Friday, December 29, 2006


Okay, so I promised myself no writing for the day... I was going to leave BITTERMOON alone and just chill with my Glitterspun monstrosity and let my brain veg... but BITTERMOON is calling, so, in order to keep my promise to myself, I'm back on the blog, telling the story of this year's Christmas cards, because, frankly, it was pretty frickin' funny--after they were all mailed, that is.

Every year we do the Christmas letter--it's become my thing. Usually we get professional pictures of the kids taken and stuff them in the envelopes, but this year we were tight on money, so we just did a b/w montage on the back of one of the pages, and had the kids sign the cards and, voila, Mate prints out the envelopes and we're done.

You'd think it would be that simple, wouldnt'ya?

The computer ink was NOT happy about the texture of the envelopes--blurry blurry blurry...but it was two days after Christmas, and I figured--what the hell--it's easier to read than my handwriting, isn't it? Funny I should think that because...

I took one last look at the addresses to make sure we had them all--you know, didn't forget Uncle Jay in Twain-Hart, that sort of thing? "Hey...hon...where's Jennie? And Kelly? And Roxie? And half your relatives? And all of your friends at Intel?"

Mate: "Uh..."

Me: "You, uh, wanted to send cards to your friends at work, didn't you? Right?"

Mate: "Well, uh, yeah..."

Now, ordinarily, this would have been no big thing, but we were having this converesation as we were getting ready to go visit his mom in Ophir, because we were going to send the cards on the way. So I did something I hate doing--and something the post office would rather I not--I hand addressed about 15 cards in a moving vehicle while Mate stopped at Kinkos and made 15 more copies of the Christmas letter, and suddenly our car turned into a rolling Christmas card sweatshop. I addressed, Trystan folded and stuffed, Bryar signed, and Mate apologized. "I'm sorry...I thought I had them all..." I ignored him, for the most part. It's one of those stupid little things that I know I'll forgive him for later, but while I'm trying to read and write in a moving vehicle I don't want to speak, lest I open my mouth and horrible things fly out. (no, not THAT--unlike my heroine, I don't have a hair-trigger stomach...) When we got to the post office, we made the family effort complete as Cave Troll and I walked the cards to the mail box in batches-- he really got off on that part--he got to send! About the only thing that would have made the family effort more complete would have been if we'd let Arwyn drool on them, and it was a near thing because she kept reaching as we passed them back and forth across the car.

But at last, it was done. All but Uncle Jay in Twain-Hart--but I'm getting to him today!

Oh, and hey...

A picture of the Lady-in-Red's baby gift, because, well, she praised me so wonderfully, and I sort of agree--it turned out very sweet. (It's for the baby-in-red:-) And, a picture of Arwyn. Because I can;-)

Have a very nice day!

No Longer BOUND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm done! I'm done I'm done I'm done I'm done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For better or worse for typo-ridden hack or muse-inspired genius I'm freakin' done with BOUND, and I have to say, I like the book a hell of a lot more now that it's off my 'to-do'list... It should be out in about six weeks (one of the few beauties of self-publishing...if I was someone important with a publisher and an agent, you'd have to wait a good 6 months-1 year to read my crap, I mean my valuable contribution to the Urban Contemporary Fantasy Genre.) Anyway, it's going to be a short post because I'm dedicating the rest of my day to vegging, knitting, and occassionally checking my page because, for some reason, my book has risen to a bizarrely high ranking (I'd be lying if I said this wasn't a rush) and between VULNERABLE and WOUNDED I've gotten four new reviews. Again, sort of a rush. But not as big a rush as going to tickle-tackle my toddler who doesn't expected it...

Happy Friday--baby, I'm done!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Blogging to Stay Awake...

Okay, I admit it.

My own book is starting to bore me. It's not the characterization. It's not the plot. IT'S THE FUCKING TYPOS. And it's not even like there's a lot--in fact, there's just enough for me to doze off while pressing the scroll button, and then, suddenly, shazam. A dumb-assed screw-up that I could have lived years without noticing, but I'm not editing this mess for me, am I? I'm editing it for my dozens (500 at last count...but I'm not counting...501...502...oh, I'm at 12,000 on the standings? Don't won't last...503... 504...22,000, see? I'm sinking back into oblivion where I belong, all is right with the world... but I digress...) of fans. Seriously-- people keep posting on amazon telling me that I'm their favorite author. I'm stunned and humbled and sort of puzzled. There MUST be writers out there with fewer typos who don't use the F-word nearly as often, but it doesn't matter. If even one person loved my books (Lady-in-Red, Roxie, tam-tam--I love you all!!!!) I'd still have to edit to my (admittedly limited) best ability in order to feel good about hitting send on Friday. It's stressing me out.

In fact, besides playing with the kids, the only thing that helps me de-stress from this stress is planning the next book. Go figure.

