31 May 2006

Ready... Set... Ooo! New Email!


Supper is over. The dishes are cleared. The extra food is put away. The Husband and Ms. Three are downstairs watching a movie. It's nice and quiet.

Sounds like a perfect time to get some writing done.

I just called my sister and left a message for her to call me. I've logged into yahoo messenger. I've logged into my work email. I have a browser page up with my personalized google. I'm almost out of water. And I need a snack.

It must be time to get started.

Must be.... guess I'll do that now... unless the phone rings or something...

28 May 2006

Weird... Or Is It?

So this has been the weirdest pregnancy. Well, weirder than the other one.

Everything is happening earlier – belly button popage; massively painful hip displaysia; pubic symphisis rebellion; sacroiliac complaints; breathlessness; constant heartburn; etc. Oh, and the good stuff too – kicking baby; hiccups; the precursors to lactation (“Houston, we have colostrum!”); etc.

OK, maybe that stuff’s not weird. But a couple of weeks ago, everything I ate that came out of my freezer tasted like bananas – ice cubes, ice cream, hot dogs, everything. And then, there’s the following:

I am, apparently, partially color blind. Whether or not this is pregnancy-induced, I have no idea, but there is a particular shade of green which no matter how hard I try, I cannot distinguish from black. Now I don't have any problems with any other shade of green (so far as I know) and I passed every color-blindess test I could find on the web, but this one shade just is beyond my ability to discern. No amount of holding it up to other greens, blacks, blues or anything else seems to help. Here’s the story:

My sister-in-law who lives in L.A. (and really should just stop pretending she’s a regular person and admit she’s a super-model already) had a baby last year. She called up after we found out about Ms. Surprise-Surprise and said she was sending me her maternity clothes.

“Hip-hip-hoorah!,” thinks I. “Style-y maternity clothes I could not otherwise afford to even look at. Not a chance in hell they’ll fit, but whatever!”

So the clothes arrive and – whadyaknow – EVERYTHING fits! Lucky me!

So. I then spend the next three or four months wearing this very, very comfortable – black – yoga outfit. And naturally, because it’s black I can mix and match it with just about everything else I have, because, well, it’s black, right? Black goes with everything.

Unless it’s not black.

I don’t remember how it came up, but we were all sitting around the dining room table and I must have said something about the black shirt I was wearing when The Husband looks at me with crinkled brow and says, “Sweetheart, that shirt is green.”

After a moment’s stupefied pause, I respond. “No, it’s not. It’s black.”

The Husband shakes his head and laughs. “It’s green, baby. Very dark, but it’s definitely green.”

Thinking now that he must be color blind or something, I turn to Ms. Three (Soon-oh-so-Soon-To-Be-Four) for support and say, “What color is Mommy's shirt?” and consider myself very clever to have left the question open-ended so there will be no doubts about leading the witness.

To my utter astonishment, Ms. Three looks critically at the shirt and without even the smallest iota of doubt says, “Green.”

I proceed to look from one to the other, mouth agape in disbelief that both of them appear to be afflicted with this strange inability to recognize the color black when they see it. I figure it must be a genetic deficiency that he has passed on to her, because it certainly can’t be me. I then announce that I am going to wear the shirt in question to work and take a poll to prove them wrong.

So. A few weeks later I actually remember to do this and what do you think happens? Every single person I ask says the shirt is green. Every. Single. One.

I attach here a photo of moi in said shirt and pants that I'm pretty sure are black so you can decide yourself but, in the face of the overwhelming evidence, I have come to the only logical conclusion possible: I am wrong. The shirt must be green and I can’t see it.

Weird. Very weird.

26 May 2006

There is Hope

It's a tiny little speck, but it's there:

Orangina can be found south of the M-DL.

In fact, I have proof of this little speck of hope in the form of an undiscloable number of little bottles safely tucked out of sight under my cube's desk-like appendage.

You may wonder: How on Earth did this happen?
Answer: Apparently, I am truly pitiful.

So pitiful, in fact, that my previous post bemoaning the (apparent) lack of Orangina prompted a comment from a friend, a native of Exile. This lovely woman not only had suggestions on where I might find Orangina AND called around to see which places actually had it, but WENT AND GOT SOME FOR ME. And would not take any money for it.

This sweet and selfless act brought tears to my eyes and still does. (Yes, I love Orangina that much. What do you want, I'm pitiful, remember?) I can only hope to return the favor some day.

Now. If only I could get my mitts on a Moe's.

