Monday, June 29, 2009


Jen came home from work yesterday, got her lawn chair, a book, a beer, and her puppy and sat outside to while away the afternoon.

Puppy knocked beer over. Beer spilled into the grass.

Puppy proceeded to snarf the grass. He was quite perturbed when Jen pulled him away.

This morning puppy ran back to the same area to snarf some more. Again, not happy when his mommy dragged him away.

Now Puppy eyes that beer-y patch every time Jen takes him out. And lunges for it.

What is it with dogs and beer?

Luckily it's supposed to rain today.


This has been a great reading week for me.

Carrie Jones's GIRL, HERO--how did I miss this one when it first came out??? Absolutely beautiful:


April Henry's SHOCK POINT and TORCHED--both YA thrillers and definitely page turners:



Carol Lynch Williams's THE CHOSEN ONE--mysteriously sent to me in the mail and one I absolutely could not put down (I read it in several hours):


Susan Vaught's MY FIG FAT MANIFESTO which I'm reading right now--not your stereotypical fat-girl-wallflower-with-no-self-esteem character; this fat girl rocks!


Why am I reading instead of writing? Especially since I, as a rule, try never to read YA when I'm working on a novel?

Oh, gimme a break. :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Puppy Post Op


"Dude! Get this OFF me!"

Yeah, it's not working out. Supposedly this lampshade, aka "Elizabethan collar", keeps keep him from licking his incision.

Nope. Not only can he reach the incision, and licks it every chance he gets--a baaaad idea--but he also:

1. Bumps this contraption into walls and furniture, over and over. This cannot feel good and he must have a headache by now.

2. Rams it into ME constantly! I'm black and blue! OW! OW! OW!

3. Has some trouble swallowing because he can't quite tilt his head the right way. He walked around earlier with a piece of cookie in his mouth. So I take it off when he eats, but then it's a major-two person-15 minute-chase-the-puppy-around-the-house-and-tackle-him production.

So I Googled around and found soft, inflatable collars. No, I don't want to order it online. I need it NOW. So I phone PetSmart because I found it on their site. Petsmart, I hope you Google your name because this is how it went down: first I get one of those long "press this, press that" messages, which ends with "press zero" if you have a question. Um, you guys couldn't put that first?

Petsmart: "Blah blah blah"--a mumbled greeting that I honestly couldn't understand.
Me: "Do you carry those inflatable E collars for dogs?"
PS: No.


Me: "Well, do you carry anything besides the lamp shades? Vinyl, maybe?" (because I know these exist, too)
PS: "No."


Me: "So the only way I can get one is to order it online?"
PS: "Yeah."


O-kayy. After this mind-boggling wealth of invaluable information, I phone Pet Supplies Plus. Not only do they carry it, but they have it in stock, and the clerk--who can luckily manage more than one syllable at a time--kindly puts one aside for me.

So as soon as Elijah wakes up from his nap we'll give it a shot. BTW, he's not supposed "run, play, or jump" for 10-14 days. I did try to explain this to him, but... *shrug*

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Good thing I revised for 6 hrs yesterday. Today I planned to go to (a different) Borders after dropping Beth and Elijah off for a hike. Thing is, the hike was out in the Middle Of Nowhere and the nearest Borders was in Medina. Plus the hike that I thought (for what reason? I dunn) would be all afternoon turned out to be only 1.5 hrs. They had fun! Eli just crashed out. Beth, probably not too far behind.

Why did I think Hinckley was so close to Medina--cuz it AIN'T--and there was absolutely no other place to go. NO civilization what-so-evah. This city girl drove, drovedrovedrovedrovedrove down loooong country roads with an occasional car zipping around me at 60+ mph (I know, because I was doing 45-50) and idiots pulling out of parkways without looking, and unexpected stop signs (WTF am I stopping for? Chipmunks?)--not to mention idiots on bikes. Sorry if you're a biker but it Pisses Me Off to have to cross the double yellow line (which is breaking the law) so I don't run you over in the middle of MY lane.

