Star Lines
Saturday, December 29, 2001

Enough Vacation Already

I've had enough celebration to last me for another year, and I caught myself counting the days until January 1st (again.) I cheated yesterday, went over my old EMT journals and finished polishing "Night Trauma," the January short story for the site. I know the rest has been good for me; I slept a whopping five hours straight last night and then took a cat nap with the cats this afternoon on the porch. And this time with the kids has been important -- there is no such thing as too much quality time. Still, enough is enough. I've got three synopses floating in my head, Raven's book itching in my fingers and Drefan just waiting for me to abuse him. I'll be a much happier girl next Tuesday.  
  Social Security: For anyone who makes quilts, there's Project Linus 3rd annual Make a Blanket Day scheduled for February 16, 2002 (details at Project Linus (named for Linus, the security-blanket loving character from the Peanuts comic strip) has 250 chapters around the US and has donated more than a quarter million quilts and other handmade blankets to pediatric cancer patients, and other children suffering or traumatized in some way. Here's a bit more info from the web site:

"Our volunteers, known as "blanketeers", provide new, handmade, washable blankets to be given as gifts to seriously ill and traumatized children, ages 0-18. It is Project Linus' policy to accept blankets of all sizes, depending on the needs of the local chapters. All styles of blankets are welcome, including quilts, tied comforters, fleece blankets, crocheted or knitted afghans, and receiving blankets in child-friendly colors."

This year, the sons and daughters of the victims of the terrorist attacks on America will be receiving the donated blankets we make, and I highly recommend it as a way to send love and a surrogate hug to a child in need.

Friday, December 28, 2001
  Reader mail bag offerings: A horde of Christmas and New Year wishes from my lovely readers, my thanks to you all except the two guys who sent the anonymous nasties -- I hope Santa dropped a little coal in both your stockings; more news on early ranking for Shockball, which continues to be promising (the author would do a cartwheel but a limb might snap off); a very hip poem from someone who read Can't Lan Dis here and thinks I'm a youngster into rap (oh, no, honey, not me); something belligerent from a reviewer who got no reply to her nasty gram (and don't hold your breath, babe, 'cause you ain't getting one to this either); three votes that I go back to having pure white hair (me and Heloise); and some questions from a class of eighth graders in Texas about StarDoc and will I ever write YA.

On the YA issue, I've written exactly one serious story for children, and since it was a gift for my kids I never attempted to have it published. I am not an experienced YA author. I'm also leery about crossing into YA because I'm not well read in the genre except for the classics like Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames and the Hardy Boys. I also think it's extremely tough to write for kids, and you have to have a certain mindset to communicate effectively with children in print. I'm not so sure I have that mindset. I seem to do better teaching kids, that's my real forte. One of my classes was video taped, so in lieu of a personal appearance, I'm sending off a copy to this Texas class's teacher.
  Days of Infamy: I rented Pearl Harbor to watch over the holidays, but I wasn't expecting much. I am not a fan of war films, for one thing, and I try to avoid stuff like Schindler's List which tend to give my nightmares nightmares. The film started out excruiciatingly slow, apparently in a effort to develop the characters. Didn't work for me, and if I'd been the editor I'd have sliced off at least the first forty-five minutes. I was about to give up on the movie when the attack sequence started, and from there I was riveted. Someone very clever with computer-generated special effects did a magnificent job on this movie. I forgot all about the draggy part and watched it straight through to the end, which was definitely a guy ending, but at least he didn't do the full Nicholas Sparks treatment. For the battle sequences and some of the character performances, it's worth seeing. Afleck's charm seems a bit forced in this one, and his attempt to talk Southern grated. Stick to the Bahston accent, Ben. The girl is a bit of a simp, but Hartwell is wonderful. Gooding Jr. was whisked in and out so fast he wasn't given a chance to display his talent, but for the few seconds he's on screen, he's also terrific.

  Levengers sent me a fourth catalog in as many weeks. This isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.
  Quote for the Day:Rule #911 -- "Whether it's life or a horse that throws you, get right back on." --Life's Little Instruction Book, Volume II, by H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Or papercutters lying in wait.

