Thursday, November 30, 2006
1. My mother. She wouldn't let me into her bed, but would come sit on mine. And then sort of lean over. And then collapse and fall asleep. I'd cover her up with my little pink blanket in the hopes that she'd stay the rest of the night. She never did.
2. Boy One. A major kicker. He wrapped the sheets around his legs too. He's been banned for a long time.
3. Boy Two. A moaner. And he complained about my breath in the morning. Jeez. He and boy one haven't been in the bed for years.
4. Boy Three. Still sneaks in occasionally. I wake up and there he is. Not a kicker or moaner so I don't even notice him until I wake up.
Actually all three lounge on the bed when there's something good on late-night television. I tend to fall asleep teetering on the very edge of the bed. . .so does that count?
5. Sue B. The night she revealed to me that she was gay, we shared the only bed in my apartment. Every time any part of our bodies touched she woke up and said "Oh, God, I'm sorry! I didn't mean it!" She was far more paranoid that I might get the wrong message than I was that she was coming onto me.
6. My best friend from age 4 Gretchen. She snores but we did so many sleep-overs I got used to it. I miss Gretchen.
7. Andy S. The last time was when we were about 6 years old. My father said, "you're not going to get to do this much any more." I said, "why not?" and he said, "You know very well why not." I wasn't sure, but I knew I loathed him (Dad) for saying it.
8. Leah and some guy who's name I've forgotten from the UK. In high school a group of us were canoeing and the canoe with the sleeping bags fell in the water. We ended up with only two undrenched bags per three people. So we slept with one bag on top, one underneath. UK boy was in the middle. He really, really wanted Leah and crept up on her for hours, I think. When she finally told him to get off, he turned around and tried me. I laughed. I mean honestly.
9. I got drunk with a teacher and we ended up passed out in a van on the side of the road. This one probably should go in the "stupidest thing I've done" category Doug is featuring today. Urg. Beer and bumpers. Worst drunk I've ever been--never achieved that sort of misery with alcohol again, thank the good Lord. When we saw each other in the school's hall after that night, we'd scurry in opposite directions. Urgh.
10. I tried to seduce a friend and ended up falling asleep in his apartment just about the time he might have finally gotten over being shy. When I woke up he was in the bed with me naked except for some, um, badly-fitting boxers. He was asleep and I've never been so quiet getting dressed before or since. I left him a friendly note but then didn't return his calls. I was young, okay?
11. Do dogs count as people? Naw, I didn't think so but I've slept with a couple of dogs who thought I was one of them. They'd do that gnawing thing to help me with my fleas. Considerate bedmates. And I'm running out of acceptable entries. So yeah. Dogs. Me.
12. aw heck one unacceptable entry then . .David B. Wrote me the best, funniest non-love letter ever. Damn. It wasn't really a Dear Kate letter, it was mostly just a list of the reasons he'd never fall in love with me, but hey, if I wanted to keep up the sex, that was fine. I can't remember what it was like to sleep with him though. It was a lot of years ago, and frankly, some but not a lot of sleeping going on.
13. My husband. Best spooner ever. He always goes to sleep before I do but can make comforting noises in his sleep. He can even hold sympathetic conversations asleep. Very useful for dealing with an occasional insomniac wife (until the next morning when she says "thanks for being so understanding last night. That was a good talk." and he says "huh?") He talks in his sleep almost every night, even when I don't try to get him into conversation. He says a few words that don't connect with each other but it usually sounds like he's delivering lectures.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Your email: "did you mail the coat?"
My answer: "I went to the post office yesterday."
I waited and yet I never got the expected follow-up email of: "I didn't ask if you went to the post office. I asked if you mailed the coat."
The answer would have been no, I didn't mail it because I forgot the damned thing. . . .I did mail it today.
And this slip from you, of all people!
I love this cover. LovVvVe it. I'm not as certain I love the inside because I don't speak the language. If anyone wants a copy, I have an extra, even after I sent copies to my puzzled relatives. You have to promise to read it and tell me what it's about.
The story is set in New York City and Minnesota. Heh. Except, okay, maybe somewhere in Minnesota looks like that landscape? I've been there and recall a lot of flat countryside and rolling hills. . . .but it is a big-ish sort of a state.
