Happy NO-Holiday-Day

We at Casa el Dumpo are anguished to admit that we completely missed National Punctuation Day yesterday! ??? !!! And the first day of autumn, to boot. But our excuse is that we took hubby to his annual heart stress test on the treadmill. He did very well, although the cardiologist said he saw some liver toxicity in the bloodwork and took him off that evil Crestor (yay) and commanded him to exercise. The other doctor already told him to get walking, so now he HAS to.

He was in good spirits rather than exhausted as he’d expected to be (that’s because he’s THAT much more normal and better!), so we took a road trip to the east. However, the road wouldn’t cooperate and kept turning back west and north, and we ended up in south Garland near a Dairy Queen. (They had good onion rings, but the fries were sodden.)

I took over the wheel (because the old part of Garland, otherwise known as “Arlen” from “King of the Hill,” is the ugliest and most depressing place ever–he has a talent for running across such locations, whereas I can always find the country, meaning we’ll see horses in at least one fenced yard or pasture) and zoomed back to the north, where we viewed various Old Downtowns in Collin County and several beautiful palominos, and then returned home around 2:40 PM.

I was a bit disappointed, because when he started the trip, he said, “We can go anywhere–we don’t have to be back until Monday at 7 AM!” The matter of Shreveport, LA, was quickly voted down (because the town IS even uglier than those parts of Garland), but Oklahoma was on the radar for a few minutes. However, not only did he start to get tired, but also he got a call from work saying he had to come in today for an all-hands work day. His software did a core dump while trying to read a device. I suspect there’s something wrong with the device. [The usual causes of core dumps include attempted division by zero, reading past end of file, and looking down a nil pointer. You do NOT want to see what is on the other end of a nil pointer!) I’m secretly planning to get him away from there on a weekday to make up for this.

Anyhow, we passed this really . . . unusual . . . place with a front yard full of statues with four-line poems dedicating them to various loved ones. It was almost worth getting lost in south Garland.

I devoutly hope no holy wars are declared as a result of my posting these pix. Just . . . we’ve never seen anything quite like this one. Some of the poems were extremely depressing (there was a Chinese version followed by a translation).

In historic downtown Rowlett (that’s really what they call it, too), we saw a tiny bitty old Catholic church that must have been about 300 square feet, left over from the olden days of small towns, but it had beautiful stained glass windows all around and a tall spire and was newly painted. Behind it was the new building that they actually use. I suspect they use the original church as a wedding chapel. It was really history. We also passed a Church of Christ that was building a new sanctuary, and the framework for that was pretty interesting, but my rule is one church per post, so you’ll have to wait for that architectural amazement.


Also, you should feel welcome to drive around on farm-to-market roads anytime.

Texas’ state motto, after all, is “Friendship.”


Macy’s Find Your Magic Entry

What the hell . . . I entered this silly contest to “make an outfit” and then get people to vote for it. You don’t have to go vote for the thing, of course, but supposedly both of us could win a Macy’s gift card. Is it worth the trouble? I don’t know. I was just waiting for a phone call and sitting here and thought, what the heck. (I was on the Macy’s site because I had just entered a complaint about how they wouldn’t let me use my VIP pass on a blouse last week, whine-whine.)

This is an example work outfit — wanna click on it? Click here to play their interminable video or create an outfit of your own, yawn

I also joined “Polyvore,” which is another outfit-making plaything. Wonder how long before I get bored with it? But I did make an outfit with the “owl” tunic I just got in the mail. It’s funky. Basis for Hallowe’en costume, I think.

polyvore me

Exotic Vittles for Mama

After chasing a few balloons in the morning, we all decided to hit our favorite Mexican restaurant, Aparicio’s, in Plano.

The usual gluttony ensued.

But Mama had decided to conserve carbs and ordered the Sunday soup special, a Mexican beef stew.

At first it looked normal. . . .

Can she actually eat this?


Hell, Eunice, there’s a CORN COB in this bowl!

Amusement. Bemusement. Resignation.

Then the DART train darted by on its way to the zoo!

And she managed to eat her side orders of rice and beans. All was well.

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day

I wasn’t going to mention it, as I don’t “do” TLaP, but . . . today WAS International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

We spent the day shopping for pants and long-sleeved tees for my mother, as all of her clothes had gotten so shabby and worn out. Ran into one of her old friends and stood there for almost an hour going over everything that has happened since they last spoke more than a year ago. Became completely exhausted and fell out on the floor of Penneys. (Not really, but I could have.) I only got a few LITTLE things for myself. No, REALLY.

We chased some balloons, but didn’t spend a lot of time at the Balloon Festival because of the huge crowds and all the traffic. Maybe next year we’ll volunteer for crew or something like that. But I’m not going UP in one of those things.

Comin’ in for a landing behind the trees.

Rejection the normal way is tough enough (cue Fabulous Thunderbirds song)

Really . . . just reject me the usual way, guys. It’s not necessary to put my email on some bulk list or another.

I got this back from a query I sent this morning.

Subject: Considered UNSOLICITED BULK EMAIL, apparently from you
A message from [yer email addy, ya bum]
to: queries@[name of agency.com]
was considered unsolicited bulk e-mail (UBE).
Delivery of the email was stopped!

