Monday, December 31, 2007

At Least I'm Consistent....

I had the same typing speed for the last five years.

82 words

Year-End Wrap Up

1) Rang in new year with new distance boyfriend in California

2) Sent out BioWare writing application

3) Started a receptionist temp job after losing full-time job

4) BioWare writing application rejected, rewritten, resubmitted

5) BioWare application rejected... again

6) Quit receptionist temp job

7) Moved to Dayton

8) Turned down job offer that would require me to move back to Chicago

9) Went to Spain

10) Lost my best friend after lying about dumping distance boyfriend

11) Finished and sent out God's War to a couple agents

12) God's War was rejected by an agent

13) Got hired as a temp tech writer

14) Went to the emergency room

15) Joined a martial arts gym

16) Got hired as full-time tech writer!

17) Got health insurance!

18) Went to the emergency room (again)!

19) Did some revisions of God's War for a publisher

20) Broke up with distance boyfriend

21) Went to Switzerland

22) Started dating Dayton boyfriend

23) Went to the emergency room (again)

23) Broke up with Dayton boyfriend

24) Got back together with Dayton boyfriend

25) God's War got an agent

26) Stopped going to martial arts classes

27) Got new health insurance!

28) God's War got rejected by first publisher

29) Started a new gym

30) God's War got submitted to another publisher

31) Went to the beach for Christmas

32) Broke up with Dayton boyfriend (again)!

33) Started a new financial plan that'll get me a car in a year and a house in two years

34) Signed up for new personal training health & wellness sessions at work

35) Put together a submission package for my Dragon's War series.

35) Ringing out the old year with roommates. Will probably laugh a whole lot.

Fall down seven times...

You're going to fall, you're going to fail. The trick is to learn from your mistakes and not give up. Life is a persistence game. And boy have I been persistent. Maybe stupid. Certainly stubborn. But always persistent.

I've laughed a whole lot this year. Cried a lot, too.

But, mostly - laughed.

Keep on keepin' on.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Actions Could be Seen as (Offensive)(Annoying)(Selfish)(Hurtful)

Formal Apology fill-in-the-blanks template!

For all your formal apology writing needs!

Putting it all Together

The Old Man and I sat down over my finances today and went over what it's going to take to get me in a place I'd like to be, financially, by the time I'm 30.

He and Steph are my age and have two cars, a house, an IRA, and money in the bank. I had a great time traveling around the world and getting all these degrees, but the roaring twenties are just about done, and it's time I focused on getting some of the things I want to have in my 30s. A house, a garden, some money in the bank. Financial freedom. A place to put my books. It takes planning, and hard work. You don't just wake up one day living the life you want.

Boy, do I know that.

A lot of my whole "where" I'd like to do my life thing depends on if I still have a job in April, but if the job works out, the two year plan that the Old Man and I put together gets me a car in a year and a little house the year after that and pays off all of my staggering credit card debt in about the same amount of time. That's not factoring in raises or book/freelance writing money.

To be dead honest: it's not a fun budget. It is not happy in the least. I've been working with a budget that makes me happy and comfortable the last few months, but it's also meant blowing $400 on going out, eating out, coffee, books, and other misc. items.

This budget cuts out prepared meats, expensive cheese, most of the gourmet nuts I eat, and $300 worth of coffee and going-out money. Chipotle money. Ohhhhh... my Chipotle money.

It also means I'm putting nearly half my paycheck toward credit card debt. If I want it paid off in two years and I want a garden of my own, that's how it has to be.

I hate math.

At the same time, I'm ready to grow up, you know? Pushing thirty, living paycheck to paycheck, even if you're living quite comfortably, isn't worth it if you're still renting out a room somewhere and taking the bus at 30. It's just not the sexiest thing in the world, and not the life I want to have at 30.

It's a really tight fucking budget, dammit. There's going to be a lot of cabbage-eating and tuna fish the next two years.

You have to decide what you want out of life and take the steps neccessary to get there. It's not always fun, not always easy, and it takes a great deal of courage and discipline, but it's worth it.

I wanted to make a living as a writer my whole life: right now, I do. I wanted to travel around the world. I have. I wanted to sell books: I'm working on it. I wanted a house and a garden and a couple of dogs. Now I need to build that, too.

Pick what you want, and go there.

Elevator Etiquette

Things I Would Like to Do Today

Take a spoon, cut out the part of my heart that hurts, and throw it away in the trash.

This is the first relationship that ever ended where I feel that ending it is a really, really bad idea. But it takes two people to manage a relationship. Both people have to be willing to fight for it, and grow up together. I can't do it by myself. He's got to meet me halfway, but he's afraid; afraid of me, of himself, of failure, of what it means if we're together. And when you're really terrified, there's a lot you'll sacrifice to fear, and all sorts of ways you'll justify it.

There are a lot of people whose lives are ruled by fear. I know how hard it is to overcome that fear, that lack of faith in one's self, in other people; fear of failure, fear of life, fear of self and self-doubt, fear of change, fear of what other people think of you and your choices, fear of making big decisions, fear of making mistakes. I used to be that person. I fought a long, hard road to be somebody different. I didn't like who I was. I didn't like having a life controlled by my fears.

I'm going to take some time off again from dating, I think. I have a lot of grown-up things I need to accomplish (career(s), house savings, fitness). It's the cutting away that's the hardest. I made the Boyfriend a big part of my life. Now I have to take him out of it again and rebuild it.

Spoon to the heart.

Fall down seven times. Get up eight.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Quote of the Day

As ever:

"Fall down seven times.
Get up eight."

It's how you get through the rough stuff.

Damsels, Reimagined

(click to enlarge)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Holidays With the Hurleys

Our annual Chistmas beachtrip commenced once again this year....

Dad, Mom, and my nephew the Cheetoh-head at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Mmmm cheese.

My sister Jackie-o and the Cheetoh-head.

Great view of Haystack rock from our hotel in Cannon Beach, OR.

My mom, my brother and I pose with our coffees at the Funland gameroom in Seaside.

Don't feed the birds! View from our hotel balcony. I love this hotel.

Cheetoh-head loves this hotel, too. Even when he's not feeding the birds...

My sister, nephew, and brother all pretend they like each other. No small feat!

Cheetoh-head cozies up to the scenery at Camp 18, where we stopped for a great Christmas-eve breakfast. Mmmmmm omelettes.

Christmas morning!

You, too, could get your *second* Nintendo DS at four years old (he broke the one he got last year. Yeah. Spoiled Cheetoh-head).

Snow! We got a rare Chistmas-day snow dusting this year. Cheetoh-head loved it! And I thought it was pretty neat too.

Jackie-o and Cheetoh-head enjoy the snow.

The Hurley kids: youngest, oldest, middle.

The Hurley kids and the Cheetoh-head, kickin' back with the holiday cheer.

Happy holidays to all... and to all a great night.

