Showing posts from April, 2013


My parents. Friday night when I got home from work, my Mom called. I answered the phone and she told me that my dad had been in the hospital with double-pneumonia since Wednesday. Once admitted, the doctors also determined that he has congestive heart failure and had to perform surgery to place a stint. They also confirmed what we already knew--that he was in the first stages of Alzheimer's. We talked for a moment. She said he was okay right now, and the reason she didn’t call was she didn’t want to worry me in the middle of the work week when she knew how much I had on my plate already. I mumbled something or other. Mom said she was tired and going to bed. I hung up and walked back into the living room. The lovely wife asked me what was the matter. I asked for a minute, focused on nothing, and then took a deep breath. I repeated what my mother had told me. I saw Maria’s face, could tell that she was starting to get upset and struggling to keep it down even as she aske

Sweet The Small Stuff

When people learn you’re a writer, they always assume that you have perfect grammar and expert spelling skills. I think I’m okay with both but wouldn’t use the words perfect or expert to refer to either. I have too many hang-ups and weird mental blocks. For example, let's take the words sweet and sweat. Easy to mix up when you’re typing and the words are coming quick. They’re up there with a word like, well, their. It’s why you learn not to trust spellcheck. However, for me, sweet and sweat are guaranteed to be used incorrectly in the first draft, and probably somewhere in the second too. I don’t know why. If nothing else I should just be able to memorize which is which, but I can’t. I mean, okay, so sweat means to perspire and sweet means pleasing or sugary tasting. Now, how do you spell what you do with food? E-A-T. You see where I’m going with this, right? Since my mind can’t get past that, sweet and sweat are on now on my revision checklist.  Though yo

Once More Against The Tyranny Of My Thoughts



I haven’t been reading as much as I used to. My time is devoured by an increasingly busy day job, the lovely wife’s health issues, and making time to write. What’s left usually goes to either sleep or brain shut-down in front of the television set. When I have sat down to read, my patience is thin. Doorstop thrillers or fantasy novels are a no-go. A writer has a short window to grab me with something before I put down the book. Assuming the writer can pull that off, next comes the true test: can my attention be caught again after several days, maybe even a week between readings? When I came across Burial at the library booksale, I was excited. The plot sounded engaging: “Everyone makes mistakes. But what if your biggest mistake was something you could never live down? Something so awful and despicable that it weighs daily on your soul? Nathan has never been able to forget the worst night of his life.  Only he and an old acquaintance know what really happened and they hav

Doctor Who

Doctor Who is nearing its 50th Anniversary. I’ve been a fan of the show for quite some time, maybe not a half century but a long time. My local PBS station ran “Classic Doctor Who” episodes in order when I was a kid. The first Doctor I saw was Jon Pertwee as the Third: grounded on Earth by the ruling council of Time Lords, wearing his dandy clothes, practicing Venusian Aikido (or Karate depending on the episode), and cruising the streets in that terrible Whomobile. I watched the original series through the end: Baker, Davidson, a different Baker, and finally Sylvester McCoy (who I seem to like much more than most). Later, I was able to go back and catch some of the extant episodes with William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton. And I even managed to tune in for the awful awful attempt by Fox to revive the series with poor Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor (he would have made a good one) paired with a scene-chewing Eric Roberts, of all people, as the Master. But one of the things I’v

Killer Diller and My First Fistfight

Killer Diller A couple of Sundays ago, our dog Killer got sick. He seemed fine in the morning going through his usual routine, but as the day went on, it was obvious there was something wrong with him. He wanted to do nothing except sleep. He didn’t want to be petted anywhere but his head and even then he’d jerk it to the side when you raised your hand. He had trouble sitting or standing up. When it was time for his food, I had to carry him into the kitchen and stand him by his bowl; his jaw movements as he ate were awkward and uncoordinated. I wanted to call the vet immediately but couldn’t. There is only one vet with emergency hours in our area and that’s in Indianapolis, well over an hour away. Instead, I kept watch until first thing Monday morning when a friend gave me a ride into town. We were at the vet’s office exactly as 7 am. I dropped our pug off and waited anxiously through my day. He ended up being fine and is fine now, currently sleeping behind me in my offi