Tag Archives: Quigley

Arriving in St. Louis

The Arch in St. Louis My hotel is just behind that capital building

The Arch in St. Louis
My hotel is just behind that capital building on the right.

I mentioned some time ago that I was going to St. Louis last weekend for this year’s International Christian Retailers Show, where I was to be inducted into the inaugural Christy Awards Hall of Fame. They have decided to limit the number of awards an author can win to four, which is how many my books have won.  Lynn Austin, a writer of historical novels who has won eight Christy’s, was also inducted.

When I was first invited, I was hesitant to go. We’d have to board Quigley if both Stu and I went, which we’ve never done before with any of our dogs,.  And I didn’t much take to the notion of going alone…  I don’t care for fancy, dress up parties, and I really don’t care for being in any kind of limelight. Plus I feared I would fret about it for weeks and by that take away time otherwise devoted to Sky.

I was almost ready to decline, but my agent Steve Laube talked me down off that ledge. It wasn’t that hard. All he had to do was point out what an opportunity it was to publicly thank Bethany House for all they’ve done for me and my books, and that turned it all around. Plus I got to publicly thank him for opening the door in the first place, and my editor Karen Schurrer who has had a significant hand in all my books.

I am so glad I went. I had a great time, even if I did have to fly alone. (Primarily because long ago after a sudden glitch in our air travel plans I decided I would never again fly on the same day as the event I was attending.)  So I left Sunday morning very early (the Christy dinner was Monday evening) while my husband stayed behind to bring Quigley to the Pet Resort Sunday afternoon. That way we could minimize the time Q spent there (we feared the worst). Stu left for St. Louis early Monday morning.

Not that flying alone was bad: I finally had the time to finish the biography of J.R.R. Tolkien I’ve been “reading” for far too long.  I’ll write more on that in another post, but it was extremely edifying. In many ways, he was a kindred spirit as far as writing goes (and in many other ways he wasn’t)

Anyway, my hotel was practically at the foot of the Arch, and the dinner put on by Baker Publishing for all its authors, editors, publishing contacts and friends (Bethany House was acquired by Baker a number of years ago) was at the hotel next door. I’d also been invited to that, so at about five-thirty that evening, I left my room to walk over. On the way down some people in the elevator asked me if I was going outside. I said I was and they expressed head shakes of sympathy for my misfortune.

I thought they were talking about the problem of the muggy heat and agreed with them that it was unpleasant. I told them I was from Arizona, as if that explained everything (we have that “dry” heat, you know, so the mugginess is always a shock). They seemed to agree, and got off on the second floor where the garage is. I went on down to the first floor, walked out toward the street and for the first time realized there was a thunder-and-lightning, pouring rainstorm outside that would rival many of the best monsoons of southern AZ.

So that’s what the elevator people were talking about! I started laughing. Yeah, the humidity was about as bad as it could get!

Well, when the rain didn’t let up, I went back up to get my umbrella and emergency poncho, which the Lord had fortuitously supplied me a couple of weeks ago. Then when there was a break in the ferocity of the downpour, I walked over, shielded by umbrella and a poncho that felt more like a garbage bag, though I arrived none the worse for wear. My shoes and the bottom of my skirt were a bit damp, but nothing anyone would notice, and both would dry soon.

The dinner was held on the top of the building, where glass panels formed part of the roof and we enjoyed a spectacular show throughout the evening. I love rain storms, especially when there’s lightning and thunder. Always makes me think of the power of God.

In fact, everything about this trip just drew my attention to God over and over again. All the weeks leading up to it, whenever I’d start fretting, I got to practice turning it all over to Him, utterly and completely. For example, there was the problem of where to find an umbrella in the midst of June, when there is rarely a cloud in the sky, let alone rain. In fact we’d hardly had any measurable rain since February. Nor did I have a lot of time to go driving around from place to place. So I took it to the Lord. You handle it, Father.

Not long after that, I had to go to CVS to get my eye-drop prescription refilled and while I waited I wandered about the store. Well, I’d barely begun when I “happened” upon the umbrella and the poncho both. Right there together, and costing a lot less than everything I’d looked at online at Target and Wal-Mart. The woman who checked me out looked at the umbrella and poncho and commented that I must be going to a rainy place. Well, certainly a place with more potential for rain than we have here right now.

