Sunday, December 27, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
and yep. That's me in all my Homecoming Queen glory. Okay, so it was only a junior high then. And sure the crown was made from cardboard. But at least I was a Queen, not just a measly countess.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Earlier this year, I had a very unique Google experience. My father, a WWII pilot, asked me to see if I could confirm the precise date on which his best friend had been killed during the war. Armed with just a name, I clicked on a link that took me to a page containing photographs of a cemetery. Specifically, a young man stood next to a cross. Knowing Google, I wasn’t sure of the significance−if any. There wasn’t a visible name on the cross and, at best, I figured a random American had taken the picture to honor the nameless dead.
I continued my search, but I kept going back to that page...until, suddenly, my mouse hovered in just the right place and I saw that the picture had a title−Robert B. Pfusch by Chris Yunker.
Still a random American?
Somehow I contacted Mr. Yunker (via his flickr account, I think) and told him why I was writing. Sure enough, he replied immediately with the news that Robert B. Pfusch was his grandfather and that he would forward my email to his mother.
I was rather blown away since I’d assumed Mr. Pfusch had died without having children.
Soon, I had an email from Bobbie, the daughter who was born six months after her father was killed overseas. She asked if my father had known her dad well.
In reply, I wrote her a lengthy letter of what I knew, including the fact they’d been fraternity brothers back in North Dakota. When she read my response, she realized that my dad was the man in her parents’ wedding photograph−their best man. She said she cried throughout my letter.
What followed was a back-and-forth correspondence between two daughters of WWII vets−one who never knew her father and one who was exceedingly grateful to have had so many years with hers.
On this day that we honor our veterans, I’d like to pay special tribute to Robert B. Pfusch and the sacrifice he made so many years ago.
He is not forgotten.
Monday, November 02, 2009
In the meantime, BICHOK, folks. (Butt in chair, hands on keyboard.)
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Here's a couple choice photos of moi from last Saturday night. Go, Octomom! I won a ribbon and a Starbucks gift card for "most original." I think it was the cooler of frozen embryos (chocolate covered ice cream treats) that really propelled me to the win. Or maybe it was the introductory phrase, "Hi, I'm Octomom. As you can see" (gesturing toward crotchal area) "I've got babies coming out the wazoo." And yes, that's a test tube I used for a wine glass.
Ah, Halloween. What a nice distraction from heart valves and surgical procedures!
Monday, October 26, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Okay, I lied about the pig. That one wasn't offered. And the preponderance of guilt lies with the clicker.
Click click click.
And while it's clicking away, let me just run and get my protime numbers tested for all that Coumadin I'll have to take for the rest of my life.
Not an appealing option.
Speaking of unappealing options, how about that traditional surgery whereby the doc rips my sternum down the middle?
Yep, that's the recommendation.
Methinks it's time to entertain serious alternatives. I mean, they exist. Why can't I have them??
Friday, October 16, 2009
Yeah, I'm still fanning myself.
Don't get me wrong--I'm still headed for heart surgery, but with only one item on the menu. AND (keeping ALL fingers crossed) there's a chance I'll be able to have a less invasive technique--y'know, one that doesn't include ripping my sternum in half.
Anyway, so I broke my cherry yesterday, hospitalwise. My first "johnnie," my first, admission bracelet, and yes...my first bedpan. Guess it all had to happen sooner or later, huh?
Mostly I was BORED having to lie in bed for 5 hours. (Thanks, balloon boy, for providing the entertainment!) So, naturally, I took the opportunity to snap a pic.
This is what a woman with clear arteries looks like!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Oh, I've got parents, but geez. I'm currently taking care of them.
And there's my sister-in-law, but she's had enough experience with antiseptic-smelling waiting rooms to last a life time.
Hence, I'm kinda winging it. Here a friend, there a friend, everywhere a friend, friend. Ha.
I mean, doesn't someone have to be in charge of me once I enter those double doors?
And what about when I get out? Thursday is just the angiogram--an outpatient procedure--and I've had to make lists and schedules as though I were taking off on a three-week cruise.
Let the fun begin....
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
DON'T DRIVE FOR FIVE FRIGGIN DAYS.
Uh, hello? What the hell?
Turns out they put some sorta plug in your groin (there's a pretty thought) after the procedure, and the motion of stepping on and off between the brake and the gas might disturb the little sucker.
Okay, this news means I'm gonna have to do some fine-tuning of, y'know, my LIFE.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
BUY THE TRIP INSURANCE.
Let's recap, shall we?
April - Puerto Vallarta for five days. Swine flu swept in and took my $1200 with it. (Let the record show, I wouldn't have allowed the little cooties to screw up my vacation, but since the bars were closed...)
June - Portland, Oregon. Canceled weekend visit with relatives when Daddy went into the hospital. Monetary loss: about $150. I think I have another $150 toward a trip sometime in the next year.
July - Washington, D.C. for the annual writer's conference I attend. Had to cancel when...well...all that crap hit the fan. Monetary loss: $450 for the conference and then (get this) I had to pay $150 to recoup the frequent flyer miles I'd used for the $5 airline ticket.
September - The Corque Hotel in Santa Ynez. Canceled after the deadline when I discovered my ticker could explode at any moment. $150.
More advice? Don't book any future trips with me.
Friday, October 02, 2009
Then the shit hit the fan, and I became (cough) otherwise engaged. Shot off an email to Ms. Faust, begging for time and she graciously gave me until October first. Next thing I knew, three months had flown by so I sent in the three chapters this past Wednesday night.
I have to say, hitting "send" nearly made me feel like I was back in the writing game.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
For those of you out of the loop, I'm currently looking at heart surgery. Am thinking, should I blog this episode of my life? Do I have the energy? At least I could use ye here blog as a repository for info, I guess.
