Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Monday, February 27, 2006

SBD First Romance Novel I Ever Read

I don't know the was a category romance someone left on a bus. I picked it up and flipped through it--and then read it For Real. The hero was a blind musician maybe? The heroine was his nurse. He regains his sight and naturally this is not good for the heroine. I think she flees because she's 'not good enough for him.' She might have even been a size 11 and therefore too fat?

Ooops gotta stop, dog is puking on the rug. No, really. Logan's letting loose on the family room floor. bwww bww bwwww aaaaaaack.

Okay, back to the first romance. Not that there's much left to say. All I can recall about the end of the book is that the heroine's bedroom contains a huge smiling camel sculpture with real eyelashes. The hero, who apparently turned into a peeping Tom once he got his eye-sight back, thinks the thing expressed her whimsical nature. I thought ewww.

This story inspired me. I read it, enjoyed it more than I thought I should** and left it on another bus--but it was too late. I'd been left with that horrible inspiration that eventually leads so many well-meaning people down the garden path, past the pergola of good intentions, to the ha ha of doom:

Huh. I can do better than that.


**I was a rotten snob. Rotten in all senses of the word. My upbringing gave me the background and training but not the intellect of an effective snob.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

internal hell

Community service is over. I tried to help the boy find a job with someone other than me but the world of human services has apparently figured out that a clueless middle-schooler with only five hours to spare is too much work for them. Kind of like building a fire in a badly designed fireplace--instead of helping, it sucks all the heat from the place.

B2 was a better intern than the first intern I had at the magazine. Hmmm... I've blocked on her name. Her time in my office? Unforfriggingettable.

There's an old joke with professors: they don't like to schedule too many big exams because tests seem to raise the mortality rate of grandparents. First time I heard about that sick grandparent syndrome was when I had the Intern From Hell (IFH).

During her semester with me, IFH had two very sick grandparents. Maybe even one of them died? I can't remember. She was cursed with unreliable cars and a horrible break-up and an actual broken bone. By the time she showed up with the cast on her arm, I wondered if she'd put it on herself to look pathetic.

It's not like I was a horrible tyrant--I was a push-over of a boss. I asked her write an article, and suggested she come up with an interesting topic that would fit the magazine and I'd run it past the publisher. That was too much. Okay, if she didn't want to do a big feature piece, how about doing the boring-ass calendar section? The IFH's personal life was in shambles just now and she couldn't concentrate.

Okay, then how about fact-checking this finished article? Oh, God, she couldn't call people. She might break down crying because her grandfather was so sick and, by the way, she needed to take the rest of the day off to read to him or something. I was glad to see her go--I was busy and she usually needed to talk about her boyfriend who slept with her best friend last semester and yet she had to forgive him because he was the love of her life.

She promised to check the article when she came back. I had to go fish the untouched article out of her box a week later.

I didn't much care. She started in on the slackerage right off the bat, so I never actually gave her any vital work. The situation didn't bother my boss either--the girl wasn't on the payroll. She actually PAID the college to pretend to work for us.

It all came to a sad end when the IFH came storming into the office clutching my required mentor's report. "How dare you imply that I was lying?"
I pointed out that I hadn't implied a thing. I had simply listed the reasons she had given me for not coming to work. She wept and I ended up crossing out one line of the letter--something about her broken down car, which I agreed wasn't really her fault.

Did I mention that I was a dreadful wimp? No, actually I felt sort of bad about the whole thing. I suspected she was a huge drama queen or even liar but what if she was facing dreadful circumstances all the damn time?

A couple of weeks later, I called a professor at her college for something else and he asked me about the intern. I hinted that she'd been less than a success and he said, "Too bad. I hoped that getting her out of the classroom would help cure her grandparents."

I loved it. My husband's a professor now so I hear variations of the dying grandparents schtick all the time, but I still snicker when I remember Dr. W saying that.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Guest Blogger

His mission, community service. His job, organizing socks. This part of his mission? Convincing you to look at the socks. Later we will take out the bad pictures. For now. . . presenting Boy Two in his official role:

Yo yo yo My homey home home home dogg doggies!!! *pant* A to the L to the EX here to rage against the machine!!!!!*cough* Okay. I am done now. I am here to be Mr. Young salesman, and show you, yes YOU, some of our amazing socks. Oh so amazing. Handknitted by Bosnian refugees, no two are alike yaddayaddayadda. You already know all that. Unless mom is lazy. Without further ado:

Oh look at the lovely flower. There are many handknit purses like this one for to put your various moneys/ possessions/ illegal items you are smuggling over the border into.

