31 October 2008

Happy Samhain!

No, I'm not pagan, Wiccan, or even a closet Goth. But I've always been in tune with the darker side of All Hallows Eve. The reason for those brightly colored costumes? So spirits can't recognize you and hie off with you across the Veil Between the Worlds, which is at its thinnest on this night.

Gives you a delightful shiver, doesn't it? And that's what I've always loved about Halloween - the spooky possibilities, the thought of all the things from tale and legend that just might exist, after all - the things that go bump in the night, or worse.

That's courtesy of the folklore junkie in me. Samhain marked the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, the death of the Summer King and the growing season, and the beginning of the reign of the Winter King, with his attendant long, dark nights and bitter cold. This was a night of transition and change; small wonder it became associated with all things not of this earth. This message has been usurped by modern commercialism, leaving us with a mere husk of what used to be a major yearly event for ancient peoples.

But c'est la vie - there's no going back. Enjoy your night, however you choose to celebrate. Me? I'll be curled up by the light of a jack-o-lantern, huddled in a blanket, reading scary stories.

Wait a minute...did I just hear something upstairs...?

29 October 2008


Now that I have your attention.... (*grin*)

Seriously, though. This is about sex. Writing it, that is. This past weekend I found the beginnings of an historical Blaze I started quite a while ago, and it sang with enough promise that I began working on it in earnest. After all the angst I've put myself through, and all the dithering about what I want to write, I found myself not only enjoying this story, but looking forward to writing more. Why? 'Cause sex is fun.

I can see you rolling your eyes and saying "well, duh." Okay. So, I'm a little slow on the uptake. I blame my renewed interest in the subject on Carrie and a hot scene she shared with me from her latest venture.

Whatever the cause, I'm not about to look this gift horse in the mouth. For the first time in months (years?) I'm enjoying writing. I really can't wait to see where this story takes me.

Neither can my husband (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

26 October 2008

Opiate of the Masses

No, this post isn't about religion, but about the more modern opiate of television.

My husband is watching a recording of the show Fringe, which is J.J. Abrams's homage to the X-Files: a government agent teams up with a mad scientist (literally - he's a moonbat) and his estranged son to figure out weird-ass crimes and situations. Hubby is hooked, ergo the recordings. Me? All I've got to say is...meh.

I used to love J.J. Abrams. The first two seasons of Alias absolutely rock. Then it started to get waaaaay too weird. Ditto with Lost. Fringe is just jumping right to the waaaaaay too weird part, bypassing any good stuff. Unlikeable characters, or worse, characters we don't care about one way or the other. Strange plots with not enough clues for the viewers. Odd character motivations. An East-Coast setting. Again, meh.

Fortunately, there are shows - Life with Damian Lewis and Supernatural with Jensen Ackles (drool!) and Jared Padelecki come to mind - that are both well-written and well-acted. My husband enjoys both of these, as well, which is why I fail to understand his attraction to Fringe. He does freely admit to being an X-File fanatic in his younger years, which I suppose explains part of it. But the author in me can't get past the wretched mediocrity of the show. If I'm going to spend time in front of the TV, I'd much rather it be for something worth watching. Which is why my husband's in the living room, and I'm in here, typing.

Ah, well. C'est la vie, and c'est la TV.

24 October 2008

Cat vs. Printer

In an effort to distract myself from how awful I'm feeling (and because daytime TV just sucks), I've been doing some surfing for cute cat vids. I know, I know - I'm incorrigible.

But you gotta admit - this is *damn* funny! I've never seen a feline do a meerkat impression before. :-)


Well, I now know why I've been so tired: I've come down with the cold virus that's been making the rounds at work. There's no escape; that place is a viral petri dish. Everyone gets what everyone else has. I'm telling you, it's worse than a daycare.

Ugh. Death by mucus. Not fun.

