Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vader At The Vet

As you may be aware, my cat, Vader, is sick with something. We don't know what the something is. We know what the something isn't and that's cat herpes (which is different than it is in people, according to my vet which is good because it's not like my cat spends her nights down at the docks picking up sailors, you know?). Whatever the problem is though, it's not contagious because Fat Cat isn't at all sick (except for that special way in which all cats are demented). Vader is now on a daily steroid regiment and has been for quite some time. I'm not entirely sure that it's actually doing anything for her but she seems to sound worse without it so I keep at it. I kind of feel like it's just bailing water out of a rapidly sinking boat but still, you keep bailing, right?

We were running low on her prescription so I contacted the vet earlier in the week in order to get a refill. It was then that I was informed that Vader would require some blood work to make sure the steroids weren't causing any secondary issues such as liver damage as long time steroid usage can sometimes lead to such problems. So I brought Vader in this morning. Here's what happened:

8:10: We arrive for our 8:20 appointment. The sign on the office door says the office doesn't open until 8:30. I sit in the car and ponder this development.

8:15: A second car arrives and a woman gets out, carrying a cat carrier. She goes inside. I wonder what she knows that I don't.

8:17: I decide to go inside. The receptionist will be right with me. Just as soon as she gets her computers up and running. While we wait, we talk about the impending rain. Some areas are forecasted to receive up to four inches of rain. At least it's not snow, right? Because if I understand it correctly, four inches of rain is a hell of a lot more in snow.

8:25: Vader and I go inside the exam room where the vet tech (the blood work doesn't require a full vet exam) checks Vader's weight. Vader has lost a pound since our last visit in February. This worries me as Vader is quite small and doesn't have a lot of body mass with which to start.

8:27: The tech and Vader go out to do the blood draw. I sit and wait. I can hear them out in the other room.

8:28: The tech apologizes to Vader.

8:29: The tech apologizes again.

8:30: A third apology, followed by the phrase, "Can you hand me the clippers?" I put my head in my hands.

8:31: The sound of buzzing followed by yet another apology to my cat. Vader is going to trip me on the stairs at home, the very first chance she gets.

8:50: After more apologies (seriously) and a long period of silence, they make it back into the room. They come bearing my cat with her newly shaved neck (apparently, my cat has old lady skin and old lady veins) and the recommendation for chest x-rays. As in more than one. Swell.

8:53: I give the approval for the tests because if there's a chance that my cat's lungs are filling with fluid or something, it's better to know, right? The techs whisk Vader away for a second time. I sit and wait.

8:58: Still waiting. In the exam room next to me are people trying to decide whether they should neuter their dog. I vote yes. And somewhere in the building is a machine that's making noise like an arcade game, specifically the ones at Chuck E. Cheese's. I listen to it while I wait.

9:00: I wait some more. Thank goodness I have a smarter-than-me phone with which to kill time.

9:05: I have texted Heather, emailed my brother, updated my Facebook status, checked last night's scores and got caught on on Mark Reads Harry Potter. I have exhausted the capabilities of my smarter-than-me phone. Maybe I should download some games.

9:06: I don't know how to download some games.

9:10: I look at the water damage in the wall in the corner of the exam room. It's saggy and wrinkily, like a Shar-Pei.

9:12: They will bring the cat back at some point, won't they?

9:15: They return. Vader looks pissed. Really, really pissed. She's usually the mellow one at the vet's office. Never whines or growls, never bites but she now looks as though she's reconsidering her policy. The tech strokes Vader as she tells me how the x-rays went. Four x-rays, by the way, at a hundred and something a pop. Well, this shall surely cement Joe's love of cats.

9:16: Vader bites the tech. Policy revoked.

9:17: Vader and I are left alone to await all the results. I try to pet Vader. She's not down with that. I think she's planning on murdering me in my sleep tonight. Of course, she'll probably have to flip Joe for the chance.

9:21: Still waiting. These results had better be good. Or, at least, be something. Nothing worse than running a whole battery of tests just to end up right where you started (only five hundred dollars poorer).

9:30: The results are in. The doctor will see me now.

9:31: The good news? Her liver is doing just fine. The cat's, not the doctor's, although I'm sure hers is fine as well. She doesn't look particularly yellow or anything.

9:32: The bad news? There could be cancer. Lymphoma. Or lung worms. I'm sorry- lung worms? They wouldn't have shown up on a frakking x-ray of her lungs? You can't positively rule out lung worms?

9:32:01: Guess not. What. The. Hell.

9:33: Good news...the cat is definitely eating. You can see the kibble on the x-ray. Right there in her stomach.

9:34: Bad news...the problem might be in her head. What? Like she's making it up? Oh, you meant like there's possibly fungus in her brain.

9:34:01: I'm sorry, but could we please go back to the fungus in her brain part?

9:34:03: You want me to take a swab and do what with it? Oh, not me. You'll take a swab and shove it up her nose. Well, good luck with that.

9:35: Vader bites the vet. Guess she didn't like the swab up the nose idea.

9:36: A CT scan? Are you kidding me? Oh, you're not kidding. Okay, so how much does that cost?

9:36:01: I can't feel my face.

9:37: Good news, the CT scan costs less than an MRI.

9:37:01: Bad news, the CT scan costs around $1000.

9:37:02: Would you happen to have a paper bag into which I could breathe? Or possibly vomit?

9:38: You want to talk about what now? Heart disease? Sure, what the hell?

9:38:01: Just out of curiosity, is there any disease that cat possibly doesn't have?

9:38:02: Right. Cat herpes. Forgot about that. Proceed.

9:39: Vader bites the vet. Again. I might have done it myself if I had had the ability to stand.

9:39: Why don't we hold off on the CT scan and the MRI. You know, at least until I can get that second mortgage on my house.

9:40: We have the talk. The one about quality of life. The one no one wants to have, right? If her life span is shorter but happier, isn't it better than longer and more miserable? The cat is twelve years old and I'm not looking to make her any more miserable than she already is. Except for the wheezing (and possible cancer and heart disease and brain fungus and lung worms), she's doing okay, right? I mean, you don't have any definitive answers for me. Just a bunch of scary words. Really scary words. Hey, how about that paper bag?

9:42: Right. I don't have to decide now. It's just something to keep in mind. Something not to forget. Because there was a chance I'd forget this. It's not every day you hear the phrase "brain fungus".

