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

Monday, April 30, 2007

This Entire Conversation Happened in My Head While Running Late on the Way to Work...

I'm sorry, Mr. Prickweenie sir, I was late today...

Yes, yes, I know school starts at 7:45--but I've got 1st period prep and four kids--didja really expect me to be here AT 7:45? Or 8:00? or 8:15? Okay...8:30 IS reasonable, yes sir, I see that now...but that's not my point...

My point is, that you guys changed up the schedule on me for testing...I mean really, is that fair? Okay...forget I asked, I guess it is fair to expect me here when everybody else is, and I actually managed (with food for my testing students!!!) last week, right? I mean--you can't say I'm not working on it...but, well, yeah...this morning was something of a mess.

No, no, my alarm clock went off at the right time--too freakin' early, that apparently IS the right time, but my middle-schoolers had an orthodontic appointment for their outrageously priced straight teeth. No, I didn't actually have to TAKE them to the appointment--they were just, you know, THERE...everywhere I tried to walk, get something, or pee, there was a middle-schooler with some obnoxious form of paperwork that I needed to sign. No. Apparently they couldn't do that last night. Yes. It had to be done at 6:15 in the morning as I tried to get clothes together for three out of six family members without waking the two that would raid the catbox for kitty roca if I wasn't watching them! So you see? That part? Not my fault?

And then the baby woke up...*giggle giggle* Christ she's cute. Well, now, that's not really RELEVANT, but I did have to cuddle her, and make her laugh, and blow raspberries on those damned fat little feet...*ahem* sorry, sir. I'll try to stick to the point. And then the Cave Troll woke up--what? No, he's not really a Cave Troll. He's just the three-year old... he's sort of a personality though...yes. I see. You don't really need to know that. Anyway, he dragged his giant Scooby Doo into bed with us last night and he needed to explain that Scooby Doo kept us safe from the monsters--that's serious conversation Mr. Prickweenie!!!! Don't you see that I HAD to listen?

Oh...yeah...there was turkeys and road construction too...Turkeys. Yes. They all sort of herd around the car sometimes. No. Seriously--we've got a sign for them and all. No I don't get high! With this job I WISH I did, but seriously--aren't I weird enough already?

Anyway, you can check out the road construction--it just started today. No. I didn't know about it. Well, if I'd known about it I couldn't possibly have woken up any freakin' earlier anyway, so I don't know why the road construction should stress you out.

Oh...the X-Large soda from MacDonalds? That's really just a kindness to my students. No, that's not a joke. Do you see these eye-circles? Do you think it's a joke?

*sigh* Okay, Mr. Prickweenie. I'll be on time for the rest of the week. And then, you know, I've got 1st period off again, so I just sort of figured I could...nevermind. Sure. Absolutely. I'll be in my room during my prep every time you check.

Because I don't need that time for anything else, you know.

Amy Lane

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Button...

I have no idea how to add this to my blog permanently...but I know that most of you do!

Hey--if anyone is out there--could you check the web site and the short story section, and see if the text is black on black? I've got one report of black on black text, and my laptop (not the computer that posted the website) registers black on off-white...if anyone else is having this same problem, let me know!

IT'S UP! IT'S UP! IT'S UP! (But I'm down...)

I've been sleeping all weekend--I don't know what I got hit with, but I'm pretty sure it was a direct result of too much stress and too little sleep, and it involved fever, shaking, and breaking out into the stanky sweats...and pretty much nothing else accomplished in the Amy Lane house of Domestic Pain...except this:

Green's Hill My Website!!!!

Mate deserves accolades and foot rubs and breakfasts in bed for this--look what he did for me!!! It's like Mother's Day and my Birthday all in one, and I couldn't be prouder!!! It has links to where you can buy the books and (catie and Louiz!) a button and, my personal favorite, short stories of mine so that people who are tempted to pay the outrageous price for my books might get a taste of what they're forking over their $$$ for.

Go over and take a look--I'll be sleeping, but I'm pretty sure I'll feel your admiration for Mate's handiwork in my dreams:-)

Friday, April 27, 2007


An exit from the land of Bummage.

Okay, there's been some highly amusing stuff on the kid front in the last couple of weeks--let's see if I can recap:

The Cave Troll: After that horrible moment with "Take off your shoes, mama, take them off?" I went to pick him up from day care (mind you, this is 8 hours later and he's 3 1/2) and he said, "Mama, you pinched me!" (My last gasp punishment in the car to get him to stop shrieking at the top of the lungs, thereby distracting me in the world's most unpredictable freeway traffic and thereby killing us all.)

"Yes I did," I replied, "YOu wouldn't stop screaming at me."

"I'm sorry mama," he told me, "I'm sorry about your shoes." *sniff* Is there a better Cave Troll on the face of the planet? I think not.

Of course, he's still pointing out stuff we see as we go and expecting me to repeat him...this is a problem when I'm 'writing' as I drive and he starts shrieking in the middle of a lovely lull of silence. It's also a problem because his enunciation isn't perfect. Example?

"Horz, mama, horz!"

*blink* *blink* "Gees, honey, give the poor girls a break--their make-up wasn't that thick..."

"Mama, wanna ride that horz!!!"

"Thank God."

On the Ladybug front:

1. Ladybug sings--I sing to her a lot--usually that Sesame Street song (La la la la lampost, lalala linoleum,) of course, I can't remember the words so I'm making them up... (la la la la lucybelle, la la la leviticus, la la la la libertine, la la la la lepidemidimus...)and apparently, she goes to day care and sings 'la la la la urgleplarck' to her buddies, and they sing back. "I have no idea what they're saying, " says their day care person, "But they sure do like the conversation.

2. Ladybug walks--two steps, max. Then she does a complicated risk/benefit ratio calculation in her head, flops on her ass and crawls to the next place she can stand up. Watching that risk/benefit calculation is priceless've got to wonder how that's playing out...

3. Ladybug dances--we have this game called Guitar Hero II--basically, it's like air guitar for the technogeek... as a family activity, I'd give it a 10+ in the interactivity scale. So, her dad is doing the medium version of Guns&Roses Sweet Child of Mine (those of you who have read the books, you must know how tickled I am that this song made the cut, even if I like the Sheryl Crowe version better) and we look over at Ladybug. She's doing the pop-lock-& roll like a hyperactive teenager, and adding hand-claps in the middle. Ah, gods, where's a video camera when you need one?

