Monday, December 25, 2006
He stood in line forever to get me a deluxe Scrabble edition (though he may be regretting that now since I kicked his butt on our old Scrabble set last night) and found an artist that makes these really cool wire horses to make one for me. I'll have to take a picture of it later. It's really beautiful. I've been wanting one since we saw them at an art show a couple of years ago. Then the really big gift that was totally unexpected -- a new desktop media PC. We've been needing one, but I kind of just thought we'd get one after we moved and had things like cable again, even though my old desktop was sooooo slllooooowwwww. The new one is really cool and really fast. I'm typing on it right now. It'll be really, really cool once we get it all hooked up to a real sound system and our projector and whatnot. Really really. We'll have to stock up on popcorn for movie nights.
My big gift to him was a really nice copper saute pan. Mauviel from Williams Sonoma. I'm going to slowly replace all his old pans with nice new ones. Though now I wish I'd gotten him two pans instead of just one. But I also got him something that isn't here yet (so I won't say what it is in case he reads this) and some other miscellaneous stuff. The pan was the big thing.
Mom sent a bunch of old pictures, which made me all teary, especially some baby ones with me and dad. I don't think I'd even seen some of them before. And two photo albums to put them in, so I'll have to go through and organize them. I had serious coconut head (i.e. fuzzy Asian-baby hair) when I was little. Dad called me coconut head.
Lisa got me a covered casserole dish that's part of the set of China that I inherited from Grandma. Very pretty piece. It's not at all our style of china, but it was Grandma's, so it is special to me. I want to get enough pieces together (Grandma started me off with a complete set of plates, a sugar dish, and a creamer) to do Thanksgiving with. I'd already bought two pieces last year -- a gravy dish and a platter. So I'm getting there.
And Pam sent a cute little "catikin" (wooden cat manikin) that goes along with my human figure one. Maybe it'll help when I paint Gracie and Harley...or not, since Grace has that huge layer of blubber over the top of everything. And she also got me a candy thermometer (you know, so I know exactly when the hard ball stage is).
The relatives also sent wonderful fun stuff too -- beef jerky (that Harley got into, the jerk -- but I managed to save most of it) and cookbooks from Auntie Dot & Uncle Ray, a pretty t-shirt from Uncle Jensen, a restaurant gift certificate and some dish towels from Auntie Es & Uncle Herb, and a wine tool set from Uncle Wil & Auntie B.
I'm sure I'm forgetting something. That was the big big stuff though. It was a good Christmas. But mostly, I'm just thankful that Tony is home. He's going to have to work this week after all, but at least it sounds like he'll be working from home. So that's something. That's all I really want - time with my hubby.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I really, really need to do some shopping though. I'm thinking maybe tomorrow. It's really gross out today. But, its supposed to be gross out tomorrow too. It isn't that cold, but it is rainy and just generally dreary.
I have a few more things to mail too -- I guess I can get those ready today and then send them out tomorrow. I need to check the PO Box anyway, since we asked that some things be shipped there so wouldn't have to worry about packages being left out on the porch. Someone stole two boxes of padded envelopes the other day. I'm sure it wasn't what they were expecting to get. I didn't even report, though I know I should. I've just given up. The police never respond unless it's something serious -- so if no gun was involved, you might as well just give it up.
I should go on a wrapping spree. Half of the stuff under the tree isn't wrapped since it's stuff we got from people in the mail and I didn't want to open the boxes in case they weren't wrapped (I know the stuff Pam sent isn't; she's not a wrapper). One thing has already been unwrapped, and it wasn't my fault. Auntie Dot sent some Chinese beef jerky (love that stuff) and I didn't realize that's what it was until I discovered that Harley had helped himself. He went through the wrapping paper and the plastic. The little bugger. I should know better, but I didn't get any hint through the sniff test. He's sneaky.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I haven't slept yet tonight. Can't sleep. Desperately want to. It's pretty much morning, now. I've taken another set of pills, hopefully they will push me over the Sandman's ledge and my eyes will...close.
That's Bjork up there, by the way.
And, of course, tonight is one of those nights where the house is all creaky. And Tony isn't home. And I have five million things I need to do tomorrow, including mailing Christmas presents so they hopefully get where they are going in time.
Happily, tomorrow is the last day of the steroid pack of pills I'm on for my back. I think they are the root of my insomnia. I've had trouble sleeping at night since I started taking them (5 days-ish ago). I think they've helped the back problem -- though it's a little hard to tell, in a way -- and I won't know for sure until after a while. At which point I have to see the Dr. again and decide whether to go for the epidural treatment.
But I'd really like to sleep right now.
I did catch some Zzzzzz's today/(technically) yesterday morning after I dropped Tony off at the airport. I wanted to make sure I'd catch the UPS guy, so I slept on the couch, fitfully, but did not fall off. But, hoo-boy, what weird dreams! I think that must be another side effect. It wasn't specifically listed, but "possible psychotic episodes" was, so hey, weird dreams aren't exactly unlikely.
I'm so ready to move.
Not ready in the "everything packed and set to go" sense, but ready in the "Louisville has ground me down and I can't take it anymore" sense. I don't think I ever want to live Southern again. I knew it from that stint in Mississippi, but I didn't have a choice then being as I was just a teenager. And yes, I know that Florida is technically about as South as you get for the U.S., but there's a big difference between Florida and Kentucky.
Some of it is unreasonable of me, I know. But once I'm done...well, I'm just done. Stick a fork in me and all that.
I really, really want to go to sleep.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
I like King Dork. A lot, actually. It's a book that kind of defies description though. I'm not sure how I'm going to review it. It's kind of like...say a parent/author comes proudly wheeling in their newest offspring. "Isn't she a beauty," they gush. And rightly so. But you're looking at this baby and you notice that the poor sucker's head is a little bigger than it should be. Or maybe a little lopsided. And you're thinking, well, everyone thinks their baby is the prettiest baby out there, but that baby...hmmmm but then you look closer and actually, that big head on that baby kind of goes. It's distinctive. Interesting. Perhaps the kind of baby that you'd like to get to know, versus one you'd just kitchey-coo at and forget all about the next day. But this -- this is a baby you won't easily forget. This is a baby with some intriguing stuff rattling around in that big head. You'd just bet on it.
Anyway, I liked it. Good book. I'll put together an actual coherent review for the website instead of that baby drivel.
Now, for Princess Izzy. I'm not sure I'm going to review that one for the website. It isn't a bad book, but I didn't particularly care for it. It was hard to -- you'd think, from the cover and the back copy, that -- hey, this is a book about Princess Izzy and her crazy, dizzy life and the love(s) of her life -- but you'd ultimately be wrong. No, it's a book written by a possibly jilted woman who's husband was possibly murdered or possibly not. A character who you quite easily guess who it is, even though they spend half the book pretending to be all un-biased (snort). Even when they are complimenting someone, they aren't. It was just hard to care about any of the characters, since they all might be adulterers or murderers or just plain stupid but then again they might not. Maybe they're just misunderstood. And the authorial presence hinges everything on circumstance but never actually asks. Because they'd rather not really know. You know, in case it isn't what they want. But ultimately, as a reader, I finally just didn't care. I just wanted it to all be over with so they could all go back to self-congratulating themselves and influencing fashion in bad ways.
Friday, December 15, 2006
It originally started out as an idea for what I could do to change my little vampire book into something that didn't have vampires in it, but I think I like it better as an idea just on its own. It's actually Dan Ehrenhaft's fault I started it. ;-) He'd emailed me about how it was going, etc., and that got me started thinking about this idea I'd had, etc....
Anyway, I think I like it. Will probably do some exercises around it to flesh out the characters a bit. Maybe think about some names, since I just trolled through my playlist to get some (so there's a Nick as in Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and a Nina ala Nina Sky).
Don't really want to put too much down about it since I'm not sure where its headed -- it could go a few different ways.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Tomorrow Tony is off again to Chicago. We have a lot of last nights now -- though, on the bright side, that also means we have a lot of first nights when he comes back.
