Friday, February 29, 2008

Stop! Drop! And Roll!

Not much to blog about today. I need to write, write, write! Still, I thought I'd leave you with this gem of an experience:

An hour ago I was making some post-marital-relations quesadillas and I caught my hair on fire. Yeah. Not fun times. I have long hair (I'm about to chop it off and donate it to Locks of Love) and I bent to set an armload of ingredients on the counter and my loose locks danced across the burner. I heard a sizzle, saw smoke, and whipped my head away from the stove. I smacked the ends of my hair with a pot holder just to be on the safe side.

I should also point out that during this terrifying episode Dave was sitting maybe five feet from me and never once realized anything was wrong.

Me: Holy shit! I just caught my hair on fire!
Dave: I thought I smelled something burning.

Sigh. At least he's calm in a crisis.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Lately I've been doing a lot of reading about fertility and naturally that topic lends itself to the topic of childbirth. Most people who know me know that I'm not an advocate of unnecessary medical intervention. If you're in dire need of medical care or it's an emergency, then yes, absolutely, use medical advances to your benefit.

Personally, I rarely take pain meds or medications unless I absolutely need them. Currently I take the minimal amount of HRT meds to balance the hormonal issues caused by my craptastic reproductive system. I'm eligible for meds to treat hirsutism, hot flashes, etc, but I declined them. I'm not pumping my body full of medications to treat vanity issues.

As far as pain meds are concerned, I had five teeth removed (four wisdom and one tooth damaged by a wisdom tooth) and other than the conscious sedation used in the actual removal and one vicodin as I left the dentist's office, I took absolutely nothing else during my recovery. I also had a bulging disk once and took only one Skelaxin (muscle relaxer) but then trashed them because they made me feel out of control. I chose physical therapy instead and I had immediate pain relief.

Anywho. Off topic. Back on track.

A lot of the women in my infertility support group have suggested that I read Pushed by Jennifer Block and watch the documentary The Business of Being Born. Well, I did, and holy shit am I disgusted. Last summer I read a World Health Organization report ranking developed countries and maternal/fetal death rates. Quite frankly, we suck at providing women proper medical care. We have the 2nd highest rate of fetal death in the developed world but spend twice as much money on prenatal care and birth. WTF? Our rates of maternal death are among the worst as well.

It's really eye-opening when you read the research on developed nations and maternal care. Across Europe and Japan 70-80% of all births are attended by midwives; in the US only 8% are attended by midwives. Most developed nations reserve OB care for women in high risk pregnancies. C-Section rates in these countries are in the single digits (6-8%) but in the US 1/3 of all births are C-section births. Some hospitals in metropolitan areas that allow so-called "designer births" (when the woman chooses her due date) have C-section rates of 46-50%. Digest that. It's insane.

The most sobering facts presented in the documentary occurred during the interviews with prestigious OB's who freely admit that c-section rates are so high because there's less chance of litigation and it's just easier for the doctor. One doctor talks about the recent studies showing that c-sections spike at 4 pm and 10 pm. Uh-huh. He explains the obvious: some doctors just want to go home. While I applaud this OB for being honest, I thought he was a fucking prick for saying that women who champion the cause of natural birth are, and I quote, "Feminist Masochists."

Feminist Masochist. For what? Trusting that her body is capable of giving birth? For refusing unnecessary intervention?

Another well-documented point in all of the childbirth literature and research I've read is the fact that the modern medical approach to labor and delivery applies time constraints to a natural process. Rather than allowing women to progress at their own pace, hospitals have time frames for each stage of labor. You have to dilate and deliver in a certain amount of time. This is a PUSHED BIRTH.

It goes like this. You check in. Your contractions are close but you're not dilating fast enough so they push Pitocin. Because you didn't get to ease into more powerful contractions, the pain is often too much so you opt for an epidural. The epidural impedes the progression of labor so they give you more Pitocin. Pitocin contractions are stronger and longer than contractions caused by natural oxytocin so the baby experiences longer decreases in blood and oxygen caused by the contracting uterus. This can lead to fetal distress which then causes the doctor to perform an emergency c-section.

