Monday, April 30, 2012


From (April's link) A way to get a rejection before you actually submit anything. You know, to build up your endurance. To thicken up that boiled-egg-membrane you call a skin.

Here's mine:

Dear Writer,

And for your next trick, you’ll … what? Make a human turd turn into an ursine one? No? Create a maggot-vomiting cat? Do tell. We expect wonders.

The Editors

Considering I already have a maggot-vomiting dog (well...worms, not maggots--but that's a mere technicality) I guess nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

Midnight Cravings

Last night at 2:30 a.m. I wake up out of a sound sleep.


It doesn't have to be cookies.


Problem is, I don't keep it around. Well, I kindasorta do: I buy Little Debbie and Hostess crapola treats for my husband for the simple reason that I don't like that stuff. I like fresh, donut-shop donuts. I like homemade pie ( "homemade" defined as anything I have to, yanno, actually bake in the oven; in the Garsee household, the fact that it came out of a box does not make it any less homemade with the exception of pizza). I especially looove ice cream.

but there's nothing to be found in the freezer, the fridge, the cupboards, under the couch the trunk of my car on the neighbor's back porch (sorry, Bob--that was me). Ab. So. Lute, Ly NOTHING!!! Not even a crummy cookie unless you count a box of Milkbones.

Elijah: Those are cookies.

Me: No, they're not.

Elijah: YOU call them cookies! All the time, you say: "Elijah! Wanna cookie? Come get your cookie!" blah, blah.

Me: Elijah, those are not "real" cookies.

Elijah: ??? You--you've been lying to me all this time?

Me: OK, let me rephrase that: Those are dog cookies, Eli. Not human cookies.

Elijah: ...whimper, whimper...sniff.

Me: WHAT?!

Elijah: I--I'm not human?

Anyway, I settled for a bowl of sugary cereal (though less sugary than I remember from childhood), watched 30 minutes of a Lifetime movie (Tiffany Theissen is married to some peeping Tom and just found out she's pregnant), and finally conked back out.

Seriously, am I the only person who jolts straight up out of a perfectly sound sleep with an uncontrollable sugar craving? Raise hands if you do.

(And throw me a cherry pie)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday 5

1. Grandma is 88 years old and still going strong, though she is now in the habit of forgetting my name (she can't remember the dog's name, either, so I'm not the only one left out). At least she remembered she loves Chinese food and birthday cake.

2. I just hit "send"--and you know what that means.

3. Sick of the never-ending trolls, the heavy-handed moderation, and, in short, the whole toxic environment over at my favorite writer's board, I just sent a PM to the PTB to delete my account. It was a time-suck anyway. I feel positively cleansed!*


*This should not be misconstrued as an endorsement for BOWTROL. Prunes work just fine.

4. I'm working day shift this weekend and already spazzing out over the idea of waking up at 5:00 a.m. especially now that I'm out of Benadryl. I also learned the other night, after taking care of a very elderly gentleman and schlepping him back and forth to the john 12 times in 8 hours, that I'm much too old to be doing this for a living.

5. My new favorite show (after The Big Bang Theory) is VEEP!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Little Night Ghost Story

We have a camera in the TV room at work, with a closed-circuit monitor at the nurses’ station. I like to call it a spycam, though we’re not exactly “spying”—we just want to make sure no one is

A. Engaging in illegal coitus, or

B. Engaging in anything else they shouldn’t be doing.

Though the monitor has a record button, it has never, to my knowledge, ever recorded anything. There’s no tape, for one thing. So that’s a dead giveaway.

We keep the TV room open till 11 or so at night. The door locks automatically when it closes. The only time we lock it up early is if certain people insist on engaging in either A or B (see above). Frankly, we nurses get tired of breaking that stuff up.

So imagine my surprise when patients start coming to desk, asking why the TV room's locked. The first time I figure someone closed by accident. The second time I have to unlock it, I figure some smart*** is playing games.

The third time I have to schelp down the hall to open the room it occurs to me: We're always watching that TV room on the monitor. We also make rounds every 15 minutes. Whoever's shutting that door most certainly would've been spotted by now.

