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

Friday, December 30, 2016

See You Next Year!

 So, the next time I chat with you all it will be New Years Day, and I'll be all about launching The Virgin Manny, and I hope you all love it!

But in the meantime, I thought I'd talk about what I did this year, and what you can expect from me next year, and what I'll be writing in the future.

This year, I re-released   Rampant 1 & 2, and The Green's Hill Anthology from The Little Goddess Series. Next year I'll be re-releasing the Jack and Teague stories-- the Green's Hill Werewolves, as well as Quickening-- both parts, which may or may not end the series, depending upon sales. (It's in a good place to end, if I can't write anymore, but I'd originally planned three more books.)

That was an accomplishment--and I am proud.

I also re-released Shirt and Phonebook as free stories on  (And people proceeded to review these two adorable shorts like they were supposed to be full fledged novels, and the fact that they WERE shorts indicated I was an idiot who couldn't write a complete novel and didn't care about my craft. No, I'm not a little bitter. I'm BOGGLED is what I am. Seriously-- what part of "free short" escaped people's attention. Rant over.)  These two shorts were some of my first contemporary gay romance, right along with Gambling Men and If I Must, and they were a little like doing stretches before I tackled Keeping Promise Rock. 

Seeing them re-covered tickled me no end.

I finished the Candy Man series this year, with Lollipop in March and Tart and Sweet in August. These books, set on the streets of my hometown, and designed to showcase the amazing diversity here with affection and hope, made a lot of people happy. They weren't the angstiest things I've ever written--but I like to think I made them real. I hoped that people would read these books and see people of color as naturally in their imaginations as they appear in this little corner of the world, and the world would move a little tiny bit from "us and them" to "all of us."  Some people said I succeeded here, some people detailed them as a spectacular failure, but my intention--to make diversity a positive, inclusive thing--never wavered.

I hope they were also fun to read.

I wanted the same thing with Selfie, and, again, the results were mixed. But this book made book of the year at Grave Tells, and tied for 4th for best romance in the Rainbow Awards, and has shown up on two best-of lists today alone. I'm so grateful to the people who saw to the heart of what I wanted to do with these characters, and forgave me for my clumsy execution.

Again, these books make me proud.

I also launched two new series this year.

Fish Out of Water is the first book of my new mystery series, and while some folks were put off by the mix of mystery and romance some people really really enjoyed it. I loved writing this book, and the sequel, Red Fish, Dead Fish, is complete and has been submitted.

Winter Ball was technically released in 2015, but it was December 25th, 2015, so I'm going to claim it for 2016 (since so much that was crap happened in this year it needs some good things to its name!)

Winter Ball was honored a bit as well--it received a Rainbow Award for best romantic comedy, and a Reader's Choice at Grave Tells for best LGBTQ book, and Skip and Richie--who took people by surprise at first, for being raw and erotic and vulnerable and very very working class--I think eventually won over hearts.

The sequel to Winter Ball, Summer Lessons came out in November of this year. It was sort of a shitty time to release a book called Summer Lessons, and the release came only ten days after my Christmas book was released, so I think Mason and Terry's story was sort of overlooked. Understandable, but sort of a shame--this book was much like it's predecessor in that its highs and lows caught me by surprise, even on the fourth edit, even when I looked it over later to make sure it was a good book. I hope it catches a second wind, because I'm proud of these guys, and because book three, featuring Dane and Carpenter, is in my queue.

And of course, there was Freckles, which was sort of my end of the year surprise, and an obvious love letter to my dogs. For those of you who didn't see all the extras--and who like furry friends a lot--by all means check out the book page at Riptide and see the comic essays I wrote about the two furry assholes who dominate and illuminate the lives of everyone in my house.  Including the cats'.

And that brings me to next year.

Of course, I'm starting the year off with The Virgin Manny, which is a Dreamspun Desire, and the first book in a three-book series about nannies.

The second book, Manny Get Your Guy should be out in July, and the third book, Stand by Your Manny should be finished at the end March and out in January of 2018.

Next out will be Bonfires in March--I have the cover for this book, and it's SO PRETTY--but I'm going to debut it at Joyfully Jay's at the end of January, because I want it to be an event. This is the first book in a series of four, and I will be working on the second book sometime over the summer.

