Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I Did It!

Yes, indeed... and the over 8,000 words left were written yesterday. I completed (won) NaNoWriMo for this year and I am damned proud of myself, probably moreso than I really have a right to be.

It isn't completed yet, but I am planning on taking a few days off before I dive into it again. Then will come the second draft, then editing, then possibly a third draft... At any rate, I have most of this down on electronic paper, plus at least two more ideas simmering on the back burners.

Now if I can find a real job soon, that would be sweet.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wrapping Up

NaNoWriMo ends in about a day and a half... a little less than that, actually. I have 8,893 more words to go until I hit 50,000. So why am I not writing like the wind? Because I just went pffttthhhh a couple days ago. Just blah. No writing for days.

I will do it... I can get there and I will get there. Hell, I am writing right now, aren't I? I just drained my brain or something and could not for the life of me even see my characters.

I think I will make a pot of coffee and try to get to work. Even if I just do a few words here and there, it will help. I know part of it, too... I fear that if I start wrapping up the story, I will come to the end before I see 50,000. Which is utterly ridiculous as I can go back and write more if I need.

I also know that once I get it all down, I can arrange it in the right order (which it's not in at the moment), and then begin filling in the gaps, then do a slight rewrite before putting it away for a little while.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009

I am doing it, and I am doing much better than I thought I might. Of course, I am knocking on that mental wood as I type this! An excerpt, the same as is on my NaNo profile... and what I will put up here for now:

Silence. It permeated everything it seemed, even though the crickets still called out their song and the wind still blew in the branches of the old trees. I waited for what seemed like an eternity for him to speak first, determined not to give up that quarter. And when it seemed as though he was not going to speak, that I must be the one to open my mouth and allow the words to somehow escape, tumbling out from behind my dried lips, I heard his voice, as clear as a bell, aiming straight for my mind and soul as though it had been precisely sent.

“Dangerous to be sitting out like this at night, you know.”



Okay… so there it was. The first words, and where were they going to take us? I shuffled my feet a bit on the pavement, waiting to see what he would say next, or whether or not I should be thinking of something witty to say, something that might knock this stranger off his feet with its intelligence and ---

“You don’t talk much, do you.”

It cut through my thoughts, this statement that was nothing like a question. I threw my head back, looking at him from down the bridge of my nose, able now to better make out his features than when I had been so far away.

“Nah, not so much. Only when prodded.”

“I would bet I could prod you.”

I laughed, my loud, ridiculous laugh, nervousness showing clearly through it at the innuendo he had just made. A smile danced upon his lips as he watched me fight to regain control of myself, a fight I won much sooner than I had expected.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Written In A Ten Minute Dash

Eugene's voice played with my thoughts as I walked down the street. I was alone in my head, even as the buildings of downtown Los Angeles rose above me, everything filled with people. People-noise that I couldn't hear, people-smells that were sometimes good, sometimes sick, people-heat in varying degrees all around.

I passed up the Chinese-food-and-donut place, the colliding mix of spices and sweet breads a thick cloud hanging over a sidewalk dotted with black spots of bubblegum. Instead, the coffee shop on the corner pulled me in... the fine dust of newly-ground beans tickling my nose, and the more intense heat of people and pots kept bottled up in this glass house. I pulled one of the earbuds away from my head, shutting my MP3 player off, and silencing Eugene for a bit. A lull of jazz replaced the gypsy punk as a soundtrack, carried above the murmuring voices of people.

He was there. I froze... Over in the corner, as my face flushed a painful color and broken glass grated inside my chest. The universe must hear the roar of my blood, but I couldn't look away, for fear he would turn and see me if I did. The sun's light reflected from plate glass across the street to fill the shop with a colder, movie-set light. No, only his side. Mine remained in the regular world, not a part of his. He who was so brilliant, dark wheat hair backlit, and a small slick of spit upon his lower lip shining wetly, something to be devoured by a beautiful woman.

But no longer by me.

