Or at least maybe it should be. I was joking with a friend this afternoon and I told him he was a bad person for something he did. He said he goes into the box for two minutes, full of guilt, but when he comes out life goes on. That's the way it should be. Too many of us let guilt eat at us forever, feeling bad about things we did years ago... other people let it go... we should let it go. He probably didn't know it was profound, but it kinda was.

I posted my query letter at The Public Query Slushpile yesterday. It's a really neat site where they do peer to peer review like they do on Absolute Write, but it's smaller, more personal, and not so overwhelming. I didn't realize I'd gotten any comments on it until I got a message that another query had been posted. When I clicked the link my own query came up and I had nine really great comments. I've only been on it since yesterday, but I feel like maybe this is the writing community I have been looking for. The people seem nice. I made a deal with another author, she's going to beta read my novel, and I get to read hers when she finishes her current draft. I'm looking forward to it, the book sounds really good... for one thing it's got dragons in it, but just overall the story sounds right up my alley.

The whole experience re-energized me. The comments were so positive that they pulled me out of my funk, they gave me back my belief in my story, and I plan to spend part of my weekend making sure that I get my snail mail queries into the mail. I haven't touched the book in over a month, so tonight I'm going to revisit it with a fresh eye.

I was talking to another friend about self-esteem and self-confidence. I told him that I think musicians, artists and writers grapple with them more because we create things and then we put them out there to be judged. The things we create are personal, so we're exposing ourselves more than other people might. We're our own worst critics and we're sensitive dammit. I wish I was a more positive person, but I'm fairly cynical. I do, however, cheer my friends on. I think they're the bees knees. We have a mutual admiration society. They keep me going.

And am I the only one who finds that Gillette Venus commercial offensive? With the woman walking by, and the foliage in the background changing shape to match the way she trims her personal area... it's borderline lewd. I know it's old by now, but it's always bugged me.
If you want to get someone's attention, try telling them you're not wearing any pants.

I wore a skirt to work today, and it was the first time in a loooooong time. Some people thought there was a guy involved (wrong), others thought I was going on an interview (also wrong), a lot of people just didn't know what to think. It was sort of a social experiment to stir the pot, and it worked. I like to do that from time to time. I did get a lot of compliments, and it wasn't a horrible experience, so I might do it again in the future. Maybe.

About midday I realized that I wasn't wearing any pants... it was true... but it's all a matter of perspective. It's fun to see people's faces when they take it at face value, before they realize that you're not wearing pants... you're wearing a skirt... people turn really pretty shades of red. And then there are the pervs who hear something completely different... boo...

So this morning I started up the car, and there was a new, unfamiliar light on the dashboard, and a bell. I was a little freaked because I thought maybe it was the oil. I needed to stop and get gas anyway, so I pulled in and consulted the owner's manual... tire pressure monitoring system... sigh... So I drove slowish and called in the reinforcements to air up my tires. Luckily they didn't require much air so there's probably not a hole in my tire... they weren't flat by any means. It was just scary, because I'm tired of all the shit that keeps going wrong with my house, and didn't need my car to start falling apart, too. I already have to get my visor replaced next time I take it in. This will be the second visor I've had, and I don't abuse them, they're just cheap plastic and that's why they disintegrate so quickly. Easy peasy, except that it's floppy and is hanging by an electrical wire.

It's a holiday weekend... good time to paint the vinyl trim around my windows and put up soffit vent covers... if the weather's nice. If there's anything better going on, then I'll gladly sidetrack those projects. I should probably pick up my novel and have another pass, but I haven't felt like it. Not good. I haven't been writing. Also not good, even though I know where book 2 is headed, I still need to be writing that down. Bottom line is that I've gotten discouraged and I have to figure out how to overcome that. Maybe next week's a good time to have lunch with Rachel and get hyped back up, talking to another writer will probably help...
Yesterday I did diddly-squat.

Okay, not true. Not exactly. I made another disappointing recipe out of the Cook Yourself Thin cookbook... so far I've made four recipes... so far all four have sucked. This one actually made me want to vomit... and I'm not kidding.

