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

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Excuse me...

I was going to blog but the Cave Troll just answered the door to trick-r-treaters wearing nothing but a flesh-colored weiner. His.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Because I just had to share...

So we've had to hide the deodorant because Ladybug has been eating it, and, silly me, I forgot to put the Secret in the top cupboard the other night. The Cave Troll had been up and around after he'd been put to bed, and I finally just laid him down, threatened spankings and got really stern, like I do. He had his arms up by his head, and when I bent down to kiss him, I thought 'uh-oh...I know that smell...'

"Cave Troll--what have you been eating?"

(Imagine blank look here.)

"What did you eat?" (I'm getting more concerned--the smell is REALLY STRONG...)

"What, mama?"

"What did you eat?" (About then, I notice some white stuff on his shirt...)

"What did I eat?"

"Yeah, honey, what did you eat?" (Oh...this might be the deodorant, no wonder...)

"Boogers, mama! I ate boogers!"

Oh. Well alrighty then. My booger-eating son tried to put deodorant on after his shower. It all makes sense to me now.

Monday, October 29, 2007

1027 & Name

My weekend was long and exhausting--Chicken had a soccer tourney and the short people were sick and, all in all, the best part of it was a couch nap with the Cave Troll and Ladybug on my lap. Ladybug was still awake--she kept leaning into me so I'd kiss her neck, and then she'd relax on me for a few moments while I snoozed. We never made it to the pumpkin farm, but we did get pumpkins at the grocery store, and I think the Cave troll was just as pleased that way.

Anyway, I was right about that slough of FO's... I've got two pair of socks near the end, and a scarf cruising along at warp speed. (Isn't it amazing how everything NOT on fingering weight yarn feels like warp speed?) I'm not thinking about work (too much) right now--I"m trying to do my job, do it well, and if the prickweenies don't like it, well, they can fire me if they can manage it. Mate keeps saying that if I get fired, we can just freakin' deal. I'm going to relax about it--I mean, we've gotten a long ways on faith, luck, and some hard work. I still believe in all of that--I just need to remember how much.

Oh yes--and Mate found my keys. The world is a better place already.

And now to the title.

1027--is how many copies of VULNERABLE I've sold, as of the end of September. My total number of all book copies is 1,989, and ayup--I put all that in my cover letter to the publishers for "Bitter Moon." Let them laugh at the self-published all they want--I'm very aware that few writers sell that many copies of their books, no matter where they publish. We're getting the door frame enlarged to fit my ginormous ego, even as I write. (Just Kidding...the door frame has been falling apart for years--I'm waiting for the ego to destroy it, and THEN Mate will get around to fixing it!!!)

And NAME. Long before I started VULNERABLE, I had a goal to write Silhouette Romances (for the 'Desire' imprint, which I think might be defunct now...) Anyhoo, I wrote four or five books in this vein, the best of which was called NAME. It's not VULNERABLE, (although, shall we say the editing is more than reminiscent of my first published work?) but it's not complete crap either, and by the end of the week, it should be up on the web-site for free. It features a psychic heiress and her step-father's nephew, and other than that, I'll let you see for yourselves. Do let me know if you like it--I went back and re-read parts of it, and I see some stiffness there that needed to be worked out, but I also see some parts that are very Amy Lane, and I hope you all enjoy it. Don't forget to give Mate a big hearty thanks when it goes up, too, since that web-site is all Mate! (Lost and found keys, ego-crushed door-frames, updated websites--I mean, is there anything Mate CAN'T do?)

And you know what? Wednesday is Halloween--I'm DEFINITELY taking pictures of Dinosaur Boy and his sister, Tinker-snot. You'll love them, trust me!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Is it Friday already?

Damn... sure is!

First of all, I got my manuscript back from it's odyssey--and it came with perks!!! Thanks five billion times twelve to Roxie and Needletart...they not only did a fantastic job editing, but they also send me slinkies and chocolate and sachets and soap (Bonnie!) and yarn and nifty cards (Roxie!) and I may just have to heap it all in front of the computer and take a picture--if my kids haven't eaten the chocolate, stolen the slinkies and hid the sachets from the cats by the time I get home. (The yarn is MINE, you hear me...MINE MINE MINE! BUWWAAAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...)

Anyway, it was a nice way to perk up a crap week, and now I"m torn between writing this part I've been DYING to write in BMoon2, or putting it off to savor and getting down to edit BMoon1 as well as cooking up my synopsis so I can put BMoon1 in the mail for it's mandatory rejection. (The rejection is just so I can justify the self-publishing biz,'s sort of a "Yeah, see, no one else has the sense to publish this, so I must!!!!" sort of deal.) I was excited to hear that Roxie got her galleys back...either the 2nd Sanna book or her cowboy romance--I don't care, Roxie's books are such a TREAT...she has such a visual sense of description (just read her blog!) I learn so much from her--it's almost criminal, except she doesn't like nasty vampires, so I feel okay about learning from a master:-)

As for the childrens...hmm... Coach Susan's comments about a nasty-assed retro-moon in Scorpio (or something like in depth astrology is lacking somewhat...) is pretty much on for all of my offspring as well. The Big T is depressed--he spent all week practicing a monologue in drama, actually DRESSED in his Ren-gear to do Romeo at the balcony, and then...forgot 1/2 his speech. I want to e-mail his teacher and just pour out my frustration for him--he was just sitting on his bed this morning, looking mournfully at the tattered paper w/the speech on it, talking to himself about the parts he missed. It was so sad, and I was, once again, reminded that high school sucks so egregiously that it should, sometimes be outlawed.

