My Novels

Friday, March 29, 2002

I haven't been online much this week, since I've been doing some extensive cleaning in the house, as well as sorting and discarding stuff in my study. I had collected an assortment of travel books, catalogs, etc, for writing/research that are now so far out of date they are useless. Plus, I use the internet now for up-to-date research. I spent all day yesterday and another hour or so earlier today getting that mess cleared out. DH will burn some of it, and take the rest to the recycle place in town. Lots of the old papers, and material I cleaned out of my file cabinet needs to be burned; but old books/catalogs can be recycled. I have more space in here now, and it looks much cleaner and tidy.

Also, I still have various tasks to do around the house, getting it ready in case someone wants to see the inside, any of the potential buyers. We had another call yesterday morning, but I was gone on the bike, so she left a message. DH will call her later.

I had a very strange experience this morning on my bike ride. Yesterday I didn't ride in the park, because they were having an Easter-egg hunt, with a bunch of screaming kids. So I just rode on the streets. But today there was no one around, and I started riding in the park. Well, this little girl (looked to be around 10 or 11), came up to the area where a dead-end street borders the backside of the park. As I went by, she yelled, "I need you to come to my house for a minute."

I was already past her, but when I came around there again, I asked her what was wrong. She just said the same thing, "I need you to come to my house a few minutes." On the next round, I asked if she had a problem and she repeated the same thing again. It was as if she'd been told to approach me, and was very persistent. However, IF there had been a serious problem, I think any child would have been upset and willing to SAY exactly what the trouble was. Since she wouldn't say what was wrong when I came by the next time (she was outside the chain-link fence, couldn't get into the park from that spot) I told her if she had an emergency, or a serious problem, to call 911. Then I went out of the park on the other side, and finished my ride on the streets.

There was something very creepy about that. My instincts told me that the child was sent to fetch me -- and not for any kind of real problem. I don't know what someone would have wanted with me, but anyone in the section of houses on that dead-end street could easily see that I ride in the park every morning. I just had a feeling that I SHOULD NOT go with her. So many times you hear of a woman's instinct telling her something is 'wrong' with a certain situation, but going along anyhow and then getting into trouble. Perhaps whoever told the child to fetch me had something bad in mind...or maybe I'm just paranoid or have too much of a dark imagination.

When I got home, DH called and I told him about it and he said I did the right thing, shouldn't have gone along with the kid. He said he would drive over by there, and see if she was still outside (I described her) and find out if there was some kind of trouble. Also, he said I needed to start riding somewhere else for awhile, change my pattern of biking.

Years ago, I did something that really seemed stupid later on, and has made me very cautious about strangers. I was on the way home from the grocery store and my car quit on me. I was only about ten blocks from home, but I had a load of groceries and was afraid the milk, etc would spoil. So this car pulled up, and there was an older man in it; he asked what was wrong, and I told him. He got out, and said, "Why don't I just help you get the groceries out and I'll drop you off at your house."

I'd told him I lived nearby, so I quickly accepted. We put all the groceries in his car and then got in...and just as I closed my door, and he started the car, it hit me that this was EXACTLY how women get abducted and raped! My face must have gone pale, because he started making friendly chit-chat, asked me who I was married to, said he used to live in the city, and who I was before I married. Well, when I told him and he said he knew some of them, and turned out, he knew one of my uncles. At any rate, he took me directly home and even helped me unload the groceries. BUT, that really shook me up, because it was a DUMB thing to do! And I when I called DH to help me with the car, he pitched a fit and said I should NEVER, EVER do such a thing again!!!! Of course, by then I realized that.

In a way, it's awful that times have changed so much you have to be this cautious...but it's a fact that women are often abducted and raped in just such situations. Long ago, when I was a teen or in my early 20s, I never gave a second thought to some guy stopping to help if my car broke down -- and it did happen several times. But these days, you just can't trust a stranger -- not even in my small southern town.

At any rate, I hope the little girl wasn't REALLY having a problem. Or if so, that she called 911. But I don't regret what I did -- better safe than sorry.

Here's an excerpt from an article I found interesting:

Winfrey declines Bush invite to Afghan trip

U.S. hoped to show its help for women

By Jeff Zeleny
Tribune national correspondent
Published March 29, 2002

CRAWFORD, Texas -- Seeking to put a softer spin on the public's perceptions of the war on terrorism, the Bush administration quietly asked Oprah Winfrey to join an official U.S. delegation to tour Afghanistan's schools, celebrating young girls' return to the classroom following the fall of the Taliban regime.