Is that a whistle or something attached to the hat? I don't know, I'm just the photographer. Well, yeah, it's a price tag. This thing is bigger than it looks, it's just that I stink with cameras. The bosnians knit all kinds of things, not just socks. Their hats are comfy too. I should know. I own one. That's a perk about this job. Besides the doing a good deed thing, I have all the socks/hats/mittens I need. Whoo.

Of course, what would be Bosnian knitting without the cream of the crop: socks. No two of these babies are alike, each with a different pattern and color scheme. We have plenty of socks, each something completely different. Yeah, all salespersonness aside, these things are pretty comfy. They are a bit more like slippers than socks in my opinion, but that does not matter, cuz no one listens to the salesperson anyway.

Ooops. Those socks at the bottom of the picture are not for sale. Those are my feet. My bad. Anyway, I like this picture, because it has lots of lovely vibrant colors. Sure, some of the color combinations clash a bit, but they look nice anyway, and besides, they do their jobs well.

Of course, If you wanna be all unexotic, and get traditional American style socks, we have those too.** These socks provide a bit more coverage for your feet than usual to make you nice and warm, and have a very nice pattern.

Okay, We've done all we can here. It is now up to you. Make the Bosnians' life better by buying socks and supporting them in dark times. Make your life better by cushioning your lil' toesies.


**actually we don't. Not for sale, anyway, unless you like holes and dirt and stuff, you weirdo.

Thank you, salesman. Please go see his photos of socks and gloves and stuff here.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thursday Thirteen again

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about writing

1. Learn to write dialogue by conducting interviews and recording them. I did that for years when I wrote articles. I don't know if that helped, but it sure didn't hurt.

2. Finish the damned thing. No, stop talking or fretting about it. Just write.

3. Being published means you learn the preferences and pets' names of every New York editor.

4. And the secret handshake.

5. Turn off the internet when you're working.

6. Read PBW on Mondays. That's when she posts her lists that are often extremely useful for writers. Sometimes it's advice, sometimes it's fun ways to avoid work. I'd post some of the writing links here but there's no point. She's got it covered.

7. Miss Snark is funny and astute and on target but she's just one person, or two, maybe. No one has all the answers--except me. I do, so just ask.

8. I love writing fluff and romance. That's why this is pink. Don't ask me when I'm going to write a real book because what I write is as close to reality as I'll get. I won't get defensive though. I write romance but I read everything.

9. Hey, really. BICHOK (butt in chair hands on keyboard)

10. I wish I knew if contests helped get you published. Does anyone keep track of that sort of thing? Do not bother to enter one if you don't like the final judges (duh. if you have an agent, don't bother to enter the one that has an agent as a final reader. Unless you can win a lot of money.)

11. Speaking of writing for money, here's an erotica contest that'll get you a few hundred bucks!Entries due by March 1st-- $500 Prize! Information below. ** I don't know anything about it (#7 contains a lie), I just got a forwarded email. If you still have questions, there's a link to ask them. Warning, nekkid man lounging on that link.

12. If you have to have music, sound tracks from movies are kind of fun. Atmosphere without words cluttering up the air. I listen to House of Flying Daggers just now. I'm supposed to be working, but I have only one more to go

13. My work method: I yell this at myself -- "Get off the internet. Stop reading other people's words. Write your own. Ten pages now." NOW, dammit.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Joan, (I love that blog name)



(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

** Here's the rest of the email from entry number 11:

Oysters & Chocolate is hosting its first short story competition of 2006. All we're asking is for you to warm us up so we can make it through this cold, Colorado winter! That's why we want you to submit the hottest erotica that you can imagine. We're looking for a story that will make us sweat. We want a story that's so hot and sexy that when we read it, we just can't wait to take our clothes off!

The hottest story earns a $500 cash prize and will be featured on our homepage.
There is a $10 reading fee to enter. We will be accepting contest reading fees by check or money order, and Paypal. The reading fees must be postmarked by March 1st in order for your submission to be considered.

You may enter multiple stories at once into the contest, but please send $10 per each submission.
Payment methods:
Please make check or money order payable to JordanSade LLC, and mail it to:

JordanSade LLC1630A 30th StreetBoulder, CO 80301

To submit via Paypal, please send a $10 payment/story to In the email subject, type "story contest" and in category of purchase, choose "services." Yes we are Paypal Verified

Submission requirements:
1. We highly suggest that you submit your short story electronically by emailing your story to: Attach your story to the email, and paste it in the body of the email. Please type "Contest Submission" in the subject line. Please note that we will not read your submission until we receive your check or money order by mail, or payment via Paypal.
2. If for some reason you are unable to email your story, please send it in with your check by mail. Please include two copies, and send your submission typed, double spaced, with your name and the title of the story on each page.
Other Requirements:
1. Your story must be original and previously unpublished.
2. There is no official word limit for your short story entry. Suggested word count is 500-10,000 words, but we'll seriously consider any erotic story of any length, as long as it's h.o.t.!
Contest winner will be announced and published April 1st!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


None of you gave me any ideas and since I remain in a sadistic mood (even though the dentist thing was a wash out) you will be punished with a joke from Valerie Parv. I'd never heard it before and that could mean that she made it up. After all, the woman has an astounding ability to play with words.

