Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Thursday, March 24, 2011

    So. Some good news

    Very good news, actually. JALL is one step closer to possibly getting published. It's in the hands of a fantastic agent and her assistant. I'll know more in a few weeks. Let me say that I am honored and still a little in shock.

    I'll leave it at that for now.

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    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Fiction's Up

    and you can find it over at Cezanne's Carrot. I am very pleased with the way they've done the art and layout. Make sure you check out the other contributors as well. Good stuff.

    I have another two weeks, then I'm on break. JALL will get one last front-end polish and then it's going out there into the publishing world to find a happy home, let's hope. I'm shooting the moon. We'll see.

    I am toying with the idea of starting a new blog featuring all my new adventures in nursing school. Any takers?

    Oh! And Big News -- I'll be meeting for the first time a couple of old Blogger friends in August.

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    Monday, June 07, 2010

    A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

    And we have what is sadly becoming a yearly thing; a new post from me.

    First off, I have old fiction published in a new place: Everyday Weirdness. It's a wonderful online journal featuring a new story every day. You can find mine on April 29, 2010, here:

    And "Wing" has also found a home and will be featured in an upcoming issue of Cezanne's Carrot:

    As soon as I know when, I'll pass that on.

    "Just Another Love Letter" is in it's final (I promise!) draft, after undergoing some serious critiquing from all my beloved Beta Readers. I have an entirely new first chapter written for it, and am squishing together the next two, bringing us closer to the Really Good Stuff much faster. I think Sara benefits from having a new mentor right out of the gate, one who does his best to shoo her away from Penemuel. Ah, conflict.

    Nursing school is eating me alive. 'Nuff said. I met with my most critical Beta Reader the other day, and he asked me how I had slept the night before, knowing that he was going to Kung Pao critique my book the next day. I told him this was relaxing; what keeps me awake is the thought of accidentally killing someone.

    That said, I got straight A's this semester. Well, two A's and two A-s, which actually count against my GPA. Fuckers.


    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    Advice. I need it.

    So I was waiting after school to pick up my boyos the other day, and my friend (let's call her Donna) was fuming because her son had just been labeled with ADD. My jaw hit the pavement -- this kid is quiet, well-behaved, etc. I know because he's one of the boyos' best friends and I've had him in my home half a bazillion times. I've seen him in action.

    I told Donna that if her son is ADD, then EVERY boy is ADD.

    About that time, another mom came up. "Oh, they labeled my son last week."


    Oh yes. He has a physiological condition with his eyes that is being treated, has been addressed with the school, and they still labeled him ADD.

    "So have they labeled your sons?" she asked me.

    "Not yet," I answered.

    Then I came home to an email. They want O and me to meet with the teachers and a special ed psychologist concerning one of the boyos tomorrow. Yeah I know, my stomach dropped through my nethers.

    We're not sure what they are going to say yet. We will not stand for an ADD diagnosis. That would make 4 in a class of 24 students, or 4 out of 10 boys. Really?

    I'm not saying he's doing well. Because he's not right now. I suspect dyslexia. Anyway, I'm hoping that is the diagnosis. ADD will not stand.

    Has anyone else dealt with this? Advice?

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    Friday, October 02, 2009

    So I did it.

    I just wrote a book.

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    Monday, August 31, 2009

    Line of Demarcation

    Summer's ready to leave the party. She's said everything she wants to say, and she's tired of listening to everyone else's stories. Sitting at a little bistro table, she's been cool and distant all season, lovely to look at, just lovely, lovely, like spring. But this coolness didn't suit her age after a while. She never gave off any real warmth. The garden stood still, just watching her.

    There's a cool wind that blew in yesterday, right in front of a thunderstorm. Now you can tell summer's preparing to leave. She's clinking the ice in the bottom of her glass, she's looking around to see who might be watching her go. She's dropping solitary yellow leaves from the cherry tree, hints of her intentions. Summer's more aloof, not letting much sun through today, perhaps thinking that no one noticed she was even at the party.