I've just desribed the birthing experiences of two very close friends (related to me in excruciating detail) and what I suspect may have happened to a third. Oh, and Pitocin usage requires constant fetal monitoring and usually the insertion of an intrauterine pressue tube monitor thing. Once you're hooked up to all of these tubes and machines you're confined to the bed.

That flat on your back and push business has perplexed me since I was a kid. When my mom was pregnant with Tricia, I was old enough to understand all that baby business and I couldn't for the life of me understand how horizontal was better than vertical for pushing an object out of a tight tunnel. Seriously, folks, I put a tennis ball in a pipe to test my theory. When it was flat, the ball was stuck. If I shifted the pipe, the ball fell out. Hmmmm. Gravity. Interesting.

The Lithotomy position (ladies, we all know this one: legs in stirrups) seems counterproductive. We know that it causes the pelvis to narrow and that it basically causes the baby to be born at an upward angle. It also encourages the use of episiotomy (OUCH!), forceps, and vacuuming. What gives?

You know, one of the best segments in the documentary is when this one OB encourages his patient to use a midwife. He offers to be the back-up physician should any need arise. (As it happens, he is needed. The midwife is so calm and professional. She assesses her patient, notes that she's 4 cm dilated, and that the baby is breech. Based on that information, she makes the decision to go straight to the hospital rather than risk the baby.)

From the moment Dave and I discussed having children, he wanted to attempt a home birth. He's also of the belief that pregnancy isn't an illness and shouldn't be treated like one. I was so relieved. I've always liked the idea of birthing at home but usually when I admit that to friends/family I get these patronizing pats or tirades on the danger, because, you know, I'm not intelligent enough to have educated myself.

Obviously if we're high risk (which is a real probability) then we're using our current OB/GYN/Fertility Specialist. If we manage to conceive and I don't have high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, or god forbid, a litter, then we'll probably use one of the midwives serving our area. Texas licenses midwives the same way they do medics and other health professionals so I'm assured of getting quality care. And, of course, I absolutely trust Dave's judgment as to the health and welfare of myself and any child we might have. I know that at the first hint of a complication, he would call an ambulance. We're less than five minutes from CSMED which has a NICU so thankfully that's not an issue.

So. That's that. Those are my thoughts on the issue. Please, no flames.

I leave you with Dr. Marsden Wagner's (Former Director of Women & Children's Health for the World Health Organization for 15 years) quote: If you really want a humanized birth, the best thing to do is get the hell out of the hospital.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

One Woman's Cacophony...

Seriously, folks, I have nothing of consequence to blog about. Yesterday Dave and I picked out paint colors, priced mulch and ornamental plants, and chose the landscaping edgers we want. Bosley got two new toys, a knotted rope about 2 1/2 feet long and a squeaky bouncy ball. He went ape-shit when he realized the ball bounced AND squeaked. You should see a 120 plus pound puppy leaping and growling and running circles around a ball. It's hilarious and terrifying. Oh, and everyone warned me about Great Danes having deadly tails. They were soooo effing right. We almost lost a window and mini-blind during the Bos' Ball Dance. I almost lost an eye this afternoon; Dave is buying me goggles so I can continue working from the couch.

Steph, my SIL, and I were discussing music earlier this evening. Any time I discuss my musical tastes or share my playlists, I get these weird, WTF looks. My current writing playlist:

Hong Kong Garden by Siouxsie & The Banshees
Whatever Happened by The Strokes
An Ending (Ascent) by Brian Eno
Djobi Djoba by The Gipsy Kings
Love to Love You Baby by Donna Summer
The Greatest by Cat Power
Caughty By the Fuzz by Supergrass
Nighttiming by Coconut Records
Thais: Meditation by Yo-Yo Ma & Kathryn Stott
The Front Porch Song by Robert Earl Keen
Porterville by CCR
Inna-I-Malak by Azam Ali
Mystery Man by Terje Rypdal
Into Dust by Mazzy Star
Us & Them by Pink Floyd
Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros
Navajo Joe by Enrico Morricone
Returns A King by Tyler Bates
The Funeral by Band of Horses
So Long, Lonesome by Explosions in the Sky
Making Plans for Nigel by XTC
Storm by Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Fix You by Coldplay
The Drugs Don't Work by The Verve
Who Were You Thinking Of by The Texas Tornados
Dream by Alice Smith

I have something like 12 gigs of music in Itunes right now so I'm constantly shaking up my playlists. Even so this is how random they usually are. Dave can't stand it. I get a lot of, "Woman! Why?"

