Tuesday, December 27, 2005

the aftermath

Christmas with Ken turned out to be pretty sweet. I got lots of clothes and some jewelry, while Ken's best gift was a new winter coat. Santa didn't forget the kitties, of course--they got a bunch of new cat toys that will eventually become lost underneath the couch. One was a catnip mouse that everyone took turns drooling on. After the first twenty minutes the stupid thing was drenched with cat spit. Yech. The upshot was that all the cats were high and funnier than usual.

Haven't heard anything yet about any of the stories I've submitted, nor anything from the publisher or the agent about the book. I actually 'finished' the third book over the weekend. It still needs more work but I'm calling it done until I get feedback from my readers. After the new year I'm starting on my four-wizard book and the second short story for the anthology. Hope to get the short story done in a few weeks so I can get input from my readers about which story they like best before the end of January. Where the fuck does the time go?

Friday, December 23, 2005

back from the quad

Christmas with the in-laws was relatively painless. Everyone was in a good mood--no one was snarky, no one got their feelings hurt, there were no arguements ... it was fairly amazing. Those things generally happen when Ken's family gets together, and so days they don't are remarkable. Maybe that we were only together for about five hours had something to do with it. I got clothes and money, so it's all good. We won't be doing x-mas with my family for anther couple of weeks, so I've got plenty of time to mentally prepare.

A few thoughts popped into my head while I was with my nieces and nephew. One was when I first saw my nephew--he'll be fourteen in February--and I saw how much of a man he's beginning to look like. He was walking around the house barefooted, and a I saw how his feet looked more like man-feet than kid-feet, and the thought that came to me was that someday he'll make love to a woman that loves those feet. They'll lie together in bed in some cramped dorm room and she'll tell him how much she loves how he holds his feet when he's sleeping.
The second thought that came to me actually occured to me a month ago when my niece, nephew, and a friend of my nephew's visited Ken and I, but seeing them today reminded me of it. We were hanging out in the mall when I realized that I was only a few months older than my niece when I lost my virginity to a guy around my nephew's friend's age--I was 16, he was 14--and it made me wonder if any of the teenagers present had done that deed. Maybe. Maybe not. You can bet some of their friends have, and you can bet it's on their minds either way.
Today I got my niece's and nephew's blog addresses, so I'll be checking them out in the next couple of days. It'll give me insight to the mindset of the current youth, which will be helpful for my writing, but also it'll allow me to get to know them as people, which is what I really want.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I've not been writing much lately and it's starting to wear on me. I can always tell when I haven't been writing because I walking around with a sort of low-grade PMS buzzing around my head. When I'm truly PMS-ing, I hate everyone: "What, you sneezed? You bastard. How dare you sneeze around me." Luckily this only lasts about a day. When I haven't been writing, though, it's more along these lines: "You sneezed? I'll bless you if I must. But you must thank me for doing so." This will last until I write something. This blog entry will probably be enough to last me a few days.

Today I lunched with three of my best girlfriends. We ate food and laughed and talked about people behind their backs. I love being snarky. I can't help it. One could make the arguement that it's hateful and mean-spirited and it makes me a bad person. So be it. I make the arguement that if I wasn't ever snarky, I'd go insane from bottled-up frustration and call someone a worthless bitch to their face. I daresay that would make for an uncomfortable work environment. See? It's better my way.

Going to see the in-laws on Friday. I'll be sure to post a report with all the bloody details. Hopefully I won't be posting from jail.

Friday, December 16, 2005

well ...

I've finished one story for the anthology. I've got a few good ideas for another one, so I'll work on it over the next few weeks. That, coupled with finishing up my third book, should make for a busy week after Christmas. I think I'm going to enter the local newspaper's fiction contest. One of my girlfriends called my attention to it, so I'm gonna give it a shot. I haven't checked out the details, but I think the deadline's late January. We'll see how it goes. Probably won't win, but the more stories you write the better writer you become, so I still come out ahead.

Looking forward to New Year's Eve. We're having a big party complete with food, booze, and poker. What else do you need, really?

Today was the last day of finals for the college, so when Ken and I went X-mas shopping tonight it was actually bearable. We're going to do some shopping on Campus tomorrow, then go to a x-mas party tomorrow night. I'm hoping to go see King Kong or Aeon Flux at some point during the weekend, but we'll see how it goes. We usually talk a big game but then we end up sitting at home on our ass. As long as this ass is writing and not playing xbox, it's all good.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

and the verdict is ...

Still Alive! I've officially finished my first four days as a day shifter. This is a basic run-down of my typical day.

2200: go to bed.

0030: wake up. Look at the clock. Curse and go back to sleep.

0230: wake up. Look at the clock. Curse and pee before going back to sleep.

0430: wake up. Look at the clock. Curse. Sleep.

0545: alarm goes off. Grumble, brush teeth, pee, shower, dress.

0630: leave for work. Curse as I scrape off windows. Send mental love to Ken for buying me a car with ass warmers.

0700: clock in. Feel like a rookie student as I try to remember the things I'm supposed to do at the beginning of the shift. Try not to look tired as everyone asks how I'm making the transistion. Resolve to wear make-up tomorrow to look a little more "with it."

