Page the Second


A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


YES!!! I slew NANO a week early! And I'm still going strong. It's just taken off so well. For a while there I nearly ran out of gas, but the honey badgers seem to have taken the story by the scruff of its neck and shaken it into waking up for me...like honey badgers do.

I'm actually going back to writing on this thing after I bake a few pies for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I can't leave the gang hanging.

Just came to crow a bit. Thanks for being patient while I worked. More later.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Day at the Vampire's

I'm hard at work on my NANO book, YEAR OF THE HONEY BADGER, so I won't stay long. I just wanted to catch up on the news.

Last week I went to give blood. I do that because I have rare blood and they keep me on call. So I'm sitting in the seat getting all ready to accommodate the vampire in the white lab coat. I have my book all out and am joyfully reading away when he says, "That rots." Just that. So I look down there and he's thumping the hose. "It's sluggish," he says, still thumping.
Then he asks, "Do you mind if I adjust the needle a little?" which is vampire for, "Okay if I stab you repeatedly with this huge needle and perforate your vein another four times?"
Stupidly I agree. So stab he does--like the dude from psycho at the woman in the shower. Then he says, "This isn't working. Let me go get xxxxxx. She's better at it than me." By this time I'm not listening, thinking that a two-year-old with a butter knife would draw blood better than he is.
So xxxxxx comes over and plunges around another ten times or six and by this time the old arm is feeling distinctly like one of those watering hoses you don't have to stand there and hold because it's full of holes. Water just squirts out in seventy-five different places. "Well this isn't going to work," she says.
"Can't you use the other side?" I ask, not wanting all that time to be in vane (or vein...ar ar).
"Nope. You just threw a huge clot. Look," she says, holding up the bag with a finger-sized blotch in it. "And look. There's more clot coming out of your arm."
By that point I'm thinking, "Wow. It's a really good thing blood doesn't bug me. 'Cause if it did, I'd be out cold by now."
So I'm out of there after giving a measly third of a bag of clot-blighted blood. They try to appease me by letting me know that my donation will not go into the dumper. "It's going to science," she says. Probably Vampirish for, "This blood's going into the back where the newbs will get to ogle and exclaim over it before it goes into the dumper."
"Does this mean I should run, not walk, to the nearest doctor or ER?" I ask more than mildly horrified at the size of that monster.
"Naw. You're just a little dry," says the Vamp guy (who does not sparkle, by the way).
"What the heck does that mean?" I ask, wondering how he pegged my version of wit. Only it wasn't wit he was talking about.
"You're a little dehydrated today."
I think that's kind of crazy, since after I got done caving the day before, I'd gone home and drunk about a gallon of water. So off I trundle after the requisite fifteen minutes of eating and drinking their goodies, feeling just a little impotent about the whole thing. By the next day there's a big old lump and a nice bruise.

I'm not paying much attention to the bruise, though, because I've broken a rib. I'll tell that story another time.
80-oss (my rebel bow at the local lingo).

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

To My Daughters

To My Daughters:
I recently wrote a letter of sorts to my sons. This one is to my daughters:
I grew up, like lots of little girls, playing dress-up and dreaming of the day I would find my handsome prince and he'd toss me up on his horse, jump on behind, wrap one arm around me, and gallop off into the sunset to live in his castle happily ever after.
Well for starters, riding double with a saddle is highly unpleasant. And jumping on there hurts like a mother, I'm told. Castles are damp, drafty, moldy and often infested with rodents. I know this because I've been to many of them. Don't let the movies fool you.
Welcome to reality. Your handsome prince might not be either. He could be really cute but really twisted and ugly inside. Or slightly toad-like on the outside, but princely in his ways. He might not own a horse. Ever. Or he might gallop into the sunset with someone else, leaving you with a screaming princess under your arm, towering debt, a wasted body, and a shattered life. Maybe your castle is actually a hovel to begin with. Or always. Maybe you have to go be a scullery maid to put him through school. Maybe your handsome prince gets sick and dies early. Maybe he likes you...and twelve other dancing princesses from the next
castle over. Don't just latch onto the first dude who smiles at you. And don't expect that just because he takes you to get married in the temple it's an automatic lock on a life of Eternal Bliss. It takes two of you working like crazy to keep even a temple marriage intact.
Date lots of people so you have a frame of reference. You need lots of toads to kiss before you find the Prince. Don't just fall into his arms because nobody else has opened his, or because all your friends are getting married. Or because he sweet talks you into it or serenades you under the stars. Or any other reason but that you love each other deeply and know you can build an Eternal life together. Love alone can't do it. You need hard work on both sides. To start with, you need to have a good enough frame of reference so that you can spot fallacies and problems before they blow up in your face. It's like not relying on one grape to make your juice with. What if that grape is the sourest, most awful grape there is, but you only find out after you've opened the bottle and taken a swig? You need a whole bunch of different grapes to choose from. After the choice? That's it. No more tasting other grapes. You're done. Cap the bottle and rejoice in the vintage.
Life doesn't conform to your plan. You plan for life. Don't just wait for a rescue. Make your own stories. Don't just wait for his. You might not meet your handsome prince until you get old and prune-y. You might not meet him at all. Things happen. Make a plan. If you sit around waiting for the cherry guy to fall into your arms, you could be waiting a long old time. Go out into the world. Learn how to live on your own. Learn how to live within your budget. Go to school. Get a skill set. Learn to work hard. Go on a mission if you feel called. Explore what kind of Child of God you really are. Get a degree. Learn to do things that make you happy. Learn to serve others. Get out of your cocoon and be a butterfly. Be worth something. Learn to be a well-grounded adult person before you become an "us." Be flexible, because if there's anything I've learned, it's that plans always change. But at least have a plan. Do your best. Above all, be excellent. 

