Green's Hill-Amy Lane's Home - News

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Snack in the Box

I've been reaching out to friends who might be especially hurt by national events at the moment--and by, of course, the asinine response from the shit encrusted festering pustule on the taint of the country that some people call the president. The general consensus is they're beyond exhausted, and beyond depressed.

Ditto. 

And while Mate and I are stumbling around the house, trying to function with the high level fear and anxiety about the world in flames around us, the following happened.

Squish runs into the living room, hysterical, in tears, screaming, "My cat is EATING A DEAD BIRD!"

Mate is watching television, and I'm like trying to calm her down. I get up and move in front of Mate and calm her down and get to her room and there's her cat, Nebula a.k.a. Nebula Lector, dining on the entrails of a bird doing the iron cross on her new floor.

She's sitting on her bed screaming at the cat for being a psycho and Mate suddenly goes, "Hey, what's going on?" (I swear, it was like a tornado happened and he was trying to figure out if we were talking about The Good Fight because that's what he was paying attention to and why wouldn't we be talking about the same thing in the middle of a frickin' TORNADO!) 

"Get a dog poop bag!" I order, just as Geoffie bootie bumps the cat out of the way because apparently they were having Dead Thing Buffet and nobody invited her. I shove her away and then shove the cat away because this bird is the BEST THING EVER to all the animals, and I make sure Squish is okay and we dispose of the sad little poop bag and *whew*. Glad THAT'S over with, right?

Except ten minutes later, we're sitting down again and I'm like, "Is that a bird? Is that a BABY bird?"

Yes folks, you guessed it, the dead bird was the MAMA bird and the cat had gone to get a BABY bird and there was a helpless, featherless, LIVE BABY BIRD on our floor. 

And then it was in a box filled with paper towels, sitting on a heating bad, being fed an internet approved concoction of dog food soaked in salt water mashed up with hard boiled egg.

Squish assumed ownership, bless her--maybe she was happy to make amends for the Dead Thing Buffet on her floor. We locked the cats--PLURAL, as in ALL THE CATS--in our room for an hour, because they were like, "Hey, I know that sound. That's a PREY sound, and there is PREY IN THIS HOUSE, and OMG, PEOPLE, it is ON!"

And so far the bird has lived for a whole hour and a half in a box filled with paper towels. If it lives until tomorrow, we'll call bird rescue and see if maybe someone there is up to feeding a baby bird every fifteen to twenty minutes for the rest of their lives, but in the meantime, we're it. 

ZoomBoy let the cats out of our room after Squish locked herself and the baby bird in her room, and as he held a wriggling--and totally unrepentant Nebula Lector, I glared that the troublemaker and told him no. 

"No! No! You cannot have the snack in the box!"

ZoomBoy put him down and he ran outside, probably to see if there were any more Dead Thing Buffets to be had. If I wake up with a dead bird on my pillow, I'm telling you, I'm checking out of my own head for 24 hours and living on Oreos and pinot grigio because I am done.

God. I know there are bigger, scarier, more unjust and more important things in the world to worry about--but that poor fucking baby bird just about yanked everybody's heart out. ZoomBoy was like, "Hey, at least he's a mighty hunter!" and Mate went, "No! It's not hunting when it's a next of defenseless creatures who have no way to defend themselves and had their parent taken away!"

And I got verklempt too.

Which is, all things considered, probably how we ended up with the snack in the box getting fed glop every fifteen minutes by our despondent offspring.

We can't wave a magic wand and make the world perfect, and we can't tell our friends whom we love, "It's all going to be okay," because we all know better.

But by Goddess, we can feed the snack in the box some glop. 

Stay healthy and safe, folks. Find the things that make you happy and feel in control of the world and do your best with them. 

And definitely show kindness whenever you can.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

I don't know what to say...

Many of you remember a couple of weeks ago when my son was attacked walking home from work. I mentioned in that blog post that his sister came to help him with the police--they assumed that a big kid who couldn't speak well was obviously high and asking for it.

He was being bullied, in tears, when his sister arrived on scene and told them all he had an auditory processing disorder and they needed to back off. He was bleeding and in tears and he couldn't put together the words he needed to explain what happened when six people were shouting at him.

They did back off but partly because the firemen arrived, and their priority is to actually help people and not to bully the helpless.

We should be angry--furious--about what happened to George Floyd. Philando Castille, Alton Stirling, Tamir Rice... yes, the list DOES go on! We should hate it because these are our fellow citizens, and whatever the reason for them being detained not one of them--NOT ONE OF THE UNARMED, PEACEFUL MEN ND CHILDREN--deserved to die.  (I'd say don't get me started about the systemic racism that caused them to be detained but oh my God if you don't understand about systemic racism, GET ME STARTED! Even if you hate ME, I have friends that have endured it and boy, do they have some serious shit to say!)

