31 December 2009

Because we are hard core partiers, and the Spouse Thingy finally had a New Year's Eve off, we decided to go all out and celebrate in a major way this year.

Which means, basically, that we were all, "Maybe we'll go to a movie and then go get some Chinese food," which eventually became, "We really should have picked a movie sooner because it's getting kind of late," and then "Well, call and see if the Chinese place is still open."

I mean, it was 8 p.m., who eats that late?

We headed out to find this brand new Chinese restaurant/Sushi bar (yup) and behold, it was right where the last Chinese place was located in beautiful downtown Dixon. We peeked in the window and decided that we might be able to get a table, what with the 5 other customers inside spread out between the 6 foot long sushi bar and two of the booths.

This is one of those spectacular places, where the decor is mid-century modern with dashes of duct tape on the vinyl booth seats and unlit paper lanterns dotting the ceiling. When we walked in we were immediately taken with the heavy smell of grease in the air, and the 19" TV perched behind the cash register that probably had full use of its color spectrum in 1985 (the TV, not the cash register. I could rephrase that but I'm too lazy to. Also, I dangle participles. Or articles. Whatever.)

It was so inviting that of course we stayed, and because I am hard core, I ordered the Kung Pao chicken because it had a little hot pepper drawn next to it on the menu, and some chicken chow mein. The Spouse Thingy, being slightly less hard core, ordered sweet and sour chicken, the yardstick by which he measures all Chinese restaurants.

He surmised that this end-of-year dietary blowout just might wind up being a cause of massive amounts of weight loss, in the form of bodily evacuations of the unpleasant sort. And hey, what a way to start a new year, ten pounds lost in one night.

The thing is...the food was excellent. The chow mein was not too oily (as it is at the other place we've tried a few times) and the sweet & sour chicken was just right. The Kung Pao was awesome, and not too spicy.Well, not until the Spouse Thingy
pointed to a red pepper on my plate and said, "Go ahead. Take a bite of that."

The red pepper in the Kung Pao Chicken
The red hot chili pepper in my Kung Pao Chicken

Now, because I am hard core I forked one of these bad boys up and bit off the end. And it wasn't so bad, kind of spicy and not much flavor...


Almost instant fire. The pain began at the tip of my tongue, and with the force of a culinary blowtorch it spread to my lips and the roof of my mouth. It was burning piled upon a vice clamp being squeezed over my lips and tongue with fire ants and a sadistic kid with a magnifying glass under the sun.

The Spouse Thingy laughed, until he realized I was in some real pain.

And then apologized, and then laughed some more.

Liquid did not help. Chow mein did not help. A bite of sweet and sour chicken did not help. But, as minutes ticked by slowly, the fire abated and I took another bite of my Kung Pao, and then,


I shoveled in the rest of the chow mein, because hey, it certainly couldn't hurt. And then there was the fortune cookie, which when sucked upon, actually did help. As did the promise of ice cream...when all else fails, give the hard core New Year's Eve partier some Dreyer's slow churned chocolate ice cream, and pray that the fact she is also lactose intolerant doesn't rear its ugly head.

After all that--again we have this hard core nature--we headed home to feed the kitties.

At 9 p.m.

Because that's how we roll.

Happy New Year!


27 December 2009

I wound up at Wendy's this afternoon, because I needed socks. I left the house at 2:20 and headed for Walmart, because they have socks, and because--conveniently--Wendy's shares a parking lot with them and I wanted chili.

Ok, mostly I just wanted to get out of the house, but socks and chili made for a good excuse.

I sat there with my hot chili and plain ("are you sure you don't want butter and sour cream?") baked potato, minding my own business. Still, I couldn't help but overhear the woman at the counter demanding to speak to the manager. I have no idea what she was upset about, but from the tone of her voice and the venom she spit while demanding him made it pretty clear she was super pissed.

He was not in; she wanted his phone number. His personal phone number.

Wisely, the shift manager refused to give it to her, but did offer her various other numbers to call, as well as the time the manager would be in.

That apparently was not good enough. She stomped off in a huff and tried to slam the door on her way out...not so easy when the door has a slow-stop hinge. It whooshed slowly, forcing a burst of cold air to wash over me.

It was a diversion for 2 minutes. And while there were plenty of other people around, I wasn't sitting close enough to eavesdrop on any conversations. What I did was eat my chili and curse myself for sitting so close to the door, because in spite of my spiffy neon orange sweatshirt, by that point I'm pretty sure my nipples were close to be able to cut glass.

(Apologies to my kid. I'm pretty sure he thinks I don't have nipples. Or that they ever stand up and get perky.)

A few minutes later the door swung open and this very nicely dressed guy walked in; suit, tie, neatly trimmed beard. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the previously pissed off woman in the parking lot, still looking pissed off, so it didn't take much to add 2 and 2.

So yeah, I paid attention, because it might be entertaining.

He marched toward the counter, stopped about 5 feet back, and huffed, "!" and then turned around and headed for the door.

I didn't realize I was saying it out loud, but what spun through my head and then slipped out my mouth was "What the fuck?"

He looked right at me and said rather proudly, "I said that."

"Yeah, I know. Very classy of you."

He threw the door open and left, and I watched as he walked across the parking lot and kissed his previously pissed off wife/girlfriend/hookup like he was some sort of hero.

This is the joy of living in a small town, because dammit, that was major confrontation...



22 December 2009

So far only for the Kindle:

For only $3.99...the first three books in the Charybdis series.

Not exactly worth your time if you've read them but still... I just like the cover image.

And there will be a print version next month. A massive print version...not sure what the list price will be.


20 December 2009

Found at FARK. It made me giggle...

Yeah, I know...hell, burning, my fuzzy little ass...


17 December 2009 has a slide show of the Decade in Pictures up right now...there are some really cool pictures there--some are pretty graphic but they give you a black screenshot that lets you bypass those is you want--and some are just outright funny, like Squirrel Kung Fu, and this one, my favorite:

Heck of an arm on that nun...


16 December 2009

Another new favorite site... Very Demotivational Posters...

A Party For The Family

It makes me LOL...

16 December 2009

Barnes & Noble, apparently because of the introduction of their Nook e-reader, has been embracing e-books written by other than A-list authors. This is a good thing, as it gives me another venue for sales.

They obviously have some kinks to work out, though, as evidenced by this:

That's not exactly the correct cover to go with Charybdis.

Of my other books, only 2 have the correct cover images; the rest are covers for my books, just swapped around. As Simple As That has the cover for Charybdis; It's Not About the Cookies has the cover for Finding Father Rabbit. Other indie writers are having the same issues, and it's become a "Who has the funniest cover error?" game.

Supposedly they're working quickly to correct the made me LOL a bit...


12 December 2009

I'm watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for the first time in years, and wondering how the hell this became such a classic. Face it, Santa is a douchebag, the elves are total dicks, and the reindeer are freaking sexist. Sure, there's redemption in the end, but really...Santa is someone who should have never needed redemption.

It really is a major suckage as far as cartoons go.

Just sayin'...


9 December 2009

Bulleted for the hell of it...

  • Max seems to be feeling better. He's eating for the most part; he's asking for food and slurping down more than half. That tells me he's not 100% because, face it, this is Max. he lives for his food.

  • My endocrinologist says I'm mostly normal; I can achieve optimum normalness with salt.

  • Christmas shopping is 98% done. Most of it is even wrapped.

  • No gifts will go under the tree, however. It's too visible from the front window.

  • We did our annual Toys for Tots shopping trip tonight. Spent a little less than last year, but got way better toys, I think. And we still filled two carts.

  • Our neighbor must be a life long Californian and not used to sub 30 temperatures, as evidenced by the ice covering her driveway because she forgot to turn the sprinkler system off.

  • I would like Santa to bring me a new lower back. He can do that, right?


7 December 2009

The good news is the new sofa was obviously treated with Scotch Guard before it was delivered.

The bad news is I discovered it when Max threw up all over it last night.


He was feeling sick most of today--couldn't even bring himself to eat breakfast--but he seems much better now and ate some dinner.

But...ugh...I hate cat barf, but I'm glad he did it when I was right there to get it cleaned up quick. The bathroom carpet didn't fare as well, but that I can toss in the washer...


6 December 2009

The economy is supposed to be in recovery, right? People are supposed to be out spending money? Are they shopping in droves near you?

I dragged my feet this morning because I had to head to Walmart to return a purchase that in hindsight was the not quite right thing to buy...I dreaded it because of the weekend holiday shopping crowds.

Except there was no crowd at Walmart.

