Friday, April 23, 2004


I've got an interview!!! After three months of searching, it's nice to finally get a nibble. Unfortunately, the interview is next Friday, meaning I've got a whole week to wait (imagine a child sitting on her hands waiting for something she's really excited about--that's me). I don't want to say what the interview's for, as I'm suddenly superstitious. But I will have a full report next Friday.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

More Betas

I forgot that I have more beta readers than I mentioned. Mark and PJ will be the only ones I give a hard copy to. I have several other folks willing to take a soft copy and do what they will with it. I don't mind letting other people see me work, really. I mean, until I get published (which may be quite some time off, and it may not even happen for HD) these are the only people who will see it. Writing for yourself is great. But sometimes you're writing for other people, you're writing to tell a story that you want to be heard, you're writing to let the world know something. It's hard to let a book sit in a corner collecting dust before publication in that case. Plus I've got great beta readers who know how to constructively criticize my work. Invaluable.

Ready for Betas

So I finished typing in all my changes to HD last night. It felt like a completed book, that it was really done. I'm not going to do another run through (I'm pretty good at catching my mistakes as I type). I'm just foisting it off on a couple of beta readers (my husband and our pal) and go from there. Feels really good.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Big News

No, still jobless. And the most recent job I was excited about seems to be slipping away. I feel like they wanted to hire within my company and yanked my chain around to make a show that they were considering others. Maybe not. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm pounding the Internet pavement again. Wheeeeee. But that's not my big news. My big news is that I finished all the major revisions of HD last night!!!!!!!! Now to type them in, run through the tome one last time for line edits and add some description here and there. And I'm done! Feels awesome.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Fun Quiz for Writers

My result for this quiz is hardly surprising, seeing as how I never scored below 99% percentile on language mechanics standardized tests. Yes, I am a grammar god. Bow before me and quake in terror at my amazing grasp of the English language! Tremble in fear at my use of the comma! Shudder in awe at my knowledge of what, exactly, a gerund is! Muahahahaha!

You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

If your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should be.
Congratulations and thank you!

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Can vs Hand, or "Oops, I Did It Again*"

Ask and you shall receive. I posted yesterday about waiting for the next social encounter now that my brother's life had settled to a dull roar. Right on cue, PJ's regular Wednesday visit brought some fun times.

The day started out as nothing special. I wasn't very peppy, I read a book and watched some movies, ignoring my writing for a day. I went out to use my Bath & Body Works coupon and walked out of the mall with more than I should have, as usual. I started dinner after Mark called to tell me that he and PJ were on their way home. We were having a great conversation about the importance of Frank Herbert on science fiction and other literary things while I moved around in the kitchen. I think I was talking about the difference between style problems and grammar problems when It Happened.

The can of peaches was pretty unassuming, maybe a little sticky around one part of the label. It had a pop-top. As I chatted away about my issues with Crichton's style, the top started to pop off, my finger in its proper place in the metal ring. Well, something Went Wrong. As I pulled the top of the can off, it got stuck a little, and I applied a bit more pressure to encourage it along. Then it gave suddenly and sliced into the middle finger on my right hand. At first it felt more like a stubbed toe than a sliced finger, and then I saw the gash and the blood.

I immediately shoved my finger under running water and just started sobbing. Not from pain, but because I remembered all too well the annoyance of a finger injury from last year when I thought it might be fun to add my fingertip to the soup for some extra flavor. I'm not entirely sure of everything I said while I wailed. It was often "I don't want to deal with this" or "This is my writing hand" and on and on it went while PJ and Mark bustled around me trying to look at the wound and figure out what to do and take care of the half-started dinner. PJ, our resident Eagle Scout, decided that it looked sufficiently bad to warrant a trip to the emergency room. Thus started our evening.

We were quite a sight coming into the place. Mark was carrying my purse, my eyes were red and I had a distinctly defeated look on my face, and PJ was holding my hand up and applying pressure to the wound with a damp, purple-turning-maroon washcloth. For the first two hours we were there, PJ and I looked like we were square-dancing partners, waiting for someone to say "swing your partner, do-si-do." The waiting room didn't look too crazy. So we sat back to wait my turn, all the while PJ and Mark trying to keep me awake. They succeeded, but I sometimes tuned out what they were saying. Then another young couple came in, the woman holding a dark washcloth to her hand. Two culinary accidents at once. We bonded immediately.

