Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Where's the Grenade?

Ok, so, like, I'm a really active "sleeper", right? That means that I tend to roll around alot, wriggle, talk in my sleep, etc. I've always been like that, since I can remember. When I was a kid I used to like totally crack up in my sleep and I'd laugh so hard that I'd wake myself up, if I hadn't already woken the rest of the household up with my laughter, right? So, that's not really anything new. But, a couple days ago, my husband asked me to not watch anymore active shows or like the military channel at night, because I guess I pushed him the other night really hard, or maybe I even hit him, I can't remember what he said, cuz I was in total shock.

I knew it was only a matter of time, though. I mean, seriously, how could it not be, right? When you're that active in your sleep, and like my dreams are so totally vivid. Maybe it's the drugs. I dunno. Maybe they make the dreams more vivid, because like I totally feel like I'm right there in my dream and it's all really happening to me. So, I'm actually kind of shocked that I haven't totally busted his cap in my sleep before now and seriously, that's a major reason we don't have any big weapons in the house, or if we do, I have no clue where they'd be, cuz I do think my dh has a weapon of some kind, but I've never seen it and I don't know where he keeps it. And that's just fine with me.

This is actually a symptom of my PTSD, I think. Where I'll be dreaming and sometimes, well, ok, on a regular basis, really, since around January or February of this year, I have THE Nightmare. THE ONE that replays that moment in my head and I feel like I'm right there and it's all happening to me all over again. Only now, because I'm in a safe environment and have been for like the past nearly ten years, and becuase in my head I can be as strong as I want to be, well, I actually try really hard to fight back and defend myself. Well, ok, lemme take that back, too, though, because that's what I was doing until around January or February of this year. But, since then I haven't been fighting back in my dreams, not at all and that was really bothering me ALOT, becuase before that I'd be like getting all Lara Croft on his ass, you know?

Anyway, maybe that feistiness is returning, or like I said, maybe it's cuz they jsut upped the dosage on my pain killers that my dreams are just like going off the hook with reality. At least I'm sleeping again. For several months, well since February or March, I wasn't sleeping unless everyone was gone, out of the house. And even then, I wouldn't let myself sleep for very long. I was really scared of having THOSE dreams every fucking night. They're not at all pleasant.

But, anyway, back to present day: dh tells me no more action flicks late at night before bedtime. But, I'd already stopped that abotu two weeks ago or so, after they upped my PKs, because I was hoping I'd be able to sleep again and that maybe THE dream would go away and be replaced by something less horrifying. I'm not asking for a miracle here or anything. I mean, I know that my dreams are what other people would typically call nightmares, but hey, as long as they're not THE dream, I'm ok with that, basically. There are lots of nights, and dh saw a huge increase in these kinds of dreams since last spring (he doesn't know it, but it's cuz THE Dream was back, but I don't talk about THAT), that I'll start sobbing and crying, or screaming or trying to get away and I curl into an invisible shrinking ball. But, he will wake me up and comfort me and then I stop crying and can go back to sleep if he holds me. If he holds me, I sometimes don't even have THE Dream. After 10 years of marriage, I just discovered this about a month ago. But, I mean, the guy's like a living furnace and there's no way it would be comfortable for him to do that every night. And, it's not very comfortable for me, either, because of my pain issues. Still, if I'm desperate, I know what I need to do and I'll ask him to hold me, if I wake up and am thinking of it.

So, here we are, right? And I guess I'm having this major dream and I couldn't remember it when he was telling me about it, but I think I remember part of it now. Anyway, he said that I was pushing him really ahrd (and, like I said, maybe I hit him, I can't remember, but if I did it wasn't hard enough to make a big deal out of it, because if he had, I'd definitely remember that) and telling him that I was looking for a grenade! lmao! Ok, sorry, I had to laught. That is so freakin' hilarious. a grenade in the bed? Man, I've heard it called alot of things, but that's gotta be a new one. lol

Now, what I remember of my dream is that the Bad Guy, (not THE BAD GUY, just a random bad guy, but still a very bad bad guy), discovered me and was threatening to kill me. He was going to execute me. That was a given. The only question was when? Before or after he tortured me? Before or after he beat the crap outta me? But he didn't know that there were other people in the house with me. But I knew. I knew that the man I loved and my child and maybe there were others were in the house and I knew that they weren't well hidden. I knew that my dh was standing almost directly behind me in the dark and I knew that he wanted to come out and try to protect me by standing between me and that big ass room-broom in the Bad Guy's hands. I couldn't let that happen to him. I had to protect him. He's had a good life. My daughter's had a good life. Everyone I know has had a good life so far, for the most part. I couldn't let him ruin that. So, I was pushing him back, telling him to get back, because the bad guy didn't know he was there, yet. If he'd just listen to me for ONCE and do what I was begging him to do, stay hidden, stay out of sight, don't let him see you. Then, he put his hand on my shoulder and was trying to pull me out of the line of fire. So, I swiped his hand away as quick as I could so the bad guy wouldn't notice, but it was too late, he saw. And that's when I saw it, he had a grenade in his hand and he pulled the pin. Guess he dropped the room-broom or something. Anyway, he pulled the pin and tossed it into another dark corner.

