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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Patience Ain't My Virtue

You may remember this stage of my writing neurosis from last year--it's called the FOR CRIMINIES SAKE SOMEONE REVIEW MY FREAKIN' BOOK!


Uhm, yeah-- I'm not good at this part. (I'm not good at any of the parts-- what the hell is wrong with me? Why would I want to do this for a hobby--not even a JOB but a HOBBY!!! Someone sign me up for a shrink, right now. And a month at the nuthouse, just me, my laptop, and my crocheting--because they don't allow pointy sticks donchaknow. And then, when I've finished RAMPANT, you can let me out for another 8 months, because the short people haven't let me write in a frickin' week!) Anyway, I'm jonesing for some reaction for Bitter Moon II-- I don't even know if the damned book is actually shipping yet because I haven't gotten MY copy, but, well, I'm antsy. You all know this-- you've all talked me down from it before, but there are some nervous butterflies you can't kill with soda-pop and ice cream, and these are them. I'm just going to have to live with them until a few people read the book as she is published--because so far, only one other person (Needletart) has seen anything close to the real final version. My fingernails are bloody and worried, and that's just the way it's gonna have to be.

Anyway, I still haven't found the damned computer cords, which is too bad, because I've got some serious startitis, and that's always entertaining to photograph-- besides that, the short people have grown in the last few months, and I do love to show them off. (It's weird and sad-- when my computer isn't uploading, I take fewer pictures. I'm thinking I need to take pictures for their own sake and just hope for the best, don't you? Yeah. I'm a bad mom--we've discussed this before...)

Anyway, to startitis. In the last week I've started: A hat in this cool 'art inspired' sock yarn by Opal for the Cave Troll, a dress in Rowan worsted cotton/acrylic for Ladybug, a new pair of socks in moochi/moshi (Crystal Palace yarns--if you get a chance to fondle, I mean grope, I mean test this yarn's hand, do so, but expect the Homer Simpson drooling reaction--come prepared with kleenex), baby socks in the peacock colored Louet for a friend, and a pair of worsted weight socks for my friend at school. I'm doing the worsted weight socks toe-up (hee hee--I can't get over my adolescent reaction to the sound of that..."Man, them socks is TOE-UP!" heh-heh, heh-heh, heh-heh) because Mr. Sparrow's feet are, well, size 14 or thereabouts, and I'm pretty sure there's just enough yarn for a short cuff and a bind-off at the ankle. I'm using Big Sock Mexico--one of the earlier self-striping paints, and although it's not particularly MY colorway, it's about as masculine as I get. (Had to knit from stash--wasn't THAT a hardship...) At any rate, if he hates the color, he'll be more inclined to wear them in the house, which is what they're for.

Oh yeah-- and one final started project. This one's fun, because this is where knitting and writing meet. The pattern is mine, and it's called "Lady Cory's Punk Goth Brocade" and I'm going to finish a pair (in this DECADENT AND SINFUL malabrigo/nylon sockyarn-- again, call the Homer Simpson Drool police because you'll need that jumbo kleenex--it is TO DYE FOR...*snork*) and write up the pattern for a little slice of hell, uhm, I mean challenge that Julie and I have cooked up and then use it for the challenge. Anyway, I'm trying to decide what to do with the final pair of socks... the color is this tarnished azure/turquoise that just totally flips my switch as one of Cory's signature colors (along with sunrise peach:-) and there's a couple of beads in the cuffs (could be better placed--I'm going to fix that in the next pattern incarnation) and if they turn out the way I think they might, they could be pretty awesome. (They could also suck large. This is me. The knitting, the writing, the parenting--it's all a crapshoot--you people know this. You tune in to watch the train wreck, it's part of the fun!)

Anyway, I was playing with the idea of making them a reward for the first person to review the book, but wouldn't that be unethical? I mean, bribing people with handknits...usually it's pretty harmless, but, well, this is pretty dire! I can see the fraud trials now:

"People shelled out a hell of a lot of good money for this furniture sized piece-o-crap book--and you say you gave it five stars because..."

"I couldn't help it your honor... malabrigo sock yarn--do you have any idea what kind of weakness that inspires? And BEADS! It was insane! For malabrigo sock yarn and beads, I would have given a monkey and a typewriter five stars!"

I mean, it would undermine my credibility, wouldn't it?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I think I've hit a wall..

some sort of exhaustion wall just popped up and I splatted into it--but fortunately I'd already cleared the 'Supernatural' hurtle, which was a good thing, because tonight's episode ROCKED. (Poor Dean--to have the absolute truth about himself shouted into a high school hall, when he'd tried so hard to hide it... OUCH!) Of course the whole episode hit home--it's been a rough week on the school front.

