Sunday, January 25, 2009

Judged and Found Wanting...

Well, we're back from Naples (yes, Italy) and the household has returned to normal (as normal as it gets around here, anyway) in less than two days. The trip to Italy was iffy right up until 2 or 3 days beforehand, so I never posted about it; then, when the threat of cancellation finally went away, it was coming up too fast for me to do anything but scramble to pack, get mondo important stuff done at work, finish some deadlined writing, take care of dogs, birds, teenager issues, on and on and on.

The Italy Trip - 5 Days in January 2009
A Retrospect from Von's POV

Naples was interesting as far as culture and people, but redundant after Day 2. We got to go to the Naples underground, which was originally tunnels and cisterns built thousands of years ago by the Greeks. Eventually drained because of cholera contamination then filled with debris, the debris was compressed and the tunnels used as hiding places during WWII. The National Museum is filled with ancient wonders, statues carved by masters in times BC that a person can walk right up to and touch. We saw Castle Nuovo and lots of medieval churches. The architecture is just jaw-dropping. I loved the old buildings, but in my opinion the Italians don't appreciate what's right under their noses. They've let the city get overrun with graffiti and people drop trash right on the sidewalks. All their storefronts (the stores are in every building, no matter how old) start with pull down metal doors; the result is a city that looks like its first level is nothing but garages (and again, most are covered with graffiti). The graffiti is literally EVERYwhere, even on churches. It's a shame. They should live in a town with developer housing and that celebrated it's 50th anniversary a couple of years ago. Then perhaps they would look at their stunning, ancient buildings with a new perspective. When I was a teenager in Chicago, a local ordinance was enacted and suddenly you had to be 18 to buy a can of spraypaint, and yes, IDs were checked even by the hardware stores. Something like this would do wonders over there. The food was good but not varied, but the people are pretty danged healthy-- they consume very little fried food or red meat. There's a lesson to be learned in that while in this million-plus person city, we saw only two or three people who could be considered even "chunky." One thing to note: while in Italy, do NOT try Chinese food, even if it is the only place open late on a weeknight, your spouse is ill, it's raining, and you're desperate. I swear to you: it's better to just go hungry.
Back Here on Arizona Soil

It's warming up a bit, no longer in the freezing zone at night. On the good front, before leaving for Italy I was invited to submit to an anthology if I could do it quickly. The Husband ( ) helped me to come up with a fast idea and then I ran with it. The story was done, submitted, and accepted in three weeks. On the many airplane rides I finished the first draft of another story I've been plucking at for quite some time. Once that's edited (which won't take long -- I'm much faster at that) I can turn my attention fully to HIGHBORN. And I'd better, because my agent emailed and says he's going to start submitting it next week. Chop chop to My Ownself now!

And Finally...

On a less happier front, earlier in the month we applied to adopt another special needs Great Dane, a sweet-faced female named Annie. After much emailing back and forth and references and answering questions, I was told it came down to between us and one other family (in Florida). I felt we were the better choice and could give her the extra attention and training she would need, because the other applicant had 8 dogs and 3 kids already. In the end, however, I discovered via Petfinder that Annie has been adopted, and since the rescue organization's last email to me was on January 14th (and I checked in regularly since then), I have to assume Annie went to the other family. Logic tells me this choice was based on distance-- Florida is much closer to the organization than is Arizona, and one of the major dog-related references I gave said he was never contacted. I know that people often shy away from giving bad news, but without an email from the rescue organization, my heart wonders if for some reason we were judged as potential parents and somehow found wanting. :(

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


... would have been six years old today. :(

There is an Indian legend which says when a human dies there is a bridge they must cross to enter into heaven. At the head of that bridge waits every animal that human encountered during their lifetime. The animals, based upon what they know of this person, decide which humans may cross the bridge.... and which are turned away..."  Unknown

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.  You are his life, his love, his leader.  He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.  You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.  -- unknown --

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Women Get Another Chance for Equal Pay... Be Heard by January 8th!

Okay, Ladies and Gentlemen, listen up:

If you are a woman, open your mouth via your keyboard and be heard on the issue of being equally paid for equal work. Do NOT wait. The new session of Congress is ready to listen NOW -- this chance will disappear all too quickly, literally in a matter of a couple of days. If you care about a woman-- a friend, a lover, a wife, a sister, a mother, a daughter, use the link below to SPEAK UP on her behalf. This is a land founded on justice and equality. Let's show our government that we mean to have them enforce those principals.

Go to (the CREDO Action site) and put your name on this petition. It takes literally about 30 seconds. Spread the word. We are intelligent people. We know what is right. We know what is fair. Let's stop putting it off and making excuses and DO SOMETHING TO MAKE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK A REALITY in this great country.

All the wonderful women in the world and in your life, who work so hard each and every day by your side and out of sight, will thank you.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The First of 2009

Yes, the holiday season, work and family matters got me good at the end of 2008. I had a huge party to arrange at work, so that added a bunch to the shopping, wrapping, travel, family stuff, etc. The good news was that the party was a big success, and Christmas around here was also a big success. Some great gifts, including an Alphasmart NEO, which is going to be my way of getting back to undistracted basics in writing when I travel and sometimes when I'm not. I did not finish the novel as planned, so I have lots to do-- 2 stories plus the novel. There was an extension on one story, but the other is due mid-January, and of course, I had promised my agent I'd have HIGHBORN finished by the end of the year. Now, unfortunately, all the great time I had off from work is just about gone. All in all, a good holiday season, although it was capped by sadness at the end.

Nora Peterson
1/31/1917 - 12/30/2008
Rest In Peace

Nora, with Von
Christmas Day, 2008

My cousin (my grandmother's sister's daughter), Nora, passed away peacefully in her sleep sometime during the early morning hours of December 30th. I had hoped she would make it into 2009 and see her 92nd birthday on the 31st, but Fate apparently decreed otherwise. She was a feisty little lady who was victimized terribly by Alzheimer's at the end of her life. It's difficult because there just aren't that many people left in my family, especially on my mother's side. My mother should have lived as long as Nora and the other women in my family, but heavy smoking changed that. Anyway, I'll miss her.

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