21 October 2016

My insomnia is no secret; it's not unusual to find me posting on Facebook at three in the morning, usually something whining about not sleeping, because I'm original like that. I make an effort to get to bed at a normal people time, so that I can get up at a normal people time, but there's a huge obstacle in my way.

Its name is Max.

Max has no problem ignoring my existence throughout most of the day. He wants me for breakfast, a 10 a.m. snack, dinner, TV-watching lap time around 8 p.m., snack, and then I no longer exist for him again.

Unless I'm asleep.

When I'm asleep, Max becomes social. When I'm asleep, Max has 3,298 things he desperately needs to discuss. Now, I sit in bed and read for a bit before shutting everything down for the night, and he could come in and sit on the bed with me and talk his damned fool head off if he wanted to, but this is not when he feels pressed to be anywhere near me.

When he was only waking me once a night, I could deal with it. When he was waking me twice, I put up with it. But we reached the point where he was waking me more than once an hour, often 2-3 times, apparently for no reason other than he could. It wasn't even that he needed anything; he just wanted me to be awake.

I felt like crap most of the time, cranky and nauseated, because I was getting no uninterrupted sleep. So I did what I hated doing: I started closing the bedroom door at night, locking him out.

He didn't seem to notice at first. I listened, waiting for him to howl indignantly, but he was quiet. The only time I heard him in the hallway, meowing, was at breakfast time, and I could deal with that.

I finally started getting some sleep, rarely interrupted. The number of times I found myself on Facebook in the middle of the night dwindled to a rare few. I no longer felt like I wanted to punch every other person I passed during the day.

All through July, then August, I was able to sleep like a normal person.

In September, I heard him call out a few times, but nothing that worried me--he didn't actually need anything--or bothered me. If he was meowing by the door when I was sleeping, I didn't hear it.

Then he learned a new trick.

Max figured out how to knock on the door.

I have no idea how it occurred to him to even try--I mean, his ability to flip on light switches, I get, he sees us do it all the time, and when we do, light appears--but if he has an urgent need to wake me up, he knocks. And then hollers. And knocks again.

Knock, knock, knock. Meow. Knock knock, knock. Land shark. Knock, knock, knock.

The door is staying closed, because even so, I'm sleeping a little more than I was before, but he's back to waking me up.

And a lot of nights, I am truly grateful that Buddah is about as bright as a brick, otherwise...I'd probably be dead by now.


19 October 2016

The Spouse Thingy and I have been training for the 3 Day for a while now, and have had some fairly decent mileage days. The expectation has been that in this last month we would really ramp it up and get those 18/15 mile back-to-back walks in and test out just how delicate our feet are.

But then two days ago I got a message from my editor, one that effectively means we aren't walking this year after all (but hang on, there's more!)

The Wicked Witch of the East will be in San Francisco the weekend of the 3 Day along with her son, who is in the early-ish stages of founding a new publishing house, and will be meeting with a venture capitalist...and me. This is kind of a big deal, putting me right there at the door on opening day, one of the first writers they want to sign, and they want a face-to-face in November.

In the pro/con listing, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I have the prospect of better distribution, better marketing, better graphics, better everything. I don't have to give up my own imprints. On the con side...I have to be a grownup.

This counts as business casual, right?
But for right now, the big thing is that this meeting conflicts with going to San Diego for the 3 Day.


There's always a but...

They're allowing us to defer to next year, all the fundraising included. Anything you donated will still count toward us walking next year, but there will also be some prizes next year because the Spouse Thingy is still a little bit short.

So we're not going to San Diego. But we will still walk, but it will be in NorCal instead of SoCal, and it will be on our own instead of with the hundreds of other pink people. You're still getting the sweat equity from us.

We'll probably start walking the day after the meeting, because by then I am going to be horking up my toenails from nerves, but I should be good to go about 10 minutes after we're done.

My tummy already hurts.

In the meantime...DKM has to take me shopping for grownup clothes, so I can at least fake my way through looking the part.


17 October 2016

If you follow me on Facebook, you may recall that 10 days ago I was pondering the possible location of a manuscript I wrote 35 years ago. I knew I’d seen it at some point in the last couple of years, but couldn’t remember exactly where. When I wrote it, there were no personal computers or word processors; it was done on an old typewriter—not even electric—and the only copy of it existed on yellowing paper in fading ink.

I don’t know why I never typed it into Word and saved it as a digital file. I just didn’t. But I tend to keep everything I write, so I knew it was somewhere around here. I planned on digging through every box in the garage, every closet, and then a second time if needed…but then I ate something that did not agree with me, and I lost 5 days of searching.

