Archive for the ‘coping beans’ Tag

Best-Laid Plans

I am the president of my local chapter of Romance Writers of America this year (and probably next year, unless someone wants to mount a write-in campaign). As part of my administration, I started a new project, which I call Finish the Damn Book–having shamelessly stolen the name from Cherry Adair’s much spiffier program at the Greater Seattle chapter of RWA.

Actually, I started it because I needed motivation to produce more output this year. Last year I finished a 70,000-word manuscript. The year before, only a 35,000-word novella. This vexed me, so I decided to do something about it, and drag the chapter along with me, or at least those members willing to be dragged.

This morning I did a progress check on myself; thus far this year I have written approximately 73,000 words of fiction. That’s not bad, but….that was spread over four different titles.


The book I wanted to finish is only half done, and I have only three months left in the year.

Granted, I’ve published two titles (the novel and novella finished last year and the year before), and I had to write blurbs and an author bio for those. I also finished the first draft of another novella. And I’ve written probably another 5,000 words of workshops, essays and articles about writing fiction.

But I need to get my behind in gear, or I’m not going to earn my romance writer’s sparkly tiara. I might have to make do with a coffee-cup full of chocolates and a purple feather boa, our consolation prizes. Quelle horreurs!

I’m off to, you know, Finish the Damn Book.




February was a busy month

V-PAP, diabetes, cerebral events in dogs, you name it and it probably happened last month.

Spooky Man got off of all but one pain medication, turned 55 (which is specifying the number of years, but it explains sooo much), got his driver’s license back and bought a used Hummer. It’s the H3, the little version that actually gets almost-not-disgusting gas mileage. But it can still go up a 16-inch vertical curb.

He wants to get back to rockhounding this year, and says we needed a vehicle that can go into the mountains. Okay. It makes him happy, so I’m happy. Mostly.

He’s finally going to get some treatment for his sleep issues — we found out he has obstructive sleep apnea AND central sleep apnea — which could help his blood pressure, blood chemistry (cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar are all affected by crappy sleep), and pain levels.

Central sleep apnea is when you just forget to breathe altogether for a while, which scares the bejeebers out of me. His second sleep study introduced the VPAP, a machine that not only keeps your airways from collapsing, it will periodically increase the pressure to remind you (force you) to breathe.

Unfortunately, the workup to get one requires at least four doctor appointments — chest CT scan, echocardiogram, two-hour “pulmonary test”, and multiple consultations with the somnologist (sleep doctor). And this was after the two sleep studies.

And all this while I was getting diagnosed with Type II diabetes and starting my first Metformin prescription. Some people have a mid-life crisis and buy a sports car (or a Hummer), but my family’s rite of passage is insulin resistance and the first Metformin prescription. I’ve been fighting it — since I got off the steroids in 2008, I’ve lost almost 50 pounds. Just this week, I crossed the line between morbidly obese and moderately obese; only 40 more pounds and I’ll be down to overweight! Sigh.

Corticosteroids are evil. I’m just sayin’….

At least I impressed my doctor enough that he didn’t send me to diabetes education camp. And when he said it would help me lose more weight (those last five pounds I practically had to chisel off), I held out a hand and said, “Gimmee.”

But enough about the humans. Hank had a minor stroke (droopy left ear, droopy left side of his face) and his left back leg swelled up for no particular reason. One $400 ultrasound later, he’s been diagnosed with “Shar-Pei Syndrome” and put on a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (think Advil, but it’s called Rimadyl because it’s a slightly different molecule).

It’s supposed to help the swelling and a possible cause of his stroke — immune-mediated vasculitis, which is also part of Shar-Pei Syndrome. I’d never heard of it before, but a Google search confirmed it’s a Thing. At least it has an inexpensive treatment.

So that’s where I’ve been all month, instead of writing blog posts or working on my WIP more than a few sentences: At a doctor appointment. I’m hoping we’re done for a while and March will be relatively doctor-free.

A Seriously Eventful Week

This week the mystery readers/writers group had a minor emergency–they didn’t have enough people attend the last two meetings to have an election.