My answer: Why not?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Look, Ma! Real Journalism!

So Sunday morning (like 4ish) I was watching the recast of Saturday night's Bill Moyers Journal episode. (Sigh. Yes. I know. I know. I'm an uber-nerd. Yeah. I listen to NPR too. Naff off!)

The first segment was an expose conducted by staffers at the Seattle Times concerning earmarks. I've always been curious about earmarks, but they're a super shady slice of government pie. It's nearly impossible to glean any info about them from the yearly budget reports. After watching the segment, I understood why.

There are two particular parts of this expose that really pissed me off. Basically a member of congress earmarked millions of dollars for this helmet-mounted display for soldiers on the battlefield. Funny thing: the soldiers testing it said it was absolute crap. But because the earmark was part of the DOD budget, the army was forced to buy the displays and then chunked them in a warehouse.

Secondly, another congressman earmarked millions of dollars that forced the Marines to purchase--get this--t-shirts. You're probably thinking, so what? Well, uh, t-shirts are made of polyester, and guess what? Polyester burns. Gee. What do soldiers outside the wire not need to wear? Yeah. Flammable clothing. I couldn't believe that the reporters had to explain this for viewers. I've been accused of lacking common sense, but even I've known since I was a kid that cheap t-shirts are flammable. So yeah. The Marines purchased the shirts but then couldn't use them. Or rather, the Marines refused to wear them.

I can think of lots of better ways to spend millions of dollars of the Defense budget, like, oh, on fixing up the shatty VA system or increasing the educational benefits for National Guard soldiers. (Don't even get me started on that one. I almost puked when Ash explained how badly National Guard soldiers get shafted on that one....on a lot of stuff actually. It's despicable.)

Anywho. The second segment is the most interesting. Sarah Chayes is a former award-winning journalist who now lives and works in Afghanistan. Her experiences in Afghanistan are amazing. She went to cover the war and never left. After rebuilding towns and schools and such, she opened a cooperative to give Afghan farmers an alternative to opium production.

We don't hear a lot about Afghanistan anymore. I think a lot of people assume everything is sunshine and ponies over there, but it's far from it. I only know one person who has actually been there, but I've never asked about her experiences. I find it distasteful to ask servicewomen and men to rehash their tours of duty. That might just be one of my quirks, but whatever.

At any rate, if you have 25 minutes, watch Sarah's segment on Bill Moyers. It's awesome and seriously educational. In this election cycle, it can't hurt to be an educated voter.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Yakkety Yak

Not much to post today. I can't believe I'm sharing this story but here it is: This afternoon Bosley yakked on my head. Now, I don't know if you've ever seen a Great Dane vomit, but it's a sight both horrific and awesome. We're talking half a gallon of soupy dog food, Cheeto remnants, grass, and mud exploding on the back of my head with each lurch. For the record, he lurched 2.5 times.

You're probably asking yourself, "How the hell did the dog hit the back of her head, and why the hell didn't she move?"

Answer: I like to sit on the floor in front of my coffee table with my laptop resting on the surface, legs stretched out beneath the table. When I'm in that position, I'm basically rendered immobile. Or, at least, it's tough to move quickly. Also Bosley likes to sit next to me and rest his chin on the top of my head. I'm not sure why he does that, but whatever.

It was a nice afternoon so I left the back door open so Bos could run back and forth between the house and the backyard. It's easier than getting up every ten minutes to open the door. Normally I take away his food and water when he's racing around the back yard. (Danes can develop bloat and torsion if they do a lot of running after eatng. Bloat and torsion can be fatal and usually is.) I totally spaced today so he was able to eat and drink and run around. He raced into the living room, skidded into the couch, and then slammed his drool-dripping chin onto my head. I sighed and gave him a soft shove on the shoulder. He grumbled and burped (smelled like burnt tires, I swear) and then dry heaved. I tried to clamber away, but there was no time. I got hosed.