After Bonfires will be Quickening, parts 1 and 2, which will come out between March and July, probably about six weeks apart, as will The Green's Hill Werewolves, and then, all of the Little Goddess books will be out in print, beautiful and edited and hopefully glorious.  It took me four months in 2014 to write Quickening--I just finished the edits, and damn. Just damn. I hope it's as special to you as it was to me, and that the people who have been waiting for this book for over seven years will think the wait was worthwhile.

After Quickening and Stand by Your Manny will be Red Fish, Dead Fish, and after THAT will be the Dreamspun Beyond--again, the first in a trilogy--that I'm working on right now. The trilogy is the Familiar trilogy, and the first one is Familiar Angel, the second is Familiar Demon, and the third will be Familiar Lover. 

Now, a book that I've written but don't have a home for may be self-published around this time--it's called All the Rules of Heaven, and if it is published, it's the beginning of an urban fantasy series--so lots of fantasy out from me next year, or the year after, if I decided to hold onto Heaven for just a little while longer.

After Familiar Demon I hope to release the Johnnies book I will be working on during the spring, and the Christmas book I'll be working on after that!

And this year, I'll be releasing a collection of my "stray" Christmas stories-- Turkey in the Snow, Puppy, Car, and Snow, If I Must, Going Up, and Christmas With Danny Fit. (I think.)  It should be coming out around Christmas!

So, yeah.

Someone asked me how I did what I do--and my answer was "I write every day."

It's been sort of a tumultuous year--for everybody--and for a while, gay romance world was beset with scandal in the same way the gates of hell are beset with Cerberus, the snarling three-headed dog. There were times when poking my head out of my cave into the killing ground of social media was so not going to happen.

But I never stopped writing every day.

I never stopped believing that romance is the language of hope, and that writing it was actively doing something to make people happy, to give people hope.

I never stopped striving to write the best story I could write, to give the readers I'm so grateful to the best story they could possibly let into their hearts.

I saw a meme the other day-- it said, "Get knocked down seven times, get up eight."  For me, I get knocked down, and I write, and that's how I get up again.  And again. And again.

As we move out of this tumultuous, scary year into an uncertain future, let's remember all the times we got back up again. Let's remember our hope and our intentions for a better world--and improve upon them.  Let's remember that kindness and tolerance and gentleness are virtues--and that the strong wield them with grace.

And let's be proud of our accomplishments, because I know I'm not the only one who got knocked down seven times, and got up eight.

Let's meet the coming year with courage and conviction and hope.

We're romance readers and writers--that's just how we roll.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Heartbeat of Literature

Booklandia has been a bit perturbed in the last couple of days, but instead of talking about that, I thought I'd talk about my release on January 1st instead.

The Virgin Manny IS out in the next couple days, and it's one of the Dreamspun Desires line.

Now, I love this idea--I've talked about how excited I was that Dreamspinner Press was doing a Harlequin Presents-style imprint before. I've talked about how I used to get a box of these books (well, Harlequin Temptations) every month when Mate and I could afford very little in the way of entertainment, and one Christmas, when we didn't have enough money left to buy presents for each other, I wrapped up a bag of socks for him, and my box of Harlequin Temptations for myself, so the kids would know Santa got mommies and daddies too.

Now writing a category romance isn't as easy as it sounds.  The restrictions put on authors are actually sort of stringent--after all of the freedom gay romance authors have experienced to date, why would we limit ourselves?

Suddenly our sex scenes--in which the sky was the limit--have to be more steam than sex. The language--and we all know I love to swear--needs to be toned down. The length--and I'm the queen of the long book here--can be no longer than 65K. And the subject matter--and remember, I can get pretty dark--must be tropey and happy and a guaranteed, undeniable happy ever after.

So, you're probably asking, why? Why would we want to try to write something that is obviously not a genre requirement?

The answer is, "We loved the way these books made us feel."  Those four category romances I wrapped up for myself that Christmas--that was the only reading I was going to get. I didn't have time for the library and that was 21 years ago--e-books weren't around.

Why would I spend my entertainment budget on $12 (at the time) of pulp fiction books when I had a degree in English Literature that actually transcended a BA and was almost a standalone MA?

Because I needed the goddamned happy.

These books are guaranteed goddamned happy.