Out of approximately 50 paying members, maybe five or six turn up on any given month. They’re considering some significant changes to meeting venue and date to reverse the problem. I hope it works, because I miss seeing the interesting (in a good way!) people who love mystery literature.

Then the writing conference board had a meeting and Mayhem In The Grove won’t be in the Centre on the Grove this year. We just can’t afford it without charging attendees too much (you would not believe, for example, how much they want for a gallon of coffee).

We also had to withdraw from the agreement Michael Hauge, the screenwriting guru who was going to teach the master class. It hurts (he’s a marvelous teacher), but the money just didn’t work.

And then a critique partner called to say she’d not be attending this weekend’s meeting because her husband just received a fabulous job offer in Tampa, Florida. She’s not moving immediately, but probably will be joining him within a year.

To put that in perspective, we live in Boise, Idaho. It’s not commuting distance for anything but electrons. I’m trying not to sulk. Or pout.

Oh, and a U.S. representative was shot outside a supermarket yesterday. A federal judge and a nine-year-old girl were killed in the incident.

When you start shooting children at supermarkets over politics, rhetoric has taken a turn for the psychotic. I don’t care if you’re a liberal democrat, a fascist, or anything in between.

Mom warned me there would be weeks like this. She was right.

The Quest for Coping Beans continues

So I’ve gotten back the coping beans from worrying about the car, although I still have the nervous tic (I glance at the temp gauge every five seconds while driving, just in case).

My local RWA chapter has its elections this weekend; I’m giving up webmaster. I’ve been doing it for two years, and I’ve sucked at it for the last several months, so it’s time. Yes, the burning smell is me.

My term of office as president of Popular Fiction Association of Idaho, Inc. (which puts on the only yearly genre fiction writing conference in Boise) ends at the end of February. The lovely and talented Amberly Smith has been unanimously consented in as the next president already. More coping beans will be freed up by that.

By the way, Amberly’s debut novel, Rinse and Repeat, will be coming out in January from Dreamspinner Press, just in time for her to finish her bachelor’s degree in Communication. I’ve read parts of this book and I think it’s delightful: Groundhog Day meets Quantum Leap.

More coping beans returned: The single intersection I must pass through between home and work has been under construction for 10 months, but they painted the lines and took away the orange cones today. This should cut my commuting time in half.

Now all I have to do is cut back work hours to 40 per week, wean Spooky Man from needing me to pick up something from the store every bleeping day, and get all the furry children cycled through their immunizations by Christmas.

NanoWriMo: 5 days in, only 1,000 words. I am sooooo behind.

Who would have thought cancer treatment would have been the easiest part of the year?

Saga of the Subaru

Huzzah! I have new head gaskets. Yes, plural. I have a ’98 Subaru Outback that has a 2.5L “Boxer” engine. The boxer engine is flat, with opposing cylinders, two to the east and two to the west as you’re looking under the hood. That means it has two heads. And that, my friends, means it requires two head gaskets. It’s a lovely engine when it works properly.

However, if one ever needs to replace the head gasket, say, because of the well-documented Boxer 2.5L phase I engine internal head gasket leak (Google Subaru head gasket and you’ll find out exactly what I’m talking about), it’s double the fun.

But wait, there’s more, as if that already wasn’t more than any sane human being would want to know about my car.

After three and a half days and >$2,000 paid, the car wouldn’t start at the garage. I had to go back into the office, stifle my hysterical giggling (I laugh when I’m stressed, it’s one of my mutant talents) and explain to the service writer that the car wouldn’t start.

It turned out to be a loose screw and took maybe fifteen minutes to find and fix. Well, specifically, it was the bolt holding the main block ground wire.

If the ground wire doesn’t have a good connection to the block, the starter can’t get spark to the coil and the engine will sit there waiting until maybe you taser its metallic behind.

After the bolt was fixed, Subie and I went to the store, got a latte, waited in the construction zone traffic and went home, all without the temperature gauge even considering doing anything warmish.

So. At last I’ve recovered the “worrying about the car” coping beans and I can get back to Open Mike Night at the Bebop and figure out what happens to Glitch and Travertine.

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