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Lent [Feb. 21st, 2012|06:06 pm]
salamanda
[mood |optimisticoptimistic]
[music |Florence + The Machine "Shake It Out"]

I'm not a particularly religious person but grew up in a religious household. As children, my parents encouraged us to give up something for Lent. Usually, that meant we had to give up sweets and chocolate. It sucked, especially as a teenager, but we got used to it. I've done some variation of giving something up almost every year.

This year, I'm trying something different. Along with giving up soda (I've been much too friendly with Diet Coke as of late), I've decided to write every day. I'm not putting other restrictions or rules on it. I just have to write every day for the next 47 days. I'm cautiously optimistic.

I used to write constantly. Now I'm lucky if I get a personal email out before I fall asleep at night. I'm not sure when I stopped writing but I'm sad about it. I have a gift and I'm not sure why I don't use it. Yes it takes work but I have no problem fitting time in for television or internet surfing. My goal is to use that time to write instead of veg.

We'll see how it goes...
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::inside my head:: [Jul. 19th, 2010|10:49 am]
salamanda
[mood |determineddetermined]

"This is it. This is the week I send the cover letter to the agent. This is it. It *will* happen this week."

I've been saying this all weekend. God I hope I'm right.
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First draft in (and out of) the can [Aug. 3rd, 2009|10:06 am]
salamanda
[Current Location |office]
[mood |hungryhungry]
[music |pandora]

So I saved my first draft a week or so ago and felt pretty confident about it.

Until I tried to sleep that night. My head echoed with the 'what about this?' and 'is that *really* the best way to end that chapter'?

So the first draft isn't done. I've started a file called "addendum" and am working with that.


It's never really going to be done, is it?
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From Salon.com [Jun. 1st, 2009|01:55 pm]
salamanda
Monday, June 1, 2009 09:02 PDT
Where will women go now?

If any good can come of the murder of Dr. George Tiller, one of the very few providers of late-term abortions in the U.S., perhaps it's the opportunity to have a conversation about the reality of termination in the second and third trimesters. Anti-choice activists often cast late-term abortions as the murder of a viable baby at the whim of a woman who doesn't wish to be inconvenienced, carried out by a doctor who looks at her and sees only cartoon dollar signs. They're egged on by relatively mainstream figures like Bill O'Reilly, who declared that Dr. Tiller "destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000." Such misinformation and outright lies about procedures that are in fact rare and only performed when medically necessary are what led anti-choice activists to call Tiller "America's Doctor of Death," and accuse him of running a "murder mill." The reality of what Dr. Tiller did, however -- helping women in absolutely desperate circumstances, when almost no one else would -- is what led one woman who had to terminate a wanted pregnancy because of a terrible late-term diagnosis to call the doctor and staff at his Women's Health Center "our heaven when we were living in hell."

The stories are painfully similar: A couple is thrilled to be expecting a baby, only to see a doctor's face turn grim during a routine ultrasound. Something is terribly wrong. And whatever the specific diagnosis is, the prognosis is essentially the same: If your baby lives, it will suffer constantly and die young.

Susan Hill, President of the National Women's Health Foundation, who knew Dr. Tiller for over two decades and referred girls and women to his clinic, said in a phone interview, "We always sent the really tragic cases to Tiller." Those included women diagnosed with cancer who needed abortions to qualify for chemotherapy, women who learned late in their pregnancies that their wanted babies had fatal illnesses, and rape victims so young they didn't realize they were pregnant for months. "We sent him 11-year-olds, 12-year-olds who were way too far along for anybody [else] to see," said Hill. "11-year-olds don't tell anybody. Sometimes they don't even know they've had a period."

Since the news of Dr. Tiller's murder broke, personal narratives from people who used his services have been appearing around the web. A commenter at the blog Balloon Juice told the story of finding out in the eighth month of his wife's pregnancy that she was carrying conjoined twins. "Conjoined twins alone is not what was so difficult but the way they were joined meant that at best only one child would survive the surgery to separate them and the survivor would more than likely live a brief and painful life filled with surgery and organ transplants." They chose to terminate the much-wanted pregnancy, rather than bring a child into the world only to suffer and die. "The nightmare of our decision and the aftermath was only made bearable by the warmth and compassion of Dr. Tiller and his remarkable staff." A commenter on Metafilter tells a similar story: "My wife and I spent a week in Dr. Tiller's care after we learned our 21 week fetus had a severe defect incompatible with life. The laws in our state prevented us from ending the pregnancy there, and Dr. Tiller was one of maybe three choices in the whole nation at that gestational age." He went on to share his memories of Dr. Tiller. "I remember him firmly stating that he regarded the abortion debate in the US to be about the control of women's sexuality and reproduction. I remember he spent over six hours in one-on-one care with my wife when there was concern she had an infection. We're talking about a physician here. Six hours.... The walls of the clinic reception and waiting room are literally covered with letters from patients thanking him. Some were heartbreaking -- obviously young and/or poorly educated people thanking Dr. Tiller for being there when they had no other options, explaining their family, church, etc. had abandoned them."

