Some Success for Our Book

I just heard from our publisher that our textbook Medical Terminology Complete has just been adopted by Cabrillo College and its three branches. That’s 800 books per year! Yippee!

The department chair says, "Our instructors are impressed and we have adopted the textbook! The first change in 41 years."

As this comment implies, instructors are notoriously reluctant to change textbooks, so winning over a new school takes a monumental effort.

Book Glee

I like new books more than warm cookies straight from the oven. This past Sunday we picked up the following books from the UUSS bookstore.

Umberto Eco : Baudolino
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child : Riptide and Dance of Death
Kate Jacobs : The Friday Night Knitting Club
Kaya McClaren : On the Divinity of Second Chances
Elizabeth Gilbert : Eat, Pray, Love
E. M. Broner : A Weave of Women
Wally Lamb : She’s Come Undone
Margaret Atwood : The Robber Bride
Mark Haddon : The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Deborah Moggach : Tulip Fever
Earth Works Action : 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Fight the Right

Twelve books, mostly trade paperbacks, for $9.25. I wish I had known earlier how cheap those crazy Unitarian Universalists are selling used books. This gives me another good reason to go to "the Society" services regularly.

Right now I’m finishing up Carl Hiaasen’s Nature Girl. Damn that man writes zany characters! I love them all and I love him. And I have every intention of reading every word he will ever write.

Book Review: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Teenaged vampires? Forbidden young love? You say a movie is coming out? Hand me the book! 
    I devoured Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight in just a few days during brief moments between editing jobs. Having always enjoyed vampire stories (Bram Stoker, Anne Rice), I figured it would be a lark to read this new young adult series that is getting so much attention.
    I wasn’t disappointed. Bella, the 17-year-old protagonist who moves to hated Forks, Washington—one of the rainiest places in North America—becomes infatuated with her new high school’s oddest and most beautiful boy. Edward is angelic, perfect in every way, except that Bella senses he instantly hates her the moment she sits next to him in Biology. Why should he despise her so completely one day, and then be so charming the next, taking her breath away and making her blood pound in her veins?
    Bella is a believable teen with depth and smarts. An awkward new girl in town, 
she has a habit of sublimating her own needs to make others happy. So it’s no surprise that she’ll easily sacrifice herself to save those she loves. This characteristic of teen girls—making decisions far from their own best interests—drives Bella steadily toward a precipice. She falls in love with Edward’s otherworldly beauty, inhuman skills, and sweet-smelling breath—all part of a vampire’s arsenal for tempting and hunting his prey.
    Edward has it all—godlike looks, amazing strength, a fast car—everything except a companion. Perpetually 17, mercurial Edward is powerfully attracted to Bella, despite his vow never to taste human blood. Perhaps it is because hers is the one human mind he cannot read, a mystery left unresolved in Twilight. Paradoxically both impetuous and wise (having lived more than a hundred years), he is tortured by his impossible love for a human girl. How can he protect Bella from his own bloodthirsty desire?
    A run-in with nomadic vampires lacking Edward’s refined sensibilities highlights just how dangerous vampires really are. During a titanic baseball game masked by thunderclaps, a vicious vampire on the hunt takes a fancy to Bella, tasty morsel that she is. The plot speeds toward an exciting confrontation between Bella, Edward, and the sadistic hunter with suspense and tension. Can Edward keep his fragile love out of the jaws of the perfect predator? One turns the pages quickly to find out.
    Meyer’s charming characters and dancing prose enliven the pages of her novel. Her style is clean, forthright, and a pleasure to read. She makes great use of her small-town setting, gloomy Forks, which is one of the few places an incognito bloodsucker can hide among mortals, thanks to the ever-present rainclouds. It is also the place to which sun-loving Bella dooms herself, and where her curiosity ultimately gets her into deadly trouble. I enjoyed Twilight’s skillful pacing, which repeatedly imperils Bella, then saves her, and pushes her and Edward to the brink.
    Although our fascination with vampires is old, the author’s innovations are delightful, surprising, and easy to accept. Of course Bella’s paramour cannot be seen in the sunlight; his alabaster skin glitters like crystal, refracting the light and revealing his vampiric nature.
    With an excellent grasp of the teen’s point of view and love of the macabre, Meyers explores the enduring themes of desire, hunger, faith, and self-sacrifice as essential parts of the humanity we all share. What would we do for our beloveds? Would we give them up to save them?
    Overall, I found Twilight a thoroughly enjoyable young adult novel, well suited for its genre and audience. I’m looking forward to reading Meyer’s sequel, New Moon.