9:43: Can we talk about something else now? Anything else? Did you hear the Segway guy drove his segway off a cliff?

9:45: I decide to stick with the current treatment plan. Mostly because I understand and can pronounce the current treatment plan.

9:46: I put Vader back in her carrier. She doesn't bite me but she sure does hiss a lot. This makes me more sad than I am already feeling.

9:47: I put Vader in the car and go back inside to await the steroid prescription for which we actually came. You know, back at eight o'clock this morning when life was not dampened by phrases like 'lung worms' and 'brain fungus'. And heart disease and cancer and lymphoma and quality of life and questions like "am I a bad person if I don't shell out $100o to CT my cat's head?"

10:00: I get the two month supply of pills and get the hell out of there. Vader is curled up in the very back of the carrier, determined not to look at me. If she were one of the dogs, I could just bribe her with a cheeseburger in order to regain her love. Maybe I could just comb over her fur to cover her bald spot. You know, if she ever lets me touch her again.

10:15: We arrive back at home. I shut the dogs away and let Vader out of the carrier. She runs upstairs and hides under a desk. See you next week, Vader.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oh, The Horoscope!

Here's what The Conway Daily Sun had to offer me. It's a contender, I think, for Worst. Horoscope. Ever.

Your work requires you to be skilled in many areas, but the one that will stand out the most now is sales. Your smile does half the work for you. Listening carefully will be another big part.

Sales? Really? I don't want to be skilled in sales. At least not until I have a novel out in the world that I need to sell. Then I will gladly be a skilled sales woman person. But now, right now, the only thing I'm supposed to be selling is thermal crewneck tee shirts and jeans and outerwear and I don't want to be skilled in that!! If I never sell another jacket or pair of jeans for the rest of my life, it'll still be too damn soon.

I demand a better horoscope.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Here We Go Again...

I am being once again stalked by Classic Trains magazine. I don't know why they just can't take a hint but they really can't. Every day, I am receiving something in the mail from them, something designed to entice me to renew my subscription with them.

Slight problem with that, though.

I never had a damn subscription with them in the first place.

Not that I have anything against trains though, because I don't. I do have something against magazine companies that just can't take NO for an answer. And these people can't. No matter how many times I contact them and ask them to remove me from their mailing list, or how many times I just flat out ignore them, they just keep coming and coming and coming.

Kind of like a Jehovah's Witness or the democratic party during the New Hampshire primary season. But, unlike those two particular groups, Classic Trains magazine is not the least bit intimidated by my abnormally large German Shepherd.


So I am going to post, once again, the letter I first posted here back February of 2009.

Dear Classic Trains Magazine,

Please, please, please stop sending me renewal notices telling me that my subscription is in danger of running out. I do not care if my subscription is running out. Mostly because I do not have a subscription to your magazine. This, I realize, has not seemed to discourage you from sending me your magazine on a regular basis.

I thought this would have been taken care of last November when I first received a subscription renewal notice. The November issue would be my last, you threatened, if I did not send in payment. I did not send in payment and yet, and yet, another magazine appeared in my mail the following month. And the month after that. And the one after that.

I do not want your magazine. No offense. I think trains are swell. I think trains are great. When I’m stuck waiting for the Conway Scenic Railroad trains to pass, I wait patiently. I even wave to the people waving at me. I rode a train to New York City once. It was fun.

But I do not want your magazine. Nor do I want the special commemorative coin commemorating your magazine. Nor do I want the Classic Trains DVD series. Nor do I want the special commemorative coin commemorating the Classic Trains DVD series. I also do not want the Classic Model Trains magazine nor the Classic Trains catalog. If there is a special commemorative coin commemorating either the model trains or the catalog, I don’t want that either.

So, please, let’s stop the insanity. You’re getting to be as bad as Guidepost magazine who awarded me a one year subscription back in 1994 that didn’t run out for about ten years. Let me be very clear on this: I do not want your magazine for the next ten years. I do not even want the magazine for the next ten months, weeks, or days. One issue was a fluke, the second was funny, now you’re just stalking me. Please stop.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.



Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ren Faire Follies

Heather and I made our now annual pilgrimage to King Richard's Faire yesterday. I was up at 4am. I didn't want to be up at 4am but, alas, awake I was. It didn't make me happy because I knew it was going to be a very long day and I was going to need my sleep.

Oh well.

Last year, when we went, it was a little wet. And by 'a little wet', I of course mean it was a frakking monsoon. It was raining so hard that by the time we actually got down to Carver, MA (a four hour drive, mind you), they had closed the faire. When they close the faire, they only take in the signs announcing that you have arrived in the right place so Heather and I spent a good amount of time driving up and down route 53 in Carver looking for the damn thing. We stopped when we talked to Joe who reported that the announcement that the faire had been closed was posted on their website.

Now that I have a smarter-than-me phone, we will not have that problem in the future.

But we didn't have that problem this year either because yesterday it was sunny, it was hot, it was over 80 degrees in the shade. Are you kidding me, people? I don't even know how to dress for a ren faire (because I don't go in costume) when it's sunny and 80 degrees in the shade. I've never been to the ren faire when it's been so nice and warm. I've been when it's nice and cool, classic New England weather and I've been when it's nice and wet (not monsoon weather but a nice steady mist) but never when it's hot. So for the first (and probably last) time, I went to the ren faire wearing shorts and a tank top.

We left early, around 7am, and had to stop at the ATM to get some cash. This is when some suicidal pigeon actually walked into my tire. This was followed by me driving over a curb (just a little one) and then a suicidal squirrel running right out in front of the car. And that was all before we'd even left town.

We got to Massachusetts without further incident (apart from the two large dogs who went screaming across the road) but got a little lost when we got off the highway an exit too early and ended up driving on some narrow back roads between the towns of Carver and Kingston, MA saying "I don't think this is where we meant to go..."

It wasn't.

We did find our way to the faire eventually though and found it easily as it was marked with big giant signs and a police officer whose sole purpose in life was to direct traffic in and out of the event.

We were greeted by singing and dancing and general frivolity and silliness. I looked at Heather and said, "Joe would be in hell. If he was here, he'd be going to sit and wait in the car right about now."

This is, of course, a moot point as Joe would never agree to ever go to any Ren Faire ever. Heather's beau, by the way, has been to the Ren Faire before. He went dressed as a robot. I find this to be the most awesome thing quite possibly ever.

