Thursday, July 31, 2008

Crowd Control

Birds on a Wire

I don't know how they stand it. Seen between two barns in Iowa.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008



Flood damaged hotel in Iowa City, IA.

Photo Friday--Awful


Large Loss

I stumbled across a great story on depression, courtesy of aikoanne at The Cozy Shack. Here is the link.
Thanks to Dick Cavett and all the other celebrities out there who have had the courage to share their stories.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Still Life in Kitchenette

Or, proof that I actually eat things besides beer, Milky Way bars and Fritos (my first dinner tonight). Honest, Mom, complete protein.

The kitchenette isn't so bad. The hotel stinks. I am currently listening to my neighbor's soundtrack:

"She was a day tripper, one way ticket yeah
It took me so long to find out, and I found out"

Not a bad song but not through a wall at 10:20 PM.

Plus in the morning I get to smell the neighbor's cigarette smoke. It's a no-smoking hotel. Sigh.

Plus the first morning I was here I had a 5:45 AM wake up call--that I didn't request.

Plus they lost my reservation in the first place.

Plus I've had to have my room key replaced--five times.

Plus the front desk is staffed with people who still need their parents to sign their work permits.

Plus the water in my room runs hot and hot.

I booked through Orbitz. All the convenient hotels were full. This will definitely be the first time I write a hotel review on Orbitz. And it won't be a good one. Revenge will be so sweet.

Black and White

Black Fly/ White Flower
We generally consider flies to be ugly pests. But here, on this flower, the fly is putting his best feet forward. Beauty and the beast?

My writing workshop is going well. We've all sort of bonded over the ritual of analyzing each other's work. My stuff is up for review today. I'm a bit calmer knowing that people are kind and constructive.

Speaking of anxiety, I got a frightening phone call from the nurse from my younger son's camp. He seems to have developed the same lousy illness I had last week. He is all right but it scared him. After all, doesn't "pooping blood" scare everyone? Poor guy. The doctor in me came to the fore and I decided that there was no point in panicking since I seem to have survived. The little guy is eating, his color is good (per the nurse) and all other major organ systems seem to be functioning. I think this too shall pass (pun intended) and there is no need to race up to Wisconsin and pick him up as long as all else remains stable.
The mom in me did freak out a bit but I have her under control. She was also proud of her little bugger--he handled himself quite well, a little subdued but no tears, no pleas for me to come and get him. Alas they grow up!

Back to work now. And breakfast!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I hear the finches singing each to each. . .


Gaping Beak

I do not think that they will sing to me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

Greetings from Iowa City

Small Towns.jpg
The small towns of the strange middle of our lives
remain small
Sweet wintry
even in summer. . .

Robert Dana "Summer in a Very Small Town"

Well here I am workshopping away. We had a wonderful class meeting today. Although the topic is writing, our conversation involved film editing, specifically centering on the editing of Apocalypse Now. The amazing thing is, using film editing as an entree into editing of one's own novel works in the hands of the workshop leader.
Tonight I have two manuscript excerpts to read and critique. One is structured like an old fashioned adventure thriller (think Indiana Jones or King Solomon's Mines) and the other is a sci-fi novel. The folks at the workshop are interesting people from a particular varied lot of backgrounds. I think the next few days should be fun.
My own manuscript will be critiqued on Thursday. I'm naturally terrified but I'm handling it well. Somehow if I tell everyone I'm scared it helps me cope. The analogy that popped into my head yesterday is that I would be less anxious if I was expected to dance naked in front of these people than I am presenting my writing for their review. For those who'd rather see me dance naked--Nyah, Nyah.
I got a fabulous review from one woman who set the world record for manuscript reading today. She truly loved my work! The way she worded her opinion made me respect that it was sincere and also an opinion worth valuing. We'll have to see how the rest of the week goes. I'm still anxious but less so. Even if nothing comes of my story, I'll save her comments forever.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Road Trip!

