Monthly Archives: April 2010

Men-o-pause

 

     Sleep, it’s a great thing if you can get it.  I had about four to five hours last night.  My body prefers a good eight.  It seems that with the dread thing called menopause comes less sleep.  If it isn’t hot flashes waking me, it’s the sweats.  Then again, there are those nights where it’s impossible to fall asleep.

     DH can tell when I’ve had a bad night because when he greets me he gets a glassy glare until I’ve had my coffee.  Sometimes he might even get a growl.  He pauses in mid sentence, points to the coffee pot, and waits for the second or third cup to kick in.  He learned over the years never to stand between the coffee pot and me when I first get up.

     Mood swings aren’t fun and I’m glad I don’t have them too often.  DH is thrilled.  What man wants his wife to go from zero to sixty in three seconds?  His car yes, his wife, no. 

     Life is ever changing, and to tell the truth, I’m enjoying the heck out of this time of my life.  There’s a sense of freedom now that I don’t remember having when I was younger.  Yep, call me crazy but I like this.

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A message from beyond?

 

     Once when my sister visited me she brought some Texas bluebonnet seeds.  We planted them near the pond, our favorite place to sit and shoot the breeze, when she was here.  The seeds didn’t grow and I forgot about them. 

     A few weeks after she died, I noticed a familiar plant growing.  There, where we’d planted the seeds a few years before was a Texas bluebonnet.  I watched it grow and when it bloomed, I smiled remembering a time that we’d played in a field of them.  We acted like children and for a little while delayed our trip to the hospital in Ft. Sam.

     Every year since then one has grown in the same spot.  I’ve planted seeds from it in other places but they don’t come up.  The only one that grows is where we planted the seeds together.  I think of it as her way of letting me know she’s around. 

     Today the first sprout broke ground.  I smiled.

New to writers conferences?

 

     Volunteer, it’s the best way to learn.  When I went to my first conference, I felt a bit overwhelmed at the session choices we had.  I soon found my way around, relaxed, and enjoyed myself.  At one point I was asked to help when someone had to leave early.  I did my first volunteer work at a conference.  It was fun. 

     I offered to help wherever they needed someone at my second conference.  I had a blast introducing a few of the speakers in the sessions.  I gave other people breaks so they could go to a session they wanted to attend.  

     At my third conference, I volunteered to go along with the hotel van driver to meet the train and bring some of our speakers, agents, and editors back to the hotel.  Can you imagine having all those people to yourself for a twenty-minute ride?  It was a hoot.

     I was a frequent volunteer for several years and did a variety of things.  One of my favorite things to do was be a timekeeper for agent and editor appointments. 

     The last few years I’ve attended without volunteering.  Why?  I’m tired.  The conference has become my yearly vacation where I go to recharge my batteries, learn more about the business of writing, socialize with friends, and meet new people.  I don’t want to have anyone depending on me since I get that enough at home.

Missed that photo op

 

     High jinks come on the heels of days of rain and chilly temperatures.  Both dogs and owners are bored.  Is there a better time to play games, then on a rainy day? 

     We played hide the cookies and do you remember this trick?  Gavin and Patty will do almost anything for a cookie.  I’d wind them up and put them through their paces.  Gavin is faster at doing a down than Patty is.  She’s not fond of that trick I think she has issues.  Patty does a pretty stick ‘em up.  Gavin hasn’t her balance but he beats her paws up on doing a down.

     Patty sense of smell is sharper than Gavin’s but I think his vision is better than hers is.  Gavin easily frustrates where Patty has patience.  Patty gets wild and hucklebutts on the couch while Gavin dashes from kitchen to living room and back again.

     Finally, tired out Gavin settled next to me in my chair and soon was snoring.  Patty hopped into her Daddy’s chair, rolled upside down with paws in the air and soft snores soon came from that direction.  Dang it the camera was in the kitchen and Gavin was asleep with his head on my shoulder.  I wasn’t getting that picture.

Should a klutz clean ceiling fans?

 

     I need to clean the ceiling fans in the living room.  They look like they have a fur coat.  EW, yeah disgusting!  To do a proper cleaning I have to climb the ladder, prop a bucket of soapy water on it, and scrub each blade.  Then I have to wipe down the lights, and the rest of the fan. 

     That’s why I rarely clean them.  They are on most of the time to keep the air circulating so it isn’t often that anyone notices they are dirty.  When I notice, you can bet they’ve gone past dirty and into the realm of holy crap what is that?

     I hate heights, I hate climbing ladders, and cleaning is not one of my favorite things to do.  However, even I am disgusted with how dirty those fans are.  No one else is going to do it.  Therefore, this klutz needs to climb the ladder and clean.

     Now I ask you, should I wait until after the conference?  Would it be tempting fate to climb a ladder this close to the date?

Gardening as a blood sport

 

     I swear not one day out in the garden goes by where I don’t end up bleeding from something.  Today I slashed the inside of my left arm (in the tender skin) with my little pruners.  Queen Klutz strikes again.  Last week I cut my fingers to ribbons pulling weeds with my old holey leather gloves on.  I need new gloves.  However, gloves wouldn’t have helped when I tried to amputate my arm today.

     I’m still trying to figure out how I did that one.  All I was doing was trying to cut down all the daffodil plants before the coming rain flattened them.  They’d reached the stage where they’d flop over with the slightest provocation.  I was blithely hacking away at them, tossing the trimmings into the wheelbarrow, when it happened.  I stared at the laceration and wondered how I managed to do it.  No clue.

