Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Migraine Day

It's been awhile since I've used one of these, but I knew my day would come sooner or later. Have a great day everyone, and I'll be back tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy a couple pictures from my trip home.

First is the awesome fire my 13-year old nephew built.

And this is a shot from the plane on the way home.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Disaster Preparedness

"Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?"

We watched Bad Boys with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence on Saturday night, and the theme song has been stuck in my head ever since. Especially the "Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?" part.

Growing up in small-town Michigan, we had tornado drills at school. We'd file into the hallway with our heaviest book, then crouch along the walls, heads tucked against our chests, and hold the book over the back of our necks. Despite our readiness, a tornado never hit. I only remember going into our basement of our house once, and I think that was more to humor me than to escape impending doom.

When I worked at the Jewish Community Center in Chicago, we had fire drills and bomb drills. Both worked about the same, but there's something about the possibility of an EXPLOSIVE DEVICE in the building where you spent 8-10 hours a day that was more than a little unsettling. At least the firemen were cute.

(Side note: My boss and I shared an office on the second floor and discovered what looked like a small bullet hole in one of the windows. That was scary.)

Mexico has brought a new set of dangers. (Understatement of the year.) The most obvious is earthquakes, and I experienced my very first temblor within a month of moving here. Since then I've grown accustomed to the strange vibrations that rattle the building, and the only real adjustment I've made is I try to make sure I have outdoor-appropriate clothing on my nightstand when I got to bed. I doubt I'll have much time to get dressed, but I'd hate to think I'd be stuck outside in my skivvies.

Then there's the danger that I never in my life thought I'd have to plan for: gunmen. Now, before everyone freaks out, so far we've been lucky and any threats have been mostly in our heads, but given the level of violence in our neck of the woods, it'd be stupid not to have a plan.

We have a metal security door that is locked at all times, and my computer (and therefore where I sit most of the day) is off to the side. When the main door is open, it shields me from the open doorway. 98% of the time I hear anyone who comes up the stairs, and even if I don't and they catch me off guard, I never stand up and go to the door -- I just peek around the edge of the door enough to see who it is. If anyone were to show up with a gun, my plan is to move further inside the house and press myself up against the concrete wall. Because of the way everything is positioned, it'd be tricky to get a shot at me if I were standing there.

This may sound a bit dramatic, but when people are getting kidnapped at a rate of one per week, I think it'd be stupid NOT to have some sort of plan.

So, do you and your family have an emergency plan? If not, why?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Seven o'Clock and All is Well!

After our overly exciting Thursday evening, the weekend was rather uneventful. Typically I wouldn't bother writing a blog post about that, but I know a lot of you were concerned (or still are concerned) and I wanted to reassure you. Sure, there were more killings and mutilations and all that fun stuff, but things in the Avila household were business as usual.

One thing I keep forgetting to give you an update on is my toe. (Adam, please control yourself.) I had a "procedure" done my first week back from the states where a portion of my toenail and some infected tissue were removed. I've had to wear a bandage ever since -- and let me just tell you how fun that is with a puppy.

My latest appointment was this past Friday and the doctor didn't have much to say about it, just that I'm to return in three more weeks. The biggest hassle is because I'm only supposed to change the bandage once a day, I have to encase my foot in a plastic bag if I shower more than once. This time of year I typically shower three times a day, so let's just say while things in the Avila household may be business as usual, they are a little more ripe.


Anyway, things are fine, I'm writing over 500 words per day (give or take) and I'm almost to the climactic scenes of my story.

Anything exciting happen over the weekend? Did you SEE the adorable picture of Owen crying? *sigh*

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Roo Roo Roo

That is the sound Owen makes when he's excited, frustrated, happy, hungry, playful, and sad. This is him "roo-ing" right after Ibis left to go to the store.

He howls at the door, then turns around to face me and howls some more to make sure I know Ibis left. I imagine his cries are something like "HE'S GONE! HE'S GONE! (look back and forth) DID YOU KNOW HE'S GONE?" It's so pitiful but I try to ignore him so the behavior isn't reinforced. But he's so cute and gets all snuggly afterwards.

This was a couple minutes later. He'd stopped crying and just looked super-duper-wooper sad instead.