Review by SarabellaE

Book Meme

I’m feeling sleepy and like the best thing to do right now is to go back to bed. I have a lot of work on my plate this week, which is a good thing. But even so, I don’t wanna do it yet.

So, here’s a little book meme for fun.

Directions:

* Grab the nearest book.
* Open the book to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your journal along with these instructions.
* Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

"She could have any man she wanted in Verity, married or not. There are actually some women who won’t allow their husbands to come down to the Hole-in-One on Sunday mornings, as if Janey would look at them twice. She figures love and heartbreak are best suited for teenagers; she’s got enough on her hands with raising Shannon, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t think about the way things used to be."

—Alice Hoffman, Turtle Moon

Ooh! My Book Is Online!

http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/academic/product/0,3110,0135133955,00.html 

Holy moly. It’s real. The release date says 8-1-08. 

My name won’t appear on the front cover, but should be on the title page, I think. Bruce Wingerd is the subject-matter expert with the teaching experience and clout (he is already the author of another med term textbook), so he gets top billing. 

My coauthors are in New York and Florida. I’ve never met any of them in person. I suppose we’ll have to have a conference call and each crack open a bottle of champagne to celebrate. 

Now, the question is, how do we turn this into a stepping stone for more, more, MORE book deals? Hmmmm…

Book from HELL Is DONE!

I finished editing a BOOK FROM HELL today. I’ve been working on it steadily since July, which is a loooong time for this market. I’m soooooooo glad to see the end of it.

Random Thoughts

Life is full. I rarely feel a lot of prose building in me lately. Maybe it’s a kind of writer’s block. Maybe it’s just exhaustion. Many days are about putting one foot in front of the other, addressing the next most pressing thing, staying on top of all the most important ones as best I can.

I’m feeling listy.

  • I freaking love murder mystery shows. Lately, Shetland.
  • We had an awesome, enormous meal out last night in celebration of my Dad’s and Asher’s birthdays.
  • I am so glad that my uncle is healing from his several heart surgeries last November and December. He’s got a pile of unpleasantness still to go through, but he’s happy and alive and happy to be alive!
  • Lucas has started his driver’s ed online course! Together Ian and I drive 2 hours a day to get him to and from his high school. Although I don’t want to rush him into driving if he’s not ready, I really want him to be driving fairly soon.
  • Work has been ridiculously busy lately. I can’t say much about it. It’s tough to be meticulous, thorough, and fast. I get a long weekend soon and I’m really looking forward to it.
  • Even though I read all day for a living, I have been reading for pleasure as much as possible, for escape and fun. I read to wake up–if I am lucky and I get my way. I also read to wind down after work and especially before bed. I usually have many books going at once. Lately, I have adopted audiobooks for when I am commuting or if my eyes are too tired (my eyes do get tired of reading on screens). I have the Libby app for audiobooks; it’s great. It makes audiobooks free! I have Kindle books on my phone, for in-between moments (waiting in line, lunches alone. etc.). I love paper books the best, hardcover or paperback; I must have a physical book in case my phone battery dies! I have a book at Asher’s bedside for our bedtime reading, and two or three on my nightstand. (My favorite novels lately are The Girl on the Train, The Immortalists, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.)