Darnit, honey? Why can't that man ever listen to me? Why won't he do what I ask him to, just once, without needed some long drawn out explanation or some big long statement with facts and references to back up my opinion on a thing? why can't he just scoot away and get the hell outta dodge, take the kid with him, when I ask him to? I was thoroughly pissed off, but I didn't have time to yell at him, which is what I really wanted to do, because I had to find that damn grenade and get rid of it, before it turned all of us into birdseed. So, now, I'm tellign him to get out, to go away and get out of here, take the kid with you, because I have to find this stupid grenade and try to get the pin back into it before it went off and we had a whole 30 seconds to accomplish this in. But, did he listen to me? Well, what do you think.

Exactly. . . . Boom!

(Tune in next time for the rest of the story)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Lesson from the Elephants: Never Forget

Heard something upsetting, yesterday. Have you heard that they're (Don't know who "they" are exactly, but, they're) actually considering making it legal to hunt ivory again! Can't remember if I heard that about India or Africa,but I'm guessing the Africas, since I'm doing most of my research on that continent, lately. I was quite upset and will have to do some further research. Elephants are my favourite animal, followed by the lion. I wish people didn't find ivory so beautiful or intriguing. I wish there wasn't a market for tusks. It's bad enough right now as it is with poachers killing elephants. If only people cared what it so obviously does to a herd of elephants when one of them dies. They really do grieve. They're very sensitive creatures and so amazing. One of my dreams is to go on a photo-safari in Africa and go elephant watching. I just hope I'll get that opportunity before they all disappear.

I'm reading a short story by Mike Resnick right now and it's so hilarious. But, one of the parallels he makes in the story is from elephants to Jews. "We've always considered ourselves the Jews of the animal kingdom. We often wondered which of us would be extinct first," then, turning to a Jewish man, the elephant asks, "Do your people consider themselves the elephants of the human kingdom?" Well, now that they mention it.... Personally, I think both elephants and Jews should be highly revered and respected. Our world would lose alot of it's luster and beauty without either.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hero for the Month: SEARS & CO.

I'm a believer in giving credit where it's due and the credit this month goes out to Sears Roebuck and Co. Did you know...well, you know what? Why don't I just let you see for yourself what they're up to:

Thank you for taking the time to let us know of your support for our actions regarding our associates who have been called into active duty. As you may have read, Sears has extended its program of military pay differential to 60 months. This includes allowing Sears reservists who are full-time employees to continue participating in the company's life insurance, medical and dental programs, if they choose. The company will also hold a comparable position for these individuals for up to five years.

Sears has a heritage of commitment to families and home. This is a difficult time for military families, and we are proud to be able to take these actions to demonstrate support for our many co-workers who are serving our Nation.

Again, thank you for your correspondence. We appreciate your interest in our efforts, and hope you will continue to make Sears your choice for quality and value. Sears, Good Life. Great Price.

Sincerely,The Employees of Sears, Roebuck and Co.

As if what they do for the families on Ty's show, MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION, isn't doing enough; as if what they've been doing for the citizens in New Orleans who lost everything to the hurricanes isn't enough, now they gotta go and support our Service-Men and -Women, too? I was so impressed that a big company like this would be so supportive of their employees in this day and age. Before my typically jaded nature could raise it's ugly head and say, "Yeah, well, they're smart; they don't want any 747's tearing through their tower in Chicago," I literally felt a few tiny shards of icy cynicism break off and melt after reading about how Sears was pro-actively supporting their people. I mean, five years? I could pop an eleven pound kid out a hole smaller than a pea and I'd be lucky to get three months outta the deal, but you know that I'd best not come back thinkin' I'm gonna get my job back, as in the same job I had when I left to pop out this noisy, wriggling, squealing sucker, nor it's equivalent, when I return.

