The Knight Agency contest–last-minute entry

About an hour before the contest deadline this morning at eight, I heard about the Knight Agency’s new contest for representation. On their blog, they announced that Deidre Knight is looking for a new client and that she’ll choose one out of 125 entrants in the blog contest. That we should leave a comment on the next blog post and if we’re one of the first 125, we should send in the first three pages of a novel to enter.

I blundered over and caught the page JUST before the hour. I entered a comment on the comment-free post and posted it. “115 comments,” responded Blogspot. I was comment number 115 at 8:01 this morning . . . which is incredible. That many people were waiting to post?

What we should marvel at is that I heard about the contest at all. I had been checking for e-mail from someone who had a few medical tests done last night, and ran across the notification for the contest.

Maybe it’s kismet. Maybe there’s some cosmic reason!

Let’s not go insane, though. I did send the first three pages of LOVE IS THE BRIDGE, assuming that I made the cut, and am waiting to hear whether the book makes it to the second round.

Many, MANY people continued to post comments, though, even after Blogspot had gone to a second page of comments and their comment was obviously going to be more than 200th. The comments contained lots of “oh noes” that were sort of embarrassing for the posters, though.

What I mean is: they wrote, “I posted my comment on the wrong blog entry!” Well, then you didn’t follow instructions or you have poor reading comprehension when you DO read, so they weeded you out. It’s sad. Don’t brag.

They wrote, “I didn’t think it would be bad to wait until 8:15! I was sleepy!” *sigh* Then it wasn’t IMPORTANT ENOUGH. My desire to be publicated by a major and respected old-school New York City publishing house (such as Simon and Schuster, Penguin Putnam, Random House–the usual suspects) has dominated my life for years. Why wouldn’t I get up an hour early if I wanted to enter the contest? Of course, I ran across it in a splash of sheer luck–but if I had known far in advance, I would have set up some kind of alarm to remind me. If I REALLY WANT something, then I have to follow the rules. And even then . . . well, you know the drill.

I can’t imagine why they’re running this contest. The winner will be announced in a few days, and then someone new will be agented. It’s really wild. Usually you have to wait months just to hear back on a partial. But anyhow, it’s fun to watch the chaos.

Next up is the round where we send in ten pages. Wonder if I’ll get to send the next bit of the ghost story?

I did check to be sure they had sold romantic suspense recently. Sure enough, one of the examples on their “sold by us” page is a ghost story! This may mean they don’t want another, or it might mean they like them. Too early to tell.

But I did send something that they DO represent. So we’ll see.

Sorry I didn’t get wind of this earlier, or I’d have posted. But that would have meant more competition (heh heh), so perhaps it’s all good. . . . *GRIN*

IN OTHER NEWS, hubby had a doctor’s appointment yesterday. He does not have hemachromatosis, for sure–the DNA test came back. Yay! But it does mean they have no diagnosis other than fatty liver syndrome (non-alcoholic). So they told him LOSE WEIGHT NOW, FAST. His liver enzymes are still going up. He was very resistant to my offer to do Medifast if he would . . . even if just for a few weeks to get jump-started. But this morning he did eat Medifast oatmeal, so maybe he’ll do it. They want to see some commitment to quick weight loss so they can see those enzymes returning to normal. Yowza! Time to nag non-stop.

So I am deliberately not asking the Universe to “please let me win representation” or anything similar because I am already getting my wishes granted. Still, “would it spoil some vast eternal plan?*” What would it hurt? But anyway. I’m not saying a word, not a single word.**

*quoting Tevye, in “Fiddler on the Roof”
**quoting the housekeeper in the original “Parent Trap”–you know, the REAL VERSION

[P. S. My ribs still hurt. And my shoulder. From the fall, presumably. Doctor only laughed. “If your ribs were broken, YOU’D KNOW.” *sigh*]


God decided not to kill me today . . . yay (I think)

So. Today was supposed to be the big feast day. We didn’t feel festive, probably because our thoughts kept returning to the Olden Days in which our extended family came to call or we went to their house(s). It preyed on our thoughts that most of our extended family is gone, and much of those who remain are either elderly and sick or part of the young crowd (grandkids of the elderly/sick) who really doesn’t relate to us very well (by their own choice). Mama felt punk, most likely because she agreed to take the flu shot a few days ago at the doctor’s office (and they told her they gave “old people” a “double dose,” aarghh), and didn’t really want to eat. Neither did Hubby. And the dog is not supposed to have all the rich stuff that he tries to get by begging. It also seemed that we weren’t getting much air out of the forced-air heating vents.

