Tonsils and Bad Guys

So, the other night, I visited with my Nephew, who just had his tonsils out.

As can be expected, a three year old who doesn’t feel well is a bit cranky.

He informed us that he was going to walk home. (Long, LONG walk that would be!)

He got fussy. He started to cry. He wanted to GO HOME.

So he needed some distraction.

I had been in the area from attending a continuing legal education seminar that day with the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association. I’d forgotten to take my name tag off before I went into the hospital. So I asked him if he remembered what Aunt Addie does at work.

“Catch bad guys,” he said.

“Well,” I told him, “my name tag says ‘Aunt Addie, Bad Guy Locker-Upper.” (Although, I guess, technically, it should be Assistant Bad Guy Locker-Upper, since I’m not the boss.)

His eyes got real big. “OOOOHHHH.”

“I spent today with a bunch of other Bad Guy Locker-Uppers.”

“Why?” (a three-year-old’s favorite word).

“So we can learn new ways to catch bad guys.”

“Why?” (Again).

“Because if someone figures out a new way to catch bad guys, it helps if we tell others how we did it, so that they can go catch bad guy themselves.”

“Ooohhhh.”  He seemed impressed.  And then it was on to something else.

And he was distracted from his fussiness. We talked about his Mater socks. I had brought him a tractor to play with. He ate a popsicle. We talked about his Lego videogame. The nurse told him about a play area at the hospital. He asked for some iced tea. (Yeah, really. I can’t believe how much that kid likes tea.)

He’s a good kid. And he’s doing really well.

Someday, I’ll explain to him that being a prosecutor (or an assistant prosecutor) isn’t just about locking up bad guys. It’s about searching for truth, for what really happened. It’s about protecting the public. It’s about protecting victims. It’s about enforcing criminal laws. It’s about talking to victims. It’s about being ethical in following all the rules and procedures that are required in the justice system. It’s about talking to attorneys and judges and witnesses and going to court and talking to police officers and reviewing reports and writing motions and writing briefs and all kinds of other things.

I’d like him to understand that being a prosecutor isn’t about conviction rates, or trial wins, or notches on a proverbial trial “belt”, or the number of people behind bars; because it’s really not. There’s no way he’s going to get that yet.

And getting him to understand that I’m not the one “catching” them? Well, I’ve tried telling him that the police catch them and I take them to court. That doesn’t seem to be getting through. The idea of me actually trying to physically catch them? Funny, since I’m a clutz. Big time.

That’s a bit much for a three year old. We’ll stick to “catch bad guys” for now. More will come later.

Oh, and the nephew? He’s home now. He’s doing good.

How have we explained other jobs?

Well, he and I once talked about his mommy helping sick people feel better (nurse). We talked about his uncle (Brother) helping people stretch (physical therapist). We talked about Paw-Paw (my father) making food for animals (runs a feed mill and farm supply company).  I’m sure they’d explain more and more about their jobs as he gets older and better able to understand.

How do you explain people’s jobs to a young kid? Got a good one? Leave it in the comments!

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Interesting

The stress level at Chez King is pretty high at the moment. I’m a public employee. That means that no matter what I say about any part of the current budget issues hitting across the country right now, it’s hard to be unemotional or detached. I’ve definitely got a dog in this fight.

Rather than talk about my own personal situation, or about who’s right or who’s wrong or who’s at fault, or any finger pointing, I thought it interesting to point out a set of articles I saw today.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42329275/ns/business-careers/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42343920/ns/business-careers/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42324794/ns/business-careers/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42306729/ns/business-us_business/

Valentine’s Day

I’m not a real fan of Valentine’s Day.

In some ways it’s a nice reminder to stop and smell the roses, so to speak, but at the same time, if one needs a Hallmark-created holiday to remember to tell their loved ones that they are loved, then how strong is that love in the first place?

Tell someone you love them every day.

And remember, please, that there are a lot of people out there who do not have a healthy view of love.

There are people who idealize love, who are destined to end up alone because no real relationship matches up with the image of cupid that Hollywood has created in their mind. While this isn’t healthy, that’s not really what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the people who use love as a weapon, people who use coercion and “love” and affection and pain to get what they want, the ego-centered selfishness that results in domestic violence. If you have to manipulate or hurt someone, or someone has to do these things to you, it’s not love.

My friend Lee Lofland has posted some very scary statistics on his blog with regards to domestic violence. Find them here.

It’s not love if you’re scared. It’s not love if you wait, with bated breath, to determine the mood of your loved one to find out whether you will have a good night or a painful one. It’s not love when someone hits you. It’s not love when someone goes out of their way to isolate you from your friends and family, to make the only option staying. It’s not love when someone controls your every move.

