wings attached to it.

Maybe the hummingbird feeder should have been given more thought!


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Password Protected Stress

I was wondering why I was having such troubling remembering my passwords. All of the Gigabyte Gurus have preached the importance of good, strong passwords to prevent bad experiences for eons, so in an effort to do that, I had to develop a hardcopy list prominently displayed next to my screen to remember how the heck to get into my programs. My lightning swift reasoning figured out that this was counterproductive, not to mention a pain in the butt to maintain and update.

Still, I had trouble. I had to visually scan the list to locate the program I wanted to use and that took a little time. I finally counted the number of programs I had on the list with their gi-normous, complicated passwords that were often mis-typed and in need of starting over again. The first run-through was twenty six programs and wonder I was in a state of meltdown whenever I wanted to work on the computer.

I am adopting a new philosophy over this whole security issue. If someone hacks my system and I find out who it is, they will be shot on sight - no excuses accepted - but first I will force feed them with their own anti-virus software and see if it works first-hand.

It could get ugly!


Sunday, May 25, 2014

There Is A War Going On At Home

Sure, when our soldiers and sailors come home from the Middle East on their last deployment, they don't have to go back into the fray, but they've been frayed themselves and need mending in many cases - a lot of them for years to come or the rest of their lives.

The government hasn't got the organizational skills to assist them in a timely manner. Some have gone it alone since the Viet Nam era. Many have substance abuse issues that are unresolved. Necessary cancer care and PTSD numbers mount. The volume of those in need is overwhelming.

However, if each family member, veteran and neighbor takes it upon themself to act as a pitbull ombudsman for that man or woman in need, the government providers will be forced to be more efficient and the legislators will be forced out of office if they drag their feet and block common sense funding for our servicemen in need.

If all else fails, or in addition, pick a reputable organization such at the Wounded Warrior Project and lend your support that way. There are several groups whose mission is solely to help a servicemember in need.

They remembered us. Let's remember them.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

A New Experience

I mentioned in another of my blogs my trip to Northwest Trek yesterday, May 17th. I have noticed lately that my knees and hips aren't as forgiving as they were when I was eighteen. This is no doubt due to my allergy related to exercise, but the discomfort is there nonetheless.

I have had a carved walking stick in my truck for awhile now, thinking that one day I would be doing more hiking in the woods. Yesterday I looked at the carved yew wood stick and had a moment of brilliance.

What better way to practice with said walking stick than to use it on the hilly terrain of the animal park? Besides that, I would wear my S'Klallam bear claw ball cap and make a statement about my author hood for anyone who asked.

I'm a tall man. This stick fit me like a cane, thus everybody and their brother made it a point to open doors for me and all of the accouterments associated with an old coot - something I hadn't thought of. The other main advantage was that it helped me putter around the grounds with much less discomfort associated with balance. Why hadn't someone thought about this before?

Oh, that would have been me and my vanity, calling it something it wasn't - a walking stick instead of a cane. By the time my visit was completed and ate my bison burger, I even had enough energy left to replace the walking stick reverently back to its place behind the headrests of the back seat and then hoist my weary legs into the truck. The next outing might be someplace like the mall where I can also club anyone trying to grab an item I have my eye on.

Vanity cured.


Monday, May 12, 2014

It's Time To Relax!

Sometimes nothing is better than a moment of reflection and a cold iced tea after a project is completed. Hollow Point hauling in a couple of 5-star ratings and a 4-star help quiet a bit. I'll get to the next work in progress manana, but today is all mine!


Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Wheels In My Brain Go Round and Round

I am finding that multi-tasking is for those who enjoy living on the edge before their off switch gets flipped. I am not one of those people. As a matter of fact, if I can get one task completed, I feel a sense of accomplishment that far outshines the many tasks my counterparts generate pride in.

