Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Talk Thursday: Rejuvenation

You gotta be kidding me. I just did Resurrection a couple weeks ago and ran perilously short of words. Now you're telling me I gotta put down the baba ganouj and the world's greatest pita bread and come up with even more words for a shockingly similar concept when I feel like I've just been dragged naked through flaming walls of rabid rattlesnakes? I mean, every day is interesting at the Old Law Firm, but today was particularly interesting and I hope tomorrow isn't this interesting or I might not survive. We're talking crisis upon crisis, from a new petition possibly being lost in the mail (and that would be bad, okay? That would really be bad), to me being utterly unable to make the conference call function on my phone work (have you ever hung up on your boss? Three times? In a row?), and we closed the day with me finding out that tomorrow, I'm going to have to tell Boss Dave something he's not going to like about an upcoming deadline that's up and coming one hell of a lot faster than he thought. How I'm supposed to pull Rejuvenation out of my hat at a time like this, I have no blessed idea.

But then, that's kind of the point of Talk Thursday. The topic-o-meter spits out A Concept, and your mission, should you choose to accept (and you must, or you wouldn't be here) is to take it, run with it and somehow Make It Work. There's gotta be something to write about underneath all that I-can't-do-it anxiety. After all, at the end of the day it's just you and your laptop. You work together and see what you can create.

So here's what I've come up with. Tomorrow is the first of July. This date is significant for several reasons. Firstly, Saturday is the second of July, and the second of July is halfway through the year. Secondly, the first of July heralds the approach of the three-day weekend, the Monday of which there will be fireworks (unless the burn ban extends into Dallas County, and it could, and that would kind of suck, but be understandable all the same). But thirdly and most importantly, the first of July heralds the beginning of Swim for Distance Month - the swimming marathon that is not for the faint of heart, nor the flat of chest.

See, for the last about four years I've been getting up at oh-dark-thirty most weekdays and driving myself to the Tom Landry Fitness Center to swim back and forth for an hour with the Dallas Aquatic Masters. Swimming is both fun, and awesome exercise, so I don't mind doing it (though it's occurred to me that if I ever really sat there and thought about it, I'd never do it; I'd think about the ridiculously early hour, the appearing in a bathing suit in front of all those superfit former Olympians and doctors and triathletes, and of course what it's costing me, so I work very hard on never thinking about those things). I think in some small way it keeps me alive. So I'm already swimming pretty hard.

But then, in July, we kick it up a notch. The goal is to swim at least every other day for the entire month, and you can pick a distance. The first year I did this I managed twenty-five miles, which is completely insane. Last year I don't think I cracked nineteen miles. So this year I went for a modest twenty-one. Secretly, I'd love to get to twenty-five again (and with the 2000-meter swim coming up at the end of the month, I may have a shot, but one thing at a time).

The only thing about July that I don't like is, it shakes up my morning routine. We scatterbrained folks thrive on routine, and I've got a good one; get up, meditate, feed assorted cats, make coffee, write for a while, make lunch, etc. I'll have to turn all that on its head and just get up, meditate very fast (can one meditate fast? I know one can mediate fast), roll into my clothes, grab my premade breakfast and coffee and hit the road, Jack. In short, instead of being at the pool at seven a.m., I'll need to be there at six. Which means getting up at about five. Which means my laptop and I are going to wash up at a Starbuck's someplace before work, guzzling coffee and getting our sorrows out of our systems before we haul ourselves back to the paper chase.

If it doesn't kill me, I'll be rejuvenated, all right. Last July I think I lost ten pounds.

Still, if memory serves, washing up at a Starbuck's every morning isn't so bad. It could get pricey, though. And I'll have to stay away from the scones. But there are certainly worse fates. We'll see you in the water.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Body Images

Today there's a workshop on "Loving Your Body Through the Summer." Don't ask me how I get roped into these things, but I've been invited - nay, commanded - to "share my experience, strength and hope in the area of body image." As I have not one clue how to approach this, I thought I'd hash out a blog post first. Sometimes I do my best thinking on paper - or, in the digital age, white screens that look kind of like paper, with text and little pictures of fish on them. (Hello, fishy.)

What's going to be interesting about this little speech is, I haven't the foggiest idea what I look like. Every now and again I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and either A. don't recognize myself or B. jump in surprise, as in, "Who is that woman wearing my clothes and why is she staring at me?" I don't know why this is so - I recognize myself easily in pictures that were taken, say, ten or fifteen years ago--but the present me is a complete mystery.