Nobody deserves to die at the hands of people who are supposed to protect us.

We should hate it for the act itself--bullying the powerless is a reprehensible thing. The people charged with these crimes are sadists with badges--and there are enough of them out there that we start to suspect all policemen are sadists with badges--which isn't fair to the good cops out there, many of them people of color.

But stupid (white) people don't get it. When they see that horrific video of George Floyd dying, they see someone else's child.

White people, we can't afford to think that way. NOBODY CAN AFFORD TO THINK THAT WAY. A system that encourages the systemic bullying of its citizens is broken. People of color being bullied are easy to spot--and thus easy to bully. But they're not the only targets. People with disabilities are targets. People with hearing difficulties have been shot for not responding. People with mental health problems are targets. White people, don't you understand? We should be angry because these citizens who are at risk DAILY are also our friends, our colleagues, our fellow humans. But if that isn't enough for you, (and oh my God WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU???) then that list of people who can get killed by the police with impunity is going to grow and grow and grow.

In a very short while it's going to include someone YOU care about.

A long time ago I was stopping by Wall-Mart on the way home from work and a friend was talking to the police, in tears. Her nephew--who had a developmental delay much like my son's, only much more far-reaching--had a meltdown in the middle of Wall-Mart, and the manager had called the police, and the police were shouting at this ten year old kid with severe Asperger's syndrome and the poor kid was losing his shit.

My friend was near tears, and asked if I could help--I was white, I was a teacher--maybe I could communicate where she was failing.

I stepped forward into the mess and tried to get an officer's attention. "He's got a disability," I said. "Please--just calm things down!"

The officer told me to get the fuck out of there, this didn't concern me. I looked at my friend and she wiped away tears and said I should go--she was worried I'd make things worse.

Her family was black, and the police were pointing guns at a ten year old boy, and I was helpless. There was nothing I could do--there was no whitesplaining to the bullies with guns, and it was her right to ask me to leave.

The whole thing resolved itself peacefully--I checked with her the next day. But God--it stuck with me. Because people with power--such as a gun--with no compassion and no training at dealing with their fellow humans are DANGEROUS to everybody involved.

If we the people ALL THE PEOPLE don't work to change the system--and that's voting work, people, and self-educating about the broken prison system, who our Attorney Generals are, who we're electing as Sheriffs and Police Chiefs and District Attorneys and school boards and OH FOR FUCKS SAKE PRESIDENTS! the system is going to stay broken, and then our society is going to stay broken, and then everybody's children are going to be in danger of dying of a knee to the throat by a sadist with a badge and a gun.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Worthy cookies

OMG--I'm so close I can taste it. I'm so close I'm leaving whole words out as I type. But Fish 5, tentatively titled School of Fish, is almost done, and I'm THRILLED. It's only taken 10 weeks.

I mean, I get it--one and a half of those weeks was consumed by an edit, and between keeping my Patreon up and a vicious case of COVID brain I'm not moving as fast as I usually do. That, and, including the extras that I always throw in, this book is going to run around 115K, and, well, that's a lot. And it took a while. And I feel guilty, but I really have picked up a lot in the past month. It just got hard to remember how to write when the entire family was HERE dammit.

Also, there were the shawls.

My cousin reported getting them--and trying them all on again and again to decide which one was hers and how she was going to disperse the others. I am kind of depressed about the social isolation thing--they live in New Jersey and New York, and there are people on that side of the country who haven't left their apartments for months, so I get it. I just always sort of enjoy throwing a box of knit goods in the middle of the room and letting the bodies hit the floor.

I'm evil that way.

Anyway-- besides watching old Star Trek TNG episodes to prepare the kids for Picard (which, by the way, is a fantastic journey-- God, I know the production values are dated, and the scripts go a little slower than we're used to now--but so good) we haven't done too much. I mean, you know it's a big deal day when you cook chicken and the kids go "Ooooooh.... chicken."

Some people are learning new languages during quarantine--I'm just trying to be able to fit out the door at the end of it. God, I miss swimming.

It also got hella hot here in the last two days. I have writing sprints in the morning with a friend, so in order to walk the dogs I had to be up at 8:15 so I could be showered and back by 10:15. At 12, I laid down for a nap and crashed, hard, then woke up at 2 thinking, "Uhm, I usually go down for my nap in an hour and now I'm so confused..."

Ah, circadian rhythms--riveting stuff, right?

