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

Thursday, February 28, 2008


So, I finished the scarf for the student who DOES like me--it came out wonderfully, and, just to prove that making them stuff isn't a complete waste of time and energy, she was SOOOOOO grateful--the whole thing made me feel good. What also made me feel good was that I'd fixed her up with my own daycare provider--she needed a Senior Project mentor, and my daycare provider (having gone through her own Senior Project when the Cave Troll was just a tadpole in her mother's day care) was happy to do it. So the scarf student had just gone and put in senior project hours with my own kids--she came by my class to tell me that they were every bit as cute as I told them in my stories, and, seriously, what mother doesn't want to hear that?

Tonight was a bizarre mixture of Open House and course registration--I'm too tired to go into it more than that, but suffice it to say that my presence was a complete waste of time. With one exception.

One of my juniors this year is actually the little sister of someone from the class of '99--who I also had as a student. Anyway, Lili came to visit me, and I was thrilled, and it made an otherwise useless night sort of decent. (btw? If I still had my AP course, they would have needed me. OUCH.)

And then I got home and discovered that Cave Troll had jumped on Ladybug's head. *sigh* Somethings, you wish wouldn't time-capsule quite so well. (He is currently having a terribly tantrum because he wouldn't come to bed, so his sister got a book and he didn't.)

But other than that, not too terribly much to tell. I just heard a commercial for '21'--is it just me, or do you know your characters are doomed when they play *Break on Through* by the Doors in the background of the trailer?

Oh yeah--I taught Emerson there was a man who could have sung *Here Comes the Sun* every day of his life--and believed it in every note. They really don't make 'poets' like that anymore, now do they?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Day with Cave Troll and Ladybug

One of the things I've discovered I like about blogging, is how it serves as a time capsule for those days that might otherwise get lost in the busy-ness that is life in the mommy-lane, professional or otherwise. To that end, since my beloved beautifuls have done some very charming/irritating things in the last week, I thought I'd make an honest to goodness time-capsule post, a post that I can come back to during the tween-years, and say, "Oh yeah--they did that. They were adorable. They still are." (Although I like what Gemma's grandmother said about them too--"Children are so adorable that when they are little you want to eat them up. Then they get bigger and you wish you had.")

And so, to that end, I give you 'a day with Cave Troll and Ladybug'--the following day is sort of an amalgam of things they have done in the last week, but still...that's some week.

I wake up at six a.m.--the Cave Troll has climbed between Mate and I sometime during the night, and, if the Goddess is with us, our sheets are still clean. Again, with luck, I sneak out of bed, go potty, and wander into the kitchen to check my e-mail. During this time, Big T will invariably try to cheerfully talk to me, not having yet realized that I am sub-human until I have checked my e-mail and knocked my toothbrush into the sink. (We've been doing this routine for months, but this probably won't dawn on him until full adulthood.)

Then, having gotten sucked into the version of my current manuscript that I"m working on and sending to work, I realize I'm running late, dash into the bedroom, change quickly (I often go to work in jeans and a T-shirt, because, quite frankly, I don't care if I look like hell...unprofessional, but true) and then gather clothes for the two short people. "Cave Troll, Cave Troll--time to wake up and go watch Handy want your time to watch Handy Manny, right?"

He literally leaps into my arms over the edge of the bed, and I haul Troll and troll clothes into the living room to be sat down in the big chair while I go get Ladybug.

She is always asleep face down, sometimes wearing shoes she put on last night, when the lights were out, and she was supposed to be settling down to sleep. She's particularly fond of these lightweight pseudo-crocs right now--because she can do the laces all by herself. She will not leave the bed without her favorite blanket--the glitch is, of course, that we don't know which blanket that is today until she sticks her thumb in her mouth and emits this high pitched buzz-whine until I grab the appropriate blanket from the pile that she was sleeping on when I got her.

Mom, kids, and blankets settle down for Handy Manny. At the beginning of Doodlebops, it's dressing time--sort of. The Cave Troll can dress himself, but Ladybug has been very partial to her pajamas lately. MOre than once we have thrown a pair of sweats under, and a sweater over, her monkey-nightie and sent her to the baby-sitters that way, because unclenching her elbows from her sides is just too much trauma for seven a.m. The baby-sitter thinks it's highly amusing, thank gods.

Sometimes we have breakfast--a bottle of milk--the Cave Troll likes it in the bottle instead of a cup. We humor him. He has the skills, he's just a cup-slacker. If we have toast or a bagel, it's because Ladybug wants to eat the creamcheese off the bagel or the butter off of the toast. If it's a bagel, she'll give it back to you, licked clean, so you can re-cheese her bagel. I'm usually so tired/late/dumb with shock that I do just this...I'm sure there's a bylaw out there in the mother's manual that says this is a BAD THING but until the parenting police come and arrest me for it, I'll keep doing it.

The trip to the sitters is fraught with various squabbles over bottles, toys, blankets, etc. Ladybug really doesn't give a ripe shit about these things, but the Cave Troll obsesses and she likes to yank his chain by stealing his bottle, his blanket, or his toy du jour. This morning, the Cave Troll wanted music and conversation for his morning commute. He remarked that the sun was up, and wanted a song. Thus followed "Here Comes the Sun", sung by Mom. Then he wanted a song about the moon--"Moon Shadow", by Cat Stevens, covered by the same artist, thank you very much, and thus with 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' and Joni Mitchell's 'Clouds'. For the record? My voice is reasonably pleasant, but I frequently fall out of key unless I sing bold. 'Clouds' sounds like a cat sliding down a chalkboard unless I start out strong and just belt out that puppy, but then, who else is in the car to object, right?