To wit, here's the update of the day:
Just to keep you updated, I did the treadmill test today. I was scared to death!! Especially when they tell you stuff like, "well, the reason you couldn't eat for six hours before the test is because in case you have to go straight to surgery, you need to be on an empty stomach." Yikes! By the time I finally stood up (after waiting and waiting on the table) to take the treadmill, I was a bit dizzy just from nerves. Then they give you all these instructions about 'tell us if you have pain here or pain there or you're dizzy or you're short of breath etc. etc'--I was afraid I wouldn't remember them all! So, of course, I'm doing as instructed--staring straight ahead--at this picture (kind of Monet-esque) of trees with all these leaves, and I swear to God, the LEAVES were making me dizzy! I almost told them to stop the test; I truly thought I was having the reaction that would send me to surgery. And then I got it together, focused on my own reflection in the glass, and was fine. It wasn't one of those tests where they just keep ratcheting up the incline and speed (whew, thank God), they had a target rate programmed in. That comforted me. I only had to walk for six minutes and I made it to the end. (Yay)
She said my "capacity for exercise" was slightly diminished, and I thought...only slightly?? Well, hey! Bring on the margaritas!
Okay, but bottom line, she DID say, yeah...I have to have this valve replacement but it's not a matter of TOMORROW; more like within the next couple of months and, to tell you the truth, this was the best news I could have heard.
There's still the issue of the other arteries--she basically said they're probably screwed cuz it all goes hand-in-hand, but oh well. So I'll do the one-stop shopping thing. I gather that the reasoning is, why do stents when you're gonna have the heart available for bypass? (Ugh. Did I just type BYPASS?)
Anyway...I guess I must have done a good SELL to my parents over the phone cuz they practically high-fived me when I got there. (Not sure if they misunderstood something, but oh well!)
After the appointment, I picked up some fancy new lipsticks, had lunch on the patio of my favorite restaurant with one of my best friends, and well...life is GOOD at the moment!!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
The good news is that both are going to get better.
I was wrong. So tragically wrong.
After improving for six days, things went to hell and my brother died a week later. Meanwhile, my father is undergoing treatment for a tumor on his spine. Not sure a remedy exists to cure his breaking heart--nor how much "better" he'll ever be.
Life has taken a huge u-turn, but I'm coping.
And, at this point, I'm finished blogging about it.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Taking a brief hiatus while the current crisis works its way out. Long story short, both my dad and my brother are in the hospital in totally unrelated incidents. The good news is that both are going to get better.
More when I'm able to breathe.....
Monday, June 22, 2009
Excuse the heads. Hey, I had to, so why not you?
Yep. Took in a midweek viewing of Bette Midler's Vegas act last week...and...well...um...hate to say it, but can we spell g-e-r-i-a-t-r-i-c? I mean, I just KNOW Busby Berkeley is turning over in his grave every time Bette and her cast of dancing girls do their production number in gaily decorated motorized scooters. (Yeah, the running gag about Bette and her fans being ancient was a real scream.)
On a positive note, the woman can sure run from stage left to stage right (and back again) without losing her breath. Not sure if, given the opportunity, I could equal the feat.
Anyway, so yeah...wind beneath my wings...the rose...yada yada.
Let's be honest--she ain't no Donny and Marie (who have their own elder-magnet gig across the street).
So here's my current conclusion about Vegas: it's for the very young (Beyonce's comin' to town) or the very old and/or tragically unhip (hey, isn't Barry Manilow still at the Hilton?).
I'm pretty sure I fall into the 'none of the above' category.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Hence the reappearance of Twitter on my blog (see? Over there on the right?) because now, in truth, I'm killing THREE birds with one stone. Plus, I can tweet from my cell...y'know, to keep y'all TOTALLY appraised of the exciting haps in real time. (Hey, if it's good enough for Iranian protesters, well...)
Happy tweet reading, everyone. I'll try to be pithy and memorable.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Ah, but don't get me started on the definition of "published." Or the fact that in the eyes of RWA (Romance Writers of America), I am a published author. Big debate on that subject today, which bodes for an interesting national conference in D.C.
Spears anyone? Knives?
Oh, P.S...yes, 26 DOES refer to my 26th sale to True Romance. Yay, me.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Monday, June 08, 2009
Now,don't get me wrong--the part where you automatically send me an email when it's time for a refill--LOVE it! And the on-line thingy where I only hafta fill in the blanks--that's pretty cool, too!
But, um...the part where you let someone else walk off with my meds? Not liking that part so much.
Case in point: Last week you notified me via email that my prescription for Vytorin was due to be refilled, so I clicked through, completed the on-line form, and received my confirmation.
Then I stopped by on Saturday morning to pick it up..and, guess what?
Your pharmacist couldn't find the little baggy with my name on it. He searched and searched, but no luck.
So then he checked his computer, and guess what? He said, "Ah, yes. Here it is. We filled it on June 4th, and you picked it up already. Will there be anything else?"
Imagine my dismay.
No, wait. My growing concern.
Not for my OWN mental health, dammit. For his.
Because I'm QUITE CERTAIN I didn't make a trip to Rite Aid that I've forgotten. And, as I informed the pharmacist, since I'm single and have no children, no one in my family did EITHER.
Which leaves only one conclusion.
They gave my prescription to the wrong person.
Not good, huh?
(Hence, dear Rite-Aid, you're probably gettin' my drift on why I'm recommending you check into your system.)
Anyway, the pharmacist screwed around on the computer for awhile longer, trying to conjure up a facsimile of the signature in the transaction...but he couldn't make it work, and geez...the customers were stacking up...so could I move to the side while he took care of them...?
Now, if it were me (and MY JOB) I might have been a bit concerned about the implications of the situation. For instance, even though, sure--my cholesterol medication isn't gonna put anyone six feet under, we don't know what that person was SUPPOSED to be getting instead.
And here it was, two days after they'd picked it up--not to mention PAID FOR IT--and they hadn't called the pharmacy...?
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Check it out.
I don't know about you, but when he got to the part about a shaker for Calabasas today, I donned my most fashionable hardhat and started checking supplies.
P.S. Thanks to nephew Brian for the heads-up!
Monday, June 01, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I know. Me, too.