Two years ago, when my professional life fell completely apart and I went mildly (severely?) insane with a mix of hormones, exhaustion, computer conspiracies, a nightmare in a size six, and a vainglorious prickweenie who hated my guts, I sort of 'pulled back' from my students. I realized that I placed too much value in my students' view of me--on some levels that is truly satisfying, because those are the people I am working for, but in the long run? They will leave me--and the people I work with need to feel respected, because we're stuck with each other for LIFE! Besides, the students' view can act like a funhouse mirror--the things they see and enjoy might not always be my most flattering attributes as a teacher, so I started to put some distance there. At least that way, I thought, a nightmare in a size six will never be able to rip my heart out again, right?

Obviously I wasn't entirely successful--I think the number of kids represented in Bitter Moon II probably proved that (has anyone read it? Did they like it? Is it getting to you yet? Does it suck... wait, Amy, focus, focus...), and this week I got close again, and, well, not all the stories are pretty. I've always known it--but it hurts, and I want to sleep and write and read and knit and basically recover. I also want to come up with something to make a colleague going in for surgery in a couple of days--nice guy... wait, amend that--AWESOME guy--and I can't figure out if he'd want socks (very large feet--I'd use chunky yarn) or a blanket, or maybe just a stack of movies or something... (yes, as odd as it sounds, not everybody is comforted by knit goods...) The sad thing is that I probably will freeze with paralysis and self-consciousness and not produce anything but a "Good luck!"

Anyway, I think I'll close with a mild rant about work--and I'm pretty sure this won't offend any of my colleagues, because, well, I think it contains some unanimous sentiment:

Going to the bathroom

At Home:

Run down the hallway the bathroom.
Shuck drawers.
Sit or stand as necessary.
Hit the toilet cheerio.
Wipe or tap.
Stand up.
Wash hands.
Dry them.
Get the hell out of there before the entire family crashes the door because you've had five seconds of privacy to yourself.

At work:

Kick kids out.
Lock the door.
Run across the quad.
Discover the lock is broken in the nearest door.
Run to other door.
Discover your key doesn't work at the other door.
Run to next building.
Interrupt a special education class in the common room of the other building ante-room.
Kill some ants on the counter as you wait for the person in front of you.
Get into the bathroom.
Shuck drawers.
Sit or stand as necessary.
Hit the toilet cheerio.
If you have to wipe, grab handfuls of the toilet-seat covers, because odds are good you'll be missing toilet paper.
Stand up.
Get hands wet.
Reach for soap--are sadly disappointed.
Try to seduce a paper towel out of the dispenser.
It doesn't put out. You are sadly disappointed.
Open the door with your elbow, go to the paper towel dispenser over the sink by the bathroom.
You are sadly disappointed.
Run to paper towel dispenser in the room next to the bathroom anteroom.
You are sadly disappointed.
Wipe your hands on the ass of your jeans on the way out the door as you run past the bathroom you couldn't let yourself into and to your classroom, where thirty kids are looking avidly to see if you have toilet paper stuck to your foot because they all know you've been taking a piss.
Thank the Goddess, they are sadly disappointed.
Think about writing a bitter e-mail to the effect of 'Goddammit I'm an adult can't I take a fucking piss without making a federal production out of it?'.
Get caught up in the class period you're teaching and forget the e-mail.
Repeat the entire process in an hour.
Think seriously about adult diapers.
Go home and be grateful for the five other people trying to crash your potty time at home--at least you know there'll be soap.

The end.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chicken and Ketchup

Okay--my older daughter's obsession with Top Chef has just got to stop.

We've already discussed this--calling me a cook is like calling 50 cent a skein acrylic "yarn". Yes, it's true in the technical sense, but nobody wants to eat at my house just like nobody wants to knit with that "yarn", right?

Well, it only makes it worse when I hear Tom Collicheo's voice in my head with every kitchen disaster. For example, tonight?

Tom: "Okay, now take me through your thought process here..."

Me: "Well, you said you wanted healthy, American food on a budget..."

Tom: "Yes, but you served tater-tots covered in cheese--how is that healthy?"

Me: "But that's what the chicken and carrots were for!"

Tom: "And about those chicken and carrots... how could you conceive of a situation in which someone might want to put ketchup on chicken and carrots!"

Me: "Doesn't ketchup go with everything?"

Tom: "Now this just means you don't know your flavors. It's obvious to all of us that you don't belong anywhere in the kitchen. Please pack your knives and go!"

Me: "Whooopeee! I'll treasure this dismissal from the kitchen for the rest of my life!"
(Later, tearfully, as I pack my knives and go...) "Okay, I did my best, and if that's not good enough, well someone can hire someone who just knows what the hell they're doing, that's all. I do regret being a disappointment to my family though. And giving the leftovers to the dog--we all regret that."

And in other news...

My daughter, Chicken, and I have come up with a new expressive gesture: We flip each other the fish.