I mean it. Hold up your thumb and forefinger and bring them so close together you can't see any light through them. Okay. Now. Parv and words are like that.

Hear about the consumer questionnaire that went around, asking people what electrical appliance they couldn't do without?
90% of respondents said their refrigerator.

It was known as the survey with the fridge on top.

Can you give me anything worse? Sure you can, you word masters and mistresses. Give me your old, stale, new and fresh jokes. Just make sure they're as at least as corny as Ms. Parv's** I'll make sure they go to good homes.


**If they are any cornier, please post a warning at the top of your joke.

I'm going to the dentist

So I'll just leave links.

Letterman takes off gloves. Cool.

The man I vote most eligible to be bottom for a really bad dominatrix. She should not allow a safe word and she should use a scalpel and a lot of springy clothespins--and she should not know what the hell she's doing.

Recall I'm going to the dentist so the sadistic streak is open, wide.

My next entry will be number 300. I'll take any suggestions about possible subjects.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Doug -- plus --why yes, Nanza, I do have socks

Heh. Who says blogwhoring for someone and slipping them a coupla hundred doesn't pay off? (did anyone say that?) Doug wrote a post about my book...

* * * * *

Here's my socks inventory. Three pairs are promised to a gallery, and she hasn't picked out which ones she wants yet (I did this inventory for her).

These are more like slipper/booties than regular socks. They do NOT have non-skid bottoms. (but I don't slide when I wear them and I am a klutz. Just ask EB.)

unless noted, these sizes fit about women's size 6-10 or so. But that's me looking at them, okay? And I do not sell socks for a living -- at least not my living. Caveat emptor, is all I'm saying. You can return any socks you want, and I'll pay you back but I won't refund your return shipping.

First color mentioned is main color. Decoration added is other colors.

-- purple with white
-- white with rust
-- blue with rust (with a cuff)
-- red with teal and white
-- bright green with lavender and dark lavender
-- pale blue with cream
--pale blue w/dark purple
--grey with green, peach, rose
--pale green with bright red
--blue-green with purple and touch of white
--rust with br. green
--black with red (another with cuff, biggish)
--aqua with brown
--br red with brown (largish)
--br coral with navy blue and touch of purple
--coral with black
--brown with gold
--variegated pink and brown (that's the only pattern)
--" " and grey (only pattern. more subtle than the pink/brown wool)
--bright orange and green
--bright orange with brown purple/white variegated gray stripes (funky)
--bright pink with grey and brown
--mustardy-gold with br green (smallish)
--br sky blue with green (grn only toe and edging--no pattern)
--lavender with light yellow and touch of brown
--black with yellow and gold thin strips with teeth
--small black with cream (traditional yarn)
--coral pink with x-stitch brown and grey (not a lot of pattern)
--dark green with orange and touch of br. green
--chocolate brown with br. red and br purple
--speckled grey with green and blue and touch of red
--variegated tan/dark brown with white
--light green with dusty blue
--greyish brown with Ikea blue
--tan with thin red around thicker teal stripes (not traditional pattern) with cuff
--rusty brown with tannish brown (slightly fuzzy, probably has real wool w/touch of alpaca??)
--br light green with blue stripes and checkerboard pattern
--large reddish brown (light) with blue-grey
--white only with about 8" cuff with different stitches (verticle pattern)
--br green and br yellow
--merino wool natural (slightly variegated) with green [all socks with this wool are thicker and slightly lumpy --think hand-spun]
--merino wool nat. (sl. variegated) with black
--merino wool dark green w fuzzy tan (probably some alpaca)
--big merino wool stripes dark green, pink, rose, tan, various shades of natural (very funky)
--dark pink with black (not soft! nice pattern, though)
--teeny pair (for five year old maybe) purple/white variegated on bottom with black blue green and coral top.
--gold and purple

a used pair of black and blue--returns. Free to good home. some pilling apparent on the black because it got washed and dried with a high cotton load before I noticed they were in there. Still pretty nice, I say.

I also have
four bags
eight stripey caps that don't fit my head but I have a big head (shut up) and a lot of hair.

If you want to see pictures of what these things resemble, go to this site The photo labeled "sox" have the cuffs (I only have a few with cuffs--they go fast!) and the ones labeled "more sox" have the regular ones, though I notice that you can see part of the funky striped ones I still have.

