'Tis that time of year again.

Starting tomorrow thousands of writers embark on the journey to 50,000 words in 31 days.

I did it in '04. I tried last year and missed the mark by =this= much. This year, when I have editing in front of me and an unfinished manuscript that has suddenly begun to whisper to me once again, I'm tempted.

Heck, I signed up.

I have an idea I can work on. NaNo or not NaNo, that is the question.


Ooohyeah...this weekend was the library's quarterly Friends Of The Library book sale, where one can purchase as many book as one desires for the grand price of 50 cents an inch. In July I bought 12 inches of books and was happy as could be. Yesterday I bought 15 inches of books as was happy as could be...and as I was placing my bounty in a grocery bag offered by the sale volunteer, she said something to me that nearly made me wet myself with glee.

"Tomorrow books will be two dollars for whatever you can fit into a bag."

A grocery bag can hold quite a few books.

I managed to get my 15 inches into a grocery bag.

So today after the Spouse Thingy got up, we headed as a family to the library; the Boy knows a bargain when he hears about it and wanted to see what wonders he, too, could find amongst the remnants of the sale. It wasn't just books; VS tapes, DVDs, CDs...Two bucks a bag.

The choices had been fairly well picked over during the weekend, but the Spouse Thingy and I still filled 3 bags. The Boy stumbled upon a entire set of books--50 of them--that easily could have filled four or five bags, but the sign taped upon the boxes in which they sat said "$2/set."

The books are copyrighted for 1909; the print style and trim style hint at a print date no later than 1945. They're in excellent condition. Another set containing the likes of Hugo was also $2/set.

I think between all of us we walked out with over 100 books.

We paid $12.

We need more bookshelves...


Make yourself feel really stupid and do a good deed.

Go to Free Rice and play their word game; it's very simple: you get a word and click on its definition. For every word you get correct, they donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

People get fed, and you learn new words, some of which you might be able to use in conversation someday!


Ya know, running a furnace that has sat unused for 2 years kinda stinks?

Who'da thunk?

It may now get cold...or hot. Problem was the thermostat, which means the a/c won't run for 5 hours straight anymore...


Remember Dear So And So...? It's been broken...very broken. After much banging of my head on the desk, I gave up trying to fix it and poked around for a new template. So now it's fixed, and hopefully isn't dead...

Go on, go write a letter. Surely there's someone to whom you want to write. But if it's me, don't be mean, or I shall surely cry.


The One Where We Take A Day Off

We were sore by the time we stopped, but it was fun...

I learned that my bike likes twisty kind of roads, that I'm NOT a speed demon, and that I really need a better seat. And that as you approach Napa, you see a lot of grapes.

Tomorrow the Spouse Thingy goes to work, and I'll wander over to Border's or the library to work; Thursday we get to wait for the furnace repair person who failed to show for the appointment on Monday.

Good thing it's not cold here...


The Thin Red Line(s)

Redlining (for TK, he asked in comments on the last post...he's a sweet boy1 but is often confused about life, women, and winter weight motor oil) is simply the act of making one's manuscript look as if it were bleeding profusely.

Writers do this in hopes that it will result in a better story. Editors do this in hopes of making a writer cry. Writer-editors...well, they're just so deep into sado-masochist behaviors that they both love it and hate it.

This one is a page from my current work in progress. The one that has been my work in progress for over two years. It has quite a bit more bleeding left to endure, and I have quite a bit more crying left, before it becomes worthy of moving onto draft #642.

I took my trusty red pen back to Border's today, and was thrilled that the cafe was empty, save the two employees who were trying to figure out how they could have run out of water. ("Who runs out of water? It's WATER!"..."I guess we do...") I bought an iced tea (apparently made before the run on water) and plopped my stuff on top of my preferred table, sat down, and got right to work.

Then Old Guy wandered in. He bought a froo-froo coffee (WTF is a chocolate caramel mochafrappajavachino?) and sat in one of the comfy chairs...right in front of me. And for the next hour, he sat there and stared at me. He could have sat at a table and looked out into the bookstore, watching people shop, but no...he sat there and stared at me.

I was --this-- close to sticking my finger up my nose, digging around a bit, and then licking it clean, when I was saved by an influx of people with their children2; the volume went up in a wave of I WANT CHOCOLATE MILK requests, and Old Guy sighed heavily, got up, tossed his cup into the trash3, and left.

No idea why he was staring; I am not exceptionally ugly cause my mother says so! nor did I have bed-head. I was not dressed in tie-dye mixed with plaid. I was not sitting there with my nice bright white helmet on. At first I thought he was just seeing nothing, in that daydream kind of way, but every time I looked up, it was obvious.

Maybe he loves me.


1He's, like, 50...but going on 17...

2Not to imply that children are not people. Most of them are.

3He could have left it there on a side table, so +1 for throwing the cup away...


There aren't as many regulars at the Border's cafe as there are the library (there used to be...maybe they got tired of seeing me); there are always two or three people sitting at tables, their faces bathed in the glow of a laptop computer screen, but I rarely see the same people on any given day. Perhaps because there's no free wireless connection, unlike the library. Or perhaps because people simply don't consider it a place to hang out several times a week.

But there is Alex. The last few weeks he's been there every day that I have; he sits at the same table, a lightweight laptop computer in front of him, with either email open or Yahoo there for the world to see.

