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Just a little down the quixotic road

The house that was being built in the last post, is now built and Little Lady and I (plus Great Dane) are living in it!  It is great to have a quieter neighborhood, and LL and I get out to the park more, walks, bike rides with the dog.  Still have to get the things in the house all straightened out and in their proper place, but we are in the place and that's good.

In my mind there is a goal, a project, an unattainable, unreachable, unreal goal -- no more pain for children.  Impossible yes, but it is there in my head like the incessant lapping of an ocean.  How to stop child abuse?  No more -- not ever.  How to find cures for diseases, particularly something like Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) -- cannot even been held for comfort as it only causes more pain.  No more pain -- not ever.

It is life.  Yes.  True.  Does not keep me from wanting it the pain to stop.  Adults, well, it is horrible and no person should intentionally cause another person pain, but at least somewhere in the brain we can comprehend the why.  A child can't.  An infant does not know why it is so hungry, but eating hurts more.

There has to be a step that we -- I -- can take to get us further down the road to the no more pain.  I keep thinking about having it be a requirement for every child born, the parent has a visit from a social worker.  A check up just like the children would have from a doctor.  Help without feeling "less" or "incapable" because everyone gets that visit. But then that gets into other complications.

I'm just rambling, hoping someone, somewhere has an idea that helps.

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Skip, write, build, train

I'm starting to skip news online, too.  I can't take many more articles that have such heart decaying news.  Mostly really tired of stupid parents.  Stupid, abusive, insane, how-could-you-possibly-do-that-to-a-child parents.  Makes me want to turn all vigilante on people. I know that such heinous things happened before the instantaneous spread of information, but it seems like so much more now and so much less we can do about it because of some sort of law or another established for the right reasons but lets all the wrong slip through, too.

Now, with that purge of my soul out of the way, I am facing the start of another wild summer season at work.  In addition, getting back into the swing of life.  My daughter, aka Little Lady, is starting to have something of a pattern in her nighttime wake-ups which means I can plan more of my "To Do while LL sleeps" list.  On that list (though not everything on the list):
  • Re-writes.  Nearly done with second writing of book (yeah, that took forever)
  • Writes: two short stories nearly done
  • More reading -- in which I mean more broadly reading.  I used to stick to mostly European history and astronomy or genetics for my non-fiction reads and then epic fantasy and some smattering of sci-fi for my SF reading.  Of late, I've added some more Urban Fantasy than usual.  Do I like it all?  Well, that'd be a no, but I am trying.  I need more hopefulness and less horrifying times twelve because it's all normal horrible with werewolves or vampires thrown in.  (I'm sure that last sentence required hyphens, but I'm being economical.)  Also, I am just picking up any title that seems interesting and giving it a read instead of analyzing whether it is a style I usually like.
Already tired of the politics.  Just stop with the nonsense already.  Some of the most ridiculous campaigns going on right now, and I'm talking locally not even the national insanity.  One in particular, a contestant (because that's what it really is, isn't it.  Be honest) is running for a local, highly influential county position here and his main reason why?  Because he doesn't like that the current person was appointed to fulfill an incomplete term.  That's it.  No plan, no desire to help our economy, nothing but wanting to get said appointed guy out.  I want to bang my head against my desk every time I think about it.  Needless to say, the best course of action in this circumstance is to vote.  Cheers to that!

Building a house -- yippee!  Well, not me literally building a house.  More like home builder hiring contractors to build a house that I want, but I got to pick the brick!  I mean that's pretty darn cool.  I don't know why I'm all giddy about the fact I got to pick the brick, but I doubt I'll ever have that opportunity again.  I also was able to ask, and have been given the okay, for them to make adjustments to the floor plan.  I have the fireplace where I want it and moved a wall so LL's room will be just a wee bit bigger.  So, now just have to sell my current house before the house building is done.  Here's hoping it all magically works out.

And in the fall hoping to have a little vacation that includes train travel.  I want to travel by train sometime, and it just seems like a lot of fun.  I'll let you all know if that pans out.

Like sands through the hourglass...

...so are the days of our lives.....Yeegads, it has been years -- nigh decades! -- since I watched that show, aka soap opera.  I still contend that if soap operas would just switch to nighttime showings they would fit right in and not have to be cancelled.  Game of Thrones -- soap opera without the soap or the FCC rating restraints.  Anyway, so here's the latest things running through my days or my mind.

