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Monday, October 29, 2012

Ode to my weekend

There were lots of things I planned to do with this weekend.

I was going to finish revising a couple of projects. I was going to decorate for Halloween. I was going to do some yard work. I was going to finish my Halloween costume and go to a party. I was going to the Blackout game when Utah played Cal.

Instead ...

The basement flooded Saturday morning,* prompting many shrill phone calls to a plumber. I showered at Diego's grandma's, hopeful that the problem would be resolved swiftly and additional weekend plans need not be derailed.

Long story short = not swift and definitely derailed.

I must say, the best part of adult life is saving up for a kitchen remodel only to need your money for potential dog brain surgery ... and then redoing your plumbing.

(Farewell, kitchen dreams. May we meet sometime around 2015.)

And planning a patio for your backyard, and spending weeks meticulously completing it, only to find out you need to jackhammer through the cement so the plumber can reach the buried valve he needs.

(Farewell, sweet patio. You were actually a giant pain in my butt, and it gives me a sick sense of pleasure to destroy you.)

And then, the worst part of all. Diego and I went out to fetch breakfast for our intrepid flooded-basement-cleaner-uppers (namely, Hannah and her boyfriend). McDonalds is advertising something called "holiday pie" for 79 cents, and it looks delicious. But despite having it on the menu, NEITHER McDonalds we went to had any yet. No, apple is not ok.**



* I am positive this is a direct result of me making fun of Taylor Swift and undecided voters. I hereby repent of all my snarky opinions, with due and proper consideration, in perpetuity.

(Not really, obvs.)

** Yes, we went to two. It was a rough day.

Friday, October 26, 2012

And now I rip on undecided voters

I know, right? First Taylor Swift and now our beloved undecided voters? I'm really on a roll this week.

Have you seen the recent SNL video lampooning undecided voters? I think it sums up our current situation well. I won't embed it here, since I don't want to get sued, but let me give you a few examples of the undecided's "tough" questions:

"When is the election?"

"What are the names of the two people running? And be specific."

"How long is a president's term of office?"

"What happens if the president dies? Has anyone thought about that?"

Undecided voters, what is your deal? I saw it suggested on the facebooks yesterday that those who are undecided aren't stupid, they're merely waiting to be presented with a "viable" candidate.

Pardon my French, but ... whuthf? (That's the sound I think WTF would make it you sounded it out instead of saying all the letters.)

There are two viable candidates to vote for. Two! And a few never-gonna-wins for good measure! And I hate to break it to you, undecideds, but even those of us who HAVE made up our minds are rarely 100% confident in their choice. This go around, I am roughly 62% confident, to be honest, but guess what? That will have to be good enough.

Because your choices are not to wait indefinitely for the candidate that gives you both the warm fuzzies and the naughty tingles. You are not shopping for a wedding dress or trying to decide what to watch on cable, there will not be infinite choices. There will be two choices, and after November 6th, there will be none.

Your choice is the same as the rest of us: pick the candidate that seems like he's the better fit for what you want. Not the ideal fit or the perfect fit or even the best fit -- just the better of two options. And as we all learned from Sesame Street and law school, "better" is a subjective term and it does not especially have to equate to "good." It just has to be more-good or less-bad than any other option.

Is that not enough choice for you? Well, here's your third choice (and despite what MTV might tell you, it is perfectly viable):

Don't vote.

Yup. If you want to hold out for the perfect candidate, just feel free to not vote. Remove the shackles of the "undecided voter" label, and proudly announce that you are a non-voter. There is nothing wrong with refusing to participate in an institution if you genuinely believe the institution itself is irredeemably flawed.

Don't let people trick you into thinking that you have now shirked your civic duty. If your conscience says you can support neither Kang nor Kodos, then do not lend them your support at all. Be a silent, conscientious objector.

Just don't, for the love, continue to call yourself an undecided voter. You've had more than a year to make this decision. If you can't make it, or at the very least stand on principle and refuse to make it, that doesn't make you wiser or more independent or more discerning than the rest of us.

It just makes you more impractical.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Quick!

Leave a comment and name five things that are awesome!

I'll go first:

1. Nashville: I already knew Connie Britton was the bomb. Who knew Hayden Panetierre was, too?

2. Real hot chocolate: Want the recipe? Of course you do.

6 cups milk
1.5 cups cream
1 can (14 oz) non-fat sweetened condensed milk
1 package of Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat in crock pot on low until all chocolate chips are melted, about two hours. OF COURSE it's not good for you. Did you have to ask?

3. Rawhides!: They keep a puppy entertained for hours.

What up

4. Grooveshark: I don't know how it isn't illegal, but thank goodness it exists. I've been making many poor financial decisions lately involving iTunes and Ann Taylor Loft.