And it’s not love if it leaves red marks, bruises, black eyes, broken bones, stab wounds or bullet holes.

Frustrations

There’s a lot going on right now that has me frustrated.

There’s the personal life frustrations, which aren’t getting blogged about, but create some confusion that I can’t do a lot to fix on my own.

There’s the instability of knowing what trials will go and what will resolve. Despite nine years of doing this job, this is still a frustration with no real solution. Fortunately I’ve worked with some GREAT courtroom managers/bailiffs that help with scheduling snafus. A lot. Thanks, guys.

There’s the frustration of having a short story out on submission for months on end with no response, and no way to know if the story ever got through the spam filter.

There’s the frustration of tripping over boxes of Brother’s stuff in the house because we still haven’t gotten it all organized yet and out of the way.

There’s the frustration of the cat misbehaving just for the sheer fact that it gets my attention.

And the frustration of the new novel not behaving as I try to get the first draft down.

Not to mention all the things I want to get done with the house before spring hits in earnest and yardwork and flowerbeds need serious attention.

So, I’m frustrated right now. On a lot of different fronts, but that’s just the way it goes. There’s really no solution to it, other than just to keep powering on through all of it. Close friends and family members know that I’m stubborn enough to pick a goal and run straight at it like a battering ram. I’m not unwilling to hear better suggestions and implement them, but I don’t give up easily. The human battering ram act gets frustrating, for lack of a better term, after a while. And leaves me with a whale of a headache after slamming my head against the wall over and over again.

That is all.

The Waiting Game

This is the hardest part of submissions. I’d almost forgotten how hard it is.

I have queries out. I have requested materials out. It’s only been a week, and I’m jittery with the need to check my email over and over and over again.

My Blackberry dings for my gmail account, and I’ve got to check. It’s probably spam; someone trying to get me to refinance my house (Not Hardly), buy vinyl siding (which I don’t need), replacement windows (which were new when I bought the house just a year and a half ago), or someone trying to get me to buy Vicodin or Viagra over the internet. (Yeah, I don’t think so.)

There’s a difference with short story submissions. You generally can only send them out to one market at a time. You send it, note your calendar for the date that you sent it, and move on to something else. You might send out a second short story, for a different market, in the meantime, or continue working on a novel.

Novels, on the other hand, are submitted by query letter first, and then the agent/editor will ask for pages if they want to see them. Unless an agent or editor specifies in their submission guidelines that you are not allowed to send out simultaneous submissions (which I would be leery of) you can send to every agent/editor who takes submissions at the same time. I wouldn’t recommend it, but that’s another blog post for another day.

And yet, somehow, it’s worse now that I remember it being before. I’ve gotten better responses to this novel/query letter than I have with any other piece of writing I’ve ever done. I know there’s not a ton out there in the market similar to it (which could be a good thing or a bad thing). Maybe it’s because I have requested material out there that I’m waiting for a response to, as opposed to waiting for responses to query letters, although I’m waiting for some of those, too. I know it takes time for agents to respond. I know that their current clients come first. And that’s as it should be.

Heaven knows, I’ve got to triage my own work at the day job sometimes. I don’t look at every single case assigned to me every single day. That’s impractical. (Though I did a little bit of that as a legal intern, terrified I was going to miss something on a case. That changed with bigger caseloads, bigger cases, and nine years of experience.) There are days that I’m just working through the pile. There are days that I’m in court all day. There are also days that I’m in jury trial, which means that even the writing in the evening is on hold until I have a verdict, get a good meal (since I can’t eat during the day while I’m in trial; adrenaline gives me a jittery stomach) and get a good night’s sleep.

And yet, I’ll see someone who has my query letter blog that they’re reading query letters, or someone with a full or partial post on Twitter that they’re reading manuscripts, and I stare at my email as if an answer is going to magically appear on the screen. And that’s fine. I’ve got no problem with blogging or Twittering agents or editors….I do both, myself.

I know better. But I’m human, too.

And so I stand up here, and say… Hello. My name is Addie. And I’m an Obsessive Email Checker. Again.

I feel like there should be a twelve step group for people like me.

My hiatus

I want to apologize for not posting, and I’ll tell you why.

I really am trying to post more often than I have been but the last month or so has been difficult to do so.

At the end of June, I went to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, with a close friend.

In the beginning of July, I went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, with my parents, my sister and her family, and my brother.

