Wednesday, January 31, 2007

RIP Molly Ivins

It is with great sadness that I recognize Molly Ivins, who died of cancer today at age 62. Molly was an pubished author, a newspaper columnist and a political commentator. I discovered Molly a few years ago when I worked at a library. I thought her books were wonderful and I agreeed with most of her opinions. It's a shame that we have lost such an honest and uncensored voice in American politics. I will miss her.

Some of my favorite Molly quotes:

* "There are two kinds of humor. One kind that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity -- like what Garrison Keillor does. The other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule -- that's what I do. Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful. I only aim at the powerful. When satire is aimed at the powerless, it is not only cruel -- it's vulgar."

* "What stuns me most about contemporary politics is not even that the system has been so badly corrupted by money. It is that so few people get the connection between their lives and what the bozos do in Washington and our state capitols. Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don't much care for."

It's the complacency and the apathy that gets me most of all. Why do people think what's going on in Washington doesn't affect them? Stand up and be counted or don't complain.

* "One function of the income gap is that the people at the top of the heap have a hard time even seeing those at the bottom. They practically need a telescope. The pharaohs of ancient Egypt probably didn't waste a lot of time thinking about the people who built their pyramids, either. OK, so it's not that bad yet -- but it's getting that bad."

Oh, but it is that bad. When the average CEO makes 400 times what one of his workers does, it's pretty much the same thing. Imagine making a year's worth of money in one day! That's shameful!

* "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there."

And let them know that "supporting our troops" is not sending 20,000 extra soldiers when they don't have enough trucks, body armor or even tents for them over there!

* "Everyone knows the man has no clue, but no one there has the courage to say it. I mean, good gawd, the man is as he always has been: barely adequate." --on Geaorge W. Bush

* "Conservatives have been mad at the Supreme Court since it decided to desegregate the schools in 1954 and seen fit to blame the federal bench for everything that has happened since then that they don’t like."

Heck yeah!

* "If he gets even more sedate, we will have to water him twice a week."--on (then president) Ronald Ragen

* "Let me say for the umpteenth time, George W. is not a stupid man. The IQ of his gut, however, is open to debate. In Texas, his gut led him to believe the death penalty has a deterrent effect, even though he acknowledged there was no evidence to support his gut's feeling. When his gut, or something, causes him to announce that he does not believe in global warming -- as though it were a theological proposition -- we once again find his gut ruling that evidence is irrelevant. In my opinion, Bush's gut should not be entrusted with making peace in the Middle East."

Amen, sister. Amen.

Molly Ivins
August 30, 1944- January 31, 2007
Rest in peace

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Random writing thoughts

I've been thinking a lot about all my WIPs lately. The first manuscript I wrote (as an adult) was a contemporary romance. I actually completed it and felt it was a good book at the time. And then I started studying craft. Then I thought it was garbage.

As I look through it now I realize it's not garbage at all. Much of the prose is lovely, the characters are pretty well-rounded and believable, sure there are a few romance cliches, but I was a new romance reader when I wrote it and that kind of stuff can be edited out fairly easily. No. I didn't write garbage. What I wrote was a manuscript with very little plot and no real conflict. I'm getting better, but those two things are still my weaknesses.

I've started a couple of other stories with characters from this manuscript and they feel promising to me. I actually worked on one of them for NaNo and I liked it very much.


The second manuscript I tried to write is a historical romance. It's the only manuscript I've ever pre-plotted. I love the characters and the plot is actually very good, I just lost interest in writing it because I know what's going to happen now. Yes, this is stupid, but I'm an organic writer. All you plotters out there feel free to berate me, but it's just how I am.

I still would like to complete this manuscript because this is the only one that has a real plot! Sort of good news-bad news, huh? The good news is it has an actual plot that works. The bad news is it will be very boring for you to write it because it does. Sigh.

And there's my Fantasy... Oh, my heart aches to think about it, the book of my heart. I love the protagonist and the supporting cast. I love the setting. I love her world, the traditions, the magic, everything. Why, oh why can't I make the plot work? What's wrong with me?
I put a lot of pressure on myself to write this one. It feels like the most important thing I've ever written. I've written the beginning (which later turned out to be the end--go figure) a new beginning, chunks of the middle and the end. It still needs more middle. I haven't written any of this story for at least 6 months. I was starting to drive myself crazy with it and it was tearing me up inside, so I set it aside for a while. Hopefully my subconscious is working on it little by little and when I go back to it, I'll be ready to complete it. Hear that Muses? I'm counting on you--all four of you!
Writing is something that I'm driven to do--it's a calling. I'm not like some people who like to write anything just to be writing. I can write a great research paper, a motivational speech, etc., but it doesn't make my heart sing. I could never be a journalist or feel fulfilled writing non-fiction. It's not my thing. Even writing this Blog... it's okay, but it's not great. I don't pour myself into it like I do a manuscript. Blogging is mainly to have a place of my own on the net, communicate with friends, etc, but it's not a representation of my writing style at all. When I become published, I'll have to start a real serious author blog, cuz this ain't it. This is just for me.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Abner

