Good Morning?

wp-1475500029328.jpg

First hot coffee of the season here in GA.

And no, it’s not the stuff from the can shown in the pic. I’m a freshly-ground 8 O’clock girl, and/or home-roasted espresso girl. The colorful Chock full o’Nuts can is an item appropriately left over from my Father-In-Law who stayed most of the summer with us. THAT was an adventure, let me tell you.

But I won’t tell you – not all of it, anyway. Because while he’s not a bad person, the man gets on my last damned nerve, and it’s not fair to my husband to air out every last grievance about his parents on the internet. At least not the public part of the internet. But let’s just say I am very, very introverted, and FIL is very, very socially inept and pushes his unsolicited opinions and advice on everything and everyone. He also has little understanding or respect for boundaries. I think I’m allowed to say that much. There were some good things about him being here for almost three months: he helped with the bills while I was in my slow work season. He made our back deck somewhat functional, even though I’m pretty sure his “repairs” will ultimately add to the rotting problem in the long run. He cut down a lot of tree limbs and underbrush, some of which we didn’t really want cut down, but hey – it’s Georgia, and it’ll be back threefold next year. He pulled the bridge from our creek that got destroyed by a fallen tree (not his fault). And his stay required us to rearrange a couple of rooms in our house, which turned out to be a slight improvement.

I am glad he’s back on his side of the country and living his best, though – he was sent to us under a severe misdiagnosis. Also a good thing – the docs here at Emory know their shit. The man has heart failure and was sent to us with a terminal, needs-surgery-or-will-die-in-a-month diagnosis. The docs here fixed his meds and he spent the rest of the time doing all of the above crazy-ass shit until we finally told his medical team what he was doing, and they said, “er – yeah. If he’s doing all that stuff he doesn’t need to be here.”

So, that was my summer – creativity squashed by the stress of an obnoxious in-law living in my space at full volume all summer.

Once he left, I think something in me just collapsed, and I fell from jaw-grinding stress into a physical depression. One that I am hopefully starting to come out of, but man, it was rough. Also rough: having depression and ADD while being self-employed. My business has really taken a hit. Which, in turn, becomes a blow to my self-esteem and sense of self-worth, which then feeds my depression, etc. Good times.

This week I am working on pulling it together, though. My driving force is actually my dog:

 wp-1475501088876.jpg

This precious bundle of soft, squishy sweetness who owns my heart. She’s perfect, save for some separation anxiety and subsequent piddle issues. I know, non-dog-people – just skip this part. Our carpets were crap before the dog, and OxyClean is a motherfucking godsend. Anyway, I take full responsibility for her accidents. She needs routine, and she hasn’t been getting it, because *I* don’t have any routine. Some days I’m here all day, sometimes I’m gone in the afternoon, other days I’m gone in the mornings, and it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s going on or when we’ll be out of bed (again with the depression). And all of our animals – cats included – are bed-potatoes. Seriously, our cats do not wake us up for food. If anything, they stay in bed and suck away all will and motivation to get up. The struggle is so real.

So my October resolution is to get us on a routine, field work or not – up and piddled and coffee/yogurt/back-deck-notebook by 8am.

Today was all luck. I haven’t had enough sleep, really. But I got up anyway. And here in another hour I’ll be in the water, swimming. After that, I might be in the local art studio, practicing with clay. Later today I’ll be working on finishing up this damned Steinway I’ve had in my dining room for too fucking long. And I will also be writing new scenes for two stories.

Yes, I am still a writer, too.

I am so fucking happy October is finally here. Maybe I’ll do a daily or weekly spoop to celebrate. Meanwhile, here’s this:

Spoopy Halloween!

Spoopy Halloween!

The Things I Care About (and maybe some things I don’t)

priorities

 

 

Earlier this week, I made a very small but very wrong move, and basically jacked up my slowly-healing hyper-extended knee all over again. This has resulted in a lot of couch-sitting and fucking off while I struggle to get remotely comfortable, change out ice packs, and wrap and unwrap my knee. Oh, I’ve been working, too, and hobbling around and feeling frustrated and old and fat. (I might be all of those things, but they’re not actually the problem. The problem isn’t age or fat, it’s that I’m fucking injured and uninsured.) (I’m not even old, ffs.)

Anyway, the time I’ve been on the internet has made me assess where I spend most of my internet-hours lately, compared to where I used to, and where I just don’t. These are not just reflections of boredom-habits, but a reflection of what I care about.