Anyway, the last thing I expected was to have to walk to the Baker Dinner in a thunderstorm. But I did, and it worked out fine. (In the picture above, the hotel I had to walk to was just to the left of the Arch, out of sight behind the immediate buildings. There is a small park between the two hotels, from which to view the arch situated on a hill some ways beyond the downtown area, though it looks much closer than that.)

Trip to Moab

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that my hubby’s aunt had died and they were having a memorial service for her in Moab which we were considering attending.

Since it was “only” a nine-hour drive (without stops) we decided it was doable and left early Friday morning, heading out of Tucson fairly early. The memorial service was Saturday, and we drove home Sunday. With stops, the trip was twelve hours. Which wasn’t bad, but left both of us pretty tired Monday. I did nothing but lie around and it wasn’t until Tuesday that I began to put things away, try to get caught up on the things that didn’t get done and fuss about my rose bush.

I’d asked the neighbor to water, which she’s done many times before but somehow a soap can lid fell down behind the gate she needed to open and got it jammed so she couldn’t get in. Talk about weird… The result was that neither of the roses got watered for two days, during which our humidity was something like 13% or lower and the dew point was practically zero. One of them was droopy but recovered. The other lost almost all its leaves. It was very, very sad.

But after watering, fertilizing and laying down some mulch, it looks like it will survive… new leaves are now sprouting, so I’m happy about that.

In any case, that along with all the other things, which seem like nothing but end up taking up the minutes, took most of my time last week. Plus, Monday was Memorial Day and my hubby was home… so not only did I lack the time, quiet space and mental energy to write a blog post, I did no work on Sky either. I’m hoping to get back to it tomorrow, however.

For now, I thought I’d share some shots I took from our trip.

Quigley likes to rest his head on my shoulder or Stu's hand looking out the front window while we travel

Quigley likes to rest his head on my shoulder or Stu’s hand looking out the front window while we travel

monument valley trashed small

Traveling through Monument Valley I was shocked to see the rash of the white trailers and various structures which had sprung up at the bases of the rock formations. From a distance it looked like a scattering of trash. If only they’d painted their trailers and structures a color more like the surroundings… Ah well, I guess there’s no place left that’s immune to development these days. Maybe the Sahara Desert. Or the Gobi…

Redrock cliffs in the waning sunlight as we neared Moab

Redrock cliffs in the waning sunlight as we neared Moab

Driveway and cliff view from the house of hubby's relations where we stayed.

Driveway and cliff view from the house of hubby’s relations where we stayed.

Fabulous log fence and field of yellow flowers nearby.

Fabulous log fence and field of yellow flowers nearby.

Amazing cottonwood tree on the grounds of our hosts

Amazing cottonwood tree on the grounds of our hosts

my poor sad, dried up rose as it looked when we first returned...

my poor sad, dried up rose as it looked when we first returned…

Debates, Benghazi, Sandy…

Yes… I’ve been a little distracted of late. I’ve only managed to get around to working on Sky for two days since our White Mountain trip. So much has happened, so much to read about in the news: the debates, the election, the continuing, awful revelations about what happened in Benghazi, now Hurricane Sandy.

And boy have I been reading! You’d think I’d be writing about all that I’ve read, especially considering that I got plenty worked up about a lot of it (what happened in Benghazi torqued me the most — and the way the mainstream media’s just ignoring it — you can be sure that if George W. Bush were still in office something like this would be all over the news. But then, if GWB were in office it wouldn’t have happened at all…but still)…  ahem.

Anyway, while I was plenty worked up, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’d be coherent if I tried to write about it. Especially since I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to it (on account, in part, of all the blogs/news sites I’ve been reading,) and even more, not enough mental energy left when I actually did have the time. It just seemed too hard to sit down and try to describe the event and lay out my thoughts on it when all I wanted to do what howl about it.

