Sometimes, You Have To Switch Books

Sometimes, when I get bogged down by a book, I have to switch books.  I love Aislinn as much as the next person, but there are times when working on it is akin to sloshing through the swamp…

When this happens, I have to change books.  It happened during the fourth killer chapter of Ritual Dreams.  I considered writing on The Dysfunctional Expansion, but after getting a 100 words into it, I decided that wasn’t what I wanted to write either.

So I started a new book.  A completely new book.  And I’m going to attempt to expand my horizons a bit with the writing… fingers crossed.  The first day, I got 8,000 words wrote on it.  It’s kind of fun and light and dark.

Will it be finished eventually and decent enough to publish?  Beats me, but in just 2 days, I got 14,000 words written.  And I’m enjoying the story line.  I admit I have struggled writing the last four D&R novels, so I feel like this is refreshing to my brain.

And I sent it to my best friend and my editor to read to give me an opinion on it.

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Because They Needed to Damage Their Credibility Some More

I was sent an article the other day regarding the FDA and their approval of an app.  Not just any app, but an app to help prevent pregnancy.  I guess the FDA decided they needed to damage their credibility some more.

The app is based on folklore, which in itself is interesting.  Folklore tells you that if you want to avoid pregnancy, track your body temp and don’t have sex on days when it is high.  This is what the app does, for $80 a year.  You get a cheap oral thermometer that sends data to the app about a woman’s body temp.  Based on how low or high your body temp is it tells you how close you are to ovulating.

For the record, the app makers are being sued because there are a lot of unwanted pregnancies associated with it’s use.  It is being marketed as an all natural form of birth control, but you’d be better off to find a smooth flat rock to shove in your vagina in front of your cervix which would be like an all natural diaphragm.  DO NOT DO THIS!  I’m sure this will lead to infection and probably unwanted pregnancies, so I repeat, do not shove a rock in your vagina and hope it works like a diaphragm.

So why did the FDA approve it for use?  I think simply because the EU did as well.  I am all about the digital age and think that most of the time it has made our lives better.  This is not one of those times.

First off, an app is not going to keep you from getting pregnant, not unless the app inserts a diaphragm or injects you with birth control hormones.  Second, cycle tracking isn’t even a terribly effective way to get pregnant, let alone keep someone from getting pregnant.  Third, science has debunked cycle tracking to prevent pregnancies a number of times.

Did you know that as you sleep your body temperature constantly fluctuates based on where you are in the REM process?  And not sleeping well during the night can raise your body temp just before you wake up?  While sleeping well can lower it just before you wake up?  Also, not everyone has the same body temp as the next person.  My average temp is not 98.6, it’s a little higher at about 99.4.  A bad night’s sleep can make me wake up with what appears to be the start of a fever at 100.3 or so.

Hydration levels also affect your body temp.  So if you have mild dehydration, it can make it appear you are close to ovulation. However, if you are like most people and almost always suffer from mild dehydration, then a day of hydration can create lower body temps the next day… and as a result of the lower body temp because you actually drank enough fluid that wasn’t alcoholic the day before, it can make it appear you are okay to have sex and that ovulation is several days away when in reality you are going to ovulate this afternoon.

So do yourself a favor and do not subscribe to this app unless you have this weird need to know what your body temp is every day.  And it certainly shouldn’t be considered an effective form of birth control, even if the FDA rubber stamped it because they wanted to be like the cool kids in the EU.

Immigrating into the US

The media has us convinced that to get into the US, Mexican citizens pay coyotes (smugglers) to bring them across the border in semi trailers.  This is not exactly accurate.

I had never even heard the word coyote until the last decade or so.  However, I did know a girl when I was in college who had come here as a child and neither her or her parents had papers.  They all eventually got them, but it took a while and she told me about having forged papers for most of her time in school.

They did not run through the desert and then wade across a dry Rio Grande and walk into Texas avoiding border guards in the dead of night.  They crossed the border in Texas to go visit her father’s brother in New Jersey and they just didn’t go back to Texas and cross the border back into Mexico.

