Gabrielle's Life and Writings

Gabrielle Lawson, writer of Fanfiction. I will use this space to keep a journal about my writing, the progress I'm making, stories I'm working on, writer's blocks I'm having, our adoption process and progress and just life in general.

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Location: Missouri, United States

I'm multifaceted and highly educated. I have a BA in History and an MA in Museum Studies. But I couldn't make a living in a museum, so my hobby--computers--became my living. I'm now a charter member Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician. I aspire to be a professional writer and/or poet. I am a Christian and have been living by His grace for the last four years or so, despite the MegaStress and now the GigaStress. He keeps me going, and displays His glory still, in my life.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Well, I'm writing!

Just not how I thought I'd be. I wanted to give The Honored its due. I wanted to get back into that story that I started in 1997 and write it. But I just couldn't get to where I felt the characters. I wasn't imagining. I wasn't writing

But I was playing XBox. I'd rather bemoaned the fact that Call of Duty games went away from World War II. I like World War II shoot-ems. Especially on the Wii. I'm a really good sniper on the Wii. Well, I'd played my husband's Call of Duty Modern Warfare 4 and it was pretty good. And for Christmas last year, I got Call of Duty Ghosts. I didn't expect it to be any better or worse than the other Call of Duty games. In those games, I was just a faceless sniper, a part of a team I cared about only lightly.

I cared a lot more in Ghosts. It sucks you in more than other First Person Shooter games. You play most of the time as Logan Walker, brother to Hesh and son of Elias. They are there on the screen, going through the campaign with you. They care about you. And you find yourself really caring about them. When Logan is wounded and separated, you really want to find your way back to your dad. When Dad is being threatened, you really try hard to resist the bad guy and you're fairly traumatized when Dad is killed right in front of you by that bad guy. It mattered! So now, you just have your brother. And--

Note: There are spoilers beyond this sentence.

And you bravely go with your brother to take down that bad guy even if you die trying. You nearly do. Your brother is shot. The bad guy is dead. The train you are in is sinking. You drag your brother up out of the train, out of the water, and onto a beach. You rest against a rock and watch a huge defeat for the enemy. Recon is coming for you. All will be right in the world.

Then the credits come on and you get that sense of triumph at finishing a game. Then the credits stop. You're back on the beach. You look around. Bad guy is there. He kicks you in the face. You try to stab him with a knife and he breaks your arm. He tells you you would have been a great ghost but that isn't going to happen. Because "we're going to destroy them...together." And then you're dragged off into the jungle while the brother cries your name.

It was so disturbing. There are clues from what happened to the bad guy that let you know that those things are going to happen to Logan Walker. He may, in Ghosts 2, should they make it, be the bad guy. This is traumatizing stuff.

So how do I deal with a traumatizing story? How did I deal with the death of Doyle on Angel? I went nuts. For three months. In those three months, I wrote a story bringing him back from the dead. And not an easy story. A very difficult story. It wasn't easy for Doyle to get back to the regular world.

So I need that therapy again. Thus, I assigned a new story to Philippe de la Matraque. I've posted 3 chapters of More Than a Ghost to

    Status of Stories
  • Purgatory--still in purgatory
  • The Honored--back on the back burner, simmering slowly
  • More Than a Ghost by Philippe de la Matraque--progressing quickly

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Wow! It has been a long time!

A lot has happened in my life since I last updated my blog. My husband and I adopted 2 kids from Poland in late 2010/early 2011, for example. And you think that would be a great thing.

In some ways it was. But our 8 and 9 year-olds had (and still have) Reactive Attachment Disorder. They can be lovely, fun children or they can be, well, I can't go too far into here but let's just say our son hasn't lived with us for a year now due to his behavior. He's done a lot better lately and may return to our home in 2016. They are both intelligent and our daughter is especially talented in art and music. She was learning the violin until a) the full-size violin was going to cost $2000 and b) she didn't like the teacher. So she now plays clarinet and though she was half a semester behind when she started by the next quarter, she was one of the top players. She also takes piano lessons from her grandmother.