I ended up surfing the net to find suppliers and information on how to make lotions, bath salts, and bath bomb fizzies. I tend to like scents that aren't readily available mass market, and I like the idea of controlling the ingredients that go into it, so -- if nothing else -- I would like to try it out as a hobby. But I would like it even better if I could turn it into a business. All of those things should have a decent shelf life, and I know there's a market there if you do it right. I'm thinking that if I do pursue it... a lot of people might get lotion for Christmas this year... I'm sorry, but things are tight right now and they'll just have to understand. More on that later. *

Funny thing happened while I was researching, I found several really interesting sites that were completely unrelated... that's how I think the internet contributes to short attention spans and ADD... you never finish anything because you're constantly distracted by other things. Information overload... but some good can come out of it, like angryalien.com... that's good stuff...

So, accordingly, I updated my Random Stuff page to add the pages that I really liked, and then I realized categories were beginning to reveal themselves and I reorganized the page to reflect that. Got to check 'sense of accomplishment' off my daily list. J/K.

One really cool website I found was The Simple Dollar. I like the way the guy writes, and the information is helpful, too. I quickly got addicted and spent no less than two hours reading his blogs and following links. Another is a website that my cousin, Beth introduced me to a few years back, Pioneer Woman. She's hilarious, but my favorite part of her website is that she includes yummy recipes, and she takes pictures of each stage in the process so you can see it (and I reiterate that she's hilarious). I want to be her when I grow up. There are a couple of others, but those are my two favorites at the moment. Check out the revamped Random page if you're interested.

So I am, once again, considering the name change to Job. I have a new home repair issue to contend with:

Exhibit# 1 - My toilet tank has been refilling itself on a fairly regular basis for the past month or so. I thought it was a leaky seal and was going to go get a part to fix it... eventually. My spidey senses weren't tingling. They were just mildly irritated at the fact that I would have to make a trip to Home Depot, because I still don't know where they moved to and I suspect it's the hellish high traffic area down the road that's going to cause me a lot of unnecessary stress. I hate playing dodgeball, especially with my car.

Exhibit# 2 - The last couple of weeks there has been a whine coming from my kitchen faucet when I turn it on... I remember that sound calmly being referred to as 'air in the line.' Eh, there wasn't a sense of urgency... it sounded like something that would eventually work itself out. The spidey senses didn't give a crap.

Exhibit# 3 - The last couple of days as the water was draining from my bathtub, there was a horrific, guttural sound originating from my kitchen sink (scary if you're not expecting it and haven't yet identified where it's coming from). Now... my spidey senses are a little freaked out by the gurgling, but they still weren't catching on to the urgency of the situation.

I'm going to sue my spidey senses for negligence. It was all starting to add up but I was oblivious because a few months back they worked on the water lines and some of that same shit happened.

Where it started to get ugly was (Exhibit# 4) when I opened my blinds this morning and saw the water coming up out of the pipe outside my master bedroom. Two things became apparent to me at that point - 1) the toilet had just been flushed, and 2) there was toilet paper on the ground surrounding the puddle that was forming around this geyser... and it was unrelated to the spirited game of pass the plunger we played last weekend.


So I called my insurance company and filed a claim. I'm assuming this has something to do with my foundation repair, and I'm hoping it's covered. It occurred to me to wonder if, since I have three different policies (homeowner's, windstorm and flood), do I also have three deductibles? I've already met my windstorm deductible, so do I also have to meet the homeowner's deductible, too? If the answer if yes, then S of a B... that sucks.

And I think I actually shot my own self in the foot... I stopped donating to charities because I don't have the extra dough, but I did still attempt to do a good deed by starting the coupon exchange, and then this happens... Gawd... can you imagine what would have happened if I had gotten around to volunteering to work with Habitat for Humanity??? Hopefully this link between good deeds and bad luck will fade by the end of the year and I can get back to being a good person again... I really want to eventually do H for H...

So I'm thinking that with the gig having been pushed out a week, and this new development, that's God's way of telling me to forget about Oklahoma. I think it's also his way of telling me to sell all that shit I bought on EBay (and Cook Yourself Thin) last year, back to people on EBay... instead of letting it sit in my closet of shame, unused, gathering dust and guilt.

Or maybe Suze Orman put a whammy on me for not having an emergency fund...

Or maybe should have the house exorcised...

So this is my parting nugget of wisdom... if you don't own a house... if you're thinking it's a good investment... that you get tax breaks... that you build equity... IT'S A LIE, PEOPLE!!! DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!!! YOU WILL NEVER GET OUT OF IT, WHAT YOU PUT INTO IT, AND WHEN YOU ADD UP EVERYTHING YOU'VE SPENT IT WILL SICKEN YOU!!!