The Cave Troll is sick--in fact, he is sick at home with Dad and Ladybug. Again, another sniffer of a goodbye this morning...his voice was scratchy and stuffy and his nose was a toxic waste dump ready to bubble slowly, and he kept saying, "No'b mbomb...wann' go mid 'ooooo!" ('No, mom, want to go with you' for those of you who don't speak Preschooler-with-a-cold.) Anyway, I hope he feels better...we were going to take him to the pumpkin patch even if it means leaving Chicken behind at her soccer game with dad tomorrow, but if he's still feeling like crap, I'll just get a couple of pumpkins at the grocery store and call it good.

Chicken is out of sorts--mostly because, of all the family members she's got it good this week, and she knows it, and she's not used to knowing how to act when she doesn't win first prize for school-suckage, so I don't know what sort of disaster is going to befall her to keep her in the lead.

Mate is pissed because the drain in our shower is backing up and...and I'm not going to talk about it. It involves drano, slime, and taking a shower that leaves your feet feeling like they just got a chemical peel and that's already TMI and, just, ick. I hope he fixes it today. I will give all sorts of favors, both food and otherwise, if only the shower is working today when I get home.

And that about covers it. Except for Ladybug.

Ladybug has had a minor change in status. We used to think she was 85% cute and 15% evil. Her daycare provider and I have had a long, evaluative chat, and we think that really, she's 75% cute and 25% evil. The day we had that chat, Ladybug spilled chocolate milk all over the back of my car and her new pink pants. I think she agrees.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This is me, not blogging.

I went into the lunch room today, and all of the prickweenie men were whining because it didn't matter how many kids they referred, their classes were just as horrible and the kids didn't seem to be responding to their discipline procedures. It should have made me totally happy and gloaty because:

A. It's not like THEIR hard-ass tactics are working any better than mine.
B. I'm not the only one feeling like I suck and should reconsider another career.
C. I really MUST have a target on my back if I'm not sending kids out and the Grand Royal Prickweenie still hates me.

But I didn't. I didn't feel better--in fact I felt worse. I felt like my job was futile and my efforts were futile, and that I should just go away and let the younger generation take over because my heart was too tired to do this any more. Of course, these feelings were exacerbated by the following things:

A. My i-Pod had just been stolen by my 4th period class.
B. The sweetest, most inoffensive child in my 2nd period class has breast cancer.
C. My 20 year old cousin is being shipped off to boot camp on Monday.

I came home, and Chicken pestered me for the deets of my day. I gave them to her. She apologized. Then I sat on the chair and napped, holding one surprisingly cuddly Ladybug, and a naked 3 year old with really sharp bones in his ass. I don't know why he was naked. He was holding still and watching the Nightmare Before Christmas, and I got a nap, so I didn't question fate. This unorthodox treatment worked--I no longer feel quite so old, quite so tired, quite so useless.

But I am spending my evening working on my submission packet for Bitter Moon. My odds of getting published are probably as good as getting through the school year without calling my Prickweenie 'Dude', but at least I won't feel quite so hopeless as well.

(btw? I'm still knitting. Every day. I've got an big chunk of FO's heading for simultaneous completion. Yes, there will be pictures!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Don't Call Me Dude...

Okay, I had to get that other post off the was just too negative to leave up another day.

Lots has happened in the career front since Friday, and I don't want to blog about any of it...suffice it to say that I hate politics, prickweenies, and men with no sense of humor about themselves. And I had a meeting that involved all three of those things today, the upshot of which was that I had to clean my room (my classroom, that is), write up my lesson plans (you will hear some monster scale whining about this in the future, you may rest assured) and, oh yeah, try not to call the principal 'dude' after he has locked me out in front of my students. I only wish I was kidding about this last one.

But, quite frankly, enough about that...I will shake the target on my back, or I will go down in the sand, middle fingers defiantly all depends on the reign I can put on my inner sixteen year old, but it will not happen today. Today, I've been dying to do Julie's Book Meme (as well as read EVERYONE'S blogs...I'm so very behind...) so here's the meme!

1. Hardcover or paperback, and why: Mostly paperback, unless it's an autobuy--Harry Potter, Charlaine Harris etc. Paperbacks are easier to carry!

2. If I were to own a book shop, I would call it: It depends on who I am when I open it... If I'm Amy Lane, it would be Amy's Yellow Book Lane:-) If I'm my real name? Probably "The Magnificent Mac's"--some of my favorite authors as a kid were Robin McKinley, Patricia McKillip, and Anne McCaffrey..

3. My favorite quote from a book is: I've probably got a couple. From recent reading, there's J.R. Ward's "You got 'I want' in one hand and shit in another--guess what you got more of..." I'm a fan.

From C.J. Cherryh, I've got, "It's sometimes better to trust an enemy than an honest man."

From John Gardner's Grendel, there's "It's coming my brother, though you murder the world, transmogrify life into 'I' and 'it', there's not a thing you can do to stop it."

From 1984... "Aren't we lucky to have a government that takes such wonderful care of us and gives us all of the essentials of life? By the way, does anyone have any razorblades?"

From Shakespeare, "Has ever so fair a dragon kept so foul a cave!" (There's others's just the one that hit me today!)

4. The author (alive or dead) I would love to have lunch with is: John Gardner--any man that could write a direct translation of Gilgamesh about a priestess taking Enkidu from the wilds and (this is a quote) "Fucking him into submission" is my kind of guy. I'd also tell him to wear a @#$%ing helmet when he got on his goddamned motorcycle in the freaking rain, because brother died way too young and way too soon--oh GODDESS, the things he could have written if he'd lived past thirty-two.

5. If I were going to a deserted island and could only bring one book (other than a survival guide), it would be: I'm with Julie--the complete works of Shakespeare, or Jane Austin, or Tolstoy (if I wanted to kill myself before I starved to death, I guess), or .... wait...just had a brain flash (watch out, actual common sense knowledge just disappeared...let's see if I remember how to tie my shoes tomorrow!) The Norton Anthology of English Literature, part 1 if I had to choose. Think about it... 2000 pages with some commentary on the classics? I mean, I could pass for a frickin genius by the time they rescued me. Of course, by then I'd be eating my own hair with boredom, but if you're a genius, they call it eccentric.