Three suited women jostled me as they came in the door. His dark eyes focused in their languid way on me as their movement caught his attention. I could not speak... could not think... I returned to my world, Eugene in my ear and mind, a gypsy running.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Almost Two Months Later, But It Was Worth It

What am I talking about? Gogol Bordello. So Very Much Worth It. I felt alive, and scared, and happy, and crazy, and one in a mass of people... which at this time was wonderful.

Now it is midsummer. The evening breeze from the ocean began about an hour ago, but the heat still rises from the blacktop and radiates from the brickwork walls. I have done nothing these past few days... have left my apartment only to walk down the hall to get the mail, and once last night to take out the trash. I know it is bad. I know it is dangerous just to keep myself cooped up in a studio apartment with little mobility room. Just sitting here with my laptop, or watching DVDs of ER at night.

I don't speak to anyone face to face, and very rarely on the telephone. Only when I need to say something to checkers at the market, or a rare hello if someone passes by on one of my few trips outside. I guess it's like being entombed, in a way. And every day I am a little more afraid of people out there... a little more afraid that I cannot communicate correctly anymore (not that I was ever stellar to begin with). I am afraid of going to interviews and being found terribly lacking simply because I don't converse well vocally. Because I am fat. Because my clothes don't look wonderful on me.

As a result, I stay indoors more and more... shying away from the human contact I used to crave. Wishing on stars that I had a special someone in my life, but knowing I'm no Rapunzel. No prince is going to come down the alley to ask me to pull him into my rooms.

Someday, I will go back out, and I will again speak to people. And someday... yeah, "someday my prince will come", only I will be able to invite him through the front door. And then, almost two months after all of that has begun, I can look back on finally breaking out of my tomb and say to myself it was worth it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Adventure, But Not In Hollywood This Time

One of the reasonings I was pummeling myself with all week for NOT going to Nine Inch Nails tonight was this: I need new tires, especially a rear one, badly. Another reason was: I really need to get my brakes checked, because they aren't feeling quite right. Place these two items with driving 60 miles both ways tonight and again tomorrow night, and I was successfully talking myself out of seeing at least tonight's show, and quite possibly tomorrow night's as well, knowing me.

And while I have already seen Lord Trent, I would kick myself in the ass for the rest of my days for not seeing Gogol Bordello.

Anyone who has known me as New Wave Syd knows I will suddenly come up with really goofy solutions. (Okay, pretty well everyone knows this...) But regarding music, I will wind up finding all sorts of ways and means to get where I want to go, usually ending the night dozing off over my fifth cup of Denny's coffee while waiting for the trains or buses to run again. When faced with the prospect of spending New Year's Eve alone years ago, I instead rented a U-Haul truck and drove that monster over to Ernie's show. Way to arrive in style, I say!

So leave it to me to go online and make a U-Haul reservation for tonight and tomorrow night. No money yet, which is good... because then I looked over on Budget and nabbed some teeny tiny Hyundai thing for a total of $80 for both nights. U-Haul, with gas and per-mile charges, would have run me about $170 at least. No way, Jose.

And while I was making the reservation for Budget, I ticked the insurance thing, and then thought wait a minute... I called Geico and asked if *I* am insured, or just the vehicle I own, and learned *I* am what is actually insured, so any rental car I drive carries the same insurance I pay for each month. Yay! She saved me about $40 right there.

A bit over the top in expenses for me? Yes, sort of. But when you look at the $70 ticket for tonight, and the $40 ticket for tomorrow night, plus if something did happen to my car while driving all over the place for these? I would much rather play it safe and rent a car. (Hell, it pays for itself in a strange way just tonight!)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Cross-posted in my LJ as well.