But the night before last I was in the spare room—which is basically a closet, the walls lined with tall IKEA wardrobes—and spotted a plastic crate on top of one of the wardrobes that looked as if it might have old papers in it. Yesterday, since I felt better, I dragged a ladder inside, pulled the crate down, and then the sky opened up, pouring down sunshine and rainbows and puffy pink clouds made of candy.

It was there, buried under an assortment of old paperback books, and another, more recent manuscript.

I rushed to announce the discovery on Facebook—hurray!—and then sat down and began to read this decades-old fantasy novel, because surely I can now take that first draft and turn it into something good and worthy of other peoples’ time. I remembered bits and pieces of the storyline, which is why I wanted to find it; the concept was good, and it could be woven into the book I’m currently working on (The Wick Chronicles, Book Three, for those keeping score.)

The opening was a little shaky, but that’s all right. It was redeemable.

Then I kept reading. This serious book, a tale of salvation in the midst of war, made me howl with laughter. The story that has simmered somewhere in my brain since I was a teenager, one that I pounded out on a 30-year-old typewriter while sitting at the kitchen table in our first apartment in Provo, Utah, is so unbelievably bad, so horrifically plotted out, that I couldn’t help myself. Amid several dozen WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING moments there was a plethora of snickering at my own ineptitude and clumsy attempts at sounding oh-so-clever.

I’d forgotten so much of the story that reading it—in spite of the horror of how bad it really is—kept me turning the pages to see what happened next. Yes, the narrative sucked and the words I used were clumsy and poorly chosen, but I needed to know. How the hell did I resolve this mess?

It's not a long story; novella length, an easy 2 hour read. So I stayed in my chair with the pages perched on my lap, and read all the way through.

Right up to the point where I realized the last chapter, the final battle and story resolution, is missing.

I have no idea how this mess ended.

My laughter turned to a touch of upset; not because it needs to be finished, but because I really want to know how the hell I took a teenaged boy from his life as a cobbler’s son to defeating an army of highly trained warriors serving at the whimsy of a Dark Wizard…all in under 150 double spaced pages.

The story is there, though. It will serve as threads that I can wind through my work-in-progress, and another ending can be written, but damn…I really want to know how this clusterfrak of a book ended.


7 October 2016

♦ I have been awake since 6:20 this morning and I can't even blame Max. What I can blame is a freaky assed dream in which I was dying. I don't know from what, but I was at death's door, and the Spouse Thingy wanted me to get out of bed to make a pot roast while he went out to get milkshakes.

♦ This would be funny, if not for the fact that three people I care about have died in the last week and a half.

♦ And that better have been a damned good milkshake, Spouse Thingy.

♦ Today is day one of the Atlanta 3 Day, and a bunch of my favorite people are there, either walking or crewing. I freaking loved Atlanta (and it's where I met most of them!) and would like to walk it again someday. Hell, I'd like to just visit it again someday.

♦ While they spend the weekend sweating, I'm spending it...well, sweating some because I have training to do...working. Book #2 of The Wick Chronicles needs one more pass, and then it goes to the editor. Maybe she can think of a good title.

NaNoWriMo is coming up. 50,000 words in 30 days. I know it has a lot of critics, but I am not one of them. It's a terrific writing exercise and in that 30 days you can certainly get the bones of a story out of your head. I'm tempted to sign up again and use the time to build the foundation for the third book in the Wick series, even though I'll lose a week while we're in San Diego for the 3 Day. Losing a week puts the word count at around 2200 a day, and I can do that.

♦ So, we'll see. I already have notes on paper and a story in my head, so it's doable.

♦ Son of a bitch, now I want a milkshake.

♦ And pizza.

♦ It takes about 8-10 miles of walking to burn off pizza. But it might be worth it.

♦ It's now 9:20, and I kinda want to go back to bed...


17 September 2016

...and the winner of the 13" HP Laptop is


I'll contact you in a few minutes to double check your mailing address and maybe then you can tell me what your last name is?

Might be helpful in shipping.

Thanks to everyone for donating and playing for the prizes!


16 September 2016

Ok, I know I was supposed to post the winner of the laptop yesterday...but I am dog sitting, and the list of names and numbers is sitting on my desk at home.

I'll be home tomorrow, so come back tomorrow night...the number will be drawn and posted then.

Thanks :)


5 September 2016

♦ Holy hell, where did the rest of August go? For that matter, how is it already September when just a few days ago it was, like, March?

♦ I turned 55 last month. I'm surprised I didn't mention that. If y'all remember, I was pretty sure I would die at 50. Getting halfway to 60 is a weird little thrill.