    The air couldn't be stiller. Summer's holding her breath, mulling over what sort of exit to make; whether to stand up at once and stride out leaving a frosty room behind her, or to go slowly, laying a hand on a bare shoulder here and there, touching lightly on her way to the door.

    The light is staying low today, spread out under bushes, a perpetual morning light from a tired summer. She's lovely and cool but I feel her warming, just a little blush. I think she's spotted Autumn, radiant and young, at the door talking to the maître d', checking her watch, waiting for summer to clear her table. I think summer realizes that whatever exit she chooses, it is time to go now.


    Sunday, August 09, 2009


    Isn't that what the cool kids text these days?

    Will be updating as soon as I'm alone again.

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    Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    One Toe at a Time, Casually

    At some ungodly hour: wrong key at first, then correct key missing and scraping the lock at least three times, knob turning, door creaking, tripping over the cat in the dark, stifling a laugh, snorting through fingers, dropping the purse, frantically shushing the dog, a step, another, a shin banged against a table, a sudden lurch into the bathroom (juuuust in time), fumbling down a dark hallway, stepping out of shoes, then panties and skirt, then blouse and bra, sliding back under the covers of blogger again, as if I'd been there all along, snuggled up against you.

    Miss me?


    Sunday, March 15, 2009

    Friday Morning

    By Friday morning I was very tired. Thursday, I'd taken a practical in Microbiology, peering through microscopes, determining the differences between gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, between staphylococcus and streptococcus. A statistics test loomed ahead the following Tuesday. O and I were going out for lunch to toss Big Possibilities back and forth that would involve some considerable lifestyle changes.

    Friday morning I was ready to be done with all of it; the classes, the waiting, the uncertainty. To claw my way out of the amber.

    When I feel like I want to get out of my own skin, I need to remember that I do actually have a body. When the weather is kind, as it was on Friday morning, I go out to the garden. I need the warm sun shining on my straw hat to pour through me to the the soft dirt between my bare toes. I need to sweat and ache.

    So I went out and dug up twelve pounds of volunteer parsnips that had sweetened over the winter. A few were shaped like fine white carrots. The rest were like mandrakes; twisted appendages, swollen tops shaggy with filamentous roots. Products of adverse soil conditions, they warped themselves from pushing through too much resistance. Instead of pouring all their energies into one strong, sure taproot, they had to settle for smaller scattered avenues around harder places.

    Nothing is ever simple in a garden. There is the tightrope chemistry of the soil, the balance of composition and decomposition, the miracle of energy converting into matter. It is never a simple thing, but it is good and beautiful, and if tended well it will satisfy your hunger.

    I carried the parsnips in and washed them off in the sink. My fingers grew stiff under the cold water. I flexed them dried them off and remembered they were mine.

    On my way to lunch, I took the scenic route through our Village neighborhood. To my left was a little pond with an embarrassment of ducks, on the right a horse farm. Just past that was a stubbly field where we had bought our pumpkins the Halloween before. Now it was full of Canadian geese. Over the trees ahead I could make out the tops of mountains I haven't visited in years.

    I picked O up for lunch. We headed for the Irish pub in our old neighborhood, but it had been sold to someone with café ideas. We went instead to a breakfast place across the street where O and a friend often go. I'd never been there, so I tested their skills with the basics – coffee, breakfast burrito – and split an order of stuffed French toast with O.

    We eavesdropped on the old men talking in a booth behind us about emailing their grandchildren, about their blogs, about Korea. O recognized by his shuffle one of the the homeless men who passed by outside. He misses his open shop where he could watch the street all day and interact face to face with customers.

    So we talked about what he wanted to do. The risks involved, steps backward, steps forward. How the boyos would be affected. I urged him to go forward with his plans. I took him by surprise by telling him I knew he wasn't happy where he was at. “As happy,” I amended. He's decided against it for now, this thing he wanted to do. And it seems like the right decision.

    We finished lunch. I took him back to his folks' house, visited briefly with his parents. There are troubles there and I will leave it at that.

    I picked the boyos up from school. My mom called, so I set up the webcam and she talked with her grandsons online. O came in with the mail.