Registering was a blast, trying to arrange our selves so PJ could still keep pressure on the wound, but I could sit and have my pulse taken and such. The best part was getting the insurance paperwork done. I had to give verbal signatures on everything - or else sign in blood. The best part of that experience was checking over the papers to make sure everything was correct and reading what the woman had written to describe the incident: Can vs Hand. How very, very appropriate. And if we had a sledgehammer, you can be sure that Hand would have won the second round.

After much friendly chatting and joking with the other wounded woman and the majority of those waiting for attention (it was a pretty nice and fun bunch; only one screaming baby and she was only there for thirty minutes), I was finally stashed in The Suture Room with another slice and dice victim - and her entire family. Three kids and a mother in addition to the patient, I'm pretty sure. And they had the Disney Channel on. Thus I got to see my very first episode of "Kim Possible". It wasn't too bad, actually. Some of it was rather clever. And I kept chuckling here and there. Which would explain why I thought it odd that the mother of the other vic kept saying how dumb the show was and how they would be gone soon and then I could change the channel. She also kept telling Mark and I about how long they had been there that night, that we should never have kids, and so on, embittered ramblings. Finally they did leave, and we switched it to the Cartoon Network, which was showing a Christmas episode of "The Family Guy." Now that was hilarious. The running gag throughout the show was the "How KISS Saved Christmas Special" - a perfect commentary on the commercialization of Christmas. As the show ended, my fellow culinary hatchetress and her husband took the place of the Moaning Mother and her brood.

By this point, I hadn't seen anyone but some nurse or orderly when I first got into the room. And all he did was take a look at my wound and leave.

The Avs game went on then, and the curtain between the beds was pulled back so we could all chat. Turns out my Partner in Culinary Crime has a lot more in common with me. Acid reflux, anemia, bum knee, master's thesis, teaching. We stopped after a bit for fear of ripping apart the space-time continuum. While we were chumming it up, my doctor finally came in. And was he cute. He was wearing scrubs that didn't have full short sleeves, affording me a very nice view of his arms. Have I mentioned before that I love arms? Some girls talk about the chest, or the eyes, or the rear end when it comes to what they always notice in a man. For me it's arms. Always has been. And no matter how much I love Mark, I will never be able to stop appreciating a nice set of arms on a man. And nice means just muscled enough to have contour and tone. The Rock and Ahnold are a bit too muscled for me to really enjoy their arms. Think basketball players for perfect arms.

I'm sorry, did I digress? Excuse me. Right, back to my bloody finger.

Cute Doc takes a peak, has me try to move my finger, pokes around the tip with the ends of a paper clip to see how the wound affected sensation, then tells me someone will come and clean the wound so he can take a peak at the tendon, and leaves. A woman who sounded just like Paula Poundstone and someone else I know came in to clean my wound (keep in mind that this sequence of events is by no means as quick as it reads). This started the bleeding afresh, obliterating all trace of purple in the washcloth. Cute Doc came back in and numbed up my finger. Mark said he used about 10ccs, which would explain the strange and grotesque bulge of liquid that suddenly appeared on my finger after the numbing. For all I know, it's still there under all this gauze. My cut had time to clot up again by the time Cute Doc came back to look at the tendon issue. He said I nicked the sheath a little, to have someone look at it in the next couple days, but that it didn't require immediate attention. Then he went to work sewing the damn thing up.

Four stitches. And I didn't look once while he did it. My finger was pretty much dead to the world, save for a few minor tugs I felts, and I was quite happy keeping it that way. I had no intention of watching the suture work and thus risking the sudden onset of pain once I was aware of exactly what was happening to that finger. Cute Doc had a few more words to say to me about treatment of the finger and left. Then Paula Poundstone came back to clean up the blood that had started flowing again during the stitching and bundle my finger up in a bunch of gauze. Remember how I said it was my middle finger? I leave this picture to your imagination. More instructions, more paperwork, put the maroon washcloth in a latex glove, Avs win, Avs win, and we're ready to go. Cute Doc finally had a chance to look at my fellow Domestic Goddess just as we were leaving. She's got my card, so I hope she'll be able to drop me a line soon. Did I mention it was the middle finger of her left hand she had cut while trying to pop the seed out of an avocado? Just imaging what that high-five would look like.

But the fun wasn't quite over yet. We had to get my prescription filled. So off to Walgreens we went, where we bumped into one of the other people from the waiting room. Luckily my meds only took about ten minutes to fill, otherwise I would've been reunited with my cooking doppelganger once more. Then we finally got home (four and a half hours later) to congealed, half-cooked chicken and an open can of peaches. Thankfully we had picked up some frozen pizzas at Walgreens. We watched Conan and then I crashed. Well, as much as you can crash while trying to keep your finger elevated and out of the way.