The tropes are familiar--just like our favorite movies--and the highs aren't frightening and the lows can be overcome. I knew when I unwrapped that Christmas present that I would love exactly what I found inside, whether it was the virgin heroine, the boy next door, or the powerful businessman seduced by his feisty secretary. I knew that the sex wouldn't squick me out, that I wouldn't have to confront moral ambiguities, and that when the last page turned, I would be left sliding down the lovely high that the book had given me, ready to hope for a better world--and a more secure life--once more.

When I taught students the "heartbeat of literature"-- Frei's pyramid, exposition, conflict, rising action, crisis, climax, denouement-- I wasn't thinking about To Kill a Mockingbird when I told them how a good book functioned.  I was thinking about the category romance I'd just read. These books follow every rule--and following the rules gives the reader a guaranteed experience, every time.

Now, I know I've given my readers a lot of surprises in the past. For the record, I don't plan to stop doing that. Bonfires is coming after this--it ends on a continuing story note. People will hate it--I'm breaking a rule. Quickening Part 1 & 2 are coming out--I've got a pregnant heroine making tough decisions about what to do with her body and her pregnancy. She is not going to behave as expected, and it's going to piss people off. I'm breaking rules. Red Fish, Dead Fish is coming out this year--I pissed people off with the first one. This one's no different. All the Rules of Heaven, the next Johnnies--I've got a big list of stuff coming out in which I broke any damned narrative rule of romance that I pleased.

But not with my Dreamspun Desires.

Because breaking those rules is not what these books are for. These books are to comfort us with their adherence to narrative. They're to give us an expected high and a beautiful endorphin rush.

They're supposed to make us crave the next one, because we know what we're going to get with that one too.

Now, that doesn't mean there's not a wee bit of controversy going on here--although there shouldn't be, and I do plan to rant about misogyny in gay romance-landia sometime soon.

But not now.

Now I'm going to get excited that my first book in my Mannies series is coming out, and I'm going to tell you that the second in the series is out in early July. And I'm going to invite you into the happy, warm, beautiful world of category romance, where we bottle hope and sell it at 40-60K words per small pulp-papered novel.

Bring your lazy afternoon and your suspension of disbelief, and prepare for that endorphin rush that will leave you satisfied and yet still wanting more.

There are more--definitely more--to follow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Newt Dewey

Well, the world lost another one today.

When I was nine years old, my uncle beat the crap out of me. We'd been wrestling and he was winning (because he was nineteen) and as I knelt at his feet, my hands behind my back, I spit on him.

And he lost it, cause, well, gross.

But the point was, I was trying to be Princess Leia. Cause she didn't take shit from no one, and she never admitted defeat.

I'm sorry I don't know who took the picture to the left--it was captured from Twitter and put online and I'd give credit if I could.  I know that Tee-Spring used to sell the T-shirts and the big sticker, and they're trying for a reboot.

It's just that Carrie Fisher represented something amazing. She was beautiful, and tiny, and she got to fire a laser blaster and ride the super zoom cycle.  In real life she was blunt, she was funny, and she was fearless.

She had no problem admitting her helpless love for her dog, and she faced everything from drug addiction to bipolar with a "Fuck this imperialist bullshit" smile and a zero-fucks-to-give attitude.

I loved her, as much for her off-screen advocacy as for her onscreen persona.

Yeah-- this year has sucked. A lot of celebrities have just bailed off this fucking mortal coil--but this was the one that made me throw my hands in the air and cry.  (Okay, Bowie too. And Rickman. And Prince. And George Michael. And fuck me, this fuckin' year.)

My friend Julie and I were rabid Star Wars fans--I'm pretty sure we saw the third movie together, and if we didn't, well, we should have. We were on Facebook together when the news broke, and for a moment the years fell away, and we were the geeky high school students who wanted to be Princess Leia.

I was the embattled nine year old who thought I already was.

Carrie, I know you're out there because this death thing is bullshit as far as you're concerned and you've got people to look after. You don't know me from a bright spot in the night, but I miss you in this world. So do a lot of people. You did so much good, you'll never know.


Okay, some happy now.

The big kids got cats in December. Big T got a black cat that he named Kiarostami after his favorite director, and Chicken got Dewey, that she named after the youngest (second youngest by the end of the show) boy in Malcolm in the Middle.