22 May 2006

Grant Hell: Episode XXIOOVXIII

*sneaks surrepititiously onto posting page*

Just taking a little break from the wonderful world of polymorphisms, abstracts, and SORRY-your-biosketch-cannot-be-longer-than- 4-pages-stop-looking-at-me-like-that-I-don't-make-the-rules- I-just-work-here to check in and ... well, goof off. 'Cuz I need my damn brain back for five minutes so I can remember what else I get to use it for besides hunting for errant commas and missing definite articles.

Spent all weekend and all evening editing other people's stuff. Not done yet.

Actually, it's not as bad as it sounds as this is a perfectly legitimate excuse that keeps me from having to edit or *gasp, clutch at heart* write my own stuff.

Yeah, that chapter still ain't done. Oh crap, there goes my damn email again... What the hell ever gave me the not-so-bright idea that working from home was a good thing anyway?

17 May 2006

Poor Little Agnostic Brain: Part 2

So after 8-1/2 years together and nearly 6 years of marriage, it has finally happened.

A member of the right-wing, religious-nut side of the family (his family, people, not mine!) has asked The Question.

Five little words: Do you believe in god?

I assumed she meant her god, the Christian one, and answered rather bluntly. I think I even used the word “bunk”. (What!? It was late, I was tired and I just couldn’t think how to put it any more politely.)

She was quietly scandalized and made the mistake of asking for further details. Which I provided her.

I was nice, really, I was. I mean, I have to see this woman again (at least several times a year). She’s my sister-in-law and she’s really a nice person – good mother and stay-at-home-mom to two boys and a girl. And Ms. Three and her daughter just adore each other. In other words, there was some incentive there not to actively alienate her.

So I gave my standard, very succinct and polite-as-I-could-manage definition of agnosticism and tried, successfully I might add, not to get into too much gory detail about how very unlikely I think it is that the Bible is the one and only source of truth in the world.

She kept asking questions and I kept answering – honestly, since I suck at any other kind of answer – while my heart rate had its usual reaction to any sort of question pertaining to my personal belief system. (For some reason, it goes into overdrive. I think this has to do with being a Yankee – religion is NOT a topic for polite conversation in New England. It's about on a level with discussing the details of one's sex life with one's mother. We just don’t go there.) I was eventually saved from the conversation by the fact that they finally had a table ready in the restaurant we were eating at and so far, that's been the end of it. So far.

It had to happen, The Question. I always knew it. And frankly, I feel better about having my answer out there for everyone to be horrified by. The husband is less impressed with how tactless I probably was, but I have no regrets.

Well, maybe one. I did forget to mention the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Shame on me.

Which reminds me: I happened across a very interesting blog about the FSM and apparently, instead of Ten Commandments, he has 8 “I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts”.

Now THAT is my kinda church, people. RAmen!

15 May 2006


I SO need an Orangina today.

They SO don't have them in Exile.

*loud, dramatic sigh*

13 May 2006


So I was bopping about online looking for I-don't-know-what when I somehow stumbled upon the following quote from Robert Jordan:

Harriet, would you let someone who quit his job to go write fantasy anywhere near your nuclear reactor?

He said this after 10 or 15 years of writing in response to his wife reminding him that, if he ever got sick of writing, he could go back to being a nuclear engineer. It made me laugh. I'm not sure why. Maybe just the sheer juxtaposition of "fantasy" and "nuclear reactor". Those two things sorta shouldn't really be in the same sentence, know what I mean?

Now I've never read anything by Robert Jordan, but I think I might just because he made me laugh.

That and a bit further down in the interview he talked about writing women characters. As in, he's done it and apparently done it very successfully. That made me feel better because I tend to like writing my male characters so much better than writing my female ones. That gets frowned upon by a lot of writer-advice people, so it's nice to see someone who's gotten away with it.

All of this, of course, is just aimless babble because I have writing to do and instead of doing it, I'm stalling.

Heh.... yeah, that chapter still isn't written. It should be done. I've had ample opportunity today. I woke up at 3:30 and instead of getting up to write it, I played solitaire on the PDA until I went back to sleep. Ms. Three watched TV this morning until 9AM when the Boring Sewing Show comes on PBS. I could have done it then, but checked work email instead and took care of a few things. Ms. Three took a two hour nap. I could have done it then, but instead took a two hour nap myself. Ms. Three went to bed two hours ago. I should have been writing all this time.

I have done a bit. I have. But I've only added a total of 342 words to the chapter today. I scribbled some notes during my nephew's soccer game (161 words). I scribbled some more notes waiting in the car while Ms. Three and the husband went shopping at Toys R Us (haven't finished typing them into the file, so I'm not sure how many words). I just can't seem to buckle down and 'git 'er done', ya know.