0900: break. As an evening shifter, I always made fun of the dayshifters for taking a break and a lunch when all we got was a short lunch. But dammit, when break time rolls around I'm hungry and in need of caffeine. If I have to follow the leader and take a break with my new coworkers to get it, so be it. Besides, one doesn't make friends by bucking the trend during their first week.

1130: lunch. I've just eaten two hours ago and I'm not hungry. However, the state of IL has decreed that lunch must be taken within five hours of the start of the shift. That means I eat. Luckily, I've already made plans to swim in the mornings after the first of the year and go running after work when the weather hits 50 degrees. That means I'll have to sucker someone into biking with me and I'll be set for tri training.

1530: end of shift. See the evening shifters roll in, shoot the shit with them before leaving. I really miss them. They're such a fun group.

1600-1730: This should be my writing time. This has been, however, my xbox time. This will need to change soon, since I need to get that story finished and I'd like to get my book finished by the end of the year so I can get started on another book.

1730-2200: read, watch tv, and hang out with Ken. And then the cycle begins again.

I can't help feeling like I'm in school again, with learning new stuff at work, being tired, and hanging out with Ken of an evening. I feel like I mesh well with the department, and I know I made the right decision, but it's going to take a while before it feels natural.

Ken has decided to switch jobs. Even though it's a longer drive and less pay, it's a good move. He hates his current job, and he's noticebly happier knowing he'll be outta there in a month. Ah, the winds of change.

Friday, December 02, 2005

my last evening

With the exception of one weekend and Christmas, tonight is my last evening shift. I thought I'd post the e-mail I sent to my co-workers along with explainations of some of the in-jokes.

And so it comes. Traditionally, when the treacherous sould who dare leave the paradise known as evenings work their last shift, they send an e-mail thanking everyone for the great food and for being a great bunch of co-workers.

I am not, in general, a traditionalist.

What follows is a list of some of my favorite memories from my 6-1/2 year tenure. Some of you might not understand. Ask the old-timers.

--Snowball fights in the parking lot
--the lab week activity known as Lab Luge [this involves a rolling office chair, a long stretch of corridor, a timer and a co-worker.]
--trips in the dumbwaiter [once we sent a few people downstairs in the dumbwaiter. Strictly speaking, the dumbwaiter is for specimens only. But you can fit a smallish person in it if they aren't claustrophobic]
--fire in the lab! [one weekend, the fire alarm went off. This did not alarm us. What alarmed us was the "greenleaf, lab building, greenleaf, lab building" announcement overhead. We called security to see where the fire was and if we should evacutate. No, no, they told us, it's on the second floor. We spent the next few hours smelling smoke and watching the fire department out of the windows. What kills me is that we had to call. I think they would've let us bake before remembering there are people that work in the lab.]
--discovering how to talk to Dr. C. [he is an asshole heart/vascular surgeon. The only way not to get cursed at and written up when you call him is to be hateful right back at him, as if it's his fault you're calling him with an alert value after nine. Which, strictly speaking, it is.]
--rock-paper-scissors [this is how we used to determine who did the first cell count of the night.]
--iPod/disco night [we cranked the tunes, turned down the lights, and danced for a few hours. Needless to say, it was a slow night.]
--exploding poop [Apparently, this only happens to me.]
--favorable electromagnetic influence over the UF-100 [I'm one of those people that stop watches and kill calculator batteries. My freakish nature makes the urinalysis instrument autoverify samples.]

So that's what I sent out. Hopefully everyone got a few laughs out of it. There are a few things that I didn't include here because they are pretty incriminating. You'll just have to wonder.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

this and that

Today I'm sort of in a funk. For one thing, it's fucking freezing outside, and I'm soooo not looking forward to being out in it. For another, it's sort of finally really hitting me that I'll be leaving evenings. Last night a few of my coworkers were getting down to business with their competancies (little quizzes each departments give annually that, if you pass, means you are able to work in that department for the next year). Usually we all work on them together--some would call it cheating, but I call it a collaborative effort--and last night was no exception. Except for me. For one thing, I had already done a few of them, but one I haven't done I won't need to do. That I wasn't comparing answers and helping find answers that no one knew made me realize that I am no longer a part of "us," I'm a part of "them." I know that I'll always be friends with my peeps on evenings ... but it will just be different. I am one of "them." Of course, "they" think I'm now a part of their "us," ... but I will take me a bit to mentally make that shift myself.

In order to cheer myself up, I'm going outline the work I'm doing with my writing:
--still working on finishing my third book before the end of the year.
--sent a packet of first book materials to an editor last week.
--sent a query to an agent last week.
--sent a short story submission a few weeks ago to "Cricket," a young-adult literary magazine.
--working on the short story for the DAW anthology.
--sending a submission (today) to The Hub Weekly, a freebie community paper in the area that will begin to publish weekly fiction stories shortly.
Seeing it all on paper makes me feel like I have a few irons in the fire, even if they're all lukewarm and the fire is only a few hot coals.