July 27, 2003
its been a week...

I haven't posted much. I haven't had much energy, either. It truly has been hell week.

Every time we think we've been to hell and back, some new stress enters our lives. And this past week rolls right on into the new week -- I'm off to Massachusetts to go visit Sungard to get data questions answered for our conversion. The good part? I get to stay with my parents since they're only a half our outside of Bedford. The bad part? I'll be working long days, and then going home and working at night just to stay caught up.

Especially since this past week already messed things up.

It wasn't as bad, workwise, as it could have been. I got nothing done on specs, but did manage to do quite a bit on data issues. So I desperately need to concentrate on specs this week. I should have done so this weekend, but couldn't push myself to do it. Not with Dani still sick.

Yes, still sick. And Ry's still got the diaper rash from hell. They both saw the dr this weekend, which was a help.

For Ry? Nothing we can do. Just keep plastering him with cream and changing him often and praying. Eventually it'll go away, but there's little we can do in the meantime. Well, feeding him lots of bananas, so we've started that.

For Dani? Well, that little one has been through hell this week. And strangely enough, still somehow gained a half pound and a half inch, which is impressive since she ate and drank next to nothing!

On Tuesday she came down with the bug Ry had a couple of weeks ago. It included a MUCH higher fever than Ry, and a whole lot of motrin and tylenol to keep it in check. We got her up every three hours at night for medication. None of us slept much. She threw up every time the fever went up. And we had at least three major peaks, one of which went all the way up to 106.7. Yikes!

On Thursday night it broke. It his 104.9 and then crawled downwards. Friday morning she was fine, and stayed fine all day. Then that afternoon it started to elevate again. We thought it was a relapse, and called the doctor on Saturday since she was high again. So we went in and determined that now she has a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). Most likely caused by lack of fluids during the fever, allowing for a nasty little bacterial breeding ground. So we have antibiotics (which are a fight to get her to take) and she's slowly getting better. Today we had most of the day with no fever, and only slight elevation in the evening. Tomorrow she goes back to camp, with motrin to help out just in case, and strict admonitions to take it easy while her body gets used to being active again. Kev's going to try to pick her up a bit early too so she can get home and get some rest.

I feel badly that I'm leaving tomorrow, and he's supposed to call me if she gets worse again.

On Wednesday he came home -- I called him when she hit 105.7 and was shaking and red and starting to get really weird while I was keeping her awake (I made her yell at me -- it worked).

It's been a long week. And Ryan's jealous -- he doesn't understand why Dani's getting all that attention but he's pretty sure it has something to do with the thing we keep sticking in her ear (the thermometer) so he asks us to do it for him too. Which is awfully cute.

So I hit the road at 6am tomorrow for a 3 hour trip to Bedford. It's going to be another long week. With any luck, I'll find time to write and email. I'm hoping to get chapter 4 of Dreamwalker done in that infinite spare time I have. *laughs* Weird to think I've already written 15,000 words. And another chapter will bring me to 20k. I'm figuring about 20 chapters, which'll make 100k, which is a decent length book. Eek! Hm... even outlining and writing character sketches would help this week...

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:32 PM
What Thoth Tarot are you?

Courtesy of Eternal Eponine...

"the synthesizer of dualities, polarities,
and opposites"

You have extraordinary gifts working with people of
all ages. You can access your deep
understanding, application, and synthetical
abilities dealing with the concept of paradox,
polarity, and opposition. Relationships are an
important focal point for personal growth and
development-- you need to feel things changing
in a relationship. You have the ability to do
multi-level thinking. You have great insite
and perception of what is going on with people.

which major arcana of the thoth tarot deck are you? short, with pictures and detailed results
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:21 PM
July 22, 2003
not a happy healthy night

Dani's sick. Ryan's miserable. It's just not a good night.

Dani's got a fever. Kevin thinks it is the same thing Ry had a couple of weeks ago, and if it is, hopefully the fever will break tonight. But right now its a high fever, and its sort of scary and I feel utterly miserable that I can't make it better. I'm waiting to see if it goes down because I gave her motrin. Gods I hope so. I'm going to get up in the middle of the night to check on her again. Trying to keep her from getting dehydrated too.

And Ry... poor kid... got nasty diaper rash last night and it just won't go away so he's a miserable little kid. Let's put it this way -- its bad enough that daycare gave us an accident report for it. *groans* Yet another thing I can't just wave the mommy-wand and make better.