So I'm blogging to interupt the slow slide into that doze that results in the word QWERTY pressed against my left cheek, because this puppy is due Friday, and Matt even took the kids to the movies to help me. Of course I was scheduled to go with everybody but, true to our chaotic souls, Mate and I (get this, it was a laugh-freakin'-riot!) LOST OUR TICKETS IN THE CAR. There is no explanation for this--Mate and I remember the conversation where we were talking about (oh the irony!) how expensive the tickets were, and Mate had them in his hand as he was doing the math and then we were in the parking lot and they were gone. We're both at a complete loss--especially as we ransacked the crapmobile to see where they went. Honestly, it was like dropping $35 in the toilet and letting Kewyn flush. So anyway, we came home, Mate bought some tickets on Fandango because we no longer trust ourselves to actually hold the damn things in our pockets, and he took the verbal kids (Bye Mom. Bye Kewyn--be good for Dad. I'll be good, Mom.) and I stayed home with the constipated infant. She just won't sleep--it's driving us batshit.

Anyway, everybody's home, adorable constipated infant is screaming, and I've got 190 pages to go. Good night everybody--I'm telling you, when I get this puppy sent, I'm actually going to taste alcohol. Not too much--still nursing--but a glass of wine isn't going to kill either of us...and it will feel very well earned!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

From me and mine...

Twas the day before Christmas and nothing was neat,
The house was a pit, and the children wouldn't eat
Anything but milk chocolate and sugar so sweet...
The baby was crying after being woke from a nap
By her brother the cave troll who was rooting for crap
In the dark of her bedroom which will never be light
Since the heater men all of our circuits did fry
When installing the ductwork for the thing with the heat
Which makes our house cold and costs more than a jeep.
But the cave troll he found a suitable toy
To occupy a psychopathic three year old boy
Which turns out to be something his brother would enjoy.
Big sister is busy cleaning out her room
And clearing the place of post-guinea pig gloom
Dad's fast asleep after spending his night
Wrapping enough presents to ground santa from flight.
Mom's on the pc, indulging in chat
From folks who forgive her for skinning the cat.
Yes our house is in chaos, we can't see the floor
The front kitchen table looks like it's been in a war
And there's clothes in the clean pile that don't fit anymore
(Of course some would fit mom, if less fat she did store)
But all of that's butter, with eggs and some cream
Which means that it's cake, because happy we seem.
In spite of the the braces and the heater and cat
My kids all are joyous, and you just can't beat that.
So Santa, keep coming, please excuse the mess
We may be a disaster, but my family's the best.
Give the kids what they wanted--they're good girls and boys
And give dad some more sleep, to his immense joy.
Forgive mom her madness, both thank you and please,
And bless us with gladness, and bless you for peace.

Happy Christakwachanukafestivuramadivoli everybody! (

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot...

Like I bitch too much...

Seriously--I can't let that horrible post about skinning the family cat be my last before Christmas. It's just too sad and too, well, ungrateful, and I won't do it.

Looking back on the blogs since July, I realize that A. It's been a hectic year, and B. I've dealt with it as I deal with everything--I poodle out to relieve stress (yi-yi-yi-yi-yi) and then I breathe through it and deal. So, I thought that since last post was a yi-yi-yi-yi post, today would be a 'breathe through it and deal' sort of post--let's see how I deal with the bright side of life... (always look at/the bright side of life--my Monty Python is showing...)

So here's life on the flip side, the fat labrador side of my poodle personality if you will...

I may hate my 5th period class with a passion, but at least their retention span is too short to remember me.

We may have to spring for a new heater, but at least we have a house to put it in.

My children may have to have expensive orthodontia, but at least Mate and I are in a position to give it to them.

The cave troll may have an anal-retentive obsessive-compulsive personality, but at least he'll be organized enough to take care of Mate and I in our old age.

I may have to self-publish my own books, but at (the very) least I have loyal, vocal fans who think I have something important to say.

My house may be a vortex of crap from which no item of quality or beauty ever returned unscathed, but at least it's my vortex of crap and, just like Mate loves the Sacramento Kings, I love my vortex of crap.

I may not have as much time to spend with the adorable infant as I would like, but at least she's adorable 23/7 (babies get an hour off to be pissy) and I see the adorable parts of her personality.

I may have skinned the family cat, but at least she was too old to care? (Yeah, that one's still to fresh to spin...but it's coming...)

I may be perpetually tired, but today I got a nap.

I may have too many story ideas and knitting plans to ever tackled, but at least I'll never get bored.

I may be tremendously, mind-bogglingly busy, but I'll have A LOT to remember.

I may be a frantic, chasing-my-tail, poodling out working mother of four, but at least I'm a poodling-out working mother of four with a dark, grim, sarcastic sense of humor.

The world may be too straight for my less than narrow, but at least I'm dark and twisty inside...

I may not have enough time to knit, but at least I have the best e-knitting blogging buddies in all of explores cyberspace...(Did you know Roxie makes kick-ass rum balls? Roxie, darling, I'm soooooooooooo moving in with you...) I was going to give you pictures adorable infant and cave troll pictures that should crack you up and warm the cockles of your hearts...( I know mine are pretty toasty with all the rum balls at the moment, thank you all very much) but blogger is doing that meretricious mulchheifer (which is essentially a slutty moo-cow thing) for me again, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow for a visual reward for your love and your humor and your support... I couldn't blog, and possibly couldn't have made it through this semester, without all of you...