♦ In the last month I have literally written an entire novel. It's the Vomit Draft and it totally sucks, but I crammed out 110,000 words and I like the story.

♦ Vomit Draft = writing without editing of any sort. It's just...sit your asterisk down and write, and let the story come out. Right now it's a lot of stage direction and dialog (which is why it sucks) but that's what the next couple of drafts are for.

♦ Remember all the swimming I was doing? I have not been doing it for several months because of my shoulder. I thought I had just over done it--I was up to 2500-3500 meters 3-4 times a week--and took a break to let the shoulder rest. But it never got better, so I finally sucked it up and went to the doc.

♦ Tomorrow I start PT for rotator cuff issues, and I am not looking forward to it at all. It's gonna suck. But it might suck a little less than it would have 3 weeks ago, before the doc started me on a good NSAID; still hurts but maybe not as much.

♦ All I want is to be able to get back into the pool. Just a few months out and I've gained back most of the weight I'd lost, and am really flabby. I don't get nearly the same results from walking.

♦ Speaking of we get into the higher mileage days, we start thinking about walking in San Francisco. Last week we did 7.25 just walking along the Embarcadero and part of downtown. I don't think I'll ever get tired of that. Not sure where this week's long walk will be, but we probably need to kick it up a notch and do 10.

I did not buy this hat while we were at Pier 39
My shirt matched the flowers, though...
♦ I really need to win the lottery so we can just retire and buy a place in SF. I would freaking love to live there.

♦ All right, back to work. I have a narrative to fix.


18 August 2016

Just posted this to Facebook:

So...I needed to redraw a number for that I did...and this is the number that spit out:

Congrats to Michelle Calvo.

I'll message you on FB, see if you want it mailed or delivered.

Or I might hold it hostage, I dunno.

Maybe trade it for some strawberries at the Cheesecake Factory.

I can do that... right???

In other news...Max's first work of fiction, THE EMPEROR OF SAN FRANCISCO. is now out.He posted this on his FB author page:

Don't try to click those's an image...

So far, the people who have read it (and it just popped up on Amazon for the Kindle last night, 3) have really enjoyed it. Max has active links to each edition on his blog...but to get to the Kindle version, just [CLICK HERE.]

We're ordering some paperback and hardback copies, so if you think you'll want a pawtographed copy, stay tuned... we should have them in about 2 weeks.


15 August 2016

Thar be winners!

Of the Samsung Galaxy Tab E

#382... Katie Kirwan

Of the Dell 11" Laptop

#516...Honkers McBonkers (yeah LOL I'm gonna need your real name.)

I'll contact the winners tonight to double check shipping addresses, and will get them in the mail probably on Wednesday, since I won't be home until tomorrow night.

Next drawing is on September 15th for a 13" HP Laptop.

Bonus: if the Spouse Thingy hits his minimum ($2300) before or on that date, there will be an additional drawing for a $500 Amazon gift card.

Every $5 donated is a shot, and your donations are tax deductible. He's halfway there!


11 August 2016

Oddz N Endz #7,312,554 v.28

♦ Max's book was uploaded to the printer and distributor at the end of July; normally I have a hard proof copy in hand within a week, and then it's on sale within days of approving the proof. This time, I have no idea what the problem is, but I not only have not seen a hard proof, I haven't even gotten an electronic proof. The book is's DONE...but it's hung up in the ether somewhere.

♦ Even so, we're powering on with the followup book. I'm starting to think the vomit draft will be done before the first book is available.

♦ Yes, there's a vomit draft. It's pretty much all stage direction and dialog at this point, and the actual "first" draft will come after. The vomit draft is the one where I just write without editing, pretty much barfing out words onto virtual paper. I'm having a lot of fun with this, but it's really, really, really bad at this point.

♦ The Spouse Thingy and I are still training and we're both picking up steam. We did 6 miles today and it was easy; not too long ago, he wasn't sure he could do six. Since he did not die, he's aware he can walk long distances.

♦ He's still $1,180 from being able to walk...and we're drawing the winner of the Samsung Galaxy Tab E and the winner of the Dell 11" laptop on Monday, August 15th. There's still time to have a shot at both prizes. Every $5 you donate gets you a shot. (I've hit minimum, so let's worry about him first.)
If he hits the magic number, $2300, on or before Sept 15th, there will be a drawing for a $500 Amazon gift card from those people who already donated.

♦ Still reading? Good for you. There's more.

♦ Many, many years ago, the Spouse Thingy and I moved to Utah, because that's where BYU lives. I had a little studio apartment, he rented a bedroom in a converted basement, and we were good little Mormons.

♦ Sort of.

♦ Use your imagination.