I'm sooooo glad that I'm not a sympathetic puker. To be fair to Bos, dog yak isn't the worst thing that I've been sprayed with in my lifetime. During high school, I spent hundreds of hours in the back of an ambulance and during that time I was hosed/splashed/sprayed/misted with various bodily fluids including but not limited to: a blood geyser caused by a shotgun wound to the head (that was my first call ever, btw), a four year old with a hellacious tummy ache and apparently a penchant for 7Up and animal crackers, the clumpy yellow contents of an exploding NG tube (happened maybe ten minutes into a fifty minute transport,) poo vomit from an elderly patient with some horrendous kind of blockage that caused her poo to literally back up and well you get the picture, and the sympathetic vomit from the medic riding the poo vomit call with me.

In case you're wondering, I don't miss those days. Not one bit. I'm quite content to concern myself the gastric explosions of Bos, on occasion Dave-o, and maybe someday kids.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Age of Consent

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking, mainly existential thoughts of little or no use. (Damn you, Kierkegaard!!!) A few weeks ago at Ash's baby shower, I had one of those "holy shit, we're grown-ups" moments. I didn't like it. It gave me the squicks.

Sara, Ash, and I were standing in Ash's parents' kitchen, and rather than talking about the usual stuff (movies, TV, music, juicy gossip about so-and-so,) we were discussing our 401(k) plans, mutual funds, and filing Homestead papers. I know! It's sick, right? Ash was the first to catch on to the absolute ickiness of the discussion and made a comment to that end. We laughed about it, but it stuck with me. Someone, I think it may have been Ash's grandmother, remarked that she'd never seen such young women discussing those kinds of things.

Between the three of us we've mastered the Trifecta of Adulthood: Marriage, House, and Baby. Ash and I are tied; she has the marriage and baby, and I have the house and marriage. Sara has the house. Oh, and a riding lawn mower which, quite frankly, might be a better deal than a husband. At least some days, lol.

Almost two years ago, Sara made the first jump into adulthood when she bought a house. (She was 21-22ish.) A year later and aged 23, I was the second to buy a house and the first to get married. Ash (23) and Ryan married a month later and had Nick six days ago. (I hear the little guy totally rocks, by the way.)

So I don't know. Are we accomplishing the big "adult" hurdles earlier than previous generations? Are we the norm or the exception? Am I disgusted and totally freaked out by the fact that I not only bought but frequently wear (around the house, never in public) a, gulp, Fair Isle hoodie? Did my fist-pumping, Damn-the-Man-screaming, bohemian/emo youth just shoot me the finger and call me a consumer whore before making a mad dash out the nearest door? And why the hell was my youth murmuring something about Project Mayhem and soap?

When I mention these fears/worries to Dave, he tells me I'm overreacting and that this is just life. You get older. Life goes on. Yeah, well, I then have to remind Dave that his outlook is fine for, you know, someone as old as he is. (He tends to make The Face when I remind him of the age difference. Sometimes I point it out just to giggle at The Face, lol.)

Who knows. Dave's probably right. Even so, I'm clinging to the final vestiges of my youth with a death grip. And yeah, I'm totally going to mourn the day I lose the right to check the 18-24 age range box. 25-30? The HORROR!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Furry Faux Pas

*Disclaimer: This first paragraph may contain some language that offends. Seriously, though, I'm not sure the "appropriate" terms are any less crass and/or offensive.*

It's come to my attention that Bosley has absolutely no grasp on social mores. He sees absolutely no issue with flopping onto the couch or carpet, rolling onto his back and gyrating. It's like watching a Scooby Doo/Ron Jeremy/Chippendale hybrid. All guests of the house are instantly treated to an enthusiastic crotch and/or crack sniff, and the last time poor Sara came to the house, Bosley made quite a show of auto-fellating and tossing his own salad. She took it in stride, but I was mortified when he then proceeded to attempt to lick Sara's hand. Ew! I know!

I know short of making him some doggie tightie-whities there's really nothing I can do to curb his exhibitionist tendencies. Sometimes I even envy him a bit. Ah, to enjoy that sort of public freedom...

Dave and I are trying to get Bosley out more. He needs a little social interaction, but I've been wary since he tends to panic when in new situations or around other dogs. Until this week, he's flatly refused to get into the truck to go anywhere. It was an absolute nightmare to get him into the truck to go back to E-Town, or hell, even to go to the vet which is right down the street. Dave usually resorts to hefting the dog over one shoulder to get him in the truck. (Lift with your knees, Dave-O! Lift with your knees!)