Now the hard-copy I'm longing to own, that I pray I will someday get in the mail, is the Portuguese version of Somebody to Love. I've only seen a small thumbnail photo of it online.
That book has a clinch cover! A real one! In a meadow with mountains in the background! The beauty of this is:
1. The entire story is set in lower Manhattan, New York City.
2. From the moment I set to work trying to get published in romance, I wanted a real clinch cover. Head back, eyes closed, hairs blowing, bosoms nearly out there (or in the man's case, heaving in the open air)...The whole nine yards. I've got it at last but I haven't actually gotten it.
Someday, perhaps, I'll have those Portuguese copies in my hand. I'm going to frame that cover.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
One is a fluff-o-la historical (not much sex) and one is a Half-Breed Space Aliens Taking over the world (sex! yes indeedy! uh oh, potential "too much external plot for a romance" alert. And yet no idea what's going to happen).
Neither genre is particularly popular just now, the agent hasn't said anything about either book, so there's no sense of urgency. I think I'll flip a coin to decide which I should work on today.
Oh, I forgot the semi-paranormal-fluffy Summer novella. She's selling--to the ebook world, at any rate. I can do that instead. Also first draft, but short.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Mom and Margaret worked in the same office in the embassy. Mom interpreted the statistics of reports about agriculture and industry and Margaret translated newspaper stories from Russian. They discussed art and literature and went dancing.
Margaret was in Moscow during the war, though, so maybe I mixed the two women's versions? Dad was there during the war, too, and Margaret got sick of stories about his wonderful new wife--until she met her.
Here are some of v.d. or p.l.:
1. That someone taught the youngest boy the real lyrics to the Human League song. He thought it was:
Don't chew on me, baybay
Don't chew on me, girl
It fit our lives when he first heard it--our dog chewed everything.
I say there should be more songs about bad dogs and fewer songs about pathetic people begging for sex.
2. A larger pusillus luctus -- grande pusillus luctus? that we don't live closer to Leslie. And that Eric left his coat here. In the mail any minute, I swear.
3. That my hair isn't shinier after all that trouble. I took a picture with my new camera phone, but I can't seem to send the picture to myself. In it, the dog obviously has shinier, silkier hair than me.
4. That even though I've read the instructions to the new phone, I can't seem to send pictures.
Any day contains a bunch of these moments. If we give it a good latin name, it can feel like a grand event, and not just a few seconds or minutes of "aw, jeez."
I can't decide which I like better. Which one sounds less like a disease?
Saturday, November 25, 2006
I love having these visitors, and I'm not just writing that because Leslie reads my blog. Heh.
**we know how to show our out-of-town guests a good time! I can only hope he doesn't get covered with dog shit for the long ride back to Maryland tomorrow.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
It was a single piece of paper. On one side, a note from the principal:
This morning we were notified by the superintendent's office of a serious situation in our community of which you should be aware. The police department notified the superintendent of a registered sex offender who resides at [address, complete with apartment number]. His name is [full name] and he was born May 22, 1934. The notice is on the back of this letter and you can call Detective Dawn Lascari if you want more info. The person involved is not wanted or subject to any criminal investigation.
The rest of the letter is all about talking about "Stranger Danger" and how we do the Three R's: Run, Remember and Report.
Finishing with . . Let us know at school if you have a particular concern or need some guidance in speaking with your child. We are all partners in protecting the safety of our children.
On the other side: the note to the school from the police department mentioning that the guy has had numerous arrests for sex assaults against minors dating back to 1963. And here's a place to go look at a photo of him. Yup, I remember seeing him on the site--an old angry-looking dude with level four offenses. He's a high risk pedophile.
Okay here's what I want to write to the principal about being a partner in protecting the safety of our children.
Because you guys made a big deal about this, my kid stood there watching me open the letter. He kept asking me questions, so I eventually handed him the letter. I pointed out that the guy is in his seventies, that he doesn't live very close to us--and the kid didn't freak out as much as he has in the past.