We've been watching a lot of Netflix movies lately. The other night we watched Tortilla Soup, which I hadn't realized was essentially the exact same movie (just Latino vs. Japanese) as Eat, Drink, Man, Woman. Kind of surreal to see them both, especially since it wasn't long ago that we saw the other one. There were things I liked about both versions, though I'd probably recommend the Tortilla Soup one to English speakers since you don't have to muddle through the sub-titles that way.
Last night, we watched the Director's Cut of Bladerunner. I hadn't seen the movie in so long I couldn't really point out the differences. Still, a great picture. Someday I need to read the book.
Tony is still working on the puzzle that Lisa got him for his birthday. It's called the Shipper's Dillemna. You have to fit 3 different sized blocks of wood into one cube without any left over. He's gotten close, but not quite there yet. Good thing he likes puzzles.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
We've shown the house to a few groups of people. We were thinking of doing an open house this weekend but Tony had too much work to do, so we didn't. The relocation people are supposed to call soon, so things may start moving faster once that happens. The flyers from the info tube have been disappearing at a regular rate. I keep wondering if I should add some more pictures. If people have seen other houses in the neighborhood, they might not realize how much better shape this one is in. We'll see. I guess I'll wait to see what the relocation people have to say.
I've been working on the art show stuff and on the Cybils nominees and some reviews for TokyoPop. I've got a TON of reviews to catch up on and a bunch of prize books to mail out. It's neverending sometimes.
The visit with Pedro and Jamie was really nice. We did all kinds of stuff -- checked out the Zoo (bigger than we'd thought it would be), did the Woodford tour, went to Morton's and Lynn's...it was fun. It was great to see them again. Nice to be able to do stuff with people. There aren't many people we do things with in Louisville, other than Rich and Bob next door. Moving to Chicago will be a huge improvement, since Tony already knows so many people up there. Maybe we'll actually have parties again! :-)
I got the Christmas cards almost all finished this weekend. Just a few more addresses I need to get and then I'll be done. Tony, of course, worked all weekend.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I'm taking him out to Proof on Main for dinner. He likes the place, it's artsy, and I happen to have a gift certificate because Stan & Mary (e.g. The Third Street Association) recently gave me one for all the help on the art show. That was nice and unexpected. And worked out perfectly since we need to conserve some cash right now because of some unexpected new expenses and trying to make sure the house is all spiffy so we can sell it. That mostly just means keeping it clean and straightened up. The flyers have been steadily disappearing from the info tube, but no calls yet. We'll see. I think once we get people in to see it, it will hopefully go fairly fast. After all, I've been in other houses around here and I know that ours is in much better condition than probably 80% of the neighborhood. It's beautiful inside and out and not many of the houses in Old Louisville can say that. Many have really been trashed inside.
I watched A Lot Like Love (Ashton Kutcher, Amanda Peet, 2005) the other night. Thought it was pretty good. Not as good as, say, When Harry Met Sally (the best romantic comedy of all time), but not bad. I even sat through the Director's Commentary, which they'd recorded before the movie was released. They mentioned how they hoped the movie would do well, but you never know, etc. etc. So that made me curious. So I looked up the box office take on it and some reviews afterwards. It looks like it pretty much bombed. Didn't do that well at all. The reviews I saw trashed it, though each one trashed it in a different way (no chemistry, good chemistry, took too long, etc., etc.). I guess I wouldn't make a good movie reviewer. I'm pretty kind to movies. Heck, I'm pretty kind to books. If I really, really hate it, I just don't review it. I don't see the point. It's not going to help the author or the publisher and there might be someone out there that does like it that my review would discourage from reading it. Doesn't seem worth publishing a really bad review. But maybe that's just me. Some people just like to vent their anger at other artists.
Not that there haven't been some self-pubbed stuff that's come across my desk that I wouldn't mind taking a stab at it. Some of it is so truly, truly awful you wonder what people were thinking. But, it's kind of like calling someone's baby ugly. It doesn't do any good and just hurts someone's feelings for no good reason.
The self publishing companies have made it entirely too easy for someone to put out a book. That's the only bad thing. Some of the really, really horrible stuff out there....all it really does is make it harder for good (or even just decent) writers. It makes it harder to find those diamonds in the rough.
And most of the better self-pubbed stuff could have been published with either some revision or some perseverance. Coming back again to how the self publishing companies make it too easy for someone. Writing & getting something published is work. It isn't easy. It's hard. It can take years and years and years.
But that's not really what I was talking about. Actually, I guess I wasn't really talking about anything. Same as always.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
I am desperately tired at the moment, but here I sit. I was lying in bed for a while and had even taken my pills (which are making me sleepy in that medically induced kind of way), but things kept flitting through my head. Things I need to do. Things I need to write down. Emails I need to send. And so I get up and write down some notes for a story (a very marketable idea, which means I'll probably start work on it and then stall), check some emails, and then get sidetracked reading Laura Schumacher's (possibly spelled wrong, and I already closed the browser window) essays about her autistic son. Very touching and now I sit here with a few tear tracks down my face as well. Tired and weepy. Joy.
I had a semi-productive day today. The vet made a house call to give Grace and Harley their annual shots (they were less than thrilled). Then I had to run out and get cat food since I'd run out of wet food and the only thing that makes up a vet visit is a nice bowl of wet cat food. Actually, it's the only thing that makes up for anything bad in their lives. They live for the sound of a pouch being ripped open or a can lid coming off.
I stopped at Ollie's Trolley for lunch while I was out. I'm trying to hit some of the places around town that I'll be sorry to leave behind. We haven't been here that long, but we tend to explore a lot, so I do have some things to miss. Ollie's has these Ollie Burgers that have some special sauce on them and fries that they sprinkle with seasoning. Not your normal seasoning for french fries, but something different. I have no idea what it is. It was, quite possibly, the messiest burger I've ever had. And the fastest fast food -- McDonald's could take a clue from the staff in that little train car. I've had to wash my hands at least 3 times to get rid of the burger smell.
Then I ran into Rich outside and chatted for a while. Can't even recount everything we talked about -- he can be quite the chatter if you get him going, and everything is a little story, usually with a punch line. He ought to write the stuff down.
Then I fought with the art show database for a while. Trying to re-do the fee pages to make them more friendly. I kind of hate mucking around in code that someone else wrote, especially since I just can't seem to think like other people. And I hate structures. I know I'm supposed to love structures, but there's something in my brain that just doesn't get them. I can't think that way. So it is slightly better now, but I'm going to tackle it again tomorrow and hopefully improve it some more. Hopefully. I have my fingers crossed.
Then I went to a meeting about the art show at Mary's house. Trying to make decisions for next year. She isn't happy that we're moving and keeps pushing about how cold Chicago is. Yeesh, I know. Though I deal with cold better than Tony does. He got cold in Gainesville, for heaven's sake. I even have a picture of him huddled miserably on a beach blanket in his jacket from a time we went to Saint Augustine. I think it was in March.
I know what she means though. It's hard to get volunteers. Though, if we had more, it wouldn't be so bad. Many hands and all that.
I really need to get cracking on the wrapping up part. I have to finish up some documentation on the pieces that still need to be completed for the website/database and finish up the instructions too. I've been putting off some bits for way too long.
Not that they are ever out of my mind. I tend to dwell on my to-do list, sometimes to the point of...no sleep.
Which brings me full circle.
I'm really going to try and go to sleep again now. It's almost 1:30 and the cleaning lady is due in tomorrow morning. And if tonight goes like last night, I'll be awake for another few hours. Staring at the ceiling.
Monday, November 06, 2006
I hate to leave this beautiful old house, but when everything else in the plus and minus columns add up to moving (and the company'd like you to go), you go. Though it is really, really cold up there.
I actually don't mind the cold as much as Tony. He got cold when we lived in Florida.
So, know anyone that would like to own a beautiful old Victorian house?
Monday, October 30, 2006
If I use the word "really" again, just smack me.
The first part of the trip was to Bladnoch, located in the Lowlands area (Galloway), near Wigtown. Not that anyone's ever heard of even Wigtown (the book capital of Scotland), but seriously NO ONE has heard of Bladnoch. One of the other guys in the Distillery School with us actually got in an argument with a cab driver in Glasgow who insisted that there was no such place!