For instance, take my lawn. I have both a riding mower and a regular one. I can get the bulk of the lawn cut in twenty minutes or so. I have now spent approximately 30 days mulling over firing off the rider and laying waste to the hay field that has magically appeared since the warmer weather has arrived. I should do something about that and when I do, that sense of pride and accomplishment will be chewed on and appreciated by both me and my neighbors.

This whole blog tour project has allowed me to feel the thrill of victory, but a steady diet of this venue could cause dilatorious effects on my psyche I think. The positive reviews I have received are awesome, so I will sally forth and make it through to my big Juniper Grove interview on May 9th. After that there are no guarantees that my mental condition will not deteriorate.

I know this sounds more like procrastination, but trust me when I tell you that this is really slow uni-tasking. I have taken to heart many tribes' belief that learning about the universe takes careful contemplation of one's surroundings. You can't do that when you buzz around like a schizophrenic bee flying from flower to flower.

I must go contemplate my lawn again. Maybe my rabbits have knocked it down a bit. If not, I should think about buying goats and saving my mowers' gas!


Thursday, April 24, 2014


I thought that writing contemporary stories about Native Americans was something worth pursuing when I got started, but things weren't taking off as fast as I had hoped. I love writing and researching and wasn't discouraged, but I wasn't sure how to get my foot in the door and get the word out about them once they were ready to go.

Enter my publisher's senior editor. She asked four of us to participate in a blog tour to get better exposure for our newest books. I'd never been on one before and honestly didn't have great expectations. It was going to be a lot of work and the rewards weren't guaranteed by any stretch, plus it was going to be hitting different blogs for nearly a month. That seemed like a long time to hold my breath.

Lo and behold, the activity started the very first day. People I'd never heard of were signing onto my website and blogs, plus Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. Some were bloggers from the tour and some were interested readers, like one young man from Romania, of all places. Every day the list has grown.

People want to read Hollow Point. One host has already given the book a five star review. Another a five wineglass agreement with the review. This is by far the best promotional avenue I have experienced.

I have no idea how sales are going, but I'm not sure that matters so much right now. I don't need a yacht or a G5 jet for the time being anyhow. I think that what I needed was some validation and I got it on this tour! Stay tuned!


Friday, April 18, 2014

I've Become One Of The People I Knew

When I was a Paramedic long ago I'd have a few "regulars" that seemed to show up on a frequent basis. They were the frequent fliers. They weren't system abusers. They always had a legitimate need for emergency assistance when they called 9-1-1.

I must have seen one dear little old lady a couple of dozen times before she finally died in her bed. It was not unusual to call on her at least once a month. She was severely asthmatic and whenever we entered her home, you could hear her distinct wheezing from anywhere in her house.

I thought about her last weekend as I propped myself up on the Emergency Room gurney hearing myself wheeze with acute bronchitis a lot like she used to. I had just finished a couple of out-patient kidney stone procedures the week before, so this was way beyond humorous and approaching unbelievable. This month has been unique, to say the least.

One of the things I have come to realize is the farther down your health takes you, the harder it is to do the things that are supposed to improve it, like exercise and reasonable nutrion. If you want your joints to move, you must take more pills. You get tired of preparing nice meals for one and throwing away the left-overs from three weeks ago to make room for more left-overs in the fridge. Call in the microwave dinners.

You walk around Walmart and can barely get back in the truck when you're done shopping. You walk up a hill and all the dogs in the neighborhood bark at your wheezing. Changing lightbulbs in a ten foot ceiling is a nosebleed experience and hip fracture waiting to happen.

All I can say is if someone were to try to pick a fight with me, one of two things are hopefully available; Thirty seconds worth of super-charged, lightning fast Seal Team moves, or that I will be packing my nine millimeter and leave one round for myself if I miss with the rest of the clip. Anything after that would be humiliating.

At least when I write I can live vicariously through my characters and block out the need to listen to my body getting crumpled by time! I hear it is pretty normal, but I've never been accused of that before.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Feel Like A Teeny-Bopper!