Goddess bless us, every one!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

There's more than one way...

But we'll get to that later in the post.

First off, I'm home with a baby who has a minor fever and a major attitude... but she can do that 'bulabulabulabulaba' thing with her tongue, so I'm not going to complain too much about missing a day of pissy high school students to veg with her.

While I was home, I went on a fly killing expedition. They all came inside because it's warm in here, but, really, I'm thinking that if they didn't bother to fly South for the winter, they don't deserve to live. The Cave Troll came with me--he was my spotter and my cheering section: "Bug! Bug mom! See the bug! Kill the bug! Kill the bug! Good! Dead Bug! Dead Bug! Kill the Bug!!" If you picture this with pointing and clapping, you'll A. be in hysterics, and B. have a fair idea of how I spent my morning.

It was a good morning, as was the 'bulabulabulabulab' thing... but even these moments of happiness haven't put out of my mind the fact that last night, I gave my children one of those horrible, bizarre memories that I think all parents give their kids and wish they didn't.

For me, it was the rat--when I was a kid we had a rat named Peaches who developed tumors. Peaches had two choices--be put down, as all people put down rats in the '70s--with a shovel and no regrets--or face my parents who were in nursing school with some ether and a scalpel. They actually did well--they're smart people, and not cruel in the tiniest bit, and she would have survived but the cotton ball with the ether was over-saturated, and, well, at least it wasn't a shovel.

Oh, if only I could have given my kids THAT memory. What I actually did was a lot worse.

See, we got Isabeau about 16 years ago. For those counting, that's longer than we've had Trystan, except Trystan was eventually potty trained and Isabeau the cat disdained anything to do with physical hygiene. She was really disgusting. For a while, her complete misanthropy made this no big deal. She haunted the garage in a cloud of crap-matted white hair and 'I'll kill you in your sleep' glowers, and we left each other alone. But in the past year or two, she's been hanging out by the washing machine, waiting for pets while we do laundry. There's six of us, there's been a lot of laundry, and she's gotten a lot of toe scratches under the chin in the last two years. Lately it's been colder than polar bear fuck (thanks Julie!) out here--yesterday it was 26 degrees when I went outside to warm up the car, and, quite frankly, nobody who lives in the Sacramento Valley hangs here for the chance to lose our pubic hair to frostbite, thank you very much, and I started feeling sorry for poop-crusted old Is. She kept wandering outside at night and in the morning was begging to come inside on the way to the garage.

I decided it was time to let her into the house. But first, we needed a bath.

I filled up the sink, my daughter broke out the brush and the scissors, and we went to work on the walking cat box that was this 16 year old cat.

Do any of you see where this is going? I wish I had

She didn't even yowl as I skinned half her stomach, thinking it was a big old hair clot, and then, horror of horrors, there it was. I had skinned the family pet in front of my four children while my husband and best friend were off watching the Kings game. I didn't take it well. I wrapped her in a towel and freaked out, while my older daughter (aged 12, mind you--younger than the fucking cat) tried to calm me down. I took several deep breaths, and, realizing that I couldn't take the baby with the 102 degree fever out into the 36 degree cold, I did what any 39 year old mother of 4 would do when she'd just maimed the family pet.

I called my mother. Are you all with me on the math? Mom's been a nurse (and so has dad) for more than 30 years--mom could help me fix this cat for less than $1000, because, remember, we just got a new heater that cost more than a new car and a LOT more than the kids' braces but not as much as day care for two little ones for a year. Mom's a good nurse, and a good person. She raced over from Loomis (made a 20 minute drive in 15), took one look at the cat and said, "I can't fix this. But it's not your fault."

Well sure it is. If I'd taken care of it earlier, her skin wouldn't have been as fragile and it wouldn't have ripped. But if she'd been a different sort of cat, it would have been easier for me to change the relationship, then wouldn't it? I had planned to clean her up, set her up in a mat by the space heater, and let her snooze her old age away. My family has sort of a country attitude towards cats--we don't spend a lot of money on the vet/grooming bills, and the cats take care of the mice and themselves. Sixteen was a record--not just for Mate and I, but for my parents--our cats, quite frankly, don't live that long. I was looking forward to watching that cross-eyed old cat who used to hate me and my children, outlive the obsequious and insane dog. It's not going to happen--my friend Wendy who is (and she admits this) insane about animals but who hates suffering of any kind--helped us out by taking her to the one all-night vets she knows, and now Isabeau is no more, and one of the few living remiders of the Mate and I who existed before children is now buried in Auntie Wendy's garden, and I'm at home, perversely glad the baby was not feeling well, because I don't know if I could have made it through the day.

There's all sorts of spiritual life lessons I can take from this--I know there is. All sorts of comforting things I can tell myself. And, because I'm one sick mother-puppy, I also know that there's a terrible, grim sort of humor in the whole thing. I mean, I'll never use that expression again, will I?