Seattle Musings and A List

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We returned on Sunday from a glorious Thanksgiving holiday in Seattle, Washington. There we were hosted by Mike and Kimmie and got to spend some comfy, quality time with them and other friends we rarely see. This was Asher’s first trip to Seattle, and he fell for it hard, not least because he loves blustery, rainy days and it Seattle obliged us with rain.

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Our journey up, by plane, was kind of hellish, as fog had socked in SeaTac and the pilot flew us round and round above Portland for a while. Then he landed us in Portland, which was good because we were able to buy sandwiches, but then we were out of queue and didn’t actually make it to land in Seattle until 4 p.m. Originally we were supposed to arrive at 8 in the morning. Long long very boring day with not enough food for my hungry boys. The worst part is that it robbed us of a precious day in Seattle.

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HOWEVER, once we were there, our vacation was on! We saw Tony on Tuesday night. And on Wednesday we got to explore Pike Place Market with Kimmie, visiting food stalls for Thanksgiving supplies and kitschy gift shops and comics stores for fun. I ate a duck burrito for the first time.

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Thanksgiving Day was lovely. We cooked and hung out. We made multiple grocery store trips–so much that Mike called it Five Store Turkey. All the side dishes were vegan, and Kimmie made a stuffed seitan dish and a glorious mushroom gravy. Ian roasted root vegetables. Trevor and Sara and their son S came for dinner and Trevor made several delicious desserts. I burned my brussels sprouts because I was so busy relaxing and visiting. My cranberry sauce turned out well, however. A few other friends dropped by near the end of the day.

The kids loved getting to play Mario Kart and we watched Ant Man and Wasp. S took to Asher immediately. It was fun seeing Asher interacting with him and being the bigger kid.

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On Friday, we met up with Trevor, Sara, and S again and made a walking tour of University of Washington. Trevor attended grad school  and also taught there. So he shared some of his experiences and showed us around the campus. Unfortunately, the library and all the buildings were closed for the holiday.

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We also got to go to the MoPop and enjoyed the Marvel exhibit. Asher loved the fantasy collection (Gimli’s axe! Saruman’s staff!) and the horror collection. What is it with the fascination with horror films even though he’s never seen one. (Or has he?)

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Because airfare during Thanksgiving weekend is atrocious, we elected to drive home. Even with car rental, gas, and one night in a hotel, we probably saved $1,000. And after our flight up, the kids weren’t too keen on getting on an airplane again. They weren’t especially keen on driving 13 or so hours home, either, but it is what it is. Honestly, traveling with these guys is really easy now. They were wonderful, even under the worst of circumstances, and I can’t wait to take them back to Seattle.

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We stopped briefly in Portland and visited Brianna and Jasper. Haven’t seen her since summer of 2015.

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I’m so grateful for this trip, for the opportunity to do extraordinary things with my family. Ordinary time is sacred too, of course, but exploring the world together is a privilege.

