Monthly Archives: November 2011

I’ve got 99 problems and a rehab nurse ain’t one, motherfuckers.

You know how you feel when you see a situation starting to develop and you just know it isn’t going to work out very well for one of the people involved?

The Katie Couric interview of Sarah Palin comes to mind.

You know it’s going to be ugly, you cringe a little inside for Sarah and, if you’re me, you don’t even try to hide the smirk on your face when Katie wipes the floor with her, in the sweetest possible way, of course.


As you know, my artistic genius Mom (with great hair) and I are now in Tampa following her gauze-related hip fracture and our subsequent dramatic midnight Medevac flight out of Mexico last week.   Mom had hip surgery (a partial replacement of that bulbous part of her right hip) on Wednesday and then she was transferred to a rehabilitation facility (a/k/a “skilled nursing facility”) on Sunday.

And.  I’m not sure how else to put this, but, I kind of feel a little bit sorry for the nurses (well, not just the nurses) here at the Rehab Center. 

I’m Katie and they are all Sarah.

(keeping in mind that my sister, whose name actually is “Sarah”, is possibly even more “Katie” than I am, but she is at work and I am here, at the Rehab Center, unfortunately for all the other figurative Sarahs, cuz I’m about to go all Katie on them, and I’m a lot crankier than my sister.)

Here’s what all you Rehab Sarahs (a/k/a medical personnel) should probably know at this point:

I’m The Caregiver With The Dragon Tattoo, y’all.

I’ve been doing this shit for years.

And it isn’t just the number of years of caregiving that I have under my belt, people.  It’s the sheer volume of totally traumatic, emergency, fucked-up situations and spectacularly inept medical care providers.

I’m a caregiving ninja, if you must know.  If they gave out a black-belt for caregiving, I would be sporting one (with sparklies, of course).

My signature line is now Kimberly A. Tempel, Esq., Caregiving Ninja and Probable Blackbelt.

But don’t let the “Esquire” part scare you, Sarahs.  And all those qualifications following “Esquire” were much harder to obtain (albeit arguably less expensive) and required much more bad-assery on my part.  The fact that I’m a lawyer is the least of your worries, trust me.


Here’s what doesn’t slow me down:

  • cancer, bitch
  • a language barrier ( “no comprende?  let me put it this way, paco…”)
  • lazy emergency room personnel (in any fucking country, bring it ON)
  • cocky doctors who think they don’t have to explain anything (you can tell me now, or I can follow you around and become exponentially more difficult to evade until you tell me, so you might as well do your fucking job and tell me now, k? 🙂 )
  • national security (I’ve got an artistic genius coming through NOW, step aside or suffer the consequences, little man with a big gun…)
  • international emergency management (don’t even try – my track record is fucking impressive)

And there’s MORE:

broken bones, neutropenia, blood transfusions, brain surgery, seizures, morphine allergies/overdoses, incontinence, insomnia, intractable depression, high anxiety, psychosis, too much medication, not enough medication, the wrong medication, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, neuropathy, heart palpitations, numb toes, drug-induced amnesia, malfunctioning pulse/oxygen machines, blood clots, c.diff., superbugs, MRSA, Medicare regulations, discharge planners from hell, hallucinations, ambien-related sleep-eating/walking, x-rays, CT scans, MRI scans (no, asshole, she won’t be drinking the horrendous crap you want her to drink, thank you very much for asking), PET scans (yes, Mr. Medicare, you will be paying for this one…), lost doctor’s orders, misplaced prescriptions, contraindicated drugs, driving to the hospital, driving to the pharmacy, driving to the other pharmacy, running out in the middle of the night for strawberry-pecan blizzards and/or fried chicken, running out in the middle of the night for Coca-Cola, fruit, crema con fresas, translating Mom-speak to the Doctors/everyone else and Doctor-speak to Mom/everyone else, ascites, abdominal tumors, brain tumors, kidney tumors, throat tumors, impacted bowels, diarrhea, adult diapers, adult diaper rash, disappearing Doctors, nasty nurses, sweet CNAs, waiting for tests, waiting for results, waiting for Doctors, waiting for elevators, driving wheelchairs, driving wheelchairs while carrying other stuff, hair falling out, hair growing back, hair falling out again, good news, bad news, no news, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, therapy therapy.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

I may not be a Doctor or a Nurse or a whatever-else-you-are, but I’ve been the only person standing between one of YOU and the premature death of my artistic genius Mom (with great hair) (and other people who I love) caused by a careless mistake on YOUR part on more than one occasion and I’m not about to stop being vigilant now.