Note: The door cannot close by itself. There's an automatic latch when the door is opened.

Still, I continue to toy with the idea that a certain someone finds it brilliantly entertaining to force the lazy-do-nothing-sit-behind-the-desk-all-night nurses (HIS opinion, of course, which is in no way grounded in reality) to jump up to unlock the door every hour on the hour.

Then, shortly before 11p.m. I glance at the monitor. There's a patient sitting alone in the TV room, staring intently at the TV. Bummer that the TV's going off in a few minutes…

M, arriving for night shift, does go down to turn off the TV and shut the door. But a short while later, when I look at the monitor again, the same patient is STILL THERE, sitting in the same chair and still watching TV. The TV screen, I notice, doesn't seem to be moving.

“Who is that, back in the TV room?” I ask. “I thought M locked it up.”

Several of us huddle around the monitor. On closer inspection, we see it's a female patient—slight build, African-American, wearing a light-colored shirt with short sleeves. This description, however, does NOT match any of the patients we currently have on the unit. And with only two female patients--one a very large black lady, the other a smaller white lady--it's not like we can’t keep track of them.

“I know I shut that door!” M insists.

Back down the hall we go. And yes, the door IS shut and the TV IS turned off. But--back at the desk--the mystery woman remains on the monitor, sitting quietly in her chair, staring at the TV.

A still picture. A photograph. Now where it came from or how it popped up on the monitor, none of us have a clue. Could it possibly be of a patient who’d been discharged some time ago? Maybe. But if the damn thing doesn’t record, if there’s no freaking tape in it…how is this possible?

A reboot of the monitor gets rid of the picture and resumes a live stream of the TV room. But the question remains: Who was the woman watching TV?

The same one who kept closing the door all night long?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Saunda Mitchell: THE SPRINGSWEET

Congratulations to Saundra Mitchell, for today is the release date for her novel THE SPRINGSWEET!


Amazon description: Heartbroken over the tragic death of her fiancĂ©, seventeen-year-old Zora Stewart leaves Baltimore for the frontier town of West Glory, Oklahoma, to help her young widowed aunt keep her homestead going. There she discovers that she possesses the astonishing ability to sense water under the parched earth. When her aunt hires her out as a “springsweet” to advise other settlers where to dig their wells, Zora feels the burden of holding the key to something so essential to survival in this unforgiving land. Even more, she finds herself longing for love the way the prairie thirsts for water. Maybe, in the wildness of the territories, Zora can finally move beyond simply surviving and start living.

This is the follow-up book to THE VESPERTINE which Saundra worked on during YES! GRAPEMO! (and was so generous with her teasers!) and also the book I'm currently reading. How lucky am I to get to read them in quick succession?? TOTALLY lucky!

Best of luck to you, Saundra! xox

Monday, Monday

Laaaaazy day! This weekend was unreal.

Saturday: 1. A funeral service for my "adopted" sister Ruthy's dad. He was in his 80's and fairly recently (last year) widowed after his wife (of 63 years!) died. He passed away peacefully after a very brief illness. Every nurse who took care of him came in to kiss him goodbye.

2. Immediately after that, I had the pleasure of being part of the Hudson Ohio Author Book Fair in Hudson, Ohio. How cool is it to meet people who love to read? Who like your books? Or to hang out with OTHER WRITERS who don't glaze over when you talk about writing, and--better yet--are more than happy to share their own experiences?

Lisa Roeker, me, Mara Purnhagen, Linda Gerber, Melissa Staehli

Sunday: Orthodox Easter. Because I didn't think far enough ahead to request the whole weekend off, I had to drag myself to work in the morning, then zip off to my sister Karen's right after work. Ruthy, who at first hadn't planned to come because of the funeral and all (and out-of-town family) sprung a surprise visit on us after all I LOVE YOU, RUTHY! Family, friends, a whole evening of gossip and great food.