I make it to Medina after 30 minutes (hit a Panera's b/c it was 1000 yards closer than Borders) which gives me a whole 30 minutes to work on revisions. Like a dutiful little author, I do exactly one page ("Hmm, that adjective could go...this whole line can go...let's change that word to x-x-x... OK, done!") and then sign onto Twitter and blab on the phone.

Tonight: grilled salmon and rice pilaf, with Grandma over for dinner to celebrate Father's Day (he's getting the same thing he gave me for Mother's Day) and then, hopefully, early to bed. Didn't this weekend go FAST?

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I've been up since 4:45 a.m. This is after going to bed at 7 p.m. because my stomach was killing me. Seriously, I've been on the Protonix for a week and I'm really no better. Dr. B suggested I add Pepcid to the regimen so I guess I'll be stopping at the drug store today.

I've cut back on the coffee (down to 2-3 cups a day instead of my usual 2 pots). Me giving up coffee is almost as bad as me giving up cigarettes: once I stop hyperventilating, I want to rush to the car and stuff a couple bags of Seattle's Best under the seat. Just in case, yanno.

I gave up the Nicorette gum because that was most definitely the nail in the coffin. I'm wearing the patch and taking it off at night so I don't A. wake up every hour, or B. wake up exhausted from those long epic dreams, or C. wake up with muscle twitches, or D. not wake up.

I took Elijah for a walk, but he acted like such a butthole I gave up and cut it short. I just can't take him sniffing every-single-damn-blade-of-grass, or standing in the middle of the sidewalk for 5 minutes to stare at people across the street. Plus it was raining. Plus he took a dump on a lawn which meant I had to scoop it up in a bag. And carry it. Like, forever. Now, back home, he's into everything. Why does it seem my vocabulary lately is strictly limited to "NO" "GET DOWN" "LEAVE IT" "MOVE" "QUIET" and "DROP IT" ?

I ate twice, which technically means I already had breakfast and lunch. Now I'm thinking about dinner. Probably by dinner time today I'll be ready for tomorrow's breakfast.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Puppy is sick. :( Vomiting. I know he ate something he shouldn't have on a long (3 mile) walk on Sunday. I I wrestled with him like crazy, but couldn't get it out of his mouth without him taking off my hand (yeah, he was that--pissed) Up till yesterday he was fine: eating, pooping, drinking water, playing, etc. I called the vet yesterday when he threw up breakfast, but they were of the mind that if he's been pooping, he probably passed it, especially since he was playing and acting okay.

Well, he went to camp yesterday and was fine. Then he puked in the evening, mutiple times. He refused a bland dinner of rice and broth. He slept like the dead all night, which is not unusual for him on camp days. This morning he again refused the rice (I can't believe this chow hound refused to eat something!!!) so I gave him yogurt and oats, which he loved.

Now he's sleeping. I'll see how he is when he wakes up, but I have the feeling I might be taking him to the vet today.


When you click on that story link about the puppy being flushed down the toilet, you see two different rants from commenters: 1. that the parents are to blame for not watching the child, and 2. conversely, kids can't be "watched every minute."

Last night, sadly, I attended the wake of a baby who couldn't be "watched every minute."

Nineteen months old. A beautiful baby girl with huge blue eyes who crinkled her nose when she smiled. I could barely reconcile the photographs of her displayed in the viewing room--the baby in a purple Easter dress, laughing at the camera, cuddled on the couch with her old sister, etc.--with the tiny casket that looked more like a plastic, upside-down planter.

It only takes a second to look away while your precious toddler wanders off and falls into a pool. The memory of finding that floating body will haunt everyone involved the rest of their lives. The faces of the family will haunt me: the great-grandmother, teary-eyed but tenuously stoic; the very young dad, red-eyed and awkward; and the teenaged mom who had to be forcibly removed from bed and escorted to the wake 20 minutes before it ended.

Don't look away, people. Keep your babies close to your heart.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Lucky dog! Check out Elijah's blog to see how he spent the day. :)


I'm not perfect. My kids aren't perfect. But even my kids at four years of age would not be STUPID enough to try to bathe a one-week-old puppy in the toilet.

Nice supervision job there, Mum.

PS How you "accidentally" flush a toilet? I can't even get people in this house to flush it on purpose!

