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

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A friend, a tragedy, and a scholarship program

I did not know my highly esteemed Lady in Red well when her brother, Raymond, passed away from unknown causes. I did get to hear her talk about him one giddy, childless night after a school function over snacks, when we tried to cram a year's worth of socializing in one and a half stolen hours.

LIR loved her brother so very much--with a closeness, and a fervor, a devotion and an admiration that I can only hope my children feel for each other when they are grown. If the size of a person's heart can be judged by the hole they rip out of the world when they leave it, Raymond must have possessed the heart of the sun. His passing left one hell of a dark hole.

Lady in Red is herself a formidable woman, with terrific passion, compassion, and the Goddess' potential for doing great (and terrible:-) things. (These wonderful qualities can be seen in her children and her writing--all offspring are beautiful, without question or doubt.) She and her mother have begun a scholarship program in memory of Raymond, and to that end, her mother is selling what she callsREARVIEW DANGLES. They are rearview mirror charms, and they are really very cool. ''. (Lady in Red says that it's a horrible's been growing on me all day, I have to admit.)

I told LIR that I'd put the link in my blog, because I think it's a wonderful idea--especially because Raymond was an artist, and I've seen first hand (haven't we ALL) how very little the public education system gives to our artistically talented. It is very true that a society is judged by its art, and I shudder to think what we're teaching our young people about our society in terms of what we can offer our gifted ones. I think that remembering lost potential by investing in found potential is a beautiful idea.

It can't close up a hole the size of the heart of the sun, of course, but it may be able to soften the ragged edges from whence it was ripped.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I'm going to fall asleep in front of the television...

9:30-10:30 a.m. Gymnastics w/the Cave Troll. Next week, Ladybug joins the class--she'll be two!

11:45-1:30 p.m. Chicken's first indoor soccer game. It was a tie. The Cave Troll still refuses to believe it's over. He'll erupt in panic every ten minutes or so and scream, "It's not over, it's not over!" We agree with him, because he's still shattering our eardrums and, dammit, IT IS OBVIOUSLY NOT OVER!!!

3:00-5:15 Big T takes his blackbelt test with mum only in attendance. I'm not sure how he did, but damn, was I proud:-)

5:45-6:00 p.m. Mom visits her LYS simply to zen out on the wool fumes and see if the owner's daughter has given birth yet. I did accomplish Zen, but little boy Simon has yet to announce his presence. I also saw that XRX is having a sock design contest. I'll have to have a look see and a wish-wish. I really am too many projects down to start one more thing but a girl can dream!!!

6:15-6:30 Chipotle on a credit card. What--did you think Mate would cook?

7:30-8:30 Mom washes dishes and then washes children.

And now? Well, I am actually really excited about writing again. My brain has rested, my characters are refreshed, and I'm a rarin' to go. But what I think is actually going to happen is in all in the title.

I had the kids put in Transformers--it looks like a hell of a movie. It's too bad I haven't stayed awake to see it even once.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Blogger is a cheeze-eating bitch-slapping arse-wanking git.


If you're wondering what's got my dander up about our be (HA) loved muse vehicle, it's that the @#$@#%^&%$ piece of @#$ won't let me COMMENT ON ANYBODY'S BLOG!!! Or, I should say, on SOME of your blogs. It's so frustrating...I'll read someone's blog, and have something...well, not brilliant--not this week, anyway--but at least, uhngh, you know...COHERENT, and I go to enter it and...and nada. Of course it may not be blogger--it may be my stupid computer, because my G-mail has gotten hairier than a Himalayan cat's patootie--but ya know what? Don't care. Don't FUCKING care. (There. My first curse word for the post--yee ha! I DO remember how to swear, I DO I DO I DO!!!) I'm so fed up by electronics that think I work for THEM that really? Blogger and G-mail can go rot in the ass of that fourth demon under the sixth rock south of hell. (I've used that expression often enough that I'm really gonna have to map out hell, to make sure I don't sentence , say, blogger and the ex-grand-royal-prickweenie to share the same space. Blogger, after all, is only a machine...) Anyway, I've been to SEVERAL blogs over the day...Bells? Mad mad? Julie? Yeah, I'm talking to you... and a few other people that I sort of randomly visit...Louiz? I think I've been over your way... Mother of Chaos--yeah, I took a look! Anyway, about the only blog that let me post was Roxie's (wouldn't miss you for the world, darling!!!) and our beloved Harlot. Everybody else, you'll just have to take my word for it--I was there, and you got no comments. Sad but true.

Anyway, other than that, and a few cute kids stories? Nothing to report. Isn't it BLISSFUL? Seriously--I've barely written (which is not altogether a good thing, I know) but what's happened in the last week is is the total lack of that chest-crunching, neck-pinching, nerve-torquing DRIVE to be doing something that marks the state of NOT being on vacation almost more than the total lack of time to do any of those things that you're DRIVEN to do! Hell--even being broke has been relaxing. I've COOKED. (Not well, but my family has A. Me, or B. Fast food. Guess what? I'm actually better than option B. Who knew?) And I've slept in, and, well, pootered around the house and barely kept it somewhere above aboriginal in terms of cleanliness and...relaxed. I've knit. I finished socks for Ladybug and started another pair toes-up... (hee hee hee...I'll be able to tell the students at school that these socks are toe-up!!! It makes more sense when you say it, trust me...) and none of them are HAVE TO projects--I'll do some of those next week, but really? I've spent a week doing nothing much but watching my kids be cute. It's been AWESOME. I can not say how much...oh, wait. Maybe I can.

I was sitting in the living room, watching Reaper (excellent show!!!) and knitting, when Ladybug wandered in. Now the last time I'd seen her, she was supposed to be in bed, wearing candy-striped footie pajamies (it's gotten very cold here's weird!) but not now. Now she is naked. She smiles at me, hands me her (wet) diaper and says, "Here mom, take this. Thank you. Oooh...Kewyn's toy! Mine now!" And with that, she wanders into the hall with Kewyn's light saber, jabbering the tune to Star Wars (no, I'm not making this up!!! Yes, she does talk that well--have I mentioned she's SCARY FREAKING SMART?) While in the hallway (as I was throwing away the aforementioned diaper, grabbing a new one, and finding her pj's) she looked into her older sister's room, where she decided to chase the cat off the bed with the light saber before I caught her and carried her back into the living room, laughing all the way.

Now, I'm not sure what I would have made of this moment last week--I'm not. Most of the time I can pull my sense of humor out of my shoes even when I'm wiped out...but I know that tonight, now that she's (FINALLY) asleep, it was hella fucking cute.

Vacation--it's not just for insane trips to places you can't name:-)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The kids, at least, had fun today...

It started with the plumber, here to fix the chronic sink back-up that started on Sunday (yes, the Sunday w/Easter eggs and company!) and the kids LOVED IT. A 60 foot vibrating sink snake, plugging into a port in the side of the house that they had heretofore ignored, was high adventure for Cave Troll and Ladybug. Receiving the bill was high comedy for Mum & Dad as well, and the day wasn't over yet!!!

Yesterday, I got a call at ten-o'clock from the dentist office, asking me why I wasn't there. It appears that the useless teenagers, I mean absent minded older children had forgotten to tell me about the telephone reminder about...well, I'd actually forgotten what I was having done to me. In hindsight, I think I forgot on purpose, in order to block it out.

Anyway, the short people got a nice day with grandpa and the brand new puppy named Max. There was chasing around the house and petting the puppy and pushing the swing and playing 'bang-bang' (yes, mom's so thrilled grandpa taught them 'bang-bang'--remember, we have 6,000 toy swords and not one toy gun!!!) and eating lunch and then running around some more--it was the capper on an already stellar day for the little ones.