Chicken is:

Well, mostly she just is. I really hope the photos are loading tonight--I had her go down the road and take a picture of the turkey crossing sign--she was so tickled to be the official family photographer. I"ve mentioned this before, (I think) but her science teacher e-mailed all the parents in her science class and said, "This class is acting out, please talk to your child about their essay on respect that they were required to write." I talked to Chicken and she said, "I'm excused." I e-mailed the teacher to confirm and she said, "Your daughter is one of the reasons I'm so mad at the rest of the class--she wants so badly to learn."

I was prouder than words.

And Big T?
Big T signed up for high school with his dad. When Big T was the world's biggest baby (25 lbs at 4 months--no joke) I got a part time job at another school. Big T had difficulty at this age--he had what we thought was 'colic' but what we later figured was his way of dealing with his communication handicap. He screamed for hours at a time. We went through babysitters like water--as in, they'd call us up in tears at 5:30 in the morning and say "We just can't do this today. So sorry. Not happening." I got fired from the world's crappiest part time job by a vice principal who forgot that I even had a baby at home.

After my husband took T in to sign up, he said "Does Name X ring a bell?"

I said, "Uh, yeah, she's the @#$% who fired me from my first job."

He said, "Well, she's T's principal now."

Did you guys just hear the thud? I think my irony just dropped!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Okay...I bribed Chicken with the offer to wear my newest FO (the fingerless mitts are finally done--they're in the Samurai's yarn and they look pretty good, in spite of their fraternal status) in order that she would take pictures of our craptacular abode for bells' meme.

She did it--we had pictures of the the crap-family-castle and the adorable children and the fingerless mitts--all in all, Chicken did us proud.

And then blogger blew chunks, so last night's post was a total wash. Bummage? Yes. Bummage.

Then there was the Cave Troll's morning melt down. "Take off your shoes and socks, mama...take them off. Go to bed. Sleep. Sing to me. TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES!!!!" Is your heart broken yet? I've been picking up the little bitty pieces of mine out of my sleeve and my hair and from my pockets and trying to put them back together, but so far, there is just not enough heart left for me to do my job. Bummage? Yes. Bummage.

I tried to do my job. I was teaching Emily Dickinson and I was getting EXCITED about it--I always get psyched when I'm teaching something I either haven't taught or haven't read, and we have new anthologies and there's always something in there that I haven't read or haven't taught or both...I rediscovered Uncle Walt this year, and Mending Wall is always fun and I love Dickinson already... but the little fuckers wouldn't shut up. I'm sure that out there is a some mother absolutely appalled that I would call a class room of 16 year olds 'little fuckers'. That's because this mother hasn't faced a classroom full of the little fuckers while trying to hand them the keys to the Goddess benighted universe only to have them spit vitriol in her face. I have. I maintain that my 3rd period is made up of little fuckers. Individually, I like them. As a clot, they're giving me an aneurysm. Bummage? Yes. Bummage.

A kid from my 5th period brought in El Dorado. I love that movie--I'm a sucker for high quality animation with snarky humor and heart and soul.

I caved. I caved like Carlsbad, I caved like a cardboard condominium, I caved like a Saxon mineshaft, I caved like a hibernating bear. I caved.

El Dorado? It's fucking brilliant. Bummage? Well...we changed our schedule up for star testing, so the movie will be over 1/2 an hour before the period is up. (No, no...I don't have the strength to rant about Star Testing now.) So when the movie is over? Then there will be bummage.

But only for 1/2 an hour.

Then there will be hope.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Another Quickie...

Sorry to leave you all hanging on that 'giant flesheating beetle' thing...the Cave Troll was in fine shrieking form yesterday... I'm not sure what was bothering him, but it was, by effect, bothering the whole rest of us. I heard myself writing yesterday's post in the grocery store, trying to apologize to the whole produce section for the giant roue that Chicken had just dragged to the claw machine. (That's a whole other post that I'm trying to avoid...)'s all good. The beetle has crawledout of the Cave Troll's ass, (and we've bought him quite a few American Idol happy meals...#$%^ing McDonalds...I don't even WATCH that show!!!) and he is back to his irrepressable self. One of his more endearing quirks at present? When he and Ladybug have the same toys (like, say, happy meal toys...) he insists that she has her toy when he has his. Since she truly, honestly, doesn't give a diaper of beetle-shit about whether their toys match--and, in fact, frequently tosses her toys cheerfully overboard from the car seat to hear the noise they make when they hit the crunchy bottom (you don't even want to see my car...I cringe just looking at it from the outside)--this can cause...well, it can cause enough friction to ignite a holiday bonfire in Alaska sleet, that's what it can do.

But it's really sort of funny and endearing too.

And on the other funny and endearing fronts? I was putting the Cave Troll's sandals on this morning (Because we've lost his tennis shoes already. We're bad parents. I've said this.) when Ladybug stuck her fat little foot out so I would put a shoe on IT. Well, that did it--I rooted her Easter sandals out of the rubble and put those Buster Browns where they belonged. And then laughed until I wet myself because she couldn't stand up in them...she just rolled around the living room trying to figure out how to get her shoes under her. High me!!!

Asta Manana Amigos!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

May I Have Your Attention Please:

Will the mad scientist who genetically engineered the ginormous toxic flesh eating beetle the crawled up my son's ass this morning, please come back and reclaim his work. The poor kid needs a nap.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Some days you're the cat...

Some days you're the dead mouse that's been flopped back and forth until your eyes bulge out and your insides are jelly.