Friday, December 21, 2007

On a jet plane... With a hipster toy

I'm writing this post from the Dayton airport on my new iPod touch. Hell no - I didn't buy it myself.. I can't even afford to buy beer. Our exec team handed one of these out to all of us at our holiday lunch yesterday. I've never gotten a holiday bomis or gift before. It was incredibly generous and surreal. Sure, I could have used $300 more, but I know my company doesn't have any cash this time of year, either. Let's be thankful for small miracles, yo.

Also, this screen does get annoying to type on, but yo, I can watch youtube videos,check my email, and blog all directly from the airport wifi without pulling pit my bulky laptop. It's pretty slick. Anyway, I'm already delayed into Houston, so it's fixing to be a long night. Nice to have so many different toys available to pass the time.

Wow, I'm really glad this keyboard screen has an automatic spelling correction feature. Oh wow! It moves the cursor wherever I tap my finger in the post - it moved the cursor there! Mmmmm gadgetry.

Ok, I need a drink. Later, peeps.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

One For the Road

Quote of the Day

Someone once asked Jean Cocteau, "Suppose your house were on fire and you could remove only one thing. What would you take?"

Cocteau considered, then said, "I would take the fire."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cutting Out Love

A lot of my fiction deals with characters who try to stifle or completely eliminate strong emotion. This is a theme I come back to quite a lot, as I tend to hate feeling - and especially exhibiting - strong emotion. Especially strong emotional attachment, like love.

As you grow up, you realize that strong emotion - if you're somebody who feels it - is just something you have to come to grips with and learn how to live with. But there are some folks out there doing research that would, in effect, allow us to turn it off.

I find the idea terrifying and fascinating. It's stuff like this that keeps me writing fiction.

That raises the question of whether it is possible to “treat” this romantic state clinically, as can be done with OCD. The parents of any love-besotted teenager might want to know the answer to that. Dr Fisher suggests it might, indeed, be possible to inhibit feelings of romantic love, but only at its early stages. OCD is characterised by low levels of a chemical called serotonin. Drugs such as Prozac work by keeping serotonin hanging around in the brain for longer than normal, so they might stave off romantic feelings. (This also means that people taking anti-depressants may be jeopardising their ability to fall in love.) But once romantic love begins in earnest, it is one of the strongest drives on Earth. Dr Fisher says it seems to be more powerful than hunger. A little serotonin would be unlikely to stifle it.

(warning: there are some very non-chemical "women are this way and men this way" assumptions stated as fact right after this paragraph that are incredibly, incredibly annoying. I love that the chemical stuff is backed up with studies, but "women prefer rich men, naturally" and "men prefer youth over money" is just stated fact. Excuse me while I laugh. Let me tell you how that works in other societies)

As far as innate vs. learned behavior goes, I found this interesting, too: "Rats can be conditioned to prefer particular types of partner—for example by pairing sexual reward with some kind of cue, such as lemon-scented members of the opposite sex."

Or preferring a tall, rich, old man to a skinny young skater boy. Or preferring a big-boobed blond to a geeky lab tech.

We get far more social points, as women, for marrying rich, and far more social points, as men, for marrying Barbie dolls.

Mmmmm lemony.

Just In Case I'm Tempted to Mope Around This Holiday, Some Perspective

Number of queries my agent received this year: Approximately 8,000

Partial manuscripts she requested for review: 49

Full manuscripts requested: 18

Number of new clients signed: 5

One of those five was me.

I think I'm going to take myself out to dinner tonight and just take some time to appreciate that.

My Kind of Valentine's Day Card

One For the Road

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Um. Tax Season. Yeah

This morning, I was pushed into our mock store and given the task of assisting in the direction of the training scripts I wrote a couple weeks ago. I got to feed lines, read off-screen dialogue to get scenes moving, check off scenes and setup folks for the next shot, and track what we were filming and what still needed to be done.

It was a humbling and educational experience. The best part was watching people change and morph the scripts as we went in response to the constraints of the shots/resources and based on their actual experience ("She's not going to say return. She's going to say "check."").

It was really clear just then why the dialogue in film scripts is kept so minimal, too. They start waxing on for long paragraphs - particularly when you're not working with pro actors - and people get lost, out of breath, start to sound like Babylon 5 monologuers. I think it really is true: you can have great dialogue and crap actors or bad dialogue and great actors, but not both at once.

The stuff that was short and choppy, that was written with just the right store-appropriate lingo and that the support folks got to have fun with? Yeah, that came out the best.

I learned a lot.

I love my job.

Monday, December 17, 2007

If They Can Only Make the Real Thing Look Even Half This Cool

Then... squeeeeeeeeeee!

This is why I love fans. And mashups. And fanfic.

HBO had better fucking make the series look even half this cool.

For serious.

Merry Christmas

Insurance won't cover my pump.

$2,180 up front, and $281 per month after that.

Oh well, it was a nice idea.

I can't even afford a new mattress for Christmas.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Things I Wonder About

1) It's not the cold I mind so much, it's the dark. I always hit my lowest point during this time of year, and it has a lot to do with all that dark, overcompensating with too much eating (used to be pizza and nachos, now it's cheese-covered broccoli and sausage), too much brooding, and lots of meaningless arty projects and reading. When I get back from the holiday break, it will be getting light again! I always feel better when I get back from holidays with the family, because I know we're coming out of the Long Dark.

2) Is it really worth continuing to write books that nobody reads? How many years should you be writing books nobody reads? I mean, really. And even then, it's not like you're in it for the money. I'm starting to think I might feel *worse* having sold a book for 2K than not selling it at all.

3) Is is possible to have a boyfriend that you never see? I suppose that's a rather redundant questions, since I was in a year-long relationship with somebody I only saw, like, 5 times, and a year-long relationship with someone I only saw, maybe, a grand total of 14 or 15 weekends. It occurs to me that I've spent more time with my current boyfriend - real time - than I did with either of those folks. Sad.

Have I mentioned I'm bad at relationships?

I guess it's possible to be dating, but hard to have a relationship. Though I'm not exactly sure what a relationship would look like anyway. So it's best to just stop thinking about it?

And yet, here I am, stuck without seeing The Boyfriend, properly, all week, and faced with another week seeing him briefly (once), and then another week with the folks where, of course, I won't see him, and here I am, missing him stupidly and hating myself for it. I hate feeling like some kind of weakling woman. Truth is, no matter who it was, no matter the gender, I'd feel stupid and weak for missing them. I hate wanting people around, especially when it's one person in particular. I always feel about eight kinds of stupid, and it feels, always, always - like such an incredible weakness. I want to cut it out of me like a cancer.

I miss him. I miss hanging out with my friend.

And I hate myself for that.

4) The problem with eating so much cheese with my broccoli is that I'm about three more cheese-broccoli encounters away from having to buy new pants. Have I mentioned I can't wait until the Long Dark is lessening? Summer is going to be so lovely. Oh, the bikerides! The jogging! The trips to the park! Oh, the freedom!