Ok, so it's not the best picture of any of us, but we did have the best time tonight for Abner's combination Birthday & Graduation party. Tonight Abner's parents, his brother and his family, his sister and her family, Abner and I (of course) and my mom all had dinner out. I baked a cake and everyone brought presents. A good time was had by all. As always, the sparkle of the evening was our niece, Elise. Tonight she had to give everyone numerous kisses. She brings much joy to our family. Happy Birthday & congratulations on receiving your B.S Degree honey!


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #1

I don't think I posted the link right, but here goes... My first Thursday Thirteen.

Thirteen things I want to do before I die:

1) Go the the Kentucky Derby- I've wanted to do this since I was a kid. I can't wait to plan my trip to the Run for the Roses. I'll find the perfect hat, head to Churchill Downs and sip a mint julep out of a collectible pewter cup. Yeah!

2) Go to Ireland- My father's father came to the US from Galway as a teenager. Someday I must see the Emerald Isle for myself. I want to see all of it, including all the places I've read about in Nora's novels.

3) Go to Sicily- My Grandparents on my mother's side came from Sicily. While I have been Rome and Florence (my favorite city on earth!) I've yet to see the birthplace of my ancestors.

4) Finish my fantasy novel- Ok, so this one's obviously much more in my grasp right now than the others. It just feels monumental because I dabbled with it for so long and then put it aside. I will finish it, though. It calls to me all the time.

5) See the Pyramids in Egypt- Pretty much a no-brainer. Doesn't everyone want to? Edit: I'd like to see the Pyramids in Mexico and South America too. Yes, I'm greedy.

6) Take a road trip from the Pacific to the Atlantic- Just cause it sounds fun.

7) Take a three six (greedy again) month sabbatical and gorge myself on reading and writing- Why not?

8) Learn to speak Spanish - My accent is perfect and I know a million nouns, I just have to force myself to speak up (instead of just listening and figuring out what others are saying) and stop worrying about sounding stupid.

9) Visit New York and see Saturday Night Live- I've loved the show since I was a kid. I've always wanted to see SNL live.

10) Attend a Democratic National Convention- It would be so cool to be a delegate. Somebody pick me! How do I get on the list?

11) Visit Chincoteague Island- Ever since I was a kid and read those Misty books by Marguerite Henry, I've wanted to visit the islands off the coast of Virginia.

12) Visit New Orleans- I'm really sad I never saw the city pre-Katrina in all her spender. I'd still like to go there, though. There's just something about it.

13) Spend the holidays somewhere it snows- A couple of weeks on the east coast or the Midwest would be fun. I have both family and friends on the east coast and friends in the Midwest. Either would work. I'd want to spend the time with others or it wouldn't seem like a holiday to me.

Get your Thursday 13 code here


Monday, January 22, 2007

Blog for Choice Day 2007

Today is the 34th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade and on this day I celebrate CHOICE. Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Kim and I am a member of the Pro-Choice majority of this country. I marched with 1.2 million other marchers at the March for Women's Lives on April 25, 2004 in Washington DC and we made history. Don't even think of calling us a minority!

It's been scary these last six years with Bush in the White House and all the changes he's made to the Supreme Court. We haven't heard a lot about it on the news as of late, but please don't allow yourself to become complacent. The fight isn't over. It's easy for those of us under 40 to do because we can't remember a time when abortion was illegal. We can't remember the days before the pill was commonplace. Don't let anyone fool you, we can have our rights taken away from us very easily--especially in this political climate. Here's a quote from a newsletter I received from the Planned Parenthood Action fund today. I'm a proud donor.

"Just one week ago, members of the North Dakota legislature introduced several anti-choice measures, including one that would make abortion illegal, directly challenging Roe v. Wade and another that would outlaw abortion only if Roe v. Wade were ever overruled. Other states are considering similar legislation.

