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

Monday, July 30, 2012

It's that time of year again...

Okay, so Mate is having an early practice today-- and it's 102 degrees already, creeping on up to 105 (which is the league cut-off for impossibly hot) and I'm thinking about just staying home with the girls in the air conditioning and getting some work done.  I feel like a weenie for even thinking about it-- I mean, I've done harder/more painful/worse, right?

And suddenly, I'm flashing back six years, to when I started this blog, and I'm a little blown away.  Yeah I've done harder/more painful/worse-- and damn.  I'm surprised I survived.

So, want a trip in the way-back machine with me--feel free to take your own on your own blogs if you like, because sometimes, with a blog to help you remember, the way-back machine is a trip.


I started the blog because there was too much stuff in my head to be clammed up, and I needed to let it out.  Two people followed me.  One of them was Roxie:-)


I continue to blog because a whole lot of friends and fans tell me that my blog makes them laugh.  One of them is still Roxie:-)


I called my children Ladybug, The Cave Troll, Chicken, and Big T.


I call my children Squish, Zoomboy, Chicken, and Big T.


I was grieving because I had to leave Ladybug (nee Squish) in day care with Cave Troll all day, because I worked full time.  I also had two other kids at Junior High.  This would peak for about three years when I had four kids and three to four different daytime destinations.  It would suck.


I have two children who have graduated from high school and who have or will have their own transportation, and two children who attend the same school for the same hours.


I was breastfeeding.


As Goddess is my witness, my boobs are property of Mate's and shall be forever more.


Big T was still in speech therapy, and we hoped he could be mainstreamed in the high school classroom.


My full grown son is attending Junior College, and he graduated with honors.


Chicken had just been cut from rec league soccer, causing me to coin the term "vainglorious prickweenie" to apply directly to her douche-waffle coach as well as my asinine principal who wanted to fire me but didn't know how.  (Ironic that he had the means, he was just too contemptuous of everything I was to investigate it further.  Asshole. Seriously. I can't think of a word nasty enough to call him.  I'll just have to let "vainglorious prickweenie" live forever in his memory.)  Anyway-- Chicken was depressed and emo, and we never saw her smile.  I worried about her for the next three years, and yearned for my beautiful daughter to see herself as I did.



I had published two books of my own and was working on finishing and self-publishing the third.  I was hoping to break into mainstream publishing, and cherishing (or recovering from) each and every painfully earned review/remark/hint/mention that I could scavenge from the internet.


I have self-published six full-length novels and have and thirty-five or so (hard to count) novels and novellas published by actual companies.  I have learned to (mostly) ignore the bad reviews and if I can't?  I know which friends I can whine on (Julie!  Looking at you!) and which friends will pat me on the head and say, "Now, you know better than to read those things!" (still looking at Julie!) and I'm grateful.


I said anything I wanted, ranted whatever was in my heart at the time, and damned the consequences.


I've learned that the consequences are painful, and that if I'm to live in the human world, I need to keep a rein on my temper and my (often VERY) opinionated nature.  I've learned more about self-restraint in an environment that claims not to have any than I ever learned when people were telling me I was too weird or too wrong and needed to keep my damned mouth shut.  I've learned that people's feelings are important, and I've learned to respect differences of opinion.  I'm not perfect, but I have become far more adept at self-editing, and saying things I want kept personal ONLY to those people I want to be personal with, and about not alienating the entire frickin' world in my rage.  In short, I've become slightly closer to being a grown-up.  It was painful, but it was totally worth it.


I was fighting every day to maintain my faith in my painful job and dreaming of the worlds enough and time I would have if only I could write full time!


My job and I have had enough of each other, thank you very much, and if it was painful in the extreme, it was also instructive as well.  And now that I am living the realities of writing full time, it is also difficult and also just as day-to-day a pain in the ass as my other job was.  But it's also every bit the dream come true I always hoped for, and I am extremely blessed.


Mate was my north star, my guide, my anchor, my beloved, the best choice I ever made when I was too young and stupid to know better, the best choice I continued to make even when I got older and could figure shit out.

Mate is my north star, my guide, my anchor, my beloved, the best choice I ever made when I was too young and stupid to know better, the best choice I continue to make even as I get older and can figure all sorts of shit out.

So that's my trip in the way-back machine-- it was a short one, because I still don't live the life of leisure I thought I would, and two busy small children is still two busy small children.  But maybe I can tough it out through 105 degree heat to watch my boy have some fun, and watch his father be awesome and amazing.  If nothing else, the last six years have proved that you can underestimate how fast they'll grow.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Happy Release Day

Hee hee hee... Okay... I have to admit that I still have memories of the old Harlequin Romances, where "release" could mean something very, uhm, organic to the entire romance "process", if you know what I mean!  (CLIMAX, people, rockin' the big O, not going but coming... nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more!)  Anyway, when people tell me "Happy Release Day!" I always smirk.

