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Friday, October 28, 2011

Nano and Halloween getting close!

Halloween is growing very close now.  I will be working in the therapy department on Monday, and have been trying to find an appropriate costume to wear to work.  I found some pink hairspray, a white feather boa, and have toyed with the idea of being a "Pink Lady" from "Grease".  I'm not sure that is what I will do, though.  I may just decide to wear one of my several Halloween scrubs and be more comfortable..we'll see.

I'm getting a little nervous about the NANOWRIMO beginning on Tuesday.  I've gotten a little bit of a head start by doing a loose outline of my story, and fleshing out my characters a little bit.  I need to get them more defined before I start, so I'm not contradicting myself with their behaviors.

I have heard good feedback about my theme and plot so far.  The premise of my story is a nurse in a nursing home who is dealing with four teenagers at home with one bathroom to share, and a husband who drives a truck and is rarely home.  This nurse is also caring for her elderly dad, who is a resident of the nursing home where she works.  When a couple of convicts escape from a nearby prison and take the staff and residents of the nursing home as hostages, the nurse must keep everyone calm, do her job as best she can, while trying to talk the convicts into  surrendering without harming anyone.  Her faith in God is her strongest support in this story.  

I've never written 50,000 words in a month before.  I don't know if I'll make it, but I'd like to give it a try.  Who knows?  It might be my best story yet!  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I've done it now!

Well, I've really stepped in it this time.  I was busy reading all the posts in F2K about NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month), which is held every November.  The idea of this month-long event is to get people to writing.  The goal?  Write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days.  It starts November 1 and runs through midnight on November 30th.

I've known about this event since 1999, the first year it began.  However, 1999 was not a particularly slow year for me.  I lost a daughter in a house fire in February, and gave the other daughter to her husband in October.  In between dealing with mourning one, and trying to keep up a happy face for the other, when I really just wanted to crawl in  a hole and never come out, just about wore me out.

Each year, I've had some reason why I couldn't participate in Nano.  Usually, I blamed it on my job, my health,  family obligations, or just plain laziness.  So I had already decided I wouldn't take part again this  year, and posted it in the F2K forum.

Today, however, a niggling thought came to mind.  If I don't ever try, I'll never succeed.  I would prefer to use my work in progress, DOOR IN TIME for Nano, but the powers that be wish everything to be brand new.  So I compromised.  I looked through my prior writings, and found a short story that I had worked on many years ago.  I never really finished it then.  But ideas for the completion of a full novel based on my character began to flood my brain.  I knew then, that I had to try it.

There is no guarantee that I will finish the project now, but I'd sure like to give it a try.  And once I finish this, maybe I'll have the momentum to finish DOOR IN TIME.  I've even got an idea or two for sequels to that novel.

So, if you don't see much of me in November, don't worry.  I'll be fine.  And if you see me carrying my laptop around, don't assume I'm playing games.  I doubt I'll have much time for those for a month or two. There is no penalty for not completing the 50,000 words, but each word that I do get written will be that much closer to the finish line of a new novel.  And that's what I like to do.

If this post inspires you to do something similar and crazy like me, it's not too late to join in.  Just Google NANOWRIMO and follow the leads to the site, register and on November 1, start  your engines and begin racing toward the 30th and a complete novel.

Anyone care to join me?  I'm registered under NurseArtist1951.  I'd love to have some friends doing this with me.  Perhaps we could even meet to write together.  I happen to know a neat little coffee house close by where we can work.

I'm pumped.  Are  you?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cobwebs and Mementos

I wrote this essay about 5 years ago.

There’s nothing like cleaning out closets and junk rooms to bring back memories. That is the project of the week for me, and it has brought a roller coaster of emotions along for the ride.
Jason’s old room is full to the brim with empty boxes, old bedding, old furniture, old stereo equipment belonging to both Jason and Josh, and old toys. Many of these items will simply go to the garbage, but a few of them made me sit down and reminisce for a few moments. Cobwebs cover the corners and ceiling, a reminder that I’ve waited too long to tackle this project.
Take Jason’s old G.I. Joe toys, Transformers, and high school prom pictures. Jason didn’t do much dating in high school, so a nice prom picture with him in it is a treasure to me. I plan on keeping one of these photos for myself.
I found Teresa’s nursing license certificate and card. This brought out a few tears, remembering Teresa’s last days alive. I’ll put these in the scrapbook we started about Teresa to give to Regan. She is old enough now to need some mementos to remind her of her mother.
Becky’s old Cabbage Patch Doll will make a nice gift for her daughter, Karsyn. I was delighted to see those are still popular. My girls certainly enjoyed playing with theirs.
Josh had a lot of stereo equipment stored in that room. I have no idea what some of it even is or what it does. I found an old photo album from when he was in Okinawa. I think some of those photos are better left lost.
I found motorcycle helmets, beer signs, lots of sweaters and boots that will go to the Thrift Shop. Some of Regan’s baby toys she outgrew can be sterilized and put in the toy box for Whitley and Karsyn to play with, or fight over, as the case may be.
Josh has a huge wooden trunk that is full of uniform parts, sports memorabilia, and other assorted mementos of time gone by. I’m hoping he’ll want to take those home with him. But they’ll be ok for a while in the trunk. It’s all the loose items that are bugging me to be disposed of. Lots of CD covers with no disc in them. Do I recycle the covers? Do I search for the CDs? Not likely. Gun cleaning kits, and parts of guns, boxes that once held rifles, weedeaters, and other “man stuff” will all find homes elsewhere.
The floor is looking pretty rough. I’ll have to put down a large area rug to cover splintered areas. The walls definitely need a coat of paint. All of that will have to come later. Right now, it’s back to the “bat cave” to finish sorting. If I don’t emerge in a day or so, please send out a search party. I may have been bitten by something rabid.

