16 June, 2013

Dr. Boyfriend

We have three cats - Abbie (Bill's cat, she's about 15 years old, rather rotund and likes to complain and have doors opened for her), Puufy (my cat, 10 years old this August, extremely fat and fluffy and frequently demands to drink milk or have his food freshened) and Peanut (also my cat, 2 years old, generally easy going, quiet, and playful).

Peanut is in charge. She has been since she was, oh, nine months old or so. She's, by far, the smallest cat in the house (a slender 8lbs or so while Puufy clocks in at around 24 and Abbie about 17). She's light, she's limber, she's very, very sweet.

But no one messes with Peanut. Maybe she's a ninja, I dunno, but I have seen her drop out of trees with a bird in her mouth, so she's super good at that, at least. And if Abbie or Puufy piss her off for whatever reason, she'll flip around and bat at them (looks gentle and playful to me) and they BACK THE HELL OFF RIGHT AWAY with much subordinate posturing.

The pecking order is well established, everyone is cool with it, and all is peaceful in our house of cats.

Enter Dr. Boyfriend, the neighborhood stray tom.

Dr. Boyfriend
We first met Dr. Boyfriend more than a year ago when he started coming around, mostly trying to start fights with a cat we used to have named Cooper (while very sweet, Coop was huge and prone to improper indoor pooping so he went to become a farm cat), and when our other 'went to the farm' cat Echo went in heat. (She was spayed but apparently had a second uterus and later spooged out four kittens and no local vet would re-spay her. Seriously. Off to the farm with you, crazy alien kitty!!)

Anyway, Dr. Boyfriend is homeless and hungry and, well, we're cat people who feed him and have on more than one occasion taken him in to give him a safe, warm place to heal after getting his ass handed to him by some other critter. He's reasonably friendly, cuddly, and all that, he just wants his freedom, by golly! Gotta woo the babes, don'tcha know?

But poor Dr. Boyfriend is rather small. Here he is with Peanut who is 'regular cat sized' instead of the super jumbo economy sized Abbie and Puufy.

Uh huh. You're not fooling anyone, Dr. Boyfriend!
Today, he has decided to take on Peanut. Who seems to find this humorous.

He is literally about half her length and, standing up, the top of his head barely reaches her shoulder. He's heavy and solid, but not very big. No wonder he gets his ass kicked a lot. ;)

She has spent the past half hour or so allowing him to sneak up on her, then she'll glance over her shoulder and give him a look as if to say, ''Seriously, dude? Are you really that stupid?" Then he'll flop onto the ground and chirp and roll to show that it's all play, really, until she turns away and he starts stalking her again.

I shall hide behind this anthill and grass for a few minutes
to give you a sense of safety, Dr. Boyfriend! Bwahaha!
I expect the ass kicking to commence any minute now, but it's currently all quiet out in our front yard. Abbie and Puufy, though, have filled up on Meow Mix and taken seats on the wicker furniture to watch the upcoming event. ;)

07 June, 2013

Adult Ed

It's looking like I'll be teaching a writing adult ed class this fall. I've been pondering the possibilities for a few days, and I think I'm going to go with Write That Novel! (or something close to that, anyway). I'm thinking a 6 week class, meeting a week for two hours a session. There will be handouts and, hopefully, much discussion. :)

I have to clear everything with the coordinator, but this is my current 6-week lesson plan of action! :)

Week 1: Decisions to Make Before You Actually Start to Type

  • Writing Isn't Easy, it's WORK
  • Creating Dedicated Time and Space to Write
  • Nailing down the Concept
  • Choose the Right Genre
  • Choosing a Workable Yet Sellable Length
  • WTF is POV?
  • Tense and Tension
  • Your Unique Voice
  • Daily Word Counts
  • Manuscript Format

Week 2, Part 1: How Much Structure Do You Need?

  • Building the Framework of Structure
  • Winging it vs Pre-Planning
  • Types of Outlines and Methods
  • The Hero's Journey
  • When it's Okay to Go Off Path
  • Where to Put Key Events, Inciting Incident, Etc.
  • Characters, Part One: Protagonist and Antagonist

Week 2, Part 2: The Opening

  • Where Does the Story Start?
  • The Opening Sentence, Paragraph, and Page
  • Characters, Part Two: The Supporting Cast
  • Frontloading Narrative
  • Keeping it TIGHT

Week 3: Getting Past the Hump

  • The Muddle in the Middle
  • Writing And Story Fatigue
  • Life Distractions
  • Getting Lost While Staying On Track
  • How Your Structure Can Help
  • Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard

Week 4: Finish That First Draft!