Can't figure it out. Is it summertime, or something? Maybe the rising mercury zaps language processing abilities. God knows, I've got topics to spew on. Last weekend's trip to Harrah's Rincon (btw, I think I'm over gambling)...but then, no. Nothing really special to report there (apologies to my travel partners, but seriously. Can you think of a memorable moment?)
A fascinating internet contact...but maybe too personal to go into now. Will save for later, when I'm more certain the contactee won't mind her story splashed around the globe.
We're kinda in between reality shows, so nothing to vent about on that score (except, wowser--that cougar on the New Jersey housewives--simply amazing).
Deaths. Oh, yeah. A few of those to comment on, but not-so-entertaining, y'know?
Finally, what about my so-called writing career? Yeah baby, now there's a short post!
Don't get me wrong. Sometimes having nothing going on worth blogging suits me just fine.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Over time, it seems, all good email addresses morph into spam-filled monsters riddled with useless incoming crap. That's when you abandon them for fresh new.
Not me, though. I can't bear to give up old email addresses cuz I'm afraid of missing a customer. Instead, I hop on over to webmail, peruse the sender and subject list, then do a mass delete of nearly 99% of what's there before it ever hits my inbox. Otherwise, I'd be wading through the following:
Shape the Future of Technology with TechSay
Test & Measurement World
TMW Featured White Paper: Limited Access Testing on the Agilent i3070
Defense Daily Job Center
Join Today for FREE
STW #502: Commanding the Atlantic
GPS Tools for Measuring, Estimating and Delivery on Property, gives Services an Edge with Go iLawn.com
The Eastwood Company
Clearance - Save Up to 65%!
FDAnews Management Reports
Spreadsheet Validation: New Compliance Methods in 2009
Sign up for eNewsletters
Procurement Technology Bulletin
Includes: How to Drive Contract Labor Cost Savings - Free Webinar
4 More Days of "Extra 30% off EVERYTHING" + The Control Suit that doesn't LOOK like a Control Suit
Ends Monday! Up to 65% Off Swim, 150+ Styles. Plus, Free Shipping Offer. Details Inside.
KM Bulletin: Enhance SharePoint People Search
Jarrod N. McKee
Canadian Rx Medications No Doc Needed
Weekly Poll- Complete and enter for a chance to win an Amazon gift card
KM Bulletin: Enhance SharePoint People Search
Priority Club News
Stay any 2 Nights, then get 1 Free. Register now.
Purchasing Information Alert
Exclusive steel-bar report on prices and demand
Patent Up Your Biologics to Protect Yourself From Generic Competition
Summer Dresses! Fun, Sexy & Easy to Wear.
spam Summary 05/22/2009
SME Daily Executive Briefing
May 22: Philadelphia-Area Manufacturing Contraction Slows
How-To Guides for Government Contractors
MSC Service to USA
MSC Service to USA
Memorial Day Sale Starts Now: Netbook w/ Windows XP $199.99, Plasma Ball $9.99, 4GB microSDHC Card $6.99,..
Drug Daily Bulletin
Court Documents Reveal AstraZeneca's Marketing Techniques for Seroquel
Device Daily Bulletin
FDA Submits Reporting Data on Emergency Devices
YouTube Launches U.S. Government Portal
Frederick's of Hollywood
Low prices. Free shipping. It’s Superstar Sale.
Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa
Poolside Island Music This Weekend
Tunics & Leggings are from $10 + extra 30% off EVERYTHING + buy flips flops, get a pair FREE!
San Gabriel Valley Tech CEO Round Table on 6/5
Southern California Concert Update
Design News Golden Mousetrap
LAST CHANCE: Best Product Contest
T&MW's Test Industry News
USB 3.0 Demonstration; IEEE Call to Help Earthquake Victims; May Challenge; More
Design News Materials & Fastening
Johns Hopkins Issues Warning about PVC Medical Systems
Hurry! VIP Dress Event SALE ends at midnight + extra 30% OFF EVERYTHING!
The ECN Daily
Sony Slashes Suppliers
Last Chance To Download New Study: 5 Escapable Warning Signals of Manager Derailment
Last Chance To Download New Study: 5 Escapable Warning Signals of Manager Derailment
Avionics and Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum Conference & Expo
Last Week to Pre-Register for FREE Expo Pass to the Biggest Event Ever
Toxic Cocktails for Marine Brains; Junk DNA Finds Meaning; Eco-Friendly Wood Pulping; New Products
The Smart Sourcing Summit: Managing Risk in Uncertain Times
FDAnews Clinical Trials
Adverse Event at Your Clinical Trial? Get the Latest Facts Here
4:15: Dinner for 4. Under$15.
1995 Falcon 900B-151 Major Price Reduction
Oops! A Clarification About Your 4X Multiplier on May 23
Please Update Your Information
Just Posted Jobs from GE, NASA, FAA and More
E-newsletter: Cockpit Displays
Transistor theory flaw; 5-D discs to store terabytes and more; Imaging clouds with CT
Test & Measurement World
Test & Measurement World
Analysis of the FDA's China Office's Recent Enforcement Actions
The Editors of Blue Tops
Blue Tops Daily Email
GlobalMarket Product Alert
Auto Parts and Accessories - Product Alert from Globalmarket
GlobalMarket Product Alert
Auto Parts and Accessories - Product Alert from Globalmarket
EDN Webcast Round-up
Upcoming and Available Now Webcasts from EDN
EDN Webcast Round-up
Upcoming and Available Now Webcasts from EDN
Learn language on the go with Everywhere Audio, just $24.95 (50% off)!
Compliance Boot Camp: FDA Insiders Train You
AdForum's Top 5 Ads This Week
World Aerospace Dat
Yep, and that's just this morning's mail. Can you spot the ONE I didn't delete?
Saturday, May 16, 2009
November 2007 (yes, that 2007): Send electronic query letter on Project C to Agent A.
December 2007: Receive request for partial.
December 2007: Mail requested material.
August 2008: Receive request for full manuscript.
August 2008: Mail requested material.
May 2009: Receive rejection.
Like clockwork, huh?