Now you know why.

So, The Three Fates is out, and Andrew, Elizabeth, Mary and I are all doing happy dances.  Elizabeth and I decided that us wimmins are the three Fates on the cover.  I get to be the one in the hood, cause you all know hooded cloaks turn my key!  (Andrew also gets to be in the picture, but he gets his choice, and I"m keeping that mum!)  

Anyway, the cover is beautiful, and I hope people think the stories are too!  Besides Dreamspinner Press (which has all the e-reader formats you could hope for on your portable bookshelf and takes PayPal as well) the book is also available at ARe and Amazon and I REALLY HOPE you all like the story inside.  I did that entire post last week on the Fanfic of the Gods and as I was editing this one, I realized that a lot of the things Leif was saying about stories and what they mean to us as human beings are beliefs I hold dear to my heart.  This one for everyone who believes that a story is more than a story and that fiction holds the essence of truth.  I believe it with all my heart.  

And in other news?   Well, for starters, I guest blogged here at Chicks & Dicks about getting into a character's head, and that was fun-- come by and comment, it's one of my "educational" posts but I have to confess... I got the title because Julianne sent me this clip with Jeremy Renner in it, and the song was stuck in my head:

Isn't he adorable?  Don't you want to be his left hand?  (No, Amy, that's only you!)  It's funny though, because Julianne and I were talking about the fact that he grew up in Modesto, and how he was the biggest thing to come out of that benighted town since George Lucas, and I flashed to that part of Return of the Jedi, where Luke and Han are being flown over the dessert of Tattooine.  Han says, "I can't see anything!"  Luke says, "There's nothing to see.  I grew up here you know."  Hands up for everyone who thinks that's a comment on Modesto... Yup.  You too!

Anyway-- in family news?  We spent ALL WEDNESDAY, from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm at the State Fair.  I tried hard to escape the midway-- I'm not a fan-- but the kids, who had done damned near EVERYTHING by the end of the night were heartbroken at not going on the ferris wheel, so yeah.  We had to do that.  Anyway-- we saw birds and animals and pet them at the zoo and rode ponies (the little kids) and did the bungee cord thing for little kids and slid down the giant slide and played in the wizard's castle with the giant bubbles and shook hands with a capuchin monkey and lost Chicken with my phone...

Yeah, you heard me right.  Imagine the looks I got when I went into the lost kid kiosk and said, "Yeah, I lost my kid... she's seventeen and smart and responsible, BUT SHE HAS MY PHONE!" Let's just say that the two hours wondering where she went was part of the reason we didn't make it to the midway for more than the ferris wheel, and leave it at that!  But the whole reason we were there was so these two could watch them do dance and gymnastics.  Of course, by the time they got on stage-- at around six o'clock--they were both tired and frazzled and the one on the right, in particular looked cooked and pink and done.

But they had an amazing time, which was nice.

I, on the other hand, could NOT seem to stop making classic mistakes-- things like forgetting their gymnastics shirts at home and not communicating with Mate which bag he needed to get out of the car and, of course, LOSING CHICKEN--I'm saying.  By the end of the night, the ferris wheel line seemed like its own little circle of hell.  And, to make things worse, Squish had to pee when we were almost at the end of it.  So there I was, wanting nothing more than to ride this ride and go home, and I'm making people go in front of me because I'm waiting for Chicken to get back from the bathroom with her.  *headdesk*  Oh the pain...  And then, when we were up in the air, Chicken and I looked and realized that the ferris wheel where we'd stopped was a bare fifty feet from the exit.  We'd been SO CLOSE TO FREEDOM the entire time.  I think the knowledge made our feet hurt worse.  Anyway, we would have spent all yesterday recovering, but there were dentists appointments and meetings with Sam at the park and grocery shopping.

Maybe we'll recover today after I go to the gym.

Maybe not:-)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

There is not enough trivia in the world...

*tackle hugs Donna Lee*  She offered me a shawl-- which is absolutely amazing!  Alas, darling, I'm harsh on clothing--I wouldn't want to abuse anything of yours!

There's really nothing to report here.  The kids have been upset because they're *gasp*  BORED, but I keep telling them, if they were REALLY bored, they'd CLEAN SOMETHING!

And I feel bad-- I do.  But as lovely as the vacation to Hawaii was, well, there's always pipers to pay afterwards.  Besides.  We're going to the fair tomorrow-- isn't that a good thing?

This article came out and I'm both excited because I got mention, and depressed because it's been saying things that I've been saying for years.  But that's okay, because people I know or have talked to (Josh Lanyon, Damon Suede, Kate MacMurray, Heidi Cullinan) all got to step up and give their two cents, and that's WONDERFUL!

Steve is feeling sickly-- she's going to the vets today if we can find her.  *shhh*  Don't tell her this.  It will freak her out.