I may have 99 (or more) problems right now, but you, Rehab Sarah, ain’t one 🙂



p.s.  I may be a middle-aged white girl, but I love me some Jay-Z – He’s got 99 problems and a bitch ain’t one, dontcha know.

p.s.s.  Thanks for all the good wishes and positive vibes — Mom is hanging in there and I haven’t killed anyone yet.  It’s all good.

p.s.s.s.  I don’t want to sound like I don’t respect Doctors and Nurses and other medical professionals – I do.  I could never do their jobs.  I also think patients are consumers and are entitled to question the decisions of medical professionals and be fully informed of all their choices, regardless of how busy the “professionals” are.  I also think that hospitals and rehab facilities are critically understaffed and I think that is dangerous.  I don’t like it and I don’t think we have to just accept poor care because the Dr.’s and Nurses are overworked.  I don’t know what the answer is, but our current way of doing things is NOT it.

p.s.s.s.s.  I keep thinking maybe I should try to be on/in BlogHer, but then I put things like “motherfuckers” in my headlines.  And I like it.  🙂

p.s.s.s.s.s.  NaNoWriMo — heavy sigh.  Maybe next year….?



Filed under Cancer sucks., The Caregiver with the Dragon Tattoo

Somehow I never imagined my first flight on a private jet would involve a stretcher and armed border guards. Thanks, imagination.

Jet I.C.U. ~ This is a real thing, ya'll.


Remember when I was blogging from the beach in Mexico?

That was soooooooooo, three days ago.

Today I’m blogging from an uncomfortable vinyl recliner in a sterile green hospital room. 

In Tampa.  Florida.  U.S. of A.

How did I get here?

(letting the days go by, let the water hold me down…)

On Monday afternoon, my artistic genius Mom (with extra great hair in MX) tripped on the hem of her long gauze dress as she was trying to climb off her bed and ended up on the tile floor.  After a trip in the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) ambulance to Galenia Hospital in Cancun and several hours in the Emergency Room, we learned that she had a complex compression fracture in her hip requiring surgery.

Worst.  Case.  Scenario.

If you know me, you know that I have historically been a worst case scenario person.  Give me a situation and I can leap to a worst case scenario conclusion like that

And, to be honest, when considering whether this trip to Mexico with Mom at this time was feasible, I had imagined several worst case-type scenarios.

I imagined all sorts of things that involved a decline in Mom’s health requiring us to return to Denver for medical treatment/hospice care.  I also imagined that her health could decline so rapidly that we would not be able to make it back to Denver and she would pass in Mexico. 

I did not imagine that (a week after we got to Mexico) she would be injured in such a way that she would (a) need surgery and (b) not be able to fly on a commercial flight.

In hindsight, some kind of travel insurance that included even partial coverage for medical expenses incurred in, and transportation out of, a foreign country would have been a brilliant idea.  As it was, Mom is covered only by Medicare and a supplement to Medicare – neither of which pay for those expenses.

While we didn’t receive an official “estimate” of what the hip surgery would have cost at the hospital in Cancun, the initial amount presented to me was $20,000 (U.S.).  They were proposing a hip repair surgery and said that Mom would have to stay in the hospital for 3-4 days after the surgery.  I know that many people in the U.S. actually come to that hospital to have surgery, as it has a good reputation and costs so much less than the U.S.   Consequently our biggest concern wasn’t quality of care (and by that I mean that we didn’t automatically jump to the conclusion that there was no way she could get good care at this private hospital in Mexico and therefore had  to get back to the U.S. for treatment), it was the potential for unlimited financial exposure.  I mean, $20,000 for the surgery and related care for 3-4 days sounds relatively inexpensive, but if there’s one thing we know about my artistic genius Mom (with great hair) it is that she doesn’t get out of the hospital easily.  And she’s prone to hospital-borne “superbugs” (c.diff., for example).  And there’s the whole “compromised immune system” caused by the drugs used to try to kill the cancer.   So, a 3-4 day stay could easily bloom into a 6 week stay at several thousand dollars a day.  I feel like I’m talking in circles here though, because I’m trying not to diss the medical care at the Galenia Hospital and also trying to not sound like our only concern was financial.  We wanted the best care for our Mom and, realistically, none of us have unlimited funds and she has great medical coverage in the U.S.