So, yes, we were there for Whisky School. We learned how to make Scotch whisky (note the absence of the extra "e" we Americans put in). We also drank a fair bit of it. Raymond & Florence own the distillery and they are truly awesome people. I think Raymond has a story for everything and Florence is his long-suffering (but not really suffering) wife. John, the StillMan, is just a great big teddy bear of a guy. He and Hugh, his assistant & the official "angel" of the distillery (i.e. the angel's share is supposed to be the whisky that evaporates while in the barrel) are probably my favorite new friends. Also at the distillery are Sue and Kevin, two more just lovely people with a funny little pooch named Mabel. And Yolanda, though I didn't get to talk to her much.
This was the first "Wild Scotsman" sponsored whisky school. I'm not sure how they were structured before. The Wild Scotsman is Jeoff, who should wear his hair down more often. And his mentor, one of the wily greats in Scottish whisky history, John McDougall.
Then there were the other attendees: Michael, probably the singularly most whisky-obsessed person I've ever met in my entire life; Eric, the quiet one with a good sense of humor; Jay, the rock-n-roll guy of the session (I'm not sure if I've ever met a more unlikely lawyer); Iain, the youngest and most hip of all of us (he's in a cool band called the Skarsoles) and the son of the bottler; Drew, Jeoff's cousin and the owner of a pub in Pittsburgh; and Lee & his wife & sister, a soft-spoken Southern gentleman from the same town Tony was born in.
All the other people we met too -- local rugby players, local farmers (Gordon, for one, a really nice fellow), the B&B owners (Mr. & Mrs. Key - she being the one singularly responsible for me gaining 5 pounds, I think), the pub owners (Sinead, Derek, and young Derek)...small town Scotland is a nice place to visit.
All of the pics are up at http://www.yabookscentral.com/pictures/Scotland I took 724 of 'em, though a few are videos I haven't figured out how to post yet.
We also spent some time in Glasgow (kind of industrial, but with some hidden gems if you walk around) and Edinburgh (very old, lots of history, and lots of hills). A friend of Tony's from work took us out one night (Julie and her husband Fraser). They were also just lovely people.
One other interesting note...I've studied quite a bit of faerie history/fable and I'd heard of Aiken Drum, but had not realized that his story originated in Bladnoch! Very, very cool. Raymond even had the whole Aiken Drum poem up (I've only seen bits of it before in my reference book by Katherine Briggs).
Oh...and the Viking Cat Farms thing...one of the guidebooks in the B&B in Bladnoch mentioned another local town -- Whithorn -- and said that it was worth a visit because of the archaeological evidence of VIKING CAT FARMS.
That has to be singularly the strangest thing I have ever heard of.
But true...I just looked it up and the Whithorn site (everything has a website these days) says: "Whithorn also came under Viking influence and from this period, archaeological evidence suggests that cats were farmed for their skins and finely decorated antler combs were manufactured."
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Pfloof. Confused yet?
Anyway, the St. James Ct. Art Show was this past weekend. Sadly, my work on it is not yet complete. It has been like a part time (and sometimes full time) job since maybe March or so. Or maybe January. I don't even know anymore. I want the DB to be DONE. At the moment, my big problem is a really ugly page that's hard to read. It's the fee charging page. I'm trying to find a way to do it that makes sense, is usable and readable, and won't cause me too many coding headaches and won't take too many page clicks. That last thing is the real clicker. They don't want too many clicks. But to fit everything on one page is a nightmare. So...it really comes down to a) one click and really confusing or b) many clicks and straightforward. But they said amount of clicks was one of their top priorities...so...
I hope to get that done tomorrow. Then I can get the last of the fees in and start on the documentation and the few other code pieces that I can complete. Then I'll hand that over along with the names of some local programmers who can do the more complex pieces. I just can't devote this much time to it any longer. I need to write.
I've actually been writing stuff...it's just in my head. It needs to come out (if it's in him, then it's got to come out). Onto paper, or the electronic equivalent thereof.
Did learn about a series by Christopher Pike that's about a girl who discovers she's the Queen of the Fairies (like my Abigail) but his is darker and for older teens. Still, I waver on poor Abigail regularly. I like it. But...it's gone through so many changes, many of which were just in my head. Originally, her grandmother wasn't really dead, she was just captured by the Unseelie Court (and originally, I was getting WAY too in depth and using much more real fairie history, stuff about the Ulster Court and who knows what else...great for a research paper but not for MG fiction.) and Abigail's goal was to win her freedom, rather than take up the crown. But that story was just too involved and long. Now Abigail's goal, really, is to figure out how to accept the Queenhood before her mother does.
I dunno. Sometimes I want to go work on something else. I haven't worked on much at all lately. Except in my head. Hopefully I won't lose it all.
I have a short story about a character named Barnabus Grady in my head. And the start of that book about Death's Apprentice. I'm kind of excited about that one. At least I haven't heard of anything else like it (and good heavens, if you know of something, please don't tell me). And I have a completed short crime fiction/noir-ish piece that I need to send out again. Hard to find a market for that stuff, I'm afraid. I'd sent it to Ellery Queen knowing that it wasn't exactly up their alley and they sent me back a nice rejection saying they liked it, but it didn't fit.
Oooooohhhh though I might have just found a place for it. I did a search for Hardboiled (which is the magazine that I sold my last fiction piece to -- another crime fiction/noir-ish piece) and came up with Hardluck Stories. The submission call that ends Jan 2007 is actually perfect for my piece, which features a female protaganist. Hmmmmmm. But it is non-paying. Maybe I'll keep looking. Maybe I'll send it to Hardboiled again. I like that mag anyway, even if you can't hardly find it on a shelf.
Wondering why a primarily YA gal happens to write hardboiled fiction every now and again? Eh, me too. I guess it's because I was a Spillane junkie for a while when I was about 15.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Wow, it's been so long since I blogged in here. I've been sick. So sick, I'm sick of being sick. Went right from the whole stomach nausea-ness to bronchitis, but I'm almost done with that now (yes, have the thing where I sound like an 80 year-old woman who started smoking at age 3). Also started going to physical therapy for my back/leg. That's going pretty well. I'm kind of sore afterwards, but I'm starting to improve my range of motion (my right leg has about 1/2 the range of motion of my left).
The funny thing...eh, well maybe not so funny exactly...at least, not in a *funny* kind of way...more like in a funny-sad kind of way or maybe, well, maybe just not funny at all. Anyway, one of my "trouble spots" is the big 'ol muscle that basically makes up the right half of my butt. (oooh! I said butt!) Actually, it's officially called the piriformis. Heh, you can even see a picture of one (kind of) here. And no, that definitely isn't me. My butt hasn't been that small in a long, long time. And I don't wear granny underwear. That poor girl. But then, she looks like she must be about 10, so she shouldn't be wearing sexy underwear anyway.
The piriformis is the muscle that sits over the sciatic nerves and some lateral rotators and basically attaches your spine (sacrum) to your hipbone. Well, anyway, mine doesn't work right anymore. The one on the right side, anyway. It's constantly clenched up tight like a fist, which annoys the nerves, causes me to have searing (and/or shooting and/or dull throbbing) pain and sometimes numbness (sometimes down to my toes), and is generally a big, uh, big pain in the butt. (hahaha) It may or may not be related to the whole bulging-disc-into-the-nerve-that-goes-down-my-right-leg-thing.
To get back to the not-so-funny-funny-thing...so, part of the physical therapy is them trying to get the darn thing to loosen up and whatnot. That involves some big physical therapist guy (or sometimes, a woman...and they tend to be big too) to basically have to do a deep tissue massage of the area. And like poke and prod it. So...yeah, I go and get my butt massaged. Isn't that something?
Of course, that isn't all I do. I have to do stretches and some exercise machine things. The stretches don't look like much, mainly because there's a fine line for me in my current state between stretching and aggravating. Basically, certain of my muscles have turned into permanently grouchy charlie horses. Oh, and they hook me up to an H-Wave machine too (kind of similar to the TENs device the chiropractor used to hook me up to, but this does both high and low frequency stuff). Yeesh, I feel like Frankenstein. But with stuff attached to my butt instead of my neck.
I tell ya, though, it still feels weird to just lie there while they massage your butt. And it kind of hurts. But in a good-bad way. Like at least something is being done. Sometimes a little extra pain is better than the same pain. Does that make sense?