* I love my friends. They are brilliant, generous, compassionate, kind, forgiving, talented, hard-working, committed, and wise.
* You might not guess it from its name but Monster Manor is the most hospitable and comfortable place in the U.S.
* Seattle has charmed the socks off both my boys. (I couldn’t be happier about this.)
* Lucas really liked U of W!!!! I don’t blame him one bit!
* 5- and 6-year-old boys are TONS of work. I have had no less than three ample opportunities to rediscover this fact. My kids are so EASY now, comparatively.
* Sometimes you can befriend a 16-year-old girl and then see her periodically and again when she’s 36 (approximately) and be wowed all over again, for a thousand more reasons.
* Pike Place Market is the bomb. I wanted lots of stuff for myself; I bought two refrigerator magnets.
* It’s pretty rad to book and pay for a hotel while traveling down the road. And it gives you a good goal.
* Washington and Oregon have WAY more water than we do. California has WAY more people.
* With climate change, I think I should buy a few thousand acres up north–get a jump on future agribusiness.
* We returned to Sacramento at that vivid autumnal peak, when the trees are practically vibrating with their most intense colors, and you wonder if your eyes are seeing some infrared wavelengths you can’t see at any other time of the year. It’s magic. Don’t blink.
* Alice Hoffman is still my fav author. Here on Earth was deliciously dark. I love an unhappy ending.
* I had a tightly, tidily scheduled workweek planned; then today it unraveled, opening ugly unbillable gaps. I always want to ask PMs, “When exactly did you realize your document would be late? And why did you not inform me then?”
* I can hustle like a badass with 13 years of self-employment under her belt: I now have plenty of replacement work.
* Phone, “unbillable” is a word. I want “unkillable” work even less than I want unbillable work.
* Asher believes that Avatar the Last Airbender should be a Thanksgiving tradition the world over. He is probably not wrong.
* It appears that my father will take us to, or pick us up from, the airport at any time: even 3:45 a.m., which is a bloody ungodly hour. Good to know!
* Alaska gave us each a $75 discount on our next flights because of our colossally bad 10-hour day flying to Seattle. Where should we go?
* Kimberly’s mushroom gravy and Mike’s turkey and vegan stuffing are divine.
* It’s possible that my burned Brussels sprouts were partially redeemed by my warmly spiced cranberry sauce. It’s great on bagels, too.
* Ian may be allergic to cats.
* Lucas has been to Seattle twice and has yet to see Mt. Rainier. It was hiding both trips.
* Our dogs are tiny fluffy stupid misbehaving dummies who are naughty and that bodes ill for future trips. I missed them.
* My uncle is making (slow) progress after his third (“The Works”) cardiac surgery. I am thrilled.
* I estimate that Asher and I are on page 4,490 of Percy Jackson Takes Over My Life With Ten Books.

It’s ALIVE

The blog is finally finally finally alive again. I’m delighted to have it functional again and weirdly freaked out and ashamed that I let it languish for so long. A migration error, or some such, at my hosting service broke my blog last year, and for months I thought I’d get around to fixing it. Then I tried but couldn’t fix it, and didn’t have the money to pay to have it fixed. Today I finally called the host again and asked them to help me. I was ready to pay. But this time, the customer service guy just fixed it and told me to have a good day. It is a very good day now.

I have a lot of regret over not capturing all those gorgeous moments over the last year. Some of them are on Facebook. Many many more are not. There’s no real way of recreating that time here. For now, I’m just going to try to remember how to use this thing.

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2017—A Summary

2017—What can I say? In a lot of ways 2017 kicked my ass. I’ve despaired more times than I can count. I’ve also rolled up my sleeves and done more political activism than ever before. I’ve challenged myself in innumerable ways, through work, personal relationships, and parenting. I’ve also thrown up my hands lots of times, had too much booze, gained weight, watched a ton of TV, curled up and licked my wounds. Staying informed and engaged this year has been a matter of taking a daily barrage of gut-punches.

I am frequently exhausted by the mental and physical requirements of my job; it leaves me feeling depleted and out of gas at the end of many days. Nevertheless, and despite the fact that I edit for a living, I embarked on a fun personal challenge to read broader and more challenging categories/genres of books for pleasure. Filling up my mind is always one of my highest priorities, and I’ve stretched into reading fiction and nonfiction about contemporary issues and people who are living lives that are a vastly different from my own. Rock!

I’ve also allowed myself a lot of time to change slowly. I see this as a kind of self-care in a year that by any measure surely required it. Win some, lose some. I barely painted at all, and I miss it every day. I still dream about painting at night. I struggle with finding the perfect cocktail of opportunity, free time, emotional wherewithal to face the complex feelings of ambition/desire/failure/striving/laziness/etc that well up when I approach a canvas. I barely exercise. I barely blog. These are things that have always given me joy or emotional and health benefits, and they have fallen by the wayside. Because I can only exist in this moment, not in all moments at once.