I need that magic wand. I need to make my kids better. I feel so awful. *sighs*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:38 PM
July 21, 2003
another rejection

Got a response from Strange Horizons today. The good part? Personal note!! The bad part... it said that they liked the concept of the glimmer but that there wasn't a lot other than that to the story. *sigh*

Which makes me wonder about my ability to tell what is good story and what is not. Am I writing only vignettes? Am I able to tell a full story, with beginning, middle and end? And can I tell when I'm not?

I took great heart in the note. Honestly, it makes me hope that they thought there was something good there, enough to give constructive criticism instead of just a form reject. Which is so totally cool.

Now I just need to figure out what to do to fix it. "Glimmer" is among the best writing I've done in so long. I really want to find it a home. I don't want to damage it along the way, but I want it to be right and I want to be able to share it. But when I look at it... I think it is a story. I can kind of see the problem, but I can't see how to fix it and retain the essence of what the story is supposed to be.

Either way, I do know I didn't do it right if what I meant to say didn't come through. So I guess I've got some work to do. Although I might try another market or two as is first... see how it goes...

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:23 PM
July 16, 2003
i guess its been productive

I guess it's been a productive night.

I managed to crit three chapters (in one crit - I was behind) for the OWW. Which is good. Since I've only done about 4 crits total since the end of April! Eek!

I've picked my fairy tale for the challenge, and I've been brainstorming through it all day. I should probably make some notes about it, but I've found that sometimes when I make notes the story slips away between the things I've written down and drowns in practicality. So I'm keeping it in my head for now. I'm really wanting to work on it, but I've promised myself that I'll get chapter 2 and chapter 3 of Dreamwalker revised and up on the workshop before that. I'm not too worried about getting more crits on 1 & 2, since I've already gotten crits on those. They're going up partly to get new exposure and partly because well, I wasn't in the mood to write a synopsis. Yet. Although I'll need to once I get the short piece done for the challenge.

Speaking of challenges... Glimmer is still out, and my fingers are still crossed. Fingers, toes, everything! I keep hoping.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:59 PM
Too many giggles

So I finally went to the web page for A Grand Affair and peeked at my Trump for Dara, and then looked at the Trump for Merlin, now that Jenn W.'s playing Merlin.

I've used Alyson Hannigan as the body model for Dara. She's got the right sort of slender build, a little gawky sometimes, red hair. It really fits the image I have of Dara from her first encounters with Corwin. Of course, in my head, Alyson is also Willow.

Then I look at Merlin. And there's Xander staring back at me!

Well I thought it was funny anyway... *grins*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:19 AM
July 15, 2003
one thing at a time

Tonight was ear-marked for getting caught up in game moves, as well as returning a crit or two. I suppose one of the two is okay, right?

I've done player moves, except for GA where I am horribly woefully behind. I'll take care of that tomorrow, I think -- I most desperately need to talk to Merlin to describe Dara because Dara isn't the usual Dara. Unless Arref's already taken care of that. I suppose I'll find out soon enough.

I'm working through RoP moves now, hoping to complete those before the night is out. Just sent a long apology about my horrible schedule this summer. The time just seems to slip away when I'm not looking and suddenly weeks are gone. And I'm not always all that sure where. And Kevin and I doing our best to do family times on the weekends and DO things, well, its not helping. It means we get relaxation, but less gets done in our lives. Choices, choices.

Crits aren't happening tonight. Its getting too late, and they are too time consuming. Nor is any further work on Dreamwalker getting done, which is a pity.

I *did* spend a little time doing some research on water and fairy tales and found an interesting little celtic piece about fairies from a collection from 1903 which I think will work for the August retelling of a water fairy tale challenge. Now I just need to come up with the new version of the story and write it. But given that it isn't my first idea, or even my second or third, I hope that means its a good one. *laughs*

Its been a long night. I had both kids at gymnastics tonight. Which was fine right up until Dani went downstairs to the bars room. Then there was nothing Ryan could do, and there was a door open to where he could almost touch the mats and the trampoline... and it was 25 minutes of chasing him, temper tantrums and screaming and frustration. Then we went to Sam's Club, and it was more hell. I was exhausted by the time we got home. Not to mention it was late.