At least I seem to be able to sit at my desk for 30 minutes at a stretch before it gets unbearable. Hmmmm, hey, that sounds like another excuse for my not having updated the blog, eh? It's true, too, so bonus!
Tony is gone all this week, poor guy. Two days in Deerfield and then 3 in Toronto. The big art show I've been slaving on for ages now is this weekend, starting on Friday. I volunteer in the beer booth Friday morning and then I have to do some judging after that. Maybe Saturday will be my wander-around-for-fun day. I also have to find a pair of earrings for Pam to replace ones I gave her before that disappeared.
And I'm running a daily contest on the site until Oct 13th, so I'm keeping up with that. I have a HUGE stack of books to review that I've already read (I can read while laying down; it doesn't aggravate the back as much). I desperately need to update the Prize Bucket. And do a mailing. And...and lots of stuff. I'm always behind.
There's other news, but it'll wait for now. Gives me a goal so I'll come back and get back on this puppy.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
I hope it isn't anything big or bad and ugly. I'm about sick of being sick.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I feel a little stalled out on Abigail. I've written some more, but it just doesn't feel like it is flowing. Maybe it is time to shift gears. Of course, my writing has been low...between feeling like dog-doo and having visitors, there just hasn't been much time.
The new pill seems to be better than the last (ha, not that it could have been much worse), but I've still got some nausea (mostly A.M. and P.M.) and the headaches. Oh, man, the headaches.
I NEED to do some work on the art show stuff (tomorrow, I think) and hopefully maybe Pam will help me out on some database bits, since Denise doesn't have much time anymore.
Had a good visit with Pam and Mark. He's a nice guy. They're just going to have an interesting time with the whole cross-country romance thing. That's tough, especially since Pam and heavy traffic don't get on well. We did a few things while they were here (KY Derby museum, Huber Winery) and had a barbecue (Tony's aunt and uncle were also in town, staying with his mom). The weather actually dropped cool enough to watch movies in the backyard. So after the ribs and chicken, we watched Matchmaker and then Adventures in Babysitting. It was fun. I love the whole big-screen-in-the-backyard thing.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
And I am thankful for, every single day...
My husband. He's truly just a wonderful, wonderful guy. Loving, caring...he's my best friend in the whole world. I don't know what I'd do without him.
Harley, my old, persnickety kitty. When he cuddles with you, you know he loves you. He doesn't make nice with just anyone.
Gracie, my fat diva girl kitty, who loves to snuggle and is a total pet slut.
My sisters. We all still love each other, even though we hardly ever see eye to eye on anything.
My mom, who seems to be doing so much better than she ever was before (save for the smoking again thing).
Our lovely house.
Crafty things. Being creative. Having the opportunity (here we come back to Tony) to do things that I love.
Authors. For writing all of those lovely books out there that have kept me entertained, enlightened, and excited all of these years. I'm happy to be able to give something back to them now through my website.
Readers. Anyone who thinks teens aren't reading should pay attention to the kids that frequent the site and the forum. They are great. And really lovely people. They even email me get well cards when I'm sick.
I guess those are the big things. There are always more things. Little things, like seeing hippos swimming (at Busch Gardens, in one of those huge tanks where you can see them from the side -- it's just like in Disney's Fantasia. Hippos are just funnily graceful. That always makes me smile). Though, hmmmm, maybe that should rightfully be called a big thing.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
So they're calling me in something else with lower hormone levels. I hope it works. I can't do this anymore. As I sit here, I've got the pounding headache and the "I really just want to lay down for a while" blues. I managed a cereal bar today. I've never been told so many times that "Gee, you look green." Poor Kermit. I feel for him now like never before.
The real bummer is that yesterday was our 15th anniversary -- the "being together" one, not the wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe sometimes that we've been together that long. A few more years and we'll have been together longer than we were alive separately. Did that make sense? We met when we were 18, my first day of college. I had a nice night planned out last night, but it didn't happen. At least we watched a romantic movie -- Shall We Dance.
I'd originally rented it through Netflix and liked it so much that I actually bought a copy (on a rare day when I could venture out with Tony and not get sick in the car). Great soundtrack too. I've got it playing now. It makes me a little happier and I could use that.
Gah, I think I'm going to go throw up again.
Monday, August 14, 2006
They had to switch my birth control medication because the depo shot, which I'd been on for about 5 years, seems to have sucked the calcium from my body (see previous post...I've got osteopenia, or bone loss, in my spine now). So now I'm on a pill again. However, it's causing me to have 24/7 nausea and monstrous headaches. The Dr. says that's fairly normal, new hormones, blah, blah, blah...give it 3 weeks and if it doesn't clear up, then we'll re-evaluate.
"Uh, yeah," I tell her, "but if I even move or smell something funky, I feel like I'm going to vomit. And sometimes I do."
"Yeah," she says, "it'll do that."
Wow, that's helpful. She says not to worry about it unless I can't keep any liquids down and I get dehydrated. Great. Gee, thanks. Something to look forward to.
Meanwhile, I can't hardly be in a car without getting car sick. I've barely been out of the house. Heck, I've barely been moving. And next week Auntie Anna is going to be here. Hopefully I start feeling better by then or she's not going to have a very fun visit.
Tony's been great, trying to make me bland enough foods and lots of mashed potatoes. At least I haven't actually hurled too many times -- more dry heaves than anything, but it's that feeling of constantly being about to hurl that's killing me.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Today I need to:
- go to the store and get stuff to make lasagna
- make lasagna
- finish off current laundry and do two more loads
- make up the guest bed (Tony's mom will hopefully be stopping by tonight to pick up more of her stuff)
- write up at least one review for the site
- post two interviews on the site
- work on art show stuff
There's tons more, but that's the basics. I need some motivation.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
I'll try to get a picture after, when they're all ticked off at me.
Smoking is what brought my sisters and me into this world as premature, sickly babies. It's what kept me sick as child and prone to bronchitis later in life. It's the thing that brought a hospital bed into our living room when I was a teenager and the thing that killed my father -- as painfully as possible -- when he was just 54. The smell of it, to me, is the smell of death. Every time I breathe it in, I feel like a part of me is dying.
Smoking will kill you. And it won't be a nice easy quick death. And it isn't just you that it hurts. That's the part that pisses me off the most -- smoking hurts everyone around you. Smokers always want to just make it all about them. But it isn't. It hurts all of us. Not just the people that breathe in the secondhand smoke, but anyone you know that cares about you. You think we like watching you die, cranked up on morphine to take away the pain, your tobacco-stained fingers scrabbling across the hospital sheets as you search for one last nicotine fix when you can barely even breathe and can't even hold the cigarette to your mouth by yourself?
If I offend you, fine. Maybe you'll think about it. If you're like any of the smokers I know personally, you won't. Instead you'll just get all pissed off and holier-than-thou. You probably didn't even read this far. Whatever. You know what, it's your funeral and not mine. And I do mean that literally.
Yeah, me. The girl with no father to walk her down the aisle. The one who someday will be doing another bedside vigil at the side of her mother or mother-in-law, people who are already unhealthy and wonder why. The ones that are already dying inside.
Sorry to anyone who stumbled by looking for a little bon mot about writing or whatnot. This is the "venting" part of my blog. This is stuff that's been stewing inside of me for years and lately it's been very near the surface as the mother-in-law has been chainsmoking since she's been here. Our front porch smells like an ashtray. Our third floor, like stale tobacco. Every day, a reminder.
I'm just tired.
Friday, July 14, 2006
So I'm now on a serious increase-your-calcium-intake kick.
I'd say more, but it's just depressing. I'm too damned short to shrink any more.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Luckily it was on the blanket we use to sleep under and not our actual bedspread. I have no idea how I'd clean that. I'm guessing the culprit is the new healthy "weight maintenance and hairball help" cat food I got for them. I was thinking it prevented fur balls...maybe it actually facilitates them.
I was up half the night thinking anyway. Writing in my head. It always comes out like that, a lot of stuff that never makes it to paper.
