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

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pimp, Dik, Bumfit, FIGGOT!

Well, THAT happened.


About five years ago I bought a bunch of bookmarks and thought, "Oh joy!  I have swag!" and offered them up to the world.  For about three years, I got a request for those bookmarks maybe once a week.  It was fun.  I signed them, I sent them, I thought, "Hey!  Someone out in the world knows who I am, and that's sort of cool!"

So on Friday, I put out the alert that I had swag available, expecting that same leisurely, once a week pace.

My nearest and dearest have assured me that I'm not very bright.  They've also assured me that my head needs to be examined.  Thankfully, they're also hopeful that postage is a tax write off, and we're going with that, because I have no idea how to set up a pay-pal account to make people pay me for postage.  If I ever do this again, I may look into it, but until then, I'm going to use a little faith.

How big did this runaway train get, you ask?

Well, let me tell you about my Saturday before I answer.

Saturday, we had two things to do.  First there was soccer (and we've only got three more games left per child, HUZZAH!!)  And the second one was sort of cool.  My parents have an RV, a really NICE RV, and they take it places, like you do.  Anyway, one of the places they take it is about an hour north of here, near Jackson, CA--and this place does Halloween up right! Almost all of the RV's decorate, and people go outside and dress up--the adults are almost ALL dressed, and they hand out candy, and trick-or-treating is EVER so fun and easy!  And the kids could dress up and have a BLAST!

So BEFORE we went to that event, a friend of mine e-mailed me, and said "I want to count like an English shepherd!  Yan, Tan, Tethera, Pethera, Pimp!"


O--kay... really?

So I looked it up!  And YES!  English shepherds still use a Celtic/Welsh amalgam to count--yan, tan, tethera, pethera, pimp!  Sethera, lethera, hovera, covera, dik! Yan-a-dik, tan-a-dik, tethera-dik, pethera-dik, bumfit!  Yan-a-bumfit, tan-a-bumfit, tethera-bumfit, pethera-bumfit, FIGGOT!"   ISN'T THAT COOL?????!  It's especially cool when you count in FIVES!  When you count by fives, you say, "Pimp, Dik, Bumfit, Figgot!"

So there my husband and I were, driving down to Jackson (up to Jackson?  Sideways to Jackson?  Out in the middle of bumfuck Egypt on the WAY to Jackson?) and I started telling him about English shepherd counting!  And he got really excited too, because he uses a base 8 system, and when he asked me what was bigger than a figgot, I said, "Nothing-- because then you have a score!"

He was impressed!  "It's a base twenty system!" he exclaimed, and suddenly he was explaining how base eight and base sixteen works, and how it would work with a base twenty, and I was cracking up.

"What's so funny?" he asked.

"Well, you're the engineer, and you're all about base twenty, base eight, and all of that math stuff that has me sort of glazing over, and I'm all about, 'Pimp, dik, bumfit, FIGGOT!' cause it's hella funny to say!!!"

And we laughed for a good long time.

And the whole time this is happening?

I'm getting e-mails, and when I was at home I was addressing packages and signing swag and getting more and more and more overwhelmed and there's still requests coming in and I need to buy more envelopes and...


So how much swag am I sending out when I get paid, you ask?

Well, it's more than a figgot and a bumfit-- in fact?  I think it's gonna be two figgots and a pimp!

Oh yeah-- and for our musical moment?  Locomotive Breath is for the feeling of releasing a juggernaut you hadn't anticipated.  Jet Airliner was playing on my iPod this morning, and I keenly felt that one-- I didn't want to get on a big ol' jet airliner again for a very very long time, and Squish didn't want me to either!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bring out Your Swag!!!

Okay-- for the record, I'm going to cross post this one on both the website and the blog, because if it's on the website, it will be around for a while.


When I ordered swag for GRL, I ordered a LOT of it, because I didn't want to have to order ANY MORE for at least a little while.  I figure that if I order bookmarks or stickers as the books come out, I'll be just fine until next year.

Anyway-- the good news is, I've got lots, and while some of it is getting shipped off to St. Augustine for Old City, New Blood, and some of it might even make it to Romantic Times, I've got plenty left.  So, uhm, would anybody like my swag?