But on the whole, the RAD caused me to have Post Adoption Depression and my son traumatized me (and our daughter). The trauma is getting better and I think the depression, too. Of course, anti-depressants help there as well.

I did eventually finish Alien Us. Took about 10 years to do but I did it. The problem is I haven't really written since. I miss it, but I can't get deep into any of my stories. I had a sequel for Alien Us in mind, and, of course, there's still The Honored. I'm just not imagining like I used to. This is a sign of lingering depression, I think. So I'm not out of it totally.

    Status of Stories
  • Alien Us Finished!
  • The Honored I had a few more thoughts on it during a classical concert but it's still on the back burner.
  • Purgatory is back in Purgatory

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How It Worked Out with Netflix, and Other Matters

Well, I did write to Mr. Hastings. But I also put Season 5, Disk 4 on the top of my queue and carefully examined the disk when it arrived. If it was scratched, I reported it and got another. I did this until my next payday, a fortnight (that's how we budget) in which we'd pay for our Netflix subscription (and get $9.99 off), and sent back 4 disks, reporting all as scratched. Then I bought one on eBay for $15. It arrived today and my husband reports no scratches, just some lint. I also got a letter back from Mr. Hastings and Rob reports they are refunding us 3 months worth of fees so that I can replace my disk. So in the end, it worked out. Netflix is still the best deal out there for a service like this, and Blockbuster is going backrupt apparently, so I wouldn't discount them, but make sure you double-check the DVD you're sending back.

In other news, our adoption is moving forward. We were able to get out CIS documents for the I-800A. We got an appointment for the fingerprinting set for 9am on the 23rd. But two Thursdays ago we got that done early, so we are hoping that this week, we can get our I797C approval letter.

I did manage to write two short scenes of Philippe's Alien Us the other day. I've got a lot dragging me down (besides the good stuff above), so it's hard to find my muse, so to speak. My student loan payment jumped up $140/month which was not a pleasant surprise. Money was already tight as Rob is off from H&R Block and will only start out slowly until tax season starts again. Add to that that we had to renew our memberships for our home insurance (the memberships to the Missouri Farm Bureau gives us the lowest cost out there for insuring our home) and Melaleuca (not much but not welcome this present budget) and renew licenses for the truck and Rob. His birthday is Wednesday and this year, his driver's license expires. And I need at least an extra $10 for the doctor this week as I have to go in and see about all my spasming. I don't shake as much as I used to but I spasm at the drop of a hat. I think that's worse. I want to see if there's anything I can do about it. I'll go Tuesday. Add to that, I got in a fight (on IM, no less) with my sister the other day. I say I've read a good adoption parenting book. She says "I'm afraid you're overanalyzing...." and it goes downhill from there. Tried to end it with a truce, but she wouldn't admit the latter was criticizing my parenting. Well, I just had to drop it, it was late, and we still had at least an hour before I could go to sleep, leaving me roughly 4 hours of sleep before getting up for church. So, not the best weekend. Makes it hard to write.

    Status of Stories
  • Philippe de la Matraque's, Alien Us: Wrote 2 scenes of Chapter 19.
  • The Honored: Back burnered for years now. Fondly thought of.
  • Purgatory: No longer in Purgatory but I do have a writer's block and it's my turn.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Netflix has wronged me!

This is what happened. We rented Out of the Ashes, a very good movie. I took it to watch on my netbook. In my netbook's DVD drive was Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Season 5: Disk 4 as I'd been doing a rewatch and just finished watching "Doctor Bashir, I Presume." To protect my DS9 DVD, I put it in the sleeve for Out of the Ashes. I forgot, however to switch it back. Friday evening, I sealed the envelope and my husband dropped it in the mail on Saturday.

Today, I knelt down next to my collection and pulled out the box for Season 5, so I could put Disk 4 away and get out Season 5. That's when I noticed I still had Out of the Ashes. I called Netflix on my way to work. I was told that this happens a lot and I shouldn't give up hope. They don't rent the DS9 series so it should be easier to get my disk back. The rep filled out a property return report.