I suppose all of us have some idea of what we look like, and we carry that picture around in our heads and either confirm that picture's accuracy or lament that we're no longer seventeen and a half whenever confronted with the physical reality. The thing is, though, I did this when I was seventeen and a half, too. I stared at my senior picture for the old high school yearbook and wondered who in hell it was; it was recognizable as me only because the girl in the picture was
wearing my favorite Eiffel Tower earrings. Now, of course, she looks like me. But this picture of me from Facebook, taken on my birthday--you're kidding. That's me? But she looks so ... so ...


I'm in trouble, here, aren't I? It's hard to share experience, strength and hope about that which you have not one clue. But it gets worse. I also don't know if I'm male or female. Well, okay, I know I have female parts, and I really have no desire whatever to be a guy; imagine having 99% of your decisions being made by--never mind. But I don't always feel like a female. Maternal instinct? I ain't got it. Makeup? Lipstick? Yeah, I do that, because it's expected of me and because I'm a good mimic, but it so doesn't come naturally. But then, neither does mowing the lawn or working with power tools (Joan can tell you how many times I've almost lopped off fingers.) I seem to have grown up without ever learning that secret language of females that everybody else knows but me. Something about wearing high heels and skirts, the mysteries of pantyhose, the places you're not supposed to walk alone at night. Sometimes I feel just like a dude about stuff like that. Not that I'd know what a female (or a dude) feels like because (all together now) I don't know if I'm male or female. I once took one of those quizzes on the Internet that tries to guess if you're a guy or a girl, based on how you answer the questions. It put me firmly in the dude camp. I didn't tell it I was really a girl for fear of hurting its feelings. (Aha! you say. You're worried about its feelings! You're really a girl! And I can't argue with you. I can, however, point out that gay men worry about feelings, too.)

I also don't know if I'm fat or skinny. Well, obviously I'm fat, but I don't know how fat; am I huge or just, you know, fat? I don't always know what spaces I'll fit in, or what clothes, or--whatever. I'm like a cat with no whiskers that way. I'm always mildly surprised when I get into an airplane seat without an extension belt; after needing one for years, it still kind of rattles me that I don't anymore. Numbers on a scale are completely meaningless, as are numbers of sizes of clothes. Can I scooch behind this chair at a restaurant? Can I actually fit into that bathing suit, or do I need the next size up? If I sit here, will I take up too much room?

One thing, though: My body will do basically everything a skinny person's will do, and more. I swim ridiculous lengths on pretty much a daily basis (see fishy, above). I can walk long distances, carry heavy things, run when necessary (though not far), and carry on with the basic stuff of life, thank you. That I'm sometimes in my own way just makes it more interesting. I'm also ridiculously healthy, with normal blood pressure and sugars and a heart rate that's actually a tad lower than average. I blame the swimming. So what if we're not on a first-name basis; we seem to work together pretty well, my physical self and I.

So that's it. My experience, strength and hope. It's going to make for a short speech, isn't it? Well, that's okay. I'm a short person.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Talk Thursday: Devastation

I got an e-mail this afternoon that a friend of a friend has died. I didn't know him well--point of fact, I don't even know his last name--but he was part of my little circle of friends, and I've missed seeing him since he moved to Terrell or Tyler or Timpanogus or wherever he took off to about a year ago. Somewhere in East Texas, anyway. He had AIDS and hepatitis, both, and nothing was ever simple when it came to his health. I'd heard he was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago, and I didn't think things sounded terribly good then -- something about quite a bit of innards needing removal and possible liver failure? So I'd been at least mildly concerned. He went home about a week ago, but then yesterday or a couple of days ago he became lethargic and confused, so his family took him back to the ER. He died in his sleep sometime this morning. I think he was about 45 years old.

And I? Well, I didn't take it very well.

As in baseball, there's no crying in law firms. Well, maybe in family law firms, but noplace else. Everything happens much too quickly and at far too great a volume to get interrupted by personal drama or a lachrymose state of affairs. There are briefs to write. Motions to move. Medical records to order, re-order, read, organize, certify and produce to the other side. Discovery to discover. Crises to un-crisis. There just isn't time, people. Which was why I hid in my cube and didn't bother telling anybody what had just happened and why I was moping around and why my makeup was all streaky.