I've got stickers, activity books (and Mary found four errors I'd made in the activity book-- if nothing else, they're good to point at me and laugh!), book marks, crayons, and LOTS of pens, and purple dragon bags stuffed with all of the above.  (About the pens?  I was puzzled when the first batch arrived, because I hadn't remembered ordering them in Christmas colors, right?  Well, THIS WEEK, I got an entire box of dark blue Amy Lane pens that makes the OTHER colors NOT look like Christmas.  Anybody want a blue frickin' pen?)

Don't worry about postage, I'm happy to send stuff out.  Just contact me ON THE WEBSITE (you'll see the box) and give me your address then.  Like I said, I'm happy to do it-- and let me know what you want signed, too!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Zombie Day

It's inevitable, isn't it?

After what amounted to eleven days of travel (and I counted the two days I spent at home in the middle, packing and doing laundry and getting ready to leave again) the first day back would be a zombie day.

I napped, I edited, I picked the kids up from school, I edited, I communicated with people I needed to communicate with on the phone as I drove Big T to his job interview, I edited, and I went to the bathroom frequently so the cat could molest me, and then edited.

And then I cuddled for an hour with the kids, because we needed it.

And edited.

It's weird how work piles up up while you're working, right?

But it's also lovely how reality asserts itself.

If my head (which, in reality, is way too big for a hat just by virtue of fat and hair) was ever going to swell because of ego, nothing would shrink it quite so much as coming home:

From Zoomboy:  This cuddle is one-onethousandth of the cuddles you've missed.  You owe me a thousand more.

From Squish:  I like the T-shirt, mom.  Did you get one for Chicken?  She needs one.  Good.  You got one for Chicken.

From Big T:  Yes, I know you've been traveling for ten hours, but I really need to talk about why my high school crush is texting me two years later and how that gives me a free license for melancholy and angst.

From Chicken:  Where were you last weekend?  Because your texting was particularly shitty.

From Mate:  Yeah, I saw the pictures on Facebook.  Some of them were okay, but that white shirt wasn't particularly flattering.  You had three of them made special for promo, you say?  That's a different white shirt you wore for three days?  Oh yes.  I see now.  In all the pictures.  Oh.  Well then.  I guess that was smart.  But I still like the other outfits better.

From my Step-Mom:  Interesting.  I'll have to go with you one of these times.  (For the record?  That last one?  0.0)

And that's about it.  Like I said.  I'm relieved.  The world spins on, and I need to do my laundry and my cat won't stop molesting me.  Life is on it's way to returning to normal.

Of course, normal is relative, right?

I sort of got home right in the middle of release day, and I need to do a spotlight on something that actually came out almost a year ago.

Last year, for the Advent Calendar, I came out with a little novella that involved a grumpy alpaca rancher and his brand new neighbor.  Rance and Ben were really very beloved, and people wanted two burning questions answered:

A.  Were Jeremy and Aiden really gay, and were they really seeing each other?

B.  What did happen to Stanley, the snottly little man-slut that Rance threw over for Ben?

Well, although I certainly didn't plan for Rance and Ben's story to have sequels, but it seemed I'd already pre-written them, and that's what's about to come out both tomorrow (October 24th) and on November 14th.

How to Raise an Honest Rabbit is about Jeremy, no last name.  In Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur Bearing Critters, we know that Jeremy is an ex-con and a con man, and that he started working with Craw in order to find "honest work".  Oddly enough, although Winter Courtship was not angsty at all, I found that just setting this up gave Jeremy a certain amount of angst.  I tried to balance it out with both a rather droll tone overall and the character himself-- who is hopeful and quirky enough that I hope he'll make you smile, but there are moments in this one...

Well, they're not even very angsty, but they are so dear they'll make you tear up.  I still can't explain why, but they do.

I refer to this one as my Jeremy Bunny story, and when I saw this cover, that's what I called it-- my Jeremy Bunny cover.  I yearn to protect my Jeremy Bunny, and I hope that I do a good enough job telling his story that you yearn to protect him too.

The other story-- and this one is coming out on November 14th, so very very quickly--is about Stanley.

Now for both of these covers I got a wide variety of bunnies in mittens and sheep in sweaters (my request, but the incomparable Catt Ford put out the amazing art work and you can't blame her for wanting to just play with those wonderfully playful ideas a little bit.)  Anyway, I had to pick a spring lamb, because although Stanley laments that he is old, jaded, and used up at thirty-six (thirty-five!) he is, in fact, just beginning his sojourn, both as a knitter and a faithful lover, and he will discover that even someone as innocent as Jeremy Bunny has hidden reserves of strength that he's willing to give Stanley so that Stanley can have his own happy ever after.