On mom's side of the day, there was also high adventure. "Here," said the dentist. "Let me take a picture of your tooth for insurance purposes, so they know this is necessary surgery."

"Coo'" said I. (Well novocained, I may add!) "Can I thbee?" What kind of masochistic goose-brain am I? I mean...for real? That picture? Of my tooth? Looked like a really deep white Easter basket with a bone and silver handle. MY TOOTH!!!

"You'rb gonna SABE DAT?" I asked, a little panicked, as Dr. V wound up his drill again.

"Oh yeah...we're going to put in a temporary and then do a crown and then..." And then I blocked it out...until I got the bill and had to write a post-dated check, because baby, between the plumber and Big T's black-belt test, we're tapped!

But I got to grandma and grandpa's, and the kids were sooooooo happy. They fell asleep on the way home, well content.

It had been a hell of a day.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A little slice of cuteness.

So I was singing to the short people tonight, and they were kicked back in the bed (they share a twin bed because, well, they want to!) and drinking their bottles, and in the middle of my song the following conversation took place--mind you, it sounded like a conversation between Lilo and Stitch, because Ladybug, even though she speaks English, has one of those little cartoon voices:

LB: "Wann my ba?"
CT: "Take my ba."
And they switch bottles.
LB: "Wann do 'seers?"
CT: "Do 'seers."
The clink their bottles, say "Cheers", and then resume their positions, leaning back in bed and drinking bottles. And I finished the song, trying not to fall to the floor with the giggles.

Okay, just too damned cute.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Two Faces of Easter

YOu've got the before, when everyone is in their nice new clothes, hunting eggs in the sunshine.

And the after, when the baby is bare-assed naked, watching her favorite cartoon.

In between you had mum cooking (eh--it was only good because we eat out so much it was a shock to the system!), company, some favorite movies, a kick-ass version of Suffragette City on 'Rock Band', and a whole bunch of chocolate.

It wasn't martha stewart, but it was us, and I'm good with that.

I hope your Easter was as precious--

Amy Lane

Friday, March 21, 2008

I Compromised

This is Torrant--wearing Ellyot Moon's name, seen through Eljean's eyes. Thanks for the input, everybody--it made choosing this passage very easy:-)


Eljean was bored.

He sat on the stone steps outside the regent’s apartment in the chill of the morning, closed his cat-green eyes and tilted his face up towards the late summer sun. The sun was warm enough to make his hair sweaty on his shoulders, so he shook back the thick black curls, repositioned his hat, and still, kept his face towards the sun.

He was dressed as had become fashionable this summer, in a light cloak about his shoulders and a wide brimmed hat with a flourish and a pair of black breeches, tucked into his boots…and nothing else. He fenced regularly at the local club, and his chest might have been narrow, but it was wiry with muscle, and his long stomach was tight and trim; he was justifiably proud of his body, but mostly he just followed this fashion for the same reasons that had led him to keep company with the witty and subversive Aerk and Keon: it irritated the Consort even if he hadn’t put a voice to it yet, and the rebellion would send his father into a fit of hysterical hyperventilation if he ever cared to know about it.

Either reason would have been more than enough to put Eljean out on the steps in the morning, working on his tan, but a third, unspoken, terrifying and attractive reason was now walking down the stairs towards him. His heart started beating fiercely in his throat, and he worked hard to even out his breathing as he closed his eyes and kept his face towards the sun.
“Merciful Dueant, Eljean! Dimitri’s nowhere around, go put on a shirt!”

Eljean opened one eye irritably. Here he had been, throwing himself at Ellyot Moon as blatantly as he possibly could without ending up crucified over the eastern gate, and Ellyot still thought he was harboring a crush on Dimitri?

“Dimitri is a sniveling arse-licker who would sell his mother for the Consort’s hand on his prick,” Eljean said succinctly, and knew that he flushed from the appreciation in Ellyot’s laughter. “What are you doing here?” He kept the irritation on as cloak to hide his inward preening. “I thought you were off in secret, with all of the sots who used to be my friends.”

And this was, of course, the reason why Eljean was bored. The first rest day used to be their day to fence, and then to loiter along the marketplace, making dry observations about the world at large and mocking the poor people who caught their notice. Eljean was not necessarily proud of how they spent this day, but since he was spending it with a social group that didn’t examine too closely how he liked to spend his time after dark—and with whom—he had just been grateful for the company.

That had changed in the last month or so, and the beautiful man next to him with the hazel eyes and deadly curl to his upper lip was the reason why.

The deterioration of the social group had started with Dimitri—but this had been their fault. As a whole, they had simply stopped talking to him, stopped acknowledging his snide remarks, stopped letting him intimidate Djali and bait Eljean and as a whole, he had gotten the picture. One day he had shown up for breakfast at what used to be their favorite stall for muffins, and the whole lot of them had been at another stall. They didn’t even wave to him, and he’d never tried to join them again.
But that had been fine—in fact, once Dimitri had disappeared from their midst, Eljean realized how pleasant it was to not always have to duck when his erstwhile crush fired a sally off from his vicious tongue.

It was not so fine, however, when Keon and Aerk had told them that they wouldn’t be meeting to fence on a rest day, and then the next, and then Marv and Jino had joined them and two weeks before it had been Djali. Djali! The Consort’s son had been chosen before Eljean? What was so trustworthy about Djali? Was it his complete social ineptitude? His struggling aspirations towards being a poet? His ability to stammer to a halt in five seconds a conversation that had been tripping along for an hour before he spoke?

Eljean’s resentment screwed up his face as he thought about it, and he sent Ellyot a disgruntled look, only to realize that Ellyot was looking at him kindly, with complete understanding.

“We didn’t mean to exclude you, Eljean,” he said gently. “We just had to make sure your attachment to Dimitri was over. It’s very important that he not know.”

“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Eljean replied, yawning for show.

Ellyot, with his characteristic humility, dropped to his haunches and was suddenly, disturbingly, eye-level. Eljean blinked several times, and resisted the urge to back away on principle, like a cat from an overzealous, overfriendly dog.

“I know it’s hard,” Ellyot said quietly, “Having to disguise a thing like that, having to pretend that you don’t feel the way you do, having no one to confide your broken heart to when the person that you’re not supposed to care for at all turns out to be a wanking git. But those things can either make you mean or make you strong. We need your help—in fact, we’ve missed you with us. But we needed to see which it was going to be, right?”

“It was a crush,” Eljean rasped from a suddenly raw throat. “It was over before it was real.” Oh gods…could he, of all people, pray to unforgiving gods? The oath he wanted to swear right now had nothing to do with Oueant’s honor or Dueant’s pride because Ellyot Moon was right there staring into his eyes, and the lines of his face were so clean, those brackets at his cheeks so deep, and that cleft in his chin and sinful, wicked mouth…

Eljean swallowed, closed his eyes, willed his breathing not to quicken, and by the time his eyes were open, Ellyot had moved away and was leaning against the step railing, twinkling a smile at Eljean as though the dumb arse hadn’t just turned his world upside down by a close conversation.

“Good!” Ellyot was saying, and his grin was infectious. He held out a hand for Eljean to grasp, and as Eljean propelled himself up he was hit square on with what looked to be an old, mended peasant’s shirt. “Here,” Ellyot told him, turning and moving towards, of all things, the Regent’s apartments, “You’re going to need that. You could put an eye out with those things before the sun heats up!”

By the time Eljean realized that Ellyot was referring to the little pebbled nipples, hard on his chest, they were in the lobby of the building, and Ellyot was swapping pleasantries with the guard who took the night to morning shift, watching over the precious young rulers of the kingdom of Clough.

In the past, Eljean had breezed right by the old relic—he was nothing but decorative, a remainder from a past when the regents had first forced the principle ruler of Clough to give the other landowners a voice, and the woman who had ruled at the time (some two hundred years ago) had kept trying to have the dissenting landowners killed in their sleep.

