Tuesday, February 06, 2007

New Digs...

Hey--guys--I've now changed the address I'm blogging at...most of you have found me already--all you have to do is check my profile... see you at the new digs!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Virginity is overrated anyway...

Okay--my weekend probably has better stories and better pictures than what's sticking in my craw right now, and I'm going to skip right over them because, hey, we've already agreed that I have a hard kernel of narcissism embedded in my emotional make-up that it is impossible to pluck out.

I've recieved my first bad review.

I knew it had to happen. NO writer with anything worthwhile--or even entertaining--to say is universally loved. Nobody. Take that guy who wrote The Bridges of Madison County--Robert James Waller--I'm not a big fan--if you look at amazon, a lot of people aren't, but he's selling books and making movies and SOMEBODY loves him and his critics are sort of spitting in the wind, aren't they? What about William Faulkner? Now HIM I adore--but he had critics who would would walk on the other side of the street if they saw him coming--they thought he was obscene (well, he did have one character who was totally in love with a cow...I mean, MOOOOOOOOOOO....) and they thought he was long winded, and they really didn't appreciate the 17 pregnant printed pages that were missing one lousy period. So I get it--I threw my hard work into the world, and you know it, I know it, THE WORLD IS A MEAN MOTHER FUCKER THAT WILL CHEW US UP AND SPIT US OUT IF WE DON'T HAVE OUR TENDER BITS PROTECTED BY IRON GRANNY PANTIES.

I guess I just forgot to put them on, that's all.

She was baffled. The critic was baffled by all the good press--she couldn't understand how anybody could love a book that misused commas so badly. Honestly, I didn't realize that commas had a lobby...I sort of thought they were like rocks in the shoe--yeah, it's irritating if one leaves the driveway to make it's way into your loafer, but really--it's not personal. And the review felt really personal. I mean, I know it's not--not that someone who's lobbying for the comma wouldn't take issue with my frequently typod blog or my completely disorganized life, and then that really WOULD be personal, but to say she was 'baffled'? I mean, I've read lots of books that hadn't lived up to their press--James Patterson, for one. I mean, I get why my friend loves him, but he doesn't do it for me. No style, no pizzazz, no fire... but I can at least respect that she loves him. It doesn't 'baffle' me. But my book, with it's shifting viewpoints 'baffled' her.

I was looking forward to my first bad review--I told my husband that I was looking forward to it. It meant all the good reviews were legit. It meant that my book had moved people--either to love it or to hate it. I didn't expect my first review to focus on stylistics--and frankly, I'm 'baffled' as to how to handle it.

I wrote the reviewer a very gracious comment (if I say so myself) and immediately logged on to my one place of unconditional literary love to lick my wounds--and here I am on the blog, trying to remember that I was still right. My first bad review makes my good reviews legit. No writer, good or bad, not even Orwell, could please everybody. Shakespeare made up his own spelling, grammar, punctuation, and, hello, etymology at will. My writing is still worthwhile, even if it's just for me, and my books are still loved.

I know this.

But Goddess, do I wish someone would log onto amazon quick and cover that bad review with a good one, because right now that one star bafflement is just staring at me like an open wound, letting in the infection of every doubt I've ever had that I was good enough to be read.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Silent Poetry Day

Okay, in honor of this, I'm doing two entries today and leaving you with this--obviously written some years ago:


And I will never grow old
Because my students wear jeans and sneakers
And I will never die
Because my kids will remember MacBeth
So hush dear don’t you cry
Because Grandma’s can ride horses
And in the heart of every crone
Dwells a five year old in tears.
And I will never grow old
Because people wear jeans and sneakers
And I will never die
Because Orwell’s alive and well.
My daughter cries at night
because she doesn’t want to wrinkle
She prays to God that she
Will never grow old and die
But she will never grow old
Because I’ve seen her in jeans and sneakers
And she will never die
Because in my heart she’s always five.
My son’s heart hurt last night
Because he doesn’t want to die now
I told him to fall asleep,
When he awakes he’ll still be seven
My daughter made me cry
Because she doesn’t want to die now
I told her sleep, my child my child
To me you’ll always be five
And someday we’ll grow old
And someday we’ll wear pajamas
But we will never die
Because to God we’re always five

What I've Learned This Week

* If you think a week that starts with a funeral can't get worse you're just asking for trouble.

