Life is pain, you just get used to it

All the recent stress appears to have done in the fragile equilibrium of my human suit. Wing stubs are flaring something fierce–although that might also be due to the less-than-ergonomically-ideal temporary working setup I’ve been using. Ouch owie ow. My joints and muscles have also been so achy that it interfere with my ability to fall asleep. For a brief while, I entertained the notion of popping a Klonopin last night to knock me into sleepy-land, but then it occurred to me I’d be taking both an amphetamine and a benzodiazepine at the same time, which would be wrong. *gurgle* Too many pills.

LJ just informed me that my extra user pictures expire in ten days. Pook. I’d recently made some new ones too. But there’s simply no way I can rationalize paying for extra user pix, alas. The sad realization that I’m going to need to seriously start looking into that whole day job thing is ruthlessly clubbing me over the head. Ow.

   


Writing Stuff

While I did a lot of various and sundry editorial work for both Tangent and The Town Drunk yesterday, as well as a whole gob of copy editing for fosteronfilm, I did precious little writing. I have once again fallen off the 100 words/day wagon.

I suck.

Received:
- Contract from Dragonfly Spirit for “Kaawaa, Naagan, and the Queen’s Diamond Necklace.” Signing and sending out . . .

Update on State of the Dad-in-Law

fosteronfilm‘s mom called with a status update. It seems that my DIL is recovering fine from the infection, but he’s having even more problems with his breathing. Unfortunately, we couldn’t interpret what the details of the situation are from my mom-in-law’s explanation. It seems that they need to periodically put him on “the machine” (oxygen? respirator? guh?) because there are times when he can’t breathe at all–something to do with a build up of carbon dioxide in his lungs. And he fluctuates between being alert and perfectly lucid, and woozy and disjointed. No big surprise there, as I’m sure it’s related to how much air he’s getting, and therefore how much oxygen is getting to his brain.

My MIL is dealing with it as well as she can, but she’s so very helpless without my DIL to take care of her. It worries me. She got panicky driving back from the hospital by herself because she’s not used to driving on the freeway, and she got unhappy because a set of sweat-clothes had been left on the floor in a bag (from the hospital, I assume), and so sent them through the dryer so they wouldn’t wrinkle (let me tell you how often I stress about wrinkles, oh yeah, that would be never). Unfortunately, she forgot to take DIL’s inhaler out of the pocket and sent it through the dryer as well. fosteronfilm told her to consult the pharmacist before letting his dad use it after that . . .

They’re both so hidebound in their roles. There’s a decidedly charming aspect to it: he takes care of her, and she takes care of him, but without each other, they sort of fall apart. She’s never done her own taxes; he’s never cooked a meal–that sort of thing. While I’m a huge proponent of healthy co-dependence, I’m very worried about my MIL.

On the laptop front, in a bit of timely vent-ableness, I got a “Customer Service Evaluation” request from HP on my recent experience with their service. I’m looking forward to filling it out . . . mwahahahaaa. Not that I think it’ll accomplish much, but it’ll be nice to engage in a bit of satisfaction-inducing ranting.

   


Writing Stuff

It has been brought to my attention (thanks basletum!) that Escape Pod is having a poll for “favorite story of 2005″ and that “The Life and Times of Penguin” is listed among the nominees. I’m honored by the nomination and compelled to engage in shameless vote pimping. So: Vote for “Penguin,” yo!

And if you haven’t listened to it yet, you can download it HERE. And while you’re there, check out all the other wonderful podcastic offerings at Escape Pod.

Received:
- 25-day SALE of “Nobodies and Somebodies” to Aberrant Dreams. First sale of the year. Rah!

State of the dad-in-law

Heard back from fosteronfilm‘s folks about his father’s angiogram.

The fantastic news: His dad’s okay and at home now. I’m so relieved. I absolutely adore my dad-in-law and I was stressed to the eyeballs thinking he might not pull through the procedure.

The bad news: The doctors had to keep him overnight because they had problems stopping the bleeding. My dad-in-law regularly takes blood thinners as part of his medical regimen, and apparently even though he did stop taking them several days before the angiogram, it still negatively impacted his ability to coagulate. He’s home now, but the doctors gave some rather alarming instructions to my mom-in-law with regard to looking for and what to do in case of blood clots and resumed bleeding. I think they ought to have kept him in the hospital for another day or so, especially since he’s going back for follow-up today anyway. But as long as there don’t turn out to be any complications, I shall suppress my displeasure with the doctor people.