Besides all that, I’ve had all the stuff to get caught up from after the trip as well as several social events to take part in and a general chaos around the house as a result of my hubby’s annual deer hunting trip which did not proceed in the normal manner. Usually he goes out, stays there until he gets a deer and returns.

This year he’s had trouble with his hiking boots. First the soles started to come off so he had to come home to get replacements — another, older pair. Those turned out to be too narrow and killed his feet so he had to come home again, for a third set, which also happened to be brand new, but were at least wide enough. This all over a period of several days.

Meanwhile my car’s engine is making funny smells after I drive it, but hubby can’t find anything wrong with it.  And I thought Quigley was coming down with another intestinal infection the other day when he woke me up at 6am to go outside (which he never does) and then, an hour after I brought him back in and went back to bed, he woke me up again, and me being half asleep, decided he just wanted to go bark so I refused, despite his continued whining and putting his head on the bed trying to get my attention. Finally he started throwing up.

Boy, did I fly out of bed then!

Too late. I put him out anyway, but then had the mess to clean up.  😕  Serves me right, I guess. When he deviates from routine, there usually is a good reason and it’s not just to go bark. In fact, he’ll bark just fine in the house; he doesn’t need to go outside to do it.

It’s just that I had been so hoping(determined!) to sleep in that day.

Anyway, his stools were a bit weird that night, but nothing came of it, just another opportunity to decide whether I’d put the matter in the Lord’s hands or try to handle it myself.

There’s been a lot of that lately, but not in ways one can write about in any interesting way.  Still, I did get into the office this afternoon and at least started thinking about Sky again. And I’ve now written this post, such as it is. So that’s a sign that things are finally getting back to normal, too.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll write another…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine

No, he’s not solely mine, he belongs to my hubby as well, but that doesn’t matter. He is still “mine” as far as I’m concerned: a wonderful blessing from God that I enjoy every single day.

We were doing tricks this morning (he rolls himself up in the blue blanket) and when he looked up at me,  I just had to get the camera!

So I told him to stay and went off to get it, and he stayed. Then I told him, again, “head down” and he did it and click. 🙂

Dogs in the City

I am LOVING this show!  It is so fun, and it’s been very useful as well.

But this last episode with the young bloodhounds, Duke and Daisy, was such a kick. Watching them act like Quigley used to was hilarious (okay, sometimes he still does act like that!). The clip below shows them running across the sofa, which Quigley did once long ago when he was so excited about my hubby coming home.  In fact, that’s when they did it, too.

Duke’s snatching the pillow was typical as well:  The dog guy, Justin, arrives and is talking to the owner and suddenly here comes Duke with the sofa pillow, which means the woman has to break off talking to deal with him. And then he runs under the table with it… ! ROTFL!!!

Yeah. Quigley does that with a sock. Or shoe, or anything he thinks we might value (a paper towel recently used!  Hey, his discriminatory powers aren’t all that great). He trots in while we’re in the middle of watching TV and makes sure we notice, then when we tell him to bring it to us, the game is on.

Just like Duke.

And they are SO gorgeous and cute. The hound pleading look… yeah, we get that one too, the way they kind of wrinkle up their eyebrows while they beg. Quigley, however, does NOT drink from the sink faucet, because I would never turn it on for him. He will drink from the dog water fountain on the walking path — the only one of our dogs to do that.

Anyway, Justin had some suggestions for dealing with various behaviors that I think I’m going to use. The sit/stay for when my guests arrive is the first that I’m going to work on.

Here’s the clip of  just the Duke and Daisy part from last night’s episode: “Duke and Daisy”

 Love it.

The Long Story of Last Week

Once again, I’ve been lagging in my blogging posts — and just after I’d had a breakthrough of sorts on the matter of what it means to live as if crucified in Christ. This was partly because I needed to think things through a bit more to see where the breakthrough might be going… and mostly because I’ve been having an… adventure. A situation. A test… Pastor John started teaching about waiting a week ago Sunday and sure enough, I soon got an opportunity to apply.

