Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Take A Moment

When you see some atrocity on the news or read some horrific story in the paper that involves individuals stop and think. Take a moment to honestly think about it. You know there’s always so much more than is reported. Every story has a slew of stories within it. Every individual has a slew of lives connected to theirs. Take a moment and think about them before you judge and criticize.

It’s true that many of the things reported are awful. But, because of everything going on in the background, they’re so much worse than any of us can even begin to imagine. Take a moment and consider all that are affected instead of just spouting off at the snapshot that resulted in the moment being made public.

I have a friend whose life, whose family’s lives, were irrevocably changed today. There’s nothing anyone can ever do to make it right. I ache for her. I wish more than anything I could help. I have all sorts of what if’s and I should have’s and if only’s running through my mind. Too late for that now. All I can do is let her know I’m here, that I care, that I love her and am available whenever she’s ready to reach out no matter how long it takes.

Someday it might be your friend in the news. So next time you hear of some tragic occurrence take a moment. Remember that there’s more to it and open your heart to the unreported victims behind the scenes.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

And So It Begins

Migraine season. It’s early this year. It was hot last week. Then the temperature dropped 30 degrees in a day which is too much for me even though falling is always better than rising.

I have a question. Why is it that with all the technology and advances of the twenty-first century no one has found a cure that honestly works on migraines? My thought is because pharmaceutical companies don’t want one. Cruel bastards. If I promise on my life to continue to pay the sum I spend on meds every year, hell, double what I spend, can I please have the cure I know is out there somewhere? Please! Seriously begging here.

Ever have a migraine? Know anyone who has? What fascinates me is how half of me is perfectly fine while the other half is ready to curl up and die. If you don’t know what I mean, next time you or your friend has a migraine take a piece of paper and cover half the face at a time. You’ll see two entirely different people who should no way be housed within the same body.

This morning on the radio I heard all sorts of hype about one of the presidential candidates who is making a speech today about his proposed tax breaks for families in order to help provide health care. Yes, I agree. Families do need affordable and readily available health care. But they’re not the only ones. The rest of us do too. And I really don’t think a tax break is a viable long-term solution. It’s merely a bandaid. The whole system needs to be revamped from the ground up. What is in place is not working. Find me a candidate with solid suggestions on how to do that, ones that will honestly work and improve the situation, who has competent support staff to make it happen and I’ll gladly vote for that individual.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Life Happened

One thing from today. While lying on my bathroom floor I realized how much I hate it. Always have. Desperately need a new one. I'm positive the current one added to my nausea. Exponentially. Yes, that must be it since there is absolutely no other logical explanation for me feeling this way. It has got to go, just as soon as I can move. Might be a good thing I can't. Otherwise I'd probably be ripping it up instead of just whining about it.

Be back tomorrow and I'll try to be more interesting. Hopefully my eyes will cooperate and focus together.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Soup's On

It was chilly and damp this morning so I decided on one more kettle of soup for the season. Lentil with smokey ham, onions, tomatoes and carrots. Yes, I made 10 quarts again. No, no one I invited was available for lunch or dinner today. Anybody hungry? There's plenty and it's yummy.

It rained last night so I took advantage of the soft ground and weeded my strawberries. Good thing I did. I have tiny berries. A few days of sunshine and they'll be ripe. No sneaking into the yard and picking them. One, I pay attention and two, there's no need. I'll share.

The only good thing about warm weather besides the obvious fresh fruit and vegetables is the drop in loads of laundry required. I dislike that chore almost as much as I do grocery shopping. While I was wasting my life being domestic this morning, I also vacuumed and dusted. Phew. Thank goodness that's done for another week.

The plan for this afternoon is to switch into writer-mode. I'm revising one of my older stories while I wait for edits on Beyond Meddling, due any day now, and I don't want to get immersed in anything new. This one's characters have been popping in and out of my head lately so I decided to give them the attention they're seeking. The hero is a single father, a widower. He's also a professor, a bit of an academic geek. He's had a very tough time losing his wife and raising his daughter on his own and really isn't looking to add anyone to their lives. His interest in the heroine comes as a complete shock to him. Any thoughts?

If you're getting overwhelmed by your own life go over to The Mystic Valley-Camelot Herald and read the words of the very wise Anny Cook. Once again she's posted an excellent, thought-provoking blog that will no doubt serve as a reality check for you.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I was a Bad Child

Eating healthy is damn expensive! It also takes a lot longer to shop when you take the time to read all the labels. Did I mention how much I hate to go grocery shopping? Thank goodness it's almost summer. My mother is a Master Gardener and grows all sorts of stuff. This time I'll even tell her I'm there to mooch.

