Saturday, January 19, 2008

Goodbye, Lizzy

For nearly 17 years our cat, Lizzy, was a part of our family. A long-haired tortoiseshell with a short manx tail, she was petite and adorable and pretty much ran things. At least she thought she did. When she was happy, that little tail vibrated with excitement, just like a dog’s.

That changed around the age of 14. Lizzy turned cranky. Mean, even. She’d as soon scratch you as cuddle. That was no fun for us or any of the well-meaning friends who ended up with claw marks on their arms or hands. The vet told us Lizzy’s thyroid was off, so we had to buy and feed her thyroid meds twice a day. Expensive, and quite a daunting taks. After a week or so of meds (and doling out a few nasty scratches), my husband and i got the hang of things. Lizzy never did like those pills, but her temper mellowed out some. Though not enough that we ever trusted her again. We let her tell us when she wanted petting, and it wasn’t often.

About six months ago she stopped grooming herself. For a long-hair cat, that means knots and filth and grossness you don’t want to know about. In November I found a wonderful kitty groomer who shaved her all over (she was that filthy) and washed her thoroughly. I made plans to bring Lizzy in once a month for a bath and combing.

Early Wednesday morning I headed for my usual workout at the gym. When I got back all the lights were on. At 6:00 am, this was strange. My husband met me with a sober face. Lizzy couldn’t move her hind legs. I sat with her, stroking head, which seemed to calm her, while my husband dressed to take her to an emergency vet.

Putting her down was the humane thing to do, the vet said. “Then do it,” my husband said.

After raising three daughter and numerous dogs and cats, hamsters, chameleons and fish, neither my husband nor I wants another pet. Lizzy was our last.

We buried her in the flower garden out back. She is at peace. We won’t be dealing with cat hair everywhere or those nasty hair balls or clawed-up furniture or kitty litter. No more twice-a-day battle to make her swallow those pills. We’ll be able to travel without worrying about her.

But I miss her.

Until later,
The Pilot's Wife, March 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

2008? Already?

As the old saying goes, time flies when you're having a good time. As I get older, I've come to believe that it doesn't matter how good it is, time is going to fly, no matter what. And 2007 made me think of Gone in Sixty Seconds.

When I was younger, I was convinced that the moment between New Year's Eve and New Year's Day was magical. It was in that moment that certain things would change, just because I wanted them to...wished them to. The same was true for birthdays, when I'd stay up to see "my" day arrive at the stroke of twelve. But I'm older and wiser now, and I've come to understand that it's nothing more than a date on a calendar page and a number on a clock. Magic is what you make of it. Goals and hard work can help.

I'm not much of a goal setter. Oh, I have been. Too often I've set my goals too high or set too many, and failing to reach them was discouraging, at best. It's taken time and disappointment, but I've learned that small goals, taken one step at a time, help me succeed, even if it sometimes seems like baby steps. Especially when the goal is to get through a day without losing what's left of my sanity. And then another saying comes to mind: A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. So maybe those baby steps aren't so bad, after all.

I'm sure by now you've all realized that I didn't set any New Year's goals, nor did I bother with New Year's Resolutions, which I would break in record time. But if I were to make a resolution, I think it would be to take a deep breath whenever stress or frustration or worry start to overwhelm me.

So let it be said--eighteen days late--that my New Year's Resolution is to BREATHE. Besides, if I don't do that (breathe), I won't be around to avoid making more resolutions. And what fun would that be?

Have a happy one (year, that is) everyone!

Web woes...

Hello, and a belated Happy New Year!

Hope your holidays were wonderful, you got everything you wished for, and your new year has started off with a bang!

My old year ended in a fizzle....

Before the holidays even began, my computer started acting up, my e-mail followed shortly after, and I was unable to access the Internet for over a month. Talk about frustration!

Since my link to the Worldwide Web was broken, I had plenty of time to wonder how everyone else felt about working and playing "out there" in cyberspace.

Are you completely attached to your e-mail, your Instant Messages, your downloaded photos, and your chat loops?

Or are these things you can live without?

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Today I'm blogging about reunions. Some of my readers know from the Bio Page on my website that I played Division I women's basketball for the University of Arizona…way back when. I graduated from college in 1986. I returned to Tucson this past weekend for my first ever women's basketball reunion. What an awesome experience! Five of my teammates during the mid-80's made the reunion. We hadn’t seen each other in 22 years!!

In the above picture we're standing in the corner of the weight room at the U of A. I'm wearing the white western shirt.

It was as if no time had passed since we'd last taken the floor together. We waxed nostalgia--the good, the bad and the ugly of playing a collegiate sport. We reminisced about games, players and coaches and what they were doing today. We talked about our 7-21 season my junior year and how we got a new coach my senior year and turned the program around with a 21-7 season! It was an awesome feeling to go out a winner the year I graduated.