So here’s the long story. It actually starts back on the first Saturday of February, when I had some spotting. Since I’ve not had a period in years, one spot is enough to warrant concern, so on Monday I called my OB/GYN. I got an appointment for Thursday of that same week, but since the office happened to be in the process of transferring their records over to digital I was advised that the wait would be long.

Thursday, when I was about to leave with plenty of time, I went to bring Quigley in and found him completely covered with dust and grass so I had to wipe him off. Then I locked myself out of the house with the car keys inside. When I finally got myself in the car and on the way, it was fifteen minutes later. As I left the house I suddenly wondered if I’d turned the oven off — if the house burned down with Quigley in it, that would be awful! But I was already late, so I gave it over to the Lord and went on.

Traffic was heavy and on the way to the doctor’s office, the car ahead of the car ahead of me ran into the car ahead of it… So everyone stopped. The two drivers got out — it was only a fender bender, if that, but here we were stopped in the inside lane and I”m thinking, “What IS this, Lord?”

Suddenly the lane beside me opened and I pulled out and was on my way. I arrived, found out it was going to be at least an hour’s wait to see the doc, so I asked if I could go home and turn off the oven. Sure. I went a different way home, but when I arrived the oven was off and there was a message from the doctor’s office: Dr. S had stepped out to do a C-sxn and we would all have to reschedule. They tried to reschedule me for almost three weeks later, but I persuaded them to give me a slot the following Monday. That appointment went as planned, and I left with orders to get an ultrasound. I made the appointment  for the following week and then scheduled another appointment over the phone to see the GYN the week after that.

The ultrasound showed some fibroids and a thickened uterine lining, so it was decided I should get an endometrial biopsy. I’ve already had several of those over the years. The day I was supposed to get it, I came in two hours later than I was supposed to because over the phone I thought the woman had said 2:40 when she’d said 12:40. Or maybe she said 2:40 when she meant 12:40. In any case another reschedule, this time for Thursday — and that one actually happened. Dr. S said they’d call when they got the results of the biopsy.

The following Monday, which was a week ago Monday, at 5:30pm the nurse practitioner called to say that the biopsy showed “complex hyperplasia with suspicious cells” that might be cancer and that I was looking at a hysterectomy. That was okay, because I had already decided if the biopsy came back anything but normal I was going to do the hysterectomy anyway. All those organs are useless now and good only to grow cancer in, so better to get them out. The only thing was, my doc was referring me to another doc whose name sounded familiar. I asked if he was an oncologist and the NP said yes. As it turns out, his office is in the same place where I had gone with my mother for the last three years, just across the hall from where she had seen her doctor and gotten her infusions of chemotherapy. Which was kind of unnerving.

The NP was quite exercised on the phone about how I had to get in ASAP, that “tomorrow” (a week ago Tuesday) the other doc’s office would call to schedule the appointment and “we’re talking days here not weeks,” she said. If I didn’t have an appointment by the end of Tuesday, I was to call her on Wednesday morning and she even gave me her special number.

So Tuesday I didn’t talk to anyone on the phone, not wanting to tie up the line, nor did I leave the house for fear of missing the call. Of course no one from the doctor’s office called.

 Wednesday I started calling the special number to tell  the NP I had no appt. No one answered. I tried the “Site Operator.” She transferred me to “Lydia” but I only got her voice mail and left a message. No one called me back. I tried the special number again, but no one answered. I called the site operator again and got a different person who said she’d go down to talk to Lydia and have her call me back. No one called me back.

Finally just before 5pm I called the site operator again and somehow got connected to Lydia. She said she’d talked to the oncologist’s office that afternoon and they said they were just getting ready to call me. But no one had called while I was home and no one had left a message while I was walking Quigley. She called the oncologist’s office again then called me back to say they’d called and left a message — apparently on someone else’s answering machine. She said they’d call me first thing in the morning.

Finally, on Thursday, they called and my appointment was scheduled for Tuesday the following week (which was yesterday at 3pm). Once I had the appointment settled, it was amazing. I just crashed. I didn’t think I was that anxious about it, but there was definitely a thread of tension. Plus, the conversation with the NP was hurried and she was kinda freaked, so later I wondered… was it more dire than it seemed? Why refer me to an oncologist? Did I have cancer? If so, why wasn’t the oncologist’s office calling?

