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April 2017



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Apr. 18th, 2017

whatever happens

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I am following a friend to Dreamwidth, so this will be my last LJ post. I'm sorry to say goodbye, and I hope I don't lose any friends. My ID at Dreamwidth is dragonfare, just like here, and my posts have been migrated over there, too.

Goodbye, LJ.

Mar. 10th, 2017

whatever happens

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From some symptoms I had (specifically, nausea when I went to bed unless I'd eaten something first, but no heartburn), I thought I had a duodenal ulcer. This was a while ago, and tests showed I didn't have that, but I did have acid reflux. I have a prescription for it, but it's not helping much.

So I've been living with this for a while, and today I read something striking. There's such a thing as "silent acid reflux", which is not accompanied by heartburn, but rather with sinusitis and other sinus stuff. I had doubted my diagnosis, but this makes perfect sense. Because, yeah, I have chronic sinus problems.

The good thing is that the doctor who wrote the article cured his patient with one simple measure - not letting him eat a late dinner. Specifically, no food for three hours before laying down (to sleep or anything else). That will be hard for me, because three hours is about as long as I can go before getting queasy, but I'm hoping that, if I do it, this will eventually stop.

Feb. 17th, 2017

whatever happens

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I've been wallowing in nostalgia. This is going to be a completely trivial post, so if you're reading it, you probably have better things to do. :)

The nostalgia is the late 90s anime Rurouni Kenshin. I recently got the three live action movies from Funimation (Origins, Kyoto Inferno, and The Legend Ends). I watched them in the dubbed version and enjoyed them so much that I watched them again immediately, this time subbed. I thought the casting was phenomenal, the acting was great, and so was the direction, photography, fight choreography, sound, set decoration, etc. They were heavily compressed from the anime, of course, but I thought the compression was skillfully done. Even when I had a problem with it, I understood the why of it. I had a quibble with the dub - the voice actors didn't have the distinctive qualities that the anime voice actors had - but it was still well done.

Trivial comments for those of you who know me wellCollapse )

Watching these made me think a lot about the anime, so I got that off my shelf and started binge-watching it. I'm almost through the Kyoto Arc now. I thought that, after all these years of not even thinking about Kenshin, I wouldn't like the series as much. Wrong. I like it even more. I didn't think I'd react to the characters strongly this time, but I did. I was a tiny bit less horrified and unforgiving of Saitoh driving that blade through Sano's shoulder, and I was more tolerant of the silliness of some of the characters, but otherwise, even knowing the endings, emotionally it was like watching it for the first time. I still adored Sano, wanted to cuddle Kenshin, had mixed emotions about Saitoh, got frustrated/mad with Aoshi, went weepy over Capt. Sagara, and laughed or cheered or groaned or got worried and upset, just as I did when seeing it long ago. I had the same reactions to Hiko as in the old days, reliving whatever spark it was in that guy that set me off into all those stories with Hikaru. I even re-read some of those tales.

I noticed a couple of minor changes in the "me" that is watching it now, and the "me" that watched it years ago. For one, I like Yahiko more this time, and Aoshi less. For another, the repeat of the basic theme, especially pre-Kyoto, was much more obvious to me, which is probably because I am binge-watching.

I also have a fanfic observation. I got a lot of feedback in the reviews for my Hiko stories (and if any of you reviewers are reading this, blessings on your heads), and some of the feedback included polite corrections of Japanese things that, in my ignorance, I got wrong. I'm grateful for all those suggestions (especially for the one that told me katanas don't need to be sharpened, only oiled). But one thing I got corrected on, several times, was the use of the word Battousai as if it was a title rather than a name, i.e., "the Battousai". I'm here to justify that error now. It wasn't my fault! Watching the anime, I realized that the dub made that error through most of the pre-Kyoto episodes and even in some of the Kyoto episodes. So I wrote it like the anime taught it to me!

Feb. 1st, 2017

whatever happens

(no subject)

I celebrated my 3rd year of retirement with sundaes. Randi and I have a "special event" sundae that we use for birthdays, Christmas/New Year, and, of course, my retirement day. The sundae consists of equal scoops of coffee and rocky road ice cream (Blue Bell), topped with Cool Whip, drizzled with Hershey's Special Dark chocolate syrup, and covered with chocolate sprinkles. Yummm.

I tend to evaluate my life on this day rather than on New Year's Day. I don't make resolutions, but I do like to see what's been working for me and what progress I've made. I have to admit that I wasted the first two years of my retirement. Randi says that's because I was getting past all the stress I was under in the last couple of years I worked. These included hip surgery; 4.5 hours/day spent in commuting; a punishing schedule (up at 4:00, home at 7:00); Randi becoming disabled, putting her, the animals and house completely in my care; and the boss from hell. This isn't a whine. Everyone has their cross to bear, and compared to other people I know, it's not such a heavy one. And I had help - not with the work, but with emotional support from Randi and my friends at work and online. (Blessings upon you, every one of you.) However, I figure she may be right and I needed almost two (eep) years to come down from all that.

In this last year, however, I've begun to hit my stride. I won Nano with The Path of the Dragonfly after two unsuccessful attempts, then went on to finish the book and send it to my publisher. I am now at the climax of the sequel to Dragonfly, called Gifts of the Elven (which is a temporary title, because Randi doesn't like it.) Randi's been reading my stories for almost as long as I've been writing them, and she says these two are the best I've ever written.