In other words, they legally crossed the border from Mexico to the US and didn’t go back home.  As I understand it, if you live in central America or Mexico and you know someone in the US, that’s how you illegally immigrate into the US.  You don’t pay a coyote to smuggle you across as cargo in a semi trailer full of vegetables.  You only pay a coyote to take you across when you don’t know anyone.  Coyotes take you to an area that is populated by other Hispanic immigrants where someone knows how to forge you papers.

Now forged papers aren’t cheap so if you can’t afford them, you get a job somewhere they don’t ask for them and you save up to get them, especially if you have children because your kids will need them to go to school.  If you know someone here already, the fee to get papers is usually cheaper because the business isn’t exclusive, and competition drives down the cost.

Sadly it does mean that you will probably have to consort for a short time with some unsavory characters, but in the larger cities, they aren’t hard to find.

Nowadays most coyotes are also connected to the cartels and the days of truck loads of immigrants packed into semi trailers has decreased significantly because cartels have built drug smuggling tunnels into the US.  It’s safer to move drugs through tunnels than through mules or even through trucks filled with crates of coffee beans.  This means coyotes can also use the drug smuggling tunnels to smuggle people into the US.

A PSA Regarding Your Lady Bits

When I got my depo shot last month, I also got a sheet of paper that I didn’t bother to look at.  Yesterday I cleaned out my purse looking for some cash that I had misplaced inside it.  I found the money had slipped into that folded sheet of paper.  So I pulled both out and decided to read the piece of paper.

My gynecologist has decided to start a campaign to educate his patients about the importance of their lady bits being covered in hair.  After reading it, I realized he was a fighting a battle he couldn’t win, not without help, because the social standard for ladies is to remove as much hair as possible from their lady bits and it’s encouraged by men, which doesn’t help.

However, there was some important information in it and if you are a lady who shaves your lady bits and you have not experienced any of these things, you might be the exception not the rule.  So I decided to share with all my blog readers, male and female to help him in his crusade.

Women who completely shave are more than 100 times more likely to suffer infections of hair follicles that turn into sebaceous cysts that must be surgically opened and the core removed.  These types of cysts are normally referred to plastic surgeons for treatment in order to keep the scarring to a minimum.  Unfortunately health insurance in the US has the right to refuse to pay for the treatment when a plastic surgeon is used because it is considered elective.  Not all gynecologists will treat them since it is a dermatological infection, meaning you may have to see a dermatologist for treatment, however, both of which will require you to expose your downstairs lady bits to doctors other than your gynecologist.  Sebaceous cysts are painful and while they may look like a very large pimple, they do not pop.  Occasionally, they may leak fluid and the fluid has an very intense and extremely unpleasant odor that can make someone self conscious.  There is currently no form of hair removal that will prevent a sebaceous cyst.

On a less psychological position and more physical one, women who remove all the hair from their lady bits are more likely to experience frequent and severe urinary tract infections, vaginal infections, and pelvic inflammatory syndrome.  PID has nearly zero symptoms, but if not treated quickly can cause female sterility.  Frequent urinary tract infections can also have serious side effects such as an increase in the frequency of kidney stones and over time, frequent urinary tract infections may cause damage to the bladder and kidneys.

The hair on our lady bits protects the mucus membranes of our vagina and provides protection for the opening of our urethra.  No matter how careful you are when you wipe after using the lavatory, some detritus is left near the urethra.  On a lady with hair, this detritus is removed by the movement of hair covering the area and taken away from the urethra.

He states that many of his patients say they shave their lady bits because it is more hygienic, but the opposite is actually true.  Hair helps move vaginal secretions away from the vagina and urethra, placing it safely on our clothing.  Without hair, vaginal secretions tend to linger around the opening of the vagina increasing the moisture around the opening and increasing the chance of a yeast infection on the labia and outer ring of the vagina.  And it isn’t just a lady’s own secretions it helps move, contrary to popular opinion, the area around the vagina is prone to collecting dirt, it is a wet lining much like our nose.  Secretions happen when the vagina is trying to remove foreign items from the area, this means that secretions are often filled with things like dead skin cells, anything that may have moved into the vagina on a breeze while changing clothing (forced air and forced heat exposes the vagina to hair, dander from pets if you have any,  pollen, mold spores, and anything else in the air – the basic ingredients of dust), fecal matter, impurities excreted in urine, and while everyone just said in their heads – that’s why you wipe front to back on the fecal matter – some particles will always be left, it collects on clothing and moves towards the vagina, hair plays a part in stopping it from entering the vagina and moving it away from the vagina and urethra.

