Tuesday, September 13, 2011

blue guts, black belts

Yesterday was hot, a little muggy, a bit breezy. I ran my 3 miles and got all sweaty. I also ran 4 loads of laundry and hung them out to dry. Today is chilly, very windy, and the air smells like smoke. Apparently a wildfire started up on the Minnesota side of the Boundary Waters back in August and the wind currents are bringing the smell directly to us. Wind is amazing, but even more incredible is my timing--my laundry smells like fresh air because I did it yesterday.

We have these wonky squash beetles all over the place. But there's this other kind that when I squish them, they ooze bright blue guts. They also smell sort of sweet. What are they? I've tried to find out, but have no clear leads. I suspect they're a type of stink bug ... these beetles make me very crabby. They've demolished our pumpkin and squash plants. I'm glad to share a portion of what we plant with birds, bugs and beasts, but I think it's awfully selfish of some critters to hog it all. (I'm talking to you, beetles and mice. A pox on your species.)

I read The Report by Jessica Francis Kane. To those of you who liked Sarah's Key (I felt it was poorly edited, great concept though), READ The Report. It's brilliantly crafted, also about a true event during WWII and has such a suspenseful tone. Ms. Kane can write.

I finally started Mockingjay. Naturally it is gripping. I always read paying close attention to plotting--it's one of my weaknesses as a writer. My agent has informed me that a significant rewrite is required of KLAG and I'm having a tough time stomaching the news. It would be easier if I had clear directives, "cut this character, move this scene forward, delete pages 24-39." This is the damndest part of trying to write anything I guess.

Friday night I start candidate training for my 2nd degree. I've been training on my own so far--running the 3 miles and reviewing the combinations. Stuff like front round kick/spin back round/spin kick/step punch/punch/jump spin kick. The 2nd degree test involves a LOT of jumping and spinning, not my strong suit. I feel confident on the escrimas and even though my bo staff form is rusty, I handle it well with little practice. I also have to know swords, which is definitely my weakest weapon. I'm the only adult in the group, though there are some high school boys. So instead of being paired with another grown up or a girl (there are an even number of girls and I'm the odd adult--seriously odd), I will be paired off with one of the high school boys. This will definitely push me, but I'm afraid I'll look pathetic next to LI since I'm twice his age and gravity-bound.

Making me most nervous, however, are two stupid little injuries. In August I rolled my left ankle badly. It still gives me grief when I kick against things with the top of my foot. I have a pinched nerve in my right elbow. Lifting in certain positions (required in much of the bo staff and sword forms) is painful and punching hurts since I cannot fully extend my arm without discomfort. I hate being a big baby about it, I hate it when people make excuses. I could postpone testing for my 2nd degree until spring or next fall, but who's to say I'll be in better shape then? It's possible I'll be in worse shape. The whole business depresses me and has my stomach churning with anxiety.

Thus I conclude: getting old is kind of a drag.


  1. Plotting is also my weakness as a writer. I've never fancied myself as a writer but I have had a variety of stories in my head as long as I can remember. Most of them are boring romances, but if I could just come up with an interesting plot, I bet I could turn them into SOMETHING. I can come up with the characters and the beginning plots but there always has to be some crisis or issue to be resolved, and that's where I get stuck. My actual writing isn't anything special, you know, my turn of a phrase doesn't make anyone swoon.

    I do have a couple non-romantic and interesting ideas but they're the sort that would require lots of research to write about well and I'm not very interested. I'd kind of like to be able to hand off some of my ideas to someone who IS a good writer and let them run with it. And then they become successful and rich but always thankful and willing to pay me a substantial amount of what they made off of my idea. I could be Bernie Taupin to an Elton John writer!

  2. I know, getting old stinks! After that injury I had last winter I'm totally paranoid - I can't believe it took so long to heal this time around. I hope you're able to go for the next level.

  3. Even though you're as old as you've ever been, you're younger than you'll ever be!

  4. It sounds like you're doing karate? or something like that? You go girl! That is fantastic. Anything good involves risk.

    And speaking of bugs and things, I have yet to see one with blue guts but I did just find this beautiful tarantula on my front porch. I think he was already dead though because his legs were curled up into his body.

  5. Also, I think your involvement in martial arts is very cool.

  6. My boys just started karate last week. Today was their second class. The first day they would not put on the uniform...the instructor kept insisting and I finally had to tell her it wasn't happening. They had thin same freak out last year when it was the first cold weather and they had to wear pants. Well, today it took 30 mins of tears and finally some bribing withnjelly beans to get just the uniform pants on. They seem to enjoy the class after a few mins of being standoffish so we will keep going...but this uniform is killing me. :)

    please forgive typos... I hate typing on this iPad.

  7. I'm always on the lookout for a good book. Thanks for the tip on The Report.

  8. I understand about the injuries. Truly, I do. I'll be thinking about you as you go through training. I feel confident that you're going to kick butt and take names.

  9. Go you on the running! Kitty wanted to visit Jax tonight and the thought of the short waddle thru the field had me fearful. :)

    I'll totally listen to your getting old gripes if I can gripe to you about these last 3 weeks of pregnancy. dr. said today it's "any day now"....but he said that a week ago today....Gah. I'm so done with this life-growing project.

    Add the wish to have my labor start to your nightly prayers, please. I'll pray for your ankle and elbow. :)

  10. Yep aging sucks there are times when I really feel my 48yrs and other times not so much, what I hate is that I am getting my nan's hands that is arthrits in my fingers and some days the pain lasts for hours and is just so annoying........

  11. Preach! Getting old isn't for sissies. I'm sorry to hear about the rolled ankle especially... it sounds like a trivial injury but the cheerleaders get them from time to time and they can be damn incapacitating.

    More incapacitating is the thought of a major rewrite... gah. Plot away.

  12. I told you would love Mockingjay! This will be the second book I've bought on my Nook while reading you're post--you're costing me money, woman!

    I liked Orange is the New Black, but didn't love, love it--glad to have read it, for sure.

    If you ever want another opinion from someone who knows her way around some YA Fiction, I'd love to read your book.

  13. Aches and pains?! I hear ya -- carpal tunnel and headaches over here...

    And sorry about the smoke. I'll call up north and see if they can't send that to North Dakota tomorrow. :-)


  14. Weird -- we have these beetle like bugs that everyone calls stink bugs. I found them online finally, after wondering what they were for about 4 years. When they're squished or distressed, they smell like grass.

  15. You ran three miles on that ankle? Ouch. And you're right, getting old is a drag.


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