A Knitter in his Natural Habitat is a slightly darker story than Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur Bearing Critters, although, again, I used a faintly ironic storyteller's voice that I hope takes the sting out of some of the sorrow.  (I will say this once--nobody dies!  There's some danger, and someone gets hurt in the third one, but he survives, and it's going to be okay!!!)  Anyway-- I'm interested to see what people say when they get done.  I loved all three of these stories (although, I have to say Jeremy Bunny is especially dear to me) and I'm wondering if they'll see that I planted the seeds of the darkness against the charming snow-colored first story in one or two little words.

So Honest Rabbit is out tomorrow-- and I'm falling asleep I'm so excited!  (Okay-- so Zombie day is catching up with me a little--I don't think that nap was NEARLY long enough.  Saying!)  But otherwise, I really AM excited about these two releases.  And, as people at GRL can tell you when they saw the bookmarks, I was ALL about squealing "OMG!  It's a BUNNY!  With MITTENS!" when people came up to look at them.  And, well, I"m sort of right there in the same place now!!!!

It's a bunny.  With mittens!  And a writer!  Writing in her sleep!  Ignore the second one, please--she'll make it to bed eventually!  But please, do give the first one a long look!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Greetings GRL 2012:-)

Okay-- in no particular order!

1.  Tonight I got to eat tasty cow.  It was a priority.  Trust me.

2.  Tom Webb really is as sweet as he seems online.  His Southern accent charms me to my socks.  I love him.  That is all.

3.  Andrew Grey is ALWAYS sweet.  I love him and I love his husband and I can just curl up in his smile.  That is all.

4.  Rooming with Ellis Carrington is a frickin' blast.

5. My lips are chapped, my hands are chapped, my face is chapped, my ass is chapped.  Did you all know Albuquerque is in the fuckin' desert?

6.  Some of the rooms here have phones in the bathroom.  Ours doesn't.  I don't know why this tickles me-- but it does.  You know which phone I'm NOT calling from, right?

7.  I did not do karaoke.  No one wants to hear me do Stevie Winwood.

8.  Ethan Day, ZAM, & Barry were hilarious.  I was honored to be up there with them, and felt very very outclassed.

9.  I read the terrarium scene from Dex.  Went okay...

10.  Nothing is more giggly than three people sitting in the same room texting each other giggly pictures.

11.  Damon Suede and Ethan Day are stretched REALLY THIN.  Having them even talk to me seems like a blessing from the gods.

12.  You NEVER get tired of hugging people.

13.  Ever.

14.  What this place needs is more quiet corners to sit and talk.

15.  I have to read WHEN?

16.  Oh shit!  What time is it now?

17.  Oh yeah... we're doing a presentation in an hour.  We SHOULD actually get into the same room together.

18.  Sayin'!

19.  I really need to quit after one gin & tonic.  Two definitely.  Three ABSOLUTELY.  Four is just too much.

20.  Ariel and I got to sit and knit for a couple of hours today.  It was lovely.  Never underestimate the value of knitting time.

21.  So many people--really sweet!  Really awesome!  Wonderful!  Fantastic!  Fantabulous!  Perfect!  Darling!  Kind!  Amazing!  Amazeballs!  Awesomeness!  Awesomesauce on epictoast!  Oh, holy crap, I'm running out of superlatives, but I love you all!

22.  Aleks Voinov?  Is a perfect gentleman-- and he dresses just like I always imagined Malcolm would, but he's much nicer as a person:-)

23.  L.A. Witt, Stephanie Grober, Brita Adams-- the whole Riptide gang was lovely to me at lunch, when I was about as spacey as spacey ever gets.

24.  My Dreamspinner people-- Ariel, Julianne, Margeuitte, Shannon, Anel, Venona, Shira-- I love you all, and you were my rocks tonight.  Thank you:-)

25.  Christopher?  Darling?  *giant hugs and smishes*

26.  Yeah...  did I already say amazeballs?  Bears repeating.

27.  Night all...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blind Faith

Chicken will never forgive me for this picture.
Her teeth are whiter than this--the light just
SUCKED!  But she bought one of those
bunny clip things for her, and one for Squish.
So when I was at yaoi-con this year, someone (who has no children or spouse) said, trying to make a joke, "So, why aren't you going straight from here to GRL?  Afraid your husband will let the house disintegrate and the kids run wild without you?"