5. Internet. Because, well, everything.

Hope your Thursday is going swimmingly.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Politics. Oh, politics.

PS: If you want some dime store political advice from your friendly neighborhood Lawyer Girl, here it is: Congress, not the President, has the greatest impact on economic policy and social issues, if those are your bag. And when was the last time our current batch of incumbents voted to reduce spending, reform the tax code, or do anything other than engage in meaningless (and extremely offensive) grudge matches over the definition of "legitimate rape"?

That's right. Congress has not passed a substantive law in nearly a year. They've approved things and reauthorized things, but that's it. The last time Congress proposed a budget (and it was technically a FAKE BUDGET) it was April TWO THOUSAND AND NINE.

To put that in perspective, since that time I've graduated from law school, taken two bar exams, gotten a passport, moved three times, had three different jobs, bought a house, bought a dog, built a patio, visited three national parks, and posted on this here blog 770 times. Three of my friends got married, nine of them had babies, six more moved away, and I couldn't even begin to figure out how many others graduated from college or grad school.

What have you done with the last three years and six months? I bet it's a lot.

Consider that when you're voting.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The debate

No, not all those debates.

The internal debate you have when you're trying to choose between shelving a project and (gasp...) self-publishing it.

I've had this internal debate before and have yet to come up with a reasonable solution. At the moment, it looks like I'll continue postponing the decision (which, in essence, means shelving) for a few months at least as my Grown Up Work starts getting more and more hectic.

The fact is, the more time I spend polishing Projecto Originale, entering contests, querying agents and small publishers, the less time I spend writing new things. And if, in the end, it all comes down to vague enthusiasm paired with "not right for me/us," then that's a lot of time to waste on something that simply isn't going anywhere in the traditional route.

Choice, choices.

PS: This October hasn't really been my best month for blogging, has it? I apologize. My brain is mostly thinking about work and politics, neither of which I really want to write about here.

What I'm up to:

1. Finishing the revisions on my new project, cleverly acroynymed JRgtC.

2. Plotting my NaNoWriMo project. (Hey! Are you all doing NaNoWriMo? Leave a comment with your username, por favor, if you would like me to find you so we can be internet friends and a whole other level.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My lunch hour: as described by instant messaging

Me: Can you bring me lunch? I saw on Twitter that you are somewhere delicious.

Echo: Sorry, I just left.

Me: Curse you!

Echo: Why didn't you bring lunch from home?

Me: I woke up late. I always wake up late. And the worst part is, even when I am running late, I still usually leave for work before Diego and Hannah, and then they make themselves delicious lunches. And then I come home, hungry as a baby velociraptor, and discover they ATE ALL THE GOOD LEFTOVERS AND YOGURT FLAVORS. And the cycle of eating out continues.

*     *    *

Me: I wish we worked closer together and could meet for lunch like Leslie and Ann.*

Hannah: Ugh, me too. I ate desk soup today, which is what I call the emergency can of soup in my drawer.

Me: I wish I had desk soup ... why am I the worst? I never remember to bring lunch.

Hannah: Last week I had Jimmy Johns three times.

Me: I wish I had a Jimmy Johns ...

Hannah: Not gonna lie, it is pretty nice. They bring it right to my desk!

Me: I know this will sound super specific, but I don't understand why there isn't a cute and affordable Cuban restaurant with good takeout in [the area where I work] that would be a 2 minute drive or 10 minute walk. That seems like something that would be both profitable and super convenient for me personally. And yet it's nothing but personal residences as far as the eye can see.




(In case you couldn't tell, I AM STARVING.)



* From Parks and Recreation. We have an ongoing debate about who is Leslie and who is Ann, though it's probably a 70-30 split on both scores. (Me 70% Leslie, Hannah 70% Ann, that beautiful tropical fish.)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Make it work

I'm sure you've all noticed by now that I believe there are many life lessons to be had from television. The one I wanted to talk about today was Project Runway as it applies to writing.

In case you're unfamiliar with the concept of Project Runway, designers hoping to break into the fashion industry compete in weekly challenges to make a specific kind of outfit with a limited number of supplies. Some weeks they are assigned to make dresses out of candy, menswear inspired by architecture, or fashion-forward onsies.

And when a designer fails--and one always does--it is usually because he or she went too big, or didn't go big enough.

I think this principle generally applies to writing as well.

Sometimes I write something, and I just feel ... blah. Everything is find, the writing is fine, the characters are fine, the plot is serviceable. Like a fine, boring, beige dress.

And then other times, I write something with origami pleating, color blocking, lace appliques, sparkly beading, and whatever other weird thing that comes to mind ... and then step back to realize I have just created a giant mess.