Links to older stories are also spreading on social media and blogs. A 2001 article originally published in Glamour relates the experience of Gloria Gonzalez, who learned that the twins she was carrying were gravely ill and threatening her own health. "As a Christian and a married woman who desperately wanted a child, I'd never given much thought to abortion. Like many others, I assumed that only women with unwanted pregnancies had the procedure." Yet after she and her husband consulted with several doctors and their pastor, "We knew what we had to do. Letting the girls die on their own didn't seem like an option, because we believed they were suffering while endangering my own health." The website A Heartbreaking Choice, which compiles stories from women who have chosen to terminate wanted pregnancies, has a section devoted to "Kansas Stories," from women who traveled to Wichita after receiving catastrophic diagnoses too late in their pregnancies to obtain legal abortions in their own states. The stories are painfully similar: A couple is thrilled to be expecting a baby, only to see a doctor's face turn grim during a routine ultrasound. Something is terribly wrong. And whatever the specific diagnosis is, the prognosis is essentially the same: If your baby lives, it will suffer constantly and die young.

The trauma of receiving such a diagnosis is only compounded by the difficulty of obtaining a late-term abortion. Writes one woman, "The reality is that finding a doctor to do this procedure in the late second or third trimester is almost impossible. For me, the reality was that at the most painful time of my life I had to travel out of state, stay in a hotel room and face hostile protesters in order to carry out this most personal of choices." Another writes, "I had to fly to Kansas to have the procedure done. It was a five-day out patient procedure that cost us almost $9,000 after all was said and done. I am hurt and angry at the state of Maryland for taking away my right to allow my daughter to die in peace... I was appalled that Maryland did not have a quality-of-life addendum to the late-term termination law." Susan Hill says enduring the expense and stress of travel is the only option for most women who need late abortions in the U.S. "The restrictions under the Bush administration made it impossible for most states to allow abortions past 16 weeks. All the southern states are restricted tremendously. A few places in New York, if it was medically necessary, could possibly do it, but the paperwork was unbelievable, and there was no time left. That's why they referred people to Tiller. And for that he lost his life. "

Hill last spoke to Dr. Tiller two weeks ago, not long after the Women's Health Center was vandalized, and she asked the 67-year-old why he didn't retire in the face of increasing harassment, after already having been shot in both arms and seen his clinic bombed. "Because I can't leave these women," he told her. "Those are the words I'm always going to remember from him. He just believed that when he left, they wouldn't get any kind of care." Unfortunately, it seems he may have been right. I asked Hill where women who need late-term abortions can go now, and her response was bleak. "There's Warren Hern, out in Boulder, Colorado, but he doesn't go as far as Dr. Tiller went." When it comes to those "really tragic cases," Hill said the harsh truth is, "We don't know where we're going to send them."
― Kate Harding
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HAPPY EASTER [Apr. 12th, 2009|11:13 am]
salamanda
[mood |happyhappy]
[music |Caitlin & Will "Even Now"]

Best Easter commercial ever:

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Vermont legalizes gay marriage with veto override [Apr. 7th, 2009|02:30 pm]
salamanda
[mood |happyhappy]

By DAVE GRAM, Associated Press Writer Dave Gram, Associated Press Writer 1 hr 3 mins ago

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Vermont on Tuesday became the fourth state to legalize gay marriage — and the first to do so with a legislature's vote.

The House recorded a dramatic 100-49 vote, the minimum needed, to override Gov. Jim Douglas' veto. Its vote followed a much easier override vote in the Senate, which rebuffed the Republican governor with a vote of 23-5.

Vermont was the first state to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples and joins Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa in giving gays the right to marry. Their approval of gay marriage came from the courts.

Tuesday morning's legislative action came less than a day after Douglas issued a veto message saying the bill would not improve the lot of gay and lesbian couples because it still would not provide them rights under federal and other states' laws.

Douglas called override "not unexpected." He had called the issue of gay marriage a distraction during a time when economic and budget issues were more important.

"What really disappoints me is that we have spent some time on an issue during which another thousand Vermonters have lost their jobs," the governor said Tuesday. "We need to turn out attention to balancing a budget without raising taxes, growing the economy, putting more people to work."

House Speaker Shap Smith's announcement of the vote brought an outburst of jubilation from some of the hundreds packed into the gallery and the lobby outside the House chamber, despite the speaker's admonishment against such displays.

Among the celebrants in the lobby were former Rep. Robert Dostis, D-Waterbury, and his longtime partner, Chuck Kletecka. Dostis recalled efforts to expand gay rights dating to an anti-discrimination law passed in 1992.