Anyway, I have to say that the Ren Faire is always a little raunchy. Always. It's part of the fun. But this year, as you'll see as you proceed through the remainder of this blog, it was particularly bad this year. This was the PG-13 Ren Faire, home of the double entendre. The recurring theme repeated by many of the performers was (and I am dead serious), "if your kids get the joke, it's not our fault!"

That said, my mission at the faire was to find a matching pair of short swords. I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but I seriously love medieval weaponry. I have in my house a very nice selection of daggers and a couple of swords. One is a replica of the William Wallace sword (Braveheart). This sword I cannot, you know, lift. One is a much smaller sword that my brother and sister-in-law picked up for me so I would have one that I could swing around more safely. I have to say 'more safely' because well, because I have a track record of damages (all to inanimate objects, I swear!) when I have a sword in hand.

And now I want a matching pair of short swords. The reason behind this is...something I'll discuss in another blog. Because this blog is about the Ren Faire and the unexpected times we had there. We started off the day wandering and looking at all the weaponsmiths. I'm expecting the short swords to just speak to me. I'll see them and know they're the ones I want. I know this sounds weird and I tried not to bore Heather too much by it.

Eventually, we ended up wandering into the corset shop where we were immediately offered a measurement for a corset. We both said yes, what the hell. My number (your waist measurement minus a couple of inches) is 23. Then we were offered a deluge of corset information by a woman who reminded me of Estelle Getty in the movie Mannequin (remember that one?). She was wearing a corset that really showed off her...uh...assets, and even had some money rolled up and stuffed in there between the girls. It was one of those train wreck situations where you don't want to look but you just can't look away. She told us of all the places she wears her corset (and there were a lot of them) and how last season she sold corsets to a bunch of surgical nurses who then wore their corsets under their scrubs into surgery and how their backs didn't hurt. Now, I don't think this woman was lying and I'm all for things that make your back not hurt, but the idea of nurses wearing corsets into surgery is well, it's funny.

Heather and I browsed the corset selection and repeatedly turned down Estelle's offers to tie us into a corset and left without rearranging our internal organs mostly because the corsets were a minimum of $150 and if I was going to spend that much money at the ren faire, it would be on weaponry and not on a corset that I don't have the chutzpah to wear.

We found our way to one of the many shows offered during the course of the faire. This one was a man who called himself Jacques Ze Whipper (he doesn't seem to have a website but he is on Facebook...look him up!). He does an act with whips, like a medieval French Indiana Jones (he's from Boston, by the way). This one was pretty family friendly and highly entertaining. We spent a lot of time watching him use a whip to break spaghetti into little teeny tiny pieces and yelling "oui, oui!"

After Jacques Ze Whipper, we went over to the leathergoods shop right next door. As we walked over, we were talking about weaponry (yes, again) and whether it was weird that I was being so damn picky about my matching pair of short swords (we agreed not.). Hanging right outside the shop was a very skimpy leather outfit. I pointed it out to Heather and said, "Well, if I came home wearing that, Joe wouldn't notice how much weaponry I bought."

"You should try it on," the store's greeter said, looking and sounding all too entirely eager to help me into it.

"No thanks, I'm good," I said and we pressed further into the store.

On the back wall were a number of halter top/corset looking things and it was while we were checking them out that we were approached (and when I say 'approached', I more mean 'accosted') by one of the saleswomen. The following exchange happened:

"You have awesome boobs," the saleswoman said to me.

Excuse me?

I looked around to see if the woman was talking to someone else. She wasn't. I invariably looked down at my chest afterward, to see if they had somehow changed from what they had been that morning. They hadn't. I looked at the girl, confused.

"I'm going to dress you in this," the girl announced, selecting a blue halter corset contraption from the wall.


"No, you're not," I said. "But thank you. I think."

Then we had a "Yes, I am", "No, you're not" conversation where the girl tried really, really hard to get me to say yes to letting her lace me up in whatever the hell she was holding. The second time that day that a woman begged me to let her tie me into something.

Strangest. Ren. Faire. Ever. And it wasn't even noon yet.

"It'll only take three seconds!" she exclaimed.

"I'll pass," I said. "But thanks. I think."

So the girl then turned to Heather. "How about you?"

Heather was more game than I and so she said yes. The girl dressed Heather in purple halter corset. It took longer than three seconds. When the girl looked at me, in obvious disgust for my lack of good sportsmanship, and said, "You would've taken three seconds", Heather responded with "What are you trying to say?"

But wait. It gets better.

So, the girl finishes lacing Heather into the halter corset thing and then comes back to face Heather and instructs her to do a little adjusting. Heather did so but she apparently didn't do enough because then the girl took it upon her self to undo the buttons on Heather's blouse and reached right in to Heather's camisole to do the adjustments herself. Heather and I exchanged looks of surprise because Heather and I were somewhat stunned, Heather even more so than I.

"Don't you usually get dinner first?" I asked.

So just as soon as Heather was freed from the purple leather halter torture device, we took off. I sent Joe a text to let him know that I have awesome breasts (he maintains that's what he's been trying to tell me the whole time) and Heather sent her beau a text to let him know that the corset lady got to second base with her (his response was: " We looked at more swords and watched a juggling duo known Juggle This. They were pretty funny. Very sarcastic and I always do appreciate good sarcasm. My favorite was probably when the next stage over started playing a Lady Gaga song and one of them stopped, put a hand on his hip and looked at the stage saying, "Lady Gaga at the ren faire? Really?"

So it would seem.

We went and watched the King's tournament and cheered for the black knight who rode around the ring muttering things like, "I hate these stupid games!" I do so love a malcontent.

After lunch, we watched a couple of other shows, including Jacques Ze Whipper again (this time teamed up with the master of torture who not only drove a nail up his nose (yes, really) but also ate fire and then breathed fire.), and then ended our day with The Mud Show.

The whip and torture show was listed as a PG-13 show and was so announced at the start of the show so any concerned parents could remove their tiny innocent children (and a couple did so). There was no such announcement at the Mud Show. And there should have been. There really should have been although I also would not have argued if they rated this show R because it was that raunchy. The Mud Show was dirty in every sense of the word.

Now, Heather and I are not prudish or anything but we did not enjoy this show. In fact, just as soon as the people sitting on the benches surrounding us (and trapping us) stopped surrounding us, we left.

