Monthly Archives: January 2007

Down and Out

Well, I surely cursed myself with the whole “back on the wagon” post. What was that? Like walking right behind a black cat under a ladder while breaking a mirror? Anyway, I have what is apparently a very nasty infection, so I am out of commission for awhile. Which is massively frustrating, but what can you do? And since the infection started in my eyes, I can’t even read for very long without pain. Which sucks like a Hoover since I have a buddy’s ARC I am dying to get to. ARGH!

Anyway, I’m not anticipating much blogging this week. See you when I finally get a life again.

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Filed under Life? You Mean I Have To Have A Life?

It Finally Happened. I Turned Into Tipper Gore.

I consider myself fairly liberal when it comes to people’s sexual practices.  I believe that homosexual love does exist and that, even though I don’t swing that way, there’s a place for it in the world. I believe what consenting adults do in their own bedrooms is generally none of my business as long as no one gets hurt. I even believe there’s a place for pornography. Again, as long as no one gets hurt. (That statement could cause huge arguments, I know, but let’s leave that for a moment and get onto the part where I become a prude.)

I work on a state university’s campus. Last year, we came to work to find posters reading GET BETTER SEX NOW! on the walls, approved by the dean of whoeverthehellapprovesthisstuff. We were a little shocked. I mean I realize college kids are having sex (I sure missed out on that part of school!), but must we encourage it? None of us in our office every said anything to anyone official, but the posters disappeared pretty quickly. Since it was close to Parents’ Weekend, we figured somebody blew a gasket. And I can’t blame them.

So I was a little surprised when I walked into the building this morning to find this:

Okay, I’m not going to post a picture. While I get an occasional swear-word off in here, this is generally a family-friendly blog and I don’t feel right posting a centerfold here. Yes, THAT kind of centerfold. Oh, she’s covered up by her own arms and legs, but the woman on the poster is naked. Or, if you’re Jeff Foxworthy, nekkid. Because she’s not wearing clothes and fully looks like she’s up to something.

This is a model from a very popular gentlemen’s magazine (who are we kidding with that phrase, by the way?) who is HIV positive. She’ll be giving a speech on campus about protecting yourself from STDs and various other nastiness. Okay, I’m on board with the speech. But to advertise an event meant to discuss high risk behavior by plastering a naked woman’s picture all over campus? That I don’t get. Isn’t a naked lady supposed to have these 18-year-old walking hormones to want to have sex? So now she’s going to go preach to them that the only 100% effective method to prevent STDs is abstinence? What the…

Yup. I’ve become Tipper Gore. I will never forget watching MTV in the 80s (yes, I did that back then) and seeing Dee Snyder next to john Denver (talk about strange bedfellows) bemoaning the fact that a lyrics rating system was censorship. And this was before rap really got going. All the while, Tipper and her ladies in waiting sat up on the bench looking as if they’d never even heard of S-E-X. Please.

And yet, the hearings back then led to labeling of music, which I don’t think is a bad thing. See, while I might (or might not) get my freak on every other Friday night in the privacy of my own home, I wouldn’t put it in writing or take a picture to put on the walls of a classroom building, for Pete’s sake! So what is this lovely naked woman going to wear to the presentation, I wonder. If you believe her posters, I’d say nothing.

And before you start telling me I’m being unfair to this perfectly wonderful person, I’m not saying I think she’s promiscuous. I have no idea. None of my damned business, really. But I think that putting up a poster of a naked person posing in a sexually suggestive manner on the walls of a classroom building on a college campus is sending the wrong message. And with three young boys about to plow headlong into puberty, this is the type of stuff I’d like them to have to work for to see. Oh, they’ll see it, alright! I’m not naive enough to think they won’t. But does it have to be on the way to Algebra?

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Filed under And She's Opinionated Too!

The Surest Way to Get Off Track is to Say You’re On

Karma is laughing it’s sick freaking head off. That last post? You know, the one where I said I was back on the wagon, exercise and writing wise. Well, apparently that was a call to the gods to knock me on my kiester. Well, not me specifically. No, the sick bastards went after my kid. Son #2 has been down with some sort of nasty viral ugliness. His fever was shooting up near 104 and, with our family history, I was concerned about febrile seizures. This lasted a full five days, and each one I said this would be the last day, that the fever would break soon. It finally did. Thank God. But we’re all recouperating. So will I be back on the wagon again? Yeah. Next week.