I then went in search of blue LED lights, and while I didn't find them, I also didn't find long lines in any of the places I looked. On my way home I stopped back at Walmart for yogurt and milk, and the only people with loaded carts were grocery shoppers.

I hope it's just that people are waiting for better sales...right now it doesn't look like a recovery to me.


5 December 2009

Yesterday, I caved into a moment of blatant unkindness, but I don't feel particularly sorry for it.

It also happens to be this years holiday make-a-person-feel-bad moment, something at which I apparently excel.

In search of a particular gift, I went to several stores, including Sam's Club. The parking lot was surprisingly packed for a weekday afternoon (don't you people have jobs?) and one lane was jammed with oversized trucks crammed into compact car slots. Because really, who wants to walk that extra 15 feet when there's a perfectly good, way-too-small place to park right there?

I left Sam's empty handed; walking in the same lane in the parking lot as I was a much older couple. They shuffled along slowly, pushing a cart, probably going as fast as they could. They weren't walking down the middle; they were reasonably close to one side, just shy of the ends of all the vehicles parked there. Between them and me was another woman. An extremely obese--beyond morbidly obese, we're talking pushing 500 pounds here--waddled behind them.

No, waddling is mot my unkind contribution to this holiday season. It's an observation. Her legs moved in a static motion that didn't allow for the bending of knees and I was actually surprised she was mobile at all.

She was not a nice person, at least not yesterday. She was in a hurry to get to her van, and the old people were in her way. She berated them angrily: "Move the fuck over. Get out of my goddamned way, you're too fucking slow."

By then I was close enough to pass her up, and said as I went by, "Just go around them."

There's the rub.

She couldn't.

Between the trucks parked in the wrong places and her sheer physical size, she couldn't go around them. And the suggestion that she do just that pissed her off and she turned her ire to me.

"I can't, and they need to speed the fuck up or get out of my fucking way."

And then it came out, that which 1) probably embarrassed her and 2) made her want to deck me--I'm 99% sure she wanted to slap the hell out of me.

"It's not their fault you can't get around them."

By then the older couple was at their car, and I hope they didn't really hear any of that. Neither of them said a word or acted like they heard anything going on behind them, and if they did hear they were good about not showing it.

But Miss Congeniality certainly heard what I said.

Yes, it was mean. No, I don't feel all that bad about it. If she'd just been walking along and minding her own business, I wouldn't have said a word. If she'd been in my way, I just would have slowed down. But the way she sniped at that couple, her choice of words, pissed me off to no end. They couldn't have walked any quicker than she could have slipped around them, and didn't deserve the venom spit their way.

Hopefully, that's the only Feel-Bad holiday moment I'll inspire this year...but I am awfully good at it.


3 December 2009

Sunday night I was sitting here, in front of a nice fire with the TV blaring complete crap, with my laptop warming my lap. I was playing around at JigZone as I am wont to do when I'm avoiding doing anything that is actually productive.

I noticed that the battery icon came on, indicating that the laptop was operating off the battery; I didn't think much about it, because once in a while it does that. A few minutes on the battery, then it recharges.

But this time it kept right on working off the battery. So I set it aside and looked at the power adapter, and the little green power light was not on.

I shut down to preserve what power there was left in the battery, reasoning that the adapter was shot, and I would just go get a replacement in the morning.

It seemed reasonable at the time.


A new power adapter was not the answer, because it did not work. And the laptop would not power up at all. The Spouse Thingy has the exact same laptop, so I plugged the old adapter into it; no dice. I plugged the new adapter into it; it worked. I then plugged his adapter into my laptop; nothing.

This distressed me mightily, as I can't just sit here and watch TV. If I'm watching TV, I tend to have the laptop here, and I surf the net or do puzzles and JigZone. So we took the sad little dead laptop the the local computer geek, who said it sounded like the motherboard...but as it was a relatively new laptop, he suggested I save the bucks it would cost to have him open it and try calling Gateway, because it was still under warranty.

And this is where Thumper learned a lesson: when you buy a laptop, or any computer really, register it with the manufacturer. and keep the receipt. I did neither; Gateway had no record of my purchase, and I had no proof.

So I got online with my ancient desktop system and whined to Murf, who was only online to check email and peek at Facebook. He didn't have a lot of time, but he listened to the details of my favorite toy's demise, and called his friend Dack, who does unspeakable things to computers these days.

Dack asked a lot of questions, but in the end said he was fairly sure I'd gotten a power surge that took out the adapter and the motherboard. He asked what model Gateway I had and looked it up in his nifty database and reported back the price of replacement parts.

Almost the cost of a whole new computer.

He also recommended I get a much better surge protector, because, obviously, I cheaped out on the one I was using (and, um, yes...I did...)

Funny, more than one person suggested I get a better surge protector. My cheapness apparently shines through.


Now I sit here with a spiffy new laptop, but it is not with the thrill I would normally get from getting a shiny new toy. I got this one with replacing the ancient desktop system in mind, as it's not very happy about some of the software I ask it to run, and in the next year I plan on upgrading the publishing software.

No, I did not want to wait for Christmas to see if Santa would replace my laptop. Since this is at least 50% a business need, Santa could not be sure exactly what I would need.

Besides, as a business purchase, it's at least 50% tax deductible.

And yes, I registered this laptop. And I'm keeping the receipt.

Just in case.


28 November 2009

1 all night wind storm + 1 terrified little black kitty curled up on the pillow = mostly sleepless night for the Person.

Add in the wind continuing all day, and you have 1 tired Thumper with 1 little black kitty Velcro'd to her all day long. I actually felt bad for him when I had to run to the store; I was only gone half an hour, but that was long enough for him to curl in a tight little ball of What's Happening?

It still hasn't really let up, but he's wandering around the house now, so I have hopes that I'll actually get to sleep tonight. Not high hopes, mind you, but I might get to squeeze in an hour or two when he's not trying to plaster himself to my neck...


20 November 2009

A few people weren't readers here when we first got the clock. It was handmade by Superman, and is probably only one of 2 or 3 non-living things that I absolutely treasure.

The original blog post is here.


18 November 2009

FInally made a space for the clockSo we moved in last January, but finally got around to making a space for the clock. We think that space was originally supposed to be for entertainment equipment; there was a shelf and there's an outlet in the back, all conveniently located over the media nook, which is apparently supposed to house a TV.

That media nook will become a kitty hangout... we just have to figure out an unobtrusive way to block the cable from Buddah's Jaws of Death.

Buddah's cheap bedSpeaking of Buddah...he has a bed. He refuses to use that bed, but we did buy him one when he was a kitten.

Once in a while he sniffs at Max's bed like he wants to get it it, but doesn't because he's smart and fears for his life.

A few days ago a pillow wound up on the floor; it was destined for the trash bin, but when I found him curled up on it, sound asleep. And he used it the next day. And the day after that. So I think we're keeping the pillow, and I don't mind that it doesn't exactly go with anything in the family room.

It's not like we've finish putting the room together, anyway.

He's a good kitty. He deserves his pillow.

How to get the clock to fitOh...

you know how you get a tall clock to fit in a slightly not so tall space?

Poke a hole in the ceiling.

Hey, whatever works...


16 November 2009

'09 Piaggio MP3 400I've been riding this spiffy scooter for the last year and a few odd months. It's still tons of fun and I'll part with it when I'm dead most likely.

The thing is, it's an automatic; twist and go, no shifting required. And because of that extra wheel, there's more contact surface to the ground, which makes it feel little less risky than riding a motorcycle. And that's all well and good, but I did learn how to ride a motorcycle and really didn't want those skills to diminish.

I also wasn't going to grab the Spouse Thingy's motorcycle and hit the streets, hoping I could shift and lean and brake well enough to not wreck.

By a stroke of luck, I was poking around online and discovered the local Harley dealer is now running a riding course, the Rider's Edge program, and this week they were having a women's only class. And there was one slot left open.

The Spouse Thingy said to go for it. So I did.

Now, I really enjoyed the MSF class I took a little over three and a half years ago, and it obviously got me onto a bike and riding. It was one 5 hour classroom session, with two 5 hour range sessions where one learns just enough to be able to get a bike and practice riding in empty parking lots. It takes you from OH MY GOD THAT'S A MOTORCYCLE to Hey...I think I can do this! in short order.

The Rider's Edge class is four 2 hour classroom sessions, and two 7.5 hour range sessions. So you get more time in the class--more time to discuss things--and the test isn't at the end of a solid 5 hour session of "Huh?" It's broken down, so you have time to read and digest the information you really need to know.