We decided not to have the surgery in Mexico.  And we couldn’t get the Doctors to give Mom medical clearance to fly.  And we couldn’t find an airline that would allow her to fly without such clearance and without being able to sit upright for take-off and landing and nearly upright for the rest of the flight.  And, although we had undertaken Operation Airlift Marguerite (a/k/a my artistic genius Mom (with great hair)) circa 2007(6?) during which we drugged Mom up and basically smuggled her onto a Frontier Airlines flight to Denver when she had what turned out to be a herniated disk in her neck, that didn’t seem feasible at this time. For a couple of reasons — during the first Operation Airlift Marguerite Mom could actually walk (ok, shuffle) herself onto the plane and maintain some semblance of non-near-drug-overdose until such time as the plane was off the ground, but that was not the case this time.  This time Mom couldn’t walk or even sit upright in a wheelchair.  Also, when Operation Airlift Marguerite landed in Denver and we arrived at the Emergency Room, Mom was only breathing, ummm, like 8 times per minute.  Turns out that isn’t nearly enough and my sister and I probably could’ve been arrested for almost accidentally killing our mother while trying to skirt FAA rules about air travel for sick/injured people.


You would be surprised at how easy it is to find an Air Ambulance/”Medevac” team from a hospital room in Cancun in the middle of a Monday night.  (Props to my iPhone)  It’s very easy.  Probably on account of how they charge Eleventy-seven million dollars for everything.  When you can charge that kind of money, you can afford to have someone answer the damn phone in the middle of the night.

I kept trying to get the docs to give Mom a medical release to fly and kept exploring transportation options that cost less than eleventy-seven million dollars until about noon on Tuesday, at which time it became clear that (a) the doctors weren’t budging and (b) my idea of renting a van, throwing a mattress in the back and driving Mom to the Texas border was probably not going to fly and no cruise ships were going to agree to give Mom a ride to Miami (which I think they should reconsider, because HELLO, there’s a market for that kind of service, obviously.)

After one final conference call with my siblings (my brother in Denver and sister in Tampa)  around noon we decided to pull the trigger on the Air Medevac plan and get the fuck out of Dodge, as it were…. 🙂

(We chose to fly Mom out to Tampa instead of Denver because Eleventy-seven million dollars wasn’t enough to get her to Denver and my brother’s AMEX card could only take so much, allegedly.)

Eight and a half hours later, an ambulance arrived at the Galenia Hospital to take Mom to the airport in Cancun.

I think it must’ve been a slow night at the Cancun airport, because as soon as the ambulance was allowed through the huge security barrier gates (after two armed Mexican military guys walked around the ambulance, peeked through the windows and, I don’t know, kicked the tires?) we were flanked by a golf cart with a driver and an armed military guy and two jeeps with at least two armed military guys in each one.  And by “armed” I’m not talking about little side holster guns, oh no, these boys were packing huge machine guns.  So it’s pitch black outside except for the flashing ambulance lights and jeep headlights and there we were in a heavily armed convoy driving slowly across the tarmac towards, I guess, the private jet parking lot.  It felt very X-Files/Secret Government Operation-ish.

The Jet I.C.U. people were awesome — the pilot, co-pilot, R.N. and an EMT were all very attentive to Mom and making sure that she was comfortable and safe on the flight. (Me, on the other hand, they shoved onto a back shelf/seat right under the vent blowing arctic air into the plane…)

An hour and a half later we were on the ground in Tampa and after clearing Immigration and Customs (I had to go into a small terminal to be cleared, but the Agent went out to the plane to clear Mom), they loaded Mom into a waiting ambulance and we went directly to the Brandon Regional Hospital Emergency Room.

Where we were promptly ignored for HOURS.

It was SUCH a letdown!!!