YES, I still owe socks to MM and Sam and they should look at this list.
Prices for everyone else range from $12-$16 -- that's what I pay.

I might be able to take a picture of a particular pair you want to see but many things depend on this:
--state of the camera's batteries
--if the camera or the wire connecting camera to computer has vanished again.
so you see, availability of pictures might take from five minutes to never. . .

Saleswoman Kate

hot** trend in fart culture

notes from the front lines:
1. If you fart, you must say "safety."
2. If someone who farts does not say the magic word of "safety", someone else can say "doorknob"
3. The "doorknob" person can thwack the farter until farter runs to a door and touches the knob.

practical notes:
a. The door handle inside the car does not count as doorknob.
b. Pulling over to the side of the road and demanding the hitting stop is unfair because they're only "following the rules".
c. The threat of "stop hitting your brother or you walk home" usually works.

I thought my kids made up the safety/doorknob thing--its actually a standard middle-schoolish practice. Stay alert.

**whoops. According to Beth it's a very cold, very old trend.

* * * * *

unrelated addition:

I'm posting this to make AngieW feel better. A child turned his head at the wrong moment while his mother held clippers. This is the aftermath (a professional performed the final butchery).

The child was not shunned by his friends and classmates. Eventually the hair grew back, although it's still too short.

Update on the addition: Everyone must go to angiew's blog and laugh at her. I add my own bitter laughter.

Why? because here I was so filled with pity for her trauma about her baby's haircut that I willingly showed the world how I'd turned my poor child into a Marine recruit/skinhead. I exposed my idiocy only because I was sure we'd shared pain and I wanted to help her Hold her Head up High again. I thought here is yet another mother who'd Made a Horrendous Mistake and had the experience of hearing gasps and "omigod, what have you done to your poor kid, you goober?"

But then. . . she posted the After pictures. Ha. It is to laugh.

Friday, February 17, 2006

My Arm Hurts

ow ow ow. it hurts from patting myself on the back.

I met a self-imposed deadline! I finished the first draft of a ms today! Emphasis on DRAFT. There are chunks sort of . . .missing. And other chunks that ought to be missing. BUT I wrote The End and it really is. The two chunks that need to get produced and dropped into place shouldn't be a big deal. I hope. Knock wood.

This was a good deadline to meet because the boys have off next week.

Question: Why do the boys have next week off?
Answer: I have no bloody clue. This is February and February in New England (this New England, not Bron's) is not a time I'd choose to have three crazed boys ricocheting around the house. What were those people thinking?

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Okay, I know we're sick of the whole Cheney thing. But here's a source of indignation that hasn't been fully explored yet.

The man lacks style. I mean honestly. Compare Cheney's delivery with Lord Voldemort's far more deliciously sinister cover-up.

And really. The whole excess of killing far more than you need is slightly repulsive even as they remind one of the old Edwardian hunting parties:

There were shooting parties at which thousands of birds were slaughtered in bizarre anticipation of what would soon happen to millions of men on the Western Front. There were stalking parties in the Scottish Highlands, where middle-aged millionaires put on funny clothes to bag a stag.

But the elegance of those old parties was undeniable.

Drinks were fine wines and whiskey served in crystal, not beers served in cans.

And the funny clothes? The rich went out in the most stylish dress. Stiff collars and frock coats instead of bright orange. You can see the whole elegant crew here.

I say if you're going to imitate the excesses of the gilded or Edwardian ages, you should go whole hog.

AND the birds were better Back Then. I mean the canned hunts ("guaranteed kills!") Cheney goes on provide birds that are not exactly a big challenge. Yes, the Edwardians hired local lads to flush out the birds, but at least the creatures had lived in the wild. **

This is a story--biased, I know--about a previous hunt Cheney enjoyed. This one was in Pennsylvania. from 12/9/03

Vice President Cheney reportedly shot more than 70 stocked pheasants and an unknown number of mallard ducks at an exclusive private club places a spotlight on an increasingly popular and deplorable form of hunting, in which birds are pen-reared and released to be shot in large numbers by patrons. The ethics of these hunts are called into question by rank-and-file sportsmen, who hunt animals in their native habitat and do not shoot confined or pen-raised animals that cannot escape.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported today that 500 farm-raised pheasants were released yesterday morning at the Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township for the benefit of Cheney's 10-person hunting party. The group killed at least 417 of the birds, illustrating the unsporting nature of canned hunts. The party also shot an unknown number of captive mallards in the afternoon.

"This wasn't a hunting ground. It was an open-air abattoir, and the vice president should be ashamed to have patronized this operation and then slaughtered so many animals," states Wayne Pacelle, a senior vice president of The Humane Society of the United States. "If the Vice President and his friends wanted to sharpen their shooting skills, they could have shot skeet or clay, not resorted to the slaughter of more than 400 creatures planted right in front of them as animated targets."