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Don't they look like jewels of the universe? These are images photographed from that indefatigable workhorse, the Hubbell Space Telescope. (Go, astronauts! Fix the little guy all up, will ya?)
(*Collage of images shamelessly ripped off The Drudge Report--no clue where he got it himself.)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
For those not in the know, Women's World can be found at your local grocery store's checkout stand. It's a weekly magazine loaded with pieces on health, beauty, family...yada, yada, yada...and two items of fiction: an 800-word romance and a 500 (?)-word mystery. I don't know about the mysteries, but the pay for romance is $800. (Up until recently, they required 1,000 words for--yep!--$1,000. One thousand words translates to about 4 manuscript pages, so the moola is nothing at which to achoo.)
Anyway, so yeah. I've been trying my hand, but so far, no luck. Yesterday, for the first time, the form rejection included writer guidelines. (Ha. I'm thinking they said: "Geesh. Get a clue. Here, study up.") After reading them, the light bulb went on. Y'see, I've been writing these sweet little stories with nice 'ahas!' at the end, but...um...no 'relationship dilemma.' (Hm. Just re-read the story I posted below--it's not ENTIRELY devoid of relationship dilemma. Oh, well.)
What the hell...enjoy. (And excuse the funky formatting.)
My family meant well when they surprised me with a two-month old cocker spaniel for my birthday, but I had reservations. “Who’s gonna take care of this little guy all day?”
“You’ve got a safe backyard,” my mother pointed out, “and a nice park up the street where you can walk in him the evenings after work.” She patted my arm. “The exercise will do you good.”
I groaned, but the fluffy ball of fur with the lopsided ears enchanted me. Without warning, he jumped into my lap, his forlorn eyes begging for approval. Beside me, my sister Molly laughed. “See? A match made in heaven, Ellie.”
I knew what they were up to. Mom longed for another grandchild and Molly yearned to become an aunt. Since I’d squelched their schemes to find me a man, they’d resorted to man’s best friend. Peering into soft velvet puppy eyes, I could hardly fault their reasoning.
Two days later, Max made his official debut at the local doggie park. At first, I stood on the sidelines as a handful of fellow owners performed an assortment of tasks with their pets. One woman jogged around the track, her sleek black lab preceding her with a stately gait. In the center of the park, a teenage boy tossed a Frisbee while his black-and-white mutt repeatedly lunged after it.
Suddenly, Max growled.
“What is it, boy?”
From seemingly nowhere, a dog off its leash−and no owner in sight−bounded toward us, teeth bared. With my heart in my throat, I scrambled to grab Max.
“Brutus!” A man emerged from behind a hedge, cradling his own small dog. “Brutus, stay,” he warned.
“He’s yours?” I asked, my voice quivering.
“No, but I’m familiar with the way his owner flaunts the rules. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen his dog off-lead.”
The menacing animal sniffed at the air, then trotted away, presumably in search of more interesting prey. I breathed a sigh of relief. “Thanks for the rescue.”
“No problem. The name’s Michael, by the way. And this is Buster.”
“Hi. I’m Ellie, and this wriggly mass of fear is Max.”
He tousled Max’s right ear, chuckling. “Cocker spaniel?”
“Yes, and yours?”
“Same,” he said, beaming. “I see we have something in common.”
As we discovered over the next couple of weeks, Max and Buster’s breed wasn’t the only thing Michael and I shared in common. Foreign movies, popcorn with real butter, and roaring logs in the fireplace made the list as well. One day I suggested we get together for all three, but he instantly stiffened, yanking unnecessarily on Buster’s leash. “Maybe,” he said. “I’ll have to let you know.”
The vague response set off mental alarm bells. “Michael, are you married?”
His eyes widened. “No, of course not.” We continued walking in silence, then he paused. “I was married,” he said, his jaw twitching. “Sally and I divorced five years ago.”
Instinctively, I touched his sleeve. “I’m sorry. Any kids involved?”
“No. My ex didn’t want children.”
My heart ached for Michael. Especially since I could tell by the way he handled Buster, he’d make a fabulous father.
He smiled wistfully. “Sometimes you have to accept what Fate has in store for you. Becoming a parent wasn’t in the cards.”
“Nonsense. You’re young. You’ll fall in love again.”
The next afternoon, Michael and Buster didn’t show up for our daily walk. Sadly, Max and I trudged through our usual routine, but our hearts weren’t in it. “Sorry boy,” I told my canine companion, “guess I scared him off.”
An entire week passed, then suddenly there they were−waiting for us as though no time had elapsed. Michael wore a wide grin and even Buster seemed to harbor a secret. I didn’t hold back. “We missed you,” I said as the two dogs exchanged slurpy greetings.
“Same here,” Michael said. “A lot.”
I lifted my chin. “I guess you were busy?”
“Uh-huh. With obedience school. I should have told you but it slipped my mind.” A twinkle rose to his eye. “You’ll never guess who we ran into.”
Clueless, I shrugged.
“A dog breeder by the name of Bob Turner.”
“Sorry. I don’t think I know him.”
“No, but your mother does. When I mentioned you and Max, Bob remembered selling a puppy from Buster’s litter to a woman for her daughter’s birthday.”
I blinked. “You mean...?”
Michael nodded, his smile stretching from ear to ear. “Buster and Max are brothers. Which makes you Mom...”
“...and you Dad,” I finished, matching his grin. “We’re parents.”
“Must be Fate,” he said.And a perfect beginning.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Seriously. As you'll recall, last year I concluded that nothing--certainly not my health, nor my happiness--is worth the agonizing torture of a ten-minute period wherein I'm to hawk my manuscript (and perhaps myself) to an industry professional such as an editor or agent. The looming event hovers over my entire conference experience like a huge shroud of doom.
So yeah, sayonara pitching.
But then an idea hatched. First, my reasoning was that if (IF, mind you) I were to entertain the notion (merely the NOTION, mind you), of signing up for an appointment, I'd go for an editor because, after all, the majority of editors are unapproachable in any other way without an agent. So, there. Perfect justification for choosing an editor appointment over an agent appointment (or for electing to make an appointment at all).
