Friday, December 31, 2010

Mattress update

First, if I sound tired, I've come down with a cold. That's not the only reason for me to be tired, but it makes everything worse. {lop-sided smile}

{bite lips}

Okay, the mattress arrived early Wednesday afternoon, just as I'd hoped. Once it was on my bed, we quickly realized we had a problem that hadn't even occurred to me in the store.

My bed is a raised mate's bed, with several drawers underneath. The slats that my old mattress rested on are a little higher than most chair seats, tho not as high as a kitchen stool. The old mattress was probably 8 inches thick, so it was noticeably high, but not a problem to get on and off. {bite lips}

On Wednesday we put a two inch bed board on top of the slats, because the new mattress is foam, and foam mattresses aren't supposed to rest on slats like the old innerspring mattress did. Then we put the mattress on top of that, adding another foot. (Yes, my new mattress is fully a foot thick. As Dad says, it shouldn't bottom out on me.)

Now I am just under 5 feet, 2 inches high. The bed, bed board, and mattress came to about an inch below my waist. With my severe permanent vertigo/ terrible sense of balance, I have trouble with stairs, so I can't just use a step stool. I had to climb onto it from the floor. I found I could do this. I did so twice that afternoon, and four more times that night. I also managed to strain my back somewhere in there, almost certainly while climbing onto the mattress. {wry smile}

So... crisis. Dad came up with a plan even before I strained my back. He went to the hardware store Thursday, and bought some one by twelves. I took the mattress off, and helped Dad remove the bed board. Then he took out the slats, and put in the one by twelves, making a solid layer. He ended up adding a couple of the slats, because they filled the excess so neatly. I am very relieved that he did this in one day. I suspect he'd normally take two days to do a project this big, but he knew I needed a bed to sleep on that I could get onto. {smile}

Now we didn't need the bed board. All three of us put the mattress back, directly on the new platform. It is now on the high side of hip height to me. It's still not easy to climb onto, but it's no where near as hard as before. I didn't bother to count how many times I got on and off it last night, and I didn't strain my back again, or this morning, when I attempted to nap. (The cold messed up the nap, not the mattress.) {smile}

{bite lips} It's still not good, but it's doable for now. Dad has another idea for the future, involving building a small ramp to give me a little more height without stairs. But he doesn't have to do it today; he just has to do it before my balance goes out. I think I'll need that ramp most when I'm on two canes. Since my balance is relatively good, I can manage until he gets around to it. {Smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Mattress?

Tomorrow, my new mattress is supposed to be delivered in the afternoon. That's sooner than I expected, but it's not a moment too soon! {Hopeful Smile}

I'm SO looking forward to sleeping on something comfortable again! {REALLY BIG GRIN}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! {REALLY BIG GRIN}

Ours has been good, in a mostly quiet way. The biggest excitement was when a relative called. As far as I'm concerned, that's a very good Christmas. {BIG SMILE, REALLY BIG GRIN}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

{sigh of relief}

Hilo has a bookstore again. It's called "Books, Nooks, and Crannies." If you know the town, it's right above Koehnin's Interiors, facing Waianuenue.

Mom and I investigated it on Sunday. It isn't big, and it doesn't separate science fiction and fantasy from the rest of fiction. It carries a mostly non-specialized selection of fiction and non-fiction. I particularly liked the selection of books in the Independent Readers (Juvenile) and Young Adult sections. It serves coffee if you're interested (I'm not). It has a few chairs and a love seat to sit and read in. The love seat was quite comfortable; Mom and I took advantage of it when we done checking out the store. Mom sat there after she bought what she'd found. I sat next to her while I looked over four potentially interesting books; Masques by Patricia Briggs was the only one that actually came home with me. {Smile}

Mom overheard some lady asking about a book she'd ordered. So next, I want to take Dad and check out their book-ordering capabilities with a few of the books I found for Mom-gifts while poking around online. {Smile}

This is just such a relief. Part of me feels that this isn't much of a bookstore. It's small, and so are the fiction sections; so small, they're only differentiated by age. Still, it's still a general bookstore. It's got enough interesting books, going in to browse doesn't seem ridiculous. That makes such a difference, I feel more like myself than I have in months. {relived smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! {Smile}

