So 2009

This was a pretty low key weekend, full of social gigs and chores. In there, I managed to get ready for our tax appointment next weekend, and finish Aliette de Bodard’s Master of the House of Darts, thus making me three for three on her Aztec murder mystery set from Angry Robot.

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I’ve also gotten four very different sets of feedback from readers of The Two Sisters, the current name of the fantasy short that I’m working on. Interestingly, as I look over the feedback there are two things going on: readers are lost. This is because I know this scenario intimately, and I’ve forgotten what my audience doesn’t know. Also, this is so 2009. I’ve assumed the prose is good, but it’s overelaborate, doesn’t start where it needs to, and doesn’t have enough of the right information.

I am spending this week working on the horror short, so I can get it out there and get some readers while I revise the tar out of fantasy short. Yay. I don’t mind leaving Octavia and Lucy for a bit. Disturbing things just happened in that book, and it’s okay to let it sit for a while. My deadline to get these stories submitted is the 31st, and I hope to be back in the novel saddle about a week before that.

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I continue to find agents, good agents, to send Abigail Rath Versus Blood Sucking Fiends to, so I will do this until I run out of well, you know, agents I like the look of. For those of you keeping count, Abigail is novel number six. (One doesn’t count the thesis. Definitely non-fiction.). The ones that have almost made it are one, three and six. Two and five? Even I can see they were hot messes. Three was Hulk Hercules, written for hire. No pattern discernible here.

Okay, so in fifteen minutes I’m off to work on a classic fairy tale horror thing with a bit of a modern twist. Tomorrow, then.

My Little Disease: Things that Really Work

About a month ago, I had another trip to the emergency room for my acid reflux, a three day heartburn bender. Now, of course, knowing that you have bad heartburn, you still have to go to the emergency room. If you go to, say, urgent care, a doctor will say something clever, like, “We don’t want to take the risk that it’s your heart, even though it’s probably not. Then, off you go for an EKG, a blood test, and sometimes a chest x-ray. And you don’t want to go, but there’s always that little niggle of what if this time, against all odds, it is your heart, followed up by the knowledge that no one else but the emergency room can give you the GI cocktail. Well, this time the process cost me a little over $500, which is because it was my first medical expense of the New Year. Should I have subsequent disasters, my deductible is largely met.

I digress. Finally, in a fit of pique, I decided I was done. I was done with the belching and the heartburn and the emergency room runs, and all that. I thought first about checking in with Dr. Qiao, my gastroenterologist, but the man doesn’t talk to me like I’m a human being. Well, okay. Once he has, back when I asked him about esophagal surgery. Otherwise, I am plumbing to him. There is no person wrapped around the digestive system. He’s always happiest after he’s done some probing.

So, I took Bryon, who’d also had some reflux questions, and we trundled off to Dr. Banks, our general practicioner. The man is about 300 years old, and he reads every single new piece of medical research, in short, exactly what you want in a doctor: a man whose seen it all and keeps up on what might be worth seeing. Dr. Banks basically said that if you want to stay out of the emergency room and you want to stop belching like a man who lives in a La-Z-Boy, you really have to give up all the vice foods (chocolate. caffeine. tea. coffee. carbonated beverages. alcohol. fried foods.) Strangely enough, you also have to give up mint. These are foods that already relax your faulty esophagal flap. Bryon discovered that my reflux isn’t different from anyone else’s, because regardless of cause, reflux is reflux. He’s always been under the misapprobation that it’s too much acid in everyone else’s stomach, not the leakage.

Losing weight is also important. Less pressure on the guts=happier guts. But I’m already riding that train for real right now.

We also talked about the bed tilt. Refluxians (those of us from the planet GERD) are supposed to slant their bed slightly. This works best if you have a bed frame which you can put wooden blocks under. We didn’t. We had an old water bed frame supporting a tempurpedic. But Banks was clear. Not tilting your bed could give you Barrett’s esophagus, which then leads to cancer of the esophagus. He also said that people who slept on a slanted bed actually had less heart burn. Hmmm…

Okay. So, now we had our marching orders.

Continue reading “My Little Disease: Things that Really Work”

Getting in Shape: End of Week 19

This week’s statistics:

Beginning Wii Weight: 223.8 (My heaviest ever after this summer.)
Wii Weight on 2-18-14: 205.5 (a loss of .6)
Total: 18.3 pounds LOST

Weight Watchers on Initial Weigh In: 224
Weight Watchers on 2-11-14: 209.2 (a loss of 1.2)
Total: 14.8 pounds

So…it’s going down a bit. The lowest Wii weight this week was 204.4, which is the lowest I’ve been since 2010. (Once I hit 200, then I’m moving in 2007 territory). But mostly I’m skirting around 205.5, give or take a pound.