I was so relieved (I would say “we” were so relieved, but Mom was totally out of it….) to be back on U.S. soil and in the hands of “expert” medical care, thinking maybe I could relax for a minute and trust that Mom was in good hands.


After the Dr. stopped ignoring us and finally got around to ordering Mom some pain medication, he ordered Morphine.

Thank God I was awake (I didn’t want to be) and paying attention and therefore able to stop the nurse from injecting Mom with a drug she is severely allergic to.  A fact that I had told the U.S. ambulance people, the nurse who checked us into the ER and, HELLO,  the Doctor himself.

What.  The.  Fuck.?????

Anyway.  I’m running on very little sleep and I’m running out of steam.

Mom’s surgery was Wednesday afternoon and it went fine.  She had a really difficult time yesterday due to severe confusion/hallucinations/disorientation/etc. from the anesthesia + very little sleep.  She slept much better last night and woke up with some worrisome confusion, but overall seems much better than yesterday (mentally) — physically they are concerned about her hemoglobin levels and some weird cardiac enzymes.

So, that is the nuts and bolts of what has happened, but the bigger issues remain:  what’s next?  What does this mean for the remainder of Mom’s life?  Where do we go from here?  I know she is going to want to go back to Mexico (depending on how she is feeling) and I know that, having rescued her from Mexico twice now, at a cost of thousands and thousands of dollars and tremendous emotional cost/loss of sleep/interference with our regular lives, etc. etc. — my family is NOT going to be supportive of any plan involving Mom going back to Mexico. 

It’s all so sad.  I have no idea what tomorrow will bring.



p.s. and I ran out of steam before I could add in the part about how my sister-in-law showed up at our house in MX about half an hour after Mom fell and about how her mom, Barbara, then “surprised” us about an hour later — right when we were leaving in the ambulance for Cancun.  Sooooooooooooooooooooooo, they were amazingly helpful to me with emotional support and helping me at the Hospital in Cancun and helping get stuff packed up to take on the Air Ambulance and for taking care of all the things that were left undone at the house.  They are staying through next Monday.  They are awesome and I love them.  I just didn’t write the story very conherently.

p.s.s.  NaNoWriMo?  Heavy sigh.  I was getting really excited about my story, but I’m not sure I’m going to be able to complete 50,000 words by November 30.  Seems unlikely.  And, or course, this all plays into my theory that whenever I commit to do something for myself, something dramatic and awful happens with Mom that requires me to drop everything.  Oh look!  A wisp of resentment floating by.


Filed under Cancer sucks., Uncategorized

I haven’t slept in four days, have no fluids left in my body and still hate my NaNoWriMo novel, thanks *Mexico*. Also, I love Mexico.

We made it to Mexico!

It was quite a production, but somehow me, Mom, our four HUGE bags and two small bags + laptop case all made it through two flights and a layover in Ft. Lauderdale and through Mexican immigration and into a cab and then into our casa in Puerto Morelos.

Huge.  Relief.

I’m having a love/hate relationship with Mexico right now.

First, the love.


The green, green, green of it.  The flowers everywhere.  The bright colored buildings and faded pastel houses and the weather-worn gray shacks against the white sand beaches and the (at least) ten different colors of  Caribbean blue seas that I can see from my current vantage point.  The Dr. Seuss house being built on our street just makes me smile, as do the nice people who seem to have opened up a brand new restaurant on the sidewalk next to our front gate overnight?  The ten million white taxis and the chicken lady at the end of the block.  And so much more.  It’s not all of Mexico, obviously, that I’m in love with.  Mostly just this place nestled between Cancun and Playa del Carmen — away from the bustle of the cities and still grasping onto it’s fishing village roots that holds magic for me and makes my heart sing.  It’s the place itself and the many amazing people who make up the community.  So many people who have welcomed my Mom and I into their homes and families over the past ten plus years.

The part that I love less about Mexico is the NOISE.

Aye, Dios Mio.  (I think that is pirate speak + spanish, but I’m not sure….)

I haven’t been able to sleep a wink since we arrived.  Ok, that was an exagerration, but it feels like I haven’t slept a wink. 

Here’s the truth about Puerto Morelos, Mexico:  IT’S NEVER QUIET.