  • Keep Pushing, Even if it Sucks
  • Ratchet that Tension!
  • What Does A Climax Need?
  • Denouement, or Letting Go
  • Checking Your Story Threads
  • What if You Missed Something?
  • Set it Aside. Yes, I Mean It.

Week 5: Revision

  • The Read Through
  • Taking Notes and Making Them Work For You
  • Writing Groups and Taking Critique
  • Spelling and Grammar Check
  • It's Not a Baby, It's A Book
  • All Things Serve The Story
  • Kill Those Darlings
  • Tighten, Tighten, Tighten

Week 6: The Art of Getting Published

  • What do YOU Want?
  • Traditional, Indi, and Vanity Publication
  • Formatting Your Manuscript
  • Querying Agents
  • How New York Works
  • Submissions
  • Contracts
  • Marketing
  • Getting Paid
  • Start The Next Book!

That's what I'm thinking. There's a LOT to cram into a 6 week class.

Any thoughts?

06 June, 2013

Toddlers and Desk Lamps

I have a pretty cool desk lamp I've had for years. It's brushed nickel with a folding arm (I call it draftsman style) and uses a single halogen bulb. It's not too big, not too small... I really like my lamp.

So does my granddaughter.

She insists on playing with it, no matter how much I try to dissuade her. She wants to fiddle with the springs that hold it upright and in place. She wants to fiddle with the cord. She wants to move the shade up down and all round. Mostly, tho, she wants to touch the light.

It's an exposed halogen bulb. The lens broke years ago. Silly me has told her no countless times, slapped her hand a few, and done all I can to keep her from sticking her little hand up into the bright light. It's hot! I say. Burn you!

She's eighteen months old and fearless. Typical for her age. My words of caution mean nothing!

Today, while she was sitting on my lap (and after having been scolded away from the lamp several times already), she lurched sideways and went for it before I could stop her. Our girl is quick, crafty, and determined.

Sure enough, she scorched a finger, the back of the first joint of her left index finger, to be precise. She didn't cry (she merely made a startled 'Aahh!' sound and frowned at me while flicking her finger). Poor girl. She's currently bandaged with antibiotic ointment per her doc's office consultation instructions but otherwise fine.

Didn't teach the little-stinker-butt anything, though. She's still wanting to play with my lamp.

05 June, 2013


We have a toddler in the house. Specifically our granddaughter, who is 18 months old, right about three feet tall, on the slender side, and goes Full Speed All Of The Time.

We refer to it as 'Very. Busy.'

She's a climber (our little monkey) and she wants it all and she wants it now, as most toddlers tend to be. We usually try to burn off some of this excess energy and determination (which helps everyone in the house have a reasonable bedtime, ha ha) by going to the park just beyond our back fence, or by playing for hours on end in the back yard. Preferably both, several times, in any given day.

That's not always possible, especially since we can't seem to go more than a few hours without rain lately. So, what's a tired gramma to do on a rainy day?

Sometimes we go to the mall and I let her run while I scurry along behind (hey, that's exercise for me, too!!). Sometimes we go to the grocery store with all of the cool stuff to look at and taste and people to talk to (and a steering wheel to spin around as she pretends to drive). Sometimes I knock over grandpa's computer chair and she climbs up and over and around and through it, then we make a fort/tent with her favorite blanket, and we wrestle, and stuff like that.

Tuesday night, though, she was wound up after being cooped up all day, Grandpa needed his chair, I had no desire to spend an hour or more literally running around the mall, and we didn't need groceries.

So we went to McDonald's to play in the tubes with other kids.

She was fine, happy and squeeing and going up, down, and all around the kiddy tubes and slides, all while stopping at our table after every circuit to get a drink and something to munch on (my girl loves her unsweetened iced tea and apple slices!!) but some of the other kids... Not so much.

First, I'd like to say that I know boys will be boys and some climbing is gonna happen. When we got there, there were eleven other kids. Eleven. Two, a boy and a girl of, oh, 6-8 years old, were brother and sister and kept trying to figure out how to get past the fencing to behind the tube-maze. Their mother wouldn't let them do more than make feeble attempts, but she did let them climb a little on open areas. Mostly they played and laughed and were just fine. Regular kids.

The other nine? Not so much.

They were there in a group. Four moms, nine kids, seven of which were boys. One little boy was just walking, and there was a girl of about 12, but the rest were spaced roughly between 5 and 10 years old.