Maybe the kid has finally lost his interest because of constant Fear of Strangers. We've talked about Stranger Danger every year we've lived here because the kids have had that kind of crappy homework every damn year of elementary school. You must go over it in class, too. Once, when I was standing in a grocery line with the kid, I made casual conversation with someone. The boy freaked and told me not to talk to strangers.
When we moved to this area, I knew about the sexual offender line and I looked up the people in the neighborhood. This "serious situation" has been going on for several years. That guy has been living there for at least four years. Clearly he's been living up to the terms of his probation or his ass would be in jail.
I think by posting his name and address on a piece of paper sent home to every family in the school, you're not only scaring the shit out of kids, giving them a Boogieman, you're letting the old sick guy in for some misery. Granted, he's caused plenty of misery in his past, but I don't think that lets you off the Alarm! Alarm! hook.
I can just see some bored middle school kids or pissed off or drunken parents finding that piece of paper with the name and address and deciding what they should do about the old perv in the neighborhood. Over the years you've given the perv too much power to scare the kids and now you've given the neighborhood too much information about the perv. Not good. Next time, don't give out the details on paper, okay? Yes, our kids deserve protection but even the old sex offender deserves protection.
Tell us about the website. Tell us to call for more information. And if you're going to give out details, why not skip his name and specific address and tell us what kind of kids he goes for, his M.O. and what the hell "level four offence" means.
Okay, you guys. What do you think?
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Other writers? They get on my second-to-last-nerve because they don't tell me anything about their books.
Linda Gayle, I'm talking to YOU!
This is someone I write to at least once a week. I mean I know all about her cats, her kids, her writing etc. She knows far more than enough about every blessed chapter of every one of my blessed books. I run crying to her all the blessed time. Lucky for me, she's a nice person. If she's tired of it yet, I haven't heard.
But that's not all I haven't heard. The biddy. Tonight's exchange:
Kate to Linda: I've been on the lookout for your cover . Got one yet?
Linda to Kate: The cover was on the cover of the last RT, and there was a spread in the middle - did you see that?
On the cover of RT?
And she didn't say anything?
And a spread?
Listen, we're talking her first novella (she's in there with three other women, but still. . . ). Chances are if she's not crowing to me, she's probably not out spreading the word to the wide world.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
OJ said it's fiction, but it's probably mostly a memoir.
Frey said it's a memoir, but it's definitely mostly fiction.
As far as I'm concerned, the new OJ book has plenty in common with that Frey book.
I'll be damned before I buy either book. And I base my opinion of the books on the behavior of the authors rather than the writing. If someone forced me to choose between them, I'd buy that Frey book.
This is what the web page says I'm going to talk about:
Topic: Researching information to make your novels factually and historically accurate
which isn't really what I'm going to talk about at all. I do research to make the people and scenes better drawn, easier to see. Unique. I'm rotten at scene-setting so I look for anything that'll help. The "factually and historically accurate" is way, way less important to me than making the book feel like there's a there there or that the people aren't just a bunch of valley girls shoved back in time.
OR, If I'm writing about valley girls (damn, do they still exist?) that I don't screw them up and make them sound like a bunch of 40-something women. I do research to write a better book not to make it more Accurate. Bah. If I wanted accurate, I'd write articles again, and I don't wanna do that.
okay off that high horse.
And speaking of high horses, I do like Jenny Crusie's slapdown of Miss Snark, which the SBTB were squeeing about. I'm not sure why Crusie hated the phrase about clue cake so much. She stomped the shit out of the phrase.
Friday, November 17, 2006
My ring finger remains very oddly shaped--like a Victorian lady who always wears corsets, my finger's shape has been altered by the ring. A skinny waist where the ring was, pudge above. Coolio.
The skin is pale and sensitive and delighted to be out in the air again.
Hey I've worn that thing for [jeebus!] 21 years.
The finger-altering thing happens to skinny types. My husband, who's about the same weight he was when we married, also has the Victorian waist thing happening on his finger. His ring is stuck, too. Neither one of us could get away with lying about the marriage thing even after we get our rings sawed off. Okay, there's always the "newly divorced" schtick. Or a really dark bar. . .
