Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

Spooky Man’s Nose Surgery

It went well, and now he’s back home recuperating.

True to form, he had an unusual case, in that the septum deviation went “all the way up.” Of course. Biological weirdness is just how Spooky man rolls; I love him, but he is a freak of nature.

I’m slightly disappointed, because he doesn’t have any external scars, sutures or bandaging. Other than a little swelling around the nose, he doesn’t look like he had surgery. No blackmail photo opportunity, alas.

On the other hand, I get the bed to myself for the next few days — he has to keep his head elevated, which means he has to sleep in his new leather recliner (poor thing, she typed sarcastically).

And now he’s going to be able to breathe out of both sides of his nose, hopefully in time for his birthday in a week or so.

Heifer.org and Kiva.org rock

I am delighted with these two charities, because they give people a hand up, not a handout.

My grandparents were sharecroppers on my father’s side and homesteaders on my mother’s side. Kiva and Heifer allow other people to make something better for their families without sacrificing dignity; my grandparents would approve.

Kiva is a clearing-house for investors who want to micro-lend to entrepreneurs, usually in developing countries. Last spring I invested $100, and more than half of it has already been paid back (and reinvested). There haven’t been any defaults, either. Investments are in $25 increments, so you don’t need to jump in with both feet.

Heifer.org gives people livestock with the provision that at least one of the offspring of the original critter gets passed on to someone else. They also teach local communities how to care for their animals to maximize the food and income produced.

Spooky Man and I bought a Heifer.org llama for my brothers’ Christmas presents (because the last thing they need is more stuff, LOL). You don’t have to donate a whole animal, though; they have shares for as little as $10.

If you find yourself with some extra cash this year — after saving for a rainy day, retirement, and the kids’ college funds — I can recommend both of these organizations as a good place to put it.

Ancient Aliens 2012 Doomsday Episode

Oh, my giddy aunt. The History Channel aired an episode of Ancient Aliens about the 2012 apocalypse. Finally, a guilty-pleasure fake-history pseudo-documentary episode that Spooky Man and I can watch together.

We’re going to have to record it, because we object verbally when people say preposterous/stupid things that are taken wildly out of context and presented as fact. There will be lots of Pause button use.

This is so much better than reality television.

Five Things that Make Me Smile

1. I went to shiny-new-author Amanda Bonilla’s first book signing on Friday the 13th of January. We’re members of the same RWA chapter, but it was the first time we’d met (she lives in the McCall area, which is more than an hour away by car). Looking forward to reading her debut novel, SHAEDES OF GRAY.

2. Stuart Does. Not. Like. snow, particularly snow that comes up to his chin or higher. He’s a relatively tall cat, so that’s fairly deep for snow in this area. He doesn’t mind being carried over the snow, however, and he rather likes being rewarded with kitty treats for bravery in the face of frozen water.

3. I am approximately halfway through my heavy edit/rewrite of “Open Mike at Club Bebop,” the novella rejected so helpfully by Carina Press. Target date for finishing it is end of January, when I’ll send it off to a couple of other publishers.

4. Spooky Man is having his deviated septum fixed January 27 (next Friday); after recovery, he’ll be able to breathe out of both sides of his nose for the first time since we met, more than 20 years ago. Looking forward to pampering him a little as he recovers. Well, and taking blackmail photos of his black eyes and bandaging.

5. I saw more urban wildlife recently; raccoons crossing the street again, but this time at 16th and Main St (near the Cabana Motel, which I understand has changed hands and no longer rents rooms by the hour). The little bandits weren’t using the crosswalk this time, though.

6. Bonus Round: Technology has been giving me all kinds of grief for the past two or three weeks; in the last three days I have resolved all the issues, from the source control server connection that would only connect intermittently (service pack 1 is evil, apparently) to the 30-day trial software that didn’t want to install correctly (finally got it running and the document I was supposed to edit was in German), to the font that wouldn’t install from a network drive (copied it to a local drive and it popped right into place).

Did I mention…?

There’s a lovely agent on twitter, Sara Megibow with the Nelson Literary Agency in Denver (follow her as @saramegibow), who periodically does a feed she calls #10Queriesin10Tweets.

She goes through the next 10 submissions in her Inbox and tweets her response and why.

You’d be shocked how many of them are rejections for genres and literary forms the agency doesn’t represent or rejections for multiple grammar and spelling mistakes in the query letter. I know I was astounded the first time through.

It’s fascinating stuff, and valuable information as to what an agent (this agent, at least) looks for in a query letter.

A Real “As You Know, Bob…” Conversation

I was flipping through channels last night about 5 p.m.-ish and came across a PBS gardening program where two hosts were telling each other stuff they already knew about planting. The few seconds I saw were about paying attention to sun requirements, or what can happen when a sun-loving plant is stuck in full shade.

I thought, “Hey, they’re As-You-Know-Bob-ing” and flipped on, settling on HGTV with my microwaved entree (Spooky Man was napping and I hate cooking for one).

I’d never seen anyone actually do it with real people before. It made them both look completely stupid and a little bit psychotic, as if their two personal realities didn’t quite match…. And that’s why we don’t do that in our books, fellow writers.

The Most Interesting House Cat in the World

In the continuing saga of the Most Interesting Man ad campaign, I recently saw the one with…The Naughty Kitty. MIMITW’s Naughty Kitty is a mountain lion who jumps onto a kitchen counter and gets a scolding. Typical house cat behavior, but in the extra-large-economy size.

Full disclosure: I love mountain lions. They are my favorite of the big cats and I included one in my debut novel. (Note that I’m entirely annoyed by the fact that I can’t call them cougars without search engines getting entirely the wrong idea. Whoever coined that term needs Such A Pinch.)

That being said, I would never NEVER try to turn a mountain lion into a pet, because they’re too darned big. Cute batting with claws and nibbling from a 15-lb cat becomes call-911-trauma from a 150-lb cat, even though it’s exactly the same behavior.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been watching big cats on TV and thought, “Hey, my cats do that.” Stuart, who only weighs in at about 18 zaftig pounds, can get rambunctious enough to create bandaid-worthy wounds when he plays with Spooky Man. And keeping a big cat in a cage is too wrong for words. Even in the big-cat sanctuaries, where they have to use cages to keep them separated from each other, it doesn’t feel right.

In 1996, I worked with a woman whose child was attacked by a pet mountain lion while visiting grandparents who live in the Boise Front foothills over Independence Day weekend. In this real-life case, Naughty Kitty tried to fit the six-year-old’s whole head in its mouth, puncturing his skull in two places. And kitty had been declawed, or it might have been worse for the child. It already was worse for the cat, who couldn’t hunt his normal prey without claws. The attack wasn’t the cat’s fault; it was being a cat. It certainly wasn’t the kid’s fault; he was playing in grandpa’s yard.

Why does the MIMITW need a mountain lion for a house cat, anyway? Wouldn’t he be just as interesting with a regular cat?

Or is he (snicker) compensating for something?

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