No, if I want my job back, then I'd better figure on taking no more than a month's maternity leave, at most, before heading back to claim my kingdom, or principality. Well, ok, so maybe it's more like a municipality.... Village? Right, well, ok, in all honesty, it was probably like a tent, or even a tree stump. Whatever. Now, I'm going to start supporting Sears so they'll continue doing this for theirs, yeah? :) How about you? Have you heard of any major companies, Sears-size, who're pledging their patriotic support in various ways to their reservist employees? If so, leave a comment and tell us what you know. I'll do some research to double check the facts and will post them next month and we'll have a kind of Christmas shopping directory of places that give back to those who lay their lives on the line for us.

Thanks Sears and please, continue setting the example, taking the lead and show us how it's done.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Goodbye Croc Hunter!

We're so sad today, finding out that the crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin of Australia, died over the weekend after being stabbed by a stingray. :( I rarely cry over celebrity deaths, because honestly, I don't know them. I think the only one I ever cried over was Bob Hope when he died. I'll definitely cry when Jerry Lewis dies, too. They've brought me so much laughter in my life. But, our family adores Steve Irwin and his family and I couldn't hold back the tears when I thought of little Bindy, eight years old, who is most certainly a daddy's girl all the way, having to grow up without a father, now. And little Bob, only three.

And really, it's so rare when you see a marriage you can envy and Steve and his wife, Terri, had one of those rare marriages. Anyone with eyes could see just by the glances they exchanged that they were truly, madly in love with each other and it was genuine.

One of the things we admired most about Steve was the respect he showed the animals and had for them. I really liked the way he handled them, much better and much safer than the other guys like Jeff Corwin and Jack Hanna.

Steve never hurt any of the animals and never even looked or seemed like he was. He never behaved recklessly around them, always setting a good example for the kids in how to behave around wild animals. He always would remind them that he was a professional with special training and that they shouldn't get as close as he did or do the same things he did without a professional or a responsible adult there to help them. I liked that about him, because my daughter is an animal lover and would be just the sort of kid to pull what our family calls a "Corwin" and get close and try some goofy trick or play with an animal that really shouldn't be played with, becuase she loves animals and thinks that they're all her friends. So, as a mama, I really appreciated his attitude.

Now, I know that you're probably scratching your head (if anyone's reading this besides me, lol), as I say this about Steve, because there was an incident in 2004 where the media and, frankly, uninformed soccer moms who'd probably never or rarely watched his show got their panties in a twist because he seemingly got too close to a croc while holding 1 month old Bob in his arms. Ok, here's the thing. I don't think that would've gotten as much attention as it did if Whacko Jacko hadn't just tried to toss his kid off a balcony to a bunch of raving lunatics in Germany. There's a HUGE difference between a love-starved perverted rock star dangling his baby by a leg over a balcony and Steve Irwin, the crocodile educator, holding his baby securely in his arms and standing near, but nowhere close to the croc's mouth, to help educate the public on crocs. Steve's always involved his family in his work. It's one of his most endearing qualities that he just loved being with his family and sharing his passion with them. We see that too rarely these days. How many dads or moms do you know who enjoy the company of their family so much they want them around 24/7?

Anyway, back to the controversial incident: the thing is that this man has spent his entire lifetime around these animals. No one on this planet is more informed about how these animals react. He knew exactly what he was doing. The child was far enough out of danger, safely in Irwin's arms and believe me, that croc was a heck of alot more interested in the food Irwin was about to toss to it than anything else going on there. Now, if it was a lion or some other fast moving animal, then yes, he would've been endangering Bob's life, but it wasnt'. And if it had been, he wouldn't have had Bob anywhere near an animal like that.

But, this particular croc, if I'm remembering it right, was one he'd rescued with his dad as a child. He'd basically grown up with this croc. And, if I remember right, this particulare croc had major physical problems and couldn't move fast if his life depended on it, which is why Steve kept it and took care of it, because it wouldn't ahve survived in the wild. So, it wasn't like he had his baby around any real danger. It was a perceived danger. Perceived by the minds of uneducated, uninformed viewers who rarely watched his show, or at least didn't watch it often enough to know this particular croc.

He defended his actions at the time, as did his wife, Terri and rightly so. The only thing I think he should've done differently was to think about his image and not do it, because the public, the media wouldn't understand. But, see, that's just another of his adorable traits. He really didn't think of himself as the big star he really was. I think before that incident, he really didn't realize how important, how significant, how totally HUGE he'd become.

Steve always knew exactly how close he should and shouldn't get to the animals. And, he knew each animal's personality that he worked with. He knew the crocs he owned by heart and they knew him. Bob was never in any danger and anyone who knew him would know that he'd die before he allowed anything bad to happen to his kids or Terri. It was so obvious that it distressed him that anyone could think otherwise at the time.