Today was my second AP Saturday, and, for an extra bit of spice, I brought the little ones... Mate was tied up seeing a friend about a horse (yes, really--not that we'd actually own a horse, but my friend Wendy does, and there was some brouhaha about a trainer and a bill and a $10,000 horse being sold to cover a $250's convoluted, as Wendy's life gets, but she wanted muscle, and got Mate instead. Mate will be good at this though--he has an innate ability to calm people down and make them deal reasonably. It sort of explains how he's lived with me for twenty years.) However, as much fun as HE may have had, Bryar and I were chasing small children around Round Table while I explained the complexities of the interpretive novel essay to a group of amused but game high school Seniors scarfing pizza. We had a good time, ultimately, and I feel good about the kids going into the test. I wish more had taken it, but the time I should have been pushing them was the time when the weirdness was going on, and I have a small, inexpressible hard kernel of anger in my gullet about how this one nightmare parent and her juggernaut of bad opinion and toxicity was allowed to poison students to the extent that they'd jeopardize their own futures by blowing off something as important as an AP exam, but the upshot is, that a few (14) dedicated souls will be taking the exam, and since I'm pretty sure all but one have a good chance of passing and most of those with a score of a 4 or above, I know that my last year teaching AP will be hard one to live up to. (For the record, the small private school we rival with, just got their first 5 last year--I was surprised at this, because I usually get about two a year.)

And that's one of the things that's gnawing at me...I knew going in this year that the head prickweenie was gunning to get me out of the AP program--why he wanted to do this, when, in a school whose regular test scores are so far below the state average this was one of the few places where we actually SURPASSED not just the state average but the national average, I have no idea. Wait. That's not true. I HAD no idea. But I just had two enlightening conversations with some colleagues of mine, and the consensus (among us) seems to be that Head Prickweenie is simply not happy with those of us that HE DIDN'T HIRE. That's me. Actually, I've got seniority in the entire department (but no MA--I dropped out of that program and wrote books instead.) And so, a few of us have adopted the "Fuck him and his head Prickweenie horse" attitude--and it's working for me. In fact, I'm a lot happier than I have been--when you can narrow down the focus of your anger and say "fuck you and your head Prickweenie horse," it is like throwing an emotionally charged firebolt at a dartboard picture or burning a prickweenie effigy... it's very cathartic, to say the least. But the thing that's gnawing at me is, talking to these students today--I made a difference with them. I have letters from a host of Advanced Placement students that tell me that I made a difference with them too. I just worry that I won't get that kind of praise feedback again, that's all. I seem to be an emotionally fragile creature and in order to do some of the things I do, I need props. I need reviews from my readers, sugar kisses from my babies, hugs from my middle-schoolers and "Thanx mizz macs" from my students, and quite frankly (and I've heard this from other teachers) this year's sophomores and juniors wouldn't thank they guy who dragged them from a burning building, they'd curse at him for scuffing their shoes. How am I going to make it in my self-publishing wasteland when the pool of that sustained my fragile little teaching ego dries up?

Forget I asked. I'm wallowing. I'm wallowing in depression about my horrible Sophomores, my doomed (if amusing) Juniors, and the fact that Prickweenie thinks I'm too cool to teach Seniors. I'm wallowing because I have two agents that haven't gotten back to me and one that's sent me the most impersonal rejection I think it's impossible to get. "I'm sorry I can't give you better feedback but due the the fact that we're a huge company and I have too much to do, I can just tell you you're not what we're looking for." That's actually a nice paraphrase, really.

And what I really need to do is woman up, take a walk, rub some dirt on it, and come back and write. Because BITTER MOON may be the best thing I've ever written. In fact EVERY next thing may be the best thing I've ever written, and they weren't joking when they said that it's 90% persperiation, because grabbing your ovaries in both hands and giving a giant psychic HEAVE is sometimes the hardest thing I've ever done. And sometimes, getting up in the morning and facing those indifferent faces and the constant talking pulls ahead in the pain race, just a smidge. Either way, I'm working on my thickened estrogen skin, because it looks like, on both fronts, I'm going to need it.

I'm not the cat today, but I'll be one tough-assed mouse if I have to.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ripping Off the Band-Aid...

Okay okay okay...

I know it was the "Thinking Bloggers" meme, but did you really need me to THINK? So. Not. Fair.

I'm still terribly proud that bells named me (you should see her knitting by the way...So. Gorgeous.)but I don't blog enough--I don't read enough blogs, that is. The ones I do read, I tend to give my whole and undivided attention to, so whats I'm gonna do is...

Name only three--three bloggers who make me think seriously, make me laugh, cry, and enjoy my itty-bitty-teeny-tiny online community--that should be good, right? (Of course, that is a number...we all know how I am with numbers...)

Roxie Roxie is like the older sister I never had. She's smart, funny, totally comfortable with herself. She also uses words and digital pictures like watercolors, and paints my grumpy, irritable, sleep-deprived world with optimism and grace. And she has cats. All good.

Mother of Chaos She's a smart mother of four, who recently qualified for my dream job of being self-employed. (I don't really know what she does, but she doesn't have to desert her lovely offspring at daycare anymore...hence, it's my dream job.) Her prose is BRILLIANT, and what's more, it's CLEAN. I mean, no typos, no grammar wonkiness, no messiness period--and her knitting? FABULOUS. Plus, she just got nominated as a hot mommy blogger (or something like that.) I have no idea what she looks like, but she is a definite 10 on the intellectual hotness scale. She will make you laugh out loud...but watch out--she is also a mother--the occassional weeper post makes its way in there, dammit... but then, I always feel better for a good cry.

Samurai Knitter aka Julie--okay, shall we talk about brilliant? She has read more books than I can dream of, and she, like, totally gets them. And breaks them down for you. And she's snarky and cool and she has visible tatoos and the world's second most adorable baby. (Sorry, Julie...I love you, but I just can't dis the Ladybug like that...on my blog, my kid is the cutest, on your blog, The Baby rules.) Oh yeah--and she dyes gorgeous yarn. In a week, I'll have the fingerless mitts to prove it!

Our beloved harlot How many of us started blogging because of Steph...that fact that we've taken the knitting blog--a medium Steph elevated to an art form and made it our own really, just makes us knitters, right?

Someday, I will have a little more time and will read other blogs...someday, I will get to all of the people I DO read as often as I like. But until then, in my tiny, self-involved world, these are my milestone bloggers... And the rest of you gorgeous, wonderful, amazing people? You are my dearest of cyberfriends, and on days like today, when my job is more than depressing and my children are sad and my thighfat is asking for it's own zip code, you are an indespensible, funny, sad, irritable, perfect part of my life and if the worldwide web ever gets apoplexy and goes belly up, you would all motivate me to actually (gasp!) pick up a pen and actually write because I love knowing you.

*whew* All done with that...yay!

