shabby blogs

Monday, July 25, 2016

Demon Vanquishing in the Upstairs Hallway

For the last several months, lights have been left on in our upstairs hallway at night, after everyone is in bed. Yellow brightness gleams at midnight when my world is supposed to be dark and calm. As a mother of teenaged daughters, I wonder. Don’t they know we pay for electricity? But the seventeen-year-old goes to bed fairly early; the fifteen-year-old is the night owl—it’s probably her. She’s being inconsiderate, so in-her-own head that even when I remind her to shut them off, I still find them on in the morning. Ugh.
A few days ago, I came to find out, she is not being self-centered and thoughtless—she’s killing demons.
When I was a teenager, I checked under my bed. Every. Single. Night. My mom probably would have thought I had OCD if she’d known how consistently I did this. I seen Poltergeist with some friends, and it ripped the not-afraid-of-the-dark part of my brain to shreds and fed it to ravenous ghosts. It wasn’t until I got to college and I had a roommate to protect me that I stopped.
Last week, I was invited into the TV room lair with my daughters to watch a show they like called Supernatural. It’s a modern, gender-switched version of Charmed. The good guys drive around in a cool car saving innocents by finding and vanquishing demons. There are lots of shots of two good-looking twenty-something guys with some ghoulish gore peppered in. I get why they like it. We watched three episodes.
During which the fifteen-year-old, Bridget, kept pestering me to shut the TV room door. But the dog wants to come and go, and there’s a breeze in the hall. Can’t we just leave it open? 
“Then it’s too bright from the lights in the hall,” she said.
“Then I’ll shut off the lights.”
Big sister Rebecca explained that Bridget needs the door closed and the hall lights on. 
“So we have to sit in a hot room to watch TV so we can leave the hall lights on and the door closed.”
“Um…what am I missing?”
With the ubiquitous agonized teenaged sigh, Bridget said, “Because from where I’m sitting, I can see the demon staircase.”
“You mean our staircase? That we go up and down all day long? That staircase?”
“It has demons on it?”
“Yes. Most likely.”
“And the lights…”
“The lights kill the demons. So they need to stay on. But I don’t want to be able to see it. I just wanna watch the show.”
I shut the door, sat back down on the couch, and said, “Okay.”
After the predictable shared surprise between the two girls, I said, “Gramma’s house? Ghosts, and not the friendly kind.”

The hallway lights were on again last night, but hey, at least we don’t have to worry about demons lurking in the bathroom.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

YA from the Pit of Despair

I was just on twitter. 
I found this.
So I guess, since I wrote a certain manuscript last year, I win!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Who the Bad Guys Really Are

I'm not a political blogger. But I can't not say anything anymore.

My dad is a disabled veteran of the US Army. My husband graduated from West Point in 1990. I have lots of friends and other relatives who are vets: from Joe Cavaretta who fought in the Pacific in WWII to my nephew Christopher Perez who served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Donald Trump is proposing un-American ideas. Religious freedom is part of our constitution, what our veterans fought for. People who like him, who are saying they want to vote for him, ought to think again. 

Maybe Mr. Trump doesn't care about all the Veterans who have fought in wars--he's not a veteran. And he's rich enough, he doesn't need to care about anyone but himself.

I seriously suspect he's running for President because it's fun for him, and no other reason. "I'm charming, I'm handsome, I'm rich," he thought to himself. "I think I'll run for President!"

And people liked him. He is charming and rich. But empty inside. 

What he doesn't seem to understand is that now he has a wide audience, and with that audience, he is doing damage to a large group of Americans that have done nothing wrong, and also hurting our national security.
Think about it for a minute--it's not hard. 
Americans cheer for Trump-Trump says we can't let Muslims into our country-it appears as though Americans (all Americans) are cheering for not letting Muslims into our country--fanatic Islamic extremists see this, use it to feed their crazy fire, and terror is thick in the air. 

Muslims are not the bad guys. Fanatics and megalomaniacs are the bad guys. The fanatics who claim that God is telling them to kill innocent people and the charming sociopaths who seek power and money and worry about no one but themselves--they are the bad guys. People like that start wars like the ones our brave veterans fought in. Our veterans who defended our religious freedom, our constitution.
Cpl Daniel Donovan in Europe, circa 1946

I'm an independent. I don't know who I'll vote for yet. But I just followed a bunch of candidates on twitter. I hope the Trump-lovers do the same.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Domain Name

I made a website. I bought my domain name.

Sometimes, when I get something new, I like to pretend I won a big award and that's why I have a domain name or a shiny red purse or a new set of snowman bowls.

Don't tell anyone but I practice my acceptance speech in the car. 
I'd like to thank my mother (even though she was never a huge fan of me being a writer...maybe I should win this award for something else? What, though? Imitating accents? meh. Running? lol. Cooking? hahahahahha....)
I always get off track on the acceptance speech...and then I realize I'm being full-of-myself, and the next thing I know I'm thinking about that Emily Dickinson poem about the frog.

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –  
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –  
To an admiring Bog!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

How to Make Broken Bones Heal Faster

We always have lots of bones in our garden at Halloween. My husband is an orthopedic surgeon and he gets them free at work.

...Wow. That was a creepy sentence. PLASTIC bones. Free plastic bones. They practice with them or something. I don't know. Surgery is bloody and yucky. #squeamish

Anyway, since he's an orthopedist and I’m a writer, our professional paths don’t often cross. He has helped me a few times with medical conditions of my characters—why one might have a limp or something. But usually he’s just my cheerleader.

Last weekend in the car, he was telling our kids about some medical research he’d read from the UK. The results of the research demonstrated very clearly, he said, that in a group of 500 patients with injured shoulders, it was not type of treatment, nor the quality of facility, nor even level of the surgeon’s expertise that was the most reliable indicator of a successful vs. a bad recovery. The thing that mattered the most, said the researchers, was self-efficacy. That means whether or not the patient believed that he/she would get better.

Even when you have a broken bone? Shouldn’t that be physiological? Shouldn’t bone healing, which is something your body does on its own, not have much to do with your head?
But your head is the biggest factor in that broken humerus/tibia/femur, etc. (Go ahead. Quiz me. I know the names of more bones than any other MG/YA writer I bet. Calcaneus? Know it. Acetabulum? Yep.)

We were surprised, sitting there in the car. Evidently, my husband says, it’s well-known among medical professionals that people with good attitudes get better faster, but it’s good to have new data on it. Proof.

Optimism, knowing you can do it. GRIT.

Speaking of which…I’m querying again. After what happened with my last agent, I needed a mental break. But now I'm in. I have had some interest and a small handful of no thank-you’s. Some people are reading. Some people aren’t answering.

I’m practicing my self-efficacy.

If you’re querying, I hope you are too.
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Second Samovar

I haven't written in a while.
Okay a year.
I got a second samovar (see above) and it kinda threw me off my game. 
What do I do--change the blog's name? Don't Forget the Samovars? That's just weird. Nobody brings more than one samovar on vacation.
Besides, the second samovar can keep the first one company while we're gone. Samovars are more like cats than dogs. You can totally leave them alone for a few days and they're fine.

I have a few (okay one) blog posts cued up and ready to go. I also have a million excuses why I haven't blogged, and I seriously considered unplugging the Samovar, but I do have some things to share and The Writers' Loft is a good environment keeping me on my writing game despite the number of samovars in my house.

In the infamous words of a certain former governor, I'll be back.