And men, you are part of the problem.  Semen is considered a foreign object to the vagina and uterus.  Lady bits hair grows the way it does for a reason.  Semen is one of the leading causes of urinary tract infections.  Not only does sexual intercourse actually force bits of dirt and detritus into the urethra (which is why women should always urinate after sexual intercourse), but after completing sexual intercourse, if a condom was not used, as semen leaks from the vagina, hair moves the liquid away from the vagina and urethra.  Without hair, semen can be moved into the urethra by walking or changing positions if lying down, thereby increasing the risk of getting a UTI.

Men tend to like shaved women because they can get to the playground equipment easier (I am of course paraphrasing), however, a woman should not participate in sexual activities if they have a UTI, yeast infection, vaginal infection, or PID, so which is sexier hair or the phrase “We have to wait for me to finish treatment?”…

In other words, the hygiene myth is busted, it is not more hygienic to remove the hair from the Lady Bits.  And it can cause serious health problems, including female sterility and kidney damage.  It ends by saying as female hair removal from a woman’s labia increases, his office is seeing an increase in urinary tract infections, PID that are often not caught until a woman comes in for an annual exam and with new guidelines stating that women should only get an annual exam every two years, more women are going to start experiencing long term side effects from untreated Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.

If a woman does have symptoms of PID, they should immediately call their gynecologist symptoms include pain in the pelvic region, abnormal discharge, abnormal bleeding,, pain when having sex, and low back pain, when it becomes severe a woman may experience a high fever.  These symptoms may be mild or severe or not exist at all.

And while it is called a disease, it is actually a severe infection of the reproductive organs.  I went to school with a girl who ended up spending a few weeks in the hospital due to pelvic inflammatory disease.  She was 17 and the infection was so bad that even IV antibiotics did not clear it up and they had to perform a full hysterectomy.

Just something to think about.

Parental Rights and Baby Rabies

That is a poorly worded title, but I can’t figure out a better one.  I occasionally question the parental rights system we have in place right now.  I don’t think we are.  Women have options, I’m pro-choice so I’m fine with that, but men less so…

In 1995, one of the guys I ran around with was 16 and essentially his life was ruined… He started dating this girl everyone thought was super hot.  He sorta thought he’d hit the jackpot.  What no one knew was that the girl at 16 had baby rabies.  Her older sister had just given birth to a little girl a year earlier and she made the decision she was ready to have one of her own.

Her and my friend start dating and he’s a little unsure about sex, because he had always used condoms in the past, but the girl was on birth control and claimed to be allergic to latex pointing out that meant they couldn’t use condoms… but she was on birth control, so no big deal.  Until she got pregnant.  My friend tried not to be an asshole about it, but he wasn’t interested in having kids at 16.  He goes to one of her appointments with the obstetrician who dons latex gloves and when he points this out, the girl says it’s fine, she isn’t really allergic to latex.

Long story short, they have a kid.  My friend drops out of high school and starts working on his GED so he can work and support the baby.  They broke up after a year because she wanted another baby and he refused to have unprotected sex, because he didn’t trust her to stay on her birth control.

In three years, she has 3 kids and every guy says the same thing, she swore she was on birth control and they couldn’t use condoms because she was allergic to latex.  The guys are stuck paying child support to this woman until the child grows up.  I didn’t stay in contact with her, but she didn’t graduate high school, she dropped out to be a stay at home mom, living on child support.

If a man conned a woman that way, he’d probably go to jail, and the woman would not be forced to pay for that mistake for the rest of the child’s natural life.  But somewhere along the way of trying to stop guys from being dead beat dad’s, they lost some say in the matter.

Here’s the thing, what she did was morally reprehensible, but not illegal.  She is allowed to lie about being on birth control and about being allergic to latex and 16 year old guys do not have vasectomies.  I’ve heard people argue that the guys should have kept it in their pants, but there were hormones involved and she was rip roaring ready to go.  I don’t think even fully formed male brains would have been able to say no if she hadn’t been jail bait… do we really expect teens, who are basically sociopaths to have more self control?