Squish saw a flyer for Progressive Insurance on my table, and said, "Mom, it's the girl from TV!"  I said, "Yes, yes it is."  She said, "Is she trying to sell us insurance?"  I said, "Smart Squish.  Very very smart Squish!"   Cause she is.  (And cause we all like the Progressive Insurance Girl!)

You have two more days to enter the contest for The Three Fates.  This is still coming out Friday, and I'm still very very excited!

I've mentioned the characters Dex and Kane before-- they had the BEST conversations, and the two guys have set up a sort of running dialog in my head.  It's funny-- even when the conversation is between Mate and I, suddenly, I hear Dex and Kane speaking.  Of course, Dex and Kane veer off into unexpected directions, but, well, that's where we get the idea.

 In this conversation, Dex and Kane are sitting on the couch, playing Words With Friends.

Kane:  You damned people and your made up words.

Dex:  It's "churr".  It's a word.  The phone says so.

Kane:  Yeah?  You're so smart-- what's it mean?

Dex:  Uhm, it's you know.  The thing that comes before the churro.  You like churros.

Kane:  I will hurt you.  I will stab you in the eyeball with a fork.

Dex: (simultaneously laughing and looking up something on his phone) It's the high pitched whine made by insects or bats.

Kane:  You suck.  You suck and this game sucks and--

Dex:  Well... you know... if you want me to suck...

Kane: (smiling)  Well... maybe the game doesn't suck so bad.

Dex: I'm sayin'.  Your move.

Hee hee... okay, I have to admit, that when I'm writing my own Dex/Kane fic, I very often veer off into NSFW territory.  If anyone's interested, I'll post their adventures on Goodreads after they debut... these guys?  They're VERY VERY sexy.  Unfortunately, most of my "Adventures of Dex and Kane" stories are spoilerish for the actual story-- I've sort of been waiting for that to come out before I start spreading the spoilers.

And I'm in edits for Mourning Heaven.  I'm VERY VERY interested in what this cover is going to look like.  Sidecar was gorgeous!

And that's all folks-- writing away here... I miss Hawaii, but it sure is nice to be home!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Yeah, sure, blame it on the sunspots...

It has been a sad week.  The shooting in Colorado hit me sort of hard, because MY OWN kids were at a midnight premiere for The Dark Knight Rises, and I was struck to the bone with how easy it could have happened here.  A friend of mine--an e-buddy, it is true, but still, someone I have learned to care for--has lost a dear friend of his, and he is heartbroken.  There is funk and drama going on in the cyber world, and once again, I am contemplating being a voice of reason, and unsure if anyone would be willing to hear me.  And I'm not going to dwell on any of that right now, because I haven't processed it, and sometimes, sad is just better kept under wraps.  Instead, I'm going to kvetch about little, pain in the ass stuff, and remember that it IS little, and little is do-able.

So on the little, pain in the ass realm?  Uhm, yeah.  Not my set of days.  Let's start with getting gas, shall we?

No, not stomach gas, although we have to keep telling Zoomboy it's not polite to fart on people, and it's REALLY not polite to keep making evening announcements about farting and then grunting to make them louder.  I told him today that just because he was an eight year old boy that was no reason he had to be gross in front of ME.  Why couldn't he just be gross around the other eight year old boys?  His response was that Sam was nine.  My response was that nine year old boys were gross too, and they could be gross together, but please, not in front of me.

He said fine, and then walked away farting, leaving me in his vapor trail.


Okay-- now let's talk about real gas, and the clusterfuck at the AM/PM.  (BTW?  For my story Do Over  I originally set Engall's first death at the AM/PM.  My editor's couldn't figure out what the official logo/name of the store was, so we settled for the Circle K.  After all, Lynn told me soberly, "Strange things were afoot at the Circle K."  Bill and Ted fans should now be doubled up in laughter, and I have done my job.  Everybody else, carry on.)

Anyway, it took forever.  The line of cars was not moving, and I had about to seconds worth of gas in my car.  So finally, FINALLY a spot opens up and I find out why the line of cars was not moving.  The stupid kiosk where you pay was not registering that you paid and you had to go inside.  I went inside to pay, came out--now keep in mind, the kids are IN the car and it's 105 OUTSIDE the car--and started to pump gas.  At six gallons, the pump stops.  Just stops.  NO reason.  I go back inside and say, "Look--I've got kids in the car, and they're dying, can I just get my change and go?"

I get my change and go (only thing the clerks did right was just throwing that my way) and then go to the yarn store, where I realize my cash card is bye bye.  Gone.  NOt anywhere.  Gone to visit my socks (next story)-- you know.  Just gone.  The next place was the yarn store, where I bought yarn to make Stanley's pop-your-cherry-red scarf.  THAT was fun, and fortunately she took a check when I couldn't find my damned card, but still... *fume*  Gah.  Lost card. No gas.  *funk*  Blargh.