Years ago, I was having friends over for dinner. It was spring, asparagus season. I decided that asparagus would go well with what I was serving. You guessed it. My mom used to grow the best asparagus. For the few days proceeding my dinner I stopped in to visit my parents daily, unheard of for me. I don't remember the excuses I used for visiting so often but I'm sure they were bizarre. I always parked next to the asparagus patch, window open. I would pick the new shoots, toss them into my car, and then go into the house. Dinner was a success and the asparagus was as tasty as ever. The next time I visited, a few weeks later, my mother mentioned her frustration. For the first time ever the local critters that wandered out of the woods were nibbling her precious asparagus down to the ground. Every day too. But only when they approached picking size. Normally, I don't confess my transgressions until years later but she was so outraged I couldn't help laughing. I told her. In the middle of her tirade my dad came out to find out what was going on. He saw the humor in it instantly. It took her a while longer.

I've been forgiven for that one probably because I now share the strawberries from my yard with her. And she actually teases me about it these days since I show up picking basket in hand. She even plants sugar peas just for me.

Strawberries...yep, time to weed around them. They're blooming all over the place. Hm, I've already done an awful lot today. There's a chance of showers later. Perhaps it's best if I wait until tomorrow. With the ground wet the weeds will be so much easier to pull. Sounds like a plan to me. What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lunch Reading

This week over lunch I’ve been reading Skinny Bitch. This is “a no-nonsense tough-love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous”. I’m not very far into it but I’ve learned that everything I like to eat is bad for me. And not for the reasons I would have guessed.

The book was written by a former model that has a degree in holistic nutrition and a former modeling agent. In the chapter entitled The Dead, Rotting Decomposing Flesh Diet it states that one of the authors had Big Macs for lunch while the other consumed bacon double cheeseburgers, fries and a soda daily for a year. Somehow I don’t quite believe this.

Even so, they have made what I think are valid points about pesticides and conditions under which animals are raised. They also listed some rather interesting items about artificial sweeteners and the consumption of dairy products.

Please don’t misunderstand my intent here. I do not consider this book to be the be all and end all when it comes to nutrition advice. I’m reading it to help readjust my thinking, something I need to do periodically even though I already know that the only real way to lose some of my fluffiness is by monitoring what I eat and exercising. I chose this book for the though-love aspect. So far they aren’t kidding about that. The authors don’t pull any punches in telling the reader to reevaluate personal habits, a reminder that is way past due for me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Nike Moment

Yesterday. I mentioned that I was overdue in shocking my mother. Well my interview with Total-E-Bound is now posted. Problem solved. Oh yeah is it ever!

I'm not entirely sure what possessed me to answer some of the questions as I did. Must have been having a Nike moment. Ever have those? One where you probably shouldn't do what you're about to do and even though you know it, you Just Do It anyway? I really try not to indulge in them often these days. I remind myself that I'm too old for such nonsense. But do I listen? Of course not. Especially when I've been moping and need cheering up.

Which brings me back to my mother. Yes, I called her and told her the interview was on the site. I also told her I preferred her not to read it. She agreed so now when she does she won't be able to comment without me sighing dramatically and pointing out that I asked her not to because she's not old enough. We certainly have an odd relationship.

Perhaps I'll share past Nike moments in the future. Or perhaps not. There are some things that you really don't need to know about me.

Oh no! Neeley commented on my vicarious exercise program. She's rearranging things, which I knew, and soon will be back working and living on campus, which I knew, which means the mainstay of vicarious physical activity is about to be gone, which I didn't think of. She's unwilling to become one of those annoying people who talks on the phone while in a gym just for me. Thank you, I hate them. But, but, but...I need my exercise! Come on everyone, help me convince Neeley she needs the fresh air and should walk around campus instead of going to a musty old gym.

I think the Promptel virus is spreading. (See Amarinda's posts for explanation.) I got home and there was no dial tone on my phone. Argh! I unplugged everything and waited 20 minutes for the line to reset, what they had me do last time, and guess what...yep, didn't work. So I called on my cell phone. When I finally got to a live person, I told them the problem and his first question - was I calling from the phone number I was reporting the trouble on? Hello! No dial tone here. Generally, that means the phone doesn't function thus making it impossible to call anyone. The next question - have I tried unplugging everything? Um yes, I believe I already specified that. Finally, he ran a line check and discovered it was an external problem, not an internal one. As I suspected. He then informed me they'd be out in two days to fix it. Two days! Wrong! I did my best Amarinda Jones impersonation and he agreed to check with the service desk to see if there was someone in my area. Could I be reached at the number in question? Sure, soon as you fix it. Low and behold not five minutes later the phone rang. Yes, the non-functioning one, not the cell phone. It was Promptel checking to see if I was still having problems with my line. I don't know about you but that sure seems like an internal problem on their end, like someone pushed the wrong button earlier maybe. Geez, technology.

But I do have a good technology bit to report. If you haven't read the comments on yesterday's blog the groqit folks must have an alert system. They stopped by to say hi and that they are linking my blog to their news page. How cool is that! Thanks Evelyn.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Want One!