5) Can kick-ass heroines really be physically kick ass if they suffer from a physical disability? How do you make a really physically strong, compelling, kick-ass heroine who has, say, no legs, a gimp leg, or, for the sake of argument, something like diabetes? So she can't really get very far without a handful of lifesavers. And why don't we write about more heroines like this? Is it really because it's so hard to imagine (it's not - the idea of a heroine crawling out of her wheelchair scrambling for a gun and popping sombody off comes to mind) or is it because, as SF/F writers, we're much more likely to write stories about people who are physically free? Because so many of us suffer from allergies, disability, poor health, etc? We read to escape our bodies; we game to escape our bodies. Why would we write about broken bodies? Don't most of us write to escape those?

6) Why isn't there a deragatory term for a man who has sex with prostitutes/only has sex he has to pay for? Really, that's pretty much something you'd assume would get the lowliest of losers tag. But then, is it just that a woman's worth is measured in how hot men find her and a man's worth is measured in how many women he can force (or convince - through money, looks, whatever) to fuck him?

And how do we change this perception? What would a society that had as many deragatory terms for johns as we do for prostitutes look like?

7) I didn't end up doing any of the work-writing I figured I'd do this weekend. I didn't have to do it, but I figured I *should* do it. I'll have time to do it in the morning, but for some reason, I feel guilt.

8) I want to buy my own house. I'll be taking steps to finally do this after the holiday. Paying off credit cards is all well and good, but I need savings in case I get laid off in April. And if I don't get laid off - well, it's time to start planning for the future. No one's going to do it for me, and I have to stop hoping that something great is going to happen that will solve all my problems. I would like my writing to start paying off, yes, but I'm starting to push 30 here, and it's time to put some security measures in place in case it's another 10 or 20 years before that actually happens.

9) I miss being around other writers. I miss talking to people about books and writing - not just online, but in person. I miss my friend Jenn. I miss us dissecting books and movies. I miss talking to David about SFWA hijinks and the latest jaunt to some foreign locale. I miss intelligent academic discourse. I miss having people around who I had so much in common with. Sure, I love learning all the new stuff, but most of the time, I feel like I'm trying so hard to learn about all this other stuff, but I've got nobody else around who's interested in what I find most interesting. It's time to hit up the SF book club at The Greene and the writer's group, even if it sucks. There are important parts of me that need some exercising, cause there's a big hole in me without them. It feels so lonely.

10) For serious, that was too much broccoli and cheese.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I think I'm ready for the holidays to be over.

Friday, December 14, 2007

No Country For Old Men

Disappointing for those of us who really like the good (or at least the "better") folks to live, but a thrilling, bloody, suspenseful, incredibly well-acted and wonderfully scripted little movie. It's a darker, grittier, smarter version of Unforgiven.

Also: blood and guns and assasins and drug deals gone wrong!

Great performances all around; smart, tough, engaging characters (again, if you're not going to give me films focusing on female heroines, then the least you can fucking do is write female characters that Don't Suck. This film succeeds there).

A film to watch, but not something you're going to buy and keep around for comfort food.

Presents for You!

I got this from Karen Meisner.

I will send a gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment here on my blog.

I don’t know what that gift will be yet, but you will receive it within 365 days (likely sooner than later). This may end up being almost anything (but probably books or pony mods, depending on your preference. OK, really, it could be anything).

The only thing you have to do in return is “pay it forward” by making a similar agreement on your own blog/journal.

Snapshots from the Writing Life

Snapshots from the life of a tech-writer-working-for-health-insurance (who also happens to be a freelance-fiction-author-working-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt-and-maintain-sanity):

5:35 am: Wake up, test sugar and check email. Take 15 u Lantus shot and breakfast bolus. Shots always come first thing.

5:35-5:50am: morning free weights and situps routine. I don't wake up properly until I do this.

5:50-6:05am: Make today's lunch, brew coffee, and defrost 1 cup blueberries for breakfast. Yup, same thing every morning. Keeps my sugar regulated.

6:05-6:20am: Eat breakfast, drink coffee, catch up on blogs, reply to email.

6:20-6:40am: Shower, brush teeth, etc.

6:40-7:10am: Dress, pack up gym clothes and etc., do hair, wash dishes (if I don't do dishes now, there will be a huge pile when I get home. The roomies do not own a dishwasher. *I* am the dishwasher)

7:10am: depart the house and go wait for the bus. Catch up on any midnight text messages from The Boyfriend and reply with something snarky.

7:40am: arrive at work.

7:40-8:00am: Make coffee, check intranet portal and email, put out any fires from the night before.

First of the IT guys arrives. Bitch, catch up on gossip, discuss any fires from the night before.

8:20-12:00pm: "Work" of various sorts. Mostly organizing intranet stories, formatting and editing SOPs, playing Gold Miner and Turret Wars, writing 800-1000 words of Black Desert and surfing the internet if things are slow, writing up at least one emergency last-minute "OMG we needed this two weeks ago!" project, and throwing things at the hardware guys in the other room.

Lunch. Sugar test and shoot. Again, usually pretty standard cause of the sugar issue. Low-carb wrap, spinach salad, string cheese, almonds.

1:00-5:00pm: Meetings, retooling people's emails, uploading documents to the library, posting and replying to franchisee questions in the Forum, getting into arguments about politics and call routing systems with the other IT folks, texting The Boyfriend to see what his schedule is for the day and if we're going out for burgers or movies. If we are, the schedule below is all off. If not, the rest of the day goes like this:

5:00-5:45pm: Waiting for the bus and on the bus, either to the gym or home, depending on my mood. Twice a week to the gym, three times a week, back home, but I don't yet have set days.

5:45-6:30 or 7:00pm:
Working out, either at home or at the gym. Sugar test and correction if necessary. 30-40 minutes of that is cardio while watching a Netflix video. If at the gym, I also do about 15-20 min worth of weights. After working out, catch up on text messages from The Boyfriend and reply with something snarky.

7:00-8:00pm: If at the gym, I'm getting dressed and commuting back home. If I'm at home, I'm making dinner and catching up on dishes and blogs. Test and shoot insulin before dinner, natch. If at home, catch up with Steph about her day or field snarky comments from the Old Man.

8:00-9:30pm: Finishing up whatever scheduled work on Black Desert that I didn't get done during the day. Catch up on blogs if I was at the gym, dinner if I was at the gym. Watch Netflix video, read, work on my French, work on pony mods.

9:30-10:00pm: Get ready for bed. If I haven't been reading, I'm certainly reading now, or just sitting in bed thinking about all the stuff I have to do tomorrow, angsting about various things, wishing I was having sex, and plotting through the next day's work on Black Desert.

10:00pm: Send a text message to The Boyfriend telling him that if he's still at work, it's time for him to go home.

10:01pm: The Boyfriend texts back that he's leaving work.

The Boyfriend texts me saying that no, really, he's really leaving work now.

12:30am: Text message from The Boyfriend about how he just did something really cool in Halo, nearly got pulled over/hit a racoon/got into an accident or how some piece of hardware just exploded. I am not likely to wake up and read any of this until I'm at the bus stop the next morning.

1:00am (twice a week or so): Nighttime sugar test and correction. I set my cell phone alarm and test for these if I've eaten something non-standard for dinner (that is, something with more than 30 grams of carbs - my sugar tends to rise alarmingly overnight when I do this).