Anyway-- Fish 5 is almost done, and tonight, Squish, who has pretty much had all the adolescent crises while locked up with mom and dad with no friends except on the phone, did a lovely thing for me. She went to get Oreos and stopped at my desk as I wrote, hand extended.

It seems like a small moment--but in spite of how miserable adolescence is, for me, it was like being handed a diamond tiara.

Of course I ate the cookie, whether it exceeded my calorie diary or not.

That was a really worthy cookie.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Shawls

 So--

Last summer when I was in New York I visited my cousins.

I adore my cousins--I see them rarely (as in once every ten years) and we suck at keeping in contact, but I am always so very excited to talk to them. Our fathers were sort of a trip, and it's wonderful to talk to people who understand.

Anyway, I came back from that trip determined to give them something--they'd given me hospitality and I wanted to return the favor.

What I ended up doing was--of course--yarn work. I wanted to make the women shawls.

Now, once every ten years isn't enough to really know people--so I figured I'd make a variety of shawls, and send them ALL.

Then they could sort them out.

There's a variety here--four games of yarn chicken, only one (the dark purple and green one) that I lost.

One crocheted (the rose/green infinity one) and five knitted.

Three of the knitted shawls are the Oaklet pattern--free on Ravelry, but one of them I striped (nOT in the pattern) and one of them, I took the lace pattern that was used on the edge and carried it throughout the pattern. (Harder than it sounds.  There was maths involved. Scary, scary maths.)

The dark green/purple one (the one where I lost yarn chicken on the I-Cord binding?) is done in Panda Pearl Silk Worsted. This yarn is SO discontinued that even yarns that were LIKE it were discontinued. I had to rifle the yarnchives to even find something close in COLOR.

 By the way, I'm making another version of that one--it's a Panda Pearl pattern, and I cut out the last four rows, which makes that loss in yarn chicken so much more bitter--so the new one is in a very basic mass produced super wash wool, in crimson. (Cascade 220. Ah, the classics.) Can I just say that every time I pick up the project I'm like, "Suck on THIS, yarn chicken!" because it doesn't matter how much more wool I use, there's SCADS of this and has been for at least fifteen years.

The two Oaklet shawls in the variegated color ways were done with yarn that was specialty made for the store in which I purchased it. I won yarn chicken by a matter of yards for those. (Dancing around your kitchen pumping your fists and going WOOHO! at two in the morning because you kicked the yarn chicken's ass is not something I can make my family understand.)


 The crocheted infinity shawl and the knitted hooded poncho are my own pattern.

Four out of the six projects were in fingering weight yarn.

*whew*

I think I had to list all of that because, well, I'm proud of it. My knitters and crocheters will understand what an undertaking it was--but very few others.

So, when I ask myself what I did over quarantine, I've got a book (I'm almost done with Fish 5) and this.

Shawls.






Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Hatesex and Baseball



Slow Pitch
by Amy Lane

Tenner Gibson has a job he enjoys, a prickly ex-wife, and an adorable daughter he wouldn’t trade for the world. With no romance, no sex life, and no other hobbies, a rec league softball team is as close as he gets to hedonism.

But life throws him a curveball when cocky Ross McTierney sets his sights on getting under Tenner’s skin.

One explosion of lust later, Tenner wonders what possessed him to have a quickie with Ross, and Ross wonders how to do it again.

Tenner has eight weeks to convince his tiny modern family that Ross is what’s best for him.  Ross has eight weeks to get used to the idea that complicated doesn’t always mean bad. Their sex life is moving at the speed of light, and everything in their relationship is coming at them too fast….

But together, they might make a connection and knock it out of the park.

Buy Here 

So I had this idea in my head, right? Two people from opposing teams giving each other shit and then nailing each other to the wall after the game?

It was so clear in my mind--when I started the book, I even called it Hatesex and Baseball--but my editors talked me out of it--and they were probably right to because that really does give the wrong impression of an Amy Lane book. But that instant spark, the instant fire, the instant connection--I REALLY wanted to capture that.

And then I wanted to capture the cockier of the two guys going, "Uhm... wait. I think I like you!"

And then to see what happens.

Because our first view of someone is often misleading, isn't it? We're like, "Oooh, pretty! Sexy! Want!" And then, in the course of interaction, we go, "Also human!" And then the deciding thought there is either, "Still want!" or, "Nevermind!"

I wanted guys who went, "Oh! Still want!"

So yes--in essence, it's a very simple story.

But it's also sooo easy to dive into.

It's snuggly. Its fluffy. There's a little hurt comfort in there--and I'd like to apologize for giving the two guys the plague because I wrote this in September and had no idea what was coming next. But I hope you like it.