It all started when she was giving me shit about something or other, and I was sitting on my chair with a kid on each arm and a cat on my chest. I wanted to hold up three fingers and tell her to "read between the lines," but I didn't have a hand to spare. I held up my sock-covered foot.

"Use your imagination," I told her dryly.

She's the one who came up with the expression, "Flipping the fish."

I like it--it's a lot more esoteric than flipping the bird, don't you think?

And on that, I think I'll let you go... for one thing, I've just cleaned the table and I still can't find the cord for the damned camera, which is too bad, because I actually took pictures. *sigh* It's getting to be sort of a curse.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Uhm, squee?

Well, first of all, because you can never get enough of this sort of thing (wanna bet?) I'll give you this:

And second of all, ladies and gentlemen, I give you

Bitter Moon II: Triane's Son Reigning

Ta da! That baby weighed in at 2 lbs. and 615 Trade Paperback sized pages. It hurt like a sonovabitch to push out, and with the exception of you wonderful people, nobody will read it. Seriously--this book is more likely to hide in warehouses and clog up's arteries than anything else I could possibly put out. Lookadit, for sweet Triane's sake-- it costs more than thirty dollars! You could buy a footstool for that much money--and it would weigh less!!!!

Now I was wondering how I'd feel about this--I mean, this isn't my first time at the fair, and this was SUCH a bear, you know? But I think that when the picture (and the blurb with the summary, and ACTUAL copies of the book instead of just virtual copies) show up on the website, I'll be happy. I mean, well, REALLY happy.

Because it is long--but I think it's good. And I've said all along that I wanted to write good stories--not popular ones. I was e-chatting w/Knittech today, and I told her that I probably could write to formula--I'm not too stupid and the formula isn't opaque--we can all spot it and I think I could probably mimic it at will. But it would be like going out and buying a bunch of funky-cheap acrylic yarn and crocheting scrunchies. I could do it--I could make me a boatload of smucking fugly scrunchies and sell them at craft fairs and use the proceeds to buy me some real yarn, which I could work on when I'm not turning out scrunchies.

But my knitting time is precious to me--I don't get a lot of it, and when I get it, I want to be using something gorgeous that makes my heart beat faster and makes me dream in fiber.

I make too many sacrifices (okay, this is the last time you'll hear me whine about that) to write and to publish these books and to give creative birth to my own damned babies to put out something I don't love.

I love this book. If no one reads it but my editors (and guys, it may take a while, but your copies ARE coming! As soon as they arrive at my doorstep, they'll get sent to yours!) it was still worth writing.


Holy Goddess, Merciful God, let it not suck, cannyagimmehallelujia.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Now THAT'S Diehard Fandom...

Yeah... I did it. I took Chicken to see My Bloody Valentine 3D-- Jensen Ackles was in it, it was like a compulsion. And although I probably would have had a better time at Inkheart (and definitely wouldn't have been exposed to any internal organs or exploding pick-axed eyeballs during the viewing) I have to say...

I could watch that man sleep and be entertained.

*sigh* Sad. Just sad.

I mean, I'm not even a cougar--cougars are sleek and sexy and coiffed and shaved and blonde and can wear high heels. I'm sort of large and frumpy, and abstracted--I'm more like a land manatee. Land manatees should be embarrassed to lust after tender veal, but, well, there it is. Even in a slasher movie, he's tender and juicy... mmm mmm mmm...

Of course, Chicken and I were embarrassed when it was over--too much conspicuous veal consumption in public you know... and Big T was way too sensible to see a slasher flick. He went for the politically relevant 'Milk'. As Chicken and I were walking out of our movie, I told her, "I'd put money down that the first words out of his mouth are going to be "Now I can Watch Brokeback Mountain!"

And, uhm, guess what I'm listening to even as I post? Uhm hm... you guessed it. I love this movie--but it's too sad for me right now so I'm blogging instead. (The soundtrack alone is enough to send me into the sniffles...)

And the final, ultimate irony of the night?

Well, there was the ubiquitous naked girl scene in the slasher flick... and I (belatedly) remembered that Milk was pretty mature... and we figured that, irony of ironies, Chicken and I got to see a naked woman and Big T got to see a couple of naked men. Well, it was the most in depth thing WE were going to get out of our night at the movies, that's for DARN sure!