The riding portion of the class is so much longer that brand new riders have a better chance to grasp the fundamentals. And instead of being in a classroom with 30 other people, and on the range with 11 other people, I was in a class of 5 in total (there as supposed to be a 6th, but she didn't show up. Which means somewhere in the area is, in theory, a woman who didn't get to take the class because that slot was filed...)

That's a lot of individual instruction. And it helps. A lot.

The meat of the course is identical to the MSF course; same information imparted in the videos the students watch, the same text book is used. The range exercises are identical. But with so much more time dedicated to discussion--and it's more student interactive--and more time on the bikes, the Rider's Edge class seemed to work a little better.

Granted, other Rider's Edge classes will have 12 in total (this one is new, and with only one Rider Coach, there can be only 6 students) but they'll still have all that extra time learning to actually operate a motorcycle without freaking out.

Taking the class a second time gave me a whole new appreciation for how the entire process works. The women I took the class with were not riders (one had taken the MSF class seven years ago and left it partway, but was just now ready to go for it again) and they weren't even sure they wanted to learn to ride (except the one) but they were definitely going to give it a shot. I watched them go from OH MY GOD I CAN'T DO THIS to 'Dang! This is fun!' and from being terrified of shifting and leaning to getting into 2nd gear, and going through curves without panicking. They even managed the dreaded Box--two tight U-turns in a box that looks way too small--fairly well. It was just impressive all the way around to see them go from total nonriders to being able to at least appreciate the ride from the front seat.

It helps that they were fun...they all knew each other and I was the odd person out, but they never made me feel that way.

I did learn a few things in the class, too; things I "knew" but had kind of shoved to the back of my head. I uncovered a potential bad habit. And I realize I am still comfortable enough on two wheels, complete with shifting, that if I take the Spouse Thingy's bike out for a spin, it'll be all right.

This could have been a mind-numbingly boring weekend, but it turned out to be a blast and was worth every penny.

And now I can say for sure...if you want to learn to ride and have the choice between a MSF class or a Rider's Edge, opt for the latter. You learn exactly the same things, but you'll have more time to absorb them. It's definitely a pro-Harley atmosphere, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I got to sit on lots of bikes (something you don't get with the MSF) and had some lengthy one on one discussion about the center of gravity on some bikes, and how it can make some of the really big bikes easier to handle than some of the smaller ones.

That will translate to other brands. Good info to have.

I still have the written test to take on Tuesday, but since I already have my license it's not a worry. And when we're done with the test and we all pass (because we all will) we "graduate." And there will be snacks! I'm going just for the snacks... ;)


11 November 2009

It's not about politics; it's not about taking potshots at the President; it's not about venting your viewpoint about the wars; it's not about pushing your personal agenda. It's about remembering those who have the guts to do what you likely don't--so that you can continue to take potshots and vent and push--and honoring them for their efforts. To those who served, and who continue to serve, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


9 November 2009

More randomness...

  • After my first book was published, I would get an odd email here or there from people who had stumbled upon Charybdis and had something to say about it (usually good, which gave me warm fuzzies.) With each book the odd emails have increased...not a flood, mind you, but enough to give my ego a little jolt. But with the advent of the Kindle, I'm hearing from a lot of people, and my warm fuzzies are damn near hot flashes. It's cool, in a Sally Field You like me, you really like me! way. More awesome than the ego-stroking hot flashes are the reviews; I've been getting a few, and they've been more than favorable. The King and Queen of Perfect Normal has gotten some stellar feedback, and I think my head might explode.

  • Speaking of which, I have a few print copies on hand, and am willing to autograph and make them freaking invaluable. Oh yeah, because someday, I'm going to be a literary giant, and you'll want that signed copy ;)

  • Week two of NaNoWriMo hath begun, and I'm so far behind I might as well surrender. I should be at about 15,000 words and I'm at 2,250. It's possible to catch up, true, but I'm finding that the story line that settled into my brain needs more time to percolate, and the main character deserves to be better fleshed out, lest she become a caricature of a giant douche. Because really, she's just a little bit of a douche.

  • My laptop is fairly new, just a couple month old, and the freaking keys are sticking and falling off. This annoys me, as it requires me to go back and look for all the letters that just didn't show up. I'm tempted to create a post in which I just leave things as they;re typed, so that everyone will feel sorry for me.

  • You would feel sorry for me, right? Because sticky laptop keys are just wrong...


8 November 2009

If you have a dream in which Jillian Michaels is in your face screaming "It's not enough! It's not f@#$*&% enough!" there's probably a subconscious message there...right?


2 November 2009

Oddz N Endz Part 1,452,976.5

  • The Spouse Thingy has jury duty tomorrow. He would not mind, but it fell on his day off. And who knows how many days in a row he'll be needed?
  • This upsets me because I had plans, dammit!
  • I wanted to go for a ride, and then go bowling. And not alone.
  • I may start painting the kitchen instead.
  • I will have kitty help.
  • NaNoWriMo started yesterday, but I didn't not start writing until today. I should be able to get 50,000 words by the end of the month. They will be words riddled with suckage, but that's the whole point...just get the bones out. The rest can be fixed in subsequent drafts.
  • If I don't paint tomorrow, I will write.
  • Or do both.
  • Maybe even at the same time.
  • I think deep red cabinets would go with the bright yellow the kitchen walls will be when I finish painting them.
  • Since we'll eventually re-do the entire kitchen, I figure red won't hurt for now.
  • I have not broached the idea of deep red with the Spouse Thingy.
  • Surprise, Spouse Thingy!
  • Yesterday he got up after only 3-4 hours of sleep to go see the Boy in Grease. He agreed with me, it was worth it.
  • If I go see it one more time, does that make me a stalker?
  • I hope he auditions and lands another role soon; it's only parental pride to say he's good. He really is good.
  • I ate no candy this Halloween.
  • Go me.


31 October 2009

Nope, I don't think it's possible to do anything around here without feline help.

A small peek

Still have to paint the kitchen, and I'm toying with painting the cabinets, but there's no hurry.

And where the heck were all the trick or treaters tonight? 'Twas very disappointing here...


25 October 2009

Damn, my kid can act...

Last night was the opening show of Grease, and the Boy is playing Sonny in it...I would have been there then but the Spouse Thingy had to work and I can't (well, shouldn't) drive at night, so I went to the matinee today. Yep, by myself, a shocker. I wanted to go early on so I can go again before it closes.

It was just an all around fun show to watch, partly because it looked like the cast was having a good time on stage...and now those songs are stuck in my head and probably will be all week. It was a little bit of a surprise to see the Boy totally clean shaven...I haven't really seen that since he was 16, other than a picture he took a couple weeks ago. With his hair slicked back for the role and the facial hair gone, it really blew me away how much he looks like my dad, especially from pictures I've seen from my dad at the same age the Boy is now.

So now I kinda wonder if waitresses hit on my dad in his 20s, too...

Fun show...made a little funnier by using a Miata as Greased Lightning. "What is that futuristic looking car?" LOL


22 October 2009

I spent a part of my morning trying to figure out why William Shatner once again invaded my dreams, and why in the hell he was in my kitchen grilling chicken for the cats.

I posed this question on Facebook, and Murf figured it out right away.

William Shatner = Denny Crane.
We bring chicken home from Denny's for the kitties.
Max loves Denny.


I should learn to think in smaller circles...


19 October 2009

At 6:30 this morning I was in the kitchen scribbling a note for the Spouse Thingy: Please feed the kitties. Normally they eat at 9:30, but I had no intention of being awake at 9:30 and every intention of being fast asleep…this would displease Max, causing him to body slam my face repeatedly until I dragged my sorry self out of bed to make use of my nifty opposable thumbs on those cans of Stinky Goodness, so I dragged myself out of bed early and wrote the note.

It was only dragging because the bed was warm and the house was not. It’s not as if I was asleep.

I wasn’t not sleeping through lack of effort…I went to bed at 12:30, but didn’t fall asleep until nearly 2 a.m. At 3:30 I woke from a dream that had me driving a ’67 Mustang at insane speeds, hitting a rise in the road and going airborne, headed straight for an overpass. I jolted awake just before impact, relieved that it was just a dream, and that I had woken up, lest the idea that if one dies violently in a dream they die in their sleep has a bit of truth to it (like, who would really know? But I’d rather not test it out…)

It took another hour to fall back asleep, long enough that I nearly got out of bed to play online for a little while, but almost as soon as that impulse hit me I realized I was this close to nodding off again, so I pulled the blankets around me a bit tighter, and let myself fall.