Chicken was about to leave at that point, and it was hitting me that she was not going home with me as most of my molecular structure assumed she should have been, and I was not in the mood for joking.

"My husband is actually terrifyingly competent and really awesome with the kids," I said flatly.  "I'm going home because I need to see my family."

This person didn't understand (I didn't expect her to) but I know that most of you will, even if your family is all four footed, furry, and has an insane fascination for what you do in the bathroom.  (Yes, Steve missed me too, can you tell?)

Just looking at him makes my chest hurt.
And he was SUCH a total sweetheart!
I had a wonderful time at Yaoi-Con.  The people were first rate, I was there with my person and my daughter who was having a very good time, and other friends like Rhys Ford and Nessa Warrin and Shira Anthony and Venona Keyes who made every day a joy.  The fans were amazing--I'm always warmed by the kindness and humor and awesomeness of Dreamspinner fans and this time was no different.  Kat and Roget (and Roget's lovely and shy friend on the phone) I'm talking to you guys and others, and to the two guys who stopped by at the very end and bought something because you'd been dying to do that all day.  I'm talking to the fans who walked by mine and Mary's table saying, "Oh no--we have all of these on e-book already!" and then went to the other table, the one with the pretty sci-fi/fantasy covers and bought the place out, because they were willing to try other authors and do it with humor and enthusiasm.  I'm talking to the sweet (and heart-achingly beautiful) guy who modeled for Joan Chen and helped her with sales, and who kept coming over to our corner so his iPad could get signal, and who was so very accommodating about bending over just so because he knew we liked the view.  (The view was VERRA nice.  Saying.) It may have been in Long Beach (which was, in Mary's words, a perfectly adorable town!) but Yaoi-Con was just as amazing and fun and wonderful as it has been in past years.  *waves hi to everyone I met over the weekend*  It was awesome!  Can't wait to do it again next year.

Squish and I made pompom monsters last
night before spaghetti for dinner.  Can you
tell how proud she is?
And now?  Now I'm on to a terrifying new thing (I am both an eager traveller and a frightened one--it's a very uncomfortable combination) and Mate is taking the kids out of school tomorrow to drop me off at the airport in San Jose.  (It's a two-three hour drive.)  I'm pitifully grateful for this.  The last two hours in the car aren't going to be pleasant, but they are going to be with my family, and I haven't spent enough time here to leave again.  Just haven't.

And GRL promises to be... breathless and thrilling?  Exciting?  Frantic?  There is a schedule on an ap called "Bloodhound" that is apparently like having a fairy godmother on your phone.  Except it's on your IPHONE, which I don't have--my phone is fairy godmother PROOF, and I've got a sheaf of papers that I'm highlighting so I don't miss my stuff.  *shudder*  The idea of missing something makes a nasty little pit in my stomach.  Hates it, my peoples... hates it!!!

So it's three nights in my own bed, two days getting the kids to school, and then back on a plane to another world.  The other world is going to be a lot of fun, but I have to admit to you, I'm not quite ready to leave this one.  That's why the sad song at the end.  I'm going to enjoy my trip, but I'm really looking forward to finding my way home.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

We're here! We're here! (Doesn't anybody wanna give a cheer?)

Quick post from Yaoi-Con-- having an AMAZING time!  (All my pictures are crap-- it's inside, no natural light!  Sorry!)

I am here with my favorite peeps-- my daughter, my bestest bestie ever, and really really happy people who like yaoi and m/m romance and who enjoy talking shop and saying, "OMG, they're SUCH a cute couple!" and, in general, it's an AWESOME sort of place to be!

A really quick story, and then I have to run downstairs for breakfast--

We were all having discussions about our shuttle ride from LAX to Long Beach.  Mary's shuttle driver was bringing his niece in from Pakistan with his earnings because he wanted her to have a better life.  Nessa's shuttle was full of irritated conservatives in shorts and sandals, who were convinced that moving Long Beach twenty minutes from LAX was a leftist liberal plot.

My guy?

My guy was sort of awesome.  He was Latino, a father, a lifetime resident of the LA area, and one of the nicest guys on the planet.  But he asked me why I was in town, and we started talking, and he admitted, candidly and with delicacy, that he didn't understand what happened to gay people to turn them that way.

