Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh, Charming!

My cousin just opened an invitation for Christmas. My cousin, the only member of my generation on EITHER side of my family who's younger than I am, is perfectly adorable, and I will be thrilled to see him and his family. It's been too long.

I'm glad one of us finally dialed a phone. That whole "thinking about you" thing is so much less effective than communication and actual visits. It may also be fun to go visit him and then go visit my "cousin", TEO, which was my previous Master Plan ...

Oh, *squee*

Hurray for cousins!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Almost a Year

My stepfather gave me the laptop on which I'm tapping away almost a year ago now. He didn't know then (and I never told him nor my mother until after the layoff) how incredibly fortuitously timed a gift it was, as I embarked on the search for a new job, wiser by far than my previous employers as to my fitness for their expectations, and more prescient than myself even in doing something about it. I try not to have bad feelings toward my exes - but that employer ranks low on my list in terms of my sustained respect. Ah well.

Just as important to me, if not perhaps as "practical" by the standards he might hold, or even my mom probably does, is the ability this little machine has given me to (a) finish, and (b) query my novel(s).

The keyboard shows inevitable signs - every keyboard I have used in the past twelve years or so has; since hardware manufacturers began depending on decals for their letter labels, rather than those old, fine, putty-colored keyboards which had embedded contrasting plastic extruded, formed right in, and indelibly present to deliniate the poor N which seems to suffer most from my typing-with-my-nails style - of my typing-with-fingernails method of getting things electronically done.

Otherwise, though, it's as clean and pristine as the day I was gobsmacked to open the laptop box, December 25, 2009. The case is a gorgeous mahogany color, almost - but, elegantly, not *quite* - black. It does bear one single scratch, which I affectionately forgive, because I almost certainly sustained it on my trip to see my family on the West Coast. But it is still new. It is still neato. It is still a pretty whizbang little box to report in to most every day, to waste time on, and to work on.

I'm still a bit eye-blinking about the gift.

Makes Christmas tricky - but mom did give me a great idea. So that is a good thing. I can show him some gratitude.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Too Eeks

Two weeks ago tonight, I got the email from the agent who'd requested my full, asking me to re-send the file as she could not open the original one. My MSS is being read.

Two weeks isn't long for an agent to take reading a full manuscript.


... ?

I figure, the shorter the response time, the surer there's no interest.

I figure I haven't *really* got a shot here.

I figure the work is good - its home, I just may not have found quite yet. But there is one.

I figure - *EEP* - two weeks sitting stark naked like this, *knowing* (when) I'm being read - not just "that" it is happening, but when the file needed opening ...



I'm loving it.

But I am all squirmy about it, too.

Who DID This to You, Siddy?

I've told the tale (among longwinded other things) of Sid's having spent well over thirty hours alone, through Hurricane Gaston, and never eliminating in the house. I have seethed in ungrateful horror at what manner of "training" must have taken place, to yield such a pitiful, painful result.

And by G-d, I love my good, good dog.

This morning, she headed downstairs ahead of me. This isn't typical, but it's nothing I worry about much. When I came down, though, I saw her water bowl was emp-oh-tee. She must've been thirsty - and I realized, even just a tiny bit of ham fat is more, to a dog. And I realized - oh, man. SALT. Aiee.

I filled her bowl again, and added even more when she drank about 2/3 of what I'd poured without even glancing at breakfast. She drank a little more.

Full on water, she never did look twice at her kibble.

And I am no fool. I had an idea what this would mean.

To her credit, wee girl *did* wee a *lot* along our walk. But I fully expected what I did find, when I came home. Well, the artifact.

I didn't expect the terrified dog.

Siddy peed on the tiny, cheap rug in my front hall, which was frankly nothing more than I expected, and hardly less than what I had earned with the sequence of salt and water. I wasn't upset with her.

Oh my heart, but she was in trembling fear.


Eight YEARS I have had her now. Eight years over a month ago.

But whatever the discipline she was given, so severe it held her to the point of obvious distress, and I am certain, actual pain, through that hurricane, had her SHAKING in fear. At me.

