Archive for December, 2008

But not all fun and games in the Just another day’s household. Christmas night, D4 woke up and quite literally lost her cookies. the next day, she alternated between sleeping and losing everything in her stomach. That night my stomach started bothering me and sure enough, by morning I had the bug too. Last night both D3 and D2 were sick (I hate carpet, I really do) and OB is at a friend’s house… hopefully their carpet fared better than mind did. The good news? D4 seems better except for prolonged neediness and this morning I woke up hungry and wanting a cup of coffee, so whatever this is, it’s short-lived and even with the forced downtime, I wrote over 2000 words on the 26th, hand wrote another 1000 yesterday and made it to the computer for another 800. My editing suffered though, only 50 pages in two days.

The holiday itself was nice. I made red velvet cake for the first time from a good friend’s recipe. I’m in love. It will now be a new Christmas tradition… and Valentines day too if I can swing it. If you tasted the frosting, you’d know why one should eat it as often as one can (within a healthy balanced diet of course : )  Come on, I’m still a mom.)

My sister and I cooked dinner for everyone at my Grandma’s house. There were plenty of presents for everyone. The children seemed contented; Grandma happy–which is the most important thing. D2’s feelings were a little hurt because she’d suddenly remembered, after having seen them, that her cousins forgot her birthday. But this was a minor hiccup. We drew names for the first time… well since my grandparents left Utah and the extended family there. We’ve grown a bit, thanks to my mom and then me. : ) The children weren’t involved in the drawing of names of course, just the kids and grand kids who are all grown up.  We excluded Grandma from the one present rule because we knew she’d buy for everybody no matter what. There were a few snags. Some people still wanted to buy presents for family members whose names they did not draw. (Guilty but I gave it to her before Christmas so it doesn’t count) There was also a rather interesting ballet of gift buying. My aunt and I did grandma’s shopping, one of my sister’s did my mom’s, then I had to have my mom buy the present for the family member I drew… I could go on but you get the idea. On Christmas day, some people ended up withone gift and others with 2 or even three and toward the end of the passing out of the presents ceremony, my sister and I realized one person didn’t have anything. You see, one family member–who drew names at Thanksgiving with us– always travels in from out of state and couldn’t make it this year and neither had her presents. It was a mad dash looking through the house for something appropriate then getting it wrapped and bringing it in. Luckily it WAS too big to fit under the tree so it didn’t seem so suspicious. Gift recipient loved it. Truth be told we all loved and coveted the thing. All’s well that ends well?

I woke up this morning even before I gave into the renewed urge for coffee to see if erstwhile prospective agent responded reguarding the partial she requested. Nope. I’m starting to question my decision to let go a mediocre agent and turn down another who I felt, and others agreed, smelled a little fishy. My brave, courageous announcement that no agent is better than a poor agent is starting to echo into arrogance and stupidity. Even factoring the holidays, she should have responded one way or another by now. But as I said in a previous rant, I will not go back and rewrite the same manuscript for the 1000th time to see if I changed a nuance here and a detail there, this time it will catch an agent’s eye.

Forging ahead with the new manuscript. Self imposed due date for this draft is January 31.

So I better get writing.

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A nice Christmas eve gift

 Thanks Susan. Ok, rules for this meme/award are to list five addictions (easy!) and pass it on to five fabulous bloggers (mmm not so easy for me since I just started this blogging thing and of the readers that I know of, one sent it, I’ll send it to the other and the rest don’t have blogs. So I’ll do what I can :)) Oddly enough, my last blog was about one of my addictions. So here, in no particular order, are my addictions, a few anyway.

1. Caffeine.This is a lifelong addiction and I mean lifelong. My mom put coffee and milk in my baby bottle, she’d read it would calm me down. That I wasn’t a particularly active child is another issue all together. I drank it black for years until my doctor diagnosed me with a ‘pre ulcerous stomach’ meaning after my morning coffee, I’d suffer stabbing pains. To compensate, I now drink it with milk and I always eat something first. Yeah, I know, that’s pretty bad. But life without coffee is something my brain refuses to contemplate.

2. Reading. I use my library card more than my credit cards, really. In fact, after having lost my ATM card and having to use my credit card quite a bit the last month, the company keeps calling me to confirm I’m the one actually using it. If I do not have a book to read, something like panic descends. I have books that are very much like old friends. At restaurants waiting for my order, I’ve been known to read the ketchup bottle, the little advertisements at the edge of the table and the mixed drink menu.– kinda shows you what kind of restaurants I frequent, no? When I was in junior high, I used to walk home from school while reading. I’d mapped the route and knew when to look up. Now that I think about it, I’m lucky I didn’t fall and break my nose. I read the Chronicles of Narnia in 7 days when I was 11, snuck into my uncles room to ‘borrow’ his Tolkien books and my idea of a perfect day was a clean room and a good book. Yeah, my mom worried about me.