The Humane Society of the United States deplores the shooting of captive birds and animals where traditional "fair chase" hunting ethics are discarded and kills are guaranteed.

Yeah, the bolds are mine. But I mean. Yuck. Words fail me now, so read Lord Voldemort's post instead.


** and the concept of danger and flying away from danger wasn't brand new to them. (That's the point I meant to get across, mapletree. Or it might be, anyway. I have no idea if those Edwardian birds feared humans or not.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

and speaking of low expectations (or TMI)

All you women who complain bitterly about men who leave the toilet seat up?
It can be far worse. The males in your life might not bother to raise the seat--and then try, with a spectacular lack of success, to aim for the hole while the seat's in place.

Here's the TMI Part: 2 am. not quite awake, in the dark, the female sits on the seat and meets a very cold puddle of pee. Oh and look. The lid's all wet too. This is not the first time. . .

All 3 boys deny being the culprit. If it happens again, I'm setting up a video camera and then forcing the criminal to clean that bathroom for the rest of his residency in this house.

we need to talk, said the agent

oh god. she's going to drop me.

I haven't sold for two years. Well, not a New York book.
A couple of weeks ago, she sent the email setting up the appointment. And that was two weeks of desultory work and more active contemplation of my future as a has-been before I'd ever managed to be a have-is . . .

I was wrong. She meant we need to talk, as in plan the next year--though it didn't help that she started out by saying "I have bad news," in hushed sympathetic tones. "Your book got rejected by [I've already forgotten the name of the editor]. She liked your voice; she liked the characters. The book just didn't do it for her."

That's bad news? That's NORMAL news.

The rest of the call was about what I should write next. How's about an erotic historical set in New York. Sure! Why not combine Summer and Kate?

She'll do her bit with pitching the old book and a newish one to new editors and I sent off a couple more finished books and she'll look at them.

And I sang as I peeled the potatoes last night--until the boys begged me to shut up. Ahh, low expectations have some payback. Relief! Glee, even! I still have an agent. I might still have a career.

Monday, February 13, 2006

What makes you happy every time? SBD

PBW complained about some of the common problems in books that make her nuts. Plenty of bad stuff to avoid.

I want to go for the opposite exercise--tried to figure out what makes me stay in a book and/or give me a strong emotional response.

My first response is that it's all general. Strong characters, interesting plot. Blah. Once I figure out something specific (guys who pretend not to like cats but are sneak-patting one on page 200) then it's a device and therefore sneerworthy.

But heck, I can be manipulated by the right writer. Sure! I mean we're talking Universal Themes, right? So it's nothing to be ashamed of.

We'll call them archetypes and pretend we're in English 101. The people I like to read about:

The loners--who keep a part of their mystery through the whole book. I'm talking about the tough detective, the wizard. Merlin. None of this complete meltdown into mate material at the end. That's what happened to Spenser about 3,000 books back. He was never litterachure but at least he didn't have Susan Silverman early on. Urgh.

Outsiders, but not by choice. People who don't fit and never really will. (They seem to pop up in my writing so that makes sense.) Ender's Game.

Strong women. Not shrill, not stubborn (well, not necessarily stubborn, at least as defined by a lot of writers), but strong. Capable of changing but only for good reasons. Maire in The Grey Horse

Unlike Mrs. Giggles, I kinda like traditional self-sacrificing women in historicals. When they get to the point where they'll give up Happiness for Others I wanna shake them. But I like the characters who've been taught to think of others as well as themselves. Mrs. G goes nuts when she reads a Mary Balogh book -- and I love Balogh, often.

I have to take a kid to school (late opening at least) and maybe I'll try to come up with others later. You tell me-- what gets you ever time?

The little zing of "awwwwww" counts. (e.g. my cat-petting hero)

Come on, it's time to admit your most embarrassing "I am a happily manipulated reader" moments -- tell the world you just love secret baby books. You'll feel better if you do.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


THIRTY TWO freaking inches. That's what the local weatherman said. Wowee. But it's fluffy and that means easy to plow and that probably means school tomorrow. Talk about whining, X, you should hear the laments of the boys.

Okay, remember that I brought you the joys of the Brawny Man? Huh? Remember him? I'm out there for you, looking for more astoundingly bad videos to love.

Here's another ad campaign I found over at Jesus General. (Why does he link to it?). It isn't as mortifying but it is more mystifying. The stories are just so damned ODD. What's with the slippers? I watched a bunch of the peculiar little things before I realized I really didn't have to.