I told her it was okay, I put her harness on, I took her outside. I took the rug out, too, and rinsed it. When she saw me carrying it, she clearly understood her "crime" was clear to me too. I took it over to the hose, rinsed it off a little. I brought it back, and slung it over the rail on the back stoop.

And I sat with my poor girl, caressing her velvet ears, as she shook and shook and clearly vascillated in fear. I told her it was okay. I told her it was okay over and over and over again, and I scritched her and patted her and put my hand on her back with the same gentleness I hope she knows eight-years-well-and-deep from me by now. I bonked her head with my own. I hung out, unconcerned, watched the sky, watched her. Told her again and again it was okay.

I'll say it again.

What assholes.

And what a great dog - BEST dog - my old Siddy-La is.

I am so lucky to have her.

I sure hope she is lucky in me.

Relative to my predecessors, clearly at least she's SAFER.

But I won't relax until she's really fortunate.

Po' lil t'ing.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I have been coming down with a cold very, very slowly (why miss work when one can be sick for a second holiday in a row??). It is therefore a good thing I am alone, because the sound of my laughter at the moment (the sound of a decades-long dedicated filterless Luckies smoker) cannot be heard ...

... well, by anything but my poor dog. Who remains all unknowing and unconcerned. Bless her.

No, seriously. Bless her. Even as she makes sad noises at me. Because at least she isn't making food.

Go. Read:

"The ground is all weird!"

Monday, November 22, 2010

Extraction Ex Azure

I like that, of my tags, "accomplishments" has among the most links available.

Query Cleanup

I've been fighting the headache and cleaning up my bookmarks, making sure my query sheet is current, updating those I never heard back from with "PASS" and setting up the next run on QT and finding the other sites I need to re-up with or up-in-the-first-place with. One big query last night, and making a list of more to do, as well as revisiting other productive resources less directly in the "get me an agent" vein.

Oh, and writing a bit, too. Yeah. That.

Now to consider whether to post anything with the Sarcastic Broads ...

Sometimes It's Gut-Time

Like when you find an agent with a name that's just too cool, one of which she shares with your uber-cool niece, Wow.

Or the one whose name is one single letter away from that Communications executive who once accused my writing of being "elegant" (and who is a great guy, to whom I owe a lunch ...). Who happens to rep Mayim Bialik, who returned to TV on one of my favorite shows. Heh. (Am I a snot, though, to note that QT misspelled her name ... ?)


Search keywords for the day: "Suzanne Gluck query" ...

I'll be sure and keep you posted. She's with William Morris Endeavor, one of the biggest of the big (so calibrate expectations, O Anonymous Querying Comrade), and I likely haven't got the breath of a chance. But I did have a referral - so: nice. All the best to you, AQC!

*Toasts all the querying authors out there*


Seriously, kids. I know I *have* human readers. But the bots are beating you.

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I mean, the Engrish is even getting boring. Am I going to have to turn off the comments function?

... and my complex begins ...

*Le sigh*

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Funky Sunday Time

It is only 6:35, but because the day seems to be so much later, I have that luxury of having more time before me for the evening than it "feels" like there is.

Being a good girl, I am using this time to get back into Absolute Write a little bit, at last to set up 1000 Literary Agents and Query Tracker accounts, and to query Suzanne Gluck at WMA. I have put off for far too long my query to her - via the incredible generosity of Adriana Trigiani.

You'll notice I'm naming this query, where in the past I haven't noted anyone I have submitted to. I figure, I had to do the work to find my submission sources - you all have to do your own. But William Morris Endeavor is so big, and Suzanne Gluck so major, there are two reasons I needn't be too precious about this intel. One is that my chances here are nil, and I know that. Two, a public revalation that I am shooting for the stars here (even acknowledging the star is likely to shoot me down) is nothing to be embarrassed about.