♦ Now, when you're a student at BYU, you sign an agreement, and part of that agreement is to not live in sin. Hell, you can't (or couldn't, I don't know about now) even live in an apartment building where there were students of the opposite gender. Apartment complexes in Provo tended to have more than one building: one for male students, one for female, and only the really desperate or brave visited the other alone.

♦ parents were in Okinawa. They were coming back the next summer, and we were planning on getting married then, but in the planning stages it became really clear that I was not getting any parental support or encouragement. My dad in particular was certain that we were going to crash and burn within a year. So no, we weren't getting any help in planning, and they were leaving the Sacramento area soon after returning from Okinawa. Before our intended wedding date.

♦ We were stubborn, and still planned on it...but in the meantime, we were very young, and had a whole lot of hormones, and no desire to get caught and then kicked out of BYU.

♦ So, six months before we were getting married...we got married. The intention was to do it all again when and if my parents stopped being asses about it, so we told no one.

♦ My dad never came around. So we had a "private" thing in Utah, alone, and adopted that as our official wedding date, and still did not tell. Well, not until the Boy was 7 or 8 years old. We told him, mostly because he could keep a secret, and we wanted to illustrate to him that we would support his adult decisions because we didn't want him to ever make a decision like that. And to this day we hold to that: whenever and however he and his fiancee decide to marry, we're fine with it. Elope or not. Hell, live together forever or not. It's their choice, their lives.

♦ Anyway. The one year mark my dad was sure about came and went. Again and again and again. He was glad to be wrong, but he never knew the truth...that annual you-be-wrong date happened six months earlier than he knew of.

♦ My parents never knew. And to be honest, if they were still alive, it would still be a secret.

♦ And yes, the Spouse Thingy told his mom before I made this public. We were pretty sure she wouldn't be as thoroughly ticked off as my parents would have been, because she's awesome like that. He told her this week, and since he didn't come home with his hair having been set on fire, I'm assuming it was all right.

♦ So. One of the reasons we're coming clean...this December we'll celebrate our 35th anniversary. It's a major enough milestone that I didn't want to NOT celebrate it openly.

♦ Thirty-five years, people. That's longer than a lot of you have been alive.

♦ Take my advice: don't carry a secret this long.

♦ your kids. They know their hearts, and if you did your job, you know you can trust them. Kids...own your own lives.


♦ Now...we have to figure out HOW we want to celebrate....

♦ That's all. That's enough, eh...?


3 August 2016

So we're training. It's kind of what one must do before tackling a 60 mile walk, though I know a few who just show up for the event and walk it all without having tackled a single training mile, and they do just fine.

These people are clearly inhuman and much be stopped.

Yesterday we did an easy 5 miles and today was supposed to be 8 miles, but we got a late start and by the time we were headed out it was 72 and climbing fast. We then thought about cutting it to 6 miles, but at 4.5 the heat--only 85 at that point--was getting to me, so we went home and decided to go to Costco and walk around the giant building in the a/c.

In theory, this is a good idea.

In the time we got there we were both so hungry that if there had been a lot of free samples, we would have eaten them all.

So now it's almost 5 p.m. and we're 6.3 for the day...and if it cools down any tonight we might get those last 2.7. It could even be 90, because 90 with no sun doesn't feel half as bad a 85 with.

Kinda hoping we do, because I really don't want to get too far off schedule and I need to beat my feet the frak up before we start getting into the 10 mile range...which is next week.

I see a day trip to San Francisco next week...20-25 degrees cooler, nicer views. Well, to be fair, our original plans for today had us going to SF, but we were convinced otherwise last night by a couple of redditors who mentioned a few planned protests. So next week.

But we are training...only 16 weeks until the walk.


21 July 2016

Something I'd forgotten about when training for a long walk...once you start to ratchet up your distance, getting over 5 miles, for a while you're hungry. I mean, you're hungry. You want to eat things as big as your head, and then an hour later, you want to do it again.

I had the same issue when I started swimming; for the first 2 weeks, all I wanted to do was eat.

Now, the first time I trained for this, IIRC, that kind of hunger didn't hit until I was walking over 8-10 miles. And then, it made sense; I'd burned 1000 calories, I was going to want to eat.

Today I did 4 easy miles (and I still have a hard time believing 4-6 miles is easy now, given how hard it was a few years ago) and would have done a couple more if not for the heat (which wasn't even 80 degrees...I am not adjusted to summer yet.) I stopped at Starbucks halfway for some iced tea, thinking that I would head for a place where I knew there was a restroom, because...tea...but wound up at home instead because I are a wimp.