I'd just finished reading Sarah Dessen's Just Listen (came out earlier this year). There are three sisters in it and at one point, the middle sister reads aloud something she's written at an open mic poetry night at a cafe. Something about her and her sisters.
I am the middle sister, but I've never felt like one. There's too much age between us all. At first, I was the youngest sister, with an older sister 10 years older than me. Then, 7 years later, I was the oldest sister. With 17 years between the two of them, I don't know that they even feel like sisters, at least not in the sense that you normally read about.
We had a very non-normal childhood anyway. Not like anyone's childhood is normal, but when your parents travel art shows for a living, things are different. When you always live somewhere in the middle of nowhere, but then travel around to all kinds of different states and towns (who all look the same from the middle of an arts & crafts show), things are just not the same as what other kids have.
When school was in, I was often left alone at the house and Pam was sent down the road to stay with her friend Lily. Sometimes she'd be there with me too, and I'd be the "adult" of the house (I say that very loosely). I'm sure that child services would have been all over us if they'd had a clue.
Then dad died and everything changed. And stayed the same, I guess you could say. At any rate, getting back to my original point, I've never felt like the middle child that everyone always talks about. The one who's always stuck in the middle; never gets to do anything first and is no longer the baby. Shoot, sometimes I felt like an alien in my family anyway (though I suppose that's a classic middle child thing).
Anyway. There was no point to that rambling, just something I was thinking about last night.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Tony's dad and Janet came to visit briefly while Tony's mom was away visiting his sister Rikki. Poor Janet was really sick, so we didn't do too much -- took them on a brief car tour of downtown and to Churchill Downs. That was about it.
And tomorrow is when I think my mom comes in. Busy times. And today I dropped Tony off at the airport at 5 AM -- he'll be back on Friday. I'm completely wiped out though. I just haven't been sleeping well at night lately at all. Some of it is my own fault, but some of it is just me laying there going "ugh. So....sleepy." but not falling asleep. I feel like a zombie.
Today is another nasty rainy day, which makes me that much more sleepy. I did manage to announce the last month contest winners (around 11 PM one night). I really need to get all of the prize mailings together next. Hopefully later today, maybe after my doctor appointment.
Yawn. Double yawn.
Friday, June 30, 2006
After dinner, we took a drive through the park and saw just an amazing number of fireflies. Thousands. It was really beautiful and hard to describe - I don't think words do it justice and I doubt if film could capture it. They were floating everywhere, decorating the trees like Christmas lights, settling down on the ground for an instant, then up again. Just beautiful.
We had a nice talk too, got a little maudlin and what not, but it was good.
9 years. Can't hardly believe it. Though really, almost 15. In August we'll have our "been together" anniversary.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
And today, of course, is our 9th anniversary. Tony got home about 11:45 last night (they can't seem to get a plane out on time in Chicago, I swear) and we pretty much went right to bed. He's at work now (no chance of a day off, but I guess that's just as well, since I think I'm gonna collapse for a while and drink fluids out the wazoo).
Tonight we have a reservation at 6:30 at Lilly's on Bardstown Road. We've only eaten their once and we weren't prepared for it, so hopefully my body settles down by that time. It will, darn it.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
From 7 to 9 tonight there's an Argentinian tango/jazz thing at the library and Tony's plane comes in at 9:30. Am I gonna make it to the Argentinian thing? Not sure. I'd really like to sleep....
Was up way too late last night first talking to Denise about the art show stuff and her new job (go Denise!) and then researching new beds. We've decided we really do need one. Either that, or our nickname will be "pretzel people." I was thinking one of those Select Comfort Sleep Number beds, but after looking around, Comfortaire seems the way to go. Quite a bit cheaper and the guy who started SC actually started out at Comfortaire. So, basically the same product without all the Lindsay Wagner advertising overhead. Though, seriously, how much would her endorsement cost you??
I've read a TON of books in the last week or so. I guess because it kind of fits in with the whole "don't feel like doing anything" but still kind of doing something. At least, I don't feel as bad when I've read a book vs. just zoning out. 'Cause trust me, I could zone. I've pretty much done a book a day, sometimes more. Of course, I should be actually writing instead, but suffice it to say I am feeling grandly uninspired and the words that come out....eh, pretty much the same. I've never been able to fully figure out whether it is worth it to just force myself to write anyway when I know I'll have to re-write whole chunks. Anyway.
So...last night I finished Fly by Night (Harding -- very awesome. Definitely a new author to watch). Today I've gotten half way through The Year the Gypsies Came (I'd probably be farther along if it weren't kind of depressing). Before that, I'd finished off Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn, Theodora Twist, Secrets of My Hollywood Life (which I happily finished before the chat with the author), Grand & Humble (Hartinger, who is a heckuva nice guy), and Avi's Strange Happenings. I think I'm forgetting one or two. I need to finish off Gideon, the Cutpurse (what's up with Gideon's lately? It's not exactly a common name...) and A Brief Chapter In My Impossible Life.
Boy, it really would be nice if you got paid to read. I would be a kazillionaire. Perhaps my greatest talent is reading -- I can read fast and retain the whole thing -- and I don't speed read (don't really believe in it). But I read faster than most speed readers. This, of course, drove Tony absolutely insane when we had college classes together. For an average size book, like any of the above (save for Fly By Night, which was a little longer), I can read the whole thing within 3 hours. Approximately 100 pages an hour.
This talent, of course, doesn't work very well with, say, actuarial books. Or tax law. But it's still pretty handy.
Anyway, the last two were Elizabethtown and The Fantastic Four. Not exactly movies you'd normally associate together, but they happened to be next to each other in my Netflix queue. Elizabethtown we wanted to see since it's set (technically) in a nearby town and Louisville is featured in it. Kinda funky to see stuff you see every day in a movie. Orlando Bloom is in it -- a very different kind of role for him. And he was very committed to it. The coolest part was the road trip Kirsten Dunst's character put together for him. Awesome road trip. I wanna go.
The Fantastic Four was better than I thought it would be. If I remember right, I don't think it got stellar reviews at the box office. But I actually enjoyed it. Jessica Alba (of Dark Angel fame) is the Invisible Woman (or girl, as her brother, the Human Torch, would have it). The best part though, might be the extras that include Stan Lee waxing excited on the whole experience. He's a guy that would be cool to meet.
I feel like the Invisible Woman sometimes myself lately, especially at home. The MIL almost never directs a question or a sentence to me and when I do speak, she invariably cannot hear me -- but instead of asking me what I said, she always turns to Tony for him to translate. "What did she say?" she asks him. Hello? I'm right here! And when she does talk to me, it nearly always seems to have something snide hidden in it (not that I think she does this on purpose (I hope) -- she's just always negative -- even when she's talking to Tony she's either completely doting on him or completely sniping at him) --lately, to me, it's been: "Boy, that kid that *you* hired sure did kill *Tony's* lawn," though it's *we* in both cases. And yes, darn it, I know he did. I don't need to be reminded again and again. (And yes, I realize that this is exactly the kind of stuff I'm not supposed to write in a blog. But oh well. That's what I get for not having any female friends close by. You can just pretend I'm invisible too. You never read this.)
*Sigh* Our poor lawn. We'd gotten it to a lovely green state, the kind of lawn you wanted to walk in barefoot and curl your toes in (which you couldn't do in Florida -- there'd be sand spurs waiting there for you). Now, it's green in parts, and scalped in others. Tom's son cut it way, way, way too short. I guess that's what you get for trying to do a favor for a friend -- his son needed some spending cash for the summer. We've been watering it every day, hoping for a comeback. I'm not sure what else to do with it.Maybe some fertilizer or something. Maybe some plugs, since it's looking like a dog that got into an argument with a hair trimmer and lost.
I dunno. Lately, I just don't really feel like doing anything. I just want to curl up in bed with a book or just...sleep. Sleep, perchance to dream. I'd go visit one of my sisters for a month, except for the kitties. Gracie is my teddy bear. A teddy bear with admittedly fishy breath and a very demanding attitude, but she's still quite cuddly when she wants to be. Even Harley is being a good cuddlebug.
The dreams though...been having those weird sci-fi-ish ones again lately. I need to keep a pad of paper by the bed so I can write them down a la Holly Lisle. Especially since I can't seem to remember them just a few minutes after waking up. I think the one last night had something to do with a penguin...or maybe a civet.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Spain was great, all around. Some things surprised me...