I woke up at 5:30, so freaking sad I was nearly in tears. I’m not sure if there’s any symbolism here, but I’d been dreaming that the Spouse Thingy and I had split up, but for whatever reasons we were still living in the house together…and he had remarried to someone who had, in a previous lifetime, been my best friend, someone who is still a friend. It was supposedly a marriage of convenience, but when confronted with the reality that it was not, I was on my way out the door, bags in hand, the Boy there to take me to wherever. The Spouse Thingy was there begging me not to go… I woke up before my foot stepped outside the door, but an hour later I was still wrapped in the sheer sadness and grief of a dream, I could make no sense of, so I got up and wrote the note asking him to feed Max and Buddah.

At 7:15ish I heard his key in the front door—Max bounded off the bed in hopes of crunchy treats, simple reaffirming that yep, it was him—and I finally fell back asleep, the sense of grief finally fading away with the drifting back into the next dream.

Luckily, whatever slithered through my brain after that wasn’t disturbing enough to pry me awake again, and Max didn’t try to nap across my face after getting his breakfast.

Still…I’d like to know what the hell those dreams were really about…


16 October 2009

We moved my office into the spare bedroom, the boxes that were in that bedroom into the library (for now) and I'm prepping the family room (formerly my office) to be painted.

Max and Buddah think we're moving again.

They are not happy.

Poor kitties.


14 October 2009

A week after my spur of the moment surgery, the Spouse Thingy went in for a little under the knife work of his own. His was scheduled--a bladder biopsy, and no we don't have the results yet, but it all looked inflammatory--so there was no surprise there, but still... I had barely recovered and he was getting his junk reamed out, and he needed the weekend to heal up.

So we didn't have much fun over the last couple of weeks.

Yesterday I was scheduled for my post-op appointment with the surgeon, but a little matter of pounding rain and 55 mpg wind convinced us it wouldn't hurt to reschedule that... sure, lots of people drove in it, but we didn't have to, so we didn't (well, in the morning...I did drag him out in the afternoon to go to Walmart which is only half a mile away. Where I then sat at a table in Subway while he shopped. That's how wonderful I am...)

back patio 1 This had us a little bit worried.

By late afternoon the area had been pounded with a little over 4 inches of rain, and it looked like part of it wanted to come inside to warm up.

So the Spouse Thingy was outside in pouring rain, heavy wind, digging around in the yard to make sure the drainage inlets weren't clogged.

(Yep, the fact that we have drains in the back yard is a pretty good clue that we have drainage issues. We didn't notice them until after we'd bought the house, however. It might have made a difference...might not have. But still...)

I kind of wondered if we'd need sandbags, but after he cleared the drains, the water started to recede.

My hero.

And it is good to know that we can take rain that hard and not flood...

Still...this has been kind of a sucky couple of weeks, so it can only get better, right?

And by better I mean more fun.

I want to go bowling and ride my scooter...though not necessarily at the same time.

Well...that could be fun...if I could figure out how.


8 October 2009

Read the very bottom of the sign...

Obviously, they really want the patients to rat 'em out...


6 October 2009

About a month ago, the Spouse Thingy and I were at the base bowling alley, thoroughly embarrassing ourselves with the quality our skills have devolved to...and since we suck so much, why not buy new bowling shoes in which to further suck!

They did not have the ones I wanted, but they were willing to order them. And while I was whining about the comfort level of the hospital bed my ass was stuck in, the shoes came in.

They are very spiffy.

We picked them up yesterday, and promptly shoved them into the locker with our balls, because I won't be able to bowl until Hot Doctor says I can. And I won't see her until next week, so who knows when I'll actually be able to sling a 16 pound ball down the lane?

I have very little pain already, it's well managed with just Motrin, but there are a few twingy spots that tell me there's no way I'm bowling even one frame much less 10. But dammit, I have spiffy shoes! I need to wear them!

Life really is not fair.


5 October 2009

Man, I knew Bush could be a bit of a hard ass, but damn...

So glad he wasn't gunning for gall bladders last week...


3 October 2009

You know how on TV when surgeons butt-bump their way into the OR it's this gigantic room with spiffy tile walls and massive pieces of equipment that damn near beep in synchronicity?

Real life, not so much...

I was awake until I was in the OR and strapped down onto the table, and let me tell you, that was a major disappointment. They rolled me into a room that could have been a typical patient care room, but with a giant overhead light fixture and a way-too-narrow bed in the middle. No shiny, spiffy tile walls...just walls. No massive equipment taking up an entire wall, just an anesthesia machine--there may have been more but it wasn't THERE so I didn't see it.

They had me slide myself over to the tiny table--really! no one counted to three and then lifted me!--and then they strapped my legs down and then my arms out to each side. My last coherent thought was "holy hell...I'm being crucified."


We did not go to the base hospital because face it, retirees are low man on the medical hierarchy totem pole there*. Similar pain a few years ago had me sent home from the base ER with orders to follow up with my PCP within 48 hours...and that 48 hours turned into a month without seeing her, with another ER visit thrown in for good measure. They never did figure out what was wrong with me. I wanted to go to the civilian hospital, and that's where the Spouse Thingy took me.

I don't think he got the paperwork completely done before someone was taking me to the back, and as soon as they ruled out an MI they gave me an IV and pain meds. PAIN MEDS THAT WORKED! I totally love dilaudin (sp?) now. I didn't wait 3 hours just to see a doc, I saw him pretty freaking quick, and he took my pain seriously. Hell, everyone there did.

Instead of waiting a month for an abdominal ultrasound, I had one within an hour (or so...I may be fuzzy on actual time here. Drugs may play a part in that...) and was in surgery (and suffering crushing disappointment over the actual OR) by noon(ish.) From the time I hit my room until I was released, I had incredibly attentive care and didn't have to beg for pain medication. (And yes, they really do ask you repeatedly if you've farted yet...)

Gotta admit, Vacavalley hospital in Vacaville gets a big thumbs up from me.

Oh, and the at-home nursing care has been top notch, too. :)

*I don't blame the people working at the base hospital; I blame how terribly short staffed they are, and how crappily Tricare schedules appointments...after over a year trying to see my endocrinologist there, we had to get a civilian doc. The medical people care, the insurance grunts? Not. So. Much.


2 October 2009

Right now, we should be in Las Vegas, sipping stupid drinks and wandering around seieing what there is to see. I should be mentlly preparing to meet a potential client (sorry, T...) We should be looking forward to seeing Terry Fator tonight.

Instead, the Spouse Thingy carted me off to the ER between 5:30-6 a.m. on Wednesday, and by noonish a fairly hot (female, but hey I know hot when I see it) was poking holes in my belly to yank out a nasty looking (so I'm told, I did notsee it) gall baldder. So yesterday, the day we were supposed to leave, I lounged in bed enjoying dialudin (sp? no idea how it s spelled byt my typing sucks right now so I guess it doesn't matter0 and Vicodin, hile I ignored the water-based cream of wheat and pureed vegetble soup they tried to feed me.

They let me leave yesterday afternoom and I was modtly pa free when I left, but the ride hoem wiped me out and I made the mistake of trying to lie flat in bed when we got home, which was inatanseou OW, necessitating the Spouse THingy doping me up with Vicodin the rest of the day. Today is much better, only one dose of pain meds so far, so I expect tomorrow to be a whole lot better.

We'll shoot for Vegas again next yearm maybe in January or Febraury. Danm glad I bought trip insurance...we might lose out ona few hundred bucks but tyat's beter than $1500...


27 September 2009

Vegas, baby.

The timing, perhaps, could have been a little bit better—we’re missing our class reunion (bummer) and a killer cat blogger gathering in San Francisco to cheer on Jeter’s Mom as she does the Susan G. Komen 3 Day/60 mile walk for breast cancer (MAJOR bummer…I really wanted to go to this)—but we’re headed for Vegas on Thursday. I have a meeting with a potential Inkblot Books client, but we’re weaving a vacation around it because, HEY, it’s VEGAS!

The Boy is going to house and cat sit for us, which will thrill Max and Buddah because he’s bringing The World’s Bounciest Dog™, Butters. In the four days we’ll be gone the cats will either get over having a dog in the house, they’ll figure out how to dig their way out, or they’ll spend the entire time hiding under a bed. There will be a gate across the hallway to give them Butters-free space, but I suspect the Boy may not actually see them while we’re gone.

We’re not renting a car for this trip, so we’ll stick to the strip and do the typical tourist-trap things, but I know we’re not going to have enough time to do and see everything we want to…so truly, we’ll have to go back next year. Perhaps for the Boy’s birthday. Perhaps take him with us.

I wonder if Max and Buddah would like to play slots…


21 September 2009

This is so wrong on like 25 different levels, but the Boy showed it to me today and it made me laugh.