6. I would love for someone to invent a book gadget that:turns pages while I knit.

7. The smell of books reminds me of: Blackberry bushes. The first guy who ever made out with me did so behind the public swimming pool house when I was in 6th grade, and I smelled blackberry bushes. After that, whenever there was something magical, something a little forbidden that made my whole body tingle and sing, it would smell like blackberry bushes. That's what books smell like.

8. If I could be the lead character in a book, it would be: Now, Julie doesn't want to be the main character of a book, because she says that the main charactrers go through absolute hell, even with a happy ending and cool sexual super-powers. I figure, what the hell--it's not like life is easy anyway, we might as well be the superstar of our own novel, right? Of course, I always cast myself in a minor roll in my own books, and I'm never sure if that speaks for a supersized ego or a playful sense of cameo-ship, but it's probably besides the point. Anyway, if I got to be the main character in a book, I would want to be some ass-kicking bitch who took no shit and could terrify small men in her path. So, Eve Dallas or Morgaine or Magiere or Danny Valentine or... uhm...yeah. Cory. Crap. This is sort of a loaded question if you write your own paranormal romance, isn't it?

9. The most overrated book of all time is: Ugh. James Patterson? John Grisham? Nicholas Sparks? Couldn't get through any of them. Not even a chapter. Not even two pages. Just...*yawn* men writing character is like cats writing about scuba diving, I guess.

10. I hate it when a book: Takes a perfectly good working relationship between romantic leads and fucks with it because the author couldn't think of anything better to do with the plot. This stupid plot device has led to more series jumping the freaking shark than all of the alien babies combined, and it's so unnecessary. The most interesting conversations I have are with my husband--a relationship doesn't have to be new to provide humor, pathos, understanding, excitement, etc. If more writers could figure out how to make a relationship play for the long term, we'd have more couples like Eve Dallas and Roarke, and less train wrecks like Anita Blake and 1/2 of St. Louis.

That was fun! Who else wants to do it? Let me know, I'd love to read...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bless me, Fucker, for I have sinned--

Oh great and ignorant prickweenie, I understand now why you are angry with me. I shall publicly list my transgressions here, for public censure, as an explanation as to why I was informed this afternoon that you are GUNNING FOR MY JOB.

* I don't enforce tardies. I shall be honest here. Tardies are always a puzzle to me. I don't necessarily acknowledge the existance of time, personally--I totally get why my students don't feel it passing by. If my back is turned and kids walk in while I'm writing on the board, I don't care. If I'm leaning on the door, talking to kids or watching the sun when the tardy bell rings, well, that clot of students walking in with me doesn't seem tardy. I mean, they came in with me, right? If I'm late because I ran to the bathroom, well... well, you get the picture. I don't enforce tardies. I often don't notice them. This makes me a bad person, and is apparently one of the reasons you are GUNNING FOR MY JOB.

* I allow eating in class. I also facilitate this heinous action by bringing pop-tarts for them when they are hungry. I am a bad person, and this is apparently one of the reasons you are GUNNING FOR MY JOB.

* I don't confiscate ipods or cell phones. I should--it would make my life easier if I did. But this allows for classroom chaos, and this makes me a bad person, and this is apparently one of the reasons you are GUNNING FOR MY JOB.

* I accept chaos. I live in it. I write in it. I create in it. I deal with it. 95% of the time I write the agenda on the board. the other 5% of the time, the kids still know what we're doing. 85% of the time, I can nag them into silence. the other 15% of the time, I have to bully with referrals and phone calls to mommy. MOst days I forget which EXACT journal entry which EXACT class is on at which EXACT time. I deal with it by asking the kids. I accept that this makes me a bad person and is apparently one of the reasons you are GUNNING FOR MY JOB.

Now, Fucker, I understand that you have it in for me, and I shall endeavor to clean up (at least to your eye) the most heinous offenses against all that you stand for, but I've got to tell you, I don't think it's going to matter. Because, after thinking hard and reflecting upon my sins, I've come to the understanding that the most egregious and most unforgivable of all of my sins is the one that doesn't look good on a report, and it is this:

I have refused to worship at the altar of St. Fucker, and I always shall. I shall never believe that recording tardies is the be-all and end-all of what an educator should strive for. I refuse to accept that classroom discipline is better or worse if you let them eat during class. I refuse to accept that taking their stuff is the way to teach them to deal responsibly with it, and I refuse to accept that perfect understanding is contingent upon perfect order. In fact, I reject perfect order as the only path to education--for at least half the population, perfect order is frightening, and stifling, and incomprehensible. Let's face it--there are only two jobs that don't allow for a five minute arrival window. ONe is the job I work now. The other is in food service. There's not a single well-paying job that doesn't give a fifteen minute break for a trip to the vending machine. Most of them allow people to eat at their desks. Keeping track of your stuff is part of life. Most jobs give windows for personal phone calls, a little bit of music in the work place, and using a hand-held internet device. A lot of jobs encourage this. Walking into a situation, assessing it, and responding to it is the hallmark of any good worker. Just because you, Fucker, have only worked in a classroom for three years and are incompetent with your own species does not mean that the rest of us have, in order to lick your holy Fucking feet, forgotten what it was like to be young, and human. In fact, a couple of us in front of the classroom freely admit that we are not gods. This is what you dislike about me, Fucker, and this is not going to change.

I accept that this dooms me--being fired or transferred is probably in my stars. (The transfer would actually be preferable, Fucker, but if you fire me, I get to collect unemployment, and then I have two years to really get a jump start on my writing career. Your choice.) Anyway, Fucker, you should also know that your refusal to allow alternative forms of personal worship dooms you also. Rome managed to survive for a millenium or so because when they conquered nations, they allowed the people to keep their own gods. Do you know what doomed them? Christianity--the laws enforcing of theological idea that there really was only one god. This is like refusing the admit there is a moon in the sky, simply because people worshipped it. Refusing to admit that these feelings and human behaviors and qualities are there in no way diminishes the fact that they exist. It simply gives people fuel for insurrection.