There never is any soup.

mike took these at 7 am

and it's still coming down hard and sideways. The local cause of horror and pity: this is on a SUNDAY. Chances are it'll be cleaned up and there will be school tomorrow.

our back deck

out the front of the house

UPDATE: The snow is now over the front of the van. Oh. The weather report is for 20-30 inches total accumulation.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

a moment of silence

My favorite local bookstore has gone under. It was a Barnes and Noble, but it felt like an indy because of the enthusiastic staff. They'd all been there for years. Now where will they go?
Where will I go?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Dig out yer walletses

I'm fundraising. Here's the good news: you don't receive any cookies, candles, popcorn or wrapping paper. You just give money and that's it! No stuff will clutter up your life--except maybe a nice tax deduction.

My brother-in-law, a cabinet maker, is on his way to Pearlington, Mississippi to help rebuild homes. "Hey, Kate," my sister said. "Carter has to raise $2,000 bucks so he can help people. I'm doing the fundraising."

So now I'm passing the buck that he passed to her and she passed to the people on her email list. Yes, I'll shell out some dough, but I thought maybe I'd nag you lot too.

It seemed pretty odd to me that a volunteer would have to pay. Hell, they should be delighted to get the services of a professional carpenter like Carter. So I called Building Goodness to find out why he had to pay for his own food and supplies.

Brenda Yordy, the friendly director of the organization said that, no, the volunteers aren't required to raise money--though when Building Goodness does international work in places like Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti and Guatemala, the volunteers pony up for their own travel. The volunteers are deeply encouraged to find money--because we're not talking big pockets like the Red Cross. The Building Goodness office is located above a coffee shop. The staff consists of Yordy and a part-time worker.

"We figure that the food and travel costs for one volunteer is about $400, and then it costs about $1,600 for materials to build one of the shelters," Yordy told me.

They're getting a good deal with Carter. He's a fantastic carpenter and has plenty of energy and enthusiasm and brains.

Here are more random bits lifted from the website about the organization, which is based in Charlottesville, VA--my sister and brother-in-law's home town:

Building Goodness sends teams of volunteer craftspeople to international projects more than ten times per year.

At the heart of Building Goodness are the volunteers: skilled tradespeople--carpenters, electricians, masons, plumbers, cabinet makers--and construction professionals who share their hard-earned abilities and experience to help communities escape poverty and fashion better lives.

Building Goodness works alongside Habitat for Humanity and other organizations.

You can donate by mail:
Building Goodness Foundation
P.O. Box 4325
Charlottesville, VA 22905

and use the donation form here:

or if you're lazy like me, you can donate online through -- just type in building goodness, and it should work. I hope. Yordy said she hoped they'd have a direct donation form available on the Building Goodness site soon.

No, of course you don't have to donate. You can just turn the page. (Gawd, remember those ads? Does Save the Children still run them?)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Truth About Me.

Celebrated novelist JT Leroy, known for gritty novels that drew on his life as a prostitute and drug addict, doesn't really exist--and there's another book in the making (well, movie offer. Even better).

A central figure in the case of the mysterious writer JT Leroy has come forward to say that no one named JT Leroy exists, and that the books published under that name were actually written by a San Francisco woman named Laura Albert.

Geoffrey Knoop said that stress of the scheme led him to come forward. . . Knoop, Ms. Albert's partner for the last 16 years, said in a telephone interview on Saturday evening that he had seen Ms. Albert write the books of JT Leroy in their San Francisco apartment. He added that for much of the last decade, he had been present when Ms. Albert conducted telephone conversations as JT Leroy with unwitting editors, writers and celebrities, using the voice of a young man with a West Virginia accent.

Ms. Albert, 40, is originally from Brooklyn.

All of these writers coming forward with the truth have left me in a tizzy. I lie awake in bed trying to gather the courage to come forward with my own true story. You think all that jazz mentioned in the previous couple of posts is just plain old panic disorder, inherited from a long line of panicky types? That's because that's what I WANTED YOU TO THINK.

The truth is, my panic is PTSD, left over from my years as a drug-using prostitute. Or maybe it was reliving my stint as a hired killer that brings it all back. I was so young then, I didn't understand the morality of my actions, yet years later, late at night, I awake in a cold sweat--thrown back to the time when I was nine years old and carrying out my contract killing of a mafia boss. Or that really nasty third grade teacher.

I toss and turn and wonder if I should continue this charade as a middle-aged mother, when in fact I'm now an agent for a Federal Agency devoted to bringing down drug lords in South America and Canada. Sure it'll mean the end of my safety under the witness protection program, but I owe it to my readers to be utterly Truthful about my own time as a drug dealer and as the mistress of El Repartidor.

I was just a teenager when I turned in the names of my contacts for immunity but my old cohorts in crime found me. Gunned me down, too. They all thought I was dead, until I turned up as a surprise witness at a trial so incredibly secret, it could not be revealed on the front pages of the nation's papers.