So, uhm, about the socks...has anybody seen this sock? Now see, isn't it pretty?  I was knitting it for a friend of Mate's, whose wife was having a baby.  I loved it, but it was taking FOREVER.  An interesting thing has happened with this latest batch of kids.  They have refused to grow out of my lap.  I couldn't figure out why knitting and crocheting was not continuing at much pace at all, and then I realized it was because I had around 130 lbs. of grade schooler in my lap every time I sat.  Now, I seem to have broken Chicken out of this habit by around the third grade, and Big T was just too damned big to add HIS mass to the equation.  But with one kid on my lap I can knit or crochet.  With TWO?  Well, between that and the funked up angle of the couch which pinches a nerve in my shoulder, let's just say that sock took me a very long time.

So when it disappeared?  Yeah.  I was unhappy.

But that was okay, I figured.  That was just fine.  I had a half a sock already finished--you know, to complete the pair, and I would just simplify the lace pattern, so it was just the cuff, and then I could finish both socks in short order.

And then that disappeared.

I don't think the house ate them-- these were traveling projects.  They just travelled beyond my purview, but the upshot is, it's taken me a month to knit a sock and a half and they've both jumped ship.  I'm going to have to sit down with a bloody, gory, scary movie and another ball of yarn (I'm going with the idea that this one is cursed) and I'm going to sit down and knit two regular plain baby socks and hope the girl doesn't remember that I promised her lace.  *sob*  Then I'm going to finish Mary's blanket, and CHICKEN'S SWEATER WHICH I PROMISED HER, and THEN I'm going to make Stanley's pop-your-cherry-red scarf.  And then it'll be time to knit for Christmas, and your guess is as good as mine.  And don't even get me started about the shawl I wanted to wear to GRL so I could appear all sophisticated and shit.  Alas.  Not enough time to knit.  Dudes... I know I've got twenty-five days to make a hard deadline, and I'm only 35K into a full length steampunk novel, but... I've gotta sit down and make some baby socks, STAT!

Okay.  So, done kvetching about the small shit.  Now I'm gonna remember why it IS small.  And for cryin' in my soup, I'm gonna make some baby socks, dammit!  *shakes head*  And if you find my socks... be kind.

Oh-- and Big T just send me the following, for anyone left with the burning question Why Batman?  I loved this btw-- good symbolic shit to know.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fanfic of the Gods

The Three Fates anthology is coming out next week, and there's already a contest up for it at Stumbling Over Chaos so, WHOOSH!  Yeah-- first of all, July just flew by at warp speed, and second of all, yeah-- so soon after Sidecar, it really does feel like I hauled ass this winter!

Anyway, the Three Fates anthology was sort of a fun project, and for those off you who haven't read Andrew Grey and Mary Calmes, (as if!) this is a great introduction to two awesome writers. (Okay, I have to say that-- they're my FRIENDS, and Mary is my sister of the heart!  But they're both good writers- SWEAR!)  Anyway Andrew had this idea that the three of us should each take a concept, and then write our own story based on it, and since there were three of us, the Three Fates were a perfect idea!  (As I said in the dedication?  Yeah.  All Grey's idea.  This is in case things go wrong.  Otherwise, we ALL came up with it, right?)

Anyway--and I know I've said this elsewhere--but one of the coolest things about this is that when we were writing our stories, we each picked a different mythology to concentrate on.  Andrew went with Greek mythology, Mary picked Egyptian, and I picked Norse. It was especially fun for me, I think, because the Fates were spinners and weavers, and although I am a knitter, we all do love our yarn, so I got to throw in a little bit of that here and there for the story, and that was enjoyable too!

Now, I finished my story at the end of January--many months before The Avengers came out and the biggest fanfic craze since Wincest began.  And, of course, Andrew proposed this idea back in October, LONG before the terrible kerfluffle over Bear, Otter, and the Kid, and so, as I was writing, I had no self-consciousness whatsoever about bringing in the three Norse fates (Verdandi, Urdh, and Skuld) and then adding Thor and Loki to the mix.  Wasn't that what this was about?  Writing about mythology?

Achilles mourns Patroclus-- trust me, it's important later.
It wasn't until after the kerfluffle that I started to think about fan-fiction, and I made a somewhat startling observation.  Now, in my discussion of the kerfluffle, I said that Shakespeare wrote fan-fiction and we loved him for it--and it's true.  Many of Shakespeare's plots and characters were taken from Hollinshed's chronicles, but he gave dialog, conflict and humanity to what had been originally presented as simple dry narrative.  What I hadn't realized until this story was in editing was that mythology as a whole, was, in fact, a stunning example of fan fiction gone right.

Mythology, is the fanfic of the gods.

Yup, you heard me.  Want some specific examples to back up that sweeping generalization?  Here you go!

