September 2, 2006

Birthday Musings of an Older Woman the clock pushes me a notch past my 55th birthday.

Take your time. Life is short. This article is long....

I'm not going to write about religion or angels, except as it reflects in my meanings...

It’s September in Ohio and the mornings are getting slightly cooler. The leather car seat sends shivers down my back when I get off work at 7 a.m. and I reach for a jacket when I take Sheba and Ching-Ching out for a walk.

My birthday is so early in the month that those who don’t know it’s my birthday until the newsletter comes out, have already missed it. And, those who do know my birthday is in September are slightly confused because the day seems to change every year. The only time the family got it straight was when the license plate on my car said, "Sept. 3". Even my mother cannot be sure when my birth actually happened. We are quite sure it .... happened!

I must give Jim credit for never forgetting and planning ahead for the celebration week he loves to share with his faithful Angelwings. But he lives with me and, as my family knows, I'm not the quiet type when it comes to announcing the approaching birthday! A week's celebration is fine with me. And, you won't hear me telling anyone that I'm "29 years old". I love being who I am!

The cool weather is a reminder that I need to buy another electric blanket for the bed. Samantha and I love that extra warmth. Jim just wraps the pillow around his head and keeps tucking the blankets around me and Samantha - even if the house is warm!

What is there left for a feeble black cat who has stretched out too many lives, except to sleep in the sunlight on the edge of the bed and purrrrr a little in her sleep?

Tonight Jim is on his last medical run to Marietta. We decided that with winter weather coming on, he should not be out on the roads every night driving 400 miles. He has some projects he’s working on and is ready to move forward in some new directions – including helping me start up the photography studio again!

I could ramble on for many pages, but my faithful readers would set the story aside until there’s more time for reading. I want to (quickly?) review this past year because that is when I wrote my book and have made significant changes. (I haven’t planned this ahead of time so may forget something real important…Please forgive if I do.)

Sept. of 2005 I was working 3-11 at a nursing home that had a really difficult director of nursing. Working there was a challenge for me and I knew I would quit when my year was up in January (so I could get the $5,000 bonus.) I just hoped I wouldn’t get so upset some frustrating night and walk off the job. I was starting math classes at Columbus State. Jim had found a part-time teaching job.

October 2005, we were looking forward to having Philip and Shelley, John and Denise and little Victoria here for Thanksgiving.

Every night after I get off work, I’m researching and writing my book, Dusty Angels. (I hadn’t decided to add ‘…and Old Diaries… yet.)

At times I’m almost ready to say, “I just can’t do it.” It’s so massive and the chapters are all mixed up and my computer keeps acting up. I’m afraid I’ll loose the entire manuscript to the vast unknown of cyberspace! I save the partially finished book on floppy’s, CD’s and several places in the computer! Kinko prints out a hard copy for me.

I’m almost paralysed with the fear that I’ll never figure out how to put it all together! I’m reading through dozens of old diaries and trying to pick out what will flow well in the book. There are many times that I almost call it quits and say that I tried and now know that I can't do it!

By November, I think I’m almost finished with the book although I didn’t know at the time that it would take many more months of sending the manuscript back and forth to the publisher before I could pronounce it “FINISHED”. I had hoped it would be a Christmas gift.

On Thanksgiving, we drove to a state park for dinner with the kids and enjoyed some time in the rolling Hocking Hills of Ohio. Philip and Shelley stay the night and peek at the working manuscript and pronounce the part about Philip acceptable.

Jim and I have a quiet Christmas together as the kids are on the west coast with the other side of the family. A mother misses her kids at Christmas time. But, the tree in the living room touches the ceiling and sparkles with lights! There are more gifts than last year and the ground is not quite covered with snow. The book still isn’t finished but I keep trying to accomplish something I’ve never done before and vow not to give up in defeat with the manuscript mess. I make another hard copy at Kinko’s in case I loose everything! Maybe it will be a Valentine’s Gift….

January 19 is the year anniversary at work and I hang on to that thought. Actually, I’ve become close to several patients and I’m feeling sorry and even guilty for leaving them. I don’t usually do that! I’m wondering if I should not quit but learn to ignore unfairness, backstabbing, hurtful gossip and professional disrespect. Jim says he would feel much better if I worked closer to home and in a better part of town, so that decides it.