Not embedding the video, you'll understand why if you click through... but..

Hitler sings the theme song to The Jefferson's

I apologize in advance...


17 September 2009

On July 17, the Spouse Thingy and I decided enough was enough, we want to be thin and healthy and bendy again (especially bendy...very very bendy), and we joined Jenny Craig. The food was tasty, it did not inspire the vast amounts of fartitude that Nutrisystem did, and we've been quite happy with it. I've lost a smidge under 25 pounds, he's lost 20. I got kicked out of the Jenny Craig program. See, that's how badass I am--I broke Jenny Craig.

Spouse Thingy gets to stay. They like him.

In reality, I have issues with soy, and the JC food has soy in just about everything. Small amounts, to be sure, but with me it's like it builds up, I get to feeling not so good, take a few days off, and then I'm fine. This worried our JC consultant, who called one of the JC nutritionists, who boomed with a mighty voice KICK HER OUT. KICK HER OUT NOWWWWW!

Soy sensitivities are a no-no, as they don't want it to become a full blow allergy.

Apparently, Jenny Craig does not want to kill me. I take this to be a good thing.

On the plus side, since the Spouse Thingy will continue, they'll weigh my sorry ass every week regardless, and will help me figure out my diet if I have problems...but they're refunding my membership fee. many people get kicked out of Jenny Craig? Am I awesome, or what?


14 September 2009

It's no secret I like my Kindle ebook reader. This sucker is awesome and because of it I've discovered tons of independent writers I never otherwise would have. And more people are taking a chance on my writing and are buying my books in electronic format (could be because they're dirt cheap) and Amazon has been a bit of a springboard for me.

I've never formatted my stuff for other ereaders because of the lack of a good market for them, but Smashwords is partnering with Barnes & Noble, to offer ebooks in the BN Online store, so I jumped at it. Today was spent formatting my five of my books, and over the next week I'll get Max's books in order.

They don't know when the ebooks will begin appearing at B&N, but just that they will be soonish is pretty freaking cool.

And if you already have an eReader--Kindle, Sony, just want to read on your computer--you can buy books directly from Smashwords.

Mine are HERE.

If you don't have an eReader...holy carp, you need one!


13 September 2009

Rerun from Jan 2005, by request...

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm =or= The Wabbit Is Going To Hell =or= Religion 101 =or= Is She Smoking Crack Tonight? Is She Trying To Offend EVERYONE? And Why Is She So Long Winded?

Some people are so religious they stop being Christian, and I didn’t want to be one of those people.*

Thus, I quoteth myself.

And the quote sprangeth to mind during an IM conversation with Murf, aka Undr, aka the guy who seems to have forgotten that he has a blog. I-Forget-To-Blog-Murf does not understand why I don’t attend church; I remind him often(…ok, once in a while…maybe every 5 years) that I used to, but I came to understand that I did not share enough fundamental beliefs with the church with which I was associated (yeah, I think I mangled the grammar there) to be comfortable, so I stopped going. And there was that incident with the Relief Society Visiting Teacher who screeched into the phone at me, “I am responsible for your soul!” That kinda turned me off. As did the alcoholic Bishop’s wife (she was an alcoholic; I don’t know about him.) And the fact that I am too self absorbed to pass up the Sacrament (communion in most churches) when I know I have all these theological differences with the church as a whole, and I am not comfortable with accepting the sacrament when I feel that way (um, yeah…those of you who celebrate it as “sacrament” instead of “communion” and have a “relief society” and “visiting teachers” now know what religion the Wabbit walked away from so many years ago.)

I’m not going back, so if you’re so inclined, save your breath.

The conversations with Murf inevitably turn to two things: one, when you’ve realized that your religion is not the right religion for you, how do you pick a new one? No one teaches Pick A New Church 101. There is no list that says “if you believe this and this and this, get in line A. But if you don’t believe this, get in line B. If you believe everything in the first list AND you believe in the ordination of women and homosexuals, get in line C. If you qualify for line C but also have issues with the erosion of individual rights, form line D and register to vote.”

Two, with few exceptions (and those exceptions are bright lights and awesome people) the "Christians" I meet (that’s the key here…people I meet…that doesn’t mean I group ALL Christians together. I don’t…) are incredibly judgmental and don’t have room in their little worlds for others who don’t share their vision of what is Right and what is Wrong and what constitutes Moral Aberration. They expect everyone else to bend to their vision of a Moral America (or world) and condemn anyone else’s vision.

Here’s the thing. I find those people—-people who tout themselves as Christian but who don’t make room for anyone else’s credo—-to be very non-Christian. They (being ones I have mostly noticed) have entered into the realm of being so religious that they are no longer Christian, not really. They often wear WWJD bracelets and act as if they know what Jesus would do or say or think (“Tsk. Do you think Jesus would drink that wine?” Why, yes I do, considering what he once did to water. Thank you very much for asking.) They look at someone gay and screw up their noses as if having smelled something really bad, and mutter the word “queer,” absolutely sure “those people” are headed straight for hell. They espouse the sanctity of heterosexual marriage while refusing to acknowledge that as long as husbands are beating wives, people are getting married 4 and 5 and 6 times, Britney Spears can turn herself into the poster child for “it was just a joke,” straight people have pretty much blown the ideal of the sanctity of “straight” marriage right out of the water. And really, are you any less married if the two guys down the street enter into a legally binding marriage? Nobody said it had to be a religious marriage ceremony.

Murf is Catholic. He can’t imagine being anything but Catholic, and he can’t picture raising his kids any other way. I admire that. And we agree on so many things: it’s none of our business what the two guys down the street are doing, and it’s seems very wrong for the government to throw a wall up forbidding them to enjoy the rights the rest of us have simply by virtue of our hardwiring. We also agree that no church should ever be compelled to marry anyone, gay, straight, or indifferent. We both tend to think that, being made of God and by God, each and everyone, that there’s a purpose to our lives—-and nothing made of God and by God could ever be “queer.” We seem to be on the same page when we talk about the mixing of politics and religion, that they should not mix and that the politicians need to stop running on religious agendas and focus on the needs and wants of their entire constituency: a government of and by the People, not of and by the Church At Which The Congressman Has Membership. Neither of us is in favor of organized prayer in schools; we both believe that kids who want to pray should be allowed to.

He has many of the same conflicts of religion that I have, yet he’s entirely comfortable with his church. He attends Mass weekly. His best friend was a priest who walked away from it all, and he understands and agrees with the reasons, but there’s not much that can shake him away from his church.

I walked away from mine.

That isn’t the same as walking away from my faith. I did not do that; I carry it with me because it is mostly who I am. I don’t just believe in God. I don’t just believe in Christ. I know these things. And honestly, if you put my feet to the fire, I can’t tell you why I know these things. Unlike Murf, I didn’t grow up with the routine of church every Sunday. I didn’t go to Sunday School, didn’t have Bible study or catechism classes. It’s just in me.

But in spite of that, in spite of knowing what I believe and think and feel, and for the most part why (whether based on experience or naivety, I don’t know) I don’t have a clue how to go about choosing a church. I am wary of most of them for no other reason than the aforementioned “Christians.” I don’t ever want to be so religious that I stop being Christian. I don’t want to be one of “those” people.

Sound hypocritical?
Of course it is.
We’re all hypocrites of one form or another.

Faith is not a straight and narrow path, even when being “good” is associated with “being on the straight and narrow.” The pathway of Faith has twists and turns and odd side streets that take us places we might never imagine we’d go. It’s what makes life a journey…and I cannot imagine forcing anyone to walk the same path I am on, taking my journey instead of taking their own.

I don’t have to impinge on anyone else’s personal freedoms in order to embrace my own faith. I do think I have to respect his beliefs, even if I don’t agree with them.

I don’t have to take some square peg and bang him into my round hole. I do think I have to mold space around myself to make room for the things that don’t necessarily fit.

I don’t have to hold someone up to the light by which I find my way and deem him to be unworthy just because he doesn’t share my beliefs. I do think that if my way is truly the right way, leading by example is the best thing I can do.

I don’t think it is my place to hold judgment. Someone Else has that right and power.

I don’t think the purpose to life is to find happiness. I think it’s to develop righteousness. Those aren’t mutually exclusive of each other.

If I could find a church that has those things I deeply believe as its foundation, I’d probably be there. It would be the Church Of God Loves You—Period. Not “God Loves You As Long as You’re Hereto.” Not “God Loves You Unless You Cast A Legislative Vote Against Prayer In School.” Not “God Loves You, But If You Take A Drink, Light A Cigarette, Or Have Naught Naughty Sex, He Will Cast You Down To Hell.”