Next (ah, and here's the genius), I decided to sign up for a group appointment. Y'know, something about safety in numbers and all.
Once I decided to go after an appointment, I felt a small sense of elation. Hey, every little conference benny grabbed helps justify the big bucks I'm shelling out to attend.
Anyway, this is all MOOT because I couldn't even log-on to the RWA site this morning. Yes, as usual, the whole process apparently went haywire, and by the time I could view the list of participating editors still available, forget it. The ones seeking the stuff I write were already snapped up.
Okay, so maybe this was God's way of looking out for me....?
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
You just KNEW the whole trip-to-Mexico-cancellation debacle was gonna turn into ongoing blog fodder, didn't you?
Ding ding ding. You get the gold star.
So, today I receive an email from Travelocity with a subject line saying: "How Did We Do?"
Well. (See, I'm figuring it's one of those automatically-generated messages--you know the kind--"Dear Randy, we hope you enjoyed your recent trip to blah, blah, blah..." Followed by: "We hope you'll turn to Travelocity for ALL your future travel needs, yada, yada." So, I'm rubbing my hands together in glee, ready to TELL THEM EXACTLY HOW IT WENT.)
Only one problem. Apparently, they had a different (more diabolical, I'm sure!) reason for dropping a note, cuz this is what the email said:
You were recently contacted by the ProCC team at Travelocity because of a swine flu update associated with your trip. We value your opinion and invite you to share your feedback by answering the following short survey that should take less than 3 minutes to complete.
Huh? Exactly WHEN I was contacted by the ProCC team (whatever THAT is), and by what means did they supposedly contact me? Inquiring minds wanna know. (Oh, you mean the email that was a RESPONSE to MY email? That one?) Funny, how reading the above doesn't imply what truly transpired, isn't it?
Even funnier--when I clicked on the so-called "survey"? Only one question! That's it! And here's what it said (paraphrasing):
"Do you remember receiving an email from Travelocity warning you about potential problems with your scheduled trip to Mexico?" (Like I say, this is from memory because the link to the survey no longer works.) Honestly, I clicked on "no" because I truly didn't believe I had...until I went back and re-reread THEIR RESPONSE to my QUESTION. Now I'm thinking they're gonna use that to protect themselves from something. Especially cuz, what an ODD question, huh--"do you remember...?" Maybe if I'd read their emails with an Indian accent...?
Anyway, interesting. All I know is that I spent hours and hours on the phone, trying to reschedule, and finally gave up.
THAT part is CRYSTAL CLEAR in my memory.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
There's something for everyone, of course, but in particular, she's rounded up some really special treats for writers and readers. Like, who wouldn't wanna have lunch with Janet Evanovich? Or, how about a night at Nora Roberts' Inn?
There are fabulous getaways (hello!!! African safari!!!) on down to autrographed books. Like I said, something for everyone. Check out the whole auction here. Oh, and bring your digital checkbook and prepare to drop some serious coin 'cuz it's for a great cause.
P.S. And, yep. Jacqui Jacoby talked me into donating something...click here to see what it is. I'm so stoked that EIGHT bids have been made!!!!
Monday, May 04, 2009
What can I say? It's a gift.See, remember, we were SUPPOSED to be in Puerto Vallarta (sob, sob) but the world went crazy and everything shut down. Restaurants, bars, and businesses (oh, my). Not conducive for a fun-in-the-sun vacation.
Still...we decided to soldier through the sad experience by meeting in downtown Long Beach for one night. I arrived at the hotel, dropped my stuff and headed back to the bar in time for "My Old Kentucky Home," whereupon I made an imaginary bet on...you guessed it, the horse that won. (Sidenote: did you know this horse showed such little potential, that he'd already been gelded?? I mean, if I'm not mistaken, that means no stud farm for him, right? Yikes. Talk about a missed opportunity.)
Kath showed up soon thereafter and we made our first bar stop. Um, not sure of the name, which kinda tells you how the rest of the night went. It's where E joined us, that much I remember. And we sat outside. And I drank a Vodka tonic. Or two.
Then, E pointed out the Sky Room--a joint I've read about forever but had never been to, so YAY! Something to cross off the 'to-do' list, y'know? It's one of those old, old, old, landmarks above what I guess used to be a hotel but E says are now condos (hey, big surprise there, huh?).
On the way to the elevator, we stumbled upon a wedding chapel and, um, we took pictures which Kath and E would kill me for posting, so you'll just have to use your imagination. It was all pretty funny. At least to us. At the time.
Here's the guy that escorts you to the top of the building on the elevator. Quaint, huh? Note I'm already looking a little the worse for wear and the sun hasn't even set yet. Eek.
As you can see, the ladies room offered more photo ops. Again, I'm self-censoring!From the Sky Room, we headed back up the street for dinner to a place called Allegro. (Yay! A momentary return of my memory!) Mmm, mmm, good. On your next visit, get the pasta. I promise you won't be disappointed--and, oh yeah--the bottle of Sangria went down pretty easy, too.
Finally, after dinner, we wound up at some random nightspot (names? who remembers names?) boasting live Latin music which, y'know, sold me right there. I even made E dance. (Oh, wait. Did I make Kath dance, too? I mean, with me???) More picture taking ensued but the results are kinda blurry (go figure).
Alas, all good things must come to an end. Don't ask me what time it was, cuz I wouldn't know. Don't ask about the walk back to the hotel, because it's a hazy memory.
Yep. These two girls should definitely call it a night.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
With nothing resolved.
See, I guess my first mistake was booking a package on-line through Travelocity, because here's the deal: now that the sh*t has hit the fan, I can only deal directly with them. And, for some reason, changes have to be made via telephone which, you may be surprised to discover, ain't very convenient.
First, you call the toll-free number, WAIT FOR A HALF-HOUR, during which they play the MOST ANNOYING music, then you get one of those cheerful but useless guys from India on the line. You tell him your problem.