We all knew this, didn't we?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Being Proactive

Having recovered from my ego-bruising rejection, I decided to take a positive, proactive stance in the campaign to get my work published by someone besides myself. To that end, I have written and formatted my own rejection letter--you know, just to speed the process along and spare everybody some time, trouble, and pain:

Dear Agent/Publisher-- In the event you decide to reject this manuscript, please check the appropriate box:

( ) I accidentally spilled coffee on the manuscript and decided not to bother.
( ) Your lead heroine reminds me of my sister in law, and I hate her.
( ) You used the 'F' word too many times and I was raised a devout skankless abstainer
( ) The ending is not prototypically happy and made my head explode.
( ) I have a terrible case of diarrhea and therefore my attention span is less than that of a two-year-old's on a slushee and so I understand nothing that you wrote and it's all your fault.
( ) Your long words confuse me. Don't bother me again.
( ) Non-traditional narrative styles scare me. Shame on you.
( ) You didn't suck my toes enough in your introductory letter. Learn some humility and learn to bend over.
( ) I spent my lunch whipping other authors into writing four books a year because they have name recognition and I'm just too tired to bother.
( ) Your hubris at self-publishing must be punished and I'm just the rat-bastard to do it.

Thank you, sirs, for the time it took you to check that box and put this back into the self-addressed stamped envelope I provided for you--I'll slink away now to bother you no more and write in obscurity forevermore.

What do you guys think? Would it work

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Okay-- I supervised a basketball game last night-- the supervision was fun, but I'm SO tired... and I have a staff meeting tonight as well. I'm thinking I'll get home, plant my keester, and dream about days when I could go walking four days a week!

And now I have two whimpers and an 'awww' for you:

*whimper* 1-- There's really only one reason why you would stop at a gas station for nothing but an emergency packet of Immodium AD--the, uhm, 'Anti-Diarrhea' in the 'AD' is pretty self-explanatory. However, that didn't stop the gas-station clerk from asking me "Hey, how are you to day?"

I looked at the Immodium in my hand and then looked back at her. "Unhappy," I said bluntly.

She blinked slowly and rang up my package. I think she got the point.

*whimper* 2-- Jack and Teague were rejcted by Loose-Id. Now, I'm pretty sure the reason they were rejected was that there was too much backstory--but that's not what my torturer, I, uhm, mean, the evaluator said. Now, as one of you has pointed out (very rightly) I should take the criticism and use it to make myself better--or I can chuck it in the can. But since the critic told me that

A. The proglogue was unnecessary (?)
B. I needed to 'show and not tell' more (??)
and C. If I avoided unnecessary prose I could invest more in the story (???!!!) I think I'm going to chuck it in the can.

Hemmingway got gushier about the emotional shit than my two sexually awakened werewolves. I'm pretty sure the unnecessary prose was the backstory, 'showing not telling' has NEVER been my weak suit, and I know at least two of you told me to beef up the prologue so we knew what exactly these two guys were DOING for a living.

But other than that, I think I'll keep the e-mail so I can print it out on a regular basis, rip it to shreds and feed it to the dog. It will make me feel better.

And finally...


My little Cave Troll is doing his 'Superstar' week at school. Basically, it's an entire week about his favorite subject--himself. He gets to bring Boris the Bear home so we can journal every day about what Boris does and sees, and he has already brought a poster to school with pictures of his family to talk about, and his scarf, so he can show people his two favorite colors, and a printed version of the song "Sunshine on my shoulder" that he colored, and will teach to his class. I do hope we don't hear from the administration about how it's bad to tell kids to get high on sunshine, because that would really piss me off--and crack me up--which is always a bad combination. Tomorrow, he gets to bring in buttons to count. Mate suggested different colors of yarn, clipped from the skein, but I just couldn't bear to go around mutilating all those poor innocent yarn skeins. Buttons are much better--and we can still use them when they're done sharing Superstar time with Cave Troll, the cutest little Superstar in our sky:-)

Monday, January 19, 2009

And the bad news is...

Okay, good news first.

The good news is, I awoke this morning, after having finished a pair of fingerless mitts that I WILL have pictures of eventually (because I'm keeping them) and after watching four episodes of Season 2 of yummy-youngsters in a cool car with guns and ghosts (Uhm, Supernatural) and I felt GREAT.

Take on the world great. Accomplish stuff great. No foot-pain great. Cold on its last legs great.

I took advantage of it. I did three loads of laundry, went grocery shopping, took the kids to the park and chased them around in circles, got home and swept the entire house, cooked dinner including a green, did the dishes, started a pair of baby socks for a grandmother-to-be who deserves to spoil unmercifully, started a 'dress' for my princess Ladybug who will probably 'help' me knit this right into a tangle of hot-pink Rowan cotton blend, helped the Cave Troll do his "Me Poster" for his homework, got Ladybug into a bath while Mate got the Cave Troll showered, helped Big T understand politics, and watched the Power-Puff Girls marathon with all of the kids because they're awesome (both kids AND Power-Puff Girls).

So that's the good news.

The bad news is that it was 70 degrees all week, the Kings won in overtime last week, and it's possible we managed to elect neither a jackass OR a moron this year.