And it isn’t even high season yet.  Which means the bars aren’t blaring out music until 3 a.m. and there’s no music festival going on in the park at the center of town.

No, this is just the background noise of regular life here.

And probably regular life anywhere that people live with all their windows open all the time (which isn’t, FYI, Denver, Colorado).

First it’s the dogs – turns out our neighbors (who used to have a fucking ROOSTER….) now have no less than five dogs.  FIVE.  And they aren’t allowed to roam the streets, so they spend all their time being jealous of the other dogs who are allowed to roam the street and, consequently, bark out their frustration ALL THE TIME.  Either the house next to us is full of deaf Mexicans or they are just immune to the sound of their FIVE dogs barking all the time, because it doesn’t apear to bother them.  I never thought I would say this, but I miss the rooster….

So, we’ve got the dogs barking 24/7 and then we’ve got the children.  Everybody knows I looooooove children.  But.  The children around here have to scream to be heard over the dogs, the traffic, the televisions and whatever else.  So they are pretty much always screaming.  Unless they are crying, and then they are scream-crying.  At the top of their lungs.  For hours.  Which triggers my PTSD from having my own child who scream-cried for hours at a time.  Which makes me want to drink.  And also kill the children… 🙂


And then there are the trucks that roll through town with crackly loudspeakers blaring out some nonsense (it’s spanish, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t even make sense in Spanish because, for one thing, the sound quality is so bad) or honking their horns in some kind of secret code which means either “Hey, I’m the propane truck, if you need propane you better run as fast as you can out to the street and flag me down and even then I might not stop so HA HA, motherfuckers!” or “Hey, I’m the water truck and I’m probably out of water, but I like to watch people run as fast as they can out to the street to see if they can catch me!”

And then there are THE BIRDS.  You know how, in tropical displays, like at the Zoo, the birds call out and you’re all “how cool!  that is definitely a tropical bird!”  Yeah.  Multiply that by about 1,000 and that is what it is like on our BLOCK in Puerto Morelos.  Those motherfucking birds are loud as fuck.  And they only sleep for about 6 hours, maximum.  They are relatively quiet from like 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and then the “singing” begins.  You might think that would be quite a shock to hear the tropical birds shrieking at 4 a.m., but it isn’t, on account of the fact that the ROOSTER has been up since 3 a.m….

I’m just saying that there is a LOT of auditory input here and I’m not managing it well, apparently.

(And no, I don’t need your advice about wearing earplugs, doesn’t work for me.)


I’m a bit cranky.  (OMG – maybe crankylicious is my new “brand”???)  DIBS!  COPYWRITE!  MAGICAL LEGAL WORDS!

(Mom doesn’t seem as excited about “crankylicious” as I am.  Must be the brain tumor interfering with her capacity to understand my awesome humor…?)

And even though I tell everyone that I NEVER get a bad tummy when I’m in Mexico, this time I got a bad tummy right away and it was really screwed with my plans to drink myself into oblivion, or into even a slight level of relaxation.  And my Aunt Karen (codename:  Tia Karina Maria Sofia Garcia Patron) arrived on Monday to visit and help us settle in and probably not to watch my Mom nap and me alternate between laying on the couch and the floor in the bathroom….  BUT we’ve had some fun in between those bad times and she has been a huge help.  Maybe tonight we can all be party girls.  Ha.   It’s more of an “aim” than an actual “goal”…

The writing is no muy bien.  (Does that even make sense?)(It’s not happening, much….)

Mostly because I still can’t figure out what story I’m telling.  Which means that I’ve done what everyone says NOT to do, which is overthink your NaNoWriMo novel.  The point is to just write.  Keep writing until a story uncovers itself (or not) and characters appear (or not) and at some point you’ll have a shitty first draft of something (or not).  So I should be writing like a motherfucker regardless of how I feel about the story that I may or may not even be writing.  AAAAGGGGHHHHH!  I wish my Inner Editor had an “off” switch.  Probably alcohol could help with that too?