I keep waiting for the cuteness to wear off, but I could stare at him all day long -- some days it feels like that's all I do. I can't tell you how many times one of us will say "look at him!" because he's doing something adorable, like rolling over, rubbing his face, twitching his ears... you get the idea.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What Happened to the Green Zone?


Shots echoed off the concrete walls surrounding the gas station. People scrambled for cover—scrawny teenagers pulling older men alongside them—their heads ducked low, their eyes frantic.

Were they fireworks, or gunshots?

Either would be bad in a gas station, but only one caused people to run like that.

Several cars peeled out of the parking lot, desperate to get away. People cowered behind anything solid they could find—parked cars, electrical transformers, gas pumps. The gas pumps didn't seem like such a good idea.

And the shots continued.


Barely a heartbeat passed before three police trucks flew around the corner, lights flashing, guns drawn. The policemen had already pulled down their masks—no one would be able to identify them unless they were left behind.

And still the people ran.


We weren't exactly keeping count, but Ibis and I guessed there were at least 50 shots before the police arrived. We didn't make the light, and in the minute it took for the lights to cycle, the shots continued. The women stationed in the intersection seemed torn between washing another windshield for a couple pesos and diving for cover.

We just sunk as low as we could in our seats.

A couple miles away, after the checkpoint at the river that marks the border between the two states -— leaving Michoacan and entering Guerrero -- two more police trucks roared towards us.

The attack had already made the news by the time we got home an hour later. Apparently there was a shooting an hour earlier when the police tried to arrest people at a safehouse and were shot at from men inside the house.

An hour later, "the federal police men were ambushed by about 10 subjects, who opened fire with out warning against a the federal police convoy composed by three official trucks." The same three trucks we saw. Three people died in the first shooting, but fortunately no one was killed in the second.

I keep joking that the violence is following me, but this is no joke.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

And Just Like That...

When will I learn? Every time I complain to you all that I can't seem to get the words out, it's like I tripped a switch and they come gushing out. Yesterday wasn't exactly waterworks, but a steady stream flowed and I wrote 1000+ words in a couple hours. That's leaps and bounds above what I've been doing.

And just in time. We got a call yesterday that my sister-in-law (the mother of the 4yo nephew) had her baby on Monday, so today we're driving back to Lazaro to see her. Over the weekend she told us she was due in mid-November, but now we're also told she wasn't premature, so I'm thinking my SIL wasn't too clear on the details. I'm also curious about the name since as of Sunday she said she hadn't even thought about names.

(Side note: How is that even possible?)

Her son has the same name as my brother, so we're thinking about bribing her to name the new baby after my sister. My mom has a pair of cousins with the same names, and I think it'd be fun to carry on the tradition!

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Slow Start

I've been in a bit of a writing funk for the past month. My edits on the first portion of After the Fall went well and I left for my trip excited to write the ending, but when I got home, writing was the last thing I wanted to do. Lucky for me I had plenty to help me procrastinate, but at some point last week I knew I needed to buckle down.

It went slowly at first, but then I wrote a flash piece and my writing gears loosened up. Not much, but enough to get things going again. I wrote an average of 400-500 words per day -- good, but not what I want. Then Saturday, while a hyperactive puppy and equally excited four-year old nephew swirled around me, I knocked out 500 words in under an hour. Then Ibis took them both to the beach and I decided it was now or never. I cranked out 1500 words over the course of the afternoon, then yesterday I finished that chapter. Phew!

Last night I even managed to start the next chapter, so today's session should hopefully start more smoothly.

I also submitted a short story to another publication -- something I've been doing steadily but let slide when I planned my trip. Hopefully I can keep it up.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

To Answer My Questions

In the space of half an hour yesterday I had three questions answered.

Question #1: Is my current wip women's fiction?

Answer, courtesy of Jessica Foust at Bookends:
"One of the reason women’s fiction is so hard to define is because the definition is so simple, and so broad. Women’s fiction is fiction that appeals to women. In my mind that means the protagonist could be man, woman, child or even dog. I also think women’s fiction tends to have a greater level of emotion than some other books. It’s a book that tugs on the heartstrings, so to speak. I know, I know, a lot of books that wouldn’t be defined as women’s fiction could fit that definition as well, but a lot of books that would never be called romance also have romance in them."