So that was my Wednesday night. Not a bad experience as far as emergency room visits go. Made some friends, had some laughs, ogled some arms, watched some good TV, saw the Avs win game one against the stars in the Stanley Cup quarterfinals, got a new scar in the works. And typing isn't as bad as I had thought it would be. Still, I'd much prefer not to have a middle finger that looks like a conehead and hasn't stopped throbbing. How was your Hump Day?

* The unfortunate Spearsian reference is entirely Mark's fault. Please direct all grumblings to him. It was his "clever" comment.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Minor Issues

Something about being unemployed sure has mellowed me. I find myself shrugging a lot. Now that things have settled with my brother, I'm just kind of sitting around, waiting for something else to happen. Oh, I'm writing and revising and catching up on my reading, so I'm not a slug. But it just seems kind of, well, blah. Last night I went to my critique group and had to spend quality crit time with one of our more, shall we say, colorful members. Don't get me wrong, color is a great thing in a writing group. But sometimes it's like finding a rainbow in the middle of the most hellish thunderstorm. Since Mark wasn't there and couldn't possibly understand the entire experience (and for that he should be grateful), one of the other members and I hung out afterward to just sit there and say, "Wow." And then I went home, told Mark the abbreviated version and went to bed. Now I'm just kind of sitting around again, waiting for my next social encounter and the life and energy it will bring before I go back into hibernation.

Something tried to stir me this morning. I went to my on-line crit group to find that one of our newest posters had pulled his story, citing he posted it somewhere else where he could get a crit in a reasonable amount of time. This is the same guy that peppered the entirety of his crits with a lot of "I need" phrases that hint at the sort of "I know how to do everything, let me tell you how it's done" attitude that, thankfully, I only bump into rarely with my writing. His crits did have a lot of good points to them, and I will let them percolate as I finish my draft of The Masque, but it was just so prickish. Like how he was trying to school me on lab techniques, then made a little note that he had read my bio and realized that I "was degreed enough to know these things" and moved on to the next piece of criticism. But things are just so blah right now that I debated whether I cared enough to post about it here. I decided to go ahead and blog it, just for the sake of something to do.

This is why a life as a writer is going to be a challenge for me. I need social contact and more than just a few hours a week. And yet I need to write and have more time to do it than I did while I was working. (People keep telling me I need to read that Catch 22 book.) I hope I figure out what to do with myself and my writing before I'm 60. It would be nice to have a good five years of knowing what I want to do with my life and being able to do it before I retire.

Friday, April 02, 2004

The Lazy Life?

Yesterday was my first day contributing to the unemployment numbers that have given Bush and Kerry yet another thing to squabble over for the next few months. It didn't seem like it. I went down near where I used to teach for an interview of sorts. So the Kelly Services temp agency has a scientific division, and they wanted to talk with me about a job opportunity with another company. They sent my resume on yesterday, and I was told I'd likely hear back about an interview with the company today or Monday. The woman I spoke with yesterday even mentioned something about starting work as early as Wednesday if they decided to hire me. This could be a quick stint as an unemployed citizen. Which is only bad in that I won't have a nice chunk of time to spend finishing up my HD revisions and such.

Yesterday also didn't feel like my first day of laid-offishness because I spent the bulk of the afternoon sobbing. I love my brother so much that it hurts me something fierce whenever I have to hear about things not going well in his life (which, unfortunately, happens much more often than anyone should have to deal with). It also hurts because Brad only wants to talk and have me listen, nothing more. I've been a scientist since I first took a chemistry class in high school, and I've been a puzzle-solver since my diaper days. It often takes more than I have within me to just shut up and hear about the things my Baby Bro has to put up with. (Not the least of which is the fact that his reserve unit's been activated and he'll be sending the second half of this year in Okinawa. If North Korea decides to mess him and the other troops over there, I think I might seriously start considering a career as a political assassin. Or at least have a grand time writing about such a person.) So our chat yesterday drained me and angered him and upset me to the point of wracking sobs and wails. I love puffy eyes, really I do.

So today will be my first day where it feels like I'm really unemployed. I just finished filing for unemployment bennies. I'm still in my pajamas, and I'm ready to be a couch potato. But I can't be idle for more than a half hour before I go mad, so I'm going to make today "Clean the House" day. Tomorrow I'll start the writing schedule and general "this is what I'll do with my life until I'm employed" schedule. That sort of thing is easier for me to do when I have a clean environment to do it in.

Off I go to be a Domestic Goddess. I might also try out the cliche of barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen were it not for the facts that I am not pregnant and my feet are really, really cold. Maybe another time.