Friday, July 31, 2009

Of Vampires and By-Lines

In my quest to sate my appetite for vampires and all things undead, I've spent the last couple of weeks working my way through the House of Night Series by the mother-daughter team, P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast.

The series is such a popular one at our library that I've been forced to read the books out of order. Even so, between the characterization, world-building, pacing and suspense, they're really working for me, enough so that I'll likely invest in my own copies.

Current House of Night read: Chosen.

On the clips front:
The August issue of Family Time Magazine hit the newsstands today, featuring an article by yours truly. My story focuses on a local mom whose daughter was struggling with learning disabilities and developmental issues, but is now showing marked and measureable improvement thanks an innovative new treatment approach called Brain Balance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Doctor's visits, Deadlines and Dog Parks

E, Jewel and I spent all day downtown yesterday at Children's. We thought the appointment with Dr. L would be routine, fully expecting to get the clearances we needed for E's surgery on the August 20th and be on our way before lunch. Not.

Turns out E's anemic--again--which means the issue from March isn't resolved. Frustrating thing is that if the numbers don't go up, they could be a deal breaker for surgery. We need clearances from the hematology folks before surgery's a go. Before we can get clearances, we need to see the hemo folks again. Their next available appointment isn't until after August 20th.

Insiders are working on the Powers that Be, hoping they'll bless E with the golden ticket needed to win a seat at a clinic before surgery. The problem is we're talking hospital time here. Even if we get said seat, there's no guarantee the low numbers will be resolved in time. *Pauses to take a long meditative breath.* Can you spell roller coaster ride?

While waiting on the Powers that Be, I'm focusing on my next Family Time article. It's due Friday. The subject is dog parks. In addition to interviewing area dog lovers about why they go, E, S and I ventured out to a local park. What fun! In less than a half hour's time, our labs, Buffy and Jewel, made three new friends, Diamond, a sled dog with remarkable blue eyes, Bailey, a sweet chocolate lab puppy, and Nadine, a tail-wagging Shepherd-like mutt with an attitude.

Jewel and Buffy came back exhausted, but happy. For anyone who's ever owned a dog, you know why the exhausted part is so huge. We're already planning our next visit.

FYI, the article's scheduled to run in September. I'll give everyone a heads up when it hits the newsstands for sure.

Friday, July 17, 2009

For Every Writer's Toolbox: This is Just Too Cool

I've been meaning to write about a really cool game, one I believe belongs in every writer's toolbox for days when you need to coax the muse out to play. The game is called Crayon Physics. The shapes you draw on your screen will move, tumble and roll, depending on how and where you place them. This in turn affects the scene on your screen, and helps you build contraptions reminiscient of Mouse Trap and, ultimately, experiment with physics. Brilliant. There's a free downloadable demo on the website. I dare you to play it without smiling.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Wake-Up Call from My Muse (and April Halprin Wayland)

I subscribe to the belief that there are no coincidences in life, only God incidences. Yesterday was no exception. After writing my post about how difficult I expect the next month to be in terms of finding butt in chair time with my characters, I read this entry by April Halprin Wayland on the Teaching Authors blog about writing time (and the perceived lack thereof.) Thanks for writing your post, April. The way I see it, you were the equivalent of a phone call from my muse.

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's a Date

Surgery is a definite for E. She's on the schedule for August 20th. Between now and then we need clearances from--and this is no lie--six different physicians. And I'm supposed to be sitting butt in chair for the hard work of writing when?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Deadlines, Doctors and Other Reasons My Desk is a Mess

On tap this week:

1. Deadlines inevitably create more piles on my already overly piled desk. Since I'm on deadline for another Family Time article (due in a couple of weeks) the piles are steadily growing. Fortunately for now I know where everything is (knocks on wood). The article I'm currently working on is about area dog parks, pros, cons, how-tos, etc. I finished the bulk of my research phase Monday, sought initial quotes from E's service dog trainer and friends with dogs, etc., and lined up sources for more in-depth interviews. Later this week, the fun part begins--play testing area parks with S, E, and E's service dog Jewel.

2. We leave for downtown Chicago tomorrow at 9 for our ortho consult. Since doctor's visits to Children's are rarely routine, I spent a good deal of this evening making lists and packing as if we'll be gone for the day (since inevitably we end up making a day of it.) The visit is a follow-up on based on one of the to-dos we received during our visit with the primordial dwarfism specialists out east at the end of May.

Long story short, both specialists recommended E have surgery to lengthen her heel cord and other areas on her left leg affected by her initial stroke. Since no surgery is routine with E, my initial reaction upon hearing the idea was a knee-jerk no. But as the doctors starting explaining why, I couldn't help but listen. The surgery is a short one, and the end result HUGE in terms of the mobility and independence E will gain from it.

We've since talked with E's key team members locally. All are in agreement that E would benefit from the procedure. So are the parents of E's friends who've undergone similar procedures.

We talked with E about it. When she heard that the end result of the surgery will likely mean regaining enough use of her leg to walk without her cane, she jumped at the chance to do it.

So, tomorrow we meet a surgeon who's been recommended for the job. At that point we'll talk risks, expectations, length of recovery, etc. I imagine we'll also talk timing. The ideal would be to do it before school begins. But we need to include E's wants in the equation, too. She wants to wait until after her youth mission trip to Appalachia at the end of the month. I can't blame her. She's been telling everyone she meets that she's looking forward to spending time with her dad. He's co-leader of the church youth group and on point that week with E.