Gloat for the Day:Rule #594 -- "Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully." --Life's Little Instruction Book, Volume II, by H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Your reward is the look on their face.

Thursday, December 27, 2001

Things that Go Crash in the Night

I had a very peaceful, happy Christmas with the children. Our seafood was terrific, and the cheddar and jalapeno bread came out beautiful, but I think I'll experiment and add more chilies to the next batch. I like bread that bites you back. I might do Tex-Mex for New Year's Eve since the kids and I will be staying home (no dancing for me this year, see next paragraph.) The kids like to assemble their own tacos and it's a fun, no-brainer meal. Also, Santa left some interesting items in my stocking. Most notably -- beautiful gel candles with pearls and seashells from my kids; a hefty gift certificate to Linens 'N Things from the ex (which I deserve, since he still has all my towels); a freezable seafood serving platter from the parents which kept our shrimp and crab nice and cold for Christmas dinner; a wonderful story from Sarah which made me weep all over again after reading it; and from Marty, a beautiful miniature teddy bear, which now lives in Katherine's new dollhouse. Via the internet -- tidings of much joy from friends and family, along with news from Jessie and Company that Shockball made the #1 spot on the SF/F paperback bestseller list for November at Adventures in Crime and Space, and #5 for Mysterious Galaxy (both independent booksellers) which are two good indicators I might make the Locus BSL for the fourth time in a row. I didn't think I was that good a girl this year, my thanks to you all.

Every holiday something happens; either the kids or I get sick, or someone gets a serious bump or bruise. This year I was cautiously delighted that I'd actually make it through the holiday without a trip to the doctor or emergency room. Christmas night I woke up and went to check on the kids, and Rush decided to weave around my ankles. Down I went, and my foot hit the edge of the papercutter I'd stupidly left on the floor beside my bed. Because I have so much nerve damage on that side, I didn't realize I was hurt until I went to the kitchen, felt something wet on my toes and looked down to see the pool of blood. My knee was okay but I'd gouged a sizeable chunk of tissue out of the side of my foot. Due to the awkward angle, I gimped over to the emergency room tonight to have it irrigated and sutured. I got ribbed because I'd just been there Sunday to drop off gift copies of Shockball for the ER staff, but at least it was me and not one of the children.

Christmas felt a little strange this year -- it came and went at the speed of light, and the tragic shadow from 9/11 always seemed to be hovering in the background. Still, I was reminded again of how lucky I am as a Mom, a daughter, and a friend. There is kindness, affection and love in the world, and thanks to my family and friends, I am the happy recipient of all three.

Monday, December 24, 2001
  Don't Open Until Dec. 25th: I cheated and opened some stuff that came in the mail today, and now have a wonderful Christmas story to read and new photos of Cherijo's namesake to admire. She's gorgeous, Lily, now how do you manage to have a baby and do mail? I am mute with admiration for new mothers. The kids and I got the porch ready for Christmas Day lounging, baked six dozen cookies and a big batch of dark chocolate brownies, and now we're off to pick up seafood and goodies for tonight and tomorrow. Okay, so I lied, I do cook during Christmas -- a little. I feel like baking some bread tonight, too. Maybe some cheddar jalapeno to go with the crab and shrimp.

Merry Christmas to All!

  Quote for the Day: "If Santa has all those elves, why don't they help him take presents to the kids on Christmas Eve?" --Kathy, age 6.

Elf Union rules, sweetie. In their contract, there's a no-transport no-distribution, um, clause. . .

Gloat for the Day: "You're going to get your wish." --Santa at the mall, blessing a pregnant me, Christmas 1994

Yep. Got my wish. :)
Sunday, December 23, 2001
  Gunk on, Gunk off: To followup on the last entry, the gunk I needed to scrape off is makeup. I haven't worn it since July, because I don't like it, my skin doesn't like it, you have to keep "freshening" it, and I figure I'm too damn old to care whether my lashes are individually defined. Anyway. Recently Cover Girl came out with this lipcolor product that you put on and it stays on for 24 hours. You can eat, drink, lick your lips, kiss people -- or do other things to them -- and it doesn't come off. Now I'm very jaded about lipstick -- it always comes off, usually on my front teeth because I have an overbite -- but I gave it a shot. And it works. One application, that's it. You have a separate colorless gloss you apply to keep your lips from cracking, but other than that, two swipes in the AM and you're done.