That incident, well, actually, the public outcry because of that incident really infuriated me at the time. And, really, it wasn't just because of the way the media went on and on about it, even more than they did about Whacko Jacko's attempt to toss the baby out with the bathwater, but it was the way his colleagues turned on him in a flash. I mean, they knew better, knew what he was doing and which animal he was with, and they still turned on him like a pack of hungry wolves. It was sickening.

Loyalty is extremely important to me and always has been. I probably favor that virtue above all the others, right or wrong it's how I am. It didn't take much time at all for them to turn on him when asked for their opinions of what happened. It was ridiculous how fast they put him down and with such ease.

That's when we stopped watching their shows and focused exclusively on Irwin's. It spoke volumes about the kind of character they have. And it spoke highly of his character that he never put his colleagues down the way they did to him and believe me, they've given him plenty of opportunities to do so over the years. Especially that Jeff Corwin character. Jeez! I can't watch his show after watching Steve's for so many years, because he's so reckless in the way he deals with the wild animals, it's scary and insulting to the animals and to the viewers.

I've seen Jeff Corwin do some amazingly stupid stunts with wild animals and do things that were frankly at the very least disrespectful to the animal, but also that looked like it would hurt the animals he works with just so he could be "funny" or look cool or whatever. Those stunts never seem to make the press which just reinforces my opinion that the only reasons Steve was blasted by the media and uninformed soccer moms was because a) he had his little baby girl in his arms and 2) he's the most successful out of all those animal handlers and zoologists and they're jealous, plain and simple.

And, though I do respect Jack Hanna, I've seen him do things that certainly would hurt an animal like whipping horses and whacking donkeys or goats or elephants with a stick, whereas, Steve, in the same situation, didn't do that. That's an impressive gift. I never saw him do anything that would do more than discomfort an animal and for the least amount of time necessary. And, another thing I liked is that he rarely doped the animals up. He did everything naturally and just respected them, their space, their territory and their feelings. Animals have pride and he seemd to be aware of that.

But, you know why he was so successful? Because you couldn't help "catching" his enthusiasm about the animals he was teaching us about. It was contagious and his love and respect for them was so very obvious, written all over his face. :) He was the kind of man that you could see as a big brother or favourite uncle. He was that approachable. You jsut knew that if you met him on the street, you could approach him and he wouldn't snub you or be a jerk or have some kind of "God" complex, etc. that so many celebs have when approached in public. He'd still be flattered if someone wanted his autograph, even after all these years. And the way he treated animals, translated into every area of his life.

His employees and other people he knew would always say things like that he treated them with respect regardless their positions at the zoo. He wasn't a respecter of "persons" of title and rank. He just respected people. And the way he treated his wife was exemplary, in my opinion. He respected her opinion, wasn't intimidated by her professional knowledge or the power she had in her own right. He even seemed amazed by her alot of the time, by her courage and how she handled the animals and by the way she worked with them. I thought that was really neat. He was in a phrase, a good person. Salt o' the earth, as my mom would probably say.

My daughter's grown up on all of Irwin's shows, The Crocodile Hunter, Crocodile Hunter Diaries, and so forth, since she was around four years old. We watched every day as a family and would talk about what we learned from him and Terri and they provided so much fun and joy in our lives. The world truly lost a great man, a wonderful champion for animals that weren't considered anything but evil and mean before he introduced us to them through his eyes.

My heart and prayers go out to his family, now. I can imagine what Terri's going through, having lost the love of my life when I was younger, (long before current Hubby came into my life), and I know she must be in incredible pain right now. I wish she didn't have to go through this. But, at the same time, she's been so fortunate to find that kind of love in life and to have a husband she could be proud of is something she and the kids will remember the rest of their lives.

Before he died, Steve was able to convince the Australian government that allowing wealthy tourists to come to their contry on hunting expeditions, where they'd kill crocs and other wild animals purely for sport was a horrid idea and would in the long run be terrible for Australian tourism and their wildlife. Could you imagine what that would've been like? It would've gotten out of control so quickly. Whoever had that big idea should be taken to task in a big way. Oy! I can't help but feel that we've all lost a piece of wonderful in Steve's passing. He will be sorely missed and fondly remembered.

Rest peacefully, Steve. We love ya!

See for more information on Steve's Death.

For information on Irwin's life and work, click on the title.