Technically, I could start my own church.
Technically, I am ordained.

There’s nothing technical about God, and faith, and finding in what one believes. Yet it all seems very technical when it comes to finding the right place to worship. I’d like to find that ideal church.

I’d like the sign out front to read just what I’d imagine the message to be.
God Loves YOU. Period.

*Finding Father Rabbit, page 23, if you haven’t read it, you really should buy a copy or 20...


11 September 2009

I waited all freaking day for the UPS guy to get here...he finally showed up at 7 p.m. with the proof copy of the book.

Proof copy of new book

Everything looks all right, now all I need to do is officially approve it, and it should go into distribution on Monday and be available for sale within a week or two (it already is for anyone with a Kindle...other eReaders may follow, not 100% sure about that.)


10 September 2009

Like millions of other Americans, I watched the President speak last night. And I wondered while watching how many other people are fed up with the way politicians turn every freaking Presidential speech into a damned three ringed circus. It's all posturing and pouting; they're either standing and cheering inappropriately or sitting there frowning with their arms crossed. Or yelling.

Cripes. Whatever happened to respect? It was wrong when Bush was President and the Democrats sat there pouting while Republicans cheered, and it's wrong now when everything is flipped around. It's disrespectful to make a spectacle of any sort when the President is speaking. Keep your ass in your seat, applaud quietly when appropriate and don't if you disagree, but learn a modicum of decorum, people. Watching last night, I was embarrassed all the way around.

And Congressman're a moron.


7 September 2009

THIS is what a very vocal few are getting their collective panties in a knot over, it's the text of why they're keeping their kids out of school tomorrow because if those kids hear the president speak, their little HEADS WILL EXPLODE and they will be INDOCTRINATED FOR LIFE by all this socialistic propaganda.

Am I the only person who sees the irony in keeping your kids home from school to avoid hearing a speech about staying in school???

Presidents speaking to kids is damn near tradition--it's something each and every one of them should do, I don't give a flip about their party affiliation--and so far I don't think it's ever caused a ten year old to implode right there in home room. And if you can't bear for your precious snowflake to have even a remote chance to be exposed to ideas different than your fail at parenting, truly you do.


6 September 2009

I don’t think I ever want to hear about rude Americans again. As a whole, we’re not, not really. If we’re in your country and we don’t grasp the cultural differences along with the language, that’s not rudeness. It’s a simple case of not knowing. Rudeness is borderline intentional.

Today I left the house without eating, which is always a mistake, and after lunchtime I wound up at Subway because it was the only nearby almost-healthy thing I could think of that wouldn’t require a long, long holiday-weekend wait. It was packed, every table taken and the line to order long, but the people working there seemed to be working pretty freaking fast, so I stayed. In line behind me was a German woman who kept pushing me forward, as if that was going to make the line move any faster or cause the people making the sandwiches to slap that meat on the bread with lightning speed.

I didn’t say anything, because I doubted she would understand me—she was speaking to her companion in German and I hadn’t heard anything resembling English out of either one of them—and it didn’t see worth getting bent over. It didn’t take terribly long to get to the counter and place my order, and once my sandwich had been started the girl there asked the women behind me “What bread?”

She was answered by the German version of “Huh?” And this was repeated three times. I used to speak passable German; I can barely count to ten now, but I reached into the depths and pulled out “Was brot?” as I pointed to the selection listed on the counter case. She pointed to Herb Cheese, I told the girl herb cheese. When she couldn’t answer to “what size?” I asked her “sechs oder zw√∂lf?” and she got it. Six inches.

She wanted a club, which was only ascertained by lots of pointing and gesturing toward the menu board. The line kept moving down the counter, and she kept pushing my ass along, bumping me into the stroller that was wedged between me and the guy ahead. I bumfrak translated the entire way for her, enduring the shoving that was getting us nowhere, and after I paid for my turkey and ham I walked away to the push-free safety of a lone single-person table that had opened up.

I was pissed off. All it would have taken was a simple “danke,” for my efforts, as bumbling as they were, but I got the distinct impression this woman felt entitled to not only try to move the line fast but to my help as well.

So yeah, forget about the rude American. There are rude people everywhere.

6 September 2009

Friday I uploaded the final manuscript to the printer...and after I did so I discovered that where they used to prefer cover images in .TIF format, they now prefer them in .PDF, so there's a chance I might get the cover kicked back to convert. None of my software will do a reasonable conversion, which tells me it's time to update my apparently ancient publishing software, which dates back to an archaic 2004 (2001 for the text layout's eligible for the AARP by now.)

Yesterday I formatted the book for sale on Amazon's Kindle eBook reader. This is not a complicated process, but I managed to invert two letters in the code for a page break, which kind of makes it useless. That turned what should have been a 90 minute job into about 6 hours of hunting for the elusive typos in a wicked long page of HTML.

I are smart, I are.

Now, I wait. I'll either get a proof copy of the print book within a week or so or I'll get email saying "Hey, you screwed up the cover, it has to be a PDF." And I have to wait for Amazon to "approve" my book, because they're now very leery of independent writers, thanks to the dregs who have been uploading bootleg copies of other peoples' work and trying to sell it as their own.

Thanks for that, you greedy bastards.

(The jerks trying to sell other peoples' books, not Amazon...I get why Amazon is doing this now.)


2 September 2009

OK, so most of you know the Spouse Thingy spent 20 years in the USAF, right? And when he went in it was with the promise that if he gutted it out for 20, he'd get free medical care for life.

Yeah, that didn't happen. Somewhere along the way someone decided that it was all right to renege on contractual promises made to active duty military members...and now we pay for the honor of being on the lowest rung of the military medical ladder.

Possible bleeding ulcer? We can get you in to see your doc in about 6 weeks. You had excruciating abdominal pain that went away after 5 hours? And this happened more than once? Well, don't go to the ER, you know the pain will eventually go away. We'll see you in a month.

That's not an exaggeration, BTW.

Being on that lowest ladder rung is why we now have a civilian doctor; I have medical issues, I need to see an endocrinologist a few times a year. There are medications I need. And face it, we're getting older, chances are high that our annual visits to our totally awesome civilian doctor will increase.

Now, the Spouse Thingy has been on a medication for a number of years. And over the years it has ceased to work the way it's supposed to, so today Spiffy Civilian Doc changed it to something else, something that will work better for him. He knows it will work better because he was on it before being on the other medication...which TriCare (military medical) decided was the equivalent to the med today's doc took him off of. It obviously was not.

TriCare, in its infinite wisdom, refused to pay for the new-but-he-used-to-take-it medication because the other one is, as far as they're concerned, just as good.

No. No it is not.

It did not work.

It may work in other people, but it failed as far as the Spouse Thingy is concerned. It doesn't matter that his doctor wants him to make the switch because he needs something different...Tricare has decided they know better than the doctor and patient.

Now, we have other insurance. We're fortunate in this. If we had to pay it out of pocket it would be $110 a month for the one medication; we only had to manage the co-pay.

WTH are military members and retirees who have no other insurance supposed to do when some clerk in an office somewhere decides they know more than the patient's doctor? Active duty military don't take home the world's most generous paychecks. Retiree pay is half that of active duty.

This is what you get when you give two decades of your life to service to your country, boys and girls... If you hear the theme to Deliverance while trying to fill a prescription, now you know why...


1 September 2009

The Spouse Thingy and I used to bowl a lot. We bowled league, we bowled for fun...bowling on base was cheap fun and we weren't half bad at it. We both averaged about 160 and both have had several games well over 250. But, when my back started getting really bad, we stopped bowling often, and once we left Ohio, we didn't bowl at all.

Until today. We wanted something to do that didn't involve housework (though he did get out there and mow the lawn today) or going to the gym...we headed out thinking we'd go play miniature golf but he had the thought that we should try bowling again sometime. Neither of us was sure how my back would hold up, but hell, why not do that instead?

This was our first game... Granted, we didn't have our own equipment and were wearing ill-fitting house shoes and using non-fitted house balls that were not urethane and not drilled for fingertip bowling, but still. This was a massive pile of suck.

It was still fun. We may dig around in the garage and see if our balls are still usable and if our shoes can still be worn without sticking to the lane.

But I think we'll go out to the base. $3.50 a game at the bowling alley in town was way too much...


31 August 2009

I can fit over 20 grapes in my mouth.
Oddly, the Spouse Thingy is not as impressed with this feat as I am...


30 August 2009

The Spouse Thingy is reading my manuscript, looking for typos and stray words that seem to appear out of nowhere—remnants of the original draft that just didn’t get backspaced over during rewrites—and he’s handing the pages over a few at a time. This is the last step before the manuscript goes to layout; the cover is almost ready and the back cover copy is done (fingers crossed that other-author blurbs will fit on it!)