This is where our social expectations go awry.  We expect 16 year old females to be responsible and not want children, but biologically speaking 16 year old females are the prime age for children and the body knows this… it’s why 16 year old females are every bit as likely as 16 year old males to be sexually active.  Baby impulses start during the teen years.  Also from a biological stand point, the teens are the perfect age to start trying to conceive children in a female because they are mostly developed physically, hormones are surging, and they can find out early if they are even capable of reproduction.  It is only our societal expectations that says teens won’t have sex (possibly because they aren’t married), which directly contradicts human biological impulses.  If biology wanted us to stay abstinent into our 20s or 30s, we wouldn’t go through puberty until our 20s or 30s (I am not a fan of abstinence as the only form of birth control because I think trying to curb biological impulse using social mores is fairly difficult).

The point is, a man does not have the option to just ignore the fact he had a child, the courts can put him in prison for it.  However, if a women entraps a man this way, we consider it the guy’s fault and we have the same expectations of the man as we would if he had planned to have a child with his wife and they then got divorced.  And we feel sorry for the woman because the guy abandoned her and his love child.  Why?

One of my friends once told me it was because the woman was stuck with the child for 18 years.  But if she wanted the child in the first place and went to extraordinary lengths to get pregnant, it isn’t really punishment.  And a high school girl with baby rabies is formidable.  She is of an age that encourages her to think and be clever and when she turns her focus to breeding, it greatly reduces the odds of it not happening.  For instance, one of my classmates once told a group of us that every time her and her boyfriend had sex, she would make sure to douche afterwards because someone had told her it would increase the chances she would get pregnant and she did.  She was one of my many classmates that walked across the graduation stage obviously pregnant.

As an adult, I suffer from the same mental block as other adults, I think all teen pregnancies are unplanned.  But looking back, the only ones not planning them were the guys and me…  I think there were maybe a handful of females who were surprised by their pregnancies that were part of my circle.  The rest were ready and willing to start pushing out babies and most were consciously trying to get pregnant for a variety of reasons, and I don’t think any of the reasons were “I love this guy and if we get pregnant he’ll marry me”.  I don’t know where that myth comes from, but most of my friends were more like “oh if I get pregnant by him, we’ll have attractive kids.”  And if you’ve seen the movie Dangerous Minds you’ll remember the scene where Michelle Pfeiffer is arguing with the principal about why her pregnant student has to go to a different school and how it’s ridiculous, but to some degree, that was how it worked.  Once one got pregnant baby rabies spread like wildfire and suddenly there’d be six or seven of them trying to get pregnant and discussing how their kids could grow up together… maybe even get married to each other (which is absolutely insane).

Just something to think about.

Done with July

July has been a strange and disastrous month.  It started with payday which was June 29th.  Amazon pays on the 29th of every month, so I always consider it the check for the next month because I try to pay as many bills as possible out of it.

My debit card strip was demagnetized and then when I put in the request for a new one my old one was automatically deactivated, so when one of my regular monthly debits, tried to go through on my old card, it triggered a security warning…  and locked my account.

Great.  Now I have to wait for my new debit card to arrive in the mail.  I get a letter the other day from my bank and I’m thinking it’s either my new pin number or my card… Nope it is a letter telling me that a new debit card and pin request had been put in on my account and if this wasn’t done by me, I should contact the bank.  Thanks for the head’s up?

Last week, I received a phone call and my phone decided to panic.  The call lasted maybe 45 seconds.  It was Rachel calling to let me know that my business line of credit had been approved for $500,000.  No one on this planet is going to let me have a line of credit for this amount.  I get about 3 of these calls a week.  It’s a scam of course.  The scammers spoof local numbers.  In this case, it was a (573) 777 number.  My pain management clinic is a (573) 777 number which is why I answered it.  After I hung up on Rachel, my phone overheated.  It became warm to the touch.  The screen wouldn’t turn on.  The phone wouldn’t turn off.  And even though the call had been disconnected when my husband called it to try to get the screen to come back up, he got my voicemail without hearing a single ring.