Yes, my head feels like it's about to explode. Yes, it'll probably keep me from going in to work today. But on the upside (and I'm looking very, very hard to find the upside), I should be able to nap, drink tea, and read the books I bought on last weekend's foray to Barnes & Noble.

Then again, if I doctor the aforementioned tea with lemon, honey, and a shot of brandy, I'll probably be doing more napping than reading. But if it keeps me from drowning in my own fluids, I'll make that sacrifice.

Ugh. This sucks.

23 October 2008

So. Tired.

Lately all I seem to do is work and sleep. Seriously. When I get home, I'm so spent all I want to do is collapse. In the past few days it's taken all the energy I can muster just to make supper. Afterwards, I medicate the cat, watch about an hour of TV (while sitting on the couch like a slack-jawed zombie) with my husband, then shuffle off to bed and fall instantly asleep.

There's gotta be more to life than this.

21 October 2008

She Shoots, She Scores!

Last Friday I posted about having to set boundaries with the social klutz at work, the one who insists on telling me all about himself even though I am always very obviously busy.

Well, I went through with it, with the expected results. Very politely, I told him I really didn't have time to chat in the mornings due to my heavy workload and deadlines. He got very defensive, snapped that "he didn't know he was bothering me" - um, hello? getacluethanxbai - assumed the whipped puppy expression, and left.

Yesterday (Monday), he avoided me completely, as I suspected he would. He took my boundary-setting as a personal attack. It was anything but - like I said, I was polite, and even thanked him for understanding that this is work, and I NEED TO WORK. I made no accusations, deliberately said nothing that would put him on the defensive, and yet he chose to make it All About Him.

Any normal, social, well-adjusted human being would have apologized and felt at least some remorse for having overstepped his boundaries. But this klutz's motivations were purely selfish; because I'm friendly, he thought that gave him the right to walk all over me. In other words, our interactions had to be strictly on his terms. Arrogant, much? And when I disabused him of that notion, he got ticked off. I am perfectly willing to remain cordial; I just cannot spare the time to let him chew my ear off. But for him, it's all or nothing.

Maybe I'm getting better at reading people as I get older, 'cause I pegged that one.

Unfortunately for him, I have no tolerance for selfish, self-serving, self-absorbed, boundary-ignoring users. He wants to play the "I'm ignoring you" game? Fine by me. All I can say is, good bye, and good riddance.

18 October 2008

Home Again

SuzieQ is home, and all is right with the world. Despite being drugged out of her tiny mind (she had been under general anesthesia for her surgery), she was obviously happy to be home - we've never heard her purr so loudly. It goes up to eleven. *grin*

She had a tooth extracted, but that's a good thing. She's never had good teeth; her body tends to treat her teeth as foreign bodies, and her immune system attacks and weakens them to the point where they get cavities/holes very easily. One of her molars apparently had a HUGE hole in it, and it was very painful for her. Now it's gone, and she's a happy baby again.

I'm just so happy to have her back. Our home isn't complete without her.

17 October 2008


Okay, now I'm turning into a Crazy Cat Lady.

In order to cheer myself up, and brace myself for what I have to do at work today, I started surfing YouTube for cute cat vids.

Had to share this one, of the cute, talky calico kitty. Couldn't embed it, sorry - you'll have to click the link to experience the amazing cuteness.

I'd better get to work before I give in to temptation and hie myself to the nearest pet store and get more kitties.

Social Klutzes, Part Deux

One more thing to make this day suck: this morning I have to deal with one of the social klutzes at work.

I've blogged about this guy before - tall, looming, no sense of personal space, and who seems to mistake my friendliness for an open invitation to tell me all about his "love" life. (Eeuwwwwwww!) He hasn't taken any of the outs I've given him (from dodging him outright to telling him I don't have time to talk), but then again, klutzes like him are too thick to take a hint. So today I get out the clue-by-four. I'm going to have to tell him that while he's a very friendly guy, it's gotten to the point where his need to chat is interfering with my work, and I have to cut him off.