Next Monday (April 14th) kicks off the blog hop that myself and a few other authors from my publishing house, Champagne Book Group, are participating in. We'll tell you all about our books and ourselves, plus give away juicy secrets about what we do in our spare time. I don't have all the specifics just yet, but it promises to be a barn burner. Some of my colleagues can flat make me blush with some of the stories they have written. My innocense is at risk!

By the time you get done reading my contribution, you will know absolutely too much information, plus what color longjohns and wool socks I'm wearing that day. You might even find out where the idea for my book "Hollow Point" came from and who I am likely to offend (unintentionally, of course).

This should be a hoot, but it may be the last time my publisher lets me out of the asylum!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Using Pill Bottles As Tea Leaf Readers

A day or two after my last post, I had left flank pain hit me like someone holding a hot torch to it. I hadn't thought about anything being wrong with me medically until two of my prescription refills had stickers on the bottles saying, "call your doctor." Last posting was a result of that obedience. It set me up for one more follow up next week to go over results.

Then the pain happened on cue. Six hours later, with an IV and pain meds on board, plus an MRI indicated I had a kidney stone that was fairly large - too large to let drain out as nature had intended.

"Here's more pain medication and antibiotics," they said. "We'll have the urologist set up an appointment for an outpatient procedure. Meanwhile, no milk or foods you like and call us again if the pain returns before the end of the weekend."

Sure enough, kidney stone(s) confirmed in two different spots. He'd go for the small one in the bladder first and the larger one in the kidney the second procedure and maybe "blast" it. By then, I had heard everyones' war stories about kidney stones. One of my best friend's wives told me, "forget about it being the equivalent of childbirth pain; I've had both and it's worse!"

First procedure done without a problem, except I found a great need not to hesitate before emptying my bladder, and taking aim and actually hitting the target was a re-training effort.

Now the second procedure is scheduled for next week to go after the bigger stone. I'm sure this whole thing was a side affect of reading those stupid bottles in the first place. I thought I heard someone in recovery talking about bringing in a backhoe next time. I might be mistaken.

At any rate, I am not going to read anymore prescription pill bottles ever again. They just lead to trouble! Being dumb and happy isn't all that bad.


Friday, March 21, 2014

They Struck Oil!

I had a series of medical tests done this week, the last one being yesterday (March 20th). The first one was okay; simple injection of dye followed by an MRI. That was the pre-test warm up - the "before" pictures. The next round was to be the view "after" the radioactive juice was pushed through an IV and pictures taken. They didn't get that far that day.

Their main guy stabbed me twice and could find nothing. I think he was practicing his fracking...I know I was utilizing similar words in my vocabulary under my breath that included fracking, friggin', freaking, and so on. He gave up and called upon the Mistress of IVs to give it a go.

We walked to the oncology department next door and she sat me in a very comfortable recliner. My hope was returning. Four stabs and two hematomas later, she gave up, but at least I was sitting in a comfortable chair. My veins took a deep dive and refused to be assaulted.

I was told to come back early yesterday before my scheduled appointment for another test and "drink lots and lots of water." I was thinking it would probably all leak out considering the number of holes in me, but I'd give it a try.

A whole day passed before I had to appear again. I must admit that it wasn't a restful day off. I thought I was going to drown a couple of times chugging the water. However, I showed up early and went directly to the Mistress of IVs back where the nice chairs were. I was a little tense, but I had made a mental note of where my veins had popped up since the first drilling.

I showed her all the locations that made sense to me, yet she went for one that was just above two previous failures. I was ready for using more gutteral gestures. She got it right off the bat! It was no doubt one of the better secured IV sites she had performed in awhile, too.

As the rest of that test and the next progressed, I reminded everyone not to screw up my IV. I felt that they were prepared to install a pipeline of some sort to ensure the source's stability. I'm sure the roustabouts were on stand by to manage the drill site.