The guys were... lovely. So lovely. Ross and Tenner were so much fun.

Enjoy.

Monday, May 18, 2020

A few knitting terms.

We all know knitters have their own language. People talk about how confounded they are by knitting and crocheting patterns all the time, and while yarn crafters are like, "Pfft, it's just an abbreviation--it comes with a legend, it's no big deal." Still, it just lends another layer of mystery to taking a single strand of wound fiber and ending up with something serviceable and, quite often, beautiful.

Anyway-- fiber artists tend to be an irreverent bunch, and in addition the standard abbreviations and knitting terms (don't get me started on gauge. Just don't. No no no no) there are some knitting terms that we either make up ourselves or gather from other people, or sometimes, we "un-vent."  "Unvention" is a knitting term coined by one of our heroes, Elizabeth Zimmerman. She said once that nobody really "invented" anything in knitting--millions of people had been doing it for thousands of years, whatever you think you invented had to have been thought of by somebody at some point in time. But that doesn't mean an individual knitter can't come up with something unique and clever and possibly forgotten by time just by thinking outside the box--this is called "unvention." For instance, there's this irritating kind of decrease--I think it's the SKKPO-- that involves turning the work around and knitting two stitches together and then passing the resulting stitch back to another needled and OMG IT'S A PAIN IN THE FUCKING ASS. Anyway--I've got a way to do this that's a lot easier than that. I blew my LYS (Local Yarn Store) Proprietess away because she'd never seen it done that way before. Does this mean that I, Amy Lane, looked at two sticks and string and saw something so completely original I reinvented the entire craft?

Of course not.

It means I thought outside the box and discovered a technique that had been there all along and hundreds of others had probably figured out before me, it just didn't make it into a book.

So that's the way it is with terms like these. Some of them have been around forever. Some of them I'm pretty sure I coined. Some of them were unventions made not just by me but by dozens of other people across the webs.



Let's start with the easy ones--

WIP--Work In Progress--something we're currently working on

UFO-- UnFinished Object --something we started but never finished and now we can't look at it for shame

FO--A particularly irritating finished object that you are glad to see the back of

FUBAR--A military term that means Fucked Up Beyond All Repair

Frogging--to rip back a project when you realize it's FUBAR and you have to start again. Some people believe we call it "frogging" because you have to "rip-it, rip-it".

Stash-- Yarn with no pre-planned project, it's just waiting in your house to be discovered and used

Stash diving--going through stash either with the hopes of deciding on a new project, or with the object of fixing a project you're already working on.

De-stashing--Sending your yarn to somebody else. Although it appears as though knitters are the basest of hoarders, destashing actually makes us really happy. We get to see other people--friends--who might be a little low on yarn funds at the moment--happily engaged in one of our favorite activities. And being the recipient of a destashing is also a delight, even if you have the below-listed condition.

SABLE-- Stash Accrued Beyond Life Expectancy-- this is, I think, a Yarn Harlot term. It means you could knit 24/7 for the rest of your natural life and you probably wouldn't make a dent in your stash. For the record? I've been SABLE for nearly 20 years.

Yarnchives--This is one of my unventions-- places in your stash that house UFOs, and also track time. "Oh, those were the socks I was working on in 2014 for Susan before I found out about her unfortunate wool allergy. Ah, Susan--what's she doing now, and would she enjoy something in a nice cotton blend? Oh! And this is the yarn I bought on my 10th wedding anniversary when we visited the alpaca farm in Colorado. Ah, Mate--he does let me buy yarn."

Bi-Craftual-- in the fiber art world, this means I knit AND crochet.  The thing is (and fiber artists know this) there is a weird bias against crocheters in the yarn world. Part of it is that crocheting uses more yarn and tends to go a little faster, and when the yarn is hand spun and hand dyed, there's a sort of insistence you savor every stitch. The other part is that while knitting can be dated back to ancient Egypt and the Coptic Sock (*snicker* This is a real thing) and Roman trade routes through Europe before it appears in Renaissance paintings as something the Madonna is doing so Christ has teeny socks (again--real thing), crocheting wasn't actually considered a part of the womanly arts ala Jane Austen and putting feathers in hats or making bonnets etc until the late 1800's. So, crocheting is a new, fast art, with a lot of flash and bling, and knitters don't trust it.

Admitting to loving both crafts is an act of courage.

Kniteronormative-- This is one of my unventions, made up as a portmanteau of "knitter" and "normative". It means that when people see yarn or fiber, they never assume crocheting or needle felting or tatting or crewel work--they assume knitting. As I said, there's a sort of friction between the knitting world and the crocheting world, so yes, crocheters feel slighted, needle felters and tatters feel ignored and I don't know anyone who does crewel work, but I'm going to assume they wish the rest of us wouldn't hog all the pretty yarn.

Yarn chicken-- this is the act of taking a limited amount of yarn and making a project with it that doesn't leave a lot left over. You are playing chicken with having enough yarn for your project--and it doesn't always end well. You know you've lost at yarn chicken if, say, you end up not having enough yarn to finish the end of your scarf in the same way in which you began it, or if you have to switch to another yarn as you're casting off. At the moment, I'm playing yarn chicken with a type of yarn that has not only been discontinued, but every yarn substitute I've found for it has been discontinued too. I only bought two skeins, because that's supposed to be enough to make the project.

Trust me, for knitters, this is sitting on the edge of your seat sort of stuff.

Dead dinosaur--this is acrylic yarn. Now, some people--particularly people who don't like wool and who have seen some of the really lovely, soft acrylic yarns out there, will know that this is a yarn slur. But people who have ever bought super bright, super scratchy wool from Walmart (they used to have their own brand) or knock-off Red Heart (who originated the process--I THINK-- for acrylic yarn that resembled wool but could be washed ad infinitum) will understand exactly what this means. I am a yarn snob--I need at least a little natural fiber in my yarn, or I feel like I'm not doing my craft justice. My son's SUPER DAMNED BRIGHT sweater/scarf combo is done in Plymouth Encore--75% dead dinosaur, 25% live sheep fur. And the pink parts of Chicken's goth sloth are made with 100% dead dinosaur.

Dead muppet-- I got this one from the knitosphere. Yes, I know "dead muppet" sounds like poor Ernie, who looks like he died in the middle of a failed parachute jump and ended up strapped to Squish's back, but, in fact, "dead muppet" is novelty yarn. Some novelty yarn can be lovely--Lion Brand Homespun is a bunch of loose acrylic fibers wrapped in a nylon cord, and while it tends to be splitty for knitters, crocheters love it. Some novelty yarn is just... big fraying clumps of nylon and polyester that is hilariously fuzzy--and can be super impossible to work with. Sometimes you have to use a "carrying" yarn with it--a single strand of plain serviceable yarn that will give it body and form. Chicken used "dead muppet" for the body of this goth sloth in progress.  Dead muppet is often a deal breaker--"What are your yarn preferences?" "Oh, I like all fibers and all weights--but no dead muppet. God no. The nerve."

Whoopty-12s-- I'm pretty sure this is one of mine. Knitting needles are sized super small--I think 0000 (or quadruple-ought) to super big-- 50's.  Anything bigger than a size 11 I tend to refer to as a "Whoopty-12"--because they're huge and ungainly and look like vampire stakes.

One of my classes in college was an "American Folklore" class--and one of our assignments was to put together a "niche vocabulary" list for a specific group. People as a whole tend to unvent vocabulary for the work they do--they get creative with it, and funny, and their terms reveal something about the nature of the people working. Most of these terms I've borrowed from elsewhere--from the knitosphere, as it were--and I think they say wonderful things about fiber artists as a whole. Our language--down to our specific words--reveals all sorts of things about us, both the good and the bad.

And the quirky and the knitty and the yarny as well :-)







Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Squirrel!

This is a terribly short post! I'm in the editing cave, and while I"m enjoying what I'm doing, the story has been in the archives for a while and doing something like that is frustrating and challenging.

But we still made time for our walk this afternoon, and the kids even came with us. There's a part of the path that narrows, and you're sort of trekking through the tall grass. If we come across someone else, we usually cut up to the sidewalk about eight yards up, but when we're all walking together, we're in a single file.

Which doesn't work well when the person in front of the file stops.

"Squish! What are you doing?"

"Squirrel," she said.

I looked up, and sure enough, he was sitting on a log, perfectly still.

Judging us.

Oh yeah--I live with cats. I know what that look is. Totally judging us.

I kind of laughed and Squish went to pull out her camera, because yes, besides judging, the squirrel was also posing. (And I'm cursing that I didn't get her picture for the blog, because it would have been fantastic!)

From the back of our little group, ZoomBoy goes, "Why'd we stop?"

"Squirrel," his father and I say in tandem.

Now... remember. "Squirrel" means a lot of things to a family "blessed" with ADHD.

"But I"m right here!" he responded. "Why aren't we moving?"

I giggled--but not too loudly. "No, ZoomBoy-- there's a squirrel on that log."

"Oh. What's he doing?"

"Judging us."

ZoomBoy shrugged. "Sure. But, like, he's a squirrel."

And at this point, the squirrel rolled his eyes and took off, and we could continue on our merry way.

For the record, we also saw a mama turkey and her six recently hatched chicks, which was sort of cool. But that squirrel, though...

Monday, May 11, 2020

Mother's Day

So first of all, thank you EVERYBODY for their good wishes. I mentioned on my Patreon that my son had been hurt on his way home from work last night--I was waiting for Mate to bring him home from the hospital and I wrote something to help me channel... well, everything, because yes. I was really freaked out.

I thought if I did it quietly, in a very small venue, only a few people--friendly people--would see, and it turns out that a lot more people saw it than I'd expected, and that they were ALL friendly and kind, so I felt like I should maybe give a better explanation of what happened.

My son--Big T--is a big guy. Late 20's, 6'5", 280, long curly hair hair, red beard, badly fitting clothes--you can see how he'd catch people's attention. He was getting home from work last night when a teenager who frequented the bus stop--and the nearby liquor store-- across from T's apartment thought T would be a good target. T doesn't do a lot of social talk--he has an auditory processing disorder, and he gets flustered.

The kid, being ignorant and cruel, basically tried "Hey, big guy, buy me some weed?"

T ignored him. He'd worked a ten hour shift that day. He bought his coffee drink, his chips, took his bag of work uniforms and left the store--and thought he was leaving the kid outside the store, posturing in front of the teenage girls  hurling taunts at T as he walked.

My son was seriously too busy, too tired, and had too much of a life to deal with their bullshit.

The kid didn't think so. He followed T and confronted him right when he got to his apartment parking lot. There was a rise in front of the driveway--the kid stood up on the rise to be tall enough to confront T, because, like I said, T's 6' 5". T basically said, "Look, I'm just walking home here. I don't want to fight anybody."

And the kid threw a punch.

T threw a punch back.

The kid was smaller, quicker, and stronger, and they fought for a bit. T broke away and in a fit of frustration, threw the iced coffee bottle he'd just purchased. It bounced off the kid--T's upper body strength isn't great. It's part of his overall disability--upper body, language centers, fine and gross motor control. It's one of those things that happens when a baby's brain is deprived of oxygen as the baby's being squeezed out.

The kid picked the iced coffee bottle and hurled it back, where it shattered over his head and the bridge of his nose.

When T came to, he called his sister, who came to help him deal with the police.

The police--being in their own way as cruel as his assailant--couldn't figure out why they couldn't understand him, and why he kept looking to his sister for help. Chicken stepped aside with one of them and told him that Big T couldn't UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY WERE SAYING when six people talked over each other. She told them about the auditory processing problem--and then added, "This man is the last person in the planet who would be high, I don't care how legal it is," and they backed off.

Then the firefighters got there and he was taken by EMTs to the nearest hospital where they gave him stitches in his head and his nose, and some ibuprofen. His father picked him up from the parking lot, and he came here, still smelling of coffee drink which had spilled all over his clothes. He took a shower,  called his girlfriend (she was visiting family) and went to sleep. (Squish gave up her new bed and went back to the bunk bed for a night, because she's good like that.)

He was okay this morning, for the most part. Ate, sat with his siblings, watched movies. Chicken brought donuts over, and we celebrated a quiet mother's day. I cooked dinner (We'd ordered takeout the night before, so Mate wouldn't have to feel bad about me cooking on Mother's day. Outback Steakhouse. Mmmmm... I'm a fan.)

And I was supremely grateful.

Yeah, there's fuckers out in the world who think keeping your head down and minding your own business is an excuse to throw punches--and God, they will come after your babies when you're least expecting it, won't they. But last night, my baby came home. Some cuts and bruises--and wounded pride, and puzzlement, because nobody expects that kind of evil in the world when they're keeping their head down and doing their best just to get through the day, right? But his heart is still good. He actually worried about the welfare of the kid who'd attacked him--thought the kid was bored and maybe neglected and hoped the kid found a different way. Thought the cops were pretty awful and wouldn't wish them on anybody. And thought the firemen and the EMTs were wonderful and wished they got paid more.

Yeah--my son's heart is still good. His body is still sound. And his girlfriend gets home tonight, and I know he was missing her so that's good too.

And my family is healthy. My children are safe. (God, I hope--I sort of thought they were safe last night, and boom!) And my stepmom sent me an adorable meme on the phone and my biomom survived a bladder infection and quarantine over Easter and hopefully got the package and card I sent her.

So I'm grateful. Happy Mother's Day to me--sometimes, the very basics in being okay is actually all you dare hope for, and it's more than enough.






Wednesday, May 6, 2020

A Rollicking Night at the Lane Household...

Do you like the stuffed animals? Chicken made them, and while the Baby Yoda is from a pattern (which was discontinued about a second and a half after I purchased it) the Trixie Matel Rainbow Cat was entirely her own design. We were super excited to see her finished product, and, well, crocheting has been keeping her sane.

She visited us yesterday and that was fantastic, but today was sort of blah. It was, in fact, s one of those days where you wake up with a headache and it doesn't go away until a nap and two more motrin. Not exciting, I know. That being said,  as I was sitting down to blog tonight, I realized that for a lot of us, what constituted major excitement anyway these days has changed.

A LOT.

So let's hear it for what now constitutes real firework moments in our nightly lives--from one kaboom (*) to 5!

They were replaying Jumanji all night, which is my husband's favorite modern movie-- * FIREWORKS!

The whole family actually LIKED a HEALTHY DINNER!  * * FIREWORKS!!

I have TWO new summer outfits, bought on sale on line, that I have not worn yet. * * * FIREWORKS!

Mate and I managed to sit, touching, for most of our nighttime television viewing. * * * * FIREWORKS!  (If we'd been doing it on purpose, that would have been * * * * * ;-)

My son took a SHOWER without a single adult commenting on his BO from across the room--* * * * FIREWORKS!

And finally, the topper in our 5* firework night-- We, as a family, managed to flea treat ALL FIVE OF THE QUADRUPEDS AT ONCE!  * * * * * HUZZAH! CELEBRATIONS ABOUND! WOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!

And on that note, I leave you to celebrate your own small victories, including, I hope, being healthy and happy in your own (hopefully) flea-free abodes :-)





Monday, May 4, 2020

Kermit Flail--Flailing Into May!









YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay--I know it's been a rough slog--COVID-19, quarantine fatigue, and murder wasps have added up to an "Somebody please finish their game of Jumanji so we can start this time frame over!" kind of year!

But writers really do keep on writing--and sometimes the best retreat we can make is into a good book. My afternoons--which are usually spent getting kids from school and going to aqua aerobics--have become my audiobook and knit time. I've lucked out--my favorite authors--Karen Rose, Melinda Leigh, Kim Fielding, Mary Calmes--all have audiobooks out, and Karen's are QUITE LONG. So, you know. One credit. Long way. So much knitted bliss, right?

And so let's hear it for writers who keep writing--and newbies who have just started, shall we?

Andrew Grey is INCREDIBLY prolific--but every book gets better and better. His new contemporary, Hard Road Back looks a little angsty and a lot romantic, and hey--there's horses, and they're lots of fun too.

Edie Montreaux is a new writer, tentatively making inroads into publishing. Her newest project is an anthology project with many new and different writers and an engaging paranormal premise. What about the vampires who work for a living? How do THEY find their happy ever after? The proceeds for this book, Working Stiffs, are being donated to the WHO--so it's a bunch of budding authors and a great cause! Check it out!

Kim Fielding is one of those writers with a demanding day job who continues to put out fiction on a regular timetable. But she always manages to cluster her releases together, which I find hilarious--it's like nothing, nothing, nothing and then it's KIM FIELDING MONTH--YAY!!!! Well, consider May to June KIM FIELDING MONTH--YAY! Her range goes from paranormal to historical to noir to contemporary--and sometimes a rather delicious blend of ALL THE SUBGENRES, and she does them well. Come check out her three offerings, including Conned which is on my MUST READ this month, because... I mean you're going to have to go look.

And then there's Slow Pitch, my offering at the VERY end of the month. Every now and then I write a one-off-- Shiny!, Bewitched by Bella's Brother, Gambling Men, Homebird, or Christmas Kitsch, for example--that just seems to come together in a perfect, happy way. That's Slow Pitch. It's relatively low angst, it's one book only, and it's so. much. fun.

So there you go--for some of us, quarantine might come to an end very soon, while for those of us in California, we're looking at end of May at the earliest. (For Mate and me, we might be living like this until August, or later.)  And for most of us, a book is a the cheapest, longest lasting form of entertainment we can get--except yarn, but not everybody sees the charm of that, so let's go with a book ;-)  Choose your books carefully--make them the books that seize your heart and don't let go, and don't let anybody tell you what you should and should not buy. But take a look at these fabulous authors--if they're your cup of tea, by all means, INDULGE! Because if we've held it together at all in the last couple of months, we deserve all the indulgences we can manage!