But Winfrey begged off, saying she didn't have the time.

"Given her responsibility to the show, she isn't adding anything to her calendar," said a representative of Winfrey's Chicago-based production company. "She was invited, but she respectfully declined."

So the White House, lacking its preferred guest, postponed a trip that also was to feature some of the administration's top women, including Bush adviser Karen Hughes and possibly National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Aides said it was unclear whether another celebrity who shares Winfrey's credibility and popularity could be substituted.

Bush's political advisers are concerned that some key voting groups, while supportive of the war on terrorism, may be growing weary of the constant talk of killing and brutality. The Oprah strategy was devised to dampen the images of global violence.


Way to go Oprah! Or in the venacular, "You go girlfriend!" Let Bush rustle up his voters himself, but the very fact he thought of this idea shows he MAY be a bit concerned about his ratings and the 'war on terrorism' and the women's vote. I wouldn't vote for him, that's a fact.

Back to work now.

Thursday, March 28, 2002

Looking at this journal, I see I haven't written in it since last Thursday. There have been ups and downs since then, but I just wasn't in the mood to write about any of it. We've had two people call about our house for sale; we put a small sign in the yard, and have done NO advertising. So I guess those calls do indicate we can sell it if we want to. But it sure is hard to think of moving from a place you've lived for 20+ years!

We also looked at the small white house again, and I still like it. But we just haven't decided to make an offer on it yet. We are still actively looking, and found one possibility about ten blocks from here in a nicer neighorhood. It is full brick, three bedrooms, with a huge enclosed carport with screened breezeway that would be perfect for the cats. And the price is about the same we're asking for this house. I guess we'll keep looking though...

I've been on my bike ride every morning this week, and the weather has been either very cold or extremely warm for this time of year. Today there was an Easter-Egg hunt going on in the park, so I rode on the streets instead. I prefer the park, but don't mind the street if necessary.

I spent most of today cleaning out my old file cabinets. I decided it was time I got rid of a lot of old work (already on computer) and just a collection of stuff (research notes, etc) that I will never need again. I also tossed a bunch of stationary paper and postal writing material, like envelopes. I used to write a lot of postal letters (to inmates and other friends) but no longer do that since I have access to email. So I got rid of a great deal of stuff, and made it neater in my study.

Here's an interesting article excerpt from the New York Times about how the world wide web is not as much fun as it once was. I DO agree!

As the Web Matures, Fun Is Hard to Find

Just 11 years after it was born and about 6 years after it became popular, the Web has lost its luster. Many who once raved about surfing from address to address on the Web now lump site-seeing with other online chores, like checking the In box.

What attracted many people to the Web in the mid-1990's were the bizarre and idiosyncratic sites that began as private obsessions and swiftly grew into popular attractions. . .

How did the Web arrive at this juncture? Some people say that the rush to make money, in which profits mattered more than passion, was a significant driver.

The Web's commercialism dismays many longtime surfers. "Everywhere you go someone is jumping on you to buy something," said John Walkenbach, an author in San Diego, who has written books about software. "It's like walking down the streets of Tijuana."


Enough for tonight. Maybe I'll try to update more frequently.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

Another Thursday night, my only night online. And I'm feeling a bit lonesome, rare for me, since I've become a loner. Still, I also have been feeling nostalgic...for times past, happy and sad, upsetting or not. Mostly I recall lost loves, lost opportunities...or even just the moments that I know are gone forever.

What is one person anyway, that all the memories and living can be wiped out with death. For I do believe we perish at death, there is NOTHING but flesh and blood and then oblivion. What point is there in struggling for success, for rewards or anything at all...when we are simply, in the verse of a popular song, "Dust in the wind..."

Ah, well, so it goes...and goes...and goes...until it is all gone.

Humans...a speck of energy in the senseless, vacant void of the cosmos. A little noise and then...NOTHING.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

I'm in a better mood today, though still not feeling great. It's difficult to remain depressed during spring, and we certainly are having an early spring here. The world is coming alive, brilliant green and yellow colors painting the yards, the what sometimes looks unsightly during grim, drab winter months is camouflaged by the budding birth of renewel.

Had a wonderful bike ride this morning, droplets of the misty morning making it damp and cool. We've been having a bit of fog early, and it makes for a nice ride in the park. More of a misty dampness than deep fog, which usually burns off by noon when the sun comes out.