Okay, I'm sure you've all heard the airlines are being real generous--waiving the penalty to change flights into and out of Mexico--but, it turns out this isn't the problem. Because...well...you need a date to change TO, doncha? Like, I dunno...a week from now? Two? How about four months? Oh, and there's this little rarely mentioned (and less understood) caveat: you have to pay the difference in class if the class you purchased is no longer available (and guess what--somehow, it's a CINCH it's no longer available).
So Sahib puts you on hold to contact the airline and check on the date you've grabbed out of the air--your birthday in September. When he comes back, he informs you that you only have to pay an additional $229 to change the flight. (See? So much for waived penalties.)
Next, he puts you back on hold in order to contact the hotel. (This is after you've already been on hold off and on for an hour and a half.) Comes back to say the hotel reservation people are at lunch, and you'll have to call back later...putting you at the ass-end of the line again. (I'm really not understanding why these agents can't use computers.)
Anyway, I decided to try Citibank.
After all, they have a big old sign on their website that says I automatically qualify for trip cancellation/interruption insurance. So I call their gal in India--only I discover that in fact I'm NOT automatically qualified for these benefits. (I guess because the planes are still flying and, technically, I can still take the trip I'm scheduled to take.) Anyway, from what I gather, they WILL however cover that pesky $229 addition...and maybe even the change in the hotel (if I knew what the hotel adder would be). The scary part of this is that I priced the exact same trip for September on Travelocity this morning, and...yikes...it came out to $1400 MORE than I paid.
Meanwhile, my traveling partner sells pre-paid legal insurance. Yep, we're covering ALL the bases.
I just read an on-line article in which would-be travelers to Mexico reported full refunds from Expedia.
Hm. Travelocity, are you paying attention??
Monday, April 27, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Rarely do I think of
Oink? More like Oy.
Suddenly, the afternoon headlines are filled with stories of possible border closings, the nationwide shutdown of public facilities, and the very real potential that, along with bathing suits, I oughta be packing surgical masks.
Picture me in Mexico next week:
(And no, that's not supposed to be a beard.)
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
(As an added bonus, you also get the likes of Wolfgang Puck, Paul Rudd, and Seth Rogan. Wow. Harlequin goes mainstream pop culture, baby.)
Anyway, guess this appeared on Nightline, although it's more like shameless advertising. I have to admit, I haven't read anything from Harlequin in years, maybe decades, despite the title of my blog.
Obviously, I need to get with it.
Monday, April 20, 2009
But by the time I return the call, the potential participants have lost interest. "Phone us if you come up with something," they suggest half-heartedly.
A couple hours later, I conjure up the perfect plan. I mean, we're talking so perfect, I go ahead and do the shower and shampoo thing before I even bother to call and put it on the table.
Chi Chi's Pizza followed by bowling meets with resounding approval. Yep! That means I BOWLED last Saturday night.
Actually, what you REALLY need to know is that I KICKED ASS on Saturday night.
I ROCKED IT.
Okay, so what if two hours of bowling is like two hours of lunging...which means I also ache like a sonofabitch?
Doesn't matter. I'm basking in my reign as Bowling Queen.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Two instantly come to mind. Here's the first (and as I write about it, trust me, I'm almost hyperventilating).
Check out the lineup:In case you can't read it, we're talking The Doors...The Jefferson Airplane...The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band...
Now, picture this: the concert took place on the athletic field of a friggin local high school. I mean, crap--look at the cost of the tickets! THREE BUCKS! In fact, every time I've told this story in the past gazillion years, I always thought I made up the part about The Doors being there. Wasn't sure until I googled it (and stole this picture). According to the person who posted the photo, only about 100 people were in attendance, but sh/e has to be wrong about that. (Sidenote: I swear, anyone I've ever met in the last decade who's roughly my age CLAIMS to have been at the infamous Birmingham concert.)
Anyway, so my story isn't a hundred percent tragic. I DID make it to the concert. In fact, my girlfriends and I arrived early enough to get space on the grass about ten feet from the stage. Nirvana, huh? I remember the anticipation in the air...the sun going down behind the warm-up bands.
We all just wanted to see Jefferson Airplane and The Doors.
Only one problem.
The concert began to run more and more behind schedule, and as the clock crept closer and closer to...um...ELEVEN, I grew increasingly nervous.
Ya see, my DAD was picking us up at eleven and, God knows, this was eons before cell phones, so I couldn't exactly just call and tell him to delay (not that he would have anyway because, as you can see, we were...what, about twelve? Thirteen?)
So, sadly, I dragged my reluctant girlfriends from our primo spots, whining all the way, to where we met up with my dad...
just as The Doors took the stage.
And that's why I missed seeing one of the iconic rock stars of my generation.
*Further evidence of my decrepit memory: I'm pretty sure we DID see the Jefferson Airplane...for some reason, although they WERE the headliner, I think they went on before The Doors....but then again, maybe not.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Well, as proof, I have a sale to report. Yep. Another story to True Romance Magazine, this one for their July issue with a tentative title of "Summer Soul Mates." So far, I've only missed May this year. Darn. And for anyone keeping track, we're up to 24 sales total over the past 16 months. May not seem momentous to some, but guess what? Word by word, sale by sale, the bottom line on my spreadsheet is starting to add up to a nice chunk of change (as in $$).
By the way, check out the new "Trues" website by clicking here. It's updated daily and contains all kinds of fun features and tidbits.
Monday, April 13, 2009
That's how quick the weekend jaunt to Las Vegas took. The proverbial blink of an eye.
First, I boarded a Southwest flight in Burbank Friday afternoon. Sources of amusement everywhere! From behind me, two women (grown women! speaking in polysyllabic words, mind you!) puzzling over the lack of First Class. It's usually in the front, one woman claimed, and it's partitioned off. Their conclusion? That only LAX does it that way. (I'm like, hello! Ever heard of an airline called Southwest??) Then, a guy in a business suit (a business suit, mind you!), gets on and asks the flight attendant where he's supposed to sit. I mean, seriously. Rookies abundant!