Question #2: What exactly IS showing vs. telling? (too many posts to link)

Answer, courtesy of Nathan Bransford:
"My interpretation is this...: universal emotions should not be "told." Instead, we should be shown how the character is reacting to their feelings.

"...emotions are universal: we all feel sad, angry, happy, emotional, etc. etc. But how we react to those emotions are completely and infinitely different. That's what we find interesting.

"This also applies to:
- Descriptions - It's not interesting to merely hear that someone is "pretty" - what characteristics make them pretty?
- Characterizing relationships - Not interesting to only hear that two people are "close". How are they close? What do they do together?"

His entire post is well worth reading, but those are the bits that most resonated with me.

Question #3: What the heck are my neighbors building?"

Answer: They appear to be closets. Go figure. (A man was actually pummeling the brick with a sledgehammer while I took the picture -- you can sort of make him out in the opening.)

Thoughts? Do you show or tell? Write about dogs and their feelings? Have you added three feet of depth to your house for a couple closets?

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Glimpse at the Future

A lot of my writing friends have children but not all of them make time for their writing in the same ways. Some religiously write while their kids are at school, others get up early or stay up late (either way they sacrifice sleep), and those with small children squeeze it in wherever they can.

I've often wondered what kind of writer/parent I'll be, and this weekend I got a preview. We picked up our nephew Friday afternoon and Saturday I was determined to work on my latest chapter, so I opened my document and wrote a sentence here and there. I stayed close enough to it that I'd think about the next line while supervising my nephew while he played with Owen, then sit back down and write another paragraph.

It's certainly not the fastest method in the world, but I was happy to discover that I can be productive this way. I've gotten so spoiled with my non-existent schedule that I've wondered how I'll function when I go back to the real world.

I also figured out another trick: knock them all out.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Life Is Hard

That's what we say whenever we notice Owen sleeping. As I'm sure most puppies do, when he first wakes up, he lifts his head, looks around the room, maaaaybe starts to get up, then he collapses in a heap on the floor. If he was in his bed and started to climb out, he often gives up halfway out. Or he inches himself out bit by bit over the course of half an hour until he's half in/half out of his bed. Yes, we ooh and ahh every time.

This was after a bath. I put the towel on the floor for him to snuggle with, he dragged part of it into his bed, then eventually worked his way back out again.

Hanging out with "papa".

He'd been asleep for at least an hour before we noticed his ears were flipped over. Trying to hear us talking about him, perhaps?

Finally, he LOVES his toys. I keep moving them out of his way so he can sleep, but he chooses to sleep on top of them. During the day he'll stick his head in and grab one, then another, then another toy to play with. At least he appreciates them!

Can you believe how big he's gotten? Compared to the first pictures I posted of him in his bed, he looks like a giant!

Friday, September 18, 2009

More Online Friends

Midway through my visit home I got together with three other writers from Absolute Write. I've gotten to know Rachel through Facebook and our blogs, but Haggis I only knew through AW (we both love the Red Wings), and I'd never "met" Bubastes. That didn't stop us from gathering in Plymouth, Michigan for a night of half-price wine and senior line dancing.

(If you're wondering about the cat and dog, Bubastes (the cat) and Haggis (the Chihuahua) don't want their faces revealed. Rachel and I know their secret identities! Bwahahahaha!)

It was a little tricky meeting people that I'd never even seen a picture of, but Haggis had given us a fairly good description, and since I got there first I had the easiest part -- I just waited for them to show up at the table. We laughed and swapped stories for several hours, then sadly the Chihuahua had to go out for a potty break and left first.

Us girls (my cousin Jenna was with us, too) kept talking long after our waiter cashed out for the night, so someone finally suggested moving to the bar area where there were still people and, presumably, refreshments.

I peeked around the corner and reported what I'd seen. "There are a bunch of old people line dancing."

I wasn't kidding. No offense to any of my elderly readers -- and these people were boogying so you really shouldn't take offense -- but they had the bouffant hairdo's kicking and were shaking their booties HARD, especially for a Wednesday night!