Okay... I feel better now...
I warn you now -- I don't have much to blog about, so read on, but prepare to be fairly unimpressed. I also caution you that I'm feeling rambly today (those of you who know me are already cringing)...

I have been on a quest to find the perfect purple eyeshadow, and I think I may have found it... Goddess Minerals Plum Passion. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous color, and it's only $4. I'm loving the loose mineral eyeshadow, you can make it as dark or as light as you like. (I did mention that makeup is my latest obsession, right?) So far all of the samples I've gotten have been amazing, so sparkly and pretty and girly (Euphoric Dysphoria and Pink Quartz Minerals). While I'm gushing about makeup, Kat Von D's eyeshadow is awesome! I treated myself to it when a friend gave me an e-gift certificate to Sephora... it's the best.

Moving (randomly) on... I can't remember the magic I worked when I did it, but I somehow set up a search on Google and it automatically scans the web for the words 'query shark.' Sometimes it means that the Query Shark has eviscerated another query letter (which is what I'm hoping for), sometimes it means she was mentioned in someone's blog, other times it's just a blog about a shark (it apparently searches for each word independently). Today I ran across an author who is in the same boat as I am, more or less. She posted her query letter, mentioned Query Shark, and asked for opinions. I commented on it... I hope she doesn't take offense at some random stranger offering suggestions. I didn't go into the meat of the letter because I'm not an expert on what agents want so I don't feel like I'd be doing her any favors, I just pointed out some things I do feel confident about.

I'm trying to reach out and meet people in the writing community...

A friend also put me in touch with Rachel Brady, a friend of hers who recently got published. I felt a little awkward emailing her, but I also didn't want to let the opportunity pass me by. I didn't expect her to get back to me for a while, if ever. She was soooooooooooo nice, she even suggested that we meet for lunch, so I'm looking forward to that. It's good to meet someone who knows what this process feels like. Here's her website: http://www.rachelbrady.net/, her book sounds really interesting, so next time I place an order I will add hers to the list.

Tomorrow I get my hair cut by a new stylist. I'm skeered. Hair makes such a difference in how you look and it's hard to trust someone new with it. This one comes with high recommendations, so my fingers are crossed -- but I'm still nervous. I want a reverse angle bob like I already have - BUT - I want to keep it long, and I want layers and I want long, angled bangs -- the kind where they hold your hair and let the scissors slide down it. That doesn't sound impossible, does it???

And oh gawd... The Devil's Rejects is on IFC in a few minutes... that means it won't cost me anything (except my sanity) so I know I'm going to try to watch it while the opportunity is available. I also know it's a bad, bad idea but oh how I love Rob Zombie... He's an amazing artist and his concerts are so much fun. At this point in my life there are very few bands I care to see live anymore: Static-X, Rob Zombie, Metallica, and Papa Roach. If Alice in Chains comes to town I'll probably go see them, too. I saw Jerry Cantrell once, but I missed out on the old Alice because Layne Staley o.d.'d when they were supposed to come through. I have to say, I'm loving the new songs.

So back to Rob... (I warned you about the rambling)

I attempted to watch House of 1,000 Corpses once. I made it 30-45 minutes in, right up until the axe came out. Problem is, I had seen some clips as he played the song in concert, so I had an idea what to expect. I never made it to the part where the guy had scissors sticking out of his face.

I had two nightmares about the movie before I ever saw it. In one, Viggo Mortensen and I were on a bus full of guys at a bachelor party (and in all weirdness, I was a guy). These strippers in American flag bikinis were coming down the aisle asking everyone to drop their car keys into a plastic bucket, telling them that they didn't want anyone to drive home drunk. But Viggo and I smelled a rat, so we stuck our hands into the bucket and moves some keys around, but kept ours because we knew that they were really collecting keys so that once the violence started, no one could get away.

Second dream was me at a Rob Zombie concert. Everyone else was oblivious, but I saw the strange looking people shutting and locking the doors. I saw the guy with the axe and the manacles. A few other people did, too, but they thought it was all part of the show... and it was, sort of... except that we were also a part of the 'show.' They were going to kill us all. I started to leave but couldn't get through the crowd and I don't remember all of it, but I think we ended up on some remote island somewhere and I did escape, or I woke up...