I did not like Game of Thrones TV.  I know.  I'm horrible.  I watched the first two episodes (had to wait until DVD, as I do not have HBO and won't get it for one show), and felt a complete disconnect.  The acting was fine; in fact Peter Dinklage is completely, unreservedly deserving of his honors.  He improved upon the character in the book with far more resonance in the complexity of the situation.  However, the story has been reduced so much (not just reduced as required by changing from hefty book to TV script size) as to feel like an outline of story -- and those scenes that provide sex.  There is a lot more to the story and in only a few of the storylines do the sexual exploits of the character have any actual weight upon the overall tale or character development.  And honestly, those that are for character development can be alluded to.  I don't need to see it.  So, nope, will not be watching.  Still enjoy the books though.

Really looking forward to the next season of Sherlock.  I rarely enjoy modernized versions of stories (don't even get me started on modernized Shakespeare -- I'm afraid to trust Whedon with this, too).  But BBC has done a fantastic job with modernizing Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.  Second season already showed elsewhere, but coming to Masterpiece Theater:Mystery! on PBS in May. 

To the land of music -- quick journey -- Rush is coming out with a new album "Clockwork Angels" in June!  Yay!  Finally get the rest of the story since having "Caravans" and "BU2B" out in the last tour.  It is a story arc, evidently, and an actual book is being published with Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart collaborating.  My fangirl cup overfloweth.

Leading into the book section of life -- giddy to see some new writers coming to my library shelves.  In fact, was putting up new titles on the SF display and looked at a cover going, "Hmm, Myke was writing something like this," only to look at the binding and see it was, in fact, by Myke Cole!  Cheers there.  And hopefully going to see more folks books coming out this year, too!  Yay!  My latest reading, however, took me into Sherlock Holmes territory once again.  Very dangerous when people play with a well known character.  P.D. James work in Austen's Pride and Prejudice (Death Comes to Pemberley) group failing terribly in my eyes.  However, Anthony Horowitz, best known by me as the author to the Foyle's War series but to others as author of the Alex Rider book series, has delved into the world of Sherlock Holmes with The House of Silk.  It is a job well done.  The feeling is very similar, the characters quite honest to the previous writing, but also gives it a lift of slightly more modern narrative.  Very much enjoyed that one. 

I am getting back into the swing of things on writing myself.  No conventions this year, except my own profession's convention here in Texas at the Texas Library Association.  I have set up one of my older short stories ("The Ancestral Child") on Amazon Kindle, and it is currently free to those who have Amazon Prime for reading on a Kindle device.  I just wanted to get it out in the world, and I used a pseudonym for sanity's sake.  I am back to sneaking moments of quiet time to work on the book and some in progress short stories.

Of course all of this getting-into-a-new-routine stuff will be thrown out the window when I move into a new house at the end of the summer, but take it as it comes and whatnot.

Cheers!

P.S. Still no word on the medical issues; specialist appointment forthcoming.  I hope answers will be forthcoming as well.

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What's up, Doc?

I wish they could tell me.  I've been having some unidentifiable health issues, which has been hampering my ability to get anything beyond the basic must do's done.  Did have one issue identified which was labyrinthitis -- such a fun term for not so fun episodes of vertigo.  That's finally clearing up -- thank goodness.  Now if the docs could just let me know why my body decided it wants to take a break from being healthy just when I really need it to be, life will be fabulastic.

Would love to get back into writing, which means staying up later than my child and that hasn't been happening much.  I have taken to recording audio notes on my phone when an idea comes to me.  It's pretty handy, but now it is getting full of snippets of stories completely out of order that I'll need to go through some day.  But let's talk positively with the promise that things will get better -- or at least identified so I can tackle it head-on instead of fishing about for improvement. 

This year will be an absence of any major travel or conventions, but it might include a move to a new little house.  I'm doing my bit to help the deflated housing economy.  Well, not really:  I have to sell a house in order to buy a house, so yeah -- more like status quo.  That delusion didn't last long.  I am looking forward to reading some writerly friends new offerings coming out this year!  I will let the delusion that I'll find time to read them all linger.

It's November!

I realize that isn't news to most.  But what that leads up to is it it National Novel Writing Month once again.  Even with the change in my life dynamics, I am once more starting a novel (actually novella, but let's not quibble).  I've met today's word requirement and a few more, but at extreme cost to my sleep time.  I do wonder how writers with day jobs and family obligations (which can be a family of one -- they are still humans deserving of a writer's time and attention) get writing done!