I'm sure I'll get more of the hurt puppy routine, but stick a fork in me - I'm done. If this doesn't do the trick, I'll have to go to my manager for help. The guy isn't a company employee, but a consultant, so if action is necessary it should be easier to implement. But dammit, it never should have gotten this far.


Sometimes I hate people.


Last night both my husband and I commented on how empty the house seemed without the cat. She's such an integral part of our lives; we're always aware of her presence, even when she's cuddled up in her bed as a seemingly headless ball of fur. Not having her there made everything seem much more...lonely.

My subconscious agreed; while they weren't exactly nightmares, I did dream all night about trying to find her. Things weren't any better when I got up; I went through my morning routine without a small insistent fuzzball throwing herself against the backs of my knees or tugging with her teeth at the hem of my robe.

She's having her procedure this morning. Barring any complications, she'll be home late this afternoon.

It can't come soon enough.

16 October 2008


My apologies for being MIA on this blog of late. I've been busy, and honestly, haven't had much to say.

But not this morning.

Today I have to take SuzieQ to the vet to get her teeth cleaned. No big deal, right? Problem is, I have to drop her off this afternoon and the procedure is tomorrow morning. Which means she has to endure yet another traumatic car ride in order spend the night in a strange place, surrounded by strange animals and strange smells.

I keep telling myself that this needs to be done. She's always had tooth problems. Her gums are inflamed and tender from the tartar buildup, and there's no way she'll stand for having a stranger scrape the stuff out of her mouth when she's awake. Heck, given the choice, *I'd* elect for the dentist to put me out every time I go in for a checkup! But I still hate to have to put her through all this.


My husband tells me I'm too soft-hearted for my own good. Times like this, I tend to agree with him. Angst sucks.

14 October 2008


One of the precepts of Buddhism is compassion for all living things. Easy in theory, difficult in practice - especially when one of those living things is a fellow human who has hurt you deeply.

I recently heard news about one such person, and rather than wax wrathful and angry about what he did to me in years past (although I admit it was my knee-jerk reaction), I later found myself actually feeling compassion for him. He was a bitter, sick, and twisted individual when I knew him; now, it seems, he has found the happiness that eluded him all those years. The revelation astounded me.

Although a small part of me still hopes karma will serve him for his previous actions, the larger part has forgiven him. Previously, I had not thought this possible; I thought I would hold on to that hatred and anger forever. Compassion, I find, is a welcome relief from all that toxicity. I just wasn't in the right place to consider it until now.

This can only been seen as another signpost on my healing journey, and it makes me smile. There's hope for me yet.

13 October 2008

Working for the Weekend

Last night I was seriously bummed. Not unusual for a Sunday evening. The end of the weekend, the end of doing whatever the heck you want, and the beginning of another work week. And then it hit me: why am I assigning meaning to only two days out of the week? That implies that I'm living in a void the other 261 days of the year.

Scary thought.

In our society it's ingrained in us from an early age that work/school is something you're supposed to do, but not necessarily like. That weekends are fun time, free time, your time. But I don't dislike my job; in fact, I like it very much. I come home tired, yes, but with a sense of accomplishment. So why do I feel like my weekends are the only days that matter? This is not just my own conundrum; in reading books on Buddhism, I've come to realize this is a common problem. I really don't like the idea that only my weekends are meaningful because those are the days I get to write, spend quality time with my husband, and read to my heart's content. My weekdays have meaning, too - I just need to find it and make it a greater priority.

Hmmm. I need to think more about this.

10 October 2008

Maybe There's Something to This Happiness Thing, After All

I met with my counselor again yesterday, and she made me realize that I've gone almost two weeks now without a single nightmare or anxiety attack. I feel like I have greater control over my life, and even if bugbears from my past should pop up and try to wreak havoc, I realize now that I don't care - that threat no longer has any meaning for me. It doesn't change who I've become, or change any of my current relationships.