3. Writing. Tied to my love of reading like a soul mate. My first attempt at writing, must have been about 10, was a sequel to Gone with the Wind. I just could not stand the way it ended. I mean come on! Rhett, Scarlett loves you, she really does now! I still think my sequel was better than the one they made into a movie. I wrote scripts for my sister’s barbies to act out because I was too old to play with them. My first serious attempt at a manuscript was written in a spiral binder in pencil when I was about 18. It was a Star Trek novel. In 1990, I owned every single Star Trek book in print. I’m still a Trekker. At the time, I didn’t even know what Fan-fiction was but oh I had a crush on Spock. It was a love story. I still remember parts of it and damn I wish I knew where that binder ended up. Now I write to stay sane. Honest. It’s a peculiar kind of addiction. I get to listen to the voices inside my head.

4. Chocolate/baking. In my mind, the two are often synomous. Though I have given chocolate one up from time to time, we go way back. Now, I confine my chocolate addiction to dark chocolate (mostly) and excellent chocolate. What’s the good of eating cheap chocolate? Chocolate has been there for me through teenage breakups (m&m’s are the best for that) through a divorce(the hard stuff, pure dark chocolate bars). Hot chocolate on the first rainy day of the year is a tradition my children remind me of every time a raincloud appears in October.  I believe in alchemy, it’s called baking. How else could eggs flour and sugar turn into something that smells so divine and tastes better? Once D4 asked me how baked my chocolate chip cookies. I told her it was magic and I half believe it because baking is more than the sum of its parts, you know? It does something to the soul and the soul does something to whatever you’re making.

5 Internet. There was a time when I didn’t know what the Internet was. That was a long time ago. And now, having a SO who lives half way around the world, the Internet is a necessary addiction. I turn the computer on as soon as I wake up, even before I get my coffee. I check my email religiously( you never know when an agent will come to their senses and say, hey, lets work together) I keep in touch with friends, some of my dearest who have affected my life the most I met online. I also myspace. Yes, I do those surveys. They are soothing in an odd kind of way, especially when life swirls a little too fast for comfort.

So there are my addictions. I’ll be sending the link to 5 wonderful bloggers.

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I don’t make resolutions. My theory has always been if you’re going to do it, just do it and don’t say you’re going to. But I thought perhaps if I put my goal out here, it would help me to reach it. Nothing like a little pressure to keep you going. So here it is: I’m planning to finish this draft by the end of January. It means I’m going to have to write 2000 word a day, but that’s not undo-able, you know?

I’ve also started editing one of SO’s manuscripts, with another in the wings. That will add to the pressure. To reach my editing goal (and dangle the manuscript under the editors noses in time to fulfill SO’s contract ) I’m needing to edit 50 pages a day. Because of the strange way my brain works, adding the editing to my writing has actually inspired me to write more instead of despairing about having too much to do. Perhaps I work best under pressure, I don’t know. I do know, I’ve written 1500 words today so far and made notes for the next 10 chapters and I’ve edited 40 pages. So what am I doing here? I’m taking a short break. And of course what to do while taking a break from writing? Why write on your blog of course. It’s an incurable addiction, really it is.

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All in all, not bad.

For the last few days, I’ve been managing 1000-1500 words per day. I know, not much but considering I was at 0-500 not too long ago, I’ll take it. And there is something there, but then you’ve heard that before. I can feel the wheel picking up momentum and it’s a damn nice feeling.

Went on a wild goose chase for K’nex motorized madness ball machine. Thought OB would like it, and he would, only I missed the sale and 29.99 was now 59.99 and well, it just wasn’t worth 60$ OB will not be without presents.

Steaks are marinating, the house is loud, slightly askew and busy. In other words: normal for a Sunday with the kids. Oh yes and my 49ers WON! woo hoo. Now maybe I have time for a game of solitaire before I have to be responsible again.

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Well, another day closer

to Christmas. Technically, I have all my shopping done, presents wrapped, cookies baked and Christmas ducks in a row. Except someone came by today with an unexpected Christmas present so I gave her one of the tins I’d put together for my neighbors and now I’m one tin short. Bake more cookies? Buy another tin? Admittedly these are small problems in the scheme of things but remember when Christmas was all about fun? The delicious waiting? Stress? What is that? The day just couldn’t come fast enough. Now it speeds forward like a freight train dragging behind all sorts of unrealistic expectations (mostly mine) guilt and oh yes, lets not forget, stress.