My dreams are always incredibly vivid. I feel things... like the sensation of my teeth as I spit out the pieces when they fall out. I smell things... unfortunately it's usually during the nasty bathroom dream -- but once it was lemon dish soap and that was a nice change. Everything is in color, I don't ever remember a black and white dream. I write songs sometimes, though I can't remember them very well when I wake up. If I could design the houses that I see in my dreams, I swear I'd be rich. A lot of my dreams are repetitive, and I can remember dreams I had years and years ago. Sometimes I seriously wonder if they're dreams at all, or if I have another life on some alternate plane of existence. I think that's why I wake up tired all the time.

I just saw a commercial for a new Tim Burton movie, 9 it looks good...  It took me a while to get onboard with his movies, but I really like the sets he uses and it doesn't hurt that every single movie is scored by Danny Elfman. I heart Danny Elfman even more than I heart Rob Zombie. His music is so incredibly delicate... and then it's powerful... and evocative... and angelic... and twisted... Batman is still my favorite score, but I love them all. I'm still amazed as I watch the opening sequence to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, how he managed to capture a word: industrial.

Okay... enough blogging... I'm going to attempt to watch this movie... (funny how I had nothing to blog about and this is probably my longest blog ever... EEK!)
I take a break from writing... to write... god I'm an addict - somebody call Intervention and give them their most boring show ever.

Wanna hear a secret? I made a baby last night. Yep. On Bebo. She's adorable. Her name is Penelope and she's just a joy to have around... already sleeping through the night... never makes a fuss. In fact, most of the time she just sits there and stares at me with her big, green, anime eyes. She never blinks... or moves for that matter... Penelope's kind of boring, actually. Truth be told, I worry about Penelope's development. She doesn't seem to take an interest in much of anything (not even my best material) and I don't know what's become of her dirty diapers... because I haven't been disposing of them... Hope she's not eating them, but if she is... that might explain why her eyes are so big... Gah, that went downhill fast...

Day two - success. One soda, all food from the book, and in a couple of hours I will get on the treamill. Baby steps.

So... as I was editing, I remembered that I was going to talk about one very important thing I learned during the process of writing this book - never throw anything I've written away. I used to delete, delete, delete, and I can't tell you how many times I ended up regretting it. Just because something doesn't work in one place doesn't mean it's worthless - maybe you can change it up and move it to another location in the story, or it might generate an idea that you can run with, or it might even be useful... in a different story. And sometimes, well, it's just crap. But crap can be useful too - it might make you laugh, or you can look back on it and pat yourself on the back because hey - at least you don't write crap like that anymore. Or now you recognize crap when you see it. So now if I cut a sentence or paragraph from my story, I don't just delete it; I move it to my s-crap file in case I want to recycle it.

It's come in handy quite a few times.

For example, I wrote this a few months before I ever got started on this book, then I changed it up and used it in chapter one. Originally it was an exercise to describe how it felt to lose someone and have to host their funeral, especially when you have mixed emotions about the people involved, including the deceased (thanks to Hallmark channel for the inspiration). I'm always pushing myself to write something that people can feel, as if they're experiencing it for themselves, so that's what I was going for here... visceral.

I'm posting it as I originally wrote it, warts and all. Yes, I realize it's not perfect. I wrote it and walked away from it until I cannibalized pieces of it for Born on a Day When the Sun Didn't Shine. So to clarify, this hasn't been edited and I am aware that it's not my best effort.


The following material is copyrighted by Kristy Hutchison:

Here I stand, the focal point of a line that seems to stretch on for eternity. He had been loved, and he would be missed. That's what they tell me. Each of them puts it a different way, but it all boils down to the same thing.

It's awkward to stand here and talk to people I barely know, to accept their condolences on my loss when all I want to do is curl into a ball and disappear. Why should I be subjected to this public spectacle? It feels more like a social event than a viewing. They aren't here for me, they're here for him... and that bastard, he isn't here for me now either. I feel so angry, and so ashamed at myself for being angry. But I have to put on my thankful face... thank you for coming out, thank you for your kind words, thank you for the broccoli casserole.

How much longer can this possibly go on? I forgot to eat breakfast; I don't want to faint in front of him. I need to sit. Or cut my feet off so they won't throb anymore.

God. Why have I been so reliant on him? I don't even know where we keep our money. Where's the insurance policy? He never told me where the safety deposit box was. Come to think of it, I don't know much about anything really. This is just beginning and I'm already overwhelmed.

"Those flowers are from me... they were his favorite." Does she really think I care about flowers right now? Okay she does... and why shouldn't I? She went to all the effort of reaching into the cooler to grab them. But god, they're putrid, she must have spent a whole five bucks on them – if she spent more she got ripped off. They're beautiful, thank you.