Monday, June 15, 2009


A wonderful review for Say the Word from Becky's Book Reviews:

I especially like this:

"If the characters weren't so human, if they weren't so complexly drawn and brought to life, then his novel mught be too issue-driven. A novel about all the shades of prejudice and discrimination. A novel about the inadequacies and injustices of life."

Thanks, Becky!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


My bad not to mention that the reason I won this--


--was because of 's contest on LAURA'S REVIEW BOOKSHELF. Thank you, Laura! :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday 5

1. Back to work tomorrow after a week off. But it's Saturday, I work with a great crew, and I've had a decent rest and I'm in a pretty good mood.

Don't worry. It won't last.

2. I won a signed copy of Michelle Zink's YA fantasy PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS!


Thank you, thank you, thank you!

3. Dear Elijah,
Please refrain from eating my cell phone in the future.
You know I love you. But if chomp my phone one more time I'll crunch you like a Milkbone.
xxx Mommy

4. I've revise MORE this past week than I've done all year. This is by far the worst first draft I ever plodded through and the more I revise the longer the word count (120k). But no point in panicking--there's one whole section I plan to slash out. That should take care of, oh, three or four hundred words...

5. Chasty Bono's having sex change. Wait. What? I thought she was a gay woman. Now she's a man? I am sooo confused.

The "Procedure"

Here goes:

The day before the scopes--uh, upper and lower--I can have nothing but clear liquids (nothing red). Plus I have to drink 4 liters of this stuff affectionately known by nurses as Go-Deadly.

1. Ocean water
2. Motor oil
3. Napalm

First I have to take an anti-nausea pill which is nothing but a waste of a $10 co-pay. Then I'm supposed to drink the Go-Deadly in 4 hours. It takes me 8. Each glass I have to chase down with a swig of fruit punch. Yes, RED fruit punch. If they can't tell the difference between fruit punch and blood, then I want a different doctor.

Green Jello works, too.

I want to die. Because it tastes exactly like the ingredients listed above. I've since found out that it comes in flavors. Yes, flavors! Be sure to file this away for future reference.

The Go-Deadly kicks in. Use your imagination.

Then I wake up in the morning with a full blown migraine. This rarely happens any more because I take Fiorinal #3 which knocks it out before it gets to this point. But:

1. I'm not supposed to take anything by mouth after midnight.
2. Even if I did slip myself a F#3 it has aspirin in it. They specified No Aspirin Products. No hemorraghing allowed.
3. It also has butalbital, a sedative. They're knocking me out this morning and I'd like to spend the rest of my life not in a persistive vegetative state.

So I don't take it. It's five a.m. I have to be there at 8:30. Any other day I'd be in the emergency room begging for narcotics. Worse this is that I can't even throw up! Nothing left in there, of course.

I swear it's the longest 3.5 hours of my life.

Nate drives me to the Clinic. I retch the whole way. I retch during registration. I retch while changing into that backless Vera Wang original gown.

See Jen retch. Retch, Jen, retch.

The nurses are sweet. They turn off the lights, try to make me comfortable--but they can't give me anything for migraine till they talk to the doc who's busy ramming tubes through another patient's orifices.

Nurse: "If you keep this up he might not be able to do the test. He can't do the EGD if you're vomiting."

Me: "Well, if he doesn't do it today it's never getting done because I am NEVER going through this again!"

Retch, Jen, retch.

Oops. My dry heaves are no longer "dry." Can that possibly be green Jello? I hope so, because if it's not I have a bigger problem than I thought.

Nurse starts an IV. They wheel me back. Nurse asks what my anxiety level is on a scale of 1-10. They already know what my pain level is.

Me: "Eight. But I'll be knocked out, right?"

Nurse: "No, you won't be knocked out. It's called conscious sedation."

Me: "I don't want to be conscious anything. And now it's a ten, thank you very much."

I guess the retching doesn't concern the doc as much as the nurse thought. Immediately they shoot me with 100 mg of Demerol. *squirt, squirt in the IV tubing* The doc peers into my face and asks, "How's the headache now?"

La, la, la-la-laaaahhhhhh....! Headache? What headache?

They stick a bite block in my mouth.

I don't care.