And, now that I've written all that down, it looks incredibly regimented. To be honest, it is, but not in a bad way. I have no problem doing other things when stuff comes up, but this is the standard I default to when there's nothing else going on, and you know - it's kinda nice to have a set default. I do a lot better with a routine, especially now that I'm diabetic.

I also tend to get a hell of a lot more done.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rome: Finale

Perfect. Absolutely fucking perfect.

At least they realized, the second time around, to keep their time in Egypt short. Whoever the fuck cast that chick as Cleopatra should have been fired. She's the weakest part of the show. Dump her for somebody who's actually interesting, and it would have been a perfect show.

But really, if that's my only complaint?

And Attia, there at the end?

Oh yes, perfect.

Perfect arc, perfect return.

Why can't all television be this good?

Book Love & Book Buying 101

150 pages into Undertow, they were still having tea and discussing plot.

There’s nothing inherently WRONG with having tea and discussing plot, but you know, you do it enough times, for enough pages, and it gets really dull.

Also, I had a tough time connecting with any of these characters. The assassin is dull and whiny. Cricket gets interesting 2/3rds of the way through, but by then, it was all just random explosions and quantum physics over tea, and I didn’t care enough about the people it was happening to. I mean, it was Neat Idea SF, but no really dynamic people I cared about fueling the story.

I also don’t know why the setting never resonated with me. I mean, it’s a lush, humid, watery world, and there are bugs and smells and things, but it wasn’t… it just never connected with me. I didn’t feel like I was there.

I’m always interested as to what makes the difference, for me, between actually being immersed in a setting and feeling like I’m looking at it through a window. Do I need to have the emotional connect to the characters before I can feel it? Do I need to have the characters more immersed in the setting, that is, do I need to connect with them and they need to connect with it, so I feel some kind of connection to it? Or is it all just writing trickery, some kind of magical combination of words, some writerly technique that does this? No idea.

This reading experience left me rather desperate to read about characters I cared about running around in a fully realized setting that I connected with. I’ve had a hell of a time finding good fiction these days. I picked up the Kushiel book about Poor, Abused Imriel Who’s Only Third in Line for the Throne, and I just wanted to vomit, the kid was so damned annoying.

So I went to the bookstore and actually started looking for another Bear novel, Dust (my experience with Undertow was with the book, not the author, as I did enjoy Carnival, though it had some of the same general issues for me), but alas, Dust’s official release date isn’t until the 26th, so finding it is a bit like a treasure hunt.

So I went through other books. Books after books.

After much browsing, it came down to KJ Parker’s Devices and Desires or Daniel Abraham’s A Betrayal in Winter.

Now, I read and more or less enjoyed Abraham’s first book in the series, but did not Love it, so I wasn’t totally sold on the second. I like the setting, and some of the characters, but I never really fell in love with anyone, and when I’m reading, I tend to either need to fall in love with a character or feel some kind of emotional reasonance while reading. I did neither of these with Abraham’s book, but you know: it had good women characters, an interesting setting, and a new fantasy world with an interesting magic system and dynamic landscape.

The KJ Parker book was quite lovely, beautifully written, and had some really interesting concepts. It was also half as much as Abraham’s book and twice as long. More for my money, and all that.

So, what decided me?

Well, I opened up KJ Parker’s book several times at random and read big sections. All three places I opened to were full of situations, conversations, and fights between and among men. Every single scene was 100% full of male characters. There was not one woman to be seen (this may be one reason I haven’t finished Jonanthan Strange and Mr. Norrell, either).

I opened up Abraham’s book several times at random, and you know what? There were women characters in there who TALKED and EVERYTHING. Some of the chapters were even ENTIRELY FROM THE POV OF A WOMAN!!! IMAGINE!!!

And, to be honest, I’ve gotten tired of stories All About Men. I’ve gotten tired of stories that ignore me or tell me I’m stupid or are, merely, indifferent. It’s as if the author didn’t even deliberately ignore, they just forgot. I read stories about men all day long. Mostly, stories about men doing terrible things to women (it’s called The News). I’m tired of reading about nothing but men all day long. Your book doesn’t even have to be, you know ALL women. Just acknowledging that women exist in your world may even be enough! That’s how desperate I’ve gotten.

So I sat down with A Betrayal in Winter, and ah yes, here it is, the difference between books that I remember and books that I don’t. Though he does that annoying Martin thing where he introduces a character in the Prologue and makes you care for him and then kills him, well, you know, he proves up front that he can write characters I’m interested in. I may not fall in love with them, you know, but they are interesting, and I’m invested in their adventures.

And, you know, as ever, the women characters Don’t Suck. Honestly, you have no idea how rare it is in SF/F just to find more than one woman character, and have her Not Suck. Abraham’s women characters don’t suck. I may be annoyed that most of them are defined by their relationships to men, but you know, when dealing with some of the societies he’s built, that’s how they’re defined in those societies, and it’s not like the men aren’t defined by their relationships to other men, either. Just sad that all those societies are like that. In, you know, fantasy.

You gotta mix it up sometimes.

In any case, I’m enjoying the Abraham book, even if there still aren't any women chopping off people's heads.

I'm sure they'll get there. Maybe there will be a Rome-like network of women playing politics behind this big brothers-who-kill-each-other-for-the-throne thing? I mean, maybe not all of them shuffle home in defeat when they're husband is toast, but become active players. Like women do when all the men are off at war all the time. I don't buy that we all just sat around sewing, or that all that sewing was totally benign.

I'm just saying.

UPDATE: pg 57 of A Betrayal in Winter. Yes, indeed, we do get to the Rome-like female politicking and backstabbing... yay!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Well, That's Done

Registered for Wiscon today. I'd been back and forth about going for awhile, but Jackie was looking for a roommate, and *I* was looking for a roommate, and it started to seem like a good idea again.

So, it's on.

22 Days

I stepped out of the elevator at work this morning and was confronted by a big countdown paper sign that said "22 Days."

Ah, yes... It's now 22 days until Tax Season.

If you didn't know that, well, then, like me, you've never worked in the tax business before. It's like a whole other way to live, an entirely new seasonal model. "Christmas is in February" is my new mantra.

Things are balls-to-the-wall (tits to the wall? I like that expression much better) from now until February 20th.

And if I still have a job in May, it means I did well and we made money. If I don't, we (and/or I) didn't.


1500 stores open January 2nd.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Actually, I Think I'm... Bored.

Wrote 1500 words today. Tonight, there's nothing to clean because I caught up on all that on Saturday. Bills are paid and filed. Ate some cheese. Watched the first half of "Out of Africa." Just reading the last 50 pages of Undertow. Already modded two ponies this month. I guess I could could go back to threading the hair on the third. Once I finish Undertow I could start reading Acacia, I guess...

But mostly, after realizing I was nearly done with Undertow, I've been wandering around the house, wondering where all of this time has come from. I'm caught up with work at work. And yes, the cleaning, again, is caught up. The sheets are washed. I'm stocked up on neccessary drugs. Black Desert is on track for that March completion date. Supplies are bought.

