So I’ve signed up (once again) to write for the Goodreads M/M Romance group event. This year it’s Love Has No Boundaries. (That’s my prompt, but you have to be a member to follow the link. Here’s the group if you wanna join.)
One of my early steps in creating a new story is naming my characters. I need a sense of them before I can name them, but then I need the name to hang the rest of the person on, if that makes sense. (And if it doesn’t make sense, it’s still how I work.)
Clicking about to find names I liked made me decide my MC’s great-great-grandfather was Wulf Cobb. So, Cobb. Yeah, I like it. Now a first name.
I wanted Colby. It’s a good name–solid, uncommon, but not odd. I like unusual names. I think the faster a reader latches onto a character the better, and a stand-out name is going to help with that.
Are you snickering yet? One thing about naming characters that I knew but had temporarily forgotten–you have to try them out loud. Together.
Umm…no. Also, did I really just try to name this guy after a cheese and a salad? I went and got a snack and hit the baby names sites again.
My guy’s a Texan, from an old ranching family. I went round and round, and finally decided I liked Colby more than I liked Cobb. So I went with Jessup. Colby Jessup. Yeah, that worked. Except…I’d already given another main character the last name Joseph because of Reasons, and I didn’t want to change it.
Winchester. Too obvious. Remington, Colter, same thing. Also, I couldn’t get colby cheese out of my head. So I ran through the history files in my brain looking for a name that could work for a ranching family that hasn’t budged since the Civil War, and I stumbled on Buchanan. I liked it, but not quite enough. However…it’s a Scottish name, and that gave me a place to look for more. Back I went to the baby names sites.
I’ll leave out the in-between, as it’s just more like that, and get to the final† name.
[redacted for content]‡, because his mother wanted him to grow up a fighter who never surrenders. Did the name fulfill its purpose?
We’ll see, won’t we?
†For certain values of final, possibly.
‡Whoops, would you believe I forgot I’m not supposed to tell the names yet?
Warning: not-graphic discussion of women’s parts and problems below. If you can’t handle that, I’m gonna suggest you go somewhere else till you mature a little bit. If you don’t want to read, well, I said it wasn’t graphic, but whatever. It’s a big internet–take care and have a good day!
So. I’m seriously getting to not like my surgeon. As far as I know he did a great job, and he’s known for that. When I was scared before the surgery I spent some time on the internet and found he really knows what he’s doing. I was in excellent hands.
His ears, however, and most especially his mouth…
Last week I had my follow-up appointment, nine days after my surgery. I waited nearly an hour in the exam room, then he was in and out in about four minutes and that time included a quick pelvic exam. As he left the room I asked him the situation with my ovaries. The plan for the surgery had been to probably leave them in place, or take one or both if he saw a need.
Realize that I’d already seen the man once since my surgery, in the hospital. That was about a ten-second visit, but I had seen him.
He said, “Oh, yes, I did take one let me see which one you still have…” then he looked in my file and said, “no, actually I did take both, because the way the blood supply was, you were at risk for serious bleeding if I left one in place.”
…this was more than a week after my surgery, and I nearly had to tackle him to get time to ask that question. Before I could think of another question to ask, he was out the door. No instructions of “wait for the nurse for other stuffs” or “we’re all set, have a great life!” Nothing. He just left me there. After ten minutes I decided to go up front and see if I was actually waiting for anything. A mystified lady in scrubs checked my “patient summary” and said it looked like I was all done, thanks, have a great life!
She helpfully printed it out for me. Listed among my problems are “menorrhagia,” “stress” and “female.”
…okay, then, Doc.
I was in a lot of pain that day, so it wasn’t until I got home that I started wondering if he shouldn’t have given me a return-to-work date. I put it on my to-do list to call my gynecologist, who actually talks to me, and see what I needed to do. Yesterday I made that call, and yes–my surgeon should have already done it. The lady I spoke to explained that since the surgeon had done the post-op appointment, she needed to research how to bring me in so my insurance would still pay for it, and she’d call me back.