I'm also truly flying by the seat of my typing pants, and my brain is stuck in rewrites of a previous novel.  Still, I have to say, it felt rather good to get some new story writing done.  I'd like to blame my lack of being able to attend WFC for the unenthralling beginning to this new project -- hanging out with creative people is the best kind of inspiration like having new rooms in my brain opened to explore.  But, I honestly think it is because I'm out of practice.  Like any other skill, one must use it or lose it.  I don't think I've lost it, per se.  I think it is just cranky from being woken up after a lengthy snooze.

Sooo...tally ho into NaNoWriMo!  And good luck to any others participating.

As the saying goes...

...Hindsight is 20/20.  Actually, that saying isn't exactly applicable here.  It is more like counting my chickens before they hatch, or perhaps if wishes were horses we'd all be eating steak.

No World Fantasy Convention for me this year.  No matter I have a membership, hotel booked, and flights purchased.  I came to realize yesterday that China travel really drained the blood out of my travel budget.  It is stone.  There is nothing left for it to give.  So, while I'll be out some money for the flights and membership, I won't be out *additional* money for the hotel  -- which is the most expensive part of the gig.  I'm going to miss out on so much cool stuff this year, but needs must.

I have been doing more over on the "Other Blog" than here, because keeping up with a kiddo straight in toddler zone is fantastically time consuming.  However, I am hoping that in the next month or so, she will get into a rhythm as will I, and the writing and editing will return, even if the travel does not for some time.

The journey to China was amazing, though I feel I missed some of the real impact of it because my mind was constantly elsewhere.  It was absolutely fascinating to stand on the Great Wall and walk through the Forbidden Palace.  I would like to have seen more of the countryside, so maybe in ten years or so we'll go back and travel by train instead of flying to get to see more variety.  Going from one big city to another big city with insane traffic is a drop in the bucket of what China has to offer.  Upon reflection, I missed a great deal -- but I succeeded in what I traveled there for, and couldn't be happier.

Things can change in the blink of an eye -- there's another phrase for you.

The "Other" Blog

My attempt to sound mysterious notwithstanding, I just want to share that I have started a separate blog Roses and Ladybugs for all the single mommyhood, parenting, adoption, trip to China things.  That way those of you who rather remain oblivious to that part of my life can stay happily ensconced here with the random thoughts, writing, travel, general blogging as before.  But those that might be going "what happened to the whole baby thing?" can take a trip over there. 

Not much posted as yet.  Still finding my feet with the different blogging atmosphere.

As to writing, I am still working out logistics for the online/print SF magazine.  Working on edits of that old novel, and editing some short stories.

Summer Reading Program at work has been insanely busy.  Typically around this time of the summer things start to slow down just a little.  We have space in our programs or the free tickets don't disappeared in 30 seconds.  This has not proven so this year.  This year we are still busy as ever and at the strangest hours. 

Because of this, yes I promise it is because of the busyness, I caved and bought a second pair of Jambu sandals, this time in black.  Let me tell you, I love these shoes.  I am not a shoe person owning maybe ten pairs of shoes in total.  Finding closed toed sandals is a trial.  However, having had books drop on my feet more times than I care to count, I will not dare to wear open toed shoes.  I like my toes functional, thank you.  Broken is no good.   But as I was saying, I was hunting for good sandals to wear on the trip to China and found Jambu Taurus Sandals.  Typically out of my price range, but I thought if they were comfortable they would be worth it.  Boy howdy are they comfortable.  Thus the buying the second pair.  I now have brown and black, and these may be the shoes I wear all summer long and well into the Texas autumn.  I also like that the outsoles are made of partly recycled rubber.

So, good shoes to keep up with busy work and hopefully good on a trip to China where I'll be visiting Beijing and Guangzhou.  And I'm still hoping that it works out I fly out from SeaTac.  Shorter flight makes happier me.  We'll see!