My sleep last night was full of nightmares and badly-weird dreams. In one, there was a government nuclear test, and they were going to set off three small test bombs near here. I don't know if it was in the ocean or in the desert, but it wasn't an underground thing. I could hear the announcing voice in the night, telling everyone to remain calm and head to the central part of your house. Use the special blankets and cover yourself in the bathtub. Do not attempt to open your eyes for ten minutes after the final explosion. (This seems to have come from my memories of Gary England's tornado warning announcements from childhood.) I grabbed my old blue blanket and pillows, and lay down in the tub, covering myself completely with the blanket. As the countdown began, Alanis jumped in the tub with me and I put the blanket over her, too telling her to keep her eyes closed. We curled up together and the first bomb went off. I could see the flash of light behind my eyelids. "There's one," I thought. Alanis had tensed and started to move, but I held her tightly and she stayed, still tense. The second one went off, and I was sort of wondering why they were doing this above ground.... it was as though no one (including myself) had thought about the consequences. I don't remember the third one going off, and know in my dream I was waiting, wondering if I had miscounted or what.

I woke suddenly, terrified because I knew at the moment of waking that those things were completely wrong. I tied calming myself, telling myself it was a bad dream and that was it. Nuclear, nuclear, what the hell made me dream that? I wondered. I hadn't been watching The Day After.... oh, but one of the scene segments in the first episode of Remington Steele I watched last night was called "Nuclear Love". Maybe that's where it came from.

I was gripped with more panic then, suddenly my brain counting months until my UI runs out. Okay, I only just got my third check, so there is no reason to go into panic mode, but I did. I calmed myself again, promising panicked insides that I will use up major bandwidth today in sending out my resume all over the place.

There was one, perhaps two, other dreams after that one, but now I don't remember them... just that they were unnerving as well. I was glad to get up this morning.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I feel suspended in time, as though the world outside is rushing past me in a rivertumble heading towards the future, and I am left alone in my small apartment, only occasionally looking out the window to watch. I am detached, when going to the market or interacting as little as I do with others outside now. It will be a forced thing for me, pushing myself back out into the sunshine as I try to convince myself to remain in the dark.

I know this isn't right. It doesn't help to know, really. In my mind, perhaps, but I still stay. (I will say that when I get out, it feels wonderful. Just getting out the door is at times akin to passing into another world, which I suppose it is in a way.)

It will pass. It will always pass, just like those people beneath my window. But until then I feel like I am Brer Rabbit, and my hands are fully sucked into the Tar Baby's face for trying to teach life some manners. Guess I'm not much of an Emily Post.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I haven't mentioned it yet, but my last day of work was March 16. I have been looking, though. When people say "there's nothing out there", it's not quite true; there's a lot of work open, but most of it seems to be $12.00 an hour and lower. Can I survive on that? Yes... Unemployment is giving me a whopping $8.82 an hour when you break it down. But this is just surviving.

I have done plenty of surviving in my life. There was not much money while I was growing up. Mom and Dad did the best they could, giving things up to make sure my sister and I got a good education. I appreciate it more now that I can see it from a adult standpoint. I worked my ass off in bars, supporting the boyfriend at the time... and the money really didn't go too far. There was an apartment fire one December, and it wasn't until mid-April I had a place to live again. Working for just enough to pay the rent and juggle between bills for years. Knowing how to use an orange extension cord when the electricity is shut off. Knowing how long it will take to fill the bathtub when the water needs to be heated in the microwave because the gas has been turned off until payment is made. Sleeping in the back booth at Denny's under the 405 Freeway because no buses run that late at night so I can get home, and the money to fix the car just wasn't there. (That lasted over a year.)

I've done my share of surviving, I think. And I really don't want to go back to any of that. I just won't... I can't. Those years of just holding my breath, putting blinders on my eyes like a racehorse, and forcing myself to plow through all the bad stuff, all the garbage and waste and road blocks just to get to a little brighter area, a little higher ground. That type of struggle for such a long time just wears people out.

I found the higher ground, and was happy. I'm really still here, even though instead of being safely inside the house, I am out on the rocks now which shore up the ground to help prevent a landslide. I keep looking up at the sky, biting my lip in consternation, hoping only to see puffy clouds and no rain. There have been a few showers (such as having a job offer rescinded last Friday), but I am still here... as I squat down and make a few raps on the roots of a large tree, knocking on wood.