I think I see the end of the line. Finally. This is almost over. "We'll drop by later to bring the side dishes." Who is she? "And don't worry dear, we'll stay to help clean up - you shouldn't have to worry about that at a time like this." She's right. I shouldn't have to worry about entertaining at a time like this. I haven't even cleaned the house since it happened. I'll be mortified if anyone wanders into the guest room.

If only he had family. If only he hadn't alienated mine. Might be easier if I didn't have to shoulder the burden of his memory for all of these people. They're starting to cluster now, tell stories about him. Some people are crying, but there are pockets of laughter, too. It doesn't seem right, the laughter. I bet they're telling the chicken story again. They always tell the chicken story. When my time comes I hope I've contributed more to the world than a bad chicken story that isn't even funny unless you were there.

"I always liked him in that suit." Thank you, I bought it two days ago, you have an excellent memory. "He looks so natural, they did a good job." Well yes... except for the orange tint to his skin and... is that mascara? "If you need anything don't hesitate to call us." I don't think you mean that... because I don't actually have your number.

"I'm sorry for your loss." Oh God. I can't believe she's here. She's got a lot of nerve to walk up and try to give me a hug. After fifteen years of marriage I knew something was up, but I hadn't thought it'd be her. If he was going to cheat on me I'd hoped it would be out of vanity, some pretty young thing I couldn't possibly compete against with my saggy ass and age spots. Some silly twit with nothing going on upstairs who couldn't hold his attention so he'd get bored and come home, chastened. But there's nothing remotely attractive about the old bag in front of me except for her Cadillac. I've never seen her this close up before. Gads, she looks like she's wearing a wig and I think she took a bath in Chanel No. 5. There's nothing more embarrassing than being left for an ugly woman... except, I suppose, being left for a man.

I was actually planning to leave him before they found the brain tumor, but by then I was stuck. I hate myself for admitting this, but I mostly stayed because it would look callous if I walked away. People would judge me because I abandoned him. They never liked me so the fact that he was stepping out on me wouldn't matter to them. In fact it would probably end up being my fault, in the final analysis it would be me who drove him to it. They're judging me even now. I can hear their whispers, they think I'm a snob. "Unfriendly" is the word they used. I guess next time I'll try to smile and tell knock-knock jokes so they'll like me.

I don't know what I'm going to do now that he's gone. I'm scared. I've never been alone before. Now I have to fumble my way through life like a newborn. I'm not equipped for this.
I used to watch Animaniacs and they had a segment called "Good Idea / Bad Idea" (see below) it was always pretty entertaining. One day I came up with my own suggestion:

Good idea: In order to relax yourself as you're giving a speech, imagine your audience in their underwear.

Bad idea: In order to relax yourself as you're giving a speech, imagine yourself in your underwear.

Well here's another bad idea - knowing you're a chickenshit, and attempting to watch The Haunting in Connecticut... alone... in the dark... because your cousin, who actually likes horror movies, said she's now afraid of monsters under the bed and had to sleep with the light on after she watched it (I'm paraphrasing), all because you've been watching Paranormal State with no problem and want to prove that you're a badass and can't be shaken when it comes to the ghosties. So here I am, writing this blog as I watch so that I don't flee the couch and go hide under the covers...

I'm going to share something morbid with you... my grandmother used to take pictures of people in their coffins. I never understood it. My mom eventually forbade it as being, not only embarassing, but taboo (was gonna say 'mortifying' but realized it was a poor choice of words). People have pretty strong feelings about that kind of photography. But... I think I get it. At least I get where it comes from. It was tradition, though not one I suspect my grandmother was involved in since we aren't British and she wasn't alive during the Victorian era.

My first introduction to this practice was during a screening of The Others.  I think they called it a Book of the Dead... pictures of corpses dressed up and posed like they were sleeping. The Haunting in Connecticut started the credits rolling with more pictures of the dead lying in state... not in a book, but in framed photographs. According to my brief foray onto the web, the practice was called memento mori. You can read about it here if you wish to.

I guess in my own way, I inherited that same morbid gene. I like old graveyards. I like them because they're peaceful, and the gravestones are usually pretty artistic. My favorite graveyard is in Metarie, Louisiana. There you can find all kinds of fascinating structures because they have to bury their dead above ground. I would like to go back again now that I have a digital camera and take better photos. I have a healthy respect for the dead, I try not to bother them, I hope they won't bother me. Guess I'll test that theory when I go to the Greyfriar's Cemetery in Scotland and face the MacKenzie poltergeist.