I actually am reading a novel, and believe I'll make it through this one {Lovers & Liars, by Sally Beauman). I loved her novel, "Destiny" and thought I'd give this one a try. Lately I just can't seem to get involved in a novel, and put it down after the first chapter or so. But this one seems to be holding my interest, and it would be good for me if I could immerse myself in a fictional world again.

And now for a link/excerpt to an article about a near-miss of an asteroid that wasn't even discovered until it had whizzed by earth!

Whew! Stealth asteroid nearly blindsides Earth

By Richard Stenger

(CNN) -- A sizable asteroid zipped near our planet this month without anyone noticing because it traveled through an astronomical blind spot, scientists said.

The space boulder passed Earth within 288,000 miles (461,000 kilometers) -- or 1.2 times the distance to the moon -- on March 8, but since it came from the direction of the sun, scientists did not observe it until four days later.

The object, slightly larger than one that flattened a vast expanse of Siberia in 1908, was one of the 10 closest known asteroids to approach Earth, astronomers said.

"Asteroid 2002 EM7 took us by surprise. It is yet another reminder of the general impact hazard we face," said Benny Peiser, a European scientist who monitors the threat of Earth-asteroid collisions.

If it pierced the atmosphere, the approximately 70-meter-long rock could have disintegrated and unleashed the energy equivalent of a 4-megaton nuclear bomb, researchers said.

"If it were over a populated area, like Atlanta, it would have basically flattened it," said Gareth Williams, associate director of the International Astronomical Union Minor Planet Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

The rock is considerably smaller than dozens of potential planet killers 1-kilometer in size or larger that lurk in the inner solar system.


Oddly enough, there was another asteroid that also missed earth just a couple months ago...about the same distance, I think. Could this be a new pattern? If so, bend over and kiss your a___ goodbye because sooner or later, one is going to hit us!

Monday, March 18, 2002

Spent most of Sunday looking at houses/property within the city and in the county/rural areas. Nothing spectacular stood out, but we did find a few potentially interesting places. We're still searching, but I doubt we'll ever move; living here for 20 years, it would be very difficult to leave/move!

We're still having beautiful spring weather, but almost TOO warm. I've had to run the air conditioning already, so you can imagine how soon we're going to have summer! I went on my long bike ride this morning, despite the fact I didn't sleep well last night. I drank some coke with the evening meal -- big mistake, as the caffeine kept me awake! I cannot tolerate caffeine that late in the day anymore.

Not much else to report, except I'm still depressed. Don't know why...just a phase, I hope.

Saturday, March 16, 2002

It is warm, warm, warm here today, very springlike with rolling purple clouds and occasional showers. The trees are budding, the flowering shrubs are blooming and it looks like an early spring is in store for Dixie. I love it all, except for the pollen that aggravates my allergies. Already my skin feels itchy, and my eyes burn, water...but I suppose I shouldn't complain.

I haven't been able to tame any of the kittens, although I did sit outside on the porch one night and enticed one to come to the food dish. It was within reach, but I knew if I made a move, it would scamper away. I haven't seen the gray-and-white one again, just the calico and white kitten since they turn up each night about dark to eat from my food dish on the porch. I'd like to take in one of them, since I DO have a vacancy now -- I have five cats, but room for six. However, these kittens are now about 12 weeks old, and with every day that passes without human contact become more feral. And it's is hard to tame a feral kitten; plus, they seem to be fat and healthy and doing well wherever they are staying. Oh well, all I can do is make sure they have plentiful food/water.

I've been going on my bike ride each day, and now have over 200 miles on my bike since I put the speedometer on it. Great! The warmer it gets though, the harder it will be to ride in the morning and I'll have to switch to late afternoons. And the park baseball diamond has been readied for the spring season, so I don't know how much longer I can ride in the park. If I have to though, I can always ride on the streets.

The 12th was my wedding anniversary -- 31 years! Amazing really, considering NO ONE thought DH and I would stay together at all! There's not much to say about it, we didn't celebrate except to eat out.

We decided against the house/acre we looked at last weekend. We had a friend who does carpentry/remodeling to look at the place, and he said it had some serious structural damage which would cost a great deal more than we wanted to put into the place. But we'll keep looking, might run across a place we'd like to have.