And yes, I do measure my success and happiness by my writing. I'm happiest when I'm writing. Also a lot less whiny/bitchy, but it is easier to find joy if you're happy to begin with.

So this retirement anniversary, I am more satisfied with myself. I'm writing. My next project is getting the house in order, but that'll take years, literally, so I just want to make a few strides. Last year I made several of them, so I'm on track.

Dec. 29th, 2016

whatever happens

(no subject)

I heard back from my publisher a lot more quickly than I expected! She's on vacation for two weeks, but she'll accept The Path of the Dragonfly before she even reads it, because, she says, she knows the quality of my work. Yay! Dragonfly is on it's way.

Dec. 28th, 2016

whatever happens

(no subject)

I was cruising my websites to see if they need updating (they do), and ended up reading reviews I got on fanfiction.net. That made me feel a bit cocky. I'll have to remember to do that the next time I'm in that writer's funk where I think everything I put on paper is clunky and useless. I made the mistake of opening one of the Hikaru stories. Y'all know me and how much I like my own stories. I stayed up until 3 AM reading them all. I always feel like I'm indulging my vanity when I do this, but I didn't care. I enjoyed taking that journey again with Hikaru and Hiko.

Dec. 26th, 2016

whatever happens

(no subject)

I finally got up the nerve to launch The Path of the Dragonfly out into the world. I kept procrastinating with it, coming up with all sorts of excuses. "I've got a lot of gardening to do in Wizard 101." "I think I'll start the sequel." "The kitchen needs cleaning." "The Lord of the Rings special features are calling to me."

At long last, just before Christmas, I spent two late nights breaking the story into chapters and tweaking it one last time. Today I sent it in an email to my publisher. Now I have to find the patience to wait for the response, which can take a couple of months. I'm not worried about being rejected - I haven't been yet - but I can't wait to see it on my Amazon author page. Yes, I am a child.

I finish a book, any book, with mixed feelings. It's a relief and a joy to write "The End" at last. But then I'm frustrated because I'm not done with enjoying my characters. This particular book, I was so reluctant to leave them that I wrote little novellas about their lives before and after the story itself. I plan to put those on my web page, if there is anyone interested. I still have to finish one of them first.

As for the sequel, I procrastinated so long that I now have 31,070 words, most written during NaNoWriMo, of course. Plus I have an outline that takes me to the end of the book. I would really like to keep this up, as I have so many other books that are close to being ready to publish. I need Super Glue for my butt in the chair.

Dec. 13th, 2016

Obi-Wan-The Force

(no subject)

I didn't win at Nano, and my writing skidded to a halt mostly due to not knowing where the story was going. Sometimes things that seem bad are actually good. I've been forced to be a planner for a while, rather than a pantser, so I could build properly on a promising start. (I love my characters and where the story will end up. That helps!) The past few days I've been doing some reading on outlining and structure, mostly from one of my favorite writing-advice-givers, KM Weiland. It's like researching a historical novel - you end up with a huge pile of knowledge that's confused and tangled, and gradually you find yourself. I now have a clear idea of how I can effectively outline - MY way. I think it'll work. We'll see.

Nov. 14th, 2016

whatever happens

(no subject)

Happy birthday to coastal_spirit! (I'm posting it here because FB is too public.)

Be extra nice to yourself today. Do a little self-pampering.

Wishing you a great birthday!

Nov. 9th, 2016

whatever happens

(no subject)

I can put in this journal - which almost no one reads - what I can't put in Facebook.

In 1972, I watched Richard Nixon's landslide victory with both astonishment and utter fury. The boys of my generation were being dragged off to an undeclared war, that bastard promised to end the war, he broke the promise, and he still got re-elected. I just couldn't believe it, and when it finally sunk in, I threw things around the room, ranted, and cried.

Since then, I have had no real emotional stake in a political race. No, I didn't shut myself off. It's just that no one interested me enough to invest any feelings into them. The most interest I've taken was with Obama, but that interested me only intellectually. I like Obama, and I was proud of America for electing a black man to the presidency, proving that we mean what we say about tolerance and inclusion. I also liked his philosophies, but, as I expected, he was able to bring very little of his idealism into practice. The president is, after all, not a tyrant in this country.

This year's election, however, has wrung emotions from me again. Not wrath, although that may yet come, once I'm no longer numb. Mostly I feel astonishment and despair. The America that I was so proud of, eight years ago, has suddenly proven that its ugly, hateful side is much larger than I believed. Now I am ashamed of this country, which is telling me that it is OK with a vulgar, dangerously out-of-control narcissist for our leader. That it's OK to have a former porn queen as First Lady, in the place once filled by the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Lady Bird Johnson, Nancy Reagan, and Michele Obama. That it's OK to expect our economic woes to be fixed by a businessman who has survived on inherited wealth, cheating investors, and the protection of high dollar lawyers and the bankruptcy courts.

I just don't get it. I feel like an alien in my own country. No, I feel as if I've been transported to another dimension, through the looking glass, where everything is backwards.

Well, he's in, and it can't be changed. All I can do now is wait for him to either fulfill his promises to fix everything (or rather, fail to do so), and to pray that we somehow manage to avoid national bankruptcy and international nuclear war. Maybe even civil war. After all, roughly half of this country has voted to doom the other half.

Maybe in four years I can look back on this post and say, "Well, it wasn't as bad as all that, was it, Kathy?"

But I'll still feel dirty and ashamed in the country I thought I knew.

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