Amazing the feeling of freedom that power engenders!

To top it all off, I wrote some amazing stuff yesterday, not the least of which was the tribute to my dad for his 80th birthday. I was teary-eyed while I wrote it; there was a direct emotional connection between my mind and the words on the page. That hasn't happened in YEARS. And for the first time in a long time, I'm looking forward to doing more of it.

I feel like I'm starting to walk out of a long, dark tunnel, and that the light I see at the end isn't an oncoming train. Sure, I still have some baggage (like I said earlier, I tend to pack things in Samsonite for long-term storage), but that's okay. I don't *have* to deal with everything right now; I can wait until I'm ready.

Meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy my newfound freedom.

09 October 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad

When I was in fourth grade, I drew a picture of Snoopy sporting a pair of sunglasses, with the caption, "My dad is Joe Cool." At the tender age of nine, I didn't hesitate to tell the world that my father was my hero.

He still is.

Born on the cusp of the Great Depression, Dad has done amazing things with his life. He mined for gold with his father - using dynamite, no less! He went to UC-Berkeley at age 16 and got his degree in civil engineering. He married my mother soon after graduation, and they're set to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary next year.

There is no chemistry, physics, or mathematics problem he can't solve (for which, in my high school years, I was infinitely grateful). Always easy-going, he handles difficult problems - and difficult people - with grace, dignity, and aplomb. He taught me how to throw a curveball, and how to fish. Although, it must be said, his patented fish call of "Here, fishee, fishee, fishee" seemed to work for no one but him!

Today is his 80th birthday. Though it's made him a little grayer, age hasn't diminished him one bit. He's my favorite fishing buddy, my mathematics tutor, my fellow pun-a-holic. He's the man who taught me to do the right thing, even when the right thing wasn't always easy. He's *still* Joe Cool. And he's still my hero.

Happy birthday, Dad. I love you.

08 October 2008


This morning, Carrie blogged about the rotters over at AIG who, a few days after their storied bailout, were living it up at a pricey California resort and spa. They spent over $440,000, which is an insane amount of money to us normal folk. Not to them, apparently. Anyone else who thinks these asschapeaus should be made to pay restitution, raise your hand.

Thank you, Mr. Obama. You, at least, get it.

Problem is, those AIG executives don't. Read the article above; they think they did nothing wrong. And that, in a nutshell, is why Wall Street has tanked: too few of the executive types of these failed companies have any sense of shame.

Time was when a person felt shame at doing a poor job at work. Now? Here, have a $50 million compensation package for running the company into the ground! Worse yet, these executive types expect it. Can we say entitlement?

Shame on you, AIG. And shame on every other entitled, shameless, money-grubbing executive putz who thinks like you.

07 October 2008

Star Wars + Cartoon Network = Teh Awesome!

During his perusals of the on-screen cable TV programming guide, my hubby often finds gems that otherwise would escape our notice. Case in point: this past weekend, he found a stunning little half-hour series called Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Being a child of the 70s and 80s, I (of course) can't help but squee with delight. Star Wars? Bring it on! But the kicker? It's on Cartoon Network! Dude!!

We watched the two half-hour episodes my husband had recorded, and we were absolutely astounded. Not only is the animation awesome and the stories well-written, but the series also features many of the original voice talents from the Star Wars movies: Frank Oz as Yoda, Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the guy who played Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious. At least, it sure *sounded* like him.


After all my complaining about a serious lack of anything decent to read or watch on TV, I find myself eating those words.

Hand me a fork.

05 October 2008

SciFi Channel - WTF?

Don't get me wrong - I love the SciFi Channel. They bring me my beloved Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica, not to mention reruns of kewl, albeit canceled series like SU2 and Buffy.

But WTF is up with their movies?!