And this one gives sort of a timeline of key events in his life:

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Character's Journals

I'm going to start writing in my character's voices and keeping a journal for them. Don't know how many "journal" pages I'll have for however many povs, but we'll start off with Georgia, the heroine of my book.
Day 1

What a horrible day. I spent 12 hours on a plane flying from California to Nairobi, Kenya in East Africa with a three hour layover in London. I left last night from California or was it yesterday. See what I mean? My times are all goofed up now. I have no idea whether it's yesterday, today or tomorrow here, but here I am in the plane swirling over the Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi at last. I'll say this much, this excursion already is memorable. If it's adventure I wanted, and I didn't, not really, then that's what I'm getting out of this crazy deal. What made me think I could even do this in the first place. I mean, I must be crazy or desperate or ....

Right, that's it of coruse. I'm so damned broke that this is my only and last hope. I really do need to start thinking thankful thoughts. Thankful that I'm going to have room and board, such as it will be, for the next three months. Thankful that I'm going to get the financial aid I'll need to finish my last year at med school by working for this NGO over the summer. Thankful that they even accepted me in the first place out of who knows how many volunteers there were.

It's really going to be a great experience for me. I've never been out of the city before, not for longer than a day to go to that Pilgrim Farm in the country with my 8th grade class for a field trip when we were studying the Mayflower and all that in history. And we really don't want to go there, now do we? Oh, sure, this is my diary, so why the hell not air out all the dirty laundry. Ok, so I threw up when I saw how the pigs ate and what they ate. It was disgusting. Anyone would throw up. And, sure, I didn't exactly volunteer to pull an egg out from under a chicken's butt. Then there were all the bugs attacking me left and right. That really wasn't my cup of tea either. But, that was a long time ago. I'm much tougher now, not nearly as squeamish as I used to be and I've gotten older and wiser,(I hope!), so I think this experience will not only be good for me, but I think I can handle it for three short months. No problem.

Besides, when I put it up next to the alternative, well, this is the lesser of two evils, to be sure. I knew I should never have listened to Old Ms. Disco-Pants, but see what happens when you're desperate for money? If only Mom had kept up on her life insurance payments. Sure, it wasn't alot of money, but she'd had one of those policies that covers burial expenses and that's all I needed, really. Instead, as with just about everything in her life, she'd let it lapse. Gosh, by the time we knew she was dying, she couldn't even remember the name of the company or where they were located. *sigh* That means I'm sighing. I've been doing alot of that lately. Sighing. Sad. I shouldn't be doing that until I'm like in my 60's or 70's. I'm only 28. What'll I be doing when I'm thirty? Grunting when I sit down? Sheesh!

So,w here was I? Oh, right, scrounging to pay for mom's funeral and burial expenses. I hope she'll forgive me one day for cremating her. She didn't want that. She hated the idea of having her body burned up and, frankly, so do I, but I had no choice. I hate that, not having a choice, being forced into a decision because the circumstances are beyond my control. It totally bites!

Well, I just needed two grand more, that's it. So, I listened to Crazy Pants and went to visit her "employer". That's in quotes now that I know what kind of establishment Leon runs. What a sleaze. But, where else was I going to be able to make that kind of money in two nights? I was still in school a month ago and at this point, if I miss a day of classes, it's like missing two years of high school, not to mention that I'd end up stuck with the crappiest assignments, sitting in the back of my classes where I can't see or hear the professor. I like to sit right in front where I don't miss a thing and to keep the distractions behind me. Plus, that way if I have a question, the professor answers it rightaway. It's awesome. I get really good grades, but that's because I work my ass off and I'm so totally broke all the time that I can't afford entertainment, so I study instead. I know how dull I seem, but this is my dream. This is what I've wanted my whole life, to be a doctor, ever since I was like 4 years old probably.

Oh, right, so back to my humiliation. I visit Leon and he tells me I don't have to do anything with the customers that I'm not comfortable with. After all, prostitution is illegal in CA as it is in every other state, except some parts of NV., and that kind of thing is not part of the fee. Basically, all I had to do was go out with a guy who was too dorky, ugly, or busy to get his own date, and be nice to him, smile pretty, look sexy/gorgeous or whatever the date called for and make nice conversation and make him look good for his friends or boss or whomever. EAsy. And for that I'd earn the outrageous fee of $1,000/night. Apparetnly, Leon's company, Elite Escorts, caters only to the cream of the crop. I thought, wow, if this really is all there is to it, then I might start doing this for the summer and get paid for going out with losers, which is how it should be anyway. I mean, how many dates have I gone on where at the end of the too long evening I thought to myself, "you couldn't PAY me to go out with that jerk again!" Well, now I would be getting paid to go out with the jerks.