On other

Today we had a lockdown drill wherein I entered grades that I couldn't earlier because my computer was down then and I couldn't enter later because I was at the world's most depressing student meeting...I'll spare you the legally private details, but all I can say is that our world sucks sometimes and the foster parent program is in the back of the vacuum, picking up the gummiest, smelliest, most appalling of human detritus and it often is the very embodiment of suckage and if I had anything left of me, I'd fix it but I can't and it just makes me sad.

The lockdown drill, btw, was pretty funny (in the grim, gallows type of humor that you develop teaching in my district) because it was followed by a stage of 'high alert' as some asshole from Yuba City picked up an ak47 and went running about two counties (or so we were led to believe) in a boxy red Honda talking about making himself another Virginia Tech. Fucking moron, I hope he dies of constipation. (I'm sorry, was that harsh? Ooops... see, this job really is killing my people skills, isn't it?) Anyway, nothing like having that announced after 15 minutes of mandatory drill silence (like my students could be silent, no, not even when their lives theoretically depended upon it) by the announcement that we're not in a lockdown drill anymore, but, hey, there's a maniac on the loose. Dueant, god of compassion, spare me!

And now for the thing that really, totally, threw me, and is probably responsible for the foulness of the second half of my post (the first half I was talking about great people--my tone was decidedly less foul). This morning, the Cave Troll threw his first "Mom I don't wanna go to daycare" tantrum EVER. And because it wasn't mom, alone, who can't call in sick or late to work because the would require four other people to go backwards in time in order to activate the sub system but it was mom AND dad, well, dad looked at me with bloodshot eyes and...

Caved to the Cave Troll.

Oh yeah, you all heard that right. He caved--the kids stayed home with him today. And I know what you all are thinking...

That's it, we're done for...

Mate and I are officially the Cave Troll's bitches...

And I cried all the way to work.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Not a problem...

Okay, first of all, I've realized I don't read enough blogs. This is a problem--I've maxed out my computer time as it is. The reason I realized this is that I was trying to think of my top five thinking blogs, and I realized that I wanted to nominate EVERY BLOGGER I KNOW. Because you're all my blogging friends, and I love you all. I don't read enough blogs to have that 'objective' thing choosing my five "Thinking Bloggers" is killing me. I'm tired, I'm irritable, I'll do it tomorrow. (But I WILL do it--I promise!!!.)

And other than that...there is continuous work wierdness going on--maybe, when I don't want to pick up the computer and throw it across the room when I think about it, I'll tell you all, but right now it's the only laptop I've got so I'll brood about it until I can really make it sing.

Last night we were out late on a school night--hence the tiredness and irritability. We were doing one of those 'time-share''s actually pretty funny. About two years ago, Mate's dad gave us a timeshare as a gift. I was like, "Has he met us?" because in order to use those things you have to plan your vacations months ahead of time instead of, like, hours ahead of time and I was sure we'd never get our collective shit together enough to make this really generous gift work. But now the one group met the other group and they've decided to kiss their timeshare owners asses (this is my interpretation...I'm sure the shark, uhm, I mean timeshare rep can describe it better) and anyway, I think we've come up with an arrangement by which we can take the whole famn damily out on the road once in a while and leave the mortgage to rot in peace. Totally groovy, actually. Or it will be when we get the hell out of dodge in an airplane and NOT the Dodge, actually.

So I'm tired today, too tired, in fact to have written this poem, which I wrote yesterday. (Dueant, god of compassion, that was the stinkiest seque in aeons, forgive me.) Anyway, I was modelling writing images to show a scene for my sophomores, and this is what I came up with. Since it's sort of a response to Louiz's question, "How do you manage?" I thought it would be good to post.

At the 5:30 am dark, the three year old makes
A worm burrow into the covers,
Plants his radiator body next to mine, and cries,
"See ducks mom, see ducks!"
He wants to go to the zoo.
I want to sleep 'til my alarm goes off--at 6:30.
At 6:00 am, my daughter comes in, yellow light in the bathroom
Teeth, hair, make-up,
"Mom did you wash the thing, the only thing I own worth wearing ever and always today?"
"Yes, now let me sleep 'til 6:30."
At 6:10 my son comes in, yellow light in the bathroom, teeth, no hair, I wish he'd brush hair, but noooooo, it's all a mess,
Steals my favorite sweatshirt from the pile by the bed.
"Need money, mom."
"It's in my purse."
"Did you sign my planner."
It's on the table, go away."
At 6:20, the baby cries.
I get her, get a bottle, change her diaper, sit on the couch
Glaring at the DOODLEPOBS through muck-gritty eyes
And kissing a soft neck.
From my bedroom, I hear the DJ's cheery chirp.
My alarm's gone off.
It's day.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Looking For the Hook-up...

Okay...the picture is the Easter picture--the christening of the Arwen cardigan and the Cave Troll's pritty-pritty socks...just to prove to everybody that they're still cute and all...

And other than that? bells tagged me for a Thinking Bloggers award...and I'm sort of embarrassed and stunned and (of course!) honored. The embarrassment comes from the fact that the award comes with a little button and I'm too technologically retarded to figure out how to get that little button on my site...the stunned part comes because, well, I've made some doozifupistying errors as a blogger, and being a 'Thinking Blogger' was (in the words of Willy the Great) "An honor that I dream not of."

But, since I gots the honor, I sorta gots the responsibility, and I've been thinking about why blogging has become so important to me and what it means to be a 'Thinking Blogger'. (This is almost a requirement of the job because you're supposed to tag and link other bloggers in the same way, but that will be another post!) And I think I've come up with a quasi-coherent answer about what blogging is to moi.

I am not social in real life. I tend to be very passionate and very vocal but also very protective of the overrated squishy organ in my chest--I am one of those people who has a few good friends, a beloved family, and a large circle of acquaintances. Part of this comes from a deeply rooted belief that I am A. not that interesting and that B. my flaws are such an overwhelming part of my personality that if people really knew me they'd clear a 'normalcy quarantine' space around my body and not let me around human beings, young people, or impressionable animals. The other part of this comes from the time crunch that is my life and the belief that some of the most important moments as a family come from the vegetative quiets in front of the television, reading books, being in the car together and generally knocking together and sharing space, dna, and oxygen with human beings obligated to love me. In short, there are no dinner parties at the McClellan household because it's more important that we take the little ones to the park and see what we all have to say to each other.