Which means, of course, that I didn't give my colleagues a fair chance.

How do you know, for example, that your colleagues don't have time for you if you don't let them know that you need them? (Repeat that a few times, it does make sense, I promise.) How do you know that the manager wouldn't let you step out for a while, or even (Scalia forbid!) go home early, if you don't ask? How do you know that the whole litigation machine can't possibly grind to a halt for a few minutes if you've never given it reason to do so?

Let somebody else give it reason to do so, says I. I'll be the one hiding in my cube.

I am such a fucking coward.

Back about 10 years ago, when Stuart killed himself, I got a similar email letting me know the news. I already knew the news because I had a weird psychic thing the night before. Different law firm, different colleagues, same lachrymose state of affairs. Same reaction, too. Spent the whole morning crying in my cube and hoping nobody noticed. (It's possible nobody noticed; I had not yet done the things I needed to do to be dubbed certifiably insane by that particular group of colleagues, but that's another story and shall be told another time.) This was my role model, my life, my Christ, my great shining hope of the human race drinking himself to death and, just in case a .27 blood alcohol level didn't do the job (it would have), hanging himself from a pipe in a cheap hotel room. Why wasn't I already on a plane, on the way to the funeral? Oh, because I was broke. Right. What in hell was I doing at work? Earning a living. Oh, right. No crying in law firms. Chin up, lassie, there's the girl. Woof.

Anyway. A friend of a friend has died, and I am not handling it very well. I didn't handle it very well when Stuart died, and I didn't handle it well when Roberta died either. Or Uncle Al or Uncle John or any of my four grandparents. I imagine I won't handle it well when anyone else dies, for that matter. It's my brain and death is just one of the things it doesn't handle well. There's no crying in law firms, but there can certainly be crying in the front seats of cars, and I'm heading there now. Adios, muchachos.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Talk Thursday (the following Monday): I Love To Bitch About...

...actually, I don't. Love to bitch, I mean. I love to rant, but that's different. I love to listen to everyone else bitch. Mainly because half the time they don't know they're doing it, and it's interesting to watch them do it while certain they aren't doing it. And once in a while a bitch turns into a rant, which is a wonderful thing to behold. Well, it is if I'm the beholder, anyway. I'm easily amused and all that.

Real quick, the difference between bitching and ranting: To bitch means to complain, which is to say, addressing one's complaints about something to someone who can do nothing about them with the expectation that somehow one's problems will get solved anyway. An example would be complaining about the size of an airline seat to the flight attendant, who does not purchase nor build airliners and has absolutely no say whatsoever about the size of the seats which are chosen to be placed in a particular airliner. (I see this happen every time I fly.) To rant, on the other hand, means to take issue with something and address one's complaint not just to those who have no control over it, but to the entire human race at large, usually in a very loud voice (or a blog post), and sometimes preceded with "I don't want to go off on a rant here, but..." before doing precisely that. When done as stand-up comedy (or a blog post), it's oftentimes hilarious, touching and enlightening (and Dennis Miller is the unacknowledged master of the art; I bow to you, sir.) When done on an airliner, it's often grounds for arrest. You have been warned.

I've been known to go off on a rant in this space pretty frequently. The subject is usually gay marriage and the thing that tends to set me off is my inability (in Texas, anyway) to quitclaim my house back to myself and Joan as a married couple. That's it. That's all I wanna do. Yet every time I think we can do it, bam! Another court rules some other way, and we're back where we started, which is to say, Dallas, circa 2004, signing a mortgage deed as two single women. Yes, it's nice to wake up in the morning and realize that I'm still legally married (for now) because the yes-on-8 crowd hasn't yet managed to undo the court ruling that left all 18,000 of us who managed to get married between May and November 2008 in California legally hitched. That's very nice, but it don't work here, or rather, we don't know how far we can push it here, and into property law is one place it probably won't go. Never mind that the way the deed is written, she gets the place if anything happens to me. That does not matter. I want to be a married couple in deed. (Indeed.) And it drives me crazy that I'm not. Thank you very much. This has been a sample rant, a live performance.

(By the way, Joan is going back to school, and she filled out the Big Student Financial Aid Paperwork Thingy this week. When she got to the "Are you married or single?" box, a little explanatory note popped up, stating that since it's a Federal program, according to the Defense of Marriage Act, she was single and could check the Single box, which meant my income didn't count toward whatever financial aid they end up giving her. So for the sake of the Feds, she can depend on no help from me whatsoever, even in the form of half the mortgage. Now, isn't that special. Play the system for all it's worth, says I.)

