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My interests are varied and I'm likely to write anything from funny to poignant to informational, so my blogs are organized by topic. Just choose your favorite topic on the left. I'd love to hear from you in the comments section or go to Contact and email me privately if you like. Thanks for coming by!page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
9/9/2013 9:27:57 AM
When Comfort Becomes Queen
I believe there was a time when I could go through the entire day wearing the same clothes. Now, the minute I walk in the door...
9/9/2013 8:46:11 AM
Always Dreaming Outtake-Mark and Kiki Love
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Thanks for reading! Big kisses!
When you're writing a novel, each scene is supposed to advance the story in some way and/or the reader should learn something she doesn't learn in other scenes. In this case, I realized the couple of bits of information were established elsewhere, so, as much as I love a fun Mark and Kiki scene, this one had to get cut.
(This is unedited, by the way.)
“Ay dio—oh, my Go—madre de--!” Kiki cried out, her brain unable to complete a sentence in either language. The antique bed creaked, the headboard slamming into the wall.
Mark was outdoing himself this time. He was a caveman, driving into her fast and hard. Kissing her, pressing his tongue into her mouth forcefully, possessively.
Of course, Kiki had teased him into this, with the French lace bustier. Lately, he’d been a little too sweet in his lovemaking. She’d wanted to bring out the animal in him again. And she knew he was a sucker for slutty lingerie.
She threw her legs around him and squeezed, grinding her hips into his.
He groaned and his thrusts accelerated, sending waves of pleasure throughout her body.
When she shuddered, he recaptured her mouth for a final kiss as they orgasmed together. He collapsed on top of her, panting into her ear. Kiki felt completely satiated, and pretty proud that she could still elicit such raw sexual desire from her husband. He moved off of her and settled himself on his pillow, facing her.
“Damn,” he said.
“You like the French whores?” Kiki smiled mischievously.
“Obviously, I prefer the Argentinian whores.”
Kiki laughed and whacked him on his upper arm.
“Or maybe,” he smoothed a strand of hair from her face. “I just like you.”
Her heart melted at his worshipful gaze. She knew her husband didn’t look at anyone else in the world the way he looked at her.
Mark didn’t have the open, passionate speech of other people in her life. But over the years, she’d learned to listen closely, and how much he said with the slightest inflection in his voice or a meaningful glance.
He relaxed onto his back. Scooting closer, she put her head on his shoulder.
Her eyes caught on the framed “artwork” on the wall. When Chris was six, he’d painted a picture of himself and Kiki and given it to his mom for mother’s day. They were little more than stick figure, except Kiki had long hair and a red dress, while Chris had given himself a pair of blue shorts, no shirt. It had hung proudly in his parents’ guest room for over twenty years.
Kiki hadn’t been able to bring herself to sleep in the master bedroom. To her, it was still her aunt and uncle’s room. Chris hadn’t been back to Buenos Aires since the funeral. He needed something good to happen in his life. She couldn’t stand to see him sad any longer.
“I have an idea for Chris,” she said.
Mark expelled an exasperated breath. “While I was doing my best to curl your toes, you were thinking about Chris?”
“No, not then. I just saw the picture.” She gestured toward the painting. “Anyway, I think we should take Alejandra’s cousin Carolina to visit him.”
“Has he ever met her?”
“I don’t think so.”
Mark flipped his hands up questioningly and shook his head. “Then why would we do that?”
“Well, she’s fun and low maintenance—you know how he hates it when I take a long time to get ready—and she really wants kids. Oh, and her features are kind of Mexican-looking and that’s what he’s usually attracted to.”
Mark rolled his eyes. “He’s in Southern California, Kiki. There are plenty of actual Mexicans there. We don’t need to bring him an Argentinean who looks like one. Besides, he loves Mexican food and this Carolina girl isn’t going to want to eat it with him.”