I'm sorry, y'all. The bad news is I might have just opened the 4th seal to the Apocalypse. I'll try to whine more in the future and make sure this NEVER happens again!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Done list:

Finished "Girl Mittens" for grandmother-in-law (alas, no pictures.)

Finished "Two color scarf" for friend (alas, no pictures.)

Finished hotpad and retro dishcloth for friend (alas, no pictures.)

Received picture calendars ordered in early December from Wal-Mart (you've seen a lot of those pictures, actually)

Sent all of the above to final destinations.

Went to Babetta's to buy more sockyarn (because, you know, I might have run out.) (Mini Mochi, btw--YUM!)

Bought lunch for family

Ate lunch

Am *this close* to finishing fingerless mitts I started last spring.

Took kids to gymnastics.

Finished the final galley edit of Bitter Moon II: Triane's Son Reigning

Sent it off to the publishers and cried.


Cook dinner for children

Start a new project because I've been very good about finishing stuff and I'm owed a started project by the universe at large.

Take a nap

e-mail Lady in Red sometime today or tomorrow because I miss her and she's awesome

Call my friend to see how her trip with her husband's ashes went.

Go on a movie date with my husband. (Alas, no 'My Bloody Valentine 3D.)

Take the kids to the movies tomorrow. (Where I get to see My Bloody Jensen Ackles' Valentine 3D with Chicken. Because we're sick that way. And we promise to walk out if he bites it in the first ten minutes.)

Chew nails and knuckles bloody for the next two months as I wait for the book to come out and for some feedback. (I love you all, you know it, but no amount of reassurance is going to make this part any easier. I am eternally grateful for the fact that you try anyway. Please don't stop.)

Take a deep breath, woman up, and get back to work on Rampant. Cory and Green are in bed, making moon eyes at each other... something good is gonna happen soon!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Life with my feet up...

Seriously-- I actually bailed on a department meeting (to the unhappiness of my dept. head) to come home and put my feet up and on ice.

Walking around the Academy of Science on Saturday had pretty much fubar'd my foot per usual, and it was getting to the point where I would stand up and site my destination, and then my vision would tunnel, and the entire ten to twenty foot trip would lengthen and stretch like that hallway in Poltergeist and all I'd see was red as I hobbled from point A to point B. Mate was still making up work from his vacation (and the long hours I worked before Christmas vacation) and all I wanted to do was go home, sit down, and ice my damned foot.

So I braved Mr. Trick's disapproval (can't blame him, but, at this point, I couldn't help him either) and came home, put my foot up and issued orders like a chain-smoking gym teacher with a bullhorn.

The older kids were wonderful, the younger kids not so much--they seemed to feel my extended leg and the ice pack it rested on were a new and unusual jungle gym, and I felt bad--Mean Mama came out to scream when what I REALLY wanted was for Snuggly Mama to sit and cuddle. In the end, we had to compromise, and Sleeping Mama just dozed in the chaos as the the little ones tumbled around like lion cubs. It must not have been too bad a day--they went to sleep early, and there was actually less crying than there has been (they have learned to fight in earnest--fun times!) so a little bit of chaos went a long way.

And it seems to have worked-- the swelling has gone down and my foot is no longer curled up around my arch like an agoraphobic caterpillar and I may be able to walk like a human tomorrow.

I've also gone seriously on program w/ Weight Watchers (sort of--no weigh ins, just sticking to the point limit and healthy living guidelines. The weigh ins are expensive, and unless I an make the other stuff stick, we really can't afford it.) It's so lame...I want to jump up and scream "Five out of seven days on program!" But unless I buy a scale and woman up to the damned thing's mocking laughter and cutting personal remarks (what--those don't come standard on your scale?) the only way I can tell if it's working is when my pants start to fall off.

Honestly, I can live with that.

And I can walk again. I may have to face consequences with Mr. Trick but seriously, if I can walk by the end of the week--and actually GO walking, I HATE all of this inertia stuff, it feels like my ass is growing its own zip code, sweartadog--it may just be worth it. (Mr. Trick's a good guy--I felt bad pointing out that the reasons I've missed so many dept. meetings are the same reasons I applied for part time in the first place--it seems obvious but dealing with three different kid pick-ups gets complicated quick, and add in grocery shopping and after school activities and school volunteer schedules and blah blah blah blah blah... you all know the drill, I just don't want to bore him with it anymore.)

And other than that? School is... school is...

It's not bad. I tried to squeeze too much in last semester, so I'm doing both The Crucible and Julius Caesar right now (when I should have done them last semester)--and although I've only taught Caesar once, I am REALLY enjoying the hell out of it so far. The Crucible and I are old friends--and the kids are starting to get it. Classroom rituals are not my strong suit so much, but TALKING about the literature... I don't know for sure if I'm good at it, but I do know that I love it a whole lot, and for one, maybe two kids in the classroom, that's really something that matters.

