Thursday, March 31, 2011

Migraines and Spur-of-the-Moment Purchases

If you don't get them, thank your lucky stars.

Mine started when I just 9 years old. I'd get one maybe every two or three years. Then, in my thirties, I began to get them every few months, several of them bad enough to send me to the emergency room. I'd ask for a Demerol injection--which, at that point, because I was barfing my guts out--was the only thing that would work. Imitrex injections didn't. I certainly couldn' t keep down a pill.So then the doctors and nurses would exchange looks and roll their eyes, obviously thinking: Oh, she's one of THOSE.

Hello? am I not lying here on your exam table with my face in a basin, sobbing with pain? And you think I'm here because I want to get high? If that were the case, wouldn't I show up here more than once or twice a year?

I saw doctor after doctor. I tried medication after medication. I subjected myself to the suspicious glares of medical professionals who believed I was simply seeking drugs (though they never said that to my face), never mind that I do not now, nor have I ever had anything remotely resembling a drug problem. I hardly ever drink, for pete's sake. I haven't had a hangover since 1986. I'm sure one hit off a joint would send me to my grave.

Finally a doctor (who now is my current doc) tried me on Fiorinal #3. For me, it's a miracle drug. The combination of 4 different ingredients will usually knock out a migraine right from the very start. I still get headaches--a LOT of them--but if I take the Fiorinal in time, I'm usually good to go.

Except for yesterday. I woke up in pain at 4 a.m. I took a pill. Two hours later the headache was worse. I took another one, cursing myself for not taking 2 to begin with. But one almost always helps. Not yesterday, though.

So then I have an hour or so where I'm feeling better; the headache is there, but not throbbing and I am not nauseated. I answer some e-mails, do a bit of proof-reading, check out my usual haunts...and then I'm flat on my back again, immobilized by pain.

This goes on all day. Pain, lull, feeling kind of decent, then pain again. During one of these lulls, the virus-I-though-I'd-gotten-rid-of-a-week-ago reappeared, rewriting itself over and over again. I zapped it again (after a 2-hour scan--NOT McAfee, which is worthless in this case) but my computer, which has been slowly dying over the past month or so (sudden blank blue screens, constant screen freezes, and getting BUMPED OFF) was pretty much worthless at that point.

Maybe it was the frustration. When you write, there's always stuff to take care of and I was, and still am, pretty backed up. Or maybe all the drugs, haha, But I decided then and there I needed a new laptop--NOW. I couldn't take it a second longer. So Nate and TJ and I went to Best Buy two minutes away and I bought the little Toshiba I'd had my eye on. Nate and TJ were there for 1) technical support, and 2) someone that drugged out has no business making a major purchase without supervision.

Of course when I got it home, it's not like I could play with it. Nate set it up while I huddled under a blanket, dizzy and exhausted, migraine back full force.

Then, at seven p.m., I lifted my head and realized that, after 15 hours: I AM PAIN-FREE! Pain-free enough to eat dinner, though one hour earlier I was too sick to get up and make it. You can imagine how wonderful that feels. And this morning, too, I'm perfectly fine (and regretting having to use up a sick day when I'm actually...yanno...sick).

I never know what brings these things on, though stress is often involved, and sometimes very strong smells (think church-lady's cologne). But I was off this weekend, did not go to church, and the only stress I experienced was stress from my old computer. However, I DID eat cranberries, plus had a glass of cranberry-apple juice--2 things I almost never have--and I had them both on Sunday. Haven't Googled it yet, but....cranberries? Is it possible?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ban Musical Chairs!

I think Musical Chairs is way, waaay too stressful a game for children for play. I watched them play it at my niece's birthday party and I practically had a nervous breakdown.

Think about it. Remember when you played it? Did you actually like it?

I bet not.

You're afraid to pass any chair while the music is playing. You guard it till the last second, when the kid behind gets too close for comfort. You hope against hope that the music won't stop before you've reached the next chair. Suddenly, all of your "friends" have become your enemies, willing to do anything to knock you out of the game. Talk about paranoia.

The music screeches to a halt. A kid leaps into YOUR chair, shoving you out of the way, and everyone else finds a chair as well.

And there you are, standing all by yourself.

Alone.

Chairless.

In silence, except for a few smug ha-ha-ha's.

And you stumble away in humiliation and defeat while the music resumes, and those who are left continue the wretched game.

OK: Duck-Duck-Goose is fun. Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey is fun. Tag is fun. Hide-and-Seek is fun (unless nobody bothers to look for you). Heck, even Dodgeball is fun...so much fun, in fact, that some schools have actually outlawed it. Dodgeball gives you an opportunity to bash someone else with the ball. And you are moving, too, not slinking around a circle of chairs...those chairs...omg, those coveted chaaaairs! In Dodgeball nobody follows you, invading your personal space, hurrying you along, breathing down your neck. There's no jolly music to be choked off right in the middle of the tune--which, in itself, I find extremely disturbing. One second you hear it. The next second you don't. Maybe you were humming along. I don't even like it when my husband switches the TV in the middle of a commercial. I prefer closure, I guess. Or else I was taught that it's rude to interrupt.

I used to break out in a cold sweat whenever I had to play Musical Chairs. Now, as an adult, I still find it painful to watch. I don't think my nephew liked it much, either. He got bounced out twice and looked positively heartbroken. I gave him bubblegum. What I really wanted to do was whisper in his ear: Tante hates this game, too. Hey, I know! Let's go find some cap guns and scare the shit out of 'em ALL!

