January 9th, 2006

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Family story: Granddad's elbow

My paternal grandfather was a sort of jack-of-all-trades. He worked in the shipyards in City Island, NY, building America's Cup yachts and other wooden wooden sailing boats, but he also did construction work like plumbing installation, putting on small additions, carpentry work, etc. Basically, he would do whatever he could to keep his family fed, especialy during the Depression.

Anyway, during WWII, the shipyards in City Island switched from making yachts to making various vessels needed for the war. I forget which kind they were, but everybody on the island took pride that they're little town (incidentally, part of the Bronx) would be contributing to the war effort. My grandfather was in his early 40s when he started working on the project.

One day there was an accident. My dad's told me the details and I forget exactly, but basically some big heavy thing, like part of a metal ship, came down and crushed my grandfather's elbow. Typical of a Darling, he went home, in excrutiating pain, and had his wife look at it. Finally they called the town doctor, who was aghast and got him to a hospital. There, they took a look at the arm and told him his elbow was crushed and they've have to amputate. My grandfather said, basically, "No way!" How was he supposed to make a living with one arm, especially when all his work was physical labor? He pleaded with the doctors to come up with some other solution. In fact, being a handyman, my grandfather suggested they just do a sort of hinge. And they did; they cleaned out the various bone fragment and joined his upper and lower arm with some kind of metal hinge!

My grandfather kept his arm and went on to work for many more years. He couldn't fully extend the arm because, duh, it was just a hinge, not a real elbow, but he had both hands, which was the important thing.

P.S. I may post more of these stories, like the time my other grandfather's brother chopped up a piano as a favor to his mother.
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Lazy zookeeper

All morning Luckie keeps hopping up on the windowsill next to the birds. She just sits and watches, like it's the best TV show ever. The birds don't seem to care, i.e. they're acting the same as ever, so I'm just letting her do it. Why yell at her for just watching? I know she can't knock the cage over or hurt the birds in any way, so it's a waste of breath to yell, I think.
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It's been about a month since I just crashed out for a nap in the middle of the day, but for whatever reason, that's what I did today. Just did not have any oomph this morning and around 11:30, I just said, "OK, you're working slower than a snail, get thee to bed!" And so I did. Had some strange dreams about my parents and also owning a beautiful gold bracelet. Finally Luckie got it bed with me and woke me up.
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Zzzzzzzzzz continued

I've only had a hangover once I think but today I feel like I have one. Things are just NOT coming together. Meanwhile the guinea pigs seem depressed too. Luckie was very active this morning, playing with her octopus and then watching "Bird TV" for a couple of hours. Cal discovered that the new cage is big enough for hovering and has been practicing that. I don't think today is a hover day for me. But at least I'm still awake!
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Pilot light is back on

I resolved a bunch of work I had on my to do list: called job agency, left voice sample with an ad agency, contacted people about Wraeththu pic book ready to ship, heard from potential new client, proofed a document for Caleb's work did web edits for a few things.

And I just wrote another chapter of my novella. That makes seven chapters. Given what I have left in the story, I think there will be either ten or eleven chapters total. And then I'll be done and can send it on to my betas. Whee!

I still feel groggy but I'm sure to feel better after my workout. Tonight I will probably do another chapter or two, plus watching a movie or maybe address some other tasks on my to do list, although writing has the most appeal. (Duh!)
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Passing the finish line

I finished the novella! About 1/2 of it was things I reused from the original draft of the story, edited, but the other half is new. Its 18,000 words, so only a little novella, but it'll fit well if it does get published with another novella of a similar size, which was what Storm and I have talked about. (She has a work in progress with the same setting and similar feel, which would be the other novella.) I have no clue where this all of a sudden came from, but THANK YOU, unknown forces!

Now if I can move on to write the OTHER stuff dammed up, that'll be truly excellent.


Back at Christmastime when I was up in Massachusetts and got to hang out with dharmagirl, I mentioned how much I would love a copy of the Beastie Boys compilation CD she'd just done, plus maybe a Beastie CD or two. I also told her how much I regretted selling Aerosmith's Pump, an album she gave me for Christmas in 9th grade but which in college I felt somehow embarrassed to own. I loved that thing so much, turns out, that I've been pining for it! Dee said she'd burn some CDs for me and lo and beyond, she did! She sent me Pump, the Beastie compilation, Paul's Boutique, and something called H.I.M. (not sure that is yet, could be metal).

Here's my email to Dee:

Aw, Dee, I got your package today and it totally rocked my day! This is impressive, since I finished writing a novella today, which also rocked, but I swear your package was better. I picked it up from the mail room on the way to work out and when I saw it, I was like, "Yay, I can listen to it RIGHT NOW on my CD walkman!" Looking at what you sent, I knew I had to listen to Pump. You're the one who GAVE me that album originally, as a Christmas present in 9th grade. I had *just* got my first CD player back then and the only CDs I had were Schubert and Bob Dylan my brother-in-law Bruce had given me. Anyway, I worked out to that and it totally, totally rocked! I love how 95% of the lyrics are blatant sexual innuendos. Just TOO funny! (I also LOVE Sir Mix-a-lot, who is the King of Unsubtle.) I got so into it, I think I sweat twice as much as usual. And another bonus, the album is exactly as long as my workout -- 45 minutes. LOL.

Anyway, thanks hugely! I'm going to listen to those CDs over and over all week, I know!

You rock!