* A husband who cleans your car when you didn't ask him to is a treasure.

* A husband who accidentally throws away the bag of fruit snack packets you were saving for the babies is still a treasure.

* A husband who accidentally throws away your paycheck when he's cleaning your car is STILL a treasure.

* A husband who feels inclined to blame you for the lost paycheck because A. You were too flaky to keep it in your purse and B. Haven't succumbed to the 21st century to get direct deposit, is probably right,only human, and still, definitely, a treasure.

I've also learned that

* Cat's barf in more than one place.

* If the cat has barfed, the baby will find it.

* Cat barf smells like cat-food.

* Babies like cat-food.

* Your stomach won't rebel if you use the word 'cat-food' to describe what you're cleaning from around the baby's mouth as opposed to the alternative.

And in addition? I've learned that:

* You NEVER regret NOT nagging someone.

* You especially don't regret it if he has to suffer through sharing the bathroom with the middle schoolers too.

* You really don't regret it if the cave troll starts bitching at your husband at 7:00 in the morning to 'Fix the bathtub, daddy--I need to play with my ducky!!!'.

* Laughing long and hard when the toddler does this completely negates the karma points of not nagging in the first place and makes you feel like crap to boot.

And finally, I've learned, once again, that:

My spouse rocks. And good times and bad times are both better with him. And my payroll department is made up of VERY forgiving people. And babies are washable. And the cave troll can always play with his ducky in the sink.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Unlikely Prophets...

Isn't that cute? Needletart thinks I'm going to start a new religion... Can you imagine what a disaster that would be? I mean, if I were the next grand pubah representing the Queen of the Universe, the chaos would be unbef*&^ing believable... how, you say? Let us see...

If I was Grand Pubette of the Queen of the Universe all houses would come equipped with the following things:

**Dishwashers (because some of us aren't lucky, that's why).

**Conveyor belts from the bedrooms to the washing machines (No one's thought of this?)

**Self cleaning floors (again--if women had ruled the world, we would have figured this out a long time ago.)

**Built in winder and swift (but of course!)

**Laptops in the bathroom (and a phone and a mini-bar.)

**Cages from the ceilings (the better to hold cave trolls so you can vacuum under them.)

**Giant shelves for yarn and books (did you doubt it).

**Self cleaning cat boxes.

**Mandatory cats (to worship, of course)

**Ceiling hooks for jackets (because the hall closet's just getting filled with crap, we all know that...)

**DVD filing system (that works. One that works would be nice.)

**One of those house expansion systems perfected by Disney and Warner Brothers--the kind where you press a button and grow a second story.

But home improvement would not be the only place I'd put the stamp of the Queen of the frickin' Universe...I would also require the following things from the world at large:

**Mandatory cattle prod certification for all classroom teachers--and permission to use the tools of the trade.

**A jail sentence for any student who confuses the words 'dumb bitch' with the profession 'teacher'.

**Women in product development for ALL THINGS USED BY HUMANS. (Think about it..the clothes we put on our babies compared to the clothes our parents put on us...the difference between snapped-crotch cotton T-shirts and poplin blouses that button in the back comes down to one thing...WOMEN IN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT...I'm telling you, it would solve 3/4 of the world's problems.)

**A mandatory sentence of being stripped naked and shaved on live television while the world laughs at the size and/or color of your privates if you are a politician of any stripe who gets caught telling big whoppers to the world at large.

**Add to that the addition of having a layer of skin eaten off your body by live ants if your big fat lies result in the death of ANYBODY.

**Tax breaks for using products that are environmentally sound.

**A parade day for all men who do dishes, laundry, child-rearing, and who don't desert their families (or think of deserting their families) for size 2 twinkies who could suck the enamel off their teeth through their, uhm, toes.