Hurray, cross that off the list. Onwards.
Down towards the bottom of my list was “research menopause.” Last night when I felt too brain-gone to do anything else on my list but I wasn’t ready for bed, I went and had a look at what to expect.
Wow. Some fun facts out there! Women who go through surgical menopause get it all at once, unlike natural menopause where the ovaries taper off hormone production slowly. So a girl can expect a bumpy ride. Also, women who go through surgical menopause and don’t take Hormone Replacement Therapy until about age 50 have increased risks of heart disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease… There are risks and side effects to HRT too, of course, but these are things that should be discussed.
You’d think someone would have mentioned it.
So it’s been two weeks now since the surgery. I’ve had hot flashes that have me flinging the blankets off at three in the morning in my 60° house (which scares the heck out of the cats, used to me being a lump of warmth to sleep on at three a.m.) I went to bed last night determined I would talk to my gynecologist TODAY and get some things straightened out. And I’d let her know my opinion of my surgeon’s communication skills.
The good news in all this? She called me at eight this morning, I’ve got an appointment at eleven, and the insurance will pay for it because she needs to discuss HRT with me. That was her suggestion, before I could ask.
I mean, help for procrastinators! Pretty sure nobody actually needs help to procrastinate…
Anyway. I use Chrome to surf the web, and I use the web to procrastinate. Whoo boy, do I ever! Especially Tumblr, and that one game I play on Facebook…
Meet my new best friend. Found it in the Chrome app store (for FREE.)
This lovely app has been on my browser for a while, but it’s only in the last week that I’ve been desperate enough to use it. Let me give you a tour of its features, may I? Did I mention it’s FREE?
So here we have the settings page. I added the highlighter. Yep, I get 45 minutes a day on Tumblr and Facebook combined. I can increase the time, but the app complains at me when I do. I’m serious. It even threatens kittens. This app is serious about my productivity!
See the part I circled in red? That’s the absolute desperation step. That step is a lifesaver.
When I hit the nuclear option, I can only view sites I’ve already put on my “allow” list. I can even decide not to allow that, to nuke THE ENTIRE INTERNET if I need to, for however long I need to. However I’ve found that banning myself from panlexicon when I’m writing is a bad thing.
This is the pull-down from Chrome’s navigation bar. It’s easy to add a site to the blocked list! It takes an extra click or two to make sure it’s on the allowed list. You can see how easy it is to hit the nuclear option, too. And the countdown before your butt will be kicked off that site ready or not!
There’s even a challenge option for the particularly wimp-willed. (As I get used to this app, I may have to go this route!)
Have I mentioned I love this app? It’s a thing of beauty. When I get some money, these guys get a donation.
Oh, and on the subject of money–my financial aid appeal was denied. Jerks.
I’m off. Beware the radiation, ’cause there’s some nuking about to go down over here.
Weekend, yay! I’ve been needing it all week! When you start on Monday afternoon going “it really needs to be Friday,” you can guess the rest of the week is not going to be peachy. I spent much of it going “I’ll get that this weekend” and then fretting that my weekend would be miserable. But what could I do? I know it would probably be fatal to get behind in Algebra, I had to deal with house things before things started falling over or exploding…
Yesterday I had a list that had me worried.
Put the dishes away
You have to admit, that is a pretty big list for a Saturday. Not on the list were time-consuming things like “parent sick child” and “hang out with friend in need.” They are important things–too important for a list. Those things take precedence over any and all lists. Also important is “get some relaxing in!”
Luckily in my world, it’s perfectly acceptable to move things to a more sensible day. As I was taught in my Master Student course (I just love that name…) I have to prioritize. So.
