Archive for November, 2013

Happy Thanks-Birthday!

Yeah, so. I turned forty-six yesterday. For the record, there was no pumpkin pie with candles. My “cake” was a brownie big enough and heavy enough to hurl at someone and crack their skull. I’ll be eating on that thing for a week.

Since my birthday fell on Thanksgiving, I’ll tell you one of the things I’m thankful for, better yet, I’ll show you.


I’m thankful that my daughter has the same messed up sense of humor as her mother.

I’m thankful that her favorite Highlander character is Tessa and that her knowledge of the fandom isn’t limited to having watched one movie.

I’m thankful that when she woke up this morning she knocked on my door and said, more or less, “You get to write today. Get up.”

I’m thankful that my daughter “gets” me, too.


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I haven’t heard anything since August from the gentlefolk who have my MS, but no news is good news and the pressure to finish book two isn’t hanging over my head anymore because NaNo proved to me that I can get the work done. I’ll be here when they get ready, and by then book two, and possibly a few other things, will be ready. And if they kick it back, there’s always somewhere else to go. It’s all good. My huge issues are query letters and synopsis, still. I don’t know why I can’t wrap my brain around those things and do them well and it pisses me off.

I cleaned out my closet and dresser of everything I have not worn in the last six months (I saved emergency clothes for like funerals, my ball/opera gowns because one was a gift and they’re all badasssery that can never, ever be replaced, and some cool stuff with which I will never part, but everything else was donated). With that six month condition strictly adhered to, now I have very little clothes, and shoes, because it appears that I wear the same very few things over and over and over. I’m a writer, so what do I need with very many clothes? We’re hermits by nature, and the hubs and I don’t go out much at all. But the hubs insists I need clothes now, so he’s taking me shopping. Problem: I hate-hate-hate to shop because agoraphobia and I’m very picky and most clothes I like and will wear (that’s the key) are out of my price range (read: I’m a cheap ass) , which probably explains why I wear the same clothes over and over and over until they fall apart. Wish me luck, because I’m pretty damned sure I won’t come home with much, if anything, and I will still look like a bum on a daily basis.

Spike’s bed and bowl are gone now. Before he passed, I wanted to adopt a specific dog at the local shelter, but the hubs is frowny about that because it’s another pittie and Lily is such a handful. We also have Baby, our shepherd, and she’s got arthritis, the two cats and all the fish, so I guess I do see his point. However, I am the type that has to have many furry pets, so I’m sure one day this two-dog-limit will end. Brodie needs a home and I won’t forget about him.

Friday, my favorite co-worker gave me a stuffed elf. The day we come back from Thanksgiving break, this elf will begin his mission of terror in my workplace, which I’m sure I’ll have to document here if for no other reason than because I can.

So, as you can tell, the biggest part of my week since my last blog was cleaning out my closet.  Gosh, how do I survive all the excitement?

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I’ve been saying that every day for the last year-plus. My little two-point-whatever pound blind yorkie would bark every time I came in my room, or if I suddenly moved and made a noise other than the ticking of laptop keys. It was annoying.

“It’s mama, Spike. Stop barking.”

That’s all it would take, though, and he’d curl back up in his bed, tucked against the bookcases behind and beside me. I said it for the last time yesterday morning when I checked my email before I left for work.

IMG_8658Spike was one of those dogs that, for a very long time, everyone assumed was a puppy because he was so, so small–the two-point-whatever pound estimate is not an exaggeration. I had a friend who would tuck Spike into his inside jacket pocket in joking attempts to steal him. In the last few years, I often told people he was older than dirt, because I couldn’t remember exactly when his birthday was anymore, only that he was somewhere between eleven and thirteen years old. It’s why I make a big deal about how old Lily is–one should remember things like that. All I can say in my defense is that it was a shitty time in my life (not long after my divorce) and I (probably purposefully) don’t remember a lot of things from back then, but I remember the day he was born well enough, because both myself and my daughter were there to watch his wiggly-worm, two-inch-long-self come into the world. He was ‘the prince’ and he, along with Kal, ruled this house. They were my constant comfort when the world was upside down and sideways.

Now, he and Kal are both gone.

Until I typed that sentence, that fact hadn’t hit me and the tears had been few.

When I got home yesterday, I spent a couple hours with the husband  in our normal daily talk about politics, at work and in the world at large, before I wandered into “my room,” as everyone now calls it. I sat down in my chair and opened up my email when I finally noticed that Spike didn’t bark. I spun the chair around and looked down, and he was under his blanket, but his head was stuck out and lying a little funny. Spike always curled up in a ball, because he was tiny, and old, and cold. I watched for a second as had become habit because I knew how old he was and the normal concern had been growing for months. This time, his little chest didn’t rise. I used to pray that Spike would go peacefully in his sleep, and he did.