**Automatic retirement bennies if you can prove that your children made it to adulthood without being substantially mentally or physically FUBAR. (Yeah, I know, I'd be eating cat food...don't remind me...)

**Paid days off if you can prove that you know more than the person your boss hired to tell you how to do your job.

**A back to school day forcing all politicians to fill the seats of the poorest high school in their district. If their districts make a crapload of money, they get to go to the poorest school in the poorest district in the state.

**If that doesn't change the world, they have to spend a week teaching in that school--while the teachers whose budgets they cut sit in the back of the room and heckle.

**Yarn would be in the same 'tax-break' category as your mortgage and day care.

**And teaching a young person how to do something useful with their hands and spare time would get you a parade thrown in your honor.

And I've got to stop now, because this is sounding good...in fact, I've got a little powerbuzz going... I'm going to have to go home and do something useful with this... like vacuum.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Nothing and Everything

Okay, I'll say it right now, writing makes you very strange to talk to.

Not blog writing--that sort of helps you hone up your stories and anecdotes--personally, I find that my stories are more polished and interesting when I've worked some rhythm, good word choices and zinging punchlines. Writing the blog is PRACTICE--for example, the 'I skinned the family cat' story can now be told in such a way as to excite laughter instead of disgust and funny looks denoting my imploding sanity. Blogging makes me sort of fun--not weird. No, the writing that makes me the most boring human on the planet is fiction writing.

And it's so unfair! What did I do this weekend (besides take charming pictures of my children and finish those funk-adorable hats, that is!)?

Well, I touched upon the lives of two children growing up destined to fall in love and the plan of vengeance that makes their love potentially tragic! I planned a Beltane Faire, executed it rather nicely but didn't dwell too long on the onerous details, caught a breathless moment of seeing a bright destiny, and wrote a parable in verse for a religion that doesn't really exist but that I'm starting to wish did.

I mean, really--that's some weekend. Now ask me--I dare you, ask me.

"Well, Amy Lane, what did you do this weekend?"

Answer? (Imagine my self deprecating grin, my shrug, and the exuding aura of embarrassment with the implication that my life is frittered away in daydreams and rocky road ice cream with the occasional baby nuzzle on the side.) "I wrote twenty-three pages." Pause. "And ate ice cream."

See--I really am the most boring human on the planet--I can only thank the twin gods and the wandering Goddess that you all like me enough to say 'Hi!'.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Fashion Hurts...

I asked Bryar to take a picture of the little kids in their hats, and I'm writing this and listening to the "I'm a bossy big sister" fight that has ensued--high hilarity, I assure you, but maybe it will mean some pictures of the spiral rib hat in the Manos...we shall see...

It's looking good so far, so here I shall attempt to write a coherent pattern. Don't laugh.

Materials: Manos Del Uruguay--one ball (two might be needed for the adult size)
Needles: Size 8 circulars and DPNs
Gauge: 3 stitches per inch

Sizes: Infant, Child, Adult

C/O 51 (61, 71)

K5, P5 around
Continue for 3 1/2(4, 4 1/2) Inches
K4, (p2 tog, p3, k2 tog, k3) around once.
K4, P4 around
Continue for 2 1/2(2 1/2, 3) Inches
K3 (p2 tog, p2, k2 tog, k2) around once--switch to dpns
K3, P3 around
Continue for 3(3 1/2, 4) Inches
(K2, K2tog) around
Work in garter stitch for 1 1/2 (2, 3) inches
(K1, K2tog) around
Work in stockinette stitch for 1 (1, 1) inches
(K2tog) around
Work in stockineete stitch for 1 (1, 1 1/2) inches
(K2 tog) around twice.
With 3-8 stitches on dpn, work i-cord for 1 inch.
Finish off.
Make pom-pom, attach.

Now, I've only actually made the infant and the child--the adult directions are sort of ad-libbed. The spiral thing works from the working a k5, p5 rib, but casting on one extra--when you decrease around, make sure you don't go around too far or you'll just end up with a vertical rib instead of a spiral one...and if it's looking way out of proportion, then my directions are shit and you could probably do a better job figuring it out yourself--but do let me know, because I'm kind of proud of this completely accidental pattern--Kewyn's so proud of his hat it 'bout kills me.