We had more important things to do because now that we were through with the ren faire, we were on our way to Boston and Mike's Pastry. I've blogged about Mike's Pastry before so I don't need to do so again but it's totally worth the somewhat out of the way trip we had to take to get there. And, truth be told, it was only so out of the way because Heather and I missed the exit that would lead us to I-95 and the MBTA station for which we were looking and ended up instead on I-93.

We figured it out. Eventually. And then we figured out where we were supposed to be. Eventually.

The point is we still came home with a big box of pastries (Heather got cannolis, I bought cookies and brownies), enjoyed dinner at Quincy Market and got to eavesdrop on what was possibly the funniest monologue in recent memory on our way back to the car. I won't write it all for you mostly because it's getting later in the day and I still have to read the last three hundred pages of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest (booooooorrrrrriiiiinnnnngggg, by the way) before tomorrow when it's due back at the library. The moral of the girl's subway monologue is that we're all basically bisexual. Her evidence? Girls check out other girls all the time.

This stuck me as even funnier when one considered I'd spent most of the day walking around the ren faire surrounded by women who had put their whatnots on display for the world to see. Whether or not they should have. And, I have to say, for the most part, they shouldn't have.

Because not everyone has such an awesome rack as me. Apparently the corset girl should spend some more time checking out other women because then she would know just how very wrong she was.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oh, What A Beautiful Morning

Despite my best efforts, I've been doing a little back sliding in to the doom and gloom world of my pre-hiatus life. I do not want to do this. Not in any way, shape or form because I really do love writing and I really do love creating and if I am not writing and not creating then I am just a precision folder at an outlet store and I did not do six years in college for that.

No, I did six years in college because I pretty much screwed around for two of them. Not like screwed around, screwed around or anything. Just, you know, didn't take it seriously.

Not that that relates really at all to this post because this post is all about what happened last night (yes, I know what the blog's title is).

In a last ditch effort to make something happen, I decided last night to pull one of my infamous all nighters. I said so to Joe and he said, "Why would you do that?"

I did that because the writing during the day thing wasn't working out so hot so it was time to change it up. Besides, I didn't have to work at The Store today so what did it matter if I was a useless lump of whatever lying around the couch all day? There are people who already think that's what I do all day so I might as well actually do it, right?

But anyway, yeah. All nighter.

I had to put the dogs to bed at 11pm because the Gator Girl is so schedule driven, she often times doesn't know what to do with herself past 11pm and is more annoying than anything else. So I sent her and Big up to the bedroom with their comatose father and shut the bedroom doors so they couldn't come looking for me later. Then I retreated to my office where I shut the door, turned on the iPod and then the computer.

And then, once I had checked in on Facebook and Amazon and ESPN and a few certain blogs I follow (Mark Reads Harry Potter!), I actually got down to work. Then a very strange thing happened.

I actually worked.

I know, right?

I was kicking ass and taking names and finishing scenes that, for the longest time, I have had no idea how to write. Things were coming together, chapters were being finished and I was actually happy (let me say that again: happy) with my work.

And I did all of this while being serenaded by the complete works of Metallica, Savatage and Tesla. My iPod was very heavy metal happy last night and was set up too far away for me to bother getting up and skipping them every time they showed up. I'm not really a heavy metal fan. I'm more into acoustic folk music lately (much to Joe's eternal delight) but I put a bunch of heavy metal music on the iPod so that when Joe and I are in the car driving somewhere and I insist on listening to my iPod, he doesn't necessarily want to kill himself before we reach our destination.

But that's really neither here nor there except that when I mentioned this morning to Joe how heavy metal happy the iPod had been, he immediately chalked up my writing success to Metallica, Savatage and Tesla. I'd like to go on record as saying this is unlikely. The only note I made on the music was that all of Metallica's songs sound alike to me. I realize this may irritate any die hard audiophiles who may be reading this blog but that's just the way it is.

But again, not really the point.

What the point is, however, is that it's now coming up on 10am and I have been awake for more than twenty four hours and I am really frakking happy with what I have accomplished this evening/morning. Of course, there remains the possibility that once I actually do sleep and come back to take another look at what I have done, I'll find nothing but stupid senseless acronyms.

But I don't think I will.

This? This is what was supposed to happen when I ended my hiatus at the beginning of the month. The pages of scintillating dialogue and riveting prose. This is what I've been waiting for.

The only drawback, and really it's such a minor one that it should not be in the least bit construed as a complaint, is that my dear sweet puppy dogs did sleep all night and have been incredibly worked up this morning (meaning more so than usual) because when they woke up, their mommy wasn't in the bedroom.

Joe actually complained about this because he was woken up much earlier than usual by the pitter patter of pacing puppy paws. And while I admit that there are mornings when I find this behavior less than charming, this particular morning, I am choosing to find it delightful.

Maybe I should be sleep deprived more often. What could possibly go wrong with that?

One last thing before I sign off and go collapse on my sofa (without breaking it, one hopes)... did you know, were you aware, that tomorrow is National Punctuation Day? Yeah, me neither.

But boy, am I looking forward to it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


You may be looking at the title for today's blog and be wondering what in the world it could possibly mean. Well, here's the thing...

I'm doing the same thing.

It's a notation I scribbled to myself last week on my way into The Store for six hours of the most fun one can have without having any fun. I wrote it to remind myself of something having to do with Second Nature so that later I could make whatever adjustments to whatever scene to which I happened to be referring. The only trouble is I have absolutely no idea to what it was I happened to be referring.

It's on a page with other random thoughts and notes about a particular scene but WWYHMD? is written in block letters and secured inside a box which leads me to believe it's not necessarily connected with the scene all the other notes are about.

I need a better notation system. Or that herbal supplement that helps you improve your memory. Now if only I could remember what it is...

My sister in law came up with "What Would Young Hot Men Do?" as a possible solution. While that does seem like something I possibly would write, it doesn't really have anything to do with Second Nature. And besides, I know what the young hot men would do. They would fawn over me, fanning me with palm tree fronds and feeding me (in lieu of peeled grapes, mostly because I don't like grapes, peeled or otherwise) cake and brownies. Hmmm. Cake and brownies.

At any rate, it's probably not what WWYHMD? stands for. Probably.

Why Would You Hate Me Dear?
Possible, I guess, since a lot of the characters in Second Nature don't much care for each other, but not likely.

Why Would You Have Me Die? Again, I know they don't like each other but still, I don't think it's right.