We get to the babysitters, and the Cave Troll gets out on his own--"Hug and Kiss, Mom," and then, after the hug and kiss, he has to drive. The only way I get him to let go of the steering wheel and walk to the door is by threatening to get to the doorbell, thereby depriving him of the chance to ring it. Ladybug sometimes comes quietly--sometimes even falling asleep on the way--but not today. Today, those same shoes she insisted on wearing as she slept have been foot-tossed to the very back of the car--it took me five minutes to find them, tick-tick-tick-please- let-me-not-be-late-thank-you-very-much! When I got her out of her car seat, she grinned up at me, gaps-in-the-teeth and all. "'ookie, mama, barefoot!" "Yes, sweetheart, lookie. Barefeet." Can you hear the Sahara Desert in my voice? I thought so.

And that's it...hug and kiss, hug and kiss for the Cave Troll...with Ladybug, it depends. Sometimes she waves to me with the same hand that has the thumb that's in her mouth. Sometimes she's done with me--she gives me a wave behind her back while she pretends the TV is more engaging. Sometimes, she's so busy running up the forbidden stairs that she forgets I"m leaving at all.

Sometimes she cries.

Either way, it sucks to go...

Picking them up is fun...usually, Ladybug is out the door before we can get to her--I used to panic about her running into the street, but I park in the driveway, and we've figured out her real motivation.

Mommies and Monkeys--the Cave Troll makes me sing it, loudly. In fact, he won't let me catch him unless I"m singing--it's required.

*All around the Minivan, the mommy chased the monkeys, the monkeys stop to tie up their shoes...MOMMY'S GOT THE MONKEYS!!!* And then I swoop and get them--Ladybug first, Cave Troll second...and if I make the game too short, the Ladybug cries. She loves her a good game of Mommies and Monkeys, yes she does.

Then we get in the car, and my trek of shame begins. "Choc'late milk, mom. And a toy." Whether they've eaten or not, it's always at least chocolate milk and a frickin' useless piece of plastic from McDonalds. They can set their watch by me, and all of the drive-thru tellers know me--some of them go to my high school, and they all like to know what I"m knitting. (When the Cave Troll was by his lonesome, this one lovely woman used to sneak me free happy-meal toys. She was pregnant when my day care provider moved--I hope she's happy, and eyeballs deep in toys and baby squeals as I write.)

This is one of the few purchases I can safely say comes completely out of guilt. When I get home, I want to check my g-mail (who knows--a publisher may have called while I was dragging 11th graders through the gram-mire during the day) and then I want to sit on the chair, holding my little ones while they watch a show, pet the cat and touch me to make sure I've never really deserted them. Sometimes this happens. Sometimes, the little ingrates fall asleep on their brother or sister, who are equally happy to have them home.

Sometimes I get a whole 1/2 an hour to sleep in the chair before someone has to be somewhere--karate or dance or indoor soccer-- or, (better yet!) I make dinner. (Of course, making dinner only comes if the older kids have done dishes--the younger kids have usually eaten, so if the older kids haven't done the dishes, we're all on our own. We eat a LOT of Hot Pockets in my house.)

And then it's the juggling--who's home, who's taking whom...and hopefully, the little ones get to stay in the house, playing, running around in their MOnster/kitty blankets, having jedi-fights with the two contrasting Jedi swords that big T keeps trying to get back from his little brother... whatever.

Last night, my nap was interrupted by a naked Cave Troll. He had decided that it was bath time early--this was actually okay. We bathed them early, fed them, early, got them to bed--well, mostly on time, and then mama had her walk. The going to bed part is fun...mama sings. Every one of my kids has had their own personal usually starts out as a song I like, and then the kid picks his/her own as time goes on. With Big T, I used to have to call him up when he was home with a babysitter, and I'd sing Sarah MacLachlan's 'The Ice Cream Song' to him over the phone. For Chicken, because it couldn't be easy, it was 'Clouds'. For the Cave Troll, we started out with Ernie's 'I Don't Want to Live on the Moon' and one day, on a whim, I sang him John Denver's 'Sunshine on my Shoulder' and it has been that ever since. For Ladybug, so far it's Patsy Kline's 'Sweet Dreams'. I can not even fathom a guess as to which song she will choose for herself.

It's the 'after bed' that's the problem. Personally, I love it when Mate and I retire and laugh and giggle for hours after lights are out--it means we're enjoying each other's company.

The Preschoolers think highly of this situation as well, and it's a rare night I don't have to ask Mate to stick his head in and do the deep-voiced-dad thing, yelling at them to go to sleep.

They do--often, for Ladybug, after giggling through the process of putting on her shoes. For the Cave-Troll, there's a more furtive process.

First, he waits for Ladybug to fall asleep, and then, for the second, more intangible event. He waits for me to leave the computer (I usually write a page or two, or blog for an hour) before I sit down and knit. He loves that moment. He creeps out of his room and sits on my lap. I used to scream at him about this. "Back in your bed! The MANUAL FOR EFFECTIVE PARENTING says I must be firm!" But, since I've got piles of laundry in my room that haven't seen daylight since 2005, I figured THE MANUAL must have been lost there somewhere as well, and I can let him sneak onto my lap. He likes it when I knit. He puts his tender, longfingered hand on top of mine as I move it. (I am embarrassed of the times I smacked him with a knitting needle because I thought he was fidgeting.) It turns out, he just likes the rhythm of mama knitting or crocheting.

And that's it. He sits, he feels my hands move. After fifteen minutes, I remind him of what he's supposed to be doing, and he goes back to bed. "Hugs and Kiss, Mom. Hug and Kiss."

Good Night.

(*If you read this before there's pictures, please check back...I've posted from school and I don't have access to my pix!)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Stash Enhancement 2008

I actually showed some restraint at Stitches yesterday--I took Chicken and we both took floor classes, and that was one hour that we didn't spend buying stuff. But that was not the only strategy in my campaign to not indulge in the excesses that almost ate into our mortgage last year--in fact, I was sort of proud of myself.

Strategy 1: Sign up for a class. They give you free yarn and needles and you spend some of your time off the floor.

Strategy 2: Since you're going to be on a train for 2-3 hours anyway, bring yarn for three-four different projects. This strategy has two advantages.

