Saturday, November 18, 2006


I called my parents tonight to check up on Dad. He's been having trouble sleeping and has been in a lot of pain. Mom complained that he lies in bed and moans and won't get up and take a pill, which is Mom's answer for everything? Have a problem? Take a pill.

Dad went to the doctor this week and was told he's healing up nicely two weeks after the surgery and he can go back to work. This should help relieve the relieve the depression that has gripped him so tightly this past two weeks. He's happy to go back to work. He's that kind of guy. What kind of guy he isn't is a sports kind of guy. Neither is my brother. The sports fans in the family are all women.

Mom is a big fan of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team and she and her mother never missed a game whether it was on TV or on the radio. They would each listen and then it was a race to see who could get a call through first to say, "And this one belongs to the Reds," a saying not heard very often in my grandmother's latter years because the Red weren't playing at all well. One could even say they weren't playing at all, but that's another post.

Beanie and Carol are both football fans. Beanie loves the Chicago Bears and Carol is a big Cleveland Browns fan, although I'm not sure how she feels about them since the original team was bought out and are now the Baltimore Ravens (the city of Cleveland would not allow Baltimore to buy the name). Bears and Dogs for my sisters and Carol really has gone to the dogs--and cats. She has a houseful of both. I followed the Minnesota Vikings back in the old days but haven't watched my football in recent years. I have had other things to do. But I know a lot about football, having played powder puff football in junior and senior high school and even before that with the boys in our neighborhood in the park that ran down the center of the street in front of our house for a block. The center was heavily wooded but the ends were clear and dry (when it wasn't raining) and that is where I learned the fundamentals of football first hand, usually on the bottom of the pile-up. I was the only girl among hormone-filled teenage boys. Need I say more?

Mom doesn't follow football but when I called she was watching the Ohio State-Michigan State game tonight. That's the Buckeyes versus the Wolverines for those who follow such things. She was cheering the touchdowns and very involved in the score that stood at 35-31 with the Bucks in the lead. She knew to cheer for the touchdowns but kept getting upset whenever the Wolverines pushed the running back out of bounds, thinking that was the end of the Buckeyes' possession of the ball. I gave her a quick lesson (and I mean really quick because she was yelling in my ear all the time) about downs and stopping the clock and conversions and penalties. One of the players, Michigan of course, was called on a penalty for a face mask. First down for the Bucks. "What does that mean?" Mom practically yelled into the phone.

"It means the Bucks get to move the ball ten yards and have the first down."

"That's good, right?"

"Yes, Mom, that's good."

The Bucks scored a touchdown and I explained that they could run the ball in for two points or kick a field goal for one point, converting the points from 6 for the touchdown to 7 or 8 depending on what they did. She couldn't follow but she yelled out the score. "42!" Okay, they played it safe and kicked the ball right between the uprights.

This is the most worked up I've heard my mother in a long time, even though between plays when she wasn't getting upset about the backs being pushed out of bounds, she also brought me up to date on her vomiting situation. She's still vomiting. Late in the day. Bringing up breakfast. "TMI, Mom," I said just as she yelled again for some penalty call.

I talked to Dad briefly and then when Mom yelled, "What is going on? What does that mean?" he handed the phone back to Mom who promptly told me she didn't have time to talk. She was concentrating on the game.

"Okay, Mom. Goodbye. Have a good evening. Enjoy the game. Time for me to give my poor ear drums a rest so I can hear again."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

At last!

The last few edits are done. The manuscript is back in its original format and off to the publisher. Now I wait.

In 10 minutes I have to get out of my comfy nest in bed and get ready for another work day. I'd rather curl up here and go back to sleep. It's cold outside and some time during the night a light dusting of snow covered everything. The snow is already off the streets but the rooftops are white and glitter in the sunshine. There is a curiously brittle look to the naked tree limbs and they glisten as though covered with ice. A chill creeps through past the windows and sends shivers over my exposed arms. The rest of me is warm and cozy and safe beneath the covers. I don't want to get up. I don't want to have to face another 12 hours of doctors. I want to read a book and nibble on the turkey I baked last night.

The whole house smells of cloves and spices and caramelized maple. I decided to try something different since I've sworn off breads and cereals for a while. I peeled and sliced some yams, marinated them in dark organic maple syrup and stuffed the turkey with them. The result was pretty good, since that is what I had for breakfast nearly three hours ago. I'd eat some more but I can't afford to go back to sleep, much as I want to do just that.

Oh, well, time to be a responsible wage-earning adult and put in my shift for slave wages. I suppose there are worse things--like sleeping under an over pass in this weather or bedding down in a noisy shelter on a sway-backed cot under a scratchy blanket. First a shower and then work.

That is all. Disperse.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Oh, for the simpler days

This week is barely begun and I'm digging my way out of a huge pile of work. In addition to my regular job, which takes up a good 1/2 of my day and sleeping about 4-5 hours, the rest of the time I'm working feverishly to finish the edits on a novel to send to an interested (and may I say avid) publisher. In addition, I have an article to finish for a magazine, a review to write (not to mention the ten other books waiting to be read and reviewed), and my novel for NaNoWriMo to get back to work on. Then there's the three other articles for magazines I need to get done by the end of the week and four more stories I owe for print anthologies. Somewhere in that time I need to touch up my roots, do some laundry (it never seems to get done), and clean the apartment. I may have to cut back on sleep just to get it all in.

And Beanie wants me to watch House with Hugh Laurie, whom I adore, but my TV isn't back from the shop yet. Even if it was, I wouldn't have the time to watch anything since I need that time to work and I can't spare an hour of advertisement-riddled television on a show I haven't seen that is in its third season. Nope, I don't think it's going to happy this week--or for the foreseeable future.

When I talked to Beanie on the phone yesterday she told me Mom was on the other line and wanted to know if I wanted Uncle Bob's number in the hospital. (Here's your sign) I got the number and called my uncle--my favorite uncle--and we talked for a few minutes. He evidently fell down the stairs and was unconscious for a considerable amount of time. My aunt found him at the bottom of the stairs amid the shattered glass of a table top. Lovely. The EMS had to cut off his clothes. He had an intracranial bleed and the echocardiogram showed an aortic aneurysm they needed to fix once the bleeding had subsided. He's been getting dizzy for some time and this is his third fall with a head injury.

He was glad to hear from me. We hadn't seen or talked to each for about seven years, although Mom keeps Uncle Bob and my aunt supplied with my writing. Uncle Bob said I made his day. He made mine. He's the only one left in the family who has never called me by my name. He calls me Pearl (or Pearly Mae). My grandfather nicknamed me Pearl and he never called me anything else. Grandpa added Bailey to the Pearl and he and Uncle Bob would torment me as a child singing, "Pearl Bailey won't you please come home." I got so upset and would tell them over and over, "I am home," but they kept it going just to hear my protests. I grew out of that a long time ago, but it was good to hear my uncle call me Pearly Mae.

Grandpa had nicknames for everyone and he called me Pearl, he said, because when I was little my teeth were like tiny, perfect pearls. Gram said it was because I was his precious pearl. Either way, I got the good name. You should hear what he nicknamed all the others. Some of the names make no sense and the rest are downright--rude. Imagine calling a child Leaky or Blacky or Gassy or roadhog? Then, of course, there's Bessie the bull frog and that is my sister Carol. There's also Pickle and Hatchet Face. Simpler days.

Well, it's back to the word mill for me so I can finish the final edit on this novel and send it to the waiting publisher and then I have to go put in about four more hours with the doctors. Oh, for simpler days when all I had to think about was homework and boys.

That is all. Disperse.