Yesterday Dave and I decided to head over to Chick-Fil-A for a late lunch. On a whim, we decided we'd take Bos with us. Eventually we managed to get him in his harness--he thinks it's a chew toy, but seriously, if you have a big dog or a leasher jerker, get one! They're amazing!

Where was I? Oh, right. Bos in harness. So I walked him outside, fully prepared to drag his huge butt over to the truck, but he surprised me by trotting right over to the passenger door. I opened the door, he climbed in and we took off. Dave and I were shocked.

There was a slight moment of panic went we went through the drive-thru. The second he heard that scratchy speaker voice, Bos' ears perked and he gave that low growl he does before he starts bellowing. Luckily he stayed calm and only did a small bark when he saw the guy taking orders at window.

Oh, and the cashier girl handed Dave one of those bone shaped treats with our order. (Odd, I know, but I guess they see a lot of dogs?) Dave held the bone out to Bosley, and I'll be damned if he didn't give a sniff and haughtily toss his head. Apparently Ol' Roy treats are beneath him.

You know, I think I spoil him too much. In the beginning, Dave and I gave Bosley the best of everything because we felt so freakin' bad for him. He looked so pathetic when we adopted him because he'd been so badly mistreated at that effing puppy mill. Organic shampoo and conditioner, super premium dog food, tons of toys, the best vet, lots of snuggles--there was nothing we denied him. I realize now that I've turned Bosley into the Veruca Salt of Great Danes. "I want it now!"

All along Dave quietly warned me that all the things I found so cute in my fifty pound puppy were going to be annoying when he was one hundred pounds. Did I listen? No. Am I paying for it now? Yeah. The lesson: If we ever have kids, all things in moderation.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A (Not So) Glamorous Life

Two bits of news before the main post:

1) The Ash gave birth to The Baby Nick via C-section at 0323 this morning! He's a big boy (21 inches, 9 lbs 2 oz), and from what I hear from his uber-proud mommy, a real cutie! Congrats to Ash and Ryan!!!!

2) Apparently I dropped a plastic blister pack containing a 25 Pounds or Under dose of Heartgard on the floor. Dave saw it but didn't pick it up. Bosley, however, did find it and ate the entire thing. Yes plastic and all. Sigh. Luckily the extra Heartguard dose isn't a problem, but I'll give you one guess about who is now on Poop Watch '08. Her name starts with an "M" and ends with "aria is irked and grossed out."

Now onto the promised post by J. Scalzi. I've never read any of his books (I'm not a sci-fi fan) but I heart his blog. Recently he posted an entry on money and writing. Ah, yes, one of the evils that plagues artists, specifically that there never seems to be enough of it, the money that is.

His first piece of advice is priceless and sadly so effing true: You're a writer. Prepared to be broke. You know, I'm not sure where this romanticized view of writers lounging all day in their pajamas while sipping champagne and eating Teuscher truffles comes from, but it's so far from the truth that it's laughable. Folks, I sit my chubby butt in front of my laptop 10-14 hours a day (sometimes more if I'm on a writing jag) with no guarantee that I'll ever get paid for my work. My first published novella, Nocturnal Obsession, was written in three days, but some of my longer works (like my novel Sangre which was shopped around by my agent, generated interest from multiple editors, but never made it through the buying committee) took months of schlepping and revising and editing to finish--and never made me a freakin' dime. One word for that: demoralizing. But I love writing and telling stories so I just keep after it. I'm finally at a point where I'm making money but it's hardly enough to support me.

Which brings me to Scalzi's third piece of advice: Marry (or otherwise shack up with) someone sensible with money, who has a real job. I totally lucked out with Dave-O. He happily supported my broke ass for years before we were married and never complained. He seems to think my bad ass cooking and, uh, well, other skills, are a fair trade, but I'll be the first to admit that it was, at times, difficult to realize that I had zero income. Again, I was lucky because Dave never made me ask for money (like some asshat men do.) We paid our bills and then split whatever was left over as discretionary spending. By the end of this year, I hope to generate enough writing income to cover 1/3 of our monthly expenses. That doesn't sound like a very lofty goal, but for a writer, it's huge. And really I can't complain. I've had a relatively easy time of starting my writing career. I know writers who worked ten to fifteen years before finally getting an agent or publishing a book. I started at 21ish and sold my first book at 23. Not bad really.

