Monday, November 20, 2006

Mystery of the Finger Update

I just realized I totally forgot to post about what the heck was/is wrong with Enthusio's finger. The orthopedist we saw kinda cleared things up for us, based on examination of xrays and the MRI. Yes, he had a finger MRI, and boy was that fun. Anyway, evidently the deal is that when a person is still growing, their bones have an outer layer that is almost like a skin, and that is the part of Enthusio's finger that is inflamed. There is also a layer of extra fluid around it. Apparently you can get some kind of infection in your body and it can travel all through your body in your bloodstream and just suddenly stop and say "okay, this looks good" and irritate some random part of your body. So presumably Enthusio had some kind of little bug back in July that was enough to make his finger skin swell up but not enough to make him sick at all, and now it's long gone, but the fat finger remains.

The next step would be to biopsy the bone, but the orthopedist thought that would be an overreaction, since the finger doesn't hurt and isn't getting worse. We will go back and see him next week, when it's been a month, although I don't think there's been any change. Maybe he will just have the fat finger forever. There are worse deformities, I suppose...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I could go upstairs and get dressed, but...

... what fun would that be?

Yesterday I got up late (after 10) and took a shower first thing. Then I sat on the couch with the computer for hours, accomplishing nothing, fell asleep for 2 or 3 hours while Reasonable Man took the kids out to play golf, and then woke up and paid the bills and watched a lot of the TV shows that got tivo'd in my absence this past week. Didn't even touch my novel till late in the evening, and then stayed up till nearly 1 am trying to get my 2K in before I went to bed. A stunningly unproductive day, all said.

This morning I got up at a normal time (8 am), and while I've been sitting here on the computer for 5 hours, I've gotten a whole lot accomplished. I wrote a message to my nov98 list, wrote my first blog entry in weeks, wrote a plot summary for most of the second half of my novel, and wrote almost half of my daily 2K. So sure, I'm not dressed, but I'm already feeling better about myself right now than I did this time yesterday, or even 4 hours later.

I've been reading about the TomKat wedding because how can you avoid it. A few observations: she looks like a bobblehead in the wedding photo they released -- did she maybe go a little overboard on the post-baby weight loss thing she did recently? Also, they appear to be the same height for the first time ever, so he is standing on something or maybe wearing lifts in his shoes? That would be a weird thing to do now, after we've all seen her towering over him in every photo for the last year and a half.

Of course, all indications remain that these are some seriously weird people. This morning I read some speculation that perhaps baby Suri has been mostly kept from view for so long because of a large birth mark on her forehead, which did appear to be there on an enlarged photo. I can't imagine keeping a baby cloistered from view for that reason, but then, I also can't imagine getting engaged to someone I've only known for two months and immediately adopting his weird religion and cutting myself off from everyone I knew before and only hanging around with Scientologists and dropping my career and getting knocked up by this guy who is clearly a complete weirdo either, so I obviously don't understand much about what it's like to be Katie Holmes.

In any case, I still think we didn't see the baby for so long because she's about two months older than they say she is.

Also: I don't get it when people are engaged, get pregnant, have a baby, and then have the wedding later. Let me rephrase that: I don't approve of it. I know it's practically the worst thing in the world to come off as judgemental of this sort of thing anymore, but I don't care. I think being married to your babydaddy or babymama when Jr. makes his or her arrival if at all possible is a pretty nice thing to do for your kid. I don't mean we should go back to the bad old days when it was a huge stigma to have a baby outside of marriage so you got married in a hurry even if you weren't at all sure about the other person. I don't think anyone should get married just because they're having a baby, but I do think that, if you're already planning on getting married, and whoops! a baby's on the way, maybe you can set your vanity aside and go ahead with the wedding a few months earlier than planned.

Or maybe that's just me. But I don't think so.

Anyway, the whole TomKat wedding appears to me to be just the big fat cherry on the whole ridiculous overblown spectacle that their relationship has been from day one. I honestly could care less if they are for real or not, but I can't respect the way they complain about what's been said about them in the press but continue to do every on the grandest scale possible, attracting as much attention as they can. Boo hoo, TomKat. Now go away.

