Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Relfections

2007 has been a year of changes, some good (seeing my first novel published and selling my second) and some bad (the new job/lack of job situations). It's so easy to focus on the bad stuff because the bad has a tendency to override the good (at least for me).

For today, the last day of the year, I've promised myself to remember the good: My immediate family is healthy, safe, and we're all together. We love and respect each other, and--unlike so many other families-- we all get along. My children are not junkies or losers--they are smart, sweet, funny, and totally insane (in a good way, lol) and I love every minute I spend with them. My husband and I have been together for over half my life and yeah, we'll still be arguing over the TV for another 20 or 30 years. :) He is my heart. xox

We've had two weddings in my extended family, and the two new members of our family fit right in. One family member, after a very long struggle and in spite of the odds stacked against her, graduated from college and loves the new job. Another, thankfully, did not have to go back to Iraq for a third-fricking-time and is safe at home with his beautiful wife and a baby on the way. Another family member was hospitalized with a serious illness, and fully recovered. I have the most amazingly wonderful friends imaginable. And yes, we still have Grandma!

I could go on and on, of course, but I might suck up the rest of my memory if I try to list every detail. I know as I'm writing this, as rough as the end of 2007 turned out to be, I've had rougher years. Sadder years. Years when I'd thought life would never, never get better...and yet it always did. Always, always.

Love and blessings to all of you, and wishing you a WONDERFUL 2008!

XOX Jen

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Weekend Rambling

Heh, it must be the holidays because I'm getting SPAM comments (e.g. FIND OUT WHO'S VISITING YOUR PROFILE! among other crap) on my MySpace. You can tell some of these comments aren't from the actual sender, so there must be a way to latch onto someone's account and spam out stupid comments under someone else's name. Must be nice to have that kind of time on your hands. IF you guys get something like this from me (hahaha)--trust me, I'm not the one sending out this garbage. Delete, delete, delete...

On MySpace I added this image for my new novel--

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--because you can't really tell who's kissing, can you? Boy and girl? Boys? Girls? Perfect!

Good: Hubby added a new wireless adapter to my fossil PC so I can get the internet at a real desk instead of always huddling in bed with my laptop like a decrepit invalid. He also reloaded AOL onto my laptop so it won't a) bump me into oblivion every 5 seconds, or b) get hung up on checkingpasswordcheckingpasswordcheckingpassword till my teeth disintegrate from the gnashing.

Not So Good: I lost my favorite places. Wah! Not that I needed all 4,640,297 of them.

Good: After using my office as a junkroom for a year, I finally got in there today and did some serious cleaning. I have an office! I have an office!

Not So Good: Funny how those lteensy black balls all over the floor look suspiciously like rodent droppings...I think my "pet" mole found a new place to hang out. Sigh.

Good: I decided not to make any New Year's resolutions.

Not So Good: I decided not to make any New Year's resoltions.

Oops

A very excited Grandma called Beth the day after Christmas and said, "Oh, wait till you see my new kitty!!!"

Um, Grandma? WE gave you the kitty, remember?

No.

On Christmas? Like....yesterday?

No.

Of course she doesn't. This is Alzheimer's.

But she loooves the kitty! And that's what counts. :)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Catching Up

1. Christmas was wonderful! Santa brought me a new printer/scanner combo--YAY! We opened gifts early, then bailed Grandma out of the nursing home and brought her over for breakfast which *I* did not have to make, lol. She loved her creepy talking kitty, of course. I'm sure the batteries will be dead in no time.

2. I'm surviving the Job. I'm back on 3-11 for a while, though I *will* have to work a few day shifts here and there. The best thing about the job is that my co-workers are awesome. The worst thing about the job is that my patients are, um, NOT. Every shift is an 8-hr miniseries, a combination of the Lifetime channel and those MSNBC specials on mental illness and prison inmates, where you sit there in shock, thinking Holy $hit!

3. But I so miss the A Team. I walked out to my car alone last night after work, and felt a terrible pang because for the past 8 years Jan and I have always walked out together. They say losing a job is one of life's greatest stressors. The job loss, to me, is almost incidental. All of us--me, Jan, Tangela, Elca, and Debbie--were truly a family, so this is more than "losing a job"; all of us are scattered now throughout the hopsital, on different floors, different shifts, different days, etc. The other day I was outside smoking on the curb and I heard a distant "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" It was Tange, yelling at me from a second story balcony. So yeah, we do see each other in passing (and Deb works between my floor and one across the hall) but it's not the same. I've been depressed about this, to say nothing of how hard it is to adjust to a new environment. But I'm starting to feel like my old self again. :)

4. Although I haven't written a word in over 3 weeks, I *have* been reading--and one of the novels I read was
Head Case by 2k7-er Sarah Aronson. Totally compelling and awesome and beautifully written! I sat down and read it from cover to cover without stopping.

