Stitches coming out today / BREAKING POINT cover blurb

    Sorry, it’s not MTM, but it’s still pretty. These photos were taken by my son Benjamin’s wonderful girlfriend, Lucy Gram.

    This is one of the lakes near my home where I often go for walks. I hope to be walking there soon as I get back on my feet. In the background, you can see Longs Peak, one of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks. My family has climbed it many times, and my father thinks that its summit should be my goal for next summer.

    It’s a 12-hour climb to the summit for most people. My brother did it in 3.5 hours last time he climbed it. I expect it will take me longer than that, even if I train seriously for it. My brother is 6-3 and climbs like he was born to it, which he pretty much was.

    But first things first. I get my stitches out tomorrow. My mother is actually removing them. I see no point in paying a co-pay and driving to Denver for something that I could even do myself.

    I am getting better gradually. It’s still hard for me to swallow, but I’m having no trouble breathing. I tend to hurt a lot in the morning when I wake up. I've been trying to take as few pain pills as possible, but I haven’t yet had a day without them. I try to remind myself that it hasn’t quite been two weeks, and that I have two artificial vertebrae, not to mention hardware, in my neck. But still, I hate to take so many pain pills. Today, I’ve taken two.

    It’s hard to say yet how much nerve pain I’m going to have once the surgery heals. The bone grafts won't be healed for another six weeks. Then it could be six months before I have any idea how much pain relief I'll get in my arms and legs. So I appreciate your continued prayers.

    Thanks so much for your posts, e-mails, cards and packages. I can’t tell you how much they’ve all meant to me. I apologize that I haven’t been able to reply to them all. I still can’t take sitting at a computer for long, and I spend much of each day sleeping. But know that your kindness means so much to me.

    Attention Reece's Pieces! You know who you are! You completely made my day when your package arrived. I only saw the front side of the mug at first. But then I sat down and saw the backside and almost popped my stitches laughing. You are too sweet!

    Team Jag Shag? Team Jiggle Stick? (Forget the typo. I love it!) Team Sucky Swirl? Absolutely freaking PRICELESS! I'll have to post a photo of the mug later. I haven’t eaten the chocolate yet — swallowing is hard enough to be scary at times — but I will.

    Also, if anyone needs anything bubble-wrapped, Ronlyn is the one to see. That mug was the most completely bubble-wrapped piece of porcelain ever to travel across the country.

    Not sure if many of you saw the post I did on Facebook about my mom’s mishap. While I was sleeping one day, she went around sniffing all the perfumes I have scattered around my house. I have a good friend who’s a parfumier, so I have a lot of them. But one of the vials my mother picked up was actually a canister of MACE disguised as a pen (making it easier for me to carry into courtrooms, etc., because reporters carry pens, right?). Yes, my mother maced herself. Go Mom! I knew nothing about it. I slept through the entire thing.

    When I woke up later that afternoon, she asked me what that horrible perfume was that didn’t smell good and which burned her nose and face. I had no idea what she was talking about until a few days later when, a little less groggy, I noticed the MACE sitting among some perfume bottles on my desk. I asked her if that’s what she’d sniffed and she said yes. I laughed so hard that it hurt.

    I imagine my parents will drive me home tomorrow. I have veggie and rose gardens they need to water and harvest (lots of cucumbers, Swiss chard, squash, green beans and tomatoes ripening these days), as well as a lawn that needs watering. And then I’ll have to face the empty house. My folks will be coming by to do the outdoor chores (watering, harvesting, mowing), so I’ll see them every couple of days. That will help take the edge off Benjamin’s absence.

    Also, I bought a 12-gauge shotgun for home defense. When MACE doesn’t work, there’s lead.

    And now for something that’s more interesting than my neck... The back blurb for Breaking Point.

    Here you go:

    While investigating border violence in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Denver journalist Natalie Benoit is caught in a bloody ambush and taken captive. Alone in the hands of ruthless killers, she will need every ounce of courage she possesses to survive.

    Betrayed by another operative, Deputy U.S. Marshal Zach McBride has endured a week of torture and interrogation at the hands of a bloodthirsty Mexican drug cartel. Ready to give his life if he must, he remains unbroken—until he hears the cries of an American woman.

    Although Natalie is only a voice in the darkness of their shared prison, her plight brings renewed strength to Zach’s battered body. With her help, he overpowers their captors, and they flee through the desert toward the border, the attraction between them flaring hotter than the Sonoran sun.

    But past loss and tragedy leave both of them reluctant to follow their hearts, even when the passion between them reaches its breaking point. Faced with feelings neither expected, they fight to stay ahead of the danger that hunts them as forces more powerful than they can imagine conspire to destroy them both…

    Does that sound interesting to anyone?

    No word yet as to whether the photo shoot with Jed Hill happened, but you can rest assured I’ll let you know when I find out! And just in case you forgot who he is, here's this:

    See, a little touch of MTM anyway. Just looking at him makes me feel better.

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