    “There's an envelope here for you,” he said from the other room. I could tell where it was from by his voice.

    It was a big envelope.

    They don't reject you with big envelopes.

    Saturday, February 28, 2009

    It's not BAD news...

    ...but it's not really news at all. Or is it? You decide:

    From email:

    Subject: Ready for Review

    Dear NancyPants,

    Thank you for applying to the The Big State College of Nursing.
    We have finished processing your application. It is now complete
    and ready for the review process.

    In early to mid-March, admission decisions will be mailed for
    Summer 2009 and Spring 2010 entry terms.

    Pins and needles, people! Pins and needles!

    It's time for Rudi's No-Fail Steely Dan Sigil (Thanks, Rudi!)

    Update: My hor(ror)oscope. GA! :

    The enterprising Aries Moon provokes us to take action, but starting
    something new is not so easy today as impulsive Mars forms an annoying
    quincunx with restrictive Saturn. We may feel as if every move we
    attempt to make is blocked by unchangeable circumstances. Talking
    about it won't help, for communicator Mercury semisquares obstinate
    Pluto. Fortunately, the Moon's entry into stubborn Taurus at
    10:32 pm EST gives us the determination we need.

    You may be quite subdued now, even if you are still feeling hopeful
    and enthusiastic. It's just that you might learn something that
    makes you aware of how much additional time and money may be
    required to complete a project. It may be impossible for you to
    see an easy way through this reality check, but rest assured that
    you are facing a temporary obstacle. Unfortunately, no amount of
    hard work will resolve the problem today. The key to success will
    be your dogged persistence.

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    Monday, February 09, 2009

    And now we are...38

    I'm back. And I'm older as of today. You know, as opposed to every other consecutive day I spend on the planet. Even Neil Gaiman's celebrating, isn't that sweet?* If you follow the link to his first blogpost, it will give you an idea of the posts I've spared you these past weeks.

    But I'm happy with JALL's progress overall. It's almost there, and I lived through a critical scene. Not everyone else did though. 'Nuff said.

    I've always felt that 38 would be a special year, the year everything was finally ok, the year that I will have 'arrived' somewhere. I'm not sure where that place is. I'm almost there with the book, I have agent leads, I'm in school taking microbiology and statistics and waiting for nursing school, I have old friends back in my life and the boyos will be receiving awards at school again, on Friday.

    And I have a box of this. Oh, sweet heavens!

    All the while things look dark and gloomy for the planet otherwise. It makes things...interesting.

    Missed 'yall. Oh and if you are interested, I have a..mumblemumbleFacebook page mumblemumble...under my Christian name. Nancy and I don't know each other, got it?

    *Disclaimer...oh, just go look, will ya?

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    Thursday, January 15, 2009


    ...torturing my favorite angels again.

    Close. So very close.

    Back soon. Maybe. I'm not sure about this anymore.

    Art by Somerled.

    *...her rocker.


    Thursday, December 11, 2008


    I meant to get back here sooner, but I'm currently in the land of migraine. It hit last Friday morning (and no, it wasn't a hangover – it would take more than a single Guinness to do that). It gathered force through the day, through my oral presentation on communication challenges facing the modern midwife (you didn't miss much), through grocery shopping, until I went to pick up the boyos from school. They came out of school fighting. They might as well have punched me in the forehead. I told them we had to get home, now. They're used to staying after and playing on the monkey bars. More fighting ensued. We got to one of those parking lot meridians that the suburbs are so fond of and I stopped, absolutely floored with pain. I felt utterly bewildered, and probably looked like Clowncar's buck. I couldn't remember where the car was, or which car I'd taken, or even if I'd taken a car. I had the profound urge to just lie down there. My vision clouded over and I couldn't see in front of me.

    “Take me to the car, Jack. I can't see.” I held out my hand.

    They both stopped fighting. We went quietly to the car. I had to sit in the driver's seat for a few minutes until I could see well enough to drive the half mile home. Why didn't I call someone, ask for help? I wasn't thinking that clearly. I was a horse smelling water and had to get home. Now.

    When I did get home and called O, he couldn't understand what I was saying. He got home quick.