When I got to the office, I checked my email and saw that I had an email from Netflix at 7:44am saying they'd received Out of the Ashes. I called back. It's in the hub! I told them what time it was scanned. I was told not to worry, the contents are hand-checked twice. They'll find it and send it back to me.

I waited. At 1:41pm, I got an email saying our next DVD was on it's way and should arrive Tuesday. At 6:42, I got an email from Netflix saying this: We contacted our warehouse to attempt to find the personal property you returned to us in place of our movie. Regrettably, we were unable to locate or identify your disc. We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Inconvenience? One disk from a boxed set of DS9? I don't think that's an inconvenience. It's a travesty. I called back. They said they get millions of DVDs and it's easy to miss one. Mine. I asked why it couldn't be tracked as we know it was at the hub at 7:44am. They don't have any reports to track who scanned it and where. It was probably on its way to the next subscriber who wanted Out of the Ashes. They don't track to be able to say when it went out or to whom. The subscriber will probably report it as a wrong disk and maybe it will be found then as my report is on file. At this point, I have no faith in that. I was offered a $9.99 credit! That's not even the charge for a month! (We have Blu-Ray so ours is $11.84 a month.) They wouldn't budge.

I asked to speak to a manager. He said the same thing. I find it hard to believe that in this day and age they can't even track their UPC scanning! They do carry the Deep Space Nine series so the first guy either lied or was incompetent when he looked it up. They did not double-check the contents of our envelope and sleeve or they might have caught that this disk with spaceships on it was not the Holocaust story, Out of the Ashes and and, and oh, this subscriber has a property return report. Did they even check it? So either that rep lied about the double-checking or there was incompetence at the hub when they checked it in 7:44 in the morning.

I asked if they'd give me one of their DS9, Season 5, Disk 4 disks, scratched up as they probably are since they'll be keeping, and renting out, my not-so-scratched-up disk. He said no. He wouldn't budge from $9.99 even though if I lost one of their DVDs, we'd have to pay $20.

I am livid, to say the least, by the incompetence and uncaring nature of a company that will just assume from this point on that my property is theirs. I am hurt to have lost my disk with some of my favorite episodes on it and now have an incomplete set.

If you are a Trekkie or Trekker or fan of Star Trek, my fanfiction, or even of another fandom who can empathize with me, will you join with me in writing them? Their CEO is Reed Hastings and this is the address:

Netflix Corporate Office

Attn: Reed Hastings

100 Winchester Circle

Los Gatos, CA 95032

Please reference our account under my husband's name: Robert Person and my married name: Gabrielle Person. And please, pass this on to as many boards, lists, blogs, and newsgroups to get others on board. The more pressure is put on them, the better chance they'll a) make serious restitution to me by either finding my DVD, replacing it, or giving me proper compensation to replace it myself, and b) realize they had better start tracking this stuff better so that other people aren't ripped off simply because they made a mistake.

    Status of Stories
  • Alien Us, on hold. RL has sapped my creativity and Netflix isn't helping!
  • Purgatory, revived with Valerie Shearer, but also on hold for the same reasons
  • The Honored, alas, still on that back burner, but hey, I did post a short story called Welcome Home.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Adoption in High Speed

I mentioned rather briefly in another "recent" post how we signed up for an adoption agency that works with Poland. Note, this is not the normal order of things, but we feel it's definitely God's work. We signed up for EAC (European Adoption Consultants) just about a week before that lady sent her son back to Moscow like a bad printer bought on eBay. Russia threatened to close aodptions to the US. They didn't but it wasn't certain right then. And Russia did make it harder. We were still $29,000 out from adopting one child in Russia and now it was going to be harder still to get there. We decided to look elsewhere before we made any further commitment to EAC. We looked at Waiting Children from China. One that I'd rather taken to from last August was still there. I cried a lot and prayed and asked my family how they'd feel if we gave up on Russia. It was a tough decision as I felt God showed me my daughter in that dream. Well, we finally made the decision. We emailed for information on the Chinese girl (age 9) and filled out a preliminary form only to find another family had decided to adopt her. She had the most beautiful smile. I hope she is happy with her new family! We got an email from our home study agency in which she added that she'd had a contact with an agency that works with Poland and we might be interested. We looked into it and scheduled a call for Sunday, April 25th.