And she didn't sit on my lap--even before we had the children and she started to hate us. And she didn't really like people, or even being inside--but I'll miss that grouchy, cross-eyed claw at my ankle when I go out to do laundry for a really long time.

So last night while we were waiting for my mom and dad to get here, I joked weakly to my daughter about what she was going to do when she was 40 years old and had screwed up royally.

"Yeah," the sarcastic little shit shot back (between hugs(:-), "I'm gonna call grandma!"

It seems that she's learned the same lesson I learned with Peaches the rat--there are some things even mama can't fix.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I can't do it...

I've been dealing with this freaking pattern book for a week, and I'm trying not to blog about it because it's for the Lady In Red, but she's getting her very special gift on Wednesday and I want to feel good about it before then because right now I'm about to burn the pattern book that it came from for warmth.

Okay, yarning people--correct me if I'm wrong here about a few things, because the sins of this pattern book are mounting which is a real shame because it's got some of the cutest crocheted clothes in it I've eve seen and I want to make some more of them but some of this shit is just PISSING ME OFF!!!

Sin one-- I'm making this sweater, right? And the pattern is adorable--but (and I only know this because I screwed up the construction and had to figure out what I've done wrong...) the sweater construction is REALLY a-typical--I've never seen a saddle-sleeve shoulder construction in a crocheted garment, ever. Because there is a neckband, and the pictures are the very charming, garment-on-baby type, I didn't realize that when you sewed the sleeves on, you left the top 11 stitches of the sleeve open to be a part of the neck. The directions read, and I quote, "Sew the side of the arms to the armholes" which I took to mean 1/2 the stitches to the front and 1/2 to the back--it was already enough of a mindfuck to not sew shoulder seams before I sewed the arms, and I didn't realize how small the neck was until I had completed the front bands and the neck band. It's cute and all, and I actually like the mandarin collar--it's got plenty of room, but, seriously, the book costs $20, and (I have this same beef with every book Debbie Bliss has ever produced) would it kill them to put a couple of diagrams for those us morons who were not born with garment design in our fucking veins? Please?

Sin 2--okay, so this next one is my fault... I made a logical gauge leap, and the damned book didn't open up and catch me. My gauge was spot on for the sweater--I made it 1-3 months (essentially newborn, right?) and it came out perfectly sized. I mean perfect--it matches Arwyn's 1-3 month sweaters spot on. So I didn't check my gauge when I made the booties. (Sorry Lady in Red... but you had to know that booties were coming...) And people? They are big enough to fit Arwyn NOW. And I'm like, whaddafu? How could the same gauge that produces a perfectly sized garment produce gi-freakin-normous bags for feet? I don't get it...just don't freakin' get it.

Sin 3--And this one blows my mind... okay, I'm making a hat, right? I'm not thrilled about the pattern, but I've got plans to make it a billion times cuter, and all I really need are the numbers to make the crown before I start ad-libbing the rise and the brim. Should be no problem... most crochet patterns to make a circle go sort of like the Yarn Harlot's cheater plan to make a pi shawl--increase around, (increase 1 k1) around, (increase 1 k2) around, (increase 1, k3) around, and so on. Well, like I said, I'm looking for this pattern to find my numbers--how far do I have to go to shape the crown, right? Well, it tells me to 'increase in this manner until the crown measures 16" in circumference. And I'm FLOORED. Can you believe that funky bullshit? Is there anyone out there who has had to measure the circumference of a crown before starting the rise? Anyone? WHO WROTE THIS FREAKING PATTERN?

Is it me, people? Anyone? Is it me? Part of the reason I don't put patterns on my blog is because I suck at writing them--it's HARD...I know it, you know it-- putting this very tactile, kinetic experience on paper is counter-intuitive at best. I've taught enough people how to knit to know that making the jump from the 'knitter' to the 'pattern reading knitter' is like jumping off a 20 story building onto what looks to be a very thin poly-filled pillow, but...but these peoples are professionals! Isn't it their job to make sure that little pillow is actually about five stories high and rubber and filled with bouncy-house air? Am I being stupid? I'm stressed and tired and overwhelmed, and sometimes that shorts my judgement, my temper, and my ability to spell stupid-assed words like 'judgment', but am I that bad at reading patterns...I know I'm a dilettante at best in the knitting/crocheting world, but...really is it just me? Is it that I can't do it? Or am I right to expect a little help?

Friday, December 15, 2006

57 channels...

And nothin' on... Yeah, I know, I'm the last surviving Springsteen fan on the West Coast what can I say?

hmmm... how about little snippets of nothing? More randomness from the Universe while I focus on BOUND and my last projects before break and trying to retain my sanity... yes, that will do for now.

* Yesterday evening, as we were driving home, the Cave Troll pointed to my shadow on the ceiling of the car and said, "Look, mama, scary monster!" "Scary monster! I'll save you from the scary monster!" I growled and shook my rabid hair, and he laughed like it was the best joke ever. "Thanks mom." He told me when he was done--I felt like I had accomplished something huge.