Now that work has become hostile and alienating on so very many fronts (it was not always like this, but then I did not always need to wear my cynicism like platinum-alloy chain mail either), besides Yarn Thing, the only other place I have to commune with my own kind is here, on the blog.

Bells and I had a discussion about 'editing' and I mentioned that 'editing' was not always my strong suit. I don't 'edit' my personality very well here on the blog--you've seen some of the fallout from that, and although I learn, you've also seen that I don't learn fast, and so you've probably guessed that much of what glints through the tarnish of too many misspelled words is very much, very authentically myself.

And a bunch of you still love me.

I'm stunned, embarrassed, and honored.

I wish I could say I logged on and blogged because I wanted the world to hear my voice. Actually, that's why I write novels--I like Amy Lane's voice better as a novelist--she's thoughtful and wise, and probably a size 12 at the most.

I actually blog because I'm looking for friends. My only real thought when I started to blog was that maybe, on the internet, where you can find anything, even I could find people who wouldn't think I'm too plotzing odd. Or at least like me for being plotzing odd--either or. And lo and behold, I have. Thanks all of you for hanging in there w/a plotzing odd blogger and being my friends.

Oh yeah--my real name is Shannon McClellan--I figured since I was writing novels AND writing blogs, I'd do both under Amy Lane. I also thought that if I ranted about work, it would help to do it under someone else's name. Now see, if I were a REAL thinking blogger, I would have thought about all the holes in that plan:-)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Everybody's a critic...

I'm running on zero sleep today, and I'm eyeball full of work angst, so I'm going to short throw the fun stuff and go outside and zone with the kinder.

Fun thing the first: As we were driving home yesterday, we had to make a stop at the bank--the Cave Troll showed his genius by saying, "Where are we goin', mom--this isn't home!" I was very impressed with his verbal acuity and his ability to reason. Then, when we were actually going home, he said, "Mom...this car is need to clean the car, Mom!"

While I was still in shock over this little bit of role reversal, Ladybug spoke up. "Yeah!!!" Like the title says, everybody's a critic...

Fun thing the second: I stole this shamelessly from a student by the way. My student works in a pet store, and a little girl came in just absolutely sure she was going to get a hamster. Miss T tried to explain that hamsters suck as pets and that they bite and the little girl wasn't buying, so the intrepid Miss T said, "Hey, do you want to hear a story?" The kid went "Yeah!" So Miss T said, "Last week I bought a hamster. He bit me. It bled. I cried. Do you still want a hamster?"

The kid walked out with a guinea pig.

Fun thing the third: It turns out that when they re-vamped the entire school system in a mismanaged endeavor that left the entire school without e-mail or grading systems for two days, they left my computer out. Of everything. Do you all remember that part in Empire Strikes Back when Han Solo pushed hyperdrive and nothing happened? "It's not my fault!!!!"

Fun thing the fourth: Guitar Hero 2. Seriously, if you remember the 80's at all, this x-box game will totally feed your music jones. I don't even play it, but I've been singing "Surrender" by Cheap Trick for an entire week... (Mommy's all right, daddy's all right, they just seem a little we-ird...)

Fun thing the fifth: I don't know what fun thing the fifth is, but considering I've had 20 hours of sleep in 5 days, I'm sure it will happen when my eyelids drift over my eyeballs and my overtaxed subconcious kicks in. You get the BEST weirdo dreams that way.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Two Fun Things...(maybe three...)

I'm feeling much better now--thanks everyone for the good wishes. I think my "evil quotient" thing was funny--I'm pretty sure most days I'm 80% Lust and 60% Gluttony...and most likely to die while being fed bananas and grapes by Paolo the pool boy. Ah...wouldn't we all...

Okay, I am two buttons away from finishing the baby's knit dress. It's gotten rave reviews from my students, who think it's adorable, including this one great quote from one of my cuter-than-pennies kids that got the trip to the yarn store...

"Can you make it larger Ms. Mac? Please--just put it in one of the can do that right? I mean, it would take care of that whole gauge thing, wouldn't it?"

I love kids sometimes--I was cracking up all day.

The other fun thing was this--I'm throwing requirements to the winds this quarter, and instead of stressing about teaching novels, I'm going to teach poetry--it'll stretch me a little, it does meet the standards, and, DAMN! would I love to get excited about something. Anyway, I used Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" as an example of imagery (tomorrow we're doing Uncle Walt, Song of Myself 33--good reading, that, and new to me!). Anyway, next to "Mending Wall" which opens up with the perennial lines "Something there is that does not love a wall" is a parody of "Mending Wall". It was written by a teacher from Lakeside California in the mid 90's, and it's first line is "Something there is that doesn't love a test". I was cracking up--I tried to share it with my Juniors, but they weren't buying. Too damned bad, because for me, this year, it was literature that saved my soul.

My delicate Ladybug is currently two-fisting her brother's chicken McNuggets--I'm side-tracking her with a couple of M&M's (she's on a strict ration of those--no more face plants in the chocolate bowl) but I do promise that, this weekend, I'll post pictures of her in her new rainbow dress and the Arwen cardigan... have your diet whipped cream, because it will be enough sugar to send a perfectly healthy woman into insulin shock!

Oh--and one more thing--I don't have ANY internet at work right now. This means that, whereas before, I could read your blogs at work and come home and comment (and therefore shorten the process) now I'm sneaking all my blogging in late at night at home--don't be offended if I'm not commenting as often as I usually do, my school is just in the dark ages. Of course, what I really need the computer for is posting my *&^%^&^%T^$#@%^&^E#$%Y&$$ grades. But that's boring--for all of us--and I don't want to stress about that any more...

It doesn't mean I won't!

Monday, April 9, 2007

On A Different Day, I'd Be A Different Sinner

Thanks, Rae, for my biggest laugh of the day:

Your Deadly Sins

Sloth: 60%

Envy: 20%

Greed: 20%

Lust: 20%

Pride: 20%

Wrath: 20%

Gluttony: 0%

Chance You'll Go to Hell: 23%

You will die with your hand down your underwear, watching Star Trek.

A convenient ailment...

