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I Like Flowers

I’ve had a tough couple of weeks. When I found an abandoned bouquet in the trash beside the recycling, I totally empathized. So I rescued out a few blooms and made myself a posey that I fully plan to appreciate for the next three hour of work. It truly is the little things that make life worth living. I’m one of those little things too.

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Hannah, Backward & Forward

For me, 2008 was The Year of Getting Better. (Like Tomo would say: Bad Breakup was bad.) I took the first six months off to wallow in self-pity and nurse my wounded pride. By Mo*Con, I was ready to come back into the world and my friends welcomed me with open arms. I spent the rest of the year back in the seat of the Incredible Whirlwind…and true to the form of that Whirly Girl of Beauty & Dynamite, I overdid it.

After traveling and writing and editing myself into almost a week of pain and torture and sleepless nights, I caved and made my very first physical therapy appointment. The therapist’s office was 5 minutes from work — just past the Starbucks and across the street, beside the new Stonecrest hospital.The therapist was a lovely, soft spoken gentleman with a new baby (to whom, of course, I signed a copy of AlphaOops). This was a new experience for me: spending an hour being physically touched by a nice man whose sole purpose was the improvement of my well-being, without any conditions or expectations. When the hour was over, I thanked him, put my silver-Sharpie-decorated wrist brace back on, made an appointment for the following week, and left the office.

I made it to the elevator before the tears came. Then I sat in my car and openly sobbed for a good five minutes.

I’ve heard that PT can affect people this way — I just never understood why until then. And like hell I was going to go straight back to the office looking like I’d been on the receiving end of a thorough pepper spraying. I had to pass back by the Starbucks, didn’t I? Perfect. This seemed exactly the sort of problem that might best be solved with a healthy dose of whipped cream.

I love the Starbucks by work. The staff there is nice without being overly pretentious. Olivia, who used to work down at the Espresso Joe’s moved up to work there. She’s a sweetie. I usually go inside to soak in the good juju. This time, it was all I could do to take off my sunglasses as I pulled around the drive-thru after ordering my big fat frappuccino. (I feel rude wearing sunglasses at the drive-thru. Not sure why.)

When that window opened, it was like someone had pulled back the curtains and let in the sunshine. Her name was Hannah. The best way I can describe it is “kindred spirit at first sight.” I felt like I had just run into an old best friend, only I’d never met this smiling young woman before in my life. She asked me how I was. I said “Crappy.” She saw my brace and asked what happened. “Too much writing,” I told her. I explained about my double-life. She told me her favorite book was The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. As much as I love Anne of Green Gables, I really need to read that one. I admitted as much.

We talked about books and relationships (I congratulated her on her own recent Bad Breakup) and shoes and ships and sealing wax and the price of tea in China. Thank god nobody was behind me…though what felt like hours was in fact all the time it took to make a grande caramel frappucino. I reluctantly paid and drove away, smiling like I hadn’t smiled since Indianapolis, like I knew I’d be able to smile again someday. I guess that day was someday.

A couple weeks later, I stopped in to give Hannah a copy of AlphaOops. She was over the moon about it. Really, it was the least I could do. How do you repay someone for changing your outlook so completely? Unfortunately, Hannah worked the day shift. As many times as I frequented the Sam Ridley Starbucks, she was never there. I figured she’d moved on, moved away, or that some enterprising entrepreneur had snapped her up and was paying her millions of dollars a year for the use of that edgy, sunshiny magic.But I still looked every time.

Wednesday, on the way back from lunch, Yolanda asked Patty to stop by the Starbucks. We swung through the drive-thru. Thanks to being spoiled by Dunkin Donuts in Rhode Island during Necon last weekend, I ordered an iced coffee. When the window opened and the barrista appeared, the only thing I could see from the passenger’s seat was HANNAH written in black Sharpie across her green apron.

I squealed just like the inner me squealed when I met Neil Gaiman. And so did she.

Hannah’s still there, and she still works the day shifts. But as it turns out, she’ll be performing at an open mic night at the Starbucks in Murfreesboro (S. Rutherford Blvd, across from the Wal-Mart) tonight somewhere between 7 and 10pm. I’m super excited about seeing her. Patty’s going to come and drag her son along. If you’re inthe area, I hope you’ll join us!

And if you happen to stop by the Sam Ridley Starbucks in the morning, be sure to tell her I said hi.

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Hannah, Backward & Forward

For me, 2008 was The Year of Getting Better. (Like Tomo would say: Bad Breakup was bad.) I took the first six months off to wallow in self-pity and nurse my wounded pride. By Mo*Con, I was ready to come back into the world and my friends welcomed me with open arms. I spent the rest of the year back in the seat of the Incredible Whirlwind…and true to the form of that Whirly Girl of Beauty & Dynamite, I overdid it.