Rants are grand things. They're like public theater, street performance art. They make great reading, provoke thought, often provoke outrage, and at the very least, they entertain. More power to them. When it comes to bitching, though, I really wish people wouldn't. If anything they seem like a way for the bitcher to feel superior to the bitchee for a few minutes, often at the expense of the bitchee's feelings (and patience, especially if, as is usually the case, the bitchee can do nothing to help the situation.) Great. Congratulations, your anger has made you king. At least for five minutes. Then you'll realize how stupid you sounded, or maybe you won't. Maybe you'll settle into that airline seat with a note of smug self-assurance, confident that you told her how the seats ought to be on your planet. Never mind that they're still too small on this one.

I mean, what is the point of complaining, anyway? If you're not addressing a person who can actually do something to help you, you might as well not bother. And if you are addressing a person who can help you, please do him or her the favor of stating exactly what the problem is, how it happened, how it's inconveniencing you, and how you'd like it resolved. If the person you're addressing makes it plain that he or she can't help you, you'd do better to take it up a notch to his or her supervisor, or the supervisor's supervisor, or my personal favorite, the Director of Marketing. Often all you need in a situation like this, especially if you're dealing with a large organization, is one person who gives a damn. You're a lot more likely to find that person if you keep your cool, remain polite, and keep your requests reasonable. Bitter personal experience? Ah yes, my friends, I did disaster relief during Hurricane Katrina. And worked for Bank of America during the Security Pacific merger. Hard to say which was more harrowing.

And if you don't find that person? Well then, my friend, turn it into a rant. You've earned it, and the rest of us could use the entertainment. Play on!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Who, Dat?

I live with a Doctor Who fanatic. We're talking serious fandom here. She peruses the chat boards, buys the T-shirts, has two (count them, 2) Tardis coffee mugs. She even quit playing D&D, which I happen to know she loves, to be home for each and every new episode of the current half-season, which ended, uh, Saturday, I think, on a big ol' cliffhanger. Before BBC America was broadcasting the episodes at the same time as the regular BBC was showing them in the UK, she'd get on BitTorrent and download those suckers (and delete them after watching; she's a law-abiding citizen). And, I believe we have every season since they started remaking the show with Christopher Eccleson stashed around here somewhere on DVD. Not an episode can be broadcast into this house without a Big Discussion on What All This Means (since the episodes are terribly convoluted, refer back to each other and stuff that happened in previous seasons, and often lay groundwork for stuff that will happen in future eps, which is mightily confusing if you're me.) In short, she takes this show extremely seriously.

Me? I just watch the thing.

I mean, I like the show. It's cool. Guy flies through space and time in a magical box that has certain Issues once in a while but on the whole can do just about anything. Guy lands on planets that are often severely messed up in one way or another and goes about fixing them, or at least solving their single most monumental problem (alien invasion, parasites, ground-devouring critters, artificial flesh taking over as doppelgangers, that sort of thing.) Guy meets presidents, prime ministers, Popes. Guy gets into and out of lots of trouble. What's not to like?

Here's the thing. I feel outclassed. It's practically a church service at our place, complete with low lights, sacred recliners and cell phones with which to Twitter through episodes. I'm relegated to the couch (the TV version of the crying room for little kids, maybe?) where I'm afraid to breathe, practically. Because Joan is so obviously into this show and not on planet Earth that my saying the wrong thing might just, I dunno, break the spell or something. And then what? Well, then I've ruined it for everybody, like the guy who hid razor blades in Halloween candy.

There's a kind of weird dread that comes over me when I know a new episode is imminent. It's
hard to be in the same room with that much Serious Fandom. I get very intimidated. No matter how much I like the show, I can never in a million years hope to equal that kind of rah-rah kick-alien-butt sort of passion. I sometimes wish there were such a thing as a Doctor Who bar, kind of like a sports bar if you get my meaning, where us casual fans could drop in, watch the show and, I dunno, eat barbecued hot wings. (Scantily clad waitresses are totally optional.) Somewhere where the atmosphere would be less intense. Because, ya know, it's been on the air for 43 seasons and burned through 10 different actors and killed I don't know how many Daleks, but look, folks, it's only a TV show.