Uh, I might add here that Southwest has gone cashless. (Me=rookie) Luckily, I had a stash of drink coupons in my purse. (As Blogreader Joe always says: plan well for no surprises.)
Touched down in Las Vegas around 3p.m. and cabbed it over to the Rio to check in. How FUN was it to plop my initials next to the $0 rate? Exceedingly fun, that's how much.
Caught up with Ann and the rest of the wedding party to do some gambling...blah, blah, blah...somehow it got to be around 1 a.m....or was it two...?
Spent a lot of Saturday chilling in the room, which ain't too hard when there's so much to watch outside your window. Don't ask me who bathed the Strip in the eerie blue wash. Not sure what happened, except to say something bad may have occurred to my camera when I tried to snap night photos while under the influence.
Luckily, my camera recovered the following evening to take this fabu shot of the bride and groom, Richard and Stephenie.And this one during the ceremony...
But with the battery icon blinking (hm, could've SWORN I charged it), I had to get picky with the shots--hence, um...not so many to post here. (In fact, I just shot my wad, except for the piece de resistance--AKA Marty dancing with his daughter.)
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
And how do I get rid of it?
Case in point, click here to see the collage I put together while writing Lights! Camera! Love! Kinda cool, huh? Although Tanika ended up as Alisha and Taylor morphed into Josh. Can't say I ever referred to this stunning piece of art again, but I like to think the process helped stir the creative pot.
Which, hm. Maybe I should trot out the idea again for Jen's book. (We're talking MY version of collaging...no glue sticks, no poster board. Just point, click, and copy.)
But, meanwhile...guess I'd better see about expunging (am I using that word properly??) out-of-date stuff running around loose on the Web.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
The best I can do (in the interest of maintaining my current state of robust health) is this photo, culled from the video. Yes, in case you can't tell, those are the Senora's flailing feet as she plummets below the surface. (No living beings were harmed during the filming of this episode.)
And, trust me. This is only ONE of the many memorable moments of our history together (see this post for another.)
Here's to zillions more..............
Saturday, April 04, 2009
So this afternoon, I peek in the mailbox and see an envelope with my handwriting, and instantly I cross my fingers that it's one I've been waiting for from Women's World. I check the return address and instead I see the literary agency's name--the one I just sent the partial to.
Wow, I think. Quick turnaround. Must be a rejection.
I look inside and find nothing. Nada. Zippo.
Hm, I think. Now what do I do? Email her and ask what the answer was?
Then I notice something else on the face of the envelope. In the lower right-hand corner, it says: Received unsealed without content at Oxnard blah, blah, blah...
That's when I realize that instead of enclosing the self-addressed stamped envelope with my submission, I friggin' must've MAILED it. To myself. Because I'm pretty sure the literary agent didn't send me a blank.
The only consolation is that the aforementioned message is STAMPED on the envelope--indicating this is a common occurrence. Which kinda makes me wonder...what're all you folks doing sending unsealed empty envelopes for??
Time: About 11:30p.m. on a Friday night
I see my neighbors standing by their car, and I greet them.
Guy Neighbor: You just getting home?
Me: Yep. What are y'all up to?
Guy Neighbor: We're just going out. Funny, huh? You're already home, and we're just going out.
Yeah, funny. I slink off to change into robe and bunny slippers, then slather on the anti-aging cream.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
I've had it up to here with change.
I mean, come on. First of all, The Guiding Light? Seriously? After shining brightly since 1952 (and even earlier on radio)? Oh, I see the writing on the wall. The rest of them aren't long for this world either. The Young and The Restless...All My Children. Soon, our afternoon soaps will go the way of...
I mean it, Mr. President. Please don't let them take away my newspaper. It's already a pathetic version of it former robust self, but geez....so much tradition there. From the stereotypical reporter who spends his off-hours knocking back shots at the bar down the street to the Sunday edition spread out over the breakfast table. Have you ever tried to spread your computer on the breakfast table? Trust me. Doesn't work.
Last month, I lost a whole slate of radio shows when KLSX went Top 40, but I'm tellin' ya, Barak (can I call you Barak?), if KLOS ditches Mark and Brian in favor of some pre-recorded c-rap (get it?--it's a play on crap and rap--sometimes, I crack myself up), anyway, I'll have to throw away my transistor radio.
I want you to know, Mr. Obama, I don't blame you or the economy. I mean, okay. Sure. Unlimited financial support would help, but all the money in the world's not gonna make up for the people I really blame.
Yep, I'm talking about the youth of today.
If I can paraphrase the immortal words of that well-known philosopher, Linda Ronstadt, who said: "When I got older, I realized that my generation committed a horrible crime against our parents. We literally filled the airwaves with rock 'n' roll, and STOLE their music from them."
You hooligans with your iPods, your Myspace, and your texting. Quit hi-jacking the culture and leave my entertainment alone.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Did I mention a road trip? Last weekend, high school buddy Randi and I darted up to Santa Ynez for an overnight stay at--where else--the Chumash Casino and Resort Hotel. As we headed for the VIP/Guest happy hour, these cows (not to mention the green, green, grass) caught our attention, so I snapped a photo with my cell phone.
Guess they were on their way to happy hour, too.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Yeah, feelin' pretty guilty on both counts.
Especially when I'm reminded that during my childbearing years, I shoulda ponied up 2.1 kids to keep average. Oops!
But what of this other stat recently released by the Feds: Last year, 40% of all births were out-of-wedlock.
Is it me, or is that just plain sad?
We gotta combo of situations influencing this trend. One, after a steady decline, teen mom birth rates were up. And two, more women in their 30's and 40's chose to become single parents. Finally, lots of happy couples just didn't bother to tie the knot.
Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore, that's for sure.
Hard to believe that in the 50's women not only married their "baby daddies,"--they also had, on average, FOUR children a piece. ('Course the 50's were also famous for the rise in popularity of stuff like Miltowns--forerunner to Valium--which is probably the only way to survive four kids with your mental faculties intact, but I digress.)