Apparently, lately I care most about vaping/e-cig legislation, pitbull education and legislation, and moderate fat activism.

– I’ve been a “vaper,” or a user of advanced nicotine vaporizing systems, for just about a year now. I started on a Volcano e-cig type, quickly graduated to some of the more robo-cock looking PV’s, and never took another puff of an analog cigarette again. I’m down to minimal- to zero-nicotine, using vaping mostly as a means to enjoy/indulge in the hand-mouth puffy habit, plus it satisfies my overactive tastebuds without chowing through bags of Werther’s all the time. There is an unfortunate amount of misinformation about the “dangers” of e-cigs out there, mostly coming from “studies” funded by big pharma. (Big surprise, folks – the drug companies aren’t out there to make you better, they’re out there to sell you their product. If you get better, they lose money. Which is why they’d rather see e-cigs banned or heavily regulated. Here, have another Chantix and good luck not slitting your wrists.) Without getting more into ranting/babbling, if you want to quit smoking, do your own research beyond what the DailyMail feeds you. And don’t just assume gas station Njoys and Blus are the only option (they generally suck for quitting, and there are better and less expensive options out there). A really fantastic resource is actually Reddit. http://www.reddit.com/r/electronic_cigarette/

In short, though, advanced nicotine vaporizers consist of a battery source, a juice holder/delivery system, and juice. The juice, if it’s made here in the states by a vendor who is worth a damn, contains vegetable glycerin and/or propylene glycol, nicotine (optional and in varying specified percentages from 2.4% to .6%, usually indicated in mgs), and food-grade flavorings. Yes, propylene glycol is used in antifreeze – the kind that was invented to be environmentally safe and nontoxic. It’s also used in hospital ventilation systems and asthma inhalers.

– Pitbulls. I don’t own one. Someday I might, though. My mother-in-law freaked out when we mentioned this in passing. It’s surprising how many people still buy into the stigma. I’m not going to sit here and insist that every pitbull is just a squishy bundle of misunderstood love. I’m also not going to sit here and accept that the little white bichon frise that nearly took a chunk out of my thigh was a squishy bundle of misunderstood love, either. In the interest of space, I’ll just leave this here:

“The truth is that pit bulls are, above anything else, dogs. The truth is that all dogs (and all animals, for that matter) learn the same way.”

– Fat activism is even more touchy than the e-cigs thing, and definitely older. It’s also just as misinformed and misunderstood. I get that there are people out there who think it’s cool to be in total denial about their life habits. But those people aren’t just fat. There are plenty of people like that who are skinny, young, old, tall, short, etc. It’s just unfortunate that excessive body fat is a scarlet letter, and everyone from joebob on the street to 50% of medical practitioners will assume that a fat person is automatically unhealthy, that there is no such thing as a “fit” fat person. That all fat people just sit around on their fatty fat asses and do nothing but watch TV and eat donuts followed by chasers of cheez wiz and mountain dew all day. That, since Dr. Oz claims that every fat person he’s ever worked on has had arterial buildup, etc., that ALL fat people have these health problems. (Never mind that every black person Dr. Oz has worked on, every Jewish person he’s worked on, ever female with dark hair and freckles under the age of 60 that he’s worked on, has had heart problems, because hello, HE’S A GODDAMNED HEART DOCTOR AND THOSE ARE THE CASES HE SEES.)

As a fat person (or even just a person who has lived under the stigma of, “OMG DON’T BE FAT”), these attitudes sabotage the psyche and any interest in simply living life and living a healthy life. Ironically, shaming fat people doesn’t help them lose weight, it just makes them want to hide and not even try to live active, healthful lifestyles.  Which should be the goal regardless of size and fat, really – to be active and healthy and happy. To eat good quality food and move yourself around and enjoy life. It’s kinda hard to do that when society insists that you can’t possibly do that unless you’re skinny or UNTIL you are skinny.

Let me put it this way – if the atmosphere were suddenly pumped with a gas that made everyone’s body fat composition go into stasis right now, and no one could neither gain nor lose any more weight, BUT we could still affect and control our inner healthy by the standard means of diet and exercise, what would we do then? How many people would say, “fuck it!” and start horking down cheese-its and nutella? How would our medical profession be changed, knowing that a person’s health couldn’t be prematurely assumed by the way they looked on the outside? Because you know what? It shouldn’t fucking be changed at all.