This is why I have that gym membership, because these long, cold nights in Dayton start to get realllllly long this time of year. Back to the gym tomorrow, it appears.

I guess I could always work on my French.

I should be happy I'm caught up on everything, but mostly, there's this sense of loss. I always need to have eight projects going on at once, or I start to feel empty.

Also, for some reason, I have a headache.

Gym tomorrow.

I should go bowling Saturday.

I should join a book group.

I wish real writers lived in Dayton.

Also, that there were better places to eat.

And I wish I made more money.

And had a car, so I could just up and drive somewhere for the weekend.

I miss the ocean.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Black Desert (Excerpt)

So I've got a new writing soundtrack. I'd forgotten how great the soundtrack to The Fountain was, and now that I've got it, it's great to write to.

That said, here's another excerpt:



The night train to Beh Ayin took Rhys southeast, across some of the most contaminated habitable wilderness in the world. Unlike the interior, much of Tirhan was vividly green and verdant, so full of color it hurt Rhys’s eyes. The abundance, however, was deceptive. The blue morning laid bare groves of giant, twisted mango trees draped in ropy clematis and pink-budded coral vine. Swarms of giant flying assassin bugs clotted the air above the groves, and though they were too small to see, Rhys could feel hordes of mites and scalebugs chewing at the mango grove, ladybugs and mantids eating at the pests, and more – mutant cicadas, wild locusts and wasps; giant, pulsing wasp swarms with nests so big he felt their heartbeat from the train.

As the second dawn swallowed the first, the train passed through the mango groves and into the sprawl of the jungle. Rhys watched the tangle deepen, the color of the wood darken, the light change as the train pushed on. The trees here were monstrous, three hundred feet high, and the world went dusky violet. He caught the smell of wet black soil and loam, sensed the stir of leaf beetles and mutant worms. Giant orange fungus, bleeding yellow pus, cloaked the bases of the trees, and the swarms here were vibrant, more alive than anything else he’d felt outside of a magician’s gym. It was a beautiful world, and dangerous. Nothing human lived out here. Not for long.

The train went on.

They pulled up out of the dense jungle sometime around mid-afternoon and ascended into the more habitable part of the southeast, up into mist-clouded hills shorn of their undergrowth. Rhys had never been to Beh Ayin, though he knew it was once a political and cultural center for the Ras Tiegans before the Tirhanis invaded and burned it out. The flat black plain of Beh Ayin was not a plain at all but the top of a low mountain, shorn smooth. The mountain was called Safid Ayin, after the Tirhani martyr who died there while trying to burn out the Ras Teigans. In the end, the last of the Ras Tiegans had thrown themselves from the sheer walls of the mountain rather than face death at the hand of infidels. Not so long ago, by Chenjan or Nasheenian standards – a hundred and thirty years before, perhaps. The city walls were fitted stone, no filters. Tirhani magicians were in short supply, and they did not have enough to maintain filters around most cities, even those prone to contagion like Beh Ayin.

The train moved into Beh Ayin from below, curving into the dark recesses of a smooth tunnel bored out of the mountainside. They ascended into the belly of the train station - an airy, amber-colored way post made up of delicate arches.

At the station, a thin Tirhani woman immediately approached Rhys as he stepped off the train. She introduced herself as Tasyin Akhshan, special consulate to the Minister of Public Affairs.

“And what exactly is it that a Special Consulate does?” Rhys asked.

Tasyin smiled, but her jaw hardened, as if she clenched her teeth. She was, perhaps, forty or fifty, difficult to say this far from the filters and opaqued windows of the cities. She could have been far closer to his age, though by the look in her eyes and the set to her shoulders, he doubted it. She dressed in simple, professional Tirhani garb; long loose tunic and loose trousers, pale gray khameez. But out here in the jungle, she wore boots instead of sandals. She wore a deep purple wrap around her dark head, and it made her eyes stand out all the more, the pale whites with dark centers.

“We spend too much time on mountaintop train platforms,” she said, “wondering why we’ve been sent a Chenjan for the translation of Nasheenian.”

“I spent six years in Nasheen,” he said. He was always a foreigner and a Chenjan, even – or perhaps especially – among the Tirhani. He’d spent his entire adult life proving that being foreign did not make him incompetent.

“Explain that to the Nasheenians,” Taysin said. “Come, it’s warmer at the hotel.”

The hotel was a squat, white-washed residence at the top of one of the city’s artificial hills. A rolling curtain of dark clouds obscured the sky, and the wind was high and cold. They passed through an old Ras Tiegan gate and up a cobbled way that dead-ended at the hotel.

Tasyin buzzed him through the gate and into the courtyard, a tangle-filled garden with broad palms and heart-vines dressed in leaves twice the size of his head. Giant yellow lizards scampered through the undergrowth. The house staff had prepared a late breakfast on the porch.

Rhys sat down with Tasyin and ate a light meal of lizards’ eggs, burst toast, and cinnamon squash while she explained why it was she needed a Nasheenian translator at the edge of the civilized world.

“You’ve done work with the Minister before, so I trust you are discreet,” Tasyin said. She crossed her legs at the ankle and stuffed a pipe full of sen. “I want you to convey my words exactly, and if that means it takes you extra time, fine. The client is sensitive, but I need to be clear about their intentions. Do you know anything about Nasheenian culture?”

Rhys considered telling her that he’d once spoken to the Queen of Nasheen, but thought better of it. “I’m familiar with several different strata of Nasheenian society, yes, and the social mores of each. Are they First Families? Magicians? Or a lower sort?” He was more comfortable with the lower sort. He’d been a member of the lower sort for eight years in Nasheen.

Tasyin cracked the carapace of a fire beetle and lit her pipe. “What do you know about bel dames?” she said.

Rhys choked on his toast. He covered with a mouthful of juice, and took his time recovering. Why were Tirhanis doing business with bel dames?

“You know something of bel dames, then?” she asked.

“I’ve known a few, yes," he said, and drank again. More than a few.


“You do realize that bel dames are not representative of the Nasheenian monarchy? Your negotiation with a bel dame won’t be honored by the Nasheenian government.”

“We’re well aware of how the Nasheenian government operates,” Tasyin said. “This is a personal negotiation of goods and services.”

“Of course,” Rhys said. “I meant no disrespect.” Whatever he said and did would be relayed back to the Minister. Remember that you’re an employee, he thought. It’s not your place to question.

But there it was, tickling his mind, nonetheless: Tirhanis were doing business with bel dames.

“They’ll meet with us here for high tea,” Tasyin said. “If all goes well you should make the evening train back to Shirhazi. I’ll ask that you don’t make any calls or outgoing transmissions while you’re here. We’ll be filtering the hotel in an hour.”