Anyway, I'd better get back to RoP if I want to actually get those moves out. I've set myself a limit of 11:30, and I've only got an hour to go.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:30 PM

"The Ring" was rejected. Not a great week for rejection... but then, I'd better get used to it, eh? *grins* After all, I'm likely to see a good deal more before I finally get an acceptance. *smiles*

Last night finished revisions on chapter 1 of Dreamwalker. I'm not perfectly happy with the Celia scenes yet, but they're better. Tonight I do email and at least one crit. Tomorrow I revise chapter 2 and get that reposted. Why am I reposting? I was THAT unhappy with the Celia scenes. They had the right stuff in them, but not the right emotions, so they felt funny. And I'm still not perfectly satisfied, but they're getting there. Besides, if I have 1 & 2 up, I don't have to do a summary for chapter 3, which makes life SO much simpler.

Back to work. Way to busy for words this week, and single parenting on top of it. Whee.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:38 AM
July 13, 2003
MUCH more successfull this time!

We're back! Actually, we've been back for quite a while, since almost 1pm. However, we had kids to feed and stuff to do and laundry and I had to go pickup my laptop (because I left it at work since I didn't go home on Friday before we left). But Ryan's finally tired out and is in bed, and Dani's curled up on Daddy's lap as we watch Trading Spaces.

Digression: Putting Trading Spaces on Season Pass on the Tivo is well... it guarantees Trading Spaces overload!!

I started writing a blog entry longhand (since I didn't have the laptop *smiles*) during some peace and quiet Saturday night. So let's start there...

Saturday, 5pm

It is idyllic.

Boo is napping. Kevin and Dani have gone fishing for a little while. The fire crackles and pops merrily along as I create a bed of coals for tonight's dinner. Children play and adults relax at other sites.

I just killed a bug on my notebook.

Okay, so the bugs are a drawback. This is the third campground I've been to since starting camping again last summer. And this one has the absolute worst bathroom. Admittedly, the showers are free (yes, I mean the bathhouse, not the rain!) but there is only one place to go for them and it's pretty far away. The bathrooms have flush toilets, but that's about the only thing they have to recommend them. They are bug fests. Nasty. And after dark, they are best avoided. Like I said, they flush, but that's about the only thing that places them above outhouses. *sighs*

So far it has been a good trip. We arrived about 6:15 on Friday and had the car better packed. Kev started putting up the new tent while I got a fire made for dinner. We were certainly better prepared (we even brought firewood) but it still took a while to get dinner made, Ry to bed, dessert (applie pies in the new pie irons!) and the camp cleaned up.

[Paused to buy firewood and ice from the vendor guy who drives around. Our cooler's great -- keeps melting to a minimum. But since we filled it Thursday night it needed an infusion of a couple more bags. As for wood -- Dani's a firebug. 'Nuff said.]

So anyway, we had everything almost cleaned up and Dani in bed and we were going to put up the picnic canopy around 9:15 or so. A nd then suddenly it was pouring! I mean complete downpour.

We scrambled to get the last bits done, threw the canopy back in the car, and ran for the tent. I ended up throwing the trash bag in the car a coupld hours later when the rain slowed and I noticed it was still out.

[Note from later, as I transcribe. The tent, when it is pouring, gets claustrophobic. Kevin asked didn't I find it soothing, and I had to say no. I was sitting in a 6x6x6 cube, and it felt like it was surrounding me because the rain was thundering down on us, shaking the walls. Okay, maybe not quite that strong, but the sound of the water coming through the trees and hitting the canvas was more than loud enough.]

We huddled in the tent and read. Thanks to Michael for the Coleman flashlight recommendation! They are great for reading lights!

[NOTE from later as I transcribe -- last night I also noticed that I could clip them over the "walls" that divided our main room from the kids' rooms, creating two hanging lights that really lit the main cabin well. They're great! I'd include a link so you could see them, but I can't find them anywhere on the blood web!]

It wasn't an easy night. Ry woke up in the middle totally upset. We finally figured out he was thirsty and got him a sippy filled with water (the water spigot is right next to our camp which is convenient but weird because people startle me when they come to use it).

In the morning we surveyed the damage.

It wasn't too bad. We definitely did better than in the Catskills. The new tent held up well. There was some leakage around the seams but nothing major (and those can be fixed with seam sealant). The camp stove was fine and served up coffee and hot chocolate first thing. The wood was fine -- water hadn't gotten into the plastic bags. [We used a tarp over it after that!] The only casualty was the new lantern we have -- the glass globe cracked.