Again, let me point you to some better-organized words by Ragen at DancesWithFat.org. And also, let me point you to Health at Every Size for some more helpful info: http://www.haescommunity.org/

 

The e-cig thing and the HAES thing tie in together, I think. Because as frustrating as e-cig legislation is, suppose there was a food additive that came out, that let people eat whatever they want with zero health repercussions? How much hatred would a fat person get for being seen eating a cheesecake with magic sprinkles on it, even though it wasn’t actually affecting their health or body in any way whatsoever? “But it looks like cheesecake and smells like cheesecake!” People would say. “That person is still fat, and is therefore offending my delicate sensibilities!” The outrage, I’m afraid, would be much worse than any e-cig controversy. And that, my friends, is a fucking problem with the way we see each other as human beings.

-I used to care deeply about book reviews, the publishing industry, and authors behaving badly, judging by my feedly reader. And you’d think that, being a writer, I would continue to care about these things. Frankly, it’s exhausting and, to me, boring, to give a damn anymore. Following the drama on review sites and blogs has done nothing for my wordcount in the past years, and if anything, only made me more paranoid and neurotic as a writer.

So, instead of getting caught up on Dear Author or any GoodReads drama, I am spending September in NaNoWriMo mode, hammering out The Beard and trying to keep lighthearted about the failure of The Switch. Okay, ‘failure’ is a hand-staple-forehead dramatic word. People just aren’t interested in Dommes. Funny, that – my little vanilla fluff BBW smutlet was by far a better success, far more popular, than my story about a dominatrix and the man she’s loved half her life.  What does that say about our world, I wonder?

Friday huh wha?

Lookit me, y’all! I’m a grumpy old woman! GET OFFA MAH LAWN! *shakes cane*

Seriously, I’m full of gripes right now, even if I’m not actually angry. Well, I try not to be angry.

  • First off is yet another change in wordpress’s layout and functionality. I need to get to my “Add New Post” page – you know, the full one that shows all of the functions? I’m an author trying to be found and trying to crosspost and properly tag and categorize my shit! WORDPRESS WHY YOU MAKE THIS SO DIFFICULT?!(I did finally find the right posting page, but seriously – it was hard enough before to flip through the eighty different ways of looking at and using WordPress. Now they have to add another way? Grargh. Yes, yes, I will flippin’ bookmark the post-new.php page from now on, damnit.)
  • Secondly, Dogs. We’ve all seen the news clip about the Labradoodle that’s getting mistaken for a baby lion, and the multiple 911 calls from people in Norfolk reporting a lion “on the loose.” If you haven’t seen it, the top google search for “lion dog” will land you at all the stories, including video of Charles running across streets. Okay, yes – the dog is fucking cute. Most Labradoodles are. But am I the only cranky old bitch who is utterly face-palming at the stupidity and carelessness, here?Here. For starters, have a picture of an actual “baby lion”… cute-baby-lion
    Not this:

    Even Charles thinks this is f'ing ridiculous.

    Even Charles thinks this is f’ing ridiculous.

    However, with as many people as there were calling 911 to report a lion on the loose from the local zoo, don’t you wonder at what point some trigger-happy genius is going to shoot the thing?

    But most importantly of all, I’m sorry, but does Norfolk not have any leash laws? Even if they don’t, what fucking moron lets their dog run loose around the city, darting across streets unattended?

  • I’m also grumpy because there are some young girls in my neighborhood who have a young pit bull – they walk it around my block sometimes, and they just – they just should not have this dog. It’s a rambunctious little thing, and cute as a button, and their walks consist of them screaming at the poor thing to quit pulling, sit, etc., and smacking it. I’m so upset, and ultimately, even if I knew where they lived, there’s very little that can be done about these little assholes. The only thing I can think I can think of at this point is to find where they live and leave them a package with a copy of My Smart Puppy (DVD included) and a note begging them to be patient with their dog, and explaining that dogs aren’t people, they don’t understand words unless you teach them, and yelling and smacking their dog is only teaching it to fear them. And a fearful pitbull? sad and not good.

    What would you do, realistically? Suggestions?