Ellyot seemed to think differently. While Eljean struggled out of his cloak and into his shirt, the old man and the young regent discussed everything from the old man’s grandchildren to the chickens his wife liked to raise to how to find the best minstrel group in the city. Suddenly the older man twinkled up at Ellyot, and his next words both floored Eljean and made Ellyot blush.

“Oh, you go ahead and talk about that lute player like I haven’t heard about you…sneaking away at night to play at the The Amber Goose.”

“Lies,” Ellyot shrugged, his grimace saying otherwise. “Lies, lies and damned lies…what I do at The Amber Goose can not possibly be considered lute playing, not after having heard Triane’s Kiss playing there last…” he stopped abruptly, and grimaced again, this time for another reason, and old Jems gave him a shrewd look from the wooden slatted chair he sat in.

The concierge, who sat up higher at the raised desk caught the exchange and said mildly, “Some madness was meant to pass, young Ellyot. Life is too short to worry if you’ve heard pretty music from the wrong people or not.”

Something indefinable passed through Ellyot’s eyes then—a terrible mixture of emotions, that Eljean certainly couldn’t define, although he thought that, perhaps, one of them might be rage. But Ellyot’s expression stayed genial, and he put his palms together and bowed slightly.

“Excellent advice, as always, gentlemen, and I thank you for the conversation as well. Now, if you don’t mind, Master Eljean and I have things to attend to, right Eljean?”

Eljean nodded, fastening his cloak around his shoulders over the shirt. It was loose in the shoulders and short at the waist, making him think that it had been tailored expressly for the wide-chested Ellyot, and it was soft from repeated washings. Eljean tried very hard not to think of ways to keep that shirt.

“Well you make good and sure to sneak out the back, young sir!” Jems called after them as they turned to leave. Eljean recovered from his trip just in time to hear Ellyot complete the thought of what was obviously a common exchange between the two of them.

“What else is being young good for, if it isn’t to sneak about!” He called, and Eljean hurried to catch up.

“What was that about?” He asked, trying not to frown at the old concierge and the even older guard, who apparently knew more about Ellyot Moon than he did.

“Visiting,” Ellyot replied briefly, looking surprised. “They’re nice old men—and they know a surprising amount about the lot of us—it’s good to have them on our side.”

“But…” Eljean grimaced. How could he say, But they’re old? without sounding like a shallow, self-centered ass? Apparently there wasn’t a way, because he was still sputtering for words when they blew through Ellyot’s room, coming out on the patio side, and before Eljean could even ask Ellyot what they were doing or comment on the d├ęcor of his room (lots of small, personal items, he noted in his hurry—small wooden figures, a battered child’s doll--things other people had given him that he seemed to like keeping) Ellyot put two hands over his head at the edge of the wooden fence, gave a heave and an agile swing of his legs, and disappeared into the alleyway behind the apartments. Eljean, who was tall enough to see over the edge of the fence just standing, gaped at his fellow regent for a moment with his mouth open.

Ellyot grinned up at him expectantly. “You can make it, can’t you? I mean, I can help you, but it’s going to be a lot more difficult going over that,” he gestured at the stone wall that bordered the alley, “and we’ve got a long day ahead of us.” The wall was a good three hands over Eljean’s head, and Eljean could only stare at it, perplexed. Weren’t the guard’s barracks over there?

But Ellyot was waiting, so Eljean gathered his wits—and his muscles--and heaved and grunted his way over the wooden fence, wondering what folly ever led him to believe his body was in good shape. When he landed on the ground beside Ellyot, he barely had enough wind to gasp, “Are we really going over that?” before Ellyot took off at a trot down the alleyway.

They were indeed. When they reached the end of what Eljean took to be the guard’s barracks, Ellyot crouched and gave Eljean his linked hands as a vault. Eljean found himself awkwardly hoisting his body over the edge of the white-painted stone, and about the time he was hanging from his fingers, wondering how long the drop was if he let go, Ellyot had vaulted to a crouch at the top of the wall. Eljean was so surprised he let go and landed on his arse, and Ellyot sighted a spot about eight feet down on the ground from where he crouched. Before Eljean could even ask, Ellyot started running along the foot-width of the stone wall, and with a hop and a handspring off the edge, he tumbled twice in the air, landing on his hands in a small spot of springy grass, where he collapsed his elbows and tumbled into a roll to his feet.

The look of freedom, of unfettered joy on his face as he bounced up from the roll and did a handspring forward was enough to break Eljean’s heart. He didn’t have the wherewithal to even chide his friend for showing off as he himself struggled to his feet and brushed off his stained black trousers.

“Damn!” He muttered, trying to be casual even when his heart was pounding with the exultation of just seeing something like that so close. “You make that look simple!”

“I’ve practiced most of my life,” Ellyot said easily. “Yarri and…” he stalled then, and something so profoundly sad crossed his expression that Eljean almost whimpered. “Yarri and my brothers, we grew up doing that, off of the pipes and hay bales and stable doors in the barn.” He flashed a broken grin then, as though pretending those brothers hadn’t been killed in that very barn. “We taught our cousins when we got to Eiran.”

“Oh,” Eljean replied, feeling inadequate. It hit him, then, that there was an entire world to Ellyot Moon that he, Eljean, would not have any experience with. The thought depressed him.

“Hurry, Eljean—we’re late!” Ellyot urged, and Eljean was forced to actually run a little, as Ellyot’s purposeful trot took them pelting through the rough cobblestones of the Goddess ghetto. If anyone had asked Eljean fifteen minutes before, he would have said he had no idea how to get to the ghetto unless it involved going through the marketplace and going from there—his way would have taken an hour, at best. If he hadn’t had to watch his feet quite so avidly so he didn’t break an ankle on the terribly crooked stones, he would have allowed himself to just gaze at Ellyot with his jaw dangling in awe of where this intense, magnetic man had taken him on what had once promised to be a lonely sort of day.

Ellyot practically skidded to a halt in front of a neat, rough wood building with a sign hanging from the eves that read The Amber Goose. The building looked familiar, and he caught his breath, his eyes darting to another tavern a few doors down the newly built boardwalk. It was just as neat from the outside but somehow to his mind seedier and full of foul desires. That other tavern he’d been in before, but he tried very hard to keep that knowledge from the young regents he’d learned to think of as friends.

A golden god was restlessly pacing the in front of the tavern, and he gave Ellyot a long-suffering look as they rushed up.

“This? You’re late for this?” The god with the curling yellow hair shot Eljean a disgusted look and Ellyot thumped him on the shoulder good-naturedly.

“Be polite, Aylan. It wasn’t fair—I pretty much kidnapped all his mates and didn’t tell him where they went. I thought since Stanny was showing up today, he could help us out.”

Aylan gave Eljean another grudging once-over, and Eljean felt free to return the glare. Besides curling yellow hair that was scraped back into a haphazard queue, Aylan was onlybarely an inch or so shorter than Eljean himself. He had bluer-than-blue eyes, a sculpted mouth and cheekbones that could cut steak. He also had a possessive air around Ellyot that was surprisingly hard to read.

“I’m Eljean, from the house of…” Gamely he extended a hand.

“I don’t care.” Aylan folded his arms, and if anything, his glare intensified. Ellyot leaned over, grasped Aylan’s arm at the shoulder, and aimed a finger at the golden god’s midsection. Aylan gave a yelp and a smothered giggle before he caught Ellyot’s finger, and Ellyot danced backwards, laughing as he dodged a wrestler’s grasp.