It was after that I fled to the arms of El Repartidor. Oh, yes, I did love him, but I soon grew tired of living in our tropical paradise kingdom, a prisoner of his success. I wanted to go back home to the mean streets of New York. And so I helped have him kidnapped and brought to to the USA to stand trial.

I continue my work even as I write my books. My agent has begged me to tell my story at last--how I recovered from my own addiction and how I single-handedly brought down the Columbian drug lord. But until now, I've been reluctant to blow my cover.

I mean, who would guess that an ex-druggie, ex-prostitute Federal Agent with a third grade education (they tossed me out of school after the Mrs. Binholder job) would want to write historical romances?

But I suppose the time has come to tell the truth. My agent is out shopping the title even as I proofread the final version.

I'm starting a new book. This one will be how I duped the public and how ashamed I am of covering up my sordid past. I don't think I'll even have to write a lot for this one. I'll just put in copies of all the sensational articles that will be written about me.

I figure I'll only have to write a few dozen pages of mea culpas and a chapter about how I'm brought to my knees by my depression, crushed by years of hiding the truth and then the public's discovery of my lies.

I'll convey my utter despair. I'm considering finding God or maybe heading back to nature (or even taking up the old drug habit) I haven't decided which will rescue my lying, cheating soul at last. I like upbeat endings so I really do have to be saved. Yep, that'll be a follow-up bestseller so I think I'll save all the best photos for it.

Update: Oh Lordy! Look at this -- lifted from Beth's site (lifted from arp)

kate --


A person who makes a living suing celebrities

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at
perfect for yesterday's theme. . .

Monday, February 06, 2006

thanks for asking

I'll be better soon.

I went years with only small occasional attacks that didn't run the show. This particular episode is very clearly in charge of the brain -- though I did manage to do a couple of errands today. And the bathrooms are so clean they scared the children.

Time again to practice the baffling koan art of Living With Panic as taught by those who basically teach the sufferer "Don't think about the phrases, simply live them" and "Don't not think about it". . .All part of the looking at a tree and not thinking about squirrels School of Cognitive Junk. Or rather being slammed face first into a tree over and over and reminding oneself that the tree is not charge.

But life will soon be sweet again. I have just signed up for Don Juan's tip of the day, discovered at Reese Witherfork's place. I will wow the girls with my indifference and they'll come over just to see why I'm ignoring them.

Here's a little gem from that site.

And it goes a little sumthin' *** like this:
1. Most men behave like WUSSIES when it comes to women and dating.
2. Women NEVER feel the powerful and magical emotion called ATTRACTION for WUSSIES.
So let's take them one at a time.
What exactly is a Wussy?
A Wussy is a guy who kisses up to women. . . There's more. Much, much more.


*** Q: Is there a more hideous way to write the word "something"?
A: No.

and since I'm complaining

hey, a lot of people blog about their migraines. This is kind of like that, eh? worser living through badly designed personal chemistry. Intelligent design my aunt fanny. I read somewhere the attacks last a half hour. I've never had one last less than two hours and they always leave behind days of mental slime to clean up.

Lizard brain comes barging into regular life demands that all activity cease because FEAR is HERE.

Regular brain starts wondering what triggered the attack. Uh oh. Don't start. You can't ignore it but don't make eye contact. Just pretend that it's not important and--

Lizard brain pulls out weapons. Silence! And while we're on the subject, I do not give you permission to breathe that way! You must now make yourself dizzy with bizarre breathing. And overdramatic shaking! Then you must spend 1.45 hours puking and being generally disgustingly sick.

Regular brain says, what the hell? there is nothing going on here. What did I do to bring this on? could it be the lentils? Okay, so the old cognitive training says to give it a number between one and ten and just wait it--

Lizard brain lets loose with a series of chemical attacks. Silence! It's death and destruction and the end of life as we know it--

Regular brain groans. It is not, it's just you lurching around, mucking up the place. Look, I have work to do tomorrow and you're going to pound me all night and then wander around inside me for a couple of days. I know that. Fine, yes I know time to toss my cookies. I'm going to grab this book and hang out in the bathroom but don't think I'm going to let you run the show.

Lizard brain blasts all attempts at distraction, including the book--it can make Peanuts look sinister, for God's sake. It blasts the regular thinking. No surprise, when I got up I find it is still trying to assert itself. No, you may not make your kid breakfast. Tell the kid to leave you alone. And by the way, let me remind you that you're a worthless weak person for allowing me to surface and--

Enough already! Go away! Regular brain is tired now and trying to yell as loud as LB.

RB is trying to figure out how to send LB back to the nether depths, even though we all know that is a useless exercise. . . and I just want to pour out the damn Cheerios. I think I'll clean the house and not even try to work. There is no way I'm letting that write a single paragraph or even play with taxes. Even that is being tiresome.