All is well.  We’re here.  Mom seems to be happy and has a bit more energy than she has had in the recent past.  She loves being in her casa with her art all around her and loves having Tia Karina Sofia Garcia Patron to pal-around with.  And all of the things that were broken when we showed up (the car, the propane tank, the electricity, the water, etc.) are being fixed.  No internet or cable TV at the house until after November 22, so until then I’ve GOT to drag my ass over to the internet cafe on the square or here, ON THE BEACH (don’t hate me cuz I can only get internet on the beautiful shores of the Caribbean 🙂   hate me cuz I’m a bitch!)





Filed under Uncategorized

So far my novel has two homicidal old ladies named Ruth, an albino giant and a young, arguably promiscuous, attorney at a groundwater contamination conference in Las Vegas. And it’s not all fiction.


NaNoWriMo began at midnight on October 31.  Woo-Hoo! and Hurrah!

And that is also when I started writing some truly bizarre shit.

Let me explain….

I didn’t do a lot of planning for my NaNoWriMo “novel” due to the fact that I wasn’t sure I was really committed to doing it and to the fact that my life has been a scary rollercoaster/bumper car ride for the past few months topped off with packing up all my Mom and I’s stuff and putting it into storage.  None of which left a lot of time to plan out a novel.

But I did do some planning.  I did some “mind-mapping” and mapped out characters and some ideas for a plot and started a Pinterest board for the main character.  I mean, I had a general story idea in mind and I was pretty attached to it.  It was kind of a Chelsea Handler with a law degree meets Post- Apocalyptic/zombie doom that may or may not be the result of the Rapture and/or an alien invasion type story, with some super-hot sex. 

(And now you know why I didn’t want to tell anyone about it…. :))

And then the clock struck midnight on October 31 and it all flew out the window.

All of it.

My kind-of-interesting idea suddenly seemed incredibly stupid and unwritable.  I didn’t know where the story started or where it ended or what the point was (if it even HAD a point…) or anything. 

Mostly I didn’t know where the story started — way before the end of the world, when the main character (Stella?) may or may not have met (and, ummm, schtupped?) a shady engineer-type guy (engineers….trustworthy?) who knew a little too much about how to wipe out civilization, or after the “end of the world” when Stella starts to realize how totally screwed she is and then remembers shady engineer guy — and for me, that seemed like a dealbreaker.  It’s hard to have a story without a beginning.   So there I was, ready to chuck the whole idea, when an apparition appeared in my bedroom (it was Halloween, you guys) and here’s what it said:

Just fucking start, Kim.  Write the first word and then the first sentence and pretty soon you will have a paragraph and then it will start to make sense to you.  But first you have to start.  It doesn’t have to be perfect!  You can go back later and change it, but nothing can happen until you just fucking start.  Stop researching, stop outlining, stop staring at the blank screen and WRITE SOMETHING.  Start.

It was the spirit of my wise friend Jodi (who, it turns out,  isn’t dead — so that’s cool….) who had held my hand through my first few years of practicing law (which was fucking scary, by the way…) and who had to tell me, on more than one occasion, to just go to my own office and START WRITING whatever legal thing it was that I was avoiding the shit out of by hanging out in her office lamenting the fact that I couldn’t figure out how to write the thing.


Apparition-Jodi was right, as usual, and once I started putting some words down, they turned into sentences and then paragraphs and then, voila!, I was writing.


And it turns out that my story starts with a young attorney, who may or may not be my “main character” and who may or may not be named “Stella” (no last name yet) sneaking out of a hotel room (her clothes disheveled and hair positively post coital) and taking what can only be called a “walk of shame” down a brightly lit and horrifically carpeted corridor in a Las Vegas resort hotel in the wee hours of the morning — Coach bag and “fuck me” heels in tow.  I’m not sure whose room she just snuck out of, but I have a very bad feeling that it might have been the keynote speaker of the conference, a/k/a  her boss.  This girl is pretty smart, but she doesn’t always have great judgment, especially when she’s wearing those heels.

Then I hit a wall.  Because I knew Stella had to go back into her room and I knew that her well-meaning, but conservative/uptight/religious/parentified co-worker (who feels like a Susan or a Janet, or maybe a Robin) was in the room waiting for her and she was going to have to explain herself and/or lie and I just didn’t feel like I could tackle that scene at the moment, because UGH – who likes to write about moral superiority?  Not me.

So I found NaNoWriMo word sprints on Twitter (@NaNoWordSprints).  Best. Idea. Ever.