* * * *
I've lost almost 20 pounds since September--still have plenty more to go. Most of it was intentionally lost. I've been using http://www.calorie.count.com . Easy-peasy (or maybe just easier-peasier) when you have a food scale.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
* * * *
another thing for the to-do list: You should also check out a circus story's epilogue at Suisan's.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Uh oh. That city name might be a bad thing to actually write out here. Maybe I should start up another nickname contest for female sexual organs to get myself banned?
I wouldn't want anyone wandering over here looking for a job.
UPDATED: Donald, maybe we'll make something available for you.
I bought some sort of Shiney Hair by Clariol. It's not a dye so I figured it wasn't a big deal with the poisons. Whoops, it must be chock full of toxic chemicals because they insist you wear gloves and do the junior chemistry thing with two bottles (with the warning: don't store the two mixed substances in a closed container or it'll explode, dammit, on the instructions)
Even before you mix the stuff, you don gloves. It's that scary. The big cheery sheet warns you not to let the gunk touch ANYTHING.
I have long hair, down to my butt. I didn't want my gunk-encased hair touching anything like skin or clothing (or the dog who wanted to help me with this project. She wants to help me with every project) so I got a Stop and Shop plastic bag to cover my head during the ten minutes of waiting for the Shiny effect. Very clever, eh? I planned to use the bag later on to dispose of all the toxic Shiny Hair materials. Clever and frugal.
I was puttering around the bathroom, cleaning up the sink when I noticed red and brown streaks on my gloved hands. Whatever is in the Shiny Hair Gunk was dissolving the lettering on the plastic bag--and, apparently, the brown coloring of the plastic bag.
I wanted to throw the brown bag away but there's no protective plastic bag in the white bathroom trash container (recall my frugal use of the hair bag as trash bag?) and I didn't want to smear the fancy white trash can with the dissolving ink.
The dog and I tore down the stairs. As I rooted around under the kitchen sink for a better trash receptacle, the Stop and Shop bag fell off my head and landed on the dog. Her face. I stuffed the dissolving bag into the trash. I grabbed the kitchen sink sprayer and started blasting the dog's face. At least she didn't run away--she loves biting at water. It's her favorite game. While I sprayed, I inched along to the counter to pick up two dish-towels--one for the dog and one for my horrible-goop-covered hair.
I tried to convince the dog to jump up on the chair so I didn't have to get the floor all wet. I patted the chair and call her, all the while trying to keep my long nasty hair from touching anything. She knew I was playing some sort of trick--dogs are not allowed on kitchen furniture.
I gave up and just let the floor get wet because I didn't dare touch her or anything else. I was still wearing the brown and red smeared gloves and my hair was still toxic. Heck, the kitchen floor could use a good wash. It's always sort of grubby and now there was toxic Shine chemicals dripping onto it.
Eventually the dog seemed fine, the floor was a swamp and I leaned over the sink to use the sprayer on my head. No more Shiny Hair Toxic Waste and only a few dishes in the sink got covered with the crap. I think there might be some banana bread crumbs in my hair, but I don't give a damn.
So now I'm
Saturday, November 11, 2006
In the first, I met with a group of philosophers (either philosophers or writers or both, maybe) and we discussed something astounding and essentially TRUTHFUL. I know we had amazing revelations--I have no idea what we concluded.
In the second dream I brought home a cute leetle kitten, and my husband stomped on it. On purpose.
Guess which dream has stuck with me all day?
Friday, November 10, 2006
As usual there're various authors behaving badly and authors behaving badly about the first authors behaving badly. Here's one link but it's everywhere and old news anyway.
notes to myself [to be filed under "obvious yet important"]:
Why yes, Abby did just link to me so, yes, it looks odd that I'm linking to her. But her meta-kerfuffle is so perfect--and it fits the subject.
1. Most train wrecks happen when someone gets mad or hurt.
2. Cultivate polite indifference or humor. Be Wylie or Daisy.
3. Self-righteousness doesn't work. Mmmm, feels so good though.
4. It's v. important to ignore this true fact: train wreck blog/exchanges are more interesting than the usual sort of blog entry.