- Everyone smokes there. It's hard to get away from. Much more than in Italy (at least from what I remember). And our brief stopover in Frankfort at the airport...the whole airport reeked of smoke. It was awful. And I thought Kentucky was bad.
- Very few people spoke any English and even those that did, really didn't want to use it. It's like what you hear about the French.
- I'd always heard about Castillian Spanish (you know, the lisping), but there are actually a total of 6 different main dialects in Spain. The Basque is really, really hard. They have all these K's and X's...it looks a lot like Greek and sounds like a mush of French, Portuguese, and Spanish altogether. Madrid was easiest -- it's Castillian there, but at least it is closer to what I learned way back when in school.
- Graffitti was absolutely everywhere, especially in the larger cities. It's really terrible. Beautiful, incredible and very historic buildings even have graffitti. I'll never understand that because it isn't strangers coming in...it's people doing it to their own town. That was the most depressing thing. More graffitti than I've seen anywhere else, including places like New York and Miami.
- No one drinks sherry (jerez). All those travel channel things about how everyone drinks sherry with their tapas? Not even close. Yeah, everyone eats tapas, but they pretty much are drinking either cerveza, vino, or sangria. The one place we were actually able to get sherry (once I got the guy to understand what I was asking), he actually had to leave the bar and get it from another area. And it wasn't just regional -- same thing in all the places we visited. The Food Network lies.
- Flamenco still rocks, but the Spanish don't go to see it much anymore. We went to one of the older places (Torres Bermejas), and only tourists were there. I read in an interview later (here at home, and with two of the people we actually saw - Toni el Pelao & Uchi) how the dancers are lamenting the fact that the Spaniards just don't go anymore. Such a shame. Such a beautiful thing -- both the bailaors (dancers) and the cantaors (singers), not to mention the guitar playing guys. Tony was just in love with it. He could hardly contain himself from clapping.
- Spain is expensive (es muy caro!), even in the smaller cities. Not sure we could afford to live there.
- We still love the markets (mercados). Probably the reason we will one day have to live in Europe. Well, that and the food.
I posted all the pictures via the other blog ( http://go2louisville.blogspot.com ) and if I weren't so tired, I'd link them from here too. Maybe tomorrow...
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
I am leaving mine behind though. I need a break. Shoot, my elbow needs a break.
Tomorrow I'm going to stockpile a few more reviews and mail a shipment of prize books and then I'm gonna shut the sucker down.
Well, probably not. I'm sure I'll be checking e-mail until the last minute. But I can dream.
I've been doing some of the Spanish CD's -- I got through 3 of them today. It's helping me to remember some things, which is good. At least I can remember a lot of the vocabulario -- I just can't put it all together very easily. And now I've got Italian fighting it out with the Spanish in my head. What comes out is often not even Spanglish...more like Spanalianish. I'll probably wind up resorting to pointing and hand gestures, but I'll try. Hopefully that will count for something. And at least I can still read it fairly well!
Monday, June 05, 2006
They still smell like wet cat. What's with that smell? How do all cats smell the same when wet? The same with dog -- anyone can identify wet dog smell. At least wet cat is slightly better than wet dog.
Trying to cross stuff off my list in preparation for our trip. At least we don't have to worry about the house -- Tony's mom will be here and Lisa Casey will be coming in to take care of the kitties. And, of course, I'm sure Rich & Bob will keep an eye out for us.
Now I'm just trying to find clothes to pack that won't make me look too sausage-like. I don't know what it is about moving North, but both of us have been battling the bulge a bit. This past weekend's walk around the Bernhein was nice; we'll have to try and do that more often. Maybe even get some bikes. Perhaps a tandem. I have as much trouble keeping up with Tony on a bike as I do running -- his legs must be at least a foot longer than mine.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
We watched Hotel Rwanda last night with Don Cheadle. He's such a great actor and hardly ever gets his due. The movie was...heartbreaking. I had always been curious as to why the Hutus and the Tutsi's hated each other so much and to find out why/how was just awful. There's really NO reason. Not that there's ever a good reason for genocide, but in their case, the distinction between a Hutu and a Tutsi is primarily a made-up one (former Belgian colonists) -- the Belgians who occupied the country basically made the distinction based on whatever they wanted -- thinner noses, lighter skin...but it was arbitrary. And after they left, the Hutus took power and took revenge upon the Tutsi's who had enjoyed more liberties under the Belgians.
There's another, perhaps more historically accurate, description here.
History...ah, it changes with every writer.
But, no matter the who, the what, and the why, the story and the genocide that happened are just heartbreaking. And, of course, similar things go on every day in other countries. Nothing is more shocking and terrible than the things that people do to each other. We always seem to find a way to group ourselves and ways to define "outsiders" or "others." Even if we were all colorblind, there would be ways. It would be based on height or width of the eyes or who knows what.
Today we have to go to a AAA office to get our International Driver's Permits for Spain. You have to even get some passport-sized photos to go with it. Joy. Another official picture I can look awful in.
In writing news...still haven't heard anything from the publisher, but I know they are busy, so I'm not reading anything into that. I've actually worked a bit on Abigail, though I'm feeling generally uninspired, so I get the feeling that whatever I've added lately is going to get some work done to it in revision.
In site news...no more donations have come in. :-( Expenses...still going up. I'm hoping to move to a new (and cheaper) hosting provider sometime in June or July. That will definitely help. I did kick off two new contests (and please, do enter! I always have a cadre of site members who enter every contest, but if new people don't enter, there's really not much use in continuing them. It's kind of silly to just give away books to the same people every month and not much use to the publisher or the author. So far I've always had enough new people to give books to both groups -- some new, some old, but summer is always kind of strange -- a lot of people find the site when searching for information on a book for school). The chat with Sarah Mlynowski went pretty well. I'd have liked it if a few more people showed up, but enough were there that the conversation never lagged. I'll have to see about setting up more chats in the future. They kids in the forum are asking me to set up one with a publisher. And we are planning on having a chat with Stephenie Meyer in October.
I need to update the Prize Bucket. I'll hopefully get that done tomorrow.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
"What for?" I ask.
"Oh, just to look around," he says.
Now, this is unusual in itself as Tony is not really a shopper. Let me repeat that. He's not a shopper. Like many guys, he formulates a plan in his head, goes to the store, spends as little time as possible there, and comes out with just whatever the thing was he wanted to buy. He's bought an entire wardrobe in, like, 5 minutes. I kid you not.
So we wander around Best Buy for a while. I find all kinds of stuff I wouldn't mind getting (I am a shopper, I'm afraid). Then he finally admits what it is he's actually looking for (after he couldn't find it -- they have the projectors hidden in a dark aisle at the back of the store where they were storing a ladder). Pretty pricey at Best Buy and we didn't really find anyone to give us any input (ha, ha, big surprise).
So we leave, me thinking he'll just do some research online or whatnot. We go to the Barnes & Noble over in the Summit Center off of Hurstborne, and I find the Spanish CDs (which I really, really need to start today -- I'm so behind....) Then he spies an Office Depot and we stop in there "just to see what they have."
Well, everything the OD has is w-a-y cheaper than what BB had. Even the screens (you know, the white screen thingies on a stand that you pull down, kinda like what they used to have in classrooms) was 1/2 the price. Tony finds an Optoma projector with great specs for 1/3 the price of a comparable thing at BB. And so we get it. Me, I hem and haw over stuff like that, but when Tony sees what he wants -- bam! Boom! The good news -- besides being so much cheaper at OD, I also already had an Advantage membership, so we should get 10% back in OD gift certificates. Works for me!
So, anyway...we make a pilgrimage...er, stop at Lowe's and get a large canvas dropcloth. Tony gets that all strung up between the pillars of our back porch and Alakazam! We have movies on the lawn! We watched Star Wars: Episode IV (A New Hope). How cool is that? I so wanna have a movies on the lawn party now. The projector is nice and portable at only 4ish pounds. Now we can watch movies anywhere! We still don't have cable, but movies are great. Got lots of DVDs that'll be fun to watch on the "big screen" :-) and a NetFlix membership that maybe we'll use more now.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
I shouldn't be typing anyway...had to get trigger point injections in my elbow yesterday. Been doing too much data entry or something...my elbow has been so sore you couldn't even touch it. Now, of course, it's the really, really sore you get from the shots -- i.e. "it gets worse before it gets better" thing. Lucky the bruise isn't too bad, so Tony won't get evil stares from passersby.