The manuscript is being edited (again). It’s in a flux and it’s so massive I can’t keep it all together on the computer. Every time I read a chapter, I change it again. By now, all the emotions and hurts of the past are punishing me in my dreams. This must stop soon.

In February 2006, I quit that awful job and sign up to work with a nursing agency to do home visits so I can also take Algebra at Columbus State during the day. Algebra is much more difficult than I could have imagined. Jim spends countless hours patiently showing me how to do my problems. Billy and Philip even add their two-cent's worth of assistance. But, the tests better improve or I won’t pass this course. I do learn how to use the Texas Instrument pretty good. Maybe that will be enough to see me through the tests!

AuthorHouse Publishing refuses to do any more edits on my manuscript without charging me another $300 to republish the entire thing. There’s so many changes that I decide it’s worth it. I send in 95 corrections and hope we can put this book to sleep very soon.

In March, they send me the “final manuscript” to approve but it’s not the one I sent them with all the edited parts!!! Some of the same editorial corrections that I sent in months before are back!!!! (Billy and Philip’s ages on page 186, for instance). They say they don’t have any other manuscript. I have to accept this or start over writing the book! Also, their PDF document won’t open on my computer! (Jim says they didn’t put a stop link, so it doesn’t know to close.)

I tell AuthorHouse to go ahead and print the book. It can’t be that bad. Most of the edits are things that few would notice.

By the time little tulips are peeking through the snow, I’ve failed Algebra. I've quit the agency job, (too many miles and high gas prices don't mix). I've been hired for the 12-hour nightshift at a lovely nursing home in our town. (If NH's can be called lovely.) At least Jim can bring me supper every night. The DON at this place appears to be honest and supportive of her nurses. But, the nights sure are long...

On May 26, 2006 I got my first copy of my book in the mail! Sandy had ordered one and she got hers on the same day. Sandy is overjoyed with the book. I’m simply wholeheartedly satisfied! I find three little ‘oops’ in the first chapter, but decide to let go of any punishment on my part. I write in my diary, “The book is like me, it’s not perfect.”

It’s astonishingly refreshing to know that I was able to accomplish such a great feat. Jim reminds me that now I can call myself a “Published Author”. My Dusty Angels website has had 929 hits.

So, it looks like the book is more like Sandy’s birthday gift in June rather than the Christmas gift I had planned six months before.

Billy and Katy give me glowing reviews for the book and that is appreciated more than they will ever know!

The night shift is quite an adjustment and I’m feeling worn down a lot. Jim drives a med run every night, but brings me supper at 3 a.m. when he gets in.

On June 21, Sandy has back surgery and I’m with her in Tampa for a couple days. She and Craig have a little dog now. And, the furry cats to boot.

June is a big birthday month. There’s my sister Cyndi, Katy, Sandy and Shelley!

July is a fun month because I’m able to send all my family and friends my book. I’ve decided not to pursue the RN program anymore, but haven’t really told Jim yet. He surely encourages me to do it, but I’d rather promote my book and have been considering starting the photography studio again. If I can find a place. I wonder if a small studio room exists!

Jim's favorite aunt dies and we attend her funeral and meet old Meikle family members. We are told she has left a little something for Jim.

On August 31, I unexpectedly find the perfect place and sign a lease for a studio. I’ll be writing about that in the next few days! We are so excited. This is a month to month lease on a nice size room with a small bathroom/changing room. It has it's own entrance. We are going to paint the room this weekend and the owner will put new carpet in after that. The studio is in the center of town and the owner is the local insurance agent in town for 30+ years!

I’ve given notice at work requesting a day shift and it is approved, but won’t take effect for about a month. So, things may really change during this next year. I hope all for the better! I have faith that goodness comes around and there is a universal spirit watching over us.

There are several family/friends websites that I enjoy reading every day including those from Sandy, Katy and Floyd Phillips. Floyd doesn’t write very often, but I check most every day! Shallow Throat from Berrien Springs keeps us posted on the strange happenings there and reminds me of home. I feel closer to Philip and Shelley when reading the Berrien Springs' blogsite...

All of your websites mean a lot to me, so keep them going and know that at least one slightly older lady enjoys her moments there with you!

It is now only 7 minutes until my birthday. What you wanna bet Sandy will call at midnight?
PS - No, Jim just called me singing, "Happy Birthday to my Angelwings..."

Take Care on the Journey, ~Linda

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