That was not all of the IV story, but I hit the highlights. I'll tell you about the ultrasound another time. I'm happy to report that I am not leaking, but it's kind of nice being your own nightlight. That radioactive dye is a unique party favor!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Transition Of Seasons

As a novelist, one would normally think that I could compile an appropriate homage to the welcomed arrival of the coming season. Something perceptive; something profound; something not cliche. Okay, here's the deal: Spring beats Winter and its depressing grayness.

Now the philosophers among you can go berserk wondering what that means. The rest of us will stand with nursery packs of baby flowers and vegetables in hand and plant them where we figured color ought to go in the yard all winter long. It's far from rocket science, although I have been known to kill more plants than most because I follow the instructions up to the point of "In Order To Get A Healthy Plant, Do This..." That's when I think I have the planting handled and ignore the pesky details.

This is where I figure our Native American brothers and sisters had the advantage over people who plunked down in one spot and figured to be independent, relying on their own enginuity to survive. The tribes were smart enough to learn the land and show up when the vegetation, fish and animals did on their annual trek between summer and winter camps. Sure, some of them planted, but usually because they were forced to after getting relocated to reservations.

Me? I would have probably been one of those settlers that couldn't figure out why my corn always died out before it ripened. I wouldn't even have enough for a good batch of moonshine from my still to drown my sorrows.

Dead plants or not, Spring still beats Winter and I'm thankful for my neighborhood grocery store to supply that which I have killed.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Today Was A Mixed Bag

I was able to wish a long-time friend I hadn't seen in too long a Happy Birthday today, but she was folded over in pain and bull-headed about not visiting the ER to get some pain relief. That was the worrisome part of the day. I couldn't even administer the traditional birthday swats because she was already whining too loudly as it was. (50 mumble, mumble, mumble of them might have been excessive in her condition).

The good part of the day was being able to get a bunch of the family together to visit and have pizza as we caught up on everyone's news and stories. The twin granddaughters were passed around like proverbial footballs and all was well with the clan. It was pretty special to see Great Grandma holding onto the two of them as they slept. Aleah got a break and just got to relax for awhile.

My future son-in-law's old team even won their first game of the new season at the Clink (Go Sounders). He also did pretty darned good with the babies. He's a natural.

I'm a very fortunate man. God continues to bless me whether I deserve it or not. Sometimes He even provides things to write about, like today! Now I hope He plays the Good Shepherd and herds my friend to get some help soon.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Getting Ready For A Blog Tour

I have been asked recently to participate with three other Champagne authors in a blog tour. At first I was thinking, "How Cool," with a vision of travel and meeting the throngs of readers hungry to hear about my new E-book, "Hollow Point." Then I thought, "Wow, that could get expensive fast and I'd have to sell a lot of books at $2.99 a piece to make it worthwhile."

Come to find out, participating in a blog tour has to do with sharing your information about you and your book online. It's not necessary to buy a new wardrobe or airline tickets, although I want to ride in the business class they've been showing in commercials with the reclining bed and workspace not available in coach.

Instead, I'll be sitting at my computer interacting off and on for a couple of weeks, not seeing readers' faces. I could go to work in my BVDs if I wanted and nobody would be the wiser. The only travel involved is moving from the desk to the coffee pot to the bathroom and back to the desk. It wouldn't exactly be a photographic moment except to show off my superhero BVDs.

This is all set to begin from April 14th through May 9th and I'll pass the word along when my turn arrives and where the blog can be found. It should be interesting.

Meanwhile, if you just can't wait for that, you can buy and download a copy of "Hollow Point" on your E-reader and have it ready to go for your next travels. You can find it in the Fiction Section under Suspense/Thriller at


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I'm Under Doctor's Orders

About a year ago my Podiatrist told me that I needed to have my toenails manicured professionally, since I acquired Type II Diabetes. He didn't want me losing toes, feet, legs, etc. from using a chainsaw, pocket knife or wood rasp anymore. I felt a little iffy about such a thing, being the manly man that I am, but I relented and found a reputable establishment that could take care of my needs.