A. It reminds you how much yarn you have already

B. It's frickin' heavy, so you're not quite so tempted to buy more stuff to slog around the enormously crowded floor.

Strategy 3: Hit the Socks That Rock booth first, so you can buy your STR and not spend a crapload of money being pissy because you missed out on the best colors.

Strategy 4: Know your LYS inventory--what's coming and what they don't have. This was invaluable. If you look at the picture above, you can see some bright fuschia/lavender Jitterbug sportweight sockyarn. I knew Babetta was getting some of this in, so I bought two skeins--it's Ladybug's favorite color, and I'm planning a sweater for her. Two skeins at Stitches, two when Babetta gets hers in, and, hullo, it's actually a plan! This also is what drove me to the Jojoland booth--I know Babetta doesn't have Jojoland, and I loves it, so instead of getting distracted by all the pretty stuff that I know I'll have access to soon, I got something really rare. And so gorgeous, I haven't even used last years skeins, because it would feel like violating some sort of rare, ancient portrait or something. These skeins, I almost broke out on the train back, but I was spending my train time on Strategy 5. It also kept me from going hog-wild on the malabrigo, because I know that sweet, sweet slide into sin is on it's way. (Babetta isn't just a small-business owner, she's an extraordinarily gifted yarn-pusher as well.)

Strategy 5: Prepare for the odd sale too good to pass up. I started another sweater for Ladybug on the train because these skeins of her favorite color were 1/2 off, and so soft and perfect, and probably discontinued, and I could drop another change-chunk on them because I hadn't lost my mind beforehand.

Strategy 6: Save up more money. Next year, I'm hitting the Interlacement booth for a sweater for myself, and I am showing my checkbook no mercy!

Strategy 7: Buy more than one unbearably cute al-paca al-paca. Chicken bought the one in the picture for herself, and Ladybug actually hissed at Chicken when she tried to reclaim it. Somethings are just meant to be stolen forever and never shared. Especially if you're two.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mr. Postman...

It was funny...this morning I saw one of my two favorite admins piloting one of the little electric cart while one of the custodians delivered stuff to people's rooms. I was running a little late, and I almost started singing (trust me, this guy would have appreciated it)" STOP! Wait a minute Mr. Postman! Oh-oh-oh wait and see..."

I didn't, and more's the pity, because I got home, and Mr. Postman had been a very good boy indeed.

On the small scale there was a new pattern book from"New Mittens and Gloves" and I love it, if only because she named one of the patterns "Aethelwyne" which means 'friend of the elves'. I mean, how could you not love someone who comes up with creative patterns and then names them, well, creatively? (Do you not get tired of pattern names like, "Thick Gloves, With Color"? One of the greatest things about Knitty is that people REALLY go to town on names...and most of them are FABULOUS.)

I also got my train tickets for Stitches West. I'd better make sure my daughter keeps hers, because the way this 13 year old has been clinging to me like some sort of emotionally angst-filled ivy, I may accidentally leave her there. (I wouldn't do that--you all know I wouldn't, but there has to be some sort of 'mommy hug me' rule for a thirteen year old. 10-15 would be good, but over and above that, I may have to sell her to gypsies or something.) I'm trying to establish some sort of "reign in the credit card" rule of thumb for this expedition. I've been stashdiving all week to remind me of how much yarn I have that I already DON'T have time to knit. So far, it's only made me a smidge closer to casting on six-hundred pairs of socks in the span of a week.

And the other thing I got? (Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy...)
Louiz has sent me a package.

If I had more time (and I really don't!) I'd download some lovely pictures--a book on Shakespearean insults with some very pretty bookmarks (oh boy oh boy oh boy) two packages of shortbread (Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy!), an absolutely hilarious card (hee hee hee hee hee) and a ball of Opal sockyarn (OHBOYOHBOYOHBOYOHBOY!!!)

Goody goody goody goody...

Mr. Postman stopped, and I really AM queen of the known world.

Thanks, Louiz!

Must tell you all how much I needed this.

The person who got fired today told me that the prickweenie was gunning for me. One of the guys from my department had told her. I told her that this person had told me, as well--it was general knowledge in the department. It wasn't anybody's 'bad' that this conversation happened, but it did remind me that rumors sound so much more vicious sometimes than the reality. However, I also ended up telling 'Amy Lane' stories to one of my classes... I was trying to explain how I had managed to alienate most of my administrators--and how much of it is my fault, really, for not accepting the fouled up world for what it is. The kids laughed, and I found myself, in the interest of honesty, telling them that my confidence had been shot to hell last year, and I probably wouldn't be able to do these outrageous things anymore.

"I'm not that brave anymore," I told them.

"You'll be again, someday," they told me.

And my colleagues wonder why I value student opinion.

But that was 3rd period. By 6th period, I'd had to kick out one kid per class to restore order after my absence. The problem with human behavior is that there's always a flip-side.

(Mr. Postman, look and see...if there's a card or a letter for me...)

And then I got home. And you know the rest--it was all good from there:-)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Back in the saddle again...

Well, we all went back to work/school today--except the tweeners. Can you believe those two have an entire week off? They call it 'President's week' for cripes sakes! Seriously--if we're going to give our tweenagers this much time off, I would expect those people (some call them 'Presidents') to work a lot harder for me. I have not been impressed enough by the last eight years to stock up my refrigerator the way I've had to, and be forced to nag about housework.

Anyway, the short people and I went back--and the short people were suitably exhausted when we returned. In fact, I hear one of them freaking out as I sit and type--Dad was in charge of settling them down to bed this evening (after a failed attempt by Mom), and the Cave Troll has been acting according to his name. His newest thing is, when he doesn't like something, he opens his maw and shrieks like a rabid goblin. The exact pitch and warble of this shriek causes an instant rise in blood pressure and red spots to dance before the eyes--and Dad tends to pitch a fit in exact proportion to the one being pitched at him. Suffice it to say, that I'm betting the Cave Troll is wishing he'd gone along quietly with mom instead.

On the work front (are all ears open on this one?) I was depressed when one of our newer teachers got a non-reelect. I was really depressed, because I felt sort of a kindred spirit with this woman. We're both largish, red-headed, un-ignore-able women, and we tend to try to mother our students in a way that makes the anal-retentive squeamish.