See you then?

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Filed under Life? You Mean I Have To Have A Life?

Getting Back on the Wagon – All the Way Around

Just got off the elliptical – 20 minutes. And boy am I exhausted. So exhausted, in fact, that I decided to share with all of you how I’m back on the exercise wagon. Because, you see, as tired as I am now, in the long run I’m going to feel better. I used to think that was crap. People said exercise, you’ll be less tired. You’ll have more energy and feel like you can accomplish more. Yeah. Whatever. But I screwed up my back pretty well a while back and was forced into PT (physical therapy to you regular folks – painful torture to those of you who really know!). At first, I thought I was going to DIE! It hurt. A lot! But as I kept going, my back felt better. In fact, all of me did. And one day I was sitting on my steps talking on the phone. My hand was resting on the railing and I looked at my arm out of the corner of my eye. Then I had to look again. And again. Forget double take, it took me a full four times to realize what I was looking at. I had a muscle! An honest-to-God, well-defined bicep! I could have died.

Of course I went out an joined the Y. Lost a ton of wieght and my back felt terrific. Then my schedule changed and my normal gym time wasn’t working. Then the other gym in town closed and I had to compete for machines with the spandex-clad, husband-hunting, rail-thin, irritating….  ahem. Where was I? Oh yeah. Gym rats. Actually, I have another name for them which starts with sl and ends in ts, but the point is they would sit there on the one machine I needed to do to finish my workout, slowly doing their reps and talking to some muscle-bound moron. Then I had some surgery, which put me out of commission for awhile. And then they raised their prices. For me to sit there and wait for YMCA Barbie to get a date.

I think you see where I’m going here. I quit. I gained the weight back, my back is a wreck, and I am tired all the time. All. The. Time. But I bought an elliptical machine! Which sits in the basement and gathers dust. But I have spurts. I go on there for a few days, then stop again. But, in the spirit of the New Year, I’ve actually gone on there most every day for a week now! Whoo! And making 20 minutes today was a momentous occasion, I can tell you. Especially since I felt like I could actually go longer. The phone, however, prevented that. But tomorrow it’s 25, I swear!

So what does this have to do with writing? Well, my writing story is amazingly similar to my workout story. I used to write every night. I was addicted. Heck, when my job was simpler, I used to write there, too. I could pull of a rough draft in a month. No lie. NaNo was cake for me then.  Then my kids got older, my job got more involved, and I fell off the wagon. I still wrote, but not every day. Writing was actually a little like pulling teeth. Oh, once I got back on, the wagon was easy enough to ride. I’d get involved in a passage and tap away for an hour without realizing any time had passed. But it would be day before I touched the computer again.

I’ve tried a million little tricks to get me back on the wagon again, but it’s been tough. My new laptop did a lot for me, since I had to justify putting nearly $600 into a toy for just me and me alone. But it still didn’t get me to write EVERY day. In fact, the spurts were now interrupted by email, since I had a laptop manufactured after the stone age and wireless Internet.

But I think I’ve figured it out. And even though I think I know the anwswer, I realize it’s not going to get any easier. It comes down to this: when I exercise, I really feel good. I do. Even now, as my leg muscles twitch as they relax from a good workout, I feel more energized. Same with my writing. I forced myself to re-write the first scenes of MURDER IN F MINOR the other night, and felt like I’d run a marathon. What I wrote wasn’t pretty and it had taken me what felt like a million years to be done with what I wanted to get done. But afterwards, even though I felt exhausted, I felt oddly energized.  And I know the more I do it, the better I’ll feel. Just like that blasted elliptical.

Now if I could just figure out how to do both at the same time. Hmmm…

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Filed under It's A Writing Life

Even Scrooge Had Heart

Okay, so I was accused yesterday of being a big Scrooge this year. It’s true. I know it. Between a crazy December and a huge rush up to Christmas, I was so not in the Christmas spirit. That hasn’t exactly changed, and I’ve been itching to get rid of all the Christmas paraphernalia around my house. However, we never take anything down until Epiphany (Jan 6th) and this year will be no exception, lest my children smother me in my sleep. But between struggling to get the outside lights to work this year and putting up the Christmas tree TWICE, I’m about done with the whole thing.