At least I do know where I've been, if not where I am going.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Language Art

Good thing: There seem to be plenty of words in Bulgarian that are shared by English, French, and Spanish or Italian.

Bad thing: Trying to make my brain realize "this symbol is a letter and sounds like this", because my brain wants Roman letters, not Cyrillic letters. Brain think Cyrillic letters are pretty, but should keep quiet. :)

Like: самолет

This sounds like "semoulette" (silent e) to me. It means airplane. Brain is looking at it and telling me "Well, if you are going to insist on trying to read this, it looks like 'camonet'. Like a camouflage netting. I guess that could be related to an airplane, because you would use camo nets to hide yourself from an enemy plane. But that is on the ground! And if that л character isn't an n, then why isn't it an r like it looks like it should be were you to write it in cursive?? Why aren't you back learning French???"

Brain will really blow a gasket if I start taking Chinese.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Being Grown Up

There are times when it is a good thing to remind yourself you are an adult. Not the times when you have to, like when you need to shame yourself into paying a bit extra on some bills instead of going out and splurging on something you want. Not when you make yourself buckle down and go to work, instead of taking one of a dozen sick days you have banked, just because it is one of the most beautiful days you have seen in awhile. And not when you go with the more conservative outfit because you will need to wear it to work, even though you know deep down you look a hella lot better in the really cute top and skirt.

Specifically, I am talking about those of us (okay, ME) who for years never really drank anything at all unless it was out at a club. For me, I haven't been out in ages, and when I was, it would be with the "you need to stay sober because you are driving" Sword of the CHP hanging over my head. For the last five or six nights I have indulged in wine after dinner. Well, and a bit during the day as well, but nothing to affect me much then. I've finished a bottle of Zinfandel, and have started on a bottle of Pinot Noir this evening, with another bottle of Merlot waiting to see if I get bored.

I feel good. I feel wonderfully relaxed and smiling. And what's more, I feel like my own person right now... like the person who puts blue and coral together even though the saleslady stares at me in horror at the thought --- and gets away with it. I feel like the woman who just got a smashing new job, and learned it was actually she who impressed the committee, and that they were indeed impressed. (Oh, wait... that really did just happen!) I feel beautiful and carefree and just like I thought I would as an adult when I was still a child.

Maybe it is that part of me that will always be a child blossoming through once again, breaking through the hard, cold sod of "acceptable adulthood" which always felt more like dirt on my coffin than anything else.

I look at the half-filled glass of crimson-ruby-carnelian and I smile, because I feel good.

All of us should.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

America's Most Wanted

Tomorrow night's episode of America's Most Wanted will feature a story on Lisa Williamson. For those that don't know Lisa, or Aunt Japperhead (or ebegrl), she was a wonderful, kind, generous person and friend. And she was murdered in 2007. Please watch this episode tomorrow night (Saturday, Feb. 21 at 9pm EST) and maybe help catch her killer.

Thank you

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Once again, I have survived the brown and orange bleakness of Thanksgiving. The cozy happiness through the window of Christmas. The kissing-couples and auld lang sine of another New Year's Eve. The pink, red, and white, chocolate-dipped-diamonds of Valentine's Day.

And this year, as of tomorrow at about 5am, I know I have survived a full year since being told no by the one man I could have belonged to. I don't feel I was rejected... hell, it was over five weeks between my question and his answer. I know what had gone on before, even a week prior, so I know it has nothing to do with whether I am "good enough" or "worthy".

I begin Philosophy on Tuesday. Would that he were here to discuss.

I am about to go check out a bead store on 4th Street. Ages ago there was one, and I loved going there and finding little trinkets, making my own little silly bits. I was perusing a few jewelry sites last night and though they are inexpensive, I wonder how much less it might cost me to make my own. I figure it shouldn't be a waste to try.