I hope everyone who celebrates it has a Happy Thanksgiving. {SMILE}

And I hope everyone has a nice day. {BIG SMILE}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Finding books

I'm sorry I fell silent again. Early July, I found out that the local borders was closing as quickly as they could empty out their store. {pause} They closed on the 21st of this month. They're THE big bookstore in town - the only one to have a science fiction and fantasy section. So I've been rather upset. {half-smile}

I've also been looking into options. The local options are poor for assorted reasons, from too small to too unweildy. (The public library is big, but they aren't set up to help readers find fantasy. {small smile})

That leaves on-line options. I've been using on-line sorces to fill some of the gaps Borders misses, but now I need to cover things a lot more thoroughly. So far it looks rather confusing. If anyone has suggestions, I'd love to hear them. {Hopeful Smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thoughts on trying to get published

A fair while back, my friend, Tia Nevitt, wrote some suggestions for trying to get published. The suggestions were variations on "write what is popular/will be popular." In other words, try to be part of a short-term or longer-term fad. {pause}

On one hand, it sounds good, as long as you can finish writing, polishing, and shopping around the story before the fad is past. {bite lips} That's the trick: getting it into shape and sold while the subject is still popular now, and hasn't fallen out of popularity. {bite lips}

That's why neither of my two major mentors liked writing for popularity. Both Vivian L. Thompson (author of many children's picture books and retellings of Hawaiian legends for all ages) and my father, Roger E. Baldwin (author of an introductory genetics text and Hawai'i's Poisonous Plants) taught me that trying to write to popularity is entirely too good a way to end up holding half-finished and half-polished manuscripts about things that used to be popular, but aren't any more. {half-smile}

They also taught me another approach to writing for publication. It's not as glamorous than being part of Today's Big Thing. However, it doesn't leave you stuck with Yesterday's Big Thing either. {Smile}

They both suggested following publishing's "conventional wisdom" until you've become established. The conventional wisdom is the set of rules that "everyone knows" in publishing, book selling and libraries. They're pratically never based on systematically gathered information, or even unscientific polls. They're usually explanations somebody thought of for some pattern of book-choosing they thought they saw. As such, they're very often wrong, sometimes ridiculously so. Even when they do have a point, they often miss something. {half-smile}

I don't know them all; there are a lot, and I'm terrible at memorizing. However, a few I've run into recently include "boys only read books about boys, while girls read books about both boys and girls;" "no one wants to read about handicapped people being handicapped;" "teens don't want to read about old folks in love;" and "Don't kill off a good guy in a kids' book."

When you're first trying to get published, it's best to follow most conventions whether they're right or wrong. Publishers and agents have heard them so often that breaking the conventional rules of publishing will usually make them look at a manuscript, and say "Well, I like it, but..." and rattle off which ever rule you broke. When you're new, you want to avoid that "but." It will make them set aside your manuscript "to think about it." It is possible they'll pick it up again, but they're more likely to reject it than a manscript they like that doesn't make them say "but." {half-smile}

You don't have to follow these rules forever. Once you're established, you can start breaking some of them. But first you have write a few successful stories. I think - and Dad agrees - that means writing at least three. The first story shows you can write a successful story, the second shows that you can do it again, and the third shows that the second wasn't just riding the coat-tails of the first. {lop-sided smile} If one of those
three wasn't as successful as you think the publisher would like, wait
another book or even two before you start breaking the rules. Still,
three, four, or five books isn't forever. Eventually, you can start
breaking rules, because the publisher knows you write books that sell.
Past success trumps these rules most of the time. {Smile}

So that's the method I was taught. I don't think it's actually not incompatible with trying to write something popular. You can do both at the same time or not, as you choose. Myself, I'll follow this. I rather not get stuck with a bunch of stuff that used to be popular. {Smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Monday, April 12, 2010

Merrie Monarch Again

Well, that was a good festival. {SMILE}

The local paper is bragging about their online write-up at .