I plug it in and the screen magically comes back on and my phone slowly cools.  I was inside my house when the overheating happened where it was a cool 70 degrees and I was wearing a jacket because I get cold.  I also get hot randomly, there is just not a happy medium in my life – I’m either freezing to death or cooking.  I keep expecting to spontaneously combust.  I text my nephew, he works for Verizon and ask him about it.  He tells me I have to get a new phone.  Ugh.  The damage is related to my phone falling in a toilet 2 years ago so it isn’t covered under the phone’s warranty.  He orders it for me.

Three days ago, I stopped being able to accept phone calls for a period of about a day.  My nephew had called about the phone specs on the order.  My phone seems to get stuck, no matter how many times I hit the disconnect button, it still shows me actively talking to him.  Charging it made it go away, but it was stuck for 6 hours.

I call my doctor.  My gallbladder symptoms suddenly went away.  My father and sister experienced gallbladder death.  You can leave a gallbladder in place if it dies, but it has to be regularly checked.  I called the gastroenterologist first.  He didn’t want to scan it.  He hasn’t wanted to do anything with it.  Not even look at it.  My primary is the one that ordered the tests that were done.  My cousin also experienced gallbladder death, after her gallbladder ruptured.  It caused some problems.  But the problems were caused by the rupture not the gallbladder dying.  With my sudden departure of symptoms I enjoyed a Philly cheesesteak sandwich, a salad, and a steak.  Beef and bread were serious problems when I was having symptoms.  I was basically living on bacon.  I still dropped a clothing size on the bacon diet (I do not recommend it, I’m sure my cholesterol jumped significantly in the last couple of months).

PS: Cutting out bread did not reduce my pain.  I didn’t completely cut it out, but I made a serious dent in my intake of it and it didn’t even reduce my pain a little.

The Strange Case of Douglas Preston

I am a huge fan of the Pendergast series written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  I own the book Relic and have watched the movie several times.  I also own Reliquary and The Cabinet of Curiosities.  I don’t know why I stopped reading the series, but when I started listening to audiobooks on Scribd, I grabbed all three of those to refresh my memory.

They were just as good as I remembered and I am now waiting for A Still Life of Crows to become available to me.  Since I read a lot of bestsellers, Scribd limits how many best selling authors I can listen to in a month, I think.  That’s the only reason I can think of for so many books to be unavailable today but available at a certain date next month.  I am listening to the Women’s Murder Club, the Pendergast Series, and several Dean Koontz books or trying to.  I keep getting stuck waiting for the “available” date. I’ll write about Scribd more in a different post.

Once I finished The Cabinet of Curiosities, Scribd recommended The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston.  It is a non-fiction book written by Douglas Preston.  I read it when it first came out and it documents Douglas Preston’s life in Italy…

The book titled is based on a serial killer that was active between 1968 and 1984 in Florence, Italy.  He killed couples that were having sex in their cars.  The murders are unsolved.  There’s been a lot of talk about how Italian police botched the investigation when it first started and just continued to screw it up.  For starters, they were unwilling to admit they had a serial killer, which is never a good way to go about a murder investigation.  It wasn’t until the late 1970s that they decided the cases were all tied together.

In the late 1990s as Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s books became bestsellers, Preston moved his entire family to Florence, Italy.  Preston said it was a dream come true.  He had always wanted to live in Italy.  The dream didn’t last long.  As Preston and a journalist began to investigate the monster of Florence killings, the Italian police began to investigate Preston and the journalist he was working with.  Eventually, they arrested Douglas Preston (who lived in the US at the time of the last murders and all the murders before then) as an accessory to murder.  The journalist was arrested for murder and accused of being the monster of Florence.

Eventually both men were released, but Preston was told he was not welcome in Italy anymore.  He was told to leave and he’s not even allowed to vacation there now.  Preston and the journalist even had a suspect in the killings and interviewed him.  The police vehemently deny the man could have been involved, which is kind of weird… but Italy has a very long history of botching murder investigations, corruption within the police, and not being very good at dealing with crime as a whole.  Interpol has been investigating the Italian justice system for years because several European countries have filed complaints against the Italian justice system.  In the early 2000s, a German tourist in Italy was mugged and stabbed multiple times by his mugger when he fought back and the Italian police arrested the German tourist for assault.  The German government had to intercede to get the man released from prison.  Just like the US government had to intercede to get Douglas Preston released from jail and Italy.