The so-so news: They didn’t perform the valve replacement. Once they got in, they didn’t think doing it would result in improved quality-of-life, making it not worth the additional risk.

The mostly good news: After discussing things post-surgery with the in-folks, the doctors were appalled to discover that my dad-in-law wasn’t seeing a lung specialist. Hell, I’m appalled that he’s not seeing a lung specialist. I hadn’t realized he wasn’t. After my experience with going to a rheumatologist to treat my Lupus/MCTD instead of just a GP, I would’ve been badgering and pleading with him about it if I had. But at least now the in-folks are going to send him to one. Better late than not. Although it may mean some unfortunate difficulties as I don’t think there’s an appropriate pulmonologist locally for them.

Also, something that we tried to impress on them, that he ought to be on regular oxygen, was hammered home by a series of nurse-types (three cheers for the persuasive powers of pretty young women). He’s an ornery one, my dad-in-law, and doesn’t like using on oxygen tank. When his GP put him on one months back, my dad-in-law promptly sent it back. He claimed it wasn’t helping and that the tubing was bothersome and/or defective. Over the holidays, it was fairly obvious that he ought to be on oxygen therapy, so I’m extremely pleased that they’ve managed to convince him of the necessity of it.

The irksome news: Unfortunately, the medical people have only given him one tank of oxygen that he’s supposed to use for the whole house, both upstairs and down. But of course my in-folks can’t be expected to lug a heavy oxygen tank up and down the stairs, so instead of giving them a second tank, the medical folks gave them 50 feet of tubing! Like that’s going to make it easy for him to use, between it kinking up and both of them tripping over trailing tubes. He was already unhappy with how annoying the previous, shorter tubing was to deal with. While we were there, I spent some time unkinking and sorting out the length they had (something like 30 ft), and no wonder he got disgusted with it. It was a mess of twists and snarls. I can’t see how oxygen could have gotten through that chaos of tubing. And what a shocker that he said it didn’t help; it wasn’t getting to him! Grr. Now why didn’t they give him two tanks? And surely there must be a more efficient method of managing the tubing than simply handing over a fifty-foot coil. A hose reel would be an improvement. I’m very worried that he’ll get fed up again and refuse to use it after a while.

In other news:
Our lovely USPS carrier (who probably hates us because of all the magazines, books, and assorted heavy stuff we force her to lug to and from our doorstep) left me a birthday parcel the other day from dude_the: Word Menu, a reference book that I’ve been coveting since I saw pleroma‘s. Squee! Thankyouthankyou!

Checked the HP website for a status update, and my laptop is now making its way back to me from California. Thank God. Unfortunately, they don’t say what they did to it or whether they repaired it or just threw up their hands and packaged up a replacement one. I’ll find out soon enough, I figure, but I’m quite curious to know whether they were able to identify and isolate the problem.

   


Writing Stuff

Did an overdue Critters critique.

Received:
- Payment from Aberrant Dreams for “The Son that Pain Made.” Hurray!
- 3-day “we do think you’re on the right track but . . .” from Baen’s Universe. Fooie.

I’m getting a bit antsy to make my first sale of 2006. No doubt a sign of neurotic addiction after my excellent December showing, but there’s no reasoning with the anxiety monster.

New Words: 100 or so in an editing pass of “The Better To . . .”. I want to get that one out to market, but I think it needs some serious tweaking.

I’m very displeased with myself with regard to how I’m not getting back into the swing of writing after the holidays. I’m counting on the arrival of my laptop to rectify that, but I’m still miffed that I can’t seem to muster the discipline to write. The house is cleaner than it’s been in months, but it’s all cat waxing. (Or should that be skunk waxing?)

Club 100 For Writers
      76

Congratulations to pleroma and sruna!

A HUGE congratulations to pleroma and sruna on their New Year’s Eve engagement! I got all squeeie and gushy when I read about pleroma‘s romantic and elegant on-bended-knee proposal. fosteronfilm and I are overjoyed for you both!