It sounds like all of you had a wonderful Pagan day--complete with more gifts than chocolate. Of course, in an effort to control the proliferation of little plastic crap around here, I went for small amounts of gifts and a rather large amount of chocolate. I'm such a Goddess-forsaken moron.

I didn't go back to work today. I should have, but...

But I've got this thing with my digestion--it's pretty disgusting, mostly, and it can be controlled with diet, and I'm not an idiot--I know that if I eat too much chocolate, ice-cream, caffeine, motrin, or low-fat, low-sugar ANYTHING my intestines will develop a small rupture, fill up with blood, and my next couple of days will be highly uncomfortable and, well, did I mention disgusting?

I was up all last night with stomach cramps because I ate too much chocolate. I couldn't go into work today because I was suffering the consequences. I state that all totally flatly and without inflection, because, quite honestly, I wanted to avoid mentioning this whole mess because I felt like an idiot.

But, damn--it really is sort of funny, in an "I'm too dumb to tie my own shoes" way, isn't it? My kids were fine--they enjoyed their gifts and their easter egg hunt, and the deviled eggs that followed. We went to my parent's house, they played outside until the little ones were just sort of moving aimlessly in what should have been their sleep, and all in all it was an excellent family day. We had to pull Ladybug out of an orgiastic face-plant in the M&M bowl, but once we got some solid food into her and a nice, healthy bottle of toddler formula, she was peachy. But Mom? No. Mom ate so much chocolate it gave her a stomach ache of epic proportions. You know, your mom always told you that too much chocolate was bad for you and you didn't believe it? Here I am, living proof.

I'm going to go eat some cooked vegetables now, followed by a half a portion of cream based soup, and follow it up with a nap because I was up 'til 4:30 in the morning--calling a sub and wondering what the minimum requirement was for being smart enough to live.

I think I'm just sort of marginally there.

(Oh yeah--Ladybug's easter dress? Was made of cotton wasn't going to get done, so I'm finishing it now. I don't know when she'll wear it, but at least I was functional for her first Easter egg hunt, so it's a fair trade off...)

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Things To Do

1. Get hair cut. (Get several cut--one won't make much difference.)

2. Nag older children to clean living room, so that I might hide eggs at 2:00 am

3. Nag older children to clean kitchen, so that the cave troll might dye eggs to hide at 2:00 am.

4. Buy chocolate for the eggs that are plastic and don't go well with mustard, mayonaisse and pickles.

5. Buy more of those plastic eggs because Mate keeps throwing them away.

6. Go to Weight Watchers for a reminder as to why I personally won't be eating all that chocolate.

7. Buy toys for children because we are so pagan we have somehow confused Easter with Christmas.

8. Go to LYS for their knitting group, so that I might finish dress that I started in August, because Easter is the only time Ladybug would possibly wear such a dress.

9. Break the Arwyn cardigan out of it's moth proof plastic so that Ladybug might wear it tomorrow over her lovely dress.

10. Find Cave Troll's new socks. That and a new polo shirt--it's all we need for Easter. (Pants might help.)

11. Correct BITTERMOON manuscript--Yarri's eyes are brown, dammit.

12. Correct BITTERMOON manuscript--Aylan is in spy training, he needs to sleep with someone for spying purposes.

13. Keep working on BITTERMOON manuscript--I want to see what happens next.

14. Keep reading Roxie's manuscript--I really want to see what happens next.

15. Stop looking at Lace Style and Sox Sox Sox--I have 4 things on the needles as is.

16. Make sure a copy of Jim Butcher's White Night is in the bathroom--I really want to see what happens next.

17. Get a new Scooby Doo Too DVD. The Cave Troll has worn out the old one.

18. Find another agent to send a packet to, in cast the really freaky lady from UPS screwed up my last send.

19. Stop calling work "That black hole from hell that is going to suck the flesh off my bones and the spirit out of my body". I have to go back in two days.

20. Buy size 3 4" dpns because not only did Chicken feed 3/5 of the last set to the dog, she now wants to make wristlets for herself out of sock yarn. MIddle Schoolers are the embodiment of irony.

20. Sit with the Ladybug on my lap for at least 2 hours in the next two days.

21. Get off the damn computer, I do have a life.

22. Wish all your friends on-line a Happy Pagan Day with lots of chocolate eggs... (and wish Needletart a wonderful Seder:-)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

*sigh* No Tatoo For Me

Well, I was going to go get a tatoo tonight--I have one on my arm that features a pictograph of the children's names, and I need to add Ladybug... (her name is really Arwyn Star--she gets the crescent moon with an 8 pointed star) Anyway, I was writing on BITTERMOON and I couldn't get my ass out of neutral to go. Ladybug will have to wait another day.

It's been that sort of day, really--the sort where my ginormous ass was locked in neutral, and even the stuff I did do wasn't really productive. Yesterday felt like that too. Examples?

Yesterday, I got the aforesaid mentioned ginormous ass out the door with the little ones. I cried as I dropped them off at the babysitters because I, the terrible mother who can't do my job worth ostrich shit, was going in to work on Easter vacation to enter grades because what I had in the computer was EMBARRASSINGLY OUT OF DATE. I get there and start to enter grades and...

And everything is off line. The net, e-mail, the grading, last Thanksgiving, an administrator that I usually admire almost got his face ripped off because my grades were terribly behind and he assumed I would be in on Thanksgiving break to catch up. "It's cute," I said, "That you think I'm going to desert my babies during a holiday to come in and deal with something I probably could have done if my fucking computer worked in the first place." (Yes, I drop the F-bomb with administrators. Yes, they frequently look at me like some sort of Savant with Tourette's syndrome. Yes, I do have a student with Tourette's syndrome who has probably never used the F word in his whole life as often as I'm about to in this post--the irony does not escape me. Neither does the link between my propensity for profanity and my habit of alienating anybody in authority--I don't know why these two things go together, but they inarguably, inevitably do.) So anyway, flash forward five months, and here I am doing exactly that. And all I can say to this situation is the following: If I am going to haul my ginormous ass into my un-vacuumed, unair-conditioned classroom to do work I might have gotten done if even one thing that should have worked this semester had actually worked, then motherfucker, your shit had better fucking operate to specifications if you want me to use my time for anything other than knitting socks for the cave troll.

Which turned out awesome, by the way.