This all meant that around 2 PM hubs and I headed for the local grocery store to get Mylanta and a furnace filter. As we were walking from the car towards the store, I greeted the clerk who was bringing the shopping carts in from the parking lot. We exchanged pleasantries as we all three started across the traffic path (you know, the lane where cars go by between the rows of parking places and the entrance.) Suddenly my bad leg (the one that had the broken knee) hit something. We think it was my toe hitting a bump in the pavement.

I tried not to go down. I did that Stooges-shuffle thing where you take baby steps with both feet in an attempt not to fall. Alas, it was doomed to failure, and I realized I was going to do a faceplant.

The last time I did this in a big way, I had not realized I was actually falling until way too late; my feet slipped on wet tile and the leading kneecap hit the tile full force. That was a couple of years ago when I broke my kneecap. Everyone remembers what a hassle it was to put up with me when I could NOT STAND UP.

I heard Hubs yelling and the basket lady gasping. Two cars, one coming from each direction, had paused in anticipation of the carts going across, so they stayed stopped. The concrete parking lot surface came forward.

Stagecraft kicked in. For most of my young life, I had planned to be an actress and a writer. Therefore I have been in many, many school plays and amateur productions. I had to learn how to fall (pratfall) for many of these skits and plays–you learn it anyhow when you’re an actor. Because I learned this when I was a kid and a teen, it stuck with me and had always worked before. It’s something about the way you land–you land on your chest instead of putting all the wham on your knees, elbows, and nose. Not quite sure how it works, but it works well for many staged falls.

So I pulled the full Jerry Lewis and landed with most of the force on my left breast. No, really. I mean, yes, I felt my ankles buckling and then my knees going whack (but not with full force) and then my hands and elbows hitting, and I felt my glasses flying off my face, but my nose didn’t hit, and the WHAM came to my ribcage with the left side hitting hardest. Lucky thing I was wearing my Santa sweater, a thick red knitted thing with “BELIEVE” under the fluffy Santa applique.

Santa’s beard cushioned the blow somewhat. But I skinned my, um, well, you know, and smashed it pretty hard. Under the fabric, I mean, so there wasn’t a road rash.

A quick mental inventory said nothing had broken. (When the kneecap got blasted into three pieces, the crack was as loud as The Gipper hitting one out of the park.) I thought I might be okay if I could catch the breath that’d been knocked out of me.

Anyway, there I lay, flat on the pavement with light sleet hitting all around. Hubby and the lady extended hands and wanted to pick me up, but there wasn’t any way to rise up backwards, so I had to turn over. Then I realized I couldn’t lever straight up that way, either, so I had to get on the good knee and let the bad knee do its own thing. Mostly they wanted me to get out of the road. “Are you all right?” is the automatic question. I wasn’t sure yet, but I did think nothing was broken. Only bruised.

I managed to stand up and assured everyone I was only bruised and scraped. Amazingly, the palms of my hands weren’t torn up. My left elbow is still sore, and my knees are turning bruised tonight, but I got off miraculously easy. And the cars didn’t run over me, which is also helpful.

We got into the store and Hubby was kind of rattled, but he did manage to pick out a couple of gourmet soups that he said he’d like to have in the evening rather than leftovers (so as to stick to his diet better). It was tacky of me to be grasping my left t***y the whole time we marched around the aisles, but I can’t help it if the neighborhood is scandalized by my perversion, as squeezing the area flat seemed to help with the burning and stinging sensation. Back at the car, his hand sort of let go of the grocery sack, and the plastic containers of soup went POW and exploded all over his shoes.

I took this as a second “go home” sign, but he ran inside and bought two MORE $3.50 containers of organic tomato basil soup. That means each one actually cost $7. And that was on sale. *ouch*

By that time, I just hoped we could get home without another incident. I was still feeling pretty smug about not having been run over or breaking anything. Also, I planned not to mention the fall of the Mohican to my mother.