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5. I'm off on both New Year's eve and day. At work, we have a policy: if you work 3-11 on New Year's Eve and you don't manage to punch out and get to your car by 11:45 p.m. then you MUST hang around and wait till 12:30 a.m. or so. The reason? People shooting guns off in the projects. Heh. Can I possibly make up ANY of this stuff?

6. I am officially a huge fan of Jodie Picoult. I'm reading Nineteen Minutes--

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--and I can't put it down!

What I am looking forward to:

7. Catching up on everyone's blogs (I am sooooooooooooo far behind, I hang my head in shame).

8. "Kosher Christmas" (Grandma's affectionate term for Orthodox Christmas) on January 7th.

9. Starting revisions on STW (soon, soon, soon).

10. Writing something NEW.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Up Early and Rambling

It's not quite 7 a.m. I've been up since 4:45 and right now I'm watching Bright Eyes with Shirley Temple. =) What am I doing up? I have no idea. I do need to run to the grocery store, so it'd be smart to go early before Big Bird is mobbed. Not this early, though. No big Christmas dinner this year (I'm working) so we'll brunch it tomorrow before I have to go in. I'm trying to get into the holiday spirit, but dang, it's hard this year. Hopefully by the time Kosher Christmas rolls around, my mood will improve.

One Christmas gift memory I've been thinking about--a music box from my Great Aunt E. A round, shiny-green metal box with an ornate lid, and it played "Some Enchanted Evening." I kept it for 20 years after she died (till it literally fell apart) because it was the only gift I remember getting from her. She'd been totally blind for years (my grandmother told me she'd lost her sight after cataract surgery; whether this is true or not, I have no idea) and rarely went out, and lived in a roach-infested apartment in the projects.

"Now don't put anything down anywhere!" Mom would warn us ahead of time. "And if she asks you if you see bugs, say no." Nothing, she explained, would ever be done about the roaches anyway. She called the so-called management herself to complain more than once, but "it's The Projects, for cripe's sake." There would always be roaches. No point in freaking out my aunt.

So off we'd go, and yes, I'd be careful to keep my coat and boots on and never-ever-ever allow my purse to leave my lap. Eventually my aunt would ask one of us, "Do you see any bugs? Do you see any bugs?"

Hell yeah, we saw bugs! OK, it's not like roaches were raining down on us from the ceiling. But every now and then I'd see one skitter across the floor. Or peek through the Venetian blinds. Or creep out from under the toaster. Can you imagine being blind and surrounded by bugs you can't see? Or is it better not seeing them? I still can't decide.

And we'd always answer, "Nope, no bugs."

LOL! How did my Christmas gift memory turn into this?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

"Adoration of the Magi"
Bartolome Esteban Perez Murillo

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Link

For those who celebrate, have a beautiful, blessed Christmas.

xox

Jen

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Farewell to Dan Fogelberg

I was very, very sad to hear about the death of Dan Fogelberg who died from prostate cancer a couple of days ago. A brilliant songwriter, Dan gave the world a gift: some of the most touching and profound stories ever set to music.

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Lyrics like these from "Leader of the Band," Dan's beautiful tribute to his father:

An only child alone and wild, a cabinet maker's son
His hands were meant for different work and his heart was known to none --
He left his home and went his lone and solitary way
And he gave to me a gift I know I never can repay

A quiet man of music, denied a simpler fate
He tried to be a soldier once but his music wouldn't wait
He earned his love through discipline, a thundering, velvet hand
His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand.

The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul --
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man
I'm just a living legacy to the leader of the band.


Dan was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer several years ago. What is so very sad is that prostate cancer, when discovered early, is easily one of the most curable of cancers. A diagnosis can be made with a simple blood test and physical exam, recommended for men age 50 and older (or > 40 with a family history of the disease). Over the past several decades I've had literally countless patients with a "history" of prostate cancer who had been cancer free for many, many years.

Prior to his death, Dad posted a link on his website--Prostate Cancer Foundation--and encouraged fans and readers to please, please not wait until it's too late.

I am carrying his message on.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Interview with Becky's Books

And yet another interview with me, this one by Becky from Becky's Book Reviews. I heart Becky and read her blog religiously. Thanks, Becky!

...ok, why wasn't I this popular in high school? =D

Becky also posted a link to introduce a brand new group of talented debut authors--ta-DAH!--The CLASS of 2k8. Best of luck to all of you!