Today I took the time to watch the Nativity Story. A very well made movie by the way and yes, I cried. Not just because  of my faith, although that had something to do with it, but because of the hope this season represents for a lot of people. Hope for change, hope for dreams fulfilled, hope for a new life, Hope, it’s a wonderful thing and life would really suck without it. So I wish, for all of you this Christmas and throughout the New Year, hope.

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Today was full

of what a good friend of mine calls ‘kitchen zen’. In other words: Cookies! 2 dozen.. er interesting Gingerbread men are sitting on my counter along with 7 dozen sugar and 2 dozen lemon (minus one… couldn’t help myself). But my kitchen smells divine, even with the added smell of Shepard’s pie from dinner mixed in. I’ll have to run to the store tomorrow before I can finish but looking forward to making cookies isn’t a bad thing. Cookies are good, cookies are fun, it is my firm belief  that cookies are therapeutic. Coffee and cookies? Ambrosia.

I also made my first real head way on the new book. Yippee! Less than a thousand words today but strung together in such a way that I thought, you know, there is something here… magic.

As soon as the children finish their chores, we’ll decorate the sugar cookies and pack them away. If anyone is listening, I really could use a container large enough to hold 10 dozen or so cookies. Right now I have cookies sheets all over the kitchen… oh the horror. : )

Duty calls. OB popped D4’s balloon and “it will never be the same again.” I swear, that’s what she said.

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It sucks

Really it does having to listen to your kids tell you over and over again horrible ugly things your ex has said about you to them. D2 came home crying from her birthday dinner with her dad. D3 immediately whispered, “Dad was saying lots of mean things about you like,” here she lowered her voice even more. “like you have a mask.” I interrupted her here by smiling and miming taking off a mask, then whispering, “do I?” She laughed and all was good. BUT IT”S NOT!! I mean god damn him, what the hell is he thinking? It was D2’s birthday and he has to sit and tell her what a horrible mother she has? I am angry but it’s a hopeless kind of anger. There is not a god damn thing I can do. Yes, take him to court and watch the California courts give him mandatory parenting or anger management classes? He’s already had those.

I am not claiming to be perfect but you know, I’m a damn good mother and he’s run out of things to say except vague derogatory remarks like, your mom wears a mask.. oh yeah and he told his wife that it was my fault he cheated on her because ‘I made him the man he is today.’ that’s paraphrased, I don’t memorize that kind of shit.

This is a man who hasn’t paid court ordered child support in years. When he pays, he pays what he wants, when he wants to. Who when I asked him about health ins (which he is suppose to provide) said, well that’s your problem, isn’t it? And who has bad mouthed me every opportunity he’s had for 5 years to his CHILDREN. Who has cheated on his wife since the day they married, I know because he propositioned me! Who told his wife he was taking the kids out to dinner then called me to say he couldn’t pick them up so he could go out on a date. It takes every ounce of discipline I have not to tell them that their father is a fucking selfish prick but I do, and He is! Don’t worry, they don’t read this.  I don’t give a damn what he thinks about me, really I don’t, but he’s hurting the kids.

I’m sorry, this is neither inspirational or enlightening or even entertaining but really, I don’t know how to protect them and that hurts more than anything in the world. But you know, maybe he’s right, because I’m going to go out there now and smile and get them ready for school, watch Heroes with Eryn (our Monday night ritual) and they won’t know how impotent and sad I feel that I can’t make things better for them.

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Well, I finished

the last Harry Potter book. *sigh*.  It’s been a busy couple of days. D4 has been on hyperactive overdrive.  I finally met the second Mrs. K; she is a very nice but sad lady. It brought back a lot of memories, none of them good. Watched my niners lose this morning with D1 and now, now I really need a nap. I hope I’m not coming down with something. But first, maybe I’ll write a bit.

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I began to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yesterday with conflicted feelings. I’m eager read it, no I can’t put it down, but it’s the last book so I want the experience to last.

Some of you may know, I haven’t always been a fan of Rowling. Not because I didn’t like her writing, I hadn’t read any… it’s rather stupid actually. Way back when (right after Sorcerer’s Stone) I was involved with a writing group and just developing my style (that’s a nice way of saying I was just learning the craft of writing, not just putting words on paper) One of my reviewers praised my work and said it reminded him very much of JK Rowling. I didn’t know who that was, something that would change in a few months but at that time, I wanted a distinct voice and as stupid as it sounds, I shunned her books.