Bound is finally on it's way to press (sqqueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) but beyond that, it's actually been a pretty crap week, all in all--I mean I've finally figured out the key to my 5th period--if I suspend 2-5 kids from class at the beginning of class, the rest of the day goes fairly smoothly. I hate being that teacher, but I owe my other kids a better day, so that's the kind of teacher I am this year. But beyond that, there have been a couple of deaths--a family friend and a colleague--not people that I was really really close to, but people that I am really really close to were really really close to them, so the losses ache in unexpected places and I'm sort of swimming through the pall of all that mostly. Which is why I'm going to do an episode of Top Sheep--because it cracks me up, and I'm totally ready for that!

Top Sheep--Episode 5 (I think)

(Susie Sockyarn) On today's episode of Top Sheep, our immunity challenge was knitting with food, and here we join our contestants for a day of knitting in the kitchen. But first, let's introduce a new contestant, Mr. Maurice O'Hare.

(Mo O'hare) My enemies call me Mo.

(Susie--taken aback) You're not abrasive or anything, are you?

(Mo O'Hare) My texture used to be fashionable.

(Willa Woolford) That's because people hadn't figured out that ripping out mohair was like ripping out chest-hair--it's painful and has a tendency to shed.

(Mo) Lady, are you making a crack about my physical person?

(Willa Woolford--bitterly) Hell no! Your chest hair is the closest thing to wool that I've seen in weeks!

(Judge Proximate Gauge) Now folks, we're here to see you knit with food. (Stops, blinks, shakes his head against the words 'knit' and 'food' in the same sentence.)Willa, I see you've gone the pasta route--can you tell us about your piece.

(Willa, shyly--she's got a little thing for Judge Gauge, but she's not as tacky as Katie Acryllic)Well, Judge Gauge, I call my piece 'Sweater Stroganoff'--I used wide egg noodles and simply overlapped them to ply them together into one long piece of noodle. Then I used my size whoopty 12s and knit it into a simple stockinette scarf...

(Proximate Gauge) Weren't you worried about the curl?

(Willa) Oh, no--the egg noodles made for a very firm hand--I cooked them al dente, and garter has too much texture for a ribbon yarn. When I was done I made pom poms out of ground beef in it's original strand form, and attatched them with corn silk.

(Proximate Gauge) Well--the whole thing looks very fashionable. (With a full mouth) And tasty. Nice job, Ms. Woolford.

(Willa preens.)

(Intarsia Strand, horrified) YOu mean it was supposed to be EDIBLE!

(Proximate) Well it IS food--why--this is a lovely, tapestried depcition of a still life fruit bowl--what did you use for fiber?

(Intarsia, depressed) Corn Silk, kiwi skins and coconut hair--dyed with food coloring. (Even more depressed) The blue looks like crap.

(Proximate, sympathetic) Well, it's not a color you usually find in food. Well, it's a solid effort, and you did use fibers found in a refrigerator, so we will simply judge your product, okay?

(Intarsia, brightening.) Thanks, Judge Gauge--somtimes you really can be forgiving, can't you?

(Proximate, wryly) A lot more forgiving than my brother, Precision, or my sister, Accura, that's for sure. Now, on to the fiber floosie herself, Ms. Katie Acryllic. Crap.

(Katie, smugly.) They're good, aren't they.

(Proximate.) Fair Isle socks using red and black licorice whips.

(Farrah Ayle) They're a joint effort--we did petition Susie to stand or fall together. Notice, we've spelled out Top on one sock and Sheep on the other along with a traditional Fair Isle pattern border and lice pattern on the feet.

(Katie, REALLY smugly.) We also made matching underwear. They're edible.

(Farrah) Did Precision like them?

(Katie,) Oh yeah... (dimpling at Proximate) Your brother ate two pairs.