I was reading a magazine the other day and came across this little gizmo. It's a gorqit! What is a groqit (grock'et) you ask? A handy dandy little personal inventory management system that fits in your pocket. So? What does it do? I'll tell you.

A groqit is the answer to my book collection woes. This nifty bit of technology is a barcode reader. It has the capability to store hundreds of thousands of barcodes. It's also attached to a website where you can download and store your list, translated into what the barcode is for. They suggest you take it with you when shopping to avoid duplication. For me, it is a much simpler way to compile the titles of the majority of my books without actually needing to key in all the information manually. Ah, I can see you're getting it now. Another selling point is that you can use it to make lists for insurance purposes. Yes, with as many books as I have that's not a bad thing either.

In addition to creating book lists, it is also capable of compiling records of your cd's and dvd's. Have I mentioned that I have more than a few of them also?

My instant reaction when seeing this was I have to have one RIGHT NOW! But then I thought about it for a moment. My birthday isn't all that far off and I never know what to tell my mother when she asks for gift suggestions. This year I have one...and I've already told her. She's even being nice and said I could order it a full month before my birthday instead of making me wait. I think the real reason behind that may be because she doesn't believe the number of books I've accumulated. She wants to see the list. Okay but that creates a whole other dilemma. I have books that would horrify her even more than mine do. Perhaps I'll save them for last and then add them after I show her the list. Or maybe not. I haven't shocked her lately so I'm due.

I Have a Theory

But first, today was the PA primary. I was voter #179 out of a possible 950 at 5:00. Sad but not the worst it's been, especially in a primary.

My friend Neeley lives in a big city. She doesn’t have a car and walks to and from work and school every day. Her round trip is just under 5 miles. Since she’s such a busy girl there are many days when the only chance we have to talk is during her commute. She’s very impressive, able to carry on a conversation while toting her school books, laptop, and anything else she might need for the day as she hikes along at a brisk pace.

The other day she was tired and had more than usual in her bag so she commented that she would hop on the bus when the proper one approached. In the meantime, she set off to her next destination. As I was lounging comfortably on the sofa at the time, I felt the need to tease her about how if she did that I’d miss out on my vicarious exercise for the day. After lovingly calling me a bitch, Neeley proceeded to hike the entire way. By the time she arrived her legs were burning and she was puffing pretty heavily.

Thus my theory. If I am on the phone while she exercises I should get half the benefit. I could hear in her voice what a workout she was having. I could imagine exactly how she felt. It only seems right that since I suffered through it with her, I should be entitled to share in the results.

Along the same line, I’ve started speaking with my friend, Evan when he does his upper body workouts. I feel his work on my arms and abs will compliment Neeley’s efforts on my buns and legs quite nicely.

I wonder how long it will take for my friends to provide me with a bod to die for. Hm, it’s getting to be summer and I need all the help I can get. Perhaps some of you could pitch in. AJ, Molly, I know you walk too. Please give me a call next time your out there. It would be nice to have a change of scenery for my walks.

Monday, April 21, 2008


I noticed something new recently. My fingers are getting dyslexic. Now that probably isn’t the proper term for this phenomena but I don’t know what to call it. Perhaps you do.

I’ll explain. When typing, I’ve started to switch the letters around, from hand to hand in the base row. I type ‘f’’ for ‘j’, ‘l’ for ‘s’ and most frequently, ‘d’ for ‘k’. What I find fascinating is that it doesn’t happen in reverse and so far, it’s just in the one row. And it’s not always my right hand typing a left hand letter or vice versa. It’s extremely frustrating when I go back and attempt to fix it only to find my rebellious fingers have done the same thing again.

This brings up several questions. Should I be concerned? Is there something weird occurring within my brain since it’s getting markedly worse? Have I perhaps always been this way and it’s only surfacing now because I pay so much less attention to the keyboard when I type?

I just don’t know and I don’t exactly like that. Any thoughts on what point I should honestly begin to worry? Do any of you have similar quirks? If so, please tell me. I’ll feel so much better if you’ve developed some oddity too.

Update on the cable bill - I got a new statement today. I have a $4.22 credit that they will be refunding. Probably in the next century but I'll be sure to leave it to someone in my will so they have to pay eventually.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Humpty Dumpty Day

Ever have one of those days when you just feel irreparably broken? With the amount of turmoil I've endured the last year it's surprising I don't feel this way all the time. In an eggshell, I was reorganized out of a company I'd worked at for almost 23 years - a good thing as it turns out. I extracted myself from a very bad 15 year relationship - a good thing in numerous ways but with so many scars. I've heard he's now out on bail awaiting a court hearing for stealing from the place he worked. Does that mean I shouldn't take it personally that he stole from me since he was stealing elsewhere too? I became a published author - a good yet surreal thing. I got a new job that is so totally different it's as if I fall down the rabbit hole over and over again - a good thing.