We should have known better than to think a group of thirty-something women could stroll through there without drawing attention to ourselves. We'd no sooner sat down than the first tipsy retiree saddled up to the table. "How're you ladies doing tonight?" We giggled him away, but they kept on coming, some more persistent than others.

We didn't dare mention that we'd all just met each other, so Rachel told one wrinkled gentleman that we hadn't seen each other in a long time and we only had a short time to catch up. Then we all dropped our left hands on the table to display our wedding bands.

The best line of the night -- or at least I THINK it was a line -- came from a younger man (although still 10-15 years older than us) who said "you're too pretty for all of you to have boyfriends." I'll have to remember to use that in my next romantic comedy.

We stayed until after midnight, raised a toast to Haggis who left way too soon, and walked away three friends richer.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Feel Like Pinnochio

I keep meaning to tell you all a little about my trip, but wouldn't you know it -- things are actually happening in my life that are worthy of talking about. Or at least I hope they are.

My first day in Chicago I met my very first online friend -- Amy Nathan! She's already posted a recap of our meeting (along with pictures -- check it out because I didn't post the same ones she did) but I thought I'd give my take as well.

Prior to August 2007, I'd never talked to someone I didn't know online, so it's still a little strange to me that I have friends that I've never met in real life -- some of whom I'm closer with than the people I've shared oxygen with. When Amy found out I was coming to Chicago, she suggested we meet. After a lot of back and forth, we settled on meeting at the Bean.

Here's me waiting for her.

We'd seen each other's picture online so we knew who to look for, and we immediately headed off to lunch. I felt a little silly because I could not for the life of me figure out where to go, and I consider myself a Chicago girl! Amy suggested the food court at Macy's (formerly Marshall Fields) so we could sit for hours without anyone rushing us from the table. (We had sushi.)

We chatted like old friends about everything under the sun -- we even talked about writing! -- then had a bored bookstore manager take our picture in front of the books.

Afterwards, we stumbled upon a cupcake store. I've been craving baked goods for quite awhile now, so when I saw the baked goodness I knew I had to have one or twelve. I settled for this:

It's a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter flavored frosting. Divine! I stared at the monstrous goodness, trying to figure out how to eat it, when Amy gave me a great tip: you remove the top, then flip it over and stack them together like a sandwich. It's not pretty but it's oh so good…

After all the sushi and sugar, Amy had to catch the train home. As I walked her to the station, we passed a corner completely roped off with police tape. Apparently the police had just shot and killed an "aggressive panhandler" who put a knife to a passerby's throat. Scary! Of course, we had no clue any of this was going on RIGHT OUTSIDE FROM WHERE WE WERE EATING.

I could even see the little markers on the ground indicating where the bullets had fallen. Yikes!

I was sad to send Amy on her way. We got along so well -- there was no awkwardness and definitely no uncomfortable silences -- that I could have chatted with her all afternoon!

(In case you don't get the title of this post, it's because I made a REAL-WORLD FRIEND!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Flash Fiction Wednesday

The Storytellers prompt (hosted by the always lovely Lurker Monkey) for this month is the following picture:

Change of Plans

Rusty wiped the scratchy washcloth over his eyes. Tepid water dribbled off his chin and soaked into the satin ruffle around his throat.

"Slow night, eh Rusty?" Winston, the horse man, leaned his head into the cramped space that served as a dressing room.

Rusty stiffened. Winston seemed relaxed—if he suspected anything he'd be acting tense, nervous. The way he was. He let out a breath. "Kids don't seem as excited to see us as they used to. These days they just wanna sit in front of the TV playing those video games."

"Ain't that the truth." Winston rubbed a hand through his hair, sending a halo of dust into the air around him. He sneezed, then dragged a dirty sleeve across his nose. "Boss says we're leaving in a half hour. Got a big set up on Friday and we gotta tear down by tomorrow morning."

"Why the rush?"

Winston shrugged. "Some new gig." He raised one eyebrow. "A big one." Then he shoved a finger into his ear to scratch God knows whatever lurked inside. Probably fleas.

Rusty waited. Winston hoarded information like a kid with all the marbles, and Rusty refused to play his games. He turned back to the cracked mirror and rubbed the washcloth over his mouth.

Winston shuffled his feet on the plank flooring, but didn't speak.