Anyway--Chicken's OTHER cat, Mrs. Poopy Bottom kept beating the hell out of poor Dewey, so both kids made Dewey their Christmas present to ZoomBoy.

ZoomBoy loves him--and he plays like no kitten I've ever had. He's also one of those cats who loses all body coherence once you pick him up--it's AMAZING.

But I keep forgetting to call him Dewey. For one thing, my friend has a cat named Dewey, and this cat looks nothing like him.

For another, my OTHER friend USED to have a cat named NEWT. And this cat looks EXACTLY like Newt. Now, Newt was named after the character in Aliens 2, the little girl who didn't talk, and this cat is very silent too.  But the kids want his name to be Dewey.

So I call him Newt Dewey--because it rhymes, and it's cute, and I can't remember to say Dewey until after I say Newt.

And he really does have a sweet little angel baby face.

And he's a welcome addition to the fur-baby family.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The White Elephant Exchange

Okay-- I always suck at this.

My family's white elephant exchange is this weird little dance between the practical and the practical joke, and for the longest time it was the hardest part of my year.  The trick is to buy something that is both awful and wonderful at the same time. It shouldn't be a serious thing--but it shouldn't be something completely useless either. For a couple of years my younger kids were forbidden from participating. A. They always WANTED THE THING they opened with all their hearts, and B. Their gifts were so impractical as to render them unfunny. This was a mandate passed down by my parents, and I'm thinking, "Gees... tough crowd."  Anyway, you guys get the idea.

This is a family tradition that we take seriously-- the idea is to deliver something hilarious that people enjoy using.

Did I mention I suck at it?

One year I bought bath stuff from Bath and Body Works.

One year, it was a homemade scarf.

Neither of which are particularly funny.

And in the meantime, my family was kicking ass. The slippers made of maxi-pads with ten dollar bills folded into bows across the top--THAT was funny. The copy of that one Jim Carrey movie that nobody watched--THAT was funny. The little desk basketball game--THAT was hilarious.

I sucked at this game.

But this year... this year, I did okay.

This year, as we were shopping at Spencer's, I got an idea.  "Hey, how about one of those fuzzy blankets--one of the ones with the super specialized fandoms on them? See--nobody will know the fandom, so ha-ha, but it's a BLANKET, so it's PRACTICAL."

Mate was on board. He got one too.

And it's true--the blankets were in high demand, and both of them were stolen often as the game progressed. However, our daughters were stealing them from each other. There may have been blood spilled. Both of them were full of bitter recrimination too--"How could you guys NOT BUY THESE FOR US FOR REAL?"

Mate and I laughed a lot, but at the end I said, "You know what? We picked the wrong fandoms. We should have picked Suicide Squad. Nobody wants that shit right?"

He nodded. "Yeah-- that would have been best."

So, while this year, I did not epically FAIL at the White Elephant gift exchange, mine was still not the best.

No, the best went to Big T--whose white elephant gift was both practical and funny.

He wrapped up a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of jelly in a box, and to his cousins and his sister? He was a comic god.

I will NEVER get the hang of this game.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sweaters and Novels

I have a couple of confessions to make.

The first of which is that I'm not a very good knitter.

Nice people will protest-- people who have received my knitting as gifts will protest the loudest-- but the fact is, when Rance from Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur Bearing Critters said, "My knitting is simple," those were my words. In the stories, Jeremy Bunny is the one who knits the cables and the lace, who tries the new techniques and the spiffy sweater construction. Jeremy teaches himself to become a master knitter--and I wish I could be like him, but I'm not. And that leads me to the second confession which is--

I have more knitting pattern books and magazines than should be allowed by law.

Now, some of them I have used and have followed the techniques and actually produced a thing of value that even looked like the picture.

But nobody can knit ALL THE THINGS. Nobody. Even if I just knit ONE from every pattern book--well, I wouldn't have time to write, sleep, eat, or parent. And my hands would be falling off at the wrist.

So I do what a lot of people do.  I study the items in the books and magazines, and think, "How is that made? How IS that made? HOW is that made?"  And then I get it all fixed in my head.    

And then I lose the pattern book, and dammit, who has time to find one book in at least a thousand and that leads me to the next flaw in my knitting.

I hate reading patterns. 