Aylan gave up, holding his hands up and rolling his eyes. “Fine, fine, you bloody wank—he can stay if he can be useful. Your hordes are waiting, oh Regent Healer of Clough.” Abruptly the laughing concession on his face stalled and the air around the three of them sobered. “It’s going to be a hard day, brother,” he said at last, gently. “I hope you’re ready.”

Ellyot drew a deep breath, and assumed a face that was almost frightening in its calm assumption of competence. “Right—you know I’m always ready, brother. You give Eljean a job, and we can start. Anybody critical?”

Aylan’s mouth tightened, and he nodded. “The guards found a safe house for the girls last night…the two worst cases are prepped and in the back room, but you’re going to need to stitch.”

Ellyot cursed foully, lines of pain etching themselves into the corners of his eyes. “Triana and Arue are back there?” He asked softly.

“Yes—and Torrell brought in that anesthetic/aloe concoction that works so well.” Aylan clapped a sustaining hand on Ellyot’s shoulder and Ellyot sighed grimly, pushing at the swinging double doors from the brightness outside to the cool tavern within.
“Let’s get busy.”

“Eljean!” Aerk looked up from where he sat, surrounded by children with a book on his lap. “Good! Ellyot said he was going to bring you in today—we can use some help!”

Eljean looked about him in quiet wonder. Although the building was most obviously a tavern on other days—there was a bar counter with stools and rough-wood tables with folding chairs, a rack of shelves with sweet glass bottles filled with sweeter poisons, and an ale tap—on today, it was most definitely a surgery.

Women thick with child waited on the chairs, and some thoughtful soul had given them crates on which to prop their feet. Mothers sat on stools and cradled children with runny notices and flushed cheeks, and children played at Aerk’s feet while looking anxiously at parents resting on make-shift pallets against the back wall. There were others too—men with bandaged limbs from a job gone wrong, young girls who would meet no one’s eyes, young men cradling strained shoulders or bruised knuckles. The tavern was reasonably large for such a place, but on this day, it was full to bursting with people looking for succor.

Keon was moving from pallet to pallet, offering folded parchment cups of water to those resting, and refreshing the cool compresses on the foreheads of some of the sick. Jino was moving among the pregnant women, asking them how they were feeling, and keeping track of their answers on small sheets of parchment fixed on a board in front of him. Marv and Djali were talking to the mothers of the sick children. Marv was feeling tender foreheads and keeping notes as Jino was, and Djali…Djali, helpless, hapless Djali who couldn’t say two words in a group without stumbling over both of them, was smiling gently at the children. He would reach under his cloak for each one and pull out a sweet—something medicinal, if Eljean had to guess—and a toy. There were tiny sewn poppets for the girls and little wooden horses for the boys, and the way the children smiled or spoke to him, it was clear that they knew Djali well, and that he was their favorite uncle, cousin and big brother rolled all into one.

Eljean recovered from his complete surprise—this is what his fellows had been doing on the rest days without him? Caring for the sick? Minding their children? Why would they worry about…

A sudden, sick sensation dropped Eljean’s stomach to the floor.

This was illegal. He had voted on the issue himself—people in the Goddess ghetto were not allowed to congregate for any reason that involved their gifts or ‘foul practices of medicine’. There were no hospitals or midwives in the Goddess ghetto because, according to the headmaster of Dueance University, “The medical practices of the Goddess followers come into direct conflict of the beliefs of the sacred followers of the gods.” At the time, he hadn’t cared—the bill had been proposed by the consort, and all of the younger Regents had simply followed his lead. The only thing father demanded, actually, was that he not displease any of the elders in the hall. And this—this—facility is what he had voted against.

He himself had been a tool to make it illegal for a people to care for themselves.

Apparently Ellyot Moon had taken it upon himself to care for them.

“Eljean?” Aerk prompted, and Eljean swallowed and met Aerk’s eyes. The same sort of self-recrimination was in Aerk’s gaze that he knew was in his own.

“Absolutely,” Eljean murmured dazedly. “Whatever I can do.”

Aerk set him to work questioning the children with the sick parents. “When was the last time you ate? Was it tasty, or too old? Are you cold at night? Why—are you needing blankets or firewood?” For each child or set of siblings, a package was produced with clothes or food or blankets—whatever was needed that the ailing parent couldn’t provide. Some of the children, Eljean was told, would not be going home with their mother or father. Many of the adults were sick with hunger or exhaustion, and would be cared for in other homes while the children went to the safe houses that hid them from the guards.

“Safe house?” Eljean had questioned when he’d first been told where the dark-eyed little boy on his knee was going. “Why do they need to be kept safe?” Aylan had mentioned something about a safe house being discovered by the guards, as well—and stitches.

Keon looked away, obviously disturbed, and the boy on Eljean’s knee burrowed his head into Eljean’s arm. “What do you think, Eljean?” Keon asked roughly. “They can’t defend themselves, the priests have spent years telling the population that any sort of sexual deviation is their fault—what do you think the guards do if they find unprotected children?”

The child made a little keening sound, and Eljean, who would have said he didn’t care for children, wrapped his arm around the boy’s shoulders in protection.

“Did we do this?” He asked in quiet horror.

“No.” Keon shook his head. “I asked Ellyot, the first time I was here. Ellyot said…” Keon looked away. “He said this wasn’t our fault—but now that we knew it was truth, we had an obligation to change it.”

Eljean looked over to the curtained taproom. He’d heard muffled sobbing and moans coming from the room periodically for past hour. Two girls who would need stitching—the thought of where they needed to be stitched made his stomach churn. “How could we not know, and we’ve been living here. And he just…shows up, and he knows exactly what we’ve done?”

Keon shook his head and shrugged. He looked tired, and his dark, cynical eyes were bloodshot. They had been in session late the night before—how early had he had to awaken to perpetrate this act of kindness?

“Have you seen him, here?” Keon asked after a moment when he scowled at the flowered curtain. Eljean shot him an evil look, and Keon grimaced in apology and continued. “You know how most of the times he just sits back and watches us, and smiles when he approves or looks thoughtful when he doesn’t?”

“Mm.” Eljean nodded.

“You won’t see him like that here.”

Eljean raised his eyebrows, but Keon had moved on with purpose. The conversation stuck with him though, especially about an hour later, when he had moved back towards the taproom to get another packet of blankets and food for a family that had just arrived. The curtain had been pulled aside—the girls who had been treated had apparently been taken out through the back way, and he heard Ellyot’s voice from surprisingly near. Turning around, he saw Ellyot through a gap in the curtain, facing a tiny, barely-adolescent girl wearing a boy’s tattered breeches and a man’s overlarge shirt, and with dark brown hair that looked as though it had been cropped with a belt-knife.

“Arue…” Ellyot was saying softly, taking the girl’s hands in his. “You were so very brave in there, helping us. You must let me know if it ever hurts too much, helping the girls who have been…injured…violated the way you were.”

The girl shook her head, and looked down. “Feels better,” she said gruffly. “Would rather help than sit and watch them bleed.”

From his position, Eljean had a clear view of Ellyot’s face, and the pure empathy that passed over it turned a knife somewhere in Eljean’s middle.

“I know you would, precious,” Ellyot said, stroking her hand gently. “But I need you to watch them too. Make sure they take care of themselves.” His hand moved up to the girl’s forearm, which were covered with even slice scars that appeared to have been healed over for several months. “Make sure they don’t do any of this.”

“Sorry.” The girl studied her feet, but she apparently trusted Ellyot to keep up his gentle touch on her arm, and Eljean’s breath caught tightly to realize how deep that trust must have run.

“Don’t be sorry, sweetheart,” he murmured. “It’s not your fault. Just be well.” Somewhere from the depths of his toes, Ellyot pulled up a grin and his gentle hand went to the girl’s shorn hair. “And let your hair grow—short hair cannot keep you safe, but your beautiful hair can bring you pride and joy.”