I came back after all of that travel to work insanity, a yard that is still exploding in growth, a family garage sale to prepare for and work, a house in need of the spring cleaning I’d been putting off (hey I’ve only lived in the house a year…I figured I got a little leeway this year!), and the writing fell by the wayside while I was struggling to get everything else done. (Hint…it’s still not all done, but I’m getting closer!)

There are a few reasons you didn’t hear from me with all of the travel and business and etc. Here they are:

1) I’m not gonna post about travel plans before I go. Not only is it not safe, but I’ve done a lot of work on this house. There’s been a lot of painting and cleaning and otherwise sweat equity put in. I would be really upset if something happened to my house while I was gone. I’ve started giving more thought to this. I have a mystery writing conference coming up where I will be appearing on a panel…I’d like to post about it, but I just don’t like advertising that I’m out of town. As soon as I finish making arrangements for the house and the cat, I’ll make the decision on whether or not to post about it.

2) I’ve got a lot of writing making the rounds at the moment. I’m in the pattern right now of waiting on submissions and working on a new project. The point there is that there really hasn’t been a lot of news to report, so you haven’t heard much from me.

3) The day job pays the bills. The writing does not at the moment. When the day job goes insane, the writing must be set aside to deal with the day job. Believe me, I can’t stay away from it for long; I’ll always come back to it. In fact, I’m looking forward to finishing the yardwork this weekend so that I can get more wordcount. There’s also been the issue of figuring out the next step in the plot, and I think I’ve got a direction to go at the moment.

Now that most of that seems to be coming under control, I’m hoping to post more often.

Appetites

So I was at work this morning, working on a research memo for the boss, and all of a sudden, I was starving.

I didn’t want to heat up and eat my lunch at 1030 a.m., and I hadn’t had much breakfast. I thought maybe I would get up and stretch a bit, open a Diet Coke (because my blood-Diet Coke level was low, of course!) and see if getting something to drink would help.

It didn’t. The next thing I knew, I was ready to gnaw off my own arm. Food was rapidly becoming necessary.

I finally gave in and snagged some change out of my drawer and headed to the junk machine. I bought some chips and headed back to my desk.

When I got back to my desk, I took a couple of bites of chips and started typing. I didn’t look up for a while, but the memo got done and put on his desk, and I moved on to another research project fairly quickly. Before I knew it, the lunch hour was gone, and I had about thirteen minutes before my next hearing.

I’ve got a bit of a complex about being early for hearings. If I’m not fifteen minutes early for a hearing, I feel like I’m running late. I changed my shoes (’cause I keep my heels under my desk and I take them off for slip-on Skecher’s Mary Jane style shoes when I’m not in court) and ran for the courtroom (up one whole flight of stairs; it’s really not that far). I had one hearing today, which didn’t take long, and went back to the office to immerse myself in the current projects on my desk.

I left early tonight to visit a scene that is the subject of an upcoming trial, so I spent a couple of hours tromping around in the woods to see the scene, and then came home to mow the yard, do some weeding, play with the cat, spend some time on the phone with family and friends and sit down to write. The rest of the evening has pretty much evaporated.

So now, it’s 1010 p.m., and I just realized that I haven’t had anything to eat since that partial bag of chips at 1030 am. And I could eat, but I’m not starving. I probably won’t eat much tonight because it’s so late, but it amazes me that I was so hungry this morning, and right now I could probably go to bed with nothing and be just fine with that.

Anyone else ever do this?

The Pantyhose Conspiracy

I should have bought stock in pantyhose years ago, or at least bought as many pairs of the good kind as I could afford back when they were sturdier than they are now.

 In my job, I wear suits on an almost daily basis. There are many days that I cannot wear pantsuits. (Don’t ask; just know that I’m not allowed.) This means that I go through a lot of pantyhose. And yes, I do mean literally “go through” pantyhose: I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gotten runs in them right when I don’t have the time to do anything about it, or when I’m in a hurry.

 I’ve tried using lingerie bags in the washing machine. I’ve tried washing them by hand. It really doesn’t matter; they always run. And they always run exactly two days before payday when you don’t have time to get to the store and are down to your last pair. And then you put on the emergency pair that you keep in the back of your desk drawer only to put your hand through the knee on a day that is already spiraling downhill in a hurry.

 I’m beginning to believe that Someone invented pantyhose, like high heels, just to get a good laugh at all of us crazy women who are trying to be “fashionable”. Or they’re getting a good laugh at all of us wrapping our legs in nylon sausage casing before we show them off. Have you ever watched a woman put on pantyhose? We look like absolute fools when we go through all of those gyrations.

 Can you tell I’m having issues today?