And in November, the Supreme Court heard the case of Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood contesting the federal abortion ban. The decision in this case, expected in a few short months, is critically important to protecting women's health and safety." -- Cecile Richards, President Planned Parenthood Action Fund

These zealots don't care about the children they are trying to "save." They vote for a political party who cuts funding to programs like WIC, Headstart, and Welfare and are against Universal Health Care. If they cared about children they would be working with us to make sure that every school had real sex education programs instead of abstinence only. Comprehensive sex education programs drastically reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and--of course--abortions. Keeping kids in the dark won't do that! Taking away a woman's right to her own body won't do that either!

I'm Pro-choice for the rape and incest victim who shouldn’t be forced to give birth to a child that was created in violence. So that poor victim doesn’t have to be traumatized all over again by being forced to give birth to her rapist’s child. She deserves a choice.

I'm Pro-choice so that we don’t go back to the days of back-alley abortions. So a woman or girl will never again die by trying to give herself an abortion with a coat hanger because abortion is illegal, because emergency contraceptives are outlawed and she has no other option. She deserves a choice. She deserves options. She deserves better.

I'm Pro-choice for my cousin, a mother of a four-year-old son, a diabetic whose second pregnancy put her life at risk. After much soul searching, she made the difficult choice to have an abortion, a decision she didn't take lightly. She very much wanted her second child. I'm Pro-choice so that her son can have a mother, her husband a wife and partner and so that no one can tell her she can’t have a so called "partial birth" abortion. She deserved a choice. Thank God she had one back then.

Thank God we still have one now. Please don't let anyone take our freedom of Choice from us. Please vote for and support Pro-choice candidates in November. Spread the word to your family and friends though e-mail and on your Blog--educate people on the issues. Finally, there are many organizations you can support with your time, money or in other ways. Here are but a few:
ACLU- Reproductive Freedom Project

Now get out there and fight the good fight!

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Sunday, January 21, 2007


I always wondered what I should write for my 100th post. I never imagined the subject would be a tragic one. In Atticus's honor, I'm looking at it as a special tribute to his life, not something to be sad about. I'm trying anyway.
It's been a day since we last saw Atticus, and my heart is heavy with grief. I miss him so much. As I look back over the last two months I have many emotions. I remember the first time I saw him. He was so skinny--every rib and bump of his spine pronounced--and his scars... Oh, the scars! They covered his legs, chest, even his neck and a couple on his face and ears. Who could have done such a thing? I still feel the anger bubbling up inside my chest and nearly choking me. You would think a dog who'd seen that kind of abuse would be timid or aggressive, but Atticus was neither. He came right up to us wagging his stubby little docked tail and leaned his whole body against mine. He had me right there. Lulu'd already decided she liked him before I did--in fact, she picked him out herself. Dogs are much smarter than humans.
Over the last couple of months he'd been in and out of the vet's office and he charmed the staff there too. "Atticus is here!" they'd exclaim when we walked in the door and he'd do his little Boxer dance at the site of the receptionist, vet tech and even the vet herself. The neighbors across the street who don't even like dogs always had to come over and pet him. He took a special liking to my mother--who usually keeps away from animals because of her allergies--and it pleased her very much. It was just impossible to be sad when Atticus was around.
I keep going over and over the last two months in my mind. Why did all of this happen? Why did we adopt him, fall in love with him, and then have to lose him? Did we make a difference to him? It certainly wasn't enough time to erase his awful memories, but was two months enough to matter? I think so. I truly hope so. I'm a firm believer in fate, destiny and karma and I know in my heart that everything happens for a reason.
Last night I was watching the fabulous movie (adapted from Laura Hillenbrand's wonderful novel) Seabiscuit. Red Pollard (Seabiscuit's jockey played by Tobey Maguire) says, "Everybody thinks we found this broken down old horse and we fixed him. But he fixed us." That's exactly how I feel about Atticus. He was old(er) and sick and he gave us more than we could have ever given him. I've always been a cynical, pessimistic sort, but it was impossible to be like that when Atticus was around. His sunny smile and limpid brown eyes made him friends everywhere he went. He was like the poster boy for looking on the bright side. I liked the warm happy feeling I had when he was with us. He gave us that. Oh, yes, he gave us so much more than that.
I always want to remember the gifts he gave us, so I've started a second blog in his honor. (Thank you to Katy for the idea.) I don't have time for a second blog, but that's the whole point. This blog will be one fast post a day, one or two sentences at most. It's called Today's Beautiful Thing and I hope you'll stop by when you're feeling down. I know Atticus would be pleased to know that he continues to make people smile, even though he no longer walks on this earth.
We were blessed to share our lives with Atticus from November 18, 2006- January 20, 2007 and someday we'll all be reunited over the rainbow bridge in heaven.
Rest in peace baby boy.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007


Here's Atticus with me and the hubby this morning. He was so happy to see us and (though we look a little shell-shocked) the feeling was mutual. I hope God knows how lucky He is to have such a bright and beautiful shining light with him now. We miss him terribly, but we know this was best.