I mean I can read patterns, and I have proof on this very blog that I frequently make things that do require patterns. I've helped other people read patterns, and I'm actually not bad at it.

I just don't like doing it myself.

Which is another reason I'm not a very good knitter.

Because--and this is my final confession--I LOVE to deconstruct an item and try to figure out what the pattern was just by casting on.

Mate calls this "Use the Force" knitting, and I have to admit-- this phrase tickles me more than it probably should--but it's true.

I think, "I want a raglan sweater and I want it about this big and I want it to use up all my scraps."

And then I cast on.

And I've done that twice, and they've both been sweaters for Squishie that are both HUGE (because I never remember where to pit -- and yes, I use that as a verb, meaning, "To stop increasing the yoke of the sweater and make the damned armpit"-- and highly colorful.

Although, I have to admit, she picked out the colors of this last one herself.

So this sweater I just finished (and that desperately needs blocking it possibly will never get, because Squishie wants to wear it tomorrow on the last day before Christmas) was a product of me casting on random yarns and going, "I think what I do is... THIS."

And then making it so.

I cannot explain to you what it means to me when that sort of thing pans out.      

For example, the dragon scale mittens-- everyone remember those? Yup. That's how I made them. That's how I developed my hat pattern and the Stanley Scarf pattern and pretty much every pattern I've every written.

"I want a thing that does THIS."

I'm just lucky people will wear the thing that does that thing-- it's been a blessing, really.

And, honestly, the same thing goes for writing.

I know some people outline.

Some people study and structure.

Some people look at bestsellers and make notes of what they do.

I sit down and say, "I want a thing that does THIS."

Now, when Squishie was picking out colors for her sweater, no amount of, "But, uhm, do you really want neon sleeves with a pastel body?" could make her change her mind.

And often, no amount of someone telling ME that, say, killing off both the leads doesn't make for a happy reader, can make ME change MY mind.

And I know the difference-- the books that are more written to pattern sell well, so I try to do more of those.

But every now and then, I have to pick up my word processor and my barely functioning squirrel brain, and say, "I want a thing that does THIS."

And then, whether it sells or not, I can be inordinately proud of this thing I made without a pattern that does the thing it's supposed to.

But I need to be aware that just like the sweater, that piece of writing is very much to the taste of the individual, and not necessarily the world.

Anyway-- now that I've made THAT deep realization, a few things have occurred to me.

One is that I have not yet shared the wrap that my friend Karen Rose made me, to help replace the one Mate put in the drier last year-- so here's that, and my EXTREME happiness can probably be seen through the squint against the sun.

The other is that Christmas and Hanukkah will have happened when I'm taking my blog break, so I should DEFINITELY wish happy holidays to everyone.

May your knitting and baking and wrapping get done, and may your family have moments of happiness and peace. May you all enjoy the blessings of each other in good health, and may you get safely wherever your travels take you. May you experience a moment of profound gratitude for blessings, and a moment of extreme hope to assuage your fears. May the coming year bring healing to your wounds, be they emotional, spiritual, political, or material.

May you endeavor to do good in the world, and may your heart grow stronger thus.

And on that note, I'll leave you with a picture of Squish singing (or in this case, frowning, because she didn't feel well) with her choir.

They were singing "Love thy neighbor as thyself," in rounds.  It was lovely.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Okay-- so, we're down to piles and fudge.

I know that doesn't sound exciting, but "piles" is where we sort all of the presents and see how much stuff our kids actually have. Because when you're throwing it in the cart and trying to keep track of everybody it either A. Feels like way too much and you are afraid you'll get evicted or starve because the kids needed one more useless piece of plastic or B. it feels like you got way too little and the kid will feel as though he or she has failed the world at large and now you are forever responsible for ruining Christmas.


I have fucked up at Christmas once or twice.

Not HUGE amounts of times.

I never blew all the Christmas money on horses or forgot about the kids on Christmas Eve while I went into a bar and got drunk-- nothing that bad.

But one year Big T got all clothes while everybody else got toys. We didn't know what to get him--clothes and Legos were the only things on his list, and Santa is sometimes too overwhelmed for imagination. I don't know what to tell you.

There were a lot of tears.