The Three Norns
Let's start with the myths themselves.  Myths had three pretty basic uses, back in the day-- they explained how the world worked, taught a lesson, or entertained.  Now we all know that the hypotheses for how the world worked were poetic, yet, alas, scientifically untrue, and that the lesson was usually "don't fuck with the gods and even if you don't fuck with the gods that doesn't mean they won't still fuck you!" That leaves the third function-- and in a way, the most important function.  Fiction is important to civilization as a whole.  Whether we are children or adults, we see ourselves in the stories we're told, and when we see ourselves, we either see who we want to be, or who we want to grow beyond.  Modern studies tell us that fiction makes people more empathetic and more imaginative. Three thousand years ago, when people gathered around a campfire, or a storyteller's chair, or a theatre, they were there to imagine themselves a part of the human race, and to figure out how to be better humans, whether or not the gods decided to fuck with them this week or the next.  It's sort of a noble calling, when you think of it like that.

So the storyteller was an important person to the development of mythology.  The storyteller slanted the story--what moral shall we learn from this story today?  Better proof of the importance of the storyteller couldn't be found than in the three major storytellers who spoke of the Fall of Troy.

Homer, looking properly important
Homer is, of course, the first one, and I love the very idea of him.  I think of him, blind (okay-- that's been disputed, but I always think of him as blind), listening to the world around him, learning enough about human nature to see the entire glory of what was ancient history, even to him, sprawled inside his head like a technicolor panorama shot in 3-D.  Homer is the most passionate of the storytellers, and even when he's talking about Paris, choosing between the three goddesses, his voice has the ring of compassion.  Of course Paris is going to take the bribe of Helen and choose Aphrodite.  Why wouldn't he?  He's young and handsome and he wants to get laid, is that really so bad?  It is Homer's voice that makes the Iliad and the Odyssey ring with passion--he wanted us to see the gods as fallible and the humans as great.  When those ships left Greece to sack Troy, he wanted us to know the breadth and depth of the sacrifice, the majesty of all those men fighting for king and country.  When Homer took those stories he'd grown up on, and wove them into one cohesive whole, he wanted us to celebrate our humanity, and dammit, that's what we do!

Ovid, looking like a 70's porn vid extra
Ovid's voice when he deals with the matter in Metamorphoses is not nearly so fiery.  For him, Troy boils down to some political maneuvering, some dead heroes and a dead baby at the end: the sum total of ten years of sacrifice.  Of course, Ovid had a different agenda when telling his story.  Ovid wanted to A. Comment on the hypocrisy of emperors, and B.  Bang their wives (or, you know, bang someone.  The man was married three times, and I'm pretty sure he wasn't known for his fidelity.  And let's just say that there are rumors still floating around about his exile from Rome.)  Ovid had to stay detached--he was not as into the glory of battle as he was into the subtle maneuverings of kings and the futility of imposing sexual morality on creatures not cowed by religion.  (He had a point-- the gods appeared to be both omnisexual and highly promiscuous.  Why couldn't humans play by the same rules?)  Anyway, his account of Troy is only a part of his general account of one thing changing into another-- Troy fell so that Rome may rise, and wasn't that good for Ovid, because he got to participate in the glory of Rome?

Virgil, looking very politically
Virgil, on the other hand, was trying to illustrate a moral Rome.  (This made him far more popular with his emperor than Ovid.  Virgil got canonized, Ovid got exiled.  2000 years later, guess who's getting more play, I dare you!)  In order to show Aeneas's adventures in a moral light, we need to see the poor boy leaving the decadent Dido, Queen of Carthage to pine while he goes on to establish a new and shining city.  His gods are a bit more sober, and they do not play as gleefully in the lives of mortals as Homer's.  Of course, if some scholars were right, and Homer really HAD been blind since birth, then Homer knew all about the whim of the gods, didn't he?
Yes.  Those ARE manly bits, why?

But my point is not which one of these guys was the bigger player-- my point was that all of these guys played in the fan fiction sandbox with the celebrities of the ancient world: the gods.  That the fall of Troy happened?  That is indisputable. That it all started when three goddesses asked a vain and horny young man which one was the most beautiful?  That is a work of fan fiction--and what a glorious one it was.

Not Chris Chemsworth, but IS Thor!
So, when I got a chance to write about the Three Fates?  Color me honored.  I got to bone up on my Poetic Edda, and read a little bit of extra mythology, and generally make my Fates and my Thor and Loki, my creations.  I had fun.  Did I have any qualms about slashifying Thor and Loki together?  Oh hells no.  (Yes.  People still say that.  In Northern California, people say it all the time, because we DO live in a time warp, and we DO say things like "sick" and "excellent" and "rad", even though the rest of the world traps those expression in retro movies.)  Achilles and Patroclus have been slashified ad infinitum.  Apollo has been slashified with every young man he ever met-- and several young women!  (Love that Hyperion-- he was not just a player, he was an equal opportunity seducer.  I pity the guys he hooked up with-- things didn't work out so well for Anemone or Kyrissos if I recall, but still-- brother swung both ways!)  The idea of slashing Thor and Loki as mirrors for my two heroes, Hacon and Leif?  Was as natural as having Skuld spit-splice the futures of the mortals caught up in the loom of the gods.