(Proximate) Oh God...my inner eye...somebody scratch it out... (He turns away in a hurry, even more upset because it's the best entry yet, and walks to Al Paca who is currently sitting in a pile of pastry boxes, finishing off a donut and staring around him sleepily in what is obviously a sugar induced heightened state) Al Paca...you won the immunity challenge today in which contestants speed-knit a dog coat out of cat-hair--I was really looking forward to seeing what you did with the food challenge.

(Al) That's easy--I ate it.

(Proximate) Ate what?

(Al) I ate the food. I have immunity. I could knit my own panties in a know and I still make it to my next round. Maybe in the next round you'll have a task for a knitter of my caliber...but for now...(He hums sleepily) Food, glorious food...

(Proximate, rubbing the bridge of his nose as though in pain.) But of course...

(Susie sockyarn over the closing montage) Tune in next week when we announce the winner of this weeks challenge, and when you discover what makes our customers do this: (Willa, breaking down and weeping, Organa Cotton hugging her in sisterhood, Katie Acryllic breaking a frown and swearing and Al Paca waddling in to his seat with the gleam of creative fervor in his eyes all swirl across the screen. Finish up with Intarsia Strand and MO O'Hare facing off and Mo O'hare yelling "Oh yeah, well you can suck my coptic sock!) Fade to black.

Hey, folks--don't quit with the Top Sheep challenges--I've tried to use as many suggestions as possible so keep 'em coming

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why I'm a Weird Person

Julie put out a meme--6 weird things--and I liked it. I figured that since grades were supposedly due yesterday but our spasmodic grading program (I call it Powercrap) is having some sort of electronic epilepsy, and this fucking stack papers on my desk is apparently going to stay until it becomes sentient and crawls off my desk to die on the soccer field like a pathetic deformed bug wherein it will turn into mulch and produce the toxic, white-bleached, radio-active grass that makes you stupid just to walk on it, I might as well celebrate what makes me weird.

1. Writing sentences on a regular basis like that one I just finished makes me pretty weird.

2. Using disaster movies like Twister, The Day AFter Tomorrow, Armageddon, and Independence Day as (get this!) comfort movies, makes me kind of weird.

3. After I realized I was not skinny enough nor conventionally attractive enough to be an actress (nor good enough at acting to overcome these flaws) I immediately wanted to be a teacher. It was not something I just fell into--it was a true calling. (This makes my current disillusionment with my job that much more painful.)

4. But I have been writing plays and poems since I was very small--my first long work was a 24 page epic poem (I said this already) but my first short story was a combination poetry/prose about a girl who went into battle wearing her father's armor. If you thought I was immature and devastated when I saw pictures of that dazzling sweater yesterday, you should have heard the howling whine I let out when Mulan hit the Disney screen.

5. When I learned in science class that only a few people had the genetic coding to roll their tongues, I apparently taught myself to 'cheat' at doing it so I could say I was special. I didn't realize I was cheating until my husband and I had one of those bizarre dating conversations and he pointed out that I was rolling my tongue inside my mouth and forcing it into a taco shape as I stuck it out. I was honestly surprised that this wasn't what they had meant when they brought it up in science in the first place.

6. I taught myself to crochet after having a dream about it when suddenly the whole loop thing made sense. I went out the next day and bought a book and figured it out--and figured out how to read patterns too. I taught myself to knit when I realized that some of those pattern books had both knitting AND crochet patterns in them, and I hate being left out of anything.

7. (Because I can't count.) I have a tattoo on my right arm that is a PICTOGRAPH of the children's names-- A sword and a harp for Trystan (a knight from the round table) Bard (the singer from the old days), the obvious for Bryar Rose, a hawk (standing on Trystan's sword) for Kewyn (which is a variation of Gawain, another knight from the round table) and a crown for Tor (which means prince). The baby's is coming--I want to donate blood one more time first because getting the tat takes me out of the blood pool for a year. Yes it hurt. Apparently nobody has a compete circle around and under the upper arm--that's a very tender place--and the twining rose vine I had put there was very intricate. I told my husband that and when he got his, he chickened out and just got a rose put on his harp and not around his arm. (He hasn't had Kewyn added yet.)

And that's five weird things. :-)