One year, we forgot stocking stuffers. The kids ended up with stale gummi bears from the gas station--and M&M's, let's not forget those!--because that's all that was open on Christmas Eve.  I mean, there were other presents--good ones, even, I think that was the year we got our first game system--but yeah. I failed.

So this year, three days before Christmas, we're at a point where I can eyeball all the presents and see if we slighted anyone or of someone was forgotten or if the stocking stuffers sucked (and yes, that does sound dirty when you say it fast) and we can see if there was something we can fix.

Friday is candy making, Saturday is housecleaning and cooking and A Christmas Story and Sunday is my parents' house.

And the whole time is a terrible fear--a sort of inescapable fear--that somewhere out there, we have failed.

I have to tell you that one of my favorite moments of any Christmas is the actual night of Christmas. We all come home, put on our jammies, and fall asleep in front of Die Hard or Love Actually.

Because for better or worse, for failure or success, by then we know we've done our best and not worry about it anymore.

Until the next day, when we try to make every day of Christmas vacation count.

Kids wonder why parents always seem so tired.  I think it's the tightrope act of simultaneous fear and hope that we're not fucking up spectacularly.

Christmas night is when we can relax. Even if we fucked up, we get another year to make things right.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Shopping--Mate and I

"Okay, so Squish gets the--"

"We already got her the---"

"But what do we have at home?"

"I forget-- did you get ZoomBoy the--"

"I thought you got him the--"

"But what did you order from the place?"

"Do they both get clothes?"

"Do they both need clothes?"

"But they always get clothes--and pajamas!"

"Pajamas! For the big kids! Does T need pajamas?"

"Does Chicken need pajamas?"

"Chicken lives in pajamas--these will do nicely, and Squish?"

"I have no idea."


"Looks like a sweatshirt--she'll wear it to school."

"But it's so FLUFFY!!!"

"Just no."

"Fine. Minions as reindeer, and a sweatshirt and slippers and--"

"I was a in a phone coma. Put most of that back."


"Now Big T?"

"Those won't fit him."

"Do they have some that fit him?"

"No. Pennies tomorrow."

"Do we have to go tomorrow?"

"I don't know--what time is it now?"

"It's time to get in line, because we have to pick them up."

"Dammit. Can we get them this--"


"Or this?"

"I don't even know what that is! How about an electronic chess set?"

"Do they have those now?"

"Apparently not since the nineties. Oops."

"Sorry, hon."

"No worries, there's an app for that."

"But the thing, the thing for Squish, the thing you hate--"

"Yeah, fine, we need that."

"Yeah we do."


"Well shit, Toys R Us Tomorrow?"

"And the place for the thing."

"And Pennies."

"And Hot Topic."

"And the place with the puzzles--"

"And you know what this means?"


And the line and the line and the line and the--

"Scuse me while I go get toothbrushes!"

And the line and the line and the line and the--

"And won't my parents friend's like this?"

And the line and the line and the line and the--

"Did we get anything for--"  "And what about--"  "And oh crap we forgot and--"


And the line and the line and the--


"Great-- that's $.35 off."

*collective sigh*

*in tandem*  "After we get the kids, maybe we can go down for a nap..."

And Oh Crap!

So-- I've been getting to the part of my year where, periodically, I have a quiet moment, gaze serenely into space, and suddenly shout, "Oh crap!"

Because one more damned thing didn't get done.

Goddammit and oh crap.

So, while I run around and finish an edit and write my Christmas letter so we can send it out on Tuesday, I'm going to be grateful I got to do a couple of non-oh-Crap! things this weekend.

The first thing was I got to take the kids shopping. I was a little depressed that we didn't do Santa this year--but then, I looked at last year's blog about doing Santa and last year, Squish realized she was the tallest non-grownup in the line.  ZoomBoy was going to get upset, but I told him, "Look at that line! Look at it! Would you rather be in that line right now or right here, slurping Icees?"

Well, DUH!

The kids enjoyed themselves--the older kids came too--and they split up the family nicely so each kid only had to shop for three people. It was funny-- before we left I said, "Dammit-- we put Big T and Squish together. She's going to spend money like insanity, and he's going to lend her some more of his own."

We got to the next store, and there they were.  Big T said, "She ran out of her own money so I gave her another twenty."

Mate and I cracked up, and I slipped him another twenty--but damn. Do I know how to read those kids or what?