Saturdays are the worst. Cine-turds like King Cobra, Ba'al: The Storm God; and Beneath Still Waters grace the small screen for hours on end. Even their series aren't immune - last night my husband and I cringed through the original, yet highly flawed two-hour premier of Sanctuary. Cool idea, really bad follow through. Hackneyed plot devices, stock characters, and a sagging middle only begin to describe the problems with this program.

And yet, it got produced. Somewhere, some writer got paid for coming up with this dreck.

And I worry about ever getting published again? Dude! Maybe I should go write for the SciFi Channel!


Making Scents

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm a girly girl. When the weather turns cooler I get a yen for new shoes and new perfume. The shoe part of the equation is easy. The perfume part...well...let's say that after my last misadventure at the perfume counter I'm hesitant to go back for a second helping of retail idiocy. Since then I've confined my new fragrance testing to magazine inserts and haphazard sample purchases on eBay. This hit-or-miss approach is inefficient, to say the least. That, and I'm not too fond of the overly synthetic scents being marketed today.

On a whim, I checked the 'Net for people who could create a custom perfume for me; I know exactly which notes smell good on my skin, and which I like in my fragrances. My findings ranged from companies that wanted me to take a personality test to determine my "perfect" perfume (WTF?) to a company that would send me individual scent bottles in lieu of an in-person consultation. The price for these services varied, as well, from $40 for the hit-or-miss, hope-this-combo-works approach to over $1,000 for the long-distance consultation. A few places didn't even list their prices, and I got the distinct impression that these were the kind of companies where if you had to ask, then you couldn't afford it.

So what's a perfume junkie to do?

Why, create her own, of course.

I got on Amazon and found a couple of books on natural perfumery, then located a couple of Internet sites that not only sold natural perfume supplies and equipment, but also had several treatises on creating one's own perfumes. I find the whole concept intriguing, but whether I want to commit that much time and effort into this venture remains to be seen. I'll see how I feel after doing some more research.

03 October 2008

Lap Season

The equinox has passed, and fall is upon us. As such, the weather is getting steadily chillier; lately the temp's been getting down into the 40s at night. The thermometer's downward slide has triggered something in my cat's little pea brain, 'cause now she's become a furry heat seeking missile. Two nights ago she hopped up on the bed and nudged me awake to let her under the covers. This morning, without prompting, she leaped onto my lap and settled into the designated cuddle position, purring like a miniature Hemi.

I'm not averse to being used as a kitty bun warmer. There are worse things. :-)

01 October 2008

Reading Like a Writer

Carrie and I were talking Monday night about how writing has spoiled us on reading - that how, as writers, we tend to analyze what we're reading in terms of quality of craft. Oy, isn't that the truth. Nowadays it's very difficult to find a book that holds my attention, much less makes me forget I'm a writer!

Take, for example, the book that sits next to my bed. David Weber's Honor Harrington series, a multi-book sci-fi "space opera" saga, boasts a legion of dedicated fans. Sadly, I am unable to count myself among them. I've got the first novel in the series, and it's so rife with infodump and backstory that I can't bring myself to read more than three or four pages at a time. Basically, the only reason I haven't thrown it against the wall and into the trash is that I need something to lull me to sleep at night. (Ouch!)

Contrast this with Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series, also categorized as space opera: I read the first thirteen books over the span of a week. Yup. Thirteen books, seven days. Didn't get a whole lot of sleep that week, but it was worth it. Ms. Bujold's talent is mind-blowing; she sucked me in from the first and had me drooling for more. No analysis, not even for a millisecond. Nor was I ever tempted.

THAT is the essence of a writer's craft - to yank the reader into the story and make him/her crave that prose like crack. Unfortunately, not many modern authors have that appeal for me - one in ten, if I'm lucky. Which is why I'll probably have to make a run to the used bookstore this weekend to offload my overflowing box of rejects.

It is my goal in life to write as well as Ms. Bujold, that my books never qualify as wallbangers.

The quest continues.