I was made vulnerably aware that, if the Grand Royal Prickweenie had been there when I was untenured, when my self-confidence had just been shot down by a ginormous number of things I shan't elaborate on today, I would not have had this job. He would have hated me on sight (as he has done to date) and I would have been non-re-elected (again--but that is another story) and I'm not sure I would have had the chutzpah to pick myself up one more time. I might have gone back to waitressing or become a copy-editor (everybody laugh!) or something. Not that it would have been a bad fate, but I like teaching. Hell, before the Prickweenie and the Nightmare in a Size Six, I used to LOVE teaching. I think I've done some good in this profession. I mean, I've got a wall of testimonial from the people most important to me in it--the students!-- and it saddens me to think of the Gradgrinding mean-ness that has replaced the spirit of joy in this school. There are a lot of causes for it, but mostly I blame the same lack of tolerance that I think is the downfall of a lot of humanity's greatest gestures. It just sucks to be in a school where a kid can flounce out, get a referral, and get one period of suspension from my class only, when another kid can say, "Really--you want my cell phone?" in honest puzzlement, and get a three day suspension from school AS A WHOLE. And the flouncing bitch is so much more of an oxygen thief than the cell phone kid--I mean, where's the fucking justice? High school kids are always saying, "It's not fair!" Just because life has taught adults that things seldom are fair, doesn't mean that the high school kids don't have it right when they think that they SHOULD be!

*sigh* Well, my students were happy, anyway--having a teacher gone for four days is like winning the lottery of slackerdom, and they sure did milk the subs for every last nano-second of movie time. They milked me a little too, but since it took me most of the day to catch up on most (only MOST, not ALL) of my e-mail, I let them. I gave those damned movie assignments for a freakin' reason, right?

But on a lighter note, Chicken and I are all signed up for Stitches West on the Capitol Corridor train and I even got us a couple of classes. In one way, I don't really want to go--I don't want to leave the little people, and I know I'll spend too much money, and there's a whole day of writing, completely shot...

But on the other hand, Chicken loves going. She's not even a serious knitter--she just likes going someplace with me. She's been amazingly clingy lately--here's hoping that a day spent completely in mom's company will remind her that mommies can be bitchy disasters too.

Oh--and I haven't gotten my thing on Ravelry yet. It's not done!!! Besides, I keep looking at the booties--with the pattern I came up with all on my own--and trying to figure out if they will fit human feet or not. The really sad thing is, I'm on the second one! I mean, didn't Steph write a whole chapter on that place that ain't a river in Egypt? When I post these booties on Ravelry, you can tell me if I live there or not!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Whose Foot Is That? family and I just spent five minutes trying to figure out whose deformed, hairy, vampire-clawed foot that is in the Captain Stashdive picture on the front of the blog. I think it's Mate's, but I don't remember Mate's foot being quite that hairy. Ah, well... maybe there WAS a vampire in the house? Wouldn't THAT be exciting.

Actually, it would be about the only exciting thing to happen here in a while.

The little kids are feeling better--better enough, in fact, to take them to the park today and let them play until Ladybug was stumbling about in weariness. Then we took them to Target and revived her with shoes! (She has a total shoe fetish... it's so cute...and she's very definite as to which pair of pink keds she absolutely MUST have. Who is this child, and how did she spring from the loins of a woman who has worn very little besides men's loafers and white tennies for the last six years? )

Anyway, I'm about to have a VERY exciting entry on Ravelry since I've almost finished the al-paca baby sweater. It's sort of a vanity project. I don't know the teacher who's wife had the baby all that well...but I saw the yarn, and it was just SOOOOOO perfect... and then I touched it. Marshmallows swimming in drawn sugar-butter are scratchier (and not as rich) as this particular yarn. And suddenly it became a matter of I HAD to find a project I could use just one skein of it on... I'm starting to think that me and yarn are just a little co-dependent, aren't we?

Seriously--I make my own kids' sweaters out of cascade or plymouth or something that's 80% acrylic/20% wool... (okay... i did dabble w/the cashmerino aran...but it was when Ladybug was 1!!! ) Anyway, this is very sumptuous. It almost makes me want to diet so I can make my own sweater that won't cost me a fortune!!!

And thanks to those of you who have reviewed the book! I'm so very fortunate to have readers that will do that for me--I feel very blessed. (And you like it--you really really like it! It's finally settling in that I'm a real writer, and I'm decent!) Although I must say, that Chicken has just finished the book, just to keep me humble. She pointed out six major errors (in one case I substituted character names, effectively putting three people in the room where, in fact, only two existed. OY!) but by the end, she did agree that Aldam was much better for Roes than Aylan, giving me hope for her future after all. (Starry, however, will still give me fits:-) Anyway, by the time she was done I think that she felt like I was a real writer as well... I was pleased. I was also assured that even if the publishers of Big Books incorporated descend upon my head like angels of materialism and success, my head would never be allowed to become too big. Chicken just won't let it. Family is a blessing, that way, isn't it?

(btw? She just asked me why I liked to blog so much. I replied that all her friends were at school and she got to see them every day... she was unimpressed with my reasoning.)

Well, I'm off to go sign us up for Stitches and the Train thereto... after which, I'm sure we will both need a total break from each other.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

A short day pass from germ central...

I went into work today for two hours to make sure the place was still standing and to talk to my sub...lucky me--Today's sub was an old student of mine and totally competent now, and I'm so glad he got my students for today. A break at last!

And Roxie's right, btw...I TOTALLY missed my students. I might not feel this way in mid-May, but right now, I was really sorry to have to leave my 2nd period...even though they still weren't shutting up during the @##$ movie!!

And as for Amy Lane, the mobile recliner? Seriously, people...the diet this week? Bye-the-fuck-bye... It's so not funny how little will power I have when my time schedule and my autonomously ambulatory moments have gone *splat* into a toddler's mucus puddle. (That's an image that will haunt some of you for days...)