So with all the good turmoil, why am I so broken and what set me off this time? The broken part is easy. Everything that came before the major changes took a severe toll on me. What set me off is also easy. I once again trusted the wrong individual. Will I never learn? Yes, perhaps this time I have. Perhaps this time I'll finally accept that I'm not meant to share all I am. A terrible shame that as I'm one hell of a woman once you get past my defenses. Of course it's very unlikely that anyone will ever manage to do that ever again.

Interesting that I choose to write erotic romances, isn't it? Oh I have plenty of ideas for other things too. It's just not time for them yet. I'll get to it. Now I know what you're thinking...those that can do, those that can't write. Wrong! I'm speaking for me only here. In the last year I've met many fellow authors living their own happily-ever-afters. And I love that for them. It's just not for me and high time I stop trying to force something that's not meant to be.

Yes, I'm broken today. But I have a secret weapon that all the king's horses and all the king's men didn't. Cats. Cats with incredible restorative powers. They purr and nudge their furry little faces against mine and it's impossible to stay down for very long. So today I'm Humpty Dumpty. Tomorrow who knows? I may just wake up feeling like Ariel experiencing all the wonders of dry land on her own two feet the first time.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Gypped Again

I must have seriously pissed off the weather gods. First, no winter. I love winter. I'm sure I've mentioned that before. Now, only a few days of spring and straight to summer. I hate summer. It's 85 freaking degrees here today. It's only April. This is just ridiculous! But Harry is loving it. He's out on the porch in a sunbeam as I write this. I was out with him at 8:30 this morning. Then it got too hot for me so I decided to go out into the world and do my Saturday errands.

I needed to take my car for a drive anyway. I figured out that it is much happier when it gets to go places. I live in the city and work only a few blocks from home. Going there and back I never make it out of second gear. Last week I was off for a few days and went all sorts of places. The check engine light went out and stayed out until last night after a full week of stop and go driving. So this morning my car and I went off in one direction to pick up a few things and then all the way in the other direction, to my mom's. Along the way I used 4 out of 5 gears, let my zippy little car, a champagne-colored Saab 900, go much too fast as it tends to do, did not get stopped for speeding, something I'm always a bit concerned about, and cleaned out whatever value or gizmo is getting gunked up. While at my mom's I washed it so now it's really happy. I guess I'll have to plan weekly outings to keep it that way.

This is the second car I've owned that seems to heal itself. I truly like that feature in a car. No, they don't list that with the other features. It's more a feeling you have to pick up when searching for a car. I suspected this one might have it. It was so strong I didn't even bother to test drive it. I sat in it and that was enough for me. That was something the boys at the car lot simply didn't understand, not driving it first. That's okay. I did and that's really all that matters. I didn't test drive the last car that liked me either. Why change things that work?

Wow, I'm rambling today. I think my point was spring and how pretty the flowering trees were everywhere I was today. I'm glad I went out and about since it's so hot that they won't last. Yep, I think that was it. What did you do today?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lesson Three

Today I learned how to crack a safe with a telephone handset. Both have to be pre-digital in order for this to work. Actually I think all I’d be able to manage would be a standard locker in a typical high school.

More interestingly, I can bypass a security system that requires a thumbprint to release the lock. Now what I’ll be doing trying to get into a secure facility in the first place I have yet to figure out but I’ll let you know should the need ever come up.

I also read about how to pick a simple lock with my Swiss Army knife and a paperclip. I may practice this later in case I ever lock myself out of my own house. I’m sure I’ll entertain the neighborhood with this one. It never fails. Whenever I’m doing something questionable, someone always walks by. Living in a medium-sized city you think people would just keep on going, right? Wrong. In my block, they ask. Even those who don’t live here. Of course I won’t be able to resist telling them. I bet within 12 minutes I’ll have an audience. That’s about how long it usually takes the neighbors to congregate whenever I’m doing something they view as odd.

Hm, this book is almost finished. I’ll have to pick out something new for next week’s lunchtime entertainment. Any requests?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More Helpful Hints from MacGyver

Today, in addition to a lot of chemical mumbo-jumbo I'll never use or even remember, I learned how to start a car with a dead battery. Take off the plastic gizmos to uncover the terminals and pour vinegar on top of the battery. Something about the acidity of the vinegar makes any remaining electric charge flow more easily, thus enabling the car to start.

I also learned how to make an arc welder out of a car battery, jumper cables and two quarters. You need the quarters because of the copper cores dipped in nickel. The narrow edge concentrates the charge and makes the current flow in a more directable manner. Put the quarters in the cable ends not attached to the battery. Get them close enough together to create an electrical arc but do not let them touch.

Okay, both of these are all well and good except for one small problem. I'm about the biggest wuss in the universe when it comes to electricity. I was petrified of replacing the doorbell even though I was assured I would barely notice if I bumped the wires together. I'm too scared to test a 9-volt battery on my tongue (or any other moist portion of my anatomy!) The mere thought of holding live jumper cables and focusing the resulting charge in an attempt to fuse some hunks of metal is nearly enough to make me pee in my pants. That's honestly how afraid I am of electricity. Hopefully if one of my heroines is ever in a bind where this may come in handy she'll have much more nerve than I do.