As if I haven't been on the road enough lately, I'm off again on Sunday (or tomorrow if I move swiftly). Both kids are out of town for the rest of the month and I decided to party (in my own nerdly way). Said partying involves driving to Iowa City. I'm going to digress for a bit before I tell you why I'm going to Iowa, of all places. First of all,a bit about Iowa. I've been immersed in my second of two Bill Bryson books. In case you aren't a reader of travel stories and memoirs, Bill Bryson is originally from Des Moines, Iowa, a city that I can confidently say, I have never set foot in.
Here is what Bryson has to say about Iowa: "Stand on two phone books almost anywhere in Iowa and you get a view. . . . but there was nothing on it except for a few widely separated farms, some scattered stands of trees and two water towers." Amazingly enought, I look forward to finding (and photographing) those two water towers. I have gotten the bug of previous and far greater photographers such as Edward Weston et al. who have taken photos of abandoned barns, small rural towns and run down gas stations. I hope to follow in their footsteps, camera in hand. Plus I'll be crossing the Mississippi and anticipate a bit of good birding if I'm lucky. If I'm unlucky at least there will be antique stores. Iowa City is slightly less than 4 hours' drive from Chicago. This should be a fun and easy drive as long as my health holds.
There's the rub. The bad news is I'm still not totally over my GI problems of earlier this week. I didn't want to go into gory detail but I had a minor episode of what in the profession we call a GI bleed. I saw a doctor (actually two) who thought I'll live but couldn't come up with a diagnosis more solid than the one I figured out on my own. This is why us doctors make such lousy patients. We hate waiting for hours to see a physician who is (truly) still in her residency. We get even more cranky when she tells you what you already know which is that she doesn't really know what is wrong with you but you don't need to be in a hospital bed.
Things haven't altogether resolved on the GI end in that the I'm eating, working and ambulatory but what passes in via the mouth isn't passing out the other end. This is leading to me having paranoid fantasies about me developing something truly delightful like projectile emesis while uncomfortably ensconced in an Iowa gas station bathroom. Charming visions of medical conditions that end in -ation, -itis, -osis and so on are dancing in my head. I have consoled myself that everything is probably fine and that I'm sure they have hospitals in Iowa.
The goal of my drive into the not-so-wilds of Iowa is that I have signed up for a writing workshop and am hoping that it will jump start the next step on the story I wrote for NaNoWriMo a good 9 months ago. I am terrified beyond belief at having to submit thirteen copies of the first 15 pages for review by my workshop leader and fellow participants but I'm not letting fear stop me.
So there you have it. I haven't been by your blogs lately. Forgive me. I will get to it when I can. Now I have to go do my homework in preparation for my workshop. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In need of . . .

Ass Stance
(Seen on Harvard University campus)

I've had a busy couple of weeks followed by an acute bout of food poisoning. I'm sure you don't want to hear the details. This and internet "issues" have prevented too much blogging or even editing and posting of photos. I'm going to try to get more "regular" about it (sorry, ghastly, pun intended) as soon as my GI tract and computer are back on line.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Kind of Cool

To have a son who has the credentials to apply to MIT. I think I might want to go there too if they'd have me. More on college tours later (when I'm not at work).

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Pahk the Cah

Well, we haven't rented a car and we haven't been to Harvard Yard yet but we did have very tasty Vietnamese food in Harvard Square. My son and I are doing the college tour thing. Today we spent walking our feet off around Boston and tomorrow we see our first two (of four) colleges. Wish me luck!
An update: it has taken me two days to post this short missive. A lousy internet connection is to blame. Whatsmore, I accidentally deleted all of my first round of photos. No shots of historic downtown Boston, sigh.
Due to the said lousy connection, I can't take a chance on trying to post any of my later Boston shots.
Back to Chicago tomorrow so more on Hahvahd Yahd then.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008



For Wordless Wednesday.