Of course, what’s the first thing Hubby did when he ran inside? Told my mother, “Shalanna fell down in the parking lot right in the middle of traffic!” She leapt off the sofa, but I appeared to reassure her that no major damage had been done. She was already kind of sickly (mostly because my aunt–her older sister–who is in the nursing home now–has really cracked the egg and doesn’t know us when we call her on the phone now, and also insists that she has been kidnapped and begs us to call the police, sigh), and that didn’t help. The point is, I SURVIVED. So there MUST be some purpose in my staying alive, even if I don’t really see it. (Other than taking care of these two and the dog and the filthy house as best I can when they don’t pick up after themselves or even rinse the dishes before stacking them in the sink, I mean.) It was kind of like hearing the Universe whisper, AGAIN, “I can take you any time I like” and “you can lose everything in a heartbeat,” but followed by, “Yet I don’t and you didn’t.”

Mama said, “All this falling and all these scary medical close calls are just God telling you to be nicer and not say bad things about people.”

“When did I say bad things?” (Other than telling her the other day that if I buy some little thing at the store, it’s not her place to carry on about how I shouldn’t spend any money and we’re all going to be thrown out on the street and so forth, and that she can’t be a control freak over me or I’ll crack up.)

“All the time! You hate everything! You’re a terrible person!”

I don’t hate EVERYTHING! Just most things that aren’t Pomeranians or pianos.

This evaluation is most likely based on my telling her that all I want for Christmas is the “Welcome to Oak Cliff” t-shirt that I saw a fellow in Wal-Mart wearing the other day . . . it shows a stick figure being stuffed into a car trunk by another stick figure who’s holding a gun to his head. (In other words, your welcome committee in certain parts of the Oak Cliff neighborhood in south Dallas will be muggers.) I thought it was hilarious. Oak Cliff residents have gone buggy over it, though, and two malls have had their security staffs confiscate the shirts from the kiosks. I think they’re overreacting to something that is funny . . . after all, I have always wanted a shirt that reads “Welcome to SMU” and has a princess receiving her pink tiara. (For that matter, the original shirt would work as a “Welcome to Plano” bit just as well, because THAT is where WE got carjacked.) But anyhow, my mother went into a rant about how I was raised better than that, that I weigh X number of pounds and shouldn’t wear slogan T-shirts but instead should be clad in all black so that I might disappear and not inflict visions of my fatte on innocent folk, and that she doesn’t know how she could have failed so in raising me such that I have come to sh*t.

Or maybe she gets this idea because I don’t like the dumb TV shows she turns MY TV to anytime I leave the kitchen. Dangit, I don’t want the cable company thinking that I tolerate “Dancing with the Stars” or anything on the “Lifetime for Women” channel on my set. I prefer them to believe that I actually watch those cooking shows that seem to soothe the household so well.

I don’t think the falling down and so forth is part of a wake-up call. If it is, though, I wish the Lord would leave a message at the tone! I simply can’t get what it is that I’m supposed to be doing, so I muddle through as best I can.

Although I was supposed to be humbly thankful this weekend. Maybe I got distracted. I *am* thankful. We are much better off than many others and better off than we could be. I try to remember that, even if I can’t get published. (grin) I’ve been playing through a couple of sets of Christmas carols for a while without too many clunkers, and I think I can afford to get the piano tuned. We even have our Christmas lights up and a number of nut breads baked and frozen (to be used as gifts later on). I think we’re doing all right.

But time and chance happeneth to them all. So my advice is to stay home and live vicariously through the ‘net. The only thing that can hurt you here is if you get too close to a flamewar!

Channel Five was scandalized, but I still laughed

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those of us in the USA–Happy Thanksgiving! No, it’s not “turkey day!” Let us not pervert the holiday of giving thanks into the holiday of gluttony. Yes, I’m cooking. A lot of stuff.