AJ - To break out of a meat locker, remove one of the hanging hooks. Use the attaching end to detach the screws on the door handle. Knock out the door handle. Find something to collect water in. Use the overhead lightbulb to melt some ice, probably formed on the tips of your fingers by this point. Pour the water into the door handle hole. It'll run into the lock. Wait for it to freeze because as it does, it will expand and break said lock. Once broken, kick open the door. Yeah, okay, several flaws in this one as far as I'm concerned but it worked for MacGyver and you're a kick-ass woman so I have faith in you to rescue us next time we happen to be trapped in a meat locker together.

Tomorrow's lesson - breaking and entering. Finally, something useful!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Believe It or Not

I read part of a book today. Now wait, before you get excited and happy for me let me tell you what it was. The Unofficial MacGyver How-To Handbook. Yes, just something I had lying around. Bet you’re wondering now, aren’t you?

Actually, it is kind of interesting. It’s divided into sections. I figure I can read one a day at lunch, thus keeping myself out of trouble until the picnic table is set up in the courtyard. Then I’m going to work on taming the squirrel who sits outside and keeps me company many days.

Today’s section was Great Escapes. I can now break free from a meat locker provided I can manage to disconnect one of the hooks from the ceiling, escape from a snake pit if I just happen to be carrying some kerosene, and get away from a pack of wild dogs in a department store. No, I don’t ever recall encountering wild dogs when I was shopping but you never know. I’m prepared now on the off chance I ever do.

Tomorrow, I’ll be learning the top seven ways to booby-trap a car. I’m sure that will come in handy sooner or later. If not in my own nefarious life, then surely somewhere in the lives of my characters. I'll let you know any other nifty tidbits this book teaches me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday Extra

I actually agree with this one for a change!

Snit Over

Isn’t it amazing how the universe works? As you know, I’ve been out of sorts lately. Severely in need of a laugh. Ask and you shall be provided.

First, I was surfing the groups and read something posted by the beautiful and talented poet, Sayora Poirier. If you haven’t read any of her work, shame on you. Go to MySpace and do so now. Anyway, Sayora posted some quick home remedies on Derek Musgrave’s Portal of Eros, great group by the way. They made me laugh. Here, I’ll share a few with you:


1. Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop.
2. For high blood pressure sufferers: simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember to use a timer.
3. A mouse trap, placed on top of your alarm clock, will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.
4. If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives, then you will be afraid to cough.
5. You only need two tools in life - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape.

Another thing that went a long way to restoring my karmic balance was a phone call I received out of the blue. A gazillion years ago, in a former life, I worked in purchasing and inventory control for a local craft company. I had the best bunch of suppliers imaginable, many of whom have remained friends. I heard from one of them last night. Apparently my name came up and his wife commented that they hadn’t heard from me in a while so he called to see what I was up to. No good as usual, which he was pleased to learn.

Funny thing about this couple. We only met in person twice but I still count them among my friends. No matter how long it is between conversations we can always pick up where we left off. They’re truly wonderful people. I know I could turn up on their doorstep unannounced and they’d yank me inside and keep me for as long as I wanted to stay. Their son got married last weekend and some family is still with them but last night they took a moment out of all the hoopla just to call and say hi to me. That’s the sort of thing that means so much and never fails to warm my heart.

Since I ended up in a good mood after all and since my wonderful writer friend Dakota was nice enough to supply me with the information I requested, I did some shopping. Her birthday is coming up and I can’t resist sending her a little something that I know will make her chuckle. If you have a minute, stop by her blog. She has one of those cool counters that is counting down to her day. There’s another one marking time until her next book release so you know exactly when to congratulate her.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Taking the Day Off

I have an attitude today so I'm taking the day off. I'll be back when it wears off and I'm capable of being civil again.

Have a good day!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I have the Lopsy Lyles

That's what my dad would have called this severe case of inertia I'm suffering from today. He had all sorts of names for things. I've always suspected he made them up as he went along but if he did, he was good at it. Once a term was used it was repeated with the same meaning.

So what's my problem? Dunno. Maybe I don't have one. Hm, that seems too easy. Maybe I'm bored. Okay, boredom. So change something.

I went outside earlier, actually took out the trash. See? I haven't stopped entirely. I'm still doing necessary chores, just nothing that's good for me. I walked around my yard and looked at all the pretty flowers. For a moment I considered grabbing my gloves and readying the ground for planting annuals next month but then I rejected that notion. I have a month. What's the rush?

I looked in my book room. My neverending project of organizing my books is still stalled. Yep, books and boxes stacked everywhere. No order to anything. Have I mentioned that I have roughly 10,000 books? They don't all fit in the room. The rest are scattered about the attic. One room up there is wall to wall, floor to ceiling bookshelves. The other is storage and yes, most of the boxes have books in them. Surprisingly I have a general idea of what I have. And I do think I could find a particular book, should I ever rediscover the ability to read. In the meantime, why bother sorting through them when I have little interest?