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
- My contrib. copies of Apex Digest #4 and payment for “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me.” Hurray! Although it looks like the post office really went to town on the poor package–maybe drove over it with those little mail golf carts or stomped on it a couple time in cleats. However, despite the fact that the envelope looks like it’s been mauled by rabid aardvarks, the contents came through mostly unscathed. There’s a slight ding on one cover and some wear on the edges and spine of another one, but nothing was torn or otherwise mangled. And Jason Sizemore very cleverly stuck my check deeply and securely into one of the copies so it neither fell out through either of the USPS-inflicted gaping tears, nor was it folded, spindled, or mutilated in the course of the rough transit. Whew.
- Payment for “Only Springtime When She’s Gone” in Neometropolis #7 made via electronic transmission of monies, so no shipping and handling wear-and-tear. Although there were PayPal fees. Urg. Trade-offs.
- Invitation from Story Station to consider submitting a non-fiction piece for their Teacher Articles. Huh. That had never occurred to me, but it might be fun, not to mention a nice addition to my writing resume. It’s not big money by a long shot, but $10 for 500-600 words is acceptable, depending on how long it takes to write those 500-600 words, of course.

New Words: 100 or so on an outline for a story idea. I will embark upon big word count productivity . . . soon. Anytime now. Yep.

Club 100 For Writers
      75

A Sunday of Writing

   


Writing Stuff

Did much writing work stuff yesterday with very little actual words happening. Caught up on some Tangent work, sundry bookkeeping, completed and sent off the answers for my Aberrant Dreams interview, and wrote several crits and thank you notes for Critters.

Received:
- Confirmation of payment (in euros) from my bank from Faeries for “The Storyteller’s Wife.” And I got my contrib. copies! It’s a lovely digest-sized, glossy publication. Very nice production values. But my French skills are balking at my efforts to read it.

- A copy of the Writers for Relief anthology. Another glossy, gorgeous product with beoootiful cover art.

- An email (214-day rt) informing me of a Greek reprint SALE and publication of “When the Lights Go Out” to Ennea (9). It was published in issue #279 (week of 11/23/2005). This story first appeared in issue #5/6 of the UK ‘zine Here & Now. It’s my second sale to Ennea, and their operating procedure is to notify authors after they publish your story, and then they email you a contract/invoice to collect your pay. It’s different, but hey, whatever. The first sale involved some oddity with their check when I tried to cash it due to a Greek bank strike. This time, I think I’ll go with the direct bank-to-bank deposit route.

I’m having a very good week. Three sales in six days! That might be a record for me.

New Words: 100ish on “Rue and Ruin” in a couple editing passes. Beginning my rewrite from Critters feedback. Overall, folks seem to like it, but want me to make my antagonist more three-dimensional–an exceedingly valid suggestion. But also something that requires serious pondering. Plus, I’m somewhat mortified at the number of typos critters have discovered in my manuscript. Doh!

Club 100 For Writers
      67

Christmas Gremlins bad

Had a wonderful evening Friday with yukinooruoni. There was much gabbing and geeking, food munching, and computer wizardry. We also watched Love Actually, a delightful holiday flick and a new favorite of ours since it came out. Alas, both fosteronfilm and my tech skills are woefully obsolete. There’s so much out there we’re just not up-to-date on. Amazingly, progress does not stand still while one is unemployed, imagine that.

Internet connection continues to be unreliable. (Feh Comcast, feh!) And now our FTP client is getting a “receiving call blocked” error when I try to upload changes to my homepage so I’m having to do my updates via Comcast’s website. This would be fine if A. it weren’t slower and B. would accept more than one file at a time. I appear to have offended the Lord High Emperor of Gremlins who has sent a plague of technical difficulties upon me. Debating whether I need to make a blood sacrifice or a technological one in order to appease him. It’s doubtful he’ll be content with cookies . . .

Written up the first wave of Christmas cards to send out tomorrow and entering into frantic mode on the shopping front.

Could barely manage to wake up yesterday whilst on my Adderall weekly “holiday” so I decided not to extend my break for the whole weekend. Popped my lovely 20mg this morning and feel much more chipper and productive. And a bit wired, as may be evidenced in the somewhat disjointed tone of this post.

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
197-day SALE of “Spring Arrives on a Hob’s Tail” to Story Station. Huzzah! This is a cute little tale inspired by Hobkin and his tail. Not sure when it’s due out, but I’m looking forward to it.