The rest of Scalzi's post concerns good money management and tips that most people would benefit from using. Dave and I laughed as we went through them because we do all of them. We are so freakin' frugal it's almost sad at times. We don't have cable or satellite. We don't go out to dinner or the movies more than 4-5 times a year. We don't use credit cards. We've had the same furniture for years, and lemme tell you, it desperately needs replacing. But until we have the cash in hand, we're happy making do. I know a lot of people don't get that but we'd rather be happy with what we have than unhappy and stressed over bills for shit we don't need.

If you're interested in writer incomes and/or pay schedules here are two illuminating posts:

Jim C. Hines: The Money Post

Jennifer Jackson (Agent): Advances--What Are They Really Made Of?

Also I'm often asked about royalties. Here's the breakdown:

Digital (e-books): 37.5% of cover price (I heart e-publishing!)
Mass Market Paperback: 6-8% of cover price, but I've seen the number as high as 10% (depends on the number of units sold)
Trade Paperbacks: 7.5% of cover price
Hardcover: 10% of first 5000 copies, 12.5% of next 5000, and then 15% of everything else

Keep in mind that it gets more confusing when you factor in wholesale discounts for books sold to chain stores and such. Also you don't see a penny of your royalties until you've earned through your advance. Oh, and don't forget that out of your royalties you have to pay agent fees (15%) and self-employment taxes.

Sigh. Hardly as glamorous as it seems, eh? Still I wouldn't change it for the world. Well. Okay. I'd change the mediocre royalty checks--but that's it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sweatin' With Sven!

OMG! OMG! OMG! The Ash is labor with The Baby Nick!!!! Give it hell, mami!

Bosley went to the vet today. He weighs 118.4 pounds. Yes, that's right. 118 pounds and he's only 11 months old. Great Danes don't finish growing until 18-24 months. He really will be the size of a horse by his 2nd birthday. Oh, and his visit cost us $368. I know, right! His K9 Advantix is $197/six months. When the vet tech gave us the total, Dave balked and said, "Excuse me?"

Oh, and Bosley had to have a blood draw followed by the taking of his temp. Yeah, uh, I'll let you guess where they stick the thermometer. Needless to say Bosley didn't appreciate that unexpected invasion and made quite an interesting face. Dave laughed so hard he almost fell off the chair in the vet's office.

Bosley was a bit jumpy after his vet visit. He was playing with his new stuffed duck (the kind that honks) and I was trying to teach him the word for that particular toy.

Me: Bosley! Duck! Duck!
Bosley reaches down to grab the duck and bring it to me.
Dave shouts: GOOSE!
Bosley jumps four feet and almost pisses himself.

Again, Dave laughed so hard he almost fell but this time onto our bed instead of the floor in the vet's office. Dave's still chuckling to himself over that one. Sigh.

Let's see. What else? Oh. We did our taxes. I don't know why I've always been so frightened of doing them. It was really simple, even the Schedule C bit. We're getting a nice refund too. We're splitting the check and putting half into savings (probably money market) and the other half into the house. Looks like I finally get to paint the interior of the house and Dave-O gets to tackle his landscaping projects.

Oh, and as for the title, well, I decided to join the 70 Days of Sweat Challenge. Basically you finish a book in 70 days. My goal is 1500 words/day on my YA novel. That particular novel has languished on my hard drive for months, begging to be finished. Unfortunately my commitments and contracts in the erotic romance world have kept me from tackling it. By using it as my goal in the Sweating with Sven challenge I have no reason to stall. I have to get off the old keister and work on it.

Of course that means juggling my erotic romance novels and novellas with the YA, but whatever. I'm up for the challenge. Want to know what Dave-O said when I joined the 70 Days of Sweat Challenge?

Dave: Good lord, woman! Why? Ah, hell. Who cares why? I'll pick up more Dr. Pepper in the morning.

He knows me so well, lol.

Anywho. I'm off. I need to find that Scalzi post for tomorrow's blog. Oh, and hopefully I'll have super exciting baby news soon!!! Congrats Ash & Ryan!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Keepin' On

First off, thanks to everyone who sent emails, text messages or left comments of support. I heart you guys!