     On several occasions, I’ve managed to trip over a rake or shovel resulting in foot gashes or skinned knees but I’ve never slashed my arm before.  DH had no sympathy for me, no; instead, he was hard pressed to keep from laughing.  Is it any wonder that he won’t let me drive the mower?

Short work on the pond

 

     I went to backwash the pond filter today.  I turned it off, set the filter to backwash, turned it on and nothing happened.  I mean nothing, zilch, zip, nada.  Crap.  I fiddled with the plug, turned the switch off and on, still nothing.  Double crap.

     I went inside to the basement and checked the circuit breakers.  They were fine.  Triple crap.  Now, I had to drag DH outside.  He’d just gone up for a nap.  DH wasn’t happy.  He fiddled with the plug, had me turn the switch on and off, and then was going to send me to check the breakers.  I told him I’d done that already.

     He knows electrical work but for him to do it, it isn’t easy.  He checked the wire going to the plug and found a short he fixed that.  However, we had to run an extension cord because there is also a short between the outlet by the waterfall and the switch on the side of the shed.

     I love our pond but I have a feeling that if anything happens to the Koi again we will fill it in and turn it into garden.

A quick movie review

 

     I bought the Avatar DVD today and we watched it tonight.  We both loved it.  DH and I agree it’s a movie worth watching repeatedly.

     The FX were great.  The story drew us in and had us rooting for the natives and booing the soldiers.

     There was plenty of action to keep DH happy and enough story to hold my interest.  Rent it, buy it, enjoy it.

What to pack for a writers’ conference

 

     It’s a good idea to have a supply of business cards on hand.  I usually print up several business card stock pages worth and pack them in my suitcase.  Pens, a writer can never have too many pens.  I always carry several notebooks of varying sizes.  You never know when you’ll need one.

     If you have a finished book, bring along a synopsis and the first two chapters.  You might get a chance to pitch it.  Speaking of pitching your book, make sure you have your ‘elevator pitch’ perfected.  You use that one when someone asks what your book is about, if you can crunch your synopsis down to one sentence, you have it.

    Comfortable shoes to wear because you’ll do a lot of walking between sessions.  Good clothes, you do want to make a good impression on people.

     My roommate and I make sure we have snacks and bottled water because bringing our own saves us big bucks.  I print out envelopes marked ‘housekeeping’ to put the housekeeping tips in each day.  Do remember to tip, skimp somewhere else, but don’t skimp on tips.  Remember these people work for minimum wage and they work hard.  Don’t forget the wait staff, bartenders, and bellhops too.  They remember those who tip them well.

Before the conference…

 

     Before I leave for what I call ‘my annual four-day working vacation’ I have to prepare the home front.  DH is no longer capable of cooking meals other than heating things in the microwave.  Therefore, I’ll be making and putting up frozen dinners for him.

     The dogs are sometimes too much for DH to handle alone.  I’ve arranged for friends to stop in and take them for walks so they are good and tired.  That way they won’t be their normal handfuls.  I’ll make certain that their food is in good supply and they have plenty of cookies.

     Then I need to print out my works in progress so that, if I find time, I can work on them at the conference.  I will do the writing on my Alphasmart and can transfer everything to my computer when I get home.  However, I need to have the printouts to work from since the Alphasmart doesn’t hold the book files.  Yes, this is where a laptop would be a very handy thing and would save my aching back from schlepping a lot of paper.  I dream of having a nice one, one of these days…

What to do at the conference

 

     I was looking at the PW conference schedule in the last newsletter.  It seems I won’t have a problem with conflicting sessions.  I’ll have trouble finding a challenging session for each hour.  I’m not complaining mind you.  The sessions look great and I highly recommend them.  

     However, I’ve been to many similar ones.  Therefore, I see six sessions that I will attend and several others that are debatable.  The newsletter states that the schedule is subject to change.  I am hoping for a few surprises (No, Dave not that kind.)

     Then again, if I’m not in a session, I am free to socialize with others.  This is how I met my agent long before she became my agent.  Actually, I met her husband first and then he introduced me to her.  We were friends for a few years before I had a ‘writers’ conference’ interview with her.  Whereupon in the allotted ten minutes, I pitched my book to her.  She told me to send her my manuscript t, cover letter, and synopsis.  I did and she called me and asked if I wanted to sign with her.  I signed.

     Take advantage of free time at a conference to meet people.  You never know what will come of it.

It’s almost time for the Pennwriters conference

 

     The May 14th-16th date is fast approaching.  Now I’m beginning to think about what clothes I will wear.  I go through this every year.  I spend most of my time in jeans, t-shirts and flip-flops.  This isn’t what you wear when you’re trying to make a good impression on an editor or when you’re networking with other writers.

     I’ve been digging around in my closets hoping I can find appropriate clothing.  We’ll be at a resort hotel with fancy restaurants.  My dog tattered t-shirts and raggedy jeans won’t work.  I’ll have to wear shoes too and dang it I hate shoes.

     I also need to brush up on my French for Marie and Pierre.  We met at the conference two years ago and became fast friends.  I can understand more than I can speak it and I think it would be nice if I practiced a bit.

     Unfortunately, I’ve had to bag a few activities to keep my costs down this year.  Even sharing a room, as I do each year, the hotel is more expensive.  I had to cut expenses somewhere and it came down to the banquet, luncheon, and the costume party, which, all together, was the cost of one night at the hotel.