Crap, I'm out of things to talk about, and I'm only halfway through the movie... I guess it's alright, it looks like the ghost wants help of some kind, so maybe there will be a happy ending?

I'm so gullible.

So... um... The Others... One of my favorite movies. Very well done, suspenseful and poignant. Love the atmosphere that was created, and the twist at the end. Music was great, too... Very Alfred Hitchcock. (I get the 'monster under the bed' comment now... I'd like to say that I'm smart enough not to reach under there, but I would also like to say that when I hear unexpected noises, I don't investigate them)

I think if I lived in this house, I'd move already...

Oh - and Badoo was a Ba-Don't (ba-dum-dum). After 23 instances of the same conversation (he says, "hello," I say "hello" and then I wait for intelligent conversation to ensue... and I wait... and I wait... and it's like that scene in The Sweetest Thing where Christina Applegate is flirting with a guy and all they say to each other is "What's up?"...[insert smile]..."What's up with you?"...[insert coquettish look]..."What's up with you?"...[twirl hair]...); I simply gave up. The true epiphany came after I accidentally clicked on someone's profile and suddenly noticed that everyone had a tag line. One of the taglines was "wants to practice kissing on a girl," and that was actually one of the better ones.

In hindsight I probably should have kept my profile up because it was sure to give me something to write about if I ever get stuck for ideas...
Last night I had a dream that I put myself in cryostasis until I could find the right guy. It was up to my friends and family to screen my potential boyfriends so that I wouldn't waste all my vital years while I waited for Mr. Right to come along and sweep me off my feet. Then, even in my dream I started finding the flaws in the plan... if I slept through twenty years, I'd have nothing to talk about, nothing in common with these romeos. Would I have to wake up and be refrozen each time it didn't work out? Why not just have an arranged marriage? See? Even though my dreams are in color, there are always shades of grey.

I did a search on search engine optimization, to try and figure out how to get my website out there. Six hundred hits ain't bad, but I'm primarily swimming in the same pool and I want more exposure (careful what you ask for Kristy). I found all kinds of social networking sites, and that's apparently key to getting my name to come up on a Google search... as is linking... So I'm now a member of Badoo, Digg, Bebo, del.icio.us, and Live Journal. I'm juggling here... Truth be told I'll probably never log into these accounts after I slap my URL on them and it feels a little dirty. Heh Heh... I like it!

So now I can segue into my experiences on Badoo... I chose to sign up on Badoo because the Wiki I read claims there are 37 million members and it's popular across Europe. I thought to myself - 'I too would like to be popular in Europe! Sign me up!' Well, I am stunned. Ten minutes after registering on Badoo and I'm talking to thirteen guys (I keep updating the number). I never get this much action! It's a little awkward though, because I can't chitchat with people I don't know unless they bring me something to work with. Whether there's attraction there or not, I'm willing to chat. No harm in it, although there is certainly an air of menace that puts my shields on high... I hear my mother's voice telling me that everyone I meet on the internet is a maniac who wants to stuff me in a van and do horrible things to me... and the guy who 'wants to talk to girls about sex' just might be... he just might be...

So I'm sitting here talking to guys in Arizona, Illinois, Florida, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, and Italy... and 90% of the first contacts say, 'Hi.' So I say, 'Hi.' Or they say 'Hola' and I say 'Hi' because it's important to establish that I can't converse en espanol. I know I'm being nitpicky, but if you're going to initiate the contact, please bring something to the table... look at my profile and comment on something so that I have somewhere to go! Or say something zany and I'll play along. 'Hi' doesn't help me... True to the stereotype (and in this case it's a good one), the Italian man was very flattering, he seemed to want nothing more than to say, 'hello, you're pretty.'

This is going to be a train wreck, I can tell.

COMMENTS: Jeff, I tried to put the counter on the Scotland page so it wouldn't be so in-your-face... I'm trying to be sensitive to your envy, lol!
First - a couple of random thoughts:

1. The frozen dinner I had for lunch puported to contain chicken and stuffing with mashed potatoes. What I found inside the box were two strips of chicken sitting atop a pile of soggy croutons smothered in gravy. Ah those crazy marketers... you're a wily bunch who rule the world with your versions of the truth... lol

2. This morning as I drove into work, a security guard - who I've never seen before - said, "welcome back!"... How did he know I was out yesterday?...