They sat out on the porch for a few minutes more while Tasyin finished her pipe and Rhys finished breakfast. She had one of the house staff, a veiled Ras Tiegan girl, show him to his room. High tea was a Ras Tiegan custom, and generally occurred in the early afternoon. He had at least four hours. If he could not contact Elahiyah and the children, his time would be best spent working on some of his side translations for local merchants and friends of Elahiyah and her family. But Tasyin’s invocation of Nasheenian bel dames had put him on edge, and there was an old Tirhani city to explore. He wanted a mosque. A cool, quiet, mosque. Sanctuary.

Rhys exchanged his sandals for sturdier shoes and asked to borrow a coat from one of the house staff. He pulled it on under his khameez and walked back through the old Ras Tiegan gate and into the city center. The big red sandstone Ras Tiegan cathedral had been converted to a mosque, and much of its somber, image-heavy exterior had been defaced and resculpted into images of magicians and shifters, half-human forms.

It was still sometime before the next prayer, so he walked into the mosaic-tiled courtyard, across brilliant crimson and green figures of thorn bugs and fire beetles and glittering yellow farseblooms. He stepped into the covered promenade and then under the archway that led into the deep mouth of the mosque. Inside, the air was cool and dim. He waited just inside for his eyes to adjust. Before him stretched colonnade after colonnade, staggered like pawns across the sandy red floor. They supported a peaked ceiling so high and shadowed he could not see its end.

As his eyes adjusted, he began to walk further into the mosque. He saw light there, at the center of the forest of columns, somewhere just ahead of him. He followed the column of light, drawn to it like a thirsty man to water. The light fell into a small round courtyard, by accident or design, he wasn’t certain. As he approached, he saw water bubbling up from the center of a smooth layer of red pebbles. A single thorn tree grew there, scraggly and thin, clawing toward the bruised sky.

He heard the far-off scrap of footsteps on sandstone, the low whisper of the wind outside. But as he stepped into the light he heard another sound: the rustle of wings; a bird taking flight. He turned his head up, too late, to look at the top of the thorn tree. He saw no bird. Instead, he saw a single feather float down from the top of the tree there along the edge of the open roof.

Rhys watched the feather settle there on the crimson stones at his feet.
A single white feather.

Something inside of him stirred. Old memories, a place better forgotten. And there, somewhere deep - an old, aching, missing piece.
He reached for a pistol at his hip that he no longer owned.

“Rasheeda,” he said aloud.

And suddenly the mosque was dead stone, cold and dark. No sanctuary.

He knew who waited for him back at the hotel.

What he didn’t know was why it had taken so long for them to find him.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

One for the Road

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Whole World Goes Dark

Hit a vien this morning with my insulin shot.

Man, I hate that.

Sugar crash, whole world starts to goes flicker-dark, 45 minutes after shooting up.

Really hate that.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

One for the Road

Ahhhh, right.

Another good reason to watch Rome.

Cause I found Nyx:

OK, so she needs to be taller, darker and put on ten more pounds of muscle, but watch her take on the guys in Rome (in every way), and oh yeah - that's Nyx.

I love it when that happens.

But why aren't they writing strong heroines for actresses like this one to play who aren't, you know, whores and crack addicts?

That's for me to write, I suppose.

Sometimes I get this feeling that I'm the only one who wants a woman to seriously kick ass in a not-sexy way. I want her to be fucking SCARY.

First Snow (Still Snowing)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Today's Song, Stuck on Repeat

I find it vaguely annoying that I've had a song stuck on repeat the last two days that spells "You"... "U."


In any case. Clarkson's got a couple Alanis-like songs. This one and "Never Again" are favorites of mine. Shades of Angry Woman, marketed as bubble gum pop.

Proving that you can mass-market Angry Woman so long as you sugar coat her in bubble gum pop.


Since U Been Gone
Kelly Clarkson

Here's the thing
We started out friends
It was cool, but it was all pretend
Yeah, yeah, since you been gone
You're dedicated, you took the time
Wasn't long 'til I called you mine
Yeah, yeah, since you been gone
And all you'd ever hear me say
Is how I picture me with you
That's all you'd ever hear me say

But since you been gone
I can breathe for the first time
I'm so movin' on, yeah yeah
Thanks to you, now I get what I want
Since you been gone

How can I put it, you put me on
I even fell for that stupid love song
Yeah, yeah, since you been gone
How come I'd never hear you say
I just wanna be with you
Guess you never felt that way

But since you been gone
I can breathe for the first time
I'm so movin' on, yeah, yeah
Thanks to you, now I get, I get what I want
Since you been gone

You had your chance, you blew it
Out of sight, out of mind
Shut your mouth, I just can't take it
Again and again and again and again

Since you been gone (since you been gone)
I can breathe for the first time
I'm so movin' on, yeah yeah
Thanks to you (thanks to you)
Now I get, I get what I want
I can breathe for the first time
I'm so movin' on, yeah yeah
Thanks to you (thanks to you)
Now I get (I get)
You should know (you should know) that I get
I get what I want

Since you been gone
Since you been gone
Since you been gone

What Else?

Nothing else to say, really. All 1500 of our stores open January 2nd. It is tax season, and the Crazy has just begun.

Really, not a lot of tangible things happening. I don't have much time to overthink, rethink, or contemplate. Still Too Much Boyfriend, but in a good way. I have added gymming, French, pony mods, and getting my sugar numbers back under tight control to that, so all's fair. Am succeeding moderately well with these.

Still need to do more writing. I am overfull of writerly angst right now, however. Probably something to do with being on crazy work writing deadlines.

It's a matter of getting my shit together. Tra la.

I do wonder if there's a limit on things you can do well all at once. I'd really like to write a lot, succeed at my day job (which pays my health insurance, thanks), and have a happy personal life, but I'm thinking you can only get two out of three at a time.

I don't like that math, though.

Latest Pony Mod

Because when it gets cold and dark, you can only spend so much time at the gym, working on your French, or writing.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Just Because - click to visit


Right about the time winter starts, I'm already ready for it to end.

Also, I can't wait until the end of tax season, mainly because it'll be interesting to know if I still have a job.

I would love to still have a job. That's what I'm working toward.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Praise Be

I got my health reimbursement check today.

Also, my endo loves me and filled out my paperwork so I can get one of these. Yay! I'm just getting my bloodwork done, and they'll start negotiations with my insurance. Which now appears to be working.

My A1c is a stupid 6.6, which, yes, is perfectly acceptable for a t1 (anything under 7 is good), but dammit man, I had a 5.9 last time! 5.9, people!! That's the A1c of a NORMAL PERSON.

Yes, I'm shooting for under 6 for my next visit. Might be tricky, but hopefully the pump will help, too.

Overall, she was once again very happy and impressed with me, which I find... really strange after my terrible endo experience in Chicago. I'm getting all of this praise for my great A1c and 110/62 blood pressure, instead of having somebody beat me down about my weight at every visit and try to peddle me more drugs (yes, I'm still only taking insulin. My last doctor tried to get me on metformin and something for high blood pressure. High blood pressure? 110/62? WTF? Yeah).