This goes along with the urban fantasy agent I liked so much from the Conference (got my R from her last week) and in-person pitches with agents who don't usually handle my genre. I am bouyed by their generosity and positivity, and honored by their willingness to open doors to me - but I am little burdened with illusions that this kindness necessarily translates to lasting interest. I'm confident the right relationship will come, so I'm not overly sweaty about every last possibility along the way.

I'm also not failing to make the query, given the route to it (the word "referral" is gold in query country! especially "referral by super hot author" fella babies!). "Small chance" is still a chance - and why would I just not try? I've got the nicest, most amazing author in the world encouraging me. It'd be outright moronic to write myself off, given that context.

Realistic as I am, I do still have a dream. And it's FUN to let thoughts slip, occasionally, about hitting the big time. That's what this whole industry is about. It's all well and good to be pragmatic, professional, and un-precious. But it wouldn't be wise to ratchet my expectations all the way down to nothing. William Morris doesn't deal with nothings. Just ask Adriana.


Friday, November 19, 2010

All Right, Y'all

I know I have readers. THIS is all I get in the way of comments:

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Now, come on. Actual people. It is okay if you commment. I turned on the function for just such purposes. I love good Engrish as much as the next guy, but ... no. Not in my comments. I prefer real comments. M'kay? I love you guys.

Not the bots so much. Don't let them outnumber you, or I'll get a complex.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


One of the results of a really rarin' good headache is that it sends you caroming around the kitchen like a pinball unable to formulate some sort of meal. Which, of course, compounds the low-blood-sugar issues which do no good for a headache. This can yield some very interesting results, in a kitchen not over-equipped with ready food of the non-microwave variety.

It also *really* makes you wish for more variety in takeout options.

A Question to My Brainpan

Should I have specified that that didn't mean I wanted them to come on earlier, particularly? I *could* be satisfied with not at all, in fact ...

Today was a four-Advil day, and yet the headache is strong. But I got out by 4:40-ish, to go home. Progress!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Headache ...

... coming on right now is pretty bad.

This week has been a bit repetive and irksome with these night-onset bad headache things.

Let's stop this trend. Right now.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November Sixteen

It's always a Saturday in my mind, too.

The thing is done. We are changed. We can't go back.

I alone do not want to.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


One of the things about age is the inevitability of giving things up. What encroaches on us isn't gain. Oh, there are new things, new additions all the time - increases, accelerations ... But most of what we get isn't gain. Only mentally, only emotionally can we control what everywhere else becomes erosion.

"I am made of hope," I have been known to say.

Apparently, over time, one comes to be made of sadder stuff.

I resent this loss.

And - even so - I content myself with it.

Ah, content. Cold comfort for those of us without satisfaction.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Curled Up ... and A Good Book, too

Just as I'm posting the photo of my dear old curled up beautiful dog, I get the email from the second Conference agent (the first sent me my R last week, but that was nothing less than I had expected - and this is the one who requested the full!), asking me to resend the file. Seems she could not open it.

Here's hoping she spends a little time enjoying it this weekend.


I still don't have breath-held expectations of success with this query; I know her agency does histfic, but she does not. So it was a thrill for her to ask for the manuscript. But it is still kind of nice to know a query's at the top of a slush pile, just a week before the first meeting of the SBC.


How could it be possible not to be inexpressibly grateful for the wonderfulness of a good dog?

Visual Arts

Thinking of my younger niece's painting gets me to thinking what I always do, of those with talent in the visual arts, what a breathtaking thing it is to be able to translate ideas into images. Little niece, Squee, has painted me a number of amazingly joyous smiles, but elder niece, Wow, is enough years older to have produced a longer history. She's had a visual ability all her life, and my gallery of hers reaches back to her flowers-and-frogs period and up into her Jackson-Pollack-had-no-idea-what-he-was-missing-out-on-not-using-metallic-purple period.

Squee is a burst of excitement. She's cute, she's still small, she's affectionate and amazing.

Oh, but Wow. I've known Wow longer; she was the first for our family. I have been fascinated and smitten with her so many years she's almost an adolescent now. She's poised, she's brilliantly intelligent, and she's beautiful in a way that goes way beyond the surface-appearance benefits of good health, good humor, and wide eyes. She's always had an innate generosity and creativity which make her genuinely remarkable.