See, I’m this hard-ass, tough as nails, bitch–no, really–so when something painful hits, I freeze up, and go about things in the most mechanical ways.  Or at least, I try to. I reached down and petted his little head, then got up and tapped on my husband’s man cave door. Much like I had with Kal, I said, “Spike died.” What else was there to say? Before the hubs could gather his wits and come out, I had Spike wrapped up in his blanket and a shovel in my hand. The gods were merciful, because unlike when I buried Kal, the ground didn’t fight me and I was able to handle it myself. It feels to me now like the place beside Kal was ready for him–he was so old, so feeble, it was time–so it made the job easy. I sent a few texts to people who had loved Spike, or people I just wanted to ‘touch’ for a second, then ignored the ringing cell phone because I didn’t want to talk about it. Hubs came up behind me and said, “I’m sorry.” I said, “I knew it was coming, eventually.” He nodded. “But it doesn’t make it any easier.”

No, it doesn’t.

There used to be a baby gate on the door to my room because Spike was so absolutely blind that he’d end up wandering the house without it and get lost, so we’d have to find him and rescue him. I don’t have to step over that gate anymore, in fact, I put it by the trash can in the kitchen. It’s so strange not to have to step over that gate. Every time I walk in the room, I look down at the dog bed to see if Spike is okay, or randomly turn in my chair and glance down, to be sure Spike is okay because that had become what was normal, and a habit… but the bed is empty.


That black bottom showed me all too painfully that his blanket is gone and he’s not there anymore, so I folded a towel and put it in the bed to cover the glaring void. Throw the bed out? Can’t do it. Not yet.

I don’t know what else to say except that I loved that little dog, and the room is way too quiet.

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NaNo: Day 11-14

Day 11:

NaNo is supposed to be a way to show yourself that you can maintain discipline in your writing schedule if you simply sit down and put your mind to it–or at least, I think that’s the purpose of NaNo. Because of NaNo, I’ve found I can sit down and meet a goal every day in spite of having a forty-five hour a week day-job, but I’ve also found I don’t like the results. Sure, I’ve been plugging along, word vomit flowing freely, when some unanswered questions from this universe’s future (just work with me, the explanation is too long) have jumped up out of nowhere and made the clouds part and the angels sing, but I sit back at the end of the day and wince as I read over what I have on the page. Just sitting here and churning out words for the sake of doing so? Nah. I don’t like it. I’m not supposed to edit? Not supposed to do a lot of things, and it drives me batty. I’m gonna keep going, but I think NaNo is just something that isn’t going to be in my future after this year. I totally think NaNo is brilliant, it’s just not for me.

“I am self-taught. I have no theories about writing that might help others. When I write, I simply become what I seemingly must become.”

That’s supposedly part of a larger Kurt Vonnegut quote. I’ve never read a damned thing he wrote, but happy birthday, dude. Where ever you are.

Day 12:

 NaNo goal met for today. Not much more to say.

Day 13:

Sick as hell and didn’t try to write a word. Doesn’t hurt my feelings at all because I’m just not into NaNo. It’s great idea with great learning points, but all this “push em out! shove em out! wayyyyy out!’ isn’t my thing. My brain doesn’t work like this.

Day 14: 

I’m still highly sick, so NaNo is over for me. The rush of starting NaNo and seeing that I could actually make word count was eyeopening. I wrote 20k words in twelve days. Not bad, eh?

Good luck to everyone who’s slogging forward!

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NaNo: Day 10

Day 10:

Remember that scene I mentioned yesterday? The one where I stopped because I knew without question what would happen? Yeah, about that. It went from a bit of sexy-time between my protag and a bit side character to said side character playing a much bigger role than I expected. That’s what happens when you give a character a name and pair them with a protag who just wants to be a horn-dog for a few minutes, but is really a good guy at heart.

Which made today’s 1700+ words like pulling teeth, when yesterday 3400+ was done. Funny how that works.

My hubs said I needed to “clean my room.” I informed him that this mess is necessary and needed for the book. I’ll clean it when the book is done.


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NaNo: Day 9

Needed 3400 words to make up for yesterday’s migraine.

Clocked 3405 and stopped because I was in the middle of a scene that I’m comfortable with and know exactly where it’s going. The advice I’ve been given is to stop for the day in just such a place so the next day will be an easy kick off.

I’ll be baking cookies if you need me.


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NaNo: Day 8

And on the eighth day, she rested.

Because I have a migraine making threats against my life for sitting at the computer.

Must make up the words tomorrow.

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