Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Scariest Thing in Washington, DC

The scariest thing in Washington, DC isn't crime.  I never felt in danger from anyone while I've been here and it's been a few days.

The scariest thing?  Their escalators.

These things are EVERYWHERE.  Especially around the Metro.  If you are lucky, there's an elevator available you can use instead.  Otherwise, you are stuck.

This is very bad for me.  I HATE escalators.  This is no mild dislike.  I loathe them with a passion.  Especially down escalators.  I am always afraid I'm going to pitch forward on one of those.

I can mostly handle up escalators, though I don't like them.  But some of the escalators around here are LONG.  Throw in I am afraid of heights and you'll understand why that might pose a problem for me.

I am fortunate that my family is patient and understanding of this phobia.  On one of the long escalators they surrounded me so I felt protected going up.  When I had no choice but to use a down escalator not once but twice on this trip Don didn't laugh at me but stood in front of me and cheered me on as I gripped the handrail with both hands.

In time I could probably overcome this fear.  But for right now, my attitude is, "down with down escalators!"

Saturday, April 16, 2016

On the Road

I am in Alexandria, Virginia as I type this.  I'm here with my husband, youngest son, and his wife.  Together (along with the kids' dog Hobbes) we plan to check out Washington DC for the next few days.

This is primarily a fun trip, though I might indulge in a little research in case I ever want to set a story in this area.  Today we explored Old Town in Alexandria, visiting a number of shops.

Tomorrow we'll head to DC proper.  I will try to post stuff as we go, but I might do a column on the trip so I will hold back some details for that.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Would you like a free short story?

I am giving new subscribers to my newsletter a FREE short story, "Murder for Dinner," as a way of saying thanks.  All you have to do is sign up on the form on the left hand side of the page.

(You can check out a short blurb about "Murder for Dinner" on the ebooks page of the blog)

Once you sign up I'll send you instructions on how to get "Murder for Dinner" for free.

The newsletter is occasional, mostly when I have news to report.  I promise I won't flood your inbox with postings.

I hope to hear from you!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

2 Questions We Need to Ask

I am currently listening to the Democratic debate being broadcast on MSNBC.  Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton have exchanged a lot of sharp words and promised a lot of things to the American people.  Free health care, free college, among other things.

My friend Barry Foster likes to quote a former county commissioner, the late Archie Summers.  The man had two questions he would always ask when something was proposed.  Two questions that would be helpful when any politician proposes some brand new program or promises something "free."

1) How much is it going to cost?

2) Who's going to pay for it?

Am I the only one who thinks that these questions should be answered?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Tuesday Thoughts: Post colonoscopy

Yesterday there was no Monday Musings because yesterday I had an endoscopy and colonoscopy and was loopy enough from the anesthesia that I didn't think I could come up with anything coherent.

There are a number of people who get nervous about this procedure and think of all kinds of reasons to put it off.  I have to admit I understand their concern.

Preparing for the thing is no fun - I spent Sunday near the bathroom.  And you have to more than likely take a day or two off for it (I gave myself permission to take Sunday and Monday off from the writing due to this).  It's a little unsettling, given what takes place.

The three worst things about it for me?  The prep, certainly.  Yesterday the poor nurse had to try two different spots to find a vein for the IV, and that brought not a little pain.  And whatever device they put on my mouth for the endoscopy bruised my lips - it looks like someone socked me in the mouth.

The procedure itself?  Thanks to anesthesia I slept through it.  No biggie.  And today, other than being a little tired and having puffy lips, I am fine.

And the good news is I have no cancer.

You see, the reason I endure this is because of the simple fact that colon/rectal cancer has no warning signs.  And in the past I've had pre-cancerous polyps in my intestine that were removed.  This latest procedure was to make sure they hadn't come back.

Yes, it's a pain.  Yes, it's not on my list of fun things to do.  I'm glad it's done.

But cancer would be worse.

Check with your doctor and if he/she says you need to have this, get it done.  Believe me, it beats the alternative.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday Musings: Rey and the Naysayers

Warning: this blog post will include some spoilers for "Star Wars: the Force Awakens."  If you don't want to know, you might want to skip this post.

Spoiler space for those who are curious...

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Okay??  All right.  I've been reading about how some people find Rey too perfect.  The term "Mary Sue" has been bandied about.

Sexism charges have been laid against these people.  "It's because she's a girl!" these people say, dismissing the critics and going back to how awesome Rey is.

There is no question that Rey is a great character.  She's multi-talented.  She can hold her own and doesn't need to be rescued.  She's got the Force, for crying out loud!

But is she too good to be true?  Is she unrealistic as a character?

Please remember that we are talking about a character in a movie that includes faster-than-light space travel, Wookies, and the mystical Force, so it should be obvious that we aren't dealing in reality here.

Any hero (or heroine) in the Star Wars universe is going to be larger than life.  Luke Skywalker was a farm boy who could shoot a blaster as well as a Stormtrooper and a crack pilot off the bat.  No one complained that Luke was unrealistic in his abilities - at least not to the extent that people were rushing to defend him as I see many defending Rey.

I've heard the complaint that Rey is perfect.  I'm not sure I agree with that.  She has her own set of flaws and weaknesses.  When first confronted with her destiny, for example, she says "no way!" and runs off alone in the woods, WHEN THERE ARE BAD PEOPLE OUT THERE LOOKING FOR HER.  Finn had said they'd probably been tracked to the planet but she goes off by herself anyway, not telling anyone where she is going.  That certainly doesn't strike me as a perfect move.

And before Rey fans cream me, her having flaws is not a bad thing.  It makes her human.  It gives her room to grow as a character.  I'm looking forward to seeing how they explore her abilities and weaknesses in the next film.

Rey is a good fit for the Star Wars universe.  To deny that because she's a girl...well, that's silly.  And while feminists and I generally don't agree on much (which is another post for another time), this is one case I cheerfully side with them.

Rey is awesome.

Get over it.