*The night before last, Mate was sitting on the couch with The Adorable Infant, and terribly bright older daughter, and watching (one of our favorites) Singing in the Rain. I watched, enchanted, as Bryar busted up over the diction lesson part, and thought that maybe there's hope for America's youth after all, and then Mate said, "" And he pointed to Adorable Infant. When they were talking on the screen she was wiggling and kicking and eating her hands (yum!). When they were singing? She was absolutely still, her eyes glued to the screen. It was exceptionally cool.

*And, during a trip to the store, my oldest, my taller-than-mama child, made a very charming request. "Mom...I know it's not my birthday... but...Sparkling Cider? Please?" How do you say no to a child who has tried to make every day a celebration?

*And finally, Mate--the other day, I was searching for my house key--the older kids had pulled it from the ring because they couldn't find theirs and they get home first. They gave it back to me, and me, being me, set it down in my bedroom, the famed black-hole of Nor-Cal where everything gets lost forever and ever. Determined not to lose it this time, I was searching for it the next day and Mate said, "Don't worry, I put it on your key ring." 20 years people--how does it last 20 years? Because Mate knows me and takes care of me in spite of myself.

I"m going to knit a lot this weekend. Maybe we'll check out Christmas lights. We're going to go shopping on Saturday and get pictures taken with Santa. I"m going to forget that my 5th period is stealing my oxygen and the natural resources of every other person on this planet and giving us mean, vacant stupidity in return, and the tight muscles in my face and forehead are going to relax. I mean--I live with some damn fine human beings--anything is possible.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The World is Too Much Weirdness

I have so much to do...finishing the Lady In Red's secret thing, proofing BOUND, working on BITTERMOON... (Didja notice housework and correcting papers were NOWHERE TO BE SEEN on that little list?) Doesn't matter... what am I doing instead? Talking to you people...why? Because you're nice to me. At least my priorities are arrow straight!

Anyway, the last few days felt sort of random, so this post is going to be sort of random...sometimes, life just doesn't follow the reflective essay thread, does it? Here goes, in random order, the weirdness of my little corner of the world:

**So I was at Jo Anne's today to get cheap plastic crochet hooks and knitting needles to give, gratis, to the many students who come in to learn how to knit and crochet during lunch. I'm putting, literally, handfulls of the packages on the counter when the guy (? seriously--when was the last time you saw a guy at the counter of the fabric store?) looks at the basket and says, "Stocking stuffers?" I blinked, because, hello, talk about random! And said, "No--I'm a high school teacher..." And he cuts me off and says, "That would have been my second guess."
What would have been his third guess--marital aids?

**One of my favorite kids from fourth period starts looking through my roster, and her conversation goes like this. "Man, this class is lazy--I can't believe you don't yell at us more. Hey, wait--I know these kids in your second period. Man, this is a bad class. No wonder you don't yell at us. Oh, man--third period is worse...we must seem great after third...Oh my God, Ms. Mac--look at your fifth period! If I had to deal with this class I'd kill somebody." *sigh* 'Nuff said.

**And speaking of my 5th period, I have completely lost all sense of due process, propriety or even pride dealing with them. I send three kids out a day--I've gone through so many referrals that I've had to replace my stack. Twice. Some of those referrals I had in my files for ten years--I know, because the school changed sites and I used ones with the old address on them. I don't care anymore. Today, I was talking about the groundlings who attended Shakespeare's plays and how there was prostitution, sideshows, bear-baiting and rooster fights going on during the play, and the actors knew they actually were doing their job when the front was quiet. Sort of like this class, I said, into what was, miracle of miracles, a nano-second of complete silence. Then this one kid who is the poster child for crack-hos in the making (I'm going to catch flack for this, but you haven't heard her speak--there are probably interventions out there that would save her life, but I'm not trained to administer them and six teachers referring her to the office three times a week can not all be wrong that school is the wrong place for her, period) anyway, this kid who hasn't said an intelligent word in sixteen weeks suddenly starts laughing. I'm so sure she has to be laughing about something else that I refer her. *sob* She was actually the only one who got the joke.

**On the flip side? One of my kids who checked out my first book, VULNERABLE, came in to class this morning with a very hurt look on her face. "Ms. Mac, I've got a bone to pick with you." "Oh..." I said with true understanding, "You finished the book." Everybody who finishes the book has that same reaction. It is sometimes followed with, "That book was soooooooo good." I love that part. I'm such a narcissist, I can't hear that enough, ever.

**My 3rd set of eyes is very happy about BOUND so far. I'm still feeling like I have an cast iron set of twatsticles (that's a Rabbitch word, thank you darling for that) just subjecting the world to that, but, it makes me feel just a little less embarrassed about possessing a set of those things anyway.

**Have I told any of you about my first publishing attempt? When I was a sophomore in High School I wrote a 24 page epic poem on binder paper and made my entire family read it. (For the record? My handwriting is that of a manic-depressive cartoon character on meth. I can produce testimonials to this effect if you like. 24 pages, people. In that handwriting. I'm still shuddering to think.) I've read, ahem, that poem since them--my shame is as deep as my post-modernism class and twice as hard to forget. It doesn't matter how much I've grown as a writer, a person, and a woman, for the rest of my life, everything I force someone to read is going to be "The Ballad of Jarad and the Witch." *sigh* Sometimes High School really is forever.