I was dreading this appointment like you just can't believe. I didn't realize how those horrible Chicago visits had trained me into believing that visiting the endocrinologist was the worst thing in the world. I always left there feeling beaten down, defeated, like I was a completely worthless person with an out of control weight "problem" and appetite who had to be heavily medicated and was going to get her feet chopped off any day. Getting all that bubbly praise today was just so weird. I wanted to cry all over again.

Stupid diabetes. Why can't doctors treat their patients with respect? We're not all actively trying to get our feet chopped off, you know. Some of us work really fucking hard every day to do well. We'd appreciate some help. And a kind word of acknowledgement that pulling off even a 6.6 isn't easy.

No More Corp Writing

Do corporate writers get a writers' strike?


Cause if we do, I'm ready to take one.

Yes, January 2nd is the beginning of tax season.

The Crazy is nigh, and we're about to head down the pipe.

Monday, November 26, 2007

300 Cats


Man, I needed that laugh.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dear Peeps

There will be no Christmas presents this year. I spent $656 to come back to BG for the holidays.

I certainly hope they enjoy the pleasure of my company, for lo, this is the reason there is no Christmas.

That is all.

Quote of the Month

What Next?

This is a tough time of year for me. I tend to get those holiday blues, often paired with that itching "what's next?" feeling. It's been a tough couple of years, full of craziness, moving, job layoffs, hospital stays, chronic illness, new jobs, new friends, breakups, get-togethers, and yes, quite a few accomplishments, the biggest one being my crazy stubborness to just keep going, because really, what other choice would their be? Hiding under the bed never got anybody anywhere.

I'm still digging myself out of the physical, financial, and emotional hole of the last year, but as I start to see the edge of the pit there, I start thinking about what's next for me, and that's a hard thing to think about right now, particularly because, as said, I think I'm still there at the edge of the pit.

A lot depends on how this job goes. I should know by late April/May whether or not they'll want to keep me on past tax season. They'll be a huge purge of people after season, back to a bare bones crew, and I'll find out if the season was good enough for me to make the cut. I'm prepared to not make the cut, because you always prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

If that happens, I figure I'll start to seriously map out other avenues for me, cause with a year of experience as a tech writer, I may be able to move into other writing-related jobs, whether here or out of state. If things go well, I'd like to move out of Steph and the Old Man's place sometime next year, possibly. I don't mind it here, I'm happy, but I do miss having my own place sometime, and with three people, the Boyfriend, and two dawgs, the place sometimes feels crowded. It's not a big house, and it requires a surprising amount of upkeep.

But then...

You know, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about my life, about moving around a lot, about cutting and running, about never being satisfied. I keep thinking, what is it I keep running from? And maybe it's the mortgage and the dogs. Maybe it's stagnation, or this belief in stagnation. The more I get to talking about it and thinking about it, the more I realize that I've always associated settling down, marriage, families, with bitterness and unfulfilled dreams and contempt and stagnation. Two people resenting each other for all the things they never did.

And then I look at my life, and the stuff I've done, the stuff I still want to do, and it's like: I could do that from anywhere. How would being even more in debt stop me? It certainly wouldn't take away from the life I've lived. The issue is, more and more, asking myself what kind of life I want to live now.

I still want to travel to somewhere racy at least once a year. I still want to read a lot of books. I still want to work on my languages. I still want to read books. I still want a house to, you know, put all my books in. Could all that happen just anywhere? Would I stagnate if I stopped moving? If I partnered up? Is it possible to have a life that's not lived out of a box, or is it this constant routine that weighs you down, that takes up all that living?

At some point I just ask myself: was I happier in South Africa living on red wine and cigarettes in my little cockroach infested flat than I am here living with two jerks and two dogs, working as a tech writer in Ohio and dating somebody who makes me laugh?

Because, you know: South Africa! Experience! It was awesome. I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's made me an incredibly strong person. Every move, every experience, has made me stronger. It's given me better stories. I'm better for having been there. But if you're measuring the quality of life by your level of happiness? I was happiest those first couple years in Chicago before I got sick, and happiest here now, with the good friends and the good job (and I'll be happier with the health insurance fucking works). Some of that happiness is, I know, just being around other people. Spending too much time alone really does wear me down, and after awhile, I lose my sense of focus and perspective and it all goes to hell.

We need other people.

Even though I hate that.

I like what I've done and what I've accomplished. I like the road I'm headed down. I'm wondering now, I think, what else it is I want. I went out and proved I was smart and strong. I'm working at getting stronger, building a proper career now, and I hope, building other things too.

I'm just not sure what I'm ready for yet, or what I want or need. Sometimes, I get this terrible feeling in my chest, this hole in my heart, and I wonder what it is I'm missing. Back in the day, I'd fill that up with food or, later, exercise, or maybe writing. Writing often fills the hole.

But, more and more, I realize that during these black holiday times, it's not food I'm craving, and it's not a picket-fence house, and it's not a new Jeep or an iPod and it's maybe not even cheap insulin.

I want to know that I'm enough. That I've done enough. That I've run hard enough, fast enough. I want somebody to say that I did well. That I can stop running. That I've proved myself. The thing is, every time I think I'm done running, there's always something else. The next thing and the next thing. Some way I can be better, stronger, more accomplished.

But who am I trying to prove my worth to?

Just me. Just me, because at the end of the day, that's all that matters. Everybody else will take you or leave you, as they please. I'm the only one it matters to, but that's maybe why it hurts so much when I think I'm not this dynamic, worthwhile person in other's eyes. It's like, fuck, don't you see how fucking hard I fucking work? You think I just woke up one morning with three degrees and wrote ten novels? You think I jump up every morning and this shit is easy? You think this shit is easy?

It's never easy, not for anyone. It's never perfect. I'm never perfect. I'm in a constant state of becoming.

Maybe that's why I always feel like I'm so tired, like I'm in a race that I'll never finish.

I want to be good enough for me. That's the trick.

I'm just afraid that if I stop running, if I'm good enough, that it'll all fall apart again, that I'll revert to somebody I used to be, that I'll become someone I hate.

If that constant state of becoming is tiring, it's tiring because it's hard to get to this place, harder to get to the place I want to be.

Long race, big finish.

That's the plan.

Diabetes: Levels of Care

I continue to fight with my insurance company about my prescription benefits. The thousand dollar HRA that my company provided me is supposed to go toward our $1100 deductible, and according to my account online, is billed automatically. This has worked when I go into the actual doctor, but it's not working for prescriptions. When the pharmacy submits the claim, insurance insists I still have an $1100 deductible, and makes me pay the full amount out of pocket.

I've now paid nearly $500 in medications in the last month. Yesterday it was $179 in testing strips. Yes, for a month's worth of testing strips. When I was poor and "not really insured" (I had a *real* $2500 deductible), I spent about $50 a month in testing strips. This change of brand and amount of testing is a decision I made with my endo based on what the new meter could do for me and what insurance would cover.

Thing is, there are levels of diabetes care, which I think that not a lot of people really get. There's nothing so fucking aggrevating as relying on lab-produced drugs to live. If you want to live bare minimum, hand-to-mouth, you can use expired insulin, get free insulin from your endo, find a local "emergency pantry" diabetes clinic (ours is only open from 9-3 M-F, which basically means it's not made for people who are employed), and test 3-4 times a day instead of 7-10.