So, having finished one project, it is the rule that no matter how many things I have on the needles (after I finished the socks, I had three) I do get to cast on another project, and while I was dithering as to what that might be, I came up with that goofy little wristlet with the buttons sewn on it. The Cave Troll loves them.

I have not yet made one for Ladybug because she loves to eat them. (No pictures of that, by the way--I was too busy wrestling the wristlet with the giant ladybug on it out of her mouth to take pictures--but I do have one of her being adorable.)

Anyway, so after those things (which felt like being stuck in neutral, even though they were magic gratification) I decided to finally start those fingerless mitts for myself--Louiz it was kismet--you planned your pair out of Julie's yarn and I'd done the first 6 rounds of mine out of Julie's pictures of them this time, just not enough done. There's not enough done because I'm working on a project for Ladybug that I started (HELLO!!) in August...creechy! Talking about swimming in neutral!!!

And as for the other thing I did today? (And watch it, there's going to be swearing again...) Well, four weeks ago, I sent out a packet to an agent who supposedly had a turnaround time of 2 weeks. Now, it's not like I expected my life to change in two weeks, but I was looking forward to being rejected--hell, going backwards is at least going SOMEWHERE, right? Anyway, no rejection letter. So I found these people on the internet and sent them a polite, cheerful, not-at-all-ironic e-mail asking what their expected turnaround time was.

What I got back was something to the effect of "Well, if you didn't have a phone number, e-mail address and SASE, we can't contact you. And if you did have these things, we lost them. You have to resubmit."

I have to WHAT? Okay, not like we're dumpster diving, but every time I print out a packet of this shit--it comes to about 75 pages, right? I have to pony up for another print cartridge which is about $25 and holy cucking fats people, what are you doing with my submission packets, crumpling them up and stuffing them in the walls for insulation? So I'm pretty pissed, but I'm getting my packet ready to resubmit, and then I take a good look at the address on the net and then I go back to my address on my letter of submission and then I doublecheck the letter on the submission with my (2006) writers market for agents and then...

The two addresses don't match. These fuckers MOVED? I get the sacharinne sweet "In the highly unlikely event that you didn't fuck this up, oh well, our bad" e-mail and these fuckers MOVED? Could she not have mentioned that? "Hey--our address is not the same as it was in a couple of highly creditable publications that you might have used to get it and maybe that's what happened..." was "You are probably a freaking moron--we're sorry. Grow a brain, asshat, and THEN we'll talk to you!" I mean...DAMN. *pant pant pant*

So I got my ginormous ass out of neutral and resubmitted the damned packet. All I can say is they had better send that rejection notice on the fucking wind, or I am going to be pissed!

And that's it. Me in neutral. About the only thing I HAVE done is finished the first actual love scene in BITTERMOON. (No, no more free tastes...I'm starting to feel like a secret pimp for pornless porn.) What I have done (and this is both satisfying and amusing) is red-inked all of my 'questionable' scenes for BITTERMOON. There's nothing like looking at my manuscript on the computer and giggling to myself. "Hyuk hyuk...dirty book...hayuk hayuk hayuk..." *ah* simple pleasures, simple minds:-)

And on that I'll end with an idea... so, I think my e-mail is under my profile...if you guys can e-mail me, if you want, I'll sign book plates and send them out... (I need to go somewhere and look for bookplates that will let me write long involved notes on them...) Or, you could send me a book plate and I'd send it back. Or something. I'm all flustered and embarrassed even bringing this up... but, uhm, some of you had asked... (I'm such a dork. How could you possibly want my signature?) Anyway, it's an idea. Or a partial idea. Nevermind, forget I mentioned it.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Okay...tiny post...if you have a small child (but one who doesn't like to eat things that shouldn't be eaten) here's a recipe for knitter's magic:

Take one brightly colored sock-yarn--I used sportweight--and 4 dpns--I used 2's. (I stitch big...tight stitchers might want 3's.)
Cast on between 36 and 44 stitches. Save long end.
K2/P2 for 3 inches. Save long end.
Sew on brightly colored buttons you bought for no reason at all, using long yarn ends.

Slide on toddler's wrist.

Trust me--the magic is there!!!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

How Many Children Hath Lady Mac...

Okay...first things first...

We all know I love Roxie to death, but I was, eagerly awaiting the box with her new manuscript to proof, and what did I get? Only this ...

And this too... (If you can't see, they are these adorable kids books on cats...)

And a little pig on a keychain that poops, I'm not kidding--it's totally adorable and has made the whole family laugh all day!

So you see--now she's gone and done it--that woman will never be rid of me!!! (Thanks for the swag, Roxie--the yarn is GORGEOUS and I can NOT wait to read your cowboy romance!!!)

So now that the best surprise of my Spring Break has arrived, it's time to answer a question posed by a couple of you in the comments...I wasn't ignoring everyone who asked it, I was just waiting for today, of all special days, to answer it.

The question was, "How old are your children again?"

The answer is, as always with me, sort of a long story.

Because, the thing is, Mate and I have a couple of dumb-spots, which are sort of like 'blind spots' but with dumb spots there's no way to compensate for dumb-spots, and that's why my beloved Mate has allowed me invest our retirement in yarn. Besides yarn, WOW and money, our biggest dumb-spot has been children. Witness the following--

It took us two and a half years to concieve Big T--and he was born almost a year to the day I graduated from the credential program. Now most of you are probably asking yourselves what in the hell we were thinking--Mate wasn't out of college yet (in fact, he'd just returned) and I didn't even have a job, but we've always figured (and still do--that's the nature of the dumb-spot) that there's no such thing as enough money to have children. So we've never actually had enough money to have children, but since 4 1/2 years of cohabitation, we've had children. So we had Big T, and he was difficult and we lost baby-sitters and I lost my job and then I lost my health insurance along with my prescription to the pill and then, because we've got that dumb-spot, remember? we had Chicken.

We tried to wise up after that...we moved out of Mate's grandma's property (and from what I understand, for as much crap as they gave me for being an inferior sort of housekeeper, we were their best tenants to date) and I got a job and Mate finished school and then, when Chicken was two we got that dumb-spot again and tried for another baby.

This time God was looking out for us. It took us seven years.