Secondly, well, seems I spoke--or rather wrote--too soon. Not long after I posted my blog on Saturday evening, my grandmother was admitted to the hospital for complications associated with a super bad case of the flu. Her blood pressure is skyrocketing and they think she may have clogged arteries in her neck.

A few hours after that, my cousin, S, had to take her infant son to the ER because milk dribbled into his lungs. (I'm not sure why, but I think it may be something to do with the fact that he was born premature.) He's seriously a miracle baby. He was born so early that he's considered a micro-preemie and spent close to four months in a NICU in San Antonio. Looking at pictures of him is astounding. My mom made little hats for him when he was born (to keep him warm) and she used a tennis ball as the model. Yeah. He was that small. When you look at pictures of him now it's amazing. He's grown soooo much! And he's freakin' cute, lol.

Needless to say, every time my phone rings and I hear my mom's ringtone, I cringe.

In the good news deparment:

Ash's love of her life, fire of her loins is home for the next 2 weeks. He's here for the birth of their son which is so effing exciting--and slightly terrifying, I'm sure.

My brother, Marcos, is getting married! Yay! They're a bit young, but when you're in love, you take risks. I think Dave is relieved to see all of my wedding planning books leaving the house in a small box bound for E-Town, lol.

I finished my edits on Illicit Bargain and sent the blurb off to my editor. It needs a little work but she's phenomenal in that department.

Dave brought home a gorgeous bouquet of tulips on Monday afternoon, just before he left for a half-shift. They are hands-down the most perfect tulips I've ever seen. The petals are a pale blush pink with just the softest tinge of saffron to the tips and the stems are a vibrant apple green. I love them. And I love Dave. He does that a lot. Bring home random gifts, that is. If I ask him why, he'll say, "I thought they looked nice and knew you would enjoy them," or he'll just shrug and say, "Why not?"

In the iffy news department:

We're doing our taxes tomorrow. I thought about going to H&R block again but then I found out that they charge by the form. We need like a million forms this year so I don't think so. I asked around and everyone recommends Turbo Tax. I figure I'm intelligent enough to read directions and/or look up tax code. If I'm not 100% certain then we'll go to a professional.

Bosley goes to the V-E-T tomorrow. Since he packs on weight like a Sumo wrestler at Golden Corral, we have to take him every few months to be weighed and have his meds adjusted. He also has to be heartworm tested tomorrow which means a blood draw. Can you say nightmare? He also knows the word "vet" which is why Dave and I have to spell it. I'm not kidding. I said, "Dave, I need to make a vet appointment," and Bosley almsot snapped his neck when he whipped it around to glare at us. So now "vet" is classified in the same column as "bath." We don't say those words aloud. Not unless we want to chase a panicking horse through the house...

All right. That's all for today. I'm going to hunt down an interesting blog post by J. Scalzi so I can reference it tomorrow in my blog. He's been discussing the need for self-employed folks (like writers) to marry well. It's generating a bit of debate, lol. More importantly, Scalzi is a hilarious writer so his posts are seriously giggle inducing. But more on that tomorrow...

Saturday, February 09, 2008


I know I said I was going to blog on self-prescribing asshats, but issues arose and, well, I'm just not in the blogging mood. In the last two weeks, I've been inundated with crap news. It's definitely affecting my writing.

First my brothers' and sister's godfather passed away. He was a rather important and constant figure in my childhood and teenage years. He was also one of my father's dearest friends, and such a good man when it came to my brothers and sister. I was shocked when I learned that he died. I knew he was sick, but he always seemed too contrary to pass. His death has revived my fears about my father's health and the long-term effects of his diabetes. But that's another post for another time...

Secondly my muse died. I mean that literally. I was basing a character in my next novella on this certain person, and yeah, he unexpectedly dropped dead. So now I've had to abandon that manuscript because it creeps me out to even think about writing steamy scenes based on character who is no longer living.

Third, on Thursday morning, I received horrible news from home. It was the kind of heartbreaking news where you can't even think of a reply. You just sit there, holding the phone and sobbing. I'm not going to elaborate on the news because it isn't mine to share and it's a sensitive subject. I feel helpless in that I want so badly to be able to take away the pain that this person is feeling, but there isn't anything I can say or do that will fix what has happened. I think that if I were in this person's position I would want privacy so that's what I'm doing. I'm not going to call or bother her. It's the least I can do.