The irony here? The camp stove which is about as old as I am, and the other lantern which is far older than me (Korean war era, yes, seriously) were both quite fine after their dousing!!

Morning began early, around 7ish or so, with scrambled eggs (over the fire) and pancakes (over the camp stove). Those little Bisquick pancake mixes are made for camping. Add water and shake. Admittedly, I do remember the crepe incident last year so I measure the water rather than estimate! But Dani has decided she'd prefer pancakes again tomorrow instead of french toast.

Writing longhand is weird. It's taken 30 minutes just to get this far. And I hope I can read it when it's time to transcribe it! [It's been interesting, but certainly doable, which is impressive, because my writing was pretty horrificly messy.]

Break time for some writing revisions. I'll be back for the trip, and the Great Escape, later!

Back to now...

It was a good weekend. Overall, it was a really good weekend. Dani's been dancing around saying that we've got to do it again. Soon! And we intend to.

The Great Escape was a great time. Ry did three rides, and loved one (the Convoy) and was terrified of the Carousel and apparently wasn't sure about the Jumbo flying elephant ride. Dani, on the other hand, was desperate to get onto Jumbo (and loved it) and had a GREAT time on Raging River and the flying balloon ride. We enjoyed the Raging River as well. Yes, both Kevin and I. The Great Escape has a great "baby swap" policy. If parents wait in line for a ride, one can go while the other stays with the baby, and then they swap and don't have to wait in line a second time. So we waited with Audrey and the girls and Ryan, and then Kevin and I stayed with Ry, and then Audrey took Ry when they got back and Kevin and I went on. It was the first time I've been on a ride in ages.

Audrey was thinking someday we should all go back in the middle of the week. Minus the kids. *grins*

Wind kept blowing up, threatening downpours, but it never actually rained. Which was very cool. Oh, it sprinkled later, back at the campsite, when I pulled out a book. Threatened me. So I put the book away and the rain went away.

Kevin and I have decided that if there is a drought, we'll just plan a camping trip. Sure to bring rain. *laughs*

We had a peaceful evening. Neither Dani nor Kevin caught anything while fishing. Kevin DID fall into the Lake, slipping down the rocks and has a bruised hip (on the bone -- I can't see it) and is all achy and sore today. Dani was bummed not to catch any fish (with her new Barbie pole and hot pick plastic worms) but is jazzed to go fishing again. And Kev bought a license, so of course they have to go!

When they got back, Kevin went exploring and checked out the next closest bathroom. No bugs!! Or at least, a lot LOT less. Which is good -- my tolerance for buggy bathrooms was at an all time low by Saturday night and I'd been going to liberally spray the close one with OFF. I doubted it would help, but I was getting desperate.

Dinner was simple -- pizza pies (yay Jenn's idea from the camp! Dani was SO thrilled to get to make them again). Followed by s'mores later on. Of course, we were also totally stuffed from earlier and all the junk food at The Great Escape.

We kept zoning out in front of the fire last night. Very peaceful. Very tired. Dani was asleep literally moments after going to bed. So we sat there and stared at the coals until we could bank the fire, and passed out by 10:30pm.

Can you believe it? I was asleep at 10:30 pm!

Of course, then Ryan woke up again. A couple of times. I think he was cold, because it was BLOODY cold last night. But we haven't been able to come up with a way to really keep him warm. No matter what we do, his little lips go faintly blue from the cold. And I feel like a horrible horrible mommy.

But when I thought about it, I realized that it was REALLY cold. I mean, think about it this way.

In the winter, in the house, I keep it about 65 at night. And this is cold, and the kids wear feety pajamas. Last night, while camping, it was colder than that. It wasn't as bad as the Catskills, when it was about 40. But I'd say maybe 50-55 last night. So when I realized that I had him in feety pajamas, but it was even colder than it is during the winter, I knew I had a problem. We've been layering him, but I think we need mittens and a hat to keep him really warm at night. I just can't figure out how to do it and keep them on him!

Peaceful breakfast this morning, except for the drum music from the campsite down the way. Sounded like a shamanistic retreat! They turned it down finally, but not too far, so I put on our own tunes so we could cover it up. Drums just weren't doing it for me this morning.

Camping is a trip and a half with kids. Ryan loved digging around in the leaves. But he has no limiters in his head and the fire and the lanterns were like huge danger zones for him. I actually caught the lantern stand on the way over one time, saving the lantern. Eek!