So, the first date actually was way better than I thought it would be. The guy was drop-dead gorgeous and I couldn't figure out why he had trouble finding a date. I figured it must be a personality deficiency. But, no, there again, he had a great personality, sweet, considerate, funny as all get out and a great dancer. I almost felt as if I were on a real date, I had so much fun and he said that he had a blast too. As it turned out, he was gay and up for a promotion at his company. He's still in the closet in his business life and when I met the rest of the staff and his bosses in particular, I could understand why he hadn't come out, yet, even in this day and age, even in CA! I mean, in CA, for goodness sakes. This is the Coming Out State! But, his bosses would've made Hitler seem tolerant. So, I told Jeff, just ask for me if you want to go out again and I'd be happy to help you out of a jam like that anytime. Unfortunately, he works in Japan where he lives with his lover and I guess he only has to meet with his bosses a couple times a year and this is the first ever company party he'd ever gone to. So, slim chance I'll ever see him again, but for my first day, it was a good icebreaker. And he gave me a tip of $400! That was so awesome. So, I got $1400 for that night and I was able to get some much needed groceries and a pack of new pens and I splurged on a little bucket of Hagen Dasz, a pack of wine coolers and some bubble bath. I felt really guilty and at the same time like I'd just landed in the lap of luxury. It was a good thing, too, because my next date was coming up and I was going to need all the fortification I could get for that one.

It was with one of our senators or maybe he was a representative, I really don't remember now. I've tried hard over the past three weeks to forget all about that jerk, ugh! We'll just call him Senater Baldy. Sen. Baldy picked me up in a stretch limo and immediately told me that I'd be paid at the end of the night when he was satisfied with my work. I told him that he needed to pay me half up front, at least, or I wasn't getting in the limo. So, he did and I did. He was fairly decent to me, had a list of requests, would I be so kind as to hang on him a little extra because his ex was going to be there; would I make him look extra good tonight so she'd be jealous or at least feel horrible for dumping him; would I say nice compliments to him and about him to others all night so he'd look good. I reassured him that that's what I was there for, so not to worry about it.

Well, by the end of the night, he was really snockered, but we'd had a good time. He was a gentleman all night. I had to move his hands to my waist once while we were dancing, but I chalked that up mor eto the fact that he was so drunk he was falling asleep out there and I was proably the only thing holding him upright, so maybe he slipped, maybe it was deliberate. All I know is he apologized and looked adequately ashamed, and we went back to having fun. So, it's the end of the night and he's really drunk and I'm thinking, I'll just take a cab home instead of going with the soused up Senator, right? Well, we're walking outside and I ask him to pay up, becaust I've decided that I'm not going straight home, instead I'm going to go to my friends house ofr a bit so I'll just take a cab, I don't want him to have to go out of his way to get me there, etc.

Well, he insists that I go with him and he'll be happy to drop me off wherever I like, but he'd feel awful if anything happened to me, especially as I was dressed to the nines, provocatively, (but not too), and so forth. He made a pretty good case so I decided to go with him, but I did insist he finish paying me before we get in the limo again, just in case he falls asleep on the way. Well, he pays me another $200 and says he'll get the rest to me once we're in the car, because he doesn't keep more than that in his wallet. So, I get in the Limo with him and we pull out of the lot. After we drive a little ways, he asks if I want a drink and I say I've had enough and mayb ehe should ease up, too, but he pours himself another drink anyway. Then he starts complimenting me alot and I could see where this was going right? Well, that led to some inappropriate touching so I moved to the opposite seat form him and told him that I wasnt' part of the package, not like that. The guy couldn't, wouldn't take no for an answer, so eventually, I ended up kneeing him when he tried to force me into a laying down position as he clumsily grabbed at my spaghetti strap and tried to rip it off, succesfful. I was so mad! It's my nicest party dress and it's not like I can just replace it like that, you know? So, then, when I push him away, he slapped me! Slapped me! Me! So, I kneed him and then I opened the car door and shouted for the driver to stop the limo or I'd jump and I'd call the papers and tell the police if I survived. Well, he stops the limo, the Senator hasn't caught his breath yet, and I get out screamin' mad, but intact--barely. Well, that's when I knew, I couldn't go through that every night or even once a week. NO amount of money is worth being raped or almost raped on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, that left me $300 short of what I needed to pay for Mama's funeral. The next morning, I called Leon and quit. He was real heartbroken over it--NOT! lol Then I had to figure out how to get an extra $50+/-. See, I still had over $200 of that $400 tip left over, thank goodness I didn't go spend it all. Well, I remembered that I'd socked some cash away in a hiding spot over the Christmas holidays last year. It was money Mom had given me as a gift and I always figured I'd save it for an emergency. So, I just needed to remember where I'd hidden it! I tore my tiny studio apartment (it's actually just an attic room, but calling it a studio sounds like I chose that kind of apartment, like an artist or something) and I finally found it stuffed at the toe of a pair of old sneakers that I rarely wear, because the new ones I got for Christmas are way better. And I went down to the funeral home and paid for Mama's cremation, all $3500, for their cheapest urn and all the other fees and stuff they tack on. Such a scam. Mama would've been pissed. lol And I took her ashes and scattered them beneath the Cypress tree she always admired out on the craggy rock shelf at Cypress Point. I think she would've approved of that, since I had no choice about cremating her.