I was going to put in a picture of the adorable infant, but blogger is being a meretricious mulchheifer, and I hates it.

But I love you all! Cheers!

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Okay--if I haven't mentioned it before, I'll say it again--I've got the best peanut gallery in all of explored space... thanks guys--for one thing, I don't feel so bad about screeching like a demented owl when I got presented with the heating bill, and for another, it's always nice to hear that your children are really as cute as you think they are.
So I'm going to ignore our impending financial ruin for a while, and the crappy kitchen as well, because I've got the proofs for BOUND and I find that today's nervous breakdown is going to be focussed in that general direction.
I do this every time--I send it out, absolutely sure that there's not a blessed thing I could do to make it better, and get it back and wonder that I had the freakin' balls to subject the world to that unmitigated pile of crap. The fact that it's the same damn manuscript doesn't mean a damn thing. This year, I managed to brainwash I mean shanghai I mean beg the editor of the yearbook to read through and do some of my editing for me. I know I should read it myself, and I plan to--but I'm going to sooooooooorushed, that I don't trust my own editing job to be as good as it should. Oh--have I mentioned that it's about 475 pages, now that it's formatted. In a way I'm a little disappointed--I mean, the manuscript was over 720 pages...I was hoping the novel would break 500... oh, well, I guess I'm not as overwritten as I thought. (Is this a good thing? Am I concise? Is it a bad thing? Am I underdetailed? Am I trying for profound and ending up the suck princess or porndom? Holy Goddess, let me not be publicly stupid any more than humanly possible!!! Oh, wait... I'm a writer... ignore that last bit...there's no way out of it...)

So, I started a special project for Lady In Red, who (sorry to out you, darlin') is due in a shockingly short time, and I'm not telling her what it is, but it's turning out wonderfully. I will tell you that it's done in the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK and bells can tell you that this stuff is like sin in a skein... the fabulosity of the finished product is enough to stomp on my 'handwashables for infants' guilt. I mean, Arwyn wore her little socks for six months and I didn't really need to do more than rinse them... unless the little feet go kicking through the used breast-milk, they really don't do a lot of dirt damage to the knitwear, right? Anyway, it's gorgeous and I promise pictures, but I will confess that it's crochet, because right now I move from one to the other depending on the project--this project was crochet, and so I joined the dark side, that's all.

But other than that? Big T's birthday is tomorrow. How big is Big T, you ask? I'll let the picture do the talking:

That's right--he's so big, he needs his own picture--he can't share with his little brother anymore. Here it is for you:

Anyway, we decorated the house yesterday--it would make Martha Stewart turn pale and run fleeing from the state, but then, my neck of Cali really isn't Martha Stewart country. But that's okay, because I have big sister to help
and the adorable baby to make it beautiful.
And, other than that, I might be a bit longer than usual (I know, you've heard that before) because in addition to the usual holiday madness, I do have my book crisis, I mean my literary nervous breakdown, I mean my editing to attend to--but never fear...Bound will eventually be submitted in the final edit, and I'll be sane (HA! I can hear you all laughing from here!!) once again:-)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

At Last...

(Look, pictures of my adorable children. And the baby. Just to make you smile. And laugh at my house which is, yes, always this thrashed. And, hey, a sockie...see, I haven't been having you all on--I have been making things. Sort of.)

Anyway, can I just say that the only thing worse than having to be at work right now is being at work without blogger? Of course the really funny thing is, that in true NHS fashion, the only blog that I can access unconditionally (besides Yarn Harlot, of course) is Julie's--and she's the only blogger I know who occassionally swears more than I do. (For which I worship her in a not-at-all-creepy manner.)

Anyway, to catch everybody up since it's now illegal for me to blog on my lunch hour (or simply just firewall prevented) here are some interesting conversations I've had this week:

Me: Okay--so, how much is it going to cost to fix the heater?
Mate: $1400.
Mate: Yeah--the bad news is that it won't be fixed until NEXT Thursday.

Now, flash forward a couple of days for the "it could be worse" version on the phone:

Mate: The guy's here so I can sign the financing papers for the new heater.
Me: Wow--they do that?
Mate: Well, it costs a little more than we thought it would.
Me: Like, how much more would it cost to for them to give us financing.
(Are you all holding your breath?)
Mate: $14,000.
Me: $1400, right?
Mate: $14,000.
Me. $1900?
Mate: No, no, you're not hearing me: FOURTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Mate: And, hence, the financing.

Oy! And, oh wait, there's more--the hundred dollar Weenie Pig? Is now hundred dollar fertilizer. It appears Weenie Pigs don't take well to having the thermostat dip below 58 degrees at night, and he departed this earth for a great Weenie Pig field of expensive Weenie Pig food in the sky. The really sad part is that Mate had to dig a good 18" in order to place that poor, pathetic little body below Jasmine, Trixie, and Paige the rats. Yeah--our little strip of weed-en in the front of the crumbling mortgage is getting pretty haunted by little rodent ghosties... I guess Dennis Quaid the cat ought to watch out next Samhain, right?