This afternoon I took my trusty netbook and 50 of these proofed pages over to Border’s where I intended to make corrections to the digital version and people watch. But I got there and realized with a well dammit--and after I had already bought my iced tea—that I (again) left the flash drive with the manuscript on it at home.

I figured what the hell, I’ll sit down anyway and flip through a magazine, watch the people come and go. Now, I wasn’t reading garbage, I was looking at an issue of Scientific American Mind (not that I’m cerebral; there’s an article in it about how working out can make you smarter, and I need all the incentive I can get to push my ass to the gym). This grimy looking guy in dirty jeans and holey t-shirt walked by, looked at me with a sneer and muttered “white trash” and then walked away.


I was totally not wearing my white trash clothes today. I have no idea where he was coming from. Still, if reading something so brainy was going to get me sneered at, I figured I might as well put the magazine away (no worries, I paid for it) and pull out my Kindle to read for a bit before heading home to avoid housework.

No one sneered at me for reading on it, even though Border’s sells the Sony Reader.

One of the things I’m seriously enjoying about the Kindle is the sheer volume of books available that have been written by independent authors. These books are typically very inexpensive (and often self-published), but most of the ones I’m buying are very well written. Right now I’m reading an epistolary memoir, Learn Me Good, and I laughed out loud so often that people started to glare at me.

Hey, if they can sit there and carry on conversations on their cell phones, I can laugh out loud.

Or at least snicker.

Damn, that just made me want a candy bar...


29 August 2009


I am trying, through a cloud of fatigue, to remember what particular law of physics it is that says that any given smoke detector on any given day will need its battery changed at 4:15 in the freaking morning.

I would like to know this law so that I can find the person who declared it so, and shove hot peppers up his nose.



28 August 2009

I love cinnamon gum. Cinnamon gum does not love me back. I know this, yet every once in a while I cave into the love of it and buy a pack, thinking that surely one piece will be all right. I’ll just put the rest in my desk drawer, and a week from now I can chew another piece.

One piece. My freaking tongue is now on fire. One piece of cinnamon gum and I burned my damned tongue, and now brushing my teeth hurts like a mother, and if I eat anything hot… It.Will.Hurt.

What sucks the most is that when I had the pack of gum in my hand at the checkout the Spouse Thingy asked if I really wanted to do that. “You know what will happen.”

One damned piece.

I freaking hate it when he’s right.



23 August 2009

I mentioned in a writer's area of a book forum, in an off-handed sort of way, that I was pretty much done with my current manuscript and was at the waiting point...wait for someone with proof it, wait for a final layout so that I would know how many pages and therefore how wide the spine needs to be, wait for a print-proof copy....lots of waiting.

Within an hour I had a couple of requests...since you're not busy with anything else--I didn't exactly say that, but I see how it can be inferred--would you take a look at the thing I'm working on?

Since these are writers who can, presumably, take some criticism, I said yes. And I didn't regret it; the stories were very good and sucked me in from the first line. It's always good to grab a reader right from the start. These writers are also very new to the game and while they can weave a mean tale, they're also making some very common new-writer (and old writer) mistakes.

Out of ten things I'm asked to read, I wind up giving the same advice to nine of the writers:

  • go back and edit out 98% of the adverbs1... 'she said sadly;' 'he laughed quietly;' 'she said gently.' That was one of the biggest things I took away from Stephen King's book On Writing. Kill the adverbs. If you've written the story well enough, those are implied. Your reader should know the character well enough to understand how they are speaking or sighing or laughing. When you're plowing through the first draft, use them liberally; they help you maintain the tone of your work, but then go back and pick most of them out. They really are verbal fluff.

  • Don't use the word literally unless something actually happens. "His head literally exploded!" Unless your character is scraping bits and pieces of someone's brain off the wall, his head did not actually explode. "My heart literally swelled three sizes." No...well, maybe, but you better see a cardiologist. We all tend to say "literally" when it would be more apt to say "figuratively" but that doesn't have the same ring to it. So scrap them both unless something literally happens, and even then think twice, and then think again.

  • I let my eyes roam around the room. No. No you did not...unless you literally popped them out of your head, fit them with tiny red sneakers, and set them free, your eyes did not roam anywhere.You looked around the room. Just be wary of dead metaphors and literary cliches.

  • Slice the word "just" as much as possible. It's as overused as the adverb; sometimes you just can't help it, but really, cut it.

  • Recognize that you are going to do all of these, repeatedly. Be willing to edit them out. Be willing to edit even the things you find hysterically funny, the characters you've fallen in love with, the prose that feels Pulitzer-prize worthy; if it doesn't add to the story or move it forward...edit.

The tenth writer? I don't make it past the first few lines. If you show me something written in old AOL-kiddie speak or something that looks like it was written as one giant text message, I'm going to shove it aside.

None of this applies to blogs...unless you're a professional blogger, and even's a blog. Who cares if the grammar, punctuation, and word usage aren't perfect?

1Basically, taking and adjective and adding -ly to it to form a verb
2Um. There is no 2. There should be, but there's not. I just like using the sup tag...


19 August 2009

I'm not sure what the lead time on publication will be; there are still some edits to be made and I need an extra set of fresh eyes to proof read (for some reason the editor doesn't seem to think that's her job. Sheesh. I'd give her cookies in exchange)((The Spouse Thingy might do it for something less edible [or more, it depends] but I haven't asked)) but we do have a front cover:

Click to biggify

In other book related news, It's Not About The Cookies got a 5 star review this week, which made me 3 kinds of happy.

I just might have to keep writing.


16 August 2009

Holy carp. Listen to this kid play! She's 9 year old and this piece, El Colibri, is hard enough for near-guitar masters to play...

I feel so inadequate now...


15 August 2009

Ya know it really doesn't do a whole lot of good to take the netbook to Border's with the intent of working, but not take the flash drive upon which the manuscript is saved...


12 August 2009

July 22nd trip to the ER: $50

Co-pay to get Spouse Thingy's blood work reveling a cholesterol of only 187: $15

Getting a stress test and having it perfectly normal: well, it was also $15 but I'd mostly put that at priceless.

We're now 99.9% sure that what sent him to the ER with cardiac symptoms on the 22nd was a reaction to Niacin (thank you mlah for putting us on the right path there...) and he's since stopped taking it. It was a royal scare but in the end it's given me some peace of mind because now I know that the Spouse Thingy's heart is working just like it should be, and I know his cholesterol is in a really good place.

This is major for me, because I always have that little thing in the back of my head reminding me that he has a strong family history of heart disease...he rubs his chest oddly because he has heart burn, and I get worried. He feels out of sorts, and I get worried. He falls asleep on the couch and snores...mostly I get irritated, but when he stops snoring, I get worried. At least now I know his heart is in reasonably good shape, and I can let my DON'T YOU DARE FREAKING DIE ON ME OR I WILL SLATHER YOUR JUNK WITH BEN GAY voice fade to a bit of a whisper.

'Cause, seriously, as much fun as I poke at Murf for the way he gushes about his wife, I'd be just as broken if something happened to the Spouse Thingy. I need his heart to keep beating for another, I dunno, 40 or 50 years. And even then if he dies before I do I will totally kick his ass.

And hey, that means we're both normal. Sweet.


11 August 2009

Every few months my endocrinologist likes to take a look at my blood; it's just routine, and other than finding out a few months ago that I am significantly Vitamin D deficient, it's always normal.

Well, normal with the help of multiple medications, but hey, I have medical proof of my normalcy.

I had an appointment at 2 pm today and we headed out in time to get there ten minutes early, because that's what you do. You get there early because there's always a slim chance of begin seen early. We walked in, the Spouse Thingy sat down to read while I checked in...and I was told my doc is no longer at that office.

Excuse me?

Nope, she's now at the Woodland office.

Twenty minutes away.

It would have been nice if that information had been relayed when the appointment was made. I was not a happy Wabbit as I drove to the new office; by the time we got there and checked in, not only would I be at least 10 minutes late but I had figured on being completely done by then.

But, I didn't have to wait long once I was there.

And again, I am normal.

Shuddup. I have proof. I go back in 4 months, because hey, why not enjoy getting reams of blood sucked out of me, even though we all know it'll be the same thing all over again. Minus the doctor moving on me...


10 August 2009

Overheard in Border's yesterday:

  • Semi-colons should just die!
  • That's the biggest thing I've ever put in my mouth.
  • Seriously, if a senior tells you tomorrow is dress-up day, don't do it.* It's just a punk.
  • She smelled like cheese, but that's okay. I like cheese.