The only problem is, you can't get it off. I'm serious. Cover Girl has very specific makeup remover designed to dissolve this stuff, and if you don't use it, it doesn't come off. Well, this afternoon I couldn't find the little white bottle of remover, and went around all day with a beautiful glossy painted mouth. I left the rest of the gunk on just so I didn't look like IT from the Stephen King book. No one recognizes me in makeup with my hair down and styled, btw -- my neighbors almost called the cops. When I got the kids, they both eyed me, very uneasy. That "You're not our chubby comfy slob mother" look. Two of the guys at Blockbuster did a heads-up-check-her-out when I walked in to rent my copy of Pearl Harbor. Of course, they're also used to seeing the complete slob version of me it was probably shock/horror. Still, I haven't turned heads in about fifteen years, so it was a nice (if temporary) feeling.
  Your John Hancock, right here, please: I did the booksigning. Two hours of smiling and chatting up last minute shoppers at a mall with no parking spaces (I parked at a tavern across the street and hiked it.) It was . . . interesting. The Chinese curse kinda interesting. I wore my favorite gray suit, and talked to people as they stopped about everything -- about romance, SF, mysteries, why people don't read, stock investments, the Internet, and why do I write in two different genres -- the latter seemed to really shock some folks. I prefer just talking to people versus a reading, any day. Sold 17 books, which isn't my best performance (43 in one hour remains the record to beat) but the manager said I did much better than any other author they've had all month. One of my secret weapons: candy canes. I took a bunch with me, stuck them in pretty oriental jar, and handed them out to whining kids -- much gratitude from the parents. I also passed out free signed book marks to anyone who stopped at the table, which lead to conversation, which lead to me selling them a book or two. I can sell an Eskimo an ice machine if you give me fifteen minutes. :) The problem was people weren't stopping at the table, they were rushing past, hurrying to get their shopping done. The manager said it was a weird day, everyone looking but mostly not buying. The manager wants me back next month, I'm going to think about it, and we'll see. Now I have to scrape this gunk off my face. Where's my chisel . . . ?  
  What it costs to fill the refrigerator: $160.00, mostly veggies, fruit, and a little chicken for when I get sick of seafood. Luckily I didn't pick up the shrimp, snow crab, and other Christmas Eve/Christmas Day goodies (I don't cook during Christmas, ever) last night, or the tab would be a bit higher.

In other news, I just spotted a little ad for Bounce, Holly's blog, on the Blogger Main Page. I thought that was pretty neat. You can check it out at: (no, I still haven't figured out how to do links, I hate HTML, so shoot me.)  
  'Twas the day before the night before Christmas Department: One of my children left the refrigerator door open all night and most of my food is spoiled. This is a parent patience test, in the same category as them flushing your $300.00 contacts down the toilet or using your camel hair paintbrushes to glue a model airplane together. Neither will confess to the crime. I know it wasn't the cats, they've tried to get the door open, no luck. So I'm going to . . . forget all about it and go grocery shopping, is what. 
Adventures at the KeyBoard