After traveling and writing and editing myself into almost a week of pain and torture and sleepless nights, I caved and made my very first physical therapy appointment. The therapist’s office was 5 minutes from work — just past the Starbucks and across the street, beside the new Stonecrest hospital. The therapist was a lovely, soft spoken gentleman with a new baby (to whom, of course, I signed a copy of AlphaOops). This was a new experience for me: spending an hour being physically touched by a nice man whose sole purpose was the improvement of my well-being, without any conditions or expectations. When the hour was over, I thanked him, put my silver-Sharpie-decorated wrist brace back on, made an appointment for the following week, and left the office.

I made it to the elevator before the tears came. Then I sat in my car and openly sobbed for a good five minutes.

I’ve heard that PT can affect people this way — I just never understood why until then. And like hell I was going to go straight back to the office looking like I’d been on the receiving end of a thorough pepper spraying.  I had to pass back by the Starbucks, didn’t I? Perfect. This seemed exactly the sort of problem that might best be solved with a healthy dose of whipped cream.

I love the Starbucks by work. The staff there is nice without being overly pretentious. Olivia, who used to work down at the Espresso Joe’s moved up to work there. She’s a sweetie. I usually go inside to soak in the good juju. This time, it was all I could do to take off my sunglasses as I pulled around the drive-thru after ordering my big fat frappuccino. (I feel rudewearing sunglasses at the drive-thru. Not sure why.)

When that window opened, it was like someone had pulled back the curtains and let in the sunshine. Her name was Hannah. The best way I can describe it is "kindred spirit at first sight." I felt like I had just run into an old best friend, only I’d never met this smiling young woman before in my life. She asked me how I was. I said "Crappy." She saw my brace and asked what happened. "Too much writing," I told her. I explained about my double-life. She told me her favorite book was The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. As much as I love Anne of Green Gables, I really need to read that one. I admitted as much.

We talked about books and relationships (I congratulated her on her own recent Bad Breakup) and shoes and ships and sealing wax and the price of tea in China. Thank god nobody was behind me…though what felt like hours was in fact all the time it took to make a grande caramel frappucino. I reluctantly paid and drove away, smiling like I hadn’t smiled since Indianapolis, like I knew I’d be able to smile again someday. I guess that day was someday.

A couple weeks later, I stopped in to give Hannah a copy of AlphaOops. She was over the moon about it. Really, it was the least I could do. How do you repay someone for changing your outlook so completely? Unfortunately, Hannah worked the day shift. As many times as I frequented the Sam Ridley Starbucks, she was never there. I figured she’d moved on, moved away, or that some enterprising entrepreneur had snapped her up and was paying her millions of dollars a year for the use of that edgy, sunshiny magic. But I still looked every time.

Wednesday, on the way back from lunch, Yolanda asked Patty to stop by the Starbucks. We swung through the drive-thru. Thanks to being spoiled by Dunkin Donuts in Rhode Island during Necon last weekend, I ordered an iced coffee. When the window opened and the barrista appeared, the only thing I could see from the passenger’s seat was HANNAH written in black Sharpie across her green apron.

I squealed just like the inner me squealed when I met Neil Gaiman. And so did she.

Hannah’s still there, and she still works the day shifts. But as it turns out, she’ll be performing at an open mic night at the Starbucks in Murfreesboro (S. Rutherford Blvd, across from the Wal-Mart) tonight somewhere between 7 and 10pm. I’m super excited about seeing her. Patty’s going to come and drag her son along. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll join us!

And if you happen to stop by the Sam Ridley Starbucks in the morning, be sure to tell her I said hi.

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Notes from the Weeds

I had an amazing time at my first Necon. And as "amazing" is not nearly enough to describe it, look for a retrospective post coming soon. If you’re impatient, all my Necon pics are live. If you start with the first one and page through, it makes for a pretty nifty travelogue.


The Breakfast Club: Bob, Kelli, Mary, Joe, Princess Alethea, Dickie, and Bandleader Jack Haringa

I also came out from under my rock because I couldn’t forget to tell you that I have a live interview today with Jerrod Balzer at The Metal Crypt @ 3:30 EST. I’m a cute little author in a sea of some seriously hardcore performers…I’m listening to the podcast with Shadowside‘s Dani Nolden right now. That is one seriously beautiful and talented Brazillian woman. And she has the best hair.

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Viva La Digital!