The girl shrugged, but the corners of her mouth were turning up shyly, the compliment having clearly found its mark.

“Now tell me,” Ellyot continued, “Do you still guard Aylan while he sleeps?”

And suddenly the girl’s eyes were no longer at the floor. “Oh yes—he makes me feel safe.”

“Good girl—I sleep easier knowing that you’re there. And you’re right to feel safe around him--he’s the most honorable man I know.”

A grin crossed the girl’s face that was so sudden and so impish, that Eljean’s heart ached for the child she should have been. “You know, he says the same thing about you, Triane’s Son.”

There was a pained laugh, and then Ellyot’s voice took on a conspiratorial tone. “Well, you know that even Oueant lies sometimes.”

The girl burst into a peal of impish laughter at the irreverence, and Ellyot asked her to go fetch his next patient.

And Eljean was left standing in the corner with his heart beating in his throat, a thousand suspicions behind his bright eyes, and a terrible, terrible longing burning in his chest.

The day continued, and before lunchtime even, Eljean was exhausted. However, since none of the others seemed to be stopping and resting, he continued with his tasks until a young woman wearing a bar-maid’s apron came up to him with a tray of sandwiches and a jerk of her chin to indicate the counter full of pitchers of water.

“You all need to eat,” she said softly. “Tor…Ell…Regent Moon told me to make sure you took a sandwich and a moment off your feet. He said you were looking knackered.”

Eljean whipped his head around to see if Ellyot was actually outside of the taproom to be making these observations, but a very young woman who was very heavy with child had just lumbered through the curtain, and Ellyot was nowhere to be seen. Eljean called his attention back to the shy barmaid and he smiled, but his mind was still chewing over the things he’d heard—including her own stumbling over Ellyot’s name.

“Why do you call him Triane’s son?” He asked through a mouthful of sandwich, settling his bottom down on one of the stools up by the bar.

The girl flushed, and she cast a furtive look towards the closed curtain.

“No, you didn’t say it—I heard someone else use it. Why?” He swallowed gratefully—the food really was terribly good.

“Triane’s the Goddess—she looks after the gifted, the healers, the poets, the dispossessed…isn’t he all of them?” She asked at last, and Eljean almost choked on his sandwich. Did ‘gifted’ mean what he thought it did?

The girl caught his amazed look and realized she might have said something untoward. With an awkward curtsy, she was suddenly at Djali’s side, and Djali, with another amazing turn of grace, was smiling at her with such beauty that his round, dreamy face was abruptly handsome and capable. His clumsy fingers were now deft as he took the tray from the girl and placed it on the bar and then assisted her to a nearby stool, bending his head solicitously to her conversation and answering her with complete seriousness shining from his sweet, sloe eyes.

Eljean wanted to bang his head against the bar to clear out the confusion of what he had believed he knew, and what was proving itself to be true with every moment in this odd day.

“He wasn’t always this smooth with Triana,” Jino said next to him, also munching on a sandwich.

“That’s Triana?” Then the not-quite adolescent girl must have been Arue.

“Mmm.” Jino swallowed. “She’s the barkeeper’s daughter—they give the place over on the first rest day so we can come in. Aerk and Keon said you should have seen the place the first week they were here. Apparently the guards picked a fight with Aylan there, and they had to work fast to get it ship-shape before people came in.”

Eljean looked at Aylan. The golden god had been everywhere this day, and all of the people in the makeshift little clinic had seemed to know him. The children, especially, had clung to him, and he had greeted them all by name. Aylan’s efforts had brought in most of the stores of supplies for those most in need, and he seemed to be the driving force behind placing the children whose parents were too sick to care for them.

“Where did the care packages come from?” Eljean asked, now that he’d found someone to talk to. He’d been talking to the ghetto denizens all day, and the conversations had been enlightening—but those people had treated him with deference and more than a little fear. It was good to talk to a peer again, someone who wasn’t half afraid he was going to pull out a dagger and knife them where they stood for the white streak in their hair or the person they called ‘beloved’.

Jino shrugged, the gesture making him look young and fragile, in spite of his hard, wiry body. “We’ve been bringing supplies these last weeks, but I understand that before that, Ellyot’s uncle, the one he lived with in Eiran, has been smuggling stuff in here for years. Remember that lace bill?”

Eljean nodded. Ellyot had arrived for the vote just as the last bell tolled, freshly dressed and looking as though he’d never run out of the hall, sick and bleeding and desperate. He’d proceeded to stand up and give an impassioned, fearless oratory that had resulted in one less tax on the people of the Goddess. After the vote he’d promptly disappeared, and hadn’t shown up the next day. When Eljean had seen him after the rest days, he’d been pale and lean, as though he’d spent too many sleepless nights running for his life.

“I remember,” he said now, dryly.

“Well, he told Aerk that he and Aylan had been smuggling wool in for two or three years before Ellyot showed up to claim his place.”

Eljean blinked and looked hard at Jino, who shrugged as if anticipating his next question. “Why the wait?” He asked anyway.

“I asked him that,” said Aerk, coming up beside them after having heard the last part of the conversation.

“What’d he say?” Eljean was feeling restless—he wanted to hear the end of this, but he was looking around the room and realizing how many more people had to be seen, cared for, given to, and he could tell by Jino’s gulping of the last of his food that he was not the only one overwhelmed by the need in this place.

“He said that all he wanted was to be with his beloved and do a little good in the world. It wasn’t until Triannon burnt down that he realized he didn’t have a choice in the matter.” Aerk waited a beat, wile Jino and Eljean digested that last bit of gossip, and then walked forward for his own food with a “Triana, my darling, what culinary masterpiece have you cooked up for us today?” Triana giggled, and Jino broke the silence by going up for seconds, and Eljean sat and nervelessly wiped his fingers on the hem of his shirt.

His beloved. He didn’t speak of her (him?). He had never spoken of a beloved. Eljean suddenly remembered a tattered cloak with a loud gold lining. It had been wadded up on Ellyot’s bed as they’d passed through his room, as though someone had slept with it bunched up in his arms. Her. Ellyot Moon really did have a beloved, and it was a she.

Eljean fought the urge to kick something and cry. Instead, he picked up his little board of questions and names, and went to the newest family that had sat itself down at a newly available table. ‘Do a little good.’ Well, since he was there, he might as well.

Less than an hour later, he got locked in the store room behind the makeshift surgery, and although he really did kick something, he found he had something better to do than cry.

He could listen.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hey had to put these pics on they're sssssssssssssoooooooooooooo cute aren't they awsome love,chicken.

Vacation shall begin.

I am so brain-dead, the brain-sucker the children planted on my scalp when the first one was born has just flopped off my scalp and onto the table. It's currently twitching in postmortem little splangs across the table, and I'm just waiting for it to completely stop moving so I can feed it to the dog.

It's been that sort of day.

First, there was key trauma...I don't want to go into it, but you all may have noticed that the more exhausted I am, the more I lose my work keys. I'm sure Freud would go skipping through that statement with a flower basket and a set of super-shiny shears, but I just know my keys are misplaced (as a colleague pointed out, they can't possibly be lost if THEY know where they are--Thanks, Leo!) and that not having access to my own room or the @#$$% bathroom when I felt so inclined was one of the most annoying things about my day. Considering I donated my 12th pint (for 1 gallon and a sparkly key chain!) of blood today, and the person taking the blood either rolled the vein or stuck all the way through or did something hinky so that a normally productive blood pathway suddenly glopped up like I-80 on a holiday, and I ended up zoning out through the first part of my first class with a big fat needle stuck in my arm and my life force dribbling out in reluctant little spurts before she fixed it, I think ranking the key situation first is saying something.

