Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rehab in a hot Florida Spring

Hello. I know you're all probably wondering about me or not...I haven't put up a blog post in a while, though it is getting much easier to type and remember how to work the PC. And no, I haven't seen Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 yet. I doubt I'll see it anytime soon, but them, as they say, are the breaks...One of my grand nephews saw it. Since I haven't heard anything negative I can only conclude he liked it.I'll see it eventually. Amazon will be selling the Blu-Ray in a few months anyway. I'm checking every few days to see if they have a sell date posted. So far no, but I'll keep checking.
It's been extra hot this Spring here in Jacksonville. My AC went out two weeks ago and needs the manufacturer out to replace a part. Seems too much dog hair was in the closet where the works are kept...Oops! They've given me a window unit for the bedroom, which surprisingly does a good job in the bedroom and sort of cools the rest of the place with all the ceiling fans on in the other rooms to pull the cool air forward. Still when it's in the 90s in the late afternoon, it's hot in the living area.  Makes me sweat. But I can handle it. This afternoon promises to be hot again, so I am bracing for  a bit of heat later on.  I tried to walk the three blocks to my mailbox a while ago, but the heat defeated me. Oh well, who needs more mail? I can wait another day to pick up my correspondence and goodies from QVC. I am anxiously awaiting an incoming skort...Haven't wanted to show my legs in many years, but they are much smaller than they were, so they're out in the open under crop pants, pedal pushers, and now a skort. It's a front panel like a skirt with Bermuda shorts underneath OOOOOOHHH I'm just a brazen hussy, after all.
Well what do expect of a Romance and Thriller writer? A maxi dress?
Speaking of my romance writing, Let the Games Begin, the fourth novel in my Touch the Sky series is perking right along. Having to re-learn how to work the computer slows me down but I'm getting better.
LTGB promises to be a lively story, funny in places. Hope you enjoy it.
Haven't seen many new movies, unless they're new to cable. Therefore, I'm not fulfilling my pop culture diva duties very well, but I did undergo a physical trauma, so it's understandable.
The news has been jumping recently, but as I don't discuss things of a political nature in this blog, I am making a concerted effort not to jump into the melee.
Otherwise, the dogs and I are okay.
I'll review a movie one of these days. In the meantime I am reading quite a bit. I just got Craig Johnson's latest Longmire novel, which I am anxious to read. I love the television series and didn't realize they were taken from a book series about Sheriff Longmire, fancy that.
Well, that's all for now. Everybody take care, mind your caffeine intake, and enjoy your summer.

Until next time, remember you can't keep a good diva down!!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Kung Fu Stroke Recovery

Hello Everybody, here I am posting again, as often as my stroke brain will allow. The big news is I have started my second book in the Inquisitor Series, Honor Thy Mother.  I have a draft prologue and part of chapter 1 written, I don't type nearly as fast as I used to, but I'm getting better. Tomorrow I'm going to see a "Low Vision Specialist" due to my stroke. I've already had the car repaired from the accident, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to drive. Currently I'm paying for a part-time in-home companion who drives me to all my appointments, to the store, the dog groomer, the vet, etc. I appreciate her so much, but being the stiff-necked independent I'd rather do it myself.Ah well.
I'm managing everything else just fine, or so they tell me.Still dreaming of moving back home to Texas, but we'll see on that one.

Well, this is a short post, but I will keep trying to update you periodically. I don't know if you can tell by reading, but my typing is getting better.

Everybody take care. Don't do too much caffeine. This former Starbucks lover drank Decaf for a while but it's not the same so I'm off c0ffee entirely for now, anyway.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

April , not in Paris

It's now  April about two and a half months after I had my stroke. At first my memory was a mess, but it is improving now after a few weeks of trying to think through a Swiss cheese brain.  Alas, no more cheese for me of any kind.  You should see me.  My face is actually bony in places. I weigh less than I have in at least 20 years .  Kinda cool to have a baggy wardrobe and skinny ankles. But honestly it's obvious I have been ill.
My memory is mostly back.  Now if I can't remember something, it comes back to me in seconds, ,not quite as fast as before the stroke but much faster than right after it.
At my doctor's insistence I still have 24-7 attendant care, which is costing me a fortune. I'm stubborn and want to live at home with my little elderly dogs. They are the best therapy for me. Oh, and speaking of therapy, last Friday, I was released from all therapy. But I have to see a cardiologist to resume my exercises. Needless to say I am much improved and aced all the memory tests in my last session.