Today I was also supposed to work, but a last minute schedule change (THANK YOU, JANIS!) gave me the day off. I'd planned to spend it writing--yanno, the thing I'm supposed to do whenever I have a spare moment?--and instead spent it alternately napping and finishing up on some reading:
This one, a stunning novel-in-verse, I read this in one sitting.

And my "adult" fix for the month--

--which I finished up while waiting for the guys at the gas station to change my oil.

This one I finished reading on Saturday after the book fair, because spending time around books only makes me want to read more. Smiley


5 stars for all of them!

Monday, April 16, 2012








Extremely cheesy


Friday, April 13, 2012


Libraries love me. Libraries love me because I can never get my books back on time. Sometimes I think my fines singlehandedly support the whole system.

But I love them back. I've ditched Panera. Now I'm sitting with my laptop in a blessedly QUIET environment, with no need for headphones to block out the racket.

Plus there's nothing to eat here.

Plus I'm surrounded by books.

It doesn't get much better.

Monday, April 2, 2012


She was the kind of nurse I often wished I could be. And maybe, some time in the distant past, I was a bit like her.

Even-tempered. Caring. Always upbeat. Never once did I hear her make a snarky comment. Never heard her complain about the amount of work, the idiocy of management, the ingratitude of the patients for whom we bend over backwards without expecting anything in return, other than respect. Which nurses often don't get.

Compassionate. Soft-spoken. Always smiling. And none of this changed when she became so very sick. Sick to the point where she once, discreetly, held a basin under the desk in case the chemo treatment she'd just undergone might cause her to vomit.

It was a long, fierce battle, one she never complained about. As the sole carrier of the health benefits for her family, she worked nearly up till the very end. This alone proves she's a far better person than me, to not want to saddle her family with medical bills. I would have said, "Tough--I'm dying! I am not dragging myself to work."

The heavens are now shining a thousand times brighter.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

We Need to Talk About Kevin

I just read WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN by Lionel Shriver, and discovered two reasons why I'm so bad at book reviews.

First reason: I'm inarticulate.

I collapsed in front of my husband after finishing the read. "WHAT THE ****?"


"JEE-sus Christ!"


"Omigod. This is one ****-ed up book!"

That's as far as I got with explaining anything.

Second reason: I never know how to rate something I both love and hate.

When I started reading it, I thought: This is gonna be 1 star. Initially, I hated the writing. It's Thesaurusville. It's literary. I hated the naval gazing, the endless introspection. I found myself skimming. I also hated everything about the main character except that she wasn't as utterly-and-unbelievably-stupid as her husband. I would have left the dumb-ass and there would've been no story.

Then, halfway through, I mentally upped it to 3 stars. After all, I'm the one who thrives on stupid, unlikeable characters. I've invented some myself. They kind of grown on you. Who wants to read about brilliant and lovable all the time? Plus I'd been sucked into the story by then, though I still wanted to reach into the pages and slap a few people. More importantly: I'd stopped skimming.

I ended up giving it 5 stars because I could NOT put it down, because I did NOT anticipate the twist, and the ending--right down to the very last sentence--BLEW ME AWAY!!!!!!

Awesome, awesome, awesome!

Now, of course, I must see the movie!


Booklist *Starred Review* In a series of brutally introspective missives to her husband, Franklin, from whom she is separated, Eva tries to come to grips with the fact that their 17-year-old son, Kevin, has killed seven students and two adults... Guiltily she recalls how, as a successful writer, she was terrified of having a child. Was it for revenge, then, that from the moment of his birth Kevin was the archetypal difficult child, screaming for hours, refusing to nurse, driving away countless nannies, and intuitively learning to "divide and conquer" his parents? When their daughter, loving and patient Celia, is born, Eva feels vindicated; but as the gap between her view of Kevin as a "Machiavellian miscreant" and Franklin's efforts to explain away their son's aberrant behavior grows wider, they find themselves facing divorce. In crisply crafted sentences that cut to the bone of her feelings about motherhood, career, family, and what it is about American culture that produces child killers, Shriver yanks the reader back and forth between blame and empathy, retribution and forgiveness. Never letting up on the tension, Shriver ensures that, like Eva, the reader grapples with unhealed wounds.