I asked him--still smiling, because, did I mention he's a sweet guy?-- when his first crush was.  Did he remember who it was on?  How old was he?  I said I remembered my first crush.  I was nine, he was the local day camp guitar teacher, his name was Gary, and he thought I was smart because I knew the song title of every song he knew, just from the first few words.  He laughed, and I said, "It's exactly the same way for gays and lesbians, except--"

"Really?  Their first crush is on the same sex?"

"Yeah.  Just as natural as ours was on the opposite sex, except for a lot of them, they're told they don't know it's a real crush because they can't be gay."

"So, do they know what causes it?  Is it something that happens to them or--"

"There's a chromosomal marker--it's something they're born with, like you have brown eyes and I have curly hair.  God made them that way."

He was flabbergasted.  "Really?  Really?  Why don't people know that?  You know what we need?  People need to know that!  That's important. We need education!"

I love that guy.  I really do.   

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Okay, so months ago I decided that I was going to go both to Yaoi-Con-- which is this weekend-- and to GRL, which starts in a week.  Yeah, yeah, months ago, I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I'd deal, right?

Yeah.  You want to know what my head looks like right now?  You know those bingo cages, where you throw all the numbers in and roll the little handle and all the numbers are rolling around?  Yeah.  The little old lady in my head keeps turning that crank, reaching in, and pulling out a number.  Which number is it? Is it the, "OMG, which swag am I taking to which event?" number?  Is it the, "Oh fuck!  I'm sending this shit WHERE?" number?  Perhaps it's the, "Wait.  What was I going to take Chicken so she could meet me there?" number.  There's always the whopping freak out number-- the "HOLY SHIT, DREAMSPINNER'S STUFF HASN'T ARRIVED YET, AND I NEED IT TO SET UP OUR BOOTH IN L.A.!!!" number.  Or maybe it's a smaller number.  Maybe it's G2 or B6, because, well, fuck, why WOULDN'T they come up?  Everything ELSE is in there to be sorted, right?  I mean, I've got a box of swag ready to be shipped to St. Augustine for February, a box that I'm taking myself, somewhere in there I packed a box of Scrapbooking supplies (no, don't ask!) that I didn't acquire until Chicken's going away party and sent it to someone in Albuquerque (did I say don't ask?) and clothes?

Oh holy fuck.  Why didn't the number with clothes come up earlier?  I have to pack CLOTHES?

*bangs head softly*

Oh holy frickin' Jebus, I don't even know what the weather's going to be like!  You think I'm kidding?  Remember that letter I wrote to summer in which I asked it to go the fuck away?

Yeah, Summer READ that letter, and took a look at my bingo balls rolling around, laughed herself silly and WENT THE FUCK AWAY.  And now, Fall is like, "Ta-DA, darling, you sent for me?  I'm here!"  And my wardrobe is like, "Fuck ME, you're WHAT?"

And of course the kids need to be fed/read to/cuddled, and I seem to have a deadline shoved in there, and a flight to LA, and because the gods aren't kind, a shuttle, and oh fuck, do we really need groceries and what was I taking to Yaoi-Con and what was I taking to Albuquerque and, oh yeah, I'm ART DOCENT today, because I needed to know more about Matisse, Picasso, and Cassat RIGHT THE HELL NOW!

*pant pant pant*

By the way, do you know that as Matisse was pulling away from home in the train, on his way to art school in Paris, his father screamed "You'll starve!" at the train? (Sounds like my parents.  I wonder if they're related?)  And that Pablo Picasso's mother said, "If you wanted to be a soldier, you would have been a general.  If you'd wanted to be a priest, you would have been Pope."  To which Picasso added, "But I wanted to be an artist, so I became Picasso!" (God.  Talk about giant ball balls.)  Anyway, now *I* know that, and I know that Maria Cassatt pained portraits because that's what women were SUPPOSED to paint, but she painted women and children being sweet to each other, and that's what makes her awesomeness.  Anyway, now *I* know all these things, and I know my daughter's class is made up of goofballs and that the teacher's aid screams too much and so does the sub and that the little kids like to beat up on girls which makes my theory of the political influence on domestic abuse sound SO much more righteous right now and...

OH holy crap.  My bingo cage is still rolling...


*pant pant pant*  Okay.  Sorry about that.  Spazzing down, repeat, spazz down, repeat, big redheaded woman pulling BACK from rampage...