So yes-- I used someone else's characters in my own work as secondary, mirror characters for my own. And in doing so, I followed a long, proud tradition of mythology.  Robin McKinley said (and I'm gonna mangle this) that heroes are who they are needed to be by the people of their time.  That has stuck with me.  Two-hundred years ago, maybe we didn't need Thor and Loki to be rockin' Valhalla with the sex of the gods... Today?  Following through on that angry chemistry is important for some of us-- that is the mythology I shall tell.  Writing fan fiction for the gods is hardly new--and while I doubt I'll be as influential as Homer, Virgil, Ovid, or Shakespeare, I know that when I make my lighthearted stab at mythology and romance, I am at least in the best of company.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig...

We made it!   Left early Friday morning, arrived home late Friday night, slept in a little and, *shazam*  We're home!  (Mate is leaving for a baseball game tonight... oddly enough, he can't find anyone in the house who wants to go with him.  Weird.  Go figure.  It's not like, you know, we've been gone for a WEEK or anything!  Okay-- the little kids wanted to go with him.  I'm pretty sure they were just trying not to fall asleep at six at night.  I wish him luck!)

But we're tired and happy, and we had a great time!

The thing about a vacation like Hawaii, though, is that very often you're having too much fun having fun to stop and take pictures of having fun, and that even if you're laughing constantly in the presence of your family, you're not stopping to record it because, well, you're on vacation!  But here's some random bits about the Lane family running rampant around the Aloha State!

*  The morning we left, Big T came out ready to go.  He was wearing a zip up jacket, the gray hat he bought in Oregon, plaid pajama bottoms, flip flops, a shirt that said, "I AM the Chosen One" and a red, blue, and gold fish scarf that I made him in 5th grade.  I said, "OmiGOD!  You're wearing THAT?"

So he went back into his room and took off the scarf.  Yup.  You can see by our return dinner of triumph picture, he wore that all the way back home.

Yes.  That's the hair of mystery,
Why do you ask?
*  Our second day out to the beach (and YES!  my fat water mammal body was FINALLY able to submerge in the ocean, not just one day but two!) we rinsed off, got in the car, and went driving back to  go shopping at one of the many tent fairs that we saw around Kauai.  I saw my hair in silhouette enough to be mildly alarmed, but it wasn't until we stopped in the bathroom of the Old Schoolhouse shopping center that I realized I now sported the hair of mystery, and small animals were running away from me in an effort not to get lost in the stiffened spirals of mom's hair minus the gel and plus salt water.  I turned to Chicken in horror.

"You let me go in PUBLIC?  Like THIS?  I thought you LOVED ME?"

She told me that she DID love me, she just didn't see how bad my hair really was, but she was laughing so hard I DIDN'T BELIEVE HER!

*  When we went to the tent fair, I managed to keep Zoomboy from buying a drum by buying him a tiki mask instead.  I was so proud.  When we went to the ABC store on our way out of town, he went up to his dad with another drum and his dad said yes.  I decided it was kismet.  Fucking drum.

The one out of four who was not
*  Chicken asked us if we'd gotten any tchotchkes for her friend Stevie, who watched the animals for us while we were gone.  I said, "Yeah-- here, some bracelets, some magnets... good enough?"

"I don't know, mom-- the dog crapped in the hallway and peed on the rug.  I'm thinking more!"

We bought a sarong.

*  Three out out of four kids wanted a ukelele.  One out of four kids was not disappointed.

*  Squish wore her p'ua poi (I hope that's right!) outfit all the way home.  The Hawaiian airlines people LOVED HER.  As they should have.  Our wahini princess was so damned cute she probably cured airsickness.

*  At the first beach, we got to fight the breakers.  I LOVED that part.  It was SO MUCH FUN!  But the best part?  Looking out and seeing Big T and Zoomboy rolling around in the surf together and not trying to kill each other.  Damn.  Those television commercials about a bringing a family together were SO RIGHT.

*  This picture here that looks like beach towels?  That's Squish.  We called it a Squish-sandwich.

*Mate burnt his nose.  And wore my straw hat (not pictured here) all the way home.  And went to fetch the carry ons that had to be checked because the luggage bins were full.  And let me buy not one muu muu but two.  He laughed a lot and made us go out to dinner when we were all exhausted and we enjoyed the hell out if it and it was nummy.  It was his idea to go see the Arizona, and he enjoyed tooling around the island and getting to know it just like I did.  He thought the ABC store was as cool as the kids and didn't mind a little kitsch in our luggage.  And he was all around awesome, and he was Mate.