I am hopeful to be free of the attendant care when the doctor sees me later this month, at least a big reduction of hours anyway.

So take heart, dear friends, except for needing transportation, I'm alive and kicking!

Take care.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

I had a stroke!

I bet you never expected to see a post like this from me. No. I'm not posting about a movie concerning a stroke victim or my latest novel. On February 19th, two days before my birthday this year (2017) I suffered a stroke. By writing this post I want to warn my readers so if you have the symptoms you will know to get immediate help. It could very well save your life and lessen the after-effects.

On February 18th, I was whacky.. I drove over an open area and ended up with my car hanging over a concrete ledge above a drainage ditch. I had been to the grocery store.Feeling confused but soldiering onward. I realized later I had taken a wrong turn driving home. Nothing looked familiar.  No Wonder.

Able to exit the car onto a nearby sidewalk, I got my trusted rolling cart filled with groceries, out of the back hatch and started walking into a strange land in the hot, humid Florida afternoon. I was nowhere near my apartment. Instead I wandered a a different complex, dragging my wilted deli sandwich, and caffeine free Diet Coke with the dog food ehind me. I met strangers who looked at me with suspicion and some who did not. After asking several if they recognized me. I in my fog, knew I must be in the wrong place and asked for the directions  to my complex office. two very kind young men drove me to the office. Red-faced, sweating, and chewed upon by Godzilla-sized mosquitos, I'm sure I made a pitiful sight. The apt manager took me home in a golf cart. My insurance emergency number refused to come get my car and tow it back to my apt unless I oaid them cash, reminds me I need to call the company and report that...But the young apt manager's father had a tow truck, so after I was taken home by golf cart, he got my car off the ledge and drove it to my place. It was driveable, he reported. Grateful to be back in the AC (this is Florida, remember - yes we sometimes use it in February.)

Okay enough perspiration rhetoric - time to get serious.The next morning I woke with the worst headache of my allergy and sinus-beset life. My brain crouched in my skull like a steaming lava rock, burning and hurting continually. I called the nail salon and canceled my appointment booked for  later in the morning. I told them I thought I had a migraine...

When my left arm and hand began to tingle, I knew it was no migraine. So I called my niece and told her I thought I was having a stroke. (She's a nurse.) She asked me which ER I wanted to enter. I made my choice, she picked me up in her sports car and off we went. At the ER my BP was over 200, confirming my self-iagnosis. I was having a stroke. Later in the hospital, one of the doctors told me I was lucky. 

In only four minutes, you can lose all of who you are, by not going to an ER at the signs of a stroke. She said in only four minutes, I could have been a shell with all of my memories, and abilities gone forever.  Scary thought...I was admitted to the hospital where my old teenaged response to stress arose and I terrorized people with my sleepwalking. Who knew???!!!

I went to rehab after the hospital where I was in a wheelchair for a while due to falling danger with my unsteady gait.

Except for  a male nurse who yelled at me for ending up in another woman's room during one of my unconscious nighttime expeditions the staff was wonderful. 

                        but here's the deal, if you get a bad headache, call somebody. If you get numbness or tingling on e side of your body, go right to the ER.

If you have no way to get to the ER,    CALL 911. 

A STROKE IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY and a legitimate reason to call the paramedics.

GET HELP AND SAVE YOUR LIFE!!!! Stroke is a killer who attacks many Americans each year.  Don't ignore the symptoms.

As for me, I came out with little peripheral vision on my left side. I've got special glasses which draw my left eye to the left side, but I'm no longer able to drive. I need rides wherever I want to go. Looks like I won't be shopping for  a new car this year unless my sight improves. (it could,)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Redefined Ruby or Bold Bordeaux?

Hello. I want to apologize for being offline for a bit. My pink PC died not once but twice in about eight days. So she's been to Geek Squad twice in that time period. I already decided to replace her. She is getting old and her software is woefully out of date.

I've got a new blue laptop ordered with 1terabyte of storage to accommodate my manuscripts. It's also got brand new software. That'll be a trip! It will go to Geek Squad to get set up and then I'll be up and rolling.

It's horrible when a writer is "in the zone" working on a manuscript and can't finish what she's started. In this case I was beginning the last (I hope) serious edit of my serial killer novel. Oh well, my brain has been working in the meantime. Just hope I remember all the changes I want to make...We'll see.