An hour later, I wanted to eat everything in sight. I still do. I've restrained myself, but there's a gallon of ice cream in the freezer, and I've heard it calling my name since I got home.

This does not bode well for me. By the time I hit 10 miles, I'm going to be eating things the size of small children. If it keeps up, by the time the 3 Day rolls around I will have gained 75 pounds.

Really hoping next week to get into San Francisco again, but this time we'll park near Pier 39 and walk toward the Golden Gate Bridge. We can get 8 miles in without worrying about heat, and then the Spouse Thingy can have fresh seafood, and I will have popcorn or a pretzel, because, ew, seafood.

Really glad the doc said I could walk this year. I've missed this.


19 July 2016

There are 122 days until the San Diego 2016 3 Day; our high mileage days should have us doing 7 miles one day and 6 the next, so we're right on track. By the week after next, we need to hit 8/6, which seems easy enough...we might push for that next week, picking a day to go to San Francisco to walk between Pier 39 and the Golden Gate Bridge, which beats the heck out of walking around Dixon all the time.

Remember this? LOL
I love this little town, but it's about 5 square miles of flat sameness, and after a while it's kind of mind numbing. The bonus of training with the Spouse Thingy this time is that I'm not trying to wedge my long walks in on days he's working or sleeping--which would put me walking alone on weekend days around town--but we're going out and getting the walks in while we do other things. Last week we went to SF for a few hours just to walk around downtown; it's a slower pace because of all the people-dodging, but face it, we'll be people-dodging in San Diego, too. far no blisters. Anyone who was around for my first walk might remember the fun I had with those, pretty much right from the start.

Now...I'm at my goal, my fundraising is essentially done. The Spouse Thingy still needs to raise $1560, so if you're of a mind to donate, please donate to his walk. There are still prizes to be had--on August 1st someone will win a Samsung Galaxy Tab E tablet, and someone will win an 11" Dell laptop computer.

After that, the next drawing will be on September 15th, for a 13" Dell laptop. And if the Spouse Thingy makes it to $2300 by that date, a very generous donor who has already provided the spendy prizes is offering one more, a $500 Amazon gift card.

And as always...I can be bought. For the right donation to the Spouse Thingy, I will do things. Embarrassing things. Legal, but embarrassing.

Now, off to look at Google Maps, to decide where I want to walk tomorrow...


14 July 2016

For reals. I don't play, I don't get it, and Pokemon in general was one of those things that flew right by me when it first started, but cripes...I've been unhappily surprised at the volume of posts I'm seeing online making fun of other people for going outside and having a good time.
It feels a lot like people whining YOU'RE NOT HAVING FUN THE RIGHT WAY. 

I did see one post last night, someone who was quite happy that their kid walked a total of 5 miles yesterday. He and his friends had so much fun, they're going to do it again. They met up at a local park and found half a dozen other kids doing the same thing, and had a ton of fun hanging out and getting to know each other. 
And yet...the same people who I've seen complaining about how our kids all sit inside in front of TVs and computers are now making fun of them for going outside and doing something.

No, they don't play the way we did when we were kids. We didn't play the same way our parents did. Our grandkids won't play the same way our kids do.
That's not a bad thing.
And yes, there are some very inattentive player walking into parked cars and trees, and the company that made the app has some work to do on placement, but overall? I tend to be in favor of anything that gets kids (and adults, be honest) excited and moving.



8 July 2016

From the Discussions With Friends and Acquaintances Files
"I'm tired of all of it right now. What gets me is that I've had a hard life, too. Minimum wage jobs. Food stamps. I was homeless for 3 years. I drove a shit car and I got pulled over a couple times a month for fix-it tickets. I struggled for half my adult life. Why is my hard life less important just because I'm white?"
It's not less important. Yes, everyone suffers at some point in their life. Statistically (the last time I checked, but it's been a while), there are more white people than black people on welfare. I wandered around San Francisco a bit this week, and the obvious homeless I saw were overwhelmingly white.

But here's the thing.

You and I?

Our struggles will never be because we are white.

It really is that simple. Everyone will experience hard times. Everyone struggles. Everyone has a moment in their life when they hit their knees because it doesn't seem like they can take one more thing going wrong. But you and I will never face those struggles with the reason being the color of our skin.

I will never be pulled over for driving while white.
I will never be tracked around a store because I am white.
I will never have to fear for my life when engaging someone in authority because I am white. 
"All lives matter, plain and simple."
Well yeah, all lives matter. But the truth is that right now, we all just seem to accept that white lives matter, and the divide is becoming so strong that a whole lot of people are rightly standing up to remind us all that black lives matter, too.

It sucks that we need reminding.