Kiki sighed. She hated it when Mark played the logic card. “I’m just worried about him. He doesn’t do anything of his own accord, anymore. I have to make him take me places, or one of his friends has to show up to drag him out to go surfing or to a party. He used to be on the go all the time.
“And remember Marty? He told me Chris has been skipping band practice. Before his parents died, he was the first one there. I think he needs a wife and family to help him think about the future instead of the past.”
“And you want him to have a family for you, too.”
This time when liquid gathered in Kiki’s eyes, she couldn’t contain it. “We made a pact years ago that we’d share our kids like our parents shared us.”
Mark wiped an escaping tear from her cheek with his thumb.
“Okay,” he said. “Here’s the plan. We’re going to keep trying to have our own baby. It’s a sacrifice for me, but I’m willing to do it for you.”
Kiki tried to whack him on his naked stomach, but he intercepted her, wrapping his fingers around her hand and resting it on his chest.
“But if that doesn’t work out, we’ll be the best aunt and uncle ever, babysitting Chris’s kids, taking them to the zoo… Then once you pick out your favorite, we’ll gradually lure the kid over more and more until he or she is ours. Possession is nine-tenths of the law.”
“That sounds more like stealing than sharing,” Kiki pointed out.
“You know my family isn’t good at sharing.”
“Smacks of socialism?”
Mark chuckled, but his smile faded quickly. “You know I’d do anything it took to make you happy, including becoming a socialist, right?”
“I know,” Kiki said. “And that’s why you already do make me happy.” She grabbed the phone. “Now let’s call your parents and tell them about your new political leanings.”
Mark didn’t wrestle her for it. He simply ran his finger up her inner thigh—her favorite erogenous zone—and the receiver dropped from her hand.
“Mmmm…” she moaned.
“Time to make you scream in two languages again.”
“All…ready.” Mark pulled her hand under the sheet so she could feel that he meant business.
9/5/2013 1:15:53 PM
Migraine My Brain
I’d never planned to do health blogs, since medical conditions aren’t funny or romantic or sexy. However, I decided to do this one for two reasons.
First, I’ve had so many questions from wonderful readers who wanted to know when Always Dreaming of You was coming out. And second, now that I’ve finally got a diagnosis and some improvement, I’m learning migraines are very common with people in my situation, so I hope someone is helped by this. In fact, I hope this can help somebody before they get to the point that they are virtually incapacitated like I was.
The progression of this condition was gradual. When I look back, I remember that in my twenties I already had problems being in office buildings. I was glad to take jobs that required me to drive all the time because I felt physically better. I assumed I was feeling ill because I found the office more stressful, not that something specific in the office was making me ill.
My next job had me doing my office work from home, but driving out to cable affiliates to train their customer service reps. I usually left those cable companies with headaches, feeling pretty miserable all over.
After my daughter was born, my teacher-parents and I opened a learning center where kids came for afternoon and evening tutoring. This is when I really started to notice a huge difference between the way I felt in my house or outside and the way I felt inside a commercial building. Once I sat down in my windowless office, I began feeling as if weights were being added to my shoulders and my head. I felt like I was crumpling under pressure or melting like the Wicked Witch of the West. I had headaches all the time.
One day, I was in my office feeling crushed. I walked back to an empty tutoring room with a bank of windows across one wall. The overhead lights were out, the room lit only by natural sunlight. I immediately felt the heaviness lift. A light bulb went on in my head and I began to pay attention to what was around me.
I learned that I felt dramatically worse in florescent lighting, and the longer I was in it, the worse I felt.
Over the next two decades, the condition worsened. I closed the learning center. Eventually I had to quit teaching the English as a Second Language classes I enjoyed at the local college because I couldn’t make it through three hours of florescent lights. Neurologists explained I was having this reaction because florescent light is actually flickering. Most people’s brains can block out this effect, but mine had become hypersensitive for some reason. This made sense. I’d found that I was reacting badly to any lights that flickered or flashed.