I am feeling somewhat depressed. I think the main reason for this is that I haven't been able to read much fiction. I DID finish the sci-fi story I was writing, but still not reading fiction. I believe that fiction was always my drug of choice -- either reading or writing it. In general, I don't like REAL LIFE, no matter how good it is. I have known this since I was in my 20s, and depressed the whole time until I started writing fiction. The escapism is like a drug to me, even though it is a positive drug, not negative. Nevertheless, it has always been my way of dealing with reality -- which I always find less than satisfactory. And this would be true no matter HOW GREAT my life was/ I really suffer when not in a fictional world. The net is also escapism, but not as powerful as fiction. Still, it helps somewhat. I went to the library earlier, got some novels and hope to get back to reading. I found the latest Anne Rice, and she's one of my favorite authors so perhaps I'll find it mesmerizing.

I've always known that I have an addictive personality, in that if not writing/reading, I could seriously be tempted by liquor and/or drugs. I have no idea WHY I'm this way, or why there's so many like myself... However, I think that the majority of people like myself are unaware they hate reality, and don't have a clue why they do drugs or need escapism in some form. In some ways, religions serve the same purpose, but you'd never get the devout to admit this. Just the same, life as a biological human is shitty, there's so much to HATE, so much that is flawed and disgusting -- not just in the natural world, but in human behavior -- that it's a wonder there's not more suicides.

And speaking of suicide, I feel that someday I will kill myself. It's sort of been a lifelong love-affair -- a necessary vision of final escape, oblivion. Not now, of course, but someday when I can no longer tolerate life as it is. I don't think this is in any way an insane idea; rather, it is a rational response to flawed human existence.

Enough for today.

Monday, March 11, 2002

Yesterday DH and I went on our regular Sunday drive, but this time we had quite a few houses/property to look at. We're thinking of renting out our house in the city, and trying to find something affordable within a ten-mile radius of our town.

So the good news is: we found a house and one acre within a couple miles of the city.

The bad news is: it needs a little bit of work.

However, the main attraction to this place is the location -- it is entirely private! There's a house within sight, but at least a quarter mile away beyond a field. And on the other side of the house, just thick woods and no house for at least a mile or more. Although it is only an acre, the house is situated for privacy. The house is smallish, but has a full basement, which is good. The outside is white vinyl, with a good roof, cement front porch and large back deck. Inside, there's only two small bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen, den/living area, a very tiny living-room and/or entryroom and one bathroom. There's not alot of cabinets, and no dishwasher, which would have to be put in (I can't live without a dishwasher!). The windows are older, with storm windows on the outside; those would all need replacing too. Good hardwood floors in all but the kitchen/bath/hall, which would need some tile put down. And outside, some minor drainage problems that could be taken care of with a bit of work/landscaping and tractor. All in all, not too bad -- very promising.

I called the real estate agent, and she said the house/property was a foreclosure -- asking $40,900.00 But she said that she could pass along any offer we wished to make. We're thinking of offering $35,000.00 and maybe negotiating. Even at the asking price though, we could afford to buy this with cash! And the agent said that closing costs on cash deals would be less than $500.00.

We went back and looked at the place again today, and still liked it. We could also keep our house here in town, and rent it out for quite a nice little sum per month. The only thing would deplete our savings somewhat, but we'd still have enough cash if we had any kind of emergency. Of course, this wouldn't entail touching any retirement funds either. So we're undecided, just mulling it over.

I've been sort of depressed for the past few days. For one thing, I'm SO tired of the neighbors on either side of us. One has gotten a barking brat of a dog, and the others just had a baby. Neither of them take care of their property, and this has made me lose interest in further improvements on our house, just wanting to get away from here. But this house would be great rental property.

I don't know what we'll's just sort of a dilemma for me right now.

As for the 'kitten situation' ...well, they are still living next-door underneath the house. The lady (and her brother) who owns the house came by the other day, and we talked. I told her about the kittens under the house, and she said her brother would tell his son and wife, who are living in that house. In the meantime, the kittens (and assorted other cats) eat from the big pan of dry food I keep out on the backporch at all times. The kittens look healthy, and are getting fat...seem to be about 10 weeks old. However, all these cats/kittens are feral, and cannot be touched; they run at the slightest sound, so there's not much I can do for them except keep out plentiful food/water.

And so it goes....

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

I haven't made an entry in a few days, just not had much to report.

Lately DH and I have been thinking of either selling our house and buying another one in town or in the country; or possibly renting this house in town and buying another house somewhere in the country. So I've been browsing real estate ads for our area, and finding a few places we might like to look at this coming weekend.

It's been beautiful weather here, and perfect for biking. I went on the bike ride yesterday and today, early, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Also, we're on our soup/salad diet this week, and I hope I'll drop a few pounds. But won't weigh till the end of the week.