So there was key trauma, and blood trauma, and me zoning out during 5th period while they devoured my candy in handfuls and left trash over the floor trauma, and stupid kids throwing tantrums trauma, and dumb bitches sneaking out of suspension trauma...and me not getting the kids until an hour after their usual time because I was doing grades and (lets be honest) talking to an old student who makes me crack up consistently every time we chat...well, Thursday was trauma day.

That doesn't even take into consideration yesterday, but my brain-sucker just heaved convulsively, reminding me that if I tried to explain why my own children were at school and my oldest son learned that "Mother pus-bucket, why don't you eat the legumes out of my defecation" was mom's response to little old ladies eating sub-sandwiches and going 40 miles an hour on the freeway, I'd sound really incoherent. Ooops. To late. I went there.

All that and the prickweenie is no longer the grand-royal prickweenie, (he's moved to another spot in the district) and my favorite administrator is in place leaving me with terrible administrator-disappointment anxiety, and I'm not sure if that brain-sucker is actually death-twitching. I think he's laughing hysterically and telling me that a glass of wine right now would be high hilarity for everyone involved. I kick him and laugh as he scuttles away, awaiting to attach himself on me as I sleep and wreak revenge!!!

And that really IS my cue to stop blogging--when reality is all fuzzy like that, you may need to wipe off the ol' gray-matter with a little nap-windex, yes?

Tomorrow I post my teaser--so far I've got one vote for more Torrant and one vote for a new character, and I need a tiebreaker--- go team!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's That Time of Year Again...

The time when all the students wants points for just showing up. I'd be willing to give it to them, if they'd do me the same favor, but as it is, they'd take the credit, smoke it, and then I'd get fired for passing out impossible drugs.

I had one of those bizarre 'I'm as old as my parents' moments yesterday. It was sort of a hard day anyway...I took the kids straight from daycare to my grandmother's birthday (yup, it's on St. Patrick's day:-) and essentially, locked them in the car for an hour and took them to the 'don't touch that' place. It was sort of a bummer...they were running around like bees who'd been sipping Jolt Cola and all I really wanted to do was visit with my family. Anyway, one of my (much) younger cousins asked how old Grandma was. She's 87.

I started doing the math.

That would have made her 46 when I was born.

My mom turned 19 the day after I was born.

Chicken will turn 19 the week before I turn 46.

And I could be a grandma.

I feel cold prickles and black spots dancing in front of my eyes just writing that--and my kid's pretty savvy about your basics of growing up, saying no, and prepping for the alternative--not that she's got any options yet (hell, she hasn't even noticed that her cousin and bestest best friend is a boy) but Mate and I were very proud of getting engaged, married, and pregnant in precisely that order, especially since it wasn't an established precedent on our families, and we were hoping for the same thing for our children.

No one ever tells you (and they should) that keeping them from drinking bleach and running into traffic naked and using the neighbor's bush as a lavatory are only the beginning of the whole 'cold-sweats-of-parenthood' thing. I want to be at least 50 before I'm a grandma...I need to take that trip to Europe first so I can then squander all of my disposable income on the red wiggly thing that I can give back to mama when it's defecation date expires.

*whew* Well, enough of that worrying!

Oh yes--I wanted to tell everybody that I DID visit your blogs after school today (Bells, Roxie, Mother of Chaos--you guys!) like I always do, and my computer wouldn't let me connect. Just so you know, I was going to write TOTALLY brilliant, unforgettable comments on all of your blogs, but I was thwarted by technology once again. Julie, you got my comment--not so brilliant, but then you were my first of the day. (LOL)

And now, I'm going to go make like an eggplant in front of the television. My eyes are burning holes in my head, and it's knitting time... baby socks, baby socks, mama's makin' baby socks, baby socks, baby socks, mama's makin' baby socks! (Now get that out of your head!!!)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Trust Me-Only the Baby is Innocent.

The cat is a pus-sucking sodomizer of furry cockroach droppings. And I don't know what he has against this colorway, either! It's so pretty--just like spring--but once again, the damned cat wasted the first one and then rooted through the bag for the second one. Seriously, folks, it looks like if Captain Stashdive is gonna do his job, he's gonna have himself some kitty-fritters for breakfast!!! Of course, what the photo DOESN'T capture is the baby, swirling around in circles of yarn-barf, singing to herself like she was mixing a fiber potion. I think she saved that damned cats life, she was so cute.

And on other news? Not quite done with the three socks--but getting there. I might give the first three to a friend who just had a baby (I made him something, but the socks will fit NOW and not in two years) and then make Maya something in a colorway I like better. I might also use some al paca scraps and make a stuffed toy or something. Now that I'm done with the plot synopses, for me, it's all about the knitting!!!

I made another internet friend via one with an extremely colorful and unlikable ex-husband. I told her I'd think about making him a villain--she said that reading his death scene over and over again would be very cathartic. Everybody wins! (Except the ex...there really is no redemption for this guy, trust me!)

And I'm starting to feel another teaser coming on...I'm about 1/2 way I was wondering...who do you want to see in the teaser? (This for folks who have read BMoon I.) Torrant? Aylan? Yarri? New characters? Let me know and I'll dress up the preview for you--I'm getting VERY excited about BMoon II, can you tell? It's ALL starting to come together... (said that guy on A-Team before everything went to hell. I remember that was very educational.)

And, (get this, it's huge), last night? Mate and I WENT OUT. We left the kids with sitters (two very nice girls from my classes) and went to a friend's party--very nice people, I rarely see them, and it really sucked that the party was a SEND OFF because they're MOVING!!! But still--adult conversation, people who haven't heard my stories ad nauseum and who were all set to laugh. (The Naked Cave Troll was a big hit last was the hissing Ladybug!) And new stories to hear! And, (this was the topper!) the hostess knits, and one of her guests was like a hidden bonus! The night promised great things as it was--and now I have new fiber-buddies. (In fact, I'm sending one of them an e-mail featuring Ladybug trying to knit, and the other one is getting a bag of brightly colored cotton--she likes the cotton dishcloths but she hasn't seen the really bright colors yet:-)

And now, the short people are DEMANDING my's like I dared to leave their sight or something. Ah, well...for once I got pictures on the most boring blog in history, so I'm good to go!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I haven't written the synopsis for Bitter Moon yet.

I should have--but bedtime has been a terrible war this week, and sleep is the casualty, and by ten or eleven o'clock at night, my eyes are burning and my brain is deep-fried with clams.

I have been able to knit, though, and that experiment with the two socks on one circular continues.

Me likee!!!

Seriously--the daughter of my LYS owner is due any day now...I've been racking my brains for an appropriate knitted gift for someone who, like, owns a yarn store. I was going to do a sweater, and then a hat, and then...and then I ran out of time, and, dudes! She OWNS A YARN STORE! Is there anything I can make for her that she hasn't made for herself?

And then it hit me. The perfect gift for a third child of a woman who works with her mother who owns her own business:

Three baby socks.

It's perfect--it's knit with their product (something very sturdy that can just be thrown in the wash and forgotten!) and although she can (and probably has) knit her own socks, these are workaday models. Nothing precious--just a token of how much we all appreciate Maya and her winning smile and optimism. And because she's a mother, she gets the joke. I mean, we all know that at least one of them is going to dis-a-freakin'-pear sometime immediately after the first wear.

A pair and a spare--royalty has had this idea for years. (Oh wait...that was a heir and a spare...silly me!)

I finished the first on dpns during class today, and cast on the next two on magic loop when I was done. (I'm reading out loud. For some reason knitting keeps me from pacing in front of them like a caged jaguar.) I realized partway through that the 2x2 was unbalanced on one of the socks, but I figured that since I was reading "The Minister's Black Veil" and that's all about karmic imbalance, that they would appreciate the mark of literary meditation on that one little sock.