In 2007 or 2008, profilers with the Federal Bureau of Investigation wrote to the Italian government to say that the suspect identified by Douglas Preston and Mario Sperizi (the Italian investigative journalist that worked on the book with Douglas Preston and his name might be spelled wrong) in The Monster of Florence did indeed fit the profile and was worthy of investigation. The Italian justice department told them to butt out.  Several investigative journalists have made claims that the Florence Police Department and the Italian Justice System have always known who was responsible for the murders, but because he is rich, they won’t do anything to him.  Furthermore, before Mario Sperizi, other Italian journalists who have investigated the monster of Florence case have been put in jail and the Italian police are not above censorship.  Writing about the Italian police is done so at a journalists own risk – the police have been known to force newspapers to pull unfavorable articles, and they have ruined a few journalists’ careers for writing unfavorable articles about them.

Interestingly, Douglas Preston’s experience, actually helped bolster the position of the US when they intervened in the Amanda Knox case (Knox was accused and then convicted of killing her roommate as part of a Satanic sex ritual both Knox and her roommate were exchange students living in Italy at the time).  Knox was eventually acquitted of the crime by the Italian Supreme Court, but most people are still not happy with the verdict.  One day I will write a post on how we will never know what happened in the actual murder, since the Italian Supreme Court found that there was evidence tampering, witness tampering, failure to follow investigative procedure, and several other problems with the investigation into the murder for which Knox and her boyfriend (an Italian who has not been acquitted) were convicted.

Branding & Trademarks in Authorship

Not long ago a romance author trademarked romance novels with the word Cocky in them. Meaning no one else could use cocky in a book title of a romance novel. It has been dubbed Cockygate because she had cease and desist letters sent out to authors who had used it. It did not go as she expected, there was a ton of backlash and she stated she didn’t know why since all she was doing was protecting her brand.

She writes a series with the word Cocky in the title and we all know she was just trying to protect her brand, but trademarking a word is annoying.

So a guy who writes fantasy is now trademarking a cover style: 2 human or human like figures, one holding a weapon, author name at the bottom.

This is only slightly less annoying. And puts several paranormal romance writers in peril of receiving cease and desist letters.

These are the equivalent of me trademarking the word “Dysfunctional” or the word “dream” in a title or a book cover where a woman is in a crosshairs as all the Dysfunctional covers show.

I know branding is important. I also know that people occasionally find me by accident. At least one person has found me while looking for the movie Elysium and another found me by looking for books on Dysfunctional families. In both instances, my books popped up in search results and since it was free they grabbed it to give it a try. Another reader found me when looking for a dream interpretation book and since Tortured and Elysium were free and there were 6 books in the series they decided to give it a try because they liked the covers.

Branding is important. My brand is not a book cover style, it’s not a word in a title although I have found that if I start typing in “Elysium Dreams” into the Amazon search function it does suggest “Hadena James Dreams & Reality” series.

Awesome, still not my brand. Your brand is your core. My brand is dark stories with dark humor. Oh with an eye for history. That’s why I blog about serial killers, unexplained mysteries, and historical events that aren’t all fluffy and nice. Banning authors from using “Dreams” or “Dysfunctional” from their book titles isn’t going to protect my brand, it’s just going to make me look like an asshole who doesn’t understand what a brand is.

For instance I love Lee’s Jeans. I love the fit and the price doesn’t make me hyperventilate. If Lees changed their name I’d still buy their jeans because their name isn’t really their brand. Their brand is well made jeans with crotch room (yes women need this too) that aren’t that expensive. Lee’s are just their name. What people don’t seem to get is that the name is just how we identify the brand to other people it’s not the brand itself.

Jeans, stores, fishing equipment, these are names that should be trademarked because it is how the brand is identified. Books not so much because you have book titles and author names to identify them. And how do we find books? We use the author name more than the title. I don’t search places like Amazon or Scribd by book title unless I absolutely must have the next one in a series, I search by author name. It would annoy me more if I searched for Preston and Child and there were several of them than if their were six books called A Still Life with Crows. Just like I would have to really wonder if I searched for Hadena James and found a book I hadn’t written. Especially if it was named something like Unbelievable Dreams. At that point I’d call a lawyer.

