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• log-or-rhea: n. excessive talkativeness
• rhet-o-ric: n. the art of using words effectively
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Nov. 10th, 2007 @ 07:38 pm My Favorite Rejection
*sung to the tune of "My Favorite Mistake," by Sheryl Crow*

In August, I submitted East of Jesus to an editor -- my first submission to an editor. I've been mostly submitting to agents, but I met this editor at a conference, and she seemed like a good fit.

Well, I received a rejection from her this week. And I was so excited, I danced for a good three days.

Because of a rejection, you might ask? Well, yes, but what a rejection it was!

She said my "writing is solid" and that I have "definite talent." She said she really enjoyed my character Grace and my voice. She said, "I recognize that you're a very strong writer, and I think you have a great chance to find an agent." Then she gave me some very specific pointers about which agents to approach.

She also (bless her!!) gave a reason for why she was rejecting it. She said "This is a bit too dark for my taste."

East of Jesus IS dark. Heck, I call it black humor (or women's lit with black comedy overtones). I certainly respect that someone might not choose to work with it for that reason.

And I am SOOO grateful for all the nice things she said as well. It gives me the courage (and the specific direction) to send it out again.

Oh, and I'm really tempted to send her Out of Orderville or Claire, Short for Clairvoyant, both of which are not dark at all. Sigh. If only they were ready to send.
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2007 Turquoise
Nov. 5th, 2007 @ 01:23 pm No-No November
Well, it's November already, and in this household, that means Nanowrimo! My husband calls it No-No November because it's one month that I won't do anything extra. I won't go to lunch with you, or volunteer to bake cookies, or make routine appointments for the dentist, etc.

This year, I'm writing a novel called, Claire, Short for Clairvoyant, about a reluctant phone psychic trying to help a desperate caller find her missing boyfriend. If you're interested, the first chapter (first draft!!) is posted here.

Wish me luck!
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2007 Turquoise
Nov. 4th, 2007 @ 11:00 pm Update on Raven
Well, I have good news and bad news about our poor cat, but none of it is really good news.

He doesn't have feline leukemia (which is often seen with lymphoma), so his odds of responding to treatment are higher. And his blood work is surprisingly good, which means we caught it early and which also increases his odds.

That was the good news. The bad news is ... well, here are our options:
  • Do nothing. Costs nothing. If we do this, he probably has four to six weeks left.

  • Give him supportive care. Costs hundreds of dollars. It would give him three to six more months.

  • Give him chemotherapy. Costs many hundreds to a few thousands of dollars. Research shows an average of 60-65 percent of cats on chemo go into remission. IF he goes into remission, it would give him six to 12 more months.
The vet* was quick to say these numbers are what the research shows, but "some cats don't read the manual." There's always one that you give two weeks, and he's still coming in for his shots two years later, she added. She also said cats are notoriously hard to treat. Even with the good news, our Raven's odds of going into remission IF we spend the major money are only 65-70 percent.Read more...Collapse )
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2007 Turquoise
Nov. 1st, 2007 @ 06:27 pm Bad Luck & a Black Cat
In this case, the black cat was his own bad luck.

We have an all black cat we got as a kitten the year we married (11 years ago). He's Mr. Personality, and sometimes I think he thinks he's a dog. He plays chase with the kids (where HE's chasing, honest) and even with my little miniature dachshund. And he's adorable with catnip, like no cat I've ever had.

Today I learned he has Lymphoma. If we spend hundreds of dollars, maybe $1,000, he might live another six to 12 months. Otherwise, we're looking at four to six weeks.

I really, really appreciate how tactfully our vet handled it -- called us personally and immediately, and was very sympathetic when I started to cry (and refrained from saying anything stupid like, "It'll be OK").

But I cannot wrap my mind around this. I had no idea he was sick. We went to the vet for a rabies booster, and Mars asked me to point out a lump under his front leg.

I don't know how to tell the children. I don't even know how to convince myself. He isn't even sick, you guys! How could he be dying?!!

And yet, somehow, he is. My heart is heavy.
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Oct. 26th, 2007 @ 12:49 pm New Furniture
Out of the blue, my parents sent us some money awhile back, so we decided to replace our mix-and-match bedroom furniture. They delivered it yesterday. Cut_for_pictures!Collapse )
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2007 Turquoise
Oct. 25th, 2007 @ 05:05 pm 10-20-30 Years
I don't do memes often, but this one (posted by MellieLou) stuck a chord.

10 Years Ago: I was 33 weeks pregnant with Girly Girl after two or three miscarriages. I'd been on bedrest since the end of the first trimester (six months total), and she'd had all kinds of problems: early onset of labor, poor positioning, too much amniotic fluid, etc. etc. I'd been considered "high risk" for months, thus not allowed a homebirth by Arizona law. But most of the problems had cleared up, and if we could avoid going into labor for four more weeks, we'd be inside the window for a safe homebirth. I had begun, cautiously, to anticipate actually having a live baby.

20 Years Ago: I was running a biweekly, community newspaper that I started from scratch. Working 90 hour weeks on a regular basis, but loving it. I was trying to get out of an abusive marriage (we were separated), but I was about to find out that ... after five years of marriage ... I was finally pregnant. I was about to start into a halcyon year with him, the best year we had.