The doctor, who I now absolutely love--I'd offer to bear his next child but the bite block prevents me from speaking--says, "And now we'll give you some Versed..." *more squirt, squirt into the IV tubing*

I don't care.

I'm in heaven.

And then...I wake up. It's totally over and I didn't feel a thing.

Result: My stomach is seriously messed up (like I needed a tube shoved down me to tell me that?) but nothing that can't be fixed with medication and a few "diet adjustments," the worse one being:



Thursday, June 11, 2009


I was going to blog about my tests but I can't decide if it's TMI. I can probaby do it w/o all the graphic visuals...

But I promised to work on revisions till 5 p.m. today.

Suffice it to say I survived.


Monday, June 8, 2009

What Might Have Been

This took my breath away.


"It is a picture of what might have been, of a "beautiful, kind-looking lady", her face wrinkled by the passage of time over a life never lived: Holocaust victim Anne Frank at the age of 80."

by Ian Johnston
Published: 5:02PM BST 06 Jun 2009

From the Democratic

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Audio Books Should Come With Warning Labels

So I'm driving home at midnight last night in my beat-up, 10-yr-old, reeking of boy-dog Mom-mobile (154k)and listening to Outlander on my iPod.

WARNING: Don't read any futher unless you know the story!

Claire and Geillis are trapped in "the Hole," a pitch black, mud-and-vermin filled pit reserved for "criminals" like themselves: accused witches. Geillie's discussing how she diverted 10,000 pounds from her now-dead husband for the Jacobean cause, how she meticulously planned his slow, painful murder and considered murdering her lover's wife, and how a sixteen-year-old girl (who's in love with Claire's husband Jamie) tricked Claire into coming to the village which is how Claire ended up here (though everyone believes she's a witch anyway)...and Claire's pretty much freaking out at this point, trapped in a filthy, wormy, literally c-r-a-p-p-y pit with a narcissistic psychopath, fully aware of the fact she will, at best, be tortured, or at worst be burned at the stake...

Blue and red lights spin behind me. Headlight flash.



I know, I know. Now normally I'm a very careful driver...say, oh, 96% of the time. Last night I landed in the other 4%.

I rip my earbuds out and ease my car onto the shoulder. I'm I-71 in Cleveland, Ohio, in a notorious speed trap. If nothing else I deserve a ticket for STUPIDITY. And any other night I would've had my cruise control on.

I rip out my license, eyeballing the radar detector dangling from my visor. Unplugged. I almostnever use it because as I said I'm a Very Careful Driver Except For Four Percent Of The Time. Are these things legal in Ohio? I bought it in Ohio. Now it's too late to discreetly ditch it. The cop fast approaches from behind.

Crap, crap, crap.

"How ya doing?" Cute Young Cop asks genially.

I think: Cops like nurses. Every nurse I know gets out of tickets simply by saying they're a nurse. NOT that this ever worked for me 4% of the time.

"Fine, thanks. Except for a really bad shift tonight."

"Where do you work?" I tell him. "Just let me check your license."

I hand it over, thinking: OhpleasepleasepleasedoNOTgivemeaticketIbegofyourpleasepleasepleeeease! I gotta pay for a neutering in two weeks. Maybe I can bribe him with my, no, wait--not in the middle of the Hole scene!

Cute Young Cop disappears, returns, hands my license back. "Slow it down, okay? I clocked you at seventy-four."

No damn way. "Seventy-four???" No damn way.

Yes, damn way. Anyway, he tells me to have a good night and strolls back to his car.

I sit there in shock. I have NEVER gotten out of a ticket before! I could kiss the dude. Or at least pinch his cheek and buy him an ice cream cone.

I plug the earbuds back in and zoom, er, crawl off the shoulder and head for home at a tepid 55 mph.

...aso then Geillie confesses she's knocked up with Dougal Mackenzie's illegitimate child (which is why she's REALLY in the Hole with Claire) and presses Claire's hand to her stomach to prove it, and then they're dragged from the Hole and forced into court where Claire is accused of casting spells and killing a baby and causing sickness, and all she can think of is Jamie, Jamie, Jamie...