What Would Young Haleine Maybe Do? This at least has the name of a character in it. But I don't know why I would care what a younger version of herself would maybe do.

Why Would You Hide My Dog? Now that's just stupid.

What Wicked Young Hoyden Must Do?
There is something wrong with my brain. Probably many somethings.

Where Would You Have Me Dance?
No. Definitely not it.

Ah, well, something to keep in mind as I work today, right?

Second Nature's current word count, by the way, is 176,662. Maybe I can hit 180k by the end of the week. Well, maybe, if I can nail down just what the hell WWYHMD? means.

Note To Self: Full and complete sentences are our friend.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Want To Go To There

I saw a rerun of The Daily Show tonight in which Jon Stewart announced the big announcement he's been teasing for a little while now. Here's the video clip, in case you missed it:

Okay. So maybe there won't be a video clip. Damn technology. Anyway, Jon Stewart announced he's holding a rally in Washington D.C. on October 30, 2010. It's called the Rally To Restore Sanity. The clip I wanted to post here is really funny. I am sad that I cannot master the rudimentary skills required to post a freaking video in this blog. How come I could post a clip of the Swedish Chef trying to chop off the head of a turtle who looked a lot of Kermit the Frog but I can't figure out this one?

Oh well, doesn't matter. The point is this:

Oh my. How badly do I want to go to Washington D.C. at the end of October? Answer: Really, really badly. Here's a LINK to the website if you're looking for more information.

Stephen Colbert is holding a rally of his own. Here's a LINK to his rally's site. These guys really do crack me up.

And last but not least, you may have noticed the new header at the top of this page advertising something called NaBloWriMo 2010. It looks dirty but it isn't. October has become National Blog Writing Month because, well, I don't know why. I just came across it somewhere along the way last year and thought it looked fun and so I hopped on board. I was an unofficial participant last year because I missed the deadline. I think I missed the deadline this year too but this is my announcement that I intend to participate again this year in whatever capacity I can participate.

The rules for NoBloWriMo are simple. You blog once a day, every day for the entire month of October. Other than that, there are no rules. At least none of which I am aware. Some people, myself included, view it as a nice warm up for NaNoWriMo which, of course, follows in November.

I am really very excited for NaNoWriMo. I've had an idea kicking around in my head since like January or something. Do you know how hard it is to not start writing a book because you're waiting for November? It's pretty damn hard.

Anyway, I'm off to bed. I am taking the dogs (yes, both of them) to obedience class in the morning. I don't know what we'll be working on. Rumor has it there may be some tracking (as in search and rescue) going on. Woo Hoo!

Happy Weekend, everyone.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Back In The Saddle Again

So I've ended the hiatus. You know, for all the good it's done me.

It wasn't supposed to be like this. When I ended the hiatus, I was supposed to sit down and write page upon page of sparkling dialogue and riveting prose. But instead what I've done is sit in front of my monitor and watch the cursor blink.

So maybe I haven't ended the hiatus after all.


I still don't know what to write. Or, maybe more accurately, how to write it.

Second Nature's main storyline seems to be going all right. I'm having a little trouble with the main character. She's being a pain in the ass. This is to be expected, I suppose, when one considers how often I've heard that this character most closely resembles myself. But still, the trouble with her is nothing I don't think I can overcome. It doesn't worry me. Just irks me a little. She's a pain but she's manageable.

I wish I could say the same for the secondary story lines. Second Nature, as you may know, is the continuation of the story I started to tell in Effigy which means there are story lines that have been carried over as is often the case when one is writing a series.

Stupid story lines.

These are the story lines that are giving me grief. These are the story lines that make me ponder the possibility of writing a big battle scene where the characters belonging to these story lines all die. The end.

Of course, I'd actually have to write the big battle scene and figure out how to get all the troublesome characters into the same place which would involve tweaking their story lines even more and-

And maybe I won't write a big character killing battle scene. Still, I don't think I'll rule it out completely. At least not yet.

I'm trying not to worry about it. It'll come when it comes. It always does.

Until it does come, I am reading and doing lots of deep thinking and making notes and not panicking. Nope, not panicking at all. It'll come when it comes. It always does.

At least yesterday I had the Pats game to help distract me. It was supposed to be followed up by the men's final at the U.S. Open but it was rained out. Instead I ended up watching The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (the Swedish version) and spent the entire time picturing Daniel Craig in the lead role (he's signed on to play the lead in the Hollywood version they're now filming or about to film or what have you). I read somewhere that in the Hollywood version, the actors are supposed to be speaking English but with Swedish accents. Maybe I'm a glass half empty girl, but this worries me and makes me think the film will end up sounding like this guy:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


The other day was my friend Omar's birthday. This blog was supposed to have been posted already but due to bad backs and crappy work schedules, I'm just getting it done now.

Sorry, Omar.

I've known Omar for a long time now. He, along with my sister Wendy, and I worked together in the hotel industry back in the late nineties. That's how we met. I decided to accept him as one of my own despite his unfortunate habit of rooting for New York sports. I think we've always gotten a kick out of each other and he's seriously one of my favorite people to hang out with.

We always have a good time, even though I probably give Omar a harder time than I should (wait...did I just admit that?). The day we spent in Boston to go the Harry Potter exhibit at the science museum was really just hysterical ( I really did want to steal that monkey. And touch Voldemort's robes. And play more Quidditch...). And then there was the day we went to Storyland (with my sister and Jupiter, too. We didn't just go to a children's amusement park on our own.) and ended up walking through the park together pushing an empty stroller as we tried to catch up to my sister and niece and getting a lot of weird looks from the passers by.

But there's always the possibility that we would've just gotten a lot of weird looks anyway. That happens sometimes.

We even have a good time when we're just bumming around the Best Buy in the mall, hanging around the kids playing Guitar Hero until they finally get creeped out enough by our presence and abandon the game to our completely inept hands. I really don't know how it is we're just so damn bad at that game but we really are. There was even one instance when we couldn't get out of the game's main menu. But I don't like to dwell.

Omar likes gadgets so we do spend a lot of time hanging out in Best Buy looking at the video games and computers and the cameras (that's actually how I found out that my camera had a flash. Pathetic that I didn't know before, I know, but see? Hanging out with Omar is not only entertaining but also educational. It's edu-tainment.) But now the mall has an Apple store so we've taken to hanging out there. Omur had a really great time one afternoon watching me swear at the iPod Touch because I found it to be a completely impossible device. And I think he might have flat out fallen on the floor from shock the day I told him I didn't completely hate the iPad.