I think they sensed my tension, so they took pains to make sure I was comfortable and the electric massager in the chair was perfect before undertaking their task at hand. It's probably a good thing that they were speaking to each other in Vietnamese, because I'm sure they were making commentary about the nervous guy in the chair with his naked feet soaking in hot, bubbling water.

By the time all the clipping and filing was done I had calmed down a lot. Then the lady started scraping the bottoms of my feet with a scrubber to get all the useless skin off. She might as well have tried working on a wet cat when I came up out of the chair. It tickled torturously.

Then came the massage of the calves and the feet with gritty lotion and then nice bubble gum-smelling lotion. I melted back into the chair in a stupor. Manly man or not, this could become a habit, I thought. It's all in the name of good health, after all.

It has been a monthly ritual for over a year now. Today all but one of the pedicure clients in the shop were men. One teenage kid was nervously experiencing his first pedicure. He lost some sort of bet with his mom and ended up having to get one with her. He'll learn.

I haven't had to sharpen a chain or knife blade in a very long time now and I still have all my toes to prove it!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gramps Has Been Invited To Chauffeur

Sometimes the kids having no working car provides an opportunity for Grampa to play the superhero and spend some unexpected, yet welcome time with the grandbabies. Daughter has me at a disadvantage. I haven't seen the girls for several days now and am having symptoms of withdrawal, the same as I've had with grandson. If I wasn't old and weak it would almost be embarassing.

No matter. I'll be the guy in the pickup with the stupid grin on his face going 10 mph so the little ones are safe and I can point to the back seat and signal thumbs up!

One of these days when they're teenagers, I'll even have to introduce Lily the Terrorist to them.

Life is good right now.


Thursday, January 23, 2014


January 20, 2014: I am officially the Grandfather to two beeooteeful twin baby girls! Here are their stats: Kaelee (4:52 p.m.) 6 lbs 3 ozs, 19.5 inches at birth, mega-lungs. Ellodie (4:54 p.m.) also 6 lbs 3 ozs, 19.0 inches, respectable lungs. They're fraternal, but I'm still trying to sort out who's who. Mom and Dad already have that down.

Everyone goes home today and I'm sure no attention will be paid to either of the little twirps at all. *rolls eyes*

Another sea change for the clan!


Friday, January 17, 2014

I Dare You...

Go ahead, just try to concentrate on writing stories when your youngest daughter is about to drop two full-sized, full-term twin girls at any time. If you can do it, you're a better person than I am!

I look at it a little like trying to gather essentials while you're being chased through the brush by a large grizzly bear - you're always looking over your shoulder while juggling the important stuff. Somewhere in there, you are also supposed to be creative and write something intelligently.

Right now I would be happy to remember what all my passwords are to get into all my writing arenas. I had to do trial and error with this one ten times before I guessed right!

Now, what was I going to blog about today? Hmmm, I forgot, but I wrote down the password! All I can think of is "Go Seahawks," and "Welcome Ellodie and Kaelee!" I'll write something more interesting in the future.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

I'm Baaack!

Greetings and Salivations, as Lily the Terrorist would say while she tore body parts from you in jest. Happy 2014, I hope. I have great expectations for mine.

The biggest non-writing news on my front will be the scheduled arrival of my twin grandaughters, Ellodie and Kaelee on January 20th, courtesy of "the Squirt," my baby girl. What that girl lacks in size, she makes up for in pluck. Those two are already 5+ lbs. a piece!!!

It won't be long before the two girls will be rugrats and curtain climbers, so I'll be looking into the purchase of pet carriers before long. I'm afraid that if I childproof everything, I won't be able to get into anything, either. Pet carriers make much more sense.

If I'm less than punctual with my posts, write it up to the frailties of grandfatherhood. My joints are already having sympathy pain.