On to the nibbling...

Yesterday I sent out several more query letters. It was a matter of getting off my duff, delving deeper into the database and taking more chances (primarily broadening the search parameters from 'paranormal romance' to 'women's fiction' and 'commercial fiction').

...and it might just pay off! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

This afternoon I checked my email and the dread filled me... a response... if I opened it would it tell me that they appreciated my submission but it was a pass... or... *click* ... would they?... *gasp* ... did they just?... OMG, they did! They just requested the full manuscript! Someone wants to read my story! Someone that I don't know!!! Someone who knows publishers!

For those of you who write, you know how monumental this feels... It's not a rejection. It's not a yes, but it's closer to a yes than I was yesterday... and they requested a full, not a partial. It's step 0.5 in the process of getting published, but it's a step that I've certainly never taken before. It's exhilerating and terrifying, because now it's real, now I have a shot - and I'm a perfectionist, so I don't know if I'm ready. After the immediate thrill, there was horror: Did I sell myself short? Is it the best it can be? Did I edit it as much as it needs to be edited? Should I have waited for all of my proofers to finish it first? Did I jump the gun? The only solution I could come up with was to trust that I have put a lot of effort into it, and hope that they like it despite its flaws.

I'm open to criticism. I know a lot of people say that and don't necessarily mean it, but I am. I'm proud of what I've written, but I recognize that there's always room for improvement, and I am definitely willing to listen to the professionals. As I've gotten copies back from my proofers, my thought process has been to:

-- Immediately recognize the critque as valid and make the change (spelling, grammar, things out of sequence, comments that strike a chord)

-- Take the critque into consideration and decide whether I agree with it or not, and if not, I wait to see if more than one person brings up the same issue (grey area)

-- Completely ignore it as irrelevant (something I intentionally wrote to be ambiguous, something that will play into the second book)

Typically I toggle between the first two. I don't get upset with the person for being honest, because I'm asking them for honesty (I do request that they be nice about it though). I don't take it personally, even though it's sometimes difficult, because it is all a matter of opinion and there's no point in getting upset about it. I'll tell you something - being a proofreader takes guts, and I am humbled that my friends agreed to do it, that they trust me not to become irrational!

I know just about diddly about agents (with regard to who the best one is). I read their profiles and usually try to find a sentence that jumps out at me... loves a good vampire story... enjoys finding new talent... really likes a hero with a sense of humor... something that resonates with me. I sort of judge them the way they judge me, to see if I think we're a good fit. I honestly don't know who I'll end up with, only that I will know when it feels right, and that will be the perfect agent... for me.

To put a perfect cap on the day - it looks like it might rain! We need rain... but... yesterday it looked like it was going to rain, too... and it did a lot of grumbling, but not much raining... Right now the sky is a very, very dark grey... Eh, I have pizza coming (the world's best pizza)... and if it rains, I'll feel bad that the poor delivery guy had to get out in it to deliver my food... so it's definitely going to rain... because I feel too good right now and I need to be taken down a peg (kidding... I don't really, I'm humble I swear!).

Oh yeah... I hear the sweet, sweet sound of heavy drops hitting the concrete (and just in time for the pizza guy, as I predicted)...
Last night as I lay in bed I watched Taboo on the National Geographic Channel. I really wish I hadn't, but it sounded innocent enough, it was entitled "Healers," and was going to focus on alternative healing practices... Then came the urine part... One of the guys they profiled claims that since things come full circle, you should drink your own urine to derive the health benefits of something that came from your own body. He drinks a glass of fresh urine every morning and claims it's beneficial in fighting everything from cancer to the common cold. Even more amazing, he has people coming to him to learn the practice. Even though they seem to be as repulsed by it as I am, he bangs on the drums, it relaxes them, and they do it. Pretty magical drums.

I'm thinking they can't be that smart to begin with, because... what's to learn?

Step 1 - pee in a cup
Step 2 - drink it...
Step 3 - barf into toilet
Step 4 - flush
...or just take the shortcut and pee directly into the toilet and flush. My stomach began to churn as I watched him put a glass of yellow liquid to his lips. The only reason I didn't barf is that I convinced myself that it was beer.