Well, years later (as in last October) curiosity and a greater confidence caused me to borrow Sorcerer’s Stone from a friend. I read the first and thought, well, okay, not bad. Read the second, then third still thinking this is good but… By the fourth she’d converted me. I put down Goblet of Fire and sent many good thoughts Rowling’s way. She’d hit it out of the writing ballpark and in an odd way, I was proud of her.

When I held Deathly Hallows in my hands at the library it was with a sense of excitement mixed with doom. I know that after I read it, it’s  over, no more and I’m going to miss Harry, Ron, Ginny, Hermione and the rest. I’ll miss the world Rowling created. She succeeded in bringing that world here, into mine. For characters to become that real…. that IS magic. It’s the magic of writing, the magic that keeps me sitting in front of the computer of sending queries and smiling through rejections. There is a moment when the characters you created become more than you created them to be.  As a writer, I can say, ‘Ilythra wouldn’t do that,’ with authority. Not because I don’t want her to, but because I know her. It’s almost as though, somewhere in the writing process, they take a breath and although it sounds a bit insane, they almost become real, no I”m trying to protect myself from sounding insane. They do become real. To be able to transfer that, to gift it to another person, the reader, so that the character becomes real to them….. that’s what it’s all for. That’s magic.

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Yesterday, I groggily stumbled to the micro to heat up my first cup of coffee only to find a half full (I’m an optimist) cup left over from the day before. So I pulled it out to put in today’s and hit the edge of the microwave at just the right angle to shatter the cup. I felt a slight tug on my little finger and as my brain registered that fact, I tore my gaze away from the spilled coffee (why do things like that always seem to happen in slow mo?) to find a 1 1/2″ slit on the outside of my right pinkie. My first thought was, stitches, damn, followed immediately by, I don’t have time for stitches. And I really don’t. So I cupped my hand to collect the blood and went to my bathroom to find something with which to apply firm pressure. Would you believe I had to resort to cotton balls? In fact, my entire medicine box is entirely inadequate to handle an emergency. I have crayon, dora and dinosaur bandages, but nothing to handle more than a skinned knee. So I poured rubbing alcohol over the cut (though it was bleeding quite enough infection wasn’t my biggest concern) and called my uncle to see if my grandma had anything resembling a butterfly. My mom just happened to have spent the night over there so I asked him to send her over too. D2 and D3 were very helpful by the way. Life goes on and children must still get ready for school.

When she got here she said, um this needs stitches. So I repeated the reasons why I couldn’t spend 4 hours in the emergency room (with a three year old) waiting for them to sew up a wound which by then would have already begun healing on its own. I did this with D4’s chin last year when she fell in the tub. So she butterflied it for me then wrapped it up. I’d begun to feel very sick to my stomach and faint–it wasn’t that bad probably just my body’s reaction to blood and the after effects of the adrenaline dump–so I sat down with my head between knees, I’d begun to feel better when I heard a thump down the hall. D4 had tripped. I called to her, but she didn’t immediately get up so my mom walked down there to pick her up. When she brought her to me, my queasy stomach disappeared(probably another adrenaline dump) She was as white as could be, shaking a little and saying she was dizzy. Mom handed her to me. I held her close and she threw up. As soon as she did so, her color began to return. I cleaned her up, handed her to my mom so I could clean up then carried her to the living-room. She was a little quiet for about an hour but fine for the rest of the day. In fact, by lunch time she was running around the couch and yelling, you can’t get me!

Sympathy pain? She hadn’t hit her head when she tripped. She has no other symptoms… I don’t know but I’ll be watching her closely for the next few weeks, you can be sure.

My finger feels fine. Hurts to type, well only P, ; , and / but how often do you use those?… I guess I  just did. : )

In other news, I also found out yesterday that my children are losing a wonderful step-mother and I’m sad about that. So far they’re resigned, but I’m watching for anything else. I’ve already spoken to her and assured her since she’s been a part of their life for five years, she’d be very welcome to continue to be a part of their lives. She said she’d like that so I hope that helps the children adjust a little. (I’ve actually never met this woman, ex forbid her to see me…. wonder why?)

Now reading book 7 of the Death Note series. It’s Japanese anime. D2 loves it and asked me to read it and you parents of teenagers know, you grab the communication and connections where you can. It’s not a bad series really–comic book style writing (they keep killing off my favorite characters).

Well I think that catches me up, more or less. : )

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