I’ve parented through a few doozies, and advocated for my boys a number of times in assorted settings such as school and health care. I’ve watched my children both maturing beautifully and in sometimes shocking and sudden spurts throughout the year. Learning to let go is a daily lesson, and I believe a quintessential quality of being a parent. As much as I want out of life for myself—and believe me that’s a long and glorious list—I want even more and better for them. But I am not them and they are not me, and ultimately we all walk our own paths. Nevertheless, I often feel like I am not one but three people, because there’s nary a moment when their needs are not at the top of my mind and factored into just about every decision I make. I’ve had to pull back from school activities and volunteering. I have feelings about this, but I’m learning to say no. Saying no can save you. And letting go, in measured increments, with love is the name of this parenting game, from that first Beltane dawn in 2002.

I am blessed to have found meaningful employment in a place I can grow and develop my career. I already said it’s taxing. It’s also truly wonderful to have friends and colleagues again—talented people with passion for what they do and amazingly clever minds solving enormous problems and working from value positions I can respect. My company has a slogan: We make big things possible—in areas that matter for humans and our environment. That I have a part to play, a contribution to make, in projects that will affect our state for the next 50-100 years is somewhat staggering and a source of considerable pride. What’s more, I learn about a dozen new things every day in subjects that were largely previously unknown to me: hydrology, cultural anthropology, historical architecture, air quality, noise and vibration, native California species I’ve never seen before, environmental justice, hazardous materials … the list goes on and on and on. What’s more, I can tell you with great confidence: big infrastructure projects and development are not done cavalierly in California! We live in the best state.

I maintained my freelance business this year, too, working joyfully with Sacramento Magazine monthly and taking on special freelance projects for fun. There’s one project that came to me this year that is very close to my heart because I get to work with two brilliant friends. I’m honored and delighted by this.

This year I’ve proven to myself that I can handle more than I thought. I’ve done a gazillion new things, sometimes clumsily, sometimes with grace. I’m on a board of directors. I’ve worked hard to maintain all my relationships. I try to make contact with three or four people every day. That’s called kin-keeping and I’m a badass at it. My friendships nourish me and fulfill me and I know it’s goofy when I say it on Facebook but I truly love you. I witness your heartaches, your striving. I sit with you when you’re depressed, and I celebrate your accomplishments every day. I am here for you. It’s who I am. Thank you for being in my life. Thank you for loving.

My love, Ian, is my rock and my best friend. We are sometimes gasping for air in the grind of all this work-family stuff, but we’re connected and in it together. He’s my heartbeat, my song. In 2017, we’ve managed to put a new roof on our home and fix it up really nice. It’s water-tight, just right, and the place I love best of all. In. The. Whole. World. And 2018 is going to be grand in a whole bunch of important ways.

My family is good. My parents are well. My brother is doing great. My uncle survived not one but two open heart surgeries in 2017. One cousin had a beautiful baby girl. Another cousin got married to a wonderful woman. My aunt and uncle returned to Sacramento after five years in Geneva. My folks are in my life almost daily, and I feel their love and support as a constant, no matter what.

My Asher is sick. My Lucas has two good friends over tonight, for NYE (ethernet!) gaming. And though Ian and I had the opportunity to spend tonight with shiny friends and loves, cooler (sicker) heads prevailed.

In just about 36 hours we’ll be on a plane all together—Mom, Dad, Jonathan, Ian, the boys and me—heading for Maui where we will celebrate the new year and soak up some rays! Hello, 2018!

Probably all of this should be on my blog instead of here. But it’s down again for an unknown reason. I’ll deal with that later. One thing at a time.

Anyway, I love you. May this coming year be gentler, more peaceful and just, and more connected. May we find our courage and stand together. May we hold close our values and loved ones, extend a hand to a stranger, shine out our brilliance, and let our resilience be our strength. Happy New Year!



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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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