5. If you do want to wade in, it's important, as ferfe says, to learn to duck.
* * * *
I spent yesterday making corrections on a book due to come out next month. I'm nervous because the editor didn't ask for a lot of changes in that puppy. I don't trust my own writing.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Bet you thought a post labeled winner was about the Democrats' return to power in Congress.
okay. . .
Boo yah! Dems won!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
This means something wonderful to me. Something. . .that fills my heart with pure joy: I don't have to make--or receive--another GOTV** call for TWO YEARS!
Kate faints with relief.
I blogged about politics at Romance Unleashed. Talk about inappropriate subject matter. I hope I don't get booted out of the RU Club.
**get out the goddamn vote
Monday, November 06, 2006
She apparently looked echte Deutsche and rather Third Reich which caused her some trouble. Right after WWII, she was in Germany (she and Dad spent most of the war in Russia, working for the US of A--which later got them blacklisted, of course). She was constantly and rudely asked for her ID papers by occupying soldiers. She said she startled a fair number of American soldiers by responding in unaccented English. And no, I don't think any of her European relatives survived.
2. You know how people are always kvetching about other writers' behavior? Well, occasionally complaining?
How about "an author behaving graciously to another author" story?
Last month Sandy Blair gave away one of my books in a contest--to introduce people to my writing. She didn't even tell me about it. I found out this morning and I panicked because I thought I was supposed to send out a copy and had (as usual) forgotten. Nope, she took care of sending it, too. That Sandy is just a nice person.
Every time I try to write a Christmas story (and I keep trying) the story turns perverse. Not horrible, just not quite sweetness and light like a Balogh story. I can't seem to keep the cynical note out.
Regency-era Christmas stories are like over-spiced gingerbread. Just a few nibbles are perfect. Eat too many of them and you will get thoroughly sick. Heartburn City. Just like one viewing of A Christmas Carol (the Alistair Sims one. Or maybe the one with Muppets) every couple of years is about enough. **
A single Mary Balogh Christmas story has been almost more than enough for me. (If Diane Farr or Layton or Metzger writes a story, hey, I'm there anyway. They tend to be more story and less purely Christmas.)
In the past I've grumbled because they pack Yuletide stories in. Novels and novella collections filled with Joy and the coming Together of families and Rediscovery of Love and Life's True Meaning and beauty yada, yada.
But I'm an addict, so I went looking for the stories already. Early November and I haven't started any other kind of holiday activity-- first things first--and that means a dose of Regency Christmas.
Bring on some of Metzger's cute talking animals! A reformed sinner leading his former companions to a white Christmas in his country house! A jaded, rich lord who sees Christmas through a hired poor woman's eyes and falls in love (Balogh's specialty)! Prattling lisping children who transform the hardened rake into mush! The shy preacher who falls in love with the lady! The wounded withdrawn war hero who finds love with the shy governess! And lots and lots of snow in parts of England that rarely get more than a flake or two! Ending, one hopes, with the h/h standing by a window and seeing the Christmas Star.
You get the idea.
I crave at least one reformed Christmas rake. Just a single fix of well-written saccharine... And now I CAN'T FIND NEW ONES.
Ack! If I promise not to sneer at them any more, will someone please publish some heartwarming Regency Christmas tales? Please?
If you don't know what kind of story I'm talking about and you want a good one, try Diane Farr's Once Upon a Christmas. It gives me the sighing snuffles thinking about it. Great hero, too--does a wonderful job pretending to be insane.
** In fact we watch a version of A Christmas Carol every year, but don't worry, we're tough around here. We have even added in It's a Wonderful Life occasionally. We're into excess and we're show-offs--and we survive. (Barely.)
There's been a suggestion that we watch Christmas in Connecticut, because, after all, we live in Connecticut...but so far it's just a lot of big, swaggering talk.
Friday, November 03, 2006
When Mike picks a celebratory meal, it's always chicken wings. Yippee! Bring on the Clausties and the bar-be-que! It's a rocking house tonight.
Actually, the celebration (such as it was) is over. The kids are watching Sponge Bob and I'm wishing I hadn't eaten seven wings. Mike's in his office. No doubt he's watching himself and wondering why he did the butt waggle in the video. He claims he has no idea.
If you want to see all the Inspirational Profs at work and in interviews, there's a video of the contenders here. Hmm. Only seems to want to play in Windows media.