I've actually got a couple of film reviews to post here, but that will be next week probably.

Tomorrow my chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America) is having an event at a local library with panels of authors discussing some of the processes in writing romance particularly and other novel forms. A novel is a novel with some of the things recommended across the genres of fiction.

So our event is well-publicized. We are going to present panels of published authors speaking about various aspects. My two are How to Go Back to the Past - or writing Historical fiction...I'm prepared with a very short presentation - Google it...Actually I've got more than that to say.

And then I'm also on How to Make Your Bad Guy other words how to write a successful villain. I can talk for days about The Inquisitor, but I won't. I'll just touch on a few of the things which make a good villain - someone who can appear non-threatening - who is devoid of compassion - who  has years of rage stored up inside just screaming to get out...yep, that does it. Think Theodore Robert Bundy, one of the most written about serial killers of our time.

Of course, we will be allowed to have a book sale tomorrow as well. So each of us has to set up our table with books for sale, little tchotchkes to give away...preferably with the cover of one of your novels on it or at least the title...check, got those. Got my new business cards with a graphic of a woman with a haircut like mine, dark hair (yep, the blue is gone now) and bright red lips. That's my new brand. So I went out and bought a couple of kinds of red lipstick, took photos of me wearing each of them and got one picked to use.
Gotta represent!!

Ahh the glamorous life!! Ha, that's a good any more while you're wearing your Bold Bordeaux lipstick, honeybun?

Nah, I think I've done enough damage for one day.

Remember more movie reviews will come this next week now that my computer is up and running.

Have a great weekend...Unless you're a diehard Patriots fan, forget about the Superbowl, except for Lady Gaga - a wonderful performance. Who knew she was so athletic?

Besides to quote an old country song from the late 70s "Cause the Superbowl ain't the Superbowl, if the Dallas Cowboys ain't there..."

Until next time...


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore

I just heard Mary Tyler Moore has died. I feel like I've lost a beloved friend. Not only was this woman a talented actress, dancer, and musical comedy star, she was funny, but she was also an unintentional feminist icon.

Her first ongoing television role in a series was the secretary of detective Richard Diamond. She was always shown behind a desk with her legs crossed as she answered his phone. In those days, women did not wear slacks at office jobs. They wore dresses. So the camera always caressed her legs crossed and wearing high heels as she talked on the phone. He called her "Legs" for good reason. Her voice was sultry as she offered him her take on his cases. We never saw her face on the show, only her dancer's legs.

Following in the footsteps of such shows as "Ozzie and Harriet" and even "I Love Lucy", Moore was hired to play Dick Van Dyke's wife on his show. She was known a Laura Petrie, a glamorous woman her husband met when a USO show came to his base during his stint in the military. She was a dancer for the USO. The action in the series took place several years later when they were married, living in New Rochelle, NY. Van Dyke played Robert Petrie, known as Rob. He was one of a trio of writers for the fictitious Allen Brady show. Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner's father, played Brady. The Petries had a son named Richie who went from being about 6 on the show to 10. Laura was frequently dressed in form fitting slacks, rarely did she wear dresses unless they were going out. Such outfits first introduced on "I Love Lucy" were still a rarity.

Unlike Harriet Nelson, Laura Petrie was no old-fashioned wife. Unlike Lucy, Laura's show business dreams were fulfilled. Rob never forbade her. He was very proud of her. It was a wonderful show, my favorite of that era. All of the regular cast were wonderful. The dialogue was bright, some of the situations were hysterical. Mary Tyler Moore added spice and an example of a woman who met her husband as an equal in certain things. The first of her kind on television.

A few years after the demise of The Dick Van Dyke show, The Mary Tyler Moore show was born. This time she was a 30 something single woman with a career and a cadre of "second bananas" on her show. The ensemble on this one was just as wonderful as that of The Dick Van Dyke show. Hired first as a secretary, Mary Richards (Moore) was elevated to producer in the world of the independent television station in Minneapolis/St Paul. Her character worked more as an equal with most of the men than any other female character on television at the time. The show ran several years and was finally cancelled. They had a killer final episode which left with a long laugh from the studio audience.