We missed that call because we were burying my beloved Pooder in the back yard. Mimi (from the agency) understood and we rescheduled for Monday, April 26th. We talked and liked the idea of it. We told her we were updating our home study and we'll consider it together and let her know. I really liked it and Rob was open to it. I'd been to Poland before (so had Rob, briefly) so it is a little less scary than Russia. We heard that if we were willing to get a child older than 8, it could happen quicker as Poles adopt many children under 8. Sibling groups were also an option and it doesn't cost any more to adopt siblings than it does to adopt 1 child. We only have room for 2 so 2 was our max. Well, on Wednesday Mimi called to ask if we had a draft of our home study update. I said, no, but we have our completed home study from last year. She said to fax it to her and told me about a sibling group of 5, where the younger 3 were being adopted. They don't like to adopt those three out without knowing the oldest two will be going somewhere. She thought of us. It's a boy and a girl. Angelika is 9, the oldest of the five. Jarek (short for Jaroslaw) is 8. We faxed our home study and signed the confidentiality form. We had the referral on Friday. We sent in our application right after. We also sent 30 questions about each of the kids and the family.

Usually, it's the other way around. You apply then you work on your paperwork and pay your fees and eventually get a referral. We got kind of fast-tracked on that. Well, after that, Mimi got us our first three packets of info and we paid some more fees, joined the online PAPA group (Polish Adoption Parents Association). I attened a Love and Logic course and we prayed and thought about Angelika and Jarek. We finished our home study update and waited for approval. We got the draft and proofread it. We sent it back. It was sent to Mimi and there were adjustments made which I proofread. The Polish attorney preliminarily approved it. We had to send $500 and a application to another home study agency to approve it as our home study agency is not Haque Accredited and Poland is a Hague country. So we're just waiting for that agency to finish up them we should be able move forward with our dossier and immigration papers as well as apply for grants and low-or-no-interest loans. We got answers to our 30 questions on Wednesday of last week and found traits in those kids that were like Rob and I. They feel like our kids. We officially accepted our referral!

We're officially expecting! We could be travelling by September! We still need at least $13000 but with the ability to apply for grants and loans that could be much easier to obtain. And God willing, we'll have our kids before Christmas!

    Status of Stories
  • Alien Us: Philippe is working on Chapter 18...slowly.
  • Purgatory: Resurrected by Valerie Shearer and myself!
  • The Honored: Still on the back burner.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rental Car Fiasco solved--but not to complete satisfaction

I finally heard from Budget at the airport for myself. He called and my husband answered yesterday. They agreed not to charge us for the scratches. They did take off $30 for our coupon. So we were only charged $109.22. That is acceptable. However, I'd like to know that the people involved, especially the manager on duty Sunday night, Matt McGee, are at the very least reprimanded for the way I was treated.

So that's settled, financially anyway. It's even less than I budgeted for. We can still pay off that credit card this month.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Update on the Rental Car Disaster

I called Customer Service today and they said that since it's a claims issue, I have to take it up with the location. In other words, the same people who are trying to screw us. They did give me the name of the general manager--not the guy I dealt with last night. But if she doesn't help (I left VM), or if she's in league with them, we have no other recourse. I suppose, I can try to fight the charge on my credit card.

I tried calling again this morning and didn't even get an answer. I was on hold for more than 20 minutes. I had to hang up. I tried several more times and finally got her voicemail again. Now that I have her extention number, I can call her directly and leave another voicemail without waiting on hold.

After a fourth voicemail, she finally called me back but told me I had to speak with someone else and gave me his extension and transferred me. And, of course, I ended up in voicemail. I called again over an hour later and again, got voicemail.

He finally called and said he'll look into it on his end. At least he spoke to me respectfully but I don't trust anyone at that company yet. We'll see.