While I didn’t come in at exact points last week, I did a pretty good job staying close. I’m really working it this week. My thinking is to make sure my snack food is smaller and healthier, and eaten only when I need it (which is pretty much what I’m doing right now). I’m also going to make a concerted effort to keep more accessible veggies around the house.

The culprit in my life continues to be eating out. We eat out a lot. We often leave late from town, or don’t have a lot of zip. Actually, eating at home is quite a treat for us! Ironically, since I am now attending my Weight Watchers meeting after school, it’s another day I eat out.

People lose weight when they eat out. It’s a matter of what you eat, and how much. So, it’s not as big a deal as it seems. It’s harder to get variety, though, in veggies and fruits.

I’d like to make 201 by the end of this month.

Get a Haircut, You Know the Rest

In writing, there are no absolutes. So what I’m advocating today may not be a path you wish to walk, for whatever reasons, but it’s one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. And that’s having another job besides writing.

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In order to understand my motivation, you may need to understand my background. In brief, I grew up VERY poor. I can remember being delighted that I made $9000 in grad school, and it was all for me! I paid for my own college education with scholarships and loans. I knew that there were no parents to bail me out should I run into any financial difficulty, ever. Hell’s bells, my parents, paragons of virtue that they were, tried to suck down my first summer college savings because I was more financially responsible than them.

Given that I’ve done the whole poverty thing, and really didn’t enjoy it much, one thing I wanted in my adult life was to have a stable job. I wanted to be a writer too, but you see how those two things just don’t mix. So, my strategy was to find a job where I would have some time off to write. I fell in love with teaching during my MA, and my thinking was to get a high school teaching job once my husband moved us to deepest, darkest Western Iowa. My mistake? There is no real time to write. After school gets sewn up with extracurricular activities, and to produce an entire book in a summer after an intense school year didn’t work out.

I decided to return to college education. I didn’t do much writing when I worked on my doctorate, but I kept my eye on the prize, maneuvering myself into a position where I would have time to write. I did this, receiving my Kirkwood position in 1998. I finished my dissertation in 2001. My job didn’t get to where I could write well until 2007, and then I started my writer education.

The flaw of my plan is that I’ve had to forestall satisfaction until I made it to a particular spot. I had to get my job set up so that there was time to write. I do have a job that’s very receptive to it, but you could definitely argue that waiting until the age of 42 to get serious about writing, when you’ve wanted to do it all your life, is a real drawback. Yet, I would counsel would be writers to have a career. Here’s why. Again, these are my reasons, and individuals might see things differently. I am not eschewing these as absolute truths.

Continue reading “Get a Haircut, You Know the Rest”

The Weekend Past

Everything is awesome! Everything is great when you’re part of a team!

Um… Lego movie. Sorry about that. Surprisingly entertaining, but the ear worm thing is a problem.

This weekend Bryon and I got out of the Iowa cold and went north to Minnesota. Yeah. I don’t know how they do it, but the cold there seems to have kind of a bite. It was the same temperature, but the cold is more concentrated or something. Theory tested by walking to the Mall of America and being more than happy to have our friend, whom the temperature did not seem to bother, go back to her car and pick us up.

Our friend Kim has been alone for three weeks while her husband Aric has been working in Japan, and we were trying to get out of the house a bit, so we took the drive up. On the trip, Bryon and I read Right Ho, Jeeves! in which Bertie is peevish, there’s a lot of newt talk, and we are introduced to Madeleine Basset for the first time. If you’re not a Wodehouse person, just skim that. Then I hit the Body Shop and stocked up for another 3 months, and made a trip to Uncle Hugo’s.

If you’ve not been to Uncle Hugo’s in Minneapolis, you should go if you’re ever in the area. It’s a huge used and new bookstore, and it’s not tidy. You’ll never get a double caff latte there either, but what you will get are mounds and boxes and shelves of used and new books. It’s really something. I managed to fill all my Lois McMaster Bujold needs that I had left. I also picked up the next issue of Ooku, and could have picked up the entirety of the series, but Mama has to buy drapes/pay for some car parts/pay for a field trip to the emergency room, so I had to exercise a little restraint. I also picked up V.E. Schwab’s Vicious from my new book list. All of these things I’ll probably get to in a year and a half.

And then, because it’s obvious, we went to see The Lego Movie.

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I have a few things to write about that I hope to get to soon. I’ll get back to Venice research (I think one more ought to do it). I’ll also talk about exciting new reflux diets and technology!

Stay warm. Fat chance, but give it a try.