And btw, thank you all... this is, what? The third year you've watched me melt down over a book? You'd think I'd learn by now, wouldn't you? I don't. It's funny though--almost every time I freak out about the writing or the books not selling or how can I squander my time with this smucking fuseless pipe-dream... I get a sign from the universe... a review or a letter or a comment or SOMETHING--very often it's you guys, and sometimes it comes on e-mail and sometimes it's just the right song at the right time, riffing through my head and onto the radio station. This last week its been a combination of all of the above, coupled with reading the 'In Memoriam' portion of the book to friends of Marvin's. It made them cry--they told me it was perfect.

I don't know about you guys, but I thought that was a really good sign.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Can't talk now, I'm proofing galleys...

*sigh* You know that expression, "So near and yet so far?"

Yeah, sometimes publishing the books is like that.

I get it done (I think) and perfect (I hope) and then I get it in (huzzah) and then...

They send it back to me so I can do the whole damned thing one more time.

So that's what I'm doing. I'm reading it, doubting every comma, every quotation mark, every word choice, every conversation, every paragraph...

In short, I'm fighting the temptation to just scream "Fuck it. I suck, my writing sucks, I should call it a complete fucking wash and just teach in obscurity forever and evermore!!!!"

Mate called on his way home from work (he does that--I love that about him) and I told him exactly that. "Fuck it. I suck, I should give it up."

He laughed. "Oh--so we've hit 'Book submission', the final phase."

Me: "I've done this before?"

"Only the last four years or so..."

So here I come, crawling back to the blog, and you all know what I'm going to say, and I'm sure you've heard it before. It's 618 pages--seriously. 618 pages, and I have no idea whether it's good or not. You all want to know where the prayer comes from? This right here is it--this terrible doubt that any sentence of that 618 pages is worth the paper it will be typeset on.

One more time, from the heart: Holy Goddess, Merciful God, LET IT NOT SUCK.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Things I Learned at the San Francisco Academy of Science

We went today with my parents--Goddess love them lots and lots because it was a splendid day. We learned about the earth and lemurs and lizards and rain forests and bugs... you know, the usual.

We also learned a couple of unusual things--and I thought I'd share:

* We learned if a kid is given a light-up floor and cartoon bugs, he will run around in the same room for an hour without admitting to be tired.

* We learned that, according to the very nice lady who stopped and told me so, that my version of the Doors 'Break on Through' is apparently the best diaper changing song EVER!

* We learned that, if a praying mantis strokes a female very softly with his antennae, she might possibly let him live after sex.

* We DECIDED that human men have known this for years.

* We learned that if we give my mom a cookie, she will gladly pay for dinner. (We plan to bring lots of cookies for our next outings.)

* We learned that telling my daughter that the Yarn Harlot's new book was "so funny that she would have made me wet myself, except I was reading on the potty so I skipped a step," will make her spit milk out her nose.

* We learned that repeating that story to my mom while my daughter is in the room STILL makes her spit milk out her nose.

* We learned not to abuse this power, because Chicken has learned to slug us hard in the arm.

* We learned that the planetarium, as awesome as it may be, does NOT have interactive seats like some of the Disney shows, and if we feel a movement underneath our knees, it's because Ladybug has escaped her seat by Grandpa and her sister and is presently crawling under the knees of complete strangers because SHE THINKS THEY'RE MOM!!!

* We learned that Big T will do anything to keep his little brother awake if he thinks we'll drive right by Denny's if he's sleeping. (My mom promised that we'd wake the Cave Troll up, so he got his nap after all.)

* We learned that ordering anything besides french fries and a milkshake for two tired kids when you're at Denny's is absolutely useless.

* We learned to apply this next time, because after forking over all of HER fries, Mommy was still hungry.

* We learned that Ladybug snores loud enough to wake the dead when she falls asleep in her carseat so hard that her head flops forward.

* We learned that buying a dinosaur book at the gift store is NEVER a waste of money, even if the kids don't want to calm down and listen to it out on the picnic spot.

* We learned that Grandma still has superpowers that can get a tired kid to the car when he REALLY thinks he's too tired to make it.

* We remembered that our childhood was pretty damned awesome, and that we're glad we had kids so we could share.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mother's of Geniuses...

Probably die young, with a lot of gray hairs.

I'm betting Samurai can back me up on this theory, and so can Lady in Red, but I think this next little story will explain why:

Ladybug and I were hanging out at home--I was (gasp!) cleaning house. I found some tiny little cans of playdough left over from a stocking stuffer, and Ladybug asked me to open one.

I did, and sent her to the kitchen floor (where we play with playdough) and then ran something into the back of the house.

When I came back, she was sitting in front of her sister's bicycle pump, which she had hauled into the front room, surrounded by playdough crumbs.