Laundry was moved ahead (to today, oh joy) because it takes all day to do a load without a dryer, and roomie was out of clean clothes and I wasn’t quite. Taking the car through emissions got moved to Monday because they are open Monday. I didn’t think they would be, and I’m hopeful the line will be short because everyone else thought they would be closed too. TDP post got moved to today, because I thought about it but I just didn’t get on it yesterday. And Spanish Quiz was moved back because it’s going to cover all last semester, and I’m not ready for it. Due date is 1/25. I’ll probably take it 1/24 because I don’t like cutting it close.
Once all that stuff was moved? I got to cross off the rest of the list. I even washed dishes TWICE, and during my desk-clearing shoveled five email inboxes down to less than a page each. Go me!†
Today’s list is long as well.
Laundry Out In (washed and hung out, then brought in) Dishes put away
Food made (I try to have some leftovers lying about for lunches and when I don’t want to cook during the week)
EDIT!!!!!!!!!! TDP post
Pick up RX
I’m already ahead, because I put the dishes away while my breakfast cooked, and I wrote the TDP post as the first four hundred words of my daily 750 (also too important to be delegated to a list). And these words have put me past 850 on my 750.
Yay, me! Now to conquer the rest of that list…
†For large things on the list, like studying five chapters of Spanish, or editing an entire novel, I get credit for doing a length of time that depends on how much I have left to do and when the deadline is. Trust me, I did these things in good proportions.
So if you’ve been around lately, you may have read that due to a Financial Aid issue, I had to pay for my spring semester myself, and I found this out two days before tuition was due.
That wiped me out. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have $500 just lying around. I had to put it on my credit card. My emergencies-only (supposedly) credit card. I thought about just letting the semester go, but in the end I decided to risk not having an emergency cushion, and paid. Eventually I’d recover financially. It’d be fine.
Of course, I shortly thereafter developed a toothache. It hung around despite everything I could do, and I decided I must have an infection. I’ve had them before–that’s what years of poor dental care (Teeth are a luxury, man! Employees don’t need dental insurance!) will do to you.
Always before, though, I’ve scraped the money together to go to the dentist. A dental visit, a $5 prescription, and I was good to go (even though I still had the cavity that caused the original problem, but whatever.)
This time I just didn’t have it. I couldn’t scrape the money together because there was no money anywhere. Even my tiny cash-stash was gone, deposited to cover the automatic payments about to come due. My roommate had $7 to her name, my kid $5.
Holding minced garlic in your mouth for half an hour is awful. But it seemed to work! One treatment and my pain was gone!
It came back. I tried again, a couple times. Each time the pain would go, but it wouldn’t stay gone. So I brought out the big guns–I also had fresh garlic on hand. I broke off one clove, cut the ends off, smashed it with the handle of the knife, and placed it in my mouth beside what I suspected to be the inspected tooth.
Hell yes, it burned. It hurt like hell sometimes. I developed sore spots in my cheek that might have been from the garlic juice or from the rough edges of the clove. I tried once, twice, but it’s hard to find well-spaced times in a weekday to hold a clove of garlic in your mouth for half an hour. Still, whatever I managed helped. Then came the weekend, and I did it three times a day for two days, and since last weekend my tooth pain has been gone.
Would I rather go to the dentist and then take a pill for a few days? Hell yes. But if you’re ever stuck on the edge without that option, here’s an affordable and not dangerous alternative that truly does work.
This quote annoyed me recently. I forget where I saw it, but it ticked me off, and I thought I’d rant a bit about it. Because, hey. I feel like ranting.
“Noticing so many people talking on their phones while walking as if the solitude would kill them.”
Now, do I want to be in the middle of a bunch of people all talking on their phones? No. One, because no one seems to have faith their phone is picking them up, so they always talk loudly. Two, because science has shown it’s much harder to tune out half a conversation than all of it.
But really? We’re making judgments on whether or not people can handle being alone based on the few scant minutes of their life we might share, walking down the street?
I pass judgment too, but I justify it thus: I pass judgment on those who pass judgment. They started it. So mature, I know.