And the house? Julie published a very brave photo of her guest room that needs to be ready for her in-laws tomorrow...I just laughed. My house REDEFINES thrashed. Tinkingbells keeps doing her 'In/Out' lists, and all I can think of is that if I did a serious OUT list, it wouldn't be defined by the item, it would be defined by the number of giant Hefty garbage bags that I would leave in the bay of the local Thrift store before I fled the scene.

Mate begged/forced/guilted-me-with-sad-puppy-dog-eyes to, for sweet Triane's sake, leave the small kids with the perfectly legitimate baby-sitting aged large kids and pretty pretty please go see a movie with him tonight. I was so frazzled that, in the time we spent waiting to go to the movie, instead of A. Taking a walk, B. doing the dishes, C. working on a response to an agent who (SQUEEE) responded to my queries, I chose to D. Cast on a new sock so that I would have something to knit at the movies. (???????OMGWTFBBQ????) Can you even imagine how totally whackoid my priorities have become this last week to even think that was sane? (ah, but the yarn I chose was ever so's the reason stash was invented...)

We saw Jumpers. I'd give a C-. I dropped a sock stitch and went to the lady's room after the movie to fix the sock--after I pottied, of course.

And while there is no more fever, I have a gut-churning suspicion that the mucus has settled into the sinuses for a long haul...I'm betting on a sinus infection pending, at least for Ladybug. She's so pale that she practically glows in the dark.

I'm never getting out of this house, am I? I'll be writing posts from the chaos as it travels towards my chin, and they'll have to get me and the short people out with a backhoe. I know it. I may be getting another day pass tomorrow (I begged Mate, to, for the sweet love of Triane's wolly legs, allow me to go to the LYS tomorrow, where a bunch of very nice ladies whose names I won't know will be there knitting. I need to knit. FOR THE LOVE OF WOOL LET THIS STRESSED OUT MAMA KNIT!!!) but after I get back to the stinking black hole that is my home? I may actually *gasp* need to clean. Break out the hefty bags, people. It's all gotta go. Everything except the yarn. And the books. And the toys. And the laptop.

Nevermind. I might just take a nap.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Help me, I need a kid-ectomy!

Ugh! The fevers have about broken, but they have left, in their wake, two whining, sniveling, clinging snot-balls who bear little resemblance to my usually self-sufficient children.

They're going to have to stay home again tomorrow, and me with them.

And the danger here isn't that my ass is going to grow to epic proportions from serving as a sort of moveable recliner for the two phlegm-wads, (although, truthfully, there is a danger of that!) or even that I'll throttle the next person who whines 'no no no no mama...want mama... while pawing me with sticky, germ-infested fingers (because they're just so'd be like drop-kicking a sick fish!) The danger isn't that they'd rather stab me in the eyes with my own dpns before giving me time to knit or that the clutter that's accruing in the house is going to topple and drown us all in mountain height crap or that Ladybug will angst herself to a mucus puddle in heart-covered sweats. No, no, although all those things are possible, those things aren't my biggest fears in this situation.

My biggest fear is that I don't want to go back.

I've been pretty conscientious about sending my colleagues lesson plans (movie lesson plans with a paper at the end, but lesson plans) to put on my desk. I even asked the last sub to call me--Hah!--so I could assess the hurricane class damage that the little bastards have imparted on my room as I've been gone. I've made noises about missing the autonomy of things like visiting the bathroom on a bell schedule and taking student's hands and walking them through a paper about the American Romantic hero that you practically write yourself, but the fact is...

I could get used to this. No, not the psychotically attached snot-wadded-mucus-balls, but I could get used to being at home. The floor, while not clean, is cleaner than it's been in a month. I've read stories, I've sang songs, and I just finished playing light sabers with a little kid who's gonna have homework in less than a year.

I could get used to being at home with them. I always knew it was possible. I even wished, sometimes, that it was real. But after this week in February, I think I'm finally grown-up enough to be a housewife and stay-at-home-mom.

Too bad it's not an option I have anymore. *sigh* Gotta go now...mucus-melt down in room two...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Well, once again Mr. Orr and I have completely baffled each other.

As you can see here, , Floyd is baffled as to why my error-riddled books appeal to people, himself included, and I am baffled as to who else helped me write VULNERABLE, WOUNDED, and BOUND. Whomever it was, she must have been getting all the sleep I missed as I stayed up late to write, and I hope that lazy bitch appreciates getting some of the credit. (Literature 101, boys and girls, a SPEAKER is a narrative voice manufactured by the AUTHOR in order to tell the story.) I am also a little baffled as to when 'Fat Girl's Fantasy' became appropriate to use as a literary adjective. (I mean, he's seen my picture--does he think I might not take that personally?)

*breathe, Amy, breathe...*

But, in the end, he does like my books, and I really must remember that. He also reviewed them for free, and gave his honest opinion, which is something else all writers say they want. *sigh* You know, I'm beginning to think that my friend who proposed we write our own rejection slips to publishers/agents et. al. wasn't that far off the mark. I'm also thinking that misogyny lives, but what's that got to do with the price of eggs?

Anyway, I"m here today with two sick kids...poor babies. I mean, poor me, because the Cave Troll is being such a tremendous 'I'm kinda sick but not sick enough to lie still' boyshit, he's lucky I haven't throttled him yet. Ladybug has just become a new fashion accessory. If I leave the room to, I don't know, do the dishes or go potty, she comes, hugs my leg, and lays her head on my knee until I yield to the only job I really should be doing: Sitting on the couch holding her.