It's shameful that the message has to be shouted to be heard.

It's horrible that we didn't move past this need decades ago.

But here we are.

24 June 2016

This guy.

He is why my office is set up the way that it is. There's the TARDIS, tall bookshelf, less tall bookshelf, and his tree, so that he has access to the top of the TARDIS, which is his favorite place to hang out.

He also likes the top of that bookcase.


At some point, he dragged a nip banana to the top of the TARDIS, and goes up there just about every day to get high. I don't mind this, it keeps him out of my hair.

But this...

...this is how the tops of the bookcases look all the freaking time now. I tell him to clean his mess up, but does he listen?

Damn cat.

Don't get me started on the footprints all over my desk...


15 June 2016

...and the winner is...

Of the Kodak Digital Camera


Jerri Hodges

Of the Roku Stick


Deborah Zemek

Of the Kindle Fire 6


Susie McGavin


I'll double check to make sure I have your addresses, and if I do they'll go out no later than Friday. If I don't, I'll be emailing to get it.

The next drawing will be on August 1st, and the prizes up for grabs are a Samsung Galaxy Tab E, and a Dell 11" laptop.


5 June 2016

In 10 days, someone is going to win a 14 MP Kodak digital camera. And someone is going to win a Roju stick. And someone is going to win a Kindle Fire 6.

All it takes to have a chance is to donate to my upcoming SGK 3 Day Walk; every $5 gets you an entry, and donating now still keeps you in the running for prizes the rest of summer (and there are 2 laptops coming up!)

Once my walk is fully funded (I'm only $600 from it) then I'll remove links to my walk and put the Spouse Thingy's in instead (and if you prefer, go ahead and donate to him! It still counts towards the drawings!)

And again, if we both reach our minimum goals by the end of September, one of my generous friends is springing for a pretty spiffy prize (yet to be determined, but we're pretty sure it will be of the 4K variety.)

Training in earnest will begin soon..we're kinda waiting for the Spouse Thingy to recover from surgery, but a couple weeks from now we'll head out on our first training walk...there's lots of time to get ready for this, and maybe this will be the year with no blisters!


I can dream.


30 May 2016

Here's an idea: how about we don't judge someone else because their kid got away from them? It happens to even the best of parents; you turn away for 3 seconds, and the kid is gone. And yes, I realize you're all perfect and you special little snowflake would never get away from you. But those parents who have runners, you get it. You can have one moment of being human, and off the kid goes. It happens, and it happens to most parents. Generally you're lucky and catch them quickly, but go spend an hour in Disneyland and see how often kids take off. Hell, go to your public park on a busy day. Or the mall.

It happens.

And here's another idea: how about we don't judge a zoo for placing a human life above an animal, based on the little bit of video they could show on the news? The full video is online, and if you watch it you'll have a clearer understanding of the scope of what was happening. The gorilla was not going to protect that child; as a male, when presented with a child that was not his own offspring, he would have killed that boy.

Yes, other gorillas have cared for human children under similar circumstances...and those gorillas were female. Big difference.

Yes, it sucks that they killed the gorilla. But the truth is that if they had not, that little boy would be dead. Tranquilizers would not have worked fast enough and in his already agitated state would have further enraged him. Would you really have preferred a blood bath? A dead little boy over a dead animal?

There was no winning in this.

But now those parents are facing unbearable public scrutiny and are getting death threats. And unless you were right there, you don't really know what happened or how the kid got away from them. Your knee jerk reaction is not helping anything. The posting of memes proclaiming the gorilla to keeping a better eye on the kid than the parents is, frankly, mean.

If you have're not a perfect parent. None of us are. None of us can be. We all leave scars on our kids, no matter how hard we try not to.

What we can be is compassionate, and try to understand that these parents and that little boy are scarred for life, and now because of public reaction are probably terrified for their lives.

Do you really want to pile onto that? Be that kind of person?

It sucks all the way around, but no one deserves the hell these parents are getting online, no one deserves the death threats, and to contribute to the pain they will be weighed down with for the rest of their lives--they're never getting over this, you know that--is terribly unkind.


28 May 2016

Three years ago today, my mom died.

Three years ago tomorrow is my parents wedding anniversary; it would have been 67 years.

Like the last year, when a normal person might feel the sting of mourning slap them in the face, I feel more grateful than anything. Religious convictions aside (and I am not dripping with religion, since I think it's one of those things best left 99% private 99% of the time) I do think there's something after this life, and knowing what tomorrow is...I'm just glad my parents are together.

So no, I haven't been sitting here dwelling on it, other than to note the date...but I did note it. And I hope they're having one hell of a good time together.