No, I don't know how he's connecting. My wireless card detects several networks, but they're all secure. Which is a good thing, because I'm there avoiding the lure of the Internet, not to engage in it.

But Alex. I know his name is Alex because, in the span of an hour and a half, he will make a call or three or four on his cell phone, and says quite loudly, "This is Alex!"

I also know these things about Alex:

  1. He is a very honest person. He says so, just about every day; to whomever he's speaking, he feels compelled to point out, "I'm very honest, I expect you to be honest, too," and he makes this declaration several times during each call. Apparently, the people with whom he is dealing aren't as honest as he.
  2. He is quite educated. This is obvious, because no matter what other people say to him, he has also done that, been there, seen it, and created the T-shirt before he burned it. Alex apparently knows everything, and I'm guessing he derived this knowledge from Yahoo.
  3. The employees like him very much, and do his bidding. This I know because he gets up from his special table at least once every time I'm there, and says to whomever is working the counter, "Watch my stuff." He knows they like him that much, because he doesn't even have to wait for an answer, he just wanders off because he knows they will guard his possessions as their own.
  4. He is opening his own business. This is evidenced by the How To Open A Business books he brings into the cafe, "borrowed" from the stacks on the other side of the store. I'm sure he puts them back in perfect condition. And because he is so honest, I'm sure he asks before he uses the store as his own personal library.
  5. Alex is an immigrant. At least, he sounds Russian.
  6. I do like Alex's accent.

I spent over three hours there to day, three wonderfully Alexless hours. I redlined a manuscript (not mine) and formatted submissions for a new We Are The Kitties book. I was about to open my own work when he arrived, laptop bag in hand, and I sighed as he sat at the table next to me. His special place.

I miss Library Bob. I'd go back there, but I haven't seen him the last few times I tried to work there; I'm sure he's read all the books by now and has moved on to better things.

I need new regulars.


Ya know, the night it gets cold enough to need the heat on is not the night you want to find out the furnace doesn't work...




Um, if you think it's perfectly acceptable to hock not just one but six or seven loogies into the shower stall at the YMCA, and then follow that up by peeing in said stall, you probably shouldn't be out in public.

I'm just sayin'...


It's no secret; I spend far too much time at Walmart; ours has a McDonald's near the front, and I can sit there with a never-ending supply of Diet Coke and either watch people or try to write. Mostly I watch people, because there in the Land of Low Low prices they're most like themselves, not realizing they're being watched.

A perk to being there is hearing Bill, the World's Friendliest Walmart Greeter do his magic; always happy, always gregarious, even the little kids light up when they see Bill, because he's always been unfailingly kind to them, and they feel like Bill is one person who is always happy to see them. And he gives them stickers for no reason other than to see them smile.

Hell, I walk into Walmart and see Bill, and I grin. He's just that infectious sort of nice.

But tonight...tonight the Spouse Thingy and I walked into Walmart in search of bathroom storage and crunchy kitty treats, and instead of Bill and his happy "Hiya!! How ya doin'?" there was a memorial wreath with his picture in the center. Hanging off to one side was his blue vest and name tag.

I didn't know Bill; I couldn't tell you a thing about him, other than those simple facts: he was a Walmart greeter, and he was so good at it that I liked sitting there in McD's, where I could hear him call the little girls "darlin'" and the little boys "Parder" or "Big guy." I don't know what he did on his off time, who the people in his real life are, what he liked to do for fun. But I wanted to cry when I saw that wreath; I had to blink back a tear or two at the simple idea that Bill won't ever be there to say hello to me when I come in for a Diet Coke and a people watching fix.

It's hard to fathom that you can miss someone you never really knew, but I think I'm going to miss Bill.


If dreams really do come true, then sometime in the near future I am going to take a bike ride across the country, and my riding companion will be a three year old little girl who will be right beside me on a souped up, battery operated toy motorcycle, and I'm such a good role model that I'm going to get her riding up to 90 mph on the Interstate.

On the plus side, I make her wear a helmet...


Dear Other Person With My Name Who Lives In My Area Code,

Please pay your bills. Or at least give your creditors your own phone number, because I'm getting really tired of them calling me and expecting me to pay them what you owe. I am tired of hearing how far behind I am on my payments, and having to explain that they've go the wrong person. I am tired of the disbelief. I'm even tired of the profuse apologies when they finally believe they have the wrong person because--thank God--we do have different middle names. And if you won't pay your bills and won't give them your own phone number, will you at least cover any fees associated with me making my number unlisted? By now you owe me, you really do.

Disgruntled Wabbit


The Weather Channel said it was only going to be cloudy today, and I believed it. Because we all know TWC does not lie, and is never, ever wrong. However, as I was coming out a fast food establishment wherein I purchased a small-never-ending-Diet-Coke because riding is thirsty work, some bald guy says to me, "Think it's gonna rain?" to which I replied, "I hope not."


Now I'm sitting here, waiting to dry off before I get into the car to finish running errands.

On the plus side, Thumper's ride-in-the-rain cherry has been popped, and it wasn't so scary after all.


I don't care if the house still looks like it threw up, don't care that I have work-work waiting...that 80 mile ride today was totally worth blowing off everything else...