Rusty rolled his eyes. If he wanted some peace and quiet he needed to get Winston to hurry up and say whatever was on his mind. "So Rochester's out? Where we going that takes two days to set up?"

Winston whistled. "It's a big one." He'd already said that. Winston paused another beat, then spilled it. "We got New York."

"We're in New York."

"City. New York City."

Shit. New York frigging City?

A smile spread across Winston's normally surly face. "It gets better. We're gonna be in The Garden. Can you believe it?" He tilted his head towards the ceiling, no doubt imagining the basketball players he idolized hanging around the ring—even though it was off-season—to chat up a crusty old horse wrangler. Right.


Winston snapped out of his daydream. "You aren't excited? A week-long gig in New York is big time. Some other outfit was scheduled but a couple horses got colic, then one of your brothers caught a horn in the throat."

Rusty shuddered. Didn't matter how long he worked this job, the bull's horns still terrified him. If anyone asked he said he stayed on because protecting pansy-assed cowboys gave him a sense of purpose, but really he was just lazy. Finding another job was too much damn work.

Winston's eyes caught his in the mirror. He seemed uncertain, like he had something else to say. Did he know? "So… half an hour then." He turned and left.

Rusty slumped in his chair. New York? He'd been counting on Rochester and the farmers who take the day off for some wholesome family fun. He didn't know anything about people in New York City.

He leaned closer to the mirror. Black makeup stained his eyebrows and a garish red burrowed into the creases around his mouth. He was getting too old for this shit. He dipped the washcloth into the plastic bowl in front of him and wiped off what he could.

Half an hour. He needed to get moving.

His knees popped as he rose from his chair and he dug his gnarled fingers into his lower back. Definitely too old. But who else would hire a drunk? He forced his knees into a crouch and twirled the combination lock on his battered trunk, then pushed aside the shiny red satin and felt hats until he touched the dusty old ropes. Last time he counted there were almost two dozen—more than enough to keep him with a steady supply of gin for the next month. But only if they went to Rochester.

How the hell was he supposed to sell this crap in a big city?

He glanced over his shoulder, then covered the ropes before Winston came back. The old man had been with the show for over twenty years—five more than Rusty—and he liked to think he had some kind of power over Rusty, even though everyone knew the clowns were the stars of the show. Well, after the cowboys.

Winston's power trips were what first gave Rusty the idea. The ropes weren't hard to take. The wrangler drank almost as much as he did and they went through so much rope that two or three a week went unnoticed. True, the lasso rope was a little less common—that's why he was so on edge tonight—but over the past year he'd figured out that a genuine rodeo rope that was used to lasso a calf or goat or whatever scrawny animal they rustled up that week brought in the most cash. He'd lurk near the parking lot after the show, the ropes snaked around his waist, tucked under the folds of fabric. He hit up the families first. If the kids didn't bolt at the sight of him—he still didn't understand why more kids weren't afraid of clowns—he'd slip out a rope and within minutes little Johnny or Betsy had their father by the neck.

Hmm… that gave him an idea.

New Yorkers were a desperate lot. Money drove everything they did, and from what he'd been hearing, it wasn't flowing like in years past. Maybe he could use that to his advantage. He usually had some free time during the day—yet another benefit of being the entertainment—so maybe he could head down to where the suits worked. He'd bring along a sign, but he needed something better than rodeo lassoes. What else needed a rope with a loop at the end?

He chuckled.



He dropped back into the chair, a slow smile brightening his face. He'd get his gin after all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

You Tell Me

Our neighbors are adding something to their house, but we can't figure out what exactly this addition IS. Ibis guessed storage, but then they closed off the walls. I'm guessing that they're expanding the rooms, but doing it in a really bass ackwards way.

So. What do YOU think?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Hook

Aside from two hundred words on the plane, I didn't do any writing while I was gone. I did, however, work on my hook -- the blurby paragraph thing that teases readers/agents/editors/etc into reading your book.