It took a lot of time to break down camp this morning. We're getting better at it all, but it still took time. When we were done, we were ready to head home. We went to the beach to look around (no swimming today) and then bundled into the car to head out.

Like I said, it was a success. Fun, even. Peaceful. There is a stress to camping, but it is a pleasant stress. I love cooking over campfire. I love playing with the fire. *grins* We've got good equipment, and each time we do it, we figure out a few more things about how we want to do it better.

Hopefully, next time won't be too far from now!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:51 PM
July 11, 2003
Camping again

Apparently, the merest mention of camping brings rain to NYS skies. *laughter*

It is supposed to clear this afternoon, and be nice tomorrow and Sunday as well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! At least this time we are prepared with a tent we know how to set up (and that goes up quickly and easily) and a good rain fly and tarps and everything. We'll also get to the campground so much earlier, like almost 2 hrs.

I'm looking forward to it. Camping. The Great Escape. Fishing (well, Dani and Kevin anyway). Swimming, if there's time. Cooking.

And of course, hopefully, some time just spent relaxing...

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:19 AM
July 06, 2003
cute word of the day

So I'm reading the latest Harry Potter book. And the illustration at the beginning of Chapter Six is a house elf. While I was reading Saturday, my son (the 19 month old who tends not to speak all that often, at least not at daycare), pointed to the picture and asked, "What's that?"

I looked at him and said "House elf."

"What's that?"

"House elf."

"What's that?"

"House elf."

"How el?"

I started laughing. Ryan starting flipping pages, saying "house elf" over and over, searching for more house elf pictures. And yes, the word stuck. He will still happily repeat "house elf" and I'm betting he tells daycare about it on Monday and they have no bloody clue what "how el" means. *laughs*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:23 PM
July 02, 2003
it's official, i'm a geek

I've just combined writing and work-geekiness.

When I revise stories, I try to remember to name them blah-v1.1 and blah-v1.2 etc. But I forget and then I lose the original versions.

So I decided to implement a Visual Source Safe database to hold all my fiction work. So now I can check a piece out (from either the laptop or the desktop) and work on it, and then check it in, and the original version is preserved as well. It also makes having a backup set of files easy because I do a "get latest" from the desktop and it pulls current copies of everything from the laptop's database to the desktop. So if the laptop goes kerplooey, then I don't lose everything!


Hey, I'm a geek, but I'm happy. *grins*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:15 PM
diet quote

"I can't diet and stress at the same time."

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:13 PM
we all lie, y'know?

I've realized, it isn't a little white lie. Sometimes, lies are about much bigger topics but are still necessary.

"I'm sorry, I'm not involved with that decision."

"I'm sorry, but I'm not aware of what's happening with regards to that project."

"Honey, I don't know why the fish died."

We tell them to our families (especially children) because we don't want to hurt them (Kitties like to go fishing). We tell them to people we work with because of knowledge that isn't public yet. There are things we know but we don't officially know so we can't say a damned thing when we're asked about them.

And everybody does it. Everybody deals with it. And everybody lies with a straight face so you never know it's a lie.

It makes you think, and wonder... how can you ever truly know when someone is telling the truth?

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:57 PM

Found out that microShocks will be replying through July and into August, so I have to be more patient and wait on that one. *smiles* So I've still got three stories out and waiting (biting nails! *laughs*). My goal is to finish up the revs on "Choices" this weekend and get that one out the door as well.

I think I want to see how many balls I can have in the air at once. *giggles*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:56 PM
July 01, 2003

Finally finished up Chapter 3. This was dragged out of me, kicking and screaming, although at the end it was like I finally got a kick in a ass and it started to flow. It was strange -- at ACUS I cranked out chapter 2 like it was nothing. And then I fell flat. I couldn't seem to write another word. So finally, months later, I managed to dig chapter 3 out of wherever it was lurking inside my head, start to tie a couple of the plotlines together, and I think I'm figuring out where the whole mess is going.

Next stop? I've gotta do some outlining. (Okay, all of you out there who know me, stop laughing! I'm serious!). I've got all these pieces and plots and need to work them together and an outline, however brief, even if its just a timeline of events, is the only way I'm going to do it.

I still want to finish this before the year is out. And then revise. And then submit (*laughs* Okay, if I can get the guts together to do it).

Maybe I should just publish some nice safe short stories first, eh? *grins*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:10 AM