New Words: 1000 on “Vain and Vie.”
There’s so much writing I want to do, and so little time. *twitch*

Club 100 For Writers
      66

500/day
      111

Penguin carnage and Harry Potter

Watched March of the Penguins, courtesy Netflix. I think I cooed or squeed nonstop at the screen for the duration of the movie. Although there was indeed spectacular penguin carnage. fosteronfilm is quite sensitive to the harsh brutality of nature, which often makes it difficult (and sweet) watching animal documentaries with him. He declared that the movie ratings people should have given March of the Penguins an “R” for all the penguin brutality instead of a “G.” This from the man who can watch people being flayed alive in the Hellraiser movies without batting an eye. It is pretty amazing those creatures (penguins, not pinhead refugees) can pull off survival. There’s a certain “evolution in progress” feel to them. Emperor penguins need to be marsupials. A pouch would make procreation so much easier. Platypi pouches are watertight, so it’s obviously possible. I did get the twitches seeing some of the suffering penguins–especially the smaller, non-emperor ones trapped in a crevasse, and the emperor babies being attacked by some large gull-like bird. I wanted to shout at the cameramen and researchers to “go help them, you fools!” Boost a few penguins from an icy grave, shoo the gull away, maybe put out an electric blanket and some fish pate for the hungry penguin dads . . . Yeah, I know, I’m a softhearted sap.

And we caught a matinée of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Wow, they really darkened the movie up! And I think the film was decidedly improved for it. There was a certain Spartan feel to some of the background settings–like the absence of the ghosts in the Hogwarts halls and the decreased number of portraits, etc.–but overall I thought it was very well done. I’m giving the new director my enthusiastic stamp of approval. And the young actors have really grown into their parts.

   


Writing Stuff

Got an email from sdowens asking for an interview for his new blogging project, bloggasm.com as part of a new theme interview series–this one to be “Writers of Short Speculative Fiction.” Very cool. Of course I agreed.

And that also prompted me to get back to work on the Aberrant Dreams interview questions that were backburnered while I worked on “Rue and Ruin.” It seems that people want to know about me all of a sudden. It’s way flattering and super nifty, but also sort of bewildering.

Received:
26-day so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-fish from Pedestal.

New words: 100, mostly notes and brainstorming, on “Arachne.”
Club 100 For Writers
      59

Tea for Two

Had an absolutely delightful time yesterday with yukinooruoni. I’m working with him on a writing workshop-related project, and he treated me to an afternoon out to discuss it. We went to this lovely little tea shop which is just down the road from where I live. Didn’t even know it was there before! They served us scones and little cakes and clotted cream and lemon custard and finger sandwiches (the sandwiches, alas, were not vegetarian-friendly, but made up for it by being very pretty) on an adorable three-tiered tea service. And of course, individual pots of steaming tea from their extensive tea menu (which included various black, green, white, oolong, and rooibus selections). I had a pot of peach-imbued white tea and a pot of apricot, current, and um, something else yummy-flavored green tea. The ambiance and decor were so charming: doilies and delicate Victorian tea pots and cups, with ornate chairs and tablecloths. There was a larger party that came in while we were there comprised of women playing dress-up in bright, old-fashioned hats and feather boas. So cute!

yukinooruoni and I chatted for hours! We actually closed the place down . . . and then some. Arriving at around 2ish, we didn’t leave until past 5:30, and the place was supposed to close at 4. Err, oops. But they were very gracious about us staying so late.

Hobkin was less understanding, being somewhat miffed at having his dinner delayed by my tardy return. And fosteronfilm was frazzled from having to explain to a hungry skunk why the food fairy hadn’t come yet. I believe they were reduced to doing skunk laps in the house from the look of things when I got back.

   


Writing Stuff

Still no contrib. copies from Faeries so I sent the editor a follow-up, “lost in mail, wah!” email as well as the info for him to transfer payment to my bank account. Wonder if it’ll be in euros or dollars . . .

Got an invite from dsnight to contribute a story to a new DAW anthology, Heroes in Training. I cannot express the amount of squeeage commencing upon reading his email. I’ve got shelves full of DAW books, and the prospect of being in one of their anthologies has me in a giddy twitter of excitement. Now to start heating up the irons and thumb screws to get the muse properly motivated . . .

And the Writers for Relief charity anthology with my story, “A Little Soul Music,” edited by jackzodiac is now available at Amazon.com. All proceeds go to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and the contents include contributions from such luminaries as Brian W. Aldiss, Gardner Dozois, Joe Haldeman, Nancy Kress, and Larry Niven. Only $16.95. Wouldn’t it make a great Christmas gift for all the SF readers on your list?

New Words: 1100 on an outline/synopsis of the novel I want to expand “Rue and Ruin” into.

Club 100 For Writers
      57

500/day
      108

Post-gluttony-day

Feasted on a very traditional T-day dinner of faux bird, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, cranberry sauce, and cherry pie. Stuffed to my eyeballs, yep. Hobkin even got a bit of the cranberry sauce, which he was quite enthusiastic about.