Just a side, come on you knew I'd do this, don't I always? The Dick Van Dyke show was famous for having the longest sustained laugh from a live audience in television history. I remember a longer one on the great show "Taxi" a few years later. But that one was interrupted by ongoing dialogue. Anyway, the cast on the Dick Van Dyke like the good stage actors they were, held their dialogue until the laughter wound down. Course Van Dyke and the guest star Greg Morris (who went on the be part of the original ensemble on "Mission: Impossible") both had tears running down their cheeks from laughing along with the audience.

After her sitcom successes, Mary Tyler Moore worked on Broadway and in occasional films. I heard her interviewed on NPR a couple of years ago.  She said she didn't really like California and preferred New York. She liked appearing on Broadway to live audiences.

She was nominated for an Oscar for her starring role in "Ordinary People" but did not win. Although the film won Best Picture. Directed by Robert Redford, his directorial debut, it won for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Timothy Hutton), and Best Adapted Screenplay. Moore was nominated for Best Actress and Judd Hirsch for Best Supporting Actor - neither of them won.

Moore won an Emmy Award for her work on the 1977 season of the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" - The show won for best comedy that year as well.

Later in her career, she won a special Tony Award for a production of "Whose Life Is It Anyway?"

During her time on Dick Van Dyke's show, she was diagnosed with diabetes, which plagued her the rest of her life. She never let it slow her down or affect her  performances.

Finally I say, Goodnight, Mary. Thank you for inspiring generations of girls and young women by showing what we could all do. No meek little housewife here. Even when she was young, Ms. Moore was a woman of substance with keen intelligence shining from her eyes, taking charge of her destiny. Rest well, you deserve it.

So begins 2017... I hope we won't lose as many celebrities as we did in 2016.

Until next time...

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Accountant

I've been on a movie watching spree this week. This time I've been watching on pay-per-view instead of venturing to the movie theater.

My first film to see in the comfort of my own home was The Accountant starring Ben Affleck. This one is a taut suspense film both in learning his background and in law enforcement's pursuit of this well shadowed assassin with deadly fame.

Affleck plays Christian, a man with a type of Autism which allows him to function in society. Labelled a math savant, he becomes an accountant as he is excellent with numbers.

The film begins with scenes in his childhood home. Christian is difficult to handle. It looks like the mid to late 1950s. His mother insists he needs help and they go to a rural institute in New Hampshire seeking care for him. The creator of the facility talks to the mother, while her husband, a military officer, stands with his arms folded tightly in front and a stoic expression on his face.

The doctor offers to help Christian to which the mother expresses her gratitude. But she is countermanded by her overbearing husband. He doesn't think Christian needs any help.  He needs to be exposed to the real world so he can function and get out of this phase of his life. The husband thinks his wife is just silly and indulgent. Later in the film, she leaves the family one day, just walks out, leaving her husband to handle Christian's emotional outburst. Her younger son watches her leave as he gives her the one finger salute looking out the window at her.

Thus Christian and his little brother are left in the hands of their uncaring father. The boys are trained in the martial arts with their father directing them in picking fights with older boys until they are proficient in hand-to-hand combat. Then they are trained in all manner of weaponry.

As an adult, Christian is an accountant with a small practice out of a rural strip mall office. He is an excellent accountant with his ability with numbers. However, he is a much better covert assassin with his expertise in weaponry and lack of compassion. Hired by some very dangerous people to do their dirty work with no slips, he has become very wealthy and picks his jobs as he pleases.

He is always careful to set up a new alias and personal info for each job. But the head Treasury agent is on his trail. Played by the venerable J.K. Simmons, who seems to be in almost every film I see these days, he is close to discovering the truth about Christian. So he brings in a subordinate agent, a woman, to finish the job under his supervision.

In the meantime, Christian has met a young woman on one of his cover jobs, temping for a company with problems with their finances. He clicks on to the woman, played by Anna Kendrick. They have some life experiences in common. He saves her when rivals attack.

That's as far as I'll go. I don't want to spoil the film for you.

Affleck is excellent as Christian, with just enough humanity to keep him from seeming a robotic monster.

Simmons does his usual job as the retiring director of the Treasury Department.

Anna Kendrick, who I have only seen in lightweight comedies, was a surprise in the depth of her character portrayal.

This is a tense, solemn film, with a bit of a hopeful revelation at the end. It was refreshing to see Affleck play something other than his villainous portrayals in recent films.

In places this is an exciting film when the battles are being waged. For that's what Christian is, a warrior equipped with gifts beyond the norm.

Until next time...