I debated on taking a walk. It's overcast and a bit chilly but the sun pops out occasionally and I do own jackets and sweatshirts. It really is a pretty spring day. Only problem is I don't really feel like going alone and the friend I used to walk with is having personal meltdown and has no time for mundane things such as a walk with me. Nope, no time for a little laughter that could actually improve both our moods. Nope, much better to wallow in a bad situation that doesn't stand a chance of truly improving. Oh, it may look like it but we both know it'll be on the surface only and with no lasting effects. But okay. Delude yourself if you have to. Just don't be surprised to find that I'm not sitting where you left me when you're done.

Okay so maybe I'm not completely inert. Maybe I'm a little mad, or even a lot mad, and that has me too preoccupied to be productive. Oh the other hand, maybe I simply care and being forced into the role of doing nothing when I know my friend is hurting is really bothering me. I put the offer to help however I could out there and that's all I can do at this point. Right?

But I digress. What was my point? Oh yes, the Lopsy Lyles. Seems I have quite a case of them today. I really have to shake them because I'm getting tired of living like this. As you go about your day, please keep one thing in mind. Your actions, no matter how inconsequential they seem, do effect others. Think carefully before acting or speaking. I'm not suggesting you live your life based on others, just that you're aware of how you impact those around you.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Helplessness and Aggravation

First the helplessness...

Last night, Mouse had a seizure. He has them on occasion, not frequently thank goodness. There's nothing worse than being woken by a panicked cat scream followed by the sound of uncontrolled thrashing. Whenever it happens I go from out cold to full alert in a second. I raced up the steps to find my poor little Mouse on his side, legs out straight and stiff, tongue lolling, drool spewing, eyes rolled back in his head, twitching wildly, banging his head against a bookcase. The only thing to do is to move him away so he doesn't injure himself and scream his name until he finally hears me. Then I keep talking until all movement stops. That's when his fear kicks in. He tries to pace but his legs won't support him. He's confused and disoriented but he generally lets me dry his face. For the next half hour I follow him around the house, making sure he doesn't fall, until he settles down and sleeps. Poor thing is so exhausted by then. Me too but I can't sleep. I have to watch over him to make sure he doesn't go back into another seizure when he relaxes.

I don't see how anyone handles this with kids. I have enough trouble with cats who never leave the house without me. How can you stand it when your children go off without you? Mothers (and fathers) have got to be the bravest people in the world and don't get nearly the credit they deserve.

Now the aggravation...

The cable company sent me a past due notice today. You remember them. The cable company that I replaced last month. My bill used to run from the 16th to the 15th. I had the cable disconnected on the 29th. So I paid half my bill. Makes sense, right? Well today I got a bill for the balance due from last month plus the next month's service. I called, pointing out that I had the service disconnected and that I returned the box. The less than pleasant man clerk checked and oh yes that's correct. However I still owe them $4.78. They will credit the balance. I disagreed, explaining that I paid half the bill even though I had the service disconnected a few days shy of half the month. After going around and around for 10 minutes I still have no clear explanation of why they think I owe them anything. Because you do is not an acceptable answer to me. Now I have to wait until next month to see if the statement makes any sense. Somehow I doubt it will. Time to start looking for my bureau of consumer protection forms again.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Stuff

Two of my boys are having their teeth cleaned today. I know it's necessary but when did this start? Cat dentistry. Have you ever tried to brush a cat's teeth? Let me tell you, it's not easy. The pleasantly flavored malt toothpaste that they're supposed to relish either isn't all that pleasant or my cats are weird. Hm, that could be since they don't eat the pleasantly flavored vitamins either. They do like the molasses flavored hairball remedy but that would be like brushing their teeth with cat candy and probably defeat the purpose.

I finally had my taxes done. Nope, don't want to talk about it. After all it's only money. Course it would be nice if I had some but life goes on. Funny thing, that. No matter what catastrophe befalls one person, life for absolutely everyone else in the entire world continues.

Update - There was an emergency at the vet's today so Harry ended up being last. He has to spend the night. Now I'm sad. I hate it when the boys aren't home with me.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I was a Bad Child

When I was 11 I had a friend we'll call Amy. Amy's mom was even worse with her notions of acceptable lunch food than mine was. Hers rejected everything shy of the school's hot lunch. Mine at least would permit me a sandwich and an apple as long as I packed it myself. The problem was neither Amy nor I were satisfied with their choices.

Being the enterprising girl I was, I came up with a solution. Amy would make her mom happy by skipping off to school every morning, lunch money in hand whereas I dutifully toted a brown paper sack containing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple. When lunch rolled around, I would sell Amy my sandwich for a quarter, half her lunch money, and eat my apple. She was happy, I was happy, our clueless moms were happy. Yes, I admit it. I'm older than dirt and a quarter a day added up to quite a tidy sum back then.