Anyway, so here I was, being a big rattling bingo cage, and trying to spazz down, when Zoomboy comes tiptoeing into the kitchen.

"Mom," he said, scaring the shit out of me, "It got REALLY quiet in here!"

"I KNOW!!!!"  I wailed, and he must have seen something odd in my face because he RAN BACK TO BED which was, coincidentally, WHERE HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE IN THE FIRST PLACE!


*bingo ball*  Oh, fuckadoodledoo... what was I supposed to be writing again?


*whimper*  Aw fuck.

(Oh, hey-- don't forget the Dex Ficlet over on Mary's blog.  It calms me down knowing it's there!)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Apologies for the Deep End

Apologies for this one--it's going to be Autumn tinted melancholy, and I cannot seem to change it.

So my grandmother is in the hospital today, and although it looks like she'll pull through this time, the fact is, the woman is in her nineties, and pretty much, she's not going to go home again unless it's for hospice.

Now, I know you all and love you, and I know you're all going to send me love and hugs--and thank you. I need them, and I'm not proud.  But I wanted to put my finger on some specific things, so bear with me.

See, I've done this walk a few times.  I lost my first grandparent when I was fourteen, and the best thing about that is that Grandpa Rau relaxed in the last two years of his life, and suddenly enjoyed his son and this grandchildren, and when he passed, we were genuinely sorry, as, let's face it, we might not have been if he'd passed away two years earlier when he'd first gotten ill.  Between that moment and this one, and between Mate and I and step-grandparents etc, this grandmother will be the last of eleven grandparents that I've seen depart this mortal coil.


And I've loved them all (well, one of them was my step-mother's ex-husband's mother, and she was incredibly racist and I had never known her to not complain about anything, so maybe that was my one exception) and I've been with Mate because he loved his grandparents too, and I've come to a couple of conclusions based on this experience that I'd like to share.

The first is that men die before women.  Yes, I'm sure there are specific reasons for this, social, medical, testosterone-al, but mostly?  I think it's because men, having had the that sort of innate male confidence granted by a male-centric world, trust that Someone is going to catch them when they fall.  The grandfather's I've seen go, while not particularly religious, were serene and content in the knowledge that this was not the end, and that any unfinished business they might have left would be taken care of either in the afterlife or by someone in their own time.  Maybe it was a lifetime of having their dishes washed and meals prepared by a woman, or maybe it was just... I don't know, male simplicity, but the grandpas?  When they were ready to let go, they were ready to let go.

The grandmas?

Clung to life with gnarled vicious grips of fucking iron.  Every. Last. One of them.

And all of the women kept talking about the time they would get better.  My Grandpa Chaney had a moment of lucidity about a day before he died in hospice.  His vision sharpened, he looked at my aunt, and said, "I think I"m really sick!  You might want to call a doctor!"

Teresa said, "Daddy, I called him.  He said you should probably stay here."

"Oh, okay then.  We should do what he said."

See?  Acceptance.

My Grandma Rau was talking about when she could drive again, although she was legally blind, up until the week before she died.  (I still wake up in a cold sweat sometimes, wondering which idiot gave her a license.  If Grandpa Chaney could drive in his 80's after his second brain tumor, don't tell me it can't happen!)

So that's the first thing.  The women had their lists (ladies, you all know that list?) that they could not put down, the things they had planned to do, the way they had made themselves indispensable to the world, and the will to complete this list persevered even as the body was failing around them.  Both commendable, and in my case, reassuring.  I've been able to put that list aside to nap in front of the television for YEARS. Anyway, moving on--

The next thing I've noticed is that time travel is possible.

Every grandparent has gone back to the time when they were happiest and busiest and most needed in their lives.  You can tell, because they call for their children.  Grandma Flossie was constantly asking about Uncle Butch--apparently he was the one she worried about/worried about beating the most as he was growing up, and she kept trying to check and make sure he was there and okay.  She still argued with my stepmom, because, I think, they were both nurses, and there was that horrible, mother/daughter thing clicking in that made it impossible for her to believe her daughter was ever going to be as competent as she was.  Thank God my stepmom had be through this before and had seen the dynamic--otherwise her wounding would have been terrible to behold.  When I couldn't make it to see Flossie as often as I wanted, my stepmom was kind.  "All she sees is us, anyway.  We're the ones she worried about--in her mind, we're still babies."  And that is both touching and horrible.  Touching, because I want to go back to live those times when all my babies were still babies, and horrible, because someday, everyone who knew me as a baby will be here no longer, and I too shall have to grow up.