These kids, other than the barely walking infant and the nearly pubescent girl, climbed over EVERYTHING. Two of them repeatedly got on the top of the tube contraption, back beyond the fencing to 'off limits areas', and got themselves stuck in places kids obviously weren't supposed to go.

I really didn't mind the climbing much, and, like I said, boys will be boys and they do stuff like that, but, well, when an area is locked, fenced, and marked 'off limits', I tend to think the parents ought to discourage their little darlings from going there. Or their kids being about 20 feet in the air walking on a tube or pipe. But what do I know?

I could let the climbing and generalized naughtiness slide without too much of a second thought, but four of these seven boys (the four biggest) seemed to be trying their best to disassemble the whole dang thing. They jumped up and down on weak points (like a propeller on one of the pod areas). They tugged on the netting, swinging from it, obviously trying to get it to pop out of the bolts and fastenings (but if it had, they would have fallen about fifteen feet). They lay down inside of the tubes and kicked against the inside of view ports over and over and over trying to pop them loose. They kicked, pulled, jumped, wriggled, and slammed everything they possibly could, preferably if it meant they could get into a restricted area to do it.

All the while the mothers sat and watched and did nothing, until the little girl (she was maybe 6??) got stuck in a fenced off area about 10' up in the air. What did her mother do? Marched over to where her daughter was crying for help and told her to jump because it wasn't like she was gonna break her leg or anything. Then she went back to the table and her conversation with her friends.


And the barely walking infant managed to climb all the way into the tubes and get himself up at the top, but unable to find his way back out. They left him up there whimpering while they all walked to the counter to get ice cream.

Maybe I'm weird or old fashioned, but I cannot fathom allowing my kid to be willfully destructive like these kids were. I can't imagine letting a baby who's obviously too small to be in the tubes without assistance be in the tubes without assistance. And I also can't imagine leaving all of my supper mess (including spilled drinks, smeared ketchup, thrown food, and I dunno how many wrappers and napkins) just sitting there on the tables for someone else to clean up.

They all were nice enough to my granddaughter, gave her space to do her thing, smiled at her, told her 'hi' and other friendly things, and a couple of the kids even talked to me as they gleefully tried to jump on the propeller until it broke. So they weren't all bad, just... physically out of control, and no one seemed to give a damn.

04 June, 2013

Getting Fixed

I come from a long line of big, friendly people and, for much of my life, I was the smallest of my siblings, and even smaller than some of the extended family.

Since I'm tall, and 'extra cuddly' sized, that's saying a lot.

Other than sinus allergies and Rosacea, I've always been healthy, despite being heavy. My brother had his stomach done a few years ago, my sister has lost more than 100 lbs with the help of TOPS, but I remained basically the same weight, at least within 10 lbs or so, for more than twenty years. I also have extreme self confidence issues, part due to the introversion, part not. They all tend to compound and reflect back on one another. Overweight, introverted, depressed, fearful, avoidant, self loathing! Welcome to the family ferris wheel! Round and round we go!

Me, 2012, before I decided to wrestle the weight tiger.
Things started to change for me when we moved up here in 2008. Our daughter went off to college (she's back home now, with a daughter of her own) and it gave me what could best be described as too much spare time. I used a good hunk of it to change myself and my mindsets, starting with Lasik. I've always been dreadfully nearsighted (just like my mother), but when bifocals became necessary, I lost all depth perception and started falling/tripping. A LOT. Yeah, I'm introverted, but the necessity of staying home because walking out in the world meant tripping over the tiniest cracks and falling on my face was a very scary prospect. Anyway, I got lasered in 2009 and now only need glasses to read, which is pretty cool.

I like funky reading glasses. :)
It was astounding to me how much losing my glasses opened up my life and my mind. One of the many, many shields I'd manufactured for myself was no longer there to hide behind and it was a terrifying yet liberating experience. But, hey, it was a start! With that barricade destroyed, I decided to deal with the writing demon. Writing, for me, had never been a pleasant endeavor, always mired in angst and pain and anger. I used it to vent, to purge, to drain off internal poisons, and to let the darkness loose before it ate me alive. I stopped writing after Valley of the Soul for a lot of reasons, but pretty much all of them were, admittedly, psychological and based on fear. Once my eyes were fixed, I decided to stare at the writing monster once again and make it my bitch instead of the other way around.