But I mostly do not like Thanksgiving fare. Turkey? Yuck. I do not eat it. Dressing? I really don’t care for it–except the way my grandmother used to make it, and not so much even then–and it’s not worth the carbs/calories. Cranberries–eh. Green bean casserole is not natural. I do like the sweet potatoes, but look at those marshmallows and that sugar. (Diabetes, remember.) I’m going to make scalloped potatoes so there’ll be a sin I can enjoy without shooting my sugars TOO far stratospheric. And yeast rolls, just because it’s not fair to have all that cornbread in the dressing all by itself. As usual, spinach dip in honor of my mother-in-law (who always made it). And perhaps something else, if I find some odds and ends and decide to experiment with edibles.

We’re not having pies. I’m going to make a Splenda-infused pumpkin cheesecake. We’ll see how it turns out.

I also have backup: a spinach-mushroom quiche that I picked up last night at Whole Paycheck Market and a little container of their Kung Pao Tofu. If I don’t like dinner, I’ll sneak back in to get these later on.

It’s not very cold yet here. Was 80 degrees yesterday as I frantically zipped from errand to errand. Norther came in from Borealis’ direction, bringing some cold wind. But I think it’s in the upper forties.

What is with the Macy’s parade coverage? All staged “events” and no balloons or marching bands yet. Bring on the Kilgore Rangerettes and the baton twirling squad!

Hope you end up with a full tummy but no weight gain to show for it!

Good news!

Just a note to let you all know that late yesterday our doctor told us that my husband’s liver sonogram showed fatty liver disease (which isn’t a great thing in itself, but thrilled US because it could explain his problems), but NO TUMORS. The doctor told me that what I had seen on the picture that was white like an egg and that she measured was a heart valve, and that they always measure heart valves to see if they are clogged, and this one wasn’t (yay!)! (He said I shouldn’t be watching and shouldn’t try to figure stuff out because the Big White Doctor will tell all and knows all. I hit him.) This was such a relief. My chest finally felt unburdened for the first time in days.

The doctor said there could still have to be a liver biopsy (which hurts, so hubby doesn’t want to have it) because they need to judge how bad the fatty liver disease is. Both hubby’s sister and his brother were diagnosed with fatty liver disease over the past three months–weird! And they hadn’t told us because it’s not really something you send out telegrams about. But it’s genetic and familial, or can be. Also, the doctor is fairly sure based on the bloodwork they did Monday (which the lab had JUST faxed over) that Don doesn’t have hemachromatosis, but they said that’s not for sure until they get the DNA back in 2 weeks . . . however, based on those numbers the doctor doesn’t really expect to see hemachromatosis. Yay!

But anyhow, hubster was really relieved as well. I called his cell phone immediately to tell him (he was at work in a meeting), and he got all choked up and started crying. He was half convinced that he had the Bad Thing and that everything was going down the tubes. But anyhow, yay! He came home from work and picked us up, and we all went directly to the Golden Corral pigout-land to celebrate. Officially, we only ate things that are on the South Beach diet because the doctor’s office also read me the riot act about my own A1c of (ahem) 11.7, which they claim is “coma territory.” I believe stress has had a LOT to do with it (from the carjacking to the ailing aunt to the other stuff), as well as the cookie contest and all the taste-testing that I was required to do.

When we got home from the Corral, I was too pooped to post. But I wanted to thank all of you for your prayers and positive thoughts. It really makes a difference, as we feel uplifted whenever that happens. Thank you for caring!

What not to do, part XXVIII

Don’t go to a sonogram with somebody if you’re going to watch the sonogram screen the whole time worrying that what you’re looking at is a tumor (unless you are a trained radiologist or an M. D. who interprets these things).

This morning I watched as the screen displayed these white egg-like things among the gray tissue with the striated white lines. The technician measured these things (with green lines that displayed measurement markings) and moved on to others. He wasn’t watching the screen, so he wasn’t worried. I have been terrified all day.

Images on the ‘net suggest that these were possibly not anything important or possibly were fatty tumors or cavernous hemangiomas that can happen in the liver. Still, I don’t know what I was seeing.

Results will be back sometime tomorrow, but the doctor’s office says HE is the only one who can be given the info, and he says he will be way busy at work tomorrow and won’t worry about finding out. I’m the family worrier.