So tomorrow, I'll write the synopsis after burning the midnight oil, because I can. Tonight, I'm toddling off to bed, after knitting for an hour to old episodes of 'Without a Trace'. (How have I managed to miss that show for 6 years? It's totally awesome. And I'm getting a jones for Anthony LaPaglia in a big way.)

It's funny--I was so stressed out, and so freaked out about everything, but eventually, my center came back to me. I mean--this is a knitting blog, right? The obsession has got to be good for something!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yer Honor, I was taking a dump! OR Why I almost dropped dead of total heart-failure today.

Have you ever wondered where the horrible neglectful mother of that naked child peddling his tricycle around the block three times could possibly be?

I don't know where the other bad mothers are, but I was going to the bathroom and then washing dishes on the serene assumption that the psychotic little nudist was LOCKED IN THE BACKYARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bad blogger...bad!

I've been a bad blogger--and I'm so very sorry.

The problem is, I've been blogging from school, and I wanted to give pictures, but I couldn't because, well, I was blogging from school! But the odds of me blogging from home, giving the chronic unrest of the short people these days is decreasing by the nanosecond, and my thanks are getting more and more remiss, so I'm just going to have to give a pictureless shout-out to my blogging homies who live far from home!

About a week ago I got home from that HORRIBLE day (or one of those horrible days...last week was a blur of awfulness, mostly) and there were PRESENTS. Not just deliveries (although there was one of those too...) but PRESENTS.

Roxie and Gemma, who love me and are loved ferociously in return, visited Mr. Postman and gave me PRESENTS.

Roxie sent me cat-butts and chicken droppings--no, don't look at me like that--the cat butts were stickers (and hence my longing for a camera, dammit!) but they were hilarious, and so was the egg-laying chicken keychain, w/gumballs for eggs. (By the way, the live Chicken in my house tends to snatch these things and run away laughing--but since it keeps her from perpetual glomming, that's still a good thing!)It was cute and thoughtful, and one of those things that kept my skull from imploding and I'm terribly grateful.

Gemma sent me kangaroo pasta, a whale cookie cutter (both of which Chicken and I jumped up and down and crowed about) and (what else, since this is a knitting blog sort of?) YARN. Yarn from AUSTRALIA!!! (You all know what a back-country provincial I am--Yarn from Australia, Yarn from Oregon, Yarn from Bufeebegee--it's all my favorite thing from SOMEPLACE I DON'T LIVE!!!!!) Anyway, it's this wonderful color (Bloody Mary--isn't that excellent?) and the texture is UBERYUMMEEE!!! (There--I"ve just made another word...let's see if we can enter this into the lexicon of imaginary words, next to prickweenie, crapweasel, and fibergasm!) Seriously--if it hadn't been for these two women and their sweet little flirtation with Mr. Postman, I might not have made it through the week--you're both awesome, babelicious and amazing, and all that that implies.

So thank you ladies, thank you Mr. Postman, and thank you, 6th period, for shutting up long enough for me to blog (but not long enough for me to actually run through the conclusion of our analogy drill).

*sigh* And speaking of analogies? One of our words today was 'apostate'--it means someone who no longer follows a belief or philosophy. I think I have become an apostate of public education. I no longer have any faith in it, and unless I'm teaching literature and literature only, I feel as though so much of what I do is empty and without meaning. I remember when I was in school for my credential, and the consensus was, that if we ever got to that place in our careers where we were completely burnt out, we should quit and do something else. There is only one thing I want to do besides this...but I don't know if publishing companies grant rapture to apostates. Oh well...even apostates can eventually suffer through purgatory and make it to heaven, right? (Besides--I foresee next year will be better--it's gotta be--I'm moving to part time...canyagimme hallelujia? Amen!)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Frog Pond

The forces that drove me to knit in the car in front of the pet store today were many.

I managed to write three of the four synopsis, but it took a lot of yelling, pouting, screaming and weeping on my part. The children were getting used to ducking and the spouse...well, let's just say that the spouse took this last week off for softball, basketball, WOW and working late a lot. The spouse and I had a big twanging roue and then I had to deal with the big twanging guilt and all in all? I was a lot more surprised than I should have been to see that my toe was not working well at all. Sometime in the last week, my stitches had become misaligned, and the top of the toe had more stitches left than the bottom. I looked at it stupidly, listening to the soft ocean of traffic through the open windows and the Psychedelic Furs singing Pretty in Pink.

My knitting was never this out of whack. Ever.

I barely twitched an eyeball as I frogged the entire toe and realigned everything until it was pretty and even and ready to be worked on. Here it was, a gorgeous March day, and I had left my oldest daughter playing with the short people in the schoolyard across the street--when all I wanted to do was be with them. But I had spent my whole morning trying desperately to finish an assignment that, as far as I know, is going into the ether, never to return or reap any reward at all.

Perhaps my knitting was not all that was out of whack.

I finished my errands and returned home with cat food, lunch, and (holiest of holies) milk, and after unpacking I sat down with Ladybug and hugged the incorrigible Cave Troll after his nap and went outside to knit and watch them play. This time, the toe worked up much better. In fact everything went better, right up until the moment I dropped the wool and as I reached for it, skewered my hand on a dpn. While I was in the house putting a bandage on it, Chicken pushed Ladybug off the swing, and as I ran outside to see what was wrong, I tripped over all of the Cave Troll's clothes that he had taken off for no reason.

Perhaps my life and my knitting were, occasionally subject to forces beyond our control that put them out of whack.

But, forces or no forces, it was a lovely, blossom scented, sunshine touched, afternoon. I got to hold my children on my lap, and I ended up with two, slightly fraternal, socks.

Maybe I'm just whack, and all else follows as a result.

Your attention please:

For everyone who has looked at a size 1 dpn and thought that the airlines were nuts, it's damned impossible to use that dull thing to penetrate flesh?

Until 2 minutes ago, I was one of you.

I was wrong.

*whimper* OUCH! *whimper*

Friday, March 7, 2008

I'm bad...

So very bad.

I was gonna kill someone and then fall asleep and forget about it. I hated my job, the students, the book, and crap, I was even hating Almighty Freakin' Emerson. And then it happened.

We had two fouled up schedules in a row, and the smallest gear on my sposta snapped, and now we're watching movies.


You know, when you go to English teacher's school, you have these lovely bucolic, utopian dreams about simply giving the students the texts and then having them come back to talk about books and you think "WOW. I want that job. I've been reading all my life and I LOVE to talk about books--how is it that people aren't lining up for that job?"

And then you meet your fellow inmates and the lightbulb 'bout blinds you. "Aha. THIS is why people would rather scrub toilets with their toothbrushes than have this job. I understand now."

And sometimes, you do something by fuck-lucky accident that reminds you why you have a scrubbie for the toilet and a toothbrush all your own.

For me, every year, it's a movie for no good reason but that we're all exhausted, hate life, school, and each other to the extent that we may just have to kill something or drop-kick a poodle to make it better.

Instead, we save the poodle and put some mileage on the dvd/vcr.

And the kids are watching. I mean, that doesn't sound like a big deal, but I HATE putting in random movies that the kids won't watch. But putting in a good movie (Frequency, Taps, Sense & Sensibility) that gets their attention and invests them? I mean, that's the essence of why we teach English 'til 12th grade. STORIES people--we want them to understand the heartbeat of STORIES. It's why we drag them kicking and screaming from the fillings in their molars through Pride & Prejudice and The Crucible--we want them to understand that ART IS A SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR LIFE!!! That the things we do and see in fiction resonate in our hearts like tuning forks, until we either comprehend them in our bones or fly apart in our own self-destructive ignorance. And sometimes, when the kids forget this is school, it actually happens.

So I'm bad. Spank me. It's gotta feel better than the last week!