And on the subject of school, I still would like to take Chinese soon. Most likely Mandarin, as that seems to be more the universal language.

I applied finally for a Stafford Loan. I had always been given to understand you needed spotless credit or a cosigner for those, but it turns out not to be true. We'll see what happens.

I am restless. I am halfway through my three-day weekend. I am going to go look at the bead store now.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday Morning Sunshine

From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere... If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.
- Dr. Seuss, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, 1960

This quote was in my Buddhist Meditations feed on Google Reader this morning. A week old, but perfect timing. Yes, I certainly did smile when I saw it. Amazing how Dr. Seuss and others can bring the lightheartedness of childhood flooding back into your life with just a few simple, age-old words.

Today has not been bad so far, even being a Thursday. There is an 8-hour sale at Albertson's, and I could stock up on some staples and canned goods and shampoo/conditioner. This helps with my happiness, believe it or not. I am carrying perfect score in my winter class, which is wonderful, too.

I am heading out now. Much goodness to all.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

To Move, But To Where?

During a bit of a break at work Monday, I looked through the employment listings at Oklahoma University... not that I prefer going there or anything, but out of curiosity. Lots of listings, actually, and a few I could really go for. This led to my looking at various apartments (after work), and smiled wryly when I saw rents of like $550 and deposits of a whopping $100. To put this in perspective, the studio I now rent in a not-so-great area of Long Beach had a $1450.00 deposit plus the $725.00 first month's rent when I moved in here three years ago. The rents have since increased about $100 for the newly-rented apartments, so I imagine the deposit has increased to around $1650 by now. To see a deposit of $100 seems impossible to me.

Up in Oregon, which is where I prefer to move, the deposits are more along the lines of $300-$400. Still, amazingly low to me.

Yesterday, I applied for the position at OU, and found a few others at Portland State and OHSU in Portland. A friend of mine also sent me a couple she found where we work... one of which I have already applied for ages ago. Another friend told me that it couldn't hurt to apply for it, but they have had the position open for over a year, and most likely won't hire for it as they have someone else actually doing the job on top of her other duties. Sounds about right.

I will send in more resumes and all today. Another one of the attendings told me to use him as a reference yesterday, too, which was wonderful of him.

There seems to be no actual "end" to this post, so I will just publish it. After all, this whole thing is still ongoing.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Welcome To 2009

How strange... I wanted suddenly to title this blog: Welcome To Your New Life. I wonder if that is prophetic in my case. (If so, I sure hope it's in a good way!)

I am one of those silly souls who actually came in to work this morning. My office is cold but for the airstream of heat coming from the Tramp Heater under my desk. Joe is here somewhere, but not in his office. I'd give it a guess he is in the OR this morning. Why am I at work? I do have things I need to get done, though all of it could have been done from home.

Class begins Monday for me, a rapid 6-week Winter term. I like that. This will be just the simple computer skills course, but that's good. In the spring comes history, art history, and philosophy. I was trying to get sociology in there as well, but it won't let me sign up for that, too. (Actually, I should try it again right now...)

AHA! Never mind, it let me add the class, probably because grades have been posted. I just got a D in it (yes, I am very embarrassed about that), but pulled the GPA up by getting an A in History of Religion.

Off on a bit of a sidenote here, but about a year to a year and a half ago there was a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks on the main campus at UCI for about a week. One of the things they were doing was creating a sand mandala. I was lucky enough to get out of work and take the van down there to see this, and got some photos. Yes, I want to share two of them... this is just something you should see in person if you ever get a chance.

The room hummed with the small staccato taps of the sticks on the funnels, urging colored flows of sand onto the table. It was peaceful in there, and jovial. The monks would joke a bit with each other every so often, and the American monk would answer visitors' questions in a soft, assured voice. Displays were set up around the room, but most people were in a larger circle, entranced by the creation of the mandala.

Sometimes things show you much more beauty than you expect. This was one of them for me.
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