Yes, I made it home in one piece.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

YALSA Nomination for BBYA!

YESSS! Shawna Gallagher made her way onto YALSA's list of nominees for Best Book for Young Adults:

Garsee, Jeannine. SAY THE WORD. Bloomsbury. 2009. 978-1-59990-333-0. $16.99. After her estranged mother dies, Shawna Gallagher refuses to accept her dysfunctional home life and attempts to make peace with her mother’s lesbian lover.

And just look at the company she keeps:

Abbott, Ellen Jensen. Watersmeet.

Abrahams, Peter. Reality Check.

Alvarez, Julia. Return to Sender.

Anderson, Laure Halse. Wintergirls.

Boorhaem, Ellen. The Unnameables.

Bray, Libba. Going Bovine.

Brooks, Laurie. Selkie Girl.

Burg, Anne E. All the Broken Pieces.

Calame, Don. Swim the Fly.

Cantor, Jillian. The September Sisters.

Chaltas, Talia. Because I Am Furniture.

Clayton, Emma. The Roar.

Clement-Moore, Rosemary. Highway to Hell.

Cody, Matthew. Powerless.

Collins, Suzanne. Catching Fire.

Cooney, Caroline B. If the Witness Lied.

Crowley, Suzanne Carlisle. The Stolen One.

Davies, Jacqueline. Lost.

De La Pena, Matt. We Were Here.

Dessen, Sarah. Along For the Ride.

Echols, Jennifer. Going Too Far.

Ellis, Ann Dee. Everything Is Fine.

Engle, Margarita. Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba.

Fantaskey, Beth. Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side.

Ferraro,Tina. The ABC's of Kissing Boys.

Forman, Gayle. If I Stay.

Foxlee, Karen. The Anatomy of Wings.

George, Jessica Day. Princess of the Midnight Ball.

Gill, David Macinnis. Soul Enchilada.

Goodman, Alison. Eon: Dragoneye Reborn.

Grant, K.M. Blue Flame: Book One, The Perfect Fire Trilogy.

Griffin, Paul. The Orange Houses.

Gringas, Charlotte. Pieces of Me.

Hartinger, Brent. Project Sweet Life.

Headley, Justina Chen. North of Beautiful.

Herlong, M.H. The Great Wide Sea.

Hernandez, David. No More Us for You.

Herrick, Steven. Cold Skin.

Hoban, Julia. Willow.

Howell, Simmone. Everything Beautiful.

Hrdlitschka, Shelley. Sister Wife.

Jinks, Catherine. The Reformed Vampire Support Group.

Jones, Carrie. Need.

King, A.S. The Dust of 100 Dogs.

Levine, Kristine. The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had.

Libby, Alisa M. The King’s Rose.

Livingston, Leslie. Wondrous Strange.

Magoon, Kekla. The Rock and the River.

Marrino, Peter. Magic and Misery.

Mass, Wendy. 11 Birthdays.

McKernan, Victoria. The Devil’s Paintbox.

McMann, Lisa. Fade.

Meminger, Neesha. Shine, Coconut Moon.

Myers, Walter Dean. Dope Sick.

Napoli, Donna Jo. Alligator Bayou.

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Cricket Man.

Northrop, Michael. Gentlemen.

Nuzum, K.A. The Leanin’ Dog.

Pike, Aprilynne. Wings.

Polak, Monique. What World Is Left?

Rallison, Janette. My Fair Godmother.

Rapp, Adam. Punkzilla.

Resau, Laura. The Indigo Notebook.

Riordan, Rick. The Last Olympian.

Runyon, Brent. Surface Tension: A Novel in Four Parts.

Ryan, Carrie. Forests of Hands and Teeth.

Schrefer, Eliot. The School for Dangerous Girls.

Simner, Janie Lee. Bones of Faerie.

Smith, Sherri L. Flygirl.

Sniegoski, Tom. Legacy.

Springer, Nancy. Somebody.

Stiefvater, Maggie. Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception.

Stoffels, Karlijn. Heartsinger.

Stork, Francisco X. Marcelo in the Real World.

Stroud, Jonathan. Heroes of the Valley.

Summers, Courtney. Cracked Up to Be.