Now I am neither a leader nor a martyr. I will not be the spark that lights this insurrection--but I will be tender to the fire. The ancient Easterners had it right when they suggested that one form of energy cannot survive without another. You will rid yourself of my pleasant, harmless, feminine form of chaos, and the hard, angry, masculine form of chaos will consume your little world--I can not predict how, but I know that every form of government has seen it happen. You have frequently said that you don't want to know about the history of this planet you rule, and I laugh at you, Fucker. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Just because you don't admit that the history is there, does not make it any less true. And I will laugh at you when it happens, because I am not an all-forgiving saint, just as I am not an unforgiving Fucker.

Can you hear me laughing, Fucker? Don't worry. You will.

*I'll get to Julie's meme tomorrow--my department head told me yesterday that my Principal really is out to get me, and that even if I 'clean up my act', he still wants me gone. Then he told me to have a nice weekend. "Right."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

You've GOT to be shitting me.

First of all--Hi Rae!!! Glad to see you!!!

Second--Julie's got the COOLEST meme over at Samurai, and I'm getting in on the action for my next post...

Third--this is gonna blow your mind.

Have you ever had one of those wet-kitten-hanging-on-a-branch-over-a-fucking-waterfall days?

My morning was like that.

First of all, my work keys seem to have disappeared from the car while the car was at the dealership. There's another option as well, but the upshot is that they were NOT in the car when my husband got it last night, and I knew I was going to have to deal with the keyless hassle, YET A-FUCKING-GAIN. But, well, shit, I could have done it. And then several things happened.

The first was that the Cave Troll had an OCD meltdown of epic proportions--that lasted an hour and fifteen minutes. How could a tantrum last that long, you might ask? Well, most of it was in the fact, 35 minutes of it was sitting at the SAME DAMN STOPLIGHT. So, well, in spite of the fact that I have 1st period prep, yeah, I was obviously late for work.

But, well, that's okay, I figured. Usually if the teacher isn't there, security will open the door and let your kids in, and while embarrassing, it's no bfd. Now I didn't have the keys to let me in the back gate, but, well, I called the front office to see if they could call my room and have a kid come let me in.

I waited for a dice. I spotted a sprinkler cover floating free on the ground, and tossed it at the metal grid surrounding my windows, to get the attention of the kids sitting there.

No dice.

I finally flagged down an aid who was about to walk into another classroom, and he let me in. I walked into my classroom semi-annoyed--I mean, geez, guys, you can't cut me a break and let me in?

My principal opened the door, the grand prickweenie shit-sausage himself. He didn't smile. He didn't ask me if I was okay. He didn't ask for an explanation for my lateness. He ignored me, finished boring my kids with shit he pulled out of his ear, and left. I turned to the kids with my "geez, guys, you couldn't cut me a break and..."

"He wouldn't let us!!!!!"


"We were going to let you in--he said, "No, let her figure it out for herself.""

"I beg your pardon?"

"He didn't let us go get you."

"Are you sh...I mean kidding me?"

A few minutes later, he walks in to observe my class. They're excited by now--I've given them their project papers and they're totally into them. Group projects with stories they enjoyed...they're like, 95% on task. I walk up to him and try to explain--he doesn't look at me, he doesn't respond, and I turn back around and go to my desk, thinking about reasons I want him dead.

He leaves, and the kids look at me, and the general consensus--both theirs and mine--was "ASS-hole!!!!!"

I mean, seriously, people--this is my lead fucking professional? This festering sphincter boil is what I"m supposed to follow and admire? I would rather take orders from flaming troll boogers than from this complete goat-rutting-prick-scabbing-cockroach turd.

He's throwing a penis-party, I mean lunch meeting tomorrow, and I have opted not to go.

And if he asks about me, the other members of my department have been asked to respond, "She's guessing you'll figure it out for yourself."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Apologies to Aimee Mann...

(And it's long gone buddy, long gone buddy good bye...)

I'm so red-eyed tired right now I can't even remember the lyrics of that song--and, like Aimee Mann is the reason I'm Amy Lane! But that's another story. See, the thing is, the engine light on the Lane-family crap-mobile went on, and I had Mate check it out...

He said, "They're going to have to keep it for another day. It seems like things are leaking."

"Things? What things?"

"Well, the master cylinder and the solenoid and the fuel line and the back brake light case and the..."

"EEEk! Stop..."

"Relax, it's all under warranty--but you're going to have to pick me up from work."

Excellent. Truly excellent. For those of you who know the area, this is going from Natomas to Folsom to Citrus Heights. For those of you to whom that means nothing, think two hours in the car to get home. But hey, it's not like I didn't have company...

I had Ladybug, who was swearing at me...and I had Cave Troll, who, now that we're in the smaller car has taught the Ladybug some truly awesome stupid-mommy-tricks. His favorite is having a piece of trash and screeching "mmmmooooommmmm" until mommy's hand shoots out like an automatic trash dispenser and taking the hamburger/trash/straw/dead-chocolate-milk-soldier and fingertipping it into the trash bag in the front. Good times were had by all--

And then I met Herman.

Herman was a cute little field spider. Now spiders don't freak me out--unless they're black with red key-holes on their asses, they are, for the most part, no bfd. Herman was like that...he'd already come out to visit on my way to work. He hung out on the top light, looking at me, trying to have a spider/human communication moment, as it were, and then he went away. We were good.

He did the same thing on the way to Folsom, and this time, we knew each other so my automatic "eek it's a spider and even though I know better I still have to squash my initial "please goddess let it not be a black-fucking-widow" response" only lasts a moment, and really, once that's done, Herman and I are good.