Interview by Heidi

If you get a chance, please head over to Heidi R. Klings's blog for an author interview with me--complete with the perfect pics!

Heidi's own novel, SEA, will be published by Putnam in the summer of 2009. Yay, Heidi! For more information about our multi-talented fellow lj-er, check out her WEB SITE.

Thank you, Heidi! xox

Monday, December 17, 2007

Random Thoughts

READING JUNKY posted a great review of Before/After on her blog today. YAY!

The definition of the word "smarmy" = D.P. I don't want to say his name in this blog, but it's the husband of Stacey P., that missing woman in Illinois. That. Man. Is. SO. Not. Right. His laywer needs to nail-gun that dude's lips shut.

Kiefer Sutherland is in jail washing his own laundry. And other inmates' laundry :shudder:--am I supposed to care?
They let him finish filming "24" before they made him begin serving his sentence. I'm sure if *I* were arrested and convicted on a (multiple) DUI, they'd let me finish out the pay period at work, um, NOT.

Speaking of work, I survived my first week in the psych ward and have started week # 2. By noon today I had a massive headache (new job, new hours, new coworkers, no sleep...why not?) which I foolishly tried to relieve by driving to--of all places--Wal-Mart after work so Beth and I could be trounced and jostled by the Christmas mob. Not a smart move. Headache finally relieved by A. meds, and B. A double jalapeno bacon burger from Wendy's.

Best X-mas purchase so far: A furry white mechanical cat that looks exactly like Sheba, Grandma's long-gone kitty. It moves and meows. It meows a lot. It meowed at us all the way through the store, the whole (looooooong) time we stood in line, across the parking lot, and all the way home in the car. I nearly euthanised it by tossing it out the window but, well, it IS pretty cute in a disturbingly taxidermilogical kind of way--

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Grandma will love it. Or else it'll send her over the edge.

Tomorrow is Nate's birthday! He hates having his pic taken, but since he never reads this blog (or so he says, right, Nate?) this is a pic I **sneakily** snapped of him last summer:

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Now I've been up for 18 hours, so...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Slammed!

First of all, thanks to everyone for all the congrats! I'm very excited. The release date for the book-formerly-referred-to-as-the-D.L.M. will be in the winter of 2009--Jan or Feb! My God! Only a year from now!

And THIS is what I am looking at right now:

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Yes, Cleveland's gettinbg slammed with snow. No relief in sight. I bet I'll have to get up at FOUR-THIRTY tomorrow morning to make it to work on time. So much for doing any Christmas shopping today. I did, however, manage to trim the tree.

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(I have NO idea why it came out so fuzzy!!!)

I keep reminding myself how miserable I was last July and August when the temps soared into the 90's for days on end. How the four separate products I use on my hair did absolutely nothing to get rid of the frizz. How I'd turn the shower to "cold" and just stand under the spray for ten minutes straight...

Off to bake a chicken. I didn't name this one yet. He's still in the bag. :)

Second Novel-SOLD!!!!!

Drum roll, please:

From Publisher's Marketplace: Author of BEFORE, AFTER, AND SOMEBODY IN BETWEEN, Jeannine Garsee's SAY THE WORD, about a teenage girl who still hasn't accepted that her mom's a lesbian when she finds herself at her mom's funeral, face to face with the new family she's tried years to ignore, to Jill Davis at Bloomsbury, by Tina Wexler at ICM (NA).

How is this for one of the best kept secrets? :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday 5

1. Christmas Brunch at the nursing home: not bad at all except for the powdered eggs. What? For ONE DAY OUT OF THE WHOLE FREAKIN' YEAR they can't say "screw the cholesterol" and let these old folks chow down on the real thing? But it was a beautiful brunch, with a chocolate fountain for dipping fresh fruit. Coffee: undrinkable. Candied sweet potatos: awesome!

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Beth, Hubby, Grandma, Me, and Miss R.

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Grandma is smiling, but secretly thinking...

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"What the heck is Miss R. doing with MY fuzzy little bear?!?"

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Grandma and the Jolly Clauses

Note: Santa said "HO! HO! HO!" in spite of intense media pressure to come up with a more suitable phrase


2. I survived the first 3 days on my new floor without being assaulted, spit at, or even cussed out. The fact that I stayed behind the desk 90% of the time may have had something to do with it. By yesterday, though, I was raring to go. Seriously. I think I'm psyched up for...psych!

3. Went to Borders last night, worked on my paranormal and started something new. Which meant yesterday I:
a. got up at 5:15 a.m.
b. worked till 3:30 p.m.
c. stayed at Borders till 11 p.m.
d. went to bed at 1:30 a.m.
e. got up at 5:15 again today. For no particular reason. Go figure.