Part of it is that the chapter is at a point of transition. I hate transitions. It's the point between the two parts of the chapter that are very clear in my head. I can SEE Scene 1. I can SEE Scene 2. The problem is that Scene 1 takes place in the castle and Scene 2 takes place on the ship in the harbor. So now I have to get the characters from the castle to the ship. Easy, right?

Well, you would think so, but unfortunately, that's not all that's going on. See, one of the characters is a drug addict bent on slowly killing himself, the other is his cousin and best friend who is bent on saving the drug addict's life (and his own along with it). The cousin is basically getting his bluff called during the transition and I think what I'm having the most trouble with is building in his tension and fear that he might have wagered too big and be about to fuck up his whole world.

Add to that the fact that this is the prologue to the novel and there's a bunch of info dumping that I sort of have to do (without being too obvious about it). First, I have to introduce the main conflict of the novel. I mean, the main purpose of this chapter is to set in motion the events that make up the rest of the story. Without it, we are lost! EVERYTHING ELSE that happens depends on the drug addict deciding he'll stick around a bit longer (no pressure or anything, Writer Lady...). Then there are the more mundane, world-building things, the "magic" in this world, if you will. There's a lot of little details involved in that and I probably don't need to be cramming them all in this one chapter, but much of it is sort of insisting on being there (pesky, damn details).

Sigh. OK. I'm going to at least type up the rest of the notes. Even if I don't even read them as my fingers move. At least, I'll have word count happening. And something to edit tomorrow.

13 Lines

OK, so here I am out. Out on a limb.

I cruised by this writer's website last night and, if you join this forum, you can post the first 13 lines of whatever you're working on to see if you can interest anyone into reading the rest of the piece. I was tempted to do it except that what I'm working on (new prologue to novel #1) isn't finished.

However, my exhibitionist tendancies are getting the better of me... So here it is: the first 13 lines of my novel.


Lars let his boots make plenty of noise as he strode down the stone paved hallway. He was a large man, taller by a head than most and built like the trunk of a main mast tree, so there was plenty of bulk to put thunder into every step. The sounds echoed, bouncing to the end of the hall and back again off the grey stone walls of Keep Talistor.

Probably, the noise wouldn’t make any difference. Probably, Fenn was too high from smoking magweed to hear anything of the living world. Probably, the clamor of a whole heard of bailaks charging down the hall wouldn’t be loud enough to wake him from his pipe dreams.

But Lars let his boots clomp and stomp anyway. If he didn’t, it meant he’d given up hope and he couldn’t do that. Not yet. They had one more chance and he meant to make Fenn take it.


Any takers?

12 May 2006

Seasame Street

Observation: It is very difficult to edit scientific papers while your three-year-old is watching Seasame Street in the same room.

This does not seem to be the case with other shows she might be watching while I am working. Seasame Street, however, is a different story. Perhaps, it's because I watched it myself as as child and when my favorite characters come on (Ernie & Bert, Cookie Monster, Super Grover - they didn't have Elmo way back then), I am drawn back into my own childhood for a few precious moments. That's very hard to resist.

Then again, maybe I've just had too many polymorphisms for one day...

09 May 2006

Poor Little Agnostic Brain

OK, I don't know why and it makes no sense at all, but I was googling "science writing master" just now because I'm thinking about getting a Master's degree and, among some science writing programs, one of the links it came up with was: "Church of the Flying Spagehetti Monster".


This has WHAT to do with science writing?

Naturally, I click on said link - I mean, how can you NOT - and find this website dedicated to spreading a new religion that makes about as much sense to the poor little agnostic brain as any of the others out there (which I think is the point... I think... it's getting late...). Anyways, worth a laugh if nothing else.

Still no earthly idea what the Flying Spaghetti Monster has to do with science writing. Eh, who cares!

Anothah Bumpah Stickah

Spotted on the way to work this morning: A white oval with bold black letters over a pink ribbon that said...

Save the ta tas

Humorous and effective, what could be better?

08 May 2006


So the old friend mentioned in Owls dropped by, left me a line, started her own blog and turned me on to this:

Your Toes Should Be Black

A total rulebreaker (and heartbreaker), you're always a little punk rock.

Your flirting style: Wacky and a bit shocking

Your ideal guy: An accomplished artist, musician, or writer

Stay away from: Preppy guys looking for a quick bad girl fling

Egads! Is that really me? The bit about the punk rock, certainly. Wacky and a bit shocking? Well, I try. But rule breaking? I doubt it. Heart breaking? That'll be the day. And as for artists, musicians and writers... one in the house is probably plenty....