I was pretty shocked by that too.

When we're not skulking around tech stores making the security people nervous, we go to Old Navy and Target just to wander around. We go to Borders and discuss good books (and bad ones too). And when I say we discuss books, I really mean that I talk incessantly about books and Omar smiles and nods at various increments. Sometimes, when I'm on a particular pen hunt (and there have been many), we go to every office supply store in the vicinity just to look at their pen selection.

Because Omar's cool like that and while he might be thinking about what an OCD lunatic I am (although I don't think he does), he never outright says it. Unless he's saying it very quietly and I've been missing it all these years.

And then there are our trips to the movies. Every now and then comes along a film that I watch a trailer for and think "I'm going to see that with Omar." Because it's just our kind of film. These films usually involve special effects and large explosions. So far, I think my favorite movie going experience was when we went to see Star Trek at the IMAX and sat next to the little old couple who were unintentionally hysterical.

Last year on his birthday, I told him I'd take him to the movies, any movie he wanted to see. I figured he'd pick Avatar or something else with a big special effects budget but Omar surprised me by sending me an email with the subject line "I PICKED MY MOVIE!" The movie? It was a film about the Yankees winning their latest world series. And, true to my word, I did look at securing tickets to the event but the date had already gone by. I swear it had. I mean, it's not like I was heartbroken or anything over our inability to watch a movie about the Yankees winning the world series and the Red Sox well, not winning the world series. But I did seriously look at getting tickets.

And you can't prove otherwise.

Omar also works late a lot of nights and I often can't sleep so we have a lot of late night email conversations. My favorite was the night that we, for reasons I can no longer recall (was it National Poetry Month or something?), spent hours emailing each other in rhyming couplets. We were really very clever.

And you can't prove otherwise.

So, please join me in wishing my very bestest young padawan, Omar, a very happy (if belated) birthday. As seriously the nicest, sweetest, most supportive, good natured Yankees fan I have ever known, you totally deserve it.

And I'll take you to the movies again. Any movie you want. Any movie that doesn't involve the Yankees winning the world series anyway...

Happy Birthday, Omar!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Late Night Ramblings

Well, it's one in the morning and guess what I'm not doing. If you said sleeping, then you'd be correct.

Part of the reason is that I just can't get comfortable in bed or anywhere else because I further irritated my back today. How this happened, I honestly don't even know. I was trying so hard to be good and immobile but it ended up having the opposite effect. Of course, I did myself no favors today when I managed to lock both myself and the Gator Girl out of the house. And as my stupid smart phone was also secured behind the locked doors, the Gator Girl and I were forced to walk to Joe's office to retrieve his house key. Which is about a mile and half, round trip. Not strenuous, by any means, but it was ninety degrees outside and so frakking humid.

But so much for being immobile.

I was restricted for the entire evening to the winged back chair in our living room with the heating pad strapped to my back. I lucked out because when Joe realized his dinner choices were between cereal or cheese and crackers, he went up to the 99 Restaurant to get dinner for both of us. I had ordered a macaroni and cheese kids' meal because I have the eating habits of an eight year old vegetarian who happens to hate most vegetables. The unexpected bonus about this was that at the 99 Restaurant, kids eat free the day after the Red Sox win. And well, the Red Sox, even with the majority of their starting line up on the DL, managed to win the night before. So my meal was free.

Something to keep in mind for the future, right?

The main reason, however, for my sleeplessness is that I just can't get my brain to stop working. I can't shut it down and I can't stop thinking unless I break down and take a nice swig of Nyquil or something. Last night, I managed to fall asleep around midnight but I was awake just before 3am, the kind of wide awake no one wants to be at 3am, but there I was. I eventually got up and went to my computer to try and do something that wasn't staring at my ceiling.

Remember a few blogs back when I wrote about my new favorite blog "Mark Reads Twilight"? Did I happened to mention in that blog (or one of the entries that followed) how Mark next was going to be reading the Harry Potter series? I'm pretty sure I've brought it up somewhere along the line because I remember writing that I was nervous that he might not like the series and I didn't know how I would react to someone not liking the series. I didn't care that he ripped the Twilight series into tiny shreds but I wasn't sure I care for him doing the same thing to a most beloved series of novels. But, all in all, I was looking forward to seeing what he had to say.

Well, I needn't have worried because he's loving the series so far. He's in the middle of the fifth book now (Order of the Phoenix) and I have really enjoyed his reviews. Last night gave me the opportunity to finally catch up with all his reviews and now I'm actually reading them at the same time as everyone else. Apparently, he does a live blog each time he watches the movies upon which the books are based. Everyone I guess starts their DVDs at the same time and has a nice live chat about the movie as they watch. And now I can be a part of that if I so choose. Joe says this kind of makes me a loser but since this was coming from someone so frakking addicted to his smart phone, I think it's become just an extension of his hand, I didn't worry about it so much.

Reading Mark's review of the Harry Potter books is really making me want to pick up the series and start reading it myself but I'm trying to hold off. I do intend to reread the series this year but I'm planning to wait until the end of October to get started because I'd really like to be finishing the seventh book just before the seventh movie comes out in theaters.

So exciting.

Currently, I am reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I kept hearing all this great buzz so I succumbed to it and picked up a copy. So far, I am finding huge parts of it painfully boring. I'm not really all that into financial talk of any kind and there's been a lot of it in the first hundred pages. I am intrigued by Lisbeth Salander but it seems that everyone is intrigued by her. Here's hoping she'll be enough to carry my interest through the rest of the novel. I think either her character or me knowing that Daniel Craig has signed on to play the male lead (Mikael Blomkvist) in the upcoming Hollywood (as opposed to the Swedish version that's currently out) version will keep me going.

I do like Daniel Craig. Casino Royale is a fantastic film. At the risk of angering thousands (you know, the thousands who tune in to read what I think), I think he's one of the best Bonds ever. Of course, all the Bonds are a product of the decades in which their movies were made. Still, my favorite Bond movies are Daniel Craig's and Sean Connery's. Goldfinger and Pussy Galore, you know? Classic.

Do you expect me to talk?
No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.

And then there's the guy (Oddjob?) who has the very lethal hat? Of course, thinking of him always makes me think of the Austin Powers movie with the Oddjob type character who throws a show and Austin's all like, "A shoe? Who throws a shoe?"