Be logical about your must-have list. Expecting a guy to be perfect is ridiculous. There has only ever been one perfect man on this planet and you'll not be lucky enough to go out with Him. So you're going to have to logically decide what are definite must-have qualities and skills, and what items are just perks. Because if your guy is missing a few of your must-haves, they might not be changeable. Remember, though, that if your guy's nearly perfect, (somehow) won't he expect the same kind of perfection? Who is he when you aren't around? Does he change like a chameleon with his surroundings? Do you trust him? Do others? Ask.
Expecting him to change for you is ridiculous. You might be completely ga-ga over him and find out that he can't keep a dime in his pocket. Changing that will be impossible. If he's casual about his priesthood responsibilities, that probably won't change. Laziness will stick. Dishonesty will still be there when he's eighty. If he skates along the raggedy edge of the law, hit the ground running, before he brings out the ring. Essential things about him will stay the same or only change for a little while. It's human nature. Keep that in mind. That's why you take your time.
Make a must-be list. For yourself. You can't expect him to do all of the changing. He won't. You're going to need to make changes. You're the one you can control. So choose right, before the problems arise. Change things about yourself that are weak or unpleasant. Make this a habit, not just something you do right before he comes to the door to pick you up. I had a roommate in college who was a full on slob. She'd race around the room tossing things in the closet and under the bed, hoping he'd think she was a good housekeeper, when in reality she sucked at it worse than the vacuum she never used. That's bait-n-switch. How would you feel if he was doing the same thing? Danger Will Robinson! Danger!
What are you like when he's around? And when he's not? Does being with him encourage you to be a better person? Or do you turn into the owner of a few dozen flying monkeys?
If you're a horse and you marry a rhinoceros, expect trouble. You're already going to have some problems meshing your lives together. If you add in extra differences, the mountain of problems increases exponentially. If you have mismatched (or nonexistent) spiritual beliefs, or come from other cultures, you'll have a much rougher road. You'll have to make extra decisions not only for yourselves, but for your children. If you go bullishly ahead with your choice, just know that you'll have to deal with the consequences sooner or later. You need to discuss how you'll make it work before he slides that ring on your finger and the kids come along.
Great Expectations can be a killer. Go into it with your eyes open. Life isn't going to be all roses and smiling cherubs. There are Maleficent Moments in everyone's existence. Be prepared. Be strong. Suck it up. Running home to mommy is for pansies. But getting occasional wise council from her is smart. Your parents love you and want the best for you. They've been there, done that, and ripped up the t-shirt for rag material.
Train him early to talk with you. It's supremely important. You can't expect him to read your mind because half the time he'll be in his computer game world and you won't even be a blip on the horizon. You have to be able to work things out in a way that doesn't give you ulcers or get you locked up for assault with a deadly frying pan. 
Take some time. Some girls take more time to pick out a pair of shoes than they do a boyfriend. I had dated lots of other guys. But when it came to my previous husband, I was stupid. I only took four (4, vier, quatro, chi, IV, yes four) days of dating and hanging out to decide to say 'yes' to my ex (the operative word being EX). Don't get me wrong. He had credentials. He was talented, studly, and sweet. I simply didn't give myself long enough to really explore the guy's personality. I had no good idea what made him tick. I had no clue what happened when he got mad. I could have talked to his best friend and found that, in reality, he was a pathological liar. I could have found out that he was actually in love with himself and any girl who worshiped him. I could have found out that he couldn't be bothered to keep a job. And I could have found out that he had a drinking problem. I didn't give it enough time. I didn't want anything to pop the euphoria bubble I was bouncing around in. Bad mistake. Take plenty of time to get to know him. You need to let him reveal that seamy underbelly if he's got one. And that'll take longer than a month or two. What's he like when he's mad? What's he like when the money runs out? Or if he gets lots of it? What's he like when it comes time to make major decisions?
Infatuation isn't love. We went straight from the ex guy serenading me in the Spanish from his mission, to the physical kissing. I was completely hooked. If you go straight to being physical, hormones take over your brain and you lose that ability to think intelligently about anything at all. And you won't listen to council from friends or family, either. After the initial loss of all cognitive ability that comes with the kissing and cuddling, comes that period when you've ripped off the mask and see the not-quite-as-handsome guy beneath. Give yourself a chance to experience that before saying "I do." Too many girls just jump at that bubbly feeling they get from kissing (or Heaven forbid sleeping with) the guy. Then when the mask comes off and they see the warts and moles and boils of his actual personality, they freak.