Tan, Shaun. Tales from Outer Suburbia.

Thompson, Kate. Creature of the Night.

Valentine, Jenny. Broken Soup.

Van Diepen, Alison. Raven: Death is Inevitable, Passion is Eternal.

Volponi, Paul. Response.

Whitcomb, Laura. The Fetch.

Williams, Carol Lynch. The Chosen One.

Williams-Garcia, Rita. Jumped.

Wolff, Virginia E. This Full House.

Wynne-Jones, Tim. The Uninvited.

Yang, Gene Luen. The Eternal Smile.

Zemser, Amy Bronwen. Dear Julia.

Am I Not Simply the Cutest Baby in the World?

Charlie, 11 months

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Warning: Please Hide All Sharp Instruments, Blunt Objects, and Other Potentially Lethal Weapons

Two procedures scheduled for June 9th. Hospital calls me to say my primary insurance (through my job) will not pay for it. This I already knew. No biggie, right? Because I have a secondary insurance through my husband's job.

Oh, no, no, noooo! Secondary insurance, according to caller (the "financial counselor"--hello, you are not "counseling" me, you are Pissing Me Off and Adding to My Already Mind-Boggling stress) is not "obligated" to pay for these procedures if they're denied by my primary insurance.

Note: procedures will run upwards of $5,000.



So why are we paying for TWO w-o-r-t-h-l-e-s-s insurances? One would be more than sufficient to send me over the edge.

And why am I not DEAD yet, considering the amount of pain I've been in for the past several months waiting for this stupid appointment?

(Hubby's checking on this now) Tick, tock, tick, tock...

In the midst of this phone conversation, puppy decided to munch on my cell phone. Once the cell was rescued (with multiple epithets that didn't go unnoticed by your friendly neighbor counselor) he then absconded with my iPod. This failed to enhance any kindly feelings on my part toward the caller.

Disgruntled and headachy, I then plodded to the library to discover 2 missing books + $28 fine...from a year ago. Jeez, you'd think they'd send me a collection notice or something.

Did I mention I'm out of Zantac? Not that it helps.

Anyway, Eli's at day care--for his own protection--and now I somehow have to put aside the last few pages of HOLLY'S amazing manuscript so I can work on revisions while I freaking-have-the-chance!

Hang in there, Holly. I promise to finish up soon. :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Kanye's New Book!

I could NOT resist posting the news about self-proclaimed non-reader Kanye West's new book!

Kanye says, "Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed. I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book's autograph."

*snort, snicker, ROFLMAO*

Well, Kanye. I will be sure never to allow my books to sign ANYTHING for you. Uh-uh, no way, do not even ask them to!

He adds, "I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life."

Which is how it should be, Kanye. I'd also like to add that I'm a proud non-listener of your music, but that's neither here nor there. But run along now, dear, and go work on your masterpiece, there's a good boy. =D

Elijah at 6 Months Old

The Wee Beastie's actual birthday is anyone's educated guess, but December second sounds good. This means he'll be 6 months old tomorrow, or three-and-a-half in human years--pretty accurate when you consider his behavior:

1. He's totally potty-trained.

2. He understands everything you say to him, but chooses only to do what HE wants to do (unless you give him a pretty good incentive).

3. He runs off if you're not looking--but the moment he realizes you're not in his sight he'll charge back in search of you.

4. He likes to ride in the car and dislikes the seatbelt.

5. He makes a mess when he eats.

6. He demands new toys or food when you take him to the (pet) store and has a tendency to grab things off the shelves.

7. Treats and toys will shut him up for a while.

8. He watches TV and thinks it's real.

9. He conks out unexpectedly in the middle of the floor.

10. He puts things in his mouth that don't belong there.

11. He whines, talks back to you, and throws tantrums.

12. He's fascinated by his own anatomy. :) Boys will be boys, I guess.

Susan Boyle

Now I'm now convinced it's a good thing Susan Boyle lost "Britain's Got Talent." I'm predict (hope?) she'll return to her quiet little life. If she can't take the stress of competition, how would she cope with the rigors of a professional singing career?

Plus--as psych nurse--I'm pretty sure we're only getting half the story here.