And the time travel leads to another curious and painful thing.

The children become children again.

Perhaps I will not.  I know that by the fifth go-round, my step-mother was very cognizant of the progression of death, and she was poised and sad and philosophical.  She told her mother where they were going and what they were doing and when she could no longer stay at home, and she did it dispassionately and with the understanding that her mommy could no longer take care of herself.  My aunts and uncles?  Until three weeks ago, when my grandmother took a tumble down the stairs, they had continuously refused to believe that their mother, the woman who ruled her kitchen with an iron fist, and who raised five children during the riotous rebellion of the sixties and seventies without hardly batting an eyelash when things got really fucking hairy, that woman, was too sunk into the misery of a failing body to assume responsibility for her own care.

I know that, for some families, this causes horrible, dissociative bickering at a dying person's bedside, because the children don't believe that their parents won't just snap the fuck out of it and shut them all up.  (And Goddess, I'm sure the hospital personal sometimes wish that would happen!)  But for the lucky families, it just causes a sort of numb surprise.  Wait.  Mom can't go home?  Is there anything we can do to make it better?  I mean... I know she's ninety-five but she's my mommy!  And that's painful and sad--but at least there is that memory, that fondness, that love--at least it's the love that's causing the confusion, because that's when the confusion can be overcome.

I think this may be harder and worse with the parents who grew up in the generation in which parents didn't speak to their children, and bonding meant a family stuck together when they didn't have enough to eat. There's an inability to see the person who controlled so much of your life as human, and fallible, and, ultimately frail, and mortal, that's hard to reconcile with the tiny, fading woman on the bed who really can't get herself up to go to the bathroom, no matter how much she insists she can because she doesn't want to leave her own home.  I'm pretty sure MY children will cheerfully call me senile and commit me to a home the very first time I forget I'm wearing pajamas in public, so, well, give it about five years.  (That's okay.  Mate and I will happily go to the old age home and play bingo, as long as someone makes us dinner.  We'll be the kind of senior citizens those places were made for.)

Another thing?

They may be dying, but they're still alive.  If they're lucid, and not self-involved bitches (uhm, there was that one grandmother, the bigot) they have been happy to ask me about the kids (and why I didn't bring them, which sort of blows my mind although it shouldn't) or to see my next knitting project or to hear what Mate is doing, or what I'm doing.  I think this speaks well of the human race in general.  It says our business is living, even when business isn't doing well.  That's one of the few redeeming human things that I cling to.

And speaking of clinging to?

Things go better when the children and the grandchildren have the courage to say goodbye.

I had to say it to my Grandma Rau, because if I hadn't, I'm firmly convinced that woman would have clung to life with gnarled fingers until they snapped off and something preternaturally horrible happened to that woman's spirit.  Pleasant?  Not always.  Indomitable?  You fuckin' betcha. The minute my uncle arrived to say it to my Grandpa Harold, he let go serenely and went to meet his maker with  smile.  If there is one thing my step-mom has taught me it's that you cannot change how you treated the people in your life in the three days before you think they're going to die and they die.  If you are at peace with the way you treated them--and dammit, you should be!-- then simply say goodbye.  When we went to visit my husband's mother, I kissed her forehead (lying at the 180 degree angle to her shoulders, because her spine was twisted so badly) and said, "I'll tell the kids bye for you."  Then I stopped, and realized Mate's mom and aunt we're listening.  "I mean hi for you."  She died the next morning.  I'm pretty sure she only heard the first one.  All of them-- even Mate's grandmother who lived across the country--hung on until the last important person that they loved came to say goodbye.

So what have I learned, boys and girls?  What has all this taught me, as middle age looms larger than my middle?

Live your life with all of your loved ones in such a way that all you have to say when you walk out the door is "Goodbye!  I love you!"  No matter what befalls you after that moment, no matter if you are a mommy or a baby, the departed or the left behind, you can trust that the list of things that you have left to do, left to address, left to make happen, can be set behind if you embrace your faith in the universe. Life is that simple at the end.  Goodbye, I love you!

There is always hope that you will meet again, but if not, everything you need to say is in those four little words.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Head Letters

And it is once again time to play "what's whacked in Amy's brain!"  Today's version is brought to you via letters I've composed but have never sent.  Please, if anybody sees themselves in the the intended recipient, feel free to respond!