In writing news...been thinking about Abigail. And sent off the complete MS (as requested) and a synopsis of the next book in the To Suck or Not to Suck series (I re-titled This Bites because too many other books had similar titles). Keeping fingers crossed. This is to a publisher, rather than an agent. Don't really want to say more. Don't want to jinx myself.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Next up is just more work on the site, doing booth assignments and what not. Demoing to the consortium.
But, today, I'm going to Chicago to be with Tony for a while :-) A pre-anniversary celebration at a nice restaurant. It will be good to get away. Tony's mom is going to watch the cats while we're gone.
Just a short trip -- I leave this afternoon and come back Friday afternoon. He's up there already for work, so I'll be on my own Thursday during the day. Maybe I'll find a nice cafe and do some writing or, at the very least, some tourist-y stuff. Gah, or maybe I'll just sleep all day.
Friday, May 12, 2006
I've emailed them about it a few times and they basically say "Sorry." Which basically means, "We're a great big huge company now and we can't be bothered that you're giving us thousands of pages of free advertising that we're not going to pay you for. Sucks to be you! Ta-ta!"
Even using an average assumption based on how many clicks I was getting before (when Google's reported pageviews were at least closer to what my stats show), I should be getting about double what they are giving me.
I used to use FastClick, but they hardly paid much at all and had annoying animated ads and junk ads to boot. I just can't go back there. I spent more time reviewing the ads to make sure I wasn't displaying gambling or dating sites than working on the site. At least, if felt that way.
I may just have to cut back on the free books or something. I can't afford to keep running it at such a huge deficit. The Google $$ was covering the hosting costs (which were $40/month and are now $50/month) but now I'm only getting just over $30/month from them. Amazon income last quarter was just under $30, though it went up to around $70/quarter around Christmas. It's the shipping costs that are killing me. Shipping is costing me somewhere around $100/month (sometimes more, sometimes less). Then there's the other expenses - domain name, forum, newsletter...
At the moment, I'm in the red almost $800 so far this year.
I hate to do it, but the only thing that makes sense, if I can't find other ways to earn some income off of the site, is to start disengaging from the forum giveaway and maybe even the forum in general. It costs me money to run it and most of the people in the forum either never visit the site, or already did anyway. And before I re-instituted the forum giveaway, it was really quiet in there.
I may have to do away with the review giveaway too. I don't know. Ugh. Maybe it will just go down to the publisher sponsored contests (which I still pay shipping for) + the random newsletter giveaway, since that is only once a month. Though I still have to do something with the prize books. Maybe I'd just do a set giveaway instead of the review thing. I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.
I've got mouse elbow. It's killing me. I'm going to have to start icing it, I swear. And no, that's not good yummy icing...
I've decided that artists, as a group, have terrible handwriting. And a lot of them have kind of elevated...er, healthy... self esteem. ("I need a larger booth space than normal because our booth is always crowded. We should be on a corner so other artists won't get jealous.") And they usually tend to be the ones that have really horrid art. We got a lot of good submissions this year, but some of 'em...whew. Ugly. No, wait...fugly.
I'm trying to keep things in perspective though. I need to not get so whelmed and annoyed by it all. After all, if I were dealing with what Saundra is dealing with right now...yikes. My thoughts go out to her. I would be totally freaking out if anything like that happened to Tony. My biggest worry with him is just being able to get some time with him inbetween his trips. Which sucks, but doesn't suck like what she's dealing with.
Anyway, back to work. I have to go pick up dry cleaning and hit the Post Office after 4, so I've got a good 2 hours to plug away.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
We got through the jurying, now I'm in the middle of entering apps into the system. Have gotten through Mixed Media 2D and 3D and Printmaking and am about to finish Sculpture. Mary did Jewelry and I just need to go back and fix a couple of things (she couldn't figure out edit) and Rich is working on Photography, Fiber, Clothing, and Wood (I think).
Next, after all the apps are in, enter in the Jury scores, then generate address lists and letters. Stuff envelopes.
I just ordered a Papa John's pizza. I was going to just eat leftovers, but that's what I had last night. And hey, we're where PJ's was born and I don't think we've had one since we moved here. And you can order online without picking up the phone...
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
The garden is really coming along and the wildflower one has sprouted -- so the birds didn't get all of the seeds after all, the sneaky devils.
I got the YABC contest posted today (urk, a day late) and caught up on some of my email. Did a bit of work on the art show website and now...off to do some more getting the artists stuff ready for jurying.
Also helped clean out the laundry room a bit (Donna was here today -- she's the new lady I have helping me with the housework stuff I can't do). Fed the squirrels, fed the birds. I swear, they are eating more now than they did in winter. I don't get it.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
She Unlimited Magazine doesn’t pay our writers to write their articles just like our writers don’t pay us to let them use our network. The writing you do at She Unlimited Magazine establishes you as a respected, known author.That's about one of the biggest loads of crap I've ever heard. "Write for us for free! Hey, we don't charge you to use our server space!" Yeah, and you don't pay them for the advertising revenue that their copy generates either. And the bit about how doing this will make you a "respected, known author" .... whoo-boy. If you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you. It's in Brooklyn and it is a little bit used, but I bet you could get some more use out of it.
Any writers out there that happen to be reading this -- value your work. Only work for free if you truly truly truly get something out of it. And, in general, don't. Your work is valuable. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Every time I think I'm near the end of the road with the art show apps I get in a new bunch. Another bag today. *Sigh* After I finally finished scanning all of the slides I had. Hopefully the new batch won't have too many slides vs. CDs.
I'm going to go sort through the next batch and maybe watch a movie while I'm doing it. I feel like I need to relax just a little. Just a smidge.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
I'm not sure if it is because my e-mail address is my YA Books Central one...like they see the "adult" part of the "Young Adult Books" and assume some things...or what. I don't visit porn sites or anything. But I get at least 100 spams a day to this one email address and they break down to about 75% porn-ish and 25% phishing (especially spoofing Chase Bank). Some of the phishing ones are so pathetic. I don't know how anyone falls for those things. But, I guess people must, since I get so many of them.
Then there's the spam I get in my Yahoo account. I think I get about 1,000 a day there. I don't even check that bulk email folder anymore. Just let it delete after a while. It's ridiculous.
Anywho. I'm still in scanning hell, trying to get all of the slides scanned for the St. James Ct. Art Show so we can do the jurying. It wouldn't be so bad except that my printer keeps losing connection for no apparent reason and I lose however many it has scanned in memory -- since you can't set the flipping thing to save after every scan. Why?? Why??
Sunday, April 16, 2006
I met a man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
Oh, how I wish he'd go away.
Perhaps misquoted; no one can seem to agree on the last line.
Writing has been almost nil...I've been too busy with "life" to get anything done. There's the St. James Ct. DB project I'm working on (er, make that "volunteering"...you can't really call it work unless you actually get paid). Then Tony's mom has more or less moved in with us. I had figured that was coming soon (she'd lost her job back in Nov), but it was still rather sudden and unexpected as it did happen. So I've been helping her job search, getting the resume together, finding interview clothes, etc.
What I really need to find is a cleaning person who will show up more than a few times. I can only mop about a room before my leg says "hey, man, no way" and in a house this size....eh, that just ain't enough.
I wish Heinlein were still alive.
I kind of feel like having a good big cry for no reason.
And I did get a kind of weird note from an agent today on that project I'd stopped working on because I just didn't "feel it" (Camilla vs. NYC -- I'd put it aside to go back to Abigail because Camilla was just feeling like some teenage snot that I didn't particularly like and she was the main character...). She didn't feel it either -- which I don't blame her in the least -- it was competent but just kind of there. But anyway, the kind of weird thing was that she says she really likes my writing but that it seems too commercial. I'm not exactly sure why that's a bad thing...unless she just means she'd like something more "out there"? Or...or, I don't know. She said that its saleable...but is that the way I want to start out my career?