And she can DRAW. She can paint, she can bead and braid and knit and MAKE. She is the very essence of creativity - able to make pictures and stories and objects - I even get compliments every time I wear the earrings she made for me.

I miss those girls. They just can't know. Amazing.

Squee moved me deeply, when she cried for happiness, seeing me last summer. Wow did it when she cried, when they left Virginia. The two of them are such a future. What a glorious legacy, our family.


Not long ago, I was told: Squee is writing, now. She wants to tell stories, and she can't even write all the words.

Squee is five.

She goes to ask daddy how to make the word she needs, and he tells her it doesn't matter, to make what she thinks looks right for it, and just to tell her stories. Just to write.

He's a pretty great daddy, I suspect.

He certainly has amazing daughters.


Yesterday was a day off, and I took today, with some ideas as to how to spend a four day weekend. The first idea was to wander antique shops and find myself a chair, to sit in place of the one I inherited from my grandmother, too long since now in the not-very-cosmetic mask of a poorly fitting slipcover. I can't afford to reupholster this piece properly right now - and if it should be done, it should be done properly - and so I had the idea to indulge myself in the long held girly fantasy of buying myself a chaise longue.

As luck would have it, I bought one on Wednesday night. I'd seen it in the shop near my work on Tuesday, and thought that it was probably too blue for me. But looking at it Wednesday, I realized I wanted the little beauty.

As it turns out, the fear that it was too blue (to go with my extremely turquoise *green* mantelpiece) was totally unfounded - and now I have myself a Queen's Chair. It represents for me a sort of final giving-up on worrying about decorating to accommodate a man whom I don't expect ever to be physically part of my life again; it's entirely feminine, a piece all for me. For MY house. For MY taste. It's a giving-up in one way, but entirely an indulgence too.

I have realized, one of my favorite things about this chair is unexpected. The way it sits right now, it faces the first painting I ever got from my youngest niece. Big green smiling face, with smeary bright eyes and almost vestigial watercolor arms and body. Nothing of its body matters but the happy big green head, the undeniable, ineffably joyous smile, and the eyes, which are red and fiery yellow. It's a big picture, and wonderful. It's good to have a chair that sits just where I can relax and contemplate it.

I may not have a partner. But I am loved immensely, and I have a family who are incalculably wonderful. There are blessings.


Well, the lawn is only half mowed. Must get to the rest of that. November ... and I'm sweating in the sun, mowing the grass! Fabulous!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I'm sorry, I just can NOT get over how thoroughly awesome that OK Go video is. Song and all!

Go watch it again.

And if you didn't watch it the first time, I am not going to be your friend. Because - seriously - so stinkin' coolio.


It seems I haven't spent as much time neatening up my thoughts as I expected - but I have indubitably taken care of myself this weekend, and gotten very good rest for my troubles. As usual, those ideas I had thought to get into words are either less important than they seemed on Friday, or they're content to wait for a better frame of mind, the better to appear, themselves, in a worthwhile format.

It's been a pretty weekend, and the house is indeed clean, with laundry underway as is fitting for a Sunday evening. The work week will be very short this go-round; three days, as we get Veterans Day (there's a post happy to stand ready a while yet), and I took Friday as well. I mean to use the four-day weekend to do some final detail work in the kitchen, things put off too easily for a while now, with a job no longer quite so new. I'll also hit up the antique mall, and maybe the southside junk shop - and, if my mom and I can get in touch with them, my dear friend and her baby daughter might get a visit.

The first Sarcastic Broads Club meeting will be at my place, week after next. Kind of looking forward to that; something different, hopefully constructive.

Tonight, though - more ease and a little laundry, in my nice clean house. Then off to bed. What pleasure.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Okay, I saw the OK Go marching band version of their video for "This too Shall Pass", and I liked it so much I decided to link it here because - neato spedito!