25 May 2016

The first draft of this book--including roughly 10 passes through it to make additions and subtractions and to hunt adverbs--is done. The file is off to my editor and a copy has been printed out for the Spouse Thingy to proofread (and yes, Charlie, I will send you one to proofread, too.)

I am nauseated.

Unless you count a manuscript I wrote in high school--and I don't, though I may rewrite that one someday--this is my first venture into young adult fiction, doubled by it also being light science fiction. Add to it the pressure of this being Max's book (and he sat on the back of my chair, thumping his thinks into my head using his tail during a large chunk of the writing) and I'm about 13 kinds of nervous.

I'm also about 13 kinds of excited so while the editor tears it apart (and she surely will; I left a lot of stage-direction type things in the narrative for...reasons...and it's dialog-heavy [which she expects from me but that won't stop her from pointing it out] ) I'll dive into taking notes for the next one.

I realized during one pass, while I was hunting adverbs, that I used some familiar names; one was intentional, because a friend really wanted to be a princess, others were not but I'm not inclined to change those names because they fit well. I do need a female name for a queen that shows up toward the end but will be in the next book...she may or may not be a little bit bitchy, but she will surely be somewhat flaky and unsure of herself.

Who wants to be the possibly bitchy but surely not-great-at-the-job queen? I don't want to keep the name I used as a placeholder; it fell into place because I had the TV on and when I glanced up Raven Simone was on the screen and it was like, "phkit, I'll use that for now." Not really feeling that choice.


The first draft of Max's first piece of fiction is in the can, but needs a character name.

Possibly a title, too...


22 May 2016

Oddz N Endz #983,102,344.6/2(4.66*9.1)+([mathishard]

♦ Max and I are coming into the home stretch with his first piece of fiction. He's been like the little angel on one shoulder and the little devil on the other, reminding me that this piece is targeted for young adults so we can't say that, but then taunting me with other inappropriate material because kids today.

♦ I believe he is also upset because I nixed using the word "dood" in favor of its more traditional spelling. Proof of this was the tail thwacked at my face as he lounged on the back of my chair, when I informed him that "dood" is technically not a word. Ok, not proof, you'll just have to take my word for it. But I did get a face-full of Max tail.

♦ Speaking of the furry monster, his late night concertos have turned into a raging bitch-fest held less than 6 inches from my face. It's one thing for him to sit in the hallway, singing; it's a whole other thing for him to be right there, yowling his head off as he tries to get me out of bed. Yes, the answer is to close the door, and I do that once he wakes me up, but there have been nights when he's been genuinely distressed, so I leave it open just in case.

♦ I have high hopes that sooner rather than later he'll learn that being a little bitch at night gets him removed from the room and the door gets closed. I also understand that I am seriously deluded.

♦ This morning the little shit was fed by the Spouse Thingy when he got home from work; an hour later both cats were banging on the bedroom door. I got up, because hey, maybe the Spouse Thingy was late and they hadn't yet eaten, but no...they had. They just wanted me up so that they could have the bed, and they wanted it RIGHT NOW so they could steal my warms.

♦ This is the current look I'm getting from him. It's past snack o'clock, and I am clearly failing him.

♦ Fine. Crunchy treats, and then back to work...though I may go over to Starbucks just so I can have some task-master free thinking time.


13 May 2016

I was thrilled when I went into Starbucks today; it was nearly empty, save for a few people sitting on the far side of the room, their faces bathed in the glow from their MacBooks screens. My favorite table on the close side of the room was available, and no one else was near. So after I got my tea I sat down, cracked open my notebook, and began scribbling furiously.

There was a metric ton of crap I wanted to get out of my head and onto paper, notes for the Max's current work-in-progress, and the solitude of my little corner of Starbucks was perfect for dislodging all of that from my brain. I worked in near-quiet, save the music playing and the sounds of the baristas working, for half an hour. It was the perfect ratio of noise to quiet that I like, and I was getting copious notes written.

And then came John and Jane Doe, who picked--from all those empty ones--the table right next to me, and they began a very not-so-quiet conversation. Granted, they had every right to sit there and do what they wanted to do, but dammit, I was on a roll. Eavesdropping was not on my list of things I wanted to get done today.

I kept trying to work, but everything came to a screeching halt. Their conversation went from admiring their drinks to the weather to what to do about "the bathroom issue."

People...the older I get, the less I care about social convention. I know I need to keep my mouth shut, but I'm rapidly nearing the point where I don't give a shit, and I am going to say something that gets me into trouble. Today was close to being that day.

Jane was sympathetic, a little bit. "I sort of get where they're coming from, but I don't want to share a bathroom with a man."