But, at some point, I also became sensitive to vibrations and various sounds. The hums of the refrigeration units in the grocery store combined with the florescent lighting were unbearable.
Instead of mere headaches, I began getting debilitating migraines. I was publishing books by this time, but it got harder to work. I couldn’t look into a computer screen because the light flickers, so my husband got me a Neo word processor and ran my computer through a projector.
That worked for a while, but I grew worse until the flipping from one page to another on the Internet and scrolling of any kind was giving me motion sickness symptoms such as nausea and the sensation that my brain was swirling slowly around in my head. It was similar to when you just get off a wild ride at a theme park. If I kept up the activity, I would get a migraine.
Unfortunately, it was often hard to tell just how long I could go before I reached the point of no return. I often managed to work thirty minutes to two hours, then had to spend the rest of the day in a dark room.
Meanwhile, I had several doctors, two of them neurologists. They did an MRI, an EEG, a nerve test. All they could say was that I had “white matter” on my brain, which is common for people who suffer from migraines, but not the cause of the migraines.
I also had a natural doctor who had helped my husband and my daughter with their long-term health issues virtually overnight. He’d helped my fibromyalgia and other problems, but this migraine situation had just gotten worse.
At this point, I couldn’t do much. The motion of walking around the house doing housework was even making me ill and car vibrations instantly threw me into pre-migraine mode. But where would I go anyway? I realized nearly every place has either florescent lights or humming refrigeration units (and sometimes the industrial AC humming got to me).
I couldn’t focus enough to write most days, but I could still think to some extent, and I was thinking I did not want to live this way for another twenty to forty years.
Then, one day, I was with my natural doctor and I mentioned how much my jaw was hurting from TMJ. He looked into my mouth and saw that my bruxing (teeth grinding) problem was so severe, I’d built up excess bone in my gums. He told me the muscles in my cheeks were tight as drums and felt like they’d been working out at the gym every night.
He said, “I don’t think you’re going to feel any better until you get this worked out.”
I called my dentist and she immediately knew a specialist. I’m not sure why she never told me before that my sensitivities could be caused by TMJ or why she didn’t mention how severely the grinding was deforming my mouth. (It turned out there was a lot more screwed up than just excess bone.) For that matter, I’m not sure why the headache specialist I saw didn’t even ask about this on his multi-page new patient questionnaire.
I went to a myofascial pain specialist who made me a very expensive night guard. He told me it’s extremely common for people with my TMJ issues to develop migraines. Apparently, night after night when I was grinding, my jaw was sending pain messages straight up the nerve to my brain, which eventually became oversensitive (or something).
For the first few weeks, I didn’t think wearing the guard would help at all, but over the past several months, I’ve been able to work more and more—usually 5-12 hours per day. I can also ride in the car for a while without feeling bad.
At this point, I’m still hyper-sensitive to a lot of things and sometimes have to stop what I’m doing or get the hell out of a loud humming building. But I’m recuperating from these incidents faster and I’m hopeful that this condition will continue to rollback.While I don’t live a completely normal life, I do feel like I have a life again, and that’s huge for me.
I hope if anyone reading this is headed in the same direction, you don’t put off getting treatment. As women, we tend to worry about others before ourselves and feel guilty about spending money. However, if I had known the cause sooner and treated it, I would have earned much more money by not having to quit all my jobs, and Always Dreaming of You would have been out long ago, along with several other books I’ve had in the works for a while.
Even more importantly, I wouldn’t have missed out on (or been medicated during) so many important and fun things with my daughter the last couple of years she was living in my house.
Since I got this diagnoses, I’ve met several other people who have TMJ/bruxing induced migraines, as well as one who became extremely sensitive to florescent lighting, like I did.
To all of you who sent me emails telling me you loved my books, I want to say that you have my deepest appreciation, whether I was able to answer your message or not. You inspired me, not only to keep writing as best I could, but also to keep searching until I had an answer.
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