Thanks to everyone who has been sending me hugs and warm wishes on Blogger, e-groups and to my private e-mail address. It means more than you can ever know. My friend Cory said the nicest thing today:

"We, as a society, tend to only value the things that we can put a monetary value on. We even put a value on life, for life insurance purposes. But we also need to recognize what can't be quantified, only felt, and felt deeply, the invaluable things that make life worth it. That's what you gave to Atticus."

I'd spend the money, give the time and endure the heartbreak all over again if we did make his life worth it. Bless you Cory for those kind words.

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More White Light

The vet called yesterday. The bottom line is that Atticus needs another surgery. It won't heal him. He'll need another and another. Even if we were millionaires we'd never be able to save him and give him the normal family life we so desperately wanted to give him. He is in constant pain and it's time to end it. We all tried, but sometimes it's not enough. So, in a couple of hours we are going to the vet's to have him put to sleep.
I just can't tell you all how much this hurts. I feel like I failed in what I tried to do for him. Friends are telling me I haven't. That in the end of his life he knew kindness and love. I hope so. We may not have been able to give him the three years I hoped for--we weren't even able to give him three months--but we gave him something better than what he had. We did give him love and toys and a very good friend in Lulu. They jumped, wrestled and played with their toys. They destroyed one of their beds on day! You should have seen it. After that they only had one bed left and they shared it. (I'll post the pictures).
They shared their only bed. They shared toys and food and water bowls. They shared everything. We gave him friendship at the end. I suppose giving him friendship, kindness and love are the best gifts we could have given him. We couldn't control how long we gave him those gifts--that's out of our hands--but we gave him those gifts for as long as he was with us.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007


When I was a child I was very shy. I was an only child, quiet, a little chubby and my parents were divorced--back then no one's parents were divorced. I was different. As I grew up, I had only a few close friends. Very few people really understood me. I always thought it would be cool to be the member of a secret club where each member had a nickname. I thought about it a lot.

As I got older, I became more comfortable with who I was. I was still different than the crowd, not because I tried to be, but because I remained true to myself. I have strong since of justice and values--the very same ones I had when I was a kid. My mother often tells me I'm the same person I've always been. I'm glad.

I've always been self conscious and never had a lot of confidence. I'm better about this now. In fact, a few years ago I realized that all my life I was much more comfortable with myself than I realized I was, otherwise I would have tried harder to blend in. I certainly don't try now. I am who I am. I'm a good person. If it's not good enough for you, that's your problem.

In the last few years it's been easier making friends with e-groups and online forums. I think the computer was invented for people like me. People who are bad in social situations, but cherish friendships once they've made them. I'm a member of a once somewhat secret club--which is no longer a secret and has always been open to everyone. We all have nicknames too.
Tonight, one of those friends said the nicest thing to me about the group. Me. Sometimes I still feel like that shy, chubby child who no one really understood. I feel a little like Sally Field saying, "You like me. You really, really like me." I've known some of these people 5 or 6 years and I've met many of them in person including the person I'm speaking of, but I'm still surprised to hear that my friendship means just as much to them as theirs means to me.

I feel very blessed at this moment.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Quick update

The prayers, white light and well-wishes worked. We're still in limbo because the tests didn't really say much, but the good news is that the vet told us she would keep Atticus for us for a week or even two so she could observe him--for FREE. Yeah, no typo.

Thank you everyone for your prayers, white light, good thoughts, etc. I'm a believer. Please keep it coming. Will update better tomorrow and post a few photos.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

White Light Request

I've been away a while because Atticus has been very sick. (The photo above shows just how happy and healthy he was, visiting with our friend in mid December) It all started with a spider bite that needed to be drained and a little bump on his hip and it all mushroomed from there. Once the vet tried to drain the bite, she found a seroma underneath it. She was in surgery three hours. That was Monday night. We picked him up on Tuesday and he's had to be separated from Lulu ever since. He has on the big plastic E-collar, plus he has stitches on his chest and hip.