After I got Mate and he got into the drivers seat, Herman came out again. Mate almost crashed the car.

"Do you want me to do something about him?" I asked, non-plussed.

"Hell yes--I almost swerved the car into a something."

"I don't have a napkin or anything... the only place he's got is my yarn bag. I like Herman and all, but really...So.Not.Happening."


"He's Herman--we're buds..."

"He's a spider."

"He's company. Not as good as a cat--and I still don't want him near my yarn, but hell, we've had a car trip together. Two in fact. What're you going to do?"

A few moments later, while we were talking about that long held dream of when we can ditch the kinderbratten with the uberadolescents, his window flashes down and his hand darts and...

"Holy shit, was that Herman!!! You killed Herman, you bastard! We had a BOND!!!"

"Naw...I didn't kill him. Really--I just pushed him on to a faster ride, that's all."

"Are you sure there's no spider guts on your fingers."

He waves them. "Really--no spider guts. If there had been, then we WOULD have crashed into a pole."

And there you go...this is when you know you're too tired for your own good and too weird for primetime TV. We got home alive, and Herman is visiting some other poor motorist. God speed little guy... I hope your next commute is shorter than your last.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fucking cat...

You see what that is, right? The second Chicken Toes sock, attached to what used to be a skein of my least favorite On-line color ever. It is now yarn barf. I find the irony of spending this much time looking at a color I don't like (I chose it in case I didn't like the pattern...and now that I like the pattern, I'm sort of stuck with the yarn...) to be unforgivably heightened by the fact that I had to go out and buy another skein of it this afternoon because my daughter's (*&%%^ing cat decided that it looked like Disneyland in a single skein.

But this whole sock endeavor has become a test of sorts, of my ability to produce FO's under pressure. I mean, if these things survived Ladybug's first attempts at knitting, they can survive anything.

You see that, don't you? You see her total concentration as she rips the needles out of the live stitches and stabs the helpless fabric into submission with that oh-so-fascinating pointy stick? Seriously, it was a choice between going for the camera or jumping up and down weeping. I like to think I took the route of the good mother as opposed to the shrieking lunatic, but I'm pretty sure the shrieking lunatic will get a bloodcurdling scream out there somewhere, so it's good that I have proof that she only gets let out sometimes.

But anyway, it's only proving my point that the socks are, like, fricking cursed. And I'm going to say it out loud and with witnesses: As the Goddess is listening, I will never again start a project for MYSELF with yarn that I don't FRICKIN ADORE...We all know how She like Her little jokes!

And I'm going to lock up the stuff I am insanely infatuated with, too, like the Cherry Tree Hill and the Kaffe Fasset and this homespun superwash I brought home this afternoon...I mean, I think the next picture speaks for itself, don't you?

Yup, as I told my daughter this morning, with a little garlic and a butter saute, that cat wouldn't be half bad.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Apologies To The First Bruce...

(Seen a man on the ro-oad...and a dead dog in the sun...)

Not a very auspicious beginning is it? And I know I'm going to mangle the rest of the lyrics--I can sing them just fine when my ipod's on, but when it's just me and my own twisted brain, I combine like four different lines of it...but we'll get to the song eventually--trust me, I actually have a destination in mind today.

Anyway, for the last twenty years, I have had a not so secret crush on the three Bruces... Wayne, Willis, and Springsteen. I just saw that Netter (of whom I am wildly jealous, btw) got to see Springsteen in concert this Monday, and, well, my main funky squeeze was on my mind today.

(Seems like if he poked it long e--nough, that dog, well he'd get up and run.)

So after putting out my angst into the universe, and feeling bad about it because you all are so good at putting me back on my feet and helping me count my blessings, I had two amazing things happen to me today...

The first one was a conversation with a kid I had as a Junior last year--this kid almost got my ass in a can, because while I was out sick, he talked the sub into ignoring my lesson plan so that the class might watch a bootleg copy of The 300 instead--so just a warning, spoiler ahead.. But that's okay--I told him that I finally got to see it, and that, yes, besides the fabulous scenery (1800 stomach muscles, clearly defined...) the movie was also great to watch. He replied, "Yeah--my friends all hated it--they didn't like the ending--they think the bad guy should have died at the end. But I got it--I mean, the bad guy got wounded--that was even better, because, like, that way, he couldn't be a god!" And now, the kicker. "I got that from your class, Miz Lane. You made us look at stuff like that."

(And it struck my kind of fun-ny...)

Holy Batshit, Ratman!!!. I did that? I did that last year, when my judgement and my classroom management and my general effectiveness as a human being was at an all time, south-of-a-demon's-ass nadir? Wow. I mean, I could have ridden off that for days...and then...

(Kind of funny sir indeed...)

And then I checked my e-mail and saw the comments from Darkhearts--and I almost wept. Another English teacher--this one in a more crowded situation than I am...and she likes my books. And she lets her student's read my books. And she reads in the bathroom. And she thinks my prickweenie is a total nazi. And she makes me feel like I'm not alone in my profession, wondering what in the hell the world thinks it's doing with our young people.

(Seems at the end of every hard earned day...)

Thanks, sweetheart. Thanks ALL of you. And Darkhearts? Contact me at amylaneATgmaiDOTcom, and I'll see about donating some books for your kids...and bookmarks. *g That's all of you, btw--I'm pretty sure I still owe some of you bookmarks.g* I've still got tons and tons of bookmarks.

(People find some reason to believe.)

Sing it, Bruce--I'll be belting along with you in the car.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How Did I Get Here?

First of all, I think you will all be both relieved and heartened that I sucked it up, snagged a monster pile of referrals, did a massive room re-org and started Tuesday (Writing Prompt Day) off with twenty minutes of silence in which to write.

I have no idea how well they did--I was planning to do critique-alouds today, but felt like crap so didn't follow through, but I've got to tell you, that quiet time in all five classes was better than a nap. And the classes themselves have been quieter after the new seating chart etc. Somedays you win some...huzzah for the silence in the head and the time to write!!!