Then I saw this version.

Gobsmack-worthy excellent fun!!!!

Housecleaning. Braincleaning.

I was *waiting* for 4:30 p.m. yesterday almost from Sunday afternoon. I dreaded Monday, because I hadn't felt well over the weekend, and I hadn't taken care of myself. I dreaded Tuesday, because I always vote in the morning, and this getting up at oh-dark-thirty business has been wearing me down. The rest of the week wasn't so scary of course, but it was something to be GOTTEN through for the reward of getting to the weekend. The not feeling well business started over a week and a half ago, and my plan starting at 4:30 Friday was to get some of the rest I so badly needed.

The work week was actually surprisingly productive, considering my rotten attitude (I don't share my attitude with those who pay me to be nice, for the most part ...). But when 4:30 came and went yesterday I slipped into a bit of defeatist humor about it. Eh, well, the later you leave on a Friday, the easier the drive is.

Still, it was a little amusing that the thing taking me so long was something to do with my printer.

My printer and I have a bit of a fraught relationship. And my printer is the only one I can use to do what needed doing.

So I got stubborn and bent it to my will (not without a bit of a fight, obviously), and left about an hour and a half late.

Apparently, my printer was feeling a stickler over the fact I had left an hour and a half *early*, with that feeling unwell business, the previous Friday.


But I did get home, and had a quiet evening finishing out season 3 of Deep Space 9 on my new DVD set, went through all the little easter eggs and special features, and went to bed by I think 9:45 or so.

I spent a night of pretty good rest, brain CLOTTED with dreams - a constant production line of scraps, images, stories - none of them bad ones, most of them I can't remember. Evidently my brain needs a good emptying-out. I drowsed this morning, silly writer-mind coming up with reviews for DS9. Heh. That's a typical Saturday morning for me. Letters to E, reviews like that, scathing arguments with people who offend my sensibilities - my sleepy brain writes.

And not always well. As we already know. Heh.

So I won't subject you to all of last night's (or this morning's) mental smorgasboard, but I do have an idea that this weekend I'm going to want to get out a couple thoughts which have been suggesting themselves for this space recently.

First, though, to survey the estates, and see what there is to see. Strategy time.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


October begins the anniversaries. It was in October I got The Lolly, broke up with my last boyfriend. It was that November I met Mr. X. In December, my dad smiled wide - and we started bashing a hole in my kitchen wall. In February ...

November has never been a kind month for me and my brother. It bears its own unpleasant dread. I'm not much depressive - and I'm not (much) superstitious - but experience is experience, and experience has never induced in me a carefree love for this month of the year. It has borne good fruit. But it has been unremittingly cruel more than once.

I'm not down, but wary.

November comes in like a migraine and leaves like a flu. Or something like that. Not to be trusted, months without cute little lamb similes.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


One of the privileges of being a middle aged woman is that it puts me in the position to be able to say a very, very select few amazingly cool things. Today, I turned on the radio and was briefly able to bask in memories of two of these cool things.

When I was a kid, the first real concert I ever went to go see was The Clash's combat rock tour. I got right up in front, and before the show even started, somebody (either a jerk who wanted to get rid of the fifteen-year-old girl for whatever reason, or a nice guy who was worried about the supposed daintiness of fifteen-year-old girls whose durability he was not acquainted with) summoned a security guard to pull me up out of the press at the stage barrier, which (a) separated me wholly from my friends, already out of sight to me but at least somewhere in that general area in front of the stage and (b) didn't stop me but for about ten minutes. The joy of festival seating, and of being a smarty-pants fifteen year old girl was that I pushed my way RIGHT back to the front, where I had been - and, though I lost my shoes doing it, I literally didn't miss a beat ... of the show. It annoyed the life out of the people who were trying to pretend they'd saved mine, but I had a heck of a good time. From the ankles up, that is.

Worth noting: when attending an arena show populated almost entirely by people wearing genuine military surplus combat boots (this was ten years before that poseur Doc Marten came along and fashion-ized the cool-kids footwear market), it is poor planning to wear teeny little cotton maryjanes. Take it from me, Fella Babies.