The TV was advertising DVD's available at . However, at least one close friend and one relative shouldn't be too quick to order from that site. {Smile, wink}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

P.S. I had the wrong address for the DVD's. I've now corrected it. {Smile}


Friday, April 9, 2010

Hula time! {SMILE}

For those who don't know, the Merrie Monarch Hula festival is a huge hula competition my home town of Hilo hosts every year. Last night - the first night - was Miss Aloha Hula, the young womens' (18-25 years old) competition. Tonight will be Hula Kahiko (old-style hula). Tomorrow will be Hula Auana (new-style hula). A new station is televising it this year. To see the videos, check here: . {SMILE}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter {Smile}

Easter went well, if quietly. We didn't make it to church, because we just weren't feeling up to that and later too. However, we had Paella (particularly fancy Spanish fried rice) with a friend. Then Dad, the friend, and I watch Return of the King on TV. {Smile}

As I said, it was a quiet but nice Easter. {SMILE}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter! {Smile}

Happy Easter to all who celebrate it. {SMILE} And to those who don't, have a nice day anyway. {Smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Saturday, February 27, 2010

NO tsunami! {SMILE}

Well, the tsunami warning was called off at 2-something or other. No significant damage was reported by all four mayors (the heads of the four counties). The highest waves were in Kahului, at 3+ feet. Hilo's highest waves were 2+ feet. Apparently that was high enough to make some interesting wave action around Coconut Island and the breakwater here in Hilo. {Smile}

Sorry I didn't write sooner; it's now after four. I was napping when the alert got called off. I got up around 3, and kicked the migraine I got up with shortly before 4. As it finished leaving, I got on the computer to tell you about the waves. So I was as prompt as feasible. {Smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Tsunami Warning

Well, my state is under a tsunami warning. Fortunately, our house is at 800 feet elevation, so we don't have to worry about an earthquake-generated tsunami. Unfortunately, we badly need milk. However, there's a 7-Eleven that's fairly close, and no where near the tsunami evacuation zones. {Smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Computer trouble?

I think my computer keyboard just died. I hope so. I just spent the whole evening trying to a) figure out what was wrong, and B) back up my computer when one file in My Files was entirely too big. {bite lips}

If I disappear for several days, it might have been something more complicated than the keyboard. Wish me luck. {lop-sided smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Monday, January 25, 2010

My birthday

Well, this has been a good birthday. I opened and admired and the presents
this morning. Then this evening we ate and enjoyed chicken piccatta
followed by chocolate cake. Yes, that was a good birthday. {SMILE}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wow. {Impressed Smile}

Well, a friend I met thru her blog asked the owners of another blog about handicapped heroines, since they often ask readers to help answer questions not entirely different than this. They took some time getting around to posting it, but when they did their readers really got into suggesting books. {BIG SMILE}

See here: . When I read it, they had 108 comments, and I don't think they've stopped. A few books come up quite a few times, but still. This should keep me busy for quite a while. {Smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Handicapped Heroines who Get a Guy (Version 1.0)

I've been meaning to post a list "when I get it done." I just realize I may not fully finish for quite a while. Two books are on order, and two more are mentally noted, one of which probably will eliminate itself, but the other shouldn't. {Smile}

I think it's time to stop stalling, and share what I've found so far that I feel fairly certain of. If I don't, this could turn a project all too similar to my Aunt Kitty's family tree. She promises Dad she'll share it "when it's done," but you don't finish family trees. {Smile}

Handicapped Women Who Get a Guy with No Copout

Fictional Woman – Minor Character

Myste is the hero’s love interest in Exile’s Honor and Exile’s Valor by Mercedes Lackey. She’s not a major character, and their relationship isn’t a major plotline. At least it’s there.

Fictional women – Major Characters

Barbara Gordon/Oracle in the TV series Birds of Prey is courted by a male counselor at the school where she teaches by day. The ending wasn’t happy, but that was the villain’s fault, not either Barbara’s or the counselor’s. She’s also in Batman and related comics. She does have two or three romantic interests in the comics, but those romances seem to be on again, off again. The TV series’s romance was steadier.

Veronica Spencer in Vows of the Heart by Susan Fox is on crutches due to a car accident. It’s a modern, realistic romance.

Real Woman

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the poet, eloped with Robert Browning, also a poet, in 1846, after two years of courtship. She was in frail health at the time. She got better, then worse again, but probably was never hardy. They had one son together. They lived in Italy until her death in 1861. So far, her biographical entries have tended to cover their relationship in significantly more detail than his. {smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin