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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Things I didn't count on

Okay-- we're supposed to say goodbye to the old year before saying hello to the new, right?  Well, I've had this piece actually WRITTEN UP for over a month.  I didn't publish it at first because the whole thing wasn't wrapped up, and then I didn't publish it because I'd put out the other things with fewer details, and I was sick of talking about it by then.  But this was still in my archives, and it was still a significant part of my year.

I still don't want to talk about it.  It dominated my thoughts for so very long.  But I didn't want to delete this post either.  It was just hanging out in the back of the post closet, like luggage.  So I'm going to toss out the old--clear the air, as much as I possibly can (because some shit is still listed under confidential, and I'll honor that)  and then when I talk about this event in the past tense, folks will know what happened.  Those of you who have been here for a long haul already know what my writing has cost me, and how much of everything--joy, pain, anger, whatever--lies behind the words, "Yeah, I used to teach."


* I didn't count on homophobia being so rampant in my community.

*  I didn't count on being pulled out of my classroom and put under investigation from my school district after one parent complaint about their student reading Truth in the Dark and Litha's Constant Whim in October of last year.

*  I didn't count on the powers that be taking one look at the book, seeing two male leads, and calling it porn.

*  I didn't count on having two lawyers assigned to me to help me get my job back.

*  I didn't count on the whole process taking over 14 months.

*  I didn't count on lapsing into depression when a chance to go back into the classroom was cruelly jerked away from me last November.

*  I didn't count on yanking myself back to the here and now with the help of aqua-aerobics and the world's most supportive Mate.

*  I didn't count on missing a job that had caused me so much misery quite so badly.

*  I didn't count on stupid things triggering a big, aching hole in my chest.  (The sob-fest I had over the graduation event of The Suite Life of Zach and Cody was not one of my finer moments.)

*  I didn't count on the district spending a WHOLE lot of money investigating every move documented in my blog for the last five years to see if they had anything to fire me with.

*  I didn't count on looking at my past blogs and realizing how very alienated I felt from my profession.

*  I didn't count on the investigator looking at my past logs and not finding anything at all that was actually a fireable offense--not even calling my past principal a vainglorious prickweenie and a festering cockroach turd.

*  I didn't count on how hard it would be to let go of my identity as a teacher, even over the course of fourteen months.

*  I didn't count on the feeling of freedom I would get when faced with the prospects of making my living on the merit of my writing alone.

*  I didn't count on my lawyer telling me I had an EXTREMELY defensible case, if I chose to pursue it.

* I didn't count on the little part of me that wanted to fight like hell for my job just so I could quit on my own terms.

*  I didn't count on Mate feeling the same way.

*  In spite of that last one, I didn't count on being so very ready to walk away, when the time came to settle.

*  I didn't count on losing my emotional nut anyway, when I made the decision.  (In the parking lot of Safeway, of all things.)

*  I didn't count on my classroom being used as a storehouse when I came to pick up my stuff.

*  I didn't count on my dread of getting my things being not EVEN as fucked up as the event itself.

*  I didn't count on my crazy friend Wendy trying to take EVERYTHING out of the room, even shit that had no practical purpose, while I was trying grimly to sort the stuff that was mine from the stuff that had been thrown into the room for the sheer fuckery of it.

*  I didn't count on not seeing anyone I knew when I went back.  I didn't count on not being able to say goodbye.

*  I didn't count on screaming to the lyrics of Bleed It Out as we finished packing up.

*  I didn't count on ever being able to type this up, and know it was done.  

*  I didn't count on facing the demise of a career I loved with quite this much peace.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Good Week


So, we went to Mate's mom's and grandma's yesterday, and exchanged gifts.  Ours was mostly fudge and a washcloth, theirs was mostly See's candy.  But it was a family meeting for Christmas, and that's always lovely.  The sky was amazing on the way home--I love that stark contrast between the oak trees and the great beyond, so I tried to capture it on my crappy camera and was reminded of my first book cover, Vulnerable.  Mate took that picture in some of the same country, and I love it, and I love this picture (bad resolution and all) as well.

And this is an Air Swimmer.  It's one of Zoomboy's presents from Santa-- It's sort of amazing, actually.  It's a remote controlled balloon.  You press the button and this giant fin, painstakingly attached to the balloon's pointed arse, waves slowly back and forth and the big shark thing moves down the hall.  You press another button, and that weight thing yoiu see moves up and down, and the shark can go lower or higher on command.  DUDE!  Coolest present EVER!
 Squish, on the other hand, got lots and lots of Barbies-- but her reaction to them was priceless.  "Look, Mom!  I got a pink car!  With HUMANS in the front!"

So Barbies are now "humans"--and humans are surprised!

My present--unanticipated, mind you-- was an HD radio.  I was not expecting it.  It seems that Mate, seeing me deal with my little portable speaker/iPod assembly, was full of both mortification and pity, and felt the need to rectify that wrong.  The result is a new car stereo so magical, it makes my crappy old speakers sound decent, and it has an iPod jack.  I love it--and so does Mate, who drives my car when we go out as a family.  My present to him was a new shirt and a copy of Mel Brooks doing his 2000 year old man bit-- something Mate was both surprised at and happy for, but that leaves me feeling, once again, a little bit "special" in the gifting department.  Ah, well.

And this is my family on Christmas Eve.  The kids had just opened their ONE present for the evening, and they all picked the present from each other--which they are modeling.  They made each other so happy--and that, in turn, made Mate and I ecstatic.

And now, it's about getting back to work--albeit in a leisurely, "I can quit when there's a good movie on" sort of way.  We visit Sam's family today-- I should finish the socks I started working on for Sam's mom.    And I'm back in aqua classes--mostly because if I don't go, I can't move, my neck and shoulders hurt so bad!

So this is the good week-- the relaxing, take Chicken shopping and driving sort of week.  (Her first driving lesson from a professional left her profoundly scarred and sobbing on the bed.  God save us from young drivers!)  The sleep in and let the kids sit on my lap sort of week.  My favorite part of Christmas, when our house is messy, our hearts full, and when we can play with our Air Swimmers and small humans in peace:-)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hark the Herald Angels Sing...




Me:  Some people believe that God had a woman on earth give birth to his son.


Squish:  Then she would be the Goddess mommy, right?

Me:  Absofrickinlutely.


*****

Zoomboy:  Let's play the end-letter game.  I'll start.  TigeR.

Me:  ReallY?

Zoomboy:  Yes!

*****

Me:  Chicken, if I call my phone will you go get it?

Chicken:  Yeah, sure.  *listens for ring tone*  There it is.  Under your ten piles of crap.

Me:  You had any doubts.


*****

Me, while Mate is driving us down a BUSY URBAN road we probably drive three times a week:  Ostrich.

Mate:  Emu?

Me:  NO!  There is a FUCKING OSTRICH on that bare spot of land beyond those trees.  And about six zillion pigs.

Mate:  Wow.  Go figure.

Me:  Zoomboy tried to tell me about it a couple of weeks ago.  I thought he was just riffing on jungle animals.  My bad.

*****

Chicken:  Here's your phone!

Me:  What did you do to it?

Chicken:  Made it Japanese.

Me:  Christmas Yaoi.  How festive!

Chicken:  But of course.  And you're welcome.

*****

Zoomboy, holding up Steve the girl cat to Chiquita the girl dog:  Hello, dog.  Here is the cat you slept with!

Me (to myself):  I have no idea what that means, but I bet the dog is really confused.

*****

Big T, outside in the 50 degree weather in shorts and zorries, washing the pickup truck Mate has helped my father fix up for him:  But if I was wearing cold weather clothes they'd just get wet when I washed the car.

Me:  But you don't even have your PERMIT, why does the car need to be clean?

*****

Me (over the phone, in front of the store):  Okay, so I need to buy vegetable oil.  What else.

Chicken:  Nuts.

Me:  So vegetable oil and nuts for the fudge.

Chicken:  Yes.

Me:  Vegetable oil and nuts for the fudge.

Chicken (snickering):  Yes.

Me:  Fudge nuts.

Chicken:  STOP!

Me:  Vegetable oil and nuts for the fudge, vegetable oil and nuts for the fudge, vegetable oil and nuts for the fudge... my God, there's just no way to say that without it sounding dirty, is there?

Chicken (laughing uncontrollably):  No... oh God... no...

*****

Mate (after tasting peanut butter fudge he's made):  Oh God, that's good.

Me:  Can I have a piece?

Mate:  A piece is too much.  This has to be doled out in shavings.

*****

Squish (after wrapping up a candle we have on the mantlepiece in paper towels, wrapping paper, and an entire container of tape):  Do you want to open your present mom?

*****

Me (to my editor after turning in a project):  Okay-- I can't do anything else until after Christmas.  Unless you can think of a way for me to knit with my hands while typing with my toes.

*****

Me (texting to my "work wife" Mary):  Sorry I dropped the conversation.  Mate was busy asking me about my online girlfriend and then tickling me until I screamed.

Mary:  My husband says the same thing about you.

*****
Chicken's best friend, after spending two hours in the car with us, looking for Christmas lights:  Thank you--I had a lot of fun!

Me:  Really?

Best friend:  Really-- I love your family!

Me, to Mate and Chicken, after she's walked in:  I have no idea why.

Chicken:  Me neither, but she keeps asking to come back.

*****

May your holidays be merry and your Christmas/Solstice/Hanukkah be especially bright, and may you feel as blessed as I am by my family and friends, both online and IRL.  I know I cannot count my blessings, because there are just too many to count.

Love and peace and wishes warm,

Amy

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Writing Wrap Up


Okay-- I've been sort of a big blog slut this last month.  I mean seriously-- there is NO place I haven't been.  Want proof?

Paranormal Paradigms

Tales From the Writing Cave

Chaos in the Moonlight

Stumbling Over Chaos (This is a contest for Puppy, Car, and Snow)

See!!!!  I'm like Barbie!  That bitch is EVERYWHERE during Christmas!

Anyway, as you can see by my lovely little medallion up there, I've also been nominated in the M/M Romance Member's Choice Awards--and I'm really proud.  Now, I'm not sure if you can vote in this if you're not a member, so let me know--but I think the link will get you to the ballot survey.

All that, and my folks are taking the kids today, so Mate and I will get a chance to wrap presents-- HUZZAH!

And *whew* I still need to write a chapter and finish my Christmas knitting.  I'll be back with a Christmas post and some cheer and all-- I just thought some of this stuff should be shared:-)


Oh yeah-- and Puppy, Car, and Snow is out on amazon.com and ARe as well!  Wheee!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Puppy, Car, Snow, and Squish

 Oh my Goddess-- you KNOW it's been a big week when I almost miss my own book release.  Seriously-- I almost completely forgot!  Puppy, Car, and Snow is coming out, and besides really loving the simplicity and charm of the cover, I'm sort of pleased by the story as a whole.   It was a request, actually, and I'm always sort of thrilled to do those!  Elizabeth, my publisher at Dreamspinner, really sort of loved my first guys.  Jace and Quent from Gambling Men have their own novel coming out in May, and that's a WHOLE other story, but Ryan and Scotty, who also showed up in the Curious Anthology in the short story, "Shirt", were also favorites.  Yeah, they got their own story in Phonebook, but Elizabeth wanted to see more of them, and she wanted to see them for Christmas.  (She's done this with a couple of authors, I think-- Mary Calmes and Isabelle Rowan and Andrew Grey, that I know of for certain.)  
Anyway, Elizabeth asked, and I wrote, and because Ryan and Scotty have always been about finding the greatest joys in the simplest things, I kept the title--and the theme--simple.  My guys are having Christmas with Ryan's family.  Ryan's mother is the disapproving sort.  Let the games begin!  For those of you interested, do read the excerpt that you can find when you follow the link-- it's short, hot, and, features a giant luggage-eating not-poodle.  How can you go wrong?


 And this is Squish, after her photo appointment with the big guy in the red suit.  She's telling me what she wants for Christmas, and none of it sounds remotely like what Mate and I got when we were in the pink aisle at Toys R'Us.  I hope general pink will do for her--when it comes to specific pink, I'm thinking we've just failed Christmas.
And this is my santa and his elf.  She looks really demonic in this picture.  She, umm, sort of is in real life too--but in the cute, you want to just squeeze those little cheeks way!

And this is the two of them in line, charming the holy bejeebus socks out of everybody. Okay--maybe just me, but my holy bejeebus socks were nowhere in sight by the time I turned them loose with their older siblings in what must have been the shortest shopping trip in history.  The mall was almost empty, and I think we spent a grand total, Santa and all, of an hour and a half there, and that included pretzels and Icees when they were done.  Holy crapgasm, batman-- best shopping trip EVER!
And this is Chicken, because this outfit?  Is awesome sauce, plain and simple.  Don't mind the scowling--she doesn't recognize her own awesomeness.  Makes her grumpy.  And that manic bit of pre-cut foam?  That is practically the closest thing you can find to a model these days-- it's Santa's Ski Lodge, (although we've been calling it Santa's Little Sweatshop all week, in honor of our time with our Christmas cards, which were, as always, a family endeavor!)  


And Squish... making sure her elf is intact.  She should have no worries-- she's elfish at it's best:-)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bad Blogger!

Okay-- so I went back and realized I had blogged APPALLINGLY few times in the last two weeks--blogger's guilt-- IT'S REAL!


Anyway-- yesterday was a big day for Squish.  She had a tea party--something she has been excited about  for TWO WEEKS, and I was invited.  Of course, I didn't realize I was invited to volunteer, but that was fine.  I served the kindergartners finger sandwiches and cookies and hot chocolate, and Mate brought them cookies (too many rich cookies--I was relieved when the teacher said, "Oh, I'm taking THESE to the staff room!"  because that was thirty pounds of fat I SO didn't need!)  Anyway, after we served the cookies (and I almost screwed up my back forever and for good by serving on a teeny-tiny counter made for five year olds!) there was entertainment.  They all stood up and sang for us, and I loved it.  Yes--in politically correct California, they sang Christmas songs, and my pagan heart was remarkably unruffled.  They were wonderful, and Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer has never sounded more disorganized--or better.

So after that, we went home, had a frozen burrito, and then got ready for her NEXT performance, her dance performance with her class.  The dance was held at a local community center, and she acquitted Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Song... well, with heart.  Her heart was definitely in it.  And she DEFINITELY knew the move to "I still want a hula-hoop!" and that's always a good stopping place.  

So it was a big day for Squish-- but she wasn't the only one with a big week.  Zoomboy got two academic awards--and I have to tell you, not a lot of kids get those.  He got one award for actual achievement, and the other award for being an all around good kid in the classroom.  My pictures of that were even worse than the picture of Squish dancing, and that's sort of where I draw the line, but suffice it to say he was extremely sober for the entire presentation--but very happy to see me at the school.  

Chicken was called by a recruiter for an art school-- a family phone call as it were, and took the first steps in applying for financial aid (for which Mate and I will be indebted all our lives!)  Anyway--the fun part (according to Chicken) was knowing that Mate and I were texting questions to each other while we were listening to the recruiters.  Of course watching Chicken get quietly excited about the possibility of going away to school was also a plus.  Mate and I had to work our way through school--a lot of people we know have had to work their way through school, and that's awesome.  The idea that people can do that is awesome.  But if we could give this education to Chicken--wow.  I'd just be so proud.  She's worked so hard--I would so love to see her have a future that started with all those high hopes.  And then Mate and I would have nine years to rest, relax, and save for the next genius kid, because Zoomboy isn't going to be letting his future languish!

And Big T turned nineteen.  We took him to sushi (Zoomboy hated it!) but everyone else enjoyed the hell out of it.  Mate and I got all the sashimi on the platter because we were the only one's crazy about raw fish, and Big T and Chicken loved the roll with the deep fried shrimp in the middle.  (Unsophisticated sushi.  Yup.)  But it was awesome, we loved it, and I want more!  And T was grateful for his presents--mostly winter clothes--but I've promised him a hat and a scarf that match and are lovely after Christmas.  When he was in the fifth grade I crocheted him a "fish scarf"-- a series of fish motifs that interlocked.  The scarf is bright red, blue and yellow, and made in acrylic yarn, and T hated it until he hit high school when suddenly it had a funky appeal.  Anyway, he's requested something more grown up, and I'm making him the Noro scarf, with a matching hat--because it's bright in an appealing Dr. Who way, but it's also a little more grown up.  And it will keep him warm.  

So this week promises to be crazy--and I actually have knitting to do!  (I know, you all thought I forgot Christmas knitting--nope!)  And a Christmas release on Wednesday.  And blurbs to write.  And more shopping to do.  And a house to clean.  And someday, someday soon, I'll have to explain how I came to lose my job over loaning a couple of books to some kids who could handle it.  

But not today.  Today, Zoomboy is begging for a cuddle, and it's been a helluva week.  I figure he's due:-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We all know I can't count anyway

On the tenth day before Christmas, my true love gave to me...


Chicken's second permit test
A trip to the tree farm
Another frickin' edit
Ten more blurbs a-writing
Two college recruitment meetings
A day of Christmas shopping
One lost Clifford Journal
My oldest' son's birthday
A trip to buy his present
A family sushi dinner
A postponed trip to the vets
Four tired kids,
Three school presentations
Two dentist appointments
A trip to Zoomboy's doctor

And office party that went from house to house...

And THAT ladies and gentlemen, is why I haven't blogged so much...

Catch you this weekend, when I can collapse, cry and breathe!

Amy out!

(And I'll leave you with this, a gift from Roxie in the past)






Sunday, December 11, 2011

No Snow...

AOkay-- first things first.  Last night, Mate and I went to a traveling Christmas Party.  A bunch of people in the same neighborhood walked from house to house and drank a lot.  (I drank a lot of water.  It was COLD, and I was having more fun watching the drunk people walk, really.  Anyway, in one house, there was a chinchilla.  I shit you not.

 And the rest of this?  This is Christmas tree hunting.  Here, we have hunted and felled the mighty Christmas tree.  Zoomboy is taking his turn here--but his older brother did the bulk of the work.
O
 And here?  We have a tree with a Santa hat.  Considering the fact that Zoomboy has been wearing that hat since December 1st, the tree didn't have much of a chance.
 Zoomboy and Very Big T say hello.  Zoomboy espouses the attributes of the perfect tree.
This morning, as I was getting out hats for Squish, she almost picked the Hello Kitty hat.  Then this one came out, and she jumped on it, because, in her words, "It looks really great with my glasses!"

That's Squish-- fashion forward:-)
 And this?  This is just an overview of Snowy Peaks Christmas Tree Farm, which, for those who are curious, is deep in the heart of Green's Hill country. It's almost to Sugarpine, which means Jack and Teague could have been nosing about anywhere the dogs were not.  (They were everywhere--a Christmas Tree Farm is a dog's happy place!)
And doesn't every kid need a dorky picture of a kid in a Santa hat in his archives?  Cause, umm, we've got Zoomboy COVERED!













And this is a picture of my folks, Squish in their wake, starting off on the great Christmas Tree Hunt... it was a splendid adventure!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rainbow Awards

Heya!  Yes-- the last post was pretty bleak, and there's not much I can do about that.  Many of you know that I've been on leave from my job for the last fifteen months, and you know why.  You know why I'm so adamant that my work is not porn, and why I believe romance--all romance, gay, straight, and in between--is a real, integral part of life.  You know why I think that writing is vital to humanity as a whole.  In October of 2010, I came home in the middle of the day facing the very real possibility that I would never teach (at my old site at the very least) again.  I told my husband that it boiled down to someone looking at Truth in the Dark--easily one of the most beautiful things I've ever written-- and upon seeing two male leads, pronouncing the work porn.

And Mate said the one thing I've always treasured.  He said, "Well, at least it was something important."

Yes, it was important.  It still is important.  So Tuesday night, I cleaned out my classroom--and it was hard.  The place had been used as a storehouse for six months, and it hurt, there's no two ways about it.  But it's done, and I"ll post about it soon (have had the post, in fact, written for a week, ever since we knew about the resolution to the matter) but in the meantime, yesterday, the winners of the Rainbow Awards came out. Now, normally, I'm not all jumpy and squeally about awards.  I'm more quietly pleased--and always, always, very grateful, and very flattered.  But, well, the timing was just very very good.

A Solid Core of Alpha took second in science fiction.
Hammer and Air  took honorable mention in fantasy.
Living Promises  took honorable mention in contemporary.

And Amy Lane as an author was given an honorable mention here.

So here I am, up against the best of the best in my genre--and I'm not doing half bad.  And what I'm doing is important.  And no, folks, not even a little bit, is it porn.

So, my friend and I were cleaning out my classroom, and I had my iPod plugged into a little speaker--I wasn't kidding about the soundtrack, those were some of the songs that showed up, and, me being me, they helped.  And this one was the last one, playing as I wrote the note on the board and picked up the last box.  And I still love it.  Will always love it.  But it's always going to mean that moment to me, and I'm always going to be bleeding it out.




Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bleed it Out

So, I had to do something really unpleasant today, something that hurt hella bad.  And I don't feel like writing about it, but I do have a soundtrack.  I tried to post it with youtube.com, but none of the links plugged in--I'll just list it here.




Bleed it Out--Linkin' Park
Requiem for a Dream--from the soundtrack
March of the Cambreadth--Heather Dale
Faint--Linkin' Park
Numb--Linkin' Park
Last to Die--Bruce Springsteen
Seeds--Bruce Springsteen
Gone Away--Offspring
The Kids Aren't Alright--Offspring
Let it Rock--Kevin Rudolph
I Hate Everyone--Ok-Go
Let it Die--Foo Fighters
Home--Foo Fighters
Hometown--Bowling for Soup
Mad World--Gary Jules
14 Years--Guns'n'Roses


That last one.  Yeah.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Critter Snark


Okay-- I'll admit it.  Sometimes, I look forward to Saturday Snark because really?  My real life just isn't that interesting.  

The little kids are cute:  Squish is sleeping with my old teddy bear and a couple of sock monkeys--she drags them from the bunk bed to our own bed in the middle of the night, and the effect is charming. 

Zoomboy keeps telling bad jokes:  What's ice cream's favorite day?  SUNday!  (Get it?  Because there's ice cream sundaes, and it's sunday--it's a homophone mom, two words that sound the same but are spelled different and have different meanings.  That's why it's funny.)

Chicken is both growing up and not--we made it all the way to the DMV yesterday for her permit test, only to discover she'd forgotten some of her paperwork.  She cried all the way home.  I told her at least she didn't fail anything but paperwork, and hell--the entire family has practically invented such a thing as a paperwork handicap.  She should be proud.  She looked cute in them genes.  

Big T is looking for a job--in a haphazard, random, awkward way worthy of any slacking college student still living with his parents.  He's still a good boy--he's just a good boy with too much time on his hands, and a terrible case of jealousy for not beating his little sister to the driver's permit stage.  
And Mate bought me a new computer for Christmas.  No, not on it yet--that whole "transfer files" thing seems to be causing him oodles of trouble.  But it's so pretty, it looks like it's made of stars.  

There's more--but I can't post about it yet.  I'll let you all know--for one thing, there's some news on something that's been going on for a long time, that I've kept off the blog.  It's sort of big and painful--but I can't quite talk about it yet.  (Nothing bad about the family, or the writing--so, really, something we can live with.  NO need to panic. Really.)  You'll know it when you see it, 'kay?

And in the meantime--here's my Saturday snark for Marie Sexton's blog.  It's from The Winter Mating Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters again--and it's one of the many times Crawford's minimalist way of speaking takes us by surprise:


“The sheep nibbles,” was what Ben said. He held up a sleeve that was a little sodden and had bits of grass on it. “Do the other things, the llamas—”
“Alpacas.”
“Yeah, do they nibble like sheep?”
Craw frowned. “No. The girls will spit if they don’t want to be mated, but then, wouldn’t blame them.”
Ben blinked and then opened his eyes really wide. “I don’t… God. Don’t tell me what that looks like.”
Craw thought about it, his eyes moving restlessly on the road as he tried to figure out if there was any other way for the long-necked, long-legged critters to go. “It looks like two alpacas fucking, mostly,” he said apologetically. “Of course, sometimes, the boy can’t get his boy parts past the girl’s furry ass, and he needs a little help, so then it looks like two alpacas fucking while their handler’s giving the one on top a handjob.”
He looked sideways as Ben’s giggles took over the car. “Well, I didn’t say it was a picnic for the handlers.”
And that was it. Ben, the pretty man he’d been trying to impress, was leaning back in the seat of his truck, poinging like popcorn in an old metal pan, and laughing so hard there were tears tracking down the beginning creases at the corners of his eyes.
Apparently the alpacas weren’t the only ones who had made a fucking impression. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Winter Mating Rituals of Fur-Bearing Criters

*snicker*  Yup.  That is REALLY the name.

The Winter Mating Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters is out today on Dreamspinner's site (soon to be followed, I think, by amazon.com, Allromanceebooks.com, and all of the usual suspects.)

This is my third Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar work-- the first one was If I Must, a story about two roommates and their cat, Manky Bastard, and I was surprised (stunned!  shocked! flabbergasted!) by how many people wanted to read something light and sweet and fun for the holidays.  In keeping with this, I made last year's story (Christmas With Danny Fit) sweet too.  Danny Fit had a few moments of melancholy, of sadness, though, as did If I Must--and as much as I loved those moments, I REALLY wanted to do something light for this year.  So MUCH of my work this year has been painful, dark, angsty--I wanted something that would make people laugh, and laugh hard, and feel like falling in love didn't have to hurt quite so bad.

I think I succeeded with Fur-Bearing Critters.  Rance Crawford is a fun guy--he's grumpy, and says some of THE most inappropriate things at VERY appropriate times.  He's awkward and more than a little shy, and dislikes having his routine boggled.

But he very much likes Ben McCutcheon.  The problem is, Rance and Ben are (as far as Rance knows) the ONLY mating pair of their sort in the entire town.  Rance would like it--REALLY like it--if Ben realized that this was NOT the only reason for Rance to come sniffing around Ben's little acre.  Rance likes Ben SPECIFICALLY, and not just as a critter emitting the right smells and sporting the right equipment.  The way Rance goes about to show Ben that he is specifically enchanting would do a knitter proud.

This story comes with a free pattern at the end--it's something most of us could figure out how to make, really, but it's fun, and, honestly, I hope people like it because I think it scared the mail-lady when I was taking the thing's picture.  (It had to be done outside in the sun or my camera would have screwed it up, and I had it up on my car, and... well, you sorta gotta see the item to know why the mail lady now avoids me.)  It's fun, writing patterns, but I have the feeling I suck at it, so let's see how many angry knitters e-mail me because the scrot sac of the free cock-cozy pattern seems a little dodgy.

My one hope (and since I've released a lot of light stuff in the wake of a lot of DARK stuff, this is a worry with a lot of my stuff lately) is that people see the heart in this one, along with the humor.  Thinking you're the only half of a mating pair is about the loneliest way for a critter to be.  His wistfulness when he sees Ben and thinks he's pretty--that's a lot of longing for one guy and a lot of alpacas.  I hope that's appealing too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Muppet Movie

First of all, we had a lovely Thanksgiving.  All three of them.  They were excellent-- there was laughter, and food, and more food, and mom even cooked and generally?  Everything you expect.  But the night before Thanksgiving we went to see The Muppets, and that's the thing that's sort of sticking in my head.

The next day, we went to Thanksgiving the First--the one at my Auntie's house up in Newcastle.  It's a great place--around twelve acres of autumn-greened land full of brush, hills, granite rocks, and goats.  My aunt and her boyfriend are crazy about goats--it's one of the things I love about them.

So, for once I got to stick around a while and actually TALK to this family.  Usually, I run up, drop my mom off, hug everyone and run away.  This time, we stayed.  This time I talked to my aunt's boyfriend's daughter-in-law, whom I adore, and we made plans to watch movies and knit together-- see?  SCORE!  This time I also talked to my other aunt, the one who made me crazy a couple of years back, and we had a really nice conversation.

One of the things that came up was The Muppet Movie--the original, including this specific memory.  Now, I'm not sure if I've blogged this memory before.  I might have--I might not have.  But I'm going to reblog it again.

I saw the Muppet Movie in Junior High, over winter break.  My parents took us to this cheap theatre--the last run special, right?  At one point it showed old horror movies from the 50's for a dime--sort of a throwback place.  Anyway, the movie had been out for a while, and I was still excited to see it because I'd LOVED the show, and imagine my surprise when my best friend, Cherie Smith, was there.

Cherie was awesome. For one thing, her parents smoked pot just like mine (yes, it was the late 70's, why do you ask?) and neither of us had to lie about what our parents did to relax.  Trust me, in junior high? This is a big deal.  She had this aMAzing singing voice--we were both in choir, and we really loved to sing, but she was much better than I was.  She had braces, which I thought was really glamorous, although she was counting the days until they came off, and she had started her period, which to us girls in 7th grade who had all read Are You There God, It's Me Margaret, also equated glamour.  I'd told Cherie everything in my callow little heart, and I like to think she had done the same.

So Cherie and I got to watch The Muppet Movie together--she had a sore throat, and was a little sick, but other than that, we had a really good time.  She loved the music-- we both wanted to sing those songs.  The Rainbow Connection?  That was a good song.  That did everything a song should do--it made us yearn to talk to a green frog in the swampland of Florida--we were sure he knew exactly what it was like to be chubby, unpopular girls in the middle of the Nor-Cal cultural desert.

Cherie and I sat in the same group in English and homeroom.  There were four of us, and on Monday morning after school started, I was surprised to see that she wasn't there.  The other girls and I were puzzled--I got to tell them that we'd seen each other at the movies, and then homeroom started and then the principal wandered in.  He was a lovely man who actually still employed spanking, but only did it to kids he thought would really benefit from someone giving enough of a damn to say, "Hey, kid, you're screwing up.  Own up, take your punishment, and then we'll talk about how to fix your life."  To this day, a friend of my stepbrother's say that all the good things from his life--wife, kids, steady job--came from getting his ass paddled by the broad, graying man that we all both loved and feared.

We didn't fear him today.  Today, he was crying.  Grownups NEVER cried in the '70's--especially in small schools with a combined 7th and 8th grade class of 80, maybe.  It just wasn't done.

But today was different, because today he had to tell us that a kid he'd known since she was in Kindergarten had passed away from a bizarre form of pneumonia, and that's how I found out my best friend died.

I kept it together--everyone told me that I should go to the office and call my parents, but they weren't losing it and I wasn't either.  Besides, after the nurse called my dad in the fourth grade because my eyes had swollen up from poison oak, he had made it absolutely clear that he was never to be called from work again unless I was near death.  I was fine.  By best friend, not so much, but I could still breathe, so I kept it together and let my folks work in peace.  I got home in the quiet of the house and lost it, and when I was done, got up and started my chores.  I told my parents when they got home, and my dad gave me a hug, and then he and my stepmom exchanged a look over my head. I'll never forget the nature of that look.  It was the look of complete and utter loss--they could deal with sprained ankles, deceased pets, and crazy ex-husbands and wives.  They could deal with my step-brother getting busted for pot and getting a call from the library saying I wanted to read books too old for me, and my little sister tattling on us if we looked at her cross-eyed.  They could not deal with a best friend who had died.   (As it turned out, this was practice--a few months later, this happened to my dad.  But that's another story.)

A few months later, Toxic Shock Syndrome became big news, and someone went back to look blood tests, and put two and two together, and Cherie became an official victim of a bizarre little health scare that most people have forgotten now.

The next year, our choir got to go away to a collaborative junior high choir--we performed songs from the Muppet Movie.

So, I finished telling this story as we sat by the fire and just talked, and I apologized for how grim it was.  Chicken was apologetic.  "Mom, that's AWFUL."  It was Mate who looked the saddest.

"You've heard this story," I said, trying to lighten the moment.

"Yeah, but I didn't hear that it was related to The Muppet Movie.  Actually, it explains a LOT about your writing."

And it does.  It explains the absurd mixed up with the tragic, the circular nature of irony, and a belief that no character in the story is EVER safe from the powers that be.  It explains the solid belief that all things in the world are random.  It explains why weird shit drops from the universe on my character's heads, and why nobody is safe from anything that happens in the news and why grief will always be a part of joy, and death shall forever remain a part of life.  It explains why the most heartbreaking moments are always coupled with innocence, and why innocence is never truly lost--only misplaced for a while.  It explains why I can't write characters who hold grudges, and THE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING plots don't last long.  It explains why my characters get together and stay together in the firm belief that anything can happen to a loved one, so wasting time screwing around with dumb shit is not in the cards.

And it explains why I'll always love the Muppets, and why the song Rainbow Connection (which, just to hammer the point home, thank you cruel universe, we played to stunning applause in band in my senior year) will always bring me to tears.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Upcoming Release Snark



Okay, so I have two upcoming releases in December.  I'll talk about Fur-Bearing Critters next week--it's part of the Advent Calendar, and it's really hella cute.  I also have (sort of by request) this one here.  This couple is Ryan and Scott, and they were the couple from the Curious Anthology story, Shirt, as well as the stand-alone story, Phonebook.  (Phonebook is still available from Dreamspinner Press.)  Anyway, Elizabeth asked me to write them a Christmas novella, because they're sort of adorable, and seriously hot!  Anyway, Puppy, Car, and Snow is sort of a family story.  Scotty and Ryan are snowed in with Ryan's family for Christmas, and while most of Ryan's family is okay with the gay, they're NOT okay with Scott!  Ryan spends his family vacation defending his lover from his mother--and mothers can be just BRUTAL--we all know that!  (I know I will be.  Seriously.  Brutal.)  Anyway, the cover art is lovely (THANK YOU, ANNE CAIN!!!!!!)  and I hope you like the snark!





 






For Saturday Snark at Marie Sexton's: From Puppy, Car, and Snow  




Oh God. Ryan wasn’t wearing any sleep shorts or any underwear…. Oh God. He totally meant business, and Scott’s hard on went from limp biscuit to porn star in one brush of his fingers on Ryan’s bare hip.
“Do you still have a headache?” Ryan whispered furiously, and Scott cringed. The only really bad thing about that lie was a boyfriend who might hold back on sex because of it.
“That depends. What’s your mother doing?”
“Hanging upside down in her cave, I think. Why?”
Scott giggled a little and fumbled for the waistband of his sleep shorts. “Because if she’s in her cave, my headache just got cured,” he said truthfully. 









And then there's this! Talker's Graduation is up for book of the week over at Whipped Cream Reviews this week.  If you've got a half a second, go on over and vote for me!  (Pretty please?) 






And other than that?  Well, two Thanksgivings down, and one to go!  I'll get back to you on Monday with deets about tomorrow's--it's the big one at my parents house, so that should be interesting!    So, big Thanksgiving wrap up on Monday, but for today?  I finished Gambling Men, am in editing for Chase in Shadow, and am going to ditch out on this glamorous life in front of my computer and go watch Up with my family!  Ciau!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

From my crazy family to yours.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Working like a bondsman...

36.jpgOkay-- first of all, does everybody know what that means?  That it refers back to the time when the country was using indentured bondsmen (and women) to do all the hard shit, people who had literally bartered years of their lives in return for passage and room and board?  I used it in a work, and the editor was puzzled, then I asked Mate and Chicken, and they said, "But Mom!  Who would get that?"  and I thought that maybe I'd run it by you all!

Anyway, lots of recovery going on here at the Lane Crapmansion-- Mom's recovering from the bug and wondering whether or not to go to aqua classes, the kids are recovering from school for a week, the dog is recovering from, ohmygod!, not having food for almost six hours!  (The dog is spoiled, why do you ask?)

But I'm pleased to say that, aside from a lingering headache and the stamina of a kitten, I'm almost done with the flu!  Yay!  Alas, I seemed to have given it to everyone else.  Boo!

But that does not mean that we have done nothing this weekend--nay, indeed!  (If I'm gonna say 'working like a bondman, I'm gonna go full-balls archaic, ya think?)  Anyway... where to start where to start where to start...

First of all, Zoomboy had his last soccer game of the year.  We lost (is everybody surprised?  Me neither.) The good news is, all of the little boys still want to play the game, and that's a victory and a half, lemme tell you.   Anyway, Zoomboy's big deal so far has been extreme dot-to-dots.  That's between 500-1000 dots-- and, Zoomboy worked three in a row until his neck cricked.  Mate and Chicken and I all went "Awwww..."  and then I remembered something a friend told me.  Scorpios and Libras get along FANTASTICALLY on the karmic wheel--something about how Scorpios make us Libras all liquid and happy inside.  SAGITTARIUS (Big T's sign) on the other hand, does NOT get along with Scorpios--which explains SO MUCH about our family dynamic.  Zoomboy does something, Mate, Chicken and I all go "Awwwww."  Big T goes "Arrggghhhh!!!"  It's the way we work.

In other kid news, Chicken also had her last seasonal game.  (She still has a couple of tournaments.)  She got her official sweatshirt last night, and I had to laugh.  She has a number of Latina teammates, and her coach, a longtime friend and fellow soccer mom, is also Mexican.  Chicken's coach has heard me screaming "Run, Chicken, run!" for more than ten years.  I didn't realize Chicken's team had picked up on this, until I saw her sweatshirt.  On the back, it said, "Pollitos".  Yup.  Little Chicken.  I was so proud.

And Squish?  Squish had this to say this morning;

"So this boy in my class told me that if I said (whispered) Bloody Mary in the bathroom, she would appear in the mirror.  It scared me so much I forgot to wipe and almost ran out with my pants down!"

"Well, sweetie, you need to ignore what those icky boys tell you, okay?"

"Nicholas isn't icky mom!  He's clean!"

"So Nicholas is okay?"

"He could be the boy I'm going to marry, but I don't know.  I like Terrence better."

Yeah.  That whole conversation gives me the knee-shaking palm sweats.  You?

Oh yeah... and the cover?

So, this book I've submitted, Chase in Shadow... it's, umm... tense.  And painful.  And I used as my inspiration a couple of models from a GLBT related industry.  The picture is of "Travis"-- but to me, he'll always be "Tommy"--and that picture is SO much like Tommy that, as soon as it hit the net, I had to show you.  Someday I may find a picture of "Chase" for you, but, umm, I'm sort of holding out for one with his clothes on.  You'll all be more comfortable that way.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Snark Again


It's once again time for Saturday Snark on Marie Sexton's blog, and for the first time I KEENLY felt the lack of my old hard drive, because I had the cover art for this book on it, and I REALLY liked the cover art for Making Promises.  Mikhail looked JUST as adorable, snarky, and arrogant on that cover as I imagined him in real life, and I treasure that.  Anyway, so no cover art--and, in this clip, no Mikhail, because part of the lovely match up was that Shane could be just as snarky as his little Russian cohort, and I love that.  
(I'm feeling better, thank you all of your concern--today is Zoomboy's last soccer day, and I'll be out there on the field for him and Chicken, and that'll probably zap me of all strength for the day, but I'll be there!  Oh-- and the picture?  A friend sent me the picture, and I thought it was lovely.)
Anyway-- on with the snark!

They took Shane’s car. Kimmy sat in back because Kurt held the seat of the two-door forward for her and said, “Here ya go, babe.” Then he refused to wear a seat belt because it might crush his cape.
If it hadn’t meant hurting his baby, Shane might have hit a tree as they were driving (providing he could find one in Gilroy) just to watch the guy go flying through the window.
The questions about money were incessant—how much he’d gotten from the settlement, where he kept it. His response of “in a bundle in my sock drawer” made Kimmy giggle, and Kurt ended up telling her to cut it out, the men were talking. Shane started wondering about how much bodywork would really cost. He was, as Kurt kept pointing out, financially loaded.
When he found Shane unresponsive about the money, Kurt started talking shit about Mikhail, and Shane actually had to watch his breathing as red spots danced in front of his eyes.
“I didn’t know you were queer, bro—if I had, I would have warned you off the little dude. He’s sort of a man-slut, you know? Never met a Faire hook-up he didn’t like?”
I don’t do seasons, only days. Yeah, Shane knew. He also knew—with a cop’s bone-deep instinct—that there was a reason for that, but he wasn’t going to discuss Mikhail’s sex life with this guy.
“You know, I think you only get to use the word ‘queer’ if you actually swing that way,” was what he did say. “Or if a queer person likes you as a friend.”
Kurt had laughed. “Well, it’s a good thing you and me are tight, my man, am I right?”
“No.”
Kurt laughed some more, and Shane patted his steering wheel sadly. He really did like this car. And Kimmy might get hurt in the accident as well. But it was oh-so-tempting.
“Shane’s bi,” Kimmy said unexpectedly from the back, and Shane caught her eyes in the mirror and smiled.
“This is true,” he said, as though encouraging a child. The Kimmy who had squealed that morning when she saw him seemed to be in hiding. So was the brutally honest Kimmy who had talked about being an addict and wanting a family. This Kimmy was a frightened Kimmy, and she was huddling in the back of the car as though saying “boo” was going to get her kicked onto the pavement and into the middle of nowhere. (Was this really the main road to Gilroy proper? Shane had seen more metropolitan thoroughfares in the middle of the Canadian wilderness.)
“I thought you were really brave, Shaney,” she said now, casting a furtive glance at Kurt. “You took a chance on someone. Even if it didn’t pay off, you… you know. You can find someone who won’t be a cowardly weasel….”
“Oh come off it, Kim!” Kurt said dismissively. “The guy was only being smart. You’ve got to look out for yourself, right—shit! Why’d you do that?”
“Squirrel,” Shane said with a straight face. Kurt had slid across the seat and smacked his head on the window when Shane swerved, and now he was putting his seat belt on with something approaching zeal.
“I saw it too,” Kimmy said seriously, but she met Shane’s dry glance in the rearview with twinkling eyes. 




(Oh, hey-- I've been guilty of guest blogging, and you can find a couple of my articles here and here too!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pure Concentrated Eevoll

Okay, so this is the time of year when the grade school petrie dish overruns with nasty squiggly little rhinovirus and other ghoulies, and, well, I'm afraid that petrie dish just exploded in my head.

And my lungs.

And my sinuses.

And generally any part of my body that has to function on a regular basis to keep me alive.

Blargh.

Oddly enough, it's been GREAT for the writing.  No going to the gym (and now my feet are acting up again) and no fussing with that silly "cooking, cleaning, and shopping" thing (not that I cleaned anyway)--just me, huddling at my computer, telling the world to go the fuck away because mommy feels like death, warmed over, with a side of dog crap and phlegm on it's own special plate.

Fun times at the Lane crapmansion, that's for sure.  (By the way?  Ny-Quil, Day-Quil, anything from the "Quil" famill--does provide for some very vivid, very disturbing dreams.  I almost coughed myself to death last night in an effort not to have to take medicine so I wouldn't have to have those dreams.  Effort failed--all I achieved was two hours of extreme discomfort, and a medicine schedule that leaves me up an hour earlier than I might otherwise be.  I repeat.  Blargh.)

Anyway, I had parent/teacher conferences on Monday for Squish and Zoomboy--and I'm still wildly in love with their school, and bitterly, painfully furious with the idea that my kids are in classrooms with thirty-one other students.  That's fucking insane, anything over twenty-five is just madness--but their teachers are such good people, and are so warm.  Zoomboy is... well, frighteningly bright.  His teachers both agree--they say he's too quiet, but, just like Chicken, since he's not quiet with ME, I can live with "needs to communicate more at school." But he's solidly over grade level in reading and all of the accompanying skills--and he's SUCH a good boy.  I want him in a GATE class, only because that will give him a peer group, pretty much for life.

And Squish?  Squish did what we figured she would.  We spent part of the summer trying to work on her skills, and she was blowing us off and shining us on.  We gave up, figuring that once she had a peer group and an actual authority figure, she would start to thrive, and we were right.  She started out with low skills, but has now sort of taken off.  By the end of the year, she might have some of the highest skills in the class--and the teacher is, as always, charmed by her.  She stayed home with me yesterday--she wasn't really sick, but she spent an hour on my lap playing tic-tac-toe, and I was, once again, charmed by her.  It seems to be the thing to do.

And in other news?

Well, I've sort of "officially" won NanoWrimo--I find this to be sort of funny.  Nano requires 50K in a month, and yes, I've written 50 K this month--32K finishing up a story called Chase in Shadow, a story so exquisitely painful that I wish I could recommend valium with every read.  Horrible, hideous, angsty, excruciating...  and yet I had to write it, and Chase and Tommy, the two leads? Ye gods.  Someone called my characters "deliciously flawed"--and that's Chase and Tommy in a nutshell.  Flawed, in pain, seeking solace in and furious with each other--it's a complicated personal dance in a complicated, personal hell.  God, I hope people like it.

And the other thing I've been writing?  Well, does anyone remember the Gambling Men stories?  Jace and Quent?  The first things, really, that Dreamspinner ever accepted from me?  Yeah, well, the second story, after the Curious anthology, was called Raising the Stakes, and it was the last thing Dreamspinner PUBLISHED about these guys, but not the last thing I WROTE.  When I was done with the final short story in what amounted to being a complete plot arc, I had 29K.  So Elizabeth, my publisher, and Lynn, my editor, sort of cajoled/prodded/insisted that I take that 29K and expand it to a full novel length.  Now, all of the stories were written from Quent's point of view, and I figured that the best way to double the verbiage would be to look at things from Jace's pov.  So here I have a complete plot arc, all I have to do is fill in the blanks from the other character--sort of.

Because that other character has his own background, and Quent has his own background and basically?  It's another complicated dance, and a bit of skill stretching I haven't done since Vulnerable.  I'm hoping I've got the chops for it now, because one of the flaws in Vulnerable is that people could spot (without knowing what it was) the division between where Vulnerable started as a short story and then was expanded into a novel.  I want this to be seamless, I want the Jace to sound like he was there in my head all along, and I DON'T want to lose that hot, visceral, fuck-or-die immediacy from the first stories.

So, I've written 18K on this one, for a total of 46K in Gambling Men, and that means I've written 50 THOUSAND words this month--and still haven't finished my project.  (Okay--so I finished ONE project--I'm not sure how that counts.)

Anyway, in general?  I'm writing.  I'm producing books.  I'm sick, the kids are great, and the cat is pure, concentrated evil.  To quote our vet:  "We'd be happier if Steve was a little less, umm, fluffy."

Us:  "So would we, but she's unlivable when there's no kibble on the table, and she eats the dog food for fun."

Vet:  "Eats the dog food?"

Us:  "Yup."

Vet:  "Cats don't usually do that."

Us:  "Most cats aren't Steve."

True, so true.


Monday, November 14, 2011

It Didn't All Happen At The Zoo

Zoomboy turns eight on Tuesday, but this weekend was his "party day."  Last year we did the Chuck E. Cheese thing--but I didn't want to do that this year.  For one thing, it's expensive, and for another?  Zoomboy really only has a few good friends.  He relates to one or two kids really well, but is lost in a group.  I'm like this, and so is his father, and I fervently believe that this is OKAY.  One of Zoomboy's best birthdays ever simply had his family.  He got one really awesome toy and spent two hours playing with it under the kitchen table.  When I said we could have a birthday day with is best friend and his little sister, he was ecstatic.  We went to the zoo and saw a movie and then came home for pizza, more playing, and cake and ice cream--and he was pretty damned excited about that--can you tell?
Anyway, so this was the zoo--and I'm sorry about the fingerprint on the camera when I took these--it seems that playing Angry Birds on the phone requires greasy fingers in all sorts of places you would not imagine they need to be!
Anyway, so this was only really part of the Birthday.  While I was shepherding kids through lands of primates, big cats, and reptiles (ZB's friend's favorite place!) The rest of the family was doing this:



 Okay, so it looks like they were making a big fat mess in our living room.  But they weren't--well, they were, but they weren't JUST making a big fat mess.  See, that big fat mess in our living room (which is still there by the way) USED to be a big, fat, mess in the KID'S room--and that's rough.  Lots of toys, no place to play--and it wasn't the kids' fault really.  Their room is REALLY REALLY small.  In fact, Squish's bed (which she never slept in because it was covered in stuffed animals) was really her converted crib.  So there was this room, and all of these books and all of these toys, and no place really for two little kids who can actually play quietly and amuse themselves if they're just given a little space. So, while I was taking the kids out to play, Mate and the big kids were providing a little space.
I know--it still looks messy--and we still have to sort the toys in the living room and get rid of a lot of them.  But this?  This is a start.  It's an assembled bunked, and the kids will get to pick some stuffed animals to go on top, and a bin of toys a piece to go in the spaces between.  But the one thing we're not getting rid of (and you can only guess at it) is the big lovely rug full of space for them to play on when they need to.  It's amazing how often we forget that space is a gift.  And this year, it was our gift to Zoomboy--who was also appreciative of the bunk bed.  Cause he thinks it's cool--and so does Squish, who gets the bottom bunk all to herself.  (She needs a bed to herself--her typical sleep position is one we call the "fainting starfish"--draw that picture in your head and ask yourself if you really want to be anywhere near that when it snores.  And yes, she snores.  The other night she fell asleep on her father's lap and competed with the dog.  Mate said, "Oh listen--she's just like her mother."  plllbbbttt.)

And speaking of Squish?  After we dropped Zoomboy's friend off (he spent the night--another first, because for the first time we had room!) we went and got new shoes for the kids.  Zoomboy got your basic model tennis shoe--the strap is different and so is the velcro, but boy's tennis shoes haven't really changed in function in the last sixty years.

Squish's shoes on the other hand... She saw these across the store.  The toes light up.  She put them on and said, "Do I look good?"

I'm just lucky she still asks.  This morning I started singing "These Boots Are Made for Walking" by RoseAnne Cash, and she strutted around the kitchen.  Don't mess with a girl in sparkly toed boots--it's a truism!

So anyway-- that was my weekend, and I'm exhausted.  But pleased.  My children have a place to play--and my family worked toward a worthy goal, and Zoomboy is eight.  I'm so proud.