Anyway, I guess the good news is that we're having enough babies to replace ourselves...but hell, OctoMom covered that with one pregnancy, didn't she??
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Even better (okay, just a TAD better), than receiving the contract notification, was the arrival of a check in the old mailbox yesterday. Somehow, the payment for one of my October stories had gone astray but now it's back where it should be--namely, in my bank account. So the cool thing is, I still have another one to go for this month--January's payment.
Which means...come on, people...you KNOW what it means when the writing $$ actually appear to add up to something....don't you?
Right! Time for a getaway!
Ahhhh..................sunny Puerto Vallarta......and I. Can't. Wait.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Whatever it is, I'm there.
Not that I peruse the entire alphabetized list...you know, the freebie section. But I DO check out the ones set apart by pictures and column-length copy framed by heavy borders.
So on this particular Sunday, it was a photo that initially caught my eye. I gave the face only momentary attention, not registering a connection with the dark curly hair, the horn-rimmed glasses, nor the smiling moustached man staring back at me.
Next, I read the name--not a particularly unusual one--and the age: 70. In other words, obviously not in the realm of someone I'd have known.
I studied the photo again...combined it with the name...let the subconscious do its thing...and CRAP.
An old boyfriend. Someone I'd dated back when I was about 28 to his 43. Yikes. How'd he get to be 70? Worse, how'd he get to dead?
I was curious about how his life had unfolded over the years. Had he married? Had children? Been happy?
In order to gather pieces of the puzzle, I put Google on the case. Bottom line: yes, no, and yes. Most fascinating of all? He'd become a thoroughbred horse owner--to the point where he went back to school in his mid-sixties to obtain formal training. I even came across a post of his on a site devoted to Seabiscuit--the passion in his words were both inspiring and sweet.
Anyway, a life well-lived, I think. Good for him.
Friday, March 13, 2009
(They just make it so easy to create a blog, plus it's free, so why the hell not? I could create blogs all day!)
Anyway, Dr. Schwartz says I'm healing well (good news!), and that I should feel free to exercise (BAD news!). It's amazing to me that he maintains I'm still not where I'll be six months from now--that the funny stuff I feel behind my ears is NOT bunched up hidden skin but merely SWELLING. And that the area under my chin will continue to firm. I'm tellin' ya, the human body is...well...like I said, AMAZING. Especially when you consider this PARTICULAR human body is in its sixth decade. (Okay, HOLD ON...think about it. Age 1-10, FIRST decade. Age 11-20, SECOND decade...that's how you can be in your fifties but your sixth decade.)
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Vive la recession!
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Should I also add that I heard--straight from an editor's mouth--that the house has all the authors they need in the sub-genre?
Bottom line--I can sit here, making up reasons not to submit (and establish 100% odds of rejection--as in, you can't get a yes on something they haven't seen)...or...get in line with another manuscript.
What the hell. Nothin' to lose.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Anyway, I abandoned the topic (yeah, I know, pass the handkerchiefs).
Not that I have anything else of substance to report on. Oh, wait. Except to say I'm still in the running at Karin Tabke's First Line Contest. (Yay, me!) In fact, I'm one of the 15 finalists (down from 100 entries). This sucker goes on and on, huh? I have to say it's been an interesting writing experiment, though.
Oh, and I got my comp issue of April's True Romance with "Leave It To Lucy" (they kept my title) on the cover, so run out and get yourself a copy.
Meanwhile, I'm back to working on JATAOMM which, by the way, turns out to be all messed up (ha, go figure). Remember, I actually semi-pre-plotted this manuscript (complete with fancy spreadsheet). Well, I've written about 75 pages and I'm supposed to be at chapter 7 and turning point one. Instead, when I properly formatted the pages, I had the 75, but I'm at chapter 11 and I still haven't reached the turning point. Yikes. Can you spell R-E-V-I-S-I-O-N-S (don't have to, I just did it for ya). I've no idea when this book took off on its own and left my control. The good news is that I'm FINALLY at the part I've been looking forward to writing--the fun and games part, as Blake Snyder puts it. (Hint: picture the roadtrip from hell with your ex while you're in the throes of menopause...okay, I guess the premise doesn't SOUND fun, but that's the challenge!)
Monday, March 02, 2009
In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out the best way (yeah, I know--probably the labeling feature) to group the posts together. And at some point, I'll post the video in the sidebar, because otherwise it'll disappear into the archives.
Which brings me to answering a question someone must surely be asking...
...and that is: why? Why did I blog my face lift? Why did I post unflattering photos? (Why didn't I learn whether face lift is one word or two?)
Well, aside from being painfully honest (and, trust me, it's not a virtue--more like a genetic screw-up), I did it because I felt strongly about sharing info with other women (hey, and maybe men) who are trolling the internet, casting about for stories on cosmetic surgery.
But, like I say....time to move on. (Um, cross your fingers something writing-related magically turns up...)
Friday, February 27, 2009
Yesterday, I stumbled across a review site devoted to the "lifestyle lift"--a popular alternative to traditional cosmetic surgery. Yikes. Sixty percent (60%) of the commenters said the procedure wasn't worth it. Complaints ran the gamut from minor (no change, change didn't last) to horrific (pain, bleeding problems, ugly scars). Now, granted. Statistically, you have to discount how bad this looks at first glance. Presumably, people with negative experiences are much more apt to comment than those with positive. Plus, if you cast your net widely enough, you're probably gonna catch a lot of tainted fish (there's an odd analogy). Still...the stories definitely bear paying attention. And a lot of 'em will break your heart. Like I say, I'm no expert, but here's my take on it: the procedure itself is probably okay, but I'm gathering it's kinda been franchised out. Now, franchises might work for hamburgers, but our faces? Not so much.
Caveat emptor and all...
Hey, by the way...after inviting people to contact me via my profile, I've been informed that, duh. That doesn't work. I rrrreally hesitate to put my address in text here because who knows what the google gods will do with it, so try this: click on my website (in the sidebar on this page), and then click on contact. That should getcha to me.