"It's been a very long battle. It's been almost 20 years to get to this point," Dostis said. "I think finally, most people in Vermont understand that we're a couple like any other couple. We're as good and as bad as any other group of people. And now I think we have a chance to prove ourselves here on forward that we're good members of our community."

Dostis said he and Kletecka will celebrate their 25th year together in September.

"Is that a proposal?" Kletecka asked.

"Yeah," Dostis replied. "Twenty-five years together, I think it's time we finally got married."

Craig Bensen, a gay marriage opponent who had lobbied unsuccessfully for a nonbinding referendum on the question, said he was disappointed but believed gay marriage opponents were outspent by supporters by a 20-1 margin.

"The other side had a highly funded, extremely well-oiled machine with all the political leadership except the governor pushing to make this happen," he said. "The fact that it came down to this tight a vote is really astounding."

Also in the crowd was Michael Feiner, a farmer from Roxbury and gay marriage supporter, who took a break from collecting sap for maple syrup-making to come to the Statehouse.

"I'm taking a break to come and basically make sure that I was here to witness history," he said.

The House had initially approved the bill last week with a 95-52 vote. Smith and his leadership team worked through the weekend to try to persuade some legislators to change their minds.

One who did was first-term Rep. Jeff Young, D-St. Albans. He said he continued to be philosophically opposed to gay marriage, but decided that voting with his fellow Democrats would help him be an effective legislator in the future.

"You realize that, you know, it's a poker game in some ways," Young said. "Chips on the table. I'm a freshman. I have no chips. If I ... had 20 years of chips, I probably could play any card I want. I don't have that option."

He added, "It's the way the political game is played."

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
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Psst... [Mar. 2nd, 2009|09:31 am]
salamanda
[mood |scaredscared]
[music |Can't Get Used To Losing You "Andy Williams"]

My bachelors’ degree is in English with a concentration in Writing. That means that I sat through four years of classes discussing literature and its impact on the individual reader and the world at large. There were a few writing classes interspersed. At some point, a professor told me that I had taken enough classes to walk into a large auditorium, wearing a silly cap and gown, to receive a piece of paper that cost a lot of money and said that I knew a lot about English…and Writing. It in no way said I was a writer. I don’t call myself a writer. In fact, I make it a point NOT to call myself a writer. A writer is someone who is passionate about writing and who spends their day hunched over notebooks, typewriters or computers, pouring their soul into words.
I am not that person.
Writing is a fun thing I do when the words in my head won’t stop repeating themselves until I get them down.
I work at a 9 to 5 that keeps me busy and out of trouble.
Every once in a while, an itch sets in and I toss a few words into a journal to scratch it. Then I continue with my day, usually consisting of vegging in front of the TV or reading a cheesetastic book.


At Thanksgiving, my younger brother, Josh, told me that “I know you want to write the great American novel but can’t you write something simple. I know you can write better than this crap.” Then he went on to talk about how we’re going to live off the profits of my books. We laughed about it and moved on.
At Christmas, my older brother, Jamie, asked me if I was supplementing my income by writing. He’s the pragmatist. It’s rather annoying because he cuts to the core of the issue. I should be supplementing my income with writing. Damn his practicality!
On Christmas Eve, someone sent me an email about a story I posted on the internet years ago. She loves it and rereads it every once in awhile and when am I going to write more.
A few weeks into the New Year, while waiting for my food at the local Panera, I saw Jodi Picoult eating with her family a few tables away from me. She’s one of my favorite writers and I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. I geeked out like a fangirl at a convention.

All right, I get it. Some power in the universe is trying to tell me to write. So, I pulled some old files up on my computer.

So…

I guess

What I’m trying to say

Is
.
.
.
.
.

I’m writing a book.


Yeah, it took me seven minutes to actually type those words.

Bookstores are my haven. Books are sacred and I revere a lot of them.

To actually type the words out, or say the words out loud, means it’s real. It’s actually happening.




I think I need to go and lie down with a cold compress and a mint julep. I may have just given myself the vapors.
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Check me out!! [Oct. 13th, 2008|12:44 pm]
salamanda
[Current Location |03755]
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[music |Destiny's Child "Lose My Breath"]

I wasn't dead last:

http://www.racetiming.com/08%20Octoberfest%20Age%20Class.htm
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Pardon me as I step on my soapbox [Sep. 19th, 2008|01:49 pm]
salamanda
[mood |hopefulhopeful]

At least I know I'm not alone in my frustration with our country right now:




P.S. - Yes he is an American; he became a citizen last year.
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Laughter kills the pain [Sep. 15th, 2008|09:11 am]
salamanda
[mood |geekygeeky]
[music |Eric Hutchinson "Rock n Roll"]

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