But honestly. Wearing socks with sandals? I don’t care. Enjoy sporting the raccoon look in eye make-up? Not gonna say a thing in word or glance, unless I admire the colors you’ve caked on there. Wearing crocs? Go for it.
Sneering at one of the aforementioned? It’s on. (In a completely non-confrontational sort of way, unless you’re being a jerk to someone. Then I’ll probably support their choices.) For heaven’s sake, even Tumblr takes a turn! Notice that post has 154,296 notes–that means it’s been reblogged or liked that many times.
My instinct is to start this paragraph with “I’m sorry…” except I’m not really sorry. There’s a lot of judging flying around out there, and it’s annoying. People take style guidelines like not wearing horizontal stripes if you’re zaftig and make a judgment on a person’s entire life. And God forbid you have a a tattoo.
I’ve never understood why people care about this stuff. Please realize that you know nothing about a person just because she got a tiny star inked behind her ear, or a barbed-wire band around his arm. I know you’ve heard all the meanings behind all of it, but honestly? That stuff is mostly made up by news organizations so they have something to report, or possibly by “sources” who want to snicker at the media getting something completely wrong.
At my school once there was the flip-out about jelly bracelets. Remember this? Wearing this color meant you’d do this sex act, wearing a black one meant that, if you broke one you got to do that sex act with the wearer…and all the kids were doing was wearing freaking bracelets. And, being teens, when they found out the jelly bracelets made the grown-ups flip, they wore more bracelets.
Seriously. Things people should be judged by (within limits, not advocating the death penalty or Nobel prize, here): kicking puppies. Feeding hungry people. Embracing diversity.
Things that don’t freaking matter: talking on the phone, playing Angry Birds, having a mis-drawn kanji character on their ankle.
Join me in a wallow? I promise I’ll bring it around.
Through the amazing generosity of friends, I went away last week. It was the first time in…eighteen years? Something like that. I’ve run away for weekends a few times, but this was a whole week of near-complete freedom.
I didn’t have to worry about travel because friends rented a car and I wasn’t on the list of drivers. I didn’t have to worry about accomodations because they’d rented a timeshare at a lovely resort. I didn’t have to keep tabs on my life because there wasn’t internet (that was not in the plan, but I ended up liking it that way.) If I was hungry, odds were good others were too and we went and got food. If not, there was a kitchen stocked with yummy food, and a dishwasher to clean up after me. I took pictures of rocks and trees and snow, I soaked in a large glorious tub, I admired the scenery and I slept. Since friends paid for everything else, I even got to do some shopping. I had a glorious time.
Problem is, it made it really hard to come home. Here I can’t just turn the heat up if I’m cold. I have to think about if I can afford the higher bill. I have to dress warmly for a run to the grocery store because there’s no heat in my car, and the windows don’t go all the way up so I have to hope for a break in the rain. There’s a washing machine on the porch, but no dryer, and the dishes stack in the sink because the dishwasher here is fourteen and whiny. (We had a deal. I bought her the subscription, but she only fulfills her side of things after a lot of pressure.)
At home, the nagging, the responsibilities, the bills, are all on me.
Sometimes it’s so easy to feel sorry for myself. I’ve learned over the years to wallow a bit, then I pull myself out.
I chose this. Again and again, I chose this. My grandfather said I should study to be a nurse, as they make good money. I refused. I wanted to write. There was a guy, a nice, dependable guy who made decent money, that I could have married. But I chose love over safety, and I don’t regret it.
My job is fast-paced and demanding, but I’m good at it. I could be good at a job that paid all twelve months of the year. I could even move down to the district so I’d still be serving kids (and also still making education-wages, which are not good, but it would be twelve months.) That, however, would take away from my writing time.
This is the life I chose. I’m my own woman, and it does all come down to me. No one can tell me not to write, or what to write. I’ve lived my life instead of hiding from it, and I’ll go on doing so. Maybe one day the financial rewards will come. Probably they won’t.
Oh effing well. I’ll carry on anyway, and enjoy the ride.