Oops. There, I said it. I have to go hide now.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Talk Thursday: On the Road

Longest road trip: In 2004, Joan and I piled 2 cats, a box containing a crock pot and various kitchen supplies, some suitcases, a bunch of other miscellaneous stuff, and ourselves (did I mention 2 cats?) into a 1998 Corolla and drove from San Diego to Dallas. It took us four days, including an overnight at my parents' place in Phoenix, and was not what you'd call fun. The cats were relatively well-behaved most of the way, though they seemed to want to sleep on the floor a lot (read, under the accelerator pedal), and for some reason Caesar wanted to stand on his back feet, rest his front paws on the windows and howl at every eighteen-wheeler that went by. But really, they were pretty well-behaved until we got to Abilene. I'm not sure what happened in Abilene but they both just freaked right the hell out. We had to stuff them back into their cat carriers. Caesar promptly flipped his off the seat and began rolling around on the car floor; I had to pull over, put him back on the seat and strap him down with a seat belt. I then drove 90 mph all the way to Dallas, somehow managing to avoid state troopers entirely. Thank God once we got them into the house, they calmed down. We lay on the floor on an air mattress most of the afternoon, panting for breath and wondering how long it would take our furniture and stuff to show up. (Answer: Four more days.)

Latest road trip: Last weekend, we drove to Glen Rose, Texas to take a tour of a wildlife rescue facility called Fossil Rim Wildlife Park. In this zoo, you're the one in the cage; they stick you into
a vehicle (an old school bus, in our case) and all the animals come out to see you. They gave us kibble to feed to the critters, prompting this giraffe to not only go after Joan for more kibble, but to try to steal her hat. And yes, it was hotter
'n' lots of things that are too darned hot, and we needed to have taken along much more water, and it was dusty and uncomfortable and so on, but still, a giraffe tried to steal Joan's hat. How cool is that?

Most surprising road trip: On another of those let's-get-the-hell-out-of-Dallas whimsies, we drove to yet another animal sanctuary, this one near Conroe (which is almost to Houston, in case you don't speak Texas geography.) This was to visit a wolf sanctuary, and we followed quite a few twisty turny roads to get there on the way down. On the way back, we came out of Conroe onto the I-45 and just turned north to get back to Dallas. Passing near Huntsville, we got the surprise of our lives: There, on the freeway, in front of God and everybody, was a giant statue of Sam Houston. I mean this thing was huge, monumentally tacky, and stuck out there in the middle of Nowhere, Texas, for No Apparent Reason. I mean, I guess you're supposed to pull over and take pictures of it or something? I dunno. But I was really surprised. Well, maybe appalled comes a little closer.

Scariest road trip: When I was a kid, we lived in Utah and my entire family -- well, two uncles and many cousins -- would fly in from North Dakota to go skiing at Snowbird every year for a week. It was awesome because we got to miss school, and because we got to see the sun; in Salt Lake City, the fog rolls in about mid-November and stays there until April, so if you want to see the sun, you have to go skiing. No kidding. Anyway, my parents had this old Ford Econoline van, which we'd cram with something like 15 people, plus all the ski equipment and luggage, and we'd drive this thing up this narrow, twisty, snowy, icy road to Snowbird, that frequently got wiped out by avalanches, hoping to God we wouldn't careen off a cliff and die horrible deaths. My dad would pile all the luggage in the back of the van and position random kids against the pile, including on top, so that all the weight would be in the back. Then he'd get us all to sing at the top of our lungs -- usually old camp fire songs, but once in a while something religious--so that we'd forget how frick'n scared we were. And there we'd go, this band of terrified, singing Icelanders, up the road to Snowbird. And somehow, every year, we made it in one piece. The gods have a soft spot for fools. And the nineteenth round of "Green Grow the Rushes."