It's fever watch, day 3, and I'm probably up to bat tomorrow as well. I remember once, when the tweeners were in pre-school and Kindergarten, that the ENTIRE FAMILY got sick, right about this time. Big T made it 'til Valentines day--he was all excited about sharing Valentines, so we were glad that he didn't get sick until Feb. 15th...but I remember that morning. Mate and I were damned near too sick to move, and the (then) little guy got up, got dressed, put a juice box and a box of cookies in his lunch box and told us he was waiting for the bus. Mate stumbled out of bed and saw him, sitting on the couch, waiting for one of us to come see him to the bus, and realized in his delirium that T's cheeks were VERY flushed and the rest of his face was VERY pale, and a beep-beep-beep later, we were ALL in bed with fevers over 101. Thank Goddess our immune systems (Mate's and mine) are over those days, because I remember that week (yes, an entire week when we were ALL out of school and work) as the epitome of suckage. Has anyone ever tried to spray bleach an entire house? It works better than you think.

Well, the little ones are at nap now, which means I can A. Do some laundry, B. Do the dishes, C. Go to the potty unencumbered by Ladybug chic, and D. Maybe knit a little. Option D is actually flipping my switch a little--I should go for it before I have to load the sick and irritable in the minivan to go see the doc. I gotta tell ya, I'm thinking that letting them run naked in February thing (well, not that we LET them...) has come back to bite us in the ass...

Oh yeah... (and this is fun:-)

I sent the Harlot a copy of Bitter Moon I. I told her specifically that I wasn't looking for a mention in her blog...I just really thought that the Seven Auntie Star part that Needletart inspired would seem special to Steph as well. You know, especially after Floyd's review, it's good to remember that we write for ourselves, and for the people that inspire us. I don't know where that fits under 'Fat Girl's Fantasy'--maybe Mr. Orr would assume it goes in the box marked 'bakery', but I think we all know it's marked 'Yarns for dreamers'. At least mine is.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Why is the rum gone?

**I love knitters! I tell you all that I'm making socks for my boy, and everybody's first question isn't 'Do you want to spoil the boy?' it's 'What color?'

The answer: Rainbow--Meillenweit multi-colored--blue/purple/olive/red/orange/dark yellow. In fact, it's very similar to the Jitterbug ones he had to give up:-)

**One of the Juniors I had last year as a sophomore too came up to me and said, "Ms. Lane--I know you make stuff for other people. Would you make me something?"

"Why sure, Sal, if I can. YOu know the Seniors take precedence, but if I can fit it in, I'd love to. What do you want?"

"I want a hat. It has to be big and stretchy for my dreadlocks...and because I have an enormous head for a white guy, and, well mostly because of my dreads."

"Okay, fair enough. Any special color?"

"Purple. And green. Yeah. PUrple and green. That would be great."

"Fair enough." And at this point I'm thinking your basic 4x4 rib, xtra long, totally simple, do it in my sleep, finish it in a week of stoplights hat.

"Oh yeah!" (Can you hear the other shoe, getting ready to splat its guts out on the floor of my subconcious?) "And can I have one of those PHAT cables you put on your daughter's sweater last year? That was AWESOME!"

For those of you who weren't here? That was the reversible cable from A Cardigan for Arwen.

"Sure," I said weakly, wondering not only how I was going to make that, but where that rip in the space/time continuum would be that would allow me to finish it. "I'll do my best."


**Yesterday was so gorgeous, and we couldn't find the Cave Troll's shoes, and, well, basically we decided it would be better for all involved if he and Ladybug spent their time outside playing in the sunshine instead of getting shuttled from place to place--mom had LOTS of errands to do, and they would be task-baggage that I just didn't need.

This sounded like a great idea, until we heard the water running. Mate, sitting on the couch right next to T, start's calling T's name, loudly, aimed outside, towards, of course, the Cave Troll, whose name is not Big T, but, well, you know how it is when you're used to yelling at one kid and that name just sort of rolls off the tongue, right? So Mate is hollering 'T! T! Turn off the water!!!' and I'm running outside before the two kids can get their clothes soaked when, in spite of the spiffing new sunshine, it was really only 62 degrees.

I needn't have worried.

Yes, the water was on, yes, Ladybug was holding the hose over the old swimming pool, and yes, Cave Troll was getting into the kiddie pool, but I didn't have to worry about their clothes at all.

They were both naked.

I stood there, stupidly, repeating, "Why are your clothes gone?" Over and over again, until Cave Troll looked up and said, "So we can get in the water, mom!"

Oh yes. I knew that.

Ladybug tried to slide down the little baby slide on her little fat wet bottom and stuck all the way down. I turned to Mate with an armload of shit to take on my errands and said, "I'm outta here. Give them ten minutes and then make them come in before they catch pneumonia. Luvyabyebye."

Mate, who by this time had stopped yelling at Big T came up next to me and was looking outside at his naked children, playing in the winter sunshine.

"Why are their clothes gone?"


**I got the wrong kind of diaper for the Cave Troll.

Don't get me wrong, he's very very potty trained, but he likes his diaper when he goes to sleep at night. One night in sixty, he actually uses it as he sleeps.

Anyway, sitting in the baby aisle was this sort of innocuous looking package that I thought was his usual pull ups, but which was, in fact, some sort of bizarre grown-up diaper with this paper boxer-short wrapped around the diaper. I realized this when, in one of his one day in sixty nights moments, he wet his last regular pull up in the middle of the last night, and Mate and I were stuck ripping the paper boxer off the diaper at three in the morning.

Anyway, I'd forgotten all about this horrific anomaly (three a.m., go figure!) until I got home from my walk this evening. We'd taken the kids to the park earler--good fun, actually, although Ladybug sprang a fever this evening, making me all worried about west-nile virus. Its probably just spring fever--kids tend to spike them this time of year. Wierdish, but not too worrisome, I hope. Anyway, we got home and I went for a longer walk, and when I got home from my walk, the Cave Troll was all washed and ready for bed--except he was wearing those weird paper boxer shorts, and hollering, "Mom! I need a real diaper. You need to go to the store and get me a real diaper!"

"Why are your clothes gone?" I asked, wondering why it sounded so familiar.

"Mom!" He said indignantly, "You need to get your keys, get into your car, and go get me a diaper. I can't wear this! It's ugly!"

"Why are your clothes gone?" I asked again, but I was grabbing my keys on the way out to my car.