And that, of course, is how I survived during that long dry spell between January and June. I used insuline for 60 and, once, for 90 days - two to three times longer than I should have, literally until it started working so erratically that I couldn't rely on it anymore. I tested less often, with a generic meter that didn't record my numbers, so I had to record them by hand. I did, in fact, use exercise and a low carb diet not just to control sugar but because I used less insulin.

This kept me at about $300/$350 a month in meds.

When I can get the fucking paperwork sorted out for this insurance (at this point, I have to go to my HR manager again. The "customer service" people at insurance agencies can't change anything, can't talk to your account manager, can't research anything, can't do anything but read back what they see on their screen, which is what you see on your screen, and they can't make any sense of the billing error either, let alone fix it), I plan to get an insulin pump. Once again, an insulin pump is a very rich privileged diabetes choice. It's expensive to buy, the sort I want is expensive to maintain (about $300 a month), and you still have to buy testing strips. At least this one comes with a built in glucose monitor.

Fighting with my insurance company has already brought me to tears twice. It reminds me of the days of expired insulin and the hoarding of testing strips.

There's this strange terror about "giving" people "free" or "affordable" health insurance because, well, they'll use it. I find that "fear" incredibly funny, because it's not like we'd be "abusing" benefits or care... it's just that for the first time in our lives, we'd be getting the proper kind of care we need. When I was underinsured, I didn't go to my endo every three months like I'm supposed to. In fact, I'm supposed to be seeing an nutritionist and a diabetes educator in addition to my podiatrist and endo. I wouldn't have seen my podiatrist for the minor complaints I'm seeing her for now, either. All of these doctor's visits, using proper insulin, testing the number of times I need to, I wouldn't be doing those things.

And, in fact, if this paperwork isn't fixed soon, I *won't* be doing those things, cause I'm about to max out my credit card.

Insurance, decent salaries, these are things that give us the *proper* level of care, instead of forcing us to rely on emergency care and tragic complications because of the bare bones strategies we've used to survive on our paltry salaries. I still have over a thousand dollars worth of hospital bills from those three emergency room trips I took earlier this year that I'm trying to sort out (none of which were even diabetes related). I can't afford $500 a month in meds on top of that, and I don't want to go back to the life I lived when I was paying $300 a month in meds. It wasn't fun.

I do have a chronic illness. I will die without drugs. Without the proper level of drugs, I will die horribly and more quickly. In any case, I suppose, we all die, but if the care exists to keep me a productive member of society, why not do it? Why let the people who are willing to care for themselves properly die for lack of drugs?

Lucky me, living in America, I have a credit card. I'm white. I'm middle-class. I can find access to cheap or free drugs if I lose my job (we'll see after tax season - nothing is certain), but what about everybody else? I get that there are a lot of diabetics out there who don't take care of themselves, who don't manage it, either from lack of education or lack of interest, but more and more, I realize there are a lot of people with poor self care who suffer from lack of resources. It's an incredibly expensive illness, if you want to take proper care of it. It takes a lot of time and effort, and so much of that is completely invisible. It's my Lantus and Novolog and my meter in the little black case. It's discreet shooting up before meals, even more discreet now that I have pens instead of vials and syringes. Unless you see me work out or watch how I count out units of insulin and measure out units of food by eyeing it over every time (yes, every time) I eat, or you know I have to put on the "pause" button during especially fun and unexpected bouts of sex because my sugar is plunging and all my wiring is turning off, unless you see me waking up in the middle of the night with lows and testing three times between midnight and one am trying to make sure I'm not overcorrecting, unless you notice the way I stare at people running down the street so nonchalently with some envy, because sudden and unplanned-for bouts of exercise can strand me, shaky and blacking out, in the middle of nowhere, unless you see me nearly blacking out or constantly checking my pockets before I go for short walks to make sure I have sugar with me, unless you see me during one of those "unplanned" walks when I *didn't* have sugar, well... I guess on a casual level it looks like no big deal. It's just a shot before lunch.

There's a lot of stuff you just do, this stuff that becomes part of everyday life, these things you have to weigh and measure and plan for and have backup plans for. There's a lot of carb/insulin/exercise(personal and professional) math that goes on. There's a lot of concern about having stuff I can eat around at work and family and restaurant functions. There's a lot of feeling like a fuck up and a failure and a screwup and a broken person sometimes, too. There's a lot of correction and overcorrection. There's a lot of exhaustion when you meet new people and realize that they still think that all being diabetic means is that you can't eat sugar (seriously). There's a lot of non-interest in talking about diabetes and chronic illness among a group of people who have no idea what you're talking about, cause they're just not going to get it.

I get tired sometimes.

I was coming home from the gym the other night and watching some kids doing school sports drills and thinking, "Wow, remember the freedom in that? Of just running without thinking about it? Without wondering if you remembered that lifesaver in your pocket, without second guessing what you just ate, what your last number was?"

I was out and about last night, playing Wii boxing, and after two games realized I probably shouldn't do a third because my sugar was probably going to plunge, and did I really want to test again at a social function? Because really, who wants to be "That chick with the chronic illness?"

Fucking nobody.

So I'm sucking up my $500 in medical bills until my claims get sorted out. I'm talking to my HR manager. I'm resolving not to get any more angry. I'm not getting hopeless. I'm remembering that it's a gift and a privilege to be here, that I almsot died last year, that death's a lot closer for me than for other people, that these are borrowed moments, and I need to make the most of them.

If all it takes to live a little longer is a maxed out credit card and jabbing myself with a needle ten times a day, really, that's not so much at all.

I just keep telling myself that.

Well, Yes

What Cronenberg Movie Are You?

You are: A History of Violence - Most people don't know your true nature (and you'd like to keep it that way). You know who you once were and you'll fight to the death for what you want now.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving: Casa De Dayton `07

Note that I have been forbidden to post photos of the Boyfriend, but here's Thanksgiving at Casa de Dayton with Steph, Ian, Steph's brother Josh, and our crazy dawgs.

Here's to many more.

MMMMMMMMmmm. The boys do prep

MMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. PIE!

Tender roast pork with cranberries and grapefruit. I think oranges would have been better, but oh, was it tender!

Boys do more prep work. If they weren't family, it would almost be sexy.

Josh, pretending it is, nonetheless, sexy.

Family resemblence? Not so much.

Forgive him. He goes to Ohio State.

I'm not sure what's being prepared here, but it must be tasty!

The dawgs sure think so.

Kimmy would rather have roast squirrel for Thanksgiving.

Josh is a sports writer at Ohio State. Here, he debates the finer points of celebrity interviews.

Yeah, that's what I call Thanksgiving.

Mmmmmm beer!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm marriage!

Marriage is FUNNY.

Tessa's reeeeeally hoping something will fall on the floor.

Annnnnnd we're spent!

Mmmmmmm Thanksgiving!