In 2010, I wrote an amazing, twisty, hopeful novel called Morgan's Run. Almost everyone who's read it has gushed and raved about it, but it was, supposedly, 'unsellable'. I'm not exactly sure why. My only theory is it's because the MC (a child abuse survivor suffering with extreme PTSD) and her situation are rather nuts. Morgan's crazy, yes, but that's why I like her so much.

There's still hope for Morgan - YAY!! - and I'm trying to figure out how to tweak her into a NA book instead of a mainstream psycho-thriller. I'm so excited she still has hope. :)

While working on Morgan's Run, writing once again became a compulsion, but not a painful one. I considered this to be great progress. Unlike the Dubric books, she wasn't an endless trudge of pain and suffering and cutting my psyche open to slap the bloody mess onto the page while it lay there twitching and screaming. There was blood, yes, and pain and tears, but none of it was forced, and none hurt more than it helped. Morgan's Run was incredibly cathartic. And short. I think it's about 95,000 words which for me isn't much longer than a short story. lol

Anyway, I adore Morgan and I'm so, so glad she might yet find a home.

While working on Morgan, I kind of forced myself to become more outgoing. I served as Treasurer for our quilt guild, I worked part-part time at a quilt shop (talking to real people!! Aaack!!), I got onto FaceBook, I self published three short stories (all of the proceeds go to charity), and I joined the Des Moines chapter of Sisters In Crime.

I've cut back some on my responsibilities (SinC especially since time and gas are at a premium) but I'm still making myself be involved in things outside of my head and home. But, anyway, Morgan wasn't selling and I really, really wanted to get back to work as a writer, so I asked my agent what he thought I should write next. I gave him short synopses/concepts of several ideas I had. He picked SPORE, a book about a haunted comic book artist and people who are no longer dead, so in 2012, I began.

Also, around that time, I noticed my knees were becoming increasingly problematic, my feet hurt all of the time, and my energy level... Frankly it sucked. All of my medical particulars were still just fine, but I really needed to deal with the excess weight. I wrestled a long, long time with this because I was hiding behind my weight. It was just one more barrier. I knew it, my husband knew it, my physician knew it. Shit, everyone who knew me knew it. I, however, was reluctant to lose that last bastion of  safety. But I needed to. Having been overweight for nearly my entire life, I'd tried losing weight before, with almost every possible plan under the sun. Nothing had ever worked, or more accurately, nothing had ever 'stuck' because I'd slip up and throw in the towel. So, what to do?? My friends Jean and Wendy had found a good deal of success with Weight Watchers, and while I'd tried them decades ago (I think I was still in high school) my research showed that they were highly rated on successes, especially in the long term. I liked the idea of structure with flexibility, and I liked that going to meetings meant you weren't doing it all alone.

I kind of need some sort of real accountability.

So I talked it over with Bill and, despite the cost (oy, the cost!!!) I joined up in September, with meetings plus online. Also, contrary to my natural cheap nature, I'm all in. I buy the smoothies, I buy the fiber bars, I have the exercise DVDs, the whole shebang, even the ActiveLink fitness monitor, which has been a godsend at keeping me from sitting on my ass all day.

Me, today.
As of my last weigh in, I'm down 36 lbs. Not as fast as I'd like (it never is) but averaging a pound a week is pretty cool. Bill is ecstatic, my physician is ecstatic, and my clothes are all too big. My shoes are too big. It's insane. I'm looking at doing a 5k this fall, just walking it - my knees won't stand for a run longer than a minute or so - but Damn. Me. I still have a long way to go, but this is totally doable, long term, lifetime, forever. And it's making other things better, every lost pound lets in a little more light.

SPORE is done - it was a frustrating pleasure to write and I finished it right before Thanksgiving last year - and I'm currently awaiting another batch of changes from The Agent. It will, with luck, sell to a major publisher sometime this year. I hope it does. I hope he can find a publisher for Morgan too, assuming I can nudge her into the New Adult realm.

I need another book to work on, but so far my brain keeps downshifting back to Morgan and SPORE. I'm not sure why, exactly, maybe because they're still 'unfinished business', maybe because the true concept of the next great twisty story hasn't yet taken root in my brain (I have a few seedlings, but nothing strong enough to pull on yet). I'm not sure, but I'm also not worried. Frustration with writing is no longer about facing the pain, it's about trying to cram a pissed off bobcat into a gallon ziplock bag. Length. Good golly, I fight LENGTH. How the hell does anyone write a coherent book under 90k?? I struggle to trim to get it to squeeze in under 100 and would much rather have 150. It's a FIGHT I tell ya! That's the hard part, keeping it short enough to sell.