Hard Road Back 
by Andrew Grey
Rancher Martin Jamuson has a deep understanding of horses. He just wishes his instincts extended to his best friend, Scarborough Croughton, and the changes in their feelings toward each other. Martin may be the only friend Scarborough has in their small town, but Scarborough is a man of secrets, an outsider who’s made his own way and believes he can only rely on himself when the chips are down. Still, when he needs help with a horse, he naturally comes to Martin.
As they work together, Martin becomes more determined than ever to show Scarborough he’s someone he can trust… maybe someone he can love. Even if it risks their friendship, both men know the possibility for more between them deserves to be explored. But when Scarborough’s past reemerges, it threatens his home, horses, career, and even their lives. If they hope to survive the road before them, they’ll have to walk it together… and maybe make the leap from cautious friends to lovers along the way.
Buy Here:


Working Stiffs

by Various Authors
Not all vampires are idly rich. Some of them have day jobs. Er, night jobs.

In a world struggling to come to grips with the existence of vampires, where reactions range from excitement to fear to determined disbelief, these vampires are just trying to make ends meet. Some of them do mundane work—like waiting tables or driving a cab. Others have more prestigious careers in medicine and crime prevention. But what all their jobs have in common is people. Unpredictable, interesting, frustrating, hostile, helpless, tasty people.


Whether they’re pouring drinks, answering phones, hacking into a computer system, or serving up the perfect food/wine pairing, these working stiffs are too busy to fall in love. Or are they?


This International Workers Day, celebrate by sinking your teeth into thirteen awesome stories about vampires at work. Because even the undead have to earn a living. Proceeds benefit the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.


Story List

Bad Blood by Lyra Evans

Bad Decision by H.L Day

Call My Number by Megs Pritchard

Dial a Vamp by Roberta Blablanski

Fangs for the Memories by Sadie Jay

Fire and Ice Cold Skin by Mel Gough

How To Keep an Author (Alive) by AJ Sherwood
Graveyard Cops by Crystel Greene

Life Hacks by Eliott Griffen

Long Haul by Tanya Chris

Off the Menu by R.J. Sorrento

Overexposed by K. Evan Coles

Quality Assured by Edie Montreux




The Golem of Mala Lubovnya

by Kim Fielding

Created out of clay to protect the citizens of Mala Lubovnya from persecution, the golem is strong but desperately lonely. He is confined to an attic, and his only joy comes from listening to the evening prayers and watching a stonemason work across the street. Then the golem meets the mason—Jakob—who gives him the name Emet and becomes Emet’s friend. But Jakob is caught between his faith and his attraction to men, while Emet knows he may eventually be used as an instrument of violence. Emet’s name means truth—but can honest love survive for a golem and a devout man?




Refugees

By Kim Fielding
(releases May 12)


When World War II ended and army medic Walter Clark returned to Chicago, he discovered that although home remained the same, he had changed. Unable to fit comfortably into his old life, he spent a year gradually making his way west. Now he’s gone as far as he can—the shore of the Pacific—but old memories make ocean views intolerable. He turns inland and finds himself in the hidden hamlet of Kiteeshaa, Oregon, where the locals are surprisingly friendly and the café serves food exactly like his grandmother used to make.

Martin Wright runs the Kitee Motor Court Inn and offers Walter a place to stay for a few nights. Later, Martin offers him a great deal more. But while Martin is a delight, he also harbors secrets; and there’s something not quite right about Kiteeshaa. No matter how far the two men have traveled, they can’t run away from their pasts.



Conned

by Kim Fielding


World War I veteran Thomas Donne is new to San Francisco. Always a stoic man, shell shock and a lost love have nearly turned his heart to stone. No matter—a private eye has no room for softness. Almost broke, he takes on what appears to be a simple case: finding a missing young man.

As a magician and medium, Abraham Ferencz cons his audiences into believing he can cheat death and commune with their dearly departed. Although his séances are staged, the spirits are very real, and they’ve brought him almost more pain than he can bear.

When Donne’s case becomes complicated and the bodies start to pile up, he and Ferencz must fight their way through a web of trickery and lies. The truth is obscured by the San Francisco fog, and in their uncanny world, anyone can catch a bullet.




Slow Pitch

by Amy Lane

Tenner Gibson has a job he enjoys, a prickly ex-wife, and an adorable daughter he wouldn’t trade for the world. With no romance, no sex life, and no other hobbies, a rec league softball team is as close as he gets to hedonism.

But life throws him a curveball when cocky Ross McTierney sets his sights on getting under Tenner’s skin.

One explosion of lust later, Tenner wonders what possessed him to have a quickie with Ross, and Ross wonders how to do it again.

Tenner has eight weeks to convince his tiny modern family that Ross is what’s best for him. Ross has eight weeks to get used to the idea that complicated doesn’t always mean bad. Their sex life is moving at the speed of light, and everything in their relationship is coming at them too fast….

But together, they might make a connection and knock it out of the park.