My Bucket List

I should be in bed.  I’ve been up since four a.m.  I worked passing meds for eight hours straight today with only a short five minute break and a thirty minute break for lunch.  My feet are killing me, and my back hurts.  But I’m happy.  My loving husband is on his way home.

We’ll only have tomorrow together before he’ll have to leave again.  I have to work Sunday morning as charge nurse.  So it will be another four a.m. alarm day.  We’ll be going to church tomorrow night.

My mother is on a short vacation to Branson, Missouri.  I’m praying that she is having a painless happy time with her sister, niece and other family.  She left me a phone message to say she would be back tomorrow.

My daughter is planning their second vacation this year.  They took a week and their kids and traveled to Colorado earlier this summer.  On Wednesday, Rusty and Becky plan to leave for Cancun, Mexico.  I’m concerned about this trip, as I am every time she leaves the country.  With all the political unrest everywhere and increased terrorism, I am not a big fan of foreign travel.  I’m praying they will return safe and sound and have a good time.

I will be helping to watch their children while they are gone.  Rusty’s mom will have them part of the time, and I will take over when she returns home.  I’ve been asked to stay with them in their home, which means leaving my dogs alone here in my home.  I’m not crazy about that, but I guess we’ll survive.

I think I’ll take my laptop with me to their house.  It will make the days go faster.  I have to work some of the days, so will be seeing the grandkids off to school before I leave for work.  This means getting up pretty early to get ready myself in time to get them up.  More four a.m. mornings, I’m thinking.  Sigh.  Oh well, it’s only for a few days. 

I keep telling Becky that “next year, your dad and I want to take a trip.”  But each year, something happens to prevent our traveling.  This year it was his mom’s illness and death.

Last year, Dennis had to have surgery and missed work, then used vacation leave to pay for missed days.  We haven’t actually traveled together much since 2005, when I had to have multiple surgeries upon our return due to acute appendicitis and complications resulting in further surgery.

Perhaps I need to do like Becky and Rusty do.  Plan a date for our trip and make reservations.   Then we’ll have a good excuse to say, “sorry, we’ll be out of town.”  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love watching those adorable children.  It’s quality time I treasure.  But I would like a chance to indulge in a little traveling of my own.  I have yet to travel out of this country.  I’ve never been on a cruise.  I’ve only flown one time, a few days after we were married back in 1971, when we flew to Chicago, where Dennis was stationed in the U.S. Navy.

I’d like to work on my own bucket list.  I love the mountains, especially in early October, when the autumn splendor is at its highest.  I’d like to see Alaska.  I want to get my feet wet in the ocean.  I want to see the Grand Canyon.  I want to do some plein air painting. I want to take some awesome photos of wildlife and landscapes.  I want to spend some quality time with my husband, while we’re still able to travel.   Is that so wrong?

I received an invitation for an all expense paid free cruise in the mail the other day.  I know most of those things are scams, so I won’t be using that.  But I know a couple of travel consultants locally, who would love to fix me up with reservations for a trip.  I’m tempted to look into it, just to see what is available and how much I’ll need to save.  Why should I have to wait until I’m my Mom’s age to travel? 

I’ll have to sleep on this idea. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


There are times when my dogs infuriate me.  This morning, I let them out to romp while I walked across the street to the mailbox.  Normally, they stay in our yard, chasing each other around, doing their business, and sniffing everything they find, but not this morning.

Almost immediately they both took off running to the neighbor’s yard across the street.  I called to them by name, shouting and coaxing alternately, but to no avail.  They ran away even farther.

I knew they would return home on their own terms, so I went back into the house and read my mail.  After several minutes, I turned to look out of the glass storm door, and they were sitting there on the porch, waiting to be let back in.  Their feet were muddy, their long fur full of leaves and twigs.

I let them in for a moment, thinking I would give them baths.  But I was angry with them, and didn’t want to deal with the mess that always comes with baths just yet.  So I took them out to the back yard and put them in their pen.  I gave them some dog food and made sure they had water, but no treats for Bandit and Starr today.

Or at least until I miss them and bring them back in.  They say Shih Tzu’s are difficult to train.  I say almost impossible.  You don’t train Shih Tzu pups, they train you.  I’ll be the one begging for treats soon.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Garage Sales

Garage sales, porch sales, yard sales,
One man's junk is another's treasure.
Furniture, clothing, pots and pans,
Bring cash to some; to others, pleasure.
Antiques, baby supplies, toys, even guns,
Something for everyone, second to none.
Traffic jams, people jumping out of cars,
Racing to grab those canning jars.
TVs, stereos, sports equipment,
Does it work? How much do you want?
Can I fit that into my car?
I wonder if I have space for that.
Can I return it if it don't fit?
Will the grandkids wear that?
Is it out of style?  I wouldn't touch that
for a country mile.
My cash is all gone; my time is all spent.
I wouldn't buy that for one red cent.
Time to go home, put my new treasures away,
Until the next garage sale day.

Dixie Barnes 2011