And, then I picked up a newspaper and looked at the help wanteds section once I got home. I had to do it with a box of kleenex next to me, because basically, I wasn't going to be able to finish med school next year like I'd wanted to. I mean, I've been in college, working my way through it and then through Med School for eight years now. Having to work has really slowed things way down. But, when it rains it pours and just before Mama died, I'd found out that the organizations that usually gave me scholarships and financial aid weren't going to do that for me the coming year for a number of reasons that have very little to do with me and everything to do with the economy. So, I was going to have to earn ALL my monies for next year, which meant that I was going to have to get a part time job, at least, and work my courses around that schedule. This really blew chunks, you know?

And that's when I saw the ad for CIPRO, INt'l. They were in desperate need of female obstetricians, pediatricians or neonatalogists. well, Neonatology is the specialty I chose after I found out that I would never have children of my own and that's a long story for another day. :/ I love babies, adore them and so I sent my resume, it's very short, and a letter, very long to make up for the very short resume, and begged them to give me an interview.

Well, the thing is that this is the first time CIPRO's ever done anything like this before, but they were trying a new program to entice the medical field to donate their time. If I would sign a contract giving them three years of my time, and I could do it in spurts, they didn't mind that, then they'd pay me in the way of training. IN other words, they would pay the school my tuition and I'd work for them on my holidays and summer vacation until I'd fulfilled my contract. A very sweet deal indeed, since once my schooling is finished, I'll have two years of residency schooling and then my internship for four years at the teaching hospital. Now, I won't have to pay for those, actually, I'll be getting paid a small amount, enough to live on, sort of, and start paying back my student loans. So, I really hoped that I'd get this job and guess what? I did. I was accepted. Of course, it's a "volunteer" position, but I got it and that's why I'm headed to Bakari, Africa. A landlocked country north and west of the DRC, south of the CAR and Sudan with Uganda and Rwanda to the east. A country so small it doesn't even have it's own airport. Once we land, oops, and that'll be like, now, so I've got to go and deplane in a few. Anyhow, once I land in Nairobi, then someone from the Refugee Camp, well, they're calld IDP camps actually, anyway, someone from there will pick me up and we'll fly by charter plane to the Kenyan border and from there we'll take a chopper to the Camp, or we'll drive all the way, depending on whether or not there are other's who need to be transported to and from the country and so forth. It's really mindboggling- all the logistics. But, wow, I'm here and this is really happening. I'm in Africa, the oldest continent, the place everyone, no matter what their skin color, originates from. And I'm going to go help alot of people and learn alot and hopefully bring alot of special babies into the world. I'm excited...and terrified. That's all for now.

New Title

I need a new title for this blog. Any suggestions? I mean, the title I have was meant to be a working title, but now that I'm getting serious about keeping this blog if not every day, then at least a few days a week, I really need something with a bit more pep and pizzazz you know? Help?!

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Writer's Mind--The Adventure Begins

I'm finding out that I have two minds. I have my mind that I think with, solve problems with, use for every area of my life--except my writing. For my writing, I have a completely seperate mind. Sometimes, I wonder if it's because of the accident. I never had this kind of mind before that. When I wrote as a kid and a teen, I wrote the same way I thought about things. I'm an analytical type, a thinker, a planner, the kind of person that sees a problem from all sides and then once I understand it, I can figure out the solution. When I was working, I would make out my to do list every morning and then I'd prioritize my duties and carry them out. I'm a linear thinker and I think chronologically.

When it comes to my writing, it's completely different and at first it really freaked me out, because I don't feel in control at all of this process that my mind goes through to come up with the story or scene. That's why I say, it's like having a second brain. I thought when I decided I'd write this book and got the idea for it that I would start writing the story at the beginning and follow it through to the end, writing ten pages a day. NO problem, right? Only no matter how hard I tried to do that, the words just wouldn't come. I just couldn't see the story unfold in my mind.