*Made me laugh out loud, because I was totally guilty of doing something like this in 8th grade. He still hasn't forgiven me...


8 August 2009

"The manuscript," Editor Tracy says, "is not too long. Normally I would prefer to see books of this genre in the 115-125K range, but fans of the series will appreciate the length."


Granted, she did go on to say that there are a few spots that need work, but I knew that already. She confirmed the necessity in cutting 1200-1500 words that had already been suggested as trim-able from someone else and pointed out a few places I need to tighten.

So...I can get back to work.

While I've not been working, I've been terribly blog-blocked again, so mostly all I've done for the past two weeks is play online, poke around on Facebook, and drool.

I've got the drooling thing down to a fine art.

You'd think with all the not-working time I've had that the house would be spotless, but really, that would only cut into my playing online time, and we can't have that.


29 July 2009

This is inappropriately funny and will offend have been warned.

Look for the outtakes, too.


28 July 2009 really sucks when one of your favorite blogs goes invite-only and you're not one of the invitees...


26 July 2009

Want a hot tub?

Want a pool?

I do.

In fact, I think I want this. A pool and spa all in one. You can soak in one end, and swim--with swim restraints--in the other. Two different temperatures even!

And it's only $37,000.

That's so spiffy, I think I'll buy two...


24 July 2009

148000 words
148,000 words -- hence the term "Dead Tree Book"

On the first pass I trimmed it from 175,000 words to 150,000.
On the second pass, I only managed to cut another 2,000 words.

Thusly does today mark the start of

I'm going adverb hunting today...I've cut a huge chunk of unnecessary adverbs in dialog attributions--she said quietly, he said menacingly--but I'm sure there are tons within the narrative. The thing with adverbs is that they help when writing, they're not so wonderful for the reader. Being able to write concisely without overusing adverbs is one of my weaknesses, but I'm working on it.

This isn't another attempt at trimming the word count--which it will do to s point--but rather an attempt to tighten it up before handing it over to the editor, who is MEAN and likes to MAKE ME CRY. When all is said and done she'll either find 13,000 things wrong with it and tell me where I can cut 30,000 words, or it will wind up being a longer than average book.

Sometimes it takes a little longer than normal to tell a story. As long as it doesn't turn out to be a wonder cure for insomnia, long is okay.

Back to work...after lunch and perhaps a scooter ride to Walmart for cauliflower and cottage cheese. And maybe after I do the dishes. And the laundry.

But I'll get right to it ASAP!


23 July 2009

The doctor seems pretty sure that whatever the Spouse Thingy's problem was yesterday, it was not a heart attack. Nothing involving the heart. He had the Spouse Thingy perform several cute tricks that made me wish I had a hidden camera (checking, I assume, for signs of a stroke) and her performed them all quite aptly.

So, what he might have had:

  • a virus
  • bad gas
  • a Drama Queen moment
  • bad ass moment from calorie restriction

Based on family history, though, Super Doc is still sending the Spouse Thingy to get a stress test and is going to draw blood to check his cholesterol and blood sugar (could not do it today as he'd eaten breakfast before we left.)

In short...he's fine. But keeping an eye on his heart is always a good idea, given how his father died.

Today's OH MY GOD moment: discovering our satellite TV was out. Because truly, without it, we would have to talk to each other. I mnea, really... The horror of that coupled with DirecTV not being able to send someone out until Tuesday to fix it spurred the Spouse Thingy into fixing it himself. Because to each other? Really?


22 July 2009

It's blue!This little car?
It's Toyota Yaris.
Great gas mileage, roughly 35-40 mpg.
Today, I discovered I can easily do 85 in it.

I discovered this because around 10:30 the Spouse Thingy wandered into my office area, looking not-so-hot and said he didn't feel so hot. He was dizzy, nauseous, and his heart rate had dropped to about 54.

This made my Wabbit hairs stand on end. Because in the Thumper household, those are scary symptoms based on a strong Spouse Thingy Family History of Unhappy Hearts.

Thusly was he given two choices: I either take him to the ER or call 911. (Yes, I should have called 911 without asking, but he's a nurse and was a cardiac nurse for many years, I trusted him to make the decision.)

I kept it at about 70ish for the first part of the ride, but we just weren't getting there as fast as I would like, and being a True California Driver now, I punched it and lane drifted (he may have mentioned then that his left arm was feeling a bit tingly). We made the fifteen minute ride in, gosh, fourteen minutes. We got into the ER, I butted in line because HOLY HELL I THINK HE'S HAVING A HEART ATTACK SO LOOK AT HIM! LOOK AT HIM RIGHT NOW!!! (ok, I was quieter and said, "Excuse me, my husband might be having a heart attack," which worked just as well) and they took him right back (while I did paperwork. Yay.)

While I signed our financial future away (or maybe yours, since a combination of insurance and Uncle Sam will likely pay for this) they gave him an EKG.

It was fine.

They drew blood.

It was fine.

Another EKG.

It was fine.

After two hours there (and the Boy showing up, because, =surprise= a voice mail from your mom saying OH MY GOD HE'S IN THE ER HAVING A HEART ATTACK [or maybe it was just um, I took him to the ER and they're ruling it out] tends to spur children into cars and towards the suffering parental unit) the Spouse Thingy was feeling much better. No longer dizzy or nauseated and his arm was not tingly. His heart rate was still low, however. Could have been anything. He's been dieting and cut calories nearly in half, might be that. Gas maybe? We don't know yet.

Long and short...they cleared him. He did not have a heart attack. REPEAT: HE DID NOT HAVE A HEART ATTACK. He does, however, have an appointment tomorrow with our family doc for followup and he strongly suspects he will wind up on a treadmill with sticky thingies all over him while they try to stress him out.

I can help. If they want him stressed I will stand there with Ben Gay and threaten to shove it in his shorts if he doesn't run... I'd be happy to do that, because I love him.



19 July 2009

It's no secret...Max likes my boobs. Every morning while waiting for me to wake up, he curls up on top of me, and you can guess what he uses for a pillow. He would definitely miss them if they were gone.

Now, Max has a blog friend, Jeter Harris, and Jeter's mom is doing the Susan G. Komen 60 mile walk in October. And Max, being a total boob guy, would like to help raise money for her worthy endeavor.

To that end, he's offering this:

an Aspire Aspire One 8.9" netbook; for every $5 donated, you get a shot at winning it. I've loaded MS Office 2007 on it (fully functional...I chewed up a license to make it work) and has Zone Alarm loaded. It even has a spiffy skin on it!

Visit Max's blog to donate and get a chance at winning it...details are in his July 19 entry, and there's a donate button in his right sidebar.


14 July 2009

I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting at the eye doctor today, but apparently it was something along the lines of Surprise! Your eyes have gotten younger! because I was certainly disappointed with the news that I still need bifocals...


12 July 2009

Over heard in the Border's bookstore coffee shop: I told him, well you got so fat that your pecker is half the size it used to be. Yeah, there's no coming back from that.

No, I don't imagine there is...

Lady #1: All I could think about was how slimy it was going to be in my mouth. I just couldn't do it.

Lady#2: I don't like okra either.

That was so not where I thought they were going...

If you don't eat that cake, you are not getting shrimp later.

Good, because I didn't want any.


11 July 2009

Reason # 327 That I Love Spunky Old People

Every other week or so I see the same older couple wander into the Border's bookstore coffee shop. And every time he asks his wife the same thing: "Do they have scones today, Momma?" and every time she sighs and tells him yes; go sit down and I'll get you one.

He takes his coffee with extra cream; I know this because he invariably picks a table as far from the counter as possible and then finds it necessary to remind her as she's placing their order.

Today I was at a small table near the counter because a group of inconsiderate people took the larger table I usually work from. Really. How very rude. As if they didn't know I would be there, wanting to spread my papers out.

I made do with the smaller table and was proofing the chapter I had red-lined last night. After he asked about the scone, I heard her ask him very quietly, "What is she always working on?"

I did not clue in to whom she was referring until I felt him standing behind me, reading over my shoulder.

"She's writing smut, Momma!"

What was on the screen of my netbook?

My soul cracked open and spilled out onto the floor in a giant puddle of embarrassed Oh Hell No.

And I waited for the certain Tsk of derision.

Instead, from behind me came a small voice. "Can I read it?"

I did not get a refill on my tea today; I waited a few minutes and as they sat down to their coffee and scones I packed my things and left, feeling just a little bit dirty but trying hard to not laugh my ass off.

I did not know I was writing smut. Here I thought it was chick porn...