4. I haven't bought One. Single. Thing. for Christmas. I just can't get into the holiday spirit. I have way too much stuff on my mind, between the new job, hubby's NO job, and--

5. A difficult decision I have to make SOON.

Ho, ho, ho, indeed.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

More Horoscope (yeah, you think I'm nuts, riiight?)

Yesterday: The topsy-turvy time is nearly over and now that the storm is subsiding, you must keep your eyes open wide so you can make the most of what you've learned. The radical solutions that you thought about last week need to be executed. Careful conservation of energy allows you to maximize your potential for success.

Today: Your most creative ideas can lift you beyond your expectations now as long as you stay committed to having fun. Don't be afraid to play all your cards, for there's really no reason to keep anything hidden anymore. Either you'll get what you want or you won't. Accept the consequences of your decisions and move on to what is next.

And people wonder why I believe in these things. :)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

MUSINGS

So the storm has passed. I'm happy with my decision. If not "happy," then "satisified." Satisfied is good.

It looks like God decided to open that window after all.

(My friends on LJ know what storm I'm referring to. The details a private, so I've loicked the posts over there and can't really elaborate on this blog)

Today I spent at Borders, working on my paranormal. This was the ghost story I started for NaNo 3 years ago. I'd been working on it diligently, subbing chapters to my crit group, till my editor and I began revisions on Before/After. So yeah, it hasn't been touched since the end of 2005

AND IT SHOWS!!!

OK, I've written worse. I've also written a lot better. And I wonder if one part of it is "believable" enough--and the scary thing is it's not even one of the "paranormal" parts! So I'm just running through what I'd already written and slashing out HUGE sections (about 10K so far) of mindless yadda-yadda-let's-see-how-much-crap-I-can-throw-in-to-UP-this-friggin-word-count-blah-de-blah. MC Liza vacillates between "highly irritating" "exeedingly bitchy" and "beyond pathetic"--none of which will endear any readers, of course.

Siiigh.

Yes, this is a challenge, and very, very different from what I'm used to writing. For instance, it's:

1. Past tense, not present.
2. 3rd person POV, not first.
3. Multiple POVs instead of only one.
4. Paranormal, as opposed to...well, whatever the other two are supposed to be. ;)
5. Adult. Not YA.

I'm undecided about this. For one thing, it's sat so long I may never be able to fully revive it. For another thing, I'm not entirely confident I can make the transition from YA to adult. I'm not even sure I should try, for reasons I may discuss in a later blog.

Heh. Or not.

BUT--!!! It's something to keep me occupied while I wait to find out if Shawna finds a home. Besides, I'm re-e-e-eally having fun with it (remember when you used to write purely for fun?). I mean, ghosts and blood and guts and sex and murder...what else could you ask for to pass the time? ;)

PS: I want to add that TODAY is my wedding anniversary! And after selfishly spending the day glued to my computer and guzzling espresso, I returned home to discover that hubby had secretly prepared a beautiful meal! This is the first time in cough-cough years we did not go out to dinner together, just the two of us, to celebrate. The kids joined us tonight and we all toasted "Mommy and Daddy" with Asti Spumanti and topped off a fabulous filet mignon dinner with French silk pie.

I heart my family. Heart them, heart them, heart them!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

HAPPY HANUKAH!

Happy Hanukah to all, and best wishes for a beautiful, blessed season!


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xox

Sunday, December 2, 2007

YIKES

"You are right on the edge of something grand and yet you may be hesitant to trust your intuition now, even if you can feel it in your bones. You may be a bit overwhelmed, even frightened, at the magnitude of what lies ahead. Nevertheless, maintain a state of high alert, for it's crucial that you're ready to make your move at a moment's notice. There's no need to rush anything; you'll know exactly when to act."

Oh. My. God.

This is either:

1. A job.

2. Or it has something to do with the EXCELLENT feedback I've gotten on my manuscript--which is still being reviewed.

3. I will find the source of the smell coming from a corner in my family room.

4. All three.

5. None of the above.

I need to stop reading these things. They make me insane.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Horrorscope

Financial limitations could put a crimp in your party plans today. It may be that you don't have enough funds to play the way you want to. A shortage of time is another thing that could prevent you from spontaneously engaging in an activity just for the fun of it. Consider all your resources before spending what you don't have.

Well, well. What frickin' genius came up with THIS tidbit of brilliance?

Note to my anonymous drive-by posters who lately pop in, voice a (usually snarky) disagreement, and then disappear without a trace: What do think I'll do, hunt you down? Trust me. I don't have the time, the energy, or a single iota of interest in pursuing you through cyberspace.