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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Watching Cataract Surgery

I watched a miracle occur. My father had a cataract removed and I was allowed to view the procedure. My father's left eye had 20/100 vision. With the cataract gone and the new lens implanted, he now has 20/30 vision in that eye.

I've been nearsighted since I was eleven years old--so I think it is really quite amazing that my father now has such terrific vision without glasses.

At first, the idea of viewing the procedure made me a bit queasy. However, the nurse reassured me that I wouldn't see any blood.

I thought about it for a minute. The knowledge about what happens during cataract surgery might be useful in a novel at some point. I enjoy amassing all kinds of extraneous knowledge just because I might need it someday. You can never tell where my muse will lead me.

Though I had already heard the doctor explain the procedure to my father, there's a big difference between hearing about something and actually seeing it occur.

I decided to be brave and watch. The ophthalmologist had a small observation room for family members. I was led in by the nurse and seated. From a glass window I could see into the room where the surgery took place. I could barely see doctor's back due to some large machines. My father lay covered in blue cloth on a gurney. The doctor's assistant waved to me. He was the one who handed the doctor the necessary tools.

What I could see very well was a monitor with the giant image of my father's eye--due to the lighting it appeared as a large reddish iris surrounded by white. Everything happened just as the doctor said it would. It did not take long.

Afterward, Dad was fine. He felt no pain and found the most annoying result of the surgery to be the eye drops. He had a tough time learning to plop the drops in by himself, but he was insistent on accomplishing the task without help. :^)

I went home and discovered that you can view the entire procedure on YouTube as well.

Some of my friends were amazed that I watched my father's cataract surgery. I guess they didn't think I had it in me. After all, I'm usually the one who hides her eyes during the scary parts of a movie.

But obviously, the doctor had confidence in the procedure. Because it was offered, I felt it must be a sure thing and many people I know who had undergone the procedure proclaimed it to be a piece of cake.

But I still think it's a miracle. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all our ills were so easy to fix?

Monday, November 16, 2009

How I Wrote Ten Books

The Fiend of White Buck Hall will be published book #10 for me. After getting the contract last week, I took a moment to wonder how I have managed to write ten books. There are writers who produce a lot more and I'm slow in comparison to them, but I really don't think they sleep. :^)

Like the majority of women with families, I am forever juggling the various tasks of living--tossing up one ball and catching another before it falls. Yes, my children are grown, but for those of you who have small children and think life is difficult--just wait. It never gets any easier.

Hubby is retired, but I still have a real part time job that gets me up and out of the house for several hours five days a week, but when I return I have to throw a load of laundry into the washing machine and transfer another load into the dryer.

On my lucky days, I don't have to go on an errand, but more often than not, I do. I have to help out my Dad, or shop for more food, or buy parts for a broken appliance. Once I'm back at the house, I put some form of protein in a pan to brown on the stove.

I turn on the computer, check my email, and fix one paragraph of my manuscript before I check on that browning protein and add some sauce to it.

I talk to Dad on the phone while I'm emptying the dishwasher. I finish talking to Dad and put away the clean dishes before I go back to the manuscript at the computer, but by now my powers of concentration are completely scattered, so I check my email again instead of fixing the manuscript.

I have my computer programmed to announce the hour every fifteen minutes, so I know I have to complete the rest of our supper. I put the computer to sleep, rip open a bag of frozen vegetables and set the table.

Daughters #1 and #3 arrive home from work--late as usual. I ask one of them to locate their father tell him it's time to eat. Lately, he's been busy redoing an upstairs room so he's easy to find.

Daughter #1 cleans up after supper, but now it's time for me to take the dried clothing, fold it, and put it away.

Meanwhile, Daughter #3 is cleaning the bathroom.

Hubby has to check his email on the computer which he and I share. I let him go ahead because after all, I still have plenty to do. I can exercise, sweep, vacuum, or dust. I can organize the photos in the album. (Ha!) Sometimes I have to go out during the evening, but not often.

I never watch television, except for the news. If I'm really exhausted, I will make a cup of tea and read a book. If I have a bit of energy left, I might spend a half hour on the elliptical machine AND read a book.

But most evenings, I will write--even if it's only for an hour. Sometimes, it's more than an hour. That's how I finished ten books. Slowly, but methodically.

If I can do it, anyone can. You just have to plod ahead. Of course, it helps if you have a great story to tell and the characters are annoying you constantly to finish their tale. So you absolutely must help them out. :^)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Contract!

On Monday I got a contract from New Concepts Publishing for The Fiend of White Buck Hall. It is always thrilling to get a contract, but Monday also happened to be my mother's birthday. So it was nice to have something very special happen that day.

Now I have to work on the art questionnaire for the cover of the book. One of the questions is about the celebrities that the characters resemble. I have a complete image of my characters in my head, but for an artist it is easier to have a visual reference. So I spent a lot of time online searching for just the right faces for my hero and heroine.

I decided that Paul Walker resembles my hero.

I think my heroine resembles Emma Roberts.

It will be fun to see what the cover artist does with my idea.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Resurrect An Old Word Today

One day as I was exercising at Curves, the manager was having problems with the new "Smart" machine. I chuckled and referred to the machine as being persnickety. Granted, I was using personification and giving the machine human attributes, but it surprised me that the manager had never heard that word. She had no clue what it meant. She thought I had made it up.

Hmmmm.

per⋅snick⋅et⋅y:
–adjective Informal.
1. overparticular; fussy.
2. snobbish or having the aloof attitude of a snob.
3. requiring painstaking care.
Also, pernickety.

Origin:
1885–90; orig. Scots, var. of pernickety
Related forms:
per⋅snick⋅et⋅i⋅ness, noun
Synonyms:
1. nitpicking, finicky.


Daughter #1 thought this was a hilarious state of affairs and promptly "borrowed" my word to use at her Toastmasters meeting as the word of the day.

There were lots of people at the Toastmasters meeting that had never heard of that word either.

Yipes!

English is a wonderful language. We have more words than any other language. Check out About English. I know we've stolen plenty of our words, but our language is richer for it. As a writer, I appreciate the variety.

Of course, new words are always coming into being. Language is a living thing. But I hate to see so many wonderful older words fall into disuse.

Please, find an old word and use it. Better yet, find an old word every week and make it part of your vocabulary. Send it out in your text messages. Use it on your Facebook page.

Don't let the old words die.