Well, THANK GOODNESS. If your provider hadn’t stopped that stinkin’ pile of crap, it might have gone to an actual agent’s inbox and might have completely RUINED everything it touched with its hideous cooties. Whew! We just barely avoided a crisis here.

But yay! The Internet was saved!

(It was a personalized query, as are all of mine. I’m running out of agents to query after twenty years at this, so maybe this is another Divine Sign to give it up.)

In other news, I did not win the MDA Dallas auction for the four tickets to the 2011 Telethon (which includes staying in a VIP suite at the SouthPoint hotel and casino and getting to sit and watch the telethon IN PERSON). Hubby happened to see me checking the final tally there and almost passed out. “You placed a BID on that?! What if you had won?!” Well . . . I knew $4000 was too low a ceiling. No, I don’t know where I would have gotten the money to pay the bid. I guess I could have put it on the credit card I just finally paid off. *weak grin* He was Not Amused. I did, however, win a $25 gift card to the Sample House Candle Shoppe in Allen for only $23. Hah! I saved $2! And I would have gone there for a couple of gifts I was going to buy for people anyhow, so there.

Still . . . I would have liked to get those telethon tickets. It would have been a major family crisis, but hell, how often do you get to do something like that?

My aunt and my mother are feuding. They’re too old for this. I made a bit of peace, but they both have hurt feelings and are being pouty. Good grief. It’s all over something relatively petty. Now, if they had lost their chance to go to Vegas . . . that would be different!

Y’all have fun at FenCon!

FenCon starts tomorrow over at the Crowne Plaza here in Dallas. It’s a large SF/F con with a large contingent of writers and readers. You can still get a membership at the door.

I decided to stay home and take care of business, though. There were several interesting things listed on the schedule. And I know more than one participant in the writing workshop. But ultimately I didn’t feel up to tromping around the con alone. Yes, I know some of the people who will be there, but they are going to be busy doing their own thing. Whenever I smile and approach a group to try to introduce myself, they glance over as though they’d seen a gnat and then re-form with their backs to me. They do not have any interest in talking to me, as they don’t know who I am, they know I’m not “important” or famous, and they already HAVE a sufficient number of friends. Back when I was twenty and skinny, I could break into a group. Now that I’m not, I can’t. It doesn’t matter what kind of enthusiasm I project. And my ego is simply not up to the snubs.

(Yes, the snubs. And it’s not just cliques of strangers who close the ranks and ignore me when I walk up and say, “Hello–what’s a good panel to try?” or whatever. Whenever I go up after a panel and try to say hello to someone I’ve corresponded with for years via e-mail, it is as though a crazed stalker has walked up, and they not only recoil but escape quickly. This happened a couple of years ago with Will Shetterly. I was also glance-rejected by many others I’ve communicated well online with, including Candace Havens and Shanna Swendson [who live here in town and who have spoken at groups I’m in], so don’t tell me “that only happens with just a few people.” It is not their fault but mine, though–why, after all, should they give a hoot just because I step up and say, “I’m a writer and I liked your book and how are you enjoying the con?” There’s no requirement that they be nice to everyone, after all. Yet it does wear on me after a while.)

It’s not as if this is a major breakdown of the social contract–they aren’t required to talk to or be nice to every yahoo in the hotel, and if they don’t want someone breaking into their circle, that’s perfectly legal. I’m just saying that after years of this stuff I’m finished with trying to schmooze. Doesn’t work for me. And it’s terribly depressing that I even want to when it is so obvious I won’t get it to work.

My ineptness at being accepted is one reason I so enjoy having this journal, as that way some people can actually stand to interact with me. Better you should never see me in the flesh. Even when I’m dressed “normally” and can walk past infants without their breaking into terrified screams, I am not well received, for whatever reason. It is not my fate to be able to Win Friends And Influence People in person. Heck, I don’t blame them–I would rather be approached by the Beautiful People instead myself than by some random stranger. (Hypocritical of me, I know, but I’m only human.) My husband is “normal” and doesn’t have this experience–but he says he doesn’t want to go to a con this weekend, so I can’t use him as a beard. (That has worked a couple of times, actually.)

Yes, in fact, this journal IS all about me. Ahem.

So y’all have a good time out there. I know there is fun to be had for those who don’t attend alone! (Or for those who are able to break into these closed groups–many people can do it, so it’s likely that you will be able to.) Say hello to the Yard Dog crowd of belly dancers and writers for me. I went to college with Linda and have known Kathy, Juli, and Chris (Mr. Linda) for some time, as well. Happy to see them linked up with the press and doing so fabulously!

The Dallas weather appears ready to cooperate, as well. You’ll be close to the Dallas Benihana restaurant, Simply Fondue (on Belt Line in Addison), and several good Tex-Mex places, so don’t miss out on a great dining experience. And remember to visit the dealers’ room early and often!

If you happen up Plano way, you might see the Plano Balloon Festival going on. Look up in the sky to the north. Generally they take off from the Preston/Spring Creek area in Oak Point Park or a bit north of there, so you can see them floating from many points in town. The radio club I used to be in does the “chasing” and communications stuff for the festival. If you have a scanner or a 2m radio, you can tune in to their repeater (147.18) to hear some of the action. The festival goes on from Friday afternoon to Sunday night, so it might be worth your while to see if you can catch a glimpse of the balloons. You can even take a ride . . . if you dare.

Or you can just hang out. I wish you fun and friends!