As if the poor sweet angel--because that's what he is, in pain or not, just an angel who wants to be your friend--hadn't been through enough now there's something more. Everything is adding up and everything looks bad. The lump on his hip was removed and it was cancer, but the vet thought she got a good margin around it. But when we took him to the vet yesterday (Saturday AM), as he was getting out of the car we noticed a scrape on his (other) hip. It was a small section where the skin was literally peeled away. We never saw it happen. He never cried. He didn't have it Fri when he went to the vet and he'd been under our observation since we'd gotten home from the vet Fri night.

The area of his hip was kind of swollen too. She said it would need a couple of staples because it was down to the muscle. She ended up shaving the area and what she found underneath was awful. It's like one bloody bruise under there. His skin is paper thin. She thinks it's a blood coagulation problem or something--so, more tests. Things do not look good for our boy. The thing that may have caused the seroma may be this blood disorder. We just do not know what to do. The costs just keep adding up. We've spent $1,200 we don't have this week alone. I'm at my wits end. I want to save him if a good life is possible, but I just don't have any more money to spare. And the vet has been giving us deep discounts on everything she does, but it's still breaking us. I wanted to do a good thing by giving this sweet angel a normal life, but this is not a normal life. I am beside myself with worry.

Please pray for our Atticus. Please send white light, good vibes and anything else you've got our way. We need a miracle, pure and simple. There's nothing left any more.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Year Indulgences

Thank you to Jenny Crusie for this idea!

In 2007 I think indulgences are important. Why? Because I am going to attempt a long list of positive changes this year and I believe in rewarding good behavior. More on those positive changes (I'll be calling them Goals rather than Resolutions) in another post.

Everyday Indulgences:

1) Long, hot showers after every weekday work out. No more 1 minute dash-in-and-dash-out showers. No sirree! 5 minutes with steaming hot water, Bath and Body Works shower gel and coordinating lotion afterwards. Hey, if I'm going to get up at 5 AM, 5 mornings a week and drag myself to the gym for an hour, I deserve to feel good afterwards. I have this totally covered. I have Warm Vanilla Sugar, Pecan Pie, Mango Madarin and (everything they offer in) Sweet Pea. It's my favorite.

Special Indulgences:

If I complete a manuscript this year and send it out, I will purchase a custom made bracelet from So Charmed. I've seen them in person and they are quite beautiful. My friend Betsy ordered hers first...and she told Jenny who ordered them one, two and three times. Also, Barb Ferrer from the post below also ordered hers when she sold her book Adios to My Old Life. Nice, huh? I want one too...when I earn it.

In honor of my Muses...Seasonal Indulgences:


I will allow myself to make at least one writing collage. (Examples: here*, here**, here+, and here*) I have been collecting scraps of paper from catalogs, magazines and calendars over the years and I've yet to splurge on expensive trims or decorations, but I deserve it. One day this Spring, I will take a day off work, shop for supplies in the morning and collage all afternoon. The Girls (AKA The Muses: Winter, Spring, Summer & Autumn) need to be fed.

*Jenny Crusie
**R.L. LaFevers
+Barbara Samuel


I will buy myself a killer outfit for my cousin Kari's wedding on 7/7/07 (in Vegas baby!) if I lose 25 pounds (one pound a week) by then. This will include any dress I want, a new pair of shoes, a matching purse, nice costume jewelry and a wrap.


Perhaps another day off and collage? I've been fiddling with multiple WIPs, so a second collage would be just dandy.


I'd always wanted to have a holiday open house. If I get all my cards written and most of my shopping done by the end of November, I'll do it. I have the cutest Christmas dishes on earth (the colors are so unlike me. In person they re much more pastel-ish than the link--but I love them!) and I've never actually used them. Plus, I'm a good hostess. A much better party-giver than party-goer. Probably because I'm shy.

This indulgence list works for me. I think I want some kind of monthly indulgences too. Something else to fill the well writing-wise. Maybe I should get out my copy of The Artist's Way for ideas. Any suggestions?


Join the fun!

Adiós to My Old Life by Caridad Ferrer is our Cherry Forums Book Club pick for January. Please join us in the Cherry Forums to chat with Caridad (AKA Barb, AKA Tropical Cherry) about Adiós, a possible sequel (squee!) and writing in general. Adiós is a YA book, but Barb also writes adult fiction as Barbara Ferrer.

If you're not a member of the Forums, that's ok. you can still look at all the boards--except the Writing Boards--which is fabulous! So why don't you join us? If you'd like to join, it's painless, free and only takes a few seconds.

Consider this your invitation.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

I wish for all of you a New Year filled with health, happiness, love and laughter. May 2007 bring all of us many wonderful surprises!
And Atticus and Lulu wish you friendship. Nothing is more important.