Everything was perfect until Amy's family up and moved away towards the end of the school year. Then I was stuck trying to explain why, after taking the same thing for lunch every day for months, I suddenly developed an aversion to peanut butter and jelly. The truth is I never liked peanut butter, still don't, and rarely eat jelly, as in once every other year or so. I also lost my source of added income which to an independent sixth grader was tragic.

In case you're wondering, I did tell my mom. I think I was 30 by the time I got around to it. You can guess her reaction. My question has always been why my mom didn't know I didn't like peanut butter and jelly and wonder why, all of the sudden, I started taking it for lunch every day.

Oh, anybody have any good home remedies for coughing? I have no throat left and am open to suggestions. Booze, tea and honey don't work. Neither does cough medicine and I never want to taste a cough drop of any flavor ever in my life.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Why is It?

Why do people speak so loudly when you’re within feet of each other and there is nothing else going on in the room to distract you?

Why do these same people invade your personal space while acting as if they’re about to whisper when they could, in fact, be heard in the next block over a jack hammer in the street?

Why do people in groups all talk at once, each getting louder and louder in order to overpower the rest rather than taking turns so all can be heard?

Why do some events in life inspire you to write bad poetry while others do not?

Why do people repeat themselves when you’ve already heard them the first six times and had no interest to begin with?

Why do people share every last bit of a perfect stranger’s life with you when it’s obvious that you could care less?

Why do people explain things to you in intricate detail when one, you haven’t asked and two, you’re not an idiot and can understand with the minimum amount of facts?

Why do clueless people think they know everything and insist they are correct when everyone, including themselves, knows they have no idea what they’re talking about?

Why do people lose it over the silliest, most inconsequential things that don’t even register in the overall scheme of their lives?

Why do people answer rhetorical questions?

Why do people who know you honestly care about them shut you out when they need you the most?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Coming Soon...

From Total-E-Bound, May 19th...

Beyond Meddling


Evan Wilton is lost and confused. So much so he’s about to let Belynda Himmel, the woman of his dreams, slip away. He has every intention of doing just that, for Be’s own good of course, when his grandfather shows up to knock some sense into him.

Now if only he can get past the fact that the man died months ago and actually manage to listen to him, he might end up where he’s always wanted to be - in spite of himself.

Yep, today's a good day. I'm still coughing but it's just amazing how much better a new contract and a spicy cover have me feeling!

Monday, April 7, 2008

This is Ridiculous

Round three of the everlasting cold from hell, just the cough and fever portion this time. Soon as my cough syrup kicks in I'm going to bed.

Avoid this at all costs!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

And a Good Time was had by All

Or at least I think so. I had fun. I guess we'll have to wait to see if JK comments on whether or not he did too.

We started out with conversation over chai and coffee followed by a wander through Barnes & Noble. Interesting how dissimilar our reading tastes are. Even so we still found plenty to talk about.

After that we went to Uno for lunch, a yummy deepdish pepperoni pizza, and more discussion of this, that, and everything else. Will we meet up again? I think so. I'm very glad we did today because now I have a voice and expressions to add to our future on-line chats.

Today's nautical tidbit - Captain Harley tells me stops due to inclement weather are at the disgression of the captain and frieghter schedules have a certain amout built in, just in case they're needed. Yesterday he was docked in Costa Rica waiting out some nasty rain. Next up, the Panama Canal. I'm sure I'm much more excited about that than he is.

Okay, playtime is over. Time to get back to the story I'm attempting to revise. This one might be too sweet for me but we'll see once it's finished.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Consider Yourself Hugged

This is very old and has been printed often but I still thought it worth sharing with you. Take a moment and think of your friends who mean so much. Then tell them. No matter how self-confident you may be it is still nice to know someone, somewhere thinks highly of you.

A very happy Saturday to all. Thanks for stopping by.

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much," were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in VietNam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature. The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin. As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. She nodded: "yes." Then he said: "Mark talked about you a lot."

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher. "We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

"Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it."

All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home."

Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album."

"I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary"

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: "I think we all saved our lists"

That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

Life will end one day. We do not know when that one day will be so please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Book Stuff

Another bit about Scarlet Magazine. This is Total-E-Bound's ad that will appear in the April issue. Yummy, isn't it? And look at the middle cover on the left. Mine! See what good things happen when a wonderful cover artist designs a hot, hot, hot cover for you. Thank you again Anne Cain. I still grin every time I look at it.

There's a new review for the Bound Brits Anthology on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association website. It was posted by Ashley Lister and is not only a fantastic review but entertaining as well.

Equally compelling is Barbara Huffert’s "All Roads Lead to Ripon." This story is set firmly in Britain’s most romantic location: Yorkshire. Yorkshire, for those unfamiliar with this most beautiful part of the world, is famous for its wild and untamed beauty and deliciously desirable natives.