    After a ménage à trois with Prince Vicodin and his other brother Prince Vicodin, I was able to sleep. Sort of.

    I've been treating with ibuprofen since. The rest of the princes keep calling me though.

    But what I really want to write about is coyotes.

    Before Thanksgiving, O was up in the mountains winning at an overnight high-stakes poker game, and I was relaxing by the fire and working on my previously-mentioned oral presentation when my dog Sam wanted out. As I hooked his leash to his harness, his body tensed and his tail stood straight up. I looked out into the shadows cast by the pines and there he was not ten feet away – a coyote at the edge of the porch. Long-legged, about 45 pounds, stock obviously threaded with dog blood. Silent, stiller than the night. Then gone, Sam barking and snapping after him, my hand freshly rope-burned. One leap over the fence and he was a piece of the night again. Not a leaf crackled under his paw.

    I told O about him the next day. Coyotes had already taken down three dogs in the neighborhood, and any number of cats were missing. The foxes are long gone.

    A few nights later, I came into the kitchen and heard Sam barking his head off. O had let Sam out and went for a smoke in the garage. I threw open the sliding glass door and ran to where I saw his white body against the dark ground. The coyote was already jumping the fence, about a quarter acre away.

    My heart was pounding. Sam was fine, if a little hoarse. I grabbed his leash and gave it a pull. He turned and followed me back into the house. I reached with my right hand for the inside door handle and grabbed air. I stopped and looked. The handle was gone. That's when I realized it was in my left hand. I looked down, thinking I'd pulled it out by the screws.

    Here's what I saw:

    O came back in from the garage. I held up the door handle for him.

    As he installed a new handle the next day (those things are a pain in the ass), he grumbled that at least he knew if he were ever trapped under a car, I'd be able to lift it off of him.

    Tuesday, the boyos wanted to go to the park by our house, the one that borders the open space that used to be a bit of a wood before they tore it up for condos that will never be built. There's only a fringe of scraggly willows and cottonwood along a wash at the bottom of the hill now, spared I suppose, for scenery. I sat in the car, not wanting to sit in the cold and snow, and told the boyos to stay on the playground, not to go past the split rail fence into the open space. We noticed the coyote warning signs posted on the lamp post. The boyos went to the edge of the park. Then they turned and ran back to the car.

    “Mommy, come quick! Coyotes! We heard them! They're playing!”

    And they were, several hundred yards away. I got out of the car and watched them – a mama and her two almost-grown pups crossing the open space. Papa lay on the ground, watching from the trees. Their fur was rough and red in the last light, their tails full and bushy. They were having fun, hunting and running and chasing their tails, yipping in those orange-spiral sounds. Absolutely wonderful to watch. A dog barked, and they disappeared into the scraggly trees along the creek, the sad bit of home they have left now.

    What can you do with something so admirable from a distance and so dangerous at close range?

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    Thursday, December 04, 2008

    To Battle!

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    Monday, November 24, 2008


    We're going home for Thanksgiving. First time in three years. It's funny, when you live far from where you came from you feel like a guest in your own family. There are jokes my cousins tell each other in emails that I don't understand. There was a funeral last week that I could not attend. But we're going home.

    Night driving tonight. It'll be a long reach across Nebraska. We each take half the state. I'm loading up my gear for the reach now – I can't make it across without Joni singing about Amelia, I need Nick Cave -- that devilman with his red right hand, Peter Murphy mourning Bela Lugosi, Johnette Napolitano to deal out her 100 games of solitaire. I need to chase cars with Snow Patrol, I need Steely Dan's wheels turnin' round and round. I need 16 Horsepower and Slim Cessna driving north to Cheyenne. It only makes sense that Death Cab for Cutie drives me home from the passenger seat. Elton telling me it's four o'clock in the morning, dammit.

    And coffee. Lots of it.

    (Oh happy day! O just came home with a baby thermos for me!)

    Henderson, Nebraska is a hotel and a truck stop that only exits at night or whenever a bus pulls up. Otherwise it's all wind and dry grass.

    The Mississippi divides the world in half.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.