I do want to hear more about the Britney-KFed bust-up though. Bring on the gory details!

NaNoWriMo, Take 5

I'm really struggling to make it to 50K this year. Part of the problem is that I kind of don't really know who my main character is. In the past I've always had that figured out because a) 3 of the 4 times I've previously done this thing, I was writing about characters I dreamed up about 20 years ago, and b) the one year I came up with something totally new, I started brainstorming about the characters and the storyline at the right time, ie in the 3 to 4 weeks before I started writing. This year I came up with the story and the characters and was all hot to get started... at the beginning of September. By the time November 1st hit, I was not the least bit into it. So although I'm still pacing myself and am on track to hit 50K by 11/30, it's all happening in a series of fits and starts, and I find myself just plain avoiding writing in a way I've never done during Nano before.

One very cool thing happened about a week ago, and that was that my main character turned unreliable. (See, I wasn't kidding when I said I didn't really know who she was!) I'd never had that happen before. That might sound kind of crazy, if you don't write -- the idea that your character might do or turn out to be something you didn't intend. I imagine characters in your more plot-driven stories probably don't get away from their writers quite so often, because they are completely in service to the plot. But those of us whose writing is character-driven know that sometimes the people we create have minds of their own. It's kind of like walking a really big dog who outweighs you -- you may be holding the leash, and you may be the one who feeds that dog and hands out the doggie treats, but every once in a while, however awesome that dog might be, it's going to drag you off the path and through the brush every once in a while.

Not only do I expect my characters to lead me off in unexpected directions -- I rely on it. Aside from the aforementioned characters I came up with 20 years ago, my approach to writing novels is like this: I come up with an idea -- not a plot, an idea -- and think up the characters who will bring that idea to life. Then I start writing and I see where the characters will take me. Though I count the characters as slightly more important, the idea, or concept, if you will, is pretty important too. The only time I've started a novel with characters only, it took me 10 1/2 years to finish. The characters did eventually lead me through a pretty decent story, but there was a lot of stalling before we got to the end of the path.

The unexpected detours characters make are one of the things that enrich your story. Last year I created a love interest for my main character, and was frustrated that practically whenever I put them in the same scene together, they'd end up arguing. After a while I got to thinking, how am I ever going to get these two together? But in the end, all the conflict they'd had made their coming together more believable. So even though I sometimes get annoyed when I'm trying to zig left and my characters want to zag right, I do generally trust them to take things in the right direction.

That's why I thought it was an encouraging sign when I discovered my main character was sort of unreliable. I'd written almost a whole chapter of her describing her life, but a few chapters later, she fell apart and the lead male character and I both found out at the same time that she hadn't quite told us everything. No wonder I didn't feel like I knew her. And who knows? She may have more secrets up her sleeve before we reach the end.

She's the only one who knows...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


The Democrats took the House, we voted to get a Target in Davis, and Britney filed to dump KFed's ass. Yesterday was a great day!

I don't know why that third item makes me so happy -- I think she's almost as much of an idiot as he is, but whatever. All the news reports keep mentioning their "iron-clad pre-nup," and that may be true, but I'm sure she has to give him something, and we can all just fervently hope he uses part of it get himself a vasectomy, because four kids is plenty of spawn for that loser.

Evidently Davis is the first place in the nation where Target had to go to the ballot. There are still lots of folks here who want to keep the small town atmosphere. I appreciate that, but I'm sick of having to drive a minimum of ten miles just to buy a pair of underpants. Now if we can only get this Trader Joe's thing figured out, I promise I will never complain about the shopping issues in Davis again.

Nancy Pelosi will be the first female Speaker of the House in history, third in line to the President -- how much does that rule? I wasn't following the election and didn't think too much of all the predictions of a Dem sweep till last night, when Reasonable Man went back to his political junkie ways and spent the entire night pouring over election results on his laptop while watching the coverage on CNN (he did take an hour-long break so I could watch "Veronica Mars"). He called "woo hoo!" many times, just like it was the 90s again. Boy, it's been a long time since we had a good election. But I still want to know why couldn't people have gotten pissed off about Iraq in 2004.