*  We watched Lilo and Stitch about six-thousand times between the time we left and the time we got back home.  We still love it, except I think we love it even more.  Someone who LOVED that island had a hand in the making of that movie, you could tell.  I head a man (very native) say to his friends, "See you later, cuz-- we talk story then!" and I suddenly very much wanted to live in a place where I could say things like, "We talk story!" and "Mahalo!" and "Hanai!"  About the only thing that put me off was the one lane bridges.  I swore up and down that there were about five-hundred of them between our hotel and the beach farthest north.  Chicken said there were three.  She conceded that the number was probably between five-hundred and three, and she thought that would placate me, but when we got to #7, I shouted "HA!" in a deeply triumphant voice, because one of those things is too many.

And I'm going to leave it like that for a while.  I have poems in my head (don't laugh!) and maybe I will write those in the coming days.  I actually need to "go back to work" and write, because I have a hard deadline coming up in August, and the kids still need me, and...

And it was wonderful.  It was everything people say it was.  It was blue sky and blue-green sea and lovely smells and salt on your skin.  It was pretty fish in snorkeling pools and kind people and horses and herons (and sometimes herons riding horses!) and happy kids and the sound of rain at night.  Vacations must end, and life must return to normal, but for the moment I am happy and relaxed and so full of joy... that's it.  Full of joy.  I'm gonna ride the buzz of this while it lasts, right?  Aloha, Kauai-- you were frickin' awesome!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I haven't gotten to swim in the ocean yet...

But it's coming.  
We went to Waikiki, visited with my friend Mary and her lovely, amazing, warm and generous family. We saw Diamond Head, Sandy Beach, and shopped in the International Market at Waikiki.  We visited the Arizona memorial where we had our hearts broken, and then the mall where Squish had her mind blown by a store devoted to Hello Kitty and all things pink.  

We at sushi from conveyor belts, and even Zoomboy wanted some.
We arrived in Kauai this morning, and rode that terrifying road.  Tomorrow, we'll venture very early to Turtle Beach.  
I WILL swim in the ocean at Kauai.  I will.  It's so beautiful, maybe some of that will seep into my soul.  Here's hoping.  
We're having a lovely time.  May everyone else's summer be just as lovely.  We bought a Hawaiian skirt for Squish at the International Market-- she knew she was the loveliest wahine on the island.  People told her so.  
That alone was worth the trip.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Packing... blargh!

I'm down to my least favorite part of getting ready for the trip:


It's heinous.  I know some people can look at their clothes and think shirt, shorts, underwear, bra, done!

But what if I want to wear a skirt?  And I need both bathing suits.  And I need two different nightgowns, in case there's not a washer and dryer.  And then there's the whole extra pair of shorts to make up for the skirt in case I don't want to wear the skirt thing.  And then there's this whole wave of tank tops under shirts, because I've got a rack, and I need a bra and a tank and a shirt, and, well, that's and extra shirt!

And don't even get me on about coordinating.  Or the burning need to deconstruct my room for the pants I bought and haven't worn once but I know are somewhere in my room because they're the perfect length and color to match absolutely everything.

In short?

I'm a mess.

And it doesn't get better the longer I wait to pack.  Or even the earlier I pack.  It just is.

It doesn't help that Steve thought she'd help me fold clothes, either.  Of course, Steve seems to think I need help doing a lot of things, and I do wish she'd figure out that if she'd stop swishing her tail between my ass and the toilet, I'D STOP SITTING ON IT.  Just saying... there's a certain momentum to these things, and that cat likes to live dangerously.

Anyway, in addition to the cat, trying to get her tail squashed flat, there's also basic weirdness-- the same weirdness, but, you know, it's ours.  We love it.  And as we get ready to leave (Sunday morning, ass-crack of dawn!) I'll share with you some weirdness.

Me, to Mate, upon discovering the wonder that is dried, seasoned snap peas.  "Here, what do you think?"

Mate:  They're okay.

Me:  OKAY?  Are you kidding?  They were wonderful!  Chicken and I saw God, we heard angels, there were different colors and magnificent smells!  They're just okay?

Mate:  Yeah, they're okay.

Chicken:  Really, Dad?  Sucks for you-- that was my first religious experience in at least a month!


Big T:  So, mom, what are we doing on this vacation?

Me:  After we visit Mary on Oahu, we're going to Kauai.

Big T: To do what?

Me:  Well, first Mate is going to make us visit every accessible beach on this little tiny island, and then when we're done with that, we're going to swim until our fingers get pruny.

Big T:  Well, can I have my own adventures?

Me:  Doing what?

Big T:  Walking around the island.

Me:  Knock yourself out.  Did I mention it's really teeny?

Big T:  Yeah.  It'll be an adventure!

Me:  I'll be in the pool.