Speaking of which--Squish asked to watch Home Alone tonight. I'd forgotten how awful that movie was--besides the cartoon violence at the end, that kid's family was pretty awful to him. So, when Catherine O'Hara was being mean to her son and sending him up to sleep in the attic alone, Squish said, "That's bullshit. Real moms don't act like that!"

I have to say I was flattered. Her mom didn't act like that. Score one in  the motherhood department-- this time of year, we need the win.

Also--Squish took us shopping to Target for gifts for the Mustard Seed School-- that's the school for homeless children in Sacramento. She was a good shopper for that--I was very proud.

Also, we saw Rogue 1, which was SO worth seeing--but I sobbed. Like, UGLY CRIED at the ending. So be warned!  Fun fact--and I forgot to get a picture--was that ZB wore his Jedi Robe--the one his grandmother made him last Christmas, as well as the hat I made for him when Force Awakens comes out.  Bless his little heart! *sniffle*

Oh-- and we had frost again. The kids think it's the end of the world-- they can't remember it was ever this cold.

Wow-- I am so falling asleep here.

I've only got one more detail to add to this boring-myself-to-sleep blog.

We got the dog groomed. Yeah, I know. We all may die of cute!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Past and present

I had a totally different plan for this blog...

And then I discovered I could pull up blog pictures from ten years ago and it all went to hell.

Aren't my babies beautiful, back when they were babies?

I can't wait to show them these pictures tomorrow.


After I've sobbed my eyes out.

I've probably mentioned that the two older kids have moved out, and that I miss them--even though we see each other every week and we text.

And now...

The younger kids are almost as old as the older kids in these pictures.

I know it's obvious that time passes--I mean, I know I'm not the same woman I was back then.

But I look at the future, and all it's uncertainty, and the horrible person who may hold their future in his hands--and I'm hurt.

They're still these kids in my heart.

And I promised them so much better in a world.

I told them that diversity was wonderful, and that if they worked hard they could change the things that were broken.

I told them that love mattered and that if they had enough of it in their hearts, they could fix things.

I told them people were basically good, and that if you talked to them like reasonable beings, most differences could be worked out.

And they look so happy here.

They believed me.

I believed me.

This last year has been hard on our faith, hasn't it?

But my older kids still look to me for guidance, and the younger once don't see a world that's changed or frightening.

They see things as they have always been with their family around them.

And I need to remember that there is much that is good about our lives.

Last night, appalled by the destruction in Aleppo, I clicked one of those websites that had a list of things you could do for that situation.

Turns out, I was already doing two of them.

I've got a big fucking poinsettia in my kitchen--two of them, in fact. One is from my parents--and the list of their good deeds to the world at large is long and impressive. Ride-to-Walk, Mentorship programs, biking and horse toy drives--hell, my dad was Santa for something like ten years. For ten years, on Christmas Even, he and my mom and a getaway driver  (because these neighborhoods weren't awesome) would take a sack full of toys-and socks and underwear and food and clothes and love--to a kid who had written a letter to Santa, for things like shoes, or heat, or diapers for her little brother.

The other poinsettia is from American Red Cross, because Mate and I have been giving to them every month.

The other day, I mentioned in the pool that a friend and I were trying to set up a knitting for charity room at RWA, and the next day one of the women brought me a pattern book for chemo caps--because her knitting group had two copies.

So on the one hand, yes. I'm afraid. My country has been taken over by the evil, the ignorant, and the insane--and the future for my children has never been so in question. I cry--every day--for other people's children, who have so very much less.

But on the other--I am still alive, and my children are still alive, and I've given them hope, and I guess if my parents have been teaching me how to keep hope alive, then maybe I've been doing the same thing.

Maybe, with their generation, it will stick.

They say that if our high school students and middle-school students had voted, Trump wouldn't have had a prayer.  If we keep fighting the good fight, keep hope alive, maybe the evil and ignorant will die out in time for the young and the hopeful to takeover.

All I know is that my Squishy helped me shop for her sister tonight--and every choice was good. Both my younger kids asked for books for Christmas. My older kids asked for a vacuum cleaner, and Legos, and clothes.

And to have Christmas in my home, as messy as it is.

Because it's still the home where all this happened, and in spite of all the fear of the future, all THIS was still a good thing.