Which sort of brings me to today's post... I'm here writing, with CSI NY on pause, and I realized today that I've missed a whole bunch of my blogging buddiess--Knittech, Netter, Louiz, gemma--all sorts of people that I don't hardly say hi to anymore, and not through lack of wanting that oh-so-elusive peer group contact either.

It's this writing thing. I think it's taken over the knitting as my # 1 obsession (which is too bad, because I'm still actually spending more on the knitting...) I should have seen it coming.

Ladybug was born at 6:00 a.m. on a Monday. At 2:30 a.m. on that same Monday, I woke up, said several bad words because my contractions stalled out, and came in to A. Type two totally incomprehensible e-mails to my co-workers--they still laugh at that, because the time stamp was 3:12 a.m. and B. Work on BOUND. I know I've said this before, but that fight after Cory and Bracken get busy in the smaller Goddess Grover after their big fight in front of Green? Yeah. I was working on that part when the mother fucker of all contractions nailed me to the chair and cracked the core of the world in two. A few more paragraphs, and then the mother fucker's mother came and repaired that hole in the world, and that's when I stood up, stalked into the bedroom (pausing for two contractions on the way) and told Mate to wake up. "Why?" "Because I have had enough of this shit." Oddly enough, those were the same words I used when the embryo with nicotine breath who felt me up said, "Jesus, you're seven and a half centimeters dilated--what made you decide to come in now, after four days of labor?"

So I should have seen it coming. I should have prophesied that the knitting would give way to writing at 10:00 p.m. when the house was totally quiet. I should have seen that when I couldn't be alone in the living room with five other human beings I would retreat to the silence of my laptop and somebody else's world.

I remember taking a trip to L.A. with my best friend in high school--on the way there, I closed my eyes and when my friend tried to engage me in conversation, I replied, "I'm trying to nap--I do that in cars." It was a total and complete lie. I wasn't trying to nap, I was pretending I was someone else with a really hot guy and he wasn't elbowing me in the ribs--sue me, I was 16, my repetoire of tragedy wasn't quite as developed. The fact was, I had reached an uncomfortable social situation, and I was using my ample and lecherous imagination to cushion the enforced exposure to so many other human beings.

I do this at home sometimes. The kinderbraten have gone to sleep? I'm ready to be ALONE ON THE FUCKING PLANET? I'm in here, typing away, or checking my standings or my e-mail or, usually, blogging--blogging was the ultimate for me. It was socializing while enjoying that all important silence in my own head.

And then I had to give myself a deadline. A serious deadline. I had to promise myself (and my tiny legion, we will grow...) that I would get BITTERMOON II out by June. And it seems realistic to me. I'm on page 50 already. But I didn't count on a professionalism that I thought fifteen years in public education had killed dead dead dead to emerge and suddenly suck out all the wiggle room in this well meaning promise. Suddenly, I'm not just giving up knitting time, I'm writing until 11:30--that's giving up SLEEPING time! And then I'm getting up early and taking 10 minutes to write some more. I'm giving up that all important thinking time on the john for sweet Triane's sake...and then I'm staying after school an extra ten minutes... and...

And suddenly my obsession, my 'little hobby' has taken on the overtones of a job, and if it was only that, I could quit it at any time. But it's more than that. It's a DREAM, and I'm hot so sure how to quit or even to cut back on a DREAM. DREAMING is addictive stuff--DREAMING is like neuro-heroin, and I can't stop injecting it. I DREAM of people reading my books and telling me that they were moved by them. And I know how great this dream is because it's already happened--and I ride those highs with my hands in the air screaming "WHEEEEEEEEE" even though the lows...well, you've all helped me past the lows, right?

So I guess I know how I got here...I guess the question is, how do I live here? I miss my blogging peeps. Hell--I miss my IRL friends, not that I would see much of them anyway. I miss my little ones--I need to be there earlier for them. Do I cut back a little at a time? Do I blow off the deadline? Do I give up more knitting? (Impossible...I feel like I hardly knit at all.) I mean--I don't eat lunch with my peers as it is--I'm too busy on the computer doing the small amount of blog reading I actually get in. Can I really be a decent mother while I'm working a job and a dream?

"I can't figure it all out tonight sir...I'd just like to hang with your daughter." (Name that movie, anyone?)

I guess maybe that's where I start. Mate' sitting on the couch, watching Avatar reruns...I love Avatar--one of my favorite shows to watch with my kids--who are all asleep. Maybe, I'll go check a blog or two, and then go sit with him and, well, knit. Yeah...maybe that's a place to throttle back. I mean, I wrote three pages after school today already...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Love songs suck and fairy tales aren't true...

The title actually has nothing to do with the post, but it's a song by Bowling for Soup that I totally adore, and since I can't shake it, I'll just share... (I especially like the line 'she's all I can think about/so I must not be gay/she's my lunatic/I'm her psychopath'--doesn't that sound like a rockin' relationship?)

Anyway, I'm riding the high of having had an entire 30 minutes quiet in my own head--I know, I know--it's too much, my cranium will explode...but I'll go happy.

I was telling Mate that the frustrating thing about work right now is that we are not expected to have any down time. It's not that we used to sit back and, I don't know, write novels or anything when the kids were working but...but it used to be okay for us to e-mail each other or play solitaire, or, (my personal favorite) enter grades or correct papers while the kids are working quietly, but no more. Now we always have to be engaged, always have to be wandering the classroom, and heaven forbid if some kid is falling asleep while we're yakking away at the front of the class, because that would be our fault entirely.