Zoomboy:  Want to hear my new joke?  I got it from Disney!

Me:  Knock yourself out.  (This is becoming a theme!)

Zoomboy:  What did the screaming monkey say when the two scarlet parakeets wouldn't stop fighting?

Me:  (Seeing it coming!)  What?

Zoomboy:  "I don't see what the fuss is about--these Angry Birds aren't fun at all!"

Me:  Got that from Ant Farm, right?

Zoomboy:  I changed the details.

Me:  Not bad!


And this next thing is more of a ponder than a thing.  See, someone wrote me a letter (e-mail) asking if she could give some books away for a contest to get audience up on her blog.  That wasn't a problem, and then she brought up that she'd reviewed my books several times-- she'd seen on my website that I had posted my reviews, and she wondered why hers weren't up there-- she was hurt.

And I felt like a dick!  Now, some of you may remember, that when I first started getting online reviews, that I did a whole lot of happy dances.  For those of you who have been around forever, you know that I'd been stinging with all the nasty shit people said about Vulnerable and the editing, and it was lovely to see other people saying nice things about my work.  And I WAS happy about those-- I am STILL happy about them.

But after I got a certain number, doing the happy dance started to feel like hubris.  Too much pride.  Arrogance.  That thing that's going to bring a good happy hero DOWN.

So I kept my happy dances to myself, in my kitchen, invented the Wallace/McSpazzmatron and did THAT when I got a good review.

And I thought that I was being grounded.  I had not counted on this thing called synergy-- wherein, when someone gives me a nice review, and I brag about it, people traffic to their blogs, and they feel like their hard work has been appreciated.   And then I felt bad!  People had taken the time to say nice things about the work, and I wasn't giving them their due!

So, in an attempt to strike a balance, I'm gong to have Mate update the site (probably next week... little busy here!) and put the blogs that HAVE reviewed me up on the review page.  That way, they should get some traffic for my website, and I can keep my own douche-bag-o-meter from going off ad infinitum.  What do you think?  Will that work?  I'll let you know when it's updated, 'kay?

And in the meantime?  This little clothes-packer, cat-sitter, dinner-maker and all around mom, must needs go to bed!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Very Quiet Holiday

Okay-- the kids have been complaining-- raw throat, a little bit of dizziness, general meh.  Mate's been complaining--lots of phlegm, and even more meh.

This morning, as I was climbing into the 80 degree pool in the 85 degree air, I was achy and my throat hurt a little and I generally felt...


Oh crap.  We had the crud.

Suddenly, my policy of not fighting them all as they slept made me seem like a much better mother than I had felt like.  (I'd felt like a crappy, lazy mother for not shoving them outside more using the flat of my foot.)  And suddenly, all of the exciting plans I'd had about spiffing up the house for company (even though we weren't going to have any because our usual company had other plans) and having a barbecue and going to a movie seemed secondary to resting in, what for us, was a comparatively clean house.  (I cleaned the kitchen table last night--nobody swoon!)  So we did see a movie, but we got some take-out, and we'll light fireworks tonight and probably have ice cream, but in general?

We're going to have a very quiet holiday.

It doesn't give me much to write about here--but hey--we're getting on a plane in (oh crap... is that all?!!!) four days, and I want us to be rested and HAPPY, dammit!  I'm looking forward to this vacation!!  We're spending two days on Oahu and the four on Kuai.  Oahu is going to be a blur-- lots of touristy things, being appalled by the cost, running around, that sort of thing, but Kuai?

Is going to be sleeping and playing in the water and reading a book and playing in the water and...


Now don't get me wrong-- I'm all for the "Let's visit this and enjoy the ever-pummelling snot!" school of vacation.   I like to get a good gander and lots of history and lots of "Oh, neat!" moments when I get my ass out of dodge.

But it seems like... I dunno, FORFRICKINEVER since the fam and I have ever just... kicked back, enjoyed the surf, and vegged.  It's supposed to be good for the soul.  And you all KNOW how I feel about water.  It's my HOME.  So we get to go swimming, and we swim well.  We laugh and joke, and paddle and play, and most of us stay in until our fingers are pruny.  I'm bringing books.  I'm bringing sunscreen.  I'm bringing a big floppy hat for Squish, and another one for T, both of whom have the complexion of a dead-fish's underbelly, they're so pale.

Goddess.  With any luck, I'm bringing peace.

So today, we're not going balls-out Fourth of July mode.  It's never really been our holiday anyway.  Today, we're resting.  We're indulging in some legal pyromania.  At the moment, Squish and Zoomboy are outside, sipping lemonade and listening to somebody's pocket dog bark at our aging whatshound.  Mate is sleeping, I'm listening to The Italian Job, and all-- repeat all-- is right with our world.

We can ride the whirlwind tomorrow, and damned if we won't enjoy it.  Today, we're resting up.