In synopsis news? I've got two more to go. And...that's all I want to say about that.

I'm also almost done with the Cave Troll's socks (yee-ha--have I mentioned I LOATHE this colorway? I guess even colorsluts have things they won't do for anything but love...) I'm also almost done with some wristlets for a Senior...*sigh* Senior gifts are gonna kill me this year. But I got a visit from a kid I had two years ago who just got his pharmacy degree...I was so proud of him I almost cried.

I bet HE remembers the movies I used to show:-)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Okay, so I have to summarize all four of the books in four pages a summary--and I'm stressing.

Seriously stressing.

I have become the worst version of myself, sleep deprivation, snarling at the family, spacing out at work, et. al., and even though I would probably need these synopses would be needed if I wanted to get published anywhere, I'm starting to remember all the will power it took to get me through school.

Goddess, I'm surprised I made it.

In other news? A couple of welcome revelations today.

The first relates to the Cave Troll becoming possessed with the soul of the devil and doing everything but spinning his head around, barfing green soup and crab-walking on the ceiling. Seriously, my sweet little boy of last week has completely disappeared, and has kept his father and I up until all hours of the night being a complete boyshit and I was banging my head on the wall, seriously thinking about tanking the writing thing altogether in order to spend some time with what was quickly morphing from a Cave Troll to a ginormous boil on a cave troll's ass. (Last night, we were going to bed, when we discovered all of his bedding in the hallway, and he and his sister shivering on their bed. Why he did this, I have no idea.) And then, as my students were chatting (not about their work--what's new?) one of them asked me, "Mz. Lane, c'mon, you can tell us--do you spank your children?"

I laughed. "Yeah, I was spanked, I spank my kids--I remember (and this memory came to me as I spoke) that when my oldest daughter was about three, we could tell if she'd had a really bad weekend because she would spank her doll when she was playing."

And then it all came flooding back to me. Chicken was a HORRIBLE child. I loved her then. I worshipped her then. But she had potential to be a tremendous pain in the ass, and she is VERY good at realizing her potential.

And she survive. I survived. And she doesn't appear to be scarred in any sense of the word from all the times mama screamed at her and gave her a smack on the bottom.

We might live through the Cave Troll years after all.

The other revelation came when I was speaking to one of my favorite administrators.

We're planning a fairly involved assembly tomorrow--something that's gonna have us marching our students in (get this!) single file from our rooms to the gym, and then sitting where we're assigned. Thinking about my 6th period, I called Perry over and started listing eight names from my 6th period that I knew he would recognize.

"Oh..." he said, "The club!"

"Yeah," I replied, "And they meet every day in my 6th period. Maybe a little back-up tomorrow?"


And brother, did I feel validated to know that these kids were really the complete nightmares I had always thought they were.

Then he said, "Hey--do you recognize this? 'Margaret are you grieving?'"

"For goldengrove unleaving." I supplied. "Gerard Manley Hopkins."

SCORE for the English geek.

And now, back to the synopsis salt mines.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A paradox in a song.

I knew today was going to suck.

My weekend was...exasperating. I never got that work done. I flat out didn't. So here it is, in my e-mail box, perhaps the opportunity that I've been waiting on for the last four years and...

And I can't answer the door because I'm getting a bottle for a kid every two minutes, or keeping the short people from beating the hell out of each other when they should be in bed or answering Big T's inane questions at weird times or sweetly disentangling myself from beloved Chicken because she tends to glom or... or... or... or ANYTHING that revolves around kids who won't let me alone for 2 1/2 minutes to allow a lousy stinking thought to rattle around my head like a lone gum ball in a cracked gum-ball machine when, apparently, Mate has some sort of OFF repellent for anything resembling a distraction as his animated troll kicks ass.

So walking into my students was going to suck. I knew it. I had, in no way, shape, or form, achieved the psychic healing that I needed to face them, and I hated them all as they walked up the ramp.

I hated them all as I taught my 2nd period. Even the nice ones.

I hated them all as I blew by my 3rd period to get to the bathroom, and I hated them all plus the guy in the stall I was waiting for as I waited to use it.

And then my colleague came out of the john, and I asked him if he ever hated the world, and he responded, "No. I just don't let them get to me."

I said, "Well, maybe that's the flipside of being a 'blue'." (This is school code for emotion-driven, thanks to one of the cheeziest in-services I've ever been herded into with a cattle-prod.)

He rolled his eyes--he disapproves of 'blue-ness' and I laughed. And then this song hit me.

It's on the Gray's Anatomy soundtrack--it is, in fact, called 'I hate everyone.' It is not a mean-assed metal song--in fact, it has this really perky beat with this really sweet-voiced singer and the irony between that perky beat and that misanthropic message makes you laugh just to hear it.

I played the song during lunch and for the next two periods, there it was, running around in my head...All the people in the street...
I hate you all.
And the people that I see.
I hate you all.
And the people that I don't.
I hate you all.

And all of the sudden, I'm laughing, secretly, to myself, because the kids saw me, dancing around, humming to myself, talking over, around, under, and through their relentless narcissism, and they thought I was in a good mood.

And, abruptly, so I was.

I told one of my best students in 6th period (where, I determined, 1/4 of the class has a gpa of less than 1.0--they're Juniors. This means their odds of graduating are roughly the odds of me, winning the American Junior Miss pageant, should I decide to enter) about the song, and she thought it was funny. Then, as I waited for the class to basically calm down, we both caught me humming it out loud.

She burst out laughing--of all people, she is the most victimized by the horrendous manners of my 6th period class, since they do deprive her of the education she's working her ass off to get.

And then my transformation was complete.

And isn't that the coolest paradox? By embracing my right to be a grumpy bitch, abruptly I didn't hate anyone at all:-)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sneaky evil with ultimate cool...

Okay, first of all, I should be writing a cover letter...I have a (sort of? maybe?) agent who has a (kind of? maybe?) line on a publisher who (may? perhaps?) would like to publish my already self-published books.

Perhaps, you can see why posting on my blog is sort of a sneaky-evil relief from that sort of weirdness... unfortunately, besides a day of napping, all I've got is fiber content.

The napping was actually vital, not only to my mental health but to the mental health of all my nearest and dearest. It appears that one cannot subsist on four-five hours a night for more than two weeks without suddenly morphing into a RAGING FUCKING BITCH whose foul temper threatens to decapitate all within scratching distance. My children were ducking yesterday evening, and the spouse actually cooked and cleaned--and ducked.

I think a nice lie in tomorrow might keep us all breathing here for a while yet, but I've got to make sure I don't get that way again. I was not pleasant to be around in the same way an acid-oozing poison toad is not pleasant to eat.

But now to the fiber content...

I stopped by Babetta's today--which I shouldn't have even dreamt of doing, since I was just at Stitches last week, but I needed a b-day present for a friend, and, so there I was.

There was a book on two socks on one magic loop. Can you see where this is going?

I thought you could. Two skeins of exquisitely died Louet Sales silk/merino and a 32 inch set of addi turbos later, (btw? it's too short--I really should have kept hunting for the 36"ers) I was home with my gift and a new obsession. I cast on while watching Beowulf (it's still awesome, even on the small screen, and still as queasy for those of you who like your blood off-screen) and towards the middle of the movie, Chicken was suddenly right in front of me, peering at the amazingly iridescent yarn (colourway peacock, dyed by Cherry Tree Hill) on the needle loop.

"What?" I asked, hoping I didn't just miss that flash of Ray Winstone's amazing animated ass as she stood.

"I'm just admiring your ultimate knitting cool..." she breathed, and Ray Winstone's ass ceased to be important.

"That's cool?" I asked, making sure.

"Oh yeah..." Bless my little Chicken...she's 13...I don't think I'm going to hear that from her again in a long time.