But I think my favorite part of that movie (and the one Joe and I are most likely to reference) is the Zip It scene between Dr. Evil and his son Scott. I'm posting it below:

I wrote a paper on the first Austin Powers movie. It was for my film class the summer before my senior year of college. I wrote about how it was a spoof of the James Bond movies. I got a B. Julia Roberts's movie Notting Hill came out at the same time and after I watched it, I was left wishing I had written a paper about that instead because I could have written this whole thing about symbolism of the park bench (if you've seen the movie, you'll know what I'm talking about. Well...maybe.) and I love to write about symbolism.

Symbolism's great, you know? You can just make shit up and most of the time, you can get away with it too. Back when I was teaching, I'd cover symbolism with my students because I knew they'd get massive earfuls on the subject when they returned to their traditional school setting but my philosophy on the subject was they could have whatever opinion they wanted on whatever we were reading. They had to be able to back up their argument. Most of them went with the black=bad and white=good road. Less thinking on their part. But every now and then, a student took me up on my offer.

I do this because back at the beginning of my long and illustrious college career, I took a creative writing class (the one that was supposed to have had the cute members of the school's hockey team in attendance but sadly, they never made an appearance) where I developed a story that would be best described as William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying (one of my all time favorite books) crossed with Steel Magnolias but set in New England (it's listed on my website as How Many Angels). So, if you're remotely familiar with either of those two works, you'll know there's a dying character involved. And in my WIP, there's also a dying character. She's dying of a heart condition and the reason she's dying of a heart condition was because I was afraid to go with cancer because it felt like too common a literary device. Simple as that.

Here's what my professor had to say on the subject:

Him: I just can't get over the symbolism.
Me: Symbolism?
Him: Of her disease. It's just so symbolic.
Me: It is?
Him: The character who loves everyone else so deeply and takes care of everyone, having the weakest physical heart, it's just so symbolic. Is that what you intended?
Me: I just picked it because I thought cancer was overdone.
Him: (sounding slightly disappointed) Oh.

It just goes to show you that you never really know what an author intends unless you ask him or her point blank what their intentions were. I wrote a paper with this argument back in high school. We were supposed to be writing about the symbolism of the weather in Wuthering Heights and I wrote about how the weather wasn't symbolic at all, that they were on the moors of northern England, so what did they expect the weather to be? Surprisingly, I received a C on that paper.

I think I've told these stories in this blog before so if you're feeling a sense of deja vu right now, I do apologize but I am really freaking tired right now. Maybe I'll break down and have a swig of Nyquil after all.

If I don't blog again before, I hope everyone enjoys their Labor Day weekend. I'll be spending mine, you know, laboring. Frakking retail.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Gator Girl's Very Busy Day

It all started with a pile of cat vomit.

The cats have been in the throes of a violent protest period which has been manifesting itself in the form of inconveniently placed piles of vomit (not that there's ever a conveniently placed pile of cat vomit) and the marking of the dogs' stuff. Joe wants it noted that if either of the cats piss in his office that he's going to be pissed.

End quote.

But they haven't pissed in the office. They did piss on the backpack I take to obedience and agility classes so I'm going to have to replace that. The Gator Girl's squirrel was also one of the first victims. Fortunately, she'd already ripped most of it to shreds so I wasn't terribly heartbroken about having to throw it away.

But yeah. One of the cats (Fat Cat) vomited in the hallway this morning, right in front of the Gator Girl who, as you know, has never ignored anything in her whole entire life. She certainly was not about to ignore a fresh puddle of cat vomit. It took my very best don't mess with me voice to keep the Gator Girl out of it long enough for me to clean it up.

Afterward, I thought there had been enough distraction to make the Gator Girl forget about the cat vomit in the trash can because, as we have discussed before, she does suffer from Shiny Ball Syndrome. But I was wrong.

So when I got out of the shower, I opened the bathroom door to find a trail of shredded paper towels leading from the bathroom to the kitchen because not only did my little criminal master mind (who is apparently a little off her evidence hiding game right now) get into the trash, she felt the need to bring it as close to me as possible. The Gator Girl herself was nowhere to be seen. This is always a sign (you know, if I didn't already have a paper towel trail to follow) that she's gotten into something she wasn't supposed to get into because her separation anxiety demands her to be as close to my hip as possibly at all times.

I walked to the end of the hallway, examining the extent of the mess when the Gator Girl came downstairs, bouncing around like she'd been upstairs innocently napping the whole entire time. The bounce went out of her step when she saw the not so happy look on my face. I swear, if she could talk, we would have had the following conversation:

GG: Oh hey mom, what's up?
Me: You got in the trash.
GG: What? No. I didn't get into the trash. That was Big.
Me: That was not Big.
GG: But it was. Really, mom. I told him not to but-
Me: You have paper towels stuck to your feet.
GG: That was also Big.
Me: Big did not stick paper towels to your feet.
GG: Right. See, here's the thing, mom...

So I cleaned up the mess again. Not to be gross but there was significantly less vomit this time around. Just think about that before you let the Gator Girl give you a kiss.

After that, I left for work where I was the busy one. More sweaters. Gee, you'd think it was September or something. The only exchange of note that came out of work today was this gem that happened between me and the AssMan.

AM: Why are there sweaters here? We don't usually put sweaters here.
Me: No, we don't but I was running out of room for them in the sweater section.
AM: But they don't go here.
Me: Well, my only other available space is in the dumpster so unless you're expecting me to start adding on using the construction skills I don't possess, this shelf is going to have to do.
AM: This shelf will be fine.
Me: That's what I thought.

I came home to find that the Gator Girl had gone through the hamper looking for socks and underwear to shred. She brought some of it downstairs, probably because it was cooler in the living room. She did not, however, manage to start a load of laundry. I probably would have been less irritated with her if she had.

So I went around the house and gathered the laundry. While I did this, the Gator Girl cemented the cats' hatred of her and all things canine as she relentlessly chased both Vader (formally known as Scaredy Cat but her wheezing makes her sound like Darth Vader so hence the name change) and the Fat Cat up and down the hallway and not only over the bed but under it. Finally I threw a balled up pair of socks down the stairs for the Gator Girl to chase (thank you, Shiny Ball Syndrome!) so the cats could get to a safe zone. Vader was so pleased by my intervention she bit me.

You're welcome.

