And another hot minute passes…

Wild Horses Statue, Providence, RI

Right, so where was I? Ciaragh was back, I was done with GARF, and life was settling down so I could get ready for my inlaws to come for a visit.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. Not even close.

For those that don’t know, my mom had some sort of major neurological event around the 3rd week of June, and she has not been able to recover completely. She is in hospice care now, and we really don’t know what the next step is there.

I’m updating right now from a hotel in Rhode Island because I am attending the RID conference. I had completely let this go to the wayside with everything going on at home. I happened to look at the webi

Nope, let’s start again.

This has been the weirdest summer of my entire 47.5 years of life. I sort of feel like I’m in the middle of that groovy statue I got to photograph in Providence – only the horses are real and in motion, and if I don’t watch out I’m going to get trampled.

Over the summer, I wasn’t watching out, and I was most certainly trampled. Ciaragh was back home, and I was settling into my regular summer routine of freelance interpreting, planning for upcoming faires, and writing as much as I could whenever I could. The final draft of the second Clobberpaws book was starting to sit up and pay attention. The first novel in the Forest Wars saga was being actively edited for the…I don’t know, umpteenth time, and was on track for publication at the end of July.

And then, my sister took my mother up to see my dad’s grave on what would have been his birthday. And then there was the night about four days later that I was talking to my mother on the phone and she was slurring her words and was very confused. I rang my sister who went over there, spent the night there, and then took Mom to Emory the next day to see the doctor.

From there, she was fast-tracked into the unit that treats stroke patients, only she hadn’t had a stroke. There was no evidence at all of a stroke. And then she had a seizure and slept for about five days – as one does when one is 86 and has a massive seizure. Her advance directive said no life-prolonging measures – no feeding tubes, etc. And then she was on the hospice unit for something like three weeks, so because nothing was happening, they discharged her to her home, where she died about two weeks-ish later.

Now, none of that is about me. It’s nothing to do with me. But the aftermath is everything to do with me, my sister, and our families. I spent a good day after Mom died wondering if I was an orphan now. Is that something that only applies to children? More time than was probably necessary was devoted to wondering what would happen to my sister and me – we had been texting all day almost every day since that fateful phone call because I am a state away from them. Now that the crisis time was over, would we fade back into our typical roles, only communicating now and then?

So here I am, a month and two days from waking up to a phone call from my sister that Mom had passed in her sleep, and I’m still wondering. Still waiting. Still an orphan – I decided I wanted to own that, so I did. Still struggling to find someone to talk to on long days at home or long car rides when I usually would call Mom. Still not quite able to listen to the stack of voice mails from her still on my phone – recordings that underscore what a neglectful daughter I am for not visiting her more often.

Here I am, with a book about to launch in a week’s time, a “First Page Critique” away to the folks running the writer’s conference in September that I will be attending (in the hopes that it will be chosen to be anonymously ripped to bits by a panel of literary agents), and a big signing event in the works for November.

Here I am, suddenly winning at being a writer for at least a few minutes, and the number one person I want to tell isn’t here. I hope she knows. I hope she is pleased. I hope she is proud.

RID 2011, or Of Lifts, Binoculars, and Smashed Toenails

Yeah, that picture was taken on the way down to RID on Monday. I was happy then and had loads of energy…and great hair. Isn’t that great hair?

This past week I attended the RID conference in Atlanta, Georgia. For the first time I drove down to a MARTA station and rode the train down to the hotel rather than flying to the conference. The hotel was fabulous, the company was outstanding, and I got loads of CEUs toward my current CMP cycle (which ends in December, YIKES).

The fabulousness of the hotel was only mitigated slightly by the system of elevators there. Gorgeous though they were, they were glass and went very fast and I was staying on the 27th floor out of 47. Whoosh!

At one point, Lynne (Prevail, Goddess!) and I went all the way up to the top to check out the view. It was particularly woozy for me, and I had the oddest urge to drop my Blackberry over the edge. I didn’t, though, and we called the elevator to head back down. Stepped inside, Lynne positioned herself on the floor to look out, and I hit the button for the lobby. I had heard that if you hold down the close door button, the elevator wouldn’t stop at every floor but would go straight to the one you’d selected. Doors shut and I held down the close door button.

The elevator went about a foot downward and STOPPED. Yep, you read that right, it lurched to a stop. Between the 47th and 46th floors. I think I might have had a minor panic attack. Meanwhile, Lynne, who never backs down from a challenge, was sitting on the floor cross-legged giggling like a demented hippie as I stared at the buttons, willing the elevator to start moving…but not to plummet to the bottom, mind you.

We ended up on the lobby floor in a few minutes when it started up again. I still don’t think my heart rate has gone back to normal.

That afternoon, during one of the workshops, Lynne and I were seated near the back and were having a hard time reading the Power Point on the screen at the front of the room. I turned to Lynne to sign “Can you see that?” and found that she’d pulled some binoculars out of her bag and was reading the screen! I have a lot of fabulous friends, something I found out in spades this week.

The ride home was NOT so pleasant. It took two days, for one thing, because I stopped over at my sister’s in Atlanta for the night. That wasn’t the bad part though. Today, on my way back to collect my car, my fabulous week fell apart in a splash of pain and hot weather and colour.

Susan and I headed out to go to the MARTA station and I was dragging my FAR TOO HEAVY suitcase out to her car. I somehow dragged it over my left foot, starting at the big toe and working backward. There was no swearing, but I did hop around and let out a Holy Heavenly Hannah! just before my toe started bleeding. We went back in and washed it off, then a neosporin and a plaster later and I was headed north…well, actually I was headed west toward Five Points station to change trains to go north.

Problem was, the northbound train I needed didn’t stop at Five Points but rather stopped at Lindbergh, a few stops on up the north line. I should have gotten the train that was on the platform when I got there, but I didn’t know that. So a quarter of an hour later I got on a train north, then got off at Lindbergh and hobbled across the platform and back, then caught the right train north to where my car was waiting.

Easy sailing, right? No. Tried to leave the deck, and it said my ticket was invalid. WHAT? Back up to the cashier, paid the fee and got a new ticket that let me out of the deck and got me on my way up here to Mom and Dad’s where I’m staying till Simon gets here.

In a way, I can’t believe that RID has come and gone already. At the same time, though, especially when you factor in the issues I had getting home today, it seemed like I was gone for a long, long, time.

Onward and upward now…only about two and a half weeks until I fly to the UK and see Simon for two weeks. Might actually rearrange my suitcase before then. For now, though, I’m going to rest up and hopefully catch up on my NaNoWriMo…