Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


The summer is ripping by way too quickly. The G-force has stretched my face backward so violently that my lips have been pulled over my forehead.

I knew the minute that classes were over in May that I'd barely be able to get my toes wet in the pool of summer, and then the pool would be drained. I have 53 more days off before I'm back in the classroom. This sounds like a lot, especially to those with year-round jobs, but it isn't long when you're trying desperately to get a book written.

It's progressing slowly, and I'm finding out just exactly how much there is to learn when I'm foolish enough to attempt such a thing. And I'm not even talking about the writing itself, which is its own spinning mirror ball. I'm talking about the way my brain and heart have both been opened up and tinkered with. The book is personal, and while poking into many dark corners of my life, and even corners that aren't so dark, I've met with surprises both good and bad. The thing is, when you look inside your life, and focus attention there, you find things.

And then there's the new cul-de-sac where my thoughts have taken up residence. Almost every minute I'm away from the writing, I'm thinking about the writing. There are no more leisure moments under the blasting hot water from the shower where I can think about things like, oh my God, going to the mall. No. Here comes the book again. It shakes me from my mall-trance and says "But what about this part?" or "What will you change her name to?"

"Take a little time off," I tell it. "Ponder with me the sale going on at Shoe Carnival." But it is not distracted. It wants to point out the unimpressive word count I managed yesterday.

So here we go, hand in hand, back to the embryonic manuscript. I pray that by the time the first leaf turns in the fall, it will be viable outside the womb of my Word program. I'm so looking forward to the first time I can feel it kick.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Thought "Cat Hoarding" Meant Something Different

My friend Jenni's cat, Sophie, was none too pleased when Jenni moved the couch.

Her stash of plastic bags was discovered. Rehab reservations were made.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

If It's a Snack, It's Fair Game

While spending so much time at Shiny Meadows, the nursing home where my dad stays, I've gotten to know several of the residents. Blanche is a family friend who is 92, the same age Dad will be on Friday. When she's feeling well, she's the absolute definition of the much-overused word "feisty."

Blanche turns her nose up at almost everything served at Shiny Meadows, even more than the often-crappy food actually deserves. Sometimes I think she’s just bored, which frustrates her, which leads her to want to say no to something. But other times I can tell, watching her, that she is truly unable to gag down what’s on her plate. She looks very depressed and pushes it away.

One reason I like Blanche so much is that she’s a snack food junkie, like me, and if there is a snack within wheelchair-rolling distance, she’ll find it. If another resident has won a Bingo snack, like a little pack of peanut butter and cheese crackers, Blanche will not hesitate to roll into their room and snatch it from the top of their dresser while they’re napping. Since the main hobby at Shiny Meadows is napping, Blanche is on a constant crime spree.

The mother lode for her, though, is not the pilfered loot from the rooms of the residents; it’s the nurse’s station. The nurses and especially the CNAs are big snackers. They push themselves through their shifts with smoke breaks and bites of junk food. The station itself is a “C” shaped counter, curving around in front of 3 rolling office chairs, a computer, a wastebasket, stacks of folders, and, more often than not, a snack. Or the remnants of a snack. If Stephanie, a regular evening CNA, for example, takes a bite or two of a granola bar, then needs to run off down the hall when a call light comes on, she might make the mistake of parking the granola bar on the desktop behind the counter. When this happens, Blanche is like an alligator on the bank of a river who has just heard a plump, juicy baby hippo splash into the water to play and rollick. Her hands begin to rotate the wheels on her wheelchair before they even make contact. Before anyone can take notice, she is behind the counter, grabs the granola bar with one hand and backs up the chair with the other. She either jams the half-eaten bar into her mouth or zooms down the hallway to her own room to devour it privately. The baby hippo never saw it coming. On the surface of the river? Nothing but a few telltale air bubbles.

Most of the CNAs have caught on to Blanche’s predator behavior. At first they were stunned and annoyed that anything they’d been eating, or were about to eat, vanished. Now they either tuck their snacks into the pockets of their scrubs, or leave them out purposely, knowing how much fun Blanche has thinking she’s gotten away with something. She maneuvers herself back into her bed, dozing off with granola crumbs on her mouth.

Friday, June 04, 2010

My Summer Dissolves Right Before My Eyes

I started out with 100 days off for my summer break. I'm down to 79. So far I'm not doing great at the long list of things to get done before classes start again. Part of the problem: going to sleep at 4 a.m. and getting up at noon or 1:00. The wee hours are wildly addictive for me. Then I drag my sorry carcass around and yawn all day, because, gosh, as it turns out, your body really does know the difference between going to bed while it's dark, and having its circadian rhythm pounded like Justin Bieber's face in a biker bar.

I'm making a little progress on the first draft of my book, have used my elliptical about 20 times, and have started physical therapy for my neck. The neck problem is so far beyond what a massage can help that I'm regretting the 60 bucks I paid for the last one. Apparently the muscles in my neck/shoulder/back have been so tight for so long that it's going to take twice-weekly visits all summer to get that little system to work again. You know how if you're looking at someone's naked back and they turn their head to the side and you can see the muscles down their back moving around to accommodate? The right side of my back is like a frakkin' mannequin back. No movement. In fact, very little feeling at all, and I didn't even realize it.

YAY for my health insurance which covers 100% of up to 60 PT visits.

Now, about the book I'm attempting to write. I'm finding out just how complex this entire process is. I'm trying to simplify it in my brain by employing the aid of 100 or so purple index cards taped to the wall in our computer/elliptical/fireplace room. I label them with the descriptions of small chunks that I need to write. Then while I'm writing, I think of other chunks I need to write, and make more cards. I tape those up and run back to the computer. Trying for 2,000 words per day but need to ramp that up.

The sign next to my computer says "Writing is hard." And apparently it is, or I'd be writing faster. I have 79 days to get the first draft totally finished. This is my biggest professional challenge ever. It will mean many things on many levels both personally and professionally if I can do it.

It is also a big challenge for my body. I've had to completely revamp the way I sit and the way I type, and where my mouse pad sits, and all my Word documents have been lowered to eye level. I hate sitting with good posture. But I must, else I shall become a full-fledged mannequin by fall. Stiff and manuscript-less.

And how is your summer going? What fun things are you doing? What crimes are you committing? Can I count on you to join my posse when I hunt Justin Bieber down and and drown him in a vat of guy-liner?