Strange background music--I noticed because I've watched it a couple of times. Go Michael! woo! woo!
see? dead people, aka mom and dad. Both were first generation American.
Guessing game time:
One was Irish/English (with a mother named Anna McCann, for pity's sake).
The other was Eastern European Jew, generations back, with rabbis infesting the family.
Which was which?
This is one of those photos you get from a booth . . . photomatic, I think they're called? I love those things. I should post more. I have one I found on the street. It's of a couple kissing--one of the four frame type. I think it had fallen out of someone's trash.
I have some great four-photo ones of me and my kids jammed into a booth--usually someone's crying.
Here's another picture of the parents for the Guess The Heritage game. I never saw them doing canoodling like this. Never, ever. They were in their mid-40s by the time I came along. I was a "Hey, I thought I was finished with that!" baby.
Hmm. No more dead people pix on this computer. Too bad. Somewhere in my life is a picture of Danny looking like a gangster.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Stupid blogger's not working right -- I had such nice photos of dead people to upload. I'm talking before, not after pics. Heh. You want gross, check out Doug's slug sex play.... sometimes cutting-edge sex ideas cut edges that were better left untouched. Eeww, I'm gonna have bad images stuck in my brain for way too long.
a discussion about that movie...
N., a Mother On the Playground: You can't wish the president was dead.
Me: No, no. I don't wish he was dead so don't go calling the CIA on me, okay? I wouldn't mourn much if he died but I guess I wouldn't cheer. I don't believe in the death penalty for anyone.
N,MOP: But still. Not getting upset when a president is assassinated is wrong. Murder is not the way to change government.
Me: Yeah, good point. How about if I said that there are a lot of other people whose deaths would diminish the world more? That okay?
N,MOP: Oh, yeah. That I agree with one hundred percent.
Thus arose the list. See? Death, but not from a hideously depressed Kate obsessing with mortality after spending time in the ICU. This is from moms standing around, waiting for the kids to show up after the bell rings. Only I've changed the list from "people whose deaths diminished the world" to "deaths that have diminished MY world". And because N, MOP doesn't read this blog, it's a list of "people I'd rather see alive than Bush". Luckily I'm not God and I don't get to vote on this.
1 and 2. Mom and Dad
3. Jim Gordon--a professor of physics and one of the brightest people ever. He was 31 when he died.
4. William--Most of these people lived long lives. I just want them back because I'm selfish. William and Jim were too young.
5. Rosemary Z
8. MJ--I'd make him redo his stupid will before he slipped off again.
10. Shakespeare. Duh. C'mon back and write some sit-coms, dude. Next time you drop off the twig you'll have more possessions to leave behind than your bed.
11. My grandfather--I didn't know any of my grandparents. I'd pick this one only because I've heard so many wildly differing stories about the man. I'd like to know whose was most accurate.
12. I.F. Stone --on the condition that he'd agree appear on the Colbert Report.
13. Richard Nixon only because I'd love to hear what that scandal-ridden perisher would say about Bush. Would he cheer on his old pal Kissinger or say the war was a mistake?
But I'm not sure I want him lurching around the place. Maybe someone can just channel him from the next life.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
God. She must have been horrible before today then.
While we were there, she opened her eyes, but I don't think anyone's home. The ladies spoke to her in Bosnian and she didn't respond.
Here's the part that has stuck with me since the visit. For the first time in the five years I've known her, today I noticed two things:
1. Her eyes are gorgeous. Big, blue and, right now, blank as can be.
2. She didn't have a look of pain. And here's the thing: she must have had one for all the time I've known her. I had always thought that you can't actually read other people unless they are obviously grimacing, smiling, whatever. Turns out it is possible to see the tiniest expressions. The lines on her face have relaxed or her eyes are more open . . . Something is different, so that even though she's desperately sick (with who knows what) in the ICU, the anguish (whatever it was) is gone.
Over the years, I've seen her laugh and cry and get angry, but now? Her intelligence, along with something else that's always been a part of her face, is gone. That something was a shadow: pain, grief, anger--I don't know.
A lot of years to carry her burdens (whatever they are).