But you know? Sometimes I prefer the mess. It does make getting things done difficult, though.

What do you prefer - starting with something basic and embellishing, or going high concept and editing down? Are you just awesome straight out of the gate, like the Mondo Guerra of creative writing? (Lucky ...)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Life. It's a (dog-related expletive joke).

For about two months, Spence has been yelping in pain, for no reason. I have taken him to two different vets trying to figure out the problem. The second vet was recommended to me by a coworker as, I quote, "The Dr. House of veterinarians."

A few weeks ago, Dr. House tentatively diagnosed Spence with a disorder that will either require medicine for the rest of his life, or brain surgery. Today, he confirmed the diagnosis.

Of course, I heard "brain surgery" and promptly had a meltdown, which became even worse when I found out that Dr. House didn't know any colleagues who performed the procedure, and I'd probably have to go to Real Colorado to get it. He also stared at me blankly as I sniffled and tried to incoherently explain that I'd gone to a breeder for the express purpose of avoiding various congenital problems -- like, "Why is salt water coming from your ocular orifices? This does not compute." But he was very nice to Spence, so yay for Vet Dr. House!

When I told my dad about Spence's diagnosis, he was surprisingly supportive. I say "surprisingly" because my dad is old school -- as in, raised in the era where kids had to shoot their own dogs, Old Yeller Style. I thought he would be cold and pragmatic about the situation.

Instead, he said, "It's only money and he's a good dog. If you want to spend that money on him, spend it." He then offered to give me cash for Christmas instead of presents.

Of course, he also turned the moment into a "this is why we should vote for Mitt Romney" opportunity. (The logic went like this: I'd taken Spence to a different vet, twice, at $50 a visit, trying to figure out what was wrong with him. The new vet had a tentative diagnosis within ten minutes of seeing Spencer. Moral of the story? "The first vet was probably a nice guy, but he was in over his head. The second guy was kind of cold, but he got business done. And that's why you should go with specialized expertise, every time. Hashtag Mitt Romney.")*

But that's neither here nor there.

When I told Diego about what was going to happen (and that the money I have been saving for a kitchen remodel so we could stop hand-washing dishes might be spent on dog surgery instead), he was upbeat. We spent the evening googling Spencer's diagnosis and coming across websites of other Cavalier owners, begging for money to fund their dogs surgery -- which I (uncharitably) found annoying, since anyone who came across their website probably found it because THEIR OWN dog has a similar problem.

"Some of us are self-funding our expensive dog surgeries," I muttered (it was just a Republican sort of day, I guess.)

Diego looked at me. "I know you're probably going to want to pay for it yourself, but if he needs it, I'm throwing a fundraiser. And my mom and grandma will donate. And don't turn it down, because if we do have to take him to Colorado, you won't want to have to pay for hotel rooms on top of everything else."

Do you know what I loved best about that declaration? The assumption that of course I wouldn't have to take Spencer to Colorado alone.

Since that first tentative diagnosis, there has been good news. Spence is already on the medicine for the disorder, which isn't terribly expensive, and after almost two weeks, it does seem to make him more his old, sassy self ... who now has to pee every forty-five minutes.

And if surgery does become a necessity, Colorado is off the table, because there's a vet neurosurgeon (that's a thing!) who comes into town every three weeks. And in case I want to get holistic up in this grill, there's also a vet chiropractor (also a thing!) in Park City.

Neurosurgeons and chiropractors ... for dogs.

Say it with me now ...


In short, if you have a little furry friend with a health problem, be glad that our society has advanced to a point where acupuncture for animals is a reality. Be grateful to your friends; they will be sympathetic, and not mind you wanting to spend weekends watching The Avengers and Cabin in the Woods with your pet.

And your dog will likewise get over it, because dogs are very special creatures with short memories and big hearts.

Believe me, I know. Spence already is back to thinking he's king of the house -- play growling at Charlie the Pitbull included.



* Obviously, I added the "Hashtag Mitt Romney" thing. My dad was born during the FDR presidency, people, he uses a Nokia.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Gift card winner!

Congrats, "j." (That username isn't really helpful when I try to find you, you know.)

Contact me and we will assess your prize. :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Reminder

Just a reminder that you've got a little more time to enter the giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card - I'll let the random number generator pick one entry at 5:00 pm MST, so hustle, boys and girls!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

300 follower giveaway

Hey all, sorry for the long internet absence - I have a sick puppy and have been quite distracted.

But I noticed I have 300 followers now and I wanted to thank all of you awesome people with a mini giveaway.

If you're a follower of this blog, leave a comment on this post for one entry and spread the word for a second entry. On Monday, October 8th, I'll draw one person for a $10 Amazon giftcard.

Hope your week is wrapping up nicely!