Also if Cocky is your brand, aren’t you limiting yourself? There is a reason I don’t want Dreams and Reality to be my brand. At that point it seems anything else I write would be ignored by my readers because it’s not D&R, it’s not my brand. What if I want a different style cover for the series? What if instead of dreamlike and dark I told Angela with Covered Creatively to give me a cover with a happy clown and a pretty waterfall in the background for a book entitled Phobic Dreams. Unless you are afraid of heights, water, or clowns, that cover wouldn’t fit with the others. And if the “owner” of the Cocky trademark decides to stop writing books with the word Cocky in it (sometimes I have trouble thinking up words to go with Dreams). And eventually when D&R gets boring, I am probably going to write a different serial killer horror novel or series of novels. If Dreams is my brand, I’m not free to write books not in that series. And in my opinion if I did stop writing them but had forced others not to use it, thereby tying it up for decades, that would make me an asshole.

Okie dokie that is all on that subject.

That Age

Sometimes the universe decides to remind me that I have reached the age of practicality.  It does this in sneaky ways as opposed to slapping me in the face with it…  Things I never thought would happen.

For instance, in May I bought clothes hampers with lids.  It may not sound like a big deal but I was terribly excited when they arrived.  And it has cut down some on the dirty sock smell that emanates from the hamper from time to time.

Several of my towels have gone missing.  Possibly sacrificed to the Dryer Monster because I don’t have a lot of towels that aren’t as old as my youngest nephew.  Towels are just something I don’t think to buy.  Towel sets were on my wedding registry, more as a filler than anything, but I got two sets and I love those towels.

This month, when I realized we actually did need towels, I broke down and bought 3 sets.  I’m not exactly a cheapskate, but there are limits on what I will spend on towels, even if it’s a matching set that includes washrags and hand towels.  I found the brand that we had received from our wedding registry and forked over the money for 3 sets.  It was less than $100 so it was okay… a few days later, 6 new towels, 6 new hand towels and 12 new wash rags showed up on my doorstep because I love online shopping… I was excited about their arrival.

I used to get excited about new books, new movies, concert tickets, those sorts of things and now I get excited when I get new hampers and new towels.  Like I said, it isn’t a huge slap in the face, but it is a reminder that I have either reached that age or am getting very close to it.  I mentioned this to a friend this month and she giggled and told me I used to make fun of her for that sort of stuff.  She’s right I did… but she had children young and I think children speeds along “that age”.

Even comparing today to five years ago, I see the difference.  I am more aware of my public appearance, which is why I’m annoyed that I am losing weight, because I’m no longer okay with wearing clothing out in public that looks like I borrowed it from my husband’s closet.  I still wear my ripped jeans, but now I usually put a pair of leggings under them, which takes them from grunge to grunge chic.   and instead of sporting a NIN T-shirt with them, I usually wear a blouse.  I rarely wear T-Shirts anymore which is good because I only have maybe 5 of them.

The change was gradual and I don’t know when it started, but here I am, excited about towels and clothes hampers…

Losing Weight

I have lost a little over 30 pounds since March.  I have dropped a clothing size as a result.  Losing weight is inconvenient.  I don’t know if it affects men the same way as women, but there is a psychological aspect to losing weight…

At first, I didn’t notice it, not really.  My pants were a little loser and then my pants started requiring help staying up.  You know that dream where you are standing in front of a room full of people in your underwear that everyone talks about?  I don’t buy the whole “fear of public speaking” aspect of the dream, I think it was probably had by someone losing weight.

You shouldn’t lose more than 3 or 4 pounds a week or 12-16 pounds a month for health reasons.  The reason I think that dream is about losing weight is because as I lose weight, I have had some incidents of jerking up my pants out in public before they revealed the downstairs lady bits.

This month, I realized that my size 18 jeans have to go.  I have 2 pair left.  They are older pairs of jeans that have been washed a thousand times or so.  I have already bought 3 pairs of size 16 jeans when I realized in June that I couldn’t put it off any longer.  However, over the 4th of July weekend, I wore a pair of my 18s to the store.  As I was walking around I realized two things were happening: my underwear had mostly fallen down into my jeans and my jeans were falling off.