No, Jane, you do not sort of get where they're coming from. Not even a little. Because if you did, you would understand something very fundamental: that transwoman in the restroom is not a man. That transwoman is a woman, in every way that matters. The junk between someone's legs? That doesn't matter. She is a woman, and deserves to pee in peace, the same as anyone else.

I think that's what's missing from the national conversation. It's not about men using women's restrooms, or women using men's; it's understanding that regardless of biology, some peoples' parts don't match who they really are. Yes, she might have a penis, but she's still a woman. She doesn't exactly have much in the way of testosterone anymore, so she really isn't a threat to you. And yes, that muscle-bound, gorgeous gentleman might still have a vagina, but he's still a he, and is not some goofy chick trying to sneak a peak at your inadequacies.

You've been using restrooms with trans people for years and had absolutely no idea.

And wrap your brain around this: that woman in the restroom who looks like a man but is still obviously a female may be gay, may be not; she may be gender fluid or gender queer, or may be not. She may be on the precipice of transitioning, or might be perfectly happy where she is: completely hetero but still gender fluid.

You may be confused, but your confusion doesn't give you the right to make her uncomfortable.

It certainly doesn't give you the right to eject her from the restroom.

But maybe, if we stop talking about men using the women's restroom and start grasping the fact that the person making you a little uncomfortable is a woman regardless of genitalia, we can get past the idea that it's all right to shove someone out of the restroom in the first place, and it's all right for someone else to be different than yourself and to pursuit their own identity.

You don't have to like it. Just accept it.

And before the Bible-thumpers weigh in with "God doesn't make mistakes and if He wanted that person to be a woman He'd have made him one to begin with" consider this: we interfere with the way people are all the freaking time. We "fix" mistakes of biology as a matter of routine when we think we understand them, and we do it because fixing things makes their lives easier (or we hope it will.)

Consider the kid born with a cleft lip. Are you going to tell him he has to stay that way because God wanted him to have it? How about the kid born with her heart on the outside? Does she have to live with that until she dies? Doctors can fix it, but why bother if that's what God intended?

And you...someone who has undergone mastectomy to rid yourself of breast cancer. God fully intended you to have both breasts, did He not? Or is that all right because it's you and you want to live? What about you, dude? You lost a testicle to cancer, had it removed so it wouldn't kill you. You were clearly born with two, apparently because that's what God intended. Hey, keep both of those disease-riddled kidneys. God wants that.

Ah, but that's different, no? That's life and death.

So is someone's transition. Not being able to, not having access to the health care that makes it possible, drives people to suicide every day. It is most definitely a matter of life and death, and deserves the same intervention that any other hiccup in the process of biology gets.

We play God all the time. We interfere with the seeming order of things because sometimes biology screws up. We do it because to do anything else is unkind. We fix mistakes of biology, because the person affected is not a mistake, but someone living with one, and to refuse is to be on the wrong side of morality.

God doesn't screw up. But the clear fact is that He allows processes to, for whatever Giant Cosmic Reasons we're not yet able to comprehend. He also gives us the intelligence to do something about it all, to reason our way through it, to study and develop ways to cope and repair. He allows the kid to be born with a cleft lip for His own reasons, but he also gave us the smarts to fix it.

This is no different. You don't have to understand why someone needs to correct the gender of their birth any more than you need to understand why the narwhal bacons at midnight.

(That probably doesn't make sense to you, but it does make sense to thousands of people online right this moment. And I'm willing to bet you accept that.)

So maybe just accept, too, that the transwoman in the stall next to your wife is a woman, and nothing else. And truthfully, if you're worried about who's in the restroom with your kid, maybe think about not letting your kid go in there alone.

Frankly, I would be more worried about the men in the restroom with my son if he was still little... statistics and all that.

And if you're that concerned, instead of tossing people out of a restroom and making them feel less than human, direct your energy into something that makes more sense: advocate for unisex, single stall restrooms. Then everyone gets to pee in peace.

And me?

Next person to whack me with a purse in the ladies room because they have a knee jerk reaction to the short hair and tattoos is not getting off as lightly as before. I will defend myself, even if it means breaking that little old Asian lady in half, because people? I am tired. I'm done with the crap.

I shouldn't have to worry about it, but I do. And I have it far, far easier than my trans friends, and I know that.


30 April 2016

...and we have a winner...

Drawing for the first prize in this years' 3 Day Walk Prize Pool is #137, Leslie Smith.

I'll contact you tonight and arrange for delivery!

Thank you!

Next drawing is on June 15 for a 14 MP Kodak digital camera, a Roju Stick, and Kindle Fire 6--3 people are going to win something!