Here's what I came up with:

When Greg Vandenberg awakes to find a masked man attacking his daughter Becca, he does what he must to protect her. But when the police remove the mask, Greg's world is shaken once more -- the masked man is actually his neighbor and best friend. While the people in town insist on calling him a hero, Greg must come to terms with his guilt over killing his best friend and leaving the wife, Carol, a widow. But small towns aren't very forgiving; those same people who congratulate Greg are determined to crucify the dead man's memory, and Carol must figure out how to protect her children before someone else gets hurt. Meanwhile Becca is clinging to a secret that, if revealed, could make moving on impossible.

I'm a little concerned that I make this sound too thillerish. I think it's more along the lines of women's fiction, and while there is some intrigue, it's not scary or anything like that.

I still need to write the conclusion, and I'm hoping I can finally get my head into it this week.

How's your writing coming along? Have a hook for your current wip you'd like to share?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Who Are You & What Did You Do With My Puppy?

I got home and couldn't believe how BIG Owen got while I was gone! He's nearly doubled in size since we got him.

I knew Ibis would teach Owen something during my two-week trip, but I didn't expect him to learn how to go up and down the stairs. He's barely taller than the steps, but can navigate all four flights, sometimes faster than us. He cries a little when going down, but I'm sure that will end soon.

Gramma (my mom) bought Owen a couple toys and he LOVES THEM! He carries the soft ring with rattle things dangling from the end all over the house, and the soft plastic toy has saved my fingers countless scratches.

Finally, happy 21st birthday to my nephew!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Two Towers of Books

Please forgive the crude 9/11 reference. My books really are stacked into two piles on my desk, so when I realized this would post today, I figured it's as good a memorial as any.

The first night I was at my parents I dug through their basement library and hauled up a stack of books to bring back. Then I started visiting people and they kept giving me books! Turns out that talking about reading and writing all the time makes people take pity on you and share what they've got.

From my Mom:
The Year of Fog – Michelle Richmond*
The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell*
The Dog Whisperer – Paul Owens

From my Aunt Karen:
The Successful Novelist – David Morrell

From Jenna:
Graffiti Girl – Kelly Parra*
Audrey, Wait! – Robin Benway*
Uglies – Scott Westerfield*
Time of My Life – Allison Winn Scotch*
A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving*
Middlesex – Jeffery Eugenides*
(Jenna actually gave me more but I left a couple at my mom's)

From my Sister:
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
A Million Little Pieces – James Frey*

From Natasha (a long time ago but they're just now with me):
To the Nines – Janet Evanovich
Ten Big Ones – Janet Evanovich

From Barnes & Noble:
Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
The Shack – Wm. Paul Young

From Petco
Animal Planet's Miniature Schnauzers – Nikki Moustaki

*on loan

Aren't they wonderful? I have a good variety and I'm really looking forward to digging in. I've already finished Time of My Life and now I cannot wait for Scotch's third book.

Anything new you've read recently that you can't stop talking about? Or that you wish you'd never read?

And as always -- Craig, I'll never forget you.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Crocs to the Rescue!

Hi! I'm back and I swear I plan to tell you about my trip -- I've already compiled a list of bizarre things I saw over the past two weeks -- but something more pressing is on my mind.

On the first full day of my trip I slammed my big toe into the side of the island in my cousin's kitchen and by the next day it was looking pretty gross. I've been comparing it to the alien that busts out of Sigourney Weaver's stomach -- all flesh and blood and other goopy stuff, none of which is very convenient when you're traversing across three states.

It looked like it was getting better over this past weekend, but then Tuesday things went downhill. Walking through three airports* on Wednesday didn't help, so as soon as I got home we found a doctor and headed right back out. Now I have antibiotics and creams and, most importantly, an appointment to get the whole mess sliced off on Saturday. (yum)

So where do the Crocs fit into this story? Well, as you may be aware, we have a chewing, biting puppy who doesn't understand that the slightest touch will make me pass out from the pain. I spent an hour running around on one leg (which is not as easy as it sounds) before I remembered my camouflage Crocs I bought when I was home last year.

They're perfect because the bulbous area up front doesn't touch my toes and they are sturdy enough to kind of keep Owen off me. They may also keep anyone else from coming near me, but since I can barely walk, I suppose I'll take it.

*While writing this post Wednesday night I found out there was a hijacking situation with a Mexican flight and that the plane was in Mexico City. I was there when that happened but all I saw were some Federales dealing with something important (ie: running around looking all serious 'n stuff).