Something tells me I may be a bad influence on this child.

So...who besides me also HATED that game? :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Elijah UPDATE

I haven't been posting much about Eli. Believe me, he's FINE. The twice-a-day Pepcid keeps his puking to a minimum (maybe once or twice a month and no more of those long, drawn-out nightly barf marathons). He weighs 65.5 pounds and though he has mellowed somewhat, he's still a handful, especially when he's bored. We try Very Hard for him Not To Be Bored and send him to Camp Bow Wow about 3 times a week. We use a Gentle Leader now and he walks nicely, though he still has a tendency to bristle at (male) strangers. Such a protective boy! He is handsome and sweet, funny as hell, and understands every word we say. Really.

When we noticed him limping a few weeks back, we took him in for extensive x-rays (another week-long cruise I can kiss goodbye) and discovered he has severe congenital left hip dysplasia. Yep, only two years old, with a geriatric hip. He'll eventually need surgery, which runs in the general area of four to seven thousand bucks (arrrgh!!!) but for now we've started him on Rimadyl, a heavy duty anti-inflammatory agent previously used for humans, but the FDA kicked it off the market b/c of lethal side effects. As far as Eli's concerned, this is a miracle drug. He's doing so much better now and almost never limps (occasionally he might be a bit stiff in the morning). He has Ultram for pain, but rarely needs this, either. He goes in regularly for bloodwork to check his liver function and white blood cells (he had an appointment today) and so far, so good. We may even be able to cut the dose back a bit.

Nothing--I mean nothing--slows this dude down. Yet the other thing we've discovered is a heart murmur. Aside from a very irregular heart rate (which worries me) he shows no other symptoms, so I'm hoping we won't have to treat this any time soon. I am wondering how this heart murmur will affect any future hip surgery.

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This poor guy had such a rough start in life.  I do want to keep him around for a long, looooong time. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Twittter

I used to do it. But I find it a waste of time to "tweet" to people who don't tweet you back. I mean, seriously.

Is there a point to that?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

THE UNQUIET: Book Description

Sixteen-year-old Rinn Jacobs has two secrets: she’s bipolar, and she accidentally killed her grandmother.

After a suicide attempt, and now her parents' separation, Rinn and her mom move from California to the small Ohio town where her mother grew up. Back on her medications (again!), hoping to stay well, Rinn settles into her new home and school. She refuses to be daunted by the fact that the previous owner hung herself in Rinn's bedroom, or that her classmates believe the school pool is haunted by Annaliese, a girl who drowned there. But when a reckless séance goes awry, and terrible things start happening to her new friends—yet not to her—Rinn is determined to find out why she can’t be "touched" by Annaliese...or if Annaliese even exists.

With the help of Nate Brenner, the hunky “farmer boy” she’s rapidly falling for, Rinn devises a dangerous plan to uncover the truth. Soon reality and fantasy meld into one, till Rinn finds it nearly impossible to tell the difference. When a malevolent force threatens the lives of everyone she cares about--not to mention her own--she can't help wondering: who should she really be afraid of?

Annaliese? Or herself?

THE UNQUIET
Winter 2012
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books

That last sound you heard was a SQUEEEEEE! because I've been dying to post about this story now I really have a title. :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

10 Things I Learned While Editing This Novel

1. My agent is brilliant. I really should pay attention to her the first time around.

2. My editor is also brilliant, mostly because she never uses the word “suckage". Even if it’s what she means.

3. I obviously like funerals--I have one in every book. In THE UNQUIET I have 3.

Note: my grandmother routinely attended funerals (weddings, too) of people she never met. I used to think it was for the food. Now I believe she simply had a morbid interest in the whole process.

4. It doesn’t matter if I’ve re-read, re-written, and re-revised 10 times--I'm still gonna screw up. I don’t know what the magic number is. I doubt I’ll ever find out.

5. There is no such thing as “Are you outta your SKULL? I can’t cut that!

6. God invented vacation and sick days specifically for writers on a deadline.

7. Even in my so-called “final” draft, my daughter can always point out something stupid I wrote.

8. I am still the Typo QUEEN of the 21st Century. That'll never change. Bow to me, peasants.

9. I’d forgotten how exciting a new book could be. :) :) :)

10. This laptop ain’t gonna hold out much longer.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Because We All Need a Laugh Every Now and Then...

...I let this darling baby rip up all my old rejection letters. Watch!!!



Sunday, March 13, 2011

FINSHED (for now)

I feel like I've just survived WWIII.

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My revisions for THE UNQUIET are completed. It took about 4 weeks and required a significant amount of rewriting. Eliminating the two extra POVs wasn't as bad as I'd feared. I didn't want a MC who always happened to be in the right place at the right time (HP, anyone?) which is why several major incidents were told from other characters' points of view. Regardless, they're gone.

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I'm still in that weird zone where half of me thinks I did a good job while the rest of me fears I've completely botched it. As my brilliant editor is currently on vacation, I'll have no way of knowing at least till April.

But for now, it's behind me! Now I'll be working on an upcoming library presentation, making changes to my website, and hopefully hanging around here a lot more.

Other than that, I'm officially ON BREAK. Photobucket