Or at least, that's what I have gathered from the sudden appearance of my most vainglorious prickweenie in my room today to open his nifty-spiffy laptop to the screen labled "engagement matrix". My kids, Goddess bless them, all thought they were in trouble, so they acted like angels. As soon as he left, of course, chaos erupted and they went back to being the little bastards I wish would drink alum (remember, those old cartoons, where the mouths and heads would shrink and no sound would come out? Yeah. Like that.) but while he was there, I was blessing their children, and their children's children and all the increase of their house. But the problem with this whole "How many hoops are you jumping" style of teaching is that the kids don't know how to do anything without us. Do you guys remember analogies? The staple of SAT's for years, kind of analogies? Well, as pat as they were, they were sort of a necessary skill for, I don't know, critical thinking, interpretation, integrating vocabulary smoothly into your preexisting lexicon--that sort of thing.

My kids don't know analogies. My kids may never know analogies, because analogies actually take a moment of silence inside your own head to make the connection, and we are not allowed to give them that. Every day is a constant wrestle with the walkman and the cell phone and electronics with names that I don't even know, with the threat of physical violence if you confiscate them (yes, I've been threatened, why do you ask?) and when they don't have that going on, there's conversation, acres and acres of mall-speak about nothing important and when you ask them, "do you get it?" "No. It was too hard. Explain it six more times and give me the aswers and I might." And the thought, the god-forbid thought, that what they actually need to do is put their pen on their paper and listen to the silence of their own head is heresy, because if we make them work so quietly we have time to do something else, we're not doing our job.

So, my kids could listen to that song (Love songs suck and fairy tales aren't true, and happy-ever-afters are just not for me and you...) and never get the connection between the title and the relationship in the song, or the irony, or any of it, because when they listen to it, they're only listening to the simple visceral part that engages them, and not to the words. It's like their heads are a giant download manager, and there's too much shit on the download manager for them to pull up what they need, and we've been denied permission to hit the fucking clear button.

Maybe I'm just jealous...they're talking to me all day, my kids are making noise in the car in the way home, and when I get home, Chicken and T are so busy talking to me that I can't even summon the quiet in my head to surf the net...and every time I get a single thought in a row, I'm interupted with something really important--like the fact that the Cave Troll needs a bottle to sleep (six of them, tonight because dinner was not to his taste) and Chicken's sudden desire to analyze the political/social impact of this morning's episode of Handy Manny. (No, I'm not kidding about that last one. Not. At. All.) Maybe I'm jealously angry because here I am, giving them some time for that contemplative silence in their own heads--something I'd kill to have, by the way, and they're pissing it away. I mean, I've been doing this job for fifteen years--I don't know why I'm all surprised and pissed off that they blow me off at this point in the game.

Maybe it doesn't hurt as much if we're given a little personal space to ignore it. And to that end, let's all hope the master prickweenie stays the fuck away from my class room for a little while, because I'm thinking that he and his "engagement matrix" can jump into the Terrible Trivium sandpit of faceless doom and rot.

I'm going to continue to keep 'Heroes' on hold and write a little more, myself--because when the house is this quiet, I can feel where greatness is.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Books and such...

Okay-- I freely admit that I probably paid for's free upgrade, and the depressing thing is, it feels like I never actually have time to actually READ the things I buy. But, one trip to the john after another, I have wrapped up a few titles here, which I'll share. But I warn you--I read trash. I mean, I read literature at work, and I enjoy my job, but I hate it that reading--what I love--is a job, and so, being perverse and passive aggressive, I rebel by reading...

What I write. I love reading the same dreck I love writing. Sue me. I've said it before--if it makes us respond to the human condition in some way, it's literature. I just like my literature unashamed of it's humanity, that's all. So here, in a nutshell, is the list of what I've been reading...there's probably some blanks there--I forget, uhm, everything if it's not sealed in my head with shower caulk--and it's definitely short for me. I'm still bitter about taking those @#$%ing units during the summer, especially because, since I signed up for them so late, I don't get my pay raise until next year. (yeah yeah--it's my fault...I know it will surprise a lot of you, but I've got this paperwork disability.. Again, it's my suffering paycheck--I just wish I didn't have to suffer the pity of the HR department because they ALL know.)

So, uhm...
The 7th Harry Potter. Duh.
The Dante Valentine series by Lilith Saint Crow--#3, The Devil's Right Hand. (Awesome. I love Tierce Japhrimel--and not just his name.)
The Harry Dresden Series by Jim Butcher-#8. (Gets better every time.)
The "Grave" series by Charlaine Harris--#3. (SQUEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!)
The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris--# 7 (I HATE Quinn. Hate him. LOVE Erick. Love love love.)
Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale
The "Kitty" series by Carrie Vaughn--all three in a row. (Definitely!)
The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward (I read these pretty consecutively, and am now on #5--Love Unbound. Uhm...YEEEEEE freaking HAWWWWWWWWWW. These vampire heroes are hot enough to save a marriage or destroy a convent...yum.)
Low Red Moon by Caitlin Kiernen. (Great Book. I hated it. There's a reason most of my 'horror' is really contemporary urban fantasy in disguise...)
Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay--I'd read his grocery list.
Innocent in Death by J.D. Robb--well, the woman isn't an icon, a success story, and a breathing legend in the publishing industry for nothing, is she?

And I'm looking at this thinking "Is that all? I mean...I've had years where this was a month...hell, I've had years where this was two weeks...and this is like...hell--two, three months?

I mean seriously--I've got four pairs of socks working, one pair of mittens, a scarf and a shawl, and none of them are even close to being finished.

What the hell am I doing with my time?

Thursday, October 4, 2007


In no particular order, I would like to announce the following:

*Roxie liked the rough draft. I can breathe my first "It might not suck" breath for...well I'm still stressing over the first one, so that won't work. I can just add another sweet little wedge to that booster seat under my confidence. Thanks, sweetheart, thank you thank you thank you... (No. She's not giving out spoilers--there will be no besieging of Roxie for spoilers.)

*The kitten is now asleep on the kitchen table. Not that we spoil him or anything.