Oh, and my brother, Joey, was laid off on Friday. He's super down about it. He really loved that job. I have no idea what he'll do now. There isn't exactly a great job market in E-Town. I think he may have to entertain the idea of moving. At least he doesn't have a family to support...

So I'm taking a few days off. I'll try to think of something witty for Monday evening. Until then I'm going to saturate myself in Dr. Pepper, Vodka, and Oreos (no, not all at once) and snuggle up between Dave-O and Bos. L8R.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

My Tennis Ball. You Like?

Short post today. I was on a writing binge today and cranked out four chapters of my latest novel. Holy shat are my wrists and fingers on fire! Seriously. This is insane. Weird thing is--I'm desperate to keep writing, but for the sake of my hands, I'm forcing myself to stop.

Sigh. This is what happens when Dave is gone for extended periods of time, and I have no other way to, uh, amuse myself.

On a totally cool note, my sister-in-law, Stephanie, is like a freakin' awesome photog. During the most recent round of wildfires in CA, she took some super nifty pics. I'm talking National Geographic quality shots. She really has a knack for grabbing the perfect angle, the best lighting, and the most interesting subjects. Her pic of Max, one of their Vizslas, was featured on deviantART.

All right. That's all for tonight. I'm going to snuggle with Bos and watch some DVDs. Oh, and tomorrow I'm going to do a mini-rant on the asshats who self-prescribe fertility medications via online pharmacies. Asshats!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


As I'm writing this I'm staring at about, oh, one-tenth of my library collection. I can't even begin to explain how incredibly giddy I am to finally see my books on our huge bookshelf. See, my mom's family are book people. Over the years my grandparents have amassed an astonishing collection of hardbound books, most of them pre-1940, first editions, rare, or signed. When my grandmother passed away, I learned that I was to inherit their book collection. Since then containers of books have started trickling back to Texas after visits to Ohio. Mom kept them safe for me, and now that I have my own house and tons of room, they're slowly making their way here.

Dave and I unpacked 220 books the other evening. He's as much of a bibliophile as I am--actually more. He reads all the time. Me, well, I write all the time. I have a rule that I never read any non-research materials while writing a manuscript. Just the thought of subconscious influence and/or borrowing makes me cringe. It happens to writers all the time. Usually we catch it in edits but god help you if it makes it to your editor. Yikes!

So anyways... We unpack the books, marvel at the smell of the paper, the aged tinge on the bindings. It's lovely. I smile every time I find a book with a publish date earlier than 1900. I laugh when I uncover the tattered copy of Little Women that I read at least twenty times during middle school. Dave gasps when he finds a copy of Summer of the Monkeys. As I near the bottom of the last crate, I grow sad. It's been like Christmas, you know?

Dave and I now realize that we desperately need more book cases. We still have boxes and boxes of books in the garage (paper backs mainly, lots of newer fiction and dozens of EMS and college textbooks) and hundreds, hell, maybe even thousands of books still coming from Ohio.

I'm beginning to realize that Dave-O and I really need to come up with a cataloguing and shelving system for the books. Right now they're just sort of haphazardly placed on the shelves. I haven't the slightest idea how to approach this issue. My first thought was the good ole Dewey Decimal system--but then I realized that I would prefer to separate the books by frequency of use. You know, like, my favorite paperbacks on easily accessible shelves. So I don't know. We'll play it by ear I guess.

And now I'm thinking that I should check with my homeowner's insurance policy about the books. I haven't the foggiest idea what this part of the collection is worth. Sigh. Yet another entry for my impossibly long To-Do list.

Speaking of which--I should really get back to work. I received my edits for Illicit Bargain last night. The copy is fairly clean so there aren't any major revisions/edits needed. I can't tell you how giddy that makes me. I loathe edits, lol. I hate them so much that I tend to procrastinate. Of course, Dave knows this so he's been bugging me all day about getting my edits done and sent back to Kelli K, my editor. Yeah. He can be annoying sometimes, but he says he does it out of love. Yeah. Right.

So to keep the love of my life, fire of my loins off my case, I'm signing off for the night. Do svidanya!