Well, had to put all that in the Lord’s hands and really believe those promises, which mostly I did. But once I got the appointment, as I said I crashed, suddenly very tired and about an hour later, noticed that Quigley’s ears were all thick and hot and heavy with blood. He was getting allergies from the wind we were having, and shaking his ears, which was making them fill up with blood. Bear had the same problems  and one time ended up with a huge blood pocket in his ear flap that required surgery to “quilt” the skin of his ear back together — followed by extended recovery time. One vet even suggested we cut off his ear flap… but we have hounds for a reason — we love those floppy ears.

So here I was facing potentially the same thing with Quigley, in the middle of everything else. Well, put that in the Lord’s hands as well. Certainly I have no control over any of it. Thankfully, over the next few days following our  vet’s counsel over the phone,  that eventually resolved with Wal-itin and some steroid cream for the rash… Finally all was quiet.

Then, this last Monday night, the night before my appointment with the gynecologic oncologist, I suddenly had the thought that maybe I shouldn’t be so relaxed about it all. That maybe it was far worse than I imagined and I really was going to have to have chemo and my hair fall out and feel awful and all that… I surely didn’t want to go in there thinking it would be nothing when I actually had this huge cancer and was going to need chemo, etc. So I Googled endometrial biopsies and endometrial cancer and scared myself silly with all the descriptions of where the cancer could spread from the uterus. To egg me on, I got an email to a Caring Bridge entry from a friend who is going through chemo right now — the other entries have been largely upbeat or just informational. This one was about how it was his worst week ever for chemo treatments… No coincidence on that timing.

Thus, by my own idiocy, I ended up having something of a battle that night during Carnal Hour — the time between 3 and 5 am when I wake up to go the bathroom and suddenly any scary or worrisome things in my life seem incredibly real and imminent and the power of God weak and faint; sometimes the next morning when I wake up and think back on it all, it seems like I went temporarily insane because the things I was concerned about don’t even make any sense.

Anyway, day before yesterday was the appointment. My hubby met me at the office and we were there almost three hours. I really like the doctor. He was very thorough, very knowledgeable and experienced, gave us lots of time to get all our questions answered and was very accommodating as far as the hospital I want to have the surgery done at, which is not his usual one.

 He doesn’t think that my situation is “ominous” but the complex hyperplasia is definitely pre-cancerous, and the suspicious cells are, I guess, basically cancer cells (sometimes he referred to them as such, but other times as cells that were becoming cancer cells). He thought I was at the beginning of a process that would definitely lead to cancer and so we have to remove the whole thing — uterus, cervix and ovaries.

He’ll do the surgery laparoscopically, which is minimally invasive, and he’ll remove the uterus intact through the vagina so as not to spread the cancer around in the abdomen. They’ll send it off to pathology while I’m still on the table, get it examined to see if there is any sort of invasive growth they didn’t anticipate, in which case the doc can take a lymph node sample while he’s in there.

This type of procedure  usually has a recovery time of a day, but requires I stay in the hospital overnight. After that my main source of debilitation will be the muzzy-headedness from the pain meds.

I’m waiting now for them to call me with the surgery date, which hopefully will be next week. He’s going to try to coordinate with my regular GYN, but if that ends up too difficult I told him I’d be fine with just him doing it, as long as I can go to my hospital of choice. All the experiences with my mother have made me quite particular about which hospitals I like and which ones I don’t.

In any case… I’m still waiting… 🙂

My Favorite Super Bowl Commercial

Yes, I watched this year’s Super Bowl, though I’m only mildly interested in football. But my hubby went off to the exercise club and left it on so I could watch the commercials. So that’s what I sat down to do. Mostly I thought they were… meh.  They made me feel alienated from our culture. I do realize they are not aimed at me. However… one of them stood out. It had to be my favorite simply because of its name:  Go Run, Mr. Quiggly! Plus I think it’s funny.

If you didn’t see it… here it is. Of course, as most of you know, my Mr. Quigley  spells his name differenlty and doesn’t look anything like than this one.