Did I mention that I was born in Yorkshire?

Emily Bronte exploited these characteristic features of Yorkshire and Yorkshire-folk when she wrote Wuthering Heights. Barbara Huffert exploits it with the same descriptive skill as her heroine, Jane, is pursued from Harrogate through to Scarborough, Knaresborough and Ripon.

Again, this story is as romantic as it is erotic. The sexual tension is built on the intrigue of the central characters getting to know each other as well as getting to know themselves. There’s a fine line between a stalker and an ardent admirer pursuing the object of his desires. Barbara Huffert treads this line carefully and skilfully as Jane is wooed and won by her mysterious and masterful admirer.

Click here to read the full review.

Have I mentioned how much my writing horrifies my mother? Well, it does. So much so that she hasn't mentioned it to any of her friends. And of course, I delight in adding to her discomfort. The other day when I learned I was to be in Scarlet, I called to inform her. Her comment - What did she do to deserve a daughter that writes this stuff? Well today, as I read the review to her, I could hear her cringing over the phone. She was an English teacher and having Emily Bronte's name mentioned in conjunction with me in any way at all is just too much for her. Yes, I admit it was snarky of me but how could I resist?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

And Now for Something Completely Different

Neeley's boobs.

Yesterday as she was hiking home from class, providing me with my vicarious exercise for the day as she often does - more on that fitness program some other time - she mentioned that her boobs are relocating. What's the big deal, you ask? Well unlike the rest of us, hers are gravitating upwards. She can feel it happening, she reports. To the extent that she's actually looked in mirrors in passing just to see if there's a visible difference. She claims not but I haven't seen her lately so the final determination will have to wait.

Nautical tidbit - The seagoing equivalent of a flight plan is a float plan. When you're the captain of a freighter, you get to design your own. Captain Harley elects his fuel stops based on where he wants to eat. BTW, in case you're wondering, no, the museum did not send personel with the exhibit.

The votes are in. Coffee is on for Sunday. Only problem is I don't drink coffee. Love the smell, hate the taste. Unless it's one of those real frou frou coffees and they don't really qualify. But I guess that's not the point here, is it?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Breaking News...

Okay so you remember last Friday when I said I had a HUGE project but couldn't give details? Well now I can!

One of my short, short, short stories has been selected to appear in the July issue of Scarlet Magazine. How cool is that! I've never been in a magazine before so I'm very excited. Yep, time for another happy dance in the street. Come on over and join me!

Actually, I do know of someone who will definitely be out there with me...because she's in the magazine too! Nope, not telling you who. You'll have to scoot on over to her blog to find out. Have fun!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Yes? No?

First, I want to thank everyone for the hugs. You guys are the best!

Second, I want to thank my on-line buddy for stepping up and answering all my car questions. What you said made a lot of sense and I will be scheduling an appointment post haste.

Speaking of my on-line buddy, I have a dilema. You see, we've been chatting for about a year now. We've discussed practically everything. I know his family squabbles and he knows the disaster that is my life. We've bolstered our spirits, cheered our individual progresses and laughed together. The only thing we haven't done is meet face to face.

The planets have aligned and we now have the opportunity to say hello in person. Gulp! Talk about nervous! The final decision is mine and I'm torn. On one hand, I would like to sit down and watch his expressions as we speak. On the other, I'm afraid it will make our friendship awkward. Though I doubt it's possible, there is always the chance that we won't like each other "live". If that's the case, I'm afraid I'll lose my valued friend. Or what if we do like each other? Then what? It's not as if he lives on the other side of the country but he's not next door either.

So what would you do? And yes, he'll be stopping by to see your advice. He's the one who suggested I ask my other on-line friends!

I Am NOT Perky!!!

I am not Stepford pleasant. At times, I am thrilled by the simplest things. At others, annoyed. When I’ve been too busy to breathe for an extended period and then everything ends at once, I feel lost and let down. I crash. I have occasional honestly bad days. I rarely reach out for moral support but when I do, no amount of telling me to suck it up will make restore my peace of mind. What is required is a hug, either physical or through words.

I am sensitive enough for my feelings to be hurt briefly by a thoughtless comment made by a friend yet thick-skinned enough to know it was unintentional and to let it go, no discussion necessary. I am more hurt by a supposed friend who never calls though invited to repeatedly. Even though I try to live by the basic Do No Harm philosophy, I am sure I’ve stepped on plenty of toes over the years. For those I didn’t immediately realize, I apologize.

One of the most difficult things for me to do is ask for help of any kind so when I do it’s because I truly need it. Recently, I asked an individual for some car advice. Having my questions ignored entirely has me thinking twice about ever doing so again. Perhaps it is wrong for me to feel this way but I do. Why? Simply because I’m human. But you are too. So accept me as I am with all my quirks and flaws and in return, I’ll do the same for you.