* I skipped my nightly walk because Supernatural was on. I'm an evil, evil, sick puppy, and in my next life I'm going to be a hottie going out with Jensen Ackles. That's only what I deserve.

* Did I mentionte that Ladybug got dropped off at the babysitter, put down on the floor, and proceeded to walk to the baby on the other side of the baby gate and poke her in the eye? When I asked her babysitter if she did that a lot, Brenda replied, "Oh, she has her days." She has her days? I'm telling you, that kid is 85% cute and 15% evil.

* I almost started a riot today when I asked my TA to throw away some ant infested candy during my 4th period. It was fun to watch but difficult to break up, and I don't think I'll do the pinata thing on my floor again. The fun part was watching the boys (they were all boys) spit out ants for the rest of the period.

* The cave troll got to stay home today with Ladybug and Daddy. There's no real reason to mention this, except that I'm wildly chest feels like upside down carpet tacks in a phlegm factory. I could have stayed home to knit.

* Of course, If I had stayed home to knit, no one would know. I'm taking pictures for the strikke-along, but...well, my feelings on corrugated knitting require a whole other asterisk.

* Regarding that last entry--if anyone ever hears me even thinking about a project that involves size one needles and corrugated ribbing, please zoom on over here to Nor Cal and beat me bloody about the ears with a four by four because it will hurt me less than anoter 4 1/2 inches in bloody teeny-freaky-tiny corrugated freaking ribbing.

Yup. Time for the shawl in Al Paca Chunky, canya gimme hallelujia amen.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Okay, to get the full irony of this, we need to flash backwards about 5 years.

I'm at work. In the bathroom.

Now our work bathroom is annexed by the actual staff room--it's great. You sit down, hork back a lean cuisine, get up, walk ten paces, shut and lock the door (we hope--I did actually walk in on a 'canon' fodder teacher *snork* who forgot this simple fact...) and go wee. The real fun part is that you can hear EVERYTHING that people say about you while you're doing your business.

So, I'm going wee, and two very nice ladies (one of them was 'canon' fodder--an English teacher who doesn't make it past the two year tenure date) and one of them has since sold her soul and moved on to administration--are having a conversation. About moi.

They think I'm wasting my time writing vampire fiction. They think it's such a shame that I don't spend my time writing narrative non-fiction (you know, sort of like I'm doing RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT) and that the whole 'vampire thing' is a phase that will pass--much like a two year old sucking her thumb. I'm cracking up because this is before I've had my ass handed to me on a platter education-wise, and I'm arrogant, and I also know I have to get up in a second because our passing period is only seven minutes long and hiding in the john until they've split is out of the question. I am fully aware they're going to be sooooo embarrassed because everybody knows you can hear through those paper thin walls. And they were embarrassed. And I wasn't. I wasn't embarrassed because, quite frankly, I've never been a fan of non-fiction. Fiction is my BAG baby, and I've got the giant arm tattoo and weirdly named children to prove it. (You think their nicknames are weird? I've named two daughters after fairy princesses and two sons after knights in the round table--I think if I had ever had enough boys to get to Sir Bagdamagus, someone would have caught on and put me away for child abuse.) Anyway--my feelings weren't hurt, and I got to leave with the smug superiority of someone who knows where their strengths ARE and where they most definitely NOT and boy aren't I the queen of every fucking thing for a whole ten minutes, right?

I'm teaching early American Lit right now...and, as much as I've hated non-fiction in the past, I've got to tell you all that Ben Franklin was a frickin' genius. You see, ol' Mr. Hundred Dollar Bill was Mr. Self-Improvement. Long before Men are From Mars and Women are from Someplace Better Than Freakin' Mars, long before Oprah Mauripovitch, long before Dr. Phillip Ruth, Franklin was trying to make himself a better person. He even had a little chart and thirteen virtues to put on it--sort of like a weight watcher's diet diary, except he wanted to lose vices instead.

Now, Ben eventually gave this up. (I'm pretty sure he got married and got to have sex regularly. I understand he was a fan.) I don't blame him--there's nothing like seeing every bad habit you've overindulged in tallied up like a calorie chart you recorded at your ex-boyfriend's wedding to make you realize that the Puritans had it right. We suck, we're going to hell, and we just hope the beaches are great and someone remembers the sunblock. But what impressed me about this whole endeavor (and what has made me a fan of at least one American writer who wasn't Hawthorne, Poe, Dickinson or Whitman) is the idea what we are what knitters have always believed us to be. We are Works In Progress. I may be fat now, but I will keep dieting, and failing, and dieting again until I'm in that size Reasonable as opposed to that size Vast and Stately. I may have nearly crashed and burned my career and my confidence last year, but this year I'm getting a handle on things and I may not have to sacrifice a Freshman under a horned moon on the roof of the administration building over the burial site of our Superintendent's heart, liver, and brain cells in order to keep the little bastards from ageing me fast and killing me slow. My house may be a disaster today, but someday I'll be older, my children will be gone, and I will miss the chaos of this exact moment, when I just made Chicken blow milk out her nose by experimentally putting an oblong needle case into the finger-opening of finger-puppet hedgehog, and we both laughed uproariously at something neither of us should have been thinking. (Although I'm sure her mental image was more scatalogical than sexual, it didn't matter. For either of us, it was a very dirty joke.) I may not have Franklin's organization down, but I am enjoying the concept that I can eliminate my vices one week at a time.

Franklin was an optimist, of course. We all know that. And I also enjoyed Twain's twist that the reason Franklin was so hell bent on self-improvement was so that in the generations to come, parents could hold up his example and torture their children with it... (That Franklin boy was so ambitious...why can't you be more like him, Wilbur, why?)

But I also like his point. Of course knitters--and women in general, many of whom have probaby never read Franklin or give a flying bucket of bug-shit about his Autobiography--have been practicing what he's been preachin' for years.