This is an interesting article on the subject. I'm not convinced, so don't expect to find me walking around in the mornings with a cup of it in my hands, it feels icky enough when I have to carry the cup with my own urine sample in it at the doctor's office. I can't imagine starting my day that way (or any part of my day for that matter). From a practical standpoint I wonder about bacteria, because when you're giving a urine sample they tell you: "To perform this test, first urinate a small amount into the toilet bowl to clear the urethra of any contaminants. Then, collect a sample of urine in a clean or sterile container. About 1 - 2 ounces of urine is needed for a test. Remove the container from the urine stream without stopping the flow. You may finish urinating into the toilet bowl. Take the sample to the lab."

I suppose in some respects, this is ancient medicine. They claim that people in India and China, as well as native American indians, did it and some still do it, but back in the day they also did several other things that weren't terribly smart. And they thought the Earth was flat.

In Jean Auel's Earth's Children series, Ayla used urine to bleach leather... that I can understand, it's still kinda gross, but it was also kind of smart especially since there was no scientific basis for it at the time. And astronauts do essentially drink their own urine - but it's been filtered and treated and turned back into water... it's not fresh from the tap, so to speak. I might still have issues putting that cup to my mouth, but it's definitely not the same as what they were showcasing last night. I know that your own urine is sterile; I know that because when I got my navel pierced I was given a generic sheet that included cleaning instructions for genital piercings (something else I don't understand, but is somehow less startling to me than this drinking thing). That said, there are lots of sterile things you don't want to ingest, like isopropyl alcohol.

I guess whatever works... I don't think it's illegal (although it might be), it's just disgusting. Personally, I have no wish to get to know my bodily wastes any better than I have to; if it were up to me I wouldn't have to go to the bathroom at all (and neither would my cats). I would have to be in dire straights to drink urine... pretty dire indeed.

And since I always get those random thoughts going through my head, I'll share the two that popped in as I watched the guy down a cup: What does his breath smell like? Would anyone kiss him knowing what he just put into his mouth?
I know I said I'm not going to talk about work, but this is vague and it would be amusing to me if I didn't actually experience it for myself... Each month I get to look forward to doing 'best estimates'... that means splicing people into tenths of a person and distributing them across several charge numbers in a vain attempt to accurately reflect the projects and tests people are going to be working on for the upcoming fiscal month... other people do this by gazing into a crystal ball or reading palms... best part is when the (aptly named) 'best estimates' are wrong and we get to explain why... they don't actually accept 'because they're best estimates' as an excuse. After working with numbers all day, inputting tenths of an hour for 125 people across 15 different charge numbers, I'm a little bleary-eyed and have a slight headache. So I came home, ate dinner, planted all but one of my remaining plants, watered them so they don't die, worked out on the treadmill for 20 minutes, and now I'm exhausted. All I have left in me are these random thoughts:

1 - I'm all for recycling, but sometimes you just want the crap off your counter.

2 - A great title for a book would be the error message I get when I try to save anything to a Microsoft excel 2007 file: A minor loss of fidelity.

3 - Waterhoses are kinky, and not in a good way. I think I have a blister from trying to disconnect the waterhose that for god-knows-what-reason, the foundation repair people saw fit to join together (the end that goes to the spigot and the end that you put the sprayhead on... they don't belong together...).

4 - This guy looks eerily like Robert Pattinson - who also looks eerily Robert Pattinson-like.

And I talked to the contactor next door... I'm so looking forward to seeing that house put back on the market. It was a foreclosure and the people who bought it paid somewhere around 40k under market price for it. But they've had this guy and his helpers over there almost every day for a month... putting up a fence, pouring a patio, installing cabinets, tiling the floor, doing foundation work, installing new windows (geez, it's almost like my house). Anyway, my curiosity is piqued because by the time they get done I'm thinking they'll be lucky to squeeze a 10k profit out of it (realtors suck up a lot with their 6% commissions so I'm thinking more like 5%). Anyway, the contractor invited me over to see it when it's finished, so I think I'm gonna peek inside and see what it's like (and get all jealous of the new floors). He says it should be done next week (and mentioned something about having almost redone the whole ceiling? WTF?).

And now I'm going to pop an aspirin, relax a little and then turn in for the night... morning always comes too soon... and one of my cats (I have two... I'm not the cat lady...) wakes me up because when she cleans herself she makes this horrible slurping noise that just turns my stomach... I can't stand it, so I push her with my leg to get her to stop but she goes right back to it and by the time she stops... I'm awake. I should learn to make friends with sleeplessness, fighting it doesn't seem to do any good, it wins every time... zzzz