Monday, December 28, 2009

Wrapping Up the Holidays

It's been a very trying holiday season.  My best friend died just before Thanksgiving.  It was very hard to find anything to be thankful for.

I lost a tenant the last day of November, so December has been a month of scarcity. If I'm going to be able to finish paying property taxes and utilities this next month, I'm going to have to get a loan.  And the weather has been dreadful.  The temperatures have remained below 25 degrees for our highs most of the past month.  We are sitting in a bowl of worsening air quality each day the temperatures stay that low.  We are close to 0 degrees every night.  It's too cold to walk dogs and the air is dangerous to breathe.  The elderly (that would be me) and those with chronic conditions (that would also be me) are warned to stay indoors.  The dogs and I are getting cabin fever. 

Today I have to make a grocery run or the dogs will be out of food.  So like it or not, I have to scrape ice off my car and hope to hell it starts, and like it or not, I have to scrape up some money for dog food.  Fortunately when times were not quite so dire I put some things in the freezer.  I'm slowly emptying it out.  I qualify for food stamps, but haven't the energy or gumption to jump through the hoops necessary to actually get them.  Maybe I can talk someone into helping me navagate the food stamp paperwork, the standing in line, the having to tell my hard luck story.  It's awful being down and out.  Well, maybe not "out" quite yet.  I'm pissed off about so many things I can do nothing about, but I have been able to use this time to write.

I have visited a few of you over the last few days and found that most of you are making the best of difficult times.  Maybe I'll learn something new this year that will make coping one of the tools in my skill set. 

And Cyrus is just maintaining.  He keeps getting abscesses but I'm just keeping him on antibiotics so they don't get quite so horrifying.  Aside from the abscesses he still has a good apatite and still manages to haul himself out of bed to go outside at least three times a day.  But Cyrus's days are numbered.  I see that.  I just don't want to think about it.

The one bright sopt in this bleak picture is the novel.  I have embarked on rewriting the novel in a whole new way and it's working.  I can see the finish line and I think I'll be ready to begin grappling with a query letter sometime in January.


Unknown said...


I loved your book the way it was, but if you think you can improve it, go for it!

Hope things turn around for you soon.


Freida Bee said...

Utah- I am excited about 2010 being the year I buy your book. I can feel it bubbling up from the earth. Much love to you and Cyrus. I'm moving out from Mr. Bee in two weeks, and sometimes I just want to run away and live in your or Lisa's back yards... after the snow all passes.

D.K. Raed said...

I've hated this bitter winter, too. Worse for me than any since I braved the snows of the Pacific Northwest. I have one of those face-warming mask thingies to wear while walking the dawg and the dawg has his fleece coat, but it's just no fun wrapping up like the michelan woman 6x a day (Clyde is not able to hold it like Cyrus).

Mostly I've been inside sorting and packing up for our big move next week. Boxes all over the house. Pretty soon we'll pull the computer plug for a few weeks. At this point my back is being held together with the same packing tape as the boxes!

Hope you can work up the will to apply for food stamps. They're pretty quick to approve, but you do have to apply! You can start the process online when you're in the mood. It may look like a lot of paperwork, but once you get into it, I bet you'll see whole sections you can skip that don't apply to you.

Fran said...

Hey Utah~ Maybe you can get a food box from the food bank this month to help stretch the cash flow or lack thereof.
One day at a time baby....

Oso said...

I hope things get better for you.

Your post about Precious made me want to see the movie,My daughter and I watched it Christmas Day.
Very good movie, she and I both cried and were depressed, but laughed too. And talked about it for days afterwards which to me is the sign of a good movie. I think Carey and Kravitz both added a lot to the movie, and did it in an unassuming manner.So thank you for writing about it. You are a good person.

I hope Cyrus does better as well.

Sherry Pasquarello said...

i'm so looking for the new year.
sending healing doggie vibes too!!!

Randal Graves said...

That's a lot of funky crap on your plate. Here's hoping it becomes funky steak soon.

Unknown said...

almost an exact DITTO. but I am going to go for the f stamps after the 1st, enough is enough.
I send Light to you Utah& Cyrus. Keep your chin up darlin! Excellent rebound with the writing!
Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

The one bright sopt in this bleak picture is the novel. I have embarked on rewriting the novel in a whole new way and it's working.

Good for you! I find writing very cathartic and hope you do as well. Some years ago, I had an idea for the 'great SciFi novel' but never got around to writing it. (Something to do with years of rejections from editors on my short stories.)

Hope you find success with this one.

Mauigirl said...

Utah, am catching up on your older posts - so sorry I didn't see the one about your best friend Z. I'm so sorry that you lost her in's very hard to lose someone who's been a friend for so long.

I hope Cyrus' abscesses clear up also. Best of luck in 2010 with your book - hope it gets published and as Freida says, that this will be the year I can buy it!

Steve Emery said...

I do so hope you get over that finish line with the novel. So much work - so much emotion... it would be fantastic to see it in a new incarnation and out and about looking for its publisher.

I also hope your other (many) disappointments are the bottom of the downswing, and it's all up from here.

kkryno said...

I'm sorry about your friend. Losing a contemporary stinks. Watching a beloved pet in decline is a shi**y feeling. Not knowing they're heading out sucks as well.

Re-work that novel and get it shopped out there, because this is gonna be your year.