She was shoving the playdough crumbs into the rubber hose of the bicycle pump, and then pumping the handle and watching the playdough pellets fly across the room-- "WHEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! Look mommy--it goes high!!"

I, of course, laughed my ass off, and then called Mate at work to share the joy. When he was done laughing he had me put Ladybug on the phone--I didn't hear his side of the conversation, but I did hear her reply. "That's okay, dad. Mommy cleans it up."

*snork* Yup. Gray hairs and apoplexy--I bet it killed Einstein's mom, and probably Curie's and Eddison's too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And have we mentioned that Knittech rocks?

Thanks to Knittech (thank you thank you thank you!!!) who helped me format this into something that would post! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you 'glubs'

Monday, January 5, 2009


I'm vegging...

This is a very odd week for me. Everybody has school and work EXCEPT me, and it's just me, here with Ladybug, wondering what my life would be like if I was a stay-at-home mom. I washed dishes (woot?) sat with Ladybug on my lap a LOT, played 'string the button' with some new plastic buttons I just bought (small pleasures--but solid ones) and listened to Ladybug play with her stuffed animals in the living room while I surfed the net. I also growled a lot, because every time I actually went IN the living room and TRIED to sit down (to, say, read, knit, get off my sore foot...) I was covered with short people, and let me tell you, the Cave Troll's bony ass does NOT get less razor sharp with time.

So, the answer is (as it always has been) being home is a combination of wonder and frustration, and I'm thinking part time really is the best of both worlds--of course, writing for $$$ would be too, but I'm not holding my breath on that front!!!

Thanks for the (varied and surprising) response on the porcelain dolls... I know Chicken was about seven when she started getting her 'breakables', and I also know that the short people's tiny, overpacked room is going to need some @#$$% shelves before we put some 'do not touchies' in it. I'm seriously thinking about making a bunk bed our next big purchase--maybe that would open the room up a little. (yeah... and why don't I just guzzle a six-pack of jolt cola before I go to bed, because I can see I'll be getting a whole lot of sleep in that case, right?)

I tried (four times!!!!) to put the frickin' 'glubs' on the damned blog. The Cave Troll's dinosaur glubs were hella cute--I just cro cheted a line up the back of each glub, and attached three overlapping 'scales' in a contrasting color, then crocheted circles and bobbles for the eyes, and (my favorite part) a red tongue that went between the thumb and the fingers on the palm. *sigh* you're gonna need some fuckin' pictures--there's just no way out of it. (Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.........)

Oh--and this is funny... (I have GOT to remember the damned camera!)

Mom & Dad stopped by last night--they wanted to give us their old (departed) dog's big fluffy sleep bed for the house. It's been a real gift, because, although we've wanted to let Chiquita sleep in the house for quite some time, she has, for the most part, acted like we just 'forgot' to put her out, and she spent a lot of time clacketing down the hall, hoping her wandering would alert us to her old-doggy presence. Nothing we put down--blankets, towels, sheets, whathaveyou, seemed to work, and she's a big frickin' dog--we weren't sure about buying an actual bed, because the nice ones are a little pricey. Apparently, it was exactly what she needed. Last night, we hauled it into the kitchen, and after the kids went to bed, she came into the kitchen--without being asked--and after an evening of sleeping NEXT to the bed or AROUND the bed, when the house went dark she flopped ON the bed. She was snoring in minutes, and she's snoring now, happy, and, thank the good doggy Goddess, warm to her old bones. I feel good about this. When I was talking to my mom, I remembered the LAST time I tried to move an older animal in from the garage for comfort in her declining years.

You all may remember that post. It was the one where I skinned the fucking cat.

This seems to be working much better--I can only be grateful:-)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The strange case of Rabino Glen:

In case anyone has any doubts as to how Mate and I are made for each other, this conversation was overheard in my house this morning:

Me: "I had the dumbest dream last night."

Mate: "Grunt."

"No, seriously--I dreamt that some totally random girl who knew you however dropped off her boyfriend's kid with us for no reason whatsoever."

"So, like that dumbass movie the kids were watching last night--you know, the one with 'the Rock'."

"Yeah--except the kid was little--he was all wrinkled and new and puketastic and everything--and he had the lamest name."

"How lame could it be?" (I mean, seeing as it was my dream and all, right?)

"It was Rabino Glen--how lame is that?"

"Well if he was brand new, we could name him something not so stupid, right? Like Kyffin Thane or something that didn't make the cut when we had the Cave Troll."

Me: "OMG...THAT is what I was thinking for the entire goddamned dream!!!!"

See? Made for each other.

And guys, I've got a question for you. It involves porcelain dolls. Uhm, would you give one to a two 1/2 year old, yes or no? Because my Aunt (the one whose gifts hadn't arrived on Christmas day) dropped off the kids' gifts the other day. Now, the Cave Troll got some very cool drum sticks that (get this!) play only on the ear phones, so we get to watch him spaz out to himself to music in thin air. Seriously--good times.