While I was out watering the lawn, the Gator Girl chased Fat Cat around some more. In the process, she managed to break the couch, hitting it in the exact perfect spot to make not only one of the back legs break but both the back legs. Me and my still mildly angry back were especially pleased with this development. So after I fixed the couch, I took the Gator Girl outside with me while I moved sprinklers around.

As the dogs are still not allowed on the new grass, the Gator Girl was supposed to just stay on the deck and wait for me to come back. She's capable of doing it. She's done it successfully in the past but today was one of those days when no matter how much obedience training she has had in the past, it wasn't going to be enough. Plus, I kind of yelped.

I yelped because I had put the sprinkler in the wrong place and ended up with a face full of icy cold water. The Gator Girl launched herself off the deck and flew across the yard to rescue me from the sprinkler. Of course, her idea of rescuing me was literally tackling me to the ground (she may only be sixty pounds but that dog packs a real wallop) before turning around to attack the sprinkler itself. So instead I had to rescue the sprinkler from the Gator Girl.

We headed inside after that. Fat Cat was sitting in front of the screen door as we approached.

And that was when the Gator Girl broke the screen door.

Big, by the way, has positioned himself in front of the fan and hasn't moved since.

My kingdom for a fenced in yard.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm pretty sure Fat Cat is vomiting again. Probably in my shoe.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Without A Doubt

My horoscope today:

You are a self directed person living in a world where everyone wants to tell you where to go, what to do and how to do it. In order to do something your own way, you'll have to shut everyone out and do it by yourself.

This horoscope made me laugh because I am sure there's quite queue of people lining up to tell me where to go (chief among them, my neighbors). I'm guessing they're all going to pick the same place and it sure ain't Disney World.

Jokes aside, I really like the rest of this horoscope because it's a timely placed acknowledgment of my current feelings on subjects. I was having this same internal conversation with myself earlier this week and now, here in print, is someone who agrees with me. I don't know how the Conway Daily Sun does it but the horoscopes always seem to know.

August 2010 Book Report

Here's the list of books I managed to read last month:

Live To Tell- Lisa Gardner- Her latest book, featuring BPD homicide detective D.D. Warren which featured an all too brief cameo appearance by Bobby Dodge. I always like Lisa’s novels, at least right up until the end. The climaxes of her books often times feel too elaborate. All I can think of is Seth Green’s character in the Austin Powers movies asking Dr. Evil why he’s dangling Austin and the girl over a pool of sharks with laser beams attached to their heads when a bullet to the brain would be quicker and more effective. Plus, I hate when the bad guys start monologing about why they’re the bad guys. There’s got to be a better way to get that information out. Still, this is a very engrossing book right up until the last few chapters. I nailed the bad guy the very first time I saw him but then Gardner made me question my choice later on. Nice use of misdirect. She’s one of the few writers who I think improves with each outing.

Lament- Maggie Stiefvater- She’s totally one of my new favorite authors. This is a great book. If you like stories that revolve around faeries, you’ll like this one. The language is lovely, the use of ballads is great. It’s a very short, sweet story. Thank goodness there’s another one to follow.

Ballad- Maggie Stiefvater- As much as I enjoyed Lament, I liked this book (the aforementioned follow up) even more. The only thing(s) that annoyed me were the text messages that appeared every so often because I HATE TEXT SPEAK and the fact that the book ended. James Morgan is one of my favorite new literary characters and I would read anything in which he appears.

Jackaroo- Cynthia Voigt- The first novel in her Kingdom cycle. It’s been at least a decade since I read these books last and the novels that follow this one are about to be bumped for Suzanne Collins but I’ll get to the others eventually because I really like how Voigt writes this world and the characters in it. Gwyn is a pretty awesome character.

Graceling- Kristin Cashore- I picked up this novel a while back because the cover was pretty and the story sounded interesting, a girl with a gift for fighting. That’s combat-fighting/killing, not arguing (no, that would be me.). It’s a pretty good book. I had no idea where/how it would end and while some parts I thought dragged a little, I was never bored. Very much looking forward to reading her next book which, if I understand correctly, is not a sequel to this book but rather a companion. Cynthia Voigt’s kingdom cycle books are like that too.

Fire- Kristin Cashore- I honestly don’t know what to make of this book. The beginning bored me, the middle thrilled me, the end irked me. There’s some excellent stuff in this book so I guess that’s the most important thing. It’s interesting that this book came out second when the story comes before Graceling. They share one common character who is pretty pivotal in Graceling but I didn't feel any real sense of urgency where he was involved because I know he makes it to the next story. But regardless of everything, there is some lovely writing to be found here and that I appreciate above all.

The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins- I may have mentioned this before but I frakking LOVE this novel. There is no good place to stop reading this damn thing and even though this is not the first time I’ve read it, and I knew what was coming, it still gripped me and affected me as though it were the first time I’d experienced its brilliance. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

Catching Fire- Suzanne Collins- The second book in the series. Love this one too but I hate the way it ends because I still don’t have the third book to start reading immediately. Must. Know. What. Happens. Now.

Mockingjay- Suzanne Collins- At long last, it's here. Okay, I know there are some people out there maybe reading this blog who haven't yet read the book and plan to so I shall do this spoiler free. Forgive the generalities. Email me if you're interested in a more in depth specific discussion. Anyway, It took me eight hours to read the book. I didn't sit still for eight hours (though I would have if I could have) because I had dogs to take outside and dinner to cook and laundry to do and a nagging urge to empty my own bladder, but it was terribly, terribly hard to pull myself away from this novel at each and every one of those interruptions. For the record, I totally would have skipped dinner in order to keep reading but Joe insisted. He just doesn't understand. Again, there was no good place to stop reading this book. After a couple of chapters though I did have to stop and catch my breath. I love books that take you on a ride, that don't spell out exactly what's going to happen in the first couple of pages. I was reasonably assured that Katniss would still be standing at the end of it all because well, she's the main character and it's written in the first person. But Collins really did a great job on this novel. I find it to be more than brilliant, especially the end. I find it to be rather inspirational. There were a couple of tiny, stylistic things I wasn't thrilled about but after reading the ending, I can't even really remember what they were. Loved it.

And that wraps things up for the month of August. I have four month left on my 100 book goal. So let's check the tally and see what kind of shape I'm in...

August Books: 9
Year To Date Total: 73
Books Remaining: 27

Well, hot damn! I just may make this goal yet! Woo Hoo!!