So, hopefully blogger won't let me down again, (why not, right?) and I can put a little sunshine in this post...more specifically, my little sunshine, modeling (or eating) some of the hats and sockies I've finished. Just to prove that I really do knit and all....

Monday, December 04, 2006

Scum-yuk, eating crow.

So, everybody remember that # in my post called "10 Things" where I said "Find the things you love the most about you and your family. Revel in them--they are what will get you through seeing the worst of yourself in your child" (or something like's only two posts down!)

Anyway, one of the things I love the best about my oldest daughter is that she's steady. School is not easy for her--she's bright, but not quick, with none of those intuitive leaps and wildfire 'get its' that made my own school life both fun and precarious. In order to get her good grades and succeed in her High Achiever courses, Bryar has to work very hard--she's an averagely intelligent hard worker, she's going to kick ass and do great things, and I admire the hell out of her. She gets this from her father's side of the family.

Okay, now take a deep breath, no one's allowed to say anything nice to me me after that, because I have done a BAD THING.

I have taken great pains to not mention family--mine or Mate's--too much on my blog. I hate the thought of offending anybody, and unless it's something I'm pretty sure we'll all laugh at, I try to keep them out of it. That being said, imagine my complete mortification when Mate told me this morning, "Yeah--my dad saw your blog. He didn't take kindly to being called 'averagely intelligent'. I think that's why he hasn't called lately."

Oh Goddess...did I? Oh...yeah, not only did I, but it was posted in my viewer profile for six months, and, holy God, I REALLY HAVE BEEN NAKED IN PUBLIC FOR SIX MONTHS, HAVEN'T I?

I'm not sure what to say now. I mean, I thought the idea that I would fight to the death to keep that man would imply that this was a compliment--maybe you have to be the biggest nut in a mixed bowl to appreciate how truly lovely 'average' is.

'Average', to me, is equated with the following things:

**The 'average' student in my class, who is pleasant, kind, works hard, and has a thousand things to do besides obsess about their grade.

**An 'average' income does not put it's retirement in dvds, books, or yarn.

**An 'average' childhood means never being told that rice mixed with ketchup is Mexican Rice, because those were the only two things in the refrigerator. besides the left-overs of what was once a pet rabbit.

**'Average' means never knowing what powdered milk tastes like.

**It means never having to scrape the inside of your car for catfood money.

**If you're 'average' you're not planning to spend your retirement that same thing--only planning to eat the catfood yourself.

**'Average' children come home to clean homes and dinner on the table at an appropriate time.

**They eat from matching silverware and matching placemats and tablecloths.

**'Average' children don't have to help mom with the larvae on the ceiling or take turns using the one bathroom because the other one has been eviscerated for three months.

**'Average' children learn how to clean and cook from mom, and aren't farmed out to other people because mom is hopeless at both.

Mate was provided with an 'average' childhood, much of which I envy to the bottom of my toes, and I regret that I have not been able (through my bizarre temperament, mostly) been able to provide the same for my children.

So, I've insulted perfectly nice people who have shown me nothing but kindness by my below-average grasp of human nature, and I feel awful.

In fact, I feel like scumyuk.

This is me, Scum-yuk. Eating Crow.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Nothin' done...

Well... in the 'eyes bigger than stomach' category, I just purchased an insane amount of Lorna's Shepherds Worsted in Watercolor for a project I may be able to get to in 2010...that's okay... I'll have some continuous sleep by then, so the elaborate cable I've got planned will be no funky-furry assed deal...

Other than that?

SOCCER SEASON IS OFFICIALLY OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just can not say that enough. OUr kids got their asses kicked, I mean had their final game today, and, voila...three days a week are suddenly freed up for sanity time. And since we're no longer on the evil prickweenie's team, we no longer have to worry about indoor ball, and, huzzah, extra brain-cells for me!!!!.

Now we have Christmas to deal with--Oy!

So--anybody out there do the fake tree? Every year I'm tempted, and every year the kids talk me out of it, and every year the actual task of going out and GETTING THE TREE turns out to be the biggest stumbling block to getting the house decorated. I don't know if I can explain that to the middle schoolers, but it might be worth a shot. So, I"m planning to whine until I get my way, I mean badger, cajole, and plead, I mean get help cleaning the house today, and then we can go get the tree tomorrow, and then, just then, we might get lights up this year. Last year, I was 7 months pregnant, Mate went on an unofficial boycott of Christmas, and I finally bought hedge lights, just so we could do something that didn't involve me on a ladder. This year, I'd like whole family involvement--including roping the kids in front of the tree--real or fake--and taking a picture of the four of them frolicking or fighting or fuming or whatever to put on my Christmas letter. I've been getting cards since Thanksgiving, and frankly, I"m not sure how y'all do it. Again? Oy! And I'm really starting to envy my friend Suzy who lives in Florida and celebrates Channukah, because to her, Dec. 25 is just another day--it's not that I want to stop celebrating my particular holiday, it's just that when she lived here, where the Jewish community is pretty small, her shopping days were cake. (She says that that's all gone bye-bye down in Florida...poor baby, has to face the crowds just like I do.)