I mean, the Cave Troll speaketh, right?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Open Window

I've got an open window in February (well, I"m wearing two shirts and a scarf) and for some reason the weather (and the 'I Am Sam' soundtrack with all of the Beatles covers on it) has got me in a pretty spiffy mood.

Which is good, because otherwise I might bitch about the fact that I'm gonna need a sledgehammer to keep my Juniors from rending my flesh with their herbivorous back teeth by the end of the year, or the colleague who took one look at my official Amy Lane T-shirt and smirked, "Oh, you have got to be kidding me!"

But I'm not gonna bitch, because my 6th period actually got Thana-fucking-topsis --they all knew the quiz questions, anyway-- and one of my favorite two administrators EVER said something very funny today. (Lucky me, two of the only four assistant bosses I've ever had who haven't loathed me on a purely molecular level work right now. It could be the reason the grand royal prickweenie didn't make me his first priority when he came back from his illness.)

Oh yeah...back to the funny thing.

This guy has four kids (like moi) except he had his kids when it wasn't considered some sort of mental aberration to have four kids and a post-graduate degree. He's sort of a grandfatherly (or, in my case, fatherly) man, and together we were watching as a colleague's twin boys (about the Cave Troll's age) came in and monopolized the entire staff room. Another teacher was teasing the little boys about how he'd be happy to take them on a walk but he had an unpleasant chore to do, so I turned to my administrator and said, "If he tried to take my kids for a walk, the Cave Troll would be hanging from his ears by the second corner. My kids aren't that well behaved."

My administrator looked at me and said, "My kids never were. We used to get kicked out of places and asked never to come back."

I'd lay down in traffic for this guy, seriously.

Oh...and speaking of the Cave Troll. And knitting.

I had to cast on an emergency sock yesterday. What happened was this:

I was getting the kids dressed, and I came out with the socks I'd made Cave Troll earlier this year (Jitterbug sport weight, 32 stitches). I tried to put them on his ginormous pre-school feet and he said 'Too small, mom! They don't fit!"

So I made a tactical error THE SIZE OF MY HUMONGULOUS ASS and put the socks on his sister.

Didn't you all hear the earth as it ground to a halt, imploded, and pulverized to little glass shards of pre-schooler squeal? It was around 7:30 a.m., Pacific Coast STandard Time. Yeah. That was the Cave Troll! Now you know.

Anyway, the only thing that would set the earth on it's axis and the stars on their courses again, was to open the yarn stash (or one box of it...I'm not a masochist) and have him choose a color for me to make him new socks. And now, for the last two days, I've heard nothing but 'Mom, are you making my socks? YOu're making my socks, right mom? Those are my socks. Are you finished yet?"

*sigh* I had one sock knit to the toe when this happened--I had to work on it like a fiend during lunch to get it DONE so it didn't interfere with his royal highness' sock (as he saw it.) Have I mentioned two impending babies in the next two weeks? Have I mentioned my Seniors have started asking for shit, and I'm trying to do that too? Have I mentioned (maybe once or twice) THE WHOLE OTHER BOOK I'm trying to write by June?

But you know what? His feet are only going to be this size once.

Blessed Cave Troll--he can have all the socks he wants.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Beware. English Lit content to follow, as well as excessive swearing. May induce choking on a snore during a narcoleptic fit. Don't sue.

So I'm doing American Romanticism w/my horrid Juniors, and the last three days we've been doing Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant. You know--that really depressing meditation on death, where his one silver lining was, hey, you're gonna die, but at least you get to rot with all of the other folks who went before you, and all the people who didn't care that you went are gonna come after.

*Yeah* That's a tough sell, ain't it?

And they wouldn't shut the up. I mean, they wouldn't shut the FUCK up for this. And I got pissed!

"Hey! You people (assholes) are always talking about how they don't teach you anything important in school--well this guy is talking about death. I mean--D.E.A.T.H. Seriously, people (morons) does it get any more important than D.E.A.T.H.? No? I didn't fuckin' think so."

And I actually got some quiet. (And for the record, and for whoever at work keeps telling the administration that I'm blogging about them? NO. I don't actually swear in class. But it makes a much better story that way.)

And then, I had them. I mean...I don't know what big karmic gorilla was standing behind me with a big-assed spike-covered mace, but there was (at last!) some blissful freakin' quiet in my room. Well, with a few exceptions.

And I had one of those 'karmic gorilla with a big freakin' mace' moments, and I turned to this kid and said, "Hey man, (fuckhead) this guy was sixteen years old when he wrote this--I mean, he was YOUR AGE. Think about all of the word pollution you vomit into the world. E-mail, text messaging, this crap about nothing that your fouling my air up with right now as I'm talking about D.E.A.T.H. Think about all of the useless disposable words you have contaminated your air with. Is any of that going to be useful tomorrow? The day after? When you die? This guy's words have been around for TWO-HUNDRED-FUCKING YEARS! These are NOT DISPOSABLE WORDS. If you think you can do one thing, right now, that will be around for TWO-HUNDRED-FUCKING-YEARS then by all means. Go ahead and keep talking through me. But if not, I think you owe Mr. William Cullen Bryant and his two-hundred-year-old meditation on fucking death some fucking respect, DON'T YOU?"

They listened. They responded. They thought.

Of course they forgot all about it today, but yesterday, I had them. I had done it. I had fought the bullshit and won and actually taught something real, and dammit I'm fuckin' proud of myself.

And you wanna know the kicker?

I hated William Cullen Bryant in high school.

Holy shit, I'm good.

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Knit-tech dared me!

Seriously--I was gonna pass on this one, but she e-mailed me and dared me! Who know those years listening to Mate wax lyrical about the fabulous Mustang of Love would have brought us to this!

BTW? The damn survey won't let me post with ANYTHING else on it! That's why the title's funky up's really weird. !#$^&&ing blogger!

I'll have a real post later today:-)

Monday, February 4, 2008

And oh yeah, I've got T-shirts;-)

buy unique gifts at Zazzle


Okay--if I could only load one picture, I'm glad it was that one!