See, I see the story, like a film or a screenplay in my head. It flashes on and I start writing as fast as I can to keep up with the events. As soon as it's over, then I stop writing and it's over. I then go back and fill in the holes or write in the transitions and make things more smooth, think things through more logically, do my research if it calls for that to make sure that what I've written is indeed possible.

The problem came up when I found that the story wasn't coming to me chronologically. It comes in "scenes". My subconcious is almost always working on the story. And then when it has a scene worked out, I feel this urgency in my gut, almost like I'm gonna throw up or something. It's really weird and I know I've got to get to the computer right away. So, I do. Even if I'm sound asleep when this happens or in the middle of something else. I just know that if I don't get it down right then, it won't ever get written exactly how I want it to sound/read. So, I sit down to write, but it's just a scene and sometimes I have no idea where in the story that scene is going to go exactly. I may have a rough idea or like after I write it I'll look at it and go, Oh, yeah, that'll go in the middle or that'll be in Chapter 3, etc. I don't know how I know these things and until the book is written, I won't even know if my hunches, my instincts are right on or not. So, rightnow, I have several scenes prepared for my book, but only one entire chapter mostly written. I still have to do a little work on it, because I researched and found out that I couldn't do a certain thing, so I need to find a different way of doing it. And I need ot put in some transitional phrasing. But, beyond that. I've basically got it written out in a rough format. The second chapter, I have the first half written. I have a scene ready that will go in the fourth chapter. I have a few other scenes also and know that they'll go in themiddle and in the last third of the book.

The only thing I really don't like about writing the book this way is that I can't plan it all out the way I wanted to. I mean, I know generally what's going to happen in the story, but how I'll get there and how I'll go from there is anyone's guess basically. The other part of that is that I can't exactly self-edit or do rewrites, because I dont' know what's going to come before or after that part, so if I rewrite it, I could end up cutting out some vital information that will be necessary for those other parts, you see? So, it's really been an interesting journey so far, if you can call it that. It's just so unexpected and somethign I really wasn't aware would happen. It's like, well, it's an adventure that's what it is. Not a journey, an adventure. And in htat sense it's exciting and I'm full of suspense waiting to find out how it will look when I'm finished.

Until next time...

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Book Review: A Stranger in the Family

I just read a wonderful book called, A Stranger in the Family written by Patricia McLinn. I mean, it's one of those books that when you finish, you think, “I'm definitely going to read that again and everything else this author has ever written that I can get my hands on!” and then you’ll want to rush out and buy all her books, just based on this one here. I love those kinds of books, don't you?

The story’s about a man who finds out that his high school sweetheart had a child and gave him up for adoption, sixteen years previously. Now, he has to decide whether or not he should interfere in his son’s life. To make matters worse, he finds himself attracted to his son’s older, pretty adopted sister. From this concept, McLinn weaves an intricate tale involving moral choices, lessons in letting go and learning to trust as well as running the full gamut of emotions from joy to love to pain to hope and forgiveness. She doesn’t disappoint for a minute and I couldn’t put her story away! It was just that good. I didn’t want to go to sleep until I finished it.

I don’t want to give away anymore of the story, so I won’t, but I can tell you that McLinn’s writing is flawless. This was book one in the Bardville Trilogy. I can’t wait to read the next two books in the series, but I have to wait for them to come out in e-book format, A Stranger to Love and The Rancher Meets His Match.

This book was beautifully written with rich 3-D characters who had deep personal issues that had to be worked out in order for the characters to mature and that made them seem very real to life and believable. The situations were credible and their reactions to their circumstances were true to life. Nothing was overdone or blown out of proportion for effect. Neither were the serious issues underplayed. She really did an excellent job of balancing and developing the emotions in her story. This is the kind of book you want to curl up under the shade of a leafy oak with a cool margarita, er, I mean, ice tea with a squeeze of lemon and a sprig of mint as you read whiling away the hours with a group of fascinating characters you’ll never forget.

McLinn’s writing is so tight, I felt like I was right there with her characters on the ranch in Wyoming. McLinn’s writing is smooth and flawless. She left me with a deeply sated feeling, as if I’d just eaten a seven course meal topped off with my favourite dessert, Black Forest German Chocolate cake with raspberry-chocolate pudding filling. Yummy! For $5, I couldn’t have asked for better. McLinn is one of those master storytellers and it’s obvious that she enjoyed writing A Stranger in the Family.

I bought this book in an e-book format at, but you can also find it and a host of other Patricia McLinn books at Belgrave House,