My plane leaves for PA and Necon in 6 hours, and I’m STILL uploading pictures from Chicago. I took over 500 pictures — if I ever need a reference for a building when I’m drawing, I’m totally covered! There are some really magical ones sprinkled throughout, though…like this one:

Check out the rest of my unabashed love for Chicago here.

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Sk8er Girl: In a Post MJ World

Kitti announced a last-minute impromptu skate nite last night, and since I desperately needed another activity that wasn’t running I jumped all over it. It seems horrid to say, but Michael Jackson’s death improved the quality of the music at the rink. I knew maybe 30% of the songs this time, instead of the usual 10%. Shame, though, that they wimped out and cut off "Smooth Criminal" right after the "bloodstains on the carpet" line. Idjits. But Kitti and I still had fun, so I’m not complaining. But the day they actually PLAY a Green Day song I will have a flippin’ party.

And despite being wary about how I’d feel, my knees held up quite well. I concentrated on my form (not doing anything fancy) and I skated admirably for over an hour.

I did not, however, skate THIS admirably:

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Kitten Attack!

The Kitten Shower was a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone who gave me great ideas!  We had tea & homemade scones and lots of kitty luv. Tracy snapped a few pics. Including this one! Soak it up now, because you won’t see many photos like this…


Princess Lee, Cisco, and proud Mama Kathy


Cisco on the prowl

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Be Afraid.


Artificial Lifeform Engineered for Thorough Harm and Efficient Assassination

Get Your Cyborg Name

(courtesy of  )

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My Very First Fiction Podcast!


There’s a new Apex Magazine out, featuring a new Beauty & Dynamite essay ("Here Lies an Era"), and me reading my flash fiction horror short "Foiled." (run time: 3:08)

It’s my first time, but I hope to do a lot more readings in the future. Let me know what you think!

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5 (K), 4 (th of July), 3 (Doors Down), 2, 1…

I barely slept the night before my first 5K…you know how it is. I was up at 3am and 4am, worried that I’d sleep through my 5am alarm — especially since I was in the middle of a writing retreat at Sherrilyn Kenyon’s cabin (which was closer to the race than my house). For all that I had prepared I had forgotten both the shirt I had planned to wear and my hair sticks (notice I have one hair stick and one Papermate pen) and the chain for wearing my car key around my neck (thank heavens for sports bars), but I remembered my shoes and my iPod, and that was the important part.

I was crazy early and got a good parking spot, found the bathroom, checked out the YMCA, and walked in circles around the parking lot to warm up while I waited for everybody to show. All the Ingram folks were to meet at the big sign at 6:30 (the race started at 7:00). Kevin found me first, so we hung out at the sign and chatted as Sam and Alison, Robin & Amy and their husbands, and Ben trickled in.

I kept doing stupid stretches to a.) look like a big shot and b.) keep myself from fidgeting and c.) because I probably needed it. So I’m folded in half touching my toes by the sign, and I notice that there’s quite a bit of clover interspersed with the grass. Back In The Vermont Days, I used to spend hours in the field across the street from our house searching for four-leaf clovers. "Wouldn’t it be funny," I thought, "if I found a four-leaf clover right now?" And then I did. Within like 30 seconds. I’m not kidding. It’s pinned to the top left corner of my number in that picture. I pressed it when I got back to the cabin. Are your surprised? Me neither.

I took a friend’s advice and started the race way in the back, so I wouldn’t be run over by the Serious Athletes. (Instead I got run over by ladies with baby carriages.) So I didn’t cross the START line the minute the gun went off, but I had a nifty chip on my shoe that would mark my time from the point that I did, which was cool.

My only goal was 45:00. I figured it would be a miracle if I finished that fast. For the last half of the race I think I joggled my iPod between the Beach Boys’ "Surfin’ USA" and "Let’s Start a Riot" by 3 Doors Down. The former was my running song; the latter was my walking song. I just kept at it, back and forth. I skipped the water when it was offered (it was really a beautiful day and not nearly as hot as it should have been), and it was nice to be cheered on by perfect strangers. Kevin was waiting for me at the FINISH line with a bottle of water and a smile. The time on the big clock said 46:09. I figured I was maybe a minute back at the START line…I could maybe pull off beating 45 minutes. So when the times were posted and it said 43:53 by my name, I had to read it three times before it sunk in. WOOHOO!!!

I was the slowest person on my team and at the bottom of the list in my age group, but I totally don’t care. I did something I never thought I’d do, and I had a great time. Even better — I’m totally looking forward to the Christie Cookie 5K in September. I can’t wait to kick my own butt.

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