Anyway--I FINALLY ! got my author copies!!! Huzzah huzzah huzzah!

Chicken thought she was taking four of them to school. I had to explain that, while yes, I had written the book more for her and her brother than my other books, that meant that I hadn't written them FOR her, as in THEY'RE NOT ALL HERS. She seemed most put out. I advised her to read the book first, and then tell me if she really liked it that much or if she just wanted to read it because it's mom's books. She's still pretty put out because I matched 'Roes' up with Aldam, instead of Aylan. She seemed to think Aylan was hotter. I refrained from mentioning that Aylan and Roes would have killed each other as an item, while Aldam was the perfect match of sweet for her tart. She's thirteen--it would have started a bloodbath.

And Big T? Well, first he asked me if he had to read the Prologue. I said yes. He said he wanted to start 'right into the story'. I told him that the Prologue was so 'right into the story' that it was 1/2 way through the next book. He said it got in the way of the story. I told him just to read. Then he asked why there was a ferocious cat on the cover. I told him that if it was going to be like this as he read the whole thing, I wouldn't let him read this one either. He glared at me and put it in his backpack. I glared at him and told him I hope he enjoyed the book. Ah, bonding!

So, whew. That's it. I officially have published four books, without neither agent nor publisher to be seen.

It's not a bad feeling. It's not winning the lottery or losing 100 lbs, but it's not losing your pants in front of 1000 people, either. Of course, the reviews on the typos have yet to come in--that last part will come, I'm sure.

And now, (picture me, huddling all my female readers into a corner and looking sideways to see if any of the male readers are listening. Please let them not be. This is for WOMENS ONLY! ) I've got a squirrelly round about question for you...

Have you ever, erm, had dreams about people you work with? You know, dreams that your perfectly sane conscious mind would stab itself in the cortex with an ice-pick before it allowed to pass through the gray matter, but that your subconscious mind thinks are just dandy, and probably symbolic, but not the thing (you know, the THING) that they seem to symbolize to your conscious mind because, well, your subconscious is not about the sex, it's all about the life path and the conscious mind sees the sex and screams AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! except quietly, so nobody notices that YOU CAN NOT SCRUB THIS MENTAL IMAGE OUT OF YOUR BRAIN WITH A TOOTHBRUSH AND BORIC ACID? You know, those dreams?

Yeah, me neither. And if I did, I don't remember them. I swear. Honest. For real. (Anybody out there have any mental hygiene supplies? Just asking... Jungian gum? Freudian mints? Cortex therapy rinse? No? Do you know where I could get some? No, no, no reason. None at all. Honest. It's all good. Nothing to see here.)

I'm gonna go watch some zombie movies so I don't sleep again. EVER.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Fruitcake Weather!

There's this story by Truman Capote called 'A Christmas Memory' in which a very young Truman and his very best friend (an older female relative with the unlikely name of 'Sook', although it's never given in the story) go about making fruitcakes every Christmas. They save all year for the money to make them--it's during the depression, and they do everything from kill flies to sell firewood to afford this Christmas activity. MOst of their money goes to an old bootlegger for the rum to soak the things in!

The story itself is terribly poignant, and speaks of the wonderful healing that can be achieved when two kindred souls meet in an unfriendly world, but the part I love most is, that after all of their efforts of earning the money and gathering the ingredients to make these fruitcakes, they don't actually give the fruitcakes to any of the other people living in the house.

No--those people are full of 'angry voices' and 'disapproval', and so our two lost-kite children send most of their fruitcakes to people whom they had never met. I understand that Franklin D. Roosevelt received more than one, and so did a family from California who stopped by Truman and Sook's house when they had car trouble.

I LOVE this idea.

It's not that my family is full of 'angry voices' and 'disapproval', mind you. It's just that, now that my book is out (and a better analogy than 'fruitcake' I can not truly imagine) I want to send copies (when I receive my own--they're still not here) out into the world, to people who have no idea who I am, but who have inspired my 'fruitcake' nonetheless.

I'm talking FAMOUS people.

So, if I were sending my badly dressed, malformed fruitcake of a child (and thank you Anne Bradstreet for another analogy) to go perform in someone else's home, where would I send it?

Well, of course to all of you, but then, some of you are getting a copy anyway, and some of you (Goddess bless you!) have already gotten a copy and have already reviewed it on Now what about the complete strangers who would probably delight in my book, if only it didn't end up as a doorstop out of a misguided sense of self-preservation:

The Yarn Harlot. Seriously--that story that Needletart gave me about the seven aunties is pure poetry, and it tickles me no end that it ended up working out so well in the book itself. The fact that Needletart and I met through the YH's blog? I think it speaks to balance and poetry in the world. Besides, is there anyone else as inspirational as Steph? Really?

Bruce Springsteen. Much of what I learned about storytelling--about how even small characters have a life and a history and a dignity all their own, I learned from Bruce and his cast of small-timers in every album. (Well, Bruce and Shakespeare, but as far as I know, Bruce is still cooking with gas!)

Melissa Etheridge. For the song 'Tuesday Morning'. (You sort of have to hear the song.)

Guy Gavriel Kay, Melanie Rawn, C.J. Cherryh & Barry Hughart--best fantasy writers EVER.

John Stewart. Because the best philosophy is told through art, and satire is art.

Coldplay. For the song 'Kingdom Come'.

Jensen Ackles. For good genes and a kick-ass upper lip.

Milo Ventiglia. For good genes and limpid eyes.

Joss Whedon. For Serenity, Angel, and Toy Story.

Eddie Izzard. For being devastatingly funny and really hot. Even in a dress with boobs.

So--who would you send your fruitcakes to? (Or my fruitcakes, if you don't have any of your own--although many of us are knitters. I'm sure we've got some fiber-fruitcakes we'd like to send to people who inspire us, right?)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Knit-Tech has the BEST quizzes EVER!!!

It took me three tries to get this good! (Well, I was 71, 70, and I decided to quit while I was ahead.)

75 words

free Touch typing