After dinner, I embarked upon my great Doctor Who burn. Visit to the post office to commence today or tomorrow.

I think cyber_pagan‘s hypothesis is right regarding the cause of my spontaneously shutting down laptop issue. The thing turned itself off twice when I was working on it yesterday. This strange behavior started after I began my “I need to act like a professional writer, dammit” kick and commenced locking myself away in the library every day and doing writing jags for ten+ hours straight. I think I’m overworking my poor system. The fan comes on regularly–too often?–but I’m wondering if it’s not able to keep the CPU cool enough. Plus, the library is a much smaller room, with little ventilation when I have the door closed, which I usually do when I’m writing. I’m thinking of lugging the flatscreen monitor and a keyboard upstairs, and hooking them to my laptop. That ought to ease the heat output . . . I think. Plus it’ll be a nicer station to work on–bigger keyboard and monitor. Err, except I don’t have a USB mouse, which would make functionality awkward. Damn, I need a docking station!

I wonder how well those lapdesk thingies work–the ones that are supposed to help distribute heat.

Maybe it would help the thing stay cool if I scheduled a few 10-minute breaks throughout the day, letting it hibernate and cool off for a bit? That would be annoying, as I really don’t like taking breaks, but I suppose it’s better than giving myself minor heart attacks when my computer suddenly turns itself off.

   


Writing Stuff

Heard back from Faeries, the French ‘zine that reprinted a translation of “The Storyteller’s Wife.” They said they sent my contrib. copies a couple weeks ago, and are puzzled why I haven’t received them yet. And they need a BIC/SWIFT number, which is some sort of international bank ID, along with my bank/account information in order to do an electronic transfer of my payment. Unfortunately, I have no idea what my BIC/SWIFT number is. I probably need to call my bank to find out. Sigh.

New Words: 800 on “Rue and Ruin.” One scene down, one to go. It’s possible that I may be able to get to zero draft on this one today. Maybe.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10,781 / 12,000
(89.8%)

Club 100 For Writers
      52

500/day
      103

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Much has changed in the time between today and last year’s Thanksgiving, but y’know, I find that I’m still thankful for the same things, and I consider myself extremely lucky to still have them to be thankful about.

Therefore, I’m going to repeat my Thanksgiving post from last year. If I never have to change this list in the years to come, I will consider my life blessed.

Things I am thankful for:
1. My husband, Matthew. He is my best friend, the love of my life, and my soul mate. He can make me laugh, a gift I cherish more and more in this scary world, and he holds me when I cry. His sense of whimsy delights me, and his intellect thrills me. He completes me in every way. He is my shelter, my harbor, and my sanctuary.
2. Hobkin, for all the love and trust the little fuzzwit warms my life with every day. And the cuteness. Mustn’t forget the cuteness.
3. Family. Something I have not been able to be thankful for for a very large chunk of my existence–so long I’d almost forgotten how comforting it is to be able to have people who love me as a daughter and sister. I’m thankful for the reminder and the reality.
4. My friends: near, far, offline and on.
5. That my health, as crappy as it is, isn’t worse, as it could so easily be. I can dance, hear the music which is my husband’s laughter, see the adorable fuzzy beastie frisking at my feet, and hold them both close. Not everyone is that fortunate. And I am thankful that I can afford the medicines that keep me (mostly) well.
6. That I have the ability to compose creations of prose that I believe in and that others believe in (and that they want to pay me for). While my storytelling and literary skills are far below many people’s whose work I admire, I am improving year by year.
7. My beautiful home where I may run around in panda slippers and nothing else, and it’s all good.
8. That I am not hungry or cold.
9. That I believe in and love myself, a state hard won.
10. That I have the freedom to chase my bliss, even if I don’t exercise that freedom all the time.

   


Writing Stuff

My Carnifex Press interview has been published. The formatting seems a bit off–all of my italics were lost and every time there’s a website URL, a line return follows it, which looks weird–but it’s up. Go read. There was shameless plugging.

New Words: -600 on “Rue and Ruin.” Yes, I’m going backward. My anxiety over the length overcame me, and I spent yesterday doing a rigorous editing pass on the story to-date. Feeling better about it, as I did indeed pare off some bloat, but I still have at least two scenes left, and under 2K to do them in.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10,015 / 12,000
(83.5%)

Club 100 For Writers
      51

500/day
      102