Anyway, as soon as I find my camera cable I'll post some pictures of the adorable baby and the baby hats I've been working on... My friend liked hers yesterday--it was really sort of a funny baby shower. Run by a self-professed 'San Diego hippie', the shower had none of the shower games that I've come to treasure because, honestly, I kick ass at all of them. Instead we strung beads with wishes and bound wrists with advice and I found my inner Libra having a big-assed conflict. The soft, sweet side of Libra who tears up at night time TV was saying "oh, this is nice and spiritual, isn't it?". The cynical Libra who has pushed out four puppies and hasn't cleaned her bathroom was saying, "Oh for crap's sake, somebody serve me some cake with lard on it and let's get this party started." I managed to beat the cynical Libra down, but only because I was holding the world's most adorable infant in my arms, and I figured, hey, all those good wishes were nothing more than what I wanted for her. The cynical Libra will rear her ugly jaded head some other time. And, hey--I'll be fine with that.

Friday, December 01, 2006

10 things

Or whatever--you know how I am with math.

Okay--first of all? I don't know how I wrote without blogging before--you guys are so supportive, it really keeps me going!

Second, I was going to spend this blog obsessing about appropriate ways to deal with my 5th period class, since they are unmitigated monsters and should all be tied down and epi-ladied until they scream for mercy and bleed out of their follicles, just like all of us did in the 80's. (Remember epi-lady? That vibrating coil of springs that was supposed to grab the hair on your legs and RIP IT OUT AT THE ROOTS? Yeah--I hate them.) However, I remembered that I get to go to a baby shower tomorrow, and that we're supposed to bring in advice or poetry or something, so I thought I'd concentrate on advice I'd give to a new parent.

Here it is, in no particular order, free, ignorable advice from a person who hasn't cleaned her bathroom in a week, and, hey, feels pretty good about that.

1. Kiss the following things goodbye: a clean car, peace of mind, finished laundry, potpourri, dust-bunny control, complete thought, grown-up interaction, a non-wash&wear wardrobe, germophobia, reading time, a social life, and loneliness--even in the bathroom.

2. Say hello to the following things: constant guilt, the fierce protectiveness of a mama bear mated with a tasmanian devil on mind-control drugs, and the ability to watch, listen to, and enjoy little kids programming that you thought you'd never possess.

3. About #2--Don't give up your own music in the car. The surest way to get separated from your child is to be hauled off to the loony bin singing Disney showtunes and laughing maniacally while you peruse the laundry detergent section of the grocery store.

4. About #3--But never underestimate the true cultural value of Disney showtunes, the Muppets, and Sesame Street. Even the Wiggles aren't as bad as you first thought.

5. Remember those moments in the car, when you haul ass, cut off other cars and flip off little old ladies so you can get home and pee? Yeah. YOu won't be able to do that anymore--any of it. Including being able to pee when you first run through the door.

6. All babies want to do is communicate. All adolescents want to do is communicate. Make listening your # 1 art form.

7. That being said, make "ignoring the whiny small shit" your # 2 art form.

8. Take a mental snapshot of your child when she is being her most precious and adorable. Impress it in your brain so that even when you're old and senile, you will remember that one moment. This way, you can call up that mental image when you hit your head on the kitchen wall after tripping over your child's shoes--it won't stop you from wanting to kill her, but it will keep you from imagining doing it with pain.
9. Think of the one thing you most dislike about yourself. Look it dead in the eye and say, "I love you even if you possess that quality." Be prepared to do this every day--that's the one character trait your child will pick up first.

10. Think of the one thing you most love about yourself and the people around you. Examine this quality carefully--revel in it. Be proud of it. These are the parts about your child that will allow you to bear with and forgive #9.

11. Don't feel bad about teaching your child sarcasm at a young age. It teaches them irony, which is very useful in highschool, when little boys are expected to enjoy Pride and Prejudice and little girls are expected to love MacBeth.

12. Dance and sing around your child. Especially as she grows older and this behavior embarrasses the hell out of her. Trust me--its a good example.

13. Adolescence is going to suck. Plan a long trip when you leave your changeling with grandma and grandpa who will be happy to commiserate with all of your shortcomings.

14. Laugh. Long, loud, and with a full heart--especially when you feel like laughing least.

15. Sylvia Plath said that motherhood is "getting on the train there's no getting off." She was a wise woman and a very good poet, but if you dwell too long on that thought, you will end up exactly where she did. Some other author (God forgive me,I don't remember who...) said that children were the preface to a 24 volume suicide note. This guy is not quite as famous, but he's a hell of a lot smarter. Parenthood is terrifying and ridiculous at once. Think, pray, and remember # 14.

And that's about all I've got. Or, that's about all I've got before the kids start eating each other and hit the place where they won't forgive me ever for snapping their heads off while I spare the random neuron to write this...peace out:-)