Of course the kid has no idea, thank goodness. I have had this off and on for about 20 years. I can do all this quietly. Except the bathroom part--haven't figured that out yet.


I hate panic attacks
I'm having one just now
I suspect it's because I have to leave my maze in two days. Or just because the moon is made of rock. The why never is important.
Lying in bed next to a peacefully sleeping husband and it's either poke him til I wake him up or whine at you lot. I know he'd vote for whining. Actually I could just not do both but naw, might as well whine.

hyperventilating, shaking, barfing . . .
What a waste of energy.

scuse me -- gotta go throw up now. Of course I'm shaking so much I have to put the laptop down carefully. Don't want to drop that.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

sign # 52 that maybe I spend too much time blog-hopping

Dream: I tried to leave comments in a blog and my words kept getting erased. It was an honest-to-God nightmare. :::::shudder::::

Friday, February 03, 2006

stalled . . .out

I was chugging along nicely with this story and now. It fizzled. Not a sagging middle, more like an irksome ending.

The action is done but I can't just write THE END because there are too many unfinished bits. Tying up? Bleh. Black moment? Worse. I swear if I throw in anything more for that stupid required black moment (I KNOW it's not actually required, o my fellow rioters, I KNOW.) it'll be a giant bowl of nonsense. I enjoy overkill as much as the next person, but only when it feels like naturally occurring overkill. Not overkill that just wandered onto the scene waving a gun.

On the other hand, right now everyone's just wiping his or her hands saying, "okay then! Back to life, shall we?"

And to make matters worse, my writing goddess has decided to go back to school. She's reading that thing about whales -- have you seen the great white?

My sister thinks she's allowed to have a life, too. I'd ask Beth but she fell asleep two pages into the last ms.

Sigh. Oh, and one of my characters is currently suffering with bout of self pity that rivals my own. Maybe that overkill with a gun would be a good idea after all.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Thursday's Thirteen Things

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Random Things about Kate

1. I once had a dog named Frances. Her real name had been Princess but my grandmother had misheard the name. "Frances" fit the dog better.

2. I now have a dog named Soozee--boys insisted it is spelled funniee. She is a family dog but we both know she's really mine.

3. Everyone especially knows she's mine when she craps in the house. "Kate, your dog took a dump in the family room," says my husband. "Better clean it up."

4. When I was a kid I had gerbils until the day the mom ate her kids. No, sorry. I couldn't live with cannibalistic animals. I don't know what happened to the gerbils after that. Hey, I was only 8 or something, okay? My parents dealt with it but I don't remember what they did--probably gave them to the neighbors.

5. Enough with the animals. Here's the first movie we saw with our Christmas gift of 3 months of netflix [thanks Jed!]: Monty Python's Life of Brian.

6. Next up was a chunk of the Black Adder series.

7. Hitchhiker's Guide, followed by Yojimbo, Sanjuro, more Monty Python and then the boys kind of lost interest. I got to pick the next few movies.

8. Last week I forced them to watch King of Hearts. They didn't hate it as much as they expected to; I didn't like it as much as I had when I saw it as a kid. (I was about 9 and my sister? or my brother? took me to a MIDNIGHT SHOW at the Biograph. Omigod, that was the biggest event in my entire life.)

9. I loved, loved, loved the Biograph Theater in Georgetown when I was a kid and I bet it's gone. Yup, it is. Most of the good stuff in D.C. is. If you're over a Certain Age, I'll bet most of the good stuff in your hometown is gone, too.

10. On the other hand, the head shops in Georgetown were long gone before I moved away and I never particularly missed them. One can enjoy only so much blacklight art and Janis Joplin posters in one's life.

11. More movies on queue at netflix (and I've seen them all so why am I ordering them? Boys.) Brother from Another Planet, Seven Samurai. At Mike's request High Plains Drifter [even though it's on every night a 3 am, apparently] more Black Adder [boys' request--I'm over the series in a big way], . . .local library carries Marx bros movies, so no point in renting them.

12. I'm trying to give the guys a cultural eddication, but I don't want to sit through too many John Wayne movies. We own His Girl Friday and Philadelphia Story. They didn't think much of Harold and Maude. I could see why. It only works really well at MIDNIGHT at the Biograph when:

a. it's a bad tape that breaks a lot.
b. you're about 13,
c. everyone sings along with Cat Stevens . . .

and even then it's iffy. I mean you might as well try to watch Rocky Horror at home and before MIDNIGHT.

13. Any other ideas? We have only one month left on this membership. I'm not renewing, dang it.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
Mama B





Ivy Tied up

Sam who doesn't have 13, but might some day (and is worth visiting anyway)


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!