At any rate, I really want to get back to working on Abigail. I just have to get all the artist applications for 3rd Street ready for jurying by the end of the week or so. That means scanning approximately 400ish slides to start with...
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Next up...a purse I actually finished knitting a while back but just now finished putting in a lining and the frog closure. I'd gotten the yarn (which is made from the silk of reclaimed saris) from an estate sale for about 1/2 the price of what it would have normally cost. It's really colorful. The picture doesn't really do it justice, I don't think. I made the strap long enough I could put it over my head and carry it that way. I'll feel all bohemian...
And here's a purse I knit for my niece. I just need to mail it to her. It's knit out of a chenille yarn. There's a bit of a pattern on the front, but the rest of it is just plain knit. I made the flap kind of triangular, made a tassle thing-y for it and added a little bauble (shell) hanging on it. I like how it came out. I hope Rachael likes it too. I heard she was a little miffed because I hadn't made her a scarf too, but it was only because I was planning on making her a purse.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Ebay Link to auction for MY 3 ORIGINAL MOVIE IDEAS ---BIG BOX OFFICE POTENTIAL
Snip from the listing, which thankfully no one bidded on (to preserve it for posterity, since Ebay only keeps listing info for a set period of time...spelling/grammar issues are the lister's own...):
I am not a professional writer. I am a huge movie buff and know enough to know a great movie. These ideas cannot be detailed here for obvious reasons.
The first two ideas are Family type movies (bigger bugdet types). The last one is a very unique adult action comedy (small budget to shoot),thats smart and original with a great twist.unlike some of the crap that gets made anymore (snakes on a plane?who's getting fired over this one).
If you win the bidding I will meet in person and detail all three movies and you can choose (or buy the others). These ideas are mine and never been pitched to any one before,and have never been made into a movie. I live in Philadelphia and have NO connections in the movie business so I am pimping my ideas here. Please help.
Now, I know that the movie "bidness" is a hard one to break into and that many people are overcome with delusions of grandeur but...come on! Is this guy insane?
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Today I'm (hopefully) going to try and make clothes for myself. Will update soon.
Am way behind on the site too...we've been running all over town. Time. Eck. Never enough of it.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
I'm totally dizzy. And queasy. Barely know which way is up and my head feels like it is full of cotton -- but strangely ready to explode at any moment. Heh. cotton shrapnel.
I know it will get better, but today sucks. There are *so* many things I should be doing and I don't feel capable of doing any of them.
Sleep though...sleep would be really really nice...
(you know, I use way too many ellipses...)
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
And why do cats like fish so much when they can't stand water?
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Then I finished re-painting the little table for the bathroom. I sanded it, painted it black, and then painted on freehand some poppies and mums. At least, I intended for them to look like poppies and mums, so hopefully they do.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
This just makes me so mad:
Of course, that's just one thing that does. There's lots of others.
Friday, March 17, 2006
I'm kind of stuck down in the parlor today. I've got a guy doing yard work (Tony hasn't had the time, seeing as how he's working like 80 hours a week and only home 4 days) and my doctor hasn't approved me for hard labor. So Steve and Ronnie are raking leaves. They live in the neighborhood. Steve is a little odd, but that's par for the course. This is Old Louisville, the home of crackpots, crackheads, and students (who often fit into one of the other groups). I suppose I qualify as a crazy writer lady.
So I'm working on the design document for the St. James Ct. Art Show and cursing my beatiful but ungainly nails. It's like learning to type all over again. It is driving me nuts. I'm seriously thinking about going to a salon and saying "Please, for the love of god, trim these suckers!"
I have to go to the bathroom but I have CIL (cat in lap), so I'm stuck. I think they have a sixth sense for these things -- either they cuddle with you right before you're about to get up or when you have to pee. It's like your nose only itching when you do dishes.
I did learn that queasiness and nightmares are "expected" side effects from coming off of the evil pill. Yeesh. Who are these people that develop these drugs? Eh??
Actually, they listed about 15 or 20 side effects you might have when coming off this particular pill and I hit ALL OF THEM. I always have been an overachiever, I guess.
I'm getting somewhat organized in my 3rd floor office/project space (as opposed to my 2nd floor "neat" office space where only semi-quiet thinking and letter writing take place). I bought a bunch of bins to hide...er, store things in, but I think I need to pick up a few more or get rid of a lot of stuff. I'm sure Tony would vote for "get rid of" but that just wouldn't be me. I learned at the hands of a master. I don't think my mother throws anything away.
Anyway, I submitted some poetry to two different magazines tonight. Was thinking about submitting a short story...not sure. It's a strange piece, but I like it. I'd even toyed with turning it into a novel (and my last writing group really liked it), but it's just really...weird. No other word for it. And not a YA piece either. I dunno. For now I'll sit on it.
Next step on ze book...a little more clean up (got a ms crit back), a title change, and then off to see the Wizards at Mirrorstone. Well, actually, I guess I need to write up a synopsis too.
Which, of course, means I first need to look up exactly what is supposed to be in a synopsis...hadn't had to write one yet, so it will be my first. I'm assuming it's a chapter by chapter break down...or maybe just a wordier description. Hmmmm....google here I come.
Monday, March 13, 2006
(more of a 90's reference)
Or...I've got a mind full of wicked designs...
When I first started taking the "evil" pill, I spent a good month feeling queasy. Now that I'm coming off it...same thing. Bleck.
On a good note, some of my bulbs are coming up! The daffodils are blooming! Flowers are great.
We actually went to the theater last night and saw a movie. Mrs. Henderson Presents. Pretty good. I love Judi Dench. She's got balls.
A few nights ago we saw another good movie -- Garden State by Zach Braff (who wrote it...directed it...acted in it). Really liked it. Some quirky, almost absurdist humor. I'm impressed. I'd write him a fan letter if I was at all that kind of person.
Friday, March 10, 2006
Since I had to wait for two or three hours, I walked the mall. Then I decided to make Tony happy. I got my nails done with those fake jobies. The fill-in thing. Now I'm having trouble typing, but I know he'll be happy. Ever since I was a little girl, I've had a bad habit of picking at my nails. I don't actually bite them...I just pick at them with my other fingers/nails. It's like my hands have to have something to do. I don't know. It isn't good and I try stopping...it works for a while and then stress or whatever happens...anyway, so I've got fake nails now. I keep stabbing myself. And hitting the wrong key on the keyboard. I have to type kind of flat-fingered now. But it will make Tony happy. He hates it when I pick my nails. We'll see how it goes. They say you can stop or start any habit if you do/don't do it for a month.
Anyway, off to the salt mines.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Subject Line: rookie super models sporting petite boobs
Text: just legal girls that have itty bitty titz
Maybe I'm the only one that finds that funny. I don't know.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Today is an icky, icky day. Besides the weather (which looks frightfully dull and gray - kind of the quintessential winter sky), I had to take Tony to the airport at 5 AM. We, of course, got a flat tire on the way. Grrr. I thought he was going to spontaneously combust.
Did get him there on time, though, so that was okay. Then I went back home and to sleep, making the mistake of turning off my alarm. Which meant I woke up really, really late. Way past time to take the "evil" pill. Subsequently, I'm so dizzy I can hardly see straight and just feel really, really funky. Little waves of motion and emotion washing over me. And the leg/ligament? Eh, not so happy today.
Not to mention the really, really weird dream(s) I had -- violent, bloody affairs with desperation and sadness written all over them, though at least there was a requited love at the end. (Note: my dreams tend to be like movies and I'm often not even in them)
(boyfriend describing horrible thing that happened to girlfriend to his parents, who are some kind of King/Queen? after the ordeal is over and everyone has been rescued...I'll leave out what the horrible thing was 'cause it really was horrible--lucky for me, it at least seems to have happened "off scene" in my dream/movie.)
While he's telling the story, [girl] hangs her head in shame at a particularly heinous part. The mother immediately takes the girl's chin and lifts it up gently.
"Never be ashamed at what someone has done to you; it reflect only on them and not at all on you."
I'm not describing that real well, since I'm leaving out the nasty bits, but oh well.