When you marry him, you marry his family. If you don't think that's true, you'll be in a world of hurt. His family raised him. Sometimes people can rise above their upbringing. Sometimes they can't. Sometimes they go the complete opposite of their parents' upbringing, instead of finding a happy medium. How he treats his mother (especially when he doesn't think you're looking) is how he'll treat you. Remember, his parents are going to be your kids' grandparents.
Sitting around all the time eating bon bons and watching Netflix or reading romances all the time is uncool. He'll hopefully be going off every day to work hard to put food on your table and a roof over your head. If you sit around all day doing nothing, how is that fair? You don't have that right. Growing up means you accept responsibilities, not just that you can stay up longer and eat what you want. It means your efforts should match his. You aren't the Queen of the World and you aren't the scullery maid. You're his partner, which means you work hard too. It means sometimes you have to fix things. Sometimes you have to kill your own mouse. Sometimes you have to dig up the garden or landscape the backyard. And you can't always expect him to come home from his grueling job and do all your work too. Do your own. Give 130%.
Remember that relying on someone else to make you happy is a fallacy. You choose to be happy or not. If you need a guy to prop you up, you're going to be disappointed and unhappy a huge chunk of your life. Because at some point he's going to disappoint you. He'll definitely do things that make you want to bury him in the backyard. That's a given, probably by the end of your honeymoon if not sooner. If you let those things knock you off your perch, you'll be running to a lawyer as soon as he does something stupid or treats you like you are. You have to know who you are and that you are loved and a valid, intelligent, gifted, worthwhile person in your own right. His love doesn't make you worth something. God's does.
You didn't marry Mr. Goodenough. Stop looking for Mr. Right after you get married. Your husband is IT. The words "Married for Time and all Eternity" should mean something to you. Those words don't mean married until rough seas make you feel like barfing. They don't mean married until someone cuter or richer or better in bed comes along. They mean you're married until long after the world ends and the Sun explodes. They mean you've got your man forever. Stop looking. Stop comparing. Be true to him in your heart and mind and actions. He'll be able to tell. He'll be your Prince if you let him be.
 Be true to your man. You expect him to be true to you. Return that service to him. You wouldn't want your guy to be off with his friends discussing your every fault and foible behind your back. There's a fine line between working out your troubles with a trusted female confidant and just spouting off the things that bother you about him. This is something I've had a difficult time with. 
Don't allow other guys into the marriage hideout. Don't make someone of the opposite sex that isn't your husband a confidant. It's too easy to get emotionally involved with them and destroy your marriage because you've allowed another man to dig into personal and intimate details of your marriage. They can't solve your problems with your husband. All they can do is commiserate, which is juggling dynamite.
There are absolutely some things you DON'T have to put up with. Things can change even if you've done all your homework. You don't ever have to put up with being battered. You don't have to put up with him sleeping around with other people. You don't have to put up with porn. You don't have to put up with someone who hurts your children (and I'm not just talking about the occasional much-needed smack). You don't have to put up with criminal behaviors. If you choose to put up with these things, you do so at your own and your children's risk, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You are not a punching bag or a doormat. You are a Child of God. You are the Queen he chose to marry. Don't risk your Eternal Salvation to stay with an evil person.
Always remember that there are people who will love you whatever happens--God, Christ, and your parents. We want and expect you to succeed. We know that you can't do that without being close to the Lord and following Christ's example. If you make the Godhead the third partners in your marriage, you'll have a successful life. Your parents are there to talk to, and sometimes council with. But remember that the Bible asks us to cleave unto our husbands (no, that doesn't mean take a meat cleaver to him). That means when you get married, your husband is in charge with you, not your parents. Run to Heavenly Father first, your husband second, and anyone else last.