Weirdest road trip: I rode in the back of a Brat truck from downtown El Salvador to uptown Chalchuapa, if Chalchuapa can be said to have an uptown. Chalchuapa is a town in the El Salvador Highlands (yes, there are highlands) where they've just in the last 20 years or so discovered the ruins of a Mayan city. They're slowly excavating some temples out of the jungle, and the tourists are starting to come to check them out, though because the location is so remote it's slow going. Still, I rode in this Brat in both sunlight and rain (it rains a lot in El Salvador), up these twisty turny mountain roads to Chalchuapa, and got to see this Mayan temple up close and personal. A nine-year-old kid walked me through it, and he was pretty knowledgeable, telling me all about the ball game that the condemned used to play for the entertainment of the locals before their still-beating hearts were ripped out of their bodies. (He then demanded a tip. I paid him and bought him a Coke.) We had dinner at a place called the Manhattan Bar and Grill, where the local specialty was pollo asado with shark fin soup. I kid you not. And on the loudspeakers in this fine establishment of the local haute cuisine played a fine rendition of Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again."

Next road trip: Well, it won't be a road trip because I'll be flying, but I'm going back to Utah to see the folks. And if we go to Snowbird, which we might very well do, the road will be dry and safe without a trace of ice. Which sort of negates the whole purpose, but it's still awfully pretty up there.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Talk Thursday: Fan

Sometimes I wonder about the Talk Thursday Topic-O-Meter. Sometimes it seems to function at less than its optimal speed, and sometimes it spits out some just plain weird configurations that lead me to wonder if it's, you know, running with all its parts engaged. Or maybe it has a Plan, a Secret Plan of which I, a lowly mortal, can know nothing because to fully comprehend it would blow away my tiny mind and I'd be reduced to a gelatinous lump of protoplasm working at, I dunno, a law firm somewhere.

In any case, the topic of the week is Fan. And how do you like them apples?

I am a Fan of a great many things, though I tend not to Fan things on Facebook because it's a great way to get tiny viruses and junk mail. I can't speak for everyone, though, and one of the everyones I can't speak for is Joan. We share a Facebook page, and she likes to Fan things, so I end up Fanning them whether I want to Fan them or not. The last time I checked, I'd Fanned the Band of Gold, Afrah (my favorite restaurant), North Texas Mensa and something called the Tardis Tavern. I have only the vaguest idea what half of those things are. The other half are complete mysteries. Luckily there is no requirement that you must know what something is in order to be a Fan; as far as I can tell, you don't even have to be breathing. You just have to have someone click on the "Become a Fan" box for you and you're in, kid. That's right; my mother-in-law, many years deceased, could easily become a Fan of the Village People. (What's that I hear? Somebody turning over in her urn roundabouts Fort Rosecrantz? Sorry, Mrs. C. I was just making an illustrative example.)

I'm also a Fan of fans. Don't know what I'd do without them in Texas in the summer. Absolutely indispensable for questionably air-conditioned meditation halls at Buddhist retreats in the middle of summer. Trust me, I've got this down to a science; om mani padme flip, om mani padme flip. I have a fan mounted to the ceiling of my bedroom, and since the switch is broken, I unscrew the lightbulbs at night so I can still have the fan without the lights. One might point out, and one might be right, that I could just get the silly thing repaired. Yes, I could, but that particular repair is at the end of a long list. Currently at the top of the list: Getting the tree that's grown up around the power lines cut the heck down. It's starting to look dangerous out there. Second on the list: Getting another Fan mounted on Joan's ceiling. She needs one more than I do, and that's saying something.

Okay, I've covered Fans and I've covered fans. Can I stop pretending I know what to do with this topic now? Oh good. Let's get back to my favorite subject: Writing. Firstly, let me announce that the New Book has a title: Taken By Storm. Look that up on Amazon and you'll find at least 21 unique items, which was where I stopped counting. Five of them were drippy romance novels and one of them was a heavy metal album, but that's okay; can't copyright a title [Lutz v. DeLaurentiis (1989) 211 Cal. App. 3d 1317]. Secondly, it made Joan cry. Oh, wait; Secondly, Joan actually read it. Thirdly, it made her cry. And finally, buoyed by a familiar dose of wild optimism, ladies and germs, I'm pleased and mildly terrified to announce I sent out the first query letter this morning. Yes, I'm still querying the other one--but now I've doubled my odds. (As Han Solo: "Never tell me the odds.")

This leaves me in an odd position; without a work-in-progress for the first time in, uh, ages. I was working on like four of them before Storm took over, but for some reason I don't want to go back to any of the other three. I want to do something else. Haven't a clue what, just--something else. Maybe something about fans. Hey, how about a fake biography of a fan maker who travels to San Sebastian to meet Thor and Loki and prevent the end of the world? Nah, that'd never work. But it does pull the whole blog post full circle. Fan that!