10/28/2001 - 11/04/2001 / 11/04/2001 - 11/11/2001 / 11/11/2001 - 11/18/2001 / 11/18/2001 - 11/25/2001 / 11/25/2001 - 12/02/2001 / 12/02/2001 - 12/09/2001 / 12/09/2001 - 12/16/2001 / 12/16/2001 - 12/23/2001 / 12/23/2001 - 12/30/2001 / 12/30/2001 - 01/06/2002 / 01/06/2002 - 01/13/2002 / 01/13/2002 - 01/20/2002 / 01/20/2002 - 01/27/2002 / 01/27/2002 - 02/03/2002 / 02/03/2002 - 02/10/2002 / 02/10/2002 - 02/17/2002 / 02/17/2002 - 02/24/2002 / 02/24/2002 - 03/03/2002 / 03/03/2002 - 03/10/2002 / 03/10/2002 - 03/17/2002 / 03/17/2002 - 03/24/2002 / 03/24/2002 - 03/31/2002 / 03/31/2002 - 04/07/2002 / 04/07/2002 - 04/14/2002 / 04/14/2002 - 04/21/2002 / 04/21/2002 - 04/28/2002 / 04/28/2002 - 05/05/2002 / 05/05/2002 - 05/12/2002 / 05/12/2002 - 05/19/2002 / 05/19/2002 - 05/26/2002 / 05/26/2002 - 06/02/2002 / 06/02/2002 - 06/09/2002 / 06/09/2002 - 06/16/2002 / 06/16/2002 - 06/23/2002 / 06/23/2002 - 06/30/2002 / 06/30/2002 - 07/07/2002 / 07/07/2002 - 07/14/2002 / 07/14/2002 - 07/21/2002 / 07/21/2002 - 07/28/2002 / 07/28/2002 - 08/04/2002 / 08/04/2002 - 08/11/2002 / 08/11/2002 - 08/18/2002 / 08/18/2002 - 08/25/2002 / 08/25/2002 - 09/01/2002 / 09/01/2002 - 09/08/2002 / 09/08/2002 - 09/15/2002 / 09/15/2002 - 09/22/2002 / 09/22/2002 - 09/29/2002 / 09/29/2002 - 10/06/2002 / 10/06/2002 - 10/13/2002 / 10/13/2002 - 10/20/2002 / 10/20/2002 - 10/27/2002 / 10/27/2002 - 11/03/2002 / 11/03/2002 - 11/10/2002 / 11/10/2002 - 11/17/2002 / 11/17/2002 - 11/24/2002 / 11/24/2002 - 12/01/2002 / 12/01/2002 - 12/08/2002 / 12/08/2002 - 12/15/2002 / 12/15/2002 - 12/22/2002 / 12/22/2002 - 12/29/2002 / 12/29/2002 - 01/05/2003 / 01/05/2003 - 01/12/2003 / 01/12/2003 - 01/19/2003 / 01/19/2003 - 01/26/2003 / 01/26/2003 - 02/02/2003 / 02/02/2003 - 02/09/2003 / 02/09/2003 - 02/16/2003 / 02/16/2003 - 02/23/2003 / 02/23/2003 - 03/02/2003 / 03/02/2003 - 03/09/2003 / 03/09/2003 - 03/16/2003 / 03/16/2003 - 03/23/2003 / 03/23/2003 - 03/30/2003 / 03/30/2003 - 04/06/2003 / 04/06/2003 - 04/13/2003 / 04/13/2003 - 04/20/2003 / 04/20/2003 - 04/27/2003 / 04/27/2003 - 05/04/2003 / 05/04/2003 - 05/11/2003 / 05/11/2003 - 05/18/2003 / 05/18/2003 - 05/25/2003 / 05/25/2003 - 06/01/2003 / 06/01/2003 - 06/08/2003 / 06/08/2003 - 06/15/2003 / 06/15/2003 - 06/22/2003 / 06/22/2003 - 06/29/2003 / 06/29/2003 - 07/06/2003 / 07/06/2003 - 07/13/2003 / 07/13/2003 - 07/20/2003 / 07/20/2003 - 07/27/2003 / 07/27/2003 - 08/03/2003 / 08/03/2003 - 08/10/2003 / 08/10/2003 - 08/17/2003 / 08/17/2003 - 08/24/2003 / 08/24/2003 - 08/31/2003 / 08/31/2003 - 09/07/2003 / 09/07/2003 - 09/14/2003 / 09/14/2003 - 09/21/2003 / 09/21/2003 - 09/28/2003 / 09/28/2003 - 10/05/2003 / 10/05/2003 - 10/12/2003 / 10/12/2003 - 10/19/2003 / 10/19/2003 - 10/26/2003 / 10/26/2003 - 11/02/2003 / 11/02/2003 - 11/09/2003 / 11/09/2003 - 11/16/2003 /

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