I had given up when I got pregnant with the cave troll--we figured, hell, we've got two FABULOUS kids--why would we need another one, not that we wouldn't WANT another one, but *sniff* it's not like a NECESSITY or any...oh, wait...tada and alakazam...IT'S A CAVE TROLL!!!

And I was more than thrilled. I was OBSESSIVELY thrilled with him. Nine years is a long time to wait for a Cave Troll--I was going to grab a hold of his baby-hood with cramped and crabby fingers and milk the joy for everything I was worth because DAMMIT I would never get another baby again.

I mean, it took us nine years, right?

So Mate and I had plans to get fixed when we turned 40 (our b-days are one day apart) and between 36 (when the Cave TRoll was born) and 40--I mean, it took us nine years to get pregnant with the Cave Troll, right?

My shock when I got pregnant with Ladybug lasted seven months. It wasn't until our beloved Harlot had the knitting Olympics that I acknowledged that I had a baby coming, and that if the Cave Troll had six blankets made for him when he was born (that's a conservative estimate) then this one should at least have ONE...and I made her a cotton eyelet blanket with pink trim--and as I said in a letter to Steph, making that blanket made my Ladybug real. When I thought she wasn't coming, I had this picture in my head of my family, and she was like this double-exposure in the picture, but as I knit that blanket, she became more and more clear, until I finally believed she was coming, and that, yes, I would get another baby, the Goddess really loved me that much.

Last year, on March 31st, I went into labor. It was a weird sort of labor--I'm practically a connesoir of that sort of thing by now--and this was neither consistent nor predictable. I would have the world is ending NOW contractions every five minutes and then I would have two medium ones every half an hour, followed by THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD ARE CRACKING BEGINNING WITH MY UTERUS once, twice...nope, not three times. This lasted, knitters and readers, for three nights. At three o'clock in the morning of April 3rd, I was awakened from two hours of sound sleep by THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD ARE CRACKING BEGINNING WITH MY UTERUS. Awww fuck. (I'm sure those were my exact words.) I stood up, took a shower, went out, typed a couple of paragraphs of BOUND (you have my permission to speculate which passages I wrote in labor--remember, four days...) and then sent two completely insane e-mails ranting to colleagues about what total and complete bullshit this was and how I was going to rip a couple of throats out if this didn't stop. (LIR can vouch for this...what was the time on that e-mail, darling?)

Then THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD WERE CRACKING BEGINNING WITH MY UTERUS and I breathed, saved my work, hit send, stood up and went to wake Mate up.

"Are they regular?" He asked.

"No." I replied.

"Then why are we going in?"

"Because I have had enough of this shit." I replied. By the by, this was the same reply I gave my imbecilic, nicotine-addicted intern when he asked my why I finally decided to come in. His reply? "Well, you're seven and a half centimeters dilated...I guess you have."

The rest is history that started it's first squall at 6:00 a.m. sharp, April 3rd, 2006.

Big T is 14 years old. He's huge, awkward, irritating, and has the biggest heart and the most pleasing nature of any adolescent boy I have ever encountered. He looks just like my dad--Goddess, I hope I don't screw him up.

Chicken is 12 years old. She's chunky but hopeful, sarcastic but kind, the best big sister I've ever seen in action, she will voluntarily play with her little siblings for hours on end and not complain. She is my Prickly Flower and always will be--just watch her bloom.

The Cave Troll is 3 1/2--he is intense, cute, smart, and only speaks when he needs to, unless he is bending metal wi th his "The world is not revolving to my specifications" scream. He looks just like his father but he has my brown eyes and he takes my breath away.

Ladybug is...
She's kick back and smart, she's easy to please and particular, she's pudgy and blue eyed, the only one of my children who looks at me with her father's eyes and I couldn't be happier. Instead of holding on to her babyhood with wrinkling cramping fingers, every moment of her infancy has been baby dessert--a treat and an honor I have dreamt not of. She is chocolate mousse with rasberry sauce, a dark chocolate eclair with amorretto cream filling, a half a gallon of rocky road ice cream with whipped cream and a spoon. She is sweetness and laughter and the ability to get knocked on her ass, grunt, and move on. Every moment of her life has been a blessing and I can't believe I got to have four. She's a reward for every good thing I never knew I had done.

And today she is one.

Happy Birthday, darling. We're so glad you could join us.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

As God Is My Witness, May I Never Eat Fish Again...

Okay--so I use the big glowing god in the corner of the room to babysit my children sometimes. A lot of times. Sue me--but I sit and occassionally get sat-upon myself, so at least I know what they know, right? And right now what I know is that this year's Oscar Winner for best animated film WAS NOT FOR KIDS.

I mean, I sort of knew that before--since it was linked to global warming, I figured that maybe it wasn't Cinderella, right? But I didn't realize that it was, like, March of the Penguins Educational...I mean...dropped penguin eggs leading to birth defects? Kicking that poor little guy out of the Penguin Party when he was at the top of his game? Suicidal dives into the over-fished waters of the Atlantic Ocean? A giant gaffing hook forcing him from his dangle from the fishing nets? And oh...(my personal favorite!) losing his sanity in a zoo that would give the psycho ward in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest a Good Housekeeping award for the mentally insane. It gets worse, too--did I mention sea lions? Sea lions in this movie are NOT CUTE!!! Not cute not cute not cute...big yellowing crooked teeth, homicidal rage et al! I can't believe that the political right got all huffy and bent about a possibly gay character in this movie--I mean, great gobs of gooseshit, people, isn't the fact that homo-sapiens not only don't have rhythm, they're potentially mass-murdering all of the cute penguins in this show just a little more upsetting to ANYBODY?

*pant pant pant* So although I knit all through the movie (on this bizarre basketweave baby blanket that I've already fucked up but really love because in spite of the massive nature of the fuck-up, nothing in this blanket screams RIPPIT, so there are no frogs in this house tonight) I was not feeling relaxed by the end of it. In fact, I was sort of feeling like I should just curl up and die from the absolute shame of being homo-sapiens--in fact, I made a big fat furry deal about putting in a movie that made me proud of my species.

I chose Princess Bride.

Anyway, during the middle of the movie, while I was giving Ladybug her bath, it was really life-affirming to hear Mate in the front room, playing with the children.

He was teaching them poker.

The Cave Troll was winning.

And I may never eat fish again...