And for that I am ever so thankful. After Dubric, I honestly never thought I'd enjoy writing, but I do.

03 June, 2013

Three months

That's apparently how long it takes me to make myself write a blog post.

Too long, I know, but even after a decade of doing this, I'm still not a comfortable blogger.

I have a rather mundane, quiet, non-eventful life, and that's just fine with me. It does, however, make blog topics tougher to root up, since I doubt anyone cares about folding laundry, yelling at the dog to quit barking his fool head off because some other dog has dared to pee in his yard, or cooking porkchops. Which we had for supper tonight, mostly because they were in the front part of the freezer and Bill loves porky chops.

I'd asked a few friends yesterday about potential blog topics, and have decided today to talk about where we live. In June of 2008, we moved from the 'Des Moines Metro' (which in our case meant unincorporated almost rural dead-end dirt road nowhere a few miles outside of Des Moines) to a small town in Northwest Iowa, because of Bill's job. He works for the post office and he used to fix the mechanical parts of the mail sorting machines (belts, hoses, chains, etc) but the move came with a promotion to fixing the electronic parts (wiring, computery bits, switches, etc) and a pretty hefty pay increase.

To say we 'jumped on that puppy' would be an understatement.

So, anyway, we moved up here, and bought a pretty cool Victorian house on a large lot near the middle of a very small town. We went from an acreage to 'in town', and it's something all of us still struggle with, but for different reasons. For Bill, there's Not. Enough. Outdoor. Space. and he feels kind of fenced in and claustrophobic even though we have one of the largest lots in town. For our daughter, who grew up 10 minutes from movies, shopping, restaurants, and countless buildings taller than 2 stories, it's 'too country'. For me, it's just about right, other than All. The. People. which I'll get to in a moment.

Plus there's no good barbeque up here. The closest is more than an hour away. Seriously, that bites.

Anyway, there are less than 600 people here in our little community and it's, roughly, seven streets running East/West crisscrossed by seven streets running North/South in a sort of cockeyed, jaggedy-edged fashion. I walk the outskirts most evenings around dusk, and, including walking from my house to the west edge, then back to the house again after making the complete circuit, Google Maps says it's a 2 mile trek. So it's less than 1/2 mile on a side. Ish. That's pretty small. We have the stereotypical one church and one bar (plus a gas station/convenience store that sells chips, pop, candy and a few non-perishable staples at slightly higher prices than the grocery store 10-12 miles away) a feed store, a grain co-op, a post office (only open a few hours a day), a fire station, and a very small library which doesn't carry my books. The town is bisected by a N/S highway (in Iowa that means 2 lane blacktop) and an E/W highway. The next closest town is about 8 miles straight East and they have a quilt shop. I'm there quite a lot. Between us and any of the surrounding towns are miles and miles of corn and soybean fields. Oh, there are a few farm houses and a stream or two (and the occasional grazing cow or horse) but it's pretty much all crops. This time of year, and after our lengthy and very wet spring, the fields are pretty much all mud. Normally, everything would be planted, but not this year. Not yet, at least. And there's worry there may be no soybean crop at all.

You get the idea.

Our house backs up to the largest of three city parks - no close by neighbors that way - but we had single, retired women on each side of us, until one of them moved to Western Arkansas last year. Or maybe it was Eastern Oklahoma. I honestly don't remember. The gal on the one side is still here, and she's very much into lawn work and has a GORGEOUS yard. Manicured lawn, flower beds, decorative do-dah's. It's just lovely. She has a little Westie named Mookie. Mookie is quite cool, but he and our Gozer (big, gruff lab mix) do not get along. She has a friend a couple of blocks away who picked apples from our tree the fall after we moved here and is super nice. The other single gal's house was put on the market last year and had a renter, then a contract buyer, but it just sold this past week. I think the new owner and his teenage daughter mowed yesterday. We all nodded hello, but didn't talk.

Across the street is a couple about our age with grown children and a lot of dogs. They both work and aren't home much. They're on a corner. Across that street from them is the Lions' Club secretary and his family (I think he works at a lab. I think). Beyond him, I have no idea. Next to the gal who has moved's house (and across our street from the Lion's Secretary) was an older guy and his adult daughter. I believe he was an over the road truck driver, and she came back home after a divorce/breakup/job loss, but no one's seen them for a long time so I guess they've moved. They had a couple of big mixed breed dogs.