The second uber-cool thing I am able to say is that my SECOND concert was David Bowie.

I try to minimize the fact that it was the Serious Moonlight tour, to be sure.

But I saw David Bowie. Ended up up front again (children: look up the term festival seating in some ancient 1980s text, and marvel at the wonder of all the people who got gave their lives for The Who and AC/DC, and wonder at the capitalist impossibility of being at the front of a concert without paying ninety bucks for the privilege ...). Caught his towel.

I still have my half of the towel. My brother's ex girlfriend's little sister has the other half. Or did back then, anyway.

I suspect neither of us ever forgave my mother for WASHING David Bowie's towel. But, still. I have it. Even if the sacred sweat *was* abluted away. I use it to stuff my flapper/Clara Bow wig, keep its shape vaguely.


So I have gotten some mileage out of being able to say I've seen The Clash and Bowie live. There are deluded punk rock wannabes who die over these facts (though I must reiterate for them all the time, The Clash were not in fact punk). People half my age in faux-distressed tees get a bit wobbly when I have the opportunity to discuss this stuff. I've wowed generations now with my old lady tales of seeing White Cross live - and Minor Threat - and The Exploited (the latter of whom, of course, were a right gang of unmitigated turdheads). I even saw Ten Thousand Maniacs once, and generated a tiny little meme with my response to Natalie Merchant. I'm a bit the Grand Dame, able to make certain claims to the wee kidlets who would have died for the chance to've seen some of these performers.

Less exciting is the real truth, that my VERY first arena show, age ten, was actually Shawn Cassidy. I spent an endless after-school afternoon harrassing my father into taking me to at all, and miraculously he DID - and then I harrassed him again, into taking me out of the arena, when the opening band TERRIFIED me for some reason. When I tried once again harrassing him back INTO the arena, when I heard the magical strains of Da Doo Ron Ron or something off of Born Late - astonishingly - dad was not to be harrassed that magical third time.

So I still count The Clash as my first *real* show experience ... ahem.

My poor dad.

But lucky me.

Because that sounds MUCH cooler than "I saw Shawn Cassidy because Leif Garret was too popular."

Eventually, I did see Leif. I think it was the year after his "Behind the Music" fiasco - and I know it was as a joke. Interesting one. Not at all good, though.

He should try out for The Exploited, I think.

Monday, November 1, 2010


I do know that my Hallowe'en photo is still up on my profile. I'll change it when I'm not so tired, Fella Babies. Right now: shutting down. Nighty-night time soon.

Nrgh II - The Electric Boogaloo

I did make it through today pretty well - but let it be said, it was exhausting. I'm too old to forget to use any of my weekend for actually resting (even when I'm not actually sick!). I ploughed into the day, though, and got a great deal done. My boss needs me to get on top of a calendar overview for our group, and that isn't completed, which is frustrating - but huge amounts of daily-grind stuff IS done, which is still good.

As much as I was dreading today, yesterday, now I am dreading tomorrow. To be sure, I know this is hardly the attitude to go into *any* day with, but voting days do tire me out. Even on non-presidential years, when it doesn't take all that long, running such an errand in the dark of a November morning (the new time for Daylight Savings has given a literally-dark new flavor to election days these past few years) is mentally tiring. Maybe I should stop, after getting it done, and bring in some bagels or something for my crew. Hmm, must check the hours for Einstein Bros., see if that's an option ...

Except of course that I like the breakfast at work. Man, they do the most amazingly good thick-cut bacon.

Oh, just thinking about it makes me a poorer coworker. Heh. I like bacon and biscuits better than bagels anyway.

The good news about this week is that after tomorrow, the days will be significantly easier. And after Friday, we'll be adjusting this oh-dark-thirty business for this year. I must be old: I'm looking forward to this like it's a holiday. "Yay, Fall Back is coming!"


But right now, even one extra hour's sleep sounds like platinum-plated luxury. Mmm.