30 Years Ago: I was a freshman in high school, still on crutches after a climbing accident over the summer where I fell 30 feet and broke my ankle in several places. Starting high school on crutches was not a bad thing: all the boys were super helpful and kind to me.
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2007 Turquoise
Oct. 25th, 2007 @ 09:22 am The ONE Day I Go to the Bus Stop in My Jammies ...
Yep. Turns out to be the day I have to get out of the car and talk to the driver.

I woke up dizzy this morning, but I had to get the children off the school, so I got up and moved through my morning, hanging onto the wall to stay upright.

When it was time to leave, I found Girly Girl in the bathroom, hunting through all her old glasses cases. “What are you doing?”

“Looking for my glasses,” she said.

Yesterday, when she got off the bus, she wasn’t wearing them. She said they were in her backpack. Mars cleans her glasses for her at night, and last night, he asked where they were. I told him. That was the last I heard about it.

With one eye on the clock, I called his office. When he didn’t answer, I called his Blackberry (I avoid doing this as it makes him extremely annoyed to be interrupted unless it’s an emergency). He generously gave me 10 seconds — long enough to tell me he didn’t find the glasses.

I grabbed an old pair, and we ran to the car -- four minutes later than usual. I’d parked outside because we bought some new furniture, and the old stuff is in the garage until we can give it away. Well, of course we had our first freeze last night! And of course I can’t find an ice scraper (I think I gave it to Tenor Sensation to take to college). I finally scraped a patch clear with a credit card, clinging to the van to keep from falling over, and we hurried to the bus stop.

It’s half a mile to the stop, and the whole way there, I was praying we’d make it on time. It’s bad enough wearing pajamas to the bus stop, but wearing them as you drop children at two different schools is another level of shame entirely! Not to mention the very real possibility that I would faint before we even got there.

We made it in time. But I had to get out of the van to ask the driver if she’d seen Girly Girl's glasses. No such luck, but she said she’d look for them.

The worst part? I wasn’t even wearing a bra, and with DD jugs that nursed three children, that’s a scary sight. Oh well, perfect for Halloween. And we DID make the bus.

Now, I’m going back to bed.
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2007 Turquoise
Oct. 23rd, 2007 @ 07:07 pm Don't Panic! She's Fine.
Today I was standing in the kitchen when I heard an odd sound in the back of the house, similar to The Great Fall of China, but on a much smaller scale. The Great Fall of Beijing, maybe.

Nobody was in the back of the house except Girly Girl. I ran for her bedroom, swallowing my fear.

I saw one of my worst nightmares made real. Her tall dresser was lying on its face. I could just see my daughter: a tiny ball, wearing a purple leotard, pinned to the ground under the drawers. She was not moving, nor did she make a sound.

Mars right behind me, I ran over, and we lifted the dresser off her, careful to keep the drawers from hitting her as they shifted. When we lifted the last drawer from her back, she turned her face to us. Her lower lip slid out in mico-increments, and she began to cry.

She's fine, though she might sport some bruises tomorrow. Near as we can tell, she curled into a ball as it fell, leaving only her back exposed. Though she's left with residual fear of the chest of drawers that attacked her!

We aren't sure what happened. She doesn't remember what she was doing (or she won't admit it). We moved the dresser into the corner where, if it falls again, it will at least fall against the bookcase rather than coming all the way down.

I'm not sure whether to replace the dresser with a heavier one that has a lower center of gravity, or just strap it to the wall. Or both -- we're in earthquake country.

One thing's for sure: I'm a hair more gray than I was an hour ago.
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2007 Turquoise
Oct. 22nd, 2007 @ 12:21 pm Monday Giveaway!
The winner of last week's giveaway was KCecilio! Congrats, KCecilio! Send me your mailing address and the name of the book you want, and I'll pop it in the mail for you.

For this week, I am giving away two books together: The Reincarnationist by M. J. Rose and Green Darkness by Anya Seton.

They're both about reincarnation and both real thrill rides! I read them back to back last month and thought I'd share the spine-tingling experience.

BUT ... for a chance to win one of these books you must comment on Stone Soup. Comments here will not be included in the drawing.

So go comment for a chance at two great novels!
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2007 Turquoise
Oct. 21st, 2007 @ 08:06 pm Breathless at the Opera!

(Note that I've chosen to post a photo of the hunky baritone -- Orestes, played by Brett Polegato -- rather than the soprano who sang three-fourths of the music!)

Christoph Willibald Gluck's opera Iphigenia in Tauris previewed in the United States in 1916. It has only been staged here once since, in Chicago in 2006.

Mars and I saw it in Seattle Saturday night, and we were mesmerized. Every piece of it--singers, orchestra, staging, costumes, set--was exquisite. I caught myself gasping at one point (when the ghost of Clytemnestra first showed up), and I was in tears through the lovely, contrapuntal duet in the second Act, as Pylades and Orestes beg each other for the privilege of dying so the other can live. I completely lost track of time. I was surprised when the intermission came up, and surprised again by the end. It seemed so fast.

Seattle Weekly called it " two of the most absorbing hours of opera in memory."Read more...Collapse )
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Brett Polegato, Iphigenia in Tauris