I'm still shopping online for a laptop computer, but can't make up my mind what I want. The Gateway laptop for $899.00 is VERY tempting, but I don't know if I'll buy it or not at this point.

This morning as I was about to leave on my bike ride, I saw three new kittens on my backporch. I always leave out a pan of dry feed for neighborhood cats, and in the past few months, there's been quite a variety of cats eating here. Of course, I don't know which ones belong to people in the neighborhood, with the exception of one next-door, and one behind our am not sure which cats are strays or belong to people. At any rate, the male (un-neutered) cat next-door seems to be the source of the problem; the owners put out dry food (and did LONG before I began putting out some) and many cats have been attracted to their house. Since the owners don't cover their narrow cement-block openings underneath their house, apparently cats have been staying under there during the cold weather (their heating system is under there, and it stays warm). So now one of the females has given birth to kittens -- three that I saw, perhaps more.

This really presents a bad problem, in that the young couple next door just had a preemie baby, and have been staying at the hospital a lot. Therefore, they are probably not aware of the cat situation going on underneath their house. I guess I'll have to tell them, and see if they can sort out the problem -- some of the cats there DO probably belong to people on this street. But people don't neuter/spay these cats, and then don't want to take responsibility for the many kittens.


More dilemmas for me, and I sure hate getting involved in this. But knowing me, and how I love cats, I will probably be smack in the center of what develops. It's depressing really, and I haven't a clue how to proceed.

Enough for today.

Friday, March 01, 2002

Busy, busy, run, run, run today!

I had several errands in town, and got an early start. I first went to the used paperback bookstore, and browsed for some sci-fi novels, a list of authors suggested by some of the scientific sites I've visited. I found three authors/novels, and will try to read/study these for style, form, content of sci-fi, since I'm new to writing in this genre. The only gripe I have with most sci-fi is that it seems too farfetched, set so far into the future that it doesn't interest me. What I'm trying to write is something set in present day America, but weaving in our current science and technology with future hopes/dreams. Plus, the alien slant in my story is about an advanced species; yet, I try to keep it down-to-earth and reasonably believable.

Then I went by the library, had to drop off some books, and ended up getting a few more for research purposes. I am looking into past peculiar and/or unsolved mysteries of the paranormal and/or UFO related stuff. I can use these in my ongoing sci-fi story as the aliens can explain and solve these kinds of mysteries. I brought home a load of books!

I had to stop off and buy some special cat food at a discount store, then on to the grocery store to pick up a few groceries. Next week I'm putting DH and I on a diet of soup and salad. One night soup, the next salad. It'll be interesting to see if we lose weight! Therefore, I didn't have to buy as many groceries as usual.

When I got home, I headed out for the bike ride. Unfortunately, there were workers in the park so I had to ride on the street; but I still got in my usual mileage and a good workout. Much warmer today, but still brisk wind when riding.'s a couple of news article links/exerpts:

Why U.S. Arrival in Georgia Has Moscow Hopping Mad

The routing of Caspian Sea oil has been the central focus of geopolitical maneuvering in the region over the past decade. Russia has spent much of that period trying unsuccessfully to pressure Georgia's president, former Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze, to toe Moscow's line. Moscow helped facilitate the breakaway of Abkhazia from Georgia, in order to weaken the government in Tbilisi. Georgians insist that Russia has also been behind some of the numerous coup- and assassination attempts against Shevardnadze. Certainly Moscow has made no secret of its anxiety over the Georgians' cozy relationship with the U.S. — or of its unhappiness at having to give up longstanding military bases in the former Soviet republic.

A substantial U.S. deployment over Moscow's objections would end the illusion that Russian cooperation against the Taliban would lead to Western endorsement of Moscow's often brutal military campaign in Chechnya. The U.S. military has made clear it has no intention of cooperating with Russian forces against Chechen fighters in the Pankisi. The objective of any mission, officials say, would be to help the Georgian government regain control of an area that had become a haven of criminality and a sanctuary for a small number of al-Qaida operatives.

* * *
As ever, it appears that the U.S. need for oil and the oil-men are possibly involved in this situation. There's always been speculation that oil is behind the whole Afghanistan problem...but I don't know. Just seems very suspicious.

Nixon 'smoking gun' tape released

In other tapes, Nixon talks to aides about planting leftist literature in the apartment of Wallace shooter Arthur Bremer in an effort to link him with anti-war protesters.

* * *
Makes you wonder what the Republicans are up to now, doesn't it?

That's all for today!