It's weird, I know people by their dogs. lol

On the other side of the middle aged couple with all of the dogs is an elderly man (pretty sure he used to work for the grain co-op because the trucks always honk as they pass his house) and his middle aged daughter. She works at the community gas station. They don't have a dog. Past them on that side of the street... I don't know anyone, but I know their neighbors let their dogs loose to potty and of course they cross the street and come over here to pee on our maple tree and drive Gozer bugshit insane. They are friendly dogs, tho.

Past the lady beside us with the Westie and the gorgeous lawn is an older couple with 2 Daschunds. He is a semi-retired teacher, and I have no idea what she does. We've actually only talked to them because last summer he fell off a ladder and she knew I was home so she ran over here asking for help. That's how we met. Really. Otherwise I'd have no idea. Their dogs are cool though and every time we walk up the alley they rush at the fence, barking, and we laugh about the attack of the ferocious wiener dogs. They're not ferocious at all, just wiggly and waggly and barking. Very cute. Our cats like to tease them. The house past them (on the corner) has two old retriever mixes and a wire haired fox terrier looking mutt dog. And a gorgeous calico cat. Across the alley from them (toward the park behind our house) has a LOT of kids, a different calico cat, and a friendly mixed breed dog. Across the street from the folks with the retrievers and wire-haired mix is a younger family with two gorgeous Dalmatians. I dunno what he does, but she works at the lab and is on the city council.

On the far side of the park, at the corner, is the Lions club president and his family. He's the only one we've ever met. A block or so west of the park is the city maintenance guy and his family. His son just became and Eagle Scout. A couple of blocks north and one block west of us is the mayor's house. He and his wife have two daughters (they frequently come to our door selling stuff for church, school, girl scouts, etc) and they have great danes plus foster cats for the humane society.

Oh! Right next to the park (across the street from the big house with lots of kids and the friendly mixed breed dog) is the house with the camper and two Boston Terriers, both of which are sometimes loose and running the town and have tried to bite us as we take walks. We do not like the Boston Terriers much. Gozer chooses to pee on them instead of opening the can of whup-ass like he does with little Mookie next door. It's actually kind of funny in a twisted kind of way to see the PITA terriers frozen in fear and getting peed on. But Mookie does talk a lot of smack while the Boston Terriers are pretty much silent, so I guess it makes sense in doggy logic.

That's pretty much everyone we know, usually via their pets, other than the other city council members and a couple of firemen, who we know on sight, but have no idea where they live in town. Oh! I've spoken a couple of times with the local Pastor, who is an incredibly nice man, and there's a house across from the library who have cut a hole in their garage to help feed and shelter the local stray cats, plus the couple across from the fire station who make a point to keep cat food out for the strays (we do too) so we sort of but not really know a few cat people too. And the gal who babysits and brings the kids to the park behind our house. My granddaughter and I go over to play with them most mornings.

So we've lived her five years this month and know only a handful of people. Which, frankly, was just fine with me. I am incredibly introverted, but, um, well, I'm also political. And apparently personable or friendly or something. Because in March I was, sort of appointed to the City Council, much to my introversion's terror.

Two people had just left the council, one in retirement, one because of moving to follow a job, and the council needed two more members, pronto. I was approached by our city clerk (she lives in a town about 10 miles north of us) asking if I'd be interested in taking a seat until the elections this November. I agreed, mostly because I am rather political (I go to caucus, I vote, and I try to pay attention to issues) and because I feel that as a citizen, there are certain things that, when asked, are duties and responsibilities. So I said okay.

Five of us apparently said okay, because five of us showed up for the two open seats and the mayor decided to put our names in a hat (actually it was a coffee cup) and draw them. I was drawn first, then the other new councilman (who I think, but am not certain, owns the troublesome Boston Terriers).

Then, at Easter, the Lions Club had their annual Easter Egg Hunt and, with the candy, included a note explaining they were down to a scant few members and if they didn't get more members they'd have to disband. I'm pretty much pro Easter Egg Hunting, and Halloween Parties, and Christmas Parties and, well, generally Pro Kid Activities, so now Bill and I both are also Lions.

While I'm delighted to help, I'm not sure I like all of this Public Exposure stuff very much. Just this past week, I found myself in the middle of an issue between the local bar, fire department, and Lions simply because I agreed to do someone a favor.

Sigh. I do not like drama.

Anyway, I love our little town, it's the perfect size for me, but I'm not sure yet if I'll run for reelection this fall, or how long I will be a Lion. Guess it'll depend on how much socializing I can take. When I walk into the gas station for a pop and people there greet my arrival with 'Hey Tammy!', it's a bit much.

So we'll see.