Dear blue-haired old gal who just swerved right, left, and right before finally settling on the left hand turn lane as she allowed the light to turn yellow and then red while only 25 feet from the line:

Sweetheart, you seem like such a such a sweet and darling senior citizen.  Why, oh why, must you suck skeezy monkey balls in traffic when I am running late to pick up the children from school?

Looking forward to your answer!  Just sayin'.  


To the helpless critter who met his maker as Steve's best night out ever:

Dear bird--

Since the out of doors is your natural habitat, and the in of doors belongs to my fat housecat, what on earth possessed you to fly into my house, perch on my curio shelf and tempt poor Steve to the madness that followed?  That's okay, little bird.  I forgive you.  Especially because, after settling you gently in a tree after capturing you with a cup, I think you fell out of the shrub and to your death, but after all that trouble to save your cootie carrying little keester, I didn't have heart to look down and see if you were still twitching.

Should you come back in another life, and a cat decides to chase you?  STAY AWAY FROM THE FUCKING LIGHT!  

You'll thank me when you live.


To the young supermarket employee who gave me a helping hand today--

Dear sir,

There I was, pushing my cart into the store, when suddenly all the wheels locked up.  The lock went away in a moment, and then, when I'd started throwing crap in the cart and it was halfway full, that fucker went full on prison lock down on me.  So I pushed the cart, wheels locked, down the aisle, while it made that obnoxious "NNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGNNNNNNGGGGHHHNNNN" sound.  

Everybody at three check stands turned around to look at me.

"I'm sorry!  It suddenly locked up!  I know, I know, it sounds horrible!"

And there I was, talking defensively to strangers, when you left your spot in line, where you stood off-duty, just trying to buy lunch, trotted around the end register, and brought forth the magic electronic wheel unlocker.

You didn't even pause as you helped me out, and you probably had some place to go.  But thank you.  Seriously.  Seriously.  You are my hero.  And we can shoot the cart if you need to!

I mean it.  


To my son, who stuck his head between my head and my hands as I was tying something on his sister's dress.

Dear son,

Of course I popped you in the chin.  Keep your head out of my way, darnit!

Still love you!


To the cat:

Dear dumbass,

I bet you think you're real fucking funny, typing some bizarre Twitter post and then hitting "Tweet".  When people stop buying my books because they think I'm sniffing fertilizer and dragon snot and have lost my ever-lovin' mind, we'll be sure to cook you up for food first!  

Don't try to suck up to me, I mean it.  Stay off my computer, or you're what's for dinner.

And hold still while I scratch you behind the ear.  You're irritating me.  



To the weather that's taken this climate shift to heart:

Dear Summer, you obnoxious prick!

As I sit here in my kitchen wearing my bra and my shorts, sweltering in the EARLY OCTOBER HAMMER FIST OF HELL, I would like to remind you that in SOME places, climate shift means SHIFTING DOWN.  I'm just saying.  You have outstayed your welcome, now please move your lazy blistering ass and go the fuck away!

Just remember, 

Hot fat women are UNDERDRESSED fat women, and nobody wants that.  

I ain't playin'.  HOw much of my cleavage do you want to see on a daily basis?

Don't let the stench of my sweat pits hit you in the adenoids on the way out, and by no means stop and fondle the exposed cleavage.  

I didn't like you that much in the first place.


To the OTHER season,

Dear Autumn,

Ditch the hot summer twinkie, catch an express pony, rent a canoe, and get your moderately temperate ass out here to my state.  Jesus, I make sweaters to honor you, you'd think a season could show a little fucking appreciation.

Get moving, dammit, or I'm changing my allegiance to Spring!


To the distinguished and cute as a button silver fox in the sheriff uniform who was hunting for banana yoghurt with me this afternoon, also in the grocery store:

Dear sir:

HELLO Plotbunny!  I'll be seeing more of you, oh yes I will!

Don't worry.  I'll be kind.


To the makers of Fructisse Nutrise:for you!

Dear Hair Dye Company--

I think you should know, I have mixed two of your, ehrm, more flamboyant shades, and the result is something I'd like to patent as "Pop-yer-cherry Red."  What do you think?  Will it sell?  

Well, I'd suggest your model be younger and cuter, but the color?  I'm sayin'!