With my metal allergy, I have to be very careful about belts.  The backs of the rivets on my jeans can break me out in a rash, a belt buckle can do the same and they just don’t make belts with plastic buckles.  And I probably wouldn’t wear them if they did because I wouldn’t like the look of the plastic buckle.  (I just gave someone an idea to help them get rich… metal is a common allergy and people with metal allergies usually have to avoid metal in their clothing, plastic belt buckles would be a god send as long as they didn’t look cheap).

So hands firmly grasping my jeans, I rushed my husband through the store because once the jeans start to fall down, it’s hard to stop them.  The store we were at sold jeans and I considered buying a new pair, but I refuse to pay $50 for a pair of jeans.

I mentioned there was a psychological aspect.  I hate to clothes shop.  But clothes aren’t something I can just randomly buy.  My bits don’t measure out evenly.  Every year I buy a two piece bathing suit and new cover ups.  I buy the two piece even though I shouldn’t wear it in public with my poochy belly because one piece swim suits come in two sizes for me: fits my bottom half but the top half is struggling to stay covered or fits my top half, but under the right conditions I will be flashing everyone later because the bottom half is very saggy and ill fitting.

Anyway, because I hate to shop, I’m not a clothes horse.  I don’t have a closet full of clothing.  My shirts have become billowy and hang oddly because they are now the wrong size.  My jeans are falling off when I walk, and my underwear are falling down into my jeans as the day wears on.  This is psychological torture, just FYI.  Because it isn’t comfortable to have your underwear falling off into your jeans or pants as you walk and some clothing shows when that happens and sometimes you flash more butt than you expect with ill fitting underwear.

When you have this problem, you start to think about it, a lot.  Is my shirt long enough in case my underwear falls down since almost all jeans these days are hip huggers or low rider jeans?  Two of the pairs of 16s I bought in May and June are high waisted, but when I bought my 18s years ago, high waisted jeans had been made obsolete because mom jeans weren’t popular.  It usually comes across as an insecurity, but it’s hard to think of anything else when you are worried you are going to be flashing your butt crack to the world because your underwear fell down into your jeans.  And here’s the deal, large billowy shirts aren’t the answer.  They basically look like you don’t know how to buy shirts and since you didn’t get shorter, a billowy shirt isn’t necessarily long enough to cover your butt crack in the event you flash it because your underwear decided to try migrating down.

This means I have three pairs of jeans and one pair of shorts that I don’t have to worry about falling off while I walk.  I have about five shirts that are the correct size, two of them new because I got tired of people asking me why I was wearing a maternity shirt.  I have an upper abdomen paunch which is mostly air.  It’s round like a basketball and hard as a rock.  This seems to be a shape deformity that is genetic.  My father has the same problem although his is significantly worse than mine.  Shirts that are too big actually hang from that upper paunch and they do look like maternity clothing.  I see it in the mirror all the time.  Unfortunately, we haven’t perfected deflating people yet, although I did offer to be a guinea pig for any methods they could think of.

It also means that I need to buy new underwear because I only have three pairs or so that don’t fall off me.  For women, wearing ill fitting clothing is psychological.  We are very aware of it.  Several years ago, my mother lost a large amount of weight and she had the same problem, she didn’t feel comfortable going out in public in her clothing because it didn’t fit right.  I think this is worse for women than for men.  But I could be wrong.

Clothing is dreadfully expensive.  I hate shelling out the money for it.  My husband occasionally comments because I buy LuLaRoe.  But $35 for a blouse is about what I would pay anywhere.  T-shirts I can usually pick up a little cheaper, but not blouses.  Oh and undergarments can be more expensive than shirts.  Places like Walmart and Kmart and Target don’t carry my bra size.  Victoria’s Secret doesn’t either.  Even Lane Bryant doesn’t carry my cup size all the time.  I have had to have them special order them for me, but that gets time consuming (go to the store, get measured twice because the associate doesn’t believe you when you tell them the size, then stand there while they fiddle in their computer to pull up that size in something, then wait a week or two for it to come in, then go to the store to pick it up).  Just dreadful… I swear it’s a form of psychological warfare most of the time.

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