  • You know what? We’re broke! I pride myself, however, on maintaining my awesomely wry sense of humor and mad food skills. It’s been a while, but I do have poor-living skills under my belt. And the wheel will come back around eventually. But meanwhile, I made some kick-ass rice and some balls-awesome crock-pot Mexicali chicken mess to throw into some tortillas for the next several days. It’s funny, though, how uncomfortable some people get when you’re honest about things not being hunky-dory. My in-laws, for example, would freak the fuck out if they knew how we’re scraping by right now. I’m like, “What? It’s just a thing, man!” I swear, the longer I have in-laws, the more sane my own family seems. We know shoestrings, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. And ultimately, ‘shoestring’ in my privileged white world is still a far cry wealthier than a lot of people have it. So there you go.

  • I have a bunch more gripey things. Instead, I need to just share the awesome retro-ness that’s in my head this afternoon:

Fridays Are Meaningless!

In my world they are, anyway. My husband called me a “true Renaissance woman” the other day. I guess he’s… sort of right? I mean, it’s it’s been over a decade since I’ve had any sort of ‘normal’ job path. Oh, there was like, six months in there where I worked as a receptionist/admin assistant for a lawyer. But for the most part, I’ve been self-employed for a long-assed time. It has its pros and cons like anything. Making my own schedule is nice. But finding my own work and income is a little stressful. Taxes are a bitch, and with the economy what it is, any thought of a retirement fund is laughable. You know, the kind of laughing that involves nausea and tears if I think on it too long. Let’s not even talk about insurance, ‘kay? And vacation time? Oh, that’s a sore point for me. People like to point out that I can “make my own vacation time,” or that I have to work it into my schedule. Which would totally make sense, if my workload was steady and consistent. (It’s really, really not.) Otherwise, my ‘vacation time’ gets spent on involuntary ‘staycations’ when work has slowed to a near-stop. I don’t get to dictate when that happens, either.

Pianos are just not a priority for most people, and I get that. That’s why 2013 is my year for nose-to-grindstone writing, and other stuff. But again, that’s me being self-employed. And really, while it’s got its own bag of stress, I’m so used to being my own boss, it’d be really hard to go back to the 9-5 grind. But it does mean that, well, Fridays are pretty much meaningless for me. So, here – have a couple links:

      • Dog Bless You and the Warrior Canine Connection have a brand new litter of future service pups on the live puppycam! Brand-new as in 1-2 weeks old baby-dogs, I believe.
      • This one isn’t new, but it’s new-to-me. Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends:

Still easing back into the swing of blogthings, obviously. All the other links I’ve noticed lately are a little too judgy to really share. And anyway, aren’t I supposed to be working and writing?

A Season of Eves

I know a ton of people already say this, but I’m terrible with subject lines. Which doesn’t bode well for the task of writing summaries, blurbs, and taglines for my books. I’m also terrible with brevity and balance – a huge challenge in storytelling. But also a challenge in blogging.

See, when I opened this window, I had a jumble of thoughts and ideas, and I was going to just say ‘fuck it’ and spew it all out here. Thankfully I reeled that one in. This isn’t my diary, after all. It’s my blog. Which means – yes, balance. And brevity.

Which brings me to the little mixed-joy announcement – I took 3rd place in General Paranormal in the Authors of Romance Launching a Star writing contest. That was a boost, since it’s the first writing contest I’ve ever entered. Even more valuable, however, was the feedback I got on my 15 pages. Really encouraging and insightful, but also a little frustrating, as, once again, I discover that my weakness is info-dump. Even after I did what I thought was some major culling of infodump.

Sigh.

Staple-hand-to-forehead.

Still, the gist of the feedback was “fix a few things and start submitting,” which tells me to keep at this writing thing, because it is worth something. Of course, that also means actually doing it, because the words won’t write themselves. Or edit themselves, as it were. Most of what I’m working on nowadays is editing and revising. Which is such grueling work, damnit. It has to be done, but it takes so long, and it’s so… NOT exciting. Still – gotta do it for it to get done.

revise

You know what I’m really grateful for today? Sunshine. God, I love the sunshine. Last week was a mess of dreary, gloomy days, combined with the fact that they were Christmas-season days, just – ugh. So hard to believe I used to relish Seattle-like weather. Okay, sometimes I still do. I love an occasional deluge, or a cool, foggy night. But only in small doses.

Today, I have my sweet black dog curled up on her cushion in a sunbeam, I’m hangin’ on out the couch with a huge mug of coffee punched with a shot of espresso, vaping some organic blueberry cheesecake, and just relaxing. It’s good. There’s a lot of work to do, and a lot of things to handle, but for right now, I’ll take this:

sunshine pup