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Friday, January 21, 2011

Wine and Wi-Fi

My father is still in rehab, but today we learned how to get him in and out of the car. This is a useful skill since he needs to go to two specialists next week. (Of course, it would make life a lot easier for patients if the doctors came to them.)

Time passes slowly in rehab.

Daughter #3 gave her grandfather a white board and each day I list the date on it along with the number of days that have passed since Dad broke his hip. Today Dad added another note. He listed the tentative date of his release as D-Day.

There are programs in rehab to entertain and amuse the patients, but there is only one computer in the lounge. I wheel Dad to the lounge so he can use the computer to check his email and his Facebook page. It would be really nice if everyone had wi-fi in their rooms, but they don't.

Dad thinks there should be wine in rehab, too. I agree--as long as it doesn't interfere with medication. Dad does enjoy the food he is served. However, he complained about the lack of pie. He said there's plenty of ice cream, but no pie. So I brought him a cherry pie one day. He was thrilled.

Subsequently, the rehab kitchen served apple pie a few days later. Dad was delighted. It doesn't take too much to make him happy. :^)

Of course, I bring him the New York Times everyday. That's another perk he loves. I can tell he's feeling better because he has resumed clipping out articles he believes I should read. (Today I also brought him a small pair of scissors.)

But Dad can't wait to get out of rehab. He wants to wear a special outfit on that day so he can put up a new photo on his Facebook page.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Under Siege

2010 was a difficult year for my family. Each of my daughters spent time in the hospital for various, serious ailments. Thankfully, they all took turns. Still, things became complicated when my in-laws went into an assisted living facility and my mother-in-law did not want to sell her house. Then my father-in-law, who had broken his hip the previous year, fractured his pelvis at the beginning of December. Finally, right before Christmas, my father fell and broke his hip.

There have been times during all this chaos when writing became impossible—and it’s not that I didn’t have ideas but there were days when I didn’t have the heart or the time, and many more days when I didn’t have the energy. (I still have a "real" job.) I often felt as if I was under siege—being bombarded by doctors’ acronyms.

So what did I do while the enemy was scaling the walls of the castle? I tried a few ways to keep my mind on writing--even if I wasn't writing. Here are some of my ideas. If you have any to add, please add a comment. I would love to know what works for other writers, too.

1. Remember this won’t last forever or as my father always says, “This, too, shall pass.” In the meantime, I asked for help when I could. I am not Superwoman.

2. I kept a pen and paper handy. I wrote blog ideas. I took notes about what the doctor said. I scribbled down a few in-depth character studies. (There are lots of characters in a hospital.) These might be useful later on.

3. I read The Sea Wolf, by Jack London. That's a far cry from the usual romances I enjoy. However, when Dad wasn’t ready to read or even listen to me read to him, my paraphrased version of the plot held his attention.

4. I re-read my last draft from the beginning and I edited it. It's only 29 pages, but that doesn't matter.

5. I made plans to go to a writers’ conference when the siege is over.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Bestselling Product

According to Amazon, the Kindle is its worldwide bestselling product of all time. You can read about it here. But I know for a fact that it has to be true because my sister got a Kindle for Christmas.

When it comes to books, I've been digesting far more than either of my sisters for a long, long time. Not that they don't read, but I am far more obsessed with words--and in particular with fiction, probably because I believe there is a lot of truth in fiction despite all the disclaimers at the beginning of every book. :^)

I also rarely watch TV. However, both of my sisters have large, flat screen televisions with cable hookups.

I own a Nook, an eBookwise and I read books on my cellphone. But I own plenty of paper books as well and I have a very hard time parting with any of them.

My sister with the Kindle has always been up on the latest fad. She was the first one in our family to buy a microwave oven back when microwave ovens were massive machines. My sister always informs me about the fashion color of the year, the pet of the year, the accessory of the year, or the hairstyle of the year. If my sister owns a Kindle that officially makes it the gadget of the year.

Those of you who don't own a Kindle (or some other ebook reader) are behind the times.