But there were some warm, holiday-y moments I can recount here. We got the first real snow of the season on Saturday, which was actually beautiful coming down. We sat in the house, all toasty, while the husband watched football and the kids and I played computer games all day. It was just a nice time, watching the flakes fall and the mailman’s footprints disappear. All the while indulging in leftover cookies and candies and playing Rollercoaster Tycoon. (Damned addictive game, by the way.)

Then there were the James Bond marathons! We love us some Bond in our house, and both Spike TV and Encore fed into our sad addiction. We’d snuggle up on the big bed in Mom and Dad’s room and watch Bond, James Bond for hours! My mother called one afternoon and asked why it was so quiet at my house. “They’re watching Dr. No,” I told her.

“Son Number 3 is 6!” she replied, but then amended with, “I guess you were about that age the first time you saw it.”

Yep. I was. And considering the kind of violence they are exposed to on Cartoon Network these days, I don’t think a little Dr. No is going to kill them. Especially since they are already pointing out how impossible most things Bond does actually are. Still, both sons numbers 2 and 3 can now sing the theme to Goldfinger pretty accurately.

Oh, and then there was the Twlight Zone on SciFi! Yes, most warm moments in our house revolve around some sort of media device. (Did I mention the husband got an HDTV – our first – for Christmas? We HAD to break it in!) But lest you think all we do is sit around and watch TV, there was also the snow shoveling and sled riding, as well.

So when I sit back and think about it, we’ve had a pretty good Christmas. Some good memories, there, to make us smile and think back on when the kids are up and out. Of course, when they are up and out, maybe I can actually sleep in sometimes.

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Filed under The One Where I Waffle On About The Kids

Website Update

Well, I’m spending my day curled up in bed next to a very sick young man. In fact, his fever is approaching 102, and I really hate that, since he has a history of seizures and all. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’d have a seizure with a high fever, but it doesn’t exactly lower his chances, either.

But he seems to be holding his own and doing pretty well, so I took advantage of the time to do a few website tweaks. I took out my non-fiction work, since I haven’t done that in years. Also added an excerpt page, and a few different links that are not writing-related. Nothing huge, but if you want to check it out, just go here.  Enjoy!

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Mental Reset Button

New Year’s Eve. Tomorrow is not only a new week and a new day, but also a new year. Then again, it’s just the sun coming up in the east as it always does. Then it will set in the west and we go about our business as usual. Or do we?

Once a year we’re given a rather unique opportunity.  Whether you look at it as the natural way of things, or if you are a little more pragmatic and think back to the group of whomever they were — most likely men, but I’m too lazy to google exactly whom I’m talking about — who decided on our current calendar, the first of January is a little different than any other day. It’s a whole new year. Today is a celebration and, if necessary, a sloughing of what has been and we go to bed tonight dreaming of what will be.

I’m not a resolution kinda gal. Oh, I swear again this year that I’ll hit the treadmill everyday and I’m going to try to shut my mouth more often and not be the class clown anymore. (Ironic little twist here: I wasn’t actually the class clown in school. I didn’t get to be an unrelenting smart ass until well into adulthood. Anyway…)  I vow to be a little smarter, to be a better mother and a generally all around better person. Pretty generic, huh? Yeah. But by the 15th of the month, dust will again be coating the treadmill, my mouth will be getting me into trouble, and I’ll be yelling at kid number one about something the other two did. Because I’m human and, like everyone else, I revert to type. But, this year, I hope to make it. I hope to look at the New Year as the opportunity to reset my brain… my whole attitude. I hope to think of myself as the existing raw materials to do build a better me.

So I put this entry under a writing life. Why? Well, because I’ll be doing the same with MURDER IN F MINOR. The lovely editor who rejected it was right – there isn’t enough at stake for poor Isabelle. So I am taking what I have — the existing raw materials — and building a new book. Honestly,  I didn’t like my hero in the beginning, anyway.  In the meantime, I’m going to shop LET’S DISH all over the place. Get serious about it for a change. And I’m going to Green Bay in June to be a writer WITH writers again. This is one resolution I think I can keep.

Oh, and resolve to write in the blog more often. But let’s just remember, I’m human, you know.

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Filed under It's A Writing Life