I can’t think straight. When this kind of thing came up with my mother or even with me, I could think in some sense. But now . . . I believe I have a bit of PTSD from the carjacking, and there’s so much else piled up on my plate. I took to my sofa again this afternoon. Not getting anything done. Ridiculous.

But anyway . . . if anyone has any spare prayers, we always appreciate them. I want this to be anything but . . . you know.

How much stress does it take to turn a poop into a smashed poop?

(Because a poop never becomes a diamond. Take it from me. No, really, *here*–we have plenty of poop to share.)

26590 / 50000

Not as worried about the stupid plot of my NaNo novel after reading about the incredibly idiotic plot of _I Am Number Four_, the title of which should have probably been _This Is Number Two_

So . . . possibly I mentioned that my husband Don went in to see the doctor on Friday and had blood tests? They also set him up for a liver scan and ultrasound this Wednesday. It’s all because his liver enzymes have been elevated, and quitting Crestor didn’t fix the problem. We spent the weekend worrying about liver problems, mostly focused on “non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” although they are also ruling out tumors and such. On top of that, the doctor put him on Lantus (via an insulin pen) AND had him continue all four of the diabetes pills he has been on. That did bring down his sugars, though. Not to be outdone, my mother decided this was the weekend that she would start “trying out” her own supply of Lantus shots. Guess who had to do a lot of “it’s OK” and “where are the hard candies?”

Because the major treatment for the fatty liver deal is dieting, we spent a lot of time reading about the Atkins/South Beach diet that the doctor initially told him to start immediately. He has done it before, but this time it seemed to make him nauseated even more often than normal. We wasted Sunday afternoon cooking a number of dishes that were failures (my mother pulled them out of the fridge and threw them down the grinder, claiming a stink.) Never trust those TV food shows and their long lists of ingredients. A particularly expensive (timewise as well as in $$$) failure was a Rachael Ray vegetarian shepherd’s pie that turned out to taste pretty much the same as if you’d just sauteed a skilletful of mushrooms in butter and added some kale on top to wilt (with a sprinkle of nutmeg and a bit of Worcestershire sauce). I hated to see that one go down the grinder, though, because I scraped off the topping and actually liked the taste of the veggie stuff underneath. (The control freak disposed of it anyhow, claiming that I would “eat potatoes with it and get fatter.” Where would the potatoes have come from? Only she knows.)

Well, yesterday morning after I got my own blood work done, the doctor’s office called and asked Don to come in to get more blood taken because they’re going to test him for hereditary hemochromatosis! He got all upset because he does have the symptoms (fatigue, an ashy skin tone, all that stuff) and he panicked because this does cause diabetes and also can damage all the other vital organs. The treatment (and I was thrilled to hear that there is one) is to bleed you! Yes, that’s how they killed many of the greats of the ancient (especially Renaissance-era) world. But if he does turn out to have this, he’ll have to be bled down until the ferritin levels fall. His ferritin is 427, and it’s supposed to be 12 to 100. So they are looking seriously at this. (Although there are other hideous causes and more harmless things.)

I had to take to my bed (actually, my living room sofa) all afternoon with Christmas catalogs and those “Apartment Therapy” midcentury modern decorating books after hearing this and looking the details up online. I suspect his brother and sister might have this as well and/or should be tested. This could be why my niece has that heart problem, and they’ve never thought to test her for this.

Don’t fly–take the train!

Yes, we all know that I am crazy and cannot be trusted to be rational about medical concerns. Still, a few scientists and doctor types have expressed concern about the airport scanning and X-raying. For myself, well, there are body parts that I still need which have had their lifetime dose of radiation . . . so I try to stay far away.

“They say the risk is minimal, but statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays,” Dr Michael Love, who runs an X-ray lab at the department of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at Johns Hopkins University school of medicine, told AFP. “No exposure to X-ray is considered beneficial. We know X-rays are hazardous, but we have a situation at the airports where people are so eager to fly that they will risk their lives in this manner,” he said.

*I* sure ain’t eager to fly. I do not fly. I love the train! I love my car! I think it might be fun to hitchhike with a long-haul trucker sometime, even. But until I can fly through the air like Superman, I don’t fly.