Basically the NaNoWriMo official people have someone on Twitter 24 hours a day (not the same person, obviously) setting up word sprints.  A word sprint is really just a challenge to write like the wind for a specified period of time incorporating the sprint leader’s suggestion into your story (or not)  and then you can post your word count and/or anything you’ve written and also see what other people came up with.  It’s fun, but most importantly for me, it has actually turned out to be a good way to get me writing again after I’ve hit a wall.


The first sprint I found was a half-hour sprint with the challenge to incorporate two women named Ruth into my story.  Which, in my case, means that I started another story, because the two Ruths were not hanging out in a garishly carpeted hallway in a Las Vegas casino in the wee hours of the morning, they were locked in an interview room waiting for their court appointed defense counsel (which would never happen in real life, since they don’t usually lock co-defendants up together prior to their interviews and the two wouldn’t be meeting with the same attorney… HELLO… Criminal Law 101 (which I learned about on TV, FYI)… but this is FICTION folks, and I’m the motherfuckin’ author!) who turns out to be none other than the arguably promiscuous attorney who may or may not be my “main character” — Stella.  She’s not a defense attorney, but she is doing pro bono work and was told that one of the Ruths (she doesn’t know there are two) was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing/disturbing the peace, so she thinks she can probably handle the case.  Imagine her surprise when there are TWO Ruths waiting to speak with her and they spill the beans about the dead man in the trunk of their pale pink 1969 Cadillac DeVille (convertible).  It’s clear that the Ruths need a real defense attorney (luckily Stella knows a few) and that their situation is going to envelope Stella in a way that she never imagined when walking into the interview.  Sticky, sticky, sticky.

And then I got to Tampa last night and tried to “flesh out” the scene between Stella and Susan/Janet/Robin/Ms. Moral Superiority and it still wasn’t going anywhere — mostly Stella just wanted to rush into the bathroom, close the door behind her and wait for Ms. Moral Superiority to stop asking questions and go back to sleep, but that doesn’t make for very interesting dialogue so I decided to do another word sprint (Word Sprint!) and the one that was just about to start suggested that I incorporate a giant into my story.

A giant?

No problem.

So, at some point after the end of the world (as we know it…YES, I just quoted R.E.M.) Stella is driving her Mini Cooper convertible (cars still work, apparently…) in a horrible snowstorm when she sees a person on the side of the road.  Not just a person, but the FIRST PERSON she’s seen since you-know-what, so she is pretty anxious to talk to someone, plus the person has got to be freezing, so she stops.  Turns out the person is HUGE.  And what she thought was a big head of hair covered with snow is really a big head of pure white hair (also covered in snow….interestingly enough) surrounding a big face containing a big mouth and two big bright blue eyes and probably a nose.  Anyway – it’s a guy and he’s huge and once I started writing about him, I realized that he was pretty much the Abominable Snowman from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with less facial hair, nicer teeth and the capacity for speech.  He’s also a total horndog, which wasn’t an aspect of his personality that they explored very well on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Oh, and he might be the archangel Michael.  If you believe in that sort of thing, which I don’t.  And neither does Stella, it turns out.

So.  As you can see, I’m not taking my story too seriously yet, but I’m having a lot of fun writing it.  Which is a pretty valuable lesson in itself, especially when you’re me.  Which I am.

This here blog post is my writing for today and tomorrow it’s back to the “real” story (whatever that is).  Don’t worry, I’m not planning to blog too much about this NaNoWriMo thing — writing and then blogging about what I’m writing is probably a little much, even for me.  I’m sure I will be back to bitching about life and talking to monsters and walls and whatever else soon enough. (Oh joy!)  And I will be doing it from a gorgeous beach in Mexico, which will be uber-annoying for anyone not similarly situated, i.e., pretty much everyone else.



p.s.  We are in Tampa until Sunday, then off to Puerto Morelos!  I’m loving spending time with my sis and family, but also really looking forward to getting Mom back to her home (“Casa de Colores”) near the ocean.  What I’m not looking forward to is getting Mom (in a wheelchair) plus myself and four huge suitcases + two carry-on bags and my laptop through two airports + customs/immigration.  Do they serve Xanax on Spirit Airlines?


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