We were treated to a tour of the athletic facilities which made us all drool. We agreed that the athletes today don’t appreciate how good they have it. When I played we were given one pair of basketball shoes and one pair of running shoes for the entire year. The women's player's today get at least three pair not to mention a TON of athletic wear. (I'm positive the guy's basketball team gets even more than that). They have access to state of the art medical facilities--there's an x-ray machine right in the training room. The U of A has 1 of only 3 underwater treadmills in the country. I kid you not. When an athlete is injured and rehabbing their ankle or knee, they submerge the athlete in this pool and have them run on a moving belt while underwater video cameras record the movements of injured body parts to monitor proper healing.

The locker rooms had leather couches and flat screen TV's. The only thing we used the locker room for was to change into our uniforms. The weight training room had a Gatorade bar for athletes--we had a drinking fountain in the corner. There were enough exercise bikes for an entire basketball team to use at once--we had to wait our turn. It truly is amazing how far collegiate athletic programs have come. And they have academic advisors that now travel with each team to make sure the players are keeping up with their studies and to provide tutoring assistance on the road.

For a few days I felt like I was twenty again with a world of choices in front of me. But in the end when I walked off campus that weekend I knew that I wouldn't have traded my experience at the university for anything. I worked hard and played hard and was so very grateful for the opportunity to have my college education paid for. I will never forget what a privileged it was to play for the U of A.

I can’t wait until we meet up again in four years!

In a Soldier's Arms *Hearts of Appalachia* (Feb 08)
A Coal Miner's Wife *Hearts o Appalachia* (Aug 08)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Me? Isolated?

Quiet descends.

Our two sons have returned to college after Christmas vacation, and the round of parties, meal planning and laundry has suddenly shrunk. It’s been leftovers and easy meals all week for my husband and me.

Many people believe writers work in isolation. In a sense, that’s true, yet I don’t feel isolated, even with the post-holiday letdown.

Last Saturday, at a meeting of the Orange County chapter of Romance Writers of America, I heard the ever-delightful Carly Phillips discuss how she consults with a critique partner and a plotting group on her best-selling novels. Also, over lunch, I enjoyed catching up with several writing friends, including popular Harlequin Spice author Jina Bacarr.

Tomorrow night, I’ll be attending a meeting of my critique group, the Fictionaires, which has about twenty members. This group – with a changing roster – has been around for more than forty years, offering constructive criticism as well as emotional support.

Plus, I’m teaching a writing course through the Long Ridge Writers Group. Through individual lessons submitted by mail or on-line, I meet eager students who share their insights and creativity. We may not confer face to face, but their personalities reverberate across the miles.

And that’s not all.

My husband once commented that I’d spent all day alone. That surprised me, even though I had in fact been sitting in my office that particular day, working on a novel – no on-line chats, no teaching. But my had hero flirted with me. My heroine confided her problems. Their friends and colleagues and relatives paraded through my brain, reminiscing and squabbling and demanding their own share of the spotlight.

What I really needed, after a day at the computer, was some peace and quiet.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Misc. Rambling!!!

Hey All!

Sorry for the late post, but I just walked in the door after a loooong day of jury duty. I REALLY wish I could discuss the case, but no such luck.

In other news, my new job is going great! I think I mentioned it in the last blog, but I'm now teaching reading at a local middle school. It's fun sharing my love of reading with kids. We just finished a lesson on urban myths which made me crave trying my hand at a paranormal. One thing about the Har. Am. line that I miss, from a readers' standpoint, are the great spooky reads. Anyone remember some of Anne Stuart's? Anyway, seeing how I enjoy featuring kids in my stories, it's big fun being with kids all day! Although it has been tough fitting in writing time.

If anyone happens to be in the OKC area this weekend, I'll be signing copies of my January anthology with Merline Lovelace and my best bud, Margaret Daley. Margaret just retired from over twenty years of teaching, and it's like some alternate universe thing for her to now be off from school and me to be teaching!

My own kids are doing great! Daughter's getting ready to attend UCA's National Cheerleading competition in Orlando. The boys aren't too happy about her getting to go to Disney again. Last year, I went with her and had a blast, but with this being my first year of teaching, I was too afraid to ask my principal for a week off!! (This month's pic is of Daughter and a friend during last year's trip.)

Hubby's been traveling a lot. Last week, he was in DC, and next week, he's off to Napa. I've always wanted to go!!! Although, in his defense, I doubt he'll have much time for wine tasting or seeing the sights.

Okay, time to get back to work on my wip, but in the mean time, stay warm by cuddling up with a great Har. Am read!!!