Ladybug? She got a porcelain Tinkerbell's Garden doll... uhm, bu the time I had figured out that it was porcelain, I was elbow deep in drumsticks (needed batteries) and the Cave Troll had DESTROYED the packaging for the DISPLAY ONLY porcelain doll. We managed to sneak the (breakable, exquisite) thing away from her and stash and display it in Chicken's room--where she's actually got a collection of such things--but it made me wonder.

When (and why!) would you give a porcelain doll to a preschooler? (To be fair, my aunt ordered it online--I'm not sue she could see the 'Collectible' label--it wasn't written very large on the box. She probably thought it was your basic babydoll... because by now, most people have figured out that if it ain't broke, it ain't ours!)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Exciting Life As a Barcalounger

Seriously--that's alls I gots to report. Today, I was a sofa. I was a sofa here, I was a sofa at the movies (where the Cave Troll fell asleep and Ladybug pretended to sword fight just like the big-eared little mouse) and then we came home and I was a sofa again. There are a couple of bad things about being a sofa:

A. No writing gets done
B. No knitting gets done
C. The book I'm reading right now is on my computer, so no reading gets done either.

But then and again, a lot of sleeping gets done, so that's... well, uhm, that's just sad!

But Despereaux was a wonderful movie, and that was something accomplished, and I've been dozing in front of a Looney Tunes marathon, so that makes me feel like I've been doing archival research into American pop-culture or something--(I mean, what was that apparently racy book called 'Amber' that the nurse was reading in the Tweety/Sylvester cartoon? I think Smart Bitches covered that in a column once, and enquiring minds want to know.)

The Samurai did a lovely photo retrospective of the things she's made this year--I was, of course, completely in awe, and I tried to rack my brains for things I'd made that I was particularly proud of. Per usual, my brain thinks that the year didn't begin until Summer Vacation and still, in retrospect, I did a lot of scarves and hats and socks and mitts-- the largest thing I probably knit was the 1/4 of a sweater I started for Chicken and didn't finish (although for some reason I haven't given that one up). However, I did manage to write, and I guess Bitter Moon II is going to have to stand as my Magnum Opus for 2008-- that, and a lot of days like this, I guess--Mom as Barcalounger--and a certain revisiting of the culinary, uhm... well, you wouldn't call it art. I do more like culinary fingerpainting--maybe that should be my New Year's Resolution? Should I graduate to culinary crayon drawings? It's an idea anyway.

The Yarn Harlot also did a paean to things gone by--her valiant Sir Washie bit the dust and much hilarity ensued(for us, anyway--I'm sure for her it's pretty damned traumatic) and it did get me thinking. Even though I accomplished only one thing of note, (okay, three if you count the Jack & Teague stories) I maintained my sanity and my family and life dealt me no crushing blows this year--I didn't get fired (as much as part of me probably wanted to, last school year), nothing major broke down, and nobody died in my immediate family circle except Bryar's last fish in the scum tank and we really didn't know him that well. I mean, for once, even the rat survived the temperature change, and the cat that was supposed to die slowly because I was a shitty pet owner just took a really long nap on my chest, cementing my identity as a barcalounger, and proving that his tenure as a comfortable nuisance might last for a while yet. That, and Matt and I made it a semester with me part time and we only pulled out the credit card for Christmas (and, yeah, okay, for Bitter Moon II because I'm a selfish, driven, obsessed bitch with no patience whatsoever). I do know that there have been deaths--and ones that hurt me personally and painfully, but just feeling that pain and watching the people closest to those losses deal with the true, soul-ripping agony of being closest to those losses has made me so grateful that, although life is full of meetings and partings, there are some partings I have not had to face yet. You can never be grateful enough that the people you love are there for you to love them.

My children grew older. The teenagers don't seem to be headed for alcoholism, drug-abuse, prostitution, dropping out of school, piercing parts of their bodies that shouldn't be pierced or beating up nuns behind parked cars. The short people seem to be reasonably intelligent, fairly well-adjusted, and in spite of the opinions of ignorant moo-cows in the middle of the Arco-Arena crowd, the smallest one has no fear of me or my temper whatsoever. The Cave Troll might even get through Kindergarten without having to repeat it (although, since he's physically not developed enough to even decide which hand he wants to use, I could give a ripe shit if he does have to repeat it. Fucking California public educational clusterfuck!)

I have students who hate me, students who love me, and students who feel that I might actually have something to teach them. I may even get to teach writing next year. I seem to remember that writing is something I enjoy--go figure.

In short, for good or for bad, the year is over and we survived and live to laugh and cry again.

Life as a Barcalounger was good in 2008.

Canyagimmehallelujia? Amen.