For want of train travel

One of my favorite things about my trip to New Zealand, lo these five years ago, was traveling by train.  I felt at ease, no anxiety, and could enjoy the landscape, freedom of it.  Other than the East Coast, the USA has an abysmal train system.  I had hoped to take a train from Seattle back to Houston on my return from China.  The insanity of the journey as set up by our train system would have taken me from Seattle to San Diego, across to some place in nowheres-ville Texas, then south by bus to Houston.  By bus!  (Of course, bus travel in New Zealand was very nice, too).  The other alternative was Seattle to Los Angeles, wait two days for the one train that makes a trip once a week (or less) from Los Angeles to Houston.  China's working on superspeed trains to its major cities having gotten the country covered with rail already, and Europe has train travel everywhere practically.   I can't even have a dedicated short distance train from Houston to Galveston to clear up the ridiculous I 45 traffic.

Is it because we feel a big drive to get where we want to go as quickly as possible?  It is planes for speed or cars for independence the only way we can think?  I'm holding in a two year old's temper tantrum feeling a need to scream "I want trains!  I want trains!" 

On the other hand, perhaps I want trains because I so rarely get to travel on trains.  Would I feel differently if they were more common -- if I lived in the east coast probably?  Well, of course I would, because I would have my trains!

As it is, I am already losing sleep about this whole flying a lot business.  Note to my author friends -- if I sometime in the future state I fell asleep while listening to your book -- this is a good thing.  It is a lovely thing.  I turned to you in my time of need to get me through flying crisis.  I promise to read your book another time when I am not fighting a fear of flying.

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Fall 2010, last week of October and first week of November, I finally take a vacation that is more than a day off or an extended weekend.  Two whole weeks out of my increasingly tightening sphere of work, home, sleep, work, home, sleep.  This road trip not as far as the Maine Road Trip of...yeegads, how many years ago?  Well, anyway, this one brought me to World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, OH.  This road trip all on my own.  A few things I have learned on this trip:
1. While my USB does not have all of my Rush music on it, it does have enough to get me from Houston, TX to Memphis, TN without a single repeat.  
2.  The difference between a mole and a vole.  I do believe I have a picture of a vole that I came across while touring the grounds of Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, TN.
3. That the campsite near Buffalo, TN is very lovely and the people are very nice, but you can and will hear the trucks rolling along the highway that is about 60 yards away all night long.  Of this I also took a picture.
4. That my nephew has gotten me addicted to Hostess donettes powdered mini donuts, and I must have only one serving a day.  Will power is taking a beating, but I will persevere!
5. That there are true and mysterious high school rivalries in the heart of Ohio that include blood drives in which the donors are separated on either side of a gym so the rivals don't have to sit by each other while donating blood, and that should any of these rivals grow up to marry one another, it is considered a strange and unusual marriage. 
6. That when I'm not having to work, I can survive happily on only five hours of sleep each night.  This is a mystery I would like to solve.  Why is it when I can sleep in my body won't, and when I can't sleep in that's all my body wants to do?
7. That for all the work a friend of mine has done over the past three years, I still can't bring myself to say Hi and talk with total strangers or even quasi-strangers.  I think there's a disconnect in my brain.  It is no reflection on the guru, but I'm just a poor student. An upside to this is I sure am catching up on my reading!
8. That the Freedom Museum in Cincinnati is an amazing construction and the tour is worth the stop, though many adults know (or sure should know) the information it presents. It has great displays and some unique pieces of realia.
9. That there are people who have some seriously crazy hobbies and shared them with future generations.  Not to miss in the heart of Ohio is the Warthers Museum.  I shall leave it to you to look up.  Exercise those research skills.

There are several more things I have learned -- like hitting a high A note in the car is easy when you aren't afraid to burst other people's eardrums -- but that list will do for now.

Merits? Demerits?

Nobody does demerit badges.  Anyway, came across this blog (http://badger.dinorodeo.com) that creates Merit Badges free for use as long as there is an attribution.  Recently there's been a reader/writerly theme.  I embrace that theme, and award myself two merit badges
Bookshelves Overflow


This is the bookshelves overflow.


and...




Which is, as described by the creator:
How to write a query letter:

   1. Rip still-beating heart from chest.
   2. Attach to paper. (Use rubber bands or binder clips, not staples.)
   3. Insert into envelope. Don't forget to enclose an SASE!

I'm kidding, of course—most agents prefer email queries now. You can just put your heart in the scanner.

Okay, really, before somebody beats me over the head for implying you should send attachments: earn the "query letter" merit badge by being brave enough to put yourself out there and smart enough to learn how to do it effectively.
 

So cheers to that!